Priorities…250 days until the Ultra

End of Training Week 3 Jan 6. 250 days left to train for the Ultra.  Watching Youtube videos of people finishing the Killington Beast got me out of bed during my last trip to Phoenix and down to the gym out of fear.… people saying that they couldn’t imagine having to do double what they just did…I say there is no hard race, just bad training 🙂 and I remind myself that I do best in the long, grueling type of events.  My old friends didn’t call me S.A.D. “Self Abuse Director” for nothing!  Below is a “memo” I found from high school from my buddy Dave who would find me running alongside the road in sleet storms during High School…

sad

Went back to work Wed Jan 2 and immediately had to organize logistics to fly to JFK and commission our part of a microgrid system Thurs and Friday.  I’ve got customers calling our CEO about impact to the larger project.  The cover picture shows two of our battery systems on top of the future TWA hotel at Terminal 5, JFK airport. Nowhere else I’d rather be on a cold night at midnight than testing and looking at oscilloscopes!  (this is really true – it is fun and I love my job)

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Last time I was down there on the Turner construction site, I got in trouble for not having my OSHA 10 so I spent 6 hours on Jan 1 doing the training, 5 hours Jan 2 and another 2 Jan 3 before passing my test 30 minutes before getting on the airplane!  Admittedly, I could have done a better job doing that over the holiday break.  I had a fantastic break through – just back from 3 weeks on the road and loving every minute of being at home with Kenny and his family.

So, I missed 3 days of my training because of this.  I also had brought all my lunch meals for the two days and got screwed up leaving them in the construction trailer and while on the job site roof, they bought food around 10pm for everyone and I ate a chicken parm sub – definitely NOT in my nutrition plan.  TOTAL FAIL.

The truth is I could not have worked harder though and work was the right call this time.

I am determined to breakthrough this maintenance phase I’ve been in since June and make some real progress in getting leaner and stronger.  Here are my STARTING Pics from this morning.  If I don’t start losing fat, I am dropping macros next week:

Comparison from over a month ago below – I have gotten way stronger arms (as viewed from the front anyway) since I’ve been able to lift more but not much different.

For now, I’m back on track with workout done today, food prepped for the week and a plan to help with my back issues.  I HAVE TO FIX MY LOWER BACK SORENESS!  I made a posterior chain workout routine and had my physical therapist take a look/comment on it.  I’m working it and hoping to make some progress…It’s still hard to put on my socks every morning!

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Clean eating, honest reporting and en route to badass and an ultra finish,

Laura

 

The gear you need…and then comes the work

The following is a summary of the gear necessary (so far) for my ultra training and for managing nutrition:

Clothes – Running, Cycling, Crossfit

  • Really reflective vests:  Illuminite.com, Oiselle.com firecracker jacket
  • Bike shorts – I am biking in week 3 and my bottom still hurts!  My athletic girlfriend says use triathlon shorts and do not wear underwear….My friend recommended buying tri shorts vs. bike shorts
  • Compression tights – I am a fan of Athleta and having tights with an easily accessible pocket to pull your phone in and out of during runs (NOT the zippers). BEST TIGHTS EVER = ALL IN TIGHT (Sculptek material) by Athleta.  Side pockets for phone, zip pockets, great compression, lasts forever.
    • If you get tights going just below knee, make sure the lowest band is 2″ wide or it can cut into your leg/back of your knee.
    • If under 25F, I’ll wear my pair with fleece inside else these are good for normal winter days in New England.
    • The Athleta Salutation tight with stash pocket made from Powervita material is similar with good side open phone pocket but not as thick material and not as compressive.
    • Thermal Ronhill Tech Winter Tights (medium cocoa color) are awesome with one biggish side pocket
  • A good sports bra –
    • nothing moves in this thing!  PrimaDonna sport “Sweater” bra Size (size UK34F for me, cosmic grey) which clasps in back with no underwire WHICH WILL CHAFE AND HURT YOU! at Copley Mall at a store called Rigby and Peller.  If you have underwire, use body butter or something between the girls or you will get a burn eventually.
    • DONT LIKE EXCEPT FOR LIGHTEST SUPPORT USED FOR CYCLING: Just started using SHEFIT which seems supportive but need to see how it performs on hot days and if it wicks water/sweat away or becomes a wet mess.  SHEFIT bras zip in front and are very supportive but heavier and more restrictive under arms than PrimaDonna.
  • I’ll wear cotton shirts for crossfit workouts but if running or hiking, I’ll wear wicking shirts.  I’ve found that one long sleeved shirt plus one medium weight fleece is all you need down to 10F with hat and gloves
  • XOSKIN short sleeve shirts – no seams/no chafing
  • I’m in love with smartwool shirts although they have to be the lightest weight to wear to crossfit and you don’t want to get too hot running.
    • Found brand MONTANE in Londo and got Primino 140 shirt mix of smartwool and polyester – very lightweight like the old Athleta tops I can’t find anymore
  • I don’t wear gloves unless its below 32F.
  • Good socks –
    •  Thorlos have the most cushion so are good for walking around the house and seem to be the least tight as well.
    • Becoming fan of Darn tough, used these in Hamsterwheel
    • Balega -were these Ragnar?  My lucky socks end of year 2019
    • Smartwool
  • Shoes – I like minimalist, zero drop shoes and use inov8 (I am now smarter and have a separate blog on just trail shoes) and Altra trail shoes such as Lone Peaks (my favorite – great in mud, rocks, etc) for trails and were Altra Superiors for road (but these lack structureand I pronate inwards). All Altras have a wide toe box and zero drop.
    • Altra Superiors no longer road favorites due to lack of inner arch support.  Recently got a pair of HOKA One One Arhai 5 for street but they have very disappointing traction
  • Colder weather gear:
    • Windproof overlayer pant:  Arcteryx Trino SL Tight (awesome to also wear around house but doesn’t come in petite size), narrower at ankle. great over compressive tights but for cold day <32F
    • Trailrun/Hike Jacket:  Arcteryx Gaea jacket – awesome, not waterproof, perhaps perfect over light or medium smartwool base layer.  Jacket is warm even if -11F with windchill – use with very light base layer (short sleeved smartwool tshirt, not long sleeved midweight)
    • Running skort:  Lululemon Pace Rival Skirt (tall) which has two great pockets in the shorts and waistband storage also.  On longer runs have had some chafing.
    • Wind/waterproof insulated overlayer:  Arcteryx Norvan SL Insulated hoody:  superlight, wind/rainproof and so warm for being so thin.  Need a good cold day for this though or over a very light underlayer.
    • Wind/waterproof summer layer:  Arcteryx Norvan LT jacket
    • Windproof layer:  Must have very very light jacket, I use one from Patagonia – good at all times, a must carry anytime
    • Note:  Arcteryx clothing seems to be smaller sized so I always get a Large

