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 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


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!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Gym Mirror

This post is dedicated to Carisa Kerner. The idea is hers and revolves around a conversation we had. I hope I will do the idea justice, I think it is an important one. If I don't this might be the push Carisa needs to start her own blog. It's a topic I've discussed here before, some might even say one I've beaten to death and keep poking at. I can perseverate with the best of them, I've never tried to deny that. So which topic will I ramble on about this time? The reflection we see when we look in the mirror. People tell me how much I have changed, how different I look. I don't see that. I don't know that I will ever see that. I have the new clothes. At the back of my closet, the very back are a pair of jeans I wore in January 2012 when I weighed in and measured for the first time at Ben's Bootcamp. Every once in awhile when the doubts and the negative voice in my head are too loud I pull those jeans out and put them on. I have to prove to myself that my body truly is different. I love that others see muscles when they look at my arms. I see stretch marks, jiggle and flab. I know the sleeves of most of my shirts are getting tighter. One part of me is excited by that because it means my muscles are growing, then I look in the mirror and shudder because all I see is the remaining fat. Maybe I should just stop looking in the mirror at home, maybe I should only look in the mirrors in The Asylum at the Pride Fitness Performance Center. When I look in those mirrors I can look past the flaws, I can see some progress. I see whatever it is my coach has told me to notice or instructed me to do. I look past what disgusts me so much to focus on the task in front of me. I watch videos of myself taken at meets or during training and most of the time I can look past the rolls and flaws and see if the pull was smooth, the squat got to parallel or if I was able to press the loaded bar back up evenly. I said sometimes, there are those other times I watch the videos and all I see are the flaws: the fact that I am moving heavy weight matters little at those times. So, how is the gym mirror so different? Why can I look in the mirrors in the Asylum or the Lion's Den and not be focused on the flaws? No, I'm seriously asking...I have no idea. That's not entirely true. The reality is, when I am at Pride and looking in the mirrors it is not with the purpose of determining if I am remotely attractive it is to adjust my form or see what it looks like when I'm doing an exercise the correct way. Yep, even with the strength there is still a part of me that just wants to be pretty, a pretty big part really . I am strong, I own that and I am proud of that, but I'd be a liar if I said I didn't want to be pretty. If I said I didn't want someone to look at me the way I see my friends' significant others look at them. There, I said it I have the most fabulous friends, female and male, but there are moments I want one person who thinks I hung the moon, who can see past the flaws and unlovable moments. So sue me: I have girly moments too. You'd think that was some sort of shameful secret the way I do my best to shove it down and pretend it doesn't exist. Well, it does exist and gym mirror or not I'd truly like to believe that somewhere out there is some person for me, even if I know I am not ready for this person yet. I might be 46, but I have some growing up to do still. Not sure I did the topic justice Carisa, I certainly hope so. If not, you and I should collaborate and write a follow up, or I'll give you free rein to post a follow up of your own here. Let's end this with a picture I took earlier this week in an attempt to find something about me I like.

Well, here it is. Not a clue where that bruise came from either. 
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Looking Ahead, 2016 Version

Christmas is twenty one days. The house is slowly getting decorated. I am shopping for family and friends. I am also thinking ahead to 2017 and wondering what my goals for the new year will be. I know many of my goals will revolve around fitness, but not all of them.

One goal I want to set for myself, when I decide how to word it so it is measurable and attainable, is using my new-found voice to get my point across in ways that won't offend too many people. Make no mistake, there are times I need to offend people because they need to hear the truth whether they like it or not, but I want to develop the ability to be as kind as possible while being honest. I know some people, a coach comes to mind, who aren't a bit bothered when I am honest in whatever way the honesty comes out at the time, but that's not true for everyone. I can make myself sound quite eloquent when I write: I want to have the same ability when I speak.

I need to work on patience. Wanting it all is fine, wanting it all RIGHT NOW is just ridiculous and a recipe for disaster. My lack of patience has caused me to miss squats I could easily make and nearly screw up my first attempts at deadlifts. In other areas of my life, not being patient often means I make more work for myself. When I don't stop to explore whether a resource exists elsewhere I often end up reinventing the wheel and pouring a lot of time and energy into something I didn't need to.

