friendship

I Survived the _________!

-grueling week of travel.
-ups/downs life tossed my way.
-changes in daily schedules, vehicles and life.
-19.5 OPEN WOD, just barely.
-pollen.

When I reflect on what I pushed through this past week, I celebrate! I celebrate life and all its adventures that I get to enjoy and all the wonderful people I get to meet along the way. I even celebrate the sad times and the failures as each give opportunity to grow. I embrace it all.

This all hit me smack in the face on Friday. I was tired from a long week. I was unsettled in many areas of life this week. Too many distractions and complications. As usual I put my head down and muddled along.

Then it happened. My spirit broke in a work out. That never happens but it did this fine Friday. I wore my defeat on my face and in my mind thanks to 19.5 OPEN WOD. It happens to the best of us.

I pouted a bit. Mostly to myself but I pouted and it impacted my day to an extent. I needed a reset button. What would that be? How can I reset my mind when I keep recycling my missed opportunity?

For me, it was Friday Night Lights at my box. I sat on a box (literally on a box) and I watched a workout. It wasn’t the best athlete at the box doing the WOD, just a Wonder Woman of sorts getting her groove on. She did her thang. She didn’t give up. She persevered. It was real. In that moment I shifted my mind and celebrated others versus focusing on my defeat. I found the sunshine in my day. It might have taken until 6pm but I saw the light shining the window and my mind.

And then, out of the corner of my eye I see another sparkle. A little girl emulating her mom and dad on the bar. Some toes to bars, some pulls ups and smiles ear to ear. A “watch me, mom and dad!” moment that said “look, I can do what you do.” Talk about modeling. Wow, it was amazing. At this point my week of woes was all in the rear view. In the past. And we can’t change the past so focus on what’s ahead is what it’s all about.

A big sigh. A pregnant mom-to-be was on the other side of that little girl. I saw another sparkle or shine. It was the maternal glow of a mom-to-be. A wonderful moment of sorts. What was in her mind as she smiled in the distance. Will her little bundle of joy be an energetic monkey too? My cup was pouring over at this point and my mind had nothing but carefree thoughts.

Some giggles, some shenanigans and time with friends celebrating community and the past five weeks in the OPEN was the cherry on top. We all celebrated our own accomplishments together. Some competed at a level they didn’t think they were capable of. Others figured out new moves. Some put more weight on their bar to level up. And then a speech by two key people at the box. They were thankful for the community and the experiences shared over the past few weeks. Kicking back in a social setting surrounded by people who work hard but play hard too. It was a good time.

Find your tribe. Find your reset button. Let the worries of the world sit in the rear view. Embrace the new beginnings ahead of you.

Try new things. Meet new people. Focus on sunshine when clouds want to dampen your day.

This week I took a new class. I did some kicks and punches to change things up. What a blast I had. I almost got my toes-to-bar at a practice session too. Just a little more work and I’ll get there. No time line, just putting in the work.

Wonder what my next blog post will be about since the OPEN is now in my rear view? Guess you will have to wait and see what sparks my fancy. Or better yet send me your thoughts on topics and I’ll see if I can accommodate  your request(s). Don’t be shy, I love interacting with our readers! It makes me appreciate the power of my writings and inspires me to reach more and more folks virtually and in person.

Happy Spring, peeps!

dare to be different, hustle

You Can Be Part of My Story…

Read on to see what it requires to be part of my story…

19.4 is white heavy check mark off in the history books for this girl. I thought this was a one-and-done workout for me, but here it is Monday and this whimsical girl decided to give it another go. I may be crazy but I did it. I knew I wouldn’t die, but I could improve my performance. 

Burpees are not my favorite so I said I’ll take my best effort on the first attempt and not redo it on Friday. Then I got to reflecting on my inner battle with self-improvement and said I should redo it Sunday. I was lazy Sunday so it didn’t happen. I had travel for work Monday so that wasn’t an option for redoing the workout. I felt unsettled about my effort and performance to an extent.

I had some time to think on my road trip. Just me and some tunes in the car. Jammin’ to a classic song playlist. Funny how music can be therapeutic. My mind was settled. I got creative. It was in that moment of clarity that the rippling effect hit me. Just like that, I rewinded the week. What a week. So much inspiration. A snapshot of highlights in my mind. So many stories to share. Where do I begin?

Then a fluke event happened and my travel plans were interrupted. I had time to make it to the gym Monday night. Fate would have me WOD 19.4 again after many hours crammed up in a car, sedentary. I basically blinked and opportunity knocked. I had to seize the moment. Unplanned events make for the best memories.

