Monday, December 30, 2013

2014 Goals

2013 has held loads of change for me. While it has been the only year since high school that I haven't had multiple jobs (hooray for only one W-2!), much has changed in my personal life. After breaking free from a terrible relationship, I found myself growing and changing in ways that I find amazing. I found CrossFit not too long after that breakup, which catapulted my life down a new and healthy path. I'd always been interested in healthy food and being fit, but my commitment to those interests had been a roller coaster of highs and lows. Finding my physical strength gave me the confidence to make improvements in other areas of my life, which I talk a little bit about below. Goals 1-5 are areas that I want to begin/continue improving on that relate to the way I treat myself, others, and my future, behavioral goals, if you will. Goals 6-10 are fitness goals that I can work towards in the gym.
  1. Eliminate debt: because, duh. So many doors would be open to me if I didn't have those extra bills hanging over my head each month. With the exception of a car payment, I'm going to attempt to pay off as much debt as I can this year.
  2. Fill out the FAFSA: If I'm even considering going back to school, which I very well may be, I'll need to have this done.
  3. Get more sleep: at least 7 hours a night. This means I'm going to have to go to bed earlier, and if I want to start working out in the mornings as well as in the evenings, I'll have to go to be even earlier
  4. Cut out negative self-talk and negative thoughts towards others: How awesome would the world be if we quit thinking the worst of ourselves and others? I'm starting with myself on this one and making a big effort to stop harsh and judgmental thoughts.
  5. Volunteer: In 2013, I was given $100 by my company to donate to a charity of my choice. I chose Girls on the Run because I really get their purpose.  As a girl that often felt inferior growing up, I would have loved the chance to have encouraging female coaches and friends who were all working towards a goal (and achieving it!). I want to do more with Girls on the Run in 2014.
  6. Run a half-marathon
  7. Muscle-up
  8. 150lb Front Squat/175lb Back Squat
  9. 150lb Clean & Jerk
  10. 115lb Snatch
Here's to a Healthy and Happy 2014!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Due to the amount of travel both Nick and I have been doing over the holidays, I didn't decorate my apartment much for Christmas this year. I feel a little bad about it, especially considering that my Christmas spirit was not at an all time high this year. I'm telling myself that I'm going to be able to use all the energy that would've otherwise gone to taking down the holiday decorations is going to go towards making a fresh start in 2014.

There were three festive things that I didn't forego, however.

1. Christmas Music: I've been playing "Today's Christmas Radio" on Pandora around the house for days. I grew up singing all the time and the familiarity of most of these songs makes it easy to sing along too. Of course, I only do this when I'm alone. Haha.

2. Holiday Scents:

3. My Festive Mani: Another kit of lacquer strips from Sephora. These aren't lasting as well as the Essie kit, but they're still shiny and pretty resilient. They look so much like real candy canes in person!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013


I love that our box does training cycles with testing weeks at the beginning and end of each cycle so you can measure progress. Last week was a re-testing after a cycle that was focused on squats/squat speed and depth and snatches/shoulder strength.

We have a new coach at MTM that really helped me correct some things on my form and hit PR's all throughout this cycle. I did my first unassisted pull up not too long ago and am working on my kip and stringing those pull ups together. Friends in my class have threatened to not let me use a band at all starting in January, so I'm trying to be as ready as possible.

My other PR's from this cycle:

HBBS: On September 2, my 1RM was 125lbs. While we didn't retest for a 1RM, I did hit a 3RM set at 125lb and a 2RM set at 130lbs.

Front Squat: September through November, my 1RM was stuck at 105lbs. This week, on 12/16, I found a new 1RM at 115lbs!

Snatch: For the longest time, my snatch was stuck at 75lbs. It didn't matter if I was doing 1 rep or 3 reps, I was lifting 75lbs and failing at anything higher. Thanks to 5.5 lb barbells, my 3RM went from 75lbs to 76lbs (every little bit counts!). I also hit a snatch PR with a 2RM set of 81lbs! This felt like such a victory!

It feels so good knowing that I'm getting stronger. I never want to stop pressing on towards goals. Though I don't know where CrossFit will take me, I know want to do more than simply find a decent weight to lift and maintain.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Awesome Gadget

I recently admitted to my boss that being able to shop from my phone is deadly to me after I bought a yogurt maker from Groupon on the way back to the office from a client visit. I should not have shopping apps on my phone! But I do, and I occasionally find some really good deals on fun/useful/unique items, like this one:

3M Filtrete 4-Bottle Water Station
It's basically a water filter that filters tap water directly into four 16.9 oz BPA free bottles so that you can reach into your fridge, grab a water bottle, and go. This is great for all the times I'm running out the door and don't have time to fill up my Nalgene bottle from my Brita pitcher, or if I need a water bottle and the pitcher is out (often). The bottle size is also much easier to use with Nuun tablets or Crystal Light type flavor packets which are meant for 16.9 oz of water. Rarely am I ever without a water bottle of some sort. I feel incomplete without one! It's been so long since I've been a soda drinker that I don't crave sweet drinks, but I do notice myself wanting to snack more when my real issue is thirst. Anything that curbs the snack attacks is a good thing in my book!

