Reviews, Running, STL

Zombie Survival Dash STL Race Recap

Months and months ago I came across the Zombie Survival Dash 5k. I saw they were coming to St Louis and I was SO excited because I thought “Finally, a run I can convince my husband to sign up to run with me!” (He has run 2 other 5k’s before this one, but this was the “first” one I got him to agree to!) The registration fee was pretty steep for a 5k at $75, but for something as cool as a Zombie run I finally agreed. $150 later I had high hopes for this race.

Fast forward several months and race day is almost here. Despite the constant posting of Zombie pictures on their facebook page, I hadn’t heard from them since we registered. I didn’t want to drive the hour plus to the race and have issues with registration so I had to call to verify we were all registered. Race morning came and we bundled up, piled into the Chevy tahoe and headed out. After an hour in the car we were finally around the race area, but had a hard time locating the actual race site because of their lack of signage. After a few u turns and trackbacks we found the race site and were surprised to find out there was a $10 parking fee. This wasn’t mentioned in any of the sites or pre-race information (we didn’t get any pre-race information at all). While parking is pretty par for the course when it comes to adventure runs, paying $75 a person to run the race along with the spectator fee for those who were not running it just seemed to add up to a lot. Once on site the registration tent was easy to find. Since we were in the first wave there wasn’t a line. We checked in with Big River Running and got our bibs with no problem. We then had to go to another line to wait for our swag bag and sign our waivers. The waivers had no actual line to sign. We got our flags out of our bag and began to look for the starting line. We walked around for 15 minutes asking vendors, volunteers, and other runners where the starting line was supposed to be. Finally we realized they had yet to set it up! Once they got it set up we were ready to go.

We ran into a trail into the woods and were immediately met by a hungry group of zombies. There were some pretty cool zombies out there! I lost my first flag pretty quick thanks to the creepy clown zombie. Some of the zombies were a little aggressive, but I’m sure the runners were aggressive back. I know I wasn’t, I gave up my flags pretty easily. It did turn into a fun game of cat and mouse a few times. The course was actually pretty challenging with lots of debris, trenches, and uneven terrain. I loved the feeling of being challenged! At one point I fell into a post hole, thank goodness I wasn’t injured! There seemed to be a bit of miscommunication the “Rules of Engagement” as there were pretty aggressive confrontations from runners and zombies alike throughout the whole course. It was a bit confusing the way the course was marked out, I wasn’t ever really sure we were heading the right way. There were few obstacles on the actual race course, which I didn’t mind at all, but the ones they did have were all swarming with zombies. I wouldn’t have minded that if it didn’t seem so dangerous to do so, like the tire wall where you could easily slip and fall back into the trench trying to escape a zombie. I gave my flags away at those obstacles in the name of safety. The race seemed to go by pretty quickly as we rounded the barrel maze and up to the final 3 obstacles.

There was a rope climb over huge steel cylinders. The zombies there were very helpful! They actually gave us good instructions for getting over and down the obstacle. The next was a huge wooden A-frame. The zombies here were very aggressive. It was already dangerous as it was, but trying to avoid zombies on the way down made it even more so. At one point my sister actually fell down the last 2 rungs trying to avoid them! The last obstacle was a climb under a wire fence through a mud pit. As I crossed the finish line I looked up at the clock – 34:00 something. NO WAY. I know my 5k average and 35 minutes is pushing it for me while running on flat straight paths. There was no way that I just walked/jogged an obstacle trail course in 34 minutes. Turns out there was a rather large portion of the trail we didn’t get to because it wasn’t marked out properly. Once past the finish line there was no water, no gatorade, no bananas.

All in all I will say we had fun. It was a great idea in theory but just was not executed well. I understand new races will have hiccups and growing pains, I’m willing to work with that. My main issue is the fact that this cost our car of people $310. For that kind of money I expect a lot. Had the entry fees been cheaper I would have been more willing to overlook these issues.

I did like that they had the National Guard out there, they had some cool obstacles at the end, the zombies were (mostly) fun, and it was great to make memories with my husband and sisters. I’m not sure that I would run this race again.

Check out the husbands recap here on his blog The Traveling Monster

Have you ever done a Zombie run? What is the most unique themed race you’ve heard of?


Life, STL

STL Bloggers Meet Up

Holy wow. This weekend has been FULL of awesome STL experiences! It’s going to take a few posts to recap them all. Let’s rewind back to Friday. It was finally time for the first “official” meeting of the STL Bloggers! About a month ago I decided that we needed to start a group for bloggers in the STL area to connect. So I created the STL Bloggers group on facebook and invited the local bloggers I knew of… who invited more bloggers they knew of… and now we have nearly 50 members! So Friday I actually got “dressed up” in my new Altar’d State top (that gives back!), my Old Navy Jeans, Target scarf and boots, and North Face Jacket.

I found out that one of the STL Bloggers, Jenny, actually goes to my CrossFit box and I’d had a conversation with her before! Small world! Since we were coming from the same area we decided to carpool out to Hacienda. I was excited to drive out there in the #KeysToSTL Chevy Tahoe because it would give me an opportunity to test the Navigation system.

When driving East on 40 towards STL I usually get confused once I pass 270. It’s just a little beyond my “comfort zone” because I don’t go out there much. With the Navigation I was able to easily get there with plenty of time to spare! I didn’t realize how big that place was! We walked through a maze to check in with the Hostess. We had to wait a little while, even though we had reservations. What happens at a blogger meet up when you are waiting for your table?

Blogger Meet Up

Once we sat down our waiter was pretty attentive. I took a look at a menu and immediately decided I wanted the Cuban Sandwich. Unfortunately they didn’t have it because they are transitioning to a different menu, I was truly disappointed. I ended up with the Chicken Tacos which were still really good.

The Hacienda St Louis

They had a ton of decorations up for Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which was pretty cool. I ordered Fried Ice Cream for dessert and it came out in the shape of skull and crossbones, which was pretty cool! The think about Healthy Living is finding balance. My fellow FitFluential Ambassador Katie and I can be seen ENJOYING our Mexican food. It’s not all protein shakes and salads!

STLBloggers Meet Up

 Jill, Jill, Jenny, Kara, Katie, Me, Janice, Cheryl, Kesha  – Our awesome STLBloggers Meet Up Group for October!

Do you have any monthly meet up groups? Favorite Mexican Food?

STL, Weight Loss

Altar’d State: Fashion Focused, Cause Motivated.

Alternate Title for this Post: Shut Up the Fat Girl.

Some people are born with this innate ability to appear stylish all the time. I am NOT one of those people. I have struggled with fashion as long as I can remember. Looking back at my old pictures is painful. Fashion doesn’t seem to come naturally for me, and struggling with obesity doesn’t help at all. I distinctly remember going shopping with my grandma for a dress to wear to my great grandpa’s wedding. I think i was 12? We went all over the place but just couldn’t find anything that fit or that we could agree on. We ended up at KMart in the “Big” kids section. I remember buying this horrid blue and white flowered dress in a Girl’s size 16. It wasn’t flattering, pretty or fashionable at all. I think she might have even gotten me some “support” pantyhose and beige ballet flats. It was a site. I’m glad to report that I don’t have any pictures (though I’m sure my mom does in her big box of embarrassment family picturess).

Every since that moment I can remember desperately wanting to have a makeover moment. You know, Oprah style. Hair, clothes, accessories…. with Oprah announcing in her excited voice “INTRODUCING THE NEEEEEEWWW COOOOOOOOOOOOURTNEY!” as I walk out to my family in tears telling me how beautiful I looked. I started a lot of “help me” letters to Oprah back in the day!

I’ve come a LONG way in terms of style. I’ve lost a significant amount of weight and come to terms with the shape of my body. I have learned some things that work for me, and things that certainly don’t. Finding my style has been an ongoing process. When I was at a local outdoor shopping center I saw a sign for a new store called Altar’d State that was opening. Of course I had to look it up online. When I saw their website I knew it was something I would love.

As I continued reading I realized that this wasn’t just a normal store. They are all about being fashion focused, it is obvious when you see their clothing… but it is more than that. What stuck out to me about Altar’d State was that they are also motivated to give back. Their website says it perfectly:

When I found out yesterday they had just recently opened their Lake St Louis Location I thought it would be the perfect excuse to take the Chevy Tahoe out for spin!

Altar'd State Lake St Louis

The vibe of the store was so relaxing and inviting. It was beautifully set up and their displays were so beautiful.  There was a whole section of the store dedicated to their “give back brands” that included fashionABLE and Toms. I love that the fashionABLE scarves had handwritten notes from the women that made them. I will definitely be getting one of these next time I go back! Also – did you see those colors of purses? Style overload- Love them!

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

And hello- Did you see that Francine Rivers book? If you haven’t read it you should. There were AWESOME Christian books by every display!

I grabbed a few pieces and headed back to the dressing room. It was so comfy! They had little signs where the associates wrote our name outside our dressing room. There was a sitting area outside the dressing rooms, and even a book for prayer requests. Loved it. As I walked into the fitting room that 12 year old with the ugly blue and white flowered dress tried to tell me nothing would fit or look good. I told her to shut up.

Altar'd State Lace Back Tee

Altar’d State Lace Back Tee

Loved this look. I’m all about comfy, and this was comfy. Plus it had lace!

Altar'd State

Owl Tee and Tulle Me Away Dress

I loooooved that dress. It was a teensy bit tighter than I’d like, but can you imagine it with some boots and a stellar jacket?! Next weight loss goal reward? Yes, please!

While I couldn’t decide on any of these pieces, I think I will be back for the lace back tee. I didn’t go home empty handed though, check out my new friend:

Natural Life Owl Mug from Altar'd State

I thought this was perfect because not only was it adorable, but it had the message “Love the Moment” which lines up perfectly with my october goal of Just Be.

2012 Chevy Tahoe

When it was time to leave I just used the remote start on the Tahoe to have it ready to go when we got there.
Also- have I mentioned how much I love the Reverse Cam? I really do love it!

So- If you are in the Lake St Louis area, be sure to check out the Altar’d State Store at The Meadows, or check them out online at

Has your fashion sense evolved? What is your favorite place to shop? Do you like “give back” brands?

disclaimer: i was not paid for this post – all thoughts and opinions are my own.


WIAW #14 – STL Edition

I’m so excited that it’s Wednesday! Tuesday’s are always pretty crazy for me because it is my deadline for school work for the week… and of course I procrastinate until just before the deadline. Oops. Anyway- I always look forward to Wednesday because the stress of meeting deadlines is lifted, if even just for a moment.

This week I am focusing on my #KeysToSTL so instead of sharing random meals and snacks with you I’m going to share some of my favorite places to eat in the STL area.

54th Street Bar & Grill – Wentzville

54th Street Bar & Grill

We have one of these about a mile from our house here in Wentzville. It is a casual dining experience, similar to an applebee’s. Their menu is quite extensive – They have burgers, Sandwiches, Salads, Soups, Appetizers, Steaks, even a Mexican inspired portion of the menu. They are famous for their Gringo Dip. I swear they put something in it to make is so addicting! My go to meal there used to be the Buffalo Chicken Salad, until I realized the amount of sodium in it. It is still delicious though, lol. Now I try to use their online nutritional calculator to figure out what to order. I’m a huge fan of their grilled chicken sandwiches (or burgers) and sweet potato fries!

Stefanina’s Pizzeria – Wentzville

Stefanina's Wentzville

This is another local Wentzville favorite. They have a $20 special that gets you a large pizza, salad, and cheesy garlic bread. The pizza is fresh and delicious. We always go for the classic Pepperoni and Mozzarella, even though they are known for their Provel Cheese. This is great for taking out a small group of people on a budget. They have other locations throughout the STL area, so be sure to check them out!

