challenges, mental health

Carry That Weight

50 Miles Rucking in May

A vetwod challenge to benefit Stop Soldier Suicide.

Mental health for military members has been on my mind and heart for years. It was my focus of organizing and fundraising way back in 2019. I am not entirely sure why it tugs at my attention and effort, but it has, it still does, and it will.

So when Vetwod posted a challenge to ruck 50 miles in May, I put out a call to friends to borrow a weighted pack and I hit the road (and the trail, and the parking lot) over and over again.

Turned out I was able to borrow a pack from a veteran, which meant every time I put it on it held that much more meaning. Sometimes I listened to music. Other times I just walked in silence, as a sort of meditation. Often, when I walked the early morning miles, I would put my hand over his name and just send him and other vets positive, strengthening thoughts.

It’s really just walking with a few extra pounds, right? I never did weigh it. It’s true, after the first few days of putting the vest on, it didn’t seem extremely heavy. I did some really light jogging once I got used to having it on. Finding the extra time to ruck was the big challenge some days.

Even so, I certainly felt lighter every time I took it off. And my body told me, through tightened hips, sore back, and stiff legs, that whatever the weight was, it wore me out in new ways. Life was different when I wasn’t carrying it.

We recently wrote about burdens on this blog. Being a burden to others. The burdens we carry. This 50 miles of rucking made me think about how so many are weighted down in ways both visible and hidden. I was lucky to get the daily relief of taking the extra weights off. I could look forward to the feelings of lightness. What about those who are walking weighted in ways we cannot see? Through depression? PTSD? Weariness from taking care of others? Poor sleep from anxiety or nightmares?

I appreciate when my fitness efforts have an extra layer of meaning and thoughtfulness. A post for those, especially in military circles, who shoulder unspeakable burdens. May they find some relief, some lightness, knowing others care and appreciate what they have done.

fitness and nutrition

Locked Down

Just two days out. Focusing on sleep and recovering to be ready to perform at my highest level. Consistent training was on the menu for the last 45 or so days. Lots of burpees, running and stretching to help with mobility challenges, in addition to cardio on the tennis courts.

Lots and lots of smack talking has gone on with the participants we are familiar with. A cheering team has been assembled. The bag is packed and the outfits are picked out. It will be go time soon. Four workouts. Competition. Friends. Spectators. The podium. And I suppose the podium is the focal point of the chatter. Who will rise to the occasion and who will fall short.

As adults we sometimes opt for choices that hinder peak performance. A cocktail. A fast food meal. A sleepless night. Any or all of these can impact performance. Some compete for fun and could care less about results. Some compete for competition and train. Some just want to prove they can complete the workouts and not die. It’s a mixed bag for sure but one thing is constant: the chatter of who will win which is hilarious in itself since nobody is eyeing a spot on the Olympics team or signing a big NIL contract. 

Interview questions:

Which workout was the hardest? Workout 2 for sure. The run had my heart rate up. The transitions slowed us up a bit. All in all this was a bumpy one and the results showed it.

Were teams co-ed? Yes. Not all comps are co-ed but this was and it definitely created a unique competition dynamic.

Which workout was the easiest? Workout 3. We are both strong and performed at our best even under fatigue at the end of the day. We celebrated with personal bests in our lifts. Double win for us.

What was the funniest part of the day? The team names and the outfits are always a highlight. See below for a glimpse. 

Who made the podium and was it expected? Our team made the podium and took third place in our division. We planned for it but it wasn’t an easy road. Others may have underestimated our efforts under pressure and over inflated their confidence. Strategy is always key along with consistent effort.

Would you do it again? Yes, of course.

What is your biggest takeaway from this event? The camraderie at these events is awesome. Strangers cheering for you. High fives from many. Kudos for hard work. Celebrating fitness, milestones, first time competitors. A great experience to watch or participate in.

The group above represents so many backgrounds. The librarian. The physical therapist. The realtor. The gym owner. The entrepreneur. The college student. The banker. The sales rep. The insurance guru. The mechanic. The office administrator. The construction guy. All brought together by a common bond of fitness. CrossFit. Some may never experience CrossFit but for those who do, they understand the benefits are far reaching. Friendship. Fitness. Community. 

