awareness, perspective

My Reflection

When I look into the mirror, I see me. I see my strengths, I see my weaknesses and I see the stress I carry from my short life in ways others may not see, even if I’m right in front of them.

What does my reflection show to world? The face of good of health and nourishment, a smile that can light up a room, and eyes that are as blue as the ocean. Some may even say I am cute.

Cute only gets one so far as you age. Cute doesn’t define or shape who I am on the inside. I have a chronic medical condition. I even have a pacemaker-type device in my chest. I have dealt with this medical challenge and it’s rippling effect my entire life.  My life hasn’t been easy. My implant surgery was major and I almost had brain surgery a few years ago. Despite all odds, I have worked hard and persevered in most areas of my life. I have accomplished more than doctors ever thought I could. But nobody knows that I struggle each day.

Only my close friends, family and medical team are my inner circle and know me inside. I don’t even have many close friends because most people shy away from those who are different. Not because I am scary, rather due to lack of
knowledge and willingness to face the unknown. 

I like to keep my condition private to avoid judgment from others. This has been my choice thus far in life. This choice has come with consequences. I have had to miss out on events over the years and lost close friends because I couldn’t do all the things they could do or wanted to do. Social acceptance can be hard as you grow up and missing out on some milestones in my youth days has hindered my development. I can only imagine what challenges will arise in adulthood when you are like me.

As I age, expectations are placed on me that mirror those of others my age to do this or achieve that or even perform a certain way. Basically putting me into a box. A box of what my life should be like for somebody my age. The problem is I don’t fit in that box or any box for that matter.

No box needed! I am special. I am special like a fine jewel, not special as in incapable, stupid, or even retarded. I sometimes have to think differently or take a longer path to complete something due to my medical challenges. Unfortunately, the high-paced hustle of today’s world doesn’t adapt well to people like me.

I’m simple. I don’t really like to use the internet. I barely text. I’d rather talk to another human face to face. I don’t like voicemail either. My communication skills are one of my strongest attributes yet it’s almost a lost skill in today’s technology world.

Getting a job is almost 100% online now. I am a number. If I don’t type well, I fall into the dumb category. If I don’t have a resume full of fancy graphics, I fall short on the tech-savvy qualifier. This list could go on and on about the negatives of being me and being different.

Thankfully, I have been taught not to dwell on the negative but it’s getting harder and harder. I’m emotionally spent every time I need explain the why I’m different or why things take me longer or why I can’t do something even if I look like the person next to me!

My insides are different. I’m wired for me and I just wish the world accepted me for who I am. I can dream that one day people will understand me and appreciate my value because I have value. Sometimes you just have to look beyond the surface to see my loyalty, my trust, my kind soul and my incredible work ethic.

Where do I fit in the world today and where will my future take me? Why does being different have to be so complicated? Why do I have to explain to ignorant people how hard my life already is without adding the stress of their ignorance to my plate?

If only people saw my insides in the mirror instead of my outside. Would they see the time bomb ticking in my head? Would they see a hamster wheel running 24/7? My insides are a mystery to me in a way but would my insides help people tolerate my differences? Should I have to broadcast my life to the world to get acceptance?

In my short time on earth I have learned a lot about people. Some are kindhearted but the vast majority fall into the ‘other’ category that normally puts their own needs and wants ahead of others.

I hope my open letter hits home with somebody on the internet. I hope that one person chooses to be kind today, tomorrow and the next day. This world needs more kindness and hope. More positive messages to overshadow the negative that can weigh a person down.

My life is changing in many ways. I can’t see far ahead because I keep hitting road blocks. I restart over and over but how many times can one restart before they give up?

I want to restart. I hope I can restart now and prepare myself to restart again because all I can see ahead is restarts. I am different in a world of predesigned boxes. Mine apparently has the reject stamp on the box and I’m desperate to reconfigure my box to adapt to my special qualities.

Mental toughness is a battle everyday to some. It gets harder and harder to adapt when roadblocks are tossed at you in abundance. 

