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As the holiday season continues and the new year approaches, it’s time to find a gym and get in shape! I told myself this minutes after the Tough Mudder in Sarasota a couple weeks ago. There was one specific incident that really stuck and pushed me to join a gym immediately. I found Pivotal Fitness and joined as soon as the soreness from the Tough Mudder wore off. You can find a location on their website at www.pivotalfitness.com.

At Tough Mudder Tampa 2011, I cruised across the Funky Monkey Obstacle…this year…well see for yourself!

Funky Monkey - just start and hope for the best

Funky Monkey – just start and hope for the best

It's GO TIME!!!

It’s GO TIME!!!

here comes the "slip"

here comes the “slip”

It's all over now...

It’s all over now…

exactly what I did not want to do...make a splash

exactly what I did not want to do…make a splash

Now the embarrassment of swimming to the ladder, while everyone watches

Now the embarrassment of swimming to the ladder, while everyone watches

I’m hoping this little mishap will not happen during the next Tough Mudder I participate in. Until then, we can only hope and try to get in better shape!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our much anticipated Tough Mudder video is finally complete!!!!

Special THANKS to Janine, who spent nearly 4-5 hours working on cutting this down. We have nearly all 24 obstacles. As the battery was running down, we missed a few obstacles at the end to ensure we had Funky Monkey, Everest, and Electroshock Therapy. This was my first time running with the GoPro2, which I HIGHLY recommend, and definitely learned a lot from it. I videotaped way too much of us just running which really isn’t necessary. People will not watch this to see us run, as I 100% would not. :-) They are watching to see the OBSTACLES!!! I hope you enjoy.

Cannot wait to video Tough Mudder Miami with the new GoPro3 and what additional tweaks we can make to the video afterwards!

In what has been an up and down roller coaster ride the past 3-4 seasons, as the Northwestern Men’s Basketball team continues to keep my heart rate at an all-time high, the Cats were able to secure a huge early season win Tuesday night. We have come as close as 1 win away in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 to emerging from the exceptionally small pack and getting our name announced during the Selection Sunday Show – becoming the first program in Northwestern history to make the “Big Dance.” A dream that many Northwestern fans throughout the world continue to hope and pray will happen in 2012-2013!

The Wildcats traveled to Waco, TX Tuesday evening to take on the Baylor Bears and their tremendously athletic team. Coming off of a disappointing loss to the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) this past Saturday, the Cats bounced back fiercely and clawed their way to a HUGE road win early in this 2012-2013 campaign. Only connecting on 2-7 free throws down the stretch kept Baylor in the game but Northwestern was able to make the plays to finish off the Bears – giving Coach Bill Carmody the victory and a much more enjoyable plane trip back to O’Hare in Chicago.

The one downfall for Northwestern throughout the years has been steady play during the course of the season. From start to finish, the Cats need to keep the momentum going from wins such as Baylor and carry that into the game Saturday night against an up-and-coming Butler Bulldog team. The Bears came off of a huge win earlier in the week against the previously #2 ranked team in the country,  Kentucky, but let their guard down against the “Purple” Wildcats! We cannot allow that to happen Saturday.

Drew Crawford, Dave Sobolewski, and Reggie Hearn continue to lead the Cats in all facets of the game. The addition of Jared Swopshire has made the Cats a real contender this year in the Big Ten. Swopshire graduated from the University of Louisville in 2012 but because of injury (missing an entire season) was granted an additional year of eligibility by the NCAA. Luckily for the Wildcat community, he chose Northwestern University as his school of choice to continue his education.

Jared Swopshire

Jared Swopshire

Photo courtesy of (http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/colleges/post/_/id/7900/swopshire-northwestern-making-a-perfect-match)

 

Let’s make it 8-2 Saturday night. GO CATS!!!

Team Blood Bath & Beyond will look to again battle mud, water, tunnels, electric shock, and much more during the Miami Tough Mudder at Homestead Miami Speedway on Saturday March 2. We aim to cut our time down by nearly 30 minutes at this event! We are looking to expand our team even more, so if you are interested in this grueling 12 mile/24+ obstacle course…please let me know as soon as possible. Our team has officially been registered at http://toughmudder.com/events/miami-2013/. If interested, I can provide more specific details. Register by Friday at midnight, and receive $5 off. (I can provide you the code)

Come be a part of something extremely “electrifying” and rewarding. There are not many people that can claim they are TOUGH MUDDERS and earn their orange headbands!!!

Blood Bath & Beyond

Blood Bath & Beyond

For Team Blood, Bath and Beyond…last year’s Tough Mudder in Tampa was not enough. We wanted more!! We added some depth to our roster and made the journey from Fort Lauderdale to Hi-Hat Ranch in Sarasota, FL to take on the 11.2 mile/24 obstacle course. We crushed the course in under 2 hours and 45 minutes and walked away with Tough Mudder’s famous orange headband, our Dos Equis beer, and A LOT of pride and gratification. This year I decided to wear a Go Pro camera on a head mount and could not be any happier with the amazing pictures we were able to obtain from the video. I apologize in advance for the lengthy post but I want to give everyone an idea of our experience at Tough Mudder Tampa 2012. I’ll start with the map of the course we completed/obstacle list, and a team photo!

