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.

fitness and nutrition, friendship, perspective

What I Learned from Coming In Last

“It’s not a big deal to me how we do, as long as we’re not last.”

These words came from one of my amazing teammates at a recent competition. I nodded in agreement, and I’ve said them, too.

Flashback to my very first 5k “race.”  Run Your Cookies Off – a fundraiser for the Girl Scouts.  I was probably 80 or 100 pounds heavier than I am now, maybe more.  I had no idea what I was doing. I was a slow walker / jogger as I approached the start line in terror.  But as long as I am not last I’m ok, I thought.

I wasn’t last that day, but I was close.  I could see the last person behind me by maybe 30 yards most of the time.  I kept looking over my shoulder, fighting to stay ahead. I gasped and choked as I stumbled across the finish line, maybe 5th to last out of a few hundred runners.  But, not last.

Fast forward eight years or so to only a few weeks ago, the line comes into my head again. A CrossFit competition.  Looking around at some of the fitter people I’ve seen in recent memory, our direct competitors. Some twenty or more years younger.  But, we will be fine as long as we are not last.

After the first workout, we were second to last.  So, not last – a win!  And then, after that, for the rest of the day, workout after workout, it happened. We. Were. Last.

Yup, I was finally on the other side of the “as long as we’re not…”

And I looked at my teammates, two fierce, fit, incredible women, working their ever-loving asses off.  All three of us had been sick that week, with some of that sickness lingering on competition day.  All three of us were super nervous.  But we showed up, and we brought our best. And we cheered for each other.  And we pushed as hard as we could, pushed beyond what we thought we could do.  We pulled together and fought like heck for every rep, every lift, every jump and burpee and pushup and calorie.

And with all our fight, all our heart, all our effort, we still came in last.  (We actually tied for last with some of our good friends who made up another rockin’ team from our box, which made it all the more sweet.)

So, you may ask, what are the after effects of coming in last? Honestly, not much different than coming in higher on the board.

I’m proud of my teammates, as I should be.  One rocked her first competition ever, conquering move after move, challenge after challenge.  The other overcame huge obstacles to PR her snatch not just once but 5 times that day.  5 times!!!  I still smile when I pull out my team shirt and shorts.  We had a great and memorable day for our squad.  Weeks later, no one remembers what place we came in.

I’ve held onto a line I heard once many years back when I was just starting to get my health together.  It still serves me on crappy running days, and those inevitable afternoons when I just would rather not go to the gym at all:

As long as you show up…”you’re lapping everyone on the couch.”

No matter what place we finished in, we showed up. There are many who are less fit, and even many who are more fit, who didn’t have the guts or the gumption to just show up, put themselves out there, and see how they measure up.

There’s an old saying that nice guys finish last…now I also see that good people, people who work hard, train hard, and put forth tons of effort still do finish last sometimes. In fact, that effort may represent a huge personal triumph no matter what the leaderboard says. One that should be applauded.  Still, for better or worse, it’s just one day. One memorable day full of proud moments.

The real after effects of coming in last are what we choose to do moving forward. What matters most is what comes next. Nothing stops us from continuing to train and get better and cheer for each other. We’re already signed up for more races, more challenges, more adventures. Who knows where we will turn up next?

 

 

 

friendship, perspective

Dear Friend

I see you.

I hear you.

I feel your pain.

I also see your inner light shining bright

With sparkle from within.

The shine that’s unique to you.

Your internal flame.

Your bright spirit.

You are special.

One of a kind.

Your life is important.

Your life is important to me.

Your life matters to others.

Today may seem like everything’s going wrong

But tomorrow is a new day.

The sun will shine bright just like your inner light.

You will radiate just like the warmth of the sun in the new day tomorrow.

Can’t wait to see what you conquer tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the next step to your new adventure.

Keep pushing yourself to new beginnings.

Each day you have the chance to soar to new heights.

You set the limits, not others.

Don’t stop believing in yourself.

