Friday, August 26, 2016

Whirlwind

It's been quite a summer. Summer Strength Camp at my happy place,  I went whitewater rafting with the best group of people I know and I started my 17th year of teaching. There was one other event. One that wasn't a surprise, but the feelings it has brought up have been. I'll get to that later.

Let's talk about the end of Pride's Summer Strength Camp. We started June 6, had a midpoint check in on July 11 and the final tests were on August 22. Overall I am very pleased with how I did.

1. Max Pull ups- Um, yeah. Not so much. I started off with 0 pull ups and I ended with 0 pull ups. Go me. Both Coach Dane and Coach Tyler have told me I am close, but close really doesn't count with pull ups. Neither do the pictures I have in my head of me repping out many pull ups with perfect form. I'm going to keep working on them, because someday I want to actually do one.

2. Hand Release Push ups: June 6: 22 push ups on my toes, July 11: 30 push ups on my toes; August 22: 30 push ups on my toes. I gained 8 push ups from the start. Given that on August 22 I couldn't breathe through my nose I am proud of the 30 push ups I got.

3. Weighted Planks: June 6: 1 min; July 11: 1:08; August 22: 1:15. I gained 15 seconds and I'm going to keep working on those too. Any exercise that will build a stronger core is great with me, even if I don't enjoy it in the moment. I want to work on my natural weight belt after all.

4. Ten Lateral Jump Burpees: June 6: 1:09; July 11: 49 sec.; August 22: 40 sec. I took 29 seconds off my time. Not bad at all.

5. 500m Row: June 6: 1:56; July 11: 1:47; August 22: 1:46. I shaved 10 seconds off from my first time. I'd like to point out again that I had a cold, couldn't breathe through my nose and was pretty sure I was going to earn a gold star. No gold star and I improved my 500 m row time.

In other news the scale is finally moving in the right direction again. I was really beginning to think I was going to be back in the weight class I lifted in during my first competition. I'm back to the 110 kg (about 242 pounds) now and Coach Dane and I decided we're going to see if I can make it to the next weight class 100 kg or 220 pounds. It's an ambitious goal, but I'm willing to see where I can get.

I also started my 17th year as a special education teacher. It sounds impressive, doesn't it? It would be one whole hell of a lot more impressive if I actually felt like I knew something. I'd settle for knowing anything really. Of course after the last three days of inservice I feel like I might have lost a few things I did know trying to put new information in my brain. I guess as long as I remember my name, where I live and how to get to Pride I'm going to be okay.

Whitewater rafting was AMAZING. I wasn't sure I'd like it, and it did scare me at the beginning. My goal was not to fall out of the raft. Imagine my discomfort when our guide informed us we'd be sitting on the edge of the raft. On. The. Edge. It was all I could do not to take the advice of the voice in my head screaming get the hell out of this raft right now you IDIOT. My friend Hailey told me it was an adventure and no one else seemed too scared so I stayed on the raft. Turns out that was the right decision even if during the worst of the rapids I wondered if there'd be a gold star earned or if I was just going to stop following the guide's directions and start praying. No gold stars and I continued to follow directions. I can't wait to do it again.

The final event of the week wasn't entirely unexpected. My father died. I didn't have a relationship with him, so I can't say I cried because I'll miss what we had. Deep down would I have liked to have a relationship with him? Of course I would have, but I figured out many years back that what I wanted was something he couldn't give me. My father did the best he could. Let's leave it at that. There have been tears, I'm human and he was my father, but mostly I am relieved that he is no longer suffering.

It's been a whirlwind summer. Can't wait to see what Fall brings.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

??

I have no idea what title to give this post. Usually I know what I want to say and the title comes to me. Not so this time. I still know what I want to say, but I have no idea how it will read once it's out. I have no idea how I'm going to describe what I am thinking and feeling. Mostly, I'm okay with that, but the part of me that likes to know what is going on and what is going to come out is decidedly not okay.

Well, here goes. If you read this to the end good for you. I hope it is at least slightly entertaining and possibly enlightening.

