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August 18, 2014

Monday Mumbles - 74

Good Monday morning! Let's mumble, shall we?

1. I got all five kids off to their various places today. First I dropped Vincent off. Ms. Robin shared my joy of having the kids back to school and then said, "Next year, it will be this little guy, right?" and I admitted that it is so hard to think of him going off to preschool. He's gone to her three days a week for his whole life. I have just decided to remain in denial that the day he goes somewhere else during the day is coming. She's been my partner-momma for him and I know he'll miss her when it's time to move on (and so will I!)

2. Last night I spent time blow-drying Dani's and Helen's hair and curling Helen's with hot rollers. Only to have her wake up this morning with no curl. I guess I didn't realize her hair was that fine. So, we heated up the curling iron and got those curls going again.

3. As we got into the car to go to school, Dominic asked why both his mom and dad were taking them. He said, "I can walk in BY MYSELF!" As happy as I am that he is beyond ready to start this adventure he calls "real school," I still wanted to walk him in. So I told him that he could walk himself in for the rest of his life, but today, "Please allow Mommy and Daddy to walk you in." 

4. Harumph. Kid is already marching off to college in his brain, I bet.

5. They had a "Boohoo/Yahoo" breakfast. We stopped in. But I didn't want to stay too long because I wanted to head to CrossFit and get my workout done. I didn't need the temptation of donut holes anyway! And I don't drink Coffee. But Craig does, I think he liked the coffee.

6. I didn't sleep well last night. I woke up around 1:00 a.m. as I had the part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie where the voice interrupts Bill and Fleur's wedding saying, "The ministry has fallen. The ministry has fallen. The Minister of Magic is dead." and then it moves to a whisper of "They are coming." For some reason that was going over and over in my head and I couldn't go back to sleep. Very annoying.

7. It didn't hurt my workout, though. Man it was tough this morning. I love the fact that I feel like such a badass after just about every CrossFit workout.

8. The kids only have a half day of school today, so I don't get the whole day to play. But that's all right. I can't wait to go pick them up (in about an hour) and hear all about the first day.

9. Sarah went to a "Back-to-School Swim Party" hosted by one of the kids in her class Saturday. It is so weird to hear her talk about the game Truth or Dare. I don't know why I ever would have thought kids would have moved on from that game by this generation. I guess there are certain constants. Anyway, here is how Sarah handled it, as I don't think she was too comfortable with participating. She said whenever someone would say, "Who's next?" she and one of her friends would back away from the group enough that no one asked them to do anything or to play, and then they just watched as the other kids would get asked a question or to do something, like jump into the pool or something like that. It all sounded pretty harmless/tame -- it sounded about like what you'd expect from 13 and 14-year-old kids. I'm glad she had fun at the party!

10. Well, here's the photo I know you all want to see -- my kiddos, back at school :)
Individual poses...
These four at St. Andrew's

I hope back-to-school has gone well for all of you.
Have a great Monday!!

August 15, 2014

7 Quick Takes 85 -- the Almost-Back-to-School Update Edition (with Pictures!)

Thank you to Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting the 7QT. I haven't done one of these updates on everyone in awhile, so fasten your seat belt and enjoy the ride!

--- 1 ---
Sarah starts 8th grade on Monday. How fast have the past 8 years gone anyway? Way fast, that's how. I remember walking her into Kindergarten...she was so tiny and such a sweetie. Then we changed schools in first grade and started our time in Catholic school. She was still tiny for so so long.

Pretty Girl
She is no longer tiny. She's growing into a young woman, physically, and maturing intellectually and growing spiritually. I enjoy our talks at night (whenever stuff comes up) and I have a great time watching Friends and laughing with her. I like to discuss Harry Potter and watch the movies with her. She is responsible and I am happy that others recognize this. It's been awesome to watch her land (and keep!) a regular babysitting gig.

She's playing volleyball for school right now and has a spot on a club team for when that is over. She has worked hard to get her skills up and I can't wait to see where she goes from here with volleyball. She's prepared to hit the ground running with school and try to make the A honor roll right off the bat. She's a goal-setter and a goal-attainer and that makes me crazy proud.

