the sawtooth relay, or: that one time i won an athletic event.

This is about how cool I felt while I was running. I just channeled my inner Fonz. “Ayyyy!” (photo credit: Gretchen Hurlbutt)

Never in my life have I been known for my athletic prowess. As a matter of fact, for many years I feel as though I may have been known for my lack of athletic prowess. I’m not necessarily proud of this, just sharing the facts. That said, my mind felt a little bit blown when they announced the Boise Betties (MY TEAM!) as the first place team for the women’s division of the Sawtooth Relay.

The Sawtooth Relay is my favorite race that I’ve run. This was my second year running it, both years with the Boise Betties. The race starts in Stanley, ID and travels 60+ miles (up and over Galena Pass) and ends in Ketchum, ID. Teams have six runners who each run two legs that are roughly five miles a piece. Our team stayed in Stanley on Friday night at the Sawtooth Spirit condos (check it out next time you’re in Stanley. The store is super cute!) and had dinner together at The Redd (extemely delicious but I’m pretty sure that our waitress was literally a crack head). The race officially starts at midnight with teams starting every fifteen minutes until 9am. The Betties ended up with the amazing start time of 8:15am so we practically got to sleep in!

Boise Betties at the start line. L to R: Gabby, me, Becca, Erica, Shea and Sam. Erica was about two minutes away from crushing the first leg of the race.

I ran legs 2 (5.83 miles) and 8 (5.09 miles) and would say that I did moderately well. I kept within my target pace and didn’t die. That’s good, right? I was surprised at how much the altitude affected me with my first leg and despite how gradual the incline was, my glutes were killing me by the time I was done. The next several hours involved lots of cheering, driving, time keeping, snacking, porta-potty using, shit talking, water supplying and laughing – then leg 8 rolled around and I got to run again! This time I had a nice, gradual downhill and felt like I was trucking. But no matter how fast I was going for Rachel-pace, it couldn’t even hold a candle to the other girls on my team. These ladies are fast! So fast that other teams were asking us whether some of our runners were Olympians or not. Ha!

Gabby brought us home over the last short leg into Ketchum, ringing in an amazing 7 hour, 37 minute overall time for the total distance. It was awesome! I wish I could say that I contributed more to the smokin’ fast time, but I definitely brought my team down to earth. 🙂 I’d hate for their heads to stay in the clouds.

Along the Relay course. Remember how I told you in the last post that Idaho is beautiful? Seriously, it is.

Ready to pass off the neon, reflective slap bracelet “baton” at the end of my first leg. This was also when I realized that I had cramps. Awesome. My sister has a fridge magnet that says “I can do anything a man can do. With cramps.” Pretty much.

Meeting up with Gabby to sprint the final few yards to the finish. WHY DO I LOOK LIKE I AM DYING? My whole face and body is looking as if I ran the entire sixty mile relay solo, not like I had just jogged the last thirty yards as a formality. I have never claimed to be photogenic.


bruneau beast and catching up.

Did you know that there are gigantic, natural sand dunes in Idaho? Proof:

On Saturday I ran a 10k along the ridge of these dunes and on the surrounding sandy trails. I signed up for it months ago, on a whim when they opened registration for $10. The irrational side of me thought, “This sounds fun! Let’s run for six miles through sand!” As soon as I told my friends that I signed up for the Bruneau Beast they put it in perspective for me: “That sounds awful.” “I hate sand in my shoes.” “You couldn’t pay me to do that race.”


But, stubborn mule that I am, I insisted on running anyway. The day before the race I rode up to the Foothills Learning Center with the kids in the bucket bike. Not an easy ride. It was good pre-race cardio. When I was parking the bike I managed to somehow bash my knee on the rack and get a serious bruise. My knee immediately started aching and didn’t stop all afternoon and evening. I felt a little sick to my stomach thinking that I might not be able to run at all because of a stupid mishap. Felt like a flashback to last summer’s sprained ankle fiasco. Boo. I spent the evening icing my ankle, taking ibuprofen and finding elaborate ways to wrap KT Tape on my knee. Worked like a dream, though! I woke up, bright and early at 4am, with no pain at all in my knee and ready to head to Bruneau.

I left at 4:30 for the hour and a half drive out to the dunes. The race started at 7am but I wanted to make sure I was early enough for packet pickup and to warm up. I didn’t bank on the fact that the race was tiny and there would be no line at checkout, plus it was chilly and mosquito-y enough that as soon as I grabbed my bib I sat in my car and played Mahjongg on my phone until I needed to warm up. After a five minute jog and some stretching, it was time to go!

