Friday, October 21, 2016

Checking In

Have you ever wished you could have a talk with yourself? Just sit yourself down and make sure you're okay and happy. Everything looks fine on the surface, but just below the mask is something else entirely.

Yes, I know it's probably just me. Who would I be if I didn't over think? I like control, I'm not going to lie about that. In fact, control is very important to me. One of my goals, until very, very recently has been to ALWAYS be in control.

Then I became interested in fitness in general and powerlifting in particular. For a year I resisted the increasingly frequent advice and reminders that I was only human, that my schedule was not helping me maximize my strength and I needed to find balance. I nodded, I said "I know" and I continued doing just what I was doing before. Coach T and Coach D must have the patience of saints not to have throttled me.

What happened to change my mind and make me decide that it was important that I really listen and really change.

My father died. It's as simple and as complex as that.

Don't worry, I won't be rehashing my lack of a relationship with him. It was what it was and it's much too late to change it now.

No, what really struck me after he died was that I don't know if he was happy with the life he lived. Did he do the things he wanted to in life? Did he look forward to his days or were they just something he had to get through? I know from my vantage point he never seemed happy. Maybe I'm wrong, actually it's extremely likely I am wrong, but my gut says he was not happy.

I decided in the days after I got the news that things had to change. I had to change.

Why?? By all appearances I am happy, reasonably successful and mostly competent. I had two powerlifting meets under my belt and was preparing for a third. I had a workout routine I loved and coaches I trusted completely. I had a dream, but it seemed too far-fetched and ridiculous to invest in.

Sure Coach D told me he thought I had potential to go far as a powerlifter, but he was my coach. Isn't his job to stroke my ego a little so I don't stop working? When Coach T told me after both of my meets that he was proud of me, wasn't that just him doing his job? If you know Coach D or Coach T at all you know that neither one of them will say something they don't mean. If either of them tell me I've done well it is the truth. When they say they are proud of me those aren't just words: they are the truth.

Would I have decided to pursue my dream if my father were still alive? Eventually I am sure I would have. This dream scares me so at some point I would have gotten sick of being afraid and pursued it. Wondering if my father had truly lived the life he wanted was a push to go after my dream earlier.

So here I sit on a Friday evening two weeks and a couple days from my next meet. The anxiety is there, but it has a different feel this time. I'm not feeling nauseous or scared this time around. I just want to be there. I want it to be Sunday, November 6 at 9:00 am. I want to be standing in front of the squat rack on the platform with Dane and my friends watching. I want to see how far my training, skill and adrenaline will take me that day, maybe as far as a 1000 pound total for the meet. I will text friends unable to be at the meet and let them know how it is going.

 I want to watch other friends lift and cheer for them. When the meet is over I want to go out for a celebratory shot and meal with the people who came to support me.

The work won't be over when November 6th has come and gone. Maybe I'll bring more hardware to Pride for a place on the shelf. Hopefully I'll be able to tell Coach T I made it to 1000 pounds.

After Old School Iron Wars I will be looking for a new federation and new challenges. In 2017, I would like to qualify for a national meet and stand on a much larger platform.

A far-fetched dream perhaps, but it is my dream and I am not content to wonder if I could do it. I need to know the answer.

Checking in with myself I find a mentally tired woman. Eight hours of parent teacher conferences will do that to you. Then trying to compose a coherent, mostly grammatically correct blog to top it off. There is also some physical tiredness from a Flex Friday workout. Deadlifts and bench presses are among some of my favorites, but they will never be classified as easy, not even with "baby weight". Lighter weight just means I must focus more on my form and making sure it is spot on every rep.

Am I happy? Yes, I am. Not every moment, not every day, but at this moment in time with my boxer snuggled against my side and plans with friends for tomorrow evening I am happy and more importantly: I am content.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Leaps and Bounds

Hey, it's me again! I should be writing lesson plans for next week, but I wanted to write intead. Lucky, lucky you.

I've been quiet for a bit. Not because I've had nothing to say, but because I've been busy and trying to decide how to say what I wanted to say. I'm still not sure I know how or have the talent to put the right words to my thoughts and feelings, but I'm going to try.

Let's start with the biggest event in my life: the new Pride Fitness Performance Center. OMG... seriously: OMG! I have no idea how Tyler and Dane got it all done. I know they had help, but is AMAZING! So huge, so new and still familiar and comfortable. That was my biggest worry. When I walked in Monday morning October 3 I must have looked like a kid on Christmas day taking everything in. I didn't hug the walls or anything, but I could have. I brought my two trophies back and Tyler showed me where to put them. I can't imagine he'd had any sleep at all in a while, but he was obviously proud and excited to share the new space.

My favorite space is The Asylum. How could I not love the space with the plates, barbells and a whole lot of dumbbells? There are plenty of villains and heroes there too to inspire the monster or beast within.

After class on Monday I approached Tyler and Dane and asked if there was a time in the next couple of weeks we could meet to discuss my training. Before I could say anything I got a hug from Tyler. It just about got the tears flowing, but I mustered my strength and kept it in. Then I asked if there was time the three of us could talk. Tyler suggested Thursday and I agreed. It worked perfectly: I had a meeting in Newport that afternoon and would be done about 3:30 so I could come early.

Thursday afternoon came and I got more and more anxious as the time got closer. I can remind myself a million times that change is good, but when I am faced with it I worry. The conversation was fine. Dane outlined his thoughts for me and when Tyler came in he looked over Dane's thoughts, they talked a bit and I had a new training plan. Not much changed on the surface, but in reality everything changed. I told Dane I was fine with change, I would follow his advice and recommendations, but I was not willing to lose my training time with Tyler. I agree my training needs to get more specific, but I also need the conditioning, core and mobility work. Besides I like Tyler: I want to spend time with him learning from him. I want the best of both worlds and it seems both of them wanted me to have that too.

Here's my new training schedule, just in case any of you are curious.
Monday: 5:30 am Pride Fit Group Training with Tyler
Tuesday: 5:15pm Personal Training with Dane
               7:15 pm Yoga Corr with Tyler
Wednesday: 6 pm Muscle Hour with Dane
Thursday: 4:15 pm Buddy Training with Dane
Friday: 5:30 am Pride Fit Group Training with Tyler
             6 pm Muscle Hour: Flex Friday

The hardest for me so far has been Friday. The first week I went to Pride Fit class and felt weird not going to Flex Friday. This week I chose Flex Friday and missed Pride Fit even more than I imagined I would. I missed the 5:30 am crew: I have worked out with many of the people in that class since I started working out and I missed them. I missed starting my day in the way that feels normal. ]

I understand I need to work more on my big three lifts for the upcoming meet and my future goals. I am beyond thankful and grateful that Tyler and Dane are willing to work with me and design a program that will give me the opportunity to see if I have what it takes to be on a national platform some day. As Tyler said if that is what I want I need to give it a 100% run. Perhaps I am never meant to be on a national stage, but I refuse to wonder about it: I'm going to give it my all and have the answer. Deep down I think I have what it takes for a national competition, but we'll see.

For the moment I am focused on November 6 and being the strongest, best athlete I can be on that day. After that I will ponder the future.
Dane told me recently that I have grown leaps and bounds since he started working with me. He is the one who first suggested powerlifting to me. He is one of my biggest supporters and he pushes me to be better every time I train with him. He keeps telling me that I need to be confident in my abilities. He and Tyler keep upping the ante and expecting I am going to deliver.

Wednesday night at Muscle Hour we were flipping the 475ish pound tire and after I finished 5 flips Tyler was standing in the doorway to the Asylum and he mentioned "the beast" was waiting for me. The beast turned out to be the 525ish pound tire. I have flipped that thing before and jammed the middle finger on my left hand doing it. When I realized what Tyler was talking about I wasn't so sure I was waiting for the beast. I flipped the 475 several more rounds and then decided it was put up or shut up time. I went into the Asylum and watched someone else flip the beast.

Then it was my turn. One of the hardest things about flipping the 525 pound tire is that there seems to be about one spot on the tire you can get a decent grip. I didn't find that spot, but I wasn't letting it go. Tyler was right there encouraging and coaching, he might even have helped me, I'm not sure but I flipped it and didn't jam any fingers this time. Then I got a fist bump. Yeah!! Love those.

Just one more thing and I will let you get back to your regularly scheduled life. For the last several nights I've had a recurring dream. Not a recurring dream really, but one person keeps recurring in my dreams: My father. He hasn't said anything, he is in the background just standing, just watching. The first night it irritated me. I don't remember what I was dreaming, but I was irritated that he was there. Last night I dreamed I was at Pride, in The Asylum, doing what I do best: deadlifting. He was there, in the corner, by the whiteboard that used to have Muscle Hour members' PRs for deadlifts, squats, cleans and presses. He was quiet, he just watched. Tyler and Dane were there too, coaching, cheering me on (I heard "Pull that BAR!" a lot) and when I was done I looked up and my father smiled. Then I woke up.

I am choosing to believe these dreams have been his way of checking in. Maybe he wishes he'd made an effort to understand me when he was alive. I don't know if that's true, I am not interested in speculating, but if he wants to check in from time to time I don't mind. I don't have anything to say, whatever I wanted to say was said in a letter no one will ever read that I wrote and destroyed in Spetember. It is time I move forward and move on.

I am strong, I've always been strong and now I need to gather that strength, move forward and bring every bit of who I am to bear on November 6. I may not set the world on fire, but there will be no doubt that I gave everything I had to give when the meet ends.

One last thing, a couple of pictures then I'll let you get back to your life.

Deadlifts in The Asylum with the Joker watching. I like how it looks like the bar is bending. Photo courtesy of Tyler Tinker.

Isn't that sweet? The barbell kissed me. Bruises from front squat work designed to make me more explosive driving out of the hole when I squat.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

My wheelhouse

What a week!