The filter is really fast. It's a disk that sits in the top section. When the bottles are connected, they each push up on an individual valve that allows water to filter through, but stops it from leaking out when the bottle is removed. It's seriously neat. I can't stress enough how much I love grab-and-go items that help keep me on the right track.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Why I May Never Pay for Another Gel Manicure Ever Again

Exactly ten days ago, I was in Texas for a client's Christmas party. Earlier that week, I'd finished peeling off the last remnants of my Gelish manicure that I'd paid around $25 for less that two weeks prior. It was chipping, cracking, and peeling probably a week after I got it and I'd let it go a little longer. There was no way I could attend an event with nails like that, so I peeled it all off.

My nails did not look great after peeling off the cured polish. I needed a buffer and file BAD, at the very least. I realized I'd have a few hours between events while in Texas and decided that I should seize the moment and fix my manicure situation.

I considered going to a salon and having them done, but I was feeling fairly exhausted since I'd been awake and traveling since 5:30 am that morning. I was already in Target, buying a sweater (it gets cold in Texas! Who knew?), so I swung by the nail polish section. I had nearly decided on a mega sparkly top coat that I was going to wear by itself because I was not about to spend an additional $8 on a colored base that I probably already owned, when I glanced over at the nail sticker selection. I'd always been scared to try them because I thought I'd screw them up and then I would have wasted my money (they're not cheap), or that they wouldn't last nearly long enough to be worth it. Since I already had a file/buffer combo in my basket, I figured the worst that could happen would be that I'd go to the party with au naturel nails that had been buffed to a shine.

I chose Essie SleekSticks in "Stickers and Stones" and headed back to my hotel. I filed and buffed my nails first, then got to work sticking the UV cured stickers on my nails. Once I got the hang of it, it was a fairly quick process, maybe 15 minutes from start to finish. My only complaint was that sometimes the textured dots of this design fell on the edge of my nail and made filing the excess sticker off a little tricky to do without damaging the design. Overall, though, I was REALLY impressed. It took way less time than painting my nails and waiting for them to dry would've taken. Here is the finished result:

And here they are ten whole days later:

There's a little wear on the ends and some separation back by the cuticles that had just started to catch on my hair when I'd wash it, but overall they held on strong. I think it helped that I'd held a hair dryer set on low over each hand after I'd put the stickers on, then pressed them down again to make sure they were on really well.

I was worried about removing them. The package didn't have instructions for that step and I assumed that it would be difficult and damaging to my nail, like peeling off a gel manicure. Once again, this product amazed me! I know, I should've stopped doubting it after receiving compliments on my nails for 10 days straight, but I'm a skeptic. For as well as they were stuck on there, they peeled right off as a single piece. There was a little residue left on my nails, not unlike the rubber cement they use to stick labels to magazines, and it rubbed right off.

My Outfit for the Party
I highly recommend Essie SleekSticks! They're so much cheaper than paying for a long-wearing manicure, so much less stressful than attempting nail art on your own, and you don't have to wait for them to dry. They will definitely be my go-to nail product anytime I have a special event.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Holidays: Making Spirits and Scales Soar

It starts with Thanksgiving, sometimes several rounds of eating, depending on your group of family and friends. The Christmas parties come next: work, clients, gym, book club, to name a few. Christmas itself is usually multiple occurrences of cookies and comfort food, too. New Year's Eve is next, with surefire snacking until the wee hours of the New Year. Of course, between all of these celebrations, your schedule is probably so packed that the drive-through seems like a sensible solution to the state of "hangry" you find yourself in.

Come January 2nd, you look in the mirror and hardly recognize the person staring back at you who looks at least 20lbs heavier than you know you are. You become one of the thousands of people joining a gym to fight off the bulge for another 1-11 months, until the holidays come again.

Sound familiar? This year, I'm bound and determined to NOT have that as my story. My job is in it's second year of "The Holiday Weight Maintenance Challenge", from which you win a prize if you can maintain your weight from before Thanksgiving through the New Year within a 2 lb window. I admit that last year, I barely made it into the window, for shame.

To help avoid the danger zone this year, I'm participating in the gym's "Holiday Nutrition Challenge", which has laid out five nutritional stages that CrossFit encourages (Eating Clean, Gluten Free, Zone, Paleo, Eat to Perform), and challenges you to pick one that is one step above where you currently are and stick to it for 20 days in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The idea is that you will be building good habits and encouraging good food choices at holiday events which will offset any weight gain brought on by holiday indulgences.

Nick and I picked the Eating Clean phase to try to stick to, with a smattering of the Gluten Free stage. We already ate pretty clean, but I knew that I definitely wanted to push myself to eliminate more processed foods and added sugar and salt from my diet. The Monday night after Thanksgiving, we went on a huge shopping trip and collected a serious stock of veggies, sweet potatoes, chicken and fish.

