They sent me to Binghamton

I've always wanted to be on the east coast, and the universe responded…by sending me to Binghamton, NY. Oh you've never heard of it? Neither had I, but I do so love adventures and that's how I choose to view this. Let the adventures begin!


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Popping my NYC Broadway Cherry, Eating, and CrossFit in the City

This weekend I saw my very first NYC Broadway show!

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When I first mentioned this to the friend I visited this weekend, I had apparently called it “If Else”…what can I say, I was thinking of the If/Else statements when coding…

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In any case, it’s actually called “If/Then” and the theme is basically about the different lives the main character, Elizabeth (played by the amazing Idina Menzel), would have lived had she made a different choice on that one day in the park. I thought it was a really interesting concept, but really I wanted to watch it because Idina Menzel was in it and I must say, SHE IS AMAZING! I really recommend it!

You know what else I recommend? Having dinner at this restaurant called Pergola Des Artistes right before the show. It’s conveniently located on the same street as the Richard Rodgers Theatre (46th street). Excellent food and good service (since many people eat there prior to their show). It looks like a very unassuming place from the outside but oh man, the food! Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures…

I did, however, take pictures of some of the amazing food I had while in the city!

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TOP LEFT: Amazing breakfast at Tartine OTHERS: Unbelievably tasty dinner at the ABC Kitchen

I just absolutely LOVE the food in the city! LA has a variety of food as well in terms of types of food and culture but it’s all so spread out. In NYC though, it’s just a concentrated area of yummy goodness! If I lived down in the city, I would definitely not take all the amazing food for granted and eat out at least once every weekend.

Of course, with all that eating I felt the need to burn it off via CrossFit. Just kidding, I didn’t really feel guilty at all, I’m just that obsessed with CrossFit.

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Yep, I’m one of those. So I dragged my friend with me to check out Brick CrossFit NYC and we both promptly got our asses kicked. ‘Twas glorious!

It’s a pretty awesome space and a lot larger than I expected, especially with NYC being so compact. They actually had another room available that’s not shown in this photo.

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I also found this cute print out in the locker room.

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After all that fun, I even managed to finish my midterm! Talk about being productive! Go me! Woot woot!

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It was another great visit to the city and I find that the more I go, the more it grows on me. I think I actually could see myself living there…except for the insanely high rent. So, maybe not. I’m ok with being close enough to visit once in a while. 😛

Till next time, NYC!

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No Rest for the Wicked!

Screw that, I’m a good girl, I deserve to rest!

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In reality, I’m one of those annoying people who’s like, “OMG it’s not exercise, it’s a lifestyle!”

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The type who says, “When I don’t get my workout in a day, I feel incomplete!”

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Well, I guess I will get punched in the face by Jennifer Lawrence.

But honestly, I do have to force myself to listen to my body and rest because all I want to do is hit the gym and throw some weights around. I see it as play time. Too bad my body doesn’t. With school being about 5 weeks in, I can already feel the toll it’s taking on my body. So while I’m working out less than I was during the summer, I feel just as tired and maybe even more sore given less number of workouts I do these days. It doesn’t help that I have such an A-type personality where the more I can’t or shouldn’t do something, the more I want to do it.

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Even though I know the reason I’ve been feeling so tired is because I’m so mentally exhausted and have less breaks than I did before, because I’m not working out as much a part of me is like, “OMG! I’m totally out of shape! I’m sore even though I only worked out twice this week!” Thankfully I’ve got such amazing friends who give it to me straight and aren’t afraid to hand me a reality check when I’m being all unreasonably whiney about something.

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So I’m going to listen to my body, because the body wins at the end of the day, and decided to schedule a massage today instead of working out like I originally intended. Not such a bad trade off, wouldn’t you say? 😉

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Team Black Love

This past weekend four of us from GSR CrossFit competed in the Keystone State Classic CrossFit competition (scaled division) hosted by Stroud CrossFit. We came to the event armed with matching shoes, badass shirts, and a whole lotta love for our team, which we have affectionately named “Team Black.”

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Many thanks to my talented cousin for designing the shirts! Once other people from the gym saw them they immediately wanted one as well, to which I replied:

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We came with the intent of just having fun and getting some experience at a competition, but then we realized…NO. We must win.

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I’m not going to go into the details of what the workouts were because, quite frankly, I just don’t feel like it. 😛 But if you’re truly curious, you can visit the Keystone State Classic webpage for more information. I will instead focus on the lessons learned.

Lesson #1: Work on mastering skills.

As usual, I was reminded that I really need to get some of these skills down. We had to compete at the scaled division because two of us cannot do muscle ups and one event required both ring and bar muscle ups. I’ve managed to get three ring muscle ups in my lifetime but they are so ugly and inefficient, they cannot be shown in public.