--- 2 ---
Dani starts 5th grade on Monday. I can't believe she will be 11 at the end of this month. I hope she enjoys this last year before middle school. She has spent all summer reading everything she can get her hands on. Dani is a speed-reader, so it doesn't take her very long to read things. She's interested in different books than Sarah. She got into the Percy Jackson books and never cared much to read Harry Potter. I have heard Dani practicing her guitar (even though we haven't had lessons this year).

Another Pretty Girl!

Swimming happened this summer was interesting for Dani as she got a taste of winning by winning her heats a few times. I am looking forward to the club team starting up again in September and getting her back in the water for practice.

--- 3 ---
Helen starts 3rd grade on Monday. Yikes! My baby girl in the upper primary grades? Helen has spent some time this summer taking swimming lessons from a friend from our parish. I put Helen in the volleyball clinic this summer and she informed me afterward that she didn't think volleyball was her thing. She really wanted to get better at swimming and give the swim team a try. Twist my arm, ha! I am ecstatic to have another kid interested in swim team. I loved it as a kid and I still love the sport and hope to watch my kids participate in it as long as they want.

How can there be so many pretty girls?
Helen likes to read a bit less than the other two, but she is interested in the Harry Potter books. She has read the first two and is working on the third. But then...I will force the break in reading those books for a couple of years. I love the Harry Potter story, but book 4 gets really dark and really serious quickly and I prefer the kids get to a bit more maturity before we tackle them.

My sister (who was a middle child) shared this on FB yesterday:
Helen's a middle kid...
I think a lot about Helen being my middle child. There's no way that girl can be forgotten, she won't allow it. She's always demanded a large amount of my attention. Even when she was the youngest of three, and the third of four, etc. So...I know many a middle child who grows up claiming they were always forgotten about and unnoticed, but I'm here to tell ya -- My Helen is not one of those.

--- 4 ---
Dominic is excited to start Kindergarten on Monday. He's been bouncing around all over the house the last few weeks asking how much closer the day has come. He is looking forward to wearing his uniform and seeing his friends and everything.

There's a silly boy...
He has read many books this summer. He loves Star Wars and so gravitates toward those when we go to the library. But, he'll sit down and read his Angry Birds Star Wars reference book, too. That boy would read an encyclopedia if it housed information he was interested in. I can't wait to watch him grow this year.

--- 5 ---
Vincent is an active three year-old. I took him in for his well-child visit and he wouldn't say a word in the doctor's presence. That kid talks it up all over the place, but won't say a word to the teacher. The little stinker!

Crazy boy!
Every time we have had Vincent in the pool this summer he has had fun bobbing underwater and jumping in. I don't think he is ready for lessons yet, though. He'll continue going to his daycare. I find I am having a hard time thinking about moving him to preschool whenever that day comes. Ms. Robin has taken care of him three days a week for just about his whole life. He loves going there. I know the day will come when he needs to go to preschool, but for now, I think I'll just choose not to think about it.
--- 6 ---
Craig is still at the casino. For a few hours last weekend, we thought that perhaps a change in role might happen, but then...the bubble popped. I mean, there will be a little change, but not much. He's been doing this work for 10 years now, and he enjoys it for the most part. But, like many of us of our generation, I think he'd like a chance to do something different, a new challenge or something.

Craig also does CrossFit and just last week got his first handstand! I hope at some point we'll be able to get some of the equipment we need to have (i.e., jump ropes, wrist supports, weight lifting shoes, etc) because I think it would benefit Craig -- even more than it would me. I'm so glad he's doing it, though, it's fun to see him get stronger and do more things.

--- 7 ---

You mostly know how I am doing. Just working, CrossFitting, Weight Watching. I love watching my kids grow and look forward to the challenges this school year will bring for them. I've determined that I will NOT be able to travel to Philadelphia in September. craig couldn't get the nights off work and I couldn't figure out any way to have child care while I was gone. I was going to run the Rock 'n' roll half marathon. But, maybe it was a blessing in disguise since money is always so tight...now I can just budget that money into Christmas or something.

My Endless Strength Blog Facebook page is up to 99 "Likes" :) I will make good on my promise to have a giveaway if I get to 100. Just sayin'...

Oh, and the Royals are in first place by half a game. This is exciting folks. It's been WAY TOO LONG since the Royals played in the post-season. Pulling for those boys in blue!!!

Be Royal!
Have a great weekend!!

Be sure to go visit Jen Fulwiler at Conversion Diary!


