perspective

Every Game is a Gift

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I looked out over the field, early that morning.

It was a beautiful April weekend.  Still a little crisp in the air, but the bright, direct sun warmed your skin enough.

I thought to myself, it is a perfect lacrosse morning. Right now, we are in the heart of lacrosse season, the sport both of my daughters and many of their dearest friends love. I looked out over the field where both of my daughters played their first seasons of the sport. It should have been bustling with warmups and whistles. Instead, it stood completely empty, the “closed” signs warning everyone away. Corona was in town.

When my older daughter was in high school, she told me that lacrosse was the only reason she went to school some days. In those high school seasons, she fought through injuries of all kinds.  From ankle twists and endless bruises to plaguing knee injuries and surgery.  Most notably, as a dynamic and skilled attack player, she also suffered at least three significant concussions. Because of these brain injuries, she watched many games from the sidelines, cheering her teammates on with all her energy and might while she waited for her head to heal.

After making her way through the recruiting process, she earned a spot playing in college.  There were many ups and downs, but she made it to the college playing field.  I was so proud to see her play at that level.  But just a few games in to her freshman season, she took a hit to the head that knocked her out for several minutes.  She lost some of her memories.  She couldn’t stand bright lights our music louder than a whisper.  She was just not her usual sharp self for a while.

Days off the field turned into weeks and months.  Her college freshman season ended and even though there were a few glimmers of hope, she finally got to the point where she realized her playing days were over.  Yes, she could continue coaching and being a referee, but she would never pick up her lacrosse stick competitively again.

God, I loved watching her play.  She was such a competitor on the field.  It was amazing to witness and cheer for her. Seeing that end too soon was devastating for us both.

My younger daughter has taken her own path through lacrosse.  She has great talent and has loved the sport for many years. She was just finding her footing in her first full varsity year when corona came to town. When I ask her these days what she misses most about school, she says lacrosse.

Each of them, in their own ways, now have “lost seasons.” Seasons that should have been played. Goals that should have been scored. Laugh-filled bus rides that should have been ridden. Late night meals with teammates that should have been shared. Wins that should have been celebrated. Defeats that should have been endured. Lessons that should have been learned.

Coronavirus has served many of us lost seasons. Weddings, holidays, so many celebrations shifted, even canceled.  I think especially of high school and college seniors in their final months of school, what should be a time of togetherness, of celebration for them and their supporters. I hurt for them, even though the changed celebration doesn’t change the effort they put in or the elation they should feel. If you know someone who has a lost season because of corona, I encourage you to reach out to acknowledge that loss. Most of us don’t quite know what to say, but just being there to listen and recognize what is lost may be a help.

An unexpected concussion ended my daughter’s lacrosse career too early. From that time I knew, every game is a gift. Every time you get to step on the field or out on the stage or wherever you do what you love…every time you get to do that, it is a gift to be cherished and a challenge to be embraced. When we emerge from this, I hope we are changed in a way where we remember that.

fitness and nutrition, health

I Pulled My Groin or Maybe It’s a Lot Worse

I was recently at a business meeting and my CrossFit dedication came into conversation. I didn’t start the conversation. Another individual at the table did.

Said person vocalized how everyone she has known who has attempted CrossFit got injured. It’s such a dangerous sport. Why do you pay for suffering? One even severely pulled their groin.

I almost giggled out loud. In my several years of CrossFitting I have not once heard of somebody injuring their groin. Let alone seriously injuring it. I’m sure it’s possible but it made me giggle.

Back injuries can happen, shoulders can be impacted as well as knees and elbows. But aren’t there risks involved in most sports? Isn’t this why we sign waivers?

I know one can always scale or adapt any workout to avoid injury. For example if you tweaked your back one should not do a deadlift. If one’s calf muscles are tight they could stretch or roll out vs. risking injury. The point is being active has benefits.