Running Gear

  • Night visibility equipment:  hand torch (don’t like anymore) with front and rear lights, clip on lights (my favorite are the smiley faces), a high vis vest I also wear in the daytime on every run, a light “harness” ( Noxgear- see pic below) which blinks and changes colors, headlamp (Petzl Arctic Core)
  • Aftershkoz wireless bone conduction headphones by AEROPEX – purchased DURING Hamsterwheel where you can’t play phone out loud with number of people on course.
  • Gymboss Charge interval timer for the run/walk method.  This one vibrates or beeps and has rechargeable batteries.  Only 99 cycles though so you need to restart the count every few hours – it vibrates a ton when it runs out so easy to know.  Vibrations could be stronger as hard to feel on cold leg!  Used this for first time in Hamsterwheel – ended up carrying it in my hand whole race.  Batteries still fine after 15 hours
  • I now own Trekking poles – got Leki macro varie that break down
  • Microspikes for snow/ice during hiking – Just got kahtoola
  • Dion racing snowshoes
  • Hydration Vest with ~5L of water (3L bladder in back and 2 18 oz bottles in front) with zipped pockets and open pockets for food and electrolytes and first aid, etc.  Love my inov8 2:1 vest as you can attach an additional “bag” to it for longer mountainous hikes where you want extra clothes, etc.  This vest is great in all weather and is used for Ultra races.
  • Workout tracking:  now use Garmin F935 because I needed the GPS tracking and battery life to last >12 hours.  Anything based on iphone won’t work when its cold as iphone will die within a few minutes left in cold.  For tracking of heart rate, running foot cadence (pace in foot strikes/minute) I am using a Wahoo TICKR chest heart rate monitor that feeds data to my Garmin or the Wahoo Runfit App on iphone  (I like this app because it reads out your mile splits).  Results for Runt app in first pic and results for fitbit in next three.  RUNFIT is better because fitbit heart rate doesn’t seem accurate once it is high.  The results below are for the same run –

HR issue:  RUNFIT says avg HR 127 with max 154, FITBIT says avg 145 with max 164.

RUNFIT also gives you minutes/mile by mile, cadence and a map of your run. I LOVE that RUNFIT will talk to me and tell me every time I hit a mile and my HR and last mile time in additional to overall time.

FITBIT has a better map showing each mile point.

The problem with using your phone GPS (either with Fitbit or Runfit) is that it runs the battery down fast – I have an iphone and before a 70 min run today, it was at 60% and barely lasted the run.  This will be what forces me to switch over to a Garmin device with longer battery life when workouts get longer!

Cycling Gear

  • You don’t need this specific trainer but I got a KICKR Core Smart trainer that I bought with the appropriate cassette (rear gears) for my bike.
  • My Specialized Ruby bike (without rear tire)
  • Quadlock system to attach phone to bicycle handle bars EASILY.  You can get extra components and also sandwich a large battery in between as phone, in airplane, using screen and gps will only last an hour.  THIS IS CRITICAL!!  I haven’t had much luck with battery cases and this is just awesome
  • Bontrager Ion 200RT/flare RT Bike Light Set.  White/Red small lights
  • Got some sleeves to be able to wear short sleeves and then remove the arm sleeves if hot.
  • Application I use to do runs and be with other humans vs. alone in my basement is Zwift.
  • Using the Zwift application on my phone, I mirror results to the tv through Apple tv.
  • The Zwift phone app (or on your computer) will find any sensors you are using and your smart trainer.
  • Wahoo TICKR heart rate monitor- if it isn’t picking up your heart rate, move the sensor down on your body.  My bra was blocking it for awhile before I figured this out.
  • Wahoo cadence sensor (for pedal turns/minute).  The RPM shown in the application without this sensor is not your pedal turns.
  • Sweat Towel
  • Extension Cord to charge your phone and a phone holder to put onto the bicycle handlebars

Overall Setup (we also have a Concept2 Rower):

From the left, a Wahoo cadence sensor (this is one piece only, no mating piece needed to determine cadence), iphone charger and handlebar holder (one below is horrible – get a Quadlock system), appletv, wahoo TICKR heart rate monitor.

Hiking gear

  • Started hiking again end of 2019 doing some elevation gains/distance on weekends but really started hiking again in 2020…am trying now to Peakbag the NH48
  • A running hydration pack is great for summer hiking – and my Inov8 2:1 pack has an extra 10L “pocket” you can attach to carry an extra jacket in fall
  • 2021 got a Thermarest NeoAir Topo Luxe sleeping pad (3 season R value=3.7), size wide, 1 lb 12 oz, 25″x72″x4″.  Needed it as I camped for Kilkenney ridge race trying to use our queen air mattresses which were too big for tent and leaked!  Can fill this using lungs only in <5 min.
  • For wet/colder fall days where you need microspikes, more backup layers, etc, I just got a new Osprey 20L pack the “Tempest 20” which has attachments for treking poles, some great pockets, storage in hip belt, room for bladder or Nalgene bottles, etc.  Tried for first time 10/24/20 and may need adjustment as had a little soreness in my back (which actually occurs to me almost anytime on long run/hike).  I got this vs. a 30-35L pack because I have lighter/easy to pack gear and for day hikes, this is more than enough room.
  • A note on hiking shoes:  Some people want ankle high “boots” for ankle support, especially with the rocks here in New England.  Other experienced hiker friends say basic trail running shoes are fine – good practice for ankle stability, etc.  For winter, perhaps a slightly warmer shoe would help but I’m sticking with trail shoes for now also as they drain to support water crossings, etc.

Other miscellaneous Gear

  • General hiking daypack:  For colder weather where the 20L of the Inov-8 2:1 pack isn’t enough or you need to carry Nalgene bottles because the soft bottles with narrow hoses may freeze, I researched and got a Osprey Tempest 20 day pack in fall of 2020. Key features include:
    • Easy to attach hiking poles
    • Storage on hip stracks for food (although I store mine in my hiking pants/tights)
    • Storage for 2 nalgene bottles and/or soft larger bladder
    • good separation of pockets to keep a few things at easier reach
    • Nice outer pocket to stuff in rainjacket, etc for easy access
  • Reusable Stasher sandwich bags for the trail – can also pour boiling water into them, freeze, etc
  • Scott Jureks chocolate/cashew/almond/coconut oil/fig bars rolled in coconut – amazing substitution for the gross GUs.  Also as they have some fats/proteins, better fuel
  • A good journal is indispensable – there doesn’t seem to be one answer to recording all that you do…cycling is in wahoo app (which uploads to strava), crossfit is nowhere I like, running is runfit (which uploads to Strava).  I use a journal to document things I am learning and all I do day to day along with my wall calendar for high level.
  • Jump rope for warmups
  • Fitibit Charge to stay connected with my family – we have weekly step challenges I love plus I was using it for running when I just cared about distance and mile pace which it does a great job at.  Fitbit also give you cool, uplifting messages in the morning when you put it back on after a shower!  It is NOT waterproof
  • A weight bench, 45 lb bar when I have to do a strength or crossfit type workout at home
  • Pullup bars upstairs on a bedroom door
  • Ring rows next to the weight bench
  • Last but not least, a good bed!  We just spent a ridiculous amount on a Sleep Number bed with adjustable base so we can go into zero gravity position.  Got it yesterday and you can see us with cat below trying it out.  Sleep Number can have adjustable hardness by side.  We returned a Tempurpedic memory foam mattress we had just gotten.  A good night sleep is so important!

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Meal planning stuff

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  • Food scale and for travel, a portable food scale and collapsible measuring cup
  • Protein powder and shaker bottle with ball or something to help powder mix (i do it with just water)
  • LEAK PROOF containers – I use Six Pack Fitness Containers shown above
  • Good olive oil – I recommend my neighbors’ who imports it (and I know good olive oil from living in Italy) – Johnny Madge
  • Bathroom scale

Hope this helps as I’ve been struggling to accumulate all this stuff over the last year!

and BTW unrelated to OCR, but this is the best camp chair ever that is foldable and super lightweight:

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There are no excuses – no hurt shoulder – no lack of equipment – it is just me and the 250 days until the race…

Laura

Taking the Shoulder out for a Spin!

NEARING END OF WEEK 2

Rotator cuff shoulder surgery was June 11, 2018 and I got my final surgeon’s clearance on Dec 7.  It is healed but not at full strength.

Well, it has been an exciting few days as I have achieved quite a few firsts since shoulder surgery doing the strength workouts – goal is to increase weight slowly then if no shoulder pain, increase again.  The mental issue is that there is no prescribed way to go from not doing these to knowing when you can do them and how much weight to use post surgery.  I decided to take the shoulder out for a spin!  I never know if I’m being smart or wimpy with what I do (or don’t do)…. Huge results this week:

  • First time doing Back squat with weights – did 105#, 10 reps (a little challenging)
  • First time doing Wallballs – 150 total with 8# ball.  Very excited about this! Favored right arm a little on catch and push up.
  • Increased Bench press – 75# (easy)
  • First time doing Dead hangs with full weight (no scap pullups yet) – 30 reps.  Needs a good warmup to settle in with partial weight at first – hard to make it comfortable but did it.  Hung from the bar for 2.25 minutes.
  • First time 25# kettlebells 3×12 reps.  Note that early Dec I tried lighter KBs and stopped because I could feel a twinge in the shoulder and now nothing!  What a difference a few weeks makes. patience (not my strong point)

Also, the pose running method started to make more physical sense as I change from a heel striker to a foot ball then heel kiss kind of gal.  I could actually easily do the ball/heel sequence best while running leaning against a wall – this was great as I know what it’s supposed to feel like now.  I also realized that you have to pick up your knees (do proper pose form) to make it work.  Loved that I had a running routine focused on just practicing this (and the sore calves to prove it!!).

Since I’ve been running, I’ve also had some pretty bad lower back soreness (causing me to dread putting on socks in the morning as it’s so stiff) and despite doing a long list of posterior chain mobility, it took this video below to fix it in 5 minutes!!  I’ll be doing all of these daily from now on as well as continuing my other mobility work.  I was working these two painful areas with a lacrosse ball earlier to no avail (as he states in the video!).

 

It’s also been fun to put myself in different gears for once – for a long time I just run with one speed (and OK, get gassed out during the shuttle runs we do sometimes in crossfit) and my new coach and workouts have me varying pace with heart rate.  Two examples below.  First is when I run pretty easy, then do a few accels.  Second was my pose running practice starting at a lower HR and then moving into a higher one for the end of the run.

 

 

I am also back into my strict nutrition plan using the RP templates.  Treating almost all days as light days for now as I try to cut back a little. Have been stagnating at ~140 lbs for a while now.  This picture on my fridge is helping me make the right nutrition decisions….I ate perfectly for 7 months and have been struggling being super strict the last few months but think I am back now.

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Meditation:  I’ve been reading this book and starting to practice for 10-20″ a day.

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  • First time I was scattered and all over the place – 10 min was very hard.
  • Second time 10″ was a snap and went by quickly with a good idea that came to me
  • Tried 20″ which was difficult and ended up the last 3 min under a blanket by the fire but did the 20″.

Loved the quietness though and sitting in front of my crackleflame log (which Kenny says doesn’t belong in the state of NH).

Following the rules:  This my thing.  I’ve always been good at studying and doing the work.  I was not a good student this week –

  • missed the Monday workout because it was changed from a rest day to a work day and I didn’t read the updated schedule carefully enough.
  • Did the wrong strength workout (turns out the Monday one) a different day so am doing a makeup of the Wednesday one on Saturday.
  • Thought the 10 x 1′ on 1′ off intervals meant 10″ of them not 10 reps so I ended up doing the last 3 on the bike as I wasn’t going back out in the cold rain again.  The cover of this blog is me after the run workout with all my lights, running on icy roads in the cold, cold rain.

Having the time of my life 🙂  Dark night, icy road, cold rain – bring it on!

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Clean eating, honest reporting and en route to badass,

Laura

Perils of Technology and Cadence vs. Heart Rate – Dec 23, 2018

My first official week of training is complete.  Right in the middle of it I got a really bad cold so was out for 3 days sleeping – trying to convince my coach I am not a slacker…. after the Run and Bike tests, I got a first pass at my target heart rate zones and spent the last two days trying to train in the lower part of the zones.  I totally get it, most people go all out all the time and overtrain so Z2 will seem lower than I think/lower than I normally run or bike.

Bike

Endurance Training Zone

Metabolic Training Purposes

per Zone

Perceived Exertion

per Zone

MHR%

per Zone

Your

Heart Rates

per Zone

Zone 1 (Z1) Recovery, Warm-up, & Cool-down Very light; you feel like you are doing nothing < 61% < 93
Zone 2 (Z2) Extensive Aerobic Endurance Training Comfortable; you feel like you could go all day 61-70% 94-106
Zone 3 (Z3) Intensive Aerobic Endurance Training Manageable; you feel you are working, but you feel no pain 71-80% 107-121
Zone 4 (Z4)

Anaerobic Threshold Endurance Training

Hard; you feel burning in your muscles and chest 81-90% 122-143
Zone 5 (Z5) Lactate Tolerance Endurance Training Very hard; you are in pain and want to stop > 90% > 144

Run

Endurance Training Zone Metabolic Training Purposes

per Zone

Perceived Exertion

per Zone

MHR%

per Zone

Your

Heart Rates

per Zone

Zone 1 (Z1) Recovery, Warm-up, & Cool-down Very light; you feel like you are doing nothing < 61% < 103
Zone 2 (Z2) Extensive Aerobic Endurance Training Comfortable; you feel like you could go all day 61-70% 104-118
Zone 3 (Z3) Intensive Aerobic Endurance Training Manageable; you feel you are working, but you feel no pain 71-80% 119-135
Zone 4 (Z4)

Anaerobic Threshold Endurance Training

Hard; you feel burning in your muscles and chest 81-90% 136-150
Zone 5 (Z5) Lactate Tolerance Endurance Training Very hard; you are in pain and want to stop > 90% > 151

This is how I did:

Bike – supposed to do an hour in Z2 ~100 bpm at a 90 cadence (right foot) with a few accels into Z3 ~115.  I used Zwift and a NYC course which had some unexpected steep hills so had to change midway through…

Results:

HR = 114 avg (vs. target 100 bpm) and I did manage to keep it ~100 for some of the time.  But it had to be so easy that sometimes my w/kg (level of effort on bike) was so low the app thought I had stopped!  I don’t have a good cadence monitor for bike yet but we did metronome for a bit and I was way slower than 90 with right foot.

Run – this felt way further off despite a serious attempt to run slow.  Mind you, I had just watched a youtube video where a trainer who was explaining pose method was making fun of crossfit folks who did their runs in the middle of a metcon almost shuffling out the door.  I really struggled keeping my form OK (knees higher, cadence 180) and my heart rate low.

Results:

Avg HR/bpm = avg 123 with max 158. (vs target 104-118/151).  Note fitbit avg = 145, max 167

Cadence per TICKRx 153-157 (vs. target 180).  During accels I was at 180.

Also, runfit app didn’t seem to display right so I eventually gave up and just tried to run slow and relaxed to see what happened in the end.

Conclusions/Lessons Learned:  I need to learn how to run/ride easy and how to use this technology !

Official Training Day 1: Run Test

Dec 17, 2018 Official start of training for the Spartan Killington Ultra Sat Sept 14!!

Food: Following RP template base, this was a light day

Workout:  Run test (pic above after) per my coach

Completed 3.2 miles in the dark with my hand torch and smiley lights:

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Gear:  Used new TICKRx heart rate monitor using Wahoo Runfit App.  I did an experiment of data from Fitbit vs. TICKRx and here’s how it compares. In summary Fitbit is about 10 BPM slower than TICKRx and does not provide cadence data:

Fitbit used with Fitbit app
(started first, shutoff last)
TICKRx used with Wahoo Runfit App
Mile splits 9:43 mile 1
9:25 mile 2
9:08 mile 3
9:23
9:21
9:00
Avg pace/mile 9:22 9:12
Heart rate avg/max 147/160 157/169
Dist 3.18 3.22
Total time 29:50:00 29:39:00
Cadence no data 155 SPM
How I felt Great although slugging down 20g protein powder in vita-coco made me feel a little queasy!

I also have both uploading to Strava so wanted to see what happened.  Only the fitbit uploaded for now…..

AAARGH!  I was trying to see if I could break the 9:00 min mile barrier and did a mile in 9:00…..I did mile 2 and because the runfit app talks to me each mile with my pace (finally!  have been trying to have fitbit do that for months) and heard mile 2 was 9:21 so really tried to pick it up.  My fastest time before this for a mile was 8:54 and had 9:07 at the end of six miles around Sept.

I am always scared.  Was scared before I did this – don’t know why as worst that could happen is I go out too hard and die, which would be a lesson learned based on what pace I was at.  I’ve done this distance a ton of times.  Ben Bergeron classifies fear as being a fear for your life/safety (which despite being dark was not) or a fear of not belonging to the pack.  Since I am not really part of a running pack, not sure that these categories are accurate.  Maybe I’m just afraid of failure even if it is just me looking – and I firmly believe in the wise saying that Success (or courage) is moving from failure to failure with equal enthusiasm (quoted from Churchill, Lincoln?).  I liked Ben Bergerons statement about not worrying if you’re nervous before something as it just means your body is getting ready – that made me feel better last week when I had to speak at an energy conference!

I got my first indoor trainer a week ago, the KICKr CORE and have it and our rowing machine setup downstairs with TV so that I can use the Zwift racing app.  I have no idea what the parts of a bike are called how to change a tire, patch a tire and am still confused on the gearing.  I did a 20 mile Zwift ride through London and got stuck on a hill trying to figure out how to lower the gear….need a cheat sheet for left vs. right gears and top/bottom levers on each side.   Took us a few hours to get it assembled and setup with Zwift, and then more time to see how to upload to Strava.

My butt is killing me today.  I need something to hold my phone on my bicycle handlebars and need to try to sync the cadence tomorrow during the bike trial as I believe the TICKERx will get that data vs. buying a cadence sensor.

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Here’s to day 1 in the books and a little stretching/yoga to follow!

Clean eating, honest reporting and en route to badass,

Laura

Shoutout to the BHE: Best Husband Ever

Kenny Donahue has listened to me every morning for the past year as I weigh myself and make a few comments in the morning, as I put on my fitbit and read out loud the little motivational message it gives, as I catcall him every morning while he’s in the shower, as I tell him every day I am so happy I am back to normal and puts up with me coming home after 8pm because I’m working out after work and have a two hour round trip commute, eating a limited set of food (much of which he doesn’t eat so we are cooking separately a lot), having patience while I’ve done physical therapy every night rolling around in the living room, helping me weigh and cooking me food per my plan being supportive, and being so self confident while I surround myself with a set of jacked men as my support team 🙂

My handsome, sweet, funny, smart, gentle man – thanks babe!

 

 

StrongerU vs RP Templates and The Domino Effect

fire and fuel

I made a presentation for a lunchtime learning at work called “Fire and Fuel” attached.  I didn’t geek out on details of macros in that but will here.

StrongerU philosophy is simple foods, follow your assigned macros (grams of carbs, fat, proteins per day eating whenever and whatever you want as long as you get within 5 g of the targets).  You have to log everything (I use myfitnesspal), report in weekly to your coach with your sleep, how you feel, what macros you ate every day, weight daily (used to calculate avg weekly weight and compare to week before), and bust/waist/hip measurements periodically.  Coach will adjust you or advise you based on your progress.  Lessons learned after doing this for a year:

A few reflections and The Domino Effect after deciding to lose weight – all kinds of other good things started happening:
  • I think this shoulder surgery will result in me being better than I ever was before (especially with mobility) as I also have my physical therapist as part of my team who will help me with more than just getting my full range of motion (95% back) and shoulder related strength back (next gate to pass before being able to lift heavier weights in Dec).
  •  I am also tracking workouts and splits – I pretty much PR every week which is easy to do starting from where I am!  My running is getting better all the time and actually fun again – has been a while!  Losing 45 pounds can do that
  • Details of when to/how often to eat in general don’t matter – total calories is most important for weight lost
  • Must track macros.  Without the data and consistency, it’s a waste of time.
  • Food is way more important than working out to losing weight – that’s why I was so confused when I started after seeing little progress after a year of crossfit
  • Food management helped me recover way faster – an incredible amount faster actually.  I used to get destroyed at XFit and hope to go 5x a week without issues now.
  • I was overeating thinking I had to eat more while working out and found out I recovered better and it didn’t matter when I cut back
  • Blaming weight gain on middle age metabolism is B.S.
  • Got a fitbit to track activity.  LOVE LOVE LOVE my fitbit to understand activity levels and found comraderie because my family and I challenge every week for the most steps thru the app.  Best feature I didn’t realize I needed was sleep tracking.  I don’t get enough – need to work this still.
  • Power of habit – being active daily vs. setting a target of 3-4x a week (which is easy to postpone).  Got this idea stuck in my thru a Ben Bergeron Chasing Excellence Podcast – a series I love and you should check out
  • I have a lot to learn
  • I feel like I am back to where I was back in 1998 (please tell me you were born then!) when I was in great shape.  Although I think I’m actually better than that now(!!) once I gain back the strength after shoulder surgery – have run further and probably lifted way more thru crossfit than I did then.  There will be no more “I used to” – being able to NOT say that was my main goal.  I have survived middle life and stepmotherhood and come out better on the other side (well, I’m still in middle life 🙂
  • I can’t keep crap in the house or I’ll eat it and if I cheat, I cheat too much so expect to be strict or off; however, my “way off” isn’t really that far off these days.  You can see Monday where I meant to eat one of the belgian chocolates I brought back and ate like 5 instead.  I’ve learned occassional celebrations, etc won’t matter but to make it an exception vs. every day
  • Consistency in workouts and nutrition will get you to badass.  Funny as  I also heard it since then from other sources (ie. great podcast on Tim Ferriss how where he interviews Ryan Flaherty – who coaches folks like Serena Williams and works for Nike now) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkFYWuc5MhE  (You would like this and it gets pretty technical – I had to look a bunch of stuff up – he ties deadlifts to speed).  Ryan was saying your body will adapt to the stresses based on the shape it is in – so I just need to keep running and doing crossfit while maintaining good nutrition and I will look better.  I am on it and committed.
  • Learning it is OK to be a little hungry – that is like a revelation.
  • It rubs off – some folks I work with are inspired and making changes to their lives as well.  I started a series called “Profiles in Awesomeness” and am interviewing/putting out articles on folks who made changes, why, etc and started a work movement called “Get moving” to help inspire/help others who want to be more active.  We plan to do company races and build community thru that.

