The Cab Ride



I’m still reliving the many, many wonderful moments of my recent vacations.  I had so much fun…I could probably blog about it for weeks.  However, in an effort to keep my main focus on weight lifting, and keeping in mind that most of you probably could care less how much fun I had on vacation….I’ve tried to keep myself in check.  BUT, there is one story that I just have to tell.  It was the best/worse cab ride ever.  It will live on in memory forever.  It was just one of those things that will never happen to you twice….we drew the short straw that day so it was our turn to dance with the Hatian Yellow Cab Devil (HYCD).

In case you havne’t figure this out about me yet, I love Orlando.  I never would have guessed it, but I can honestly say i’m a lifer.  My Uncle has always been strangely obsessed with all things Disney World and Orlando for years.  He has several time shares in Orlando and has always tried to get me to come down and hang out. I put him off for years, but finally gave in last winter.  I’ve been back 3 times since then and have definite plans to go back in January next year and maybe even November of this year.  What can I say?  I’m hooked.  I love Universal/Islands of Adventure the most, but a trip to Epcot is a must.  We go around the world (well, we got pretty hung up in Mexico this time around) to get a taste of every country….with the exception of the US and Canada.  We can get Bud Light and Labatt’s at home.  The only downside to going to Epcot, is that it’s a ways away from our hotel….hence the cab ride.  On the way down, we had a very pleasant ride, but on the way back…..it was on like Donkey Kong!

We got in the cab with the HYCD and the first thing that I notice was that there was a full bottle of water rolling around at my feet.  Annoying.  So I picked it up and tossed it into the empty passengers seat.

HYCD:  Oh, no…..you shouldn’t have done that.  That was rude!

MOH:  Rude, why?  It was rolling around at her feet.

HYCD: I had a British woman in here the other day that threw a banana peel at me.

MOH:  She didn’t throw it, she just put it in the front seat.
HYCD:  We clean our cabs everyday.

Me and MOH:  wtf?

So, obviously, at this point the HYCD is pissed.  Some British lady pissed him off the other day, now he’s got sand in his vajayjay, and he’s taking it out on us.  Great.  The cab ride was about 20 minutes and we didn’t really talk to him much after that (I don’t think anyway), but when we pulled up to our hotel…..

Me and MOH: Shit…I don’t have any cash.  Do you?  No….spent it all on tequila.

MOH:  Do you take cards, or do we have to have cash?

HYCD:  I don’t take cards.  There is an ATM in the hotel.  I wait.

MOH:  You don’t take cards?  Well, what’s that swipey thing on your cab meter then?

HYCD:  Oh, this?  It is for credit cards, but there are fees.  You should use ATM.

MOH:  Well, what are the fees?  The ATM has fees too.

HYCD:  It is 10%.  (The meter was at $29.70 at this point)

MOH:  So $3, okay.  We’ll just pay here. 

HYCD: Uh…no.  In my experience You People are not good tippers.

Me:  You people?  What do you mean by ‘You People’?  Do you mean White People?  Young People?  Women?

HYCD:  I mean young ladies like you….don’t tip well.

Me:  Here (thrusting my card at him).  Swipe the card.  We’re definitely not going to the ATM now.

HYCD swiped the card and handed it back.  Two little receipts popped up and said Total $29.70, THANK YOU

HYCD:  Can I have your card again please, I need to swipe it.

MOH: What?  We just gave you our card, and two receipts printed out.

HYCD:  No, you have not paid.  I need your card back!

MOH:  We’re NOT giving you the card back.  We already paid.


Me and MOH:  wtf??????  Did he just say Bring It On????

HYCD:  Okay, I’m going to call the cops then.

Me: Please….call the cops.  I’d love to speak with them!

Me and MOH:  you realize he isn’t making any money at all with us sitting in his cab right?  Sweet….let’s take our time with this.

HYCD: (on the phone) Hello, this is HYCD, I need to confirm a transaction.

Me:  Give me the phone! (I very nicely snatched it from his grubby mits)

Me on the phone:  Hi, this is AJ.

Cab Dispatch: (so polite) Hello, I’m just looking up your transaction now.

Me to MOH:  It’s not the cops!  Not the Cops.

