hustle

31 Days

31 days have come and gone in January 2019. I already feel like it was 365 days. Crazy I know.

January just seems like the longest month ever. Add the cold and that equates to another whole level of awful. Or maybe January just seems so long because I am always waiting for February to arrive. Once February comes and goes it’s time to think warm weather, sunshine and vacations on the horizon.

As a memory tracker I decided to write down 31 significant or interesting things that transpired in my life in January. Here is my 31-day reflection to start this month with a bang.

1. I survived a high speed car crash.
2. I completed my first weighted CrossFit workout.
3. I got a tattoo.
4. I drove 4 different rental cars within 5 days for stupid and annoying reasons.
5. I drove from Boston to Atlanta in under 19 hours as a solo driver.
6. I had a career change.
7. I gained weighed and lost weight.
8. I tracked my food journal every day.
9. I did manual labor work a few days.
10. I ate chowda while traveling.
11. I went ice skating.
12. I started a push-up challenge for 30 days.
13. I joined a coed spring softball team.
14. I signed up for the CrossFit open 2019.
15. I took an Olympic lifting class during the month.
16. I used “WTF” notes for various events in which WTF applied.
17. I shoveled snow.
18. I spent time with family and friends.
19. I flew on a plane.
20. I made new friends.
21. I tried new foods.
22. I cheered my daughter on during basketball games.
23. I ate out with all my boys this month despite everyone’s crazy schedules.
24. I dealt with drama full days.
25. I got a hair cut.
26. I got a massage.
27. I went to the doctor.
28. I didn’t have any alcohol.
29. I blogged.
30. I got some new shoes.
31. I completed tax checklist items.

As I look back on the month, I can safely say it was busy. In addition the time had many ups downs and everything in between.

Even when life tosses you to the wolves, we are still empowered to find our inner sunshine and really just seize the day, the week, the month.

Don’t ever let one negative take away all your positive mojo. We are each capable of defining our own path to success. We decide for ourselves. We put the work in to reap the benefits.

Keep on keeping on and take a moment to reflect on your January. Did you make the most of it? If you had a “do over” button, what would be different? If you had only one day left on earth what would you do with your day?

Spend some time thinking about what you can do or can’t do. Remember all can change in the blink of an eye so savor every moment and don’t wait for life to pass you by. No adventures happen while you are sitting still.

Happy February all. It’s my birth month and I accept gifts and celebrate all month long. Every day. All day. Happy b-day month to me!!!

I cant wait to see what my 47th birthday month has in store for me. Counting my blessings and anticipating life challenges along the way. No day is perfect but I’m going to tackle each day with enthusiasm.

fitness and nutrition

Strengthening My Patience Muscles

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I’ve had a setback.  An injury.  My lower back flared up on Sunday. I was just sitting in a chair and turned the wrong way, I suppose.

It is the same area where I’ve had pain before.  I dropped everything and laid down.  Heat, cold, Advil, rest, rest, repeat.

I know tons of people think CrossFit is dangerous.  But, in case you are tempted to comment with an “I told you so,” I’ll just point out that it is much more dangerous to be sedentary.  My form could always be better, no matter how hard my coaches work to improve me.  Perhaps I’ve gotten overconfident while trying to increase my weights.  I still stay away from barbells for the most part, but I have been pushing myself on dumbbells.  Who knows.  I am still learning.

If you speak to even the fittest people at my gym, many have injury stories.  That may be just athletes in general.  It’s part of the process.  Of having a body.

So, I’m back to basics.  Just walking.  Trying to move.  I made it to the gym once to get on the air runner (to walk) and rode some meters on the bike erg.  It was good to see people even though I couldn’t do the workout. But for the most part I am just walking at the park, solo. I have to say, it’s pretty boring and hard to find motivation to cover any serious distance.  I miss the box. Some of the joy is in the camaraderie. It’s hard to believe I used to do this kind of solo walk / running every day.  I can’t imagine that now, although a fair amount of solo exercise is in my near future.

It is very hard to be patient. My patience muscles are some of my weakest. It’s especially challenging to wait on an injury you can’t see. No timeline. No visible progress. Just waiting.