RP templates – You put in data, pay ~$100 and download them.  Basic philosophy is also macros but broken up by meal and also with modified macros based on if you have a rest day, light /moderate/hard workout day (ie. more carbs for harder workout days).  Eye opener is that crossfit is considered a light day!

During the weight loss phase, I was at around 1515 calories.  Using the Inbody scan results I got last week, I need 1475 calories/day just to maintain my basic metabolic functions and I am at 24% body fat.  Test results shown below:

weight chart 9-1-18InBody Scan - Nov 14 2018

When I downloaded RP templates, comparison of assigned macros to my last StrongerU macros in grams attached… this explains why it feels I am losing weight again!

MACRO BREAKOUT AND TOTAL CALORIE COMPARISON
StrongerU REST RP Light RP Mod RP Heavy
carb 150 120 125 200 230
fat 60 55 55 55 55
protein 125 125 120 120 120
total calories 1640 1475 1475 1775 1895

It took all last week to get used to the RP templates because of the following:

  • Breaking up my carbs better by meal included changing my breakfast!  this is huge!  I have been an oatmeal, milk, berry, maple syrup breakfast person forever.  Now on light days I am eating egg white omelets with tomatoes/spinach and something I LOVE – wheat toast with butter and a little raspberry jam.
  • Love two meals between breakfast and dinner as I had been scrapping by with an Rx bar – with my long commute, I often don’t eat until 8pm and it is a long time between noon and 8!
  • Changed my pre/post workout so am now slugging a scoop of protein in coconut water instead of an Rx bar.
  • Toast and protein before bread is new but fun as I love the toast.
  • RP meals have a “handful of veggies” per meal excluding peas/corn/corn which count towards carbs – this is a change but easy to do.  My lunch used to be a frozen mix of veg and now I am more selective in what I’m including and adding vegetables to breakfast.

What I don’t like with RP:  lack of fidelity around total grams/day so it is harder to meet the exact numbers (which I know are always an approximation anyway) and tracking of different macros/day makes it harder to program into myfitnesspal.  It also requires knowledge of the following week and a commitment to do what you say every day so you eat all the meals appropriately.  Not a bad thing if you want to have good habits!

Clean eating, honest reporting and en route to badass,

Laura

 

Showing Up

Des Linden  won the Boston Marathon last year and below is a link to a podcast she did with Rich Roll (the source as well for an inspirational video about the Iron Cowboy – man who did 50 ironmans in 50 days in 50 states (but that’s another story)….

http://www.richroll.com/podcast/des-linden-375/

The main and significant takeaway I got was the message that you need to SHOW UP.  This means you need to show up and workout on days you want to stay in bed, or are tired, or whatever.  Turning working out into habit and a priority is something I am focused on.  It can’t be trying to fit in 3 days of workouts where you can always say, I’ll skip today but do tomorrow.  Just do it. everyday. (using rest days for mobility/walking and active recovery not couch sitting) and make it something you enjoy.  Ben Bergeron also talks about this a lot in his podcast Chasing Excellence.

Last Wednesday, at 9pm, when I went for a 3 mile run after crossfit workout, all I could hear were the words “Show up” as I literally froze the first 1/2 mile on an isolated road all by myself putting in the time and thinking of Des Linden.

Clean eating, honest reporting and en route to Badass

Laura

 

Addressing Lower Back Pain

Since I’ve been running more, I’m having issues with lower back pain after longer runs – ie. so much that I’m crippled and can’t roll out or anything else my back will spasm.  After talking to folks, I think it is my posterior chain (back, butt, hamstrings plus tight pecs that pull me over).  So I’m working mobility plus a few posture changes.

  • I have a 2 hour commute so while driving, I put a lacrosse ball behind my upper shoulders.  This makes me think about pushing on it, which changes a bent over car posture into one upright.  I am hoping 2 hours a day without slumping will matter!
  • I got a second pair of progressive glasses especially for working at my computer.  I was constantly taking mine off and hunching over to see the screen.  LOVE THEM.  Compromises of middle age!

This is me in my car…

IMG_2024

Exercises and massage work:  I am trying to go weekly to see Steph Bedaw at Crossfit Nashua to help me.  She worked on my pecs and upper back and the next day, I did an air squat and felt like I could almost do it upright for the first time in my life.  It was amazing and has given me hope.

On my own, I’m doing a ton of work with lacrosse balls and posterior chain stretches.

  • Hips and butt and back just working the ball everywhere – leaning on it against a wall with leg nearest wall loose and moving.
  • Sometimes just lying on it on lower back and raising arm from side to overhead works it.
  • I work pecs against a crossfit rig lifting my arms up from side in front to overhead.

IMG_1978

Frog pose, seated couch stretch (or against wall) and the third which has no name.

 

Also, firelog seated post below, which my husband did with me yesterday – if this is too hard, put a folded blanket under your butt.  The first is a woman from the internet and the second is me so happy I could finally do it with my legs pretty flat earlier this year – it took awhile to get there.

firelog.jpgIMG_9165

I did 7.3 miles yesterday in the snow and slush and was NOT crippled, so i take this as progress and will blog at another time about how important it is to trial run all the bad things that can happen so you can always mentally say, “no big deal, I’ve done this before.”  If only we had been taught mobility 30 yrs ago when I was working out in Golds Gym in Chicago alongside the ex Mr Olympia Sergio Oliva!!!  I encourage all young folks to not forget your rotator cuff exercises (ie. use Crossfit Symmetry) and to work mobility after/before every workout.

BTW:  A great resource for stretching is a book called “Becoming a Supple Leopard” by Dr. Kelly Starrett which is focused on resolving pain, preventing injury and optimizing athletic performance.