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my day of fitness, competition edition. What a sweaty and fun day with many like-minded folks. Another fun fact: my team had the oldest combined age of 108 years old and we still managed to squeeze in third place on the podium. What a rush for us competing with kids in their 20’s and showing them what we could do!


Project 6

Recently I had some leisurely time to think about my life time clock. Where I had some voids. Where I could fill in some blanks with things I wanted to do. Some things I want to do now vs. later. Some things I hate spending time on. Where I could reshuffle or realign for maximum return on my overall time and/or productivity. It wasn’t too hard when I took out my notebook and made myself a list of actionable tasks.

Growth: I took into account some areas that I could grow and set a path to embrace the uncomfortable to favor the end result(s). This isn’t new but a reminder of sorts to stay on task for me. Nobody else tells me where or how to grow. Just me!

Travel: I put 2-3 destinations or types of trips on the soon to happen list. Passports are ready. Adventure is on the horizon. Here I may adjust my travel partners. Sometimes by choice. Sometimes based on availability. No matter where I go and with whom, I plan to live each trip to the fullest.

Fitness: I put a 5k on the books to start the process with some other events on the horizon. Chipping away at the me vs me project. When I make this a priority so many other areas of my life benefit. I have set a new goal for myself that will require a little effort. A little patience. A little flexibility. All of which results in a positive attitude.

Reflection: taking time here and there to reflect on the state of now, what’s on the horizon as well as what’s in the rear view. This process is continual and a critical part of how I live my life. Never sitting in one place for too long. Always adjusting to the new tides that roll in each day/week/month. Looking at yourself in this way requires you to see imperfections and make adjustments. A lot harder for some than others.

Accountability: I am a nerd for tracking things. Numbers, statistics, trends, and so much more. When I monitor or track performance I tend to see better results. Most of the time I hold myself accountable but I also have a trusted few that I have monitor me from a distance as a double check. Who holds you accountable in your life?

Writing: as I write here today, I think of how my time is utilized for virtual journaling. A shared space with the world yet sometimes the content is focused on the good, bad and ugly of my life. Truth bombs. Writing has purpose for me as my lens on life is different from many and why I continue to write and publish. Some writing is for purpose while other writings are for monetizing. Either way my words hold power and a it’s a role I cherish. Never underestimate the power of your words.

Reading: each day I spend some time reading. It may just be five minutes one day. It may be an article vs a book. It may be a research topic. Nonetheless I read and gain knowledge of sorts. I find this to a be a peaceful time for me. A starting point to my day. A slow roll into what can be busy and hectic days. Some do yoga to calm their mind and soul. For me the slow breathing and simple mindset used when reading is just as beneficial for me.

As I wrap up my initial post on project 6, I will let you in a little secret. Project 6 is six month journey of sorts for me. The ups/downs and everything in between for the next six months. As I wrap up my caboose prepping for college and having many last memories before the new chapter of her adult life, my role shifts. 

I have more time for me. I have more time to focus on things I want to pursue. I have the ability to choose with a shift in responsibilities. As my caboose heads out into her new world, so do I. My world is round and free flowing as should hers. Limitless opportunities for each in different stages of life. While I celebrate her I will also celebrate me as we journey slightly different paths of growth.

Project 6 will shift to project 12. Then the shift will be year 1. From there the tides may shift again. Only time will tell. Stay tuned as I craft some writings in each of these categories that touch on how I feel when I’m each of these stages or phases of life. My project folder will soon be full of content and memories. 

Stay tuned as each story unfolds. Also wishing my dad a heavenly birthday today. This post is in his honor as he provided me with so much inspiration to do me in life and I hope I do the same for my caboose.



What does it mean to be a burden to others?

For different people this answer can stretch for what seems like miles from one extreme to another. There is the obvious burden for our elderly. Unable to care for themselves 100% or dependent on others for shopping, driving, personal care, even tech support. Sometimes the need is even as simple as companionship or mental stimulation. All these things take time and effort. Once capable adults may find themselves in need of help on weekly or even daily basis. 

There can be other scenarios for adults that are harder to see. Emotional, intellectual or even medical challenges or disabilities. These often cause dependency issues relating to transportation, housing, finances amongst others. 

