Warrior Dash Weekend

April 3, 2012

This past weekend we went camping…and ran the Warrior Dash! First we got to camp a day before the race and explored a little bit.

Hanging out with Big Monkey along the Suwannee River.

We found the river and the one geocache in the park. There are lots of trails and we were a bit sad that there was only one cache to find. (If we lived closer, we’d add some more caches to the park.)

Saturday morning we got up and moving to head over to the race. We were in the second wave (10:30) but wanted to get there early enough to get checked in and get our stuff back to the car. On our drive down it was POURING rain. We got to check in and it started to clear up, but we were already soaked.

Our 'Before' shot...not actually dirty yet, but soaking wet from the downpour!

We had a little bit of time to just hang out, use the porta potty farm and get ready for the fun. It had stopped raining until just before our wave was going to start and then the clouds opened up again and POURED. The clock counted down and the flames went off and our group started moving towards the starting line. I wasn’t too concerned with the rain…it just seemed like another obstacle. The only problem with the pouring rain was that it just kept making my glasses hard to see out of! We went through a trail in the trees and it was quite tight getting everybody through so we were just crawling along for parts of it. The pouring rain and the loud thunder and bright lightning was an interesting additional mix to the course. People were hollering and running faster because of the lightning. I told the people around me that God was just taking a picture of the event. 🙂 I think that’s what I was trying to convince myself so I wouldn’t be concerned with being a forest with all that lightning going on!

Once we got through the trail part of the run, things spread out a bit more and we made our way to the obstacles. I had been concerned mostly with the obstacles over the run but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. When I was about halfway through the race, I missed a section of the run because I was following everyone in front of me…who also missed it. We saw a big arrow and headed the way it said, then we noticed people were joining us and we could see obstacles we hadn’t done. By the time we figured out we had completely missed something it was too far to try and get back to it. Plus we were being told that the obstacles had been closed because a girl broke her ankle going down the fireman pole. (This turned out to be half true. A girl did break her ankle, but they didn’t close the obstacles completely.) I am sad I missed some of the obstacles but hopefully we’ll do the race again sometime and I’ll be sure to get to everything.

When I came down the a-frame cargo net, I noticed my friends D, M and N going up it. Then I really knew I missed a lot…because for me to catch up to them was impossible in the real world. We all finished up by jumping over the fire and going into the mud pit. It was a LOT of fun and I would do it again.

The 'After' Shot! Muddy and wet but happy!

When we finished the race, we grabbed some water and granola and watched for the other people in our group to finish too. Once everybody was done, we got in line to take our picture with the cool set up Warrior Dash had provided for a great photo op.

Almost everyone in our group. D got cut out of my picture....sorry D!

Part of our group decided to stick around for the party for a bit while the others hung out for a little while before heading back to camp to clean up. Every one (of age) gets a free beer for turning in their timing chip (Great idea to get their timing chips back!) so we turned in our chips for some beer. In addition to our free beer, we all got a medal for finishing, a t-shirt and a fuzzy warrior helmet! We went to the car to put on dry, cleaner clothing and got our chairs so we could hang out and enjoy the event. It was crazy! People watching at its finest level…I cannot even begin to explain it! Big Monkey and I shared a big turkey leg for lunch. The waves were getting close to being done and the awards ceremony and costume and beard contests were going to be starting in a little while when the skies opened up again. We decided that was enough for us and we packed it up and headed back to camp. I wish we had tracked the distance from the car to the event and back. We made that walk at least three times and it was quite a walk!

Once we got back to camp, we got cleaned up and just hung out, enjoying everyone’s company. It was nice that Big Monkey and I didn’t have to worry about dogs or kids like we normally do (Thanks GrandMom for watching all of them!). We just relaxed and had a great time.

