Where are you going… Where have you been?

Out of  8/10/06“>

 We are not our past. Our past reflects varied experiences good and bad that give us wisdom, abilities and feelings. While those experiences shaped our journey and some could be hurtful, they do not define who we are, what we can be or limit where we can go in the future. When we release the hold of the past over us, we free ourselves to embrace the wonder of all we can be and do.                                ~Life is a fork in the road.

Recently I read  this post from Life is a Fork in the road  and I felt like I was just given permission to move forward and not stay in the swirling waters I knew so well. I seem to be constantly in a place of seeking ‘The Answer”… to many things.  One of my constants that I could always go to and dial in a little “me time” was a CrossFit WOD. Four weeks ago I decided to make a huge change in my constant. Now THAT will almost certainly rock your boat when you change courses and you didn’t even know which way you were going in the first place.  The book I’m currently reading is The Noticer by Andy Andrews.  It is about having perspective and realizing that the small stuff actually does matter.  Hard to go into too much since I’m not finished with it, but it’s already setting my new course. 

Moving into week four of the CrossFit Games Open Sectional  it’s been hard for me to be off course.  I am not a full time CrossFitter (and that is REALLY ok) but I expect more from myself at the same time.  Then I look into what all is going on… get a little perspective. Full time nurse, Full time Mommy to a beautiful 4yr old and advanced “treading water” participant in life. Would I change that just so I could have a higher ranking on the leaderboard? NOPE! The days when Mekenzie wants to play a little longer on the living room floor or wants to bake cupcakes, SHE wins and so do I!  I know I should go to the box and work on skills or get another WOD in, but then I look at why I actually do crossfit.  One reason yes is because it makes me feel healthy, strong and well who doesn’t want that.  The biggest reason is that at 35 yrs old, I can run around as long as MK wants to and not get tired.  I was given what I took as a compliment the other day at the box by another member who I had just met.  We finished the wod, all gasping for air and she walked over saying “How old are you? How long have you been doing this?” Kinda off guard for a minute, I answered “35, and since December of 2008”. She replied, “I hope I can do it like you when I’m 35 and a Mom” What she didn’t know was, I was not happy with my own performance…. PERSPECTIVE…. ding ding ding LISTEN SHANNON… It didn’t really sink in until I got home and started putting MK to bed.  WOW, I actually am doing what I set out to do. Be a good example for my daughter in a way of healthy and fit living.  I will keep doing CF so that I can run longer and faster as MK gets older and faster. And if I can help another woman see that we can ALL do it, then bonus!   When Mekenzie showed me how her Barbies were doing handstand pushups for time I knew that I was doing something right.  Yes, she is still a Diva and loves to be pretty, but she also knows that exercise and moving is part of your everyday.  Makes a Momma happy!

CrossFit is not the only course I fumble thru.  Think about this. How many times do you stub your toe on a piece of furniture before you actually move it? How many times do you drop something before you realize your hands are too full and you need to set something down? I seem to stub my toe over, and over, and over again and think that I will get wise and remember to walk around the furniture next time. Then…. BAM… I hit it harder than ever before and instead of getting upset at myself for knowing better from past stumbles, I take it out on the furniture.  Does this look a lot like the definition of insanity? Repeating the same behavior with the expectation of a different result. A good dear friend shared this

We don’t always know that our streets will have potholes. New and old alike all have small chips that when not tended to grow beneath the surface. You just have to keep your eyes open. Gain perspective and mind the small stuff in order to see the big picture.  Open your mind, Open your heart and love BIG!  Where you have been doesn’t mean that is where you are going!

 

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A CrossFit Mom and her Village

CrossFit Texas community!

 Crossfit — it’s “YOU AGAINST YOU”…. even when there are 10 others with shins to the bar ready to tackle the same work you are. At “3-2-1 Go” it is about the work YOU are going to do.  Even though we know the work is ours to do, we are all still a team.  This is best seen at the end of a WOD -one person finishes but they aren’t done… you see them at the foot of another who is still working and they stay right there encouraging them every step of the way.  I see this day after day in our gym and it defines the CrossFit Community that I love so much. 

As a Coach I can walk in the box and if I’m in a bad mood or had a bad day… you leave it at the door.  I see our members and I immediately forget my worries and thrive on seeing THEM improve, get stronger, faster or do something they NEVER thought they would able to do. 

 As an athlete myself, I have those same “just not into it” kind of days.  These last few weeks I have been blessed with receiving some of the CrossFit Community love myself. 

Every Saturday a group of us gather to train in preparation for the CrossFit competitions. An intense 2 hours of skill sets or heavy work and then a WOD to follow.  One of my favorite things about our little community is that all the kiddos are welcome.  I know my little Mekenzie has a blast!  They all tumble around the gym until we are ready to work… then off to the playroom they go ~ only a few “they aren’t sharing” moments happen -haha- but one of the many parents work the room and we are off.  My little Mekenzie has been in a CrossFit gym since she was about 2 yrs old so she knows the drill…and fits right in – usually with her own WOD right next to Mommy.

My norm is usually a few seconds during each WOD for Mommy moments between minutes of work. This Saturday, I had a little angel helping me as Mekenzie was really wanting me to stop and come play during my WOD. I have mastered the ability to talk to her when I can’t even breath because I’m mid burpee or kettlebell swing.  After a few quick stops to open a juice box or tie a shoe, my good friend Ashley just saw a Mommy moment. She saw a need and stepped in. The need for Mekenzie to have a playmate and the need for me to finish a workout. Both things provided what each needed. CrossFit is one of the sanity moments I need… after completing a WOD it gives me more than a fit and healthy body… It also provides a fit and healthy mind. These both carry over into my fit and healthy Mommy role

Saturday rolled around again.. I had to miss the first half of training and walked in as the group was about to start the WOD. I helped Coach the team and then had planned on doing it after class alone.  As I finished up working the heavy skill set I just LOST IT! I had no passion, no desire, no GRRRRR to do the WOD. I honestly just did not care in that moment. I wanted to pack up and go.  This is where my teammates stepped in and became my coaches and my motivation.  Crossfitters all know how it feels to have an “off” day, and this day they helped me through mine. 

