Thursday, December 11, 2014

On Giving Up

It really is easy to give up.

Don't do it!

How often have you had the following conversations with yourself?

  "If this happens one more time, I'm going to lose it"

  "I can't do this anymore, it's too hard"

  "I have to stop, I just can't"

  "There is no end in sight, I'm giving up"

Stepping in to do a workout, you already have in your mind how you think it's going to go.  Sometimes you know how you're going to break everything up, so that you can finish without too much pain.

Most of the time, you know that as soon as you get the slightest out of breath or the teensiest bit sore, you are going to stop, slow down, and you tell yourself "it's too hard".

Stop selling yourself short.  The mind is powerful and a force that CAN be reckoned with.  You control your mind-YOU can stop yourself from giving up.

Sometimes it helps to have people cheering you on- when you hear your name and some other stuff, it makes you keep going.  But, what about the times when you don't hear someone else cheering you on.  This is where YOU come in.  This is where you train yourself to NEVER GIVE UP.

You have a voice inside your head, use it to cheer yourself on right to the finish.  You have the ability to tell yourself "No, keep going",  "One more rep before the rest",  "You can do it",  "Don't quit".

Sometimes, that inner voice of yours can even speak out loud and help keep you pushing- trust me, I know! I often scream loudly during a lift, which has in fact resulted in many PR's.

Start your workouts with a good attitude- "I can do this", "I am going to surpass my expectations".  When things get tough, dig deep and get another rep.  Strength isn't just about the numbers you can pick up on a bar, it's about that extra rep or that extra round you put in.  You have the capability, you have to train yourself to push past the boundaries you have drawn for yourself.

If you come in and say I'll get to ten and take a rest, I challenge you to go to 11.  If you get tired and think I can't possibly do one more, I challenge you to do one more before the break.  If you are tired and worried you can't possibly keep moving, I challenge you to keep moving.

We all have tolerances, we all have boundaries- but if you start stretching them a little at a time, before you know it, you will be in that next round.

Yes, that workout was hard, but so was yesterday's, and so will tomorrow's.  Here's the thing, you keep coming back for more, so you know you aren't giving up on the workout.  Now it's time to stop giving up in the workout.  You will be surprised how the body will follow when the mind is leading.

Never give up and fight for every last rep!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Sweet and Salty Brownies

I keep accidentally opening a folder on my computer that has pictures of these brownies that I took about one year ago.  I didn't like think the pictures looked good, so I wasn't going to post them, but every time, I accidentally scroll over them (like everyday)-- I want to make them and I love the pictures a tiny bit more.

Yesterday, I was so excited to find my new favorite baking chocolate, Scharffen Berger, at Target.  In honor of the score, I'm making brownies and posting this recipe.  I refuse to make brownies anymore unless it's with good chocolate.  To me, using bad chocolate is like using margarine instead of butter.

This recipe is definitely my go to brownie recipe and you won't be disappointed either.  If you are looking for a non-traditional Thanksgiving dessert, you should make these (and eat them all!)
Sweet and Salty Brownies:

1 cup sugar
1 TBSP corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
2 TBSP butter

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
11 oz dark chocolate, chopped (60-72% chocolate)
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
5 eggs, room temp (important!)
2 tsp vanilla

1) Make the caramel.  Measure out heavy cream, and set aside, place butter and salt in small bowl, set aside.  In medium saucepan- preferably metal- combine sugar, corn syrup, and water- stir carefully- don't splash onto sides, it can wreck the caramel later.  Cook over medium high heat until it reaches 350' or a dark amber color (like beer)- it will take a while to turn amber, but once it does, it can get brown fast and burn.  You don't need to stir while it is heating up, maybe swirl the pan once or twice.

Once it reaches the amber color, turn off heat and slowly add cream and salt and butter- be careful because it will release a LOT of steam, the caramel may even seem to harden, just keep whisking it until smooth.  Set aside to cool while you mix the brownies.

2) Preheat the oven to 350'.

3) Grease a 9x13 baking pan.  You can also choose to line it front to back and side to side with parchment paper- I never have done this and my brownies have never stuck in the pan.

4) In a bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, and salt- set aside.

5) Put chocolate and butter in a double boiler- set this over a pan of boiling water- stir until the chocolate and butter have melted and are smooth.  **(If you do not have a double boiler- put chocolate and butter in microwave safe bowl and microwave in 20 second increments, take out and stir each time- longer increments can result in the chocolate burning and drying out. )

6) Keep double boiler over pot of water, turn off the burner.  Add the sugar and brown sugar to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined.

7) Transfer chocolate mixture to a large bowl- use a scraper to get it all out.  Add three eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined (do not over mix here- this is the difference between gooey fudge brownies or dense cake ones).  Add the last two eggs and mix until just combined.

8) Add vanilla and whisk until combined.

9) Sprinkle flour mixture on top of chocolate mixture- fold in with a spatula or wooden spoon.  There may be small amounts of flour mixture that aren't mixed in, that is ok-Remember over mixing will result in denser brownies.

10) Pour half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan.  Spread about 1/2-3/4 cup of the caramel sauce around the top of the batter- stay about 1/2 " away from the edge of the batter.  Drop the rest of the batter on top of the caramel layer and use a spatula to carefully spread it out.

11) Bake the brownies for about 40-45 minutes total.  After 20 minutes of baking, rotate the pan halfway to ensure even baking.  After 35 minutes of baking, you can insert a toothpick into the center of the brownies to check for doneness- a few sticky crumbs will come out on the pick, but should not be dredged in batter.  Remember, there is caramel in there, so it will be a littly sticky-but when in doubt cook a little longer- I have made these before and taken out when they weren't done and it is hard to finish cooking a half baked batch once you realize you under baked them.

12) Remove from oven and sprinkle the top with sea salt or another coarse salt.

Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations
Caramel recipe from Bakingdom blog.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Born Again CrossFitter

Some of you have seen this before in an email a few months ago, but some of you haven't, and I think it's a good read.
I’m sure most of you are familiar with the phrase “born again”. 

Well, for the first time, publicly, I’d like to admit that I am a born again crossfitter.

When I started crossfit, I was a competitive runner and just a competitive person in general.  I tried to push my weights, wanted to “RX” everything, wanted to be the first one done in my class.

Then, about 10 months in, I got a shoulder injury.  At that moment in time when the MRI came back with a partial tear in my supraspinatus- I actually think time stopped for a minute.  All I could think was “ how am I going to do pull ups, how am I going to do snatch?”

