Things to Do When Everything Feels Terrible

If you’re like me and have been living in the sadness –> outrage –> dumbfounded –> rage –> sadness cycle for the last couple weeks, this past weekend has probably felt like the worst cherry on top of the shittiest sundae in hell.

Everything is just awful.

I’ll be honest – I thought I’d felt the worst of it after election night in 2016… boy howdy was I wrong. I suppose that, as bad as 2016 felt, there was still a sliver of hope that perhaps our elected officials would protect us from the inevitable insanity of the incoming administration. Now, it’s evident, that they will not – and we will have to live with those consequences for decades. I am incredibly disappointed in the shortsightedness of the leadership in Congress, and my heart is broken for every survivor who has put his or her story into the world and hasn’t been believed, has been laughed at, and has been told their trauma doesn’t matter.

Getting out of this rage cycle has been difficult – and isn’t being made better by the fact that everything else this weekend seems to be imploding too (I’m referring to the Packers, because good grief this game is painful to watch). Football is usually a good way for me to distract myself… but apparently not today. THANKS, GREEN BAY.

So, instead of football, I’m relying on a few other tried-and-true things to help me feel a little less despairing about what is happening in the world.

Baking

This is an easy one – I’m tapping in to my sourdough recipes and making some loaves to share. This particular recipe is actually one from my mom, so it’s special in that way, too. Anything that reminds me of my mama is a good way to make me feel better. Since I’m still alone for another month and half, I can’t eat two loaves of bread by myself in a timely enough fashion, so I’m sharing the fruits of my frustrations with my coworkers. Few things are better than fresh, home-baked bread. That’s a fact.

Westworld

Clay and I watched season one of Westworld when it came out last year (or the year before? I can’t remember.) but when season two started, life was just a bit too hectic to find time to sit down and watch it. I’ve found that’s generally the case with most shows on tv – I’m either too busy, or I’m prioritizing sleep, but I don’t have (or make) time to watch tv when it’s on. So. Clay and I decided to “watch” Westworld together while he’s gone – though he finished season two this weekend, so I’m currently working on catching up. It’s not exactly and uplifting show, but it is REALLY good, so it works for the distraction-from-reality thing.

The Gym

This should come as no surprise to anyone, but the gym is the place I go to take a break. Nearly every day, I know I can go in there and just focus on the work I need to get done. Each workout is a task – and I can just put my head down and grind until I get every task completed. This past week, the gym and the people I work out with have been necessary in finding something positive in every day. Lifting heavy things and getting my heart rate up are also just really good outlets for the aforementioned rage – it’s pretty good fuel when you need it.

Registering to VoteI’m registered, but I’m doing my damnedest to make sure everyone around me is, too. Helping people make a plan to get to the polls or securing their absentee ballots if they will be out of town. Election Day is less than a month away. The only hope I have to hang on to now is that come November, we will see some big changes in Congress. Something has to give – where we are right now is untenable. It won’t happen without people actually showing up to the polls. If we want change, we have to make it ourselves.

Anyways. This post has little to do with running – and I’m sure plenty of readers aren’t interested in hearing (reading) my politics, but avoiding what’s happening right now is a pretty privileged position. I’m not going to give up, even though right now it feels like we are in the darkest timeline.

We may very well be, but to quote Albus Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

I’m choosing to find and be a light.

Some of My Favorite Things

You guys. Since Clay has been away, I feel like my life is very routine. This is a good thing – I like routine, I thrive in it, I enjoy knowing what my life is going to look like day to day and I really like going to bed early.

That said, my routine means that I’m not doing anything toooo exciting. Work, gym, home, food, bed. The gym is probably the most exciting part of my day. (Because whats NOT exciting about the gym?!) I’m not training for anything specific right now – though the CrossFit Team Series just started and I am participating in that… standby on how much that effs me up.

Since my routine is pretty well set, I’ve been hermiting hardcore. But in that hermitage, I’ve been able to dig in to some of my introverted interests. So, I figured I’d pull an Oprah and share some of my current favorite things with you!

Listen

My Favorite Murder – Murderino here. If you’re like me and you’ve harbored a seemingly taboo interest in the slightly macabre, serial killers, or true crime, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark are the gals you want to listen to. Every week they share… you guessed it… their favorite murders. They are hilarious and sassy and advocates for mental health, among a great many other things. Dark humor abounds. SSDGM, fam.

