Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Denim salvation for a Blue Jeans Baby.

It's 4:26am and I've already tried on a pair of jeans and made a pot of coffee. I woke up at 3:30. There are nights when I roll over and go back to sweet slumber. And there are nights when I roll over and this little voice in my head says, "Game on, sister." And I know there will be no more sleep for me...

Today, when I rolled over and had those 30 seconds to shut down my brain and drift back off – I, instead, thought about a pair of jeans. Yes. I said jeans. I am “thinker” and my thoughts are often random at this time of the early morning. So what popped in my mind was yesterday afternoon. I had dug out this particular pair of jeans, from the bottom of the pile in my closet, to see if Sophia wanted them. I haven't worn them in forever. I'd actually forgotten about them. She decided she didn't like the way they fit. So I shoved them back to the bottom of the pile and went over to my neighbor’s house to see her Christmas decorations.

As we sat and visited, we complained to each other about our daughters getting in to our closets and wearing our clothes and using our makeup. And thought of those jeans again.

I got those jeans in the winter of 2009. I had been training really hard, my diet was very clean and I had leaned out a bit. So I did what I always do when I'm feeling good about my body. I spent way too much money on a pair of jeans -- in the size that would represent my hard work. In the size that would haunt me when they began to feel a bit tight. And this usually happens at some point. My jeans don't generally allow for much wiggle room (literal wiggle room) in weight fluctuations.

Anyway, while I was laying in bed, wishing I could go back to sleep, I remembered those jeans. I reminisced with them.

The first time I wore them, I was hanging out with a friend. I remember this because it was a week day and I was wearing "real" clothes. This sticks in my mind because I pretty much wear workout clothes Monday through Friday. I was also wearing a tee-shirt I'd paid way too much for at a Cabi Party. The tee-shirt was a "buy something because it’s my friends party" peer pressure purchase. I recall thinking how much I overpaid for that dang shirt, but thinking the jeans were worth every penny. I felt good in those jeans.

I wore them to Thanksgiving at Mom's. When I walked in the house she said to me, "I think you're too thin, Lori." I disagreed. I said, "Strong girls are lean mom, not skinny." And I felt good in those jeans.

I wore them on my 40th birthday. I thought, I'm forty, and it doesn't bother me. Age is just a number. I felt good in those jeans.

And then I remembered the day I went to put on those jeans and they were saying some very mean things to me. Things like, "Lori, you've been eating crappy carbs." and "You've spent more time training others than yourself lately." And then they yelled "Time to dial it in, chunky monkey!" I looked in the mirror, wearing those jeans, and they mocked me. They made that terrible line across the back of my legs that resembled a sneer instead of a crease -- and made me feel like my thighs were wrapped in sausage casing instead of denim. I peeled them off my body. I glared at myself, and then glared at those jeans. I folded them up and shoved them to the bottom of the pile -- because, I no longer felt good in those jeans. And then, I began the journey towards denim salvation once again.

Is my entire self esteem wrapped up in a pair of jeans? No. But do I care? Yes. A lot. I consider my jeans a representation of my training and a good diet. They are a yardstick, so to speak. They tell me when I need to work a little harder and eat a little better. They are a gauge. And they are unforgiving. They tell me what I need to hear, whether I like it or not. They are blatantly honest. I can take them or leave them. But either way, they will not budge in their assessment of me.

So, did these jeans ever fit again? Of course. But by then the love affair with them was over and it was time to buy a new pair. Life keeps moving forward and sometimes we leave things behind that we once loved. And these new jeans? I feel good in these jeans.

But today at 3:30am, I rolled over and thought of those old jeans. And how they have stayed the same, but nothing else in my life has. I tiptoed to my closet and grabbed them. I just had to know... I slipped them on. I looked in the mirror. They brought me back to a different time. And I smiled. Those jeans smiled back. They told me I'm doing something right.

Will I put them back at the top of the pile? No. They will remain folded up memories. But for those two minutes this morning? You know what?

I felt good in those jeans.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fear Factor?

She's a bit scared.
I had a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago. At one point during the talk, my friend said, “Maybe you’re afraid of what you already know.” I shot back, “I am not afraid of anything.”
My response has been sitting at the back of my mind for a while now. Because although, I am a brazen, say what I think, kind of girl – I am actually very afraid of lots things. I think that maybe, I have liked to think of myself as “fearless” when in actuality, I am only outspoken. That’s not really the point I am going toward today, but introspective nonetheless.

Anyway, it got me thinking about fears in general. And thinking about all of the things I am truly afraid of. As it turns outs, my statement, “I’m not afraid of anything,” could not be farther from the truth.

What fears do I have, you ask? Well, many of them are your run of the mill, normal fears most of us have. I am afraid of spiders. Actually, I am afraid of anything that is creepy crawly with legs and or wings. I am afraid of scary movies. Especially ones dealing with the supernatural. I am afraid an intruder will come in to my house at night and I won’t be able to protect my children or myself -- although I always picture myself beating someone in to submission. I am afraid of waking up and smelling smoke and not being able to get to my girls down the hall, the stairs, and outside, before my house is in flames. I am afraid that someone will cross the center line on Hwy 18 on my way home from visiting my mom in Yakima -- and the last thing I will see is the headlights of the car about to come through my windshield. I am afraid that I’m not a good mother. I am afraid that I am not living up to my potential. I am afraid that I am sitting and watching life from a distance instead of participating to the fullest. I am afraid of decisions I have made. I am afraid of decisions I have not made. I am afraid of not being as healthy as I want to be. I’m even more afraid of not being in control of my heath. I am afraid of failure.

She is less scared.
You get where I am coming from. I’m making my point, I believe. But the kind of fear that can be the most intrusive in our day to day life, I believe, is the fear of failure. And that is the fear I am addressing today.

Of course I can circle any topic around to Olympic Weightlifting, and this one will be no different. So let’s talk about how I can equate my fears in life to the way I “fear” a barbell -- and how I wish that my fears of failure were as easily conquered.

A barbell can be scary. It holds a bit of the unknown – kind of like life. I love it. But it doesn’t always love me back. I know what I what I want to accomplish when I see it. It doesn’t always have my best interests at heart. I have goals attached to it. It doesn’t always have the same goals. Sometimes I’m “afraid” to touch it (no, not quite like a spider, but you get my point) – because I fear the outcome. Why? Because I stand before it with expectations. Much like life. I would like to firmly believe that because I have worked for something, and I really want something, it will happen. Not always true. So I fear failure.

She is fearless.
Failure is a part of life. I know this logically, but that doesn’t always comfort me. I fear an unexpected outcome. The outcome I do not want. This negative possibility? Well, I would skip this alternative, if I could. But I can’t. Even the most successful and luckiest of people don’t get to escape the possibility of failure. Or even failure itself. So, knowing this, when we make an “attempt,” at anything, there are two things that will happen . . . victory or downfall. And that simple fact is scary. Always.

So, I am wondering if the way I approach the barbell, the “fear” that it holds for me and the way I address it – could this be a learning experience for the way I approach other fears in my life? It would be nice if it was possible.

