Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Growing Up State: I am Penn State


Imagine if you will, a place where a small lazy river, winds endlessly through rounded mountain ridges.  Imagine that this place is miles away from the nearest city, and speckled with small towns.  There are farms and fields forming much of the landscape with major highways ocassionally criss-crossing through the land.  Imagine if you will the people who live here.  Mostly blue-collar, hard-working, and religious folks.  You will find these people working hard Monday-Friday, coaching soccer and Little League on Saturday, and going to church on Sunday.  

In many ways, it's like taking a step back in time.  The nearest malls are miles away.  There are many places where the nearest neighbor is too.  Large storms still knock out power, and blizzards can, and do strand people in their homes for more than a mere 12 hours.  There is no Starbucks on every corner.  In many towns, everyone still knows everyone's name.  And here, four wheel drives are driven for a purpose other than showing off how much money you have.  In short, welcome home.  Welcome to my home.  I was born here. I was raised here.  And for 22 years, I lived in one house.  Central Pennsylvania, is an hour and a half from the nearest "bustling" city of Harrisburg.  Philly and Pittsburgh take 3-4.  In short, there's really not all that much to do.  

This is a place where your neighbor knows you and will still give you the shirt off your back if you need it.  It's a place where kids still play outside.  They still climb trees, ride bikes, and occassionally wander too far from the house while they play in the creek. Towns still have parades, and driving with a gun in your car is perfectly normal.  It's a place that has given birth to the Little League World Series, the Bloomsburg Fair, Middleswarth Potato Chips, and Mike Mussina.  This is Central Pennsylvania.  This is also Nittany Lion country.

From my earliest days, the seasons all had specific activities associated with them, and we looked forward to them all.  Winter in Central PA means that you are guaranteed snow, and that it can be rest assured that you will watch a lot of movies when the plow doesn't come by your rural address for a few days.  Spring means the return of the Crocusses, trout season, and AYSO spring soccer.  Summer of course meant outdoor swim team and lots of sleepovers at the 'river lots' and campgrounds, maybe mixed in with a trip to Knoebels Amusement Resort, and of course, carnival season. And Fall.  Fall was glorious.  Not only for the gorgeous coloring of the leaves up Route 15 on the ridge lines, but for many other reasons. Fall was Fall AYSO soccer (and eventually high school soccer), hunting season, and football.  Glorious, glorious football.  

Central Pennsylvania, nestled into the valleys of the Susquehanna river, lies just over an hour due west from State College, or Happy Valley as it has been nicknamed.  As far back as I can remember, our proximity to the University always meant that Saturdays in the fall were for Penn State Football.  I can remember my dad at my soccer games with his radio headset on, trying to catch the broadcast while he watched us play.  And honestly, you couldn't expect to get in the car during a Penn State game and hear a song on the radio.  Every station would broadcast the Penn State game.  I can still hear in my head the VERY particular way the announcer would always say, "I formation in the back field."  Route 80 would be packed on Friday and Saturdays with people headed west then east, flying their PSU flags and sporting their stickers en route to the games.  Route 15 and 322 brought people from the South up into Happy Valley.  It was guaranteed that restaurants and stores along these routes would be packed every weekend, and you couldn't expect to drive through the area and not see a variety of flags, license plates, car magnets, and bumper stickers that all supported our Lions.  

As a kid, I used to love to go visit my grandparents in Shamokin.  A little out of Central PA it lies a little farther to the east, in coal country.  Long time Penn State supporters, Pop Pop and Grandma went so far as to keep their Penn State blanket and a stuffed Nittany Lion in the back of their car.  For a long time they had a van that traveled west for EVERY home game of the season.  Once the stadium became too much for my grandfather's knees, they had to stop going.  But even though they stopped going, they never stopped supporting.  In the kitchen of their house for 20+ years, hung the Nittany Lion head with the saying "Love Ya' Lions" right over the kitchen sink.  Being a Penn Stater was ingrained in me from an early age, and to that university I attach some very fond memories.  

Some people though, don't understand why.  Why has this program become so big?  Why is it such a huge thing?  Why is the "Nittany Nation" so strong?  Growing up as a part of the Nittany Nation, but now living away from it, I have my own thoughts as to why that happened.  State College, where Beaver Stadium is located, sits essentially nestled into the mountains as well.  Although an hour closer to Pittsburgh, it still essentially sits in the middle of nowhere.  The people of State College, and the students who attend University Park, are essentially an island.  There's nothing there besides the town and the University.  In part, I think that this is one of the reasons why the Nittany Nation is as strong as it is.  There are few outsiders in the Penn State world because quite frankly, you really have to WANT to be there to be there.  It is my belief, that as with CrossFit where people who suffer together form a community, the same type of thing happens in Happy Valley.  Suffering together through freak snow storms and bleak winters away from much of the outside world, the people there band together in a way that many people do not understand.  Some have used the word cult.  I think that that is a bit extreme.  I think the area simply doesn't appeal itself to everyone, so to the people who don't want to be there, it is easier simply to label the people that do.   People who go there, or live there, are there for a reason.  I strongly believe that that strong sense of commuity is one of the attractions.  And I think that the football program is a continuation of it.  There is NOTHING, NOTHING, I tell you, like sitting in a stadium with 108,000 (the average home game attendance) people who all want the same thing you do.

In addition to being a great weekend activity, everyone who was a Penn State fan, felt good about being a Penn State fan because of who led that team.  To have a strong community was great.  But to have a strong community that was led by what we felt was a strong leader, was fantastic.  We had a man who talked about success with honor and had some of the highest graduation rates in college sports.  He also spent his years as a coach giving back to the community in which he lived.  Joe Paterno, despite having multi-million dollar paychecks, continued to live in the community of State College.  Joe never bought a mansion, never moved into a gated house.  He continued to live as a member of a community.  He was just like us.  He was a normal, everyday guy.  He gave to the University Library, the Special Olympics, and gave his time to different University functions, like THON, throughout the year.  He was the embodiment of good in a world that is not often so.  Penn State fans felt a connection with that type of leadership, because it represented many of us.  Many of us are small town folks who believe in community and in doing the right thing.  

