Posts Tagged by health

My Two Year WODiversary!


I have never ever ever in my life kept up with a steady fitness routine for longer than maybe 6 months.  Even with all the races I have run and continue to put on my schedule for the next few months, I haven’t kept up with my training like I should’ve.  But CrossFit…well CrossFit has kept my interest.  And it has not only kept my interest, but I fall in love with it more and more everyday.  It’s challenging, it’s fun, it’s rewarding and the friendships I have formed from it are just the best.  What is not to love?!

While I’m not exactly where I would’ve hoped to be two years into this journey, the improvements to my fitness, strength and confidence are unparalleled.  Here are some of those improvements compared to the first time I attempted a certain movement and then from a year ago.

  • Dead Lift: 63# >> 220# >> 225#
  • Back Squat: 53# >> 145# >> 155#
  • Front Squat: 58# >> 128# >> 145#
  • Overhead Squat: 43# >> 73# >> 85#
  • Squat Clean: 45# >> 73# >> 98#
  • Power Clean: 63# >> 103# >> 128#
  • Power Snatch: 53# >> 73# >> 78#
  • Thruster: 33# >> 75# >> 93#
  • Close Grip Bench: 48# >> 90# >> 95#
  • Shoulder to Overhead: 33# >> 85# >> 110# (split jerk)

Never in my life did I think I could lift over 100 pounds over my head…that’s insane to me! And the funny thing is, the clean & jerk is now my favorite movement.  I could do them all day!


I still need to improve on the gymnastic movements like handstands and pull ups.  Hell, I still need to get an actual pull up!  Oh and double unders…I am ready to master those things.  But while those are not my strong suit, I have improved my box jumps and burpee efficiency by leaps and bounds.  

Other highlights in my CrossFit life this past year have included participating in Barbells for Boobs and raising money for breast cancer early detection screenings.  I can’t wait to do this again this year and I’m hoping to complete it in under 5 minutes this time!


Also, attending the both the CrossFit Games Northeast Regional Competition and the actual CrossFit Games were probably the most inspirational and motivating ways to keep me moving forward with my training.  To see those dedicated athletes complete movements that I’m familiar with is simply amazing.


My goals for the next year are to…

  • Get a pull up…I’d be happy with just a kipping pull up!
  • Master double unders
  • Get over 100 pounds in all of the movements above
  • Complete Grace in under 5 minutes
  • Get comfortable upside-down (aka doing handstands)
  • Get over my fear of box jumps!  

Totally doable!!  


Coming up in just 7 weeks I will be competing in my first CrossFit competition…yikes!!  It’s the Disney Fit Challenge at Walt Disney World (of course it is at Disney!) and I’m going down with my lifting partner and life twin, Kat.  I’m beyond nervous excited!

So here’s to another year of lifting heavy things, getting faster, getting stronger, and just feeling RAD.  Big thanks to my coaches at CrossFit Milford, especially Jay, Colin, Ryan, Gina, Cesar, Dan and Amanda for always pushing me to be better and always believing that I can do the impossible.

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Functional Fitness and A Ton of Weight

Functional Fitness.  It is becoming more popular in the health and fitness world and is also the basis of all CrossFit programs.  CrossFit can actually be defined as “a regimen of constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity in a communal environment leading to health and fitness.”  

I know there are many skeptics out there who like to debate this and preach that CrossFit is a very dangerous sport.  My brother-in-law actually said to me recently that CrossFit is the “sport of injury.”  Well all of that is just basic ignorance in my opinion and comments like this generally come from those who have never even tried the sport or have an understanding of what is actually being accomplished everyday.  Yes, what we do may look chaotic and “unsafe” but it really is quite the opposite.  All the workouts (WODs) are strategically planned by our head coach and all the classes are highly monitored.  I can’t tell you how many times my form has been corrected during a WOD.  

If we look past what you actually see athletes doing during a CrossFit WOD and get down into WHY we are doing these movements, we will see a different picture begin to emerge.  Not only are we working out to be healthy and feel good, we are doing this to prepare us for life.  It’s done to carry those heavy bags of groceries, to change a flat tire, to take your child out of a carseat, to do laundry…you know, everyday things.  And not just do these things, but do them efficiently and without injury.  Sounds interesting right?

