fitness and nutrition

I Like to Lift

I like to lift weights. There is something about a power snatch that gets my blood pumping.

That same power snatch makes me feel like nothing else stressful in my life matters at that moment. It’s just me and the bar. Of course I have to pay attention to only the bar so I don’t drop the weight on my head! (Photo: Davison Wheeler Photography)

Dumbbells are not my favorite but they serve a purpose. They help me move weight in a different manner than I would if I had just the bar. It lets me focus on defining my muscles in a different way. Although they are not my favorite they are a big part of my weightlifting regimen.  (Photo: Davison Wheeler Photography)

Cleans and jerks. I can definitely say I despise cleaning and don’t have room in my life for jerks but I do work on clean and jerks in the gym weekly. Getting my elbows up and transitioning the heavy weight above my head takes a lot of physical and mental energy. Some days are good while others just suck. Most depends on how well I stretch my wrist and if I can fully commit my mind the way I need to. Self-talk can make or break you on this movement.

This picture is just a random placeholder for me in action. First, I love my shirt. Second, the flair on my arms were for a costume day we had. And finally, I was wearing my taco shorts and who doesn’t love tacos? Which leads me to a shameless plug for Feed Me Fight Me. They have the most comfortable booty shorts for weight lifting girls like me with thick thighs.

Ah the deadlift. A simple but powerful movement that does require the right technique and weight to not throw out your back. It’s a delicate balance but a challenge I like. This picture is a throw back to a 2019 competition I did and thoroughly enjoyed the deadlift ladder.

I also like to bench press. Many girls don’t but I don’t mind it. For some reason I couldn’t find the right photo to post so let’s just go with the fact I like to bench press and chasing the guys weight load. It gives me motivation not hair on my chest.

There are many other lifts I like and many that I just do to keep my fitness up. That being said I have thick thighs and broad shoulders from the lifting portion of my life. I love the strength my body has and for that I embrace thick thighs and strong shoulders.

It always amazes me when a stranger asks me what sport I do. I could be on a plane or at a business meeting. The scenery may change but the question is the same. Now my answer is always I lift weights or do CrossFit.

Some don’t know what CrossFit is so they can relate to weightlifting. Whatever the case I either get a male comment of “how much weight can you squat?” or a woman may say “oh,” as in that’s not feminine. These reactions crack me up.

Many women at my gym are strong and powerful. Some are thick and some are thin. It doesn’t matter. I am far from the strongest but I enjoy striving for better. My counterparts are strong mentally and physically and they can challenge those who are not committed to fitness or healthy living.

Lifting weights has benefits. My friend Sarah started at the gym to increase her strength to fight off her body weakening due to a health condition. Lifting weights can help people regain control of their body after an accident or injury. So many more benefits but hopefully you get the point.

Like I said above, I like to lift. That’s my story for today. Hope you enjoyed the pics and a glimpse of my lifting preferences.

Enjoy today.

fitness and nutrition

What Does Recovery Look Like for Me?

I’m recovering from the Festivus Games and thought I would diary my aches and pains.

Immediately after: I had no time to think about aches and pains. Had to hop in the shower after a long day to attend a preplanned event. Of course the event called for cowgirl boots so had to put those sore legs to work some more!

The next day: I was surprised that I could move when I awoke. I survived 4 WODs and I can move. That seems like something to celebrate.

I didn’t let the aches set in. I got up for my morning training session. It’s normally a run but I just walked about 3 miles to get the legs going but at a recovery pace. It was just what I needed.

I kept moving most of the day. Around 5pm, about 24 hours after the adrenaline pump concluded, I hit a wall. Started to get tired and cranky. Just fatigued. I guess it worked out for me so I could look at the 1 million pictures the group had from the event. It’s so much fun to reminisce on the triumphs and setbacks of the day.

I listened to my body and slowed my roll. Rested per se and went to bed early. Monday morning came and I didn’t want to get up but I did. I have accountability partners at my box so I got moving despite my desire to not move and pull the covers over my face permanently.

