Give credit where credit is due

It is said that we can be our biggest critics and that it is much easier to see the flaws and faults than it is to see what, perhaps, others see. I have always been critical of myself and have, for most of my life, made the choice to sit back and observe other’s successes rather than fail trying to create my own.

If I did try and didn’t live up to my expectations, I would make an excuse as to why I failed. I would think that others were judging me or that I, somehow, let them down by not being better than I was. I would think that I was going to be disliked and not part of the “in-crowd”.

I’ve struggled with this for as long as I can remember and in the past it has prevented me from trying new things or going after what I wanted. I mention this today because this morning I woke up knowing that I was going over to my Crossfit gym to do 15.1. And the anxiety I had was unbearable. I didn’t have anxiety about working out, or having my reps counted by a judge, or the pressure of competing with the Crossfit community…I had anxiety over the fact that I was going to have to do the scaled version.

I fretted and paced and visited the bathroom several times before even heading to the gym. Thoughts raced through my mind of not being good enough, not being strong enough. I kept thinking that everyone was going to judge me as weak and less than.

In reality, I felt comfortable with everything except for the Snatches. The RX weight being 75# and the scaled weight being 55#. So, there I was fretting over 20 pounds. Was this really taking over my mind and body? Why yes, it was. I felt sick. I wanted to do RX so bad because I didn’t want the others to think I was weak.

How totally ridiculous!

In the end I did the scaled WOD and, apparently, I killed it. I was able to complete 4 rounds and 22 reps in the 9 minute allotted time. If I would have attempted to do RX, I probably would have failed at my first round of Snatches and frustrated the hell out of myself… and flat out quit.

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As for the second part of the workout, I had 6 minutes to complete a one rep max Clean and Jerk. I knew that in the past I was able to do 95#, so, although I was not mentally sure I could do it today, that was my goal.

My plates kept getting stuck on the bar when I was trying to switch them out and my loud scream of “FUUUUUUUCK” could probably be heard for miles. And when time was called I leaned up against the wall, cradled my head in my arms and tears of anger filled my eyes. I was only able to do 85#.

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And as I reread that, the word “only” sticks out to me. Here in lies the problem…am I really criticizing the fact that today I could “only” pick up 85 pounds off the ground and throw it over my head? I compared myself to my peers who were lifting over 100 pounds and I got down on myself thinking I was so weak.

I want to turn this around and make it more of motivation to keep trying than a deterrent. At times I want to slap myself across the face to make myself wake up. There are people who can’t even get out of bed or walk out the door to do a workout even remotely close to what I did today. Hell, I was one of those people during the months of October through December of 2014.

Give credit where credit is due.

Sure, I have a long way to go, but I need to stop worrying about not being the best, and just try my best. And when my peers cheer me on and say that I “killed it”, I need to, and want to, believe that I actually did.

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My First Crossfit-iversary!

I would always drive by local Crossfit gyms and marvel at what I saw. Strong, beautiful bodies picking mass amounts of weight. Climbing ropes. Swinging kettle bells. They had their own language. Their own lingo. They wore knee-high socks.

I tried a few different locations and was always intimidated. I didn’t know what it meant when I saw DU on the board. Or HSPU. And, I never felt comfortable enough to ask…paired with the fact that the coaches at these locations never bothered to explain properly or ask if I needed modifications. Plus, my squat form just plain sucked, so instead of embarrass myself, I’d just go back to the “regular” gym with the “regular” equipment that I was familiar and comfortable with.

At the end of 2013 however, I was at a turning point in my life…I could actually feel it at the time, but I didn’t truly realize how much my life was about to change. I was talking to a friend and she mentioned her Crossfit gym. I remember telling her that I wasn’t really interested because other places had given me a “bad taste” in my mouth. She assured me that it would not be the case here and offered me a free one month membership.

How could I pass that up?

A year ago today I walked into Crossfit Navigate and it literally changed every aspect of my life. Not only do I have a spectacular assortment of knee-high socks…I can now honestly say that I am an athlete. A year ago I couldn’t even jump rope. Honest to God. I looked like a Peter Cottontail hopping down the bunny trail and I dorked it up even more by getting the rope caught in my pony tail nine times out of ten. Who does that? Most of my lack of ability came from the fact that I never, ever did anything remotely athletic in my life prior to the age of 25. Scary, I know.

It may not be a lot, but now I can do at least three double unders in a row…and, because I now know the lingo, I can confidently call them dubs. It took me almost a full year to accomplish that, but I did it. Not only that, but there are countless other things that I can do now that I never, ever thought I could do. And that is such an unbelievable feeling.

The past year has brought a ton of blood, sweat and lots of tears (and that’s not a compliant). I have met some of the most unbelievable people I could ever ask for. The support and the patience of the coaches and members are the biggest blessing in my life. When I have wanted to give up, they have lifted me up. When I have doubted, they have believed. When I have improved, they have given me recognition. I can not imagine a life without Crossfit or without the extraordinary friends that I have made there. Life isn’t always perfect or just the way you want it, but when you walk through those doors, the outside world doesn’t matter. It’s only you, your goals, and your dedication to be the best person that you can be.

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How do you do a squat again?

When you’re motivated, it is possible to accomplish things…we all know that. So yesterday I did both things that I wanted to do, I saw my nephew and I went to the gym… and, as a bonus, I also managed to impress myself in the process.

