Friday, August 31, 2018

My Last Regional Rodeo

I am so happy I soaked up the sun and the entire experience in Palm Beach while I could.

Because now Regionals is gone. Regionals was pretty much the only competition I trained for the last two years. The Open and Regionals were what gave me incredible motivation and got me through hours of tough training sessions. Doing well enough in the Open to guarantee our team would have the best success to make it. 

This year we sent a team from our home gym - which was amazing - to represent at the Atlantic Regional in Florida. That is no easy feat. Every year, the competition gets stiffer & the workouts get harder. There were 11,000 plus people in our Region. Our team finished Top 15. Guys - that's kind of nuts.

When Castro announced teams were moving from 6 down to 4 this year - we knew just how much harder that was going to become. But we had 4 athletes (2 girls, 2 men) who historically have always placed in the Top 100 and above. Kim and I have both competed at Regionals as Individuals (back in the day), and Travis and Jared were always right on the cusp. I was pretty damn confident we could do it, even with my husband not 100%, still healing from his motorcycle accident. More than that, we had an entire gym behind us who believed in us. Of course we were going to make it.

This was one of my favorite years of CrossFit to date. I loved my training program and my training partners. I dialed in my nutrition and completely stopped drinking. I learned how to manage my sleep and cortisol levels. I managed to get stronger and fitter with a torn labrum. My life revolved around training and recovering. I was busier than ever - but also incredibly satisfied at the end of the day, realizing this vision, making this dream happen.

Competing at Regionals was absolutely the best. In 2017, I was sick with the flu literally up until the first day of competition. I felt tired and weak out there on the floor, and my husband had just been in a terrible motorcycle accident. My mind and my heart just wasn't in the competition. 

This year, I was healthy, happy, surrounded by family, friends and my husband was right there on the floor next to me. I get emotional just recalling some of my favorite memories ... one of them, I was patting him on the back during the worm/thruster event, because I knew he was trying so hard not to blow up for us. He makes this face where his eyes get really big; we can't let him go down that Rabbit Hole or we can never get him back.

We fought hard to finish Top 10, almost made it. We settled out the weekend in 12th. But it really wasn't about the Leaderboard for us - it was about being there. It was about this small village of people that supported us to get there. It was about the hours of training we spent together - because these people believe in me just as much, if not more, than I beleive in them. Training on a team is one of the neatest experiences you can ever have; shared joy is one million times better than individual joy. Walking off the floor together after laying it all out there, not once, but 6 times, your ears still ringing from the cheering and the commentators saying "GammaLammaDingDongs" over and over ... these will forever be some of my favorite memories.

I will miss having training partners like Ashley, and our hour long warm ups. I will miss working out with Jared and literally ZERO warm ups. I will miss working out with my husband because he will actually be gone for the next 9 months, deployed overseas.

This is a new beginning for me. As the song goes, every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end. 

I'm shifting my focus from competitive training to just being healthy. And learning what that means. How to manage fitness, wellness and the desire to be competitive, while having fun in the gym.

While I'm working on figuring out what my new normal is going to look like - right now I'm just so grateful to have experienced Regionals as many times as I did. It's been a huge part of my life for the last 5 years! In 2014, I competed as an Individual. In 2015 and 2016, I volunteered as a judge. And in 2017, 2018, I competed on a Team. 

This is the end of an era for me. It's a little sad. It's a lot sad. I don't know what the new changes will look like. For the up and coming CrossFit competitors, I am sure it will be no big deal. They won't mind traveling to compete and doing online qualifiers for CrossFit Game sanctioned events - wherever and whatever those are. But for me - someone who's been doing CrossFit since it was grassroots, since before Reebok came around - I'm happy to be one of those people who can happily say, "Remember Regionals?" 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Reflecting on 2017

I can say that 2017 was one of the most challenging years I've faced in my adult life.

It was our first year of marriage - the hardest year, supposedly? I don't think it was any harder, no, I think it was made easier having him by my side. 2017 did its best to test us. 

I think that's what 2017 was for us - a testament to our relationship and our strength. We sure had some challenges thrown at us.

We made it to Regionals. This was a HUGE time commitment to train with CrossFit Ephrata regularly, over an hour of commuting. Long days, late nights. 100% one of the best experiences I've ever had though, with some of the best people I know. Fundraising, traveling, and then competing - wow. A little stressful but amazingly fun, given the circumstances.
My husband was in a major motorcycle accident. Just a few weeks before Regionals, my husband totaled his Harley, he was "ejected" from it, after colliding head on with a car in front of him. As a trauma patient, he had the best care possible and incredible team of doctors, surgeons, nurses, etc. 

