fitness and nutrition, hustle

Beth’s Training Track

I hear the whistle in the distance.  Faint, but getting louder, coming closer.

Half marathon. Ready or not, it’s coming.

Getting ready is the challenge right now.  Training plans, equipment questions, all of it – but mainly, finding the time to run.

I love CrossFit.  We all know this.  With work and home and complicated lives, I can’t really give much more time to fitness than I already do.  So, giving up a little bit of CrossFit time to spend more time running has to happen. It’s a temporary tradeoff in pursuit of a big goal.

One good thing about running is I can do it pretty much anywhere.  Or, it’s at least more flexible than getting to my gym at a certain time. Even still, life is hectic. It takes some creativity to fit it in.

Here’s an example of what that looks like:

In a recent 10-day span I did 4 training runs, 4 wildly different places.

First, Philadelphia.  I flew in late one Friday night, on the way to my family reunion.  Searching online for tracks and trails near my hotel, I saw a posting about the Rocky Steps.  So, I mapped a route along the Schuylkill River to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  4 miles early on a Saturday morning including the Rocky Steps (twice!).  Done. Then, off to the Reading Terminal Market for some local deliciousness.

Next, Spring Lake, NJ.  Gorgeous run on their 2-mile boardwalk (each way, for a total of four miles) just along the Atlantic, first thing in the morning with many other runners.  I looked a little out of place in my Panama City Beach shirt (air conditioned all the way up the back), but why not?  “Beach, Please” came true! Then, off to family time.

Back home later in the week, a five-mile after work slog at a park near my home.  Late afternoon, on a route that usually suits me well but this time it was awful.  I blame the time of day and the heat, but discouraging in spite of the nice lake view.

Finally, a two-mile run after a Saturday morning strength workout at the gym.  Five long hilly laps in the parking lot.  Not the most impressive scenery but the sun gave me a smile as I turned to head down the hill. Had to get it in somehow. Not every run can be beachside.

Four runs, one busy ten-day span. My training weeks will each look different.  It’s an adaptation of my summer vacation workout routines.  Making it work, however I can, whatever is needed, wherever I am.  The train continues to get closer!  I am determined to be as ready as I can be.

fitness and nutrition

The Difference Between Simple and Easy

I hit another milestone number on the scale today.

Today I weigh the same as I did when I got married.  Just shy of seventeen years later.  I am sure my weight went straight up just after the wedding, and I haven’t seen this number since.

Is my body the same?  No. Pregnancy and many other things have happened since then, not to mention just a lot of time being very overweight which leaves its mark.  But I’m working on shaping this body into the best it can be right now.

This was also the weight I randomly put into myfitnesspal when I started tracking last year.  I had to choose something, and 185 seemed good enough.  I don’t really know if I ever thought I would get there. Goals are not my strong point.

This week I’ll think about a new number and other goals.  I’ll try to be more mindful about it. But in the mean time…a quick reflection on one thing I have noticed lately.

As I’ve gotten further into tracking, my eating has gotten simpler and simpler.  My shopping list has gotten shorter and shorter.

Basically, most weeks look like this:

-Chicken (lots – ground / boneless skinless breast / tenderloins / rotisserie)

-Lean ground beef

-Vegetables for roasting (butternut squash, brussels sprouts, broccoli, onion, etc.)

-Yogurt – low to no fat, high protein

-Creamer

-Lowfat Cheese

-Sparkling water

-Then, if I need to replenish: extra thin corn tortillas, garlic & seasoning, carbs like PopCorners or Captain Crunch (yes, you read that right!), Fairlife milk,  protein shakes Yasso bars, etc. These are more accessories than essentials.

Sunday morning meal prep starts with roasting a huge pan of vegetables (see above).  I make my Mike Nuggets for my whole week’s lunches. Then I make one or two other varieties of chicken – crock pot fajitas, Mason’s Naked Tenders (great for the girl who chronically overcooks chicken), etc.  I also cook some ground beef to season as needed.

Most dinners during the week are just measuring and assembling these building blocks.  Veggies, meat, maybe some cheese if it works with my numbers (although my numbers are pretty much the same each day when I get to dinner, unless I am super hungry in the afternoon and have half an ace bar.) Nothing too fancy.  If I go out I have Chick-fil-a or Zoe’s Kitchen or an omelet with veggies and wheat toast, butter on the side.  End of story, most of the time.

Is it simple?  Yes.

Is it easy? No.

Simple and easy are very different things, I’m realizing.  I used to think they were synonymous.

