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!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Three Options

Motivate me, support me or get the hell out of my way.

Those are the three option if you want to be a part of my life. I am not a doormat, I am not weak, I am not going to apologize for being myself anymore. I will not spend one more minute of my life feeling bad for being who I am. Not. One. Minute. 

Not to be rude, or a jerk, but this is the reality. I am a people pleaser by nature and knowing people are unhappy with me or don't like me kills me inside. I would rather someone hit me than tell me I've disappointed them. The fact is not everyone is going to like me and really I would rather have people be honest with me than lie to my face. Lying to me used to be fine with me, but Coach Tyler raised my expectations: I expect the people in my life to be honest with me. I will bend over backwards to accommodate and make my friends happy, so asking for honesty doesn't seem like too much to ask. I might be wrong on that point.

Rant over. I'm going to step off my soapbox now. Let's move on and pretend I didn't just lose my mind all over this blog. If you're still here thank you. I'll try to tone down the crazy from here on out. No promises though...but I will TRY.

I am one week out from my next powerlifting competition. My third meet so I should be feeling okay about it. Well what I should feel and what I do feel are two completely different things. I can see Coach Dane's eyes rolling and hear him sigh as I type this. He might even tell me to "Get it together". He might have a point.

Eye rolling and comments aside I am nervous. Excited yes, which is a welcome change, but still nervous. I have the training, but there will still be unknowns to contend with. I could be all warmed up to Bench Press because the meet director said women were going to start bench pressing in about 20 minutes and it winds up being closer to 50 minutes. Things I won't be able to control could happen. You can imagine how much that thrills me. I'll have my coach there, he'll keep me focused to the best of his ability, but he's only one man and I am one formidable bundle of crazy when I get worked up. Fortunately most of the crazy is on the inside and I look mostly normal on the surface. Or according to my friend Jen I look really mean. Let me find some examples and I'll let you be the judge of whether or not I am scary.

A recent pic from the Asylum  at Pride (courtesy of Tyler Tinker). Okay, so I do look scary in this one. I love it. 

My photo from the "Be Your Own Hero" photoshoot. I do look fierce, but I don't think I'm scary.

My first meet. Someone told me I look fierce in this picture. The truth is I'm wondering if I have time to go vomit before I have to step on the platform. The coaches look pretty fierce though, love those guys.

Okay, so I probably do look scary. I am not though. Truly, I am a nice person, but I am intense. At a meet I am focused on what I need to do and until I've done it I don't let myself relax. I have a job to do and it consumes every bit of my attention. I try to smile, I will accept hugs and I try hard to carry on intelligent conversations. Sometimes I am more successful than other times. 

Do I have expectations for next Sunday? Yes I do. I expect I will be better than I was in April. I expect to have a good time with great people. I do have other expectations, but most of all I want to beat the woman I was in April: that is my ultimate goal. I want to make the time my friends will take out of their day to watch me worthwhile for them.

Thanks so much for reading!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Checking In

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Leaps and Bounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

My wheelhouse

What a week!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Handling free time is not in my wheelhouse either.

So what exactly is in my wheelhouse?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading!