Wednesday, October 30, 2013

No F-ing Way

The other night I did something against my better judgement. I went to a "Panty Party".  Settle down, it's not as risque as it sounds.  Essentially, a bunch of women get together at this local lingerie boutique to drink champagne and try on bras. Okay, maybe it is as risque as it sounds.  But that has nothing to do with why I didn't want to go.

In case you didn't already know this, I'm a bit self-conscious about my body - especially my boobs.  If I had to choose one part of my body that I would never have to look at again there would be a knock-down-drag-out between my boobs and my muffin top. Muffin top would probably win, but boobs would definitely go down fighting.

So, it's no surprise that the thought of trying on bras with other women - women who happen to be younger, thinner and higher/fuller/more appropriately-chested that I am was not high on my list.  So, why in the world would I go?

First, I adore the friend who invited me.  The combination of the Spicy Chicken's travel, the girls' school/sports schedules and my influx of work lately has allowed little room for anything else. I was really craving time with girlfriends.  Secondly, I caught myself saying - aloud in front of M - that I didn't want to go because I "hated" my body. Yep, get out the cuffs because I totally deserve to go to Teen Parenting Jail for that one!  While my girls are not oblivious to my weight, I have always tried to make a point of telling and showing them that I love myself regardless of my size, and that my focus is always on my HEALTH. Oops.  So I had to do a little doubling back to show her that I wasn't afraid of getting naked with all those skinny bitches because damn if I'm not proud of the big 'old boobs that God gave me.  And lastly, I really actually needed some new bras.

I ended up having a really good time and - as a bonus - got to spend some quality time with a few friends I hadn't seen in awhile. While some women were completely okay with trying on bras in front of other people, some were not -  either was totally acceptable.  I kept to one of the back dressing rooms with the curtain closed, of course, but nobody seemed to care - or even notice for that matter.  While I admit it completely threw me off when the saleswoman brought me a 34F to try on, my boobs looked so freakin' awesome in that bra that I bought two of them!

Moral of the story is - sometimes you just have to let go of your insecurities because they are just that - yours.  The people who love and know you don't care what size pants or shirt or bra you wear.  They love you for who you are - and if you spend your life hiding behind your weight you will miss out on a lot of good times.  And that, my friends, is the f-ing truth.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Never Too Old

The other day I mentioned that I participated in the Red Shoe Cville Chili Cook-Off only because the Spicy Chicken wasn't able to attend.  I am sure you are dying to know what could have possibly been so important that he'd miss something like defending his title in a chili cook-off?  Well, it happened to be his grandfather's 90th birthday party.  There are few things he'd miss the chance to cook for, but his grandpa is definitely one of them.

There are a million things that a person could say about Glenn Dody.  He's 90 - he's been through, done, seen and said a lot.  He currently lives in what he affectionately calls "The Compound" - a double wide park in Mesa, Arizona, where he's surrounded by "youngsters" in their 80's. He's known for his dumpster diving skills, using the pool as a "shower" and his lifelong dedication to exercise.  He has a "mind like a steel trap" and isn't afraid to tell you what's going on inside it.  He eats one meal a day at Wendy's, where the "nice kids that work there" know his name and his order. He still participates in the Senior Olympics. He's one hell of a man. 

When I was cleaning out Spicy's suitcase I came across a folded piece of paper covered in handwriting.  When I asked him if it was something he needed his response was  "Grandpa asked me to read this at the party. You have to read it." This is what it said.

"I would like to thank the people who have made the exercise program successful.

Of course, the people who attend every exercise class are important.  Last year we had 395 people attend the classes. We will make room for anyone who joins us, no one will be left out. This year's classes will be even bigger than last year.

You are never too old to chase your dreams.  Last month Diana Nyad was a good example of this.  She is now 64 years old and had swam the route between the USA and Cuba four times without completing it. The course is 133 miles long and takes 53 hours. This year, her 5th try, she completed it. My point in telling this story is that you're never too old to exercise. 

The classes will be on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 9AM at the exercise room.  

Thank you."

Glenn Dody is a 90 year old veteran who has lived a very full life.  He doesn't have a weight problem; the possibility of having a stroke does not scare him; heart disease is not a concern; diabetes will never know his name.  He could choose to sit at home in front of the television all day, but he doesn't. Instead, he gets up and walks himself to the gym to teach exercise classes to 395 of his closest friends.  Next year it will be even bigger.