I scaled the workout for sure that morning. Used baby weights for the wod, rode the bike and scaled some movements but I moved and my Apple Watch said I fared okay.

Forearms, wrists and hands felt the aches mainly from all the grip work. Tight traps were present but not unbearable. Lots of good stretching today.

By Tuesday I was good and even put in some extra work conditioning on the bike erg. By Weds am my legs were a little tight from the bike ride but they loosened up as soon as I completed my WOD for the day.

Good to go now for this chick. 72 hours, back to normal, give or take. So many memories to make the recovery worth it all.

Recovery is just as important to me as the preparation. I preach this to my kids as they compete in sports and to whomever will listen. I hope that my tidbits here help those who read along with my fit journey posts.

I am not a trained professional. I am a mom getting her fitness on who competes to hold herself accountable.

Wishing you all the best in your fitness and recovery adventures.

fitness and nutrition

It’s a 1/2 but it’s a start

ktend5

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.

adventure

Summer Adventures, Part 2

Sarasota, Florida was the destination and adventuring was the name of the game.

Girls trip time. 5 girls in tow. 3 teens and two mommas ready to see what they can cram into a few days at the beach destination.

Roof top swimming upon arrival. What a blast to see the sun set and enjoy the atmosphere after some time in the car. Some quick photos for the girls by the moonlight. Early rise to travel the town by bike the next day. The bike seat was nothing short of uncomfortable but it was a beach bike and it was on our must do list. We rode to the bay and explored away. Uncomfortable? Maybe, but adventure nonetheless.

We unexpectedly found a bike decorated at the bayfront near a tiki bar. We were not sure if it was a symbol of death by the water as it was decorated in white and was somewhat angelic. Boy, were we wrong! It was a symbol of peace and and we discovered this after asking about the history of the bike at the hotel. And then our unexpected adventure began…

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How many of the randomly decorated bikes could we find in the next few days? The next one was the mustard yellow one on the corner and then the old school ten speed adorned with flowers in the park. How many more will we find?

 

 

We stumbled on a kids bike decked out in print but somebody actually wrote junk not art on this one…check out the seat in the pic. Each bike is chained to a post of some sort and they are randomly scattered across the city. Next up was pink cheetah print. This one might have been one of my favs but that’s because we found this while driving and had to make a u-turn to snag a photo.

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We were on a scavenger hunt of sorts. We found a baby blue bike on the shore just over the bridge after a day on the beach. We made this a photo opportunity for our crew at sunset. We had to bang another u-turn again to catch the butterfly bike and then we caught the odd bird house bike at red light the last day we were in town.

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Unexpected adventures can yield to unexpected fun, just like the group of new friends we had dinner with one night. All types of backgrounds came together to chill and enjoy some conversation, cocktails and food. Unplanned, unexpected good times.

And the last bike we found was a scary octopus looking bike full of scales of some sort. What a whirlwind adventure that was unplanned. We got to learn a little about a local artist while on our trip and just got to share in some sleuthing with the girls as we were out and about each day.

Fun Friday was set aside for the beach and I was on a mission. I had to complete a handstand challenge. A handstand unassisted on the beach. In public. In my bathing suit. Feet kissing and no assistance. Can miracles happen? Well I had been practicing in the weeks approaching the trip and I was confident, but I never even attempted a handstand on a soft surface like the sand. Would I fall over? Would I chicken out? Would my friend capture the moment for proof?

Well, I am happy to report it’s a done deal. I sealed the deal and can officially take this off my bucket list. It might not be the prettiest handstand but it’s a freestyle handstand. No wall to catch me. No support. Just me putting in work. My day, my week and my month was complete in that very moment.

 

#goalgetter even on vacation. I mean, my pal David told me it’s not a beach trip until you do a handstand on the beach so hopefully I will continue to be fit enough as I age to continue this new beach tradition with whomever my travel mates are.

And then there was the cherry on top…. the young girls did handstands with me. A triple threat. A handstanding trio. That’s modeling, folks. Lead by example and people around you will want to level up and see what they can do, too. None of us were gymnasts. We just wanted to do beach handstands. And handstands we did.

