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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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.

fitness and nutrition, friendship

I Came for the Cocoa

Seriously, I came for the hot chocolate and the swag bag that has a sweet jacket inside proving I participated. A jacket I have been eying for a few years now.  Unfortunately, I just never got any takers on completing the event with me, until this year. So excited to have earned my jacket. Thankful I get to share the adventure with some amazing people.

Participate in what you ask? The Hot Chocolate 15k road race in Atlanta, GA on a cold day in February. 02-02-2020 to be exact. When I say cold, the temp was a mere 33 degrees. It did warm up tad bit during the race for me to shed a few layers but of course the 60-degree temps didn’t hit until well after the race was over!

The random fun fact about the date of the race is it’s the same forward as it is backwards. Pretty freaky. I can’t take credit for the fun fact as my friend Sarah gave me the heads up on it. Even funnier is I finished the race in 2 hours and 2 mins…which is the the date (2/2). Crazy if you ask me, but also confirmation that I was in the right place with the right people.

We are a little over ten people deep for the event. A few newbies and a few who ran the half marathon a few months back. None of us are true runners per se but we get the job done. We cross the finish line at our pace.

Our pre-race list included some self preparation in the cardio endurance arena vs. traditional running due to the elements outside and maybe a bit of laziness. It also included outfit planning of course. Then there was the bib pick-up. The carpool. The porta-potties. And who can forget the group text messages up until bedtime the night before.

What corral are you in? F: well then many chime in with words that begin with f. Frigid. Frightening. Fucked. Flatulence. Hopefully you get the gist. Another is in c and the process repeats. Catastrophic. Cute. Cuddly. Comatose. And so on. Sounds dumb but it got everyone giggling before bed.

Sleepless. Anxious. Ready. Those are a few of the words I heard as night fell and the runners entered their sleep stage. And I caught the bug of no sleep. Finally falling asleep at 2:30 am.

I’m up about at 4:00 am and definitely tired. Met up with a group a crazy friends ready to conquer the course and the cold all while sporting flashy tutus and stylish tank tops. This is not only an athletic group of crazy women but a crafty group. One made the tutus while another made the shirts. The rest of just showed up😂.

Not expecting a great run time due to the elements, but that was never the goal for me. The goal was crossing the finish line with friends. Tackling another event that many won’t even attempt. Checking off an adventure in another month of 2020. Adding some miles to the mileage log for my lofty 2020 goal. Starting my birthday month off with fitness, friends and fun. And how cool is it that I finished in 2 hours and 2 minutes on 2/2/20.

Good fun. Amazing friends. Tons of memories. And another race adventure that I can say I did with my oldest son. This might be one of the greatest things to celebrate. Staying fit with my people always puts a smile on my face.

Another great bonus of this race is the snack pack at the end. A warm cup of hot cocoa, marshmallow, pretzels, hot melted chocolate, and some other sweet treats. A great way to end a cold morning.

This race was also dedicated to a very special person in my life who is knocking on death’s door. May our strength in the race be channeled to him as he finds his peaceful resting time / place. What a great tribute idea from one of my good friends and adventure buddies. #buddy❤️

 

fitness and nutrition, friendship

Just Show Up and Jump In

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“Our third teammate unexpectedly dropped out at the last minute with a sick kid.  Can anyone make it?”

A post to our gym community in the wee hours of a December Saturday morning.  I thought about it, but plans were already in motion for a day of chasing my daughter and her friends as they volunteered to help with a younger girls’ lacrosse team.  I sent my good wishes…hope someone can step in!

Then the text came in, just to me:  “Can you do the comp today and then come get the girls?”

A pause.  A stomach clench. My only job was transporting my kid and her friends and and now a friend was offering to take all that over so I could help on the team.  So how could I say no?  More stomach clench, I texted back.

“Ummmmm ok.  If that’s the best solution.”

(Inner voice of doubt saying:  “There must be a better solution!”)

From that moment, the whole day took a turn.  What are the workouts?  Do I need a shirt? I was already on the way to the gym…thank goodness I wore black shorts.

I turned the car around to head toward the competition site. The doubting voice crept in again…I haven’t eaten well!  How many burpees?? One rep max complex?!? I haven’t showered and shaved! I can’t do those weights!  I haven’t practiced!

