September Review

I can’t believe it’s October already! Though I have to admit, it feels like September was a really long month. I almost forgot that I had written out my September goals, but luckily I pretty much stuck with them. So, let’s review my goals from September and how I stacked up:

  1. I’d like to finish LaMesa’s Excellent titles in agility this month. Well, I already accomplished that within the first day of the month. Yay! LaMesa’s been an awesome little agility dog lately. Here’s hoping we continue working well together. (You can read about her accomplishment, and watch the videos on their blog, Agility On Stumps.)
  2. Meet my September deadline early, and then get a good head start on my October article deadline. OK, so I wasn’t the best at deadlines this month. I did meet my September deadline a little earlier than the actual day of, but I’m still working on my October deadline (which is due next weekend), so I’m not working as far ahead as I would have liked. Gotta do better at deadlines!
  3. Take my women’s multi-vitamin everyday. I’ve been rocking this one!
  4. Get in at least 70 miles of walking this month. Unfortunately I only reached about 65 miles of running/walking in September. If I hadn’t gotten hurt last week, I was going to do a 5 mile run on Wednesday, which would have definitely helped me meet my goal. Oh well. I will repeat this goal for October!
  5. Keep a positive attitude and try to not let things get to me as much as I have lately. Things have started to look up for me lately, so I’m going to say this was a success! This is always going to be an ongoing goal, though.
  6. Work on my kipping pull-ups everyday I’m at the box. Total fail at this one. After I ripped open my hand a couple of weeks ago, I’ve had to take it easy on hanging off of things. So I’ll be working on this, still, and that’s OK!

So I was 50% for the month–that’s OK, I still made some big strides with everything, so I have to be happy with that, right?

Your turn: How’d you do for your September goals? Ready for October?

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Random Friday Musings

Happy Friday!! It’s been a good week for me, besides that box jump incident on Tuesday. I took Wednesday off, minus two dog walks, to rest my leg. I have done a couple of Epsom salt bath soaks to help with the swelling, and lots of icing, and my leg is feel much better. I’m waiting for it to turn into one large bruise, though.

I walked back into the box at Man O’War CrossFit Thursday morning and was warmly greeted by everyone asking how I was feeling. We were laughing about Tuesday morning and decided it’ll definitely be a while before I’m back to jumping 20″ box jumps. And I’m OK with that.

I thought I’d share some random musings from the week to wrap-up the weekend:

  • It’s crazy the things we do that earlier in life we might have thought it was ridiculous. Like box jumps–I’d never see myself happily jumping on them this time last year, and right now I know it’ll be a while before I’m back to that, but I did enjoy them before Tuesday.
  • It surprises me how some pet owners don’t care much for their dogs. I walk my two girls every day, and when I see some dog owners barely enjoying their walks or just letting their dogs run loose in the neighborhood without a collar on, it makes me wonder why you have a dog?
I love spending time with my pups and taking them for their daily walks.

I love spending time with my pups and taking them for their daily walks.

  • Wouldn’t it be great if this weather lasted all year?? It’s been beautiful this week–low 50s in the morning, upper 70s in the afternoon and clear skies. I love this weather! (I just wish I was running more to enjoy it more!)
  • Speaking of running, I’m waiting to see how my leg heals before I sign up for the Race for the Cure 5K coming up next weekend. I know I can walk it if it’s bothering me too much, but I’d rather be competitive.
  • I’m thinking of entering my first CrossFit competition next month. My coach found a competition aimed towards novice and intermediate CrossFitters in West Virginia and I’m thinking it’d be a lot of fun to do one. I don’t think I’ll ever get to the level of our top athletes, so why not enjoy this one?
  • I had two job interviews this week, after weeks of a drought! Both seem like good possibilities, and I’m ready to get back into the swing of things, but it’s just scary to think of the change in career both positions would lead to.
  • Speaking of job interviews, I need to go shopping for a second interview outfit. I might be called back for a second interview and I can’t really show up in the same outfit! It was stressful just finding one, but now two?? Ugh. (I don’t do well shopping.)
  • We’re going to a Cincinnati Reds game Saturday with two friends. I’m so excited because it should be a beautiful day and a good time! I hope to share some photos from the day later.
  • I’d really like to re-do my blog with a new header, but I’m not sure I can do it on my own. But I can’t afford a professional design. Anyone have any tips?

Your turn: How was your week? What are you looking forward to in the coming month?

