I have a #GreatDog

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Purina® ProPlan® . The opinions and text are all mine.

I really think that I have the best dog in the world. He's kind, he's smart, he's funny. He loves to give hugs and kisses and he does his best to protect us when he thinks we are in danger.

Matthew is a yellow Labrador Retriever and joined our family in January, 2013.  The kids and I had wanted a dog for a long time, but it needed to be just the right dog for our family. We needed a dog that could also be a service dog for our autistic son. We were very specific with our needs and it took over 18 months for us to find Matthew. But as soon as we met him, we knew he was the dog for us!

There is just something so special about Matthew.

 

Matthew is never far from me. If I'm working, he's somehow managed to fit his 120 pounds body under my desk and lying on my feet. If I'm cooking, he's right there watching me.This is a photo I snapped of him just last night. Yup, he's just watching me.

 And in a lot of ways he's like a 4th child in that he follows me to the bathroom and will just sit there watching me. Undecided All you mothers know exactly what I'm talking about!

Matthew and I take daily walks. Most days we take more than one walk. We take an afternoon walk to pick up the kids from the bus stop, and then we take an evening walk which is much longer. We also play a lot of fetch, and he LOVES to play tag with the trio in the morning and when they get home from school. Matthew also loves to swim in our lake. But then he smells like mucky water so I try to discourage the lake swimming, but sometimes I just can't help but let him swim because he loves it so much! Going for a walk is much more fun when I have my favorite buddy along with me! Matthew does not like other dogs, so we don't take him to the dog park. He's a people dog, not a dog dog. Tongue Out

 

Purina® ProPlan® has partnered with MapMyFitness and created the Purina® ProPlan® Fitness Group Page to get pet owner’s more active with their dogs.  Check out the Fitness Group page here and start getting active with your dog today! The challenge started on 9/30 and ends on 11/13. There are a lot of great prizes you can win.

I highly encourage you to sign up for the challenge and exercise with your dog!

 

 

 

 

October 14

I had a great post nearly fully complete and sigh, I didn't listen to my IT Dept and POOF! It's gone. I'm not re-doing it.

Just know that Matthew doesn't like Zombies and I feel fully prepared that together we can defend our family if zombies come a calling.

Haley helped me make dinner and I think as parents teaching our kids how to cook HEALTHY FOOD is one of the most important things we can do for them.

And I started my day with CrossFit. It was a good shakeout workout, with a 2 mile walk.

And now I'm calling it a night.

Good night.

 

My First CrossFit Competition: The Diablo Games-Recap

For weeks I have been blogging, thinking, and dreaming about the Diablo Games. Yesterday I finally got to EXPERIENCE the Diablo Games! And on the 5th anniversary of my stepping foot in a gym to begin the quest to lose over 200 pounds!

Athletes were instructed to arrive by 7:15am, begin warming up and be ready for the National Anthem at 7:50am.

I arrived on time, took my sweet time setting up my camp, taking pictures, and before I knew it, it was 7:50 and we were called in for the National Anthem!

After the National Anthem, I quickly got dressed! Dressed? Yes, dressed. I arrived at the competition with my clothing on, but UNDER warmer clothing since 63 degrees is pretty dang chilly for Florida. I brought 4 pairs of shorts/pants and 5 shirts, and 6 Bondi Bands. I just wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to wear and since WOD 4 was a mystery I wanted to make sure I had clothing that could accommodate whatever Coach Pete threw our way!

This is the band I chose to start the day with. I knew WOD 2 was going to give me some grief and I was just going to have to suck it up, so thought this was fitting.

I was competing in the scaled women's division and 2 of my fellow 9am girls took a HUGE step outside their comfort zone and both competed RX. We managed to grab a photo together before all the craziness started! And let me just say that these two inspired me beyond belief!! Prior to this competition one of these ladies had NEVER done toes to bar or a 20" box jump before, so when WOD 4 was announced (it was a kept a secret until right before it began!!) she looked at me and said "Jenny, I have never done T2B or Box Jumps before, what am I going to do?" I told her to not stress about it and just take it jump by jump, movement by movement. I'll get more in to that WOD later. It was a tough one!