How do I control my fear when I face a heavy lift? I tell myself four things:

1. You are not a wussy. You are badass. Yes, you are.
2. If you don’t go for this, Lori, how will you ever get any better? You won’t.
3. What’s the worst thing that will happen? You fail.
4. If you fail, you try again. And again. And again. Because you can.

She is badass.
Unfortunately, the big difference is that a failed lift is just failed lift. I get to try again, “next time.” A life failure? Well, the consequences can be lasting and far reaching. But one similar principal can be applied, however. If you don’t attempt the lift, you will never get the bar over your head, or PR. If you don’t go for what you really want in your life, you will never get it. Ever. Simple, yet, not at all. And that is where the concept of “fear” takes center stage.

So I guess if we want to think of life as a lift, we can choose to keep your fears at bay – and never PR. Or we can choose to face our fear, and deal with the outcome that comes with that decision – good or bad.

So can I look at my life the way I look at barbell? Can I be fearful yet optimistic? Can I wager the outcome based on what I believe in the moment? Can I tell myself that if I fail, or I don’t like the outcome, there is always a chance to try again? And again? And again?

No.

But it’s a lovely concept, isn’t it?

That is why life is “scary” as hell. And we only “fear” a lift.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Like a drug. Only way better.

Last week was a good week. A good, good week. It was a week of PR’s. A PR, for you non-lifters, is setting a “personal record.” A personal record is exactly what it states. It is the best you’ve ever done on a particular lift.

My PR’s last week: Snatch @ 105# (previous 100#). Clean @ 135# (previous 130#). BTN Push Press @ 140# (previous 135#). Overhead Squat @ 140# (previous 135#). Seven reps bodyweight Overhead Squat @ 120# (previous 3 reps).

When you begin lifting, you hit PR’s all of the time. It’s like a constant little stream of crack-like excitement. You’re getting stronger, your technique is improving. Eventually, however, this beginning success begins to level off. The PR’s get further and further apart. And you have to work a heck of a lot harder to reach them.

PR snatch @ 105#
If you look back through my workout journal from 3 years ago, you will see it literally peppered with all caps “PR’s” and smiley faces. Yes, smiley faces. Apparently I thought I may need to be reminded of my mood at the time. Look at my journal from the last year and you won’t find any happy little faces or PR’s with several exclamation points. You will find a lot of “that sucked” and “awful day” or “failure,” accompanied by the obligatory frowned face.

I discussed in the previous blog entry why that journal looks as it does. Mostly, it is due to the fact that I’ve been unfocused. I’ve been rambling around the garage just hoping that I will magically get stronger just because I want to. If “wanting” and “hoping” paved the pathway to attainment, I’d be an incredibly accomplished individual. But we all know that only hard work will get you where you want to be. And I have been working hard. I have been focused. I am reaping the benefits.

So how great does a PR feel? What goes through your head leading up to the moment? I suppose it might be different for everyone, but I approach the situation the same way every time I make a PR attempt.

I load the bar. I stand and look at it. I am filled with a bit of nervous energy. I tell myself, “You can do this.” Sometimes my head argues back, “Are you sure?” This is a make or break moment for me. Sometimes the pessimist is yelling her ass off, making me feel like a failure before I’ve even tried. I try to shut her up quickly before she gets in my head. I look at the bar again. I grip it. Usually opening and closing my fingers far more times than actually necessary. I move my feet, pivoting on the balls, adjusting the heels, trying to find exactly where I want to be. I do this far more times than actually necessary as well. I’ve determined that it’s all a part of the ritual for me. And it’s not changing. I take my breath. It’s go time. It’s only a few brief seconds that separates success from failure.

PR overhead squat @ 140#
FAILURE. It just plain sucks. I usually say “F*#K!” after a failed lift with corresponding angry body language. It’s not because I’m not used to failing, or that it’s come as a shock. Lord knows, I fail more than I succeed. I am passionate. A passionate potty mouth. Anyway, I have always been told that you allow yourself three attempts at a max lift. Then stop. I always do four, if I need to. Part of this is my unwillingness to give up. Part of it, is that I cannot stand being told what to do. And since I don’t have a coach, I do what I want.

SUCCESS. It’s freaking incredible. And for what seems like a lack of creativity on my part, my audible response to a great lift is usually quite similar to that of a bad lift. The body language is similar as well -- fists in the air, but a smile, not a grimace on my face. In my opinion, the thrill that follows the moment after a PR can only be described as pure bliss. For those of you that don’t lift, I am sure you can imagine another experience that mimics this amazing feeling.

I don’t know what “real” lifters feel like being on the platform, in front of so many spectators and other competitors, after a winning lift. When I lift, it’s almost always, just me, a video camera and the walls of my garage. But, although there is no one watching me, except perhaps the spider in the corner –and no one to clap or give hugs of congratulations -- I can only imagine that the emotion feels just the same.

Elation. Achievement. Fruition.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I am not crazy. Anymore.

I love jerks.
So apparently my entire last year of training hasn’t been for much. I haven’t gotten stronger. I’m not leaner, or meaner (well, maybe meaner in the literal sense) or more badass. I am the same girl I was a year ago. And why is this a problem, you ask? Well, why the heck wouldn’t it be a problem? If you’re not improving, what the hell are you doing?

I’ll tell you what you are doing. You are training without goals. Without a means to an end. Without reason. Without purpose. And without purpose, you’re chasing your own tail.

I know, some of you train for the pure simple joy of “being in shape.” So your goal falls under the category of GPP or General Physical Preparedness. This means you just want to be basically physically fit. Which I believe is fine, in principal, but lacks in application. Does this mean that you will be pleased with reaching a goal and then never progressing in one particular area -- because you’re already in “shape?” Yes? No? If you’re happy with where you are at – then awesome for you! Or if you think you want more? Maybe you want to get better at one thing – a better runner, football player, lifter, volleyball player? Then do it!

So guess what? You’ve got to plan for more. You need to begin a phase of SPP, Specific Physical Preparedness, or Sports-Specific. In order to excel at one specific area of your training or your sport – then you will have to train specifically to become better in the areas of training that relate to that particular sport. You have to “specifically” reach for more.

My IRM’s have not significantly increased in over a year. Really nothing has changed much. I’m not worse or weaker, so I guess that is one positive. But I can only say that I have made gains in one area of training -- my skills. My lifting technique is better. Not stronger, but better. And I have managed to learn a few new CrossFit “tricks” -- kipping knees to elbows & toes to bar, the butterfly pull-up, kipping handstand pushups. I say “tricks” because when I started CF, these moves not only did not exist, but were considered “wrong” by ROM standards. But as with all things CF in general, some “elite” athlete will find a way to shorten WOD or cycle times and then HQ will say, “Hey, check this out. Learn this if you want to be badass. Even though 2 years ago, we told you that this was ‘improper movement.’” If you don’t believe me, ask someone who has been CrossFitting for more than 3 years. Ask them if they ever saw the split screen video of Annie Sakamoto doing the proper KTE (knees to elbows) and the “cheater” version. Its funny folks, the “cheater” version closely resemble the movement that is now “games standard.” Gosh, how times change. I get this. Keep up, or get lost. Okay, I just went off on tangent -- back to the topic at hand.