One day you may find me floating by on the highway in my not-so-fancy RV or home on wheels. Out to adventure and see the world my way. If I can’t fit in a box I’m going to have to define my alternate path. From what I hear, the road less traveled can be a fun one, since most stay in the box that was designed for them by another. 

Thank you for reading a glimpse of my life. And it’s such a small glimpse it’s like a small hair. Maybe I will share another story or hair of my life again soon. Until then, I will seize the day and tackle all the adversity that comes my way. To please the world as it sits today, I will have one foot in my predesigned box and one foot outside while I figure out my life. I may or may not be flipping the bird to others around me who are ignorant to my differences. 

This story is honest and heartfelt. It is written as a tribute to all those who need a little hope when life gets hard and keeps you in that dark place. Get up, get going and prove others wrong.

fitness and nutrition, hustle

My Why or Why Not

I was asked for my favorite CrossFit quote today and boy did that set my mind on an infinite loop for words.

Why is that such a hard quote to put on paper? Because my CrossFit story has a beginning or an initial launch, but really I relaunch or a reset happens each day at CrossFit thanks to the constantly varied programming. Also, what I think is somewhat in the middle of my CrossFit journey is still really undefined since I have no end date in mind. Why no ending? Simply stated, I want to do CrossFit for as long as my body will allow and I hope that means into my 80’s. All of the above translates into the fact that my quotes can change daily, weekly, etc. based on where I am in my CrossFit story. Also, did you catch me on a high success day or an I need to work harder day when the quote question was asked?

Well, today this was my answer:

Snatchy, sweaty and sometimes sassy is part my CrossFit story. I love everything about CrossFit and how my story continues to evolve.

There are many highs, lows and everything in between when I reflect on my CrossFit journey, all of which has made me stronger, leaner and wiser.

I have thick and thunderous thighs. Some will say CrossFit makes you bulk up. Why do you do that?

I have strong shoulders, arms and back. Does that mean I’m not feminine? 

Nope. My gait, my confidence, my aura reflects how I start my day. I start my day grinding with a diverse group of insanely competitive, motivational and overall badass-type people at CrossFit. Together we sweat. Together we push to limits beyond initial reach. Together we document our stories. Collectively different stories but each story packs a punch. Living a great story is part of my love for CrossFit.

Each new day brings new adventures, challenges, and friends. Embrace today. Build for tomorrow. Say goodbye to the past by leaving any negative vibes in the rear view. Live like today is your last day on Earth. Make that difference in you.

Hard work requires dedication. Dedication requires time commitment. Time commitment requires prioritizing. Prioritizing means investing in you. You make the difference you want to see. Only you!

No matter what doubt others may cast on you, they have no direct impact on creating change in you. Motivation to prove others wrong? Maybe, but the reality is the power is all in your hands. You can choose to harness the power however you want to.

Remember the mind is a powerful tool. Your should only focus your mind on what matters. Don’t get hung up on what matters to others. #goalgettermindset

perspective

Ready for My Closeup

For as long as I can remember, I have avoided being in photographs.

Don’t get me wrong, I love pictures.  I’d challenge you to find someone with more photos on their phone.  I take photos liberally. (Some might say too liberally).  I enjoy taking pictures of people and sharing those snapshots with them.  In our image-saturated social media driven society, images are powerful (if incomplete) representations of who we are, even glimpses of who we are becoming or who we would like to be.

Why don’t I like to see myself in photos?  Some is a longtime dissatisfaction with how I look.  Some is a resistance to being the focus of attention.  I’m just more comfortable focusing the spotlight on others.

Of course I know that photos have their uses. The nutrition program I am on (Stronger U) encourages photos each week.  I only did the before ones and I’m not done yet so I haven’t taken any more progress-type pics.  You get the idea.  I know the importance and benefit of pictures, but much of the time I still try to avoid them, unless I’m in a large group.

Once in a while, though, I’m brave enough to step out in front of a camera.  Recently, the amazing Milagros offered professional photography services at our gym during the CrossFit Open. At Chick 1’s encouragement, I decided to do it. One of my favorite shots is linked in this post.