Here’s the short of the Warrior Dash Experience-

  • The folks who put the event on-Red Frog Events-know what they are doing. I was impressed with how well everything went.
  • The only suggestion I have would be to make the waves every 15 minutes with half as many people. That might help with the bottleneck in the trail section and the time spent waiting for the people in front of you to do an obstacle. (I don’t know that my idea would solve those problems though.)
  • We had a great time and would do the race again. Even with the rain and lightning!

If you are interested in knowing more about Warrior Dash, check them out here! There are no more Florida races this year but plenty of races in other states and even other countries! (Oh and they don’t know I’m writing this…I’m just letting you know about our experience!)


Camping at Alafia River

January 15, 2011

We booked a camping trip over New Years with our friends. It was a great time to get away and relax some after the craziness of the holidays and before school started back up. We took a three night trip down to Alafia River. We headed down on Thursday and got set up before our friends arrived. We helped them get set up once they got to the park. It was nice that there was very little of an agenda…so everyday we all just hung around and did what we wanted. The kids (and some of the adults) did a lot of bike riding. Big Monkey went on some of the trails and took a nice chunk out of his leg. We are over a week past it happening and it is still painful, though healing up nicely.

I got to do quite a bit of reading (I took along the new book I got for Christmas and got about halfway through it! I need another camping trip so I can finish it up!). I also did some geocaching. Once with Little Monkey and Z, once with Big Monkey and another time with D. All told, we found ten caches and two travel bugs! Our friends had already found all the ones at Alafia River when they camped there before, so we are catching up on their numbers! There are many bike, hiking and horse trails at the park. Each day it was quite busy but the campground was still nice and quiet. We got to talk to a few horses, which Little Monkey loved.

It was nice to have a relaxing time. All the girls in our friends’ family were sick most of the weekend, so it was pretty calm and quiet. We plan to go back to Alafia River, just not during summer because there was hardly any shade in the campground.


(I was waiting and waiting to post this because I was hoping that our friend would send me some of the pictures she took….but she hasn’t. Oh well.)

Stephen Foster State Park Camping Weekend

December 15, 2010

Stephen Foster State Park

Over the weekend we headed up to Stephen Foster State Park for some camping. When we got up to the park, we hurried to set things up before it got too dark. We had a fire going and our friends arrived. Most of the evening it was spitting rain on us. We enjoyed some cake balls around the fire and stayed up way too late. (Little Monkey and Little Monkette too!) The third family in our camping group didn’t arrived until 10pm, so after helping them set up and hang out for a bit, we didn’t go to bed until 12:30!! It was VERY cold, but thankfully we have a heater in our little camper. The kids slept in the same bed this time (Yay for not needing the pack and play to go camping anymore!!!) and Roland slept near us.

Hanging around the campfire.

The next morning, everybody starting waking up at 7am!! Not what we wished for when we went to bed after midnight! We got moving and had breakfast. We checked out some of the park and found the blacksmith was open. A few of the kids got to make little hooks in the fire. The boys had planned a bike trip for some trail riding and the girls had planned some geocaching. (Of course the other girls had already camped at this park and had found all the caches. They went along to help me out!) We ended up finding five caches. Little Monkey was excited and found a few trinkets in the caches. Little Monkette stayed back at the camper with the teenagers for a nap. We had a long day but it was fun. The kids did a lot of playing around the campsites and at the playground (which was right across from our sites!).

We had a very big dinner with all three families and a few extra friends that came for the day. During the process of getting dinner ready, we discovered that our gas tank was out of gas. This is NOT a good thing when it is going to be REALLY cold at night. Thankfully we moved the grill over to another camper and cooked dinner while Big Monkey headed out to find a gas station that had refill tanks. He was back by the time dinner was ready and we didn’t have to freeze in our camper that night! After dinner we headed back to the park to check out the huge Christmas lights display. The park does this every year and people pay to come check them out. We didn’t have to pay for entry since we were camping. The lights were amazing. They also had free smores and hot chocolate and Santa was there to visit with the kids. Little Monkey talked to him, as did Little Monkette, but she was not too sure about him! We also had some fried oreos. Pretty good, but not something I HAD to have.

