Sunday, November 10, 2013

Why I Lift

Five months from my last post and I am still doing the CrossFit thang! It almost seems unreal that I have kept up with ANY fitness endeavor for so long. I thought I would update you on my progress.

In 5 months... 

  • I am 28 pounds lighter
  • My baseline workout (21 - 15 - 9 reps of squats, pushups, sit-ups) finished 15 minutes faster
  • I am 4 pant sizes smaller
  • a bra cup smaller :(
  • My deadlift improved 75 pounds
  • My back squat improved 70 pounds
  • My push press improved 40 pounds
  • I haven't measured it, but I can run further before walking
  • I use my asthma inhaler way less
  • My joints hurt less
  • I went from working out 2-3 days per week to 4-6 days per week

...but those reasons are not enough to stand the test of time to keep me showing up week after week when I've hit a weight loss plateau (for the past month), or I feel like I'm not improving like I should, or when the 20-somthing year olds are still leaving me in the dust.

Why keep going? Two main reasons:

1)          I found something I love. If there's a barbell, kettle bell or slam ball involved, then it's game ON! I feel powerful. I can take on the world. I especially love Olympic weight lifting. When the workout includes a barbell, I'm loving it. Even when I'm laying in the "recovery position' and often dead last afterwards, I feel accomplished and athletic. FIND SOMETHING YOU LOVE TO DO! I'm not bashing other avenues of fitness, this is just what clicked for me. Try out different things, get a friend involved!

2)         I figured out what I was fighting for.  We've all seen the trite "fitspiration" memes on the interwebs that say "to look good naked" or "nothing tastes as good as thin feels". I'm sorry, but those reasons make me want to vomit. I don't know about you, but that's not enough reason to make such a lifestyle change when you're sweating your toenails and pushing yourself harder than you ever thought you could. I had a hard time nailing down my reasons until I read a post Find Your Fight by Nate Miyaki and it was like a lightbulb moment for me! I'm not the same person!

I'm fighting...

  • for my health - I have psoriatic arthritis and my increasing weight and couch potato experience points weren't doing me any favors
  • to not feel weak and incapable
  • to be a good example for my patients and to earn more trust as a healthcare provider. You might not trust a skinny cook, but you certainly have trouble trusting a fat healthcare provider giving health advice.
  • against empty nest syndrome 
  • loneliness and boredom 
  • to feel comfortable in my own skin. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Drinking the Cr-ool Aid

Okay, so that was a terrible attempt at a pun for a title, but I'm sure you're not reading this for my literary prose. (By the way, why ARE you reading this? I've been gone for months!) Anyhoo, I have restarted posting on my blog to tell you about my newest love, CrossFit.

WAIT! Don't click away yet! Don't look at me like the Amway salesman or those college kids selling magazines! Now, if you're looking at me up and down like "um, YOU do CrossFit?" with those disbelieving eyes at my spare tire and badonkadonk, then you'd be more on target. Do any google image search on CrossFit and you will have pages upon pages of muscled guys doing pull-ups and lifting weights. Go on and look, I'll wait. It's verra nice eye candy.

I remember looking up CrossFit about a year ago after falling down some internet rabbit hole on exercising. I quickly decided to mind-save that for later when I had lost weight and restarted running again.  I thought it was way over my head and only for serious athletes and the nearest "box" was 30-35 minutes away, so running is what I did...over...and over...and over... until I read this article: Why Women Should Not Run. The article had me thinking about my current "training" and why I never really felt "fit" by ONLY running. I continued to stay overweight. I dove back into the rabbit hole and came up with CrossFit again. I saw that a "box" had opened in my town a year before and mustered up the courage to walk in for the first time.

Apprehension was an understatement. I showed up to the "Ladies Only" class, got a tour, explanations on what is CrossFit and noticed that the women were of all body types. Instead of technical weight machines with little computers, I saw barbells, jump ropes, weighted balls, kettle bells and and pull-up bars. A little less anxious now and ready to work on my "baseline". "Baseline" is also code for "you're-really-gonna-suck-hard-so-you'll-have-room-to-improve". Baseline consisted of the following performed for time: 21-15-9 reps of push ups (I did girl pushups), sit-ups (CrossFit situps were easier on my back) and squats with a 200 meter run between. Sometime after my arms and legs decided to quit cooperating, I finally finished the baseline DEAD LAST. CrossFit: the only sport where the last to finish gets the most applause and encouragement.