The final two days working out in the old Pride Fitness Performance building. I am excited to see the new Pride Fitness Performance Center, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't sad too. My journey started in that building. I was comfortable there. Even I am wise enough to know that things have to change in order for me to keep growing. So I cried all the way home from Yoga Corr last Tuesday night, I think it is okay to be sad for what's changing at the same time I am excited for what's ahead. When I really think about it rationally the only thing changing is the location: I will still have my coaches and my friends will be there. So my sadness is more about letting go of the familiar than anything else.

Handling change like a sane, rational adult is not in my wheelhouse.

It was Open House at school this week too. As a special educator I never see many parents during the evening so this year I volunteered to help out at the book fair. I got to be a cashier again. I discovered I am no longer suited to being a cashier. Teaching was a much better career choice. Not that I couldn't do it, not that I didn't do it, but I should have set my FitBit to measure the time as a workout, because I am pretty sure my heart rate stayed up the entire time. It was like working retail on Black Friday or on Christmas Eve. Fortunately everyone at the book fair seemed patient and kind.

Being a cashier might be in my wheelhouse, but I don't necessarily like it.

I had a lot of free time this week with no Pride workouts from Wednesday on. If this blog had a soundtrack you would now start to hear some anxiety provoking music. What did I do you ask? Well I did some research....okay I did a lot of research. Seriously people, I need a keeper...I should not be allowed free time: I don't use it well.

What did I research you might be wondering. Or you are just resigned to the fact that this is my blog, and I'm going to tell you whether you care or not. I researched powerlifting federations and choosing your attempts for a powerlifting meet.

First the federations. Why look for something new when I am almost comfortable with Vermont Powerlifting? Sometimes no matter how much I hate change even I have to admit it is necessary. I realize I have only been powelifting for a year, I have two meets under my belt and one looming. I know the nausea and nerves will not be improving if I join another federation.

So knowing all that WHY the hell would I be looking at a new federation?

I want more. I am not content to stay where I am. I have spent far too much of my life wanting more and not daring to go for it. I am not going to do that anymore. If I am not willing to work through the discomfort of change and reach for what I want why should Tyler or Dane give so much of their time and expertise to train me? Why should the friends who come to my meets continue to come to cheer me on?

Maybe I am at the top of my game and I've gone as far as I can with powerlifting, but I'm not content to just assume that: I want to know for sure. I don't want to spend the rest of my life wondering: I want to know. My dream, my goal is to compete in a national meet. I want to see how I measure up to other women my age. I want to see some of the powerlifters I read about in person and watch them lift in person.

As for researching how to pick meet attempts that I was mostly curious about. I know how to do it: Dane told me before my first meet and he picked my attempts for me for my first and second. This time I want to show him my thoughts and get his input. I want to show him I've grown. I've decided after all I read I am just going to pick based on the format he told me about. I read everything from your only goal should be to go 9 for 9 even if you don't PR to go for broke on your third attempt leave everything on the platform.

Handling free time is not in my wheelhouse either.

So what exactly is in my wheelhouse?

I rediscovered that on Saturday. I joined 3 of my friends and Coach Dane at Fortitude Fitness Systems in Lyndonville to participate in Deveney's Decathalon, a fundraising event to support one of the most caring, giving women I know. One of the events was Deadlift. You know I entered that one.

The thing is that recently being behind a loaded bar doesn't feel comfortable. There has been a lot of upheaval in my life since August 25 and it has absolutely impacted me and my training. No, I was not close to my father, in fact we didn't have a relationship at all, but he was still my Dad. I still have to process his death and weave it into the fabric of my life. I still lost a parent.

Yesterday to warm up I loaded the bar with 135 pounds and stepped up to it. I got set and I pulled. It felt good again, it felt right. It felt like coming home. Dane reminded me to get closer to the bar, I put more weight on and pulled again. It felt wonderful. Dane and I discussed me wearing my weight belt. I hadn't planned on it, but I know I need practice to get comfortable with it so in November it is just an extension of me like my Chuck Taylors and the long socks. I put it on and lifted. Before my first pull with it Dane had to remind me to bring my hips up a little. For some reason I put the belt on and I want to squat before I pull. Who knows why...I have learned not to ask, just retrain my body

Then warm up was over and it was time to compete. I had to lift each of my attempts 3 times. My third attempt was 305 pounds and it felt so easy. Adrenaline is a fabulous thing. I was home. I knew what to do: I chalked up, I stepped behind the bar, I set my feet, I set my body and hands, I stared through the opposite wall and I pulled. Later, when I watched a video I heard Coach Dane tell me it was simple and another time that it was baby weight at the time all I heard was my heart thumping along in my chest.

Another friend told me she has never seen me smile as big as I do after I lift. Later on one of my best friends told me I was a master deadlifter (MASTER deadlifter, to copy her words) and another friend told me it was an honor to watch me in my wheelhouse.

It's true, I have a wheelhouse. Deadlifting specifically is in my wheelhouse and to a lesser extent, but something I intend to work on: squatting and bench pressing are in my wheelhouse.

I. Am. A. Powerlifter. I am most at home behind a loaded barbell and that is a wonderful thing.

I have been at this party for a year now, but I've been a wallflower. No more. I am strong. I will ROAR. I will leave no doubt that I have skills. I am home.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 25, 2016


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!


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


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


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!