hustle, perspective

Wiped Out

This week has wiped me out physically, emotionally and mentally. No joke on this post. Every obstacle that could come up, did. Every annoyance (people included) tested my patience muscles repeatedly. Business/work was cloudy or meh at best. Schedule was off a bit making things extra stressful. It was just a hot mess blur all around. Did I whine about it? Sure did. Did it make things any better? Not really but I survived and am now taking time to pause and reset.

Despite the crazy, the weather was amazing. 60,70 and 80 degrees in February in Georgia. That is something to celebrate. I got to wear shorts and drive with my window down. There is just Something about sunshine. Feeling the warmth on your skin. Getting to enjoy the outdoors. Smelling the scents of fresh cut grass with your windows down. Getting some pink in your cheeks. It’s all good for the soul.

Speaking about the soul. My mental balance and clarity starts in the morning with a blast of a workout. If I miss my workout my day’s scale can me tipped quite a bit. Not necessarily in weight on the scale but in daily balance. If I perform sub par the same thing can happen. My mojo can shift slightly. This week at the gym was full of many challenges. Workouts were long, physically draining and really designed to push you out of your comfort zone. It’s definitely what I needed but not what I really wanted.

To give you an idea of what I am referring to, I am going to focus on double unders. A movement of patience, timing, endurance, focus and skill. Devilish double unders are not my friend at all. They have been the death of me for the past few years! Practice makes perfect they say, but my ass, arms and legs say otherwise when they get whooped repeatedly. Did I mention the whooping leaves marks?!?! Why would one torture themselves? For the same reason we work hard in our jobs and life. To push ourselves. To evolve. It’s all about challenge and striving for better.

Oh and then there are the toes and to bar. Why can’t my body fold up like a nice taco so my toes can hit that damn bar just once. I just shake my head, curse to myself and say maybe next time. Talk about exercising your patience muscles. When I think of how I start my mornings at the gym, I think of success and failures. I think about I can vs I can’t. I think about the people in my life who cheer for me or don’t. How I start my day impacts my mood and my output. My kids have taught me this as well over the years. If they wake wrong and are too hurried it sets off their day in the wrong direction. If they have a sporting event they need to mentally prep with music and good vibes to put in their best performance. We can all learn something when we watch kids.

My morning resets at the gym after a good night’s sleep. The sleep erases all the worry and stress from the day before or at least it’s tucked away for the moment. Surrounded by people who want to not only be physically fit but mentally fit. Some folks don’t see the benefit of a feeling such as feeling fit. Yes I just typed this. Feeling fit! Nobody can actually tell you how you feel but you. You might look okay on the outside but you need to be fit on the inside to conquer most days in this crazy world we live. I am sure many of you can relate but may struggle opening up this conversation with people around you. Why? Because most don’t want to hear it.

Do you exercise your mind daily? Do you stimulate your social muscles? Do you push your comfort zone to try new experiences? These are the things I am talking about. Things most can’t see. It’s almost like going back to what my mom told me as a kid: don’t judge a book by its cover or don’t judge a person until you have walked a day in their shoes. I have replayed these old adages in mind many times over the years as I polished myself and worked on being a better person. I am far from perfect but I do put my best foot forward each day.

Now that I have rambled on about what’s behind everyone’s wall I am going to skip back to sunshine. I really like the word sunshine a lot because my dad always called me his sunshine. He would sing you are my sunshine, my only sunshine over and over. It normally seemed annoying at the time but what a cherished memory I have of our relationship and how I can incorporate his warmth into my adult life.

Since I like sunshine outdoors, why not shine the sunshine in my workouts this week in honor of my dad. I was able to try out a trick skill: hanging from the bar with one hand while flipping a 10 pound plate in the air and catching it. It was hard for sure but I did it and will probably keep working on it. It wasn’t my best showing ever but it was new and stimulating in many ways and sparked my day. I got to work on my grip strength. I got to see how my tracking ability was. I even caught it on video for my CrossFit journal. I got to ring the bell twice this week for hitting personal records (PRs). #120 overhead squat which is definitely not a strong move for me. Who actually likes holding 120 pounds over their head? I failed at #125 and #127 but I’ll take the PR. I also hit 157# clean PR. That is up from #137 during last year’s Open which translates to progress! Yeah for sunshine in the midst of a draining week.

When reflecting on the week there was definitely more sunshine in my days than clouds for sure, but I had to deal with chaos that comes with wearing the many hats that I do. Today is Saturday. I will have some girl time with my close friends. I will see some people I only get to see on the weekend. I will rest my brain from most challenging tasks. I will spend quality time with my family instead of being on the go-go-go mode.