This brings us full circle. My goals changed. But my programming didn’t. I didn’t adjust anything. So what happened? Well. . . As I have stated. . . Nothing much happened, which is the problem. I wasn’t sticking to any one type of plan consistently. I was floating around doing a bit of this and a bit of that. So, I am living proof that if you don’t change up your programming based on your goals, and commit to your training regimen, you will not reach a different end.

Anyway, so what is my current plan? Well, I sat down and decided what is important to me right now. I want to be a stronger lifter, first and foremost. So, I am now following a Catalyst Athletics intermediate lifting program, which will be my primary focus. My secondary goal is to maintain my base fitness with CrossFit main site metcons and some running. My intent is to stay on this path until January, when I will see where my 1RM’s are and re-evaluate my goals again.

Albert Einstein said, “The definition of Insanity is: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

I have a plan. I have a purpose. I have a goal. I’m not training “crazy” anymore.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

RUN Stella. RUN!

Before the race.
Today the Palomino girls participated in the Run of Hope Seattle 5k Race/3K walk. This fundraising event benefits and supports pediatric brain tumor research at Seattle Children’s Hospital. This hits very close to home for our family. Peyton Rudkin, a child very close to us, was diagnosed last November with DIPG or Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. This is a rare inoperable brain tumor. Today we ran and walked for Peyton and the non-profit corporation, set up in her name, Peyton’s Ranch and Comfort Critters.

I had signed up for the run a couple months ago. I was planning on having the girls walk with one of the other families that were going. On our way to Seattle this morning, Stella said, “I want to do the run with you Mom.” My first response was “No, Stella, I don’t think you are ready to run that distance.” She kept begging to do it. We drove a few more miles while I thought about this. I said, “Okay, Stella. Let’s do it. But you have to try and do your best. No wimping out. No complaining.” I decided that because she and Peyton have been close since they were one and two years old, it would be a great experience to support  her dear friend. Sophia decided to do the walk with her other friends that were participating.

Happy to finish!
So once I agreed, Stella began predicting how the race would go. I have run with Stella a few times. She’s quick, but her endurance isn’t very good. She was chiding me saying things, like, “What if I beat you Mom? What if I have to leave you behind?” I said, “No, Stella, no matter what, we are running together, side by side, and we will cross the finish line together.” She giggled and reminded me of what a great runner she is. Where does she get this ultra competitive nature? I have no idea, whatsoever. . .

We get Stella registered for the 5K. She was so tickled to get her timing chip on her shoe and her number pinned on her shirt. She was ready! I warned her, “We are going to start out slow to keep our pace. I don’t want you getting too tired, too quick.” She assured me, this was not going happen.

The race begins. We are around a quarter mile in and she looks at me and says, “I have a side ache.” I told her to keep breathing, relax, and it would go away. And we were not stopping. Another quarter mile goes by. She is not having fun at this point because she has realized that running is hard. She says to me, “I’m not having fun. This hurts. This sucks.” I say to her, “We will slow down. You will be fine.” Another quarter mile. “I want to stop.” I said, “No. Keep going.” She didn’t want to be left behind, so she kept up. Let me assure you that I have run over a mile with Stella several times so I know what she’s capable of. This wasn’t child abuse.

I told her at one mile, we could walk a few steps. It was during this last leg of the first mile that I was thinking about what life lesson this was teaching her. I began talking to her to keep her mind occupied. I told her that we were running for all of the little children that didn’t get to use their legs anymore. I reminded her how much Peyton wishes she could still run through the neighborhood with her. I told her that we were blessed to be able to use our bodies this way. I said, “Keep going for Peyton.” She did.

What I didn’t say to her, was the realization that came to me while thinking of the finish. These children didn’t get to choose this path – this distance. They don’t get to quit when it becomes unbearable. Neither do their parents. They are forced to endure the pain. They are forced to keep going until they reach what is to be their finish line. And I was more determined than ever to make Stella finish this race and understand why we have to suffer through what is sometimes very hard for us.

At mile two, we turned a corner and I saw a big, nasty hill ahead of us. Stella looked up and said, “Oh my gosh, Mom!” Then she started crying. I told her I was proud of her and we needed to run up it until she really needed a break. She made it half way up. We walked a bit. I told her the great thing about hills, is that we get to head back down it on the other side! She was not convinced. She was tired. Working those little legs! Her face was red and she was breathing hard. But she was fine. And I was certain of this, or I wouldn’t have kept pushing her.

Nearing mile 3, I told her we were almost there. Her response was, “How the heck far is .1 miles?!” I said, “Not very far baby.” I told her again, how proud of her I was. I spotted the finish line. She said she needed to walk, but she could see it up ahead. We took 5 steps and I said, “We are going to run the rest! Let’s go!”

We crossed the finish line. People cheered us on. I could see the smile of accomplishment on her face. We were both exhausted – me, mentally, her, physically. We finished in 37:52. The anger she felt toward me during the run, for pushing her so hard, melted away. She hugged me and said, “We did it Mom!”

When we got home, we talked again about why we did this. How we did it for the kids that can’t. Why our bodies are blessings. Why moving freely is a gift, that unfortunately, can be taken from us. And as she curled up in a blanket on the couch, she said to me, “I get it.” But does she? At eight? I doubt it. How can she, possibly? I can hardly grasp the unfairness of life at 41.

But I tried to make her understand. And someday she will. She will look back and recall the day her Mom made her keep going when she wanted to stop.

I hope she will be grateful for what I was trying to teach her.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Suck it up, Butter Cup.


Not scary, until you meet her.
When I show new people (meaning women), the jump rope, I can see the fear in their eyes. And I can almost always, without fail, tell you what the first words out of their mouths with be.

“I can’t jump rope.” And every time, here is my response, “Because you’ll pee your pants?”

Let me tell you about my first experience with a jump rope, since I was in grade school. I had started CrossFit, but had yet to come across anything I wasn’t super excited to try. Enter double-unders. Can’t you hear the theme to Jaws that was playing in my head?

Anyway, I took one look at that thing and I knew what would be the unfortunate outcome of my attempting repetitive bouncing. So, I say to Brady Hubler, my coach at CrossFit Lake Tapps, “I have issues with bouncing.” I didn’t think I needed to explain in great detail, that I feared that I would pee my pants, in pretty short order, after a few brief moments with said jump rope. I was thinking that my admission would be met with compassion and understanding, considering my brave honesty.

“Well, Lori, that’s why we are jumping on rubber mats. They dry.” He smiled, and then handed me my jump rope. “Oh shit” was playing on repeat in my mind. “Oh piss,” would have been a more accurate statement, but you get where I am coming from. I jumped. I peed. I did what was expected of me. I am now pretty good at double-unders.

It’s just not jumping rope that can bring on the pee. So can jumping pull-ups, hard sprints, jumping squats/lunges, screaming at your children, gut busting laughter, sneezing, and coughing. If you’ve had children, you will probably experience this consequence. But you can’t let it stop you. No, don’t you let the pee win! Anyway, this brings me to a funny story that I would only share with my friends -- and everyone else who stumbles upon this blog.

