Monday, November 23, 2015


I've been able to feel proud of myself. I'm learning to own my strength. I'm working on developing my confidence. I am even trying to be okay with what I can't do.

A friend told me that someday she wants me to say I am beautiful and mean it. Umm...beautiful? I don't think I'm hideously ugly, is that good enough? Knowing this friend it wouldn't be.

I am strong, I can see it. I am becoming comfortable accepting compliments on my strength. I know I am not the strongest woman out there, but I'm stronger than I ever imagined. Part of owning my strength has been learning to be content with who I am and where I am. I don't need to be the best. I just need to be better than I was yesterday. I need to give 100% to everything I attempt or am asked to do. I am even learning to accept that my 100% won't be the same every day. It can't be. Some days I will PR, other days it will be enough to finish without giving Tyler a gold star.

There are adjectives I am comfortable using to describe myself. Strong- yep, that one works. Smart- sure. Most days I don't come across as a babbling idiot. Determined-it's a synonym for stubborn so I definitely need to own that one. Kind- I strive to be kind, some days with a lot more success than others. Patient- ooh boy. Let's stop while I'm ahead.

Beautiful. That is not a word I am comfortable applying to myself. If other people wish to describe me and use that word I might be able to bite my tongue hard enough to stop myself after I say thank you. Actually let's be honest: I am most comfortable in clothes that complete hide and conceal my shape. I do wear form fitting clothing when I work out, but I'm not comfortable. I spend a great deal of time tugging my shirts down, wishing I could stretch them out more.

To the dear, sweet friend who wants me to call myself beautiful and mean it. I'm growing, I'm changing, I'm getting better every day, but I don't feel beautiful. I'll let everyone draw their own conclusions and I'll do my best to be polite.

I will leave you with some pictures of women I consider beautiful and me. Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 13, 2015


What happens when you finally decide enough is enough? When you realize all the hate and anger you direct at yourself isn't doing anything but killing your fledgling self-esteem inch by inch? When you step into an unfamiliar place and realize you are more scared then you have ever been in your life and all you want to do is run?

Someone commented earlier this week that I bury my demons deep and fight them on my own. Guilty as charged. I have learned to look to my friends for support, but I still insist on fighting the demons on my own. After the battle I turn to my support system and cry on the nearest shoulder before going off to lick my wounds.

Sometimes the battle doesn't leave wounds. It seems like it should, especially if its a demon that's been a part of me for many years. It seems it should leave huge, gaping wounds. Sometimes, or at least this time, the demon went down without any fight at all.  Healing happens when we aren't paying attention. Or so I've decided after some thought. All right...all right: I have been over thinking this since early Sunday morning.

For my squats last week I had three spotters, two flanking the barbell, ready to take it if I couldn't come back up and one behind me. Yes, I did say one behind me. I hate people being behind me, and someone I don't know spotting me from behind has long been a no-no in my book. I had the option of asking one of my coaches to spot me, but I decided against that. Tyler and Dane have taught me well. Tyler has pushed me outside my comfort zone when he could, just far enough to be sure I'd grow, never far enough to make me retreat. I wanted him to see just how far I've come. So sue me: I want to be the teacher's pet, or in this case, the coach's pet. I wanted both of them to be proud of me.

To be honest, of all the things that scared me last Saturday, being spotted from behind by someone I didn't know wasn't even on the radar. Let me give you a brief-ish rundown of what was on my radar.

1. There were at least 20 people there cheering me on...ME. Cheering for me...WTF??? When did I become a "cool kid"??

2. Dane helped me pick my weights for my rounds, but what if he way over estimated my ability? I couldn't let him down- I couldn't.

3. Tyler was there...what if I blew it completely??

4. Ben was there....again, what if I blew it?

5. I had two eggs for breakfast and a quarter cup of almonds to eat all day...that didn't seem like enough fuel. Would I be able to rally? (The granola bar I ate that stayed with me about 45 minutes didn't really count)

6. Nausea...When your childhood nickname is "The Vomit Comet" nausea is a concern. Besides the gold stars weren't in the bag with the rest of my gear.

