Happy Halloween! Scary Candy Facts

Happy Halloween everyone!! This is usually one of my favorite holidays–I love going to haunted houses with friends, and I get excited to have trick or treaters at our house (growing up on a farm in the country, you don’t get many). Unfortunately this year we just haven’t been able to get into the Halloween mood–no haunted house visits, no visits to a local orchard/pumpkin patch, no pumpkin carving. But, I’m still determined to enjoy the trick or treaters (even though Lexington has pushed TOT back to Friday due to impending storms tonight). LaMesa will probably even dress up for the occasion:

LaMesa the Swedish Minion.

LaMesa the Swedish Minion.

No one can deny the wonder that is Halloween candy. I mean, c’mon, candy corn?? LOVE IT!

But this online post made it a little scarier to dip into our candy bowl while waiting for trick or treaters: Ohhhh, the Halloween Horror: Thinking about Candy in Burpees

Now that’s just mean, to make something as innocent as a little Reese’s Cup seem like death. Here are a few stats from the article for a 140 pound woman:

220 cal (5 Reese’s minis) / 1.11 (at 140 lbs) = 198 Burpees

200 burpees for just 5 Reese’s minis?? Oi vey! I shared the article with my coach at Man O’War CrossFit because we all know how much CrossFit coaches love burpees. Thankfully he didn’t tease us with candy during the workout this morning. But I think this morning’s workout allows for me to enjoy the holiday a little:

20131031-123923.jpgI finished in 31:45. That’s almost 2 miles of running, plus burpees! Whew! I didn’t the Rx, but instead 45 pounds for the power snatch, 55 pounds for the power clean, and 65 pounds for the power jerk. At first it all seemed easy, but then you have to remember you have to do those movements again…after running…and after burpees. Ugh. My legs are toast!

Now it’s time to settle down and do a lot of transcribing and article writing–8 freelance articles are due by the end of November! Happy Halloween!

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Your turn: What’s your favorite part of Halloween? Are you dressing up yourself, pets, or kids?

 

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Depression Affects More Than You Think

This post has been months in the making. I started it in August…then re-worked it in September…and now it’s October. This has been tough for me to really wrap my head around and come to terms with. I have been suffering from depression.

My depression was caused by a catastrophic life change earlier this summer, when my world was rocked and I began to question everything I’ve come to know about myself. Now that I look back on it, I think I was battling the initial stages/signs of depression for almost a year before things finally snapped. I was so miserably unhappy in my job and where I was career-wise, I barely had any support from those I worked with, minus a few friends. There was no direction as to what I could really do to make things better, until it all just came to a blow.

I was also dealing with some personal issues, too personal to really talk about here, but I believe it definitely contributed to the state I’m in now.

I’ve talked with a counselor and with my general practice doctor. I’m on medicine with the idea it would help balance things out, help me concentrate and focus again, and be my old self. It’s not meant to be a forever thing–only to help me get through this rather rough patch…whenever that might be.

I started back down this road of “getting better” with the intention that it would happen quickly…but it hasn’t. I know things can’t be solved overnight, but some relief would be nice.

The scary thing is? They say you get good endorphins by exercising…if I’m still feeling this way even after a kick-ass CrossFit workout and 2 mile walk with my dogs, in the fresh air, how much worse could I feel if I didn’t workout as much as I do??

I’ve been using CrossFit as my escape lately. I’ve gone everyday, and when I can’t go it sends me deeper into the mess I’ve been feeling.

I’ve seen my sister struggle with her depression and other issues when we were growing up. I never imagined I could suffer from the same thing–I always thought, “I’ll never be like that…I have everything together…”

Apparently I don’t have everything together. I’ve spent my entire life trying to live up to such a high standard that maybe I’ve set for myself, or maybe it’s been set for me…but for me to admit what I used to consider a fault is hard.

It’s really hard.

But I’m trying.

I’m trying to think positive.

I’m trying to make my body move often.

I’m trying let go of a lot of things that hurt me.

I’m trying to forgive the people that have hurt me.

I’m trying to not let this crush me and change me for the worse, but instead push me to change for the better.