Then John, our resident CrossFit Faded Glory positivity promoter, snapped a few of me doing an overhead squat in an earllllyyyyy morning workout this past week. (The early hour shows in my eyes, but the arms…!)

Finally, I did take the usual family pics with my crew on Easter, but asked for a solo one as well.

When I saw these shots, each came as a surprise to me. They don’t match the picture I have of myself in my head.  Instead of spongy and weak, I see someone who is getting stronger, more confident. My inner image needs an update.

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I encourage those of you who are hiding from cameras this week to step in front of one for a shot or two. Pose if you want, or let someone take an action shot of you doing something you practice, something you enjoy.  You may be surprised at how you look. It may also change how you see yourself.

 

 

fitness and nutrition, friendship

We Battled the Mountain!

What do you after the CrossFit open ends when you are a diehard CrossFitter? You battle a flipping mountain!

And so the story begins with a sign up for a CrossFit competition. Competing makes sure you continue to train hard, push limits and compete with like-minded nut jobs like yourself.

Oh what fun! My partner this competition is Tasha, or Tashi to me. My sweet, sassy, saucy little amazing Asian friend. She might weigh like 105 pounds soaking wet but she is a beast in the box.  This is my first competition with her and I have been super excited to compete with her as a dynamic duo. And we added a plus one. Caitlyn, our fabulous professional cheerleader. She is the cherry on top (literally) for this competition. Caitlyn is preggo so she isn’t competing, but she is being the best friend to all of us and cheering us on all day which is just amazing in itself.

Our team name is Katashi which is just a fusion of our names but we are seriously a hot mess in more ways than one. Both are competitive. Both speak our minds freely. Both don’t take shit from anyone. All of which can lead to craziness in the heat of any battle or competition.

We have been practicing for a couple weeks here and there when our schedules align. Nothing major, just timing on transitions and focusing on strengths vs. weaknesses because let’s face it, we have them, and I may have just a few more weaknesses than her?!?!

To make it even more fun, there are about 5-6 other teams from our box competing making it a competition to remember. And I almost forgot, there is a cash prize so who really doesn’t want to work hard to maybe win some cashola.

Up before 6am to hit the road to get ready for the competition. About an hour drive and it’s a bit chilly and overcast making it hard to wake up fully. First WOD starts before you know it. We worked hard and beat our practice time which was good. A few challenges, but our time should be one of the top 5, we think.

3rd place after round one. Seconds separating the pack. No time to analyze what we missed rather it’s time to strategize on round 2.  We start with a game plan in mind and we finish strong with a few mishaps in the mix. Tasha hits her lip with a dumbbell and I got hit with a moving steel rope in the face. Ouch on both occasions. Breaks in rhythm and concentration can mess you up but we pushed through. 1st place after round two. Small celebration, then for me it was fear of oh no! we have pressure to win now. There was no pressure before. Ughhhhhh!

On a side note, we dressed the part for our competition. Sparkling #Katashi shirts in round 1. Cheetah shorts in round 2 that were pretty revealing and then off for a quick change to lemon booty shorts for round three.

We worked so hard for nearly 15 minutes as a unit. Sometime one partner carried more of the load than the other, but we did it together and came out on top. First place after round 3. We won. We friggin won. Wait, we went back and forth like three times to be sure to the scoreboard was right. Tasha even took a picture of it. We were so excited. Our hard worked paid off.

The podium call came. We ended up in second place. What? Well, there was a tie when the final tally came in. They had to go back to the tie breaker of round 1 and we lost by two seconds. Would have, could have, should have. Those two seconds won’t be the death of us. It will be motivation to push hard next time. A little disappointing at first but back to celebrating that we really did win our own game and we had an amazing cheering squad.

Mentally strong. Physically strong. Committed to competing. All the feels for us.

And then there was our extended team/family. The heart and hustle crew: Sarah and Courtney. They hit the podium in third place in their division. They killed it and had so much fun doing it.