These are the days I am remember how blessed I am to have a family in my Crossfit community. Thank you to all the “get up girl…get it done!” moments you share with me!

Strong is outside… Strength is inside… Combine the forces.

 “Strength is not about being Strong”

So how do you prepare? Can you prepare for what it takes to be “Strong”?  How do you know what will test your strength? You can practice, train and mentally dial into every aspect of what you think will be asked of you, but will it be enough? Will it be like last time? Will I be able to handle it if I’ve never experienced it before? 

*************3 months later************************

I guess this question had me stumped…. it has been three months since I started this post.  I’m not sure that even with that amount of time I have been able to come up with a solid answer.  It seems most people take a look ahead and start a plan… then they implement the plan…. assess the plan in action and then evaluate and change what didn’t work.  LIFE DOESN’T WORK THIS SLOW and PREDICTABLE… ever heard of Plan B?  That is because so many times Plan A is kicked to the curb in the evaluation process. Many times the plan seems solid and we don’t even consider needing a Plan B, then when we evaluate Plan A we are scrambling to regroup for this “What the heck do I do now” phase.  Again, life isn’t a science fair project displayed for you to just sit and look at.  You really do need some kind of backup plan if the volcano doesn’t erupt when you combine the ingredients while all the judges are watching. 

So I ask the question again… Can you prepare for what it takes to be “Strong” — Can you prepare for what it takes to have “Strength“?

January is the ultimate time of self-evaluation. Resolutions to change, improve, do that ONE thing you have always said you would do are in just about every other conversation. So….. DID YOU MAKE A PLAN? What parts of your life are you giving priority to? After spending some time with a dear friend and mentor lately, we discussed setting my goals.  Similar to resolutions, I realized that if I made a list of 10 goals for myself I would certainly not be able to give 100% to all 10 things equally.  This means even more reflection and prioritizing those goals.  Am I willing to change what I have at the top of my list or can I just put it in a holding pattern? I decided to make two list. One has big, long-term goals with supportive measure to achieve those bigger goals. The second is the do now and “make it happen” list.

I am coming out of an autopilot mode and forcing myself to take control again.  We never know what will test our strength. I believe that you can’t put away all your tools just because the work seems to be done.  Autopilot is nice! It is comfortable, it is usually not a bumpy ride and you are anticipating a smooth landing.  What happens when you are given the controls before you are ready? Regardless, it’s time to step up.  You can’t worry about what was supposed to happen but must now form that Plan B and get it done.  In CrossFit it’s all about training for the unknowable.  Last year when I got injured, I didn’t have time to pout about it (ok so I may have pouted a few times.. but then I got my ass handed to me in a particular Deadlift/pushup WOD-twice).  Injury required a Plan B.

ADAPT and OVERCOME. 

The last 6 months has been hard on my inner strength due to that injury.  I could not get past the fact that doing a simple push up hurt, so advancing skills and lifts was out of the question.  How can I train to be STRONG when my STRENGTH is tied up in a knot.  I had to transition into maintenance mode…. good luck getting a Crossfitter to agree to that.  Once I believed in my Plan B, it actually started working. Sometimes you just need that little voice that has been telling you the entire time to slow down to say it one more time.   Just a few weeks ago I jumped back in a WOD and instead of having to manipulate my ROM to not hurt, I was done and IT DIDN’T HURT. The true test was to test again.  FINALLY! Things are mending and I’m getting Stronger – now I need to work on  mending my Strength.

 I still am working everyday on both being STRONG and having STRENGTH.  I know that it takes a lot of effort, sacrifice, persistence and determination to build something amazing ——– and that is exactly what I want!

What are you asking of yourself in 2011? 

 

 

ONE DAY – 17mins – ONE GOAL

SEPTEMBER 25, 2010

Fight Gone Bad began as a fundraising event in 2006. From those humble beginnings and with the support of the CrossFit community, we’ve proven what a small, totally committed group of people can accomplish. The first four editions of Fight Gone Bad have raised a combined total of more than $2 million.

Why I’m Doing This

I am working to raise funds and awareness to help these three causes. I will participate in a FGB Event where every bit of my blood-sweat-tears will be shed for the Cause! Make it about someone else today! If you or a loved one have ever been affected or you just want to honor those in need. DO IT HERE!

Shannon’s Fund Raising Page!!!

WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT

Wounded Warrior Project believes the greatest casualty is being forgotten. WWP provides unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of severely injured service members.


CROSSFIT FOUNDATION

 

CrossFit Foundation provides support and assistance to the CrossFit community, the men and women of the military, law enforcement and first responder communities and their families in times of need.

 

LIVESTRONG – Lance Amrstrong Foundation

Lance Armstrong Foundation identifies and acts on the issues faced by cancer survivors in order to comprehensively improve quality of life for members of the global cancer community.

WHO WE FIGHT FOR

WHY DO I CHOOSE CROSSFIT

WHY wait until Tomorrow?

I ask for your help!

 100% of all donations are sent to Fight Gone Bad and sent to the three Causes. 

WHY WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW?

 CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW!

The Power of Defense

 “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

GET BACK!

If you think that spending two hours of a Saturday in a hot warehouse is fun YOU ARE RIGHT!  This past Saturday as part of our CrossFit Texas Women’s program we hosted Bonnie and Rob Claudill for a little Defensive Tactics session.  Both Bonnie and Rob are a part of the CF Texas family, they also have a great history of experience outside of Crossfit.  They both are former Marines (no such thing as an Ex-Marine so don’t even try it !), and both Austin Police Officers and instructors for the APD Academy Defensive Tactics.

