Combining Two Passions: Horses & Healthy Living

I love horses. And I love fitness. I’ve run in two half marathons (training for my third now) and am an avid CrossFitter. I’ve always been active, but I’ve gotten more so as I’ve gotten older, and I’m obsessed with following healthy living blogs. So when the opportunity to combine my equine passion with my fitness passion came up for the Equine Chronicle, I jump at the chance to interview two competitors on the Quarter Horse and Paint Horse circuits and see how they attempt to live a healthy lifestyle in a world where fried foods usually reign.

If you’ve ever wondered, can you be a healthy equestrian athlete on the road, Melissa Sachs and Erin Shapiro Boatwright have your answer: YES!

On top of this article, I started an online article series, happily working with Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean. I’m so thankful for her insight and willingness to help. It’s a great series and I’d love for more ideas on how to grow it.

First up, the initial article:

HealthyHorseShow_Page_1 HealthyHorseShow_Page_2Read the rest of the article here: Healthy Horse Show Living

And now, the initial article for the online series: Healthy Horse Show Living: Breakfast Basics

Better health is always a topic of conversation from the newsroom to the boardroom and now the tack room. Equestrians are athletes too, and in order to be able to show your horse at its best, you have to be at your best. If you read theMarch/April issue of The Equine Chronicle, you learned how two competitors, Erin Shapiro Boatwright and Melissa Sachs, strive to live healthy lifestyles in and out of the barn. This online series will continue to help give you tips so you can start making healthier choices and perhaps live a healthier life at home and on the road.

Start Every Day with Breakfast

The old saying is “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” For some horsemen and women, it’s often the most forgotten part of the day. We’re more concerned with getting our own horses fed and chores done and maybe squeezing in a few rides before the heat of the day. Soon, it’s after noon and your stomach’s grumbling. You realized the last thing you ate was dinner the night before.

Finish reading the article here.


Busy, Busy! Mid-Week Good Reads: Fun Game, Girl Power, CrossFit Power

Today I’m heading to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for the 2014 American Kennel Club National Championships with Dally, my Pembroke Welsh Corgi. I’m so excited–this is the third straight year we’ve qualified, second straight year our friends get to join us, and will probably be Dally’s final foray in the Nationals ring. I’m hoping for nice weather, but the 10-day outlook isn’t looking so bright. Whose bright idea was Pennsylvania at the end of March anyway??

  • I’ll be posting updates on my dog agility blog: Agility On Stumps
  • As well as doing some coverage for the Canine Chronicle, both on their website and in their print magazine.
  • Plus coverage for The Daily Corgi, as well as orchestrating #TeamDailyCorgi, a collection of five Corgis competing at Nationals who will share their experiences for the popular blog.
  • You can watch the free live streaming video, though Dally and I run early everyday (8 am).
Dally competing at the 2013 AKC National Agility Championships in Tulsa, Okla.

Dally competing at the 2013 AKC National Agility Championships in Tulsa, Okla.

Shew! So, like the title said, I’ll be busy, busy! But I wanted to share a couple of cool things with you:

First of all, my friend Nicole’s boyfriend just released a fun game app called Box Off. Remember playing that game as a kid? Now it’s “grown up” so you can play it on your IPhone. Check out Nicole’s blog, Fruit N Fitness for a fun giveaway she’s doing to help promote the game. And be sure to download the game!

Girl Power! Have you seen this video on YouTube yet?? It surprised me and really made me think. One guy answered a question about what would be wrong about having a female President with “Besides the PMSing…” Excuse me?? Wowwww… What do you think?

Because of that video, this post was written on WODTalk (thank you, Lindsay, for sharing this). Again, all I can say is “TRUTH!” I haven’t felt more powerful in a long time thanks to my time in the CrossFit gym. I still can’t do pull-ups like the guys, but when we finish a tough WOD, and I’m the only girl in our class, I’m beaming from the props I get from everyone. It has helped my confidence and helped me overcome my depression in so many ways.

