March Madness

My March Madness was getting settled into a really nice routine and finally, after six months, feeling like I am on a steady schedule.  That means I need to mix things up soon – constantly varied!

Biking on the Arizona Canal

I work as a valet so I’m guaranteed to run/walk/stand for 6 to 8 hours a day, 4 days a week.  I ride my bike to work three of the four days so I’m guaranteed to ride 42 miles minimum a week.  I ride my bike nearly everywhere else too.  I Crossfit, hike, walk the canal and my neighborhood.  I basically lead a super active lifestyle here and I love it.  It’s also the polar opposite from how I lived in Florida.  Six months ago, I worked 40 hours a week in an office job and was lucky to get 4 days of Crossfit in weekly.  Compared to how I live now, I lived a sedentary life back then.  My body is responding and I’m losing fat and gaining muscle and finally starting to fit into my new skin.  Fat Lydia died in Florida and I need to embrace the new slimmer me.

Back muscles taking shape Catching some rays on Camelback

My ride

Here’s a couple full “days in the life of”, as well as a peak at my month.

Saturday

  • Slept in until 9 AM.
  • Cuddled & lounged around in bed with Chayet until 10.
  • Rode bikes to Wildflower for a shared breakfast.
  • Rode Bikes from breakfast to the box.
  • 11 AM Crossfit workout.
  • Rode bikes to lunch and home.
  • Rode bikes to run errands and exploring around town.
  • Explored Papago and hiked a little.
  • Home after dark for a little hot tub action and then cuddled up in bed by 11pm.

*Basically we rode about 20 miles on Saturday.

Monday

  • 6:30 awake to see Chayet out the door.
  • 7:00 Emails, Netflix, Facebook
  • 7:30 1.75 mile walk on the Canal with coffee, fed the ducks
  • 8:15 out the door to bike 7 miles to work
  • 9 am – 3:30 – work (no sitting unless its to tinkle and even then its a hover)
  • 3:40 bike 7 miles home
  • 5:30 bike 2 miles to box
  • Crossfit
  • 8:30 bike 2 miles home
  • 9:00 Shower, computer time
  • 10:30 bed

I like how my routine has evolved.  I work 4 days a week and ride my bike to work three of the four days.  The fourth day Chayet is off work so I take the car.  I really could still bike but since I close on Thursdays, it keeps me from having to ride the bike home after 7 pm.  Chayet has the motorcycle but I want him on it as little as possible.  He has already had one motorcycle accident here (a few years ago) and his brain doesn’t need another fall.  Plus he works farther away than me so taking his bicycle to work like me isn’t an option.  I know he is super jealous though that I get that time every day.  It really kind of amazes me how much I enjoy the bike ride.  I don’t even think of it as “work” anymore.  It takes me 32 minutes to ride 7 miles to work.  I have only done it faster a few times but I don’t really push either.  32 minutes is a nice steady ride with not a lot of head wind!  My best time was 28 minutes though.  I use the time on the bike to pray mostly, but also to just think, or be still and take in everything around me.  The ride is gorgeous with mountain views, stunning and colorful plants along the canal, all sorts of ducks and birds and the occasional chipmunk/ground hog.

Spring is in the air

Camelback and beauty

Being here in Phoenix, working as a valet, living in a tiny studio apartment, taking my bike most places and allowing the car to just sit, eating clean and living off a 1/3 of what I used to make – these are all the things that are teaching me and making me a better person.  I feel like all I do is self-reflect.  I am constantly evolving and listening to my inner dialogue – or the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  Do you listen to your inner dialogue? Do you listen to how you talk to or think about yourself?  If you don’t KNOW who you are and LOVE who you are and CHALLENGE and ENCOURAGE yourself – how do you plan to do those things for others?  And how do you know how to tell someone (friend, spouse, family member) what you need from them if you don’t know yourself well enough to share?  How do you grow unless you trim away and prune your personality and way of thinking?

I’m doing a lot of pruning these days.  Chayet and I are on a quest for greatness.  Self reflection has shown me so many areas I need to work on and improve in and also encouraged me that I’m doing some things right too.  This journey I am on is going to take me a lifetime – well, at least while I keep my ticket for this side of eternity.

