Monday, December 26, 2011


"If you had nothing today that you didn't thank God for yesterday, what would you have?"
-Fr. Scott Mansfield.

Over the last several months, I've myself feeling especially grateful, sometimes teemingly grateful.
It's such a wonderful place to be - I want to savor it... because it's too easy to forget and get negative and forgetful about the blessings in my life.

What better way than to make a list and publish it?  So later, when I think I am lost and miserable and alone, I can come back here and start making a new list.

Also it may be significant to note that almost all of these things are things I complain and suffer over frequently, but today I choose to see the good.

2011's Top TEN of my life ROCKS -

1)  Sick of hearing about Crossfit yet?  If so you may want to skip ahead a few paragraphs.
So. About Crossfit, There has been nothing else, since the decision to give my heart to Christ, that has had such an incredible and transforming effect on my life - and I am so immensely grateful for it.
Crossfit is my happy place, my thing. It grounds me. It holds me accountable for my actions. It is relentless on pity parties and excuses. It doesn't care what kind of day I'm having, and it always gives me the opportunity for bigger and greater feats than I have done before.  Performance is the standard and measure of all things, not appearances.  I can't lie to myself about who I am in crossfit.  Illusions don't last long. AND I love it.  I thrive there. I skip, I dance, I laugh. But I also grunt and kick things, and cry.  And that's okay.  We all have those days. It's beautiful.

2) And It keeps giving.  It's more than just my own journey. There's a family to it. I loved my crossfit family in New Mexico - we bonded in the gym, we sweat, suffered, and rejoiced together, supporting one another to succeed. Leaving was so sad, and scary.
But moving has been a story of giving God my yes, letting go of something, and then him giving me back so much more.  I love my new crossfit family - on a whole new level.  I have been blessed abundantly in stepping out and opening my heart to my teammates.  I have found beautiful friends and support both within and beyond the box.

3) Then there's My Living Situation - sometimes I complain about my current scenario; I think my life would be better or more complete in some way if I lived in a thriving young professional community.  Pacific Beach, Downtown, Some where with more social life built in, or just blocks from the beach.  But the truth is I get tired and overwhelmed pretty easily and my situation now is peaceful. It's safe. It's far nicer than anything I could afford moving out.  I don't have to worry about roommates that I may or may not get along with, and yet I'm still not alone.  I have a family life almost built in and cute little ones to come keep me company from time to time and play as I cook. It's precious.  So what if I'm pretty much being taken care of with a deal too good to be true. Why is that a bad thing? Does it really make me irresponsible and childish, or is it just an incredible blessing for this time in my life that I should accept!? I'm voting for the latter.

4) My boss -  I have often suffered all sorts of anxiety over his lack of loquaciousness, and my inability to ask for what I need.  However, I have recently begun to see how much my boss really cares about and values me. He really tries, and I see that he goes out of his way to make sure I'm taken care of in anything I need.  He's more like a big brother or a dad than a boss, and an incredibly humble man of integrity. How many people can say that?

5) My Job - completely unconventional.  I have agonized over this one quite often as well.  I think I don't deserve my job, and yet I also think that I'm not a grown up because I don't have a 'real job'.  I think all sorts of things about how terrible it is because I'm not good at it and I get bored. I'm not inspired or motivated on a daily basis.  And while that is true sometimes, my job is something of a sanctuary, and that is not a bad thing to have.  It keeps me closely tied to something that I believe in passionately - pilgrimage.
I am involved in creating opportunities that will change lives as youth encounter Christ in a way they never have.  That's awesome.  I believe in what we do. That is more important perhaps than "feeling passionately" about it everyday.  Feelings change all the time.  My job is tied to my core beliefs, and I am so grateful.  Instead of waiting for the bottom to fall out and creating excuses for why I don't deserve it or  anxiously wondering how I will survive with any other job, today I am happy to relax and just say, 'thank you'

6) I wish everyone had their own fellowship.  You know.  Like Frodo had the fellowship of the rings. I have a fellowship.  I have a possy of girl power like I have never seen before.  We call it FLAG - fight like a girl - and fight we do.  We pray for and fight for one another every day.  We fight the battles for one another that go unseen, but the results are tangible.  I really don't have words for this here.  But they are rising on the list of powerful forces changing my life and freeing my heart to thrive.  Because really, none of us were meant to face life alone.

7) This is my blogging debut of my struggle with bipolar disorder. I've never mentioned it, and really I don't intend to talk about it now, except to share my gratitude for my Emotional Health - medication helps, but all these things in my gratitude list have worked together to foster a great level of emotional health -  I am grateful for the strength and balance to face my triggers and brokenness and find true healing.  Problems aren't really problems when you have the emotional health and fortitude to face them. Priceless.

8) Surprise!  I am so grateful for Being Single.  This time in life has allowed me to do some serious work on myself - and boy have I been working!  If I had a husband or kids right now, I wouldn't have had the freedom of time and finances to take such serious care of myself and really work on addressing the things that trip me up in life and relationships. I might not have the time to invest in crossfit and training and recovery the way I can now or TRAVEL.
 I also LOVE that I get to keep sleeping when I hear the kids playing early in the morning, because they aren't mine!  The last thing about being single right now that thrills me is looking back on the guys in my past and being able to honestly say, "I'm glad that didn't work out; they really aren't what I'm looking for."

9) Family - oh my family. I am so grateful that my parents are still together. I am grateful for that stability and for the testimony to a big part of what love is - transformation through unconditional commitment.  My family wears out the words, "I love you" - we shower one another with encouragement and affection, even though many of us are vastly different and can't agree on anything other than that we love each other.  I am so grateful to be a Carey.

10) And the source of every good thing - FAITH. If everything else were taken away, I still have my Faith.  Nothing makes sense without it.  Without Christ, I don't make sense.  And I am so grateful for this relationship - to be so loved, so priceless, so precious, and to have such a powerful ally - I've only barely scratched the surface of how much He wants to do in and for me.

2011 has seen some great work in my life, and no matter what 2012 holds I know I have been so blessed. And I am grateful.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Is it REALLY a treat?

