Monday, December 20, 2010

CrossFit Does Not Hurt

People talk about CrossFit being “painful.” Pain is relative isn’t it? What hurts one person doesn’t hurt another. Some people have a higher tolerance than others. Some people respond differently to pain. I personally think that pain from a good workout isn’t like “real” pain at all. Sure, it hurts, but it’s short lived. By the time you’ve pulled your sweat drenched body off the mats and made your way to your car, the pain is over. Well, isn’t that the best kind of pain ever? The kind that only lasts for a short while?

Let’s talk about CrossFit pain. Yes, your lungs will burn. Yes, your muscles will ache. Yes, you will get bruises. Yes, your hands will tear and bleed. Yes, you will cry when you’ve been push past the point of exhaustion.

Big freaking deal. Suck it up. That’s not real pain. Pain from a CrossFit workout is good. You will be better for it in the end. You will feel exhilaration at the end of it. You are blessed to feel this type of pain. Blessed. So many people don’t get the opportunity to feel this type of pain. You can move your body. You can complete a WOD. You GET to do this. It is a gift to move your body! And it is a a gift to feel this glorious type of pain. Because other types of pain are not so glorious.

Pain from heartache is bad. Whatever kind of heartache. Its just awful. It’s a hurt you can’t get away from. You can’t catch your breath. You can’t “walk” it off. Or foam roll your way out of it. It’s not like DOMS. It doesn’t get worse on the second day and then miraculously get better on day 3. It’s a pain that lingers.

A dear friend of mine is watching her daughter suffer with an inoperable brain tumor. She is six years old. That is pain. I cannot comprehend this type of pain. And I love this child. This is real pain. Real, awful, raw, pain.

The heart doesn’t recover nearly as quickly as other muscles. And it can hurt for an unimaginable length of time. I think it may be the only muscle that may never heal after it’s been broken.

So when I am running or doing a WOD these days and it “hurts,” I think of her, and I chastise myself for thinking I am in “pain.”

God bless you, Peyton. You are in my every prayer.

Please pray for Reyton Rudkin.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's all different now.

There is only one thing certain in our lives. . . Nothing will stay the same. Everything continues to change. And change isn’t always comfortable. In fact, I’d say in most situations, change isn’t something that we willingly embrace, no matter how it comes about.

There is change we choose. And there is self-serving decision. There is change we don’t choose. There is change that is selfish, and that is selfless. Change that is good, and change that is bad. It’s either chosen or imposed. Either way, it is defining in its existence.

Change is a tricky process. I know, because I have lived the last 18 years of my life with big changes. I have moved to seven different cities in the last 18 years. That means leaving and starting over a lot of times. Finding new friends, missing old ones. I have determined however, that although leaving is hard, the people you leave behind suffer more. No matter how the leaving comes about.

The person moving on has the benefit of experiencing new things. Even if those things are scary and unknown. The excitement comes with newness. It may not be easy, but it’s new. New is better than the “same old thing.” The person you left behind – they miss you. I’m not just imagining how this feels. I have lived both sides of this, too many times.

Sometimes we are the ones who are choosing the change. I’ve been told recently by a dear friend, “We need to constantly evolve.” Maybe that’s true. It goes along the lines of what I said before, that nothing will ever stay the same. But that one is hard too, when it involves two people. One person wants to “evolve” and one person was happy with the way things were. Or maybe not happy, but not willing to let go of something that was so great at one time. Why do we want to hang on to what was good, even it if isn’t anymore? Well, that’s another topic, I suppose.

I guess if I am really honest with myself, I tend to avoid change because it’s easier to stay the same, although, if you ask my Mom, she’ll tell you that “choosing to do nothing is making a decision in of itself.” I know I’ve shared this gem before, and I may again, because it seems to keep coming back at me in my life, over and over again.

Some types of change are harder for me than others. A change in a relationship is very difficult for me. What I’ve learned about myself, over the years, is that I am a keeper of people. I don’t “discard” people very easily. I can get rid of clothing I don’t wear, and that no longer suits me, was last season’s style, doesn’t fit well, not flattering, the reasons go on and on. . . but people? Well, I hold on to them for much longer. It’s a curse and/ or a blessing. I tend to love people beyond their “value” in my world. I hold on to people for what they “have meant” to me, what I “want them to mean” to me, what I “thought they meant” to me, what they “do mean” to me. You get the point.

So apparently, I choose to stay the same, a lot of the time, unless I have no choice. I choose to not make the hard changes. Why? Because, obviously, that’s hard! But that may change as well. . . because life is a work in progress, right?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

They called me Popeye.

Definition: By Mayo Clinic staff
Chronic exertional compartment syndrome is an uncommon, exercise-induced neuromuscular condition that causes pain, swelling and sometimes even disability in affected muscles of your legs or arms.

Really? Who knew? Could this happen to me? YEP.

I’ll tell you a little story. Well, the “little” part won’t appy to size of my arms, they were HUGE. . . I did Angie on Wednesday morning. Thursday I was sore. Normally sore. I did heavy cleans that day. Thursday afternoon I was very sore. Abnormally sore. My biceps were slightly swollen. Mobility was tight. I said to Brady, “My arms have never been this sore, ever. Ever!” Friday morning I was in a lot of pain and my elbow started to swell. Friday the pain and swelling was worse. My arms were bent at about a 35 degree angle and wouldn’t budge. Saturday, worse. Sunday, worse. My arms were close to double their normal size. Minimal range of motion. I was scared. Monday, slight improvement upper arms, forearms getting bigger. Tuesday, swelling moving downward. Wednesday, huge forearms and wrists. Thursday, turning a corner. And so there it goes until finally looking “normal” the following Monday. Quite a process. My life for 12 days. . . pain, swelling, ice, elevation. And I was called "Popyeye" on several occasions. Luckily, I kept my sense of humor, most of the time. And let the record state, that I harbor no ill will toward Angie. It wasn’t her fault. It’s just life. Things happen.

Injury. It sucks. It hurts. It can be scary. It can feel like complete body betrayal. No one wants their training to halt because of unexpected injury. But isn’t injury always “unexpected?” It falls along the lines of “accident.” We don’t plan for it, we don’t think it will happen, but sometimes the body says “no more.” In my case last week, my body said at the top of its lungs, “HELL NO. NO MORE. NO MORE AT ALL!”

So what now? When injury occurs, your first thought is “why now?” I don’t have time for this now. And what you really mean is that you never have time for an injury. But try to focus on what you can do while you’re healing instead of all of the things you can’t. Easier said than done. I was literally envious today when the wod included “ground to overhead anyway.” I was the one holding the PVC pipe. Sad times.

We can be left feeling like we’re taking one step forward and three huge steps backwards when we suffer an injury. How long until we get back to where we were? How far behind will we be? Where could we could have been if it hadn’t happened? It can be disheartening to say the least.

Fitness isn’t always a steady course. It’s kind of like traveling on rolling hills. At times it’s a long steep up-hill battle, with rewards at the top. And sometimes you cruise along like nothing can stop you. Then sometimes you crash at the bottom. . .

It’s at that moment when you have to get up, brush the dirt off and do what it takes to begin the long climb all over again.

It’s worth the effort. I do believe that.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Two-piece. No-peace.

Just say the words , “bikini season” and every women in ear shot will feel a chill down their spine. "Wait," the mind says, “Don’t I have more time?!” No! It is upon us, like a plague that comes around once every year. . .

Why is this season such a nightmare? It’s kind of sad that we wait all year long to get a bit of warmth and sunshine and then it's burdened by the feeling of doom. . . At some point we will be expected to shed the comfort and security of our pants and be forced to reveal what usually only our bathroom mirror is privy too. . . our fannies and backs of our legs.

And if you’re like nearly every woman on the planet, you tell yourself that by “June” you will be ready to bear your legs and midriff. It’s what most of us work for, all year long. It’s the time when we will reveal our months and months of hard workouts and good nutrition choices. We will strut our stuff in short shorts, tube tops, and bikinis. Rock our hard bodies. Own it. Like only CrossFit chicks can.

Right? Oh, wait. . . no, most of that is complete crap. Because even those of us who work out -- five or more days a week, watch our diets, and care about PR’s and WOD times, and obsess about our Oly form. . . are as insecure as anyone else.

At the core, the majority of women, are not satisfied with who we are. Our boobs are not perfect. Either too big, too small, too saggy. Or for some of us, they are almost non-existent (which is fun while living in the world of implants). Our tummy’s pose all sorts of issues. Extra cushion, which is quite stubborn. Stretch marks. Our little gifts from our babies. Crepe-paper-extra skin which doesn’t go away, even when the extra pounds do. Our assses. Well, I could write a whole page about asses. They are too big, too flat, too floppy, too droopy, too dimpled, too. . . well, you get the point. And don’t even get me started on the area we call the “saddle bags,” or the “butternut” as my dear friend refers to hers.