With the help of an awesome PT and a LOT of patience and modifications, I never had to stop crossfitting.  I had to take 6 weeks off from many lifts and used many many bands to do pullups, but I was still able to WOD and sweat profusely every day.  You know what, you can get a damn good work out using the PVC!

I was still able to crossfit and that’s what counted.  

I was basically starting again with all the upper body lifts.  Looking back, that’s when I had an epiphany and became a new crossfitter, a better crossfitter.  

Some people look at modifications like the plague, I look at them as a learning experience.  I look at them as an opportunity to be humble and realistic that I want to be better and sometimes that means doing something different.

I became a born again crossfitter.  I still wanted to be good, but focused more on being good at my form instead of my time.  As my form gets better, so does my ability to handle more weights.  My body is getting stronger because I’m building up a strong base layer of strength.  

Instead of focusing on my time (I don’t look at the clock until I’m done)- I focus on my form.  I focus on having fun.  If you can’t have fun with it, it becomes a chore.  

Have you heard of the phrase “crossfit puts the fun back in functional”?  Well for me, being a born again crossfitter, I have fun all the time- even when I’m being tortured doing 5 million walking lunges.

I love everything just as much as I did when I started crossfit over two years ago-probably even more.  I still get nervous before doing a WOD I’ve done many times before, I still plan my day around fitting that WOD in.  For me, crossfit is an essential part of my life, I need food, water, air, sleep, and crossfit to survive. 

The only thing that changed for me over these two years, is my focus.  I went from wanting to be competitive and fast to wanting to have fun and be a more awesome person.  With my shift of focus, I’ll tell you what, my times have gone down and lifts have gone up.  

After two years, there’s a lot of things I am not good at yet, but I’m way better now than I was before I started.  I am only 38, I have plenty of time to do all the work I need to do.  I’m not going to rush to the top of the mountain without enjoying the scenery because once I get to the top, then what??

I often hear people express a struggle for motivation or that they are sad to modify.  Maybe you need to shift your focus too.  I’ve got two words for you:  “HAVE FUN”. 

This week, I encourage you to figure out how to turn a WOD you’d normally cherry pick into something fun.  You want to put in the work, you need to put in the work, make it more enjoyable and there will be endless benefits. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Underdog

The Underdog

What does this mean anyways?

noun:  a competitor thought to have little chance of winning a fight or contest

a person who has little status in society

How often have you put yourself in the position of being the underdog?
It's so easy to walk into the crossfit workout and say "I'm not good at that so I'm going to have a bad score today."

If you set yourself up in public to be the underdog, you're also training your brain and your body to be the underdog.  STOP IT!

It seems to make everything go a lot smoother when you take the pressure and expectations off and go through the workout with fluff and stuff.

Being the underdog not only causes you to have an excuse to work less, but it gives some people a sense of entitlement to complain.  

"I'm not good so no one pays attention to me."  "No one wants to be my partner."  "No one will ever choose me for their team."  "No one gives me special recognition."

You know what?  The only person who invites people to the pity party is the host- burn the invitations because nobody really wants to come- not even you!

So what if you are (or consider yourself to be) the underdog.  Use it to your advantage.

Work harder.

Train your weaknesses.

Be confident about yourself.

The only approval and praise you need to keep moving is your own.  You can cheer for yourself in your head (I do it all the time- it works!).

I think being the underdog is a huge advantage.  When your hard work pays off and you rise above, proving everyone else wrong- the victory party is going to be far greater than that small pity party you've been attending.

It's not going to happen overnight, it's going to take time and hard work- but you do not have to be the underdog.

Show up and get it done!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Get Out of the Ring

I keep finding myself at the end of a boxing match and I've been beaten myself.

I keep noticing many people doing the same thing, it's so easy to win a fight when you are beating up your own self.

Well. I stepped out of the ring.   So should you.

It's just so easy to sell yourself short, to feel like you've done wrong, that you're never going to be good enough.

Trust me, I know when I've done something I wish I did not do.  This afternoon, for example, my daughter, who is going to send me to my grave early by the way, was climbing on a stool after I said no, and in slow motion, I saw her falling down- which was followed by about 20 minutes of tears, that I just didn't want to deal with.  I got really really mad at her, then that was followed by 10 minutes of guilt.

Guilt, it's pretty much the black belt of the ring.

This morning, at crossfit, I was not going to add too much weight on my barbell, I always sell myself short- I do not want to get hurt, I'm not sure I can do that, I will play it safe-.  "Self, you've been doing this for 2 years now, that is not out of your possibility", is what I should have been saying.

That's where my friend stepped in and told me that I had to do it.  She gave me the confidence to stand up and do what I knew I could do.  Had I left without attempting what I did, I would have spent the rest of the day wondering if I could have done it or maybe even slapping myself on the cheek a couple of times for backing out of it.

Slaps on the face, no one wants them, but yet, we just keep going in for more.  Seriously- stop!

You are not a bad person.  You are human.  We are going to do things, things we regret, things that make us guilty, we are going to back away from challenges- it's just going to happen.

But it's your choice, your right, and your necessity to step out of the ring, to stop taking hits to the jaw, accept what you have or have not done and move on.

Things happen and things end- MOVE ON!  Stop talking about it, stop analyzing it, you did or didn't do it and that's a fact- next time you have the chance to do it differently.  Forgive yourself for the wrong, and encourage yourself for the challenges.

If this is hard for you, get a friend.  Friends are awesome- they do things that are wrong too and they also see things in you that you do not.

No one is perfect- but no one deserves to get their ass kicked-- from their own self.

Get out of the ring and move on!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Boomerang Effect

You are a role model, whether you believe it or not.  We all are, parents, friends, teachers, coaches, co-workers, you are being watched not only by others, but also by yourself.

I'd like to think of myself sometimes as my own role model.  Lately I've been thinking of my actions like a boomerang- what I do will come back to affect me later on, or someone close to me, like my kids for example.

When I do something, I try to consider how would this go over if I were on the outside listening in right now or how will I feel if this happens to me later.  

Example:  I have said the "F" word in front of my kids and I'm not going to lie, more than once.  Sometimes I let my anger get the best of me and it just comes out.  Over the past few years, I've really taken notice when I say it and have been working hard to replace it with other things such as fudge ripple- it is a long process to cleanse my vocabulary of it, but I am trying.  I try to take notice when other people say it in public and let me tell you, it sounds down right rude and distasteful- which is helping me to want to stop using it even more.  Well, last week, I was at my son's football game (the team is 6-9 year olds), it was a big game and they lost at the last second, but it was a great game.  This one dad was so upset that the team lost, he started shouting and swearing and the "f bomb" came out like SIX TIMES in one sentence.  It was terrible- why should he care so much that they lost- the kids could have cared less- and here is this dad swearing profusely as if he lost a million dollars.