“CrossFit women rock!” This sentiment resonates with both men and women. CrossFit women are redrawing the boundaries of performance and having a blast doing it.   Crossfit Journal Jan.01,2008

 Saturday was the first session of our Self Defense classes. 14 women committed to learning something new this day.  We all walked in unknowing of what was to come.  The cages that were usually reserved for the barbells had heavy bags tied up with rope, stacks of black pads cushioned the areas below the pull-up bars and the WOD on the whiteboard today was definitely the UNKNOWABLE!      I had a feeling this wasn’t going to be like any kick boxing class we had ever taken! I’ve personally seen how one’s body is beat up, bruised and battered after a Defensive Tactics course…. well after a Law Enforcement level class…. BUT STILL that’s all I had to go by! YIKES.

Two lines of women (and a few of our little ladies by their Mom’s side) lined up – our wrist and knuckles taped up like we were headed into the boxing ring.  That in itself makes ya’ feel like a badass! The game plan of the day was layed out, now it was time to get back to the basics.  Bonnie lead us through the stance, the fist position, balance & stability for quick moves.  It felt like I was setting up for my WOD and “getting organized”. 

You better not  assume that once these two left the Corps, they forgot how to command a group! HaHa. We were given great detailed instruction and now it was time to put the Combo in action.  Once I finally yelled the right thing at the right time I was up to speed with the group.

 

 

 

I stood in my place in line and every time we pivoted to attack again, I looked around at the amazing women that stood there.  It was hot, it was their day off from work, it was time away from family…. BUT THEY WERE HERE! They were not here for the best time on the whiteboard, or to pull a PR on a Oly lift, they were here to better themselves.  No one was asked “why” they wanted to be here, they just were.  I can not even assume to know the answer to what brought 14 women to a self-defense class.  I know for me, I wanted the experience to learn something new.  I wanted a few hours with my friends, I wanted a tool to tuck away in my “bag of tricks” to know I can take care of myself and my daughter.

When you spend 2 minutes punching a strike pad held up against your friends chest and you are pulling out every bit of power you can, there is a reason why you are here.  HIGH INTENSITY – that’s what we as Crossfitters do everyday. Taking these skills and using it to push through the “can I do this” moment, is another feather in your hat. On top of that, it was just FUN! Two minutes of combo punches standing – down to our knees- down to the ground. WOW that will take you outside of your box.  Then it was 2 against one!  I was paired up with the power houses… Lauren and Ashley H.  Every 10 seconds you were either getting bumped from one or the other… you had to decide was it going to be a combo punch, a palm-heel strike or lay down the HAMMER!! Woooowhooo … crap there is more from behind.  Now we are grabbing their shoulders and driving our knees into them (the pad actually)… until you get blindly bumped again.  All I could think about was… well lets just say we all had our “motivation” that day.

The funny thing was as I was behind one of the pads on the receiving end, I could hear myself yelling at the girls to hit harder or grab here/there.  Talk about supporting each other… haha. I think a few chins were grazed and a few wrist left swollen but it was all in good fun.

The final piece was sparring. SAY WHAT? Yeap, Bonnie and Rob -vs- us! It was one on one with one of them…. seriously they actually know how to hit and HARD.  I was paired to go ’round with Rob.  Ok, I thought about all the technique and moves I had been taught this morning and I had a plan to just try to keep covered and execute what I could.  A few punches into it I realized he really wanted me to hit him… haha. Then I found out what it meant to not cover yourself… tap tap – yeap those are my ribs. The good thing is that Bonnie and Rob are so good that they know how to get you moving without hurting you.  I’ll have to say, it got ME moving!

I can’t wait to attend the next session! Here is a little slide show of the group in action!

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CrossFit Texas Women

Pain is temporary – Work today – Push today – Fight today – Rest another day!

What do you do after you have spent an entire day in the 100+ degree Texas heat in a parking lot filled with 200+ athletes who bleed CrossFit? After you laid it all out on the line and pushed yourself to the limits you hoped you always could? Lots of sweat, deep breaths and a hell of a lot of FIGHT….. you come back and do it again the next day!

Day 2 – WOD #3

For time:
100 Double Unders
3 Rounds of:
10 Deadlifts(185lbs)
1 Sandbag run(50lbs)
Then row 1K  

Everyone has a WOD that they would rather do over others… Some like the long and torturous MURPH, why why why??? Others like the fast and furious FRAN, some like one lift over the other. The strange part is that it isn’t always what is easy, I know I enjoy EVA — again why why why???? It is gut wrenching. I just LOVE the way I feel after I have set my focus on the task at hand and dig in and WORK! This 3rd WOD was one of those workouts.  I enjoy lifting heavy stuff, taking it a distance and fast (or try to do it fast).  I was certain that the nerves I had before CINDY were the worst I had ever had… NOPE.  I could not get it together before this one.  Every single time I do FRAN in the box I stand shins to the bar and feel like I could puke  just from butterflies in my stomach.  The performance I expect out of myself and the ability I want to have during the WOD is the hardest part for me. 

Warm up time…. I had the chance to watch a few heats and see how the girls carried the 50# sandbag and tried to create my game plan.  I was confident about the 185# deadlifts, that is usually the working weight we use in the box for our training.  I was NOT looking forward the 1k row at the end of the 3 rounds.  Starting off, I had to nail 100 double unders, usually this is not a problem at all. The last few weeks I just have not had the speed thru these that I normally do.

               

  3-2-1- GO and yeap, my feet and hands were not working together. I just had to get them done. I was much slower on these than I wanted.  1st round of DL’s, 7 unbroken, damn… I hear the team yelling at me to get on the bar… finish and move on.  I grab the 50# sandbag, toss it over my shoulder and try to run the 100 meters as fast as I can…………WHOAAAAA it’s a little rough on the legs after the other elements. 

I was NOT going to walk, I was NOT going to stop on this one.  THIS was the WOD I was looking forward to all weekend.  2nd round of DL’s… ALL 10 unbroken! HELL YEAH.   The sandbag run is what it is. I just took off thinking about running a race and I used each new face I passed as a new motivation.  It’s amazing how you can tap into the energy of others.