I’ll be core strengthening and stretching more, too.  Again, weak muscles. A different kind of discipline.

So, for now, I’m bundling up. Putting one foot in front of the other. Up a hill and down then up again.

dare to be different, hustle

Shouldn’t you be sleeping in?

We were out of school one day this week.

Naturally, I arrived at the gym at 6:30am.

A friend greeted me: “You’re off today.  Shouldn’t you be sleeping in?”

Maybe.  And many people would be snuggled up on a frigid January morning (and were!) But, for someone like me, a day off of work is a chance to start my day at the gym.  Although I was #team530am for nearly a year, my current schedule of work / life responsibilities doesn’t allow for crack-of-dawn workouts very often.  I miss that morning jolt of energy! There’s nothing like conquering a workout before the sun comes up. The time will come again.  Life just has its seasons.  #team430pm will have to do for now, as often as I can get there.

So, while others were relishing a few extra minutes of sleep, I was working on my burpee box jump overs, thrusters, and assault bike. Might not sound like fun to some, but it carried me on a wave of confidence and accomplishment for the rest of the day. Yes, it was challenging.  Yes, it asked a lot of me. But, as the corner of one of the signs in our box says, surround yourself with those on the same mission as you.  Getting to the box does just that, for one part of my life’s mission: to be healthy, strong, confident. All the friends who scraped themselves out of bed to workout are on their own version of that mission with me. This is also why online communities like the Stronger U group and many others are so helpful.

What mission are you on?  Do you surround yourself with others who are on that journey, to encourage each other and show up even when it is hard?

anonymous letters, perspective

People Watching

I have always been a people watcher. People are fascinating to me in many ways.

How we communicate: body language, facial expressions, tones of voice and so much more. They all strike my fancy.

If I am on a stationary bike at the gym, I am silently observing, thinking: what does this person do for work? Do they have a family? How many days do they train to have abs of steel? The list goes on and on.

Now change the scenery to Walmart. There are not enough words to describe the diversity in Walmart. From the staff to the clientele. There is always such a broad range. Why would she wear that in public? Does anyone smell my gym sweat and wonder why I am out in public smelling so bad? My, how you see parents who get controlled or swindled by their kids in the toy department. Then there are the attention-seeking kids who frazzle their parents last nerve until they blow a gasket. It’s all entertainment if you soak it all up.

This week my adventures took me to the airport. This is another favorite people-watching palace. I get the business folks. They keep to themselves but it’s great to see their fashion and their multitasking with the cell phones and laptops in between flights. You have the vacationers: the young, the old, the groups, the families, and more. They all are recapping memories. Smiling for some, arguing for others. But the various interactions are stimulating for someone like me.

Move on to the plane. What a weird place. You sit on top of perfect strangers on most flights. The air is dry. The smell is varied. The germs are plentiful. On this recent flight I had what I would sum up as a lifetime smoker who picked up a bad cough on his trip sitting behind me. He coughed the whole flight. He had no limit of coughing into his sleeve, causing germs to go airborne, literally. Talk about the eww factor.

Ahh…then the transport to the rental car hub. Most are tired and cranky from travel and patience is limited. Enter long lines to get your car. Oh, how one person’s checkout is like a Jerry Springer episode. People should always treat others they way they want to be treated. Most angry customers forget the clerk at the counter is a low man on the totem pole just doing their job. We should all think about making that workers day not pissing in their Cheerios. Choose kind. You will inevitably get better service!

And I almost forgot the parking lot. The paid parking lot at the airport on a holiday weekend that said “spaces available.” Well, the dude on the bike with a flag checking availability must have been on break because there were no spots. Tick-tock, I am going to miss my flight and so are the other frantic drivers in the lot. A few near-accident misses from other cars darting for the one open space 10 other cars want.

It’s my lucky day! I found a lady going to her car. I stalked her. For real! She pulls out of the tiny spot. Am I going to fit? Uggh. Yes, but by a hair. My passenger must climb through my driver’s side. I take a step back and I have an extra large SUV on each side in what appears to be compact-sized spaces.