Done and done. A few short days of rest and relaxation along with car ride giggles and snacks and of course late night chats and tropical frose drinks. Can’t complain about the adventures I had these past few days.

Wonder where my summa adventures will take me next time. I bet it will be stateside but you never know. Stay tuned!

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fitness and nutrition

Working Vacation (or, Making Vacation Work)

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a whirlwind whiplash weekend in Pennsylvania with friends watching our daughters play lacrosse.

I could have completely tossed my diet and exercise habits out the window.  But driving over 10 hours both ways in the course of a few days left my body screaming for exercise and good food.  (Craving those things is a good sign.)

We stayed in a hotel with a gym.  I brought my workout clothes and got up at my usual crack-of-dawn hour. The weather was amazing!  When I went outside, the air was a crisp, cool change from the warm humid mornings in Atlanta.  Then, we just happened to be staying in a complex with some health care buildings.  As I was walking to warm up and get moving, I noticed a trail with some fitness stations along the way.  So, that became my plan.  A little jog and some step ups, incline situps and leg lifts, hanging leg raises, all while jogging station to station. Sweat happened.

Then, I went into the gym and did a quick 21-15-9 of burpees, dumbbell clean and jerks, and sit-ups.  It wasn’t the extreme race or marathon workout that many were doing back home, but it was enough to feel like I had worked my heart and muscles. It felt good.

Of the 3 days away, that was the only true workout I did.  We did some walking at the tournament fields and Hershey Park, but otherwise the two days were rest days.  I worked out all the other days around the trip so it was enough.

The other challenge on the road is eating.

I packed snacks…a few bags of turkey and beef jerky, protein water, chunks of grilled chicken, protein chips, and some random protein bars.  I ate some but not all. I also drank lots of water and sparkling water.

For the most part, I just tried to focus on protein and keep other things to a minimum. Examples:

For quick breakfast on the road I had a Chick-fil-a breakfast bowl with chicken and no hashbrowns.  I ate a 2 good yogurt for snack.  The chicken chunks came in handy on a long stretch of road with few options beside gas station food.

Eating out in Harrisburg, PA, at a local tapas spot – Kale and beet salad, Brussel sprouts with bacon, a small slice of pizza, charcuterie board with meat, cheese, pickles, flatbread, mustard.  Probably over on fat and salt but I could have done worse and it was delicious. Not enough protein but options were limited.

For hotel breakfast (twice): Eggs, spinach, cheese, salsa, light and fit yogurt, coffee with milk. For me, when I’m basically eyeballing things, not really planning eating, and going with my gut, I try to start the day with as much protein as possible and just keep going from there.

It’s not necessarily easy…the options I skipped were many: waffles, Froot Loops and other cereals, bagels, bread, crumb cake, juices, granola, muffins, peanut butter, etc.  None of these seemed worth it and the eggs looked decent.  (I would definitely eat crumb cake, for example, if it was from a bakery.  I look forward to bakery crumb cake at the Jersey Shore later this summer!)

It’s not always a simple win.  The amusement parks we went to the last two weekends were especially challenging for both cost and food quality reasons.  At Hershey Park, after long searching, I settled for a few chicken tenders (more bread than chicken) and a few fries.  Thankfully this was late in the day after decent eating before we got to the park.

An afternoon at Kings Dominion was more challenging.  I could almost stomach the idea of eating Panda Express, but the $15.00 price tag was a deal breaker (and for just one entree!)  I held out until we left, late afternoon, and quickly scarfed down my turkey jerky, protein water, some fresh cherry tomatoes, and Quest protein chips when I got to the car.  Sounds crazy to many, but it works for me.  I felt satisfied and not weighed down.  I was grateful I had packed a few things to have on hand.

