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2013 recap

Friday, December 20, 2013

i just happened to look at my Sparkpage and caught a glimpse of my goals for 2013. Now that the year is almost up, let's see how I did. I will say that 2013 turned out much differently than I thought it would in January. Isn't that always the way?

Goals and hopes for myself in 2013:

* I'm going to run my first 10K and keep running 5Ks, which will help me reach my annual fitness minutes goal, too.

WellllllÖÖthat didn't happen! I ran a couple of 5Ks, but I didn't train or run consistently enough to do a 10K. I ended up surprising myself at Iron Girl earlier this month when I not only ran the whole thing - despite not training! - but beat my previous best time by 1:30!

Me at Iron Girl a couple of weeks ago

Speaking of fitness minutesÖI am not going to reach that goal either. I was aiming for 15,000 fitness minutes this year, but right now, I'm just over 13,000. I'm pushing hard for 14,000, which I think I can do. I'm not too upset about not reaching 15K though. I've worked hard this past year and while I could have worked out more just to get the minutes, I feel good about the work I've put in.

* I want to do more things that scare me. I had a couple of things on an adventure list for 2012, but I didn't do them. It's ON this year! Climbing Cowles Mountain in San Diego and taking a spin class - these two things scare the hell outta me, so I'm definitely doing them.

Dangit! I guess I still have time to take a spin class, but I need to do it very soon. Eek. I did climb Cowles Mountain a couple of times this year - and loved it! I was pretty nervous the first time, but I had great friends there who had my back the whole time. The second time I did it, the whole thing was much easier. I had started Kaia FIT by then, so my level of fitness was a bit higher and I think the familiarity helped, too.

First Cowles Mountain hike with Sparkpeeps

I'll talk a bit more about Kaia later, but this program has pushed me to try new things - even ones that scare me - and I've found that I'm able to rise to meet challenges in new ways. I've seen a lot of growth in myself this year and a lot of it is due to Kaia.

* I am determined to stop beating myself up. What good comes from it? I wouldn't talk that way to anyone else, so why is it OK to do that to myself? Sounds logical, but following up with action is tough. I consciously did this before and was amazed at how much better I felt.

Ugh. Still a constant, every-day battle. I go through stages where I'm actively trying not to do this and I feel a bit better, and then other stages where I "just don't care" and beat myself up constantly. And feel like crap. I have taken steps to recognize triggers though, and I do try to avoid those. Being more aware in general is one step, but I think I might always have to wrestle with this.

* Taking care of my health is another big goal. I avoided doctors for years and let small problems grow larger. I don't have time and energy to waste, so I need to tackle health issues as they crop up. Tracking my food, drinking enough water, and eating fresh, beautiful foods will be my baseline for healthy living. If it's a habit, it takes very little work.

This was hit or miss for me this year. My first instinct is always to try to fix the problem myself. I do some research, I try some things, and then if that fails, I go to the doctor. I tried this with my elbow tendinitis and that didn't quite work. I finally went to the doctor, but I don't think it helped as much as I hoped. It was a combo of their advice and my research on stretching and strengthening that finally helped me heal and get back in the game. I've had a couple of other health things pop up this year - nothing big - but I didn't take care of them as quickly as I should have. Now I'm dealing with the effects, so let's hope I've learned my lesson!

Looking back at these goals, I realize how broad and kind of vague they are. These were the things on my mind in January and while I knew that I should set more specific goals, I guess I wasn't ready to do that.

A lot has changed this year. In March, a Kaia FIT women's-only bootcamp/gym opened near me and I joined. I have a few friends in Nevada who have been doing this program for years and have seen great results, so I took a chance on it. I'm so glad I did! This, by far, has been the best thing that's happened in 2013. The program features mostly bodyweight work with intervals and circuits and some resistance.

When I started, I had trouble doing even the modified versions of most moves like squats, push-ups, burpees, lunges, etc. I still do sometimes and it's been several months! But it doesn't get me down. At all. Kaia coaches tell you to "find your hard" and work toward that in every move, every class, every day. I know that my version of hard is different from someone who weighs 70 lbs less than I do. I don't compare myself to anyone else in class - and that keeps me sane. For a few months, I was the only bigger girl in class. Now there are 2 of us. We team up for running drills because we know that our speeds are similar to each other and slower than the rest of the class. We try to do better than we did the previous week instead of trying to keep up with the other girls or beat another pair in class. I've embraced the challenge of being stronger than myself the day before. And that is what makes me pop out of bed at 4 am to go sweat!