One night, Cari and I see that double-unders are in the next day wod. So she says to me, “Hey friend, try wearing panties and a liner on double-under days.” I don’t wear panties with workout pants – because the last thing I need to worry about is panty lines or something crawling where it wasn’t meant to be during a hard wod. That’s another topic, however. But I say, “Okay. Sure.” Great plan, huh? All I will say is that, no, it did not work. And my panties were disposed of in a Wal-Mart bathroom garbage can after the fact. Yes. I had to run errands directly after my workout. And no, I wasn’t going to leave these panties in my trainer’s garbage!

So, one might assume that I’m extremely compassionate about this issue – but I’m actually not much different with new people than Brady was with me. My response is different, however, because whereas he had never peed his pants, I have. Numerous times. So instead of the words of wisdom that my trainer imparted to me at the time, I will give other words of advice. And this doesn’t just speak to CrossFit women -- Im talking to any woman who has to get on a trampoline, or show the neighborhood girls that you can do “Not this night, but the night before, 24 robbers came knocking at my door,” with the best of them.

Here is my advice, and it’s not great or fool-proof, but it’s all I have:

Dri-Fit-Fabric. In black. Wow. A brilliant material, that I am certain, a woman designed. I could be wrong and talking out of my ass, as I am occasionally known to do. So if a man came up with this concept for different purposes, kudos to him!

“Clamp that shit down.” What I mean by this, is to say, close off the girly parts, to the best of your ability. Lock your legs together. Hold that Kegel like your life depends on it.

Pee beforehand. Obvious, I know. And this doesn’t always work, but do it anyway. Pee is sneaky and likes to hide until the first jump. I swear there is a little space in my bladder reserved especially for workouts.

And finally, “suck it up buttercup.” That was posted, by my trainer, on our webpage as a personal message to me. Making the point that, a bit of pee in your pants won’t kill you. Or prevent you from finishing a wod.

Today, I PR’d doing double-unders. I did 35 consecutive repetitions. It may have cost me some tinkle, but I can always change my pants. I can’t always PR. It was worth it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ass to ankles, baby!

My current squat. Always a work in progress.
If you do not have a good squat, you don't have much. Because if you can't squat, you can't snatch. If you can't squat, you can't clean & jerk. And if you can't lift, life is not worth living. Because why? Let's say it together... "Because Olympic weightlifting is the coolest sport on the planet." Period. Yes, you may quote me.

Seriously, without a good squat, there are around a gazillion things you can't do. Well maybe not a gazillion, but heck of a lot of really cool stuff.

The squat is THE foundation movement for Olympic weightlifting. Just listen to what Greg Everett has to say about this -- “The squat is foundational to the Olympic lifts as a position, a movement and a strength exercise. Without a well-developed and consistent squat, neither pulling technique nor pulling power will produce entirely successful Olympic weightlifting.”

Sounds like a squat is a pretty big deal, huh? So, to reiterate, if you can’t squat, you don’t have much.

Okay, I know what you are thinking "can't I just power snatch and power clean, if my squat sucks?" Well, technically, sure -- if you want to remain a wussy forever --because you'll never reach your true max lift. So if you don't care about living up to your max potential, stop reading at this point. But if you're like the rest of us total badass (or admittedly wannabe badass) Oly lifters, you'd remove a rib to PR on a lift. So if you fall in to this camp, perfect your squat.

So, what distinguishes a power snatch or a power clean from a snatch and a clean? To give a simple answer is to say, it is the height at which you receive the weight. “Power” indicates that the bar was received above parallel. But what really determines where the lift is received? Well, that comes down to the combination of the force applied to the lift, the amount of weight on the bar and the mass/strength of the lifter. So this basically means that the lighter the load, generally speaking, the higher you will be able to receive the weight. As the load gets heavier, the bar “will accelerate less and not travel as high” (Greg Everett). So here is the deal. The heavier you lift, in proportion to your strength, you will receive the bar in a lower position. You will find it necessary to get under it and receive it in a full squat.


The amazing Aimee Anaya-Everett
What exactly is the Olympic squat? The elements are defined by depth, foot position, hip position, the back, weight distribution, head, bounce, and breath – all of which take a considerable time to define. And this is a blog, not a novel, so I won’t go into the details of each, but urge you to read up on this stuff. It is super important, friends.

So, if you care as much as I do, and why the heck wouldn’t you? I would suggest that you purchase the bible of this very awesome sport, “Olympic Weightlifting, a complete guide for coaches and athletes, second edition,” written by Greg Everett of Catalyst Athletics. I don’t actually know if it’s the best book out there, but I have certainly gotten more use out of it than I’d ever thought possible. But hey, I am a chick who reads about this stuff for fun. I will assure you, however, that it’s easy to understand and it gives clear and concise information for beginners to advanced lifters. It is a must-have in my humble opinion. And we all know how humble I am.

Anyway, some lucky people are blessed with the natural flexibility to achieve the proper squat depth necessary while maintaining an upright torso posture. Others have to work hard to get there. It can be a lengthy process. Well worth the work, however. If the payoff is a killer heavy snatch, and clean and jerk? Or at the very least, you’ll look super cool doing it? Need I say more?

So, I do not want to be completely repetitive, but I will, and stress again . . . perfect your squat. How do we do this? Practice. Practice. Practice. And get some good coaching. Find someone who can recognize good/poor positioning, solid technique and therapies for individual issues. If you don’t have access to a trainer, then get on the internet and read. Buy books, watch videos. There is a lot of great information out there. Check out Catalyst Athletics. They are a super great resource for articles and videos.

I will leave you with one final thought. In the infamous words of Snoop Dogg, "drop it like it's hot." I mean your ass, not the bar.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Life is short.

The girls have been fighting all day. It started before I’d even finished my first cup of coffee this morning. I was upstairs trying to get ready and I could hear them screaming at each other and beating the crap out of one another. Well, hitting in the very girly way they do. Did I intervene? Nope. I turned up the radio. I took them to a dentist apt. Then to Wal-Mart for school supply shopping. Which is a little piece of fresh hell all on its own -- made even more fun when my lovely children won’t stop pushing each other and saying nasty things in low voices. So I matched the nasty low voices and said in my most threatening manner, “Would you like your fanny's beat in the middle of the crayon aisle right now?!” After Wal-Mart, we made our way to a middle school open house. Chaos is the only word that would describe that experience. Or maybe it just felt that way to me. We drove home. I heard the words, “I hate you (insert either Sophia or Stella)” several times. We pulled in the driveway. We unloaded the car. I poured a glass of wine and went up stairs. I heard the calamity of them sorting school supplies. More screaming at one another. I decided to escort them, ever so gently, into their rooms. With the instructions, “Do not come out, under any circumstances.”

And uttered the words, “I want to jump off a bridge.”

