Category Archives: Becoming Badass

girl stuff

Hair evolution!  Embarrassing but here is a timeline of my hair starting with college to now (and I have selectively NOT included a few of the worst!):

Journey from senior year in college in 1989 (remember the perm?) thru ~1997:  And I had never worn lipstick/makeup until around 1997 when I got into ballroom dancing

then from 2001 to 2010…

And finally this most recent decade from 2013 to 2018… had to include the pic of teaching the kid how to shave 🙂

You can see how I always had kind of short hair since college and until this last year, always had bangs.  Not much you could do with it if you were working out, it just got wet.  Now I have to keep it out of my face while doing things like burpees or running in the wind.

Last summer I was at my brothers house and my 16 yr old niece showed me how to use the latest curling irons and I got one – as it grew out it was very frizzy and I just wanted it straighter.  Every time I was in London, it was a mess. She showed me the kind that you wrap your hair around and I gave myself a few scarring burns doing it – quit — complained to her and she enlightened me explaining that I need to use the glove that came with it!  So I’m good with that now and can curl or straighten my hair.

I just realized yesterday what those elastic larger bands are for (see blog main pic) …to keep the smaller pieces of hair out of your face.  I was in crossfit Friday night using two bobby pins to keep my hair out of my face and little and big hunks kept falling into my face while doing burpees.  I also just started to be able to put most of my hair up in a high, very small ponytail in back.

Now that I use some minimal makeup (can’t be bothered with it) and am coming up to speed at the age of 52 on hair, I am almost like a real girl!

I still haven’t figured out bra sizing….

Better late than never!




Hail to the Salt Truck! 2-6-19

I slid down my driveway thinking about being back in the hospital if I rip my shoulder up during a fall… After about two miles, a salt truck pulled into my neighborhood.  I raised my arms in victory and immediately ran behind it!  Conditions improved dramatically for the rest of the run.  Pic above are the ice chunks in my hair at the end.

I know I have a Masters Degree in Engineering from MIT but finally figured out why the headlamps tilt down (I always thought they were just kind of defective)!  I can get a good view of the street in front with them tilted down.  Love the headlamp and have no need for a hand torch anymore…


Around 5 miles I realized my legs and feet were going numb.  I ran back and forth on one side of the side of my neighborhood hoping to have my husband drive by and admire my toughness 🙂  He did not.

Bring it on!



Hangin’ with the Pros! My first bike fitting

I went to Fit Werx in Peabody, MA – my old stomping grounds!  Met Dean Phillips (who has the Men’s 40-44 3000m Pursuit Best Performance World Record), Marty Miserandino (multi-time Ironman), and my personal fitter Mike Meuse! The guys were all awesome and informative and just great folks to add to my personal support crew 🙂

Many things were measured:  inseam, feet length/width, arm length, and angles of all my appendages measured while taking a movie of me pedaling on my bike.  After reviewing my “as is,”  Mike made adjustments to my seat height and handlebar position (moved it further away from me). I also got my FIRST PAIR of clip-on shoes and pedals and triathlon shorts.  It is like I am ALMOST a real bicyclist!!

When I got home, I rode my Kickr Core Smart trainer but with so many new factors (pedals and position) it was hard to really know the full result.  I have immediately seen about 1kw/kg improvement in power – wowza!

And Goggins came up….he is everywhere and still gets me all worked up.

Done with scuba class, back at it with a better back, honest reporting and en route to middle age badassery,



Dreaming of Cheese Dip, AAR Week 7 Jan 27, 2019

My worst week to-date.

Felt beat up – hurt knee from Sunday (because I just had to try the sprint in Zwift and hurt it cycling so hard), hurt quad from the week before (during interval sprints) and lower back pain making me hate to wake up and put my socks on in the morning.

Fantasized about food – eating questo dip and chips (my favorite), broke down and stress ate chocolate at work, was starving all the time (it was the VORTEX and freezing…) and totally sick of all my planned food I’ve been eating for over a year now.

Scuba class M and W had me leaving work early and not getting home until 10pm and having to study in advance a few hours a class.  I did pass though in advance of my diving vacation in Bonaire end of Feb.

Work is work – an unending stream of craziness day to day and I’m three people down so we are all just trying to cover and spend some time screening/interviewing folks.

I needed a break or something to shake it up a little bit.

For weeks before, I was singing at the top of my lungs on the bicycle all alone in the basement, happily doing 2-3 hr workouts at night going late when I needed to, and happy all day at work.  Last week I was so tired I could barely get out of bed.  I missed two workouts (a run and a bike and my weight workouts) during the week but went back to getting in the crossfit workouts at the gym (it wasn’t all bad!).  I had the queso and chips and enchilades verdes Friday night and Saturday (which might be the reason along with all the water I’m trying to drink, to my 3 lb weight gain over the weekend).