7. Did I mention what if I couldn't do it?

8. When exactly did I forget other people would be doing this too?

9. Judges?? Seriously, did I not read the rules???

10. Could anyone else see my hands shaking and knees knocking? What if I couldn't even get the bar off the rack, or worse: I couldn't lift it off the ground.

Turns out I could do it and I did do it. I think I may have even made some people take notice.

I learned some things on Saturday, November 7, 2015. I finally recognized that I AM a force to be reckoned with. I knew I was strong, but I didn't know how strong. I experienced a completely new feeling. Not only was I proud of myself, but I felt confident. I knew that 352.74 pounds was coming off the floor. Adrenaline is a wonderful thing and I've experienced it before so I know it played a part.  Along with the adrenaline was a completely new feeling: confidence. The confidence that not only could I do it, but that I WOULD do it was brand new. There was a brief moment of worry that the confidence would be unfounded or that I would become an egomaniac, but I know how to rein myself in and I will. I am not a diva, I am not going to become an egomaniac. I know what I can do, I have no burning desire to rub other people's noses in it.

When confronted by someone recently who said "I bet you think you're pretty strong" I was able to respond "I don't think I'm strong: I KNOW I'm strong". I wasn't bragging, I wasn't trying to start anything with the other person. I was stating a fact and then I went back to the report I was writing. I won't ever apologize for being strong. By the same token I will not be goaded into something I don't want. I am too smart and too old to be baited.

The final demon has been well and truly slain. Let's see just where I can go when I am finally in my own corner. I don't expect to be the best at everything, but I have already seen a new level of determination and focus in myself. I don't always succeed (that 100 pound slam ball infuriates me), but I don't get angry or give up. I do my best and I will bide my time. I will absorb the training and correction, I will give all I have when it is asked of me. At the end of the day I will be the best I am capable of being and I will be enough. I will relish the fist bumps and high fives and allow myself to feel proud of what this body can do.

I am worthy. I am enough. I always have been, I was just slow getting to the party. I'm here now: let's do this!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Team Kim

I don't even know where to begin this post. I honestly don't. Normally I am so comfortable sitting in front of my laptop and pouring my thoughts and feelings out. The crazies enjoy the chance to come out and play. Today there is so much to say and I'm not sure I'm eloquent enough to say it.

So I'll start with this. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to Tyler, Kayla, Dane, Jen, Nikki, Carole, Sylvie, Lisa, Eric, Hailey, Ami, Cheryl, Gretchen, Ben, Nedah, Jackie Z., Jackie B., Jennifer, Tom and Heather for trekking to Burlington to watch me compete. I hope I didn't forget anyone, if I did please know it is not intentional. You are all my heroes, my inspiration and the best friends I could ever wish for. Thank you to Vermont Powerlifting for making this rank newbie feel comfortable.

Old School Iron Wars was my introduction  to the world of powerlifting. I'm hooked. I was hooked after my first squat.

Prior to that I was just plain terrified. I was on the verge of tears, nauseated and, in my mind at least, completely out of my league. I got an email from my coach after I'd checked in and changed and it was all I could do not to lose it. He said some wonderfully kind things, and the killer "We're almost there." Such a simple sentence to provoke tears. Then while the meet director was going over the rules I saw more of my friends coming in, including my first coach and I had to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from crying again.

My opening squat was not pretty, by the way. The judge needed to remind me to step back out of the rack before I nodded. I forgot to keep my eyes up and my hands were shaking even while they were wrapped around the barbell. I finally got it together enough to step back, nod and get the squat command.

Once I squatted it clicked. I swear I heard a click, maybe it was just my creaky left knee protesting. I was still nervous, but less so. It wasn't much different than squatting in the weight cave at Pride. Dane and Tyler were close by watching, studying my form and when I racked the bar I got a high five and a fist bump. Maybe I could do this after all.

My second and third rounds I felt less nervous. My hands weren't shaking anyway, though my stomach was still rolling unpleasantly. I got a PR on my last round. 259 pounds, thank you very much. I was hooked from that moment.

