2014 Book Challenge!

Hey y’all!  I alluded in my last post that I would have a challenge for you this week, and I am here to deliver on that promise. Woop! So, without further ado, let’s just jump on to it.  Shall we?

A couple months ago, I stumbled upon this article on the 26 Books that Will Change the Way You See the World.  I was so intrigued by the list that I decided then and there that I would challenge myself to read all of these books.  Every.single.one.

I really wish I was ‘standing up here’ stating that I plan on reading all 26 books this year.  I am always impressed with those people who read 20+ books in a year.  Alas, I am not included in that bunch.  Plus, I don’t want to totally lie to y’all since I already read one of them: Harry Potter (duh).

The real issue with reading 26 books in a year is that I only tend to excessively read for about three months.  This is while I am sitting by the pool and there is nothing else to do, but bask in the sun’s rays, sip on something lovely, read some words and dip occasionally into the water in front of me.  Ahhhh.  So, my 2014 goal is to read 4 Books that Will Change the Way You See the World!  Rock on with my bad self.

Want to know which books I chose?  Scroll on to read synopses of the four books, and my timeline for finishing them.  If you’d like to join the challenge and read the books with me, feel free to let me know in the comments or the submission form below.  I’ll send email updates with discussion questions and chapter timeline goals.  Additionally, let me know if you’ve read one (or several) of these 26 books and if I chose the right ones / if you have suggestions for other good ones!  I need advice, peeps!  And, yes – this is kind of like a book club – just virtual!  



Last Lecture by Randy Pausch: I’m totally prepared to cry for this one about the Carnegie Mellon professor, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and given only a few months to live.  Projected to be a surprisingly uplifting read.  Target completion: April 2014.


Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris: After the Last Lecture, I’m planning on needing a good laugh.  This book, including Sedaris’ travels abroad and experiences in other cultures, is expected to provide those humorous belly aches.  Projected to be a fun read.  Target completion: June 2014.


The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollen: I’ve heard so many great things about this book even prior to seeing this list.  I think it’s a great addition to my diet knowledge toolkit, and I can’t wait to read about its theories.  Projected to be an enlightening read.  Target completion: July 2014.


Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell: Ok, so part of my reason for wanting to read this book is because my sister owns it already.  Who doesn’t love free books?  Hehe.  But, seriously, I’ve heard it’s a really good and intriguing read about what it takes to be successful (including a lot of factors beyond our control).  Projected to be an interesting read.  Target completion: August 2014.

** Have you read any of these books?  Which books did I miss?  Did you read something lately that you really liked?**

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2014 Crossfit Open: “You Just Might Regret It”

For the past two years, I’ve written motivational articles on the upcoming Crossfit Open.  In 2012, I wrote about how Rich Froning can inspire greatness within all of us.  In 2013, I wrote about how a run-in with a popular song encouraged me to give my all during the Open season.

To say the least, this year is a little different.

For the past several months, I’ve struggled with my relationship with crossfit.  If it were a boy, I think we’ve broken up at least twice.  If it were a relationship status on Facebook, let’s just say It’s Complicated.

xfit pic


I took a few weeks off of my gym’s membership last Fall to focus on my workload at work.  As I spent 9-10 hours a week sitting in my desk chair, my physical and mental state suffered.  When I returned to the gym, I couldn’t hit PRs that I used to hit.  I couldn’t maintain the endurance that I used to maintain.  I couldn’t string together the same number of pull ups – or ring rows – for that matter.

Disappointments quickly started mounting from which I haven’t exactly recovered.  To be frank, this year, the Open is the last thing on my mind.

During times like this, I often think of my sister.  She frequently encourages me to do things that I never think of doing.  She provides the motivation that I can’t muster myself.

Want to hear one of her stories?  (Inspiration delivered hot n’ ready below.)


The summer before my sister’s senior year of high school, she committed a fourth-degree misdemeanor in the state of Ohio.

In that, she went skinny dipping in Lake Erie (public indecency, peeps).

No – my sister never actually got caught by the police or any adult, for that matter.  But, she did immediately tell her entire family what happened.  It was quite humorous really, but, also, shocking.  Why would my baby sister feel the need to randomly go skinny dipping???

She had an answer for that, of course.  She told me that if she had not gone, one day, she just might regret it.  I mean – how often do you have the chance to skinny dip in Lake Erie?



This story has been stuck in my head for the past several weeks now.  It’s rather odd, really.  It’s the dead of winter and has nothing to do with my life or the Crossfit Open.

Or, does it?

With my physical and mental state, regarding crossfit, these past several months, I want to run as far away from the 2014 Open as possible.  It’s like that looming date for a test you don’t want to take – or that evil relative that  you don’t want to visit.

But, what it really comes down to… is that I’m scared of it.  Abso.lute.ly.terri.fied.  I’m scared of not being able to complete the movements.  I’m scared of disappointing myself.  I’m scared of not beating last years’ times.

Am I alone?

Probably not.

As much as I know it’s hard to ever admit it, both seasoned and rookie CrossFitters are most likely a little scared.  Will we perform like we expect?  Will we meet the time cap?  Will they repeat that god awful 12.4/13.3 wallball WOD?  Will we meet our expectations?  Our friends’ expectations?  Our coaches?

The Crossfit Open is full of uncertainty and expectations.  Heck, there’s a reason why they announce the workouts the way they do. But, at the end of the day, how often are we given the chance to compete in the same workout against thousands of people around the world?

What this boils down to is that we all have our own motivational techniques – uplifting music beats, pre-workout routines, lucky coins, verbal affirmations, etc.  But this year, I want to offer up something a little different.  This year, as you prepare for the announcement of 14.1, as you contemplate whether or not to even show up, as you struggle with deciding if you need a video camera or not, as you question during the WOD if you can push yourself one.ounce.harder, do me a favor – will ya?

Think about how if you don’t do these things – one day, you just might regret it.

***Linking up with Frysauce & Grits!!***

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