mental health

Chad, Again

Last week was Veteran’s Day. It’s become a recent tradition for some in the CrossFit and fitness communities to complete the hero workout Chad. I have done this one once before, right as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting. That seems like a decade ago in so many ways…work, family, fitness, friendship, life in general.

I skipped it last year but this year it pulled on me over and over again. I finally chimed in to my fitness group to see if anyone wanted to complete it the weekend after Veteran’s Day. I can’t decide if I was surprised or not that some of my friends said yes. In many ways this workout feels like a “one and done” but my friends are also crazy like that. We couldn’t all be there, but we had some cheering for us in spirit.

I was glad I had written about my first experience doing this workout in detail. I went back and reread my thoughts before I started. I remembered it being grueling. I remembered rushing to try to get to work (on my couch). Much of the rest I had just let go of.

This time was different, doing at a gym. This time was different, doing it with a vest…a little lighter than last time, but a weight I would not take off (no matter how much I wanted a break!)

This time was different, though, since I had friends to do it with.

Friends made the experience a bit less challenging. Was it still long and tedious? Absolutely. In fact, it may have taken me 45 minutes longer this time around. Some of that I attribute to a lower level of fitness. But some is just because we chatted between the rounds. I lost count a bunch of times. But I kept going. We were going to finish this.

Friends make hard things a little easier. This was the main lesson I learned this time around. Hard things don’t stop being hard. But the hard path isn’t as lonely. It makes me think about VFWs and other social organizations. Sometimes we need a place where we are truly and deeply understood.

Life has been challenging, lifey, whatever you want to call it lately. Things feel heavy. In some ways, time is moving very slowly. I’m not at all comparing my challenges to veterans, but I knew I had to complete this workout for myself as well. Getting something done is hard these days for me. My mental soundtrack has been less positive.

These and other friends inspire me to just keep going. Keep showing up. Keep moving. Every day won’t feel great or be the best. Some of the challenges will seem unending. But if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, I will eventually reach the goals I have. Days will get brighter. Get up, show up, never give up.

adventure

Tennis Flop

I had a match to play on a Friday night after a long weekend with my partner. It was a little cooler outside than normal and it was late. I wasn’t really sure if I needed pants or a skirt. Long sleeve or short sleeve. The evening seemed so wishy washy.

I started dressed in layers. I slowly peeled them off. One cheerleader arrived. Then two. Then three. Then four or five. It was overwhelming in a way but good in another. So many folks came to cheer us on. The unfortunate part was we were doing awful. A comedy of errors was leading to poor performance. 

Down by one. By two. By three. Four. Five. And then it was 6-0. Just like that we lost the round. We were stomping our feet. There were some chuckles. Some apologies. Some cursing. Some blaming. Some frustration. Some smack talking. It was still a game so onto round two we go.

It was a bit closer but we just couldn’t seal the deal. Deuce. Add out. Deuce. Add in. Deuce. Down by one. Down by two. Get it together ladies was the theme of the evening. More uh oh moments. More you should have hit that. More why didn’t you move fast enough. Is this really happening? Four to zero. Five to zero. Let’s get this one.

We ended the day with another 6-0 finish. The goose egg. The other team skunked us 6-0 and 6-0.  I am sure it’s a first for me not to have earned a point but as you can see above I still laughed hard. A deep belly laugh. No matter how down in the dumps you are performance wise, you can still laugh it off and be light hearted.
We had so much fun sucking today. We let our friends see us at our worst. We will hit the repeat button again tomorrow as we saddle up for a new match on the same court. Will history repeat itself? I hope not. If it does, I guess I’ll have to take another walk of shame.

Losing is part of competing. Losing gives you a taste of humble pie. Losing gives you opportunity to grow. Learning lessons about loss is important. Every true athlete knows this. In the moment and after the sting subsides. The work starts again. Train harder. Think smarter. Challenge yourself. 

It’s even funnier to lose when you realized you signed up a level higher than you should have. I guess one will see if we can get better playing at a higher level even if a lot prematurely. I have grown to love tennis. It’s an easy way to get some exercise. It has the competition element. It’s fun with friends. It’s cool shoes and cute skirts some days too. 

Speaking of days…enjoy yours!

working women

Just Show Up!

You own a restaurant and the food prep starts at 10am for the lunch crowd. You look for your prep cook and they are nowhere to be found. You think to yourself: just show up! All have to do is show up to get paid.

-does this $10/hour employee even know how important their prep role is to making the restaurant operate effectively for the day?  

You wake up to the ding-a-ling of your alarm clock. You hit snooze. You hit snooze again. You say to yourself just get up. Your friends are expecting you to show up. Just show up and get your workout in. You will feel much better after you do.

-if you don’t show up how does this make your accountability partner feel? Did you think about how your inaction may impact others?

