fitness and nutrition, friendship

The Friendship Relays

Six women.  Seven o’clock. Early one Sunday morning.

Six different paces. Six different goals.

One had to be done in 50 minutes.  One wanted to run two miles.  One wanted to run six miles.  Others somewhere in between.

Most, but not all, preparing for a half marathon this fall. Several working on upping their speed.  Some working just to get (back) into running.

An out-and-back course. One endless hill – gentle slope on the way out, daunting mountain on the way back.

How do we do this, as a group?

Meeting early, we parked.  Everyone adjusted their respective technologies…mileage counters, music.  The fast group took off, three in number.  The wide, empty road with generous sidewalks meant we could see them for a long, long time as they took off at an ambitious clip.

One of us, at a moderate pace, moved right along brightly.

I was in the slow, steady tortoise pair with a friend.  We chatted the whole time.  Neither was overly winded.  And before we knew it, a mile had gone by – and then she said, “that’s the first time I’ve ever run a full mile without stopping.”

WHAT A VICTORY!  And I had no idea that was happening!  Such a great moment, and we could still keep going.

She was the two-miler this day, so we turned around and paced ourselves back up the hill.  Once she was back to the car, I took off down again, only to see the three hares flying up the hill together.  The 50-minute limit gal was in that group, and they made the most of it. Screams of KEEP GOING WE’RE ALMOST THERE as they were so close to running to the top! Inspiring!

I plodded down the hill, singing along to the Beastie Boys, Aretha Franklin, Ariana Grande, knowing we had a friend still out on the course.  Over a mile passed until I saw her.  She was working her way back up.  I pulled out my headphones to check in – so hot, it’s THICK out here, I said – then kept moving along toward my goal distance.

Turned back for home, finally. And all I could see was UP.  That hill looked SOOOO long.  I’d be going at it for a mile and a half (a while and a half!)  Endless. And even though I’ve been doing really well most days with just continuing to run, I stopped.

To walk.

And I was so mad at myself.  Just knowing the hill was so long, it was enough to make me walk.  Just for maybe 45 seconds.  Then back into running. Still, though. A mental setback.

One lonely moment.  Grudging, trudging entered my mind.

Then, I turned a corner only to see three figures in the distance, two in dark and one in bright, walking down the hill toward me.

It was the other three women still on the route.  Coming back for me.

In that moment, gears shifted.  Seeing them, I could have run for days.  My stride picked up.  I sang a little louder.  Moved a little faster.

We met and they turned and we finished together, telling stories and giggling.

It IS possible for everyone to meet their goals.  Even if the goals (and the gals) are wildly different.  Even if they seem incompatible.

It IS ok to “take the long way” or to double back “relay style” as part of your path, especially if it means more time with someone you enjoy.  Bonus points if you help them meet their goals, too.

It IS awesome to push yourself to keep up with those moving at a faster clip. Even those who seem the strongest, most invincible among us, have weak points of doubt or moments when they might feel like slowing down.  You could be the voice of encouragement at that moment!  Yes, YOU!

Even if you are done with your work, have met your goal, and completed your task, going back out to help the people still on the trail when you can is a beautiful show of support.  Being last can be challenging, even lonely, even if everyone’s goals are different at the start.  And then next time, when you have to begin again, or turn for home and all you can see is a great big pile of UP, that long hill climb might be a little less daunting, knowing you won’t be forgotten.

Six women. Six paces.  So many fluid groupings, lessons. Challenges faced, goals achieved.  All on one sunny Sunday morning.

 

 

celebrations, fitness and nutrition

3-year Anniversary

It’s hard to believe I’ve stuck with CrossFit for three years now. Three long years, but three of the best years. I c-e-l-e-b-r-a-t-e-d my CrossFiterversary this week. Whoo hoo!

Not only did I get in shape, I got stronger. Physically, mentally and emotionally, all of which are transferable skill sets. Ironically, I repeated my first CrossFit Open WOD, 17.1, this week. What a great way to visualize my progress. This time around I did box jumps instead of step-ups. This time I used 35# weights instead of 20#. This time I did more reps overall. Hard work does pay off. It’s not at all overnight success!

This week I also celebrated friendships. One person in particular I met on day one. We didn’t talk really. I was the newbie, he was the veteran. Time passed. Hard work was put in. Trust was built. Now we work out side by side, joke around daily, and pass time on weekends. That’s the community aspect of CrossFit. Good people working hard, building bonds over time. It definitely isn’t a cult. It is just like-minded people grinding together over and over and over. In time relationships bud and they tend to be solid. You see each other at your best and your worst and everything in between.

