Monday, February 20, 2017

Another Week

Another week of training down and now I am 10 weeks out from my next powerlifting meet. I have set new PRs in my deadlift and squat. I was hoping to report a new PR in my bench press, but that didn't happen.

Tuesday was Valentine's Day and my coach had plans that didn't include training me that night so my personal training session was changed to Friday morning at 11 am. Normally a no-go since I'd be at work, but last Friday I had a yearly physical with my doctor and I'd taken a discretionary day so 11 am training sounded pretty good.

I had plans to PR. I could picture pressing that bar loaded to 215 pounds to lockout. When it came time to execute though I couldn't lockout. I wasn't happy about that, in fact to be blunt I was completely pissed. I said as much and Coach Dane patiently reminded me that not every day was going to be a PR. He didn't seem disgusted with me, or even very concerned. I should probably consider it a point of pride that I was able to press that bar as far as I did and didn't drop it on my chest. Not that that would have happened either: Coach D wasn't going to let me hurt myself, he was right there spotting me, telling me to press the entire time.

Even I have to admit I am proud of me. The bench press is my weakest lift and the one I like the least. Not that I don't give it my all: I do, but it is clearly the weakest of my lifts. It is also the lift where that nasty voice in the dark corners of my mind has the most success rattling me. That voice loves to tell me I can't do it, that I don't have what it takes to make it happen.
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Had I written this post a year ago I'd be telling you that I feel like a fraud every time I walk into the gym and my failure at that bench press was proof of that. I'm not that woman anymore.

I can tell you with 100% certainty that I have exactly what it takes to make that 215 bench press happen. I know I have it in me.

So has my ego suddenly inflated? Did I find my confidence? Is my opinion of myself and my abilities that high? Or am I just too damn stubborn for my own good?

It's probably a combination of all of the above, maybe more stubbornness than anything else. There's more to it than that though: I trust my coaches. There, I said it: I. Trust. My. Coaches. Completely.

If I finally figured out my niche in 2016, 2017 seems to be the year I am going to come into my own. It has finally occurred to me that if my coaches seem genuinely happy to see me and seem to genuinely enjoy working with me I can trust that. If Coach T says it was good to see me and work with me in a Pride Fit or Yoga Corr class he isn't just saying that. He means it. When Coach D tells me it is a pleasure to train me he's not stroking my ego so I'll do what he wants me to do (I think he figured out early on, even if I whine I'm going to do what he asks). Neither one of them is going to say something they don't mean.

Yeah, they both get that I'm a people pleaser. They know I'll give everything I have for a fist bump. A perfectly timed fist bump last Wednesday at Muscle Hour kept me determined to finish 5 Ground to Overhead Presses and 5 Sumo Deadlift High Pulls every minute for 15 minutes. A fist bump after I pulled 425 made me hungry for more because the smile on Coach T's face and his laugh when I screamed was the best. Maybe I surprise them sometimes, but I suspect that they both know I had it in me.

So I will press 215. It won't make me a better person. It won't make me more worthy. I will press 215 because I want to. I aim to have a three lift total of at least 1000 pounds and while I know I could probably get that by only focusing on improving my squat and deadlift I want a better bench press too. I have found my niche, I will be the best I can be not because I have anything to prove to anyone. I will be the best I can be because it matters to me. No one will ever be able to say I didn't work to get where I am.

Before I sign off, I'd like to share a picture with you. One taken by Coach Dane. I see my thick thighs, the jiggly arms, but I also see someone who is working her hardest to make her goals reality. We'll see come April 29 how that turns out, but in the meantime I may not be the best in The Asylum, but I will be the hardest worker.

Bent Over Rows with the Hex Bar
Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Special?

Today was an inservice day. Inservice days are designed to provide teachers with professional development. Sometimes these days are more useful and relevant than others. Today was relevant on several different levels. I'm going to attempt to talk about my feelings on one of those moments now.

We opened the day in the high school auditorium watching a video about growth mindset. The title of the video was The Power of Belief: Mindset and Success.  The speaker was Eduardo Brinceno.  

Of course you know exactly where my mind went. I could have thought about my job, but I didn't. My job is important, I will never deny that, but I do not choose to be defined by my job. I even enjoy my job, but it is NOT who I am.

