fitness and nutrition, friendship

Peachtree Road Race, 2019

 

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It’s an Atlanta Independence Day tradition. The largest 10K in the world.

Growing up, I watched my ultra-fit older brother run the Peachtree.  Other members of my extended family have run it at times throughout my life.  Five years ago, inspired by my sister-in-law, I decided to join in.

The Peachtree is a festive, social event as much as it is a fitness test. I look forward to running the Peachtree with family and friends.  Sometimes our running partners shift a bit.  Every year, I’ve had my youngest daughter with me.  How we both have changed since that first run!  See the pics below for glimpses of us through the years.

Some years are harder than others.  My first year, I was doing some walking and jogging at home when race day rolled around.  We completed that race during a thunderstorm.  I knew I had to do it again since I didn’t really get the “Peachtree experience” of silly signs, live music, and fifty-nine plus thousand other runners and revelers along the way due to the weather.

Other years presented challenges due to heat, travel schedules, and my level of training.  My time has gone up and down. In 2018 and 2019 I didn’t train specifically to run the race.  I just relied on my overall CrossFitness to carry me through.

This year I felt as strong as I ever have throughout the race.  I am still slow and steady, but I ran for much longer stretches than I have before, and my slow may be slightly less slow than my previous paces.

My goal this year was to complete the race in less than 1 hour 30 minutes, and I beat that goal by over 3 minutes.  I shaved over 8 minutes off my time from last year, and more than 23 minutes from my very first Peachtree result.

Even better…at the end of the race this year I felt like I could keep running, another first! And afterwards, I was ready to walk back up the very long hill to catch our ride back to the car.  The stairs we I to go up and down didn’t bother me. I’m usually stiff and spent for the rest of the day once I cross the finish line. I was a little sore the next morning, but not too bad. I got up, went to the gym, and went on about my daily routines.

Overall, this year’s Peachtree was a great personal success. Having a benchmark to look at makes a big difference in seeing how I’m coming along, year after year.  What fitness traditions do you enjoy?

adventure

Summer Adventures, Part 2

Sarasota, Florida was the destination and adventuring was the name of the game.

Girls trip time. 5 girls in tow. 3 teens and two mommas ready to see what they can cram into a few days at the beach destination.

Roof top swimming upon arrival. What a blast to see the sun set and enjoy the atmosphere after some time in the car. Some quick photos for the girls by the moonlight. Early rise to travel the town by bike the next day. The bike seat was nothing short of uncomfortable but it was a beach bike and it was on our must do list. We rode to the bay and explored away. Uncomfortable? Maybe, but adventure nonetheless.

We unexpectedly found a bike decorated at the bayfront near a tiki bar. We were not sure if it was a symbol of death by the water as it was decorated in white and was somewhat angelic. Boy, were we wrong! It was a symbol of peace and and we discovered this after asking about the history of the bike at the hotel. And then our unexpected adventure began…

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How many of the randomly decorated bikes could we find in the next few days? The next one was the mustard yellow one on the corner and then the old school ten speed adorned with flowers in the park. How many more will we find?

 

 

We stumbled on a kids bike decked out in print but somebody actually wrote junk not art on this one…check out the seat in the pic. Each bike is chained to a post of some sort and they are randomly scattered across the city. Next up was pink cheetah print. This one might have been one of my favs but that’s because we found this while driving and had to make a u-turn to snag a photo.

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We were on a scavenger hunt of sorts. We found a baby blue bike on the shore just over the bridge after a day on the beach. We made this a photo opportunity for our crew at sunset. We had to bang another u-turn again to catch the butterfly bike and then we caught the odd bird house bike at red light the last day we were in town.

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Unexpected adventures can yield to unexpected fun, just like the group of new friends we had dinner with one night. All types of backgrounds came together to chill and enjoy some conversation, cocktails and food. Unplanned, unexpected good times.

And the last bike we found was a scary octopus looking bike full of scales of some sort. What a whirlwind adventure that was unplanned. We got to learn a little about a local artist while on our trip and just got to share in some sleuthing with the girls as we were out and about each day.

Fun Friday was set aside for the beach and I was on a mission. I had to complete a handstand challenge. A handstand unassisted on the beach. In public. In my bathing suit. Feet kissing and no assistance. Can miracles happen? Well I had been practicing in the weeks approaching the trip and I was confident, but I never even attempted a handstand on a soft surface like the sand. Would I fall over? Would I chicken out? Would my friend capture the moment for proof?

Well, I am happy to report it’s a done deal. I sealed the deal and can officially take this off my bucket list. It might not be the prettiest handstand but it’s a freestyle handstand. No wall to catch me. No support. Just me putting in work. My day, my week and my month was complete in that very moment.

