Sunday, January 7, 2018

Believe

For the last several years in addition to setting goals for the year I have borrowed an idea from a wise friend and picked a word to guide me.

For 2018 I have settled on the word believe. If you'll indulge me for a little bit I'd like to share why believe is my word.

During Muscle Hour on Wednesday it was time to determine a squat max so each of us would have a number to work with and determine percentages of going forward. Going into class I felt nauseous and nervous. Almost the same way I feel going into a meet. I didn't understand it, everyone was assuring me I would be fine, I would do great. I wasn't feeling any of that.

I sucked it up as best I could, partnered with good friend, Norm, and got to work. I could not get out of my head for the life of me. Every time I approached the bar that negative loop tape ran loudly through my head and it was all I could do to get the job done.

Finally I got tired of it. I had a stern talk with myself (silently: I was not standing in the corner yelling at myself...though I could have). I LOVE powerlifting. It is my passion. I put in the work week after week to be better. I've cried, bled and pushed myself through workouts I wanted to walk away from to participate in this sport. I weather the nerves and nausea that accompany participating in a meet. So why, when I had the chance to show what I could do was I so hesitant, so scared? I decided maybe my PR song would help the situation so out came the phone and earbuds. I finally felt the beast stir as "Monster" flooded through my ears, shutting down the negative voices.

To make a long story a little less long I set a new PR on Wednesday night. I increased my squat by ten pounds, from 345 to 355. My reaction was less elated and proud and more a release of pent-up fear in the form of tears. I got to depth, came up just fine, racked it with help and leaned into the bar and cried. Tara had taken video for me, she came to give me my phone and a hug and I cried on her shoulder, then I cried on Norm. I pulled myself together enough to give my spotter, Coach Brad, a fist bump. He told me I had more in me and I declined. I told him I'd achieved a 1000 pound total, 1004 pounds to be exact and I was good...then I cried a bit more.

I wouldn't be me if I didn't over think EVERYTHING, so you know I over thought those tears. Why cry when I just hit a goal I've had for a long while? Why not shout it from the rooftops?

The answer is because I did NOT believe it was possible. I never believed I could hit a 1000 pounds three-lift total. my friends believed, my coaches believed, I relied on their belief in me and hoped I would prove their faith in me right.

When I realized that I also realized that from the start of this journey I've grown leaps and bounds, but never one time have I believed in myself. I think it's fine that I don't see what others see in me, but I HAVE to believe in myself. It's not fair to ask my friends and coaches to believe in me enough for all of us.

I love everyone that has supported me in pursuing my passion. I certainly want them to continue coming to my meets, but I need to step up my game. I need to believe in myself, in my strength and my abilities. I don't want to walk to the platform wondering if I can do it, hoping I won't fail. I want to walk to the platform certain that I will give my all and no matter the outcome I've won.

No doubt there will be bumps along the path. It wouldn't be life if everything was smooth sailing. As a friend told me in one of the sweetest, kindest emails I've read recently "Look for blessings in every day, even if on some days you have to look a little harder".

So my word for 2018 is believe. I will believe in myself, in my potential, in my abilities. I will believe that if I want it, if I put in the work and never quit I will make my dreams come true.


Thanks for reading!


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Reflection

Hi I'm Kim and I'm a perfectionist. Huge newsflash, right? Not if you've known me for longer than two minutes it's not.

I'm the one loading my barbell with the exact same color plates in the the same order on both sides. I'm also the one who will pull all the plates off the rack and put them back on so the colors match. There's a chance I get a little freaked out when I find a 10 pound plate on the rack with 25 pound plates.

All that aside I want perfection from myself. I want to have a perfect deadlift, squat, and bench press. I am smart enough to understand perfection isn't truly possible, but it doesn't stop me from striving for it.  And since I'm being honest, being upset with myself when I don't get perfection. When a coach corrects me there is a part of me that feels as if I've failed. That's not the case and the corrections have certainly never been presented to me that way, but I am my own worst critic.

I'm better than I used to be. There was a time, not so long ago that critique and correction made me cry. I don't cry as much any more, not usually. Occasionally depending on the day I still tear up, but I've learned to blink back the tears, listen and do my best to do what I've been told. Sometimes I don't do so well. When the critiques come one right on top of another or in the middle of my set I tend to lose my temper. Then I feel bad. I've never yelled at a coach, but I have snapped at friends. I feel awful about that, I apologize and vow to do better the next time. After all the people taking time to offer advice and let me know what they notice care about me and my performance: I should be grateful for that. I AM grateful for that. I just don't always express it very well.

My perfectionist tendencies don't stop when I leave the gym. I carry them with me to work. I must be doing okay there, no one has said any different. I still worry, especially if the time it is taking to get the food out is mentioned. Sometimes it is out of my control: I do my best, I go as fast as I can, but there are times my fastest isn't fast enough. Besides, I'm not willing to put a messy sandwich out. I don't care who that sandwich is for: it will be the best one I can make every time. I have had people tell me "This is for the owner: make it good". I've set a few of them straight: I make it good every time, not just when the owner is taking it. I would assume that's what he expects, if not I'm still not changing the way I do things.

Another downside to my particular form of perfectionism is that I don't let things go. I've read that once you've learned the lesson and taken what you can from it you're supposed to let it go. You mean I'm not supposed to carry everything around? I shouldn't be hoarding the hurts and disappointments like a squirrel sorting nuts for the winter?

My shoulders are fairly broad, I'm pretty strong, but I do get bogged down by the baggage. Some lessons may take longer to process, integrate and let go, but I need to do that. The baggage is heavy and it's hard to look forward to the new when you're bogged down in the old. I can't keep looking back, I'm not going in that direction.

It occurs to me that life would be easier if I didn't approach new situations and people with fight or flight firmly in mind. I don't know that I'll ever be enthusiastic about change or warm and bubbly with new people, I'm not even sure I'm warm and bubbly with people I know well. In 2018 I am going to strive not to approach new experiences and people with every exit mapped out in my mind. I might even see how it feels to go into a meet with some confidence in myself.

I have goals for 2018, and it's probably no surprise that many are powerlifting goals.

1. Achieve a three lift total of 1000 pounds (currently my three lift total is 994 pounds).

2. Compete in the USAPL NH State Championships in April.

3. Have a total that will qualify me to compete in the USAPL Raw Nationals in November 2018.

4. Continue to lose fat and gain muscle.

5. Figure out what I want to do with my life when I grow up and pursue that as hard as I've pursued powerlifting.

Thanks for taking time out of your life to read my ramblings. I will continue this blog, it's a way to document my journey and my passion.