Your turn: Share something you’ve enjoyed reading in the past week! 

CrossFit 14.4 & a 6 Mile Run

This weekend was supposed to be about getting everything done that I needed to get done before I leave for Pennsylvania for the 2014 American Kennel Club (AKC) National Agility Championships. You might remember me going to Tulsa last year with Dally, and this year we’re lucky to get to experience Pennsylvania in March…ugh. Looking at the 10-day forecast I’m not so excited. But, I’m trying to look at the positive! 🙂

Friday I tackled 14.4 at Man O’War CrossFit. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get through the 50 toes to bar–I do well to squeeze out one real toes to bar. I really wished it went 50 wall balls–I can sail through those! Anyway, here’s the WOD:

CrossFit Open 14.4

14 minute AMRAP
60 calorie row
50 toes to bar
40 wall balls (20/14)
30 cleans (135/95)
20 muscle-ups

I outfitted myself with some hand guards made by Taylor for the toes to bar. It was my first time wearing such things, and I kind-of liked them! But I definitely need to practice making them myself…Taylor wasn’t impressed with my attempt (I wish I could have taken a photo). I did kipping knees to elbow instead of the toes to bar and zoomed through the wall balls. Half-way through the cleans I realized I hadn’t changed my weight from the warm-up 65 (we did a mini WOD to warm up) to the need 95. Whomp whomp. Udder FAIL. I just continued through the WOD, pushing myself harder. I got through the cleans, then started on my (red) banded ring dips, another modification. I finished the WOD in the 14 minutes allotted.

Then Saturday morning I hit the pavement for 6 miles around the neighborhood. I’m trying to keep a routine of long(er) runs on the weekends until I really start upping my training for a half marathon in June. I had 6 miles on the docket, and none of my friends were around, so I turned on the tunes on my phone and belted out 6.3 miles in 1:00:54:

Mile 1 – 9:17
Mile 2 – 9:15
Mile 3 – 9:40
Mile 4 – 9:34
Mile 5 – 10:08
Mile 6 – 9:47
0.3 nubbin – 9:03
9:35 avg/mi

I did walk a little twice, but I definitely need to work on my pacing more and keeping things consistent. I felt great during my run. It was lower 50s and perfect weather.

I followed up the run with a 2-mile dog walk, which included a friend’s two dogs that I was dog sitting–let me tell you, the looks I got from people in my neighborhood when they saw me walking four dogs… LOL

4 dogs? No problem!

4 dogs? No problem!

I ended the weekend grilling some chicken breasts for M to have for dinner while I’m away in Pennsylvania, making chocolate chip cookies for the trip, and cheering on the guys at MOWCF for 14.4. One of our guys, Jon, made it through 8 muscle-ups (8!!). Rough WOD!

Coach Taylor (right) and Iverson (left) attacking the 135 lb cleans during 14.4.

Coach Taylor (right) and Iverson (left) attacking the 135 lb cleans during 14.4.

Your turn: How was your weekend?

Deadlifts? Yes! Box Jumps? No! CrossFit 14.3 Review

I realized I didn’t do a CrossFit Open 14.3 review, which is a shock because I am so proud of how I did!

For those who aren’t aware of what the 14.3 WOD was, here’s a review:

CrossFit Open
8 Minute AMRAP
10 deadlifts 135/95lb
15 box jumps 24/20
15 deadlifts 185/135 lb
15 box jumps
20 deadlifts 225/155 lb
15 box jumps
25 deadlifts 275/185 lb
15 box jumps
30 deadlifts 315/205 lb
15 box jumps

Before Friday, my one rep max deadlift was 175, which I was pretty proud of. When I watched the 14.3 live announcement, I didn’t think I would get close to the 185 round, so I didn’t think I had anything to worry about. I also knew that that many heavy deadlifts, plus box jumps, were going to be killer on my legs, especially after the long WOD we had the day before.