I don't even want to face up to this third goal...except I need to. I had so many great adventures and wonderful times with friends in 2016 and I tried not to be a part of pictures of these adventures whenever possible. It's not that I'm hideously least other people have told me I'm not. I still don't like this body very much, or at all if I'm being truthful. This body is strong for sure and it accomplishes all the things my mind conjures up for it. It is also lumpy, jiggly and in my mind just plain weirdly shaped. I recognize that the picture of me in the welcome area at the Pride Fitness Performance Center is great, but I still cringe when I see it. I respect and trust Coach T though and if he chose that to be on the wall he absolutely knows what he's doing and I'll try to stop obsessing. I said try...let's be happy I am at that point.

No, I am not asking anyone to stroke my ego and tell me I am almost pretty, pretty, beautiful or anything like that. My journey to accepting this body is just that: mine. As much as I'd like someone else to be able to open up my head, scoop out all the negative garbage and leave me accepting what I look like that's not possible. Perhaps a size 10 wrestling boot to the proper spot might work, but I'm guessing that's not a possibility.

What I want in 2017 is to be happy to be a part of pictures with friends. I have friends who take selfies during every adventure and event. Usually I opt out of those sitting as far back as I can. There are times I even strategically plan where I sit so I am not near my friends who like to take selfies. How stupid is that? I mean, really how stupid?! In 2017 I resolve to be a part of more pictures with my friends. No more hiding behind someone else like I did for the end shot of us when we went white water rafting. I finally showed up to the party that is my life, I might as well have some photographic proof of my presence.

So far on my goal list I have speaking up kindly, being patient and being in more pictures of adventures with friends. You all know those aren't my only goals. Since the start of this blog I've had fitness goals and 2017 won't be any different. My fitness goals might be a little more focused this year. I said A LITTLE, neither of my coaches should be rejoicing too much. I know lifting heavy stuff is my wheelhouse, but I can't help but want some other things too. Like a pull up or climbing the new rope in the Pride Training Zone.

So, what do I want fitness wise in 2017? How much time do you have? I'm kidding, well, I'm mostly kidding. I have a lot of goals in mind. The trick is to figure out which of the many goals swirling around in my mind am I going to put down on paper. Coach Tyler and Coach Dane are infinitely patient with me, but I don't think either one of them has any desire to read a many page document detailing every one of my fitness goals for 2017. Coach D would probably tell me to get it together and Coach T would remind me that there has to be balance. They're both right, of course, so let's see what I can do to keep the list manageable.

1. Powerlifting: This was bound to be my number one fitness goal. I might not be the best, I might not be the strongest, but I work hard.
a. Choose a new federation.
b. Pick a meet.
c. Have a total at the meet that will qualify me for a national meet.

2. Three Lift Totals
a. Squat: I exceeded my goal of squatting 300 pounds in 2016 by squatting 305. Working on getting below parallel every time. In 2017 I want to squat 350 pounds.
b. Bench Press: Currently at 209 pounds, still my weakest of the three, but I am making good progress. Now to get that pause down. For 2017 I want to bench press 250 pounds.
c. Deadlift: No secret that this is my favorite lift of all and the least technical. No pause, no depth requirement, just pull that bar smoothly from the floor to lock out. Currently I am at 413 pounds. The goal in 2017 is to pull 500 pounds.
d. Three lift total: Currently my total is about 927 pounds.  If I meet all my goals for the 3 lifts my total will be 1,100 pounds. If my total is higher than that in December 2017 I will be thrilled. I might be underestimating what I can press, squat and pull and I am sure if I am my coaches will let me know it. I can adjust my goals after all: they aren't carved in stone.

3. Rope Climb: Yes, I can get up the knotted rope when I want to, but now I want to climb the new rope and ring the cowbell again. By the end of 2017 I intend to meet this goal.

