Posts Tagged by travel

Disney Fit Challenge – The Anticipation

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Six months prior I signed up for the Disney Fit Challenge.  The merging of two of my favorite things, Disney and CrossFit, seemed like a dream come true!  I convinced my friend Kat to join me and then the waiting began…  We waited and waited and waited for more information to be announced.  A month prior, the event schedule completely changed and then two short weeks before the event, the workouts were announced.  To say it was a let down is an understatement and my feelings of frustration began to grow.

After following the CrossFit Games so closely for the past few years, I had come to expect a certain type of programming for these type of events and what we got did not meet those expectations.  The programming was not varied as movements such as box jumps, hurdle hops (wtf?!) and wall balls were repeated in numerous events.  The movement standards were totally out of whack across the divisions and overall there just seemed to be a lack of organization.  We had been looking forward to this for quite some time and were now filled with disappointment as to what we had gotten ourselves into.  The only saving grace was that we were going to Walt Disney World, so we just decided to make the best of our vacation and that this event was just a blip on the radar.

We arrived on the Friday before the event and our first stop was the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.  I mean, how else do you prepare for a CrossFit competition than to eat and drink your way around World Showcase and walk over 2 miles in the process?! Clearly we had thrown caution to the wind and fun was in full effect.

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After a few hours, we headed to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to check in.  I’ve been there numerous times for runDisney race Expos which are always chaotic and full of people.  This was a different experience.  We were actually able to park close to the entrance and as we walked in it seemed down right deserted.  I wish the runDisney events were this easy!

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There weren’t any signs on where to go to check-in and I had to ask a cast member.  She pointed us to the HP Field House and to go around to the back of the upper level.

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The check-in area was deserted and we were able to get our wristbands, admission ticket to the complex, and swag bag in just a few minutes.  Is it really considered a swag bag when it is just a vinyl backpack and a tech tee?  Both are super cute though.

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We headed outside and I needed to check out the fields to see what the set up was going to look like for the event.  As I headed down behind the Field House, I was pretty impressed by everything that I saw and was actually surprised that the fields were open for me to get some close up photos.

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The rig set up from Pure Strength was awesome.  The wall ball targets are Mickey’s!!!

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I was very happy to see the hurdles in advance and know that we wouldn’t be having to jump over full size hurdles that you find on a track.  These were doable.

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Here’s my spot!

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Here were the dreaded 10 foot targets for our first event the next morning and under the tarps were the barbells staying dry.  

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So I was a bit more at ease to see everything in person, but I was still a bit hesitant about actually completing the WODs.  We still had no idea what the time cap was for the events, but it was assumed to be 10 minutes since that’s how long the heats were scheduled for. With so many questions still up in the air it was hard to feel confident.  What we did know for sure was that Kat and I were thankfully in the same heat (# 11) and that we would be starting at 10:45 am.

By the time we got back to the hotel and got a bite to eat we were exhausted from getting up at 5 am to head to the airport and our long day of walking.  We crashed by 9 and both slept for 10 hours!  This was actually great because we woke up with plenty of time to get ready (mentally and physically) and felt very well rested.  Now to take on our first official competition…stay tuned šŸ™‚

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Getting to the Games

What a surreal week I had last week!  It’s still kind of unbelievable that I was the big grand prize winner of the Get to the Games contest from HumanX Gear.  I mean…those things just don’t happen…but it really did!!

Last Tuesday I put on my big girl pants and got on that non-stop flight to Los Angeles. Thanks to some extra leg room and free wi-fi on our JetBlue flight, it actually went by fairly quickly.  I’m sure being exhausted from the 3:30 am wake up call and the 1 mg of Ativan also played a part in that as well šŸ˜‰

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Our first stop in L.A., Disneyland of course!  If I was going to make the trip all the way to the west coast, I wasn’t going to pass up a visit to The Happiest Place on Earth.  We spent 3 fun filled days touring the parks and eating our faces off.  I really fell in love with Disneyland this time around…more about that to come on Running at Disney in the next few weeks!

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Friday it was time to Get to the Games!!  We didn’t have a car while at Disneyland because 1. everything is in walking distance and 2. they charge hotel guests $17/day to park…crazy!  We lucked out that the rental car location was about 200 meters across the street from our hotel room…couldn’t have worked out any better.  

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Leaving the Disneyland bubble and driving around L.A. was both interesting and overwhelming.  I’m not a nervous driver, but when we got on the 405 I was SO happy B was driving.  Seven lanes of traffic is too chaotic for me!

