Christmas, Packing, and Ending 2012

It’s really hard to believe that it’s another year in the books, my first full year Paleo and first full year of CrossFit.  So much has happened in the last year it’s hard to cover it all but I must say that I’m extremely thankful for what has happened in the last year and the support of so many people around me.  With that said here’s a look ahead to the next week and what I’ll be up to in celebrating another year coming to a close.

Friday I’m headed to NYC for another year of Phish at MSG and running around town having fun with friends.  I’m really excited to be headed back this year and spending some time with the crew.  It should be a great four days of shows and I really hope the guys in the band bring it this year.  Our little group has an apartment in Brooklyn and we will be crashing there and heading into Manhattan everyday for the shows.  I’m looking forward to some fun, a few days of travel WODs and maybe a drop in somewhere.  I haven’t figured that last part out yet.  Last year’s daily theme was to explore Ghostbusters locations.  This year I don’t have an idea of what I’ll be doing, but I do know that I’ll be doing some cooking in the apartment and walking around Brooklyn a good amount.  I’m sure that my twitter and Instagram will be flooded with stuff from the trip and I’m going to find a good amount of stuff to bring back a bunch of people a little something from my trip.  But before I leave I have at least one more day to do the WOD at DNA and get then I’m going to close out the year and get ready to start 2013.

Today’s WOD:

20 Min AMRAP

5 Chest to Bar pullups

10 Wall balls (20lb)

15 KB Swings (1.5)

Score: 10+1

Cashout 3xME Toes to Bar 13/8/6 last round I lost my grip but I’m pretty sure I could’ve gotten more.

Overall a great day to get back into the swing of things and work off some of the extra food from Christmas.  Here’s a shot of my favorite present from my brother, a new shirt from NomNomPaleo and Fitbomb

2012-12-25 22.43.08


Awesome weekend in NYC

Well it was a fast weekend but a great one in NYC.  Hard to sum up everything that went down but here’s a short list.  I walked around the city and ate great Paleo foods.  During the day I met John, a photographer that’s well known on twitter and instagram.  Love his work and it was cool to meet him, and he recognized my twitter name.  Had a good amount of Starbucks during the trip to get my fix, and had a good weekend of recovery.  I was introduced to a new show by Alex and Craig, Once Upon a Time.  I really liked the show.  We also hung around the apartment, shared meals, told stories, and just enjoyed doing nothing important.  Sunday was rainy so we stayed inside except for a trip to a great little grocery store.  To end the weekend though and prove that no good experience goes unpunished sometimes I had major issues on the way back.  I came out to find a parking ticket on my car for $115 and then on the way home had to stop and have my hub bearing replaced on my truck because my wheel was about to fall off.  Seriously not the greatest way to end a trip.  The tire fund that I have been working on once again got used for something else.  I think that the day was salvaged however by my time in the gym tonight.  I did my work for Outlaw, and then did the class WOD afterwards.  Snatch felt great through the middle sets, I spent some time in the handstand work and felt a little better there.  Then the other work was okay.  The class WOD was Wallballs and Pull-ups.  I pushed through but it was hard.  I really was happy that I doubled up today.  Afterwards I once again showed why I shouldn’t buy groceries after a workout.  I came home with 13 pounds of meat.  I did buy lots of other food too, but I’m usually a better shopper saving between 30-40% through sales, this time it was only 23% cause I wasn’t hunting the bargains as well as I should have I guess.  Oh well I have lots of pork chops, ground beef, and I bought shaved steak to try as a breakfast addition.  Looking forward to a new butternut squash soup attempt this time with some bacon in it.  A meatloaf I think, and the steaks. Looking forward to another great week, countdown to Illinois is at 41 days.

Picture of my broken part:

First full day in NY

This trip has been great so far, spending time with friends and walking around the city has been awesome.  Can’t wait to share more about it but till then here’s a couple of pictures from today:

Overdue update

Wow how have I not written anything in two days.  It seems like the past couple days have gone by without a lot of memorable events yet were filled to the point that I didn’t even think about writing down what was going on.  I the hopes of covering a lot of stuff in a post that’s not horribly long time to dive right in.

