Sunday, August 30, 2015

Warrior

It was a big week. The start of the school year, Pride Warrior week at my happy place, the Summer Pride Games and a wedding. If no one can find me tomorrow just go to my room and look under my desk, I might be taking a nap. Just poke me, I'll get moving again.

I love teaching. I really do. It's never easy, but the most worthwhile things in life never are. For well  more than half of the last sixteen years when asked to tell about myself I would lead with "I'm a teacher." It is still important to me and I take my job extremely seriously, but I have discovered I need more. If all I do is teach I am not doing myself, my colleagues or my students any favors. When I focus too much on one thing I get obsessive: I can't let little things go and I magnify my faults until they seem like insurmountable obstacles. I need balance.

Maybe I should say I'm working on balance in my life. I have a new love, besides my boxer and my cats. Actually I've had this new love since 2012, but until this summer I didn't really commit myself fully. I always kept something in reserve, just in case it didn't work out. I knew where the exit was and I was ready to use it at a moment's notice.

Over the summer I realized how much  I truly LOVED getting fit. I finally tore down the last barrier and told myself there was no exit: this was a part of my life, a critically important part and I became a fixture at Pride Fitness Performance. Several times I even joked with Tyler about moving in and paying him rent since I spent most of my time there anyhow.

In our first day of inservice, our morning presenter asked us each to give our names, tell where we worked, our grade level and something interesting. Prior to this year I left it at "I'm Kimberly Swett. I'm a special educator at Derby Elementary". This year I added that I had completed my third Tough Mudder in June. There were some oohs of surprise from people not in my building, but it was a complete shift for me. Not only am I a teacher, I am an athlete. I admitted it and it felt 100% right.

My complete commitment to the program and the process resulted in an amazing honor. On Friday morning, at the end of the workout Tyler announced the next Pride Warrior. I had my own thoughts about who it might be, I never thought of myself.

No one was more surprised than me when he said my name. I'm not one for public recognition, but while I was biting my lip and the inside of my cheek to keep the tears in I felt an unfamiliar feeling. I felt proud. There, it's out: I AM PROUD OF MYSELF. I worked hard, I dug deep, I tried to do everything that was asked of me and even when I didn't succeed I came back for more. Let me shout it again: I AM PROUD OF MYSELF.

Saturday started with the Summer Pride Games. It was so much fun. I got sweaty, exhausted and the Vomit Comet made another appearance, but I'd do it all again today. It was inspiring to see how many talented, strong people I am surrounded by every day. Fist bumps and cheers to EVERY participant. You are ALL amazing, strong and inspiring!

I had highlights yesterday and I'll talk about them here, but I want to say one more time that everyone was AMAZING!

1. Da Beast (Tractor Tire Deadlift): I said in my post on July 26 that I had a goal for myself to deadlift 618 pounds. In case you missed that post my rationale for that weight was that at my heaviest I was 309 pounds and 618 was double that. It seemed important to me to lift double my heaviest weight to prove I could do it and to remind myself once and for all that I am NOT that woman any longer.

I had some stiff competition yesterday. Eric, Pat, Aaron and Vell weren't going to let me win, they made me work for it. Work I did, when all was said and done I lifted 650 pounds. I came out in first place and I definitely blew my goal out of the water. I was pumped.

2. Simba (500m row, 50m prowler push): I was so pumped from the deadlift still that when the Simba event started I considered doing it. Those who know me or read this blog know the prowler is an old friend. I will push it anywhere and the more weight you pile on it the happier I am. You also know about my love/hate relationship with the rowing machines. Just about every time I get on one Tyler's earning a gold star. A few friends reminded me how much I love the prowler and that 500 meters really wasn't that much and I had done it before without giving a gold star.