Little Monkette and me with the gingerbread girl!

After seeing all the lights, we headed back to camp to hang out. I was surprised with a cookie cake for my birthday! I had no idea it was coming and it tasted SO good. (I even had some the next day for a snack!) We hung out by the fire for awhile and then went to bed by 11:30pm. The next morning the kids slept in until after 9am (which meant so did we!). It was raining when we got up, so we mostly hung around the campers getting things packed up and trying to stay dry. We had a great time, even with the very cold weather and the rain. It is always nice to get out of the normal and head out with friends for some calm, relaxing, out in nature time.

Anastasia State Park Camping Day 3

September 12, 2010

We got up right around 7am thanks to Little Monkey and Little Monkette. Our friends weren’t up yet, so we tried to stay quiet and just get dressed and feed the kids. Z came over to hang out with us for a bit when we were making breakfast. Big Monkey made us pancakes and sausage. Z thought we should make him a Mickey Mouse pancake, so Big Monkey made him one. We let him know that he could eat it but that he must still eat breakfast at his campsite when the time came. (Did you know about this one D and M?) He pulled Mickey’s ears right off and ate him. And he even ate plenty of boyscout breakfast with his family when they had breakfast. Little Monkette got to have her first Mickey Mouse pancake too. She ate the entire thing and seemed to love it. (She had eaten pancakes before, just not a Mickey Mouse one.)

Chowing down on Mickey Pancake!

After breakfast, we all headed out to the beach for a bit. This time it was low tide, so there were some small tide pools to play in. The kids had a great time digging in the sand, playing football and soccer and throwing the frisbee around. Little Monkey got buried to his knees in the sand and then helped M to bury Z totally in the sand. The only part of Z that we could see was his head. Little Monkette liked the beach and the ocean a little bit better this morning. D brought her super nice camera with her to the beach and got some great shots of Little Monkette.

Little Monkette playing in the tide pool.

Eventually we all decided that it was time for some lunch and a nap for Little Monkette. We washed everybody down and climbed in the back of the truck to go back to camp. We got there and Little Monkey and Little Monkette both needed to be rinsed off a bit better before getting dressed. We decided we would rinse Little Monkette in the shower and Little Monkey with our garden hose. I headed to the bathroom with Little Monkette and told Big Monkey to let Roland out of the camper. I saw him open the camper and then saw Roland over at our friends’ site. I asked Big Monkey if Roland had run out but he said no. Then I noticed that Roland was in a crate at our friends’ site. Oh Roland. Not again is all I could think. We checked out the camper to see how he must have escaped. Since the windows had been closed, he didn’t escape the same way that he did before. I don’t know how he did it, but on the same side that he escaped before he managed to tear part of the canvas that was connected to the bottom of the camper and slipped out the side. Later on we found out that our other neighbors found him wandering around at our friends’ campsite. Our friends have dogs too but they were both in their camper while we were gone. They had a big dog crate under their camper that the other person set up and put Roland inside. Roland pooped in the crate (could have told them that would happen!) so Big Monkey ended up giving both Roland and the crate a bath. We weren’t sure if we should be thankful that he was just wandering around our campsites and that they locked him up. I mean really, this darn dog. I told Big Monkey that Roland would be lucky to ever come on another camping trip again. Now we have to decide what to do with him and how to go about fixing the camper. (Thankfully we didn’t already fix it from before. It is no more cost to fix it now since he did it to the same side that he messed up before.)