Serial – Season three is live y’all! This time, Sarah Koenig and crew head to Cleveland: “A year inside a typical American courthouse. This season we tell you the extraordinary stories of ordinary cases. One courthouse, told week by week.” I’m two episodes deep and it is SO good to be back. I’m ready for more.

Read

The Hate U Give – This might be the most genuine story I’ve ever experienced. I say experienced because it so accurately captures what America has been living through – not just recently, but for a long time.

This book should be required reading. Like “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” are required reading for students because of their literary merit and important social and racial commentary, so too is Angie Thomas’ story of race, poverty, gun violence, and learning to use our greatest weapon: our voice.

If you read one book this year, read “The Hate U Give.” I have a copy – borrow mine. It’s too relevant/important/beautiful/horrifying to ignore.

WatchThe Good Place – Holy forking shirtballs. I’m a huuuuge KBell fan, have been since Veronica Mars, and you guys, this show is so good. Creator Mike Schur (of The Office and Parks and Rec) puts Bell’s Eleanor Shellstrop (who is dead) in The Good Place. But is she really? Hilarity ensures.

This show has filled the void Parks and Rec left – it’s hilarious and smart and creative. And Kristen Bell is delightful, per usual, and Ted Danson is Ted Danson. If you’re not watching this, there are two seasons on Netflix, so quit wasting your time and get on it!

The Great British Baking Show – The most pleasant reality competition show to ever exist. There are five seasons on Netflix and each one is just delightful. Not to mention these home bakers create some of the most incredible and delicious-looking bakes. I’m so impressed by their skills and jealous of their kitchen space. And I want Mary Berry to be my grandma.

So, that’s where I’m at these days. When I’m not at work or at the gym, I’m embracing my introvertedness. Fortunately, there are a lot of things to do when being around people is exhausting. What are some of your go-tos?

Washington DC Bucket List

I’ve been living the single life for about a week now and not only has the countdown to Clay’s return started, the other countdown has started too. The countdown to our PCS move. We’ll be leaving the DC-area this winter, and even though I’ve lived here for nearly six years, there are still a lot of things I haven’t done, food I haven’t eaten, and places I haven’t visited. So, in addition to all of the lists I’m making of prep things I need to get done – lots of purging… getting rid of so much extra junk, clothes, shoes, etc. – I’m making a bucket list of sorts. What things do I have to do, see, and eat before I leave?

Here’s what I have so far:

  1. African American History Museum – The newest Smithsonian opened about two years ago and it’s been a hot ticket ever since. Everything I’ve heard about this museum makes it a must-see, especially in our current social climate. It should probably be required viewing for every American. Maybe then people would calm their tits about NFL players kneeling or Black Lives Matter and better understand why there are protests and why people of color are speaking out. Basically, if people took the time to actually educate themselves about an issue, instead of letting someone else tell them what to think, I think we’d be a lot better off. Anyways, I would really love to have a chance to experience the museum myself – since it’s so popular, tickets are timed entry and typically sell out very quickly. It will take some coordination, but I’m optimistic we’ll be able to make it happen.
  2. Milk Bar – Christina Tosi’s dessert palace. I need it in my life. There are two(?) locations in DC now and ever since seeing her episode of Chef’s Table, I’ve been dreaming about Crack Pie and Birthday Cake and Cereal Milk. I told Clay I wanted to go here before he left, and we didn’t make it, so I’m just moving that date to after he gets home. Ahem. Bring me all of the dessert.
  3. The Wharf – One of the newest spots for a good hang is on the Southwest Waterfront. Admittedly, this area is complete gentrification of the neighborhood, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to check it out. There are a ton of exciting restaurants, music venues, and great views of the Potomac River. We’ve talked about making a date day of a trip to The Wharf by taking the water taxi over from Old Town Alexandria and we just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I hope we can make time before we have to leave.
  4. Toki Underground – More food. I’ve never had ramen before – real ramen that is. Toki is regarded at THE place to go in DC for ramen and it’s such a hot spot that you can’t make reservations. It’s show up, and hope your wait isn’t too long. Because you will be waiting. It’s worth it though, or that’s what everyone tells me. I’m in it to win it on the “don’t miss out on DC food” game, so this is a definite “WE HAVE TO GO HERE.”
  5. Kennedy Center – Now, to be fair, we’ve been here a number of times, but in the year or two we haven’t found the time. Clay would really like to catch one more performance here and so would I. It’s such a special venue, with incredible history and has seen some of the world’s most talented grace its stages. Hamilton is currently there… and while I’d love to luck into those tickets, I’m not delusional. Lol. We’ll probably catch another NSO performance before we go and that will be special enough.

