I love to drive places and I do it often. At least once a month I haul a few hundred miles to Atlanta for the Navy. I have been known to drive twelve hours each way to a race without thinking twice.
Driving makes me happy. This is for a few reasons. 1) I hate flying. It is a hassle and I have an irrational fear and deep control issues. 2) I love the adventures I have while driving. 3) I have a tradition called the 100 mile party. This tradition helps break up my drive and encourages me to get some fitness squished in where ever possible.
So let me tell you about the 100 mile party. It was born out of driving from Ohio to Florida with two small kids. It’s hard to do and we needed to not be miserable during the drive. So we carefully monitored the odometer and every 100 miles we stopped at the nearest rest area or exit area. The kids got to pick a physical activity – play on the playground, run circles around the building, whatever, and one treat from the gas station or vending machine. It broke up the drive and it was really fun. The kids loved keeping track of the miles and knowing there was a goal to be reached.
I decided to keep up this tradition, even when I drive alone. Every 100 miles I stop and do some form of physical activity and usually find a GeoCache. I have done everything from burpees to yoga to run up and down hills. I normally get strange looks, occasionally get quizzed by officers, and I always have fun.
This is just one idea to add more fitness to your life, be more safe while driving (getting tired behind the wheel is DANGEROUS) and make a boring drive much much better.
I love fresh and organic food. I love saving money by buying in bulk. I love the co-op I belong to who always delivers a crud ton of greens. I get really annoyed when I don’t eat my food fast enough and it goes bad. (Insert moment of guilt for my first world gripe)
I only make one or two smoothies a day, I travel a lot, food tends to go bad quickly for me, but I love to save money buying large amounts from local sources. This really applies to greens. They are great in smoothies but I hate when they get all slimy. I had a huge tub of mixed greens that I didn’t want to waste, so after a quick google search I blended them up and froze them. Success! I highly recommend it to save time and money!
Thank you to Green Thickies for pointing me in the right direction. I did not follow their directions to the letter….I just kept stuffing greens in the blender, adding a cup of water, blending, and then repeating until I had no more greens. Poured in a muffin tin, froze for two days (I totally forgot about them prior to a short trip) and then popped them out and put them in freezer bags. EASY PEASY! I tried one this morning with my strawberry banana concoction (I am so bad at following actual recipes) and it worked like a dream and even helped thicken up the mix a bit.
VISUAL PROOF OF SUCCESS
On a separate note, this week’s yoga pose takes us back to the basics – Downward Facing Dog. Here is what I look like one day one. I’ve already done some reading on how to correct my form and I look forward to developing this week. My personal goal is to get my heels down without losing form. Check back in a week for my Yoga Pose of the Week summary!
Let me start this by saying when I hear the word diet, I have a visceral, horrible reaction. When someone says “I am starting a diet”, I have to stop myself from grabbing them by the shoulders, shaking them, and yelling “THAT’S NOT HOW THIS WORKS! THAT’S NOT HOW ANY OF THIS WORKS!” I am a pontificator of the idea that how you eat is part of who you are. It is a lifestyle. So the idea of following something as temporary as a ‘diet’ makes me want to scream. I am also an even larger pontificator of the mental health aspect of eating. Good food not only makes your body go, GOOD food makes your brain happy. Limiting what you eat to extremes will make your mind, body, and soul suffer.
So, when one of my favorite Podcasters, Abel James (aka The Fat Burning Man), started talking about his book, The Wild Diet, part of me threw up in my mouth a little. I will now admit that this was a misplaced and incorrect reaction – The Wild Diet is a book about how to live a healthy lifestyle. It isn’t just a “here is a completely unsustainable way to drop 10 pounds, all why hating your life and looking and feeling like crap. Skinny crap, though, so it’s all good.” type diet. It is a book about how to develop a healthy lifestyle. You can take the tips and recipes in this book and meld them into your daily life in a pleasing, appetizing and damn tasty way. So let’s delve in a little.
The first part of the book delves into why our current cultural acceptance of what healthy is (but they are LOW FAT Oreos, so it’s cool!) is slowly killing us. The lack of fat and natural, real food, is making us sluggish, tired, and down right sick. The core message – eat real food. Bravo, Fat Burning Man. You have fully focused my attention span (usually the span is no longer than that of a cranky two year olds, but I made it through a whole chapter!).
Part two and three get into the science and mechanics behind why we need to eat natural, move natural, get outside, and freaking get back to nature – in other words, BE WILD. He also touches on something near and dear to my heart – he has a section discussing how all this applies to men and, gasp, how it separately applies to women. Our bodies are different. I find too often that for whatever reason, probably fear of the backlash of daring to say men and women are different, these differences are not acknowledged. This book doesn’t play that game. Bravo.