So back from the latest tangent. Where was I?

Oh right...I was going to tell you how I interpreted this video.

People have started calling me an athlete and telling me how inspirational I am. I find it flattering, but also uncomfortable. I am not awesome: I am the woman who trips on flat surfaces. I am also the woman who fails over and over and does not give up. Perhaps that's why people find me inspirational: I don't pretend to understand it. I try to be gracious about the compliments, but they truly make me uncomfortable. I do what I do. I'm not special or unique. Stubborn, absolutely yes. Special? Not so much.

The speaker said that if someone thinks their abilities are innate, that they are a "natural" their mindset is fixed and they tend to avoid challenges and give up when things get tough. By comparison someone with a growth mindset knows that their abilities can be developed, that with practice and hard work things that are difficult can become easier. One of the messages that really resonated with me today was that when you think about abilities as something you can learn and develop it is easier to adopt the desire to practice and persevere.

I probably don't need to tell you that my mindset has been fixed most of my life. I was the fat girl. The uncoordinated, untalented fat girl. My natural abilities seemed to be eating and being a couch potato. I excelled at those two things anyway.

I am working on my growth mindset. Take Muscle Hour. I would be perfectly happy if we always worked on deadlifts, back squats or bench pressing. We can't though. Sometimes we need to work on front squats, cleans or jerks. I don't relish those times. There was a long period of time when I whined about it and complained to Coach D every chance I got. Then when it was time to practice I'd repeat "I'm a powerlifter. I don't need these skills" to make myself feel better when I was doing poorly.

One night I heard myself, really heard how I sounded and I cringed. The people pleaser in me shuddered and warned me I was wearing on Coach D's patience and I'd be better served shutting my mouth and getting my head in the game.

I have worked hard to make my cleans and front squats less grim. I don't front squat with the preferred grip, but I do front squat and I bite my tongue to silence most of the whining. I am even working on not telling myself how horrible I am after every rep. I still don't speak nicely to myself very often. I have finally realized if I cut myself some slack it might make my life a whole lot easier. I'm not perfect: I am not likely to become perfect any time in the future, but I have good qualities. Those qualities might be a little clearer if I learn to be kind to the woman in the mirror.

I want to learn all I can and be good at as many things as I can be.

I'm not trying to say I don't move a lot of weight. I know I do. The thing is that doesn't make me special. I didn't start out deadlifting 425 pounds or squatting 315 pounds. Anyone can increase their total if they put in the work and practice. That's all I am doing. I am working on the lifts. I am working on accessory work to make me stronger. I work on my mobility and I work on my overall fitness. I push through the times everything I do is difficult and I relish those times it seems easy, like I am doing what I was made to do.

When the time comes to step on the platform the next time I want to perform to the absolute best of my ability and be proud of what I accomplish. Then when that moment is over I don't intend on resting on what I accomplished. I will study the videos, I will note flaws and I will get back to work to fix them.

My goal is to be better every time I step into the gym and every time I step onto the platform.

I truly appreciate the kind words and comments from every one of you who takes the time to read my posts and slog through my blog. If I ever come across as ungrateful, please know I am not. Please know I am deeply and completely humbled by the fact that you take the time to say what you do to me. I never take kind words for granted.

I'm growing, I'm changing and I'm getting better. With that said I won't rest on what I can do, because I know with hard work, practice and determination I can go even further. Come along for the ride if you like: I think it will be a lot of fun.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Don't Rush It

The older I get the more I am noticing I need more patience. I want what I want and I want it now. Usually this isn't a problem because I have learned to rein myself in. The one place I still have trouble with rushing is the last place I would have expected.

In my professional life I have learned to squelch my natural desire to rush. It isn't always easy, but things go so much more smoothly when I breathe deep, bite my tongue and wait.

Then there's me in the gym. I know I need to be patient, I know taking my time and thinking through what I'm about to do is important. Then there's that first rep when the weight is heavy and everything I know I need to do goes right out the window.

You know me...I've been thinking about why that might be. Why do I rush when I know all it's going to get me is Coach Dane saying "Don't rush it" or Coach Tyler saying "Breathe"? I know rushing doesn't get me anywhere. I know it and yet I continue to rush.