We set up for the WOD and Coach Brenton helped us set up so we could quickly change weights without much thinking. (Seriously, how did CrossFit expect us to be able to do math while lacking oxygen??) I warmed up with my 35lb bar and a couple of box jumps, then added my starting weights: 5 lb plates on the inside (which stayed on) and a 25lb plate on each side to start. The next round we’d add a 15lb plate. The third, remove the 15lb plate and add a second 25lb plate. The fourth, add the 15lb plate. That would total 185.

I started the WOD expecting to do box jumps the first two rounds, then depending on how my legs were, perform box step-ups (which were allowed). Well…I made it past the first round and decided that box step-ups would probably be faster than me taking my time shaking out my legs every couple of jumps.

When I got finished with the 155lb deadlifts, all I could think about was I was going to finish the step-ups with plenty of time to attempt the 185–whoa! I set up my weights and took a deep breath. Brenton stood next to me, reminding me to keep my back straight, shoulders back, and left with my legs first. One more deep breath and up I went…new deadlift PR of 185! Boom! Still some time left… Another deep breath….a second lift at 185. Still a little time left…a third. I squeezed out a fourth rep before time expired. My 1 rep max deadlift went from 175 to 185 in the span of 8 minutes, and became a 4-rep max. I finished 14.3 with 94 total reps…and a new deadlift PR.

2014-03-19 22.18.37

I didn’t get to cheer on my teammates on Sunday like previous weeks because I was out of town, but it looked like everyone did a solid job.

I’m excited to see what 14.4 brings us tonight. My guess is more heavy weights and gymnastics. Oi vey!

Your turn: How was your 14.3 attempt?

Low Key St. Patty’s Day & Irish Soda Bread Recipe

I hope everyone had a good weekend and good St. Patrick’s Day. First, I’d like to give a quick shout-out to Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean Blog. Every Sunday she does her “Sunday Food Prep” post and I was featured in her post this weekend! 🙂 I admit I haven’t done much food prep since that post, but I swear I will get back into it at a better level because it makes life so much easier!

I spent the weekend at my first dog agility trial since November and it was great to be back. The pups were great, I enjoyed seeing my friends, and I learned my handling wasn’t as rusty as I thought it’d be. We leave for the AKC National Agility Championships in a little more than a week, so I’m starting to get pumped.

M and I celebrated a low-key St. Patrick’s Day on Monday. Sunday night, when I got home from the agility trial, I was inspired to bake Irish Soda Bread for the holiday. I’ve made it a couple times before and I love it. This time I combined two recipes to make kind-of my own. I used Anne’s Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread and The Southern Lady Cooks’ Irish Soda Bread as my inspirations. What came out was a little sweeter, and more moist, bread that I’m obsessed with now.


Irish Soda Bread with Apples

3 tablespoons (in chunks) softened butter or margarine
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
2 1/4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1 small apple, peeled and chopped (I used a Pink apple)
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 tablespoon lemon juice in 1 cup no-fat milk–this is what I did)

  1. Preheat oven to 375* F
  2. Combine the flours, sugar, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl.
  3. Using a fork, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles fine crumbs.
  4. Stir in the buttermilk.
  5. Stir in the raisins and chopped apple.
  6. Turn dough on a lightly floured surface and knead a few times, until smooth. Shape into a round loaf and place on a greased baking sheet. Cut an X into the top of the dough about a half-inch deep. Baste with melted butter before placing in oven.
  7. Bake 35-45 minutes, until golden brown. Baste with melted butter half-way through baking.

I hadn’t thought of putting apple in until I saw Anne’s recipe. And I also mis-read the Southern Lady Cooks’ recipe and put in 1 cup of raisins instead of a 1/2 cup, but I love raisins, so I’m keeping it that way.

This was great with my scrambled egg whites for breakfast, plus a mid-morning snack at work.

And to top off the celebration, what else is better than green…..