The newbies, Beth and Milagros: First time competing and just celebrating doing the competition together. Each round they finished. Each round they hugged in celebration. It was amazing to watch.

The big boys: Damion and Alex. True competitors in the elite division nailing second place. They did everything as planned and they helped the newer teams plan for each workout. True inspirations.

The coach plus one: Erica and Lauren. 2 strong and fierce women in the elite division. Both injured to a point. A sore back. A sore shoulder. Did anyone notice? Nope! They were so fun to watch and awesome to hear cheering us all on.

My buddies: David and Chris. A shy pair added on at the last minute but two good guys. I didn’t get to watch them as we were in the same heat but they both said they had an amazing time. Love hearing success stories like this.

The 5am crew, Mindy and Heather: a whimsical entry late to the competition due to schedule changes. They challenged themselves to compete in the intermediate group. A stretch for some movements but they dug their heels in and fought like tigers to compete.

There were many firsts, many smiles and even some I should have done this or that different. No matter the outcome, we were competitors and we did more than many on a Saturday before noon which is a big success. And for me, I did it in style with booty short changes for each WOD.

I just adore all of my extended friends and family I have met through CrossFit. Whether it’s the local box, a box I visit on vacation or a competition, everyone I meet is amazing. My love for booty shorts is shared across women in their 20s, 30s, 40s and so on. Conversations at the bathroom include what brand you are wearing? and how they ride or don’t ride your crotch.

Where else can you meet perfect strangers and have the best conversations about snatches, cleaning, jerks, booties, sweat and more? Certainly not at the office water cooler.

CrossFit has many benefits. It starts with a physical transformation and shifts into a mental transformation and somehow in between spurs community and long lasting bonds and relationships.

CrossFit is more than an expensive monthly membership. It’s a lifestyle and an elite club that many are scared to join because of the unknown or fear. Those are the very reasons I love CrossFit.

The constantly varied workouts. The not knowing what’s around the corner. The grit that is required to get to the next level. The crazy people I meet. The boundless opportunities to get better. The drive you witness in people daily.

Now it’s time to let my body recover. Hot tub, swim and a massage coming my way for the day after then back to the grind on Monday. Get after your fitness this week people.

fitness and nutrition

Chick 2’s Open(ing) Days

(Photo courtesy of the amazing MGS Photo Creations.)

The 2019 CrossFit Open has ended. Even though I was writing throughout the 5 weeks, I never felt it was the right time to post. Most of my workouts were done without fanfare. I faced most of them with a healthy sense of apprehension, given my recent injuries.
Just like 2018, my goal was to complete each workout with some kind of score. I wanted to both participate and give each workout my best effort. I knew it was very likely that all my workouts would be scaled. That was ok by me, since staying functional and healthy is of primary importance.

There are many stories from my Open, some of which I might eventually tell in detail. But for now, I’ll share a highlight and a lowlight, using excerpts from what I’ve been writing all along. Reflections follow.

Worst Workout (for me):

19.3 – AKA Weighted Dumbbell Lunges of Death

Lunges.  I immediately think “I don’t lunge.”  I have said this to my coaches.  But if I’m being honest, my problem is I don’t feel good about doing lunges.  I don’t feel confident.  Balance is a struggle for me.  I am a total klutz.  While I watch many at the gym fly through lunges like they were skipping through daffodils, carefree and effortless, my lunges are much more likely to leave bruises and scuffs on my knees from hitting the ground so hard.  And then, once I’m down there, I don’t have any understanding of how to get up properly, either.

I did start doing lunges more often after I moved to my new box, CrossFit Faded Glory.  Once in a while I do one in a way that doesn’t feel like just inelegantly dropping and flopping, but not often, no matter how many great tips my coaches share. But I generally don’t do them with weights.  I’m still trying to get a feel for them unweighted.  So seeing a 35-pound dumbbell lunge in the scaled version was enough to make me shudder.

Then, enter step-ups.  I’ve talked before about my journey to jumping.  After my injury I’ve made it back to jumping on the 12-inch box.  But, I figured the scale for anything in the Open would be step ups on the 20-inch box.

