Friday (February 24th) was my 28th birthday! WOO!!! A colleague of mine described it as part of “the slow clap” years to approaching 30. TRUTH!

I would sum the weekend up in one quote (that’s conveniently on a sweatshirt I own): “No Pain, No Cake!”. Yes, my birthday consisted of pain and cake (plus a few glasses of champagne).


Pain: The Cross Fit Open of 2017 has begun! For those of you who are not familiar with how the Open works here is a quick explanation:

Each week, for 5 weeks, a workout is released and athletes have about four days to complete it while being judged at a local gym. You then submit your score online. Based on your score you are ranked with everyone else in the WORLD who is competing. Then if you’re really good you move on to compete at Regionals and then the CrossFit Games.

I started CrossFit last year around the time of the 2016 Open so here we are a year later. It was time to register for the 2017 Open and I figured:

  1. I’m not training for a half marathon right now so why not try something new?
  2. I have two more years to complete my 30 by 30 list (30 things to do before I turn 30) so why not add this to the list?
  3. Why not?

So with these reasons-or lack of reasons-I registered!

The local gym I go to (CrossFit Jeffries Point) is honest and realizes that everyone there has a day job and will not qualify for the Games let alone Regionals. So… they have made the Open a little more fun by creating “Open Nights”. Athletes are divided amongst four teams competing within the gym. I’m a proud member of the “R & Beat Swings” team! Lucky for me my actual workout “score” is only a minimal part of the competition. The rest is made up of team spirit–now that I can help with! I’m already thinking up signs for next week!

Here is where the pain comes in. The workout “17.1”:

  • 10 dumbbell snatches
  • 15 burpee box jump-overs
  • 20 dumbbell snatches
  • 15 burpee box jump-overs
  • 30 dumbbell snatches
  • 15 burpee box jump-overs
  • 40 dumbbell snatches
  • 15 burpee box jump-overs
  • 50 dumbbell snatches
  • 15 burpee box jump-overs
  • Scaled Version: 20lbs dumbbell and 20inch box

Your score was the time it took you to complete this workout with a cap of 20 minutes. I’m proud to say I completed it before the cap was over! My score: 18:38

Going into the workout I didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was a lot of work but I ran a marathon in October. If I can run for almost 5 hours I can put up with this for a short 20 minutes! Yeah I was wrong, this was totally different! During hours of running I get into a rhythm and start to space out, it helps make the miles fly by. But it turns out you can’t do that with a CrossFit workout. I had to continuously focus on what my body was doing ensuring that each rep was done perfectly. With that many reps I didn’t have the time or the energy to hear “no rep” and have to repeat it.

Pain? Yes! I had some pain during and after the workout but that was nothing compared to what I felt when trying to get out of bed the next day. There are sore muscles in my back I didn’t even know I have!! As someone on social media said, “17.1 teaching me anatomy”. Truer words have never been spoken! Good thing I’ve had lots of cake to go along with it!

Cake: I was fortunate to have some friends come over after the Open Night for a little birthday celebration. The schools in Boston had the week off for February Break and since all of my friends are teachers many were out of town. But there were a few around and I was happy they were willing to spend their time off with me!  

We enjoyed a wonderful evening of drinks and snacks. The snacks included: cheese, sausage, crackers, veggies, pita, hummus, bean dip, chips, and strawberry cupcakes. It was wonderful and I helped myself to all of it. (Bean dip recipe and strawberry cupcake recipe can be found at the bottom of this post)

The thing that I appreciated most about that evening was the fact that there were teachers from the elementary and middle school grades. So often our k-8 school is divided between elementary and middle school with little interaction between the grades. However despite the grades we teach at we all still deal with the same joys and struggles. It turns out third graders and seventh graders are more alike than you think!

The mass eating and drinking continued on Saturday night when my husband and I went to Myers & Chang for dinner. It was wonderful! If you find yourself in Boston, GO! It’s best described at Asian Tapas. There are some dishes that are closer to being traditional while others are a modern Asian twist (fried chicken and ginger waffles for example). Dinner was followed by drinks at The Gallows. While I’m usually not a cocktail person their cocktail menu was too interesting to pass up. I started with a safe choice, twisted tea which was a wonderful adult version of an Arnold Palmer. That was followed up by the Gretchen Wieners (lavender infused vodka, lime, and agave). It truly was lavender infused vodka! Definitely very different from any drink I’ve ever had but it was very good! Also, moment of respect to Mean Girls and Tina Fey–a movie that has truly become part of our pop culture!

FYI: The best part about making cake for your birthday: having it for breakfast the next day…and the day after. I mean if a donut constitutes as a breakfast pastry so does a strawberry cupcake.

In short the cake continued throughout the weekend and so did the pain.

Take what you love and run with it!


Bean and Corn Salsa:
1 15oz. can black beans drained and rinsed
1cup frozen corn thawed
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3-4 Tbsp chunky salsa
In large bowl combine all ingredients. Mix well.Cover and refrigerate to blend flavors. Best if made the day before.
Serve with chips.
Strawberry Cake:

Prepare one white cake mix. Add 2/3 cup strawberry preserves. Pour into 9 X 13 X 2 pan or make into cupcakes. Bake as directed on cake box.

Icing: cream 3 ounces of cream cheese. Add 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Blend well. Add 1/4 cup strawberrypreserves. Mix.