I know the "What's Your Excuse?" post by Maria Kang became pretty controversial this past month, and I even understand why, but as I read the words of my 90 year old grandfather-in-law I can't help but ask myself the same question.  I'm pretty sure Glenn Dody never had one. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

I Heart NYC - I Hate Cancer

Although I have been on a bit of a roll this week with blog posts I will be taking a break for a few days as I head to The Big Apple with my girlfriends. Woo-hoo!

Last year was the first time the four of us took this trip so I guess that makes this our 2nd Annual NYC Weekend - which is awesome.  It's also awesome that while on this trip we get to spend some great quality time with Lynne and Fletch, Chrissy's mom and step-dad, whom we adore.  What is NOT awesome is that Chrissy can't be with us.  Although I know she's watching over us and is always with us in our hearts, it's obviously not the same.  We miss her so, so much.

Cancer sucks, people. It really does.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Good Thing

As I was reading the comments on my "G-Free" post yesterday it occurred to me that I may have come off as being a *little* whiny about the reality of having to give up gluten.  Okay, maybe a lot whiny.

The truth is, however, that I really am grateful to have finally found something that is making me feel better.   In addition to the shrinking finger and shoe size phenomenon, I've dropped 6 pounds in the less than three weeks since I gave up gluten; am getting considerably more work done in a day (as I'm not running to the bathroom every hour); am no longer wasting all those fancy greens I buy and - oh yeah - I feel so much freaking better!  This is a good thing. 

My friend Jen also pointed out that this is a good time to be gluten-free because it doesn't actually have to mean giving up things like bagels, bread, pizza and beer.  There are TONS of gluten-free products on the market now - and some of them are actually pretty good. I will say, however, that on my first g-free attempt I filled our cupboards with things like Glutino's Berry Sensible Beginnings Cereal, Udi's Soft & Chewy Snickerdoodles and Mary's Gone Crackers Pretzels only to find that what worked best for me (and what truly makes the most sense from a health standpoint) was filling myself up with whole, unprocessed foods.  Eggs, beans, fruits, vegetables and good 'ol H2O are my new best friends (which I realize they should have been all along or part of my inner circle at the very least).

Another bonus of being g-free now is that there's this gigantic support system out there that I never knew existed.  Within 24 hours of publishing my G-Free post I had messages of support from friends I hadn't heard from in years, recipes from people I hadn't seen in months and even several great blog and cookbook links from a high school best friend's mom (thanks, Nancy!).  Google "gluten-free blogs" and you're given 26,400,000 possible results in just .18 seconds.  Gleaning through just the first three pages worth gave me at least 2497 Pinterest-worthy recipes alone!

And then there's the fact that it's just a gluten intolerance. While it did make me feel crappy and occasionally mess up my life, there's actually something I can do about it that in reality isn't all that hard.  Sure, there will be times when I am really, really craving pizza (and, let's face it, there will probably be times when I give in to that craving and just deal with the consequences), but I have a choice in all of this.  It's now up to me. And that is a good thing.

Monday, October 21, 2013


FYI - this post, though relevant to my journey, could be filed under "TMI" for some of you...

About 6 months before The Spicy Chicken and I got married I had a physical. When the doctor asked if I had any issues I wanted to talk about I reluctantly mentioned that I often suffered from a painful cycle of constipation and diarrhea.  She smiled politely and told me it was probably just the stress and nerves of planning for my upcoming nuptials.  When I mentioned that I'd been dealing with this since I was a teenager (long before I met The Spicy Chicken) her response was that I probably had something called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), but about the only thing I could do about that was limit my stress and/or just accept it.  Unfortunately working two jobs, attending graduate school and planning a wedding didn't leave a lot of time for stress relief, so I went with Option #2 - just accept it

Though this was not a particularly comfortable option, by the time I was in my mid-twenties I had, sadly, gotten used to living this way.  It wasn't until college, when I was living in close proximity to and sharing bathrooms with lots of other women, that I even realized it wasn't normal.  (Yes, I actually thought it was normal to be painfully constipated one day and have explosive diarrhea the next. It was all I knew. Why would I think anything else?).

It wasn't, however, until recently that I finally decided to do something about it.  (This turning 40 thing has sure made me wise!).  I'd done enough research on IBS to know that certain foods tend to trigger reactions for some people (plus, let's face it, you don't have to be a doctor to recognize there's probably a link between food and digestion...). I first removed red meat from my diet for a month to see if it would help.  This, however, resulted in no significant change. So, I went to the next thing on my list - dairy.  Unfortunately, 4 weeks later the results were the same - nothing.  Last on my "List of Things I Should Try to Give Up For Better Digestive Health" (you have one of those lists, don't you?) was gluten. 