My point is, we all have parts of us that we don’t care for. Even hate, I suppose. And it’s a bit different for all of us. I hate my legs. My vastus-intermedialus, vastus-lateralus, and specifically, my vastus-medialis. In layman’s terms, I hate my quads. I am quite muscular. And although I appreciate what my legs do for me, I wish they’d have chosen to be a bit smaller in that area. I see other girls that lift and are strong. They don’t have legs like mine. Mine are big. I can’t do a dang thing about it. Except try to find a way to appreciate the benefits of my legs. And my small boobs. . . and . . . every other part of my body that I wish I could change.

You see, all of us struggle with body image. Even the girl that I watched at the 2010 CrossFit Games this weekend -- who I thought was “perfect.” She doesn’t believe that. She’d have a list all her own of all the things she wishes she could change. A list of self-imposed imperfections.

So what do I do with this knowledge? Knowing that none of us believe we are good enough? That all of us fall short of where are want to be?

As an intelligent woman of faith, I should know, without doubt, that “we” insecure women are all so very wrong. We don’t know how good we have it. We are bitching about little “things” while others are dealing with disease or birth defects. We are focused on “perfection” rather than “well-being.”

I should be grateful for my healthy body that I work so hard for. Embrace my legs for their strength. Be thankful for the tiny breasts that nursed both of my daughters for almost 5 years. (Yes, I said TWO daughters and FIVE years. Gasp. Different topic). I should know that the stretch marks on my body, mark time – time of a blessed life lived. I should know that my imperfections make me unique, not horrible. Being able to work out is a piece of good fortune and moving my body is a gift.

I should laugh in the face of bikini season. But even knowing what I do, the stupid, insecure girl in me. . . doesn’t.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Burpees are free.

Motivation, priorities, excuses. All of these things affect your workouts. We are either extremely lacking or highly motivated. We either make it a priority or we shove it to the end of the list. Excuses come in many, many forms.

Motivation, for me, comes in waves. Some people are motivated by failure. I am not. I am motivated by good things. A great lift, a good WOD time, a run that I didn’t hate. These are things that spur me on to have the same experience the next day. Of course every day can’t be a good day. I try to tell myself, “good days, bad days.” But I have to admit that my motivation begins to lack when I feel like I’m not doing well, or performing to my potential. That’s when the "inner quitter” in me says “who cares?” Who cares if I lose? Who cares if I am strong? Who cares how fast I run a mile? Who cares what my Fran time is? And then I shake myself and say, rather loudly, “I DO!” And that tends to get me back on track. Steers me back to being the motivated athlete I want to be. So, like I said, it comes in waves.

I also believe that setting goals helps me greatly. I sit down and make a list of what I want to accomplish and in what time frame. I don’t just think about it. I write it down. Everyone needs goals. Or else we’re purposelessly wandering through weeks of wods and lifts, never getting to where we want to be. We need purpose. With purpose, we’re motivated to meet our goals. And then we need to prioritize our lives to make meeting these goals possible.

Prioritizing our lives can be quite complicated, especially when it comes to working out. It’s often the first thing that people will push to the bottom of the list when they are busy. But not for me. I can honestly say that when it comes to working out, it’s very near the top of my priority list. I don’t schedule anything that gets in the way with my workouts. Some would say this makes me selfish. And I will agree that it is my choice to make it more important than other things in my life, but does that make me selfish? I don’t think so. Isn’t that what we all do? We all make time for the important things. It’s about finding a balance between the things we have to do and the things we want to do. On my “want to do” list, working out takes the top priority. And I’ve been blessed to make that work. My schedule is easier to manipulate than it is for some, I fully admit that. I also make choices with my time. But it may not always be such. I may not always have this amount of freedom. And then I will re-prioritize my time to make it work. Because it is that important to me. And if you want to be fit, really fit, then you have to make it a priority, you can’t make excuses.

Excuses, excuses, excuses. Rarely are they valid. But I will say that I thoroughly believe that all of us can make excuses for any and everything that we do or don’t do, and the way anything turns out. “I can’t workout because I am sick.” Not usually true. I’ve worked out sick many, many times. I use the rule of thumb, “would I call in sick if someone was paying me?” You may not be as good, but you will survive. Sometimes I think it even helps. “I can’t workout because I was up late and I’m hungover.” Sadly, I can attest to the fact that surviving a CrossFit wod hungover doesn’t rate high on my list of good times, but you will live. I promise you. “I’m too busy.” Can you rearrange your schedule to accommodate a workout? How many of hours of TV did you watch this week? Or talked on the phone? Find the time. Most of us can. Treat it like a very small part time job. Don’t negotiate when it comes to your workouts. “I’m too sore.” Never true. You’ll be fine. Unless you’re dealing with an injury, get your butt back in the gym. “I don’t have the money.” Add up your Target receipts. Then add your Starbucks receipts. Then add your fast food receipts. This one usually comes back to our talk about priorities.
Of course sometimes you are actually too sick, or too busy, or too broke. There are circumstances when all of the above reasons are beyond your control and you just simply can’t make it work. I totally get that. I am speaking for the majority of us. Not all of us. But just be honest with yourself. You’ll know if your reason for skipping a workout is valid. Just get back to it when you can.

Remember, 50 burpees for time is a great WOD. It’s short, maybe not-so-sweet, but it won’t cramp your busy schedule. And trying to get it done in less than 3 minutes is a great goal to be motivated to accomplish. You can do it at home or anywhere for that matter. And burpees are free.

Be motivated. Make working out a priority. Stop making excuses.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Taking a a break.

I haven’t had much to say lately. And that rarely happens to me. Just ask anyone who knows me very well. I can usually talk for two people at once. I may even talk over the top of you to get my point across – or a thought out. It’s not because I don’t value what you say, or that I don’t want to hear you. It’s just that when a thought arises, I feel like I need to get it out. Right then or I may forget. But that’s not really true, because I have an excellent memory. I can remember what you were wearing to a BBQ three years ago. But my mind does tend to jump around quite quickly, and I am apparently a very selfish conversationalist. I apologize for that. But I should warn you, it will not change.
Anyway, I’ve always been told that if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. I guess I have taken that advice to heart of late. I’m sure my Mother wishes I would have followed that advice several years ago. But we’re not talking about years ago, it’s now. And lately I’ve said nothing. At all.
Has it helped? No. I don’t think it has. I think being silent has not been good for me. I think that retreating in to yourself may not be a place where some of us should go. I’ve never been solitary by nature, so when my behavior goes in this direction, red flags go up everywhere. It’s a blessing and a curse. No, I suppose it’s JUST a blessing. I am very grateful for everyone in my life that knows me so well that when I deviate from the norm, it doesn’t go unnoticed. I am lucky.
I have had my quiet time. I am ready to talk again. I hope those of you who are still listening will continue to see what I have to say. And thank you for sticking by me and continuing to read whatever I write.
Until next time. Soon.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Little girl. Big personality.

Raising daughters can be challenging. And I am just at the beginning of what that means. . . It would be wonderful to ask my Mom what she thinks about this topic, but I will save that for another time. Today, I am going to talk about Stella.

My Stella. She is seven. She’s a spit-fire of a girl. She says it like it is. She doesn’t take no for an answer. She is loving and tender, but has a tough side that is ever present.

And she is so different from Sophia. Which isn’t a bad thing, and I suppose that I am quite different from my own sister. Actually, I am very different, but there are things about us that are amazingly similar that everyone doesn’t see. Anyway, that isn’t what this is about.

Recently I have become aware that my “baby” is wanting to be “older.” She is showing this to me in so many ways. For example, I have become “embarrassing” to her. In so many ways. I have been told that kissing her in the classroom is not allowed. Its embarrassing. Putting my hand down her shirt to feel her skin. That very embarrassing. Okay, maybe I can see her point there. But in my defense, she is my baby girl, and I have had access to her wonderfully soft skin since giving birth. Can I be blamed for wanting to touch it when I can? But I guess that time is passing. How sad.

She’s also become so aware of her “standing.” We bought her a new bike last weekend. Unfortunately for Stella, she is a bit short, which means that she has to choose from bikes that come with training wheels. Stella hasn’t used training wheels for years. She was mortified, to say the least, that she would have to purchase a bike that came with such wheels. We tried telling her that we’d take them off the second we got home. But that was not great consolation. In the end, Stella and I had to walk 100 feet behind her Dad to exit Wal-Mart, so no one watching would ever think that said bike would belong to her. And we had to purchase an after-market kick-stand to appease her!

