Sunday, April 26, 2015

Are we there yet?

Remember being younger and your parents tell you you're going on a trip in the car? How long did it take before you were asking "Are we there yet?" According to my mother on trips to visit my grandparents in Quincy, MA about the time we hit the Orleans exit on I91 I was asking if we were there yet. Keep in mind we got on I91 in Newport. I am very surprised I actually lived through my childhood.

I've said it before: I am not a very patient person. When I want something I want it now. I can wait, but I'm not gracious about it.

So let me be honest right now: I want to be "there" in my journey. Not that I'm not enjoying the moments on the journey, I'm trying to at least. I don't even know where "there" is. I used to think being there meant a number on the scale, now I'm not so sure. Now I think there might be the number of pounds I can lift. 600 is a really nice, even number, but what if I can lift more than that?

I'm not sure I should be allowed to have vacation time. Not that it wasn't great getting in an extra group fit class and an extra Yoga Corr class, but when I wasn't working out I was at loose ends. There's a possibility I watched way more "reality TV" than is good for anyone. There's also a good chance that I saw the show "Botched" and several tummy tucks.

The idea is appealing, I'll admit that right now. All the loose skin gone, with liposuction to get rid of some fat. Yes it did show botched tummy tucks, but then the mistakes were fixed. Fortunately I don't have the money to get anything tucked and even if I did I don't like hospitals or surgery. Please...it takes me two years to schedule an annual physical. How likely do you think it is that I'm going to willingly submit to cosmetic surgery??

It's vain, that's another strike against it. Yes, I want a body that looks good in clothes, but it feels stupid, vain and pointless. I have a good idea that no matter what my body looks like I still won't like it. It's hard to like something that looks exactly like it did 60 pounds ago. We've been over that before though, let's not beat that to death again today.

So as intrigued as I was by the idea of "fixing" the body I have now it isn't going to happen. My fix will be much slower and I know there will always be things about my body I don't like and want to change. Even if it looks good to everyone else I'll be hyper focused on the flaws.

So what else did I do during my vacation besides binge watch reality TV? I worked out of course. Nine workouts in one week. It was almost 10, because Friday's group fit class was "Metal Health" and I LOVED it.

Since the Pride Games I've been trying to apply common sense to my workouts. I certainly could have gone back to Pride Fitness Performance on Friday morning for the 9 am class, Tyler might have asked me again if I wanted a part-time job, but he wouldn't have refused to let me participate. I could have flipped the tire, pulled the prowler, squatted with heavy kettlebells and tried to better my time in the finisher gauntlet. Chances are I would have been fine. The thing about that is as much as I am trying not to think too much about it Tough Mudder is coming up. In a little more than a month I will be starting my third Tough Mudder. I really can't afford any injuries right now.

Hauling my butt up and down Mount Snow will be hard, even if I had a tiny, perfect little hard body it would still be hard to haul it up and down the mountain. A good thing about Tough Mudder is when you get to an obstacle you usually get a chance to breathe for a minute or two while you wait your turn. I'm excited to complete the course with my team and I'm nervous. You see, my trainer will be there and I want to make him proud.

There's also my pesky habit of bursting into tears after I cross the finish line. Maybe this year I'll have whoever comes along as support crew carry tissues so I'm not soaking anyone's shoulder. Or I'll do what I did last year and hold it together until I get in the shower then sob to my heart's content with no one the wiser. Okay so those of you on my team who are reading this have now been warned: there will be tears.

Why the tears? If I'm going to cry at any time I should probably cry at the beginning when I think of slogging up and down the mountain for 10-12 miles, not at the end when it's over and I'm not too much worse for the wear. Go back to the title of the blog, I ask myself that question a lot as I move along the course. Mostly because there are points when I'm sure I can't go one more mile or one more foot. The best I can do is put one foot in front of the other and convince myself that I do have one more step. Then there comes the point when the anxiety builds and I can't get in a full breath and it's hard to breathe out. By the time I get to the end of the course I've pushed my body beyond what I ever dreamed it could accomplish. Combine the anxiety, the enormity of the task and the relief it is over and I don't think it's any wonder there are tears.

