I need a Sweet November

Lots of great things happened in October.  I joined Crossfit East Oahu.  Re-signed with my PT for more sessions.  Got a 10-miler in.  I PRd on a couple of lifts and moves.  Lots of great things.

But last October I lost my Grandma Nelson.  It overshadowed October.  It still feels to this day unreal.  I miss her and think about her every day. I feel like I could have tried to see her more.  Stayed longer with her some days.  Maybe even said more to her.  But I do feel peace knowing I told her how much she meant to me; how she not only helped shape me who I am today but that I’m now striving to do the same for others. I know I made her proud.

So that was October.  Absolutely sucked.  During my Grandma’s funeral the pastor lamented on the strength of my Grandmother.  How someone faced with so much hardship still thought of others and strived to push ahead in her initiatives.  That no matter the battle she faced, she faced them with faith, grace and strength.  I often forget to do this. I often just want to throw my hands up and take the easy way out.

Well that’s just not going to happen. I need a Sweet November.

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Eulogy for Gloria Nelson from her Grand Daughters – written by Desiree Taimanglo Ventura

Because of our grandmother, we are proudly rooted in the strength of our family-history, culture, and faith.  Because of her, we know the value of investing wholeheartedly in the community around us.  We know the importance of making decisions and holding opinions that may not be popular, but are founded in integrity and truth.  Our grandmother was unapologetic with her truth.  It was the fire that motivated her to speak her mind and support projects and causes that she knew our island needed.  Her drive to work on our island’s behalf did not fade with sickness nor during times of hardship.  Even within the last months of her life, she was advocating, from her bed (or in off-island hospital rooms), for others in need.

Our grandmother constantly challenged us to speak and work toward what was right, even if it was uncomfortable.  She taught us that when it came to doing what we knew in our hearts, was right, there was nothing to be embarrassed about. Through her, we have seen, first-hand, that your life is most meaningful, not when you are doing what is comfortable, self-serving, or popular, but by doing what is good and true.

We have lost a person we deeply admire and love.  We have lost a woman who, for many of us in this room, seemed to be the glue holding everything together.  It is easy to want to fall apart in her absence.  It makes you want to cry for long periods of time.  But please remember that Gloria Nelson was not the kind of woman who appreciated too much crying.  She did not waste time feeling sorry for herself.  And if she ever caught others in a moment of self-pity, she was quick to remind them that there were more important things to do.  We hope that all of you here today, especially the friends and family closest to her, will keep her spirit alive and honor her by being strong enough to rise above the inclination to stop doing what needs to be done, or what she would have wanted done.  Honor her memory by realizing your full potential and contributing to them home she loves so dearly.  Our grandmother was not a morbid person; she was a woman who took every single moment that God granted her and made the most of it.  Every day she was blessed with was a day spent making the world and the people around her better.

Our grandmother was a true humanitarian. And by being one, she has earned more than popularity from this community, she has earned our family, our friend’s, and our island’s  deepest love and respect.

 

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It’s only impossibe until it’s DONE!

If you told me this morning that today was the day I finally pulled off a handstand I definitely would not believe you!

Ok so a handstand isn’t really a big deal considering everyone can do one!  Let me tell you I have had this fear for a long time! One of the moves in Crossfit is a handstand pushup.  I can do pushups like no tomorrow; a handstand definitely not!  Not until TONIGHT! I mean I’ve gotten much more crazy PRs in other things but I’ve been wanting to do a handstand FOREVER! I’ve even have had dreams of doing one!!!! That’s how much I’ve wanted one!

Well I don’t have a picture but here’s my trainer Jon and I.  This picture will be used in the “Hall of Fame” in my gym.  Along with a testimonial and a very embarrassing before photo.  I’ll be sharing that soon of course.

I do want to say that Jon is THE BEST.  I’m always nervous whenever I walk into a session with him and walk away completely elated.  It’s been nearly 7 months training with him and I’ve never had one day where I’ve been bored with my sessions.  I don’t believe in shakes, pills, or crazy ass workout videos.  I believe in staying positive, eating clean, and training insane.  Thanks to this guy!!!

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There are no miracle pills… unless you count fish oil pills

I’ve been getting so many comments lately about my eating, body/size, and fitness regime. People seem even more inquisitive when I say I eat a shitload of food, I don’t run miles every day, and best of all, I lift heavy.

It wasn’t until a recent comment that eating healthy is expensive and women shouldn’t lift so heavy, I just had to do a little rant back of my own! Well I guess it’s not really a rant when it’s a blog and not Facebook huh?

1) Women do not get bulky lifting heavy. In fact, the heavier I lifted, the smaller I got.  Yeah. What a concept.  Believe me I was shocked.  I remember a 85# deadlift and a 45# clean and press used to get me dizzy and sick!  But slowly as the weight of the bar went up, the scale pointer kept going down.  What this has resulted however is a sick obsession of mine now to go heavier and heavier (as I’m now sort of “stuck” at a weight that I never imagined to have hit).  But enough about that concept.  Here’s a picture.  I look so bulky and manly don’t I?

Left: Out with friends 9/2012. Right: Clean & Jerk 95# 9/2012

2) Speaking of lifting, cardio isn’t the only way to workout.  Now I’m not saying don’t go running if that’s what you enjoy. Hell take that Zumba class, cycling, swimming, running and turbo classes.  Whatever works for you! What I realized after years of going on the treadmill and killing myself on the stairmaster and elliptical trainer, it finally clicked that strength and endurance could be accomplished to little to no cardio.  How do I know this? Well, I just completed a half marathon about two weeks ago and I didn’t do any running to prepare.  Nope.  Just straight up did squats, lunges and deadlifts.  Crazyballs I know. I don’t think I’ll do it again; I’ll add more running this time around so maybe my brain will get tricked into liking running.

3) Even people who are gym rats still force themselves to go to the gym.  I got a comment too that I must be so motivated every day to workout religiously.  Well actually no.  I come home and immediately put my workout clothes on.  And even then I open up my  laptop, relax on the couch and maybe catch a show saved on the DVR.  I give myself a pep talk every single day to go to the gym.  I feel like when people say they don’t have a problem going to workout I imagine they go and lie on the floor stretching and playing with their phones.

4) Food has become fuel for my workouts.  As a result, I eat way more.  I don’t care how much you workout.  You are an adult.  You have to be responsible enough to eat right.  My career is in HR.  So I’m responsible for nearly daily training classes for the company I work for.  What does that mean? Well there’s donuts, chips, cookies and many more crazy treats in my training room.  This is a daily, weekly, monthly challenge for me not to just throw my hands up and eat a rice krispie.  It’s not like someone put a gun to my head and said “EAT IT!!!” but of course it’s hard not to be tempted!!! So what do I do? I eat nutrient dense food in every meal so I’m not starving and dying to have the first thing that’s laid out in front of me.  I’m an adult.  I’m in charge of what goes in my body.  So should you.

5) While we’re on that topic.  Healthy food is not expensive.  Meal planning and lots of prepping eliminates food being wasted and you eating crap.  For two bags of frozen veggies, a carton of eggs, some beef, chicken and fresh veggies (avocado, mushrooms, eggplant, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and squash) – it’s the same amount of money I used to spend before on less nutrient dense food.  Imagine swapping the box of cereal, pasta, cookies and sugar drinks – that’s what $20?  That’s still not close to the $10 worth of veggies that I bought in the earlier example.  I mean come on, a box of cereal is $10!!!  You can get a carton of eggs, some strawberries and turkey bacon for that much.  Ridiculous I’m sorry. Again, you’re an adult.  You need to be responsible.

6) Last and finally, there is no magic pill!  Unless you count fish oil pills.  No seriously, Omega3 Fish Oil!  I take 3 grams every morning. Do some research on Omega3s and insulin regulation.  You have to read it for yourself – then you’ll be taking fish oil too. Nevermind all this “take these pillls” shenanigan that everyone tries to shove down your throat.  Again, you’re an adult.  Be responsible. Do your research.  I still account it to diet.  If you’re eating nutrient-dense good food, why in the hell do you need pills to give you vitamins?

But really there is no magic pill.  Just day in, day out lots of sweat, tears, disappointment, fear, elation, awe and pure joy.  There are days when I feel like I’m walking on air after a workout. Other times I’m walking away disgusted with myself.  There’s been races where I had a smile on face in the end.  Others where I’ve cried and swore I’d never go running again.  There’s also lots and lots of days where I’ve been irresponsible and have gotten way too wasted, eaten like there’s no tomorrow or just made really bad decisions about my health.