Then she came home the other day and told me that “Wyatt is in love with me.” I told her I thought she was too young to be in love. She replied, and I quote, “Dude, I want to know what it’s like to have a boyfriend!” I repeated that I thought she was too young and that she needed to be friends with boys at this point. Next thing I know, she is coming around the corner with tennis balls tucked up in her shirt, representing breasts, and she declares, “I am nineteen. Now I can have a boyfriend.”

So today, Stella comes in the door from school with a bounce in her step. I say “What’s up baby girl?” She says, “I have a boyfriend now.” I said, “Wow. How did that happen?” She replied, “I asked Grace to ask Wyatt to be my boyfriend and apparently he said yes.” So I asked her if it had occurred to her to wait to have him “ask her?” She said, “ No, why would it?”

Well, Stella has begun a path for herself. A path of “I will get my own.” Is it a good path? I guess that remains to be seen. I think it’s a great thing to know what you want and go after it. But I also think there is something to be said for patience and all things happening in their own time.

One thing is for certain, she is one very determined little girl. And that alone will serve her well.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What was I going to do?

This is dedicated to my sister, Lisa. I am her “favorite blogger.” I am also the only blogger she reads. I love you. And thank you for being my biggest fan. . .

I washed my face with hair mousse last night. This of course wasn’t my plan. I had just gotten home from teaching a class at CFLT. I was tired. The girls were complaining about getting ready for bed. The cats were on my counter wanting a drink from the sink. All I wanted to do was get in to my pajamas, wash my face, put on my numerous wrinkle-prevention products and relax on the couch. And my mind was racing about all kinds of things I need to do and was trying not to forget. So after applied said “cleanser” to my face, my first thought was “wow, this is sticky.” It was about that time that I was trying desperately to scrub off mascara with no luck, that I realized that I was indeed washing my face with hair product! I looked in the mirror. My eyes were squinted at this point because, just so you know, mousse stings, and I said to myself, “You are losing your mind.”

I’ve been a bit distracted lately. A bit “off.” I’ve always thought of myself as highly organized – and not forgetful. Not like my sister, Lisa, or Trisha Brock “organized” – but pretty dang good. But when I really look at my life, I think that statement only applies to me as an employee. And that’s maybe because I put a “job” before my personal life when I have one. I can say that I am an exemplary employee. Never miss a deadline. Never had a poor review. Always did my job to the best of my ability. Was it because I got paid? Or because I felt appreciated? I don’t know.

Over the last 9 years, since becoming a Mom, I’ve tried to be my former “organized” self. But I think I’m finally ready to admit, that this isn’t the best job for me. Don’t get me wrong, I am doing it and getting it done. I keep a clean house, bills are paid, and the girls are where they need to be on time. They are well loved, and well mannered. I think by most standards, I do a good enough job, although I usually feel a bit crazy.

So maybe I’m not as “on it” as I thought I once was. Or maybe I only think about the stuff that I want to, and the other stuff just goes by the way side to be dealt with only when absolutely necessary. There is so much to remember and keep track of. Specifically when you have school aged kids. Do you know how much paper comes home with kids? I wish I was the Mom who always knew what was going on at school, but I’m not. I usually scan the kids’ folders and unless something really jumps out at me, then it gets a quick deposit to the recycle bin. And then Cari or Michelle reminds me about Skate Nights and Muffins with Mom. I should write this stuff down.

I’ve also determined that I am not good at remembering upcoming special occasions. If you’re my good friend and you’ve rarely received a birthday card over the last 10 years or so, well then, already know this about me. My sister has told me several times that if I kept an updated calendar of these important dates I’d be fine. Unfortunately, I do this some years and some years I just don’t. But don’t worry, it does work both ways – I really won’t hold it against you if you forget my birthday. I promise.

So I have decided to get things in order. Come up with systems to remember things – and places to put everything – from birthdays to school activities, CFLT business, and of course my personal life. I am capable of this. I just have to make the time to do it. Make organizing my life a priority, instead of just dealing with things as they present themselves. In the long run, I’ll be much better off having a true plan of action rather than having my, at times a bit flighty, brain clogged with all of the random things a women/wife/mother has to think about. It seems rather overwhelming and time consuming to try and come up with a better strategy, but what I am doing now certainly isn’t efficient and is clearly not working.

First line of business? Separate hair products from face cleansers on the bathroom counter!

Friday, April 9, 2010

A great snatch and other happy things.

My days didn’t start great this week. Nothing horribly wrong, just your run of the mill “not great” mornings. The girls started fighting at the breakfast table, brought it upstairs, yelled when I brushed their hair “gently” – so I showed them what “hard” felt like. Sophia told me at the last minute that she needed lunch money. Stella panicked because one of her library books didn’t get read. I didn’t have any money in my purse for “Friday’s treats.” Bobby the cat, puked up hair bands left on the floor by the girls that he’d eaten. . . in about 7 places. The other two cats had been trying to eat the pet fish for breakfast, so I need to re-tape the tanks the kitchen counter. My husband called at my busiest time and was irritated that I didn’t have “five minutes to talk.” Both girls picked completely inappropriate outfits for a very cold windy day because they saw sunshine. I had to make them change. If you’re a Mom you know why this is an awful process. My computer won’t connect to the internet consistently and I can’t figure out why, which is a problem when you need to pay bills and you do this online. And finally, I have somehow gained somewhere in the range of five or more pounds – I don’t weight myself, but my jeans are saying very nasty things to me. So when even your workout pants feel tight and you have to look for your loosest tank, it kind of puts you over the top, so to speak. Anyway. . . like I said, nothing life threatening. . . just life.

So what do I do when I’m having a bad day? Or consecutive bad days? Well, here are a few of my “go-to” things that make me “happier” for the moment. I’m not going to tell you any heavy-deep-and-real things. My happy little things are sometimes rather shallow and simple. Some are physically productive. None are in particular order. And I do not do all of these things on a given day. But on very awful days, I just may do them all!

New lip gloss. Always makes me smile. Even though I generally purchase a shade very similar to what I already own. I still like putting it on. I’m a bit of an addict.

Phone calls. To anyone who will listen to you. Usually a best girl friend. I’m very blessed to have several to choose from. They sometimes probably wish they could be put the bottom of the “call” list.

New jammies. Nothing feels better than putting on a new pair of p.j.’s. I just like them. I put them on very early on Friday nights when we have nothing going on. I own A LOT of jammies.

Self-Tanner. A pale girls’ best friend. Nothing makes me feel better than seeing a bit of color on my skin. Especially when I am feeling a bit frumpy. Brings me back to the days of Yakima sunshine and baby-oil suntans.

New sweat pants. These are great because they are never tight. So if the above mentioned five pounds are bothering you, you can avoid tight jeans and put these on and feel a bit cute.

Painted toe-nails. A new coat of polish can do wonders for your mood. Not sure why pink toes make me happy, but they do.

Picking up big weights. There is nothing like a great snatch or a heaving clean & jerk to clear your head and make you feel powerful.

Muscle-ups. Not everyone can do these. A very cool thing to remind your self that you’re capable of.

Coffee. Not the kind your pour from your pot at home – the kind you pay too much for when you’re with a friend. And then drink it with that friend. You’ll start taking about things that don’t make you irritated, or you may re-hash the things that do, but either way, you’re getting it out of your system.

Wine and great music and dancing. Enough said.

I lied, there is one heavy-deep-and-real thing that I do when I’m having a really bad day. I call my Mom. She makes me happy. She’s the most amazing women in the world. She’s lived through anything that comes at me and can make me see what matters and what doesn’t. Sometimes however, she can make me mad. This is usually when she’s making sense and I choose not to, but I love her more than anything and value whatever she says to me. I hope she knows this. I think she does.

This is not my be-all end-all list of things that can change my mood, but they are right up there.

Simple things that make me happy. What do you turn to when you’re needing a pick-me-up?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Like fine wine

This is a picture of me at age 24. Tomorrow I turn 40.

Is this a life milestone? It would seem to be if you follow the media or ask anyone nearing the age. Apparently I’m about to become an official “Cougar,” although I’m not certain if that applies to married women, or not. I’ll take the title either way. I think it makes us “older” women sound tough and like a force to be reckoned with. Complementary, I believe. But black greeting cards and balloons everywhere? It leaves one to believe that turning forty is near death. Dismay. Depression. Midlife crisis? It doesn’t have to be. Or gosh, I hope not, because it’s happening to me.

Am I overly concerned about entering my forties? In some ways, yes and in some ways, not all at. My body is healthier and stronger now then its ever been. That’s a good thing. I also spend more time these days thinking about what I want to do when I “grow up,” and not wanting to waste time on things not worth the time or energy. Another good thing. But I definitely spend a lot more time thinking about combating wrinkles and grey hair. Not a good thing. But besides that, I'm realizing, that turning 40 isn't such a big deal. I wake up and a feel just like I did 20 years ago. Well, that’s not entirely true. After a “late” night, I suppose I don’t recover like I did in my twenties. But in the moment, I still party like I am! Don’t tell me that I don’t dance like the twenty-something’s -- or look just about as good. . . in a dimly lit bar. . . around midnight. . . ahhhhh. . . the things we tell ourselves. But I digress.

