Thursday, April 9, 2015

Knowing We're Enough

Today I laid to rest my sweet dog after 15 years of shared love & adventures. As I acknowledged her time was coming to an end, yet before making that final decision, I caught myself focusing on the idea that "I didn't make enough time to brush her." I made time to sit and brush her on her last full day on this earth and yet I was saddened that I hadn't done this more.

I am thankful to say that I caught myself in the habit shared by many human beings all over this globe of thinking I'm not enough.  These thoughts sneak in around numerous aspects of my life. "I'm not strong enough, smart enough, organized enough, etc." We all have our own personal lists of "not enoughs" we often secretly work to hide from others. 

After acknowledging this thought process, I made a clear decision to stop believing such a thought. Instead, I reflected on all the ways that I did provide enough love, exercise, good food, affection, kisses on the head, attention, etc. It gave me a whole different feeling and allowed a much better experience of my final hours with a dog I loved so dearly. 

Now that she is gone, I am committed to use her memory as a reminder that I am enough. I am strong enough, smart enough, organized enough, etc. to accomplish all that I can ever dream and more. I know deep in my heart that while my dear dog never had the ability to express with words, I know that she would be honored to inspire me in such a meaningful way.  After all, I would never dream of saying that my dog didn't wag her tail or acknowledge me enough. She was enough, I am enough, and we are all filled with more than enough of exactly what we need to experience true happiness and fulfillment. 

Take time to reflect on your thoughts and share your thoughts with others. Where are you with believing you are not enough? Ask your loved ones where they sometimes feel they are not enough. Then support each other in deciding to stop believing these thoughts. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Softening Your Angel & Befriending Your Devil

