Not ‘gonna lie

So, in putting my body into Ketosis, I lost a total of 10 lbs. and my pants fit great. Flash forward two weeks or so, a weekend spent with friends on a boat on a lake with a deck and a fire pit, followed by Halloween and trick-o-treaters in the office, and I’m still down 5 lbs. but unfortunately and more importantly, lacking the motivation to work-out that I was hoping would kick-in with the drastic change in food intake.

No problem. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. The joy is in the journey, not the finish line, etc. etc. etc.

So, what next? Well, a couple of things. Thanksgiving looms on the horizon, a good milestone with lots of treats if you’re looking for a short term goal. So, first, after much canoodling with with a few writerly-friends, I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo, which basically means I’ve committed to one of my favorite things, write, every day, for the month of November, with the goal of getting 50,000 words on the page in 30 days. If you’re doing the math, that equals approximately 1,666 words per day, every day, for the month of November.

The beauty of NaNo is that in a way, it takes the pressure off, the pressure writers/artists tend to put on themselves that every word, every sentence, must be perfect. This incessent interior critic consistently gets in the way of just doing the act itself: writing. So, with the goal being quantity over quality, you are sort of forced to let go, and just do. Even in just these first two days, I’ve noticed that instead of hitting the delete or backspace button every time I eek out a sentence on the page, there’s a little NaNo voice now, a reminder, a nudge that says, “Hey, the goal here is to just get words on the page, that’s it, keep moving forward.” And so I do, and it’s quite freeing.

Also, in an effort to drag my body along with my mind in this exercise in daily discipline, I started the Whole30, again. Day 2, and so far so good. It’s really going to be the Whole 26 or 27, because I will be eating stuffing on Thanksgiving, that right there is a deal breaker. So, the last thing on my list, is to start moving again. I could either start showing up to my running group Saturday morning meet-ups. The average mileage is a steady walk/run 3miles. I can totally handle that. Or, hop on the rower in the garage and pair that with some strength training. Following the Wendler Method, starting extra-ridiculously-light, again, taking the pressure off to go heavy or PR or some other term from a lifetime ago.

These are all good things, the hardest part is just getting started, and moving forward in a new routine.

Days 40, 41 and 42. November 1st.

Two beautiful quotes about November.

“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”
― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

“It was November–the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Goodbye October

I decided today that I really like the month of November. Halloween is over, we are officially in the depths of Fall. The peak season of leaf peeping has past yet there still remains the occasional gloriously plump tree still turning.

I’ve only given out candy on Halloween a few different times. None too recent or monumental to recount. If memory serves I’ve either been out on Halloween or at home with the lights off. No one home, go away. Any Reese’s on premises are already spoken for.

the great pumpkin

Alas, tis’ November 1st. Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays, has yet to arrive. Many people are starting to talk about and plan for Thanksgiving. If you’re lucky you’re making plans to spend time with those you feel closest to. There’s excitement, anticipation, colorful thoughts of roasted buttery food, gooey desserts and robust drink.

Here’s a synopsis of my absolutes for November:

  • I will be in a cast and on crutches
  • I am severanced from my job

Given these two absolutes one can deduce a few things:

  • I will have some extra time
  • see above

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

As we know I am happiest and healthiest when focusing on a goal. I intend to use this month of November for good and productive and meaningful purpose. Take the opportunity to reach some goals and most importantly, not waste the time that is given. An opportunity like this comes along infrequently. It is not often that you leave your job, but even more intensely, have a broken foot and are getting around on crutches. This adds a whole other layer of being removed. It’s like being snowed in during a huge blizzard. The decision making is taken away from you. The expectation for you to go out and pick up your dry cleaning or check the mail is all but removed, guilt free. Right now there is very little expected of me. Other than to eventually find a new job, yes. But mostly, I’m being let be to heal. I’m being left to be.

So what are the new goals? At the minimum, they start here:

  1. Go to church each Sunday
  2. Get to ACF 4 times weekly
  3. Write here every day
  4. Take a cue from Carmen and post one thing I am grateful for every day
  5. Complete the 30 day plank challenge with our group that started today

Item 2 above, the ‘Go to ACF 4 times weekly’ will need to be a little bit more in-depth and explored further.

Today was the start of something very good. I trained with Dean. With his creative coaching and care and patience I was able to rest my knee on a ab mat atop two 25lbs. plates atop a box and do:

  • 5 sets of 10 – 54lbs Russian kettle bell swings, and
  • 5 sets of 6 and 3 – deadlift, clean and press complexes at 55lbs. It felt wonderful.

My bench presses increased since last time we tried, up to 85lbs.

I’m definitely getting stronger in the upper body and this makes me feel incredible. Now to put some solid goals in place with fitness for the month of November. With the above 5 goals as foundation, there’s no reason I can’t make this month simply beastly.

Light Body. Light Heart.

“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”

― Kahlil Gibran

light

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.

2nd Place.

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

2nd place xena warrior

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.

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”
― Mark Twain

competiting

On this eve of competition I check and recheck my packing list:

  1. Athletic tape
  2. Extra socks
  3. Extra shirts, tights, etc.
  4. Wrist wraps
  5. Headband
  6. Food for day of – almonds, green apples, beef jerky
  7. Baby oil

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)

    NW

    -300/230lbs.

