Hello again, its been a while.
I apologize for not posting lately. It has been a fairly busy summer and a lot has happened. Instead of recounting it all suffice it to say that all is well. There may have been a few days where my thankfulness was not as apparent, that I should have focused more on the best than the worst that occupied my life. There were even some days I forgot to look for the bright spots entirely. But those days were few and far between.
Today, I am awash with gratitude. So we are going to focus on today.
This past weekend, I competed in the Summer Fitness Throwdown. This was the first CrossFit competition to come up since I joined Cantina CrossFit, and several of the women I work out with regularly and I decided to form a team and compete. None of us are at a competitive level, but our coaches encouraged every member of the box, telling us that we should not be afraid to compete, that if we can do the WODs there, we can compete in a larger arena.
I have never really been an “athlete.” For some reason, marching band doesn’t really count. (I was the rifle captain, we did some pretty athletic stuff during those shows!) So this was really the first time I was in this type of situation. Intimidating competitors, high intensity atmosphere, and cheering, screaming, groaning onlookers. It was overwhelming. I was terrified. I wanted to either throw up (which would have been acceptable) or run away (which would not have been as acceptable.) I ended up settling for going to the bathroom six times before our first heat started.
The morning competition – sprints, walking lunges, and push presses – was harder than I thought it would be. I started to get scared that I was going to pass out mid-lunge and embarrass my team. But I didn’t, and we got through the heat and managed to finish two full rounds before time ended. After that, I began to really have fun. We could do this. I could do this! We cheered on the other two teams from our box, and watched athletes of ridiculous ability go out and do their thing. It was amazing.
In life, there are some moments that take your breath away and leave you feeling humbled and powerful all at once. This was one of those moments.
By the end of the second round of competition, I was on a high like I had never felt before. I felt strong. Even knowing that there were dozens of people stronger than me competing, I felt like the strongest woman on the planet in that moment.
We spent two days at the Throwdown. Competing and talking, and cheering on our teams. The atmosphere was charged with a current run from the electricity of all the cross-fitters that came out to rally around their “Sport of Fitness.” After the second day of competition, when things were winding down, and the athletes were beginning to file out, it hit me… the overwhelming sense of thankfulness that I held. For the women on my team, for the coaches that encouraged us, and for the athletes that cheered us, from Cantina as well as from other boxes. I am so blessed to have this in my life. It reminds me that I am amazing, even as I seek to become a better me.
This week has been particularly rewarding for me. I checked off lots of items on my work list of things to do. I made hummus from scratch, out of cashews (shut up, what?). And I hit several personal records for fitness. I also played with my sweet puppies, made a delicious chicken and roast vegetable bake for dinner on Wednesday, and broke out the Spring dresses for the first time this year. Add to that the fact that my Scentsy order came in and my whole life is smelling like a rose. Well, at the moment its smelling like Two Harbors, and that is even better! I even spent some quality time in my hoop.
How about that recipe for cashew hummus? Got if from the guys at Cantina Crossfit. For those of you who need to know how its made, here is the recipe. Get a pencil an paper, this is complicated.
Cashew Nut Hummus
1/3 cup cashews
1 tbs olive oil
3 garlic cloves
3 tbs lemon juice
Dash salt and pepper
Blend into a smooth paste. Eat
Did you get all that? Complex and overwhelming, right? Here is my only bit of advice, chop the nuts first. I had relatively chunky hummus because my little magic bullet wasn’t quite up to the job. Other than that, this was amazingly delicious! Need the picture? I didn’t take one of mine, you can thank me for that. It sort of looked like chunky peanut butter gone horribly awry. Here is one that looks appetizing.
As for those personal records in fitness, I ran my first uninterrupted mile and a half, and hit new weights for both the push press and the squat press. I finished my mile and a half in 16:41, not exactly Olympic speed, but pretty darn good for someone that swore off running in the third grade, just on principle. And my squat and push press went from 65lbs and 45 lb, to 75lbs and 55lbs respectively. I am constantly amazed at how much I am enjoying this CrossFit adventure. I keep trying to figure out how to explain it but I think one of my coaches said it pretty well the other day. A CrossFit box truly is a “No Judgement Zone.” You can be the strongest person there, you can be the newest person there, you can be the one with the most limitations, and everyone looks at you and sees “athlete.” No matter your fitness level, or how long you have been training, or what brought you in the door, they see an athlete, and more importantly they see a member of their team. When you walk into my box at Cantina CrossFit, you will be welcomed by everyone. You will get one-on-one training. You will have other athletes cheering for you and celebrating you and your successes. When was the last time you went to the gym and they talked with you about nutrition, hydration, stretching, warming up, resting, or heck, anything at all. So there you go, hot off the heels of a hellacious WOD, and still singing the praises of CrossFit. You have GOT to give this a try.