Last week was Pride Warrior week at Pride Fitness Performance. There were 6 Pride Warriors and 6 different workouts last week, a different one every day. I completed  participated in all six workouts. There were goals for some I did not complete. I never quit, but I didn't meet the goal for the workout so I can't say I completed them. I think that doing the best I could with each workout counts though and I'm proud of what I did. By the time Saturday rolled around my body was done. There was nothing left in me to give. I like a nap as much as the next person, but Saturday afternoon I slept for 4 hours and went to bed early on Saturday night and got another 8 hours of sleep. I was done in. Probably had something to do with the 6 pride warrior workouts, 1 buddy training session, 1 Muscle Hour class, 1 flex Friday class and 2 Yoga Corr classes. That's 11 workouts in all...I really do need a keeper.

For those of you who read this, but aren't familiar with what exactly a Pride Warrior is, here's the definition Tyler gives when he announces each new warrior. "The Pride Warrior award is based on excellent physical performances as well as consistent dedication in the gym". The Pride Warrior gets a workout named after them. That means that we send Tyler a list of exercises we like and he works his magic to create a workout. Now there are seven Pride Warriors. Barry Sykes was given the award this week. Thursday and Friday we will get a chance face his workout. Given Barry's natural athletic ability I'm a little scared...I don't think I've ever seen Barry not be good at something. Sure he might need to work at some things, but he's basically freaking amazing.

All the Pride Warriors are amazing. When I look at the names, well, most of the names I understand the choice. Gretchen is a machine: I don't think she ever stops and she does everything with a smile on her face. She is the most encouraging person to work out with, she has a kind word for everyone no matter what. Eric, he's just invincible and one of my best friends. Keri, she is who I would like to be with her cardio skills. Julie is the athlete I'd like to be when I grow up. While we're at it, so is Pat. Then there's Barry. I completely understand why each of those people were chosen.

I said there were 7 Pride Warriors. I was chosen as a Pride Warrior in Spetember 2015. I know why Tyler said he chose me, but compared to the other Pride Warriors I don't know. I don't see it. Not a surprise, this blog is an on-going testament to me trying to figure out "why me".

I'm not going to dwell on it. I will never see what other people see when they look at me. I am honored and humbled to be in the same group as Gretchen, Eric, Keri, Julie, Pat and Barry I will leave it at that.

I will say I feel better these days. Mudderella was a turning point. I finally found my niche and I let my coaches know. No, my niche is not obstacle course races. My niche is powerlifting. I LOVE to deadlift, squat and bench press. Coach Dane calls deadlifting my "money lift". I can squat and bench press, but deadlifting is absolutely my first love and my strength.

I will admit, when I was talking to Nikki at Buddy Training about figuring out my niche while I was going through the Mudderella course I wanted to be really quiet, I almost felt like I should whisper. No particular reason, but maybe at the back of my mind I was worried somehow figuring out who I was and what I wanted would disappoint Tyler. Dumb and unfounded, but that was my fear. I noticed Tyler was listening while I was talking and he was smiling. He seemed genuinely excited when I said I've discovered I am a powerlifter. He did say it is cool that there are so many facets to fitness that I could find my niche. I don't think I need to worry that Coach T is ever going to give up on me. It's more likely I'll give up on myself first.

That Tuesday night at Buddy Training Carole, Nikki and I had a deadlift party. It had been about a month since I'd gone for a deadlift PR. That night I pulled 405 pounds. There's a video on the Pride Fitness Performance page you can watch if you are interested. The first time I tried 405 was ugly. I stepped away from the bar, leaned against the wall and let loose with the best word to express my feeling at the moment. It started with F and had 4 letters. I bet you can guess it. Then I got another chance and I got angry. 405 was only 5 more pounds than I'd lifted before, it was definitely possible and if I got focused it was happening. I stepped back to the bar and noticed Tyler handing Dane his phone for video proof. Then I lost track of everything except for the bar and what I needed to do. It wasn't until I watched the video later with the sound on that I realized that Tyler was yelling "Pull that bar!" the entire time it took me to pull to lockout.

I have a new weight total now and a new plan. Coach Dane told me that once my weight total reaches 1000 pounds we will look for meets with another federation. That's exciting and absolutely terrifying all at the same time. I'll also have a new plan for my training. I'm waiting to hear about that, but I'll tell you what it is as soon as I know. I'm sure I'll need to process it.

Anyhow, on to that total: 275 pound squat+ 200 pound bench press+ 405 pound deadlift= 880 pounds. 120 pounds to go until I reach 1000 pounds. I suppose it's possible that I could reach 1000 pounds at Old School Iron Wars in November, but my current goal for November 5 is to reach at least a 925 pound total. We shall see what happens, but that's my goal at the moment. I'm sure Coach Dane has his own thoughts on the subject.

