Monday, August 21, 2017

No U-Turns

Question of the Day: If you had to describe yourself using a street sign, what street sign would that be?

Are you “under construction?! Do you feel as if you have “dangerous curves?!”

Take some time and think about it. Think about how the world around us can influence thoughts beyond what the “real” meaning of something on the outside could be interpreted as. Stuck in traffic, looking around, seeing a sign and thinking how the phrase “no passing zone” can be applied to other aspects of your life. Where can you use that as fuel? How can you make that push you beyond your limits to not let anyone pass you? You are in the front of the pack. You are the leader.

This was the question of the day today at the gym. Off the top of my head at the moment, I came up with “children at play,” because… lets face it. That is my life right now. I mean my last post was relative to a show my kid watches daily and can recite lines to. However, the more I thought of it (which is the whole point to these questions, to get you to think about them more than just the 3 minutes it takes to go around the circle)…  My sign changed.


There are no “do overs” in life. You get one shot. There are no “take backs” or “rewinds” there are certainly “NO U TURNS.” There is no reason to dwell on the past, it’s the past. It happened. Its gone. Whether it was 5 minutes ago or 2 years ago, thinking about it, why it happened, how it happened… wont change the fact that it did happen. Pull up your boot straps and move on to the next. If you fail… even if you attempt the exact same thing for a second time,  it is not a “do over,” as you are simply not the same person you were the first time. You learned a lesson, you have experience, you know what to/not to do… Maybe you found a coach, took a class, read a book, maybe you learned a better way to get somewhere, or a place to save some money… either way you look at it, every experience you have in life is a new one. It is how you apply the events of your past into the events in your future that makes difference.

I have been competing for a while now. I have competed as an individual and as a member of a team. I have been to some really great comps and some really bad comps. With every single one of these experience I have evolved as an athlete. I have a completely different way of preparing, attending and recovering now, than I did my first comp and with each one, I learn some more.  I know what my body needs for prep, how to pack a bag efficiently and to be prepared for things I might not expect. I know how to treat my body between workouts, how to warmup, how to assure proper recovery and fuel myself.  I know what the recovery process will be. I know what I need the next day and the days after that… It’s a process.

One of the most important things I have learned over the years is that there are no do-overs. You are out there to compete and you have to lay it all on the line every single workout. All the athletes competing, whether they are scaled, masters or Rx are all under the same conditions. You get one shot. “No U-Turns.” Maybe that is the reason I get so worked up over the first workout of the event… for me, its almost inevitable that the first workout is the one I feel most nervous and anxious for. However, when you have a good team behind you, a good support system, people to remind you of where you are and how you got there. People to tell you that you belong where you are and to tell you its time to turn the heat on and make it happen… that’s when the magic happens. The fire is lit, the timer starts and you pour yourself into this madness we call “CrossFit” and get it done. There are “No U-Turns.”

When you take a step back after a competition you start to analyze everything that happened, so many things go through your head. One thing is for sure. You can not change what happened. It is done. In a team competition, the fact that you worked together, played off each others strengths and weaknesses, communicated and respected one another is key. If you don’t have that, you don’t have a team. Knowing you were there to push one another, help one another and get under the skin of your team mates helps in so many ways, but really respecting them, communicating with them and sharing every piece of the workouts, the good, the bad and the ugly, is really what makes a team a team.

When you hold yourself to high standards you might find it hard to hard to do these things… unless of course, your team mates are the exact same way. Every single rep is done with power, thought and perfection. Each full depth squat, each chin over the bar pull up, each locked out muscle up and fully extended hip… are done with the mindset of “No U-Turns.” You can not do this again. You all finish with your heads high, fully understanding that no matter what the outcome is, your whole team, thrives on being the best they could possibly be not only for themselves… but for each other.










Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Things Are Looking Up

My kid has a mild (ok maybe more than mild) obsession with the TV show "Super Wings." Hes 2.5 and loves all things that drive and/or fly. We dont have cable, but found this show on  Amazon Prime and now Hubs and I often find ourselves singing the theme song while putting our dinner together or just driving home from work (wonderful isnt it?!). Its actually a pretty decent show for the little man... "Jet" who is the main character airplane is a package delivery plane. At the start of the show, "Jimbo" (the traffic controller man) calls Jet into the control tower and gives him a package that needs delivering. Whats cool is that Jet goes all over the world to deliver these packages to kids. Before he leaves, Jimbo explains the country he is going to go to, a fact about it and a phrase in the native language. So... at least little man is learning while he is watching.

Jet then delivers the package (on time, every time). He presents whatever it was that was ordered to the child and stays while they open it. Jet then takes part in whatever it is that the package was ordered for... he does everything from "Hot Dog Car" drag racing and dumpling making, to African safari rides and tap dancing on stage in the town square (hes a mastermind of all kinds). Of course, it wouldnt be a "learning" show if there wasnt a problem that needs solving... so eventually, Jet needs to call into base to get assistance to solve the problem from the Super Wings, who are his "awesome airplane friends who come to help when hes in need." When the friend arrives... Jet looks into the sky and says "things are looking up!" Finally, he, with the help of the friend... of course... save the day. He can always turn to his friends to help him out. No questions asked.

Sarah... what the hell is the point.

I realize, I am loosing my mind that so many of my thoughts stem from things my toddler does/says/watches... but I guess that is what my life is right now right?!

Anyway... what do I learn from Jet? When you are in need. When you feel like you need a little help. Give a call to a friend. When you see someone who looks like they are down on themselves, give them a little help. Even if you just say something to put a smile on their face, change their mindset, let them know you are there... anything helps.

There are days I get really pissed at myself, in and out of the gym. There are times where I internalize everything and cant take a step back and just say "today is just that kind of day... let it go." Days it feels like everything/anything keeps going wrong. I drop everything I touch, run late for a meeting, spill my coffee, miss a lift I know I can get, rip my hands on the rig... why do those types of things always happen on the same day?

Sometimes, you just need that little kick in the ass. A person, a friend... heck sometimes even just an acquaintance to say "shake it off" or "good job today" to straighten out, but sometimes its a little harder to do (for me). I am pretty hard on myself and reaching my goals, pushing my limits.  Its so common to just shake off words like that. I know I do it... heck, I JUST did it yesterday. I felt like the whole morning was crap. I didnt feel great with my lifts and failed where I knew I could succeed. I then went into the WOD with a chip on my shoulder. This worked out to benefit me, as I succeeded in hanging on to the rig longer than I ever have with consecutive toes to bar. So, whats the problem right?! I used it as fuel... Yeah thats great and all... but I didnt even let myself be proud of the accomplishment. I was so damn frustrated about the lift still that I even took my frustration home with me. I didnt allow myself  take my Coaches words, who was there to support and help me out and let them raise me up to face the day with my head high. Instead, I festered. The person who "flew" in to help me out... I let them hang. I am ashamed of that.

I took some time, took a step back... last night before bed and thought about my day, which I often do. While I was putting hand cream on my raw hands I thought about what I DID do at the gym and not what I didnt. I thought about where I was, where I am, and where I am going... and most of all, I thought about the support that my coaches and friends have given me over the last almost 6 months at 696. I dont even need to reach out for the help for one of them to fly in and encourage me and help push me through, give me a tip, tell me to shake it off, offer to lift with me... just talk to me and make me smile and laugh. They give a bright side to the perspective. They are so valuable to me and I can not take that for granted. They are my family. Thanks Guys!

Things are looking up...

Friday, August 11, 2017

Out with the old... In with the New.

There is something so satisfying about setting a goal and reaching it. I talk about it a lot… it applies to all walks of life, not just the gym…

I love my job. I have said it before, that I was lucky enough to learn at an early age what I liked to do and went for it. I have had lots of success, as well as lots of failures to get where I am… and the hits just keep on coming. There will always be ups and downs, but what is important, is the will to keep on going and the thrive for the next goal or to complete the goal that was set forth.

