“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” ― Ernest Hemingway
There have been a couple really good articles that have come across the radar on CrossFit and weight lifting. First this one on the Central Nervous System and being a Sponge, the importance of sleep and eating right.
One of the primary constants that have resulted in my time with CrossFit is the need for adequate healthy sleep and a healthy diet to match. You simply cannot fake it when it comes to a WOD and training, if you try, you will get crushed and it is brutal. A hard lesson worth learning.
This next read is from a Blogger who explores the KoolAid mythology of CrossFit. One of my favorite quotes as follows:
“Yes, CrossFit can be a bit “culty” at times. Just like owning a Harley Davidson, being a car guy, or having babies can be “culty.” It’s an activity that has its own vocabulary, encourages commitment from its members, and becomes a neighborly gathering place for those with like mind. CrossFit can be a very social activity… And while some members can take it a bit far by revolving everything they do around it, it’s up to you on how far you want to go down the rabbit hole.”
I have lots of friends who have kids, young kids, and I’ve learned over the years that as a single adult with no kids, going out to dinner with friends with kids can be, well, extra work. A majority of the conversation at the table will center around sleep away camp and teachers and school supplies and whether or not to buy a 6-year-old an iPhone. Rightly so. None of these topics apply to me and interest me only to the degree that I love my friends and want to be supportive. Are they all in a cult? You decide. After countless nights out where I’ve found myself sitting quietly at the table having little to contribute and passing on the bread basket and pizza because I want to hit an early WOD the next day while their shuffling off to soccer practice, I’ve learned to adjust my expectations and my schedule.
Different lives – different priorities. I just want people to be happy, with whatever it is they choose.
My Uncle Jerry just called, to follow-up on my upcoming visit as I get ready to drive South. He’s well into his 80’s. He sounded so excited that I was coming to stay for a couple of days. He is my mom’s older brother. My mom died in 2003. It has been a long time since I have spent time with a parental-like adult. I’ll admit I’m a bit nervous about this trip, but there’s no backing out now.
2 Aunts, 2 Uncles, 6 Days.
My brother Greg suggested I bring along my Strongman Trophy and take pictures along the way of family members posing with the trophy. Like the Stanley Cup. ‘You’d probably have to hold it for them,’ he added. ‘It’s heavy and you’re a badass.’
I think he’s proud of me and this makes me boundlessly happy.
I think a part of him wishes he was coming on this journey too. As he and I become the adults in the room and our deceased parents grow further and further away from us and the generations that follow, we reminisce about Thanksgivings and piling into a station wagon and Dad dipping his toast into his orange juice at the breakfast table. This visit with my Aunts and Uncles will be one of the last, if not the last, opportunities to get close to our parents again. At least for the remainder of my brother and my life times. It is good to go. It is okay to be nervous. There is so much to learn.
This is my newest and most favorite t-shirt. Pretty much says everything that needs to be said. I love it.
I also love GoodReads.com. Especially searching quotes on GoodReads.
In line with my mood for today I entered the following text, ‘F*ck It’ and hit ‘Search.’ Below are some of my favorite resulting quotes:
“You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened… or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on.” ― Tupac Shakur
“Ok. You fuck me, then snub me. You love me, you hate me. You show me a sensitive side, then you turn into a total asshole. Is this a pretty accurate description of our relationship.” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
“You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
“Operation Self-Esteem–Day Fucking One.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
“Nobody dies a virgin… Life fucks us all.” ― Kurt Cobain
“Half of life is fucking up, the other half is dealing with it.” ― Henry Rollins
“You’re fucked. You thought you were going to be someone, but now it’s obvious you’re nobody. You haven’t got as much talent as you thought you had, and there was no Plan B, and you got no skills and no education, and now you’re looking at forty or fifty years of nothing. Less than nothing, probably. That’s pretty heavy. That’s worse than having the brain thing, because what you got now will take a lot longer to kill you. You’ve got the choice of a slow, painful death, or a quick, merciful one.” ― Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down
“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn” ― Orson Welles
“By the way, when Oprah Winfrey is suggesting you may have overextended yourself, you need to examine your fucking life.” ― Tina Fey, Bossypants
“I learned that the world doesn’t want to be saved, and it will fucking punch you in the face if you try.” ― Gerard Way
“Listen, smile, agree, and then do whatever the fuck you were gonna do anyway.” ― Robert Downey Jr.
“When she came to her senses again she cut off all contact with him. It had not been easy, but she had steeled herself. The last time she saw him she was standing on a platform in the tunnelbana at Gamla Stan and he was sitting in the train on his way downtown. She had stared at him for a whole minute and decided that she did not have a grain of feeling left, because it would have been the same as bleeding to death. Fuck you.” ― Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire
“You need just the right amount of ‘Fuck the world’ and the right amount of belief in something…and you need the right amount of love.” ― Gerard Way
“Get there early because hope does not park your mother-fucking car.” ― Jon Stewart
It only seems right that it’s Deadlift Day at ACF. Bring on the long overdue Deadlift PR.
At long last – 300lbs.
This has been a goal since forever. Granted as soon as the bar landed to the ground my head started spinning and the stars came out I would have fallen over had Viv not taken hold of my arm and gently spoke to me, ‘It’s okay, you’re okay… Mary, you’re okay.’ Her muffled words somehow breaking through the pretty molten colors and landing on my brain.
I regained composure and looked around and realized there were quite a few athletes watching and wondering if I was going to topple. The feeling in the triple wide was electric. Perhaps it was the lack of oxygen. There were a lot of PR’s, a lot of athletes working hard and supporting one another. All the things I love best about CrossFit neatly wrapped up in a 300lbs. Deadlift PR.
