Days 17 – 24 – Lost: Mojo

If we were friends on FB you might notice that my recent posts are trending along the following lines:

First official WOD back at Albany CrossFit in 6 weeks. I’m weak, and slow, my stamina is for sh*t.
But I’m ready.
And oh so happy.

Or, this:

Lost: one tall chick’s Mojo. If found, please feel free to kick its ass.
Reward offered.

Or, how ’bout this:

Last to finish tonight’s WOD, but I don’t mind at all. Patience. Thanks Kim Seevers and Pat Dee for the extra awesome-sauce encouragement. Oh, and for the double rainbow.

So, what’s happening? I’m not really sure. I wrote this whole long drawn out mellow-dramatic email to a friend last night trying to work through the possible scenarios of why I might be feeling so less than motivated; change in staffing, member turn-over, or the obvious like loss of strength and stamina… Am I drinking too much coffee? Has the Whole30 made me too clean? Who knows.

The real point here is this: It’s Life. Change is constant. It will always be this way.

Here’s another news flash: Some days are harder than others. Yep. It’s true. So what do you do?

You have friends that post things like this to your timeline when you’re feeling like a total slacker:

someone has to be awesome339_n

And then if you can, reach out to another friend, an old coach, a mentor, someone that knew you when – that perhaps you have not connected with in a while that knows your history and where you started. Tell them your more recent story and ask them for help.

Ask for help. Reach out.

Maybe they can do something, maybe they can’t, but it will get you telling your story and flushing out what it might be that really has got you stuck. This process in itself can be cleansing.

Then, if necessary, if you start cherry-picking the WODs and making daily excuses as to why you can’t show up, as to why you deserve to eat ice cream out of the container on a daily basis, put out another ask, and another; I’m planning on going to the 5pm, anyone want to meet me? I guarantee a bevy of hands will go up and this will be the greatest motivating factor of all.

Friends encourage friends to do good.

If you’re interested, here’s the email I sent to Dean. It’s been almost a year since training together, and I just need the help, the motivation, the shove off from shore. We meet on Friday at noon.

Hi Dean,
I hope you are well. It’s good to be in touch with you again. I missed you! Sometimes I feel like, where did everybody go?
So, just some personal history, I stopped training for six weeks, beginning in April, for some minor surgery. Had a large fibroid removed (girl stuff…) I’m fine now but lost a lot of my stamina and some strength during the six week hiatus. It’s slowly coming back but I think the one thing I miss most of all in all of this, is: my motivation, my mojo.  Have you seen it?  What happened to it?  I dunno.
I’ve been eating clean, Whole30, the past 3 weeks and that feels good. Other than building up my strength again, I mostly want to work on my form, getting down and under the bar when I clean or snatch. My form probably makes the coaches cry under the privacy of darkness.
I’d like to improve it.
As for measureable goals, I’m going to be hitting DT in the next week probably at 85 or 90lbs, and then plan to do so again at the end of the summer at RX. 105 overhead is a big deal for me. I’m also signed up to compete in the Mass State Strongman on August 10. I can bring the print out with me when we meet.
Anyway, I hope you are well.  Talk to you soon. see you on Friday at noon.
Here was his response:
Mary, we will find your mojo!!!!!
I feel better already.

Days 11-16

“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” ¯ E.L. Doctorow

good morning2
So, I’m definitely not writing here as much as originally hoped. Grandiose visions of updating my blog every time I take a sip of black coffee be damned. While it would seem that employing a restrictive diet of no dairy, grains, legumes, or booze would leave one wanting to hibernate at home and hide, I’ve been doing the opposite. I’ve been busy – this weekend with volunteering at the Regionals. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

In the days leading up to Regionals I worried about my food, where it would come from and would it be Whole30 compliant. Would I struggle beneath the weight of never-ending temptation? I packed hard boiled eggs and green apples, cashews and seltzer for the trip. Much to my happiness the volunteers were very well fed over the entire CrossfFit weekend, two meals per day, consisting of grass fed/farm raised beef or chicken, and steamed veggies or roasted butternut squash. Delish. In fact, eating Whole30 on the road could not be easier. Given, three days at a CrossFit event can pretty much guarantee healthy food choices. Step outside the spectrum and you’re on your own. Like, say for instance when you’re driving home, on the Mass Pike, and you stop for gas and feel incredibly hungry and the only food options are McDonald’s or aisle after aisle of bags of chips and cookies and soda.

I did locate the last bag of raw almonds and ordered some black coffee to go before shoving off again down the Pike.

