adventure, fitness and nutrition

I Took the Plunge

I signed up for my first triathlon. It’s a pretty big deal in my mind. A challenge I have never done and a test of my fitness at a different level.

Those of you who follow my writings know I am an avid CrossFitter. I also supplement my weekly CrossFit regimen with trainings for events or competitions of sorts.

I have done some 5k’s, 10k’s, 15k’s, a half marathon along with the odd runs. The color run. The mud run. The bubble run. The jail break run. The terrain race. The obstacle-type adventures definitely make the runs a little more fun and a little less boring. They all fill a spot on my calendar. So do CrossFit competitions and the CrossFit Open. Each year I challenge myself and this year is no different. Good thing I got this badass bling holder to hang onto all my keepsake medals or badges of honor!

500m swim with a grand entrance via water slide into the river. I am pretty excited about this feature. Onto a 12-mile bike ride on a road bike that I have yet to procure. Wrapping up with a 5k run on a relatively flat course. Did I mention this was in the heat of July?

Nonetheless the planning has begun or it’s been in the works before I even knew I would sign up. I started my 2020 mileage goal back on 1/1/20 and since then I have done a lot of biking on my stationary bike erg. Over 500 miles of training to be exact so I am confident I will have no issue with the bike portion.

The 5k I should be able to handle as well given my race history the past year however I have been told it’s a grueling run because your legs will be toast from the swim and bike ride. I will soon find out my fate.

And then there is the part I must work hard to train for. A 500-meter swim. I can swim but I’m no superstar. I’m definitely not conditioned to swim. Rather I am a recreational swimmer who takes a lap here and there. Time to buckle down and establish a training plan.

Off I go to work on my overall strength, endurance and positive mind set as I take on a new challenge. My first triathlon. You will be lucky enough to have a front row seat in my journey via this blog.

Gotta go find that perfect road bike stat. Can’t ride without a bike and my beach bike just won’t cut it for this event. Time to power up mentally, physically and emotionally. Wonder if I will have any buddies join me this year.

As a footnote to this post: I often write my posts and sit on them for some period of time before they go online. Maybe I need to finish my thought. Maybe I need to think about how one will view it. So many emotions.

For this post I think to myself, how important is it for me to post? It’s very important because in these uncertain times we see to look ahead and see what is possible when most things seem impossible. Today I’m investing in a new bike. I could go online and buy one on Craigslist or another online site and get a good deal. I’m opting to run to the local bike shop pay a little more and know I did my part to stimulate the economy and help another small business out.

I can ride my bike and socially distance myself while getting some exercise and training for an upcoming event. I hope this post makes you think about what you can do on your end while we face uncertainty in our lives.

There it is. My shiny new red ride. Together we will be knocking out some miles in 2020 together. Just me, the bike, some sweet tunes and a little pavement. #first10miles

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).

adventure

Relax Was All She Typed

RELAX!

The one word received by text before I left the country for vacation in the beautiful island of St. Maarten. “Relax”

 How that word sat with me on the plane ride to my destination and beyond. Relax. 

How does a high strung, fast moving girl really relax? Is it possible? The questions that ran through my mind. The soul searching that would happen over the next few days as I figured out if I am capable of relaxing and what relaxing really feels like.

Routine went out the window first thing. No up early to workout. This was a first change of routine in over 4 years. Is this relaxing or was I stressed because I was breaking my routine? I did a shoulder shrug to myself repeatedly when I thought about this change.  Instead of working out hard core, I opted for a casual walk to a quaint little bakery kiosk where I was greeted by a bubbly island girl each morning. A creature of habit, I ordered the same thing each day. A plain but buttery croissant and a jug of orange juice. Both of these are not normal items I would have in the morning or in general but this week was about doing things differently. I was choosing to select differently while on vacation. Maybe not the best choice for balancing carbs / fats / proteins, but for this vacation break I was not worrying about what time I was eating and so on. Just like I wasn’t worried about writing on my blog. I was “checked” out on island time.