When the rower opened up and Tyler said "Anyone else" my body took over. Before my mind could frame a suitable excuse I was sitting on the rower getting my feet strapped in. My inner whiner urged me to get off and be sensible, but I was already holding the handle, body tensed for Tyler to say go. The whiner quieted with a final "Oh hell, this is going to be a DISASTER." Then it was go time.

I pulled harder than I ever have before. There was coaching from Dane and Tyler and from my fellow participants. I really have no clue what anyone said because I was concentrating so hard on pulling that handle with as much force as I could muster each time so the 500 meters would be over before the vomit comet entered.

After the 500 meters was reached I had to get off and head for the prowler. There was a concerning moment when I felt light headed and the world got fuzzy around the edges. I had at least two people tell me after they were saw the color drain from my face and were worried for me. I wondered for a little bit if I would pass out, but I started I HAD to finish. I had to go from one end of the gym to the other 3 times. The first pass wasn't too bad, the second pass about did me in. I was about one good push from the prowler touching Dane's hand so I could make my final pass and I dropped. I felt done, there was nothing in the tank and I couldn't catch my breath. I am pretty sure Tyler told me to breathe (or I heard his voice in my head) and I think either Tyler or Dane told me not to quit or that I wouldn't quit (or I'm hearing voices and I need some serious help). It took time, but I rallied. I was NOT quitting, there was something somewhere in me to get this finished. I found that last bit of fight and I used it.

Then I headed for the bathroom...and almost had to clean the entire room. I'll spare you the details, but it was DISGUSTING and for about 30 minutes after I wasn't sure I was done yet. Sipping water and breathing deep helped, but wow it was intense. I have never dug that deep.

3. Mufasa (135 lb. barbell carry, slams, tire flips): I wanted to compete in this event so much. I lifted the 135 pound bar and could not clean it to get it in position to carry. It killed me not to be able to do it, but there was no way. I TRIED though and I didn't let the fact I couldn't get it ruin my day. I can say I gave it my best and I am proud of that.

4. Tag Team Relay: Gretchen agreed to be my partner. I did the strength moves (slams, tire flips) and she did the cardio (Lateral jump burpees, pond run and wall). I think we were a great team and we finished. In my book that's a win.

5. King of the Mountain (1:1 Tug-o-War): Either the universe has an awesome sense of humor or Tyler wanted to really push me. The names of all the participants went into a hat and he drew them out 2 at a time. He explained the rules: he would start by drawing two names and the winner of that round would stay and face the next competitor until they were bested or until the end.

Can you guess what happened? Oh yeah, my freaking name came out first. What the actual HELL??? I was first and I had to face Barry?!? Okay, dig deep, dig in and pull with everything you've got. I pulled Barry over the line, but it was close. I almost didn't pull Eric over the line, then I got angry. Not at Eric, but at the fact my feet were sliding closer to that line and I wasn't done yet.

I made it to Pat and he got me. My grip strength was about gone and he pulled the rope out of my hand. Then he faced Keri. I was content with being in second place, I did better than I thought I could. Then Tyler said Pat and I would have a rematch. Pat won, there was a moment when I thought maybe I could pull him over, but he is beyond strong and I lost the rope. No problem: I exceeded what I thought I could: I was proud of myself. Nothing to be ashamed of at all.

Congratulations to Barry and Pat who tied for first place at the Pride Games. You both have my deepest respect. Tyler and Dane: thank you for an amazing event, for the encouragement and coaching. Eric: you are my hero and the man I respect and trust the most in this world. Truly. You made me work for that deadlift and the tug of war and you cheered me on when I wanted to be done. To all the participants: I am honored and blessed to know each of you. I learn from each of you and I am so grateful for your support and encouragement.

I got a message yesterday that sums up how I feel and how proud I am of the woman I've fought to become. YOU. ARE. A. WARRIOR. To the person who sent it: I hope I made you proud. I fought for me, but my ability to fight as hard as I did is a direct reflection of the training and support I have received.