WHY?? Am I that dumb? Am I that impatient? Or is it something else?

At Muscle Hour we were deadlifting. My first round at 355 pounds I was rushing. My stance was too wide and I didn't take the time to set my grip. I got my 3 reps, but they weren't my best. As I stalked off to the bathroom to get it together Coach D. called out that my stance was too wide and I commented "I know". I had a chat with the woman in the mirror, reminding her that 355 is NOT that heavy, that it was well within her capability and she needed to get it together or stop wasting Coach D's time. The beast stirred to life during the chat and I knew things would improve from that point. I completed my next rounds with no problem. Not that the bar felt light, that sure as hell wasn't the case, but it was eminently doable and I did it.

Thursday in Buddy Training was work on back squats. I was late, I was pissed off and I just wanted to squat. No problem when I was squatting the lighter weights to warm up. Then the bar was loaded to 275 pounds.

Let me trot off on a little tangent and tell you a story. It was about a year ago when I first attempted to squat 275. It was almost a disaster, well okay, it was a disaster. When I settled under the bar and took it off the rack it felt heavy and I didn't think I could do it. My eyes dropped for a split second as I started to squat and then I tried to save the lift. So stupid, so very, very stupid. There was no saving it and I spent a very scary minute or so with that bar on the back of my neck and Coach D telling me to let it go. When it was over I squatted 265. I am assuming that was so I wouldn't be afraid to squat, kind of like getting back up on the horse when you fall off. I didn't ask, I was just glad I was leaving Pride with no worse than a sore neck and a reminder from Coach D and Coach T that you never try to save a lift.

Okay, we're back. I love squatting again, but when the bar is at 275 pounds that nasty, little bitch at the back of my mind reminds me not to blow it. So I rush to prove I can do it and that rep is rough and feels rotten. I might get to parallel (mostly I don't) and I wonder if I really have the potential Coach D tells me I do.

Coach D has worked with me long enough to know just how to handle me. For my next rep he calmly reminded me not to rush. Then as I was squatting he reminded me to sit back and the next rep felt so much better...as did my next rounds. I must have done it well because I got a "good work" and "smooth" when I was finished.

I know what I need to do, especially when I squat. I need to get under the bar, get settled, get it out of the rack and back out. Yes I back out 3 steps. Yes, I know I don't need to back out as far as I do. I know all I need to do is step back about 1 time and I'm out of the rack and I can squat. The thing is I have a habit of backing up 3 steps. It is something I have always done and it works for me. It gives me time to feel the weight, time to let my mind settle. It gives the beast inside time to get ready. The beast loves heavy weight, but she takes her own sweet time to stir. It's okay: I know I she's going to show up. Someday I will figure out how to get the beast to show up sooner.

Don't rush it is good advice for every area of my life. I am watching my friends settle into relationships and I want that too. I want it now, but I am not ready now. It wasn't all that long ago I didn't think I wanted to live one more minute. I believed I was a fat, broken mess and no matter what I did nothing would change. I was worthless and a waste of space on this planet. I am not in that place anymore, but I'm not that far from it either.

Right now I need to work on loving myself, on being kind to the person I am. When I can give myself the kindness and love I am happy to lavish on my friends then I will be ready for someone else. I don't believe there is someone out there for me, but I do hope that when I am ready there will be a person who will be ready for me. In the meantime I will observe my couple friends and enjoy their company and the fact that they want me around.

I would like to rush my fitness journey too. I want to be shredded and I want to be shredded right. now. I want to be stronger, leaner and better immediately. Not that I mind putting in the work...I am getting two days of bench pressing, one day of deadlifts and one day of squatting most weeks. I love the work, but I still want to be better right now. I can hear my coaches now: "Don't rush it", "Stay the course", "Trust the process"

I am doing my best not to rush it, to enjoy the moments when I succeed or PR and grit my teeth and grind on those times when I need to put in the hard work to be better. I would love to say I have it all figured out and I know exactly what to do, but I'll let you in on a secret: the 2016 Queen of the Pride is only human and she doesn't have many answers. She might not even know all the questions. She's trying, learning and growing. Even if you see me working on my big 3 lifts: I. am. not. perfect. There is still much I have to learn and I am soaking in everything Coach T and Coach D have to give me.