The beauty of your journey is that it’s yours to own.  No one else will get you up in the morning to lace your shoes.  Nobody’s going to sweat for you.  Nobody’s going to eat the good stuff for you.  You have to own it.

I still have to do that every damn day.

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Two half marathons equals one whole marathon! Right?

LOL ok so maybe not.

I hate running. If you haven’t read any of my previous blog posts I really don’t like running. I like to lift weights, jump on boxes, pull on a row machine and do an occasional cardio session of interval running on the treadmill. I throw in a weekend hiking or paddle boarding trip and call that a workout. But I really really can’t stand running.

So if you or someone you know doesn’t enjoy running, wouldn’t it make sense that said person doesn’t really do/enjoy marathons?

Well I just did the Kauai Half Marathon and I LOVED IT. It had to been the weather. Or my new hat that I sported. Or my new hydration pack. Must have been because I was so high on adrenaline at 4 in the morning. Who knows.

Will was awesome enough to wake up with me and walk us to the start line.  The organizers are AWESOME.  There were lots of non-paleo carbs to eat – muffins, bagels, and mini-cinnamon rolls.  Also had some fruit, yogurt, juice and coffee.  I was most especially excited to see the Starbucks logo.  HELL YEAH!

The Kauai Half Marathon is on it’s 4th year and is held on Labor Day Weekend in Poipu.  It starts at 6AM and runs along a very green, scenic drive.  It’s also all hills.  Okay okay I’m exaggerating.  It’s partial hills but they are KILLER hills.

So yeah, you see that? Epic.  Well that was actually the easiest and most fun part of the run.  It was really back to lifting and I just kept saying in my head “load the hips”.  I ran up the whole thing and enjoyed every minute of it.  Crazy yes, I know.

But it was such a beautiful run. It rained the first five miles pretty hard but I had a new hat to keep my face dry and happy.  I never really felt bad during the run.  Didn’t feel drilled or dying – oh and yes, I had some sugar strips (they’re like those Listerine strips you put on your tongue) and my hydration pack.

Mile 5

When I took this picture and turned around someone commented that I looked a little too happy at mile 5.  Hell yeah I was happy!  I had five miles down damnit!

Best part was the tunnel of trees.  That’s mile 6 to mile 7 after some hills.  But of course after that was another big hill but that’s besides the point.  I actually didn’t take a good picture while I was running so I went back later on that day and took another picture.  In person of course, it’s much more grand.

Tunnel of trees Mile 6

So after that crazy ass hill into mile 10 I felt awesome. I was happy that I wasn’t cramping like last time and I was still doing an easy jog.  Between mile 8-13, it’s a run through the local neighborhood.  If you’ve never been to Kauai you are missing out.  The people come out onto their yard and cheer people on.  Didn’t have that in our Hibiscus Half Marathon on Oahu that’s for sure.  That was super cool.  Even running into an old college friend and her family was even more cool.

Up until this point I’ve been laughing and joking that I’m only doing a half marathon because I’m only half crazy. Getting to this sign I changed my mind and decided to say I’m half badass.  Because this is where I saw one of the people that was running the full marathon.  He had to have been running a 7 minute mile.  He was so fast!

Then after that mile 11 comes up.  Yeayyyyy TWO MORE MILES! I was running what I knew had to been the last damn hill and saw the photographers.  I wanted some awesome pictures so of course I decided to do a leap into the air as they took my photo!  SO STUPID.  Do that on mile 5 or 3 – not mile 11.  LOL

I crapped SO BAD on both my calves. BOTH OF THEM.  Last marathon it was only my left. So stupid. LOL

So for the rest of mile 12 I had to walk.  Right up until the last quarter mile I power walked.  Even then I knew I shaved twenty minutes off my last time because I pretty much ran 12 miles.  I was proud, emotional and in so much pain.

You can’t really tell here but I was convulsing with pain.  Afterwards I took off my shirt and laid on the grass in agony clutching my calves.  I was in so much pain I was so nauseous!  Thank goodness for the aid stations.  They iced me up and sent me off.

Another Thirteen Point One!

But yes, as I said earlier I hate running.  But I will definitely do the Kauai Half Marathon again.  I went into this one way more prepared.  I had carbo-loaded at least two weeks prior on sweet potatoes, added more fat, upped my Omega3 intake, stacked up more weight on my lifting.  I wish I had ran more.  Wait, let me rephrase that.  I wish I ran, period.  I didn’t run. I think my last run was the 5 mile Kailua beach run.

