Monday, August 25, 2014

Never Finished

One year ago today, I stepped into a "box" for the first time to try CrossFit.  I have arrived early (most days before 5am) on close to 275 occasions since then.  I have stayed, longer than most, to attack my weaknesses.  I've lifted, run, pushed, pulled, jumped, planked, rowed, climbed, swung, stretched, rolled, flossed, slammed, flipped, kipped and dipped every week. I have NEVER, not even once, dreaded waking up at 4am to show up and work hard.  I sincerely have looked forward to each and every day I get to go in.

Some accomplishments and musings from the past year:
  1. I have learned about nutrition, supplements and body composition.  Most people don't eat nearly enough protein.  I do now - and it's not all bacon.   I try to make healthy choices 80% of the time and treat myself 20% of the time.  My weight has remained the same over the course of the past year but my body has changed significantly. I have gained lean muscle mass and lost fat for sure.
  2. I'm getting better at pushing my physical limitations without damaging my body.  A few WODs are not worth succumbing to a sidelining injury.  I almost always have a new area taped or compressed and people ask me what did I do now.  Luckily, my ailments have been minor and short-lived.  But the paraphernalia I've collected (mobility balls, elbow sleeves, knee sleeves, rock tape, etc.) is kind of impressive. I've never been out of the gym for more than a day or 2 because of a muscle strain.
  3. I'm really good at ignoring my mental limitations during a workout - Mind Over Matter.  There have been countless times I have looked at the board and secretly thought to myself, "Oh shit - no way can I do that!" and EVERY time - I've done it.  I may have scaled the weights or slowed the pace - but I've finished - every single time.
  4. I celebrate my accomplishments and let my failures fuel my next workout.  I'm not obnoxious with my PR postings on social media, but I've definitely given myself a shout out for a great workout, a heavy lift or a new skill.  Just not every time.  When I don't go as fast, or as heavy, or with the best form, I add it to my mental list of things to work on.  And with all the extra time I spend at the box, I get to run through this list quite often.
  5. I feel better at 41 than I did at 31 or even 21! I have stopped stressing over the scale and started to just enjoy what my body is capable of.  And for once in my life, I actually like the way I look. 
  6. I have fantasies about quitting my job and training full-time to become a Games athlete or a future NPGL draft pick.  I'm thinking 2016 or 2017.
  7. I have a bunch of new friends for whom I would do anything. That's pretty much everyone I WOD with on a regular basis, and those that I watch WOD when I am "recovering".  Basically, if we make eye contact anywhere close to the box - you're in this category.  There are 2 people in particular that I talk to everyday and consider to be close friends. One is my coach, and the other is a fellow athlete almost 20 years younger than me.  We overshare, geek out, support, and confide in one another constantly.  I cherish these friendships the most. 
  8. I am a living example to my kids. I know they are proud to have a strong mom.  The possibility  that they could be more fit because of me is invaluable.
  9. I have been first to finish and I have been last to finish.  I have been the girl with the most weight on her bar, and I've been the one with an empty bar.  I have learned that the only competition is with yourself.  Some days you make huge gains and other days it's back to the basics.  And that's all OK.  There's always more work to be done.  I'm never finished.
  10. I hope that I inspire people to follow their passions and "get it done".  For the past 10 months or so - I have posted a motivational quote on FB along with my morning check in to the box.  I find these quotes everywhere.  I rarely give credit to the one who said it (unless it's my own original of course).  Somedays they are timely and personally connected to something I'm dealing with, somedays they are just ones I think are cool.  Sometimes they are just stupid, tacky, or have nothing to do with working out.  They've sort of taken on a life of their own now, and even though I'm running out of material from my "library",  I will try to keep it up in some way.  Why?  because every once in a while I'll get a "thank you, I needed that" or a "love this one!" comment that will just make my day!
The coolest part about all of this is that I bet thousands of other people could write a blog post about their first year in CrossFit and it would look pretty similar to what I just wrote above.  So even though my experience is personal - for CrossFit - it's universal. While I like to feel unique and special, there's something about being part of a gigantic group of people passionate about the same thing that is insanely awesome.

So thank you CFKSQ and especially my coach, Everett, for every workout, cue, PR and chuckle. You have given me so many wonderful gifts this past year. I look forward to 300 WODS in my second year!

