From the Heart

Fair warning, this will more than likely be a stream of thoughts that may or may not be coherent.

Fitness is not easy. For many reasons. Sometimes it’s he goal that is he issue and the unrealistic expectations we place on reaching those goals. I find myself lookin back at who I was and what I looked like when I used to run and I lament when it takes me seemingly forever to run the same trails I used to run with ease.

Looking back is a bitch. Looking back at what I thought was a peak. Looking back and measuring myself against that old me. But Storme…it’s the old you silly rabbit. And that is where I find myself trying to find my peace. I love running for its mental benefits. Running or walking, just being outdoors is its own kind of meditation for me. Zen in the forest? Sure! But where I once was someone who would love to run for hours…the woman I am now would rather be lifting. 

Running used to push my boundaries. Lifting does that for me now. And I love both for different reasons. And I need to stop looking back at who I was and trying to reconcile it to who I am now. It’s gonna mess up what I’m trying to become. Which is just a better version of myself.

So I ran this morning and it was cool. Then I walked some and that was great, lol. But it didn’t make my heart sing in the same way it used to. And what I am trying to constantly impart upon myself is that IT’S OK. I’m not who I used to be. I am something else. Stronger. Heavier. But healthy still. 

I Want to do ALL the Workouts…ALL of Them

I need a minute to complain. So hear me out for a lil bit – just humor me on this one. There is simply not enough time in the day to do all of the physical activities I love to do. There’s not even enough days in the week to plan out a schedule that allows me to feel fully fulfilled with the workouts I do have. It’s annoying. So I’m pouting right now.

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If only…but yes, this is how I often feel.

Running has been my main hitta, my number one, for about 3-4 years. But then? CrossFit. And then? Olympic Weightlifting. I kept telling myself that I’d find a way to run still, that my forray into the world of wods and 1RMs wouldn’t stop me from hitting my favorite trail a couple of days a week. That I’d still find time to incorporate yoga into my routine. Lies. There are so many options…sooooo many. Of course I find happiness in several of those options, but I’ve yet to find the right balance – the right mix of things. Oh, and still manage to go to work, eat, and ya’know…live.

Here’s the real rub though…to be good at something, ANYTHING, one must put a good 85-90% of their efforts towards that. I’ve never been good with ultimatums though, so naturally I am having a rough time with that kind of logic. Oly makes me happy. Running gives me peace. CrossFit gives me community. Yoga gives me clarity. It’s beautiful that I can get all of these wonderful, beneficial things from such varied forms of working out. But how to successfully enjoy them all in a way that is not detrimental to my goals? And body?

Truth moment? I need to revisit my goals. Which is right on time actually, as I spent the majority of this year working on and working towards the goals I’d set for myself last year. I took a break from running to dedicate myself to CrossFit. I dedicated myself to CrossFit to figure out which competitive lifting style (strongman vs powerlifting vs Oly) I wanted to pursue further. Well? The verdict’s in and the lady has chosen Oly. Now that I’ve discovered what area I want to focus on, I’m hoping to build out a schedule that’s a little more realistic of time constraints and my rather divergent interests. Any trainer or coach will tell you that when it comes to setting goals for yourself, you need to make them SMART:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Timely

S.M.A.R.T. Reason being, if you start out with goals that are too vague and unrealistic, then you’re gonna bomb out. Know what you’re working towards and chart a course for getting there. I don’t always use SMART goals, but when I do, it makes my life a lot easier, as I have checkpoints along the way to map my progress. I start big, with my ultimate goal, and will work my way backwards from there. Detailing my steps helps to see what the steps are to get me to the goal. Then I assign a timeline to it. Or, if it doesn’t seem realistic…I’ll adjust. So, if right now my main issue is figuring out a way to do all of the physical activities I love to do, then I need to prioritize those activities and figure out what my baseline of participation needs to be for maximum happiness and wellbeing.

I’m thinking ahead to 2015 already…and I think my BIG goals for the year will be:
1. Participate in an Open (Olympic lifting competition)
2. Run a race – either a 10-Miler or a Half Marathon
3. Maximize the hours in a day to work, play, sweat, and rest.

It’ll get me back into running again and allow for me to push myself with the weights. Integrated training. It can work. At least I hope to stop whining about not having the time to run. *shrug*

Anyone else out there have that same issue finding balance? Or is it just me?