It's a new feeling, a really new feeling really, but I AM PROUD OF MYSELF. I like this feeling, it's been a long time coming. A very long time I'm sure some of you are saying and possibly there is some eye rolling going on too. What can I say: I'm stubborn and I have to prove things to myself over and over again.


Thank you Carole R. for the picture. Tractor Tire Deadlift PR: 650 pounds.


Wow, this was a long one. I had A LOT to say.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Grateful

I tend to be one of those people who thanks everyone for everything. It's just who I am: if you've done something I appreciated I want to let you know. I worry sometimes that people might think I'm just sucking up to them, or I don't really mean it or that I am working too hard to make them like me.

Let me assure any of you reading this that I am NOT sucking up. I don't believe in doing that. I DO want people to like me, but in my 45 years I have figured out I can't make that happen. Some people will like me, others will tolerate me and some people will downright hate me. I am me, the only person I can be.

So why do I thank people? Life is short, I don't know what will happen tomorrow or two hours from now and I want to be sure that those I appreciate know I feel that way. I lost my stepfather in 2007 and though I spent a good deal of time with him there were still some things that I didn't say before the end. I can't change that now, it's too late. I made myself a promise then that moving forward I would be sure to say what I needed to say.

It gets a little complicated because I'm shy and quiet, so sometimes instead of saying what I feel I email. There is nothing wrong with email, I'm not saying that, but I am working on actually speaking when I have something to say. Don't expect an overnight change...this is a slow process and I'm a stubborn person.

The people I thank most regularly are the fitness professionals in my life. They have pushed me, believed in me, encouraged me, talked me off the edge, reminded me I can't be the best all the time, been proud of me (I hope that at least), gone the extra mile to make sure I accomplished what they knew I could and have never told me to buzz off. I'd say that never telling me to get lost should get them all nominated for sainthood.

I don't know if you knew this about me, but I perseverate on things...and I restate the obvious  A LOT. Seriously, if you've known me for longer than five minutes you know full well that I can get "stuck" on anything. Another item on my "Work on This" list is learning to let things go. I hope I'm going to live to be about 900 years old...it's going to take at least that long to work on all the items on my list.

I'm not sure any of the fitness professionals I know are going to appreciate this, but I have some things I'd like to specifically say to each of them and I'm doing it in this public forum. Sorry guys...if you ask nicely and promise me tire flips I might consider taking this down...maybe.

Why this post and why now? I am starting my sixteenth year of teaching and yesterday I met with a parent whom I worked with about four years ago. She told me how happy she was I was her child's case manager because I was good. I've been thinking about it ever since and realized that as a teacher I don't always hear the positives and how nice it felt to know I was appreciated. So Ben, Mary and Tyler it's time I make sure you know how appreciated you are.

Yes, I'm going to get sappy and mushy. Not nearly as sappy or mushy as I want to be, because frankly I don't have the words to really express what I feel, but I'll give it my best shot.

1) Ben,

You gave me my start. You always tell me you provided the information and I took it and ran with it. Maybe so, but without your belief in me from the beginning I don't know that I could have run with anything. I was depressed, angry, hurt, scared and done with it all. You let me be myself and you worked with what I gave you.

As I learned more and got more comfortable you upped the ante, but made it clear all you wanted was my best. You showed me I was strong and kindled my passion for deadlifts, the prowler and my all-time favorite: tire flips.

I hope when you look at what I've done and continue to do you feel satisfied that your time, effort, energy and caring were well spent. I hope you are proud and realize what a monumental difference you made in my life.

2) Mary,

I met you not long after I met Ben and to be honest at first I wasn't sure I would like you. I now know I don't just like you: I adore you. You have given me great advice when I have asked, which I don't tend to do often enough. You are kind, compassionate and you pushed me to be the best I could be. I haven't had a chance to workout with you in a long while due to a crazy schedule and life, but there will be a time I show up again. Thank you so much for being the right blend of tough and kind.