I also had the best time with my furry little babies this week. My Duke is now only slightly smaller than a horse. My Saki is starting to fight for her food, meaning the little dude is hoovering everything in sight. He has also reached a “jumping-at-Momma-and-trying-to-drag-her-to-the-floor” phase. He is slowly learning what “Go lay down!” means. Although he is still very fuzzy on “Stop jumping on me!” We are working on it. Saki continues to tempt my patience by finding the nearest patch of dirt to roll in, as soon as she seems dry, directly after her bath. You can see the results of her skill here. This was taken 6 hours after bath time.
And, of course, my sweet little Nikki angel (demon) is still waging a one-cat-war on the dogs that have infiltrated her home. She gets remarkably close to each of them and then spits and hisses and runs away. She does not slap at them. They are both much bigger than she is. Last night she got nose to nose with Duke and was sniffing at him in an almost friendly manner, until he made a sudden movement. Then she bolted halfway across the room. Its progress though. All three of the furry kids got new toys this week, although Saki has already eaten a hole in hers and she and Duke have both had their toys taken away. It is a difficult concept to teach a dog, that they have been grounded from their toys. Mostly because they can easily replace their toys with, say, Mommy’s Lululemon yoga shorts….
The sweetest smelling part of the week, no doubt, was the delivery of my Scentsy haul. I agonized over these scents for what was an unseemly amount of time. If you have never tried Scentsy, you do not know what you are missing. This is a hundred times better than anything you can get in the stores. The fragrances are fabulous and they last for ages! Its almost annoying, because you really want to try a million difference scents and the ones you have are still in your collection. This is one of the new ones that I got last night and it is amazing! Two Harbors is a lemon-lime with a vanilla amber twist. But what it really is, is a mixture of joy and gelato, with a touch of that awesome sherbet punch that your favorite aunt makes, but only on special occasions. Needless to say, my house smells like heaven!
So there you have it. All the wonders of a pretty happy week. A ton of tiny blessings and, best of all, the ability to recognize them and rejoice.
Happy Easter and Happy Passover to everyone!
I love weekends. Today I slept until 7:30! It was a great feeling until I actually tried to get out of bed. It was then I realized that every muscle in my body had banded together to stage a sit in. Holy crossfit, Batman! It hurt to even think about moving! It took me three tries to get rolled over to where I could get out of the bed. Then two more tries to stand up. The swear the cat was laughing at me. (Of course she is usually laughing at me, but a little less obviously.) Geez I hurt. Its awesome!
Ok, so… No I am not crazy. I really hate being incapable of rapid movement, but I really love what got me here. Being able to actually complete one of these beastly workouts gives me a great feeling of accomplishment and power. So, bring on the aches and pains, those are temporary. The feeling of confidence and achievement sticks around a lot longer.
Today, Ed and I took the pups for a walk around the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day and nice to be out with the furry kids. Saki is really doing well, responding to commands and not barking at people or animals. Duke, on the other hand, was a wriggling pile of legs and ears, trying to run in eight directions at once. The King had quite a workout of his own, trying to get our little chocolate lab to stay calm, slow down, and listen. Which is why I walked Saki. I already had a killer workout this weekend.
It was nice, though. A pretty blue sky, warm enough for just a sweatshirt, and being out of the house and doing something together. Ed and I spend a lot of time near each other, but that doesn’t always translate into doing things together. Every chance we get to be active, and truly enjoy doing something with each other, together, is a gift. One I am always happy to receive.
After walking the dogs, we went out to Menchies for Ed’s first frozen yogurt experience. He seemed to really enjoy it too. I guess cheesecake yogurt with cheesecake bites are good enough to overlook the whole “healthy for you” stigma of the yogurt itself. I was sort of hoping that would be the case, but you never know.
Now that we had our (varying degrees of ) healthy snacks, we headed home. Ed to blast through bad guys on Xbox, me to read all about perception and the way our senses work to create our interpretation of the world around us. I will leave it to you to decide which is more exciting. I had a little time before heading to hot yoga -a new Sunday necessity- so I started reading a book I had waiting on the Kindle. I have not had a lot of opportunity to get to some of the books in my “to be read” pile, so getting in a few pages was a nice bonus. And, in case you are interested, the book I am reading is “Switch-How to Change Things When Change is Hard.” It is a good read so far and was recommended by one of my fitness coaches, so I am looking forward to finishing it.
I was happy to get to hot yoga, and the heat and the stretching relaxed all those muscles who were still staging their protest. After an hour in the hot room, I was able to move much better! A nice way to end the weekend. And a great way to start the new week. All in all, a rewarding couple of days.
What a crazy day today has been! I woke up this morning really wanting to stay in bed. In my nice warm blankets with my cuddly little sleepy cat. I mean I really wanted to stay in bed. Really badly. I have been tired all week long, in bed no later than 9:30 every night, and can’t find any energy. So today, I just wanted to sleep.
