Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Where do you want to be?

April 19, 2017

Go ahead... ask yourself...

Where do you want to be? How are you going to get there? What steps are you taking?

I will tell you this... if you are not taking any steps... you will not get there. Waiting, watching, wishing, will get you nowhere. Success is not handed to anyone who waits for it. Success comes from hard work, time, focus, dedication and pushing yourself to do things that make yourself uncomfortable. If its "easy," your not doing it right. If you make excuses like you are too tired, you dont have time, you dont know how or you "cant..." then you wont. No questions asked.

Im excited for the things to come at 696 this spring. I have never really been one for "running" workouts, but for some reason this year, I am itching to get outside. One of the fantastic things about the programming at 696, is that Chris likes to change it up, give us something that is not expected, make us think about what we are doing in a different way and challenge our minds (and muscles) with new movements... or movements that arent done very often. He tests the "functional movements that are constantly varied at high intensity" portion of the definition of CrossFit. This morning was no different, a variety of movements in short high intensity amraps. You felt the burn, you mentally fought through that sticking point, knowing it was short and it would "end" soon. It was fun and challenging. All the things I love about the sport of CrossFit.

There is a method to the madness. Each movement becomes an accessory movement to another. He dosent just program something because its fun, or new. There is thought that goes into programming (which isnt just exclusive to 696, all good coaches put a lot of thought into their programming). Every movement, in a way, gets you closer to either doing a different movement for the first time or getting better at a movement that you can already do. From rowing and kettle bell swings to glute ham raises and bent over rows... there are a multiple movements you are "working on" even if you dont realize it. Slowly, you are getting closer to where you want to be... constantly a work in progress.

In life, its important to keep with this same mentality. If you have a goal, whether it be to rid yourself of credit card debt, pass an ARE exam, or finish your basement... unless you start and chip away at the goal... it will be left just as it is. If you dont put in the work to not spend extra money, make the time to study or order the supplies... the goal is not attainable. However, if it you implement small changes (just like the accessory work) like, a budget that you can not break, a schedule to study from or just make a simple list... the goal becomes a little less daunting. Before you know it, you are debt free, ready to test and sitting on your new couch in your new space.

Keep moving forward. Build mental toughness. Say no. Make time. Never say you "cant" do something.

If you want something... go get it.      

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"Thank God its Tuesday."

April 18, 2017

Good Morning Y'all!

As one of my coaches like to say "Thank God its Tuesday!" He coaches us typically on Mondays and Tuesdays and we start the group each of those days with his words. Its funny, because when you first hear it, you think "yeah right... thank God its Tuesday," but then, you really start to think about it... and realize the power behind the words. It gets you mentally moving, it gets you thinking ahead, it makes you really thankful that you are here, you are working hard and you are ready to face the day with whatever it is that is waiting for you.

Motivation is huge. When you have someone in your corner, reminding you to push, what the goal is and that they have the confidence in you to do something. That shit can take you so far. When you stand back and look at the bar and think not "I can do this," but rather "I will do this," the whole game changes. Not to say, you will magically be able to move more weight, or PR every time, but it puts your head in a place to not question your ability. It drives you to push to another level and even if you fail, you WILL get it. Maybe not today, but you will. When you have the support, someone right by your side... its almost as if your will gets stronger. You get one more rep, you add a little more weight... and you might even finish a little faster... but better than all that, you will have the confidence to do it again and again and the drive to get better and better.

Mental toughness plays such a huge roll in so many things in life (even out of the gym). I was reminded of that yesterday when I was asked, by the same coach, what I was shooting for for my 1 rep max clean and jerk. I responded with a weight and then followed with a comment. He reminded me to be confident in my response. Don't make it a question, make it a statement. Get in the game and get at it. Step up to the bar and do it. Know you can.

You know what... I did.

I feel the drive. I feel the need for more and the will to get better. I have been working hard to complete accessory work, stretch and take care of my body. I also feel the support. Support from all of my coaches as well as my community, from my family and even some of my friends (and I say some because most have no idea what I am doing). I have a goal in mind and I am going to get it.

To reach some of my goals I am making some lifestyle changes. I decided to do a "cut" with my macros to try to drop some body weight... thus helping with my body weight and gymnastics movements. Im sharing this here for a little bit of accountability. Today is day #2. I joined Avatar Nutrition to calculate my macros and I will continue to use MFP to track my daily intake. This will be a bit of an adjustment for me... as I kinda fell of the wagon for a while. I have a goal in mind and I am going to get it.