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Lesson #2: LIFT ALL THE THINGS!

Of course I always aim to get stronger. I do feel good about the fact that I completely blew the other girls out of the water in the scaled division when it came to the heavy portion of the competition and that I also did pretty well in comparison to the Rx girls. What I do need to work on is my working weight when it comes to certain lifts. Specifically, I need to get my working snatch weight at 95 lbs and overhead squat weight at 115 lbs. Currently, I’m probably at 85 lbs for a working weight for snatches and possibly 95 lbs for a working weight for overhead squats. Looks like I need to lift more! (YES!)

And above all else…

Lesson #3: Have fun!

There really is no point if it isn’t fun. Of course, there’s a tremendous amount of training I need to do in preparation which is not all fun and games but during competition day, I should be having fun.

We ended up doing pretty well, second place overall. We got first place in the strength portion, third place in the skills and endurance portion, then second in the final workout for the top three teams. We all did the best that we could and had a lot of fun in the process.

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Till next time! 😀


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The Sea of Green

I don’t talk about it much here but a huge part of the reason I am so happy living in middle of nowhere, Binghamton is because of these people:

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I love them. They make me not miss home because GSR CrossFit has essentially become my home (no really though, I stay there till at least 9pm and have stayed till 10:30pm a few times 😛 ). It’s like they took the best things about my two previous CrossFit boxes and combined it into a pile of awesome. Not only am I becoming a total badass, but I’ve met some of the nicest, coolest people here, including my swole-buddy and absolute favorite, Strong Girl*! I almost didn’t even end up going to GSR but I just felt unsatisfied and somewhat antsy so I did one last Google search attempt and then boop! There it was! I’m so glad I did that!

This past weekend a bunch of us participated in the Lee Barta CrossFit Challenge. It was a pretty big deal, particularly because unlike back home, there aren’t that many local competitions and the local boxes don’t interact much with each other. We were all pretty serious leading into it, especially me. So serious that in the weeks leading up to it I went to Costa Rica, went to San Francisco for my friend’s bachelorette party, then went back to LA for my aunt’s funeral pretty much back to back. Oh that’s not how you get ready for a competition?

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I mean, of course I don’t regret any of that, but let’s just say I wasn’t in my best shape. In fact, I was ecstatic that I managed to get back in the shape I was in before all the trips (and all the food and drinking)! Despite that, let me tell you, I really wanted to win. My practical side was like, home girl, relax your face, you have not been training the way you needed to in order to win. But my competitive side was like, I DON’T CARE I WANT IT!!!

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When the results were announced, I have to admit I was really upset I didn’t podium. Then when I found out I was technically in third (two girls tied for second), I was even more upset. Just let me stand on the podium! I don’t care about the prize!

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Final Standing – I’m on the 4th row

But then once I saw the results and saw that I came in 1st in the the first WOD, 4th in the second, then 7th in the third, I realized it was pretty damn amazing that I even came in 3rd or 4th or whatever you want to call it. Like seriously, that means I completely dominated the first WOD.

Allow me to back track. The first WOD consisted of finding your 1 rep max on a snatch, then on your clean and jerk. Your total score is the combined weight of your max lifts multiplied by the Sinclair Coefficient, which is a coefficient that is based on your weight. Basically, the lighter you are, the greater the coefficient. Now, did I think it was appropriate to use this in a CrossFit competition? No, I thought it was weird. You don’t do that in CrossFit competitions. Normally, the WODs are varied enough that it’s not really advantageous towards heavier or leaner athletes, but their reasoning was if they didn’t use the Sinclair Coefficient then 2 out of the 3 WODs would be more favorable towards the heavier athletes…ok, sure. I wasn’t going to complain – the use of the Sinclair Coefficient was to my advantage because I’m one of the leaner athletes. Because of it, I got first place in that WOD!

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Even without it though, I would’ve placed 3rd, which I still think is pretty damn awesome.

Here’s a photo of me doing my final attempt on my 1 rep max snatch, captured beautifully by Driftpoint Media.

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“Happy Snatch” – Power Snatch @ 110 lbs

Here’s a photo of me after my Clean and Jerk, happy that it’s over.

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The second WOD consisted of 5 rounds of 5 front squats at 95 lbs, 10 deadlifts at 95 lbs, then 40 double-unders. This should’ve been something I did well, but unfortunately 95 lbs for a front squat is not that light for me. I mean, it’s doable, but I had to do them slow. So even though I’m good at double-unders and did them all unbroken, I still only got 4th place on this one.

Now the third one I was praying would get canceled due to the rain. I hated it. Didn’t want to do it. Wanted to cry beforehand. Felt like I was going to throw up. It was 3 rounds of 550m run, 15 hang cleans at 65 lbs, then 20 over the bar burpees. There was a time cap of 17 minutes, and I think I finished in 16:57, which was really, really good for me. I know I look like I should be good at running since I’m pretty lean, but alas, no. Running is not my friend.