The emcee for the race was dressed as Darth Vader, obviously. Lent a slightly ominous tone to the event. 10k and half marathoners started together and between both distances, there were probably only 200 runners. Having no idea of how I would fare in the sand, I started midway back so I wouldn’t hold up a ton of people. The first 1/4 mile or so was on regular trail so it helped me warm up a bit more before we got to the sand.

And then we got to the sand. And oh, what a lot of sand it was.

Approximately the next two miles of the race were navigating the ridge of the three gigantic dunes. The uphill was a slow, steady hike where I focused on stepping in foot holes of the gal in front of me. It made it less slippery that way. The downhills were so fun because you could just take huge, bounding leaps and FLY down! The tough part about the ridge is that everyone is stuck single file so jockeying for position is nearly nonexistent.

As soon as we came down the dunes we hit the first aid station and it seemed like a perfect time to empty the massive amounts of sand that had accumulated in my shoes. Once that was taken care of I headed to the trails which were very loosely marked and meandered around the back country of Bruneau. It was beautiful! My legs were exhausted so I allowed myself a couple of small walk breaks but was amazed at how well I was able to power through. Turns out, I’m a lot stronger than I thought I am!

Now comes my big mistake: not emptying the sand from my shoes at the second aid station. I didn’t want to waste the time and decided to just finish strong. Wrong. So much sand had built up that my shoes were fitting me as if they were two sizes too small. The sand rubbed a huge blood blister on my second toe and it felt as if my toenail was tearing away (cue nauseous gagging). Half a mile from the finish I stopped to check on my toe and it made me miserable. My toe hurt so bad that I decided to walk to the finish. But then I realized that walking still hurt and was only taking longer. I limp/walk/jogged to the finish, so relieved to be done.

I had no idea of what my pace would be in the sand and just hoped to finish under two hours. It was pleasantly surprising to see that my time was 1:22 and that I came in seventh place overall for women! I feel like now that I know some mistakes that I made, I could actually be a contender to place next year. Booyah!

Isn’t Idaho beautiful? Not a bad place to watch the sun rise and spend a Saturday morning.

Sunday was a rest day. Whew. Monday was supposed to be Body Back but my toe was still killing me (and my knee decided to flare up) so I decided to stay home and ice and rest.

This week has been a million degrees (seriously! A high of 98 on Tuesday!) and of course this is the week that the kids were signed up for a late afternoon soccer camp. Nothing drains your energy quite like sitting at a park for two hours during the hottest part of the day. After soccer camp on Tuesday, Alex and I came home and decided to embrace the heat by doing this workout by Pumps & Iron in the yard. I decided to be a multi-tasking genius and grill chicken for dinner while we did our workout. DON’T BE ME. After severely charring our dinner and having our children start throwing dirt at us, we had to call it quits after the fourth round in a last ditch effort to not be completely neglectful parents. But, considering how sweaty we were from working out in 98 degrees, I’d still call it a full workout.

Wednesday was rest day (and cheat day!). Bring on the Patio Wine Wednesday!

On Thursday I taught Stroller Strides at Kleiner Park in Meridian and the kids got to play in the splash pad afterwards. We had the last soccer class in the afternoon (which was a disaster from Jasper’s perspective) and then I was supposed to have Body Back again. And again I skipped it. It was a good time for me to remember that even if I have prior obligations, sometimes my family just needs to come first. My kids definitely seemed like they needed mama at home.

This afternoon I am heading up to Stanley, ID with my friend Sam because our team is running the Sawtooth Relay tomorrow. We have an 8:15am start time (which is awesome!) and I’m running legs 2 and 8. I feel ready for the running but am also ready for it to be over because I want our schedule to normalize a bit. Alex and the kids are staying in Boise so I feel a little bad about ditching them for races two weekends in a row.

Details about Sawtooth soon to come!

womp womp.

Random thought: I love that it’s getting warmer in Boise but I have a bit of a conflicted relationship with the heat. We don’t have A/C which means that my kitchen gets to be approximately one billion degrees in the summer. It’s not too hot yet but we are at the point where all of my coconut oil is liquid (yay! easier for baking). That also means we’re at the point where I wage an all out war with the fruit fly invasion that is happening with my kitchen compost. Just, no.