The voice in our head. We all have one….in fact most of us have at least two. While at times we may prefer the voices would shut up & go away the reality is the voices in our head are here to stay.
Take a moment to reflect on your day thus far.
What has been the tone of the dialogue in your head?
Did you wake up excited to embrace the challenges of the day? Or were you struck by nothing except self-criticisms about what you could actually accomplish today?
I love the image of the cartoons with the devil and the angel on opposing shoulders. The cartoon is a great example of the internal dialogue pulling us from feelings of support & curiosity for embracing our power to total self-destruction and self-hate around all our fears & insecurities in life. So at this point I ask you to notice...who has the louder voice...your devil or your angel? Let’s take a moment to analyze the different thought patterns our devil & angel may throw at us.
Imagine this: My alarm goes off New Year’s Day & I have volunteered myself for a public speaking engagement later that morning. It is by no means automatic for me to have positive feelings regarding the idea of public speaking. Those of you who know me well may know that I can even have social anxiety over coaching groups. More specifically, I have fear that pops up in a one-on-one setting when I start to worry about not being able to connect with a new client. Needless to say, general public speaking brings out the nerves & uncertainty which typically means my devil will be the first to greet me in the morning.
Devil: What were you thinking? No one is going to come and if they do come you’re only going to disappoint them. You never prepare enough for these talks. You babble, forget your train of thought. You have no focus. You are dumb for thinking this was a good idea. Why didn’t you simply enlist other people to talk & inspire like last year?
The voice of my devil vocalizes my self-doubt, my fears. The devil tends to bring about guilt and is especially harmful when I allow that devil to go to a place of inflicting shame. ie. You ARE dumb. vs that was a dumb idea.
Yes, my devil speaks up first. This is common for many. We create challenge for ourselves which is great as challenges create opportunities for growth. However, that devil on our shoulder is inherently lazy & often self-limiting. It’s going to question if we truly want & need to exert the extra energy to meet this challenge. This has benefited us tremendously for survival during more primitive times. Now we live in a world with so much at our convenience we need to create our own challenges. These challenges help us optimize our health & fitness as well as our personal & emotional development.
On this occasion my angel is prepared for the language my devil is throwing at me. In fact, with my increased awareness over these patterns she has become comfortable & is not longer surprised or intimidated by the voice of my devil. She allows the devil to spit out her rant of self-doubt and personal attacks on what I largely cannot do well or right. When the rant is done, rather than allowing it to play on repeat over and over again, she simply reminds me to pause and take a deep breath.
The angel & I smile at each other as we knew this moment was coming. No matter how long the devil may stay dormant, her reappearance is one of the few guarantees in life. That devil used to be my own-worst enemy. However when I realized we were forced to be in this life long relationship, I made the decision to befriend my devil. I chose to take the “kill ‘em with kindness” approach. I can even say that I have learned to love my devil (most of the time) as our biggest life lessons come from learning to conquer our own thoughts.
After we share a deep breath (or sometimes two or three deep breaths) my angel graciously takes her turn to speak:
Angel: Yes, perhaps you haven’t formally rehearsed this as often as you intended, but you think about these concepts constantly. You have spent more time than ever before in your life bringing more attention to your thoughts and people CAN relate to you. Sharing your thoughts can help inspire others take charge of their own thoughts. That is why you do this. You love to inspire and you are inspired when others share with you. Trust yourself. You know what you want to say. When you get lost in a thought, take a moment to pause and you’ll know what to say next.
While my devil spits reminders of self-doubt and guilt my angel has learned to develop a voice of love and reassurance. She has allowed me to acknowledge that whatever the outcome, it will be just as it needs to be. My angel reminds me of all the gray in life. We can “win” even if we come in last. It all depends on our perspective. This isn’t an “everyone gets a trophy” mentality, rather being able to face & accept reality. For example, I may have the best “Fran” time of my life and finish last if I am going against the best in the world. Is this a reason to feel disappointed? On the contrary I may have the WORST Fran time of my life and be able to learn from the experience. Have I been inconsistent with training? Am I recovering from a cold? Not sleeping well? Did I allow my devil to scream in my ear the whole workout and limit me from doing the best I could in that moment? Whatever the circumstances my angel helps me to be understanding with the outcome & to guide my decisions going forward. And so I digress...
My angel wasn’t always so patient and understanding with my devil. Developing my angel is how I approach developing the relationship with myself.
I like to set my angel up for success whenever possible and imagine her as a well rested, healthy, radiant mother who is there to support me. Rather than nagging the devil with all the things she shouldn’t be focusing on she simply sends loving reminders to counter the devil’s input. Take a moment to feel the difference between a mother that nags you to do your chores and eat your vegetables vs a mother who lovingly requests you clean your room & supports you to eat vegetables in order to grow strong and healthy. Consider giving a persona to your angel that you feel can best meet the challenges of your devil. You can consider someone who has been a consistent support in your life or create your angel into your version of your best helper.
The relationship we cultivate between our devil & angel will work to foster the relationship we have with ourselves. Our relationship with ourselves is the only relationship that is guaranteed in life. When we are on our deathbed it will be us and our thoughts and we never know how much time we have. So start now.  Acknowledge you have the choice to choose self love over self hate. If you have been in the habit of more hate than love then simply begin with a deep breath & find a positive thought to begin the process of resetting those patterns. It doesn’t happen immediately but with practice and intention it gets easier. Learn to love the struggle and have curiosity for who you can be by setting the intention to soften your angel and learn to love that devil on your shoulder.
Create your best year yet in 2015!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Learn To Love The Struggle

Learn to love the struggle and you'll learn to love everyday.

This thought occurred to me tonight as I reflected on my training over dinner. It was a rough night of training. I didn't want to go to the gym. I wasn't motivated to do TnG (touch 'n go) power cleans & let me tell you TnG power cleans are my favorite! I was hopeful that the warm up would shift my mood, but that didn't end up being the case.

I wasn't a total mess. There were no tears. I didn't throw any hissy fits. I just didn't have that excitement running through me to be in the gym training.

This has been the case more frequently than I'd like to admit in recent months. I still have goals. While the past two years my goals were to give a run at the podium at Regionals- this year it's going to be about the battle to get to Regionals.

I've qualified to Regionals every year since its inception in 2009 when I went up to Ohio to be one of about 39 women that decided to show up at Rogue and throw down in what was then the MidWest Region. I finished 9th that year and while only 9 of us were able to complete the workouts in under the time caps to make it into the final- my 9th place finish in the final was last by several minutes. Folks stood there & enthusiastically cheered me on to complete each of my 30 75lb snatches to fiish out the workout when at the time my max was 82lbs.  In my previous life as a runner I never experienced such support for the last place finisher.