 

It’s a short list right now, but as our time gets shorter, I have a feeling that list will grow. I’ll remember more stuff I want to do and places I want to go. It’s been an interesting six years in DC to be sure… and I want to make the most of the time I have left. Cheers to the next few months!

 

How to Take a Vacation

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how summer was already halfway over and how much I was looking forward to a few upcoming things on my schedule. One of them was a trip to Virginia Beach to see Dave Matthews Band – a trip that didn’t go as planned (it rained nearly the whole time we had planned to be beachgoing), but was still a good time. Until the air conditioner in Clay’s car died about 10 minutes in to our four hour drive home. Because of course.

The other bit of travel I was looking forward to was a trip to Wisconsin to visit my family and see cousins and aunts and uncles and play at my parent’s lake house. THAT trip went much more to plan and was just what I needed: an extra long weekend, spent mostly outside, with people I love.

Northern Wisconsin is beautiful – and my parents are enjoying calling it their new home. Trading Alaska for this place is a pretty good deal – it’s not The Great Land, but it’s still pretty great.

So, here’s how I take a vacation:

The view from my parent’s yard. I could stay here forever.

My sister and I made up this photo display of our family – earlier in the night we had a memorial table out, too, with photos of Grammie and Grandpa Jennings, my great aunt – AJ, my cousin Amy, and my Uncle Mike and Aunt Terri. We lost all of them but we still wanted them to be present for our day together.

When you have a big party with folks who couldn’t make it to your wedding – you bring your wedding cake to everyone! Round two turned out just as good as the original.

Sisters and cousins – well, two of them anyways. These kids we like my sibling substitutes while I was in college. It’s hard to believe now they are in college!

Mom and I got out for a short paddle on my last day. I can’t wait to go back and do some more exploring!

Momma. <3

The weather cooperated and we were able to play outside quite a bit – the paddleboards were the best!

I’ll be honest – I didn’t think I could do this.

Out on the boat with these goofs. Short fishing excursion – they all got skunked, but I landed a few small ones.

Dad with one of the better catches of the weekend. Not quite long enough to keep, though.

On our last night, Dad took us out for some sunset fishing – I didn’t catch anything, but being out on the lake at dusk was kind of magical.

Guys, my sister is cute.

I was reading in the hammock for about ten minutes… it was great, but there were more exciting things to do!

I’m already counting the days until I can go back and hang out on the lake with my family. There’s never enough time in that place with those great people.

A Day in the Life: Kyle

Welcome to the Scootadoot Day in the Life Series!

I’m kicking things off this week – and while the day I chose to document (yesterday) wasn’t a typical day, it gives a pretty good idea of what I’m up to on a day-to-day basis. Read: I have a routine. And I’m boring. Lol.
This is something that happens every day – even weekends, I can’t sleep in… I’m a bad sleeper. I’m also habitually worried about wasting the day, so sleeping in is pretty difficult. I digress. Monday, work day, 5:45am alarm. Wakey wakey! Breakfast miiiiight be my favorite meal of the day, and since my breakfast has to meet certain macros, it’s easiest to give myself time to cook it every day. My go to? Egg white omelette with spinach and a slice of turkey bacon, alongside either a slice of toast or white cheddar rice cakes. Which are the best flavor. Don’t at me.

Also pictured, my required-to-function to-go mug of coffee. Every morning needs caffeine. Welcome to work! I usually roll in around 7am, which is the best because I have the coffee maker all to myself for at least an hour. I purposely sit with my back to my office door so that I can look out the window all day and see the sunshine. Also, the folks who live across the street from our office provide some very entertaining people watching. Like… bruh. Snacks! I’m still doing Renaissance Periodization (hence the breakfast macros), and my second meal of the day is my mid-morning snack. I love mixing blueberries and cinnamon into fat free greek yogurt. Not pictured? The whole green pepper I scarfed down before I took a picture. Oops. I have two cups of veggies with every meal. Typically, green peppers. I love them.Here’s the part of the day that goes off track a bit. Clay was in Florida this weekend visiting his family and his flight got in this morning, so I took a half day to go pick him up and spend some time together before the craziness of his next few weeks starts. These are our happy faces when we finally got home!We ran to the grocery store for what will probably be the first of at least three times this week and then when we got home, Clay wanted to play guitar, so I headed outside to the patio. Lately, whenever I’ve had time, I’ve made more of an effort to enjoy it. We’ve lived in our apartment for three years and I’ve not spent nearly enough time out here. Sitting out here has also helped me work through my reading list for the year. It’s sunny and quiet and there might be mosquitoes, but it’s a nice place to get away from my cat. I mean, relax.