Clean eating, honest reporting and en route to badass,

Laura

 

You Don’t Know What “A Little” is

A few words on the final weeks prior to what I hope is a final clearance to do all weight training/athletic events again 6 months post rotator cuff surgery (Dec 11 target date).  Nov 6, 2018 I got clearance to finally do banded pull-ups, ring rows with my body weight vs. just using bands, 50% scap pushups.  That night at crossfit I ended up doing around 140 green banded pullups and probably 54 ring rows – I have to say it was AWESOME and the pullups were so easy.  Last time I did those was probably 6-7 months ago pre injury and I also weighed 10-15 lbs more than.  Exciting to find out what I can do for strict pullups once I am totally free!  My record at this age is 1 strict pull up and my goal in a few months is >12 straight strict (to be better than when I was 30 yrs old).

Next PT appointment (still going weekly), I reported in and Jeremy told me “You don’t know what a little is so when I give you the OK, I know what you’re going to go out and do.”  Kenny’s immediate response to my text update was “Tell him you are married to me.  You understand quite well what “a little is.”  Funny guy 🙂

So this week I was cleared for very light weight deadlifts, cleans.  No overhead presses, no sandbag carries, no sled pushes and can increase weight if no pain slowly week by week.  Not sure if it was the 90 85 lb deadlifts (super easy weight) or the 33 box jumps but have a little nudge of ache in my shoulder this week….

Slow and steady wins the race during shoulder recovery.  It is super fun to see huge progress almost every day.  This week while I was doing bicycle abs (alternating one leg down with opposite arm overhead lying on back), I got my hurt hand all the way to the ground repeatedly.  That last 5% motion sure is slow to return but it is coming…

And I’m throwing it out there that my goal is to be as strong as Brook Ence (as so many other women want also – featured at top of this blog) but for now, I’m so very happy still with building up from where I am today.  Pic below is a total roll out of bed moment…

IMG_2041

When You Realize You Don’t Know Anything… Always Fun and Easy to Get Better When You’re Not so Great!

There was a time that I was pretty good on clarinet and piano.  Then I realized that I haven’t learned any new skills in years, that I can’t pick up any instrument and improvise with anyone, that I got comfortable with what I was and forgot to really maintain that or improve it.

I have been in the arms of a thousand men around the world dancing.  But as I hold my husband or son in my arms, I realize I can’t teach them the leader part and I think I’ve forgotten more swing out variations than I’ll ever learn in the future!

I was the person in the gym who would help the new folks and make up workouts for others and now I find myself not knowing how to train at all for this 30 mile obstacle course race I want to do next year or being the slowest or weakest at certain exercises during crossfit class.  This is especially humiliating when I used to be great at something – like pullups – and found myself having to use bands for months until I got them back.

Every weekend I used to find myself at the library getting out new books and found it had been years since I really finished one.  I think I forgot to learn as I was so busy moving and changing / learning my way around new jobs.  The ipad didn’t help either as I became lazy just picking a movie.  A few months ago I decided to start reading again and starting AND finishing a book.  I probably had about 30 books partially starting lying around.  They are all in a section in my library now for me to work through one at a time and a small pile of finished books are piling up!  I feel good about that.

“It is never too late to be who you might have been.”  Words I got from a very wise man, Glen Sinclair, my yoga teacher at Sadhana Studio in Boston.

Fall Favorites

fall

 

When I had a roofdeck, I would plant morning glories in every container and by the end of the summer, their huge blue flowers would cover every rail (and take a few hours to cut down late fall!).  The best morning glory for quantity of blooms is Heavenly Blue.  If planted in the ground, they can become invasive so must be managed – ie. Keep your eyes peeled and pull up extras in the spring.

My favorite combinations for a yard include blue asters, Sedum Autumn Joy and Montauk Daisies planted together.  You might find Montauk Daisies at the local Whole Foods sold as potted plants – just throw them in the ground for a fairly large shrub for next year!  These are very hardy, very florific white daisies in the late fall when nothing else is in bloom.  Trim these down some in fall but primarily in early spring (before June).  These will also easily root if a branch is touching the soil so are easily proliferated.  Note that asters are also very easy to just shovel in half to divide.  I was so glad I had divided my favorite before it was infested and killed by AZALEA LACE BUGS.  Lesson there is to take quick action when you see anything starting to falter – inspect and deal with it.

Caution:  I would not plant a white aster, which is lovely for a few years, and then will invade your entire bed and spread around your yard.  Do not do it!

Mums are great and are perennials – I have heard if you buy the ones distributed in the fall and plant them early enough, they might come back.  I haven’t had much luck with that but have beautiful perennial ones I have ordered from catalogs and planted in the spring.  Mums will also spread so don’t hesitate to pull out strays you see coming up.  They get to be 3-4’ tall and should be staked late August.  Nothing beats a few mums bought at the local nursery to spruce up a worn bed – I will plant them in sets of 3 in my main perennial beds.

My Favorite Classical Piano Solo Pieces

This used to be a top 10 list but it has a few more now – these are pieces I want to always keep in my fingers to play without notice. Please let me know what yours are!

Chopin – Berceuse Op 57

Chopin – Nocturne Eb major Op 9 o 2

Chopin – Waltz Op 34 Nr 2 (can you ever have enough Chopin?!)

Debussy – Clair de Lune

Debussy – La Plus que Lente

Gerschwinn – Preludes 1,2

Grieg – Notturno Op 54 No 4

Brickman – Over the Rainbow

Mark Hayes – (brilliant, wonderful composer/musician) – Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen  Info on Mark Hayes

Mark Hayes – Simple Gifts

Brahms – intermezzo Op 118 No 2

Liszt – Liebestraume (heart heart heart)

Perrin – When I Look Into Your Holiness (arr. Roger House)

Tschaikovsky – Romance Op 5

Now I gotta go and practice….. 🙂

 

 

“loneliness is a sign you are in desperate need of yourself” – rupi kaur

This book is a treasure.  It has truly inspired me to try to write poetry.  She has a lot of simple phrases (ideas) so well stated as in the title of this blog and a few longer ones like this:

“i want to apologize to all the women

i have called pretty

before i’ve called them intelligent or brave

i am sorry i made it sound as though

something as simple as what you’re born with

is the most you have to be proud of when your

spirit has crushed mountains

from now on i will say things like

you are resilient or you are extraordinary

not because i don’t think you’re pretty

but because you are so much more than that

This paragraph strikes me today because I also read an article about how to help kids get grit and the advice was if they do well, to tell them they are so “hard working” and not “smart.”  The test groups that were told “hard working” did better on a much harder test given afterwards.

I picked the title because a friend’s child told me after they had two weeks alone at home that he hated living alone and never wanted to do it again.  That scared me because I want him to be happy with himself and be confident in his journey – not afraid of reaching out to meet new friends – or to face his own fears. I sent him this quote.

Here is my first pass at trying this myself (no laughing) because part of what rupi does so well is capture everyday moments so well.  With my shoulder surgery, I found myself every morning in the bathroom with my sweet husband doing my hair for me (and he is bald so this was not his strength!) and decided I wanted to write about that:

“Love is

a husband

doing my hair

daily for weeks

when I cannot.

I reassure him

I’ll still need him

when I’m better”

Well, it’s a start!  Wasn’t there a book saying you have to practice something 10,000 times to be great.  One down…..