Gluten was last on my list for several reasons. One - I have very close friend who suffers from full-blown Celiac's Disease. While my digestive issues are no fun, I certainly don't suffer as badly as she does, so I kind of convinced myself that gluten couldn't be the problem. Secondly, "going gluten-free"  has become such a trendy thing to do lately that I didn't want to seem like I was just following the latest diet fad. And lastly - and let's face it - most importantly - I put off giving up gluten as long as possible because it freakin' sucks. I, like many other people, love all things gluten. Pizza - pasta - crusty Italian bread....don't even get me started...

But as I said earlier, with age seems to have come a little bit of wisdom and I knew that I had to at least try it.  And five months ago I did. Within days I felt changes happening in my body.  That achey, arthritic feeling I always have in my hands? Gone.  The unexplained mood swings? Minimal.  Middle of the afternoon naps? A thing of the past. My ring became too large for my previously fat little fingers.  My shoes required tightening. And m digestive system actually started to feel....normal.

Hooray, right?

Well, yes, but did you notice, by chance, the sentence where I said I did this five months ago? Yeah, it was hard, and I fell off the wagon hard after about 5 weeks.  You know that old Kate Moss quote "Nothing tastes as good as looking good feels"?  Apparently Kate had never tasted Dr. Ho's Bellisima pizza!

But here I am back on the "G-Free" wagon again.  It took me a long time to hop back on it and trust me, it was not done without a lot of research, consideration and several preemptive Bodo's bagels.  I knew, however, when I added gluten back in five months ago that it was eventually going to come back to this.  There was no doubt in my mind that I felt 100 times better when I was eating gluten-free, and that it was going to have to be way of life eventually.

I spend a lot of time and money doing things to make my body feel it's best: hours in the studio at Clay - miles walking and hiking with Scout - buying organic and hormone-free groceries - even learning to cook for myself....There's no reason for me to not be doing this one additional thing (that I know makes me feel better).  
So, this is it - Week Three G-Free - here I come! 

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Last weekend the girls and I were lucky enough to take part in the Red Shoe Cville 2nd Annual Chili Cook-Off.  Yep, you read that right, I took part in a competition that involved cooking!  While it may be true that I was only invited because the Spicy Chicken wasn’t able to make it, I took my responsibilities quite seriously. I even made chicken masks - check it out.

I actually did take this honor more seriously than you'd think.  While I'm not exactly known for my cooking abilities, KK and the Spicy Chicken were the 2012 RETURNING CHAMPIONS (as you can see from the awesome banner below!) - the Team Spicy Chicken reputation was on the line! That being said, even my friend Brooke, the mastermind behind Red Shoe Cville and subsequent cook-off, wasn't expecting much from me, as evidenced by her eleventh hour text stating “we have lots of other people cooking, it’s okay if you don’t”.  With the girls’ help, however, I was up for the challenge. 

While I'm sorry to say we weren’t able to bring the title home for the second year, I don’t think any of us were that disappointed.  The three of us were able to have a lot of fun cooking together (something they rarely do with me), have a great time with friends, and help raise over $3000 for a really incredible organization – the Ronald McDonald House.  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Muscle Weighs More Than Fat

Before you get all literal on me, let me say that I do realize that a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat - just like a pound of feathers weighs the same as a pound of bricks, etc. I get it.  Just read on -  I promise it will make more sense. Or at least I hope so.

I received the following text from my friend Laurel a few weeks ago:

"Was just looking at some pics from early in 2013 and you have lost so much weight! You know I've always thought you looked great, but I know how hard you've been working and it has really paid off!"

Immediately after sending her a response informing her that she was the BEST FRIEND EVER, I hopped on the scale to see that I'd lost...wait for it....five pounds. Yes, a whopping five pounds over the past three months. Woo-f'ing-hoo. 

So when Fairview opened this week and I was forced to be out in public in my bathing suit I was feeling pretty insecure.  I know, I know, I'm forty years old and should be over this shit by now, but being okay with your body doesn't happen overnight (or apparently over 40 years). 

But then the strangest thing happened.  Three different people, on three different occasions complimented me on how great I looked.  I, of course, ran home on all three occasions to hop on the scale.  I had, after all, been working even harder than usual, taking four classes per week at Clay several times in the past month.  Certainly I'd lost something significant since the last time I stepped on the scale, right?  


Two more freaking pounds.  