It’s Tuesday and I’m still tired. Long days outside in the sun and cheering and purely over-energized by the incredible athletes and their pure feats of strength. Mind blowing really. A whole other level. I’m happy, too. Happy to know the movements and be well versed in the struggles of the axle bar clean and jerk. A result of my own struggles and feats of personal strength and doing when I simply thought I could not.

Overall though, my stamina is still very low. It’s going to be another month most likely, before I’ll see the light at the end of this tunnel to full recovery. Taking those six weeks off knocked me down a few levels in fitness and strength and overall, well, pure stamina. I’m just lacking that extra umph and try to not let that frustration get to me.

The frustration of looking at the bar loaded with the weight of what I used to be able to do and understanding it’s simply not where I am right now. Knowing what I was once capable of – Understanding that was then and this is now – Accepting it’s going to take some work to get back there again. Pushing through that initial frustration. Even just trotting out a short half mile run feels taxing.

Headed out now to the 4pm WOD.

Day 10. Cauliflower Pork Fried Rice

“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” ― Sigmund Freud

Pork Fried Rice for dinner. Except with grass fed ground beef from Trader Joe’s, cauliflower rice, diced butter nut squash and broccoli. Sautéed in coconut oil and because I like it spicy, red curry paste. Yum.


This whole clean eating thing teaches you to read labels, scrutinize them. Did you know it’s next to impossible to buy bacon without added sugar? Try it. Step into a grocery store and read the ingredients. I scrutinized every package at Trader Joe’s. Every. Package. They all contain added sugar.


I have been able to buy meat from a local farm including what is probably the best bacon I have ever had, ever. I’ll have to check with the farmer on the next trip to see if he adds any sugar to his bacon before freezing.

I’m struggling with my stamina. My ability to work out. It sucks. Let’s say I’m struggling with my lack of stamina. I have none. Tonight I strained to push the weighted prowler from one end of the parking lot to the next during Strongman. Pretty sure I left my heart and CO2 supply some where out there on the asphalt. 57lbs. keg overhead felt like 105lbs. A newer Strongman peep hoisted the 75lbs. keg overhead like she was swatting away a fly. Then she sprinted from one end of the parking lot to the other with the prowler.

It’s a terrible mistake to compare yourself to others in life. A very dark alley. Do yourself a favor and just don’t do it. I try to remember to not fall into the trap. Tonight I failed at this. Disappointed with my ability to simply do, I found myself comparing myself to others in class that could do and more. They could do what I once could do. From the depths of this disappointment comes the desire to give up. The journey back seems too long. It seems out of reach. This is a poor attitude, I know, but it helps to say it out loud, to recognize the negative pattern and simply let it go.

I simply will not give up on working my way back. I will not give up on getting stronger. I simply will not give up.

Days 5 – 9

“The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.” – Mother Teresa

Despite one Gala, one cocktail party, 60 hour work weeks including nights and weekends, and one small gathering with friends my eating has been Whole 30 compliant. Ie. clean.

I do confess to goggle-ing Whole 30 ice cream over the weekend. Yeah, it doesn’t exist.

My clothes are feeling looser, my appetite is up, my sleep is deep. I feel good most of the time. On Sunday I jogged a mile to Strongman and on the road to recovery managed to work up to 95lbs. clean and jerk overhead during the WOD.

Yesterday, despite much dragging of the feet I did make it to the 3pm WOD. I’m slowly getting back into getting myself to a WOD at least 4 times per week. At times it is not so fun, mostly in the moments leading up to going. Truth; I’ll look for any excuse not to go. I keep trying to figure out why this is, why am I avoiding, and have decided it’s because I know my stamina is for shit and my strength gains have diminished. I’m back to being last in many things. I find this incredibly frustrating and am struggling against it. Chin up, I tell myself. Don’t let this get you down. It is all a journey and if you keep at it, if you keep chipping away at it eventually you find your way back to that position of strength. Yes, this is what I keep telling myself. Somedays it works and others, like right now, not so much. Either way I promised myself to hit a WOD today.

WOD – 5/13/13:


Jerk (Behind the Neck) – 5 x 1

Completed: working up to 105lbs.



Handstand Pushups


Completed: finished last in 5:54, scaled to pike pushups and ring rows.


Day 4

“But the coconut is also a symbol of resilience, Samar. Even in the conditions where there’s very little nourishment and even less nurturance, it flourishes, growing taller than most of the plants around it.” ― Neesha Meminger

cocnut milk

Midday check-in. I go between bouts of wanting to put my head on my desk and nap and feeling absolutely energized – ready to take on the world!



Karate CHOP!


