From fundraising to chasing down registrations  to carpooling to chasing down MORE registrations, Team Captains have their hands full when organizing a group to participate in MuckFest® MS. Despite that, Chrissy Tauber of Twin Cities sends out awesome thank you cards every year to all her team members and donors, and we thought we’d share her 2016 card with you:

“On behalf of our team, The Mud Flaps, it is with my sincerest appreciation that I thank you for your generous donation to MuckFest MS!

Our team raised a total of $5,220!!! We were the 3rd top fundraising team 

2016 Thank You Card

in the state of Minnesota thanks to you!! I am humbled to say, my family and friends alone donated a total of $3,490… I am deeply touched.

The reason I began doing MuckFest MS in 2013 was on behalf of my friend, Amy, who has been living with MS since June of 1990. This year, our team had the opportunity to have Amy participate in this event with us! What an incredible honor that was… she is a true inspiration and I have the utmost respect for her!

Again, thank you so much for your donation… you make the world a better place!

The Mud Flaps Team Captain,
Chrissy Tauber & The Mud Flaps Team”

 

Thank you for sharing, Chrissy. See you in Twin Cities this year on August 19!

We’re excited to share a guest blog post from our National MuckFestival Sponsor, Traveler Beer Company!

Want to win tickets (and travel accommodations) to Southern California for the final MuckFest® MS mud run of the year? Yeah, ya do!

For the second year running, we’re giving away the trip of a lifetime to MuckFest So Cal on November 11th as part of our #Muckstache Photo Contest.

So how do you enter?

  1. Get creative! Get wacky! Get mucky! Actual muckstaches (a.k.a. mustaches made of muck) encouraged!
  2. Snap a photo and share it on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtags #muckstache and #contest.
  3. Make it official by uploading it to travelerbeer.com/muckstache.

And because we’re a beer company, photos of people under 21 will not be accepted…no matter how cute your kids are. Check out the Official Rules here.

Need some inspiration?

You do not need to have facial hair to participate. This contest is alllll about creativity and making the most with whatcha got. Here are some things around the house that may work…

  • Eye black
  • Eye liner
  • Lipstick
  • Really any makeup will do…
  • Glitter
  • Shaving cream
  • Yarn
  • Felt
  • Paper
  • Cotton balls
  • Dandelions
  • Jelly Beans
  • We could go on and on…
  • Plus there’s always good ol’ mud.

Check out some of the entries we’ve received already here!

Now go upload your muckstache photo and GOOD LUCK! We’ll see you at the finish line. 🍻

Photo Credit: Thirsty Liquor

If there’s one thing that we can all say we’re ready for, it’s SUMMER. From negative forty-degree weather to drifts and hills of snow, we find ourselves hibernating indoors for six months while mother nature runs her course. With hibernation comes excessive eating, and with excessive eating comes the all too regular wine-in-your-pajamas-at-7pm while we re-watch-all-seven-seasons-of-The-West-Wing. So, HOW can we get our bodies ready for summer? And how can we make sure that we’re in tip-top shape for this year’s MuckFest® MS?

Cut the alcohol, cancel Netflix (after finishing Kimmy Schmidt, of course), and head to the kitchen to make a few of our favorite mocktails, or mucktails, if you will. These non-alcoholic drinks will give you the energy and refreshment you need to get out of the house and start training for your run.

Sugar-Free Copycat Chick-fil-A Frozen Lemonade
Recipe by Brenda Bennett, Sugar-Free Mom

Cutting sugar from your diet can be super useful for feeling more motivated and energized, but beware the side effects of artificial sweeteners. That’s why we’re sharing this recipe with the naturally-derived sweetener, stevia.

Frozen Lemonade

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 -2 teaspoons lemon liquid stevia
  • pinch salt
  • 3 cups ice

Instructions

  1. Add the ingredients into a high powdered blender and blend until desired consistency.
  2. I suggest starting with 1/2 teaspoon of liquid stevia then taste and adjust to decide if it is sweet enough for you.
  3. If you’d like more lemon flavor add 1/4 cup more lemon juice.

