Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tree of Life

Tracy asked me why the tree on my blog and the "Branching Out" title. That got me thinking about the "why." It's a lengthy story, so let me try to abbreviate.

I have been enamored with trees all of my life. My grandma had apple trees that I loved to climb. When I moved into her house, I did not know how painful it would be to cut down those apple trees. Now, when one of my trees is beyond healing and needs to go, I cry.

As a girl, I would draw trees endlessly. I used all media to create trees. As my artistic skills developed, I tried my hand at watercolor and loved painting trees the most. I enjoyed the challenge of placing the shadows on the trunk and branches; they made the trees strong, solid, enduring looking. Then I would place the many layers of leaves on my watercolor trees. It was easy to lose myself for an hour just painting a tree.

I think what I captures my interest most about trees are the trunk and main branches. They give the shape, the structure, the support. Trees also grow stronger from wounds and time. Also, if a tree has been shaped and trimmed properly when it is young, it will grow into a mighty force. Sometimes, even if a tree has not been trimmed properly when young, it can still grow into a mighty force. It may not have the lovely lines, but it is still beautiful.

So that's why the tree images. When I think of what best represents who I am, I think of a tree. I will continue to grow stronger, branch out, try new things, push myself, face hardship, learn about myself, help others, and make the world a little better.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday Is the New Friday

I wanted to make sure I did Friday's training this week since I didn't get to it last week, so I did Friday's training today (Thursday). Here's what I got to do for fun:

Squat Jumps x20 yards
Backwards Bear Crawl x20 yards
30 seconds between exercises – do 4 rounds

2 hand Swings x15
Mountain Climbers x20 per leg
30 seconds between exercises – do 4 rounds

Renegade Rows x6-8 per arm
Crab Walk x20 yards
30 seconds between exercises – do 4 rounds

Then I did GTG on diamond pushups and pistols. (4x2)

Okay, people - backwards bear crawls do not look pretty. Try it sometime if you want to feel awkward.

I have to give a few shout outs tonight:
1. Christine! Hope you get good news about your dad. You deserve something good. Sounds like you're having a pretty sh%$*&y week.
2. Hi Pam! It was great catching up with you today. It's been too long!!
3. Tracy! Can't wait to meet you in person!
4. Kate Monster! Kick butt in the Iron Girl! Hope you're having a great time!
5. Joe! I think of you everytime I do my pullup negatives. I appreciate your encouragement.
6. Iron Tamer! I'll get back to you on my training time. I promise.
7. Doc Cheng! Where you at? Has life slowed down?
8. Brad! I ordered you your very own kbell from kettlenetics. I know, I know. I shouldn't have, but I couldn't help myself. Try not to bulk up too much from it!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Body - The Ultimate Training Tool

I had my bodyweight circuit day on Tuesday. I like these workouts because they show you don't need anything but yourself to get a good training session, i.e., one that kicks your butt!

After the bodyweight circuits (6 drills, 4 rounds) I did some Greasing the Groove on pullups, pushups, and pistols. Guess what? They were easier. WTH? GTG works. Each week I get a little stronger and a little more confident.

I caught a glimpse of myself while sitting on the floor in the TKD room where I train. I was doing some Z drills and I turned and saw myself. I was a bit shocked because I didn't recognize myself sitting there. That's because I wasn't hunched over with rounded shoulders. I was sitting tall with my shoulders back, and my midsection looked solid and supported.

Then it hit me. I carry myself differently. I have more body awareness and presence. I no longer want to hide, to retreat by slouching. Had I not seen my reflection, I wouldn't have known how much I've changed. I guess it's time to take a good hard look in the mirror and see who I am becoming.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I Won!!

I finally won something and it's awesome!! This is what - I mean WHO - I won!! David Whitley!!

Okay, I didn't really win HIM, but I won a training session with him. I was lucky enough to get three days' worth of training with him at the April RKC. He was my team leader. Now I'll get some one-on-one phone time because I was one of the first 10 people to buy his new DVD "Full Body Power."

Now I have to figure out what I want him to give me tips on. Pressing people? I think I'm a long way from doing that!! Hmmmmmm If you had training time with the Iron Tamer what would you ask him??

I just finished up my EDT for today. I improved on last week's numbers considerably. I'm pretty proud of that.

15 minutes - complete as many rounds of five of the following as possible:
Double Swings - 12 kgs
Squats - 20 kg
I completed 20 rounds this week (19 last week). That equals 100 double swings and 100 squats.

15 minutes - complete as many rounds of five of the following as possible:
Clean and Press Left - 12 kg
Clean and Press Right - 12 kg
I completed 12 rounds this week (10 last week). That equals 60 presses on each side = 120 presses total.

I'm feeling pretty good about my progress, especially on the presses. The 12 kg felt a lot lighter than ever before. I'll be pressing that 16 kg before I know it!!