It makes sense, right? Sure, we have to get up a little earlier or take a little more time out of our evenings to prepare healthy dinners and brown bag lunches, but living a long and healthy life while getting a boost towards our fitness goals is certainly worth it. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

2013 Resolutions

Lately, I've been evaluating where I'm at in life and what I'm doing, specifically when it comes to my career and hobbies. I've found myself repeating the phrase, "I need to find a way to make my hobbies start paying me instead of me paying my hobbies." While my overall goal for my life's work isn't crystal clear yet, a few general step are. What I mean is, I don't know for sure if life will lead me to go back to school, but if it does (and it very well may) there are a few roadblocks that I need to remove so that I'm ready to take on an opportunity if one presents itself.

I was going through my "Notes" app on my iPad today and came across a list from January of this year. It was my 2013 Resolutions. Some of these will still be goals next year, that's for sure, and I definitely hope that I do a better job of accomplishing 2014's goals than I did with 2013's.

1. Stop swearing - Umm, maybe I did this? I think there has been a definite improvement in the quality of my speech, although I can't say I never swear.
2. Exercise regularly - Yes! As long as you are measuring from June-now. I'm really happy to have achieved this one and created a positive and healthy habit in my life.
3. Don't snack - That would be a negative, Ghostrider. I am a munch-aholic. The desk job is definitely a major contributor, as I notice that I don't snack when I am up and busy doing things.
4. Eat organic - Yes and no. I do it when I can or if I know something has a high level of pesticides.
5. Move out on my own - Check. As of the first week of November, I am roommate free. Time will tell how my budget does with this one.
6. Eliminate credit card debt - Sadly, no. You can count on seeing this one on my list of 2014 goals.
7. Be organized! - Maybe. I definitely don't have a system perfected, by any means, but I may have improved slightly.
8. Shop at Marc's and Aldi more - In general, no, although I am going there tonight. This is another 2014 goal that will hopefully help with #6.

Overall, my results are not so good. I do think that I am in a much better place this New Year's than last year and hopefully that will give be a better shot at 2014 being the year the magic really starts to happen.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Philadelphia Mini Tour

Instead of braving the crowds to go shopping on Black Friday, Nick and I headed into Philadelphia to see some of the historical sites. We had thought it would be deserted, since everyone else was out shopping, but it was just as packed as any mall. While a lot of the attractions are free, you still need to sign up for a tour time slot, like at Independence Hall. It was so busy that the whole day's worth of tickets had been given out by 2pm when we got there. 

Luckily for us, the line for the Liberty Bell was moving quickly and we did get to go through that building and have our picture taken with the bell. I guess the rest of the attractions will have to wait until our next visit. 

On our wanders through the city, we stumbled into a fantastic little shop full of ugly Christmas sweaters! Anything you could imagine finding on a sweater (and some things you'd never imagine finding) was in this shop. I was so tempted to buy the one in this picture for my cousin, who jokes about becoming a crazy cat lady and was just saying at Thanksgiving dinner that she wanted a sweater with cats on it. 

Speaking of Christmas shopping, I'm almost finished! I'm doing about 95% of my shopping online, since I've been running around the country like mad lately and the last thing I want to do with a night off is head to the mall. Sometimes the shopping experience is a thrill for me, but right now the ease of making several larger purchases online is much more thrilling.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Turkey Trot Day!

Happy Thanksgiving, All!  

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays to spend with my family. Rather than Christmas, its the holiday where everyone gets together in one place to hang out and eat a meal.

My dad and I have been trying to find a 5K that we could run together for a while now and a Turkey Trot seemed like the perfect opportunity. Surprisingly, one in my parents area was dfficult to find, but we happened across one at the last minute. A  lot of other people must have found it at the last minute as well, because the coordinators said they were overwhelmed by the number of people who had come out to run.

We're all pretty beat since none of us have been doing much running due to schedules and dropping temperatures. It was just reaching 36 degrees as we were leaving this morning's race. Nick and I are signed up for a "Frosty Frolic" in a few weeks and today was likely a good preview of what that will be like. Cold. So cold. I was extremely thankful that I'd remembered my fleece headband and running gloves  this time.

In a few hours, we'll be off to my aunt's to hang out an eat! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jet Lag and Yoga

I got back on Sunday from a nearly week-long work trip to Las Vegas. I have to go out there several times a year and some trips are more fun than others. This time was one of the not-so-fun trips. I started coming down with a cold last Monday and was miserable by the time I got out there. I was hoping the dry desert air would help me feel better, but it poured rain the entire time.

I managed to force a few workouts in the mornings and thought I was keeping my body pretty close to Eastern Time. I think I was just that exhausted though, because, coming back, I'm finding it really hard to get out of bed on time. To help myself adjust to being back and stretch out some of the stiffness that inevitably comes from all the standing I do on these trips, Nick and I hit a hot yoga class later in the day on Sunday. We typically go Sunday mornings, then rush to church, but I think I may like going later a little better. 

The heat of the room temporarily banished my cold, which was soooo nice. I'd come equiped with a stack of tissues an ended up not needing any! I also stuck my Crow Pose way better than ever before, which made me really happy.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Search for the Perfect Gym Bag

Lately, I've been realizing that I need a new solution for all of my gym "stuff". On days when I'm on top of my game and pack workout clothes to change into after work so that I can go straight to the box, I end up leaving the house with three or four bags: my laptop bag, lunch back, a backpack with sneakers and a change of clothes, and a drawstring sack that holds my CrossFit things like tape, wrist wraps, jump rope, etc. It's too much. I need to consolidate the two workout related bags. It only makes sense.

1. Adidas Defender ($24.99)
3. Puma Teamsport ($31.99)
4. Adidas Squad ($35.99)

But the perfect gym bag? That's not so clear. I need something that's big enough to hold two pairs of sneakers, flip flops, a set of clothes, a hoodie, face wipes, my jump rope, water bottle, protein shaker, and lots of other little odds and ends. Looking at this list, I'm amazed that I didn't grab a bigger bag sooner!

I have it narrowed down to the four above. They're all about the same size and they all have ventilated shoe pockets of some sort, which I definitely wanted. I don't want my shoes stinking up all of my other stuff, nor does the idea of a pair of undies tossed into the bag coming in contact with whatever might be on the bottoms of my shoes thrill me.  

Choices, choices. I think the yellow Puma is in the lead, in case anyone's Christmas shopping ; )

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Rest Day: Needed


I woke up this morning feeling so icky.Our weekend was a whirlwind of activity and frantic naps between activities. In a little over two days, Nick and I finished three WODs, a game of indoor soccer, a 75 minute hot yoga class, a family birthday party where I met quite a few of his family members for the first time (and was totally calm about it, of course), and made and canned seven jars of applesauce.

By the end of Sunday, the topic of taking one whole weekend day off from everything to just relax had come up multiple times.  Of course, there's not even a slight possibility of us (or at least, me) taking such a day until December.  Its difficult to remember to take time to rest in between all of the fun options we have and the things we have to get done!

One thing I was told a few months ago by a seasoned CrossFitter was to "take rest days!". She had worked out everyday for a year and a half and gotten so burned out by the time her body made her take a rest day. I would love to be able to workout everyday and do the comp-work cycles offered at the box, but right now I have to realize that my work schedule, although not very physically active, is still taxing to my body and needs to be considered. I need to let myself breathe maybe just a little more than I do.

I wish my nose would let me breathe through it right now.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

OOTD: First Snowfall

It feels like we skipped fall here in Northeast Ohio. If it was here, it must have been during the few short weeks that I was traveling for business, because I sure didn't get to enjoy much of that cool, crisp fall weather. We skipped straight to frigid, in my opinion.

Although it had flurried a couple of times in the last few weeks, this Monday was the first snowfall that actually stuck to the ground and covered cars. I'm not ready for it to be Winter yet! At least I cleaned out my garage enough so that I can actually park in it and avoid scraping snow and ice off of my car in the mornings.

I'd gone to Goodwill to look for an ugly Halloween sweater and came across this Calvin Klein sweater dress while I was there. I'm not usually one for thrift shopping. It smells weird and feels a little gross. But, Calvin Klein for $7.99? I'll just wash it twice. 

Turns out, this is the warmest dress ever! Paired with tights, boot socks, and leather boots, I was a toasty girl. Unfortunately, my clients didn't plan on anyone dressing so warmly and had the heat in their conference room cranked up. I felt myself getting sweaty and irritable. Not good! It worked out well for me once I got home though. I don't have the heat turned up very high, so I needed something to keep me cozy. I practically fell asleep on the couch in this outfit. It's not everyday you can find an outfit that is conference room appropriate as well as being totally snugly sleepwear, right?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sunday Morning Sweat

Image via CARLINE JEAN / MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS*No, those are not my abs. Someday...*
On Sunday morning, I met up with some of my fellow CrossFitters to try something new. I've always been interested in yoga and found the idea of hot yoga intriguing and terrifying. There's a new hot yoga studio in town that a few girls have gone too, so we decided to give it a try, since our box hasn't come up with a way to offer yoga classes yet.

I'm glad I went with a group for many reasons. I was seriously intimidated by the idea of a 75-minute long hot yoga class. I would probably have been intimidated by a 75-minute long regular yoga class, to be honest, since I had only ever been to one actual yoga class before Sunday. I'd always practiced on my own, which is nice, because you can't see how weird you look. Knowing that I had friends in the group and that at least one of them was pretty experienced seriously eased my nerves.

The room was definitely hot. I started sweating as soon as we did anything other than lay there in Child's Pose  Nick was nice enough to tell me I was "glistening" when he looked over at me during class. (That's right, my boyfriend does yoga, hehe.) At one point, in Downward Dog, sweat dripped off of my chin and up my nose. "Glistening" may have been an understatement. There was definitely a ton of water chugged throughout the rest of that day. Overall, it was an incredible workout, especially for my arms and abs (my weak spots) and wasn't nearly as scary as I thought. I'd definitely recommend it, but be prepared to want to nap afterwards until you get used to the practice.

