Reflection Prior to a Race

A few years ago I watched a promo video about Spartan Races. While watching, I kept thinking to myself “Man I wish I could do that. I’d never be fit enough”. It wasn’t until the end of the video that I saw a former soldier, in full gear, with no legs, complete the exact race I said I wish I could do. It was in that moment I swore I would do a Spartan race no matter what, I had no excuses.
 
Fast forward a year and a half later, and I am getting my gear together for my first Spartan race on Saturday. I have had several hurdles along the way and It’s been really hard to get where I am. I have poured over every hour of my schedule to fit in workouts, that I would often do alone on evenings and weekends while friends and family were spending time together. I have researched countless times on weightlifting regimes, exercises, techniques, and tips for racing. I have done several other OCR’s, usually coming home battered and bruised, but keeping my sights on this one race.
 
However, in April I went to the doctor for chronic leg pain, and ended up with a diagnosis that resulted in either quitting running and doing races, or have surgery. Many people told me to quit running, that it wasn’t worth it. And maybe it wasn’t….to them. But I have found something that has changed my life, and brought a sense of well being both physically and mentally. The more races I’ve done, the more friends I’ve made, and gained experiences I couldn’t get anywhere else. I found a piece of me, that I feel is integral to who I am as a person.
 
So as I prepare for my Spartan race this Saturday, and surgery next Wednesday, I want to thank those that stood by me and helped me get where I am. Whether it was bringing me ice packs for my legs, giving me advice, or listening to me cry when I wanted to quit. I want to remind everyone to stick with your “thing”, whether its weight loss, school, getting out of debt, or grabbing that dream job. Your persistence will pay off. Lastly, I want to say go after the unattainable. If there is something you’ve always wanted to do, then do it. The only thing that is truly holding you back is you.
“The only things you regret are the things you don’t do”- Michael Curtiz

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Head Up Ass Syndrome and Other Exciting Things

Well, I just realized April is half over, March is gone, and somewhere in there February went too. Time has flown by, and the clock is ticking closer to the countdown of my first OCR race of the year. I am freaking out a little bit.

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With the onset of spring, I have refreshed my fitness focus, and proceeded to pull my head out of my ass. Now, it’s not as bad as it sounds; my head wasn’t up there very long…maybe a couple weeks or so.  And this condition, which I call “Head up Ass” certainly is not to be confused with “Dumb Ass”, which is more of a lifestyle. This lapse (my lapse) was more temporary…let’s say…”Half Ass”.

Let me explain.

For a few weeks in March, I had been just going through the motions with my workouts, not really trying to improve on much. I was functioning on auto pilot which isn’t so great when you are training for an event. I had what I like to call Head up Ass Syndrome.

Now there are several occasions in which someone’s head is up their ass. For instance, like the time Red left the grill’s propane tank on…inside the garage…with the garage door closed. In this moment, his head was so far up his ass, he could see his stomach.  It must be mentioned that had this situation occur more than once, he would immediately be upgraded to a Class 4 Dumb Ass Condition. images.jpg

It’s important to note that Head Up Ass doesn’t only apply to red-headed men. Children often display symptoms of Head Up Ass on a daily basis.  Why, just a couple days ago, the kid was completing her school report on George Washington, and commented on how he was in World War I.  When I gave her The Look, she corrected her reply to the George Washington War.  At this admission, she bypassed directly to a”Smart Ass” classification that may require surgery—we are awaiting test results.

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In my case, I was more of the “oblivious to my surroundings” strain of Head Up Ass.  There were a couple days where I did NOT want to work out.  There were a couple days where I would swap one workout for an easier one.  I wasn’t trying to run further or lift more.  I was doing just enough to say I did something.

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For those of you who have battled with Head Up Ass while working out, you know what typically comes next: Quitting.  This is a dismal area where you start to degrade your workouts little by little until you stop completely. Before you know it, you are sitting on the couch eating Oreo’s and looking up unattainable shit on Pinterest.  Luckily for me, I recognized the signs and proceeded to pull my head out of my ass promptly!

“How?” Do you ask?

It’s easy! I bent over….

Just kidding!!

I decided to review where I was at in my log of workouts and weight. I set a few new short term goals, and refreshed my training by starting cross fit on Saturdays. I had a couple heart to hearts with some close friends, and looked again at how much I’ve spent on my races so far this year.