Was I sore? Hells to the yeah. Did I feel like an 80 year old who had been hit by a truck for a few days? You betcha. But I also discovered that I had worked out muscles that the Y had never found. I also knew this was to be expected for the first day, but somehow people move on and KEEP GOING. My coach was adamant that I not give up on myself and even messaged me on Facebook a couple of times to make sure I was okay. Determined not to be THAT girl who gives up after one class, I went back, and back, and back.

Am I the picture of fitness? No. Have I improved? YES! Do I have to scale down a workout or do a modification of a modification of an exercise to make it work? Yes, and that's okay. Leaving your ego at the door helps prevent injury. After only 3 weeks, I have more strength and better endurance than I ever could have going to the Y in the same amount of time. The numbers on the scale did go up initially, but over 3 weeks I have lost 9 pounds with the addition of a Paleo-ish diet. My last WOD (Workout of the Day) I wasn't even last! I feel SO GOOD after accomplishing a workout, I wish I could bottle it.

Is this for everyone? No. I too, heard the stories of someone doing CrossFit and injuring something. However, I have injured my back picking up a pencil out from under a coffee table before. I had to weigh the pros and cons for myself. I could sit at home, sitting safely on the couch, knitting in front of the TV while watching my weight increase and my strength decrease. I could wait for an everyday task to injure me, or eventually succumb to diabetes, hypertension and heart disease that seems to run in my family. I have back issues and I feel the strong core building component is helping rather than hurting me.

Call it drinking the Kool-aid, Cruel-aid, whatever! I challenged myself to 90 day Paleo with at least 3 days per week CrossFit. I will let you know how it goes. I have already taken some before pictures...and have promptly thrown up in my mouth a little bit.

Edited to add: I do NOT advocate the "Women Should Not Run" blog article, only that it made me re-examine what I consider fitness. I still run and love doing it. My CrossFit box includes running as a daily part of our warmup. I just realized that there were other things I wanted to do in the world of fitness that have benefitted me greatly.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Traveling With OCD

It's a little known fact (if you know me quite well) that I have a touch of "the OCD". Now, it's not pathologic or clinical (or I'm in denial) but just enough to make it either an endearing quality or annoying as hell.

Traveling has a way of amping up my OCD superpowers and I have been known to check to see if my boarding passes have been packed...say...twelve times without blinking an eye. I'm not the type who can throw a few things in a bag with a moment's notice. I need PLANNING, PEOPLE! 

Back to the boarding passes, and resort confirmations...etc... I like to have them in ONE place in my bag but don't like that they get all crumpled (I told you, I am the queen of OCD on the planet OCD in the universe of OCD). I went to the local office supply store to see if I could find a small little half sheet sized folder to carry these in. Nope. Not a one. They were all too small or too large, or too papery, or too flimsy... and my porridge was too cold. Not to despair! Folder hack to the rescue! (insert Billy Mays-esque videos of people unable to hold paper folders and clumsily dropping and tearing them beyond recognition. Cue in angelic spotlight to behold...

My modified envelope with the original size:
It was really a "duh" moment when I was staring at the large vinyl envelopes and deduced that you could easily cut one up and sew it up to the dimensions you want! (I know, did I just use the "S" word?) 

I used a rotary cutter and rotary ruler to cut it apart, but you could just as easily draw lines with a straight edge and cut it out with a pair of scissors. I used the snap as my middle gauge. Since a standard sheet of paper is 8.5" wide, I allowed for 1/4" on either side for the seam and added another 1/4" on each side for ease of being able to shove in the paper goods = 9.5" wide (I parked the snap at 4 3/4" on the ruler to make sure I got it in the middle) and hacked up the sides. I wanted the overall depth of the envelope to be 6" so I lopped of the bottom. Here's what it looks like in pieces

Snap the pieced envelope closed (to make sure you sew it in the right place) and using your sewing machine sew (the SEW! It burns us!) a 1/4" seam up the sides and bottom. I also rounded the corners with scissors because I'm fancy. Voila! No crumple, vinyl document container for your travel bag!

