On Tap for Today

A fun loving, inspired living blog


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Today: Pulling myself up.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Before I joined CrossFit Southie, I didn’t give much thought to pull-ups… well, other than, I can’t do ’em.  Now I find myself passing the park on my way to the bank, eyeing the monkey bars and wondering if playground sand might be a suitable alternative to chalk.  I grilled Nick the other day, demanding to know how long it took before he was doing unassisted pull-ups.  His answer was akin to, “Once you get there, you’re there.”  Very Zen.  And very unhelpful.  Just kidding.  Sort of.

I want a date on the calendar.  I’d like it to be tomorrow, but I’d settle for a month from now.  Realistically, though, January 1st seems like it might be doable.  In two months, with admittedly no practice outside of the box, I can whip through assisted pull-ups with a green band.  I’ve even managed a set while wearing a weighted chain around my neck.  Like a total badass.  When I attempted to move up to the blue band, though, my eyes almost popped out of my head and I involuntarily made a dying cat noise.  Like a total lame ass.

There are no shortcuts when it comes to pull-ups.  I keep reminding myself to strive for progress, not perfection.  I am sure there is a life lesson in there somewhere, but you’re not getting it from me today.  Sorry for that.  And for saying ass.  Twice.  The only way I am going to make this happen is by practicing.  When I kept getting harassed about helpful advice pertaining to my inadequate squat form, I started practicing in secret.  I am sure I could have done them in public, but hey.  I was more comfortable gettin’ low in the comfort of my own kitchen.  After a few weeks, yours truly was complimented on her form.  And after 100 wall balls last week, I could still walk upright.  My sneaky practice paid off.  I’ve gotten better and stronger.  In the spirit of full disclosure and humility, though, the squat part of my wall balls was awesome.  The hitting myself in the chin?  Not so awesome.

I’ve been working on pull-ups both at Crossfit and at home, using modifications like jumping pull-ups (using a sprinkler box below the pull-up structure) and bands.  I’ve made a little progress with the blue band (which is to say I can get my nose to the bar, my my chin wants no part in whatever happens above the bar… yet) and have watched every “how to do a pull-up” YouTube video thus created.  Will I reach my goal by New Year’s?  We shall see.  At the very least, I know I will have made progress by then.

Speaking of progress, I’ve been showing off my guns-in-the-making (they’re mostly like squirt guns right now, but I am expecting full blown rifles, or whatever, in the near future) in my new Poly PlayDry tank, which was sent to me courtesy of my friends at Reebok.

I’ve worn this tank to the gym, on runs, underneath my soccer jersey (long story… it involves us not having uniforms until 30 seconds before our second game… actually, that was the entire story), food shopping, dog walking, and just plain old hanging around.  The fabric is extremely soft and wicks away sweat really well.  The bright pink color will ensure that no one misses me when I finally get that first unassisted pull-up.  In the meantime, I’ll keep on practicing and progressing.  And being a complete cheese doodle.

Also On Tap for Today:

What goal(s) are you practicing towards?


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Today: Grown up snack packs.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I couldn’t help but think of Billy Madison on Sunday night, while whipping up lunches for the week.

Billy Madison: Where’s my snack paaaack?
Juanita: You got a banana, you don’t need no snack pack.

I don’t care what Juanita says.  I need both a banana and a snack pack to get me through the day.  I like variety.  And you know what they say: Good things come in small (plastic, likely hazardous) packages.

I’ve been following my RD’s recommendations to ensure I get enough protein.  Knowing now that lactose isn’t an issue, I’ve been back on the sauce low fat cottage cheese lately.  Though it looks rather terrifying in the photo above, cottage cheese can be a great source of protein for vegetarians.  I like to add a little ground pepper to spice it up a bit.  In addition to a bigger green salad, I packed up a few miniature caprese salads featuring teeny, tiny bocconcini, heirloom cherry tomatoes, and a heaping amount of fresh basil.  Also in my snack pack to start the week: fresh raspberries and carrots with hummus.

Check out my snack pack stack.  Or whatever.  Kids shouldn’t be the only ones to have fun at lunch time.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was your favorite food growing up?


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Today: What’s your fun fact?

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Everyone should have a fun fact or two at the ready.  You never know when an elevator might break down or something, forcing you to make pleasant conversation with strangers.  This time of year, politics would be a natural go-to, but um… you don’t want to be trapped in tight quarters with someone who feels differently than you about the so-called “47%.”