Fear can be a factor for many trying something new. However the physical and mental benefits of CrossFit far out weigh the possibility of injury if you follow your certified coach’s instructions. This is my opinion but I know many who share my thoughts on the subject.

I am thankful for a great box to workout in, a great group of coaches and an amazing community. I am also thankful for my health.

In today’s busy and hectic world many lose sight of their health and fitness. In recent weeks I have seen a colleague have a major stroke causing a huge rippling effect on family and friends who were not prepared for such a catastrophe. Another business associate was diagnosed with cancer. These instances along with my parents aging gave me pause to reflect.

Most get guidance on wills as they age. How many actually have an emergency network in place should one get hit by a bus or have a unforeseen tragedy? Most don’t.

This ties back to my time article. The value of it and how we spend it. If we are hoarding at home is it fair to leave your loved ones with the burden of cleaning up your mess when you pass on?

If you have kids that need care, have you talked to good friends or your loved ones about if anything took you out of commission who could jump in and keep a sense of normal for the kids?

If you run a business do you have a person who can fill a short or a long term business role in a pinch?

If you are married and you carry the family health insurance and can’t take time off to care for a loved one in the hospital do you have a support network to help?

Maybe you spend some time thinking about this. A heart attack, a fall, cancer, a stroke or worse can happen. You can have a plan penciled out and your loved ones have a starting point so they don’t need to worry during a chaotic time.

Life has challenges. I started this article about the risk of CrossFit but it twisted and turned to life and how unpredictable life can be. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Live for today and be as prepared as you can for the unknown if you are a primary care giver to one or many.

fitness and nutrition

New Fitness Tricks from Chick 2

Sometimes progress is hardly noticeable.  Other times we make giant leaps forward.

Whether it’s a time of strides or just moving along, I keep showing up as often as I can at the gym (which means most days).

I know I can get lazy.  I forget to try things I haven’t been able to do in the past. This is one reason it is so important to have coaches and workout friends who know you and encourage you along. This also makes it harder to be complacent, to just coast. It reminds me to keep goals fresh and in sight.

With that in mind, here are some new tricks I’ve learned lately: (see our instagram for additional video!)

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Toes-to-bar

This one was a complete surprise.  Chick 1 was brushing up on the skill and told me to give it a try.  I hadn’t tried since probably February or March, and never really got too much coaching.  But, I gave it a go.  First try was bad.  Second try was much closer to the bar…and then, on the third attempt, I did it!

Only a few days later I did 27 toes-to-bar in a workout, one at a time.  It’s exciting when something clicks.  New tricks are fun!  But, I ripped my hands horribly so now I’ve invested in grips to protect them.  (This feels like a sign of a real CrossFitter!)

Burpees over the Bar

I’ve written about jumps before.  I’m still doing 12-inch box jumps.  I jump over dumbbells.  But a couple of weeks ago I finally did burpees over the bar, jumping over a barbell with plates loaded.  It’s not a fluid motion, but I got it done!

 

Wall Balls

I’ve struggled with these most of my CrossFit life.  They exhaust me and my form deteriorates quickly, which leads to back strain if I am not mindful.  But, after a lot of work, I’ve finally started moving from the 10-pound to the 14-pound ball.  The sets I have to break them into are usually very small, but I am coming along.  (I still dread them in ways that I *don’t* dread burpees.  This is a mental challenge I need to work through. Practice saying: Wall balls!  YAY! I LOVE WALL BALLS!)

Handstand

I did do some special training videos working toward handstand strength and technique from Performance Plus Programming through Barbell Physio.  With help, I got an assisted handstand and need to keep pushing forward on these.  I can’t kick up yet, but I will sometime soon!

And a couple of other gym-related breakthroughs:

Chick 1 and I made it through a partner WOD without incident.  She will tell you that I yell at her during partner workouts (true!) and that does not work out for the overall good.  But, on a recent Saturday we ended up partnered and managed to make it through it.  Big stuff!