Attack of the Box Jumps

Wasn’t it just last week I was talking about CrossFit “badges of honor“? Ugh. I probably shouldn’t have said anything. I now have a pretty big “badge of honor” thanks to yesterday’s WOD.

The workout was surely going to be a killer:

7 squat cleans
8 burpee box jumps
9 rounds with a 30 minute time cap

I was working with 65 pounds for the squat cleans and using a 20-inch box jump. After Monday’s WOD (snatches and deadlifts), I didn’t think my legs were too tired, but as I started the first round of squat cleans, I soon discovered they were tired. But I pushed through all 7 squat cleans and started in on my burpee box jumps.

The first two jumps onto the box I could really feel it in my quads. I remember looking over at Cari and Valentina with a look like “OMG My legs might not make it through this workout!” I think it was the third jump that I barely made it up. So I shook my legs a little, did a burpee, then attempt to jump onto the box. It happened so fast: my left toe hit the top edge of the box (while my right foot made it up on top) and I crashed my shin into the box. I  cussed a little and walked away to try to shake it off. A few asked me if I was alright and I thought I was–it just smarted. Then I looked down at my leg…. NOTE: Never look down at your injuries! I saw the scrape all down my shin, even seeing a little white and my mind went into overdrive–is that bone?? OMG Did I break something??

That’s when I got real dizzy and nauseous. I limped to the bathroom and almost passed out. After a while of writing on the floor in pain, I made it out of the bathroom and back into the box. I wanted to get to my phone to have M come pick me up. After I called him, Coach turned the fan on me and tried to help me feel a little better. I basically went into shock upon seeing my leg. It took M no time to get to the box (he was on his way home from work), but it took me 20-30 minutes to be able to sit up without feeling dizzy and close to passing out. Meanwhile, we shared stories of “badges of honor” and Natalie told me about when she got hurt pretty badly on the box jumps.

I came home and rested my leg the rest of the day. I iced it multiple times, took Ibuprofen, and then later in the evening, when the skin wasn’t so sensitive to touch, I did an Epsom salt soak to help with the swelling and soreness. I’m happy to report that the swelling has gone down, but it’s still sore and a little sensitive. I’m taking the day off (minus walking the dogs) from working out, and hope to get back to the box on Thursday (but no jump/running).

This was a couple of hours after coming home and icing my shin.

This was a couple of hours after coming home and icing my shin.

Now I’m worried about getting my confidence back on box jumps. It took me a while to work up to the 20″ boxes–I’ve never been one to have a big vertical jump or anything. Natalie warned me it’ll be a while before I’m comfortable with them again, so I plan on taking my time.

I think the next time I start to boast about my “badges of honor” I’ll think twice–not sure I can get anything bigger than the scrape I have right now.

Your turn: Have you ever had a crash and burn in the gym that’s gotten you thinking twice about why you do what you’re doing? I know for a moment there I thought “Maybe I’m done with CrossFit…” but I know that was just crazy talk!

SQUIRREL! Constant Distractions While Working from Home

We all have those moments of ADD…

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down to write a blog post and then get distracted by something else…

For instance, I wrote that first line, then had to go restart the washing machine. After coming back, I couldn’t remember my thought process, so I left it there and started on the second line. This time, LaMesa wanted outside.

See what I mean? Constant distractions! There are times I feel like my dogs: We’ll be going for a walk in the neighborhood, just trotting along relaxed and happy, when suddenly…. SQUIRREL!

I remember when I first got engaged, the first few weeks I was distracted at my computer when I’d start typing and the office lights would catch my ring…OOOoooo shiny!

Now that I’m working from home, the distractions are easier to come by. For instance, on Thursday I sat down to transcribe some interviews. Everything was perfect: the dogs were quiet, I had the radio on, M was asleep–I could easily get these four interviews transcribed and write some blog posts before lunch time.

That is, until I noticed how (disgustingly) dirty our house was. When was the last time I did a heavy duty cleaning? I tried to ignore the dirt, but then finally I couldn’t stand it any more. I put up my computer and commenced a massive house cleaning. After a couple of hours, the house was cleaned, the lawn mowed, and lunch was eaten. M had woken up and we went to the gym, then my evening was packed. Needless to say, nothing got done.

So I thought I’d look up some tips on how to manage distractions while working from home, to help me and maybe help you as well:

  1. Make a schedule and stick to it. The best way to be productive is to actually have a plan. I’m still doing my workouts in the morning, then walking the dogs. After my shower, that’s when I buckle down to focus on the tasks at hand (which I go over in my mind during our dog walks, figuring out what needs to be done today and in what order.
  2. Separate yourself from potential distractions. This is where having an actual office would be nice. On pretty days, though, I’ve been spending mornings out on the back deck working until the battery runs low on my MacBook. That’s when I know it’s time to take a break.
  3. Be honest with people about your work schedule. Many think that just because you’re working from home means you can easily go to lunch at any time, or chat on the phone whenever. If you’re in the middle of a project, be honest and let them know you’ll get back to them when you’re done.
  4. Have some quiet background music going. Sometimes this works for some people, and sometimes it doesn’t. I find that I write better when I have a constant stream of music on (little to no commercials, so no radio). I can’t handle complete silence.

Now it’s time for me to really focus on today’s tasks.

Your turn: Share your tips for handling distractions while working from home, or even in the office!

I found this here and thought it was hilarious!

I found this here and thought it was hilarious!

Badges of Honor? CrossFit Battle Wounds

You know that moment when you feel like “Yep, it’s official…I’m crazy”?

No? If you do CrossFit, you surely know what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about what some CrossFitters call “badges of honor”…those battle wounds you get from a particularly tough WOD.

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My first CrossFit battle wound was from box jumps. I had only been doing CF for a month or so, so I was working on the 16″ box with a 25-pound plate on top. I started over-thinking things, and as I jumped up, I stubbed my toe on the plate, sending me forward and nailing my shin on the corner of the box. It wasn’t anything horrible, just a small bruise and puncture, but it smarted! (And I still have a little scar from it.)

Tuesday, though, I had that “Yep, it’s official…I’m crazy” moment. We were doing one of our “Tough Tuesday” WODs, and after 80 toes to bar, my hands had had enough (and I still had one more round to go).

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Yep…I ripped my hand open. It didn’t hurt like I thought it would. I didn’t even know I had done it until I looked at my hands. I used the 90 second rest to tape up my hand so I could continue my last round, then instead of doing the last 20 toes to bar, I laid on the ground and did 20 leg lifts. I was proud of my new battle wound…which meant I was proud to be crazy.

I went home and trimmed off the skin and washed it to get the sweat and chalk off. Boy let me tell ya…it hurt like none-other!! I treated it with antibiotic ointment and a bandage and set about my day. It’s healing pretty well, but it makes doing pull-ups or anything that rubs your hands a little difficult.

I had been using a callus shaver in the shower, but apparently it wasn’t enough. Oh well.

Other battle wounds include bruises….lots and lots of bruises. Bruised knees from burpees, bruises on your thighs from clean and jerks, bruises on the front of your shoulders from setting the weight for front squats…

It also makes me think about the battle wounds of a runner–we sport blackened (or lost) toenails and tend to be proud of them.

Your turn: Share your crazy badges of honor from whatever workout(s) you enjoy!

Apple Pie Protein Smoothie: A Cold Taste of Fall

It’s September! But, yet, it’s still like 90* outside. You want to celebrate Fall, but still continue to celebrate Summer. I think I found the best protein smoothie to do just that:

A week or so ago, I had cut up an apple to go with my lunch. It was a big apple, so I had half of it left by the time I was full. I decided I was going to try freezing the slices I had left to later try my hand at a smoothie with frozen apples.

The other morning, I was really bummed that I didn’t have any spinach or plain Greek yogurt to make my normal protein smoothie after CrossFit. Then I remembered about those frozen apple slices. I quickly grabbed up some ingredients and came up with, what I think, is one of the best protein smoothies I’ve ever had. It was seriously like having a frozen apple pie in a glass.

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Apple Pie Protein Smoothie

Half to a whole apple, sliced (doesn’t have to be frozen, but I liked how cold this came out when the slices were frozen)
1 scoop vanilla bean protein powder
1/4 cup of nonfat milk (rough guess–depends on how thick you want it)
Slivered almonds
Ground flax seed
Cinnamon to taste

  1. In a blender, combine the apple slices, milk, protein powder, slivered almonds, and flax seed.
  2. Sprinkle cinnamon to taste.
  3. Enjoy!

Sooo good! You can change it up however you’d like–use Granny Smith apples instead of Jazz apples…use vanilla almond milk…that’s the beauty of protein smoothies–they’re easy to make to your taste!

Running: Good for What Ails You

After my rough Tuesday, I decided I needed a mental break from what’s been the norm lately.

I decided that I needed a day off from CrossFit because I was starting to get competitive with the other girls in my box, wanting to lift the high weights and finish the same amount of rounds as they do (even though they’ve been doing CF longer than me). That isn’t the right mindset to have in CrossFit. You’re supposed to compete with yourself–push yourself to new limits, but don’t hurt yourself.

I haven’t gone for a run in a while because I wanted to rest my knee from that pounding and hope my plantar fasciitis is on the road to healing. Quite frankly, I hadn’t really missed running…up until Tuesday night.

So Wednesday morning I laced up my new Saucony shoes (that were purchased almost a month ago and still in their box), grabbed my running belt, and hit the road. My goal was to just run. I’ve been running/walking the mile to and mile back from Man O’War CrossFit daily, but I hoped to go further than just a mile.

No music. No running partners. Just the sound of my feet hitting the blacktop and my breathing as I struggled against the thick, humid air.

Aren't my new Saucony Rides badass looking? Finally, running shoes for my "special feet" that look cool! Thanks, Saucony!

Aren’t my new Saucony Rides badass looking? Finally, running shoes for my “special feet” that look cool! Thanks, Saucony! (PS Man, my legs look tan in this photo! w00t!)

It wasn’t a fast run, and I did walk a couple of times, but it was a run. And it was what I needed mentally and physically.

3.60 miles in 34:19 of free, pure therapy, without the prescription.

And you know what? My head was clearer. I had a game plan for the rest of the day, and I felt confident I’d follow through this time. I went to Panera later that morning and spent three hours there busting out interview transcriptions, re-wrote my article I lost on Tuesday, and wrote a second article.

I came home feeling so much better about myself and reigniting my confidence in my writing. I just hope it’s something that’ll continue.

Oh, and guess what. After spending an extra long time stretching, and then rolling a frozen water bottle under my right foot, I’m happy to report my knee feels great and my heel is no worse for wear! Though I’m still going to take it easy getting back into running.

Your turn: What do you do to clear your mind? What reinvigorates you mentally and physically?

Hodge Podge: Rough Tuesday, Yummy Cookies, Remembering 9/11

It’s Wednesday…Hump Day. Here’s hoping this day treats me better than Tuesday did.

Tuesday morning dawned way too fast, as it always tends to when I ref the night before. After about 4.5 hours of sleep, I headed to Man O’War CrossFit for my daily torture. The WOD was rough:

20 AMRAP
10 Push Presses
10 Kettlebell Swings
10 Box Jumps

I did push presses at 55 pounds (Rx was 85), used a 35 pound kettlebell (Rx) and did 20-inch box jumps (Rx). I got through 8 rounds, plus five push presses. Needless to say, it was a killer workout, as most of our Tuesday WODs are. I felt so gassed after just a couple of rounds.

The rest of the day seemed to be like any other, until I discovered an article I worked so hard on and finished yesterday was gone. Yep. Two-thousands words gone. All that was left was 1.5 paragraphs. I was devastated. I had a complete meltdown–I’ve never been so upset over an article in my entire career. I’ve had such a rough time focusing on tasks at hand, and working through even the simplest things. It’s an affect of the depression I’ve been suffering from this year. That’s also partly why I feel so tired during my workouts. It’s affected a lot of different things in my life, and I’ve been working on a blog post to address it sometime soon.

So, to combat the sudden meltdown, I took to the kitchen. In the CrockPot I started dinner, which was a delicious vegetarian meal from Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean BlogCrockPot Enchilada Casserole. I chopped up green, red, and orange bell peppers; a sweet potato; used some fresh spinach; and frozen corn for the veggies, and used leftover frozen lentils instead of black beans. The hubby and I topped our servings with Greek yogurt and a little more chunky salsa. It’s such an easy meal that’s so healthy.

Later last night I was inspired to bake–another coping mechanism (eating is a big one, so of course I have to bake something to eat it). Again, Lindsay to the rescue! Earlier she tweeted that she had a recipe in a contest for using avocados, and it sounded perfect. I whipped up a batch of her Peanut Butter Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies for me and M and fell in love. They are so good! I urge you to whip up a batch, then vote for her recipe!

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I’m hoping for a better day today. Of course I haven’t forgotten that this is the 12 year anniversary of 9/11. Everyone remembers where they were when the Towers were struck–I was in Freshman Orientation and Mass Communications, in maybe only my fourth week at Murray State University. My husband (whom I hadn’t met yet) was serving just outside Washington, D.C. doing basic for the Air Force. My heart will always be a little heavy on this day. May we never forget.

Let’s talk: Have you ever overreacted at something that maybe usually wouldn’t bother you?

