Tuesday, March 27, 2012


First off, I want to apologize for not blogging much lately. My husband has had a lot of time off work (intentionally) and we're just all enjoying some family time. If you are on Facebook, however, be sure to "like" my page and I'm still posting there regularly.

Ok, no on to the important stuff:

I am a huge Bengals Fan. They break my heart every single year and yet, I can't help but love them. I am NOT, however, a Terrell Owens fan, but I have to admit I was so very excited during his very brief stint wearing the orange and black. For one reason and one reason only: My maiden name is Owens. I have always always always wanted a Bengals jersey with OWENS on the back.

It just so happened that about a month after he signed with the Bengals I was in KY visiting family. My mom agreed to take me shopping to get the coveted jersey. We lucked out and found not a jersey, but a t-shirt with his name & number on it. I knew I'd get much more use out of a t-shirt than a jersey so she bought me one and my nephew one as well.

I had just started working out again although the t shirt wasn't exactly a women's cut, it hugged in all the "right" places. I love the tshirt, but over the last year or so I began to realize that it wasn't hugging in the "right" places any longer and it was totally hugging the "wrong" places. Grrr.....

Two months ago when we went to the Great Wolf Lodge for a family get away I packed that t-shirt, but refused to wear it once I saw myself in the mirror. I was devastated.

Since starting CrossFit I haven't really noticed much movement on the scale, but my husband has noticed my body has changed a bit. Little by little, I'm noticing changes, too. Today, I put on the t-shirt to work out in and low and behold.....it not only hugged the right places, it was LOOSE in those places. Score one for me!!!!

On another note, I was also wearing tight upper thigh shorts for my workout, one of my favorites and I had to keep hiking them up the entire time because they were sliding down.

I guess it's time to go shopping.......

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Douchebag

CrossFit is known for it's douchebagery almost as much as it's known for it's brutal, intense workout style. In fact, when I first started expressing an interest in CrossFit, I had a couple people mention to me how they'd love to belong to a box, but there are too many assholes there to make it enjoyable.

I've kept this in the back of my mind, but to be honest, I really hadn't encountered much of it at all. Until today.....

My local affiliate has a blog and that's where the WODs are posted daily and we're all encouraged to leave our results in the comments. Typically, an entire side conversation gets started and it's just another forum for this close knit community that I've found myself suddenly a member of.

I'm slowly getting to know the members of our box either through the classes I'm in or from chatting with people during the kids' WODS, but it's a slow process to really fit in at a place like this. Everyone has gone out of their way to make us feel welcome and a few women, in particular, have really taken me under their wing and always come to check on me after a workout or just ask how I'm doing that day.

Yesterday, on the blog, someone anonymously left a rather snarky comment directed to "the new members". It was along the lines of making sure you say hello back when someone goes out of their way to offer you a warm, sincere hello. The comment went on to say that if you can't, at the very least, acknowledge when someone says hello to you, then maybe you should find another gym.

My husband was severely offended. We have no idea if that comment was directed to us or not, as there have been several other new people in the last few weeks and honestly, it could have been directed to anyone.

I skipped yesterday's WOD with the promise to myself that no matter what it was, I would go workout this morning. Saturday mornings and PACKED and I've avoided them up until this point, but a promise to myself is a promise to myself.

In the words of one of the coaches, "Today's WOD was a motherfucker." And it was. Once I saw it, I immediately regretted skipping yesterday, but I had to go. I wasn't going to cherry pick my workouts because I was afraid. I walked into the box this morning with butterflies in my stomach and that comment ringing in my ears.....for the first time since joining this box I truly felt like I just didn't belong. Even before the workout started, I was in tears. I wanted nothing more than to just turn around and go home and hide in the corner, and to be honest, if my kids class wasn't immediately afterwards, I probably would have. I stayed for my kids.

Unbeknownst to me, my husband had left a reply to the comment while I was busting my ass and crying my eyes out during the WOD this morning. He explained that coming into a place like this is intimidating as hell and one of the saving graces was the immense sense of community and support that we've gotten since we've joined. He continued on to say that this comment made us "newbies" feel like this box is only for senior members and "real cross fitters" and that it was displaying exactly the OPPOSITE sense of community that we'd been led to believe we were joining.

Oh holy hell....can I just tell you how many comments have come out of the wood work? So many people jumping in to welcome us and tell this anonymous commenter to find THEMSELVES another gym and that comments like that were NOT representative of the group, we got personal emails from the owners and some other coaches, regular members reached out to us to let us know they were happy to see our entire family there and looking forward to getting to know us better.