Island time is interesting. Everything moves slowly. People are extra bubbly and social. It was easy for me to go to bed early and sleep late each day. I had nowhere to rush to. No deadlines to meet. No bosses to answer to.  I enjoyed the sunsets, the spectacular views, the fresh smells and the people of the island I was on. I had no reason to stress over technology, business or life. There was no rushing to sports practice, no to do list, no deadlines to meet, no bosses to answer to. It seemed there were smiles everywhere. Workers smiled and greeted you at every interaction. Guests were cordial even if there was a language barrier. Island life is definitely slow. It seems to take 2-3 hours for a meal. Food is fresh, service is slow but pleasant, atmosphere is always “happy.”

At last a relaxing time of do something, nothing or whatever strikes my fancy. I snorkeled, enjoyed fish and shipwrecks in the waters below, ate many varieties of food, tasted a new drink called “ting,” rode a horse in the ocean, enjoyed a massage, and met many friendly faces. A few notable friends are described below:

New York – A sweet and sassy woman from NY whom I shared giggles with on my snorkeling trip but then found out she stayed at my resort. We bumped into each other multiple times making us new friends. 

Nix – A bus driver that was a bit quirky. He didn’t smile much and had a long face. He said the word “WOW” a lot. His quirkiness was memorable and his driving skills were interesting to say the least.

The New Zealanders – An older couple I met on a tour. A whole day spent with strangers who had a funny accent but enjoyed learning about our cultures as much as we did theirs. They arrived by cruise ship, us by plane. A chance encounter but one that left many memories. I especially enjoyed eating lunch with these new friends while we learned so much about our different countries. Again, a chance encounter that was very insightful.

John – A taxi cab driver turned tour guide. He picked us up in town at random for a ride back to the resort. He shared his cooler of drinks and gave us his card for his side hustle (tour guide). We booked a tour with the kind gentleman and spent another full day learning about the island from him. His charm, his humor, and his knowledge was a big part of our trip memories.

The cookie man – There is a cookie man and he works in a cheese shop. It may sound weird but he serves the freshest almond paste cookies at the cheese shop when you check out. These cookies were so amazing we went back for more a few days later. He was all out but he offered to make a special batch the next day. We couldn’t wait. We went back out of our way to meet the cookie man at the cheese shop to buy tons of cookies to bring home for our families. Do you think any actually made it home?

AJ – The jeweler, the joker, the hard worker. The friendliest jeweler in town. Oh, how he added to my memories this week. AJ was another chance encounter. I met a wonderful older lady on my plane ride to the island. She had been visiting this island for years and mentioned I should visit AJ should I desire any jewelry this trip. Of course I had to check out AJ and see what all the hype was about.

As you can see from the post above, I relaxed and enjoyed my island vacation, but more importantly I met new people. The kind souls that made my memories will be forever cherished. Some I will never see again, while others I hope to see sometime in the future should I make it back to this island. I never set out to meet new people nor did I have a specific goal in mind for my trip. In the end I had a great time and have an awesome memory book of the time spent on St. Maartin.

My travel time was just right. Enough time to enjoy the relaxing life yet not too long to miss out on all that requires my time on the daily on the home front. I am thankful for many things after this week. Too many to list. As thanksgiving has recently past, I will just say I am thankful for the “relax” text as it set The tone for my week. Thank you, Kim, for the one word text! I appreciate you.

My vacation time was spent on the friendly island of St. Maarten. I spent most of my time on the Dutch side, however I did visit the French side as well as visit Anguilla and Prickly Pear on the British side. I highly recommend travel to St. Maarten and I encourage you to fly a big airline vs. a discount airline. If you make it there be sure to visit the beach by the airport to watch the planes land. It is definitely an experience.

I am leaving you with a few snapshots of my trip. It is my hope that you find some peace in the tranquil pictures. They are meant to spur thought of relaxation and happiness.

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adventure, balance, Teddie Aspen

Neglected

Neglected is the word that comes to mind when I think of this blog site in the last 30 days.

As I shake my head in disappointment, I actually remind myself that I was busy making memories and just didn’t have a free moment to share the glimpses of these memories with the world. A temporary state of course, which means I will most likely be posting repeatedly in the coming weeks and months to ensure this blog moves into an elevated status instead of a neglected status.