Relaxing on the weekend is something to be thankful for. Sometimes just doing nothing is good for the soul. A home cooked meal, some laundry, and maybe some sweet dessert of some sort. And most importantly, I usually need a Saturday nap session after a brutal WOD like the one today. 40 minutes of enduring a battle against yourself.

Find your sunshine. Use your reset button when you need it. Get a good friend who listens to you without judgment when times are tough. Be a listener for somebody in your life. Open yourself up. Life is lonely if you allow it to be. Turning away is sometimes easier than facing the adversity in front of you but you can program you mind to do anything you want to. You just need to want!

Don’t forget it’s my bday month. I will be eating my infamous Carvel cake at some point even if it doesn’t fit in my macros. #bdaygoals

friendship

A Pic is Worth a Thousand Words (or is it Clicks?)

 

This pic says so much about the stories and adventures of Chick 1 and Chick 2, aka KT and Beth. Is it worth a click?

A pic is like a piece of chocolate in today’s internet-crazy world – tempting. One picture can make or break person’s image online. One picture can lure someone to to the darkside. One picture can get a click, a like or go viral. Just one click. Just one pic.

Enter the above picture. Grainy at best. Boring to some. Intriguing to others. A Thelma and Louise duo of sorts. Two trailblazers setting out to tackle whatever life throws at them. Today it may be a road trip but tomorrow it could be a covert operation.

Is that an exaggeration? Maybe, but that is what #1095Days is all about. The ups, the downs and everything in between that these two muddle their way through on the daily. Endless opportunities right there in the front seat. The pictures captured are part of the stories.

Fulltime jobs, Mom duties, business partners, athletes, mentors, the list goes on as do the adventures and challenges on the ride. Buckle up, you are virtually engaged in this project. Keep following the hashtag online to see more tidbits as they are released. #1095Days

No two days are the same. This pic will be a story told in our upcoming project. A sleuth adventure that neither planned. An adventure that could have left them both in tears but instead it was met with smiles and a “we got this” attitude.

No outfits were planned but when they connected both were in dark clothing dressed for a caper. What a surreal experience unfolding in the blink of an eye. KT grabs the camera to capture the crazy. Beth in her firm tone says “don’t you dare! Don’t you dare!” (Of course, she dared.)

Look again at the pic. KT has a devilish smile as she snaps. Beth has a look of horror as she focuses on road ahead.

Enter the hoodies, a dark night and a zest for life, the duo took on the adventure ahead including sleuthing. True badassery if I do say so myself.

Of course, they found time to stop at Starbucks and fuel their adventure before the suburbanites hit the road. Sorry to leave you with a cliff hanger but that is how the #1095Days project was designed.

As the new day appeared the duo met up at their local gym for an action shot as a fellow gym goer took a pic of the two authors side by side. Normally the Chicks work out at different times but there is one day a week that their schedules collide. It’s a Saturday and both had separate workouts but put in an extra cardio session together. Once again solidifying the adventures of the dynamic author duo. Bound together like book bindings. True adventurers. Another in our #1095Days.

fitness and nutrition, perspective

From “They Think I Can” back to “I Think I Can”

 

One of my favorite kids’ stories is The Little Engine that Could.  This might surprise people who know me well, since I am not always known for my positive mindset.  I tend to be cautious, take baby steps, and keep my expectations conservative (at best.)

In case it’s been a while, the Little Blue Engine, when faced with an enormous task, takes it on, chugs along, and tells herself “I Think I Can” as she pulls train cars loaded with toys over a tall mountain.  At the end, she is a hero to the kids on the other side.

I think like this story so much because it is a challenge to me.  At time, my inner mindset is “What if I can’t? What if I hurt myself? Make a fool of myself? What if I fail?”  Then, if repeated often enough, it becomes “I can’t. I’ll fail.” End of story.

This is where friends and coaches come in.  I’m lucky to have several people around me who believe in me. Who challenge me. Who call me on my negativity. Who tell me that THEY think I can.

Enter Coach Alex.  I’ve talked before about injuries I’ve had at the gym.  I do modify movements, keep weights light, and scale in all kinds of ways.  Although it is mostly for safety purposes, there are still times I forget to challenge myself and just basically coast.

One movement that scares me is box jumps.  Body weight movements are just challenging and coordination is not my strong point.  An aggravated Achilles last year was another setback.  I had worked back up to step-ups, often with weight, but Alex got me jumping again.  He prefers jumps to step-overs and step-ups.  I moved from dumbbells, to two plates, up to three.  I was feeling pretty good.

Then one of those friends that challenges me asked me, “So how much higher is it to actually jump on the box?  It can’t be that much higher.”

Which got me thinking.  (Maybe I can?)

