Fittest of the Sierras

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This past weekend I was fortunate enough to compete in my first CrossFit competition at the fourth annual Fittest of the Sierras. Going into the weekend my nerves were running through the roof high, I was feeling a drought in my confidence and somewhere in between I spent a lot of time premeditating perfect movements. I quickly learned that the physical and mental roller coaster I was on in the couple months of training and the anxious days prior to the event would pay no homage to the adrenaline surging through my body during those few words that hold no prisoners before a WOD: three, two one, go. I’d love to vividly explain what each moment feels like after that but the next few minutes after being released are lost somewhere between sensory overload and tunnel vision; only seeing the next handful of repetitions that lie ahead while feeding off of the roaring energy of the crowd. The excitement is nearly palpable.

If I haven’t made it clear by now, there is so much more to CrossFit than what meets the eye (candy.) In my last CrossFit post I talked about feeling connected and sharing a camaraderie with CrossFitters that is second to none, and it’s milestones like this one that truly intensify those fruits of the sport. Over the course of the weekend the energy and support amongst competitors and spectators alike was loud and clear. People were screaming at the top of their lungs, cheering, holding their breath in anticipation, reaching out hands in congratulations and instantly connecting to one another.

The even finer beauty of the weekend remained in the charitable cause Fittest of the Sierras was created for. Four years ago the Growing Worldwide Opportunity Foundation saw a possibility to bring people together to create a fire whose inertia would ripple long outside the walls of our box. Fittest of the Sierras has since raised nearly $20,000 to help provide education, shelter and fresh food and water to those less fortunate. It’s almost beyond me that someone is benefiting in the event of such a fun, inspiring, incredible weekend. However, knowing that the sport I love and the growing community of CrossFit comes together for a greater good makes eight minute AMRAPs a pleasure to endure. A sincere thank you to everyone at GWOF for making this event possible, my STCF team members and coaches for their undying support and to all of the inspiring competitors I met this weekend who tightened the community of South Lake to come together and improve our global community, one WOD at a time.

[You can't tell in the photo but Jack is pouring a Coors Lite over his head after WOD 5, a viable expression of pure joy.]

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Mt. Whitney

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On our road trips down south my boyfriend always points out Mt. Whitney as we pass through Lone Pine. I assumed it had something to do with being part of the “Hikers of Mt. Whitney Club” that alluding the peak brought back a sense of accomplishment I was far from understanding. I don’t quite remember this conversation but he likes to remind me that I once said, quote, I can’t see myself ever wanting to do something like that, end quote. Whether I did say this or not is lost in the abyss of the past but furthermore holds no truth. It was only a couple of months ago that my good friend excitedly text me with confirmation of getting a permit to hike Mt. Whitney that I eagerly agreed to accept the challenge. This mountain, that once felt like a foreign idea to me, shortly became a keen mission I couldn’t wait to accomplish.

So there we were, three friends setting out at 5:30 in the morning to hike the highest peak in the continental United States. By 6:15 a.m. I was down to shorts and a flannel shirt, dripping sweat, knowing that the next 11 miles were heavily dependent on our unwavering determination to get to the top.

About eight miles into the hike we came to the Crest Trail where we spotted the iconic hut sitting at the peak; it was a silver lining that reassured our burning legs and lungs that the grueling hike up would soon become a distant memory. Be it the altitude or a mind game, it was also in those last three miles that it seemed as though the farther we hiked, the farther away that little hut was moving away from us. Finally, as we approached the summit a newborn fire lit beneath us as we raced to the top. It sounds cheesy, but I had been picturing that moment for weeks before our hike and I couldn’t wait to see if the vista matched the picture I had in my mind. Though as I anticipated, my version was blown out of the water. I remember those first freeing moments looking out onto the mountain ranges as far as my eye could see. It was as if the last eight hours were swept away and nothing else mattered but taking in every pixel of scenery my mind could absorb on that particular peak in the world. It was truly exceptional. We then celebrated with our splits of champagne, our third lunch of the day enjoyed a mutual bond with the few others that we shared the peak of Mt. Whitney with before our five-hour trek downward.

It’s been told that nobody said it was going to be easy, they just promised it would be worth it. I can now say I look forward to passing Mt. Whitney framed by her surrounding mountains on our next road trip down south. I can already imagine passing the huge mountain range and spotting Whitney’s pinpoint peak, bethinking the few rocks we proudly stood on at the top, reliving our victory; knowing for certain that the only thing in the world that mattered at that very moment was being where we were, 14.5 thousand feet above sea level, surrounded by a Greater Being. It is in those humbling moments that you realize how small we are and how largely the universe can shift our once afterthought plans and turn them into memories that will last a lifetime.

Thank you to April for kindly sharing her photos with me!