Ginger Lime Mucktail
Recipe by Elana Amsterdam, Elana’s Pantry

This mucktail is perfect for your post-run hydration needs. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger mixed with the vitamin-C enriched and refreshing taste of lime make for a perfect summer drink.

Ginger Lime

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon zested ginger
  • 12 drops stevia
  • 18 ounces sparkling water

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar and stir.
  2. Pour over ice into 2 cocktail glasses and garnish with lime wedges.

Clean Eating Orange Julius
Recipe by Allie Taylor, Through Her Looking Glass

Want a balance of protein and healthy carbs to supplement your post-workout regimen? Try this frothy and refreshing recipe to energize your day!

Orange Julius

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon stevia extract powder OR 4 tablespoons organic agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 – 20 ice cubes
  • Optional garnish: orange slices and mint sprigs

Instructions

  1. Blend all ingredients in blender to desired consistency.
  2. Start with the smaller number of ice cubes, then add more as needed for a thicker consistency.
  3. Optional: Garnish with orange slices and mint sprigs.
  4. Serve immediately.

The BEST Homemade Chocolate Milk
Recipe by Amanda Rettke, I Am Baker

Skip the Bailey’s, this thick and mucky chocolate milk will have your whole family thirsty for more. The ingredients are easily interchangeable with healthier options, so explore to find your perfect chocolate-muck-milk.

Chocolate Milk

Ingredients

  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Pour milk into blender. Add in cocoa, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Blend all ingredients until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds.
  2. Serve and enjoy!
  3. This will last about one week covered in the fridge (or the life of the milk).

There you have it, this summer’s top four mucktails that will energize you through your heat-filled adventures. Put down the remote, unbox the blender, and put on your running shoes as we begin training for a summer of MuckFest MS!

 

Re-shared with permission from Jessica Piotrowski. Content initially appeared on her personal fundraising page.

The Other Side
By Jessica Taylor Piotrowski

My husband is a multiple sclerosis warrior. He is also my best friend, my partner of over 20 years, my advocate, my person. He knows my habits inside and out. He can predict what I will say, he knows just how I like my coffee, he knows how to make me laugh, he understands that my love for dark chocolate and good whisky is on par with my love for him, and most of all – he loves me for who I am, exactly as I am.

People often tell me that I am resilient, strong, gritty, determined … a fighter. I am not so sure. Perhaps. But MS has challenged this resilience. MS has challenged my strength. MS has pushed back against my grit.

But how? Why? I don’t have MS. He does.

It’s the other side of the disease. The side that we are afraid to talk about because we don’t have the actual disease, so who are we to say anything at all? Who are we to complain about its effects? Who are we to even mention we are affected at all? We – the spouses, the caregivers, the family members – we are not dealing with the often debilitating effects of the disease. We aren’t experiencing deep fatigue, muscle spasms, bladder sensitivity, memory problems, speech challenges, vision defects, aching muscles … we aren’t experiencing the daily injections, the numerous pills, and the notion that – at some point – we might wake up and struggle with walking, or talking, or any other typically uneventful daily life event. We aren’t looking for bathrooms consistently. We aren’t turning down invitations because of fatigue. We aren’t writing down lists after lists after lists because it is too complicated to keep a series of tasks in our mind. We aren’t using breathing machines at night to deal with MS-induced sleep apnea. We aren’t scheduling MRIs and holding our breath as we wait to hear if the lesions have increased. It’s not happening to us, so we don’t speak.

But here’s the ugly truth. Here’s the truth that we don’t want to talk about for fear as to how people will judge us. It IS happening to us as well. Not in the same way, of course, but we – the spouses, the caregivers, the family members – we feel it too, we experience the effects of MS as well … and it sucks.

I cannot speak to others’ experiences nor would I pretend do – I can only speak to my own. But, what I can say is that the day my husband was diagnosed with MS – my life changed, too. And my resiliency, my strength, my grit … it’s been tested nearly every day since.

