Random Thoughts of a Coach, Mother, Wife, Friend, Competitor, and Woman

Yes, it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted, and in all honesty, I’ve just been having a whirlwind of thoughts flood my mind lately.  I have at least 10 rough drafts completed, but none of them are ready to be posted yet.

So much to say.  So much to do.

Writing is a blessing and a curse.

Tonight, I thought I’d try something new…

Instead of trying to write intelligently and grammatically correct, I’m just going to share with you 5 minutes of what goes on inside my head…My crazy, beautiful mind…Every day…All day…Completely unfiltered…

Sometimes, it’s nice to just vent and let things out.

Ready?  Brace yourselves…This could be dangerous… 😉

3…2…1…GO!

10352582_549466858520190_7523399922307013146_nI really don’t want to clean up right now, but the kitchen is a mess, and it drives me crazy!  But, every time I clear off the counter, it inevitably gets covered with sh** again the next day.  Cleaning is a crappy cycle that never ends.  I wish we could just afford a maid.  I wish we could afford a chef. God, I wish we would just win the lottery.  People say money can’t buy you happiness, but it sure can make things a hell of a lot easier!  Man, if we won the lottery, the first thing I’d do is finish this damn house!  Another never-ending project in our life.  I wish HGTV would come over to our house and renovate the entire thing in one week!  Ahhhh, I watch those episodes with such envy.  We could move to Texas and get put on the show “Fixxer Upper!”  But, then we’d have to live in Texas.  And, we really don’t have any reason to move to Texas.  I would love to live in the east coast, though.  Or, maybe New Zealand.  Or, Hawaii?  Mmmm, I’d probably get “island fever,” though.  I’d miss my family and CrossFit family, though, if we moved.  Man, if we won the lottery, though, I would totally add in a Peet’s Coffee bar, a juice bar, an awesome kids playroom with licensed babysitters, locker rooms, showers, and a foam pit and trampoline in the gym!  That would be so awesome!!!!  I wonder what our members say about us?  I wonder if they ever think that I’m mean, or boring, or don’t like something about me?  Sometimes I wish I could be a fly on the wall.  Although, I don’t know…Would I really want to know what others think and say about me?  I’d like to think that people think I am a good person.  I hope I’m never condescending to anyone.  Hopefully, they can tell when I’m being sarcastic.  I think they can.  I think I’m pretty obvious with my feelings and intentions.  I wonder if I will ever get to stand up on a podium.  I think I work hard, but then every competition, I’m always shaking my finger at myself.  How much is too much?  How much is too little?  Sometimes I really wish I was just born talented and gifted.  But, then again, I’d probably take it for granted.  I guess I should be thankful for all of the lessons it’s taught me to have to earn it…But, damn…Sometimes it would be nice to have something come easy to me for once.  What are we going to do for Christmas?  I don’t even know what to get Spencer.  He is so hard to shop for.  I really wish I had the money to buy him his dream Eames Chair.  Maybe I should start saving a few bucks here and there every month…Maybe in like 5 years I will have saved up enough money to buy him one.  That would be pretty cool to see the look on his face if I got him one.  Maybe…Someday…  It’s like how my mom used to tell me that if she ever had the extra money, she would have bought my dad a Ranger Rover.  I think I can make Bailey’s Halloween costume for her.  Boo’s monster costume is pretty straight forward, and the nice thing is, it doesn’t have to be perfect.  Maybe I’ll try it.  Would be pretty awesome to be able to say that I made Bailey’s costume for her.  I can’t wait to watch her go trick-or-treating again!  I wonder if we’ll have a boy or girl for the next one.  Do we even want another one?  Hmmm…I wish there was some way to make it a boy.  I’d love to have one of each.  Of course, I’ll love whatever we get!  I don’t know if I could handle two kids, though.  Am I patient enough?  How the heck did my mom do it with 4 of us?!  If we won the lottery, I’d be all for having 4 kids, though!  Maybe we could adopt a boy.  That would be pretty neat.  I need to start lifting more.  My lifts have not been increasing enough.  I keep saying that, but I actually really need to shut up and just do it already!  Why is it so easy for me to coach others, and not myself?!?!  I wonder if Bailey is going to like CrossFit.  I’m really afraid of dying.  It scares me to think that death is going to happen anytime.  I try not to think about it, but sometimes it really haunts me.  I get why so many people believe in Heaven or other religious beliefs.  It’s so much more comforting to believe in something happy and beautiful to go to afterwards.  How is it that I’ve lived 34 years and never experienced even one death of a loved one?!?!  Sure, pets and grandparents have passed, but no one immediately close to me has died, and it scares me to think who my “first” one will be.  I often think that it will be my dad…or my brother.  They are like two peas in a pod.  I love them so much.  God, I wish they took better care of themselves.  Maybe that’s why I’m so crazy into fitness and health.  But, even being healthy doesn’t guarantee that I’ll live.  I really hope and pray I get to watch Bailey grow up, and I get to be a grandmother some day.  Sometimes I feel bad after a long day, and wish I had done more, said more to everyone.  Because, what if today is my last day?!  How do I want to be remembered?!  Will I even be remembered?!  I wish I could come back as a spirit, though, so that I could watch my family and friends, and still experience everything with them.  I need to switch over the laundry.  God, another endless task!  What if I could go back in time and start all over again?  What would I do differently?  But, then I wouldn’t have all the things I have now, and I definitely would not want to give up having Bailey and Spencer!!!  It breaks my heart watching some of my friends struggle being single or going through a divorce.  What would I ever do if that happened to me and Spencer?  I honestly don’t know if I’d ever want to get married again.  Dating sucks!  That is one place I never want to go back to ever again!  Why are some people so sh***y?!!!  It pisses me off when they do sh***y things to other people.  How does someone just cheat and then leave their kids?!  I can understand screwing over your husband or wife…But, how can you screw over your kids?!  What the f*** is wrong with people?!  Sometimes, I feel like we’re surrounded by idiots and a**holes.  Why can’t we send them all away?!  A lot of my anger stems from stupid, mean people.  Sometimes, it’s really, really difficult to have compassion for others.  Really difficult!!!  That’s when I love to use the slam ball at the gym!!!  Speaking of, we haven’t done slam balls in a while.  Maybe I’ll throw that in to the warm up this week.  Oh crap, I need to finish the coaching schedule for this month, too!  Am I doing a good job?  Am I a good coach?  Am I being a good mother to Bailey?  Am I good enough for Spencer?  Sometimes I worry that I’m not enough.  Sometimes I feel like I am failing at life.  Other times, I feel like I’m on top of the world.  Ugh.  Maybe I’m in a funk because of my period.  I hate hormones.  I need some chocolate.  I’m going to eat the rest of the s’mores stuff!  I really wish we’d win the damn lottery…

