Blogiversary and A New Year

A year ago I sat down to write my first blog post, inspired by the quote ‘you only have one life to do everything you’ve ever wanted, act accordingly’. I didn’t expect many people to read this blog, but I found myself overflowing with the emotions that accompany a life changing stage and I needed to get them out. I had spent years reading blogs, from travel blogs to ‘mom’ blogs’ to healthy living blogs. The longest relationship I’ve ever had is with a blog whose author ‘got me’ during my emotionally depressed late teens/early 20s and helped me grow into a happy, strong, opinionated woman 10 years later. I felt that if my blog could inspire just one person, then it would be worth the time of blogging.

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And it has, a thousand times over. I never expected to get the response I have had to my blog. From people I haven’t talked to in 5-10 years messaging me thanking me for my blog, to random strangers in the blogging community treating me like a friend, to people close in my life who are stuck listening to me everyday still taking the time to read my thoughts.

I’m currently sitting on a plane, with 3 hours down and 5 hours left in my travel, typing away on my iPhone to once again try to get some thoughts out of my buzzing head. New Years is often a time that people think about what they should have done in the past year and resolve to ‘do better’. But, for the first time in a long time, I don’t have any disappointment in myself for things I should have done.

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I had a great year.

And that’s not due to luck or circumstance, it’s because I actively took control of my life and chose to make it that way. I broke free of the mold that had become my life. I resolved to not just smile everyday, but to laugh multiple times a day. I had more patience, not just with others but with myself. I accepted the fact that I am not perfect and that it is okay to try things and fail. I didn’t allow myself to settle in relationships, both friend and romantic, that were ‘comfortable’ but not fulfilling. I made note of the people in my life, near and far, who inspire me and I let them know how much they mean to me. I challenged myself. I appreciated my life and reminded myself of everything I have, even in moments when it was hard to see beyond the immediate distress. I fell in love, both with myself and with an amazing man who helps me squeeze the most out of life.

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Life doesn’t just ‘happen’. As the saying goes, crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Break free from the ‘one days’, the ‘I should’s ‘ instead of the ‘I am’s’, the ‘maybe tomorrow’s’.

This year my resolution is to once again be an active participant in my life. To continue to push myself outside of my comfort zone in order to grow. To love more, worry less. To keep being overjoyed with my life.

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And I hope you will all continue to follow me on this wild ride called life, while also enjoying the adventure of creating your own happiness. Happy New Year to all my readers and thank you for sticking with me.

What will you do to make this year memorable?
What is one of your ‘maybe one day’s?

Yes, I’m Alive!

Does anyone else ever wonder if something horrible has happened to a blogger if they don’t write for a long time? Is that just me? Well, I can assure you that I am A-okay, if not a bit too full from Christmas cookies and a bit sore from this mornings WOD. After my finals were over I had 4 days before I took off to go home for the holidays. Although some of those days were in the negatives, I tried to take full advantage of my freedom by getting to the mountains for some snowboarding.  The first day was amazing, perfect blue skies, warm and I ended up sounding like a little kid just repeating “again, again, again” until  it was time to go home.

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The second time it was very cold, snowing and I wanted nothing more than to get off the mountain. In that hurry, we ended up heading down a black diamond.  I pretty much road the brakes the whole time while yelling at my boyfriend for leading me down here (sorry babe). I did get a nice cuddle buddy for the ride home, though, which gave it a happy ending.

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Then I came home to the east coast for the holidays. I spent three days at CrossFit City Line (box review here) and definitely enjoyed myself. They had a “12 Days of Crossmas” WOD, which kicked my ass. I was inspired, however, to write a “Twas the Night Before Crossmas” rendition, for all you CrossFit nerds out there (there have to be more like me…).  I plan on checking out the Reebok sponsored Reebok CrossFit Back Bay tomorrow to see how fancy schmancy that one is.

Christmas morning started with a very cold 4 mile run. My hands froze after the first 10 minutes and I had to run awkwardly with them balled up under my armpits.

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Santa was very nice with some cross fit themed shirts this year. Does anyone else LOVE the themed shirts? They just make me chuckle.

