Gatsby, Summer Brews, and an Unplanned DNS

My first DNS. Not even mad about it.

By the time I headed home from work on Friday, I knew the weekend was going to be shot. Our annual client conference was last week and after three non-stop days, my whole body was tired and my brain was fried. I managed to get laundry done as soon as I walked in the door Friday night but after that? I spent a sweet 24 hours alternating between the bed and the couch.


At the beginning of the week I realized that there might be a chance I’d need to miss this year’s Spartan Race in Burnet. Neither of us were too upset about it considering Brad’s back has been on the verge of going out lately and my work schedule was going to slip me into a state of exhaustion that would make climbing 10-foot walls and carrying cinderblocks incredibly difficult. When I woke up Saturday morning and could barely get out of bed, I knew skipping the race was the best decision we could have made.

Gatsby and the Growler

I wasn’t exaggerating at all when I said I spent 24 hours in the horizontal position. Stupid me in my “mid-conference-the-weekend-is-almost-here” haze bought us tickets to the 10pm showing of the Great Gatsby on Saturday night. Brilliant, Melissa. Just brilliant. I finally peeled myself off the couch at 4pm to shower, only to get into bed afterwards until 8:15. And THEN I got ready to go out.


As usual, we went to the Alamo Drafthouse for the movie. It makes no sense for us to go to the movies if the theater doesn’t offer beer and fried pickles. What? You don’t bring a beer growler to the movie theater with you? You’re missing out. And doing it wrong.


From what I heard, the Great Gatsby received mixed reviews. We’ve been waiting for the damn thing to come out since last summer so we were going to see it regardless. The verdict? It was really good! I will say this: if you thought the movie itself was going to be as fast paced as the trailers they released, then it’s understandable why you were disappointed. As much as it pains me to say this, Leonardo DiCaprio (NOT his biggest fan) did a great job as J.Gatsby. Some people complained there was too much partying and too much boozing. I think it portrayed the 20s pretty accurately. Bottom line: don’t always trust the critics!

Great Gatsby

Sunday and Summer Brews

9am came awfully fast on Sunday and the only thing that got me out of bed was the beeping sound coming from the coffeemaker when it was done brewing. It took half a pot of coffee and three hours for me to finally get a grocery list together. Then I remembered we actually needed to leave the house in order to get the grocery shopping done. Super depressing realization.

Thirty minutes and $125 later, we emerged from HEB unscatched, despite the post-church crowd that nearly ran both of us over with their carts multiple times. Something very exciting came out of the trip:

Sam Adams Beers of SummerAh yes, it’s that time of year again. No, not variety pack season. That happens EVERY season, especially in our house. But it’s time for the Sam Adams Summer Variety Pack! I only had a couple and will say that Blueberry Hill wasn’t my favorite (too fruity) but so far so good on the rest.


Spoiling the Dog

While I savored the last few hours of one of the laziest weekends ever, I decided to make Bo some dog treats from scratch. On Friday night’s episode of Shark Tank there was an 11-year old boy who started a company that made all-natural dog treats. Surely if HE could do it, then I could do it too. (Make the treats, not start a company. Let’s not get crazy.)

Brad searched the internet for common ingredients while I covered the kitchen in flour and cinnamon. Why are those two so messy?!  Anyway, I used an (unmeasured) mix of whole wheat flour, eggs, cinnamon, salt, pumpkin, and peanut butter for the treats, and then baked in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.


They tasted pretty plain to me, but Bo LOVED them. He proceeded to lick the floor for 10 minutes afterwards to make sure he cleaned up all the crumbs. Think we can call that a success, yes?


As I mentioned above, this weekend might go down in history as one of the laziest ever: skipped a race, slept all day, saw a movie, and had a few beers. My body is still convinced it needs another day of recovery to make up for the lost sleep last week.

Or maybe it’s just Monday.

Back on track

A couple months ago Brad and I decided that after our wounds healed from the Spartan Sprint we would allow P90X to kick our ass for, well, 90 days starting May 28th.


Days of picking up Sonic on the way home or ordering a pizza for dinner are over. Our eating habits have been completely revamped. Saturday mornings are now spent meal planning and making a detailed grocery list.

all out of

The combination of list-making and shopping only the perimeter of the store allows us to knock our grocery shopping out in less than 30 minutes, even on a busy Saturday morning.


Sunday mornings are spent cooking for the week, which allows me to avoid picking up a single pot or pan on a weekday. (HUGE fan of this!)

I’ll get into meal planning in another post, but for now here’s what’s set to come out of my kitchen today:

It’s a bit of work for a Sunday morning, but you know what? If it grants me a cooking-free week, I will gladly slave away in the kitchen for a few hours on the last day of the weekend with the CMT Top 20 Countdown blaring in the background. Also, our one cheat meal for the week is on Sunday so after I’m done playing chef I am rewarded with a crisp glass of wine and someone else cooking for me.

Last week our cheat meal was at the Alamo Drafthouse while seeing Snow White & the Huntsmen. Delicious food was consumed, including fried pickles, fresh baked-to-order chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream, and multiple adult beverages. Cheat meal, INDEED!

Snow White and the Huntsman

Alamo Drafthouse

PBR - Prosecco

Todays destination?

Brick House Tavern and Tap

And I have my heart set on some delicious carbs:

Brick House Pretzels

2012 Texas Spartan Sprint Race Recap

Back in March I took advantage of a sweet deal on the Texas Spartan Sprint at Reveille Peak Ranch out in Burnet, Texas. Last weekend, the race pushed both Brad and I to our physical and mental limits.


