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!

dare to be different, featured

The Photo Story

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If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you know the 2 Chicks have been through some pretty big changes this year.  Physically, professionally, personally, you name it, we changed it. To celebrate these changes and continue creating our big vision for 2019, we recently met for a photo shoot. Here’s a glimpse!

As usual, we got to laughing pretty quickly.

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And then, in classic #2chx style, one of us couldn’t stop laughing, which left the other rolling her eyes…

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And finally, the as-close-to-serious-as-we’re-getting-today moment… Are they angry?  Are they daydreaming? Bored? Do they even know each other? It’s anyone’s guess…

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Yup, that’s a glimpse of just a few of the faces of 2 Chicks and a Pen. Every day is an adventure.  Some days are giggles, some days eye rolls, some days who are you? We just wonder.

Oh yeah…one final surprise from the photo shoot.  Another example of just how different these 2 Chicks are…Who wore it better? Drop your thoughts in the comments! (I’d ask you which one the librarian is, but maybe that’s obvious….?)

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Anyway, big things are coming in 2019 for these 2 Chicks.  Our next chapter will be an exciting one! Keep following us here, on Instagram, and facebook for all the latest updates.

 

fitness and nutrition

A few recent (small) victories for Chick 2

As I’ve probably mentioned in one way or another, my gym progress may look different than many CrossFit athletes.  I started CrossFit about 16 months ago as an uncoordinated, imbalanced stranger to my body.  I am not far from that start in some ways, but I continue to push forward.  Here are a few little proud moments from the past few weeks.

I jumped up on three 45-pound plates. This is maybe 8 inches off the ground. Previously, I had only jumped about 5 inches so this feels like a big deal.  My Achilles has given me problems on and off which has derailed jumping for a while but I am back to working on it.  Losing weight is also a huge help in getting higher off the ground. Soon I’ll be jumping on a 12-inch box.

This week, I did a kipping swinging knee raise as a start at transitioning from hanging knee raises to toes to bar. Awkward and tests my grip, but a good challenge.

I used thirty pound dumbbells in to do alternating dumbbell snatches in a WOD.  My previous gym didn’t have all the increments so I now feel like I might get to the Rx 35#s sometime!

Not every attempt is successful, of course.

I attempted a double under and have the slap mark on my ankle to show for it.  Not pretty, but failure is a start.

Today I did backwards lunges with dumbbells off a 6-inch platform.  This was a total fail since lunges are a challenging movement for me on flat ground with no weights.  I eventually did backward lunges with dumbbells on flat ground in the daily WOD.

I may not be doing movements as prescribed.  But, I’m still inching along toward them.  My path is long, but I am moving in a good direction.

New coaches have helped me see where I have become complacent in my progress.  They are encouraging me to push forward and, because I’m accepting new challenges, I am not pushing back.  Instead, I am giving it a shot and going after it.

author moments

Literacy Night with the 2 Chicks!

It was a dark and stormy night….really!

Seriously though, last week was amazing! 2 Chicks headlined a literacy night at a local elementary school. It was well attended despite the hurricane weather fast approaching. The set up was cozy; kids gathered with blankets and snacks on the floor. We couldn’t have been happier to meet these readers. Sharing our books and our story as authors is the heart of what we do!

We had a diverse audience, which we love, as we get to hear what our readers think about our work. What more honest critic (and fan) is there than a child?

Some of the kids were interested in the illustrations and why we chose what we did. Others were fascinated with the book-within-a-book concept from our third book. Still others wanted to know what it means to be an author and how we got our start. Many enjoyed hearing about the beginning, middle, and end of the process of making a book. Of course, the 2 CHX love the opportunity to share all of our ideas in hopes of inspiring future writers and illustrators. We encouraged them to carry notebooks with them and keep paper by their beds. You never know when ideas will strike!

