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)
hustle

Round 2 it is…

 

 

Well, I made it 1/2 way through the OPEN! I am still breathing, but I definitely feel some aches this week!

Week three I got to hit the RX button again. How exciting that is for me. A step up of sorts or maybe more like 50 box step-ups weighted with 35 pounds after a grueling 200 feet of single arm weighted overhead lunges. Can you feel the burn in your buttocks as you read this? Could you imagine dropping a 35-pound dumbbell on your head at 6:30am? I almost did that when my weaker left arm said one more rep was one too many!

It was a cold Friday morning when I made my first attempt at the 19.3 workout. I had a goal to make it to the third movement noted as the wall for strict handstand push-ups. I fell 3 reps short and didn’t make the wall. Do I do it again?

Of course! Round 2 it is for this girl. The OPEN is about pushing yourself. Testing your limits. If I didn’t make a second attempt I would just be settling. It may only be 3 extra reps but that’s 3 extra moves to my finish line. My finish line matters to me. Now there is a bit of an irony with the wall. I have never completed a strict handstand push-up therefore I may never get one rep on I the wall but I have to try.

I want to make it to the wall for handstand push-ups. I don’t want to hit a virtual wall in my mind. The only way to avoid the virtual wall is to saddle up and get after round 2.

Fast forward to Sunday. The box vibe is different. My muscles are still achy to an extent. My mind is pre-occupied with parenting things but sometimes a hard workout is just the thing for me to balance my life’s craziness. Off I go….

My legs were tight as I stretched for sure. I was super anxious. I had to run to the girls room like three times before I started. Maybe my weight belt was squeezing the nerves out of me!

The countdown begins and the pain starts with the first lift up. My core was a lot more wobbly on my lunges and I had to compensate with my dominant arm for more lunges fatiguing me differently than round one. I made it to the box. And boy did those step-ups suck on round 2. 10-20-25….1/2 way there says Damian. Don’t put that weight down. Keep stepping. Breathe. Push. Am I there yet? I said to myself. Nope!

Those steps seemed like they would never end. I hear Tasha say “10 more Tink Tink” and I literally forced my way through those last few. 9 minutes 18 seconds. On to the wall! I made it to the wall.

I can’t breathe, let alone kick up to a handstand. Okay I get up. And bend my arms to decline but not far enough. I’m gassed. One more attempt. I didn’t get one handstand push-up but I gave a valiant effort. On a positive note, at least I didn’t land on my head.

The picture below shows me hovering at the wall post wod. 19.3 didn’t kill me but my second attempt let me get to the wall. Crossfit definitely feeds my appetite to become stronger physically and mentally.

Until next post people, stay happy and healthy.

fitness and nutrition, perspective

Challenge Myself to be Last!

So this morning my workout buddy “JB” challenged me to be last. What does that mean? I strive to be first (or top five at least) every time out of the gate even if it’s not really attainable. I have the top of the pack mindset in most every task I take on.

He said push yourself! If you are finishing too quickly every time you are not pushing yourself. Challenge yourself to be last all of 2019. More weight. Harder movements. No sandbagging.

Challenge accepted, my friend. No excuses. Put up or shut up. Enough said. I’m a take action kind of girl so I will accept the task at hand. In return expect to hear the Mouth of the South pushing you back. Out of affection, of course.

Anyone else want to finish last with me? It’s the new first place because I’m challenging myself to go harder.

Short but sweet Monday motivation for you! Everyone needs a JB in their life to notice when you are coasting. Complacency can get the best of anyone at anytime. It will sneak up on you. But guess what? If you have a good support system around you, personally and professionally, you will be one of the few who keeps forging ahead. When you find the JB in your life, cherish it. Embrace the uncomfortable feeling that person gives you.

Then pass it on. If you are lucky enough to have the person to push you, push another. Maybe not off the ledge, but give a motivational push. Today. Tomorrow. And the next day.

That person may hear you but not react on the first occasion. It may take more than once. It may even take 6-12 months. Trust me I know somebody in that category who is slaying it today and passing on the motivation now but never really saw themselves as having that power.

Everyone has the power to positively impact others. It’s Monday peeps. Slay all day.

As a closing thought, cheer on my buddy JB with a like or a comment on the post. He is one-of-a-kind. A funny character. A motivator. A friend. A good hubby to his beautiful wife. A great mortgage banker and a hell of a work out buddy. From thick to thinner, he has been part of my story and will continue to be as long as he rises at 6:30am on the daily. Check out our Instagram for a quick video of JB’s personality when he was “pushing” me to work on my pullups last year. He got a boob job and all! JB’s pushing me to FINISH LAST put him at the TOP of my MONDAY MOTIVATION list. Give him a like or a comment so he feels the love worldwide. #BurchieMonday #AllDayTodayOnly

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

hustle

31 Days

31 days have come and gone in January 2019. I already feel like it was 365 days. Crazy I know.

January just seems like the longest month ever. Add the cold and that equates to another whole level of awful. Or maybe January just seems so long because I am always waiting for February to arrive. Once February comes and goes it’s time to think warm weather, sunshine and vacations on the horizon.

As a memory tracker I decided to write down 31 significant or interesting things that transpired in my life in January. Here is my 31-day reflection to start this month with a bang.

