adventure

Relax Was All She Typed

RELAX!

The one word received by text before I left the country for vacation in the beautiful island of St. Maarten. “Relax”

 How that word sat with me on the plane ride to my destination and beyond. Relax. 

How does a high strung, fast moving girl really relax? Is it possible? The questions that ran through my mind. The soul searching that would happen over the next few days as I figured out if I am capable of relaxing and what relaxing really feels like.

Routine went out the window first thing. No up early to workout. This was a first change of routine in over 4 years. Is this relaxing or was I stressed because I was breaking my routine? I did a shoulder shrug to myself repeatedly when I thought about this change.  Instead of working out hard core, I opted for a casual walk to a quaint little bakery kiosk where I was greeted by a bubbly island girl each morning. A creature of habit, I ordered the same thing each day. A plain but buttery croissant and a jug of orange juice. Both of these are not normal items I would have in the morning or in general but this week was about doing things differently. I was choosing to select differently while on vacation. Maybe not the best choice for balancing carbs / fats / proteins, but for this vacation break I was not worrying about what time I was eating and so on. Just like I wasn’t worried about writing on my blog. I was “checked” out on island time.

Island time is interesting. Everything moves slowly. People are extra bubbly and social. It was easy for me to go to bed early and sleep late each day. I had nowhere to rush to. No deadlines to meet. No bosses to answer to.  I enjoyed the sunsets, the spectacular views, the fresh smells and the people of the island I was on. I had no reason to stress over technology, business or life. There was no rushing to sports practice, no to do list, no deadlines to meet, no bosses to answer to. It seemed there were smiles everywhere. Workers smiled and greeted you at every interaction. Guests were cordial even if there was a language barrier. Island life is definitely slow. It seems to take 2-3 hours for a meal. Food is fresh, service is slow but pleasant, atmosphere is always “happy.”

At last a relaxing time of do something, nothing or whatever strikes my fancy. I snorkeled, enjoyed fish and shipwrecks in the waters below, ate many varieties of food, tasted a new drink called “ting,” rode a horse in the ocean, enjoyed a massage, and met many friendly faces. A few notable friends are described below:

New York – A sweet and sassy woman from NY whom I shared giggles with on my snorkeling trip but then found out she stayed at my resort. We bumped into each other multiple times making us new friends. 

Nix – A bus driver that was a bit quirky. He didn’t smile much and had a long face. He said the word “WOW” a lot. His quirkiness was memorable and his driving skills were interesting to say the least.

The New Zealanders – An older couple I met on a tour. A whole day spent with strangers who had a funny accent but enjoyed learning about our cultures as much as we did theirs. They arrived by cruise ship, us by plane. A chance encounter but one that left many memories. I especially enjoyed eating lunch with these new friends while we learned so much about our different countries. Again, a chance encounter that was very insightful.

John – A taxi cab driver turned tour guide. He picked us up in town at random for a ride back to the resort. He shared his cooler of drinks and gave us his card for his side hustle (tour guide). We booked a tour with the kind gentleman and spent another full day learning about the island from him. His charm, his humor, and his knowledge was a big part of our trip memories.

The cookie man – There is a cookie man and he works in a cheese shop. It may sound weird but he serves the freshest almond paste cookies at the cheese shop when you check out. These cookies were so amazing we went back for more a few days later. He was all out but he offered to make a special batch the next day. We couldn’t wait. We went back out of our way to meet the cookie man at the cheese shop to buy tons of cookies to bring home for our families. Do you think any actually made it home?

AJ – The jeweler, the joker, the hard worker. The friendliest jeweler in town. Oh, how he added to my memories this week. AJ was another chance encounter. I met a wonderful older lady on my plane ride to the island. She had been visiting this island for years and mentioned I should visit AJ should I desire any jewelry this trip. Of course I had to check out AJ and see what all the hype was about.

As you can see from the post above, I relaxed and enjoyed my island vacation, but more importantly I met new people. The kind souls that made my memories will be forever cherished. Some I will never see again, while others I hope to see sometime in the future should I make it back to this island. I never set out to meet new people nor did I have a specific goal in mind for my trip. In the end I had a great time and have an awesome memory book of the time spent on St. Maartin.

My travel time was just right. Enough time to enjoy the relaxing life yet not too long to miss out on all that requires my time on the daily on the home front. I am thankful for many things after this week. Too many to list. As thanksgiving has recently past, I will just say I am thankful for the “relax” text as it set The tone for my week. Thank you, Kim, for the one word text! I appreciate you.