“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”
― Kahlil Gibran
I have a strong desire to be lean. In all areas of my life. Not just trimmed down, but extra lean, tight and therefore, light. I want to empty out my closet leaving only a few key articles of clothing and shoes, a couple choice high quality classics that mix and match easily and leave me feeling confident, beautiful and well dressed. Get rid of the rest.
Add kitchen items to the list – pots and pans, plates and utensils pushed to the back of the cupboard, forgotten and no longer on the radar. Toss ’em.
I want to throw away all the old letters and photos. The memories can stay… but the rest? Just taking up space. Let’s get rid of the pile of unopened mail too, the stacked magazines, the stash of worn books read through and enjoyed long ago and now collecting dust. Donate it all.
Add jackets and outdoor gear to the list. I used to live out west and have stockpiled quite the stash, camping and hiking gear – all of it collecting dust. The faded memories attached to these items remain – the beautiful people and shared adventures – But the gear? It no longer fits with who I am or where I’m going. It’s just taking up space and adding extra unnecessary weight.
Trim down my spending too. I need less and less. Less things purchased means less space required to stockpile them.
The diet – I want to pair that down further still. Vegetables and proteins not far from their source. Trim away the fillers and the additives and the fat. Get stronger, more lean and thereby more mobile.
I don’t know why more people do not talk about GMO Foods. GMO scares the crap out of me. It’s especially scary for those who don’t know anything about it. You would be surprised how many do not. No doubt you can drive yourself crazy trying to identify and understand your food and all its intricate sourcing – from how an animal is raised and fed to the pesticides in the surrounding fields. But you have to start somewhere and I’m convinced some day we’ll look back at GMO like we do smoking: Once everywhere and accepted, now known to kill. My goal is to keep it simple and steer clear of densley labeled food.
A light body, a light heart, lends itself to a light passage.
Less things to remember and keep track of and drag along behind you as you go. More opportunity to go and explore new spaces, especially when you take up less of it.
Mass State Strongman Competition Novice Division, 2nd place finisher.
“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
How do I feel after finishing in 2nd place?
I had no expectations of finishing with any ranking going into this event. I simply wanted to compete, to challenge myself. To get comfortable being uncomfortable. Walking away with a trophy and knowing I can no longer compete at the novice level, that I’m too good to do so – the feeling of walking up to the announcer after my name was called and shaking hands and saying thank you and retrieving my trophy? After months of training, at times a very lonely and isolating process? The one word that adequately describes all that I’m feeling: Happiness.
This may not be the path that most would choose. Competing. Strongman. This was certainly not the path I saw for myself. But this is the path that I am now on and if the one word that comes to mind when foraging ahead on this unfamilmiar path is: Happiness – then I am doing better than okay. I’m doing great.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”
― Mark Twain
On this eve of competition I check and recheck my packing list:
- Athletic tape
- Extra socks
- Extra shirts, tights, etc.
- Wrist wraps
- Food for day of – almonds, green apples, beef jerky
- Baby oil
“Baby oil helps to get off the tacky,” Cat, my lovely Strongman Coach, assures me. Tacky is a pine resin, specifically used during Strongman Stone competitions. You smear it over your legs and arms and chest and it helps you lift stones. My particular stone will be 150lbs. And I will be asked to lift it up and drop it over a bar, as many times as possible in a minute.
Tomorrow is a Strongman Competition, the list of events as follows including Novice weights (the level at which I’ll be competing):
- Axle (clean and press each rep-lift & down command) NW-95lbs.
- Deadlift (Standard bar from the floor, straps allowed, no suits or briefs, lift & down command) NW-215lbs.
- Ironmind Sandbag Carry (max distance, no drops, turns at 50ft., 30 seconds to get it off the ground then no time limit) NW- 100lbs.
Medley-Yoke (50ft. Straight run, no drops allowed, Prowler push back)
- Stone over bar (48″ for women, 52″for men, max reps) NW-150lbs.
Add to the list, Tacky clothes. Apparently once tacky gets on your clothes it never comes off which is why you need a separate set of clothes for using tacky and a plastic bag to carry those clothes home if you want to keep them. Which is why most stone over bar events are scheduled last during comps, to limit the amount of time needed to change.
When checking and rechecking my packing list, what I should really be doing is a gut-check. I’m starting to feel nervous, nauseous even. Competitions do this to me. I’ve struggled in the past with whether I really do like competing. While it all seems like fun in the beginning, the anticipation and camaraderie and excitement when first signing up, the training in the months and weeks leading up to the event. All wonderful. But game day? A whole other animal all together.
Cat and I are meeting in the ACF parking lot tonight at 6:30pm. We will load our gear into one car and commence the 3 hour drive to Boston. We’ll have a late dinner, try to get some sleep at the hotel and then up early and then… It’s Competition Day.
Admittedly, I would not be doing this by myself. Cat is a Strong Woman Competitor this is what she does. She’s training to go to Nationals. She can jerk 160lbs. over head. She makes it look easy, and graceful all at the same time. I admire her strength and beauty. Going to this comp with her does lend a certain amount of ease and comfort. I trust her.
CrossFit is all about getting comfortable being uncomfortable – challenging yourself. I’m okay with that in the comforts and familiarity of the triple-wide of our lovely ACF box. But when you step outside that comfort zone, 3 hour drive outside, and into a foreign world with people you do not know and equipment you’ve never seen or touched amidst all elements unknown, everything changes. It is up to you to make peace, in your mind, in your heart, with your body.
Along with finishing well, doing my absolute best in this competition, my ultimate goal for tomorrow – is to find peace in competing.