I'm no closer now than I was at the beginning to what the title of this post should be. For now I'll go with two question marks.

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Mudderella 2016

Mudderella New England was held on Saturday, July 30 in Epping, NH at New England Dragway. I went with three of my best friends.

We all started off Friday morning, as we do most Friday mornings at Pride. Friday's workout was Russian Bear 500. I saw the board when I walked in and thought briefly about turning around and walking back out. I don't mind kettlebell exercises at all, but 100 KB Goblet Squats to a box, 150 KB Swings, 150 KB Deadlift High Pulls and 100 KB Reverse Lunges is enough to give even me at my craziest pause. The goal was to finish all 500 KB moves using the same KB the entire time in 25 minutes or less. I told myself I would do my best, I would not be a moron and push too hard since I was participating in Mudderella the next day and steeled myself to get it done.

Well...I got the majority of it done before the 25 minutes was up. I did cheat a little on the goblet squats, though I guess cheat isn't the right word since I made no attempt to hide it. For 30 of my squats I really wanted to squat to the lower box, but with the KB I was having a hard time getting back up and my form was awful. I decided form mattered more to me and I put the KB down for 29 of the 30 squats. The other 70 were done with the KB on a box that was a little higher and I made sure my form was as close to perfect as I could make it. Pretty sure my squat form was right on because my hamstrings and butt were screaming yesterday morning. It was about Mile 2 before I really felt them loosen up.

I was just starting in on my reverse lunges when the timer went off. In all I completed the KB swings, KB DL HP,  KB Goblet squats and 1 KB Reverse Lunge. 351 is nothing to be ashamed of and I am proud of myself.

After Mudderella was breakfast, a Friday morning tradition, at Roasters with my friends. Then a mad dash to get Abbey to Buster's Bed 'n Biscuit and myself back to Carole's house in Derby so we could leave somewhat on time. We were on the road by 9:30 at least.

I've never been to Hampton Beach before, but I liked it a lot. Our hotel was right across the street from the beach and the beach itself was beautiful. We spent the afternoon on Friday at the beach. Friday evening we went out for dinner at Millie's Tavern and I made a new "friend".

Friend is ABSOLUTELY the wrong word. In my defense I was not the only person that evening who thought the rest room was one where you walked in and there were several stalls and tried to open the door. When I discovered the door was locked I let go of the handle and backed off. The woman inside the rest room at the time was not impressed. She came out swearing and yelling. Our waitress gave it right back to her and apologized to me explaining the woman was a regular and greatly enjoyed her alcohol (okay, so the waitress told me she was an alcoholic, but I was trying to be nice). Good times, I almost got into a bar fight and I hadn't even been in town for 12 hours yet. Go me... She came up many, many times throughout the night to use the restroom and several times someone else twisted the knob while she was in there. She didn't explode at anyone else though. I wonder if perhaps our waitress had more words with her when she went down to the bar at some point.

Saturday morning our start time was 8 am. By 6 am we were all up and getting ready for the race. I said to Hailey as we were leaving that I'd slept really well the night before and I didn't feel nauseous at all about the upcoming event. She suggested maybe I was getting more confidence and that it was good I'd slept well.

We discovered that very little at Hampton Beach opens before 7 am. Fortunately one of the venues at Mudderella was selling breakfast sandwiches. We each had one, then it was close to go time. I felt a little anxious, new things always make me a little anxious, but this was nothing like I experienced for Tough Mudder or even powerlifting meets. I knew it would be okay. I had a good team and we'd get through it together.

There were a couple of downhill portions that were giving me trouble trying to walk down. Hailey, Carole and Sylvie suggested I slide down on my butt, but since my butt was wet and I didn't want to add sand and mud to the sand and mud I was already carrying around quite yet I came up with alternatives. I crab walked down the first hill. My teammates told me it was a nice crab walk and to get my hips up more. It was kind of like having Tyler there coaching me. I did ask them not to tell him I did a good crab walk. The second downhill portion I did a backward bear crawl. It was much less pitiful than the backward bear crawls I do at Pride.