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I also got some help opening presents from my lovely pup. That present happened to be for him, which is why he was so excited for me to open it.

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How were your holidays? Were you able to get any workouts in or did you simply relax? What was your favorite present?

Box Review: CrossFit City Line

Hidden away alongside the Charles River on the border of Watertown and Newton, Massachusetts is CrossFit City Line.  They were gracious enough to host me for three days this past holiday season and, without a doubt, I say they are the best box I have been to besides my precious home box which I am incredibly spoiled with. I’m back home for the holiday week and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t just sit around eating christmas cookies and watching Love Actually for a full week straight. So before I came I looked up boxes in my parents’ area and emailed around asking if I could join. CrossFit City Line made it easiest for me to attend, so I started off there. The plan was to try a different one every day, but I enjoyed CF City Line so much I just came back three times. Why so good? Well, I’ll tell ya.

First, the facility was the nicest of the ones I have visited while traveling. It had high ceilings (a must for me) a big open floor plan, with a separate area for stretching, enough space to not feel crowded and a good sound system with a variety of music from rock, to dance to hip hop. They also had all the equipment, full range of wall balls, kettle bells, rowers, and even the spiky foam roller that I have a love hate relationship with.

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The facility included large separate changing rooms as well, with showers.

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Second, and most importantly, they had GOOD COACHING. CF St. Paul, the last box I reviewed, lacked on the coaching but CF City Line nailed it. My first day there the strength/skill portion of the WOD was back squats. Mat, who was my coach each time, pulled everyone aside who had not been cross fitting for more than 6 months to go over their movement pattern for the squat. If you look at his profile on their website you’ll see he has a million certifications and it shows in how attentive he is to form and how well he gives instructions on how to improve. For each WOD I went to, the people who hadn’t been there for 6 months or more got special instructions to ensure they were learning how to move properly. I think this is the most important part of a good box, and CF City Line has it.

Third, everyone there was very friendly and this is saying a lot for New Englanders (I grew up here, I can say that). In my personal experience of living here and moving to LA and then CO, Boston is not the most friendly of cities. But everyone at this Box was nice, several introduced themselves just because they hadn’t seen me before. Everyone was talking before-hand and I got the real sense that it was a community.

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Fourth, the coaches were encouraging. On Christmas Eve we had a “12 days of CrossMas” (done like the song, Day 1, then Day 2 and Day 1, then Day 3, Day 2 and Day 1 etc) workout, with kicked everyones butt. Throughout the whole workout the coaches were walking around, encouraging people by name and keeping them motivated. Also (back to the coaching), Mat came over and no repped me on my 7 wall balls during the countdown from day 10  and made me do them again because I wasn’t getting low enough. As annoying as that may be in the moment, it is what will help you get better.

Image Lastly, a small element that I liked – they had individual small white boards and markers so you could write down today’s WOD, or whatever your modified version is if you are new, and bring it over to your area. For people like myself who need contacts but often forget to put them in, it was nice having the workout right there in front of me. Especially for one as complicated as the 12 days one.

If you are ever in the greater Boston area near Watertown/Newton – stop by CrossFit City Line. If you live in the area, this should definitely be your box. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

First day on the slopes!

Today someone found my blog by Googling “fattie meatloaf”. To that person – I applaud you.. Hope my Bacon Meatloaf helped make your day that much better.

Sunday was my first day up on the slopes this year! When I moved to CO I had wanted to get really good at snowboarding. I went twice my first year and three-four times my second. Turns out, you have to actually practice something regularly to get good at it. Fancy that. A month ago I went to this ski/snowboard movie with some friends and was totally inspired. Not that I ever have any plans of jumping out of helicopters to fly down a mountain, but being able to get off the easy greens would be nice. So, I decided to get my ass in gear and get up on that mountain early in the season so I can really make some progress this year.

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My amazing friend has come with me the past couple times I went to help teach me, since she rocks the mountain and makes it look easy. She is super patient and encouraging, yelling out “Yah Fiona, you go it!” super loud and drawing attention so that people zooming by me began to comment “you got i!” and “making progress”.  I’m getting better at connecting my turns and not making it so I have to go super wide, but I still am petrified every time I start picking up speed and throw on the brakes. I’ve been told it’s like riding a bike and it’s actually easier once you have some speed, but I still just picture myself rolling down the mountain and breaking my face every time I get going. Anyone have any tips for getting over that?

