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)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Learn to Love the Grind

May 8, 2017

Its not too often we take time to slow down. Our world, our daily life, or jobs... time passes so quickly and suddenly we look back and say "what happened to the last month/year." We set out to do something and we want immediate results. We send an email or a text message and want an immediate response. Often times we feel let down if we don't get that quick turn around... we pretty much give up and assume whatever it is isnt that important, or shouldnt be that important.

This has of course become the norm with todays technologies. I remember back when I would call a friend and get a busy signal... and have to *gasp* wait until whoever it was to get off the phone so we could talk. Now, today... not only do we have call waiting... but we just call on a cell, leave a message or a text message... and await a response. If mom is on the home phone, no worries... we all have cell phones. I also remember the only way to communicate (aside from a really long distance call) with my friend in England was to write her a letter. With FB and IG... I pop on line, not even needing a computer because I have access from my phone... and see what is going on with her and her kids right with the swipe of the screen. Your playing a game and need to know the rules... no problem, google it. You want to hear a song someone is talking about or see a video or movie trailor... no problem... its all on the web. Instant. No waiting... instant gratification.

I feel like its so ingrained in our life stlyes to have instant results that we often forget what its like to have to work for something. For me... there is nothing more satisfying then working hard at something and finally succeeding. Its more satisfying then being given a task and being able to do it right off the bat. I feel like the challenge, the grind and the time put into something makes it all the more rewarding when the goal is reached. 

The past 3 weeks I have been on Avatar and My Fitness Pal tracking my macros. Everything I have consumed has been tracked. I have not cheated, I have not veered from the plan... and I am seeing results. The challenge now, is to stick with what is working... then make alterations to make it even better. There are certainly days that I struggle with, where I want pizza or ice cream, or the damn nutella seems to be calling my name from the cabinet... but, if I want the end result, I have to work towards the prize. It is not instant. I can not "will" myself to my ideal body/weight goals. There is no magic pill, one exercise, drink or food that will make it happen. It takes time and it takes work, I have to trust the process. 

One of my post baby goals was to get my muscle up back. I had them, for about 3 months leading up to my pregnancy with Z. I struggled long and hard to get them the first time. I knew after almost 3 years of not having them it would be difficult to get them back. I had to evaluate, set a plan, focus and work hard if I wanted to reach my goal. 

I talked to Chris and with a combination of skill movements he showed me and a few I took from my previous success... I went to work. For 4 weeks I stayed off the high rings completely. Not many kids can pick up a bike with no training wheels and ride it without a second thought and not crash. This was not a sprint. I drilled, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays after the WOD. Each coach would give me tips and critique my drills. I would incorporate their tips and work harder. I would alternate between all of the skill movements every day. It sucked. I wanted to get up on the high rings, I wanted to attempt, I wanted to just get them... I'm strong enough dammit. But no. I had to trust the process. 

Last weekend I did some skill work then hopped up to the high rings. I spent quite a while, countless attempts and couldnt seem to connect. Called it a day. This weekend, yesterday, I was going to give it a go again. I progressed through the drills. Between each low ring drill I hopped up to the high rings to kip. Finally, after a few drills, I went for it. I got up and over! Holy shit! I think I got ahead of myself, I lost my tension and fell through. I could TASTE it... I was really upset that I had got that far and failed... however, there was a fire burning. 

A half a million attempts later and it was one cue that clicked. I did it. I got a muscle up.

Success. 

Was it easy? No. Is it going to be easy now that Ive done it? No. Were the drills fun? A good time? No. Did they leave me wondering if these "crappy drills" are going to work? Absolutely. However, I loved every minute of the challenge. I loved the drive and the grind to get to hit that goal. If I wanted it, I knew I had to work at it. It would take time, focus and determination. The results would come. 

Trust the process. 

Success.



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Accept It.

May 4, 2017

Why do you think its so difficult for “us” to accept compliments?