*Whew* 😉

 

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Open Arms

291708_4875163839951_1369268_nBeing a CrossFit Co-Owner and Coach, I see and hear A LOT!

I know so much about my clients, both athletically and personally.  Not only do I know their 1 rep max Front Squat and their “Fran” time, but I also know about their struggle to care for their mother fighting cancer, I know how their husband proposed, I know that they are working two jobs to make ends meet, I know about the cheating wife, the monster-in-law, the traumatic childhood, the husband away on deployment, the daughter with special needs, the car accident that took away their parents, the daily struggles of being a single parent, the insecurities they have in a swimsuit, the demons that haunt them.

I know everything.  Being a coach isn’t just about training people in fitness.  It’s also about being a mentor and therapist in many ways.

I know when my clients are having a bad day, when they are sandbagging a workout, when they need me to yell at them, and when they need me to hug them.  I know when I can push them, and when I need to back off.  I know what drives them, and what pushes them away.

And, I have heard so many amazing stories.  So many feats of courage.  So many heartbreaks, tragedies, hardships, and downright sh***y things.  And, believe it or not, sometimes it’s the person with the brightest smile and seemingly “perfect” life who has the saddest stories to tell.

So often, when a client pours her heart out to me, she then assumes that everyone else at our gym is living an awesome, carefree life.  She thinks she has it harder than everyone else.  She believes that no one else is going what she’s going through.

She feels alone.

I think this is why so many people often feel ashamed or embarrassed about their lives.  They think they are the only ones going through whatever it is they are dealing with.

The grass always looks greener on the other side.  And, many of us feel the need to put on a front and fake perfection in order to be like everyone else…When in actuality, we are all faking it, and we are all hurting inside.

Facebook is by far the biggest culprit of this!  Check out this short video:

I can tell you, from firsthand experience, from ALLLLLLLL of the thousands of stories I have been told by hundreds of clients ~ YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!

Heck, even I have sh***y days and a few demons lingering around.  My life is not perfect by any means, and I still have hardships from time to time.  Last year, I went to therapy for over a year to overcome a traumatic experience in high school.  My father is a food addict with Diabetes Type II.  My brother is an Alcoholic living with my parents.  Spencer and I fight sometimes.  I’ve yelled at Bailey before.  I’ve done things that I am not proud of.  I’ve said things to my mother as a teenager that I wish I could take back.

Sh** happens.  Life happens.

You are not alone.

You don’t have to pretend.  In fact, of all of the places, the CrossFit gym is the last place you need to put on a front and hide your life.

Why do you think we all come here, anyway?!!  That’s right – To sweat out all that bullsh** from the day, to grunt out all the pain, to lift up our moods, to run off some steam, and to fight and support each other through it for that hour.

That one hour – We get to be together as one, and through all of our personal struggles, we get to escape our lives for that moment, and just be.  We get to turn it off, and for that one hour we can be together as a family and help each other through it.

But, instead of directly helping someone through her nasty divorce, during the WOD you are helping her through those last 10 reps to prove to herself that she can not only get through the WOD itself, but she can also get through this divorce.  By encouraging and supporting her through the workout, we are inadvertently supporting her through her tough time.

Running alongside a member in the last 400m, you are inadvertently telling him that you are by his side, both inside the gym and in life.

Cheering on a member during the workout, you are inadvertently helping her gain self-confidence.

The things we do for each other inside of the gym have a HUGE impact on our personal lives, whether we realize it or not.

So many people write about how CrossFit has saved their lives.  But, the truth of the matter is, CrossFit has saved ALL of our lives in some way or another.

None of us have it worse.  None of us have it better.  It’s a relative thing.  We all have struggles and hardships.  We have all experienced difficult times at one point or another.

The question is ~ Are you going to be a victim, or are you going to be stronger?!  I don’t like the word survivor, personally, because it implies a victim.

Remember that you truly are not alone in this world.  You are not the only one.  Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed.  Don’t assume others have it better, either.

You have one of the best support systems ever ~ Your CrossFit family!

CrossFit is here with open arms.

Embrace it.

Empowerment

couple-in-movie-theatreThe other day, Spencer and I were lucky enough to have a couple hours to ourselves, so we went to the movies!  A rare treat for parents, as many of you can relate! 😉

We saw “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” and it was awesome.  Definitely not disappointed.  But, before the movie started, there were the usual commercials and short video documentaries that they always show while the theater is filling up.

While we were watching and waiting, there was a commercial with all well-known male actors, such as Daniel Craig, Ryan Gosling, and Bradley Cooper.  It was a message about sexual assault, and about a woman’s right to consent, as well as to say, “No.”  It talked about being a “real man,” and respecting women.  Overall, a great message!