My lifting skills make doing yard work easy peasy. Need to put out 124 bags of pine mulch at home? No problem. My back can handle the bending, lifting and twisting. My stamina will keep me going and my energy level is that of a thoroughbred race horse.

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My mental gains are hard to quantify but I will share that my daily workouts which test almost every fiber of my body, mind and spirit give me foresight. The ability to see ahead and know mental strength gets you through the hard times. Mental strength can be developed. You can convince your mind you are capable of whatever task needs to be completed.

The community is like no other. Lawyers or doctors by day. Karate instructors or dancers by night. No matter the occupation most sweat the same. Most battle to complete the workouts. Friendship builds. Trusts builds. Comrades emerge. You can’t find that at a local bar or neighborhood for the most part, as one common denominator is missing. The love of fitness/CrossFit and that crazier-than-ever attitude that goes along with the box community.

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Add in some cool coaches, nice equipment, good programming and you get CrossFit Faded Glory. My home base box.

It’s been a journey for me to say the least. I started pushing PVC pipes before bars and dumbbells. Now I will stack those weights on for a heavy snatch or deadlift.

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I had to learn how to get my eating to complement my training. I had to find my routine. The routine that I could make work over and over again. It took time. Keto, paleo, macros, oh my.

I rise early. Before the sun rises. I fuel my soul for the day before my family even thinks about starting their day.

I get the blood pumping early. I laugh. I giggle. I sweat my ass off. I put in extra work. I get dirty. After it all I’m  ready to conquer whatever crazy comes my way in the day.

And trust me most days of my life involve some sort of crazy. Most I can’t type without offending people, but since my life deals with people there is bound to a mess at some point in each day because people are just messy. Emotional messes. Physically messy. And sometimes even all over place with messy attitudes and emotions. Hence my new vocabulary word: human cRapital…

Thank goodness I found CrossFit. The constantly varied workouts and challenges are a perfect fit for me. The crazier the better.

This past year as I reflected I noted inspiration as a key contributor in my journey. This year I was introduced to a gentleman named Jeremy who modifies his CrossFit workouts. He modifies them because he is in a wheelchair. Talk about amazing. He has brute strength, a big smile and a positive attitude. He grinds just like the rest of us. He sweats just like the rest of us. He doesn’t make excuses. He gets it done. I love watching him workout. It’s a true inspiration.

Then you look another direction and you see Big Brandon. The mammoth lifter in the box but with a heart of gold. Willing to spot you, laugh with you and most importantly teach you to get better. There are so many versions of beefcake Brandon in a box.

There are even the couples who sweat together. The aging couple working on their fitness to preserve themselves for their grandchildren. So inspiring they want to make me set a goal of the senior Olympics when I am older.

You could be the girl who waits a year to even step into the box. Thinking you don’t meet the athletic standard or fit. Then you try it and see success. Before you know it you lose 100 pounds and people want to know how.

Crossfit. Routine. Community. Hard work. Discipline. Again, why CrossFit is my thing.

So many stories that I can’t type them all. But the point is you can do CrossFit, too. No matter your shape or your size. You can start your journey and see where your path takes you.

I can’t wait to hit the five-year mark. Looking to stay injury-free and able to compete a few times a year in the sport I adore.

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Get out and get moving. Try a CrossFit class. Most boxes offer a free trial of some sort. CrossFit gyms are all over the world. And a snatch is same in the US as it is in Tokyo. A jerk is also translated the same from country to country.

As I wrap up this post, I almost didn’t post it. I said “three years is no big deal.” One year was a milestone. Two years equaled consistency. Three years was what?

Three years is the sign of true commitment. Committing to me. My health. My fitness. My achievements. My longevity. I can do more now and I know I have become more youthful. As crazy as that sounds I feel vibrant and young. Heck, I even compete with people in their teens and twenties. And in some instances I can keep up. What an accomplishment that is.

Cheers to another year of CrossFit for this fittish chick!

Can you find me in this sweaty handstand sandwich?

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fitness and nutrition

Train, Train, Train

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It all started in July, when I ran my best 10k time at the Peachtree Road Race on 7/4/19. I was bitten by the running bug…sort of?!?!?!

How can I get better? What’s my next goal? I really don’t enjoy running and I really don’t have a runner’s physique. Oh well, we will put these thick thighs to the test in a couple of months.

I got an invite to do a 1/2 marathon. Boom. I signed up. I asked a few friends to join in. Now it’s time to train, or pretend to be trained, by the starting gunshot.

I progressed with weekly walk/jogs on Sundays with whomever I could get to train with me and I added in some extra meters on the air runner at my box when I had time.

3 mile run/walk on a stretch of road with gym buddies. 6 mile walk with the girls. 5 mile pacer in the park. Sundays at 7am are now my training runs. So many miles. Sprints were tossed in as well as some time on the air runner. Hoping to get better form and a better pace. Not to mention looking for longer stretches of mileage without taking a break.