August 11, 2014

Answer Me This - 6 (and a few Mumbles thrown in at the end)

I decided to link up with the lovely Kendra at Catholic All Year.

I threw in four Mumbles at the end because I like doing 10 things on Monday posts. :)

1. What do you still want to do this summer?

Is it still summer? Ha. Well, the kids go back to school one week from today. I'm not going to say I'm sorry about that. Ever since we've been back from vacation, they've been driving me nuts and been at each others' throats as they've been around each other all day every day for just a little bit too long.

BUT -- I guess I still need to move the buttons out on the jumper I have for Helen and also on the uniform skirt I have for Dani. I'm glad I got all the major shopping done this past weekend. All kids have the shoes needed for school, socks and underwear and all their school supplies. So moving buttons is probably enough. Oh and Sarah needs new volleyball shoes and knee pads. I guess I need to do that, too.

2. What is your favorite kind of pie?

I love a good chocolate silk pie. I actually like all kinds of pie. I love pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and Apple Pie at Christmas. But if I get to pick the pie at any ol' time, I would probably pick a Chocolate Silk Pie.

Chocolate Silk Pie
3. How much sleep do you need each day? How much do you get?

I need about seven hours. I usually get about six and a half. And that is if I am being good and not staying up late watching a show with Sarah. I am a horrible hit-the-snooze-er. I don't know why I don't just get up when the alarm rings in the morning...but I have to hit the snooze about twice. So, I set that clock ahead about 10-15 minutes so I still get up when I need to.

4. Do you prefer to swim in a pool, lake, river or ocean

I prefer to swim in a pool. I don't like the slimy feel of some things in a lake. I've never swum in a river, but I would imagine the same slimy, gross thing applies. I have swum in the ocean. I like it fine, but the unknown re: things like currents, sharks, jellyfish and such keep it behind the pool in preferences.

5. Do you know any poems by heart?

Not anymore. I should read some poetry. I haven't done that in a long while.

6. Do you use the public library?

Yes! Actually just this summer I got into that. I started reading fiction for fun again over the past couple of years as I tried to keep up with some of the things Sarah read. I realized I didn't want to buy the books I was reading and renewed my card at the library. I put books on hold that I wanted to read and when they became available, I read them and returned them. It was great. As I have a renewed interest in using the library, so do my children and now all three girls have a card of their own. Dominic likes to borrow books, too, but he just uses my card for now.

Go visit Kendra at Catholic All Year for more Answer Me This posts!

For you regular folks who know I sometimes do Mumbles on Monday -- here are four more little nuggets for you.

7. I took the boys shoe shopping Saturday. Dominic was so cute -- he says that he needs "tie shoes" now that he is going to Kindergarten. Can you believe how hard it is to find shoes with laces these days? All the shoes have velcro!! We finally found some affordable Stride Rite shoes with laces that were in his size. He wasn't even mad that they didn't have any Star Wars stuff on them. He thought it was much more important to have "tie shoes." Love that kid.

My boys and their "tie shoes"
8. When I took the girls for shoes later, Helen was insistent on having "tie shoes" because both of her little brothers had them. That was unexpected.

9. She also needed a new play outfit. That girl is growing and honestly, she wants to be comfortable. But she also wants pink. So, we found this outfit on the clearance rack at Target.

This is what I get when I say, "Give me a Sassy Pose"

10. So Vincent wanted his picture taken, too. And he also wanted to try and be "sassy" (i.e., hand on hip)

Still working on looking AT the camera these days...

Well, have a great Monday folks.




August 8, 2014

7 Quick Takes - 84

Oh goodness! I have not participated in the 7QT linkup since the end of June! What is going on here?
---Says the slacker...

Thank you to Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting the 7QT.

--- 1 ---
I didn't get a post up for Weight Watchers Wednesday this week. (Like I said, I'm a slacker.) But I am happy to report that I weighed in under goal yesterday to make it a third straight month with Weight Watchers Lifetime status. Woo-Hoo! You know, that is a quarter of the year. I work in the financial industry, so we measure performance for the year broken down into quarters. If I had to give myself a grade for this first quarter at Lifetime Status, I would give myself an A-. I went on vacation and still managed to scrape in and maintain the goal weight. The reason for the minus is that I still want to lose about 5-7 more pounds and I have made ZERO headway in that regard.

