Local Bostonian, Staci Colby, has some words of advice for anyone looking for a fun way to stay active, challenge themselves, and raise money for an important cause. Last year she participated in MuckFest® MS Boston, a mud obstacle event with a mission to support the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) community. This year, the event will be held again on April 26th at Devens – Willard Field in Devens, MA.

Why should someone consider participating in an upcoming MuckFest MS event?

I think that everyone should consider participating in MuckFest MS. My team, The Mucky Ones, and I participated last year for the first time and it was even more fun than we expected! We had such a blast challenging ourselves, making friends and especially getting dirty. But MuckFest MS is about more than that. It is a time to come together to raise funds and celebrate hope for the future for everyone living with multiple sclerosis. Dollars raised support programs and services to help people with MS and their loved ones as well as fund research to ultimately end MS forever.

Boston participant Staci Colby.

 

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Go behind the scenes as our MuckFest MS Jacksonville site gets ready for our craziest muckers on Saturday!

MuckFest MS Jacksonville Build

MuckFest MS Jacksonville Build

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muckfest_MS_swings

MuckFest MS Jacksonville Build

behind the scenes - obstacle testing

foggy obstacle

fog

on-event signage

Our next guest blog post is from Michael Fagone, a MuckFest® MS Boston Participant. Michael’s mom battled multiple sclerosis for 46 years of her life. After she passed away from melanoma, he was inspired by her strength and courage during her battle with MS and took control of his health – and lost 240 pounds in the process. MuckFest MS was his very first running event of any kind, and his team, Pat’s Muckers, is back (up from just him and his trainer, Jason, in 2013 to 23 and growing in 2014!).

Boston Participant, Michael Fagone, crossing the finish line.

Left: Jason, Michael’s trainer. Right: Michael Fagone .

Q) What made you decide to register for MuckFest MS?

I can still remember the day that I received an email from the National MS Society talking about an event they had called MuckFest MS that was coming to Boston. I mentioned the event to my trainer, Jason, who has done similar events in the past. He immediately said, “I will do it with you if you want.” I responded that I wasn’t looking to do it, it was way above my abilities, and that I was just telling him about it. He said that I could absolutely do it. But I wasn’t sold. I had never done a 5k or an obstacle run of any kind before. I was just coming off a significant weight loss and didn’t think I was ready for a challenge like that. In the following weeks, I could not stop thinking about it. Why couldn’t I do it? It would be a great way to honor my mom, who had battled MS for the majority of her life, and it would be a great challenge for me after my weight loss. I went back to my trainer and said, “Let’s sign up,” and we did. I told no one and made sure that he didn’t either because I was so nervous. But there was no turning back. I was going to do this for my mom and myself.

Q) Why do you support the National MS Society?

My mom was diagnosed with MS at the age of 16. She battled this disease for 46 years of her life. My sister and I grew up watching her struggle every day. Our lives just weren’t like those of our friends. See, we were luckier. Things that other kids took for granted, my sister and I never did. We saw what true strength, courage, and determination was. We saw it personified on a daily basis.

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Happy Training Tuesday!

A couple of weeks ago, we shared fun 5K training tips on our MuckFest MS® blog – think less running and more mechanical bull riding. If you’ve mastered the mechanical bull and you’re looking to add some more intensity to your training regimen, you’ve come to the right blog. We called up our MuckFest MS Jacksonville friends at The HIT Centers of Jacksonville to give us some tips on how to rock the MuckFest MS course with Olympic skill.

It's Training Tuesday.

Training Tips

1) Intervals: If you want to improve your cardiovascular fitness, train in high intensity intervals. Studies have shown that working above your anaerobic threshold will improve your fitness level. An example would be running at a high speed for one minute on the treadmill and then resting/recovering at a slower, walking pace for one minute. Sets of ten to twelve are optimal.

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In the spirit of MS Awareness week, check out this great article by Cari Boyce for Clay Sun.

Re-blogged with permission. Original article here.

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As a child, Jacksonville native Eric Twisdale wanted to be a police officer. In 1995, he achieved his goal and joined the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office as a corrections officer. Three years later, he joined the force at the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and has since celebrated 16 years with that agency and attained the rank of sergeant.