Special thanks to my husband, my partner in crime and life, for giving me the gift of time to dive into this new lifestyle.  I know he's my biggest fan. And while he may be a CrossFit widower - I'm quite certain he doesn't mind my new found confidence and muscles!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The best $20 I ever spent.

I didn't even know what The Open was until maybe early February.  JR was tweeting about it.  I did some digging and realized that it was basically a virtual CrossFit competition "open" to anyone.  I wondered who from our gym would register.  Then I mentioned it to JR.  He said I should register.  That's all I needed to hear.  I needed someone who knew about it to encourage me and basically confirm for me that it was something I could and should be a part of.  Thanks JR!  I really had no idea what I was getting into, but I knew it would be fun and I would hopefully learn a thing or 2.

I was disappointed that I had to watch the first workout announcement alone. I was really hoping the gym would have a party or something!  But on my couch, with my laptop - became my position each Thursday night at 8pm.  I texted Lauren non-stop during the first announcement, and pretty much during the other 4 announcements, too!  

I was pretty bummed that each of the early weeks there was something I wasn't very good at.  Double unders held me back in week 1.  I bought a new jump rope the following day.  Week 2 were those darned chest to bar pull-ups.  I still can't do one - but I'm so close!  Week 3 was a nice surprise.  Deadlifts and box jumps - 2 things I could do!  And I got 6 reps into a weight that was heavier than my 1 rep max from a few months prior.  I fell short of my goal in Week 4 - really wanted to get to those cleans.  It was my slow row that did me in.  And let's just say I do't have the best aim with my wall balls.  But I did get through those toes to bar that I had only gotten a few days prior.  I considered repeating 14.4 but realized that my score wasn't nearly as important as what I was learning about my strengths and weaknesses.  Week 5 was my most stressful workout - having to complete it on the road as a drop-in at another box.  But it turned into my BEST workout in terms of execution and placement.  And luckily,  it consisted of 2 movements I can actually do, and I actually like thrusters. Burpees, well who likes those anyway?

I did all my open workouts on Friday mornings.  I became the unofficial guinea pig for my friends doing it after me - allowing them to learn from my experience, and have a goal to shoot for.  I really enjoyed playing that role.  I got to "coach" others with my tips and recommendations after having gone through the workouts.  I also really enjoyed coming in at other times to cheer everyone else on and take pictures.  Such a great experience.  I'm so proud and blessed to be a part of this great community!

I have SO MANY things to work on.  I feel more focused than ever and I cannot wait for 15.1!!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My Dewey

He slept in his usual spot last night - at the top of the stairs up against the wall, on his back.  I must have checked on him a thousand times.  As I sit and write this now, he is right by my side.  He knows I know,  and all he is trying to do is comfort me and all I am trying to do is comfort him.  I love to stroke his velvety belly, freshly shaved from the ultrasound that sealed his fate.  When I stop petting, he gives me the nudge - his nose to my hand.  He doesn't want me to stop.  I cry.  He just stares at me.  I cry some more. He must be so tired and so hungry.

All he can "eat" is peanut butter.  I give him a finger full every few hours.  The tumor is blocking the path from his stomach to his small intestines.  Almost nothing can get through.  I can't bring myself to give him his meds this morning.  The pills don't go down easily, and he clenches his jaw when I try to pry it open.  No more today.  Only peanut butter licks.

Few things perk him up now.  The crinkle of a food wrapper will get his attention for a moment, but he won't move to investigate further.  He only moves if I move.  And I don't want to make him move, so I've been trying to sit still.  His eyes light up if I ask "Where's the kitty?"  But he doesn't patrol the house to find the kitty anymore.  He just looks around checks to see if I move, then drops his head back to the ground.

I reached out to Dewey's breeder last night to give her the news.  I was surprised to hear that 1 of his 11 litter mates just died a few months ago of lymphoma.  And his mother, Valy, died of lymphoma at age 7. Dewey just turned 8.  He looked just like his mother.  His dad, Obi, lived to be 13.  We declined any further diagnostics on the tumor to spare him the procedures that would likely be painful and uncomfortable and have little or no upside as his prognosis even with the most aggressive treatment was likely a year or less.  And since he can't eat, he would have to be on supportive care in other day or so.  Also his tumor looked like it was starting to ulcerate, which means he's at a risk for perforation, hemorrhage, and possibly a very sudden and painful death.  Not on my watch.

