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.

dare to be different

Changes for Chick 2

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In a recent post, KT shared her thoughts about change. In fact, if you look closely, change and growth is a theme in many of the things KT writes. She embraces change as a part of life, welcomes it as a path to new challenges and achievements, even seeks and manufactures it to keep herself growing. It is a quality I admire (especially since I do not share it.)

In yet another of the 867 ways that the 2 Chicks are opposites (that we have discovered so far), change is something that makes me very nervous.  I worry about it, try to avoid it, pretend it’s not there, and usually resist it with every bit of my being.  What’s sad is that, even at age 44, I act as if change is avoidable – like I can do something to stop it. I’ve wasted a lot of precious energy trying to keep change at arm’s length. So what’s been happening lately is surprising.

Although I haven’t announced it widely, big changes have been happening in my family. There have been job shifts, school shifts, routine shifts, goal shifts.  Some of these were invited, some were forced upon us by circumstance.  We are all still trying to find our footing as things continue to change and develop.

By way of example, I changed my job (on purpose!) this year.  This is HUGE for me, as someone who avoids change.  But, I needed to make this happen for several reasons, so I set a goal, did the work, and one of the several positions I applied for panned out. (Not surprisingly, it was KT who helped me through the process of getting it done. She is truly a #goalgetter and generously shares her approach!)  Although I still have the same job title, it is a completely different community and school dynamic.  I am trying to keep up, but it is a lot to take in.

Then there are the “domino effect” differences.  The biggest of these is trying to fit in my workouts after school. I can’t attend CrossFit classes at 5:30 am anymore, which has been an adjustment.  I miss my morning gym friends and the stress relief that starting the day with a good sweat brings.  But, I’m getting there at other times as often as I can and making it work. And there are all kinds of other changes that came from my job shift as well.

I’ve been watching the way the changes throughout my family have been playing out.  Even on a good day, with good support, change can be taxing for some.  As I encourage everyone to be patient and take care of themselves while taking each day as it comes, I try to remember to do all those things myself as well.

It can be hard, though.  If I scroll through facebook or instagram, it seems like everyone is always happy, always on vacation, always upgrading their houses, always successful, always champions.  I know my kids see this, too.  It’s rare that people post the hard stuff, the mundane, the oil changes, doing dishes, folding laundry, managing illness, aches, and pains, doing paperwork, struggling with homework, waiting in line, dealing with boring commutes, enduring frustrating people and all the other the day-to-day junk that can take up most of our time.  Of course, we all have those things, but we often keep them behind the scenes (myself included). We may share them with friends, but not always on a big platform. It’s easy to be sucked in to thinking we are the only ones with work or troubles or time we wish could be better spent.

We also rarely see all the work that goes in to transformation.  Instead, we see the end result, the success, not the sweat, the sacrifice, the tears, the drills, the hours of practice, the falls, the U-turns, the frustration, the days when it didn’t seem like anything good was going to come of all the effort.  When you just see the result, it always seems easier than it actually was.

As I was sitting on the back porch writing and thinking about this, trying to make some sense of it for today, a butterfly floated by, blissful as can be on the breeze.  I thought about all the change that butterfly had been through in life.  And so much of that change is done out of view, in the muck and mush and ugly, miraculous work of transformation.

We get no view, there is no applause for this process of change.  The caterpillar goes into hiding, on some internal cue, all along doing the mysterious, innate work it was meant to do.  When it comes time, it emerges, dries its wings, unfolds those beauties, and takes flight.

For me, Sunday is a day of errands and preparation.  Shopping for the food, cleaning the house, packing the lunches, doing the workout, folding the laundry.  Maybe not what many would see as an instagrammable day, but one that sets me up for a week with less stress so I can focus on pushing myself further on the path in my work while also supporting my family and friends in theirs.

It’s also a day of writing and thinking and reconnecting with my vision of my future, and the next steps it will take for me to get there. I’ve carved out that time, so I still take a personal step toward who I am becoming.  No one else can make that time for me (another lesson from my friend KT!)  I have to do it, even if it is just a couple of hours. Other things will go undone, and I’ve learned to be ok with that (but I haven’t always been that way!)