I get it....the owner need to protect their customers and "save the sale". They don't want us to leave, from a business standpoint, but the sincerity was there. I've never felt so supported and encouraged. It warmed my heart to see so many people jump to our defense and tell a "regular" to EFF OFF (basically).

I have to say....I've been leary of the douchebagery reputation and I'm certain there are some boxes out there filled with them, but everyday I'm more and more convinced that we've found one of the good ones.....

Now, if I could only get my own douchebagery comments out of my OWN head (the ones that tell me I don't belong, that I have no business doing these types of workouts, that I can't keep up....) then I'll be in business. But you know what? That personal douchebag is getting quieter and quieter every day. I've got goals and I will not let a douchebag (imaginary or real) get in the way of me reaching them.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I have asthma.  I haven't always had asthma; I was diagnosed when I was 17 years old.  I've only ever had one severe attack and to this day, it's scared the shit out of me.  It was in college and the attack ended up benching me for almost two weeks, had me on multiple rounds of steroids and I honestly thought I may never breath again.

In the past when I was running, my legs always lasted longer than my lungs.  As soon as I start getting out of breath, I start to panic and then my breaths get shallower and faster, making it even harder to catch my breath.  I end up essentially hyper ventilating and I have to stop running and walk to catch my breath.  It's a vicious cycle and until recently one that I didn't even recognize.  I just thought you kept running until you couldn't breathe.  I thought the more and more I ran, the further I'd be able to go until I couldn't breathe and eventually I wouldn't have to stop to catch my breath until my run was over.

I know.  I know.  Anyway, CrossFit has taught me the single most important life lesson I could ask for ~ in less than a month.  It's taught me how to control my breathing.  During several of the workouts, I've gotten to that panicky, shallow breathing, I can't get any air stage (actually, I think it's been during every workout, but whatever).  Usually, though, I'm in the middle of something and I can't just stop and catch my breath like I can when I'm just running around town, all by myself.  I have learned to slow my breathing, take a quick (like millisecond) break and get my lungs back under control.

For instance, today during kettle bell swings, I noticed my breaths were getting shallower and shallower and we were maxing out, so I couldn't stop.  If I stopped, I was done.  I had plenty of swings left in me so I waited until that split second when the kettle bell was hanging above my head, before it started the downward swing and I used that minuscule amount of time to slow my breathing, take a deep breath and get myself back under control.  I continued to pound out about 20 more swings.

This tiny lesson.  This thing that probably every person on the planet knew (except me) has given me more confidence than any heavy lift, any victory, any personal goal met, anything.  Learning how to breath?  Who knew it could be so liberating?  HA!

Friday, March 2, 2012

One Week

I didn't have an image for my blog post today and this one was floating around FB, so I decided to use it. I have no idea where it originated, so I can't give credit, but BLOODY HELL!! My friend and I decided we're going to try it. She wants to be the one on top and I am going for the spot on the bottom. Anyone want to volunteer to be the girl in the middle? OUCH.

Ok, where was I? Oh yes. We hadn't started yet. Sorry.

Yesterday marked one full week of CrossFit. Right now I'm only signed up to go 3x per week (yea, we've already discussed upgrading our membership to unlimited. What can I say? It's fun.) Yesterday also marked the day I planned to start weighing myself again. My workouts didn't stay exactly as planned during the last several weeks and I have to admit I cheated a bit. I weighed myself right before we started CrossFit because I wanted to know where I stood. It wasn't pretty.

I started CrossFit at 225(ish), I can't remember the exact number. After one week, I'm at 223.4. Not too shabby, eh? I will now resume my weekly weigh ins from this point forward (until the next wild hair up my you know what and I switch it up again!)

I've also started counting calories again. It's tough to get started, but once I reestablished the habit, it really is fairly simple. I use the Livestrong website & App. When I first started this blog, Livestrong gave me around 2000 calories (and I was consistently losing weight). I don't know what numbers I plugged in to get that amount, but when I came back and replugged in all of my numbers, it gave me around 1400 cals. I'm sorry, but that's simply not enough.

Amber, over at Go Kaleo, (how many times can I mention her on this blog? I know. But she really is that cool!) posted this calorie calculator on her Facebook page the other day and it's the most detailed, accurate one I've ever seen. Here's the thing: our bodies need fuel. Starving them doesn't work.

