Trotting, Thanking, and Turkey-ing

Interrupting my normal blogging schedule this week (oops and last week too) because, well, life is crazy.

Last week we started on replacing all the carpet in the house. Oh. My. Word. That pretty much took all my attention and fired up some OCD. Whew. At least we are in shape to holiday decorate now (after Thanksgiving). Then this week here comes Thanksgiving. Massive cooking.

So last year I skipped the local Tyler Turkey Trot. Then got bummed looking at everyone’s Facebook statuses and pictures. So this year I decided to hop back in. We assembled a team for my CrossFit gym and it will be a lot of fun running with these guys! No expectation of a time, just fun. Dani will be doing her second kid’s race which is also exciting!

This year I have so much to be thankful for. My health, my family, my incredible friends, the opportunities….I could go on and on. This month marks a year since I joined the GymFed family of athletes and coaches, for which I’m very thankful for. Tomorrow as we run, we feast, we work, let’s take a minute to really be thankful. To meditate on the things that God has put in our lives. maybe they weren’t our plan, but His plan, and that’s ok. Maybe unexpected, planned blessings.

Thanksgiving

Thank Him.

Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll! Watch the blog next week for the race recap!-m

 

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Time….would you slow down, because my GIRL IS ALMOST NINE!

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This weekend (Sunday, actually) marks Dani’s ninth birthday. Are you kidding me? Last of the single digit years. It can’t be. But it is!

I lost my own mother back in 1997. Dani would have captured her heart just as she has mine. Now I can understand every emotion I saw my mom go through when I neglected to do what I was supposed to or didn’t come home when I was expected. All out of love. When I first became a parent to this little girl, I couldn’t even dream of the love I have for her. Life changing. She is absolutely the best thing I have ever done with my life. When her dad removed himself from first my life, and then hers, I couldn’t imagine what I was going to do. Many days I questioned, but then I saw her. It wasn’t about living for just me anymore. In the darkest times, she is why I keep going. More than anything she needs to learn that life will knock you down, but you keep standing back up. Keep trusting God. Keep praying.

This kid. More personality packed into one place than should be allowed. Enthusiastic, generous (well except with ice cream), compassionate, and intense. Makes you laugh even when you don’t want to. This year has been a big one for her…. baptized, elected to student council, taking her first year of ballet. I seriously cannot wait to see how God uses her and what is coming next.

Dani, I am so proud of you. I love you very much and we are going to have such a great weekend celebrating you! -m

 

Goal Digger

goal digger

Lately, goal setting has been on my mind. As a coach, I hear a lot of “I wish I could” or “I want to be able to” fill-in-the-blank. My response is usually to ask, “when is the last time you practiced” or “have you been spending time outside of class”? CrossFit is so effective because it’s highly varied, but if you’re focused in on one particular movement you want to nail, you can’t always wait for that one thing to come around in a class. Our focus should be on well rounded-ness, but I get it personally, there’s those particular things that in your mind you say, I’ll really be an athlete when……and I totally understand. One of the things about CrossFit I love (and shake my fist at sometimes) is how there is always another level to shoot for, a new skill, a new layer to add. If you’re goal oriented at all, then this process of building to the next level can drive you crazy.

So here’s a few tips on setting goals, in CrossFit, in running, fitness in general. It’s been said that a goal is just a dream with a deadline…so true. Goals have meaning when they are specific, they have a timeline, and they are reasonable. So let’s elaborate on that.

First, define the goal reasonably. For example, if I’ve never run more than 2 miles, my first race distance shouldn’t be a marathon. Or if I just started CrossFit, the muscle-up goal wouldn’t be realistic if I couldn’t do a pull-up or a ring dip. Sometimes the first goal is just the first step to a bigger goal. That’s ok! Get after it, mark that sucker off the list and hit the next one.

Second, set a timeline. Don’t get scared here. Lots of folks don’t do this part because they don’t want to disappoint themselves. Think of it this way, even if you fall short on the date, if you’ve been putting in the work, you’re way closer to that goal than when you started. Adjust the timeline and keep going.

Lastly, be specific. Use numbers or benchmarks. It’s like saying I want my legs to be stronger versus I want to back squat 200 pounds. This is the part the scientist part of my brain loves, because frankly, I love specifics! (ask my husband) You’ve got to nail out details here with weight, reps, whatever the case may be.

