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.

a tree grows

“There’s a tree that grows in Brooklyn. Some people call it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed falls, it makes a tree which struggles to reach the sky. It grows in boarded-up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps. It grows up out of cellar gratings. It is the only tree that grows out of cement. It grows lushly . . . survives without sun, water, and seemingly without earth.” ― Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn


I. “Bear Complex

5 Sets for Max Weight:

7 Reps (1 cycle of the following progression = 1 Rep)

Power Clean

Front Squat

Shoulder to Overhead

Back Squat

Shoulder to Overhead 

Completed: Round 1 @ 55lbs. Round 2 @ 60lbs. Then 65, 70, and finally, Round 5 @ 75lbs. If it wasn’t for my awesome partner, Laura, I would not have pushed to, and completed the Bear at a new 75lbs. PR weight. She is one of those people that pushes me when we have a chance to WOD together, and I’m grateful for the nudge. I would have hung out at 55lbs. all day. But, thankfully, not today.

I should rename this Blog, Grateful. Because that is how I’ve been feeling a whole bunch lately. Just freaking grateful. Below is a list of reasons why:

  1. First, was able to meet some amazing people on Friday while volunteering to help set up for a Wounded Warrior weekend. While I couldn’t stay and volunteer the entire three days, just spending that one day with the initial group was eye opening. Literally changed my perspective on individuals with disabilities in a matter of minutes. If anything, my previous ideas of what a person with disabilities can do, whether limited physically or from brain injury, were ignorant at best. I simply had no idea. The strength, the stamina, the desire, the will, the hope. We are all the same.
  2. Level 1 CF Certification in Brooklyn. Getting to train with the fittest on earth. Maybe even the cutest, errrr… I mean, nicest. Getting to meet other folks from other gyms around the country. Getting to put to the test everything I’ve learned to date from ACF and coming to know with true confidence that my home gym is one of the best. It is doing its members right. I felt confident in representing, knowing I was well prepared, my bag of increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains, well packed. Plus, my nail polish matched my purple Inovs. Bases were being covered.
  3. MoM. Somehow I was named Member of the Month at ACF. I dunno, you tell me. I hugged and thanked Caleb tonight, pre-WOD. Feeling the love. In a beastly Crossfit kind of way of course. What I really felt was, well, grateful. The second I walked into the triple wide I was greeted with hugs and knuckle bumps and kudos and smiles and happiness and daisies and unicorns. I’m telling you, there’s some crazy kind of pixy dust being sprinkled in that place. Or maybe it’s just the people. But the sincere happiness in my accomplishments being expressed by my fellow CF’ers is what inspires me. These are good people.
  4. Trader Joe’s opening in Albany. Finally made it there tonight for some grocery shopping. Didn’t even have to wait in line. I’m grateful they have $4.99 Almond Butter, and Coconut Oil. I’m not so grateful that there is now about 3 different groceries stores in a 5 mile radius that will require grocery shopping. Because each one has only a few of the items on my weekly list, at the best price. No one store has everything at the best price. So grocery shopping now moves into the strategic category, as I will have to plan trips based on need and item and my current location and time schedule and which store has what. And this will drastically cut into my FB time. My paramour will not be happy. Have you ever noticed there is no term for a male mistress?  Here’s wikipedia’s 2 cents on the topic: “There is no specific word in English for a “male mistress”, a man in the same relationship to a woman as a mistress is to a man. Linguist Julia Penelope located 220 English words meaning “promiscuous woman,” but found only 20 for “promiscuous man.”[17] For male mistress, the more general term “lover” can be used, but does not carry the same implications. “Paramour” is sometimes used, but this term can apply to either partner in an illicit relationship, so it is not exclusively male.”
  5. Signing up to compete. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. First, Strongman in Perth, and then the Garage Games over Labor Day. I’m feeling committed to push more. The diet has gone clean again. Could not have picked a worse month, it being August, the toe headed child of Summer, with all its BBQ’s and final celebratory finales, and the track season in Saratoga. But, I’m a week in and already pushed to a new PR with the Bear. And I just feel good. Am sleeping epic-ly well. If you have not already, take a look at It Starts with Food. This speaks to me the most at the moment. It’s strict. But strict is good. No room for rationalization. Just tell me what to do, wind me up, and point me in the direction. I can karate chop my way through the rest.
  6. When you are on the right path the universe rises up to meet you. Oprah said it, not me. And it just feels as if my true path is both before and behind me. Because I’m standing right smack dab in the middle of it. I’ve embarked upon it. That, my friends, is the true definition for happiness. And for this, I am truly, most Grateful. Indeed.

Be Grateful

“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” ― Charles Dickens

And so Monday is almost here. A culmination of all my hard work at long last arrives. The finish line approaches, is in site, and it’s time to sprint. I’m pretty sure I’ll be happy at about midnight, tomorrow night. When it’s all over. There’s not much more I can do at this point in the planning portion. It’s 9:25pm on Sunday night, time for bed is fast approaching.