Well, wow. Last week was a bit of a derailment. The day after Memorial Day the kids and I flew to PHX to visit my sister for a few days. We had basically an awesome time (other than Jasper deciding that sleep is unnecessary when you’re on vacation) but I was not great at sticking with my clean eating or getting in all of my workouts. I wasn’t a total slacker though! The evening of the first day we were there I talked Abby into doing a bodyweight countdown workout with me. I loved this workout! It was so fast and feels really rewarding because you fly through the last few rounds yet still work up a major sweat. On the other hand, I am pretty sure that Abby was ready to murder me. Nbd. I took Wednesday as my rest day and then on Thursday I headed out to Scottsdale to meet up with a Phoenix area Stroller Strides group. The workout was pretty different than what I am used to from the Boise SS crew, but it was so fun to meet other moms who are crazy enough to workout with their kids. Also, they meet at an amazing park that I wish I could bring my kids to every week!

There was a kid-sized old west town for them to play in. We even got to go for a little train ride after the Stroller Strides class!

Other highlights from the trip:
-The Phoenix Children’s Museum – my kids could have stayed there all day
-Introducing A and J to In-N-Out
-Getting so many iced mochas at my sister’s favorite PHX coffee shop, Jobot
Short Leash, a restaurant entirely devoted to hot dogs!
-and being able to spend some time every day swimming at my sister’s pool

Unfortunately, I may have enjoyed a little too much foot and I let the heat intimidate me from getting any running in. After we flew back home on Saturday I felt absolutely fried from my lack of sleep all week. Jasper had been waking me up around 4:15-5am every morning and apparently I need more sleep than that to function. Alex and I wussed out and skipped our Saturday workout and went to the Grand Reopening of the Stinker Station instead! Truly, you have never lived until you go to a gas station grand opening. It was quite the community affair.

Sunday we planned to go for a 4 mile stroller run with a park pit stop in the middle, but a lawn mowing snafu left us pressed for time and we settled with a MUCH shorter run to a closer park, giving us about 2 miles altogether. Better than nothing, right?

Yesterday is where we started to get back on track. On Sunday we did some epic grocery shopping to fill our house with healthy, homemade food and to get me back into the clean eating mind set. So with real food to eat and a pathetic weekend under our belt, I was feeling motivated to get back on track. I taught Stroller Strides yesterday to five dedicated mamas who braved black skies and crazy wind to get their workout in.

Last night was the first night of my new session of Body Back that I am taking. We have an awesome group of thirteen participants plus two instructors and I am so pumped! We did assessments last night and I always get myself so psyched out for them. I don’t think I did any PR’s on my strength assessments, but I kicked ass on my timed mile. Technically we only ran 0.9 miles, but I did it in 6:19!!! That’s almost a full minute improvement for me within the last year. Despite wanting to puke when I was done, I felt amazing. Rarely have I been more proud. The only bad part? Now I have to beat that time in 8 weeks. Ack!

This morning Jasper woke up puking and threw off our plans for the day. Fortunately my friend Layla, who is the mom of Alma’s best friend, was willing to take Alma for a while today and ended up letting her hang out for most of the day. It gave Jasper some time to rest and gave me a chance to get some cooking/baking done. I made some of my favorite crackers (I sub more sunflower and pumpkin seeds in place of the pecans to make them nut-free) and a new hummus recipe – and now I have finally found a decent hummus recipe! Alex got me the America’s Test Kitchen Vegetarian cook book for Mother’s Day and I am finally getting around to trying it out. I made the roasted garlic hummus and it is so creamy and delicious. Definitely the best hummus I’ve ever made and maybe even some of the best I’ve had, period.

Word to the wise: do not fill up on roasted garlic hummus and crackers before you are about to do sixty burpees. You will be tasting them the entire time. While the kids played in the yard this evening, Alex and I did this quick twenty minute workout:

We made it into twenty squats instead of fifteen, but other than that we stuck to it. It wasn’t the most challenging workout ever, but it was a great one to do on a weeknight with kiddos who are ready for dinner and bed. It’s also a great workout to do while you’re wearing a bike helmet and tap shoes, obviously.

The “tap shoe burpee” is my new favorite variation on the burpee. I can’t wait to use it in my classes. I think it will really catch on. As for the bike helmet? Better safe than sorry, I guess.

Tomorrow is my rest day (which is also my cheat day… woot!). This week is a special installment of Patio Wine Wednesday – “Cocks in the Henhouse” – where husbands have been invited and we’re doing a potluck for dinner. Alex just whipped up some peanut sesame noodles to bring and I’m going to make this summer-y cocktail/dessert to share. It’s gonna be a good day.

Update: A week ago Sunday I totally did the 7.7 mile Crestline/Lower Hulls loop that had been taunting me. And I was even faster than I had anticipated… which I think is mainly an indicator at how bad I am at estimating pace.


hiking, west african dancing, etc.