Container Planting

“Success has been defined as the ability to go from failure to failure with equal enthusiasm.”  – Unknown with some attributions to Lincoln or Churchill

The first year I did container gardening on my Boston roofdeck, I carried four 30 gallon leaf bags full of dirt down five flights of stairs in the fall. I didn’t know I could reuse “dirt” year after year by adding a little cow manure and compost to freshen the pots.  And potting/container mix is not the same as garden soil, which is much heavier and has a different composition.  My preference is for Coast of Maine products but definitely beware of Kellogg organic plus found at Lowes and Home Depot which almost killed all my plants.

I would find a pretty flower and put short phlox, or delphinium, or bleeding hearts or bachelor buttons in a container in the spring not realizing the flowers would soon go away and then add nothing to the small space requiring plants with maximum impact.  Read the labels for flowering season, zone and if for sun or shade.

After buying some new containers, plants I knew would do well, and new soil, I planted them and almost killed them because I didn’t moisten the soil and it takes an awful lot of water to wet dry soil.  Spend a few minutes with the hose and then stick your finger in the soil to see how moist it is.  Now I water the soil as I put it in the pots to ensure it is moist all the way through.

My second year, I wanted more and more so I realized I needed to buy containers at least 14″ wide and deep.  What I hadn’t learned yet was that when you have large containers, you need larger plants and that low growing sedum would just look silly in a 20″ round pot.  My favorites for height in containers is mandevilla, salvia, dahlias, geraniums, zinnias, elephant ears or caladiums, heliopsis lorraine, lavender, daylilies, and shrub roses.

I also realized that any space needs a variation in height so I experimented with vines and found little trellises that go in the back of a container to help morning glories grow up to the top of the deck rail or mandevilla vines or thunbergia.

Note:  My goals is to start doing a series on gardening.  This is a draft of my first attempt.  Be kind.  Be patient and this will get better 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEING SMALLER – May 2018

You can do it. I am 51 and have been at it since Nov 2017 – lost 42 pounds and am determined to never say again …”I used to” as I can be my best self right now. Last night I fit into every old and favorite piece of clothing I have and hadn’t worn in over 10-15 years – it was AWESOME! I had been looking for guidance like this for two years being frustrated with working out hard (crossfit) but not making progress. Other benefits: Post crossfit workout recovery is ridiculously better than before (and I wasn’t eating unhealthy at all – just too much), my breathing issues have gone away, my sleep is better, and I don’t feel sick anymore or have headaches.

Keep the faith. Took two months to see scale changes although I lost inches and felt better right away. My weight plot is attached. I’ve been pretty strict the whole time with <5 days where I went “crazy” overeating which now is like 500 calories over plan 🙂

Next step is getting leaner and stronger, having my rotator cuff surgery in June, which gives me the opportunity to work legs/abs and to perhaps start that book I’ve been thinking about…

One important lesson learned is the criticality of habit. I am a Bergeron fan and he had a podcast about the importance of doing things every day – finding what’s important to you and focusing on it. Now I try to be active every day, and am throwing out the “I will go to the gym 3x a week and I can always go the next day” mentality to being active daily. Try and replace bad habits with good ones and get that fitbit to understand what you’re doing for activity levels and sleep – one thing I love about it is that little positive message it gives me when I put it on after my shower:)

Clean eating, honest reporting and en route to badass with my man, Josh Citron of StrongerU- thank you.

 

 

“Impatience – Nov 2017”

I want it now.  I want the body I had at 30 and I don’t want to wait years to get it back.  I was at crossfit for a solid year and made a ton of improvements, then married the man of my dreams and started a new job.  It all went awry.  Tonite was my first day back for a long time and as usual, the warmup kicked my butt.  I keep telling myself that this time, I won’t try to keep competing with the youngsters even though I USED TO do more pullups than they do, an strictly, not the kipping crap.  Age has improved some things…. my deadlift, my patience, the number of scarves I have (world class collection) yet don’t know how to wear, the number of lotions and little chocolates in my bedside table (found a bouncy rubber eyeball in there the other day also), and my knowledge that the place to start building a life is where you are right now.

I’ve been thinking about shaking things up a bit.  I am 51.  Have been in the arms of thousands of men dancing, traveled around the world yet still don’t feel I have found my voice – in a blog like this or musically.  I’d be so proud if I could pick up my clarinet or piano and just play with someone else.  Silly I know as when has that ever been the case…. but something original I mean.  Isn’t it Ok to just try and have fun without being great?  the benchmarks I set for myself are so high I frustrate myself about achieving them.

BTW – note added Sept 2018:  Found this draft post I forgot to publish and a few months ago had a redo of that warmup and completed it without any rest.  I’m pretty sure it was jumping jacks with a burpee every time a certain word was said in Thunderstruck…

Thinking Bigger – Aug 2018

My nutrition coach, Josh Citron, gave me some sage advice that I took to heart.  He told me that when he is looking for encouragement, he turns to others accomplishments and sent me links to two videos, which have totally inspired me to think bigger.  Both were about people who did things that totally blew me away.  I had no idea there were 100 mile races, or the Iron Cowboy that did 50 ironmans in 50 days in 50 states (the thought of one ironman to me is such an awesome accomplishment), or several marathon type races over several days in rugged terrain (Barkley Marathon)…..

I added these links below along with a recent podcast from Ben Bergeron where he emphasizes doing what you are afraid of and not following feelings – waiting to “feel like” going to the gym, etc.  Facing fear – the title of this blog.

So because of that, I’ve found an athletic coach and athlete extraordinare, Gary Lombardo – to help me improve (plenty of opportunity there) and to be the best physically I’ve ever been at the age of 52.

I love being at the bottom – being the worst at something and getting better so it should be a good year.  I intend to blog through this process – writing has been another personal goal of mine.  Can I still do it?  I have only done hundreds of powerpoint presentations the last 30 years…. I wonder if I have anything to say.  Reading and writing will be a part of this journey as well and I will share books and my thoughts about them in future posts.

A few weeks ago I was given permission by my surgeon and physical therapist to run and I immediately did a 5K at Mine Falls in Nashua.  Fell and face planted in gravel (feature pic of this post)

– luckily on my good side else I’d be having my shoulder surgery again.  I was scared doing that race – not because I hadn’t run that far recently but I just hadn’t done anything like that in a long while.  Doing things I am afraid of gives me a sense of accomplishment as well as proving that most fears are unfounded and that without putting yourself out there to be vulnerable, you won’t discover things about yourself or meet others that truly inspire you.

 

 

http://www.richroll.com/podcast/iron-cowboy-2/

 

 

Finally appreciating the journey – Jan 2018

I had enough.  Saw my friend, Steve Lebel, on facebook looking fantastic and was first in admiration, then thought my current state is bullshit – how did he do it.  I used to be the person people admired at the gym and now found myself 30+ pounds overweight and not active.  Ever since the slow decline starting back in 2004 (and stint in sales…), I’ve had very brief periods of trying to manage nutrition as I once did but never with enthusiasm and had found it difficult to work by myself at the gym.

