Monday, January 20, 2014

Be Not Afraid of Moving Slowly

January 20, 2014

Ever feel like you are just standing still? That you have all these ideas and goals that you are fighting for in your mind, trying to push as hard as you can to get there, than suddenly you stop and look at whats going on and think... "I am going nowhere with this."

Life gets a little overwhelming when you set standards and goals for yourself that are ambitious. Its hard to separate the realistic expectations from the "dreams." Not that you cant reach your dreams, or shouldn't try, but you have to hit all the milestones in the middle in order to get there. It takes time and it takes patience, of which I have none. You also have to break down the goals, piece by piece and remember that things wont happen over night and of course, just wanting something isnt enough, you have to fight for it.

I think my biggest problem is that I am a "big picture" person. I want the result. I want to take the shortest and fastest way from A to B and when the road starts to get windy I tend to get discouraged and frustrated... the frustration builds and I feel like I just stand still. See how that whole patience thing would come in handy right about here. Frustration is a pisser... seriously. Frustration is probably one of the worst emotions for me to handle. I hate the feeling of being overwhelmed, like I cant put the pieces together to make anything work right.

Some days I wake up and I look in the mirror and I see that person I used to be. Weak. Tired. Unsure. Some days I feel like there is no up. That I am just going to be where I am and I just have to get used to that. That my life as it is, is not going to change. Even when I try to push, I am not good enough, fast enough, smart enough... not for anyone else, but for myself. Like I am letting myself down. Add all that up and multiply it by the "frustration factor" and its a recipe for disaster.

This has happened more times to me than I want to admit. This is why there are movements in crossfit that I struggle at constantly after over two years, this is why I have not completed my exams... that overwhelming feeling that I am failing or I am going to fail. I dont know how to focus my energy on the things I struggle with without getting frustrated without feeling like I am standing still... I wish there was more time in the day.  

Now is the time to put on my big girl shoes, its Monday. The week can not start like this. I have to think about all the things I believe are inside of me and use my frustration in a positive way. I have to channel my energy, I have to move forward...even if its slow... forward progress is better than no progress.

I am not ok with life just being life, as long as I am not standing still I will get there.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What inspires you?

January 14, 2014

What inspires you? I mean really think about it. What gets your heart racing, your gears moving and your urge to fight, drive and complete something revved up? Clearly, we all have different inspirations and clearly, different things motivate for different reasons to reach different goals. But, have you ever really thought about the things that motivate you to keep you going every day?

I have been through some tough things in my life. I am lucky enough to have an amazing support system and I know I am going to be bias here, but the most amazing parents god put on this planet. Between the two of my parents, growing up, I had more inspiration right in front of my face than I even knew. To be honest, I didnt take advantage of that until I was an adult. I didnt know what I was looking at. I didnt realize just how much they inspired me until it was all put to the test. Until I had to look at my own life and think "I need to call my mom" or "what would my dad say if this happened to him?" They inspire me to be the woman I want to be. They inspire me to be a strong, independent person who dosent take shit from anyone. They inspire me to work hard, and taught me that though nothing is free in this life you have the power to get and do whatever you want. They inspire me to someday be the best mother I can be to my children if I am blessed to have them. They inspire me to be me. That if people done like me, thats ok. If people hate, thats ok. I am who I am and there are plenty of people out there who love and care for me. Dish it out... love people, care for people, make people smile... there is nothing better.

Over the last few months I have been laying pretty low on the "competition" side of the CrossFit world. The last comp I did was the 3G Throwdown at The Taj in Boston. Since than I have attended three competitions as a spectator Some of the ladies (and gents) have participated and I love to go and watch. Yes, some people think that its a little crazy to "waste" a day watching a competition that I am not participating in... but if you are looking for a source of CrossFit inspiration... well my friends, you should attend a few comps. If you are a competitor take a competition off and go observe.

Whats amazing is that the emotions are all still there. You know what the athletes are feeling and what goes through there head just as they are meeting with the judge to check in in their lane. You know the thought process about what to eat and when... and how to get in a good warmup before your event. The thing is, as a competitor we are really focused on ourselves the day of a competition. Yes, we are there to cheer on and encourage our gym, but you really dont have the time to take in the emotions that are all around you. When you are there watching... there is so much to absorb. There is so much to be inspired by.