Finally, despite my spongy midsection and crepey drapey loose extra skin, I removed my soaked tank top at the end of the Peachtree Road Race in front of the 60,000 other runners and volunteers gathered in Piedmont Park.  I don’t think I’ll ever have firm, taut skin so although I am proud of my progress, showing my midsection is still cringe-inducing.  But, I decided to just do it since I was crazy hot and two of my running partners were already down to sports bras and shorts.  I’m pleased to report that everyone lived through this experience and no one has lasting vision damage (that I am aware of).  A bit of body confidence is a great feeling.

As much as I celebrate these, I also have friends and coaches pushing me to move forward.  Add more weight to the bar.  Start putting some moves together.  It’s easier to get used to my scales and just keep practicing the new stuff, but my coaches and friends at CrossFit Faded Glory are always pushing me to be better.  And even though I don’t always remember to try new tricks to see what I am improving at, every day I show up and do the work I am getting better.

What are your new fitness accomplishments?  Any new goals you’ve set?  Let us know in the comments!

 

perspective

Junkyard Stories

Tragedy struck close to home a short bit ago. A medical emergency. A car. An ambulance. And so much more…

I’ve been waiting to write this post until the dust settled a bit. Emotions were high. Lives were altered. A new normal was on the horizon. Blurred vision on most days but clarity can be in sight for him. Time will be needed.

Everyone walked away and hopefully lessons were learned by all. I met strangers that day who cared. They cared enough to follow up the next day. Kindness can exist outside our of inner circle.

Life is precious. Life can be taken in an instant. I have seen tragedy strike many families. It is never fun nor easy. I escaped that fate that day if only by a hair. But the thought was there.

When the phone rings. That call. The silence. The sirens. The need to act NOW. The emergency call nobody wants to get, ever.

Putting trust in others. Knowing you knew the paramedic on the scene. What a coincidence or blessing? A burden was lifted. The torch of trust was passed. You balance what needs to be done. You support those involved and rebuild what crumbled.

Through a history of events I ended up at the junkyard. To see a new car crumbled into bits and pieces yet thankful my story ended in the most positive way possible. A life was spared. A valued life. A young life.

But then I looked to the side and saw another vehicle. Less crumbled but scorched. No windows. No doors. Were those occupants as lucky?

Off in the distance a truck must have rolled and rolled during its misfortune. There were globs of grass and dirt and other things sticking out of the vehicle in a way I could only envision that the vehicle flipped many times. The roof was dented and sunken a good distance.

My curious mind sat for a moment and thought of all the untold stories in the junkyard. Was there heartache? Were there financial pains? Was there death? I will never know, but I did think. And I knew how lucky I was in that moment. He might not know today, but I know.

I thought about how thankful I was for things I had. For the experiences I have had thus far and the journeys I still see in my future. I was thankful for a life being spared.

As life shifts, we must shift our mindset to complement change. We must deal with a new set of circumstances yet appreciate what got us to said point in time.

I am blessed not stressed.

I am happy not sappy.

I live but still love.

I fear but don’t but don’t let fear steer.

I am lucky.

dare to be different

Shoe Issues or is it Shoe Goals?

3 years of CrossFit and my shoes have evolved just like me.

When I was clueless as a newbie at CrossFit I wore tennis shoes. Plain Jane tennis shoes. Well they had a swoosh on them and they said cross trainers but were they good for CrossFit?

In a short time I found out I didn’t like to box jump in them because I bit it more than once. Could have been my skill level but I will go with the shoes. I didn’t like to run in them because they didn’t feel good on my shins. Whether it was the shoes or my excuses, I don’t really know for sure. Then before long I found out I didn’t like to lift in them. Just all around blah. But since I didn’t know if I would like CrossFit I didn’t invest in shoes just yet.

A few months passed and the new year came. I waited patiently and watched to see what others had on their feet. There was a good variety of brands and types. Some even changed shoes to run or to lift. I was fascinated. I asked questions. In no time, I bought my first pair of Metcons. Vibrant blue. Oh, how they seemed heavy when I ran. Like I was running with bricks on my feet. They just didn’t move well with me. Off they go to a friend.

