Friday, June 29, 2012

Keep going

Just something I found that I meant to post the others day, but it feels like it is right for today. Sometimes when we start something, we feel all full of promise...excited... The first couple of days are great. You know, like the first couple of days on a diet or a workout thingy. I guess I had hoped today would feel like that.

I was wrong.

Holy crap, I have never lifted so much ever. Much of it pretty well, some of it not so much. I could not actually get through the entire thing exactly as it was written, but BJ was there to give me a rather pointed reminder that this program is not about lifting exactly as the numbers are on the page, but rather to keep me lifting as much as possible as often as possible. I will become a better lifter, I will feel great when I am able to really handle a snatch (stop it....), I will get stronger. We will work on this together and make adjustments as we need to so that it works for me. I needed to hear that. Just because I "like" to lift doesn't mean I am good at it yet or that this program is easy. It would not be worth doing if it was going to be easy.

As I struggled through the working sets of the squats, I had to remind myself "you asked for this."

Yes I did. Why at this very moment I cannot quite remember. :) I will head back tomorrow.... Do a different set of lifts and try to be patient with myself.

I did get to play with the Captains of Crush hand squeeze doo dads...that was cool...and I felt pretty good about where I am on the bench press. Such a new lift for me.

So for details, I'll get those down tomorrow maybe. I just wanted to thank Will, Pamela, Faith, Patsy, Kim, Mark, Lora, Pierre, and of course BJ for believing that I can take on these next three months. I will do my best to remember to smile and laugh through this, because as my friend and very first coach Crow used to remind me, "be grateful you can move Mona, just be grateful you can move."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

best conversation of the week.

Vivi: Mom, I am going to be thirteen soon, I can't wait.

Mom:  Why?

Vivi: cause I'll be a teenager.

Mom:  Ok yea, I know, but what does it mean to you to be a teenager?

Vivi:  I get to be more responsible mom...

Mom:  (turns head so as to hide the tearing up) I guess you are right. If you want you can take some of that on once Kegan leaves for school.

Vivi: ok I think I will.

It all just keeps moving doesn't it?  Our perceptions, our kids, our lives, our bodies.

Nothing ever stays still...experience this moment as I can, because I know it will never come again.  I also know that I am lucky to have both of my kids and that too can change at any moment.

We are like the spider.
We weave our life and then move along in it.
We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives in the dream.
This is true for the entire universe.

~The Upanishads

 Love to my dear friend Gwyn.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Had a rough night at they gym yesterday.  Not exactly sure's funny to me, I often have one really good day where I feel strong, or confident, or some such thing and soon there is something that shows up that gives me a little nudge. As if to say, here is something you really need to work on. That is really part of the beauty of CrossFit, isn't it?  A broad spectrum of moves....and there are really not that many people who master all of it.

Yesterday we worked on our form for the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk (stop giggling).  we went light to clean up mistakes and to prep for our 1rep max chase today.  then the workout.

400 mt run
10 (wo)man makers
3 rounds

The complex for the Makers was super cool... dumb bell in each hand~drop to ground, push up, renegade row, push up, renegade row, clean & jerk=one rep.  I looked at the run and thought...not too bad...its only three rounds.  The mild bit of smoke in the air plus the heat can be an issue for my asthma, so I put my inhaler by my dumb bells and trotted off for the first run.  I didn't come in that far last....:) I ticked away at the Makers and took off I came in from the second run I needed a hit.  ok....I slowly picked away at the second set of Makers...then the last run...if you can call what I do running.  At this point, I was litterally counting my steps as I was running. 1, 2, 3 ,4. 


I was coming around the second corner...and dammit...Patsy was there to greet me.  She came back out after she was done working out, just to help me finish. (Or maybe BJ sent her out to make sure I had not died)...I was grateful...she ran me in the door.  So I kept ticking away.  I really really wanted to stop.  My breathing was nasty loud wheezy.  I would slow it down for a bit but it kept controlling me instead of me controlling it. 

Once I finished...I needed another hit...but I told Kim when I was done that this was the sort of thing that used to keep me from working out. I really thought that I would die. I know it is just something to push though, use the meds...blah blah.  I rested for a while then I got up to do the "Good Mornings", I did one set... then something shifted.  I had to lay on the floor and I was completely drenched in sweat. Sick to my stomach too.  I could not lift myself without feeling like I was gonna puke.  Kim got me my water...I finally remembered something...I got my ass off the floor went outside and dumped the water on the back of my neck. 


I felt icky the rest of the night and went to bed early...and slept a little late.  I feel fine now.  My ego is a little bruised.  I feel embarrassed that I had my radiator overheat in front of so many people, but what are you gonna do?