Flash forward to November of this past year.  Jerry Sandusky and the scandal that errupted tarnished our university and our football team.  It tore to pieces the image of a man that we had thought we knew, and had come to feel represented a lot of good in this world.  As alumni, as fans, we were disappointed in our leadership.  We were disgusted with what they allowed to occur.  We were torn between continuing to think that Joe Paterno had done the right thing, and acknowledging that maybe someone we thought we knew, was not infallible.  It was heartwrenching to watch.  It was heartwrenching to hear the truth.  It was hard to hear that someone we all loved and admired, was maybe not quite as worthy of that admiration as we thought.  We wanted to believe that we couldn't be wrong.  It was hard to hear that they had allowed children to be put through what they went through. For those of us who had been fans for decades, it was painful.  I'm not comparing our pain to that of the victims, so please don't jump to conclusions, but if you have ever loved something very much, and watched it go down in a ball of flames, then you may understand what I mean.  Penn State represented a lot of memories for us, and it was hard to watch something you love go through something like this.  It wasn't long after the scandal errupted that the media began to paint everyone associated with Penn State with the same brush.  

According to ESPN, EVERYONE knew.  And according to the media, EVERYONE was to blame.  Because we loved our community, and because we loved football and how it felt to be part of the Nittany Nation, and because we took PRIDE in being a part of the Penn State family, it was our fault.  WE did this.  Not Jerry Sandusky, not any of the administration, but US.  That sort of thinking has been very hard to swallow.  The blind hatred and the accusatory remarks that have been hurled at Penn Staters for simply being Penn Staters over the past few months has been horrific.  The ESPN message boards are a flood of hate filled posts.  As a Penn Stater, it's hard not to be upset by that.  It's hard sometimes to keep quiet when all you hear are people attacking something that you love.  It's a natural reaction to be defensive and to attack back.  Penn State fans and alumni have been attacked relentlessly by the media for months.  Is it not understandable why they are starting to get angry? Why they are starting to attack back?  The media has accused anyone associated with Penn State of essentially being a bad person.  It's hard NOT to come out swinging when someone says something like that.  Although this is not the same, since I know most of you reading this are CrossFitters, I will use a CrossFit analogy here.  How does it feel, when people who don't CrossFit, and don't understand it begin talking trash about CrossFit? About how wrong our methods are, about how wrong we are to eat and train like we do. About how CrossFit is a cult?  What is your first initial reaction? To tell them that they are wrong, and to essentially fly off the handle at them for coming up to you and having this conversation without fulling even understanding what CrossFit is, right?

That's how many Penn Staters feel.  We're tired of people who don't even know anything about the University talking a whole lot of trash.  I can't tell you how many times I have heard people say that the University should be shut down.  Do you realize that Penn State has over 20 branch campuses in addition to University Park in State College?  Do people realize that Penn State has a partnership with Hershey Medical Center and that it is a top research school? Do people realize that Penn State engineering schools are ranked among some of the best?  Do these people know that THON is the LARGEST student-run philanthropic organization in the COUNTRY and that last year ALONE they raised $10 million for children's cancer via the 4 Diamonds Fund?  Penn State is genuinely a quality university.  There are a handful of people who seriously messed up, and yes, they do need some form of punishment.  But shutting down the university and belittling the students, faculty, and fans of Penn State is NOT the answer.  It doesn't erase any of the past.  It just makes it harder to move into the future. As a former, and now again current, Penn Stater through World Campus, I am proud to be a part of the Penn State family.  I am proud of what this family can accomplish when they put their minds to it.  I only hope that people who are not part of the Nittany Nation will read this and begin to have a clearer understanding of Penn State and what it means to many people just like me.  Perhaps they will then be able to join with the students and alumni who are working for RAINN and begin to do some good as we move into the next chapter of Penn State's history.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Is strong REALLY beautiful?

If you've been a follower of my blog for awhile, or if you happen to know me in person, you know that food and I have not always had the best of relationships.  If you're just dropping by for the first time, well, welcome.  Food and I have not always had the best of relationships, just FYI.  

I've had my good times with food, I've had my bad times with food, and my relationship with food is something that I will always be mindful of as I go through my life.  Proper diet and weight management are things that I'm constantly thinking about.  I'm always mindful of how I look, and how I feel about myself. Last week I was having a particularly rough week.  The end of the school year was not good for my diet, and I've been feeling not so great about things lately.  And as I was searching for recipe ideas for healthy meals to cook to get myself back on track, I was just a little bit bothered by something that I kept seeing.

As I scrolled through multiple blogs and multiple posts, I kept seeing "Strong is beautiful".  This wasn't the first time I had seen the phrase, but I've noticed that this sort of "movement" has really been gaining some steam lately.  When I first started seeing all the "Strong is beautiful" stuff, I was sort of excited.  I think that moving away from the idea that every woman in the world should be a size 4 or under is a good thing.  I think it's healthy.  It's like the pendulum of beauty image began to swing in a healthy direction.  But I've been noticing lately, it seems, that more and more I'm seeing those same words attached only to pictures of extremely fit women, like Annie Thorisdottir.  Now, before anyone jumps on me and says I'm hating on Annie, allow me to say that I think Annie is gorgeous.  I think I would make out with Annie if she asked.  She is incredibly talented as an athlete and has obvious amounts of dedication to her sport.  And I'm NOT saying that women like Annie are not beautiful.

My issue with this situation is this.  By attaching the phrase "Strong is beautiful" to women like Annie, it seems to be promoting the ideal that you can't be beautiful unless you have a very low percentage of body fat and a perfectly ripped body, like Annie.  It's almost as if you can't be considered beautiful unless you look like THAT.  Yesterday Facebook (God BLESS Facebook) trended me to an article about the beautiful women of CrossFit.  Again, every single one of them had six pack abs, ripped arms, and was completely toned.  Again, are those women all beautiful? Absolutely, but again, it's almost as if the beauty image pendulum has completely swung the other way.  It's almost as if it's saying that unless you are completely toned and ripped, you are not strong or beautiful.  

In my opinion, which I know does not count for very much, there seems to be a contradiction going on.  If strong is beautiful, then regular old girls who work out hard and are trying the best they can to be healthy should be beautiful too, no? So then, if that's what we REALLY mean, where are the pictures of them?  Why are their bodies not being heralded as beautiful too?  Why are they not being featured in the same photos as the Annies of the world?  Why does it only apply to the perfect physiques of the CrossFit goddesses? 

Would I love to be a CrossFit goddess and look like Annie? Absolutely.  (It would probably help my dating life a lot..... then again, shutting my mouth and not always expressing my opinions might too.... but I digress.)  I think we all would because, let's be honest, those abs are freaking awesome and who WOULDN'T want to have those?  But I know that the particular amount of dedication to CrossFit and dieting that it would take for me to get there is just not in my cards right now.  But in the meantime, does that mean that I'm not beautiful?  (Be careful how you answer that question.... this is MY blog after all.... :P) Does it mean that the woman who just dropped 20 lbs isn't beautiful?  Does that mean that the woman who is a size 10 and deadlifting 275, but does not have ripped arms isn't beautiful? 