This morning I discovered Coconut milk in my coffee. Not the coconut milk found in the carton by the milk and half and half, this is the coconut milk you find in the can. And (this is coming from someone who loves her heavy cream in her coffee and grew up giving away her Almond Joys at Halloween, blech..) the coconut milk from a can in your coffee is GOOD. Drain the water and use just the coconut paste, it’s so thick and creamy! Bonus points, stir it with a hand-held frother, and you’re standing in the middle of First Cup of Coffee in the Morning Heaven.

For lunch, sliced roast beef over spinach salad with olive oil and vinegar. Pretty basic, but does the job when it’s busy at work.

This was left in the break room today. Cider doughnuts and chocolate chip cookies. I stood over them letting the fresh baked aroma goodness waft up to me, and took a picture.


I remain strong with the help of my Whole30 Crew.

Day 3 – To the Finish.

“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

After last night’s rant I slept like a log. Just goes to show you how pouring out all your struggles on a blog and then crawling between the blankets for bed can lead to sleeping oh, so soundly. It simply helps to get things out. It genuinely does make one feel better. Like hitting the refresh button.

Today in our Whole 30 FB Group, the question was asked – Why are you doing this? What do you hope to accomplish? We all want to lose a little weight so think of something besides that.

My FB response: I’m terrible at finishing things. I see the finish line and think, well, I’m almost there, good enough and stop mid stream. This has lead to many plateaus. I want to know what it feels like to finish, to push through the plateau and see true results. If I start with my body then I believe it will translate to other areas. New level of strength and endurance and confidence in training = changes in how I see the world = new opportunities.

Disclaimer on food – If you’ve read this blog you know I experiment with a lot of different approaches to my food; Whole 30, Intermittent Fasting, zone, Paleo, Paleo-zone while standing on one foot and eating over the kitchen sink. This is all a learning process. I love to experiment and learn what works best for my strength and happiness and health. In the end, the goal is to find what works best for me. End of story. My goal with joining our lovely Whole 30 FB Group is primarily to reign in my poor habits starting with the one area where I have instant and immediate control, my consumption of calories.

The Plan for the next 3o Days – I’ll be eating paleo; no sugar, no alcohol, no cheese, no legumes, no grains. If I reach for dairy (in the form of heavy cream in my coffee) it will only be allowed if sourced from a sustainable healthy beast; farm raised grass fed goats/cows.

Most importantly, the majority of my protein will be obtained from local, grass fed, humanely raised, animals. Whether it leads to CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Meat-Share, or a simple Saturday drive to the local farm to purchase a week’s worth of proteins. Hey, it’s the season of Farmer’s Markets too so what better time to rise to the challenge! Literally, on early Saturday mornings. The plan is still unfolding and it’s glorious to consider and research and strategize recipes.


Breakfast – coffee w/ heavy cream (finishing out the last of my Trader Joe’s heavy cream…)

2:30 Lunch – Chipotle salad to go, with extra lettuce, carnitas, pico de gallo (that’d be salsa…) and that’s it. Used Olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper for dressing.

Dinner – spaghetti squash with roasted chicken breast and Rao’s marinara sauce. So. Good. Personally, Rao’s is the best tasting and ingredients closest to the source, but it’s also crazy expensive, 8+ per bottle. Therefor I only buy when on sale and when it is, I stock up.

Post dinner snack – raw almonds and cashews and dried blueberries with added Himalayan salt. I’m concerned I’m eating way too many nuts. Like, way too many. How many? I’m afraid to actually keep track.

WOD: (my first WOD back at ACF in six weeks):

High Bar Back Squat 5 x 2 @ 80%

* Rest 60 Seconds Between Working Sets

** Quick Descent, 5 Second Pause in the Bottom, Bounce and Quick Back Up.

Completed: at 95lbs. about 50% of my 1RM 6 long weeks ago.


3 Rounds For Time of:

Run 400m

7 Muscle-Ups

21 Kettlebell Swings

* 20 Minute Time Cap

Completed: in 13:50. Scaled to 14 ringrows and pushups, KB’s at 35lbs.

Facebook Post:

First official WOD back at Albany CrossFit in 6 weeks. I’m weak, and slow, my stamina is for sh*t.
But I’m ready.
And oh so happy.

Day 2 – Making a come back.

“Why is it,” he said, one time, at the subway entrance, “I feel I’ve known you so many years?”

“Because I like you,” she said, “and I don’t want anything from you.”

― Ray Bradbury

Facebook post: It’s interesting how; Say you’re having a really bad day and your usual way of coping when u get home is to eat a lot of unhealthy food, or have beer or scotch or both, or some other habit u know may not be so good for you – Take those former habits away, and you are forced to create a new routine, a new habit.. It is in that choice of a new habit that amazing things can happen.


