Enter the Battleground: Tips for Prospective Participants of the Warrior Dash

13 Jun

 My friend Lindsey and I, post dash

You might be thinking: What in the world is the Warrior Dash? Well: It is a badass experience where you get to crawl through trenches, slide down hills and get absolutely covered in mud.  In the words of another friend: “…the most amazing event I’ve ever partaken in in my life.” (The person who said this is pretty amazing herself, so those are no small words.) Plus, you get a Viking hat! There are dashes nationwide and even around the world, so check the website to see if there’s one near you.

I had never done a dash (or anything like it, like the Spartan Sprint) before and I will admit, I was nervous as I paid my registration fees all the way until the race got underway. My mind filled with nagging self-doubts. Will it be too difficult? Will I embarrass myself? Will I be able to finish?

Keep in mind, I’m not exactly a runner. In fact, I don’t really enjoy running. I get winded and bored and I’d prefer pumping iron or punching bags if I’m going to exercise. However, I had a FANTASTIC time at the Warrior Dash and will definitely be doing it again. While I’m not the premier source for dash information, I have friends who are either signed up for an upcoming dash or are strongly considering it. So, for them (and for anyone else) here are some tips based on my experience! (For reference, my battleground was in Mechanicsville, MD.)

Don’t Sweat It:

I’m putting this first, because it is highly important: try not to be nervous! Easier said than done, I know. But this is an event that you can do at your own pace, so you only have to compete with yourself and not the people around you. I think the race is more fun to run with friends than alone (unless you’re running competitively), so cheer each other on and keep each other going.

Prepare if you Can:

If you’re in this primarily to get muddy and have fun, I wouldn’t say that you need a ton of physical training. The website, however, does suggest that if you want to prepare yourself, your best bet is to run a lot. As I was preparing, I modified this treadmill workout (I did intermediate intervals) and ran it every other day for a couple of weeks to get used to running for an extended period. (For me, 40 minutes is extended!)

There isn’t much of a way to prepare for the obstacles, but if you are decently fit, they should certainly be doable. According to the official website, “Finishing Warrior Dash is more about mental toughness than being in great shape.”

Pack essentials

Aside from the obvious (identification, change of clothes) here are things you should consider bringing with you:

  • Cash – My event only took cash and tickets, which required cash (This may vary depending on location). There was an outdoor ATM, but the line was terrible and I didn’t want to pay the fee. If you can, bring money for souvenirs and food.  (Being a Capricorn, of course I price-checked my items of choice ahead of time so I’d have enough money.)
  • Baby wipes – These were a gift from the gods when dealing with wretched port-a-potties. Trust me on this.
  • Mini first aid kit – Nothing fancy, just a small box you’d get at any pharmacy store with band-aids and sterile wipes.
  • A camera – Taking pictures during the event is probably impractical, but you’ll want photos of yourself post mudslide and the event photos are expensive. Best option: bring a friend with clean hands.
  • Extra plastic bags (think grocery bags) – Your clothes will be filthy afterwards. Enough said.
  • A friend – This race is more fun if you’re running with friends. Plus, there may be a parking fee, so carpooling is ideal.

Dress properly

Unless you plan to dash in costume (which is far more common than you may think), you want to dress for comfort and practicality. Based on my experience:

  • Clothes – I came to the dash in long-sleeves and yoga pants, but ended up running in a t-shirt and mesh basketball shorts. The shirt was fine, but by the end of the race the shorts nearly fell off my ass because the watery mud soaked them through. Dress with that in mind.
  • Shoes – Wear old ones. You can donate them post-race and besides, who wants to sink expensive new running shoes into thick mud?
  • Other – I scraped up my knees, so consider knee pads but as they absorb mud and get heavy, (as in my friend’s experience) a better option may be ace bandages.

And finally?

Have a good ass time. If you don’t mind getting filthy, you probably won’t regret it.

Any other questions? Has anyone ran in a dash (or something similar) and wants to add input? Feel free to share in the comment section.

xoxo, Tara


Summertime: Action, Adventure, Amazement!

9 Jun


I tend to spend a lot of my time planning out the future, maybe it’s the Capricorn in me. Conveniently enough, it’s summer, the time for big dreams and huge plans.  After all, I spend months brainstorming summer plans (just look at my most popular post today, Mid-Summer Check-Up)!

Moving around and seeing new things inspire me: they feed my ambitions, drive my writing hand and push me to do and see more.