This post is NOT trying to take anything away from the hard work those women have put into their dieting and their sport, but I just think that we (and by "we" I mean society) need to slow down and think carefully about "Strong is beautiful" and how exactly that message is being portrayed.  I think it's great that people are finally coming around to the idea that stronger women and athletes are beautiful, but I think that if we are not careful about how we send this message, then we will have missed a very important boat altogether.  If strong is truly beautiful, then I think we need to begin to celebrate the beauty truly, as it is, in all different kinds of shapes and sizes.  

Thursday, June 28, 2012

How to Date a CrossFitter.... if you are one...

So, last week I gave out some helpful tips for people who wanted to date a CrossFitter, but were not CrossFitters themselves.  So, I guess it's only fair if I give some dating advice for people who are CrossFitters.  Since I'm single, I'm not really sure if I SHOULD be giving dating advice, but.... meh, oh well.  I'll do it anyway, cuz, well, it's my blog and I can! 

How to Date a CrossFitter....if you are one!

I think it's always better to start with the DON'TS and get them out of the way... so let's do that again shall we? Some of these rules may only apply if we CrossFit together, others are universal! 


1.  Touch my knife, don't touch my Johnson...or my weights- This rule really only applies if we happen to CrossFit at the same box, but it's an important one.  You'd be pissy if somebody messed with your weights mid-wod, so why do it to your SO? That's even MORE annoying.  Just becuase I'm your SO that doesn't mean that I won't be annoyed if you try to share/mess with my stuff.  It also doesn't mean I won't smack you in the face with my kettlebell.  So, bottom line, HANDS OFF! 

2.  Forget that WOD time is WOD time.- I realize that you like my butt, and that my boobs look AWESOME in my Lulu tanktop, HOWEVER, time and place buddy.  I also realize that I'm freaking awesome and that you want to tell me how much you love me.... but.... again, time and place.  While I do enjoy the ocassional chalk print on my butt, when we're wodding, please refrain from calling me shnookums, baby cakes, and pookey, and store up all those lovey dovey things for later.... when I can properly show you how much I appreciate them..... *hint hint, wink wink* I have a totally badass reputation to uphold in the box, and I won't have others thinking it's ok to call me shmoopy pants.  If you choose to ignore this rule, I promise I will reveal your mother's pet name for you and post your naked baby photos to Facebook.  And perhaps a few embarassing photos of you from the mid-90's.  Consider yourself warned.  

3.  Whine if I can clean/snatch/overhead squat more than you.- Listen, we all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to CrossFit.  I just happen to be good at lifting heavy things after being a swimmer for 16 years, but I SUCK when it comes to metcons.  So please don't get all mopey and act like a 3rd grader if I happen to clean more than you on a given day.  It's not sexy.  Whining about it just might make me accidentally dump my bar on you.  And I don't care who you are.... 100 pounds is 100 pounds and it hurts if I slam it into you.

4.  Rub it in that you are more like Speedy Gonzalez than me.-  Trying to make yourself feel better about your strength weakness by rubbing it in that you are faster than me makes my attraction to you fade faster than than New Kids on the Block comeback.  Don't try to put me down to build yourself up.  Embrace your weaknesses and do work, son!

5.  Fan your feathers. - Ok, so let's say you're a guy that CAN lift more than me.  You don't need to flaunt it at every turn. If I drop my bar and it needs to be back on the rack, I'll strip it, or tag team it back up there.  I don't need you to come over and clean/snatch my 1RM like it's child play.  Really? I get it, you're able to lift my 1RM easily.  Put the plummage away and go lift something else besides MY bar.  

6.  Think it's necessary to make me jealous by wodding shirtless and flirting at the gym- If you have to ask why, then this is CLEARLY not going to work.  If you like to wod shirtless 'cause you do, that's one thing.  If you need to have every female at the gym staring at you and touching your perfectly formed six-pack, then move along.  I like you because I like YOU, not your biceps and six-pack.  Although they are nice to see and touch.... they're NOT why I'm dating you.  

7.  Play "the penis mightier" with all the guys at the gym- Listen, you like me, that's cool and I dig that. But our thing is our thing, and the whole world does not need to be informed.  If we like each other, sooner or later, people WILL figure it out.  You don't need to give every man at the box the "hands-off" talk, or the "eyes-off" talk either.  Many of those guys are my friends and us dating won't change that.  If you can't handle me having male friends, I suggest you do like Michael Jackson and "beat it".  


1.  Feel free to cheer for me.- So long as you're not calling me baby cakes, shmoopy, or any other pet name, I whole-heartedly appreciate your support, especially if it's during a metcon! 

2.  Celebrate my success.- Be proud of me when I do something good and I promise that I will cheer just as loud when you hit a big PR! 

3.  Tell me how hot I look after a WOD.- If you'd like to tell me AFTER the WOD how hot I look without any make-up and drenched in sweat.... well then, by all means! :) 

4.  Be my partner.-  We don't need to do EVERY partner WOD together, we don't have an imbilical cord after all, but I don't think there's anything wrong with us WODding together. 

5.  Practice being healthy with me.- There is strength in numbers.  Healthy eating and wod habits are easier to keep when there is a buddy system.  Think "Thunder buddies for life!" So let's get together and work on our world dominance.... ok ok fine... maybe just our CrossFit dominance.  

So there you have it folks.... How to Date a CrossFitter... if you are a CrossFitter.  As usual, I reserve the right to ammend my list! :) Hope it made you giggle at least a little! :) 

Katie on: Affordable Healthcare

A large number of Americans already have affordable healthcare.  It's called CrossFit.  :) I think though, that since CrossFit and healthy eating are known to PREVENT many types of ailments, my insurance company should cover my monthly gym membership and count it as preventative care.  ;) Just a thought.... 

Monday, June 25, 2012

I need 100 CC's of Mario Kart!!!

So, last week I was outside Philly visiting my friend.  He just had surgery to reattach his hamstring, which for him, has been nothing short of torture.  He's always been a very active soccer player and coach, even after college.  For him to now be forced to lay on the couch (he can't even sit) in an immobolizer is absolutely torturous for him.  I went to visit just so he could have some company and have someone to talk to and watch movies with.  As an added bonus, I found out that CrossFit KOP (King Of Prussia) was LITERALLY .8 miles from his house.  I was stoked! A wod in the process?!? Sweet. The drop-in was great and I hit the hero wod from the main site, which was pretty painful for all intensive purposes.  I had to modify the HSPU, but the time wasn't too bad for 12 rounds.  Although the drop-in was fun, and was a serious highlight, I have a confession that I have to make.  Until last week, I had never played a Wii.  So Kev and I decided that well, I needed to play.  We of course decided to play Mario Kart.  I am an absolutely HORRIBLE driver.  No really.  We were playing on a team and he kept telling me my only job was to make sure I didn't finish last.  That's NOT exactly a vote of confidence! LOL.  Anyway, playing Mario Kart with him made me think of the rap video Remy did.  If you don't know Remy, well.... then you just don't know.  He's INFAMOUS in the NOVA area for his spectacularly done "Arlington Rap".  (You Tube it.... IMHO, SPOT ON!) Well, he also made one called the Mario Kart rap.  I'm going to amuse you all with it now.  Because, well, I can!!! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

How to date a CrossFitter.... if you're not one....