The rain has eased up a bit. Despite the thunder currently rumbling overhead, the last few days have been relatively dry. That means that Alex and I got to do an outdoor workout today. Yay!

Since our Tuesday workout was derailed, I had my fingers crossed that Wednesday would be dry and we’d be able to head down to Ann Morrison. But, again, it was pouring when Alex got home from work. We decided to just bite the bullet and do a tabata workout inside. If you’re not familiar with tabata, it is where you do an exercise with all-out intensity for 20 seconds, followed by a 10 second rest, for eight rounds, totaling four minutes. We did four separate tabatas, with a full one minute rest between each tabata. Instead of us just doing the same exercise for all 8 rounds, each tabata had us alternating between two different exercises. Our tabatas looked like this:

1. Pushups/Triceps dips (using a dining table chair)
2. Kettlebell swings/Goblet Squats (with 25# kettlebell)
3. Crazy Russians, alternating L/R each time (with 8# medicine ball)
4. Situps/Spiderman plank

The kettlebell is new and it was our first time using it. 25# is definitely a workout for me now, but I’ll be excited for when I feel strong enough for 35#! Also, the crazy Russians with the medicine ball not only worked my cored but were killer on my biceps. I loved them!

Wednesday also meant Patio Wine Wednesday at my dear friend Kelly’s house! I made some totally not healthy chocolate orange ginger cupcakes but I limited myself to one! I was pretty proud. Baby steps, right?

This month’s Mom’s Night Out fell on Thursday night and I was seriously jazzed. We all went to a West African dance class at The Dojo and it kicked ass. More specifically, it kicked my ass. I think the last time that I sweat that much was when I was in labor with Alma. But labor was definitely less fun than the dancing. I concluded that I am definitely terrible at the dancing but also definitely want to try it again… and maybe become a little less terrible?

Proof of my mad West African dancing skillz. This was about 30 minutes into the class when I was still feeling like “Yeah, I can totally do this. I’ve got this.” The following 90 minutes proceeded to wipe away all of those feelings.

On Thursday I also ran with the Betties in the early morning and went to Stroller Strides. I was beat after hitting up the River Room with my dancing comrades. The next morning when I woke up completely sore, I had no idea which activity had fully kicked my butt or if it was a combination of all three, I decided that Friday would be an appropriate day for a rest day.

I had planned a Table Rock hike with a few classes of Body Back alumni that was supposed to happen last Saturday but was postponed until today because of the rain. Mother Nature smiled upon us and it was a beautiful morning for hiking. We left the trailhead at about 7:30am and made it full circle by 9am or so, including a break at the top for muffins and pictures. It’s such a fun, short hike to start the weekend with!

I feel so lucky to get to work with, coach and call these ladies my friends!

After the hike Alex and I brought the kids down to the Boise High School track so we could tackle another workout from Blonde Ponytail, Crossfit Travel WOD. Since we had the kids with us we alternated rounds until we had each completed all five. Btw, those hand-release pushups are no joke. By the time I was running my last sprint, my pecs and armpits were feeling tight from the previous 60 pushups. Not gonna lie, I did the last five on my knees. They were tough!

Not only does the Boise High track have a playground to entertain my kids, but a crazy family from Provo, UT was also there with their THREE TINY BABY GOATS. Obviously that was awesome. Apparently these people raise goats for a living, were on their way to Washington to pick up a new buck when their car broke down in Boise. Since they were traveling with three baby goats that had been born yesterday (YESTERDAY! THEY WERE SO SMALL! AND CUTE! WHY DIDN’T I GET A PICTURE?) they decided to stretch their legs on the green space at the field.

Oh Boise. You’re so great.

I’m hoping to tackle that same Lower Hulls/Crestline/Kestral loop tomorrow – this time with the plan to FINISH IT! Wish me luck!

And for your viewing pleasure, a video of tortoises eating tiny pancakes:

Happy long weekend!

rain, rain, go away

We are officially in week two of Alex and Rachel’s Summer Fitness Extravaganza (AaRSFE, obviously). It’s a Tuesday which means workout day but the downpour outside is rearranging our week. I had planned for us to run to Ann Morrison and use their outdoor workout equipment but by the time Alex got home from work the storm clouds were rolling in and we knew we were doomed. Not to mention that we had to filthy children in need of a bath, one of which was an extremely exhausted four-year-old that we needed to hustle to bed. Maybe it was a sixth-sense that told us how our evening would go, but we had both fortunately gone running earlier in the day. I met up with the Boise Betties for a coached track workout (gag. I hate the track.) at 6am and Alex went running on the greenbelt over his lunch break. Hopefully the rain will let up and we can do our workout tomorrow. And if you’re wondering why we don’t just do something indoors, you’ve obviously never seen our house. There is no way that it could accommodate two people working out at once (especially since it means that both kids would have to bust our their yoga mats and insist on exercising “with” us). We live in a microscopic cardboard box.