A whole cheesecake showed up in my fridge today - the real deal, cheesecake factory sublimity.  I made a narrow escape, by sprinting out to the gym for my lunch break.  This gave me enough distance to break the trance luring me closer and closer, fork in hand, arm outstretched.... sort of like Aurora drawn to prick her finger on a spindle in Sleeping Beauty.

As I sped along frantically, I thought about why not eat that cheesecake.  I thought about my goals.
In and of itself what's so bad about treating myself to some cheesecake?  Nothing. 
Nothing except I have already 'treated' myself quite a bit in the last week, 'celebrating' the conclusion of the NLI series.  There's a voice that says, "you deserve it!"  but you know what? I deserve BETTER than what the cheesecake has to offer me.

I really want to heal.  I want my body to truly recover from all the work I've put it through the last few months, so that it can come back stronger.  Nutrition is essential to that process.

A small treat every now and then is ok, but it has to stay exactly that, a small treat every now and then. 

Otherwise those cheats add up  "like a thief in the night" and the next thing you know my goals are riding off into the sunset, along with all the hard work I've put in to earn my successes.  I know what my goals are.  I know what my body needs to reach them.  Every choice paves the way closer or farther from them.

It's Christmas. I'm taking two weeks vacation.  That's wonderful!!  But the way I take that vacation is critical to my ability to heal and recover during this rest time, to rebuild and be ready for the training ahead, and to be the happiest about the time I took.  I want to be grateful and pleased with the time I had with my family, not angry at myself and blaming them for derailing me.  I am the master of my choices.

I know (with a little distance between us) that cheesecake is my gateway.  It sets the stage for how I will handle every opportunity and temptation of this holiday season.  If I approach them with the carefree attitude of  "It's my vacation.  It's not a big deal. I've worked hard so I can indulge."  I will be taking rapid steps away from my goals. 

Last year, the rum cake won.  Here it is.  I didn't mention that I ate the WHOLE THING. and that bottle of bailey's, and more. I've been training myself to be prepared to face that rum cake this year and win.  I think that little bastard knew I was ready for him so he sent his cousin the cheesecake to trip me up and weaken my will.  I'm not having it.  No, I'm drawing a line.  To help, I made this sign to keep the cheesecake company until I find the right party to donate it to.

Inflammation and Weight gain do not equal HSPU's and Muscle Ups.
Those are two big goals I have, which I can't really practice until my bicep tendonitis is healed.

I'm also going to put this on my phone background.  As I face choice after choice this holiday - I want to make my decisions empowered by my goals. Will I make a few indulgent choices?  Probably, but I want to make them will full awareness of what I'm saying yes and no to.

Saying NO takes having a bigger YES :) 

How are you approaching the holidays this year?

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Confessions of Vainaholic

A vainaholic.  I googled it just to see if it could be a word, and a brilliant girl already had the same idea :)
However, I have a little different interpretation of the word.  Not limiting vanity to appearance, but to concern over others' opinions in general.  I feel like this blog often looks like the confessions of a vainaholic - confessions of how much undue emphasis I put on what others think of me and my journey to break free.
So here we go.

Fierce Right?

Fierce and Beautiful.
Some think so.  I know it because they said it! and others...
the others are less documented but I'm sure they are present.  They don't think "fierce and beautiful."  They don't think, "wow.  There is an amazing woman." 

Instead, they think,
"I'm a little scared right now."
"So much muscle isn't feminine."
"That's not pretty."
or heaven forbid, "She looks fat"

All debatable, but wounding nonetheless.  It's hurtful, because most women don't want to be scary.  They want to be nurturing and life giving; we want to be encouragement and hope.  We want to be feminine -BEAUTIFUL.

If I were already married, if I had already found some one that thinks I'm wonderful and beautiful and amazing, that I feel the same way about, maybe I would be less sensitive.  But probably not.  We all need to find our peace with ourselves without needing the opinions of anyone else to dictate it - because people are changing and fickle (frankly they are just not God) and therefore, they will always fall short or disappoint at some point.  They can't help it; they are human.

Some one once advised me, regarding the search for my soulmate, "Don't appeal to a man's baser nature. Appeal to his nobility."
I think I understand more what he meant.  But he followed it with the encouragement that I focus on "grace, beauty, elegance, and modesty."

While it was a good pep talk... I was frustrated and discouraged.  I felt he was telling me to change, to be a whitewashed version of the feminine genius. To be something I am not. I was discouraged because I spent years with my only ambition in life to be a wife and mother of a large family (6. 7. 8. the more the merrier.) Because I held that up as the standard of a beautiful, worthy, and virtuous woman. 
And that never happened. And so I began to think about me.  Who am I?  What was I created for? What are my gifts and contributions?  Maybe I wasn't meant to be a mother of a large family?  Maybe I have other joys and delights in this world, and maybe that is good too?
In fact, I am grateful for my life!

I was discouraged because I've been shedding my stereotype of who I 'should be' and on so many levels I feel more alive, more truly myself than ever before - and yet In the pictures above - grace, beauty, elegance, and modesty are not the dominent messages. 

I see strength, sacrifice, victory, endurance, hope.

And well, if that is not enough to win the love and respect of a good and noble man, then I guess I will live a life alone.
With this, very sad, but clear conviction - I rejoice in the deliverance from vainaholic land - from man pleasing land.
The part of me that is strong to resist lies, discrimination, scrutiny, and the ever changing opinon of the world is growing.  I feel poweful - like the martyrs were powerful, lke the saints have been powerful, like we are all called to be powerful over our own domain.  Faithful stewards of the gifts we've been given.
So at the end, we stand, empty, naked, transparent - and unashamed, because we know we've been true.  We've been real. 
And real is beautiful.

Next Level Invitational Series... and such

The coolest part of pressing through a 3 part competition series = TShirts!
 This autumn was a big benchmark for me.  It was the first time I set out as an individual competitor.  Translation - I was accountable to myself to deal with my own sh*t :)  The journey of this series has been deeply meaningful to me.  I tend to want to look at stats and scores and outcomes - of course. That's exciting, but it's not the whole point. A person that is only looking at the result misses the true beauty of the apparent victory or failure. It's so sad how much they miss.