A few of my favorite (non-polarizing) fun facts:

  • Barbie’s real name is Barbara Millicent Rogers.
  • The streets running perpendicular to the river in the Back Bay are in alphabetical order: Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester.
  • A humming bird weighs less than a penny.
  • Have an extra wedding invitation?  Send it to the President and First Lady.  They usually write back.

Clark weighs more than a penny.  He is adored by Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike, though.  I think.  A few Clark-specific fun facts on this lovely Thursday:

  • Clark has a tattoo.  What can I say?  He is one BAMF was bred to be a show dog and didn’t wear a collar or leash before we scooped him up.  He just pranced around freely.  His first name was Napoleon, so he has a little N on his hip.  Or whatever you call the inside of a dog’s hind leg.
  • His middle name is Manuel.
  • Clark loves to howl at sirens.  Want to see him in action?
  • A pet psychic told us that he loves Christmas (who doesn’t?) and Taylor Swift.  I used to leave the T. Swift Pandora station on for him while I was at work.  And then I came to my senses.
  • He doesn’t have a tail (it was docked before we got him, see also “Clark has a tattoo”).  This is very confusing to the kids he visits for pet therapy.  I never have a good answer.  So I talk about his middle name.

 

Also On Tap for Today:

 

Alright, let’s hear it.  What’s your fun fact?


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Today: Running… into old friends.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Remember when we were in middle school and we’d plan coordinating outfits with our besties?  Reebok took the guesswork out of matchy-matchy for me and six other FitFluential ambassadors running the Canton Road Race at Reebok World Headquarters this morning.  We had no trouble finding one another in our fresh aubergine (purple, for those who don’t speak color wheel) tops and black crops, provided along with our race entries by Reebok.

I can’t tell you how many compliments we got on those short sleeve tech tops.  I kept wanting to say, “Thanks, but um… I had nothing to do with this!”  We were even stopped by a woman who had worked on designing the tees.  I thought that was pretty cool.  I met up with Tina and Sarah just as the rain was starting, about an hour before the race began.  We ducked beneath an overhang with Robin, Katie, Mattie and Kelly to wait out the passing showers before heading to the starting line.  While hiding out, Tina and I had an impromptu Team in Training reunion with our Southie  chapter teammates, Amy and Bryan.  If only Ben Nick and Mal had been there to join our group hug…

The race started and ended on Reebok’s campus, and wound through some very scenic (and hilly!) Canton neighborhoods.  The final stretch on Washington Street brought us past the Trailside Museum (a childhood favorite of mine) at the foot of the Blue Hills.  A highlight of the race was definitely having my name called by the announcer as I crossed the finish line (nerd alert!).  The course was challenging and well marked, and the organizers did a fantastic job.  We had our results emailed to us long before we left campus, which was a bonus– something I’ve not seen at past races.  After cooling down, Tina and I took advantage of the 25% discount being offered at the Reebok corporate store.  I’d had my eye on this CrossFit warm-up for a bit, and picked up that as well as a few teeshirts.

While I could have spend hours (and hundreds) shopping, my favorite thing about visiting Reebok World Headquarters is the inspiring atmosphere.  Their mission as a brand, Empower People to be Fit for Life, seems to be carried out not only by their employees– we were surrounded by a sea of red “Team Reebok” shirts during the race– but also in the facilities themselves and inspiring messaging posted throughout campus.  It’s clear that fitness is a key element of their work culture.

I can’t help but think of my own work environment, which as the bo$$ (if I could spell that with cent symbols, it would be more accurate), I’ve largely created.  I’ve spent years working through lunch, veritably tied to my desk, feeling creaky and cranky by the time six o’clock rolls around.  Lately, we’ve made a concerted effort to take “wellness walks” (that’s how I saw the trapped skunk, obvi) and balance work and life a bit better.  I am sure I can be doing even more, and this morning’s trip to Reebok was a great reminder of that.

Perhaps it’s time to close the office door and dust off the yoga mat tucked behind my file cabinet thing.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Tackling the last few items on our I Do to do list
  • Grocery and supplement shopping 🙂
  • Foam rollin’ with my homies

How do you fit in fitness and wellness during the workday?


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Today: No guts, no glory… and a skunk alert.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Oh, hey.  If you don’t want to read about body parts, skip to the end for a photo of one of the weirdest things I’ve seen in ages.  Also, it should probably go without saying, but this is the internet, so… I am not a medical professional.  I do other things professionally, that’s how I bring home the imitation bacon bits.  I am happy to share my personal experience, but highly recommend you seek out a medical professional to help guide your own body experiments.