4. Pull Up: Please, please, please...let 2017 be the year I finally get a pull up. I swear it has been on my goal list since I was a Mooser contestant. Coach T tells me I'm getting close...wouldn't it be nice to try one and have him say I did it? I bet I could get a fist bump for that.

So there you have it, my draft of goals for 2017. I welcome suggestions, advice and assistance in meeting these goals. For my totals I am interested to hear what you think if you feel so inclined to share with me.

You've spent enough of your time on this: go, get on with your day. Enjoy it!!

Thanks for reading!

Proof that I showed up for my life and participated. I love what it represents,
 just wish I didn't want to photoshop the woman in it.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Almost Pretty

If you are a friend of mine on Facebook you've seen the post I wrote on Friday about a remark someone decided to make to me on Thursday. If for some reason you missed it a person I don't know well and don't particularly like told me that I would be almost pretty if I lost 80 more pounds.

Had I not been with one of my students I might have had quite a bit to say about that particular comment. I can guarantee that almost none of it would have been appropriate. Due to the presence of children and that fact that I believe it is my job to be a good role model for students I smiled and walked away.

I'd like to be able to tell you it didn't bother me at all. I could tell you that, but I might as well be honest. It pissed me off and it hurt my feelings. I was a bear the rest of that day. When I got to Buddy Training I was beyond angry. Good thing there was 12 minutes of prowler rows and pushes or I might have snapped. I pulled that sled with everything I had and a couple of times the front end came up off the floor, but I was still furious. There were back squats, 2 warm up sets of 10 each and then four rounds of 20 reps with 85 pounds. I focused on my form and tried to push the comment out of my head. Then the finisher, 3 miles on the bike with a band around my knees. I don't love the bike, but normally it doesn't make me contemplate homicide. Coach Dane came over to see how my buddy and I were doing when I'd reached about 2 miles. She was friendly to him. I glared and told him to just walk away. I don't think he took it personally, he was laughing as he walked away, but it bothered me to be so mean. That's just not me.

Later that night I did message Coach D and ask him if he can help me develop a whole new body in 2017. I told him why as well. He told me that was a ridiculous comment but agreed with "Let's do it". I also told my buddy because I was really hoping I would be able to let it go.

It didn't work out that way and when I walked into Pride Friday morning I was tired and loaded for bear. The beast was raging and all I wanted to do was step behind a loaded bar and lift the shit out of it ( "Lift the shit out of the bar" has to be one of my all time favorite Coach D quotes) and I did my best while we were deadlifting. The deadlifts and heavy prowler pushes during the strength portion of the workout soothed the beast enough for me to maintain some semblance of control.

Then I got to work Friday and I was through. I was done trying to pretend those words didn't sting and that I wasn't completely pissed off so I composed my post.

The response to that post was gratifying and a little overwhelming. I just wanted to unload the anger, but I guess it struck a chord with many other people as well. Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to that post: I appreciate the offers of hip checks, wrestling boots to the face and reminders that the person who said that has a right to her opinion, but it has no bearing on my life.

I'm putting that comment to rest once and for all tonight. It has taken up space in my mind for too long.

To Whom It May Concern:

Let's get one thing straight from the start: I KNOW I AM STILL FAT ACCORDING TO SOCIETY'S  STANDARDS. I can do something about that. Your bad manners and lack of tact might be much harder to fix.

You seemed very interested in numbers so let me share a few with you.

Since I started this journey I have lost a total of 82 pounds.

I have some other numbers that make me even more proud and I'll share those as well. Not because I need to "toot my own horn" but because these numbers mean a great deal to me.

Deadlift: 413.36 pounds
Bench Press: 209.44 pounds
Squat: 303.13 pounds

Three Lift Total: 925.93 pounds. I am 46 years old I have that total and I am NOT done yet. Just ponder that for a moment.

I can also flip the 525 pound tire and push the prowler with a couple of coaches, a couple of 45 pound plates and some kettle bells on it.

Those numbers mean more to me than a number on a scale ever could.