A few CFWers competed this weekend for the first time. When I arrived at the event I couldnt help but be so excited to witness their first experience in competition. I can remember how I felt at my first comp and I could feel the energy from them... the nerves, the excitement and the urge to pee every 5 seconds!! It was all there!! These ladies were fierce! I saw sides of some of them that I have never seen before. They were amazing to watch and laid it all out on the line. They worked as teams, helped one another when they needed it and communicated perfectly. Really, they showed what a great facility and family we belong to at CrossFit Wachusett.

I sit back and think about it... how inspirational it is to me to see their performances. It makes me think of that drive, that determination to get better every single day. It reminds me of my beginning, where I have come from, where I am going and what I have left. They inspire me to push harder, get better and work faster. Their hard work and drive makes me want to be a better me. I know they were not just an inspiration to me, but to their husbands, children, brothers, sisters, friends... the list goes on! You ladies should be proud and very very pleased!!

Thank you ladies for inspiring me. Now, what inspires you?!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Nothing Will Work...

January 9, 2014


I love so much about this image its hard to even cover it all... but the message, that is what is key! 

Hard work, dedication and determination are keys to making something you set your mind to become a success. You put the time in, you will see the results. You want to make a change in your life, you have to work for it.  You want to get better, faster, stronger... work, work work! 

Some of the best things in life are the things that can not be given to you. They are the things that you earn, the things that you work for. These things are so much more rewarding than something you can buy at a store or get as a gift. They are the things that cost you sleepless nights... extra hours at the office... time away from your family... a night out with friends that you "cant" drink... ripped hands and random bruises... but the reward, man, the reward feels so damn good. 

Fight for the things that you want for yourself mentally and physically. Believe in yourself, make things happen.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

You Need a Plan

January 8, 2014

Everyone knows how hard it is to just decide to make a drastic change in your life and then stick with it. I mean come on, who dosent know a smoker who has tried to quit but cant give up that cigarette after a meal, or someone who has yo yo dieted more times than they can count (guilty as charged). Of course we also know the people who have signed up for the gym than gone a few weeks, maybe a month or two... than they just dont have time for it anymore. We are people of routine. You really have to work hard to break those habits if you want things to change. I had to do it... and I am struggling to do it right now for two very different reasons to reach two very different goals in my life.

I think the real key here is making a plan. There has to be a plan in place to accomplish anything you set out to do. Going back to the whole "if you don't practice you wont just 'get it' one day," or "if you dont study the knowledge isnt going to just magically appear in your head." You would think that the answer to this would just be to practice or to study... but in reality it much more complicated than that.

For me, I have to have a plan of attack. A schedule, if you will, of how to accomplish the goal. For example, what days will I practice or study. What will the method of practice be on which days and for how long? What chapters will I study and when will I take the practice exam for the respective section? These dont have to be written out and scheduled to a T, but they should be pretty well outlined when I begin. Super, fantastic, I have spent time to come up with this great plan of attack. The mission now is to go and get it.

The trouble is that whole creature of habit thing. Reaching for a goal and taking the time to "practice" or "study" takes will power. It takes breaking the day to day routine to make something happen. Set the schedule and stick to it. Make it happen. No excuses.

Whether its a paleo challenge, starting up crossfit (or any other gym routine), getting up early out of bed every day, quitting smoking, getting through grad school, taking a huge exam or even getting a muscle up, a goal without a plan is just a wish... 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sink or Swim

January 7, 2014

I am sure every person has heard the term "sink or swim." Think about it... in reality we face this scenario every single day of or lives. We make the choice every morning to "sink or swim" the second our eyes open and our mind starts going. Your feet dont even have to hit the ground. Am I going to have a good day or a bad day? Am I going to wake up with an attitude or am I going to give this day a shot? Its a personal decision.

