Giving Back

Blood Donation: An Easy and Important Way to Give Back

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Donate Blood: It Saves LivesIt’s always been important for me to do some sort of charity regularly but I made a deal with myself to go outside of my norm and give back in different ways this year and do it at least monthly. So with that in mind, I read a Facebook call out that blood donation was needed and that they were especially in need of type O.

I happen to be Type O+.

Type O+ blood is important because it is the most common blood type (1 in 3 people have it) and therefore is needed most. It is what maintains the country’s blood supply. So, I checked online to see if I could make an appointment to donate and sure enough, there was an appointment available nearby. Here’s where I went: Inova Blood Donor Services

You can choose to donate plasma and platelets, but I opted for a whole blood donation. There was a dude there donating platelets and you could tell it was quite a process and takes some time.

After filling out the paperwork, I was taken into a little office and asked some general follow up questions. Then my blood pressure was taken and my finger was pricked to get some blood to check my iron levels. All was good, so I headed to the blood donation lounge chair area. There, the person taking my blood looked for a good vein – found one and got me all set up and the blood flowing. I’m not that squeamish around needles – my strategy is as long as I don’t look while they are sticking me – I’m good to go.  I did have two babies after all!

Here are a few things to know before you go…

  1. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, work out beforehand. The person who took my blood explained that many times if a person comes in after a workout, they are dehydrated and it’s not only harder to get blood from them, the patient could end up not feeling so good.  Good to know, since I did indeed go in after a boxing workout!
  2. Bring ID. You will have to fill out some quick paperwork and they will need to see your ID.
  3. Make an appointment. I do believe that they will take walk ins but if you make an appointment, the entire process is not that long. At least when I went yesterday – from start to finish it took less than 30 mins.
  4. Bring your own Post Donation Snack if you have Restrictions. They strongly encourage you to stick around their cafe area and enjoy a snack and a drink. It’s to ensure you don’t faint or have other strange side effects from the donation. The ‘cafe’ was stocked with high sugar, processed foods though. I just happened to have a protein bar in my purse that I ate. The fridge was full of fruit juices and water. I opted for water.  Not a judgement, just a good to know…
  5. Post blood donation, take it easy. Drink lots of water and refrain from strenuous exercise or lifting heavy. Ha!

Blood Donation MattersThat’s it – 30 minutes from start to finish. I feel fine today and feel even better because I know I am helping someone, somewhere. If you can, donate! It’s an easy way to give back on a regular basis.

BTW: I donated in honor and memory of Mathias Giordano. Their family has set up a Team Mathias sponsor code 8164 so anyone can donate in his memory & for all the kids who have been affected by cancer.

 

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

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St JudeI’m still processing the St. Jude Blogger Tour. It was a heavy topic but I came back feeling hopeful, inspired & grateful. My new blogger friend Melissa Fenton talked about  “turning guilt into gratitude” as we head back to our families and look at our healthy kids. Be grateful that we have healthy kids that can live their normal lives. I am taking that to heart and will do my part to end childhood cancer. I am even more forever changed..

I will share my entire experience in the next week — as it was full of information, emotions, fun and hope and what being a St Jude Ambassador Blogger means –including all the programs and ways people can get involved.

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Next month is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and there are a ton of ways to help, including a walk/run in many cities around the country. To search for an event in your community use this link: Find an event near you or Donate.

 

St Jude Walk/Run

 

A Upcoming Visit to Memphis

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St Judes Hospital I have some exciting news to share. Yesterday evening I invited to be a special guest for a St. Jude Blogger Tour – an exciting and educational three-day experience in Memphis, Tennessee this coming August where I will visit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, tour the facilities and witness first-hand the holistic care doctors, researchers and staff provide to their patients.

I am beyond honored and speechless to be offered an opportunity like this which includes learning more about how St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. They are also generously covering my expenses for the trip! I have confirmed my availability and am waiting for additional information about this three day event.

I have been blogging regularly for over 8 years now, focusing on health, wellness and family inspired by my husband’s experience with colon cancer. I started blogging to keep people in our lives up to date on Scotty’s progress and treatment and during that time I found a passion for living healthy and fit. Live Fit and Sore was born out of that original blog and I haven’t looked back. I share the info and experiences to help others find support and motivation to make changes in their own lives, but more importantly, to keep myself focused on health and wellness.  It’s a passion of mine and it has introduced me to the most amazing people and has brought me opportunities that I could not have even imagined.