If he had been witnessing this in someone else, I wonder if it would make him think differently before using that kind of language in public again at a child's game.  Even worse, will his child get used to these outbursts and think it's acceptable and start doing that himself.
I break rules and laws every now and again- speeding is the biggest one and the occasional text while driving.  My kids are always asking me if I want to get a ticket, even when I'm going 3 mph over the limit. I usually get annoyed when they do this (don't they realize it's their practice we are late for?)- but one day it dawned on me, if it is acceptable for me to break the law, even a tiny bit, it's going to come back at me when they start driving- they too will think it's ok to go a little faster because mom does it.  I've been trying to adopt a new approach while driving- I'm not late until I'm actually late. Meaning, if the field trip is at 9:30, and it takes 45 min to get there, and I leave at 9- I'm not going to worry- fact is I left late.  At 9:30, I say to myself, OK, I'm late, but I'm almost there- it has been helpful to keep me more calm and drive slower.

The biggest boomerang effect I've noticed that I don't want to happen is technology use.  I'll use the cell phone as an example because it's my biggest distraction.  Using the cell phone whenever you have a free second is teaching your child or whoever is watching you that that is acceptable and in fact, the only way to spend your free time.  My oldest has been asking me for a phone or an iTouch relentlessly- I realized if he sees me and his dad and everyone else in the world on their devices all the time, it only makes sense that he would want one too (think in the past when ads made you think you'd be cool if you were smoking a cigarette).  Now, I've been trying to keep my phone away while my kids are home from school, and resist the urge to check a text while driving.  If one of my readers are in the car, I'll have them check my phone.  Once your kids see you texting while driving, they will think it's ok for them too- teenage drivers are scary enough, can you imagine them texting while driving too?

Attitude is a huge boomerang as well.  I have five kids, so I get frustrated easily.  There are times when I will just lose my mind.  I saw my oldest son flip out on my daughter one day- exactly how I had gotten upset at him- I didn't like that boomerang that came back at me.  I am trying very hard to be more calm and focused in these stressful situations- how I handle them is how I'm teaching them to handle them.  Treat your kids how you want to see them treating their kids.

I work as a coach.  I have to have my head in the game at all times.  I need to not only represent, but embody what I tell people.  It's easy to give out advice, but it's another to live it through.  I tell people all the time to fight through, be tough, dig deep, stay positive- as a result I noticed I will almost never let a negative thought or comment leave my mouth during a workout or about a workout.  I use good mechanics all the time, which means sometimes I'm using less weight, or moving slower- crossfit is scalable and I'm not afraid to admit that sometimes you need to scale back to move up.  Last week, my friend was over, her daughter picked up my kids' plastic barbell, pushed it overhead and dropped it on the ground- my friend panicked and told her not to drop the toy- her daughter looked at her matter of factly and said "mom, that's what YOU do at crossfit, you drop the bar".  If that's not a boomerang...

Do you ever look back at something you've done and beat yourself up about it- like you got hit with a boomerang- "I wish I did this, I should have done this.."  well, truth is you didn't, all you can do is learn from it and move forward.  Being a role model is hard and we are all far from perfect.  Each time you get hit with a boomerang or you feel one coming, learn from the sting.  Remember even when you think no one is watching or listening, someone is, even if it's you.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Easy Peasy

"I hope it's going to be easy."

"Wow, that was easy!"

"I'll do it, if it's easy."

"If only it could be this easy all the time."

Easy:  adj:  1) achieved without great effort, presenting few difficulties  
2) free from worries or problems

It really is easy to take the easy way out or at least to want to, isn't it?

From a parental stand point, things that would be easy:
having a baby that sleeps through the night from birth, a toddler that sits on the toilet for the first time and is potty trained, a child that is never rude, listens to every word you say, never lies, never sneaks, doesn't date until they are 18, gets straight A's, goes to Harvard, and marries the person you choose.

From an athletic point, things that would be easy:  
never having to train, never feeling tired, never feeling like you can't, never playing against a team that poses a threat.

From a life point, things that would be easy:
your body is invincible- you never get sick, you can eat whatever you want, your teeth are white no matter what, you always know the right things to say and everyone likes you, you always make the right choices, any job you interview for- you get

I could go on- but honestly, easy is boring.  Where is the challenge?  I'm not saying everything should be difficult and present an outrageous challenge, but it should not be easy everyday. 

Do you really want to float through life without effort?  If all these things were true, we could just drive around town in our battery powered chairs or scooters, eating cheese doodles and drinking coke- do you want to barf yet?

A few weeks ago, my son was being very difficult and it was quickly followed by my daughter having a fit about something, all while we were in hot weather with no shade watching 5 hours of youth football games.  There were bees everywhere too- it was not a good setting to be in.  I got really frustrated because I was trying to take pictures of the games and my threats of "you better stop or you're going to be in big trouble when we get home" were not working.   My initial reaction was "I quit- I don't want to be a mother anymore"- that was the easy solution.  To walk away, to pretend they weren't my kids and not have to deal with it.

Reality is, I am a mom and they are my kids.  My ability to deal with the situation and find a good outcome gets easier the more times I have to do it.  I could just walk away, but then I'm not growing as a parent and my kids aren't learning or understanding (I also might have to go to jail).  The quick solution was to let my son take one picture with my camera so he "wasn't bored" and allow my daughter to walk 1 mile home with my mom so she "wasn't hot".  The next weekend, I brought a small camera for my son to take pictures with and a tent for my daughter to be shaded with.  By learning from a situation that wasn't easy for me, I was able to make future ones less difficult. 

Last week at crossfit, I was doing a 20 min workout.  The first two rounds, one of the guys in the class was very close to me and every time we went for a run, I challenged myself to catch up with him.  The third, fourth, and fifth rounds, he was quite far ahead of me, so I noticed I didn't push on the run and settled in to an easier pace.  I was tired, but at least I was moving.  On my final round, there was just enough time left on the clock that if I ran as hard as I could, I would make it back before the clock ended.  I ran faster than any of the other rounds- it was not easy, but I did it.  