I leave a note for the person. Please don’t hit my car! I guess I will find out when I return. Did I mention my note was in the form of a sticky note I had in my car? Well, it wasn’t an ordinary sticky note. It said WTF on the top. The notepad was a gift from a friend a while back….bet they didn’t know how it would be used. The Mary Kay big-wig in her pinkish Escalade who receives the note is going be angry when she gets back to her car. I am hopeful my flight returns before hers.

These are just a glimpse of my recent people-watching adventures. I people watch each day. I learn. I observe. I grow. I meet new people along the way. I embrace other people and their quirkiness.

l love to hear from our readers near and far. Send me a note or comment below on some of your most memorable people watching episodes. I spared you the booger picking and camel toe stories in my past but I love a good story so send me yours.

friendship

A Pic is Worth a Thousand Words (or is it Clicks?)

 

This pic says so much about the stories and adventures of Chick 1 and Chick 2, aka KT and Beth. Is it worth a click?

A pic is like a piece of chocolate in today’s internet-crazy world – tempting. One picture can make or break person’s image online. One picture can lure someone to to the darkside. One picture can get a click, a like or go viral. Just one click. Just one pic.

Enter the above picture. Grainy at best. Boring to some. Intriguing to others. A Thelma and Louise duo of sorts. Two trailblazers setting out to tackle whatever life throws at them. Today it may be a road trip but tomorrow it could be a covert operation.

Is that an exaggeration? Maybe, but that is what #1095Days is all about. The ups, the downs and everything in between that these two muddle their way through on the daily. Endless opportunities right there in the front seat. The pictures captured are part of the stories.

Fulltime jobs, Mom duties, business partners, athletes, mentors, the list goes on as do the adventures and challenges on the ride. Buckle up, you are virtually engaged in this project. Keep following the hashtag online to see more tidbits as they are released. #1095Days

No two days are the same. This pic will be a story told in our upcoming project. A sleuth adventure that neither planned. An adventure that could have left them both in tears but instead it was met with smiles and a “we got this” attitude.

No outfits were planned but when they connected both were in dark clothing dressed for a caper. What a surreal experience unfolding in the blink of an eye. KT grabs the camera to capture the crazy. Beth in her firm tone says “don’t you dare! Don’t you dare!” (Of course, she dared.)

Look again at the pic. KT has a devilish smile as she snaps. Beth has a look of horror as she focuses on road ahead.

Enter the hoodies, a dark night and a zest for life, the duo took on the adventure ahead including sleuthing. True badassery if I do say so myself.

Of course, they found time to stop at Starbucks and fuel their adventure before the suburbanites hit the road. Sorry to leave you with a cliff hanger but that is how the #1095Days project was designed.

As the new day appeared the duo met up at their local gym for an action shot as a fellow gym goer took a pic of the two authors side by side. Normally the Chicks work out at different times but there is one day a week that their schedules collide. It’s a Saturday and both had separate workouts but put in an extra cardio session together. Once again solidifying the adventures of the dynamic author duo. Bound together like book bindings. True adventurers. Another in our #1095Days.

fitness and nutrition, perspective

From “They Think I Can” back to “I Think I Can”

 

One of my favorite kids’ stories is The Little Engine that Could.  This might surprise people who know me well, since I am not always known for my positive mindset.  I tend to be cautious, take baby steps, and keep my expectations conservative (at best.)

In case it’s been a while, the Little Blue Engine, when faced with an enormous task, takes it on, chugs along, and tells herself “I Think I Can” as she pulls train cars loaded with toys over a tall mountain.  At the end, she is a hero to the kids on the other side.

I think like this story so much because it is a challenge to me.  At time, my inner mindset is “What if I can’t? What if I hurt myself? Make a fool of myself? What if I fail?”  Then, if repeated often enough, it becomes “I can’t. I’ll fail.” End of story.

This is where friends and coaches come in.  I’m lucky to have several people around me who believe in me. Who challenge me. Who call me on my negativity. Who tell me that THEY think I can.

Enter Coach Alex.  I’ve talked before about injuries I’ve had at the gym.  I do modify movements, keep weights light, and scale in all kinds of ways.  Although it is mostly for safety purposes, there are still times I forget to challenge myself and just basically coast.

