Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Burn Baby Burn

March 29, 2017

Have you ever watched a fire burn completely out? Sat at a campsite, in the quiet hours of the night… cool air at your back and heat on your legs? As the trees seem to still with the darkness, stars appear, the glow of the fire starts to dim and the moon takes over as the nightlight… everything seems really peaceful.

I spent years at girl scout camp, nights (and days) around the campfire… and many of fun (and sometimes drunken) nights as a teen and “adult” doing the same. There is something really magical to me about fire. I was always the one to volunteer at camp to “man the fire” or “cook the meal” so I could be at the fire. As I got older and would go camping with friends, I always had my hands in the fire, getting it started and keeping it going into the night. I could watch it for hours. Something about how one piece of wood catches the next… eventually both, still two separate pieces of wood, create one flame… the embers glow an amazing color as the fire gets hotter and hotter and as you add more wood. Each added piece, after being placed with the other, catches and becomes a part of something pretty spectacular. Eventually, as the fire burns down, the pieces start to collapse, they break apart, mix together and become one foundation for the next pieces to catch the flame. The cycle repeats until it is time to let the fire die out. The large flames stop and the foundation glows and crackles…

If you watch a fire in the “burning out” stage you can see its fight to stay alive. You watch as small flames try to flicker up every now and again… re-igniting a small piece of unburnt wood, it stays lit for a small amount of time, but has nothing to catch so it slowly softens and burns out. A slight breeze might pick up and the embers instantly glow brighter looking for something to catch. A random flame might pop up, soon to die out again… unless more kindling is added… the embers will cool with the night air and smolder out.

When I think about things in life that I am passionate about, my relationships (husband, parents, family, friends), my career (in the office, continuing education, licensure), my fitness and lifestyle (crossfit, macro counting)… they all burn like a fire. I have to continue to tend to the fire to keep it from burning out. I have to keep the passion alive, I have to keep adding new experiences, people, education, challenges and goals to drive myself to want more. Each experience I have adds to the foundation of the next. Each bump in the road of a relationship, each failure or mistake in my career, each missed lift or large cheese pizza is just as important to my growth as every “I love you,” bonus, publication, personal record, muscle up or pound lost. What is most important to me, what makes my fire burn, is the passion and drive to be the best that I can be in all of those things. The best mother, wife, daughter, sister, cousin, friend…. The best project manager, architect…. The best I can be at crossfit… The best I can look in the mirror.  Sometimes, the fire burns out… sometimes, I allow the flame to burn down… I forget to add to it. I just let it go and maintain its self for a while. That’s when life becomes stagnant.

A little over six weeks ago I made a choice. A very hard choice. I left CrossFit Wachusett, my home of the past 6 years. I walked into CrossFit 696, the “new guy” looking for a new place to call home. I was not sure what to expect, not only of the new box, but from myself. My “CrossFit Fire” was one that had been left smoldering in the corner for quite some time. As expected, in the time after The Little Monster was born, I was focused on him. While I didn’t let it go completely, I let what was happening in my fitness life take a backseat. Nothing wrong with that… priorities often change in life, but I soon started to miss the feeling that I had when I pushed to that awful place that only CrossFitters know about, or when I set a new PR on any given lift… or even that challenge, fight and struggle for a muscle up or something I have never done or haven’t done for a while. I want to work hard again, I want to fail, I want to create new challenges for myself, I wanted to feel that passion again. I felt stuck. Every once in a while a stray coal would catch a breeze, fire up some of the foundation, but soon fade out. I needed to make a change, build the courage to make the change and do it.

I had honestly been considering not competing in the Open this year. I wasn’t heartbroken about it… I wasn’t really “feeling it.” All of that changed when I took control. When I decided that I needed to get out of my own head and find what I loved about CrossFit again. A fresh start. From my first workout a month and a half ago right through this mornings workout… my motivation, my determination and my drive to get better, faster and stronger each day has returned. I am so glad that I took the bull by the horns and signed up to compete as a member of 696. Each week, a group of people who barely know me, surrounded me, to encourage, push and cheer me on to be the best that I could be at that very moment. My new coaches, who were (and still are) learning about me, how to coach me, what motivates me and what I need to work on… supporting me, challenging me every with every workout, Opens workouts or not. The members who I have met, who work hard every day to grind through a workout… inspiring. All of the firsts that I witnessed, the huge smiles, the cheers, the high fives… even the tears, the red faces and rolling around on the ground… whether scaled or rx… inspiring. The conversations Ive had with people around why the crossfit, learning their lives and making new friends every day… inspiring. All of it. Its like a breath of fresh air. Im throwing new logs onto that fire every single day.

I came out of the Opens this year with a positive attitude and an outlook on the year to come that is finally clear. I did better than I could have imagined. With each workout, a challenge was faced head on and it felt so good to feel that “I will no let this defeat me” attitude that I once had come back with a vengeance. The thought that with every workout that The Little Monster was able to witness, I was showing him that his Mama is a fighter and is strong and in control just reinforces the fact that I made the right choice for myself. I want him to know that he can do anything and everything he sets his mind to. That change is good and while it can be hard, scary and challenging… sometimes you have to take a risk and do it.  I hope that he tends to his fires and keeps passion alive with the things he chooses to be passionate about. I want to lead by example for him…

To my CrossFit Wachusett family… my foundation is with you. The 6 years spent within those walls will be in my mind and heart forever. As one of you told me “its just a building.” The friendships we have formed are stronger than those walls. Just because I am no longer part of the 5:30am group or a member at Wachusett… doesn’t change anything. I will not forget where I came from. The community of people who supported me, challenged me and friended me over the years, thank you. Keep working hard, keep supporting one another and keep kicking ass!

To my 696 family… thank you. Thank you for welcoming me in and making me feel at home every single day. I cant thank you all enough for how awesome the Opens were, I don’t think words can actually describe how full my emotions are. Friday Night Lights were epic! Each one of you inspired me to push as hard as I could and be the best I could be. The coaches; Chris, Jay, Kiwi and Lindsay… I cant say thank you enough for the encouragement, coaching and well… yelling at me. Your excitement and confidence in me motivates me. The best is yet to come and I am holding on tight for the ride.

My goal right now is to tend to all of the fires in my life. Get those that I know need help, back blazing again.

Sometimes, if your lucky… when you wake up in the morning after the campfire goes out while your sleeping… and you drop a piece of newspaper into the fire pit… it starts to smoke… the fire you thought had burned out… just needs a little attention. Remember that. 

CrossFit 696 #homeiswhereyouliftheavyshit

17.2 - Walking Lunges, TTB, Bar Muscle Ups

 My First Bar Muscle Up!

17.4 - Deadlifts, Rowing and Handstand Pushups

17.5 - Thrusters and Double Unders


Final Standings for the CF Opens 2017

91 of 2,329  women ages 35-40 in the North East region
1,265 of 26,957  women ages 35-40 in the World
799 of 13,857 women of all ages in the North East region
9,510 of 153,242 women of all ages in the World…

Not too shabby for this Mama!