When I initially meet with a client/owner for a new project, we typically sit and discuss what it is they are expecting from the project, what the overall goal is. What they like, what they dislike and what their needs are. From there, we develop a schematic design… an image of the goal. Often we provide the client with renderings to see what we are working towards, as well as floor plans to give them a general idea of the space. Once agreed upon, we spend a few weeks developing drawings illustrating how we will achieve the goal. Through this process we have additions, as well as subtractions and we do our best to work out all the details to properly execute the design and make it a reality. Finally, construction begins and so do the potential issues. There are hurdles to jump (especially when working with an existing structure) and problems that need solving… very rarely do you have a job with no questions or hangups. However, when it is all said and done… the outcome… the look on the clients face when they see the finished product… the sound of their voice as they thank you for your work and dedication to their investment… the smell of the new carpet, paint and furniture as its being installed while doing the final walk through… and the phone call two weeks after they move in to tell you they couldn’t be happier… all of that, makes it all worth it in the end. Goal, achieved.

Yesterday, I was out at a building that I designed a new entry for… as I was driving back I started to think about how much the design and execution of a project at work, is very much like my lifestyle. With each project that I start and complete I learn something to bring forward to the next. I am forever learning. I am forever growing and it is so important to not become complacent with where I am in my career (or life). There are always new materials, new ways of doing things… There are always new clients, new relationships and new opportunities. Take with you all of your ways, materials, relationships and clients… and develop them further. Understand that with every failure there is a lesson. Failure is so important (unless of course it makes a building fall down…). Mistakes are made, problems arise and the proper methods are taken to mitigate them. The outcome and the determination and drive to succeed to reach that final goal, that is what separates "you" from the rest of the pack.

Recently (on the 6th of August) I was reminded that it was the start of my 7th year of CrossFit. Six years ago I set foot into the garage at a “box” with 4 members…  I took a chance. I couldn’t do a pullup, literally laughed when I was told “today we are going to do pullups.” The thought of pushups made me cringe and to be honest (even though I am still not a fan of running), I couldn’t get through a 400 without slowing to walking pace. I look back at my old posts and see the numbers for my lifts and while I kinda chuckle at them now, I think of all the work, all the goal setting and all the hours spent at the gym and I smile. I loved every minute of it. All of it. Every failure as much as every success. Growth. Strength. Courage. Confidence. All developing right before my eyes.  I can read it in my words, I can see it in the photos and I can feel it in my muscles. I have worked hard for it all, it was not easy. However, for me... its not about the numbers. Its not about how much I can put over my head, or squat… it setting a goal, developing a plan to achieve the goal, working through the “hurdles and failures” towards the goal, then taking a step back and being proud of my accomplishment.

Everyone starts somewhere. 



Thursday, July 20, 2017

Two Lives Intertwined

What is the best gift you have given to anyone?

Think about it. Think real hard. I’m not talking about the latest and greatest video game console… a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant… or even a fancy new car. I’m talking about something powerful, something that changes the recipients life. Something that once given, can not be taken back… something that has no actual “value” but more value than you can even imagine. Life.

Now, I’m a mom. I can honestly say that giving the gift of life to my son has been the most honorable and life changing gift I have ever given. I worked to keep him safe while I was pregnant, treated my body with respect and nurtured him for all 42 weeks on the inside. He was born healthy and strong and I consider that to be a pretty huge accomplishment.

I’m going to tell you a quick story and please don’t judge. Its not something I am very proud of, and maybe, if I had some more time to process or if the circumstances were different… I wouldn’t have made a different decision. I see now what a bad judgement call it was… Almost 17 years ago. My brother was killed in a car accident. You can read back through my older posts to read about the day. The morning, a complete blur. The feeling in my body, numb. I remember it like it was yesterday. Sitting… staring into the distance, not even for a second believing that this was really my life. Through all the people talking and shuffling through my parents house, the phone rings. It’s the hospital. They want to know if they can “have” Joshua’s retinas. He was not on the organ donor list. They needed our permission, my parents permission, to take them.