But despite his success, after only a few years of service, Twisdale experienced symptoms that threatened the life he worked to build.

“In June 1999, my body went numb from the chest down,” Twisdale said. “Doctors initially attributed this to a bruised spinal cord sustained in a wreck two weeks earlier when a dump truck collided with the police vehicle I was driving.”

An unexpected diagnosis

Doctors expected the symptoms to improve, but they persisted and Twisdale began to experience fatigue that interfered with his active lifestyle and, potentially, his career. Police work often is physically demanding, and Twisdale, who is part of the special operations and community relations team, also was — and still is — on the hostage negotiating team as well as the dive team.

“On April 4, 2001, nearly two years after the symptoms appeared and after many additional tests and nerve conduction studies, an MRI led to the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis,” Twisdale said. “For me, the only course of action was to be proactive when it came to handling this disease.”

Multiple sclerosis is an immune-mediated disease that involves an immune system attack against the central nervous system.

Twisdale realized quickly that his diagnosis of relapsing-remitting MS was not an immediate threat to his career, his activity level or his quality of life. He chose to avoid self pity by becoming more involved, more active.

In September 2001, just five months after his diagnosis, he completed his first Bike MS event, the MS 150 — a 150-mile, two-day bicycle trek from St. Augustine to Daytona and back. He has since completed five MS 150s and joined the planning committee after completing that first ride. By 2002 he became involved with the National MS Society as an MS Ambassador.

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This shows obstacles typical to a mud obstacle course.

Whether you’re trying to find a fun adventure or just a fun run, there are three main things to look for in a great mud and obstacle course (check out our Anatomy of a Mud Obstacle Course info-graphic above to get a sneak peak at some awesome mud obstacles).

First, look at the course and the number of obstacles, both the man-made kind as well as the muddy obstacles that are dug out. For a 5K and longer course, you really need 15 or more obstacles to make it fun, enjoyable and worthwhile athletically. But it’s not just about how many obstacles there are, it’s also about how they are placed throughout the course. On the website for the obstacle course run, look at a sample layout of the course to see how careful the event planners are about creating a balanced run, how obstacles are spaced, and how they alternate according to the physical demands of each obstacle.

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Check out this great note from our first guest blogger, the 2013 national top fundraiser for MuckFest® MS and a nine-season National Football League alum, Pete Mitchell. Pete is an extremely dedicated MuckFest MS Jacksonville mucker who spent five years as a tight end for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Now, Pete is setting his sights on getting mucky in Jacksonville for a cure to multiple sclerosis.

Pete Mitchell, Jacksonville participant, and his father.

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MuckFest MS Olympics Graphics

It’s time to trade in that snow for muck! We miss the OIympics, so we’re reliving the events through muckified versions of the 2014 Winter Olympics Games!

MuckDuck skiing at the Olympics.

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Fun 5K Training Ideas

Life is crazy busy, and sometimes, we consider the walk over to the soda machine to be 5K training. To make things easy, we’ve compiled some everyday exercises that will help you rock out at your next mud run, obstacle course, or running event.

30 tips on how to train for a mud obstacle run or 5k.

Feel free to share this infographic on your own blog or website. When you do, please give credit and link to MuckFestMS.com.

Anatomy of a Mud Obstacle Runner

What do you wear to such a muck-tastic event? This covers most of the items that mud and obstacle course runners wear. The fashion department at MuckFest® MS encourages our muckers to show off their personality and team spirit when customizing their mucky event day look!

What’s a “mucker,” you ask? A mucker is what we call our mud and obstacle course participants here at MuckFest MS. Muckers come in all shapes and sizes. Athletic prowess is definitely not required to tackle our 5K run full of mud and outrageous obstacles. We spin, swing and fling our muckers up, down and sideways, and the only cramp they get is from laughing too hard with their teammates.

Speaking of teams—imagine you and your friends, family, and muckiest colleagues rocking matching team attire out there on the fun run course, smiling as you pose for your new profile pic. Just don’t forget to wipe that dirty smile off your face when you jump into a puddle of muck out on the course!

Ready to Muck?

Feel free to share this infographic on your own blog or website. When you do, please give credit and link to MuckFestMS.com.