fitness and nutrition, friendship

Just Show Up and Jump In

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“Our third teammate unexpectedly dropped out at the last minute with a sick kid.  Can anyone make it?”

A post to our gym community in the wee hours of a December Saturday morning.  I thought about it, but plans were already in motion for a day of chasing my daughter and her friends as they volunteered to help with a younger girls’ lacrosse team.  I sent my good wishes…hope someone can step in!

Then the text came in, just to me:  “Can you do the comp today and then come get the girls?”

A pause.  A stomach clench. My only job was transporting my kid and her friends and and now a friend was offering to take all that over so I could help on the team.  So how could I say no?  More stomach clench, I texted back.

“Ummmmm ok.  If that’s the best solution.”

(Inner voice of doubt saying:  “There must be a better solution!”)

From that moment, the whole day took a turn.  What are the workouts?  Do I need a shirt? I was already on the way to the gym…thank goodness I wore black shorts.

I turned the car around to head toward the competition site. The doubting voice crept in again…I haven’t eaten well!  How many burpees?? One rep max complex?!? I haven’t showered and shaved! I can’t do those weights!  I haven’t practiced!

WHAT. HAVE. I. DONE?!?!?!

Well, I was helping friends. I could do at least something and I would give my best. Just show up and jump in, I told myself.  Just show up and jump in. Every time I wanted to turn the car around, I’d tell the doubting voice to pipe down. Just show up and jump in.

And so, I got there about 15 minutes before the first workout.  Quick chat. Waited in the bathroom line, switched shirts, did a few stretches and bam, jumped in and competed.  Looking back now, it is awesome to be fit enough to just get there and give it a go.  Granted, I couldn’t lift as heavily as I would have liked to, but I jumped in and did what I could.  My two Ginger Thruster teammates did the heavy lifting, and lift they did! It was awesome to watch and be a part of.

By the time our first workout was over, some people were just seeing the early morning SOS post.  My friend Milagros asked if I needed anything – extra coffee and water, really.  She showed up with all that, plus some snacks and some needed encouragement.  Another part of the network coming together to solve a need.

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We pushed ourselves. We laughed a lot.  We fought for all the reps, strained for every pound.  I’ve never done so many jumping pull-ups in my life. It was a great day.

One great thing about this competition is they have a box member who is an amazing photographer, Davison Wheeler.  He generously shared nearly a thousand photos of the day, including the ones in this post.  It’s equal parts amazing and humbling to look at the people competing – their stamina, their strength, their skill.  When scroll through to find I the pictures of me, what I noticed is that I am often cheering for my teammates.  I may not be able to lift a huge number of pounds, but I try to lift spirits when I can.

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And a lot of that comes from just showing up and jumping in.

 

 

 

 

healthy hacks

The Swap

The meal prep swap. How does it work?  What are the benefits?

This is another blog that is just a tidbit for anyone who can benefit.

Each week meal prepping can be boring or tedious. Time constraints could limit what you can make forcing you to eat the same chicken recipe for multiple days. Things could be worse, but what if there was a way to switch up the ordinary?

Grab yourself four friends who eat healthy. Set a side a day and place for the swap. Pick your menu and start your meal prep.

Instead of meal prepping 5 chicken dishes for yourself, you keep one and bring the other four to the swap.

One friend makes spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs with marinara. One friend makes Greek chicken with a cucumber, tomato and onion salad. One friend makes a chicken bowl with black beans, corn, riced cauliflower and veggies. And the final dish is a shrimp and avocado dish. These are just a sample but the picture above actually has egg salad full of veggies, turkey sausage and cabbage with cucumber side, riced cauliflower with beef sausage and hard boiled eggs, and spaghetti squash seasoned with Everything but the Bagel seasoning (a must have) with turkey.

You basically bring you 4 meals and trade with the other four participants. You end up with 5 different meals for the next few days (yours plus the other four). Variety is in front of you.

You may even try something you never would have made and loved it. You could also get a dud meal. That’s the little risk you take for escaping the ordinary. This may be too much planning week after week but here and there it can easily break up the cycle of boring meal prep.

Be sure to set expectations in your group about capturing all ingredients, measurements and of course sharing the recipe. For me it works great when a friend messaged me the details from Myfitnesspal. I just copy and paste and move on to the next meal.

Just a fun way to spend some time with friends, promote heathy eating and maybe even keep a friend accountable for tracking their eating or meal prepping.

More healthy hacks coming your way in 2020 from 2 Chicks and a Pen.

fitness and nutrition, friendship

Mileage Madness

Just updating the world on my 2020 mileage challenge. So far, so good.

At the end of 2 full weeks I logged 147 miles or 8% of the 2,020 miles. Doesn’t seem like much but it is all extra work. The miles are in addition to my normal daily training. I fit them in where I can.

I arrive early some days for a couple of miles. I stay late when I can for a few more. I add some longer stretches at home when my schedule allows. I’m getting it done and so are my friends.

I have 3 races booked so far for 2020. A 15k in February, a 10k in May and a mud run in October. Just a fun way to get some miles away from the ordinary training locations.

Variety definitely helps keep the task at hand easier. One friend is splitting up her miles by category. 10% by rower, 10% run, 10% ski erg and so on. Why? For one, it’s harder. A mile on the rower or the ski erg take longer. Each may even seem more taxing than bike, but in small doses it’s not too bad.

Enter a group text message early Saturday morning with a 7-mile variety workout of sorts for a group challenge. It looked challenging yet I wanted to put in 11 miles that day so I adjusted the numbers to get me to 11 miles collectively. I said it’s not much more time. Hmmmm…

The above workout was now a reality. It took a while. Over an hour but it was manageable and I wasn’t exhausted after. Maybe my extra miles are helping me build endurance. I had a friend doing the work with me which always help to keep one moving.

I shared my update with the 2020 group and *boom* some brilliant member suggests we do it AGAIN tomorrow. Sunday. 5am. Who in their right mind wants to do that on a Sunday? The one day I can actually sleep in. WHAT? Have you lost your ever loving mind?

And people say I’m the head of the Bad Idea Club! Well, in this instance I said “wait, I’ll be there.” Why? Because I’m just as crazy as the others on the group chain.

It’s 4:30 am. It’s cold. I’m still tired. It’s laundry day so my favorite gym clothes are dirty. Do I even want to do this? I check to make sure my pals are up and moving because it would be a sick joke to wake me up this early for nothing. And I’m secretly hoping nobody replies! I sigh as two chirps got my phone.

It’s Kim and Mindy who are clearly up and ready to go go go. Guess I got to get going too. Off we go again to rack up another 11 miles, or 11 miles, 60 pushups and 90 sit-ups to be exact. Will I have a better finish time? I doubt it. It’s at 5am and I will barely be awake. Now I have to figure out who I can get to drag themselves out of bed so we can be miserable together. Picture proof below.

6 souls rose in the 4 am hour to meet at the gym for a 5 am start. Over an hour of hard work. Running in the dark and cold. Cheering each other on. We even had a cheerleader there snapping pictures.

Bike, ski, row, run, push up then sit up over and over again. We did it!

Off to work the nurse goes. Off to the grocery store three others go as it’s meal prep day. One rushes out before the hubs wakes up and one just vanishes into the darkness.

Another day. Another 11 miles. A little closer to the end goal. A whole lot of fitness. A great time with wonderful women I call friends. Fitness can actually be fun if you make it fun with friends.

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