As for "almost pretty". Excuse my vulgarity, but Bitch please. I don't care if you think I'm pretty or not. I don't strive to be pretty. I never have, I never will.

Let me tell you what I do strive for:

1. I strive to be strong: I work hard to be better and stronger. I have changed my lifestyle, I have changed a training schedule I was quite comfortable with so I could improve my strength. I will be strong because I have been weak and afraid. I love what I do and I will do it until they kick me out of Pride.

2. I strive to be kind: My grandmother told me growing up that "pretty is as pretty does". I don't want to have a face and body that look good and be ugly inside. I want to be me. I want to do simple little things for the people I care about because I can. I want to smile and be polite to all I meet, even those who insult me. Even you.

3. I strive to make a positive difference: I want to do my small part to make it possible for people to discover the joy of working out and transforming their lives if that is what they desire. I want to contribute to helping people reach their dreams if it is within my power. I want to pay forward the kindness shown to me.

Would it be nice to be pretty? Maybe, but if I had the choice of being pretty and it meant I would lose all the qualities that are important to me it wouldn't even be a choice.

I choose to be ME and if that is unacceptable and repulsive in your world then so be it. I do not need to be a part of your world. You will be welcome in mine should you wish to keep your nastiness and negativity to yourself. I won't hold a grudge. I won't hate you. I don't want revenge I feel sorry for you. I am surrounded by people who care about me and support me for who I am. People who seem genuinely happy when I am around and seek to include me in their plans. I hope you have that as well but I suspect, based on your words, that you do not. I am sad for you, but I will not let your words destroy me and all I have worked so hard for.

I have plans and goals for 2017. Perhaps they won't all come to fruition, but I am going to give them a 100% run and see how far I can go.


For every person who left a comment or response to my post Friday: thank you. To those who talked to me in person: thank you. Each and every one of you mean the world to me and your support has been heartwarming.

Now get back to your day. I'm stepping off my soap box and putting this incident to rest. It was a blip in my journey and I think I handled it well. It was noise that will fuel my quest for PRs and my determination to reach my goals. I will use it to make me better, it will not diminish me.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Dog or the Fight in the Dog?

You know that saying that is attributed to Mark Twain, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog”? I have a question. No seriously, I have one.

What if both are important?

One day past Old School Iron Wars and that is something I have been thinking about since well before the meet. I’m a big woman, no sense denying it because it’s true. I take up space and a good amount of it. More than that though I have a tremendous amount of fight inside. I might be quiet, but don’t think I am not a fighter. You may have heard watch out for the quiet ones before and it’s good advice. I may not say much, but I am not complacent and content to stay the same. I’m not who I want to be when I grow up yet.

I can’t just give up and walk away. I may walk away, but that shouldn’t be taken as a sign that I’ve given up. Walking away allows me to gain perspective and sometimes I have to be told in a rather stern voice to walk away.

Most recently the order came while I was squatting. Not my favorite back squats, but front squats so I could practice exploding out of the hole. I may have mentioned before that I don’t like front squats, so to be told I was going to do them wasn’t welcome news. Coach D did put chains on the bar so that was fun. Plus to me there is just something that looks super badass about doing anything with chains on a bar. Yeah, I really do need to get out more.

Anyhow, back to the story. There I was, I don’t know how many reps into a set and I tried to come up from the squat and just couldn’t make it. Since the entire set felt like it had been something close to the worst set I’d ever done I didn’t take that well. I do believe I screamed an obscenity and hit the bar.

Side note: Don’t bother to hit a barbell. It won’t feel it and you’ll end up with another bruise to remind you that your common sense is lacking.

Then the worst happened, my eyes started to well. Oh good, tears…because coaches just love tears and they add to the humiliation. Coach D is good, he looked at me, didn’t bat an eye or blink and said in a matter of fact voice “Take a walk”. I was probably gone longer than he expected, but when I came back I finished the set with a lot more success and went on to at least one more.

