“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways–either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

A good friend emailed me today and said she’d been checking my blog and asked why there had been no posts recently? What had I been up to? How is CrossFit and Oliver and the training and diet and overall general well-being in my part of the world. This good friend lives in Alaska.


It was an incredibly nice and inspirational email to wake up to, particularly because:

  1. She actually reads my blog; and
  2. She noticed I had not been updating my blog which means she missed me and it and ideally, my stories.

I don’t write on this blog because I think anyone is reading it. I write here because it makes me happy. As difficult as it is sometimes to sit down and do it. Why do we avoid the things we know will make us happy?

For the most part I’m certain no one is reading this blog. For the most part. Until I get an email like the one from my friend above that makes me happy and feel loved and inspired all at the same time. Such lovely feelings, love and inspiration. Especially when mixed together – how wonderfully love and inspiration combine to form happiness.

Supplement update: it’s been about a month since my last post about feeling overwhelmingly tired and fatigued, propping myself up at my desk at work and wanting to just go home and crawl into bed. I’m happy to report that the two supplements I opted to take, the Multivitamin and the Maca Root, have performed wonders. The two combined have stabilized my energy levels and helped to clear my head. My training is back on track and finally, now, I can say that I am no longer feeling the extreme fatigue and profound lack of stamina that I was encountering in those first weeks/months post surgery.

Since completing the Tough Mudder I also completed a 13 hour 30 mile obstacle course/race ‘Go Ruck’ style in and throughout Albany as part of a team of 10 –  Zombie Ninja Attack Force.  ZNAL won this overnight competition. We came in first place. I cracked a beer at 8:30am after crossing the finish line, submerged my worn and blistered body in an ice bath, ate a plate of bacon and scrambled eggs and then went home and slept for 8 hours.

The following weekend I joined a team of 4 and competed at a CrossFit competition in Hartford, CT. Our team, 2L2Q, came in 14. Mostly due to the fact that I struggle with jumping pull-ups and was the last athlete to finish during the first event, stuck out on the floor with over 4 minutes to go and the entire arena yelling and cheering me on through each and every failed rep until the clock ran out. It was awful. But my team rallied and told me how inspired they felt watching me not. give. up. We ended that round in dead last but then proceeded to kick ass in the events that followed and finished 14th overall.

I guess the vitamins are working.

Mostly I wish I had written in greater detail about these recent adventures, but I’ve simply been distracted. Lost the writing bug. But hopefully with the email nudge from my Alaskan friend and my dutifully posting another entry here and now, I’ll have found my writing bug again. For writing is what I do. It is who I am. It gives me hope and peace, another combination for happiness.

There’s another CrossFit Competition, a Strongman Competition, on the horizon. Aug. 10 in Massachusetts. I’ve been training with Dean the past six weeks for this. Today we worked on dead-lifts and the push press.

‘Where’s your CF Journal?’ Dean asked. ‘Don’t you write down what we do here???’ he asked.

‘I used to,’ I said. ‘For some reason, since surgery, I just stopped tracking everything, I stopped writing things down. I kind of stopped writing,’ I continued.

‘Girl!’ Dean said, ‘this is no good. You need to start up again. Where’s your book?’ he demanded. ‘Go get it, I’ll get you a pen.’

‘Ok’ I said. And did.

It is only just now I realize it was another nudge from the universe to get at it again, get recording, get jotting. Get writing.

Training with Dean:

  • 2 pin deadlifts, from mid-shin, max lift at 260lbs. Then 9 sets of 3 every 40 seconds at 205lbs.
  • Push Press rounds – 2 every minute on the minute for 10 minutes. First at 75lbs, then 80lbs., 85lbs., 90lbs., then 95lbs.

I simply love Dean. He is such a good person. He loves his wife, refers to her as his best friend. He doesn’t cuss, has a dry sense of humor and genuinely wants people to do well. He works hard at being a good coach. He studies coaching and I am all the more thankful for it and him.

The additional challenge in the months ahead: work. My job. I’m on the cusp of having my position, the job I’ve known for the better part of the last 7 years, ‘sunsetted.’ What does that mean? TBD.


On Saturday, December 8, 2012 from 10 – 3pm a group of athletes, peers and friends came together to compete, cheer, coach, volunteer and encourage one another for the ACF 2nd annual Strongman Competition.

I placed third overall in my weight class. Upon hearing my name I sprinted to the corner of the triple-wide, lept up over the kegs and claimed my place on the podium.

top 2

The day’s first event was the max axle deadlift. The axle bar is a Strongman staple. I had a personal PR of 280lbs. on my deadlift today with the axle bar. There’s something that happens when it’s your turn to compete and you step up onto the mat, nod to the judge, and its 3, 2, 1… Go! I know recently I’ve been having some second thoughts about competing. But there was something in the air on Saturday, maybe it’s simply the mood of Strongman, relaxed, controlled, comfortable, encouraging, steady. This translated into the events themselves. I didn’t feel the usual nausea associated with competing. I simply felt like, I got this. Even on my lesser feats, like only 3 reps on the overhead log press at 90lbs. It was all simply okay. Perhaps the only true way to know if competing is for me is to compete in an actual Crossfit Competition, which has yet to happen.