Tragedies or accidents or diseases with crippling effects. Confined to a wheelchair or hospital bed. Limited mobility during recovery. Medical care costs, time traveling to appointments, the red tape of insurance claims, referrals, the list goes on. Each scenario can make the individual feel like a burden to others. A dependency problem. One may perceive themselves to be a burden while others may be willing to offer support without thinking of their actions as burdensome. The mismatch can become a barrier between people. 

Hope. A simple four-letter word. We can all offer hope to others through our positive actions. Sending a note card, a text or making the phone call. Checking in to offer a helping hand. Some will accept while others will deny any help.  They may even hide the fact that they need assistance. Watch for other signs with those who deny any need for help. Depression. Isolation. Self-harm. Lack of interest in religion. Giving away prized possessions. These signs could lead to other issues.

Maybe it’s their stubbornness or I can do it mentality. Maybe they don’t want to waste others’ time. Let’s face it, we will all find our selves in this scenario at some point in time. How will you handle the burden dilemma? Will you accept help willingly? Will you ask for what you need? Will you want to be isolated and do it all on your own? Will you consider quitting the fight all together?

On the other end, if you offer support is it endless? Is it just a starting point? To force the one struggling to face their problems head on? Will you continue to offer support time and time again? What if somebody takes advantage of your kindness? How does one communicate to the person in need that it’s okay to have help? It’s okay to work as a team. It’s okay to not be okay all the time, but it’s never okay to take help for granted.

Sometimes the one who needs the help becomes a taker because the giver allows it. One must always set boundaries. You can offer help but expect change and effort (or at the very least gratitude) in return. And watch out for reverse abuse. Words can hurt. The one who feels they are a burden can lash out at the ones closest to them. Unless you have that hard conversation the hole will continue to build. Consistent and honest communication can go a long way toward sharing the burdens so no one gets overwhelmed. 

adventure, challenges

Climbing Life

Every day I set out to climb the mountain of life. Some days it rains. Some days it pours. Some days the sun shines bright. Some days are meant to be for laziness. Other days require a dialed into productivity mentality. No Matter what the weather of life spits out, I still climb through the turbulence. No climb nor day is ever exactly the same.

Today’s climb encompassed physical strain, outdoor adventures, lots of sunshine and just a different set of people to converse with. Keeping in mind the latter can be exhausting in itself. This girl was tired and working on fumes at the end of the day but the strain may just be the icing on the cake. It was the weekend but being booked solid Friday to Sunday isn’t for the weak at heart. The climb was taxing, physically this time.

Reminder-spending time outside in the sun can have positive benefits for your varied recovery stages.

Tomorrow will be a contrast. A different mental Monday starts in with new people and places adding stress and awkward moments. As long as the sun shines a little the kinks in the day will easy work their way out. If the weather is rainy I may feel bumps in the day. For now the weather seems to fit the need for my mental Monday. A day to dial in and focus on the productivity needed. This climb is more about mental strength than physical.

Sometimes the calendar brings along dates or events that get locked in months prior. A long wait time to get to the certain day. Sometimes it’s a dreaded day and other times it’s a welcome day. A business meeting of sorts. A dress up day. A get shit done or else kind of project. How does one even get wrapped up in such chaos? Little ole me of course. A positive attitude can go a long way on these day that seem like a mountain to climb in 15 minutes or less.

Whether one has a job interview, a class final, a sales meeting, a review with their boss, a court date, a wedding, a birth or just any other once in a blue moon event one will feel stress of sorts. The key is training your mind to win the day. Climb the mountain of life. That day. Conquer that obstacle that may seem so big, yet it’s only as big as you let your mind make it. These days seem more about emotional strength. Being able to endure life’s surprises.

Seizing a day.

Capturing that big moment.

Feeling the rush of completing what seems so difficult in the moment.

Looking ahead at what can be with a smile.

Putting your head down to climb the mountain of life. Taking little steps to chip away at that monumental task(s). Exercising patience. Growing physically, emotionally, socially and mentally. Putting oneself out there. Applying strength when needed. Pushing when required. Pushing again when resistance hits. Reframing. Regrouping. Reclaiming life. Your life. After the mountain.

Life can feel weighted at times. That’s life. Some days you need to lift heavy physically. Some days mentally. No two mountains have the same terrain. Life is full of mountains. Life is a gamble of sorts. Sometimes you need to gamble on yourself. This involves taking risks. The bigger the risk, the greater the rewards in life.

Never stop climbing!