And then, I thought about all of the other wonderful messages celebrities try to be a part of.  Celebrities are always speaking out for causes they believe in, and movements they are passionate about, and it’s all well and good.

Awareness and education are great things.

I think back to the whole “Body Image” movement, though, and how the intentions are great, but there are huge holes missing, and it’s the same thing with these messages.

While having well-known men talk about respecting a woman’s body and wishes is great, unfortunately, seeing this commercial on the big screen isn’t going to stop someone from actually doing it.

There’s a lot of talking about it, saying all the buzz words, a lot of “dog and pony shows,” and a lot of superficial actions…Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost touch with reality.

I think we’ve reached a point in our time that we are too “movement-happy” and have forgotten where all of it actually needs to start ~ At the home!

Now, of course, not everyone is fortunate enough to have awesome parents or caregivers, or an awesome upbringing.  But, the majority of us are good parents, however I think sometimes we can put too much power and/or responsibility into other people’s hands, when we should be keeping it in our own hands!

A great example is this cartoon:

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Now, again, I’m going to put in the disclaimer that there are always exceptions and individual cases, so by no means am I trying to put us all in the same group here.  I am talking about the majority of us, though.

I was thinking about the sexual assault message that the fine men shared on screen, and I thought about my daughter.

How will I help her be comfortable and confident with her body, and respect herself enough to make a man wait to be with her until she is really ready??!!

It scares me…A lot!  Bailey is only 2 years old, and yet I know it will feel like tomorrow when I’m watching her ride off in a limo with her boyfriend to Senior Prom!

What steps am I going to take these next 16 years to prepare her for that night?!

I sure as hell ain’t going to rely on celebrities and social media.

I’m going to try my best to encourage Bailey to take some form of martial arts so that she can girlsdefend herself.

I will love my body and myself, so that Bailey learns to love her body and herself.

I will teach her that she has control over who touches her, so if she does not want to hug her uncle one day, then I will not force her to.

I’m going to support and encourage her in sports and academics so that she feels confident and successful.  I will be her biggest cheerleader, and not her coach.

I am going to let her fail and lose, and have disappointments, so that she learns to get back up and fight for it.

I’m going to communicate openly and candidly with her, and build a trust between the two of us so that she will feel safe to come to me with heavy topics.

I’m going to educate her and teach her that every action has a consequence, and I will hold her accountable for her consequences.

I will be her mother, not her friend.

For the next 16 years, I am going to try to do everything possible to empower Bailey for that day.

I hope she learns to love CrossFit, too.  I certainly do not expect her to be competitive like me, but I do hope that she makes it a lifestyle for herself some day!

10335670_10203683621234058_1011571836_nBeing physically strong and capable has so many positive effects on a person’s life.  Not only do you look great, but you feel great, have more confidence, build stronger relationships, tend to be more on-task, more motivated, have a sharper mind, and have better moods.

It is MY responsibility as Bailey’s mother to show her, teach her, and offer her opportunities to learn and grow, find her strengths, and be empowered.

I guess, in many ways, though, I’m making my own movement here on this blog.

Lately, I’ve been talking a lot about personal responsibility.

I think we need to bring it back old school, folks!  

It’s not Dove Skincare’s responsibility to make my body image healthy.  It’s not Daniel Craig’s responsibility to teach your boy to respect girls.  And, it’s not Jamie Oliver’s responsibility to get our kids and students to eat healthier.

It’s YOUR responsibility.

It’s MY responsibility.

All of these messages and movements are great “ice breakers,” and when the day comes that Bailey and I are watching one of them on TV or at the movies, it will be my responsibility to use that opportunity to talk with her about it.

Maybe that’s the step so many of us are missing?  The follow through with those great messages.  Not taking advantage of those opportunities to talk about those topics.

Either way, the buck stops here.

It starts and ends with you.

Pay It Forward

downloadYesterday afternoon, one of my members/friend was on her last round of the WOD.

The WOD was 3 RFT: 30 Box Jumps, 20 SDLHP, and 30 Wall Balls.  Looks easy on paper, but catches up to you fast!

“Jenny” was on her last set of SDLHPs, and everyone else had finished already.  As she went over to her medicine ball, everyone crowded around to cheer her on to the finish.  After she fought through the first 20 Wall Balls, I grabbed a medicine ball and joined her on the remaining reps.

Cheering and being there for someone when they are fighting for the finish is always nice, but it’s even better when you can fight the good fight WITH them!  After all, we are here for SO much more than a bikini-ready body.  And, we definitely are not here to try to always beat each other and win everything.

Of course, Jenny was super appreciative of everyone sticking around, as well as for me doing the last 10 reps with her.  It’s an awesome feeling to know that you have friends/family at your gym who will struggle and feel pain with you!

I got to have the favor returned to me today.

Today’s WOD is: For Time ~ Buy In: 800m Run, then 4 Rounds: 10 KBS, 10 Push ups, 10 Pull ups, then Buy Out: 800m Run.

One of my members/friend, “Bill,” kept a strong pace for the first 800m run, and my goal was to simply keep him within arms-length of me the entire time.  He held a good 5 rep lead on me throughout the 4 rounds, but then I finally caught him on the last set of 10 pull ups.  My initial reaction was to sprint out the gates and try to gain as much of a lead on the run as possible, because I knew Bill would catch me at some point.

While in my mind I was competing with Bill, he had other plans.  It only took him about a minute to catch up to me, and we were side by side at 200m.