She had noticed I was jumping higher and thought that was great, but she isn’t one to let me just rest on my laurels.  The best kind of friend, even though being challenged may not always feel the best.

So between Alex and my friend, I knew the day to try was coming. Today turned out to be that day.  Box jumps in the workout.  As we were getting set up I grabbed the box and, unceremoniously, walked it across the gym to a tucked-away corner (in case I face- planted), set it down, stared at it for a minute and…

remembered what Coach Alex said.  Jump with everything you have.  Feet wider, pump my arms, focus on the box.

Then I remembered my friend, and thought “it isn’t that much higher than what I’ve already conquered.”  (I think I can….gulp).

And I jumped!

And I jumped!

And I jumped! Again and again, 52 times all together.  A few shaky landings and wobbly knees, but NO face plants or scarred shins.  Success.

It doesn’t read as nicely as the children’s story.  There’s not really a happy ending, cheering children, an unlikely hero…for me, there’s only maybe a happy ending to a chapter, then a look at what comes next. (A higher box?)

Thankful for friends and coaches who remind us that we can, when we’ve forgotten what we can accomplish.  Changing our minds can lead to changing our lives, whether in the gym, the classroom, in the living room, or just about anywhere.

perspective

Ch-Ch-Changes: Chick 2’s 2018 Recap Post

2018. A year of change.

Here’s a recap of Chick 2’s year…one with much more change than usual.

Since I mentioned working on my weight a while back, here’s the 2018 tally.

Started a challenge on January 15 at 243.2 pounds.

Final weigh in of the year: 193.6 pounds. Total loss for the year (minus the first couple of weeks, which I gorged myself knowing that diets were on the horizon): 49.6 pounds. I did a series of eating plans, including keto, modified paleo, and now I am working with Stronger U Nutrition. Each has their benefits and drawbacks, but right now I am primarily learning to pay close attention to what I eat and portion sizes. All the changes have helped me grow (and shrink!)

Pics above are February to December. Do you see a difference?

My major life change was moving schools. I worked at my previous school for 5 years. It was a great situation with many beloved co-workers. No school is perfect (since there are humans involved and humans are notoriously messy), but I had a lot of freedom and trust.

Still, for several reasons, the time was right to switch. It would be a better opportunity for my daughter and bring on new challenges for me.  The jury is still out on this life change…it’s been a tougher adjustment for both of us than I had anticipated, but I am still hopeful that it will work out.  (And if it doesn’t, or even if it does, lessons!) Pic below is me getting ready to host the governor’s wife in my library this fall.

My older daughter left the nest to live on her own.  It has been a Proud Mom Moment to see her work hard, scrimp, and come to a new appreciation of life’s challenges and earnings.  She puts in a lot of effort to maintain her independence.  She embraces her strength, uses her smarts, and works at her health.

I’d be leaving out a big part of my life this year if I didn’t mention my fitness family.  I spent a lot of my time this year sweating out stress while smiling at CrossFit Pure.  It was time for a change late in the year, so I’m happy to now call CrossFit Faded Glory my gym home. You’ll definitely hear much more about this amazing place in future posts.

I have worked through some setbacks with injuries, but I still stay as consistent as I can.  I know that my diet is the major part of my weight change, but CrossFit has changed my body shape as well as my confidence level.  It’s a journey I hope to continue.  Deepest thanks to all of my coaches and “classmates” (co-sufferers / co-crazies) who keep me going (in mostly the right direction) each day!

Goal post coming soon.  Until then, thanks to 2018 for all the lessons.  Welcome 2019 and more changes for the better!

fitness and nutrition, perspective

Going the Extra Mile

It’s a phrase we hear often…someone who “goes the extra mile.”  But what does it really mean?

I’ve been thinking a lot about that phrase for the past few days.  I went to the gym on the day after Thanksgiving.  There wasn’t a workout at the times I could make it.  So, I took advantage of the open gym and walked in between classes. My goal was 10,000 meters.  My legs were screaming sore after a long Thanksgiving Day workout so I started by hopping on the bike erg and did a pretty quick 5,000 meters.

Then, moved over to the rower for a somewhat slower 3,000 meters.

Finally, I faced down the dreaded ski erg and did 2,000 meters, split in half.  (Ski is much more challenging for me!) I had stretched in between, so I was feeling pretty good and sweaty by this point.  I had a few minutes left before I had reached my hour-at-the-gym benchmark, but I had already met my 10,000 meter goal.  What to do?

Enter the Assault bike.

And on that, I just decided to do skip meters and do a mile. And as I rode, I got to thinking about the extra mile…which is what brings me to this post.