I can't wait to go again!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Almost Paleo: Breakfast and Dinner Lately

I don't know about you, but I feel a big difference when I eat a lot of processed, commercial foods versus when I cook my own meals from whole ingredients. Avoiding processed foods, with their added sugar, salt, and preservatives is one of the main elements of the Paleo lifestyle, from my research, anyways. I don't think I could ever go permanently Paleo, because I love me some cheese and think that there are nutritional benefits to a lot of the foods that Pales eschews, at least in moderation. Anyways, I try to keep Paleo principals in mind when cooking for myself and I notice a big difference.

For breakfast this past weekend, since I'd gotten off to an early start, I modified this recipe from SkinnyTaste. Rather than baking the eggs, because I hadn't gotten up early enough to deal with preheating my oven, I cooked the eggs on the stovetop.

I sauteed baby spinach to wilt it, then pushed it to the edges of my pan, creating an empty space in the middle for the eggs. I let the eggs cook a bit and ended up covering the whole pan at the end to help the egg whites firm up. I hate gooey egg whites! I added two chicken sausage links (probably not Paleo) from al Fresca. All in all, the whole recipe didn't top more than 300 calories but kept me fueled through my mornings.

I got home late from work and CrossFit a few nights ago and needed a quick and healthy dinner. I'd been marinating a chicken breast in some oil, vinegar, and spices while I'd been working out. I cooked it with some olive oil in a fry pan and added about one stalk of organic kale to the pan about 3/4 of the way through cooking the chicken.

I steamed half of a spaghetti squash in the microwave for about 12 minutes (4 minute increments). After everything was done, I scraped the spaghetti squash into a bowl and added the sauteed kale and chopped up chicken. I'd wanted to use some canned diced tomatoes that some friends had given me, but since I couldn't get the jar open, I went with some organic pasta sauce (not Paleo). It ended up taking me about 15 minutes to cook and about 5 minutes to scarf down.

My favorite part was definitely the kale. I'd never sauteed it before, but will definitely be doing it more in the future. I'd skip the pasta sauce next time though. While it tasted good, I've been having tummy troubles every time I eat pasta sauce lately, which is a big bummer because I love red sauce. I think it's the acid and was hoping to have better luck with plain diced tomatoes. Maybe next time I'll be able to get the jar open! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

On Becoming A Morning Person/Adult

I've been feeling guilty lately about how often I am late for things: WODs, work, church, etc. A friend posted this article from the Huffington Post on Facebook last week and I really felt like it was aimed at me, although I'm sure it wasn't.  Regardless, I knew I was getting out of control with my fashionable lateness. Not to mention, I've always felt like there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything I want to do done.

This past weekend, I hopped out of bed a little earlier than my weekend usual time and used those bits of time (less than an hour each day) to do something productive, like throw laundry in the washer or wash a few dishes. I noticed that it set the tone for the whole day and I ended up feeling really accomplished.

This weekend also brought on Daylight Savings Time, meaning that it is now starting to get dark by the time I leave work. Since the marathon relay that I ran in, I've really wanted to keep up with running a few times a week. I'm not really comfortable running in the dark, so I really can't run during the week unless I plan to go straight from work or in the mornings. But there's not enough hours in the day to plan ahead and pack running clothes or go before work, remember?

All this let me to the conclusion that I need to start getting up earlier. As in, when my alarm goes off the first time and not after a million "snoozes". Yesterday, a friend at work told me about this app that makes you walk around in order to turn it off and doesn't let you hit snooze. I downloaded it right away and couldn't wait to try it this morning.

At 6am, the alarm started ringing. The first time it rang, I was so disoriented that I pulled the phone off its charger and dropped it, which seemed to silence it for a moment. Then the ringing started again, so I started walking the prescribed number of steps to try to shut it off. I realized that I needed to unlock the phone to activate the step counter, or brain wasn't quite all the way on.  Once I did that, the counter counted down my steps for two or three rounds I'm guessing the number of step sets coincided with the number of alarms that went off.  It's going to take a few more days before I truly get the hang of how to turn the alarm off. 

It's also going to take a few more days to get the hang of staying out of bed and not crawling back under the covers because my apartment is cold. Baby steps...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Major Recap

One of my biggest flaws as a blogger is that I fail to blog for long periods of time. It usually starts out as a lack of inspiration, where anything I'd write would feel forced and fake, so I just don't write it. I then fall out of habit, get busy, and forget that I started a blog over the summer that I haven't even gotten around to naming yet (but I think I'm close). I've been in the "busy-out-of-habit" phase for a long time now, but I'm ready to give it another stab. I have a lot of catching up to do.

Going way back to the summer....

Our box had a swim WOD! I wish we did this more often. I bought a few day passes to the local rec center to brush up on my swim skills beforehand. I quickly found out that if I ever want to train for another swimming event (mini-triathalon, anyone?) I'm going to have to find a larger practice space. Training for an 800m swim in a 20m lap pool is just tedious.

Despite my dismal failure at online dating, I found myself becoming better acquainted with the guy in this photo. We're quite happy, thankyouverymuch. He joined CrossFit shortly after we started dating and did the Hotshots19 WOD as his second WOD. He's hooked needless to say, and I love it! Its so great to be with someone who has similar fitness and lifestyle goals as you do. I'm sure he won't be absent from my future posts : )

In early September, two teams from my box participated in a morning-long "Amazing Race" hosted by another local box. We traveled all around the area, completing WODs at every location. Some were team/partner WODs and others were modified individual versions. We made it through Fran, Grace, Diane, Karen, Annie, and 150 burpees each! It was so much fun, even if we were one of the last teams to finish.