I did all but one obstacle. The last obstacle was Stunt Double. You climbed to a platform that was about 10 feet high and then you jumped off into an inflated pad. The drop was probably no more than 5 feet and at the start of the race I thought I could do it. To be honest I am pretty sure I could have done it, but I over thought the obstacle as I approached it at the end and my nasty inner voice told me I would hurt myself, be a disaster and an even bigger drain on my team than I had already been. I hate the voice...but unfortunately yesterday I let that voice convince me I couldn't do it.

On a positive note I made it over the walls (with support from my team) and I got up Rise of the Shero on my own, with lots of encouraging words from my team. There was some mud, but not as much as I had expected.

Saturday afternoon was a glorious beach day. The ocean felt wonderful and there was a nice breeze. I didn't spend a lot of time in the sun either day, I'm more of a shade person, but I enjoy warm sand and the chance to relax as much as anyone.

I did come to some realizations about myself and my abilities this weekend. One of my goals used to be to complete 10 Tough Mudders. Yesterday I decided that I would happily do another Mudderella, I'd like to try a Dirty Girl, but my Mudder days are behind me.

It wasn't my nasty inner bitch telling me that either, it was the beast within. I love my Tough Mudder experiences, they are among some of my most cherished memories. On part of the course we passed a place with old tires. There were some tractor tires there and my heart sang. Really, I saw those tires and I perked right up: flipping tires is one of my loves. Sylvie, Carole and Hailey pointed out the tires on the course to me. Sadly none of them were there for flipping. I decided I want to have fun with obstacle races and I want to save my training and hard work for powerlifting. As Tyler told me recently, there is nothing wrong with being good at a few things instead of being a jack of all trades. I am suited to deadlifting, and to a lesser extent squatting and bench pressing. Why would I keep fighting that?

I am a powerlifter. I have been told I have great potential as a powerlifter. I want to focus on that. I want to see how far I can go and maybe someday participate in a national competition. I want to challenge everyone's perception of me. I want to own and be comfortable with my strength. I want to leave my mark on the world by giving back and paying it forward whenever and wherever I can.

Here's a picture taken on Saturday with bar none, some of the most INSPIRING women I know: Julie, Jess, Hailey, Sylvie and Carole thank you, thank you, thank you for a wonderful weekend.




Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Brave

Driving home from a workout before my vacation the song "Brave" by Sarah Bareilles was playing. I've always sort of liked this song. I want to be brave. I want to face all my fears without wondering where the exit is. I want to stand up for what I want.

Most of all I want to stop caring so much about what society says is "right". I see the magazines, I see the photoshopped, airbrushed covers and my chunky, solid body just does not measure up. Not in any way, shape or form. Not in the wildest reaches of my imagination does the body I possess measure up to society's "ideal" or flavor of the month (thank you Joanne for that phrase).

Do I ever stop to think that there is a great likelihood that none of the women I am seeing on the cover can deadlift 400 pounds, squat 275 pounds or bench press 200? Do I remind myself to celebrate what my body can do and does do well? Nope, nope, nope. I look at the thick, jiggly thighs and resolve to work harder.

My biggest fear from the beginning of this journey has been I will slip back to the person I was before. I will regain all the weight and then some. I have shared my fears repeatedly with both of my coaches. Recently one of them suggested it is time to stop worrying about that: I am not the person I was before. Hmmm, he might have a point.

So, am I telling you that now I love my body and think it is perfect. Bahahaha! NO!! I am telling you I am TRYING to accept the body I have now and what it can do while I work on making it even better. I am working on not caring what the size label in my clothing says and instead worrying about how the clothes fit and make me feel. I am going to try to focus on what I do well and work on my weaknesses without getting down on myself. I don't want or need to be a jack of all trades at Pride: I need to be me. The coaches want me to be ME, not a pale, cookie cutter version of someone else.

I was brave last week in a different way: I didn't work out. No Pride Fit Group Training, no Yoga Corr, no Buddy Training, no Muscle Hour, no Flex Friday. I did take a 2 mile walk most mornings, but for a week I didn't see Coach Tyler, Coach Dane or Pride Fitness Performance. Most shocking to me: I lived through it. I would dare say it was even good for me (Yes, yes, I am saying you were right Dane and Tyler, I did need the break). I will walk back into Pride early tomorrow morning and I can't wait. I'll try not to do anything embarassing like hug the walls, but I make no promises.