Why I Love Olympic Weightlifting

I’m approaching a year of CrossFit…and you know what I’ve learned? I really…REALLY love Olympic Weightlifting (“Oly” for short). Love it to the point where I’ve actually stopped participating in CrossFit wods at my box and have been Oly training exclusively. Hadn’t thought I’d get this into the sport, but yes…I am a big fan.

Where CrossFit builds workouts (wods) around several different types of sports (gymnastics, powerlifting, oly, running, strongman, etc) with the goal of building athletes that are functionally fit, Oly focuses on two lifts. The clean & jerk….and the snatch. Both lifts are very explosive and require a great amount of control – both of your body and of the weight on the bar.

Both sports produce amazing athletes. Both demand you to face your fears and dig deeper.

Oly just speaks to me more. I’ve tried to deny it. To ignore it…nope, I’m a CrossFitter!!! But let’s be honest here, I spend more time thinking about or looking at Oly vids than I do anything else. When I go into the gym I get annoyed when there are guys deadlifting on the only pad where you could actually do Oly lifts – meanwhile there’s a perfectly good deadlifting area in another part of the gym that is hardly ever used.

I like lifting heavy things…while being smart about it, of course. I learned several months ago that I need to “respect the bar” at all times – I dropped a bar with about 160 lbs on it and let it roll away…and right onto my shin. It wasn’t a major injury, just a little blood. But I’ve got the scars as a reminder of the importance of respecting that bar and minding the bar at all times.

With that said, if you’re thinking about getting into lifting…I would say to give it a try. Make sure you’ve got a good coach to teach you the basics and make sure you are safely progressing along. It’s not as scary as it may seem, but it is something that does take a certain amount of time, dedication, and attention. If I can do this…YOU can too. If it’s your thing – of course. ūüôā

Here are some clips of some of my fave ladies from across the globe kicking ass. Various ages. Various nationalities. Various body types. Same level of awesome. Be inspired.

Tatyana Kashirina – Russia

Lidia Valentin – Colombia

Zoe Smith – UK (she’s only 20!)

Holley Mangold РUSA 

Breakthrough Days

I had a breakthrough today in Oly practice…

I’ve had this mental block around this ONE particular lift…the snatch. Considering there are only two lifts in olympic weightlifting (the clean & jerk…and the snatch), I’d say the mental block has been pretty significant. For whatever reason, just could NOT get my head around this lift. I know it was a block.

A block caused by fear. This lift just scares me. Which is funny, because I think it’s one of the most beautiful lifts. Can I call a lift beautiful? Mmmm…yea, I think I’m gonna do that. But yes, it’s just a really REALLY amazing lift to behold. It’s power, speed, balance…all in a movement that is done in a matter of seconds.

See what I mean?

Tonight one of my box mates declared it a breakthrough day for himself. I guess some of that good vibes trickled in over to me, because when I got good and moving with the workout…I was hitting weights for the snatch that were damn close to my 1 rep max…like 5-10 lbs away. Doing heavy work, under fatigue, and coming so close to my 1RM with better form and more confidence than in the past?

Breakthrough, I tell ya.

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*giggle* Cracks me up every time.

But yes…breakthrough tonight. And it felt good. Better than good, it felt GREAT. I feel the fear diminishing. I know I can do it. Seeing the proof of that belief just makes it all the more real.

Get Low

I was perusing the internets the other day and in the middle of reading about how to improve upon my squat depth I came across THIS guy:

Take note of what she’s standing on.

Apparently, this invention is called the Sqautty Potty, and its sole purpose is to enhance one’s pooping experience by mimicking the natural squat position. Now, I know you want to laugh…and you’re probably laughing right now, but hear me out…I think this is kinda an awesome idea. Just think about it – when you look at her posture on the lil squatty potty, it’s a pretty decent squat. Most crossfitters have a tough time getting into that kind of beautiful low squat positions that most oly lifters can make look so effortless… Continue reading

Catching Up Is A Good Thing

Hello lovelies!!!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Independence Day weekend! My weekend was filled with good times, good food, and good friends. The weather was perfect, the laughs were in abundance, and it was all around a great time. I’m preeeetty excited that July and the second half of the year is upon us. This first half of the year was a little rough…uh a LOT rough…and filled with a lot of uncertainty and just transition. I think I’m in a space to settle into a new groove.¬†

