Insight on the 2015 Monster Dash

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As Raleigh’s hot summer days turn into chilly fall nights, we look forward to helping the Wolfpack family grow through fun, engaging events. One event that we are looking forward to is the Monster Dash on Centennial Campus.

Scheduled to kick off on October 29th, this event combines obstacle course racing with Halloween traditions. The combination of running, crawling and critically thinking fits NC State’s mindset of “Think and Do” like no other.

The 5 kilometer, 3.1 mile race begins with a puzzle that is meant to stimulate the mind before a plethora of new challenges. Teams have to work as a unit to finish their puzzle or lose precious time to their fellow competitors. Once the puzzle is complete, participants begin their quest for first place as the Dash officially starts.

A staggered run from Centennial’s Greenway to Lake Raleigh leads to the paddling phase, which is one of the most fascinating elements to the Monster Dash. Kaley, a participant from last year’s Monster Dash says, “Paddling was the coolest part of the Dash because some of us had to learn on the fly. It gave us so many laughs and moments to remember.”

This year’s Dash is at night, adding a whole new level of difficulty for the paddling phase. Though the water will have lighting, paddling at nighttime will make the journey interesting as many participants will experience paddling in the dark for the first time.

An interview with one of the Monster Dash’s coordinators shed light on this year’s new component. “Hosting this event at night will make it extremely interesting. Paddling on Lake Raleigh at night while wearing wild Halloween costumes will definitely make it a night to remember” said the Monster Dash coordinator.

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Once the paddling phase is complete, runners will pick up their team pumpkin from the Greenway and proceed to Centennial’s Oval to complete a plethora of challenges. These challenges test teamwork and communication skills as teams will complete tasks varying in difficulty such as jumping through tires and completing small games.

After the games on the Oval are done, participants will complete their longest straight run of the day. This run will serve as crunch time that will likely dictate the winners of the race. Competitors will have to remain consistent and strong on their stride towards the finish line.

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At the end of the run, participants will finish with a bang as the last part of the race is a 50-yard low crawl through mud. This part of the race will stress the concept of unity within teams as all four members will have to complete the low crawl to cement a finishing time.

Throughout the race, teams will enjoy their time together working hard and thinking critically on the pursuit of the coveted first place title. Laughs aplenty will be generated through great costumes and challenging tasks, creating great memories to start the fall season.

The winning team will take home a prize pack including an Adidas sports bag, perfect for holding gym apparel. All participants who register before October 22nd will also receive a commemorative Monster Dash tee shirt in their size.

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Post-run, competitors will be treated to snacks and encouraged to take pictures of their team’s costumes. At this stage, costumes will be the focal point as participants and staff alike will marvel at the creativity of the Wolfpack family. After a review from race staff, the best costumes will receive a prize from University Recreation.

To register for this race, visit IM Leagues to add your team of four or even enter as a free agent. Teams of four will be constructed upon submission of teams with any less than four participants.

Training for a 5k

As the weather gets warmer and the sun comes back out, the spring is 5k season. From road races to trail runs, there’s a huge variety of events to participate in. Maybe you think running a 5k sounds fun but don’t know how to go about training for one. Or, maybe you’ve never considered yourself a runner but are open to trying something new. People often say that they “can’t run”, when in reality they have just never properly trained. The distance of 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) is manageable if you train, but overwhelming if you aren’t prepared.

If you aren’t a fan of running, consider that running has many health benefits. Research done by the American Heart Association shows the benefits of running vs. walking. They found that the the risk for diabetes in runners was decreased by 71%. They also examined other forms of vigorous exercise besides running. Some health benefits were seen, but not the massive reduction in diabetes risk that was seen as a result of running. These long-term benefits will help you throughout your whole life.DSC_0780

Running also is a really efficient form of exercise. It is a cardio and toning workout that will elevate your heart rate in a matter of minutes and torches calories fast.  Vigorous exercise is vital for a healthy lifestyle, and research done by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology states that it is more beneficial to workout vigorously as opposed to moderately. So, while a brisk walk, yoga class, or hike is good for your health, a run is even better.

Not only is running beneficial for your physical health, but also for your mental health. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which improve your mood. So, sacrificing some time and energy for running will benefit you later on in the day.

Just in time for the plethora of spring 5ks, URec is starting up the University Recreation Run Club. This running group will meet on Monday evenings at 5:30 on the pavement beside the Rec Center (the building where PCJ and the Playground are). The URec Run Club started meeting on March 16. Runners of all levels are welcome. The group will split into two: the runners who want to go between 1-2 miles and the runners who are interested in 3-5 miles. Runners who attend 5 times throughout the semester will get a University Recreation water bottle. You can sign up beforehand at IMleagues.com or are welcome to just show up. There is even a University Recreation staff member who waits with the runners’ belongings while they run so they do not have to carry their things or rent a locker. There are both male and female runners of a wide range of ages who attend. The University Recreation Run Club is an excellent way to challenge yourself and connect with fellow members of the Wolfpack who share a similar interest and common goal. You can accomplish so much by coming to the University Recreation Run Club. You can find a sense of camaraderie as everyone is facing a challenge, and you can encourage and be encouraged. You might even end up having some new friends along with all of the immeasurable physical and mental benefits of running.Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 8.39.52 PM

On the days you aren’t running with the URec Run Club, here are some tips to get your running life on track:

One way to get started (or restarted) as a runner is to make a schedule for several days a week. Make sure to alternate between faster and slower and longer and shorter runs. Incorporate short sprints into your runs also.

Change up your scenery. Not only does it keep things interesting to run in different locations, but choosing paths with varied inclines challenges your body. Runners dread hills, and for good reason, but they are excellent training for your endurance as well as your leg muscles.

Run with a buddy. It’s safer and more fun to run with a friend. Talking while running also helps you gauge how exerted you are. If you can easily say full sentences, you might want to pick up your pace a little bit. If it’s a struggle to speak at all, though, that’s an indicator that you’re really exerting yourself and maybe should slow down.

Focus on consistency, not speed. People often start out their run too fast and have to stop and walk partway through. A steady pace will help you from getting burnt out at the beginning of your run.DSC_0777

During a race, it’s hard to not compare yourself to other runners. Remember, though, that any progress is great progress. You won’t become a marathon runner overnight. Increase your endurance incrementally and always remember that the only time to beat is your best time.

Run training can be done indoors as well as outdoors. Treadmills for indoor run conditioning can be found in multiple locations of our facilities. There is also an indoor track in Carmichael Recreation Center on the second floor.

Hope to see you at the University Recreation Run Club on Mondays!

Run with the pack,

Abby