1. I survived a high speed car crash.
2. I completed my first weighted CrossFit workout.
3. I got a tattoo.
4. I drove 4 different rental cars within 5 days for stupid and annoying reasons.
5. I drove from Boston to Atlanta in under 19 hours as a solo driver.
6. I had a career change.
7. I gained weighed and lost weight.
8. I tracked my food journal every day.
9. I did manual labor work a few days.
10. I ate chowda while traveling.
11. I went ice skating.
12. I started a push-up challenge for 30 days.
13. I joined a coed spring softball team.
14. I signed up for the CrossFit open 2019.
15. I took an Olympic lifting class during the month.
16. I used “WTF” notes for various events in which WTF applied.
17. I shoveled snow.
18. I spent time with family and friends.
19. I flew on a plane.
20. I made new friends.
21. I tried new foods.
22. I cheered my daughter on during basketball games.
23. I ate out with all my boys this month despite everyone’s crazy schedules.
24. I dealt with drama full days.
25. I got a hair cut.
26. I got a massage.
27. I went to the doctor.
28. I didn’t have any alcohol.
29. I blogged.
30. I got some new shoes.
31. I completed tax checklist items.

As I look back on the month, I can safely say it was busy. In addition the time had many ups downs and everything in between.

Even when life tosses you to the wolves, we are still empowered to find our inner sunshine and really just seize the day, the week, the month.

Don’t ever let one negative take away all your positive mojo. We are each capable of defining our own path to success. We decide for ourselves. We put the work in to reap the benefits.

Keep on keeping on and take a moment to reflect on your January. Did you make the most of it? If you had a “do over” button, what would be different? If you had only one day left on earth what would you do with your day?

Spend some time thinking about what you can do or can’t do. Remember all can change in the blink of an eye so savor every moment and don’t wait for life to pass you by. No adventures happen while you are sitting still.

Happy February all. It’s my birth month and I accept gifts and celebrate all month long. Every day. All day. Happy b-day month to me!!!

I cant wait to see what my 47th birthday month has in store for me. Counting my blessings and anticipating life challenges along the way. No day is perfect but I’m going to tackle each day with enthusiasm.

anonymous letters, perspective

People Watching

I have always been a people watcher. People are fascinating to me in many ways.

How we communicate: body language, facial expressions, tones of voice and so much more. They all strike my fancy.

If I am on a stationary bike at the gym, I am silently observing, thinking: what does this person do for work? Do they have a family? How many days do they train to have abs of steel? The list goes on and on.

Now change the scenery to Walmart. There are not enough words to describe the diversity in Walmart. From the staff to the clientele. There is always such a broad range. Why would she wear that in public? Does anyone smell my gym sweat and wonder why I am out in public smelling so bad? My, how you see parents who get controlled or swindled by their kids in the toy department. Then there are the attention-seeking kids who frazzle their parents last nerve until they blow a gasket. It’s all entertainment if you soak it all up.

This week my adventures took me to the airport. This is another favorite people-watching palace. I get the business folks. They keep to themselves but it’s great to see their fashion and their multitasking with the cell phones and laptops in between flights. You have the vacationers: the young, the old, the groups, the families, and more. They all are recapping memories. Smiling for some, arguing for others. But the various interactions are stimulating for someone like me.

Move on to the plane. What a weird place. You sit on top of perfect strangers on most flights. The air is dry. The smell is varied. The germs are plentiful. On this recent flight I had what I would sum up as a lifetime smoker who picked up a bad cough on his trip sitting behind me. He coughed the whole flight. He had no limit of coughing into his sleeve, causing germs to go airborne, literally. Talk about the eww factor.

Ahh…then the transport to the rental car hub. Most are tired and cranky from travel and patience is limited. Enter long lines to get your car. Oh, how one person’s checkout is like a Jerry Springer episode. People should always treat others they way they want to be treated. Most angry customers forget the clerk at the counter is a low man on the totem pole just doing their job. We should all think about making that workers day not pissing in their Cheerios. Choose kind. You will inevitably get better service!

And I almost forgot the parking lot. The paid parking lot at the airport on a holiday weekend that said “spaces available.” Well, the dude on the bike with a flag checking availability must have been on break because there were no spots. Tick-tock, I am going to miss my flight and so are the other frantic drivers in the lot. A few near-accident misses from other cars darting for the one open space 10 other cars want.

It’s my lucky day! I found a lady going to her car. I stalked her. For real! She pulls out of the tiny spot. Am I going to fit? Uggh. Yes, but by a hair. My passenger must climb through my driver’s side. I take a step back and I have an extra large SUV on each side in what appears to be compact-sized spaces.

I leave a note for the person. Please don’t hit my car! I guess I will find out when I return. Did I mention my note was in the form of a sticky note I had in my car? Well, it wasn’t an ordinary sticky note. It said WTF on the top. The notepad was a gift from a friend a while back….bet they didn’t know how it would be used. The Mary Kay big-wig in her pinkish Escalade who receives the note is going be angry when she gets back to her car. I am hopeful my flight returns before hers.

These are just a glimpse of my recent people-watching adventures. I people watch each day. I learn. I observe. I grow. I meet new people along the way. I embrace other people and their quirkiness.

l love to hear from our readers near and far. Send me a note or comment below on some of your most memorable people watching episodes. I spared you the booger picking and camel toe stories in my past but I love a good story so send me yours.