To go the extra mile is to go beyond what is required.  What is expected.  The minimum.  As my kids say (or used to say, since once I understand this kind of thing it is definitely past its moment) you can be basic or you can be extra…regular or over the top, I guess.

There are areas of life where I want to work harder to go the extra mile.  Friendship. Family. Fitness / Nutrition.  Those are probably the big three for me right now. Ones I want to work on.

How can I go the extra mile?

-Send a note or out-of-the-blue text to a friend who may need a pick-me-up (and couldn’t we all?)

-Remember to get all the things my family needs as I shop / do errands, etc.

-Check in with family and friends more often

-Make time for meaningful conversations and traditions as the holidays arrive

-Commit to both staying consistent and challenging myself as I workout

-Get serious about nutrition; buckle down (instead of backing down) in the face of challenges

-Give in unexpected ways: time, care, gifts, resources

I am not going to lie.  There are many areas of life where I am struggling to meet basic expectations.  But, at the same time, I feel a deep level of fulfillment when I exceed what I and others expect of me.  Over the next day or two I’ll be planning and making moves to get these things in motion.  Even just this list with a daily checkoff can be a step toward accountability and progress.

So, readers, how are YOU going to go the extra mile in the next month or two? How can you extend kindness, comfort, or even badassness to make your life and the lives of those around you a little more over-the-top-amazing? Tell us in the comments.

Here’s a glimpse of the sunrise that surprised me mid workout that morning, a brief break in a week of dreary rain. Be the unexpected, the surprising light for others and yourself.

family

2 Chicks and their Baby Chicks

DSC_0961 2

As life would have it, our daughters are besties just like their mommas.

Sometimes it seems like we have known each other for three months, sometimes three years, but in their world they are already lifelong friends.  They met on the lacrosse field and it was quick chemistry.  It didn’t take them long to figure out they had chemistry off the field, too. This made them a duo on the field that no one wanted to compete against. The kind where they just give a quick glance, the smallest nod, or point a toe in a certain direction and the other automatically knows where to best position themselves for support on the field. They are simply in tune with each other.

It’s almost uncanny how this mirrors the connection between their adult counterparts.  You’ll find Chick 1 and Chick 2 supporting each other on and off the field in much the same way.  The games may be different but the principle is the same.

Even though they are a bit apart in age, for years they played on the same lacrosse teams. Until now. Recently, Chick 2’s daughter Anne moved on to high school sports, while Chick 1’s daughter Lexi had to remain competing in middle school.  A few months ago the girls played their last game together for a while but made a pact that they would share the field again in two short years. Then, in an unpredictable fluke, they ended up playing against each other in a tournament in South Carolina a couple of weeks ago, when they merged their two age groups.  What an odd twist of fate.

Chick 2 felt cringy inside at the thought.  Chick 1 said “watch out Anne! the littles are going to school the high schoolers.” (That’s a different story but the short summary is that age should never define anyone’s talents or ability to succeed.)

Lexi had a great idea before we all left for the tourney.  Chick 2, could you bring the nice camera?  It would be fun to have some shots of the friends competing – an in-action photo shoot of the besties back on the field together, something we thought would take years to happen. Of course, we not only photographed those games, but decided to blog about it as well.

Anne Lexi Draw

If you read our blog for a while, you’ll discover that in many ways, KT and Beth are opposites.  This is a perfect example.  As far as activities go, Beth grew up participating in the arts. She shies away from competition and seeks harmony.  Karen is a multi-sport athlete. She’s been a coach for years now. She ignites passions in others, showing them that they too can be leaders on the field and in life.

These early experiences are part of what shapes our very different approaches to life, adversity, and working together.  You can see this in our writings and when you meet us at grass roots events. It’s part of our spark and signature. It’s a mix you can’t recreate as it’s genuine and deep-rooted.  This is the same special spark our minis have and we cherish every day we get to see them laugh, grow, smile, and share memories. Heck, we even try to join in the fun as much as we can or as much as they will tolerate us.

As for Anne and Lexi, they both played their hearts out that weekend. They bring out the best, most competitive parts of each other. At the same time, they are probably among each other’s biggest fans, just as both of the Chicks cheer for both of them wholeheartedly.

Anne Lexi Reach for the Draw

Each had their winning moments that weekend. And when the game was over, they were right back to the same silly, goofy, lean-on-each-other friends they always are, a team that transcends uniforms.

IMG_7887

 

As we blog this both girls are in their different uniforms again, playing the game they love most, lacrosse. Anne is in Florida, Lexi in Georgia.  No matter the miles they are still connecting and supporting each other with updates via text, Snapchat, and Instagram.

Just wait until they figure out we were blogging about them as they were on the field.

#2CHX