One movement that scares me is box jumps.  Body weight movements are just challenging and coordination is not my strong point.  An aggravated Achilles last year was another setback.  I had worked back up to step-ups, often with weight, but Alex got me jumping again.  He prefers jumps to step-overs and step-ups.  I moved from dumbbells, to two plates, up to three.  I was feeling pretty good.

Then one of those friends that challenges me asked me, “So how much higher is it to actually jump on the box?  It can’t be that much higher.”

Which got me thinking.  (Maybe I can?)

She had noticed I was jumping higher and thought that was great, but she isn’t one to let me just rest on my laurels.  The best kind of friend, even though being challenged may not always feel the best.

So between Alex and my friend, I knew the day to try was coming. Today turned out to be that day.  Box jumps in the workout.  As we were getting set up I grabbed the box and, unceremoniously, walked it across the gym to a tucked-away corner (in case I face- planted), set it down, stared at it for a minute and…

remembered what Coach Alex said.  Jump with everything you have.  Feet wider, pump my arms, focus on the box.

Then I remembered my friend, and thought “it isn’t that much higher than what I’ve already conquered.”  (I think I can….gulp).

And I jumped!

And I jumped!

And I jumped! Again and again, 52 times all together.  A few shaky landings and wobbly knees, but NO face plants or scarred shins.  Success.

It doesn’t read as nicely as the children’s story.  There’s not really a happy ending, cheering children, an unlikely hero…for me, there’s only maybe a happy ending to a chapter, then a look at what comes next. (A higher box?)

Thankful for friends and coaches who remind us that we can, when we’ve forgotten what we can accomplish.  Changing our minds can lead to changing our lives, whether in the gym, the classroom, in the living room, or just about anywhere.

perspective

Ch-Ch-Changes: Chick 2’s 2018 Recap Post

2018. A year of change.

Here’s a recap of Chick 2’s year…one with much more change than usual.

Since I mentioned working on my weight a while back, here’s the 2018 tally.

Started a challenge on January 15 at 243.2 pounds.

Final weigh in of the year: 193.6 pounds. Total loss for the year (minus the first couple of weeks, which I gorged myself knowing that diets were on the horizon): 49.6 pounds. I did a series of eating plans, including keto, modified paleo, and now I am working with Stronger U Nutrition. Each has their benefits and drawbacks, but right now I am primarily learning to pay close attention to what I eat and portion sizes. All the changes have helped me grow (and shrink!)

Pics above are February to December. Do you see a difference?

My major life change was moving schools. I worked at my previous school for 5 years. It was a great situation with many beloved co-workers. No school is perfect (since there are humans involved and humans are notoriously messy), but I had a lot of freedom and trust.

Still, for several reasons, the time was right to switch. It would be a better opportunity for my daughter and bring on new challenges for me.  The jury is still out on this life change…it’s been a tougher adjustment for both of us than I had anticipated, but I am still hopeful that it will work out.  (And if it doesn’t, or even if it does, lessons!) Pic below is me getting ready to host the governor’s wife in my library this fall.

My older daughter left the nest to live on her own.  It has been a Proud Mom Moment to see her work hard, scrimp, and come to a new appreciation of life’s challenges and earnings.  She puts in a lot of effort to maintain her independence.  She embraces her strength, uses her smarts, and works at her health.

I’d be leaving out a big part of my life this year if I didn’t mention my fitness family.  I spent a lot of my time this year sweating out stress while smiling at CrossFit Pure.  It was time for a change late in the year, so I’m happy to now call CrossFit Faded Glory my gym home. You’ll definitely hear much more about this amazing place in future posts.

I have worked through some setbacks with injuries, but I still stay as consistent as I can.  I know that my diet is the major part of my weight change, but CrossFit has changed my body shape as well as my confidence level.  It’s a journey I hope to continue.  Deepest thanks to all of my coaches and “classmates” (co-sufferers / co-crazies) who keep me going (in mostly the right direction) each day!

Goal post coming soon.  Until then, thanks to 2018 for all the lessons.  Welcome 2019 and more changes for the better!