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Two new pairs of shoes. Nike Air Pegasus 35’s which I ran the Peachtree in and Nike Zoom Romero with a little more cushion. I was told to alternate them in my training so I could decide which one I liked the most and then the one pair wouldn’t be worn out. Wonder which ones will make the cut for race day?!?!

So far I’m voting for the Air Pegasus but time will tell.

I like shoes and Nike shoes might be an addiction so I won’t complain about buying another pair. Maybe the Pegasus 36’s. We shall see.

I almost forgot, I got a sweet note from one of my training partners this week. It was a great way to celebrate the the training journey with a friend. See the photo for a glimpse of my note.

I’ll try to post each month on my training progress. Stay tuned.

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fitness and nutrition

New Fitness Tricks from Chick 2

Sometimes progress is hardly noticeable.  Other times we make giant leaps forward.

Whether it’s a time of strides or just moving along, I keep showing up as often as I can at the gym (which means most days).

I know I can get lazy.  I forget to try things I haven’t been able to do in the past. This is one reason it is so important to have coaches and workout friends who know you and encourage you along. This also makes it harder to be complacent, to just coast. It reminds me to keep goals fresh and in sight.

With that in mind, here are some new tricks I’ve learned lately: (see our instagram for additional video!)

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Toes-to-bar

This one was a complete surprise.  Chick 1 was brushing up on the skill and told me to give it a try.  I hadn’t tried since probably February or March, and never really got too much coaching.  But, I gave it a go.  First try was bad.  Second try was much closer to the bar…and then, on the third attempt, I did it!

Only a few days later I did 27 toes-to-bar in a workout, one at a time.  It’s exciting when something clicks.  New tricks are fun!  But, I ripped my hands horribly so now I’ve invested in grips to protect them.  (This feels like a sign of a real CrossFitter!)

Burpees over the Bar

I’ve written about jumps before.  I’m still doing 12-inch box jumps.  I jump over dumbbells.  But a couple of weeks ago I finally did burpees over the bar, jumping over a barbell with plates loaded.  It’s not a fluid motion, but I got it done!

 

Wall Balls

I’ve struggled with these most of my CrossFit life.  They exhaust me and my form deteriorates quickly, which leads to back strain if I am not mindful.  But, after a lot of work, I’ve finally started moving from the 10-pound to the 14-pound ball.  The sets I have to break them into are usually very small, but I am coming along.  (I still dread them in ways that I *don’t* dread burpees.  This is a mental challenge I need to work through. Practice saying: Wall balls!  YAY! I LOVE WALL BALLS!)

Handstand

I did do some special training videos working toward handstand strength and technique from Performance Plus Programming through Barbell Physio.  With help, I got an assisted handstand and need to keep pushing forward on these.  I can’t kick up yet, but I will sometime soon!

And a couple of other gym-related breakthroughs:

Chick 1 and I made it through a partner WOD without incident.  She will tell you that I yell at her during partner workouts (true!) and that does not work out for the overall good.  But, on a recent Saturday we ended up partnered and managed to make it through it.  Big stuff!

Finally, despite my spongy midsection and crepey drapey loose extra skin, I removed my soaked tank top at the end of the Peachtree Road Race in front of the 60,000 other runners and volunteers gathered in Piedmont Park.  I don’t think I’ll ever have firm, taut skin so although I am proud of my progress, showing my midsection is still cringe-inducing.  But, I decided to just do it since I was crazy hot and two of my running partners were already down to sports bras and shorts.  I’m pleased to report that everyone lived through this experience and no one has lasting vision damage (that I am aware of).  A bit of body confidence is a great feeling.

As much as I celebrate these, I also have friends and coaches pushing me to move forward.  Add more weight to the bar.  Start putting some moves together.  It’s easier to get used to my scales and just keep practicing the new stuff, but my coaches and friends at CrossFit Faded Glory are always pushing me to be better.  And even though I don’t always remember to try new tricks to see what I am improving at, every day I show up and do the work I am getting better.

What are your new fitness accomplishments?  Any new goals you’ve set?  Let us know in the comments!

 

fitness and nutrition

It’s a 1/2 but it’s a start

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Today I registered for my first 1/2 marathon. I might be crazy but in about 4 months I will walk, jog, or crawl over that finish line.

I will blog about my training along the way and of course the emotions that will go along with the whole process as well.

I have 5k’s, 10k’s and one 15k in my past, but never a half marathon. My running spans over 20 years but I’ve never been a runner, if that makes sense. I am more of a 50-yard-dash kind of girl. Quick and easy and over before you know it. I also never really ran any of those races start to finish…they all had a mix of breaks built in.

