Favorite Things : March 23 – 29, 2019

favorite things

Good morning! I’m up early today. Some days I am unable to sleep past 3:30, so I’ll get up for a few hours and go back to sleep later in the morning. Ah, that post-dissertation flexible schedule life!

I have no big plans for this weekend again…thank goodness! I’m hoping to finish a revise and resubmit and send it back out today and get some packing and cleaning done. Other than that, I think some couch time with a good book is in order.

Here are this week’s favorite things:

Saved for post-baby goals: Eight things ultrarunners can do to improve training. 

Snowplow parenting.

50 miler recap which is a good reminder of the importance of patience.

Your first three hours of work will make you or break you.

But also — morning rituals for the reasonably productive.

Life goals.

What a beautiful and important post on special needs from Cup of Jo.

Will a woman finish the Barkley Marathons this year?

I have never visisted Tulum (nor have a ever planned on it), and I have to wonder after reading this article whether it is ethical to do so.

Interesting (depressing) article from the Chronicle about the destruction of the college faculty profession.

What are your plans for this weekend?

 

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Big News…We’re Moving to Austin, Texas!

austin, daily life, texas

Along with, you know, the rest of the United States.

I’ve mentioned that I have been traveling and one of my goals for this month was to start down-sizing in order to prepare to move. Well — it is official — Bruno and I will be moving to Austin to teach at a classical high school. It is a big decision. I have never lived further than 2.5 hours away from my family or away from the midwest my entire life. Bruno lived in Dallas for a year. We’ve both lived in Michigan for several years now and have grown attached to a place where we met, dated, spent the first two of our married years, and will have our first baby. We have a good community here, both grad school friends and CrossFitters. Though I think we are excited about everything to come, I think it will be very hard to leave.

Anyway — Texas — we are excited about this new adventure. We flew out to Austin a few weeks ago (during SXSW actually) and though we mostly prepared for our teaching demonstrations and at the school, we did get a chance to do some exploring and most importantly — eat tacos. Sunday we ate at Torchy’s. As I mentioned — I’ve lived in the midwest all my life. I know tacos are a contentious culinary topic in the South and I admit to lacking sophisticated taste, but I tell you what — these were the best I have ever had in my entire life. I already cannot wait to go back and drink the queso.

I also satisfied my brisket craving at Salt Lick in Round Rock. Heaven. Just heaven. I love where I live now, but the amount of restaurants is…well…lacking. Aside for the heat, this will probably be the biggest adjustment — all the opportunity to eat out wherever I like. Not good for the waistline or the budget, but then again — I am growing another human being right now so I ate every bite that was on my platter.

bbq

Belinda Carlisle is right.

Actual Austin exploring mainly took place on South Congress. Luckily – though it was SXSW – we did not have too many crowds. We stopped at Jo’s Coffee and I took the necessary touristy picture in front of the “I Love You So Much” mural. When we stopped by, I did not have to wait in line, but later that day I saw quite a long line to take a picture in front of this mural. That is kind of ridiculous, right?

53639394_602283296941431_206196754201182208_n.jpg

All in all — it was a good trip — and I think we could really see ourselves living happily here. One thing I’m excited about is all the outside sitting. We have friends who recently moved down a couple months ago and they took as to Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden and it was perfect. I loved being able to just sit at a picnic table, eat from food trucks (it was promised to be an “authentic” Austin experience), and just enjoy good conversation with good people.

When we flew out, it was kind of weird to think that when we come back, we’ll come back as a family of three and as residents. I’ll be honest — after living in small town after small town, I never thought I would end up living somewhere “cool”. Then lo and behold, in a couple months we will live in one of the most popular cities in the country (not that I really care about that…it is just kind of amusing to me). Someday Austin will be home and hopefully we love it as much as we love our place here in Michigan. We will leave in July, but in the meantime I’ll be dreaming about queso, packing (this is a marathon, not a sprint), and dreading/looking forward to the day we say good-bye and begin anew.

