“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.

Strength in who you are.

I’ve been out of commission since Friday. Nothing tragic. Just a minor setback. The Dr. suggested keeping clear of the squat until Thursday. Okay. Okay. I said.


The forced semi-retirement has been good. You know you’ve heard the term, overtraining, and you think, that’s impossible. Overtraining takes a lot of motivation. But, I was pushing so hard with the overhead stuff, wanting it so badly, getting frustrated by the relentless plateau, that this respite might be well timed. Perhaps I was over-obsessing. Is that even possible? Seems accurate enough. Either way, I’m welcoming the break.

I did get in to train with Dean on Monday. Upper body only. ($%#!*#%!@)

It was a great session, and sadly my last with him. Even so he continued to teach. Revelations like how I am not that far from an actual pull-up. That I can go deeper and closer to parallel on the ring push up. He even pushed me to the heaviest kettle bell yet, 88 lbs. Was I just talking about a plateau? Yes, in the overhead. That’s right. We’re taking a few rest days from that.

In my last WOD with Dean, it was 5 Rounds. 10 ring push ups, with heels to the wall, 8 jumping pull-ups, first standing from the 25lbs. bumper, then 10lbs. then the floor. And 10 kettle bell swings, first with the 75lbs., then the 88lbs.

Oh the joy in asking your body to be capable, and it more than surpasses your expectations.

I was sad that it was the last of our training sessions. He taught me much: Resistance training with chains and bands, corrected my deadlift form to where I pushed through that plateau and PR’d twice in the following two weeks, rounding out at 245lbs. Did I mention the PR box jump at 27″? That was a surprise.

At the end of class I asked him for a hug. A big hug. It was a lot to ask. I was sweaty. He stood on the giant Strongman tire and reached down and hugged me tight. You’re a good person, he said.

So are you, I said.

In the end, past the technical stuff, Dean taught me that I am strong. Stronger than I know. He also taught me to have confidence in my strength.

I think for a very long time I was embarrassed by my strength. Tried to hide it. I’m pretty tall. Especially tall for a girl. Strength in a girl is not generally celebrated. People say they like tall women, but I have plenty of awkward teen and college years to prove otherwise. The 20’s are a whole other train wreck. In summation, there have been more than a few very difficult moments. And it would always make me feel better when people would say, You’re a big girl. …. ***….

Never call a girl big. Just don’t do it.

I was embarrassed by my size. I was certain those around me were embarrassed for me too. What I really wanted to do was just disappear. And often tried.

This is not just another accolade to Crossfit. But rather an opening in the way I see things. A softening in how I see myself. A gentle confidence growing. This is a song to something I see as a result of showing up, and getting used to being uncomfortable. This is a welcomed change in how I see myself in the world, something I like. Crossfit, in all its complexity (and there is a lot under that umbrella), has brought this out in me.

It’s okay to be strong. It’s okay to be who you are.

Hodge Podge-ing

Train with Dean today, resistance deadlifts and push jerks. Then…


I. For Time:

10 Clean and Jerks (185/120)

15 Muscle-Ups

Row 30 calories

Completed: in 10:13. Loaded up the bar @95lbs. for the Clean and Jerks. A manageable weight, I told myself. Till Ke-Ho changed the rep count to 15 Clean and Jerks for us slackers who didn’t load the bar for death. Felt as if, towards the end of the 15, all my hard work on form the hour before with Dean went out the window as I fatigued and tried as I might to focus on form. Just ended up doing whatever it took, including poor form, to get the damn bar over head.

II. 5 Attempts

Max Unbroken Double-Unders

Completed: Not really. Mostly a series of hodge podge single-unders. Originally forgot the jump rope in the car. Was pouring rain and blowing sideways outside and was not as motivated to finish out the WOD. Already been here working for 2.5 hours, I rationalized. Poor decision on my part.

Just rereading this post now. While I felt as if I was focused and working hard while training with Dean, its apparent I started to fall a part and make excuses for it during the WOD. If you commit to something, you should commit. Not hodge-podge it through, puttering out at the end. That will get you nowhere. I do this often. In many arenas. At least my commitment to hodge-podgeing is consistent.