As a single, now thirty something living in DC, I can attest to the fact that dating is difficult. You have the other person's quirks, your own insecurities, and not to mention schedules. I mean, who knew that dating required you to have ready access to your Google calendar just to make sure your evening was free? Didn't this use to be easier? Now, dating is hard enough on its own, but as a CrossFitter, we add a WHOLE other level of complicatedness to things. That's right, I said complicatedness. I invented a new word this morning. You should NOT be shocked by this at all. Anyway, I've decided that to help UNcomplicate things, I would make a handy little list of do's and DON'Ts for those non-CrossFitters out there to help deal with us CrossFitters in the dating world. Get ready for it folks, 'cause here it is...

How to Date a CrossFitter.... if you're not one

I think it's always easier to start with the don'ts.... so let's warn the nice folks up front, shall we?


1. Compare your workout to mine- I have no burning desire to hear all about how you are such a badass because you did 10X5 sets of dumbbell curls at the gym and how your traps are so massive. Great, good for you... but if it came down to it, could you pick me up and run with me from a burning building? No? You can't because you spent all your time watching your perfect self in the mirror? Ok, well you bascially just admitted that to me, so chances are I'm going to forgo a second date with you. Avoid killing the relationship before the relationship sperm can connect with the relationship egg and form a beautiful relationship baby. Practice verbal self-restraint!!!

2. Tell me that CrossFit is too expensive and lame and that you don't understand why people do it.- The door is there. Any questions?

3. Complain about my calluses.- I worked hard to get those and I will not hesitate to slap you with them.

4. Tell me that I should/not eat (insert food here).- Listen, I'm dating you. You're not my nutritionist... well unless you were my nutritionist and now we're on a date, but whatevs..... If we HAPPEN into a conversation about food, great! But don't sit and analyze what's on my plate or offer me your food advice. Chances are, if you do, I will hammer throw my plate at your face and you will STILL pay for my dinner. 'Cuz that's how I roll.

5. Complain about my 0515 or 1745 workouts.- Regardless of whether I go early in the morning or late at night, my time is my time and those crazy mothers in there with me are my family. Try to come between me and my family and I will "go to the mattresses". Ya heard?  

6. Tell me that my bruises look "suspicious".- REALLY?!?!?! *BITCH SLAP*

7. Question my workout wardrobe.- Ok, so I'm a thirty year old woman who likes glitter. I get it. It's a little odd, but work with me. Like you don't have any out of the ordinary obsessions? Please. That collection of Marvel super hero beer steins isn't exactly SCREAMING well-rounded man. And as for my knee-high sock collection... if my outfits are going to match, I really DO need to have a wide variety of colors. Who cares if they take up half my underwear/sock drawer? And are my pants too tight for the gym? NO. Tighter pants, means better bar path. If the dudes stare at my butt, better for you because, while they may get to look, you're the one that gets to touch. Well, maybe. It depends, what date number is this? I reserve the right to withhold butt touching until the second date.

8. You dare tell me that lifting heavy weights will make me look like a man.- Do I look like I have a penis and brostache to you? Clearly not if you agreed to go on a date with me. 

9. Touch my bar, or my jumprope.- Ever see Finding Nemo? MINE! 

10. Play "the penis mightier" with the guys at the gym.- They're my friends. I'm on a date with you. Any questions? 


1. Support my goals.- I love CrossFit and I will work hard to be better at it. Instead of trying to hold me down, help me work towards being leaner and more badass. I'll be even sexier in the long run, and that can only work out well for both of us. ;)

2. Learn the lingo.- Even though it may seem like I talk in riddles with acronyms all the time, trying to understand and asking questions will make you even more attractive in the long run. And it will be super hot when you ask me how my Fran time was today.

3. Just do it.- Try a wod. If it's not for you, it's not for you. But the couple that WOD's together, stays together. Just sayin'. 

4. Be your own healthy individual.- If CrossFit's not for you, ok. Then do your own thing, unless it's tricep kickbacks and bicep curls.... I am not sure I could handle that. I promise I'll be as supportive of you as you are of me, but don't be a couch potato. If I really like you, I'd like you to still be around in 30 years.... maybe.... 

5. Understand that chalk and bruises wind up in LOTS of places.- No, REALLY. 

6. Keep a few ice packs on hand at your place.- Ocassionally, I may need you to play doctor. 

7. Try not to stare at all the other girls at the CrossFit competitions.- I know it's hard, but I said TRY. You're there for me, remember? And if you want to go home with me.... well, eyes forward. 

8. Believe that even if Rich Froning walked into the room and asked me to make out with him, I'd still go home with you. 

 There you have it folks. The Do's and Don'ts of dating a CrossFitter.... if you're not a CrossFitter. Coming soon, the Do's and Don'ts of dating a CrossFitter.... if you ARE a CrossFitter.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012


So last week I mentioned about how my kids were working on filling out teacher report cards on me to grade me as a teacher as a fun end of the year thing. Well, I thought that the comment about the omelette maker was pretty good, but I had a student top that. So they question was, "What should I be if I was not a teacher?" I had a student who responded as follows: "Nothing. She probably doesn't know how to do anything else." Escuse me, WHAT? I'm capable of holding down PLENTY of other jobs if I wanted. HARUMPF! I think my indignation is showing! Truth be told, I don't think he meant it as an insult. He is a student who does have some needs in the area of social skills but it was just such an "OH BURN!" moment that I HAD to share. It was truly too priceless. PS- I have been going to the gym.... it's just that the end of the year stuff is so much more interesting to write about.... Wait til you hear about the advice that they have for next year's fourth graders! Oh and keep your eyes peeled... a blog called "How to Date a CrossFitter" is in the works!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The omelette maker makes an impact....