2018 will be another memorable year.  I have no idea what will happen, but I will be doing my best to approach the experiences with an open mind and an open heart. Don't expect me to be a completely different person. I am as I will always be, a work in progress.

Thanks for reading!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Lessons

I will not be sorry on Monday, January 1 to know 2017 is over. I have no idea what 2018 will hold, but I am well and truly done with 2017.

2017 was year of big lessons. Some I brought on myself, some brought about by other people.

The biggest lesson I brought on myself. I learned that when I am overwhelmed, out of my depth and frankly outclassed I need to pay attention. Never again will I bury what I feel and hope if I try hard enough things will be okay. Trying hard is important, it can work, but not always and definitely not when every fiber of your being is screaming at you to get out of a situation. I've learned to listen to my "gut" no matter how foolish it might feel.

I've learned that not everything that looks good on the surface is good. I changed jobs this year and I can tell you that as crazy as my new job can make me I feel for the most part that I am valued and appreciated. Not every second of every shift, that wouldn't be real life. I'd like to say that I felt the same about my previous job, but I didn't. I'm not looking to lay blame or anything like that. My feelings are my own and they might not have been accurate, merely my perception coupled with my experiences. I just know that at the present I feel like I can make a positive difference.

Another lesson from 2017 is that my circle is small, but it is strong. Some people I thought were a part of my circle turned out not to be. They had their own path and journey to follow and I wasn't a part of that. As I've stated in other posts I am not angry about that.

I have a small group of people who support me one hundred percent. I am more blessed than I deserve. I can call on any one of those amazing people and they will be there for me. I support them too, maybe not as much as they deserve, but I support them.  There is room in the circle for other people, but I'm wiser and less trusting about who will get a place now. I can and will be friendly, polite and helpful, but the walls will stay up. Not that I've ever been what one would call a social butterfly, but I am even less so now.

2017 taught me that while powerlifting is my passion there is NOTHING about it that is easy. I've now sadly moved out of that phase where PRs happen all the time. I'm in that spot where if I'm lucky I might see a PR once in a training cycle. Oh, let's add to that that when you ask for the "next level" of competing you need to be ready for it. I barely made it through my first meet in 2017 with USAPL. I failed my first two squats, I struggled to get my head in the game and I failed every last deadlift. I walked out of that meet struggling to put it in some sort of perspective. I felt I had let everyone there to support me down and the absolute worst was feeling I'd let my coach down, that I had disappointed him.

I went on to another meet 7 weeks later and took home the gold. I still struggled with my deadlifts, but the squats were spot on perfect, at least in the eyes of the judges that day.

I had read in a forum that I am a part of that it is very common to make different levels of progress on the lifts at different times. 2017 seems to be the year where my squat is improving. My bench press is coming along and my deadlift now feels like my weakest lift. I am working on lock out, on bracing my core with and without a weight belt and I feel confident that all this work will improve my performance at my next competition. We'll see in April  2018 when I go back to NH and face down the same platform I was quite sure would be my undoing in 2017.

2017 has been a year of mountain tops and deep valleys. Times I feel as if I have it under control and times I am pretty sure I don't have what it takes to crawl forward one more step.

That's been the biggest lesson of 2017 I suppose: never underestimate your ability to survive.

Before I let you get back to your life I'd like to share one of my Christmas gifts with you. I might be struggling with my deadlifts at the moment, but I also need to keep in my mind that what I consider a pitiful pull might still be regarded as impressive.

Love, love, love this. 
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Lion

I have new favorite song. Not a song for setting personal records (PRs) when I lift. One to remind me that it will all be okay in the end. That despite how I feel I have what it takes to overcome whatever obstacles are in my path. "Lions" by Skillet. I'll let you choose whether or not you'd like to look for it and listen to it. I found it on YouTube when I was watching the video for my PR song "Monster". It's not as loud, there isn't a driving bass beat. It's the words that caught my attention. Especially the last few lines of the chorus: "If we're going to stand, we stand as giants. If we're going to walk we walk like lions".

I've listened to this song a lot in the last week or so. I don't exactly feel like a lion or a giant...

Again life threw change at me. One I was not ready for in the least. I never wanted this change. I am still ridiculous enough to hope maybe it was all a bad dream...that I'll wake up and it won't be true. Though as each day passes I have to admit it was real, it happened and nothing I do will change it.

I also realize that this change didn't just impact me. It impacted a great many people. I'm not special or unique in all this. I've shed many tears and I'm sure I'll shed more before I have processed it and decided how it fits into this journey. I will do that you know, I will figure this out and I will be stronger and better for it.  After all: this is MY journey. This is about ME. I can't control what happens, I can only control my reaction.

Yes, I'm being cryptic again. But I don't feel the need to make it all public. A lesson I learned well this year: not everything in the journey needs to be public. Sometimes what I'm talking about involves other people who deserve their privacy. Sometimes the lessons learned are for me to ponder and there is no need to make them public, it's just not my place. Other people will do what they will: that's none of my business. My job is to keep moving forward.

I'm not a giant: I'm not even sure I would know how to stand like a giant. I suppose it would mean chin up, eyes straight ahead, shoulders back. No anger and no fear. Just knowing that you have everything you need to be successful within yourself.

I'm no lion either. I can roar, snarl and look fierce when I set my mind to it. I am not a lion though. I see lions as confident animals. They don't wonder and obsess over whether they can do what they need to do and get their job done. I get the job done, most of the time, unless I can't get out of my head. That happens more often than I like. I can talk myself out of being able to do things I've done a million times before. I know it's silly, but it happens.

2017 has been a year of changes. This was just another one. Change is a part of life. Whether I accept it calmly or face it by bursting into tears change is going to come.

I'm not a giant.

I'm not a lion.

I'm just me: super self-critical, distrustful, sensitive (many times over sensitive), scared to fail, worried I'll let everyone down, trying to be an athlete, wishing to be a good powerlifter, and a big old bundle of crazy.

Now that I've dumped this batch of crazy I'll let you get back to your life.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Where Have You Been??

Two weeks with no new post...why not?

I could tell you I was busy. I could tell you I didn't have anything to say.

Or I could just be honest and tell you I was too damn lazy to make an attempt to organize the craziness inside my head into some semblance of order.

Yeah, let's just go with honesty, it's easier that way.