What I’m Seeing…

+Northern California! I’m going to Suisun City for a family reunion and I am SUPER excited – I’ve never been to California before. I look forward to basking in the sunshine, frolicking on the beach and touring the Jelly Belly Jelly Bean factory. Don’t ask which one I expect enjoy the most.

+Orlando, Florida – Where I’m going act a touristy mess. (I have my limits though. No fannypacks.) I’m going with my family to Orlando. I would love to go to Disney World, but it’s expensive, especially if you want to see all of the parks. (though if I were to have to go to ONE, which one does everyone suggest? Just in case.) I am, however, going to Universal Studios to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Expect copious amounts of butterbeer, which probably isn’t the best plan, considering I love rollercoasters.

+Seeing the Savage Beauty exhibit in NYC. I have never been this excited for an exhibition in my life. It is totally worth an eight-hour pilgrimage. Plus, I’ve never been to the Met before. Of course, being me, I am already searching Yelp for where I plan on eating.

+The Hesselbein Leadership Summit – Frances Hesselbein is a force of nature. I can’t wait to bask in her knowledge and meet amazing, driven people from the around the world. Pittsburgh, here I come…back?

What I [should be – will be] Doing…

I want to do a ton of things. I haven’t ever written these down, but the inimitable Alexandra Franzen inspired me with her strong words and naked ambition. So why not?

+I want to be a renaissance woman, with skills in all kinds of trades, from scuba, to sewing, to kung-fu to cooking.

+I want to surround myself with electric, fantastic, brilliant people.

+I want to luxuriate in romance, passion, cuddling and great sex

+I want to continue pushing my body to its limits – more running, jumping and climbing.

+I want to continue trying new things, even things as simple as jumping into dancing water or riding a bicycle in a dress

+I want to connect to The Source – by remaining humble, mindful and meditative.



What do you want to accomplish this summer?

xoxo, Tara

I Have Too Much Stuff! -The Update

6 Jun


As you may know, I decided to do a short-term New Year’s Resolution – I would stop shopping for new clothes, starting in the beginning of my spring semester at college – January 4th, 2011 – to the end, May 1st, 2011. Effectively, four months. No shopping online, or in stores (or yard sales, or estate sales…). I wouldn’t accept gifts of clothing from my mother, and I abstained from purchasing shoes and accessories as well. The only clothing I purchased were to represent an event (I have a shirt from my university’s production of The Vagina Monologues), things I actually needed (didn’t happen), or replacements for things I already had.

I’m a big proponent of detoxes – my first one was in high school, when I spent far too much time watching Vh1 programming than necessary (Even though those countdown shows and decade retrospectives were quite entertaining). I cut myself off of television for a week and while it was difficult to entertain myself for the first few days, I quickly realized that I was missing far less than I thought.

Quitting something cold turkey is difficult, but for some habits, it is a serious way for you to face your dependence head on . Having an established end date gives you something to look forward to, but often times, by the time you’re finished, you won’t miss the habit as much as you thought you would and you may even be better off without it.

So, how did I do?

I still haven’t bought anything and I am going on five months.

Now, before I go overboard with the self-congratulation, let me admit that it is partly because I’m having the same problem as before: I have far too much clothing and I have no idea what to do with it all! Now that I’ve moved back home, the problem has gotten even worse. I have cramped drawers that are already occupied with clothes, plus all the dirty clothing I brought from school, washed and (eventually) sorted into their proper places.

At this point I have donated three full trash bags to charity but I am still running out of space. Worst part? I haven’t even unpacked most of my clothes from school yet! We’ll see how this all works out, but in the words of Tim Gunn:

This concerns me. (Also, what happened to Andrae?)

However, before I rain all over my achievement like Eeyore’s cloud, let me just say, for someone who loves online shopping as much as I do, this was no small task. So if you’re considering doing a shopping detox, here are some tips!

  • Start with what you have.

This seems really obvious, but the first step is going through the clothing you have in your closet and drawers. If you truly feel like your wardrobe is offending your sensibilities, make a day of stuffing it into garbage bags and hauling it over to your nearest charity. You’ll feel their weight lifted off your shoulders, I guarantee you. The most obvious place is Goodwill (the anti-gay controversy surrounding the Salvation Army leaves a bad taste in my mouth), although there are plenty of local organizations that would love your gently used wares.