MOH to HYCD:  (I have no idea what was said because I was on the phone, but I don’t think it was pleasant)

Cab Dispatch: I can’t find your transaction can you read me your card number again?

Me:  Fine, I’ll give it to you but I’m not letting him swipe my card again!  

Cab Dispatch:  Okay now I need the driver’s ID number.  Can you hand the phone back to him?

Me: Gladly

HYCD to Disbatch:  These girls didn’t pay!!!  I never swiped their card!!!

Me and MOH:  Let’s go.  (and out the cab we went)

Needless to say, it was a sobering experience.  I spent a good hour on the phone with the cab company after we got home retelling the story and making sure that the HYCD was held accountable for his actions.  I was charged twice for the cab ride, but they remedied that for me.  Like I said, that kind of a mess only crops up once in a lifetime.  It was definitely off the meters!!!!


Gettin’ Skooled

Shouldn’t those dumbbells be pink??


How many times have you seen this picture?  Some girl “deadlifting” with a couple of dinky dumbbells.  Whether it’s stiff leg or your standard deadlift….almost anyone can get past the dumbbell stage.  Just look at that girls legs!  Do you really think she got that way by slinging 15 pounders?  Yeah, probably not.  She also loses points for having her hair down, but that’s another post in itself.  I also disapprove of the whole working out in just your underwear thing, but I realize that some sports bras are made to be worn on the outside…..fine.


Unfortunately, I am here to tell you that I actually have more in common with this woman than I’d care to admit.  I have a terrible deadlift workout last night.  It’s like the grim reaper came in and stole the soul of my deadlift.  That or it just packed up and left in search of a better and more deserving lifter.  I should really be planning a funeral right now instead of writing this post.  Am I being dramatic enough yet?  Good.  It’s true though!  I had trouble lifting 225 yesterday…..ugh.  I’ve been warming up with 225 for almost a year now.  How in the world could I have trouble lifting that much weight?  (Please remember that weight is relative….225 may seem like a lot to some, but a pittance to others.)  I was so bummed.  After several frantic calls to the coach (who has now abandoned me for bigger and better things in the Twin Cities), I managed to drop the weight for my sets and just try to get through something so that the day wasn’t a total wash.  Of course, once I dropped the weight….it felt too light.  I just couldn’t get it right.  Finally, on the very last set….I realized my error.


Apparently, I have this tendency to start with the bar about an inch away from my shins.  When I do this, it changes my balance and my butt shoots up right away.  Then my deadlift turns into a really awkward RDL which equals a nearly impossible lift.  I almost wonder if this was part of my problem at my last meet.  If I do the same weight with the bar glued to my shins….no problem.  I’d even say it was easy.  So you see…..technique is such a huge factor in this whole game.


Another key factor in my deadlift is chalk.  I’m a chalk slut….love the stuff, can’t get enough.  Unfortunately, the gym owner is a chalk Nazi. Hates it.  Kids in the gym are always making a mess with it and spreading it all over the place so he hides it and lets it run out all the time.  Knowing that I had to deadlift yesterday, I made a specific request for him to be sure to leave some chalk out for me.  I got to the gym after he had left and of course, he forgot.  I sent him a text to ask where the chalk was so I could get it out myself.  He told me it was in a box in the top drawer of the filing cabinet in his office.  Okay, so I go to his office, find the box and pull it out.  What’s in it?  Not chalk, nope.  Fat burners.  Two full bottles of fat burners.  Combine this with the fact that he’s been teasing me about blowing m y weight loss for the last few weeks…….bastard!!  I was convinced he set me up.  He claims it was just a random coincidence, but the jury is still out on that one!

Still Standing

Poor little guy…he’s just barely hanging on!!

Barely hanging on….that’s a pretty good description of how I feel.  It’s my first real week back in the gym after almost a  month of living like a “normal” person…whatever that is.  It took me about four days be be able to walk normally after the full body workout I did last Wednesday.  Luckily, I regained the full use of my limbs just in time to do a squat workout on Monday.  It was fairly rough.  A lot of what goes into my workouts in mental.  I have almost as much trouble getting my mental game back into shape as I do the physical end of things.  As a result, I used some lighter weights on a few lifts just so I could get through it.  Two days later, I’m a bit stiff but nowhere near as sore as I was last week. I seriously think I redefined toilet sore.  It morphed into ‘have to scoot down the stairs on your butt sore’.  Ugh.