I won't lie to you - I was feeling super discouraged. Thoughts like "Why am I doing this if it isn't making a difference?" and "I really want a Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae from Dairy Queen RIGHT NOW!" went racing through my mind. That's where I am used to going to - the negative, "might-as-well-give-up", place.  Flashback, however, to the beginning of this post.  If people are noticing - and being nice enough to say something to be about it - it must actually be making a difference.  My appearance is changing, even if the numbers on the scale aren't.  I'm replacing fat with muscle (duh!). Often it's hard to see those types of changes on your own body - especially when you're used to looking at it with such a critical eye.  The numbers on the scale are tangible - factual - objective.  Whittling waistlines are intangible - abstract - subjective. I'm a science geek, A theory is just a theory unless it can be proven as fact, right?

So here's where I stand today.  Time to get over myself.  No, I'm not bikini-ready. But that wasn't ever my goal was it? Since I started on this "journey" I've always claimed I wanted to be stronger, healthier, better (physically and psychologically). Then that, my friends, is where I need to focus! 

There are actual, tangible, ways for me to assess whether or not I am achieving my "stronger, healthier, better" goals, as well.  At Clay I can do an Assessment, which will measure not just my weight, but my percentage body fat, and several physical tasks that I have done in the past.  I can compare what I was able to do 6 months ago with what I can do now.  I'm fairly certain that I will be able to run hard, faster, and longer than before - do ball squats for way longer than I had in the past - and push-ups? Going to knock those babies out of the park! Guess it's time to schedule that thing, huh?

Another way for me to assess if I am physically healthier is at the doctor's office. I'm fairly sure my cholesterol and blood pressure have improved over the past year. Sure, they're going to weigh me, too, but if I dress just right (I still have my teeny, tiny 'weigh-in underwear' from my Weight Watchers days!) the results just might be in my favor.  And if not, well, I will call Laurel and ask her to tell me how great I look. Aren't friends wonderful? 

There are ways to measure psychological improvement too, but I think we'll save that one for another day...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Progress Reports

There are several different ways that I track my activity/progress when it comes to exercise.  My heart rate monitor, for instance, gives me the duration of my workout, how many calories I burned, average and maximum heart rate, and how long I was in my target heart rate zone.  I, of course, usually focus on the calories because let's face it, I'm trying lose weight here - calorie burn matters.  But at Clay we truly utilize the heart rate monitor in our workouts. Our heart rate monitors are set specifically to our personal zones, based on an assessment done by our trainers, so that we are maximizing our workout based on our fitness levels.

I also use the Map My Run app when I walk Scout or on the off chance that I decide to run outside.  I like it because it gives me a very accurate idea of how far I've gone (I'm always trying to mix it up with a new route), as well as what my pace is.  While walking Scout usually averages a slow 16 minute mile that truly doesn't get my heart rate up high enough to consider a true workout,  those miles somehow feel more "legit" if I'm tracking them.

Then, of course, there is the scale.  Truthfully I'm not a big fan of the scale.  Maybe it's because I've lost and gained so many pounds over the years, but I don't find it to be a real accurate representation of my daily efforts.  There have been weeks when I've done kick ass workouts every day only to step on the scale to find I've gained a few pounds.  From an intellectual standpoint I know that the numbers don't change how hard I worked, but it can totally deflate me emotionally, so I tend only check the scale periodically.

Even though I have all of these concrete, tangible tracking mechanisms my favorite way to judge my progress is by my laundry.  Yep, laundry.  I don't dry any of my workout clothes so I hang each piece up after I pull it out of the washer.  I can tell what kind of week I've had by the number of items hanging in the doorway at the end of laundry day.  



How do you track your progress?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Our Inner Athlete

*Below is the written version of the speech I gave at the W4MTP this morning

As Pam said, my name is Amy Eastlack.  I assume that for everyone other than these 3 beautiful people sitting in front of me, who happen to be my family, Amy Eastlack is not a household name.  So for the other several hundred of you I thought I’d read an excerpt from my bio:


·     I am: the mother of 2 smart, beautiful, spunky tween daughters.
·     I am: the wife of one extremely patient and loving man.
·     I am: the daughter of two very supportive and generous parents.
·     I am: the friend of many incredible, inspiring and giving women.
·     I am: a blogger, a marketer, writer and a social media specialist.
·     I am: a wine lover, a shoe hoarder and HGTV addict.
·     And for you Michael Jackson fans…I am a lover, not a fighter…

You may have noticed one thing that was missing from this list and that’s the word ATHLETE

So why in the world am I up in front of you today?