I distinctly remember living in fear of this movement last year in the Open.  I could NOT step up onto a 20-inch box one year ago.  Again, clumsiness and lack of balance (or sense of how my body moves in space) is a problem, plus fear of falling.  Kinda sad but it’s true.

Last year, at my previous gym as the Open approached, I would try and try to get those step-ups.  I would put plates on the 12-inch box, etc.  I finally got it on my right side, but still couldn’t alternate. Thankfully, step-ups were never a part of last year’s workouts.  After an Achilles issue and the end of the Open, I went back to 12-inch boxes with dumbbells and decided that was enough of a challenge.

I started trying step-ups again about a month ago and was surprised that I could do them with both legs without too much trouble (but definitely not quickly).  So, I felt pretty good about that. But throwing a 35-pound dumbbell on my back for them could be a different story.

Flash forward to Friday, the day of the Open 19.3. My nerves started about noon.  Could I do any of this?  (Where’s that fearless when you need it?)

I showed up.  There were lot of people there, enough for 2 heats in the 4:30 pm class.  I went in the second group.  I tested the movements a few times and knew I could get through at least the first few reps and then I would see how it went.

And how did it go? It went verrrryyyyy slowly.  The dumbbell was awkward and clumsy on my shoulder.  I spent time adjusting it.  When I lunge, I have a shuffle step / balance check which thankfully Alex told us in advance was not legal.  So I warned my judge on the front end to watch me on that.  I made sure to come to a full and complete pause at the top.

9 lunges down, 9 lunges back.  The ones coming back were harder since the 35-pound weight was on my weaker side.  There were lunges I got stuck in the bottom of and had to will myself to push out of.  It was not graceful, dainty, coordinated, or remotely pretty.  I am sure I use the completely wrong muscle groups to do it.  It took me about 6-7 minutes to do the lunges, but I did them.

Then step-ups.  This was just grueling.  I had to mentally do 10 at a time.  Felt like my legs were just shot.  So, I would get my bent leg up on the box, move my weight up a little to basically be crouching on the box, then stand up.  My friend Milagros took a video of this and when I watched, it looked as absolutely painfully wrong as it felt.  As I pushed through the last 15 or so, I knew I was overrelying on my back (which is what I default to and what gets me in trouble) but it didn’t feel like I had other options. See our Instagram feed for a video. 

Final verdict: 65 – definitely a lower score than I would have liked but I made it through it.  Last year I might not have gotten to the step-ups at all.  So, a win, also a benchmark to follow up on over time.

Runner-up for misery: 19.2..cleans that were MUCH heavier than I am used to doing with a barbell.

Biggest (and Most Unexpected) Moment of Triumph:

19.5 – Endless Thrusters and Pull-ups of Punishment

My prediction for 19.5 at my evening class on Thursday was 100 thrusters for time then 1 rep max deadlift.  Each was outrageous, laughable, and struck fear in me.  Little did I know how close I would be.

105 thrusters and then 105 pull-ups…broken into lonnngggg sets with descending numbers.  It made me nauseous the entire night and day before.

Busy at work with book fair…just like other Open Fridays when I led a school parade, helped 500 kids find books…the Open has life as its backdrop. Life happens. It will always be busy.

As for 19.5, from the moment I heard the workout, I just wanted it to be over.  Thankfully there were a few people there doing it at the same time.  Doing it alone really isn’t fun. Honestly, I just wanted to get through whatever attempt I would make and let it be over.

For me, it was small sets from pretty much the start.  7 or 6 thrusters at the beginning turned into sets of 5 for the most part with 4s to even it up.

Pull-ups were threes with a shake of the arms to reset.  Others easily passed me and finished quickly, or did Rx versions then hit a stopping point.  I just tried to keep going…. going…. going.

Seemed like those 20 minutes would never end.  It was gut wrenching.  A few friends started to cheer me on, which helped without overwhelming me.  I won’t forget the amazing John grabbing a clipboard to fan me as I tried to breathe during jumping pull-ups.  I just kept going.  Breaks got longer longer l-o-n-g-e-r.