What I am thinking about really are the times in life where you feel like this in a situation that you may not have put yourself in, but have been put in by someone else. You feel as if you have been tossed in the water and you are flapping around trying to figure out how to tread the water so you can live to see another day. Will someone come to help you? Will you sink to the bottom like you have weights tied to your feet? Will you do the doggy paddle and just keep your nose above water until you get to shore... or will you butterfly kick or backstroke your way to victory? Who knows? The key is... you will never know unless you are put in the situation to see how it goes!

Personally, I love the feeling. I know it may sound crazy... but the feeling that someone has enough faith in me to "give it a shot" is amazing. That just means that they have thought enough about whatever it is to say "no, you go ahead and do this by yourself and see what happens." They trust you and they know, they SHOULD know, that you may, in fact sink... or that you might  just need them to toss you over the life preserver when the going gets rough.

 There are so many lessons to be learned in life. There are so many ways to learn them. The sink or swim method certainly doesnt work in ALL situations in life, but sometimes you just have to have a little faith in someone.

Today I asked the question to someone who has a huge impact on my life, well being and happiness... "why do I keep learning all the 'hard' lessons?" His answer "because we have faith in you, we threw you out there to sink or swim, you are swimming., keep swimming."

I will keep swimming and I will keep learning lessons. Every once in a while I need that life preserver to hang on to for a bit... but eventually I let go and get back out there on my own!


Monday, January 6, 2014

New Kicks

January 6, 2014

Today was an interesting day for a few reasons. I woke up with a great mindset, albeit I didnt sleep really well. I partook in my "normal" routine for the morning and headed to the gym. I was pretty excited to start this new training cycle and really pumped for a 1RM front squat! Like the first day of school I talked about yesterday, I was even all hooked up with  my new kicks!

Hubs and I had a little bit of fun at the Reebok outlet this weekend!! Two pairs of Nanos and a pair of Oly's each and we are ready to go!

What was the problem? I have come to learn that I do not perform well if I do not eat enough the day before a workout, I find this happens on Mondays a lot. I am by no means making excuses because, it is what it is, but weight was feeling really HEAVY today!

Squat session went ok. I was working with some of my favorite squat partners and we were off. I felt pretty good and we were moving right along. M has given me some squat technique tips, for both back and front squatting and I am really working on sticking with them. Sometimes, that is a hit on the ole "PR" ego... since the previous personal record might not be reached, but when its all said and done I will be better off in the end. I got pretty close to my PR which is 230lbs. The first attempt at 225 was a failure, but I know why, its all in correcting my form and learning something new. Second attempt was a success and the time was up.

I changed into my new Reebok olys and got ready for the WOD. I felt pretty good going into the workout and when it started, but as the time elapsed I could feel how heavy the weight was getting. I kept pushing and did everything I could, but the energy was lacking. I of course will not let this get to me, tomorrow is another day... its frustrating, but it happens. This is how we learn what we need to do to supply our bodies with the fuel it needs to perform.

Either way I love my new Reebok Oly's. I will continue to do all my strict oly lifting and squatting in my Again Faster lifting shoes, but I am super happy to have WOD worthy and flexible lifting shoes!

I am looking forward to tomorrow. Onward and upward... and maybe over some rings!


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Screw Normal...

January 5, 2014

Is it odd that I couldn't wait until today? Today is the start of the first full week of the new year. Its first full week back to work after the holidays. The first week that my "regular" schedule isn't interrupted by a holiday, a day off or a snow day (hopefully). The first week of tracking my food. The start of a new training schedule. The start of a study schedule for my exams. It feels like the Sunday night before the first day of school. I am excited, I am nervous, I am ready.  Back on a schedule... dare I say, back to "normal?"

I am not sure I want to say "normal." I am not even sure I know what "normal" is. I am pretty sure that I, myself, am not "normal." Even more than that, I don't think I want to be "normal." However, after saying "normal" that many times in a row, I now know it is one of those crazy words that makes absolutely no sense the more you say it... and may not actually be a real word.

One of the things I have been working on is to get rid of the "normal" and the "schedule" in my life. I am a list person. I like to eat the same thing every day, at the same time. I like routine. Kinda the reason I like to get up at 4:45am and go to the gym every day, because it is part of my schedule, my very own normal. There has to be a balance though. I am finding that I may have sunk myself into a groundhog day kind of schedule rather than a helpful kind of schedule. The goal now is to take my schedule and shuffle the things I can shuffle around a little bit and not allow myself to get stuck.

I love starting my day with the gym... the change will be the mindset while I am there. There are things to work on, things to get better at, things that have been put aside way to long. Work is busy and I will continue to push myself to get as far as I can day after day. Its when I leave work and head home the going gets rough (if I actually leave work on time). The instinct kicks in to plop down on the couch with the mindset of "hey I did enough today" and thats that. No, no, no, no... that is the time to push. Its time to go to the next level. I am not ok where I am right now, I need more. I want more. There are videos to watch, books to read, things to get done. These are the things I need to "schedule" into my days. The shows I DVR are not going to magically disappear if I don't watch them right away... I have to do something new every day. Learn, absorb and grow every single day. Be better in all ways tomorrow than I am right now today.

Screw normal... who wants to be normal anyway?!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Winston Churchill Said it Best...

January 4, 2014

Well, as I said, it has come time to face my fears. Take something in my life I have been afraid to do and hit it. Hit it hard. Stopping only when I have reached my goal. You see... last year I was killing myself for the Open. I was stressed, but I wasnt focused on the things that I couldnt do... I was focused on getting better at the things that I already could do. This is a constant struggle for a CrossFitter. Who wants to swing around on the pullup rig working on toes to bar when there is heavy weight that can be thrown around?! Or if gymnastics is your thing... how fun is it to work on your snatch technique when you have the butterfly pullup to perfect? In my head I knew that there were things I needed to get better at, but I feared if I let my strength (my safety blanket) slack, that I would be totally useless... what good would it be for my gym and the team if I couldnt hold up to the things they counted on me for?

The biggest problem and my biggest "fear" happened last year. The muscle up. One of the most important lessons learned in CrossFit (and in life really) is, if you dont work at something, if you dont practice... you CAN NOT be upset at anyone but yourself when you cant do it. I never practiced, I didnt make it a priority and than whammo... there it was staring me in the face as I hung like a monkey in front of a couple hundred people at the freaking Reebok World Headquarters for the Northeast Regional. Talk about failing. Yes, I spent a few weeks leading up to the event working and trying and working and trying... failure after failure... but as the old saying goes "Rome wasn't built in a day" and well... you cant learn a muscle up in two weeks. It would have been a real crazy fluke had I got myself over the rings that day.

I had no one to blame but myself. We did get through the event, but I still had a feeling in my gut that I couldnt get rid of. I had failed. I had failed myself, my team and my gym. So, what should I have done? What have I told people, what have I written about time and time again and what I go on and on and on about to new CrossFitters that have struggles? Learn from it. Take your failure not as a failure, but as a stepping stone. Every single person fails, every single person struggles... you are not alone. Everyone started somewhere. What SHOULD I have done? I SHOULD have got back to the gym and worked my ass off until I had the effing muscle up.

Failure. Here we are again. Its January. Registration for the Open is a mere 11 days away. Unfortunately, I did not learn, I did not practice, I shut down. I did the worst thing I could have done and I let it go. Tucked away as if somehow the "muscle up" would magically disappear from the world of CrossFit! Who was I kidding... now, they are doing bar muscle ups all over the place. If anything, the movements are getting more complex and higher skilled. Time to take my head out of the "200lb Clean Clouds," and back into the world of gymnastics. Its real.

I wouldnt be writing this if I didnt have some sort of a point right?!  Lesson learned. I am not waiting. I am working. Every day. I am working towards my goal. I have to put my fear aside. I have to put last year away. I have to have the confidence in myself that I had when I was "going to do it" two weeks before The Regional last year. That never give up attitude. It frustrating as all hell. I suck at it, I want to scream and swear at everyone. I fail time after time after time. I have bruises, I have ripped skin... it does not matter. What matters is that I put the time into the skill and respect that it will not be easy. It will not happen overnight and it will require all of that failure, all of those failed attempts in order to succeed.

Friday, January 3, 2014

No Fear

January 3, 2014

In case you  missed it yesterday, the blog is still the same blog... just needed a little facelift for the changes in 2014!I got tired of looking at the black page with the grey backing. This is a little more "me" and a little more upbeat for the adjustment I am working on with myself.

I was on the interwebs this AM on the book of faces when I stumbled across this phrase... it struck a chord for me after I conversation with my Pops the other day when I took him out for his birthday lunch on New Years Eve.

Now, I am not typically one to "give up" and I certainly not afraid to push myself to my limits... however I would be lying if I said that I was never afraid. I sometimes have a fear of the unknown, don't we all? I sometimes also have a fear of starting something new, simply due to my fear of failure. I have said before that failure is my 100% biggest fear in life... personally I consider that to be both a blessing and a curse.

More often than not I am pleasantly surprised when I try something that I have feared. It might end up to be not that bad, it sometimes ends up being easier than I thought... and in the BEST circumstances, it lights the fire in me, it starts the fight and it drives the want to get what it is that I was so afraid of. All I have to do is take the first step.

In this new year I am doing my best to skip over the "fear." I have to have faith in myself, go for what I want. I know what I have inside will get me there. It might be a long road, it  might suck...  but whats life without a little challenge? I have to try new things... and have no fear!

I love me a good challenge!


Thursday, January 2, 2014

You Better Recognize

January 2, 2014

Well, that was nice. Its the first time today that I wrote the date without having to correct myself!! Go me!

Don't adjust your browser... it was time for a "new look!"

So, one of the things I struggled with in the last few months is actually really hard for me to admit. I am going to go ahead and do it anyway even if it may seem as if everything I have written about before is hypocritical, please understand it was not. I believe and feel every word I write on here. Maybe, (I hope) it will prove that I am actually "human" and that even "strong" people have weak moments. That sometimes people fall down... its just a matter of getting back up, brushing off and taking a step forward.

I think, honestly, not writing and not expressing myself really did a number on my happiness. I was letting life go quickly and was back to living the "groundhog day" lifestyle that I promised myself I would never allow to happen to me again. No, I didnt stop going to the gym, competing, working hard or kicking my own ass every day... No, I didnt fall off the wagon and eat take out every other day for weeks on end... No, I didnt lose my job, stray from my family or betray my friends... but... I did stop having "fun." I stopped looking at my life one day at a time and started falling back into the habit of thinking "when XYZ happens." I added pressure to myself that is/was unnecessary. I didnt look for new and fun things to shake things up... I was stuck. I was complaining, bitching and being grumpy... waiting for the next shoe to drop.

Its so important to live life for "today" and not "tomorrow." The next thing you know it will be New Years Eve and you will be thinking... "holy shit that was the fastest year ever." Yes, I accomplished some major goals last year both in CrossFit and professionally. I am not discounting any of those at all. What I did do, was forget to celebrate some of those moments. Take a step back and think how awesome it is that I did whatever it was I set out to do! Have FUN with those moments and really enjoy and revel in my happiness. Instead, in some cases I added stress, in some I looked to quickly towards the next goal and in some... I just let pass by because I felt that maybe since no one else was excited about whatever it was that it wasn't really worth the celebration.

Well... EFF THAT! First of all, who is anyone to take that away from me. If I want to be happy and proud of myself for something as simple as cooking dinner for my husband than you know what. I am going to be. If I want to write an entire blog post about it... Yep, I am going to do that too. My happiness is my happiness, things that make me happy and excite me for tomorrow and the next day... those are the things that I wake up every day for. 

I cant put my finger on what made me start to drift back into those old habits, but I am done. I am sorry if I disappointed anyone, just know that if you keep your head up and keep pushing forward you can get yourself to anywhere you want to be mentally. The mind is am amazing thing.