It seems Fall has finally arrived. I love Fall for the most part, the leaves change colors, the weather is cooler. Also for the sake of being honest the increasing number of gray cloudy days are perfect for napping. I love naps...I can't believe I hated them so much as a little kid. The only thing I don't really like about Fall is knowing winter is coming. Yes I live in northern Vermont by choice, but truly cold weather does not excite me. 20 is okay, I don't even whine too much about 10, but when we start creeping into the single digits and below zero I am tempted to hibernate.

I didn't always feel this way. At my heaviest the cold didn't bother me. I was well insulated. Let's be honest, at about 188 I am still pretty well insulated, but I sure notice the cold more now than I used to.

I love Christmas, so until the holiday season is over I'm usually good with winter. After the new year I'm done with it.

All right, I'm done whining about the seasons, nothing I can change there. So let's move on to the purpose of this blog: my fitness journey.

I don't think it's just me, maybe it is, but ever since the USAPL Northeast Regional Championships it feels like everything is an uphill climb. I'd ask Coach D, but since he is always honest with me and I'm not sure I want to know the truth I'll just live happily in denial. Who am I kidding? I won't ask because I know it's been rough and I don't need someone else telling me that.

I'm struggling mentally and physically. I try not to complain, I don't want my friends getting sick of me. I paste on the smile, pull up my big girl pants, square my shoulders and get it done as best I can. "Fake it 'til you make it" is kind of my new motto at the moment.

I know why it's hard right now. Coach D knows too, because (LUCKY HIM), I told him. He claims when he signed on to train me he knew what he was signing on for. I'm not sure he knew the full story before I spilled my guts, but now he does. He hasn't told me he's passing my training back to Coach T, so I'm hoping he still thinks I'm worth the effort he's putting in.

Physically I think I'm just tired. From April to August I competed in 3 powerlifting meets. Prior to that I had done one in November 2015, one in April 2016 and one in November 2016. Plenty of time in between to rest, recover, plan and train. Between my three meets in 2017 there was time to train and rest, but probably not as much time as my 47 year old body wanted. Plus add in that Coach D and I have been hammering nutrition and I'm down many pounds since the start of 2017. I am having to build my strength back up right now and that feels odd. A little scary too since I'm being honest.

I am strong, that's part of who I am. When a 405 pound deadlift feels hard anxiety and fear start crawling up my spine. Coach D told me it would happen, but I was hoping maybe I could be an exception to the rule. At least now I can say I see the strength building again and the anxiety is backing off just a little.

My training schedule has changed a little too. Due to my work schedule Monday morning Pride Fit classes weren't fitting in any longer. Fortunately Coach D added in a Monday Muscle Hour class in the early evening so I go to that. Tuesdays I added in a 5:30 am spinning class, because I need cardio in my life and when I tried spinning I didn't hate it (I actually kind of liked it, but shhh...we'll keep that our secret). Another thing missing from my training and something I sorely missed was more training with Coach T. I do have Yoga Corr with him, but I wanted another class too. Wednesday evenings he does a mobility/stability/core class: I asked Coach D if I could add that and got the okay. So now I have two classes per week with Coach T (insert HUGE smiley face). Last week I also joined in the Wednesday Muscle Hour again. It was good to be back.

So what is my fitness schedule looking like now? Let's be honest: the gym is my second home and I have been pretty fierce about protecting my time there from any and all interference (just ask my managers: I'm flexible in a lot of ways, but not about my availability).

Monday: Muscle Hour ~Coach D
Tuesday: Spinning ~Tara
               Personal Training ~Coach D
               Yoga Corr ~Coach T
Wednesday:  Mobility ~Coach T
                     Muscle Hour ~Coach D
Thursday: Buddy Training ~Coach D
Friday: Flex Friday ~Coach D

Yeah, I'm looking at that and thinking Coach D spends a WHOLE lot of time with me in a week. Poor guy, at least I try to be a good client and I provide the occasional bribe. The part of the schedule that makes me smile: two classes with Coach T. Sometimes he joins us for Flex Friday and Muscle Hour classes too: working out with him is as much fun as training with him. Heck, let's just gush and say I love everyone I get to train with. NO, I am not asking them how they feel about training me: that whole honesty thing and all.

I know the struggle I am feeling currently will end. There will eventually be another meet to train for and I will get the mental stuff squared away again (or at least stuffed back in the dark corner of my mind where I can ignore it).

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Who Are You Talking About?

Magnificent? Inspiring? Strong? Athlete?

Nice words, I like them. I use them in reference to other people. Sometimes they get used to describe me. There's where my confusion comes in. I can own strong, I like to think of myself as strong. Even when I'm working on overhead presses with kettlebells and wonder if dropping one on my head will stop that form of torture I recognize I'm strong.

You already know I don't see how I'm inspiring. I just don't and I'm not asking anyone to try to explain it to me again. I am pretty sure that I'll never see how I inspire others and that's really okay. I'm just trying to do me and working on figuring out just who "me" is.

If I have difficulty with inspiring you can imagine how "magnificent" makes me feel. Just in case you wondered it makes me feel uncomfortable, very, very uncomfortable. I know I don't see myself as other people do. I see the faults, every one of them, in glaring detail. For the sake of honesty I probably manufacture some faults and see true faults as much bigger than they really are. I'm my own worst critic that's never going to change. There are times I am proud of myself, but underlying that pride is thinking about how I could have been better. There's nothing wrong with striving to be better and working to be better, but even I know that sometimes it is okay to just feel proud.

Athlete, there's the word I struggle with the most. I've even looked up the definition and here's how Merriam-Webster defines athlete: a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports or games requiring physical strength, agility or stamina. Okay, so that seems to fit me: powerlifting is definitely a sport, I consider my fellow powerlifters to be athletes. I still have a hard time referring to myself as an athlete.

I don't see myself as an athlete because for so many years I was not much more than an accomplished couch potato. I was a fat kid who grew into a fat adult. I could and would devour huge quantities of junk food without thought and without tasting most of it. I regarded exercise as a form of punishment.

I was almost 42 years old when I discovered fitness. I'm 5 years older, possibly a little wiser and I can't imagine my life anymore without the gym. I consider the Pride Fitness Performance Center my second home, though in reality I may spend more hours there than I do in my own home. My coach commented recently that he sees me more in a week than he sees Coach T. He's not wrong, I know I see him more than I see my mother. I'm not complaining and I don't think he was either, it's just the way it is. I asked to go to the next level and Coach D thought I had the potential so he signed on. He claims he knew he was signing on for the big ball of crazy that I am, but I'm not so sure. Poor guy he's tough, strong and exceedingly patient with me. I am still amazed at times that a man 20 years younger than me can be so much wiser.