So what's the real beauty?  The whole picture.
Nothing great ever happens without opposition.

It's almost Christmas - so I'll use that example. Mary faced great opposition to say Yes to be the Mother of God Incarnate.  She was an unmarried teenager.  Her fiance was ready to dismiss her quietly - though he could have had her stoned.  She risked ridicule, judgement, public shame, and even death to say yes to the glory God wanted to bring through her.  And then there's JC, just trying to be born, and who has room for him in their inn?  Herod was so pissed about him even coming into the world that he slaughtered every male child under the age of 2, just to stomp out the threat to his own glory that was made by this "newborn king".  The family had to flee into Egypt, etc. etc. The life of Christ is filled with opposition, judgement from others, rejection, and wrong expectations.  If he had lived worrying about living up to the expectations of people, he would have never accomplished what he did - but he changed the world forever.

My dear friend Karen shared this with me
It's on my phone wall paper until it's written
on my heart.
There is so much in me that is flustered, that places my worth on things outside myself, instead I need to turn into my heart where the Lord speaks what is true and listen. 

It's not about me and them.  It's not about my coach or my team or my opponents. It's not about whether they will consider me worthy, whether they will be proud or disappointed. It's not about whether I will measure up and be enough, because whose standards are those anyway? and how often do they change? 

I want something eternal.  I want to live up to my own calling in this epic story.  To be the person I was created to be and so fill the unique place in this world that only I can fill. And that's about the journey, the fight, the day in day out determination and fortitude - The humility not to get swept up with any victory of the moment & the humility not to get beat down and discouraged by any disappointment of the moment.  It requires taking a longer view, a more grounded and focused view, pulling all the elements into the balance before casting judgement.  Because beneath it all it comes down to the Who that created me - what I am to Him, what He thinks and says about me.

The other day, I started to feel some judgement, some scrutiny - whether it was in my head or real.  It came at church, of course, from the people you expect to lift you up to whom God made you to be, but all too often tear you down instead, (because that's just what our enemy wants to see).  In that moment, I took a deep breath, looked to heaven, and closed my eyes. Do you know what I heard?  "I've got your back, Kath."

Act justly, love tenderly, repent of wrong doing and wrong thinking, leave it behind, and walk humbly with your God.

He's got your back!
In the overwhelming gratitude of that moment - it made me want to be better, to be holier.  He's got my back.  I don't need to get ugly, I don't need to be defensive.  I want to be patient. I want to be humble. I want to be kind and confident in goodness. I want to be generous in thought and deed - because I have been given so much. That's what it's all about. He's got my back.

So Next level Invitational series - Here's how it played out.

1) Sign up - I chose intermediate over advanced division since... a) I'm stumped on some necessary skillz, and b) I'm a head case at competing and never competed as an individual before.  This was going to be my test of competitor grit.
2) Beginning of August = Qualifiers. I'd been training hard for ages. I got 3rd. AWESOME.
3) For work and fun I took 3 weeks off training... working 20 hr days, eating all sorts of less than optimally nutritious choices and enjoying the best of Italy, i.e. Gelato, Wine, Pasta, Capaccino... you get the idea.

Another treasure from Karen!

4) Sep 10, 2011 = 1st event. I had 3 days in the gym, after my hiadas.  Then a hailstorm threw a wrench in the programming and gave me unexpected wod's that I was definitely not conditioned for. Result = 31st place.
5) I was fired up to regain my conditioning and get back on track -> too much too fast -> Back injury.  I was out for nearly 3 weeks resting  then rehabbing, but came back stronger.
6) Nov 12th = 2nd event.  It was all strongman type events.  I was pumped.  The confidence and joy fueled my performance.  This was the turning point for me.  I had so many mental victories this day.  So much prayer power behind me.  This is where the switch flipped. I experience freedom to rejoice in my own victories and not be ruled by the leaderboard.  As a competitor I realized I have to fight for it. No one is going to show me any mercy out there or do me any favors.  I am worth fighting to do my best.   Result = 11th place
7) I had 10 days of travel in the 28 days between competitions.  This will throw any one off.  But I also started to experience some problems with my shoulder and ankle/foot.  I worked to train smart and carefully.  Testing and gratefully seeing what my body will take, what it can do when I tell it to, and when to respect it's limits.
8)  Dec 10th = 3rd and final event.  I just knew it would be a great day.  The weather would be sunny and nice.  The workouts were varied and a decent broad range of capacity, and there was a chipper.  I love chippers. Despite this hope, I just didn't feel well all day. 
It was super exciting to have new competititors representing our box (as in November too).  I love it!  It's so exciting and inspiring to be fighting for your best beside your buddies fighting for their best.  To share one another's journey, agonies, and triumphs, is one of my absolute FAVORITE things about crossfit.  Result = 7th place

Overall standings for the whole seires - TBA

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tragical Things

 I find myself feeling a little like this - simply wretched.  A lesson must be learned but it's no use talking about it.  One must simply cry, bear the shame, and humbly walk forward with the consequences of impulsive acts born from emotions.
Oh Anne of Green Gables, Tomorrow is fresh with no new mistakes in it. YET. 
Things turn out okay for Anne.  I hope today that I can endure like her through the catastrophes - Head held high.

The practical relation as regards this blog today is I thrive with REAL food... treats and indulgences, sometimes, really aren't treats... I think they will make me feel special and beautiful with raven black hair, instead I end up feeling just awful, hurt, and worse off than before aka Green Hair.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

“A strong woman is a woman determined to do something others are determined not be done.” – Marge Piercy

This quote was posted on Crossfit 760 yesterday, under a very lovely picture of me throwing weight overhead.  Thanks for that, Casey.  I'm working on my mental toughness to be that strong woman... especially when the 'others' working against me is really just myself. This was a good reminder.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The top 20 myths of my 20's

Musing about the ridiculous things I thought about life at age 20, I wanted to make a top 20.  You know. As the title suggests. But I only came up with 5!  I could stretch it out, but I'd rather hear yours!!  What are some of your ideas at 20 that are riduculous to your current self. Can we come up with 20 things?? 