I had never been happy to finish last before, but on that day I was proud to be able to finish. This may have been the first time I allowed myself to love the struggle even when the struggle didn't result in anything victorious.

Tonight the struggle was a lack of desire that stemmed from a fear around the truth. I was given a tester tonight. Some of you may be familiar: 3 RFT: 25 KBS, 25 Burpees. It's a tester that I've done before & I know it's a burner. I have a big opportunity in learning to embrace & love these burners, as they challenge me out of my comfort zone. It's work that I can do unbroken and it comes down to deciding how fast the unbroken reps are going to be. How hard will I decide to hurt & push to resist my urge to pace? Well, tonight I didn't want to do it and in the end I didn't. Certainly not an easy thing for me to admit on a public blog, yet it's the truth.

It's when I make these decisions like I did tonight to not do one of the workouts written for me- that's when I simply have to acknowledge that training in not presently my top value, as it has been for many of my recent years. I feel as though I need to have some big explanation around the shift and while I could probably list off a few legitimate life changes- the bottom line is that it is what it is.

Yes, it will be my goal to try and qualify for my 7th consecutive CrossFit Regionals.  Yes, I'm a realist that I know I'm not putting in the work like I did in the past. And yes, I'm going to be relying on the base of work I have put in over the past going on 9 years of "CrossFit" training and the 12 years of endurance & body building like training I did prior to that more so than the past 9 months leading into the 2015 Open. Bottom line is that at this point in time I feel as though I'll have a better chance to be excited to push again by the time the Open rolls around by presently not over-forcing anything now. Each day I'm learning to trust my gut on this & stand strong in my decisions.

The coach in me knows that I'll do even better the more I detach from the results of training day in & day out.  When I fully learn to simply do the work with no attachment to the outcome.  This involves the emotional maturity of removing the expectation that each tester should be a PR (personal record). I'm better than I used to be, but by no means a master yet.

It's almost funny how easy it is to attach to the outcome even though the end result doesn't have much bearing on my overall existence. I'm not going to suddenly hang up my training if I'm improving or not. It's my lifestyle. I love the process of training. However, it's when I attach my self worth to the outcome that the detachment becomes painful.

Who will I be if I don't improve? What does that say about the hours I've spent in the gym over the past X years? What will others think if I don't qualify for Regionals?

It's so easy to overestimate our existence. Because yes maybe others will notice the standings it doesn't rank folks based upon their worth as people and in the end we all have worth.

Life will always provide us with struggle in many different shapes and forms. The more we learn to love, accept & adapt to the struggles of our every day the more we can learn to love each day regardless of what it entails. As we learn to love & appreciate the overcast & rainy days as well as the sunny days it opens us up to find more & more opportunities for gratitude.

The next time you're having a "bad day" look to be understanding with yourself and be curious to the learning & growth that can come from your experiences on what may have first felt like a "bad day".

Monday, November 10, 2014

Start By Showing Up

Sometimes there is so much change in life I get lost for words to sum it all up.  When that happens I go months & months still not knowing what to do with the drafts for this blog.  Eventually I just accept that it's alright to just let the drafts be & start fresh.

For a quick summary I've spent more of my time in Scottsdale than Asheville since August as I had the opportunity to train as a reserve athlete for the Phoenix Rise in the first year of the professional Grid League.  It was a very surreal yet challenging time in my life as I trained with some incredible athletes & worked under some awesome coaches at the OPEX facility in Scottsdale. The future for Grid & more so my potential involvement in the sport is all up in the air at this point.

As of now the focus is back to making decisions around where I want to be in life. What I want to do. How I want to structure my days & who I want to surround myself around. I'm very grateful for not only the freedom I have in my life, but for the support of those close to me as I navigate through the decisions.

Most recently I was back in Scottsdale to compete in a head to head functional fitness event called Rush Club.  I won the lightweight undercard match & I am invited back to compete for the lightweight title belt in February.  The full event can be viewed here. 