Despite being an oddly wet two weeks in Boise, we’ve slowly been building momentum. I ran with the Betties last Thursday morning (Thursdays are trail workouts – thank God) and Alex and I did our Saturday morning workout together. We brought the kids down to our closest little park, Bowen Park with the intention of letting them play while we tackled Blonde Ponytail’s Dirty 30 workout. I love this workout, by the way, because it feels so fast and as soon as you finish a set of thirty, you know you are done with that exercise and don’t have to come back to it! We started with running a few laps around the park (which is teeny weeny tiny) which devolved into an elaborate game of chase/tag with the kids. Then instead of our normal dynamic stretching, Alma and Jasper got to choose their favorite exercises for us all to do together. Alma chose things like walking lunges and jumping jacks while Jasper had me hop around on the play equipment on one foot. Definitely not your traditional warm-up, but it got my heart rate up!

On Sunday we decided to split up and take two separate trail runs rather than bring the kids along for a family run. I wanted to do the Lower Hulls Gulch/Crestline/Kestral loop (aout 7.7 miles, which is SUPER long for me) but my pace was slower than anticipated and I had to make sure I was back in time to teach Sunday School. I ended up just doing an out-and-back on Lower Hulls and think I clocked in around 6-6.5 miles. Let me also note that as I was leaving my house for this run I dropped my phone and broke it. Boo hoo. I should not be allowed to own smartphones. Sigh. Alex ran in the afternoon and ended up getting hit by another of our recent weird Boise rainstorms. Oops.

Other big news? On Sunday we decided that we needed to deviate from the Buzzfeed Clean Eating plan because it was costing too much, especially when we have a freezer full of food that needs to be eaten. I feel a little bit like we “gave up” and it bums me out because I felt amazing just from one week of it. When I weighed in on Saturday I was down three pounds! Let’s hope I can keep that up. Now we’re just trying to stick to general “healthy”, whole foods eating, keeping everything in moderation but I’m finding myself having a hard time not over-thinking every bit of food that I come across. I DO NOT WANT TO BE THAT PERSON.

Sorry for a boring update, but the rain has turned us into boring people this past week. I’m excited for Thursday night, when I am going African dancing with a bunch of girlfriends! I fully expect to make a fool of myself, and I am 100% ok with that.

a slow start

As it turns out, working out as a couple when you have two small children is actually extremely challenging.

We did a family run on Mother’s Day but since I needed to teach high school Sunday School at 9:30 we cut it short. I’m not sure what our actual distance was but it was more like 2.5-3 miles instead of the 5k that we were aiming for. The rest of the day I allowed myself to eat junk and be pampered because, hey, I’m a mom and that’s what this day is all about!

Monday rolled around as day 1 of our clean eating challenge! Our meals looked somewhat like this:

Pretty freaking delicious. My Ninja could barely handle the insane amounts of kale in the morning smoothie so it was a little chunkier than I prefer, but it was still tasty. The evening snack of pears and almond butter was delicious! For some reason I never think to buy pears but I loved this combination.

Day 2:

The overnight oats were a bit of a stretch for me because I haven’t loved them in the past. But, the blueberries made it palatable and I could see it growing on me. The lunch salad was “meh” but the tomato snack and the chicken wraps for dinner were basically awesome. I couldn’t find clementines at the store so I had strawberries for a night snack instead.

This day was also our first workout together which ended up being a little crazy. I packed a picnic dinner for the kids and we were ready to head out the door as soon as Alex got home. We jogged to Memorial Park, got the kids set up with snacks and play and then did some dynamic stretching. Then we started in on this bodyweight workout from Blonde Ponytail. I really enjoyed the workout at the scissor abs were killer! Unfortunately, during my 4th set it started to sprinkle and we decided we should cut it short and head home. Well, on the way home a thundershower started so instead of cooling down with a brisk walk home we ended up sprinting with the stroller. Our poor kids are troopers. I only had time to eat half of my dinner before I headed to a meeting at Hyde Park Pub where I had to stay strong against the temptation of everyone else’s delicious looking beers and burgers. Sigh.