Once you’ve outlined the goal then it’s time to go to work. This is the part that might not be the most fun, but it’s where the magic happens. If you aren’t sure what this work should consist of for the goal you have in mind, consult your CrossFit coach, a trainer, or someone with expertise in that area, say a running coach. Consistent work gives big changes. Sometimes it is surprising what you can do in 5-10 extra minutes a day. Double unders are a great example. A few minutes a day in practice does so much for perfecting that skill. Other goals, like increasing mileage over time, might require more of a time commitment a few days a week. Carve out what’s reasonable, plan it, schedule it into your day.

Alrighty! Now here’s the fun part. What do YOU want to accomplish in the coming months? It’s exciting to think about, right? If you’re scratching your head about how to put together your goals, reach out! I’m here to help you get set up for a successful start to the new year! Dream big! -m

Start today….why right now is the best time to start working towards new fitness goals

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Today is a perfect day for change.

I’ve talked a lot lately about getting ahead of the holiday season typical gains, that now is just as good as January 2016 to start putting steps into action for next years goals. Because it is. Say if you knew on June 1, 2016, all the money you had in a specific jar by that date would be tripled, and you could start putting money in that jar right now….you wouldn’t wait two months to start would you? Of course not. But when it comes to our health and fitness it’s easier to say ah, I’ll start that tomorrow, next week, next month, in the new year. But the benefits work just like that jar. Work put in now, builds your momentum, results come faster.

What that change looks like for you might be different from the person next to you. Depends on current habits, current interests. One of the best tools to help you determine what changes you want to make are to look at some goals. Make em specific, make em about what you want to achieve, not someone else’s yardstick. It’s never too late, never too tough to create real change in you health and wellness. Never! So pick that goal. Maybe it’s a race, maybe it’s a pull-up, maybe its to give your kid a piggyback ride around block without getting winded, all are the same. There are tools, classes, people, exercises that will help you get to any of those destinations. All it takes is a decision from you to start! And if you start now, by Christmas you are that much closer, and you will feel healthier, busted holiday stress, and maybe even drop a few pounds in the process.

I know, I know. Tonight’s post is pretty sunshine and rainbows. Not a lot of specifics. I’ll get to that in the near future. Promise. But for now my point is to inspire you to take a step. Make you realize that now is always the best time to start a new fitness habit or start working towards that goal. Every day the best parts of my day come from watching athletes-moms, dads, old, young, do things only weeks or months ago they couldn’t. Don’t get me wrong, work is put in day after day, but the biggest step was to get out of their cars and into the box for their very first class.

Here’s what I hope you take from this if nothing else. Don’t wait. Start now. -m

Finding focus, plus new stuff to love this Friday 

Happy Friday, folks!

As the holiday season inches closer, (with Halloween tomorrow!) I’ve decided today to share a couple new habits I’ve committed to now in order to keep my routine and focus during the upcoming season of busy-ness. I’ll follow those with a few things I’ve discovered lately that I think you’ll love too…..just for funsies! 

  1. I have consistently struggled with daily quiet time. Scriptures. Prayer. A minute to focus on starting my day in the right direction. I needed a starting place, with the goal to make this commitment even bigger into the new year. First5.org. With an alarm feature this app for my iPhone reminds me to stop and give Him the first five minutes of my day.  
    Screen shot of today’s First5.
     