It’s hard to believe that it is October already, seems not that long ago I was packing up the Explorer saying my goodbyes and coming out here.  Yet here I am,, having taken on all the various hurdles that have come up this summer, and in many ways it feels like I have passed with flying colors.  The news on the job front is that the park wants to keep me as long as possible.  Right now I know I have another month, I might even get till Thanksgiving, but who knows right now I’m just thankful to have a job.  I’m also still getting to know the people that are at Sports Evolution Crossfit and enjoying my time with them more and more.  They’re a great group of people and find myself having a hard time leaving after doing Outlaw without staying around at least for a while to hang out and chat while they get ready to warm up.  This leads to me doing a number of the WODs they’re taking on each week.  Today was one of those day, I walked in the door and warmed up just before 4, finished my workouts and hung out a bit and found myself taking on the class WOD at 6 because it seemed like a good one.  I’m really thankful that I have this group of people around now.  It’s been a huge improvement to my life here and it makes me think that if asked I would stick around through the winter if they found the funds to pay me.  Also over the last couple days I’ve played around with new recipes and tried my hand at making a Butternut Squash Soup, it was delicious.  I really like the flavor and it is a great part of a meal on these cooler fall days.  I have a feeling that it will show up more and more as the fall goes on.  I may even have to introduce it to the family at the Thanksgiving meal.  They make me cook my own Paleo offerings since they don’t want to have the entire family eat the food I do.  Don’t know why, my food is delicious.  Then this weekend I’m on the road and headed to NYC.  This is going to be a great trip and I’m really excited to see the city and have a good time.  Other events from the last couple days include:

-Starting to get a handle on packing some stuff into boxes now that the weather is changing.

-Rocked my way through season one of Prison Break, forgot how much I liked this how.

-Managed to still have Pumpkin Pie from last week’s baking extravaganza, it’s still awesome and I’m working to limit my intake since I could eat the whole thing at once.

-Cleaned the house like a boss, love having a clean place.

-Made plans to meet a Paleo lady while in NYC, should be interesting I’m really excited she’s very cute and I hope we hit it off.

-Trying to be patient while I wait to hear when the article about me for the Crossfit Journal is going to be published.

-Hoping to make it to Pittsburgh in two weeks for the Practical Paleo book signing.

Update Pictures:

Pushing forward and making changes

Today I got an email that I’ve been looking forward to since I sent one to the owner of the affiliate.  When I get back to Illinois I will be joining Crossfit DNA in Dyer, IN.  Looking forward to getting back into the routine of things with this great group of people.  I have visited there when I would go see the family and I feel like it really is a place that I can call home when I move back.  There’s still no word on when that will be but I have a group of people to sweat and suffer with and that makes the  transition much less intimidating.  Also as I said last night I’m going to keep the project going till I leave so in the upcoming weeks here’s what you can expect from me.

I am going to continue to try to post every night, but now I will go back to telling some stories from the last year as well as talking about the day in and day out of being a Park Ranger and keeping the challenge going.  I will also be allowing myself a little more coffee if I feel like having it, I’m having a third cup today after a brutal conditioning WOD I wanted some more and since I cut out tea I have a lower caffeine intake anyway.  I will continue to keep most of the other rules though, no boxed Almond/Coconut milk, nothing with any form of sugar in it, no Paleo Cheats, trying not to snack, drinking lots of water, and working out 6x week.  I’ll also try to keep the pictures of the progress going and hopefully have some new stories for everyone as the time goes by.  I wonder what I will look like to the people who haven’t seen me since May, how many things about me will have changed that I don’t notice but will seem major to someone outside of the transition phase.  I also wonder about the people who were a major part of my life before but now that I’ve been away for so long how will I come back into their lives.  We live in such a connected society yet I can count on one hand the number of people who have regularly contacted me outside of social media that aren’t a part of my family.  If you include Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and this blog that number goes up but how many have I had a real conversation with?  The answer is very few.  Even the person that I spent years living with before I moved here has barely talked to me since I left.  What does that say for our society, my friendships in particular, and the people I allow into my life?  I don’t have an answer to that question but it bugs me, I’m sure that a major part of that blame is on me for getting focused on building a life here, but there are many times that I have texted people and never heard back.   I hope that when I return I can rebuild some of these friendships because they were some good friends that I would hate to lose.  Funny how we can be so close to each other yet always at arm’s length.  It’s the end of my weekend and tomorrow starts a week of work, officially it’s 10 days till I head to NYC, still looking for Paleo and Crossfit suggestions if you have any.  I have high hopes for the trip.

