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:
* Mobilitywod.com
* 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.