Change

 

I hope this post is the positive right step. I’d appreciate any support or any words of wisdom. For now, I’m trying to keep my chin up and mind clear.

Your turn: Have you dealt with, or do you know someone who’s dealing with, depression?

CrossFit: Fit to Fight it Out

Just as I was trying to get back on a roll with my workout posts, I skipped a week…fail!

The past two weeks has mostly been CrossFit. I did squeeze in a couple of runs, but nothing to really brag about.

We’ll hit the first four (missed) workouts at Man O’War CrossFit:

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Monday: This was a workout that I was excited to get going because I was hoping to get a new PR. I ended up improving my clean PR from 105 to 110 pounds! It felt good to have a new PR in the box because it had been a while.

Tuesday: Pull-up hell! Plus we had to clean our barbells, so that meant not being able to really squat a whole lot. I stuck with 65 pounds through the whole WOD because my arms were getting tired from all the pull-ups. I was able to finish the WOD before the 15 minute time cap.

Wednesday: Cardio hell! This was a rough morning workout. Ryan and I were the only two in our class, so we pushed each other and fed off of each other–I liked that. On the Every Minute On The Minute WODs, you tried to give yourself as much time to recover and catch your breath. I’d finish the 15 wall balls in about 30 seconds. I did the AMRAP with a 42 pound kettlebell and did 4 rounds. The last EMOTM was rough, though!!

Thursday: Yet another chance at a PR, only with the dreaded snatch. I didn’t do as well on this as I would have liked, but the snatch is a very awkward movement and I’m still working on my form. I lost my record, but I think I got 65 or 70 pounds.

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Friday: This was a long, rough WOD, but I finished in under 25 minutes. Our air squats were changed to goblet squats with 35 pound kettle bells, which were also used with our lunges (I changed to 26 pounds for the lunges after a while). By the time I got to the box dips my arms were like JellO and I placed my foot down to help stabilize,

Monday (this week): Another rough cardio WOD. The weights were done with kettle bells, so I used a 35 pound bell. All I could think about was trying to get everything done quickly because I did not want to do any more 100 meter sprints! By the time I got to the burpee tuck jumps, I really was only able to do three tuck jumps, then I just hoped to try to get some air between my toes and the floor. Still working my way up, I did the box jumps on a 12″ box with a 45 pound plate.

Tuesday: We worked on our basic movements of split jerks, yet another awkward movement that we don’t work on as much as maybe we should. I got up to 75 pounds with a push jerk and split jerk. I started to feel some soreness in my right shoulder/bicep so I took it easy on the WOD with just 55 pounds.

Wednesday: This WOD wasn’t as hard as you’d think it was. My shoulder/bicep was still giving me trouble (Taylor says it’s bicep tendonitis), so instead of handstand push-ups, I did ring pulls. I did singles until the end and did 10 double-unders–I’m still trying to get consistent with my double-unders and I knew it’d take me forever to do that many.

Running:

I squeezed in a couple of runs in the last two weeks. They weren’t really for distance, but just to get out and run. Last Wednesday I ran 2.5 miles because I just wanted to get in a good sprint. I finished with a pace per mile at 8:30–pretty impressive!

Then on Sunday, I had planned a 5 mile run but I just wasn’t feeling it. I took a route that I knew had some turn offs, just in case I couldn’t finish the run. I’m glad I did–when I got to about 3 miles, I just wasn’t feeling the best, so I turned for home. I got in 3.61 miles in 32:53 (avg 9:07). Hey, a run’s a run.

Overall, I’m doing better physically–I just need to figure out my eating. I don’t feel like I’m eating a lot, but maybe just not the most well-rounded diet.

Your turn: What’s one improvement you’ve seen in your workouts and/or runs in the past two weeks?

LaMesa, the Swedish Minion

This past weekend the pups and I took part in an annual tradition in the dog circle in Central Kentucky–the Woodford Humane Society‘s Canine Olympics. It’s an afternoon spent with dogs barking, playing, running, mostly-canine-related vendors, and many different events you can enter your dog in to compete for gold, silver, and bronze medals. It’s one of the humane society’s largest fundraisers, and it’s always a good time.