I'm not there yet, wherever there might be. I don't even have a hazy idea in mind of how I will know when I am "there". As impatient as I am the journey is kind of fun. I've picked up a great crew of people to support and encourage me. I've been lucky to work work with amazing trainers who know how to push me just far enough without pushing me over the edge. I'm leaving behind some of the negative thoughts and voices and other "garbage" that won't serve me while I discover who I really am.

Thanks for reading!




Saturday, April 18, 2015

Battles

I have a confession.

Not much of a hook, but it's true. I don't really think it's much of a confession...anyone who has known me for more than 5 minutes knows this about me: I fight my body. I like to say I'm not a super model and I never will be. I even know the super models don't really look like the airbrushed, photo shopped perfection we see on magazine covers.

The sad truth is, I WANT to have a perfect body.

I've done a lot of thinking about my body since last Saturday. I feel in many ways like I am constantly fighting it. I want it to be lean and slender. I say being strong matters to me and it does, but there's still that desire to have a body nature didn't bless me with and likely won't be giving me.

I should probably sit down, throw my tantrum and accept that I don't have a lean runner's body. My body seems much more suited to heavy lifting and I LOVE that type of work more than just about anything. I should be thankful that I am more fit, more healthy and so much stronger than I started out. What I should feel and reality are world's apart.

When asked last July what some of my goals were for buddy training I said that someday I wanted to run a half-marathon. At the time another voice in my head wanted to scream "HELL NO: I want to enter a strongman competition and show the boys who's boss!". I guess in my mind I've always thought I'd know I'd reached some level of fitness when I could run 13.1 miles.

I want my body to be something other than what it is. I want to be tall and lean, instead of feeling short and squat. I don't want powerful legs: I want thin legs. Everyone wants something they don't have, I know that and I want to accept the body I have, but I dig in my heels and refuse.

Here's another "confession" (or another moment you might want to slap me in the back of the head and say "DUH! I knew that!!"). I find the body I have ugly. I could dredge up childhood, point out all the times the man who should have supported me and encouraged me told me I was fat and I'd never be anything but fat then laughed at me when I said I wanted to ride horses and told me no horse would ever have strong enough legs to carry me. Oops, looks like I did dredge that up. The truth is, my father said those things to me, but I chose to take them to heart and believe them. I was the one who decided that what an angry, depressed alcoholic said to me was the truth and should be front and center in my mind at all times. I can't change what he said, but I sure as hell can control my thoughts and actions.

I've decided that running a half-marathon really isn't a goal for me. I will continue with 5Ks and I think I will try a 10K at some point, but really my body doesn't seemed designed to run. I can run and I'm grateful for that, but it is not an activity I love, it's probably time to stop fighting that and focus on the things I do love.

Which brings me to what my body seems designed for: lifting. I know I can't just dead lift, push the prowler or flip tires all the time. I know to get better I need to work on my balance, mobility and agility. I need to do the core work that is so hard for me and yep, I even need to run and do other exercises designed to increase my endurance. To my way of thinking, and I could be wrong, anything I do to improve my body can only help my strength. I know if I'm wrong about that I have some fitness professionals in my life who will let me know and point me in the right direction. Dead lifting 550 pounds is great, but if doing so makes my back ache for weeks I'm not doing myself any good, so I need a strong core. I won't promise not to whine and complain, but I will work on the v-sits, hold planks and do the core work.

My idea of beauty might not include the body I see in the mirror every day, but even I have to admit my body is strong and powerful. Perhaps I need to stop fighting it at every turn, get on board with my nutrition and make the body I was blessed with the best it can be. Lord knows not eating in the calorie range I've been told would be best for my activity level hasn't given me that lean body I desperately want. I need to stop trying to starve my body into what I want it to be. I need to stop wishing there was a pill that I could take and make all the fat go away and the loose skin disappear. I need to trust the entire process, not just the parts I want to.

So, if you are reading this TT, I am going to stop digging in my heels and being passive aggressive when you offer advice and direction. Trust doesn't come easily, but trusting the process with my workouts has yielded results I couldn't imagine. It's time I trust the process with nutrition as well. There might be whining and complaining, in fact I can pretty much guarantee you there will be, but I am going to take the step out of my comfort zone and extend that trust.