I won’t stop believing in you.

Thank you, Dove chocolates, for reminding me to go left when the world says go right.

This post goes out to all my friends who need this sweet message.

This post was brought to you by Dove chocolates, a little reminder with dessert.

fitness and nutrition, friendship

3.1 + 13.1 + 20.4+ 20.3 =

A bunch of hard work, a ton of memories and few checks off the to-do list is the sum of the above workouts.

That’s right folks, in seven days calendar days I completed the CrossFit open 20.3 WOD Monday, then went on to complete the 20.4 WOD on Friday just hours before traveling to Savannah, GA to complete my very first half Marathon (13.1 miles), The Rock n’Roll Marathon to be specific. If that wasn’t enough, I took the Remix Challenge and did a 5k as a bonus the following day.

Talk about a wild ride. An adventure to say the least. On my journey I had many of my CrossFit besties competing along side me in the Open but a handful took on the marathon event too. Ten in total hit the road for an adventure.

We traveled as a group and rented a beach house for the weekend. We planned an amazing pj party for the night before the race or that was the original plan. Traffic, dinner, race number pickup and other things seemed to get in the way. Sleep called our names but somehow we didn’t get to bed until close to midnight.

That 4:44am wake up call came entirely too early. “This is a bad idea” crossed my mind several times but I just kept moving with the plan. It was cold. We were tired. It was to be expected, I suppose.

Up way too early to get to the start line. It felt like a marathon before we even started. Driving. Parking. Layering up. Port-o-potties. Hydration. More potty breaks. Anticipation. Warm-up. Giggles. Selfies galore. This went on until we hit the corral At 7:30am and peeled off the layers to literally pound the pavement.

It was .25 miles in the corral, full of excitement with friends and strangers. 13.1 on the road and cobblestone and lots of music to soothe the soul or soles. That 13.1 miles was under three hours but seemed never ending at times. Am I there yet? crossed my mind a few times. Another one down was a level of excitement with each passing mile marker. I can do this!

I’m doing this. I’m almost done. This isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I say that like it wasn’t hard, it was. It just wasn’t impossible. Rather, it was possible and I was the only one who made it possible. This might be the one thing that I learned this weekend about running and myself. I decide. I decide the start and stop. I decide the music. I decide the distance. The duration. The tempo. I am the one that pushes myself over that finish line. My drive. My perseverance. My strength.

The run/walk/jog was a combination of beauty, commitment, community and just raw emotions. Savannah is breathtaking in the scenery department without question. I had plenty of time to be in the moment with the beautiful homes, trees, and community.

I vividly remember a cop at mile 2. He was cheering and giving high fives to runners. He voice was strong and encouraging yet firm and distinct. He made you want to keep going. He said the runners motivate him. That was crazy to me. But I thought about that for a bit on my run.

I also remember running through a small community that wasn’t a well off neighborhood but it had a very populated street of cheerleaders. Strangers cheering on others. I even saw a small child in his Spider-Man suit cheering while holding his mom’s hand. This was simply amazing. They were handing out water to keep the runners hydrated. Would I be out of bed at 8:30am on a Saturday to cheer on a stranger? Another thought to ponder on my run.

6 miles was upon me before I knew it. And I was met there by my three amazing friends. Ali caught my eye first, screaming keep going from a pole if I recall. Guess she wanted me to see her. Kim was snapping pics at the corner and Chris was somewhere nearby. I heard his voice. Just what I needed at the mid way point. Some friendly voices saying keep pushing yourself. These three won my heart for being so supportive.

I can’t leave out the virtual reminders/pushes that were pretty cool. All of our running group put each other in the tracker app. This might have been the best thing next to sliced bread. Chirp, chirp, chirp. I would get a ding every time one of my running mates passed a check point. This was virtual motivation. Mindy was ahead. I could see her pace. I could adjust as I needed to based on how she was doing. This worked for me. I could see Nick. My oldest who was running the full 26.2 marathon on a slightly different course.