Simple is keeping the moving parts minimal.  Staying in a routine.  Welcoming boredom, even.  Leaving little room to think about it. Deciding to stick with the plan.

Easy is more about effort and choice, I think.  I still pack my same breakfasts and lunches every. single. day.  Simple.  But, it would be easy to hit the drive-thru on the way to work. It would be easy to indulge in the staggering amount of food – mostly fat and carbs – I am offered working at my school in a given week, and have to resist.  (Someday I will blog about that.)  It would be easy to take it slow on Sunday mornings instead of cranking up the oven and meal-prepping like mad. It would be easy to drive-thru (again) in one of the hundred restaurants I pass when I am hungry on my way home. It would be easy to grab a beer when I am stressed or frustrated or anxious. It would be easy to sleep in or skip the gym when I have it scheduled but I’m tired.

All these things are easy but, ultimately, they make life more complicated. They distract me from my goals.

Will doing what’s simple most of the time ever come easy?  I have to think so. I am getting closer to seeing food as fuel and not entertainment or comfort. The gym is hard for me to resist unless I simply cannot make it.  Still, I am not always successful at resisting what is easy.  Sometimes I give in and just do what’s right in front of me, even if it goes against what I am trying to accomplish in the long run.  But I am working on it. Until then, I’ll simply choose the harder path as often as I can.  And set a new goal to shoot for, so I can earn my confetti again.

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fitness and nutrition, perspective

From “They Think I Can” back to “I Think I Can”

 

One of my favorite kids’ stories is The Little Engine that Could.  This might surprise people who know me well, since I am not always known for my positive mindset.  I tend to be cautious, take baby steps, and keep my expectations conservative (at best.)

In case it’s been a while, the Little Blue Engine, when faced with an enormous task, takes it on, chugs along, and tells herself “I Think I Can” as she pulls train cars loaded with toys over a tall mountain.  At the end, she is a hero to the kids on the other side.

I think like this story so much because it is a challenge to me.  At time, my inner mindset is “What if I can’t? What if I hurt myself? Make a fool of myself? What if I fail?”  Then, if repeated often enough, it becomes “I can’t. I’ll fail.” End of story.

This is where friends and coaches come in.  I’m lucky to have several people around me who believe in me. Who challenge me. Who call me on my negativity. Who tell me that THEY think I can.

Enter Coach Alex.  I’ve talked before about injuries I’ve had at the gym.  I do modify movements, keep weights light, and scale in all kinds of ways.  Although it is mostly for safety purposes, there are still times I forget to challenge myself and just basically coast.

One movement that scares me is box jumps.  Body weight movements are just challenging and coordination is not my strong point.  An aggravated Achilles last year was another setback.  I had worked back up to step-ups, often with weight, but Alex got me jumping again.  He prefers jumps to step-overs and step-ups.  I moved from dumbbells, to two plates, up to three.  I was feeling pretty good.

Then one of those friends that challenges me asked me, “So how much higher is it to actually jump on the box?  It can’t be that much higher.”

Which got me thinking.  (Maybe I can?)

She had noticed I was jumping higher and thought that was great, but she isn’t one to let me just rest on my laurels.  The best kind of friend, even though being challenged may not always feel the best.

So between Alex and my friend, I knew the day to try was coming. Today turned out to be that day.  Box jumps in the workout.  As we were getting set up I grabbed the box and, unceremoniously, walked it across the gym to a tucked-away corner (in case I face- planted), set it down, stared at it for a minute and…

remembered what Coach Alex said.  Jump with everything you have.  Feet wider, pump my arms, focus on the box.

Then I remembered my friend, and thought “it isn’t that much higher than what I’ve already conquered.”  (I think I can….gulp).

And I jumped!

And I jumped!

And I jumped! Again and again, 52 times all together.  A few shaky landings and wobbly knees, but NO face plants or scarred shins.  Success.

It doesn’t read as nicely as the children’s story.  There’s not really a happy ending, cheering children, an unlikely hero…for me, there’s only maybe a happy ending to a chapter, then a look at what comes next. (A higher box?)

Thankful for friends and coaches who remind us that we can, when we’ve forgotten what we can accomplish.  Changing our minds can lead to changing our lives, whether in the gym, the classroom, in the living room, or just about anywhere.

perspective

Ch-Ch-Changes: Chick 2’s 2018 Recap Post

2018. A year of change.

Here’s a recap of Chick 2’s year…one with much more change than usual.

Since I mentioned working on my weight a while back, here’s the 2018 tally.

Started a challenge on January 15 at 243.2 pounds.