I hope you all are staying active, constantly moving your body and taking time to prune your life and reflect and grow.  If we are not here to improve ourselves and others, and LOVE everyone and give of ourselves, what are we here for?

Kif & Lyd on Papago View from Papago Park

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Back again

You know I couldn’t stay away for too long! Writing is my outlet and sharing (over-sharing) seems to be my jam.  I hope to share more soon about my life here in AZ.

16278269351_6bf56ffb75_k

A few years ago, I was overweight and miserable:

Me bday 2012

Well that girl is long gone, and in her place is a woman on a journey and I’m happy you stopped by to check in on that journey.  I hope you’ll stop by again.

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Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts – here is what the past week looked like for me – making sure to stay accountable this year!

1/4/13 – Crossfit.  Strength focus was the overhead squat.  The WOD was 2 rounds of a 5 minute AMRAP of 5 hanging power cleans (75 lbs.), 3 thrusters, 5 pull ups.  You get 1 minute rest between the two rounds and your score is the total number of rounds completed between the two sets.  My score was 6+5 – six full rounds plus the power cleans.  The finisher was 50 hrpu (hand release push ups).

1.4 WOD

1/5/13 – Crossfit.  I was short on time so I only did some strength work and didn’t actually do the Saturday partner WOD – which is a bummer because it looked like a good one.  Anything that includes: medicine ball burpees, box jumps and medicine all sit ups will result in a good WOD!  I did work on my front squat and was able to finally get a new PR – 135 lbs. x 1.

1/6/13 – REST DAY, although I got in a couple miles of walking while at my husband’s race.

1/7/13 – Crossfit.  The strength was a cluster of squat clean thruster and was freakin hard! I really struggled (Crossfit is so humbling…for real) at using 75 lbs. The WOD was a 15 minute AMRAP of 5 cleans, 10 ring dips, 15 goblet squats, 50 m run, 50 m sprint. I completed 6 +1.  The first three rounds I used 85 lbs for the cleans and had to go to 75 lbs for the last three rounds.  I felt some tightness in my back and got scared so I lowered my weight.  The finisher was your choice of 2 out of 3 of 5 sets of 6 unbroken toes-2-bar, 2 minutes of L-sits and 150 double unders.  I chose the first two – obviously – since I can’t do double unders.  Those L-sits about killed me.  This was a very humbling day for me at Crossfit! I used the green band for the ring dips and 20 lbs for the goblet squats.

1.7 WOD

1/8/13 – Crossfit.  Strength focus was the push press.  I tried to PR but ended up failing twice at my PR weight of 120 lbs.  I maxed out at 115.  The WOD was  5 rounds of 10 toes-2-bar, 10 power snatches (55lbs) and 10 wall balls (14 lbs.). Immediately after that you had to do 40 m of single arm DB lunges with 20 lbs. – 20m each arm.  Total time was 17:17.  Finisher was prowler pushes.  I did 1 x 90 lbs. and 3 x 180 lbs.

1.8 WOD

1/9/13 – OFF – birthday dinner date with the hubs.  It was a very nice dinner date and a special time with my man but I am very bummed that I missed my birthday WOD!

1.9 WOD

1/10/13 – Crossfit – strength only.  Again, ran short on time since I was meeting a friend for dinner so I only did strength – bench press.  No PR’s – in fact I couldn’t even get up to my 1RM!  I maxed out at 95 lbs.

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Birthday Gift to myself

This was me on January 9, 2012:Me bday 2012

This is me now:

Me December 2012

What a difference a year makes, and a commitment to getting healthy.

My birthday present to myself this year is committing to a another year of making me a healthier, happier person.  That girl a year ago was unhappy, overweight, frustrated and trying to hide behind a smile.  A year later, at 34, I’m still the same girl in some ways.  I still feel sad, overweight and frustrated.  Oh yea, I still hide behind that smile too.  But this year, I’m different in many ways too.  I feel hope.  This year, I have confidence that I am working on me the right way, to battle the sadness, to make myself healthy and strong.  All of which will ease the frustration I feel at times.  This year I look at where I have been and it makes me so proud where I am now and confident that I’ll make it where I want to be.