Unlike the butterfly, I’m giving you an inside glimpse into one messy Sunday afternoon moment of my transformation. It may not be pretty. There are groceries all over the counters, floors that need mopping, emails that need answering, kids that need encouraging.  Today and every day, there are loose ends and mushy parts.  There are red herrings and rabbit trails. There are things I will sharpen or learn to do better as I practice and continue to evolve.

Through all of it, I know I am changing.  It may not be a straight path and it may not be quick, but I am inching forward overall.

And at the end of this path is my launch pad, where I’ll suddenly, inevitably, unfold these beauties, and take flight.

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#2CHX #inspireothers #change #transformation #butterfly #goalgetter #Sunday #mealprep #Crossfit #embracechange

 

 

giving

Paying it Forward, Chick 2 Style

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Travel is such an important part of life. It’s a great way to spread your wings. I learn something new wherever I go.

This summer, I’ve had opportunities to visit a number of different cities.  I traveled to family celebrations as well as chased my daughters as they pursue their passion for lacrosse.

Whenever the schedule allows, we try to take time to enjoy the cities we visit.  Sure, we hit the famous spots and that is always fun.  On a recent trip to Nashville, we loved walking in the evenings, listening to lively music spill from the honky tonk windows and rooftops onto Broadway.  We spent time on the beach at a tournament in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, and rode roller coasters for a day at Cedar Point while visiting Cleveland, Ohio.

In addition to the major attractions, there are a few other things I try to do to get a closer sense of a place.  If I can, I shop a local market like Cleveland’s Westside Market. I try to get out into nature by visiting a park. Finally, I make an effort to have a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop.

We just returned from a few days adventuring in Nashville.  During my time there, I stumbled across Caliber Coffee Company.  I liked it so much, I went there two days in a row. Although the coffee was excellent, it was the friendly employees and energy that brought me back for the second time.

As you get to know our brand, you’ll see that the 2 Chicks are serious about giving.  We have given our books to kids in hospitals, food pantries, and low-income schools.  We’ve had support from generous readers and corporate sponsors.  This is just the beginning! We are always looking for new and inventive ways to give.  So, when I saw this board at Caliber and read that it was a way to pay it forward, I had to ask for details.

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Every sleeve clipped to the front and back of this ‘Shot of Grace’ board is a cup of coffee that was bought as a gift that day.  Some sleeves have names of local people on them. You can call or text the person you’re treating and let them know they have a coffee waiting.

But it was the other gifts that interested me even more. These sleeves are less specific. Instead of a certain person, they are made out to someone in need…a single mom…a freshman at the local community college…a newcomer to town…a daycare employee…a first responder…a step parent…a fireman…someone having a bad day. I imagined the smiles these tiny bits of thoughtfulness would bring to someone who needs a lift.

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I immediately thought of the 2 Chicks and our passion for giving. My imagination started spinning…who could I connect with using this opportunity? It didn’t take me long to decide.

I couldn’t resist the chance to encourage someone who may be thinking of telling their story.  The Chicks have found such amazing power in storytelling.  Although I don’t know where it ended up, I hope the coffee brightened someone’s day and encouraged them to share whatever unique and powerful story they have to tell.

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It also made me start to wonder again about new ways the 2 Chicks might connect and share.  I can easily get bogged down in details and logistics, but maybe giving doesn’t have to be as complicated as I think. As I was reminded again only yesterday, paying it forward isn’t only about the the news stories we see about the drive-thru at Chick-fil-a. Even more importantly, it’s the small, sincere acts of caring that are never noticed by the cameras but have an enormous impact nonetheless.

What are some of your favorite ways to pay it forward in your life?  What random acts of kindness bring you the most satisfaction? Let us know in the comments, readers!  Cheers!

-Beth, (aka Chick 2)

#2CHX  #2ChicksGiving #Payitforward #travel #lifelessons #reflection