My Grandma used to look at photographs of her current self and tell me that she wondered “who is that old lady in these pictures?” She said that she didn’t feel as old as she was. I’m very much the same. Maybe we all are. Those of us who want to remain young, tend to “feel” like we are ageless. Ageless. What an amazing concept.

I’ve met people who are young and think of themselves as “old souls.” There are people who are young and act as though they are much older than their calendar years. I wonder why they would want to run from their youth. And I know people who haven’t let the year they were born dictate their interests, or slow them down in the least. They still do all of the things they loved to do when they were younger. They haven’t bought in to the idea that we have to discard what we loved to do as kids because we’ve grown older. That is the person I will be.

“Ageless” can be applied to our behavior – but our aesthetic appearance as well. This is a topic all on its own, but I will apply it to my specific concerns. What do we do when we see those awful lines between our brows? The deep lines in our foreheads? I swear that I have been “surprised” and “pissed” for my entire life. I have lines that will tell you as much. They won’t go away. I’ve tried every wrinkle cream known to man. They won’t budge. Botox? Restalyne? Not sure where I stand on all of that yet. We should embrace the aging process. I always said, “never.” I said that many years ago. . . For now, what you see is all natural. But I will tell you when or if I decide to go that route. And I just may. As far as grey hair goes? NEVER. I will color my hair and get rid of those obnoxious little silver devils every 6 weeks or so forever. Seriously.

And what do I want to do with the rest of my life? Turning 40 doesn't mean I need to know today. But I will admit that this time of my life seems to be filled with retro-intro-spection. It’s my time to figure out who I want to be, if I don’t already know. And I don’t, so there you go. I suspect that I will take life as it comes, one day at a time, like I have, for the last as many years as I’ve been responsible for making my own decisions.
I was born April 6th, 1970. Tomorrow I turn 40. It will be a good day indeed.

Monday, March 29, 2010

It's how you play the game

It doesn’t matter if you win or lose. That’s what we tell our children. But is it what we really believe? I mean, who doesn’t love to win? Winning is awesome. Winning feels good. Winning is so very, very cool. It rocks! But is it really what matters in the end?

I’m a competitive person. I always have been. I was in 4-H as a child. I still have my box of ribbons and trophies. I also had one of the fastest horses in our neighborhood growing up. It was either me on my horse Toby, or Gwen on her horse Little Man who came in first in races. I always liked first better than second. I like winning card games and am quite happy when I stomp someone playing Yahtzee. I enjoy nothing better than being the house Guitar Hero top-dog for the night. I won’t even let my children beat me if I can help it. I rationalize this by believing it will make them tougher in the end. In high school I raced my 1976 Subaru down several gravel roads trying to beat guys next to me. I’ve even competed for the attention of boys with other girls. . . that shocks you doesn’t it?! And of course, there’s CrossFit. No, competition there, huh?

So now that I have established I like winning, let’s talk about losing. Based on what I’ve just said, one would assume that I think “losing” is just awful. But believe it or not, I don’t think that. There is something to be said for giving it your best and being happy with the outcome. I know what I said about how cool it is to come in first, but there are times when the one you’re competing against is yourself. It’s then that you need to think about what it means to win.

Define “winning” for yourself. What does it really mean to you? Gaining a sense of accomplishment that you didn’t have the time before? A new PR? In my mind, that’s winning. Winning is sometimes just finishing. Winning is bettering yourself. Winning can be overcoming something that you fear and conquer. Each circumstance is different, but the result is the same.

In addition, there is “good-natured” competition and there is “win at all costs” competition. I am a fan of the former, rather than the later. Losing gracefully is of equal importance as to winning gracefully. Maybe this is something I should learn when playing board games.

Here is what I think. And it’s what I try to live by, although I don’t always. . . Work your ass off. Play smart. Push your boundaries. Go the distance. Do every thing that “they” say to do when you want to achieve greatness.

But remember . . . Sometimes the outcome isn’t “First Place.” Second Place is not the “First Loser.” And sometimes you just did your “Best.”

In any event, try to believe in your heart that YOU’VE WON.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Easy question. Tough to answer.

A friend asked me the other day, “What do you want out of life?” The strangest thing happened. I realized that I didn’t really know. Or rather, I could not quickly answer the question. I think we get very caught up in day to day life without ever taking the time to think about what it is we really want -- and then going the next step of actually working towards attaining those things.

So I sat and thought about what I wanted. I thought and I thought. I wrote down my list. It’s in no particular order. Actually it bounces all over the place as I thought of things. I suppose that’s okay. It’s not like life happens in order or with any rhyme or reason.

Some are easy and tangible. Some are harder to reach. But I think the idea is to know where you are heading or where you want to go. Try to do this. I think you’ll find it harder than you think if you get really specific. Things like I want to see the Grand Canyon. Or I want my children to have fond memories of experiences from their childhood. Or have a job that’s rewarding. Or be able to sit in peace with your own thoughts. Or get to share those thoughts with a friend that enriches your life. Or have enough money to support your desires without letting it define your happiness or success.

I imagine there are some things on everyone’s list that will never come to fruition. And maybe that’s okay too. We can’t have it all, can we? But there are probably some things on that list that we can.

Life should be challenging. You shouldn’t just let it happen to you, although the vast majority of us do just that. For instance, ask most people why they do the job they do and they will tell you “they fell in to it.” That’s not bad. We all have to do what we have to do. And of course “do-over buttons” are pretty rare to come across. Life and circumstance can dictate what we do and why we do it. I understand that. But shouldn’t we try to make our lives what we want them to be? That’s easier said then done, of course, but it’s worth shot.

My friend, Kim Derting, is an example of a woman who knew what she wanted and went after it. She’s now a published author with her first book, “The Body Finder,” just having just been released nationwide by Harper Collins. Her second book, “Desires of the Dead” will be out in 2011. She could have decided that at 40, with three children and a busy life, that her desire to be published was a pipe dream. But she did the hard work. She took the leap. She’s reaping the rewards. She inspires me every time I think of her.

My Mom has always said that “not making a decision is making a decision in of itself.” So in that vein, letting life just come at you without knowing what you want from it, is like saying that you don’t want any control over what happens. Right?

Well, I don’t want my life to just “happen.” I want to live with love and joy and challenges and goals and desires and wishes and abundance. I want to control what I can and accept what I can’t. Wishful thinking? Maybe. Probably. Too much to strive for? Never.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chasing Cari. . .

Although I have several of what I consider to be “weaknesses” relating to my fitness, running is number one on my list. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me. Maybe I was born with little lungs? Maybe my feet are extra heavy? I don’t know, but it continues to be something that I struggle with.

I have feelings of dread whenever I see running as a part of a WOD. I would rather do almost anything than run. And from a CrossFit standpoint, when talking about the functional aspects of our training and how it relates to everyday life – well, I still can’t see that running any sort of distance, beyond a sprint, is necessary.

I have argued this theory several times. If a bad guy is chasing me, I’m not fast enough to stay ahead for very long – maybe 200 meters, tops. So even if my endurance could outlast him, my slow legs will be the determining factor for him actually catching me. So what is the point? And I’m only partially kidding. Part of me, really believes this to be true. The other part, however, knows the fitness benefits of running.

So why do I continue to try and get better at it, when I most definitely do not like it? Well, mostly because I can’t stand “something” beating me. I can’t stand that I am not good at it. And I sincerely want to get better. So here’s been my plan. . .

I decided to get a couple of 5K races on my to-do list. The first one, I had never ran anything over 2 miles. My time was 35 minutes. Awful. Awful. Awful. I told myself I didn’t care about my time and that “finishing” was what mattered. I lied. I wanted to do better. So, I signed up for another.

Did I prepare? No. But I did manage to beat my time by a considerable amount. Second 5K. . . 28:23. Wow! I was so excited, I signed up for another. What does this tell me? I am chasing being “better.” And that’s the mind of a true CrossFitter! Chasing getting better, chasing a better time, working on my weaknesses.

Today, Cari and I hit the Orting Trail for a short 2 mile run to work on “my weakness.” We decided to chat and listen to birds and forgo ipods this time. As it turns out, my heavy breathing nearly drowns out nature, and apparently Cari and I have told so many stories, we may be "running out. " Back to music next time!

Live and learn. Or “run” and learn as it was today. Either way, I will make a new play list, throw on my shoes, and chase Cari’s red pony-tail, down some road, dreading each step, self-talking my way to the end, another day, towards my goal, until. . .

