Friday, July 6, 2012

11 Random Questions

Hey Guys -

I was tagged in Gina's blog to participate in 11 Questions. I didn't follow the rules  - because I am a rule breaker, ya'll - so this is just answers to Gina's 11 questions.

It's my first vlog attempt (gotta love the spot youtube chose to freeze my face). I didn't have any editing abilities - I just kept stopping and restarting my camera, so there's no fancy bling off my super white teeth or general editing, so you get to hear my ums and learn a new word "enroached". :)


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Why I Don't Bake

I don't bake. Or cook actually. I occassionally grill, but not with like... stuff. Just the meat and the flame. I make cereal, toast, and pb&j. J does all of our cooking. The #1 reason for this is that I am accident prone.
Don't believe me? When I was 9ish, I was taking a chicken pot pie out of the oven to feed my brother and I dinner, and there was a hole in the pot holder. I burned my finger on the pan, and it made me flinch/jump so hard that my knee whacked the oven door, which then closed onto my arm - still in the oven. Then I went into shock. Luckily my 6 yr old brother came into the kitchen to see why I yelled, grabbed the oven door and ripped my arm out - skin still melted to the door. Ick. So I've been semi-afraid of the oven door ever since.

Then there was the time in 8th grade where I somehow stuck my hand into liquid sugar just as it was hardening, and in the time it took to flinch, had already hardened around my fingers. The principle's office was unfortunately right across the hall, and he had concerned parents wondering why a child was screaming primally in pain during cooking class. I was actually asked to not go back to Home Ec, and had to take a study hall.
The oven also once turned into a complete inferno when I attempted to CLEAN it. Then there was the time I was making myself eggs, when I accidentally sprayed the non stick stuff into the flame and my shirt caught fire. At one point, I was banned from everything but the microwave, and if J knew about the time the popcorn bag caught fire, I wouldn't have been able to use that either. The few attempts at dinner that I have tried have become epic failures only noteworthy for the story you could tell about them. In short, I don't cook.


This morning Melbs mentioned that she had attempted to make a chocolate chip cookie pie, which didn't go well. My absolute favorite pie (actually the only one I like - reason #2 for not cooking is that I'm a very picky eater) is Derby pie, a Louisville classic that is presented for the Kenttucky Derby each year. I like it so much that my mom makes it for Thanksgiving and Christmas every year too.

Delish! Also, source

When I found the recipe online, I looked over at the nutritional facts, and was shocked (in a good way) to find out that 1/8th of this pie is only 506 calories (I was guessing 2k+) and actually had 5g of protein. So I jokingly texted my brother with this information and told him I was going to bake one right now! (Bt dubs, he is actually an excellent baker - he had a cupcake bake off against 8yr old. Syd last summer and even SHE voted for his cupcake)

His response was:

Rob: Wait, hold on a second.... Go through the checklist before you bake:
Rob: 1) Is the bottom of the oven full of highly flammable turkey grease?
Rob: 2) Is J there to tackle you out of danger should something go horribly wrong?
Rob: 3) Do you have the proper makeup tools to draw your eyebrows back on in the event of a fireball?

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Bro! Based on his feedback I'm going to go make myself some... chocolate milk. And probably papercut my tongue with the spoon while I'm at it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The spokesperson... but not the posterchild

The Spokesperson:

I promised I would follow back up on my experiences with Crossfit, and I’m shocked that 3 months have already gone by. To say that I love crossfit is possibly the understatement of the year. I don’t know what I did before it. The aspect that I like the most – and that I was least expecting – is the community. I’ve met a bunch of great people, and I’m enjoying the camaraderie. This weekend Crossfit Infernal participated in the “Crossfire Throwdown”, with Firebird Crossfit. So many people went just to cheer on the participants, and have a good time together (some of these pictures are of the event). There’s something special about watching people push themselves to their max, and being able to share the glory and the struggles with them. It makes you feel connected.

Competitors from Regionals cheering on the last competitor - I LOVE this!
I am still afraid almost every day, but I’m starting to relish the chances to challenge myself, and to get better. There is still an endless amount of work to be done, but I’m starting to see progress, and that makes me hungry for more.

3 Month Accomplishments:

- I have successfully met my goal of crossfitting 6 days a week, even though it meant giving up running for awhile. I’m starting to bake running back in, because I still want to run the Summer Series over the next few months.

- After not running at all for 6 weeks, I broke my 5K PR time again this year – 34:XX, and crushed my 4.2 mile time in 47:06. It also felt easy. @Autamday and I have decided that after the hurt of crossfit, everything else is cake!

- I Rx’d a workout – and it was a Hero WOD – thanks ‘Randy’!

- I completed the 100 Lunge Challenge – 100 Lunges a day for one month – next up: pushups and planks!