Happy Monday! I don't even have to go to a ball game today. Woo Hoo!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Another Beautiful Day in Iowa

Okay, I've heard of a lap dog, but a hammock dog!?! Penny decided she likes the hammock. She climbs on and takes a nap. Well, she's becoming part of the family, I guess!

Here's how my EDT went today:

15 minutes of
Swing Left - 5 reps - 16 kg
Swing Right - 5 reps - 16 kg
I completed 250 reps w/ each arm = 500 swings total

15 minutes of
Double Bent Rows - 5 reps - 12 kgs
Burpees - 5
I completed 19 rounds = 95 bent rows and 95 burpees

I couldn't get in my planned GTG on pull-ups, pushups and pistols. Grrrrrrrrrr!!!!

On deck tomorrow: more old-school training. Bear crawls, squat jumps, mountain climbers, crab walks. I'll try to GTG tomorrow.

How can tomorrow be Friday already? Where did the week go? Oh, yeah. I spent it running to ball games for both kids. Every stinkin day including tomorrow. Ball is over the second week of July. Whew!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Iowa Floods

Luckily, the flooding and severe weather has bypassed the NW corner of Iowa where I live. However central and eastern Iowa have not fared so well. Here is a link to see photos of the widespread flooding in Iowa.

I just sat with my jaw open and watched the slideshow. Unbelievable.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tougher on Tuesday

My training was definitely kicked up a notch today. I'm wiped! And I still have to golf a round this afternoon for women's league. Here's what I got to do today:

Clean & Push Press - 16 kg - 10 x 3 L, R - 30 secs between sets

Circuit - 4 times through:
Mountain Climbers - 25 each leg
Walking Lunges - 15 yards each leg
Bicep Curls - 8 per arm
Overhead Tricep Extentions - 10
Bear Crawl - 20 yards
Crab Walk - 20 yards

Yes - bicep curls and tricep extentions with dumbbells. I can hardly believe it myself. My only defense is that I'm trying to work on my mommy arms (a combination of unfortunate genetics and nursing babies). Then I did the following Grease the Groove (GTG):

The Three Ps
Pullups (palms away)

This training session took longer than I'm used to. Good thing I'm fancy free in the summer! Actually, it felt great to challenge myself. I've been feeling a little blah, a little overfed, and a little unmotivated. Now I want to conquer the three Ps and get my arms all toned up. I have renewed oomph.

A little side note: my son thought he needed to start a blog. Here's his address: He's so funny. This weekend after we took the picture of the fish his first comment was "Wow, mom. I need that picture for my blog. It's been a long time since I put up my first post." Too cute!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fish and EDT

Here's a pic of all of the fish we caught Friday.

The last time any of us had gone fishing was with Jerry's dad six years ago. Father, son, grandson and me ventured out on the Missouri River to catch some walleye. I only caught some photos of the boys bonding over bait and tackle. Little did I know those would be the last pictures I would take of my dear, sweet father-in-law. He died the next day on the way back to the river, pulling his boat. He died instantly of a heart attack. I'm sure he was watching us Friday from heaven smiling ear to ear!

Topic Change:
I have started a new training regimine - EDT - aka Escalating Density Training. Here's what I got to do today.

15 minutes - complete as many rounds of five of the following as possible:
Double Swings - 12 kgs
Squats - 20 kg
I completed 19 rounds. That equals 95 double swings and 95 squats.

15 minutes - complete as many rounds of five of the following as possible:
Clean and Press Left - 12 kg
Clean and Press Right - 12 kg
I completed 10 rounds. That equals 100 presses.

This was a nice change of pace to my training. I'll be focusing on swings for two weeks; then I'll focus on snatches; then I'll focus on high pulls.

I'm getting serious about losing the last of the mommy trademarks.

BTW - my copy of David Whitley's newest video "Full Body Power" arrived today. I can't wait to watch that baby!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thursday and Friday Training

It's been a hectic week again at the Jurrens house. I got a good training session in on Thursday and a partial training session on Friday.

Thursday's Training
Clean and Push Press - 16 kg - 8 x 3 L, R
Clean and Squat - Double 12 kgs - 5 x 5
High Pulls - Double 12 kgs - 5 x 10
Circuit - 4 times through, 20 sec. between drills, 40 secs between rounds:
Burpees - 10
Mountain Climbers - 20 each leg
Pushups - 8
Squats - 15

Friday's Training
VO2 Max Swings - 16 kg - 15:15 - 10 L, 10 R - 20 minutes

Friday the whole family went fishing at Okoboji for Jerry's Father's Day gift. We caught a ton of fish and have had two fish fries. Yummy!! Walleye, bass, and bluegill. I'll post some pictures when I get home. I'm posting this from a picnic table on the beach. Life is good!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Two Days of Training

Since I completed today's training already, I'll post about Monday and Tuesday's training.