My vacation time was spent on the friendly island of St. Maarten. I spent most of my time on the Dutch side, however I did visit the French side as well as visit Anguilla and Prickly Pear on the British side. I highly recommend travel to St. Maarten and I encourage you to fly a big airline vs. a discount airline. If you make it there be sure to visit the beach by the airport to watch the planes land. It is definitely an experience.

I am leaving you with a few snapshots of my trip. It is my hope that you find some peace in the tranquil pictures. They are meant to spur thought of relaxation and happiness.

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fitness and nutrition

What Does Recovery Look Like for Me?

I’m recovering from the Festivus Games and thought I would diary my aches and pains.

Immediately after: I had no time to think about aches and pains. Had to hop in the shower after a long day to attend a preplanned event. Of course the event called for cowgirl boots so had to put those sore legs to work some more!

The next day: I was surprised that I could move when I awoke. I survived 4 WODs and I can move. That seems like something to celebrate.

I didn’t let the aches set in. I got up for my morning training session. It’s normally a run but I just walked about 3 miles to get the legs going but at a recovery pace. It was just what I needed.

I kept moving most of the day. Around 5pm, about 24 hours after the adrenaline pump concluded, I hit a wall. Started to get tired and cranky. Just fatigued. I guess it worked out for me so I could look at the 1 million pictures the group had from the event. It’s so much fun to reminisce on the triumphs and setbacks of the day.

I listened to my body and slowed my roll. Rested per se and went to bed early. Monday morning came and I didn’t want to get up but I did. I have accountability partners at my box so I got moving despite my desire to not move and pull the covers over my face permanently.

I scaled the workout for sure that morning. Used baby weights for the wod, rode the bike and scaled some movements but I moved and my Apple Watch said I fared okay.

Forearms, wrists and hands felt the aches mainly from all the grip work. Tight traps were present but not unbearable. Lots of good stretching today.

By Tuesday I was good and even put in some extra work conditioning on the bike erg. By Weds am my legs were a little tight from the bike ride but they loosened up as soon as I completed my WOD for the day.

Good to go now for this chick. 72 hours, back to normal, give or take. So many memories to make the recovery worth it all.

Recovery is just as important to me as the preparation. I preach this to my kids as they compete in sports and to whomever will listen. I hope that my tidbits here help those who read along with my fit journey posts.

I am not a trained professional. I am a mom getting her fitness on who competes to hold herself accountable.

Wishing you all the best in your fitness and recovery adventures.

celebrations, friendship

Full-on Festivus Fangirl

One part roadie, one part pit crew, one part media team, one part friend, five parts fangirl.  These were my jobs for the Faded Glory teams at this year’s Festivus Games.

Unlike Chick 1, I didn’t WOD in the sun and fun.  Scheduling and family commitments made competing impossible.  But I still got out and joined in for as long as I could.

My day started at 5am, just like most of the teams.  But, for my first stop I went and got my own workout in first at our home box (burpees over the rower, thrusters, and other fun times). I could have skipped, but even when (especially when!) you’re spending a lot of your time supporting others, you have to keep your own health in line.

Then it was off to the Games, sliding in with my friends to watch them work and support where I could, which led to these moments….

The roadie – Yes, I’ll carry your phone.  I’ll wear your watch. I’ll hold your bracelets.  Of course I’ll keep time for you and count down loud so you know how much you have left to go.

The pit crew – Yup, I’ll charge that dead (phone) battery.  I’ll change your oil (peppermint oil, of course, on sore hamstrings and lower backs).  I’ll drill your muscles with one of those crazy massage guns.  I’m there with your water when your engine overheats.  Creaky joints? Do you prefer Aleve, Advil, or Tylenol?

The media team – The pictures, the videos, the boomerangs. Did I get video of your snatches? Check. Boomerangs of your wall balls? Check. And THE LIFTING FACES!!!  Oh, the lifting faces. Can’t get enough of them.  Capturing the efforts and the agony.  The triumphs and the teamwork.  The small moments, the funny moments, the victories that many people miss – we even miss some of them ourselves!

Send them to each athlete, even send them to their spouses and our friends who couldn’t be there.  Those photos tell amazing stories of a time that will become incredible memories.

 

 

The friend – Just before she starts each event, I’m glancing at my partner, Milagros, and just give her the look.  The “you can do this.  Just breathe and do it” look.  That moment of reassurance between us!

Some of the highlights of the day are listening to pretty much all the competitors talk about their teammate.  In one way or another, each is fighting not to let their partner down.  To do their best, to give their all for that teammate.  This brings back memories of when I competed, and truly is one of the sweetest, most meaningful parts of the experiences.