There are a lot of different events you can enter your dog in: hot dog splash (how fast your dog can bob for a hot dog in the water), straight line dash, agility course, best trick, dress your dog dash, frisbee catch, outfield catch, etc. They also had Halloween costume contests, one for different sizes and then one for most creative/homemade costume. For a long while I’ve talked about dressing LaMesa like a Minion from Despicable Me because I felt she was like my own personal Minion.

So with the extra time I’ve had on my hands recently, I decided to try my hand at making her costume. The result earned us the bronze medal in the Most Creative/Homemade Costume:

LaMesa the Swedish Minion

LaMesa the Swedish Minion

It was a lot of fun, and I was actually quite impressed with my creativity on how to create the costume. She actually didn’t mind wearing the costume, which can be difficult for some dogs.

One of my friends, Merinda, is a very creative person when it comes to things like dog costumes. She’s made her Corgi, Porter, into Lady Gag (wearing a meat dress), a skunk, and a dinosaur. But this year, she went all out with her two dogs, and channeled the recent controversy of Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke’s performance at the VMAs:

Complete with a Corgi-sized foam finger.

Complete with a Corgi-sized foam finger.

Priceless, huh? It was hilarious! I was so impressed with her craftsmanship!

Overall, the Stump Kids came home with 5 medals out of 8 events: Dally won a gold medal in the Dress Your Dog Dash Under 10″ and silver medal in the Cookie Toss Under 10″; LaMesa won a gold medal in the Dress Your Dog Dash Over 10″, silver in the Agility, and bronze in the Most Creative/Homemade Costume.

Bringing home the gold...and silver...and bronze.

Bringing home the gold…and silver…and bronze.

Dally didn’t have a real costume for the competition, but I did make her a funny t-shirt that fit her Corgi attitude, it said “I’m with stupid” and an arrow that could be pointed in any direction.

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I’ll probably have LaMesa wear her costume on Halloween to help with the trick or treaters–they’ll get a kick out of it.

Your turn: Do you have plans to dress up for Halloween? How about your pet(s)? Children? Share your costumes!

CrossFit: It’s All Mental

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the six months I’ve been doing CrossFit at Man O’War CrossFit, it’s that this sport is just as much mental as it is physical. But, then again, so is running. Maybe that’s why I like it so much?

I came to this conclusion last week, as I started to work towards getting back to my 20″ box jumps since my accident a few weeks ago. About a week after the accident I did a competition WOD that included burpee box step-ups, which was the first time I had done a similar movement to that day. Taylor said it was a positive step in the right direction.

Then last week I started working back to jumping the standard height, but by using the 12″ box with a 25 pound plate on top to add some height. I had been working, by myself, in a separate room on the box jumps because I didn’t want all eyes on me. In my mind, I assumed people were thinking, “Will she be brave enough to get back up there?” etc. Most likely no one was really thinking about that, or judging me in any way, but you can’t help but think about those things and maybe doubt yourself when you’ve had a scary incident like I did.

Let’s face it: BOX JUMPS ARE SCARY!

Slowly building back my height for box jumps, which also means slowly rebuilding my confidence in the box.

Slowly building back my height for box jumps, which also means slowly rebuilding my confidence in the box.

But I pushed through, pushed out all the doubts and concerns, focused on a spot on the floor to blur out everything else, and just jumped.

And then I did it again this morning, completing 50 box jumps on a 12″ box with a 45 pound plate on top. To my right was Taylor, working on 30″ box jumps. A couple of times I saw him stub his toe on the edge going up, a lot like what I did, and I winced–he caught himself and kept going without losing rhythm, and I kept looking straight ahead, telling myself to just keep jumping.

That’s what we tell ourselves–just one more. Keep pushing. Keep going. You can do it. Without that mental cheering, would you be able to get through a WOD? I don’t think so. I know I definitely needed it to get through today’s “fun”:

Today's WOD was a test of physical and mental conditioning.

Today’s WOD was a test of physical and mental conditioning.

CrossFit is just as much mental as it is physical. You have to make yourself believe you can deadlift how much you weigh before you can even wrap your hands around that barbell. You have to give yourself that pep talk as you walk through the doors, telling yourself that yes, you’re tired, yes you’d rather be sleeping, but think of how bad ass you’re going to feel in an hour.