Oh, but it’s crossfit day. Now I really don’t want to get up! But up I get, feed the dogs and make my breakfast shake, (protein, oatmeal, almond milk, banana, almond extract and frozen cherries.) It was really good, but I probably won’t make it again for a pre-workout shake. I think the cherries were too much.
I pulled up today’s workout, and thought again about going back to bed. “There’s no way I have the energy for this!” was all I kept thinking.
Technically, I just barely had the energy. I even managed not to throw up! (definitely no cherries next time.) Which for a while there was not a certainty. And it was awful, and exhausting, and empowering, and wonderful! Which is why I keep letting these guys torture…. er, I mean train me every week. Because no matter how shaking I am when I walk (or crawl, or roll) out of Cantina Crossfit, I am stronger than I was when I went in. Talk about your motivation.
It usually takes me about two hours to settle down from my endorphin rush from working out. Drives Ed crazy. He keeps telling me to take a lap around the block. So after lunch I played with the pups for a while, did a little reading, and then got ready for our evening.
Tonight the King and I went to a baby shower/pamper party for our friends Matt and Krystal. They are having their first child, a little boy, next month. Matt and Krystal are an adorable couple and they are so good together! Their little Avery is going to grow up in a house full of love and laughter. It was a great evening with lots of our friends, Ed and I even won the Baby Shower Bingo. Although, why the women get candles and the men get miniatures of liquor is beyond me.
So now I am cuddled with the pups and watching King Edward destroy the enemy on Black Ops. Tomorrow is another day to do some cleaning, and some school work. Today was perfect just the way it was. The opportunity to push my limits and the opportunity to be surrounded by friends…Yeah, that’s a good day.
Okay, I know, “Where have you been?” The truth is, I have been overwhelmed and overloaded for the last ten days. Between work, and school, and home, and family, and friends, and health commitments, I have not had a lot of time to sit down and blog. But I missed you guys, and I missed sharing with you, so let’s get caught up.
Since we last spoke, I have been to two sculpt and strength classes, spent 4 hour hooping, one yogalates class, three sessions at the gym, and session of kick-your-butt crossfit. I have also been trying those ViSalus shakes and I have to admit they are really good. I have tried about four different recipes with everything from chia and oatmeal to pistachio and cocoa. All came out really delicious! Even the King seems to like them. Considering he despises anything that would be considered healthy, that is pretty amazing.
Over the last ten days, I have also spent about 19 hours on school work and another hour and a half on psychology research studies. As we get further into the semester, the assignments are getting tougher, and more interesting. I think three classes may be more than I should have grabbed this semester, but at the same time, I think I am glad I took all three.
Along with all of my responsibilities this week, I have had some really great moments. I was shocked to discover that several people actually recognized me from my speech at the Biggest Loser kickoff. I spent several hours of time yelling at and snuggling with my dogs and my kitty. My friend Cindy got her hula hoop and is digging it, which is so gratifying, because I love to see people pick up the hoop for the first time an find a little joy with it.
We also celebrated some pretty impressive milestones around here. On February 12, my Moms and Daddy celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary. A pretty impressive number. They have truly been wonderful role models and I am fortunate to have such a great example of what it takes to make love work. And just yesterday, King Edward and I celebrated our 4th anniversary, which we both agree is absolutely shocking and highly unlikely.
So, there, I think we are all caught up again. I am hoping for a good weekend of crossfit, hot yoga, friends, furry kids, and a little rest. I know that no matter what else it may contain the next few days will hold lots of laughter. What else could you possibly want out of life?
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go hit the books
I got to stay home today! I didn’t get to sleep in and I spent most of the day doing homework, but I got to stay home, and that is awesome!
I decided to take a vacation day thinking that Ed would get a day off as well, but he ended up having to go into work, so I got the whole day to myself. I worked on finishing up my reading for ECON, got a jumpstart on HIST and PSY and generally immersed myself in my academic life. I also played with the dogs, did a few loads of laundry, and watched about four episodes of Supernatural. (Jensen Ackles makes me smile. A lot.) I was so happy that I had gotten so much homework done that I took an hour and a half and went to go meet my friend Cathy for Jazzercize.
I know what you are thinking. Jazzercize?
But it really wasn’t like that. No leotards, no legwarmers, and no braided headbands taming Olivia Newton John hairdos. They didn’t even play Let’s Get Physical! The new look of Jazzercize is way more modern and actually kicked my butt pretty good. We did stretching, low impact, high impact, worked with hand weights, even did a little Gangnam Style. It was a blast! I am not sure I would do it every week, but I will definitely go back again. It was just plain fun, and a great workout.
I love trying new things, and I appreciate it so much that I have friends like Cathy to point me in new directions and help me find new experiences. Not just in fitness, but in every aspect of life, the opportunity to share new things with good friends is something to cherish.
All in all a really wonderful day off.