Sunday, September 25, 2016

Monster

How many of you were ever called a monster as a child? I know I was and I know when my mother referred to me as a monster I deserved it. Now I'm starting to refer to myself as a monster.

Have I suddenly become a screaming brat? Did I decide my needs matter and no one else's do? Do I expect the world to adjust to my schedule? No. No. Hells to the NO!

So why "Monster"? I'm a pretty nice person, other people seem to like me. I am not prone to tantrums or angry outbursts. No, it is not because I have decided I love Lady Gaga's music and want to be one of her "little monsters". For the record I do like her music, but it's not that. It was a song that made me decide I want to be a monster though.

Monster is a synonym for beast and I have talked about letting my inner beast out to play when it's time to squat, bench or deadlift.

Last March, when I was coming up to my second powerlifting meet and trying to figure out what I could do to keep the nausea and nerves at bay I decided maybe putting a bunch of motivating songs into a playlist would be a good idea. I asked friends for ideas. Several people suggested "Monster" by Skillet. I didn't think I knew the song, turns out I've been hearing it for years. It is loud with a great beat that never fails to make me want to push harder when I hear it at the gym. I didn't end up using a playlist at the meet, but I think it will be coming with me for November. It's only September, the nerves aren't too bad yet, but people are starting to ask me if I'm getting excited for November or if I'm ready and my stomach sinks. I'll be ready that day, I know how to get it done, but leading up to that day I will doubt, I will wonder, I will likely drive my coaches and friends to distraction with questions. I'd like to tell you as I approach my third meet I am confident I can do this, that I know I'm going to smash my previous weight total, but I'm not going to lie.

Back on track, sorry for that tangent, but if you've read any of this blog you know it happens frequently. Anyhow...let's get back to it.

I think of a beast as infallible. A beast is strong all the time. A beast is confident and never flinches. I aspire to be a beast, but I am not there yet. I doubt, I question and I don't always succeed. In my mind a monster is strong, but there is weakness too.  A monster gets it done, but isn't always sure about the outcome. Both monsters and beasts are fierce, but I always think of a monster's fierceness as coming from a different place, from a combination of fear and anger. A beast, I think their fierceness comes from a place of confidence.

I'm working on beast mode. For right now I'm at monster mode and that's a good place for the moment. As I mentioned previously I have plenty of anger right below the surface to work with.

I'm deep in training for November. This week I worked on box squats. First up was a set with just the barbell so I could get a feel for the movement and so Coach Dane could be sure I was getting to parallel. Then he started loading the bar and I'd squat. After I'd squatted 185 pounds he decided it would be a waste of time to go to 225 pounds and opted to get to my working sets of 245 pounds. Squatting 245 doesn't feel that hard normally, but squatting it to the box then trying to be explosive driving it back up was HARD. I'm usually quiet when I work, some people use noise to drive themselves, I am quiet. Not this week, not this time. For the first few rounds at 245 I screamed every time I was driving up. I had to, it felt like I wasn't going to be able to get back up otherwise.

That is the point though: in order for me to get better I need to work hard. I need to come right up to the wall feel it and then I need to dig deep and fight to finish what I've started. The first round at 245 I stopped after 3 reps, racked the bar and wanted to walk away. I couldn't tell you if Dane talked to me or not, I was focused inside letting the monster fight the nasty voice urging me to walk away. Finally I did what Dane frequently tells me to do: I got it together and finished those last 2 reps. Coach Dane knew I had it in me, he knew I could do it: he just had to convince my mind. I finally got into the headspace I needed to be in for the last 2 rounds, but those 5 reps never felt easy. I'm beginning to understand that my training isn't just about developing my physical strength, it's about developing my mental strength too.

Time to let the monster stretch and grow so the beast comes out once and for all. Though I kind of like the idea of being a monster, I might just refer to myself as a monster no matter how much confidence I develop. I don't have to be like everyone else: I have to be me.

So monster it is.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Squats and Anger

Hey there!

Look at you being brave enough to come read this post. Great to have you, hopefully this won't devolve into another dark, depressing rant. Did you look at the title though? Seriously, take a look. Yep, you read it right the word anger is in the title. It's okay if you go, really it is. I don't blame you, but the thing is if I don't put this stuff here it takes up space inside my head and I find myself in tears while in the middle of a seated forward fold during Yoga Corr thinking "What the ACTUAL HELL??? Where did these come from?" Interesting point, it is next to impossible to draw a deep breath when you are trying really hard not to let anyone else in the class, instructor included, know that you are crying.

