Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hiking Camelback Mountain

I know you guys were hoping that I'd be here blogging about my healthy eats lately, but I'm so far behind on blogging and I'd be sad if I never blogged about my trip to Arizona with Ella.  I'm working on my healthy eats post too.

When I planned my trip to Arizona, Bianca told me she wanted to take me hiking.  I was very excited as hiking is something I feel like I could truly get behind.  I'm not sure what I pictured exactly, but I did NOT picture this.


Luckily it wasn't blazing hot in Arizona the week we were there.  It was about 55 degrees when we started.  Don't worry, I heated up quickly.  When I saw the first big hill I thought I'd die and as it turns out this one isn't even big.


Pictures never ever do hills justice.  This is literally a mountain and I had to climb it.  It was definitely a challenge, but I loved every minute.  The views were so amazing.  I had to stop every few minutes just to snap pictures.


Including a selfie (of course)!


As we went further up the mountain, it was less of a trail as seen before, but more of just rock.  It took some finesse to make it up without killing myself.




Bianca moved with ease and kept me going the whole way.  She's a beast!



It took almost a full hour, but we made it to the top.  I was taken bake by the scene from the top.  Totally work every huff and puff.



My relationship with Bianca is so special to me.  She is one of the most selfless people I know.  She's easy going and genuinely kind and upbeat.  So if you're going to hike to the top a mountain with anyone, you'd want it to be Bianca.  I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.


Thanks for taking me on this adventure B, it's not one I'll soon forget.


Tune in again soon for more Arizona adventures.  I thought this was great, but every day I spent in Arizona got more amazing than the next.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

In the Backyard with a Baseball Bat


This picture stirred up all kinds of emotion in me today.  This pic was taken in 2011, Ella was 6.   I remember this day very clearly.  The boys were playing baseball in the backyard and Ella wanted to play too.  Never mind that she was decked out in her plaid skirt and pearl necklace shirt.  It didn't matter, she threw on the UA baseball cap and was ready to bat.  This story doesn't end with how wonderful she was even in a skirt.  No as I recall she was quite terrible.  Ha!  

That's not what I wanted to talk about, however.  What I wanted to say was I miss these days terribly. I think I took them slightly for granted.  I've always been so thankful for all the time I got to spend with my kids, but I don't think I realized that my days of playing in the backyard after school were so numbered. 

Every day there is somewhere to go. Someplace to be.  Everyone is involved in activities and I definitely wouldn't have it any other way.  A free evening is a luxury and not something we get often.  I'm not alone.  Everyone I know is in the same rat race.  It's just how life is these days I think.  

So I look at that tiny smile looking up behind the big brim and it brings me back to simpler days and I miss them.  Then I feel badly for not embracing the time I'm in.  I spend a LOT of time missing my babies and I'm not exactly sure why.  Sure they were cute and sweet, but if I'm being honest they still are.  

Ella is so extremely loving.  It's my job to build her up, make her feel good about herself and teach her all the things.  Yet every day she amazes me with her love and compassion.  When she looks at me and tells me she loves me, I believe it and I feel it in my soul.  Out of the blue she'll tell me how beautiful I am and look at me with adoring eyes.  I wonder what I did to get so lucky.  For her to love me so much.  How did she learn to be this amazing little person?   

Then I realize, it's the bond we share and one that started long ago and probably in a pearl necklace in the backyard with a baseball bat.  


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Don't Sit in Judgment of my Athlete Just Because She Doesn't Kick a Ball

I'm here to talk about being a dance mom.  It's a world I never pictured myself being in, but one I'm in nonetheless.  It's a world I didn't understand nor had I been a part of prior to experiencing it with Ella.  I had some learning to do and maybe some others do too.   


From the moment I posted these pictures on my Facebook page, I felt judged.  People commented about her barely there outfit and I'll admit it stung a little bit.


I get it, she's standing there in bootie shorts and a sports bra, but guess what so do Olympic swimmers, Olympic gymnasts,  and Olympic Volleyball players just to name a few.


When you look at my daughter, if you don't see an athlete then you're not getting it.


If you look at my 10 year old in a sports bra and booty shorts and make it sexual, well then I'm sorry but that's on YOU.


My daughter trains for her dances 16 to 20 hours a week.  Would it make you feel better if when she was there she was kicking around a ball?


Is it the make up that bothers you?  I get it.  She's 10, but that's just it, she's 10.  She doesn't wear make up in her every day life.  She understand it's part of a costume and it's part of being a performer.  It's so the judges can see those sassy faces she's making and she doesn't get drowned out by the lights.  It's not so she can parade around pretending to be 25 years old.


I spend a LOT of time with Ella teaching her about beauty from within and esteem.  I teach her that her self worth isn't based on how she looks, what she wears or the like.  Beauty is about kindness, compassion and being her unique self.


So if you think I'm putting my daughter in dance and sending her all the wrong messages by dressing her up in makeup and curling her hair, then you don't know about our family at the core.



Sure Ella looks at herself in makeup and feels pretty.  I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but she also goes to school some days where I question if she's even brushed her hair.



I'm proud my daughter is a dancer.  I don't care about the costumes, because they're just that costumes.


So while my daughter is beautiful and the costumes and the make up make it seem as though that's what we're emphasizing, well quite frankly that's an assumed adult reaction.  It not how my 10 year old feels-- AT ALL!


This girl walked off the stage of her first dance competition and felt proud about the countless hours she put in and knowing it paid off.  She felt empowered by the feeling she got on stage.  She felt strong in her sparkling costume.


I'm not worried about sending my daughter the wrong message because I know I'm doing what's right for her.  I know the intimate conversations we have.  I know the bond we share.  I know that I tell her beauty comes from within.  I know she knows the difference between performing on stage and every day life.  I know that she can look at a situation and evaluate it for its worth.  I know, above all, you can strip her of all the hair, makeup and costumes and she'd still be beautiful because she radiates from the inside.


 So don't sit in judgment of my athlete just because she doesn't kick a ball.

CrossFit Open Workout 16.2

Ugh whose idea was it to sign up for the Open anyway?  16.2 is in the books and it was... well you be the judge.  


The workout was:

25 Toes to Bar
50 Double Unders
15 squat cleans in 4 minutes (Increasing weight and decreasing rep squat cleans in each round)
Move on to next round if round 1 complete in 4 minutes

It's more complicated than that, but those that know CrossFit probably already know and those that don't, that's all you need to know.

So I thought about doing the workout Rx, because I figure I could do the Toes to Bar and the double unders and then see if I even make it to the squat cleans.

Well I went to the box on Friday night and learned in my six month hiatus, I lost my toes to bar.  You don't use it, you lose it folks.  Ok so Rx is out.

Scaled Workout:

25 knee raises
50 single under
15 55 lb squat cleans

So I started trying to do single unders and knee raises, neither of which I'm accustomed to doing.  Well I found out I couldn't hang from the bar.  My shoulder just wouldn't let me hang there for any length of time.  Practicing Toes2Bar felt better than just hanging there on my shoulder.  I even showed the coaches me hanging from the bar and they unanimously said, "yeah no, you can't do that, it doesn't look right."  Now knee raises are out.

So Tammy (my box owner) told me to modify further and do sit ups.  Scale the scaled.  I felt so defeated.  I didn't want to do it.  I didn't want to have to scale the scaled.  I was mad and feeling all kinds of emotions and then mad at myself for feeling mad and feeling emotions.  I'm so complicated. Nonetheless this is what I had to do.

So time started and I banged out the sit ups and the single unders (I'm slow at those... it just doesn't feel natural anymore) and then hit the 55 lb squat cleans.  It felt good.  I was on to the next round.

Again, I banged out the sit ups and the single unders and then my squat clean weight increased to 75 pounds.  I've never been strong. I don't have a  one rep max squat clean in my history, but my one rep max clean is 110 pounds and my one rep max front squat is 125.  I should be able to squat 75 pounds relatively easily.  Um no.  It might as well have been a Mack Truck.  It wasn't the clean portion it was the squat.  My form was terrible.  I could feel myself leaning forward (chest not up), I wasn't in my heels, elbows collapsed, knees not going out.  It was terrible and every one felt awful.  I squeaked out 6 before I hit the 8 minute mark and my time was up.


171 total reps. 

I'm most mad at myself for being mad at myself.   I've now been to 3 WODs and 2 Open WODs in 6 months.  I hadn't squatted anything until the Thursday prior to this WOD.  If you don't squat for 6 months then guess what?  You're going to lose some of your strength.  Novel concept no?  But my brain just doesn't agree with my body.  My brain tells me I can do it, but my body won't let me.  It makes me feel so defeated and in this case I felt so embarrassed.  I'm just being honest.  

I've been telling myself all weekend that things will come back.  I just need to put in the work.  I might not be where I was, or where I want to be, but I'm in the box and that's more than I imagined for myself a few months ago. 

I have to accept the fact that I have a new normal.  I may never do some things again and that will have to be ok.  I need to remind myself of this every day.  

One thing I can say is how happy I am to be there with my friends and watching each of them accomplish amazing things each week.  A huge congrats to Kim, Meghan and Tracey on amazing WODs for each of them.  I proud of each of you!  




Tuesday, March 1, 2016

CrossFit Open Workout 16.1

You might be surprised by the title of this post.  Like what in the heck is she doing?  Truth is I'm surprised too.  I NEVER ever intended to do the Open this year at all.  I'll admit I was sad about it.  My friends were signing up and went to the intramural sign up party.  I felt sad that I wasn't a part of it, but I accepted it being what it was.  After all, I had just come back to CrossFit and had 2 WODs under my belt in 6 months.  Enter my friend Tracey Weaver.  This is how it went down:  






So I thought about it for 2 or 3 days and I wound up signing up.  The Open has always been about doing it for ME and no one else.  This year would/could be no different.  I would do the scaled workouts and if I couldn't do something, I wouldn't worry about it.  I felt a LOT less pressure going in.  