We all have the choice to go through the motions.  To move for the entire time of the workout or to complete all the reps.  We all feel our lungs burn and our bodies fatigue.  We know our limitations as far as what weights we can safely use and move properly- when enough is truly enough- but many times, we need to learn how to leave the easy zone and push a little harder.  Leaving easy when working out is what will take you to the next level.  When you have a PR or great achievement, especially in an area that was never easy for you, it is so much sweeter!  If crossfit were easy, I would have been bored with it a long time ago.  My favorite things to work on are the things that are not easy for me because when I finally get them, I feel incredible.

I've had many job interviews and many different types of jobs.  The easiest one, the one where I walked in and was handed the job, ended up being a job that was in the end stressful and not a good place for me to work.  The ones that I knew were going to be cutthroat interviews with many different candidates were the ones I prepared hours for, dressed the nicest for, and knew for a fact that I wanted the job.  

Working hard means you want something, you have passion, you are determined.  Most things are not going to happen overnight, they are going to take a lot of time and effort, but the results will be worth it.  

Easy isn't always bad- it can be good- "Mom the SAT's were easy because all my hard work and studying paid off", "Mom I got an easy PR in my race today from all that hard training I've been doing".  

Things aren't always easy until they are.  Then, when they become easy, you look for something else, you find something else to tackle because easy everyday is just boring.

Unfortunately, it's also easy to be too busy- don't become too busy trying to make things less difficult.    Don't spend all your time trying to make yourself better, training all your weaknesses in the gym, reading every single label, memorizing every fact, or signing your kid up for every extracurricular. 

Make sure to make quality time with family, friends, and yourself easy.  I think these days it really is easy to miss appreciating the simple things in life.  Work hard, play hard, learn hard, but also enjoy hard!  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

20 minutes a day

I used to get annoyed by my kids bringing home baggie books every.single.night.  Trying to find the time to sit and listen to four kids each read me a book was a lot. Sometimes, I'm not going to lie, I'd sign off on my  two older sons because they can read a 300 page book in a day- I was not worried about them.  Then, my third son came along.  It's been a journey getting him to love reading.

This year, I vowed to commit to sitting with him for 20 minutes a day while he reads to me.  I vowed that no matter what, I would listen to him read.  I make a point to stop what I'm doing and sit and listen, even if it means dinner will be served 20 minutes late.

Two weeks ago, my kids started bringing home book orders.  I've been less than thrilled with the selection Scholastic chooses to offer on their order forms (I do not particularly enjoy paying money for stories from cartoons or popular movies or ones about zombies) I decided to go to a local bookshop and purchase books for each of my kids instead.  I placed the books on a mantle in our kitchen and told them at the end of the week they could have the books if they did all their chores and homework without complaining.

The lady at the bookstore helped me choose the books.  I told her my 8 year old had trouble getting interested in a chapter book and she suggested The One and Only Ivan.  (I love shopping at a store where the employees really love and know the books).
In a nutshell, this book is about a gorilla named Ivan that was kept solitary in a glass case in a mall in Washington for 27 years.  I love how it is written from the perspective of the gorilla and how heartfelt it is.  We are only 40 or so pages in, but it is a great story so far and I look forward each day to my son reading to me.  Not only are we getting to spend one on one time together, but I can tell already his reading is getting better.
These 20 minutes a day will add up to 3600 by the time the school year is over.  I'm hoping for my son and I to enjoy many adventures through new and exciting books together this school year.  I love that I was able to find a book that is new to the two of us and is based on a true story.  I hope that it will deepen his appreciation for reading, as well as spark an interest in something greater in him.

I've never been a big animal lover, but this book is evoking some emotion, listening to the gorilla recount how many days it's been since he had a visitor, or how mistreated the animals were.  The chapters are short and the words aren't too big.  I believe it could be read and understood by kids as young as first grade, but even adults would enjoy reading it as well.  If I weren't waiting for my son to read it to me every night, I would probably go ahead and try to finish it on my own.

Listening to the story of the lonely gorilla trapped in his cage, makes me think of how fortunate I am to have a loving husband, five healthy kids, and a warm cozy home to live in.  I can't imagine being confined to a room for a day, let alone 9,000+ days.

Ivan doesn't have much contact with other animals or humans.  Makes me sad for him.  Makes me think of people who live alone or who have no friends or who are isolated.

“Is there anything sweeter than the touch of another as she pulls a dead bug from your fur?” - quote from Ivan in the book.  

Take 20 minutes a day to do something that may help someone who is lonely, or needs an extra boost.  In 20 minutes, you could drink a cup of coffee over a short conversation, you could listen to a small story, you could take a short walk, you could enjoy a short meal, you could spread some good cheer, you could provide someone with their only human contact for the whole day, you could make a phone call, or even handwrite a letter.

If you're a parent, take 20 minutes to spend undistracted with your child.  Make them feel special as you spend time with them without your phone, email, or text interrupting.  Look them in the eye when you have a conversation, rub their back, put your arm around them, give them some affirmation that they have your undivided attention and that they are special.

Take 20 minutes and help make someone else's day a little brighter.

Monday, September 8, 2014

It's time to get off the sidelines

This weekend, I spent a lot of time photographing a crossfit fundraiser.  The fundraiser was a memorial for the 9-11 attacks in New York City.  The WOD (remember, workout of the day) had 343 reps to signify the number of first responders who lost their lives that day.  People were encouraged to do the workout wearing gear- it could be fire, military, police, etc.  There are a lot of firefighters who crossfit, so we were fortunate enough to have many uniforms for people to borrow.

Not only could you wear a uniform, but there were different levels of uniform people wore.  Some people just wore the pants, or the pants and jacket, or the pants, jacket, and helmet, and some even wore their masks and oxygen tanks as well.  There were bullet proof vests, weighted vests, jumpsuits, boots, hard hats- it was incredible.
I have been asked "why bother", "what's the point".

I actually started typing this in the morning and got writer's block (that, and my three sons had football games I needed to go to).

During the game, I got really mad because a few loud parents were ruining my experience at my son's game- which, by the way, my sons are 8, 9, and 11- so none of them are paid professionals.  These parents, with their beer guts and wheezy lungs are sitting there yelling furiously at their kids for missing plays or congratulating them on a vicious tackle.  "Bring him down again, then he won't ever want to touch the ball, you'll show him!"  Yes, that is a quote I heard.

It dawned on me how easy it is to know how to play a game when you are not playing it.  The play would have been perfect if they just did it your way, or better yet, you were in there doing it for them.