Now on with your day! It's beautiful out there and I feel the call of some yard work while I watch Abbey race, play and add to her stick collection.



Thanks for reading.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Pride Games

Today I participated in the first Pride Games. What an AMAZING experience. It's been awhile since I've put myself out there for any kind of competition. I LOVED it. Of course, there were dead lifts, tire flips and the prowler. As competitive as I am, I did something that makes me even prouder today. I recognized I DO have limits and there are times it is wiser to step away and save it for another day.

When the events for the Pride Games were first posted I wasn't sure there was anything I could do. At the time I was sore, achy and (big surprise) down on myself. I'm down on myself a lot. It's just not okay. I have so much to offer and I don't because I worry if I can't be perfect I'm not going to be good enough. I've recognized that for a long time now, but change is hard. I step out of my comfort zone a lot, but when it comes to the way I think about myself and the way I talk to myself I don't step outside a comfort zone that should be incredibly uncomfortable. I guess some lessons and words stay with us for a very long time.

Anyhow, back to the Pride Games. They were so much fun, even if I missed part of the warm up because my sense of how long it takes to get places isn't as well-developed as it could be. The first event was one I knew wouldn't be my best, but I was going to try the Handstand Holds.

I am proud to report I held my handstand for 50 seconds. The very first time I ever did one I couldn't hold it more than 10 seconds. I hated them. I was upside down, my shoulders hurt and all I could do was worry what would happen when I fell. I didn't think about that today, when it started to hurt I came down from the handstand, no drama. I dropped first, but I'm fine with that. 50 seconds is great when 10 seconds used to be stretching it.

Next was tire flips with the 330 pound tire. LOVE THEM!!! Ten tire flips for time, I was all over that. I finished my ten flips in 46 seconds. Would have been less if I hadn't tripped over the tire after one of my flips, but 46 seconds was an amazing time. I tied with one of the guys competing for second. We had a choice of 10 more flips or 5 for time. He picked 5 and I agreed. I finished my 5 flips in 19 seconds. I came in second in the tire flip event. YES!!!

My next event was "Da Beast" or Tractor Tire Dead lifts. One of the times I stepped into the tire to prep for my lift I made the comment "THIS is my happy place". I mentioned in my last post that I've always been strong. I guess today more of my friends realized how strong. My final lift was 550 pounds, 330 pounds of tire and 120 pounds of dumbbells. I think I could have lifted more, but I exercised my common sense too and said that was my cut-off. I'd like to add that was my cut off for today, not forever. I intend to lift that tractor tire again. I won "Da Beast" and I had some stiff competition.

After that I had The Prowler push. My max push today was 700 pounds. I started pushing 752 pounds, but halfway through I knew it was too much. Yes, I'm pretty sure I could have forced the issue and finished, but it felt like a bad idea. A possibly injury inducing bad idea and I DON'T want to be injured. I am not patient with injury.

Once again, I was in a tie for second place. The sudden death this time was a push for time. I made it in 8.9 seconds, Brandon made it in 8.5 seconds. Me: I'm thrilled with pushing 700 pounds.

My last event was the Alpha Lion gauntlet. A Farmer's carry with the 100 pound KB, drop that. Pick up the dummy (or Mr. Big Stuff, as the 5:30 am crew call him) and carry him back to the start. Drop him. Do 30 push ups, making sure your chest touches the floor and you lift your hands off the floor each rep and then flip the 525 pound tire. Piece of cake...

I made 2 attempts, but just couldn't get that 525 pound tire to flip. The old me would have been FURIOUS with the failure. I wasn't thrilled, but I recognized what I had done: I'd done 60 push ups. I'd made a good showing and the tire was about not being able to figure out a good grip and how to coordinate the press and leg movement, not about not being strong enough. I will get it figured out, then watch out guys: I'm coming for you.

I didn't win the Pride Games, but I never went into it thinking I would. Congratulations to Pat Williams, who was the winner. He was amazing. Everyone who entered was amazing. I am fortunate to know such a strong, kind, supportive group of people.

I entered to test my strength, to better myself and to have fun with my friends. I accomplished all three goals. I think I finally also saw a glimpse of who I really am. I'm not 309 pounds anymore, I'm physically stronger than I thought and I'm learning to listen to my body. Time to move out of that uncomfortable comfort zone I've lived in and be the woman I really am.