--- 2 ---
The Box (CrossFit gym for the newbies) is having a Paleo Challenge in September and I am considering trying it. I have eaten Paleo on my own before, but I'm curious what I might learn if I do the Paleo Challenge. There are some pre-made meals I'd have to pay for and I'd follow it for thirty days. It might be the way to drop the 5-7 pounds I want...but (here we go again) the expen$e. Sigh, will have to research and talk it over with Craig.

--- 3 ---
Guess who no longer has braces --

Pretty Girl
I remember when we started her out in second grade, realizing that if her growth pattern held, she'd be out of them before eighth grade started. And now, here we are...she's in eighth grade, thirteen years old, growing like a weed still (she is 5'5" now!!) and wearing bigger shoes than mine.
--- 4 ---
I actually am quite proud of how Sarah has done with her summer reading this year. She read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this summer. Those are some LONG books. And of course, she loved them. They have to read a non-fiction book as well so she's trudging through some Jell-O cookbook right now. But I love to see how involved she gets with the books she likes. I hope she keeps writing and reading.

--- 5 ---
I am also proud of Helen for improving in her swimming ability this summer. I bit the bullet and hired a swim teacher for one-on-one lessons. I think that was the only way to go with Helen -- she needs the focused attention. She is now doing her front crawl and floating on her back. She's working on getting the back crawl down and from what I understand, though she is still a bit timid in the water, she is treading water at an acceptable level (for safety).

Helen claims she wants to join the swim team like Dani. She needs to get more practice in and make sure she can swim the full length of the pool on her front and her back before I can see if they will take her though. But I do hope she gets there...I love the sport of swimming.

--- 6 ---

Can you believe that school starts a week from Monday? The public schools around here start on Thursday next week. That is just crazy! Not only do the summer days fly by as it is, but the scheduled break seems to get shorter and shorter. I am torn about it. One one hand, I think they need a longer break with fewer breaks during the school year. On the other hand, my kids thrive with the routine. And, I gotta say, they've been at each other's throats since we got back from vacation and they are spending all day, every day together. I guess I am okay with doing whatever they schedule.

**Except for half days. Our school is starting the year off with three days of Noon Dismissal. What? How do kids get back into routine if you have them out of routine for the first three days? I think one Noon Dismissal day is plenty, then go right into the regular schedule. Craig had to take a couple of PTO days to handle picking them up and having them home in the afternoons a couple of days we were not expecting. Oh well...we'll be back to routine soon enough I guess.

--- 7 ---

So, you know how I was trying to get to 100 "Likes" on my Endless Strength Facebook Page? I'm still 2 "likes" away. Fix that for me? KThx. :)

Have a terrific Weekend. And to meet plenty of awesome bloggers, be sure to go visit Jen Fulwiler at Conversion Diary!


August 5, 2014

Why Do I CrossFit?

Since I started doing Crossfit (November 1, 2013), I have received questions about it. People have asked me what it is. People have asked me why I like it. People have wondered whether it is a good way to exercise and questioned the safety. People have told me they are intimidated to try. People have expressed an interest and sometimes turned away at the cost.

I have sent a couple of long messages and e-mails, but for the recent questions I have been asked, I decided to compose this blog post.
What is Crossfit?

Why Do I Love CrossFit?

For the best definition of Crossfit, I direct you to crossfit.com, where it is explained much better than I could ever do it justice. But for the most part, THIS:

CrossFit is many things. Primarily, it’s a fitness regimen developed by Coach Greg Glassman over several decades. He was the first person in history to define fitness in a meaningful, measurable way (increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains). CrossFit itself is defined as that which optimizes fitness (constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity). CrossFit is also the community that spontaneously arises when people do these workouts together. In fact, the communal aspect of CrossFit is a key component of why it’s so effective.
Before I got started, I learned that CrossFit was defined, at its most basic level, as “constantly varied functional movements performed at a relatively high intensity.” I had someone else say that CrossFit focused on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). So, I direct you to the site because it has a LOT of information that was useful to me and could be useful to you if you are interested in CrossFit.

That is the only objective part of this post. The rest are the reasons why *I* CrossFit and love it.