Not sure how I let myself cross that line.  I know it is my responsibility to stop when I need to stop...but there is that line of pushing that I am still learning.

Makes me scared when I think of this new program I am about to start...I look at the numbers of reps and weights and I don't know if I have it in me. I can't help but look at this program and think, are you kidding me? This is obviously designed for someone younger, fitter, stronger, and did I say younger than myself. But who am I if I give up on this before I even start? So, I will tick away at these weights, these reps. I will trust BJ and Will, cause they really know what they are doing, I will accept help as I need it, and hopefully I will learn something about myself and my strength along the way.

Monday, June 25, 2012


1 rep max
5 reps to get there
3 lifts

3 lifts
3 PRs



I beat each of my PRs by 10 pounds. I could say, "that isn't much, why don't I make huge numbers."

But not so long ago, ten pounds on a scale would drive me nuts. Drop ten pounds? Not enough. Gain ten pounds? Felt like a failure. 10 pounds would ruin my day.

Now I choose to load 10 more pounds on a lift and see the success... See the long road to get those 10 pounds on that remember that 2 years ago I had never lifted at all....10 pounds at a time added to the bar? Yes...because it is not the numbers, it's the journey to those numbers.

These lifts today? Done well, I trust that now. If I only ever add 10 at a time, but lift with good form? That is ok by me.

205;125;335;10;10;10;5;3;1 = me, but they do not define me. They are after all, just numbers.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

blah blah..paleo, blah blah lifting.

So the new place I am training has this HUGE wall of dumb bells....I am not used to using them at all, but we used them twice already this week.  Huge learning curve for me.  I like them...there is this tricky thing that needs to engage in a whole new way.  Now, don't get me wrong, I like kettle bells too....but the one hand snatch or especially a clean with  KB is much easier in comparison to the imbalanced feel of the dumb bell.  On Monday, we did this wicked workout that was split jerk with dumb bells and toes to bar.  Holy Moly...the work I had to do to keep the weights in line instead of splaying out and behind my head was something brand new.  Then on Tuesday?  this dumb bell complex thinggy,  Clean, front squat, push press, front squat, push press....each arm,  ten rounds.  There was a penalty for putting the weight down.  Burpees, ugh.  Just in case you went light so as to avoid the penalty....if you never put the weight got 25 burpees.

Again...the different set of muscles need to keep that damn bell balanced was tricky and difficult.  I looked at what one of the women in the morning of the women I know is super strong and I often try to emulate (yes I am looking at you Kim) and she did 25.  I thought that sounded heavy..then 2 of the women in my class grab 40...40!  What the hell...Patsy looked at me and said...I'm using 40, you can too.  I grabbed one...heavy...I was just about to walk it back, when Will looked at me and said, that's about right for you.


Now I know Patsy and Faith are not large like I am, but they are so strong.  Sooo fast, fit and strong.

So we all just start ticking away...I get through round 5 before I drop the damn thing. Three more rounds, drop it again...then I finish...I think last as usual. But...well, whatever. I am glad I pushed it.  I really worked at finding how to work with this thing...worked at keeping good form and deep squats.  I let go of feeling slow and thanked Will for encouraging me to go heavy.

Yesterday?  Squats....  I didn't PR, but I felt better about my back squat than I have...ever.

3 x 125
3 x 155
3 x 185....this was hard by the last rep.
1 x 205
1 x 225..failed on this one
1 x 225...oh this one felt good, my chest was up, I got low, but not too low, and my knees stayed strong.  So even though it was 10 pounds off my 1rep max, it felt cleaner than I have ever done a heavy squat before.  Made me feel a little less afraid about this up coming training program. Will also gave me some corrections to my form that I need to practice with something light...I know it will help in a big way.

As for my challenge...I am still on track and happy I am.  I got a little annoyed with how my skin had reacted.  I broke out something terrible the first week...but now my skin looks better too.  I am not eating as much as I did the first week either.

Looking forward to the weekend...I am helping with a throwing clinic in Farmington...hee hee.  I kinda wormed my way into that, I wanna help the women throwers up there...  like I have been helped.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Weird days

Day Eleven:

Feeling good...inflammation is better all the time. We had some folks over last week and I made food that I could eat and had some food there I couldn't eat and it was juuussssst fine. Sunday, yikes, Sunday was hard. I don't know why... maybe the heat, maybe the emotional turmoil from the night before, maybe the heat (yes I said that twice.) but I texted a friend and didn't drink that beer.

Went to a production of Rent on Saturday. My kid was in it. It was produced by a young man the same age as my son...17.