Now we get to the fun stuff – the recipes in the book. I’ve been on a clean eating kick for a while now, but it is usually pretty unstructured and hey, this looks good, sort of cooking. I lacked some variety and spice and these recipes really helped with that. A highlight for me was the list of Wild Diet Staples. I am a very busy person (*pats self on back) and this list is something I have gone to at least three times in the last two weeks, when I didn’t have time to sit down and make a recipe based shopping list.
The recipes are pretty simple and fun to make (I LOVE TO COOK!). Probably the biggest change for me is that I have started drinking coffee. I have, for a while now, been a lover of energy shots. I thought coffee tasted gross, and tea was just too much effort some days. But I know the energy shot habit is bad and the book gave me a kick in the butt to fix the bad. I went full out. French press, grinder, milk frother, and whole beans (sorry, haven’t gone the point of roasting my own beans yet, but I do have a roaster saved in my Amazon shopping cart). I have been using MCT oil for a while now so I already had that on hand, but I picked up a huge jar of Ghee. I now have coffee every morning. It is a great dose of healthy fats, good caffeine, and is frankly tasty. (To give you a feel of how much I didn’t drink coffee before – I lived in Seattle for ten years and I never bought nor drank a single cup of coffee, in any form, from Starbucks. It’s part of the reason I’m not there anymore….the locals were threatening me with pitchforks).
The food recipes are great and inspiring. I have come to appreciate the flat out taste difference between grass fed beef and the red slime beef. I appreciate how many different ways I can season nuts and seeds (which I’ve even started sprouting myself!). I stop in the store and read every label and think, do I really know what these ingredients are? Avocado is put on things I never imagined. Most recipes are uncomplicated and very easy to make, with a few saucier ones thrown in there for when I’m feeling jazzy.
This week I have been seen walking in my neighborhood, fatty coffee in one hand, cookie in the other (I know, cookies for breakfast…), getting my fifteen minutes of morning sun. All gained from this book. I am no physical or mental specimen. I have room to grow. I occasionally drink a soda pop or eat a dorito, but Abel has made me wake up a little bit more with this book. I am just someone looking to better myself every. damn. day. This book is helping me in this journey. It is well worth the read to gain more knowledge, add some good recipes to your repertoire, and make food part of your lifestyle.
Bottom line – The Wild Diet is not a diet. It is a great new tool for your “I want to be a healthy badass” toolbox. Check it out for sure.
I have been pondering a blog post about who I am and why I think my blog is worthwhile (aka – answer the question why the heck should I listen to you?).
The writing prompt from WordPress today nudged me in the direction I needed. The prompt today is “The Satisfaction of a List: Who doesn’t love a list? So write one! Top five slices of pizza in your town, ten reasons disco will never die, the three secrets to happiness — go silly or go deep, just go list-y.”
So here is a spin on my biography. Theses are the things that make me who I am, in list form…..
Wait – before you read the list – it is surprisingly hard to summarize your self in a list…try it. It is fascinating.
Friend to a Few
Acquaintance to a Ton
Fighter for Love
Yoga Practicer (Different from a practitioner….I am not quite at that level yet)
Constant Seeker of Knowledge
Sometimes a Failure
Always a Rebounder
Binge TV watcher
Lover of the Outdoors
Clean Eating Fanatic
Fearer of Boredom
TED Talk Obsessor
Lover of Random, Useless Knowledge
Want to Be Mother (there are at least two people in my life who are losing their minds if they read this – chillax….)
I am almost positive that I will be updating this list as time goes on.
WordPress gives this prompt today – “It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.” Agree or disagree?
Vehemently Disagree! We should always be looking to grow and develop. You can only do this if you push a little past your comfort zone.
My time is precious to me. I like to enjoy every moment I live. I love thinking about and discussing politics and religion. I love meeting new people. I love to easily tell if I want to continue to spend time with the new people I meet. A very quick way to figure this out is to discuss politics and/or religion, preferably with people who don’t agree with me. It is a great way to be challenged, hopefully learn something new, and get to know someone. Even when it raises to level of a yelling match, it just means passions have been ignited and as long as you are friendly at the end, why not enjoy a nice dose of spirited debate.
The whole idea of off limit topics is baffling to me. Push yourself. Push others. Stay civil and kind, but always look to grow. If you take permanent offense to my spirited debate, I most likely have no desire to get to know you any better.
You can see all the blogs participating by clicking on this link – Polite Company
Frozen Fox Invitational 001: EPIC EVENT….here is why:
If I were to write the ad copy for this event, it would go something like this: A 36 hour GeoCaching event…..designed by Satan himself. Bear with me, this is a compliment.