MentalToughness

Considering everything I’ve gone through this summer, I relish these mental breaks when I walk into the box. It’s the one of the few things any more that keeps me going every day. Yes…I go to CrossFit 4-5 days a week, but it’s because I need it mentally. CrossFit makes you feel like you can tackle the world after completing a WOD. It empowers you in so many ways.

Your turn: How do you mentally prepare for a tough workout or run?

Sometimes You Just Gotta…

A little bit of a random post today, but I got to thinking on my short run Tuesday afternoon. Sometimes you just gotta get some stuff out of your head and written down…

Sometimes you just gotta…. Push yourself on your form during a CrossFit WOD. You have to put your ego and urge to increase your weights aside and remember that without perfect form, you can hurt yourself as you increase your weight. I had to remind myself of that Tuesday morning at Man O’War CrossFit. The WOD called for overhead squats, front squats, and rear squats, all increasing in weight. As the workout progressed, I knew I’d be tired, so I stuck with 55 lbs for all three, making sure I kept my chest up and went below parallel each time.

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Sometimes you just gotta… Eat a lot of carbs. Monday night was my last night of reffing sand volleyball for the year, and one of my favorite teams came from Cracker Barrel and brought me a box full of their biscuits, which I love! It was perfect for the chilly evening, and I might have a few too many by the end of the night.

Sometimes you just gotta… Give the house a good scrubbing. After my workout on Tuesday, I just couldn’t take how dirty the house seemed to be! The last week or so has been one of neglect when it came to household chores. So I broke out the mop and bucket and scrubbed the hardwood floors. There’s something about a clean house that quiets the mind and relaxes me.

Sometimes you just gotta… Run. I’ve been itching to go for a run lately. I’m not sure why, but after said CrossFit WOD, dog walk, cleaning the house, and doing some yard work I laced up my running shoes and set out for the 2.5 mile loop around the local park. I finished the 2:58 mile loop in 21:57 (8:30 mile average, woot!). It was hard, but I felt so much better after I ran and took a long relaxing shower. I’m not sure why I needed to run–maybe it’s because I knew this was the last warm Fall day we’ll probably have all year (maybe the last shorts/t-shirt run of the year?). I’m so happy I did, though.

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Could this have been the last run in shorts for the year? I hope not!

Sometimes you just gotta… Be silly. I have been working on a Halloween costume for LaMesa for this weekend’s Canine Olympics and I hope it’s going to be epic! I’ve been wanting to dress LaMesa in this costume for a while now, and have been trying to figure out how to do it, and I’m so excited that I did. Every time I have her try it on to make sure everything is coming together well, I just can’t help but laugh and smile. I’ll post photos when she debuts her costume. Hopefully we’ll bring home a couple of medals.

Your turn: Finish this sentence: “Sometimes you just gotta…” 

Happy 40th to an Inspiring Couple

Today celebrates my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. Crazy, right? In this day and age when a lot of people easily just give up on each other and divorce like nothing matters, to be married for 40 years and still going strong is so inspiring, especially since M and I just celebrated our first anniversary.

My parents haven’t had it very easy–they’ve dealt with many stresses like lost jobs, debilitating diseases, injuries, in-laws, etc. They’ve bred and shown some of the top dogs in the country, raised some very headstrong daughters, built houses, harvested hay, and started and cultivated businesses.

I’m very lucky to have such wonderful parents that have been supportive in every way possible for my sister and myself. They never told me “no” when it came to something I wanted to do that would allow me to follow my dreams. Instead of just giving it to me, though, they taught me about hard work and helped me achieve what I wanted. They’ve always been my biggest cheerleaders, and I hope I’m their biggest cheerleader.

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Now they’re on a new life path: with my mom’s surgery, they hope they can tackle many more years together.

Unfortunate blurry photo from Christmas 2012. I can't wait to compare this year's photo with my mom's weight loss!

Unfortunate blurry photo from Christmas 2012. I can’t wait to compare this year’s photo with my mom’s weight loss!

Happy 40th wedding anniversary, mom and dad! I love you very much and thank you for being the best influences I could ever ask for!