He wanted to do the show so-he did. I had so many things going through my head as I watched this piece. Now Rent is not a plot driven piece, it is passion driven. And holy crap, these kids had that... They had heart, passion, drive. There was talent too, but as my friend Ness put it, there is more than one way to me moved by theater. The well produced and acted is one kind, but there needs to be room in our community for the 'heart' driven kind as well. I found myself ashamed as an artist after watching this piece. I have been saying that I want to do something, that I want to create work, that I want to make theater, yet all I seem capable of is talking about it. Here were these young people, making it work, moving their audience. Was it 'perfect? that why I can't seem to get past the talking phase?

Am I waiting for perfect? The perfect time, the perfect piece? The perfect cast? I know it is more complex than I am laying it out, but there is joy- value-worth in doing work from the heart, passionately.

I also saw work from my boy that was nuanced, present, and painful. There was something that felt like a farewell to me. To the child that he was and a greeting, an introduction to the man that he is becoming. I was overwhelmed.

As for training? Oh right, that is the focus of this blog.

I had a great session with BJ talking and planning for the next year. He feels, as do I that the next couple of months need to be focused on building my strength. I got the feeling that he has been keeping an eye on how I workout this first month. I guess as I have been working to get a pulse on this new place, he has been sizing me up as well. We decided to start a new program for me on July 1st. A linear program for building strength. I am new to what all of this means, but I really trust him. He is looking at my highland training and two other programs that he has and blending things so they work for me.

I have to admit I was a little trepidatious given my time issues. He is telling me all of this great stuff and I can hear my nasty voice saying, "you'll never do all of this you don't have the time." as soon as this thought enters BJ tells me that for this first portion of the training, whether it be an 8 or a 12 week program we settle on, that I will come to class with everyone else, warm up, do the mobility, then do my own work. He says it can be hard not doing the WOD with everyone, but we need to build strength first. I will have three days a week of lifting and I will do the regular classes in the other days. If I feel like it isn't working...just let him know.

I hate to admit this, but I almost started to cry.

Happy cry...but still, I felt like I was seen & heard, that he sees how much I love this crazy sport. That it is worth, that I am worth this work.


Let's see what it brings. I have a feeling that I still don't have a clue how strong I can be, but with these trainers- I am about to find out.

the elephant in my blog....

Since about October, I have been struggling with how to train for this new thing I do. I started to lurk around some people's blogs and training logs and such; never having much luck understanding half of what they were talking about. I sent some links to people and I mostly got..."well, yeah, that looks like something you could do."  Felt kinda lost and well, kinda dumb.

In Phoenix, I happened to run into Matt Vincent...who was handing out his card with a link to his page and a discount for his training manual.  I had been to Matt's page before but had not noticed a manual. So decided to order it.  When I got it, it made sense to me, seemed doable for a middle aged lady such as myself.  Honestly, I was not really sure how I was going to fit it in to the CrossFit schedule, but I thought I'd give it a whirl.

I cut back to 2 days of CrossFit, 3 days of lifting and 3 days of throwing.  Then one day of CrossFit.  Then no days of CrossFit.

I went to the gym I have called home to see what sort of deal I could work out, but well, it is a business and the business is CrossFit and Ju Jitsu.  I wasn't using the coaching or the classes and I needed more lifting equipment than they have there.  Moreover, what I need is someone to keep an eye out to make sure I am lifting properly....pushing know...the intangibles.

So I found myself in a weird transitional place.  I really don't workout on  my own very well and...I was sad.  Sad that I am letting this place, this idea of who I was in this gym go.  I also felt weird going into other gyms, looking for the help I need, being open enough to ask for what I think I might need to train, and to also be open to something that isn't CrossFit.

Part of what I needed to do is stop telling myself the story that CrossFit or this particular gym, or any particular person saved my life.  While it is true that these people, this way of working out was presented to me just at the right is ME who walked through that door the first time, it was ME that kept coming back, and now it is ME who needs to find a new way to train.

So, what happened then? You are still doing CrossFit?

Yes, I am.  I am working with different folks.  Trainers who are very knowledgeable in Olympic Lifting and Power Lifting.  I have been at Zia for about a month now.  BJ was clear that he just wanted me to try it for a month first.  During this time...I have had 2 competitions and I got a cold I couldn't get rid of, but there is something here for me to explore.  BJ and I are gonna sit down this week or next and hash out a plan.  I have honestly been amazed at how much research he has done about my sport.