Initially, the diagnosis brought fear. Fear of the unknown. What was MS, exactly? What did it mean for his quality of life? Could we have children? Could we travel? Could he still work? What do we do? How do we treat it? How much would treatment cost? What would his future look like?

Thanks to organizations like the National MS Society, and an incredible team of doctors at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, the initial fear was quelled a bit. Information has a powerful way of replacing fear with hope, at least for me.

But … as it turns out … information only goes so far. No matter how many articles I read, blogs I followed, or support groups I sat in could have prepared me for my new normal. A new normal that, quite honestly, I’m still adjusting to day-by-day.

I was not prepared for his fatigue. I was not prepared to come home from a morning run to find he was still sleeping in bed, 13 hours later. And honestly, sometimes I just want to scream “you are still in bed!?! Why not get up and make us breakfast or do some laundry!?!” …. And in truth, sometimes I do scream that before I remember … before I remember that my husband is fighting a disease every day that requires rest, far more rest than most of us need. Those days – days when I yell – I feel awful, like the world’s worst wife.

I was not prepared for watching the injections, and the often significant pain afterward. I was not prepared for the memory challenges that make me want to scream “WE JUST TALKED ABOUT THIS!”. I was not prepared for the way that MS would make inroads into the activities we choose, the food we eat, the races we run together, the hotels we stay at, the flights we book … everything. It is always there. Sometimes quiet, sometimes loud, but it is always there.

And although it’s very hard to write about, if I’m being very honest, I was not prepared for his lack of affect. My pre-MS husband was always the clown of the party, the person with the biggest smile on his face, the kindest expression, and he always made me feel so loved – as though I was the only person in the room. I could walk into a crowd of 500 people and know he would find me in an instant, would smile at me with a deep love, and I would find immediate calmness and safety. But MS has stolen that too. MS has begun to steal his ability to show emotion. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel. He does. But it often seems as though he has no emotion at all. It affects his ability to look at me deeply. It has also made him more somber. This is ‘normal’. This is part of MS. And as narcissistic and selfish as I sound, sometimes I just want to scream “LOOK AT ME THE WAY YOU USED TO!” For the past 3 years, I have blamed myself. At points, I have convinced myself that I did something to change his behavior. I have fought back tears as I convinced myself that maybe he no longer loves me the way he used to. Maybe I’m not pretty enough or smart enough or good enough for him? It has taken counseling (for both of us) to help us talk about these things, to help me realize it’s not me, it’s not him, our love is still there – it just sometimes is buried under the MS mask.

I was not prepared.

I don’t think anyone can ever be prepared.

And I hate MS. I hate watching my husband battle. I hate the fear of the unknown. I hate not knowing where our path will lead. I hate that our conversations about having children are veiled by this disease. I hate that so many of our decisions involve this damn disease. And more than anything, I hate watching him fight. I hate that he has to do this. I hate that this happened to him.

But in times when I feel overwhelmed, saddened, or frustrated, I try to dig deep and see what MS has given us. It has changed our perspective on life – we now live for the moment far more than ever before. We talk deeply, and often. These talks aren’t always easy, but they are important. We are the healthiest we have ever been and continue to be committed to a healthy lifestyle. We have found new hobbies that bring us joy (hiking! running! yoga!), and we have found that our support network runs deep – so very deep. Family. Friends. Strangers. It’s incredible. It’s unforgettable. And on days when things are simply too much to bear, we both know we have a network to keep us standing.

And right now, this network is helping us by joining forces to run in the 2017 PA MuckFest MS – a mud run where 100% of fundraising goes to funding MS research. We have a team of people (Team “Find a Muckin’ Cure”) who are committed to getting muddy with us as they raise money to help find a cure. There are so many people who are donating to our team to help us – together – fight back against MS. People we know. People we don’t. But so many people. So many people saying “we stand with you”.

And while I may not be an MS-warrior myself, as someone on the other side, please know how much I appreciate every single person that is standing with us. Whether you are running with us, donating to the MS Society, spreading awareness, or simply keeping us and other MS-warriors and their ‘others’ in your thoughts, I thank you.