Finally, the fangirl –  Cheering like crazy for each of them. (And all the videos with my shrill drum major voice!) Clapping from behind the lens.  “Pick it up!” I barked. Encouraging when I saw the looks of exhaustion, of near tears, of hating that stupid box, that idiotic dumbbell, that impossibly irritating kettlebell. And when I saw those fleeting looks of “It’s too hot.”  “It’s so heavy.”  ‘I’m not sure I can do anymore…” I’d get even louder:

YOU GOT THIS! COME ON!  LET’S GO!  And as others finished, they joined in the cheers. Surrounding teammates who had fought through adversity to encourage them to the bitter end.  We are fans of each other.

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What a day and a reason to support and shout for these incredible athletes.

Pushing themselves past the edge of the discomfort zone, some fighting through injuries and illness.  They showed up and WORKED.  All the training, the invisible hours, the practicing, the endless reps, heck even the no reps mattered.  It all adds up to knowing you fought like crazy to compete and give your best that day.

I’ll truly cherish wearing the #Katashi shirt with my honorary (if temporary) tattoo. That takes fangirling to a whole new level.  You’d be hard pressed to find two more fierce or fun competitors. Still gotta work on my booty game, though.

I’ll cherish the hugs and smiles and people laughing and feeling proud as they saw themselves in action. I’ll cherish seeing both first timers and “old” timers get in there to scrap with anyone who dares compete. Better bring your A game. I’ll cherish watching teams work with and for each other, and being on the team for all of them.

 

 

celebrations, fitness and nutrition

Festivus Games Was No Joke

Well, this comp was a little different about 5 minutes after I signed up! Then, when I got to the competition site the crazy level stepped up a bit….the competition was 90% outside. Holy smokes.

Looking back, I somehow stacked 1/2 marathon training, a 45 day bicep/tricep challenge, a physical residence move, a big trip to see family and life on top of comp training and my regular CrossFit and adult life.

What was I thinking? I probably wasn’t thinking until I hit the WODs hard the 2 weeks prior to the event. At that point my body was already sluggish from a physical move and my arms were burning on the daily from the other bicep/tricep challenge and then heck most days my legs were like we don’t need any additional miles today!

Of course there was outfit planning. Tanks and booty shorts. This may be the most fun part of competing because my crazy partner agreed to change outfits four times. Really she had no choice but it’s part of the experience and what sets us apart from others. We beat to our own drum or anthem in many ways. Class act I tell ya!

One week to go and I rip my hand bad. How did that impact the event? Came down with a cold as well a week before so breathing wasn’t 100%. Complaints or excuses? Time to press on and put in work. This is a self note that I am sharing.

The last seven days were focused on eating well, sleeping well and staying healthy. I wasn’t perfect but I made an attempt. Rest being most important since my body is aging.

Last practice session on our weakness was a good showing. Compared to day one it was tremendous growth. Now to wait and see how the big day goes.

Comp day. It starts with the dreadful alarm at 5am, food prep, and carpool ride at 6am. Oh and let me tell you about the ride:

One passenger snoring in the back who wouldn’t share the back seat. Yup, that’s my partner!

One driver kind enough to volunteer to drive knowing the drive home will suck bad. Thank you, CW.

And then me. The sleepy one mesmerized by the cool new truck I was in. Air flowing through the seats and a massaging seat. Yup, just what I needed and I gladly staked my claim for that seat on the way home!

Then the wait for heat one at 9:50am. The morning aches and stiffness were among the bunch as we waited, joked and stretched together. We all prepped differently yet we all did it together.

That’s a lot of idle time for nervous jitters that lead to multiple potty breaks. Fun times all around meeting neighbors in tent city and taking pics as we wait. A group of friends are competing so we will have a blast tailgating and cheering each other on. Of course we are still competing so it’s not all rainbows and lollipops for those in the same division.

Did I mention our team name this time around? 2 Tatted Bitches – ha! Offensive to some but perfect to us! Check out the cool shirts we got compliments of Chick 2’s designing skills. Oh, how the announcer fumbled purposely all day on that name. However, if we made the podium he said he would say the full name prominently. And he did just that!

WOD 1 – my favorite. The deadlift ladder. Easy peasy 205 pounds. We accumulated 75 bonus points with our extra efforts in less than a minute. Took 3rd in this WOD. Feeling good but the worst is yet to come. And the pic below shows one of the good faces. There were many more crazy faces to come.