Coming home from this, healing from this, that was the hard part. I was trying to gear up for the hardest competition of my life, while my husband was trying to manage going to the bathroom while using a walker. The head trauma he sustained was maybe the most serious. He wasn't himself for quite some time. Care taking is heartbreaking, exhausting, and it was impossible for me to not feel guilty about being healthy myself.

The week before Regionals, I came down with the worst flu known to man. I lost almost 7lbs in 7 days. The day before we were supposed to fly to Atlanta to compete, my husband was taken by ambulance back to the ER after experiencing stroke-like symptoms. He couldn't talk, form sentences, and lost the use of half of his body for several minutes. He stayed overnight while they ran him through every test possible to ensure he was alright. The doctor cleared him the next day to fly ...

I have no idea how we managed it, but we did! We arrived the day prior to competition. This was the first time in over a week I was able to eat solid food. I could feel my energy coming back. I was excited. But, at this point, I was having a hard time mentally checking-in. I was ready for the weekend and the stress to be over. I was turning my focus on my husband and helping him heal. It felt selfish to be out there on the floor essentially "working out", but this was something that we'd committed to, and I knew he'd be even more disappointed if I wasn't out there. I'm so grateful for the opportunity, even if it wasn't quite the weekend I'd imagined it would be. 

Thankfully, he's made a full recovery, and now - 7 months later - I enjoy every second I am able to spend with him, inside and out of the gym - happy and healthy. I'll never take that for granted.

I turned 30. Do I need to elaborate on that? Aging like a fine wine. I LOVE having my 20's behind me and am looking forward to this new time in my life and everything that my 30's will bring.

I tore my labrum. For as long as I have been doing CrossFit, and for as long as I have been training the way I do - I am surprised I lasted this long without a major injury. But, an MRI shed light on the pain I was having in my shoulder. A tear in my labrum. My orthopedic doctor suggested surgery, but I wanted to take the more conservative route with rest, anti-inflammatory and PT. I can tell that it is not quite healing on it's own, and that it will continue to hold me back in this sport if it isn't fixed - alas, we are beginning to discuss the reality of surgery here in the future. Ugh. 

Our German Shepherd Dallas was diagnosed with bone cancer this summer, and passed away the week before Christmas. This is still very raw and hard for me to process. One day he was here, and the next he was not. Dallas was my husband's dog, initially. We came into the relationship with our own animals. But, given my work from home - Dallas and I were thick as thieves and spent a lot of time together. Elliott, Dallas and I were a trio. The three musketeers. I was lucky to know and spend the time with Dallas that I did. He was an incredible dog. What I would give to just have another healthy day with him. I try to remember Dallas as he was before cancer - full of energy, running on four legs, swimming, hiking, playing ball, my gentle giant. I miss him every day.

Other things to note: I hit a huge Milestone in my business - over 150 clients coached to date! I sold my trusty Subaru and bought a 2017 Ford Edge. I visited my sister in San Diego and attended the CrossFit Invictus Camp. I gave up my FitBit and joined Team Whoop. We even adopted a new dog ... Juno. <3

Hats off to you, 2017. It was a year of challenges and growth, a year of heartbreak and lessons. 

Here's to hoping 2018 is equally as full, if not just a tad bit more ... upbeat.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Crock Pot Venison Pumpkin Chili

It's that time of year - FALL! Also known as #pumpkineverything!

The weather is finally dropping to normal fall temperatures, and I am craving warm, hearty foods that fill me up and warm my bones. I've also been sick with the flu, and eating hot foods help me feel a little better. Being sick, I also don't want to spend a lot of time on my feet. Enter: the trusty crock-pot.

Thankfully, we have a freezer of ground venison, and nothing compliments this gamey meat like a good chili. 



2 lbs ground meat (use anything extra lean, I used venison)
1lb sweet potato, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can Libby's Pure Pumpkin Puree
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 can of Reduced Sodium Great Northern Beans
2 tsp chopped garlic

Seasonings! I used smoked red pepper, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper, a little sweet curry powder, onion and garlic salt.