Today marks 5 1/2 weeks since surgery. The six week mark and the official end to my recovery is Monday, May 13th. My diet has been good for the most part during the last six weeks. My biggest fear of gaining weight not coming true. Mostly because I worked to maintain a pretty strict Intermittent Fasting schedule of one meal a day, usually around dinner time. This was not easy sometimes sinking into extreme bouts of hunger during lunch time at work. Part of me wonders how much of my hunger was fueled by true actual hunger and part of it by simply pushing back against a long well worn habit of eating a salad at my desk. The internal alarms going off in my head telling me it is time to EAT, like punching a clock – it’s time to wake up it’s time to drink coffee it’s time to eat lunch it’s time to take a nap – with no real true indicator from my body as to whether or not it was truly hungry for calories.

Now that it is time for me to return to CrossFit I struggle with stepping back through the doors at ACF and jumping into the daily WOD. We knew this would happen. But why? Is it intimidation? Is it laziness? Fear? Both? Part of it is intimidation, knowing I’m not as strong as I used to be and certainly do not have the stamina I once enjoyed.

Part of it is laziness.

I’m enjoying these long summer afternoons at home after work with Oliver, sitting on the lawn in the settling sun and reading. Even the simplest act of throwing the ball for Oliver gives a great simple pleasure. It’s the trees and the air and the breeze and the warm spring sunlight. It’s Oliver running and jumping and performing stellar acts of doggy strength in every attempt to fetch the ball. I love to watch him go.

It’s me just being.

No where to go nothing to do no one to please or thank or run errands for. On Friday I decided I should change my Facebook status to being in a relationship. In a relationship with the word: Thank You. I employ the word about 8,883,987.25 times per day.

.25 because some Thank You’s are not always as sincere as others.

I work for a non-profit and everyone that walks through the doors, be it a volunteer or a donor or a member in need of our services or even a fellow employee deserves daily doses of honest Thank You’s because we are all there despite best varying degrees of difficulties. As an employee there is no money to be made, a below average standard of living at best, as a volunteer you are sharing the most valuable of commodities, your time and thereby in my mind deserve an extra-special round of gratitude. As a member receiving our services there are probably a hundred million different places you would rather be, but you’re not, because chances are you are sick or are caring for someone who is sick or who has just passed and you are sad.

So many Thank You’s to give.

I am an appreciative person, but doling out so many thank you’s on a daily basis can be exhausting. You tend to give so much of your self, stopping at all points in the day to offer assistance or lend a patient ear or a word of encouragement or additional set of hands to unload a car. The list of needs, the list of opportunities to stop and be patient and be helpful is truly endless. With this list can come a sense of doing good. This is true. But there also comes a point of feeling like a stone with no more blood to give. It’s called being burned out.

My struggle lies in feeling burned out but not knowing what to do about it. It’s not the fault of the people around me that I feel this way. It’s nobody’s fault but my own. But here it is. In all its glory, this feeling that I just don’t want to do what I’m doing anymore and also feeling trapped, not knowing where to go, or what to do, and as an added bonus feeling intensely lonely in all this angst.


Why is it I’m having a hard time getting back to the one thing I do love: CrossFit? I’m not sure. Probably a little bit of all of the above, sprinkled with intimidation and baked with a final dash of laziness. I don’t want to give up the time. The time to do what I want to do in the quiet of my home with Oliver dutifully, silently at my side. Where the only task asked of me is to be fed some kibble and throw a ball and sit with me in the sun or the shade and listen to the birds and the wind and watch the setting shadows.

This, I can do.

But the world waits for no one. And every one needs a Why. So, I must find my Why. And when I find it, I must start doing it. But where to start…

Perhaps the best place to start is the place closest to home. A place where I have immediate and instant control, my body:

Goal No. 1. Complete the Whole 3o Challenge – Join your peers from ACF and from now until June 5 partake in the Whole 30. Get lean. Get strong. Stop the bullshit.

Goal No. 2 – Start WODing at least four times per week. Beginning tomorrow, Wednesday 5/8. Mix it up, stop feeling obligated and create an adventure, meet new fellow CF’ers, hit the noon class, a late 8:30, maybe a morning mayhem, anything… just get yourself through the front door again. And again. And again.

Goal No. 3 – Track all food and workouts here. Every day. Every. Single. Day. Write something. Here. Log it on Double Under Dogs. Be accountable. Do what you love, write.

If I can stick to these 3 Goals, every day, from now until June 5 – then a shift will occur. For just like my post today on Facebook, there is no try, you just do. And by choosing new habits, you slowly but surely start steering the ship in a new direction. With making the right choices, with making healthy choices and creating a new routine and defining a different type of day, you will chart a course in an unimagined direction towards a new and bountiful horizon full of knowing Why.