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The financial commitment was enough to get my ass back in gear. But combined with some encouraging words and a review of my progress so far, I was pumped up to hit the ground running again. So I did.

Since then, I have ran my best time, upped my weightlifting gains, lost another 5 lbs month, AND started getting some gym cred. (someone asked me where the bathroom was).

The important thing here to note is that Head Up Ass is not terminal, but can come back if left untreated. The best way to combat Head Up Ass is recognize “flare ups” and get assistance right away if unable to help yourself.  Listen to you body and your friends regarding your actions and attitude.  If they are telling you your head is up your ass, then take a long look in the mirror for a diagnosis. Only by overcoming Head up Ass will you be able to move on to being a “Bad Ass”.

 

You ain’t gonna keep me down!

Have you ever tried to get fit, or start working out and it seemed like everything in the world was against you achieving your goal?  As if it’s not enough that you are putting the time and effort into becoming healthy, but then add an injury or some other unexpected event on top of that; and before you know it, everything you’ve worked for goes down the drain.

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I am the epitome of this situation.  It’s happened to me more than once over the years. Various injuries, illnesses, schedule conflicts.  You name it.  And that’s not including the juggling of life itself: maintaining a household, working, PTO duties, and parenting.  Life tries really hard to get in the way.

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Denied

But the set backs this this time around were just ridiculous.

After I purchased my Spartan ticket in December, I decided to kick my fitness routine into high gear.  I was going to be off work a couple weeks for the holidays, so it was a perfect time to introduce a new workout regime. Right about the 2nd week of my training, I got sick with this awful head cold.  On Christmas Day, nonetheless. It ruined my entire time off of work, my holidays, not to mention my plans for working out.

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It took me all the way past the New Year to battle the ear and sinus infection that had developed as a result.  But as soon as my fever broke, I started working out again…slowly but surely.  Every day was an effort, but each day got a little easier than the last. Soon, I was loosing weight, gaining muscle, running like a champion. I felt great!

Then I got sick AGAIN!

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Just like before, I was knocked on my ass for 2 days straight.  My head hurt, my eyes hurt, hell…even my teeth hurt.  And just when I thought I was starting to feel better, the death cough set in. We’re talking chest rattling, wheezing, up all night long coughing my ass off. I probably should have went to the doctor, but since I wasn’t running a fever, I decided against it.

It took me 6 days to finally start feeling better  function-able.  Before work one morning, I decided to go grab my gym bag and plan for an easy workout that evening. I was still coughing like crazy, but I had to push forward.  I was not going to give up, and nothing was going to stop me.  I had my bag in hand, smile on my face

And then  fell down the stairs.

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Luckily for me, I only pulled a muscle in my ass. But seriously.  WTF? Have you ever pulled an ass muscle? It’s a bitch.  Walking up stairs hurts.  Sitting hurts.  Laying down hurts. And it’s not like people sympathize with you…

What’s wrong? Why are you walking that way?” 

“Oh it’s my ass.  I pulled a muscle” 

So I sucked it up, and took a bunch of ibuprofen, soaked in Epsom salt, and laid on a heating pad.  I crawled to the treadmill anyways, and persisted through the pain, which was pretty manageable at first. But due to over compensating from pain of the one butt muscle, I managed to tweak the other butt muscle.

Yep. That’s right. My ass was a disaster.

Fortunately, I was able to modify my workouts so I wasn’t utilizing those muscles too much.  I also did a bunch of stretching to help work things out; and to my satisfaction, it worked! It took about a week of wimpy workouts due to being sick and my ass injury, but I have finally gotten back into beast mode.

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It was through these recent obstacles that I discovered something important. See I think the hardest part of working out isn’t doing the actual work out.  It’s everything else. It’s the unexpected situations that pop up, bad circumstances, the time management, and having the motivation to get back on track. If you removed all the obstacles with working out, there’d be a whole bunch of skinny  mo-fo’s running around.

Yeah, I was hacking up a lung last Saturday  while on my 3rd mile at the gym.  But I ran it.

Yeah, I’ve had to sit down and plan every single part of my day to accommodate my workout schedule.  But I planned it.

And yeah, sometimes the garage will be cold as hell when it’s the only place I can work out that day. But I do it.