 

#goalgetter even on vacation. I mean, my pal David told me it’s not a beach trip until you do a handstand on the beach so hopefully I will continue to be fit enough as I age to continue this new beach tradition with whomever my travel mates are.

And then there was the cherry on top…. the young girls did handstands with me. A triple threat. A handstanding trio. That’s modeling, folks. Lead by example and people around you will want to level up and see what they can do, too. None of us were gymnasts. We just wanted to do beach handstands. And handstands we did.

Done and done. A few short days of rest and relaxation along with car ride giggles and snacks and of course late night chats and tropical frose drinks. Can’t complain about the adventures I had these past few days.

Wonder where my summa adventures will take me next time. I bet it will be stateside but you never know. Stay tuned!

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adventure, family

Passport, Please

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12 years it sat in a strong box. Waiting to be reissued. Waiting for a glorious stamp or two. How did I let it get so dusty and neglected?

Work, kids, commitments, and so much more all stood in my way. They all halted my adventures on an international scale.  Although I didn’t really have a need to travel internationally, I could have, and maybe should have, but it was going to be such a pain to update my passport because I had a name change since the passport was originally issued (thanks, marriage). I made excuses and I let time slip away.

Well, the passport expired in 2007. That means I have been procrastinating a bit and my life of adventure was limited to stateside sights. I won’t complain as I visited a lot of places in the U. S., but adventure awaits me over the border.

Today I just did it. I dusted off the old book, gathered my documents and got photo ready. I looked up my location list to do the deed. This time, I took my youngest along to get hers with me.

I thought back to my teen years and thought of the adventures I had with my parents when I went to Europe a couple of times. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, among others. The food, the culture, the shopping, the language, each was an experience in itself. I need to show my youngest the world.

She is an adventurer just like her mom. So why not? Why wait? A plan is in motion. A new destination each year for the next five years. Some travels alone. Some with friends. Some with family. Maybe even a school trip will be on the horizon. She will be ready. I will be ready. Memories are on the horizon.

No need to cram for documents and rush to travel. We are both ready to go-go-go. On a whim or with a plan. We will get going when we want to.

We have a five year plan. A plan to travel and explore and hopefully stamp those passports. Where will we go? Who will we meet? When do we leave?

No answers to those questions yet but we are one step closer to adventure. We are planning: The time of year. The possible destinations. The gift of travel. The experiences to share.

As I write I think of all the countries that read this blog. I think who I might see on a train, on a plane, etc. You may know me, but I don’t know you. If by chance we meet, please say hello.

Passport adventure blogs to follow as the future becomes the present. Send me ideas of must-see places to put in my 5-year travel plan.

fitness and nutrition

Working Vacation (or, Making Vacation Work)

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a whirlwind whiplash weekend in Pennsylvania with friends watching our daughters play lacrosse.

I could have completely tossed my diet and exercise habits out the window.  But driving over 10 hours both ways in the course of a few days left my body screaming for exercise and good food.  (Craving those things is a good sign.)

We stayed in a hotel with a gym.  I brought my workout clothes and got up at my usual crack-of-dawn hour. The weather was amazing!  When I went outside, the air was a crisp, cool change from the warm humid mornings in Atlanta.  Then, we just happened to be staying in a complex with some health care buildings.  As I was walking to warm up and get moving, I noticed a trail with some fitness stations along the way.  So, that became my plan.  A little jog and some step ups, incline situps and leg lifts, hanging leg raises, all while jogging station to station. Sweat happened.

Then, I went into the gym and did a quick 21-15-9 of burpees, dumbbell clean and jerks, and sit-ups.  It wasn’t the extreme race or marathon workout that many were doing back home, but it was enough to feel like I had worked my heart and muscles. It felt good.

Of the 3 days away, that was the only true workout I did.  We did some walking at the tournament fields and Hershey Park, but otherwise the two days were rest days.  I worked out all the other days around the trip so it was enough.

The other challenge on the road is eating.

I packed snacks…a few bags of turkey and beef jerky, protein water, chunks of grilled chicken, protein chips, and some random protein bars.  I ate some but not all. I also drank lots of water and sparkling water.

For the most part, I just tried to focus on protein and keep other things to a minimum. Examples:

For quick breakfast on the road I had a Chick-fil-a breakfast bowl with chicken and no hashbrowns.  I ate a 2 good yogurt for snack.  The chicken chunks came in handy on a long stretch of road with few options beside gas station food.