I had my last doctor’s appointment for a while yesterday.  Hopefully.  After months of food logs, blood tests, challenge diets, laying on my bathroom floor at 2 in the morning, I’ve got some semblance of a plan.  And I am very happy about that.  I’ve spent over a decade stressing about stomach aches and um, like, intestine things.  And really, I’d grown sick of being sick.  When I finally found a new PCP, RD and GI (that sounds like a rap crew) earlier this year, I finally felt like I was heading in the right direction.  While chronic issues don’t just go away, I am looking forward to feeling better, taking better care of myself, and spending millions of dollars in the supplement aisle continuing to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

[Image source]

I’ve been following various diet plans recently to help support or challenge the results of my food allergy panel.  While I had very few reactions to lactose, fructans or polyols during the “challenge” phase, I wanted to straight up expire while testing gluten (see above: laying on my bathroom floor).  During the challenge/testing phase, I ate multiple servings of whole wheat (bread, pasta, crackers) over the course of two days.  When we reviewed my food logs yesterday, I was like… dude, why is gluten suddenly an issue?  I’ve practically survived on pasta.  And my RD’s was all, I’m a lady, not a dude.  And also, damage done to one’s digestive track over the years can result in difficulty processing certain foods.  We talked about things like leaky gut syndrome (nearly fainted) or intestinal permeability, vitamin deficiencies, and other things that you probably don’t want to read about over your lunch break.

Going forward the plan is to focus on restoring my digestive track to its former glory.  I’m going to walk around singing Heal the colon.  Make it a better place.  For you and for me and for everyone who puts up with my crankiness.  And then I am going to:

  • Follow my PCP’s recommendations for bringing my vitamin levels up to “normal.”  This includes taking a once-weekly high dose of D3, as well as a daily dose of B12 and my usual daily multivitamin plus iron.
  • Take a daily dose of L  glutamin powder to help boost the regrowth of intestinal cells (enteroctyes) and provide immune support
  • Take a high potency probiotic (30-50 billion cells per day… doesn’t that sound very sci-fi?) for one month, followed by a maintenance dose (15-30 billion cells) in later months
  • Consume 52-65 grams of protein per day
  • Avoid fun gluten for 2+ months

By the time my next colonoscopy rolls around, it will look all sparkly and new in there.  Or whatever.  Want to talk about something rather than my insides?  How about what was happening inside a nearby stairwell today?

Sometimes life really stinks (because your body sprayed chemicals in the stairwell, maybe), but then someone comes along and opens the door.  And they let you out.  And you start to feel better.

Also On Tap for Today:

What would you do if you were trapped in a stairwell with a skunk?  Besides print a sign and tape it to the door, obviously.


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Today: Rise and lift.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Sometimes the best motivation for getting to the box, or the gym, or the track, or the pool (well… maybe not so much the pool) is a fresh pair of kicks.  Or the perfect pair of shorts.  Or perhaps a new headband.  There are mornings, especially ones that follow a late night watching political conventions at the office, though, when all I want to do is hit snooze.  Six times.  It’s a lot harder to bail when these guys are waiting beside the door, though.

The lovely team at Reebok recently sent me a pair of Reebok CrossFit Flex Nano shoes and apparel designed specifically for CrossFit-ing (is that a word?).  I was just two months or so into my membership at CrossFit Southie, and that package could not have arrived at a better time.  I couldn’t wait for the next day’s workout to try everything out.  It was just the motivation I needed.

For starters, I appreciate the sunny color (blaze yellow with feather blue).  Looking down at that cheery yellow really helps as I drop a barbell in front of me, and contemplate fainting and/or crying.  Like running shoes, these kicks are sport-specific.  They were designed with the essential CrossFit movements in mind.  They feel both light enough for jumping and sprinting, and stable enough for lifting.  At first, the toe box felt a bit wide, but I’ve found that helps me to spread my toes (did anyone else just think, I hate feet?) and ground down when I need balance, and also to sink back into my heels and wiggle my toes to be sure I am distributing my weight properly for squats.  Reebok’s U-Form technology, a feature of these shoes and several other pairs they offer, is a great plus.  After taking a few simple steps (essentially heating up the mid-soles with a hairdryer and forming the shoes to your feet), you’re left with a custom fit.  Without having to become a famous athlete (I think that’s the other way you get a custom fit… but I’m not positive).