So, as of Tuesday, it was official. My students took their last SOL, and I'm officially done with the "testing" season. So, now what? Well now we get to start doing some fun, end of the year activities, like the "Teacher Report Card". Every year I give my kids a report card that they get to fill out... ON ME! It's fun for them since I always grade them. It's their time to give me feedback. Now some kids just put that everything was great and wonderful and that everything was great, but others really take their time and give the best constructive criticism they can. Sometimes what they come up with is really, REALLY funny. Kind of like their advice letters to next year's fourth graders... but that is a WHOLE other post. Anyway, on the report card, there is a question that asks the students what they think I should do if I wasn't a teacher. I get some interesting stuff like day care worker, doctor... one of my students said I should be a therapist. But the funniest was one I got this year, because I am so used to being in that room with the kids and watching them, that I sometimes forget that they are also watching ME. So this year, one of my students said that I should be a chef. That wasn't so far out there, but her reasoning was what got me. She said I should be a chef because I "always have such yummy looking breakfasts" when I'm in the classroom. It sort of hit like a ton of bricks, but if you remember the omelette maker I was talking about in my post last week, you know what she's talking about. True story. Most days the omelette doesn't get made until right before the kids come. Having the class ready for the day takes priority over food so it's always the last thing to get done before the kids arrive. The coffee is brewed first thing, that's a MUST, but the breakfast can wait. So more often than not, as the kids are coming into the room from breakfast themselves, I am also eating mine. So, although I'm not meaning to, I'm clearly making an impact on my kids. They are observing my eating habits and noting what I'm eating. I guess it just made me ever more aware that they are little sponges that soak up EVERYTHING that we as adults do. So, while it made me laugh a little bit that my omelette maker made such an impact on her, it also made me realize that I really do need to be careful because I'm clearly setting an example for these kids. But at least in this case, I can be proud of the fact that the example I'm setting is a good one. Eat breakfast, and eat a HEALTHY one at that. Eggs, peppers, onions, avacado.... all good things for them to be eating! Thank goodness that they weren't observing my swearing habit! Perhaps I'll buy them all omelette makers as end of the year gifts to encourage their healthy eating habits.... ;) Ah, a chef... LOL. My kids crack me up!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thank you sir! May I have another?

If you're not a teacher or involved in the education world, you probably wonder why the hell I keep saying SOL time, SOL time, SOL time. SOL's are basically the standardized testing given in Virginia. My effectiveness and worth is pretty much tied to the results that come from those tests. It's not the only thing that my administrators look at but it's a big indicator of how good I am at my job. So, for the past month I've been all but completely enveloped in these tests. So, when good things happen in the box IN SPITE of the stress and poor eating/sleeping regime of the past month, I get REALLY excited. This past Friday was First Friday at our box which means that we get to choose our own hero or girl workout to hit. I decided that I should hit Annie since I knew we would be lifting heavy on Saturday at competition club. It was 0500, I was tired and I was thinking I just needed to DO WORK. I loosened up and hopped on the clock. My abs felt like Jello but everyone could use a little ab work right? So, anyway, I just kept going and pushed through and nearly peed my pants when I saw the clock. 7:40. Seriously.... I thought the clock was joking. I PR'd on Annie about 2 months ago by nearly 3 minutes, and pulled it in 9:20ish. I thought then that that was awesome. 7:40 just about blew my mind. I wandered around for awhile and then thought that Annie was really short so I really ought to do more work. So I decided that it would be a great idea for me to do something that didn't involve a ton of heavy lifting but I could still hit. So I decided on DT. I warmed up and started in only to realize that after I had done a full round I had the wrong weight on the bar.... DAMNIT! So I reloaded the bar and started again. I felt lethargic and thought after all that wasted energy there was no way that this was going to end well. In my mind I shut off the clock and just kept tring to move. I broke at strategic points but tried to make rest minimal. On rounds 4/5 Jerry got in my face a bit and made me keep going when I started to lag a bit. The last set of jerks felt horrible but I put them up and dropped the bar only to realize I had JUST pr'd AGAIN. I dropped at 10:16, which was over a 30 second PR. I was incredibly happy with both of those results. I really couldn't ask for more. Well, I got more. On Saturday at competition club, we were doing a 1RM snatch, a 1RM clean and jerk, and a max front squat x 2. I have been struggling with my snatch lately (<-------- insert laughter here) but two weeks ago I put up a new PR at 120. Then Saturday despite being tired, I hit a 122 snatch. Stoked doesn't even begin to describe how good that felt. Three PR's in two days? Hellz yeah! I will take it! Thank you sir, may I have another?! The PR was so great in fact that when I SMASHED myself in the forehead with a barbell because my turnover was WAY too slow, I couldn't even be mad about it. It hurt like a son of a gun, and after five years I have NEVER done that, but I guess there's a first time for everything! I'll just say "thank you sir, may have another?" for the PR's and NOT the forehead smashing.... :P

Whole Foods Parking Lot....

Talking about nutrition yesterday made me think of this.... if you've never experienced a Whole Foods, you may not understand.... but if you have... I have to say I SWEAR this is spot on! I am not in LA, but Alexandria has one..... and let me tell you, with their underground parking and little cones to keep you from going all different ways, it does get REAL!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Katie on : Making it work, nutritionally speaking....

If you've been a long time follower of my blog, or even if you are a relative newcomer who has perused only a small portion of my blogs, you'll notice that I talk a lot about how hectic my schedule is, and also how I really need to get myself on a solid nutrition bandwagon.  It seems that my hectic schedule and eating well are two things that don't jive together very well. 

Over the course of the past few years, it has been a solid source of frustration to me.  I will often feel like I've made progress, only to have another life hiccup and take steps backwards.  I suppose that's how life is for everyone, but it seems like for me, it happens more often.  Because of how my life is, I've given up on the idea that I will be a strict Paleo eater.  I hate to sound like a naysayer and I know that I'm going against everything that CrossFit preaches, but the bottom line, for me anyway, is that I'm just not able to devote enough of my time to it.  Eating healthy takes some consorted effort and dedication at first until it becomes natural.  For me, the fact is that I simply do not have the time.  People say, "Cook on the weekends."  I say, "I work every weekend." People say, "Have your meals delivered." I say, "There's a reason I work a second job!"

Right now, for me, it is not feasible to spend the time in the kitchen, finding recipes that I like, playing around with ingredients, and generally devoting the time to it that it needs.  Now, having said that, that also does not mean however, that I spend my nights eating McDonald's and chowing down on pints of ice cream.  (Although to be fair, it is SOL season and my sugar intake has spiked drastically because of stress, however, this is unusual.) I try to make the best choices that I can, when possible, and I also try to put myself in the best possible situation to BE successful.  It's kind of like what I was saying the other day in my blog about "The Serious Factor".  You want to put yourself in the best position possible to BE your best and DO your best.  Sometimes, you'll get amazing results, and sometimes you'll fall a bit short because, well, that's life and we don't always get what we want.  But putting yourself in the BEST position possible to be your best and be successful in your endeavors is key. 