I reach another finish line.

(thanks friend)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I want to be Aimee

When I grow up I want to be Aimee Anaya-Everett. Who is she, you ask? She is a phenomenal national champion Olympic weightlifter. Actually I am in awe of many women who lift big weights, but I just happen to enjoy watching Aimee. I watch her form. I slow down videos, watching every single movement of her pulls. I wish I could ever be like her.

It’s kind of a funny thing to be pushing 40, and wish that you could turn back the clocks a bit, and be a professional Olympic weightlifter. I guess you’re never too old to try something, but I imagine that I’ve missed my window of ever being “good.” It’s something to work towards, however.

I am fascinated by the sport. For those of you who don’t know about it, there are two lifts in Olympic weightlifting – the clean & jerk and the snatch. Both are such incredible movements. My personal favorite is the snatch. I love the feeling of getting the weight off the floor and over my head in one fluid movement. These lifts are like a work of art. They are quick and explosive, beautiful and precise.

I especially love the technical aspects of the sport. There are so many elements to piece together, each one dependant on the other to have a successful lift. To me, it’s a continual work in progress. Even when you think you’ve gotten “okay” at the lifts – there is always room for so much improvement. I think that’s what I love most about Olympic lifting. You’re never good enough. You’re always working to get better. It pushes you every time.

This week I had a Snatch PR of 94#. I was thrilled! I was alone in my garage and had failed 2 attempts before going for the last one. I tried to visualize my success. I took my breath and went for it. I made it. With the bar overhead, I yelled to the walls “YEAH!!!” A wonderful moment that I wished I could have shared. That’s how exciting a PR is. It’s a moment when you conquer something you thought might be bigger than you can handle. Sheer exhilaration.

I have a goal of snatching my bodyweight some day. I have a ways to go. I really wanted to be in the triple digits by my Birthday in April, but I don’t think I will make it. And my max snatch isn’t terrible for my size and my extremely amateur status. But it could be better. And it is nothing, and I mean nothing at all, when you compare it to what good women lifters can get off the ground.

I recently watched a video of Aimee snatching 86 kg which is approximately 191#. And I just saw a picture of her snatching an inconceivable 91kg. Doesn’t that seem unbelievable? How extraordinary that she can get that much weight off the floor and over her head! And it’s a beautiful thing to watch. Check out some of Aimee’s and other amazing athletes’ videos, who train at Catalyst Athletics (cathletics.com). Go to the “workout” menu and watch any of their training.

You will be as inspired as I am.

(11/12 new snatch PR of 105#)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Go ahead, let it out

I am a crier. I cry for so many reasons. The obvious is sadness. But I also cry out of frustration. I cry when I am happy, when I am touched, when I am joyful. I cry when I am scared. I cry when I am very tired. Or in pain. I don’t think this makes me a weak person, I think crying is an emotional release, granted, my very common emotional release.

Some may tear-up more often than others, but everyone cries. There is not one person who is immune to the feeling of tears welling up in their eyes only to have them roll down their cheeks – sometimes taking a trail of mascara with them. Tears are like a window to your heart. It’s hard to pretend that you’re “fine” with wet streaks down your cheeks. Or the tell-tale puffy eyes that follow a good cry.

But let’s face it, sometimes you would really prefer to be able to keep your emotions controlled. You’d think this desire would make it easy. Unfortunately, it’s not for me. Sometimes I try to tell myself, “I will not cry.” And then I do. I once cried at the school because Stella was suffering from separation anxiety and I was forced to walk away from her while she was sobbing. I think the women in the office didn’t quite know what to say to me. They wanted to console me, I am sure, but I also know that I made them uncomfortable. That’s just one example of wishing I could turn off these tears of mine at will.

Crying makes others feel helpless. That’s because people in general don’t like seeing someone who is visibly distressed. We also have a tendency to want to say the right thing when someone is crying. We want to fix the problem. Because just watching someone cry without trying to fix the problem makes us feel rather powerless. We want to make someone stop crying. That’s our goal. Stop crying so we can believe that you’re better.

My neighbor’s cat died yesterday. She was crying. I wanted to do all the things I just discussed. But she was just sad. And there wasn’t a thing in the world that I could say or do that would make her feel better. Most times we can’t control our own tears, let alone the tears of others. Sometimes people just need to get it all out. Until they are done.

This brings me to a couple of conclusions. First, I need to stop telling my daughters to “stop crying” several times a day. They most obviously get it from me. Second, I will apologize ahead of time for crying in your presence – making you uncomfortable, and leaving you wanting to fix the problem – because I am certain it will happen at some point.

Hello, my name is Lori, and I am a Cry Baby.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Angie. . . Oh, Angie

I had two goals today. One, survive “Angie” in one piece. Two, beat Brady. I accomplished the first, but not the second. But that’s okay.
Here is the breakdown of a bitch or lady (however you choose to see her) like Angie. . .100 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats.

I look at WOD’s with 100 or more pull-ups with trepidation. Not only are they hard, really hard, but I full on expect to rip. And although know one dies from torn up hands, it does make washing your hair the next day a bit of a challenge.

Staring at the pull-up bar last night before 3-2-1-go, I wondered just exactly how far I would get before the damage would begin. After the first 30, I looked at my hands. They hurt, but appeared to be hanging in there. After 60, they hurt very bad, and were pinching. Around 85, I was certain that I would need some taping very soon. But the most wonderful thing happened at 100. . . I checked my hands. . . and my hands were in one piece!

This was the first time ever to reach the 100 mark without blisters and bleeding. This was a good day. I have renewed faith in these hands of mine. My hands accomplish amazing things. My hands aren’t beautiful, but they are tough. They are the hands of a CrossFit athlete. I have great hands! I am thankful for these hands.

Some of you might be asking why I choose to put my hands through such an ordeal. The short answer is “because I can.”

Sunday, February 21, 2010

They think I am beautiful

My daughters say the funniest things to me. They love me and tell me I am the most beautiful woman in the world. But they also tell me a few other things about my appearance. I think often, how fortunate that I have a fairly solid self esteem, because if I didn’t, yikes. . .

Sophia was having a sleep over with a girlfriend last night, so it was just Stella and I for the evening. I asked her what she wanted to do and she decided that a Mom and daughter bubble bath was in order. I was looking across the tub at her angelic almost 7 year old face with her smooth, flawless skin, bright eyes and darling little firm body and I think I was genuinely envious for a moment -- and then truly amazed that I could help create such a perfect little person. I said, “Stella, you are absolutely beautiful. I wish I looked just like you.” She looked at me and said with complete sincerity “Mom, you’re beautiful. And you do look like me. I might always be younger and prettier, but you’re the most beautiful Mom ever.” I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Stella will tell you like it is. What ever is on her mind will come out at the exact moment she’s thinking it. I’ve been told that she’s a bit like her Mom in that way.

Then when we were sitting on the couch later, and she was really staring at my face, and she asked when she will get wrinkles. Again, I laughed. But she told me, with certainty, that she liked mine just fine. About the time she asked if she should “pull out” the little grey hairs sticking up out of head, I told her, emphatically, that I would prefer she leave my grey hairs alone – I need all of the them, I explained to her. And then I told her to watch the movie and stop staring at me! I can only take so much scrutiny in one evening.

I’ve had these moments with Sophia, my 9 year old as well. I was getting out the shower one day and she walked right up to me and pushed my boobs up a bit and told me that they would look better “there.” Obviously, we’re a family with few boundaries as far as personal space goes. Anyway, she announced to me she was going to have big boobs, obviously, unlike mine. I was laughing at this point. After another perusing once-over of my naked body, she added that my backside was a bit floppy. My immediate thought was “Do you know how many squats I do? Doing the best I can little girl!” But then she finished up by telling me how beautiful I was.

Trying to end this “complement” session with my oldest daughter, I broke some things down for her, gently of course. I said, “Sophia, there is a good chance that your boobs will not be bigger than mine. Either way, you get what God gives you. And as far as my “floppy” back side is concerned, it’s really pretty okay for my age -- and your very “bootylicious” backside (her word for her butt) will look just like mine someday. It’s called gravity. Same for the boobs. Things don’t stay where they are supposed to after children and aging. You do the best with what you’ve got.”

Now it was Sophia’s turn to laugh out loud. She didn’t believe a dang thing I said. But she assured me once again, how beautiful she thinks I am. And unlike her, I chose to believe exactly what she said.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Getting from point A to point B

I was driving down the road the other day with a friend who was lamenting about “feeling fat” and not being able to get a handle on her diet. She said to me, “What’s wrong with me, Lori?” I replied, “You don’t want it bad enough.” I offered to her the suggestion that maybe she wasn’t “unhappy enough” to make the tough changes she needed to make to get to where she wanted to be.