Okay, sappy birthday, i-have-come-so-far, can’t-wait-to-be-34 post is over.  Wanna see what else I got myself for my birthday???

This adorable scarf from deloom! (Thanks to Living in Yellow for the find and free shipping code!)

I also bought myself this little gem (got it for a steal through Coach Factory…let me know if you want an invite).

Anyone wanting to lavish me with gifts for my birthday, here are a few places and things just to give you some ideas, you know in case you are rich and have spare money to spend on someone you don’t know…(I kid, I kid…but not really): hereherehere and here.

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What’s in my Green Monster

Since I have had several people ask me about my Green Monster smoothies, I thought I would share what I put in them.  It’s nothing crazy or mind-blowing – very simple and easy to make.

There are tons of amazing blogs out there that can give you a variety of smoothie ideas and recipes.  I am not original and just found something that works for me and have stuck with it.  Green Smoothie Girl is a site I have heard about that is great for recipes and ideas – I need to spend some time there reading for some new ideas!

A little back story on one of the reasons I have been trying to incorporate these smoothies – aside from just getting more fruits and veggies and being healthy.  One of my uncles battled cancer a few years ago (check out his story through the “paws” of his best friend, Harley…and the help of his daughter) and in the process had to have a tracheostomy and feeding tube for an extended period of time.  Unfortunately, because of the amount of time he had the tracheostomy, he developed a severe case of dysphagia (difficulty swallowing).  In fact, to date he still has to feed himself artificially through a tube as he still cannot safely and functionally swallow.  Can you imagine, never being able to taste and eat actual food again?  I was able to spend a lot of time with him over the past few months and he handles it all with ease but you can tell he would much rather be enjoying meals with the family than having to pour his “dinner” through a tube.

My uncle shared his new-found joy in making his own concoctions to “drink”.  He began supplementing the Ensure style artificial nutrition drinks with his own juices and smoothie style drinks that he could feed through his feeding tube.  He found very quickly that his own mixtures gave him more energy, a better feeling of “fullness” and satisfaction and made him feel better overall.  I was encouraged and inspired to say the least.  Here my uncle is, in an unpleasant situation with very little he can do and yet he continued to seek ways of making his situation better – making himself healthier in any way he could.  My quest to begin juicing and drinking green monster smoothies full of superfoods was ignited.

It’s devastating watching someone you love battle illness and/or cancer.  Over the years I have had to experience my mother diagnosed with uterine cancer, my father battle and almost die from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (Burkitts), my aunt battle breast cancer and my uncle battle  laryngeal/throat cancer.  Each one of them have overcome their cancer and are doing well today – but man did they each have a battle!

This post has quickly gone from “what’s in my green monster” to something else all together so I’ll reign it back in.  My point is simply this: we are only given one body to work with.  It is our JOB to do everything we can to ensure that this body we are given has the best shot at lasting and staying healthy for whatever time we have on this earth.  No one can do it for you and you will get out of it what you put into it.  Fill it with junk and toxic things and see what you get.  Don’t exercise and strengthen it and see what happens.

I’m not saying that any of my family members got cancer because of anything they did or didn’t do.  Unfortunately, sometimes its just in our genetic make-up, but there are things we can do to help avoid certain cancers and illnesses.  My uncle’s pursuit to make himself healthier and stronger in spite of his situation was a kick in the butt to me to start taking better care of myself now!  I had already committed myself to eat cleaner and exercise but this felt like something else inside me.  A real need to do more than I was doing for myself and my loved ones.

All that was to say that my new found love of green smoothies and juicing is thanks to a humble reminder from my uncle to do what you can now to make yourself healthy – from the inside out! Oh, and a side note on this: because of my uncle juicing and making his own smoothies, his wife, my aunt, (who beat breast cancer) also started juicing and drinking green smoothies and has lost weight AND has been able to get off of all of her diabetes meds! That is huge and so inspiring to me!

Now that I have pulled you through that novel of a “back story”, I hope you are still with me to actually see what I put in my green monster!