  2. Schedule everything. Track everything. Workouts. Meal prep. Dish planning. Not just the events and social stuff. I mean every day carving out workout time, reminders to prep dishes for the rest of the week. If you’re scheduling and tracking, you’re less likely to forget things like your workouts or nutrition….or let them slide. Two basic tools I love are good ol iCal that pops up on all my devices and myfitnesspal (myfitnesspal.com) that I can access from anywhere as well. iCal keeps my schedule handy, while myfitnesspal lets me keep an eye on my macronutrient intake. Tracking will become your voice of reason when you’re facing the third holiday party of the week (hello sausage puffs or pumpkin cheesecake). Logging workouts will give you that sense of accomplishment that you’re sticking to plan during this time. Over the years I’ve done this intermittently, but this season I’m all in committed!
  3. Ok….funsies alert! So I mentioned a post or two ago how my love for coffee has become rekindled! While doing the Whole30 this second time around I discovered an awesome recipe for non-dairy creamer which allowed me to once more partake in the magical powers of coffee! So I gave a local brand a whirl at a recent farmers market here in town and instantly fell in love with Porch Culture Coffee. I fully committed as a monthly subscriber and love the fact that I’m supporting local!  
    most delicious beans evah!
  4. Ok, so this last one is sort of a combo of my latest favorite CrossFit accessories! I recently won a giveaway on Instagram by RokFit and took the chance to order one of their t-shirts I’ve had my eye on. Super soft, washed well, lightweight….and features coffee, my most days’ pre workout of choice! Secondly, I’ve been a fan of FitAid for a while for recovery, while being Paleo friendly. Tastes great and makes me feel much better after an exceptionally intense WOD. Last of my favorites in this group would be Progenex Recovery in Peanut Butter Smash. Ah-mazing. One of the best tasting protein shakes I’ve had in a long time! Definitely feel a difference in my recovery as well. When on a Whole30 I take a break from it (some non compliant ingredients) but get back to it afterwards. Great stuff!   
    All my lovelies 🙂
     

Well, hope you picked up a tip or two, or maybe saw something new you’d like to try! As for me, setting the coffee pot up for in the morning, heading out to our box in Lindale for a Halloween fitness party! Don’t forget to start tomorrow with a little fitness, and make it fun! -m

Heavy things.

The key to happiness is lifting heavy things.

I’m currently sitting at over a week post-Festivus. Whew. The competition experience is like no other. Going into it my goal was simply to use this as a measuring stick of where my fitness has arrived. Festivus did not disappoint. As I mentioned before, I entered my very first one two months into my CrossFit journey, coming from a nonexistent athletic background other than running a handful of races for fun, and placing last. Dead last. When after three workouts I realized I sat in 3rd overall, it got real. I have an engine, and this last season of work was just the first tuneup. Unfortunately, the last workout didn’t go as I planned so I ended with a 6th place overall finish out of 19 in my division. Not too shabby. The workouts were as I expected, and it was quite the day. Lots of friends, family, and athletes around. All the other athletes from our gym all did well, with a couple making it into the final workout. Win, win, win. Next time around I’ll be in those finals. I honestly didn’t expect to love the experience as much as I did, while coaching and competing at the same time.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. And most likely will this coming April. And here’s why. To really grow, to see change, we must be tested. Challenge yourself. Crave the test. All the fitness in the world is great, but we can’t forget why we spend the hours in the gym. Using your fitness is what counts. Chasing kids. Climbing stairs. Lifting stuff. whatever the case may be be. But without the fire, with out the test, we miss out on striving for the next level. And I don’t mean always in competition, but in the constant test we call life.

So here’s what I walked away with from this round of competition. I’m better than I was a year ago. I’m better than I was a month ago. No matter if I’m doing in in front of a room full of people or an empty gym between classes, I’m going to lift heavy things as often as I can, row, run, even do burpees. Because it makes me happy. Because it makes me feel amazing. And because it makes me better prepared for life.

IMG_0006During “Dead, Deader, Deadest….”

And on that note…..oh look! Weights! See you guys in a few days! -m

October!

Absolutely favorite month of the year. Perfect weather. Leaves changing. Pumpkin errrthang. Boots. Non melting morning runs. And Scarves!

As fall begins, I’m smack dab in the middle of my second whole30 nutritional reset as part of a gym-wide challenge with GymFed CrossFit. So far, so good. No cheats. That’s pretty huge. My first one was last January and I completed without any non-compliant foods. If you’ve never heard of it, check out whole30.com. One of my favorite things about these challenges is that they get me back into the kitchen. I’ve discovered new recipes every time and how to make my own condiments! Hooray! This time around, while giving up my beloved preworkout concoctions, I rediscovered coffee. Oh coffee. Back in January I didn’t tempt myself because I only love my coffee loaded up with stuff, and that went by the wayside long ago. A friend of mine in our challenge group shared a non dairy, coconut milk based creamer recipe that is incredible and let me caffeinate responsibly once more! I also tried out a local Tyler-based coffee roaster (Porch Culture Coffee Roasters), amazing stuff. I’ve also decided this fall to enter back into a few races and pick back up some distance running. It’s a great time to start for all the upcoming spring races, such as our local FRESH15.  Before tackling that, I’ve entered a local CrossFit competition called Festivus that is held in just a couple of weeks. I’ll be sharing more about that experience later.