After the game, it finally came to me- we spend a lot of life on the side lines.  It's so easy to be on the outside looking in, wishing, hoping, judging, coaching, telling, all knowing- it's just so easy to know what to do when it's not you.

How many times have you heard someone complain about a cop or an emergency worker, how the ambulance driver could have done this or that, or if I were that person, I would do it this way.  It is just so darn easy to do it right when you don't have to do it at all.

The military, the news can give them such a bad rep -

Read The Lone Survivor- READ IT- Don't watch the movie, read the book!!! I saw the movie and it is completely different than the book.  That book has changed my life- sometimes I try to imagine myself in a scenario from the book, even just sleeping outside in the dark in my own yard with no tent or sleeping bag- can't even.  His discussion on the rules of engagement and the media's perception of their combat decisions is incredible- it's the basis for the whole entire situation the book is written about.

Back to the workout.  Why bother?  Because we need to get off the side lines, we need to put ourselves in the positions of others sometimes to gain a better understanding and appreciation of how difficult their jobs can be.

My oldest son is 11.  What if he passed out or got seriously hurt, could I lift him- Oh heck yes!  Could you lift a person? Could you bust down a door or break a window.  Could you run up the stairs in a smoke filled house?  Could you chase a criminal down the street?

Now, put your gear on, can you still perform these same actions?
It may seem silly or weird to some people for a bunch of athletes to be hanging out together jumping on boxes and doing burpees wearing fire and police gear- but it sure isn't silly when there is an emergency and you need them to cut you out of your car or jump out a window with your child to rescue them from a burning building.

Two years ago, I photographed this same event- it was about one month after joining this particular crossfit box.  I thought it was cool but honestly, I did not understand the true meaning.

Yesterday, I truly understood the meaning.

Have you ever heard the phrase "until you've walked in their shoes"?  Well, until you've walked in a first responder's shoes, I don't think you can ever truly imagine how heroic their jobs are.  Participating in this event, wearing only a fraction of what they wear- it deepened my appreciation of all first responders and what they are willing to risk for us.

They do not get to choose the color of their shoes, or the weather or the time of day, or how long after they eat, what height they can jump, what distance they can run, which weight they are going to carry, they are put in a situation and have to go with it.  I could recognize the first responders that crossfit, because they were able to move faster and swifter with their gear on, they were able to make their oxygen tank last longer.  In a perfect world, all first responders would be crossfitters (or at least my perfect world).

Take the time this week to thank people you know who are first responders, who have served, who risk their lives for yours, who go undercover to keep drugs away from our kids, who leave their families safe at home to make sure yours are too, who don't get to choose their conditions.  Take a moment to walk in someone else's shoes.

I recommend finding a hero to read about or talk with.  Listen to their story, and their conditions.  Think about how you would or would not have been able to handle it.  Find a situation you are in that you are struggling with and use that hero's story to summon the courage to get through yours.

Strength comes from within.  We all have the capability to handle things we don't even know are going to happen- we can never prepare fully for these things, but heck if I'm going to sit around on the sidelines day in and day out.  I'm getting out of my chair and I'm going in for the play.  You can too!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Tomorrow Sometimes I Don't Love Ya

"Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, you're only a day away."

It's such a catchy little tune- even more catchy to start using, right?!

-I'll do the dishes tomorrow, I just want to go to bed....
My Nana told me never go to bed with a sink full of dishes.  It's so nice to start the new day off with an empty sink and one less thing to worry about.

-I'll take you to the park tomorrow...
I have been saying that to my three year old for the past two months, yep, still haven't gone to the park.

-I'll start working on my consecutive chest to bar pull ups tomorrow, my arms are too sore today.
Well, that was back in March, and guess what, my arms or hands are always going to be sore.

-I'm going to get my kids to love hiking and outdoor adventure activities.
Well, maybe next year because Maeve is too little.  This year, I have too much work to do, we just moved, we just don't have enough money.  It's almost time for school to start.  I just have to finish this one thing at home today and we'll go tomorrow.
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, but sometimes you ruin everything!

Tomorrow can be such an easy excuse.

Why start today when there's tomorrow?

I'll always have tomorrow.

Well tomorrow, screw you!  I am vowing to stop it with my rationale that you will always be there and start living my life today!

A few summers ago, I did a challenge with my kids and we made up a list of stuff that we would not normally try or do and we would get challenge points for attempting or succeeding at the task.  That made life interesting, kept us focused each day- and not waiting for "tomorrow".

Why put off to tomorrow what you can do today.  If my toilet goes uncleaned for one more day, will that ruin my life?  NO!  But, if I don't take my kids back to the zoo to see the dolphin show, will that ruin my life or theirs?  Technically, no- but I made a promise and I didn't follow through to them, so there's a little distrust building here.  Also, always choosing work and chores over fun with the kids is sending a message that they are a little less important.  I'll never forget the Oprah episode I watched when she interviewed a mother with OCD about what memories she'd rather have her daughter have when she was older 1) that the towels were always neatly folded or that 2) she and her mom had tea parties together.
Why does tomorrow seem to always steal the fun and excitement because today is busy cleaning, organizing, and emptying a to-do list.  I'm not suggesting go party all the time and let your house rot until you are a candidate for Hoarders- but take note of how many times you are passing off things you say are important to you with an excuse and the hope that tomorrow is waiting around the corner for you.

Look at your day- how many times do you waste time on meaningless things like checking Facebook or instagram?  Oooh, how many hours do you spend on pinterest looking up cool ideas for things to do with your kids or make for fun family dinners or more inspirational memes to get you pumped to start working out?  At that moment, your kids are sitting on the couch bored watching TV when they could give a care if they do a toilet paper roll craft- they just want to spend time with you.  At that moment you could be lifting a barbell over your head feeling unstoppable.  At that moment, you don't have to be planning that tomorrow you will be doing this and that, you could actually be doing it.

I'm suggesting you live your life, take your to do list and move up the important stuff- maybe if you have ten chores in there, replace #3 with go to the park or read for 30 minutes.

Be sporadic sometimes.  Instead of waiting until this or that happens, take that trip to the mountains or enter that competition you've been on the fence about trying.  Live your life now while you have the passion to do so.

Teach your kids to enjoy nature and expose them to all the wonders of the world now, not tomorrow, because tomorrow, they will be 18 and leaving for college and then you will wonder where did the time go.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I'm not gonna let you steal my fun anymore.