The first one I made was a bit smaller than I needed, so I'm using it to store all of my keepsake Christmas cards. See anyone you know?


I also used gardening velcro to contain my charging cords in my suitcase!

This stuff is pretty awesome. I bought it at Home Depot to stake some rather large, top-heavy Dahlias I tried to grow in my garden. Come to find out, this stuff has multiple uses. One side of the strip has the soft plushy side and the other, the bumpy grabby side (stop me if I'm being too technical here) and it sticks to itself.  I've used this stuff to wrangle TV/stereo wires and cords. This stuff is WAY cheaper than velcro cord ties you can buy in electronic stores. Excuse the crappy iphone pic.

I must add, that I am typing this post because I got distracted while packing. Maybe I have a touch of "the ADD" too?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Cinnamon Clay Ornaments! No bake!

I know what you're thinking "who is this long lost soul who has magically appeared in my feed reader?" (read feeder?) To answer your questions:

1) I am still alive. I didn't have the ever popular fake internet death. You still may send money and flowers.
2) Running? Meh. Not much. It's winter dontchaknow! I know, I know...I do live in Texas where we only get about 2 days of actual winter, but I hate that it's dark when I get home. My body literally wants to hibernate this time of year. I did participate in a crazy fun 5K recently. Pics to follow later
3) Knitting? Yes please! I've been making warm woolens for my sister and her family in Virginia. Oh sister, bro-in-law and the children that she bore just for me picked up and moved for his job. I know! ROOOD!
4) Still single (wink wink) fighting off the throngs of men with sticks as my milkshake must be bringing them all to my yard. They're trampling the grass. GET OFF MY LAWN!

So, to get to the REAL reason I re-opened up my dusty ol' blog... Cinnamon Clay Ornaments! (and all the grammar and punctuation mistakes you can eat. Seriously, I just write the way I think. Don't choke on an ellipsis...)

They may look delicious, but they are completely inedible. They will make your house smell wonderfully cinnamony for days! My mother kept a few that I had made for 10 YEARS so they also last a long time

What you will need:

1 1/2 cups ground cinnamon + extra for dusting when you roll out the dough. I find cinnamon in 16 oz bulk containers which works perfectly!
You may also add cloves or nutmeg if you just want it for smell-icity
1 cup applesauce - I used sugar free to help discourage critters eating them
1/3 cup white school glue

Mix the measured cinnamon, applesauce and glue in bowl until it creates a dough.

Dust your work surface with cinnamon, plop down some dough, dust with more cinnamon and roll out to 1/4" thickness or so.

Go nuts with cookie cutters! Remember to make a hole in the top of the ornament to hang them by. A drinking straw works great for this.

Place cut out shapes on a cookie cooling rack and allow to air dry for a few days. The thicker you made your ornament, the longer it will take to dry. You can also set them outside on a dry sunny day to help speed the process.

TIP: Because I didn't want my cooling racks tied up with ornaments for days, I went to Home Depot and purchased a gridded light diffuser found in the section where they sell fluorescent lighting. The shapes dry quite well and you aren't tying up your cooling racks!

When dry, this is where you can have fun with decorating. I used dimensional fabric "Slick" paint to "ice" the ornaments.

I also used glitter sprinkled on the "iced" cookies, but my favorite was cheap, tiny seed beads. While paint is still wet, hold ornament with an old spatula (that you don't care if it gets messed up with paint) hold over a bowl and sprinkle on the beads. Rinse, lather, repeat.

Allow to dry and use ribbon to make hanger loops.

Make the ornaments ahead of time and have a decorating party during the holidays!
I made personalized ones to use as Christmas present labels!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

You Think You Know Me...

This is just for funsies, to see how well you know me. These are things that I say, or have been known to say and pretty much outline the structure of my brain. Fill in the blank with what you think I would say. The person who gets the most right the firstest will win 50 awesome points. GO!

1) Texas Heritage ______________!