1. As I age, my gray hair and wrinkles will be the signs of my wisdom, why would I seek to change them?

2. I will meet and ride off with Prince Charming by age 24, and we will live a fairytale happily ever after, proceeding to have numerous chidren.. 7, 8, 10, 12 enough to field some sports teams.

3. I will be a master of all things domestic. Like really Martha Stewart  super star and super mom in one.  The untiring Prvbs 31 woman.

4. Older people that contradict me are just bitter about life.  I know a better way.

5.  I can totally rock some pigtails with bows in my hair. It's not juvenile. It's cute on me.


A few words from Therese

“May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.”
                                                          ― St. Thérèse de Lisieux

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Whole 30, Day 17

Day 17. It's a good day.

I have a hard time with this program - it's an emotional problem. I want to eat for comfort, for rebellion, for the freedom to stick it to everyone who tells me to be good, and do what I want to do! But that won't get me to the results I want.
Though I've been faithful to the program (minus 2 trips to the scale and 2 encounters with egg protein powder) I'm afraid my heart toward food is not being changed.  I'm not getting the message yet.

Week 1 was good. I was thrilled to be eating well again.  Encouraged by the Success Guide (including a physical handheld variety of mostly new recipes).

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Starting Line ... WHOLE 30 time

A year ago I did my first, and really only, Whole 30.
It got me so excited that I started blogging, if this can be really called blogging. But still, shocking!

With a year of perspective, I have some observations:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What's the Problem?

Friends, I'm thinking about my life, as usual. And hoping you might help me assess and maybe share your own stories or gain insight for your situation? Ever wonder why are you where you are in your life? 

I am single. Pretty much always single.  This is surprising sometimes, and sometimes, not at all.  And even though all I have ever aspired to be is a wife and a mom - I remain single so,
The question is "what's the problem?" What do I do to fix it?  Do I even want to fix it?  While I want to love and be loved, want a companion in life, I see a few setbacks.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Stats & Goals

Friends, I've put on some pounds... which is part of why you don't see my tummy much these days ;)
The quest for raw leanness really takes second place to my quest for crossfit super star performance.  And while I have added some lbs to the body... I've added even more to the barbell!  So I'll deal with it. Meanwhile, here's an update.

goof off striving for athleticism
Height:   5'4" 
Weight:  142

Clean & Jerk:      140
Snatch:              100
Deadlift:            245
Back Squat:        200
Bench Press:       135

Thruster 130#
100 unbroken doubles unders
Fran 4:07 rx
30 unbroken pullups

Some goals to be practiced and mastered:
Handstand walk 10ft
1 muscle up
250# deadlift
sub 6:30 mile
10 handstand pushups to abmat
1 Handstand pushup to full depth
Wallballs & boxjumps (because I suck at them. really.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What is the point of all this?

"Sport, properly directed, develops character, makes a man courageous, a generous loser, and a gracious victor; it refines the senses, gives intellectual penetration, and steels the will to endurance. It is not merely a physical development then. Sport, rightly understood, is an occupation of the whole man, and while perfecting the body as an instrument of the mind, it also makes the mind itself a more refined instrument for the search and communication of truth and helps man to achieve that end to which all others must be subservient, the service and praise of his Creator."
– Pope Pius XII,
Sport at the Service of the Spirit
July 29, 1945

I never considered myself an 'athlete' - I've always loved to play, but I've never been noteworthy at anything. 
BUT I do spend and extraordinary amount of time training and now competing, though I am not 'elite',  I am not a professional.  Crossfit started for me as just another fitness program, but I am awakening to discover myself as a respectable athlete within a fitness community.  No, this is not the NFL or Major Leagues, or the Olympics.  But this is my life.   My life has been revolving in an increasing way around the sport of crossfit. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Testimony to the Power of Prayer

Training to compete for a place at the crossfit games was a roller coaster of  anguish, exhaustion, emotion, stress, consolation, encouragement and triumphs.
I enlisted the prayers of everyone I could for this - I know that when we put ourselves in challenging situations we are almost certain to trigger our brokenness.  At the margins of what is possible our weaknesses and fears are brought right up to center stage.  That's scary, but it's also an opportunity for healing and growth, freedom and new life. (Yes, I take the simplest things in life and turn them into something epic and huge.)

This experience was amazing.  There are so many things that could only have been grace:
1)  An incredible calm came over me during the week prior to the event.
Last Monday I went into the gym to do one of the same workouts that had been giving me trouble. again. I had a little break through in performance, and a switch flipped.  The anxiety, stress and emotion subsided and I began to be able to approach the weekend with a more peaceful detachment and joy.  (GRACE!)

2) Day 1 of the event.  I did not quite hit my goal, but I did very well, better than the team expected.  They were pleased and I chose to be grateful.  I am grateful.  I could not thruster 130# two weeks ago.

3) Day 2.  We got thrashed by our personal judge.  In our trials we finished the workout at 23-24 min.  At the competition we were 10 repetitions short of finishing within the 30min time limit.  We probably had over 200 missed reps... Work that didn't count because of whatever the judge deemed proper range of motion.  It was extreme, but it is what it is.
Of course I felt like it was largely my fault.  I had A LOT of wasted work and time.  We all walked out of the competition area, unable to meet the eyes of our cheering section, looking like we just got demolished.  Our coach was clearly disappointed.  From where I stood it seemed he wouldn't even look at me. 
This is a miracle moment, friends. 
"I am who God says I am" was all I kept repeating in my head.  Part of me was welling up with tears of anguish at being such a disappointment and at the fear of the dissatisfaction of my coach. I let my team down.  But I could not give in.  I knew this was the battle that we were fighting to win. I couldn't place my worth on who is happy or unhappy with me, on how well or shitty I did, or on whether we won or lost.  I am who God says I am.  I am His.  That is what matters.  Instead of crying and giving any credit to those thoughts, I decided to leave the sulking and join our fans, to recount to them our experience, to be encouraged by them, and to cheer on and watch the crazy judging of the next heat of competitors.