I hold onto the hope that we will find a cure for this disease. I hold onto the hope that John will defeat this disease. I hold onto hope because hope is more powerful than fear.

Thank you for helping me hope.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face… You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

MuckFest MS Boston Photos

Just a Mess with MS

Madelyn Lopez likes to say she’s a “mess with MS” ever since being diagnosed in August 2010. She eventually used her motto to name a team at MuckFest® MS Philadelphia in 2014. Madelyn’s cousin signed up to do the event in honor of Madelyn and decided her motto would be the perfect team name!

Of course, Madelyn couldn’t let her cousin and friends run without her so she signed up to run, too! Madelyn eagerly took charge of things and became team captain. She even got sponsors for their shirts so they could get custom ones made for the event. That first year, they had a strong team of 11 that were all there to support her. They wore their “Madelyn is a Mess with MS” shirts proudly.

Every year they’ve come out to play in the mud with us and continued to grow their team year over year. This year, the team has boomed to nearly 50 members and they have more members who are living with MS. That means that Madelyn isn’t alone when it comes to being a mess with MS! The only difference this year is that, to be inclusive, they’ve changed the name of the team to “Madd’s Misfits.” Madelyn even recruited a local artist she knows to make a caricature image on the shirts based off of a photo with just those living with MS that are on the team. There’s even a plan in place to sport crazy orange wigs and face paint this year in Philly! How awesome is that?

madd

If you couldn’t tell, Madelyn is super passionate about MuckFest MS not only because she lives with MS, but also because she truly just loves doing the event with her huge team every year. She’s made a promise to herself that she will play in the mud for as long as her body allows.

We talked to Madelyn a little bit more about her experience at MuckFest MS and why she’s so excited about playing in the muck every year!  

MuckFest MS: What initially motivated you to sign up for MuckFest MS?

Madelyn: My cousin Juan signed up the first year we started in 2014. He was the team captain. After about a week, I knew I was fully capable so I joined, too.

MuckFest MS: How did you hear about MuckFest MS?

Madelyn: My cousin was the one who actually found the event because he lived in Philadelphia. He asked me one day if he could name the team on my behalf. How could I say no?! It was a great honor, so the team name “Madelyn is a Mess with MS” came into existence.

MuckFest MS: Why did you want to have this experience?

Madelyn: I wanted to participate to prove to myself that despite having MS, this was something I could accomplish!

MuckFest MS: What are you most looking forward to at the event this year?

Madelyn: I most look forward to seeing ALL the people supporting such a great cause. It really touches me!

MuckFest MS: How does MuckFest MS help you feel empowered?

Madelyn: It helps me by knowing that I am able to finish and that in itself gives me the feeling of empowerment.

IMG_2135

MuckFest MS: Tell us a little bit about how MuckFest MS helps cultivate a closer bond with your friends.

Madelyn: It helps us to be closer because MuckFest MS is not a “normal mud run.” There are obstacles, like not being able to continue, whether that is running/walking/jogging/etc. due to all of the pain I am dealing with. My team encourages me and even offers to give me “piggyback” rides to the finish line. Feeling the love from them helps me to turn around and keep pushing through it.

MuckFest MS: How do you feel about knowing you’re playing such a big role in helping stomp MS in the mud once and for all?

Madelyn: Knowing that the money we raise is helping someone to get a step closer to feeling better is a great sense of pride.

MuckFest MS: Are you fundraising any money for the cause?

Madelyn: Yes, of course! Every year I contact someone from MuckFest MS and have them send me tins and posters. The office I work in has three floors and three major units. I place a tin and poster on each floor at the front of each unit (including my desk and the reception area) so we can raise funds!

MuckFest MS: Describe MuckFest MS in three words.

Madelyn: AWESOME, FUN and ACCOMPLISHED!

MuckFest MS: Which obstacle is your favorite?

Madelyn: Big Balls!

MuckFest MS: What else do you want people to know about you?