I try to wake up every morning with a fresh start. This gets complicated. Life happens. There are struggles, there are ups and downs. I can only control what I can control. I need to be happy for my #1, my son. I need to be strong, I need to fight and I need to set a good example for him. I need to be the best I can be, for myself, which in turn will give him the best life I can give him. I need to make changes, struggle through the hard stuff to be rewarded with the good stuff.  I have a goal in mind and I am going to get it.

Day #2.

"Thank God its Tuesday."

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Burn Baby Burn

March 29, 2017

Have you ever watched a fire burn completely out? Sat at a campsite, in the quiet hours of the night… cool air at your back and heat on your legs? As the trees seem to still with the darkness, stars appear, the glow of the fire starts to dim and the moon takes over as the nightlight… everything seems really peaceful.

I spent years at girl scout camp, nights (and days) around the campfire… and many of fun (and sometimes drunken) nights as a teen and “adult” doing the same. There is something really magical to me about fire. I was always the one to volunteer at camp to “man the fire” or “cook the meal” so I could be at the fire. As I got older and would go camping with friends, I always had my hands in the fire, getting it started and keeping it going into the night. I could watch it for hours. Something about how one piece of wood catches the next… eventually both, still two separate pieces of wood, create one flame… the embers glow an amazing color as the fire gets hotter and hotter and as you add more wood. Each added piece, after being placed with the other, catches and becomes a part of something pretty spectacular. Eventually, as the fire burns down, the pieces start to collapse, they break apart, mix together and become one foundation for the next pieces to catch the flame. The cycle repeats until it is time to let the fire die out. The large flames stop and the foundation glows and crackles…

If you watch a fire in the “burning out” stage you can see its fight to stay alive. You watch as small flames try to flicker up every now and again… re-igniting a small piece of unburnt wood, it stays lit for a small amount of time, but has nothing to catch so it slowly softens and burns out. A slight breeze might pick up and the embers instantly glow brighter looking for something to catch. A random flame might pop up, soon to die out again… unless more kindling is added… the embers will cool with the night air and smolder out.

When I think about things in life that I am passionate about, my relationships (husband, parents, family, friends), my career (in the office, continuing education, licensure), my fitness and lifestyle (crossfit, macro counting)… they all burn like a fire. I have to continue to tend to the fire to keep it from burning out. I have to keep the passion alive, I have to keep adding new experiences, people, education, challenges and goals to drive myself to want more. Each experience I have adds to the foundation of the next. Each bump in the road of a relationship, each failure or mistake in my career, each missed lift or large cheese pizza is just as important to my growth as every “I love you,” bonus, publication, personal record, muscle up or pound lost. What is most important to me, what makes my fire burn, is the passion and drive to be the best that I can be in all of those things. The best mother, wife, daughter, sister, cousin, friend…. The best project manager, architect…. The best I can be at crossfit… The best I can look in the mirror.  Sometimes, the fire burns out… sometimes, I allow the flame to burn down… I forget to add to it. I just let it go and maintain its self for a while. That’s when life becomes stagnant.

A little over six weeks ago I made a choice. A very hard choice. I left CrossFit Wachusett, my home of the past 6 years. I walked into CrossFit 696, the “new guy” looking for a new place to call home. I was not sure what to expect, not only of the new box, but from myself. My “CrossFit Fire” was one that had been left smoldering in the corner for quite some time. As expected, in the time after The Little Monster was born, I was focused on him. While I didn’t let it go completely, I let what was happening in my fitness life take a backseat. Nothing wrong with that… priorities often change in life, but I soon started to miss the feeling that I had when I pushed to that awful place that only CrossFitters know about, or when I set a new PR on any given lift… or even that challenge, fight and struggle for a muscle up or something I have never done or haven’t done for a while. I want to work hard again, I want to fail, I want to create new challenges for myself, I wanted to feel that passion again. I felt stuck. Every once in a while a stray coal would catch a breeze, fire up some of the foundation, but soon fade out. I needed to make a change, build the courage to make the change and do it.

I had honestly been considering not competing in the Open this year. I wasn’t heartbroken about it… I wasn’t really “feeling it.” All of that changed when I took control. When I decided that I needed to get out of my own head and find what I loved about CrossFit again. A fresh start. From my first workout a month and a half ago right through this mornings workout… my motivation, my determination and my drive to get better, faster and stronger each day has returned. I am so glad that I took the bull by the horns and signed up to compete as a member of 696. Each week, a group of people who barely know me, surrounded me, to encourage, push and cheer me on to be the best that I could be at that very moment. My new coaches, who were (and still are) learning about me, how to coach me, what motivates me and what I need to work on… supporting me, challenging me every with every workout, Opens workouts or not. The members who I have met, who work hard every day to grind through a workout… inspiring. All of the firsts that I witnessed, the huge smiles, the cheers, the high fives… even the tears, the red faces and rolling around on the ground… whether scaled or rx… inspiring. The conversations Ive had with people around why the crossfit, learning their lives and making new friends every day… inspiring. All of it. Its like a breath of fresh air. Im throwing new logs onto that fire every single day.