And I really meant it. Sounds harsh, but it’s the absolute truth. We are all capable of getting to where we want to be if we’re willing to get through the “whatever it takes” to get there. At the heart of it, we’re okay with where we’re at, or we’d change it, right?

That simplifies things to an extreme, I realize this. And I’m not suggesting for a moment that I don’t get it. I do. I’m not immune to having similar feelings. There are many things I say I wish were different, or I want to accomplish – but what am I actually doing to bring about this change? I think we all wish that “wishing” would make our goals or dreams come true.
I want to be a better runner. I really do. It irritates me that I should be a better runner. So what should I do? Run more. What do I do? Avoid it like the plague. And yet, I still sit and tell myself that I wish I was better. It’s ridiculous. It’s obvious that I want it, but not bad enough to make it happen.

Maybe not trying goes much deeper than “it’s too hard.” Maybe we don’t believe in ourselves. We don’t believe that we can ever get to where we want to be. The possibility exists that no matter how hard we try, we won’t reach our goal. We won’t get what we want. It’s overwhelming, seemingly insurmountable. Or maybe we doubt that the road to getting there, all of the sacrifices, will be worth it in the end. We do know with certainty that it will be long and hard. So to avoid trying, we say things like “Well, it’s not so bad. I’m pretty okay.” Or there is my favorite question, “Where does my quality of life factor in?” Well, maybe if you’re quality of life equation includes weekly cheeseburgers and fries, than being super-lean may not be a possibility in your world. And it brings me back to. . . “You don’t want it bad enough.” Apply the sentiment to whatever you want, it makes sense.

It’s easier to never really try. Then we didn’t fail. We didn’t even get that far. Is failure harder to swallow then choosing to not go there at all? For most of us, we’d answer a resounding, yes. We’d prefer not having to acknowledge our failures. Failure sucks.

So do we choose to hover above all of things we truly want because the path is challenging? Gosh, I hope not. I don’t want to live like that. I want to have the courage to jump in with both feet, give it my all and pray that I have what it takes to reach my final goal. I want to have faith in myself and believe that I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to. It’s what I want my children to believe.

What do you want? What do you want bad enough to go through pain and possible failure to try and get to? Do you want something that is worth suffering for, until it gets easier? Maybe the really, really hard changes are the ones that will bring the greatest positive outcomes to your life. I don’t know. That will be for you and I to find out. . . if we so choose.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It’s a small, small CrossFit world

The day “Water Breaks with Lori” was featured on the CrossFit.com Affiliate site, I received an email from Jaime Arashiro (that's him kneeling in the picture), the owner of CrossFit Peru. He asked if he could translate my “Blood, Sweat, Tears, and Pure Joy” post in Spanish on his site. Of course I said I would be flattered. What a complement to have someone be moved by something you’ve written, enough to feature it on their own website.

The next day, as coincidence would have it, I clicked on the CF Affiliate site to find that Jaime’s box, CrossFit Peru was being featured as the “CrossFit Affiliate Snapshot” (crossfitperu.com). I thought how wonderful it was that I could get a visual of Jaime and see what his gym and programming was all about.

And then, 1 week later, when I was attending a CF Level 1 Cert at Rainier CrossFit, I looked up and sitting just 2 rows ahead of me, a man was wearing a CrossFit Peru tee shirt! If you’ve ever attended a Cert, you’d know why I never got a chance to ask him about his experience in Peru, but I was delighted to share the story with Jaime. It made me realize how very small our world is. And how closely linked we all are.

Jaime isn’t my only far away CrossFit friend I have. I met a wonderful women and badass CrossFit chick by the name of Kim Malz from Connecticut over a year ago via the comments board on CrossFit.com. Cari and I were comparing times for the wod “Angie” and we came across Kim’s post and were blown away! I just had to email her and ask her “how did you get a time like that?” I didn’t really think she’d respond, but she did. Kim is an amazing coach and inspirational athlete, a mother of three and a breast cancer survivor. I reached out to her and it opened a door of friendship and a professional relationship as well. I’m proud to say that I designed the CrossFit Persevere logo for her box (crossfitpersevere.com). Look for Kim at the CF Games this year. She qualified and competed in ’09 and I have no doubt she’s be there in ’10.

I met Jay Roughton, owner and coach of CrossFit All In (crossfitallin.com) through Brady, and was lucky enough to get to design his logo too. Now Jay is one of my favorite “blog” buddies. I read his daily posts and give him my two cents – sometimes my many opinions might not be worth more than that! And if you were on the ball and got registered to go watch the CrossFit Games Sectionals in Monroe, WA – go and yell your lungs out for Jay. He’ll be competing. He’s a fantastic athlete with spot-on form and great fun to watch.

And these are just a few of the phenomenal people I have connected with through CrossFit. I predict that one day, CrossFit will be as common in the fitness world as “Ballys,” but for now, we remain a somewhat close-knit-across-the-gobe family that I feel so blessed to be a part of.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

When do you say goodbye?

I think the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was have my cat, Charlie, put to sleep. Maybe if that’s the hardest thing I’ve done, than compared to others, I have been blessedly lucky. It was over 4 years ago, but I can still recall the exact moment I handed her over to the veterinary, never to see her again. I think about that day, and feel like that was a defining moment for me. I was alone, with my furry best friend, sitting in a little room deciding to end her life. I had to make the decision all on my own. No one could tell me what I should do. I had to do what I thought was right for her. She was very ill. I ended her pain, and created my own.

I’m faced with making this same decision again very soon. It’s scary to feel responsible for making decisions such as these. Once you make it, there is no turning back. Charlie’s sister, Winni, is not doing well. At almost 16, she’s lived a great life. She’s been a great cat, a perfect cat. She’s one of those cats that you wish you could clone. She’s never had accidents, never scratched anything she wasn’t supposed to. She’ll lay in your lap for hours, purring loudly. She has a very loud meow and loves to "talk."

And her health is going down hill. She’s not acting like herself on most days. She moves very slowly. She has arthritis. I have to pick her up to drink from the sink because that’s what she prefers and can’t get there on her own anymore. She has a dry cough that never goes away. She gets confused. She forgets where the cat box is from time to time. She’s frail, tired and just old.

Is she in pain? I get asked that. And I really don’t know. With Charlie, I knew. I’m not sure about Winni. I certainly hope she isn’t. I wish she could tell me. Am I being selfish because I am not ready to lose her yet? What is her quality of life? Again, I don’t really know. But she’s still happy to see me when I pet her. And I did watch her bat at a piece of paper yesterday. . . Is that justification? I question myself. When are we ever ready to lose a loved one?

I know compared to human life, this shouldn’t be so hard. But somehow, when you truly love your pets, the heartache you feel is very real and very painful. And really, can grief be measured by “importance?”

Having pets – ensures you certain heartache at some point. We love them. Care for them. And most often, we outlive them. So every day I pray that I will find my little old girl, Winni, curled up on her favorite bed pillow, having drifted off peacefully. I pray for this, not because I am ready for her to leave us, but because I don’t want to be the one responsible for her passing.

But in the end, I will do what’s right for her, not me.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Life’s tough when you’re five. . . or 39

I was walking through Target with Stella, then five, and she was asking me for something. I don’t even know what, but I said “no.” And then I followed it up with the ever popular Mom line “life is tough when you’re five isn’t it?” She stopped, looked at me with a deadpan expression on her little face and said “Yeah, tell me about it, Mom.”

I have similar conversations with my 9 year old, Sophia, who tells me on a daily basis, how difficult her life is. How considerable her problems are, and that I just don’t understand. For the most part, I don’t understand, because to me, her problems seem quite small. The significant part of that thought is “to me.”

It occurs to me that we are all so selfish with our own problems. Our problems are superior to everyone else’s – to us. My Mom is fond of pointing out what could be worse than what I’m facing. I usually respond with something like “Yes, Mom, and I could have no legs or arms either.” I know what she’s trying to get across to me. I know that there are problems bigger than mine. But the point I am trying to make is that -- today, this problem, the one I’m dealing with this very minute, is a very big deal to me, right now. And rationally trying to compare it to something much worse will not make it go away. It’s a good theory however.

Quite often, I think we choose to plod selfishly through our own lives. We spend more time thinking about our own circumstances than anyone else’s. Comparing our own plight to others, either consciously or unconsciously saying things to ourselves like “if only they knew how good they have it” or “they wouldn’t be complaining if they were going through what I am going through” or “she calls that a problem?”

Should we validate the problems of others, even if we believe them to be trivial? Yes, we should. Should we rate each others troubles based on what we decide is worthwhile? No, we shouldn’t. It is my responsibility to step outside my selfish nature, and listen when Sophia tells me her life is “awful.” Even if I don’t believe it to be true, at that moment, to her, it very much is. And Stella truly believes that being her little self, is quite tough at times. We should all listen supportively when people we care about are having what they consider to be trials and tribulations in their lives. We should try to not judge, but instead empathize.