Friday, August 29, 2014

My life is like a chipper WOD

This is an old one from my archives.  I sent this out when I was coaching crossfit back in March.  I've been having a lot of moments this week wishing for a Groundhog Day and I needed to read this as a reminder to myself.  And oddly enough, we repeated this same workout I mention below yesterday, so it was fate.

Sometimes people ask me how I do it.  If you haven’t asked me, you may be thinking do what???  Live my life, that is what.  Honestly, sometimes I ask myself, “self, how do you do it?”, very rarely do I ask, “how are you going to do it?”.

To clarify, I don’t have a bad life, just a busy life- and I do a LOT of things.  I don’t like to be idle, and I like to learn as much as possible. I want to make sure when all is said and done that I made the most of my time on Earth.

A typical day for me consists of getting up at 4:25 AM and going to bed at 10:30 PM.  There are days when I literally don’t even have time to eat-(yes, Dave, I promised I will stop and eat lunch every day!)

People were asking me my advice for the 14.4 WOD (WOD is Workout of the Day).  In this chipper style WOD, are a myriad of things with a lot of reps- at first glance it can be downright daunting.  As I was in the first group from the box to tackle the WOD (go 5:30 AM!!!), I had no advice heading into it, but my own intuition- tackle one thing at a time, worry about nothing else until you finish what you are doing.

Then it dawned on me- I’m good at chipper WODs- partially because I have pretty good endurance, but partially because my life is like a chipper WOD.  Every day is filled with a myriad of activities, dishes, laundry, cooking, dishes, laundry, homework, getting kids ready, coaching, planning, posting, advising, shopping, cleaning, did I say dishes???  There have been days where I wake up and the day is so full, I blink and I’m back in bed again, without ever having sat down.

I cannot approach my days thinking, “how am I going to do this?”, I approach them like, “let’s do this”, I may not be all sunshine and rainbows when I say this (OK fine, I can’t rub the smile off my face when I see a full sink again), it’s true, I just LOVE doing dishes (insert sarcastic laugh), but the truth is, I have no choice but to do what I need to do. 

The same logic applies to a chipper WOD- if you are rowing 60 calories and all you’re thinking about is the inevitable fact that if you get off the rower, you have 50 TTB ahead of you, you are not really focusing like you need to (sometimes looking at the big picture can be pretty overwhelming).  When you are rowing, the only thing you should be thinking is, pull hard to the chest, 1, 2, 3 return—- that’s another calorie, yes, one pull closer to another one.  Not focusing completely on the task at hand can distract you from that task, make your performance drop, and simply weaken your mental edge.

“Slow and steady sets the pace.”

Have you ever seen the movie, GroundHog Day?  Bill Murray just keeps living the same day over and over.  How many times in life, have you wanted a groundhog day?  Some days before 8 AM, I’m ready for groundhog day- have you ever tried to make lunch for four kids, breakfast for five kids, all while trying to get said kids to eat that breakfast, get dressed, brush their teeth and pack their bags (while one is on task, the others will play)?  I’m pretty sure I could tame a pack of wolves now.  

Have you finished a WOD where you wanted a groundhog day?  Most of the times I have not- unless I performed extremely poorly at something I know I can do (double unders).  Here’s the thing, a WOD is something we train for by practicing skills and techniques, but looking at the big picture, what are you using the WOD to train for? Are you doing a competition, are you doing a race, are you just trying to stay in shape, are you challenging yourself?  What are you training for?

“Oh you want to know what I’m training for?  Life MotherF#$%er!”

And that sums it up, my life is a chipper, my WOD was a chipper, my performance in each helps me in the other.  

I have wanted a groundhog day, but honestly, they do not exist.  I cannot wind back time to try to start my day over, it’s just actually not possible.  

The same thing applies for a WOD, you cannot redo a WOD- you can do it again, but it will never be the same- how did you eat that day, what time of day did you do it, how much sleep did you get, did you wear the pink underwear instead of the blue, was it a full moon, did you use the same bar you used the last time, did you come in after a bout of road rage, did you have your protein 55 minutes before the WOD not 60?  All these things and more affect your performance.  Finishing a WOD and looking back, so many things could have happened, but what actually happened was the WOD and you did it.  

Most of the times, we think well if only this or only that- partial truth:  damn it if I didn’t do three sink fulls of dishes yesterday, my hands would be soft and supple and the TTB would have been faster, more truthful truth:  if I do extra TTB once a week after a grip intense WOD, I will train myself to tolerate them more, today was some damn good practice and a great reality check. The WOD is there for training, take from it what you may and move onto the next one.  We always do WODS again, I think we did Fran 4 times last year.  WODS are a dime a dozen, why waste your time and energy on one.  

Our weaknesses are being exposed.  Let’s take this next year to make them our strengths.  

I would love to be able to take away some arguments I’ve had with my kids or re do a day when I know they will be accidentally dropping a glass of milk right at a crucial moment, but it’s just not possible.  I take things away from each experience- kids don’t get glass, be more prepared, etc.  You learn something new every day.

You learn something new every WOD.  Stop focusing on the alignment of the stars during the WOD and start focusing on what you learned.  Own your WOD and your times because there is never going to be an exact redo!

Go into this week remembering that you only get one chance, make it a good one!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What Am I Doing Wrong?

What am I doing wrong?

I found myself asking myself this question the other day- out loud.

How many times have you found yourself asking the same question?

My kids went back to school this week- I wondered where the summer had gone and how we never made it to the water park or to the amusement park.

What did I do wrong- nothing.  We spend a month in Massachusetts- we had football and band practices that couldn't be missed and did not allow time for day trips- We did other things.

My kids went back to school this week and I made lots and lots of lists of things I would get done with all my "free time".

What did I do wrong- the lists didn't get emptied, things didn't get done.  I spent my days filling out questionnaires, doing dishes, laundry, shopping, getting physicals, cooking healthy meals- I wasn't doing anything wrong, there were just other things to do.

My kids came home grouchy and irritable from school almost every day this week.  I found myself asking more than ever "what am I doing wrong".  I had special snacks ready, I had a smile on my face and an extra amount of patience.  I didn't do anything wrong, people get tired, people get irritable, it doesn't mean it was because of something I did wrong.

My neighbor made these cookies that were amazing.  I wondered why my cookies never came out so good- I questioned "what am I doing wrong".  I made over 12 different cookie recipes before he gave me a simple tip- let the butter and eggs come to room temperature.  In many of the recipes, there was oftentimes a comma and then the words "room temperature", but in my hurry to get the cookies made, I was often too impatient to follow this step.  Sometimes we aren't doing things wrong, but we do take shortcuts, which most often change the results we are looking for.