Stefanina's Pepperoni Pizza

Little Hills Winery – St Charles

This is probably the most “nostalgic” restaurant  for me in the St Louis area, since it is the place we ate after we eloped. They have a charming outdoor area with fire pits. When you are sitting outside you are looking out onto Historical Main St in Saint Charles. That is probably my favorite area in St Louis. They have great wine (obviously) and good food. They used to have these cheese coins that were to die for, but they changed their menu and got rid of them… sad day. Their Pulled Pork Nachos are wonderful.

Quintessential Dining – St Charles

This is by far my favorite restaurant in the St Louis area. It is a very classy place. Their level of service is unmatched in my book. I would recommend going with friends and ordering The Feast. It seems pricey for an appetizer sampler but there is a huge amount of food and it is all good! Their Q-Dip is amazing and the Jalapeno & Cream Cheese Wontons are spectacular.

Last time I went I ordered the Cuban Sandwich and was kind of disappointed that it wasn’t more authentic pork (it was smoked pulled pork, instead of marinated roast pork). I wasn’t upset at all, but I didn’t eat much of it and the waiter noticed. I explained to him it wasn’t their fault, it just wasn’t what I was expecting (growing up with a Cuban grandpa and all). He brought over the manager and they ended up taking the sandwich off our bill and asking if I wanted anything else. I was blown away. I filled out a comment card because I was so impressed with the service and got a handwritten note in the mail the next week. It wasn’t a bad sandwich, just not what I was looking for. They went above and beyond in my book. Also- their desserts are delicious.

So those are my favorite places to eat in St Louis – All of which I’ve been to in the last month, ha!

What are some of your favorite places or meals to eat out in your area?

STL, workouts

Chevy #KeysToSTL

Several months ago I was approached by the Chevy #KeystoSTL program through Alive Magazine inviting me to be a part of their campaign. Of course, I was stoked to be a part of it. I got to check out their booth out at the  Color Run this summer. I watched other STL influencers get their turn to drive a Chevy. Some got the Malibu, Some got the Volt… but deep down inside I kept hoping for my ultimate dream car… and all that hoping paid off! I was going to get a 2012 Chevy Tahoe for a week!! If I could do a backflip, I would have.

I don’t know what it is about the Tahoe that has always drawn me in… it was big and powerful, as well as functional. A thing of beauty! Yesterday they delivered the Tahoe to my house. I couldn’t even wait for them to knock on the door, I ran out to meet them!

Ah yes- that is a Shiny Beautiful 2012 Tahoe in MY driveway. I immediately started checking out all the features. My favorite so far? Heated AND Cooled seats! These are perfect for the cool early morning drive to CrossFit (heated) and the drive home after a good workout (cooled). It also has a heated steering wheel, that would be awesome throughout the winter.

We had to go out to lunch so we could take if for a test drive. We ended up at St Louis Bread Co, a classic St Louis Staple (all you out of towners might know it as Panera Bread)

Another feature of the Tahoe that I’m loving is the Rear Vision Camera System! Backing out of the parking spot at Bread Co was a breeze with the camera.

We ended up taking it out for another spin to the bank and to grab Dinner from Sombreros – apparently it is supposed to be legit TexMex. I thought it was ok, but nothing like what you get in Texas. God Bless Texas.

This morning I was excited to drive the Tahoe to CrossFit, even if it was 4:40 am… I love the automatic lights (mine are manual) and the heated seat was comfy on the drive there. I also rocked out to the Coffee House station on XM radio. I really do love having that option of XM Radio. Commercial Free music rocks!

This morning at CrossFit our strength session was Clean & Jerk. Remember my October Goals? One of them was to Power Clean 95# – I’m excited to say not only did I Clean 95lbs…. but I jerked it also! PR BABY! Obviously it was because I drove there in the Tahoe… and because I was dressed like a highlighter in my WODink Shirt and Zensah Sleeves.

I’m excited to try out some more new places around STL and visit some of my favorite places again this week while driving the Chevy Tahoe. I’ve also added a St Louis link to my sidebar so you can see all the places/things there are to see and do here in the STL.

Any places you think I should visit in the STL area? What is your dream Car?