2012 Tampa Tough Mudder map

2012 Tampa Tough Mudder map

pre race pix

Janine and I pre-race.

Janine and I pre-race.

 

remember you signed a death waiver

One of our favorite signs of the entire day. Each and every Mudder must sign a “Death Waiver” before he/she can participate.

The race always begins with an amazing emcee, the national anthem, the Tough Mudder Pledge, and then you are off! They did provide us with a small change this year as you had to climb one Berlin Wall before even starting the race. I’ll provide you pictures and commentary from a few of the obstacles along our journey.

beginning of race speach

Countdown begins…no turning back now!

Underwater Tunnels

Obstacle #2 – Underwater Tunnels

Underwater Tunnels - We Made it!!

Underwater Tunnels – We Made it!!

 

Obstacle #2 - Log Jammin'

Obstacle #3 – Log Jammin’

My shadow made the picture. I feel like Peter Pan! (since I was wearing the camera, I fortunately or unfortunately were not in many pix)

My shadow made the picture. I feel like Peter Pan! (since I was wearing the camera, I fortunately or unfortunately were not in many pix)

Obstacle #5 - Arctic Enema Definitely one of the worst feelings I've ever encountered. Last year there was no ice...this year there WAS! If I had to guess I would say the temperature is under 30 degrees.

Obstacle #5 – Arctic Enema
Definitely one of the worst feelings I’ve ever experienced. Last year there was no ice…this year there WAS! If I had to guess I would say the temperature is under 30 degrees.

jump and hope to not freeze

jump and hope to not freeze

FREEZING! It's so cold you nearly forget how to move your arms to get out.

FREEZING! It’s so cold you nearly forget how to move your arms to get out.

Obstacle #6 - Mud Mile #2Jump the mounds and hope you don't slip into the mud.

Obstacle #6 – Mud Mile #2
Jump the mounds and hope you don’t slip into the mud – we had a couple close calls

mud mile 3

For those of you that do the 5K Warrior Dash...here is your finish line. In the Tough Mudder, we've only just begun!

For those of you that do the 5K Warrior Dash…here is your finish line. In the Tough Mudder, we’ve only just begun!

Obstacle #7 - Boa ConstrictorIf you are claustrophobic at all, stay away!

Obstacle #7 – Boa Constrictor
If you are claustrophobic at all, stay away!

tunnels 2tunnels 3

Janine made it!

Janine made it!

Obstacle #8 - CliffhangerWe weren't quite sure what to do here...jump and risk injury or GET MUDDY!!!

Obstacle #8 – Cliffhanger
We weren’t quite sure what to do here…jump and risk injury or GET MUDDY!!! We got Muddy!

Obstacle #9 - Berlin Walls #1We got smart this year and used teammate, Max, to get our girls over the wall. The guys were able to jump and pull ourselves over.

Obstacle #9 – Berlin Walls #1
We got smart this year and used teammate, Max, to get our girls over the wall. The guys were able to jump and pull ourselves over.

It's all about the teamwork!

It’s all about the teamwork! :-)

again only certain body parts continue to make the pix

again only certain of my body parts continue to make the pix

atop Berlin Walls

atop Berlin Walls

Obstacle #10 - Electric EelWhat we thought would be a nightmare, turned out to not be that bad. Only 2 of our 11 team members got shocked.

Obstacle #10 – Electric Eel
What we thought would be a nightmare, turned out to not be that bad. Only 2 of our 11 team members got shocked.

electric eel 2electric eel 3

Obstacle #14 - BallshrinkerThe name sums it up...

Obstacle #14 – Ballshrinker
The name sums it up…

ball shrinker 2

slippped and nearly lost the Go Pro here

slippped and nearly lost the Go Pro here

Team Blood, Bath & Beyond

Team Blood, Bath & Beyond

Obstacle # 15 - Walk The PlankDefinitely one of the most fun and entertaining obstacles. As they tell you nearly 5 times before the race starts; if you can't swim...DO NOT JUMP!

Obstacle # 15 – Walk The Plank
Definitely one of the most fun and entertaining obstacles. As they tell you nearly 5 times before the race starts; if you can’t swim…DO NOT JUMP!

I went first so I could get down and video rest of the team

I went first so I could get down and video rest of the team

Max doing a back-flip

Max doing a back-flip

the girls getting ready to take off

the girls getting ready to take off

Obstacle #19 - Wounded Warrior Carry

Obstacle #19 – Wounded Warrior Carry

girls turn to carry

girls turn to carry

Obstacle #20 - Trench Warfare

Obstacle #20 – Trench Warfare

For people taller, like myself, this is more difficult than it looks...and dark!

For people taller, like myself, this is more difficult than it looks…and dark!

Obstacle #21 - Funky Monkey

Obstacle #21 – Funky Monkey

and I'm off...can I make it......

and I’m off…can I make it……

not this year. We'll just say I needed to rinse off. :)

not this year. We’ll just say I needed to rinse off. :)

Obstacle #23 - EverestDefinitely the most anticipated event of the day. Our entire team crushed this on each of our first try. Proud of everyone!