My parents discussed and came  to me. They gave me the choice. They asked me what I thought. If it was ok. How I felt about them taking a part of Joshua. They wanted me to be a part of the decision. They wanted me to be ok with it. In my heart of hearts, I wish I made a different choice. I would have given the person in need, his retinas. A gift. A gift that would have been life changing for someone else. A completely unselfish gift that my brother would have given in a second for someone if he had the choice on his own. I said no. The thought of his body not being “whole” when I got to see him was too much for me to take at that moment. I was just processing that I was never going to see his eyes again… and I took that gift away from someone…

I think about this often. I understand it is in the past. I can not change the choice that I made. I am not upset that my parents asked me to be a part of the decision making process. I am glad that they respect me and valued what I thought without just excluding me in the process. Yes, I was young… all of the decisions I have made in my life have made the person I am today. Every minute of my life and every decision influences the next. I am now an organ donor.

Today I am reminded of this unselfish act of kindness… giving the gift of life to someone. Someone you have never met….

I am member of an on line community. A group of women who chat about “everything.” Seriously, everything. If I have a question about a new place to go eat… what I should do if my kid wont sleep at night… what the heck this “rash” is or even just a funny thing to share or accomplishment or event in life… I go there. I have met a few of these women in person. The board has been in existence since we split off of The Nest after we all planned our weddings together. It has grown and we have all watched each other buy houses… have kids… have more kids… graduate from school… get new jobs… struggle with losses, divorces and family issues. New people join, some people leave… but there is a pretty solid core.

One of my friends found out that another’s sister needed a kidney. This brave woman, never meeting the other in person… felt a strong calling to help, to give the most amazing gift to her friends sister. The gift of life. The gift of a second chance at living a ”normal” life. She was tested and found to be a match… and today, the day she gave a piece of herself to her sister… was the first time they “met.” She put her life on the line to save her friends sisters life. A friend she met on line… in a forum…

She is one of the bravest people I know. It sent chills all over my body when I heard that the surgery was a success. She was in recovery and the sister also, a few hours later… her new kidney is already working hard in its new body. They both have recovery ahead… but I cant even imagine giving someone else this gift.


Take a minute and think about what it would be like to have a piece of you inside someone else. Working, as it was inside of you... its amazing. To think that people are walking around with hearts, lungs, kidneys, livers… retinas… that were once in another humans body is just remarkable. Imagine, your loved ones heart, still beating just in a different body. It’s a gift that once given, can not be taken back… something that has no actual “value” but more value than you can even imagine. Life.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Learn Something

June 19, 2017

Did you learn something today?

I challenge you. When you lay in bed at night… think about your day. When you wake up in the morning… think about what is about to happen. Are you ready to learn? Did you learn anything new?

I have a toddler. Every single day his little brain just goes and goes and goes. You can see him learning almost by the minute. One day… back in November. We had a day that it snowed really early in the season. Everyone was out of their mind because it was “too early to snow” as it wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet. Just like the whole rest of New England, when I got Z and I home from daycare I wanted to scramble to get into the house… it was cold, it was snowing… it was pretty much miserable. Well I got Z out of the car, stood him on the ground and his eyes seemed to glaze over. I took a step back and said “come on, lets go…” and started to walk. Then I realized something. This was the first time my little man experienced snow. He was born in February (albeit the snowiest February weve had in decades) but was just an infant the last time it had snowed. I then took at moment to watch. I didn’t care I was getting snowed on. I didn’t care that it was cold anymore, there was no rush. He was 100% amazed that this “stuff” was falling from the sky. Confused, amazed… whatever it was. The look on his face was priceless. He was learning. This is snow.

He tends to get ahead of himself now. He is a parrot. Repeating everything you ask him to say (usually). He is my cautious boy. He likes to take in all of his surroundings before he engages. He looks around to learn what everyone else is doing… he watches how Hubs and in interact with other people and kids before he knows its “ok” to talk to them and/or play with them. The “proud Mama” in me will tell you he can count to 20, say his alphabet, sing numerous songs and has the vocabulary of a 3 year old… but that’s just the tip of the iceburg with this kid. He watches… with hawk eye... how we do something… anything... and you bet he will try and try to do whatever it is we were doing as soon as he can. He wants to learn, he wants to grow and its so amazing to watch. The innocence. His persistence. He wants to figure out how it works and do it himself. 