Thank you so much for reading.

xxx

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Spring Training

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Spring Training

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Remember that time it was almost summer and you felt a couple months behind your bikini body? Those shoes aren’t going to take themselves on a run, get the hell out there! I really am just talking to myself but if this applies to you then maybe these little gems will be an inspiration to start lunging everywhere you need to be. I love workout gear almost as much as I love buying regular clothes. Sometimes it just takes something new and vibrant to add a little motivation to your fitness routine. Gone are the days where your boyfriend’s T-shirt and a pair of sweats are an acceptable workout uniform (technically it is, I suppose under unimaginable circumstances, but if this is truly what you wear you should strongly reconsider.) Buy workout clothes that flatter your body, that make you feel good. Also, don’t be afraid to invest in a couple staple items like well made yoga pants or good sports bras. How often do you spend $100+ on a pair of jeans or an eighth of your paycheck at Victoria’s Secret? Your workout clothes get just as much wear as staple items in your closet and endure many more washes. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t pay full price on most of my clothes, but I do see the value in a well made product.

Enjoy your workout!

Thank you for reading.

xxx

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Twenty Six

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ASOS dress, Jimmy Choo heels, Betsy Johnson necklace

Hello, stranger! I want to first start off by saying thank you so much for all the sweet birthday wishes. I could not have asked for a more fun, quality and special couple of days spent in the City with a handful of my favorite people. We covered a good amount of San Francisco by foot, stopping every few blocks for drinks or a snack, went out to an incredible Spanish dinner that reminded me of my time in Spain, made a family dinner and sat around the table laughing for hours and maybe dropped it like it was hot in the Castro? All I know is I am completely swelled with happiness to have such amazing friends and family in my life. THANK YOU!

 I wanted to get this post up before I left to San Francisco but it wasn’t in the cards. In follow up to last year’s birthday post, I figured it was better late than never to know 26 additional quirky things  you might not know about me.

1. My friends make fun of me for wearing gloves when I wash dishes.

2. I get really indecisive about small things.

3. I’ve never broken a bone (knock on wood.)

4. I may or may not be listening to Justin Bieber right now.

5. I cry a little when I see roadkill.

6. I used to be a fat kid.

7. Growing up I wanted to be a marine biologist.

8. I don’t like saying the singular form of “eggs.”

9. When I was 18 I competed in the Miss California, USA pageant.

10. Until about six months ago, I thought a barracuda was a land animal.

11. I hate folding sheets.

12. I’ve traveled to more places internationally than I know state capitals – that’s either completely embarrassing or really cool.

13. In 2007 I lived in New York City for a summer doing a fashion design internship.

14. I have a crush on the Thunder From Down Under.

15. I am the worst joke teller.

16. From time to time I like me a good cigar.

17. When I was a kid my favorite food was rice and ketchup.

18. I touch communal surfaces all day but will not touch an escalator handrail.

19. The first movie I ever cried at was ET.

20. If I could travel back in time I’d go back to when dinosaurs were alive.

21. I tell my dog she’s my best friend every day.

22. While brushing my teeth I have to be simultaneously doing something else.

23. I’m almost always listening to music.

24. During my sophomore year of high school I chopped my hair off. Like Victoria Beckham style, minus the Victoria Beckham.

25. I keep cards people give me.

26. I was once a fat, stuffed bluebird in a local play.

*Disclaimer: Unless you share something about yourself these things are never to be used against me for your laughing pleasure or anyone else’s.

Thank you so much for reading!

xxx

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CrossFit: The Other Boyfriend

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My close friends ask me why I haven’t shared a single thing about CrossFit on my blog. I’ve debated writing about CrossFit before but for some reason I have this naked-in-front-of-the-audience feeling about it because I am certainly no expert on the matter, I don’t want to be judged on my passion, my physical strength or lack thereof, and also because I feel like I have so much growing and learning to do. What do I have to share that can help people? I know this oxymoronical (and yes, I made that word up) statement I just made contradicts how I feel about most things in life; the real heart of a product lies in the path it takes to get there. So here I am taking a sip and passing the cup, quivering at the fingertips, writing about the second most consuming relationship I am in: CrossFit.

I was first introduced to CrossFit a couple years ago. An old friend of mine started going and swore it was God’s gift to fitness and insisted I tried. I played sports in high school, went to the gym, was a runner and practiced yoga. I considered myself an athletically inclined person so I figured I’d give it a go. The WOD (workout of the day) was Fight Gone Bad: a brutal 15 minute circuit workout with one minute rest in between each five minutes. Is it fun? At the time I would have almost rather drink out of a toilet bowl. I had never experienced the type of pain I felt from Fight Gone Bad and wondered why the hell people would sign up for this type of torture, nonetheless so much money. I say this, but deep down I secretly loved the torture I had just been put through. Still, I decided my watered down version of CrossFit at 24 Hour Fitness would suffice.