Much more was gained throughout the day alongside personal bests and Doing when you think you simply cannot. When you’re not on the floor competing, there’s a lot of cheering, sharing stashes of beef jerky, and catching up with fellow athletes.

New and old friendships are made and strengthened.

As the hours passed us by I learned the heartbreaking news that a fellow athlete’s mom was just diagnosed with cancer. The athlete dropped out of the competition, but took a break from being at the hospital with her mom to stop in and cheer on her peeps. It was another competitor’s birthday, plans to celebrate post-competition dampened by news that only that very morning he had to give a final good by to his beloved dog of 15 years. The family dog was being driven to the vet that morning by the athlete’s father. Lastly, a dear friend, who had been having a rocky time recently with a relationship received a text msg. from said significant other saying it was time to end the relationship. Reminds me of a certain Sex and City episode, I said. Not sure which is worse, being broken up with by a post-it note, or text msg. Either way, better now then later, we agreed.

It’s been said before and bares repeating, as certain things do because they are so awesome and feel good to remember: Crossfit is a training ground for life.

It’s the hurdles that can knock the shit out of you. But you cannot avoid them.

Just like standing infront of the white board and staring at a WOD that looks so intimidating you wonder if anyone will notice if you sneak out during the warm up. It all may sound too simple. But it takes a great deal of strength of mind to go through some of life’s most difficult and heart breaking moments. It takes strength of mind to say yes to testing your body and your will, to pushing it past any perceive threshold and simply doing when you think you can not. By testing your body, you strengthen your mind. Training your whole You to stand up straight and walk ahead facing whatever lies before you.

Oh, and Crossfit also builds an incredible community around you that says, we got your back.

We are strong People, onto the next event.


steel and stone.

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Last night during Strongman we practiced reps and movements for our upcoming competition. If you have never seen what a posting for a Strongman competition looks like, take a look below. It’s like trying to decipher Morse Code. But, if you take the time to study it like a person who is registered to compete and wanted to know just exactly what it is you’re going to hoisting up off of the ground in feats of pure strength power and determination, well it all eventually begins to make sense. Let me know what you think:

Date: 12/08/12

Time: Rules 9:30am, 10am Start
Entry Fee: $30
Weight Classes: MEN <150, <175, <200, 201+ WOMEN <140, <165, 166+
Weigh-ins: Dec 7th 6pm – 8pm, Dec 8th 8:30am


1) 9-6-3 Stone 2 Shoulder/Tire Flip – 7 min time cap Stone/Tire Size: (115lbs/M<150, 130lbs/M<175, 130lbs/L<200, 150lbs/L 201+/ 60lbs/S<140, 75lbs/S<165, 90lbs/S 166+)

2) Max Axle DL – 3 Attempts (60 seconds to complete each rep) 20 pound jumps for all classes. Bar starts at: (280lbs<150, 300lbs<175, 320lbs<200, 340lbs 201+/ 120lbs<140, 140lbs<165, 160lbs 166+)

3) Log Clean and Jerk – Max reps in 90 Seconds (110lbs<150, 130lbs<175, 150lbs<200, 170lbs 201+/ 70lbs<140, 80lbs<165, 90lbs 166+)

4) Keg/Yoke/ Farmer Medley – 90 sec time cap (140keg<150, 140keg<175, 190keg<200, 190keg 201+/ 105keg<140, 105keg<165, 140keg 166+) Farmer Medley – Weights are per hand: (110lbs<150, 130lbs<175, 150lbs<200, 170lbs 201+/ 70lbs <140, 90lbs <165, 110lbs 166+) Yoke (330lbs<150, 380lbs<175, 420lbs<200, 470lbs 201+/ 190lbs <140, 240lbs <165, 290lbs 166+)

5) Keg over Bar – Max reps in 90 Seconds (105keg<150, 140keg<175, 190keg<200, 190keg 201+/ 75keg<140, 75keg<165, 105keg 166+)

RULES: No Tacky, No Suits, No Straps, No Sumo. Belt, Chalk, Sleeves OK. Control the apparatus or it’s a No Rep. More details day of.

After Strongman we move onto Ladies Night. These are my Wednesday nights now, right up until the I get home and its time for bed. Strongman then Ladies Night. In that order. CF bliss.

I PR’d on my axil deadlift at 251lbs. tonight at Ladies Night. The axil bar is much thicker than the Olympic bar. Very difficult to maintain a grip. It’s been some time since doing deadlifts. If I was able to inch up to 251 on the axil, I wonder where I am with a regular Olympic bar deadlift.

