31 Years & Counting…

I’m writing this almost a month after my birthday, but the words on this card are too important to just recycle it and move on.

My parents have a way with cards for special occasions, and they always nail it on my birthday. Sometimes I wonder if they wrote the words themselves; they’re just that personal.

I’d like to hold on to this one, as it’s another example of the unconditional love that I’m so fortunate to have in my life.

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Running Shamrock for Cameron Gallagher

Photo credit goes to speakup5k.com & the CKG Foundation

Before I share my story…

I am raising money for the Cameron K. Gallagher Memorial Foundation, whose mission is:

…to fulfill Cameron’s dream and legacy by being a positive force that works to cultivate awareness and understanding of teenage depression and anxiety.

If you feel inspired by her story, or would like to help the cause, you can donate here. I am trying to raise $131 before the race next weekend, which coincidentally falls on my birthday. No cards, presents or Facebook wall posts, please. Just a small donation to a worthwhile cause.

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15.3: Progress & Humility

Almost every single day I get dealt a handful of progress and humility. CrossFit is amazing at delivering both. It provides an easy way to measure your progress, and just when you think you’re getting fitter, your coach serves up a big slice of humble pie. Next thing you know, you’re over in the corner creating sweat angels, trying to figure out who just injected Fireball into your lungs (when in doubt, blame Castro).

That’s CrossFit. Every day you get fitter, stronger, faster, better. And everyday you’re presented with a new challenge that reminds you how much more you’re capable of.

Last week I told you how I was Chasing McCloud. He got me by a few reps in each of the first two weeks, but I proclaimed that I was coming for him this week. I’ll save the suspense for another time. I got him. But the workout definitely played to my strengths. Which leads me right into my first topic…

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15.2: Chasing McCloud

A few months ago, I wrote a post about one of the most notorious CrossFit ladies out there: Fran. It was titled Dancing with Fran, and there’s an excerpt from it that sets this article up nicely:

We all love seeing our names at the top of the Leaderboard, whether that Leaderboard is displaying our Fran time on Wodify or “World’s Greatest Dad” on our coffee mug. But when I post my times, whether I’m near the top, or all the way at the bottom, the most important Leaderboard to me only has one name on it. And that’s mine.

15.2’s Leaderboard

I may have just added a second name to my leaderboard… for this year, at least. His name is Matt McCloud, and he’s beat me by a total of 11 reps on 15.1 and 15.2.

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15.1: The Personal Side of The Open

I just finished writing about two incredible performances that I witnessed at our gym Thursday night. I love watching others improve, fight, grind, try, fail & succeed. With that being said, I enjoy all the same for myself. So this one is a little reflection on my personal CrossFit journey, and how it manifested itself during tonight’s Open workout 15.1.

Last Year

In last year’s Open, I only posted scores for 3 of the 5 workouts. One called for 135# cleans, which a year ago, I couldn’t do. And another called for overhead squats, which, at any weight, I couldn’t do.

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15.1: The Open is About Individual Performances

Individual performances… surrounded by a community.

Our CrossFit community gathered Thursday night to watch The Open announcement of 15.1. 50+ people. Food. Drinks. Paleo chairs. And couches made out of 20x24x30-inch boxes.

I’ll admit, I haven’t been that excited leading up to it. I competed last  year, so I know what we’re all getting into. But it didn’t take long for “just another Open” to turn into something special.

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My Purposeful Expression of Intention

As I try to do every year around the 1st, it’s time to write. I’ve been consistently inconsistent with that over the past few years, but I have managed to use the new year as a time to reflect.

Last year I talked about the things that inspired me in 2014 (and challenged you to try some), but this year I’d like to look ahead. While I’ve never been a huge fan of making firm resolutions based on a time of year… what you’re about to read could be construed as such.

No different than how I approach most decisions I make, I am creating this list with purpose. And thus, I shall refer to the following as a purposeful expression of intention. It sounds like a mouthful, but I chose those words carefully.

Resolutions are typically firm decisions. They are to be carried out with unwavering resolve. While they contain great theatrical gusto, and make for suspenseful, award-winning films, I find them to be less-than-practical.

Furthermore, declarations & proclamations are formal statements. You could dress me up in a tux, throw me in the back of a limo and drive me to the White House for dinner, and I’d still miss my hoodie & sweatpants. “Formal” is NOT my thing.

Purposeful Expression of Intention

Purposeful

As previously stated, this list has purpose. There are things I’d like to accomplish in the upcoming year, and this list reflects that.

While many others chose to use the terms “picky” or “selective,” a good friend of mine described my selection of women as “intentional.” I don’t plan on taking twenty fifteen out to dinner and a movie, but the metaphor most certainly applies. I shall make decisions about her with the utmost of intention.

Intention

Speaking of “intention,” I have good intention on making it last. Not only because break-ups suck, but because my very own life depends on it. My life will change this year. As will yours. And the decisions we make are what’s going to change it.

But let’s be honest for a second. Stuff happens. Plans change. That’s why this is not a checklist of requirements, but rather a roadmap to my current destination.

Expression

The word expression is a powerful one. Let me express why. 😉

Expression implies creativity. Ideas are formed, often for the first time.

Expression demands honesty. Before you express yourself, you must first be honest about who you are.

Expression emits passion. You do so boldly.

Expression is personal. It’s yours, and no one else’s.

Expression is a process. It’s an action. It must be done, not just thought or felt.

MY Purposeful Expression of Intention

Now that I’ve explained the why, let’s get to the what. Here’s my list for 2015:

  • Sweeten things up with less sugar. Cheers to finding alternative ways to flavor-up my coffee.
  • Live within my means. Here’s to downsizing wherever & whenever it seems rational to do so.
  • Increase flexibility. Both in my schedule, as well as my muscle tissue.
  • Decrease distraction. Less Facebook, more writing.

…and that’s all, folks!

I had originally intended (haha, there’s that word again) for this to be a longer list, but for the purpose (yep, I went there) of following through with it, I think I’ve expressed (#forthewin) enough to work on this year.

And now off to print this out and stick it in places where I’ll see it every day. I’ve never done that before. Does it help?

Photo courtesy of Inhabitat & Boneyard Studios (flickr)

Off The Grid

It’s been 5+ years since I took an entire week’s vacation. I mean a true vacation, not thinking about or doing any work the entire time. I’m doing something a little unconventional (but if you know me, you shouldn’t be that surprised).

Started with 2 Things

Two things that I haven’t done in a   l o n g   t i m e:

  • stopped at a McDonald’s
  • went through the drive thru

I almost forgot how those things worked. Both of them.

I wanted a coffee for my drive to Wintergreen. I wanted it fast so I could get on with my vacation. McDonalds happened to be right there (seems like they’re everywhere, doesn’t it?!).

As much as I despise McDonalds for — well, almost everything, really — I’m actually glad I chose this one. Before your head flies off in sheer amazement, let me explain.

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