I'm here because this list was written several years ago - just days after I’d completed the Charlottesville Ten Miler -  a feat I never thought I could accomplish because a year prior to that I was barely able to make it one time around this track. In my youth I was fit as a fiddle – playing any sport that I came my way. In my 20s I accumulated triathlons, several 10ks, and numerous 5ks, but somewhere along the way life got in the way. I had a job, I had kids, I had obligations to fulfill.  There was no time for fitness.

I don’t actually remember that “a-ha” moment – when I realized something needed to change -  but several years ago, as the big 4-0 crept closer and closer it occurred to me that if I didn’t do something soon I never would. So I started working out at Clay FitnessSlowly the pounds fell off and the fitness returned.  (Amazing how quickly things atrophy but how slowly they return, isn’t it?) Over time I logged hours in the gym and hundreds training miles, yet I still didn’t consider myself an athlete.  Why not?

·     Maybe it was because despite all the training I’ve still never managed to run faster than what most people consider a “slow jog”
·     Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m STILL trying to lose the “baby weight:” – can you call it that after 12 years???
·     Maybe it’s because I just never fit the mold of what I thought a runner was….
·     Or maybe it’s because, honestly, I still prefer walking to running any day….

I truly didn’t consider myself an athlete until I wrote a blog post on the subject and a friend, who I considered to be a TRUE athlete responded to me with something like this “If you got out there and you tried – then you are every bit as much an athlete as I am”  And I like to think she was right!

How many of you out here are experiencing your first Women’s Four Miler Training Program this morning?  Even if you’ve been here before I can imagine that some of you are wondering what in the world you’ve gotten yourself in to.  You’re looking at the friends that talked you in to this thinking “I have got to get myself some new friends!”.  But I’m here – and Pam is here – and all these crazy, amazing ladies in pink are here to let you know that you are exactly where you need to be! 

I remember my first Women’s Four Miler Training Program experience like it was yesterday – even though it was actually several years ago.  One Friday night over cocktails I overhead two of my girlfriends going on and on about how amazing, and inspiring, and wonderful and FUN the program was. I’m not sure if it was the wine or the fact that I am just not one to miss out on a good time – but before I knew it I had opened my big mouth and committed to joining them.  The next morning was cold, rainy and miserable – definitely not running weather in my book – so when my alarm went off I hit the snooze button and rolled over.  They hadn’t really taken me seriously last night anyway, had they? Well, you can imagine my surprise when they showed up at my door twenty minutes later, expecting me to join them.

I was breathing heavily, my shins were throbbing and my side was aching before we made it up to the top of of the hill.  After half a mile my pride was hurting so badly that I begged them to go on without me. They were obviously much better runners than I was – let’s face it – everyone was – but they stayed with and encouraged me until I literally couldn’t go any further.  

Six months later one of those friends was diagnosed with breast cancer.  For many people this would have meant a step back from encouraging and motivating others, and allowing them to do that for her, but Chrissy didn’t work that way. Through her illness she kept on going – inspiring us all to do the same. She completed the 4 miler the following year with feet covered in blisters from chemotherapy – and she STILL ran faster than I did!  This past year my girlfriends and I crossed the Finish Line, carrying the Motivational Mile banner bearing her name, in her memory.

It’d be easy for me to say that running in her memory is all the motivation I need, but it’s not actually that simple. Losing someone to breast cancer, is tragic and knowing that our efforts are making a difference is, indeed, inspiring, but it does not always make putting one foot in front of the other any easier.  So how do you stay motivated even on the toughest days?

I’ve done a lot research on ways to stay motivated for both my personal fitness journey, as well as my writing and trust me; there is no shortage of advice out there. A Google search of the words “fitness motivation” gives you close to 48 million results and Pinterest will give you thousands upon thousands of inspirational board, quotes and pictures of rock hard abs and buns of steel.  Experts will tell you things like:

  • Find a Workout Buddy – how about hundreds of workout buddies?
  • Reward Yourself – did you hear about all those incredible giveaways?
  • Make it fun and interesting – ummm, have you met Pam?
  • Write it down -  training manual provided!!
  • Be flexible – as much as we LOVE seeing you, we’re not taking role here, folks. Need a day off? Take one, just hop back on as soon as possible
  • Listen to your body – okay, that one is on you….

And while I truly subscribe to each and every one of these -  none of them seems more inspirational or motivational to me then the sheer excitement and amazingness of being surrounded by people like this – people who want you to succeed, who will make sure you succeed.

There’s a quote that’s been circulating around social media sites for a while that I love.  It reads:


It’s simple and obvious, but I think it says a lot about motivation and about every single one of us here. While I know we had an excellent turn out here last week my guess is that I wasn’t the only one lying in bed at 6:30 last Saturday morning thinking “I know I should get up and go to the 4 Miler Training Program but this bed is just so cozy…”  See – you’re already miles ahead of where you were last week and we haven’t even started running yet!