In October, four people from my work (including me) ran a marathon relay. It was supposed to be a five person team, but we couldn't fill the fifth spot due to illness and injury in a few of our fellow runners, so we split the five relay legs between the four of us. This meant that I'd be running a little more than 5.5 miles...a much longer distance than anything I'd even attempted since high school cross-country almost 10 years ago.  It felt like such an accomplishment to finish my miles at 8:30/mile and to cross the finish line for my whole team. A few of us even decided to try for the half marathon next year. Stay tuned to see how that goes, haha.

That's all for now, folks! I swear I've been doing more than just CrossFit and running, but I feel like I've been going on long enough for this post.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Struggle Much?

This week has been tough. Its hard to put a finger on why, but I think I may just be tired. I pushed myself hard in my training last week, doing double WODs a few days plus comp work. Even though I took the weekend (Sat/Sun) off from working out, I still feel sluggish this week.

I'm trying to push to using higher weights in my WODs. I Rx'd cleans in a WOD this week and would've Rx'd the whole workout if I had my HSPU down. But I don't. There's so many little things that I modify that frustrate me. I'm impatient with my strength, mostly in my arms. I want to be able to Rx pull ups and HSPU so badly. And double-unders: didn't I used to be good at jumping rope? Haha, I would've been awesome at CrossFit as a kid.

I have to remind myself that it's only been 2.5 months. No one gets to the Games after 2.5 months, or ever, really. I'm not saying I ever will, but why not shoot for the top?

My list of aspirations seems to grow daily, much quicker than my actual progression towards those goals, it seems. Patience is a struggle for me. It always has been. I like goals that I can achieve quickly since my attention span isn't the greatest. This set of goals that is forming in my mind will be a true test of determination and resolve.

I have to keep reminding myself that health and fitness are what I always come back to when whatever job I have isn't fulfilling or I am unhappy in some other area of life. It is my passion and I'm not only hurting myself by not following it, I'm hurting all the people I could be helping along the way.

Monday, July 15, 2013

PR Log

Deadlift: 135 lbs
HBBS: 136 lbs

Today's WOD:

3 Rounds

15 Hang Power Cleans: Women's RX= 95lbs
15 Burpees

10 minute cap

Results: 7:25 @ 65 lbs

It's Monday, Of Course

Almost two months ago, in the midst of a rash set of decisions I made following a breakup, I got my tragus pierced.  For those of you who don't know what that is, no it is not kinky. It's that little triangle in the front part of your ear.

Yes, that is my ear, right after getting the most painful piercing I've ever gotten. (And I've gotten a few) But it was worth it because I thought it was so cute and pretty unique. I dealt with it catching on my hair by telling myself that it would heal eventually if I kept cleaning it, which I did on a mostly-regular basis. It would go through stages of being ok, but mostly not. I got a keloid on the back. No, I will not explain a keloid. Google it or stop reading this post about piercings.

Well, this morning, being Monday, it was bothering me again. I was trying not to mess with it, but all of a sudden, the little screw on front part dropped off in to my lap and the bar disappeared into my ear. Disappeared. I could feel it in there, but no one could see it. I tried fishing it out with a paperclip, because no one came forward with tweezers. Do not ever try to retrieve something from your ear canal with a paperclip, ok?

I went down to the local tattoo place to see if they could get it out with some special tweezers or something, since part of the bar felt like it was still embedded in the piercing. Ouch. Although their sign stated that they would open at noon, no one was there. The girl at the deli informed me that they sometimes aren't there until around 2. I was freaking out, imagining the new scar tissue that was definitely forming around this tiny piece of metal.

One of my co-workers had tweezers when I got back to the office, so I decided that I was going to do it myself. Of course, once I managed to get the tweezers around it, I found that it was just resting in my ear, but it was a terrifying experience, nonetheless.

So, now I have one less piercing but I can fit my earbuds in both ears once again.

The End. Finally.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Yesterday's News

Yesterday was quite an eventful day for me and most of the rest of the inhabitants of Northeast Ohio. It was our billionth day of storms, yes, billionth. I don't know what the ongoing feud between Ohio and the freaking sky is, but yesterday they pulled out the big guns to try to settle their differences...TORNADOES!!!!

Note: I know this is not a tornado, however, it is a sky
that is desperately trying to be a tornado. Give it a little credit.
Apparently, this happens all the time in the Midwest. I can tell you we did not have this crap in New Jersey. Anyways, since several major roads were pretty flooded, but mine and my co-worker's CrossFit boxes were closed, so we found one that wasn't and dropped in. It was my first drop-in WOD since officially starting CrossFit and I was super nervous!

Sure enough, most of the movements were foreign/new to me. I'd seen people flip tires and climb ropes, but I sure hadn't tried it. Well, guess what?! I was going to make my first attempt at all that stuff in front of a group of total strangers and an ex-military coach. Cool beans...

