2016 Goal Round Up

I can still remember the New Year’s Eve of Y2K. I was in middle school and I was on AOL Instant Messenger chatting with my friends about whether or not the world was going to end. Surprise! We survived! Now it’s 2016 and although it’s been many years since I used AOL or IM, I’m still on the computer communicating in another way, my blog. In this post I want to share my goals for this year.

  1. To actually be healthy. Not just live under the umbrella of things people do to lead a healthy lifestyle, I actually want to truly feel healthy. For a long time I have been a CrossFit athlete and coach and I have experimented with my own diet and helped others do the same. I live what appears to be an exceptionally healthy life. However, it seems to have all caught up with me. A little too much stress crept its way in somewhere along the way and I turned my cheek. I did not recognize the signs that were all there and pushed deeper into my training. I got ripped and was the strongest I’ve ever been. But now I am tired and run down and I cry easily. At this point I have decided that my health and the balance of my life need to be my priority. I’m taking a break from AMRAPs and EMOMs and snatching and kipping pull ups. I am going to reach my goal of being healthy by honoring what my body is telling me, by eating foods that make my cells happy,  by sleeping as much as I can, by doing yoga, and by lifting some weights. I could go on about this goal forever, but the bottom line is, I want to feel really good again.
  2. To read more books. Last year I wrote about how I wanted to read more. I have definitely done that and it’s something that I want to continue to do. Reading allows me to escape, to think about different things, and to stimulate my mind.
  3. To be outside a lot. I grew up outside; summer, winter and in between. When you’re an adult with responsibilities it’s sometimes hard to find the time to get yourself outdoors. I haven’t skied in over two years. I only went out on the snowshoes a few times last winter.  I believe that the human body, mind, and soul actually crave nature. We move further from health when we create barriers between ourselves and nature. So this year I’ll be breaking down more of those barriers, particularly in the winter by hiking, using my snowshoes, and hopefully getting some turns in on the slopes.
Hardy and me, playing on the beach.

Hardy and me, playing on the beach.

Goal Updates and Injuries

My last post was about my goal to get outside in nature this summer. So far I’ve been doing well with that goal. We have already gone camping once this season and it was awesome. It was extremely relaxing and after only a couple days in the woods I felt like I had been on vacation. I was completely unplugged from the phone and computer which was the best part.

Our site at Covered Bridge Campground. So peaceful.

Our site at Covered Bridge Campground. So peaceful.

My in-the-gym training has not been going so well, however. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how desire for training goes through peaks and valleys. For me it’s very motivating to have some kind of event to train for. Last fall it was training to prepare for the Winter Throwdown at Champlain Valley in December. Although I didn’t do well at that competition, I became a much better CrossFitter while completing my training leading up to it. My focus was on fixing some issue and building more strength, particularly in my upper body pushing and pulling.

Then we transitioned to training for the CrossFit Open and I continued to progress. I drastically improved my ranking compared to last year. I finished in the top 700 of the North East Region this year; I finally got my muscle ups; I worked on my Olympic lifts consistently; and I got stronger mentally.

When the Open was over, I took a week off from training and going hard. Getting back into it after that week was tough, like the week after you get back to reality from vacation. I’d been strict with my eating leading up to the Open so I could stay lean and feel my best. I loosened up the reigns with that a little bit with that too. I try not to let myself stress about food anymore – maybe you noticed the Coronas in the photo above! After all, it’s just food. It doesn’t control me and it’s one of life’s necessities.

So after lots of hard training through the winter and push through many aches and pains, my wrist tendonitis has finally come to a tipping point. A few weeks ago I pushed it beyond its limits. If wrists could talk it would have told me, “Please, no more.” I listened. I got three different opinions: an MD, a Chiropractor, and a Massage Therapist. Combining all three opinions I have developed a plan for resting, healing, and rehabilitating my wrist. Oye!

arm cast 2015

The wrist splint I wear when I sleep.