Warm-up? Who needs a warm-up? Undecided Ugh. I thought I might have time since I was in the 3rd heat of WOD 1, but I got caught up in the excitement of watching friends compete, and before I knew it my heat was called! YIKES!!  2 minutes until it's my turn!

I knew in advance that WOD 1 would consist of Clean and Jerks, Ring Rows, and Single Jump Ropes. We would start with 1 Clean and Jerk, 1 Ring Row, and 3 jumps, and then add from there, 2 Clean and Jerks, 2 Ring Rows, 6 jumps, then 3, 3, 9, etc... I honestly hadn't prepared myself mentally for how physically difficult this WOD would be. These 3 movements I do fairly often at the box and while I knew this WOD would be challenging, I didn't realize HOW challenging it would be until I watched the 2 heats go before mine. This was an 8 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) and I honestly had NO idea how many rounds I'd be able to do. I tried to count the rounds that the women before were doing but it was all just a blur. I'd start watching and cheering for one, and then would switch and watch and cheer for another,  so I had no clue what sort of reps they were pulling.

 I met my judge and we got my rings all set up. And then suddenly it was 3, 2, 1, GO! We were each in our own rectangle. I was in station 2. All our movements were to take place within our designated area. There was tape on the right of me, rings on the left, and someone in front of me, and someone behind me. It was all so overwhelming once I stepped in to my station.

I managed my first clean & jerk and ring row without incident, but on my first set of jumps, my jump rope got tangled up on the yellow tape and then I hit the rope of the girl in front of me. Undecided Ugh. Not the way I wanted to start my day. Thankfully it didn't impact her jumping at all and she just kept right on going, but I had to reset, and lost time.

The ring rows were deceptively difficult when combined with clean and jerks. I made it 6 rounds before I started losing momentum and speed. On the 7th round, I made it 5 pulls, brought my chest about an inch from the ring and just stopped. I had no more left in me to pull. So it was broken set, and I had to shake it off, and finish the last 2 pulls. Same thing happened with round 8.

And then just like that I heard time being called and it was over! Whew! I grabbed my water and watched the RX women do their workout which was similar to ours, but oh so different! Tongue Out Their clean and jerks were 20 pounds heavier, they did unassisted pull-ups, and double unders. While I might have been able to handle the weight of the RX, there is no way I could have done the unassisted pull-ups or double unders. Nope. Not this year. But I cheered on my girls and they did so well! Eventually I went out to my camp spot, refueled, rolled out my legs, and started to dread WOD 2. I also checked the score board to see where I was. After WOD 1 I was in 14th place. I was okay with that and knew that I could make up ground in WOD 3.

I also knew that WOD 2 was my Achille's heel but I didn't realize exactly how much it would impact my overall day. I suffered a severe shoulder injury in 2001, had surgery, and years of physical therapy and while it's better than it once was, when I lift overhead I can feel it snag. And there have been plenty of times when I've gone overhead and my right shoulder just gives out and pretty much the weight on that side falls down Cry

WOD 2 consisted of 2 parts. Part A gave us 6 minutes to find an overhead 2 rep max lift. Athlete's choice for the lift. I knew my strongest overhead was the split jerk, and coming in to the competition I had found a 1 rep max at 75 pounds, so that's what I was aiming for. I started at 55, then 65, then 70, then did 75. And we still had over 2 minutes left. Then I looked at my judge and he said "I think you can do 80."  So I went for it. And I did it!! That's a new split jerk PR for me!! At that moment I was so proud of myself! The judge thought I could do 85, so I tried it! I did it ONCE but could not get it up again. My shoulder went THUMP and down it dropped on the right. I knew I was done. I was not out to hurt myself and I already set a PR so I was good with that and I still had Part 2 to go! I was able to take the last minute or so and just watch my fellow athletes reach their max lift!