2) What an apartment locator would say ____________________

3) Cool  _________

4) Listen to the message, ____  _____, _______ ________

5) Disco _________ is real

6) Your _________

7) ___________ beer

8) I like to picture Jesus as _______________________ (this can have multiple answers)

9) da wool, da wool, da wool is on fi-yah _____________________________________

10) I'm ________________ of here

11)  If you use WebMD to research a health problem, it will say you either have _____________ or __________________

12) My most frequently used texting emoticon __________________

13) ___________________brings all the boys to my yard (easy. Can be anything)

14) When the world slips you a Jeffery, _____________________________________

15) Knitty__________ and Marsh________________

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

The sun in shining, the air is warming, the birds are singing. I step outside and breathe in the crisp air wanting to spin around like Julie Andrews on a hilltop when I turn, and see...

...the neighbor's graffiti-ed refrigerator sitting in their driveway and hear their 2.5 year old roof tarp flapping in the wind, while their yappy little yap-dogs yap away at nothing as usual. I sigh, realizing the peaceful sounds will be short lived when the teenage boys finally wake up and decide to lift weights in their garage to the sounds of thumpthump gangsta rap most of the day. I glance down to see their white, male tomcat cower under a dented Trans Am watching my every move. We have a hate-hate relationship. I stamp my foot in a show of force as he flinches and arches his back. Yes, I hate you too.

This cat has decided to conduct his nightly kitty war meetings on my back patio. Most nights at 0-dark-thirty, I awaken to the yowling and growling of cat war. Once, there were even bloody cat prints on my patio. I used to get up, and charge outside armed with only a broom and brave the unmistakable pungent tang of cat spray to chase off the invaders. This no longer works. There are three of them. A tripartite of cat-ass-trophe (sorry for the pun. Couldn't resist)

I was advised to use everything from vinegar to citrus rinds to cayenne pepper to deter these feline hooligans, but deduced that all I was doing was marinating my patio. I placed cheap wire fencing around the patio, but they jumped it anyway and the patio just looked like a fenced concrete prison yard. I placed faulty, blinking, staked solar yard lights to confuse them. I filled the open corners in the fence with bricks, limbs and other yard crap to make it harder for them to enter my yard. I TRIED to play nice, I TRIED to deter rather than punish.

I bought...a BB gun.

Now before you sic PETA on me and fill my comment page with hate comments, I bought the lowest powered plastic pistol that shoots plastic BB's. It will do no more than sting for a few moments but still get my point across. I made use of it the other night with a long haired cat and can say that 1) he has not been in my backyard again and 2) I have seen him in other yards since  and he is no worse for wear.

I just want to be able to sit on my patio and sip coffee without smelling cat spray.

Go ahead punk...make my day

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Miss me? Sorry about dropping a New Years flaming bag of blog post on your doorstep and running away into the night for 3 weeks! Yet here I am again to toilet paper your brain with my mindless drivel. For those of you who actually READ my blog, thank you...both of you.

I actually have been sticking to my New Year's resolutions. I am eating better, I have resumed running and am "working on" treating myself better.

Running: This is where the title of this post comes in. I've been jumping on the hamster wheel of endless torture treadmill and/or hitting the track about 5 times per week with maybe a hiccup or two here and there. I have a life, you know! don't laugh So far, I've mainly been walking but have incorporated more running.  I have to say my fitness progress isn't as bad as the first time when I started from nothing, but it's still hard. Gotta start somewhere, eh? I restarted the Couch to 5K program. I am planning on running a half marathon in 2012, so I have plenty of time to train.

Food: As an AA sponsor is to an alcoholic, my Lose It! app is to me. In true OCD fashion, I enter what I eat and it calculates the calories for me. I can choose how many calories I need to eat to lose "X" number of pounds. It has charts and graphs and everything. The best part is my daughter uses it too and the program lets us see each others achievements! Of course, I can choose what I want to show up on her side. I may not want her to see the marshmallow and coconut microwaved concoction I came up with last night to use up the rest of my calories.   ahem  I was talking about eating better, wasn't I? Ah yes, I also go to the local farmer's market once per week for fresh veggies. I eat healthier things, it keeps me out of the grocery store a bit longer and I'm supporting local business. Win! I have lost some weight, which is making exercise MUCH easier. If you want to "friend" me on Lose It, look me up!