Most people who ask me about CrossFit mention that it is all so intimidating. I will tell you -- I was intimidated, too. However, the coaches and other members that share a love of CrossFit also work hard to take the intimidation out of it. Often we human beings are capable of much more than we think that we are -- we need only get started and through our experience we begin to realize our capabilities.

You could apply this concept to anything :)
Found Here
It was intimidating to head into the CrossFit workouts at first. I was in the poorest shape of all the people there and I was in awe of these people I saw doing olympic lifts in the hundreds of pounds or squatting 200 pounds, or jumping up on boxes and making it look effortless. Here I was not able to snatch or overhead squat even a 35 pound barbell. During the first month or two, there was a workout that required 100 burpees to be completed and we had to pause every minute, on the minute, to do 5 pullups or something like that. I couldn't do pullups yet, so I was stacking three 45-pound plates on the floor and doing jumping pullups. (I still can't do unassisted pull-ups, but I'm getting stronger and continuing to work at it.)

**For those of you not familiar...a Burpee is kind of like a 2-year-old temper tantrum. the movement entails squatting to the floor, thrusting your legs back into a pushup position, doing a pushup and quickly swinging your legs back under you so you can jump into the air and clap your hands (or touch a target or something). I liken it to a small child throwing himself to the floor and getting back up only to throw himself down over and over again.

Okay, about that workout...I was the last one to finish. But, I finished it and I realized that I really could do 100 Burpees. I only needed to tackle one at a time, like I did everything else. The others who completed the workout ahead of me were gathered around cheering me on to finish. They helped me keep track of how many I had remaining and as I finished, they fist-bumped and high-fived me and told me how great it was.

Two great things happened that day: 1) I no longer felt intimidated by Burpees (or anything else!) Just tackle them one at a time in a good rhythm and eventually, you finish them; 2) I felt like I could continue to do CrossFit forever. I really appreciated the support I got from the other members and made a mental note that someday it will be me finishing the workout ahead of others and I must remember to encourage them in a similar way.

What are the workouts like? My experience is that there is a warm-up, then there could be some sort of gymnastics work (handstands or things like that) and usually some olympic lifting work. This could be (and usually is) followed by some strength training work. Finally, there is the WOD (workout of the day), which could be a timed AMRAP (a time is established in which we complete the exercises listed and get "As Many Rep/Rounds As Possible) or there could just be a list of things to do "for time." A lot of the times, the workouts are variations of cross-functional movements mixed in with some weight and there is usually a cardio component to it. Every day, you record your results on the whiteboard -- it's the accountability portion. There's something about writing down what you finished that provides a sense of accomplishment. It's interesting to see all the other results -- not necessarily to compare yourself to them, but just to see if someone had a great day and congratulate them.

All of the workouts have the Rx version and the Scaled versions are listed as well. For example, I am unable to do unassisted pullups yet, so if the Rx is sets of pull-ups, then I would "scale" that to banded pullups, or jumping pullups or ring rows. There are lots of ways to build strength and progress. I did ring rows for the first few months, then I started being able to do banded. I had a month or two between trying jumping pullups and was astonished when I only needed to stack two 45-pound plates to jump from and still get my chin up over the bar. It's been fun to finally be able to put "Rx" after my score once in awhile (though not on any WOD that includes pullups--yet!)...and even if I'm doing scaled, I can see my improvement on those as well.

There are also Benchmark WODs that go by name. They are usually named after Girls or Heroes. They are scheduled far enough apart that you should be able to check your progress. I had a goal to do at least one of these Rx and I hit that this summer, after working out consistently for eight months.

The main thing I can say about completing the WODs is that I am spent after every workout. I rarely, if ever, leave CrossFit feeling like I could have done more that day. I am sore every day, no matter how fit I become. And...I love that.

What about the Results? When I decided to try CrossFit, I was in need of something that would retain my attention and enthusiasm for regular exercise. Over the years I have taken up running and/or swimming at various times. I have done some group exercise classes, too. But I always needed to have a race in mind to keep my motivation for running and/or the annual corporate challenge swim meet to keep my motivation for swimming. Most group exercise classes didn't jive with my schedule either. But, keeping my focus and attention was the highest priority. Also, I HAD to see results quickly. Of course, I was coupling it with my weight loss efforts and my motivation to lose the extra weight I'd been carrying for many years was high. But the results that kept me going were things like lifting heavier weight, being able to do some of the movements without resorting to "scaled" and seeing an overall improvement in my fitness level.