This blog isn’t always about life but sometimes it is. Life for me is good, but hectic. The holidays are upon us which add chaos to any family, but I definitely had a busy six weeks or so full of personal and professional travel. Stay tuned for updates via the blog.

On top of the above, I welcomed the cutest little bundle of joy to my family. Not a baby, well maybe a baby. My baby. The cutest little Golden Doodle puppy who answers to the fabulous name of Teddie Aspen. Since a picture is worth a thousand words I am going to leave you with a few of my favorite pics of Teddie. I am warning you I will probably post many, many more through the year as I document training and other puppy stuff under the Teddie Aspen header.

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adventure, dare to be different, friendship

PJ Party Surprise!

I absolutely could not wait to write this post. For one, it’s amazing and I haven’t even started writing it yet. Doesn’t the picture below indicate an amazing story is forthcoming?

How can this story be so amazing and I am just about to start it? I lived it. I experienced the fun. The crazy. The spontaneity. The friendships. And now I can’t wait to tell the world about it.

It all started with a simple idea. A PJ party. A onesies PJ party to be exact. That morphed into who will have the funniest onesie. Some borrowed. Some new. Some old ones in the mix. Didn’t matter, they were all unique.

A day late on the party but that didn’t matter. There were 2 dragons, 1 fox, a frog, a giraffe, an elephant, a snowman, and a couple I can’t recall. Doesn’t really matter we all dressed up in onesies for fun. And oh, what fun we would have. Everyone played along. They all dressed up. What a sight.

Amidst it all, a surprise was lurking. A “joke’s on me” kind of surprise. An unexpected event. A KT’s bad idea club. They even had t-shirts made. What in the heck. I can’t make this up. My group of fun, fit and fabulous friends were the best at concocting an epic event that I was completely unaware of. They even had an unveiling party within the PJ party.

This crazy crew said my bad idea (marathon adventure) warranted a club. KT’s Bad Idea Club to be exact. The Bad Idea Club guarantees amazing memories. Ha, it sure did on this adventure.

This crazy crew opted for beach photos in the onesies. That was a sight to see in itself. From the strangers giggling as they took our group photo to the comical poses we created in our onesies. As my friend Sarah said, “if you’ve never been to the beach in a onesie, do it pronto.”

I wish I could tell you everything but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, thus I will leave you with a few pics to close out this post.

You can imagine how awesome our beach/onesie adventure was.

Be sure to read all three posts from my marathon series. They are linked but different. I encourage you to read them all for a full visual of the weekend’s adventures.

adventure, celebrations

Dropping Off the Edge

Historic Banning Mills - 2019-09-01-14-02-50-000-1wfrj

There were always a hundred reasons not to do it.

I’m too busy.

It’s too far away.

But really, the one that held me back was:

I am over the 250-pound weight limit for women.

This is also what kept me from Roller Coasters, Skydiving, Hang Gliding, Canoeing, etc.  (Watch for future posts on these…)

It was only a couple of years ago that I crossed that 250 threshold.  Now I am well under it, no looking back.

So, here I am, making my way through the year of fearless.   How can I embrace it, without having to travel too far? Ziplining at Banning Mills. 

I bought our tickets the night before. Just to be sure I couldn’t chicken out.  I chose the 2 Springs source, since it had fewer bridges (much scarier to me, in thought!)

Made the drive, donned the gear, took the class, then we set out.  No time to be afraid with just the three of us in our group.  We lucked out, the other course had 30 people! Lots of waiting on high platforms.  Lots of time to get worked up.  Not us.

I climbed and my breath quickened – not so much from the tower as from the fear.  Every single time, left hand on the pulley, right on the rope. Watch for the hand signal to slow down.  Then reach your hand around and press on the line.  Careful not to press too hard or you will dislocate your shoulder. Yikes!

I got to the top.  The two teens just soared right off the platform. Effortless. Then it was my turn…. I didn’t jump.  I kind of crouched and leaned forward, forward, forward.  Just barely almost sliding falling off the ledge.  And I just let go and trusted and flew.