I have one other area of being brave I need to work on. I need to stand firm on what I want. I hate conflict, to me it is just easier to let others have what they want. Except that doesn't really work. The other person might be happy, but I feel resentful and angry. Recently, with a lot of help and advice from friends, I have started the process of standing up for what I want. It's going to be slow going and I'm sure I'll slide back into letting other people's needs dictate what I do frequently, but one baby step at a time. Those people who think I will always be swayed to meet their needs now have fair warning: my needs matter too. Don't think I will automatically acquiese because you feel your needs are more important. I will be honest, I will strive to be kind, but if you are bold enough to ask me to meet your needs and ignore mine you get what you get.

In the interest of being brave here's my attempt of the day.


Popham Beach July 22, 2016. 



Sunday, July 10, 2016

Someday

Someday.

I don't know about you, but I use that word A LOT. Definitely in dreaming about fun things to do with friends "Someday we should....". Many times when thinking about myself  "Someday, when I am fit....". The thing is, I am sort of fit now...some of the things I am putting off until that magical "someday" are things I should be doing now.

You know when someday is, right? For me it is NEVER. If I tell you I will do something "someday" you can bet I am thinking "...and someday is when hell freezes over. It ain't happening". My friend Carole has pointed out to me on many occasions that I should never say never. She's right, just about every thing I have said I would never do (i.e. complete a Tough Mudder, climb a wall, run around the pond, powerlift) I have done. Some I have done much better at than others, but I've done just about everything I said I never would. So I changed my never. Someday now means never for me.

It occurs to me as I write this, that this is one of the dumbest things I could do. I know myself: if I write it, I will post it. If I post it everyone who reads it is going to know that if I tell you someday chances are I am telling you never. Ah well, I may as well be honest.

Besides, I am not sure this is a secret. A coach who had known me less than a month was astute enough to recognize that if he ever wanted to see me on the platform at a powerlifitng meet he was going to need to do something about it himself. He was right, had he waited for me he'd still be waiting. I guess he saw something in me that led him to believe I would find my niche in powerlifting if he kicked my butt into doing it the first time. I am grateful he took the time to nudge me into powerlifting.

Someday I will have confidence in myself and my abilities. Yeah, not so much this one. I am working on it. Sometimes I feel confident, tell me we are deadlifting 215 pounds or I'll be bench pressing 135 pounds 5 reps for 5 rounds and I feel confident: I know (or I'm pretty sure) I can do those things.

Then I step up to that barbell loaded so it weighs 365 pounds and I get myself set up and lift. It feels so heavy while I'm pulling it past my shins that my confidence withers and I'm left with that voice that tells me I suck, that the bar is not going to lock out and I should quit right there. Fortunately at that point I also have Coach T or Coach D right there. Their voices are louder than the sneaky bitch in my head trying to undermine me and I get to lock out. The weight that gives me pause changes, but once I get past that "heavy" lift nothing else I pull feels as heavy.

That sounds weird right? How is it possible that pulling 365 pounds feels heavier than pulling 385, 395 or 400 pounds? I suspect it is mostly mental in my case. I over think things, shocking news right?? As much as I am chanting "this bar isn't heavy" in my head while I set up the nasty little voice in my head is also whispering "That is so much weight, you'll never move it...you'll be rowing 5000m for sure when you blow it. Coach T won't let you fail this without a consequence. And Coach D, he's going to be sorry he's been wasting his time training you".

I need to evict that nasty voice once and for all. Not someday, but now. There are days I might not pull 365 pounds, but that in no way means I've failed. I can't fail unless I walk away and refuse to try. That's just not going to happen, because there is no way I can look either of my coaches in the face and say no. There is no way I can look into the faces of my friends, the people who have travelled to Burlington with me, the ones who send me encouraging messages, the ones who make me laugh and remind me it will be okay when I am one step from bolting and tell them "Nope. Can't do it. Won't do it".  If I can't find the strength to do it for myself, then I will find the strength to do it for everyone who supports, encourages and cares about me.

I'm not perfect, I'm a work in progress. If I need to draw on my need to please people to get the job done then so be it. I know I need to work on it so that making myself happy is important too, but for the moment I will take what I can get. Lifting heavy stuff makes me really, really happy and I will get to that any way I have to.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Why I Lift

I follow a page on Facebook called "Girls Who Powerlift". If you have any interest in powerlifting at all, check them out. There are some interesting articles as well as profiles of female powerlifters. One of the things that caught my attention was videos of members talking about why they lift. Not that any of you have asked for that, but it's been on my mind, so I decided I'd write my own list. I'm not going to make a video or anything like that. I'm much better with the written word. When I speak I stutter, stumble over my words and lose my train of thought.