I ended the day at my favorite place. Nearly every day, I head to Crossfit Kingstowne for a workout with my friends, and end up hanging around for a couple of hours, finishing my lifting and catching up with people.

This day’s workout was:

Rowing Intervals
5 sets:
0:20 ON (Choose a hard, but not ALL OUT pace, as you’ll have to hold it)
1:00 OFF
0:20 ON
0:40 OFF
0:20 ON
0:20 OFF
0:20 ON
*Rest 2:00 after each set
**Must hold that same pace for all 0:20 efforts
and then….
Strength
A) Deadlift. 4×10 (65%)
B) Bench Press. 4×10 (65%)
*Rest as needed between sets

A good little cardio day with some heavy lifting to start the week.

After the gym, I head home, make dinner (alll the carbs, praise), and hang out with the cat and the huz. Clay typically practices guitar, we watch some Netflix, and tryyyy to get to bed by 8:30 – 8:00 if we’re lucky. Sleep is still being made a priority and it helps so much with recovery from the gym. And my general ability to tolerate humans. Sleep is so necessary.

And that, my friends, is a day in my life. Nothing too crazy or exciting, but there is time for family, fitness, and food carved out every day. Because honestly, those are the most important things I’ve got going – and I’m definitely not made about it.

Halfway Through… the Summer

How is July halfway over already?

I’m having a really hard time believing that in just a month and a half, September will be here and cooler temperatures will be on the horizon. There are so many things I want to do before the summer is over and I’m rapidly running out of weeks to do them in. Clay’s work schedule also limits the amount of fun things we get to do together (he’s traveling or working nearly every weekend between now and the end of August). But, instead of lamenting the fact that our time in the sun is dwindling, I’m looking forward to the things we have on the calendar so far.

1. Dave Matthews Band Weekend in Virginia Beach

Since we don’t have many weekends to spend together for the rest of the summer, Clay and I are capitalizing on the Dave Matthews Band being in Virginia Beach and making a small vacation of it. In addition to our second Dave show of the summer, we’ll (hopefully) be dropping in at Crossfit Krypton (Crossfitters may recognize that as Ben Smith’s affiliate!), hitting up the beach (away from the crowds, hopefully), and finding some good eats. It’s been a few years since we’ve made this trip and knowing it’s the last weekend we have together for nearly a month, I’m looking forward to it.

it’s not hawaii, but it’s not half bad.

so. excited. for more Dave.

2. Family Reunion in Wisconsin

I may have been sad when my parents moved from Alaska last year, but one great thing that has come from their move is the fact that they are now much closer to the rest of our family. Their lake house in the north woods is the perfect place to host the aunts and uncles and cousins for a weekend of family time.

this is only a small group of my cousins (and husband, duh), and I’m so excited to see them and many of the rest in just a few weeks!

my mom’s hammock game is on point.

the view out of my parents’ kitchen window. lake life yes please.

3.  Staycation

Clay leaves for two and half months of MOS School (in California) at the beginning of September, which means he will be performing with his unit for the last time in August and then hopefully taking some much-deserved time off before he has to go. I’m hoping to do the same. Hiking? Camping? Gym time? Donuts?  Probably all of the above, if we can swing it.

pool time.

love this guy.

any time we get to scramble around on the rocks outside is a good time.

donuts. duh.

The next few weeks might be crazy and busy, but I’m excited for what we have on the schedule – even if I’m not super excited about the two and a half months we’ll be spending apart. Summer may be waning, but there’s still plenty of time to enjoy it!

ColoRADo Weekend

You ever have those trips that you wish could last just a few more days? Just so you could squeeze in a little more time with people you love or places you want to adventure?

That was my trip to Colorado last weekend. A too-short, but entirely wonderful weekend in the mountains with my family and good friends.

Our purpose for the trip? A wedding. For two of my favorite people in the world. The bride is practically my cousin – our moms have been best friends since they were 13 and though we grew up states away from each other, Hilary and I spent our visits riding horses, playing dress up, singing showtunes, girl scout camping, and snowboarding… among a great many other things. Now, we’re lucky enough to live about 20 mins apart – and we do our best to see each other as often as we can. In living so close, I’ve gotten to know (her now husband) Duncan really well over the last five years, too.

When we found out their wedding was going to be in Colorado, Clay and I knew we had to make the trip – but it was pure luck that Clay’s work schedule allowed him to go. Approved-then un-approved-then conditionally re-approved leave and a canceled gig later meant that he could travel over the weekend, something we didn’t know for sure until the week before we were supposed to leave. WHEW!

But, our last minute scrambling for a suit and a dress worked out (I went with an option from Rent the Runway, which is kind of my favorite way to find dresses for special occasions), and we left for Denver early Friday morning. When I say early, I mean EARLY – we left the house around 3am and arrived in Colorado around 6:30am. But, that worked to our advantage, because we arrived about five hours ahead of my family, so we were able to go in to the city, grab some breakfast and groceries, before doing a little sight-seeing.

Our first stop was Denver Biscuit Company where we ate the most ginormous cinnamon roll I’ve ever seen.

Clay for scale

In addition to that cinnamon roll, I had shrimp and grits that were so, so good – being the first real meal I’ve had out in months, it was a real treat to have something so yummy.

After walking off breakfast and heading to the grocery store to get some provisions for the weekend (you can’t have a road trip – no matter how short – without snacks), we decided to check out the Denver Zoo since we had a couple hours until we needed to be back at the airport to pick up the rest of the crew.

While we were there, the weather got a little stormy and the animals were all worked up about it. This Rhino was blustering about and pacing, the Tapir was squeeling (or whatever you call that high pitched sound it makes), and the birds were going bonkers. We sort of sped-walked the last half of the exhibits, but the animals we did get to see were pretty amazing. I always feel kinda sketchy about zoos (animals in captivity and whatnot), but the Denver Zoo is pretty clear about their conservation work and the efforts they make to ensure the animals’ enclosures are large and similar to their home environments. I would love to go back and see more!

Once we found the rest of my family, we headed up into the mountains to Estes Park – a small mountain town about two hours northwest of Denver. Situated just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes sits in a valley and is surrounded by some of the most gorgeous vistas you can imagine. Our first evening in town was pretty low-key. We checked out a brewery for dinner and spent an hour or so exploring the downtown area. Saturday, though, we hit the ground running. Clay and I wanted to get some fitnessing in, so we dropped in to CrossFit Estes Park for a WOD before meeting back up with my family to head in to RMNP for a hike. We headed to the Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead and found a 2.5 mile loop that suited us perfectly. It was a gorgeous morning to get out and see the mountains and all the Park had to offer. It probably goes without saying that post-hike we were all very sweaty, a little dirty, and pretty hungry. We found some eats at Smokin’ Daves BBQ and then worked on getting gussied up for the weekend’s main event. The wedding was taking place at The Stanley Hotel – made famous as the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining, and complete with an actual hedge maze. Though Jack Torrance isn’t chasing anyone through this one.

Hilary and Duncan were married on Long’s Peak Lawn, overlooking the valley and the weather was absolutely perfect for their ceremony. It was remarkably beautiful and the rest of the evening was a wonderful party with delicious food, lots of dancing, and plenty of cake. I did my due diligence and tried all the desserts: almond cake with raspberry filling (I think?), banana cake with a chocolate ganache filling (omg you guys, I need more of this in my life immediately) and lemon bars. I could have had like, five of those.

The whole fambam. These nerds are the best.

Emmie is getting real good at the third wheeling.

By the end of the night, I realized I hadn’t gotten a picture of the bride and groom, so I remedied that the next morning before we headed back down the mountains to grab lunch in Boulder before heading to the airport to go home.

love these goobers.

It wasn’t a long trip, and by the time we got home we were completely exhausted, but I would do it all over in a heartbeat. I’m already looking forward to our next opportunity to get the whole family together in a beautiful place to celebrate something as big as love.

Ready, Set, Camp!

Last weekend, Clay and I celebrated our one year anniversary (!!) which is really crazy to think that a year has already gone by – time is weird and I don’t understand it. 
Crazy. All of that silliness doesn’t feel like a year ago. Clay and I just really want to throw our wedding again every year in celebration. Maybe we’ll actually do that some day, because it was really just the most fun day ever.