Madelyn: Having MS and participating in this event helps me to get back to “the person I used to be.” I plan everything, keep a spreadsheet with shirt sizes, contact numbers, and email address. I even plan a carpool system to the event and back! One year we hope to rent a party bus! I reach out to local businesses to sponsor the team shirts, too. I just enjoy it so very much. From November, when registration opens, to the event day, I am all about MuckFest MS! I cannot wait for Saturday, June 3rd!!!

We can’t wait either! We know we will be seeing a lot more of the superstar team Madd’s Misfits!

By Garry Welch

On May 20th, Team Hope Charlestown NH will be participating in our fifth MuckFest® MS Boston. Three of our members have done all five events. However, this year we have a special team member, our daughter Tammy Perham, who was diagnosed with MS in 2005. Although Tammy has been to all the other MuckFest MS events, she has never done them due to her struggles with MS. She has always felt bad that her family and friends have endured the mud and the obstacles to fight MS when she couldn’t do it herself.

IMG_4311
So, this year we decided to change that. We signed Tammy up with Team Hope Charlestown NH and she will be starting with us in the 9:20 wave at MuckFest MS Boston. She may only be able to do a couple of obstacles at the beginning, then rest and wait for the rest of the team, then maybe a couple at the end, but at least she will be part of the team. She was so excited when she got her bandana and she looks forward to getting muddy, fighting MS along with the rest of her team.

IMG_4321Team Hope Charlestown NH is named after the MS support group Tammy started almost 11 years ago. Tammy, like so many others with this horrible disease, struggles with the symptoms every day, and she knows there will be a “price to pay” for her participation in MuckFest MS, but we haven’t seen her this excited about anything in a long time. No matter how far she can go or how many obstacles she can do, her team will make sure she gets good and muddy.

If we had to describe MuckFest® MS with one word, we’d most likely say, “Fun.” We are called the FUN mud run for a reason! And with fun, comes lots of silly, happy, and outrageous moments throughout the day; moments that are often captured on camera! When moments like these take place, our Muckers exhibit what we call MuckFace. Your #MuckFace will show itself in the form of a grin, a laugh, and a muddy smile, or even a yelp when you hit the watery trench below you.

This year we want to see YOUR #MuckFace at MuckFest MS! We’ve even compiled a list of the 5 best places for your teammates and friends to snap your spontaneous mucky face. 

Muckin’ Corral

If you’ve ever been to a MuckFest MS, you’ll know that the muckin’ corral is the start line AND the start of all the shenanigans for the day! The finger can be pointed at our incredible Mud Master as the reason why. He’s an expert at getting Muckers muddy before even getting out on the course. You’ll want to be sure to snap some photos of your teammates while he has you play muddy leap frog, dump mud on each other, and show off your mucky dance moves.

Big Balls

Our favorite obstacle to play on before and after MuckFest MS is sure to bring out your ultimate #MuckFace! These nine giant swinging balls will knock your teammates right into the watery trenches all around them. You’ll surely capture some laughs, smiles, and even tumbles at this obstacle. BUT… be careful, you might find yourself (and your phone) falling into the water with them.

Swing Set

This obstacle will swing you high and fly you far which makes for the most extreme #MuckFace from Muckers all around! Just rock yourself back and forth on this standing swing set until you’ve gained some air, then take that giant leap into our muddy pool below. Your teammates have the perfect spot across the pond to capture your epic moves.

Finish Line

The finish line is the perfect place to capture those BIG smiles. After conquering all the obstacles, you’ve finally made it to our beautiful golden Puck the Muck Duck. Ringing the bell for a world free of MS and rubbing Puck’s golden head is guaranteed to bring about the brightest smiles from all your teammates because there’s nothing like feeling like a champion.

MuckFestival

You did it! You showed the muck who’s boss and that means it’s time to clean up, grab a beer, and spend some un-mucky time with your team. The MuckFestival area sponsored by Traveler Beer is the perfect place to do this and capture photos to last a lifetime. Whether that’s a group shot at the inflatable duck or challenging each other to some festival games like tug-a-war, there are tons of #MuckFace opportunities post-run!