I did a crossfit competition last weekend.  I attempted to bring a weight up to my shoulders that I had never attempted to do before.  Before I started, I told myself I would try, but I had a lot of doubt.  I rushed through and ended up falling down before securing the weight on my shoulders.  I wasn't mad, but I found myself wondering "what am I doing wrong".

My friend sat on the sidelines video taping the lift- after watching the video, I was able to say "wow, that actually looked pretty good, if I hadn't rushed it, I would have had it."  Instead of asking myself, "what am I doing wrong", I found myself using my mistake to make myself better.

There are two ways you can look at "what am I doing wrong"- 1) as a means to better yourself or 2) as a means to wallow in your own self pity.

I'm choosing 1.  Many times we know things we are doing wrong, but we don't want to change them because it means admitting things, changing things, doing things, or having to work harder.

Stop defeating yourself with what you are "doing wrong" and start looking at it as a victory.  If you are doing something wrong, at least you are doing something.  Do it differently next time.  Keep working.  Every mistake you make is one step closer to what you want.

We're going to have bad days, the kids are going to be kids, some meals will be epic fails, it may take you over two years to get a pull-up, your garden may not have grown for the third year straight, but there's always next time, tomorrow, or even next year.  Don't give up and don't beat yourself up.

If you are asking yourself, "what am I doing wrong"- try changing it up and asking "what am I doing right"?

As a constant reminder to myself, I have this hung on the wall behind my computer:

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Making Choices

We all have choices to make.  

Some choices are easy.

Some choices are hard.

Whether a choice is easy or hard, we have to make them.  Many times we don’t even realize we are making the easy ones, they are that easy.

It’s the hard ones, the ones that stop you in your tracks that really burn a hole in your heart.  The ones that you could spend hours debating about either way.
    - Do I start chemotherapy or do I try an all natural, chemical free diet and risk the unknown.
    - Do I quit my job and pursue my true passion.
    - Do I pick up and move to something unknown and potentially great from this place where all      
      my friends are and all I’ve ever known.
    -Do I end this relationship or not

Some hard choices have a clear answer- a path you know you should follow, but for some reason, you can’t bring your self to make the choice.

When I was choosing which college to go to, I wanted to go to Rensselaer.  I got accepted and I got 2/3 scholarship.  I had received a full four year scholarship to UMass Amherst.  I wasn’t sure I’d get a better education there, but I knew it would help myself and my parents to not have to pay tuition.  I made the decision to go, but the weight of the decision did not leave my shoulders.  I knew I had made the wrong choice, but did not change my mind.  One day, in Biology class, I was thinking about Rensselaer.  I asked for a bathroom pass and ran to the payphone to call my dad to write a deposit check to Rensselaer, the burden had been lifted from my shoulders, I was elated to finally be going to the school I knew all along academically I wanted to attend.

Sometimes we know what choice we want to make but we don’t make it.  There are things that affect us, like other peoples feelings, fear, uncertainty, money, friends, etc.

Sometimes we put ourselves and our feelings last. Sometimes you may find yourself in a situation and decide to stay in it, because you want to ride out the storm, you want to be the bigger person, you want to help everyone else, and you put yourself last.  

How often do you put yourself last?

As a parent, as a spouse, as a sibling, or child, you may find occasionally having to put yourself last is the only choice, and that’s ok.  

But, when you are in a situation where you are constantly compromising yourself and your integrity, that is not ok.  You should drop everything and run.

At no point in time should anyone or anything make you feel less than who you are.  If you find yourself in a situation where you begin to doubt yourself and your choices or you have to say “don’t you know me”- consider the choice no longer hard- get out!

I quit my job this week.  The choice was hard, but really I had put myself last for so long, that when I finally put myself and my feelings first, the choice became easy.  

This will not work everytime, but let me tell you, deep down inside, sometimes we know what we have to do to answer the hard choices.  We know what’s best for us and we know situations we should not be in.

Never ever ever ever (times infinity) let anyone make you feel less than you are.  It is not our job or place to tell someone who they are or make them feel small- it is our job to lift them up, to make them better, to help them evolve.  If we constantly go around making people feel small to make ourselves feel better, we are doing a huge disservice to our community.  A community works because of all the people involved working together to make things better, not make themselves better only.

You are amazing and when someone makes you feel small or makes you question your integrity, you walk away- you find a new friend, someone who will lift you up when you are down or help you make a better choice when you are wrong, not rip you apart.

Some choices can be easy when you look at them the right way- 

One thing is for sure, I’m choosing my happiness and my family’s over all else and I’ll be back on this blog more often now.  

Monday, June 2, 2014

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

Over the past few months (year), I have been up and down with my baking.  I have given up sugar for a spurt here and there.  My son has given up sugar for a month here and there, and I have noticed changes in him for the better when he does.

Well, that's part of the reason why I haven't been on here.  It is very hard to have a blog to inspire people to bake and cook from scratch when I am also trying to inspire people to eat less sugar and live a healthy lifestyle.  I'm stuck in the middle.

I'm hoping that those of you who follow me are at the same point and that I am inspiring you to stop buying processed foods and start making your own from home.  I just can't shake eating sugar and sweets and at the times when I have completely given it up, the day I'm done, I just want to eat cookies.  I find that when I bake, I am happy.  When I find a delicious recipe from scratch that I love, I want to share it.  I want to inspire you to get in the kitchen and cook- I hope that you will learn something new and bring it to the table for your family to enjoy.

I am spending more and more time in my kitchen these days, trying to use all fresh ingredients and making more and more on my own.  I seem to make a dessert on the weekends and try to make it last through the week, unless I find a rare gem, like this, which it was made on Sunday for Easter, then again on Tuesday for dessert for the rest of the week.

OK, fine, then again a few weeks later, because after all, there are carrots in them, so they are kind of healthy...  If you have a BBQ or party to go to this summer, I highly recommend bringing these.  You they will not disappoint.
Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies-
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter- room temp (important)
1 egg - room temperature (important)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup finely shredded or grated carrots

3 oz cream cheese, room temp
1/4 cup ( half stick) unsalted butter- room temp
1 tsp vanilla
2 cup confectioners sugar

1) Preheat oven to 350'.

2) In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Set aside

3) In bowl of mixer, beat butter for 2 min until creamy- add in brown sugar and beat again on medium until fluffy.  Scrape down sides.