My favorite Mexican restaurant had green house margaritas for the holiday!

My favorite Mexican restaurant had green house margaritas for the holiday!

margaritas! (You thought I was going to say beer, didn’t you??)

Your turn: What’s your favorite Irish recipe?

Good Reads: Crazy Journalists, CrossFit Rules, Spring Cleaning Challenge

Happy Friday!! Time to share some reads I’ve enjoyed lately.


20 Problems Journalists Deal With on a Daily Basis (NewsCastic): If you’re a journalist or freelancer like myself, you can totally agree with just about all of these. I can’t tell you how many times I struggle waiting for sources to call or email me back, and then when they do, sometimes it’s at the worst times (in the middle of a run, while walking my dogs, dinner with M, etc.). But as a freelancer, you just grin and bear it and ask to call them back, hoping they’ll answer…and you can meet deadline.

CrossFit 101: 22 Rules to Avoid Being THAT Athlete (CrossFit Surf City): It’d be great if  I could make a poster so we could hang it up at Man O’War CrossFit. I’m especially fond of making sure you’re coachable and to always cheer on everyone even if you’re the first to finish. I always cheer on my peers, and after an extremely rough upper body WOD on Wednesday that saw me being the last to finish, I was appreciative of my friends pushing me to get through the last 50 push-ups. You definitely also have to check your ego at the door in CrossFit. Which is your favorite rule?

7 Day Spring Clean Challenge (Perfectly F.I.T.T.): Spring is always a time to refresh your home and yourself! I love the idea of this challenge to kickstart the new season, and it starts March 17! Clean out your freezer, cabinets, fridge…your life! Join in!

What if Everyone Ran? (Mom’s Little Running Buddies): She took Mizuno’s clever series about what if everyone ran and added her own thoughts. Really cute and worth a read! What do you think would happen if everyone ran?

This weekend I’m headed to my first dog agility trial since November and I’m so excited! We have just two more weeks until I head to Pennsylvania for the AKC National Agility Championships. I hope you have a good weekend!

Your turn: Share one of your favorite reads from this week below!

We All Have Rough Runs, Right?

If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you know that I’m not doing as much running as I used to. I’ve been trying to do more cross training and less running in hopes of preventing the usual overuse injuries I suffered the past two years when I was training for half marathons.

And while I’m not specifically training for a half marathon right now (though I need to start figuring out my training schedule), I have been running long runs with a couple of friends who are training for half marathons later this month. I gradually built up my mileage on the weekend runs, starting at 4, then 5, 7, 8, 6, … and every run has felt great the whole time. There were some tough moments, but I was able to push through them and not stop running.

That is until my run this past weekend. Normally we do our training runs early in the morning, but Kaitlin had to work until 3, so my schedule was flip flopped. I was able to wake up whenever (but I still woke up at 7), eat a leisurely breakfast, and do some laundry. I had training for agility with my dogs plus a couple others, so I packed up the dogs, their equipment, and my running stuff and headed for 2.5 hours of training. Then I loaded them back up in the truck and we headed to the Legacy Trail to meet Joy and Kaitlin for our run. I changed shoes in the truck, made sure the pups were comfy (windows  open, water bowl) and we hit the trail.

I already knew my legs were going to be tired–dog agility is a lot of sprinting, stopping, turning, and while it only lasts 40-60 seconds, it’s intense. I warned the girls I was only going to do 6 miles to their 8, which was fine with me and with them.

Unfortunately Kaitlin learned quickly you can’t train for a half marathon hungover…whomp whomp. Her run wasn’t going well, but we encouraged her through it. After I hit 30 minutes, I turned back and cheered the girls on to finish their run. I had hoped that I would do negative splits for the last half of my run, but my legs had other thoughts. My hips started tightening up and my old friend the IT band started to flare up. (I had bad IT band problems when I was training for my first half in 2012, but I was able to rectify that last year.) I was forced to walk a little bit every mile, nothing that I was proud of.

