fitness and nutrition, friendship

Odd Couple to Awed Couple

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You know the phrase “The Odd Couple.” People who just don’t seem to fit together. On paper, they make no sense.

If you had to match pairs of friends, predicting who might get along, you might think of people with similar personalities, political views, walks of life. One of the great things about CrossFit is it brings wildly different people together into communities. Each box has it’s own culture, but ultimately we are all united by a commitment to our fitness, our health, our crazy workouts, and even the health, wellness, and happiness of our crazy CrossFit friends.

That being said, we do have some odd pairings in our box. Some would say the 2 Chicks make an unlikely pairing. We are opposites in many ways. But, many of those opposites are why we work. Puzzle pieces that fit together somehow. Another “Odd Couple” is Caitlyn and Milagros. Just two very different people united by a mutual affection, support of, and giggles with one another.

Fitness can bring us together to meet people we might never have befriended otherwise. We can all feel connected after enduring a marathon workout like Murph, after encouraging each other’s best efforts. It’s a funny thing how that suffering and triumph (or even missed attempts) can break down the apparent differences that keep us apart from each other. In CrossFit, we are all basically the same once we set aside our scrubs or heels or suits, and get into our tank tops and metcons for the day’s sweat-and-suffer-fest.

As Chick 1 mentioned in her recap, Milagros and I ended up as partners through a series of unlikely suggestions. It won’t surprise those of you who know Chick 1 personally to hear that it was her idea for Milagros and I to partner up. Chick 1 has a knack for connecting people and figuring out who needs who. She’s just gifted in that. I hardly knew Milagros at all before this matchup happened. We don’t workout at the same time for the most part, and our paths hardly ever crossed. I only really knew of Milagros because she was taking the photos for the CrossFit Open, so I met her on the Sunday of WOD 19.1. I knew she had an amazing gift for artistic and evocative photos from her instagram, but that was about it.

It may have been that very Sunday we met when this partnership was first set in motion. Next thing you know we were registered, a couple of weeks later we had our team name, our shirts, and even scheduled short strategy sessions. (I am not very competitive outwardly, but inside I am a perfectionist and do want to win. I hide it because I hate losing!)

In some ways Milagros and I are opposites, an odd couple. Milagros favors long, incredible socks. Mine are short and white. Milagros goes hard hard hard into a workout from the start. I will start at a pace that ensures I always have energy in the tank at the end. (Sometimes this means I am slower at the beginning than I should be. My latter rounds are usually faster than the first.) Milagros is so positive about the workouts leading up to the competition. She was so confident we would finish and dominate. Me, not so much. I manage expectations and approach things analytically. As I told her, I don’t expect we will finish, but I’ll be darned if I won’t fight as hard as I can.

We had a loose plan. We had practiced to some extent. But we had decided to just communicate through all of it and trust each other to be there when the other was faltering. Over time, we learned that we were both afraid of letting each other down. We both wanted to give our best efforts for each other. And that’s the way we walked in Saturday morning, shirts on, ready to lay it all out for each other.

The first WOD would be simple enough. 30 snatches, 30 clean and jerks. Split it up. We had decided I was more comfortable with snatches and Milagros was better on the clean and jerks, so we split it up by 10s. I took Coach Stefan’s advice and talked to the judge before hand to be sure I knew what he would be looking for, etc. And even though I was shaking scared, as soon as the countdown started it was a lot like Coach Alex said, everything just kind of fell away and we just did it. In the zone. Go go go. Didn’t take much longer than 2:30. Took turns, cheering each other on, it was all good. And just like that, WOD 1 was over.

And in that moment, we turned from an odd couple to the awed couple. We were just both like, heck yeah, we just did that! In awe of each other and probably ourselves. And we hugged for like 30 seconds and laughed and it was just a great feeling to have done that thing with someone who wanted to do their best for me as much as I wanted to do my best for them. Pretty profound moment, really. Who knew?