Anyways. To celebrate reaching this milestone, we decided that instead of taking a vacation or staying at some fancy hotel we’d rather go play outside and sleep in the woods. We reserved a camping spot at Westmoreland State Park, about and hour and half south of DC and on the banks of the Potomac River. When we arrived, we set up camp in record time (the upside to a small tent!), and decided that since it was already so hot out (90 degress, natch), we’d check out the trail that went down to the beach, because sitting by the water seemed like a good way to cool down a little. When we got to the beach, we discovered the best little coves, and we had one all to ourselves so we scrambled over the rocks for a while, enjoying the view of the river and the Chesapeake Bay. It was really beautiful and the perfect place to spend some time relaxing.  When we headed back to our campsite, we had to climb back up the bluff – which was a great workout (lololol), but it did make for a great picture.Once we got to the top, we decided to find another trail and keep up the hiking for a little while longer. We wound our way back to a lake where we ended up sitting and listening to bird and frog songs for a good half an hour, while watching for turtles. It was the best way to wind down and really take in the natural world.

Typically when we camp, we like to cook over the fire, but since we’re still in the midst of our adventure with RP, we prepped our food before we left home and just kept it in the cooler. However, we did stray from the RP templates a little with dessert, because we feasted on our wedding cake! It was delicious the first time around and a year later? Just as delicious. It kept really well in the freezer! It was really fun to bring ourselves back to our wedding day with that cake – so many good memories, and more added with the celebration of our anniversary.

I’m really excited for so many more years of camping and hiking and building fires and going on adventures with this dude. He’s really just the best.

Adventuring in Asheville

What do you get when you gather 9 ladies in a new city and a weekend full of bachelorette-ing plans?

A whole lot of fun, is what.

Last weekend, I joined some of my favorite friends (and some new ones) in Asheville, NC to throw a hen do for one of our best girls. Ladies came from Georgia, Colorado, Texas, New York, London and DC and we brought our party pants (and maybe some penis confetti to boot).

Any weekend adventure that starts and ends with a road trip is good in my book and this was no exception. Four of us traveled together from the DC area (about an 8 hour haul), and during the drive made sure to set the tone for the weekend by creating a playlist with some of our favorite 2000s kids throwback jams. Lots of NSync, Britney, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Ginuwine – because what bachelorette party is complete without Pony?

Our first evening in North Carolina was pretty laid back – dinner and drinks and a drum circle (not in our plans, but witnessed in the center of town). The tame evening and relatively early bedtime was necessitated by the jam-packed day ahead.

Saturday morning dawned with promise of Pilates…. accompanied by puppies. The class – which took place at the humane society – was pretty low key, all levels welcome type stuff, but I still managed to get a decent workout in. That is, when I wasn’t trying to cuddle all the puppies in the room. Those little stinkers were so fun and they seemed to love all of the attention. They tolerated being picked up and used as Pilates props, which seemed like a great way to socialize them before they are adopted. It’s lucky that the pups weren’t eligible for adoption while we were there, because I would have 100% gone home with one. No joke.

10/10 would Pilates or yoga with tiny animals again. Few things are better than puppy breath.

After begrudgingly leaving the puppers behind, we went straight down to the French Broad River for some stand up paddleboarding. Somehow, I’d never done SUP before and to be honest I was a little nervous. Mostly about looking stupid. Which is dumb, so I got over it pretty quickly and once we were on the water we had so much fun. Three of us were on individual SUPs and the other six had a party sized SUP. Paddling that thing made you feel like a real life Moana. Yes, I did sing that song, too.

We managed only one casualty toward the end of our float, and most of us stayed pretty dry – except me, when I got a little too cocky when doing a snatch with my paddle, slipping, and nearly falling in. #crossfitproblems

After we expertly guided our party barge to the boat slip, we returned donned our best flannel and headed over to the New Belgium Brewery – now is when I remind you all that in January, Clay and I decided to take a year off of drinking – visiting the brewery was awesome. The tour was great, and the view was spectacular (they are situated along the same river we had floated earlier!) and from what I understand, the beer was pretty good too. We hung around there for a good chunk of the afternoon and into the early evening before heading back to our hotel for dinner, bachelorette games and an evening of frivolity. What happens in Asheville after midnight, stays in Asheville. 