Yesterday, I had a bench workout.  Bench days are always so much easier than leg days, for me anyway.  It was a tough set though – 5×5 at 110 pounds followed by a few super sets.  I am happy to report that I have finally made some progress on my shoulder issues!  First, I have followed my goal to foam roll after every workout (all 2 of them so far).  Second, I have realized that if I am diligent about keeping my elbows tucked while i bench….I don’t have any shoulder pain.  If only I would have realized this six months ago!!  For the first time in a long time, I did 25 bench reps pain free and then went on to do dips and dumbbell bench…also pain free.  (Yeah, I know…I’m jinxing myself).  Maybe I’ll get in a full training cycle for bench this go round?  Wouldn’t that be nice??

Finally, the last thing that has been weighing heavy on my mind, aside from missing the gym….my weight.  I have felt like a hippo the last few weeks, like I’ve been gaining a pound a day.  It started with a few treats after my meet just because I could, but it didn’t stop there.  I left for vacation a few days later and ate some of the most delicious food on the planet.  Have you ever been to a Brazilian Steakhouse?  OMFG.  They bring you slabs of meat on a skewer!!!  One after another until you’ve eaten so much you have to be wheeled out of the place on a dolley.  So amazing!  And of course there was chips and salsa, nachos, rice and beans, oh….and a few cocktails.  It was unbelievable.  I told myself the whole time that I would be better when I got home.  Of course, I was only home for one day.  Then we packed up and left for Michigan to visit my family.  If you live away from your family, you probably know that stuffed feeling that you get whenever you stop in for a visit.  Inevitably, they all want to fatten you up.  They make every single one of your favorite dishes and make sure to have all your favorite junk food on hand.  It is so sweet of them, and I fully intend to do it to my children some day.  However, it’s not so good for a weight maintenance plan.

Visiting home does have it’s benefits though.  Aside from spending some great quality time with everyone, you also get a chance to compare your normal to everyone elses.  I’ve mentioned before that we’re pretty good about having only good, whole foods in our house.  We don’t have much in the boxed food department or junk food in general.  We keep a few treats on hand- supplies for a gooey batch of chocolate chip cookies, a bag of popcorn for the air popper, and maybe some tortilla chips and salsa.  Otherwise it’s all meat and veggies.  My mom, on the other hand, has pantries brimming with food- rice, noodles, canned goods, crackers, chips, candy.  And then there’s the ice cream.  We had sundaes every single night that we were home.  EVERY NIGHT, and there was always an array of toppings to choose from- berries, caramel sauce, hot fudge, or Hershey’s chocolate syrup.  One night, as I was eating my french vanilla ice cream drenched in a fabulous combo of caramel sauce and Hershey’s syrup, I glanced at the label on the “calcium enriched” Hershey’s chocolate goodness.  I noticed in bold lettering that it said “Refrigerate after opening”.  Hmmm….I had seen my mom pull the Hershey’s out of the room temperature pantry three nights in a row now.  After I pointed this out to her, she asked the obvious question….”well, where do you keep yours?”  The fiance and I gave each other a quick smile…..”we don’t have any mom.”  It was clear that the thought of a household without a continuous stock of Hershey’s syrup had never occured to her.  It’s a staple on her grocery list- milk, eggs, TP, Hersheys.  So there you have it….we’re doing pretty darn good.  Even if I did eat pizza and ice cream several nights a week for the last month.

And now it’s time to survey the damage. 

After spending weeks in a fantasmic downward spiral of cookies, pop, and ice cream, I’ve finally come to the surface for a peek at reality.  And after all was said and done, I did the unthinkable this morning.  I set foot on the scale. I didn’t want to, but my fiance could not stand another second of my constant worrying.  If we were on a boat and there was a plank, I’m fairly certain he would have pushed me off of it.  Alas, I’m only up a few pounds…maybe 4 at most. I’m estimating because I have not stepped on the official gym scale yet, but either way the news is not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.  So……Pizza for dinner tonight!!!!!  Not really, I am working my way back to a steady diet of lean protein and complex carbs….oh god….please kill me now.

Gone Fishin

I apologize for not posting for the last few weeks, but I’ve been on a much needed hiatus.  It started off with a FABULOUS trip to Orlando with my dear friend and Maid of Honor.  It was filled with fun, food, a few drinks, and a boat load of laughs. I came home with the sorest abs I’ve had in years, and believe me I did not do a single ab exercise while I was down there.  It was from laughing my brains out for five days straight.  I love it, and I’m already dreaming of going back.  Since it would take days to give a play by play that would even come close to doing it justice, I’ll just give you a few picks and let you fill in the blanks.

At our hotel the first night.  I already miss Judy, our hotel bartender/concierge extrodinaire!!


The recovery meal….this biggest peanut butter cup cookie you have ever seen!

A night on the town.  Nothing good ever comes from drinking blue drinks……


The tequila flight, an annual tradition.  The best tasting tequila ever, but still oh so intimidating.


Silly.  So. So. Silly.


After returning from my trip to Orlando, I spent one quick day at home and then headed off to Michigan for a much needed trip to visit my family.  With the wedding this summer, I won’t be able to make my usual summertime trip home to hang with the fam.  Memorial weekend was the only window I had so I jumped at the chance even though the time was not great.  I quickly unpacked and repacked my suitcase.  Thanks Mom for washing all my clothes!!!  We headed out Friday for 2 days of fun.

My mom and I did some serious grilling.  I had a few tricks up my sleeve after my 3 month chicken adventure!!!


No trip home is complete without a stop at my grandma’s garden.


It’s always nice to have all the things that you love in the same place at the same time.



Okay, so this might not be the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but I’ve decided to share some of my progress photos today.  My fiance is a very smart man, if I haven’t mentioned that enough yet.  He has been taking progress photos since I met him.  At first I thought it was crazy.  Why the heck are you taking another photo of yourself in your underwear???  That is until I realized that it’s actually a fantastic way to see the progress you’ve made.  I took my first pictures back in 2009, and have continued to take at least one a year since then.  If you’ve never done it, I’d highly suggest giving it a shot.  Yes, it’s embarassing and sometimes very depressing, but it serves it’s purpose.  And maybe some day you’ll be crazy like me and decide to post them on the internet.

The reason that I wanted to share these photos was so that you could actually see some of the changes that have occurred in my body over the last few years.  Most recently, my 14 pound weight loss, but also the general transformation that has occurred since I became a power lifter.  I will admit that the changes are mostly subtle, but they are there.

(Click the photo to see a life size version of me and my love handles)

The first photo was taken in the fall of 2009.  I had spent the first half of that year training for Grandma’s Half Marathon.  I was nursing a nagging IT band injury, but managed to limp through the most intense and dedicated half marathon training round that I had ever done.  The result….a measly 4 minutes off the time I had gotten the year before with very minimal training.  That, combined with the fact that it was the hottest, most miserable race I had ever run sent me in a new direction.  I started doing more circuit based weight training in May of 2009 and backed off the running completely.  I wasn’t lifting heavy yet, and I was still only getting 1 hard weight training workout once a week.  The rest of the week was more cardio based spin classes and “boot camp” type stuff.  You’ll notice, I look the softest in this photo.  Yet another reason why cardio is not the answer.

The second photo was taken in May of 2010 just before my first powerlifting meet.  I had started to train diligently for the powerlifting meet in February of that year.  I had about 3 months of workouts under my belt- 6 days a week lifting heavy.  This is when I noticed the biggest change in my body.  I had a lot more muscle mass, my metabolism sped up, it was great.  Unfortunately, I didn’t test my body fat at that point, but I can assure you that it was much better.

The third photo was taken the morning of my meet this past Saturday.  You may have been able to see some more dramatic changes if I had taken another comparison shot before I started my weight loss journey back in February, but I didn’t.  I know I had a few extra pounds on me though, definitely at least 3 or 4 more than the shot taken in 2010.  Try not to be distracted by the fact that I’m wearing different clothes or that I actually have make up on (note to self, always put make up on before the progress photos).  I wish that I could just post the photo and the difference would be enough for it to speak for itself, but that’s not the case.  If you look closely though….there is progress.  My shoulders are actually wider than my hips in the last shot  when they were about the same in the other photos.  My abs are a tiny bit more visible, as are my clavicles.  My waist and my love handles are smaller.  My face is a bit thinner, and my legs maybe look a tiny bit thinner???  That last one might be a stretch, but I’m taking it.