I came in to the office to sit and write a blog on “squatting,” for a bit of a mental escape, but decided to first check my email. I saw that my friend, Elizabeth had posted a new journal entry and a birthday video about Peyton. Peyton has a rare, inoperable brain tumor. I read it and cried. I’ve known Peyton since she was one. She turned 7 yesterday. She and Stella have grown up together. We live 2 houses apart. I love this child. And I felt guilty for saying that I want to "jump off a bridge” when I have perfectly, healthy kids. Even after a day like this. I have my kids. They are healthy.

Elizabeth & Peyton
My friend, Elizabeth, has taught me so many lessons in the last several months since Peyton was diagnosed. I am in awe of this woman. She has handled this unbelievably painful situation with dignity, and grace and almost always has a smile for everyone. She has shown me to appreciate the small things. The day to day things that we all take for granted.

About a week ago, Elizabeth asked me if the girls and I wanted to go and stay with them as their house in Preist Lake, Idaho. My first response was that I couldn’t because I’d have to cancel classes last minute. She looked at me and smiled, and said, “Life is short, Lori.”

I cancelled classes. We packed our bags. We had the most amazing journey. In so many ways. It was a once in a lifetime visit. I know this now. Life is short. And I am so blessed to have shared a wonderful, five days with Elizabeth and Chad and Peyton and Ryan, and all of the other wonderful people who were there. We had so much laughter. We had tears. We shared stories. We made memories. We lived.

Ryan, Stella, Peyton, Sophia
I’d like to freeze those moments. I want to feel the hot sun. I want to feel the sand in my toes. I want to see my friend smiling and laughing with her daughter. I want to see our kids playing in the water, making childhood memories that will last forever.

I want to stand on the edge of the dock. I want to stand there with that feeling of anticipation, wondering how it will feel when my body is submerged in the cool, clear, lake water. I want to take that leap. I want to be suspended in air for that brief moment. I want to hit the water and come to the surface, laughing and saying “woo hoo!” I want to remember that feeling of peace and simplicity and pure joy.

So, I will correct myself. I do not want to “jump off a bridge.” I want to dive of the dock at Elizabeth’s house in Priest Lake, Idaho. I want life to stay in that moment. Just the way it was. I want life.

Giving Peyton a squeeze!





For more information on Peyton Rudkin and Peyton’s Ranch, please visit peytonsranch.org.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Taco temptation and wild abandon.

She looks innocent,
but watch out for her wily ways.
Okay, so I know I made a rather bold statement a few weeks ago. I think it went something like, “I am done with you.” I also asked the question, “How long with I miss you?” So, now it’s time for some coming clean honesty.

Apparently, I was NOT done with you. And I will miss you for a VERY long time. I am physically strong. I am mentally, or willpower, weak, as it turns out. Shocker, huh?

For those of you who don’t care to read the previous blog entries, I’ll break it down quickly. I tried to go hardcore Paleo, hardcore cold turkey, otherwise called the Whole 30. Okay, jeez, I was attempting the Whole 30 with wine. I know, I know. Not the Whole 30 at all. I get this. Whatever. At least I am being honest. Well anyway, even the best laid plans of mice and men, right?

So, my plan was going great. I was abiding by all Paleo eating standards. Drinking my coffee with unsweetened coconut creamer. No grains. No dairy. No sugar. Grass fed beef. No nitrates, etc. Yes, I did allow fermented grapes – my Achilles heel. Again, whatever. I get where I went wrong. The whole “sandpaper theory.” Those of you, who’ve attended a Whole 9 seminar, know what I’m saying. Anyway, no need to beat a dead horse. Lest I remind you, I am sharing my journey, by choice.

I went for a weekend away, to visit Shelby. The afternoon began innocently enough with hanging out and enjoying some rare sunshine on her beautiful deck. We were getting ready to go to dinner. I was firm in my resolve. “Stick to the plan.” I told myself. I told Shelby of my plan as well. She was supportive, as all good friends are.

We get to the restaurant. I am still firm in my resolve. The waitress comes. Shelby orders wine. Resolve weakens. I order a glass. Resolve weakens more. Shelby and Ryan tell me that this place has the best “shrimp tacos they have ever had.” Wow. The best? Then we all had some great conversation. Another glass of wine. Some really great laughs. More great conversation. I think to myself, “You’re smart. You are in control. You freaking rock.” You know, all the things you tell yourself after a couple of drinks on an empty stomach. But I’m rather convincing. Even when talking to myself. I order another glass of wine. By this time I am asking myself, “When will you get the chance to have the world’s greatest shrimp tacos with some really wonderful people EVER again?!” I am actually yelling this in my head, directly in the face of my “paleo resolve.”

“Resolve” is now floating in the bottom of a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. It’s at the bottom of my glass, staring up at me, gulping for breath, as I watch it drowning -- with a smile on my face.

I could share the rest of my evening, and the details that lead me towards the complete destruction of my Paleo path, but why? You’re smart people. You can figure it out. I will say that it ended with eating 3 bites (yes, I counted, as though it really mattered) of a cinnamon roll on Sunday morning – with my unsweetened coffee creamer. I am not a complete hedonist!

The end of my story? I am back on track again. But I have zero regrets. As I have said before, I believe life can be a bit of a roller coaster ride. There are ups and downs. Some “ups” are absolutely worth it, others are not. Some “downs” take you further down than you ever intended to go. But either way – get on the ride. Live. Try. Fail. Succeed. Stumble. And try again. Let loose. Throw caution to the wind every now and then.

I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t stick to a great nutrition plan. Because I believe we should – almost all of the time. Those shrimp tacos? They were absolutely worth it. They were awesome. I’d have them again. Resolve be damned.

Sometimes you need to have a little “bad” in your life. Because sometimes “bad” can be really, really, good.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Your ass looks huge in those!

We met in 1996. Here we are 7-29-11.
I think it’s amazing to have relationships in your life that have had such a positive impact and deep meaning that, no matter what, you know without doubt, you will know this person forever.

I have friends in my life that hold this very special place. Friends I’ve know long enough to endure miles separating us, months between talks, and years between visits. These friendships have included years of laughter, love and tears. We’ve both survived and celebrated various life changing events.

So this past weekend I was able to break free of family commitments and responsibilies to go and visit my dear friend, Shelby, in Camano Island, WA. It’s been two and a half years since Shelby and I have laid eyes on each other. We’ve talked just enough to keep up on what’s going on in each others’ worlds. So, you’d think that maybe we’d lost a bit of that familiar closeness that we once shared.

No. We had not. The minute I pulled in to her driveway and saw her running towards me with her beautiful, signature long, red hair, my heart melted and we hugged like the sisters we’d always felt we were. No awkwardness. No “getting reacquainted” moments -- just reciprocated love that that two dear friends have always shared.

The first night I met Shelby, I didn’t know what I’d think of this tiny, gorgeous red head, until we got to dinner and she ordered ribs. Not a salad – ribs. Sticky ribs that she got all over her hands. I fell in love with this girl. We immediately became the best of friends. We complemented each other. She was the calm, voice of reason. I was the outspoken, wild one. Go figure, huh?