Remember, my big problem may be a little problem to you. But it’s mine. And to me it’s worthy.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The road less traveled

We’ve all been there. We’re in a rut, or at a stand still. We want something different, or we need something different. But change is scary. And most of us are reluctant to head in a new direction, especially if it’s far different from where we are at.

We can reach these “forks in the road” several times in our lives. There is a moment when you need to take that leap of faith and go in the direction that is maybe not the easiest of the paths. Or you decide to stay where you’re at – dissatisfied and bored, wanting more – but at least you know what to expect. Right? Or is it right?

It’s been my experience, taking the hard road, although filled with uncertainty, may get you to exactly where you need to be. I can apply this to several decisions I’ve made in my life, but the one I will share with you is how I found CrossFit.

My workout partner, Cari and I had been training together for over a year. I don’t know how many of you have done classic weight training, but I tell you that after a while, you’ve experimented with every rep scheme and split known to man, and will find yourselves very bored. We used to pour over Muscle and Fitness Hers and Oxygen just looking for something we hadn’t tried or seen.

It was around that time that a young man in our gym told us about CrossFit and Brady Hubler. He told us that we would “love it!” He also described a few wods. . . yikes. We checked out the CrossFit main site and were skeptical. It looked rather intimidating, but our interest was sparked. We had to do something different.

We came across Brady one day passing in the hall at the gym and I decided to tell him that we wanted to try a few sessions with him. The rest is really history. It’s wasn’t easy in the beginning. Not hardly. We thought we were in good shape when we met him. We weren’t. We thought we were pretty tough. We weren’t. We felt like we’d “done it all.” Not even close. I will say that we had never really trained until we met Brady.

It was the best decision we’ve ever made. We quit our fancy gym to workout in a garage. We left all that was familiar to learn entirely new movements. We suffered through nausea, muscle soreness we’d never felt, exhaustion and fatigue we never knew existed. We had the experience of being coached for the first time – which is a relationship that is far different than the one you share with your “globo gym” trainer carrying a clipboard. We were pushed, encouraged, yelled at, cheered on. In almost two years with Brady, I can say that we’ve been through quite a lot. We’ve transformed ourselves physically, found a renewed competitive nature that drives us, and mental strength we didn’t think we had in us. But there is one thing we’ve never experienced – boredom.

We took the road less traveled. We’ve never looked back.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Blood, sweat, tears and pure joy







Blood.
Bloody hands from 100 pull-ups. Bloody knees from hitting the aggregate during walking lunges. Bloody shins from deadlifts. Bloody knuckles from sandbag cleans. Knowing, without a doubt, that the pain is worth it.

Sweat.
Pouring from every part of your body. Wiping it from your eyes, pushing wet hair from your face. Damp clothing sticking to your skin. Looking forward to being drenched from an impossible wod. A deep sense of accomplishment.

Tears.
Crying during the last mile of Murph from exhaustion. Crying because of a terrible morning at home and getting to let it out. Grateful tears for the positives changes being made in your life. Getting an emotional release in a supportive environment and being accepted under any circumstances.

Pure joy.
Having a coach push you to your potential. Reaching beyond what you thought was physically possible. Having someone to tape your hands or bandage your cuts – pick you up if you fall. Hold your hand if you need it. Laughter among friends – the kind that doubles you over. Knowing that someone is always cheering for your success. Finding a feeling of family apart from your own. Indescribable camaraderie. Learning what you’re truly made of – and being proud of who you are. Unforgettable moments shared in a garage.

All these things can be found at our small box that we call CrossFit Lake Tapps. All these things you won’t find at your local gym.

Am I exaggerating? Being melodramatic? Not one bit.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Who's afraid of the big, bad. . . scale?

Almost all women share a universal fear of the bathroom scale. The numbers on a scale can turn intelligent, sane women into irrational, crazy ladies. Men, I can’t speak for you, but I imagine that some of you are tortured by that little rectangular demon as well.

It doesn’t matter if the world thinks you look great. There is a number in your head that you want to weigh. That’s your “magic” number, or maybe you call it your “feel good” weight. When you see “it” in digital numbers, staring up at you, the angels will sing and you will skip through the day, light as air, like nothing in the world can bring you down. It’s true.

So what’s your number? I know you’re thinking of it. And if it makes you smile, then you might be “there" right now. If you’re frowning to yourself, well, I know that you’re beating your self up, right at this moment, for that hand full of Kettle Chips you had this afternoon while standing in the pantry.

I personally hate the scale and the power it holds over me. All of us in our right minds know that our weight can fluctuate fairly significantly through the course of a week. But that doesn’t stop us from seeing “the number” and letting it ruin a perfectly fine day. Which is why I decided quite a long while ago, to throw the awful thing deep into my closet and only take it out when I am certain I will like what it says.

I told my friend once that the key is to step on the scale after a good stomach flu – or seriously terrible hangover. Look down and see that wonderfully low, dehydrated number. . . burn it in to your memory and decide that is what you will weigh until you’re dumb enough to step on the dang thing again!

I am ignorance is bliss kind of girl. I don’t need to know I gained 2 pounds. I really don’t. You can’t even see 2 pounds on a body. So, I have found something that works far better than a scale for keeping my weight in check. I try on jeans. Yes, it’s as simple as that. We all have the pair of jeans in our closet that are a bit tighter than the rest of the pile. That pair is my “scale.” Currently they are a pair that I don’t even wear any more (when I can, that is) because I’ve had them so long.

I wake up in the morning – not all mornings mind you. Just mornings when I am feeling like I’ve been eating like crap all week and hoping it hasn’t caught up to me yet. I walk straight to my closet and put on my scale jeans. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. Sometimes I peel them off in disgust and vow to do better this week. But either way I don’t see the little fluctuations in my weight. I don’t need to. They tell me all I need to know about the size of my body. And remember, it’s the number that makes us so crazy.

So, find those little jeans in your closet. You know which ones. Dub them your “new scale.” They won’t be completely forgiving, but they won’t spit ugly numbers at you in blaring red, neon lights either.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Even my lip gloss is tough

Yes, I wear lip gloss to the garage. Mascara too. I do my hair and take time to decide on what I feel like wearing. I have several pairs of what I call “workout earrings.” I also shave my legs daily and put on self tanner in the winter even though I never wear shorts. Oh, I think I just heard a few of you gasp! But I’m also covered in bruises, have seriously calloused hands and scars on my fanny from Tabata sit-ups.

Does putting on make up before a workout give me the label “high maintenance?” Maybe. I do believe it means that my appearance is important to me. But I don’t think it indicates that I have “insecurities” to “cover up.” I only wish that applying cosmetics could remove any insecurity a woman has!

Over the years during my time spent in gyms, I’ve heard all of the comments that some women make about girls like me. “I can’t believe she bothers putting on make-up to work out!” My gut reaction to that statement is “Why do you care?”

I’ve also heard the ever-popular, “I don’t have time to get ready before I go to the gym. Must be nice.” Well, I am calling BS on that one. It’s all about setting priorities. I have 2 little girls to get off to school and places to be in the morning as well. I choose to make the time. We all have time to do the things we want to do. Just be honest and say that you don’t care – or that is isn’t important to you, which is fine with me. I applaud your choice. So, please don’t criticize mine.

Girly-girls are just as tough as anyone else. Do not doubt that for an instant. I would also warn you to not make assumptions about her athletic ability based on her appearance. That girl standing in the corner with the perfect lip gloss just might kick your ass in today’s WOD. And watch out, there are a lot of us hard working girly-girls darkening the doors of CrossFit boxes everywhere.

Do not assume that I care less about my workout because I care about how I look when I walk in the door. I’ve never had a poor WOD time because I was having a good hair day. And my lip gloss never slows me down. I can assure you that. At the same time, I would never suggest that my make-up free counter parts are not ass-kickers as well.

So why do I bother? When I look good, I feel good. And when I feel good, I perform well. But the simplest answer is. . . It’s who I am.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Poker-faced? Not hardly.

There are people in this world that can shield their emotions and thoughts from everyone. You never quite know what they are thinking. How they’re feeling, where their mind is at. I would NOT be one of those people.

I’ve been told by my closest friends, and my mother, that they know how I’m feeling by hearing the first words out of my mouth, or seeing my face. I just choose to live my life like an open book. I’m very generous with sharing my thoughts, maybe too much sometimes. I’m one of those people that can’t keep it all in. Not enough space in my crazy head to hold in the things I need to say.