 

 

 

 

February/March Reads 2019

books, reading

I wish I could say I followed up my dissertatin with serious tomes and plenty of reading, but not so much. I have been burnt out, so it has actually been hard to focus on books at all. I had quite a few start-and-stops and I hardly ever quit a book I have started. All book links are to Amazon, where I make a small commission.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

ChamberofSecrets.jpg

I make a point to re-read Harry Potter during the Thanksgiving to New Year season, but I was trying to finish up dissertation work, so Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets did not get finished until post-defense. Ah, it is probably my favorite of the earlier ones. That joke Ron makes after extensively cleaning the trophy for service to the school about it probably being for the person who killed Moaning Myrtle? Priceless.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

PrisonerofAzkaban.jpg

I have the hard copies of all the Harry Potter books except for Prisoner of Azkaban. I keep meaning to buy it hard-copy, but also keep forgetting.

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

I wrote a review of this book a few weeks ago. I still highly recommend.

The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith


I thought The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness was just ok. I think the premise is fantastic. We are all hustling for happiness, but what if being happy is not really the point? What if purpose is? That is an idea, a truth really, I can get behind. But everything was else was just sort of ok.

The Grace of Enough by Haley Stewart

In some ways The Grace of Enough: Pursuing Less and Living More in a Throwaway Culture is related to the previous book, but I think it is so much better because it is a look at an individual’s pursuit of purpose in a culture that is constantly screaming more. Moreover, where Esfahani emphasized that purpose can be found in secular life, I think I related to (needed) the Catholic message of this book. I loved it so much, I am reading it again right now. This book was also my #CathoLit2019 read created by the author, Haley Stewart of Carrots for Michaelmas.

Current Reads :

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (of course)

Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration by Benedict XVI

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both by Jennifer Fulwiler

The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis — a quick note on this one. Bruno and I have been reading a chapter or two together out loud in the evenings. We had always wanted to do this, but would be a bit too lofty in our ambitions and pick a big dense classic, but this book seems to work perfectly well for some evening reading after a long day.

What are some of your February and March readings? Anything you particularly liked? Disliked? What are you reading now? I’m always looking for new books to add to my kindle.

Tales from my First CrossFit Open : 19.5 Scaled

crossfit, lifting, training

You can see 19.1, 19.2, 19.3, and 19.4 if you click the links!

19.5 Scaled

33 x thrusters @ 45 lbs.

33 x jumping pull-ups

27 x thrusters @ 45 lbs.

27 x jumping pull-ups

21 x thrusters @ 45 lbs.

21 x jumping pull-ups

15 x thrusters @ 45 lbs.

15 x jumping pull-ups

9 x thrusters @ 45 lbs.

9 x jumping pull-ups

Of all the open work-outs, I am most proud of this work-out. All I wanted to do, when I saw what it was going to be was finish and not only did I finish, but I finished with time to spare. Not bad for a 29 week pregnant lady! That said, of all the open work-outs, this one hurt the most in the during and in the aftermath. I think today is the first day I feel like a normal human being.

Before going into the wod, I was nervous. I think everybody was. I checked previous Fran-style work-outs to see where I was and thought maybe I could finish, but I was not sure. I figured I would be exhausted (was right about that) and was trying to avoid pre-work-out hubris. I decided I was going to break out each section into thirds 11-11-11/9-9-9, etc. with trying to use the knowledge I was about to finish to get to the last set — if I made it to the last set. Then, I would take ten second breaks.

I think — for the most part — I executed this plan well. My breaks were definitely a little bit longer than ten seconds, but I don’t think excessively so. I broke up 33 and 27 thrusters into thirds. I failed to do this during 21. I’m not sure if this was a physical problem or a mental problem. I actually suspect the former, because I was able to do 5-5-5 for 15 and do the last 9 unbroken.

27 and 21 were difficult for me mentally. With every thruster, my thought was “Are we there yet?” It was…not fun. Normally I love chipper work-outs. When my coach said to think of this as a marathon, not a sprint, I knew I could do that. I like endurance activities. But the thing is — you don’t feel like you are going for aerobic endurance when you are doing thrusters. You feel like you are about to spontaneously combust. And though there was a twenty minute time cap, time felt like it went by so slowly — except, of course, when I put the bar down. It was grueling.