Shelby and I have always had an open and honest relationship. We’ve been the ones to tell each other, “Those white pants make your ass look huge. Take them off now.” We’ve shared every random thing imaginable -- from skinny dipping to being time-share hostages in Vegas. We've survived bad haircuts, bad self tanner moments, dive bars and hangovers. Marital bliss and marital nightmares. She was the first person to babysit one year old Sophia. She held her for hours while she cried so I could have a night out. She was the first person I called when I found out I was pregnant with my second baby. I had happened to be in Sacramento visiting Shelby, a few nights prior. When she heard the news, we laughed and said we should name the baby, “Chardonnay.” She ended up being named, Estella, instead.

Of course we have been through all the stuff that some long term friends go through. We’ve had our close times. We have had times when our lives were at different places. We have had times when we felt that we thought we knew what was better for the other. We’ve tried to tell each other “what to do.” But when one of us didn’t listen, we have then tried to support one another – through the hits and misses. We’ve celebrated the good times. And then we have consoled each other through the rough times.

We’ve had arguments. We’ve been angry. We’ve cried together. We’ve felt distant. But inevitably, we make our way back to each other. I think when people share a real friendship – one that will last – you ride out the waves. If you care enough, the good times will always outweigh the bad. They will outweigh the stress of distance and life's constant distractions.

Real friendship stands the test of time. These friends love you. They love your “goods.” They love your “bads.” They love you despite all things. They won’t judge. They will support. They don’t tell you what you want to hear. They tell you what you need to hear. Be blessed by these rare people in your life. Cherish them. And be the same for them. Be the friend you want.

True friendship is unending. It is unyielding. But it is constantly evolving. Over time, friendship takes on different dimensions, but it never loses its original character.

And most importantly, a true friend will always tell you when you’re wearing unflattering pants.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How long will I miss you?

July 27 at 6:15am. New coffee. Same old me.
After attending the Whole 9 nutrition seminar this past weekend, I have decided to eat a Paleo diet, once again.

What is Paleo for those of you unfamiliar? There is a ton of information online, but here is a very simplified definition:

DO EAT: foods that make you more healthy: Meat, vegetables, fruit, healthy fats.

DON’T EAT: foods that make you less healthy: Sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, unhealthy fats.

Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, the founders Whole 9 and the Whole 30 Program, and total badass nutrition gurus, provided me so many reasons to live this lifestyle; I simply have to give it a go. They are very persuasive people, backed by tons of knowledge and personal experience. I have done this before, for short bouts of time, but then inevitably I revert back to my former habits. It’s easy to go back to what’s comfortable. Going back to what feels good and normal to you.

Anyway, I am making some changes. But I have a lot of bad habits in place. How do I break these? How do I prepare for the journey ahead of me? Maybe you can’t prepare. Maybe you just jump in with both feet, hang on tight, and gut it out. Kind of like a really long, hellish metcon? You keep reminding yourself that it won’t kill you and you’ll be better for it in the end?

People have habits of all sorts. Good and bad. Things we love to do. Things we wish we wouldn’t. There are things we feel like we can live without. There are things we feel like we can’t. I think that a habit is developed because the behavior, whatever it may be, is rewarded to a point that makes us want to do it again, and again, and again. It brings us pleasure. Usually enough pleasure to justify the behavior. Which is why we cling to them. When you tell yourself, “You can’t do ‘this’ anymore,” whatever it is -- whatever the habitual component it holds -- leaving it behind will not be without discomfort. Habits can be like an addiction. Some of the biggies: smoking, drinking, unhealthy food, toxic relationships, etc.

Today, I am focusing on breaking unhealthy food habits. Which I believe to be the granddaddy of all habits! Because we can’t just go cold turkey on food, like you could cigarettes. Although I have never had to give up smoking, so what I do I know? Maybe there are some ex-smokers who would like to have a few choice words with me about that bold statement. Anyway, the way I see it, with food, we have to keep it in our lives. We can’t escape it and pretend it doesn’t exist. We have to make the right choices and eliminate the ones that are not good for us.

For example, I love coffee with creamer. LOTS of vanilla creamer. I’ll stick with this example, but you can insert “whatever” in to this scenario. Maybe for you it’s chips, or ice-cream, or cheese. But it’s essentially the same with anything you love, that you choose to remove from your life.

I wake up, every morning, and go straight for my coffee creamer. I grab it before I fill my cup. I look forward to it. I love it. I feel like I can’t live without it. It tastes so dang good. But it’s not good for me. It’s doing me no favors – or contributing to my health in a positive manner. It’s nutritional wasteland.

It’s been 3 days since I’ve left my beloved, vanilla coffee creamer, behind. Today as I sit here in my chair, watching GMA and drinking my coffee with a splash of unsweetened coconut creamer, I am not terribly happy. A considerable amount of indulgence has been removed from this morning ritual of mine.

Will I eventually stop missing my vanilla creamer? Will I find a substitute that is “good enough?” Will each day magically get easier, until I don’t miss it at all? Will I sit here in my chair on a morning, a month from now and enjoy this “new” cup of mine?

Possibly. I guess I don’t know. That’s what I struggle with. The process of breaking the habit. It’s an uncomfortable course. I sometimes fear my ability to get to the end. But I believe in what I am doing. So, I will persevere and imagine that the taste of victory will be sweet – a natural, unprocessed sweet that can be found only in fruit, preferably organic.

Until then, I will miss you old friend.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I am done with you.

So I just got back from a Whole 9 nutrition seminar. It was a very informative day. It gave me a lot to think about. And although a lot of what I got today was very scientific and technical, here is a simplified explanation of what I am going to accomplish:


The equation of HEALTH:

HEALTH

(Equals)

RECOVERY - YOUR FOUNDATION - nutrition, active recovery, sleep

(Minus) -

TRAINING

(Minus) -

STRESSPSYCHOLOGICAL

So, if you do not benefit my health, or you subtract from my health, or you do nothing to enhance my health...

I AM DONE WITH YOU.

Further explanation to follow.

Monday, July 18, 2011

One of these kids is not like the other.


So on the 4th of July, I was hanging out with two friends of mine. We were laying on towels, visiting and soaking up the rare summer sunshine that Mother Nature has chosen to withhold from us this year. The kids were swimming and entertaining us with their childish antics.

Stella had gotten out of the pool and was standing in front of our towels, with the sun at her back. She was making “shadows” on our bodies with her hands. “Stacie, I am grabbing your boob,” Stella says as she erupts in laughter. It was rather funny. I rolled over to see a shadow hand, squeezing Stacie’s unsuspecting breast. She then walked over to Michelle, and did the same. We all laughed. Stella is a child that is always saying something, or doing something to push the envelope of appropriate behavior. I suspect she gets that from me. And I am truly sorry that I passed on that trait. But what can I do? Stifle the child? I guess some would suggest just that, but somehow I can’t. She is a very funny little girl. And I’ve always found that having a great sense of humor is an amazing quality. And  personally, I love funny people.

Anyway, Stella gets around to doing her shadow hands on me, and she pauses. She giggles. She says, “Mom, when I look at Stacie and Michelle, I see ‘mountains.’ You? Not so much!” I laughed. And before I could reply, Sophia chimes in with, “Yeah, Mom, most guys like big boobs.” I laughed again. Then I gave my response, “Not all guys.”