Essentially, getting fit is not how far you run, or how many push ups you do.  It’s not how much weight you lift, or how long you swim.  It’s the way you overcome life’s obstacles and keep moving forward. To me, therein lies true strength.

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A Progress Report and Recap of January

As some of you know, I’ve been working out for a while, but really kicked it into high gear this month and started the 21 day fix. It’s proved to be a whirlwind of adventures from swimming and weightlifting, to creatively packing as much cheese as I could into a 2 oz. container. Riveting…Amirite?

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The beginning of January sucked, as I was battling a sinus/ear infection that had been going on since Christmas Day.  It wasn’t until Jan 6th that I started working out full throttle. This required a lot of work on my part, but not because of lack of motivation.  Instead, I was challenged with trying to figure out which days to work out, where to work out at, and what to do for said workout; which was all based upon the family’s schedule and shit I had to do at home. It gets overwhelming, but that’s where my Erin Condren planner came in to save the day:2016-01-28_10.43.41_resized.jpg

Planning workouts and meals in accordance with the family’s schedule is a bit anal retentive, even for me. But I am not one to workout on a whim. I need to know what I am doing, and where I am doing it, well in advance. I have to pump myself up for this shit! And ultimately  it did help keep me on track, and it makes me feel good when I look at my exercises month to date.

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On January 4th I started the 21 day fix. As mentioned in my previous blog post, it was pretty hard the first couple days.  I was hangry all the time.

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I initially thought that maybe the “diet” was just starving me skinny, so I continued to log everything into MyFitness Pal. Much to my disappointment, I did in fact verify I was meeting my calorie goals. This confirmed for me that prior to starting the fix, I was, indeed, totally bombing my portion controls. Dammit.

I did make a couple adjustments, such as adding more veggies, taking out a starch, and allowing a cheat meal once a week.

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My next resolve was to begin weightlifting. I had done free weights before, but was pretty new to the machines. With all the races I am going to do, I knew I needed to start weight training in addition to calisthenics and cardio. On my first session, I lifted all the weights. ALL OF THEM.  Why? I am not real sure. But this wasn’t a good idea and I couldn’t walk properly for days afterwards.

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It was this mistake that caused me to hobble my ass to a personal trainer.  I wanted a consultation to learn which weights I should utilize and how often I should lift. I also wanted to see if my workout plan was balanced enough, and to find out if my eating habits were suitable for my fitness levels.   The trainer went over my current workout schedule, and adjusted it according to my goals and timelines. She showed me what to do for weightlifting, and confirmed my diet was pretty spot on. When it was all said and done, I had a new workout plan that seemed to be a little more structured and definitely more challenging. Oh yay.workout sched 2.png

I am on week 2 of the new plan, and I’m pretty sure it’s already working.  I swam last night for my cardio, and noticed a huge difference in my performance.  I was much faster, could swim longer, and more efficiently. Tonight is calisthenics night, and should be a better gauge on any improvement there may be.  I think I will keep with this plan until middle of March, where at that time, I will pick up Crossfit once or twice a week in place of a weightlifting and cardio day.

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In addition to  improved performance, I have also lost 4 pounds since January 8th.  Not a huge loss, but progress nonetheless. I’m not too worried about weight loss at this time, because I do believe I am building muscle in it’s place. Lets just hope it’s not too much muscle…

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Lastly, I  joined the Cornfed Spartans Team, which really makes me happy because now I’ll pretty much have a running partner for all my races. If you are unfamiliar with Cornfed, they are a regional group that gathers at various races and runs them together. They are super supportive and family focused. I am very honored to be part of their team and  and excited that I’ll also get to order one of these cool ass jerseys:

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With all of that said (I think it was enough), I feel like this has been the most successful beginning of a fitness attempt I have ever done. I have several outlets keeping me accountable, tons of activities for workouts, and a place to workout almost everywhere I go (home, work, and YMCA). I am pretty confident that I am on my way to being prepared for Obstacle Course Racemagedon 2016.

My Attempt at Lap Swimming

So The Kid has started a new series of swim lessons, that occur twice a week.  Since the Mr. is out of town all the time, I take her to whatever practices she has.  But this usually leaves me missing a work out day, because after practice there is homework and dinner and just way to much shit to do to work out.

Luckily for me, her swim lessons are at the YMCA, where Young Christian Men and Suburbanite Soccer Mom’s go to work out.  Now I don’t like going to gyms for too many reasons to count. But I do like to swim…or at least I did…in junior high. So I came up with a brilliant idea: I’ll swim laps, while she is doing her lessons!

