We’ve finally found our niche, Part IV … wrapping it all up

They’re really pretty short little blurbs, but if you need to catch up, check out Part I, Part II & Part III before proceeding. If you’ve been following along, continue on.

Not going to lie, 2016 and 2017 were pretty shitty (pardon my language, but that is the most appropriate term in my humble opinion), especially to Chris. We did finally sell our California house in 2016, but that was the only big positive thing that happened during that time.

In February of 2016, Chris lost his sister, Angela, to cancer. Then in May of 2017 his father passed away of a heart attack. Shortly thereafter he learned that his position at Wallops was being dissolved, and he would no longer have a job as of August 1, 2017. Then we got word about his mother passing in late September. It was a really rough, somber time for Chris and me.

After we returned home from Chris’ fathers funeral, we talked seriously about possibly moving back to the Midwest. We wanted to be closer to “home” mainly to be able to visit with Chris’ mom more frequently. She was by herself and wasn’t in the greatest of health, though you never would have known it if you were just meeting her for the first time. We figured we’d take a year or so to come up with a plan. Well, little did we know we wouldn’t have that much time.

Several months after Chris’ mom passed, things started to calm down a bit. We decided we did not want to move to the midwest, but would much rather stay here. Whether we are a stone’s throw from our family members or a thousand miles away, there’s nothing we can do to keep certain things from happening.  Chris found work at a local retail outfit that sold lawn equipment and repaired small engines.  It was something different, he was working with a close friend, and it was temporary.  He enjoyed it for the most part, but it just wasn’t him.  He actually tried to purchase the business at one point, but just couldn’t make it work.  The price being asked versus the profit the place made just wasn’t a good idea.  So he left there and moved on.

He’s currently working with a private carpenter, learning all kinds of new things.  Which is great given our current situation…

I am still working at the animal hospital, but have also been teaching a group exercise class at the local YMCA for the last 2 years.

About 5 years ago I became interested in group exercise.  I had already been running for several years and was working toward bettering my self in terms of my health and physical fitness.  I enjoyed (and still do) running, but needed something different.  I needed some other type of training to work on strength and flexibility.  I started taking some group exercise classes at a local boutique fitness center.  One of the classes I started taking was called Pound.  Oh my goodness, you talk about FUN!  And a killer workout too!  I enjoyed the class so much that I looked into what it would take to become certified to teach the class so that I could bring it to more people.

In March of 2015 I became a bonafide Pound Pro!  I taught classes at the same boutique studio that I was taking classes.

POUND Pro Training March 22, 2015 in Springfield, PA.

My POUND Posse shortly after becoming certified!

Not long after becoming certified for Pound, I learned about another pre-choreographed format of group fitness called SoulBody.  They offered two different types of a barre-inspired workout.  After looking into it I realized that it was right up my alley.  I looked into trainings to become an instructor and found a training being hosted in Bethany Beach, DE.  That was only a little more than an hour drive for me.  I signed up immediately.

In May of 2016 I became a certified SoulBody instructor and have been loving bringing this format to as many as possible.  I started at that little boutique studio.  After a few months, I wanted to do more, so I started to check in with other gyms and fitness centers.  I finally was able to convince the YMCA to bring SoulBody into their Group Exercise line up in 2017.

SoulBody Barre UNHITCHED March 2017

We have both come to love the Eastern Shore of Virginia, especially our little neck of the woods.  We live on a nice sized property in a very quiet, almost secluded area, surrounded by trees and agricultural fields.  Our community is very generous and friendly and we couldn’t imagine living anywhere else on the ESVA.  Once we decided we wanted to stay here for good, we started looking into buying the little piece of heaven we’ve been renting all these years.

On Tuesday July 16, 2019, at about 4:00 PM, the property became officially ours.  The rest of the story has yet to be written…..

2012 after Hurricane Sandy swept through.  She was a Tropical Storm by the time it reached us.

More of our Winter Wonderland!

Our little abode covered in snow.

CJ waiting for someone to toss his aerobie!

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Time needs to slow the F#@K Down!!!

Pardon my language, but, seriously, how is it already the day before Thanksgiving in 2018. My last blog post was nearly 2 MONTHS AGO! It feels like it was just last week!