Then I told them, it was fortunate that I didn’t suffer from particularly low self esteem. I also explained that having a small chest wasn’t the worse thing in the world – at least not to me. They ended this “small” conversation by telling me that they were certain they’d have bigger boobs than me. “Well, if that’s what you want, then I sure hope so,” was my answer.
But it got me thinking about boobs. . . breasts. . .the girls. . . or toddlers, in my case -- or whatever term you choose to use when discussing them. They are a big (or small) deal to people. All people. Apparently even my little people. I know the girls’ and their friends talk about the process of “developing” and how they think they will look and how they want to look.

I imagine they’ve been so bombarded with breast imagery on TV and in magazines, they have a sense of what they think is “perfect” or “beautiful,” even at their young ages. And that makes me a bit sad. Because I think there are so many beautiful things that define a woman. Not just “two” things.

I hate that lots of people define beauty by breast size. We can’t change what we’ve been given. We come in all different shapes and sizes. And that makes us unique. Not imperfect. I can’t work out to make my boobs bigger. I can’t eat clean and earn a pair of C’s. I can, of course, purchase them, but that’s a topic I don’t care to address today.

I’m talking about the disbelief that big boobs makes a woman more beautiful. Although, I’m not saying that they detract from beauty either. But dang it, I don’t believe that lack of large breast size, makes me any less pretty than my big-boobed counterparts. But as always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.

I want to believe that beauty comes from within (yes, spoken from an outwardly vain woman, who aspires to be better). It comes with self-confidence. It comes with self-acceptance. Or maybe I’m full of crap. Yes, I probably am, a wee bit – because although, my small chest doesn’t bother me, lots of other things do. It’s a lovely sentiment, though, isn’t it? I sound rather inspiring for small-chested America, don't I?
In all honesty, however, because I am flat chested, I have chosen to focus my attention on other parts of my body. Parts of my body I can control the size of. I currently have so many other areas that I’m trying to keep in check; the least of my worries is my cleavage.

I’ve never had big boobs, to even know what it’s like to get attention based on their size. Well, I did have “Pamela Anderson-esque” boobs when my milk came in after I had Sophia. My Mom was staying with me at the time. I woke her up to show her the monstrosities that appeared over night. I should have snapped a picture. And I guess they stayed on the bigger side while I continued to nurse. But then nature has a way of returning to its original state.
I suppose it’s a blessing that the size of my chest doesn’t bother me. It seems to bother everyone around me much more. My girls have told me as much. I’ve been told by friends a time or two that “I’d look great with bigger boobs.”

My response to all of them has been, “I’m fine with my boobs.” This seems to perplex everyone. But trust me. I am not lying. I am fine with having a small chest. I really am. Sounds crazy in this world of massage cleavage and implants, but seriously, I’m more concerned with the size of my ass. So, I took the route of embracing my flat chest. It’s worked thus far.

But mark my words. . . Small boobs will make a comeback. And when they do. . . I’ll be ready.



Monday, July 11, 2011

May the bridges I burn, light my way.

I read this quote quite a while back. It has been rolling around in the back of my mind, stirring up debris. It really made me think. It’s one of those statements that can be taken in different ways -- or mean different things to different people. It’s all in the interpretation. I suppose primarily, because you’re either the bridge or you’re the one holding the match.

I’m trying to look it from the “burners” point of view. It’s saying in essence, “I’ve done some things. I have created damage that is beyond repair. And I am using these experiences to move on. I am not looking back.” This could mean that they will be guided by the relationships and opportunities that they destroy. It could mean that the mistakes that someone made in their past and the broken relationships with other people -- the burning bridges -- will be a guide for them later. They will learn from them.

“Burning the bridge” from a literal sense means: To cut off the way back to where you came from, making it impossible to retreat. It’s a point of no return. Figuratively it means: to make decisions that cannot be changed in the future. Or to act unpleasantly in a situation that you are leaving, ensuring that you'll never be welcome to go back.

I suppose there are times when your actions cause a bridge to burn, beyond your control. Or maybe I shoud say your "intention" -- because our actions are in our control. I also believe that sometimes a clear cut decision is made to “strike the match.” You’ve had time to contemplate the outcome and the affect it will have in your life and others'. There are ramifications for every decision we make in our lives. Nothing happens without consequence. Are there hurts and actions that can’t be undone? I don’t like to believe that, but yes, there are.

I think there are different types of burning bridges – ultimately defined by what side you’re standing on. Some bridges can smolder for what seems like a very long time. One person is trying to ignite the inferno and the other person keeps throwing water on it – trying desperately to put out the blaze. Eventually, however, if someone wants it up in flames bad enough, it becomes impossible to extinguish. Others are so quick to combust; you’ve barely had time to escape with singed hair and hopefully your eyebrows intact.

I can honestly say that there is only one occasion I can think of in my life when I burned a bridge with full intention. I was a checker at K-Mart in 1989. I had given my 2 weeks’ notice and my last day scheduled was a Saturday night. The same night all of my friends were going to a rock concert. I can’t even remember which one, but I can tell you that I really wanted to go. I called and told my boss that I wasn’t coming in. I was informed that if I didn’t work the full 2 weeks’ notice, that I would not be eligible for rehire. Ever. I was black listed from K-Mart. Forever.

So I guess I should say that I am not an “intentional” bridge burner, generally speaking. I’m cursed with always trying to always keep one foot in, and one hand hanging on. I’m always afraid, that if I let go completely, there is no going back. Does this make me a coward? Because I’m afraid of making clear cut decisions? Because I fear finality? Or does it make me brave because I’d rather battle and endure? Perhaps a bit of both.

“May the bridges I burn light my way.” No thanks. I don’t want that type of light guiding me through my life. I don’t want my life defined by the path of destruction I’ve left behind me.

So the question remains, are you an arsonist or a firefighter? I want to be the fighter.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A session of Swear Therapy

Me and my perfect angels.
I am sure that this post won’t win me “Mother of the Year” award. Not that I am ever in the running for that. I’m more of a realist in that area. I know my weaknesses, just as an athlete does. I know my strengths, as well. I think I raise my daughters with a strong sense of reality. This is what life “is” – it’s not always what we wish it to be, but it is, what it is.

I was putting the girls to bed the other night and they were telling me about their days. They were both frustrated about how situations in their little lives had been handled. Disagreements with friends. Your run of the mill, little girl drama. Those of you with girls know exactly what I am talking about. Well, they were both feeling like things had been “said” that weren’t right. I asked, of course, “What kind of things?” Then they told me that some of the kids swear when they are angry. I said, “But you never do, right?” My little angels told me with the most innocent faces that, “No,” they do not use these words.

I didn’t know quite how to reply. I mean, in all honesty, I do use profanity from time to time. I am not necessarily proud of this. So I sincerely want to believe they don’t say these “bad” words. I really do. I also like to think I’ve tried very hard to teach them the difference between what adults can do and what kids can do. That just because you see or hear an adult do something – it doesn’t make it right for them. I guess the words I am looking for are that I am trying to teach my kids “age appropriate behavior.”