So, if you're like me..... then I know you feel like nutrition can be your enemy.  If you work two jobs, 12 hour shifts, or have 3 kids and FEEL like you work 4 jobs.... here are a few things that I do (and am TRYING to do) that may help you in the same way they have at least HELPED me get started on the right track.  I'm human, and I am constantly trying to figure this all out.  I do sometimes fall off the wagon, I make mistakes, and sometimes I flat out get to the point where I just don't care.  I'm not perfect.  But these are some things that are helping to keep me completely "out of the weeds" as we say in the restaurant world.  They keep me from getting so far off the path that I can't find my way back. 

1.) The microwave omelette maker (aka The Best $5 I Ever Spent)

Over Christmas, I was shopping for my sister's rubber bakeware that she wanted (it's actually really cool, you should look that up too!) when I spied a little thing hanging off the side of a rack.  It looked interesting and it was $5.  It said it was a microwaveable omelette maker.  Now, I'm someone who is out of my house and either at the gym by 0515 or at work in my classroom by 0700.  I also happen to live with 2 roommates, so making a lot of noise in the morning to make breakfast is out of the question.  So that leaves me a few options.  Don't eat breakfast (negatory, I need food and get cranky), make something that doesn't take a lot of noise like oatmeal (also negatory for self-explanatory reasons), or eat on the way (feasible, but not as healthy and also pretty $$$$$$ when you eat out EVERY day).  So I thought, what the heck, and I threw it in my basket.  I gave it a test run that night and was pretty impressed with it.  It worked as indicated and now it allows me to make an omelette at SCHOOL every morning.  I make it work.  I keep some already scrambled eggs (which you can make yourself and place in one of the jugs that tupperware designed for liquids, or you can buy them already scrambled at the grocery store, which is what I do), one green pepper, one red onion, some mild cheddar cheese, and individual packages of "Number One Guacamole"  in a lunch bag.  It's easy to tote around or leave in the fridge and then I just replace as needed.  It's a great way to keep me from stopping to buy a bacon, egg, and cheese somewhere and spending more money, and it's also really healthy too.  Well, minus the cheese, cause that's not Paleo, but everything else is.  I'm not a mushroom person, but it would be easy to put any them, or any other vegetable or meat in there if you wanted to.  I tried for awhile to do bacon, but I kept forgetting it at home, so I just stuck with the veggies.  But the omelette maker works either way! If you just put the veggies in raw, they will cook while the egg cooks in the omelette maker.  In the microwave it takes about 4 1/2 minutes.  It's seriously great and keeps me on track for breakfast.  Not to mention, if I forget my lunch, it never hurts to have more protein and good fat for lunch! Double bonus! Clean up on it is also easy as it pops apart and is dishwasher safe (in the top rack).  Definitely worth the $5 investment! Or if you have a sink and can wash it at work, it's small and keeps easily in a desk drawer.  I also keep a paring knife in the lunch bag to cut the veggies at work or you could also prepare them at home if you have the time. 

2.) Power Supply

Here in DC we have a company that will deliver Paleo lunches, dinners, and recovery meals to local affiliates that have a large enough interest in their service to make the delivery worthwhile.  While the service is somewhat expensive, you are paying for the conveinance and the fact that you don't have to buy groceries anymore.  I began by doing lunches and dinners for 5 days, but that was too much for me.  I felt locked in and also, it was wicked expensive.  So now, I have them deliver lunches for 5 days.  If I don't happen to care for one of the lunches that gets sent, I make an omelette or I will try to find a way to eat part of it with something else.  Since they come prepared and pre-packaged, I literally don't have to do anything with them, except decide which one I want to eat, and usually heat part of it.  it's nice because I have now almost guaranteed that I will eat healthy for breakfast and lunch, but it still leaves room for me to cook if I want at night too.  It's a pretty sweet set-up! If you are near a major city, I would suggest at least googling it and looking to see if something like that exists.  If you're not, then stick with the omelette maker for lunch too! :P

3.) Invest in a good blender and a coffee maker

For me, staying away from Starbucks is HARD.  I really like my fru fru coffee drinks like the lattes and mochas.  But, unfortunately, there is a TON of sugar in those things.  Have you ever actually LOOKED at the nutrition ingredients? In a Venti white mocha, there are 75 grams of sugar.  75! That's literally almost your entire day's worth of carbs in your morning coffee! Whoa! Now, not all their drinks pack the same punch, but knowing what we know about carbs and why we gain/lose/hold weight, it would seem to make sense to steer as clear as humanly possible.  So, I recommend investing in a coffee maker.  It doesn't have to be a $100 model, but spend about $30 and invest in one that allows you to set a delay, so that you don't have to even worry about your coffee in the morning! And, if you are like me and are a serious sugaraholic and need some flavor to your coffee, try coffee creamer.  I know, I know, I KNOW it is not Paleo.  But, if we're talking the difference between 50 grams of sugar from the syrup and about 6 grams from the Hazelnut creamer I use, I'm ok with that.  Really.  I know it's not perfect, but I get my coffee, I can drink it on the way to work, and it helps to keep me sane.  If you want to be a little more hardcore then me, try almond milk.  As far as I can tell, it's friendly since it's not actually dairy, and it only has 1 gram of carbs per serving I believe, so long as you get the unsweetened one. Either way, it's still better than Starbucks!

Secondly, invest in a good blender.  Fruit smoothies are your friend! We're in berry season right now, so this is even MORE of a reason to get a good blender.  I know what I said earlier about roommates and noise, but as far as I'm concerned, weekends are game on.  I made eggs on the stove today, some bacon, and added in some carbs with a fruit smoothie.  I had to buy a new blender because my roommate threw away the rubber part of my blender that actually seals the blender closed on the bottom, so I had to invest in a new one.  And, let me tell you, the Ninja is seriously kick ass.  It doesn't allow you to choose a speed like a normal blender, but seriously, it's the easiest blender to work.  You put it on, make sure it's locked and press down on the handle so it turns on.  To turn it off, let go of the handle.  Pushing at intervals pulses the blender and there are 3 full sized smoothie cups that you can also use to make and then take smoothies.  It's seriously awesome.  Clean up is easy because the blade pops out (no unscrewing), the container is plastic (no worries about chipping or breaking glass) and everything is dishwasher friendly! Hellz yeah! I made smoothies today with fresh berries, some frozen, and almond milk.  They came out awesome! And, the straws that I had from my Starbucks plastic cups fit perfectly into the smoothie cups.  It seriously is almost like fate.  But the blender comes with other blades to make different types of dough, and it says if you use it in pulse mode, you can use it as a food processor, so making something Paleo, like cauliflower rice, would be super easy to do and clean up! It's seriously worth the money.  It was a little bit more then my $50 Oster blender from before, but I'm definitely happy with it.  The biggest difference that I noticed is that I didn't have to do any scraping of the sides.  If you're a smoothie person you know what I mean.  Stop, scrape, blend.  Stop, scrape, blend.  Didn't have to do it at all! It was AWESOME! Not to mention, it's called the Ninja! ;)

4.) Don't keep it in the house!

