Getting Back to Healthy

The beginning of the year always seems to be the time people look for a change. Everyone wants to be a better version of themselves in the previous year. They start off with so much hope and great intentions. But, unfortunately, they don’t tend to stay on the course.

Well, guess what…I’m joining those ranks (the ones looking for a change, not the one straying off course). However, I started my journey at the end of November.

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When I finally got a full-time job that allowed me to have a little more cash flow, I knew I immediately needed to get back into the gym. While I haven’t been in a “normal gym” for three years, I knew that I had to make the most of it, until I can afford to join a new CrossFit box. So I joined Anytime Fitness in my hometown. I chose this gym because it was close to my office, and open 24 hours a day. My plan has been to use my lunch break the days I work in the office to workout to get in short cardio sessions (25 minute hill or speed intervals on the treadmill). On days that I work from work from home I hope to hit the gym early in the morning before my husband has to leave for work for some weights.

It’s been so hard to be my normal self. When I lived in Lexington I had the support and community of Man O’War CrossFit. My guys were always looking for me every morning. Even after Baby A&W was born, I still managed to go almost every day. But that’s when she would sleep throughout our WODs, which made it more manageable. Our neighborhood was so perfect for walks of all lengths, and I would walk the dogs everyday after work (whether Baby A&W was in her carrier or stroller).

But now, I don’t have the CrossFit community for support. I don’t have the flexibility of a sleeping baby in her carseat to bring with me. I don’t have sidewalks, street lamps, or multiple routes for walks–country roads aren’t the best to walk on come dusk/dark. And the winter weather isn’t conducive for a baby to be out in the elements for long periods of time.

But I can’t continue with the excuses. I’m at a stage in my health that I never thought I would be at, and it’s frustrating.

So I looked for what I call “Forced Motivation.” Knowing that I’m paying for a gym membership means I need to make the most of it. For Christmas my sister paid for my registration in two half marathons (April 16 and May 7). Knowing that I have two big races. so close together, means that I need to be getting my strength back before adding the mileage.

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So, I’ve been hitting the gym more regularly now. I’ve set goals–not only in weight loss but also in ability when it comes to getting back to my old self. I’m already feeling a difference and I look forward to the workouts. There have been some exhausting nights with A&W not sleeping through the night, teething, or just being sick, not to mention that I’ve worked a lot of late nights trying to hit my freelancing deadlines. But those aren’t an excuse.

I’m thankful for Coach Taylor that he continues to post the weekly WODs for MOWCF on their Facebook page. When I’m preparing for my weight lifting days, I check to see what my old CrossFit family did as far as WODs and then try to see if I can do them in some form or fashion at my “boring gym.” Or, I’ll make up my own.

Here are some workouts I’ve done:

WODcollage

I’m also going to get back to blogging more regularly, as I want to use this as an accountability tool again. I’m excited about the two half marathons I’ve got coming up, but also very nervous about training on my own and getting back to being fit.

Your turn: How are you getting back to being fit in 2016?

Running While Pushing — Stroller Runs!

You might remember that while I was pregnant, I wanted to continue running for as long as I could, even completing a half marathon around 7 months pregnant. Shortly thereafter I stopped doing long training runs and just did short one milers interspersed with some weight training while doing CrossFit. Then it just became too uncomfortable to run very far (read: away from a toilet) and I knew it was time to slow it down and just walk.

Now that Baby A&W is 6 months old, I’ve been getting back into running and increasing my distance. I’ve been running again for a while now, I started back in April, but the distances weren’t too great, and the runs were irregular. I had to go only when M was home and could watch the baby, or when I got my jogging stroller, we could go for short runs while I pushed. (Let me tell you, pushing a baby, in her carseat in the jogging stroller, up and over the hills in my old neighborhood sucked, especially being out of shape!)

First stroller runs were rough, with the addition of the carseat (since A was too small to sit in the big kids seat) and just getting back into running after giving birth.

First stroller runs were rough, with the addition of the carseat (since A was too small to sit in the big kids seat) and just getting back into running after giving birth.

Now that life is a little different, I’m able to get out and run more, but mostly the same strip over and over. One of the disadvantages to living in the country is there’s not much to spice up the run like when I lived in Lexington–there were all kinds of different routes I could take from my house, and I could meet up with running buddies or my running group. Now I’m missing my running group, and my running buddies, who kept me motivated and kept me running regularly. However, I am making sure I get at least one run in a week, though I know it needs to be more.