I had no idea how far I would get. My hope was to get into the round of 21.  Ok, finished that round with maybe 5-6 minutes to go, I don’t know.  I didn’t want to go back to the bar or the barbell. I hated each one for different reasons.

Just keep going.  I don’t want to pick up the bar.  I pick it up anyway.  Alex counts me down.  Through the rounds of 15.  Like 2 minutes left.  There is no fricking way I am going to finish but I’ll be close which will make me so grouchy.  But I keep going.

Round of 9. Alex wants me to go all 9 thrusters.  Body won’t have it.  5 then a short break then 4.

Then jumping pull-ups.  Jumping like my life depended on it.  No shake breaks for this one.  Counting down, just keep going, going going…Alex screaming for me to keep going. I finished with zero seconds to spare.  Zero!  Nothing left to spare!!!

Collapsed on the ground.  Almost cried but then my breathing went south so I had to just calm down.

I finished!

I didn’t really know what it meant.

I still don’t.  At the least, it meant I didn’t give up.

I know I was hurting. A lot.  I still got up and worked out the next day. I still have bruises all over…clavicles (from cleaning the bar too roughly – see pic below)…legs from who knows what…my chin from hitting the bar.  Kinda battle worn.
Cheering for others all weekend long.

Runner-up triumph: all unbroken burpees in 19.4

Yes, I scaled the whole thing. All 5 workouts. Didn’t feel the need to go for Rx. I did give each my best effort.  And for the most part, I didn’t let fear get the better of me.  So, I achieved my goal.

The best part of the Open for me was cheering others on and feeling connected to the community.  More about that in my next post.

fitness and nutrition, hustle

What’s Around the Corner?

My birthday for starters! Just a few more days and I’m officially the big 4-7! I should be older and wiser but I feel younger and bulletproof on most days. It’s ironic that I feel my best years are in front of me for so many reasons.

I’m not expecting any big birthday gifts as that is not what my day, week or month is about. It’s about celebrating where I am now, what my life experiences have been about, and what’s around the corner.

What’s around the corner is the best part. It’s a surprise! It’s like a new gift each day, each week. You make the adventure. You are the key ingredient. Just you!

I will be starting my birthday week the same way I have for the past three years. In the OPEN. The Crossfit OPEN.

This is an adventure in itself. I get to pull the measuring stick out to see how my fitness measures up those around the world in my age category. Some workouts I may lift more, while others I get the reality confirmation that I need to put more work in to master a skill.

Body weight movements are harder for me than loading up a bar and pushing. Running I can tolerate but it’s not my best performance. The OPEN is designed with diversity and depth in mind. Workouts are challenging and designed to test limits. Sometimes you are stalled at rep one. Do you fight for that one rep or do you quit? That’s a mental game. Maybe it’s balls to a target and your legs are burnt out. Can you push through fatigue? These are just a few examples of the OPEN. Mental and physical challenges. Can you endure? What a test that can be applied to so many life situations. Can you endure all that life throws at you? Can you push through the fatigue? Do you have the mental strength to level up in life?

Why the OPEN? For me, it’s a great health check. One, can I do it? Two, am I improving each year? Three, it’s part of my story. This list could go on and on. The point is, the OPEN is here and I have trained six days a week for the chance to participate. I have focused on my training and my eating to make my body ready to perform the best it can. I won’t be at the top of the leaderboard but I will be at the top of my game for this fabulous 4-7 year old mom. Thick thighs, sharp mind and positive attitude in tow. A bonus this year is that I get to experience the OPEN with oldest son, building upon the value of the event. He has snubbed CrossFit for years but finally took the plunge last November and hasn’t looked back.

I am also grateful to compete in the open with some fabulous fabulous ladies at my gym. Some are new this year while others been around a while. We have been practicing extra weights and trying to perfect movements and challenge ourselves. It’s been a fun road to the OPEN with my girls. Some are even just getting the confidence to compete and check their progress because it’s scary to hold yourself accountable. But, we build each other up. We cheer for each other. We push each other. We celebrate the successes and we laugh at the failures or roadblocks. It happens just like life happens. And sometimes we say “but did you die?” If you can answer, then you endured.