This idea had so many benefits: she gets to do her lessons and I get my workout. And if you’ve ever swam laps, you’ll know it’s a hell of a workout.  It’s also something we can share in common and bond over:  I envision mother and daughter swimming laps together, jokingly racing each other to the end of the pool…mother destroying daughter’s lap time but reassuring her that with practice she’ll get better.  Then daughter becoming a swimming prodigy for the Olympics and crediting her beautiful skinny mother as her inspiration….

I digress…

Of course I also had to get the proper gear to do this lap swimming: a new swim suit, goggles, and a cap.  I knew when I found a full piece Reebok suit with “tummy control” on sale for $20 in January in my size, it was meant to be.

I decided to hit up the pool on Friday night to try out the lap swimming, since no one was really there. I wanted to make sure I could even still swim a lap, before subjecting myself to humiliation.  This was a good idea, because I was about as effective in the water as as a turtle trying to run, laying on it’s back.

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If you don’t laugh at this, you are dead inside

To warm up, I swam a handful of laps using a paddle board.  This alone was a great workout; my legs were burning, my heart rate was up, water was splashing everywhere…it was good. Then I got cocky and decided I was going to freestyle a lap.    To my surprise (and the lifegaurd’s) I made it…but barely.

See, I kept getting out of sync with my breathing, and this resulted in inhaling a shit load of water; Or waiting too long to take a breath-thus sounding like a asthmatic in a marathon. I stopped in the middle of the pool; coughing and carrying on like I’d never swam before. It was awful! I almost drowned! Not really, but felt like it.

Then it dawned on my that maybe I was trying to swim too fast.  MAYBE if I wasn’t swimming like I was being chased, I would be able to catch my breath and swim more effectively.  So I slowed it down and developed a pace that I could work with.  It proved to be good idea, and as a bonus I came to terms that nothing was going to eat me.

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Get to the side and you’ll be safe!

My workout ended up being 45 minutes of alternating freestyle, backstroke, and using the paddle board. I felt really good and really exhausted afterwards…the kind of exhaustion you only feel after a kick ass workout.

My next swim, however, proved not to be so great.  I started by sharing a lane with another guy who was seriously kicking up dust on his laps.  Well I guess it wouldn’t be dust…maybe mud? Argh..he was really fast.

Anyways, we worked it out great for the first 5 minutes, until another person jumped in our lane.  Seriously?! And not only was it another person, but this chick was like a professional or something, she had a coach there and everything. Being that they both were very advanced (and I was not), I didn’t want my pokey ass to hold them up, so I finished up my workout at 20 minutes.

Besides, 3 people to a lane is just too many if you ask me. I mean, yeah, you could fit 2 people on a treadmill, doesn’t make it a good idea…Just Saying.

I think I am going to try to swim again on Wednesday, but only if there is an open lane to myself. If not, I’ll find something else to do, and try again on Friday (when people with lives aren’t at the Y).

For the most part, I really enjoyed swimming laps.  It was a great workout, and definitely different than what I’m used to.  But like with everything, I think it takes time to get good at it, and can be frustrating at first.

The best part about the swimming was The Kid and I had something to talk about the whole way home.  She’s been thinking about joining the swim team, and has taken additional lessons to improve her techniques. She was so excited to share our experiences, plans, and routines. It totally made the struggles I had dealt with worth it ♥

How to stay fitness motivated? Sign up for a shit load of races!

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So last year-ish (December 2014) I decided I wanted to do a Spartan Race. I trained very hard for it, and lost like 20 lbs. I worked out like 4-5 days a week, and even did another mud run as practice. I was pumped.  I was ready. I told everyone I knew.

When the time came closer to do the race, my daughter’s cheer team found out they had made cheer competition regional’s for the state finals; which was on the same day.

At the same time.

On the other side of the state.

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Are you fucking kidding me? It’s not like I could not go to her competition so I could do the race.  What kind of mom would do that? The decision was a no brainer. But still; I had been working out diligently for months; busting my ass to get ready for this race, and was trumped in a matter of moments by some 8 year olds who learned their cheer within 4 practices the month prior. Fuck me.