Chick 1, KT, had a particularly moving experience where she met a young boy who likes to write comics with his friend. His friend likes to illustrate their ideas. WOW that is amazing! A partnership of creativity much like the the 2 Chicks have! A relationship to cherish. Their conversations expanded as the evening continued and his curiosity climbed. KT seized the opportunity to inspire and share artwork and works in progress, a true behind the scenes look for this aspiring writer. They then exchanged contact information at the child’s request to form a pen pal relationship and the young man offered future book reviews. What an amazing opportunity for both the child and the author. A connection made and more inspiration to follow….maybe even some pen pal updates. Our cup is overflowing with pure joy when we have events like this.

For Chick 2, Beth, it was an opportunity to connect with former students of her own. Chick 2 used to teach future teachers at the University of Georgia all about reading, writing, and children’s books. Three of her former college students are now teachers at this elementary school! Seeing these educators, now colleagues, encourage young people to enjoy reading, writing, and sharing their ideas was a full circle moment.

Thanks so much to our local friends for inviting us! We are looking forward to reaching more readers this way in the coming months and years. If you’d like us to visit, let us know!

Our message: Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep smiling. Keep doodling. Keep dreaming. You can be whatever you aspire to be.

fitness and nutrition

Chick 2 and the Birthday Burpees

This time last year, I was still pretty new to CrossFit.  So when I stumbled into my box on my birthday for a workout, someone told me it was time to do my birthday burpees.

Now that I think back, there was some snickering around the box that morning about birthday burpees.  But, I am pretty gullible, and I was anxious to be part of the community.  I also don’t like to seem like I am slacking or afraid of hard work.  So, I went over into the beginner’s corner (what I call the side area of the gym where I often retreat when I am doing particularly sloppy / awkward movements), and started at it.  I did them a few at a time, very slowly, spread throughout the workout, probably cursing each one, but I did my 44 burpees.  Maybe halfway through the 44 someone saw what I was doing and told me that it was all a joke.  But, I did them anyway.  Why stop part way through?

Here it is, my birthday week again.  It’s been over a year at CrossFit Pure.  My birthday fell on a Sunday this year so I didn’t have anyone to tell me to do burpees.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am working on health and weight loss.  I also have some challenging injuries that limit my ability to do some of the most dominant CrossFit movements (squats, deadlifts, etc.)  To be sure I am still getting a solid workout, I often add things on my own in addition to scaling and adapting movements.  At times, I challenge myself to do certain moves each day during a week as extras, like 50 sit ups, 50 slam balls, and so on.

During my Monday workout this week, I decided to do some extra burpees. Burpees kick up my heart rate better than nearly any other movement.  Monday was a shorter workout so I was able to do 50 spread throughout my gym time, mostly before and after. I thought I would do 50 each workout day this week. On the way home, I thought to myself that, given it’s my birthday week, maybe I should go a little bigger.

How could I challenge myself?  What could my birthday burpees be this time around?

So, I decided to go a lot bigger, shooting for a goal of 10 times my age in burpees.  So, 450 total for the week.

As I sit here on my birthday, I am happy to say I reached that goal, and even BEFORE my actual birthday.  I learned something each day, too.  Here’s a snippet:

Monday: The first 50 burpees, completed before I set the actual goal.

Lesson: Sometimes you start something without a goal in mind, then the opportunity to create a measurable goal comes to you.  Embrace it, and challenge yourself beyond what you think you can reasonably do.

Tuesday: Another short workout, so managed to add in 100 burpees on this day. I set that 100 burpee goal when I walked in the door that afternoon, given that the workout was brief.  Plus, I decided that if burpees were part of the regular workout, they did not count toward my personal goal, so I had to push myself on the days when they weren’t programmed. (We don’t see the next day’s workout until the night before.) (Total: 150)

Lesson 1: Set intermediate goals that help you along the path.  When you have the chance, take a bigger bite out of the goal than you normally would if you were doing the same amount each day.  You never know what life will throw at you.

Lesson 2: Making up my mind before I started also helped me push through the after workout burpees.  The workout we did pushed my upper body to exhaustion.  So, when I dropped to the ground after it to finish my birthday burpees, I laughed out loud since I couldn’t push my body back up.  But, I had a goal to achieve, so I shook them out, took a few minutes to rest, then got going again.