Last night I went to dinner with a group of friends. Hailey, the extraordinary organizer, said it was to celebrate my last meet. That made me uncomfortable, so I thought of it as celebrating the wonderful people who give their time to sit around for hours waiting to watch me lift heavy stuff. I've talked with Nikki about it and she said she truly enjoys it. I think everyone who comes feels the same and I am beyond thankful. There is nothing more comforting than stepping onto that platform knowing my friends are close by, hearing their comments and then going inward to find that place the beast rests and spur her to action. I'm not always successful, but I always try and I know I try harder because I want them to be proud, I want them to feel like their time is well-spent.

I've come to another realization recently: I don't just powerlift for me. That wouldn't be enough to keep me training and perfecting my technique and form. I'd like to tell you that I would push through those times when nothing goes right and it feels like I've forgotten how to do everything, but I might as well be honest. If I were doing this just for myself then I wouldn't do it. As much as I love my coach and my friends I don't just do it for them either.

So who do I do this for? I do it for other couch potatoes. I do it for those who don't think they have any worth. I do it for people who feel so battered and scarred by life that it they think it would be better to just quit. I do it for everyone who is self-conscious about their body and themselves in general. I may not see how or why I am inspiring, but I figure if some people see me that way I should capitalize on that. I should use what I have to make the world a better place if I can. I fail spectacularly at that at times, but it doesn't mean I'm not trying. I'm not perfect, I'm never going to be perfect, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to try.

Of course I recognize that powerlifting may not be at the forefront of everyone's life the way it is in mine. I have always heard that you should use what gifts you've been given and I was given this body that seems suited to squatting, deadlifting and bench pressing so I'm going to use it. Maybe I won't reach anyone, maybe no one really cares. That's okay too. I'm not doing it for attention or applause: those things are nice, I'm not complaining, but they are uncomfortable. If just one person sees that despite feeling all lumpy and awkward in my singlet I'm still doing what I love and it makes them feel better about themselves that's a wonderful thing.

Before I go a picture of most of the fabulous people who support me and encourage me to be better.

Bottom l-to-r: Carole, Jamie, Keri, Nikki. Top l-to-r: Gregg, Barry, me, Hailey, Lyndsay, Lindsay. Not in the picture and missed: Jen, Sylvie, Eric, Pat and Dane



Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ummm....

I am so naive. At my heaviest I weighed 309 pounds, as of this morning at 3:15 am (yes, I was up at this completely obscene time of the day, not entirely by choice, but I was up) I weigh 192. Still too heavy, still fat if you want to just be blunt about it, but there is undeniably less of me then there used to be.

I really, truly believed losing the weight would make me happier, that all my problems and lack of confidence would be gone. What I'm discovering day by day, to my great disgust, is that the only thing I've lost is 117 pounds. I'm the same person inside, even if I take up less space. The insecurities, the need to please those around me and my inability to believe I am enough are still there. I was really kind of hoping that when I entered "onederland" I would be changed. The only thing that changed was the number on the scale. I still step on the scale, see that number and have to check a couple more times to really believe it. I even weigh myself at my happy place on the scale I was sure was out to get me, sometimes it tells me I weigh less than my scale at home does, sometimes it tells me I'm a couple of tenths of a pound more, but for the most part it confirms what the scale at home tells me.

I shouldn't be surprised. I've read enough articles to know losing weight doesn't change anything about your personality or quirks. I'm the same ball of insecurities I have always been.

Take today as an example. I was at work, doing what I do and someone told me it was nice to see new people gaining confidence and that I was doing really well. Nice compliment and all, but I didn't buy a word of it. I see the mistakes and today there were plenty of them. I see the times I fall short of a target. I see the looks on the faces of some of the higher ups at times. I could be reading way more into those things than I should, but I can't help it.

Then there was training with Coach D. More conditioning work today. I asked for this...I really did. I told Coach D I wanted a new body in 2017. I need to think my comments through more carefully. Today there was a 3000 meter row. The distance sounded bad enough, then he told me the rest of it: 500 meters at a fast pace, 500 meters at a slower pace until I got to 3000. I whined, I dragged my feet, I got out my headphones, got on the rower and got to work. As any of you who have been reading my blog for awhile know, the rower is also dubbed "the gold star machine" by the Pride coaches. With 3000 meters ahead of me I truly wondered when, not if, I would vomit. I am proud to report it didn't happen. No gold stars today.

After my row, we went into The Asylum and I got to work on overhead presses for 10 reps and at the end of my tenth rep I had to hold the barbell overhead for 30 seconds. The first round was hard, rounds 2 and 3 were harder. Then there were rounds 4 and 5: I dropped the bar. When I did it in Round 4 I also felt the tears well. The nasty voice started taunting instantly that's right...make the failure worse by crying. Coach D will love that. The beast responded to the taunt by urging me to pick the bar back up, get it over my head and finish the round. I did it, it hurt, the back of my right arm was on fire, but I got the 65 pound barbell back over my head and I finished my 30 seconds. Round 5 looked a lot the same, though I wasn't sure I'd be able to get the bar over my head and it was my left hand tingling. I was never happier than when Coach D told me time was up.

The finisher for training tonight was five rounds of 10 calories on the bike followed by pushing the prowler down the turf and back. I was hoping it would be the prowler on valslides, the one that moves so much easier. Nope, should have known better, Coach D wanted me pushing the other one. The one I asked if he'd put velcro on the bottom of last week. The one that made me cry in frustration last week. Tonight wasn't much easier, but I did it. In case you wondered my best time for getting to 10 calories on the bike was 56 seconds, my worst was 1:13.

I finished my workout before Pride closed for the evening. I got a fist bump and a "good work tonight" from my coach and what did I focus on? I focused on dropping the barbell and each successive round of my finisher taking longer to get to 10 calories on the bike. You know the nasty little voice had to get her two cents in. I replayed my last 3 meets, my first three with USAPL and how I screwed up my squats, bench presses and deadlifts. I screwed up deadlifts,my favorite lift, the one I thought I was best at. By the time I got home I was feeling anxious and underwhelmed with my performance.

I know I need to work on the mental stuff. I need to erase the negative loop and evict the nasty voice taking up space in my head. I'm betting if I can get the mental under control my performance on the platform will improve too. Instead of wondering how and when I will screw up I will be able to focus on nailing my lift. I will take compliments at work. I will take correction without assuming it means I am just plain awful.  I will enjoy my training and take my fist bumps and "good work" at face value. I won't always be waiting for the other shoe to drop with my shoulders hunched up around my ears.

