Monday, February 28, 2011

Spartan for a Day

I'm sure many decision makers thought, "Hey Southern California is great place to host a race in February! The weather is always nice there!"  And then Feb 26th arrived with snow in the mountains and cold rain in the hills, as the scene for the Super Spartan Race in Temecula.

Honestly, it was gross. It seriously could have been MUCH worse, but who cares about that when what you are facing is just not looking so great.  Thank God for crazy new girlfriends who are warriors... I don't think I would have been able to do it if they weren't there.

It was cold, wet, and intimidating.  There were over 1200 people entered to run apparently, though maybe 200 in our heat?? I really have no clue about crowd sizes and numbers.
In the first 50 yds we had inhaled a bunch of smoke, hopped over a fire, and splashed through a quite oversized puddle... to face a LONG LARGE ascent.

I was the one in our small group that had "never run 8 miles in my life!"  Yet as we began something came over me.  I couldn't hang back with my friends.  I had to run.  I had to power up that hill while I had strength to do it.... and so I did... hill after hill after hill, bounding up, but mostly DOWN with reckless abandon.  I didn't see my friends again for about 3 hours, after we had all been long finished with the race.

Guys, It felt like a scene from Lord of the Rings at parts... you know this one....

where they are running and running for days across country.  It felt like that except with a lot more people and single track, much steeper trails.  I don't know what flipped inside me but I wanted to give my best.  I wanted to RUN, even though I kind of hate running, and when people were blocking my path it made me want to go even more.  I had little patience for being held up behind a long line of people on a single track trail who were walking... so I leaped over and through the vegetation and around them as often as I could.

I know this makes me sound like a jerk, but maybe I AM a jerk... when it's my turn to play, when I get my competitive spark, when I think, "I can DO this!" - friends, I love you, but I have to go!
I wanted to see what I could do, & I wanted to CONQUER it!

and In my opinion, I did :)

THAT is my kind of race.  I wouldn't want to do it again, because now I've done it.  But the unknown and unknowable, the "Oh my gosh, I've never done this before", the variety of stimuli and obstacles to overcome - THAT I love.  Another location, different terrain to test and try - I might do that.

So Results, drumroll...
8+ miles of intense hills and mud, wall climbs, barbed wire, weighted hoists, javelin throws, balance beams, and much more....
I finished in 1 hr and 35 minutes!

That put me in the top 20% overall and top 10% of women finishers.
I. was. stoked.

not only did I survive, I triumphed!

It's the beauty and the thrill of finding something you've never tried, that you have no idea that you can actually do, and just doing it.  That's life!  Looking at a wall and finding a way over it.  Facing the sincere risk of failure, and finding you did not fail.  (Maybe you are not the elite, best but you did NOT fail.)  Friends, what risks have you taken?  What triumphs have you savored?  If it's been too long to remember - get a challenge!  It's good for the heart.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Paleo/Whole 30 update

At first we hope too much; later on, not enough. - Joseph Roux
2nd round of paleo/whole 30 challenge has been weaker than the first.  I expected great changes with my 1st whole 30 and undertaking of the Paleo lifestyle.  This time, change has been vaguely hoped for, if at all.  That attitude is not bound to produce great results; however, "One need not hope in order to undertake; nor succeed in order to persevere." - William the Silent and that's about all I have on this leg of the journey. 

Today would be day 36... if I were counting, which I'm not. obviously.
I have another 16 days of reporting my meals/drinks to the guys at Crossfit Mobile for their challenge.
Humbling accountability. 

Lent will be my real challenge, my strict faithfulness for the salvation of souls, even though I have only the Lord to report to or check in with, even though there won't be strict measurements, and I won't know the full imperical results.  And you know what? That I am hopeful for, and excited about.  That is a cause I am stoked to take up.