Wednesday: Did 50 burpees during a crammed schedule kind of workout, then 25 at home. (Total: 225, halfway there!)

Lesson: My schedule was off this day.  Arrived at the gym late, couldn’t do the programmed workout due to injuries so had to pull one up from previous weeks, had a doctor’s appointment just after gym, and so on.  We all have these days where it is hard to fit things in, but we have to do it anyway.

So, I did 10 burpees in the driveway at 6:00 am while I was waiting for my daughter to get in the car. (This stunk on concrete but I was SO much more awake on my drive!) I was at the gym for less than an hour total but still got 40 burpees in.  Then, I did 25 more at home that night.  Those were also awful since I wasn’t in my gym clothes and trying to do them on carpet or tile is just different.  But, I did them. Striving toward goals means doing things that aren’t ideal or just plain stink sometimes.

Thursday: Another 100 burpee day. Did all 100 before the workout. (Total: 325)

Lesson: Most of the week, I did my burpees in sets of 5, EMOM style.  (Every Minute on the Minute, do 5 burpees.)  I didn’t wear out too much this way. I just chipped away at it. Take bite sized pieces from your goal.  This day I did them for 20 straight minutes, since my schedule was off again.  (I don’t usually have this much time before a workout).  One of our CrossFit coaches saw what I was up to and said, “look at her, over there doing burpees like it’s her job.  Like it’s her JOB!”  And this week, it really was my job.  It was my commitment to myself.  It’s also so helpful to have people notice along the way and encourage you!

Friday: 75 burpees. These were the hardest of the week. (Total: 400)

Lesson:  What I dreaded all week happened Friday.  There were burpees in the workout.  So on top of the 36 in the workout, I did the additional 75 that I needed to do for my birthday goal.  I was so tired after a long week, hadn’t eaten as much as I usually do so I felt sluggish, had a busy day at work, and so on.  It was a true mental challenge to get through these, especially since I did all 50 after the workout.  Again, sets of 5 EMOM style.  I nearly cried about 4 times but I just talked myself through it.  It was a slog and a true mental test. I just kept focusing on the next five.  Thankfully, the end was in sight at this point.

Saturday: 50 burpees.  Mostly all after a challenging workout. (Total: 450!)

Lesson: For these, some of our awesome gym ladies jumped in and did them with me.  We all challenge each other at times, so this was a great lift (and an amazing support since burpees aren’t much fun for anyone!)  This also made me push harder, since these ladies are all faster at burpees than I am and were doing them until I was done.  So, my EMOM style meant everyone else was doing more! more! more! I had to do the last 20 without a break so everyone could stop!  This is one small example of how our community makes you push yourself out of solidarity and encouragement.

I was so happy to get over the finish line.  I screamed in relief and joy. I am so thankful for what this body and mind can do.  There were several times this week when, through the pain and “I don’t wannas,” I reminded myself to be grateful for the strength to do this.

Later that day, it was fun to clean up, dress up, and have a tea party, again with some of my amazing friends from my box. Then, family celebrations as well.

The big takeaway:

It was a week of CELEBRATING WHAT MY BODY CAN ACCOMPLISH at age 45.  Getting older doesn’t have to mean getting slower or weaker.  I can set goals, push through, and have people cheering for me and pushing me along the way.  It is a metaphor for life, goal setting, achieving, and setting new ones (which is what I am doing today!)

Maybe next year I’ll do burpees all month.  Maybe by then I’ll be doing my burpees completely correctly. Or maybe it will be something else that seems like the right mountain to climb. Who knows.  I’ll see where I am and set a new challenge.

This post wouldn’t be complete without a tip of my party hat to Chick 1.  If you’ve been reading her blog posts, you know that she is a goal setter and a goal getter.  I didn’t really understand much about making progress toward goals until I watched her in action.  She is a marvel in what she chooses to strive for, how she accomplishes it, and the way she holds herself accountable. I’m still practicing this whole goal thing, but her showing and sharing that process has been a gift to me that will keep unfolding for years to come.

May 45 bring all the growth that 44 did, and more!