- I’ve increased my Olympic lifting weights to *almost* Rx capacity. I’m up at least 20lbs in deadlifts, overhead lifts, cleans, and even +10lbs in shoulder press (my upper body’s nemesis)

From the Crossfire Throwdown. In front, Vanessa. In red behind her, JRo. Both are Legit!
But Not the Posterchild:

J has a new joke that every day I come home with a new bruise/gash/injury. It’s unfortunately fairly accurate. As the least graceful person on earth in the gym, I assigned myself bandaid duty. I have been able to avoid injuring anyone else, but not so lucky with myself. Ejemplos:

- In one week I had all of the crossfit stigmata – torn hands from pullups, bruises on my wrists from KB snatches, collar bone bruises from cleans, bruised knees from burpees/lunges, and gashes on my shins from box jumps fails

- I have permanent blue bruises on my collar bones from cleans and front squats.

- I recently dropped a 45lb barbell from over my head onto the middle of my back. Luckily just a scrape and a bruise, but there was a moment when I thought I broke my back – scary!

- I am the box monster’s bitch right now. After two painful falls, I’ve spent the last 8 weeks doing step ups until the scabs heal. One of the doctors who works out with me took pity on me and gave me a miracle patch that regrows skin, which was amazing, but I do have a 3+ inch cicatrix (you can’t call this baby a scar, as it’s one of those big wrinkly ones) on my left shin. The right shin is healing better – I’ll probably be able to call that one a scar, and it’s only 2 inches long. I will be wearing shin guards until further notice.

Coach Derek, with a cool 205 lbs over his head during the competition.
 Random Benefits of Crossfit:

- My 50lb luggage feels pretty light now

- I can now open the RV gate on the side of the house without assistance

- Carrying the groceries in no longer seems like a daunting task

- I received a (now revoked) free pass to buy summer training gear at Lululemon

The man who revoked my Lulu pass is in black. His partner George is in red. Yes ladies, those arms come home to me. ;)
Updates to 2012 Physical Goals:

- Complete a marathon

- Sub 29:24 5K – currently down to 34:XX. My plan is to do crossfit in the summer in the late afternoons, get acclimated to working out in extreme heat, and hope that the last 5 minutes just melts off. Much easier than doing sprint work and drills!

- Beat the Box Monster – I am going to slay this monster this year.

- RX a weighted workout

- Switch to guy pushups yo – I’m *almost* there. I think the next 30 days challenge will make the difference.

- Do an unassisted pullup – A long way to go on this one. If I get it done by the end of the year, it’ll be a miracle.
Julie Foucher at Regionals - that's a 70lb dumbell. She's also like 5'4.

Every day is a chance to improve, a chance to get better. I'm relishing the opportunities to grow!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Race Report: Pat's Run 2012

Note: Pat's Run is a 4.2 mile race that takes place each April in Tempe, AZ in remembrance of Pat Tillman, who played football for Arizona State University, and the Arizona Cardinals in the pros. He quit the NFL after 9/11, signed up for the Army, and was later killed by friendly fire. He was a renaissance man - a true intellectual - and I love that it's THE race of the year here. The majority of the 30,000 people who participate are not your typical athletes, and participate with their families.
I had planned to run Pat's Run this year with Autam, as her hubs is out on military orders, and mine runs at the speed of light. Seriously, it is absolutely no fun to watch your partner disappear off in the distance. Then our crossfit box asked for 100% participation, so I signed J and I up as members of their team. Autam waited a bit to sign up, and the race sold out this year (for the first time ever). J wound up giving up his bib, so that Autam could run with me *Aww, tear, melting hearts, best. hubs. ever!*

As part of my plan to not suck at crossfit, I've been going to Infernal Monday - Saturday each week (thank God they are closed on Sundays) and consequently I have not run at all in 5 weeks. This was planned, and it's been good to challenge myself in other areas, but I was a bit worried about the impact on my running fitness. So, I had a plan (shocking no one).

Goal 1: Have a good time, remember Pat Tillman, enjoy watching and encourage all the *new* athletes try their best. I knew I could ACE this goal, and be happy overall.

Goal 2: Suffer the heat (oh yeah, did I mention it was 100+ degrees on Saturday), suffer being out of running shape, suffer weaving through the huge crowds of people, and finish in 60 minutes or less. This would still be a PR, but it would definitely indicate a rough day.

Goal 3: (Secret goal) Run hard, push myself to run without a walk break (which I've never done for four miles), beat the heat, hope my fitness has not disappeared, and race at the same really hard pace as the Sedona 5K in February - Finish in 50 minutes.

Goal 4: (SUPER SECRET - wouldn't even admit to it, if anyone asked) Be better than the Sedona 5K speed, run 11:30 miles - Finish in 48 minutes.

This was after, but still the light rail station...