Pictures from today:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Four weeks down, keeping it going

This project started as a four week effort to clean things up a bit as well as to have something to focus on while my life was up in the air with no details on how long my job is going to keep going.  I must admit that the results have been really good.  The progress from week one to today has been good.  Structure that the challenge put into my life gave me a focus that I needed.  The days have been filled with a lot of questions. I do not know how long I will be here, nor do I know what I will do when I get back.  I have no job lined up for when this one is over, and I wait on phone calls for interviews.  The questions of life are with me always, but I can choose to think about them or focus on something else.  The challenge has pushed me to think about the things that I eat, and why I buy what I do.  With the four weeks ending I have chosen to keep the project going.  So I will continue to write everyday, to eat clean and to think about how I treat my body.  The last week of the challenge was a special one.  I want to share some of the highlights.

-First get together for the folks that come to Sports Evolution Crossfit, as a new affiliate it’s great to see the group hanging out more and more.

-Driving to Pittsburgh for a Sunday of greatness, first church service since May, WOD at Crossfit Iron City, first Starbucks in over a month, and my first Paleo meetup.

-Nighttime drive home with the windows down and my thoughts as the Ipod is on shuffle.

-Working on the truck and seeing it progress as well.

It was a great week I did lots of fun things, I planned the trip to see Alex and Craig in NYC, I finished book 30, did my first book review for the blog, had some great WODs, met great people, and ate lots of Paleo Pumpkin Pie.

Here’s my pictures for the week:

Day 1








This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Goal 1 accomplished

Mobility Day!

And like that one of my goals for the week is down.  I got my schedule for the next two weeks today.  I know getting a schedule on the Thursday before it starts on Sunday is short notice but such is life sometimes.  I had asked for time off for the NYC trip but was told that they didn’t know if I could have it.  Well on the schedule I have the leave.  So October 5-7 I’ll be in NYC.  If you’re in the city and have ideas on Paleo friendly restaurants I could use the tips, also if you have a Crossfit box that I should stop by I’d love to hear why I should go there.  I’ve visited Black Box when I was in the city last year.  So while I might be up for a return trip I was hoping to visit somewhere new.  If you want to meet up for a cup of coffee or something while I’m wandering the city I’m sure that could be arranged as well.  I’m staying in the Bronx with two friends of mine and we are just setting up the things that we will be doing while I’m there.  In other news on Sunday I’m headed to the first Paleo meet up that I’ve been to.  This one is for the group of Paleo eaters in Pittsburgh and I’m looking forward to meeting new people.  The next two weeks are looking pretty exciting.

Other things in my life are still going along, I have my schedule for two weeks but know nothing more than that.  I did sleep better last night, and work today was slow so I’m closing in on finishing Game of Thrones.  It’s been a long read but a good one.  It is officially my 30th book since I started this job.  Not quite as quick as I had hoped to do the 30 books of summer, but I did it.  I’m still feeling good.  Mobility day is always a good day and I enjoyed going in and working on my issues in a more relaxed fashion.  I’m also looking ahead to hitting it hard tomorrow and finishing up the week strong.  Saturday I’m taking myself to go see Finding Nemo in 3D.  You people can judge away, I love that movie and I’m going to enjoy it like a kid.  Thanks to the cold weather I can wear a sweatshirt and bring in a bottle of water to drink.  The only snack that I need for the movie.  I never understand how the theaters can expect someone to pay $4 for a bottle of water.  Oh well great day today, and looking forward to more good times.  Hopefully I will know more about my return to Illinois in the next week or so.



If you were to ask me to sum up my life right now in one word it would be waiting, or maybe better stated anticipation.  Yes, I like anticipation much better, I think it reflects my feelings more.  I am not simply waiting on what is going to happen next.  Instead I am not merely passive but actively looking forward to what comes next.  I spend my days applying for jobs that I find and constantly hunting for opportunities.  I also am looking forward to packing new experiences into these last few weeks here in Pennsylvania.  But there is a problem, I don’t know how much longer that I will be here.  Technically I’m only promised my job through the end of the week.  The next schedule could come out and my name not be on it.  I don’t expect that to happen but it could.  I could be given a couple more weeks and the first weekend of October be told that my job isn’t here anymore and I’m headed back to Illinois.  It is a stressful way to live.  Not having any control over that part of my future.  When I apply for jobs I pick a start date with no idea if I’ll be employed until that job begins or not.  I have a hard time planning things to do because I don’t know if I can commit to being around more than a couple weeks from now.  I want to set up the dates for the NYC trip with Alex.  I had a great time with him and Craig in January, those two are great and I really want to see them again.  I also would love to make it back down to DC and I need to plan my trip back home so I have a couple of days with my little brother at college.  But all of that is on hold.  I can’t make any decisions for the fall until I know how long I’ll have this job.  I’ve gone through many emotions about it.  I’ve been stressed, worried, excited, apathetic, and amused even.  But at this point I’m just nervous that I will not be given more than a week or so notice and I’ll have to scramble to get things together to go back and I won’t accomplish the things that I want to do here.  Because of this the structure of being strict has been a great distraction keeping my mind off of other things.  I can focus on making sure that I’m following the rules of my challenge and taking care of myself.  Also seeing the changes that It’s given me has been a great positive when it’s easy to get bogged down in all of the parts of life that aren’t so great.  I hope that at some point the powers that be realize that they are playing with my life here and let me have some sort of idea on my time here and how that it is going to continue or not continue into the fall.