The next morning came too soon, and after a lovely walk around town to find coffee, we were off to brunch and then back on the road home. I would love to visit Asheville again – I’m sure there is so much more to the city that we didn’t see. Until next time!

 

Renaissance Periodization and ALL the Food Math

Who loved math in high school?

Okay. I know that there are some of you that genuinely did, but I was not one of those people. I hated math. It didn’t come naturally to me. I had to work twice as hard to get a good grade and since high school I feel like I haven’t flexed any of those math muscles at all.

At least until I started doing Renaissance Periodization and doing literally ALL of the food math ever.

Let me rewind for a second and explain what I’m talking about. Renaissance Periodization, or RP, is a diet template (not a “diet” in the traditional sense, but diet like “the food you eat”) that is scientifically formulated to optimize nutrition and training.

Renaissance Periodization was founded with the understanding that science is the surest path to the truth, and in this field, to results. Our approach is the rigorous application of scientific principles to nutrition and training. Everything we do is built on a foundation of peer-reviewed literature and experimentally confirmed theory.

I’ve worked for a long time at making my body healthy and strong, but I know there is more I can do to be stronger and healthier. I’ve written before about my relationship with my body image and I’ve talked a lot about my philosophy on healthy eating. I generally do a pretty solid job of eating whole, nutritious foods, getting the right nutrients, and maintaining a healthy relationship with food in general. However, stepping on the scale showed me that I was still “overweight” (by BMI standards) and for as frequently as I work out and as healthy as I eat, I couldn’t seem to make that needle move even a little bit. I suspected my problem was, in fact, undereating.

I exercise 5-6 days a week, typically for 1-2 hours a day. Based on MyFitnessPal (where I was tracking my meals), I was only eating around 1800 calories a day. That is NOT enough, given my calorie output. However, I was in a food routine and it was hard for me to make myself eat more than that. Chronic undereating can really eff up your metabolism and ultimately tell your body to store fat because it thinks you need the energy.

That’s where RP comes in. A number of folks at our gym have used it to great success, and I’ve followed a bunch of athletes who also use it (olympic weightlifters and crossfitters). I thought that maybe following a template with a little more structure and expertise than I could offer myself may work a little better in my effort to lose some body fat and build strength. Clay, who has the opposite problem as me, wanted to use RP to do a muscle gain. We bit the bullet and each purchased our personalized templates.

According to RP:

Each diet offers the option to structure your meal timing for training days on which the training is done first thing in the morning and in every 3-4 hour interval later, all the way up to a late night session before bedtime. Non-training day diets come standard with every template.

Each fat-loss and muscle gain is designed to be run for approximately 3-6 months, with the programming to help you gain or lose anywhere between 5 and 25lbs in that 3-month span, depending on your body size, caloric expenditure, and goals.

The included maintenance diet (the base tab) that comes with both the cutting and massing plan can be run for as long as you want if your goals are to maintain your weight and improve your recovery and performance.

This is an example of the template I’ve been using

The best part about RP is the mentality. Yes, you are given a set of templates that dictate what your meals should be. However, the minds behind this business know that humans make choices and life happens and sometimes we fall off the wagon, sometimes we have life events we want to celebrate, and sometimes we mess up. There’s no penalty, there’s no guilt, they just say to get back on track tomorrow. That’s it. I love that way of thinking because I know that over the course of 12 weeks, I will be 99% compliant, but my birthday is next month, so is my anniversary. I want to celebrate both of those things and I will and I won’t worry or feel bad about it at all.

We started our respective templates at the beginning of the month and are currently in our fourth week. I’ve been doing SO much food math (lots of cross-multiplication) to determine the quantity of food I need to meet the required macronutrients per meal. So much math, that we’ve started to keep notebooks with our meals written out in grams and formulas that tell us what we need to make sure our meals are complete. Not to mention, our meal prep skills are ON POINT. Every Saturday, the fridge is packed to the brim with groceries, and every Sunday, those groceries are turned into 25 meals, neatly packed in tupperware.

So, yes. High school algebra has found a way back into my life. Much to my chagrin. But, this time, I’m happy to do it. I’ve seen small progress – which is appropriate given the time period I’ve been on the template – both on the scale and in the mirror, the latter being the more important of the two for me, honestly. I just want to feel confident in my body and know that I’m fueling it the best I can to achieve the goals I’ve set for myself.

Here’s to 8 more weeks of food math!