How do you feel when someone says to you “you look nice today” or “have you lost weight?” What is your first reaction? Typically, from what I have heard other people say to me… and my own automatic instincts in responding when complimented…  is that we almost immediately shove off the comment with a negative. We get bashful and almost embarrassed that someone noticed something to compliment us on and we respond with “oh this shirt… I just dragged it out of my closet” or “uggg, lost weight… no, I feel like a cow.” Why do we do that? Why can we not just accept the fact that someone is paying us a compliment and say “thank you” without feeling vein vane vain (the English language so complicated…). Why do we feel it is not acceptable to be proud that we do in fact look nice today… or have noticeably made a change in our appearance that is appealing to others… Why does it make us so uncomfortable?! Do we think the person is lying? Are we fishing for more? Do we feel it is wrong or if we accept that the person who complimented is going to think we are into ourselves…  I want to say I don’t get it… but I do… I mean, I do it too. But why?!

The other day I posed about our little chat sessions that kick off each class. Yesterday morning, Chris talked about the importance of this exercise and what it means to him as an affiliate owner that his members get to know each other, introduce themselves to new people and make everyone feel welcome. I have felt this from day #1 at 696. Accepted, welcome and never once like I didn’t belong. I feel like I have made friends and have got to know the 5:15am crew and am working on getting to know others who I don’t get to see as much. Having said that, I feel it is as much my responsibility to introduce myself to someone I haven’t met before as it is theirs to approach me… that’s how the family grows, strengthens and thrives. Im not a shy person… so its “easy” for me. I realize its not that simple for some people to just walk up to a stranger and say “hello, Im so and so…” I do however challenge you to try it.

Anyway,  Chris asked us this morning to look to our right and “introduce” the person standing there… and pay them a compliment. Right away, you see each person look to their right (myself included) and come up with something to share. As we go around the circle, you can almost see the embarrassment on the faces of the “complimented.” Everyone had wonderful things to say about the person to the right… kind of amazing if you think of it. We are together (most of us) just an hour or so a day… a few days a week… maybe we communicate a bit through social media or text messaging. Of course there are exceptions, of people who have been friends for years or hang out much more than the gym… but overall, we are just a group of people from all over the place, in all stages of life, doing many different jobs, we are different ages, have different goals, we have come from different family lives, we lead different life stlyes… but we have one thing in common. We are all there to take care of ourselves and make ourselves better people. We can tell just by that little time together that we each work hard, we push hard, we are passionate about what we do, fight for what we want and smile while we are doing it.  Funny how when someone tells us those things about ourselves, we have a hard time just saying “thank you, thank you for recognizing that I am all of those things… and you are too.”

I challenge you… I challenge myself… to compliment people more. I also challenge you to accept a compliment. When someone compliments you accept it. Think about how good you feel when someone compliments you. Think about how proud you are that you have done something, shown a part of who you are or how hard you worked to achieve something… accept it. Say “thank you, yes, I worked hard for this” or “thank you… I loved this shirt and had to buy it!” Don’t discount it. Let it boost you up. Don’t be afraid to boost someone up. Tell them they are beautiful. Tell them they impressed or inspired you… You will make the difference in someone’s life. I promise.

Oh… and while social media compliments are flying all over the place… I also challenge you to step away from the “virtual” compliments. Look the person in the eyes and talk to them. Spoken works are 10,000X more effective then a written word.

Give, accept and feel amazing. Make someone else feel amazing. We all deserve it. We get one shot at this life… make it a good one!


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

One day or day one. You decide.

May 2, 2017

Every day at the start of each class at 696 we gather up in a circle. Whoever is coaching starts the class with a quick description of what we are doing to tackle for the day, then they start roll call. This is one of my favorite things that makes 696 a special place to me. The coach poses a question for each of us to answer, this can be anything from "what did you have for dinner last night?" to "do you have any tattoos?" Some are deeper than others, but what is really awesome is that it allows a little extra insight to the person/people who you are with every morning. It welcomes in the newer people (like me) by making us always say our names first... Ive finally got everyone down... and connects us on a different level, making us less of a stranger to one another. I realize, I am a pretty open person... and this exercise might make some people  uncomfortable, but I really think that its super healthy for all of us to do to get started.

This morning Coach Jay had the stage and asked us all what our favorite quote was. Immediately I thought of my blog... of the hundreds of quotes I have posted... talked about and "dissected." Then my mind went to a quote that I saw on IG yesterday and I decided to share that one.


One day or day one. You decide. 