Rush Club happened Saturday night & Sunday morning I was back at OPEX for an athlete camp that wrapped up the OPTathlon weekend at OPEX. Honestly I contemplated not attending.  I had all these excuses related to Rush Club Saturday night, but mostly I was afraid to attend.  I was attached to fear around how I would perform & if my training as of late has been adequate for me to do well.  With some of my life transitions has brought some financial changes & I am not presently receiving the same coaching guidance I have been under for the past three years.  When I don't have coaching I trust my doubt of myself & my preparedness for physical events grows even deeper.  However, while I do hope to work with the OPEX coaching staff again in the future I am presently learning to trust in myself more & more day by day.

Below are the female results from the weekend & what I had to say about the experience on my IG post from this morning.

To some it is simply numbers on a board. To me these numbers symbolize purpose, truth & a few of the moments in time along my journey. It's been & continues to be a year of many life transitions & significant change. These are the times I find myself most questioning my own purpose & what I want to seek to achieve fulfillment. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by uncertainty & lost on this journey. Then I have days like yesterday where I set aside any excuses & pull myself out of bed in the morning to show up & have my name included on the white board. It was that decision to show up & accept the truth vs let the fear & ego of where I think I should be get in the way of loving myself for exactly where I am...that was the moment that lead me back to having more clarity towards what I love...None of us can change our past. As my mentors have reminded me many times "it is what it is". However every moment we have the gift of a new decision in the now. We have the power to make a new decision for ourselves. We have the freedom to allow these decisions to direct us in the direction of happiness & fulfillment in however that is packaged for each of us. Bottom line to find fulfillment we must make the decisions that bring happiness for us & let go of getting lost in the exhaustion that can come from forgetting our own desires in attempt to please others.

Monday, July 7, 2014

7/7 Training Snatches, Back Squats & Muscle-ups!

Good sleep. Woke up 1 min before alarm.  Coached 9 & 10a CF then trained at 11:30. Feeling a bit tired going into session, but energy picked up when I got going. 

A. Hang snatch EMOM for 8 min building
105-110-115-120-125-130F-130-130 solid. Videos of last 4 minutes. 

B. Back squat @30X1; 6.6.6x3; rest 20 sec/rest 4 min
Right inferior knee cap feeling a bit off so I lost the lifting shoes for these sets. Sometimes shoes throw me just slightly forward & changes how it feels on my knees. Already feeling better after the session. 
165-170 (rest 6 min...ran to bathroom & started talking to folks), 175. Baseline recovered within 4 minutes each time. Low back fatigue is what I felt most in between sets. Video of 175lbs. 

C. 8 ub muscle-ups; 4 sets; rest 2-3 min
Did one set of 3 for warm-up & started.  Rested 3 minutes b/w each set. Kip is still not ideal on dip. Thinking about bringing knees to chest but obviously more kicking my butt.  didn't feel close to a max set until set 4.  

D. strict supinated wtd CTB chin ups @20X1; 3-4x4; rest 2 min

4x35lbs, 40lbs, 3x45lbs, 2x50lbs & chest not solid to bar..more delts grazing bar.  Grip & arms feeling the swell from MUs. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

7/6 Sunday Rest day with Yoga Rocks the Park

A great low key day here in Asheville.  Started the morning with my favorite yoga instructor, Joe Taft, at a Yoga Rocks the Park event in downtown.  This is happening every Sunday through the month of July.  If you're in Asheville, check it out! 

Then some outdoor time with my dogs at one of the local creeks for about an hour.  Body feels pretty good today. Back to it tomorrow!



More stiff & sore today than yesterday.  Reminding my body what it feels like to train again. 

For time:
12 OH wtd pistols per leg 35# (video)

8 OH wtd pistols per leg 45# (video) Couldn't get my legs to fire enough to stand it up. Frustrating. 

4 OH wtd pistols per leg 55#
Only made it through 5 or so of the 16 to do at 45lbs when I called it.  Calves were getting really tight going into the pistol & I failed on the one side 2 or 3 times.  First time doing these since off a box in 2010.  It will get better. 

For time:
4 sets 80' shuttle sprint
10 deadlifts 225# 55s. UB DLs (video)

rest 45 sec
20 box jumps 30" ~45s. not much pop today. 
rest 15 sec
6 bar muscle-ups yes, ub. Felt good. 
For time:
100m HS walk

9:50. oh the HS walk.