After a while my team found me - running up and cheering they hugged me.  The results were in. Even after that bad performance we moved from 13th to 8th place, and qualified for another day of competition. Ha tears to joy.   (The inconsistent judging was an experience across the board.)
The girls on my team said, "We have to find Kathy and stop her before she starts drinking" ;)  I laughed.  It didn't even cross my mind to start celebrating the end nor medicating the loss.

Of course I was pleased that we were still in it, but the real victory was not that. It was the freedom to be kind to myself in my perceived failure, the freedom to show my face and join our fans, and the strength not to crack when someone I esteem was let down (in this case my coach and team).

4) Day 3. We worked hard, we were 5th and 7th, but that was not enough to go onto the next level.  I had more fun with being there.  BUT we did not get the top three, so of course I sensed my coach's disappointment - "we weren't enough"  How much has that plagued my life.  I'm never enough.  And even though it was over and we gave a good showing and my coach did thank me personally for being a part of the team, that we couldn't have come this far without me (that did help. I'm going to work on letting that sink in) - already I was thinking of next year.
on one hand, stoked!  Alright, look at how great we did with only 3 months training. Imagine what we can do with a whole year of working toward this goal!

And on the other hand with that idea also came fear. This year I was one of 3 best girls available. Next year will be a different story.  As the gym grows, so does the talent.  In life, there is always is someone better, and next year I may not be enough.
And that has to be okay.  I'm still working on fighting to be full and free and loved for who I am, who God says I am, not what anyone else cares or thinks of me, or what I can or can not do.

Friends, thank you so much for praying for me and journeying with me in this.  I called on your prayers all weekend.  And I experienced their power -  God's power to make all things new.

Competing with 760 - Socal Regionals

Last weekend, I had the honor to compete with the team from Crossfit 760 at the Southern California Crossfit regionals.  Here's a snap shot of the top ten.

that's us... pulling up 8th place. holla.
So a few things about the weekend:
1) Prayer is a powerful thing - the personal and emotional implications of this competition probably deserve their own post. so that's coming next.

2) Competing is fun. Training to compete is hard.  
Almost immediately after our last workout, when we knew we did not do as well as we'd hoped. I began to get stoked for getting ready for next year.  Ha!  A dear friend remarked how funny it was that 2 weeks ago all I could do was moan about how tired I was of all this and what a difference it was to hear me so quickly want to start all over again.  It's true the daily grind of training and what it took to get to where we are was exhausting and painful. But competing was the Resurrection moment after the Calvary of training. 

3) Free stuff is fun.  I got a couple tshirts, water bottle, some protein shakers/powder, a massage!, and food - hello Steve's paleo crunch and paleo kits... love those! 

4) It was so cool to be a part of this, and I am so grateful for everyone who came out to support us.  It was a huge encouragement to walk out in the competition area and see our crowd of blue shirts, and hear them yelling for us.  And boy did they spoil me - what a testimony to "ask and you shall receive."  Everyone was there to support the team, and I definitely am grateful to have been on the receiving end.  Our crew kept me competition ready with massages and stretching and bringing me lots of water... (I drank 6 liters of water in the first day alone.) 

5) What a treat to have full days dedicated to crossfit and not have to make it fit into my real life!  I only competed one workout a day, and the a lot of the rest of the time I could spectate, chillax, rest, ice and work on mobility and recovery.   Having so much time to work on my 'junkie tissue' made me realize how important is and how much it helps!  

6) It was an inspiring event... I don't have words for this.  Pictures speak best. And speak more. And more... this one is my amazing teammate, Natalie. 

7) My team is amazing. 


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fixed and Firm

"Let us not permit our will to be enslaved by anyone except by Him who paid for it with His blood." - St. Teresa of Avila.  

Draw away from me, you creatures that don't deserve the love of my heart.  I am worth more than the whole world, and I do not want to sell myself for anything or for anyone. 
I belong to Jesus by natural right, by right of conquest, by right of purchase, by my own election. 

Remember, that you have only one soul. You will die only once, and you have but one short life. There is only one glory, and this is eternal.

-from the daily meditations of the miles christi order. 

What's for Dinner? "Spaghetti"

You guys,
It has been a long time since I have enjoyed something so much that I ate what should have been 3 servings in one sitting and couldn't wait more than 2 days to make it again!  It all came from tossing together what I had on hand... with the addition of kelp noodles.

Get a saucepan.
Turn on to medium heat.  Reduce heat to low somewhere along the way according to your judgement.
Add Some coconut oil.
Chop up some Onions or Leeks (both are good)
Add Mushrooms.
Start chopping baby sweet peppers. (multi-colored package)
Toss those into your sauce pan. Keep giving the veggies a stir.
Grab a package of Kelp Noodles... the weirdest thing, pretty much calorie less but nutrient dense?
Rinse the 'noodles' and chop.
Toss those into the saucepan. Stir.
Dice a zucchini. Add that to the mix.
Grab 2 spicy italian sausages. Chop them up and throw them in. Stir.
Add half jar of your favorite tomato sauce.  I used Classico herb and garlic.  (always hunting for the cleanest label - no dairy, no added sugar.)
Stir and Cover.  
Let simmer together for 10 minutes or so.

I have tried kelp noodles before and thought they were disgusting, but they were really good here cooked in with everything and softened up.   It was really like eating spaghetti and so yummy.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The road to Regionals

 Because the blood flow to my brain seems significantly decreased, Here's some randomness.

Get a load of my daily warm up:
400 singles (jumprope)
12 chest to bar pullups
50 double unders (jumprope)
12 Overhead squats 65 lbs
10 Dumb bell ground to overhead 35 lbs
15 toes to bar
10 ring dips
Yes, I said warm up. That is my warm up every day.   Then we workout.

Recovery has become a lifestyle.
I went over 2 weeks without a rest day - that is madness.  I stopped counting, to trick my brain to get over it. To keep up with the level of training necessary I have to invest in recovery.