We as a society have a tendency to just “do.” We wake up in the morning. Go do our thing… then come home at night, eat dinner and go to bed. Wash, rinse, repeat. Occasionally, there is a twist in there, but for the most part, we are pretty routine. Its so important to challenge the mind, to keep growing and learning, to keep evolving and changing… We have to learn to stop, look at the snowflakes as they fall, watch the water come out of the hose, listen to the wind chimes an wonder where the sound in coming from… We have to challenge our minds and look for new ways to do things, ways to do things better… ways to better ourselves. We have to take a que from the young developing mind and ask the questions "why?" and "how?"

Of course not every day has to be a “lesson.” This isn’t necessarily about learning a new skill or studying for a test (though it could be). This is about the little things… learning that my house stays cool when I keep the slider closed a little longer in the morning… learning that my son will eat a little better if I eat the same thing that he is eating… learning that if I leave work at 4:55 vs 5:00 it takes me less time to get to daycare, but more time to get home from daycare… learning that if I do one rep too close to my 1RM then my 1RM is more challenging than if I take a larger jump to get there… learning that my kid will be ok if he eats ice cream for dinner a few times this summer...  the list goes on.

Stop. Take a minute. Listen to the sounds around you. Take a deep breath.

What did you learn today?


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Today is a New Day

June 14, 2017

Today is a new day.

If I had a dollar... even a dime... for every time I have talked to my Mom and she has said to me "Sarah, just take a step back... breath..." I would be a very wealthy woman. She understands me. She is almost a complete opposite of me in these situations, but she has been with me through it all, and knows just how I handle things. Like a mad woman... that needs a voice of reason. She is my voice of reason... and even if I get mad and scream like a crazy person at her because of whatever situation it may be... or cry like a hungry infant because things feel like they are literally falling apart... she understands me. She lets me get it all out, then we talk. So I guess... even without the bazillions in "dimes" I am actually a pretty wealthy woman anyway.

I am type A. I like things done a certain way. I like things done quickly. I like things done... well... I like things done, now. It bothers me when I cant take care of something on my own that I need to do and waiting for anything/anyone is a weakness of mine... I just dont do it well.

The good news is. I was raised to be a hard worker. I was raised to find a solution to the problem. I was raised to assess the situation and do whatever I can to "fix" or "make better" whatever it is that is broken. I will not quit. I will not quit on myself, I will not quit on YOU, I will not quit on anything. Giving up is never an option.

The bad news is... I try to take it all on. All of it. Every tiny piece of it.

The bad news is... sometimes... I try to find a fix for something that might not even be broken because I feel like I could make it better... or for some reason, good isnt good enough and better would be "better."

The bad news is... sometimes... there is just too much. I cant handle it. I start to collapse. The little things start to become big things in my mind. The big things become huge. Things fall out of perspective and it starts to become very difficult to focus on the good. The important things. The things that are most important.

I put on a good front 90% of the time. However, there is that small percentage of time that the "weaknesses" start seeping through the body armor. Those days, I just want to hide. I dont want to expose the fact that I just cant do it all. I cant find the solution to the problem. I cant do it on my own... I need help and I have to ask. I have to be ok with it.

I am learning.

I am focusing on trying to let go of yesterday. It happened, its gone. I am focused on looking at the things in my life that are amazing. Soaking in all the minutes I have with my every growing toddler... while he blows bubbles, takes walks, splashes in the tub, bounces on his trampoline, asks me for the zillionth time "Mommy, what are you doing," or when he simply says "Mama... hugs" and he squeezes me so tight and then gives me a kiss.

Those are the moments that if I am too busy worrying about everything that has happened and what will happen... that will blow by. Suddenly he will play by himself... not want me to kiss him goodbye...

Life is not easy. Things happen, life happens. I can not let today be bad because of the things that happened yesterday. I can not take on the world alone. I need to ask for help when I need it... with the love and support I have in my life...

... everything will be alright.



