fitness and nutrition, hustle

Watching My Language

 

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Like Chick 1 and several others, I am doing the 2,020 in 2020 miles challenge.  We are each putting our own spin on the distance.

I have a little history with this kind of goal.

In 2016, I aimed to walk / run 1,000 miles in a calendar year.  My Big Rule: I had to have my exercise shoes on for those miles to count.  (All the steps I took at work or for daily tasks did not count toward the total.)  Looking back at my mileage tracker, there were many miles that took me 18 minutes, some even longer than 20.  Still, through regular almost-daily efforts, I logged well over 1,100 miles that year.

That was many years and pounds ago. Taking on this new goal…what would be a step forward for me now? Was just doing more miles enough?

When I was thinking about this goal and how I wanted to approach it, I decided to add an extra layer. I wanted a different challenge, so I made a new Big Rule.

That Big Rule has meant a *lot* of time on the Ski Erg and the rowing machine at our box. Sometimes I row five miles at a stretch, which is pretty unusual in our community. After all, CrossFit is based around constantly varied movements.  It’s sort of odd to stay on one thing for thirty minutes or more. After walking past me several times, people will ask me what I’m doing.

I’d tell them about the mile challenge, then say:

“I have to do 10% on the ski erg (202 miles), 10% on the hiking trail, 10% running, 10% biking, and 10% rowing.”

At least that’s what I told people when they asked me why I was spending 20 straight minutes on the ski erg or 45 on the rower.  I’m doing it because I have to.

But after saying it this way several times I stood back and thought, no one is forcing me to do it this way.  I chose this.  And I chose it purposefully. I set a big, hairy, audacious, I’m-not-entirely-sure-I-will-accomplish-it goal.  I thought of something that made me nervous and DARED myself to do it.

So now, if people ask, I say I CHOSE to do 10% on the ski erg (202 miles), 10% on the hiking trail, 10% running, 10% biking, and 10% rowing.

Or I GET to do it.  Maybe I should say I DARED myself to do it.  Through my words I need to EMBRACE it – the grand, ridiculous, audacious (im)possibility of all those crazy miles and the long journey they represent.

These little words matter.  I am trying to pay more attention to how I use my words.  As a word person, you’d think I would be more careful, but I know my negativity and woe-is-me creeps in often when I am lazy or just inattentive. It’s sloppy old thinking and serves no one.  These miles aren’t part of some sort of penalty or sentence.  They are a challenge I set before myself to stretch my limits.  A good thing.

My first month went pretty well. I’ve discovered that in addition to the pages logging each variety of miles, I like a page of stars for every 10 miles I complete. Not gonna lie, though, it’s a long road. I am working on my patience muscles, which will undoubtedly get a workout in the face of a goal that I can’t just speed through.  I’m finding my footing and my balance.  And if you notice, there’s still 50% of my miles that I can choose to do with as I wish.  Don’t be surprised if dancing and cartwheels show up on my log.

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healthy hacks

Refresh, Recharge, Repeat

​​This is my triple threat for 2020. How do I refresh, recharge and repeat?
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​​I set out with 10 massage sessions at a spa within a mega-gym. Said gym has a pool, hot tub, sauna, spa, healthy eating arena, and all the gym equipment you could ever want to use.
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​​If you pay for a service at the spa you are entitled to use of the facility for the day. I’m specifically not naming the mega-gym because I love this feature as I am a non-member. Now that $100 massage has a lot more value. I also bought a block of massages in volume thus lowering my cost to less than $80.
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​​I make sure to get in some cardio, get my deep tissue massage, head to the pool for a swim then into the sauna as many times as I can. Over and over again from cold to hot. It’s amazingly refreshing.
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​​This type of day is more of an active recovery session for me but it’s full of many benefits. If you have a facility near you that offers a similar option, take advantage!
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​​I will spread my 10 visits over the year to give me the right amount of recovery from massage that works within my budget and time constraints.
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​​In this scenario I unplug from technology as well for about 4 hours. It’s a great opportunity to recharge. Obviously this works for me. This is the repeat feature. Also if my investment is $80 for the massage but I spend four hours at the facility I am definitely getting my money’s worth.
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​​Just another healthy hack for you in 2020 from 2 Chicks and a Pen. Recovery is part of staying healthy. Me time to reset my mind is equally beneficial. Don’t forget to flip your recharge switch.

adventure, family

It’s Just 4 Inches

It’s a Saturday and the day is planned. The weather man calls for snow the night before. They could be wrong, right? I’ll have my duck boots ready just in case. They are normally just for fashion but I guess they have a purpose.

It’s a chilly 31 degrees at my house and the flurries start early. The day’s activities are cancelled, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s just time to have some fun in the snow.

First attraction is the snow itself. Living in the south we see snow once a year if we are lucky. For us this is the first snow in two years. The smartphones start rolling. Instagram pictures across town now become my weather channel.

We snuck out for a quick coffee and puppicino (basically whipped cream in a cup). I have a Jeep so we were okay to drive in the dusting that had appeared at this point.

Now it’s time to see how the puppy likes the snow. She isn’t sure at first but quickly adapts. At one point I think she put her paw prints in every inch of my yard. Round and round she goes. And her cute coat is full of mini snowballs all tangled in her fur. Funniest thing ever. Yes we had to use a blow dryer to get them out.

Then it was a snowy photo shoot with the teen. It was silly but fun at the same time.
It didn’t seem terribly cold while outside either. I can definitely say that this was my first snow day photo shoot but any time spent with my girl is fun and if this is what she wanted to do, I was all for it.

Coming in and taking off the boots, jacket, scarf and hat had me remembering my childhood days of playing in much deeper snow and the excitement of coming in for a hot cocoa with extra marshmallows.

Today we will bake cookies, knock out some laundry, watch movies and do a bunch of nothing. Some days it’s good to do a bunch of nothing. I’m also about to eat some nice chicken soup after playing in the snow. And it definitely hit the spot.

As I see online some of my friends enjoying the snow their way. I see one taking advantage of the hot tub they have. Another jumping on a trampoline. Another just enjoying a coffee and a fire. Somebody even looked super cute on the roadside in a ditch. They were safe but definitely looked cute in their workout outfit. Another had a makeshift sled made out of pool lounger. It did work. However my friends chose to spend the day, I am just glad they all had fun. Some unexpected fun.

I normally don’t get excited about 4 inches. Somehow, the cold and fluffy 4 inches of snow was refreshing. I guess it’s all about perspective. 4 inches can really be a lot of fun.

Funny when I wrote this my niece told me meh, 4 inches was nothing compared to her 18 inches in Vermont the same day. I can safely say I never want to live anywhere it snows that much.

If you had a snow day this year I hope it was a good one just like mine. If you have an abundance of snow days, I just hope you like snow. On a side note I enjoyed the dusting of snow but I really enjoy the sunshine, the beach and the warmer climates all that much more. And that’s why I will spend next week in the sunshine state (Florida).

dare to be different, friendship

A Little Chick Story

I am sure some of you are looking for a flirty chick flick type of story, but this is just a chick story about where we got our start. Boring to some but memorable to us.

2 Chicks and a Pen met on the lacrosse field. One chick on each side of the fence which is so symbolic to our overall bond and relation in general. One chick was a coach and one chick was a spectator. A particular spectator who spent most days hiding under an umbrella avoiding the sun, the shade, people, and rain on any given day. The coach however was loud and in-your-face kind of coach which was what made the two most unlikely to be paired in the way we are today.

An unlikely duo developed a friendship first through their kids. Then quickly friends turned into extended family. From there the friendship developed into a deep-rooted partnership that took on the brand that we know today as 2 Chicks and a Pen.

3 children’s books published, a business formed, countless blog adventures documented, thousands of fans around the world, and so many memories made. From napkin scribbles at a local restaurant to book signings to field research destinations, we have experienced so much on our path and we have so more ahead of us.

The picture below shows us running a 15k together this month. We have also run a half marathon, some 5k extreme races and some 10k races together. I’m sure when we started writing together running races wasn’t even a blip on the radar. Now we schedule fitness events throughout the year. This is just one of the ways we have grown in love of fitness, friendship and ability to share stories with others.

The way the story goes, we launched in 3 days according to Chick 2, but that’s fairly inaccurate. We actually have several years under our belt currently. Originally we connected almost immediately but that’s not 3 days or even 3 weeks. We began using writing prompts as a way to get to know each other. We traded countless hours writing and chatting. Trust followed.

Soon after, 2 Chicks and a Pen hatched as a legitimate business entity. Goals were set. Timelines established. Projects mapped out on the horizon. We went on to naturally evolve as writers, motivators, athletes and so much more. Our story is unique to us. Nobody will be able to replicate our vision.

The creative spark we have is definitively categorized as amazing. Our timeline is limitless. Our zest for life and sharing it on a large scale is fearless. Our opposite personalities is part of the dynamic. We just do things the #2chx way.

Our journey has had many twists and turns and ups and downs to say the least. We live life so it’s expected. Juggling families, careers, life and our own personal journeys. Somehow on our path Chick 2 joined the Crossfit movement and hasn’t looked back. We did some research and development on nutrition and used ourselves as guinea pigs. Some of these stories we share on this very blog. That’s just one of the side bars that spun off of 2 Chicks. One of many.

We took the road less traveled. We are a legal business entity. We register our business and pay taxes each year. We have a big online presence yet we are active in our community. We have an expensive hobby but we set out with a goal to improve lives through literacy. Whether we write on paper, print our stories in book form or write online we are communicating in our grandest fashion. We are succeeding at our mission and leaving a literal legacy behind.

Word wizards of sorts. We have so much to share some days that we are busting at the seams. While other days we may suffer from writer’s block and can’t string a sentence together. One chick may hold on to featured articles for days or weeks or even months on end until they reach perfection. One chick may write away fast in the moment but has to rewrite several times to correct typos. It’s a creative process for us. We do it over and over and love every opportunity we can sink our teeth into.

My favorite memory to date is reading our stories to kids and having them ask questions about us, our writing process and the whys behind the stories. When they realize what’s beyond the book itself their curiosity sparks. I want to be a writer! I want to be an illustrator! I want to make a cartoon book with my friend! Those innocent but curious minds are in growth mode. Exposing them to our stories lets them see opportunities for themselves. Infinite opportunities.

Chick 1’s writing process is notably different than Chick 2’s. Neither is wrong or right, just different. We are constantly evolving and choosing our path(s) as we mature in our creative minds. Keep watching.

We appreciate you joining in on our public ride or chickscapades whether it’s one post you read or many. We leave a trail of chick dust here, there and everywhere. You may see us on the web, maybe you follow us on Instagram, maybe you catch our tweets, maybe you are one of our local pals who knows us around town. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, we love you.

As Valentine’s week is upon us. We wanted to share a little of our inside story to you. As a sort of love story for the world. Our love of literacy. Our passion for serving others through words. Who doesn’t love a good back story.

Give us a like online. A social share. Be our Valentine this year. Send us a sweet note. A quick feedback note can let us know what you like about our brand. If you don’t like us it’s okay, we know we are not a one-size-fits-all model. That’s why you can choose to visit our page or invest in our books.

2 Chicks’ next public event is on 2/22/20, an event honoring Veterans and supporting suicide prevention efforts, which is near and dear to both Chicks’ hearts. If you are interested in getting involved check out this link. You can donate online.

http://www.official22wod.com/

Happy Valentine’s week!

celebrations

Happy Galentine’s!

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I am a fan of holidays and celebrations.  I get joy out of gift giving on special days and even sending “happy mail” on a random Tuesday for no particular reason at all (my favorite!)  On holidays, I try to go out of my way to think broadly about who I can celebrate.  For example, on Mother’s Day, I may send cards to my children’s aunts, people who have been like a Mom to me, and so on.  It’s a little different every year.

When Valentine’s Day rolls around, I love to deliver treats and special wishes to all kinds of people who fill my life with love.  Yes, this means my immediate family of course, but many of them are swamped with work at our family’s restaurant around Valentine’s, which can make for little time to celebrate each other.

A few years ago, I started delivering treats to my good female friends as well. I realized I wasn’t alone in this when I learned that Galentine’s Day is an actual thing (that has its roots in a fictional TV show, but has taken off).

And why not?  As I get older, I realize that the close friendships I have with women are some of the most powerful, nurturing relationships in my life. What better time of year to celebrate them than right around the ultimate holiday for love?

Each year my Galentine’s treat bags are different.  This year, my card is a Golden Girls theme to “thank you for bein’ a friend” (found at Always Fits). I have a group of friends that somewhat resembles the personalities of these Golden Ladies.  They’ll also get heart-shaped protein bagels (with their favorite sprinkles) and some other little trinkets and treats.  Maybe a chocolate or two but since we are all working on our health goals, I’ll keep that to a minimum. A little sweet can go a long way.

It’s all about making them smile and letting them know they matter.  Do you have any special friends in your life? Who can you surprise and celebrate this week? (Bonus points if you celebrate someone who may think no one will remember them!)  Who fills your life with love?

hustle

My Set of 20s

Yesterday I rode my bike 20 miles. I thought to myself, how cool is that? I did 20 miles in January of 2020 in one ride.

Then I flipped a page in my notebook and realized I wrote 20 blog posts in January 2020.

I can even do sets of 20 unbroken pushups which is new for 2020. It used be a struggle for 8 then 10. I finally got to 15. Then for this exercise I pushed to 20. Then I did it more than once. Persistence pays off.

Funny how you can find motivation when you think of a number and how to make it fit in your world of cans or can’ts. I surprise myself some days. Maybe you could surprise yourself, too.

Then I thought to myself I should go buy 20 lottery tickets just to see how I fared. I am normally not a lottery player however I do buy scratch tickets each year around Christmas for stocking stuffers and it is always fun.

It took me a couple days but when I needed gas I snagged my twenty scratch off tickets. 20 of the same ones in a row to see if that helped my odds.

With a little luck I cashed out $35. A small profit of $15. The odds on the back of the card said 1 in 4 win. Electing 20 of the same card maybe helped my odds. Who knows. It was a fun experiment.

Not sure how people do this often. It’s definitely messy to scratch. At least I tested the 20 theory.

I am sure I did plenty of other things in sets of twenty but to keep this simple I will not list them all here. If by chance I spurred your interest in the lottery, please let me know if you win big.

2 Chicks always accepts donations to provide literacy outlets for kids in need.

fitness and nutrition, health

I Pulled My Groin or Maybe It’s a Lot Worse

I was recently at a business meeting and my CrossFit dedication came into conversation. I didn’t start the conversation. Another individual at the table did.

Said person vocalized how everyone she has known who has attempted CrossFit got injured. It’s such a dangerous sport. Why do you pay for suffering? One even severely pulled their groin.

I almost giggled out loud. In my several years of CrossFitting I have not once heard of somebody injuring their groin. Let alone seriously injuring it. I’m sure it’s possible but it made me giggle.

Back injuries can happen, shoulders can be impacted as well as knees and elbows. But aren’t there risks involved in most sports? Isn’t this why we sign waivers?

I know one can always scale or adapt any workout to avoid injury. For example if you tweaked your back one should not do a deadlift. If one’s calf muscles are tight they could stretch or roll out vs. risking injury. The point is being active has benefits.

Fear can be a factor for many trying something new. However the physical and mental benefits of CrossFit far out weigh the possibility of injury if you follow your certified coach’s instructions. This is my opinion but I know many who share my thoughts on the subject.

I am thankful for a great box to workout in, a great group of coaches and an amazing community. I am also thankful for my health.

In today’s busy and hectic world many lose sight of their health and fitness. In recent weeks I have seen a colleague have a major stroke causing a huge rippling effect on family and friends who were not prepared for such a catastrophe. Another business associate was diagnosed with cancer. These instances along with my parents aging gave me pause to reflect.

Most get guidance on wills as they age. How many actually have an emergency network in place should one get hit by a bus or have a unforeseen tragedy? Most don’t.

This ties back to my time article. The value of it and how we spend it. If we are hoarding at home is it fair to leave your loved ones with the burden of cleaning up your mess when you pass on?

If you have kids that need care, have you talked to good friends or your loved ones about if anything took you out of commission who could jump in and keep a sense of normal for the kids?

If you run a business do you have a person who can fill a short or a long term business role in a pinch?

If you are married and you carry the family health insurance and can’t take time off to care for a loved one in the hospital do you have a support network to help?

Maybe you spend some time thinking about this. A heart attack, a fall, cancer, a stroke or worse can happen. You can have a plan penciled out and your loved ones have a starting point so they don’t need to worry during a chaotic time.

Life has challenges. I started this article about the risk of CrossFit but it twisted and turned to life and how unpredictable life can be. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Live for today and be as prepared as you can for the unknown if you are a primary care giver to one or many.