Our Geocaching Group

We all had lunch and put Little Monkette down for a nap. Some of us headed off for some geocaching. The first one was very close to our campsites but took us awhile to find. I think everyone in our group had even touched it before we found it. M ended up figuring it out. Then D’s iphone got stuck and my gps’ batteries were too low for it to work. We headed back to our campsites to get more batteries and for M to set up his gps too. We dropped Little Monkey back off at the camper with the other kids to watch Up! Big Monkey decided he would come with us. The older girls stayed back to keep an eye on Little Monkey and to take care of Little Monkette whenever she woke up. We ended up on quite the geocaching trek. I got bit by a lot of mosquitoes. We found all the caches we were after and two parts to a multi-step cache. We didn’t go after the rest of the multi-step cache because we had been gone a long time. We thought we might go after it on Monday before we left. (We didn’t because we needed a canoe for step three and an eight mile walk on the beach for step four.) We ran into another person who was geocaching and we let him tag along for one that we were after. Once we found that one (the last one we were after for the day), we tried to go back to our campsites but ended up backstage of the Toby Keith concert at the amphitheater next to the campground. The roadie security man shooed us away and we headed off. We weren’t really trying to get into the concert we were just tired and trying to get to our campsites in the shortest possible way. On our way back to camp, the long way, we found a gopher tortoise. He was very friendly and let me get close to take his picture.

Mr. Tortoise

We managed to find a short cut to our campsite that went through the woods. As we are trying to find our way, a police officer passed us and turned around to come back. He didn’t care that we were trekking through that way, (even though we had to climb over a fence) he just wanted to warn us about rattlesnakes. Oh yay. Thankfully we didn’t find any snakes but four of us ran into some plant that stung all of us. We had to spend some time washing our legs with dish soap to get rid of the sting. We came into our camping loop just a few sites down from our campsite. Unfortunately, there was a big scary dog watching us, so we snuck around to the next site and got back. In total we had walked/hiked 4.5 miles!

After some showers and getting the fire ready for cooking the corn and potatoes, we got the rest of dinner ready. We had a nice big dinner and Little Monkette proceeded to be D’s best friend since she would feed her whatever she wanted. Little Monkette has turned into a great eater. We spent some time around the campfire and D made us her famous yummy croissants. It was another fun and successful day of camping with our friends (minus the Roland versus the camper part).

Anastasia State Park Camping Day 2

September 10, 2010

The kids woke up bright and early, so we slowly started getting ourselves ready to go. We had planned to have pancakes for breakfast but Big Monkey wasn’t feeling it. So he started up a fire to make apple pies instead.

Apple pie in the fire

The pie was okay but I think it could have used some sugar and/or cinnamon. Little Monkey took forever to eat his breakfast (just like at home). I thought he might even fall back asleep in his chair.

After breakfast, Big Monkey and Little Monkey headed off to the beach. Little Monkette and I went out looking for some items we forgot to bring. While we were out, we came across two kids consignment stores! We ended up getting an umbrella stroller at one for $6! (Way better than the $18 and $22 Kmart wanted for a new one.) By the time we got back to camp, Big Monkey and Little Monkey had already made the long walk back from  the beach.

We had some lunch and then put both kids down for a nap. Unfortunately, Little Monkey kept talking and playing in his bed, so Little Monkette wouldn’t fall asleep. After awhile, we just had Little Monkey come outside to hang out with us. We played some soccer and took Roland on a walk. Once Little Monkette woke up, we headed back to the beach for a little bit before our friends were going to arrive. Little Monkette wasn’t too thrilled with the water at the beach but we had a great time sitting on our towel and rolling the soccer ball around. I snapped some pictures of her while we were playing.

Fun at the beach!

Of course Little Monkey couldn’t be left out of the photo ops, so once he came back up from the ocean with Big Monkey, I snapped of few of him too.

Little Monkey loving the sand!

After a bit of playing, we got cleaned up and headed back to our camp. Our friends were on their way but had yet to arrive at camp. We got changed and hung out, awaiting their arrival. We were planning to wait for them to eat our dinner. Once they got to the campground, we helped them get settled and get everything set up. Then we cooked dinner. We had burgers while they had nachos. Little Monkette ate her dinner but then managed to sneak plenty of food from Mrs. D. They became fast friends. We finished off the evening hanging out around the campfire and made some smores. Some of the kids watched a movie in our friends’ camper.

Anastasia State Park Camping Day 1

September 6, 2010

The plan was to wait on Little Monkey and Big Monkey to both get out of school for the day and then head over to Anastasia State Park. Big Monkey wasn’t scheduled to be home until 6ish but thankfully got out of school before Little Monkey! We got things packed up and were on the road by 4pm.  We had to stop for some ice and to fill the tires with air, but then we were well on our way. Big Monkey decided that since Roland had been doing well with car rides, we wouldn’t drug him. Big mistake. About 20 minutes into our 150 minute drive, Roland threw up. Lucky for the rest of us, I was watching and was able to catch all of his puke in the junk towel we brought along. After that, Roland appeared to be fine and even laid down for a good portion of the ride.  School apparently wore Little Monkey out because not too long into the trip, I looked back and found this:

And he's out!

After approximately 150 minutes, we arrived, with Chick-fil-a in hand at Anastasia State Park. Big Monkey got us checked in and we headed to find our campsite. Our friends would not be arriving until late the next day, so we were all on our own. We found our site and set up camp. It was starting to get dark as we worked to get things all put away and feed everyone. By the time I saw my dinner, it was cold but still good. (Well the fries would have been way better had they still been warm but oh well.) Little Monkette ended up in the camper while we were trying to get things put together and I kept feeding her fries. We forgot to bring the umbrella stroller so we were quite limited in our options of where to put her.

Little Monkette already loves Chick-fil-a!

Eventually we all turned in for the night. Nothing exciting to report for this day. Just got ourselves to the park, hung out, set up and had some dinner. Tomorrow’s plan included time at the beach!

Hillsborough River State Park Day 3

August 18, 2010

The boys all got up early for a planned trip of fishing down at the dock. The rest of us slept in. Oh wait, that’s not quite what happened. Little Monkette woke up when Big Monkey’s alarm went off and wouldn’t go back to sleep. Little Monkey ended up sleeping in. Little Monkette and I went out to get her some milk and we sat outside with Roland. Eventually Little Monkey woke up and wondered where everyone was. He finished up his breakfast and then we took a walk down to where the boys were fishing. He stayed with them and Little Monkette and I headed back to the campsite to see if the rest of our friends were up yet. Surprisingly, they were so we packed up our stuff and headed back down to the boys. Little Monkette got left with all the boys and the rest of us and the dogs headed off for another geocaching trip.

We were after the last two caches in the park that were located on a 3.1 mile trail. It was quite hot and a long walk but half way in we found the first one. Nothing too exciting in the cache, so we just signed the log and moved on. We tried to find the next one and got as close as 500 feet but that was across a marshy swamp land. We continued around the trail and realized that we were getting farther away. A bit more reading about where it was located and it appears that it was no really along the trail but somewhere inside the middle of the circle that the trail makes. It was too hot and too much ‘off-roading’ for us to go after this time. Maybe if we go back there another time when it is cooler, we will see if we can get to it!

Once we got back to camp, the boys had also made it back from fishing. Unfortunately, they had only caught one baby turtle. I suppose they had fun though. We decided that it was time to start packing up so the older kids went to help out at their camper while the younger ones helped keep Little Monkey busy. Big Monkey and I worked on getting everything in the camper put away so we could break it all down and head out. Little Monkette wanted to help too but she is not exactly helpful. We did put up the door so that she would be able to look outside and see what was going on while she played. She really liked this.

Little Monkette checking things out!

We got everything put away and closed up the camper. Everyone got into their car seats and we headed out of town. We had planned on sandwiches for lunch but Big Monkey didn’t want to have dirty dishes since things were going to be all put away. We ended up stopping at a McDonalds on the way out of town to grab some lunch. Both kids and Roland fell asleep on the way home. It was a fun weekend and a good short getaway before school starts up. Hillsborough River State Park will be on our list to camp at again. It was a nice park, clean and had a nice pool to cool off in. The camping loop we were on seemed to be the least busy and that was also nice.