And when it was worth it, I did treat myself across the two weekends.  I had top-notch street tacos (although I did skip all but one bite of tortilla since they were not special), I had a great meal with meats, cheeses, an amazingly fluffy buttered roll, and cucumber salad at a German restaurant called Fest, and I had a scoop of homemade strawberry swirl ice cream topped with toasted fluff (the specialty of the house) at Charm School Social Club.  Totally worth it.  And four days later, I’m not mad at myself or the scale. So I’m learning it is possible to keep it sane on the road, get some sweat in, feel good, and indulge when I really want to.  Let’s see how I do on my next journey…

 

 

fitness and nutrition

Murph 2019

The infamous Murph workout. Every year as a tribute to a fallen soldier. What an honor to complete!

3rd year participating in Murph. Each year I get better, but each year I struggle. Year after year I come back to do it. And I enjoying doing it with friends.

It’s a grueling workout. Done in extreme heat with limited rest. Days of recovery follow and only the craziest of crazy normally put it on their agenda.

Well, I am one of those crazies and I have many of friends that fall into that category as well.

Some complete Murph strict. Some complete a scaled version and some even do a modified version if traveling on vacation where equipment is limited. No matter what version, the community and cheering section is like no other. Nobody is done until everyone is done! Those who finish early run more with stragglers. Those who complete with friends cheer, count and celebrate. Some even come to watch and I even saw pom-poms one year.

This year was special. I did it with my 13-year-old daughter. Her first time. A test of her will, her stamina, and her grit. She completed her flavor of the Murph WOD and felt good when she finished. A feeling of triumph and a great way to memorialize a soldier.

I got to see a Mom to be complete the murph workout with her Mom and another friend who completed it weighted for the first time.

Another guy in the gym completed it in a girl’s tank top for flair. What will be next for me and others?

I will be back again next year to complete Murph. A new challenge for me: maybe a weighted vest, maybe no partitions. Time will tell.

If you don’t know anything about the Murph workout, look it up. If you go to the gym, test your skills. Trust me, it’s a good physical and mental workout.

Be sure to look at the last picture. It signifies the end of a great WOD and a throw back to our first book, The End. The end of an elephant’s butt.

Have a fitastic day!

fitness and nutrition, friendship

Jail Break Time

So something happened!

And I’m sure you think I went to jail but guess again! I entered a team in the 2019 Jail Break Challenge in my community.

I saw it advertised online. A 5k with obstacles. A little twist on the other extreme 5k’s I’ve done, so I said I’m going give it a go. Tasha is in. Courtney is in. Milagros is in. Team of 4 badass chicks it is. I just love my friends and how they dive right in with my crazy adventures.

Then a few more expressed interest. Team two formed. Lexi, Sarah, Chris and my oldest Nick filled out team 2. A coed team it is.

Time passes. A group chat starts. The weather calls for a monsoon. People get the jitters. But in the end everyone shows up bright and early, even the one who stayed out partying until the wee hours the night before.

There were some unhappy campers as the race started. I mean not mad, just realized that it was an extreme event versus a casual jog and the weather and the environment had emotions roaring. Coed team smack talks. Girls team fires back. Game on! Remember I’m on the girls team so I might have been the one firing back. Sixth place finish for the chicks and the coed team is behind us by about 3 minutes. It’s all good. We all finished. We had a blast and we tackled obstacles we were not sure if we could do. And most importantly nobody on our team left injured, well maybe we all have some scrapes and bruises but no ambulance was needed. That’s always a positive way to end.

Before the official race started, so much took place. There was the big decision of using the porta-potty or not. Those things might just be the nastiest things on the planet. Nope, I’m sure of it! The things one sees when the lid is lifted are just not right. Add a little southern heat and you have an awful aroma that will gag you in less than a second. Now that you have an amazing pre-race visual…

The adventure really started with a gunshot, and then a second just to be sure we heard the first one. Oh yeah, in the competitive division at 8:30 am in the pouring rain. I picked the competitive slot but the others missed that fine detail. Oops…

Tasha is out of the gate and almost rolls her ankle in a hole. We were not even 500 feet into the race. Meanwhile, it’s called the Jail Break race for a reason. It runs along side the jail with real prisoners, barbed wire fence and lots of deputies with guns. For a few of the girls it was a little too up close for them. Especially when the guys in orange jumpsuits were doing their assigned duties on the course. It was a giggle fest for me!