I have no idea what to expect but I have always respected the St Jude’s Organization and am so beyond touched to be invited. I will share the details of my trip when they are confirmed.

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I'm on my Way

Ways to Giving Back to Local Families in Need

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Did you know that 14 percent of U.S. households were considered “food insecure,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, compared to 11.1 percent in 2007, before the Great Recession began?

Kids are Hungry in the US

And now the American Academy of Pediatrics is asking that pediatricians start to ask the following questions to patients’ parents:

  1. Within the past year, were you worried whether your food would run out before you got money to buy more?
  2. Within the past year, did the food you bought not last, and you didn’t have money to get more?

I have lived in one of the richest counties in the country since 2009 and at times, it’s easy to lose sight that there are hungry families living all over the country. A few friends of mine work for the school system and have shared with me about some of the realities of students whose families can not afford the basic necessities that many others take for granted. Fresh food in general but especially regular access to fresh fruits and vegetables, basic hygienic items like face soap, tampons, body lotion. What if those families have to also deal with a food allergy like gluten? I am always remarking about how expensive avoiding gluten is when it comes to buying food — I can only imagine what it’s like for families who live paycheck to paycheck.

I was told that in our neighborhood school, approximately 1 in 13 kids are in need.  It’s even more startling to think about when you are constantly seeing and hearing so many kids asking for Ipads, Uggs and vacations.  So, how can we do our part to teach our kids to be mindful of how fortunate they are and why it’s important to do what they can to help without making them feel bad or guilty?

Here are a few things I have committed to doing with my own family to help:

  • Monthly Donation of Non-Perishable Food: Once a month, during a Costco run, I have the kids pick out non-perishable food items to donate. It’s definitely hard to buy items that stay true to my own healthy eating beliefs, but I try to do the best I can. We usually end up buying boxes of single serve apple sauce, peanut butter, cereal etc.
  • Monthly Donation of Needed Personal Items: Once a month, during a Target run, we buy items that many people don’t donate on the regular, including boxes of feminine stuff (tampons, pads), multi packs of toothbrushes, soap, facial wipes, deodorant.
  • Box Tops for SchoolsSaving Box Tops from cereal boxes and other items: Although my kids do not attend elementary school anymore, I still save these little things and drop them off at my neighborhood school when the bag I hold them in becomes full.  Box Tops are the little coupon-y thing that you find printed on many products created by General Mills.  Each one is worth 10¢ for the school and schools can earn up to $20K a year and many schools rely on that extra income to offer different programs and facility improvements.  Improving our schools is a great to help the community.
  • Saving and Donating hotel sized toiletries:  Whenever I travel, I grab the courtesy toiletries that most hotels provide daily. I put all the collected ones in a large zip lock bag to donate.

The suggestions above are easy ways to involve your kids. Our kiddos learn most from their parents and what they see. Let’s show them how giving back is a family habit that they will hopefully continue as they leave our nests.

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Stand Up to Cancer: 2015 Crush Cancer Event

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I love sharing information about working out and giving back. This weekend, in gyms across the country you can participate in: The 5th Annual 2015 Crush Cancer event to benefit Stand Up to Cancer! 

crush-cancer-2015

The 5th Annual 2015 Crush Cancer event to benefit Stand Up To Cancer’s collaborative cancer research. This year, Crush Cancer will host one main event that will be held in Culver City, California, on Saturday, October 10. In addition, gyms from across the country and around the world will be hosting their own events—all with the goal of raising as much money as possible for Stand Up To Cancer.

THE GOAL: Raise awareness and fund accelerated cancer research while providing a motivating and challenging workout experience.

While this is not a CrossFit sanctioned event, it resembles a CrossFit WOD type of workout.

The Workout 

Stand Up to Cancer3 Rounds/1 Minute Each (Levels: Advanced, intermediate, Novice)

  • Power Cleans (95/65)
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Burpees
  • Double Unders
  • Shoulder to Overhead (95/65)

Tally your reps each round and your score is the cumulative number of reps at the end of 3 rounds.