Today is his last day with us.  I wanted him to have one last "normal" day.  I didn't want his last day to be 7 hours away from home, 2 very long car rides (he hates the car) and strange sounds, smells, dogs and the like.  So Dash will get to torture him for one more day.  The kids and I will just snuggle with him all day.  He'll get to sit in the snow and cool off his belly for one more day.  Maybe he'll even bark at the mailman. I'm so grateful to have this day to say goodbye.  I realize many don't get this opportunity.  Today is just as much for me as it is for him.  I hope he doesn't suffer too much in the few hours he has left.

I have never witnessed the euthanasia of any of my pets before.  I have had several "put down"  Cats and dogs.  I will be there holding his giant paw later today, stroking his velvety belly, kissing his cheek.  He's done so much for me and my family.  It's the least I can do for him.

We love you Dewey.  You'll find your kitty up there.  I promise.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

You Can't Outrun Your Fork

I've been SO dedicated to exercise for the last 4 months, it's almost hard to believe.  I have been going to my CrossFit gym religiously 4-6x per week and working my ass off.  Not literally.  Ironically so, my ass is a little bit bigger than when I started if that's possible. But it's actually muscular, not flabby.  So much so that most of my jeans don't fit anymore.  They are loose in the waist (score!) and tight in the butt and thigh (those darn muscles again!)  I have made jean shopping a bit of a sport now. My mission? Find the perfect jean to fit a CrossFitter's body.  That's right - I'm a CrossFitter. Anyway, I'm getting way off track.  This post is about eating.

While I have been annoying most my Facebook friends with inspirational quotes with each CrossFit check-in, it helped to keep me accountable at first.  Although now, I'm fairly certain that I would be going to the gym as much even if I didn't "check-in",  I do get the occasional - "I love that quote" or "I was motivated to go the the gym when I read your post".  I can't describe how incredible it feels to know that something like that gave someone else the motivation they needed to do something.  It's crazy.  So sorry folks, since MY Facebook is all about ME - I'm not letting up on my almost daily check-ins.  I do, however need to figure out a way to keep me accountable for what I eat.

Food is such a struggle for me.  Growing up with 20-30 hours a week of ballet most of my childhood and adolescence, allowed me to eat pretty much whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.  Because of that, I have developed a serious love of food.  I'm sure there's some psychology behind what, when and why I eat.  I should probably take the time to explore that a little bit - but it's doubtful that I will.  So in the meantime I have to come up with a strategy that will assist me in keeping my cravings and binges in check.  I have tried using apps on my phone that work to a certain extent, but like a true addict, I oftentimes just omit certain things I eat (hide), so that I'm just fooling myself. It's kind of ridiculous.  I have tried pills and potions that just make my heart race and I know aren't good for me.  I have tried too many "diets" to count.  But lately, I've just been sticking to the 80/20 rule where I try to eat sensibly most of the time and allow myself the ability to indulge from time to time.  The problem is that most weeks it turns out to be more like 50/50.  Especially over the holidays when cookies and sweets (some of my all-time favorites) are all over the place.

My husband keeps reminding me of Body for Life that I did a hundred years ago with good success.  6 small meals - basically it's calorie control - which really is every diet.  I'm just having a hard time.  I think part of my problem is that I know I can afford to slip a little more than normal because I am working so hard at the gym.  But I don't tend to just slip.  I start by slipping and end up wallowing in dozens of cookies, or whole pints of ice cream.  While I'd like to reverse that mentality into something like "wow - you're doing all this great work, how about complementing it with clean eating and just imagine the gains you would make?"  Not sure why the combination of diet and exercise is so difficult for me.

So this is an open call for some suggestions.  I'm not looking for diet plans, or shakes or supplements.  I know exactly what I need to eat and what I need to stay away from to get me there. My goal is to lose 10-15 pounds of body fat.  Yes - I have that much to lose.  Yes - I know muscle weighs more than fat.  Yes I could be 15 pounds lighter and still have the muscle I have now.  No - I wouldn't be like 0% body fat (I would be much, much more).  Did I mention I'm a Vegan?  100% of the time minus when I'm eating ice cream or cookies.

I'm looking for strategies to help me do what I need to do.  I remember a few years ago there were cases of fudge bars in the office.  I swiftly sent out a mass email proclaiming I would pay anyone $50 who caught me eating a fudge bar.  Yes - there were times when I considered smuggling one into the bathroom and eating it, but i didn't.  Come to think of it - I should have accused whoever put those fudge bars in the freezer of harassment.  What's the statute of limitations on caloric harassment?