The second one was a little bit better, but not much.  Before each of the twenty-something lines, I had to repeat those steps. Left hand, right hand, drop.  And I had to slow down, feeling the glove get hot from the friction was scary.  Feeling my shoulder pull was nerve-wracking.  But I finally got the hang of it.  Finally, up 150 stairs and down at 65 miles per hour over a lake.

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Did we want to do the extra lines at the end of the course?  Sure. Every line had a name and a story – some funny, some likely made up, some sad or puzzling. The line named Secret, one of the last ones we rode, sent us flying high over a beautiful flowing stream. Very few people make it to that line (our guide said he had been on it with guests maybe 5 times over a few years), which explains the name. I was able to relax a little and enjoy the view.  On our last line, our guide even had me jump off the platform backwards.  What a ride.

For so many years, I wore my weight as an excuse. It’s ironic that the bigger you are, the easier it is to hide.  It’s like an invisibility cloak.  It protected me from many things, including some adventures like this.

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Of course, it’s more complicated than that.  Only part of what kept me unhealthy for so long.  But I am determined to embrace reckless, crazy, over-the-top or off-the-edge adventures as often as I can from now on.

Some don’t even make it past the first line, the guides said.  But, I kept following the steps, holding my breath, and stepping off with trust.  I was free and flying and not out of place.  I put all my weight on it and the line still held.  There is value in facing the fear, sitting down into it and just letting go.

 

adventure, family

On the Move

Life is full of adventures. With me, you never know which road I am going to take or which path. That’s what makes me special. Just when you think you know my patterns, I will change things up.

I beat to my own drum, as my Mom would say. I find the road less traveled interesting. What scares some excites me.

I am on the move. Changing my scenery. My front yard. My back yard. The four walls of my home are changing. Going back to the basics. I hear my oldest brother in the background saying “What are you a gypsy? Moving again?” Just living my best life, I reply. I can live big or I can live small or anything in between. Some choose to stay in one fixed place for their life. Not me. I am on the move!

I am trading in the nice house in the prestigious suburban planned community for a more quaint home on a decent-sized plot of land. A little more privacy. A little less home owners association rules. A few more birds chirping. And lot less cleaning to do.

Thank you Zillow for the hours and hours of entertainment from the convenience of my comfy couch. I feel I am an HGTV expert and I know love bathrooms, kitchens, renovations and the endless possibilities of revitalizing the old into the new.

A shock to some. A little peace to me. Happy to have supportive folks around me, crazy enough to ride my waves of change and live the excitement life can offer when you take chances.

Burning the candle at both ends they say. Early morning workouts (can’t miss), long work days (can’t miss) and then move, move, move. Lots of heavy lifting. Lots of shifting. Where to put things? How to re-organize life inside my four walls. Exciting and challenging all at the same time.

I opted to move myself. My family is a well-oiled machine. We band together to get things done when needed. Our time frame. Our labor. Our budget. This process is definitely not easy but I am happy with the progress. My body, on the other hand, is beginning to think I am a bit crazy for the torture it is going through currently, but like all things this phase will soon pass.

Started to add the personal touches to make the house a home. I even did my first DIY project: I chalked a mirror that didn’t fit into my new space as it did in the old one. Pretty fun project. Very simple and cheap ($7 can of spray paint). The outcome was better than expected since I am not super crafty. The cool thing about this piece is its purpose. A welcome board. A sign-in space of sorts. An autograph board. A leave-a-positive-message place. So many uses. One tiny investment. A piece of renewable art within the house that can be forever changing. Need some color pop? Just change the color of the chalk. It’s the little things that make me smile.

Living my best life today. Keeping my perspective fresh. Stay tuned for updates on the dreadful moving process and upcoming DIY projects that are on the horizon. The awful stress of selling a home and having strangers trample through your house is happening at the same time. Not to mention your home is showcased online showing all your personal space.

Oh the comments people make on this or that. When you sell a house that is used, it’s normally lived in. Therefore the process of selling is annoying. Your house is supposed to be perfect yet lived in. Talk about an irony. Add kids, a busy life, and and and…

I figure why not write about it. I am an open book anyway.

Enjoy my rants.