I expected and waited for him to pass me by, and part of me was frustrated that I couldn’t beat him.  But, then, I quickly realized that he was pacing me.  He stayed with me the entire time, pushing me along, encouraging me, and made me run harder than I would have on my own.

In all honesty, if Bill had passed me by and beat me, I probably would have just paced the remainder of the run and finished semi-strong.  I kind of think Bill knew that about me, too. 😉

So, we ran hard together for the next 400m, and then in the last 200m, we paced the first 100m, and then sprinted hard for the last 100m, finishing together at the exact same time.

It was an awesome and humbling experience.  Bill did something for me that many of us forget to do for each other ~ He sacrificed his “best time” and the “win” to be with me.  He put his teammate’s needs in front of his own.  Bill pulled back just enough to help me be a better athlete, and to make me believe in myself in the last 200m.

“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” ~ Bob Marley

So, here is a reminder to all of you CrossFitters and non-CrossFitters out there ~ Be kind, and pay it forward.  Your kindness will go a lot further than you could ever imagine.  One good turn deserves another, and can be an awesome domino effect in this world.

Bill reminded me today of a very important lesson.  It’s easy to go back for the others when you’re already done with your workout, and it’s not too much more to join them on the last few reps.  But, to do the workout side-by-side with them to push them further than they originally thought possible, to be willing to slow down a little bit to bring them up, and to finish together, rather than in 1st and 2nd place – Now THAT is a true display of sportsmanship, friendship, and integrity.

We make each other better together.

Thanks Bill! 😉

Pay It Forward.

My Reality

1157642_10201738537888190_2119404513_nHumans are such an enigma.  The fact that we can experience feelings, have different perspectives, and live such adventurous lives is so beautiful, and yet also so mysterious.

So much is based on our own thoughts and feelings.  We are driven by an inner soul.

I always find it so interesting how so many people can look at the exact same painting, for example, and yet all of them have very different feelings and interpretations of the artwork.

So much of life is run by opinions, not facts.

In my short 34 years on Earth, there are some life lessons I have come to realize for myself:

1. I am my own reality.  What ever I believe to be true, it is true.  What ever I say I am, I am.  What ever I say I can or cannot do, it’s true.  If I say that I am a victim, then I am, and I will live my life as such.  If I believe that I am strong and independent, then I am.  If I think everyone is out to get me, then it’s true.  If I think people are mostly good, then they are.  I create my own reality.  Just as you create your own, whether you want to accept that responsibility or not.

It’s a big deal if I make it a big deal.  If someone cuts me off in traffic, I can get upset and think he’s an a**hole…I can assume he’s rushing to the hospital to see his baby born…I can just ignore it and move on…There are many ways I can interpret that moment and make it a reality for myself.

My life can be beautiful and easy going.  Or, it can be hard and depressing.  I could say that my friends are reliable and trustworthy.  Or, I could believe that they are all two-faced and fake.  It’s my own reality…My own interpretation of my life and the people in it.

It’s a monumental responsibility to take on.  Knowing that my own thoughts and feelings control my own reality and way of life is like finding out that you were born with a superpower, and as you grow older, you must learn more and more how to control it and use it for good (or bad).

2. What ever I can change, I can change.  What ever is out of my control, I can change how I react and feel about it.  Beating a dead horse is unproductive.  If I don’t like something that I cannot change, then I must take the responsibility for myself to change how I deal it personally.

Harping on something, letting it nag me, and allowing people to live “rent free” in my mind is destructive and hinders growth and happiness.  I can make the conscious decision to move on and be free.  People and situations are only difficult if I allow it to be.

Now, this is not to say that you shouldn’t care about things and get upset.  Human emotions are raw and beautiful, and you should feel every one of them.  But, they do not have to consume you, define you, or destroy you.  And, don’t accept someone else’s reality of you.  Remember, YOU are you own reality.

3. I am not important in the grand scheme of things.  This sounds really harsh, but strangely enough, when I accepted this, it actually had a very calming effect on me.  I am not the end all, be all of things.  If I die, life will still go on.  If I fail at something, life will still go on.  If I miss the party, the party will still go on.  If I miss a rep, the competition will still go on.  I do not control the sun and moon, and I definitely do not determine the fate of the human race.

Most people don’t even care about what I am doing or saying.  I think a lot of people worry about what others are saying behind their backs, or what others will think of them, and the honest truth is, they don’t know, don’t care, or don’t even know you exist.  They are too caught up in their own reality to be worrying about yours.

4. I am important to those that matter.  My husband, my daughter, my parents, my brothers and sister, and a few very good friends.  I think all too often, many of us work harder for the love and attention of people who don’t really matter, and we take for granted those that do.  Put your time and energy into the right people.

There is a wonderful satisfaction in putting your time and energy into the right people, and letting all the others exist in the background.  And, it’s not nearly as draining as trying to win over people who are committed to seeing you in a bad light.

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I put my reality to the test today at the gym.  I was going for a 1 rep max Strict Shoulder Press.  My previous was 110#, so of course I wanted a PR today.

I started out feeling “tired” and “not in to it.”  So, I lifted like that.  The barbell felt very heavy!

Then, I switched gears, and told myself I felt awesome and strong.  Lo and behold, I lifted better and the barbell suddenly felt a little lighter.

I got to 105# and after I completed it, I told myself, “Oh boy, that felt really heavy, I don’t know if I can get over 110# today.”

I went for 115# anyway, and totally missed it.  Not even close. My reality was already decided before I attempted it with my negative attitude.

I walked away, then switched the bar to 112#, and told myself that this was totally doable!  I believed that a 2# PR was easily attainable.  And, what do you know, I lifted it with ease – Even easier than the 115# attempt!