It’s a huge bummer, but it’s also a wake up call that I truly needed. It’s something you read and hear all the time, “Keep your body maintained”, “Do your mobility”, “Have body work done”, “Make modifications if something’s bothering you”… but sometimes we just don’t listen. I didn’t listen. I just kept pushing it and pushing it.

It will take a little while for me to be back in action, but I will get there. For now I am just trying to accept it for what it is and enjoy what I can do. Lots of squats, running, sled dragging, and hiking are in my summer training plans. I am focusing on the positives of slowing down a little bit, but don’t get me wrong, it’s super-tough and I often feel the itch to pick up a barbell. All in due time I suppose!

chocura 2015

Representing OPEX at the summit of Mt. Chocura

Summer Plans and Goals

My goal for the summer is to be outside and active in nature more often. I really love nature and it’s where I feel the most alive and joyful. I’ve not been feeling alive or joyful over the past couple days of being sick. There is nothing joyful about the stomach bug. Clearly, I need to be in nature more. The dirt would do me some good, I think!

Hiking 2007

Hiking 2007

The plan is to hike on Sundays as much as possible. My goal for the end of summer or early fall is to hike Mt. Washington. I haven’t hiked that mountain since 2008, so I think it’s a good goal. Jameson and I hope to get a few camping/hiking weekends in as well too! Since about 2004 I’ve been slowly checking off all the 4,000 ft mountains in NH. I would like to cross a few more off the list between now and the fall.

Best fish of my life

Best fish of my life












I think it’s really important to find hobbies and goals for myself that are not related to CrossFit. As much as I love training, working toward my goals in the gym, and the atmosphere of The Fort, I’ve been missing other forms of activity like biking and hiking. In the past, those kinds of things were my main sources of physical activity. It’s time to get back in the game. I am kind of scared of setting this goal and not following through. It’s really easy to let the time go by or let other “stuff” get in the way. So, if I decide to do something I must follow through with it. Decide and do!

What are your goals for being outside this summer? Let’s hold each other accountable!

Huge tree in Oregon

Huge tree in Oregon

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson



The 2015 Open

My goals for the 2015 CrossFit Open were to 1) Finish in the top 1,000 in the North East Region and 2) feel more confident in my abilities as an athlete. Back in October I asked Kyle for a better plan for my training. Until then I was jumping in with class 4-5 times each week. I was fit, but I knew I wasn’t spending as much time on weaknesses as I needed to. So he started writing my programming. In 2014 I finished somewhere in the 1400s in the Region and I wanted to improve that position. I knew that muscle ups would hold me back in a huge way if I couldn’t get any this year. Tackled that goal and got my first one back in December, and was able to get 11 in 15.3, but it’s definitely still a work in progress. I really wanted to have fun, work the hardest I could, and know that my training made me better. I finished around 600ish. Mission accomplished.

15.1 AMRAP 9 – 15TTB/10DL/5SN
This was a fun workout. I actually enjoyed doing it. I have been training toes-to-bar and power snatches for the last 3 months so this was wheel house stuff. The barbell was super light for me which was an advantage. I was able to get through 3 rounds of toes to bar in sets of 5. After that they were pretty sporadic since my abs and grip were fatigued. I tried to keep moving on this. I found myself taking too many breaths during the transitions to the barbell. I tried to hustle it up at the end. I finished my 5th found right on the 9 minute mark. Final score: 150 reps

15.1a 1RM C&J
Bending over to change out plates was super hard because my abs were cramping up. I stood up and took my time. My opening lift was 135 which I hit easily. I squat cleaned it but should have just power cleaned it. My next lift was 145 – power clean, easy jerk. My plan was to go to 155 but I made the decision to try 160. I power cleaned 160 no problem, but then missed the jerk behind me. I wasn’t confident. I went back down to 155 and made the lift. Final score: 155lbs



15.2 C2B/OHS
Angry and bummed. From the moment this workout was announced I was intimidated. I have never been great at chest to bar pull ups. In fact a couple months ago was the first time I had ever been able to string them together using a prone grip. Last year my score was 78 reps. I was confident that I could beat that score, and the thought of getting into the 6:00-9:00 round had me excited. My score this time was 87 reps, one shy of getting to where I wanted to be. I made a mistake counting on my first set of 12 overhead squats and ended up doing an extra rep. I got off track mentally after that which is ultimately what caused me to miss that last rep. It’s a hard thing to swallow. I guess these are the times you consider doing a workout over. Not sure if I will have enough time to recover by Monday, or if it’s even worth it.

I ended up repeating the workout on Monday afternoon. I finished the second round with :30 seconds to spare. I ended up a score of 132 which was what I was expecting. Holy forearms! I am really glad I repeated this workout.

15.3 MU/WB/DU
This is where I thought the Open was over for me. Having only done strict muscle ups successfully and sporadically, I set my sights on 14 minutes of muscle up attempts. When Friday afternoon rolled around I figured I’d give it a try. I surprisingly was able to kip all of my muscle ups and made it 4 reps into the second round. This was one of the most awesome accomplishments of my CrossFit career. I’ve only done muscle ups like that in my dreams – not even kidding.  My score was 161 reps. Pumped.

I had mixed feelings about this workout. Handstand Push Ups are not one of my strongest movements, but I am good at cleans and 125# is fairly light for me. The HSPU standard was fine with me, but I made the mistake of using just a yoga mat under my hands and head. I should have used plates and an abmat because I wasn’t able to move as quickly through my reps and I think my shoulders fatigued a little sooner than they would have otherwise. Not making excuses, just observing what I could have done differently and possibly had a better outcome. I got 33 reps. I considered re-doing the workout, but didn’t feel like I would have gotten a ton more reps, so I didn’t. Currently 573 in the North East region.

I was psyched when this workout was announced. I’m a decent rower and thrusters are a what I would consider a wheel house movement. I finished in 11:35. I wast thinking I would be somewhere between 10 and 11 minutes. I did the workout on Friday. Honestly, I was ready for the Open to be over. Feeling tired and sick of being anxious about the workouts every week. I might have done better if I waited a day or two. I would have been better rested and recovered. My whole left back side ended up cramping up pretty bad which definitely added some time. I tired to keep a decent pace, despite the cramping.










2015 Goal Round Up

Goals (life, performance, professional):
– Clean 185lbs
– Continue to improve upper body pulling/pushing (strict PU/C2B/MU)
– Improve conditioning (burpee, bike, run, MAP, etc)
– Continue building mental strength for training/competition by thinking positively
– Continually seek knowledge and share that knowledge with others
– Take more opportunities to get outside in nature


Read. More.

I want to read more, as in spend more time reading. I think grad school ruined my desire to read because I was forced to read so much. Don’t get me wrong, I liked most of what I was reading, there was just so…much…reading. It sucked all of the fun right out of it. There were not enough hours in the day to read all there was to be read – unless you were one of those speed-reader people, which I am not. I have three and a half books in the lineup currently. I think I could probably be through that stack by the new year.

I know I have more time in my day for reading, it’s just a matter of doing it. I also have to remember that I can read for pleasure. It doesn’t always have to be for learning. And I would be willing to guess that I would end up learning, even from pleasure reading.

So that’s it. Read more.

In school, I sometimes felt like doing this to my books and article.

In school, I sometimes felt like doing this to my books and article.

Goals. What are you capable of?

On Monday, September 22, The Fort CrossFit kicks off its first ever Goal Setting & Achievement Challenge. If you’ve read my blog you might have notice past posts about Paleo Challenges. There was a time in my career that I advocated for this type of challenge. I saw people achieve great results. Individual who desired to feel better and lose weight were usually the ones who benefited most from such challenges. However, I always had some hang-ups about paleo challenges, but chose not to voice my opinions for a while.



In my years of studying nutrition and helping people make changes in their diets and lifestyles I realized that the one-size-fits-all format of a traditional paleo challenge is not the best way to do things. Sure, these kinds of challenges push (force?) people to make better choices, but I’m not sure people being pushed into those choices is the best way to go about things. If someone has to be pushed it means that she or he is resistant to begin with, which means that she or he might not actually be ready to make changes. When the challenge ends, this type of person does a 180 and all the progress goes away.

I have also noticed that people begin feeling guilty or like they have failed if they begin to eat things that are not “paleo”. Although not all foods are created equal and there are some products out there that I would not even consider food, we should not feel guilty for eating; for satisfying our primal need to survive. I mean, yes, if we free fall into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s every night there could be an issue, but indulging on occasion should not be cause for alarm and should not conjure feelings of decreased self-worth. And while I wholeheartedly believe that eating quality, clean, fresh foods should be the hallmark of our diets, a completely strict paleo-approach may not be the best fit for everyone. There are many factors that play into a person’s dietary needs and therefore what each person eats on a daily basis is highly variable.

There had to be a better way to get the same feel of a challenge; something that brings the community together but also gives people the chance to commit to something that maybe they have thought about without quite knowing where to start. I also wanted to make something that would be more individualized and give people a chance to be educated and learn about themselves. Hence the Goal Setting & Achievement Challenge. Believe me, I tried to think of a better, more engaging name, but I had to keep it simple and just roll with it. If you have a better idea for a name, let me know for next year!

A nice meal out. Bunless burger, with bacon and some cheese. Fries and ketchup! And...a margarita. Yum.

A nice meal out. Bunless burger, with bacon and some cheese. Fries and ketchup! Yum.

So the Goal Challenge was set in motion. I am psyched that we have so much participation throughout the gym. Members have done a fantastic job of thinking through their goals and consulting with coaches to make up plans to achieve those goals. There is still time to think through goals. Even if you don’t have things set in stone you can still participate! If you are participating in the challenge – and even if you’re not – here at some things to keep in mind:

  • Write it down! Write something down every day that has to do with your goals. Write down all the steps that you are planning to take on that day to help you move closer to achieving those goals.
  • It’s a journey. Goals take time. Even Phase 1, which is 6 weeks in duration, is a very short period of time. Make sure you are thinking realistically about your goals and what you can accomplish in a given amount of time.
  • Get by with a little help from your friends. Request the help of family and friends. Inform them of what you are trying to achieve. Ask for their support, but be specific in telling them how they can help you. Other people cannot read your mind.
  • Challenge yourself. This is a challenge for a reason. Your goals should stretch you a little bit and make you feel uncomfortable. They should be realistic and eventually you should be able to achieve them, but the process should cost something. What will you sacrifice to reach your goals?
  • You are resilient. If for some reason you have a misstep during the challenge know that you can get back up and turn it around. Know that you are strong enough to get back up when you fall down. When you wake up tomorrow it is a new day and a completely new opportunity to be positive and forge ahead.
A nice meal IN. Fish tacos.

A nice meal IN. Fish tacos.

On a personal level, I have never actually set a goal and achieved it. Crazy, I know. At one point in college I had gained about 10 extra pounds that I really didn’t need to be carrying around, so I went on a mission to lose that weight and I did. That was about the only time that I was close to setting and achieving a goal. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that I set goals every day. Each day I plan what time I will get my training in and I stick to that plan by working out at the time I choose. I also plan meals for the week and cook them on days when I have a couple hours of free time. Although these are tiny things in the scheme of life, they all play in to keeping me healthy…which is the greatest goal of all. During this challenge I am truly looking forward to putting my mind to something, putting in the work, and achieving something that I really want to do. And I’ll get by with a little help from my friends…

Support is a key to achieving goals.

Support is a key to achieving goals.

Rely on those you are closest to.

Rely on those you are closest to.