Let me leave you with a picture I got from Coach Dane earlier this week. It is from my personal training session on Tuesday. I was working on Bent Over Rows with an underhand grip. When I first got it I didn't really notice the face and for a split second I wanted to ask who was in the picture. Then I realized it was me. That was certainly not the person I see in the mirror. It was a pleasant shock. Nope, still not a super model, but I'm not an ugly, fat blob either.

Bent over Rows with an underhand grip. These made 95# feel really heavy.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Once Upon A Time

I'd like to tell you a story. It's about a girl who took a very long time to come into her own.

She was born in 1970, yeah you can do the math...she's not really a girl anymore. Pretty normal childhood, except she wasn't really a normal kid. She was a "big" girl. In his meaner moments her father told her she was fat and would always be fat. She took that to heart, deeply to heart.

You see, this little girl was quite sensitive. When her little sister would get in trouble for something she would feel awful. Not just bad, but to the point of tears awful. When her parents had fights she believed she had somehow caused it and she had to fix it by being perfect.

She went through school in the usual way. Her mother heard "she's a good student and very smart, but she won't speak up" many, many times. And one memorable time in Kindergarten "She's a loner. When the other students play in the house she chooses the block corner". It's not that she had no friends, she did, but she preferred small groups to large groups.

When she was in junior high school her parents decided they were not happy together, they couldn't be happy together and divorced. Not all that unusual at the time and some of her friends had divorced parents so fortunately she didn't stand out for that. She stood out because she was bigger than all her friends. She was the fat girl. The one the boys liked to tease. She wasn't sure who she was or how to fit in so she was never comfortable anywhere. She followed along behind whichever group didn't tell her to get lost.

High school was much the same and her first go at college was an unmitigated disaster. Remember she was a follower? Well, followers don't do so well when there is no one to follow. She chose some people to follow. It turned out badly and she came home.

She made some attempts to stop being the fat girl, but she had no idea how to do it and followed any restrictive plan she could find for a few weeks until she binged and gave up because she was a failure. She went back to college, put herself through Lyndon State and earned a Bachelor's degree in Elementary and Special Education.

With a degree she threw herself into her job and it became her life. Being a teacher was her identity. There was very little in her life, except her job. Family and friends took a backseat to her job every time.

Then in 2007 her stepfather got sick. He had melanoma and it progressed rapidly. For several weeks she drove back home every weekend to stay with him so her mother could work. Then in December, not long before Christmas he died. She and her sister talked, maybe mom should move closer to them to live. At first the idea seemed like it would work, then the Mom confessed she didn't want to leave her home. The girl, well woman, knew she was the one who would move. She had a career that would allow her to move easily, she had no family, save 4 cats and a dog. So she finished the school year, said her good byes and moved back home.

Being home was comfortable and the woman heard about this place, Ben's Bootcamp, that had a competition that would allow her to maybe, finally, get her weight under control. She applied and was not chosen. It just wasn't time.

She changed jobs, going back to the school she had done her student teaching and her first year as a special educator. Some of her friends there went to Ben's Bootcamp and she joined one of them one Saturday morning. It was HARD, she failed at almost everything she tried and she kind of loved it. She joined, went through an orientation and lasted about a month. It just wasn't the right time and she was not in the right place.

The fat was her safety net and she was not ready to let it go. If she had the fat it was a buffer from the world and no one really paid any attention to her. She could be invisible and invisible was what she chose.

She continued on, but there was a niggling little voice at the back of her mind saying it wasn't satisfied, that she wanted more, that she deserved more.

In 2012 the opportunity to apply to the Biggest Mooser competition came up again. She did it and this time she was chosen as a semi-finalist and then one of the four contestants. She was completely intimidated by Ben. He seemed so gruff, not true, but that was her first impression. She didn't win the contest, but by the time it ended she was hooked on her routine.