The bench press was my second event. No PR there, but I knew that going in. Dane and I had already discussed it. He and Tyler still coached and supported, but there was no pressure. Rounds 2 and 3 were much easier after I was reminded to keep my elbows in so there was less pressure on my still cranky shoulder.

The last event was my favorite, the one I'd been waiting for all day: deadlift. Dane and Tyler made sure I was warmed up and pumped. My opening round was the heaviest in my flight (295 pounds) and I continued that trend with Round 2 (325 pounds) and Round 3. Round 3 was a PR, 352.74 pounds. If I hadn't been hooked before I would have been at that moment.

My friends, the people who took an entire day of their lives to be there for me were amazing. Every time my name was announced they cheered loudly. I emailed the meet director today to thank him for making my first event painless. He emailed back to thank me for my bravery and for my team. According to him we made the meet. In my eyes: my friends made the meet.

I was there doing my job, doing what I love. My friends were extraordinary.  One of them called me a super hero. I wasn't the super hero: they were the super heroes. They cheered for me every time like I was the best thing ever. I got so many hugs, fist bumps and high fives it was amazing.

All those blue t-shirts, even with my glasses off and no contacts in I saw those t-shirts and it made me determined to succeed. I wasn't going to let all those wonderful people down.

I learned a lot yesterday. I learned that the negative voice in my head is nothing compared to the cheers and support of my friends. I discovered that I am strong and I can take care of myself. I discovered that I am proud of the person I have become. I have worked hard, fought tooth and nail, sweated, cried, bled, ached and never quit. I am proud of this woman I have blossomed into. She is smart, she is strong, she is amazing.

Please don't think I will now be trumpeting my successes from the rooftops. I am proud of myself, but I know my own worth without feeling I have to make everyone else aware of it. I'm a private person despite this blog.

I didn't go into the meet thinking I would bring anything home, except a few bruises from pulling the bar up my shins during the deadlift. Dane told me from the beginning I'd be bringing home some hardware. Turns out he was right: I took first place for women's powerlifting, age 45-49. The trophy is fabulous and will be taking up residence at Pride Fitness Performance after I show it to a few colleagues. I am so proud of what I did, but as I said before: I would not be here now without the training I received. For that reason I think it is fitting and right that my first trophy be in my happy place, the place I first felt proud of myself and the place I will keep going to become better and stronger.

Thanks so much for reading!

Sunday, November 1, 2015


I've been thinking. There's a loaded statement, but it's the truth. I've been thinking A LOT. I might start on one thought, but my mind seems to circle back to one thing time and time again.

What does it mean to be a good friend?

Which is closely followed by another thought:  Am I a good friend?

I'd like to just answer yes, but that would be too easy and my mind wouldn't keep circling back to the same thing if I was certain. I might be obsessive and worrying about nothing, but I'm not so sure. So what do I do when I'm not sure and something is nagging at me? I write and post it here for all you lucky souls. Let's start this off by saying these thoughts are mine and not necessarily reflective of what other people think. These are my crazies and I'm letting them out to play for a little while.

So why all the worry about being a good friend? Partially it is the "On This Day" feature on Facebook. Every day I can look back at what was going on in my life on that day in past years. Recently I have been seeing posts about what I assumed at the time was a true, real friendship with someone who turned out to be interested only in herself and her needs and how exactly I could meet those needs. Yeah, she's not a part of my life anymore. I don't wish her ill, but life is too short to have that level of self-centered childishness in it. I'm sure she would tell you how wonderful she is, how kind, how caring...but actions speak louder than words and her actions clearly pointed to the fact that my place in her life was dependent on what I could do for her at any given time. I could rail on about her for a good deal longer, but why? We won't be speaking again and there is nothing to say in any case.

Onward and upward, right?

Those posts have made me ponder if I'm the same. Am I worried only about my needs? Do my friends know I care about them? You get the picture...there's a whole lot of crazy in that space between my ears.