 3rd round of DL’s ALL 10 unbroken… this final run was rough.  I knew I had to come around that last curve and jump right onto the  C2 Rower and pull a 1k.  Come on legs and lungs don’t fail me now.  I hop in and take off, I had a GREAT view of the sun! I think at least 500 meters I had my eyes closed.  I had a chance to sit with a C2 instructor and dissect my rowing technique earlier in the day.  WOW I’ve been doing something right.  She actually didn’t have any corrections for me, so as I sat there in 106* with the sun blaring down in my face I tapped into my technique and pulled.  Rob had a mantra all weekend that it was “YOU AGAINST YOU” and I knew that even though I didn’t end with the fasted time of the day, I left everything on that playing field.

 

Day 2 – WOD#4 

Individual event 4 – Final Event
For time:
10 Muscle Ups
15 Handstand Push Ups
20 Squat Cleans
Run the Block

WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU KNEW YOU COULD NOT FAIL?
 There are many things in life that we accomplish that we never knew we could.  Most of those things we didn’t wake up knowing we would be successful, we may have hoped but we didn’t KNOW.  This last WOD was a “freebie” for me.  I have been intermittently working on my gymnastics skills specifically on my muscle up skill.  Going into this workout most female competitors either had their muscle up or they simply didn’t.  I have been so close but haven’t nailed it yet. 

The hours before the heats began I decided to pull away from the crowds and go absorb.  I headed to the small space tucked away in the huge GSX space designated for athletes to warm up.  I walked in to see Whitney Welsch  helping some of the girls with technique tips.  I know first hand how amazing Whitney is as and athlete and every time I run into her at an event she is always friendly and a great help.  The weekend of my Level 1 Cert in San Antonio back in 2009 Whitney and I were paired up in the final WOD of the weekend. That girl smoked us all weekend and she still is blowing past the rest with a smile.  So I sat and took in every bit of what she said.  A few of us jumped up on the rings and worked through transitions then it became obvious we all just needed to be still and rest.As the heats were running behind more athletes filtered into the cool a/c of the warmup area.  

 

Time to head into the heat again. This time I was relaxed, I was going to go spend the next 15 min giving it ALL I had! The challenge was to get my very first Muscle Up.  You would think that standing in front of a hundred or so people about to try something you have never been successful at before I would have been a ball of nerves.

 So I asked myself.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU NEW YOU COULD NOT FAIL?

My answer was stand under those rings for the entire 15 min and NEVER quit.  In training, I had not been able to maintain my false grip once my feet left the ground for the kip.  Today I had prepared and watched the girl who successfully performed the element.  I heard 3-2-1- GO. No rush I said. You have plenty of time, just set it up.  And off we go. Holy cow I kept my false grip… wooowhoooo! That was step one for me.  Turn out of the hands- kip and swing- and pull. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH so close. I was getting one hand right where it needed to be but I just couldn’t put all the pieces together.  I had so much support from the crowd in front of me and from my Crossfit Texas teammates.  One voice came from directly behind me…  Candice Ruiz.  We first met in Dallas at the CrossFit FXTX Unleashed Games.  Candice took 1st that day as I pulled in 4th after a 4WOD day.  Ever since she has been a great support and encouraging me along the way.  So this day was no different.  She was right there with the rest giving me tips on my technique.  One of the top athletes (ultimately she took the weekend and placed 1st and is headed to California for The Games) was showing me the true spirit of Crossfit. 

 

These 15 minutes meant different things to each athlete. Candice and Whitney battled for the finish and 1st place.  I was in it for a “first” but a personal first.  Lauren, one of our athletes from Crossfit Texas had her moment and nailed her first muscle up and followed it up with a few more.  Ashley gutted it out and had a special someone in mind for this first ( a not so quiet Ninja that she trains along side in life).  Some would walk away disappointed that they never left the first element of a WOD. I wasn’t that person,not today. I had my PR in a bigger way.  I was at a Crossfit competition and doing more than I did last year.  That right there was my little PR! I look back and see that I was standing amongst so many amazing athletes and I earned that spot that day to be there.  I knew I could return home and my biggest fan Mekenzie would be proud of me whether or not I got a muscle up or had the fastest time or that I PR’d a lift.  The example that I was building for her was that no matter how low things bring you, it’s YOU AGAINST YOU and you have the choice to make it AMAZING!

TEAM CROSSFIT TEXAS

Crossfit Texas Affiliate Team

Six athletes battled for two days for a chance to take it to California.  I know first hand how challenging and rewarding the affiliate race is.  Last year I was part of the first team from Crossfit Texas to compete at the 2009 Crossfit Games in Aromas.  This year Brannon, Howard, Rob C, Becca, Terilyn and Heidi rocked some wicked WODs and pushed harder than I have ever seen before.  They were awesome! I had a chance to stand in and be a part of this experience.  The final Team WOD was in 106 degrees that Sunday.  4 Athletes each had 2 minutes to row a max distance. Total team time was 24 minutes.  Just before the WOD started,Brannon asked me to stand in as Team Coach.  HELL YEAH I accepted.  I’m not sure that anything I was yelling and the fact that I wouldn’t get out of their faces for the entire 2minutes helped…. but I was proud to be a part of that group.

Thanks to all the gang from Crossfit Texas – it was an amazing weekend and you all had a part in it! Thank you to all my friends and family that understand why I get crazy when I miss my workouts and encourage me to keep going. 

Thanks to CrossFit GP for the Old School garage gym WODs.   For pushing me to work my weakness in more than just the gym and reminding me to ‘HAVE FUN”!

 

“This aint no 8 second ride”

 WELCOME TO HELL’S HALF ACRE! YOU’D BETTER HOLD ON!