Goals are fantastic... goals keep me going. I set them constantly and reach for them daily. Happiness is all around me. Appreciate, recognize and never forget the things that make you happy. Have FUN and laugh a lot!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


January 1, 2014

Here we are. January 1st. A new year. The day when millions of people decide "today is the day" to start something new, to set goals and to stick with them. Facebook and other social media sites are flooded with people posting statuses that their "healthy eating" is going to start today. Gym memberships go through the roof by virtue of sales, free trials and zero start up fees. People say they will "keep in touch" with others. They might decide that they are going to "quit" something... smoking, swearing, drinking... whatever the case may be. I am a huge fan of goal setting, but the thing that I find to be a huge pet peeve (and I can say I have even been guilty of it myself) is when when someons "resolution" is preceded or followed with the phrase "I know I say this every year but.." Not to mention the reasoning behind waiting until January 1st, or the first of the month, or "next Monday" to start pushing towards a goal. Why does this happen. How did we become programmed to think this way?

I can understand the thought behind starting on a Monday, a new month, or even if its close enough to December 31st to be the kickoff... It feels like a new beginning, a stating point maybe. Realistically though, we should start the fight the day we decide what the ultimate goal is. If you want to "start working out" and its November... than you decide that its not "worth it" until after the holidays... what makes you think that you wont have another reason to put it off again in January?

Why is it that we have these ideas for ourselves, these goals that we set year after year... only to fall back into old habits shortly after. How can something be "so important" one minute than not so important the next. Why do we always feel like we are failing? In  my opinion... from personal experience... is not being SMART with my goal setting.

How many times have you heard the phrase "this year I am going to eat better." How about "I am going to get a gym membership and start getting healthy this year." Than there is the ultimate "I am going to save money and pay off bills this year." I havent just heard these phrases, I have said them. Plenty of times. The kicker is, if I keep saying them and do nothing about them I am going to wind up right back where I started months later. Either that or I am going to go crazy with my "goal" for 2 weeks, maybe a month... than poof... its gone. Takes the back seat to something else, maybe a new goal or something more exciting, even something easier to achieve.

Ok, Sarah... what are you getting at here? This is a lesson in goal setting. How to set a goal and actually reach it. I was taught this method long ago, it popped up again in my life at a project management seminar I was at for work and low and behold, it has been written on the wall at the gym on the personal goals board. We should use this method when setting our "New Years Resolutions" and any other professional or personal goal in life.

First off, the reason most people fail at their goals are simple:

1. They are too big
2. They have too many
3. They are not specific
4. They are not written

You need to learn to be S.M.A.R.T. with your goals.

Lets break it down....

S - Be Specific - Say EXACTLY what you want to achieve. dont be vauge. Rather than saying "I am going save more money," you have to make it more specific "I am going to put X amount of  money away every other week when I get paid." (I have a $ amount in my actual written goals, but keeping my finances off the internet is probably wise). A specific goal is  much more likely to be accomplished than a general goal.

M  - Make it Measurable - Being able to keep track of the progress is key. Can I see a savings account growing in a statement... do I have a jar filled with change that gets more full by the day... This might be a little more difficult if your goal is emotional or something not as "physical" as money... however being able to see the progress is motivation in itself.

A - It has to be Attainable - Is the goal achievable... do I make enough money to save what I am asking myself to save? Will it put me in a bind if I save it? If I am setting a CF goal, does it make sense? Can I do a muscle up if I cant do consistent chest to bar pullups? Am I banging my head against the wall trying to skip the middle step?

R - Is this a Realistic Goal? - There is no way I am going to save $300,000 this year. I could never set that as my goal. The goal has to be relevant to your life. It has to be something that is feasible. I can not set a crossfit goal of snatching 300lbs when my actual snatch is only 135lbs. It is not realistic nor relevant to my current situation.

T - What is the Timeframe?! - This is the most important one! There has to be a timeline. By XYZ date I have to accomplish THIS. I have to save $1000 by February. I want to get a muscle up by March. I will limit my cheat meals to one meal a week for the next two months. Start small, set new goals when the first is achieved.

Take a look at your goals. Take a look at your "resolutions." If its something you have told yourself to do before and you havent, look at them again and make them SMART resolutions. You will be happier, you will be more successful and you will notice a difference in how you approach them.

Happy New Year! May 2014 be the year you reach your goals, set new ones and become the happiest you can be with yourself.