WOD 2 a and b=death! Add extreme heat outdoors, direct sun and and and….WOD was outside, 90+ degrees and I don’t usually workout outside in direct sunlight. It gave me a new respect for other athletes who compete outside on a regular basis. Body weight movements AKA devil press (named appropriately), weighted box step overs, reverse lunges weighted and a partner row. Part A we scored 4th but Part B was 8th….my no reps for not locking my arms out cost us big time. I was not happy with my judge. Well, we could have given up but this is the time where we kicked it up a notch or attempted to.

WOD 3 – Outside again with a forecast raining wallballs and snatches. Get low, get low, get low…that’s all I would hear for what seemed like an hour. My legs were shot but somehow I was going to have to squat 45 times with a 14-pound wall ball going up down up down. I wanted to puke in the heat was a gross understatement. My practice rounds were timed and my partner was suppose to hold me accountable for a personal best despite the environmental conditions. She did but I wasted breath saying “stop yelling at me.” Big mistake but I made it through by the grace of God. Our time was not our best but we squeezed out 3rd solely with our heart and desire to make up for the WOD before.

WOD 4 – the synchro WOD that I had been dreading since sign up. Not really sure how to explain this other than heavy and weird object being tossed around like a ping pong ball over and over and over again. But it was not a ping pong ball. It was a heavy anchor that bumped and bruised your body and your ego with each movement. It was brutal. And I was focused on this part of the workout making me totally forget about the 100 buy in of knees-to-chest movements. Oh crap! Suck it up buttercup because we had to place high in this round to get on that podium. Thankfully my partner killed this movement and made up for my shortcoming and we were on fire with the synchro piece. Over 100 reps of pure grit and we pulled out 2nd in the event.

It was bittersweet. A podium finish of 3rd. Hard work pays off. Good partner chemistry paid off. Supportive gym mates were the icing on the cake. Not to mention our honorary tatted bitch who donned our shirt and branded herself with Katashi just for us. Was a great friend.

We’re walking away from this event with a medal but it’s not the medal that’s most memorable. It’s the journey. The journey of training that’s years in the making. The fellowship along the way. The learning process of developing skills. The coaching you receive along the way. The commitment required to grind another day when your mind tells you to quit. Mental toughness, tenacity, determination, are all words that come to mind.

I leave you with this message: anyone can commit to changing their environment, their attitude and their perspective. Many will talk about it but won’t follow through because the road along the way is full of big hills, speed bumps and life detours. It is not easy. Surround yourself with a tribe that will challenge you, push you, motivate you and ultimately make you see your own potential. It’s really all about you, just like this post is all about me.

I’m not one to gloat per se, but I am one to share my stories with the world to offer hope to others who have a hard time seeing it in themselves in the mirror.

Happy Sunday, y’all. I’m back to training for my 1/2 marathon in 3, 2, 1….

hustle, working women

A CEO, a Donkey and an Employee

What do the three above have in common?

Each can be considered a jackass at one point or another! Yep folks, you got it. A jackass!

Not to get off topic, but I start a post sometimes and circle back to finish it up. It could be hours later, days later or even weeks later. But I could not ignore this photo and blurb that I randomly got today….

Look closely folks. My quote said “look, somebody lost their ass on the side of the road.” Now this became a sign for me to finish this post.

Who would have guessed it? I am a jackass a lot of days as the CEO of one of my companies. I know perception isn’t often reality but for some employees their perception can be that I am an ass. I am pretty sure at least one employee has made that claim and I am sure others may in the future. I get it. It’s okay. As the CEO I sometimes have to make unpopular decisions. I sometimes have to offer counseling to employees and they may not like it. It comes with the territory of being the CEO. Taking charge of any and all situations. Most think the view from the top is the best but many don’t see the turbulence a CEO faces on the daily.

In any company, the CEO takes risks. There could be big rewards but there could also be big failures. I’ve experienced both. That’s why so many on the bottom don’t fancy the CEO at the top. Why? Because it’s a seat they will never have! Plain and simple.

Oddly enough, I wear multiple hats in a day, week or month. This gives me the unique vantage point of being an employee some days. Under a different set of circumstances, but an employee nonetheless. An employee, by definition, does a job, collects a fair wage, and completes work assigned or agreed upon for said pay. And guess what? I could actually be a jackass there, too. How could this be true? Hypothetically, I could be the manager nobody likes or respects. I could be the poor performing employee who complains about everything and everyone. I could even be the office gossip.

Whatever my role in those four walls, I am bound to be a jackass to somebody. Is it perception or reality? Maybe I’m a pay tier ahead of the one who thinks I am a jackass. Maybe I make them do more work when I am on vacation. Maybe the boss favors me more. The list could go on and on. I’m sure you get my point. Jackassery can appear amongst the rank and file as well as leadership in any company. Clearly I am using myself as an example to prove a point, but I tell you, I lived all these scenarios at one point in time or another during my professional career.

