adventure, family

Summa-time Fun, Part 1

“This summa I want to have a wicked fun time!” said the girl in her true Bostonian accent. I want to take on some new adventures that would keep me moving physically while allowing me to grow in other ways. The plan is set. The sizzling summer weather has arrived. Now it’s time to take action.

I have the usual fun in the sun planned for lake days, quick getaways and maybe some time at the neighborhood pool. That’s all good but what can I do that is different? Fun. Adventurous. And of course, memorable.

Zip, zoom, scoot, watch out new driver coming through!

Electric scooter rides in downtown Atlanta is the first of my many adventures this summer. What an amazing time! First I had to learn how to use the Lyft app for scooters to get the juice going on the scooter. That was both cool, interesting, and to me, exciting. Then the ride itself was refreshing with the wind in your face thanks to the scooters having a little pep to them. I did my own balancing act as I zoomed by folks. I may have even done a one-leg move at some point. And maybe, just maybe, I was close to crashing at one time. Clearly that would have been somebody getting in my invisible lane. Before you know it, life is just carefree in the moment. You can breathe in your surroundings. The fresh air, giggles, sunshine, the chitter chatter of passers by, the people watching, and the scenery is just amazing.

On this adventure I visited Ponce City Market area and stumbled across the scooters. It was a total accident because I really wanted to rent a bike that day and take a quick ride to see the graffiti I had heard about. Good thing they didn’t have any bikes because electric scooters sounded more interesting.

Curiosity got me and I had to check it out. I then rode along the Atlanta BeltLine which is full of graffiti and cool architecture. I didn’t want to put it back but I didn’t have much time this day. What a fun adventure I had with my family and surprisingly it wasn’t too expensive to rent the scooters. Looking for something fun to do? Check out the BeltLine in Atlanta, GA.

Teen Tidbit: Scooters are a great teen activity to do with your kids if you are looking for something new and appealing. People always ask me for ideas so here you have it.

Not too long after my scooter escapades I had a kayaking trip planned with friends. Then a torrential downpour hit and the trip was cancelled. Such a let down, but the following weekend was absolutely perfect weather to hit the river. I didn’t have a large friend group on the second weekend, but I did have a plus one. My middle son and I we were off on an excursion. Both of us could kayak but neither of us had experience on the river we set out for. Isn’t that part of the fun?

One hour drive and oh no, the boats are sold out for the day! Are you kidding me? We drove all this way to the middle of nowhere for a big let down.

Sigh! I must have had disappointment written all over my face and the lady said well, we have a smaller boat used for kids that you can go in. It’s easier to maneuver but it’s also tippable. Just my luck. “Will it hold me?” I questioned. Yes. “Will I be able to get back in easily if I tip?” “I don’t know,” she said with a smirk.

Now that I’m feeling super confident (not), my son says let’s just do it. Ummm…okay says the 150-pound athletic fit person who will have no issues jumping back on the kayak after tipping in rapids! Okay, you got me. I’m in. Here goes nothing.

The trip starts with us sliding down a 100 foot hillside covered in burlap in our mini kayaks. It was definitely a dry run…..

I was nervous but the descent was fun and I didn’t even scream. Then the hauling of the kayak to the water and an “aha” moment of okay, we are really doing this! Just me and the boy.

Off we go with no idea how many miles we were traveling or what was ahead of us in the form of rapids or water depth. The GoPro camera was on to capture our memories and we just started paddling into the unknown. The scenery was amazing. We saw beautiful birds and many turtles from small to large. It was just fun to be one with nature.

We had moments of peacefulness as we just floated. We had adrenaline rushes when we neared the rapids. We got our people watching on as much as we got to bird watch. The variety of people was plentiful and the rapids were just enough for me. Some gently rolling rapids while others had dropoffs that made me gasp. I almost tipped 2-3 times but I didn’t. I survived. I didn’t tip. I was so proud of myself. My son and I had a blast. We made some amazing memories and I learned I would want to do this adventure many more times in the future.

Travel Tip: Looking for a day trip check out Broad River Outpost just outside of Athens, GA. I highly recommend this in a large or small group, a couples adventure, teen trip or maybe even a girls day. It’s just good fun.

We may love new things or hate new things but we will never know if we like or dislike anything unless we try them out on our own. It’s that simple. I was glad I tried these two new activities this summer. I had fun. I made memories. I got to tell you all about my adventures.