The number one reason I continue to CrossFit and why I love it IS the results. I am stronger, faster and fitter today than I was yesterday. And I have been able to say that every day since I started CrossFit. Sure, I can look back at November 1, 2013 and compare it to today and see a woman now who is 32 pounds lighter, loads stronger, swims/runs faster than she ever had before and who can touch her toes to the bar, can do strict push-ups (man-style, even!!) and is getting closer to that unassisted pull-up. But the results didn't just magically appear 8 or 9 months down the road. I started seeing results the next day. I was sore, by golly, but I was stronger. I told myself that every day -- that I just want to improve myself today. Back when I started, I couldn't fathom what 8 or 9 months in the future would look like -- I didn't know that I'd finally be able to do a push-up in plank position all the way down and back up. All I knew that first day was I needed to do full-range/hand-release pushups so I could build my strength from today to tomorrow; And I needed to put one foot in front of the other and run; and I just needed to get up on the bar, get in position and lift -- and once I lifted that weight, put a little more weight on and try again. I surprise myself often with what I am able to do.

My quality of life has vastly improved with my fitness. A year ago, I was sad to turn Helen away because I told her she was just too big for me to pick up and hold anymore. But now I pick her up and carry her sometimes. We got this picture while on vacation --

I love feeling strong enough to mother my kids they way they want me to
-- I love being able to pick up my baby girl! Last January, I pickup Vincent up and had no idea the strength I had -- I almost flung him into the ceiling! I had exerted a lot of effort thinking I needed it to pick him up -- and with my new strength, I didn't need it at all. All summer, I have been getting in the pool with my kids, running around in the backyard playing with them and feel good doing it.

So, if you're interested in trying CrossFit -- look it up in your area and head in there to give it a try! You'll never know if you don't.

A Facebook friend and fellow blogger, Rebecca at Shoved to Them, posted a comment on one of my updates shortly after I started CrossFitting that has stuck with me:

"It is the very best feeling to be strong."

Yes, it is.


July 30, 2014

Weight Watchers Wednesday (22) -- Vacation Edition

It's Wednesday and we're talking Weight stuff. :)

the last few weeks have given me the opportunity to test out my new lifestyle changes within the framework of a vacation. I had two weeks off work, we traveled and we had some fun.

Road Trip Food Choices
We went to the grocery store the day before we left for the road trips both times and purchased food to make sandwiches, got some easy-to-take/eat fruit and some other snacks. We spent about $50-60 each time but it was well worth it to have healthy food to eat and not be left with the option of HAVING to eat at McDonald's or something. My food choices for the way out: Diet coke, Turkey and cheese sandwich, string cheese, grapes, Special K protein granola bar, water.

It is about 16 hours from our house to my sister's house, so we did the bulk of it in the first day, spending about 12 hours on the road, and then the rest the second day. The first night, we stayed in Knoxville, TN and enjoyed dinner out with the family at Cheddar's. While I was in the losing weight phase, I avoided this restaurant because their dietary information is not found ANYWHERE and they will not provide it to you when you arrive either, so it's difficult to gauge the points values of anything I ate. But, I had decided I wasn't going to track while traveling and just try to make good choices. But...that night at Cheddar's, I did overeat. And I felt very BLAH afterwards. The hotel where we stayed had hot breakfast the next morning so we did that before we left and got to my sister's a little later than lunch time.

Obviously, spending 12 hours in the car for one day and staying in a different city, I didn't do any activity on that first night. I had planned well and ensured I did crossfit the Thursday before I left. Then when we arrived at my sister's, I changed my clothes and went for a run before I started drinking or eating. Best. Decision. Ever. It was great to shake out the old bones after being in the car for 1.5 days.

We stayed at my sister's for a full week, so we paid the "drop in" fee for the local Crossfit (Crossfit Lake Wylie) and went EVERY day, Monday through Friday. They had a 7:00 a.m. WOD which fit perfectly with my idea of not-so-darn-early and not-late-enough to blow my entire day.

By Saturday, I was looking at some more days in the car and such. I knew I didn't want more than two rest days in a row and I hoped to be back in KC on Tuesday early enough to hit crossfit, so that meant Sun-Mon rest days. So, I got up and had a lovely run in a light rain.