So, I shook my head and laughed a little, and went back to 115#.  Gave myself a couple of minutes, told myself I was going to make it, and as I started to lift the bar, I kept telling myself, “Yes, you can, you will, it’s going up, up, UP!”  And, I nailed it!

The mind is so powerful.

What ever you believe, will be.

You are what ever you say you are, and your life is what ever you say it is…So, what kind of person are you creating yourself to be, and what kind of life are you allowing yourself to live?

Be honest.

Be humble.

And, take control.

Inner Peace

brain-machine1“Dont sacrifice your peace trying to point out someone’s true colors.  Lack of character always reveals itself in the end.” ~ Mandy Hale

I saw this quote the other day on a friend’s Instagram, and it really hit home.  It strangely lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders.

For as long as I can remember, even at the young age of maybe 4 or 5, I felt the need to confront and call people out on their wrong doing.  I could never keep my mouth shut about it, could not for the life of me look the other way, and I definitely could not let it go until the wrong doer was announced in public and held accountable for his/her actions.

I grew up watching “The Brady Bunch,” and numerous other feel-good, lesson-learned type shows and movies.  The good guy always won.  The bad guy always lost.  In the end, it was always best to be honest and fair.  It was this perfect, idealistic bubble that I lived in.  And…I thought that was real life growing up.

So, whenever someone cheated, lied, or was abusive or unfair in some way, whether it was directed towards me or someone I cared about, I had to pick a fight and stand up to the culprit.  And, I had to make sure everyone else knew what he/she did that was so wrong.

I could never understand why others did not live by the same values and morals as I did.  And, I eventually grew up angry and resentful of people.

The hard truth is ~ Sh***y people really do not care at all that they are sh***y.

All of my past confrontations ended with zero resolution and closure.  Sure, I got to have my say, but I never felt like I actually “won,” and the culprit was still an a**hole.

It didn’t change anything.

So, what’s the lesson?

Let it go.

Move on.

No matter where I go, no matter what I do or say, no matter how honest and awesome I am, no matter how old we get, and no matter how hard I try…People will sh** on me at one time or another.

It’s an inevitable part of human life.

People come and go.  Some are good.  Some are bad.

But, instead of taking on every single battle, I need to just accept the fact that this person is not purposeful in my life, and let it go.

When I get angry, I am letting that a**hole win.  It’s like that quote states so well, “Holding on to a grudge is letting someone live rent free in your head.”

It’s exhausting letting all of those a**holes live rent free in my head.

It’s time for some inner peace.

I am not the Integrity Police, so I need to stop acting like one.

If someone isn’t of the same moral standards as I am, then I can remove myself from the relationship and find those that are.

I cannot change or control people.  I can’t fix stupid.  And, I definitely cannot get anywhere with a sociopath.

I can only change and control me.

I think all too often, a lot of us spend way too much time trying to change and control each other, which is why so many of us are frustrated, resentful, angry, and exhausted.

If we put as much energy as we do trying to change each other into actually changing ourselves, just imagine how much you would accomplish and how awesome you would be!

I am at a point in my life that I have finally decided to walk away from dysfunction.  I have given up the monumental responsibility of being the Integrity Police, and I will let karma and time work things out, like they always do so beautifully.

What a huge sense of relief.  For about the past week, I have truly had a clear mind.  It was like I did a huge spring cleaning in my head ~ Threw out all of the garbage, re-organized, wiped and dusted, and cleared out everything that has been taking up space for far too long!

No more free rent. 😉

If you want awesome in your life, than you have to BE awesome.  So, now that I’ve finished the “spring cleaning,” it’s time for me to start living by my own standards and values, and let the rest filter itself out.

Here’s to a new outlook on life, people, and myself!

 

Work Harder

10428320_718026561572538_1848452235404257806_oAfter watching the NorCal Regionals this past Saturday at the San Jose State University Event Center, I realized something…

I need to work harder.

The ONLY reason why I was not down in that arena with the rest of the competitors this weekend is because of ME.

Being a spectator this weekend was challenging for me, because I knew I let another year go by, and I only have myself to blame for it.

It’s a very hard pill to swallow – Personal Responsibility.

I could blame it on being the mother of a two year old, or being a business owner, or going through therapy, or dealing with family issues, or my shoulder injury in the fall season…

But, then I refer back to the quote, “If you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way.  If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

So, how badly did I really want it this year?

Maybe I was just infatuated with the IDEA of going to Regionals, but I really didn’t want to work hard enough for it?  Or, maybe I had to work on myself first, before I was ready to really take on something like this?  Maybe I needed to reach that “breaking point.”

Well…I’ve reached it.

The Regionals and Games athletes work really, really hard to be where they are.  Really, really, REALLY hard!

I’ve been doing probably about 1/4 of what they do.

I’ve been thinking about this all weekend, and getting more and more upset with myself.  Mad that I didn’t do more to be better prepared for the Open.  Mad that I let another whole year go by.  Mad that I wasn’t better.

Mad that I’m not living up to my potential.

And then…I had to finally accept the fact that I just need to work harder.

I can’t control new athletes coming out of the woodworks each year who are bad ass firebreathers.  I can’t control accidents and unforeseen injuries and illnesses.  I can’t control other athletes training harder.

I CAN control what I put in to it, though.  I can control how hard I push myself.  I can control how often I work on my weaknesses.  I can control all of me.

I need to do more.

Put up or shut up!

This can apply to everything in life.  I need to work harder on my patience as a mother.  I need to work harder on finishing our house remodel.  I need to work harder on being a better wife.

If things don’t end the way you want them to…If you aren’t getting the results you want…Then DO something about it.  Change.  Do more.  Work harder.  Dig deep.  And, don’t settle.