I quickly learned that running with a stroller is a lot different than running on your own. You’ve already got a built-in head wind/resistance thing going for you. And you’re not necessarily the one who calls the shots as to how long your runs get to be–if baby’s unhappy, that run better be fast and short. Luckily, Baby A&W has been pretty good about the runs. Sometimes she gets a little too warm (no shade along the road doesn’t help), but she’s pretty good.

We’ve slowly worked our way up to running 4 miles with the stroller, which is great! I try to run with the stroller one day, then if I can talk someone into watching A for about an hour, I’ll sneak in a run by myself. Those runs are when I test my pace and I test my distance–I should be able to run a little further without the stroller than I do with the stroller because it should be easier, right?

Aubrey and I are getting ready to run in our first 5K together–it’ll be my first race since I finished the Iron Horse Half Marathon back in October, and it’ll be my first race pushing a stroller! We’re running in the Colts Kickoff 5K in downtown Indianapolis, where we’ll start the race outside Lucas Oil Stadium, and then finish at the 50 yard line of the field! I’m excited for the race, but a little nervous as to how things will go with a big crowd and me pushing the stroller. Plus, how will A act?

Don’t worry, I plan to chronicle our race and show you what I did to prepare not only myself, but baby, for the 5K. My goals for the race are to try to run the whole 5K without walking (or, rather, needing to walk, as I’m sure the crowd might force me to walk) and to not run into anyone with the stroller (the dogs will tell you that sometimes I don’t see what’s going on directly in front of the stroller sometimes).

Trading the Gym Bag for a Diaper Bag

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I tried to stay very active in my workouts and running all through my pregnancy. I tried to workout at least five times a week, waking up every morning to hit Man O’War CrossFit before work, and sometimes do some shorter runs after work or on the weekends.

Heck, I even did CrossFit the morning I went into labor! (And was walking the dogs two miles when I went into labor.)

After the birth of Baby A&W, I slowly got back into working out. First it was with short dog walks–starting at 10 minutes, then 15, and then 20. Then I started doing some body weight work while A was sleeping or doing tummy time–planks, push ups, sit ups. I didn’t do any CrossFit during my maternity leave, mostly because I was in Indiana (though I did sneak one workout in when we came back into town for A’s one-month checkup), and got back into it a month ago.

It’s been hard to balance working out and being a mother. With M living/working in Indiana, that leaves me to tend to every one of A’s needs. So if I want to get my sweat on, she’s coming with me.

Never, ever go anywhere with your baby without your gym....err, I mean diaper bag. (Now, if only we can find wrist wraps that fit her!)

Never, ever go anywhere with your baby without your gym….err, I mean diaper bag. (Now, if only we can find wrist wraps that fit her!)

CrossFit
I’ve been doing what I can to make it work when it comes to CrossFit. While MOWCF doesn’t have daycare, it’s still pretty easy to bring your kid along to workout with you. Lil Bit just hitches a ride with mom and hangs out in her car seat to the side while I workout near her where I can hear or see her in case she needs me.

I’m lucky to have such a flexible, easygoing coach in Taylor, and a great group of guys in my morning class. They all were so supportive while I was pregnant, cheering me on, amazed at everything I was still doing even when my belly made it hard to do cleans or snatches. And now they’re still supportive. One of the coaches even took over distracting A when she was being fussy one morning so I could get in the rest of the workout before I had to leave.

Our mornings are crazy, and not for the faint of heart: my alarm goes off at 5 am so I can pump before she (hopefully) wakes up. Then I wake A up, change her diaper and her outfit, feed her, get myself dressed to workout, load her up in the car, and we arrive at MOWCF at 6:15 to workout. I get my workout done, then we load back up in the car and head for home, where I’ll quickly jump in the shower and dress for work, change her again, and load everything up for work/daycare. Sometimes she requests another bottle before we leave for daycare, which puts a kink in things, but I’m lucky to have a flexible boss who’s okay with us arriving late at times.