I entered in all of my data using the dials on the calculator. It gave me two numbers: the top number is what my body burns for basic metabolic function. This means that if I did nothing but lay in bed and stare at the ceiling. If I did nothing but exist, this is what my body burns. This is the number of calories my body needs to simply function. No one should ever, ever, ever eat below their top number. The bottom number is what my body burns once I add in my daily activities: how much I work out, the intensity of my workouts, how long I spend each day doing moderate chores, how long I spend standing (doing dishes, cooking, etc), even how long I spend sleeping (and the rest of the day, it is assumed, I am sitting. Existing.) So, to lose weight, I took the bottom number and subtracted about 500-1000 calories and that is where I am eating.

I figured out my CrossFit days and I figured out my non CrossFit days. Surprisingly they were all that different (my non XFit days are the days I spend cleaning house, doing bigger chores, etc....) so rather than get caught up in the minutiae of a few calories from day to day, I just averaged the two types of days and that's what I plugged into Livestrong.

I currently aim to eat about 2200 calories a day. On my off days, I don't usually make it. I went to bed last night with over 200 calories uneaten. I'm ok with that. I wasn't hungry.

So, this is where I am right now. I can already feel changes in my body. I can't wait until I can see them!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Facing Down the Fear

I have never considered myself a fearful person. I was always drawn to the highest and fastest roller coasters growing up. I was the typical invincible teenager that never gave a thought to the consequences of the stupid stunts I pulled (I got very lucky a few times....)

Even as I matured and began to recognize my mortality, I still wasn't consumed with much fear. A healthy dose, but nothing more. When I was six months pregnant with my first child my husband and I took a cruise around the Gulf of Mexico. It was my first cruise and I couldn't wait to sit by the pool and soak up the sunshine. As we walked around the deck, I was struck with a paralyzing fear of looking over the side of the railing. I was completely taken by surprise. I couldn't even get within two feet of the rail. I'd never experienced anything like this before. I was stumped.

We came home and I never gave that feeling much thought. I chalked it up to pregnancy hormones and just put it aside in the back of my mind. Fast forward about five or six years. We now have two children and we were heading to a camping trip on the other side of the Cascade Mountains. I grew up around mountains; I'd drive through them many times as a child. HA! The Appalachian Mountain Range is nothing compared to the Cascades. I knew that in my head, but I hadn't really considered what that truly meant.

As we were returning from our camping trip, coming over the crest of the mountain pass I had a complete, full blown, text book panic attack. We were flying down this mountain with nothing but a guard rail separating us from the tippy tops of 100 year old trees. Nothing, in my mind, to stop us from plunging from to our deaths should we hit a gravel patch, or blow a tire, or, or, or.....

I realized at that moment that I had somewhere along the way developed a severe fear of heights. Motherhood. I'm terrified of losing my babies. I'm terrified of orphaning my babies. It's easy to be fearless when there is no other person in this world dependent on you. It's easy to be fearless when the only person your stupid stunts can hurt is yourself.

For the most part I can keep my fear in check. I only start to hyper ventilate a little bit on the mountain passes now. I can appreciate the beauty as we're driving along. I can mostly keep my heart rate in check when I think back to looking over the side of the rails on the cruise ship. I've almost agreed to go back to the top of the Space Needle with my kids. I recognize that it's an unreasonable fear and I can mostly keep it under control.

Then, last week, a rope climb was part of the WOD at CrossFit. As we stood in the middle of the gym and watched the coach pull the ropes down and instruct us on the proper technique to climb them all of these fears came rushing back. I teared up. I cried. I stood in the gym and cried because I was expected to climb 15 ft up a rope.

In the past I would have just said "I'm sorry, I can't do this." Not anymore. If there is one thing I've learned about myself since starting CrossFit it's that I'm way more badass than I've ever given myself credit for. I've pushed myself further than I've ever known I could go.

I wiped my tears and walked right up to that rope and grabbed it with a white knuckled death grip. Everyone there knew I was the new girl and they'd all seen that I was terrified. I had the biggest cheering section. It was amazing. I am almost tearing up again, sitting here reflecting on that feeling.

I only made it about 4 feet up the rope or so, and I did the workout laying on the floor and pulling myself to a standing position using the rope ~ only because I wasn't strong enough yet to complete the full workout climbing the ropes.

I have made it my goal, my mission in life, to conquer the rope. You fear the things you can not control and this is one thing I can control. I can control my strength. I can control my health and I will climb that rope.