Think about it. What I like about posting it today, is that its actually May 2nd and a Tuesday. Most people think that they have to make the decision to change something at the start of a week or the first of a month. They want a "clean slate" or a "new beginning" to kick things off. Ive been there. Ive done it. Ive looked at the calendar and said "Ill start Monday" or "on June 1 I am going to start doing XYZ." In reality... any day can be day one. You make the choice to change something and make it happen. If you want it bad enough, you can make day one happen at any time. Its your decision. 

I joined Avatar Nutrition (www.avatarnutrition.com) on a Wednesday. I was ready to do it. I was ready to put my stats in the website and get going. I had talked to Chris that morning, decided it was time to take a cut and there was no better time "today" to get started. I didnt wait till Monday. I didnt binge one last weekend because I was going to not be able to for the next few weeks. I want it, Im doing it now. I am so glad that I did. It was "day one."

Its been almost 3 weeks since I joined. I feel great. I am happy with the decision and honestly the temptations are getting easier and easier to avoid with my progress. When you see a change in your body and feel a change with your performance, something clicks. Suddenly, you realize you are working every day, even you are not at the gym, towards your goals and creeping closer and closer... it helps motivate you to continue. Plus, with flexible "dieting" (I hate that word... dieting), there is leniency in there if you want to go get an ice cream with your 2 year old... just work it into the macros. Yes, it takes planning... yes, its a pain in the ass sometimes... but yes, I feel like its worth it 100% for my mental well being. Its what I love and it makes me feel good. I am very lucky that I have a support system that doesnt think I am crazy.

Applying "one day or day one" to other things in my life is what comes next. Today is the day. Get started. Set goals. Make time. I am only going to live once so why waste it sitting on the couch watching who knows what on Netflix... There is no better time than now to change gears and be the whole person I want to be. I feel like hardest things to get started on feel the best when they are achieved, I just need to build up the courage to do them. Motivate myself to get started and create new habits. Heck, I can do it in the gym, I can do it with my "diet," you bet your ass I can do it with the rest of my life. 

Is today your day one?! You decide. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Where do you want to be?

April 19, 2017


Go ahead... ask yourself...

Where do you want to be? How are you going to get there? What steps are you taking?

I will tell you this... if you are not taking any steps... you will not get there. Waiting, watching, wishing, will get you nowhere. Success is not handed to anyone who waits for it. Success comes from hard work, time, focus, dedication and pushing yourself to do things that make yourself uncomfortable. If its "easy," your not doing it right. If you make excuses like you are too tired, you dont have time, you dont know how or you "cant..." then you wont. No questions asked.

Im excited for the things to come at 696 this spring. I have never really been one for "running" workouts, but for some reason this year, I am itching to get outside. One of the fantastic things about the programming at 696, is that Chris likes to change it up, give us something that is not expected, make us think about what we are doing in a different way and challenge our minds (and muscles) with new movements... or movements that arent done very often. He tests the "functional movements that are constantly varied at high intensity" portion of the definition of CrossFit. This morning was no different, a variety of movements in short high intensity amraps. You felt the burn, you mentally fought through that sticking point, knowing it was short and it would "end" soon. It was fun and challenging. All the things I love about the sport of CrossFit.

There is a method to the madness. Each movement becomes an accessory movement to another. He dosent just program something because its fun, or new. There is thought that goes into programming (which isnt just exclusive to 696, all good coaches put a lot of thought into their programming). Every movement, in a way, gets you closer to either doing a different movement for the first time or getting better at a movement that you can already do. From rowing and kettle bell swings to glute ham raises and bent over rows... there are a multiple movements you are "working on" even if you dont realize it. Slowly, you are getting closer to where you want to be... constantly a work in progress.

In life, its important to keep with this same mentality. If you have a goal, whether it be to rid yourself of credit card debt, pass an ARE exam, or finish your basement... unless you start and chip away at the goal... it will be left just as it is. If you dont put in the work to not spend extra money, make the time to study or order the supplies... the goal is not attainable. However, if it you implement small changes (just like the accessory work) like, a budget that you can not break, a schedule to study from or just make a simple list... the goal becomes a little less daunting. Before you know it, you are debt free, ready to test and sitting on your new couch in your new space.

Keep moving forward. Build mental toughness. Say no. Make time. Never say you "cant" do something.

If you want something... go get it.