Besides the waiting I’ve noticed something else lately.  I pee all the time, not even remotely what feels like a normal amount.  Last night I was up three times in the night to do it.  I know that I drink a lot of water but seriously body get on board here.  I’m sure that’s more about me than you wanted to know, but I felt like this post should contain something about the challenge in it.  Otherwise I’m still thinking of keeping this thing going until next month, maybe even longer.  Who knows I may rock the challenge until I get bored with it.  I would like to have more coffee in my day though.  If I go back to Starbucks that would be hard.

Writing something everyday is kinda hard

But here we go.  Today was a rainy day in the park so while I didn’t think it possible it was even more slow than it had been the last week.  This morning I saw no one, that’s right not a single person came to where I was in the park.  I did see two deer, they looked like they were enjoying the rain, but they didn’t come close enough to say hello.  I spent the day just reading my kindle, I’m on book 29 of the summer, and this book while good is not the most exciting thing to read.  I  should really put together a list of books at some point to show people what I have been doing with my time this summer.  The day gave way to some more reflection and I tried to pick up where I left off yesterday thinking about how much my life has changed over the last year.  I also put together this list last night of things that I want to before I leave to go back to Illinois so I’m going to share that with you here.

-Drive to Niagra Falls (5hrs each way)

-Go back to DC for a tourist day

-Workout at Outlaw again

-Visit NYC and see the city in the fall

-Compete in the beard competition

-Workout at Crossfit Iron City again

-See State College, PA

-Attend a Pittsburgh Paleo meetup

-See the Atlantic Ocean/maybe get in it

I’m only about an hour from State College, but I’ve had no reason to go there, except maybe to do a WOD at Crossfit Nittany, it’s funny how now that I’m completely engrossed in the culture of Crossfit a major reason to go anywhere is so I can hit a WOD at such and such that I heard about from someone or saw on the Journal.  So if you happen to read this thing and you’re from one of these places and you’d like to have me come see your town, or do a WOD at your box hit me up. I’d love to check it out.  I’ve got a few weeks left and vacation days to burn.  Let’s do this.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Testing never stops

Today is my Monday and let me tell you, while everyone else is celebrating being halfway to the weekend I was working the visitor center on a pretty lonely shift.  A couple more weeks and students will start to have field trips, never thought I’d be so happy to see school kids again.  Other than it being a slow day at work I continued my reading dominance by finishing another book today, getting me closer to 30 books since I came here in May. After work it was time for another round of testing.  Today the posted workout had us going for a new max in Bench Press, weighted strict pull up, and a 2k row for time.  I hit new bests in all three.  Bench press is up to 290, so so close to 300 just couldn’t get it.  I did a pull up with 50 pounds of extra weight.  And to cap it off I knocked out the row in 7:46 which actually I should have been able to do faster.  I think that there was still some fatigue issues from squatting yesterday and my endurance hasn’t been the best this summer as a whole.  Today instead of observations I wanted to share some things I’m excited about for the rest of this challenge:

-Setting new PRs as I finish up a week of testing.

-My first beard competition in just over a week.

-The chance that some of these jobs I’ve applied for will call, there are some amazing opportunities that my name is in the running for.

-Finishing my first seasonal job with the Park Service well.

-Seeing my family again at the end of this.

-The way I feel when I notice the changes that are happening as my body responds to the change in diet and workload.

-Taking a couple more trips to see some things.

And now for pictures, it was a slow day so sorry you don’t get much today: