Monday, November 4, 2013

One for the Booger-Pickers

I believe that some people were just born with a natural inclination toward being athletes. They move effortlessly with grace and speed, throw a perfect spiral, fire off 3-pointers like it's their job, or hit a baseball like they came out of the uterus swinging a bat. For whatever reason, there are people who don't have to work for it nearly as hard. That's not to say they don't put in the time and energy to hone their talents, but the truth of the matter is most of them are born with a certain amount of ability that just isn't teachable.

And then there are the rest of us.

I grew up next door to three of my closest (male) cousins, which meant all we did was play sports. Unfortunately that didn't happen until I was a little older, so by the time I had developed enough skill to actually be decent at anything I had already given up on everything. I was one of the kids who got stuck in the outfield picking dandelions during the early years because I just didn't really understand what the hell was going on. And if I could say I was blessed with any minuscule amount of natural athletic ability, it definitely didn't show up until later in life.

My son is what you might call one of the booger-pickers. That's not to say he won't try--he even gets to make a play on occasion if he's in the right place, at the right time, with the right mindset. But he has the flattest feet I have ever seen in my life (runs slower than a 7 year itch), throws a baseball in a way that I would categorize as "awkward at best," and his coordination is sketchy. Connor is not a natural born athlete; that boy has to work for everything he gets. But I'll tell you why I absolutely love to watch him play--the kid has moxy and spirit like you wouldn't believe. He loves to go out and be part of the team and cheers his little heart out at every single game. I know I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, but every time I look at that kid and I see how kind and respectful and full of life he is, I know that being his mom is one place I have succeeded exponentially.

Connor is a diehard when it comes to Crossfit. He love that shit. The kid begs me to take him to the 5 or 6 am classes with me, and has literally come into my bathroom in tears in the morning because I didn't wake him up. When he does get to come along during an evening class of coaching, it's like Christmas come early. During the Lakefest parade, he singlehandedly burpee'd his way down half of Market St and most of Main alongside the float and by the time it was over there was so much black on his face that he looked like a prisoner of war. At my wedding he was more excited to tell the people he knew from the gym about his new Nano 2's than anything else, and he gave rousing edition of burpees to AC/DC "Thunderstruck" that left half of us in awe and the other half like "wtf is that kid doing....?" The last time he did a WOD with box jumps he asked me to get him a plate. I wasn't sure why, but I gave it to him anyhow and the motive soon became clear--he wanted to stack it on top of the box to make it a higher jump.

Today his efforts have paid off in a new way--Connor was voted Crossfit Crave's Athlete of the Month for November. He. is. STOKED. And he deserves it! Connor never complains, and he always wants to show up. Booger-picker or not, that's the kinda guy I want on my team. I'll take a badass personality and phenomenal attitude over a jerk with talent any day of the week.

Thanks to the Crave family for making his day!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Love and Crossfit

Just a little over 6 weeks until Todd and I get married. Holy. $hit. I'm not even sure how that happened!

I was going to take the long way around today and write all this crap about my fears and shitty-self-esteem issues, my effing disastrous past relationships, how this all ties into the gym... long long long. I'm too mentally disorganized right now to process all that and have it even make enough sense for anyone else to read it.

Here's what this all boils down to for me: Commitment.

Every success, every failure in life revolves around to how much time and energy you are willing to put into the thing. It has taken me f*%&ing yearsssssssssss at the gym to realize the only way I'm ever going to be the best version of myself is to commit to it and consistently show up. I would say 90% of the time I'm happy with getting up each morning and going to the gym--even if I'm not feeling great at first I always am by the time I leave. I've learned that on the 10% days when I want to stay in bed, I just have to tell myself to keep showing up and then follow through. That's my commitment to myself. I generally like to do everything the hard way, so it took a long time and a lot of failures for me to finally understand that these seemingly small steps equate to big change over time.

This policy transfers to anything in life. Without going into detail, my past relationships = Trainwreck. Foundations built on the wrong things with the wrong people. Houses built on sand in a stage 5 hurricane would have a better chance of survival. Honestly you could've put me into a crowd of accomplished men and 1 loser and he would have been my top choice. I'm no stranger to failure here.

It's different now--I'm committed and I know he is rock solid too, but that doesn't mean it's always easy. We have 4 wonderful-in-their-own-ways-kids in multiple families, with a handful of other parents to contend with, and a TON of things going on. There are days where it's 60/40, 80/20, 100/100... there are days where I want to throat punch him... there are days when he wants to smother me with a pillow because he's tired of my attitude. That's life! But at the end of every one of those days--shitty or awesome, I know that we are going to go to bed at the same time, and he's going to throw his arm over me, and he is not going to leave. 90% of the time I am obnoxiously happy, and on the 10% days I show up anyway because that's what we have committed to each other and our kids. I know that's a lot easier to say after only a year and a half together than it may be after 4, 7, 14 years of putting up with someone's shit day in and day out, but the older I get the more sure I am that relationships aren't about all the butterflies, sunshine and rainbow bullshit so much as they are about committing to see the best and choosing to love someone even on the days you maybe don't like em so much.

No matter which way you frame it, success in anything requires commitment--either you're in or you're out.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ditching the Scale

I have a very "all or nothing" approach to most things in life; it's either 110% balls to the wall or nothing. Sometimes this can work to my advantage, I think it makes me a pretty good friend because I'd do anything for the people I care about, and now that I'm at full-force mentally with giving the right kind of time and attention to the gym it has become second nature. Todd and I are kicking ass on our investment property because we've actually had some time to put into it the past week or so and we're gaining more momentum by the day--those are the times when my 110% mentality works in my favor. But of course the flip side to this (doing nothing) can be incredibly problematic, especially as it applies to my health. Laziness. Fatty McButterpants. It's a road I'm pretty familiar with.

What about when the 110% becomes the problem? Sometimes you get obsessed; I get obsessed. When I first started Crossfit in April of 2011 I was already getting into decent shape using my own hack version of weight watchers points system/clean eating which involved a shitload of BINDING grains (my digestion was a fucking nightmare) and literally working out like 3 hours a day (so dumb). After about a month of coming to the gym I sat down one day with Ash to talk nutrition and she introduced me to the premise of eating Paleo. I decided it was worth a shot because I felt like I needed something to break the plateau I had hit, and started reading up on anything CF/Paleo related that I could find. I discovered an article by Martin Berkhan about Intermittent Fasting and delved into those concepts head first too; by May I was ready to kick ass in the Paleo Challenge. Not only did I make it through the month without cheats (let me tell you about how fun it was watching my friends drink their faces off every weekend and sip my diet dew), but I also incorporated a pretty extreme version of Intermittent Fasting by doing alternate day 24 hr fasts through the week. I ended up cutting a pretty good amount of weight and dropping my body fat several percentage points to about 21%, but I was also hungry and bitchy and ready for a binge.

Thus started the emotional cf/paleo/binge/fail process that I've been cycling through for the better part of 2 years. I've never allowed myself to get to a point where I was super-sized again, but I have stepped my toe in the water plenty of times while basking in the pizza and cookie dough filled glory of a cheat day that turned into a week that turned into two months of "where the fuck is the gym at again?" We've had this discussion people, it's easy for me--maybe easier for me than most. You pile up enough of those "I'll do _________ tomorrow"'s and you end up with a whole lot of empty yesterday's.

The other major paleo-faileo issue I've experimented with was last spring. I was strict with the occasional cheat hour/day and yes, I got results in the form of a good weight loss and body fat drop (again to around 22%), but this is what I would eat on a typical day: Coffee and water til lunch Tuna and almonds for lunch Chicken and broccoli for supper. Maybe some more almonds. Maybe. Really, that's just setting yourself up for failure. I mean I was sub-1000 calories a day, wod'ing and doing man's work for a job. I went through this song and dance again in the fall (after half-assing it all last summer), and did the same thing--major losses, unsustainable eating.

Two major issues with all this-- 1. I'm already an emotional wreck with all the insanity that goes on in my life, and 2. I've been mentally programmed my whole life to self-soothe with food. So the things that needed to happen this time around were to wrangle the emotional aspect of my eating and make it just about fueling myself, and to stop trying to survive on a few leaves of lettuce and the occasional breath of air. I ditched the scale because it makes me crazy and obsessive, and odds are if I stepped on and for some reason was up 1/4 of a pound I would get pissed and rip snort through the first package of oreos I could locate. This time I made it about how I feel physically/mentally/emotionally and how I'm performing at the gym. No more counting my almonds like the Rain Man or obsessing over what my next meal would be or what I'd eat on my cheat day. It hasn't been easy and I've had some shit days but I really feel like I'm getting a grip. For someone like me, that's empowering.

It's been several weeks now and I decided I want to start keeping some kind of measure of my progress from this point forward, so I asked Ash to do a body fat for me today. Honestly I was a little worried, but after the wod I asked her how it all came out and she told me I'm at 18% body fat. Seriously? That's lower than when I was NOT EATING EVERY OTHER DAY. I'm eating way more and I'm doing way less (at least when it comes to physical labor), and I'm not hangry (hungry+angry). And you know what else? Sometimes I eat a shitload of almond butter with half an apple or a whole stinkin banana! *Not often, but sometimes* I wouldn't even look at fruit before!

I still don't know what the number on the scale said today when she had to weigh me, and I don't really care. The only numbers I care to worry about now are the weights on the bar, and I want them to go up. I feel good, I'm enjoying going to the gym and doing my best, and sometimes I even feel good when I look in the mirror. That's a big step for me and that's all I need.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Courage to Change

That might have been a little cryptic and morbid in comparison to my normal opening, but stay with me here: Changing your life on purpose is hard. Being deliberate about your choices is hard. Doing what is right for yourself and the people you love... yep, hard too. Not because it isn't worth the end result but because it requires some level of change, a deviation from the life you've grown accustomed to. But you know what's even harder? Living a life that you don't feel good about. It goes back to that whole "nothing changes if nothing changes" scenario. It doesn't pay to be stagnant in this life, but when you're standing on the cliff looking down into the depths of a scary-new-unknown versus looking back to the comfortable-old-familiar, it's hard not to second guess yourself.

I find myself standing/teetering on that brink sometimes when I look back on the lifestyle I used to live versus the way I have decided to be now. The habits aren't the only thing that changed--I didn't just trade late nights boozing for early morning burpees or my once a week pint of Ben and Jerry's for a frozen banana with almond butter (which is, incidentally, freakin delicious). Everything changed, even my relationships changed. People look at you differently when you demand more from your life and from yourself. Some are impressed, others are jealous. Most of them won't understand--that's the hardest part. And they'll probably talk shit either way.

No matter what you'd like to believe, changing yourself means changing everything--and that means accepting the fact that some of the people in your life will choose to be left behind. Not all of them; some will watch you for awhile from a safe distance and then join in. Others will check in from time to time but stick with their old ideals, and that's okay too. But some will scoff at you and try to belittle the choices you make because they're not brave enough to do the same. Lead, follow, be dragged, or be cut loose; nobody needs deadweight in their life. It's hard to come to terms with the idea that a better life for yourself would actually deter people from wanting to be around you, but that is the cold hard truth kids.

Thankfully you will find a better and more solid network of people somewhere along the way if you just hold fast. Jump in and tread water for awhile, eventually someone is going to throw you a life preserver and help you make your way to a new spot where you'll find a whole bunch of new someone's--other people who had the courage to take that leap of faith and understand why you decided to show up. And no matter how many times you stumble (and stumble I have!) on that road to a better life, they will always be there to help you get back on your feet once you're ready.

I won't lie and say all of this is an easy transition for me; there are days where it's all I can do to keep myself from backpedaling for fear of the unknown. Spending so many years with the mindset that I didn't deserve the best that life had to offer has made it very difficult to shift that paradigm and realize that I do deserve anything that I'm willing to work for. That includes a healthy mind and body, a good relationship with someone who really loves me, and a happy (albeit completely crazy) household. I have allowed that self-deprecating mindset to be a crutch for my backsliding for so long, it just isn't worth it.

How much further along would I be if I had just believed in my heart a long time ago that I was entitled to more than just mediocrity? It isn't worth dwelling on, but it is a valid question. Now, I'm not much for doling out advice unless you need someone to tell you what not to do--then I could write you a GD book. But I do know that the only way to get where you want to go is by continuing to put one foot in front of the other, so that's what I'm going to do.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sharing your Passion

He started drinking water on Sunday afternoon. I didn't think much of it at first, but then curiosity won over as the day wore on and he kept doing it. I was totally perplexed, because anyone who knows Todd can tell you that given the chance he would drink Mtn Dew from sun up till sun down. And then he started on the water again first thing Monday morning while I was making him breakfast. By 3 pm when he walked in with a Dasani bottle I just couldn't take it anymore and decided to ask him what the hell was going on. He's not one for any sort of change so when he does things like that it puts me on high alert--I'm thinking maybe he isn't feeling good or there's a zombie apocalypse on the horizon, which seems about as plausible as him drinking water. He simply says "What, it's better for ya" like I haven't told lectured him about this 18 dozen times. Like I haven't warned him about his sugar consumption and the fact that he has a family history of weak hearts and already has high blood pressure that isn't being managed by medication. The benefits of water over Mtn fucking Dew are not new to me. I realize that you have to pick your battles, and he's an adult, so I don't feel like I should have to nag or beg him to take care of himself. But Todd isn't your typical overweight/overeating heart-attack-waiting-to-happen kinda guy, which is what makes it even scarier in my book to think that he may be a ticking time bomb. I want him to be around for our kids and their kids, and I want him to be around for me.

When we first started dating he said, and I quote, "sooo what's up with this Crossfit thing?" He then proceeded to tell me that it was fine if I was into it but that I'd never get him in there and we pretty well left it at that. Yet over the past couple months since I've been hitting it full force I can see some interest sparked in him; not just about the eating aspect but the working out part (although he finds the state of my poor hands to be appalling). I can tell he wants it but he doesn't like to do anything unless he's the best at it and he sure as hell isn't going to walk in there and have me out-lift him at every turn. Like so many people that walk into the box for the first time, he's super self conscious and he doesn't realize what the rest of us have long since learned--nobody else gives a shit what you're doing because they're too worried about what they're doing! I'm freakishly excited about his budding interest in paleo and (potentially) Crossfit, but I'm doing my best not to show it too much for fear of spooking him like some kind of wild animal.

I've found myself already loading him up with information, sending him links and trying to explain to him why pasta is the devil and fat is a satiating little merrymaker who's been living with a bad-rep for so many years. All the while I'm sitting on the edge of my seat hoping he will buy into this lifestyle because I know how much healthier he would be and how much easier it would make my life if he were on board as well. At what point do you have to come down off the soapbox and realize people are going to do what they're gonna do and you can't force them wake up and take care of themselves? I know that even though I've had some guides and helping hands along the way, I ultimately had to come to a place of health on my own for myself and realize that only I was responsible for my success or failures. Good intentions don't mean a damn thing, it's what you do that counts.

So how do you begin to explain something as simple and complex as Crossfit? I mean he already sees me coming home drenched in sweat and dirt and occasionally blood, bruised and battered and thinks I've lost my GD mind. How do you explain in words something that elicits so many feelings in you--ask anyone and they will tell you that the box is so much more than the workout.

It's learning something new every day.

It's finding discipline and strength you didn't believe you could ever begin to have.

It's physical, mental and emotional transformation that works from the inside out.

It's a new sense of confidence.

It's doing things you've never been able to do.

It's conquering your own demons.

It's pushing beyond those self-set limits.

It's showing up for yourself.

It's showing up for each other. Community, friends, family--by far the most rewarding part.

I don't know where this whole water-drinking, question-asking phenomenon is going to lead, but I really hope it's a step closer to the box.. Fingers crossed!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Time Well Spent

We spent last weekend out of town for a couple days on a mini vacation, taking the boys to the Louisville Slugger factory, then heading back up to Cincy for the zoo and a Reds game. Britt was out of town with her mom so she wasn't able to come, but I'm learning that going with the flow is a necessity when everyone is going in different directions. Trying to hold all that together is hopeless as herding cats some days, and with a family and a business the glory days of my early 20's seem far away... Goodbye Gulf Shores girls' trips. Much as I love my family I am a little sad to see those days go. But the boys were super pumped about going and it made me happy to see and hear how excited they were to get to do something that I consider so simple.

I spent several hours on the day before our trip running around like a mad-woman trying to get everyone packed and ready to go. There's nothing simple about traveling with this many people, even if only for a long weekend. Extra clothes, snacks for the kids, plenty of activities to occupy them on the drive down (because otherwise Braylon, aka the question man, will drive you bat shit crazy), not to mention planning the trip and getting a hotel, because who doesn't love waiting til the last minute to do these things?! At any rate we pulled it all together and nothing irreplaceable was forgotten.


Becoming a parent and partner to a much larger family has presented me with a lot of new challenges. When it was just Connor and me things were still relatively simple. He was of course first priority, but that didn't make it tough to still do the things I needed/wanted to. Now it's a whole other ball game. The problematic thing about a growing family and more complicated life is that we tend to put ourselves on the back burner and then use our added responsibilities as an excuse to stop taking care of ourselves. Or at least that's what I did, and I think it's a prevalent story in society. Forgoing our duty to ourselves to be all that we can be for everyone else--hello folks, we're mothers not martyrs! Fortunately I've been down the ugly road of zero self-care once before and am unwilling to do it again, so I pulled myself out of that tailspin before things got out of control.

It made me wonder why we sacrifice self-care as a legitimate trade off for being a parent/partner, telling ourselves it's ok to be unhealthy or skip out on exercise because we just don't have time--too busy taking care of everyone else. Newsflash: if you don't take care of yourself first, you're not going to be around to take care of anyone. I may not have been moving into the obesity limelight again, but I can tell you my attitude sucked far worse than it already does when I was dipping out on the gym and slamming pizza and ice cream on the regular. At first I found myself feeling guilty for taking that time away every day to go to the gym, but I realize it is absolutely necessary if I want to be the best version of myself for everyone else, and damnit it makes me feel good.

An hour or so a day at the gym isn't that much in the grand scheme of things, and having friends that I can work out with and talk to about something other than baseball, WWE, or farts is time well spent in my book. Forking out a little more on fresh foods and produce at the grocery store rather than boxed bullshit or mediocre restaurant food every night is worth the payoff. If my kids see me making time to take care of myself (even if that means I have to get up ungodly early), odds are they're going to do the same one day because that's how they assume it should be. Make yourself a priority... taking care of your family isn't a justifiable excuse for not taking care of yourself.

(And if you come to Crossfit, you can buy your kid sweet shirts like this one)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


How I feel today===>

I got my first unbanded pull-up on Sunday. After two years of Crossfit (albeit inconsistent), I was finally able to get my chin over that damn bar. I just jumped up there like I always do to give it a few unsuccessful attempts and nailed it on the first try. Cleared that mother by a couple inches even! It was exciting, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I almost cried. Triumphs like that make you thirsty for more.

I've been examining my own efforts a lot more closely as of late, trying to really decide whether I'm pushing as hard as I can every day, every WOD, every time. Scrutiny is necessary sometimes to keep yourself honest, and I've mentally "no rep'd" myself more in the past couple weeks than I probably ever have in my entire Crossfit career. You can't tell yourself lies and expect to get staggering results.

How many times have you done something half-assed and called it good enough? Too many to count.

How many times have you used the word "can't" as a crutch? Can't is my favorite, because that eliminates any possibility of even trying. Can't keeps you from failure because if you already know you can't then you don't have to try. Can't also keeps you from success. Can't is a cop-out.

I don't do handstands well.. something about going at the wall head first just freaks me out and the first few times I tried, my arms just buckled out of fear. Fuck that, my head and neck don't deserve that kind of abuse so I said to hell with it. I struggled with pull-ups for two years with minimal results. I ate a box once and I haven't done a max-height box jump since. Notice a pattern anyone? Choosing mediocrity has left me with what I consider to be mediocre results. Sometimes you just have to get out of your own way.

I never tried to climb the rope before, just assumed it wasn't going to happen because of the array of other shit I haven't been able to do so why try right? And then one day I asked for help and I'll be damned if I didn't scale that thing like it was my job. Sunday I went in to do a WOD incredibly hungover and told Matt I "just knew" I couldn't do most of the movements at the weight he had prescribed... And then I proceeded to do them all Rx, followed by my first pull-up and then 5 more. Today I did my first unmodified WOD with pull-ups, and I've never been more proud to have hands that are ripped to shit.

(Okay, maybe not that bad..... but they were sketchy enough to make Todd gaggy hah)

Can't has been a cement block chained to my legs for so long. It makes me think about all the times I didn't do something just because I assumed I couldn't, or because I didn't want to fail and look stupid. But I'm quickly learning that the old adage is true--You can't let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

Friday, June 28, 2013

How Fruit Saved my Life (or at least my day)

"You ate raisins? You're goin' to hell."

I was telling the girls last night about how I had eaten some apple slices and raisins with sunflower butter in a desperate attempt to keep myself from destroying half a bag of chocolate chips that I found in the cupboard yesterday (which incidentally worked, but I felt guilty for even eating the fruit). It was a joke, but that's how obsessive I can become over what I can and cannot eat when I'm really focused on cutting weight and strict paleo. Which is also probably 50% of the reason why I tend to struggle with staying "on the wagon" so to speak for more than a couple weeks/months at a time. Here's how it usually goes:

Kickass, get tired, struggle, struggle, hate everyone and be a hag, start to feel better, get more energy, feel like a beast. I get myself convinced that I can live on mostly two meals--tuna with almonds or chicken breast with broccoli. Maybe throw in some occasional variations that include eggs and other meat, but for the most part I would eat just twice a day and those would be my meals. Avoid fruit like the GD plague. Cut weight fast. I feel a sin coming on... Inevitable Binge. Get sick, writhe, wish for death. Drink a shit-ton of water. Tell myself tomorrow will be better, possibly get back on the wagon (or maybe not), and then probably binge again because the first few days after you have mad sugar cravings. Then I hide out for awhile eating what I know to be half-ass paleo sprinkled with pizza and ice cream until I realize I'm starting to get fluffy again. Rinse and repeat.