In the DC area, DC CrossFit is hosting an event, but if you can’t find a local gym, hit up your local fitness spot and get it done and donate some money for this important cause

CRUSH CANCER EVENT DETAILS:

Timing/Locations

  • o Washington DC
  • o Saturday, October 10th 2015
  • o Location: 1525 Half Street SW, Washington DC 20001
  • o 9:00 am- 12:00 pm

 

You Are Not Alone

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“We read to know we’re not alone.” ― William Nicholson, Shadowlands

 

This quote, by William Nicholson, in the movie Shadowlands, is one of my all time favorites and I turn to it for perspective often.  Shadowlands, a 1993 movie based on the life and love of C.S. Lewis’s life, is a film I have watched dozens of times throughout the years and each time, it hits me deep. When the young man in the film tells  CS Lewis why he reads so much –we read to know we’re not alone, it said volumes.

cs-lewisIt’s a simple but true thought for just about everyone. The need to know we aren’t alone. There is no discounting the importance and power in knowing that there is someone else out there, in this vast world, who thinks, feels, or has experienced what we are going through.  It has the power to offer comfort, give us strength, calm our anxiety, and motivate and inspire us to change. Sometimes, it’s the one thing that pulls us through a rough time.

Sharing our mistakes, flaws, wounds is hard no matter who you are. The bravery required to open up, be honest,  and show your vulnerabilities is one of the hardest things for any of us to. Imagine then putting pen to paper and sharing these experiences beyond your closest trusted circle.  It’s not a small thing…

The ability to let down our defenses and share what really happens behind the social media filters is important. No one lives a trouble free life.  We all have hardships and successes. We all have flaws and things we love about ourselves. Life is about learning to live your best life in the peaks AND in the valleys and inviting people who make you smile, lift you up, and push you to be better along for the ride.

I am sharing these two stories below as examples of not being alone in our struggle. I know they have helped a few people already. Thank you Naomi and VP Joe Biden for being brave enough to share.

The Real Face of Depression

“The Real Face of Depression” to bring awareness to the world that depressed people aren’t just those in the corner crying and pulling their hair out like you see in most depictions, although sometimes we may feel that way. Depressed people are everyday people – they are your co-worker, they are your friend, your neighbor, and in my case, a fitness coach. We look happy on the outside, we have big smiles in our pictures that come up on Facebook, we are the new moms smiling and playing with precious little babies, we are top CrossFit athletes at The Games…”

Family losses frame Vice President Biden’s career

“The most successful and happiest people I’ve known understand that a good life, at its core, is about being personal. It’s about being engaged. It’s about being there for a friend or a colleague when they’re injured or in an accident,”  Biden told the Yale crowd, adding: “It all seems to get down to being personal. That’s the stuff that fosters relationships. It’s the only way to breed trust.” 

2015 Scope It Out 5K – Washington, DC

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Sunday was the 10th Annual Scope it Out 5K.  It was my fifth year running to celebrate my husband being colon cancer free! Seems so long ago now that he was recovering from surgery and chemo. Every year, I run this race as a reminder of how far we have come from those days and to continue to do my part spreading the word about how important it is for anyone with symptoms or at risk for colon cancer get screened. Remember: the treatment for colon cancer is a lot worse than any colonoscopy!!

Scope It Out 5K 2015

Both my kiddos ran this year’s race too! Last year’s 2014 Scope it Out 5K, HB joined us and this year Nate Dogg committed and rocked it!  I could not have been more proud of both of them! Apparently,  Nate loves to talk while he runs and expects a two way conversation, so Scotty had the pleasure of counting cop cars, crowds of people and anything else Nate Dogg wanted to mention during the 3+ miles. Good times!

I still regularly visit blogs created by others battling colon cancer. When I got back from the race, I decided to visit a blog by a young women in Arizona:  Michelle Whitehead Hastings. She had not been updating regularly because the cancer came back and she was undergoing some painful treatments. I wondered how she was doing and was shocked to learn she passed away late last month.  Michelle was a women, wife, mother, daughter – a bright shining person, who tried to give back as she navigated her own treatment. I took a moment last night to say a prayer for her and her family. And although I didn’t know the news at the time – I ran the race in her honor. RIP Michelle.

Race Results

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my time was better this year than 2014 and 2013! Keep in mind that I am not a runner. I had not run since this fall and even then it was no more than sprints. While there is nothing amazing about my pace in the general sense, I am quite pleased with it.  And I came in the top 17% overall. Not too shabby!

  • 2015: 9:36
  • 2014: 10:13
  • 2013: 9:55
  • 2012: 9:03
  • 2011: 9:29

Scope It Out 2015 Results

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2015 Scope it Out 5K Event Photos

Scope it out 5K 2015Scope it out 5K 2015

 

10649662_10152772708013741_6033625574996435756_nScope it out 5K

Scope it out 5K 2015

Scope it out 5K

Wreaths Across America: Not All Family Events Go As Planned

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Life does not go as planned - Live Fit and SoreWanting to give back this holiday season and also get my kids out of the house, out of their normal weekend routine, I made plans to head into DC to participate in the Wreaths Across America event at Arlington National Cemetery. The plan was to meet up with my friends Pam and Foxy at 815 at ANC and start spreading the joy.