Your turn: What’s the longest marriage you personally know?

Sore Traps & Triceps: This Week’s Workouts

Happy Friday!! I’m so excited for the weekend to be here–normally for me the weekend is just any other day right now, but this weekend we’re heading to Tennessee for an agility trial with the pups. The weather should be gorgeous and it’s at a new facility, so I’m excited for a change.

I realized that lately I’ve skimped on posting my workouts. Just because I haven’t been sharing them on here doesn’t mean I haven’t been busting my bum, don’t worry! I’ve actually noticed that I’ve lost some more weight, but still gaining a lot of muscle.

This week was a little light on the workouts at Man O’War CrossFit. Tuesday I had a job interview in Louisville, so I used that as my rest day instead of the usual Wednesday. Then instead of running my 6 planned miles this week, I did extra long walks with the dogs (my IT band was bothering me a little after my 5K this past weekend).

So here were the WODs I did this week:

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Monday’s was killer, especially since my quads were still sore from the 5K and previous week. I did back squats at 105 pounds and deadlifts at 115, and averaged about 25-28 wall balls every minute. The 3×400 took me about 7 minutes or so to do, with the 2 minutes rest in there.

Wednesday made my arms so sore for the rest of the week! I did 70 pounds for the thrusters, then 65 pounds for the hang clusters. For three of the rounds I did my toes to bar on the ground, meaning I laid flat on my back with my arms out to the side and raised my legs up and down–we didn’t have any chalk in the box and I didn’t want to risk tearing my finally-healed hands again.

Thursdays are generally our partner workout days. Ashley and I teamed up, crushing the firs 800. We went into the WOD thinking we’d do two circuits, then switch, but after a couple of rounds Ashley could only do one at a time, while I continued doing two. I couldn’t tell you how many I ended up doing, but it was at 65 pounds, and towards the end that last push press sucked!

Friday should have seemed easy because it was all body weight, right?? Wrong! We’re talking 100 pull-ups, 150 push-ups, 200 sit-ups, and 250 air squats. I used rubber bands for the pull-ups, and did almost all of the push-ups on my toes. My bum is rubbed raw from using the ab mat on the sit-ups–those suck! And I’m sure I’ll feel my quads tomorrow morning.

Overall, I pushed it hard with the weights this week! My traps, triceps, and quads are all sore, but in a good way. I’m feeling stronger every day and I love it!

Your turn: Any tips for ab mat sit-ups and preventing bum-burns? 

How We Celebrated 1 Year

As you may recall, Sunday was our one-year wedding anniversary. But since M was scheduled to work 12 hours that day, we celebrated a few days early with a day trip to Cincinnati to visit the Cincinnati Zoo and have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory (which is always a special treat for us). Here are some pics from the Zoo:

LOVE the giraffes!

LOVE the giraffes!

Bet you didn't know....

Bet you didn’t know….

A lot of the animals were sleeping when we were at the zoo, including these lionesses.

A lot of the animals were sleeping when we were at the zoo, including these lionesses.

Including our delicious cheesecake with a sweet note from our waitress!

Soooo good!

Soooo good!

But I still wanted to do something special on Sunday, so while he was at work, I braved the torrential downpour and headed to Whole Foods where I bought some crab cakes from the meat department (two different kinds: one jumbo lump crab cake with breadcrumbs, the other gluten free with peppers for a different flavor) and some green beans with swiss chard from the hot bar. I wanted to create a meal that would remind us of our wedding and our honeymoon–I enjoyed lots of crabcakes in South Carolina, so that’s where those came in, and then I baked cornbread muffins with honey to remember the cornbread served at our reception. I also bought some salad mix and made my pumpkin butter vinaigrette, and served a Moscato wine. Needless to say, it was delicious:

Dinner, minus the salad and cornbread muffins.

Dinner, minus the salad and cornbread muffins.

Then, as tradition holds, we cut into the top layer of our wedding cake. I have to admit, we were a little nervous about eating the cake that had been sitting in our freezer for a year now, but it was still pretty darn good! Just a little dry, but the cream cheese filling was still smooth. But just in case, I bought a couple of gourmet cupcakes to celebrate.