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I will spare you the details of Milagros rocking the heck out of jump ropes and thrusters and me managing to throw the wall ball not just to but *above* the target height over and over (huge surprise!) I won’t give you the blow-by-blow of how we worked together to endure a workout featuring a long grueling row and seemingly endless thrusters and burpees. All you need to know is that, even though I didn’t think we would finish, we finished all the workouts well under the time limit. And we used most of the rest of the time to just hug it out and laugh and have our awed couple moments right there on the gym mats.

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Thinking back I am pretty sure no one else was hugging it out the way our team did. Most people either fist bumped or fell on the floor or just walked away. Not us. We were freaking ecstatic for each other after every. single. workout. We may not have won or even made the podium, but we did some pretty special stuff for two women who have overcome a lot and plan to keep on doing that for a long time.

It was also incredible to be surrounded by a community that supports you. Our box friends came and watched, cheered, and encouraged us through each event. To hear your coach’s voice pushing you harder, faster, lights a fire when you’re just about to flame out. Then to watch them compete, push themselves, work a plan, it’s all pretty amazing for a first-time competitor like me.

When’s the next competition? We are already on the lookout. How can I resist the chance to get better alongside these athletes?

Milagros will always be my first CrossFit competition partner. Pretty cool title if you ask me.

Thinking of our team name, WOD we get into? Yeah, I’m pretty sure neither of us knew what we were getting into with all of this. And I don’t know about her, but I do know what I got out of it: Confidence, an amazingly accomplished I-didn’t-even-know-I-had-muscles-there soreness, giggles, and a heartfelt awe for my very special partner, Milagros.

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perspective

Are you Broken?

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On any given day we are all a little broken. It could be a simple hangnail type of broken, a big breakup type of broken or anything in between.

Some days we break a little, like a small crack in your cell phone. Some days we seem to be broken in a million and one pieces like the shattering of a mirror. Fortunately for us, there are bandaids for little boo boos, bandages and Advil for bigger cuts and bruises and then there is always the gym, counselors and good friends to help you when the heavy kind of broken happens. Loss of a loved one, divorce, mental breakdown, financial losses can all leave one broken which is just part of life but we all need to find coping mechanisms to deal with brokenness.

Remember, everyone can break. It’s not a sign of weakness. One can break at 2 years old resulting in a tantrum. One can break in their teens when social struggles hit hard. One can break as an adult for many reasons and the elderly can even break. Caring for an aging family member takes a big toll on people but many don’t talk openly about it. Being broken offers an opportunity to realize change is needed.

I’m sure we all wish we could sprinkle pixie dust on our brokenness and it all just goes away.  In reality, it’s not that simple. It takes strength, wisdom, encouragement, time and perseverance to realign with what’s important and needed to move ahead when brokenness hits us.

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(photo by @ahborson)

One may find hope with Jesus and the church. Another may exit a bad relationship and find peace in forging ahead alone. Another may readjust financially to a setback with counseling or help from a friend. In each scenario options are visible. Taking a step may be hard but if a step is never taken one will never move forward and may be burdened with sadness and sorrow from the brokenness.

I describe brokenness to my kids as we all have an emptiness inside of us.  And some of that comes from the broken places that we all seem to collect throughout life…  Seeing that things aren’t perfect. Accidents happen with awful consequences.  Humans are messy and flawed. People let us down or fail us. We lose someone we care about, for whatever reason. Each of these leaves us cracked, spilling, a little emptier.

It’s up to each of us what we fill those broken spots with.  Will it be productive or destructive? Some will fill that emptiness with substances, addiction.  Some will fill it with meditation, yoga, religion. Some will fill it with giving.  Some with an empty kind of busy-ness. Some with hopelessness or detachment. Some may write their way through grief to a deeper understanding of themselves. Some will fill their lives with new or deeper relationships, reflection, and a true attempt to find joy in the brokenness.  We each choose how we fill those cracks, whether we choose carefully or consciously or now.  We choose how we mend ourselves and even others.

I read about the Japanese art of Kintsugi. It’s the centuries-old practice of repairing broken ceramic pieces with gold…in this tradition, the cracked and repaired spots are not blemishes, but make the piece more beautiful and unique.  It’s a powerful metaphor for our broken human life. Our cracks don’t mean we are useless. Instead, they are part of what make us precious and ultimately more valuable.