Here are the daily staples:
1) Ice, Ice, and more Ice
2) Contrast showers- as cold as possible for 3 mins.  as hot as bearable for 3 min. Repeat.  Okay so not daily, but I really did resort to this a few times when feeling the most run down.
3) Arnica cream & Bengay, BioFreeze, Icyhot... whatever I can get
4) Stretching - of course.
5) pain ball - I use a t-ball. lay on it. lean on it. roll on it... let it dig into the tight tissues and loosen them up.
6) Foam rolling - much like the pain ball only it covers larger areas
7) Fish Oil - I'm up to at least a tbs a day but should probably make it three.  Keep the inflammation down!
8) Compression sleeves - I've resorted to compression.  Arm sleeves for workouts and post workout.  Calve sleeves for night time and work time.  Increased circulation means more blood to the muscles, equals less fatigue and faster recovery.  This is a recent addition. I wish I had been doing it all along.
9) Eat Clean!  which really should have been first.  I so can not wait for a glass of wine at the end of this :)

Also helped along by:
* Chiropractic care
* Massage

I have laughed, cried, yelled, kicked my teammates, threatened to quit, failed and succeeded. Some times all in one day.

Q: What is the most surprising thing of this all?
A: The lengths I've gone to just to strive for that extra little bit.
Namely, I bought a pair of weightlifting shoes.   Which leads to a new topic....

The Snobbery.  I do lift a lot of weight, but when I hear "weightlifter" I picture enormously built people in strange spandex overalls.  Now, I am by no means a fashionista.  Nor am I a Southern Lady... (I'm more of a southern tomboy.)  But there is still a part of me that just cringes - It's my Scarlett O'Hara part...
I can deny that my calloused hands are something to look down upon, because I know how hard I've worked for those callouses and how much I need them.   But to get outfitted as a weightlifter, just really seems improper - something along the lines of joining the circus.
Sigh.  And Yet.  I would love to swing from trapezes, and I wish I were a better gymnast, and the truth is God built me to be strong.  It's true.

Some women are just made elegant.  Some are made frail and delicate.  I was made sturdy - short, muscular, and big boned.

I started crossfitting right after my 30th birthday.
30 brought a fresh outlook on life  -  I entered my 31st year (after a complete meltdown of course) with the resolution to live the life I have, not to pine for anything that it is not, and to be who I am, not waste any more time trying to be who I think I should be.  (hmm... now how does one actually do that??)

When I found crossfit 6 weeks later, I fell in love with it.  It was so much fun.  I felt like I found something I was made to do.  And as I gained weight (initially)  I repeated to myself, "God made me strong, not skinny."  At least here, I was using that gift.

So now I have weightlifting shoes, and they really DO help, in case you were wondering.
And really I suppose I am no more or less a 'weightlifter' than I was before.  Now I just lift better.  My form is better, and probably safer.

And whatever I am - I'm kicking #ss ;) and that's pretty cool, right?

Finally, the road to regionals has brought many subtle improvements.  Though I've often felt only exhaustion and weakness, The training is working - moving in a positive direction.  I think.

Testimony to that end...
Personal Triumph of the last week:  FRAN.  dropping my PR from 6:48 to 4:07.

Personal Agony of the last week:  10 reps of 205# deadlifts.
My 1 rep max until last week was 200#.  In our workout Sunday (which was at a BBQ, on display for all)  one of the 13 things we had to do was these stupid heavy deadlifts.  It. was. awful.
Seriously, I writhed and cried between every rep.  It took me like 10 min. for just this one section of the wod.  AND I was nearly convinced I my back was being ruined and I would not be able to compete at all.
But I finished.  And as scary, and humbling, and embarrassing as it was... I'm ok.
I took a rest day! Ha. My first in way tooo long.  And I'm back.  2 days later to hit a PR squat clean of 130#.
I don't know that my agony has been redeemed, or is all that triumphant.  I'm still pissed about it actually, but it seems like there must be something good in it.

This has always been my hope in this journey.... It is grueling, but there couldn't have been the resurrection without the crucifixion.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Challenges & Victories

Item 1:  Crossfit 760 will be at the Southern California Regional competition, and I am on the team :)
It is so exciting and humbling to be competing with such a great team.  The last few weeks we have begun training together and I'm stoked for the gifts and positive energy everyone brings to pull together and make one great unit.  Other than that. My body hurts. A lot.

Item 2:  Just for fun.  Let's compare once again to show how awesome she is.
(If I ever meet you Heather Bergeron, I will be embarrassed that I've blogged about it, but you are such an inspiration to me)

Item 3:  Crossfit Total.  I have never done it.  Two years of crossfitting and I've never done it. Until today. Mind boggling!
"The CrossFit Total reflects an athlete's functional strength capacity more accurately than any other test ... the sum of the best of three attempts at the squat, the press, and the dead lift.  
Anyone in a position to attempt a legitimate CrossFit Total should be familiar enough with their capabilities on the lifts to have a fairly good idea of just what might be possible for a one-rep max (1RM). This number is what you warm up intending to do. A meet situation will involve three attempts, and this is a good way to determine a true 1RM.  The first attempt would be a weight you know you can do for a heavy set of three. The second attempt would be a weight you know without any doubt that you could do for a single, having just done the first attempt. And the third attempt is the weight you want to do, based on your performance on the previous two attempts." - Thank you Crossfit Journal
My Total is: 200+90+220= 510
I will take it, and count it as a victory.  For the dead lift alone.  200 was my previous max AND I have a debilitating fear of dead lifts, considering them the nemesis that will destroy my back and ruin my life.  Today I crushed my PR by 20 lbs and my back feels fine! Miracles happen everyday, friends. 
Item 4:  The BEST paleo dessert ever invented.  CHEESECAKE.  with no cheese. Really, it tastes so good.   My only modifications were:
1) Use honey instead of Agave and cut the amount in 1/2
2) Add 1/4 c. coconut oil to the crust
3) For the topping I used boysenberries/blackberries.  Just heated on the stove with about 1/4 c water and 1tbs honey.  The tartness of the berries was a great contract with the sweetness of the rest.  
Warning: If you do not deem it in your best interest to enjoy the WHOLE thing yourself, be sure you Make it at a time you will be forced to share it.  It is just that good!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Crossfit Games Open 6

The end of sectionals has arrived at last!  Week 6 of 6 WOD:

Ladder by 3's
Thrusters @ 65#
Chest to Bar pullups
(3 of each, 6 of each, 9 of each.... you get the idea)

Background:  I took off last Wednesday, leaving the concerns of the world for the concerns of the soul, through Sunday.  After 5 days of rest, and a Sunday of M&M's and Icecream, I arrived to this week's workout posted as the gym WOD on Monday. 