Aside from a 3 hour lifting seminar with the Pendaley Snatch, on Saturday at ACF, I have been working all weekend. Wanted to hit the WOD today, and Strongman, but, just didn’t want to interrupt the momentum at work.

So, tonight, committed to a run.

Pushed to the 4 mile marker. 9:40 avg. pace. Not bad considering I haven’t been sleeping and am simply overtaxed. Mind is slow. Could my writing be any more dry and boring? Probably not. Clearly it’s time for bed. But, did want to record my achievement. Since, running (like Burpees) are on my list of personal SUCK. Did remember to delete my weight before posting. I still have some sensibility.

After tomorrow’s event is over, I hop a plane and fly to MN to visit my very near and dear BFF. We will bake, and chat, and go to the farmer’s market, and drink wine, and walk the dogs, and eat lots of fun things. But, mostly just spend some time together after not seeing one another since over a year ago. She is one of those friends though, you know the ones, that you don’t have to see or spend time with to stay connected. For once you do get together again, it’s as if it was just yesterday. Plus, she’s a wicked fast texter, almost as quick as her wit. 🙂

Last thoughts of the day; I am very grateful. I feel grateful for my strong body, for my totally awesome friends, and my super cool huge loving doggy, and all the many gifts that have been bestowed upon me throughout my life. I feel truly grateful indeed.

Memorial Day Murph

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

There’s an annual workout in the Crossfit world called the Memorial Day Murph. It is named in memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005. In boxes around the US, athletes gather and perform this WOD in honor of Lt. Murphy and those who serve. It’s not an easy workout. It’s a beast. If you’ve got a twenty pound vest or body armor, you’re encouraged to wear it.  And people do.

All day yesterday and even this morning, leading right up to the actual workout, I was, well, scared. Full of anxiety as I drove into the parking lot. How am I going to do this?

And then I thought about what a soldier might feel; When leaving his family behind, his first steps into battle. The incredible fear he must find the courage to swallow. The absolute unknown of what lies ahead and the total and utter certainty of it. Whatever it may be. It was almost too much to imagine.

Would I ever possess such courage? Here I sit afraid to do some squats and run for an hour? By comparison, its ridiculous really. But fear is a very personal thing. And it comes in all shapes. Whether physically standing in front of you, or creeping through your thoughts when least expected. It’s there. And it can take hold of you.

This morning the sun was shining brightly in upstate NY. And as I watched the parking lot begin to fill, and other athletes get out of their cars and walk towards the gym, I knew I could too.


I. “Murph”

For time:

1 mile Run

100 Pull-ups

200 Push-ups

300 Squats

1 mile Run

Completed: In 61:52.

I’ve been talking about Crossfit to friends and family for some time now. In fact if you ask them they might actually tell you I won’t stop talking about it. My brother brought his daughter today and very graciously watched and cheered. He called me later in the day to talk about it and see how I was feeling. ‘I’m really sore,’ I said. And I am. Really sore. But never before CF have I thought I would be capable of such things as were done today. I used to have a tendency to quit. To lag in the middle of large endeavors, and then just let it all fall a part. But somehow not any more. No matter how fearful or full of doubt I become. Over the last seven months I’ve learned that I’m quite capable, actually.

For me it just comes down to putting one foot in front of the other, and then across the triple wide, and then through door.

What we face is never, ever, bigger than what we are capable of doing.

No matter what might be creeping through your head; show it the door and get right back to the work at hand in front of you.

Good friday

One of the benefits of keeping this blog is the record keeping it provides for WODs and benchmarks.  For instance, was able to instantly find the stats for the last time I hit Fran, on March 5:


For Time:

21 – 15 – 9

Thrusters (95/65)


Completed: PR today at Fran. 45lbs. in 5:05.

Even though I have a ways to go before mastering a pull-up, my goal today is to hit Fran at RX weight, 65lbs. It’s Good Friday. A long weekend stretches out before me. Much earned after pushing through a very busy time at work and thankfully completing a job well done. It is now time to enjoy the Holiday.

I love Easter. As MN BFF said; it’s like Christmas without all the stress. She and I once shared what I’m certain is one of the best Easters on record, at the base of the Tetons, at a Bed and Breakfast she cared for at the time. The Don’t Fence Me Inn. The sun was out in full force after a long winter. We ate lamb chops, drank red wine, played volleyball, lounged on the back deck, and hunted for Easter Eggs.

This weekend the local weather is looking to be beautiful. It makes me think of all the things I am grateful for: A gloriously hysterical wise-assed group of friends. A large stubborn handsome family. My strong furry four legged co-pilot, Oliver. A job that pushes me to work incredibly hard, and let’s me do good. CF, which has challenged me in ways I’ve never really known possible before, and taught me I CAN do it. And even more importantly, I can FINISH. My body, healthy and strong. And bodenusa.com. For the most adorable collection of dresses and skirts for spring and summer. Go check it out, if you dare.

Bring on the Fran.