Parking was in a huge dirt field and a “shuttle” took you out to the race site:




The race let a group of 300 Spartan-to-bes go in 30 minute increments, starting at 9am. Our heat wasn’t until 2:30pm so by the time we arrived at packet pickup, the event was in full swing.



We dropped our bag off at bag check and then posted up at the barbed wire / finish line gladiators to see what exactly we were up against.



It was just over 80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. The weather was perfect for say, a few beers by the pool or a day out on the boat on Lake Travis. It was not, however, perfect for the journey we were about to embark on.


Around quarter after two we headed to the starting line, where a crowd of people were already waiting. Although I had marked my forehead (and arm, calf, and both hands) with my bib number, I decided to cover it up with a bandana to keep the sweat and my hair out of my face.

The announcer told us to keep our eyes peeled for tarantulas and rattlesnakes, both of which were spotted on the race course on Friday. Um, what? (We didn’t end up seeing any, but heard rustling in the high grass along the dirt trail pretty much the whole time).

After an “I am Spartan” chant, our adventure began! The way the course was set up near the finish, we were under the impression we would run the 3 miles, and then hit all of the obstacles leading up to the finish. This was not the case.

Side note: when we registered for the race, it was being advertised as 3+ miles. When the Participant Guide came out during race week, it was advertised as 4+ miles. Per one of the race officials, the final official mileage was 5.8 miles. Just a heads up…

We started off climbing a steep hill on the trail and after our hearts were pumping hard and we were drenched in sweat, the obstacles appeared. The first one was a set of walls “under the first, over the next, under the next, etc” which were fairly easy. This was the only set of walls I was able to conquer on my own because of the height. Thank god for Brad, who I was able to use as a stepstool and/or personal launcher over the walls, especially the final few which were 8 feet tall.

Most of the obstacles throughout the first few miles were climbing walls and beams:

spartan race 13

We also hit monkey bars (which I fell off of, resulting in the need to do 30 burpees. oy), ten stumps of different heights which you had to walk across without falling, a cargo net

spartan race11
cinderblock hauling (which I carried on my shoulder, as did Brad)

spartan race 14

crawling under barbed wire

spartan race 16

and through a PVC pipe a couple hundred yards long

spartan race 17

cinderblock lifting

spartan race 15

wading through countless creeks

spartan race 12

including one where we had to climb over a set of buoys, under another set, and over the final set. There was someone helping people over the final set and he let me know there was a rock to step on after I made it over. Unfortunately my foot missed the rock, but my lower leg became best friends with it – resulting in a golfball sized lump and a beautiful bruise on my shin.

It’s worth noting that after we hit the first set of obstacles, we pretty much stopped running. It was hot and we decided it would be best to keep it slow and steady in order to finish in one piece. By the time we hit the final obstacles, we were SO happy with our decision. If we had hit it hard, we would have been totally gassed.

This wall (well, the one on the race course – this particular one was at the start for people to practice on) crushed me:


Basically you started at one end and make your way to the other side without falling off. Well, when you have T-Rex arms like me, it’s very difficult. My midget legs weren’t much help either. I ended up using the top of the wall instead of the pegs until about halfway when I couldn’t reach my foot to the next peg and called it quits. And by quits I mean I went off to the side to knock out my 30 burpees for missing an obstacle. Ugh. This wall also tore up my hands, blessing me with glorious blisters that would hinder my progress in all rope obstacles to come.

We then had to carry a sandbag uphill about a hundred yards and back. It felt like a mile at this point. I alternated between carrying it on my shoulder and my head. Following the sandbag carry (or maybe before? memory is a little hazy) were 5 muddy, slippery hills, with 3-ft mud pits in between each one. Basically scale up the hill, slide down the other side into the pool, scale up the hill, slide down, etc. This wasn’t too terrible, mainly because the mud bath was oddly refreshing due to the sun beating down on us. Gross but true.

We were FINALLY in the home stretch! It was time for the tractor tire flip. Each tire was on a peg, and you needed to flip it twice (off the peg, on the peg, off, on). Then another mud hill, followed by a mud bath, and then a rope climb.

spartan race10

I tried wrapping the bandana around my blistered hand but it kept slipping off. I couldn’t get a firm grip on the rope, so I (yet again) headed over to the side for another set of wonderful burpees.

Once Brad finished the rope climb and I finished my burpees, we ran over to tackle the fire jump.

spartan race

spartan race2

Next we needed to walk across the river on a balance beam, which was easier than I thought it would be, especially that late in the race.

Then was the spear toss. One shot, and if your spear didn’t stick? 30 burpees.


Brad and I both missed, so burpees it was.

Once we were done we took off running through waist deep muddy water towards one of the final obstacles.

558704_10100101487410545_33409352_39398147_888317906_n (1)


A combination of my ripped up hands and the inability to keep my weight in my arms helped me lose the battle with this obstacle. My feet slipped out from under me more times than I can count and eventually I accepted defeat. Burpees. Again. AGAIN!! Brutal.

It was time to assume the horizontal position and roll through 100+ yards of barbed wire.


spartan race5

spartan race6

Then we had one last obstacle to bust through – the gladiators:

spartan race7

Oooh, gut shot. My face says it hurt. Also I was completely regretting ditching the bandana at this point – my hair was allll up in my face.

spartan race8

spartan race9

My bib was desperately holding on by only two safety pins by that point.

spartan race3

spartan race4

Spartan Sprint Success!


This race was TOUGH, but so much fun! I’m still a little achy and have plenty of bruises, scratches, and calluses. Would we do it again? Absolutely. But definitely earlier in the day, and we’d train a little better next time. Next time as in May 13, 2013 – we’re already signed up for the 9:30am heat. What?! It was only 30 bucks!

We’ll see ya next year, Texas Spartan Sprint.