I wasn’t going for a faster time or even a faster pace. I just wanted to see where I was fitness wise going in without injury.  I think I did great. And I’ll be back again next year FOR SURE!

I mean, you can’t beat a medal that is a BOTTLE OPENER for crying out loud!

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You are worth it – Your future self will thank you

Gosh if I could just travel back in time and tell myself how grateful I am.

It’s been a year.  Maybe I’m off by a few days. But I remember it all started with Europe.  Taking tons of pictures and deleting everything that had my face in it.  After coming back I tried doing everything – ate salads, went “meatless Mondays”, tried to cut out things like sodas and rice.  Even ordered that infamous 30 Day Shred dvd with Jillian Michaels.  Go ahead and judge me.  I did all the fad, mindless things that I thought needed to get me “skinnier”.

So after being semi-satisfied with what Jillian was doing to me on a four times a week basis, I walked into 24 HR Fitness fully intending on cancelling my membership with them.  Instead not only did I renew my membership, I signed up with a personal trainer! Fakkk.  I’m such an easy sell!!!

I had no foresight to what was to come.  I went from weighing close to 200#, size 12/14, sluggish, booze drinking and worst of all – I felt old!  I remember one workout I had to walk out of the gym and get air feeling like I was going to throw up.  I remember not being able to run 10 minutes straight.  Even pushups, on my knees, and couldn’t do five.

Fast forward 1 year later – I’ve got a half marathon under my belt, I can squat my body weight, deadlift 1.5 my body weight, jump up a 34″ box, and press nearly 100# over my head.   I’ve lost about 20% body fat, lost 60#, a size 2/4, and I feel super alive and young.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt this strong.  Even when I was in college running every day.

The struggle and sacrifice was so worth it! The worst workouts only meant the scale was going to drop again the next morning.  My heart would beat so hard whenever I got down to a new number.  I sometimes stepped on the scale like five times to make sure I wasn’t seeing things.  The heavier I lifted, the harder I pushed, it just kept getting more addicting.

If I could give anyone advice about what I went through – it would be just one sentence.  You are worth it.  You are worth the sacrifice. And no sacrifice should be too great for taking care of you.

I’m so grateful I didn’t cancel my membership. I’m grateful that I had such great trainers.  I’m grateful I gave myself a chance to be who I am today.

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Six more sleeps till another half marathon

OMG can I just tell you how freaking scared I am? Yeah – six days before another 13.1 madness and I’m fucking scared shitless!!! LOL

Anyways nothing I can do about it other than show up and make it happen right? Right. Whatever you say people.  Did I mention I’ve just NOT trained at all – just some measly interval running and regular lifting and crossfiting? Crazy shit balls.  That’s right. That’s how I roll people.  The only thing I’ve honestly really done close to “marathon training” is upping my Omega3 intake to 6 grams (from 4 grams) and then adding some sweet potatoes to my breakfast.

Well the last few weeks have been sort of a snoozer.  I’m impatient about not being able to crack past 205# on my deadlift. Like I hate that. I hit it and now I can’t seem to get past it fast enough. I mean it’s only been a month no pressure.  I also can’t seem to stack more weight on my strict back squats. I was able to do 215# but that was with the assisted machine crap. I want to be able to do it from just the rack.

Fear has also been a common thing lately. I’ve been so scared of the bar.  Last week I hit a 105# power clean and I started shaking uncontrollably. When I tried to go again I rolled it so bad off my fingers I ended up dropping 105# from my shoulders. The way weights hit the floor is so disappointing.  I’ve also been so afraid of doing a handstand! So dumb right? My little niece can do one without fear and there I am paralyzed by just swinging my head below my hip. So stupid.

So imagine my nerves and disappointment in my progress as I walked into my session tonight with my PT.  On top of that, I ate a shitload of salt this weekend so I was carrying about three extra lbs. of water – let’s add that all together: disappointment, nervousness and being straight up pissed.

Then it happened.

A 34″ Box Jump PR. Ok that seemed a little easy.  Then we went to my least favorite lift; the clean & press.  Only we practiced a split jerk and viola – 95# clean split jerk.
*insert happy dance here*

I’m done bitching now. Even after being made to do burpees for not following directions!

First time at clean and split jerks. 95#

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