Part B consisted of a max body weight hang (I think that's what it's called.) Basically you just hang from the rig. Any grip you want except interlocking hands/fingers. I have what my husband calls dainty hands. I call them small and weak. Hanging from the bar hurts so bad. I just can't even explain how badly it hurts. I almost wonder if I have arthritis in my hands because they are nearly always curled up and to stretch them out hurts. Anyway, previous to today I had been able to hang for 7 seconds. Sucky. After watching the ladies in the previous WOD's hitting close to 2 MINUTES, I knew that I was going to likely place last. I was okay with that. I knew that this was my weakness, and that's the sport of crossfit. We had 2 minutes to transfer from station to station. And on 3, 2, 1, we gripped the bar and if we were standing on a box, etc., the judge took it away. As soon as our feet touched the ground, it was done. I made it 17.94 SECONDS. And this time it wasn't because it hurt. I slipped off the stinking freaking bar. I think my hands were so sweaty from being nervous about sucking so badly that I mentally psyched myself out.

I placed LAST in this WOD. Again, I was sort of expecting it, so I wasn't really surprised or mad at myself. After all I did PR on my clean and jerk. But my last place finish moved me from 14th place to 19th place. Ouch.

But I had high hopes of redeeming myself in WOD 3. WOD 3 was 15, 12, 9, 6, and 3. Wall balls and deadlifts, with a 90 pound weighted pull in between the wall balls and deadlifts. I changed my clothing, put on my BRING IT Bondi Band, and I was ready, We started with 15 wall balls, then dragged the weights, did 15 deadlifts, dragged the weights back, did 12 deadlifts, dragged the weights back, did 12 deadlifts, etc... I can usually move pretty quickly in WOD's like this. I did get a few NO REP on the wall balls for hitting over the target, but overall I felt really good! You can see some of me in action in the video below. The video is mainly of my friend Renee, but since we're next to each other, you can't help but see me. I'm the one in orange. I am pretty sure I finished FIRST in my heat. If not first, then a very close second. I felt like I was flying. I loved this WOD. It was the WOD I had trained for. Right before the WOD one of my coaches came up to me and reminded me to keep my legs closer together when I squat so I could keep a deeper full range, and not get called for a no rep. Her advice worked! I didn't get called for not squatting deep enough, but for throwing too high! I managed to do both the wall balls and deadlifts UNBROKEN!

And I love this photo. Crazy hair, and working so hard!

I finished this WOD feeling so confident, so AMAZING. I felt like an athlete. I drank lots of water, refueled watched and cheered on my girls and waited for the results to be posted.

And then my world came crashing down around me. I had placed 4th OVERALL, but I was still sitting in 19th place. HOW WAS THAT POSSIBLE??? I broke down, and started to cry. Big crocodile tears. I just didn't understand. I gave it my all, this was my WOD to redeem myself after WOD 2 and to see no progress on the leader board was so disheartening. I was *this close* to giving in and calling it a day. Seriously. I walked around in a daze for a long time and just had tears rolling down my face. I was so disappointed in myself. And then I had some amazing people come and talk me off the ledge. One friend in particular who knew me since I weighed 250 pounds who also was competing came over and reminded me that this was my 5 year anniversary and the "old Jen" would not even have been able to walk up the stairs in to the box, let alone finish what I just finished. And while I was still hugely bummed, and very very sad, I decided that I would not call it a day. I would not give up. I would not give in. I would stay and I would finish. I had forgotten why I decided to do the Diablo Games in the first place. It wasn't to beat anyone in my box. It was to beat the nearly 400lb Jenny. And I did. Just by walking through the door, I beat her!!

And just as I had resolved the fact that I might finish close to the bottom of the pack, an announcement was made that the scoring system was INCORRECT!! The computer had incorrectly weighed WOD 2. Rather than weighing all the WOD's equally, it gave WOD 2 more emphasis. Thank goodness!! I didn't know where that put me in the rankings, but I knew I'd move up on the leader board!

And then WOD 4, the final WOD, the one all of us had been anticipating was announced!! None of the athletes knew what was coming. All we knew is that it was called The Pitchfork. And man...it was a WOD to end all WOD's!!

20 Calorie Row

20 Goblet Squats (26#)

20 Kettlebell Swings (26#)

20 Sumo High Pulls (26#)

20 Box Step Overs (16″)

20 Knee Raises

20 Burpees

And then step on a plate, put your hands in the air and scream, I'm done! Okay, that last part isn't true, well stepping on the plate is, but the rest is just something I did Tongue Out

I don't know why it was called The Pitchfork, but my guess is that it was like "put a fork in me, I'm done, and while you are at it make it a big f'ing fork!!"

But a lot of this WOD had my name written all over it. I love to row. I can swing a KB. I can squat. So I went for it. Balls to the wall. It was go time. It was time to show old Jenny exactly what new Jenny could do. And thanks to everyone who waited for me to get my hands taped up. And thanks to K for having the awesome rock tape that was super quick to protect my "dainty" hands.

We were only required to swing the KB to eye level. Oops!

Perhaps that's why I can barely lift my arms over my head today?? Tongue Out

The burpees were tough. I think I managed 7 "real" burpees before I had to start doing them one leg down at a time. All the while my judge and my friends were cheering me on, "jump, Jenny, jump" At 10 burpees I took a quick 2 second breather and Judge/Coach Angel started the count over at 10. I appreciated that. I knew I could do 10 burpees! I tried my best to jump for #20, but I had nothing left in me. Nothing except a smile.

Time 8:06. I had blinders on so I honestly don't know how I placed in my heat. I might have been first. I might have been second. I know I went in to burpees first, but I might have lost my lead. But old Jenny couldn't do burpees. Heck, Jenny 7 months ago couldn't do burpees.

I was DONE! I had completed my first CrossFit competition. And it would have never been possible if not for these 2 amazing people: Jen and Pete. They put their heart and soul in to this box, and they have changed so many lives!!

I think you can tell how much they truly love what they do just by looking at these photos. They are genuine. They are the real deal. You can see the pride in their faces as they watch their athletes compete. A HUGE thank you goes out to them, as well as all the coaches, and competition team who volunteered their Saturday to judge us. I hope we made you proud. You make us proud.

I am proud to be a part of the En Fuego team.

I learned so much about myself, and about how to better prepare for a CrossFit competition. That will be another post. Tongue Out

I wasn't kidding when I told you that I gave it 100%. I have the data to prove it! My FT60 did its job and helped to push me to the limits!

But I wasn't the only one giving it 100%! Here are all the athletes who claimed spots on the podium!

Overall I finished in 13th place. Lucky number 13. That number holds a special place in my heart, and I am honored to have claimed it once again for something so meaningful.

I am so proud of myself for seeing it through to the end. I went on a walk today with my oldest daughter (she's 9) and I was telling her all about the day and how I felt like quitting. She grabbed my hand, looked up at me and said "mama, we're Hodges, and Hodges don't quit." Out of the mouths of babes. 

She's right. I am not a quitter. And neither are you. You can do this. You can push yourself outside your comfort zone. Outside the comfort zone is where all the magic happens.

Thanks again to CrossFit En Fuego, Jen, Pete, Sarah, Angel, Michelle, Laine, Jim, Nathan, Jennifer, Katie, Kristy, Josh, Denae, Angie, Dale, Kim, Sara, Emily, Jim, Erika, Braeden, and I'm sure many others who did work behind the scenes. You are appreciated, and you are wizards at your craft.