I look around at my life now and it's hard not to see how blessed I am. I am blessed with the best friends anyone could ever ask for. When I moved in mid-September five friends gave their time to help. One of them helped move heavy stuff despite the fact he had an event on Saturday evening. I was in the audience that night and he didn't look any worse for the wear, but still: he didn't have to help and he did. The other four ladies: I'd walk through hell for any of them. They gave up many hours and two days to be sure all our stuff got into the new house. There aren't words...really there are not.

Here's the thing: I would walk through hell for ANY of my friends, but do they know that? Or do I hold myself aloof enough that they aren't sure how I really feel?

Do the friends who invited me to their wedding this summer know how much they mean to me? How about the friend who is my buddy for buddy training and took me under her wing when I was a scared, anxious newbie hiding in the far corner? Or the friend who was my inspiration when I started and has encouraged me and cheered me every step of the way? What about my trainers, all of whom I consider friends, do they know? What about all the people who are supporting, encouraging and went as far as buying t-shirts with "teamkim" on them? Do any of them have any idea just how overwhelmed I am by their kindness and how much I want to squeeze the stuffing out of every one of them?

Reading this as I write it it's a wonder to me that I get any sleep at all. In between being snuggled and kicked by the snoring boxer and the thoughts in my head it's probably no wonder that when it's time for deep relaxation and turning off my mind at Yoga Corr I often find myself in tears.

Words are cheap and I'm not all that good with them. Ask anyone, when I speak I stumble over my words, I speak too fast or lose my train of thought completely. In my professional life I've managed to get myself under control enough to sound somewhat intelligent most of the time. In my personal life I opt for silence much of the time because it's easier than stumbling over my words. I don't have that problem when I write, the words flow and I feel competent. The best part of writing is the ability to edit: I might stumble or write the wrong thing, but I can go back and fix it before the words go out there into the world. Not so easy when I'm talking to someone.

I try to show by my actions that I care and I appreciate my friends. I will clean homes, move, clean up after training, donate money. I'll cheer myself hoarse when the situation presents itself. I will use words, mostly in messages and emails to thank, check in on and try to encourage people I care about.

Am I a good friend? Not all the time, I'm not perfect: that's just fact. I try, but sometimes my efforts fall short. I'm not perfect, but I'm persistent. Hopefully that counts for something.

Thank you so much to everyone who has joined me on this journey and is still along for the ride. I appreciate it.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Looking for Trouble

How many of you reading this try to prepare yourself for new experiences by doing research? How many of you manage to find articles to read that don't make you  feel more prepared, just more panicked?

As most of you know...and have heard incessantly, my first powerlifting competition will be on Saturday, November 7. I alternate between thinking I'll be okay, it will be fine and wanting to run screaming.

Today I was reading an article titled Top 10 Mistakes Novice Lifters Make .  You might wonder what is wrong with me that I would go in search of an article like that. I didn't actually search out an article with that title. I was curious about how many people would be in a flight so I did a Google search. The first article in the list was the one I read. I will give the author, Matthew Gary, credit. He wasn't going for scaring people new to the sport and he pointed out that the mistakes were easily fixed and offered suggestions. If anyone else is interested the article was on the U.S.A. Powerlifting website. It was a great article, though I still don't know how many lifters could be in a flight. I suspect that depends on how many people are entered in the event. DUH...kind of common sense, huh?

Despite the title, reading the article was probably good for me. I was able to feel better because some of the things the author suggested are things my trainers already thought of.

I have a confession: the first time Tyler told me during Buddy Training that I would be working with Dane and Carole would be working with him I was a little upset. I didn't whine, but the whine was right on the tip of my tongue. Yet again I learned that my trainer is smarter than me and knows EXACTLY what he's doing. Number 2 on the list of mistakes that novices make was "not having any advice and/or assistance from a knowledgeable coach or lifter". Tyler solved that one for me: thank you, thank you, thank you.

Dane knows about lifting and after I got over my initial trepidation and tendency to view new people as a threat I found that I liked him. He doesn't think I'm nuts for being nervous, or at least he tells me I'm not nuts. He has also encouraged me to enter my first event, going as far as researching upcoming events that were relatively close. He and Tyler were at least as excited as me when I PR'ed on my Hex Bar deadlift with 405 pounds. There's something reassuring about feeling your coaches are proud of you and believe in you.