I wasn’t even this sore during our 8-mile run a couple of weeks ago. But I pushed through, especially when I knew I had just one mile left. And when I made it back to the truck, I stretched, got the dogs out, and walked them for two miles while I waited for Joy and Kaitlin to return from their run. The walk helped loosen up my hips some, but I was already starting to get stiff.

The pups didn't mind the extra exercise. In fact they loved the new surroundings of the Legacy Trail.

The pups didn’t mind the extra exercise. In fact they loved the new surroundings of the Legacy Trail.

This is when I realized I had done too much. I would hope that had we switched the order of the day, my run would have been better. Running mid-afternoon meant my nutrition was off (I was starving by the time we ran, but hadn’t eaten much because I was afraid of an upset stomach) and I had already tired my legs with the pounding during agility. I’m usually a little more aware of my energy levels when we train agility.

We all have rough runs… We all have to know our limits… If I want to stay injury-free, I have to remember that I don’t need to push myself. We don’t always have to set PRs, but just to finish the run is the accomplishment.

So here’s to better runs. Some foam rolling, stretching, and rest has remedied my IT band, but I know it won’t take much to get it to rear its ugly head again.

Here’s to better runs!

Your turn: Have you had one of those “gut-check” runs that reminded you of your limits? How did you deal with that mentally?

Overhead Squats and Pull-ups…CrossFit 14.2

Just when you thought snatches and doubleunders are killers, 14.2 came at us with overhead squats and pull-ups. Oi vey!

Finally feeling back to 100%, I was able to participate in 14.2 for the CrossFit Open at Man O’War CrossFit on Friday. Unfortunately I knew I wouldn’t be able to Rx the WOD because I still cannot get my pull-ups without using two red bands. :-/ But I was going to push myself on the overhead squats at 65 pounds. (I’ve done OHS at 65, but we haven’t worked on them in a while.)

Here’s the WOD:

3 Minutes
10 overhead squats (65/95)
10 chest-to-bar Pull-Ups
2 rounds

3 minutes (3:00-6:00)
12 overhead squats 
12 chest-to-bar Pull-Ups
2 rounds

3 minutes (6:00-9:00)
14 overhead squats
14 chest-to-bar Pull-Ups
2 rounds

Continue adding 2 reps each round you continue.

If we weren’t officially competing in the Open, Taylor still wanted us to push until the 9 minute mark. But wherever we were at the 3 minute mark, we started back at the overhead squats. I didn’t get past the first round… whomp whomp. But I still pushed through, and I think it was just straight overhead squats for the next six minutes for me. (There might have been a few pull-ups mixed in, but I don’t remember.)

On Sunday I, again, went to cheer everyone on who was doing the official workout. One guy, David, made it to the round of 16 (finishing with 174 reps). Wow! My girl Natalie made it to the round of 12…impressive!

Coach versus Coach on 14.2. (Sorry for the poor photo quality!)

Coach versus Coach on 14.2. (Sorry for the poor photo quality!)

I know the pull-ups will come, I just need to keep doing the exercises that’ll help me get stronger (ring rows, bar pull-ups) and keep working on my kips.

Your turn: How’d you do on 14.2? What movements are your nemesis? 

I’m a Proud Daughter: Mom’s Update, 100lbs Lost


During brunch Christmas 2012 my mom announced she was going to have bariatric surgery in the coming months. In July she underwent Roux-En-Y Surgery to start her on the road to better health and a better lifestyle.

Just a few weeks ago she hit a major milestone: 100 pounds lost. She was so excited she texted me as soon as she weighed herself. I knew that was such a big number to her and she felt so proud and accomplished of her hard work.

It hasn’t been all easy, though. Some people might think that having bariatric surgery is the easy way out, and they’re wrong. There have been some trips back to the hospital to have the hole stretched wider when she was having troubles swallowing. She’s had to manage multiple stomach issues–sharp pains, nausea, cramping.