Hang in there if you've decided to read this, I'm going to at least start this on an upbeat note. Well, upbeat for me. Possibly just weird to you unless you share my love of putting really heavy stuff on your back, squatting then getting back up. I keep seeing this quote that squatting is like life it's about getting back up when something heavy tries to bring you down.

So September 1 buddy training time came. I was excited to be going to Pride, I am ALWAYS excited to go to Pride, even when I am nervous about what awaits me on the other side of the door I want to be there. I knew, because I asked Dane the night before at Muscle Hour that I would be squatting. Squatting is good, it's one of my three lifts and it used to be my second favorite, right after deadlifts. Then there was an incident last year when I let my gaze drop for a split second when I was squatting 255 pounds and that loaded bar followed my eyes. It is a horrible feeling to have a barbell on the back of your neck. I did my best not to panic and eventually (probably a very short amount of time though to me it felt like about 10 years) the bar was not pressing into the back of my head and Dane made me do another squat. Since then I approach my squats with a whole lot of trepidation and conscious effort to beat back that mean little voice asking what I'm going to do if I can't complete the squat. Where my eyes go hasn't been an issue since that night, they are glued to the ceiling like my life depends on it. Because let's be real, it kind of does. Yes when the bar gets over about 250 pounds Dane is right there spotting me from behind and if something starts to go wrong I know enough not to try to save it, I need to dump that bar.

September 1 I wasn't anxious about squatting at all I was ready. I figured I'd be working on heavy sets, I didn't know I'd be going for a PR. The bar looked really nice loaded with my new PR, 4 blue 45 pound plates, 2 yellow 35 pound plates and 2 iron 5 pound plates. As I was watching Dane put the 5 pound plates on it occurred to me that the bar was now over 300 pounds, I was well over my previous PR of 275. Of course the bar I squatted prior to that final squat was 295, 20 pounds over my PR and before the 295 Dane had me squat 275 pounds 3 times. I decided I was going to give it a go. I'd make it or I'd fail, either way I was still the same person and Dane would still train me.

So how did that 305 pound squat go? I'll let you be the judge. Personally I watch it and I want to squat lower so there is absolutely no question whether or not I got to parallel. Dane told me I did, I am not so sure, maybe because I got red lighted for my 2nd attempt squat at my last meet. Anyhow...on with the video!

video



The point is that I squatted 305 pounds. I squatted more than I have ever weighed. Did I know I would make it when I started? No I didn't I had absolutely no idea if I could do it, but I knew I was giving it my best shot.

Where does the anger come in?

Actually the anger never goes away. It is a part of me. I keep it buried, deep down, but it is always there simmering. Something I shared with my father besides the smile and looks. He had a temper too, it took a lot to bring it to the surface, but when it surfaced, watch out. I am finding that I can use the anger that I have tried to keep buried deep and locked away as fuel for my lifts. I love lifting, I always will, but to get that bar to do what I want I can't be sweet, kind and meek. I need to be a beast, a monster. I need to know deep down when I step up to the bar that I can lift it. I need to be confident in my ability, confident in my training and I now know I need to be angry.

It's not enough for me to look at Tyler or Dane and say I'll try anymore. Yes I am strong, but with the weight I want to pull, squat and press now I need to be strong as strong mentally and emotionally as I am physically. The confidence isn't always there, but the anger is. It is amazing what you can accomplish with a little bit of confidence and a whole lot of anger. I am working and training to replace the anger with confidence, but I suspect the anger will always need to be there in some fashion. I might never walk up to the bar and snarl or scream, but that fierce look I seem to have every time I lift heavy: that's what simmers deep within coming to the surface.