At the end of the day, a CEO has a job. Their job is to drive the vision of the company and take the company to the next level. The employees are the ones who push the paper, press the keys and provide service to clients. They are the hamsters who run the hamster wheels in whatever industry you work.

Everyone has a role in an organization. Everyone has a lane. At any given time, one of those people in the mix can be a jackass. Do you take it personally and dwell on it? No, because you can’t control it. You move on. You rise another day. You grind another day. You make new decisions as the CEO or you work hard as an employee.

If you zoom in on the jackass picture, who is the jackass? The real ass, as in the donkey? The person who created the donkey in the road mess at rush hour? Or the person driving the car that thought it was a good idea to get out of the truck and…

Well, a picture is worth a thousand words they say. I don’t have a thousand here in this post but I hope I gave you some perspective today. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the street, even if it looks that way at a quick glance. Not everyone is meant to be the CEO even if one makes it look easy.

Not sure how I got on the jackass theme but it was a random rant or thought that I jotted down and figured I’d publish it at some point in time. Find your path. Follow it. Don’t worry about others perception of you or your jackassery.

Again, I know plenty of folks who judge me for my choices but at the end of the day they are my choices and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now seems like the perfect time to post this because I am a jackass. I will be one today, tomorrow and in the future. No doubt about it. I bet you have been a jackass at some point too.

Do you know a jackass?

Bonus tidbit: if you don’t want to be known as a jackass, adjust your attitude and train your mind to respect others in their roles because you never know what another person is going through or what they have on their plate. Jackassery is not just a debate, it’s a movement.

Now I am ready for a game of pin the tail on the donkey. How I love childhood memories that reflect into adulthood. Have a donkeylicious day folks!

fitness and nutrition

Train, Train, Train

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It all started in July, when I ran my best 10k time at the Peachtree Road Race on 7/4/19. I was bitten by the running bug…sort of?!?!?!

How can I get better? What’s my next goal? I really don’t enjoy running and I really don’t have a runner’s physique. Oh well, we will put these thick thighs to the test in a couple of months.

I got an invite to do a 1/2 marathon. Boom. I signed up. I asked a few friends to join in. Now it’s time to train, or pretend to be trained, by the starting gunshot.

I progressed with weekly walk/jogs on Sundays with whomever I could get to train with me and I added in some extra meters on the air runner at my box when I had time.

3 mile run/walk on a stretch of road with gym buddies. 6 mile walk with the girls. 5 mile pacer in the park. Sundays at 7am are now my training runs. So many miles. Sprints were tossed in as well as some time on the air runner. Hoping to get better form and a better pace. Not to mention looking for longer stretches of mileage without taking a break.

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Two new pairs of shoes. Nike Air Pegasus 35’s which I ran the Peachtree in and Nike Zoom Romero with a little more cushion. I was told to alternate them in my training so I could decide which one I liked the most and then the one pair wouldn’t be worn out. Wonder which ones will make the cut for race day?!?!

So far I’m voting for the Air Pegasus but time will tell.

I like shoes and Nike shoes might be an addiction so I won’t complain about buying another pair. Maybe the Pegasus 36’s. We shall see.

I almost forgot, I got a sweet note from one of my training partners this week. It was a great way to celebrate the the training journey with a friend. See the photo for a glimpse of my note.

I’ll try to post each month on my training progress. Stay tuned.

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fitness and nutrition

It’s a 1/2 but it’s a start

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Today I registered for my first 1/2 marathon. I might be crazy but in about 4 months I will walk, jog, or crawl over that finish line.

I will blog about my training along the way and of course the emotions that will go along with the whole process as well.

I have 5k’s, 10k’s and one 15k in my past, but never a half marathon. My running spans over 20 years but I’ve never been a runner, if that makes sense. I am more of a 50-yard-dash kind of girl. Quick and easy and over before you know it. I also never really ran any of those races start to finish…they all had a mix of breaks built in.

Why a 1/2 marathon? I got a push from my oldest son to sign up and guess what? I took the bait. Now it’s time to see if I can get some friends in the mix.

My most recent 10k time was 1 hour 16 minutes in the July heat. I am aiming for 2 hours 30 minutes for the half marathon. Can I do it? Let me know what you think my finishing time will be. An online bet of sorts. Send us a message with your best guess!

Wish me luck! And don’t forget to send me tips if you are an avid runner.