Sometimes it’s easier to think of this time of year as approaching the finish line, things winding down. But I say, what better time that now to set goals. Start a plan. Find a rhythmn now before the holiday-you-know-what starts.

Happy fall, ya’ll!

Rocking my socks off…..this year is

I’m so blown away already by 2014.

Ran the FRESH15 at the beginning of the month. First class event! First time to race the 15k distance. Hilly but beautiful course! Can’t wait for next year!

My Dani is reading at an insanely fast pace. I don’t think the budget can handle much more book buying so I forsee more library trips! So proud of her!

Today I registered for my first CrossFit competition coming up in May. I’ve officially been training at Whitehouse CrossFit for over a month now and have fallen in love. Scared to death but my inner competitor is having a dance party inside. Can’t wait! Also….I’m so in love that I’m headed to get my CrossFit Level 1 Trainer certification the first part of April. Boom.

On the 24th I start an Advocare 24 Day Challenge! So pumped about this! A whole group of us are doing it together…there will be so much support within this bunch. Can’t wait to see how this goes! I did the herbal cleanse back in January with some friends and it was amazing!

This weekend will be my first Rock and Roll event. Headed to Dallas to run the half with a buddy. Girls trip! Mileage has been minimal the last few weeks so I’m a bit worried…but nevertheless the Newtons and I are headed out! Look for the recap next week.

So thankful. So excited. So humbled by what I feel is to come. Do me a favor….as you begin or end this day, just say thank you for everything the day has brought. Ups, downs, the sideways stuff. He makes it all beautiful!

H-town 2014: The Land of Firsts

So many setbacks. So many hurdles. So much doubt.

When I initially entered the lottery for the 2014 Chevron Houston Marathon, I figured what were the odds? Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to do it….but I was scared to death to even try. When I got my acceptance email, I freaked! Now I have to train! Long runs?!? After two half marathons I knew what that distance felt like…but this? Repeatedly approaching 20 miles? Oh dear. But I started, I committed. Financially things were a mess with my husbands job and through trying to budget in new shoes, I purchased some on sale Nikes (I’ve been a dedicated Newton runner for well over a year). Then injury hit. Foot pain that wouldn’t allow me to continue. Got over that. Then illness took the kiddo and myself down. Return of the foot pain and I guess my knee didn’t want the foot to suffer alone. Sprinkle in husband away working and lack of childcare. All in all I lost weeks of training…and only peaked at 14 miles in long runs. Stupid shoes. Hubby left to train for new job. I went back and forth between switching to the half or deferring….couldn’t do it. Common sense lost out and pride won. I was gonna go down fighting. After the preparation I had been able to put in, I couldn’t just not try at all.

The taper felt like a blur but I ran as scheduled. Went back to my old Newtons with new insoles as a last ditch effort to make injury stay away. Tape, ice, rest, repeat. Short runs were always accompanied by soreness but relenting enough to keep me crossing them off my calendar. Several of my running friends listened to all my doubts oh so patiently and gave me fantastic advice. I pressed on.

Race weekend arrived! Husband called an audible and was going to be able to make it home for the road trip to Houston with a couple of my running friends! Loaded up and off we went. Got myself KT taped at the expo and stared at my race bib. Dear Lord, what was I thinking!

Pasta lunch at expo attacked each of our foursome at some point in the weekend, tethering the husband to our hotel room when I left for the start corrals with my buddies. Energy was huge, start line was electric. I’m thinking….I’ll be the last one in out of all these runners. They’ll be closing up the start line behind me. Unplugging the time clock. Please just let me finish! Next thing I know, I’m over the line and hit start on the watch. I consciously dial myself back. Don’t go out fast. Pasta begins to talk at mile two, and at mile three I stop at the portalets. Yep, first time to do THAT during a race. But I feel tons better and click away solidly until 13 miles, only distracted by a burning sensation under my right arm which I inspect. Chafing to the point of bleeding. How nice. Undeterred, I continue running….walking through a few water stops and by one of the medical tents for Vaseline on a stick (which I apply to the inside of both arms while running…yes another first!) Feeling good.