Food Choices while staying with family
Thankfully, I was staying with my sibling who has the best penchant for hanging onto money, so we didn't eat in restaurants or anything. We split the grocery bills when we'd go and get stuff and we ate our meals mostly at home. She has a grocery store in her area that has organic and natural stuff that has a $5 sushi night and we went out there and bought the boys pizza and ate sushi (yum!!). One of the days I stopped by Bojangles after Crossfit for breakfast biscuits (there is not a Bojangles where I live and they really do have the best biscuits). And since QuikTrip is open in SC, too, I still got my diet coke when I wanted it.

On Friday night, Craig and I met Rebecca and The Man for dinner as they were traveling to their vacation destination and passed by close to where we were. But even Pad Thai is a good choice for a restaurant.

The main thing I did that I don't normally do while staying with my sister was snack. When I am at work all day, I have my lunch and usually a piece of fruit for a snack. But when i was around my sister's and while we had the little ones -- crackers, cheese, chocolate -- those types of things were readily available and I didn't track it and I didn't tell myself "no."

We stopped by my mom's on our way home and that night was pizza night. I ate a little too much of that, too.

Returning Home
When we got home, we had to hit the grocery store. Then, I had Sarah's 13th birthday celebration where some of her friends joined her at a restaurant/arcade type place. Sarah and I shared a burger, which was good, it was much too large for one of us to eat, and it cut down on the cost, too. Double-win! Thursday was our 15th wedding anniversary, so we ate Mexican food. Then on Friday, I took Sarah shopping and we had lunch at Bo Ling's -- Pad Thai again! :) Saturday was the triathlon and it was taco night, too. But then, Sunday, I got "back on the wagon," so to speak. I started tracking again and set my point goal for the 26 WW allows you when you are losing weight. I've continued that pattern through today.

One thing I kept in mind as this vacation was coming up was that I didn't want things to get out of hand. My history tells me that if I go completely unchecked, I can start down a road that will require a lot of hard work to get back to where I am now. So, I knew I would exercise throughout my vacation (and I did). I knew there would be an end to my "vacation-eating" and there was. I knew I wanted to keep the goal to step on the scale for my first weigh-in of August and be at goal (or within 2 pounds) so that I will not have to pay and can continue to get my Lifetime Member E-tools. All three of those things helped me to enjoy my vacation without slipping up enough to cause an all-out failure.

The Good News
I stepped on the scale this morning (it had been 4 weeks since I weighed) and I was 161, which is one pound over goal. I still have until the first August weigh-in to continue to get things back in check, but I am very pleased with that still.

I found this image while searching Pinterest and I really like it, so I'll share:


I'll be back after my August weigh-in! :)

July 28, 2014

A Different Kind of Event

Saturday was my first Triathlon. Before I did it, I thought that it might be my only triathlon. I hadn't trained as well as I had wanted, due to vacation timing. There was a great group of women who met up to train together and I kept having conflicts while I was not on vacation. But, even with the training not quite there, I still felt quite accomplished at completing this triathlon.

Laying it all out the night before
The race was the WIN for KC triathlon and it is a women's only event. It is a sprint triathlon and the distances are 500 meter swim, 10 mile bike ride and 5K run. We got there early and got everything set up. I am so thankful for the lady who drove us there as she was handy with an air pump and aired up my tires. I am not good at knowing what air pressure I should have in my tires. Thank goodness she knew!!

How I had it set up before we started
The race itself was an incredible and difficult experience. I made it more difficult by not doing as much triathlon specific training as I should have. But thankfully, my fitness base is strong since I have been doing cross fit and running still.

Many of you know that I am a swimmer. I swam competitively growing up so I didn't think much about the swim itself, other than I freaked out about having to do it in a lake. I am NOT a lake swimmer. I like my chlorine, thank you very much. However, to do a triathlon, I had to get over that and just do it. I did ONE lake training swim. Not nearly enough to prepare me to swim as well as I wanted to. Swimming in a lake is different from swimming in a pool and that was evident in the fact that I didn't swim 500 meters anywhere NEAR as fast as I thought/hoped I would. That being said, I felt good in the swim...I didn't panic or have any anxiety about it...I just tired much more quickly than I think I would have if I had done more lake training swims. Or heck any swimming at all. Because we put our Y membership on hold while Dani swam the neighborhood swim team this summer, I hadn't had access to a pool either. Oh well, live and learn, right?