I also received Reebok’s CrossFit Chase shorts and CrossFit Lightweight tank.  Both fit perfectly.  Normally one to shy away from the short shorts, I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable and flattering the 2 inch Chase shorts are.  In fact, I’ve practically been living in them (save for the office and church, obviously…).  They passed the ultimate “please don’t give me a wedgie” test during a recent WOD including lots of running with a 25 lb. sandbag.  The tank (featured in this transformation from beast to beauty) lives up to its lightweight name and is modestly cut across the top, perfect for balancing out all that leg I’ve been showing. 😉

This much is true: Clothes do not make the athlete.  Hard work does.  Case in point: the many, many people wearing cotton who have easily passed me during marathons, or the guy at our condo association’s gym who lifts like an animal while wearing khaki shorts and a dress shirt.  Still, anything that gets me out the door faster, keeps me working out longer, encourages me to get after it harder, and allows me to focus on the wod rather than whether or not my shorts are riding up, can only be good.  Thanks for the gear, Reebok!

[Disclosure: I received Reebok shoes and apparel at no cost.  I was not compensated for my review of these items, and my opinions are entirely my own.  I write about brands I respect and enjoy, and Reebok fits this criteria.  For sure.]

Also On Tap for Today:

Where do you find your workout motivation?


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Today: I hate fall. But I like autumn.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I was in a hideous mood earlier this week (I’d blame lack of sleep over the weekend, but after dressing up like a flying squirrel on Saturday night, I slept until 10 the next morning.).  Clark was feeling salty too, mostly because he hates the rain.  And because I imagine his moods for him.  I figured I’d wallow in my grouchiness, and then get over it.  Wallowing, for me, always involves list making.

A stranger left this pumpkin in Fort Point last fall. It looked very cool, but smelled like a compost pile.

This is what I came up with.

11 Reasons Why I Hate Fall:

  1. Fall colors are ugly.  Brown?  Orange?  That’s like a rotting pumpkin.  Which brings me to…
  2. I don’t like the taste of pumpkin.
  3. Why are people freaking out about pumpkin flavored coffee?  And pumpkin beer?  And pumpkins?
  4. I am allergic to wool.
  5. Boston is full of college students.  I feel old.  And nostalgic.  And old.
  6. All those leaves on the ground?  They’re slippery.  I will probably fall.
  7. I am allergic to something in addition to the aforementioned wool.  I don’t know what it is, but it just sprouted or hatched or grew or whatever.  I am itchy.
  8. I dislike squash.  And zucchini.  I wish berries and tomatoes were perpetually in season.
  9. I’d rather wear skirts than pants.
  10. Things always expire in the fall.  My parking pass expired on August 31st and my new one was denied because the person at the parking desk thought I was a student pretending to be a grown-up.  Then it was approved.  Seven days later.  I was annoyed.  Also, I accidentally ate expired Greek yogurt on Tuesday.  Use your imagination.  It wasn’t good.
  11. It’s sort of cold, but sort of hot, and sort of dry, but also humid.  My body (specifically, my hair) is confused.

I could have probably continued on to number 12, or number 40, but this whole exercise was not especially helpful.  In fact, I felt even more hideous than when I started.  I decided to make a second list, wherein I would call fall autumn, because it sounds more lovely.  And not unlike a middle school classmate from the late eighties or early nineties.

9 Reasons to Not Hate Autumn

  1. I am getting married in November (that’s a big one, obviously).  When we booked our date, people were like, Ooooh, fall colors!  Beautiful!  I got a lot of practice burning these same people with my eyes of death.  (See number 1 above.)  In all seriousness, though, I just cannot wait.
  2. After the wedding, we get to go on our honeymoon, which is a great way to bring sexy summer back.  Yeah.
  3. Soccer starts after a two week hiatus (um… our team didn’t make the playoffs last season…).
  4. Glutino makes a gluten free stuffing.  Which means I can freely overeat on Thanksgiving.
  5. Fall races are less sweaty than summer races.
  6. Apple picking (not a sentence, but I am going to punctuate it regardless).
  7. Nick turns 30 this fall, which makes us the same age again, meaning I don’t have to feel creepy for a whole five months.  My mother and sister also have fall birthdays.  They’re so cute.
  8. I have jury duty (and inevitably, I will be impaneled, knowing both my luck and inability to make up believable lies)… that’s always interesting.  I was on a jury for a medical malpractice case a few years ago and almost fainted.
  9. Leggings are socially acceptable in certain situations again.

I’m still recovering from the yogurt thing, but my mood has improved.  Daydreaming about a honeymoon (and jury duty?) will do that.  As for Clark?  He still hung up on his singular reason for hating fall: this jacket.

Please don’t call Sarah McLachlan on me.

Also On Tap for Today:

What do you love most about fall autumn?