3, 2, 1, Go! 😉

Fish Fairy

tyhulse-catchingwishesWhen I was about 7 or 8 years old, I found out the truth about the Tooth Fairy.  I still remember that night like it was yesterday.  I was extra excited for the Tooth Fairy to come, because I had left her a new dollhouse rocking chair.  I wanted to see her surprised face, and see her sit in the chair, so I stayed up that night.

As I pretended to sleep, anxiously awaiting the Tooth Fairy, I suddenly heard my mom coming down the hallway.  I panicked a little and held my breath.  My mom quietly snuck into my room, I felt her lift up my pillow, and then quickly sneak out.

For a moment, I was confused.  Maybe she was making sure I remembered to put my tooth under my pillow?  But, then when I looked under my pillow, I saw the dollar bill.  Instant heart crusher!

I cried myself to sleep that night.  My thoughts snowballed – If there’s no Tooth Fairy, then that means there’s no Santa…Which means no Easter Bunny…Which means…It was too much for my little heart to take.

The next morning, I confronted my mom as she was making breakfast for us.  I told her I knew the truth!  And, then I told my older brother, Nate, that I was really sad about it all.  Nate was only about 9 or 10 at the time.

He hugged me, and then he said, “Don’t worry, Kara, there’s always the Fish Fairy!”

“Fish Fairy???”

“Oh, yeah!  If you make a fishing pole, and leave it out in the swimming pool, or any area of water, and you’re well-behaved that day, then the Fish Fairy will leave you something at the end of the line,” my brother explained to me.

So, we ran out to the backyard, found a long stick and some string, and made a fishing rod and line.

My childhood beliefs were restored!

The next morning, I pulled the fishing rod out of our pool, and found a stuffed dog, Odie, from “Garfield.”  I was so excited!  The Fish Fairy WAS real!

We left the fishing line out again the next night, and the next morning I had another toy waiting for me at the end of the line!

We continued doing this for about two weeks.

Then, one day, my mom sat me down on the couch and said we needed to talk.  My first thought was, “Uh oh, what did I do this time?!” 😉

But, then she told me, “Kara, honey, I know you have been enjoying the Fish Fairy and all, but I have to tell you the truth.  Your brother made up the story about the Fish Fairy to make you feel better, and he’s been going out there every night, and giving you toys from his room.  He’s running out of things to give you, honey.  And, this just can’t go on anymore.  Unfortunately, we need to stop the Fish Fairy.  Do you understand?”

At first, I was heartbroken again, because another childhood belief was being shattered.  But, then my heart swelled up with so much gratitude.

I think it was at that moment I really understood what love meant.

The Fish Fairy story is one of my all-time favorite memories from my childhood.  I often go back to this story in my life to remind myself of what is really important.

It’s not the actual gifts and material things.  It’s the love given to you.  My brother, even at the young age of 9 or 10, loved me so much that he made up the Fish Fairy for me, and on a whim nonetheless!

The love given to me in the CrossFit community is very similar, and I’m sure many, if not all of you, can relate to what I’m saying.  That unconditional, positive regard is priceless.

When I didn’t qualify for Regionals, I felt like my entire gym tried to give me the Fish Fairy back.

It’s what we do here – We lift each other up!  When a member is down, we all jump in to give love and support, because at the end of the day, the scores and times don’t really mean much compared to the relationships and memories we are making here each and every day.

It is always the journey, not the destination.  It’s the people, not the things.  It’s the memories and how you were made to feel.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou

My brother makes me feel loved.  CrossFit makes me feel strong.  My CrossFit community makes me feel supported.

How do you make the people most important in your life feel?

Body Image

body_lsThe other day, I saw a nice post on Facebook by a woman named Taryn Brumfitt.  She is trying to start a new movement she calls “Embrace,” which is trying to promote global change for women to love their bodies.  You can check it all out here (click on title): Embrace

There are a lot of similar movements like this.  Dove, the skincare product, encourages the same idea to love your body, all shapes and sizes.  And, I see it all the time on Facebook – Other articles, blogs, ads, memes, and what-not that promote loving your body, no matter what.

I have to be really blunt, though.  And, I’m going to hit nerves with a lot of people, probably.  But, here it is…

I get really frustrated and annoyed with all of these movements to love your body just the way it is.  There is a HUGE hole that is being ignored here.  While I understand and appreciate what all of these movements are trying to do, there is a MUCH greater issue going on.  It is not a mere matter of body image and blaming social media and the beauty industry for our distorted views of ourselves.  It’s not a simple remedy of just loving your body the way it is.

There is a reason why people become obese.  There’s a reason why people deteriorate and let their bodies go.  There’s something going on inside.  Deep, deep inside.

Now, I’m going to put in the disclaimer now that there are always exceptions to everything, and there are those few out there who have legitimate health issues out of their control that prevent them from having a size 6 jeans or rock hard abs.  So, leave that out of this.  I’m talking about the rest of us who have the ability and capability, and just don’t do it.

When I was a freshman in college, I gained the “Freshman 15,” and then some!  And, I can’t blame it on the partying and alcohol, because I was severely allergic to alcohol then, and I just never was a big party animal.  I gained weight with food and not much exercise.  For someone who grew up super athletic, there was clearly something wrong.

I’m 5’3″ and I started college around 135 pounds.  By the time I reached my junior year, I was pushing 165, and it was not muscle!  That just is not healthy for me, and for a movement to tell me that it is okay, and that I should just love my body the way it is…It’s not addressing the real issue!

I hated my body because all of that excess weight was a constant reminder of all the baggage that I was carrying emotionally.  I ate to coax myself and temporarily soothe the pain.  But, as I added weight, it added to the obvious issues I was having inside, except now I couldn’t hide it because it was evident in how my clothes fit.