Two weeks ago at this time I was standing in the Texas heat amongst some of the best CrossFit athletes at the  South Central Regional Qualifier at GSX Athletics in Fort Worth.  60 men and 60 women from Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arizona fought their way to earn a spot at their sectional competition  to compete here.  I am proud to be one of four women from Crossfit Texas who qualified at the South Central Sectional held here in Austin and earn a chance to compete in Fort Worth.  This was my second year to compete at GSX at Regionals but it held a completely different weight than in 2009.  Last year I had only been doing CrossFit for 5 months when I headed into my first competition.  It was all about gaining experience and trying to improve.  This year the competition had qualifying events so the level of competition was loaded with  top athletes.  

I can still remember how amazing it felt at Sectionals when I heard my name called that I had made it into the top 30 and was able to move to the next level.  This was already a WIN for me! The fact that I am not able to train “full-time” like so many of the athletes can do has always weighed on my mental game.  My full-time jobs are MOM and Nurse.  I get to train other CF athletes at CrossFit Texas as much as I can and  I usually sneak in a WOD on my days off or crash the good ol’ garage gym across town as often as I can.  So making it to Regionals was a feather in my hat! 

I left for Regionals with something missing in me.  I had a rough time finding my HELL YA..GO GET ‘EM attitude the days leading up to the competition.  I was preparing to leave my daughter for a solid 3 days… and the only thing about that is that it SUCKS not being with her! I had a really hard time understanding and actually believing that this weekend was about me.  Yeap. ME.  I was going to compete in a sport that I love, one that I think I’m pretty good at, and with a great group of people who I train with everyday. SO WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?  Well, I decided to not worry about outside junk and put some blinders on.  Again, Mark told me the same advice he told me before Sectionals… “Have Fun”, it worked that weekend so I bought into it again.  

ROAD TRIP—– GSX or BUST! 

The gang from CrossFit Texas loaded up and headed North to GSX.  Robert, Ashley, Lauren and I were all competing individually and the CF Texas Team of Brannon, Rob C, Howard, Terilyn, Becca and Heidi were geared to compete against 27 other teams for one of 8 spots going to THE GAMES in California.  

CrossFit Texas Crew...ROAD TRIP

The buzz started the minute we checked into the hotel. Strange how a hotel lobby full of crossfitters just makes you feel like a badass. HaHa. No one was puffed up, no one was cutting eyes across the room at the competition (ok well, maybe we were all checking each other out, but in good spirits).  Now it was off to GSX for packet pick up and standards, gotta know what they want!!! It was 6pm and Crossfitters from all around packed in under the red tarp to hear what  Tucker and Matt had to say.  Details of exactly how we needed to perform each rep of each movement in order to be scored and continue.  Thankfully the WODs had been announced two days prior and  I had a chance to let them soak in.  

It’s Like CHRISTMAS EVE 

How did you spend your Friday night? I searched the hotel for an ice machine that had not been emptied out yet.  Going into competition with injuries is not ideal.  I have gone thru hours of Pin & Move work from Susan at Therapy Central of Round Rock , sat in ice baths to decrease the inflammation and trained around them to the best I could. (Training around an injury meant I did a lot of deadlifts… the thought of the 10rnds of 10 DL’s at 155# and 10 pushups is still PAINFUL. But you snapped me into place didn’t you! ;->) Tonight was no different.  In a few hours I had to do some of the exact movements that targeted those injuries dead on.  Sitting in a quiet hotel room alone the night before competition was not what I needed.  It let all the junk sneak in.  I talked before about how the smallest cracks in your mental game can open up like the Grand Canyon…. and it did.  All  I could do was just block it out the best I could and find some distraction… oh maybe I should SLEEP!!!  

Ice bath – check   ADVOCARE supplements – check, bags packed : lifting shoes, running shoes, the good ol’ “go to shoes”, yeah a girls gotta have choices!!! – check, NERVES – double-check.  GOOD NIGHT. 

GAME TIME 

Click here for a Video of  the Womens Competition at SC Regionals   

 

Day 1 -WOD #1 

10 bars 

Starting at 75# -Ending at 135# 

Each athlete has 45 secs to complete 

1 Power snatch and 3 Overhead squats or 1 Squat snatch and 2 Overhead squats 

First WOD of the weekend.  10th athlete to hit the ladder of bars.  I knew I could snatch 105# and I was hoping that with the hype of competition would PR on this lift.  A little rushed start on the first bar, but I knew it was only 75# so I just whipped it up and took the remaining 30 secs to rest.  85# again no problem. 95# for some odd reason, nerves maybe it didn’t sail up as it did in the warmup area.  At least it went up and I didn’t have any wasted reps.  Next bar was 105, I knew I could snatch it I just needed to stick it and get the OH squats done.  1st attempt fail.. DAMN.  I had run through this same lift in the garage with Mark to see how long I would have if I  failed my 1st attempt.  So I didn’t let it get me down that I missed this one.  Step back, shake it off and shins on the bar.  2nd attempt I went to what I know works and split it.  Split snatch and then 3 overhead squats. DONE!  The next bar went up by only 5# but damn it was not dialed in.  I again went to the split but I was not dropping under it enough.  I could feel the bar float to my shoulders but it didn’t turn over.  I was not about to give up! Every attempt I rapidly ran thru technique cues just as I hit the bar.  I actually go it over head in a split then got stuck… Another day maybe. Happy to at least get my max and I ended the day tied for 19th. 