I’m not keen on New Year’s Resolutions but I will make at least one in the coming year. But what will likely happen is why I am not keen on New Year’s Resolutions! Can YOU guess why I am not fond of New Year’s Resolutions?

I need to blog more! I just keep putting it off. I have been so busy with work, group fitness, training, running, and at-home chores and upkeep. I’m getting my running mojo back slowly, and it’s slowing more since the weather is turning so cold.

The holidays are already upon us. So the next two months are going to be crazy busy for me too. I have a LOT of baking and Glogg making in my very near future.

Today on the Eastern Shore of Virginia it was a typical day for this time of year.  Temps were in the 40s and 50s, then dropped dramatically into the 30s by 7PM!!!  Tomorrow is supposed to be a brutally cold day, so I plan to spend the majority of my day under the covers!

I work on Friday and happy to do so.  I abhor shopping any day, but especially on Black Friday.  Not going to lie, but the new Walmart Pick-up thing is a life changer!  Sure, they’ve made a few oopses rarely (out of 7 pick ups now, I have only had minor issues with 2 of them), but they’ve made right by every single oops.

I have more, but this is all I have for tonight.  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  Enjoy the time with your family and be Thankful and Grateful for every moment you have with them!  Oh, yes, don’t forget to get stuffed!

One Step at a Time

Since my last post things have been uneventful, yet productive.  It took me about a week or so to finally come to accept the fact that I wouldn’t be able to run any of my spring races this year, including the Salisbury Marathon.  Knowing this, I have been able to clear my head and focus on the road to recovery.

After running the 5K at the Tim Kennard River Run and waking to a re-aggravated achilles tendon the following day, I fessed up to my Physical Therapist and vowed to not run again period until she says I can.  Not one mile, not one minute, not one step!  Since then there have been a few times at work or at home where I’d be in a hurry to do something, making an attempt to get from one location to another as speedily as possible on foot.  Whether it would be from one exam room to another or from my car to a building in the rain, I would have to stop myself from running.  I was determined to keep my “no run” promise!

My physical therapy seems to be going well.  I am making progress every day.  I am being super-diligent about getting my prescribed exercises done each day, even if it means I have to get them done at 11:00 PM.  I had an assessment early last week and it was determined that I need to continue Physical Therapy.  I am making progress, yes, but as my achilles improves and heals, more problems are coming to light.  One of them being a problem I’ve been aware of for a few years now as it was pointed out by my previous Physical Therapist…my hips!  They are weak and lax on one side and super tight on the other which is throwing my form off and, likely, is why I keep having these nagging injuries.  Having me watch myself in a mirror while I performed some prescribed work at a recent session really brought it to light.  Now, when I do my exercises at home I do them in front of a mirror and it is making a difference.

Sunday, April 15, 2018 was the 7th annual Run for the Animals.  For those of you who have been following my pathetic blog, you know that this is my “heart” run!  I have participated in the event every year!  This year was the first year that I had to walk the entire thing.  I only did the 5K, but I am happy to report that C.J. and I completed it and I still feel great!  I haven’t had any problems with my achilles at all.

Today I had another Physical Therapy session.  I was able to run for 5 minutes on the treadmill.  I hate a treadmill, but for PT purposes I will do it!  It was a super-slow pace and I was extremely mindful and cautious throughout every millisecond of movement.  I am feeling good as of writing this post.  We will have to wait to see what tomorrow morning brings.

It’s a process, that’s for certain.  This time I’m going to do it the proper way and hope that I come out stronger (and maybe even faster!) than ever before!  I’m going to take it one step at a time, patiently yet persistently.

Time to get back on track!

This recent bout of illness, whatever it was, has really thrown a wrench in my marathon training. I am a week off and my lung capacity is diminished some because they still contain crud. Also, my energy level and motivation level are both in need of help.

Today I did a slow, short bout of running followed by strength and balance training. I’m glad it was nice enough for me to run outdoors because once I got moving, the coughing started. I would hate to be in the gym hacking on everyone around me! I’m hoping that all the coughing got rid of a bunch of that lung crud so that I can go a little further tomorrow. Then further yet on Monday.