Eating out in Harrisburg, PA, at a local tapas spot – Kale and beet salad, Brussel sprouts with bacon, a small slice of pizza, charcuterie board with meat, cheese, pickles, flatbread, mustard.  Probably over on fat and salt but I could have done worse and it was delicious. Not enough protein but options were limited.

For hotel breakfast (twice): Eggs, spinach, cheese, salsa, light and fit yogurt, coffee with milk. For me, when I’m basically eyeballing things, not really planning eating, and going with my gut, I try to start the day with as much protein as possible and just keep going from there.

It’s not necessarily easy…the options I skipped were many: waffles, Froot Loops and other cereals, bagels, bread, crumb cake, juices, granola, muffins, peanut butter, etc.  None of these seemed worth it and the eggs looked decent.  (I would definitely eat crumb cake, for example, if it was from a bakery.  I look forward to bakery crumb cake at the Jersey Shore later this summer!)

It’s not always a simple win.  The amusement parks we went to the last two weekends were especially challenging for both cost and food quality reasons.  At Hershey Park, after long searching, I settled for a few chicken tenders (more bread than chicken) and a few fries.  Thankfully this was late in the day after decent eating before we got to the park.

An afternoon at Kings Dominion was more challenging.  I could almost stomach the idea of eating Panda Express, but the $15.00 price tag was a deal breaker (and for just one entree!)  I held out until we left, late afternoon, and quickly scarfed down my turkey jerky, protein water, some fresh cherry tomatoes, and Quest protein chips when I got to the car.  Sounds crazy to many, but it works for me.  I felt satisfied and not weighed down.  I was grateful I had packed a few things to have on hand.

And when it was worth it, I did treat myself across the two weekends.  I had top-notch street tacos (although I did skip all but one bite of tortilla since they were not special), I had a great meal with meats, cheeses, an amazingly fluffy buttered roll, and cucumber salad at a German restaurant called Fest, and I had a scoop of homemade strawberry swirl ice cream topped with toasted fluff (the specialty of the house) at Charm School Social Club.  Totally worth it.  And four days later, I’m not mad at myself or the scale. So I’m learning it is possible to keep it sane on the road, get some sweat in, feel good, and indulge when I really want to.  Let’s see how I do on my next journey…

 

 

family

For Dad

 

We sat in the parking lot in Virginia, 7:45 am last Sunday.

“My dad would be so proud of me,” I told the teens in the back seat. “I found the 24/7 taco place.” Street tacos with cilantro and onion on corn tortillas. Authentic. Just like the tacos he took me to eat at one of the first real taquerias in Atlanta over 30 years ago.  “Yelp says it’s a Richmond institution.”

Now, I can’t say I am truly just like him. He’d have ordered the tripe or tongue tacos or other more exotic meats. I’m a carne asada and al pastor girl. He would have gone crazy on the hot-hotter-hottest salsa bar. I chose the only one that said mild.

Dad, who loved to talk about how he didn’t even eat a taco until he was 25. He spent the rest of his life making up for lost time.

Then, after cheering for my daughter and her teammates at a lacrosse tournament, those teen girls and I drove a bit north to Kings Dominion.

Even with his broken body, my dad loved a great roller coaster. He could tell you the history and all kinds of fun facts about any coaster in the country, not to mention the first time he rode it. We even belonged to American Coaster Enthusiasts growing up. So spending Father’s Day at Kings Dominion was a fitting way to honor him. He also loved carousels, band organs, all things carnival and amusement. I don’t ride every roller coaster but I hope I’m getting better at embodying his sense of adventure.

What’s funny is I didn’t start out this Father’s Day thinking “what would my dad do today?” I didn’t set out to make the day a tribute to him.

It was after I stood back and reflected that I saw that some of the ways I do life and travel naturally reflect what he taught me by example.

Cheer for your kids. Be interested in what they like and want to do. Nurture those interests.

Eat at little, out of the way places. Take the scenic route sometimes. Try the local specialty. Support small, family businesses.

Be curious. Ask questions. Listen to the answers.  Ask more questions. Keep learning.

Ride roller coasters and merry-go-rounds. Embrace life’s ups and downs and even the rough, bumpy spots.  Delight in the unexpected. Enjoy the ride.

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coaching, hustle

Purpose

 

Recently I was in a position where I needed to review my purpose, my passions, my goals and my visions. That seems like a mouthful in and of itself, but it is healthy to want to review where you are, where you are going, and if you are even on the right path in life with the right people in your inner circle.

Often times, people become complacent. They expect things versus earning things.  They stand still and are content with the status quo. They complain when things don’t go their way. They make excuses. I beat to a different drum. I mean, I complain a lot. A lot about things that don’t really matter much at all. Sometimes I complain about the weather. Sometimes I complain about my daily workout. Neither really impacts my day or aura, but I feel the need to complain and I usually do it out loud! But when it comes down to where I am heading in life and who is along for the ride, I don’t really waver on my direction or drive.