Wonder what’s next? Guess you’ll need to wait for my Summer Adventures, part 2. Until next time…

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!

balance

Active Recovery

Active recovery is common for athletes. Maybe some cardio or a lower intensity workout as your body recovers.

In addition to my active recovery days at the gym, I need active recovery time of my own. To some this may sound weird, but it’s needed.

Today, I didn’t turn on my laptop for anything business related. I didn’t answer any work email from my phone. I didn’t do any project planning with my executive team for next week.

I enjoyed the outdoors. I challenged myself physically and mentally. I tried something new. I had breakfast at a local restaurant with friends, both old and new. I spent some time being lazy and petting my dog.

I spent some time away from the crowds. I took a power nap because I could. I listened to the clock tick. I listened to my dog snore. I caught up with some people I haven’t connected with lately. I didn’t even turn on the tv.

Basically I stripped out the noise of daily life. I embraced the giggles and laughter of today. I smelled the fresh air. I listened to somebody say grace at a table. I did however turn on some tunes in the car and jammed out shamelessly.

Do you ever just take a break? Do ever just need a break? Do you ever just need to turn down the volume on life to appreciate what’s right in front of you?

I encourage you to do it one afternoon. Maybe a Sunday after church. Maybe a Monday night, take a stroll in the park to gather your thoughts. Just make it fit in your schedule one day this week. Just embrace the challenge and invest in you.

The you in you needs to be strong for tomorrow. Resetting, refreshing and reapproaching your circumstances can often brighten your outlook.

Take my test and see what happens. Let me know how it goes.

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.

awareness

Are You My Type?

Last week, Chick 1 posted about her Enneagram results.

As one of her business partners, she encouraged me to take the Enneagram test to learn more about myself and how I can grow. (And yes, she had to remind me more than once. I’m scattered. It’s a problem.)

Anyway, to mirror Chick 1’s approach, I thought I would share my top 3 Enneagram type areas with some comments…all three of these were basically tied for me.

Type 4: The Individualist

The Sensitive, Introspective Type:

Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental

There are several things about the description of Type 4 that come to mind.  Fours are thinkers and reflect a lot.  I was a philosophy major, and lived “the life of the mind” for many years, well into my PhD. (My Dad used to say I walked around with “a little black cloud over my head” from thinking too much.)

I do love to just sit and ponder things, and I tend to still be reflective in my work at school today.  Fours are also artistic. If you know me, you know I love singing, poetry, and other creative expressions.  Fours try to be distinctive and individual.  No one would believe it now, but I was actually voted Most Original of my senior class!  My crazy Goth-girl-in-Catholic-school is not so pronounced these days…I think some of these traits have actually taken a back seat as I have aged. In my teens and early twenties, I think this would have easily been the dominant type.

Type 2:  The Helper

The Caring, Interpersonal Type:

Demonstrative, Generous, People Pleasing, and Possessive

On my good days and in my heart of hearts, I do really love being generous.  I love writing letters, giving thoughtful gifts, and trying to lift people up. I call these kinds of activities “soul-feeding” for me. I have learned in recent years that time and attention are some of the greatest gifts I can give people I love and care about, even people I hardly know who may be in need.  (And, I do have a bowl of candy in my work space at all times, just like the description states!)  All of these go along with being a Type 2.

But I do know at times in my life I have wandered into unhealthy territory with this tendency.  As I said in a recent conversation with Chick 1, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”   I’ll write more about this comment in an upcoming post, but for now I’ll just say I have, at times, sacrificed my own health (physical, mental, emotional) to put the needs of others first.  I am still working on how to balance my personal needs with those of others.  I’ll also reluctantly admit to being possessive or jealous at times. I have to adjust my inner soundtrack to keep this tendency in check.

I do think it’s funny that my top two appear to be opposites.  An individualist, but who likes to take care of others.  But then I think, I have a hard time accepting care and help from others.  (I dish it but I often can’t take it!) Go figure.

Type 9: The Peacemaker

The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type:

Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent

This is the person I am at work, more than any other place. I aspire to be easygoing.  When I left my last job, my boss described me as “steady.” That I was a calm, reassuring presence.  That I never seemed to get too ruffled.  This was a huge surprise to me, since my busy mind is often racing and worried.  I do strive to be a peaceful presence, while hiding the storm and insecurities inside.  And the Type 9 tendency to be creative, again, isn’t lost on me.