This was, hands down, the best event I have ever taken a part of. ***Please note, I paid for this race and am no way affiliated with any sponsor or organizer other than participating in this event. I am writing this review out of my own free will and with no compensation (well other than I hope I get invited to take part in more events 😉
So how did I find out about this event? It was not a corporate or highly publicized thing. In fact, I sort of stumbled on it by accident. I was sitting in some foreign airport about a month ago, looking at local facebook groups, drooling over all the stuff I wanted to do when I got home from deployment. Something caught my eye in a rucking group – Grant Shymske had a few spots left in some event called the Frozen Fox and it was taking place at a time I knew I’d be home by and it was in the Carolinas. Hmmmmm, I thought…..I have no idea what this is about, but let’s do it (I was under the influence of severe ruck/race/event withdrawal)! I messaged Grant on Facebook, who got back to me ASAP, and woo hoo, he had one spot left. I paypaled him the moola, was added to the private group page and we were off!
I knew I was going to like this event right out of the gate – I started to browse the site and look at the rules…..(probably should have done this WAY before I signed up….but that’s not really my style). This was a no BS, big boy rules, type event. No silly bring a pocket knife and barbie doll type packing list. It was this simple: You’re going to be outside for 36 hours. Bring whatever you think you’ll need. Oh, and no GPS. This is real land nav. (This is where I started saying crap, crap, crap…..I am an LT in the Navy….land nav….not my strong suit).
I was also introduced to my team via facebook. I had met one of the them at an event last year, but that was it. They took their new 6th member under their wing instantly. I chatted with my team quite often in the days leading up to the event. I started packing about two days before. My living room looked like a survivalist exploded. Weather forecast had us around 15 degrees the first night. Um, sweet? I packed, well, everything.
We mustered at the meeting location at 2200 (Ten PM for you non military types) on Friday night. There were five teams of six people a team. The teams had people ranging from Cross Fit gurus, RuckMainacs, Military Types, and a crazy OCR person scattered here and there. A cursory, make sure you have enough to not die, gear check was performed, team numbers were assigned, maps handed out, and we were off. We all started from the same point. Task one – find your teams real start point using your map and compass…..in the dark. It was about midnight at this point and it was freaking cold. Task one took us about four hours. Four hours of getting to know my team, making bad jokes, and trying to keep warm. When you hit your start point, you were able to look at your list of the 35 ‘checkpoints’. The goal was to find as many of these points before the all stop at 1000 on Sunday morning. Keep in mind, we were working with a land mass of about 25 miles and terrain that ranged from dirt roads to bamboo fields to swamps (swamps like to hide under bamboo fields, by the way). There were also three challenges. This is where all the teams had to meet a certain checkpoint and do physical challenges. You got bonus points for doing well in these challenges. This is all I am going to say about the actual goals of the event. I don’t want to ruin it for future events…..just say it was intense….AWESOME intense.
So why did I love this so much?
No frills, no BS, no babysitting. You want bag check? Need a shower other than in a swamp? You’re hungry and you didn’t bring enough food? WRONG EVENT FOR YOU.
This was real world, can you survive stuff. Yes, I know that we could have been bailed out at any moment, but if you were staying focused, it was a really good test of what you do and do not know about basics like keeping warm, eating to sustain, and navigating. There were no silly stunts. It was streamlined and challenging.
It was a full body challenge – mind and muscles. You had to be able to carry a heavy ruck, walk a ton (I think we ended up at about 25 miles), find checkpoints hidden in some random places (think about some of the hardest to find GeoCaches), swallow your fear and tramp through a dark Blair Witch barn basement, and get along with people who were as wet, cold, and tired as you. You had to have strength, intelligence, endurance, and skill to do well in this event.
Environmentally Friendly – The impact on the environment was minimal. We were ordered to not leave any crap outside or face the ultimate wrath and we actually got bonus points for collecting trash during our travels. We were told in advance that if we wanted to eat at the after party, we were to bring our own dishes. I’ve never seen so many variations on outdoor dish wear. 🙂
TEAM WORK. We had so much fun. We are some very very different people and while we weren’t hugging it out the whole time, we worked really well.
Grant and his team was awesome. They weren’t there to hold your hand, but they were there to offer any assistance if you really needed it. They were also hilarious. Moment of digression – I must apologize to the wonderful medic who saw me caring for my feet (I have the feet of an infant….my heels will fall off at a moments notice) Saturday. I was bleeding, cold, tired, and a little pissy at this point. He walked up and asked if he could help and I think I gave him the beatchist look I’ve ever given. SORRY! I didn’t mean it 🙂
EVERYONE who was there was awesome. The other teams were a blast as well. We generally did not see them on the course (avoidance was a boost in this event) but when we came together for challenges, we all had fun. I fell on my face during the final challenge (Me = graceful as a drunk giraffe), pretty much losing the challenge for my team (GO LT!). My team and the other people could have ripped me a new one….instead they laughed, helped me up, and made me feel less stupid. We are all STILL posting in the Facebook page.