Whether your goal in doing this training program is lose a few pounds, run faster than you did last year, to cross the finish line, to spend some time with your friends – or simply because you look good in pink – you have already made great strides toward that goal just by being here.  

Thank you!


A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from Pam Whorley, Director of the Women's Four Miler Training Program (W4MTP).  Would I be interested in being the speaker for one of their upcoming weeks, she asked.  

Would I? Would I? Would I?  Ummm, I mean, sure, yeah, that'd be cool, I guess...

It wasn't until a few days later that I realized that although public speaking had once been a big part of my job, it had been years since I'd gotten up in front of a large group of people.  Was I even capable of doing it anymore?  Did she really want me to talk for ten whole minutes? Ten minutes was an awfully long time to stand in front of all those people. And what in the world was I going to say about motivation anyway?

Oh well, too late to turn back now, I guess...

As I drove toward the University Hall parking lot and saw the pathways lined with pink flamingos (a former fear of mine you may recall), heard the music playing loudly in the background and witnessed groups of smiling, excited women entering the track my jitters almost disappeared. Almost.

It was over before I knew it and I'm happy to say that I didn't make a complete fool of myself.  The crowd laughed at my jokes, clapped at the exciting parts, and seemed to genuinely share in my experiences. If I had the chance to do it over again would I change a few things?  Of course (like remember to set my phone down).  Could I have done better?  Sure (like not using my notes as a crutch -  I knew that thing forwards and backwards!) But all in all it went well, and it definitely was an incredible experience.

My favorite part, I must admit, occurred after my speech while running around the track with Moe.  She has committed to doing the training program with me this summer and, hopefully, the Charlottesville Women's 4-Miler race with me.  How incredible to have her at my side, doing something that means so much to me.  

Thank you Pam, the Pink Ladies and everyone else involved in the W4MTP, for giving me the opportunity to be a part of something so wonderful and for putting your heart and soul in to creating and maintaining a program that means so much to so many people. May the 20th year of the W4MTP be the most fabulous yet!!  

*If you didn't make it out to the track this morning to catch the speech live you can read it here.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Eye of the Tiger

As I mentioned last week, I've known for awhile that it was time for me to take things to the next level.  I don't remember the correct term for it, but physiologically your body eventually gets used to what you are doing and becomes complacent.  While this is one the great things about working out at Clay - your body will NEVER get complacent (I swear Hyam stays up all night coming up with crazy new ways to make us sweat), my effort level is controlled by me, not the trainer, and I hadn't been turning things up the way I needed to lately.

So when I got an e-mail from Clay announcing that Laura would be offering the opportunity for clients to try out an introductory boxing session I jumped at the opportunity. At the end of the 30 minutes I was wiped out and totally hooked. Boxing rocks!

Immediately after the trial I signed up for regular sessions with Laura. We decided that an hour session featuring 30 minutes of boxing and 30 minutes of strength-based cardio would be good for me. As much as I love the feeling of punching the bag (is that weird?) 30 minutes is about as much as I can handle right now, and trust me, Laura does not mess around for one second of that session.  

You may remember from Laura's guest post that I mentioned she trained in the US Army Reserve Military Police.  She's the real deal bad ass. Therefore what we are doing is more Muhammed Ali than Richard Simmons style boxing.  We use real boxing gloves, a real heavy bag and I when I joke about her hitting me back if I miss the mitts, I'm not sure she's joking...

Side Note: My partner apparently got intimidated by my mad skillz (not) and had to quit so I'm looking for a partner at 9:30 on Thursdays. I can do it on my own, but it's more fun with a friend. Anybody want to join me???

Thursday, April 25, 2013


By 9 o'clock last night I was hopping around on one foot because the pain in my ankle was bordering on unbearable.  If anything so much as touched it I winced. After four ibuprofen, a large bag of ice numbing my propped up foot,  Modern Family on the television and my two girls waiting on me hand and foot (literally) I started to think I could get used to this it was much worse than I had initially thought.

When I woke up this morning the bruising was up but the swelling and pain were down significantly.  Regardless, I decided that attempting to pound my way through a boxing class was probably not in my best interest so I cancelled with Laura in lieu of a trip to the doctor. I'm sure it's not broken, but I damaged it somehow and figure I should probably get it figured out before I spend the entire day traipsing through Williamsburg on the Woodbrook Elementary Fifth Grade Field Trip (and no, contrary to popular belief, I did NOT 'conveniently' sprain my ankle two days before a trip on a bus with 50 screaming 11-year-olds). 

While I was laying in bed last night I started to feel angry about this possible setback. I had really just started to feel I was back in the workout groove and had finally gotten over the weight loss plateau (eight pounds in the past few weeks!). And now this?  I know, I know, I'm being overly dramatic. After watching Kevin Ware's broken leg and incredible reaction to it a million times during March Madness how could I possibly be feeling sorry for myself with a silly sprained ankle? I don't know, but the fact of the matter is, I was.  Then I remembered the Facebook post that Laura had posted, ironically, yesterday.  I loved it so much I immediately wrote to her asking if she would be willing to be a Guest Blogger on Finding Amy...Again so that all of you could feel as inspired by her as I (and so many others) do.  Thankfully she said yes, so instead of my whining you can all hear her beautiful words today instead! here (she deserves her own post, don't you think?) 

Enjoy the Ride

Today I have a special treat for you - a Guest Blogger!  Meet Laura Conklin, one of the incredible trainers at Clay. Laura has a long list of qualifications (BS in Health & P.E., NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, CrossFit Games Finalist, US Army Reserve Military Police, years of training experience, etc) but for our purpose it's most important to note that she is a kick-ass trainer who has a knack for bringing her clients to an entirely different level.  Our boxing sessions have made me believe that I'm bad ass (I'm a blonde haired, blue eyed, 40 year old mom from White Bear Lake, Minnesota, we all know I'm about as bad ass as a kitten, but she convinces me otherwise!). And if all that isn't enough - her dog's name is Scout! 

A reminder about life...from my mountain bike and the trail, with love:

As I entered the woods today on my bike, I could feel my balance was off and my legs felt a little tired. But, a beautiful day, out in the solitude of the woods, riding with Scout by my side could never be a bad ride, no matter how my body felt.

I found myself hesitating in areas I normally don't, slipping in others, throwing a foot, etc., etc. Then came a decent sized hill with moderate technicality. Today, that 'moderate technicality' seemed more like the 'hill from hell'.

I hit it as I always do, but today, I wondered if I would make it to the top without coming off. About halfway up, as I was heaving a lung and my quads on fire, I took my eyes and focus off the trail in front of me and looked up at how much I had to go and how steep every part of it was. The only thing that went through my head in that moment was "holy shit". That moment of negativity taking even more energy from my body. I immediately returned my eyes to the trail, rocks and logs I was dealing with, and just kept pedaling. Within moments, I was at the top, enjoying a nice downhill.

What hit me is how life can be exactly like that. 'Off days' can take challenges/struggles and make them seem harder to deal with than other days. Little mole hills can become mountains. And, taking your eyes off what's right in front of you, what's in the moment, can cause things to seem momentarily overwhelming.

My advice, keep pedaling and face one thing at a time. You'll be at the top before you know it, "woohooing" an awesome downhill! :)

Enjoy the ride...!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Oops...I Did It Again

When we adopted Scout I read every dog training book I could get my hands on.  One of the best pieces of advice I read was "A tired dog is a good dog."  Sure, there are dogs who love to just lay around, and Scout can hang with the best of them, but given the choice between lounging and exercising that dog would be outdoors running, hiking, skipping and jumping all day long if he could.

So in addition to my workouts at Clay and running on the treadmill I try to walk him at least a few miles a day.  We miss a day here and there, but It averages out to about 15 miles a week. This seems to be enough to keep him happy and me moving (though we'd both benefit from more, of course).  

I also read was that exposing your dog to new places with new smells is good for them and can actually help tire them out.  So, I try to make sure that we try a new route - or one we haven't been on in awhile - a few times a week.  Sometimes that means checking out one of the great hiking trails we are lucky to have in and around C'ville.  Other times it simply means venturing to an adjacent neighborhood.  Either way, Scout always seems happy. (Am I the only one who ever thinks being a dog would be pretty awesome?)

Unfortunately today we only had time to do the adjacent neighborhood thing.  We live on a hilly, windy road with no shoulder, let alone sidewalks, so I often get in to the car to get there (honestly this is about safety, not laziness).  The nice thing about this is that even if we only go a half mile, the fact that he got to go somewhere in the car seems to totally make Scout's day.  Again, wouldn't being a dog be awesome?

Today I chose a nice, long street with a good sidewalk.  Round trip would give us a solid 3 miles and leave me time to shower (maybe even put on make-up!) before heading off to Women's Health Virginia to deliver thank-you goodies for National Volunteer Week.

It was a great walk until the dreaded squirrel crossed our path.  Scout has, to put it mildly, a thing about squirrels.  And deer. And trucks. Mostly squirrels though.  When he sees one he has a very hard time not chasing after it.  Even though he's never - not even once - caught one, he never gives up hope. (that whole, not being able to climb a tree thing really hurts him).

Unfortunately I didn't see the squirrel or, apparently, the edge of the sidewalk, so when Scout took off in one direction, my body went the other direction and my ankle went some place completely different.  The end result wasn't good. 


 and swelling

Unfortunately we were over a mile in to our walk when this happened so the old RICE (rest, ice, compress, elevate) trick didn't take place for awhile.  These pics were taken after we got home, so you can see how well that went. I, of course, did the smart thing and e-mailed Laura to see if we could do an upper body only boxing workout tomorrowOh, and I made an appointment to see my doctor, too, just in case. 

After stressing that I needed to ICE ICE and MORE ICE Laura told me that Michael Jordan once severely sprained an ankle, iced it and was able to play the next night. The way I see it Michael Jordan's got nothing on me, right?  Time to put on my boxing gloves! 

**And if you're thinking you've seen something like this from me before, you just may be right...

Friday, April 19, 2013


I spent a weekend at the beach in Port Aransas, Texas with my sister and mom at the end of March.  It was a great weekend filled with lots of laughter, reminiscing and making new memories.  I love both of them immensely, and having time like this is about as good as it gets. 

As good as it was for the soul, however, it was difficult on my self-esteem.  

My sister and mom, you see, are both quite thin and beautiful.  I often joke that if you sliced me in half both vertically and horizontally you'd have my my sister.  At 5'3" and about 110 pounds it's not actually that much of an exaggeration.  And while she's always been petite and thin, she recently discovered a passion for (obsession with) tennis that has taken her tiny, cute body to hot rockin', cute body with some serious muscle (you should see her guns!).  

And then there's my mom. At 70 years old she could still rock a bikini if she wanted to (she doesn't) and can put most 30 year old women to shame when it comes to energy levels (without drinking a 5-Hour Energy Drink).

So you can see why I might feel a little out of place...

Most of the time I am good at separating my weight from my self-worth. I know my body size doesn't define who I am, and the majority of the time I'm truly okay with - actually proud of - who I am.  I work hard at being strong and I've almost completely overhauled my diet in the past few years.  I am not the insecure, overweight, unfit, bulimic girl I used to be. But sitting in a swimming suit next to your hot 44 and 70 year old family members makes it pretty impossible to deny that you are not nearly as thin or fit as you'd like to be, either.

Prior to my trip I had spent several weeks telling myself that it was time to kick it up a notch. I'd been stuck at a certain weight for several months and I knew that it would only change if I did something about it.  Being with my mom and sister was actually a good reminder that I needed to do more than just think about it.  The only one who has control of this is me, and sitting around wishing I was smaller has never been an effective way for me to get where I wanted/needed to be. Go figure.

So, we're now two weeks post spring break and I have, indeed "kicked it up a notch". i'm happy to report that, thanks to a major change in my diet (which I will blog about this weekend) and the addition of a hour of boxing with Laura at Clay (which I will blog about soon, too!) I am five pounds down!  

It's a good start.  Now, I just need to keep it up.  Forever.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


If you know me at all you are aware that it's pretty rare that I am at a loss for words. When it comes to the bombings at the Boston Marathon, however, I just seem to have nothing.

I wanted to sit down at the computer and come up with something profound, like so many people I've seen on Facebook, Twitter and other media outlets. But I've been back to this chair ten times in the past few days and still, nothing.

I've never even dreamed of accomplishing something like a marathon, let alone the Boston.  My father-in-law has done it. My friend and colleague at Clay, Elly Montague completed it that very day (fortunately she had finished long before the bombs went off).  And I have quite a few friends who have done other marathons.  All beyond amazing to me.  I still can't get through my head why someone want to hurt a bunch of runners and their supporters. Still, nothing.

So, I will do what quite a few others have done, and pass on the words of the beloved Mr. Fred Rogers, and the idea of wearing the race shirts we have accrued over time, in support of all the Boston Marathoners, the spectators, the citizens of the great city of Boston and America.  I donned my Charlottesville 10-Miler shirt Tuesday, Cherry Creek Sneak (circa 1994, my favorite) on Wednesday and Hilton Head Heritage 5K today, even though I know it won't really make a difference.  And when I head out on my run today, I'm going to cherish every moment (or at least try not to whine quite so much).