Then the WOD was announced:  

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 20 minutes of:

25-ft. front rack walking lunge
8 burpees
25-ft. front rack walking lunge
8 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups


And so the nerves and the stress began.  Still I didn't feel as much pressure going into the workout, but I also had the feeling of being unprepared.  Essentially no CrossFit for six months coupled with having bronchitis for over a month, I knew this wasn't going to be pretty. 

I went all there though and I gave it my all.  The first few walking lunges felt uncomfortable for sure. Think about not doing something for six months and then just trying to do it.  It takes awhile before things just come back.  So I felt wobbly and the weight felt heavy, but I go through it. 


The burpees are an "easy" movement for me, but my lungs really got burning.  


By the time I lunged again and got up on the box for jumping pull ups I was breathing heavy.  I was able to do ALL my jumping pull ups unbroken.  And by all I mean every round. That made me happy.


But my breathing was labored and I mean bad.  I felt a burning in my chest so bad and literally just felt like I couldn't breathe.  I had to take several breaks, hands on my knees just to recover.  I felt embarrassed for having to break, but it was that or puke and I wasn't going to puke.


The whole workout was basically just round after round of what I just described coupled with me looking at the clock praying the 20 minutes would just end.

Tracey Weaver was there cheering everyone on.  She yelled at me that I had 90 seconds left and to bust out the burpees.  I dropped and did 8 burpees as fast as I could at the time.  When I finished at them Jess was yelling at me to go, go, go to get in as many lunges as I could.  I looked at her and said, "Jess I can't."  I meant it.  I couldn't but she said I could and so I went and immediately dropped the bar.  My legs were so wobbly.  I had nothing left.  I picked up the bar one more time and made one more lunge.  I'm not sure any of those last 2 lunges I did even counted, but I know I had given it my all.

Pain Face
I scored 170 reps.  Yeah it's not a lot. Yeah it would have been a lot more had the last 6 months hadn't happened.  Yeah I'm not happy about it.  Yeah I've over analyzed and even hated myself over it.  I'm a competitor.  I want to be the best I can be.  Maybe my body wasn't quite ready for the open, but I'm doing it.  I'm trying to be proud of that.  


After I was finished Ella came up to me and told me how proud she was of me. She told me all that matters is that I had tried my hardest and she could tell I had.  That meant a lot to me.  My daughter DOES hear what I say.  Maybe I should follow my own advice.

As if the workout didn't kick my ass enough,  I was really down after seeing the pictures from the WOD. I felt huge and out of shape.  (This is really a feel good post isn't it.)  I was complaining to Kim about how I hated what I saw and this is what she said, "Susan. I was there. I watched you workout.  I never saw anything but a beautiful strong woman who was very determined to do her very best."  That resonated with me so much.  Maybe I'm not what I think I am in my mind.  Maybe people don't see what I see.  Maybe I can finally just be ok with today's personal best.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Skating at Schenley Park

The kids had off school today so we decided to go ice skating at an outdoor rink.  You know because we don't get enough ice time in our lives.  Ha.  Jack got to bring a friend because the previous day Ella had a sleepover and Nicholas had 3 friends over for an epic knee hockey game.  We went out to lunch first.  



It was the perfect day really.  It wasn't totally freezing (about 36 degrees) so we enjoyed ourselves without getting cold.  Except Ella's ankles were exposed because her tights didn't go to the ankle.

All the boys are ice hockey players so you can imagine what they were doing out there.  I barely got them to stand still for any pics.


Ella is so sweet and loving.  She wanted to hold my hand and kept telling me how good I was doing.  Yes I'm the worst skater in the family. I'm actually not a bad skater.  I'm just not too good at stopping. It's HARD!


I usually only last about 15 minutes on hockey skates.  They tend to hurt the arches of my foot really badly.


But I lasted almost the full two hours that we were there.  I could have stayed out longer, but it started to rain and wet hair was annoying. 


Ella and I were pretending to be figure skaters and trying to kick our legs out behind us and glide.  We cracked up so much because neither one of us had any skills.  


George tries to teach me how to stop, but I suck at it.  Normally I just glide into him and it's like hitting a big tree and I stop.  It works.  


Nicholas was teaching me a thing or two and I managed to skate on my edges and do some crossovers. Yay me!  His skating is ridiculous.  I mean he's such a good skater.  Yeah he's my son and I'm bragging.  It's just he makes me so proud.


Jack and Lukas are amazing as well.  


I had to tell them to settle down because they were going sooooo fast and swerving in and out of people and (as you can see) they weren't wearing helmets.  I was nervous, but they are so confident.  


I think we all had a great time. There wasn't anything too special about the day, but sometimes those days create the best memories.