The after party was a blast. There was a group rally, patches were handed out (EPIC, see below), and then we had food. And real food – amazing home made chili and Buffalo Trace Bourbon. Yes, Bourbon. You all know that made me very happy. It was laid back, fun, and delicious.
Group Dynamic – This group knows what is important. We earned patches only if we found enough checkpoints. The rocker was dedicated to a fallen comrade. This was about work, dedication, and challenge. I love that.
In summary, this event was brutal in the best ways possible. It was a legitimate challenge in areas I feel no other event has challenged me before. I was very, very impressed, from start to finish, with everything and everyone that was a part of this event. If you ever want me to join in an event in the future, just say the magic words “Grant has something to do with this” and I am in.
For some more information, see the public page: https://www.facebook.com/frozenfoxinvitationalupdates
A big thank you to my favorite fuel, Island Boost – I got a huge energy boost between my meals. I was burning calories like it was going out of style and it was perfect fuel that didn’t mess with my stomach.
I titled this one word on purpose – it is in hopes that it will catch some of your eyes……pull some focus to a horrible trend that you may not be aware of.
This article punched me in the gut yesterday: READ/WATCH here A female Air Force Captain took her own life. There are some indications that something bad happened to her while she was deployed and it was just too much for her. I am not one to cry or show my emotions all that much, but this article made me cry. I have always been aware of the problem with returning vets and suicide rates, but it took this situation to really pull it into focus for me.
She was obviously professionally skilled, and from all indications, a kind and loved person. It really hit home. She is about my age, she’s the same rank, she was even stationed where I just returned from.
Something happened to her that she couldn’t deal with and it breaks my heart. I fear she felt what a lot of females in the military do (and I am sure men too, but I can only speak from my perspective) – we self impose an internal strength that leads us to deal with our issues on our own. An idea that we have to be a little stronger and tougher emotionally because we aren’t as physically strong as the guys. If she’d only truly known that it is ok to reach out. That there are women that understand and are here to talk.
All I can say is suicide is not the answer. Whether it is mental scars from what you saw in the course of your job, physical wounds that are too hard to cope with, or some other horrible event that happened (*side note, rape is disgusting and if you are in my military and rape anyone, there is a special place in hell for you), there are people out there that can help you.
BOTTOM LINE – IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING, OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS (OR EVEN THINK THEY ARE) REACH OUT TO SOMEONE.
Getting help is not a weakness. I know this is a hard thought to overcome (I am the queen of the I can deal with it myself mentality), but it is much better than the alternative. Military females are some of the most bad ass people in the world. We need every single one of them walking this planet to keep things spinning in a good direction.
Social media and in-person friends, do you know someone that you think needs help or do YOU need help? REACH OUT TO ME. I am not a counselor and can’t give treatment but I can be an ear to listen or I can get you to someone who can help. Let’s not lose another soul.
Today’s writing prompt asks: You’re tasked with creating a brand new astrological sign for the people born around your birthday — based solely on yourself. What would your new sign be, and how would you describe those who share it?
The Halo and The Sledge Hammer
To me, the Halo is a representation of blessings or being blessed. The sledge hammer represents an ability to crush through anything standing in the way of what I want to accomplish. My life, to date, has been a wonderful mixture of pure blessing, amplified by hard work.
I have nothing short of a blessed life. Even through rough patches, good has always come out of things and I keep adding people to my list of reasons to be blessed. From the fact that I was adopted and raised by an amazing family to the people I have met during my time in the military, to the jobs I have had, and the mentors I still have, I have been so blessed. Top that off with the people I have met through racing, my support system and foundation for life can only be explained as a blessing. I have not actively sought out much of these good things – I somehow “stumble” on them. Call it what you like….luck, fate, whatever….I call it a blessing. So, the Halo is the first part of my personal zodiac.
Then there are the down times……the areas that I would describe as rough patches. That is where the sledge hammer comes in. Nothing stands in my way. I work hard for what I want and fiercely protect those that I value. My Mother once gave me what I think was one of the best compliments I have ever been given (I am not sure she meant it as a compliment) – she said “Nothing stops you. You aren’t afraid of anything.” While I do have fears, they do not stop me. I sledge hammer my way through anything that stands in my way. Sometimes it is a velvet covered sledge hammer, but the job gets done.
So how would I describe those who share this sign? Those born under the Halo and the Sledge Hammer are stubborn and incredibly hard working. They are deeply caring but tend to hide these feelings. Burn out is common and their defense mechanism is to cut themselves off from the world. If you show them loyalty, they will give you the shirt off their back.
Thank you to everyone that has had an impact on my life. I look forward to what other blessings are to come my way and who is helping me hold the sledge hammer at the next obstacle.