My Personal Side: I have three kids in three different age brackets: Young adult, emerging adult and teenager. Each has different needs from me at these various stages but each is given love, guidance and motivation to reach their next milestone. As our kids age, we shift roles as they navigate life and turn into independent learners and become responsible. We can only hope for success for each of our kids.

My Professional Side: I am successful professionally. I earn a good living but am I 100% challenged or loving everything I do? The answer is NO. There are tasks like monthly sales tax reporting, payroll, and dealing with human capital issues that I am not so passionate about.  These repetitive tasks require my time and energy. Is the trade off there for work/life balance? I am still figuring this out. I would much prefer a tropical island with good weather year-round and no need to have a professional side. Maybe that is in my near future….

My Healthy Living: I commit to eating healthy 90% of the time, limiting alcohol consumption, and making time for me (self-care). I heard somebody call that high maintenance today, but no it isn’t high maintenance, rather it’s high quality! For me, committing to me and my positive mental balance helps my patience/stamina when it comes to difficult family challenges, work challenges, and of course difficult people.

My Value: I know my personal/professional value. I encourage you to know your value. Continue to evolve as a person which will grow your value over time. Never let anyone diminish your self-worth. Once you allow another to dictate your worth, you will begin to struggle in other areas. Remember you control your value, not others.

My Purpose Work: I do a lot of purpose work. Some people see the purpose work, while it’s hidden in plain sight to others. This is where I fill my tank. Not my gas tank, my emotional tank. My purpose work helps carry me through the challenging times of the hustle and bustle of carting kids around or managing mundane business tasks.

Did you know 2 Chicks donates books each year to kids in need? Improving literacy one child at a time is part of our purpose work. Should you want to help sponsor a book drive in your area, contact us today.

Find your purpose. Live your purpose. Pass the passion of living your life with purpose to others. Many get caught up in their daily to-do lists and forget about laughing, smiling, and inspiring others. Offering hope, humor, smiles, and high-fives are all free. If only more people acted with kindness.

Signing off for now.  2 Chicks have a sizzling summer planned with lots of writing.  Watch our blog weekly for updates.

We are knee-deep in our #1095Days project which includes you, the audience!  Be sure to read, comment, and let us know what you like and don’t like.  You are part of our story!

friendship, giving

Ordering for the Table

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“Can we get saganaki for the table?”

I said it, almost happily. And out loud even, not just in my head. I am usually not the person who orders for the table. Is it a confidence thing? Or just not knowing, second guessing what people might want?  Or someone else beats me to the punch, and takes that chance before me?  Or because right now I am watching what I eat and many times those appetizers are the friedest, sauciest, dippingest, most delectable nibbles that I know I struggle to resist?

The other day, as we celebrated a joyful event in the life of my amazing friend Milagros, we ended up around a table at a Greek restaurant.  Several people had never eaten Greek food.  There were menu questions, unfamiliar words, all kinds of questions and opportunities. (And yes, now I have learned that saganaki is a Greek-American invention, like fortune cookies, etc.)

Saganaki is a guilty pleasure for me. Cheese is a weakness in general.  I remembered when I did keto for a while last year I so enjoyed the saganaki at this restaurant (with no pita.) I figured, why not share this deliciousness with people who have never had it before?

So I did it, people shared it, and tried something new.  Some people thought it was just ok, others found it the same remarkable experience as I do. All of that is wonderful.

So, thinking back over the list above, what was my hangup before?  Probably some of all of them, but mostly lack of confidence gets in my way.  I worry what others might think or want, when really I just need to be bold and order and share what I enjoy with others.  They can try it or not.  In the past, when I haven’t taken the initiative to share, I’ve always felt like it was a missed opportunity to be generous.  Those missed chances I wished I had taken leave me feeling smaller.

I want to be the kind of person who orders for the table, at least sometimes.  And not to show off or be flashy.  I just want to be confident enough to share what I enjoy and stop second guessing myself.  I have no problem with the sharing part, and the confidence part is coming along a little more naturally these days.

Now I am wondering…What are some of the things you share with others that may expand their horizons, make shared memories, become new traditions? Not just food…reading, games, media, activities, and more? What are some new ways I can invite others to share life with me? On the flip side, am I open to trying what people want to share with me?  What do we have to lose?

No matter what, I am so grateful for celebrations and friends to share them with.  Enjoying events and company is so much of what makes life worthwhile.

And cheese makes all of that even better.