After they LOST the competition (yeah that’s right), I kinda fell in a slump. I didn’t work out as hard, or as much. I felt as I didn’t have anything substantial to work towards.  Sure I could work out for my health, but what’s the fun in that?  The race I wanted to do was behind me.

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Then by chance I saw another OCR that was coming up that fall; albeit, not as big or fancy as Spartan, but something to do, nonetheless.  I bought my ticket and started training again. I did the race, and realized something: I can do lots of other OCR’s and trail races!

So I got drunk and started signing up.   I figured out that by spending money on a ticket for a race, I was ensuring that I was going to keep working out so I could actually do the race successfully. I sure as hell wasn’t going to drop big bucks to turn around and not prepare, or even worse, not do the race!

Last month I bought my ticket for the Spartan race this July.  Thank God the kid didn’t want to do cheer this year;  AND, for good measure, I preemptively told her that this time, nothing short of a natural disaster of biblical proportions would make me miss this race.

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I currently have an ongoing list of trail runs and races I want to do this year. I aim to have something to run each month from April until November. I believe this will keep me vested in working out, and pump me up to do more.

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My ultimate goal is to do a Spartan Trifecta next year. I found that I am pretty good a just trail running.  It’s the harder obstacles that get me: monkey bars and rope climbs. I figure that between my current workout plan, and all these races, I’ll be a fucking Trifecta master next year.

Some folks are like “But that’s so expensive!“, and the truth is: It Is.

However, would you rather look back on your life and say “look at all that money I saved by not doing those races?” Are you going to remember what you did, instead of those race? Or would you rather look back on your life and say, “Boy I was a bad ass” ?

 

21 Day Fix Portion Controls…

So as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am not the “dieting” type.  I’ve never done Atkins, Weight Watchers, any of that shit. I believe in eating within my calorie allotment and in moderation. With that approach comes a lot of looking at labels, calculating calories, maintaining macros, logging shit into MyFitnessPal… blah… blah…blah. It’s a lot of work, pretty much sucks, and to be quite honest, I don’t think I’ve been doing it right.

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So for Christmas I asked for the 21 day fix containers for portion control, to see if that makes eating healthy a little easier. I thought that maybe through this approach,  I could cut out the calorie counting and macros managing.

The whole 21 day fix plan also includes daily workout videos and protein shakes you are supposed in addition to portion control, but I omitted those for a couple reasons:

  1. I don’t love doing videos

2.  I can’t afford those shakes ($80/month?!)

If you are unfamiliar with this portion control part of the program, each container has a color coded food designation and is portioned to exact servings.  So far, pretty damn easy!

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yay, more tupperware

You figure out your caloric intake, and based on that you are allotted a certain number of each container of fruits, veggies, fats, starches, and meat.

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Based on my activity level and weight, I decided to go with the first column of 1200-1499 calories per day.  MyFitnessPal currently has my calorie goal at 1460, so this is pretty consistent.

Now with this plan, you do not count the calories you are consuming. Instead, you focus on filling the container with food and that’s it.  Once you’ve eaten your containers worth, you are done.

Initially I was like HELL YEAH!” 

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And then I read the instructional booklet and was like

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Defeated,  I hunkered down, did my homework, and a few days ago, I made up breakfasts and lunches the way they are supposed to be done.20160104_162607_resized

It really wasn’t too hard; most of the items I typically eat are on the “approved” list. There isn’t any weird shit on there you have to go to a shady side of town to buy. In fact they let you have starches and carbs, which was a delightful surprise.

However, the portion sizes perplexed me somewhat.  They seemed so small and limited. Before I would just “eye-ball” the measurements for my salad dressing.

Well guess what?

There is a container for that now, and it’s fucking little. Oh and by the way, that tiny tub is basically all the condiments you get for the day, so you better really want that dressing. Cheese?  You better “Tetris” pack that shit into the blue 2 oz. container, because that’s all the ‘healthy fats‘ you are getting too. No wonder people lost weight with this, they didn’t get to eat shit!

I almost said screw it and quit before I had even started. But then it dawned on me:  While my nutrition has been pretty decent, my portions were out of control! What I thought was 2 tablespoons of salad dressing was really like 4. Furthermore, I wasn’t paying attention to where exactly my calories were coming from. I assumed as long as I stayed under my calorie budget, it didn’t matter what healthy foods I ate. I realized that you must balance your caloric intake across the board.