Most days I start with a 1/2 to a full cup of unsweetened almond milk.  I like to make enough for breakfast and snack for the morning.   Then I add in a huge handful of fresh kale.

Green Monster prep (kale and AM) 1.4.13

I chop that up really well and then I had a huge handful of raw spinach.

Green Monster prep adding spinach 1.4.13

Then I chop all that up until it looks like this:

Green Monster Prep3 1.4.13

At this point you can really add almost anything you like.  This is my standard “base” for my green monsters.  I have experimented from this point with frozen banana, frozen berries, fresh berries, apple, even carrots (although using the blender it tends to make it “chewable” with the carrots) and celery.  I always add a half to a full apple for some sweetness.

Green Monster prep 1.4.13

I also add a scoop or two of protein powder to the mix.

Vita Whey

If you like your smoothies a little thinner, you may want to add a little water to thin it down.  I do if I am trying to drink it fast but otherwise it doesn’t bother me being a little thicker.  As long as I can suck it through a straw its fine.

Green Monster 1.4.13

That is about it.  I play around with the extras and sometimes only use kale, but for the most part, this is my basic drink.  I really want to pick base ingredients that are known to contain cancer-fighting properties and then build from there, still with healthy clean ingredients that will make the drink enjoyable to consume.  No one wants to drink a glass of juice that tastes like pure dirt, no matter how healthy it may be for you!

Juicing

I am very new to the whole “juicing” thing.  Luckily my husband bought me one for my birthday and has allowed me to use it early.  Since I knew nothing of juicing, I went ahead and also bought The Juicing Bible.  My aunt had suggested beets and raved about them when juiced so I quickly found a recipe and got to work!  I will say that my first experience with the juicer was easy and fun and the resulting product was delicious!  I’ll do a review on the juicer I purchased once I have had a chance to really use it and can give you a detailed review.  So far though, I couldn’t be happier.  And who knew…beets are delicious (I don’t ever eat them).

Here are a few pictures of my first batch of juice and first glass!  The first batch was 2 beets, 2 apples, 2 carrots.

First batch of juiceFirst glass of beet juiceMe with beets juice 

Once I got my first batch under my belt, I wanted to start experimenting.  I took the same recipe for the above juice (2 beets, 2 apples, 2 carrots) and added two heaping handfuls of fresh kale, 4 carrots and a small (not small enough) piece of ginger root.  It was delicious, although heavy on the ginger.  I will do the combo again with less ginger.

Ingredients Beets with ginger

There you have it! Now go out and make your own and share your creations…if they taste good!  My husband is skeptical but has been willing to try almost everything I place in front of him (although he did refuse the first batch of beet juice).  I’m hoping to get him more on board with me on this!  I need him healthy and around for as long as I am!

Do you juice? Do you drink green smoothies? What are your favorite combinations?

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Weekly Workouts

Keeping accountable! Here are my workouts for the past 10 days:

12/25/12: At-Home WOD – planned on doing 3 RFT, but had to cut it to 2 rounds since I started too late in the morning!  So I did 2 rounds for time of 150 singles, 50 sit ups, 15 burpees, 20 squats. Time:  12:16.

12/26/12: Crossfit. The strength portion of the WOD was hanging squat cleans.  We did 5 EMOTM (every minute on the minute).  I went light on the weight since I didn’t want to push it with my back.  I used 65 lbs. for this portion.  The WOD was 5 power cleans (I used 65 lbs to be safe), 7 wall ball shots (14 lbs.) 9 T2B (toes to bar) – AMRAP in 5 minutes.  Then you rested for 1 minute and repeated the whole thing 2 more times.  Your score was the total number of rounds completed for the 3 rounds.  I completed 7 full rounds, plus the cleans and wall balls of the 8th.

12.26.12 WOD

12/27/12: Crossfit. Strength WOD was deadlift.  5, 5, 3, 3, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1 – working your way up in weight.  I got a PR of 235 lbs.  The WOD was 5RFT of 30 DU (100 singles), 20m OH plate lunge, 10 ring dips.  My time was 15:30.  Instead of rowing for my finisher, I did 7 x 75m sprints

12.27.12 WOD

12/28/12: Crossfit. I worked on my double unders for goat work – they still hate me.  The WOD was for time of the following: 30 HRPU, sit ups and med ball squats (14 lbs.), run 200 m, 20 HRPU, sit ups and med ball squats, run 400 m, 10 HRPU, sit ups and med ball squats, run 800 m.  My time was 15:15. As a finisher I did 8 x 75m sprints.