No one needs to worry I'm going to unleash the monster in my working life. The monster lives for her time at Pride, thats when she can come out to play or come out to struggle through a workout. The monster came out to play Wednesday at Muscle Hour for Sumo Deadlifts and then stuck around for the power cleans, front squats and push presses. That monster whispered that I had permission to do a different form of front squat and I had done them for a few rounds, but that was quitting and giving in and I was NOT giving in: I was doing front squats the preferred way and I was doing them that way from that round forward. I didn't get from 10 to 1, I was working on my round of 2 power cleans, 2 front squats and 2 push presses when time was called, but I am proud as hell that I got it together and did the majority of the front squats the way Coach D prefers.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Goodbye

It's 10:06 pm Sunday, September 4. I went to bed 2 hours ago tired, thinking I'd sleep, but here I am. Still tired, but definitely not sleeping. Why not?

On the surface there is no reason I shouldn't be asleep. It was a busy week last week, school started. I PR'ed my back squat, got my ass handed to me in the many classes I attended at Pride Fitness Performance and in all had a pretty darn good week.

Go just a little below the surface and that's where the trouble lies. I lost a biological parent on August 25. I should say I lost my father, but he didn't feel like my father. A father is supposed to be the one who loves you, right? The one who cheers you on when you do things that are important to you? The one who tells you it's okay, you'll get it next time when you don't do as well as you want to? Yeah, pretty idealistic.

I have that kind of support, from my mother, from my sister and from the best group of friends (or as I think of them "chosen family") anyone could wish for. Hell, I have that kind of support from my coaches, both of whom are 20 years younger than me, not that age has a thing to do with it, but these young men know how you treat people so they feel like they matter. The one person I didn't have that from, the one person I had a right to expect it from is gone now.

I don't hate him, not precisely at least. I know deep down, for I am not a stupid woman, that he loved me the best way he could. I don't understand why he didn't want to hug or kiss me after I was a certain age, his wife tried to explain that one, but given her IQ is just slightly above what is required to grunt it made no sense.  I can't tell you why when his second wife informed him that he had a choice his children or her he chose her; though I suspect it was because he was afraid to be alone.

I can use what I know and have learned about human nature to come up with excuses and reasons, but deep down I am still just a little girl wondering what I did that was so heinous that he couldn't show me that he loved me. Intellectually I know it was not me, it had nothing to do with me, but the human heart doesn't exactly work on intellect.

So here I am, at 10:26 pm pouring my heart out in this forum hoping if I dump it here I'll be able to sleep.

I find it odd that I am grieving for someone who didn't attempt to contact me. A friend told me that shows the kind of person I am. Perhaps it does. I am sad, it is sad when anyone you know dies after all. Am I devastated? No. In a sense I went through real grief when I realized I could walk away, turn my back on my father and he wouldn't make any real effort to draw me back in. Maybe he wanted to, but he didn't know how, then as time went on that was just the way things were and if he wasn't happy about it he had no idea how to change it so he let it go. I am grieving quietly with occasional moments of tears, mostly at completely inopportune times, like Inservices, workouts, yoga classes. You get the picture: the person who likes to keep her feelings bottled up and private is letting other people see her vulnerable. This growing and changing is hard work, I don't know if I recommend it.

This explains a lot about why I am who I am. I am insecure, never quite believing people like me. I strive to be perfect, because if I am no one will want to walk away from me. I want to be kind, to make people like me. I am working on being quicker to trust people. With all those things though I am also fiercely rigid. If you hurt me once I will forgive, but the trust is gone and I am going to be honest there is little chance I will trust you again. I understand the way people act and behave is a reflection of them and their lives, not about me at all, but it doesn't change my reaction. If you hurt me by trying to manipulate me or betray me I will close up. On the outside I look the same, I may even be able to pull off acting the same, but inside everything has changed and I am guarding against the next time. Maybe I should change that about myself too and possibly I will, but it will not happen overnight.

This certainly hasn't been one of my normal blog posts, it's been a lot darker and heavier than I like to get in this forum. This might be my place, but I try to respect the people who take the time to read what I write and not get too dark. Really though the dark is as much a part of me as the strength and it deserves recognition. Especially right now. My world has been tipped on its axis a little and I need to get it back on an even keel as soon as I can. I have work to do to be ready to be better than the athlete I was in April and I mean to do that work with every ounce of will and determination my coaches have come to expect from me.

I think I am finally ready to sleep now. Before I go: Dad, I know you did the best you could even if it was not what I needed from you. I am glad you aren't suffering anymore. Rest in peace.

Thanks for reading!



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.