In this cleaning process, you’ll probably be shocked at the clothing you forgot you owned (sometimes in a bad way, but I won’t judge).

  • Repurpose and Remix!

Just because you haven’t worn a certain dress in ages doesn’t mean a simple rehemming, or strategic placement of accessories won’t make an old outfit seem brand new again.

One of my favorite fashion blogs, Kendi Everyday, runs a regular challenge called 30×30 Remix: where you take 30 items from your closet and use them to make 30 outfits, for 30 days. (Abstaining from shopping is optional, but I think it is a nice touch) Her next one is coming up this month, so feel free to jump in and try it!

  • It’s okay to window shop!

I struggled at first with the feelings of clothing jealousy, especially in the opening stages of my detox. I would shamelessly covet the striped sailor blouse my friend wore to the cafeteria, the buttoned denim skirt I’d see walking past the art building, the fashionable looks I’d see on blogs and on the street in Pittsburgh.

And of course, I’d feel a pang of longing when my favorite stores announced sales and coupon promotions in my inbox; one of the websites I frequent has a whole feature dedicated to this! However, if you don’t really need something, you’ll be saving more by not buying it all than whatever the coupon is offering. (Unless, of course, they’re giving you something for free…)

The point is, it’s okay.  It’s okay to ogle cute things and sigh enviously that they aren’t populating your closet. You just can’t let it dominate you, or else the detox will be miserable. Besides, you’d be surprised what kinds of inspiration you can use from street style and fashion blogs to give you new ideas to try on what you own.

  • Realize the difference between “want” and “(sorta) need”

Unless you’re lacking a clothing staple like a work suit, or weather appropriate clothing, chances are you don’t need most things. The need is often proportionate to the trendiness of the item.

Going on a detox is excellent for deducing what you truly want (thus, sorta need) and is an impulse buy. While a fantastic one-time deal may have to pass you by, most things will still be around once the detox is over. If you find yourself still head over heels, go for it. Chances are, however, you’ll have forgotten all about it in no time flat.

With that said, don’t be shy, go out and try it yourself! And if you aren’t detoxing off of shopping like I was, what about things like television, gluten, facebook, soda, avoiding workouts, caffeine, or …self-doubt?

You never know…

xoxo, Tara

Slowed Down Sunday – 4.3.11

10 Apr

Project 4B

View this full-size!

My boyfriend, just because. Also, he’s the artist behind that beautiful portrait of me that you see up there.

New beginnings and opportunities, because while I tend to keep them close to my chest until they’re definite, there are a lot of great things brewing for me on the horizon. I’m so excited I could scream.

Drag Shows and Mansion Parties – The Pride festivities at the University of Pittsburgh were absolutely amazing, capped off by a fabulous drag show. Every year the drag show attracts a huge crowd – the doors opened at 8:30 but I had to show up at 7  – there was no way I’d miss out on a front row seat! The performers were fantastic and all the money went to a great cause – the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. The next day, we went to a mansion party on Mount Washington hosted by SNAP, the Student Network Across Pennsylvania – talk about awesome!

The Sims, because there is no bigger timewaster out there. I’m one of those players who refuses to turn on aging, even though it’s kind of like cheating. But seriously, I could spend hours browsing for custom content online and working to make sure my Sim succeeds in her career and finds love! I love how the dating pool is as awkward as in real life, where you’ll meet a guy who looks like he has potential, only to find he 1) already has a girlfriend, 2) is a commitment-phobe or 3) is highly inappropriate and decides to end a date by peeing on the floor.

Heavy Duty Workouts, because I didn’t know the palms of your hands could be sore! I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a milk truck, or rolled over like Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda. I’ve done kickboxing for over a year now, but never have I felt so utterly whooped. But I love those feelings.

Jacks and Jills, not just because they’re great to work for, but they also have great taste in t-shirts. (And they have fabulous notes, too.) I’ll be linking my articles from J&J here, so check them out!

What are you thankful for this week? Leave a comment and let me know!

xoxo, Tara

Weekend Links – 4/8/11

8 Apr


So I’ve just gotten my computer fixed…again. This time the LCD bulb went out, so my screen wouldn’t light. Cross your fingers that this is the last you hear about me and my computer issues for the time being! Here’s some reading to get you through this rainy Saturday! (If you live in the Northeast USA like me.)

◊ Flickr blog shows a collection of photographs where people observe the natural wonders of the night sky. Breathtaking.

◊ While unicorns don’t exist, the “arctic unicorn”, narwhals, do! They are some of the most secretive creatures in the ocean, but this rare footage offers a glimpse into their migratory patterns.

◊ My new favorite tumblr, Om Nom Nom Living. Healthy food porn? Yes please.

◊ I know I am decades late, and this meme has been run into the ground and then some, but Stephen Colbert (and the Roots!) rendition of Rebecca Black’s Friday, via Woo, is absolutely hilarious.

◊ I want this book of firework studies! While I’m accustomed to thinking of fireworks in color, the stark black and white suits them as well.

◊ Danielle LaPorte, whose site is guaranteed to light my ass on fire (in a good way, I promise!) dropped some new knowledge on us undeserving mortals.

engage every cell in fiercely wishing:
to be seen. to be graduated. adored. valued. validated. met.

the moment holds it all. give it then and there.
even if it didn’t work before, or you’re not sure what will come out of you to make for something new. (you can’t be sure)

blow off the past.

ask for what you want.

◊ Ever wanted to wear certain types of clothes but they’re far too uncomfortable? (Stockings, I’m talking about you!) Sal on Already Pretty discusses her favorite workarounds so you can wear those styles in comfort.

◊ My fellow unicorn lover and all around entrepreneurial wunderkind Alexandra Franzen had her one year anniversary of flying solo! Whooo! It’s a celebration!

Jam of the Week – Passion Pit – Little Secrets

Any links to share? Let me know in the comments.

xoxo, Tara

Weekend Links – 4/1/11

1 Apr


This artwork is absolutely amazing. I love how the artist was able to take physical objects and manipulate them into something else entirely.

Okay, this is just something I want to own: a GUNBRELLA. That just sounds cool.

I am definitely one who is guilty of not using their free time as effectively as possible. On Yes and Yes, there are ideas to make the most out of your lunch break.

I am fascinated by graffiti, so I’ll definitely be checking out this upcoming book about its origin in the United States.

The blogger Nubby Twiglet recently traveled to Reykjavik, Iceland! I’ve never really thought of Iceland as a potential travel destination, but seeing her amazing photographs have  me reconsidering things.

As an avid user of technology, the idea of how invasive your gadgets really can be freaks me out. Then again, considering the amount of information many of us disclose online, is this truly a surprise?

Sal from Already Pretty does an amazing job of summing up how I feel when it comes to the health/weight debate: it’s not my business.

How on EARTH would I know what “healthy” means for anyone other than myself? I am not a doctor. I am not a health expert. I am not a personal trainer, an herbalist, a chiropractor, or anyone who is required to have intimate knowledge of the human body’s mysterious workings. I have taken three biology classes and one human physiology class in my entire life, have no experience doing field work in the health industry, and absolutely no knowledge or credentials that would give me any standing should I chose to voice my opinion about the good or poor health of another human being.

Some people just have a ton of ingenuity. I know I’m not able to build myself a salad tower.

I have a love for interior (and architectural) design, so I really enjoyed this round-up of gorgeous images from The Glamourai.

This is just straight-forward and useful: The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Making an Effort. I try to make an effort the majority of the time, but everyone has “those” days.

Do you fall into certain shopping pitfalls? Buying things that almost fit you, other items just because they’re on sale? This might help you out.


Anything you want to share? Let me know in the comments!


xoxo, Tara

Currently Jamming to – Theophilus London

30 Mar


Nuri posted a round-up of her favorite artists from 2010 early this year and she mentioned Theophilus London as someone to look out for. Considering this is the same lady who brought the phenomenal Esthero into my life, I gave him a chance. I certainly don’t regret it.

His most recent mixtape, “I Want You”, has him covering the songs of other artists such as Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. While he hails from Brooklyn, the elements of the city he’s named for are seen in his music, which blends seamlessly with the classic soul beats and electronica influences. I’m not usually the type to listen to a CD from beginning to end, and definitely not more than once, but this mixtape is the exception. Last.fm lists similar artists as The Cool Kids, Jay Electronica, Wale (though I don’t really see that one), and Kidz in the Hall. If you’re a fan of any of those artists, definitely check him out.

His newest album, Lovers’ Holiday, is out now on iTunes and you can download his mixtapes for free. If you still want more, you can also check out his official website or his blog.

What are you currently listening to? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo, Tara