Day 3:

All I’ve had today so far is the yogurt parfait and the lunch salad. Both were super delicious and both were HUGE! Not gonna lie, I am super looking forward to the night snack of almond milk with dark chocolate melted in it. My menstruating self REALLY craves chocolate. I am a walking-talking cliche. [Update: While the cauliflower and lentil dinner looks pretty unappetizing, it was REALLY good.]

All-in-all, I am liking the meal plan and recipes. The calories are a little low for me (it would probably be fine for someone less active, but I probably rank in the “highly active” category) so I have been adding in some sort of bar every morning, maybe an extra piece of fruit at some point in the day and yesterday I had a protein shake before our workout.

Of course Alma has to be sick this week. 😦 My grand plans of running to Julia Davis before I taught Stroller Strides on Monday were dashed when Alma had a fever and I had to ask one of our other instructors to teach for me. Boo. My workouts have just been a bit more lackluster than I had been hoping for.

This afternoon is Patio Wine Wednesday which will be the real test of my clean eating resolve. HOW WILL I SAY NO TO WINE AND M&M COOKIES?! For reals. I’ll just be the dork toting along my avocado with S&P and my home brewed kombucha. Jealous?

initial assessments

Yesterday we did our initial assessments and let’s just say that I did not achieve any personal bests. Boo. Here’s where I’m at:

Sit-ups: 27
Pushups: 20
Biceps Curls: 51
Burpees: 22
Plank: 2:05 minutes
Wall Sit: 1:30 minutes

The pushups probably bummed me out the most, but I would have also liked to have done a little better on my plank. My goal is to at least break 3 minutes, preferably 3:30 by the end of 8 weeks. That would be a PR for me!

And in the interest of full disclosure, these are my “before” pictures. Eek! Alright interwebz, I’m trusting you now…

Well, in other non-totally-embarrassing news: tomorrow Alex and I begin out clean eating challenge. I went grocery shopping with the list that Buzzfeed provides and holy moly, we have a ton of greens in our fridge! 2 bunches of collard greens, 4 bunches of asparagus, 5 BUNCHES OF KALE. I did not know if it would all fit. For reals.

What you don’t see in this picture is the gigantic pile of items that still didn’t make it into our fridge – mangoes, bananas, limes, avocados, tomatoes. So. Much. Produce. I’m pumped!

Tomorrow I am teaching Stroller Strides so the kids and I will run the two miles to Julia Davis Park beforehand. I had an amazing Mother’s Day but definitely indulged so I am excited for Monday to be a clean slate!

Alex and Rachel’s Summer Fitness Extravaganza!!!

It has literally been over a year since I have typed anything on this blog. There have been a lot of times when I have sat down, fully intending to write, but my brain just hasn’t had the space to sort my thoughts. So you know all of those introspective posts that you used to read? Yeah, just forget about those.


Some of you may have heard that I have recruited Alex to embark on an eight week fitness journey with me (ok, it was actually kind of his idea) that I have enthusiastically named “Alex and Rachel’s Summer Fitness Extravaganza!” If you’re at all familiar with the Body Back program that I teach with Fit4Mom, just is just a riff on that program except I am doing it with my husband at home! I have decided to try to blog about it for accountability and because some people have been curious as to the types of workouts that Alex and I will be doing (often with our kids in tow). Tomorrow is the kickoff of our 8 week adventure, so here is the rundown:

2x/week big workouts. On Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings we are planning to do some HIIT or Crossfit WOD type workouts, either at our house, the local high school track or a nearby park. We are planning to make use of the awesome outdoor workout park at Ann Morrison (they are putting one of these in at Camel’s Back Park too, which is WAY closer to us. Yay!).
Weekly family run. Sunday is run-day. We will either be running together with the kids in the double BOB (either doing distance runs or some speed intervals) or taking turns running on the trails while the other one crazily tries to feed and dress our kids before we have to go to church. Alex is planning to run two other times a week while I will be training with the Boise Betties off and on (depending on my schedule) and running to Stroller Strides when we’re at Julia Davis Park. I have a couple of races coming up in the next two months which will throw off our schedule a bit but it will be a fun challenge!
Body Back. Starting in June I will be taking Body Back classes on Monday and Thursday nights. Just more awesome HIIT for me!
Workouts. I’m finding a lot of the workouts that we’ll be doing from Blonde Ponytail and am also just using a lot of workouts that I or fellow Body Back instructors have already written up.
Clean eating. Starting on Monday we will be taking the Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge (I’m so excited to have someone else do the meal planning for me!) but after that we won’t be following any specific diet. We generally try to eat “real” food at home and make most things ourself, but I have a CRAZY sweet tooth and Alex loves a beer or two in the evenings. We are going to cut out processed foods as much as possible, eat veggies at breakfast and try to generally be more thoughtful about our food. We are each allowing ourselves one “cheat” day each week (Hello Patio Wine Wednesday!) but won’t go overboard on those days.
Fitness Assessments. Just like any other results-based program, we will be doing beginning and ending fitness assessments. Tomorrow we will do as many sit-ups, pushups, biceps curls and burpees as we can for one minute each. Then we will see how long we can each hold a wall sit and a plank. I’ll post my results tomorrow!
Weight loss contest! We will be weighing in each week and whoever loses the most weight over the eight weeks gets to have an awesome date planned for them by the “loser”. Kind of a win/win situation. 🙂