Nick was inspiring all by himself. Doing his run his way. Me being able to experience with him from a distance. Talk about a proud Mom moment. I watched him hit the same pace for almost 20 miles. Holy cow he was doing amazing. How could I not keep going. I mean I was only doing 1/2 the race he was.

The chase. The chase to the finish line. I did it. I’m sore but I did it. I met my goal injury- free. I earned my medal and my 13.1 sticker!


This weekend was so full of adventure that I must split my posts. You read my PJ party post, and next I will continue with my bonus medal chasing experience. A series is warranted because this weekend was just that amazing and it’s a story worth sharing.

If you have ever wanted to run half marathon, do it. My tidbits above are only a glimpse of the amazing journey. I chronicled some of my training sessions previously as well. The bottom line is you can do whatever you put your mind to. Plan. Prepare. Put in effort. Repeat. You can make your own memories. It all starts with the sign up form!

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.

featured, friendship

They Get Me!

My close friends get me.

They get me at my best but they appreciate me at my worst. And no matter what, they are ready to support me when the sky is falling or when the sun is shining.

That’s how lucky I am. In the past 7 days, I was on the verge of meltdowns for various reasons and each time I wavered I found a pick-me-up. I connected with a friend who knew just what I needed without me saying what I needed. Heck I might not have even known what I need myself. The point is they knew.

Today it was a bad hair day. Call me crazy but it was. My hair felt like a mop or dead weight on my head. A toupee of sorts. Just dead weight. I called my friend/hairstylist and she just knew I needed her services stat. “Drop what you’re doing and come now,” she said. I did just that! In a blink of an eye I was in the car to her shop and wow what a difference she made in my day.

Changing my scenery, even if for a brief moment, was a game changer for my mood and my attitude. A little snip snip. A little conversation. Some giggles and it was time to conquer the rest of the day. Today I celebrate my pal Kim. Her swift action made my day. She was a mood changer in a big way. #moodswings

There is no doubt about it. If you feel good about you, one is unstoppable. Today my hair was my Kryponite. Not sure If it could have been my threat of giving myself a haircut that made her react as she did, but no matter what I’m glad she was there when I needed her. She said exactly what I needed to hear. Change your environment now.

At another time, I needed to blow off some steam after a long and stressful
day. Not my normal workout time but I needed to get my fitness in. Because my mood and time was off I didn’t feel like working out in a class. I was interested more in solitude. Less people, more one-on-one time with myself and what I need to do to push through the day.

My fitness plays a role in releasing stress of my day. If my schedule is off and I missed my fitness regimen I may just shift my mood to bitterness or edgy at times without even noticing.

She didn’t know my plan for the day. She didn’t know the stress of my day. She didn’t know what I still needed to accomplish after hours that was time sensitive. We all can have peaks and valleys in our work load but this day was like a hurricane of sorts. Little did I know when I bumped into another pal she would make a positive shift in my day.

It started when she opted to run with me at the gym. An hour run to nowhere to be exact. She didn’t need to but she kept me company. We shared smiles. We gasped for air together. We challenged each other a bit. We people watched a little. We giggled. During that time there were no worries in my world. I just wasn’t thinking about my to-do list or the ignorant people I dealt with that day.

Unexpected timing and connections happen. Sometimes those unexpected plans end up being amongst the most treasured memories you can make. For today I am thankful for my friend Milags, her time and her ability to giggle on demand.

In this pic we might have even been having some competition on the air runners. I wonder who was going faster? It didn’t matter because the picture clarifies our happiness of just being side by side.

Friends come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. You never know when you will find a special friend. When you find a quality friend, let them into your world. They may not stay forever, but you can have fun making memories while they are present.

Remember friends may come and go in your life but when they come and make an impact, let them know. Friends are part of your journey. Some stay longer than others but they all play a role at some point. Kindness matters.