My body was telling everyone that I was “damaged goods.”

I hated my body because I hated myself.  It was never really about my body, per se.

Hating my body was just an after effect of hating myself.

I was severely unhappy with the decisions I had made in my life, the crappy people I let into my life, and the horrible experiences I had to endure on my own without help and support.  I was broken inside, and it started to show on the outside as I gained weight.

So, this is what I’m getting at here.  Most of us, especially women, have horrible body images NOT because of social media and the beauty industries, but because of something else much deeper inside of us.

Social media and the beauty industries are just the scapegoat.

It is not the responsibility of the world to give you a good body image.

It starts and ends with YOU.

It taking personal responsibility.  Fully and completely.

I reached my breaking point my senior year at college.  I was a lifeguard at our college campus swimming pool, and one day I was sitting down in my lifeguard chair and suddenly realized that my big belly was actually touching my thighs.  I cried when I got home.  I needed help, and I needed to change.  Thankfully, our school campus had free counseling on site, so I took advantage of it, and it helped a lot.  Unfortunately, though, I started in the spring and then graduated, so I only had about 2 months of help.  It was help nonetheless, though, and gave me a kick start to changing my life.

The only problem was, I went super hardcore into fitness, and although I fixed the health issue, I did not really fix the emotional issue.  It’s a funny thing…Often we say that we workout to relieve stress and deal better with things, buuut, if you never truly deal with the REAL ISSUES, then it’s just a hamster wheel you’re running on.

I was training for half Ironmans, working out two to three times a day, and super fit.  I was Wonder Woman…With a lot of emotional baggage.  I went from one extreme to the other, but still had the same internal issues.

I went from thinking that I could “eat my problems away, ” to thinking that I could “run/swim/bike/train my problems away.”

The other day, I was watching the movie, “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” with my daughter, and in the beginning the main character, Flint, invents spray-on shoes to solve the childhood problem of untied shoelaces.  But, he fails to think ahead of how he would take them off, so he is permanently stuck with wearing the spray-on shoes, and all of the school kids make fun of him.  As he runs home in the rain crying, he says, “I wanted to run away that day, but you can’t run away from your own feet.”

You can’t run away from your own problems.

Doesn’t matter if you try to eat sweets, workout three times a day, work long hours, shop till you drop, or do drugs.  Those are all just temporary remedies, but with consequences, because now not only do you still have the same problems still looming around, but now you also have new ones – Excess weight, Diabetes, sports injury, sleep deprivation, credit card debt, and addiction.

So, this is why I always have a hard time with all of these body image movements.  It’s a nice idea, and I appreciate the good intentions, but it’s just not that black and white.  Nor should anyone be okay with being 100 pounds overweight.  I don’t think everyone has to be a CrossFitter, and I certainly do not expect everyone to be super fit and 10% body fat, but I do expect people to be healthy, body AND mind, whatever that means for you.

Being a mother of a daughter now, I constantly think about how I am going to address these issues with her one day.  When she looks at those beauty magazines and commercials, how will I teach her that those are just marketing gimmicks, and beauty comes from how you treat yourself and others?  Beauty is through actions.

This past year, I went through a lot of therapy to finally address my issues from over 16 years ago that have followed and haunted me all this time.  After completing the CF Open and my therapy, I got to really experience for the first time in my life what it felt like to have all that “weight lifted off of my shoulders.”  It’s an amazing feeling.

I learned to forgive.  I learned to embrace my past, because it has made me into who I am today, and while I would never wish what happened to me to happen to even my worst enemy, I am strangely grateful for it all.

And, maybe that’s what Taryn Brumfitt and all of these body image movements are trying to get at.  To embrace your past and accept the circumstances you were given?  To forgive yourself and those who hurt you?  Maybe?  But, they always seem so sugar-coated and simple – It’s the beauty industry’s fault, and we should just love ourselves exactly the way we are.  Period.

Ha!  If only it were that simple…

Now that I have truly let go of the past, and am building a better life today, I am falling in love with myself for the first time.  And, in turn, I have very little to no body image issues now.  Go figure!  I am by no means “perfect” or “model material,” and technically I probably have about 5 to 10 pounds of excess weight.  BUT, I’m f***ing happy and healthy!!!

Because I love myself, I now love my body and the things that I can do with it.

It starts and ends with you.

No amount of Dove products and feel-good movements are going to address your own problems.  You have to go deeper than that.  Much deeper.

Beauty really is from within.  But, too many of us are too scared to go inside and get it.

Just remember, anything worth doing is going to be really hard.

Your body image is not the issue.

Dig deep.

Beautiful Barbell

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The barbell never lies.  Ever.

But, are you paying attention when it’s talking back to you in your lifts?  You should…

This is me the other day trying to get a PR in my 1 rep max Snatch.  One of my best attempts at triple extension, if I do say so myself. 😉

I have to be honest, in the past year, I’ve completely slacked off in my lifting.  I definitely did not do nearly enough strength and skill sets as I should have been.

What I did do is “maintain.”

The sad truth is, I am Deadlifting and Snatching the exact same weight I was a year ago.  Why?  Because of all of the lifts, those are the two I hate the most.  They are my weaknesses, and just like any other human being, my natural tendency is to avoid them whenever possible.

But, after my big breakthrough in the CF Open season, I realized that the Snatch is the perfect representation of how I’ve dealt with my life for so many years.  I worked up to a weight that I was comfortable with, and then once it got hard, I stopped progressing and just stayed at that plateau, and made a lot of excuses for it.

Somehow, I was okay with staying in the same place.

For many years, I worked hard to get to a certain point in my life, and then I would just stop progressing and would maintain a level of “good enough.”