I came out of the Opens this year with a positive attitude and an outlook on the year to come that is finally clear. I did better than I could have imagined. With each workout, a challenge was faced head on and it felt so good to feel that “I will no let this defeat me” attitude that I once had come back with a vengeance. The thought that with every workout that The Little Monster was able to witness, I was showing him that his Mama is a fighter and is strong and in control just reinforces the fact that I made the right choice for myself. I want him to know that he can do anything and everything he sets his mind to. That change is good and while it can be hard, scary and challenging… sometimes you have to take a risk and do it.  I hope that he tends to his fires and keeps passion alive with the things he chooses to be passionate about. I want to lead by example for him…

To my CrossFit Wachusett family… my foundation is with you. The 6 years spent within those walls will be in my mind and heart forever. As one of you told me “its just a building.” The friendships we have formed are stronger than those walls. Just because I am no longer part of the 5:30am group or a member at Wachusett… doesn’t change anything. I will not forget where I came from. The community of people who supported me, challenged me and friended me over the years, thank you. Keep working hard, keep supporting one another and keep kicking ass!

To my 696 family… thank you. Thank you for welcoming me in and making me feel at home every single day. I cant thank you all enough for how awesome the Opens were, I don’t think words can actually describe how full my emotions are. Friday Night Lights were epic! Each one of you inspired me to push as hard as I could and be the best I could be. The coaches; Chris, Jay, Kiwi and Lindsay… I cant say thank you enough for the encouragement, coaching and well… yelling at me. Your excitement and confidence in me motivates me. The best is yet to come and I am holding on tight for the ride.

My goal right now is to tend to all of the fires in my life. Get those that I know need help, back blazing again.

Sometimes, if your lucky… when you wake up in the morning after the campfire goes out while your sleeping… and you drop a piece of newspaper into the fire pit… it starts to smoke… the fire you thought had burned out… just needs a little attention. Remember that. 

CrossFit 696 #homeiswhereyouliftheavyshit

17.2 - Walking Lunges, TTB, Bar Muscle Ups

 My First Bar Muscle Up!

17.4 - Deadlifts, Rowing and Handstand Pushups

17.5 - Thrusters and Double Unders


Final Standings for the CF Opens 2017

91 of 2,329  women ages 35-40 in the North East region
1,265 of 26,957  women ages 35-40 in the World
799 of 13,857 women of all ages in the North East region
9,510 of 153,242 women of all ages in the World…

Not too shabby for this Mama!

Friday, February 10, 2017


February 10, 2017

Change... how many times in 5.5 years have I written about change? I talk to myself about it all the time. I understand what is is... how it works and to make anything happen in life, more often than not change has to happen. The thing is... change is freaking scary.

Ask yourself this. Are you happy? Happy with your job, the way you eat, how you look, where you live, how much money you save, how often you see you friends? Any of these things... and beyond... really think about. One at a time... dont try to address ALL of these things at once, because its painful and overwhelming... but one at a time, really think about it.

If the answer is yes, keep on keeping on... your doing great. If the answer is no... ask yourself if you really want to be happy. If the answer is yes, change something. Otherwise, nothing will change. You will remain unhappy with whatever it is you are unhappy with.

I realize... from experience... that change can be scary. Depending on the amount of change necessary to really make a difference... you might have to make some sacrifices, step out of your comfort zone, or do something you never thought you would do. The thing is though... the result can be amazing. The feeling after the fact that you know you made the right decision makes all the difference in the world. There is almost nothing better than the "why didnt I do this sooner" feeling to let you know you made the right choice.

Take a chance. Make a change. Give it a chance and dont fight it. You will be happy that you did it...

Friday, January 27, 2017

"Better and Different"

January 27, 2017

Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.  – Jim Rohn

Funny when your worlds suddenly collide when you are least expecting it.