Final weigh in of the year: 193.6 pounds. Total loss for the year (minus the first couple of weeks, which I gorged myself knowing that diets were on the horizon): 49.6 pounds. I did a series of eating plans, including keto, modified paleo, and now I am working with Stronger U Nutrition. Each has their benefits and drawbacks, but right now I am primarily learning to pay close attention to what I eat and portion sizes. All the changes have helped me grow (and shrink!)

Pics above are February to December. Do you see a difference?

My major life change was moving schools. I worked at my previous school for 5 years. It was a great situation with many beloved co-workers. No school is perfect (since there are humans involved and humans are notoriously messy), but I had a lot of freedom and trust.

Still, for several reasons, the time was right to switch. It would be a better opportunity for my daughter and bring on new challenges for me.  The jury is still out on this life change…it’s been a tougher adjustment for both of us than I had anticipated, but I am still hopeful that it will work out.  (And if it doesn’t, or even if it does, lessons!) Pic below is me getting ready to host the governor’s wife in my library this fall.

My older daughter left the nest to live on her own.  It has been a Proud Mom Moment to see her work hard, scrimp, and come to a new appreciation of life’s challenges and earnings.  She puts in a lot of effort to maintain her independence.  She embraces her strength, uses her smarts, and works at her health.

I’d be leaving out a big part of my life this year if I didn’t mention my fitness family.  I spent a lot of my time this year sweating out stress while smiling at CrossFit Pure.  It was time for a change late in the year, so I’m happy to now call CrossFit Faded Glory my gym home. You’ll definitely hear much more about this amazing place in future posts.

I have worked through some setbacks with injuries, but I still stay as consistent as I can.  I know that my diet is the major part of my weight change, but CrossFit has changed my body shape as well as my confidence level.  It’s a journey I hope to continue.  Deepest thanks to all of my coaches and “classmates” (co-sufferers / co-crazies) who keep me going (in mostly the right direction) each day!

Goal post coming soon.  Until then, thanks to 2018 for all the lessons.  Welcome 2019 and more changes for the better!

fitness and nutrition

Baby Steps and Big Jumps for Chick 2

Is there such a thing as a “traditional” or stereotypical CrossFitter? Maybe there’s an image in your head of what a CrossFit athlete looks like.  Muscular, slender, radiant (or rugged), ripped, youthful. (Hobbling, maybe).  You can tell who they are because they are always Talking About CrossFit.

If there is a stereotypical CrossFitter, I am NOT that.  I am heavier, older, basically an uncoordinated mess on most days. I do talk about CrossFit a lot, but that’s where the resemblance to that image stops.

I have a long road. Everyone starts somewhere, but many of the people at my box have some sort of sport or physical activity in their background. Swimming, gymnastics, dance, and so on. Not me. So I’m not getting back on the horse or the bike or whatever, but riding it for the first time. I’ve described CrossFit as finally getting to know my body after living in it for 45 years.

Between my lack of athletic background and various injuries, my workouts look different than most of the people I am in class with. I have been doing CrossFit regularly for 15 months and still do many / most workouts with some kind of scale and / or adaptation.  Thankfully we have great coaches who know me and help me continue to improve.

Here are some recent milestones that might be unimpressive for some, but were big deals for me.

A couple of weeks ago we had 1000 jump ropes in a single WOD. Five rounds, 200 in each round. Jump ropes are a struggle for me, both in coordination and breath control.  Lifting 200+ pounds off the ground that many times is a lot of physical and mental lifting. I was already preparing myself for failure, asking my coach what to do if I just couldn’t get the rope to cooperate. I had to complete it in in sets of 30 or 40, sometimes even 20.  But, I made it through it. I’ve never done that many in a single workout before! Celebration!

The second big milestone was burpee jumpovers.  Sometimes the workout calls for jumping over a barbell (with plates) or a box.  I always either step over the box or jump over a bar on the flat ground.  But, this time the WOD had dumbbell jump overs.  I was working out by myself and just went over to the little side area of the gym and gave it a try.  Ok, so it’s only like 6 inches off the ground, but it was still another mental and physical challenge.  So tiring! But I did about 50 of them (without falling) which felt like an amazing accomplishment.  (See pic below. Too tired to smile.)

My steps forward may be smaller than most.  There are movements that may take me many years to attempt, much less achieve.  But, I keep showing up and trying to get better each day.  It has given me new confidence. I’m not even afraid of sled pulls anymore! Or embarrassed by doing them in front of people in the parking lot!

I don’t think there’s such a thing as a stereotypical CrossFitter. It can work for anyone, and it’s big for someone like me to say that.  As time goes on, I’ve come to see myself as an athlete after all.

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