I got by in life.

I got just enough good grades for the honor roll in high school.  I did just enough to please the teachers and keep them off my back.  I did just enough on my SATs to get accepted to college.  And, I actually only applied to one college.  That’s how little I thought of myself.  It was totally a safe situation, though, because I knew I met all of the requirements.  I went with the “easy route.”

I originally majored in Occupational Therapy.  But, then it got hard.  Really hard.  And, just like the Snatch, I suddenly stopped progressing and made excuses.  I got scared.  I didn’t want to face it and put in all that work.  It was just “too hard.”  So, I eventually quit OT, and went into Psychology.  Psychology was “safe.”  Another “easy route” for me to take.  And, even there, I did just enough to graduate with decent grades.  I can claim to have graduated with Psi Chi Honors, but in all honesty, I just barely met the minimum requirements for that.

After college, though, I did grow up some, and eventually took pride in something I did, which was being a summer swim coach in San Rafael.  I coached the team for six years, and was Head Coach for the last two.  It was the first time in a very long time that I actually went above and beyond the call of duty, took great pride in what I did, and worked really hard.  I invested my heart and soul into that team.  For once in my life, I actually felt fulfilled and accomplished.  But, then, unfortunately, the volunteer board members my last year of coaching had ulterior motives, swept the rug from under my feet, and I suddenly found myself betrayed and left out in the cold.

It was a heartbreaking experience, and it only validated the reasons why I hadn’t tried so hard in the first place.  I hate to admit it now, but it left a bitter taste in my mouth, and made me step back into my old bad habits again.

As an elementary school teacher in Corte Madera, I was thankfully surrounded by awesome people, which in turn, motivated me to be awesome.  Unfortunately, though, it didn’t trickle down into any other areas of my life.  So, I was a super awesome, hard working teacher, but then the second I got home, I was mediocre at best at everything else.

Then, I found CrossFit.  It was just like everything else in my life – I started out strong and motivated, worked really hard, was even asked to train with the team, and then I reached my plateau.  I stopped progressing, I started making excuses, and I missed my opportunity to go to Regionals and the Games with the team.

When Spencer and I opened our box in 2011, I was reinvigorated and ready to take on competition again.  But, right at my peak, I suddenly got pregnant, which obviously put things on hold for a while.

So, this all leads us now to the last two years of my training.  After I had Bailey, I trained like crazy for the Open 2013, and I was actually doing really well.  All of my hard work was finally paying off.

But, then in the 4th week of the Open, I managed to get a horrible stomach flu that left me depleted and dehydrated for a week, and I was barely able to even get a decent score completed.  I was like 500th overall in that workout, which yanked away my chances at Regionals.

It gave me flashbacks of my summer swim team being taken away from me.  Now Regionals was being taken away from me.  And, again, I fell back into that “feeling sorry for myself” mode.

And so, I trained hard this past year for the Open…But, definitely not like crazy like the previous year, and honestly, I did “just enough” most of the time.

Deep down, I was holding back due to fear of it being taken away from me again.

The barbell was telling me this the entire time.  My lifts were not increasing.  The Snatch felt foreign to me most of the time.  I wasn’t making gains and getting PR’s like I should have been, and the barbell let me know it.  But, instead of listening to the bar, I made excuses.

About six months before the Open began, I finally did something for myself that I should have done a long time ago – I started going to therapy.  Therapy is just like CrossFit – It only works if you have a good therapist, just like CrossFit only works if you have a good coach!  Thankfully, I have a great one!

Through therapy, I was able to finally face some demons and deal with my past.  In dealing with my past, I was able to start taking things head on.  But, when that happened, it was already too late for the Open.  I still did really well overall, but I didn’t qualify for Regionals.

That’s my fault, and mine alone.  Bad habits die hard.  Change takes time.  And so, the Open became my breakthrough therapy session, rather than an actual competition.

I was fighting for myself…not for a high score.

I was qualifying for life…not for Regionals.

I was certainly heartbroken that I didn’t make it to Regionals, but the difference this time in my life is that I am NOT left with a bitter taste in my mouth, nor am I feeling sorry for myself or wanting to retreat.

This time, I want to try harder.  I want to be better.

For too damn long, I floated through life and ducked from every punch thrown at me.

Now, I’m the one throwing punches.

Lately, the barbell and I have had a different relationship.  A better one.  A stronger one.

Last Thursday, when I was going for a 1 rep max Snatch, it was the first time since August 2013 that I attempted anything over 125#.  And, I didn’t just add a few pounds, I went for 135# with gusto!  Unfortunately, after about 7 or 8 attempts, I failed to complete it.  However, I did get under that bar every time, and the fact that I kept trying was a huge deal for me, personally.

Then, yesterday, during Competition Training class, we did a Clean & Jerk ladder.  It started at 65# and went up by 10’s.  I made my way to 185#.  I missed the Jerk, though.  So, I tried again.  Missed again.  Tried one more time.  Just barely missed the Jerk, again.  But, each time the Clean felt stronger, and the determination in my kept grew (Rather than diminish, like the old me).  So, I went for a 4th attempt.  Cleaned it well, again, but missed the Jerk.  Oh well.  It was another successful experience for me still, because I was finally going hard and fighting for things.

The barbell is a beautiful thing.  I really have learned a lot from it.  Because, even though I have made huge changes in my life recently, and I am finally moving in the right direction, it’s still going to take time for other things to happen.  It’s not all overnight!  I have to keep working hard at it. And so, even the barbell reminds me of this fact with my recent Snatch and C&J lifts.

So, the next time you’re lifting that barbell, listen to it.  What is it telling you?

What does the barbell say about you?