Well, like I have said before life is all about surprises and learning how to be comfortable when uncomfortable things arise…

The kids got up well for once and although we hit the road a bit late, we were on our way. As we traveled down the street that led directly to the cemetery, we got stuck in a huge, standstill traffic jam. Seems most of the DMV area had the same idea and were on their way to the same parking lot. After about 45 minutes of hardly moving traffic, we noticed smoke coming from the front of the car. At first, I thought it was the wind kicking up the exhaust smoke from the car in front of us… Well, no – that was not it.

It was our car! The car starts to overheat and smoke starts to quickly thicken and billow out our car hood. It became even clearer that it was us when people started to look and point. Scotty didn’t miss a beat. He pulled over to assess the situation and a random nice guy pulled over as well to see if he could lend us some help – A big thank you to that guy! You rock!

Unfortunately, the car issue was not something fixable on the spot. Fortunately, we do have AAA!  Scott told us to go ahead to the cemetery while he took care of the car and waited for the tow truck. 45 minutes later, the tow truck guy arrived and took Scotty and the car back near home to our mechanic and then on to home. And not to get into the details, but it of course is not a cheap fix – but the car is fixed and we are picking it up this afternoon.

But that’s not where the story ends…

When the kids and I arrived at the gates of the cemetery, I had to hit the restroom. Well what a shocker that the women’s rest room had a line –but not just any line – a mile long line. Imagine an event like this, open to the public, and the weather was pretty darn good. Then add in having only 8 bathroom stalls available for the women??? The men’s rooms had urinals (I am told) and had NO LINES – and 40 minutes later, I took my turn. When I left the rest room, the line was as long, if not longer.

And the friends I was supposed to meet? Well we never did meet up. They were in that same long car traffic jam and after a long time, were directed to park at the Pentagon and then had to take the metro over. When they finally arrive, they had to stand in that rest room line.

By the time they were ready to start, my kids had had enough. They did enjoy the first hour or so of walking the grounds – and putting wreaths down, when they are done, they are done. So we started to head out of the cemetery…

How will we get home?

As we were walking out, the reality of having to take the metro hit my son. And when he heard it would take over an hour to get home, well he was not a happy camper. All I said to him – calmly “Well, what would you like me to do?” and of course, he had no answer. Just shrugged and started trudging down the sidewalk to the metro station.

Which is where we encountered yet another line…a long line. It didn’t help that the metro card machine broke down while I was trying to use it. Which meant I had to wait for the mechanic to reset the machine. It took me a while to figure out what stop, because I have not been on the silver line before. But I found my destination on the map and bought my 3 tickets. The lady behind me asked me – with panic in her voice – if I could help her please because she had no idea how to buy multiple tickets. As frustrated as I was, I took the time to help her out – you have to be kind to expect kindness in return.

Then we have to get into a long line to go through the turn style – and head up to catch the train. As we are about to board the train, my daughter says “Mom, I lost my metro ticket down there…” (Between the escalators i.e. unreachable) “But don’t worry Mom, I have been on the metro before and we don’t need it anymore.” WRONG. I said in a very frustrated and even a bit angry tone – “Yes you do. How will they know where you get on when you get off?”  You know kids know everything…

I had no idea what the deal would be when we got off the train, but we got on and headed towards home. When we arrived, Scotty was waiting for us, had already talked to the metro guy and they let us through with no issue.

Family  - Live Fit and Sore! A great husband…

Let me take a moment to share how much I love Scotty.

He had been really looking forward to this event and because of the car, he couldn’t. Not only did he take care of the car issue without getting upset, he was waiting for us at the metro station, had already talked to the metro attendant, so we didn’t have to wait to deal with the lost fare card and further more, when we got to the car – he had picked up lunch from one of my favorite places because he knew I would be hungry.

Keep this story in mind, when you go on Facebook and look at all the wonderful pictures I took from this event. Social media does not tell real story behind experiences… Wreaths Across America photo gallery

So, that’s what happens when the Hoaglunds try to get outside of our comfort zone and do something different. It never goes off as planned – but as Scott and I remarked later in the day, things could have been so much worse in this situation and in life in general. It’s all about perspective…

I’m on Team Mathias

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Zumba with Friends - Live Fit and SoreA few weeks ago, I tried Zumba. According to Wikipedia, Zumba is an aerobic fitness program featuring movements inspired by various styles of Latin American dance and performed primarily to Latin American dance music.