Part of my training has been to learn how to fuel my body most efficiently. I thought I had it figured out for my first marathon, but I obviously did not because I totally hit the wall at about mile 19! I know what I need to do, but want to be able to test it before race day. However, again with the illness, my diet got thrown way out of whack over the past week too. I am sure that has a lot to do with my energy level slump.

When you prepare your training for an endurance event, you prepare as though everything will be hunky-dory throughout the training period. When you are forced to halt your training for whatever reason, you have to spend time revamping your training schedule. I should probably go do that now!

I’ll let you all know how I fare in the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you have any recommendations or would like to share your experiences with training for an endurance event, please do so! How do you fuel your body in preparation of the event? What do you do to maintain your energy level during the event? Have you ever had a hiccup in your training plan; and, if so, what did you do to get back on track?

Off to edit my training schedule for the coming weeks…

Blogging for Accountability

Good evening everybody, and happy October!  The best month of the year in my book, and not just because it’s my birthday month.  I just wanted to write a quick note to put out there some goals that I hope to accomplish during the month of October.  I find that if I make such goals public I’m more likely to reach them due to the accountability factor.  

Goal #1:  Run/walk a total of 120 miles for the month.  I’m off to a decent start this first day having run 6.2 miles and walked 4 miles.  110 more miles to go!  Goal #2:  Grow my business!  The more proactive I am getting the word out about it, the greater my chances of adding new customers and, maybe, business partners too. Goal #3:  Get back to the grind and pick up where I left off on my quest to obtaining my AFAA certification.  I put it on the backburner several months ago because I just got so busy!  I’m still busy, but I am learning to budget my time a little better.  I have got to make sure I am carving out time in my schedule to work on this.  The sooner I get it completed, the sooner I can move on to the next step of this journey.There you have it.  It’s out there and my hope is that all of you reading this will help keep me accountable!  

Do you have any goals you’re aiming for, either in the short term or long term?  Feel free to share them with me and I will help you in whatever way I can. Buddy systems are the best!  Have a great October everyone…

Summer is a time for Relaxation, but yet is always so busy…

Thankfully, not just with “work,” but also with much devoted “family time.” This is my excuse for the lack of blogging for the past couple of months. I keep thinking I’ll have more time to sit down and “think” and write, but the fact is, I have much LESS time to do so. The weather is too beautiful to be indoors so we spend the majority of our at-home time enjoying the outdoors. As it should be.

I’ve also been testing 2 products over the past few weeks that I promise to post reviews about! Both have been proving to be quite successful. The only hints I will give you are 1) one product is made by a dog product company that I already adore and will make your dog able to join you during outdoor activity more frequently, and 2) one is proving to be a savior for a dog showing thunderstorm phobia. So be on the lookout for those reviews in the next 4-6 weeks. I want to test them a bit more and I should have time to actually sit down and think at some point during that time frame.

Meanwhile, I am going to continue to enjoy this beautiful Eastern Shore of Virginia weather we’ve been having with my family.

I hope you are all having a fun-filled, relaxing and enjoyable summer.

~AnimalWhiz >^..^<

THE Rugged Maniac…Part 1 of however long it takes me to finish this post…The Beginning

Saturday May 2nd, I along with several friends and acquaintances took part in the Rugged Maniac at the Virginia Motorsports Park in Petersburg. Speaking for myself, but certain that all of my team participants would agree, it was AWESOME! What a blast and what a great group of people (both my team members and all of the others who attended).

Ever since I did my first mud run in 2012 at Camp Ramblewood in Darlington, MD, I couldn’t wait to do another. It all started with the no-longer-in-existence Run For Your Lives, a 5K Obstacle Course Race where you had to escape zombies. It was an awesome time. Even though we had to swim across a freezing cold river in late October, I’d have still chosen to do it all over again. And there were zombies.  Fun!  What an awesome feeling of accomplishment it was to make it through all of the obstacles that I never thought I’d ever be able to do! Like crossing a freezing river in October. Had I known that was one of the obstacles beforehand, I probably would have never signed up to take part in the event. Smart move there race directors at Reed Street Productions.

Since that first experience, I did another Run For Your Lives in Illinois in September of 2013 at Byron Motorsports Park. It also was a blast, but not nearly as fun as the first one. The obstacles weren’t quite as good, most likely due to the location of the event. There were no rivers. Plenty of mud and plenty of zombies, but it was lacking something. Like a freezing cold river. I didn’t feel quite as accomplished after that one. I didn’t feel like I overcame anything, if that makes any sense. None of the obstacles were “OMG!”