We took the light rail in with some buds from Infernal, and as we were riding the train, Autam mentioned that her knees were giving her a bit of a hard time. That meant that we were instantly on Goal #1 for the day - no need to suffer if there was possibility for an injury. We got into Corral #17, and the race began. We then sat for 35 minutes before it was our time to get to the starting line. We could see people finishing as we were approaching the starting line - and it wasn't just the gazelles finishing. Normal people were done with the race before we even started. I was annoyed for about 0.2 seconds before I realized that it was super cool that the entire course was full of red shirts and people challenging themselves to honor Pat.
We started our race nice and easy, without really making a decision on when we would walk, but just knowing that we would say something if we wanted to. We wove through the crowds of walkers, strollers, the Cardinals mascot and team (seriously, it had to be 30000 degrees in that furry suit). We saw military and police teams running with full gear on. We saw people running in shirts and honoring their own loved ones. Did I mention that the race course was FULL?
We just kept trotting along, checking in with each other, and enjoying the race. As we passed the second mile, I looked at my watch and saw that we at 22 minutes and change. My heart stopped. I mentioned to Autam that we were DEFINITELY PR'ing today, even if we walked the rest of the way. She told me later that my statement basically told her that we WERE running the rest of the way, and she sighed and settled in. That's actually not what I meant, but I'm glad her knees were up for the challenge.

We did stop briefly at the water stops, because they were complete chaos, but otherwise ran the whole thing. It was an easy, comfortable run. The 5K point was 34:51 - a new PR at 5K! As we entered the stadium and ran to the finish, we grabbed hands and ran through the finish line together.You know, with everyone else.

Finish Time: 47:06*
*Yes, that beat my super secret goal! It's a 13 minute PR. WOO!!!

We felt like rock stars for the rest of the day, and it was a time I felt like I could actually admit to people and feel like they didn't think I was slower than a turtle. It also meant this:


Updated Fitness Goals:
  • Complete a full marathon - PF Chang's Rock n' Roll
  • Beat the box monster at 20" -  he's currently winning, but
  • Rx a workout - a named hero WOD with weights, no less! Thank you Randy!
  • Switch to guy push ups - almost....
  • Do an unassisted pull up - if this one happens in 2012, it will be a miracle.
  • Complete a sub 29:24 5K - current PR 34:51 from Pat's Run split

Plan for that sub 29:24 5K
- Keep doing crossfit in the late afternoon through the brutal summer. This will keep me acclimated to horrendous heat
- Run the Summer Series doggedly - keep pushing through each race, regardless of finish times. Know that a PR is probably not going to happen when it's 118 degrees out. Try for 2600 pts overall.
- Run with the girls at GOTR in the fall - use their enthusiasm for speed work training.
- Starting with Grasshopper Bridge 5K in late September, PUSH for the PR. Race at least once a month for the rest of the year in an attempt to get it.

Oh, for those of you wondering - I did check, and Adrienne Pollard didn't do Pat's Run. I'm still marking her for Summer Series!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

World Book Night!

If you're following this blog, you know that my first true love is reading. Don't let my office space fool you - it's library first, workplace second. I love the feel of a book in my hands, I love snuggling in for a good story, and I mostly love sharing a great book with friends.

I love to share books so much that I even had a stamp made.

I follow a bunch of book bloggers and bookish things on twitter, so when I saw a tweet about #WorldBookNight, "spreading the love of reading, person to person" I had to read more. You can too -

The idea is awesome. Basically, people write a short essay for where and why they would give away free books to non-readers. They select from a list of 30 available books, and if they are selected to be a giver, new pristine (FREE) copies of the books are sent to the giver's local bookstore to be handed out on UNESCO's World Book Day - April, 23rd. (In case you're curious, 4/23 is the date of Shakespeare's birth and death, and Cervante's death.)

I have 20 new pristine copies of the Book Thief. *Squeal*

The really cool part is that the 30 books selected this year were not your typical snorefests classics.  I've read about half of the books on the list, and I can tell you that they were all 4 star+ books. Some examples:
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
- Little Bee by Chris Cleave
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
- The History of Love by Nicole Krauss 
- The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
*And the one I requested and was selected to hand out - The Book Thief by Mark Zusak*

I can't wait to give these books to the Child Crisis Center here on World Book Night. I think the coolest part of the whole thing is that these books were printed specifically for the event, so they have a very special message of the front cover:

I love the line "No one finishes a book the same person as when they started, whether filled with a new understanding of life or just happier for the hours lost in a good story" - what a great way for a non-reader to be introduced to the love!

Also, let it be noted that they didn't cheap out on this. The Reader's Guide is there, a conversation with the author, recommendations for other similar titles - it's a quality paperback book. I know that World Book Night will be a huge success, and I'm looking forward to many years of sharing the love of reading!