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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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

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.

balance

The Cray Cray Post

It’s been a capital-c CrAAazYyyy week for the 2 Chicks.

Chick 1 has had some teen drama to deal with on the home front. Chick 2 has had teen independence issues of her own this week. Different varieties, still exhausting.

In addition, both Chicks had professional trainings and speaking engagements to manage, on top of running households, parenting our other children, trying to eat healthy, fulfilling our regular work responsibilities, and getting to the gym each day. On most days moms flip roles so frequently that others around can easily take their ability to shift mindsets for granted.

Sometimes, when things get capital-c CrAAazYyyy, people will ask you “who is in your corner?”

We prefer to think in other shapes instead, like circles. We are both lucky to have close inner circles of trusted friends and family who can close in and keep us upright when life is out of balance.  Those circles are filled with people who can connect us with resources, reassure us with their common experiences, or just listen and jump in to do just about anything when needed.  It can also be a web that will catch and support as we find our center again.

This is a mom’s world. A working mom’s world. A community approach to managing life’s daily challenges and this community usually exists behind the scenes of the four walls of our homes.

Of course, as with most thing Chicks, we each have our own twist with our circles.

Chick 1 likes the infinity symbol.  It’s two circles or loops, showing the interconnection of her family, her friends, her co-workers, her mentors, and the loop means the boundaries are limitless.

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Chick 2 sticks with the smaller, more simple circle.  Trust is difficult to give and only a precious few will gain access to her inner circle. It requires deep connection to help her manage her complex world.  But when things go sideways, she is always glad to have those friends to recenter her.

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Maybe your shape is a diamond.  Maybe it’s a pyramid.  Whatever your shape, remember and consider those who make it up carefully.  As we’ve been reminded lately, these central connections play a vital role in keeping our balance – mental, emotional, and social.

#2CHX