Surprise! It went ok! Yes, I was totally winded and dragging by the end, but I did my first successful rope climb AND tire flip! I also PR'd my deadlift at 135 lbs. It definitely built up my courage to do more drop ins when I'm out in California later this month. I can't wait to collect more BA t-shirts.

My Souvenir from Everhard CrossFit
The worst part of my day? Right as I was going to leave for work, my kitten got under foot. We both did a crazy dance to try to avoid each other, but in the end, I accidentally stepped on her poor little paw. I know this happens with cats all the time, but she's so little and had probably never gotten hurt before in the whole nine weeks that she's been alive. She cried and limped around, but she was ok by the time I got home.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

How I Became a Cat Lady in One Week

I told myself I would wait until I moved into my new apartment to get a kitten. I almost made it, but found myself looking up kittens on Craigslist a few weeks ago and found this adorable little girl kitten that couldn't NOT go see. And, of course, once I saw her, I couldn't wait a week to bring her home! No way!

I know most guys prefer dogs, because dogs are obviously more manly/dumb and I'd actually held off on getting a cat because my last few boyfriends were allergic. Now that I don't have my silly emotions to get in the way though, I figured it was a perfect time to get a cat. This is 100% logical. 

I couldn't have predicted what happened next. I'd been talking to this guy for a week or two and we'd been going out and having some fun here and there. He left for vacation the day before I brought the kitty home. We were having some good conversation that day and I told him about the cat. The conversation didn't end there, in fact, it kept going until much later that night. The next day I heard nothing, but hey, the guy's on vacation, probably not checking his phone. The day after that, I send a casual "hi" message and hear nothing back. I still have not heard anything from him. It has now been over a week. *sigh*

So now not only do I not have any prospects, the most promising thing I had going for me has probably stopped talked to me on account that I am going to turn into a crazy cat lady. Or I already have. Who knows?! I guess its back to the dating apps for me. I might as well post a picture of my cat as my profile picture, just so they know what they're getting into. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Drinking the Crossfit Kool Aid

About a month ago, I started Crossfitting 3+ times a week, rather than just on weekends. In other words, I committed. I drank the Kool Aid. I started paying someone to make me sweat copious amounts and leave me sore the next day...every day. Am I crazy?! In short, yes.

My favorite thing about Crossfit, besides the fact that my arms are less flabby, is the community. 90% of the people are super friendly and you can talk to almost anyone, even the guys. Let's face it, after we've all watched each other drip sweat, swear, and heave massive weights overhead, no one is sexy. No one. So there's none of that "OMG, does he think I'm pretty?", because you know, you KNOW, you aren't. Not at that moment, anyways. Maybe when you all hang out later, after a shower or a good dose of dry shampoo, he will think you're pretty AND badass. And that's how a Crossfit couple is born.

My least favorite part of Crossfit is easily how much of a beginner I am. Sounds like a no brainer, huh? But seriously, I didn't expect to have to modify so many movements or discover that I have zero upper body strength. The good news is that I am making progress towards changing that. Or, I was. I present you with exhibit A:  (1:53-2:03) an only slightly less clumsy video representation of an assisted pull up.

In a moment of utter gracefulness, my sweaty hands slipped off the bar, leaving one foot in the band and the other moving towards the ground in a doomed trajectory. This was two weeks ago.

I should've taken note of the pain in my foot and knee and not run 2 miles in last weekend's WOD, but I did. As a result, I probably made the problem worse and, according to a nurse I talked to, I am not allowed to run until August. August. I am also only allowed to row with one leg. Same deal for jumping rope. I'm supposed to keep weight off of it as much as possible. I'm allowed to swim for cardio. The RN tried to say I couldn't Crossfit. To her I say, "NO! I am an active member of this cult and I will find a way to participate if it kills me!" To which she said, "It might." Even if I spend a whole month doing sit-ups, handstand push-ups, and pull-ups (and swimming) I will!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Online Dating Diaries: Let's Date

Let's Date is a pretty cool app. You get to scroll through profile cards and either say "Let's Date" to someone or "No, Thanks". If you say you'd like to date someone, the app puts your profile card in their deck. If they say they'd like to date you too, the app with then allow you to chat.

Selectively allowing chatting makes this app one of my favorites. It eliminates the billions of undesirable messages that fill up my inbox on other sites. The downside of this is that the people you live are barely ever geographically close to you, so you can have all the conversation you want, but when it comes to actually meeting up, it's a challenge.

The app is glitchy, not loading profiles very well and failing to send messages. I could see it going big places, but it just isn't there yet.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Online Dating Diaries: Zoosk

In an effort to keep myself from texting the wrong guys when I get bored, I signed myself up for an online app called Zoosk. Great idea, right? It was recommended as one of the top 10 free dating apps.

First off, I'd like to say that it's not really free. Yes, you can sign up for free and rate photos based on a "yes, no, maybe" scale, but that is about it. After that, you have to pay for a monthly subscription fee (not cheap) to see most profiles and message/chat with anyone. Then, if you and another person both rate each other a "yes", you then have to buy coins to chat with those people.