Are you ready for the instructions? Hah, it's too easy. Brown the meat, and then throw everything into the crock pot. Add enough water until it's a nice creamy consistency - this is up to you. If you like thicker chili, less water. 

Cook on high for 6 hours. Divide into 8 tupperware containers. 

Good for a week in the fridge, and can be frozen for up to 6 months!

I also just discovered Kodiak Cakes Protein Corn Bread Mix, I can't wait to whip up a batch and pair these together!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Three Things Thursday

Thing 1: Being sick is gross. Oh, the blight of being bedridden, coughing so hard I can't breathe, and slowly burying myself alive under a mountain of snot-filled tissues (that my dog loves to eat, by the way).

I'm adding these two supplements (Turkey Tail and Lysene) to my already over-flowing cupboard of bottles in the hopes that the rest of this fall and winter will be a sick-free one. Do you have any supplements or remedies you swear by to avoid getting caught with a cold or the flu? Or how to get over them sooner?

Thing 2: You just need to re-watch your favorite kids movies. Take a lazy Sunday afternoon and dive back into Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, The Sound of Music, and The Labyrinth. You'll have a new respect and even deeper love for them as an adult (and be slightly amazed at the amount of sexual innuendos that no one seemed to care about back then). If you don't have lazy Sunday afternoons, don't worry. You might get sick soon enough and be forced to have a marathon.

Thing 3: Disconnect more. This week I took my work email ( off of my iPhone. CRAZY idea, right? But listen, here's why.

More and more, this idea of being connected 24/7 appeals to us. But, I think when you run your own business, you risk burn out if you don't learn to define and abide by work hours. Work never stops. It never turns off, you're always "on". It seeps into your home life, your private life, your personal life - and I don't care how committed to your business or profession you are - there have to be boundaries. Balance is something I teach all of my clients about food, about macros. It's why I love flexible dieting - I can have the Oreo cookies, if I make them fit into my macros. It maybe means I can't have jelly AND peanut butter with my morning toast, but I make the compromise. With life, too often we stay SO connected through social media through our phones, that we miss a lot of what's happening right now, in the present. Our devices literally follows us everywhere. I wonder how many people are reading this post from their phones while sitting on the toilet?

This change has made the hours that I dedicate to working incredibly more productive! And it makes time I'm not working so much more enjoyable - I'm "off" completely. Drawing this line has made my stress decrease exponentially, and it makes me excited to get back to work, back to my clients, back to what I love doing - helping people, changing lives, talking about food and fitness - how awesome!

Here's a crazy idea - how about un-plugging completely on Sundays from social media. Even going as far as deleting the Instagram and Facebook app.

How many mindless hours do you spend swiping through Facebook feeds and Instagram stories? Do you feel any better after it? Was that time productive? If it wasn't, replace that time with something that will uplift you, change you, grow you, inspire you, etc. Spend an hour reading. Spend an hour whipping up a new recipe with your husband, best friend, mom, sister. Let's focus on creating quality relationships in real life. Then plug back in on Monday and let us hear all about it. <3

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Real Tired

Sometimes a girl just has to get some stuff off of her chest, you know? Here's a list of a few things I'm real tired of. You might be, too.

1. Real tired of this freakishly warm weather. First day of Fall, and you're killing me with 90+ degree temperatures and a humidity index of 9,000, Pennsylvania. But don't worry, as soon as it's cold, I'm going to be real tired of that, too. 

2. Real tired of people coming into CrossFit when they know they're sick, have a bug, are contagious, and aren't really doing anything to keep their communicable germs to themselves. I feel like I need to walk around with Lysol wipes on my hands instead of gymnastics grips. 

3. Real tired of having a bloated, water belly. You know what I'm talking about, because it's SO hot, you're so thirsty, you're chugging water as fast as it's coming out of your pores. By the time the workout is finished, you're writhing around in pain but have to stop because the sloshing in your belly makes you want to vomit a little (but maybe you already did from the WOD).

4. Real tired of fat macros being in everything. I mean, everything has fat in it, and when a girl is trying to count her macros, and they're camouflaged better than a solider in Vietnam, it makes fitting my precious peanut butter into my day near impossible. Can I get an Amen for peanut butter?

5. That brings me Number 5. Real tired of peanut butter having so much fat in it. 

It's Thursday, which means a REST DAY and a re-feed day. ALL THE CARBS. Not real tired of those, that's for sure! 

What are you real tired of?