I went with a few of my boxing buddies and we had a blast. After the first class, I realized it had been way too long since I did something totally outside of my norm and laughed.  I am no dancer and after the first song or so, it didn’t even matter. It’s just about moving – and dancing for an hour or so.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to replace my strength and conditioning work but I am going to add it weekly for now. As a way to just go a bit crazy, dance and laugh for an hour.

This past Saturday, after my boxing session, I went to a 2 hour Zumba charity event, where proceeds went to the St Judes Children’s Hospital.  I was able to dance for a hour and half before I just couldn’t do anymore. When I got home, I was spent. Boxing and then dancing for 1.5 hours can take it out of you.

Even though I was tired on Saturday, it was worth it to help raise money for St. Judes. I’ve been feeling rather sad about a local boy’s cancer battle…

Mathias Giordano is a 13 year old boy in Leesburg who was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, cancer of the bone, in July of 2012. Over the past 28 months, he has endured biopsies, port placement, 30+ rounds of high dose chemo, 3 major lung surgeries, an amputation of his right leg below the knee, and 27 rounds of radiation. Not to mention a few clinical trials.

Needless to say, Mathias is a strong warrior who has fought with so much grace and dignity. His courage and spirit inspire everyone who is lucky enough to meet him. His smile lights up the room and his positive outlook is truly amazing.

Mathias continues to battle the ugly beast of cancer with poise. Taking one day at a time and trying to live life at its fullest. While he is fighting for his life he is determined to make a difference and spread awareness for pediatric cancer in our community. He wants people to know that kids get cancer too and that they can’t fight alone.

A recent update from Momastary:

Mathias’s family fought and fought but now they have been told that the only thing to do is keep Mathias comfortable. They have decided to do a hell of a lot more than that.    

From personal experience with my husband’s colon cancer treatment, I know how horrible cancer is, but when it involves children – it really hits me harder.  My heart is breaking for Mathias and his family.  I am not a deeply religious person, but I have been sending prayers and good thoughts to them each day – and I did buy a raffle ticket to lend some support to cause. If you want to keep updated on Mathias you can join his facebook page: Team Mathias 

Life so short and precious which is why I decided this month was the month of giving and FORGIVING. I refuse to waste any more time holding onto anger and resentment. It’s not worth it when there are brave, little souls battling bigger issues in life…

Friendship: Age Is Just A Number

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- Live Fit and Sore

Yesterday, I met up with two of my dearest friends. One of the greatest things my fitness journey has brought into my life is the opportunity to meet some amazing people. Lani and Liz are two of those people I met almost three years ago at CrossFit. We will not see each other for a while and go have lunch and pick up right where we left off. They make me laugh, help me see life with a different perspective and definitely ‘get’ me.

I sometimes ‘worry’ about the fact that many of my friends are quite a bit younger than me. When you are so active in the fitness community, I think you attract a younger group of people into your life. I don’t feel my age and I don’t think I look my age, so it only makes sense that many of the people I hang out with are younger. I don’t necessarily see age when I am with others — although there are definitely times when it becomes abundantly clear I am from a different era.

I think everyone should have some group of friends who are younger – It keeps you on your toes and offers you a fresher perspective on life experiences.  It’s when you start to dress like you are their age and/or stop relating to your husband or friends your age that there is an issue.

I like to think I am their older sister –and they certainly don’t make me feel like there is something wrong -it’s just more of a self awareness I have about my circle of friends lately.

Day 2 of sharing things I am thankful for:

  • I’m thankful for my brothers and sisters. We are all different yet so much the same, have each other’s backs no matter the case, and are happy and healthy human beings.
  • I’m thankful for good friends who understand and ‘get’ my passionate personality.
  • I’m thankful for good music. A good beat can uplift me any time of the day.

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Kindness Matters

One Woman’s ‘Pay It Forward’ Moment Inspires 11 Hours Of Kindness

Watch This

Breakdancer Simon Ata’s Strength Training Workout Is Like Nothing You’ve Seen Before

Workout

Boxing – not my most productive session. I didn’t sleep well last night and have had a headache on and off since yesterday which obviously affects my morning workout.

Heart Rate Data 082514

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