Before I break down my workout, I need to explain my version of the rippling effect. You see, people often tell me I inspire them. Whether it be through my physical actions or through my words in books or this blog. That just gets me in the gut. It fuels my soul. It inspires me to keep on going and broaden my reach. My desire to share more and impact many more. The puzzle piece Screen Shot 2019-03-19 at 7.08.12 AM of life.

With that being said, I have many people in my life who inspire me. I can’t name them all here but those reading this may know who they are, even if they remain nameless. One person person can inspire another which causes a rippling effect. I inspire to desire better for me and others. Once one person sees how they can inspire another, the benefits are magnified and the rippling begins. One by one.

This week I saw a photo that captivated many. A gym photo shot by the talented Milagros. That photo showed fatigue, grit and passion all rolled into one small photo. That photo reached far and wide and had a rippling effect. This photographer is amazing and she has caught me in action plenty of times already with many more to come. Her storytelling is through pictures and those pictures inspire others to see their value from a lens they don’t normally have the opportunity to view. #inspiring

Due to my schedule mishap, I wasn’t at my regular class time on Monday and I got the pleasure of meeting Jeremy.  Jeremy is one cool dude but full of inspiration. He works out with a modified workout each week, but it was amazing to watch. I didn’t plan to watch him. It just happened as I recovered from my death WOD. Jumping rope stationary with bands. Rowing elevated. Dumbbells used strategically. This week’s unplanned event allowed me to meet a new face and a new inspiration. I hope to share more about Jeremy in the future if and when our schedules align again. Jeremy was the cherry on top this week for my rippling effect. #unplannedimpact

Another post from an influencer online took me on a walk down memory lane. How two people can be so different on the surface yet harness the same inner strength. It was a vision that was hidden in plain sight.  You almost had to step back to see it. The take away from that post was “Never judge a book by its cover.” We all do that at some point but beauty is within and sometimes you have to look beyond to see what’s hidden in plain sight. Dig deeper inside to see the true story (this includes people). We all have the power to influence and inspire one another directly and indirectly.

Another gal pal at my gym pushed me when I didn’t think I had any push left in me. That person didn’t even have a clue they were inspiring me. That person is nameless for the purposes of this blog because it signifies more than one gal pal throughout the week. But then again, it’s not just gal pals. It’s the dudes. The big muscle dudes that have abs and then more abs. They inspire me to be the best version of me. They don’t see me as a 47- year-old mom tossing the bar weight around like a chicken with her head cut off. They see me as an athlete looking to get to the next level. Just working hard each day to get better. High fives, fist bumps, kudos, smiles, etc. all go a long way. Fostering community is free. Being nice is free. Inspiring others is free. Yet in today’s world some people miss those free opportunities.

Last but not least, I have kids. Three to be exact. Each of them special in their own way. They each inspire me and my desires more than they will ever know or understand. Their perseverance through tough times, injuries and heartache show me hope and wisdom. I recycle the hope and wisdom and share it with others in meaningful ways. Another form of the rippling effect. #lifelessons

All of the inspiration and perseverance this week led me to desire better or more of myself. Time was on my side and a window of opportunity arose for another crack at 19.4. Would I do better? Could I do better? Should I even chance it? Absolutely!

I started out warming up my SNATCH. For those of you who don’t CrossFit, it’s a real thing. From there I went to figuring out my burpee options for getting over the bar without falling on my face. I consulted and practiced with a few people for variations. I still had to figure out what would work for this 47-year-old that had 185 pounds to move over that bar after a burpee. The rest of the time I figured I would stare at the bar and pretend I could do a bar muscle up. I didn’t stare at it actually. I pulled up and failed a few times but my arms and shoulders were toast anyway. #muscleupgoals

That’s it folks, nothing exciting to report this week for this girl. I got inspired. I put in work. I exercised my patience muscles. I made new friends. I didn’t die, but I completed the 19.4 WOD Rx not once, but twice. I know I do much more each week than many my age and I share these stories online.  My actions of sharing my story may help one person see their inner beauty and inspire a desire to be their best.

On the flip side, I am super proud that this year I have hit the Rx button for 3 of the past 4 workouts and for the one that I scaled I actually completed it before the time cap. I couldn’t be more happier with my results and as of now I am in the top 20% of my age group which isn’t too shabby for this girl. The OPEN for me is a health check. No different than the fat truck test I do each year. It’s a personal measurement of me, myself and I.  See my progress pic from the past three OPENS. It shows hard work does pay off in time.

As I reflect on the OPEN this year I get to look back at how far I have personally come in the past year with regard to endurance, skills and strength. At the same time I get to see how much further I can go and what I need to do myself to level up. This is my OPEN story and it matters to me. One more OPEN post for you next week.

bar muscle-ups
strict handstand push-ups
toes-to-bar
pull-ups

Those are just a few of the skills I am diligently working to master. I am not perfect by any means. I have to work at things to master them. It may take a year or it may take several weeks to learn these skills. I will be chipping away at these and will work on my weaknesses in time. Wish me luck with the final OPEN WOD. Will I be able to Rx it? Will I be able to stay in the top 20%? Will I stay injury free?

Be part of my book: until my next post I challenge you to inspire just one person. Capture the moment and share your story. Most people have social media. Tag 2 Chicks and a Pen (#2CHX) in your post. Your inspiration story might just make my #1095Days project. Submit your story today. You may become part of my upcoming book. I dare you to be different. Post online your inspiration to desire. #1095Days

I guess you will have to stay tuned for my final open post to see how I fare. Working on my top 20% goal.

dare to be different

Spreading Our Story – We Need Your Votes!

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We’ve entered the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest!

Check out our entry here at 2 Chicks and a Pen. 

It has been a year of growth for us.  We’ve expanded our audience and the ways we tell our stories.  Check out our new video to see how we’ve evolved.

Big things are on the horizon for the 2 Chicks. What’s next? Our #1095Days project is taking shape.  The first book is due out in early 2020.

Please vote for 2 Chicks and a Pen – with your support, we can reach further and inspire more!

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awareness

Hope Over Heartache

Hope and heartache go together like ketchup and mustard, tacos and tequila, or chocolate and peanut butter.

Hope and heartache follow one through most, if not all stages of life. For me in the past year, I have seen far more heartaches than I should have but somehow found hope in the midst of the chaos.

One afternoon, after having an off morning, I grabbed some coffee with a friend. Not a planned event, just an opportunity that came about. A little coffee, some giggles and then a blog post. That’s right a blog post was like a shot of caramel in my coffee.

Sometimes I get the itch to write or type at inopportune times, but I flex to get it done. My inspiration is normally whimsical to an extent but my content is normally heartfelt and full of hope at the root or the end of the story.  A signature of sorts for this Chick. And with that I decided to blog about hope and heartache. Mainly because some like to read the good stuff. The juicy gossip. The tall tales or even the sweat stories I write.

Today’s post is a little different. It’s somewhat about life’s turbulent times. Life lessons. Speed bumps. Hurdles. We all have different versions of life’s blah moments.

It’s a choice for me. I choose to find hope instead of dwelling on the heartache of negative situations. It works for me. I like to reframe and bend and flex with life’s ups and downs.

The past few months, my life has definitely had some curve balls and some struggles. Through the days I followed my heart, I settled my mind, and I focused on the hope of a new day or a new beginning.

A restart button of sorts. Only time could allow this to happen and no specified time was known. For me that is like tackling the impossible. Not knowing the end game. Not knowing what’s next. Not knowing how long or how much.

Another person close to me was in the same situation. Not knowing what’s next. We can call them growing pains. Not knowing how to hit the restart button. They needed time to sort through the weeds to find the wisdom. The path. The path less traveled because it’s not an easy path.

As the days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, hope faded. Hope didn’t disappear, it faded. It took strength to endure the unknown in one area but that same fading allowed for sunshine to illuminate a path not visible to others. You see, sometimes giving up control to gain control is what is most needed in challenging life situations.

We can’t control or anticipate everything but we can control our emotions. How we react to uncomfortable situations, challenging people, and negativity. We choose each day to be happy and see hope or dwell on heartache and anger. What do you choose daily?

Trust me, some days are harder than others. Some days I need a friend to take my volume down a notch and other days I need to practice my patience muscles. Part of my mind balance is to stay fit. Keeping my body and mind stimulated is a must in my weekly routine.

With my mind balance, I choose daily to be around people and environments that  not only challenge me but inspire me. I reduce the negatives and walk away from individuals who wear anger and heartache on their chest daily.  I seek out those who need a pick-me-up. I seek the isolated individual who may have faded hope. I aim to help them see hope through their eyes.

As I write this post today it is my hope that somebody reading this can feel hopeful in whatever circumstance may be challenging them at the moment. Everyone has a battle of some sort in front of them. Most won’t see it daily.

Until next time, choose happy. Offer hope. Make a difference.

hustle

Round 2 it is…

 

 

Well, I made it 1/2 way through the OPEN! I am still breathing, but I definitely feel some aches this week!

Week three I got to hit the RX button again. How exciting that is for me. A step up of sorts or maybe more like 50 box step-ups weighted with 35 pounds after a grueling 200 feet of single arm weighted overhead lunges. Can you feel the burn in your buttocks as you read this? Could you imagine dropping a 35-pound dumbbell on your head at 6:30am? I almost did that when my weaker left arm said one more rep was one too many!

It was a cold Friday morning when I made my first attempt at the 19.3 workout. I had a goal to make it to the third movement noted as the wall for strict handstand push-ups. I fell 3 reps short and didn’t make the wall. Do I do it again?

Of course! Round 2 it is for this girl. The OPEN is about pushing yourself. Testing your limits. If I didn’t make a second attempt I would just be settling. It may only be 3 extra reps but that’s 3 extra moves to my finish line. My finish line matters to me. Now there is a bit of an irony with the wall. I have never completed a strict handstand push-up therefore I may never get one rep on I the wall but I have to try.

I want to make it to the wall for handstand push-ups. I don’t want to hit a virtual wall in my mind. The only way to avoid the virtual wall is to saddle up and get after round 2.

Fast forward to Sunday. The box vibe is different. My muscles are still achy to an extent. My mind is pre-occupied with parenting things but sometimes a hard workout is just the thing for me to balance my life’s craziness. Off I go….

My legs were tight as I stretched for sure. I was super anxious. I had to run to the girls room like three times before I started. Maybe my weight belt was squeezing the nerves out of me!

The countdown begins and the pain starts with the first lift up. My core was a lot more wobbly on my lunges and I had to compensate with my dominant arm for more lunges fatiguing me differently than round one. I made it to the box. And boy did those step-ups suck on round 2. 10-20-25….1/2 way there says Damian. Don’t put that weight down. Keep stepping. Breathe. Push. Am I there yet? I said to myself. Nope!

Those steps seemed like they would never end. I hear Tasha say “10 more Tink Tink” and I literally forced my way through those last few. 9 minutes 18 seconds. On to the wall! I made it to the wall.

I can’t breathe, let alone kick up to a handstand. Okay I get up. And bend my arms to decline but not far enough. I’m gassed. One more attempt. I didn’t get one handstand push-up but I gave a valiant effort. On a positive note, at least I didn’t land on my head.

The picture below shows me hovering at the wall post wod. 19.3 didn’t kill me but my second attempt let me get to the wall. Crossfit definitely feeds my appetite to become stronger physically and mentally.

Until next post people, stay happy and healthy.

fitness and nutrition, hustle

19:51

It’s not military time, it’s the finish time for my completed 19.2 CrossFit OPEN scaled workout.

I finished it.

It may seem simple but I battled to finish. I may have secretly wanted to finish but didn’t say it out loud. I was just hopeful to make it to the last of five rounds and do one rep. Well I ended up doing 82 reps in that round. Talk about exceeding your own expectations! A timed workout that expands as you level up. 4 minutes levels up to 8 minutes then 12 minutes and 16 minutes when you are firing on all cylinders. Then that’s when the SHIT gets real. From minutes 16-20 you have to be all in to finish. I never reached the end before in one of these challenge workouts but today I did. #goalgetter

I had an amazing judge/motivator, Damion from my box. He helped me chip away with manageable rep schemes and then pushed me when I didn’t think I could push anymore. My success did not come alone. I had a guide/lucky charm and his name was Damion.

I didn’t look pretty doing it either. Sweat was dripping. Facial expressions were horrific. There may have been some screams of agony. And I’m pretty sure everyone behind me saw straight through my pants in the rear end when I squatted low. No ripped pants but pretty sure I mooned or shared a little more than my panty lines with people unintentionally.

All that pacing mentioned above helped in the final stretch. I had a few minutes banked for my last squat cleans and I needed every second. My former one rep max was 125 pounds on a squat clean yet today I had to finish 7 of them at 135 while fatigued.

Seemed impossible but when you look up and hear your fellow box mates cheering you on you find a way to push through. 9 seconds left and I did it. I hit one of my most proudest gym moments.

Tired? Yes. Feeling accomplished? Yes. In shock? Yes. Many emotions but thankful for all the ups, downs and in-betweens the past few years as I have been training.

I may not be at the top of the OPEN leaderboard but I am on top of my personal leaderboard. I strive for improvement each day and each week. Today is a celebration of the time investment I have made in myself.

I am a thick girl but a strong girl. My mind is strong, my muscles are visible and my drive is uncompromised. I hope everyone can push themselves at their own level to feel the sense of accomplishment I did today. It’s hard to put into words. It’s a rush.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better I received texts and personal comments and high fives at the end and throughout the day. The feelings of accomplishment flowed continually that day. People noticing your efforts and expressing their praise is a big fat cherry on top for me. I am so thankful for my box and box mates.

This year I also attended Friday Night Lights at my box and what a rush that was. I got to cheer on many athletes as they endured their OPEN WODs and then there was a grand finale. I got to watch the amazing Alex Johnson absolutely smash his OPEN 19.2 Rx workout. It was amazing to watch his methods, his approach and his drive to finish. This guy is one to watch and I am lucky to share the same box as him to train.

Cheers to all who did 19.2 and all those who are stepping off the couch for the first time. It’s your race your way. Just do it.

I’ll be back with more OPEN updates next week as 19.3 is right around the corner.

fitness and nutrition

The Difference Between Simple and Easy

I hit another milestone number on the scale today.

Today I weigh the same as I did when I got married.  Just shy of seventeen years later.  I am sure my weight went straight up just after the wedding, and I haven’t seen this number since.

Is my body the same?  No. Pregnancy and many other things have happened since then, not to mention just a lot of time being very overweight which leaves its mark.  But I’m working on shaping this body into the best it can be right now.

This was also the weight I randomly put into myfitnesspal when I started tracking last year.  I had to choose something, and 185 seemed good enough.  I don’t really know if I ever thought I would get there. Goals are not my strong point.

This week I’ll think about a new number and other goals.  I’ll try to be more mindful about it. But in the mean time…a quick reflection on one thing I have noticed lately.

As I’ve gotten further into tracking, my eating has gotten simpler and simpler.  My shopping list has gotten shorter and shorter.

Basically, most weeks look like this:

-Chicken (lots – ground / boneless skinless breast / tenderloins / rotisserie)

-Lean ground beef

-Vegetables for roasting (butternut squash, brussels sprouts, broccoli, onion, etc.)

-Yogurt – low to no fat, high protein

-Creamer

-Lowfat Cheese

-Sparkling water

-Then, if I need to replenish: extra thin corn tortillas, garlic & seasoning, carbs like PopCorners or Captain Crunch (yes, you read that right!), Fairlife milk,  protein shakes Yasso bars, etc. These are more accessories than essentials.

Sunday morning meal prep starts with roasting a huge pan of vegetables (see above).  I make my Mike Nuggets for my whole week’s lunches. Then I make one or two other varieties of chicken – crock pot fajitas, Mason’s Naked Tenders (great for the girl who chronically overcooks chicken), etc.  I also cook some ground beef to season as needed.

Most dinners during the week are just measuring and assembling these building blocks.  Veggies, meat, maybe some cheese if it works with my numbers (although my numbers are pretty much the same each day when I get to dinner, unless I am super hungry in the afternoon and have half an ace bar.) Nothing too fancy.  If I go out I have Chick-fil-a or Zoe’s Kitchen or an omelet with veggies and wheat toast, butter on the side.  End of story, most of the time.

Is it simple?  Yes.

Is it easy? No.

Simple and easy are very different things, I’m realizing.  I used to think they were synonymous.

Simple is keeping the moving parts minimal.  Staying in a routine.  Welcoming boredom, even.  Leaving little room to think about it. Deciding to stick with the plan.

Easy is more about effort and choice, I think.  I still pack my same breakfasts and lunches every. single. day.  Simple.  But, it would be easy to hit the drive-thru on the way to work. It would be easy to indulge in the staggering amount of food – mostly fat and carbs – I am offered working at my school in a given week, and have to resist.  (Someday I will blog about that.)  It would be easy to take it slow on Sunday mornings instead of cranking up the oven and meal-prepping like mad. It would be easy to drive-thru (again) in one of the hundred restaurants I pass when I am hungry on my way home. It would be easy to grab a beer when I am stressed or frustrated or anxious. It would be easy to sleep in or skip the gym when I have it scheduled but I’m tired.

All these things are easy but, ultimately, they make life more complicated. They distract me from my goals.

Will doing what’s simple most of the time ever come easy?  I have to think so. I am getting closer to seeing food as fuel and not entertainment or comfort. The gym is hard for me to resist unless I simply cannot make it.  Still, I am not always successful at resisting what is easy.  Sometimes I give in and just do what’s right in front of me, even if it goes against what I am trying to accomplish in the long run.  But I am working on it. Until then, I’ll simply choose the harder path as often as I can.  And set a new goal to shoot for, so I can earn my confetti again.

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