I believe I am as ready as I can be for November 7. That doesn't by any stretch mean that I am not nervous, it just means despite the butterflies waging war in my stomach and the overactive negative voice in my head I will walk into the event and do my very best.

Do I believe, as Dane seems to, that I am going to bring home some hardware from the event? I don't know. A part of me would love to bring home a trophy. Another part of me doesn't think it is even a remote possibility.

If I do wind up with hardware I don't plan for it to be in my home. I will ask Tyler if it can stay at Pride Fitness Performance. Not just because I spend more time there than I do at home, but honestly because I wouldn't be at this place if he hadn't believed in me, encouraged me and pushed me to look beyond what was comfortable and familiar. He and Dane have done their best to bolster my confidence and make sure I have the training I need to succeed. If I do succeed they will get as much credit as I can give: I wouldn't be here without them. End of story.
I just want to make people proud. I want to make ME proud. Feeling proud of myself is still new. Sometimes it feels selfish and just plain wrong to think of what I do well. I should be focused on my flaws, right?

I've spent most of my life being focused on my flaws and what I can't do. That hasn't gotten me anywhere and I'm willing to admit it isn't the right approach. I don't have the confidence in myself to think I will amaze anyone on November 7, but I think it's damned amazing I was able to fill out the application and mail it in. For now, that is all the amazing I need.

One small step at a time I am becoming the person I have always been inside. I am strong. I will be proud. I will have confidence in my smarts and my strength.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Long Drives, Breakthroughs & PRs

Brace yourselves readers...I think this could be a long, random ramble. I spent 4 plus hours in my car today and when I wasn't singing at the top of my lungs with whatever song happened to be on the radio I was thinking.

I heard some of my favorite songs this morning. "Stronger" by Kelly Clarkson and "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten. I belted those out. I am just thankful no one else heard. Seriously, it was not a pretty sound. I'm an enthusiastic singer...I'm not necessarily a GOOD singer.

On the way home "Let it Go" was on the radio. I first heard that song during a difficult time in my life and at that time the opening music was enough to get me sobbing. Tonight I held off on singing along and listened to the words. One of the verses struck me "And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast: I'm never going back. The past is in the past."

It's true and I FINALLY realized it: the past is over, it's been over for a long, long time and I'm not going back. I'm not the same person anymore, I couldn't go back even if I wanted to. I'm not 309 pounds. I'm not afraid of my own shadow and everyone around me. Gosh, it only took me four years to figure it out!

When I wasn't massacring songs or wishing I could be at Pride Fitness Performance, I was thinking about my upcoming meet. It was actually supposed to be tomorrow in Lebanon, NH and I was entered to deadlift and bench press. That event got cancelled and now I'm going to Crossfit Burlington on November 7 to participate in powerlifting at Old School Iron Wars.

I'd like to tell you I am pumped. This is the stuff I LOVE! Lifting heavy: Oh heck yeah!! I am pumped and excited and overwhelmed  and terrified. I could add nauseous in there too, but that could be from all the time in the car today. There were tears when I thought about the meet, but that's the part of me that's overwhelmed and doesn't know another way to deal with it right now. This is a huge step for the shy, formerly fat girl. 

I thought about that today too. Why is it all the people around me, whose opinions matter so much believe in me? Many of them are coming to watch me lift. There will be t-shirts. T-shirts?? What the --?? I just don't understand it. 

I am so glad I will have support there. Being able to meet eyes with people I know and trust is going to make everything else that is so damn far outside my comfort zone bearable. Yes I love to deadlift and I have done it in front of other people, but the location was completely familiar and the people there are friends. I even knew the judges, which didn't mean they were going to give me any passes if I didn't lift well, but there's comfort in the familiar.

I know I'll have PLENTY of familiar faces at the meet and I appreciate that so so much. What scares me is wondering if I'll be able to block out the unfamiliar and focus on the job at hand. One of my coaches told me he thinks I'll bring home some hardware from the meet. Not in my wildest dreams can I fathom that, nor do I expect to place. 