Seriously? Casey assured me that everyone should do it, including me.  No excuses to put it off.  I am immensely grateful.

Setting:  Two girls greet me as I walk in.  They tell me how fun it is, how much fun I will have.
No one is making a big deal of this work out right now.  Just do it. 

15's + 13 Thrusters = 103 reps!

Fun, right??? It was a good workout for me. 
I pretty much hate thrusters, but kind of like chest to bar pullups. The standard was lucky  for me! I can't do butterfly kipping, which are wicked fast.  If the workout were regular (not chest to bar) pullups I would have been at a disadvantage for speed without the butterfly kip.  But butterfly kipping does not help this work out since the chest must actually make contact with the bar.  This made my way of kipping pullups perfect.

There was a time however, in which I was very close to flipping out on my judge.  I get so mad at people telling me what to do as they stand by comfortably observing.  If you are working out beside me and tell me to keep going and try to encourage me, and I see how much you are suffering too, great!  Thanks, I'll appreciate it! Otherwise, bugger off!  Really I wonder sometimes if I've been injected with what this guy got.

"You won't like me when I'm angry. "
Any one feel strangely understanding of this plight?
Well, until the antidote is officially secured - remedy is patience in suffering, direct my anger at the barbell, not people, and hey, I'll take this score :)  I am most grateful that I can, that it must be good enough at this point for me not to have to try again. THAT is the most exhausting part of all of this.
Whew!! So will life be back to crossfit as usual, "fun" and less pressure, or will it be a new chapter in the competitive journey on the road to regionals?  TBA. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Crossfit Games Open 5

So... surprises!  The 5th week workout was announced Tuesday evening and I got to go for it about an hour later. Ready or not, there was no putting it off, because it was the only time I could do it.
dum. dum. dum.
Week 5
AMRAP in 20min.
5 power cleans 100#
10 Toes to bar
15 Wall Balls 14# to 9 ft. 

Blah.  Wall balls are NOT my forte; I had a few rounds of unbroken sets, but mostly several of dropping the ball and hitting myself in the face. 20 minutes can be a very long time.  The trick is just not to think about it and keep moving.  God bless Casey for being so patient with me, and Brittany for soothingly coaxing me through it.  I am learning that there are prompts that are great for me, such as:

You are doing so good.
Just keep moving.
This is a good pace.
Calm your breathing and begin again. 
Rhythm and calm.
You are strong. You can do this.

And ones that are not as well received.
Push Harder.
Agh... I freak out. HARDER?  FASTER?  Are you kidding me? I can't!! I don't want to!!

But Casey found one that was a little softer. 
"You're going to have to push a littler harder than you want to these last five minutes."
wimper.  I almost cried. and I certainly yelled on the last rounds of cleans.  but then. it's done!

10 rounds + 1 clean.

I love and hate crossfit, but I mostly love it. It can be so miserable, but then you push through it and you realize how much you are capable of.  You can do things you never thought possible.  You are stronger than you ever knew.  That is an incredible thing.   I say "you" because really YOU if you have done you've experienced this I'm sure of it.  If you haven't tried it on for a while then YOU would experience this if you did try. 

I find so many parallels for the life of virtue in crossfit.  Pursuing virtue is hard.  It is contrary to our fallen nature - we prefer to be led by our passions and comforts than reason and right judgement.  I know I do any way.  It is hard to choose to pray and choose silence when I'd rather watch mindless television or listen to Mumford & Sons or Dramarama yeah!  I know what is right of course, but I've always been more of a learning by doing kind of girl.  Crossfit is all about doing.  I feel it when I make bad choices.  I feel it when I make good choices. I feel the result of trying and failing and trying and triumphing.  I face my limitations directly. I tangibly experience what it takes to grow and improve.  It is a process. a journey. a discipline of life.   I love this.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Crossfit Games Open 4

Week 4
AMRAP 10 min.
60 Burpees facing bar (jumping over the barbell b/t reps)
30 Overhead Squats @90#
10 muscle ups

Background: 6am Monday morning presented me with a workout, seemingly harmless enough, but as the day wore on I felt certain I'd re-injured my lower back.  The drama grew in my mind.  I was hurt. That was it.  I would take care of myself and do what I could to recover, but I had little hope that I would be able to continue in this competition and contribute any more.
I emailed Coach who responded, "Are you sure it's hurt and not just really sore?"
1st small miracle of the week: I did not rebel at these words.  Instead, I let them have their place amidst the toxic thoughts and conceded, maybe it's REALLY sore.
Smart coach.  I ended up having to take two rest days.  One planned and the other due to a sudden illness.
Thursday, still exhausted and still sore, I returned to the gym with my box of tissues in hand.
It turns out everyone had the pain of walking and sitting and general misery that I had.  It was a brutal workout for backs gym wide, not just mine. 
Still my week felt 'wasted' in recovery and virtually the whole week passed with me barely working out at all.  The reality is, I was sore and sick and I took two rest days.
Amazing contrast.

Setting:  Sunday morning (this offends me on multiple levels as Sunday and Morning should have me no where but home in my PJ's)
It's the  last chance to post a time for the workout, and I have bided my time all week trying to get fit to perform my best.  The girls have all done worse than hoped for,  and two of them were redoing it with me.