3) Tyler,

Truly I don't have the words I want to tell you how much your coaching has meant. You have NEVER given up on me and I've given you plenty of opportunity to do so. I'll never forget our first conversation after the sale was announced. You asked me to do two things for you: Give you a chance and be honest. I must have looked as scared as I felt inside because what you said was exactly the right thing.

You have a true gift for knowing the right thing to say at the right time. You have gotten me to step back and think or dig deep and fight harder more times than I can count. When I want to give up you are always right there. There are times I despise you for that, but mostly I am so unbelievably grateful. I asked you to help me work on my fear of box jumps and jumping over things and you did so. When I was too anxious to jump on the picnic table or the tire you didn't berate me or tell me to do it: you gave me a regression. I guess you knew that eventually my own stubborn competitive nature was going to push me to get it done and I did.

It never ceases to amaze me that you know when to push me and when to back off and leave me alone. I can never thank you enough for the coaching, the advice and that you are willing to just listen to me when I need to vent.


To all of you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for turning a 309 pound, scared and angry woman into a badass athlete. Please know that you have my deepest appreciation and you should each feel proud of my accomplishments because you were all instrumental in helping me get where I am. 


So there you have it. Public thanks which I could have just sent privately to each person. I have done that though and this time it was important enough to me that I wanted it in a more public forum. The people I addressed are all somewhat private, so if they ask I will remove this post. I want to express my appreciation and gratitude, but I never want anyone to feel uncomfortable. Except me, I need to feel uncomfortable to grow.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Me


Guess who this blog post will be about. No, really, go on guess!

Yep, it's my blog about my journey...this post will be about me. I admit, not the most exciting of subjects, but if the advice to write what you know is true there isn't much else I could write about.

I'm entering my 16th year of teaching this year. Also my seventh year at the same school. For me seven years in the same place is a record. I am rather proud of the fact that I've worked in other schools. I've taught under a variety of administrators and learned something from each one.

Then there's my personal life. That's been steady: I workout every chance I get. With school starting I will cut back to 4 Pride Fit classes per week, 1 Yoga Corr session, Muscle Hour and Buddy Training. That's still a lot of working out, but I love every second of it. Lifting heavy, flipping things, pushing myself to my limits those things are my therapy. If some gold stars get earned along the way then it's a price I'm willing to pay. If Pride Fitness Performance gives out awards for the most gold stars given to Tyler I'm in the lead at the moment. Go me? My childhood nickname was the Vomit Comet...it's not exactly a surprise I'm giving out gold stars.

In other news, just in case you missed me trumpeting it on Facebook I have a new Hex Bar deadlift PR: 385 pounds. That's more than I have ever weighed. That makes me ridiculously happy. On the straight bar I can deadlift 365 pounds with the bar about 5 inches off the floor. From the floor my last deadlift was 325 pounds. Next Saturday I will find out my new PR for the Tractor Tire deadlift at the Pride Games. Time will tell, but I know I will at least lift 550 pounds.

Has every workout since my last post been stellar? Nope, but as someone recently pointed out to me when I was having a tantrum: Not every workout is going to be amazing. I might PR one night then not do so great the next day: that's the way it works. I'm paraphrasing what was said to me, I'm not nearly that wise on my own.

There's something else that's come back to my attention recently. The scale has gone down, the clothes have gotten smaller and I am still the same person.

That's something you don't hear about or think about too much when you decide it's time to take control and change your life: You might change the way you look, maybe you will change your mindset to a degree, but there is still some of who you were before along for the ride.

I like myself more than I used to, but I can't say I love myself. When I do something well I am kind to myself, surprised I did it yes, but I am kind. When I don't do something well all bets are off and I am as nasty and mean to myself as I have ever been. It makes me sad when I reflect on it, I am fortunate to have a group of people surrounding me who support me and remind me that not being able to climb a rope or run without wanting to drop dead is NOT the end of the world and not a reflection of my worth as a human.