Not because of my disappointment with the 2nd RFYL, I didn’t do any more mud runs until last weekend. There just weren’t any convenient ones for me that I could get time off for; at least none that made me go “I have to do this.” Then the Rugged Maniac ads started to fill my email and social media feeds. I can do that. It’s relatively nearby, and I had plenty of notice to ensure I would be available that weekend! So I put some feelers out to see if anyone else was interested in joining me, because a mud run is SO MUCH more fun with a group than solo. The fish started biting almost immediately. So we signed up. Over the course of a couple of months our team grew to a total of 11. I knew this was going to be one hell of a fun weekend! And I was right.

The majority of the team drove to a nearby town the night before.  A few of them carpooled with me.  We made a weekend out of the event; why not?  By doing this we didn’t have to worry about traffic, especially at the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, which could have delayed us if we left the day of the event.  That HRBT is a bear sometimes.  Not a soft, cuddly teddy bear; a grumpy, nasty, mean Grizzly Bear.  Sometimes traffic moves like a hibernating bear.

We arrived at our hotel unscathed and went out to dinner at a mediocre sushi restaurant.  At least the Nigori Sake was good (a little too good as I may have had a bit too much of it).     After dinner we returned to the hotel rooms and had fun playing Cards Against Humanity (we are horrible people!) and drinking beer.  I don’t really remember exactly how the night ended, I just woke up the next morning bright and early and ready to get muddy!

Sushi Dinner2

Sushi the night before

 

Our wave time was 12:15PM, so we headed over to the event site around 9:45AM as it was a 20 minute drive from the hotel.  We arrived just in time to see some parachuters landing.  That was pretty cool.  After checking in and getting our race gear we perused the event grounds to see what was happening!  There was a mechanical bull that we just HAD to try.  So we did.  That was fun.

Mechanical Bull BC01

My first Mechanical Bull Ride

 

There was a beer tent (yay!) and several food vendors that were serving anything from greek sandwiches to funnel cakes.  I steered clear of all of that stuff.  If I’m going to have something that’s going to make my guts sour, I’ll stick to the beer.  They have bananas and other fruits post race, and I snuck a bagel and a banana from the continental breakfast offered at the hotel before we left.  Always thinking ahead (or at least TRYING to be prepared!).  There were some other gym/fitness tents but, unfortunately for us ESVA folks, they’re not anywhere local enough for us.  But I did chat with a few of them to see what they offered, to encourage them to bring POUND to their gyms (because it’s awesome), and to try to talk them into coming to the shore!  We’ll see how much influence I had on them.  I’m sure it wasn’t much.

There was this one awesome group there called OCR Unleashed.  They had a mini obstacle course set up that consisted of crawling, leaping, lifting huge tires and box jumping.  After talking to the gal at the tent I convinced my team to “warm up” here.  It was GREAT FUN!  It reminded me of CrossFit, which doesn’t exist on the shore but I really wish it did.  If there were a place convenient for me to get trained, I’d do it and bring it here.  But there’s not.  So I’ll continue to dream.  Back to OCR Unleashed…the mini obstacle course was a blast and I learned that they have an Obstacle Course facility in Great Falls, VA that I WILL visit one day in the near future.  The folks involved with the group are just totally cool, even the ones I haven’t met are cool.  Trust me, I know people.  Check them out and if you are in the area, visit the facility!  Just don’t rub it in about how awesome it is because that will make me feel sad.  Not really, it will encourage me to get out there that much quicker actually, so tell me all about it!!!

OCR01

Crawling Under

OCR07

Leaping Over

OCR16

Lift and flip over a heavy tire two times

OCR35

5 box jumps

 

After our warm-up we took a group shot of all of us girls!

PreRaceGirls01

Rugged and Powerful Girls!

 

Then we headed to the start line because our wave was next!  Just to start they make you jump over a wall.  Awesome.  I love this event already.  And it hasn’t even really started for me yet…

IMG_5948

It’s about to go down! Getting fired up at the start line

I’m ready to get muddy now!  Let’s go!…

…to be continued…