TGUs - 12 kg - 10 minutes alternating hands - completed 22
Inverted Rows - 8 x 8
Squats - 8 x 3 L, R w/ 16 kg
Pull-up Negatives - 4 x 2

Snatch - 20 kg - 8 x 2 L, R
Snatch Circuit - 5 w/ 16kg, 10 w/12 kg Left and then Right, 3 times through
Pistols - 4 x 2 (bodyweight)

The 20 kg snatches were soooooo much easier this week. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly I can make strength gains with KBs. The snatch circuit after the 20 kg snatches was so much fun. That 16 kg and 12 kg felt light as feathers.

Next week Brad is revamping my training. I can't wait to see what's in store next!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I Couldn't Ask for More

My eye surgery went flawlessly. I walked out able to see. This is so amazing to me. Friday morning I woke early and just marveled that I could see without grabbing for my glasses. I have thirty years of habit to undo!

I have been legally blind all my life. I was 20/1000. No kidding. Contacts were not very comfortable, so I rarely wore them once I hit my thirties. But, my life has changed so much in the last three years, that wearing glasses was becoming a real pain in the arse. I ride Harley; I waterski; I golf; I kettlebell. All of these are difficult to do when you are tied to prescription lenses. Plus, I couldn't get good sunglasses because of my high correction.

I am very lucky that the leading lasik doctor in the country is in my backyard - Sioux Falls, SD - about an hour away. Dr. Vance Thompson uses the latest technology and works with the FDA. I felt very comfortable and confident that I was in good hands. I had no pain during or after the surgery. The entire procedure was done with lasers that use technology developed by NASA to track your eye movements. Incredible!

I drove myself to my one-day post-op checkup. I have great distance vision. The closeup vision is slower in coming. It's tough for me to read the newspaper, blogs, or email. It will just take time for my eyes to get everything adjusted. I can't swim for a few more weeks nor can I rub my eyes, which is tough when I've got to put in three different eyedrops that goop up on my eyelashes.

I'm just so thrilled with the entire process and the result. I've already bought two pairs of sunglasses! I also golfed 9 holes this afternoon and cut 9 strokes off my pre-surgery score. This is fun!

Now I get to have a new Z Health evaluation from Brad because all of my perception has changed. I bet my CNS is saying "WTF?!!! Can't compute; can't compute. " I only swang my KBs once since surgery and that was just to show someone the flavor of KBs. I'm anxious for my training schedule from Brad. I wonder what it'll feel like to train without glasses. Hmmmmmmm I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Seeing Change

In less than three hours, my life will be permanently altered. I have made another choice that will change my life. I am having lasik eye surgery this morning.

This might not seem like a big deal. After all, everyone is doing it these days. But to me, it is a big deal. I have never been able to see. I have been legally blind all of my life. I don't know what it is like to wake up and see immediately, to dive in the water and not have to worry about losing a contact, to walk in the rain and not have to look around spots, and the list goes on.

In ways I feel like I'll be freed today. Like any change, this one is making me feel a wide range of emotions. I'm excited, scared, unsure, confident, worried, anxious, exhilarated. Because my eyesight is so limited, the thought of losing what I have is unnerving. It is the one factor that has kept me from considering the surgery before now. Plus, my glasses have become part of who I am. I rarely wore contacts unless I was riding motorcycle or waterskiing. I don't wear makeup since my glasses are my "decoration." I'm afraid I'll feel naked without them. However, I'm sure the joy will soon overtake the self-consciousness of looking different.

So here I go! I've boarded the train and can't get off. Say goodbye to thirty years of one way of seeing the world and HELLO to a new one. The next time you "see" me, I'll be a changed woman!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

20 kg Snatches

I accomplished snatches with the 20 kg again today.

8 x 2 L, R

Then I did the following snatch set three times:

16 kg - 5 Left
12 kg - 10 Left
16 kg - 5 Right
12 kg - 10 Right

I followed that up with

Pistols - 4 x 2 L, R

I found my snatch groove back today! The 20 actually felt better this time around. The only difficulty came from gripping the larger bell with sweaty hands. It's super humid in NW Iowa today.

I did get some shopping done, so I'm ready for veggiefest the rest of the week!! It's a good thing to have lots of veggies in the house, especially since I'm home all day, every day now.

Kickin It in the Kitchen

Lately I've been into making slaw. I've been experimenting with red and regular and with the other elements. This Friday I made a red cabbage slaw with chopped broccoli, carrots, red pepper, and dressing.

For the dressing I took an organic sesame ginger dressing and doctored it up with fresh cilantro, black pepper, and lime juice.

I serve my slaws on top of mixed greens with a side of hard boiled eggs (2 whites, one yolk). I've been very satisfied with that for lunch.

Today is my last day on this slaw. I need to get to the store and stock up again. However, I have enough cilantro to make about 20 batches of slaw. Does anyone need any?

My training has been going well. Nothing earth-shattering to report. Today I will snatch the 20 kg (44 pound) KB again. After that I get to do some snatch rounds varying the 16 and 12 kgs. Quick and effective. Thanks Brad!!