There are some mornings I don’t make it into the box, and while that used to upset me, I’m starting to be OK with it. Some mornings I just need an extra hour of sleep, or maybe we just need some more snuggle time. But I’m still making it to CrossFit 3-4 days a week, and as a pseudo-single mom of a 2.5 month old, that’s pretty darn good.

Running
I really want to get back into running…like really bad! But I haven’t been able to run, mostly because of not having anyone to watch her (I try to get a short run in if M’s in town and can watch her, but nature hasn’t played nicely with me). I now have a jogging stroller, and did a short 1.5 mile run with her last week, but then I read where I should probably wait until she’s a little older to do more. So I’m conflicted about running, and figure it might be best to err on the side of caution and wait a little longer before taking her on runs with me. She’s almost 3 months old now, so it won’t be long. I can wait.

For now, I’m just doing my best with getting short runs here and there. And then we go for 2 mile walks with the dogs after work/daycare daily (weather permitting), either with me carrying her or in her stroller.

I’m aiming for a fall half marathon, so I need to start getting my mileage back up soon.

Everyone needs their daily workouts, including the dogs!

Everyone needs their daily workouts, including the dogs!

At Home WODs
I have DVDs that I can use for workouts at home–some yoga videos (Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper) and P90x (thanks to a friend for letting me borrow them)–however our BluRay player stopped working and I dislike watching videos on my small MacBook screen. Plus, A still wants my attention, so it’s hard to do things without having her attached to me in some way. I use her tummy time as time for mommy to do some sit-ups and planks, and little things here and there, so we’re “working out together.”

My health and fitness is still a very big priority to me–I want to be a positive role model for my daughter and have her start on the right track from the beginning.

Running While Pregnant: Simple Mile Interval WOD

Now that I’m at 30 weeks pregnant, running isn’t what it used to be…not even when I was at 20 weeks! Hills are killer–gets my heart rate and breathing up way too high. Plus the pressure on my bladder gets to me after about a mile or so (I know, TMI). My usual route around my neighborhood is very hilly, and doesn’t leave locations for bathroom trips. So I’ve cut back way more on running than I like.

But that’s when I came up with a simple WOD to do at my box–Man O’War CrossFit. I went in on Saturday morning and decided to make the most of what I had available to me. Where we do our runs for regular WODs is pretty flat, and the strip of road is a half-mile long. I really wanted to run, but knew I couldn’t join my running team, so I figured dong mile intervals was the next best thing.

I came up with this WOD with the pregnant woman in mind (thinking how we need to have a break to use the restroom, take our time to get our heartrate down, etc.), but it’s perfect for anyone. My running splits were steady–10 minute miles. So I finished in around 40 minutes (I didn’t use a clock to time the whole WOD, just my runs).

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Give it a try and let me know what you think! I wanted something that also worked on my upper and lower back, and was different from what we had done earlier in the week. This was perfect.

JUST A FEW DAYS LEFT!!! Don’t forget about my special offer to get 40% off ProCompression items–Use discount code “PINK2through Dec. 15 to get 40% off ProCompression Marathon Socks or Calf Sleeves–great gifts for the runner(s) in your life and yourself!

Countdown to 13.1 No. 3 & Uncertainty

My third half marathon is two days away, and I think I’m more nervous about this race than I was even for my very first half marathon!

I know I went into this half marathon with the full intention of not running as much and not doing as much running training as I have in the past–I wanted to try to avoid the injuries that I’ve had occur from overtraining, so I decided to run once or twice a week with lots of cross-training with Man O’War CrossFit. But then my schedule went haywire, I got really sick and exhausted, and my training went down the tubes. Because of that, I don’t feel quite as prepared as I have in the past.

In previous attempts at the half marathon, I’ve trained up to 12 and 13 miles before. The farthest I’ve run for this race was 10 miles. Now I know a few friends who only run up to 10 miles before hitting 13.1, but I feel like I have to run close to the full length for my mental strength.

I know I can do 13.1–I’ve done it on a flat course and a very extremely hilly course. I’ve been warned the Bourbon Derby is constant rolling hills–different from the Run the Bluegrass where it has extreme hills and some flat parts.

I ran six miles last week before I headed out of town for an agility trial in Indy. I met up with my running group before work and did the maximum that I had time for. I figured six miles was better than none…right?

Fast 10K for one last tough run before the Bourbon Derby!

Fast 10K for one last tough run before the Bourbon Derby!

This week I’ve taken it easy. At MOWCF we worked on back squats and cleans on Monday, which caused my legs to be really sore. I was so tired from not sleeping much, so I slept in on Tuesday and took the day off (minus walking 1.5 miles at lunch with a friend and 1 mile with the pups and M after work). Wednesday I did some core work at MOWCF and changed up the METCON from legs to upper body:

21-15-9
Calorie row
Ring dips

Rest 2 minutes

15-10-5
Ring rows
Handstand push-ups (modified on the box)

I also did my very first headstand! OK, so part of the warm-up METCON was 20 second handstand holds, but I’ve never, ever, done a head/handstand, so I’m taking it slowly (I have this fear of falling on my head and crushing my neck…don’t ask, my mother was a head injury nurse). I was pretty proud of myself and my headstand!

Today will consist of an easy 3 mile run to shake out the legs and pup walk, plus I’ll be picking up my race packet. Friday I’ll walk the dogs, roll-out and stretch, and just relax to prepare for the early morning wake-up call. So far the weather looks much better than I anticipated–partly cloudy with a high of 78!

Your turn: Any words of wisdom/encouragement greatly accepted!!! 

My 1 Year Anniversary of CrossFit

A couple of weeks ago I realized I was celebrating my first year anniversary of doing CrossFit with Man O’War CrossFit. I can’t believe it’s already been a year! But I started the sport last year when I was forced to take time off from running due to patellar tendonitis, knowing I needed to get stronger in many ways to try to avoid more injuries.

My time with Man O’War CrossFit has been nothing short of awesome. I have to thank my coach, Taylor Johnson, and the community that is MOWCF for helping me get through what was going to be a crazy year.

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I know there are a lot of misconceptions and mixed perceptions about the sport of CrossFit. There have been articles written about rabdo, an athlete disabled by a completely freak accident, and people saying it’s just a fad that will soon fizzle. But I don’t listen to them.

CrossFit is exactly the workout that I’ve been needing. I get bored easily with things, and everyday at the box is something different, something challenging…something fun. Everyday I feel like I’ve accomplished something awesome.

There might have been some negatives along the way. Remember my tussle with the box jumps?

It wasn't pretty and hurt like hell!!

It wasn’t pretty and hurt like hell!!

Well, it was a big day when I tackled the boxes again…and I’m not nervous about them any more.

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And my leg looks better (there might be some permanent scarring, but it’s still fading away):

Almost a year later, the scars are fading away.

Almost a year later, the scars are fading away.

And I’ve had some pretty big milestones: being able to put my name on the leaderboard for the benchmark WODs for Karen (6:09), joining the 200lb Club with my deadlifts, seeing improvements in my other olympic lifts (120lb cleans, 100lb push press), and hitting my first Toes2Bar.

But the other bonus has been my mentality and attitude. Because of CrossFit, I have overcome depression and discovered how strong I can be both physically and mentally. I’ve learned to be my biggest cheerleader through difficult things and I’m always working to not let my mind talk me out of things. I have to thank Taylor for this, as well. He’s taught me that when I “fail” a lift, just walk away, shake it off and clear your head, then try it again. Don’t give up, and don’t let your inner demons talk you out of your progress.

I still haven’t accomplished what I’d like: kipping pull-ups without the band, doubleunders, and stringing together Toes2Bar, but I’m a work in progress and I know that by my 2-year anniversary, I’ll have all of those down. I just need to be consistent with my work and my goals.

I want to thank all of those who have supported me through this year in CrossFit and for putting up with me. There might be those who still roll their eyes when I get to talking about the “Sport of Fitness”, but it’s my lifestyle and I’m proud of it. Here’s to another successful year!

Your turn: When you celebrate your anniversaries (of running, CrossFit, etc.), what has stood out the most for you?