Nope, losing weight hasn't changed me inside. That work is going to be much harder.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Experts?

Being quiet and shy has definite advantages. You can overhear the most interesting conversations (insert eye roll).

Take today for instance. I was able to hear start to finish a conversation that nearly made me laugh out loud. It was between two co-workers. Not sure how exactly they got on the topic of strength, but they did. First one of them talked about bodybuilding, a subject I would wager he knows very little about. That might not be fair, I am sure he knows plenty about bodybuilding, at least from what he's read, but I feel confident saying he knows nothing about bodybuilding from a training standpoint. It might be a  mean thing to say, but I never claimed to be nice.

Then powerlifting came up. the other person in the conversation said he'd heard ALL powerlifters used steroids and other drugs to enhance their performance. Cue the beast to start snarling inside my head. There was a part of me that badly wanted to jump into the conversation with both feet and set these two "experts" straight. I chose silence, see I AM getting wiser.

I am so glad I decided to be quiet, I learned that powerlifting is really easy anyone can do it. The beast was snarling pretty loudly at that point and the sarcastic voice in my head decided to lay off me for a bit and focus on the "experts" I was listening to. I admit the thought of either of those gentlemen facing a barbell loaded with 135 pounds made me want to laugh.

Let's be clear: I LOVE powerlifting. It is my passion. Something I am working very hard to get better at. Powerlifting is many things, I don't think easy is one of them. The majority of my training revolves around the three lifts with the remaining training working on conditioning, mobility, and flexibility. I enjoy training or I wouldn't do it, but I wouldn't say I find it easy. There is nothing easy or particularly fun about 2500 meters on the rower for a warm up or 8 laps of sled pushes at the end of a workout. In fact, there are moments in the midst of those things that I wonder exactly what the hell is wrong with me that I pay for this kind of abuse. Oh right, I said I wanted to go to the next level with my powerlifting. Not only am I not too bright, I might have masochistic tendencies.

Back to the conversation I eavesdropped on. I could have spoken up and said I was a competitive powerlifter with a 991.1 pound total and I have never take steroids. I chose not to. Life is too short to try to educate people who are already convinced that they are right. Besides, they weren't really hurting anyone. I'm not naive, I know there are drugs in the sport I love, that some people think it's fine. I don't judge and that is not the path I have chosen. It's empowering to discover how strong my body is, how much stamina it has when I am pushed and dig deep.

I know the truth. I love powerlifting, it has opened my eyes to a whole new world and shown me just how strong I really am. I love it and I will pursue it to see how far I can go, but nothing about it is easy. It is hard work and there are times during training when the only thing dragging one more rep out of me is that I will NOT let my coach down. I want a fist bump from him at the end and I want him to tell me good work. Yep, I still need the extrinsic praise to get the work done sometimes. No shame in that as far as I am concerned.

This guy can get me to front squat with minimal whining.



Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Confidence and Cool Kids

Just once, just one time I would like to see what other people see when they look at me. When they watch me pick heavy stuff up and put it down I'd like to know what they are seeing. I can guess what judges are seeing: someone who doesn't lock out fully in her deadlifts. I'm more curious about what my coach sees and what my friends, the cool kids as I think of them, see.

I could just ask, but that smacks of sounding super needy and I try so hard not to be needy I just can't ask. I watch the videos and I see a chunky fat woman trying hard. It might really be easier on my self esteem and my self-confidence if I would bite the bullet and ask. Pretty sure my coach would be willing to sit down with me to watch the videos and tell me what he sees that is good and what needs work. I also think my friends would be willing to do the same.

But I don't ask. I put on the mask, the one that makes me look somewhat competent and comfortable. No surprise to anyone I am sure I wear that mask a lot. Even in the place I feel the most comfortable, Pride Fitness Performance, I wear the mask more often than not.

You would think after 5 years, losing 100+ pounds, completing three Tough Mudders, entering three Pride Games, and competing in six powerlifting meets I would have developed some confidence in myself and my abilities. I still feel like a fraud. A complete fraud. There are times I walk into the gym and wait with my shoulders hunched up around my ears for one of the coaches to ask me what I am doing there and why I don't just stay home and stop wasting their time. In class when I make a mistake on a move I find myself looking around, praying the coach isn't seeing what I'm doing.

Let me assure you there is NO reason for me to feel so insecure and worried neither coach has ever been anything but gentle and kind when correcting me. For anyone at Pride who has ever felt intimidated by me: DON'T. If you could see what's going on inside my head you'd probably laugh and shake your head. I'm a hot mess 99.9% of the time. Even when I do what I love best, especially when I deadlift, I feel outclassed and unqualified.

My friends seem genuinely happy to see me so I should feel confident with them, right? Yeah, not so much. I see them as the cool kids, the group I have always wanted to be a part of. When I announce the next meet I am entering I am still surprised when my friends get excited and start making plans. If one of them can't come and expresses sadness about that I feel bewildered.  Huh? You wish you could change your plans to come watch me pick heavy stuff up and put it down? Really? Why?

I love my friends. When I don't believe I can do something I lean on them and trust them. My friend Nikki has been at every single one of my meets and she gets so excited and pumped up for me. All my friends do that, but since Nikki and I live in the same town we often make the first leg of the trip to meets together. Her excitement is infectious and I owe her a huge thanks and an even bigger hug for always doing her best to pump me up. All my friends do that. They know I am nervous and worried and they do their best to pump me up and keep me from getting stuck inside my head. It's a tough job and they all deserve medals for their herculean efforts.

A little while ago I saw a post from someone I know and admire who insists that working on beliefs, self love and confidence are even more important than working on the outside. Thank you for those thoughtful words Lynn Tanguay. My shell might look better, but inside is still a mess.

I think I must  bewilder one of my coaches with my complete lack of confidence and faith in myself. I am constantly asking him if I really have what it takes to go further in the sport I love. He's patient with me and assures me he wouldn't tell me to do it if he didn't think I could. I'm not sure I understand how I can feel proud of myself for something I accomplish and still not think I'm capable. Somehow I forget the four months of training, the hours of squatting, pressing and pulling. The thumb I smashed in the squat rack, the bruises on my shins and thighs from pulling that bar as close to my body as I can. I seem to believe it is nothing but a miracle I accomplish what I do, it's not hard work and grinding away when everything feels hard.

There is evidence I am capable and yet the doubts persist. Maybe the first work I need to do inside is to clean out the muck in my head. The mean voice that cuts me down, the garbage from the past: none of it is helping me become the person I want to be. I read a quote recently, in fact I seem to encounter it about once a week: Stop looking back, you aren't going that way. Hmmm, do you suppose there might be a lesson in there somewhere?? Maybe...