It was not long before my routine at the gym became lack lustre and I found my mind going back to my love/hate week I had at CrossFit. I craved that type of pain staking challenge again. I wanted more.

Just over one year ago I signed up with South Tahoe CrossFit. I wanted to feel re-motivated and be pushed to new limits that my ten plus year stretch at the gym was lacking to fulfill. I don’t think there wasn’t a day in my first month that I was not sore to the bone. Every day I questioned if I had the capacity to finish the WOD and each day I collapsed on the ground amongst those around me hoping that air would secrete from the floor into my blazing lungs. The feeling of pain was agonizing but yet, I found myself coming back day after day after day. Why?

It wasn’t long before I started to feel connected to the people I frequently saw at the gym. There is a camaraderie about CrossFit that treads somewhere along the lines of being in a group of likeminded people who want to better themselves and who want you to be your absolute best. Every day I feel encouraged by the driven and positive attitudes of those around me. I found comfort in realizing that the pain I was feeling from my workout was shared by every person that was working out; no less, no more, just relative. It became clear to me that in some small way my fellow CrossFitters were an extension of myself; feeling their victory of becoming stronger in strength and mind, and feeling their pain in struggle and fatigue. It’s a connection that I believe is often in part referred to as the “community” of CrossFit and it exists deep down at any box, amongst all CrossFitters.

And then their is a path, to each his own. In the last few months, CrossFit has become something more substantial for me than just a great workout. It has become something greater than the healthy dose of competition it’s group setting merits, but rather, demanding more of myself when I am by myself and my mind is telling me no. A competition of mind and body may be the greatest competition of all. As a good friend of mine so thoughtfully put,” Alone but not alone at all. I feel that at some level in ones training path, all warriors hit a point where they are just a warrior. Whether it be with a group or solo, one is just always a warrior and small factors don’t completely suggest different results. Nervous but not nervous, knowing your ability to crush but unsure of how you feel during. Pure exercise bliss. This is where you are.” Choosing pain and being ok with it, knowing you only have to give it your all for (x) more minutes, but that you did, indeed, give it your all. Why would you not? At the end of the day the reward is second to none and is something the thoughts between breaths that beg you to stop stand no chance against. 

A year ago I did not fathom that this experience would come upon me from working out. I’m excited to say I think it’s just getting started. Learning how to strategize and using the strength of my mind to better my physical self, finding humility in days that are not at strong as others. Knowing that there will always be someone bigger, better, faster, stronger but to use that muse as a tool of inspiration instead of discouragement. I find my gain in getting the best workout I can get, the rest of the dividends follow.

This year I am excited to compete in Fittest of the Sierras. It’s the third annual charity competition that South Tahoe CrossFit is hosting and what better way to experience my first CrossFit competition than at home. STCF certainly wears its heart on it’s box, and boy is it a lot of heart; I’m proud to be a part of it.

It’s hard to deny that something is good for you when you laugh a little, feel connected and leave a little bit better of a person. This is what I love. This is my CrossFit.

A special thank you to Jaime Emery at Rose Street Studio and Mike Wischmeyer for the photography.

Thank you so much for reading.

xxx

 

 

 

 

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Let’s Tweet

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It seems as though where one social media outlet ends, another begins. The days of land lines, hand written letters and and dial up Internet are a thing of the past and we are only moving rapidly forward into an age where Emoji icons are close suggestions to our emotions. I am no outlier to this social media vortex. However, I recently checked into my Twitter account after at least a year and saw tweets to me from months prior that were left hanging in the cyber birth place of the hashtag. It is no doubt that my horse and buggy fashion of tweeting is a little dull but logging into my Twitter dry spell, I couldn’t help but wonder again how Twitter became so popular? I’ve never been what you’d call a fan of the tool and quite frankly, I get a little claustrophobia of the mind thinking about squeezing my thoughts into 140 characters or less, including spaces. Some may argue that the burst of information stimulates memorability, and that may be so, but a visual person such as myself prefer outlets like Instagram where processing information is even more mindless, though visually stimulating. And in case you were about to call me a liar because you recently saw a tweet from me it’s apparently because my other social medias automatically link to Twitter, thus, one truly does not even have to tweet to tweet.

Perhaps I am missing the quintessential engine that drives the most popular social media machine but I am willing to give it another go and I’d love to hear what you think about it. Lastly, it’s obvious that the guerrilla force of social media is not one to be reckoned with so all I really have left to say is…RIP Tweety Bird.

Follow me on Twitter @aishazaza because you just never know what the next chirp from my beak will be.

xxx

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