In the meantime let's count the blessings of undertaking and perseverance.
1) God asks that we are faithful in life, not successful. (Mother Teresa)
2) Even though going paleo has come at a time in life that has seen me surrender and accept the need for antidepressants, it doesn't mean my diet is causing my depression.
3) I'm un-sick again!  Have been healthy since the New Year.
4) Allergies:  I spent 5 hours in a cat owner's home on super bowl Sunday and didn't leave thinking I was going to die or be sick for a week.
5) Performance-wise.  Depsite being depressed and feeling generally unmotivated to live.  I'm still putting up respectable results.  I'm finishing workouts even though all I want to do is quit most of the time.
6) I don't FEEL like I'm doing well, I don't feel like eating this way makes a difference, but really it does. If I were more rational and less emotional this would be AWESOME, but then I would be a guy... so umm. I'll stick with what I got.

That's pretty good stuff.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Something off the bucket list

Allow me to share that I have never touched a gun in my life.  But like I approach life, I thought, "ooh that's fun!  I want to go shooting!"  Today was the day, my friends.   Not too shabby, if I say so myself.

The true story: I jumped every time a gun went off in the range.   I held my earphones tight.  I jumped when I shot too.  I got sweaty palms.  It was stressful.  But I think I adjusted pretty well after about 3-5 rounds.

A friend was teaching me. He did a great job, obviously, I mean look at it!  He tried to help my posture, and help me relax, but poor guy, I couldn't help but think, "you are not so smart to try to get close to me when I have a gun in my hands, buddy."  Don't worry, I didn't shoot him.

Food on the Run?

A girl just wants to play

I've been slowing down my angst ... letting go I think to my addiction to crossfit, my fear of missing a day, of falling short, of not improving every moment, all the time.  I couldn't live like that.
I was on a high road to burnoutville and idolotry.
I'm on this journey for life.  I don't think it's to prove myself or make a point.
This path of fitness & diet - it's about life.

Can I tell you a story?
Once upon a time I was just a girl who liked to play.  I played soccer, I played kickball, I played whatever anyone would play with me. I started crossfit in the spring of 2009.  Just for fun.  Okay. it was for a guy really.  That's how God gets me into all sorts of things - youth group, college of choice, & crossfit... sigh..

It was just following my second sprint triathlon, and I thought I wanted to face an olympic distance in the fall. Crossfit would be a good way to get fitter and improve my results (which had been abysmal compared to my first one the fall before). Very quickly I realized crossfit was way way more fun than getting on a bike for a long ride. or running. or swimming. by myself.

I don't like to do things that aren't fun, so I just didn't do much triathlon geared training.
Two months later I did another sprint triathlon.  Without having trained for it, I shaved 2+ minutes off my 5k, and did far better overall than the one in the spring.

I decided that I'd had enough and haven't done another tri since. Crossfit was all I wanted to do.

Why?  Not exactly because the workouts are fun.  They suck quite often, honestly.  It can be brutal and painful.  No, I loved it because it was always changing, and really I loved it for the people.  I had a place I went every day, where we sweat, grunted, and triumphed together.  It gave me goals: I got to see my name in the line up, and I had Rx (prescribed) stars to aim for.  I had friends to try to catch.  It was a fun competitive - not cut throat competitive. And maybe to them I'm just another girl at the gym, but to me they are family.   When we finish grueling workout and some one suggests an extra conditioning kicker, I jump on board.  I always love that we are pushing each other.

Eventually, I even stopped playing soccer.  It took away time from crossfit and occassionally I would get injured at a game or practice and it would set my crossfit training back a few weeks. I didn't want that!

4-5 months of Crossfit
September 2010

I felt so strong, so fit, so fabulous.  I continued to eat whatever I wanted because I trained hard for it.

My clothes were getting a little tighter though....
And so, inspired to trim up, and improve my performance,  I started the Zone Diet.
I did it for lent, because it was the only way I would be faithful to stick through the discipline.  It had to be a fast for something greater than myself.

I didn't really weigh myself.  I didn't pay attention.  I couldn't shop for new clothes for a reward (because I gave that up for lent too.)  Just show up, train hard, and trust the process.   I lost about 17 lbs and became a crossfit animal in a few short months.

About that time I was preparing to move from New Mexico back to California.  Exciting? yes! Terrifying? ... um yes!  I trained harder than ever to deal with my stress of leaving what I had worked so hard to make familiar.  There was Jiu Jitsu at our crossfit box too, so I added that into my program.  (though VERY rarely could my body handle both crossfit and jiu jitsu in the same day).