Like I said before, nothing changes if nothing changes. I have realized this time around that something has to change in the way I'm doing things. DL made a good point the other day in commenting on one of my posts when he likened it to the definition of insanity--doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. I believe wholeheartedly in keeping it simple as it applies to your diet because food is supposed to be fuel, not a reward or a security blanket to cover up with while you *unsuccessfully* eat your feelings away. But at the same time, the idea of consuming fruit shouldn't be scary. I shouldn't recoil when I look at a mini box of raisins. Seriously.

This doesn't mean that I change my stance that eating a shit-ton of fruit isn't really necessary (and may actually be a hindrance) when trying to cut some weight, but it does mean that I should stop agonizing over the fact that I ate some fucking apple slices and raisins. I mean really, if I hadn't gone in that direction last night I probably woulda killed those chocolate chips and topped it off with whatever else I could find. Maybe even gone out to pick up some ice cream. Then I would have skipped the gym this morning and probably ended up sitting here at my desk with a candy bar in my hand, debating on which shitty fast food restaurant I was going to hit up for lunch. That's the cold hard truth folks. Instead I'm feeling victorious for avoiding my destructive eating habits and for doing all but two of my 95# squat cleans this morning in true "squat clean" form, rather than cleaning the bar and then squatting with it, which is what I had to do the last time they were in a WOD. I'm all for progress!

Figuring out how to do things differently so that I can have continued success isn't an overnight deal, but I'm doing whatever I can to break the cycle of my fluctuating weight. After losing roughly 110 lbs you'd think this last 25 or so would be a breeze, but it just isn't. There's always some struggle involved but I know from experience that the tough times make you that much more grateful when you get to that light at the end of the tunnel.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Case of the Monday's

My Monday was the Monday to top all effing Monday's. I didn't make it in to the gym in the morning because I hit snooze too many times and I knew it wasn't getting done in the evening because the boys had a baseball game, so that turned out to be the slippery slope that sent my day into a tailspin. You know how sometimes you're just so frustrated and done with everything that you can literally feel the ball of anger sitting in the pit of your stomach? That's where I feel like I live lately. We couldn't have more shit going on if we tried--kids going in different directions, a house to flip, a business to run, Todd coaching ACME... the list goes on. Our time is never our own and it feels like we are constantly running on someone else's agenda because unfortunately all of our kids belong (at least halfway) to other people. One day I just want to get my hair cut or take the kids to the pool, but at the moment that just feels like a pipe dream.

As outspoken as I may be in certain scenarios, I tend to try and be a peacekeeper in my interpersonal relationships. That may be hard for you to believe based on what you see at the gym or read here but I will truly do anything to avoid conflict with the people who directly affect my life, and sometimes that comes back to bite me in the ass. It probably isn't healthy to bottle up so much negativity, sometimes I get so beside myself that I'm half-expecting my head to just spin off. I feel like I do so much to be accommodating and all I get back is a shitty look and a proverbial middle finger; no graciousness, no respect. Just "thanks for taking care of everything when it was convenient and I needed you to--your parting gift is a big fuck you."

I sacrifice my own inner peace and sanity to maintain it for other people, but I tell ya it's starting to get old. Sadly, my sense of self worth has always been tied to my utility to other people. I'm like a damn dog--I'll do anything for a little scrap of praise and a pat on the head because that's the only way I can bolster myself; kick me 99 times and I will still come back the 100th time to be your loyal companion. I'm incredibly lucky to have Todd who appreciates me and doesn't take advantage of that or write off my feelings like most of the d-bags I chose to date in the past, but unfortunately there are still an assortment of assholes in my life and I just have to find a way to keep them from getting me down.

I realize that I'm luckier than most in a lot of ways--great family, kids and fiancé (still a weird word), a roof over our heads, cars to drive, and we always have enough of whatever we need to suffice. But my network of friends that have stemmed from the gym have truly been a God-send. Without calling anyone out by name, there are some specific traits that I notice and really admire from some of my favorite people at the gym:
A positive attitude, no matter what the wod or time of day
Another whom I admire for knowing exactly who she is and not letting anyone else tell her otherwise; she has a fuck 'em attitude that I'm totally jealous of
One of the newbies that I've caught smiling during burpees on more than one occasion
The total transformation in not only body, but attitude, that I've personally witnessed in another member
Confidence in me and my abilities, often more than I have in myself

Everyone has something to offer even it's just a lesson in what not to be. Look around and be inspired today, and for God sakes don't let the sucky people take up too much space in your head.