Remarkably, even after a year this tasted pretty decent! (I've had "fresh" store-bought cakes that tasted worse.)

Remarkably, even after a year this tasted pretty decent! (I’ve had “fresh” store-bought cakes that tasted worse.)

Then came the gift I got for M. The first year is traditionally a paper gift. We’ve saved ticket stubs from different events and places we’ve gone to ever since we started dating more than four years ago. So I took quite a few of those ticket stubs and handouts and wanted to make a better way to display them. I found a canvas frame at Michael’s that I thought was perfect, so I spent a couple of weeks working on my project. First I painted the canvas black, then I Modge Podged the ticket stubs (just like when I made my running bib display). For the photo I chose the first photo we had taken with each other. Perfect!

Then, since we’ve had such a crappy, rough first year, I decided I wanted us to toast to the next year being good luck, so I bought a couple of scratch off lottery tickets and a PowerBall ticket. (Unfortunately all three were losers, so let’s hope that’s not indicative to the next year’s luck…)

The "memory frame" and lottery tickets was my creative contribution to our anniversary celebration.

The “memory frame” and lottery tickets was my creative contribution to our anniversary celebration.

Unfortunately the tickets were all busts...whomp whomp. :-(

Unfortunately the tickets were all busts…whomp whomp. 😦

It was a great way to celebrate the first year, even if it wasn’t the most romantic in some ways, or taking a trip like we wanted to do. We have the rest of our lives for that!

Your turn: How have you celebrated special moments on a different day?

Race for the Cure Recap: New 5K PR!

Saturday I did something I’ve never done before: I did day-of registration for a race. I used to plan months in advanced and train specifically for a race, but with all of the training and running I’ve been doing lately, I knew 3.1 miles would be fine. I woke up early Saturday morning to help M get ready for work and I had to decide between going to CrossFit or run in the Race for the Cure downtown. I was still pretty sore from Friday’s WOD, so I decided it’d be fun to go for a shake-out run with 8,000+ of my closest friends.

I met up with a couple of my friends before the race and did some dynamic warm-ups and stretches. The weather was uncommonly warm–I remember running in long sleeves in past Race for the Cures, but this time I was able to rock my SweatPink tank!

I went into the race just wanting to push myself and see what my time would be. I haven’t run in a race since the Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon, but I’ve always loved the Race for the Cure–it was my very first 5K (first race, period) back in 2009, and I’ve only missed it once (which was last year because it was the morning of my wedding and I didn’t have the time to squeeze it in).

The start of the race was crazy–so jam packed with tons of people. I ended up starting near the back half with my friends because we lost track of time, but it wasn’t too hard to weave in and out of traffic. It’s frustrating to me how some races don’t separate runners from walkers. They’ll announce “Walkers, please line up in the back” but most don’t follow and will be in the front. I think with bigger races like this there needs to be staggered starts (a couple of years ago they actually ran 2 races–one timed for the competitors, one not timed that started 30 minutes after…it worked great!). It was an out-and-back course, which is a change from years past, so that was a little boring. However, it was nice because the first half was all uphill, while the second half was downhill. Towards the end of the race I actually started to get tired–my legs had finally worked out their soreness, but now they were tired–but I saw the finish line up ahead so I kept pushing through.

No wonder I was feeling so tired: My final time was 26:46 (official chip time)!! I crushed my 5K personal record by more than one minute from the Alltech Countryside Canter last November! According to my RunKeeper app, here were my splits:

Mile 1: 8:34
Mile 2: 8:37
Mile 3: 7:55

Did you see that third mile?? 7:55? That’s the fastest I’ve ever run a mile!

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I felt awesome, totally proud of myself. I remember when I ran this 5K the first time in 2009, I walked once or twice. This time it was like a walk in the park. I have to say that I haven’t felt so fit and so strong ever in my life. I’m running only once or twice (if I’m lucky) a week, and doing CrossFit at Man O’War CrossFit everyday, and I think that has been a big difference maker for me. I’m so much happier after discovering CrossFit.

The results still aren’t up, so I don’t know where I finished in my age division, but that’s OK!

Your turn: What was your first 5K (or race)? How different do you feel now compared to then?