At the end of the day I just want to do my best and make the people who took time out of their lives to cheer me feel like it was time well spent. They'll be wearing t-shirts to support me for goodness sake. I want to get the job done: I don't want to half-ass this. 

Thursday night was buddy training. My buddy was enjoying some rare downtime so basically it was me with Tyler and Dane. I got to deadlift using the hex bar. The first pull felt heavy as hell, I didn't know if I was even going to get close to my PR of 385 pounds. After each round of hex bar deadlifts I left the Weight Cave and used a blank barbell to practice my Romanian Deadlifts.

The last time I walked into the weight cave the hex bar looked pretty darn full. The black band was there holding the plates on, barely and Tyler told me it was 405 pounds. Dane got into position to watch. I chalked up, pictured completing the pull and stepped into position. When I started I wasn't sure the bar was coming up. Then it came up a fraction of an inch and a little more and I had to complete the lift. No way was I getting it off the floor and NOT completing the pull. Returning it to the floor wasn't as gentle and smooth as I wanted it to be, but I can work on that part. The important moment was proving I am strong enough to pull 405 pounds with the hex bar. Maybe it means I'm strong enough to pull more than 325 in a conventional deadlift.

I found a tank top I LOVE on I'll share it with you and then let you get back to your evening. Thanks for reading!!

Saturday, October 10, 2015


I took one of those quizzes Facebook loves to put on my news feed. This one was supposed to sum up your life in six words. I was intrigued by the idea and curious to see how this quiz would take words or pictures I preferred over others and sum up my life. I can't come up with a way to sum up my life and I live it.

This was my result: You live outside the normal box.

My first thought: "Well, DUH!" This was closely followed by my second thought which was "Just what is normal anyway?"

I have read in various places that normal is just a setting on a dryer. I'd like to think I appear normal to those who don't know me. A little quiet and shy, but generally a nice person. I strive to be good. I try to help people out when I am able, even if I choose to do it anonymously. If I choose to do something to help I am not doing it to be known.

Then there's the me that walks into Pride Fitness Performance. Every time I have butterflies in my stomach. Every. Single. Time. I don't know why, but they're real. Most people walk in and greet Tyler with a smile and a hello. I walk in and often we don't say anything to each other. At first it bothered me, I worried Tyler would think I didn't like him, or I was angry or upset. Or worse, I worried that he would decide he didn't like me. It isn't any of those things. I LOVE Pride, it's my happy place, the place I can go and be strong and competent.

It's not that I don't want to joke and kid around, its not that I don't sometimes do those things. Mostly though I feel like I am walking in the door on a mission. My mission is to prove to myself that I deserve to be called a warrior, a beast, a badass, a ninja, a rock star and I deserve the praise I get. I do know my coaches and my friends well enough to know if I didn't deserve the praise I wouldn't get it.

Maybe I don't live inside the "normal box" after all. Special Educator by day, warrior by night. I kind of like the sound of that. Maybe I'm more of a beast though. I did lift 650 pounds at the Summer Pride Games. Let's compromise and I'll be a warrior beast.

My goal from the very first day of this journey, when it was all I could do to walk through the door, has been to be strong. Not just lift 650 pounds strong, but strong enough that when I say no there is no question in any one's mind that trying to make no into yes won't happen. Maybe that's naive, it probably is, but at least I feel certain I would give as good as I got. I've been weak, I've been scared, I've been angry and bitter.

I am none of those things now: I am strong. I have always been strong, but I had to uncover that strength bit by bit. As I shed pounds I shed a little more of the armor I used to protect myself. I've come to realize that the armor never protected me, it held me back and kept me mired in the past.

In other news, my first foray into the world of powerlifting events has been postponed by a few weeks. The event I had entered on October 17 had to be cancelled. At first I was deeply disappointed, then I looked at the events scheduled for November 7 and 8 in Burlington. I could enter a real powerlifting competition. I could squat, bench press and deadlift. Suddenly not being able to debut on October 17 didn't seem so bad. I had more time to train AND I could do 3 of my favorite things.

I've kept you long enough.

Thanks so much for reading!