Friday, June 21, 2013


There's a blog post from The Practice that I referenced the other day in my writing. It's called "Sabotage," and it reads like the story of my life. Here's the link if you're interested =>

I've talked about my issues with food countless times; it makes me feel like a drug addict. The unfortunate thing about food is that you can't just give it up like cigarettes, pills or drugs--those things can't be "used responsibly" under any circumstances. Food is inevitable. And it is, without a doubt, my drug of choice. I stress about it, think about it, fight off the urge to eat like shit. Food shouldn't have to be a constant battle, but it is for me. I can go days, weeks, sometimes months and maintain good habits. I can take the boys out for ice cream and just sit there and watch them eat it without even flinching. On those days it feels like will-power is my middle name; I can flex it like a muscle and show it off to the world. But it only takes one moment of weakness, one lick of a Snickers bar is enough to send me careening headfirst over the edge where I wake up in a pile of wrappers with no recollection of how I got there or why the fuck I did that. And every time I get mad, and my clothes don't fit right, and I'm puffy, and I feel ashamed, and I hate myself, and I have to start all over again.

I just get so tired of the internal battle. I work so hard, and even though things may be changing on the outside I still feel the same on the inside so I start thinking "what the hell is the point." For once in my life I want to wake up, look in the mirror, and feel good about what I see for more than just a moment before I start judging. I want to be proud of myself for how far I've come instead of comparing my journey to someone else's. I want to see the positive changes instead of overanalyzing every flaw. I want a healthy mental image instead of continuing to see myself as my former fat self, and I wonder after almost 3 years now if that will ever happen. I want to be comfortable in my own skin. I want to stop being so self-conscious that I critique myself 12 times every time I see a mirror and gauge every single fucking outfit based on "how fat I look." I want to believe the things I tell Brittany about having a positive self image. I want to stop having days where I wonder why my fiancé is even with me. I want to see myself the way so many other people seem to, but to be quite frank I just don't know how anyone can like me when I'm not even happy with myself about 95% of the time. I have deemed myself unworthy far more times than anyone else has counted me out. How can you even begin to succeed when your own worst enemy is yourself?

At this point the only solution I can come up with is as simple as just keep trying. Again, I defer to the post about self-sabotage, and how at the root it is all about the identity we are most comfortable with. Once I stripped away over 100 lbs I lost my shield; somehow (without gaining the weight back) I've managed to continue to use food as my comfort and my crutch, and that addiction is still the reason why I am not yet who I want to be. It gives me something else to blame besides myself for my imperfections. I don't know if any amount of weight lost would necessarily make me happier. In reality I don't think it has anything to do with the number on the scale. I think the issue is mental and emotional, and maybe I'm just afraid that no matter what I do it isn't going to be enough. It's like JB says,
"Familiar discomfort is better than the possibility of unknown pain. Even though that pain may never come."

But nothing changes if nothing changes.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Respect the Coach

Athletics have been an integral part of my life as far back as I can remember. My dad started coaching high school basketball in the MAC when I was just 3 or so, and there have only been a handful of seasons since that he hasn't done so. Growing up I watched he and my uncles coach my brother and cousins through youth baseball, soccer, basketball. This summer is my second year starring in the new role of baseball widow. I absolutely love it all, but you get the drift... I'm seasoned. My dad logged a LOT of hours in the gym when we were growing up (sometimes with us in tow) and for the past two summers I have watched Todd do the same thing, but the frustrating part isn't the time devoted to coaching and subsequent added responsibility for me at home.

No, believe it or not the really irksome thing about the job isn't having 20some baseball games in 30 days or the time and energy and money spent attending; it isn't the nail-biters lost in overtime or the crappy officials that you inevitable run across from time to time. Let me tell you the most embittering thing I've seen from my years in the business: coaching takes an infinite supply of passion, and it can be a really thankless fucking job. Countless hours are devoted to teaching and encouraging, talking to players and parent and other coaches. "In season" doesn't mean a anything, the truth is the season never ends. Open gyms, batting practice, scouting other teams, learning new methods. Finding out who your athletes are and how they respond and the best way to handle 20+ different personalities. And still people bitch and moan, blame the coach for their poor performance, complain about playing time, or talk about what a better job they could do. To say that this makes me salty would be a gross understatement.