I guess I tolerate myself...time to work on that loving myself piece. Other people like me. I have good qualities. I know I've said before I need to work on the inside, it's probably time to start on that.

Before I go, I found this T-shirt online today and I think I need it.


I Know I Lift Like A Girl Try To Keep Up  ~This is perfect for me!!!




Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Memories

Tough Mudder #1 , Boa Constrictor,  August 10, 2013


Three years ago today I completed my first Tough Mudder. I was terrified going into it and while I was looking through pictures of that experience today I was reminded of something that happened near the beginning of course that could have easily derailed me completely. I chose not to be derailed because I'm not that weak, I never have been.

I am writing about this only because I strive to be honest. I don't want to dig up the past, especially not painful memories, but this one has been on my mind all day and if I don't write about it I'll spend most of the night staring at the ceiling thinking.

First the memory, then I have a few other things to say.

It was near the beginning of the course. Hailey and I were heading up the mountain. Some rude, cocky young guys were off the side of the course in the shade joking around with each other. Then we walked past and I heard "Badasses?!? Yeah right, look how slow they are going."

The woman I am now would likely have confronted the little twits. The woman I was then wanted to crawl off the course and prove the jerks right. I was there with a team though and there was no way I was going to let them down. I kept my head down, shed my tears and kept going. The mean, vindictive person in my head was gratified later on to see one of the cocky guys being removed from the course by medical personnel: he had twisted his ankle and his buddies left with him. I'm not necessarily proud of how happy it made me that they didn't finish the course, but it was how I felt and I own that. Hey, be thankful I didn't do a happy dance and point and laugh at them. At the time I felt like that was just how young guys acted, it was just another instance of how men were jerks. I don't feel that way any longer. I have three men in my life who have shown me nothing but kindness and support. They have all pushed me to be my best and believe in myself. One I've known since I was in elementary school, one started me on my current journey and the third I've only been training with for a little over a year, but he is absolutely a trusted sounding board and support. Just ask him how many emails he gets from me in a week's time. Poor man... There is no doubt there are men who are jerks out there: I know some of that variety too. News flash: there are also women who are jerks: I am among that number myself from time to time. Shocking I know, but lord knows I can be a HUGE jerk. Nothing I'm proud of, but I strive for honesty. I thought of those guys today. I even wondered if time and life have conspired to teach them some tolerance and manners. Mostly I remembered how terrified I was at the beginning of the course, how those mean words hurt and how freeing it was to stumble under the finish line. I wasn't the fastest finisher, but I was a finisher. I didn't quit when the going got tough, I was tougher than any temporary circumstances. Above it all, what I learned from my first Tough Mudder was that I am WORTH the time, effort and sweat it is taking to become the woman I want to be. Now I want to be an American Ninja Warrior, we'll see how that dream goes. There is also a strong desire to see just how strong I really am, so I am not ruling out competing in a strongman competition at some point. You never know what crazy idea I will come up with next. Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 7, 2015

That "F" word

I had a friend request last week that I not use the word fail to describe anything I attempted and didn't complete. I agreed to try and since then everything seems determined to test my ability to keep a promise.

Not that I'm dwelling on it, okay, I'm not dwelling on it MUCH. Oh all right, in the interest of complete honesty and looking like a whiny little kid having a tantrum I'm trying not to dwell on it without much success.

I am making progress, I know I am, but my inner perfectionist wants it all NOW. I want to make it to the top of the rope, I want to cross the monkey bars, then use the peg board and get over the combat wall.In addition I want to be strong, I want to be able to get into black crow and hold it, I want my power cleans to be good, a deadlift PR in the 400 pound range and I want to be able to flip the 525 pound tire. Oh, and I can't forget that I really, really want to be more flexible too.

I seem to have difficulty with being realistic too. I have no doubt that I can accomplish most of the things on my list, but what I have trouble with is the time frame it may take to accomplish my goals.