That’s our plan in a nutshell. I’m really excited to have something that Alex and I will be focused on together for the next two months. Sometimes when you’re parenting small children it’s not uncommon to realize that you haven’t really talked to your spouse in like, oh, six months or so. Hopefully this will help us remedy that.

We’ll have a few hiccups along the way to figure out. The kids and I are going out of town for five days to visit my sister in Phoenix and I need to make sure that I don’t lose momentum there. Also, that I don’t just eat a ton of ice cream. The struggle is real, people.

Anyway, this whole “exercising with your spouse” thing is new to us. I expect it to be fun, motivating, challenging, and a little bit awkward. So stay tuned!

an ugly anniversary

My mom passed away one year ago today. The rain seems appropriate. I don’t have much to say today but wanted to share some words that were written about her last year. I love you, mom.

Obituary, by my amazing husband, Alex Goochey

Mary Kay Christensen, 54, of Nampa, ID, passed away Monday, April 22, 2013, peacefully at home of natural causes. Mary Kay was born in Dickinson, ND, on April 15, 1959, to Raymond and Geneva Schnell. She was the fourth of five children: older brothers Gary and Don, older sister Peggy, and younger sister Sheila.

Mary Kay met Ron Christensen in high school and married soon after in October, 1977. From this marriage came four children, twelve home towns, countless hands of rummy, and a reliable supply of coffee and cookies.

Mary Kay was a passionate and dedicated mom. Her creativity and thoughtfulness are rooted deeply in the characters, personalities, and humor of her kids. She was also a homemaker and attentive hostess. Anyone who came to her colorful home experienced the details with which she cared for people. In recent years she used all these gifts as a grandmother.

Mary Kay’s childhood in western North Dakota and her family’s involvement in the livestock industry gave her a lasting connection to the state’s culture and landscape. She was a North Dakota girl no matter where she roamed. She was also a chronicler of family lore — a reliable source when it came to laughter and reminiscing.

Mary Kay is survived by her parents, Raymond and Geneva; husband, Ron; son, Jared (wife Sara); daughters, Emily (husband Tim), Rachel (husband Alex), and Abby; brothers, Gary and Don; sisters, Peggy and Sheila; and grandchildren, Noah, Lucy, Miles, Alma, Kate, and Jasper, with another on the way.

Mary Kay was a light to the people who knew her. Her steadfast faith in Christ helped many others to be strong. She will be missed.

Gifts in her memory can be made to Home on the Range ( in Sentinel Butte, ND, or Love INC ( in Nampa, ID.

… but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Eulogy, written and delivered by my strong, funny brother Jared Christensen

My mom loved our family. She took care of us, she laughed with us, she cried with us, she gave us grace… and a fair amount of truth. She supported us in our endeavors and encouraged us in success and failure. She taught me how to tie my shoes despite my throwing them against the wall in frustration. She listened intently as the girls banged through piano lessons. She went to countless wrestling meets, even though they made her sick to the point she could barely watch. She remembered every birthday and was intentional in the gifts she gave, and in the creativity she displayed every day. She worked tirelessly to prepare meals, wash clothes, apply band-aids, drive us around and generally keep our house running smoothly. She loved Dad and made a point to kiss him in front of us often so that we could pretend to be disgusted by it.

Mom was renowned for being welcoming and hospitable. She and Dad had people over all the time for Bible studies and game nights, staying up late over endless pots of coffee. She made sure that our house was a place where our friends would want to hang out… and we did… all the time. She made sure the soda and tacquitos were well-stocked, and she put up with our loud music. She was a favorite “friend’s mom” and everyone knew she had the best sleepover snacks. As soon as she saw Sara’s sewing machine, she swooped in and invited her to work on crafty projects together. Their house in Visalia became a second home to our college friends. Of course, the pool may have had something to do with that. Mom cared deeply for people and she made them feel valued when they were in our home.