It is strange, because once I got to 15, I no longer mentally felt like I was panicking on the inside. I knew I would finish and it became a little bit easier. Don’t get me wrong — it was not any physically easier. But with my mind calmed down, I no longer was freaking out about how much I had left to go. I just did the thrusters. I did the jumping pull-ups. I just kept moving forward.

The last 9 felt like they went quickly even though I am sure the thrusters were slow and ugly. I did not set the bar down once. This is probably why I am so proud of the work-out. Aside for 21, I did exactly what I wanted to, stuck to a plan, checked off all the boxes, and finished.

My time was 16:51 minutes. I sat on the floor and tried to cheer everyone on for the last three minutes. Tried being the operative word there. I felt like crying, not in a bad way, but in a “that really hurt and now I’m so glad to be done” kind of way.

Now that the open is over, I am planning on taking it even more easy on the work-outs. I have less than ten weeks until my due date — so I think I can give myself some more time to recover and relax!

How did 19.5 go for you? Are you still recovering? Shell-shocked, even?

 

Monday Miles : March 18 – 24, 2019 (29 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, monday miles, training

Serious question: Will I ever recover from 19.5? Everything still hurts from Friday. I am planning on working out today, but full disclosure I still feel wiped out. I’m not sure if it is Friday’s work-out, the excessive amount of sugar I ate over the weekend, pregnancy, or a combination of all the above. But I’m so tired.

After several weeks of inconsitent working-out, it was really nice to get back on a regular schedule this week. I have exactly ten weeks until my due date, so I’m hoping to continue to be as consistent as possible in the weeks to come. I suspect I’m going to have to take it more easy though. Though I feel great during the work-outs, it is just taking longer to recover. I’m starting to feel like a train-wreck after every wod. It reminds me of recovering from a long run or Murph. I’m just depleted.

3 – 18 :  Crossfit. 19.4. Yoga with Adriene – Yoga for Anxiety.

3 – 19 : CrossFit. For time – 1000 meter row, 50 dumb-bell box step-overs at 20 lbs. and 16 inches, 5 rope pulls, 50 goblet squats at 20 lbs., bike for four minutes 1.18 miles. 18 minutes 53 seconds. I love chipper work-outs. Yoga with Adriene – Hamstrings.

3 – 20 : I felt worn out from the last two days, so I went with Bruno to CrossFit. However, I decided against doing the work-out and instead parked myself on a rower for a half hour. Row – 30 minutes – 5500 meters. I miss aerobic exercise. I miss running. Rowing is kind of boring, but honestly, I loved just getting into the rhythm of doing the same thing over and over and over again. Constant forward motion. Afterwards, I did a ton of mobility. I loved this day so much, I am hoping to make it a recurring feature of my week.

3 – 21 : Rest.

3 – 22 : CrossFit – 19.5. I was happy with how it went, but still feel like I am recovering. I’ll write more about it tomorrow.

Totals : CrossFit – 3 hours. Rowing – 30 minutes. Yoga – about an hour.

Onward!

 

 

 

Favorite Things: March 16 – 22, 2019

crossfit, favorite things, Uncategorized

I just finished 19.5 scaled and I am still recovering. I’ll have more to say later, but for now — that was an experience. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel better.

The weekend is for recovery — from what just happened and from a mildly busy week. I’m hoping to do some reading and relaxing. We have no special plans and are just grateful to not have to travel anywhere for awhile again. In the words of John Denver, “Hey it’s good to be back home again.”

They need a baby registry too!

Mine is chicken, salad, and sweet potatoes. Every single day.

We don’t have a dishwasher, so when I cook, Bruno cleans. In the morning, I put the dishes away.

Do you like your work? I enjoyed this list of reasons why he likes his work by John Warner.

The relationship between work and religion.