Moving on to the death trap, I mean obstacle one and it was really called the Death Trap. Truck through very murky water that probably had snakes and leeches and whatever else lurked below. It was gross for sure. Hope you watched the GoPro video on our insta story for a glimpse of the action and of course the proof that the obstacle was in fact named the Death Trap.

Though the winding woods we run. Carefully avoiding the tree stumps, prickly bushes, thorns, deep mud pockets and of course the exposed roots. There are fences to climb, logs to balance, haystacks to hurdle and so much more.

And then in the middle of the woods we see a random house. Probably used for training as it looked like it was fresh out of a movie set. Through a window we go after navigating a garage and stuff. Hopped a few creeks and then we approach the border of the jail.

All the creeks lead to passages under the roads. They are legit covered in wire and reinforced fencing. I guess it’s to limit the chance of escape. I’ve seen it in the movies but this was front and center. So was the noise of what I think was the mess hall. We could hear the sounds of breakfast or recreation time as we ran along the fence line in the woods and on the pavement. What an experience.

Then we are at a hill with a rope. But the hill is extremely muddy. Of course it is! We are in the middle of a torrential rain storm. We barely make it up just to find out you have to go back down. Hilarious, I said to myself. Now I’m waiting at the bottom for my teammates and oh crap…

A 200+ pound man from another team is sliding down the hill with no chance of stopping and he takes me out. Just like a bowling ball nailing the center pin! I’m surprised I didn’t see stars after that one. Covered in mud I am. Down comes Milagros laughing uncontrollably at what she just witnessed. We move on carefully navigating the brush with thorns so we don’t wipe out on the muddy path that slopes downward.

Oopsie. Another casualty. Another grown man slipped and went up in the air and wiped out in grand fashion. Can’t wait to watch that footage on my GoPro. We had to giggle but at the same time we knew it was embarrassing and most likely painful but that’s why we signed the waiver.

We carried sandbags, 30-pound buckets of rocks and dirt, got chased by prisoners, scaled a few high walls and of course climbed through black tubing and crawled through wires and ropes of all kinds.

Run run run we are about 30 minutes into the race and we hit the tower and the officer training course. Climbed the ropes to the top of tower and traversed down. The nicest officer was manning that obstacle and he gave us guidance on the easier way to maneuver the rope/slope. Thank goodness because some of us girls were not using good form before he gave us instruction. See we only pretend to know how to do things.

Just when we felt success at the tower we jumped up a hole into some other wooden enclosure onto what looked like a log version of uneven bars in gymnastics. Yes, you had to free jump, hang, swing and maneuver to the next obstacle. I thought I was on American Ninja Warrior for brief second.

Then a balance beam uphill and downhill with moving things that hit you if you don’t duck. Then you run to two-story A-frame wooden thing you need to climb and then get down from. Are you tired yet?

Our adrenaline was flowing for sure. Some more tubes, some more fences, a few rock walls, a rope climb and then the big finale. Our clothes weighed 10 pounds each by now and our shoes were full of mud, sand, dirt, water and grime. Every step required extra power compared to arriving steps when we were dry.

How does it end? What is awaiting us? Do we go upside down and navigate a rope to the end or do you jump in the dumpster full of nasty brown water and who knows what else or how many people peed in it?

What’s the answer? Which path do I choose?

I earned my shirt. I earned my medal. I cheered on my friends. I did something I never did before and I had a blast doing it all. No stress. No worries. I lived in the moment.

Some won’t take a chance on things that are new, that make them feel uncertain. I tend to like those things. I never know if I will fail and that’s okay. If I fail I can always try again another day or say that’s not my thing anyway.

The point is I try. I try often. I experiment. I invite. I’m curious. My curiosity keeps me growing and evolving.

Hoping your weekend adventures took you to new heights. I know mine did. Thanks for reading today.

P.S. I was supposed to go kayaking after this race. The monsoon made the river too high and unsafe. What a bummer, but instead I had some free time to write this blog on my comfy couch with my dog while I recovered under a blanket. I’m not complaining just explaining a day in the life.