Friday, May 12, 2017

"DT"

May 12, 2017

This is a quote from my blog post on September 6, 2011, just 4 weeks after I started CrossFitting...
I was going to title this post "Death by DT" since really, I know I have said it before... but, this was the hardest and most challenging workout I have done in my 4 weeks at CFW...
... at 5:30am I pulled into the parking lot. I am still sore, my calves kill. My shoulders were tight, my abs are feeling it... those thrusters did good things yesterday!!
I attempted one hanging power clean, which is like a clean, but rather than starting at the deadlift position you are already at your knees with the weight. Yeah, the 95lb attempt was a fail, as was the 90lb. Well thats not entirely true, I got the 90lb one up for one rep. Um, I have to do 5 sets with 9 of these in each set... lets go with the 85lbs!! The object of the DT is to complete all the exercises with the same weight, so with 85lbs the deadlifts and push jerks would be pretty light... so I thought... 
... Oh.My.God. My shoulders feel like my arms could literally drop out of the sockets. Forget about the calf pain... hahah thats old news! I kept sort of getting a light headed feeling through the sets, but I know it was my mind wanting me to stop, I needed to get out of that comfort zone. It was really hot since we had to keep on garage door closed and I was working really hard. There was no need to stop, a few breaths than back in... was running through my mind. I didnt stop, and I didnt give up, and I did it. 
WOD:
"DT"  5 Rounds for Time
12 Deadlifts
9 Hanging Power Cleans
6 Push Jerks
(my time 24:23)
1 set @ 85lbs, 2 sets @ 75lbs and 2 sets @ 65lbs 
These are my words. These are my feelings. I still remember it, like it was yesterday. Moments like this come flooding back to me often. I will never ever forget the struggles, I will never ever forget where I came from and what it took to get me to the point I am today. I will never forget the fear and the many many times I reached the point of being uncomfortable... when I had to drag myself off the floor. I will never stop fighting and pushing myself to be better every single day. I admire and am inspired daily by the people who are fighting the same fight that I did and still am. I love the feeling of the grind, working hard and nothing feels better than working hard and knowing, regardless of the outcome... I put everything I had on the line. Nothing.

My relationship with "DT" is quite the opposite of that first encounter now. When I see those letters pop up as the workout of the day, I get excited. Any Hero WOD pushes me in a way that I cant quite describe. These workouts are named for our countries Heros, who gave their lives for our freedom. They are children, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends... of every one of us. The short period of time that I am struggling to push myself to perform at 100% they did every day, all day while they fought for our country. That short period of time can not even begin to compare to the hardship and grievance of their family and friends... as they live their life with a hole in it forevermore. I am honored to be able to complete these workouts in their name.  You can read about SSgt Tim Davis HERE.

I have completed this WOD quite a few times over the years since I wrote that first post. My "love" has grown exponentially for it! Its a challenge each and every time... and it drives me to compete with myself. November 11, just 2 months after the original post I completed the whole WOD at 93# in 17:08... and on September 3, one year from the original post, I completed it Rx with 105# in 12:01.

My struggles are all here, in plain sight. I can recall every feeling... every road block and speed bump. I decided when I saw "DT" posted last night that I was just going to go in, head down and lay it out there. I hadnt even looked at my previous times to see what I wanted to beat. I just wanted it to be me against the clock.

The energy at the gym, my excitement for CrossFit and my drive to keep pushing was enough to start this day with a huge PR. I finished "DT" in a time of 6:15, which was a :23 second PR from my last attempt. I thought of SSgt Tim Davis... I thought of his family... I thought of the fight. My "pain" through this workout is temporary. Theirs... is not.

Always remember, everyone started somewhere... its the passion, the hard work and the perseverance that drives us to complete our tasks and achieve our goals.

Never stop.



SEPTEMBER 6, 2011
WOD:
"DT"  5 Rounds for Time
12 Deadlifts
9 Hanging Power Cleans
6 Push Jerks
(my time 24:23)
1 set @ 85lbs, 2 sets @ 75lbs and 2 sets @ 65lbs

MAY 12, 2017
WOD:
"DT"  5 Rounds for Time
12 Deadlifts (105lbs)
9 Hanging Power Cleans (105lbs)
6 Push Jerks (105lbs)
(my time 6:15)