Last week this was dropped off in my driveway:


That would be 100 40-pound bags of wood pellets.  It gets COLD here in CT in the winter and if you couldn’t tell from all my bitching this past winter…I HATE the cold!  So to keep the house nice and toasty, we have a pellet stove.  I love this thing…

Pellet Stove

However, pellet stoves need fuel and that’s where these bags come in.  We do not have a garage to store the bags in so they need to be moved down to the basement…one by one.  Our basement does not have an entrance from the outside, so we must walk from the driveway, around the back of the house, through the living room and down a flight of stairs.  It’s only about 50-75 feet, but making that trip 25 times while carrying 80 pounds of weight can get tiring.  And that’s just what B and I did.  We each moved a ton (literally) of pellets.


When we first moved into this house 5 years ago, I didn’t help with this task.  B’s brothers would come up from NY and help him.  About 2 years ago (2 months after starting CrossFit), we got a delivery of 1 ton.  I decided to help B that time and I remember it being difficult.  He would put two bags on my shoulders and I would carry them down.  I remember being sore afterwards.  This year was a different story.

Not only was I able to lift and carry two bags on my own, but I did it quickly and without injury or any soreness the next day.  Knowing how to properly squat and clean weight up to my shoulders saved my back from injury.  Having a stronger core, kept my body more properly aligned while carrying 40 pounds on one shoulder and another in front of me. It’s pretty clear that my training has come a long way.

So while I might not look like the epitome of health and fitness on the outside, like the sport of CrossFit, I tell a different story on the inside.  Practicing functional fitness has prepared me for all the different things life will throw at me.  I wonder what will come next…  

How are you prepared?

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Follow Ups and Trisomy 16

First, I would like to sincerely thank everyone for their outpouring of love, support and encouragement this past week after I shared my story of struggle with my colitis and my recent miscarriage.  With every response I have had mixed emotions of crying, smiling, strength…you name it, I’ve felt it.  This amazing community of bloggers, runners, Disney fans, foodies, healthy living enthusiasts, CrossFit addicts and everyone in between continue to inspire me everyday with your generosity and kindness.  I can only hope that I can give back to you as much as you have given to me.  

Ok, let’s all have a giant group hug…pleeeeeeease????

That felt really good, right?  I think we all need more hugs in our lives…hugs rule!

Last week was full of follow up appointments and wishes for this whole debacle to be over.  Good news is that after a post-op exam and ultrasound, all looks good.  Yay!  Interesting news is that after chromosomal testing from my surgery came back, it showed that the miscarriage was caused by chromosome disorder called Trisomy 16.  I am learning SO MANY new things in these past few weeks!  Trisomies occur when a person develops three of a particular chromosome, instead of the normal two.  These can be mild and show no symptoms or be severe enough to cause miscarriages or early infant death.  Clearly, the later is what I experienced.   

I have to say that as difficult as this experience has been, I am thankful that it ended early.  It would’ve been much harder if I had carried this baby even a few more weeks.  My excitement would’ve grown and my attachment would’ve increased.  I’ve cried, I’ve suffered and now I’m healing, I’m moving on.  

B and I spent the past few days in Walt Disney World and I took on the Glass Slipper Challenge, which is a back to back 10K and half marathon.  I almost forfeited my registration, but my best friend Amanda convinced me to at least try and if we had to walk the entire thing we would.  So I gave it a try and I did it!  


Just 2 weeks after surgery and I completed both of these races with little faith that I could.  Neither race was my fastest or most efficient, and my body was definitely in pain from my lack training, well lack of really anything for the past few weeks.  I balled my eyes out after crossing the finish line of the Princess Half Marathon because I was so glad that I had accomplished my 7th half marathon!  Look for full reports in the next few weeks over on Running at Disney!  

Besides the races, we also spent a lot of time relaxing and just having fun.  Being in a place like Walt Disney World is a great way to just escape from everything.  Hell, I had an ostrich lay an egg outside my hotel room window…where else can you say that happened??  Now it’s time to focus on getting healthy again.  Getting my body in shape and mentally recovering from these past 2 months.  I’m ready to move on…I actually feel good!  

Thank you again to every one for your support and for making this journey a bit easier.  🙂

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As A New Year Begins…

As 2013 came to an end, I couldn’t help reflect on all of the good, the bad and the ugly that has gone on this year.  I’m not one for resolutions, in fact, I actually despise them.  It’s basically a way to set yourself for failure.  But I always like to look back, reflect and see how I can improve.  Here are the things that stuck out to me:

Strength & Fitness

I’ve been going strong with CrossFit for about a year and a half now and I really want to take it to the next level in 2014.  My progress have been kind of stagnant in many movements due to the tightness in my hips, but I am committed to work on my hip mobility at home and with my coach.  Look I even got my own WOD this week!