3-2-1 Go!
I plugged away through the burpees. Not so bad.  Thank God now for those 100 burpees for time WOD's, and all the burpee's Brian had us do at CFBD.  All three of us girls finished the burpees in the 4 min range.
That left over half my time for 30 overhead squats.  Breathe and go.
snatch 11.... clean and jerk  10.... 8.... 2....  and done.  I had 90seconds to try to get a muscle up! and.... FAIL ;) 

60 burpees
30 Overhead Squats
= 90 reps and 1st place girl score for the gym.

Something happened this week.  I think it was SURRENDER.  Not resignation. 
1st.  Despair and resignation knocked.
2nd. I accepted my limitations. I was disappointed, but I did not resign myself to being defined by the injury or illness.  I persevered, which meant stepping back, taking a break, taking care of myself and putting myself back out there to be tested.  It could have gone differently.  I could have been truly injured.  I could have needed more rest, or irritated the injury, but it didn't go that way.  Each step I submitted to letting things be what they were AT THAT MOMENT.  one step at a time.
3rd.  The purpose of this competition changed for me.  I think I started with my own worth to prove.  My own competitive appetite to feed.  It tore me apart that first week, because I felt that I was not enough.
Over the weeks, it has become less about me and more about the team. 
Somewhere along the line the need to prove something got shut out.  It's still present in me. I know it.  I feel it, but it has no power.   I can't explain it.
I want to do well, because I want the team to do well.
If at the end of these 6 weeks, I did not go onto regionals and the team did.   I think I would be perfectly pleased. 

Maybe I'm just tired.  This has been hard and long.  I mean, really, are you tired of hearing about it yet?  Because I am a little tired of it being my life (well that and work... but we don't talk about that.)

Whatever the factors that led to this point, it's a pretty amazing place to me.  It's a simple place.  It's a humble place.  I wouldn't call it a relaxed or entirely free place, but it seems good.

And a side note cool thing is that each week I have done better.  The first week I didn't make the top three for our girls.  The second I pulled the 3rd highest score, and the last two weeks I have managed the highest score.  It doesn't mean much except these last two weeks were strong points for me and weaker points for our other girls.  This week and next are bound to present my weaker points and the challenge remains: Let things be what they are at this moment and persevere.

No rest for the weary.  Tomorrow without any prep or planning I'll have to face Week 5.  Ready or not. 
Thanks for all the support!!  Don't worry guys. It'll be over soon and then we can be friends again right?

Did someone say M&M's?

I love love love M&M's!  not the plain ones. Boring!   I love peanut m&m's and peanut butter m&m's and even pretzel m&m's and coconut m&m's....
actually I had a little binder and ate one four bags of the little devils the other weekend.  
This got me thinking.  How bad are they really? (well ... I did come down with a fever and cold and general misery. ahem. but I'm sure that's another story.)
Why don't I compare them to raisins and walnuts, on which I munch all day when I'm being 'good'?
Did you know???

one cup of raisins has 98g of sugar while a cup (8oz) of peanut M&M's has 112g
one cup of walnuts has 76 g of fat while a cup of peanut M&M's has 64g 
one cup of walnuts has 18g of protein while a cup of peanut M&M's has 27g protein

Roughly speaking in six handfuls of raisins/walnuts I'm getting 50g sugar, 40g fat, 20g protein. 
While two bags of peanut M&M's will give me 50g sugar, 26g fat, 10g protein.

That is crazy.  
so walnuts and raisins are:
1) natural and relatively unprocessed
2) higher in protein

But if I'm going to get all that fat and sugar, why not eat peanut M&M's??!!  They are so delightful right??
Until my performance in the gym declines, I get sick, and I start bringing back the winter layer... BOO!

So If I'm being "good", aka eating clean, my muchy indulgence is raisins and nuts, and if I'm not... well peanut M&M's are on the list.  What's your weakness? Do you avoid it?  What's something delightful you've found that's still good for you?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Crossfit Games Open 3

Dearest Friends,
Your prayers are working.  Thank you so much.
It may seem silly or superstitious to pray for performance, games, sports, and competitions, but prayer is a powerful thing I will always take it!  I don't pray to win or be the best.  I pray to be my best.
Throwing tantrums, crying, and quitting are ... well, ridiculous.  Yet this is the side of me roused by competition. I don't even like me sometimes, so I am hoping for transformation - grace. composure. humility. and perseverance.
hmm... well. I am happy to put off the character building bits and just keep it fun. Thank God that's what this week brought.

5 min AMRAP
110# Squat Clean & Jerk
(110lbs for girls that is. The guys had to do 165lbs.  Holy Heavy Sh*t, Batman.)

All week I pretty much dreaded this, and put it off, refusing to think much about it until Friday.  Last week, a suspicious pain appeared in my groin region. (awesome and not at all embarassing to talk about, right?) I am a worrier. I am terrified of injuries, because I know my propensity to overdo and to get them. 

Anyway, squats hurt. So I have been scared of this workout. Scared that I would hurt myself.   After a week of being aware of the problem, and the reassurance that it is probably a knot and not a strained muscle, today I felt ready.  I didn't feel I would do great necessarily.  I just felt strong and ready. 
Easy day in the emotional stress category.  Just do it.  So I didn't really warm up that well.  I went into the gym and the workout like I was going to play.

13 rounds!

Heather Bergeron, my crossfit girl hero, got 29 rounds.  Crazy woman.  When I heard that I hoped for 20 rounds.  "If I could get 20 rounds, that would be just awesome."
I knew it was a high hope, and I am not defeated that I set it and did not reach it. (That's a minor miracle!)  I am proud of what I did, and now that I know what it feels like, and I didn't injure myself, maybe I can do a little more....

So I tried again two days (and 4 bags of peanut M&M's) later. and. fail!  10 rounds.
BOO!  diet does make a difference.

Fortunately and unfortunately, I brought our highest girl score this week, and we dropped from 7th to 20th place in the region.  This led to the resolution that we all need to lift more weight, and Monday's WOD left my back wrecked.
The next challenge - accepting my limits gracefully.  Persevering in humility and just keep going with what I can do safely.  I'm praying for prudence and healing.
Maybe I should have just prayed to win and be the best ;)
We'll see....