And then I moved.  Everything was uncertain to me, except that crossfit had become a part of my life and it would remain so.  It had to.  It was my stabilizing force.

After all, crossfit is like Christ; once you put your hand to the plow, there's no turning back.
(This little half truth joke may have been part of where my problems started.)

The idea began to grow in me that maybe crossfit is my calling in life.... I got certified as a level one trainer. If nothing else, maybe I could get a free or discounted membership for helping train.  Because let's be honest. It IS expensive.

A weird thing happened too.  When I moved and looked for a new crossfit home, I was like a big fish. I had been doing this for over a year.  I wasn't the same client that walked in to crossfit rio rancho 15 months prior - the 'ginger kid' that goofed around climbing and playing on the apparatuses.  I was a contender or something.  I'm not used to that.  I started to feel like I had to be something more than I am.
Or maybe I just hoped for what I could be, and set myself up for disaster.

Terrified to let go, feeling I had something to prove, that if crossfit is my life's calling, I better be damn good at it, I tried to make it my life. But it's not. And I'm not damn good at it.  I'm just good at it.

It's a part of my life.  It's important to me.  But it's not my life.
So I began trying to let go a little, ever so little, letting it fall into it's proper place I hope.
And in that I continue to be blessed and blessed:

I get to train with great people, finding that sense of belonging and community again. I'm surrounded by people I can encourage and who encourage and push me. I get to not be the best, but patiently journey toward my best.  I get to not feel like a failure because I still have room to grow.  I get to watch a master at work, beer in hand, as he trains  (did I mention my highschool girl-esque devotion to the super trainer Brian Thurmond?  A man who lets me lift and drop heavy things in his garage.  What's not to love? ;) With the level 1, I get to train myself and friends on my own time just to pay it forward a little bit, expanding my community and seeing others improve too. I have a little room in my budget and time to explore other things and regain my thirst for life and adventure.
Hello Beach Volleyball, Dancing, Bouldering, Gymnastics, and Crazy Obstacle Races!
Ultimately, I just get to continue the pursuit of happiness.

January 2011
Not exactly the way it was in the beginning, when every day is a PR and something to celebrate.  That is harder to come by nearly 2 years later...
But I still have a few in the last few months, including:

120 lb overhead squat
135 lb split jerk
200 lb back squat
85 lb snatch
pistol squats

with more to come!

AND the diet... my body and my curves were pretty fine with me.  I felt right sexy. Blessed to be one who gains weight pretty proportionately, I didn't feel like I looked bad.  However, looking back I can see there is a difference, and I can feel the difference.  The Paleo diet has done it's work in helping my arms shred out - showing off the musculitas beneath.  But also it's the hips... I feel like a tree trunk some times because I do have a strong and thick core; however my hips are narrower.  Sometimes when I see myself in the mirror I'm surprised at how they look.  I don't see myself that way.
I'm not skinny, but my body shape has changed a little.  It is definitively athletic, and not because I was born that way.
So here's me checking in, checking up.  Sharing a little more of my story with you on my journey.

Back to my Average Joe life of "I'm not ok, you're not ok, but that's ok" - white goodman, Dodgeball.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Six pack experiment - month 3

So here we go... Why abs?  Check the starting point.  
Then one month.

Now here's months 2 and 3.
I've been considering calling the experiment a wash and call Mark Sisson full of it... but maybe it just takes a little extra work and diligence?  Maybe it's true, 6 packs are genetic and some people will just never have them.  Maybe I have thick eskimo skin?? 

I'm going to give the core training just a very little more attention and see how that goes.  And I've committed so I'm in for the Paleo challenge another few weeks, leaving me one week Mardi Gras indulgence before the strict fasting for lent.  Next thing you know we'll be at 6 months!

But I'm jumping ahead. Here we are...

Month 2 is right after Christmas with my rum cake and alcohol... uhm... how shall we say... indulgences? followed by flu where I lost 3 lbs.

Month 3 I have easing back up to training hard and back to strict clean eating and gained those lbs back. 
looking a little bloated in the gut. 
Jan 3, 2011
2 month comparison
Jan 31, 2011
3 month comparison