We were there for about 4 hours, but then it started to get dark, icy and cold, so we decided to call it a day. I love driving through the mountains at night, nice and warm in the car staring at the dark snow covered trees. It was the perfect way to close out the weekend and, hopefully, just the start of many days up in the mountains this winter.

Powered by Bacon Meatloaf – Paleo Recipe

I eat a lot of bacon. Real bacon, not the stringy little packaged kind. The thick cut, meaty, smokey delicious kind. So much so that the guy at the meat counter recognizes  me as the bacon girl. On Monday night I order 2 lbs of it. I came back in on Wednesday to grab some chicken and he asked if I was back for more bacon. I jokingly told me I still had a 1/2 lb left and he believed me. I’ve probably eaten that much in 48 hours before.  I used to shun bacon like the evil fatty devil I thought it was, so I think I’m just making up for 26 years of deprivation. 

Last week I was growing PaleoOmg for now recipes and stumbled across a bacon meatloaf recipe. I started salivating like Pavlov’s dog and I knew I had to make it right away. I spent an hour I had between classes getting the ingredients and prepping it so all I had to do when I got home was pop it in the oven. I give to you Paleo Bacon Meatlof. I literally forgot to take a picture after it was cooked because I was too excited to try it, so you are stuck with the precooked version. Imagine that just crispier. If you’re a vegetarian/vegan (Hi Liz) I am not quite sure why you click on a link called Bacon Meatloaf, but you might want to stop here. 

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Precooked Heaven in a Pan

There is both a meatloaf and a delicious sauce to cover the meatloaf with. Here are both ingredients:
 
For the Meatloaf:
  • 2-2.5 lb grass fed ground beef
  • 1 cup almond meal/flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 11 sliced uncured bacon, 2 sliced cooked and diced
For the  Sauce:
  • 1 (6oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 onion, minced
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup water or broth
  • 2 tablespoons apple butter (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard (no sugar added)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • pinch or two of ground cloves
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • splash of hot sauce, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Dice up your 2 pieces of bacon and throw in a frying pan to cook up for about 5-7 minutes.
  3. While the bacon is cooking, mix together all other ingredients (except for your 9 slices of bacon) in a large bowl. Once your 2 pieces of bacon are done cooking, add them to the bowl and fully incorporate into the mix.
  4. If you are me, now layer the remaining bacon and meat mixture in a meatloaf/bread pan so that you have meat/bacon/meat/bacon. Or, just do it the way Paleoomg says and put the bacon on top. But that is less fun. 
  5. Cook for 45 minutes.

NOW, onto the sauce.

  1. Brown onions in frying pan with some form of fat (olive or coconut or bacon grease)
  2. Add the garlic and stir together to cook a bit more.
  3. Add all other ingredients and mix together, then let simmer for 10-15 minutes (or longer if you have time-I usually want to eat as quick as possible).
  4. Now sit around and wait hungrily for the meat loaf to be done so you can pour the sauce on top and get to nomming.

 

Do you like Bacon?

What are your favorite ways to eat bacon?

 

 

 

BOX REVIEW: CrossFit St. Paul

At CrossFit St. Paul if you ask “am I doing this right?” you will get a reply of “you betcha!”. There is not “about 2 minutes left” there is “aboot 2 minutes left”, and you will most likely have some men who look like lumber jacks cleaning 285 like it’s light weight. Since I’m currently in St. Paul for the weekend, and didn’t wanna miss out on the last weekend before my Oly Comp, I decided to drop in for a WOD. The coach was friendly and welcoming when I said I was a drop in, having me quickly sign a waiver and jump in without having to pay first.  The gym is affiliated with two other gyms in Minnesota, CrossFit Minneapolis and CrossFit St. Louis Park. They all have the same WODS every day and (I think) have events together. I got a CF St. Paul shirt with a female, overhead squatting and it says “Strong”. I’m a fan.