I have used this quote as the header of my blog since the very first day it launched in 2011. I often stumbled across quotes from Jim Rohn when looking for motivation through the years of struggles with my health and fitness. I started blogging after I had hit what I felt was rock bottom, felt like I dragged my way through every day and began to understand that it was in my power to make a change. It was in no one else’s hands, it was no one else’s “fault but my own” and until I made a change, everything was going to remain the same. His words often propelled my writing, inspired me to blog about how I felt when I read them and made me really think about what it was/is that motivates me. What is it exactly that I am looking for? How am going to ultimately reach my goal? Can I make it past he road blocks, struggles and doubts… and who are the people in my corner helping to encourage and support along the way?

There are not many people in the world that are “lucky” enough to have decided what they wanted to do with their lives (professionally) in high school, go on to college, continue for a Masters and land a job in the field of their choice. I am one of them. Not only that, but I happen to work at a firm that is very much unlike any other I know. The importance of how we feel as employees holds a very high regard. We are respected as individuals and there are often conversations about how we feel about certain things, our personalities, how to deal with difficult conversations/people and what we can do to better ourselves.  We are strongly encouraged to continue our education, broaden our skill sets and challenge ourselves both as a company and individually. It’s a pretty nice feeling to not feel “replaceable.”

Yesterday, my office held our annual “launch” meeting. I suppose a lot of companies have meetings like this (I understand not all do) where all the employees are gathered, and discuss the previous year’s goals and if we reached them, the coming years revenue projections and what the trends are in our industry. Each year there is a new idea. A focus for the company, a goal is set and a discussion was had as to how we as a whole will reach that goal. This year was “better and different” from the rest.

A guest speaker joined us, Steven Melanson from Melanson consulting, he is a “Verbal Branding” consultant. Did I remember that in those exact words… no. Did I have to email someone from my company to ask what his last name and company name was… yes. Was one of Stevens main points of his presentation that when you introduce yourself to someone and tell them what you do, that they won’t remember… yes. However, I did remember his message, and to be quite honest, that was the whole point of his presentation… funny how that works (and apparently he is very good at what he does).  He explained to us what his purpose is and what makes him “better and different” from others who speak on verbal branding. He simplified in the best possible way, why I want to talk to him about this and no one else, how he can help me get better at it. He proved to be “better and different” because of that. He was real, he was casual and he didn’t talk above us, he talked to us. He discussed the importance of simplicity and how your first interaction needs to be simple, clean and to the point, no rehearsals, no gimmicks… just a real 5 second conversation telling someone not what you do… but what makes you “better and different” for doing what you do. If it goes beyond that, that’s when the real meat comes out… but if you cant get the person interested enough to understand why they would be “crazy” enough to not want to work with you, you are no different from the next. I spoke with him for a few minutes after the presentation about how I feel personality and confidence plays a roll in this as well. If you are not likeable, it ends at that. So how do you become likeable? How do you build confidence? Repetition. Repetition is key. Practicing good habits over and over until whatever it is you are shooting for becomes part of your life.

Following the speaker presentation, The Big Man had his turn to present to us. Very excitedly he discussed an “ah ha” moment that he and others had following our company retreat. He then began to speak about change. About how important it is to achieve love, health, happiness and wealth; “The Good Life” so to speak. How at some point in your life you don’t want to look in the rear view mirror and think “what the heck just happened, how did I get where I am?” We did an exercise where we had to think as big as we possibly could at a goal… attainable or not… we are talking “winning the crossfit games” or “owning a bed and breakfast on the North Carolina shore, while practicing architecture from home with a wealth of clients and the ability to have a flexible schedule and not have my kid in daycare” kind of stuff.  Then we had to ask the question to ourselves… “how do we get there?”

Big Man brought up a few mentors, but when the quote from Jim Rohn scrolled across the screen as one of the firsts… “Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going,” my brain had a complete “ah ha” moment of its own. As an employee of this “company,” I am considered family. I know I have a team behind me, support. We have been granted a window into being our best selves. We are being encouraged to succeed… be it at whatever we want in life. To become a group of EXTRAordinary people. The goal is to accelerate growth by helping us and giving us the tools to reach our goals and helping us to keep motivated to push ahead. Its exciting. Its new... and uncharted territory for a lot of people. Scary, Im sure. 

Why not use the same “motivation, determination and drive” I wrote so many times about, over and over again in regards to my fitness with other goals that I feel “stuck at.” I am in control. I am the only one who can make these decisions, I am the only one holding myself back from being EXTRAordinary. Its not the things in my life... its me. The way I look at things, the way I handle situations, the way I do things that I hate that do even though I hate that I do them (got that?). It’s time to get in the driver’s seat, its time to show what makes me "better and different." Its time to get started.

Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.  – Jim Rohn

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gerald the Giraffe

January 18, 2017

Tonight after coming home from daycare and watching "a snowman," Mr Z actually said "no" to watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse... which is a miracle in itself. It was too early for bed time and it was bath night, so I brought him up early to hop in the tub with his other favorites, Nemo and Dory. After we ran around and chased each other all over my second floor while the tub filled up, he took a long (and bubble filled) tub.

Its really one of my favorite times of the day. I take him out of the bath, we giggle while I kiss his little feets and tell them they are "my feet." He is all warm and snuggly and smells like Johnson Bubble Stuff... his eyelashes are still a little damp and hes sleepy in his eyes after a fun energy filled day. We lay together in his bed (the twin bed in his room), he makes sure he is positioned just right in the bed with his head on his pillow as tight to my side as he can be... legs crossed (always) and we read books. Sometimes he reads along with me when he knows the book... its awesome.

The last book of the night is always The Little Blue Truck, at the end of that one, he says "night night truck" and he gives kisses and hugs and I put him in the crib. However, tonight I decided, since I had a little extra time, to read him another of my favorites, "Giraffes Cant Dance." My cousin Melis gave this book to me and "The Little Monster" at my baby shower, there is a hand written note inside the front cover telling him that there is "always time to dance!" It makes me smile every time I look at it.

The book is about a Giraffe named Gerald who "cant dance." He is embarrassed, at a party,  in front of all the jungle friends who of course, can dance. They make fun of him and he leaves the party. In the woods he talks to a cricket who teaches him a lesson and the next thing you know, he is dancing... and one of the BEST dancers around! He is soon surrounded by all of the animals in the jungle asking him how he did it... in the end he explains that anyone can dance... they just need to find the right song.

When Gerald talks to the cricket in the woods is where one of my favorite lines occurs... "sometimes when your different, you just need a different song." This phrase brings me right back to when I was a little girl and my mom sat me down to pep talk me when "the popular" girls made fun of me, I didnt feel like I belonged anywhere. It makes me think of every moment since when I have felt insecure or unsure of myself in any situation or when trying something new... it reminds me of the struggle of trying to "fit in" when really, you dont have to fit in, you just have to "be you" and that should be enough. If people dont like you, thats ok too... they dont have to.

I hope to teach my son that its ok to be different. That being different is what makes you awesome. That he should always stand up for himself, be brave and be the best he can be. Some days will be sad, some days will be harder than others, some days will feel like nothing will go his way... but... If I can teach him what my Mom and Dad instilled in me, that He is amazing, He can do anything he puts his mind to and He can be anything he wants to be... then I will be doing alright!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

When it Rains... It Pours

January 17, 2017

When it rains... it pours...
Misfortunes or difficult situations tend to follow each other in rapid succession or to arrive all at the same time.
Yeah, that sounds about right... it sums up the last 5 days of my life. Its funny how things seem to happen that way. It really feels like a common occurrence for me. Its the reason why I have such a hard time looking a the "bright" side and being optimistic. I am constantly looking for the giant bomb that is going to drop on me... then burst into flames... the sink into the ocean... then get eaten by a whale...

I hate that I am that way. I hate that once things start to spiral, I feel like I cant get out of my own way then suddenly there are now 5,000 things "wrong." Certainly makes me feel like throwing in the towel and hiding in my bed with a bag of chewy sprees crying my eyes out.

In reality. I would never, could never, do those things... rather, I stand tall and face whatever it is that is happening with my feathers ruffled and feet planted in the ground. My little guy has made it even more clear to me that facing these obstacles head on, is the way to go. Nothing can get in my way and really... each "thing" that happens is just that... an obstacle... an obstacle in the giant race of life that we are all racing to the finish line of. Why? Im not sure. Maybe we should all slow down and take it all in... might make the road a little more enjoyable.

The most important thing to me in my life is that my child is happy. In order for him to be happy, I have to be happy. I have to be happy at work, at the gym, at home... not "sing songs" and "rainbows and butterflies" happy all the time, because that is just not logical. However, overall, general happiness with the choices I have made, and continue to make, the things that I do and the perspective I have on things... those are what assures I am happy. My happiness will translate into his happiness. You cant fake that. Hes almost 2. I dont need to tell him that I am happy, he has to FEEL that I am happy.

When the rain starts to fall... I look at his sweet face... then, even as the rain increases and it begins to pour... I remember, I am his Mama. I am the world to him right now. I help influence his every minute. He can feel my pain, my sadness... turn it around. Smile at those little brown eyes as he asks "Mama, you comin'" and show him the best possible life he can have.