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The drive from Anaheim to San Pedro where our hotel was took about 40 minutes. Heading into San Pedro we drove through the Port of Los Angeles, which is the busiest shipping container port in the United States.  The photos do not do justice to the size and scale of this port.  I was completely awestruck and continued to be all weekend everytime we drove by.  This was one of the few things I was impressed by in L.A., but more on that later.

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We arrived at the DoubleTree San Pedro and were happy to find that our room was ready. Yay for early check-ins!  We were given some yummy warm cookies and headed up to our room that overlooked the gorgeous marina…oh and the GIANT port in the background. Can you tell I am still shocked by the size of that port??  Seriously…that shit was crazy huge! 

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I also received an awesome gift basket from HumanX that included t-shirts, snacks and of course our CrossFit Games wristbands!!

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We quickly unpacked and headed up to the StubHub! Center in Carson for our first day at the Games.  Oh the awesomeness that we were about to see…and the miles we were about to walk…

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More to come on the Games, the Vendor Village and some thoughts on L.A. in general from this East Coast girl šŸ™‚  Stay tuned!

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How One Day Can Change Your Life

Here I am…on the longest flight I’ve been on in over 10 years, writing to you at over 36,000 feet.  I’ve shocked myself today.  I woke up focused and had very minimal anxiety getting to the airport and even boarding the plane.  Maybe I was just THAT tired or maybe I’m actually dealing with this better.  I took an Ativan once seated so I could take a nap for a while, but that only lasted about 1.5 hours and once again…I’m ok!

This all might seem silly to a lot of people…this fear of flying thing, but it really is rooted in a not so pretty place that I’ve never gone into detail about here.  You see, I wasn’t always liked this.  I LOVED to fly when I was younger.  I traveled all over the U.S. including San Francisco, San Antonio, and Denver.  I traveled internationally to England, France and even spent 2 months abroad in Ireland.  Traveling was exciting…so many opportunities are available once you step off that plane!  

But when I was 21 years old, the world changed….September 11th happened.

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On that day I was living 5 blocks from the World Trade Center in a studio apartment at 33 Gold Street.  I had just started my final year at New York University and I was working in the Box Office at the Hammerstein Ballroom, one of the top concert venues in NYC at the time.  To say I was loving life was an understatement.   Well you know the story of the day so I won’t rehash that business, but to say the events greatly effected me is an understatement.  And it didn’t happen right way either…  

Soon after 9/11, I traveled quite a bit…to England, Arizona, Florida…but with each trip my anxiety grew.  I moved out of the city to Hoboken, NJ across the Hudson river, but I was still commuting in for work and school every day.  Soon I started having trouble on the subway, going through tunnels and being on bridges.  This is a problem when you have to use at least one of those things to get in or out of NYC.  My fear of being trapped, like I was on 9/11, was becoming overwhelming and crippling.   

I ended up having to leave NYC because the stress of having to go there everyday was too much.  Well that wasn’t the ONLY reason, but it played a large part in our decision to move to CT.  However the problem with that was now that I no longer had to face those fears everyday, my reactions were 1,000 times worse when I actually did.  I would have a full on panic attack driving over the George Washington Bridge.  I wouldn’t take the train into NYC or take the Subway for almost 8 years.  Getting on a plane was out of the question.  B and I actually DROVE to Florida for our Honeymoon…it’s amazing that man actually married me.  And the worst thing about all of this was that it was affecting my health because all of that stress would cause my UC to flare on a regular basis.

It was after that long drive to Florida that I finally woke up.  I couldn’t live my life like this anymore…I was missing out on LIFE!  B also turned to me and said, if you ever want to go to Disney again we are flying.  Well that right there is motivation enough to change! šŸ™‚  With the help of a low dose of anti-anxiety medication and the will to face my fears, I am slowly working through all of my fears.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I need help here…

Now look at me.  As I finish writing this, I am sitting in my hotel room at the Disneyland Hotel after taking a non-stop flight from NY to LA.  That’s almost 6 hours on a plane people!!  I am having a blast at The Happiest Place on Earth with the love of my life and later this week I get to go the the CrossFit Games!!  How could I have denied myself these experiences?  