She continued on working out, slowly learning to trust instructors other than Ben. Then in 2014 a big change loomed. Ben accepted an offer to sell the Derby location. The man buying it had been working there for awhile. She knew him, she was beginning to trust him and the news hit her like a ton of bricks. She pretended to hold it together during the announcement. Her friends knew better. One of them, a friend she'd known since elementary school was the first to ask her if she was okay. Not so much. When she finally managed to leave refusing to face either Ben or Tyler two other close friends got her to talk in the parking lot for a bit.

The next day she went back to the gym for Yoga Corr. She heard Ben's speech again, gave him another hug and then Tyler wanted to talk to her. He made her a promise and asked something of her. He promised to be honest with her and asked only that she do the same. She was so touched by that because it was not something he had to do. It seemed that she genuinely mattered.

She decided to stay. Pride Fitness Performance came to be in July 2014. It became her happy place and her second home. Well, really it is her first home because when anything is hard, stressful or difficult it is the first place she wants to go. The place she knows will be a safe spot to work through whatever it is.

It is also the place where she found her passion. She discovered exactly what it was she was made to do. Now her job is no longer the sole part of her identity. She is a powerlifter. At first she was reluctant to own her strength. Deadlifting, squatting and bench pressing were things she did occasionally during buddy training when Tyler put it in her program. She loved deadlifting, she loved setting new personal records, but she thought no more of it.

That's not entirely true. She thought about those things a lot, because she noticed during Muscle Hour that she could deadlift what many of the men did and sometimes she was pretty sure she could lift more. Lifting more than men seemed like a bad idea. She was quite sure no man in the world was going to look twice at a woman who could lift more than him. That seemed important since she had lost weight and being invisible wasn't working anymore.

In 2015 she decided being strong was kind of fun and being better than the men was kind of a rush. She also met another coach. At first she wasn't sure at all about Dane. He was at a Muscle Hour class and one of her morning pride fit classes. It wasn't that he got too close to her: he kept his distance, it wasn't that he was mean: he kind of kept his distance and seemed aloof. He was new and she didn't want new: she wanted familiar. Tyler pushed her enough, she didn't want Dane.

She was wrong by the way. Dane nudged her toward her passion with Tyler's encouragement. At her first powerlifting meet Tyler told her Dane was the coach: he was moral support and back up. Between the two of them they settled her enough to keep her focused on her goals and her job. She was hooked. The nerves, the nausea, even the gold stars earned faded from memory when she stepped to the platform and that loaded bar.

It felt like coming home. That loaded barbell was waiting for her and she knew exactly what to do with it. It wouldn't belittle her, tease her or make her feel like less.

She competed in 2 more meets in 2016 and succeeded beyond her wildest dreams. There are three trophies at the Pride Fitness Performance Center testifying to that.

2016 wasn't all wonderful. She lost her father, a man she never really knew or understood and a man she could unfortunately never trust. Despite her lack of a relationship with the man she has grieved his loss, quietly, in her own way and in her own time. She also had to admit that working out multiple times per day wasn't working for her. Dane and Tyler had gently suggested that to her many times, but finally she admitted they were right and asked them to help her design a program that made sense. It was not an easy adjustment, but it was a worthwhile one.

The last surprise of 2016 happened on January 14, 2017. Pride has a yearly Athlete of the Year award. The Queen of the Pride for 2014 was Sue Leroux, the Queen of the Pride in 2015 was Kristen Roberge. These women are beyond inspirational and they are both athletes. The woman looked up to both of them so much.

Tyler had the 2014 Queen of the Pride announce the 2016 Athlete of the Year. The name was announced, tears were shed and Tyler had a lot of wonderful things to say. It was a complete surprise to her, but no one else seemed remotely shocked.

This story is about me of course. I have no idea how I got so lucky in life. I have the two best coaches in the world. I have found a passion that makes me feel strong, competent and worthwhile. I have even discovered the men I know don't seem to mind if I am strong. They are my friends and they cheer me on. Speaking of friends I have the most amazing group of people supporting me. I am still not the life of the party. I tend to drift toward the fringe and observe. My friends allow that to happen and make it clear I am welcome and I am loved just as I am.

I was awfully long-winded this time, wasn't I?

My point in all this: Life is amazing, completely and utterly amazing. I didn't always believe that or recognize that and I thought several times I wanted to give up. I tried several times to give up. I am so glad I hung on through the tough times so I could see how great life can really be.