12.28.12 WOD

12/29/12: Crossfit. Saturdays are always partner WODS and this one one fun – plus I had a great partner.  You split up the reps between you and your partner and one rests while the other works.  The WOD was 2 rounds of the following: 30 pull ups, 40 KB swings (35 lbs.), 50 squats, 60 box jumps (20 in), 70 sit ups, run 800 m.  Our time was 28:24.

12.29.12 WOD 12.29.12 watch

 

12/30/12: REST DAY

12/31/12: OFF – unless you count my riding dirt bikes exercise.  I did sweat….but probably more from nerves! I’ll post more on that another time.

1/1/13: OFF – and again rode dirt bikes.

1/2/13: Crossfit.  Strength focus was bench and I pulled off a new PR of 105.  Still a wuss in this movement but at least I am SLOWLY getting stronger.  For the WOD, we did Helen, which is one of the signature Crossfit “Girls” WODs.  It is a 3RFT of 400 m run, 21 KB swings (35 lbs.) and 12 pull ups.  I used the purple band for the pull ups and tried to do a few without a band each round.  My time was 13:23.

Helen 1.2.13

 

1/3/13: Crossfit.  We did another benchmark “Girl” Wod – Diane.  Diane is a 21-15-9 of Deadlifts and HSPU (hand stand push ups).  I used the prescribed 155 lbs. for the deadlifts and did banded HSPU.  My time for Diane was 11:22.  The finisher was 50 Wall Ball shots (14 lbs.) and 50 DU (200 singles) – my time was 5:11 and I did singles.

 

Not a bad week and my eating has been excellent.  I have had a green smoothie for breakfast every day and have kept up with my food journal every day.  I know that between the clean eating, Crossfit and food journal, this is going to be a great month to kick off the year!

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A different place to start

Starting off in a much different place for 2013!

Last year was huge for me in the health and fitness department.  But I didn’t really “get serious” about getting healthy and staying healthy until March/April.  I think January and February were horrible for me as I ballooned to my all time high in weight.  Don’t believe me? Here I am last February 2012 (can you believe I had just completed my first full marathon?):

Lydia's camera 5.2.12 005 Lydia's camera 5.2.12 007 Lydia's camera 5.2.12 006

I decided shortly after those those pictures that I was going to get serious about getting healthy.  I started eating better, decided to be diligent in going to Crossfit (thanks to Brian and Kari for always encouraging and never giving up on me) and kept running.  Over the course of 2012 I changed my body and improved my health.  It took TIME and was not easy but man does it feel good to look at where I am today…especially with those before pictures!

In October, after finishing a 6 months weight loss challenge I created for myself, this is where I was:

IMG_1817 IMG_1818 IMG_1815

I was so proud of myself and so excited to keep going.  I had huge plans for the next two months and huge ideas with where I would be at the end of 2012.  But guess what I did? I slacked off.  Sure, I still worked out.  I even got stronger in some areas (huge PR’s for me) but I wasn’t being diligent with really eating clean and really slacked off after my anti climactic NYC Marathon no-go.  And because of that lack of discipline, this is how I paid for it – here are my pics from the beginning of December:

IMG_1823 IMG_1819 IMG_1816

See the difference just two months can make?  Not a HUGE change, but noticeable for sure (especially in my problem areas).  I worked so hard, for 6 months and then took several steps back in just 2.  It just proves that you cannot out train a bad diet.  I was working out hard and yet still managed to gain 7 lbs back.

But, all that being said, I am starting off 2013 in a much better place than I started off 2012.  Even with the few pounds I gained back, I am still healthy and strong and I am ready to tackle 2013 and see just where I can take myself.  No more being lazy, no more slacking on eating clean.  I am excited to see if I can accomplish some of the goals I have set for this year and I can’t wait to see my December 2013 post pictures!!!

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