I am broken. I have repaired cracks in my life journey and I have many stage one cracks in my life now. I am content with my brokenness. Life is not perfect and neither am I. I grow through my life lessons. I wander. I encourage. I challenge. I test fate and when I do I risk it all. The risk could be emotional. The risk could be financial. The risk could be unknown.

If I lived in a bubble could I still break? Yes, of course. I can however control my attitude when I start each day. I can manage my emotions when times are tough and I can fuel my body with health and fitness regimens that help me stay the course. It’s all in the mindset.

It may be hard to share, but I find that when I am brave enough to share my broken, I often also get the chance to be closer to people.  So often, others are suffering in ways we don’t know or can’t see, even refuse to see.  If we take a risk, make ourselves vulnerable, show our tender spots to a trusted friend, we will often learn we are much less alone in our broken. Many are fighting battles we can’t imagine, and often they feel they are fighting them alone. The cracks are opportunities to shine a light on others and share a light in what can be a very dark time. Be the light and share your broken.  Be the gold that fills another and reflects their unique beauty.

Be the gold that fills the cracks. Your gold may melt different than mine but it doesn’t decline in value. Gold is precious just like you and me.

If you thought this post was meaningful, please share it. Share the words that speak to you. I know there are some keys phrases in this post that make me smile and work towards being a better person. I am always filling my cracks with gold and trying to help others find their gold to fill their cracks as well.

 

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(photo by @svklimkin)
hustle, perspective

The Chase Begins With You!

When you are an influencer who shares, you’ll always have people following you. Whether they say it out loud or not, they are watching. Some will imitate you, some will sit in judgment of what they know so little about. Some will want to be you or with you, in your circle. Some will admire, emulate, and learn. Some just won’t get it.

This happens daily to many but most won’t talk about it. Haters are always around. Kindness is also in front of you. Some choose by default. Others choose because they are uncertain about themselves. No matter where one fits on the spectrum, one just needs to focus on themselves. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Laugh. Smile. Be genuine when you can. Those who fake it normally show their ugliness in one way or another. Be proud of who you are and what you bring to this world. Just you.

When you engage with your audience, your circle, your friends, your network, your acquaintances, sometimes you’ll be teaching, explaining. Sometimes just laughing, engaging. But within all that noise and engagement, you also have to have someone to chase.

Find someone better than you, in whatever field you are striving in. Business, fitness, social media, even close relationships or friendships. Who do you admire? Who has better skills? Who can you strive to be like?

Don’t mistake a chase for a competition. It’s just the chase. Chase the better version of you not another. You can only compete with yourself in this scenario. In a 50-yard dash you can race to win, but in life you need to focus on developing you and the world only gets one you. It’s up to you to define what you look like today, tomorrow and the next day. The physical you is just one piece of the puzzle.

It could be lunges or toes-to-bar at the gym. It could be the way a person writes or talks to their clients. It could be how a person styles their outfit or cooks in the kitchen. Find that person and chase them. Let them urge you on to a better version of yourself.

You may not even have to tell them. In some cases, it may not even be someone you know that well. In great cases, they might serve as a partner or mentor for you. But, you could also watch from afar and learn and strive that way.

If you are a shining light, you impact others just by being you and pushing forward on your path. Look in the mirror and find your light. Share the light with the world and see what happens.

I dare you to be different. Stand out. You have just one life to live, make it one to remember.

#1095Days #choosedaily #2chx

balance, dare to be different

The Sky Is My Limit

This week was some what of a chill week for me. A little bit of a flexy schedule. Some time for adventuring. A little less work and a lot more play.

This week had no “had to’s.” No business meetings. No trips to Disney. No packed restaurants on spring break. No trips to the office each day. Just a little staycation time in my local area.

I could have done the traveling and I could have enjoyed the beach but instead I opted for my spring break my way. For example, today I am relaxing on the couch with my dog watching the sun shine in my window. Just a girl, her dog, and her mighty blog.