Second, most of the guys are not cute. Maybe it's just that most of the guys out there aren't attractive, but it seems line this app has accumulated a higher percentage than usual. I may be shallow, but if I'm going to put effort into my health and appearance, I'd prefer a guy who did the same.

Thirdly, the profiles do not give a lot of information and the messaging/chat feature is weird, leading quite a few guys to want to exchange phone numbers and text really early on.

Conclusion: pretty much a bust.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Outfit a la Mode: a Shopaholic's Dream

Springtime always makes me want to shop. Break ups always make me want to shop. Needless to say, a break up in the spring has inspired quite a few new closet additions! 

Spring sales and opportunities to catch up with girlfriends have only served as further inspiration to expand my wardrobe. They say shopping is cheaper than therapy, but I'm starting to doubt the truth of that. Haha!

The Outfit:

Silky Navy Henley: Forever 21
Jeans: H&M
Necklace and Earrings: Charming Charlie
Wedges: Kelly & Katie

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Spring Cleaning

My apartment is a mess! You'd think that after traveling for a month, everything would be untouched and in order, but no. For that to be true, I would have had to leave it in some sort of order, which I did not. My work schedule is always a whirlwind right before I travel, so I end up packing in a rush and everything gets pulled out.

This Saturday is devoted to getting things back in order, and I mean more than my apartment. Granted, it's the most obvious mess, but I'm also going back to the gym for the first time in almost two months to try to get my body ready for summer. I've been working on refreshing my wardrobe for spring, although I've been doing a lot more shopping than closet-purging, so there's a lot of build up right now. I haven't had time to cuddle with my darling bunny rabbit in so long either and I've missed her. She needs to get out for some exercise, but the apartment is too messy. Here I am, back full circle to the fact that my apartment is a mess.

I've had so little time to myself lately, between work and my ex-boyfriend, that I feel like there is a lot that had slipped through the cracks. I'm looking forward to having the time to maintain order around here, even if it does mean going through the weirdness of a breakup. I know I will be better off in the long run and that my stress levels will be way down in the future if I can balance my "me-time" with everything else in life a little better. If there's one thing that I learned from that relationship, it's that I need to stick up for my "me-time" and if a guy doesn't get that, he's not for me.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Life Lately, According to my Instagram

I went on a business trip to Philadelphia...

and enjoyed some delicious authentic ramen in Chinatown.

When I got home, I said good-bye to my boyfriend. It just wasn't going to work with him, so my roomie brought me cupcakes to make me feel better!

 A little retail therapy was also indulged in... 

and I further indulged in a little vino with a penguin on it. 
How do you see wine with a penguin on it and not buy it?

All in all, I'm doing ok, despite some crazy things that have been going on. I think I'll actually be home the whole month of May - no business trips - which will give me a good chance to catch up on things before the next round of changes rolls around.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I just happened to be out shoe shopping with my high school bestie when I happened across the most, excuse me, f-able heels I've ever seen. Forget the gym, these shoes are are my butt needs to be in great shape. I had to leave my sole-mates in their box on the shelf though, because my I'm on the road and my suitcase is filled to the brim already.

The good news (for me) is that I found them online once I got in for the night and with the help of a sale and a promo code, had them shipped to my apartment for the same price I'd seen them in the store. The bad news (for them) is that I will now be on the loose in these shoes... And the ugly? Nothing!

Trouble, trouble, trouble...whoever the male version of Taylor Swift is will be coming our with a new song soon : )

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Fresh Start

This isn't my first blog, but it may be my last. I'm tired of starting a site, only to have it derailed by some transition in my life. In short, if I can't keep it going this time, I may call it quits on blogging forever.

My last blog essentially ended, with the exception of a few posts here and there, when everything in my life changed. I was in the process of changing jobs when the relationship I thought was just about as perfect as they come ended between my first and second interviews. The interviews led to a new career, which is always a tumultuous time. My career switch was complicated further by my parents coming into town for a pre-scheduled visit during my second week on the job. I might've lost my mind at that point. Add in the distraction of chatting with a new guy, and blogging was last on my list.

This time is different because I feel like I have reached a comfortable trajectory in life. Not to say that I'm always comfortable, but I have finally found a field of work that I enjoy and see myself working in for quite some time. I am ridiculously busy at times, but I have been at my job for almost a year and feel like I have a pretty good grasp on the ebb and flow of the work load. My personal life still has its ups and downs. I am not by any means "settled down".

I think I've finally started to feel like an adult. Legally, we're "adults" at 18, but I'm pretty sure anyone over the the age of, maybe, 20, knows that is far from true. Rarely do people know who they are or what they want from life at 18.  Even at my age, which feels further from 18 every day, I don't know for sure what I want. Some days, I don't feel like I know who I am either. I think this is another reason my blogs have failed in the past. I haven't known what I want, yet I tried to confine myself to a small blogging genre.

This is why I have not named my blog yet. I have not chosen colors for my template. I am not telling anyone about this project for a good long while. No self-promotion, no bloggers groups, nothing. I will write for myself, for now anyways.