I love Amelia Boone. Her latest on injury: Don’ t fight the water. 

Six principles for mastery.

Found this while doing some google searching. Not just for CrossFitters! Here are some benefits of rowing for runners.

Do you follow Feeding the Frasers on Instagram? I swear Sammy Moniz posts the easiest and most delicious meal ideas (glad I’m not paleo!!).

Does pregnancy mean giving up all outdoor sports? Good thing the answer is no.

What about you? Big plans for this weekend? Feel like you are never going to feel better after 19.5?

Tips and Tricks for Working Out During Pregnancy

pregnancy, training

Shameless plug alert!

I have an article on Evie Magazine published this week called Tips and Tricks for Working Out During Pregnancy. With a little over ten weeks to go, I have been thinking a lot about what has been working and what has not been working for me as I continue to be active. Please do check it out!

March 2019 Goals : The Year of 1% Better

goals, graduate school, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, pregnancy, reading, year of 1% better

We are already almost at the end of March (hello, spring!) and I have yet to post my 1% goals for the month. I have also failed to say how the goals for February went. All you need to know is that everything went by the way-side, but I did submit and successfully defend my dissertation. Still a huge win.

If you’re new here, I declared 2019 the year of 1% better. You can see January goals here and outcomes here and February goals here.

I’ll admit that I began this month kind of unfocused and burnt out. What is the saying they used to say about March weather? It comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb (where does this actually happen?). I came into March like a slug, a very tired slug. I’m not exactly at “let’s get after it” levels yet. In fact, by the afternoon I am so worn out that I find myself catatonicly sitting on the couch, wishing for ice-cream, trying not to scroll through social media (still a 1% goal).

Part of this I suspect is the post-dissertation “what do I do with myself?” feeling. The other part is pregnancy. I’ve been sleeping terribly. I’m trying to take this time to relax, but as I told Bruno, “I don’t know how!” I also told him, after a few days of traveling, that “the best vacation one can give oneself is a consistent routine.” I am trying to give myself the latter as best I can.

So what am I trying to accomplish for March?

Down-sizing. Baby is actually not the only big change to happen this summer. I’ll share more when it is all official, but we are starting to downsize to prepare to move. I joke that I’m going full Marie Kondo, except I assure you I am not thanking my clothes as I put them into trash bags to give to my sisters as hand-me-downs. The two big areas I’m focusing on this month are my closet as I can’t wear most of my clothes right now anyways and several boxes of class notes. Taking advantage of my mental burn-out, I’m spending some quality time at the scanner so I can send boxes of paper to the recycling bin. I suspect the paper overload will take me all the way up to the big day, but it is nice to see the amount dwindle now.

Finish a revise and resubmit for an academic journal article. This is the one goal I can already tell you I am struggling. At this point, it is a monkey on my back I just want to get off. I’m very happy (and grateful) to have received a very positive and helpful revise and resubmit, but I need a Rousseau break. If I can be done with this, no Rousseau for April. Those are the rules. Also, I still very much love Rousseau.

Relax. I’m trying to take some more time for reading. If I want to take a nap in the afternoon, I do not try to push through. Usually I’ve been calling it a day at around noon before I go to CrossFit. Whatever I have gotten done at that point is good enough. Little steps are fine right now. I am lucky that at this point, I can take the time to just do nothing if I need to. I’m not sure how to enjoy doing nothing, but that is a problem for another time.

And that is it! There are a few repeats from previous months. I’m still working through my #CathLit2019 books and trying to avoid social media during the week. Both need a bit of revitalization, so hopefully if I came into March like a slug, I can refocus and leave like a lion? Or pick some sort of fierce, but relaxed animal.

What are your goals for March? How have they been going?

 

Tales from My First CrossFit Open: 19.4 Scaled

crossfit, lifting, pregnancy, training

See 19.1, 19.2, and 19.3.