Then there was the dynamic warm-up before Insane Intervals this morning. I don't like side shuffles most days, but this morning there was an arm movement too. It didn't go so well. I am usually hyper focused on my feet, but this morning I was trying to get the arm movement down too. My feet crossed about 2 shuffles in and down I went. Just falling would have been enough, but no, I had to tumble too.

About the only good thing I can say about my tumble is that I didn't slam my shoulder into the turf. I'm not sure what I did slam the whole thing is a blur, but my right hip and right knee are sore. No pain, but plenty of soreness.

Just call me grace...

I don't want to just be negative and whiny so I should note that when we were doing the quad stretches I was actually able to grab my left ankle and stretch that quad. Normally that leg isn't close enough for me to even dream of grabbing it. Today I could. Another bonus was not giving away a gold star after my time on the rower this morning. I earned (barely, but I did it) a T2 challenge and I didn't vomit. That should more than make up for my tumble during side shuffles. It might take time, but I know the wins will stay in my mind and the less successful moments will fade.

Another win: I'm willing to trust a little more as well. This week I was coached by someone I don't know and as uncomfortable as I was with it, I persevered. You know me, you know I don't like change, but there comes a time when I have to trust the person in charge (my trainer in this case) and believe he only wants what's best for me. It helped tremendously that my trainer was right there. Call me a wimp, but I still have some comfort zones that I won't let go of. One baby step at a time.

I'm not trying to be a pill or a pain. I don't want to make my trainer's job harder. I try to do everything he asks of me to the best of my ability with a minimum of whining. The fact is that it is MY job to take care of myself and part of that is being aware of what makes me uncomfortable. When you hate yourself that doesn't matter, but I am trying very hard not to hate myself anymore.

Off to gather my ice packs to ice my hip and knee before I go to bed so I'll be ready for Saturday Morning Sweat.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Then and Now...

As I am sitting in front of the television watching American Ninja Warrior and still dreaming I thought I would look through the pictures on my Facebook page and see if I could see a difference in my body over time.

I don't see a difference. I see the difference in what I am doing in the pictures, but I don't see a change in the body. What I notice most is the person I have always been deep inside finally coming to the fore. She doesn't feel she has to hide or pretend to be someone she isn't in order for people to like her. Some will like me and some won't. I can't control that, nor do I want to. Everyone has their own journey and I respect that.

I am still reluctant and very slow to trust, but I know if I am betrayed I will survive it. I am not fragile, I will not break. I might cry, I will hurt, but there is no quit in me. I thought there was at one time. I was convinced the world would go on and be a far better place without me. Yes, I considered a permanent solution to temporary obstacles and problems. No more: I am here to stay.

Thanks for taking the time to read and look at the pictures. It's been one hell of a ride and it isn't over yet. Brace yourselves.

December 2010

July 2011


October 2012
September 2013


May 2014
March 2015
There it is...some of the journey in pictures. Thanks for taking time out of your day to look. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Tractor Tires, Ropes, Two Gold Stars and The Wall

Hmmm...interesting title. Either I'm going to be rambling about fitness again or this blog is about to veer sharply out of its generally PG track.

Wednesday night I set a new PR for a tractor tire deadlift. For the record it is 560 pounds. I set it during Muscle Hour at Pride Fitness Performance. I also tried to lift 610 pounds, but that didn't happen. It will happen, but this wasn't the week for it.

I have a new goal. It's not on my list of goals on the Wall of Pride, because I just decided on it. At my very heaviest, before I was a Mooser contestant I weighed 309 pounds. My goal for a tractor tire dead lift is 618 pounds. Somehow it feels important to be able to lift double what I used to weigh. I don't weigh that anymore, but I remember how it felt and I still see that when I look in a mirror.