And last but not least, there is a virtual toast to my gal pal and writing partner Chick 2. There isn’t a day or week that goes by when we don’t connect to work on a project, plan a surprise or figure out how to balance our hectic and weird life on the daily. Her balance and kindness are always present and we make for a dynamic duo in all adventures we pursue.

In the past week, Beth was my listener friend. The friend that didn’t pass judgment or act as a Negative Nelly when she could have. She let her calmness lighten the load of the world’s woes. Maybe it’s the PhD in her or maybe it’s her tender heart. Either way I choose to celebrate her. Cheers to my pal Beth.

And to those I didn’t specifically name in this post, I adore you all. My relationships are valued whether near or far. Every relationship has a story and each story has a part in my past, present and future. Each of you play a role in making my stories and adventures fun and desirable.

When my friends say “that sounds like a bad idea. What time should I be there?” That’s dedication to my crazy. I couldn’t forget to mention this tidbit as it’s such an important one. I have many friends who are willing to test their limits and adventure on whim most days. Some even conquer fears with me. Mainly the fear of the unknown. The best part is we get to do it together. The adventures are sometimes big while others are small. When you read this you know who you are. There are many of you in my life that add to my crazy and adventure willingly with me. Thank you!

You make my day, my week, my month. These adventures matter. They matter because they keep my life moving and changing. My balance is about shifting, juggling, adventuring all of which represent growth in my world. Thank you to all my friends who help me grow each week.

Until I write about you or others in my future blogs, help me celebrate the Three Musketeers above and my unnamed adventurer friendships who impact my my mood, my productivity, my week and without question my attitude.

Friends matter. The friends that matter most value you in good times and bad.

#friendship101 #besties #1095days

friendship

The Friend Zone, Part 1

This post could go in many directions and maybe it will be a series, but for now you will get entry level friend zone, aka post one.

Conflicts: every friendship has conflict. No two people will ever see eye-to-eye on every subject every day.

Strength: the strength of a friendship can be defined by how conflicts are resolved. Are two parties able to sort through differences and find compromise or do friends divide because one side is too stubborn?

Diversity: friendship diversity is important in my world. No one friend can be a one stop shop for me. I need diversity. It’s part of my own self-development. I choose to surround myself with people who make me stronger, people who push my limits, people who I can help, people who I can lean on, and so on. Diversity ties into balance.

Balance: balancing friendships, families, conflicts, life, and so on may seem like a full time job some days. Having a diverse group of friends can be helpful. If you are struggling professionally, you may have a shoulder to lean on. If you are challenged on the home front, you may have a different friend to lean on. Balance has benefits.

Leaning back: when you lean on someone, trust builds. When your friend hits a bump in their road, your trust factor will help them feel comfortable to reach out to you in a time of need. Leaning is highly desirable in a friend circle and leaning should always be a give-and-take cycle to be healthy.

Non-competitive: friends that get it right are non-competitive. They don’t fight for stage presence. They coexist. They want the best for each other. Selfless behavior can be hard to come by. When you find this in a friend, hold it tight. It’s precious. And unfortunately you may have to weed through some bad friends to find the diamonds in the crowd.

Givers and takers: in life there are both givers and takers. Some may give big and some may give small. It doesn’t matter, you can easily spot a giver. Time, loyalty, and and a soul-satisfying sense of self when giving is present. A taker is one who takes advantage of a person over and over again, usually for self- promotion. This you can see from a distance if you pay attention, but it’s harder to see if you are in the muck of it on the daily.

Take a look at your friend circle. How does your circle stack up? Are you a giver or maybe a taker? Do you compromise or are you always in the right? Is balance and diversity important to you?

This post doesn’t necessarily represent any individuals in my circle. Rather, it’s general observations of the circles I have witnessed over time and their common denominators.

My posts are my thoughts and always up for interpretation. My hope for this post is that it makes you stop and think about your environment. Is it quality or quantity of friends that you value? Have you found your people? Do you have any missed friendships you should try to rekindle?

Until next time.