Oh, the power of my words. My wisdom. My stories. My way. While I recharged my AAA-sized life batteries, I let the sky be my limit. The endless sky. It has no boundaries or confinement.

I went on a fabulous hike with some lady friends and my daughter. 5-6 miles of beauty and waterfalls. Birds chirping, girls giggling, a picnic lunch, great chit-chats and no technology. No cell service. Just taking away that one device allows you to appreciate other things. The smiles around you, the friendships you have, and so much more. It was a great day of nothing much then ended with some yummy ice cream from a local dairy farm. Talk about a creamy treat.

A spontaneous few days at the lake made for some good memories, too. Tied up boats with some friends and enjoyed some cocktails, cold water dips and exploration of the movie set for Ozark. I loved channeling my Inner Ruthy badass. Unexpected adventures are always the best. Add in a little jet ski fun with my mini me to make hump day a good one this week.

There was also a concert, a fancy dinner date, workout time and a glorious birthday bash included in the week. Nothing fancy just some good old fun with family and friends.

Many memories made this week but the big milestone this week was what I learned. I learned to sit back and enjoy the day’s sparkle. When you allow yourself time to reset you can accomplish far more than you think you can, personally and professionally.

This week I completed my first double unders at CrossFit. I had been working on the skill here and there but just didn’t commit to attaining it everyday. Somehow I made it work this week. If that wasn’t enough, I nailed my first toes to bar. This was a skill I was feverishly working on for a competition next week. It was a daunting task. It truly took an army of friends and coaches to get me to the finish line but ultimately I put in the work. I’m still climbing in progress but I hit a major milestone.

The above fitness achievements tie into my life in a big way. I am consistent, deliberate, and disciplined in my daily routines and my work ethic. The sky is my playground and my physical and mental strength let me tackle any turbulence that life tosses my way. And trust me I have obstacles daily!

I choose to aim high for what I want and only I stay in my own way of success. Sometimes it’s mental, other times it’s physical boundaries in in front of me. Whatever the barriers, if I have the will I will find my way. If ever I worry, I just look to the sky and know that possibilities are limitless if I set the sky as my boundary.

My way is my story. It’s not anyone else’s story. It’s only me who can put in the work. It’s only me who can define success. Others may think they guide or sway me on my journey but I choose who is part of my story or life journey and when I let them in or not.

My story is by invite only. If you’re in it, you are true to yourself and to me. If you are on the outside of my story there is most definitely a reason. Trust is earned not given to most.

Who is in your story? Is your story true to who you show to the world daily?

I am me. I am happy with who I am. I set the sky as my limit. Boundless energy to some, overly confident to others.

My motto is and and always will be: Dream big. Create. Repeat. Always strive to live without limits and seize infinite opportunities.

awareness

The One about the Turtle Crossing the Road

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When she was little, my daughter Anne loved turtles.  She used “turtle girl” as her nickname online.  She had a turtle named Swimmy for a pet.  She loved reading about turtles.  When we went to the beach, I scheduled time for us to work with local turtle patrols, visit aquariums, or watch turtle hatchlings be released into the ocean.

Turtles were her thing.

She’e a teenager now and her interests have broadened, but deep down I think she still has a soft spot for turtles.

So it didn’t surprise me a couple of weeks ago when we were out and about, driving on a long rural road, and I dodged a turtle stopped right in the middle of our lane.

Just like I used to do when Anne was little, I screamed “turtle!” and, just like she did when she was little, she yelled “turn around!”

It was a long stretch of road with rolling hills…visibility was tricky…cars were flying by…no flat shoulder and few places to turn around.  When I finally turned to go back for the turtle, someone came up speeding behind me so I couldn’t pull over.  So, we found a place to turn around again, and tried again.

I had my hazard lights on so people knew I was up to something.  Pulled over on a soft grassy spot, then she gave a quick look and jumped out of the car.  She ran full force probably seventy-five yards back and got the little guy.  She picked him up gently and moved him across the road in the direction he was going, just like we learned about when she was little.  She placed him down right by a small pond near the side of the road.  And off he went. Safe for the moment.  And then off we went toward our destination, feeling like we helped the world in some small way.

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At least five cars passed over him while we were making that multi-step turn around.  Who knows how many more had flown past him, over him, as he slowly made his way across the lanes toward his goal.

All this made me wonder about how many people I know, who I see daily, who are trying to cross their own treacherous lanes in life.  How many people do I know who are moving toward goals but keep dodging obstacles, negativity, or just the rushing flow of the daily grind? How many are in periods where things in life are flying by, in different directions, leaving them pulled into their shells much of the time?

Do I even notice them?  Or am I just speeding by, consumed with my own tasks and concerns, not even seeing those who I could help along if I just slowed down and took time to pay attention?

And how can I lift them up, shoulder their burden, ease their journey somehow? How can I put my lights on so people know I am slowing down, wanting to help, up to something?

These are the questions that are on my mind this morning. It doesn’t take that much to help someone across a scary patch.  I just need to pay more attention, be willing to slow down. Be more open and attentive. Work to see the potholes and rough patches others might be crossing. Sharing my own bumps and tumbles so they feel safe sharing their own.

What good is it to make it to my destination more quickly, if I have passed over others I could have helped along the way?

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fitness and nutrition

3 am Nachos

I sure do love nachos. Well they are not my favorite food but if I have a craving for nachos I definitely want to devour them.

I prefer nachos piled high. Lots of gooey cheese. Some onions. Maybe some peppers. For meat I favor fajita chicken but I wouldn’t say no to beef as in taco meat or some nice fresh shrimp. Diced tomatoes sprinkled on top. A sprinkle of shredded lettuce. Topped with avocado for a bonus. Black beans are a bonus too. I can tolerate a small amount of jalapeños but I would probably just go without. I’m sure I’m missing some topping but if I write any more of a description here it might just make me crazy.

I think I just described a mountain high pile of my dream nachos that should have my name on it. You see I was going to eat those nachos as a celebratory meal after my 5 kickass weeks in the CrossFit OPEN.

As fate would have it, the Mexican restaurant I went to was full. No bueno for me. No nachos. No oooey gooey cheese. Talk about a major let down. I moved on for sure, I lived another day or so.

Then Monday hit and I realized I’m back on my macro counting food plan. The macros that are limited to keep me on track with my health and fitness goals. So you wonder what that has to do with nachos, right? EVERYTHING!

Nachos are not your friend. Chips are not your friend. Beans are full of carbs. Cheese is okay but the oooey, goooey kind and quantity I refer to is just off limits. Nachos do not fit in my macros and I can’t have a cheat day on the first day of macro counting. Grrrrrr……

3am hits and I awake from a damn dream. A nacho dream. That’s it folks a dream about nachos and how I missed my chance at nachos last Friday. Then the dream became a nightmare when I realized I have some plans coming up that entail visits to my local Mexican eateries. Ugh, this is a real world issue.

Does anyone else have a nacho issue? I guess I am going to have to find a healthier version of nachos to fuel my desires for now and exercise my restraint and discipline. I will be digging deep to my core on this one.

Can you believe I woke at 3am because of nachos and actually wrote a blog about it? I sure did because it helped me defer and deflect my desire to eat those nachos. It may be a temporary win but it’s a win nonetheless.

Nachos are not a friend of this Chick. And I’m pretty sure my nachos are my counterpart’s tacos. Hehehehe, maybe she will write about her taco dreams one day. And for this girl, it will be a protein shake for breakfast possibly. No pancakes. No nachos. No surprise here.

I hope that I made you hungry for some yummy Mexican food. Remember there are some options that can be macro friendly when you eat out at Mexican but tacos, nachos, chips and margaritas are probably not on the list. And of course all of those are on my list of faves.

I am going to go back to bed now and hope for a dream of rainbows and unicorns or anything non-food related so I don’t wake up again hangry. Or I can celebrate my shoe addiction and the fact that I’ll be lacing up my brand new shiny pink, white and black Nike Metcon 4xds in a just a few short hours. Defer, defer, deflect those nachos. Moving on to my shoe addiction which I will have to save for another post.