Making memories is easy. Living large is fun. Conquering the unknown or unexpected is my fuel to life. I am harnessing my self power this week, this year and I am cataloging most of it in this blog and the rest will be unveiled in a book project that is underway.

What do you want to be known for? I want to be known for my individuality, my kind spirit, my smile, my ability to empower others and my perseverance. I try to live and breathe this mantra daily. This is why my best years are ahead of me. I know me and I show me to others. Nobody defines me. Nobody decides for me. Just me!

Stay tuned, people. It’s OPEN season. There will soon be some pics posted as a visual representation of my efforts. Let’s see how I measure up to myself this year and compare to years past.

The OPEN is public information. Follow along if you are curious. People compete in the OPEN worldwide. If you are reading this, invest in yourself and compete this year. Not a CrossFitter? Not an excuse. Follow the OPEN online and scale a workout to get yourself started. A walk. Some sit-ups. A pushup challenge. A bike distance over five weeks. Get up and get moving. You can give me a virtual birthday gift this year by starting a journey to a fitter version of you.

Celebrate the OPEN your way. A fit life is a fabulous life, I promise.

As a closing note, the significance of the lone picture above in this post has so many hidden meanings. One, my coach Alex took it mid-workout. He captured my strength in a way I never see it. All the way down to my breathing. He caught me in a mind battle with myself: should I drop the weight in round 5, or should I suck it up and forge ahead? I was finishing last in this workout not by design but it does turn out as a testimony to one of my recent blogs about finishing last.

I was last because I challenged myself to lift a 53-pound kettle bell 120 times over my head. I had never used a #53 in a workout, let alone for 120 reps. The list could go on but the moral of the story is I did it. I conquered this movement and the other movements as well. 44 minutes later but I did it and I had fellow gym-mates supporting me along the way. One of the big benefits of CrossFitting is the community. Check out the pic below so you can see what my six rounds looked like. Thanks to coach Alex for the inspiration and push that Saturday.

 

fitness and nutrition

Grinding Out the Meters (and Dancing)

You wake up on Saturday, and see a workout like this:

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500+ meter run

25 alternating dumbbell snatch (so 50, really…)

25 calorie row

2,500 meter bike

30 alternating dumbbell snatch (yup, 60…)

30 calorie row

3,000 meter bike

35 alternating dumbbell snatch (you guessed it, 70…sigh…)

35 calorie row

3,500 meter bike

10 heavy ball over shoulder

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What do you do?  Some people get up and do it anyway.  Some people just stay home.

There are definitely days when I don’t feel like doing it, but I do it anyway and find my groove as I go along.  I am off my game if I don’t get there.

I will say, though, that I didn’t dread this workout too too much. Most of it is bike, and bike is my jam. I’m better at sprints than long distance, but I can still push through long meters pretty well.  It is not a slog, as it is for many.  Just like there are people who fly through burpees or running, when I am just trying to keep moving, slow as I am. Ever since I met the bike, we get along (most days).

This Saturday we added some classic tunes, and next thing you know I am dancing from the waist up as my screaming quads continued to grind it out. One of the amazing people at our box snapped a pic and some video. (Check out and follow our instagram feed for the video, posting soon!)

I debated on posting this picture.  It maybe isn’t the most flattering look, since it shows what I call my “flotation device” (stubborn belly flab).  My negative inner voice even wondered why I still look like a before picture when I’ve been working on health, fitness, and nutrition for years now.

But then I thought, this shows me being healthy, silly, and energetic.  And considering I was in a room with about 40 people I am still getting to know, I’m glad I felt that free, both with all of them and within myself.  That’s progress. Sharing it with you, flab and all, is even more so.

So, I ask you, in the middle of the grind, what makes you dance?  What makes you strong?  What makes you move? What makes you push yourself?

What makes you free?

Embrace the path you’re riding down, and the people you choose to share it with.