Walking into the gym yesterday, I have to admit, I was very nervous. As with all others, Crossfit is the kind of sport where you have to keep showing up and build on your skills. I hadn’t been there in eleven days. That’s a long ass time. And I was scared that my body wouldn’t recall what it once knew. The workout of the day was as follows:

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Rowing for that distance? I’m going to die. Is there enough oxygen on Earth to help me through this?

Snatches? Ugh…my upper body is weak…or maybe my¬†head is weak and I’m just afraid of a little iron bar with rubber weights.

Back squats? I looooove squats…but after eleven days? How do you do a squat again? I’d better stand over here in the corner and practice.

As I sat on the rower, my heart began to beat faster before I even strapped my feet in. I overheard the girl next to me tell the coach that she wanted to finish within 8 minutes. Oh my god! What? First of all, I have to do this for eight minutes (and then some) AND there is NO WAY I’m doing this under fifteen, for God’s sake.

I’ve always wanted to believe that I wasn’t competitive with anyone other than myself. That I only wanted to beat myself…blah, blah, blah. With this “I’ll finish under eight minutes” girl next to me I was damned if I was going to go down without a fight, so as the clock began to tick I found myself pull for pull with her. Every so often I’d glance at her screen to see that she was only a few meters ahead of me. My legs were burning and as I saw my meters count down I thought of how badly I wanted to quit…but was I even working as hard as I could?…I should just be proud of the fact I showed up today…can I keep up with her?…why am I breathing so loud?…good thing the music is turned up so no one can hear these awful noises I’m making…200 meters to go and she’s still pulling her rower too…I’m going to do this…no, I’m going to die…50 more…she’s done…wait, wait…I’m done!

I finished at 9:06…30 seconds after her. And later, when I checked my performance next to the other women that day, I was number six on the board and she was first. The fact that she was next to me made all the difference in the world.

On to Snatches. The last time I did these I struggled with weight so, although I prefer Snatches to Cleans, I was not looking forward to completing this move. I told myself to focus on form, because, after all, that is one of my overall goals. And when all was said and done, I was pleased with a 65# Snatch on the board.

So, two out of three were complete, and now to the squats. Despite the fact that I am dissatisfied with the overall shape of my legs, I know that they are strong. And with work on proper form and more flexibility, I know they will get stronger. However, I had an expectation that I was afraid I was going to be unable to accomplish. When I looked at my previous Back Squat performance it estimated that I should be able to do a 150# Back Squat. Well hell, I’m not so sure about that today. I mean, I wasn’t even going to come. Just a few hours ago I wanted to get into my pjs and crawl into bed to avoid all of this. And, wait, maybe I should just practice getting below parallel without any weight at all…yeah, yeah…that way I can remind my body how to squat…good idea. No, I’m here, so I might as well do it…and if I don’t manage to get that weight, well who’s going to notice other than me?

As with most things that happen with me and my lack of confidence, I surprised myself and I actually did a 150# Back Squat. Two sets of three. I could have probably done more even, but let’s not get carried away. I ended up in third overall in Back Squat performance and THAT made me proud.

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But trust me people, the struggle is real. The. Struggle. IS. Real.

Facial expressions don’t lie…neither do the loud grunts that I made that echoed in the gym. And thank God for my coach for the support!

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All I want is Six Things

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” ~Alexander Pope

We are taught that expectations lead to let downs. We should take things as they come and be happy with what we have to avoid suffering. This is a mixed message when we hear things like, “Just Do It!” and “Don’t give up!” So what are we supposed to do? Putting all else aside, I don’t care what other people say right now…I’m expecting more of myself because I know I can give more. I’m demanding more because I want to prove, to myself, that I can.

So often, through my fitness journey, I have felt the need to make excuses or explain my limitations. I felt like I had to tell people why I couldn’t run faster or lift heavier…”I have an injury” or “I’m going through some personal stuff”. When it all comes down to it, those people probably didn’t notice that I was slower that day or that I couldn’t do a pull up…it was ME that I was making the excuse for. I was disappointed in myself.

That leads me to what I expect of myself now:

1. I want to get more confident in my athletic abilities.

2. I want to see more definition in my quads and arms and less roundness in my inner and outer thighs.

3. I want to let go of the fear I have of rope climbs, box jumps, hand stands, and doing heavy cleans.

4. I want to improve on my form in the gym and work on proper squats.

5. I want to reduce the dimples on my butt that have haunted me for years, making me think that it looks like I’m carrying a bag full of rocks behind me.

6. I want to eliminate the factors in my life that are causing my depression; i.e pining after a fairy tale relationship with an emotionally unavailable man.

Six things? Surely that shouldn’t be hard to do…I’m determined to find out.

Day one of my commitment sojourn…

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Now, how will I get the things I want? I will start today with changing my eating habits and getting back to a more consistent gym schedule. Crossfit 4-5 times per week, yoga at least 3 times per week, and I’m going to attempt to spin 2 times per week pending the PCL injury to my left knee.

Truth be told, at least three times today I’ve wanted to give up…yes, only hours into my sojourn and I already want to quit. My excuses are plentiful, of course. I think that the one obstacle that I’m going to have to overcome through all of this is the desire to eat my feelings. THAT is truly my biggest issue. I don’t want to use food as a drug anymore, but the doesn’t change the fact that it is still what I want to turn to when I’m depressed.