fitness and nutrition, friendship

We Battled the Mountain!

What do you after the CrossFit open ends when you are a diehard CrossFitter? You battle a flipping mountain!

And so the story begins with a sign up for a CrossFit competition. Competing makes sure you continue to train hard, push limits and compete with like-minded nut jobs like yourself.

Oh what fun! My partner this competition is Tasha, or Tashi to me. My sweet, sassy, saucy little amazing Asian friend. She might weigh like 105 pounds soaking wet but she is a beast in the box.  This is my first competition with her and I have been super excited to compete with her as a dynamic duo. And we added a plus one. Caitlyn, our fabulous professional cheerleader. She is the cherry on top (literally) for this competition. Caitlyn is preggo so she isn’t competing, but she is being the best friend to all of us and cheering us on all day which is just amazing in itself.

Our team name is Katashi which is just a fusion of our names but we are seriously a hot mess in more ways than one. Both are competitive. Both speak our minds freely. Both don’t take shit from anyone. All of which can lead to craziness in the heat of any battle or competition.

We have been practicing for a couple weeks here and there when our schedules align. Nothing major, just timing on transitions and focusing on strengths vs. weaknesses because let’s face it, we have them, and I may have just a few more weaknesses than her?!?!

To make it even more fun, there are about 5-6 other teams from our box competing making it a competition to remember. And I almost forgot, there is a cash prize so who really doesn’t want to work hard to maybe win some cashola.

Up before 6am to hit the road to get ready for the competition. About an hour drive and it’s a bit chilly and overcast making it hard to wake up fully. First WOD starts before you know it. We worked hard and beat our practice time which was good. A few challenges, but our time should be one of the top 5, we think.

3rd place after round one. Seconds separating the pack. No time to analyze what we missed rather it’s time to strategize on round 2.  We start with a game plan in mind and we finish strong with a few mishaps in the mix. Tasha hits her lip with a dumbbell and I got hit with a moving steel rope in the face. Ouch on both occasions. Breaks in rhythm and concentration can mess you up but we pushed through. 1st place after round two. Small celebration, then for me it was fear of oh no! we have pressure to win now. There was no pressure before. Ughhhhhh!

On a side note, we dressed the part for our competition. Sparkling #Katashi shirts in round 1. Cheetah shorts in round 2 that were pretty revealing and then off for a quick change to lemon booty shorts for round three.

We worked so hard for nearly 15 minutes as a unit. Sometime one partner carried more of the load than the other, but we did it together and came out on top. First place after round 3. We won. We friggin won. Wait, we went back and forth like three times to be sure to the scoreboard was right. Tasha even took a picture of it. We were so excited. Our hard worked paid off.

The podium call came. We ended up in second place. What? Well, there was a tie when the final tally came in. They had to go back to the tie breaker of round 1 and we lost by two seconds. Would have, could have, should have. Those two seconds won’t be the death of us. It will be motivation to push hard next time. A little disappointing at first but back to celebrating that we really did win our own game and we had an amazing cheering squad.

Mentally strong. Physically strong. Committed to competing. All the feels for us.

And then there was our extended team/family. The heart and hustle crew: Sarah and Courtney. They hit the podium in third place in their division. They killed it and had so much fun doing it.

The newbies, Beth and Milagros: First time competing and just celebrating doing the competition together. Each round they finished. Each round they hugged in celebration. It was amazing to watch.

The big boys: Damion and Alex. True competitors in the elite division nailing second place. They did everything as planned and they helped the newer teams plan for each workout. True inspirations.

The coach plus one: Erica and Lauren. 2 strong and fierce women in the elite division. Both injured to a point. A sore back. A sore shoulder. Did anyone notice? Nope! They were so fun to watch and awesome to hear cheering us all on.

My buddies: David and Chris. A shy pair added on at the last minute but two good guys. I didn’t get to watch them as we were in the same heat but they both said they had an amazing time. Love hearing success stories like this.

The 5am crew, Mindy and Heather: a whimsical entry late to the competition due to schedule changes. They challenged themselves to compete in the intermediate group. A stretch for some movements but they dug their heels in and fought like tigers to compete.

There were many firsts, many smiles and even some I should have done this or that different. No matter the outcome, we were competitors and we did more than many on a Saturday before noon which is a big success. And for me, I did it in style with booty short changes for each WOD.

I just adore all of my extended friends and family I have met through CrossFit. Whether it’s the local box, a box I visit on vacation or a competition, everyone I meet is amazing. My love for booty shorts is shared across women in their 20s, 30s, 40s and so on. Conversations at the bathroom include what brand you are wearing? and how they ride or don’t ride your crotch.

Where else can you meet perfect strangers and have the best conversations about snatches, cleaning, jerks, booties, sweat and more? Certainly not at the office water cooler.

CrossFit has many benefits. It starts with a physical transformation and shifts into a mental transformation and somehow in between spurs community and long lasting bonds and relationships.

CrossFit is more than an expensive monthly membership. It’s a lifestyle and an elite club that many are scared to join because of the unknown or fear. Those are the very reasons I love CrossFit.

The constantly varied workouts. The not knowing what’s around the corner. The grit that is required to get to the next level. The crazy people I meet. The boundless opportunities to get better. The drive you witness in people daily.

Now it’s time to let my body recover. Hot tub, swim and a massage coming my way for the day after then back to the grind on Monday. Get after your fitness this week people.

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)
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, hustle

19:51

It’s not military time, it’s the finish time for my completed 19.2 CrossFit OPEN scaled workout.

I finished it.

It may seem simple but I battled to finish. I may have secretly wanted to finish but didn’t say it out loud. I was just hopeful to make it to the last of five rounds and do one rep. Well I ended up doing 82 reps in that round. Talk about exceeding your own expectations! A timed workout that expands as you level up. 4 minutes levels up to 8 minutes then 12 minutes and 16 minutes when you are firing on all cylinders. Then that’s when the SHIT gets real. From minutes 16-20 you have to be all in to finish. I never reached the end before in one of these challenge workouts but today I did. #goalgetter

I had an amazing judge/motivator, Damion from my box. He helped me chip away with manageable rep schemes and then pushed me when I didn’t think I could push anymore. My success did not come alone. I had a guide/lucky charm and his name was Damion.

I didn’t look pretty doing it either. Sweat was dripping. Facial expressions were horrific. There may have been some screams of agony. And I’m pretty sure everyone behind me saw straight through my pants in the rear end when I squatted low. No ripped pants but pretty sure I mooned or shared a little more than my panty lines with people unintentionally.

All that pacing mentioned above helped in the final stretch. I had a few minutes banked for my last squat cleans and I needed every second. My former one rep max was 125 pounds on a squat clean yet today I had to finish 7 of them at 135 while fatigued.

Seemed impossible but when you look up and hear your fellow box mates cheering you on you find a way to push through. 9 seconds left and I did it. I hit one of my most proudest gym moments.

Tired? Yes. Feeling accomplished? Yes. In shock? Yes. Many emotions but thankful for all the ups, downs and in-betweens the past few years as I have been training.

I may not be at the top of the OPEN leaderboard but I am on top of my personal leaderboard. I strive for improvement each day and each week. Today is a celebration of the time investment I have made in myself.

I am a thick girl but a strong girl. My mind is strong, my muscles are visible and my drive is uncompromised. I hope everyone can push themselves at their own level to feel the sense of accomplishment I did today. It’s hard to put into words. It’s a rush.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better I received texts and personal comments and high fives at the end and throughout the day. The feelings of accomplishment flowed continually that day. People noticing your efforts and expressing their praise is a big fat cherry on top for me. I am so thankful for my box and box mates.

This year I also attended Friday Night Lights at my box and what a rush that was. I got to cheer on many athletes as they endured their OPEN WODs and then there was a grand finale. I got to watch the amazing Alex Johnson absolutely smash his OPEN 19.2 Rx workout. It was amazing to watch his methods, his approach and his drive to finish. This guy is one to watch and I am lucky to share the same box as him to train.

Cheers to all who did 19.2 and all those who are stepping off the couch for the first time. It’s your race your way. Just do it.

I’ll be back with more OPEN updates next week as 19.3 is right around the corner.

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.