She’s lost some hair due to insufficient protein intake–she was getting nauseous drinking protein shakes. Thankfully. though, we discovered the problem for why this was happening and now she’s taking in protein in more unique ways, like adding protein powder to her oatmeal in the morning and juice in the afternoon, instead of milk. Now her hairstylist has pointed out some regrowth already, which makes my mom very happy.

She was doing well with daily walks to the barn with my brother-in-law, starting first with her walker, then her cane. Unfortunately the poor weather in Indiana has stalled those outside walks. However, she is now able to walk around without her cane! It’s such a big step for her because it means more independence and shows she’s getting stronger.

She’d love to ride her stationary bike that’s been collecting dust in her bedroom, but unfortunately her knee has been giving her troubles lately, not allowing it to bend enough to pedal, but hopefully she’ll be able to start back up to walking, as soon as the snow melts and the weather is nice (which we wonder when that’ll ever happen).

She’s able to go out to eat, but she knows to be careful on appetizers, and focuses more on fresher ingredients. She loves how she’s now a “cheap date” and orders a small meal, but gets two or three more meals out of it later.

I’m not sure what her final goal weight is, but now that she’s down in the mid-200s, I know she’s on a roll.

Here’s a before photo from Christmas 2012:

Christmas 2012 with my momma

Christmas 2012 with my momma

And here is her “Mid-Progress Photo” taken February 16, 2013, just shy of 100 pounds lost:


She looks younger, and is feeling younger. You can definitely tell in her face, and definitely the fit of her clothes. She’s been wearing shirts that were too tight on her, but now they’re too big and baggie–it’s time to do some shopping for smaller sizes (we don’t even know what she’d wear–she was wearing 24/26).

I’m so proud of her, and I can’t wait to see how she does this spring/summer/fall as she’s able to start doing more.

Your turn: Do you know someone who has had bariatric surgery? How have they been recovering?

The CrossFit Open is Here!

It was the announcement everyone in the CrossFit Community has been waiting for: the first WOD of the 2014 CrossFit Open. When they announced that 14.1 was going to be a 10 minute AMRAP of 30 doubleunders and 15 snatches, I’m sure I heard the entire world moan.

This will be my first CrossFit Open to really observe. I’ve read about the event on Tina and Lindsay’s blogs before, but I’ve never experienced it for myself. And yet this year I did not register. Why? Well, maybe it was a lot of things, but I had to decide between spending the money on the Open or a half marathon…the half marathon won out.

But I’ll still be doing the workouts, so I’m still going to be pushing myself like everyone else…it just won’t be official. And I’m OK with that.

Unfortunately, though, I was not able to tackle 14.1. Wednesday I came down with a horrible cold that knocked me to the couch for days. It sucked. I didn’t do anything for three days and that sucked even more–my body hurt more from doing nothing than it does from an exhausting CrossFit WOD or long training run! It wasn’t until Sunday that I finally felt like I could tackle something to break a sweat.

So I headed to Man O’War CrossFit to get in a simple workout of my own (6, 500m row intervals, then 30 35lb kettle bell swings) and to cheer on everyone else doing their official 14.1. It was a lot of fun to cheer everyone on. We had guys who were doing their fourth Open, guys doing their first Open, and even on who just started doing doubleunders on Friday. Whether they scored 300+ or just 100, each one had a lot to be proud of.

Morgan tackled 14.1 a second time to better his score from Saturday. Sunday's score? 336

Morgan tackled 14.1 a second time to better his score from Saturday. Sunday’s score? 336

I had thought about giving the workout a try, but knowing that I’m still struggling to breathe normal, I knew it wasn’t smart for me to try that cardio-heavy workout just yet. But I’m hoping to be back to 100% for 14.2’s announcement and back to the box and my runs consistently all this week.

Your turn: Did you register for the Open? If not, why not?