Obstacle #23 – Everest
Definitely the most anticipated event of the day. Our entire team crushed this on each of our first try. Proud of everyone!

made it

made it

Laura

Laura

Janine

Janine

Jess...nearly lost her.

Jess…nearly lost her.

Obstacle #24 - Electroshock TherapyFinal obstacle of the day. The one most of us were dreading.

Obstacle #24 – Electroshock Therapy
Final obstacle of the day. The one most of us were dreading.

Here we go...

Here we go…

last year I was lucky, this year not so much. Two volts of electricity nearly put me in the mud.

last year I was lucky, this year not so much. Two volts of electricity nearly put me in the mud.

Orange headband time...very much earned!

Orange headband time…very much earned!

We did it and we'll be coming back for more. We are planning to participate in Miami in March, hopefully Indiana, and Tampa again next December. Bring it on!!!!

We did it and we’ll be coming back for more. We are planning to participate in Miami in March, hopefully Indiana, and Tampa again next December. Bring it on!!!!

Blood, Bath and Beyond cannot wait for our next Tough Mudder adventure. We are excited for Miami in 2013 and we’ll see where rest of the  year takes us. You can visit other TM events at (http://toughmudder.com/events/) We wore our Tough Mudder apparel and orange headbands with pride the rest of the weekend…meeting a lot of other great Mudders along the way. Until the next one!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As property insurance rates continue to rise in the fourth quarter of 2012, we work diligently to find other options for our clients. I would love the opportunity to speak with any commercial real estate owner that have seen insurance rate increases. Below are case studies for accounts that we have had success with in recent weeks.

-Large Shopping Center
-Bradenton, FL – 578,000 Square Foot – Built 1973
-$.69 per square foot – Insurance (Property, GL, Umbrella, & Flood)

-Industrial Warehouse
-Doral, FL – 44,100 Square Feet – Built 1997
-$.69 per square foot – Insurance (Property Only)

-Retail Shopping Center
-Gainesville, FL – 24,000 Square Feet – Built 1989
-$.45 per square foot – Insurance (Property & GL)

-Office Building
-Opa Locka, FL – 82,000 Square Feet – Built 2004
-$.35 per square feet – Insurance (Property Only)

-180 Unit Apartment Complex
-Port St. Lucie, FL – Built 1998-2002
-$390 per Unit – Insurance (Property & GL)

 

My favorite and by far the happiest time of the year, are the holidays. For 28 of the past 29 years I have been very fortunate to be able to spend Thanksgiving with my parents and sisters. (yes four of those years were spent in Evanston, as I was not able to leave campus because of basketball practice but we have always made the best of it) Last year I decided for the first time to stick around Fort Lauderdale and not go home…I quickly realized that it just was not the same. So this year I jumped aboard the 737 AirTran flight and headed north for much colder weather.

This five-day jaunt allowed me to spend a lot of time with my parents, sisters, brothers in law, grandparents, aunts, uncle, and cousins. I even had some time from some old high school buddies.

The trip began Wednesday night with a quick visit to the Mexican Restaurant in Paoli. I will never make a trip home without at least visiting this place once. The frozen margaritas are to die for! I spent the rest of the evening helping mom carve the four turkeys she had prepared. It’s hard to believe, but it was nearly all gone by the time I left yesterday morning.

Carving one of four turkeys

Thanksgiving day couldn’t have been any better. We spent the morning fixing last minute dishes and looking for Janine in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Her family helped carry the Pikachu character balloon in the parade, as this is an annual tradition for their family. My entire family then filled our bellies with everything from turkey, mashed potatoes…to broccoli casserole and pumpkin pie. I decided this year to take smaller portions on the first go-round so I would still have room for seconds….it still was tough to go back.

My Meal!

As I’m sure everyone knows, Black Friday came early this year. Certain stores opened their doors a few hours early. Paoli, Indiana does not provide nearly the stores that a major city would, but we made the best of our choices. WAL-MART…here we come!!! We decided to brave the crowds and ventured out to Wal-Mart in Paoli. It was an absolute mad house but I was able to purchase a few dvd’s that I wanted and a 16gb disk for the new Go Pro3 camera I ended up buying later that evening. You can see the craziness in the picture below.

The MADNESS…just for Dvds!

I spent Friday night with some old high school buddies at the French Lick Resort & Casino. I was able to play black jack and roulette for nearly 3 hours and left even. Something that NEVER happens. We ended up at the one and only (literally ONLY) pub in Paoli.

Paoli Pub (the one and only)

Finally rounded out my amazing weekend by helping decorate my grandparents Christmas tree, along with my mom and dad’s tree. This is a tradition we have kept for many years. I could not have asked for a better weekend with family and friends. I am extremely grateful for the people I have in my life right now. From my 84 and 85 year old grandparents to my two-year old nephew…they all mean the world to me!

I am extremely excited to get back to Paoli for Christmas in just over three weeks. Let it snow…let it snow…let it snow!!! :)

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