This is a good rule of thumb for anyone who is trying to eat healthy, whether it's Paleo, Zone, Weight Watchers, WHATEVER.  If you know you're susceptible to eating something bad if it's around, then don't keep it around.  I will not allow myself to bring tubs of ice cream, bread, soda, or candy into the house.  I know that I will eat it without a doubt.  If I'm cheating, then I will buy something small and eat it away from the house.  One can of soda, one small bag of chips, ice cream AT a restaurant.  This helps in two ways.  One, because I can't bring it home, and two because it's in a much smaller quantity so it prevents me from falling off the wagon over and over again because I "have to finish the tub" or I "have to finish the bag".  It's a small trick, but one that I've found to be particularly effective. 

Like I said above, I'm human and I make mistakes.  I'm also not perfect.  These things help keep me from going back to the way I was.... eating anything that my heart desired, and also eating anything that made me heavy and not healthy.  So if any of these sound good, feel free to try them or use them! But also feel free to give me feedback.  Did it help?  Is there something you think might work better? I like to help others, which is why I share my experiences and thoughts on this blog.  Well that and because sometimes people get tired of listening to me talk so much... ;) But I also like to get feedback and get new ideas.  So feel free! Let's make it work!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The newest member of the family....

Sometimes, life can be incredibly frustrating.... like when life events prevent you from getting to the box. Twice this week I've missed getting to the box because things that should have taken only a minimal ammount of time wound up taking a HUGE chunk of my day. Having said that however, the trips that I had to make this week that kept me away from the box were well worth it. I'd like you all to meet Izzy. Izzy is the newest member of the family and I will love her and cherish her for a very long time. Her name is officially Izzy the Impreza, but we like to call her Izzy for short. She is the love of my life and well worth the two trips to the Credit Union, and the two trips to the dealership. She was unfortunately born with a slight glitch, but we'll be fixing that soon enough. It's just a loose sensor, and she will be in tip top shape soon enough. Much love to Izzy! :)

"Did I sell out?" and "The Serious Factor"....

It seems like forever ago now, but just 4+ years ago I walked through the doors of CrossFit for the very first time. When I first walked through those doors I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I knew that CrossFit was hard and was a lot of work and sweat, but aside from that, I really didn't know a whole lot. It took me awhile but I gradually began to figure things out and become a more experienced athlete. As I grew as an athlete, CrossFit also grew. What used to be some small, underground workout routine, suddenly blossomed into an almost mainstream addiction. The climate and culture within CrossFit changed, and I've been vocal (at times) about certain things in CrossFit that just sort of annoyed me.

As CrossFit grew, I noticed that certain things became more prevalent, and it seemed like you couldn't walk into a box or look at a CrossFit page without seeing certain things. It seemed more and more that CrossFit was about having the right gear and the right equipment and the right LOOK if you wanted to be considered a CrossFitter. I had a hard time with that because I have always sort of been my own person. My thoughts were, if you are going to lift heavy, you should be able to do it with, or without, the O shoes. I understood the reasoning of wanting to be flat, which is why I spent money on Chucks, but didn't understand the need to spend $200 on O shoes. My chucks were decked out with multi-colored glitter, because, well, who doesn't like glitter and they also cost considerably LESS, and in my opinion, did the same thing. I didn't understand why all of a sudden everyone had to have the O shoes. I sort of snubbed my nose at the expensive gear because it felt fake to me. I never wore knee high socks with booty shorts on metcon days because it looked cool, but rather I wore them to protect my shins on heavy lifting days. I wear them in a variety of patterns and colors because I figure, if I'm going to lift heavy and protect my shins, well then, I should certainly match while doing it! I've always just sort of prided myself on not going with the pack and sort of doing my own thing. When all of a sudden it wasn't cool to wod WITHOUT Lulu clothes, I again sort of did a WTF? I just didn't get it, and it sort of annoyed me when every newcomer seemed to walk into the box wearing Lulu because they were "supposed to". I actually overheard someone say once that it was the official uniform of CrossFit. It just made me shake my head.

I've talked about it, I've blogged about it, and shared my annoyances about it. But over the course of past few weeks though, I did some things that made me feel.... not like my own person. I sort of feel like I sold out. After all of the things that I said, and after all of the things I've written about being my own person, I have to confess that I purchased a pair of O shoes. I did so primarily because I wanted to see if there was a difference in lifting in O shoes and lifting in the chucks, and without a doubt, I can see that there is. So, I have to admit to all of those people who were wearing them before me that, they were right. Perhaps had I not been so determined (fine READ stubborn) I would have realized their benefits a long time ago, but, as I have realized about myself, I need to do everyting in my own time. Now, it was the time. My chucks were well worn, and were honestly starting to pinch my feet because they have a more pointed, as opposed to rounded, toe. The switch to the Pendalay shoes was a good one, and I'm pleased with the choice. I think for a first time lifting shoe, the price was reasonable, and the results that I've had with them thus far have been encouraging.

I also have to confess as well that I purchased some clothes from Lulu. Now, again, I will admit that I was very curious. As someone who is almost STUCK on being her own person, I didn't understand all of the hype surrounding the clothes, and I couldn't understand why everyone just HAD to have them. Again, over the course of the past few weeks, I've become a little disenchanted with some of my workout wear. I have lots of Nike stuff that is either too hot, or is just not holding shape well. It's frustrating to complete lifts where the bar needs to remain close to your body, but the clothes have loosened so much that the bar path drags them. It just sort of made me wonder. NOt to mention, it's beyond disgustingly hot in Virgina right now and although Nike claims to have clothes that keep you dry and cool, some of the capris, which is what I prefer to lift in,don't dry very quickly, and they're not very cool sometimes. I just began to wonder if there was something better out there. So I decided to venture in, and I have to admit, everyone was right. I wore my Lulu clothes to two workouts and I was hooked. They are so lightweight and so unbelievably perfect for metcons and lifting that I was kicking myself for not investing sooner.

But, while I was busy enjoying the new clothes and having great wods, I couldn't help but think about all the things I had written about being my own person and not buying things just because everyone else did. I did really feel like I had just sort of sold out. I had gone against all the things I said I would NEVER do. Now, here again, I'm going to have to admit that all those people who wore it before I did, were right. They knew a little bit more than I did. But, again, I guess I just had to accept it in my own time. But it kind of got me to thinking.... why did it take me so long? Why didn't I come to my senses sooner? And it really did bother me that I sort of had sold out in a sense. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that more or less, it has to do with the serious factor.