There’s a rumor our competition may be canceled. Not enough people signed up. Fingers of steel and stone crossed.

The Bear.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 
― Maya Angelou

On Sunday we met for Strongman, to review some movements that will be featured in the upcoming Strongman Competition on December 8th. This will be my second competition. The first in my home box of ACF. I’m a little nervous.

Competing at my personal best in this Strongman Competition on Dec. 8 is my next goal.

The Dec. 8 goal is short-term but something positive to maintain focus as it is only a couple weeks out and the weights are manageable. Manageable enough that I feel I have a solid chance at respectably placing in the rank of competitors.

We practiced Yoke carry, at 280lbs. Competition weight will be 310lbs.

Then, onto the Bear Complex, as a few ladies and I decided a post Thanksgiving WOD, while none was officially scheduled, was the perfect way to end the Holiday week.

1 Rep Equals:

  • Power Clean
  • Front Squat
  • Push-Press
  • Back Squat
  • Push-Press

7 Reps equals 1 Round. 5 Rounds total working up to your max.

You can rest in between rounds. This is a great workout for concentration, determination, and strength. Completed: weight sequence as follows: 55lbs., 65lbs., 70lbs., 75lbs., 80lbs.

Festivus for the Restivus

The Throwdown on Saturday was in short: freaking Inspirational. Like watching the NYC Marathon in person. Standing along the racecourse, calling out the names of perfect strangers, cheering these people on as they pass you by. No matter the pace. You can’t help but to be inspired and think, I want to run in this next year. If going to a marathon and witnessing it in person does not ilicit some form of said emotion, check your pulse, people.  Being a part of the Throwdown, by being handed the responsibility to be one of the judges, only sprinkled pixy dust on my personal state of glee.  Great job to all the athletes.

So, springboarding off of this glee fueld inspiration, and the 90DC, I’ve gone ahead and signed up for Crossfit Festivus. It’s a  nation-wide, one day event, for the beginner to intermediate CF’er. That’s me! At least, I thought it was, until I read the pre-req on the national site:

Novice women
  • less than 6 months CrossFitting
  • Deadlift is under 225lbs
  • 2k row time is 9:30 or more
  • cannot do 5 unbroken pull ups
  • cannot do 20 unbroken double unders
  • cannot do 15 unbroken legit push ups
  • uses scaled weight kettlebells for wods


Intermediate women
  • Longer than 6 months CrossFitting
  • deadlift over 225lbs
  • under 9:30 2k row
  • can do 5 or more unbroken pull ups
  • can do 20 or more unbroken double unders
  • can do 15 or more unbroken legit push ups
  • uses Rx’d weight kettlebells for wods

Festivus is in August. At this point in time I am unable to do a majority of the above-mentioned for Intermediate Women. Except, by August I will have been a member for longer than six months. Which in theory disqualifies me from Novice Women.

Looks like I have some work to do.

showing up

It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, “Always do what you are afraid to do.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


I. Front Squats

5 – 5 – 5 – 5

Completed: 45lbs, 65lbs, 85lbs, 95lbs. Truth, 85lbs was a struggle, and my form was deteriorating. Decided to go for the 10lbs increase and hope for the best. 95lbs is pretty good.

II. 7 Rounds For Time:

Power Snatches (115/75)

15 Wall Balls (20/14)

Completed: In 10:37. Power snatches at 45lbs. Wall Balls at 10lbs. Now, I’ve been working pretty hard with Wall Balls at 14lbs, not sure why I stepped it down today, other than from FEAR. We’ll get ’em next time.

So, this is a big weekend for Albany Crossfit. In case you haven’t heard. New England is converging on Colonie for the TriState Throwdown. These are brave people, by my standards. The competitors. Especially the beginners, the novices. The first-timers. What does it take to step up like that, put yourself out there, in front of so many people, and practically stand the equivalent of naked in front of your peers and say, ‘This is what I’ve got today.’ Makes me want to hug you, and hug you, and hug you, all at the same time. So impressed by all of it. And the camaraderie. That’s an epidemic all unto its own.

I’m volunteering on Saturday. Whatever might be needed. I’ll do registration or shuffle wall balls and kettle bells from room to room. Count your double-unders, or cheer you to the last of your final, last, toes to bar. Damnit. You can DO IT!

If you’re competing, I would imagine its not the actual day of the throw-down that is so painful, it must be the days leading up to it. The questions, and sleepless nights of worry, or worse, doubt. The part of you that says, ‘What am I, NUTS?’ That creeps into your brain in the wee hours between your last WOD and your next decent night’s sleep. Nonetheless, try to remember if you can, no one, NO ONE, is judging you. We are here to cheer you to the last. The fact that you even showed up, is an incredible victory unto its own. Go ACF!