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

Scenes from the Weekend

Hello and happy Monday! I hope you had a good weekend. I know I had a good weekend, so I thought I’d share some of it in photos.

Saturday kicked off with an early morning WOD at Man O’War CrossFit, followed by a chiropractor appointment for Dally (good news: her swollen disc has healed!), agility work session with LaMesa, volunteering at the Friends of the Dog Park Doggie Paddle, and then hitting the Kentucky State BBQ Festival for dinner with the hubs.

Sunday was much more relaxed, with me attempting a new pancake recipe (corn muffin pancakes with blueberries–rather dry, will have to see about improving them) and a trip to the gym to support the hubs (it was supposed to be my rest day, so I just did a light 15 minute session on the elliptical and then spent 30 minutes stretching out all the tight spots). We cheered the Indianapolis Colts to a victory (which makes up for my Notre Dame Irish and Texas Longhorns losing Saturday) and then relaxed the rest of the day.

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Friday & Saturday’s WODs: Rough! I’m getting better at my Toes to Bar, though–more like Knees to Armpits now. I finished Saturday’s WOD in around 10 minutes.

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I love training agility here–my friend Sandra built this barn with astroturf, Big Ass Fans, and brand new equipment a few years ago. So lucky.

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I went outside the box at the Kentucky BBQ Festival Saturday. Dinner was the “BBQ Sundae” at Fireside BBQ: Bourbon Baked Beans, Key Lime Cole Slaw, and Pulled Pork layered on top. Desert was salted caramel gelato (with caramel truffles) in a waffle cone shared with the hubby, and a couple of cupcakes (Elvis Preseley–banana cake w/peanut butter inside, chocolate icing on top & PB&J–yellow cake w/jelly inside, peanut butter icing on top w/jelly in the middle, split with the hubby)

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Even Dally was taking “relaxing Sunday mornings” seriously.

How was your weekend?

Have you ever tried anything that look gross, but turned out delicious? The BBQ sundae was that for me–doesn’t look pretty, but it was sooo good!

Double Duty Rehab

So remember that pesky patellar tendonitis? And the pesky heel problem? Yeah… They’re still there.

Last week I went to the physical therapist to have some more ultrasound done to my knee and I mentioned my heel hurting. I told Ryan I was doing research and most times my heel makes me think of plantar fasciitis, but other times it doesn’t. He had me take off my shoe and sock and he pressed one spot on the inside of my heel and I jumped off the table. Yep, it’s PF… So, on the sly, he did a little electro-therapy to my heel while we ultrasounded my knee and talked about what I could do to help both problem areas.

After being released from physical therapy a month or so ago, I lapsed on doing my exercises to build up my hips like I was doing (dutifully) multiple times a day. I was still stretching just as much, and while I was getting stronger with the CrossFit, I had to remember that most of the workouts did not work the muscles needed to strengthen around the knee (seriously, squats don’t work?? Yet we do a ton of them everyday!). So Ryan suggested I go back to using my band and doing the exercises at least once every other day, if not everyday, and continue with the stretches. We’re going on month 4 of this tendonitis not 100% going away, and that’s cause for concern.

As far as the PF goes, I need to be more conscious of doing the stretches and exercises–I’ve done them when I’m thinking about them, but not consistently. Also, I might need to take a break from running for a couple of weeks, just to see if that’ll help heel the micro tears. I’m continuing to use my PowerStep insoles (just purchased a new pair in July) in almost all of my shoes, which should help as well. I just need to be more conscious about my shoes/foot strike/etc. right now.

So how am I handling the situation? By doing double duty rehab. Every morning, after CrossFit and after walking the dogs, I stretch more (I stretch a ton before and after our WODs at the box), then I do my band exercises:

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I’m also icing my knee if it feels a little sore, just to keep the inflammation down. And while I’m icing my knee, I roll a frozen water bottle under my foot for massage and icing (in fact, I’m doing both right now as I write this blog post–can I multi-task, or what!?).

Easiest form of rehab: rolling your foot with a frozen water bottle--it lets you do other things while rehabbing!

Easiest form of rehab: rolling your foot with a frozen water bottle–it lets you do other things while rehabbing!

I’ll do heel raises off the curb every time I go outside with the dogs, and lightly stretch.

This not running thing is killing me, though, especially since the humidity has broken and it’s much cooler out! But, I know it’s the best for me in the long run, and right now running with pain in my heel doesn’t entice me as much as it used to…

So that’s my plan of action. We’ll see how well this goes through the next week or two…

How do you handle nagging injuries?