19.4 Scaled

3x

10 Snatches @ 45 lbs.

10 bar-facing burpees

3 minute rest, followed by

3x

10 pull-ups

10 bar-facing burpees

12 minute time-cap

I did this work-out yesterday, so it is still fresh. If you might have seen my Monday Miles from yesterday, the last time I did a work-out was 19.3, so it had been awhile. Mainly, I just was excited to be back and have work-outs as a regular part of the schedule again. I knew that I would not be able to do the second part of the work-out, so I mainly just focused on the first.

I thought the snatches were fine. The first set I did unbroken. The second I did one break after five and the third I did two breaks. Snatches just seem kind of awkward right now, because I know I am not doing them correctly. I can’t exactly get the bar close to my shirt at the moment and I’ll admit to being overly careful about  not wanting the bar to hit the very-much-portruding belly I’ve got going on. So were they the most beautiful snatches in the world? No. But they were done.

The burpees were harder. I have not really been doing real burpees lately (see above about the growing pregnancy belly), but just no-push-up burpees. So I took these really, really slow to make sure I was not slamming myself down to the ground. I twisted myself from side-to-side to land instead of going down to my belly and when I got up, I made sure my footing was ok before I hopped over the. I’m happy to say, despite my increasing lack of grace, I did not trip over the bar-bell. After these extra-awkward burpees (I assume burpees are always awkward for everyone whether you are in your third trimester of pregnancy or not), I was very excited to return back to the snatches.

I thought it was a fun work-out, but I wish I could have given it more of a go. I did not finish the first section — finishing with 62 reps. I had four burpees left to go at twelve minutes. I wish I would have pushed myself just a little bit harder, because I know I could have done all 66 reps of the first round. That’s not exactly the best feeling, but I’m learning and I’ll take that in with me to 19.5 on Friday.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that after the work-out was all said and done, Bruno did his first bar muscle-up — a big win on his part.

Crazy to think these five weeks are almost over and there is only one more work-out left to do. No post-open baby-bump pictures for this week (I forgot!), but I suspect that between 19.1 and 19.5, I have expanded considerably!

 

 

Monday Miles : March 4 – 17, 2019 (28-9 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, lifting, monday miles, pregnancy, training

Not the best two weeks for work-outs. Forewarning: I only had two work-outs for the entirety of this time. No excuses. I’ve just been wiped out. Then we had a big travel week for a job interview and I was sick and, well, continued to be wiped out. I’m still sick and will be doing 19.4 today. I’m hoping that my energy levels return and I quit being such a mucous monster, so that I can be as consistent as possible for the next several weeks of pregnancy.

I cannot express how much I miss running. It is not warm yet in Michigan, but there are signs of spring. I keep looking at training plans, race, and thinking about the future (post-baby goal: 50k). I miss those hours with myself outside, listening to music or a podcast. I miss that post-run feeling and the routine of a training plan in my life. I’m not sure how soon after baby I can expect to go back to that, but it is one of the things I am most looking forward to in the months to come.

3 – 4 : CrossFit. Every 4 minutes for 12 minutes — back squat – 5 @ 95 lbs., 5 @ 100 lbs., 5 @ 105 lbs. Despite my complaining about all the squats last week, they are still my favorite. My hope for today was to stay above 100 lbs. I did. I did hurt quite a bit the rest of the day and the next day, but dare I say it was worth it? AMRAP 10 minutes – 100 ft. kettle-bell front rack carry – 40 lbs., 20 lunges, 10 hanging knee-raises. I managed four rounds with an additional 50 ft. carry. Finished up with some Yoga with Adriene for the Psoas.

3 – 5 : My notes say I did not work-out this day because I was in pain. Rest.

3 – 6 : Rest.

3 – 7 : Rest.

3 – 8 : CrossFit – 19.3.

3 – 9 : Travel day.

3 – 10 : Travel.

3 – 11 : Travel.

3 – 12 : Travel.

3 – 13 : Return to Michigan.

3 – 14 : Sick.

3 – 15 : Sick.

3 – 16 : Sick.

3 – 17 : Sick.

Hopefully this next week is much better health and consistency-wise.

Onward!