The transition to the bike went pretty well. I ran up the hill and toweled off my legs and put on some shorts and a pair of shoes for the ride. The difficult part for the bike ride was that I hadn't trained on the bike at all. I had simply ensured I could still ride one (after 20 years!!) and borrowed a friend's mountain bike so I would have something. I had ridden it a few miles a couple of times and then gone on vacation where I didn't get on a bike at all. So, I made this part of the triathlon much more difficult by not really doing a good ride at least twice before the triathlon. The fact that I hadn't ridden much ensured I had no way of gauging the distance. I remember thinking "What...the...???" when I saw I had only gone 3 miles. The good news is that the 7 mile marker came up much faster than I expected.

The next transition was not as fast as it should have been because I wore the wrong shorts to bike in and they were all wet. So I changed into another pair of shorts. I also changed my shoes to my current "running" shoes and put on socks. It wasn't terribly long, but it could have been about a minute faster if I would have worn a triathlon suit or something.

In addition to not swimming in a lake enough and not riding a bike enough, I also never did any "brick workouts" to prepare for this thing. So I was woefully ill-prepared for how the run would feel after biking 10 miles. Therefore, the run felt horrible and I couldn't will myself to go any faster. But the best part was seeing friendly faces on the trail anyway.

All that being said, it was the most incredible feeling as I crossed the finish line. It has been 8 years since I completed my first (and only) marathon, but the emotions that roared to the surface were similar. They announced every participant's name as we crossed the finish line. I loved that...I was listening for my name and it came across the speaker just as I hit the line. It was cool. I crossed the finish line, returned my chip and got my medal and then I started sobbing. It was not pretty, but it felt beautiful. :)

Here's what I was looking at as I finished the 5K
When I started down this road to a much healthier lifestyle 9 months ago, I did not set a triathlon as a goal. I set goals that were manageable -- lose 5 pounds, then lose 5 more, workout 3 days a week, then workout 4 days a week, then try to make it to 5 days a week. I didn't set out to increase my max lift on the back squat or to run my fastest 5K ever, or to complete a triathlon. But the end results of the changes I have made are just those things. Just Monday of this week, I attained a personal record in the back squat, smashing my previous PR by 20 pounds. Back in May, I ran the 5K distance the fastest I ever have. And Saturday, I completed a triathlon.

Throughout all of this, I have had the amazing support of my husband and my family, all of you dear readers, and a small group of women who commiserated and supported me in a Facebook weight loss support group. One of those women completed the triathlon on Saturday, too. It's such a huge thing to decide to do something like a triathlon. And of course, for some people, it's deciding to do a 5K or deciding to do a marathon, or deciding to try crossfit. All of those decisions are big decisions that deserve our respect and support. I love that my husband joined crossfit with me -- he's NEVER done anything like that in all his life. I love that you readers have supported me in reading and responding to my Weight Watchers Wednesday posts. I love that a couple of women in that FB weight loss support group have done 5K's and then the one who did the triathlon. These are big deals! It was incredible to see all the women doing the triathlon on Saturday. It was a supportive, uplifting experience from start to finish. And there were so many women who were completing the triathlon for the first time. That is so incredible!

Old friend, new friends
All three of us were completing our first triathlon
I think I will do another triathlon. Maybe lots of other triathlons. As difficult as it was, I found I enjoyed the mental challenge of doing three different races in one. An online triathlon group I joined is continuing to have workouts and I am trying to shuffle my schedule so I can make more of them even though I am not signed up for another triathlon right now. I need more work and I can learn so much from other women who do these races. I plan to get fitted for a road bike and start watching craigslist to get a bike I can afford. I'll even shell out the $$ for a triathlon suit, before the next one.

This t-shirt was a gift from the friend who did her first triathlon, too. I love it so much!!

My new favorite shirt!!
So if you're reading this and you are thinking about making a change -- whether you just want to be more active, or you want to lose some weight, or you just want to do something with other women that benefits you physically, think about doing a triathlon. Or a 5K. or Crossfit, even! 

I can say with 100% confidence, I have no regrets about any of the changes I have made in the last 9 months. It's all worth it -- because I am worth it. 

You are worth it, too.