Basically, all this time I had been so focused omitting bad foods, that I wasn’t eating the good foods in the right way! OMG!!!!

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I decided to stay with it regardless of my aprehension.  This was something I’ve not done before, and I have a pretty good feeling it will work.  I did tweak a couple of my portions, but only in a good way.  For example,  I took out one of the permitted carbohydrate servings and increased my vegetable intake from 3 to 4 cups per day.  I mean, I already put 3 cups of lettuce alone in my salads for lunch!  If I become a big ‘o heifer because of my extra vegetables, then fuck it….MOOOO!cow.jpg

I officially started my cleaner/leaner eating on Tuesday, and it wasn’t easy to start. I was sooo hangry!   Yesterday was a little easier, and today has been easiest so far. Before doing this change, I believe I was eating and becoming overly full. Now it’s about eating to become not-hungry, and I think that’s how it’s supposed to be.

I am excited to see where this takes me, because 1 of 2 things will happen, and both would be fine with me:

  1. I will start loosing weight and get skinny

or

     2. I won’t loose any weight, and can go back to eating normal again

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Bring on the new year

This year has went by so fast my head is spinning.  I mean seriously, wasn’t it just Thanksgiving? And when was Halloween? A couple weeks ago, right? Didn’t Jon Snow just die/not die??? That fucking dress is black and blue!  And wouldn’t it be funny if Donald Trump actually became a Republican contender??? Wait a minute…

While I hate seeing time slip by, and keep getting misty eyed watching my spawn grow up, for the first time ever, I am anxious and excited to start a new year!

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It’s not that I didn’t like starting a new year before. It’s just I was always bummed the holidays were over.  Or knowing I wouldn’t get another company holiday again until May. Or that I could look back at the previous year and say “Well that sucked“.  And let’s not forget the stereotypical failed New Year resolutions, or the financial recoil of overspending on Christmas.

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While I can’t say I stayed within my Christmas budget, I can say my past year was great! Just to name a few:

  • We didn’t move, (a new record)
  • There was only 2 trips to the ER this year for the kid (another record)
  • I discovered obstacle course racing
  • Big Red got promoted, and I left a good job for a great job
  • There were a two nieces born, and nephew on the way ♥
  • Was able to meet up with all kinds of friends I’ve not seen in years
  • Took our first ever family vacation
  • I finally embraced my inner hipster, got some skinny jeans and an arrow necklace
  • The kid became interested in Harry Potter
  • I got super organized (thanks Excel and Erin Condren and OCD)
  • I finally learned how to spell definately…shit…defiantly… definitely

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With such great accomplishments and events behind me, I AM excited for the new year! There is lots going on in our household and I couldn’t be more grateful for these new opportunities:

  • The kid is getting really into swimming, possibly competitively. After months of trying dance, gymnastics, cheer, and girl scouts, we think we’ve finally found her niche.
  • Big Red starts his new position in February which will hopefully bring a nice big raise more at home time
  • I already purchased my Spartan ticket for this summer, and have 3 other races I’m looking at too
  • I got a handy dandy FitBit Surge for Christmas which will keep me connected to my fitness (I will blog about this once I kick this black death cold)
  • I also got the 21 day fix containers to keep me within my portion controls
  • I have an application to the community college so I can finally complete my degree in basket weaving
  • I start my new round of allergy treatments in February so rag weed can go fuck itself

And with new opportunities come new goals! What New Year would be complete without new resolutions? Aside from the typical fitness, organization, and financial goals, I will:

  • Clean out the junk drawer
  • Read at least 1 non-smut or YA book
  • Be a better mom
  • Not screw up a recipe from Pinterest
  • Be a better aunt
  • Learn all the lyrics to  Hip-Hop by Dead Prez
  • Learn more about other religions
  • Send more cards and letters
  • Complete my tattoo sleeve
  • Drink more wine
  • Not gloat when we all see that Jon Snow is alivejonsnow.jpg

 

SO FAR THIS YEAR (3 days in), I haven’t worked out once, certainly did not eat well, have been battling a week and a half long cold, and spent most of my time on social media. Yes. I think this will be a great year…

Something about whooping some ass…

I can’t imagine getting on an Elliptical for 45 minutes as my work out. The one time I tried, I nailed myself in the face with the stupid bar you hold on to. I also don’t care for spin classes, most workout videos, or whatever the hell Zumba is. But that’s just me. Should any of those be your thang then go for it.  You have to do whatever works for you, or you will get bored, frustrated, and ultimately fail (trust me, I’ve been there).