Mentally I got scared at the halfway point. Everything after 14 was unknown…never felt this mileage before. Pressed on. Told my brain to shut up. Used my GU. Hydrated. Approached 20. In one moment I felt sure I’d finish then felt as if I’d slammed into…yep, THE WALL. Injured leg never hurt, but I was aware of increasing pain in my left foot. Mile marker 21. Wall dissolves. I pray prayers of thanksgiving, turn up my playlist and press on.

Mile 23 hurts but it’s just a 5k left. Almost done. I walk a few inclines and stride the downhills. Course swings back into the sea of downtown and I begin to sing to my music out loud. I realize I’ll finish. No stopping now. Foot pounds. One last walk break. Holy moly, mile 25. I’m finishing….it’s a blur. At 1/2 mile to go the spectators are lining the course, cheering, looking for their runners. I see my husband walking towards the finish line. He turns and sees me. I break into a smile, feeling my salt mask crack a bit. I obtain visual contact of the finish. My eyes water. I think of my mom. I think of my 200 pound self. I hear my two running buddies call my name. I pump my fist and sprint for the finish. I’m across.

Then there’s the medal…it encourages the tears from my eyes. This moment can never be taken from me. All my life I’ve doubted my mental toughness, argued with God about do I have what it takes to live this life.

And for the last of my firsts in H-town….I can finally say yes.

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At the starting line of 2014……

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2013 was a big one….in terms of change for me. Topped 50 pounds in weight loss. Downsized to a size small in Nike shorts. Left a career in laboratory to become a personal trainer and fitness instructor at XTC Fitness and Sports in Tyler. Changes in husband’s job situation and retirement from the Guard. Endured some substantial financial hardship. Dani is in first grade. Ok, so maybe the size small shorts wouldn’t necessarily be so earth-shattering…

So far I don’t think 2014 will differ one bit. I’ve set huge goals personally and professionally. I’m striving to grow in every way possible. And it’s going to involve change, new territory, new things to learn. I’m taking on new clients at the gym after having great success with my top 5 placing 100 Lives in 100 Days team challenge. Striving to inspire more and more people that they don’t have to settle for life as is, that they can do more, be more, kick meds to the curb, chase their kids! My goal is to do this as much as possible, it’s my heart. It’s what I’ve been called to do. I have the goal of keeping small group training sessions full of people ready to change their lives. But that’s not all….this Sunday, I will achieve one of these goals….the marathon. I’m running the 2014 Houston Marathon. EEK! The training has involved so many hurdles…suffice to say if it can go wrong, it has during the last three months. I’m hoping just to drag my carcass across that finish line. For me, this puts the stamp on my lifestyle change, validates that I’ve really done it, I’m really a runner. Will this be the first of more? I don’t know….ask me Sunday afternoon! I’m also sad to be running without being accompanied by my husband, who is not a runner, but the greatest support system I’ve ever had. Instead I’m carpooling with another new runner friend and his better half (sorry, Kenneth…haha).

I can’t write any of this without being reminded that as big as any goal or achievement is or can be, don’t lose sight of or forget the value in the journey. Appreciate your ability to even work towards a goal even if you don’t succeed or you think you stink! There are those out there that maybe can’t dream of doing what you do or maybe physically just can’t perform the task. How they would relish being slow or allowed a chance at something! At the end of last year, I signed up with a organization called IR4. It matches runners with children and young adults that have some limitation on activity, and runners dedicate their miles to the person they are matched with as a form of support. I have yet to be matched, but already it has given me another sense of urgency and changed my attitude when I don’t want to run. Secondly, I have a friend and fellow trainer whose boyfriend of 8 years is currently in ICU with serious complications from the flu. Oh how they both would give for him to jog around the block right now! I pray every time they cross my mind for his healing and recovery. Don’t forget the people put into your life along the way either. I have been blessed with coworkers, clients, and new friends that remind me what it is to love each other more just as Jesus calls us to.

My list of goals is lengthy and industrious….so I refrain from listing them all right now….but I’m getting ready for change. Can’t wait to see what the year holds. So thankful.