  • 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.

Forecast – 77 Degrees and Sunny.

“Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.”

― Sylvia Plath

stones

It wasn’t too long ago that I was struggling to come back from minor surgery. After a six week hiatus from CrossFit I was barely slogging by. My motivation had slowed to a trickle – barely audible. It was everything I could do to get to a WOD, let alone finish. My MoJo was on hiatus and I was worried it was gone for good. It wasn’t just my desire to work out, those moments you can battle through, but it was that feeling during the workout and specifically right after; that moment of finishing and feeling like you could simply do anything…That you were stronger than ever before. That feeling was missing. It was all I could do to barely finish a workout and when I was done I was left feeling more tired, completely exhausted, out of breath, barely able to stand and with the final haunting thought; I don’t need this shit. That koolaid, that feeling of getting better and stronger was simply gone. And that was scary as hell.

“But, I love CrossFit,” I thought.

I worried about what was happening to me. Was this only the beginning? Would I just start giving up on everything? Spend the rest of my days beached on the couch watching endless hours of reality TV and snacking on Oreo’s?

Like that sad empty feeling when you know you’re falling out of love with someone and you desperately struggle against it yet feel it all silently slipping. You feel powerless.

And that is exactly how I felt in May. I’ve put so much into my CrossFit basket. Perhaps too much. Perhaps not. I don’t think doing so is a mistake but that’s another post.

CrossFit is healthy. CrossFit teaches focus and discipline and working towards goals and leading by example and specifically how to not give up, especially when everything starts to really suck. Especially then – how to not give up.

And so I made a decision, with the discipline learned from a love that was falling away – I made a decision to not give up quite yet.

My goal: to find my lost MoJo. The plan: to reconnect. Any way possible. And so I reached out to Dean.

Together Dean and I set our sights on a goal long on the Horizon, the Mass State Strongman Competition. I would compete in the Novice division, Dean would train me to get ready.

Fast forward 10 weeks, after hours of showing up and training with Dean and countless WODs in the gas tank – I can happily say I feel reconnected again.

This weekend our lovely Strongman Coach, Cat, and I will be driving to a small town outside of Boston to compete in the Mass State Strongman Competition. With some hard work and sweat under my belt, with Dean’s pushing and training, I can say I’m happy, I’m excited, I’m ready, The weather forecast is 77 degrees and sunny. I feel stronger than ever before. I’ve found my MoJo.

Supplements

“Nothing ever fatigues me, but doing what I do not like.”
― Jane Austen

Tough Mudder badge

I completed the Whole30 and a Tough Mudder this week. The Whole30 teaches you to read your food labels. Did you know it’s next to impossible to find bacon that does not have added sugar? I ended up purchasing bacon from a local farm but by the time I got home forgot to ask the farmer if there was any added sugar in the bacon. At $8.00 for the pack of thickly sliced bacon I resolved to eat it anyway. So glad I did as it was unbelievably DELICIOUS. Probably the best bacon I have ever had, like ever.

The Tough Mudder tested my stamina. The course was a beast. 4.5 hours running and hiking over and up and down and under and through Gunstock mountain in New Hampshire. I’m beaten down. Elbows and knees and arms and legs scraped and scared.

TM Boston

Now I’m just plain exhausted. Energy level less than ZERO. When my eyes open at 5am without the assistance of an alarm clock, I lie there and ponder what time it might be, what I have to do for the day, is Oliver still sleeping – if I say his name out loud would I hear the thump of his tail? Or was he up on the futon? Sprawled out and delightfully still in doggy slumber.

Last night I dreamt that I signed up for another Tough Mudder with another team and Oliver was handling all the online registrations. We were required to send our registration emails to his attention and he would write back in curt concise sentences confirming receipt.

‘Man, Oliver runs a tight ship..’ I remember one team-mate muttering, displeased with Oliver’s tight ship and lack of letting anyone get away with anything funny during the registration process.

Of course it was all a dream and I barely remember any of it. Except at one point waking up and thinking I should tell Linda, our Boston Mudder Team Captain, that I registered for another Tough Mudder … through Oliver.

Linda would appreciate the possibility.

This constant fatigue might be a bi-product of the surgery. I fell asleep in the chair at the hairdresser yesterday. I just simply can’t keep my eyes open. It’s exhausting just trying to get into the car to drive the short distance to work. It’s exhausting making dinner, let alone going to the grocery store. My exhaustion leads to being constantly hungry. Like, famished. Which is not good for the figure or the CF diet to perform, so while I just want to CHOW on a giant pizza, I’m trying to be good. This has led to a bunch of research on the internet for possible remedies. The best suggestion says to up my iron and B-Vitamins, even taking Maca root might help. I’ve since found a decent looking multivitamin and Maca root supplement which I’ll start today taking daily. Something… SOMETHING… has got to help.

I’m in sort of bubble, all the world is muted and it’s everything I can do to poke through the fog and concentrate, let alone get from A to B. As I type this now I just want to go home and go to sleep.