4) Add egg and vanilla, beat until incorporated, about 1 minute.  Scrape down sides.

5) Add in dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated, scrape down sides of bowl.  Add in oats and carrots, mix until incorporated.  Scrape bowl, then mix one final time.

6) Drop 1 TBSP sized rounds of batter onto cookie sheet.  Bake approx 11-14 minutes.  Halfway through baking, rotate cookie sheet.  Depending on your oven, the cooking time will vary.  Smaller cookies will take about 11 min, whereas larger will take up to 14.

7) Remove cookies from oven and let cool.  Set cookies onto baking rack to cool completely before filling.

8) Prepare filling:  Beat cream cheese and butter in bowl of stand mixer for 8 minutes, will be light and fluffy- I promise, mix for the whole 8  minutes on medium-high.  Add vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat again for 8 more minutes, stopping halfway through to scrape sides once.  Put filling into a bag and pipe onto a cookie, press another cookie on top to make a sandwich.

Makes approx 20 small whoopie pies.

Adapted from Annie's Eats.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

End of another school year

I can't believe another school year has ended.

Day 1:  August 20- Kindergarten, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 5th Grade
Last Day: May 28- Now 1st Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, and 6th Grade (Jr High -yikes)

Monday, February 10, 2014

CrossFit- a community I'm part of

I started sending out motivational emails to members of our crossfit box.  I've been dying to get back to this blog, so I figured I'd post some here because they may help motivate others who read this blog.

This week, I was inspired to talk about the community I've become a part of at crossfit.

A few weeks ago, I was at my neighborhood book club and one of the mom's was talking about how when she went to playgroup with her kids' friends, sometimes she felt uncomfortable because she oftentimes didn't get along with the parents- she felt like the only way she could meet people was through her kids' friends and she wasn't able to choose what their moms were like.

"CrossFit is community."

My kids went to a birthday party yesterday, for one of their crossfit friends and low and behold many of their parents were there and they were my crossfit friends. I did not feel awkward and stand in the corner playing words with friends on my phone because I didn't know any of the other parents, I was able to smile and carry on an actual adult conversation.   

“Everybody is a story. When I was a child, people sat around kitchen tables and told their stories. We don't do that so much anymore. Sitting around the table telling stories is not just a way of passing time. It is the way the wisdom gets passed along. The stuff that helps us to live a life worth remembering.”  -Rachel Naomi Remen

This week, I started a "hands free" rule for myself, from when the kids get home from school until after dinner.  I realized that quick Facebook checks, text messages, etc. were starting to take me away from my life.  I could be having a conversation with my child or my husband, but instead I would be glued to my phone.  Have you ever realized how many conversations you miss because of technology or convenience?  

-ATM at bank, avoid talking to the teller
-self checkout at grocery store- avoid the cashier
-text message someone-avoid the phone call
-order stamps online or from a machine- avoid the postal clerk or mail man
-send e-gifts- why give it in person

These are just a few examples of conversations we are no longer having.  As a mom of 5, if I'm not working, sometimes, I don't even get to talk to an adult all day long, which is why that birthday party meant so much yesterday, my kids got to play with their friends and I got to talk to my friends, like an adult, about things we all enjoyed.

Long story short- at CrossFit, we have to talk to each other- at the Y, we did not have to, at LifeTime fitness, you did not.  

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation."-Plato

We have set classes we prefer to attend.  5:30 AM, it takes a special person to work out at that time, 6:35- well heck there's an application, 7:30- they're all so quiet, hoping Scott won't cancel the class we just created, they're just happy for that time slot, 8:30- if you like to workout alone, 9:30- yes!!! the kids are at school now, 4:30- left work early, they're all business ready to burn off their aggression, 5:30, 6:30-pm- waiting patiently for the new box so they can have kids at the same time and have space in their classes, bunch of fun ladies at 6:30, 7:30- seriously, who works out that late anyways???  

If you don't show up, you are missed.  Have you ever gotten a text asking where you were or even worse, the dreaded Facebook post that you are tagged in, calling you out to the entire box?  We don't just work out together, we know each other, we see each other's weaknesses, hear moaning and groaning that is usually left for behind closed doors.  Talk about peeing our pants or even worse....   We actually have to talk to each other and we want to.  I love hearing people talking happily amongst themselves.  

"Through others we become ourselves." -Lev S. Vygotsky

I'm an adult and I'm having fun.  I read an article about CrossFit recently and it was entitled "where everybody knows your name".  It's true, most people do know your name here.  For most of us, this isn't a place to join and come once a month, we're in it for the long haul.  I do take pride in the fact that almost all of us do know each other, even if our paths haven't crossed yet.  This box is kind of like our Cheers.

Have you ever had that awkward moment when you walk into a class you normally don't WOD with and no one knows you?, then like a miracle, someone walks in that you know and it's the biggest relief, or all of the sudden, everyone just starts shaking your hand and introducing themselves to you like you're a day one.  Gotta love it, you'd never get that at spin class at the Y, you'd just slink into the back on the bike in the shadow with no light above it and go on your merry way silently- Not here!

A few weeks ago, Rob wrote in the Facebook group about how he was so glad to be back after time off from an injury.  I really understood him- you get in this group of people that you can truly be yourself with, without worrying about being fired (like at work) or being judged and then when you don't have it- you realize it was what you were missing in life all along.  For some of us, crossfit is a chance to have an identity (even if it is under the cover of our box nickname), to be who we want to be, or to become someone better.  It gives us the sense of small community that is so oftentimes missed in this fast paced world we live in.  It gives us opportunities to converse with actual adults, to meet people whose paths we would never have crossed before, to put ourselves on an equal level with many others, to give ourselves the gift of health, to give our children opportunities for fitness education, and to just be better.

Is this your first time reading one of these emails- welcome!  You will never be the same.  

“Most of the problems with the bodies and minds of the folks occupying the current culture involve an unwillingness to do anything hard, or anything that they’d rather not do. I applaud your resolve, and I welcome you to the community of people who have decided that EASY will no longer suffice”. 

This week it's Valentine's day- a day which many proclaim as a Hallmark holiday- not me.  I choose to use it as a day to make sure to tell important people in my life that I love them because sometimes we just take it for granted.  I also choose to take it as a day to make it extra fun and special for my kids- if we don't make some days extra special, then they're all just ordinary.  Choose to make this day special for yourself, for your family, for your friends, for a random stranger, for your entire WOD group- you are an adult and you are alive and you have opportunities, don't let them pass unnoticed.