Hardest

Thankful for Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! I am so thankful to be home with my family–I haven’t been home in months. Unfortunately M and I are spending the holiday apart because he has to work tonight. But he’s alright with the pups and I being gone–it means a quiet house for him. 😉

A quick recap of Elf4Health activities so far this week: Monday you read about my MeatlessMonday butternut squash soup and whole wheat herb and cheddar biscuits. Tuesday’s activity was to unsubscribe from those emails and catalogues that you don’t really read any more. I saw a lot of the elves unsubscribed to tons of emails, and that’s great. I didn’t really keep count of how many emails I unsubscribed from, but I can say that there were a few that felt great when I clicked “unsubscribe”–they were newsletters that I used to put together in my old job and emails I’d get for my old job. To unsubscribe from them was very therapeutic for me. I had been meaning to do this for quite some time, but never really got the gumption. I’m thankful for this challenge to make me do it.

Wednesday was to try a new workout. Since I was traveling for a good part of the day, I hit up the earliest class at Man O’War CrossFit. On board for the day was two WODs I had never done before: Elizabeth and Karen. (We had been doing benchmark girls all week.)

Elizabeth
21-15-9
Cleans
Ring Dips
Done in 8:03 w/65 lb cleans (95 lb Rx) and banded ring dips

Karen
150
Wall Balls
Completed as Rxd in 6:09

The best part of this morning butt-kicking workout? My 6:09 ended up being the best time in our box so far! I was able to put my name on “The Wall”! This is one of the few “girl workouts” I can do as prescribed and I was pumped. (Though I’m not sure how long that time held through the day, I’ll check next week. But for now, I’m darn proud of that time.)

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Today’s challenge is call up someone to chat. But since I’m at home for Thanksgiving, and we’ll be with family, I’m going to take the time to listen and talk with everyone, face to face, since I don’t get to do that very often.

This morning, though, I ran in the Drumstick Dash in Indianapolis! I was so excited when I discovered that I’d be able to run in this race, finally. It’s a 2.5 or 4.6 mile run/walk that benefits the Wheeler Mission, a group that helps feed the homeless. It’s the 6th largest Thanksgiving Day race in the country, and the 3rd largest race in Indianapolis (the Indianapolis 500 Mini Marathon and Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure are #1 & #2 respectively). I talked my sister and brother-in-law into walking the 2.5 mile portion, as well as my brother-in-law, so I was really excited about that. Then I found out my youngest cousin was running the 4.6 while my aunt and uncle were walking the 2.5 portion. So I ran the race with my little cousin!

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It was a very cold morning: Only 25* when we got to the race. We got there an hour early because we weren’t sure of the traffic, but that also meant spending a lot of time outside not moving much. By the time the gun sounded I couldn’t feel my toes! (I took my white fleece off and put it in my bag that my sister carried before we left for the starting line.)

My cousin usually runs at an 8:45 mile pace, and in the cold I told her I usually run 9-9:30 min/miles, but we decided to run together to motivate each other. It was pretty fun to run with her–we haven’t gotten to chat or hang out very much since we’ve gotten older, so it was a fun race. We were impressed with the firefighters running in full gear while carrying oxygen tanks, axes, and hoses. There were people wearing shorts (crazy!) but a lot of us were bundled up. We ended up finishing the race in 40:17! That’s an 8:30 min/mile average! That’s like my race pace personal record! (Same with Gretchen’s!) So awesome!

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We finished the morning with meeting my parents for breakfast (thank you to those people working restaurants on Thanksgiving) and enjoyed more family time.

I hope, wherever you are, you’re enjoy Thanksgiving with loved ones. I’m thankful for my family–the support and ever-ending love they’ve given me all my life, especially lately, has kept me going. I’m also thankful for those keeping us safe, even on a holiday, and our armed forces.

Your turn: What are you thankful for?

Fitness Friday: Workouts From the Week

I missed last week’s “Fitness Friday” so I’ll share the past eight workouts we’ve done at Man O’War CrossFit.

First off last week:

20131121-204645.jpgNovember has been all about heavy lifting. Taylor, our coach, was inspired by the last CrossFit competition (I’m guessing), so we’re upping our game with the weights. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to seeing how much I’ve improved from previous maxes. I’m trying to work on my split jerks, but it’s so hard to remember to drive forward with my front foot and not go too wide on my stance. (Note: Any tips?)

Thursday you’ll see the WOD called “Morrison”. This is a hero WOD, and those are typically butt kickers. Unfortunately, this was a day that no one else showed up for my 7:30 class so I had to do this workout by myself (with some cheering from Taylor, Natalie, and Tara, of course). Knowing that I just got over my fear of box jumps, I asked if I could switch up the order. So I did box jumps, then wall balls, then the kettlebell swings. Let me tell you…50 box jumps in a row is hard, no matter when you do them! We had a 30 minute time cap, but I felt like I could complete it all in those 30 minutes.

This was a hard workout to go through when you are still getting over a cold and you have asthma. There were times I was just breathing so hard while I was resting. The heavy breathing, plus the repetitious movements of my upper body turned out to be a bad combination. I was finishing my 20 box jumps when I started to feel a twinge in my upper right side of my back. I pushed through to finish the 20 and moved on to the wall balls. One throw of the ball and I was done–my back was in a complete muscle spasm and I couldn’t lift my right arm very high. I had about 8 minutes left when this happened, and I tried to work through it so I could finish. Taylor brought a lacrosse ball over for me to use, but it wasn’t subsiding. I ended up having to call it a day…as much as I hated it. I spent the rest of the day on the heating pad, took a muscle relaxer that night, but I couldn’t move the best Friday morning. So I skipped CrossFit that morning, but later went for a 2.5 mile run to help shake out the legs and my back. I think it helped because I was good to go by Saturday.

20131121-204700.jpgThis week we backed off on the weight, preparing for our max lifts next week. Monday’s WOD of overhead lunges was done with 45 pounds, but it was still killer. Tuesday we had way too much fun swinging around on the rings (hung low on the pull-up bar) to learn the movement of muscle ups. I don’t think I could see myself ever being able to do a muscle up for real, but it’s still fun to work on them!

I woke up Thursday morning with tight hamstrings–I’m sure that’s probably thanks to Wednesday’s squat jumps (65 pounds). Nothing a little bit of jump rope, foam rolling, and stretching couldn’t fix.

I’ve been running a little throughout the week as well–no real long distances, but just some nice runs with friends. I’m starting to run with another running club based out of downtown Lexington and out of a local brewery (yes, runners and beer are the best combination). I’ll post more about that later.

I’m appreciating the time Taylor has put into developing our strength program because I’m seeing improvements here and there.

Oh…and I plan on finishing Morrison soon. I will conquer that hero WOD!

Your turn: What’s been your favorite workout this week?

CrossFit Friday = Face Your Fear Friday

It’s been an up and down week as far as workouts go. I went to Man O’War CrossFit four times this week, with a 3.6 mile run on Wednesday morning. I’ve been battling a cold, but I always feel like I feel better after I sweat some of the sickness out, so I just pushed through the workouts…then rested at home afterwards. It’s been keeping my energy pretty level this week, which is a good thing.

Here were this week’s WODs:

20131108-093107.jpgWe’re really working on our strength this month at the box, which has actually been a lot of fun, and very challenging. Thursday’s partner WOD actually turned into a “threesome WOD” because we had 3 people there. So while one person ran the 100 m with a plate overhead, the other two did the box dips and knees to elbows. Then we’d rotate–1 run, 2 do the rounds. This lasted for 20 minutes, which is a really long time for WODs, and let me tell you–my shoulders are killing me this morning!

And, yes, today’s WOD included box jumps…after doing heavy front an back squats and with wall balls. You might recall that I’ve been working back up to the 20″ boxes after my accident in September. Last time we did box jumps, I was using the 12″ box with a 45 pound plate on top. But today I decided to just try it. Taylor was calling it “Face Your Fear Friday” and while I was just bullshitting with him, I casually jumped up on the 20″ box–no sweat! Could I do it for 10 rounds of 5, after 10 wall balls and all those squats? I was going to try…

Twenty minutes later, we did the WOD. And I did all 50 box jumps with no stubbed toes, no shaky knees, no second guessing–I just did them. Only a couple of times did I think to myself “Oh my gosh, my quads are burning…I’m so tired…” but I quickly shook that out of my head and just jumped. I took each jump one at a time, and smiled after each set was completed. I finished the WOD as prescribed in 9:35–BEAST!

20131108-093136.jpg(I even did a couple more so Taylor could take photographic proof!)

I’m so pumped!! I haven’t felt this proud of myself in the box in a long time. It might sound cheesy, but I’m just feeling badass right now…and I’ll keep it that way.

Your turn: Brag about it! What badass thing have you accomplished this week?