So here goes. My answers to why I lift.


1. I found myself.
I am someone who has spent the majority of her life worrying more about making other people happy than what would make me happy. I often let people tell me what I was doing and when I was doing it. I didn't think it was a big deal, me being happy wasn't important, making other people happy was much more important. Even if making someone else happy made me feel bad that was okay.

Excuse my language, but to HELL with that! To accomplish what I would like to I need to devote time and energy to myself. It took time, it induced A LOT of guilt, but I finally figured out that my wants are just as important as anyone else's. In fact, I've discovered that sometimes it is just fine for me to ask for what I want and to expect to get it. Not every time, I am not a diva, but there have been times recently when I have stood by what I want. Those closest to me will tell you it was hard for me to stand firm, that it took a lot of talking and reminding on their part to get me to stand my ground, but I did it.

I lift because the person I found when I stepped up to that bar intrigued me. She might be scared, her heart is thundering in her ears, but she knows what to do. She knows what to do and she does it.

This person doesn't think she's better than anyone else. In fact, that doesn't remotely matter to her. Her job is to be better than she was the time before and that is all that she cares about. I have discovered I am competitive, but I also want everyone else to do well. I cheer for those I compete against and I am as excited for their PRs and successes as I am for mine.


2. I feel competent.
I am unfamiliar with this feeling. In my other life I am a teacher. I just finished my 16th year of teaching as a matter of fact and I can tell you that in that time, other than my first year when I was sure I knew everything, I have felt competent a handful of times. The question I hate most in interviews? When they say "So tell us why we should hire you?" Seriously?! I haven't ever said it but it is so tempting to reply with "I won't whine and argue when you load me down with way too much work. I'll volunteer for everything under the sun so you won't figure out I have no damn idea what I am doing."

When I lift I feel competent. Maybe I won't pull every bar to lockout and sometimes my squats don't hit parallel, but I still know what I'm doing. I know what I can do to make the next time better. I don't worry my coaches will think I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm upfront with both of them: if I don't get it I say so, I ask for a demo and I won't soldier on if I'm unsure: I'll ask for a spotter or for one of them to watch me. Part of that is the promise I made to one of them to always be honest, but another part of it is being certain enough in my competence to know when I need more help.


3. I like being strong.
There, I said it. I like being strong. I like how it feels. I like knowing when I need to lift the 44 pound box of cat litter, the bag of mulch or the lawnmower I'm going to be able to do it. I like being asked to help move one of the benches at Pride if it is needed in a different location. It's flattering to hear "Okay, Kim and guys: you'll be deadlifting 245 pounds".  Being strong means I can take care of myself and those I care about.

The physical strength has come with a new awareness of my mental strength. I know I have what I need to get through any situation. I suspect I've always had the mental strength, but I didn't trust it before now. I don't always trust it now if I'm being honest but I know the strength is there when I'm done completely freaking out or feeling out of control. When the initial panic subsides I suck in a deep breath, let it out slowly, square my shoulders and get my fierce face on: I'm a warrior, I've got this.

Photo courtesy of Jenice Churchill Photography. Be Your Own Hero concept courtesy of Tyler Tinker
One more thing before I go. I set a new deadlift PR on June 14. 395 pounds! I still grin when I think about that. I tried 405 pounds first and as much as I wanted it I got the bar about a foot off the floor, but I couldn't bring it to lock out. I was bummed about that and Tyler told me to take a walk and get a drink. He removed some plates so I would only be attempting 395 while I was focusing myself. I won't say 395 was easy, it wasn't, but I got it to lock out. YES!  So now the total of all my lifts is 870 pounds (275+200+395= 870). Only 130 pounds to go before I hit 1000 pounds total.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

My Niche

Friday, June 10 marked the end of the school year for students. Teachers have one more day to go, but for all intents and purposes the school year is done. Hard to believe that this year marked my 16th year in education. Man, that is a long time. A lot longer than I thought I would stick with it to be honest. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do, but sometimes the paperwork and the demands from every direction are wearing. I want to do a good job, I intend to do a good job, but there are days I find myself perusing the help wanted ads or wondering if I can get a job at Wal-Mart.