 

Day 1-WOD #2 

Weighted Half “Cindy” 

As Many Rounds As Possible in 10 minutes 

wearing a 10# weight vest 

5 Pullups (chin past vertical plane of bar) 

10 Push Ups (full plank at top) 

15 Squats (hip crease below knee) 

This was the WOD I was dreading the most.  “Cindy” is not my favorite, and I knew I was gonna have to push through every ounce of pain to get as many rounds as I could to stay close to the top 20 girls.  The challenge today was that in our pullup we had to have our chin pass the vertical plane of the bar.  Basically without it officially being a chest to bar pullup…. it was a chest to bar.  I knew I could do chest to bar, but I wasn’t sure how it would feel with 10 extra pounds strapped to my chest.  The big square of metal outside GSX was lined with men and women weighted and ready to tackle the second WOD of the day.  I realized that I was in the exact spot I had been in during the 2nd WOD of the 2009 Regionals. That was a beast! 50 Chest to bar pullups THEN 50 burpees… I had not been training my pullups C2B last year so when fatigue set in I had more “no counts” than one would ever want….ohhh and it was raining. So this year I was not worried, heck, give me the 50/50 and I’d be fine!  My goat on this WOD was the pushups, always is.  So after I gutted out chest to deck I popped up for my squats. I see Rob H. right across from me and I focus in on his face.  It was a familar feeling of seeing one of my training buddies, my Coach, my friend in the same place I was.  I could hear his motivating “goofy” cues he usually tells me when I’m sucking in a WOD… Rob- Thank you!  I only pulled off 7 full rounds then 5 more pullups and 5 pushups before the time cap.  TOTAL = 7.5 rounds.  The best part was actually the pullups.  I felt strong and determined. EVERY rep I made sure was chest to bar and EVERY rep counted. 7.5 rounds and all solid reps… no wasted reps!  Now, try to breathe after that and be cinched up in a weight vest… I couldn’t even reach the straps to get out and had to have my judge unhook me.  Didn’t finish as well as I’d hoped but I knew I had left it all out there.  WHEWWWW 

 

DAY 1 is a WRAP! 

CrossFit Texas Crew at the end of Day 1!

Ashley, Me and Lauren before WOD 1

Lauren, Me, Ashley and Rob. End of Day 1 Individual Competition.

Day 1 is done and the 90 degree Texas heat has drained every bit of  ummpphh. What else would Paleo eatin’, CrossFittin’ fools do but go get a steak dinner….. the crew heads out for some grub.  As we all return to our rooms, we each carry our bags of ice for that oh so necessary ice bath and of course some night-time recovery.  

Day 2 … On to the next one.

Beauty in Strength

In the CrossFit Box it’s all about you.  Go faster, harder, stronger and all quicker than you did it last time.  It might sound vain to claim that when I walk up to a WOD, I am in a FIGHT against myself.  I recently talked about how I found out how much you learn when you slow down and how obvious things become in those quiet moments.  Some days you can cruz on those quiet moments and other times the light starts finding the itsy bitsy cracks in that foundation and turns them into the Grand Canyon. Part of what I found in CrossFit was how far I could push myself.  I read in the  CrossFit Journal article linked below, the question asking if it takes a certain type of women to do CrossFit or does CrossFit make you into that person.  I believe it’s both. Just as I learn how insightful slowing down is, I also have learned a halt to a dead stand still isn’t comfortable either. Back to finding balance.

I have always considered myself a confident, independent woman and will take on any challenge you throw at me.  CrossFit is a perfect match for me.  I may not be the fastest or the strongest, but if you want someone to push till the end I will give you everything I have.  It is all up to YOU on how the WOD goes.  We all know it’s going to suck but the feeling you get when you can yell “TIME” and drop to the floor in sweet exhaustion and joy that you just tackled a beast is what keeps me coming back.  I feel like I’ve been chipping away at earning my “CrossFit Chick” member card over the last year and 4 months.  There have been many highs and lows, times when I questioned my desire, questioned my ability and questioned my place amongst those other athletes.

The CrossFit Journal,  Beyond the Body, defines what a CrossFit girl/chick is. I will tell you that EVERY single woman who steps into a CrossFit box and looks at the whiteboard and says “ok let’s go”, has already found that place beyond the body! Gaining strength over our mental challenges is a much larger gain than any barbell we can lift.

CrossFit Journal-Beyond the Body

CrossFit chicks swim upstream. They battle against all the images of  female physical fitness that have been implanted since birth. They fight the self-limiting mentality put upon their gender community. CrossFit chicks possess a confidence, commitment and sense of accomplishment that puts them at the forefront of their gender. They know the anxiety of stepping up to competition. They savor the taste of victory. They sweat, suck wind and give their all. They are part of a community that snuffs out the mantra of popular culture—the CrossFit community. (www.crossfit.com) required reading!

As I read this journal article it reminded me of how far off my path I had gotten.  This day was NOT a good day in my little CrossFit world.  I DO CROSSFIT! I am not supposed to let my mind cloud with doubt, fear, and frustration.  I went to training this morning with a purpose…. unfortunately injury interfered with my training.  The WOD included running, clapping pushups and a rope climb.  I can run.. I can clap in  midair and do a solid pushup…. I can climb a damn rope….  Not staying true to my stretching and Trigger Point, I fell to injury.   I have been unable to squat below parallel, unable to jump, run or do any other move that involves hip extension.  So after painfully pushing through a wimpy warmup I decided it was best to switch to an active rest WOD.  Like a ton of bricks the mental battle hit me.  I walked out of the gym, sat outside and tried to figure out WHAT THE HELL I was doing!?!?!?!?  I knew exactly who I needed to talk to.  I may be a CrossFit woman, but I felt like I was fading away like Michael J Fox in Back to the Future when his future is being altered before his eyes. (ok that was hopefully the last random example I use..haha). I saw myself a year ago, not only as I walked into the CrossFit box for the first time with a “kick ass” attitude as my Coaches would say, but also mentally TORN down.  So I sat there and tried to figure out how I could have come so far in that mental and emotional whirlwind and still get slapped down over a WOD.  My very own Popeye opened up my can of spinach for me…. as I stewed away at my dissapointment, he said ” So, how’s that working out for you?”  DAMN he was right. 

 

My teammate, my friend and my newest accountability partner Terilyn, stuck around and we  found some quiet time to train.  With the huge garage door rolled up and the sunlight as our only light.  The rings hung down….. time to TRAIN YOUR WEAKNESS.  Working through every variation of transition work, dip work, false grip pullups… we did it, we worked on muscle ups. That was a great perk in my day! Thank you girl for sticking with me!