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The box itself was a lot smaller than what I was used to, and currently under renovation, but had everything I could need from rings to kettle bells to bands to slam balls to the obvious barbells.

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The workout started with a bear complex (clean, front squat, shoulder press, back squat, jerk, all in a row, then repeat that 7 times). It was followed by 5 rounds of power clean –> 2 hand cleans –> 2 jerks. I did these with 105-110lbs. They felt relatively light, which made me hopeful of reaching 120lbs this  Saturday at the Oly Competition. We followed that with a 10 minute EMOM (every minute, on the minute) of a back squat at 90%. I am not good at squatting, so my squat was only 135lbs. The CrossFit St. Paul coach was very amused that it was only 15 lbs heavier than my clean. I don’t get it either, lumberjack Coach!

 

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There happened to be an open gym afterwards, so I stayed around. My coach from Colorado had sent me a WOD to do, with some snatches, overhead squats, kettle bell swings and burpees. It reminded me how Sanitas WODS always seem more to involve more cardio than any other CF Box I have been to. I was winded after and ready for some brunch.

There were a lot of people who showed up for the open gym. A lot of people with the “ATHLETE” shirts on, signifying their participation in the games. Seeing as how CrossFit St. Paul got an award for most involved (or something along those lines, can’t remember exactly) from last year’s games, I thought that made pretty good sense. Overall, it was a friendly atmosphere, smaller but with sufficient space to move around, a nice coach (might have benefited from a little more in motion instruction), mixed clientele and good hours. AND  they played my current favorite song. So that gained them some points. In case you haven’t heard it, it’s below. Hope you are all having a great Sunday!

 

A Week of PR’s

Well hello there! Sorry it’s been a while, it’s not you, it’s me. I’ve been ridiculously busy at school, work and in general  kicking ass and taking names. I know, I know.. I’m been cocky but I feel I’m allowed to brag a little since this week I got four PRs in Cleans, Jerks, Front Squats and Back Squats. I’ve had a couple people ask me if I am still doing the Oly Comp and all I can say is hell yeah, I am! It’s less than two weeks away and I am slightly terrified, but I signed up to push myself outside of my comfort zone and get a foot in the Oly Lifting Door, so here I am. I’m not expecting to do anything crazy as far as heavy weight goes, but I do feel like for me it’s finally all starting to come together. My squats are getting lower, my hips are thrusting faster (haha) and I’m getting my elbows up in record time (for me).

This past week I took advantage of the open gym at my CrossFit box and went in for two separate workouts on Sunday. The first one was just Cleans, trying to actually find my one rep max, front squats and presses. The previous time I did this I was at 103. That was one month ago. On Sunday I got 115 and was so close to 120! I came in later that day to attempt 120 again because I couldn’t get it out of my mind, but still couldn’t quite get it. I stepped away, did a WOD to take my frustration out and know that in a little bit more time that 120lb clean will be mine.

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I also PR’d with Front Squats with 105 (Yes I know its weird I can clean more than I front squat, that’s my main problem), finally was able to squat my body weight (140), which has been like a 7 month goal and this morning I got a 120lb Jerk. Now if I can just bring my clean up to 120, I will be all set for the comp!

I’m also going to take the plunge and invest in some real Oly Lifting shoes. My CF Coach had me try front squatting with 5 lb plates under my heels and it made a world of difference. I will definitely still work on stretching out my hammies so I don’t need that extra boost that the shoes provide, but until then I think the shoes will definitely help me and I’m looking for any help I can get before the comp.

Now, question for you. Up to this point, all my shoes are pink. I’m not quite sure how that happened, because I don’t own any pink clothing outside of gym items. Should I keep in the pink trend with my lifting shoes, or go for the black and whites?

Pink

black

CrossFit Potluck, Nanos 3.0 and Nipples

Disclaimer: you won’t be seeing any real nipples. It’s not that kind of blog. However, you may think twice about choosing the pink Nano 3.0s. The first day I wore them I got told they remind people of (a) pepto bismol, (b) the easter bunny or (c) nipples.  When I got the nipple comment I immediately got a flashback to a delicious cake I made for a Mardi Gras Party two years ago.