Not everything in my head needs to go: the beast is there too and she needs room to stretch out and roar. If I can clear out the other garbage the beast can get bigger and stronger. If I let the beast loose I can focus on my goals.

Do you know my goals? The first and second I've shared before. The final one I've kept to myself, it just seems so far outside the realm of possibility.
1. I want to compete and place in a national USAPL meet.
2. I want to do well enough at a USAPL meet to be invited to compete in the Arnold Sports Festival in the raw powerlifting meet.
3. I also want to do well enough to be invited to be part of a USAPL national team and compete internationally.

I don't think I can accomplish any of those things if I don't clear out my head. I will need every ounce of persistence, dedication, commitment, hard work and confidence to work to that level. The third goal scares me the most, as it should. At this moment the nasty voice in my head is reminding me I am 47 and I don't have unlimited time to achieve these goals. True enough, but in reality none of us has unlimited time and I won't let that stop me. At the meet on Saturday there was a wonderful woman in her sixties who was competing: she was so kind and sweet and so enthusiastic about powerlifting: I want that when I am in my sixties.

I'm coming to the end of my recovery time and I am ready to get back to it. I have a bench press technique to perfect, a deadlift lockout to nail and a 1000 pound total to achieve. I want to hear "simple", "easy" "Good work" "YEAH!" and every other phrase my coaches use to express their approval. I want to earn fist bumps and hugs and not wonder if I really truly deserve them. I want to get ready for time with my friends and not feel like the geeky outsider hanging with the cool kids. I want to feel like one of the cool kids. I want the beast to have room to roar more often. I want to walk into Pride knowing from the moment I step in the door I am where I belong.

Time to find the confidence and focus to make my dreams come true. My coaches and my friends can want it for me, they can even give me tools to reach my goals. The work, commitment, dedication and drive to get there have to come from me. No one can do it for me.


Me with the "cool kids" and my amazing coach.


Thanks for reading!



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Three

Once upon a time there was a little girl. She felt her purpose in life was to make other people happy. She also felt like she was pretty much a failure at that. Why was she so sure she was a failure? Because the one man in the world she should have been able to make happy just wasn't. She was a smart girl and she knew deep down the man's unhappiness was not her fault, but he was her father and she wanted to make him proud and happy. There were times, brief moments, when she earned the right grades or did the "right" things, but mostly she felt like a disappointment.

Fast forward about 40 years and the girl is no longer so little. She's encountered some obstacles and bumps on her path, some inflicted by others, but a fair number self made. From the obstacles she encountered she decided there were very few people she could trust. She still desired to make other people happy, but she didn't want many of them too close. Especially men.

All right, enough story time for today. No sense talking about myself in the third person. You all know I'm talking about me...let's cut to the chase.

Amazing what one trip far outside your comfort zone can make you think about. I could be tearing apart my lifts from the meet. I could be endlessly reviewing the videos, watching to see the flaws, planning how to fix them. Don't worry, there's plenty of that going on too, but mostly I've been thinking about other things. I've been thinking about being proud of myself and how odd it feels. I know it is okay to feel proud of what I accomplished, but I'd be a liar if I said that was enough for me. I want to know I didn't let down other people in my life.

I am sure there's another post coming soon about another close group in my life, but this post is about three very specific people. One my age, though he loves to remind me that I hit 47 before him and two others much younger than me, but so much wiser. They're all men.

There was a time not so long ago that I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of men I trusted and still have a lot of fingers left to count with. I can't keep track of the number of men I trust using my hands anymore, but the three on my mind are the top. They are the ones I will choose to talk to nine times out of ten when I have an issue I want advice on or I need a shoulder or even when I just need something simple like an "atta girl" or a hug.

I've thanked them before in other posts, but they're in for it again. And they should be warned: I'm feeling sappy, so I might embarrass them. I don't intend to do so, but I believe quite strongly that when someone does something for you that you appreciate that you tell them.

So here goes...sorry guys, but you've earned it.


Eric Hastings:

I've known you since elementary school. We lost touch for awhile, but thanks to your super amazing wife we reconnected. You are my rock. When I need a shoulder I can count on you to offer yours. You are one of my biggest cheerleaders. Case in point: you spent last weekend with a complete nervous wreck (big surprise: it's me) watching me pick heavy things up and put them down. You even did the driving. You are protective of me and you make me feel like I'm someone special.

You are one of my very best friends and one of the people I go to for advice when I am unsure about something.

You can come off as pretty gruff, but you've never been anything but considerate and kind to me. You encourage me to be myself and be the best I can be. You support me when it would probably be easier to walk away.

Mr. Invincible, you are one of the greatest men I know. I am beyond blessed to have you to share the good and bad times with. Love you.

One of the best men I know.



Dane Martin:

What can I say about you coach? You nudged me into powerlifting and ever since I agreed to give it a try you've been there. Whether in person or through text I've felt like I've had your undivided attention at each of my six meets. If I sat down and figured out the amount of time I spend with you in a week it would be more than I spend with anyone else. That's fine with me though: I feel like we make an amazing team. I can't wait to see where we can go.

I will say that even though it took me several minutes to process that I was seeing you on Saturday at the meet when I finally made the connection I felt calm. For the first time since I entered the meet I knew it was going to be okay. Whatever the outcome it would be okay.

I asked you when I was finished if I made you proud, that wasn't just because I wanted praise. It was because it honestly and truly mattered to me. You have given so much of your time to work with me I wanted you to feel you got a good return on that investment. You gave up a lot of your Saturday to come to the meet to coach me and watch me. I'm sure you've got a list of things we will be working on before I step onto the platform again, but on Saturday you made me feel like I was enough, like I was worthy of the time you spent and you were truly proud of what I accomplished.

There really aren't enough words coach. Thank you will have to suffice.



Thanks for being there.




Tyler Tinker:

Last, but by no means least. Simply put you are amazing. Those aren't just words either: you made me promise to be honest with you, so I will be honest. You are one of my heroes. You are one of the first people I contact after a meet to share my results. Sometimes, as you well know, I contact you before for a little reassurance, or a pep talk...even if I don't come out and ask for those things. You have never brushed me off or made me feel like I'm wasting your time. If you notice I'm upset you might not say anything in that moment, but you do check in with me later on.