Why a 1/2 marathon? I got a push from my oldest son to sign up and guess what? I took the bait. Now it’s time to see if I can get some friends in the mix.

My most recent 10k time was 1 hour 16 minutes in the July heat. I am aiming for 2 hours 30 minutes for the half marathon. Can I do it? Let me know what you think my finishing time will be. An online bet of sorts. Send us a message with your best guess!

Wish me luck! And don’t forget to send me tips if you are an avid runner.

fitness and nutrition

Your Feet Stink

Stinky feet is no laughing matter when it comes to teens who play sports.

Let’s take my daughter. She plays lacrosse and on a tournament weekend she can play 3-5 games outside in the elements. Her shoes will be sweaty, wet and dirty at any given time or pretty much all the time. We change her socks multiple times. We rest her feet in Crocs between games to sit them out. We go to extremes in my mind to prevent the foot funk!

Add in the eeew factor of being a teen and the chronic stench of shoes with no socks or socks that haven’t been washed in what seems like months you get the most awful smell in the world. Limit the airflow (like in a car) and you are doomed.

Carpool with three teammates and that funky smell just multiplied to an epic level. Add in the gear bags and their bodies after a day at the ball field in extreme heat and let me just tell you it’s enough to burn your eyes, throat and turn your stomach upside down.

And that is just feet and perspiration. I didn’t even mention the car farts that come because they can’t use the darn porto-potty!!!

What got me to write about this was a recent car ride to the field with an SUV full of three girls. We were running late so they all went to put on their cleats in the car and boom! The driver and I almost passed out. I hung my head out the window, gasping for air. The girls said “you’re crazy, it doesn’t smell,” and proceeded to pass a shoe to the front of the vehicle.

That was it. The window was down so the shoe is immediately held out the window. We approach a red light and the car next to us is laughing uncontrollably. I make eye contact. They say “please roll up your window, the stink is reaching our vehicle now.” My jaw dropped.

I was horrified. The smell was validated. The kids were in shock as well but found it funny. If only I had a picture of my face in that moment.

The light turned green. The guy in the neighboring car says, “good luck today. We have the same smell over here in our carload. That’s why we laughed when we saw your arm and head out the window!”

So why do feet stink so bad? Those shoe balls don’t work. Neither do the oils you spray in the shoes. And washing is no help either. Does anyone have any suggestions to cure stinky feet syndrome?

I am pretty sure the nail salon hates me when I bring this child in for a pedicure because they have to work so close to and actually touch those nasty things she calls feet.

I really don’t remember my feet stinking like that as a kid.

I hope my stinky feet blog made you giggle not hurl.

fitness and nutrition, friendship

Peachtree Road Race, 2019

 

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It’s an Atlanta Independence Day tradition. The largest 10K in the world.

Growing up, I watched my ultra-fit older brother run the Peachtree.  Other members of my extended family have run it at times throughout my life.  Five years ago, inspired by my sister-in-law, I decided to join in.

The Peachtree is a festive, social event as much as it is a fitness test. I look forward to running the Peachtree with family and friends.  Sometimes our running partners shift a bit.  Every year, I’ve had my youngest daughter with me.  How we both have changed since that first run!  See the pics below for glimpses of us through the years.

Some years are harder than others.  My first year, I was doing some walking and jogging at home when race day rolled around.  We completed that race during a thunderstorm.  I knew I had to do it again since I didn’t really get the “Peachtree experience” of silly signs, live music, and fifty-nine plus thousand other runners and revelers along the way due to the weather.

Other years presented challenges due to heat, travel schedules, and my level of training.  My time has gone up and down. In 2018 and 2019 I didn’t train specifically to run the race.  I just relied on my overall CrossFitness to carry me through.

This year I felt as strong as I ever have throughout the race.  I am still slow and steady, but I ran for much longer stretches than I have before, and my slow may be slightly less slow than my previous paces.

My goal this year was to complete the race in less than 1 hour 30 minutes, and I beat that goal by over 3 minutes.  I shaved over 8 minutes off my time from last year, and more than 23 minutes from my very first Peachtree result.

Even better…at the end of the race this year I felt like I could keep running, another first! And afterwards, I was ready to walk back up the very long hill to catch our ride back to the car.  The stairs we I to go up and down didn’t bother me. I’m usually stiff and spent for the rest of the day once I cross the finish line. I was a little sore the next morning, but not too bad. I got up, went to the gym, and went on about my daily routines.

Overall, this year’s Peachtree was a great personal success. Having a benchmark to look at makes a big difference in seeing how I’m coming along, year after year.  What fitness traditions do you enjoy?