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Now you can tell me, do these shoes remind you at all of nipples? Or have I just been traumatized now so that every time I look at them that’s what I see?

Besides the color, I love the Nano 3.0 for CrossFit. I had been lifting in my Adidas Adizero (my favorite short distance running shoes), that are very minimalist. I didn’t realize that when you are Oly Lifting you benefit from having a heel in the shoe, who knew?! The Nano’s have a slight heel to toe drop (4mm), plenty of forefoot cushioning that make it easy to transition from Oly lifts to box jumps to attempting and failing to jump rope (like me) to short sprints. They are pretty heavy, compared to my Adizero’s, so I wouldn’t recommend them for anything over 1/4 mile run, but they are perfect for your typical cross fit workout and definitely help with the Oly Lifts.

Last Friday my CrossFit gym had a Paleo Potluck to celebrate people who had signed up for a Whole 30 challenge.  I was not one of those people, but I went anyway since it was Halloween themed and I wanted to see everyone in costumes. I dressed up as a cavewoman, which I thought was pretty CrossFit/Paleo appropriate.

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Our coaches all competed in a WOD, in costumes, which was pretty entertaining. Not a bad looking group..

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Photo Stolen from Danit

The food was also amazing. I made pecan stuffed dates wrapped in proscuitto and baked. Super easy, super delicious.

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There were so many delicious foods I can’t wait to try out, especially the deserts. Bacon Date Cookies anyone?

It was a lot of fun to be able to meet people outside of your normal weekly WODS, who all share in your interest and love of CrossFIt.

How was your weekend? Do anything to get in the Halloween Spirit?

Denver Rock N Roll Mini Marathon

Five weeks ago my work sent around an email saying they would pay for anyone to enter the Rock n Roll 1/2 marathon or Mini Marathon. Five weeks wasn’t quite long enough for most of us to train for a 1/2, but a good number of us signed up for the Mini Marathon, a whopping 3.75 miles 🙂

The 1/2, Full Marathon and Mini Marathon all started at the same time and I have only one word for this race: CROWDED.  Let’s start with the bathroom lines. This picture was taken as the horn went off for the people in corral 1 to start running. I had already been waiting FIFTEEN MINUTES.  Yes, you are right that you can’t even see the port-a-potties because the line curves around and continues another 10 people or so. Oof.

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I somehow had been placed in corral 13, but snuck into corral 7 near the front. The first 1/2 mile wasn’t too bad, but then it started bottle necking. I went up on the sidewalk and ran there for a bit and, while looking around to see where I could squeeze back into the pack and then nearly flipped over a wall/bridge barrier that seemed to come out of nowhere in front of me. I stuck to the road after that. This race also had some of the worst race etiquette I have ever seen, with people stopping to tie their shoes in the middle of the road instead of moving to the edge. I was very glad when the mini marathon broke off from the 1/2 and Full, because I could not imagine running a full 1/2 like that.

I didn’t go out there trying to PR anything, especially with such a random distance, but I wasn’t too disapointed with my times. Definitely would have been nicer to have a bit more free space and less running into people.

Image We were rewarded with delicious Michelob Ultra’s at 8am. Because that’s exactly what you want at 8am, right?

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Overall, it was a great way to start my sunday morning with some people I like hanging out with ( I’m pretty lucky to have some awesome coworkers). I think doing a physical activity together is a great way to bond with people. I also love the fact that my company was encouraging people to be active and fit. My kinda place!

Do you like being active with friends?

Has your work ever sponsored some type of race/physical activity?

10 Things Lifting and CrossFit Taught Me About Myself

Edit:  I am shocked no one has pointed out this is actually 11 things and I messed up the numbering. I just noticed it and my Type A-ness is going crazy, so I had to put in a disclaimer: I can’t count. 

3 1/2 years ago I stumbled across a blog while looking for new vegetarian/vegan recipes.Throughout the years I kept reading as the blogger eventually admitted her vegan/vegetarian lifestyle had been hiding an eating disorder (I could relate), added meat to her diet, and started CrossFitting.