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Except for me I also feel like the bottom picture

Here is the actual aftermath:

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Camaraderie at its finest

I LOVE this photo. Absolutely LOVE it! It totally captures the camaraderie that was present throughout the entire day. My judge was awesome, my Sea of Green teammates were awesome, the other competitors were awesome – it was just such a great day despite the rain! Just to give you an idea, two of my fellow competitors were cheering me on during the run while they were also running. My judge would shout, “Here comes Laura!” and get the crown cheering for me when I approached the tent. My Sea of Green teammates were shouting words of encouragement while I was doing those God awful burpees, and saying things like, “This is where you can make up time!” as I was doing the hang cleans. They made me not walk when I wanted to, keep going down and then back up during the burpee when I wanted to stay on the ground, and do the 15 hang cleans unbroken when I could barely breathe from the run. Seriously, they are the best. And major shout out to Thick to Thin owner, Andrea, who is the one holding my hand in the picture! We’ve adopted her into our GSR CrossFit family even though she lives in another state.

It was a really great weekend, despite my initial frustrations. Now it’s back to training and working on my weaknesses. I can hardly wait!

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*I’m not sure how she would feel about me naming her here, but really, this is how I actually refer to her when I talk to my friends back home lol!


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Why I chose to drink the Crossfit kool-aid

My visit home this time around was specifically to support my crossfit box back home as they competed in the CrossFit Southern California Regionals.

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I’m not going to go into the details of how they did and what went down or what not and instead focus on why I love this so much. See the girl in that last photo performing what looks like a 125 lb snatch with an intense expression on her face? That’s Coach Laura and she has been nothing but encouraging whether it comes to the workouts or answering my food-related questions. That intensity shown in the photo captures her passion for the crossfit lifestyle accurately and I absolutely love it!

Now here is Coach Noe, also doing a snatch (can’t tell the weight) and look at just how happy she looks making that weight.

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Not only does Noe embrace the crossfit lifestyle, but she is also a surgeon and a masters competitor* at that!

Now here is Tonia, my absolute hero and role model. She is a masters competitor also, a mother to two adorable little girls, a senior project manager, and from the get has been very encouraging towards me and continues to be even though I’ve moved away.

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Not only do they inspire me as individuals, but even seeing them work as a team continues to inspire me.

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The camaraderie is so obvious and I know it’s real because that’s how I felt every time I’ve stepped in that gym, and how I’ve felt prior to that gym, and how I currently feel at my gym out here. No matter what your goals are, whether you want to be competitive, you’re just there to get in shape, or you don’t know yet what your goals are, crossfitters, in general, are supportive and will help you achieve your goals. Of course not all boxes** are created equal and all that but from my experience (and I started in 2010 – yikes!) I have always felt the same.

You know what else is pretty cool? How small and tight-knit the crossfit community is. Crossfit isn’t that big around Binghamton (yet) so there aren’t that many local events and such, and that being the case I had totally forgotten about how small the crossfit world is. So when I went to the SoCal regionals I was pleasantly surprised to bump into so many people that I knew, including 2 of my old co-workers! Keep in mind that I do not work in Reebok, who is the crossfit sponsor, or anything crossfit related so that was quite a surprise! I came specifically to see my crossfit box back home compete and hang out with that crew but it ended up being more like a reunion. I loved it!

Crossfit is a huge part of my life and likely will continue to be. I just love how it makes me feel and how it has helped tremendously with my life/work balance (I was a bit of a workaholic). I’ve also noticed that with the confidence I’ve gained in the gym also came confidence in other facets in my life and many people have told me they’ve experienced the same as well. Now don’t worry, I’m not trying to convince anyone to do it because it’s the best thing since sliced bread. All I’m saying is that for me, it kinda is. 🙂

On a serious note though, I think it’s really about finding something that speaks to you in that way and making it into a lifestyle rather than a hobby you do on the side. That something, for me, is crossfit.

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*Masters competitors are those over 40. Seeing masters compete is pretty unbelievable. Crossfit has definitely changed the way I viewed getting old. I no longer fear getting older because now I know I don’t have to be weak and unable to do things for myself. I’m not talking about the ones who are around 40, by the way. There are some pretty bad-ass 60-year olds out there that I’ve personally met.

**Crossfit tends to call their gyms “boxes” because back in the day, crossfit started in a garage with just the basic gym equipment. So the idea is all you need is some basic gym equipment and a box and you’re good to go. You’ll notice that I tend to call them gyms and that is because…I still see them as gyms. Oh calm down, crossfit nazis! Whatevs!