I bet you never thought or expected my post-OPEN post to be about nachos. Since I am not your typical chick, nachos it is. My content is real. My content relates to my experiences, my relationships, my opinions, my adventures and of course my challenges and celebrations.

Enjoy my ride. Some days will be full of sunshine while others may be darker in nature. That’s why it’s called life. And what is life without temptation. Today’s temptation came in the form of nachos. I overcame this temptation and a few other speed bumps in the past 24 hours. 

Nighty, night or rise and grind peeps. Its technically Taco Tuesday and I may have just inadvertently annoyed my writing partner with this food post or maybe even you. Be sure to tag a friend today in honor of Temptation Tuesday. Instead of spreading joy today, I’m spreading nacho/taco dreams!

What could be a better way to start your Tuesday?

friendship

I Survived the _________!

-grueling week of travel.
-ups/downs life tossed my way.
-changes in daily schedules, vehicles and life.
-19.5 OPEN WOD, just barely.
-pollen.

When I reflect on what I pushed through this past week, I celebrate! I celebrate life and all its adventures that I get to enjoy and all the wonderful people I get to meet along the way. I even celebrate the sad times and the failures as each give opportunity to grow. I embrace it all.

This all hit me smack in the face on Friday. I was tired from a long week. I was unsettled in many areas of life this week. Too many distractions and complications. As usual I put my head down and muddled along.

Then it happened. My spirit broke in a work out. That never happens but it did this fine Friday. I wore my defeat on my face and in my mind thanks to 19.5 OPEN WOD. It happens to the best of us.

I pouted a bit. Mostly to myself but I pouted and it impacted my day to an extent. I needed a reset button. What would that be? How can I reset my mind when I keep recycling my missed opportunity?

For me, it was Friday Night Lights at my box. I sat on a box (literally on a box) and I watched a workout. It wasn’t the best athlete at the box doing the WOD, just a Wonder Woman of sorts getting her groove on. She did her thang. She didn’t give up. She persevered. It was real. In that moment I shifted my mind and celebrated others versus focusing on my defeat. I found the sunshine in my day. It might have taken until 6pm but I saw the light shining the window and my mind.

And then, out of the corner of my eye I see another sparkle. A little girl emulating her mom and dad on the bar. Some toes to bars, some pulls ups and smiles ear to ear. A “watch me, mom and dad!” moment that said “look, I can do what you do.” Talk about modeling. Wow, it was amazing. At this point my week of woes was all in the rear view. In the past. And we can’t change the past so focus on what’s ahead is what it’s all about.

A big sigh. A pregnant mom-to-be was on the other side of that little girl. I saw another sparkle or shine. It was the maternal glow of a mom-to-be. A wonderful moment of sorts. What was in her mind as she smiled in the distance. Will her little bundle of joy be an energetic monkey too? My cup was pouring over at this point and my mind had nothing but carefree thoughts.

Some giggles, some shenanigans and time with friends celebrating community and the past five weeks in the OPEN was the cherry on top. We all celebrated our own accomplishments together. Some competed at a level they didn’t think they were capable of. Others figured out new moves. Some put more weight on their bar to level up. And then a speech by two key people at the box. They were thankful for the community and the experiences shared over the past few weeks. Kicking back in a social setting surrounded by people who work hard but play hard too. It was a good time.

Find your tribe. Find your reset button. Let the worries of the world sit in the rear view. Embrace the new beginnings ahead of you.

Try new things. Meet new people. Focus on sunshine when clouds want to dampen your day.

This week I took a new class. I did some kicks and punches to change things up. What a blast I had. I almost got my toes-to-bar at a practice session too. Just a little more work and I’ll get there. No time line, just putting in the work.

Wonder what my next blog post will be about since the OPEN is now in my rear view? Guess you will have to wait and see what sparks my fancy. Or better yet send me your thoughts on topics and I’ll see if I can accommodate  your request(s). Don’t be shy, I love interacting with our readers! It makes me appreciate the power of my writings and inspires me to reach more and more folks virtually and in person.

Happy Spring, peeps!