The blogger, Katelyn, published this vlog a little over a year ago. I remember watching her start to cry as she talked about how one day she wanted to compete in the CrossFit Games. I remember thinking “why the heck is she so emotional about lifting weights”? Coming from LA, my only association with females lifting was girls doing light leg press getting ready for bikini or figure contests, which was not something I had any interest in doing. Her emotion sparked a curiosity in me and I had to figure out what had driven my internet sister-from-another-mister to cry from happiness.

After 10 months of lifting on my own and recently joining CrossFit, I understand.  As psychotic as it may make me/her seem, I have definitely got teary eyed before thinking about how much it has changed my outlook on life. Neither running nor swimming have ignited the passion and confidence that lifting has. It’s an emotional process to turn insecurities into self empowerment.

So here are the 10 things I have learned since I started lifting and crossfitting.

1. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

My whole life I have had a fear of failure. I figured if I stayed on the side lines and never stuck my neck out to try something that I knew would be difficult, then I would never really fail. I figured not trying was better than failure. Boy, was I wrong. Trying until you reach failure (or can’t do it with proper form) is essential to lifting and CrossFit. Not sure if you can do it? Who cares, try it anyway. If you can’t, you can’t. The real failure is in never trying.

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2.  Buying a bigger pair of jeans is not a bad thing. 

For the first time since I was 19, I had to buy jeans in a bigger size.  I tried so long to keep that stupid number on the tag the same, watching as my jeans went from slightly baggy at 19 to plastered on as I aged. But squats and lunges helped my legs and butt grow so that they could no longer be contained in those same 19 year old sized jeans. And, I celebrated it. Bigger jeans means building muscle, which means I’m getting stronger and closer to reaching my goals.

2. 1,200 calories should only get you through lunch.

Who came up with that 1,200 calorie number that is THE number to eat if you want to lose or maintain a low weight? After years of obsessively counting calories, I’ve finally forgotten how many calories are in a medium sized banana or 6 ounces of chicken. I’ve learned to listen to my body, understand the foundations of my cravings, and give my body the freedom to have what it needs. And that is a hell of a lot more than 1,200 calories.

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3.”Practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent” – Coach Beau.

Practicing will make your actions stick, so make sure you are practicing right.

4. Alcohol isn’t the only thing that can make you feel invincible. 

The feeling of conquering the world that you get from achieving a goal in the gym is addicting.  Many people use liquid courage to feel confident enough to chat up the room or do something they couldn’t do sober. I was one of them. But I’ve found that a good workout can give me that same feeling, without the headache the next morning.

5. Sweating is okay.

As a former competitive swimmer, in a nice cold pool, I have always hated sweating. I tended to avoid things that made me sweat excessively.  After a heavy day of lifting, there are definitely sweat marks surrounding my spot on the floor and it makes me want to make a sweat angel each time.

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   6. Finishing last doesn’t make you a loser if you gave it your all.

 Even if I’m the last one to finish a workout, or the weakest, at least I challenged myself to try it.

7.  Partying isn’t always worth missing sleep.

Missing sleep makes it harder to reach my goals. While it’s always good to have a night out now and then, my 4 nights out a week are a thing of the past.  Most days, I’d rather bust my ass in the gym than bust a move on the dance floor.  Though, let’s be honest, if you’ve ever seen me on the dance floor, you know those squats come in handy.

Image8. Treat your body well and it will return the favor.

Don’t punish yourself by not eating or by working out when you are too tired. Treat your body with respect, love it, and it will accomplish anything you want.

9. The confidence will carry over to other aspects of your life.

The confidence I feel in the gym has helped me try things in real life I never had the courage to do, like interviewing for jobs I thought were well out of my reach, trying out for law school competitions or asking for a raise. I have become more confident in every aspect of my life, not just with my physical abilities.

Image10. Love your body, love your determination, love yourself. 

To quote ‘When Harry Met Sally’: “when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” I feel like over these past 10 months I have finally fallen in love with myself. Unconditionally. I’ve stopped doubting myself. I’ve stopped comparing myself to others. I’ve stopped punishing myself for any little thing I do wrong. I’ve finally become comfortable in my own skin. And I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life feeling this way.

Has working out changed how you feel about yourself ?
What is your favorite way to workout?