WHAT. HAVE. I. DONE?!?!?!

Well, I was helping friends. I could do at least something and I would give my best. Just show up and jump in, I told myself.  Just show up and jump in. Every time I wanted to turn the car around, I’d tell the doubting voice to pipe down. Just show up and jump in.

And so, I got there about 15 minutes before the first workout.  Quick chat. Waited in the bathroom line, switched shirts, did a few stretches and bam, jumped in and competed.  Looking back now, it is awesome to be fit enough to just get there and give it a go.  Granted, I couldn’t lift as heavily as I would have liked to, but I jumped in and did what I could.  My two Ginger Thruster teammates did the heavy lifting, and lift they did! It was awesome to watch and be a part of.

By the time our first workout was over, some people were just seeing the early morning SOS post.  My friend Milagros asked if I needed anything – extra coffee and water, really.  She showed up with all that, plus some snacks and some needed encouragement.  Another part of the network coming together to solve a need.

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We pushed ourselves. We laughed a lot.  We fought for all the reps, strained for every pound.  I’ve never done so many jumping pull-ups in my life. It was a great day.

One great thing about this competition is they have a box member who is an amazing photographer, Davison Wheeler.  He generously shared nearly a thousand photos of the day, including the ones in this post.  It’s equal parts amazing and humbling to look at the people competing – their stamina, their strength, their skill.  When scroll through to find I the pictures of me, what I noticed is that I am often cheering for my teammates.  I may not be able to lift a huge number of pounds, but I try to lift spirits when I can.

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And a lot of that comes from just showing up and jumping in.

 

 

 

 

fitness and nutrition

Dealing with Detours

One recent afternoon, I went on a hike with a good friend.  The trail had very few signs or markings (which drives this librarian crazy), but thankfully she had an app to help us stay on track. Even still, a number of times we went down what we thought was the right path, only to find ourselves backtracking and winding our way back to the real path that led us to our goal. Thankfully, I was with a friend and we weren’t too pressed for time, so the detours weren’t too worrisome.

But detours aren’t always like that in life.

As I wrote about a while ago, learning how to do toes-to-bar was one of my most exciting moments as a CrossFitter. I have to say, putting on my hand grips and kicking up to that bar made me feel like a rock star.  I could do 20, 40, even 70 during a workout.  Sure, it was one. at. a. time. But I would just keep setting, jumping to the bar, kicking up, and *bing* hitting the bar.  So satisfying!

I almost couldn’t wait for last fall’s CrossFit Open to come around, just because I could do this new Rx-level movement that would likely be in one of the workouts.

So, you can imagine my disappointment to learn that for my toes-to-bar to count in the Open, I had to start from a hang instead of my usual jump. When the movement came up, I spent over 15 minutes trying to put one together, but I didn’t get it. I was close to crying, my hands ripped to shreds.  I didn’t give up but I sure did feel defeated.

After the Open, I kept doing toes-to-bar my way during our every day workouts.  Then, I talked to the coaches and they gave me some movements to do that would get me closer to doing them the standard way. Of course, these movements don’t involve actually getting your toes up to the bar.  They are more about engaging the back muscles and swinging properly to eventually swing to the bar over and over again the right way.

I do these swinging knee raises, trying to get the rhythm, but it always feels like a step backward. I don’t like practicing them because I miss the satisfaction of watching my toes hit the bar.  Sometimes I just want to go back to doing it my way, the wrong way, just because I want that accomplishment I felt back again.

This is not the only skill I’m having to circle back, undo, and redo to get on the right path.  Jumping rope, skiing, snatches, so many things.  Heck, I don’t even breathe correctly.  That’s right, I’m even having to relearn breathing.  I’ve been working harder instead of smarter for a long time.

Still, it is mentally challenging to take the long way around to a goal, especially when you think you’ve made progress, even arrived.  It’s hard to unlearn habits.  It’s hard to be patient.  It’s hard to backtrack even if it means you eventually end up on the right path.  What to do?

Maybe, like the time this past weekend on a hike, I need to let go of the pressure of a deadline.  I can pass the detour time with friends.  I can just be patient as I make my way toward the goal, no matter how many or how long the detours may be.

In the mean time, I keep practicing and embracing the suck, er, the process as best I can.

 

 

fitness and nutrition, friendship

Mileage Madness

Just updating the world on my 2020 mileage challenge. So far, so good.

At the end of 2 full weeks I logged 147 miles or 8% of the 2,020 miles. Doesn’t seem like much but it is all extra work. The miles are in addition to my normal daily training. I fit them in where I can.

I arrive early some days for a couple of miles. I stay late when I can for a few more. I add some longer stretches at home when my schedule allows. I’m getting it done and so are my friends.

I have 3 races booked so far for 2020. A 15k in February, a 10k in May and a mud run in October. Just a fun way to get some miles away from the ordinary training locations.

Variety definitely helps keep the task at hand easier. One friend is splitting up her miles by category. 10% by rower, 10% run, 10% ski erg and so on. Why? For one, it’s harder. A mile on the rower or the ski erg take longer. Each may even seem more taxing than bike, but in small doses it’s not too bad.

Enter a group text message early Saturday morning with a 7-mile variety workout of sorts for a group challenge. It looked challenging yet I wanted to put in 11 miles that day so I adjusted the numbers to get me to 11 miles collectively. I said it’s not much more time. Hmmmm…

The above workout was now a reality. It took a while. Over an hour but it was manageable and I wasn’t exhausted after. Maybe my extra miles are helping me build endurance. I had a friend doing the work with me which always help to keep one moving.

I shared my update with the 2020 group and *boom* some brilliant member suggests we do it AGAIN tomorrow. Sunday. 5am. Who in their right mind wants to do that on a Sunday? The one day I can actually sleep in. WHAT? Have you lost your ever loving mind?

And people say I’m the head of the Bad Idea Club! Well, in this instance I said “wait, I’ll be there.” Why? Because I’m just as crazy as the others on the group chain.

It’s 4:30 am. It’s cold. I’m still tired. It’s laundry day so my favorite gym clothes are dirty. Do I even want to do this? I check to make sure my pals are up and moving because it would be a sick joke to wake me up this early for nothing. And I’m secretly hoping nobody replies! I sigh as two chirps got my phone.

It’s Kim and Mindy who are clearly up and ready to go go go. Guess I got to get going too. Off we go again to rack up another 11 miles, or 11 miles, 60 pushups and 90 sit-ups to be exact. Will I have a better finish time? I doubt it. It’s at 5am and I will barely be awake. Now I have to figure out who I can get to drag themselves out of bed so we can be miserable together. Picture proof below.

6 souls rose in the 4 am hour to meet at the gym for a 5 am start. Over an hour of hard work. Running in the dark and cold. Cheering each other on. We even had a cheerleader there snapping pictures.

Bike, ski, row, run, push up then sit up over and over again. We did it!

Off to work the nurse goes. Off to the grocery store three others go as it’s meal prep day. One rushes out before the hubs wakes up and one just vanishes into the darkness.

Another day. Another 11 miles. A little closer to the end goal. A whole lot of fitness. A great time with wonderful women I call friends. Fitness can actually be fun if you make it fun with friends.

fitness and nutrition, friendship, healthy hacks

Monday Madness

Today’s post isn’t about a lot of words or wisdom. Rather it’s about practical and useful knowledge.

My day started like most: walking the dog and hitting the box for a sweat session. A little koala challenge to put my Monday in high gear with my gal pal Tashi. Maybe I will describe what a koala challenge is in another post.

Then the average ordinary case of the Mondays set in. It’s a not-so-fabulous word used to describe a Monday: WORK. How do you attack a Monday when it’s rainy and blah? Here’s a nice hack for you:

BUT FIRST COFFEE. And not just any cup of coffee. A protein-packed coffee that is good for your macros. You get the sweet taste and the caffeine but without the calories and creamer you get at the big coffee chains. And most likely you are saving a few bucks.

The hack is a brewed cup of your favorite coffee. Add your favorite protein, mine is, of course, Salted Caramel from Teamkattouf Nutrition. I may be partial just because they list KAT on their tub and those are my initials. Then all you have to do is grab your handy dandy frother and get to work. Actually it’s no work at all.

This little hack can turn a sour Monday into a productive day. Of course it can do the trick any other day as well. Hope you enjoyed my coffee hack this morning.

This post is dedicated to my friend Kim who taught me this trick a while back and let me sample her protein. Everyone needs a friend like Kim in their life.