This summer I have been blessed with the opportunity to spend a couple days a week helping with a beginners class at the gym, comprised mostly of teachers who are looking to join the Crossfit community. I cannot begin to tell you how impressed I have been over the past several weeks. They ask questions, they have a real desire to be there and to improve every day, they appreciate the directives we give them and want honest feedback on their technique. Teachers have a unique understanding of the plight of the coach because what they do every day is essentially the same thing. I've learned some new things that have made me (I think) a more coachable cf'er since I've been helping--like how it's hard to watch someone make the same mistake over and over, especially after you feel that you've cued them a handful of times (sooo guilty), that you can't let the fear of failure/novelty keep you from trying, and that you don't have to be the best at something to have a good attitude about it. The feeling of investment as a coach is incredibly high, but the payoff is huge if the people you're teaching care even half as much as you do.

Coaches put so much of themselves into their athletes. Please respect their time, their passion, and the fact that they care enough to devote such energy into YOU--energy that they are diverting away from their own families and interests to make your life better.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Recommended Daily

It's been a long time since I found made time to write. The past year has been a whirlwind, lot's of change (mostly for the better) but as we all know I have a tendency to let even the most minimal things sidetrack me from my routine. I think I've found a healthy balance now between my mom/wife-to-be/household-running/family business related responsibilities and the gym and I'm really thankful for that because they're both very powerful in maintaining my mental health and balance. If you think I'm a peach at the 5 am gym class, just wait til you see me after a few weeks of no gym time and eating like garbage... it does NOT paint a pretty picture.

This summer has found me re-energized with the gym. Ash K has graciously allowed me to come and help with her beginners class a couple times a week, I'm getting in WOD's 5-6 days, and I'm even throwing in some goat work at home on running and double unders and the whole plethora of things I suck at. It's rewarding and frustrating as hell at the same time, because I know that if I had been committed enough to keep showing up every day and not peter out every couple weeks/months I'd be so much further right now. Not that I'm not thrilled with my progress and abilities, but I know what I'm capable of, and my friends know what I'm capable of, and at some point it just becomes shameful to have to walk back in there and be like "yeah, I'm back, sorry guys I sucked again."

Not that anyone else should care whether I'm there or not. Ultimately you have to make the decision that you're going to keep working at it and doing your best and just fucking showing up (especially on the days you don't want to) for yourself and NO ONE ELSE. So I guess at the same time that I'm mad at myself, I feel like hey at least I keep showing back up. It's really hard to beat a person who won't give up. Staying motivated seems to be about 95% of the battle for me, so I've been trying to come up with ways to keep myself on the straight-and-narrow this time around. If it helps me maybe it'll help someone else, so here ya go:

Immersion in all things Crossfit.
When I'm bored I watch videos on YouTube about Oly lifts, sometimes I make notes. My form isn't nearly as good as it should be because I spent too much time in the beginning trying to be the fastest instead of trying to do it right. BUT I've learned a lot, and it's definitely getting a lot better! Crossfit blogs are pretty awesome too--The Practice in Troy and Crossfit Lisbeth both have badass posts all the time, serving up a daily dose of awesomeness. There's one post in particular that I read all the time at called "Sabotage" (probably because it feels like I could have written it word. for. word.) Check em out, it's a good read!

Don't be Afraid to Suck.
Some days at the gym, I feel like I just suck at everything. Oly lifts are my favorite because I can move heavy weight, but who cares if you can deadlift a bear if you can't even do a handstand or a pull-up. I mean I suck at so many simple, body-weight movements that it's overwhelming to even list them all! So instead of letting it drive me crazy I started working on a different one every week. And there's no shame in asking for help. You come into this group of people who look more like gods than humans and it's really intimidating, even for someone like me who has been in the fold for a long time. I let my fear of trying and sucking keep me from actually DOING a lot of things for a long time (in the gym and my personal life), but here's the harsh reality of the situation: Either you embrace the suck, or you grow stagnant. End of story, simple as that. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!

Get Involved!
Do stuff! Show up to class every day, go out running or practice things at home, see how the things you do at the gym transfer over to your life outside in the world and at home. I do box jumps on the brick patio wall outside my house or hurl my boys around above my head every night at bedtime. Signing up for Crossfit competitions (BATR is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had, hands down), or other physical tests as simple as a 5k can show you just how far you've come in your health and it gives you added motivation to stay the course because you're always preparing for the next big thing.

The truth is, I don't have all the answers. What I have learned has generally always been a result of trial and error (and error, and error, and error, and error....etc... you get the picture). Some days, especially during those first few weeks back, I literally had to tell myself every morning to just keep showing up. It isn't always easy.. sometimes I'm tired or I ate like shit the day before or I just have a piss-poor attitude, but I know that if I can convince myself in that 15 second window to haul my ass out of bed and get ready for the gym then my day, and ultimately my life, is going to get that much better.