You have a doctor’s appointment at noon. The doctor is saving a spot for you in their busy day. You just need to show up. It’s what’s expected when you make an appointment. Time is money for that doctor and if you don’t show up you prevent somebody from using that spot that they may really need. Just show up!

-did you even think your lack of preparation would impact others? How many have a non-caring attitude when it comes to appointments? I bet if you paid a deposit for the appointment you would show up! Skin in the game matters.  

In life there are many times when we all need to just show up. Sometimes things get in the way. Other times we make excuses. And then sometimes there are those who just don’t care and never plan to show up. The latter I despise.  

I have seen a lot of examples of this lately in various parts of life. Many times I don’t want to show up but I do. I do because it’s what is expected. It’s the right thing to do. I show up because people rely on me. 

I just show up.  

Show up for you.  

Show up to set an example for others.  

Show up to make a difference.  

Just show up!

celebrations

Showing Up for Me

My friends and CrossFit community mean a lot to me.  My coaches are an important part of my progress. There are so many people who are important on my health journey. 

But in the end, when I go to workout, I show up for me. All the different versions. 

I show up for the grouchy one.  The tired one. The clumsy one. The one who doesn’t think she can do it.  I show up for the feisty one, the nervous one, the one who is just going through the motions.

I show up for the one who loves burpees and power cleans.  I show up for the one who forces herself to do thrusters and running.  I show up for the one who mumbles and grumbles and at times dawdles and always has to run to the restroom just before the countdown to zero.

I show up for the one who sometimes forgets how far she has come.  I show up for the one who thinks she will lose her momentum if she misses a single day. Who forgets that an off day won’t set her back 5 years.  

I show up to meet her.  Who will she be today? I show up to see what’s new and how she has changed.  Some days she surprises me. I show up to encourage her, to lift her through it.  

Keeping the promises I make to myself is as important as any other commitment I make in my life. A recent podcast featuring Ed Mylett reminded me how important it is to move, to detach from outcomes and focus on the process, and to follow through on the promises I make to myself. 

There are a few precious people I would put myself on the back burner for.  This is a huge change from how I used to be. I used to be willing to back burner myself at a moment’s notice for anyone who even asked. People I hardly knew. Heck, some of them didn’t even ask – I volunteered!  It was almost a point of pride to be that way. 

But the extreme selflessness I prized in myself cheated me of my strength, my energy, and my growth.  I am learning that I am better if I rank myself high on my priority list. And that means showing up for myself.  Even when it is hard.  Even when I am going it alone.  Even when no one high fives me.  The people who I would set it all aside for notice.  And they celebrate how I am changing. For the better. 

I can’t drink from an empty cup.  When I am there for myself, my cup runneth over, and I have more of me to go around. 

IMG_4045

 

 

dare to be different, mental health

The Distant Shore

IMG_1656

A gorge in the Middle of Nowhere, Tennessee.  Calm, dark water with a hint of murkiness.

The rest of my group took off, swimming for the other bank of trees and sheer rock.

“Come on!” they called.  “Do it!”

I shook my head no as they doggie paddled, freestyled, and floated their way across the channel.

They called me and gestured a couple of more times, then they gave up when I continued to stand firm, head shaking. Nope, nope, nope. Not doing it. No sirree. Not this girl.

Then I asked myself, standing alone on the shore, why not?

Sure, I’m only a few years past being petrified to swim in any kind of water where I can’t see the bottom.  Sure, I don’t have a life jacket or any flotation device.  Sure, I have no idea how deep this is, or how far across it is (although I can see the other side).  Sure, I don’t really know how to swim in any kind of recognizable stroke or otherwise efficient way. (Which should have changed, given my story of near drowning, but it hasn’t.)

And after I told myself all that “why I can’t” stuff, I asked myself again, why not?

Then I started psyching myself up.

I can do this. I am training for a triathlon. Yes, it has been put off a year but I still need to get going. It’s not that big of a deal. I can do this. It’s not that far. Just start. Just go.

So I just walked out from the dirt “beach” and started to make my way across in some kind of swim-like movement.  Sorta freestyle-doggie-paddle, breaking into a vaguely-resembling-breast stroke at times, but never putting my head under water.  Eyes fixed resolutely on the other shore.

Yes, the fear set in about halfway across, everyone else in my group just chatting and laughing on the rocks.  I knew if I didn’t keep going I was probably in trouble, so I kept paddling along.

Eventually, the shore got closer.  My group noticed I was nearly there.  And I finally, eventually made it.  Seven straight minutes of swimming without touching bottom or using a life jacket.

Cut to the chase / return…I shaved a minute off my time and made it back in 6.  100 yards each way.

Still not real fast or real organized in the swim lane, but a small victory in calling myself on my own “nope, nope, nope” and raising it with a “why not?”

And yes, it was worth it.

What have you dared to do lately?