Based on my AAR last week, here’s what went well and what I wanted to different and how it went:

Went well:

  • Super happy to get back to crossfit classes (my car was in the shop week before so a few days got screwed up when it spent more time then planned there)
  • Am doing 5 pullups in a row – best in 15+ years
  • Cleaned 75#
  • Started drinking more water
  • Spent a bunch of time on yoga and extra stretching Sunday – felt pretty good after the 6.7 mile run and 20 mile bike
  • Finished scuba class

What I planned to do differently and how it went

  • I have to get 7 hours sleep – I am not rested when I wake up.  In bed by 9:30 – no playing on phone if I wake up except to put on music.  BETTER
  • Move aerobic workouts during the week to the morning – instead of wasting time watching stupid videos, do the workout and get it out of the way.  Wake up at 5am to do this. – NOT DONE YET BUT WILL follow plan with 3 long workouts in evening and see how it goes this week
  • Add 5 min meditation in am and consistent daily 10 min stretching – STRETCHING YES, DAILY MEDITATION NOT YET
  • If back doesn’t improve, need to make appt with Dr. Caddoo – IN PROCESS
  • Create Good ab routine – added planks to mobility workout
  • Drink 2 glasses of water when I wake up – adding more in at night

Don’t count me out yet!  Just found a few new friends to talk to about things and remembering the very late evening 2 weeks ago I ran my best 5k all alone in the cold night when I did not want to go, which made me prouder of anything else I’d done to date 🙂

Gotta get back to clean eating (limoncello is giving me hot flashes at night), and honest reporting,


Loving the Long Runs and What Steals My Soul

Rode the assault bike for a 20 min buy-in to a crossfit workout this week so started out pretty hard and after 10 calories, I could feel the life drain out of me.  Love it as I suck at it.  Just have to get through it to find a foothold to do more.  Just like the hills…especially the one in my neighborhood when at night I think the lights I see in the distance are the end and they turn out to be just halfway to the top!  I try to say positive things to myself like “this isn’t so bad” or “I got this.”

I am up to 80 min runs with a few sprints mixed in while in Z2 (ie. slow mode) which I absolutely love now (even in the cold and with some snow – see above pic).  If it wasn’t for this !!&&*%%^ back, I could go on for a long time and will need to.  Lately I’ve been running back and forth and back and forth and thru the cul-de-sacs in my neighborhood.  As long as Kenny leaves the light on in our living room so I THINK he is awake, I know I am not alone out there.  I don’t like music so much when I run – seem to be busy enough watching my heart rate or working in intervals and thinking.

Had a fail yesterday with the Ghirardelli chocolates (caramel filled, raspberry filled squares).  Can’t eat just one.  Ate all the ones in the lawyers’ office at work so bought them to refill it.  Will be a meager offering…. It’s been a week of needing to not eat the same thing every day – have to shake things up once in a while but find a few healthier options!!

Week 6 almost over – heading down to do 80″ on the bike and then will be rooting for the Patriots in the Superbowl!

Chocolate eating, scuba class passing, and honest reporting,


p.s.  And as I missed the most points in my scuba class despite studying all the quizlet cards, maybe I’m just the hardest working and not that smart after all 🙂

My Cookie Jar

David Goggins talked in his book “Can’t Hurt Me” about keeping a cookie jar of things you have done and been proud of to use when you are down or need to find the next foothold and get past a hard place athletically or otherwise.  I’m going to keep this list of cookies out front and not forget.