Here's to an epic 2017. New challenges and new adventures. Can't wait to experience it all.


Seriously? Still shocked by this.

Thanks for reading!




Sunday, January 15, 2017

Queen of the Pride-Wait. What?

Yesterday turned out to be quite a remarkable day. It started off normally enough: up at 5:30 am with my overly enthusiastic boxer and her feline sidekick. A walk, some coffee and then a trip to my happy place for the kick-off to the new nutrition challenge. It was also the day Coach Tyler would be announcing the 2016 Athlete of the Year, the King or Queen of the Pride. A friend and I had tossed some names back and forth. Nothing prepared me for who it actually was.

I work out with so many people who are simply incredible it never occurred to me to think for a second that I would be the choice for Athlete of the Year. A few people have told me they knew it would be me. Honestly I was completely stunned. As soon as the 2014 Queen of the Pride read my name the tears welled up. I managed to hold them off (sort of) until I hugged Coach D, then they weren't going to be held back anymore.

Why tears?

Well, I was happy, surprised, overwhelmed and yes even a tiny bit scared. I don't see what others see when they look at me. I see whatever fault or flaw I was looking for in the first place. Perhaps I look strong and fierce on the outside, but I don't see or feel that part: I see what's inside all the doubts, fears and insecurities. I know how it feels when I face a loaded barbell I'm not sure I can pull, squat or press. I know how many times I have to repeat "that bar is light" and how fast I have to repeat it until I feel the emotions I draw on to do what I love stir.

Somehow it feels like I don't deserve this. I know Coach T and Coach D well enough to know that in their minds I deserve exactly what I got. Coach T even told me as much. I know while I was busy trying to rein in my emotions and dry the tears yesterday he had a lot to say about me. I didn't catch much of it, I was busy trying not to be a blubbering mess. I wish I'd listened...it would be good to replace that negative loop in my head with kind words from someone I respect so much.

Later on he told me was told I was consistent, dedicated and well-rounded. I am so proud that I fought the urge to say "You know this is Kim, right?" Coach T doesn't say things he doesn't mean so I smiled, wiped away some more tears and felt thankful this exchange was through private messages so he wouldn't see me crying two times in one day. I might show every emotion I'm feeling on my face, but I am quite good at hiding my tears, or I used to be. Yesterday was not my day apparently. It seems every time I turned around or paused to think the tears were there.

I'd love to tell you I feel like I deserve to be the 2016 Queen of the Pride, but I look at Sue Leroux and Kristen Roberge, the 2014 and 2015 Queens of the Pride and I have no damn idea. Kind of like how I feel when I see the list of Pride Warriors and come to my name. I just remind myself Coach T doesn't make mistakes, he doesn't do "flukes" and obviously he sees something in me that meets the qualities he is looking for. It's probably time to stop questioning that and just embrace what other people see.

Time to own the strength, the beast, the emotional side and the smart ass side. It's beyond time to nurture the shy, fledgling side that thinks that maybe, just maybe I might be kind of attractive. Time to stand up for my wants and needs even when I am not being heard. Time to stop letting the words of people who don't matter a bit in my life influence how I feel.

I am the 2016 Queen of the Pride. I assume it's normal to feel like that is a weird thing to say. I guess I won't need to worry about my ego running away with me quite yet. That's a good thing, I have never aspired to being a diva in any way, shape or form. I don't have the time or the patience to be a diva. I want to lift heavy shit and hit that 1000 pound total.

There will be no resting on this new title. I have dreams to chase and goals to achieve. I have workouts to kill and training to bring my business face and the beast to bear. I have a new powerlifting federation (USAPL) and a meet picked out. I plan to walk into that meet and leave no doubt that I am where I belong, doing what I was meant to do even if the only person I need to convince of that fact is myself.

As my coaches would say: Let's do this!

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Trust

I have a friend who has a different approach to New Year's resolutions. She chooses a word to guide her through the new year. I set goals for myself, but I like the idea of picking a word. My word for the coming year is the title of this post. Trust. How I hate this word.