You let me keep my hardware at Pride. When I ask you give up some of your precious free time to work with me on mobility so I can be at my best. You give hugs, fist bumps and praise when it is warranted. You also correct me when it is needed and call me on it if I am half-assing something.You asked me for honesty and promised me you would be honest with me in return. You made a change I didn't think I wanted feel much less intimidating. Turns out that change was the best thing that could have happened. With your coaching, support and encouragement I have made more progress than I would have thought possible.

I may not come right out and ask you if I make you proud, but trust me, I certainly hope I have. My life is far better for having you in it. Thank you.


One of my heroes.


These men are my top three. The ones I consistently turn to for advice, help and support. They are not the only ones, but for whatever reason these three have been on my mind the most. Hopefully now that I poured the crazies out onto this page I won't be spending so much time staring at the ceiling tonight.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 21, 2017

I LOVE This Sport


On Saturday I competed in my sixth powerlifting meet. The USA Powerlifting Northeast Regional Championships in Marlborough, MA. What a weekend.

The weekend started with a road trip with two good friends. Eric and Nikki joined me as support/cheerleaders/voices of reason. I opted to ride in the back seat of Eric's truck so he would have someone to talk to while I dozed. They chatted and the times I surfaced from sleep it sounded like they were having a good time. I admire Nikki's ability to talk to people. She makes it seem so effortless and easy. I can talk to people, I do talk to people, but I am much better at writing. If I can put the words down on paper or in a word processing document I can edit out the typos and delete the things that sound ridiculous. Ah well, we all have our strengths and conversation is not one of mine.

We made a stop at Dick's Sporting Goods in Concord, NH so I could buy knee sleeves. I got some Rehband Blue Line sleeves. I LOVE them, they were easy to get on and offered good support. Not as much as my STrong knee sleeves, but those weren't on the IPF approved list so I wasn't going to be able to wear them at the meet. Just in case you decide you would like a set of rehband knee sleeves they are sold singly, so you will need to buy two. A fact I discovered, luckily before we pulled out of the parking lot.

The hotel was nice and the meet was right in the hotel. At first I thought that would make the nerves worse, but given my ability to work myself up over nothing it didn't really matter.

I dozed Friday night, spent some time staring at the ceiling and thanks to my water consumption spent a good deal of time navigating a dark room to the bathroom and back to the bed, hoping I wasn't waking Eric or Nikki.

Weigh in was nice: I met a friend there. She was a judge at my first meets with Vermont Powerlifting and I was so glad to see her again. We warmed up together at the meet in St. Albans and having someone I knew there, someone else who thought I belonged right where I was helped settle my nerves. I stepped on the scale, gave my opening attempts as well as my rack heights for squat and bench and changed into my singlet.

Ah, the singlet...my very least favorite apparel ever. I read once that the powers that be in powerlifting must have sat around discussing what outfit they could choose that would be the least flattering for the maximum number of people. The singlet does that job nicely. I'm not sure how a piece of clothing can ride up and slip down all at the same time, but that's the magic of singlets. Then there is its ability to show every lump, bump, bulge and roll. I love powerlifting, so I've forced myself to adjust, but I still want to pull on my Pride sweatshirt and hide in that every chance I get.

The warm up room was its usual chaos when I went in, but I found a rack and warmed up for the squats. I would like to add that I warmed up WAY too early. Dane had warned me about that, but did I listen. Apparently no I did not. I was warmed up and raring to go about 45 minutes before I had anything to do. Live and learn. So I wandered around and almost walked right past Dane and Jen who were standing right outside the warm up room. Yeah, I'm still the super observant one. Anxious as can be and still almost walked right past my coach. Nice, huh? Neither he nor Jen seemed offended at least and I got more hugs.

On to the meet...or I'll ramble on for days.

Squats were first. The beast was already awake and she was eager to play. She was a little too eager as it turns out: I didn't quite get to full lockout on my first squat. At least I got the proper depth...the lockout problem will be much easier to fix. My second squat was a good lift: YES. Squat 3 was kind of a mess from the start.

I am usually a stickler for being sure the bar is centered (or as close as I can get it) in the rack. I didn't even check that this time and I should have...the bar was in no way centered. I backed out of the rack with it wobbling and got it stable enough to squat, but I shuffled my feet. As soon as I did I knew I'd blown it. I completed the squat and other than that shuffle it was a good squat, but it still didn't count. I am still proud of my squats: 297 pounds is awesome.

On to bench press. I got my first two presses: 165 and 181 felt good. Coach D suggested trying for a new bench PR: 214 pounds. I tried, but still didn't get it. That's okay though: I will have 214 pounds sooner rather than later.

Then it was time for the lift I love most: deadlift. My favorite lift and also the one I have had the most trouble with lately. I am getting better at a complete lockout, but still not perfect. As was in full evidence on Saturday. I got my first deadlift: 369 pounds. Two and three came off the floor very smoothly, but the lockout got me. I'm strong enough to do it, but I need to perfect the lockout.

I didn't set any PRs this weekend. I am proud of what I did though. Not satisfied, but proud. This meet was the biggest one I have ever been a part of. There were two platforms, and many more competitors than I've competed with. I didn't fall apart. I got sick after I ate, but that just seems to be a part of the experience at this point.

I brought home hardware. When I entered the meet I entered the Open division (all ages) and the Masters 1 division (ages 40-49). I took second place in Masters for my weight class and third place in the Open division for my weight class. My total was 848, as I said before no PR's but a total that makes me proud.

It was a wonderful weekend. I missed Hailey, Sylvie, Carole,  Lyndsay, Barry, Pat, Jamie and Gregg, but Eric and Nikki kept me grounded, smiling and laughing. Jackie and Eileen were there as well making me laugh and feel like I belonged. Coach D was his usual calm self and Jen did her best to pump me up. I love these people: I can't thank them enough for giving up their time and their weekend to support my crazy passion. And to Hannah: thank you for talking with me, it made the morning seem so much more normal. You rocked it at this meet and you are so inspiring to me. Also Marianne, who let me borrow her belt: thank you, thank you, thank you.

I've read many times that powerlifting is for the most part a friendly sport and people go out of their way to help each other: I was certainly on the receiving end of that friendliness and helpfulness this weekend and I will endeavor to pay it forward at my next meet and every other chance I get.

Yes, there will definitely be a next meet, and one after that. I love powerlifting. I have found my niche and my purpose. First though there will be a break. Not sure how long a break, but I assure you one that is longer than six weeks. I am tired. I left everything I had to give on the platform Saturday. I don't for one second regret that, but I am actually resting without complaint. I've earned it and I know I need it. Maybe you truly can teach an old dog new tricks. I am sure by Thursday or Friday there will be an itch to get back to Pride, but for the moment I am content to spend time relaxing.