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I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s far from it!  Last week I had a panic attack just thinking about traveling, but I’ve learned how to calm myself down and try to relax a bit.  Exercise really helps!  I’ve also learned that talking about it helps.  Sometimes you just ned to get all the crazy out because you otherwise feel like this…

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So there’s the backstory to all of the anxiety-ridden posts you’ve seen and probably will continue to see over time.  It’s amazing how that one day almost 13 years ago completely changed my life, but looking back now it has only made me stronger.  I’ve had to overcome some major shit, but I’ve been trying to do it with a smile.  šŸ™‚   

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The Crazy Train Is Pulling Into Town

I’m traveling next week which means guess what the Crazy Train is pulling into the station.  I’ve never been shy about the fact that I’m not a big fan of traveling.  Travel by car, no big deal.  Travel by rail, meh it’s ok.  Travel by air, the world is crumbling.  Unfortunately traveling by air really is the only option when flying to from the east coast to the west coast if you want to get there in a timely manner, so clearly the world is crumbling all around me.

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Don’t get me wrong.  I actually love to travel once I’m there.  I love to experience new things, eat new food and meet new people, but it’s the getting there and the IDEA of being away that gets me all worked into a frenzy.  You see I am a creature of habit, like most human beings are, but I find a lot of comfort in both my routine and my home.  This has gotten worse as I gotten older and also as I’ve become very happy with my life at home.  I love my house, my cats, my neighborhood, my friends…why should I leave??  Well there is a great big world out there that would be a shame to miss out on.  My rational brain knows this, my crazy brain is convinced of the following:   

  1. My plane will crash, be hijacked, etc…  Out of the roughly 3,000+ flights that leave the NYC area per day it will surely be mine.
  2. An earthquake, probably “The Big One,” will hit California while I am there.  I have no idea what to do in an earthquake, not do I want to find out…they are terrifying!
  3. My house will catch on fire.  One of these days, that crazy wiring set up in my basement is going to freak out and start an electrical fire.  I don’t really care about my belongings as much as I worry about the cats in that scenario.  Which leads me to…
  4. I will never see my cats again.  But the worst part of that is that no one will think to go take care of them so they will starve OR no one will want them and they will get separated and/or sent to a horrible home.  Beth Stern, if you are reading this, please take my cats if some shit goes down.

This is all ridiculous, I know, but writing it all out actually helps.  It helps me to actually put some rational thought to these fears.  I need to stop freaking out over things that I can’t control (WHAT?!?!) and just enjoy life.  I wouldn’t get on a plane for a very long time and I missed out on some important things in life, like seeing my grandparents one last time before they passed.  I can’t let that happen again.

Is this to say that the next few days leading up to my trip are going to be a breeze?  Oh hell no.  My brain is already going a bagillion miles per hour and I am starting to make lists, upon lists, upon lists. Oh and wait until the anxiety poops start…that’s always fun. Poor B has to put up with this…he’s such a sport šŸ™‚  But it’s all worth it.  I get to visit Disneyland again, attend the CrossFit Games (!!!), dip my toes in the Pacific Ocean, and most importantly has amazing opportunities to grow my business.  So yeah, I’ll jump on the Crazy Train for a bit…at least it keeps things interesting.

Do you get travel anxiety?  What do you do to help it?

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays!  I have always had a love for Irish culture, which I think was engrained in me from an early age from my Dad.  We are very proud of our heritage and I have found an even greater appreciation of it through music, dance, and of course food!  Guinness Beef Stew anyone??

When I was in college, I spent the summer of 2000 abroad in Dublin and it was one of the best experiences of my life.  I spent 8 weeks in the heart of Dublin living in the front square of Trinity College Dublin.  Look at this great few from my room!

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While there I took classes on Irish literature and film gaining a deeper appreciation for the country’s history and culture.  We took a few weekend trips to other parts of the country like Sligo and my favorite, Donegal.  The countryside there is absolutely breathtaking.  

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Probably my favorite thing about Ireland is the music.  Traditional Irish Music, Trad, is everywhere and you can find a great session in pubs across the country.  That’s where you would’ve found me most nights.  There really isn’t anything like it…

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When I returned I continued studying the culture and actually made Irish Studies my minor in school.  I returned to Dublin the following year for a weeklong trip, but now it’s been almost 13 years since I’ve been back.  St. Patrick’s Day always makes me long for a trip back to the Emerald Isle…hopefully we’ll be able to make it there sometime soon!

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So raise your glass and enjoy this wonderful celebration of an amazing country and its people!  May the luck of the Irish always be with you!

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