A more negative side of this is my tendency to avoid conflict at all costs.  I often worry about conflicts being the end of a relationship.  Some of the feelings and experiences I fear the most are being disconnected from the people I care about. So, I avoid conflict for long periods of time only to explode “out of the blue.”  Embracing conflict as a natural part of relationship and even as a step to growing to deeper connection and understanding is one of my challenges.

At the end, the description tells me to embrace exercise as a way to work through some aggressions.  Thanks, CrossFit!

This is a very different top 3 than Chick 1.  In fact, I giggled when my absolute-dead-last-barely-registered-on-the-scale Type was, you guessed it, Type 8, The Challenger, which is Chick 1’s dominant type.  The other two on the bottom were the remainder of her top 3, the Enthusiast and the Achiever.  I’ve mentioned before how people say we are an odd pair.  Well, in this regard they are definitely right! Exact polar opposites.

More on what those Enneagrams paired together might teach the Chicks in a future post.  In the mean time, I’ll be over here filling up my cup so it can runneth over for others, lifting heavy stuff so I can deal with others with a lighter hand, and being artsy-craftsy in my original / expressive way.

 

Did you take Chick 1’s Enneagram challenge?  What did you learn about yourself and how you might be the best version of YOU?  Share with us in the comments!

 

coaching, hustle

Purpose

 

Recently I was in a position where I needed to review my purpose, my passions, my goals and my visions. That seems like a mouthful in and of itself, but it is healthy to want to review where you are, where you are going, and if you are even on the right path in life with the right people in your inner circle.

Often times, people become complacent. They expect things versus earning things.  They stand still and are content with the status quo. They complain when things don’t go their way. They make excuses. I beat to a different drum. I mean, I complain a lot. A lot about things that don’t really matter much at all. Sometimes I complain about the weather. Sometimes I complain about my daily workout. Neither really impacts my day or aura, but I feel the need to complain and I usually do it out loud! But when it comes down to where I am heading in life and who is along for the ride, I don’t really waver on my direction or drive.

My Personal Side: I have three kids in three different age brackets: Young adult, emerging adult and teenager. Each has different needs from me at these various stages but each is given love, guidance and motivation to reach their next milestone. As our kids age, we shift roles as they navigate life and turn into independent learners and become responsible. We can only hope for success for each of our kids.

My Professional Side: I am successful professionally. I earn a good living but am I 100% challenged or loving everything I do? The answer is NO. There are tasks like monthly sales tax reporting, payroll, and dealing with human capital issues that I am not so passionate about.  These repetitive tasks require my time and energy. Is the trade off there for work/life balance? I am still figuring this out. I would much prefer a tropical island with good weather year-round and no need to have a professional side. Maybe that is in my near future….

My Healthy Living: I commit to eating healthy 90% of the time, limiting alcohol consumption, and making time for me (self-care). I heard somebody call that high maintenance today, but no it isn’t high maintenance, rather it’s high quality! For me, committing to me and my positive mental balance helps my patience/stamina when it comes to difficult family challenges, work challenges, and of course difficult people.

My Value: I know my personal/professional value. I encourage you to know your value. Continue to evolve as a person which will grow your value over time. Never let anyone diminish your self-worth. Once you allow another to dictate your worth, you will begin to struggle in other areas. Remember you control your value, not others.

My Purpose Work: I do a lot of purpose work. Some people see the purpose work, while it’s hidden in plain sight to others. This is where I fill my tank. Not my gas tank, my emotional tank. My purpose work helps carry me through the challenging times of the hustle and bustle of carting kids around or managing mundane business tasks.

Did you know 2 Chicks donates books each year to kids in need? Improving literacy one child at a time is part of our purpose work. Should you want to help sponsor a book drive in your area, contact us today.

Find your purpose. Live your purpose. Pass the passion of living your life with purpose to others. Many get caught up in their daily to-do lists and forget about laughing, smiling, and inspiring others. Offering hope, humor, smiles, and high-fives are all free. If only more people acted with kindness.

Signing off for now.  2 Chicks have a sizzling summer planned with lots of writing.  Watch our blog weekly for updates.

We are knee-deep in our #1095Days project which includes you, the audience!  Be sure to read, comment, and let us know what you like and don’t like.  You are part of our story!