fitness and nutrition, friendship

Peachtree Road Race, 2019

 

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It’s an Atlanta Independence Day tradition. The largest 10K in the world.

Growing up, I watched my ultra-fit older brother run the Peachtree.  Other members of my extended family have run it at times throughout my life.  Five years ago, inspired by my sister-in-law, I decided to join in.

The Peachtree is a festive, social event as much as it is a fitness test. I look forward to running the Peachtree with family and friends.  Sometimes our running partners shift a bit.  Every year, I’ve had my youngest daughter with me.  How we both have changed since that first run!  See the pics below for glimpses of us through the years.

Some years are harder than others.  My first year, I was doing some walking and jogging at home when race day rolled around.  We completed that race during a thunderstorm.  I knew I had to do it again since I didn’t really get the “Peachtree experience” of silly signs, live music, and fifty-nine plus thousand other runners and revelers along the way due to the weather.

Other years presented challenges due to heat, travel schedules, and my level of training.  My time has gone up and down. In 2018 and 2019 I didn’t train specifically to run the race.  I just relied on my overall CrossFitness to carry me through.

This year I felt as strong as I ever have throughout the race.  I am still slow and steady, but I ran for much longer stretches than I have before, and my slow may be slightly less slow than my previous paces.

My goal this year was to complete the race in less than 1 hour 30 minutes, and I beat that goal by over 3 minutes.  I shaved over 8 minutes off my time from last year, and more than 23 minutes from my very first Peachtree result.

Even better…at the end of the race this year I felt like I could keep running, another first! And afterwards, I was ready to walk back up the very long hill to catch our ride back to the car.  The stairs we I to go up and down didn’t bother me. I’m usually stiff and spent for the rest of the day once I cross the finish line. I was a little sore the next morning, but not too bad. I got up, went to the gym, and went on about my daily routines.

Overall, this year’s Peachtree was a great personal success. Having a benchmark to look at makes a big difference in seeing how I’m coming along, year after year.  What fitness traditions do you enjoy?

giving

Joy multiplies

Summer heat has arrived in Georgia. It’s zinnia season.

Fun fact about me:  I cannot grow anything.  I have been known to kill “maintenance-free” plants.

Everyone else in my family can grow things, though. So we have gardens in our yard sprouting flowers and food much of the year.

Zinnias are some of my favorite flowers. We’ve had small patches of them in the front and back for a while now. This year, without planting or any effort, a huge patch of them sprouted up in our front yard.

When we first got zinnias growing at home, I mainly wanted to watch them in the yard.  I never picked too many. I’d just enjoy them growing there for as long as I could.

After trying that for a while, here’s the cool thing I learned about zinnias:

The more you cut the blooms, the more blooms will grow.

So I try to cut all the new blooms a few times a week. I cut them just above where the stem splits.  These turn into a flood of endless bouquets that spread to friends from life, work, school, family, the gym, and so on.  And the more I cut them, the more blossoms appear and multiply.

It’s like the zinnias know you appreciate them, so they give you more of what you like.

When I think about it, many people are like that.  If you show appreciation for what they offer, they give you more of it. Gratitude matters.

With the zinnias, I also get to see smiles from friends who get a small gift of beauty and knowing they are treasured. Perhaps they, in turn, pass a bit of beauty or kindness along in their own way.

It really does not take much effort to brighten a day.  Joy multiplies and spreads.  Share some of what you have with others. Flowers, treats, even just a simple note can change a mood, an outlook, or make a challenging road more beautiful.

 

 

 

 

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.

fitness and nutrition, hustle

My Why or Why Not

I was asked for my favorite CrossFit quote today and boy did that set my mind on an infinite loop for words.

Why is that such a hard quote to put on paper? Because my CrossFit story has a beginning or an initial launch, but really I relaunch or a reset happens each day at CrossFit thanks to the constantly varied programming. Also, what I think is somewhat in the middle of my CrossFit journey is still really undefined since I have no end date in mind. Why no ending? Simply stated, I want to do CrossFit for as long as my body will allow and I hope that means into my 80’s. All of the above translates into the fact that my quotes can change daily, weekly, etc. based on where I am in my CrossFit story. Also, did you catch me on a high success day or an I need to work harder day when the quote question was asked?

Well, today this was my answer:

Snatchy, sweaty and sometimes sassy is part my CrossFit story. I love everything about CrossFit and how my story continues to evolve.

There are many highs, lows and everything in between when I reflect on my CrossFit journey, all of which has made me stronger, leaner and wiser.

I have thick and thunderous thighs. Some will say CrossFit makes you bulk up. Why do you do that?

I have strong shoulders, arms and back. Does that mean I’m not feminine? 

Nope. My gait, my confidence, my aura reflects how I start my day. I start my day grinding with a diverse group of insanely competitive, motivational and overall badass-type people at CrossFit. Together we sweat. Together we push to limits beyond initial reach. Together we document our stories. Collectively different stories but each story packs a punch. Living a great story is part of my love for CrossFit.

Each new day brings new adventures, challenges, and friends. Embrace today. Build for tomorrow. Say goodbye to the past by leaving any negative vibes in the rear view. Live like today is your last day on Earth. Make that difference in you.

Hard work requires dedication. Dedication requires time commitment. Time commitment requires prioritizing. Prioritizing means investing in you. You make the difference you want to see. Only you!

No matter what doubt others may cast on you, they have no direct impact on creating change in you. Motivation to prove others wrong? Maybe, but the reality is the power is all in your hands. You can choose to harness the power however you want to.

Remember the mind is a powerful tool. Your should only focus your mind on what matters. Don’t get hung up on what matters to others. #goalgettermindset