My hardware. Someone pinch me, this doesn't seem real.




Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Fat

"You're beefy, like a weightlifter."

This is a recent comment I received. I believe it was meant as a compliment, the person who said it is a genuinely kind person. It is an odd compliment though. Really odd, like when it was first voiced I had a moment where I felt hurt welling up.

I swallowed it, smiled and explained that I was a powerlifter. Which led into having to explain exactly what a powerlifter was. Which led to talking about my personal records. Then that look, the long slow look up and down that makes me uncomfortably aware that no matter how far I've come on my journey not everyone knows who I used to be. I know at my current weight, I've come a long way...but I'm not done yet. I've heard enough odd compliments to know in most people's eyes I am still fat. Hell, in my own eyes I am still fat.

There's nothing wrong with that, of course. I don't expect everyone to know that I started this journey at 309 pounds. I wouldn't even expect them to care if they did know. I have to do this for myself, if I'm doing it for my amazing circle of friends, my family or anyone else it just won't work. They can't do it for me: they can celebrate the good times and support me through the difficult times, but they can't make it go any faster.

 How I wish sometimes there was a magic pill or a magic wand I could wave to make all the extra weight and loose skin go away. Then I could wake up in the morning, step on my scale and text my coach that I made the weight class we were hoping for. Sadly, no pills or magic wands are available to shorten this journey. Even if they were I'm not sure I'd want one. I don't know where I'm heading and I don't really want to miss a moment of getting there. I've found so many wonderful people along the path I wouldn't want to shorten the journey and maybe miss meeting other awesome people.

You know what at 203 pounds I still have plenty of extra fat to get rid of, but I have come a long way. I don't have any recent pictures of myself, but I have a video taken by my coach last week so I can study my squats. I also have a picture of before...one that makes me cringe each time I see it, but I keep posting it. Someday maybe I'll even be able to report that I don't see that before woman in the mirror any longer.

When I first saw the video I knew it was me, but you can't really see my face. Without seeing my face I could look at the body. Honestly I didn't think I was looking at myself.

Before: 309#



I might not be society's "flavor of the month", but I've come a long way and become someone I am kind of proud of. I have plenty of fat left to lose, but I've no doubt with my coaches and my drive to be better I'll do just that.

Thanks for reading!


Monday, July 31, 2017

A Milestone


When this journey started in January 2012 I thought I'd lose 100 pounds quickly and then everything would be perfect. I was pretty delusional, wasn't I?

It's been five years. Five years of hard work, trying to figure out how to eat and what my niche in the world of fitness was. I figured out my niche in 2016 and I finally hit the 100 pounds lost milestone last week.

There was no fanfare. The morning I found out I had hit one hundred pounds lost I was running late for work so I didn't even email my coach to tell him I'd finally done it. In fact it wasn't until I went on my lunch break and saw a message from him that I even remembered that I had something to tell him. Something he would be excited about, not my usual million questions. He was more excited than me as it turns out. I got an all caps response from him when I told him.

I know it is a huge achievement, something to be super proud of. I am proud, but not "scream it from the rooftops" proud. I've told my family and friends, both my coaches know. I am proud, I've worked hard for this, harder than I ever thought I'd have to work.

So what gives? Why am I not screaming this for everyone to hear?

I spend a great deal of time worrying about other people and their happiness. I seem to have decided that as long as I am taking care of others or doing my best to make them happy I'm focusing on what's important. I've explored this theme before so I won't go over it all again.

I do have one new thing to say: I'm about done with playing nice.  If you are feeling bad about yourself and looking to pick a fight look elsewhere. I can't fix you. I wish I could. Scratch that last sentence, I am not interested in fixing anyone. The only person I can even make an attempt at fixing is myself and that's pretty much a full time job. I can listen to you, I can try to help. I will do those two things, but I can't fix you. Just to be clear: I am NOT a punching bag, nor am I a doormat.

 If you want someone you can mold into the person you want them to be, please keep looking. I am my OWN person. I have my own thoughts, feelings, needs and wants. This. Is. My. Life. I am not trying to tell anyone how they should live their life and I expect the same courtesy. If you think you will be able to dictate to me what I will do, when I will do it, and with whom you need to think again. There are times I am focused on what is going on inside my head and how I am feeling. If you choose to take that as a personal insult that is your right, but don't think I am going to offer you an apology for feeling what I feel.

It. Won't. Happen. Period. End of story.

I have as much right to feel what I feel as you do. Let's just be kind and cut each other some slack.

You should know I'm becoming more cautious about who I allow into my life. As they say with age comes wisdom and I am finally learning that not everyone who smiles at me and/or says kind things is a friend. Many are, but not everyone. This should not be taken to mean that I think I am better than everyone else. I actually don't think I'm better than anyone. I think quite the opposite really. I think everyone is better than me. Right now, as a friend suggested, I am trying to do me. I'm trying to be a somewhat decent person and move forward. If you believe that means I think I am better than everyone else then that would be your right. I wish you well and I will send you on your way. Truly, hate is a waste of time and I'm not wasting any more time.

In powerlifting news, because what else do I talk about? I FINALLY have my head in the game. About time too with only 19 days left until I face the platform again.

For several weeks after Coach D and I decided I was doing another meet I was not an enthusiastic client. I did the work, but there was no joy in it. It showed...my deadlifts were garbage. I don't know how Coach D was feeling, I didn't dare ask, but I was wondering if I really had what it took. After a particularly awful training session I took some time to really think it through.

I decided I love lifting. I absolutely love moving heavy weight and it does not matter one bit how many people are watching me: the moment I step on the platform it is me versus the barbell. Coach D and Coach T can't be there beside me helping me pull, squat or press it. They can want it for me, they can (and definitely do) cheer me on, but they can't do it for me.

Coach T can offer to give up time off to lead me through a mobility workout to help me get ready for my meet. Coach D can spend a HUGE amount of his time training me in my three lifts and helping me with nutrition. He can also be at the meet handling me, helping me warm up and pick my attempts. My friends can come to meets and support me, take video, provide snacks and encourage me at every step. The fact is that at the meet no one can do it for me: it is between the barbell and me.

I am so so excited to have lost 100 pounds. The most exciting thing is that my current deadlift PR of 440# is more than 2 times my body weight. Don't worry, I plan to train for a triple body weight deadlift next. I don't believe I should rest on what I've done in the past. I want to push further and see what I can do to be better. I can always be better.

Thanks for reading!