Okay, I am sure none of your kids ever swear. Of course they don’t. Not yours. But some kids do. Even if they never hear you do it. Even if you’ve been dang near perfect . . . anyway. Let me tell you. . . Your kids hear the words. They do. Their “friends say them.” I will reiterate “their friends” say them, because, as I have said, we want to believe, desperately, that ours never do. Right? Yep. Of course. They never say bad words. They are never mean, or hit others, either. We love to tell ourselves that. Then let’s tell ourselves that we can control what they hear on the playground, or anywhere else for that matter. But come on.  Wouldn't we be self-delusional to believe our kids are perfect? So, I’m not going to say that your kids have never heard bad words from my girls. But after last night, I am thinking that they don’t come from their mouths as often as I would have thought.

So anyway, I was putting the girls to bed the other night. And they were telling me how many “swear” words” they wanted to say during their day. I took the bait; I said, “Like what word?” They both looked at me with wide eyes. They told me that they couldn’t say what they wanted to. Of course I had to know what exactly they wanted to say. I won’t lie, I was a bit scared. But I wanted to know, so I said, “Say it out loud. Say what you want to say -- anything but the “F” word.” I know, I’m conservative, right?

“What do you want to say Sophia,” I asked? “Ass.” Just “ass” was what she said. That’s it. Followed up by a meek little “Damn it.”

Then Stella. Oh, Stella. She, however . . . well, she is a bit more aggressive in nature. It was her turn. I waited, in anticipation to see what my baby girl had to say. What taboo word would she say very quietly?

“BITCH!!!”

WOW. It wasn’t meek. And it sure wasn’t quiet! It was like she needed to say it. And she said it loud!

Afterwards, while I was still a bit shell-shocked from her ferocity, she explained, rather simply, “If I was allowed to say ‘bitch,’ I’d say it all of the time.” Apparently, Stella encounters a lot of “bitches” in her eight year old world. I cannot vouch for this fact, but she is rather certain.

So I was telling my dear friend, Elizabeth, this funny story. And she said, “Wait, the girls told me about this!” They are close to Elizabeth and their family, so this didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me is that apparently, I am not that original in my plan to let them say all the “taboo” words in order to “clear the air,” so to speak. To make them not such a big deal, while letting them know that they are still not, without a doubt, appropriate to use in any situation. No matter how angry, or frustrated, or even in response to another friend using these words. I cracked up when Elizabeth said that both of her children really wanted to say “Son of a Bitch” – one of her favorites. We shared a conspiratory laugh.

Because guess what? Our children are not potty mouths in the neighborhood. I guess I should preface that bold statement with “not yet,” however.

So if you ever hear my children utter a swear word, even under their breaths, please let me know. Parenting is a long, educational process. I’ll keep trying to perfect my skills. Will I stop letting a swear word, or two, slip? No. Some of you know me really well, so if I said otherwise, you’d call “bullshit” on that statement! I will still be the girl I am. The girl who shouldn’t say the things she does. My mother does not love this about me. She does not support my bad language in any way shape, or form, I might add. She likes to blame CrossFit culture. I told her that I wish I could blame that, and a lot of things on CrossFit, but unfortunately, I can’t.

But I can promise to encourage the use of positive language, whenever possible. Which is almost always? No, always, I guess. I can encourage it ALWAYS. I will encourage my girls to be better than their mother. I can add that to a long list of things I would like my girls to be better at, than I have been.

Parenting. It’s a “bleeping” tough job.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Nice snatch. . . balance.

First, it needs to be said, yet again, that Olympic Weightlifting is the coolest sport on the planet. Yes, I said, the planet. Maybe not in your world, but it certainly is in mine. It’s beautiful and powerful, fast, precise and aggressive. It’s technical and intelligent. It’s everything I aspire to be. I’ve also found that girls with great snatches are very popular among certain crowds.

So, I had a 5 pound PR (personal record) the other day doing a Snatch Balance at 120#. What is a snatch balance, you ask? Well, I will tell you. But for all you non-lifters, I should first tell you what a snatch is. It is quite simply, the most awesome lift EVER. Okay, that’s my definition. Here’s the technical one:

The Snatch

“The snatch is the first of two lifts contested in Olympic Weightlifting in which the barbell is lifted from the floor to overhead in a single movement. With it’s unparalleled speed and extensive range of motion, it epitomizes mechanical power – the performance of maximal work in minimal time – as well as technical precision.” – Greg Everett, Olympic Weightlifting, A Complete Guide for Coaches and Athletes, 2nd Ed.

See, I told you. . . It’s the most awesome lift EVER. I mean, if you can snatch, you’re cooler than sliced bread. Seriously. Doesn’t it make you want to pick up a barbell and learn to snatch? Well, actually you’ll have to start with PVC to learn the elements of the lift. But that’s a topic for another day.

Today we are talking snatch balance. It is a part of the Snatch Balance Series which includes the pressing snatch balance, the heaving snatch balance and the snatch balance.

The Snatch Balance Series

"The series of snatch balance exercise adds dynamic entry into the (receiving) position with increasing complexity and speed in order to better prepare the athlete to receive the snatch successfully.” – Greg Everett, Olympic Weightlifting, A Complete Guide for Coaches and Athletes, 2nd Ed.

And don’t we all want to receive the snatch successfully? I know I do! So what do I do to achieve this glorious skill? I practice. I practice a lot. I tape my lifts. I watch them back in slow motion. I watch for what I did right -- seeing if I hit the different positions properly. Sometimes I am happy with what I see. More often I see things that need work.

Today for example, I was snatching with a light weight, just working on technique. Oh jeez. Today my snatch was ugly. U-G-L-Y. But that’s what also makes lifting so dang wonderful. You’re never done. There is always something to work on. Get better at. It is a constant challenge. And hey, in all honesty, the things we want most in life, sometimes present challenges, right?

So this brings us to the snatch balance. It’s a skills transfer exercise and a great training tool. Here’s why:

The Snatch Balance

The snatch balance “is an aggressive exercise and demands maximal speed and effort,” -- Greg Everett

I quote him a lot. He’s much smarter about this stuff than I am. He is Catalyst Athletics @ http://www.cathletics.com, a great Olympic weightlifting website. He’s also married to Aimee Anaya Everett, my lifting idol. Anyway, what and how does this lift translate to the actual snatch? What does this movement teach us?

It teaches us proper foot transition and speed, and increases strength and confidence – all very important things when weightlifting. The lift begins with the bar behind the neck, on the shoulders in the snatch grip. Feet begin in the pulling position. The athlete will dip and drive the bar overhead while quickly dropping and transitioning the feet into the receiving position. The finish looks like an overhead squat. When you get proficient at this movement, you should be able to snatch balance significantly more weight that you can actually snatch. I don’t know if I could claim to be “proficient” at this movement, but my experience has proven this statement correct. My 1RM snatch is 100#. So yes, I snatch balance significantly more than I snatch.

I can snatch balance 120#. And that is so awesome. Until I can snatch balance 130#.