Falling in place in pieces:

Back in 2004 timeframe, I had bad rotator cuff issues which made it difficult to raise my arms parallel to the ground, needed stretching and found yoga at an awesome studio that opened up on my block in Boston, Sadhana under the mastery of Glen Cunningham, and started to repair that.  Through those years I realized I need to start building community where I live and once I had some silent thoughtful time, realized I needed more of that – craved it.

Then as my neck/back issues continued making it impossible to move my head to the side, I hung out with the chiropractor, who one day knowing I used to be a lifter, recommended Crossfit.

When I moved to Hollis, NH in 2011, I visited the Crossfit gym and joined and have participated in spurts ever since – sometimes long spurts like 10 months in 2016 – frustrated that I could go regularly, eat “well” and still not lose weight or make the gains I wanted in the gym.  Recovery was hard and my aerobic capacity still lacked and I dealt (still do) with breathing issues like wheezing during hard activity – started taking Fluticasone and Flonase to help as at one point, I couldn’t even take a deep breath.

I had reached out for help to the Crossfit coaches, other crossfit gyms, etc and did not get good response.  Steve Lebel was using a nutritional guidance program called StrongerU so I signed up and it has a philosophy I believe in.  Watch and manage what you eat – weight it, know how many grams of fat, protein, carbs you are ingesting.  Gave guidance for what is healthier to eat (which I already knew) but had flexibility in that you just had to make your macros, report in weekly, take pictures, get a scale and work with data.  Iphone and apps like “Myfitnesspal” make this infinitely easier than when I tracked this by hand in excel back in 1998!  Just as back then, when given instructions (weekly), I have absolutely no issues following the rules.  I joined Nov. 1 and am in week 12:

  • Have felt infinitely better since I cleaned up my diet.  My motto is “Clean eating, honest reporting, and working on Badass.  NOT drinking and snacking and sitting on the couch.”
  • My recovery after crossfit is 100x easier
  • I started going back to crossfit the 2nd week of Nov and have been going 3-4 times ever since making gains and feeling better with less weight on me
  • Took a month until the scale started showing improvement – persistance!
  • Bought a fitbit at first to monitor my daily activity, then realized the value in measuring sleep, and can track runs, pacing, etc.  My family focus has improved as I have weekly contests with my sisters!
  • I’ve lost 12-15 lbs in 12 weeks and feel great physically and mentally.
  • I started a book group with like minded women from crossfit to talk about mental toughness, what makes people successful, etc – first meeting next week.

Finally, I am patient with myself, happy to believe in this process and to enjoy improving and learning and being able to say that now is my best self, no more “I used to….”

 

Beware: Marion Dale Curren, ~Age 74

Do not let Marion Dale Curren Have Access to Your financial Holdings!

Alias:  Mike Curren, Pete Curren, Randy Curren 



DOB: Jan 5, 1943. Born in Bessemer, Alabama. Some records may have a birthdate a year earlier.

Description: about 5’9″ and 160 lbs.



Relatives: Might have a relative named Randy 



Locations: Presently in New Mexico near the border to Mexico. Past locations: Reynoldsburg, OH, Columbus, OH, Brice, OH, Worthington, OH, Logan, OH, Las Vegas, Oregon, Oklahoma

Marion Curren met my mother as she was retiring. She had a house paid in full with money in the bank and no debt.  He conned her into thinking he loved her and even spoke to us children to assure us how much he loved her and that he would never hurt her. She is now left with $100k of debt and a huge mortgage against the house.  A large collection of antique lionel trains that my father collected prior to his death 30 years ago is also missing…valued at ~$40k.

Once he got all he could from her, he took any remaining items of value from the house and left, leaving no forwarding address, abandoning any responsibility for the debt he incurred.

He will buy things on credit, sell them for cash, pocket the cash and abandon any responsibility for the debt he incurred. He has a manic-depressive disorder also which combined with no conscience and enormous financial irresponsibility, makes him a very dangerous person.

I believe that he has done this before and will do it again!

We have found documents showing that he has several safe deposit boxes at Century and US Bank and I suspect elsewhere. He is wanted by several credit agencies. Before meeting my mother, he declared bankruptcy, yet showed a huge roll of money he kept in his bedroom.

Please ensure that other kind, compassionate, vulnerable women are not taken advantage of by this man!

If you have any information about this man or need more information,

8 Steps to Get People in a Continuous Improvement Mindset

One of the most challenging jobs I’ve had is converting a company culture from a R&D to production mindset.  This means everyone has to stop thinking of each project as a unique event and start thinking about how to standardize the work and eliminate waste to reduce costs and lead time as quickly as possible.  This can be done not just on a repeatable manufactured product, but also on processes or projects, as with construction, that have a lot of commonality between jobs although the duration/scope may be slightly different.

Kickstart this process by doing a short training on the 8 types of waste – over producing, wasting time, transport, processing time/duplication, inventory, excess motion, scrap and rework and under utilization of people.  What I’ve found works best is to get a cross functional group together and brainstorm examples by type of waste on the product, process or job you want to address.

I would recommend writing up everyones’ ideas on a whiteboard or using post-its on a wall under each waste header.  Once issues are identified, the team can quickly prioritize which ones should be addressed first.  Prioritization should be highest on issues that are easiest to resolve and have the highest payback.  Payback can ultimately be in valued in dollars in many ways including reduced inventory, faster cycle time (increased productivity), improved quality (less time spent managing quality issues), and reduced transportation costs.  I typically give everyone a marker and have them mark their top 5 right on the board.  The ones with the most votes win.

This exercise serves two purposes, making folks aware of what waste is so they can more easily identify and eliminate it going forwards as well as leaving the team with a prioritized list of opportunities.  An additional benefit is that everyone has a chance to vent on the issues they’ve worked through and feel included on the path going forwards!

5S is More than a “Morale Booster”

I have been implementing Lean for 20 years across the supply chain and ran the Lean Six Sigma organization for a major GE business.  Benefits can be quantified to show the value of using Lean to achieve critical business goals.  5S (sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain) does “help morale” and is intuitively a “good thing”  but can also be quantified using two metrics:

  1. Lead time of a product through the shop or time to complete a job – It is fundamental in program management or basic shop floor control to know the start and end time.  If this type of data isn’t yet being recorded, it needs to be.  More output (or increased capacity) with the same people and equipment is a productivity improvement and can lead to increased revenues. Putting process in place to gather this data is the first step to making issues visible, knowing how you are performing and quantifying benefits.
  2. Quality – Depending on the situation, this might be defect per unit or “job” if on a construction site, scrap, returns for poor quality, etc.  It is important to realize that as an organization moves from being reactionary to being proactive (continuous improvement mindset), it will appear that things get worse before they get better  because the problems start becoming visible.

Implementing 5S at a minimum should improve these two areas.  Shorter lead times and improved quality mean increased capacity and productivity, less scrap, reduced inventory, and either more output with the same people or space to add some additional service (ie. prefabrication in construction environment).

I would make sure before you start a 5S event, that you work with leadership to find out what data is available or setup a process to capture the data in order to quantify the benefits.  And improved morale while you work is pretty awesome too!

 

A Journey in Professional and Personal Continuous Improvement

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