 

Second attempt at a WOD.  Round 1 Push Press, Back Squat, Overhead Squat… oh yeah, I can’t squat.  I made myself sub out of squats because I just couldn’t mentally handle another failed attempt to train and finish a WOD.  Sometimes outside variables … those situations, people, and events that you can’t control sneak in through those tiny cracks again.  This time I had a witness and I didn’t like how I allowed all of these variables to leave a mark.  Grumble Grumble Grumble… allow yourself to feel bad, to be mad, to GET PISSED OFF.  THEN, LET IT GO! 

One day on a max Deadlift effort I stood almost nose to nose to Ashley and told her exactly what I knew she needed to hear to lift that bar. She got a PR that night.  We almost cried in the emotion that was exchanged in that short moment.  This Saturday that I had been beat down, I walked across the gym to hear those exact words casually said to me. WHOA. That stopped me in my tracks.  What was actually said isn’t what’s important.  What is important, is the moment that we all have that makes us realize we are stronger than the itsy bitsy cracks in our committment.

Third attempt: WOD was told to me on that moment.  I immediately felt myself rise above it.  When you feel supported in every way, it’s amazing how your strength comes from within.  

10 Rounds: 15 Deadlifts 155#, 15 pushups. Great strength builder on my 1st pull … 5 rounds down then we decreased the weight to keep the metcon component.  HOLY CRAP…………… I”M BACK! 

 

Finding strength beyond what your body can lift, push, pull is what true beauty is.  That is what I define as a CrossFit Woman.  I will continue to work toward any title that aids me in finding my strength beyond my body.  Thanks to my own Popeye and knowing when to make me eat my spinach.

 

 

 

CrossFit Success Story from Tammy G.

Tammy and I (& Mekenzie) after she finished as the Womens Leader in the CrossFit Total of 610# for a combined weight score from Backsquat, Press and Deadlift.

One of the joys I get to experience as a CrossFit Coach is watching others come into “their moment”.  Tammy Gore is a client at CrossFit Texas and one of the most dedicated women out there! Dedicated to what you ask…. HERSELF, her health, her future!  I have had the pleasure to watch Tammy’s transformation and realization of what she as a STRONG CrossFit women is capable of.  I have seen Tammy come in everyday and every time she heard “3-2-1…GO” she took on the challenge of the day. I asked Tammy to be a guest on my blog to share her story, if you ever wanted to change but didn’t think you could do anything about your current situation…. WRONG. Please read her story and be inspired, I know I am.   

 

I am what you would call an emotional eater. This means I eat when I am sad, eat when I am angry, eat when I am frustrated; even eat when I am bored. I need to eat to live. My problem is that I have always lived to eat.   

I made excuses; convincing myself that I was happy with the way I was. It wasn’t until I visited my doctor in late summer of 2009 that I finally realized how out of control my weight was; I had reached 260 lbs and was being diagnosed with Diabetes. I would have to take medicine every day for the rest of my life. Having watched my grandmother go through a diabetic stroke, I knew it was time to take control of my life. The only question that remained was how.  

I had the honor in putting together a health fair at my work in September. The last week of the fair, the owner of Crossfit Texas, Brannon Muska, along with two of his trainers talked to me about my health. The question that he posed was “what was I” willing to do to change my circumstances. I took that question very seriously. I had so much at stake and here was an opportunity to change my life once and for all.  

He invited me out to watch an event at the Dell Diamond. Let me just say that I was completely intimidated. I had difficulty climbing the stairs without losing my breath. How would I ever be able to do the things I saw them do? He asked me to come to the gym the next week; he didn’t take no for an answer. He invested his time and effort. He showed me that I was capable of doing more than I had ever imagined. He proved that Crossfit does work.   

Understand that along with exercise, you have to change your nutrition. I lost 30 lbs in the first 2 months only to gain back 17 lbs. I could see that exercise alone wouldn’t work. I started the 24 day challenge and on day 18 weighed in. I have lost 12lbs of what I had gained back along with 4 lbs of muscle. The energy I feel is outstanding. I am making better choices with food and learning to deal with life without eating binges. We recently had Crossfit totals and I took top female in back squats (225 lbs), press (100 lbs) and dead lift (285 lbs); this from a girl who only 6 months ago couldn’t walk to her car without breaking a sweat.   

The best thing about Crossfit is not only what you lose, but about what you gain. I have gained a support group; a second family. It means that if I am having a rough day, I can text Shannon or Chanel and they will encourage me to stay strong. It means when I walk in the door of the gym, I am greeted by name with hugs and smiles. It means when I don’t think I can possibly take another step, someone will be there to encourage me and take that step with me. Come be a part of our family; come be a part of Crossfit!  

God bless you, 

Tammy Gore 

UnBreakable (part 2).. Sectionals Day 2

SUNDAY at MABRY  

  

Today was all about NOT STOPPING!  The final WOD of the competition.  Of course I didn’t get much sleep last night and was running later than I wanted.  Mommy duty was my first priority of the day and getting Mekenzie to her grandparents.  I arrived to find out that the heats had changed and also the rankings had changed.  The heats had been reorganized to put all the top 30 in the final heats together…. I looked at it as HELL YEAH I gotta push with these gals in my heat! But then WHAM…. I had a ohhhh no moment and realized I was going head to head with the top 30 gals of the weekend.   

My mind now had to shift from running the WOD at 9am to the new time of almost 1pm.  I really don’t like going in the first heat, I like to watch others and use it to fuel my fire.  I have to make sure though that I take time to focus and not just be Coach and Cheerleader for others.  The first few heats made me realized OH SH*T this WOD is gonna HURT!   

My mind took an immediate ease when Pete showed up, one of the best CF Coaches I’ve had.  I lached on to his presence and fed into everything he had for me.  He is one of the best mental guys out there… oops that sounds bad.  No, he can get me into a mind-set that others can’t.  He knows my weaknesses with just a quick glance.  He also knows how far I can push better than I do.  (He would sit and deny all of the above b/c that’s how cool he is! haha)  We talked strategy a little then all I had to do was wait.  I got another lil message from across town…. “Have fun and don’t over think it!”.  Mark is always able to settle me and get my head straight and today was no different.  

 CHIPPER WOD  

15 Thrusters 65#  

100ft run  

50 – 35# single arm kettlebell snatches  

100ft run  

100 double unders ( IN THE FREAKIN’ GRASS)  

100ft run  

50- 35# kettlebell swings   

100ft farmers walk with 35# kettlebell  

15 barbell squat snatches (65#)  

This was the most nervous I had been all weekend.  I was FIGHTING to stay in the top 30…. the top 21 spots were secured due to WOD 2 yesterday, so I was against the field for only 9 spots.  As they called us to the field I summoned Pete to my sideline.  I knew I was gonna need to look at him for some “calm down” moments in this one.  The top 25 ladies all lined up as we filed out onto the field to meet our judge.  Justin was in spot 24.  We walked the course and talked standards and he asked… “what’s your rep scheme?” My answer was, “BALLS TO THE WALLS.. Don’t stop”. He laughs and I said, seriously I just can’t stop!!!!!!   

3-2-1…GO.  15 thrusters at 65# fresh I knew I was gonna do these unbroken.  I had the majority of the other athletes in my sight and when I saw a barbell hit the ground for a rest it just made me push harder and not stop.  The ground was a little challenging, being in one of the last heats of the day after many bars and bumpers and chewed up the ground was a new challenge on core strength!  15 unbroken and done….   

100ft run, HOLY crap this already didn’t feel good and I had only just started.  50 KB single arm snatches.  I had gamed this a little knowing that my left shoulder was still tweeked from training.  I figured I’d do as many on the right as I could then use the left as my active rest all while chipping away at the reps.  I don’t even have a clue how many I did before switching but by looking at the pictures people took…. it must have hurt.  I do remember my Judge Justin with his constant calm voice… ” keep going, just get to the next station…”  Right – left -Right and then all of a sudden the left took over and my shoulder stop hurting (probably b/c my right was screaming!)….  100ft run (walking the green mile is more like it…) into 100 double unders….. IN GRASS.  I am confident in my du’s, as I can usually knock out 40 or so in a row.  So when I only got 5 then failed… uh-oh. My shoulders where on FIRE, my legs wouldn’t jump and my mind….. creeping in was DOUBT.  I could hear other athletes counts and I was way under their’s.  I look up and there was Pete.  He just gave me that “calm down” look and I tried.  What my mind was actually doing was thinking about how I was trying to motivate Chanel earlier in the day to push through these and yelling for her to “DONT STOP”…. talk about having a moment of guilt.  haha.  I just wanted to tell her “Sorry Chanel, these SUCK ! Now I know”.   I had to just get comfortable with the 2-3 I could link together.  This element is one I thought I would breeze through…… wrong. 100ft run ( this was slooooow) to 50- 35# KB swings.  

 Again, I thought this would be a catch up moment and as we all know in CF, when you think it’s gonna be easy it will actually kick your butt.  The standard for the KB head was “bell up” so you had to swing the bell overhead, show your ears and have the bell straight up.  I just stood there and swung the hell out of it.  In these moments I think rep scheme but the truth is it comes down to grit.  Push till you wanna puke then do another one.  

 100 ft kettlebell farmers walk into the barbell area.  I was soooo ready for the last element.  15- 65# barbell squat snatches. I love this lift.  I had thought about the elements of the ground being unstable, and how  tired I was. I figured in order to have NO WASTED REPS I had better play if safe.  I would power snatch then overhead squat it.  I am totally comfortable in the bottom of the squat with weight overhead.  So I hit the bar with the HELL YEAH I’m gonna nail this….. errrrrkkkk. Damn I couldn’t breath.  I ended up doing them one at a time for about the first half. Then I heard 

the little voice in my head say…  

WHAT ARE YOU DOING>>> STOP WASTING TIME.  Shins to the bar… and squat snatch the hell out of it….. DONE and it felt great! I finally had gotten in a groove.  One at a time with my rest only being following the bar to the ground.  One failed rep… uhg. Back on it. I was in PAIN, my lungs burning, my legs screaming to stop but my mind was COMFORTABLE IN THE UNCOMFORTABLE! TIME = 17:04.   

   

All I could think about in that moment of being done was how bad it hurt and how much I wanted to lay down. I also remembered Mikko Salo the 2009 CrossFit Games Mens Champion, saying that he didn’t lay down after a wod because he refused to lay down in defeat. So there was NO way I was gonna lay down after this one.  Now, curled up in a little ball – sure 

.  

Again, I was disappointed in my time and knew that it may not have been fast enough  to hold on to a top 30 qualifying spot.  Pete was there and we had a great debriefing on getting my mental game in check with the physical game of my wods.  Now it was the waiting period.  

THE FINAL SCORES  

All the athletes gathered around as Jeremy Thiel started preparing for the final announcement of the top 30 Men and top 30 Women who qualified to move on to Regionals in May.  I had no idea if I had been fast enough to hold my spot so I just convinced myself I had not made it.  ……….HOLY CRAP… they just said my name! I had snagged 29th place. I’ll take it!  In that moment I finally realized that all that time I doubted that I could hang with the 20 year olds who lived and breathed CF…. I really could!  I was so proud that I was able to stay true to who I was. #1 a MOM and a balanced role model for my daughter.   

After many ranking changes due to the scoring in WOD 2 and the Handstand pushups… I was moved up to 26th and 4 other athletes from CrossFit Texas made it through to Regionals.  Congrats to all the athletes that competed and left blood-sweat and tears on the playing field! We had an awesome group represent!  

 

Top 30 women Qualifiers: Terilyn, Lauren, Shannon, Ashley

Top 30 Men Qualifiers : Rob

 Now all the hard work, training, dialed in nutrition, supplements…….was NOT what we were thinking! It was CELEBRATION TIME!!!!! Hula Hut on the Lake or BUST! I hadn’t had a margarita in ….. I have NO idea how long much less Mexican food.  I wasn’t sure if this celebration meal was gonna make me regret it later… haha.  

 

On to the Next One!