Guess who went for a run this weekend?!?! ME!!! It feels like it’s been so long since I’ve gone for a run outdoors, and it was just the medicine I needed. Lately I’ve felt the itch to go for a run, but truthfully, I’ve been away from running consistently for so long that I honestly was afraid of being SUPER SLOW by the time I got back out there, lol. Silly me, lol. Yesterday was a simple 2 miler – I’m literally testing the waters here – and I didn’t die, lol. All the lifting I’ve been doing over these past 6 months have definitely made me stronger and it was evident during my run that my legs can handle more of a pounding than usual. It’s just my cardio capacity that needs to catch up.¬†

I think I’m going to run a half marathon this fall. Last one I ran was back in May 2013, and I kinda miss it. I figure it’ll make for an interesting couple of months. I’d like to see how oly lifting and crossfitting and running all mix together. Even as I say it, I am questioning my sanity, but realistically speaking…I love olympic weightlifting. I love crossfit. I love running. Why the three can’t exist in the same world is a question I’ve been asking myself as of late. I don’t think you have to be all into one particular sport and shun other forms of activity. Though, admittedly, all three of those can be pretty damn demanding on the body, so clearly caution needs to be taken. Buuuuut, I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge and I’m definitely not one to accept that something is out of my reach or is just not meant to be attained. Soooo…I’m gonna work it out.

In other news, I’ll be at the IDEA World Fitness BlogFest¬†this August and I’m super excited! This will be my first time attending a conference specifically for fitbloggers and I’m hoping to come away from it with a bunch of ideas how to to make my little blog better. I’ll be sure to do some live tweeting and posting from the event, so keep an eye out for that!

Till next time!

The Next Challenge

I wrote the following yesterday, and wanted to share as it was written…

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I’m at my very first weightlifting competition. No, not as a competitor, but as a spectator. I’ve had a nervous giddiness about attending since I first found out about it. Admittedly, I’m new to the world of weightlifting, so I didn’t know and still don’t know the protocol for attending things like this. I hemmed and hawed all day…asked a couple of friends and even my sis if they’d come with me. Lol, no luck on any front so finally I just went alone.

I arrived just in time to see the women in The 75kg+ category compete. Now, from my estimation and super sucky metric to American conversion, I believe this would be the weight class I’d be in. So it was cool to see what the competitors looked like and what kind of weight they were moving. Gives me an idea of what I need to do, learn, and prepare for.

Oh yea, mama wants to be a competitive lifter.

Back to the competition though. I kinda slid in the back, super late, and found a nice solitary chair to observe from. In the audience, you could tell there are friends, family, and other  supporters of  the competitors and maybe some lifting enthusiasts too.

The ladies all went through their weights with the snatch being first. Then, they went right into the clean and jerk. It was interesting to note that not all went into a full snatch, some just did a power snatch (where you land in about a quarter to a half squat vs the full squat you do when performing an actual snatch). Good for me to know, since I didn’t know that was allowed in competition, but cool! The clean and jerk portion was interesting to watch as well. Everyone really has their own style and way of getting under the bar…you can tell what was a struggle and was seemed like light weight for the ladies.

Random thoughts going through my head right now…

  • Heart pounding…this is amazing.
  • I can totally do this.
  • I’m appreciative of my coaches for their instruction so far. I can definitely see the difference in the competitors technique and can see where a lift might go a lil screwy vs looking solid.
  • They hit the bottom rather nicely on snatches…I’ve got work to do on that one.
  • Oh…so THATS why I muscle snatch and overhead squat so much.
  • The hold is as important as the drive itself.
  • The push press is my friend.
  • I CAN TOTALLY DO THIS!

Yea it was a great time at the open, even though I didn’t see the other weight classes compete, I saw enough of what I needed to see to solidify my desire to compete. The next couple of months will be just learning all I can, practicing on skill work, and getting my mind right. There’s the 2014 American Weightlifting Open Competition which will be in DC this December. It’ll be both powerlifting and Olympic lifting. I want to compete in both, and fates willing – I shall so just that.

Excitement!!!!

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