Tractor Tire Dead Lift "This is my happy place."




Thanks for reading!



Sunday, April 5, 2015

I Wish...

I read a blog last night that really caught my attention and made me think about the journey I'm on. I've been impatient lately and extremely critical of everything I do. Nothing feels good enough, my best effort just pisses me off. We won't even get into the fact that not being able to get to 2000 meters in 10 minutes on the rowing machine made me burst into tears while I rolled and stretched a tender groin muscle. WHAT THE HELL??!

Have I learned NOTHING in 4 years?

Enough ranting...back to the blog. The title was "8 Things I Wish I Knew When I First Started Working Out" (the link if you are interested in reading the post is https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/8-things-i-wish-i-knew-when-i-first-started-working-out/ ). In case I didn't get the link quite right it is also on my Facebook wall so you can find it. It was written by Shannon Clark and she makes perfect sense. I plan to reread that blog often (read daily) until I get my head screwed on straight and my attitude adjusted.

I suppose I should be thankful that I at least realize I'm being ridiculous. There is so much I can do that wasn't possible 4 years ago. I should celebrate that.


I wish I could be patient.

I shouldn't be looking across the studio to see someone else pushing the prowler with more weight than I did when it was my turn. I need to trust the process and I do know my trainer knows what's best. If that prowler isn't being loaded down for me there is a reason and I need to trust him on that. I shouldn't worry that valslide tucks are just as hard as they have always been, I should think about being able to hold a 3 minute plank or almost a minute handstand. With the handstand, what I probably really should celebrate is that when I came out of it I didn't kick either one of my partners. I'm strong, I'm not graceful or coordinated, but I'm improving.

I have always been strong, capable of lifting heavy things, it was just something I did. When family members moved it was me they looked to for help with the sofas or bureaus. I could lift, but I didn't have a clue about good form. I had years of backaches and muscle strains to prove that. Another thing I didn't understand was thinking it through: I was a jump in and muscle through it girl. If that file cabinet wouldn't move the way I wanted it to, I just pushed harder. Step back and scope out the situation? Umm...that would take time and patience. The result of that approach: scrapes, cuts, bruises and muscle strains.

There's something to be thankful for right there: I've learned patience and I practice good form every time. I probably annoy people who are waiting for me to pick up my end of the furniture so we can get on with things, but I am a stickler for being sure I'm lifting properly. Before it didn't matter, there was only that furniture to move. Now I know beyond the sofa I'm moving there are deadlifts to perform, prowlers to push, tires to be flipped and mountains to climb and come back down. I'm no longer willing to jeopardize future performance to make the task at hand go faster.


I wish I could be confident in myself and my abilities.

I have two months and one day to go until my third Tough Mudder and my third meeting with Mount Snow. I would love to tell you that I know I can do it and I am confident I will be ready. The truth is I am just as nervous now as I was the first time. When I think about it the butterflies kick in. So I try not to think about it.

Race day will come and I will be where I am, I will be who I am. I will give everything I have to give and I will cross that finish line. Whatever happens on the course I can guarantee I will cross the finish line.

Beyond Tough Mudder I want to be more confident in general. I don't think my ego will get out of control if I recognize there are things I do and do well.


I wish, sometimes, that I could see what's ahead. 

I love this journey, I'm not saying I'm done with it. Of course there are parts of it I am more than done with and there were people I dealt with along the journey I hope never to see again. In fact, not to put too fine a point on it: if I never see those people again it will be just spectacular with me. Sometimes I just wish I had a map so I could see the bumps in the road coming. I KNOW that's not possible, but let me have a few moments with my rose-colored glasses in my fantasy world.  I know the measure of who I am as a person is how I deal with the unexpected. A little less unexpected might be a nice touch, but I'm fairly certain my wants and needs aren't the most important in the world.


So there you have it...how I can take a blog post someone wrote on what she wishes she had known when she started working out and turn it into what I wish for when I can't shut my mind off enough to go to sleep.

Happy Easter everyone.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Running Away or Running To?