The down side to this quality of mine is that I frequently get asked “What’s wrong?” And if I say “Nothing,” well, they almost always know that I am lying. So what I really need to say is “Yes, something is terribly wrong, but I am not ready to tell you right now.” Just give me a few minutes, I can’t keep quiet for long.

The positive side, I will never get an ulcer. I don’t hide what I think. Everyone knows where they stand with me, good or bad. It’s kind of a liberating feeling. I get to be exactly who I am, because, even if I wanted to, I can’t pretend otherwise.

If I am sad, you will know. I don’t project to the world that everything is perfect when it’s not. If I am happy, you will know it, because I will want you to share it with me. I guess if you want to be in my life, you’ll have to take me for who I am. And if you don’t, you’ll probably hear about it.

Do you hold your cards close, or lay them out on the table?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I, Client, take you, Coach

The relationship that a client shares with a trainer is very special. It’s imperative for the two to mesh in a similar way that you would in any other relationship. You have to believe that your trainer has your best interests at heart. You have to trust them. You have to know that they will protect you from injury, the best they can. You depend on them for emotional support and lean on them to get you through physical adversity. They should build your self esteem and praise your accomplishments. Is this a lot to ask of someone? Yes. Is it too much to expect? No.

But as with any person you meet, you may or may not find this connection with your trainer. This is why you need to evaluate how you feel about that person, following your first session. We just admire some people more than others. Everyone has specific personality traits or physical characteristics that will either appeal to you -- or emphatically will not. I strongly believe that it is a requirement to like him or her as a person – as much as you value their knowledge of fitness. We want to please people that we like. We seek their approval. We will try just that much harder for someone who we value.

Under the guidance of a good trainer, you will reach your potential. How this is accomplished, depends entirely on how you respond to their coaching style. It’s my opinion that the best trainers find the balance between tough and kind. They are as motivating as demanding. Some days they need to be uncompromising to get the best performance out of you. They also know when to bend down, and put their hands on your shoulders, and give you the encouraging words you need to hear.

Finding true fitness is a journey that requires a skilled partner to lead you. There are a lot of amazing trainers and coaches. But there are an overwhelming number of unremarkable ones as well. You’re paying this person -- you better be getting what you need from them. Find someone who wants to not only work for you, but with you. At the same time, it needs to be said, that training is a two-way street. You will get out of it, exactly what you choose to put in. Don’t waste your time or money if you don’t want to make the effort.

The bottom line is. . . If you’re serious about training, then you need to find a relationship with a coach that seriously works. And if you’re relationship with your coach isn’t working, find a new one. This isn’t marriage – you don’t need to “work at it.”

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fly by the seat of your panties. . . or not

My daughter came home from school one day -- walked in the door and said, “Mom, I think I am wearing your underwear.” She then proceeded to pull up her shirt to reveal what appeared to be several yards of white cotton spilling out of the top of her jeans. Let me just say, that these we’re not my sexy undies. These were sleeping undies, and every woman understands the difference. Anyway. . . I say to her, “Didn’t those feel funny when you put them on this morning?” She said, “Well, they did, but I didn’t feel like changing, so I just wore them anyway.” My daughter is a fine example of someone who flies by the seat of her pants -- or more specifically, her Mother’s panties.

Decisions, decisions. How do you make yours? How we answer this question, and what it says about who we are, sets us apart as individuals.

Some people are driven by logic. It this type of analytical process that guides them. They look at a situation and determine the pros and cons. They think about what comes next, and the effects of their choices. They lead with their head. Some people are driven by emotion. They do what “feels” right -- right now. They live in the moment. They throw caution to the wind, and decide to deal with the possible fallout some other time. They lead with their heart.

Very simply, “thinking” is logical and “feeling” is emotional. Are you a thinker or a feeler? Maybe we’re all a little of both. I do believe, however, that we lean more one direction than the other in most circumstances. Is either better or worse? I guess it depends. I do think that perhaps, the logical person might miss out on experiences because they over-analyze everything. But along the same lines, the emotional person might have regrets based on snap decisions that felt right at the time. Potential positives and negatives to both.

When you look at your life, what has dictated your decision making -- emotion or logic? If you know me, you already know how I answered.

Friday, January 22, 2010

What did she say?

I have been accused of having a trucker mouth, once or twice.

One day, Sophia was sitting at the counter while I was making dinner and having a very profanity-free conversation when she decides to give me options for “other” words to use in place of “swear” words when I am angry. I find this humorous on a few levels, but the one that is at the forefront is that that my children obviously “do as I say and not as I do.” This, in this particular scenario is a very good thing. I have really good kids. Anyone who knows them will attest to this. They do not get in to trouble at school for swearing on the playground.

So, here is what I think about profanity. . . There is nothing quite like a well placed expletive to make your point. Of course, I am acutely aware of knowing my audience before I do this. Wait, that’s not always true. Sometimes these words slip out of my mouth before I even realize it. This may be due to issues with self-control, of which I have little. Okay, I try to be aware of my audience before I let “them” fly.

And I wouldn’t say that I am necessarily proud of my use of obscene language, but I’m not quite ashamed either. I think too much has been made of “bad” words. They are just words. Just adjectives. We give them the power they hold. If society didn’t make such a big deal out of them, they wouldn’t be such a big deal. Is an F-bomb going to permanently scar anyone? I think not. I think our behavior is far more damaging than our language.

I also do not believe that my occasional (okay, often) use of profane words reflects my intellectual identity. I believe that it indicates that I am a person of unbridled passion. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. But it’s not that I don’t have the vocabulary to support using alternate language. I choose to keep these words in my verbal arsenal. I will concede however, that there is a time and place for bad language. When I am really angry? Yes. When the cat pukes on the floor and I step in it. Yes. After a missed lift? A resounding YES. You get my point.

I will leave you with this final thought. . . What is offensive to some, is simply colorful to others. And who really f*#king cares anyway?

The Channel Keeps Changing

Most nights, I roll over at some point, open my eyes and look at the clock. I am always hoping that it’s somewhere near morning when this happens, because I know that once my mind realizes it’s awake, I won’t be dozing back off any time soon.

I suffer from “thinks-too-much-syndrome.” I’m certain it’s not an actual condition, but for me it’s quite real. My mind bounces from topic to topic, sometimes faster than I can keep track of the thoughts. And if the constant stream of thoughts isn’t enough, I’ll start playing a song in the background, which unfortunately is always on repeat.

What do I think about? It varies from night to night. Sometimes I am thinking of all the things I need to do today. Or all of the things I didn’t do yesterday. Sometimes I will recall something from my past. On certain nights, I can do all this simultaneously. I’m nothing, if not a good multi-tasker. Last night I was replaying a conversation with a friend. I am sure that everyone does this. You question what you said, and how you said it. You realize that once you say something, you can’t retract your words. Or more important, you can’t go back and say the things you wish you had. But knowing this doesn’t stop me from trying. I get to play both people.

As I lay there wishing I could turn off my head – while carrying on this part real, part imaginary dialogue – it occurs to me that conversations are like verbal minefields. You step around topics that you don’t want to address. Or more honestly, are afraid to talk about. We avoid the uncomfortable because if we can avoid it long enough, we convince ourselves that it might go away. But just like a landmine, it’s still there, even if you don’t acknowledge it. You can try to walk gingerly past the bombs in your life, but one day, when you’re not paying attention, you’ll step right in the middle of one. It’s then when you’re forced to deal with whatever “it” is.

Well, at least that’s what I tell myself at 3:07 am.

Click. Just like that, the channel in my head changes and I start wondering how painful today’s CrossFit WOD will be. And my song is stuck on the chorus.

Does my butt look big?

Flaws. It’s what most of us see when we scrutinize ourselves in a mirror. How we view ourselves is an interesting thing. Often, we choose to focus on the negatives. I don’t like my legs. I pretty much never have, but I’ve been told numerous times, that I am lucky to have strong, muscular legs. I have had a hard time seeing the good in these “lucky” legs of mine – visually speaking. And my legs are just the beginning of the lengthy list of what I consider to be my “flaws.”

I have a friend who refers to her backside as the “butternut.” She’s not complimenting herself when she says this. But what I see, is a beautiful, strong, CrossFit athlete that manages to get her “butternut” across the finish line, more often than not, ahead of anyone else.

What I find very interesting, however, is our inability to view ourselves the way we’re viewed by others. . . especially, those close to us. Why can’t we love ourselves despite our flaws, the way those that love us do? I don’t pick apart my friend. I don’t see her flaws. As her friend, I explain to her that she’s perfect -- just the way she is. I do this, not to make her “feel” better – but because that is the way I SEE her.

We all have flaws. Some are literal, some are perceived. But most are invisible to those that KNOW who we are. Let’s all try to look at ourselves through the eyes of someone who loves us. We might be happier with what we see.

Flawed, but loved. . .