So there you have it.  Now you have a full picture of where I started and where I am today.  It’s not perfect. I’m sure a figure competitor would have a much more impressive end result (and they’d be flexing), but I’m happy with it.  Hopefully this will further convince anyone that still thinks that weight lifting will bulk you up and make you look less feminine.  Personally, I’m much more comfortable in a bathing suit today than I was back in 2009 when I was on a steady diet of cardio and more cardio.

Do you take progess photos?  Have you ever showed them to anyone?  When have you looked/felt the best in your life and what did you do to get there?

Lunch n Learn

So another meet is said and done.  This year’s Twin Ports Raw Open was my fourth meet and my one year anniversary of participating in the great sport of powerlifting.  To say this meet was a roller coaster would honestly be an understatement.  I prepared for this meet for months, both in and out of the gym.  I poured every ounce of effort I had into either dieting or training.  I was in the gym twice a day most days, but at least once every day for months.  I was admittedly running around like a crazy person.  Was it worth it??  Sure, I’m glad I did it.  I will say right up front though, I really wish the meet would have gone better.  I am doing my very best to focus on the positive and extract every possible lesson out of this experience that I can, but it’s definitely a forced effort.  Maybe sharing my experience will help me process things even more?  So here’s the play by play.

I got up early after waking up about a dozen times throughout the night.  I showered and packed myself a most delicious lunch.  I had a few energy drinks to ensure a thoroughly cracked out state of existence while lifting.  My breakfast which was making my mouth water all morning!  I had 2 GIANT PB&J’s and a protein shake.  First bread in months!!  I also had a few bananas, oranges, and some candy for after the meet….yum!!

Twix…my all time favorite candy bar.


The much anticipated weigh in went great.  I stepped on the scale with my hoping to see something in the 131 range, but quickly realized that the scale was reading in Kilograms.  My official weight was 59.4 Kg (130.68 pounds).  Fantastic.  I beat my goal by almost 2 pounds, I was thrilled.  Next stop…..FOOD.  I ate my PB&J, protein shake, and a banana.  Carbohydrates good.

Before I knew it, it was time to start warming up for my squat.  There was a great group of women that came out for this meet.  I got to warm up with Annette Powell, a fantastic lifter from Winnipeg.  She had a glute injury that was plaguing her warm ups, but she’s so experienced that she was doing a great job of just powering through it.  She also gave me a great compliment on my squat.  She told me that I had great depth and that every rep was hitting in the same spot and looked really consitent.  I can’t tell you how much I’ve struggled with that so I was very pleased to hear that!!  I finished warming up with 155 lbs and headed out for the main event.

My first squat attempt was 176 lbs.  As always, I was nervous in an almost life threatening way.  I felt like my heart was in my throat, and I kept having to talk myself down off the edge. “It’s only 176, you can do this in your sleep so suck it up Sally!!”  And that’s exactly what I proceeded to do.  It was an easy 176, followed by an easy 198.  Finally, my 3rd attempt was at 215.  I could not believe how light it felt.  As soon as I stood up, I felt instant regret.  I could have gotten at least 10 more pounds.  Feel free to check out the video of my studly performance (for me anyway).

It’s scientifically proven that looking cross eyed makes you twice as strong…..


At this point, I was on top of the world. I had expected to have much lower lifts, but my stellar squat performance definitely turned things around in my mind.  Maybe I wasn’t going to struggel with the weight.  Maybe my total is going to be closer to my last meet total???

Bench was next up.  I started out at 132 lbs and had no problems.  I hadn’t been able to bench heavy in the last few weeks leading up to the meet due to an achy shoulder.  I was a bit concerned with how much weight I was going to be able to put up.  My second attempt was at 143 lbs which also went up fairly easily.  Since things were looking pretty good, I decided to go for a PR on bench and try 154 lbs.  Eek.  Enter my headcase of nerves and my lack of practice benching with a pause.  All I can say is….Fail.  154 didn’t go anywhere.  As soon as I got the start command, I dropped the bar on my chest and that’s where it stayed.  So sad.  (sorry, no pics of the bench…you’ll have to use your imagination)

With my confidence rattled a bit, I dove head first into the deadlift.  I warmed up in a bit of a rush…apparently I was having too much fun in the stands and forgot that I actually had to finish lifting.  I went up to 245 lbs and then headed out to do my 259 lb opener.  Considering that I deadlifted 300 lbs at my last meet in October, I wasn’t expecting 259 to feel overly heavy.

Um…..yeah.  See how crooked the bar is?  It’s not supposed to be like that.  See all the veins popping out of my neck?  Also not supposed to be there on the first attempt.  See my rounded shoulders as I struggle to lock it out?  Also not a good sign at all.  When my coached asked if it felt as heavy as it looked, I said “yes, yes it did.”  I still decided to go up to 281 though. I  think this was a mistake. I would liken it to a person who hasn’t drank alcohol in a long time.  There was, perhaps, a time that you could go out and have 27 drinks and still wake up the next day feeling like a million bucks.  But now, you’re completely out of practice and have absolutely no business trying to drink that much.  You’re bound to end up passed out in booth somewhere, but does that stop you?  No, it does not deter you in the slightest. Down the hatch!!  So this is pretty much how that turned out.  I strained every muscle fiber in my entire body, but could not manage to move that bar one stinkin milimeter.

This was my first go at it.

Then I spent 10 minutes praying to the lifting gods before trying it again.

And…you can see how that turned out.  Once again….Fail.


When everything was said and done, despite being about 50 pounds under my last total, I came in 3rd place behind to amazingly talented and experienced lifters.  That is definitely something to be proud of. Having lost 15 pounds, putting up a bit less weight is okay.  The greatest part of it all is that by formula (wilks) my total at the Hudon meet in October 2010 was 315.32 while my total for this meet by formula was 315.11.  So even though it felt like I just went out and took a big duker on the platform, I actually maintained.  No PRs, nothing amazing, but I really didn’t lose anything and that’s great.  And you know what you get for a job well done?????


Pizza, breadsticks, and Pepsi….every girls dream!! 


Thanks so much for all your support in this journey.  I couldn’t have done it without tons of help from my coach, my family and friends, and of course my future husband of the year.  Let me know what your next mission is and I’ll do my best to return the favor!!!

Game Time

Here I come, ready or not.  I’ve got the essentials laid out, meal plan for the day has been determined, now it’s just a matter of getting it done!  I’ve got my gear check in tonight.  It’s a fairly painless process.  I lay out everything that I’m planning to wear during the meet and someone touches them all, stretches and tugs every item to make sure they are all non-compressing and off I go.  My gear includes:

The most awesome wrestling singlet ever

A cotton t-shirt- a Kids Large so it isn’t all bunched up inside my singlet

Pink, knee-high socks

Squat shoes (Squat and bench)

Nike Frees (deadlift)

Lifting belt

Wrist wraps

Baby powder (makes your legs more slippery for the deadlift)

I could also use neoprene knee sleeves, but I’ve yet to try those.  A lot of people really like the bit of added support that they provide.  Maybe next time?

I’ll also pack a PB&J and a protein shake to eat for breakfast (after the weigh in of course).  And some fruit- YAY FRUIT!!!!  I’m sure it will be the best effing banana I’ve ever eaten (really not trying to be dirty here).  And that will be it for food, at least while I’m lifting.  After that….it’s on!!!

My flight starts at 11:00 am.  I’ll be lifting with 5 or so other women and the masters men.  I have my openers selected, and I’m hoping for the best.  I can’t say that I’m feeling overly confident, but I never am.  The one thing I can say for sure is that I’m going to look a lot better in my singlet….if that’s even possible.  Who looks good in a singlet?  Jamie Eason probably would, but she looks good in anything.

Now I just have to try to get some sleep tonight so I can finally get this over with tomorrow.  I hope to have a full set of fabulous lifting face photos for you to peruse next week….and maybe even some video if I’m smart enough to figure that out????

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