Each time we moved, Mom helped keep us together as a family, but she also made us venture out and make our own connections. She was a close friend to each of us, especially after the older kids moved out over time. Once we settled into a new place, it wouldn’t be long before she was inviting people from the church over for dinner or, more likely, kicking us out to find other kids in the neighborhood. It didn’t matter if it was August… in Arizona.

There were a few times when Dad had to move before the rest of us, and Mom stayed behind with us kids. During these times she reverted back to being one of the kids, and would often act as the ringleader. When we met up with Dad again he would inevitably be amused and a bit baffled by the abundance of inside jokes we had. One memory really sticks out for me, when we were moving from Idaho to Arizona. During a slap-happy night listening to music, one by one we each pulled out play clothes and put on costumes relevant to the various artists or songs. (I distinctly remember 6-year old Abby in a spot-on Axl Rose get-up.) Mom not only hit up the play clothes, but also donned a fair amount of make-up and hairspray. The girls and I cracked up as she showed off her dance moves that night, and to this day the song “My Sharona” makes me laugh… and it creeps me out a little.

In that same living room two years before, Mom and Dad were there when I committed my life to Christ. The prayer I prayed with Mom when I was 6 finally sunk in at 15 as I wrestled with what it meant to really live my life for the Lord. She stayed up many late nights with us in high school when we came home from doing stupid adolescent things and as we questioned our faith. She encouraged us to get in the Word and learn what God had to teach us. She challenged us to represent Christ and our family well and to stand up for things we believe in. She and Dad set a godly example in their marriage that the girls and I try to imitate. She welcomed Sara, Tim, and Alex into our family and treated them like her own daughters and sons. She prayed for our kids before they were born, and she poured out love on them each time they got to see their Grandma Kay.

As it says in Proverbs 22, Mom raised us in the way we should go so that we would not depart from it. However, she also respected decisions we made when they were different from ones she would have made. Whether it was a school or career choice, a decision with our spouse, or a parenting method, she would challenge us at times, hear our perspective, and then support us as we moved forward. No matter where we were, she came to our aid in times of trouble. She dropped what she was doing to take care of us in Fresno, Chicago, or Virginia. (She just wouldn’t help pay for tattoos or piercings…)

We are here because of my mom, and in a way she is heaven today because of some of us. The story goes that several members of Dad’s family prayed that my parents would not have a baby until Mom received Christ and Dad came back to the Lord. Grandma Pete, Grandma Christensen, Paula, and others were persistent in that prayer. Finally, as Mom was trapped on a kitchen countertop hanging wallpaper with my Grandma Pete, she responded to the Gospel and accepted Jesus into her life. Not long after, wouldn’t you know it, they were pregnant.

Mom loved my Dad, she loved my sisters and me, our spouses, and our kids. She loved everyone in this room and countless others across the country. Most of all, she loved the Lord. And today she is worshipping Him in heaven. Revelation 21:4 says that God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There will be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

Mom is not sick anymore, she feels no pain, and her body is perfect. She is in her Father’s house waiting for us to join her some day.

still writing to myself

I’m on week 5 of my Lively Woman journey. Our most recent homework was to write another letter to ourselves, a version of me five years down the road. Enjoy.

To a slightly older, possibly wiser, and hopefully less tired version of myself,

You have survived. For five years you have rafted rivers of grief and slogged through the trenches of parenting small children, but you have lived to see the other side. Remember those days when you felt that 5:45pm could not come soon enough because the day had contained more dirty diapers and spilled bowls of oatmeal than one person could ever handle? Now you have an eight year old and a six year old. Remember that these are the days that you longed for. The baby and toddler phase were never going to be a time where you would thrive, but this is what you looked forward to. Teaching these small people and watching them grow. Hallelujah.

Then there is the uncomfortable ease of grief to consider. There are still those days where your chest feels tight and it is hard to breath, but those days are fewer. They catch you more by surprise than they did five years ago. I imagine that the somewhat seamless way that life has continued on makes you feel guilty – it even does now, despite how sometimes I feel as though I am functioning in molasses. But the strength that you feel now does not mean that you miss her any less, just that she has given more of her strength to you than you ever realized.

And you, Rachel, you have grown. Hand-in-hand you have taken your education and your health and made them your own. These aspects of your life have continued to grow and intertwine. You have used your base of knowledge and excitement about nutrition to assist others in their own journey – while eating delicious baked goods along the way.

But truly, this is all that I can imagine for you right now. Today I am having a hard time seeing past the end of the day, much less the end of the week. When you look back at where I am today, offer your memories grace and forgiveness. This has been an ugly year but you have survived it.