  • Did 23 miles ragnar
  • Did 2 Spartan supers back to back
  • Ran ~12 hours at Killington Ultra, 25.6 miles, 12,100′ elevation gain
  • Swing dancing in Chicago
  • Hills at Nashoba
  • Out late at nights on Fridays doing interval training
  • Consistent training for months building up tolerance…many hours on the roads and trails
  • Did Bonefrog 3200′ elevation
  • Did Clovis 13 miles + 180 burpee jumping pullups
  • New Bedford Half Marathon completed without issue in 2:30
  • Quit GE after 17 years wanting to do something I believed in and no clear way to do it.  Scariest thing I have ever done and  here I am 10 years later in a beautiful house, in a job I love, with a wonderful man and not living on the streets – which is the picture that kept coming to mind immediately after quitting.
  • Moved to Italy in a very difficult job and did the job while learning Italian – leaving the job decently fluent, having found a wonderful Lindy Hop dance partner who was the Rock and Roll champion of Italy.  Found him after I could understand enough Italian to read the newspaper (no internet then) and hunt down the dance studios.
  • Quit GE the first time while I was doing very well and moved to a new city (Chicago) in the hopes of learning something new consulting.  In Chicago, in addition to meeting a great consulting team and friends I still have today, I learned how to dance which opened up a whole new world and friends to me, and learned nutrition/got in the best shape of my life (before now).  Learned to love living in the city and also by keeping my eyes open at the music school I was taking piano at on the weekends, found the most amazing quintet to play in.
  • Learned piano as an adult and worked hard at it – enough to play pieces like Liebestraume by Chopin.
  • Started WISE (Women in Science and Engineering Program) in 1990 which is still serving hundreds of young women every year encouraging them to pursue careers in science and engineering.
  • Realized that the most important place to be is where you are and then found friends in Boston at the community garden and started to be more involved with my neighborhood and people around me.
  • Put a few green roofs on in Boston
  • Hopefully made a difference in the life of my Little Sister from Big Sister Program, who I am so very proud of and so happy to still have her in my life 25 years later – despite having lost her for a year or so along the way.
  • Learned to swim as an adult and went at it hard with daily swim team practice
  • Survived stepmotherhood with myself, kid and husband intact and all doing well – this has been perhaps the hardest thing I have ever done
  • Surviving workout 16.5 during Crossfit Open 21/18/15/12/9/6/3 thruster @65 and burpees over bar in 26.56.
  • Having done 12 strict pullups in a row.
  • Completed a half marathon.
  • All my max lifts to date, deadlift of 265
  • Leaving the executive track at GE and changing the course of my life to take care of myself first and doing what made me happy moving back to Boston in 2003.  This taught me to trust my gut and not listen to anyone but myself.
  • Terrified of giving presentation at Energy conference but did it very successfully and created a new presentation picture based that hopefully was way more impactful than any I have given in the past.


After Activity Report Week 6, Jan 27, 2019

Title pic is from my makeup run in Boston on Saturday.

Finished Don’t Hurt Me by David Goggins.  I alternated between being mad at him for being so arrogant, at being afraid I couldn’t be as hardcore as he is, and thinking how much I agree with a lot of what he says.  I’m going to start using two of his tools, an after activity report to analyze last week and I’m going to make a list of my own cookie jar – things I can be proud of that I’ve done throughout my life to use when things get tough.

Week 6 AAR

Good things

  • Beat my 5k by 1:30 with new record of 28:08 with 08:46 pace, avg HR 158/max 169.
  • I can comfortably run in zone 2 now and keep my HR under 118.  In fact, I’m having to work at keeping my HR up in Z3 when I need to now
  • I conquered my fear of scuba and have done well in class – only 2 more to go.  Did all the homework over the weekends and spent 6 hours in class after work
  • I got a note from my CEO Friday night saying what I great job I did talking to our new, largest customer as we opened the new Operations Center I run.  This is a pic of me giving a tour of it
  • Did more than I ever have with bench press since surgery pressing 3@105lb
  • Did the most pullups in 18 yrs with 4 in a row (building up 1 more a week with shoulder coming back)
  • Went to see my skeletal cleaner to help me with my lower back and overall issues
  • Hit new low weight of 138.4 lbs and consistently stayed under 140 lb

ops ctr 2.jpg

Not so good

  • Missed two days of workouts because I was tired and worked late and chose sleep – although ultimately I didn’t do a good job with that either.  Made up aerobics on weekend but missed two crossfit classes and a strength day – which are important to me.
  • Am not doing a good job meditating daily
  • Did not do max squat because of fears for my rickety lower back
  • Although I have been doing a lot of mobility, I have to do it every day
  • Missed my PT appointment
  • Cheated on eating and had some limoncello and a few stress eating chocolates at work

What to do differently

  • I have to get 7 hours sleep – I am not rested when I wake up.  In bed by 9:30 – no playing on phone if I wake up except to put on music.
  • Move aerobic workouts during the week to the morning – instead of wasting time watching stupid videos, do the workout and get it out of the way.  Wake up at 5am to do this.
  • Add 5 min meditation in am and consistent daily 10 min stretching
  • If back doesn’t improve, need to make appt with Dr. Caddoo
  • Create Good ab routine
  • Drink 2 glasses of water when I wake up

What I need help with

  • Am I not eating enough anymore?  Am not losing that much weight so was keeping at RP base level even if doing 2 hour + workouts a day
  • Mobility routine – not sure mine is right.  I have to improve this this year a lot.  I don’t accept my times have to be slower with age when my mobility is such an issue.
  • Good ab routine

Mostly clean eating, honest reporting and feeling a little down but definitely not out!!!