Another Saturday and I'm posting another thought that's been interrupting my sleep all week. You would think as much thinking as I need to do during my work day and as many workouts as I put in I'd sleep like a baby. HA! I sleep like a woman sharing a bed with a boxer bedhog and 2 feline bedhogs. Which really means I am often woken up by one or another of my furry menaces trying to push me out of their way. Did I mention the Boxer snores? She does, loudly. If you're thinking that I could refuse to let them sleep with me you'd be right, I could do that. The fact is I won't because I am a hopeless sucker for my animals.

There I go, off on another tangent. I suppose the silver lining to three bedhogs in my bed is I have lots of time to ponder thoughts that I wouldn't have time for during the day. So that brings us to this week's thought: Am I running away from something or running to something?

As recently as a month ago I would have told you I was running away. I was running away from being the "fat girl" and running away from things that made me uncomfortable or afraid. Great things were happening while I was running away, I'm not complaining. I was getting more fit and healthier and bit by tiny bit I was changing my mindset. The past is long over and done, I can't change it, end of story. No matter how many pounds or inches I lose history won't change.

Things changed this week. No there was not a moment when I had some huge breakthrough and everything became clear to me. This isn't Hollywood and my life isn't a movie. Good thing too, I'd fire my hair person...the mop is totally out of control most days. There may not have been some huge lightning strike with angels singing, but as the week progressed and I looked back and reflected on the things I had done I saw a difference. More importantly I felt different.

Monday I spoke with a friend and made plans to return "home" for a workout. Up until that moment I wanted to go back to Fortitude Fitness Systems and train under Ben, but I didn't. All I could remember were OCR classes when I would drive home crying because I still felt like I'd lost something. Monday I realized that simply wasn't true, I didn't lose a thing I gained another man I can trust completely. I won. So I made the plans and I felt like a kid waiting for Christmas all week long. More on that in a bit.

Wednesday during Muscle Hour we were working on BB snatches. We started with the PVC pipes and when I tried one my shoulder hurt. Not the left one I tried to crush tumbling, but the right one. I thought about ignoring it and just muscling through, but I've been spoken to about that and I was honest: it hurt. So while I watched other people practice with the barbells I did overhead squats. Overhead squats are a weakness and I could have been whiny and done a few then sulked, but I didn't. When you're 44 it's seriously unbecoming to act like a two-year old who didn't get her way. I practiced those squats over and over and over. Someday I might actually be good at them.

Thursday was buddy-less Buddy Training day, aka personal training. I did some work to stretch out my shoulders and then I got a core circuit. Have I mentioned that I am not a big fan of core work? Yes I understand that it will help me in so many ways, but we've established I am worse than a little kid in a lot of ways and I don't want to do what is hard for me. Luckily I am also a good little teacher's pet and Tyler told me to do it, so I was going to do it.

I found that it was hard, that it hurt, that I wanted to quit, but I didn't. It helped A LOT that I had Tyler close by reminding me it was temporary and to fight through it, but the push to finish what I started had to come from me. I could have quit, when I got to the 90 second plank at the end I was pretty sure I was going to quit. I hung on for 30 second intervals and eventually it ended. I was well rewarded for the core work: I got to deadlift the tractor tire and then use it for some farmer carries. Happy times...wish I'd thought to ask for some pictures or video of that. Next time.

Friday I went "home". No, Lyndonville is not home, but I went back to Fortitude Fitness Systems where it all started. I got to train under Ben again. It was familiar and I loved it. There were no moments when it was painful or hard to be there. I felt comfortable and welcome. I realized again how thankful I was for the solid foundation I was given. I took what I learned and applied it, but someone had to take the time to work through the walls and the defenses to be able to teach me. Last night I hope he saw the fruits of all his hard work.

I'm not done, not by a long shot. I'm trying out my wings and soaring under someone new. He didn't have an easy job with me at the start either. I put the walls up and stood behind them following directions and doing my best, but not completely trusting the process. It took time, but I came around. Thanks for your patience with me Tyler.

This morning I completed Saturday Morning Sweat. My eighth workout for the week. I feel good about the hang tucks I did and my box jumps. Maybe I only did two or three box jumps per round, but they were good jumps. I landed as lightly as I could and stuck my landing. I won't be the fastest box jumper around, but I'm determined to do them well.

I'm not running away from the hard stuff anymore. I might not be eagerly running to things that are hard, but I get there, gather my courage and do what I set out to do. The negative voices of the past are fading out. I have moments where the past crashes in, but it's only a moment, I can brace myself and come out just fine on the other side. I always could, I just didn't believe it.

I'll be 45 next week and I can't wait. Some things get better with age: I'm one of them. Just watch me!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Be What You Are

I first encountered this phrase on a mini bumper sticker I had to buy. I don't know why at that moment in time it was so important to me to have it, but it was. It was before I started this journey, but I wonder if that was the day I finally decided it was time to live life and stop hiding.

For a long time that phrase bothered me. I always felt it should say "Be Who You Are". I've been pondering it a lot this week and I think it said exactly the right thing. That little rectangle of black with white lettering has taken up a great deal of space in my thoughts so it's time for me to dump all of the thoughts here and hope I make sense.

What am I?

I'm not sure that answer is much different than describing who I am. I am a daughter, friend, sister, aunt, teacher, pet mama, Tough Mudder, student and a dozen other things that escape me at the moment. What if the answer to the question goes deeper than that?

What am I beneath the surface labels?

I am an introvert. I like people, I have friends, but I am never truly comfortable in big groups. I prefer small groups of people I know well who understand and accept I won't be the nonstop talker. I admire people who are outgoing and draw energy from those around them, but that is not who I am. I can start and carry on conversations, but I truly prefer to listen. Or write. Sit me down with paper or in front of a computer and the words pour out. What I lack in conversational skills I make up for in my writing ability. Apparently I have a well-developed ego too.

I am determined. I did the college right after high school thing and discovered it wasn't for me, so I left and went to work. I worked at a number of different retail jobs before I decided that was NOT going to be the rest of my life. There is nothing wrong with that work, but I was not good at it. I didn't believe the customer was always right and I was not a good enough actress to pretend I did. I became a paraprofessional working with a multiply handicapped student. It was the hardest, and at times, the most frustrating thing I had ever done and I loved it. I went back to college and put myself through the elementary education/special education program at Lyndon State College. My heart is in special education and since my graduation I have been a special educator.

I am cautious. I'm not a fan of putting myself in situations I can't plan from start to finish. Quite the statement from a person who has signed up for her third Tough Mudder. I still remember how I felt after my first one. I was exhausted, sore, crying on the shoulder of anyone who would stand still long enough and under it all I knew I was doing another one. Who knew someone who likes plans and consistency could be an adrenaline junkie too?

I am definitely judgmental. Especially with myself. I want perfection. I can say it's about progress, not perfection and I absolutely mean it for other people, but I don't apply that to myself. If I can't do something as well as I think I should I am deeply disappointed. I'm getting better. I have accepted that the person others see when they look at me is never the person I am going to see and it's okay. I'd like to see the woman others see, but I'm content that I can look at the person in the mirror and not cringe.

I am a work in progress. Sometimes I'm just a hot mess, but usually I am a work in progress. Two steps forward and one step back, but still a work in progress.

I forgive hurts. It takes time, sometimes a long time, but everyone deserves forgiveness, yes EVERYONE. Forgiving someone doesn't mean forgetting the hurt, in some cases forgetting would be impossible. Forgiving to me means I am taking control, I am deciding the situation or that moment in time no longer defines who I am or what I am. It will forever be part of my history, but it is NOT part of my future or my present.

I am strong, physically and emotionally. Did you know strong people sometimes cry? Did you know when you cry and other people see you the world doesn't end? I KNOW-right? Okay, so maybe that wasn't a revelation to anyone else, but it's been a game changer for me. Not that I burst into tears at the drop of a hat, but there have been a few times recently when the tears have come and I haven't bolted...oddly enough the people around me when the tears came didn't bolt either. Don't worry, I am not going to become one of those people who cries at everything and tries to use tears to manipulate. My stepfather used to tell me that tears washed away negative feelings and stress. I admit I thought he was nuts, but he did have a point.