So what happened on that “walk”? I found the fight. Yeah I was doing something I don’t do well, I wasn’t excelling, but that didn’t mean I could start crying and walk away. Quitters walk away: I am NOT a quitter. I had to look at myself in the mirror stare at the red nose and cheeks, the swimming eyes and remind myself there was so much more fight inside.

There was a point during the meet on Sunday I almost forgot the fight inside and walked away. I failed my first squat. Nothing more serious than not getting to depth, but in that moment I was sure it was a sign I was going to suck all day. My friends would be disappointed in me, but at that moment it didn’t matter a bit: I wanted to leave.

One of my very best friends was acting as my coach and she met me at the table where I needed to give my next attempt. She suggested I try the same weight again and I said no, I wanted to go up, maybe not as much as Coach Dane and I had planned, but I was going up in weight. Her thought had merit and I considered it, but I knew what I had to do. I had to go up in weight, I had to SLOW down and I had to make my next two attempts the best squats I had ever done. I gave my second attempt and then I stepped back and observed. I watched the other women squat and I noted the results.

My second attempt came and I walked to the platform focused on what I had to do. I set my grip and got under the bar, no more games I told the nasty inner critic and I brought the bar up. The inner critic wanted me to focus on the spectators, mostly people I didn’t know. I told her no more of that. No more games, no more worry. No. More. Then I took my steps back, because contrary to what I wanted to believe at my first meet, you can’t actually squat if you are still in the rack: it just won’t work. I let the weight settle on my back and reminded myself this was less than I have squatted at Pride and I had more spotters than I’d ever had at Pride: if I got in trouble they would take the bar and I was safe. Then I nodded. I got my command and I squatted. It felt maybe a fraction of an inch deeper, but it was enough and it was declared good.

Time for the third attempt weight selection. I was pretty sure I could PR, but not 100% positive, so I opted for a “safe weight”: 303.13 pounds. I’d done more at Pride, but it was close to my current PR of 305 and I wanted to build my confidence. Attempt three went off without a hitch and the beast stirred. I really have to learn to get her going before the meet starts…

Bench Press was next, unarguably my weakest event, though I’m making nice gains with more specific training and one session a week dedicated to bench pressing. There are moments during those training sessions I’d gladly bench press Coach Dane to make it stop, but all the training paid off and I set a new PR of 209.44 pounds. The beast came to for real during that third bench press. I felt like someone flipped a switch. I joked with Dane that I nailed that attempt because my favorite lift was next. I nailed that attempt because there was no way I was missing it. Maybe it’s egotistical, but I knew I could do it. I was going to show Coach Dane the time he has invested in training me was worth it.

On to the Deadlift and the beast was roaring. She wanted out and she wanted out in a big way. No secret that the deadlift is my favorite lift. My first attempt was a little rough. I have a bad habit of rushing. So far it hasn’t been catastrophic, but I need to stop it before it backfires in a big way. The second attempt was much better and my third attempt felt the best of all three pulls. I set a new PR of 413.36 pounds yesterday. I probably had more in me, but I wasn’t 100% positive that I did so I stuck with something I was pretty sure I could pull. One of these times I will throw caution to the wind and just go for it. I don’t have anything to lose. Go big or go home, right?

One year ago I entered my first powerlifting meet. Yesterday I completed my third. Now I’m looking ahead, deciding on a new federation with the help of my coach and continuing to train so I can be even better and more confident when I stand on the platform the next time.

You all know I want to get to a one thousand pound total so where do I stand now?

Squat: 303.13
Bench Press: 209.44 pounds
Deadlift: 413.36 pounds
Meet total: 925.93 pounds

The total for my PRs is 927.8 pounds. I am closing in on 1000 pounds. I’ll get there.

Now a few pictures and I’ll let you get back to your evening. There is a lot of fight in this dog. Stay tuned.

Post meet photo with my Coach, Dane Martin. He's an amazing guy.

Deadlift PR of 413.36 pounds. The bar looks like it's bending to me. LOVE THAT. I was also letting out quite a yell at this moment.

Thank you for reading!