The serious factor you ask? The serious factor.... When I was 12-14 years old, I had been a swimmer for awhile. I was a decent swimmer but to me, I did what I did, I didn't do anything special and it was what it was. But it was somewhere right around that age, that I began to get more serious about things. My times became important, the trophies, the number of ribbons, whether or not I was on the A or B relay. When I got serious about swimming, I began to go to practice more regularly and I started thinking about things like getting "racing" suits, which were vastly different from practice suits. The racing suits were designed to channel water differently and help you shave those critical tenths and hundredths of a second. I know it may sound humerous to say, but I've seen more than one race be determined by increments of time that small. And if the difference can be made by wearing a different suits, why not? If it was going to make me better, I needed it. I got SERIOUS. As I grew older, suits progressed. They became more technical and eventually developed into the more advanced pieces you see now like the jammers, legs, and the ladies suits that have the suit plus legs. It literally is a BILLION dollar industry. (Thank you Michael Phelps). But the bottom line was, as I got older and as I got more serious, I got more serious about the gear I was putting on my body. If I was going to do the BEST that I could do, then I should put myself in the best possible position to do well, even if it meant changing my gear. I experimented with different suits, caps, and goggles (No, Swedish goggles are NOT fun) because I wanted to be as good as I could be.

Now, is CrossFit won or lost by increments of one tenth or one hundredth of a second? No. Not really. But the idea sort of remains the same. The more serious you are about something, the more you want to put yourself in the best possible position to do well, and if you're gear is going to affect your ability to perform and do well I can now sort of make that connection with why people started buying it to begin with. I guess it's no different really than the swim suits. When I started CrossFit, I wore cotton t-shirts and old soccer shorts. I quickly realized the more I went to CrossFit that that just wasn't going to fly. It was too hot for that crap. I was getting more serious about things, and I wanted to put myself into a position to be the best I could be. Drowning in a pile of your own sweat really doesn't allow for you to be the best you can be. I've become a lot more serious over the past 2 years or so about CrossFit, so I guess it sort of makes sense that it's time to start thinking about those things. I still feel bad about "selling out" but I really can see their value. The serious factor has kicked in and I have officially become a convert. As I slowly work my way through the new gear and as I purchase other things, I'll be sure to pass along any thoughts I have.... we all know how good I am at sharing thoughts! :) But in the meantime, please try your best not to crucify me....

Monday, May 28, 2012

Time to get back to it.....

It has definitely been a very long time since I put a post on my blog. It's been several months, and, although I've been super busy, I have really missed it. Writing has always been an outlet for me, and it's always been a way to share my experiences with the world. The last year has been FULL of experiences, so I guess it's time for me to start sharing them again.

Over the course of the past, well two years really, my job situation has been in a bit of a flux. I walked away from teaching in June '10 because I thought it just wasn't what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was stressed out, burnt out, and just ready to throw in the towel. Well a few months went by, and I realized that I had made a mistake. I'm human after all, but when my friends all went back to their classrooms, I found I missed it. It took some time before I was finally able to be back in a classroom again, and once I was, I was not placed there permanantly. All this issues from leaving the old job were biting me on the butt. Lesson learned. It took until almost July '11 to reestablish myself in terms of my work history and get back on a contract. It was hard. But it was a life lesson learned, and a very valuable one at that.

Making the choice to stay at the school where I had done my temporary teaching made sense. I knew the building, I knew some of the staff, and I knew where I needed to go, or so I thought. The students that I took on this year presented to us a 66% pass rate on their reading SOL. (That's not a huge secret, it's on the VDOE website, so please don't think I'm sharing some sort of classified information.) This presented great challenges to me as a teacher, not only because I was placed in a new grade level and was learning myself, but also because it meant that since they had issues reading, it would affect them anytime I asked them to read and comprehend in a content area. It was truly a struggle this year. It kept me from Crossfitting the way I wanted to, and it added a LARGE amount of stress to my life. I just couldn't get to the blog.

But, here's the good news. The good news is, that I'm coming out the other side. The other good news is that now, I have a year of the 4th grade curriculum behind me, which means next year I can focus more on reaching ALL learners and not just focus on making sure I'm teaching the right stuff. Believe me when I say, it's harder than you think. But as things wind down, I can now focus more on getting back to CrossFitting and more on getting back to ME.

Throughout this journey with this blog and CrossFit, I have learned a few things about myself. I am in fact a workaholic, and I am in fact, a perfectionist. And as I get older, it's becoming more and more evident, and I'm now learning I'm really going to have to TRY to create a balance in my life. For me, it will NOT naturally happen. I've let my job run my life, and I've let it take me away from things I truly enjoy. I've also let my job completely derail my diet. I know that I should be eating Paleo, but God, when it feels like your job is sucking the ever living life out of you, it's really hard to come home then and focus on eating all the RIGHT things.

If you stuggle with that, believe me when I say, I get you. I get the need for Starbucks in the morning, and I get the need for the snack drawer at work. It's something that has plagued me in the past, and a habit I thought I broke, but... not so I guess. I feel terrible that I have caved and that old habits have snuck back in. I do feel sort of like a failure for that.... but I've also realized that I'm human, and that we all have setbacks. The only thing that will make me a "failure" is if I continue to do it, and don't do anything to fix it. These past few months have been a setback, but that doesn't mean I can't do something about it.

If you are like me, and often feel like you are yo-yoing, believe me, someone out there gets it. I do. I feel the success and failure crash with you 100%. But, get back on the horse. I'm setting small goals for myself, starting tomorrow, and I intend to get moving back in the right direction. Perhaps it's also partially because I am now 30 (hooray for birthdays!) and now feel the need to push myself in the right directions for a lot of things. But, I also know that I have a competition coming up in August, and I don't want to be the weak link on our team, since it is a partner competition. I don't want to struggle and know in my head that I could have done more. It's a small thing, it's a small step, but it's a step. I know I need to eat right and push myself in the box so that I can feel like an equal. If you're not a competition person, don't sweat it. Set a small goal for you for a different reason. Set a different goal. I just know that for me, I NEED something to push me, and the competition is a good push. If you're someone who has not been derailed by life and you've been maintaining your goals, AWESOME and good for you! Celebrate that and keep going. I wish I could be right there with you, but I can't. My time is now. It is my time to get back to doing the right things, and get back to being a good athlete, a good friend, and a healthy individual. 30 is the new 20 and I want to rock it in style.... :) But if I want to do that, it's time to get back to it....