My thang, however, is kickboxing**, specifically Muay Thai. MMmmmMMMuay Thai! I love me some down and dirty ass kicking, head bashing, elbow smashing, name taking, ‘mama said knock you out’-kickboxing.   giphy

I have always been a fan of kicking ass.  To this day, I will watch the Matrix (#1), Fight Club, or Kill Bill over anything else on TV.   I love Kung Fu movies, UFC fights, and the original Mortal Combat Sega game. Not to mention while growing up I spent a fair amount of time being suspended from school for being overly expressive with my fists, as did my 2 sisters. It must run in the family.

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Maybe my penchant for whooping ass comes from my violent extracurricular activities as a youth.  And unfortunately, as an adult, beating people up because they piss you off is frowned upon in this society.  So that is why I decided to exert my physical transgressions through Muay Thai…So when I kick your adult ass, I’ll look good while doing it…(I kid! But it’s true)

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Yo face!

The first class I took was at this little hole in the wall MMA garage down in Florida.  I almost turned around upon my arrival based on the appearance alone.  The industrial garage doors were wide open (no a/c and 90 something degrees out), a cash only sign on the door, and a sketchy looking hooker that stood at the end of the parking lot. This was as far cry from those fancy schmancy Lifetime Fitness Centers as you could get.

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Some of the heavy bags were criss-crossed with duct tape. A chain link wall divided the garage in half, and held a variety of lost mouth guards  that never found their home.  There was only one bathroom (which also served as a cleaning supply closet), and variety of gym equipment from the early 90’s that sat next to a water fountain that didn’t work.  The garage next door was rented by a shitty cover band that practiced all the time (they never got any better), and next to them was a skate shop, which seemed to be the only one of the 3 that had their shit together.

However, it was at this dive, that I found something I loved to do and a place I loved to be. My introduction to Muay Thai wasn’t glamorous, pretty, or even clean. It was raw and dirty-almost-a striking homage to the gyms in Thailand.  The drills were intense, the exercises were hard, and injuries common. You could guarantee you’d go home bruised up after sparring (I busted open my lip at the first class).  And lets not talk about all the sweat swapping that would take place while doing grappling.  This was not a YMCA cardio kickboxing class.  It was an undercover ass-kicking factory that specialized in pain.  And it was only $10 for a 2 hour long class!

It. Was. Glorious.

Most people claim kickboxing is a stress reliever, but I never felt any relief from punching or kicking anything. I don’t imagine my worst enemy in front of me, or pretend I’m some sort of Ninja Assassin (well… only sometimes). I just like the sound the glove makes with a solid hit. Or when you bust out a flawless combo, and feel like Anderson Silva. I like the occasional bruises and soreness after a great class, or the look you get when people ask what you like to do for fun.

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It’s been about 4 years since my first class, and I am still rocking out in the garage (my garage).  I have tried a few gyms around me, but I am afraid nothing will stack up to my first love.  I’m still looking, though, and may have to just suffer through a nice clean MMA gym with their new equipment and stupid ranking systems.

Until then, I’ll continue to practice Muay Thai twice a week for cardio as part of my Spartan training.  I put together several drills that I do on the heavy bag in the garage, as well as multiple rounds of jump rope, and shadow boxing. It’s not as good (or fun) as sparring with a partner, but it still delivers a nice calorie burn in about 45 minutes.

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My custom tailored work out plan created by yours truly

On rare occasion, I can get Red out there to hold pads for me; and every once in a while, this feral kid that lives with us comes out there and gives me hell.  I am always putting new drills and ideas on my Pinterest page, as well as getting emails from Muay Thai Guy.  I’m not real sure if I am doing all this self training right, but it makes me sweat, and makes me happy, so why not?

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Smile when you are kicking ass

**There are a lot of folks who get offended by considering Muay Thai as kickboxing .  While Muay Thai is a complex system of different maneuvers and styles, to someone who isn’t termed with this art-it is ultimately a form kickboxing. I am not an expert, and am not talking to other experts.  If I were, I would probably avoid the term kickboxing.  If you disagree, or are offended, you can kiss my ass ♥