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 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” ( 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 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 ( 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 ( 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

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.

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.

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.