Me doing a wall handstand - never thought I'd be able to do that!

I also started lifting weights. And I fell in love with it! I go in my garage and I put a heavy iron bar and plates on my back and squat or push it over my head or lift it off the ground from a dead stop. I feel strong and that makes me feel SO GOOD. It's done a lot for my confidence and it makes me want to see what I can accomplish. I never thought I could do this but I've learned that my body is pretty amazing. I just have to get my brain to give it a chance to show me what I can do.

Squatting with an empty bar

I haven't yet outlined my goals for 2014, but they'll be based on numbers - specifics! - this time. I never set a weight goal because that's not doing me any good. I've tried not to weight myself more than once a month for the past several months. I know I feel better when I ignore the scale and focus on how my clothes fit or how I look in photos or what I can accomplish that I couldn't do a month ago. I like focusing on progress rather than the scale.

The other thing I've found this year is My Fitness Pal. I've actually been using that more often than Spark and it seems like a better fit for me going forward. If anyone wants to friend me on there, I'm hmjohnson25.

I hope you all enjoy the holidays and kick some booty in 2014!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JORDAN1019 12/28/2013 11:02PM

    What an amazing year of discovering your bodies capabilities. Wish you the best for 2014 emoticon

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ADVENTURE-GIRL 12/24/2013 7:49PM

    You had an awesome year Heather! I am so excited for you finding something you love, Kaia, and a great group of supporters along with it. Love the picture of you squatting with the bar - so inspiring. Congrats on a remarkable year and here's to another wonderful year in 2014!! Love you!


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JILLYBEAN25 12/21/2013 2:16PM

    I, too, need to work on making "better" goals. Not necessarily a number on the scale or on the measuring tape, either, but other ways to do so in a concrete manner. I know you didn't accomplish most of the goals you set out to for yourself, but overall I think you didn't do too bad. It seems like you touched on each of them at some point during the year.

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ABB698 12/21/2013 1:35AM

    You may not have accomplished ALL your goals, but I know you rocked 2013 in a big way! I am so proud of you! I can see that Kaia has done wonders for you, in so many ways, and it makes you HAPPY, and it shows! You go Girl!
Looking forward to seeing more of you in 2014!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

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SDLOV3R 12/21/2013 1:07AM

    What a great review! Even thought you didn't meet all your goals, you DEFINITELY went far! I am so humbled to have been on your initial trek up Cowles Mountain. Thank you for including me. :-)

Looking forward to reading your (more specific) goals for 2014 and continuing with you on your journey!

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Reminder for myself

Monday, October 07, 2013

I read this in a blog and it struck a chord. A big one.

* Change your vocabulary. Refuse to use excuse language. Resist the urge to ďexplainĒ to yourself or others why certain progress isnít happening, or why you are limited. Decide that you wonít talk about a problem unless it revolves around the solution you are formulating for it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KNYAGENYA 10/8/2013 9:00AM


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ABB698 10/8/2013 12:01AM

    emoticon Heather! Great advice! Thanks for posting! Have a fab week!

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FAT2FITGIRL1982 10/7/2013 7:33PM

    What a great point! I think a lot of us will be able to relate to that!

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GONNAMAKE3 10/7/2013 7:32PM

    That is really good advice

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Frustrating workout

Monday, August 12, 2013

The current Kaia FIT sessionís theme is ďFree to Be Me,Ē which has an emphasis on letting go of limitations and focusing on playtime for grown-ups. I love this idea, in theory.

The first week, we practiced handstands. I love this because, even though I canít kick up to a handstand or do a free-standing one yet, I can walk up the wall and begin to move my hands closer to the wall. I didnít think Iíd be able to do this at my size, but once I let go of my doubt, I found I could do more than I assumed. So, handstands = good time! Even with my elbow tendonitis that refuses to go away!

The second week was cartwheels. Iíve never done a cartwheel in my entire life. I remember playing outside when I was a kid and trying to do cartwheels, but not being able to get it down. I was a big kid and I developed early, so once I hit 8 years old (and puberty), I just stopped doing things like that because I felt like I looked out of place. So, I was intimidated to even try doing cartwheels. I tried following the directions and using a karate pad on the floor to place my hands and hop over from foot to foot. I could tell I wasnít doing it correctly. I couldnít wait for that class to be over.

The next week was bridge-ups, like in a yoga class. My elbow screamed at me the entire time, but I tried anyway. I couldnít get all the way off the ground, but I could get my shoulders up a bit. Even that was hard!

This week is somersaults. I havenít done these since I was a kid. And I do remember being able to do them. But I also remember getting heavier and it would hurt more to do them the bigger I got. Thereís a lot of pressure on your head and neck, from what I remember.

The workout started with cartwheels, hooray. And everyone in front of me, by now, can do cartwheels flawlessly and all day long. Ugh. I still had to use the pad on the floor, which made me feel inferior. Then, the coach set up a big gymnastics mat that we could tumble on to for somersaults. The goal was to basically just tumble over and stand up right away. Of course, every girl in front of me could do it easily. I freaked myself out a bit and the coach could tell, so she offered to get an exercise ball for me to help with it. I got on the ball for a second, leaned back, caught my reflection in the mirror, and said, F*&$ it! It was awful. I skipped my turn and ran through the next station that was set up. I skipped every one after that, too.

Iíd rather do a thousand push-ups than have to do that again. I know thatís not the attitude to have, and I tried really hard to get out of my negative mindset this morning. It was tough. I wanted to quit and leave, but I stuck it out. But in my stubbornness, I refused to modify the bear crawls, push-ups, donkey kicks, and plank rotations. My stiff and swollen elbow is now telling me how irresponsible that was.

I donít like feeling like I canít do something, and I feel this way pretty often. Iím well aware of my size and my physical limitations, so when Iím faced with a workout like this, I feel like those things are highlighted. Iím not sure how to get over this obstacle, but I need to figure it out. In the meantime, Iíll keep showing up and getting the best workout I can get for me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ADVENTURE-GIRL 8/20/2013 12:18AM

    I like doing cartwheels and back bridges (not sure if I can do them now). Can't do a headstand, but I never really tried. I really dislikes somersaults and flips (they freak me out), I always have, even as a kid.

I am so proud of you for trying new things. Good job!

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JILLYBEAN25 8/13/2013 2:30PM

    Just as a fun fact FYI: I coached gymnastics and could still never do a cartwheel. Even WHILE I was coaching and teaching others how to do them. As for the tennis elbow, start taking care of that so it doesn't get worse! You don't wanna end up having surgery on it. Anyway, keep plugging along. It will get better.

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RUNNERRACHEL 8/13/2013 2:05AM

    emoticon that sounds tough emotionally and physically! I really empathize!

I am impressed you didn't quit. I am sorry your elbow is sore.

I don't know what I would've done in that situation.

I probably would've really wanted to would have been so hard. You are very determined. But you shouldn't have to do something that's not right for you. We all have limits, past injuries, things our bodies just don't do now. Maybe in the future yes or maybe not. I think we shouldn't be afraid to express that.

It's what's right for you. What will you do in the future?


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WOLFKITTY 8/12/2013 10:32PM

    I hate that feeling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!! Ugh.

Good for you, H, for finishing the rest of the workout.
Definitely a few march-y steps in the right direction - that is an accomplishment in itself.


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GIANTMICROBE 8/12/2013 12:57PM

    That sounds awful. If it makes you feel any better, I can't do any of that stuff either. Except the bridges. Which I could also do when I was 270 pounds. Weird, I know.

When I was a kid, I was always overweight and the most unathletic child you've ever seen. I never learned to do cartwheels or somersaults or anything like that. Now at 28- despite being of average weight- I lack the confidence and coordination for things like that.

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I canít see it, but I can feel it

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Iíve finally built up some momentum and Iím starting to get results.

Iím still doing Kaia FIT, a womenís-only bootcamp-type program. We recently did a 6-week Brik, which is basically a more intensive session than the 5-week sessions we normally do. While I didnít commit fully to the diet portion of the program, I made it to every workout (5 days a week) during Brik. I wake up at 4 am to be in Carlsbad by 5 am, and there is a huge difference between doing that 3 days a week and 5 days! I was one tired girl by the end of the week. But I felt so much better overall!

While I have lost about 21 pounds since the beginning of the year and a few inches overall, thatís not what Iím happiest about. Itís about what Iíve gained so far. Iím a little stronger from the bodyweight workouts and Iíve started lifting weights in my garage. And these have given me the biggest confidence boost.

At the end of an outdoor Kaia workout last week, I was feeling pretty drained by the end of it. While the others ran to the other end of the parking lot, I walked back. It was all I had in me, I thought. Then the instructor had one last surprise: everyone had to hold a plank with their feet up on a retaining wall. Everyone was in place by the time I got there. The one good thing about a fast-paced workout is that it limits the time I have to think, I canít do this/My body doesnít work that way/etc. Those thoughts have always been automatic for me. But theyíre beginning to fade. I took a look at everyoneís feet to see how they placed them on the wall, and then I got myself into position. There was a whisper of, I canít do this, but there was a louder voice that said, How do you know? And that is becoming more common these days.

I have been taking progress photos of myself so I can see how I change. But I swear I donít see any difference yet! Maybe a little in my face, but only from one angle. I canít see the changes that are happening, but I can feel them.

Back in April, WOLFKITTY, my husband and I hiked up this giant hill near where we live. This past weekend, we hiked to Double Peak again. At the top is a beautiful old tree, and you can enjoy a 360-degree view of northern San Diego County. The first hike was a leg killer. We hadnít hiked in a while and some parts are pretty steep. It was challenging and I felt the effects for days afterward. This time, it was still challenging and I was sweating buckets, but I felt stronger on the way up. Some Kaia girls had reached the top long before we did, and they even ran past us on their way down while we were still hiking! That happens on every Kaia run, too. Iím always last! But that doesnít bother me as much anymore.

Kaia has a few mantras and one is, Find your hard. And I do. I know that my version of hard is another girl's warm-up, and thatís OK. As I progress, itíll be my warm-up one day, too.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WOLFKITTY 7/17/2013 11:13PM


You are awesome!

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BEFIT_WITHGUSTO 7/17/2013 12:12PM

    Awesome job, Heather! Every time I see your check in at Kaia, I think about how dedicated you are! Congrats on the 21 pounds down and so many NSV's! I want to try Double Peak sometime soon.

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ABB698 7/16/2013 12:31AM

You are rocking it! So proud of you for your consistency and pushing yourself to 'find your hard'! You're awesome!!

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HIKINGSD 7/13/2013 3:43AM

    You are doing amazing girl!

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RUNNERRACHEL 7/9/2013 7:32PM

    Wow. You are so committed and are working hard. Love it. 4am wake up? That is incredible. That shows a lot of inner strength that you have as well as developing your outer strength. And sticking with the program that sounds really challenging. Very impressive. Amazing!

Great work. You're making progress and pushing forward. Keep up the great work! emoticon emoticon

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GIANTMICROBE 7/9/2013 2:45PM

    4AM... good lord. I don't know how you do it! I consider myself a morning person but dang. There's just no way!

My CrossFit has started posting a "bonus" endurance WOD several days a week for people training for marathons and half marathons in the fall. I, of course, am not training for a half or full marathon, but I think I could really use the endurance training anyway. However, with a 90 minute commute, I really do not have a lot of time and the endurance WOD is supposed to be at least 3 hours separate from your CrossFit WOD. So most people do their endurance WOD in the morning and their CrossFit WOD at night or vice versa. I'm trying to figure out a way I can do it, but I'm coming up kind of short... on time...

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PATJOONWW 7/9/2013 2:45PM

    Congrats on your success so far. I did a boot camp and I was always the last never hurt my feelings eighter. Although I was the oldest.

Keep up the good work and much success on your journey!

emoticon~Pat~ emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/9/2013 2:46:12 PM

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CANDIK48 7/9/2013 1:42PM

    Good for you for sticking to it! Isn't it amazing to discover when we think we're tapped out, we reach deeper and find a little more to get us through? Pretty soon, you'll be running circles in the parking lot instead of walking.. I have faith! emoticon emoticon

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Conquering mountains and battling fear

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I climbed a mountain last weekend. Cowles Mountain is the highest peak in San Diego, and itís been on my radar since I moved here in 2009. I missed an opportunity to climb it a couple of years ago with some San Diego Sparkpeeps, but I kept it on my ďadventure listĒ (with WOLFKITTY). See her blog about this hike here:

Hereís the thing: I have an irrational fear of falling, and Iíve let that hold me back from some pretty cool things. Iím not afraid of heights, just falling. And hiking is full of potential for falling!

I went on a hike earlier this year with a group from SP, and it was a disaster (for me). I was at a low point in general anyway, and navigating unfamiliar and uneven terrain messed with my head. Even as I watched several people ahead of me jump or step wide from one rock to the next, and I could see exactly what I needed to do, I was frozen in fear. I donít know how long I would stand there, but it felt like forever each time. I had to talk myself into taking the next step or jump, and it was a battle. My fear is that the rock would not support my weight. My brain would flash pictures of me falling into the water as the rock gave way or blood spewing forth as I missed the rock and landed face first on the ground. I know itís irrational, but I could not help it. Apparently, people tried talking to me during these moments and I was so far in my own head that I didnít even hear them! Iíd finally make it to the next obstacle and start the frozen-in-fear thing all over again.

Despite this self-created disaster, I wanted to keep hiking. San Diego is beautiful, and thereís so much to explore. I donít want this fear to hold me back from anything. And it wasnít going to steal Cowles Mountain from me!

Early Sunday morning, my husband, Jocelyn and I met HAWAIIANMAMA at the base of Cowles Mountain. Itís pretty popular, so there were a ton of people there already. We started our ascent and I had to tell myself not to think about the descent that would come later. I had to get up there and enjoy the view before the meltdown began!

It was a really good hike. Challenging, but not impossible. What struck me was how different an experience it is for everyone. For me, it was a serious challenge that required focus and coordination and stops to catch my breath. For others, it was their playground. There were people running and jumping off rocks on their way down as if it were the easiest thing in the world. Iíll have to work up to that!

The view from the top was so worth it. The marine layer hadnít yet burned off, which kept the sun from beating down on us, but also restricted the view a bit. It didnít matter though, it was still pretty sweet!

After all of my stressing and worrying about the descent, I didnít do too badly. Jocelyn, Malia and my husband were all very supportive and that helped me keep my fear in check. Iím certainly not as confident with hiking as others, but I thought I was noticeably more comfortable with it this time. I think pushing myself in my Kaia workouts contributed to that. My body has been proving my brain wrong more often lately, and thatís giving my confidence a much-needed boost.

So, I conquered the mountain! And I loved it. And I want to do it again!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WOLFKITTY 7/3/2013 11:18PM



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ABB698 6/26/2013 11:53PM

    emoticon Heather! I'm so proud of you for kicking your fears in the face and reaching that peak and enjoying the beautiful view of our city! I want to be there firsthand, next climb! Wish I wasn't working that day, like I told Joce, I totally want to go with you guys next time! I need to see the new, improved trail with my Sparkies! Keep pushing, you are doing fabulous! Go Girl!!! emoticon

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MYKIDSRSWEET 6/26/2013 4:37PM

    I am so jealous...I wish I had gone mountain climbing recently.

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RUNNERRACHEL 6/26/2013 4:23PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Great job on conquering that mountain and your fear! I am with you on being cautious and not wanting to jump from rock to rock--who does that?? Well, great that you did it and I know that all the hard work you've been putting into your Kaia classes and all the heavy lifting you do has paid off! You're stronger and more capable! You're doing great!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GIANTMICROBE 6/26/2013 2:24PM

    That view is amazing!!!!!!!!! Awesome job!

I am definitely not a fan of hiking and I would have been terrified in the situation you described!!!!!!!!!

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