I have an outlet for the doubt and stress. I lift. I lift barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, heck I'll lift anything. I'm not going to lie: I love knowing I can lift more than a lot of people. More than that though I like knowing that I am good at something.

I am a person who does better when I know where I fit in. I like to know what my purpose is. Okay, if I'm being honest I don't just like knowing what my purpose is I need to know.

When I started on this fitness journey my purpose was to be in better shape, to enjoy my life and actually live it. That kept me going for a good long while. I am a people watcher though and looking around the gym I noticed people who seemed happy or comfortable doing all those things that didn't come easily or naturally to me. I decided I could fix that by spending even MORE time in the gym.

For the record more time in the gym isn't necessarily the answer. It took me a long time to finally understand that and I don't think I would have realized it or accepted it without a nagging IT band and some honesty from one of my coaches.

I'll be the first to admit that when Tyler suggested I needed to devote more time to recovery I flew completely off the handle. At the time we were communicating through messages, not in person. I am forever thankful for that because I am pretty sure I would have cried and yelled. Not that he couldn't have handled it, but I like to at least pretend I'm a calm, rational person and my reaction to his suggestion was neither calm nor rational. We finally agreed to talk at my next buddy training session and I obsessed about it until the day arrived.

I have an overwhelming fear that I will slide back to who I was before if I don't keep doing everything under the sun. Then there's that other fear that I just don't measure up and no one wants me around. By the time Thursday rolled around that week I seriously considered just backing out of training.

We talked, well mostly Tyler talked. I talked a bit at the beginning, then I listened. I told him he was right, I knew I needed balance, but I couldn't think of a workout I could give up. I felt like he'd given it some thought, that he knew I was completely freaking out and he told me that he never expected me to be the best at everything, that the workouts were designed to have something for the variety of clients he has.

We talked through all the workouts I did in one week and despite my fear that he'd want to take everything away that wasn't the case. Tyler told me that Yoga Corr was important and the Pride Fit Group Training classes were important as was buddy training. He did suggest that I take a break from Muscle Hour for a few weeks and that maybe Saturday Morning Sweat could be cut as well. It flat out scared me, but I agreed.

As much as I would like to be a person who is good at everything, even I have to admit I am not. Doing everything under the sun, going to every class Pride Fitness Performance offers wasn't going to help me capitalize on my niche.

I'm a powerlifter. I need more endurance. I definitely need to be flexible and mobile. Mostly though I want to be stronger. Deep down in my heart, I'd still like to face an American Ninja Warrior course and see what I could do, but I recognize that will likely never happen. What could happen if I am careful and smart and work hard is powerlifting in another venue, a bigger venue. Maybe even a national competition where I could see some of the greats like Kimberly Walford compete. I'm not in that league yet, I know I'm not, but it's a dream and a dream that fits in better with my niche.

I've fit into the teacher niche for 16 years now. For someone who likes to keep her life as neat and ordered as possible it has been a relief to find my niche at Pride. I'm the one who likes anything to do with deadlifts and deadlifts pretty well.

Before I end this I have a new PR (personal record) to report. In my bench press, definitely my weakest lift. At one of my last buddy training sessions with Coach Dane (my buddy and I are spending time working with Coach Tyler again now) we worked on my bench. I did 155 pounds for 3 reps, then 175 for 2 reps. I'd already set a new PR with the 175 so I was happy. Coach Dane decided to see if I had 195 in me. Turns out I did, which was a HUGE deal since I failed my bench attempt at 185 pounds in April. Then he said "I could stop there, but I'm not going to. Let's try one more." I rested for a little bit then got back under the bar. I don't think I knew it was 200 pounds before I started, but I could be wrong about that, it's been a few weeks. It was heavy, there was nothing easy about lowering that bar to my chest then pushing it back up and locking out my elbows, but I did it. I bench pressed 200 pounds.

Let me say that one more time: I. Benched. 200. Pounds.

This happened in May. If I am careful and smart and train hard and it all works as I hope it will I will bench 250 pounds in November.

So, let's see how close I am to the 1000 pound club with my new Bench PR:

Squat: 275 pounds
Bench Press: 200 pounds
Deadlift: 385 pounds
Total: 860 pounds (140 pounds to go!!)

There you have it. My latest ramble.

Thanks for reading!