I hear "Trust the process." over and over again, sometimes it is even me repeating it to myself. Maybe it's just me, but I find it hard to believe things are going to be okay if I'm not in control. Never mind that trusting the process has taken me places I'd never thought I could go, the stubborn part of me clings to the idea that I must be in control. Or I need to feel like I'm in control. I might be stubborn, but I am wise enough to know that most of the time when I think I'm in control that isn't the case at all. The reality is the only thing I can control is me. Sometimes the only thing I can control is my breathing. My face tends to give away what I'm thinking and feeling and my mind runs away with me, often conjuring worst case scenarios even when I know better. Then there's that nasty, mean inner voice whispering I can't do it, whatever "it" might be that voice is there assuring me I'll screw it up. The hardest thing for me is trusting people. I do like to believe the best about people, but only to a certain point. I'd like to be more open and trust without reservation, but life doesn't work that way. I consider it a HUGE victory that I now need the fingers on two hands to name the men I trust implicitly. Not so long ago I only needed one hand and I had plenty of fingers left over. Eric, Tyler, Dane, Ben, Pat, Barry and Lindsay have convinced me there are actually good, kind men in the world. I feel pretty confident in trusting any of those men to help when I need it and give solid advice if I ask. I freely admit that I don't always like the advice, that I will try to negotiate when the opportunity presents itself and there are times my first reaction is a resounding NO! Hey, I'm human...I might want to be wonder woman, but that's never likely to happen. Better to admit that and move on. I bet you're not wondering, but I'm going to tell you anyway why my word for 2017 will be trust. You can always walk away if you don't want to know.
2016 was a remarkable year for straying out of my comfort zone. I participated in two more powerlifting meets, I willingly let someone take pictures of me and I actually asked my coaches to help design a training plan that made sense and wasn't a product of the fear that I was going to wake up one morning at 309 pounds if I didn't spend every second at the Pride Fitness Performance Center (though giving me an air mattress and a small corner in the Asylum isn't a bad idea). Which one of the things on that list do you think was the hardest for me? For me it feels like a toss up between the Be Your Own Hero photo shoot and the new training plan. You can ask Coach Dane how often I try to negotiate with him about when I can train and the number of times he asks me if I worked out earlier in the day when he sees me in the afternoon or evening. The photo shoot was fun. I worried about going and almost didn't walk into Pride that morning, but when I did I was welcomed. Coach Tyler didn't laugh and ask me what the hell I was doing there. No one rolled their eyes or snickered at me. I heard from several people that my facial expression while my picture was being taken was scary, but no one suggested I didn't belong there. I certainly never thought that my picture would end up anywhere besides as my profile pic on Facebook, but when it did I managed to bite back my urge to beg that it be taken down. Other people really seem to like it, so I will silence the inner critic and try to appreciate it as others do. My new training plan brought up a whole host of trust issues. Would Coach Tyler be glad to see less of me? Would Coach Dane get tired of me? Did I really have the potential they thought I did? Would my best be good enough to get me to a national meet in a new federation? Why the HELL did I need a new federation, couldn't I just stay with All Raw and Vermont Powerlifting? Were those three trophies sitting on the shelf at Pride going to my head? Yeah, it was a typical "Kim's being crazy" episode. I have to believe (and yes, trust) given what I know about both Tyler and Dane, that they would be honest with me and neither would have encouraged me to consider a new federation if I didn't have potential. I won't lie: I deeply miss training with Coach Tyler as often as I used to, but I am trusting it is for the best. Don't get me wrong, I like working with Coach Dane: we're pretty well suited to each other. Neither of us is a big talker. I always felt bad for Coach T he did 99% of the talking during buddy training sessions when it was just the two of us. He didn't seem to mind and I was capable of conversation, but I felt bad that I wasn't a more entertaining client. I love buddy training for that reason: Carole is so much more outgoing and social than me. I can be quiet and reserved with no worries. My workouts have required a little trust lately too. A couple of times now at Muscle Hour I've been the only woman in my class. The first time I sat on the bench taking much longer to get ready than was strictly necessary, because I wasn't sure I would measure up to the men. Even though I'd seen Coach D and we'd said hello I truly considered walking out and coming back for 7 pm when I hoped there would be a few more women. I had to remind myself that for most BB work when Coach D posted a weight for the women and one for the men he would also announce "Guys will be using xx pounds...Kim, you're one of the guys". Then there was the "but I don't know them that well...".

The men don't seem to mind working out with me at all. We all go about our business and I get fist bumps when it's over. They're nice men: friendly, kind and ready to offer advice when they see something I could improve. It's probably hard to care what I'm doing when you're trying to grind through 50 pull ups or chin ups and it seems like Coach D if set on killing all of us. So trust is my word for 2017. I need to trust my friends, trust my coaches and yes, I even need to trust myself. 2017 will be full of highs and lows I can't imagine right now and I am willing to extend trust that I have what it takes to show up, stand up and never give up. I trust that I will give the best I have to give when it is required of me. I will trust that what is meant for me will happen and I can't screw it up. Most of all I will trust the process and my training and stay the course. Just because I can't see what's ahead doesn't mean I can dig a hole, hunker down and hide. I'm a Pride Warrior, even if I don't necessarily understand why: I trust the person who gave me that honor. He knows his stuff and I trust him. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

This is Mine

I have had the opportunity to think about a lot of things since I posted "Gym Mirror" last week. Mostly because sleep hasn't come as easily as I want it to. The new mattress is fabulous, but it won't stop my mind and my mind has been revved up.

I've been thinking a lot about who I am and how I know that. I find it disturbing that most of my identity, most of how I feel about myself and my abilities is because of someone's opinion. Not that it is wrong to listen to what other people have to say about me. Given my inability to see anything but my flaws I think it is important for me to seek advice from others and to see myself through their eyes.

There have been times recently though when I know exactly who I am and EXACTLY what my skill set is and I've been dismissed. That irks me: it takes time, courage and effort to stand up for myself and to be dismissed without any attempt being made to hear what I'm saying or to consider if maybe I might be right makes me more certain than ever that there are changes coming.

This is MY life. The only one I am going to get. I have discovered a passion I intend to pursue as far as I can. I have also discovered that as much as I like my job, it is only a job. It is not a measure of my worth as a human being in any way, shape or form. There was a time, not so long ago, that my job was my only identity and I obsessed endlessly about how I didn't measure up.

Then it changed. I came to a point where I had a choice to make about whether I wanted to close the door on the chapter of my life that started in January 2012 or if I was ready to dig in, fight to overcome some setbacks and show the world I might go down, but I wouldn't be beaten. I sought advice from my coach and a group of my closest friends and I fought. As I fought to find my niche and be the best version of me I could be I went through some unexpected changes.  I found that I cared about my job, I wanted to do well, but if I wasn't perfect it wasn't the end of the world. I discovered I was human and if I was doing the best I could that would have to be good enough.

I suppose in order to continue growing I need to decide who I am for myself. I don't intend to stop asking advice from friends or my coaches, but I need to step up and be an active participant in my life. I have to take the advice, apply it to what I know about myself and forge ahead. I'll probably stumble and fall. I will probably have to make changes I may not want to make, but if I'm not willing to stand up and fight for what I want in MY life I certainly can't ask anyone else to support me.

I have goals in 2017, I talked about those in an earlier post, but the one goal I keep coming back to is wanting to compete in a national powerlifting meet. Coach D tells me I have the potential. Coach T tells me to give it a 100% run. My friends tell me they'll be there with me. Me? I have butterflies and heart palpitations thinking about it. I can't believe I could be good enough to participate in a national meet. I have a 932 pound total for my 3 lifts. Maybe that's not super impressive, but for a 46 year old former couch potato extraordinaire it is a HUGE number and something to scream from the rooftops. When I let the beast out to play she does some amazing things, I've no doubt she would make a good showing and do the Pride proud wherever she goes.

So I may as well commit to it here. I am going to put in the work, I will do what my coaches tell me (there will be whining). I will give the best I have to give to every workout, knowing that my best isn't always the same. I will do everything I can to get a qualifying total for a national meet. We'll see how it all turns out as 2017 progresses, but I have the coaches and the support to get me where I need to be if I put in the work.

Here's to the grind and the gains! Let's do this!




This is me. This is part of who I am. I am a powerlifter.


Thanks for reading!