“Don’t I just waste money on shoes?” I say to myself. I mean it happens to the best of us. I have bought heels before and they feel fine when I’m in the shoe store then I wear them for a day and I’m like heck no.  After some debate with myself, I ended up with some Reebok Nanos. I liked them. First I had a black pair. Black matches everything but then I felt goth. A new model Nano was coming out so I picked up a blue pair since I liked these. Then white. I was content but they were not my favorite to run in and in year two I started running a lot more.

Enter the new Nanos that were a cross between a running shoe and the other model. I saw a badass in the gym wearing them. I inquired. I purchased. First, a black pair. A conservative option. Oops, I ran a mud race in them which was a bad choice so I replaced them with black pair #2. Then, fun colors came out and so did the sales. I snagged pink, navy blue, turquoise and a grayish green color. I could match most outfits and I liked to run in these. I wanted to buy a few pairs in case they went end of life. Of course, it helped they had fun color choices.

I ventured out and bought a pair of of the new Nanos…7 or 8. I hated them. They had a weird coating on them and they had a small toe base. Gave those suckers away to a friend quickly. So then I said I’m gonna break the hundred dollar spend limit and invest in some No Bull shoes. Purely because the name was cool. They were red on the box but had an orange glow. Just didn’t feel comfy in them so I passed them on to a friend. Barely worn shoes can easily find a second home.

I went on shoe restriction for a bit. Just counting above will explain why I put myself on shoe restriction. I mean I still need flip flops, heels for work and cute tennies for my everyday outfits.

Okay, so it was maybe 3 months later when my son started CrossFitting with me. He needed some new shoes. He bought Camo Metcons. He loved them. We wear the same size so I tried them and guess what? I liked these. Either they got lighter or my legs got stronger and I didn’t think they were too heavy. I checked online and darn it they didn’t have cool girl colors. What a let down.

Then I flipped over to the dude colors and was like what the heck? They have a much better selection. I couldn’t decide between the grey Camo and orange or the red and army Camo. I just bought both on a whim. Then I decided I would wear one of each shoe together. That was a lot of fun. Then I switched back to just orange and grey and red and army Camo.

Then the phone ads pop up. The girls line just came out with baby blue with shimmer Metcons. Seriously, just after my men’s order shipped. It was Valentine’s Day so I gifted them to myself…sneaky, I know.

Then the chalkboard and whiteboard versions. I wanted both but I passed on them. I just figured too many would have them and I just like to be on the edge of different.

A few more versions were released for girls and I wanted them bad but I refrained. It was hard. Then I saw a bright pink, white and black pair conveniently around my birthday. Gift time again. Nobody ever knows what to get this girl so Metcons it was. These were preorder so I didn’t get them for another month. I just love them, all of them.

Then today I see a new flashy pair. Golden with floral pops. A must have! Did you say Mother’s Day is just around the corner? Sure did! Look a perfect gift for Mom. Metcons for Mom. Preorders rock. A little delayed gratification for this girl but now I have the run of the closet floor to choose from for my daily WODs.

To some, I am sure they see me as wasteful but I seriously choose my outfit down to my socks based on what movements we are doing that day.  Shoes are included in this regimen. Crazy girl I am but welcome to my world of shoes. I absolutely refuse to add up the dollar amount spent but I seriously work hard so I can buy shoes.

And, I almost forgot I also have a pair of Reebok lifters. White with pink. Only use those for special occasions. And I just ordered a pair of Nike running shoes for my spring/summer running goals. Colorful and full of flair just like me. I guess you can see I am not your simple, basic girl.

My goals are big. My shoes are expensive. I work hard to afford my shoe fetish. #kt.247

I also have a t-shirt problem but I will save that for another post. Chick 2 may contribute to my delinquency in this arena. To the extent I probably need to open a t-shirt company. (Enter a big sigh.)