Last week was the first week of a new phase at Pride Fitness Performance, also known as my happy place. Seriously, I love it there. Yes, there are times I leave so sore and tired I'm not sure I'll make it to my next class, but most of the time I do. Even with the buddy training sessions when the rowers come out I love it.

The rower is my undoing just about every time I get on. My trainer doesn't seem to mind: he earned two gold stars last week. In case you wondered: Tyler earns a gold star when he makes someone vomit. I'm not sure if I'm proud or just thoroughly embarrassed that he got two from me. The competitive part of me wants to keep getting on the rower and pushing as hard as I can until there comes a time I don't vomit when I get off.

The first time Tyler got a gold star was after a 3000 m row. He told Carole and I we had 17 minutes to get to 3000 m and we could take a break rowing, but not until we got to at least 2000 m. He also suggested that we keep a steady pace and not worry about speed. You see where this is going, don't you?

Yes...I really meant to keep a steady pace. The thing is when I know I can take a break at 2000 m and I'm at 1800 m this overwhelming need to get to the break erases every bit of common sense I possess, which is a woefully small amount as those of you who know me realize. So I got to 2000 m, took a break and then pushed to 2500, took a break and tried to keep a nice steady pace for the last 500 meters. Umm yeah, that lasted until 2750 and then I HAD to finish and I had to do it as fast as I could. The final time I pulled I knew Tyler was getting that gold star.

I have spent enough time working out to recognize when vomiting is inevitable. When I feel as if I can't draw in a full breath I get panicky. Sometimes I have the presence of mind to remind myself I am still getting oxygen, I will not die and I am fine. Not so much after 3000 m. I'll spare you the details and just say that the second gold star was earned courtesy of the rower as well. The second time was during a crazy intervals bout with the rower. Crazy intervals, if you care, are steady pace for 40 seconds, as fast as possible for 20 seconds, steady pace for 60 seconds and a final as fast as you can 20 second round.

I am determined not to give Tyler another gold star. I like him, I trust him 100%, but I am not giving him another gold star. I'm not really angry about those stars. To me they mean that Tyler offered me a challenge and I gave everything I had to give to meet that challenge. Oh, not that it matters, but I finished my 3000 m row in 14 minutes and 10 seconds.

As most of you know I have a goal to climb the rope at my happy place and ring the cowbell. I hoped I would meet that goal on Friday. Sadly, I didn't ring anything. I did get farther up the rope than ever before, but not close enough to ring that bell. Since then I have been obsessively watching You Tube videos and reading everything I can find about what to do with my feet when I'm trying to get up the rope. I have a good deal of upper body strength, but not enough to haul myself up the rope with no legs. I have a couple of different methods to try the next time the opportunity presents itself. We'll see how it goes.

There is a new toy at my happy place now. A wall, the combat wall as Tyler has named it. One side is about 8 feet high and the other is at least 10 feet. Walls scare me, there I said it. I am afraid of walls. I am not afraid that I might fall off and get hurt, no that would be a sensible fear. Nope, what I am afraid of is that I will fail and make a fool of myself.

I have grown and changed a lot on this journey, but the fear of looking like a fool is still there. I want to look competent, heck I want to be competent. Ask me to flip a tire or dead lift and I jump: I know I can do those things and I do them pretty well. Walls, not so much. If I get a boost I can get to the top and over without too many splinters in places splinters were never meant to be. I can even come down on the other side without breaking anything (at least so far).

The thing is: I want more. I want to be able to get up and over the walls by myself. I figure I should be able to get up and over the 8 foot wall alone. I'm not saying there is any shame in getting a boost, but my stubborn streak says I can do it on my own.

I'd like to tell you the next time I post I'll be able to tell you I rang the cowbell and I made it over the 8 foot side of the wall under my own steam. The fact is that probably won't be the case since I have a few ideas brewing at the back of my mind that will need addressing soon. Stay tuned though: the wall, the rower and the rope will be conquered and with any luck I will not be giving Tyler his third gold star.

Thanks for reading!