2015 – You Got Your Work Cut Out For You

Happy New Year!

Wow, I haven’t been blogging much, eh? I am not sure how much that will change with the new year. With all of the changes in 2014, my available time for writing has been cut to bare minimum levels.

Here are some photos to share that show how I’ve enjoyed this holiday season. Craig had time off from work at this time of year for the first time in all of our 15+ years of marriage. The kids, of course, were out of school. And I also had vacation scheduled. So we’ve had lots of time to hang out and do fun things as a family. We stayed home on Christmas Eve since I did have to work that day, but went to Mass together, came home and had some food and watched “It’s A Wonderful Life” before heading to bed. 

Sarah made some yummy treats!

My children dressed and ready for Christmas Eve Mass

Christmas morning was fun. The kids got some cool presents. We went to their Grandma’s afterward to have lasagna and open presents there. After that, we went to Craig’s sister’s for more dessert and more presents. 

My girls and I got some Royals gear…

During the week between Christmas and New Year’s we did things like go to the library, hang out and watch movies at home on our new TV, enjoy our new refrigerator (two items that were part of our family Christmas this year), watch football, play with the kids with their new toys, work out, sleep in and go to Dave & Buster’s for a family fun day. Much fun was had by all.

*****

Every year, the proverbial New Year’s Resolutions posts make their rounds. I’m no exception. I like a blank page as much as anyone. As I thought about what 2015 might have in store, however, I realized that 2014 was a really good year in the realm of attained goals. I lost the weight I wanted to, I set and met fitness goals I wouldn’t have dreamed about before 2014. Financially, we made some sound decisions and look forward to the future doing the same. The kids all grew in numerous ways. If there was one place I can see major room for improvement (for me) it would be my spiritual life. The challenge Father posed in his homily at last night’s Vigil Mass hit home with me. It’s been a few years since I have set some spiritual growth goals for myself and I think it’s high time I set to work on that again. Even though I met many fitness and health goals during 2014, I still have room for improvement there as well.

I am nothing, if not goal-oriented. That’s been my mode of operation all of my life. So, I shall kick off 2015 by listing out some of my goals here. (Maybe if I actually redesign the look of my blog I can list them out in a sidebar or something to keep me motivated…)

Spiritual Growth Goal(s):

  • Pray a morning offering upon rising each day. This is something I’ve been meaning to start doing for probably 10 years now and it’s high time I stop meaning to do it and just do it.
  • One extra Mass each week. I think once a week, I could walk to the downtown Cathedral and make it to Mass over my lunch hour. We go each Sunday as a family. Back when Sarah and Dani were babies, I made it to daily Mass before work for several months, maybe even a year, but change in employment caused that to end. Maybe I can start making my way back to a daily Mass this way.
I think that’s manageable enough for that side of things.

Health/Fitness-Related Goal(s):
  • Maintain my strong performance with regard to the 5 biometric standards they check each year (cholesterol, resting heart rate, blood pressure, glucose and BMI)
  • Paleo way of life, 100% (no falling off the wagon after 30 days… :/ )
  • CrossFit at least 4 times per week (been doing this for over a year now, so just a maintenance thing)
  • Improve my Triathlon time from last year
Personal/Other Goal(s):
  • Save enough by August to pre-pay pre-K tuition for Vincent. This will help the cash flow enormously come August.
  • Achieve other financial savings goals (we have goals related to a new car purchase, housing updates, summer camps for kids and vacation/travel)
  • Read one fiction book per month
  • Make progress toward my life goal of working in a business partner role within Human Resources (this would be a change in direction in career that’s not 100% necessary, but something I’d really like to try)
I would like to update my blog. I mean, the look of it. I know I want a cleaner format, but I don’t have much creativity to contribute other than that. And I also don’t know how to do it myself. So, if you have some suggestions of someone I could pay, or even someone who might just be able to help me do it myself, I’d love to hear it. 🙂 

There you go. As you who have followed my blog the past few years know, for me to achieve goals, the first step is to get them out in an accountability format. 

Cheers! Here’s to a fabulous 2015.


"Fran," Pull-ups and Me

Fran”

I see her up there on the board, mocking me…challenging me.

 21-15-9

Thrusters, then burpees.

90 reps total — which I would find out in just a few minutes that it would take me 6 minutes 30 seconds to complete.

My heart starts beating faster just as I anticipate her domination of the next few minutes of my life.

The only way to finish is to start, and the coach says, “10 seconds!” and they count down. I hear the three beeps that signal “3..2..1” and I hoist that 65-pound bar into a clean and start the thrusters (a front squat into an overhead press).

Oh the way my mind wanders as I do the thrusters! Gotta focus on anything besides the fact that I’m doing thrusters. I think about how the coach just said, “This workout is meant to be unbroken…” and I wonder how many thrusters I will get unbroken this time. I want 21…but I realize at 11, that I need to drop the bar and reset because my brain needs the 5 seconds to reassure — Yes, I can do another 10.

From the bar, I move on to the pull-up bar and I start doing jumping pull-ups because I haven’t mastered a pull-up yet. I get through five of them and I wonder just when I will get that darn pull-up!?! I power through another 10 and I start thinking, “Gosh, I have to be getting close to getting those darn pull-ups…I wish I could be doing this workout Rx.” While I finish my last 6 jumping pull-ups, I marvel at the guy who is already on his round of 9 pull-ups and think, ”…someday I will do this workout Rx.”

Back on the bar and I think, “Only 15 this time.” ONLY 15 front squats into overhead presses. I’m trying to string them all together, I don’t want to drop…but, after 8, down goes the bar. My brain needs that break – I don’t believe for a minute that it’s my body that gives out. I definitely think it’s mental. I finish the last 7 and get up to the pull-up bar and do my jumping pull-ups.
Then back to the bar for 9 more reps and I bargain with myself. “Break it into 3…” and then, “no…string them all” but alas, my mental state falters after 5 and I drop the bar, reset and then complete the rest. I get the jumping pull-ups done and I complete the workout a minute faster than the last time I did it.
*****
When you are doing CrossFit, you hear about “Fran” all the time. It’s like the gold standard of the CrossFit workout. It drains you like nothing else…Rx or not. This morning, I seriously started  to contemplate my problem in attaining these elusive pull-ups. I think I should have them by now. Darn it all – what is my problem? And, so I’m newly motivated to get this. I guess I just haven’t formed the strength required. Most of what I read mentions that most women’s problems with getting pull-ups is the strength. I had started thinking that couldn’t be it, but I suppose it is.
LINK
A few weeks ago, I swore off the banded pull-ups. I had heard enough coaches mention that they wouldn’t help me actually get pull-ups and I read a quite a few articles like this one and this one. I think I’m convinced that the way to improve pull-ups is not to keep using bands. I’ve been doing ring rows when the WODs called for pull-ups or — as in “Fran” today, doing jumping pull-ups. I’m not sure I get the full range of motion with a jumping pull-up, but it’s definitely a workout. The stuff I have read puts forth some things to do that will help – things like dead hangs on a daily basis to improve grip strength, Negative reps (haven’t had time to try this yet), segmented and barbell-assisted pull-ups. I just need to either get to workout 15 minutes early or stay late to do this extra work for awhile.

I remember when I got toes-to-bar, I worked on them almost every time I was at the gym. I’d just get up on the bar and do a toes-to-bar rep/attempt after the workout on my way out. I guess I should try the same with pull-ups – just get up there and try to get a pull-up every day on top of doing some extra work like negative reps, barbell assisted, dead hangs, etc.

LINK

All I know is that the next time I do “Fran” I really want to be doing pull-ups along with the Rx Thrusters. As much as it will kill, it will also be a thrill if I can make it happen.

Happy and Blessed New Year!

It’s the night before the first day of 2012.  As I sit here, I think about how I want to put forth New Year’s Resolutions.  But the things I come up with are all things I’ve already been working on, so it really would be more of a renewed effort, I suppose.
What are your resolutions for 2012, if you have any?
1.  I resolve to finish the four or five blog posts that are sitting in draft form…a couple from 4 months ago!  And I hope I can be a bit more regular with the ideas this year.  I have a few that sit in my brain and pop up every time I’m in the shower or something.  Which is really NOT the ideal time for a good blog idea to come up.
2.  I resolve to get to the Community Center and/or do SOMEthing active four times per week.  I’ve already paid for a 7-week Spin class on Thursday evenings, so I need to get to the pool to swim one or two days a week and run another day a week.  That ought to do me good.
3.  I resolve to keep working toward a more people-centered/people-driven role at my job.  Hey, if I’ve got to have a job anyway, I figure I ought to enjoy it more than I have been.
4.  I resolve to MAKE TIME for a date night with Craig once a month.  I’m gonna have already kept this one for January this coming week, because a sitter is already hired for Tuesday night!  🙂
5.  I resolve to continue to budget and begin paying much more on my student loan this year.  We have no other debt and there’s no excuse for the fact that I haven’t done this yet…other than I got kind of happy that we have no other debt.
There are some things I’d like to resolve to do in 2012, but that I know are failures waiting to happen:
1.  I’d like to resolve to keep my desk/office area at home neat and tidy.  But let’s face it, it’s my biggest clutter magnet and it’s the last thing I want to do when a bed is beckoning me to sleep or a book is begging to be read.
2.  I’d like to resolve to keep my house clean.  But I have a toddler and a baby in the house…’nuff said.
3.  I’d like to resolve to go to daily Mass.  But I tried that at Advent and it lasted 2 weeks.  Work got crazy and I needed to be there early, so that little commitment went by the wayside.  I guess it’s just not meant to be at this stage of my life.

Overall, in 2012, I’d like to live more fully and love more completely.  If I’m able to figure those two things out, I think I’ll have a great year.