This year I want to work on my form, particularly with snatches and overhead squats, I want to work on my double unders because they basically don’t exist now, and to FINALLY get a pull up.  3…2…1…GO!  


I’ve been plagued with this crappy (pun intended) disease and for the past few months it has gotten the best of me.  It has consumed my thoughts, my emotions and my overall feeling of wellness.  It’s really hard to not let that happen, especially after dealing with it for over 10 years with no end in sight.  My doctors have recommended that I try Humira, but I just don’t feel like it’s the right thing for me right now.  


So I’m going to overcome it this year.  I can’t get in a funk like this again…I just can’t because it actually makes my symptoms worse.  If I have a flare, I will deal with it head on.  I will focus more on my food and try to pin point what if anything is affecting me.     

Smile & Explore

I have an amazing family and live in a beautiful area.  B and I tend to waste our weekends away at home on our computers or in front of the TV.  There is so much out there that we haven’t experienced and I want to make a point to get out there (when it gets warmer of course!) and enjoy it!

Sarah-Barry-EpcotOn the list for this year:

All of these are within 3 hours from home…so what’s my excuse??

I want to make this a great year and I hope you’ll come along with me for the ride!

What do you want to do this year?

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On the Bright Side, Maybe I’ll Lose a Few Pounds?

That was my thought process earlier in the week when I started to prep for the colonoscopy I had yesterday.  As I mentioned last week, I’ve been having some not so fun health issues that relate to my Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and this procedure was imminent.  I’ve been trying to stay positive and not worry too much about what’s going on, but as hard as I’ve tried there just seems to be this black cloud hanging over me for the past few weeks.  I just wanted to get this over with, get some answers and move on.

While the procedure itself if no big deal, the day before is no picnic.  I’ll save you all the lovely details, but it involves fasting with clear liquid only, drinking a ton of stuff to “clear” your system out, and a lot of time in the bathroom.  Fun times!  


Notice I labeled the bottle…didn’t want B accidentally grabbing some.  My morning was spent in bed cuddling with cats while I waited to leave.  I hate when these things are scheduled for mid-day.  I rather get up early and get it over with!


Besides all the prep the worst part of any procedure for me is the IV.  I am a big baby when it comes to needles and tend to pass out.  So the nurse had me lie down on a giant chair in a tiny room to avoid that from happening.  It was actually quite comical to watch them maneuver around.  I have tiny veins on a good day, but considering that I was dehydrated from the prep it was becoming difficult to find a good one.  Just what I wanted to hear.  However in the process, the nurse noticed my Barbells for Boobs bracelet and said she saw the coverage on the news and that it looked like a really fun event!  Cool 🙂  


On the second try, they got the IV started and I didn’t pass out…yet….


I know you’re totally jealous of those super fashionable socks I got to wear.  Don’t lie!  So I was feeling fine and getting rehydrated, so they put my chair back down and gave me a warm blanket.


That’s when the dizziness started, my ears started ringing and the faintness started coming on.  Not sure what happened, but the nurse saw my face and promptly put the chair back down and rubbed my head with a cool cloth.  I’m such a wuss…


Trying to keep my sense of humor…

The procedure went well and thankfully I didn’t wake up in the middle this time.  Yeah that happened last time…not fun.  Good news is my colitis has not spread up my left side and there were no signs of polyps or cancer.  Not so good news, I might be showing signs of either an infection or the beginning of Crohn’s.  Not so fun.  I have an appointment with my doctor in about a week to go over the results and talk about my medication options.  I’m voting for steroids over immuosuppressants, but we shall see.

Having not eaten for about 36 hours all I wanted to do was stuff my face.  We hit Chipoltle on the way home and I got a burrito bowl with ALL THE THINGS.  


The rest of my day consisted of naps and more cat cuddling in front of the pellet stove.  I mean really, they are the best nurses! 


Today, I’m not feeling 100%.  I started running a fever last night and was very achy.  A few Tylenol seemed to break the fever, but I’m still feeling sluggish and tired.  Besides that, I am emotionally feeling a lot better about things and hopeful that I can now start on the road to remission after having all of these tests done.  Because of the possibility of Crohn’s, I might have to do a capsule endoscopy next to get a look at my small intestines and see if there is any inflammation in there.  That should be interesting…  

Oh and I did end up losing about 4 pounds in the process, so that’s a bonus 😉

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