What I am most of all is a woman on a journey. There are peaks and valleys, sometimes in the same day. There are days I'm sure I lost the map and times I know there isn't a map at all and I'm making this up as I go. Whatever the case may be I am surrounded by amazing, inspiring, strong people.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Competition

I didn't think I was that competitive, I was fooling myself. I may well be flexible, giving and caring, but give me the proper circumstances and my competitive side rises. I don't think there's anything wrong with being competitive, it's not like I start trash talking people or being a nasty jerk.

So what brought out my competitive side this week? Muscle Hour at Pride Fitness Performance in part. I LOVE that class. I want to learn more about Olympic lifts and I want to work on my form. Let's face it: if it is heavy I must lift it or flip it. Tell me we're going to work on deadlifts and you have my attention and eager participation. That happened Wednesday evening. We worked on dumbbell snatches and the board also said deadlifts. Deadlifts? If I were my dog Abbey my ears would have stood at attention and I probably would have been doing her whole body wiggle. Thankfully for the rest of the class and the instructor I am not able to behave like an over-excited Boxer. If I have given you any mental images you could have lived without I am deeply sorry.

We practiced our snatches first. The snatch part I'm not so bad at, the squat part...UGH! Overhead squats are such a weakness, but this post isn't about that. I could write a million entries on my weaknesses. Today it's competition. So back on track...

While we were still working on snatches Tyler had us come into the Weight Cave to try our deadlifts. Yes, I almost skipped in when it was my turn. My first lift was 225 pounds for 5 reps. I'll be honest, that felt heavy and I considered calling it right there and just going back to the snatches and working on my overhead squat. I decided against it, because really 225 wasn't that heavy and I wanted to see if I could lift 315 pounds again. That was my personal record (PR) for a deadlift until Wednesday evening.

My next set of deadlifts was 275 I think, then 295. Then my PR came up 315 pounds. I noticed Tyler stuck around for that set of deadlifts, For the others he was watching me, but also coaching others in the class. I lifted 315 pounds and it didn't feel any heavier than the 225 had, I really need to ponder that more. That made me feel GREAT. I remember the first time I ever deadlifted 315 pounds with Ben, it was the heaviest thing I could ever imagine lifting and it was HARD. Super hard, my bladder might have let go a little in fact. Yes, yes, that was TMI, but it was honest.

I figured we would be done after that round of lifting, but Tyler said we would do one more round and he added 30 pounds to the bar. Yep, I was going to see if I could deadlift 345 pounds, I did do the math in my head a few times while I waited for my turn and tried to talk the little voice in my head into shutting up and not showing gruesome images of me ripping my arms out of their sockets when I tried to lift the bar. I was pretty sure nothing that dramatic would happen, but not positive.

Then it was my turn. It was about then that I finally noticed what Tyler had been doing in the Weight Cave with the marker. The deadlift board moved in there and had been empty up until that night. Now there were initials and numbers up there. Many under the "200 Club" heading and three under the "300 Club" heading. My initials and two other men with 315 pounds.

Hmmm...so much for not being competitive because there was no way in hell I was not going to lift that 345 pounds. Not that I need to be the best, not that I have anything against men, but I had to do it.

To shorten this up so you can get back to your day: I was able to successfully lift 345 pounds. So were the two other men. I was proud of my accomplishment for sure, and I was proud of everyone else. I remember the first time I got to deadlift and how empowering it was to lift more than I thought I could.

I rediscovered my competitive side on Wednesday, but I also discovered I don't need to be the center or the "best". I need to do the best I can do and not being as good as the person next to me or across the room from me is not losing. My biggest competition has always and will always live inside me, right between my ears as a matter of fact.

My competition likes to tell me I'm not good enough, or smart enough and is happy to point out that everyone else can do things I can't. I have figured her out though, when I point out what I CAN do and DO do well there is silence.

I've said it before: I may never be the best or the fastest, I may not be the teacher's pet or the instructor's favorite. I will be consistent, I will give my best effort and I will offer my support and encouragement whenever I can. Life is too short to need to be better than everyone else. I want to be a strong support, not a shining star. That's my path and I accept it.

Thanks for reading! The next time I'm at my happy place (in less than 12 hours), I will take a picture of the deadlift board and post it.

So I need to learn how to center things before I take a picture, but you get the idea.