Now that I have been gone a while, there are some of my old gym rat~workout buddy~friends who have contacted me and ask where I have been, which inevitably leads to the "why" question...and the "what's it like there" question. At first, I felt as though I was betraying something, or someone, or a whole lot of "someones."  My reasons for changing gyms is mainly a training issue.  I had no idea anyone would even care that I left a freakin' gym...nor should they....much less ask me why..... much less want to see the  new gym for themselves.  But here I am, about a month since I changed gyms and there have been some folks who are asking me questions.  So, like I said, it felt funny at first, but then I realized that I am simply doing what I always have done, I am describing WHY this gym, these trainers work for me.

I still don't know why anyone would be interested in this spastic, giggling, SLOW, middle aged, fat woman's opinion. I am not one of "those" CrossFit women who are all bad~assed and have beautiful muscles.  I am not pretty, thin, ripped, rich, smart or very funny. I am just a middle aged mom and actor and wife who recognized two years ago that I was slowly killing myself. I am working on reversing that and in the process found this crazy Scottish thing. So, I am honest when people ask me...I am trying to be clear.  Which has had the side effect of making it really clear to ME what I need.  So...all in all it is a selfish thing for me to share what works for me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012



A year or so back I rambled on about the concept of people in my life who behave like know the type...Just as you start to see some light at the top of the bucket, they pull at your leg and drag you back in. Usually, while they are telling you that what you are reaching for isn't safe, or right, or healthy...blah blah blah.

Well, one of the major crabs in my life...who for reasons of income I cannot get loose from yet....really hit me with a good one today.

Me, "Eating bananas in the summer is tricky...they ripen so fast."

They, "I don't think bananas are even good for you when they are too ripe."

Me, "Well, at least it keeps my sweet tooth at bay."

They, "You eat too much fruit."

Me, "....."

They, "That banana smells awful, can you eat it outside?"

Me, "I'm done."

They, "All those fruit sugars are really bad for you, all that fruit is really too much."

Me, "......." 

I had one banana.  ONE.

I walked away and reminded myself...this exchange has nothing to do with me....smiled to myself walked back in...

and wrote it down.

Thank you, I feel better now, even with all this fruit sugar running through my brain....

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dang my butt....

So, today is day four of my self imposed 30 day challenge. The first two days I had wicked nasty cravings for sugar hit about mid afternoon. Sunday, I gave into the craving by eating some dried fruit. Then I found the blueberries. I can't seem to stop eating blueberries. Hey, at least it isn't chocolate, right?
I know that in a week or so the fruit cravings will subside as well. Hell, not that fruit is bad or anything, I just know that eating a boat load of fruit isn't the best of choices.
The big thing....the really important thing I hands. Yes my hands. They are different today. I had not noticed that they looked different. Dang it, I had not noticed that the joints in my fingers had been just a little swollen. I also noticed the effect of this swelling(or lack there of) yesterday when I was throwing hammers. I actually had to loosen my grip. I guess I had not noticed the gradual insidious swelling.
Oh well...I knew what I needed to do and I am doing it. I also know its so much easier this time since this isn't a completely new way of eating...just a reboot.
I still see this as a guideline, I will work at these 30 days, but I also know I will have chocolate, booze, and sushi at some point. I just won't be casual about it again.

Work out was super duper fun tonight. The only way to make running fun is to break it up with heavy dead lifts. It wasn't running was sprinting. Well, by the final run, it was more like a saunter for me....ha!
I really liked the hang snatch that flowed directly into two over head squats. My lifting partner and I started with the bar, finished at 85. I was happy with it. And I know I am sounding like a broken record, but seriously good, clear, specific corrections. Love it!
Got teased for hogging plates for the dead lifts because I could make up my mind about how heavy I wanted to go. I finally settled on 175. A total of 30 dead lifts, but.....I really could have gone heavier...maybe...the sprinting took a lot out of me.
I am still not quite well. I wonder now, if this illness is lingering because of the smoke from all the fires. Who knows? I am getting itchy to get back to more lifting and to the other fun training techniques that BJ and I have talked about. Soon.

The best part of this challenge? I am not alone, Pierre is giving it a shot too. I cannot tell you how great it feels to be doing this together.
I think I am gonna eat some blueberries before bed...mmmmm, blueberries.

Friday, June 8, 2012


As is typical for me, I decided yesterday to do the Whole 30 Challenge.  Much like when I did my first paleo challenge...last minute...jump in... see how it goes.   There is a BIG difference this time though....this is more of a reboot than a complete change.  I have let all sorts of things sneak into my diet...chiefly...SUGAR.

I eat too many "paleofied" deserts, too much chocolate, I am lazy about both rice and corn.  So here it month. Pierre and I talked about how it is the perfect time to reboot...grilling season for one thing...second thing?  all sorts of fruits! Not that winter glut of apple~banana~oranges.

Next jump?  I am gonna say this only because I don't think any of my theater peeps read this, but it looks like I am directing a play this year...details later since it isn't official yet, but some how these things seem related to me. I am pretty damn sure that if it were not for the Scottish games, that I would NOT even entertain the thought of directing.  Weird I know, but true.  I had a conversation with a lovely actress last night who told me she feels the same way I do about the similarities between athletic competition and performance.  The difference is that she was an athlete first and was surprised at how similar acting was to competition.... Nice to know I am not alone in this observation.

I did, in fact workout last night, even though there was no lifting involved.  Surprisingly, I got through the whole thing. I didn't run...again, the losing a lung thing, but I did row~ and I did 30 freaking burpees.

The fun moment for me last night, was when Will was going over the moves, which included weighted chin ups.  He looked at me and is the weight belt Mona...he just assumed I could do it.  Well sadly for me he is wrong.  When I said, I can't, there was no judgement at all.  Not even a look of, "really? you should be able too."  he just quietly said, "We'll get you there."  That's it.  I didn't feel small, or stupid, or lazy, or...most importantly, like less of an athlete.  The modifications he worked with me on were very small, very specific...and dammit if the chin up didn't feel almost feels they are possible. I really like how Will coaches...well, BJ too.  There is something super specific and very....hmmm...quiet perhaps is the right word...I am not sure yet.

I spent a lot of time watching one of the other women do her chin ups....she was really lovely...super strong, super fluid....

Last night felt different too, as I was working out, I suddenly felt comfortable in a different way.  I suddenly felt like it was ok for me to be there, that I wasn't some creeper butting in on these real athletes.

Blah blah...I know that is all my own crap coming out, but it felt lovely to let go of that last night...

I am still not well, but I am working out anyway...Once I feel better, it will be time to hit the weight training more.  As for today....Jerks, I always look forward to jerks....don't you?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

getting back to something....

Went back to work last night...well, this whole time I have been sick, I haven't missed the pay me to sit at a desk work....but I did try to workout last night.  I decided that I wanted to at least move a little, so I went to the gym to just do the warm up.  I seem to have gotten the hit form BJ that this sort of thing is ok.  I just let him know when I walked in that I didn't think I'd do the workout and since he didn't give me an evil eye or a sneer I figured this was cool.  I opted for rowing instead of running for the warm up...he said...yeah...I don't want to see you lose a lung on the floor or I guessed right about him...YIPPIE.

Dammit...even after a week, it was so hard to get moving.  When I was done, BJ and I had a short little conversation that the strength work would probably not kill me, so I stayed.

7 X 1 front squats
 DB Snatch 4 attempts to a one rep max...only counts if you can complete the snatch with both hands.

So, I warm up with the bar... then I get to lift with Kelly and Faith!

I start light, cause I don't really know how I am gonna feel.  65.  fine. 95.  fine.  125. fine. 145. fine.

Then I pop to 175.  It felt...clean..simple.  Now 195 is my one rep max on a front squat... BJ had been watching us and he said..that looked easy.  So I figure...200 has been my sticking point so I slap on 25.  I drop easily enough...the weight doesn't even really feel all that heavy...but I dump it forward.  I try again...I don't get it up again.  I am guessing it is one of two things.  I might be rounding my back a bit, dropping too far against my heals  and losing the power at the bottom.  I noticed that when I go light, that I think I am relying on a bounce against my heals to pop me back up...well, when I get heavy I can't cheat with that pop. The second thing it could be?  MY HEAD.  I think if I let someone else load the bar and tell me it is 185 when they have loaded 225...I bet I would get it up without thinking.

hmmm, how to defeat that voice myself is the question of the day.

Then I moved to the DB snatches. Now, I have done kettle bell snatches, but it is a little different with a dumb bell.  I start at 30, then 40, then 50, then 60.  Again, BJ looks at me and says, that was easy wasn't it.

Sigh...I underestimated myself again.  I still think 60 was pretty good, especially since the form was nice and clean~and fast. 

Then....I was done....I hit a wall.  I am glad I got to move yesterday.... This morning, I see this little gem all over facebook...I like it.  you might too.

Squat Myths

I am also thinking about jump starting my eating by doing the Whole 30 program.   I have to say, I am not eating what I know is best for me. I am making lazy choices and it is beginning to hurt. I also kinda like the attitude they have about it. "This isn't hard...quitting heroin is hard."

I may start Friday...anyone else do this before? or wanna join me?


Friday, June 1, 2012

A lesson I have learned before...

Thursday night..I started to feel, weird. I realized that I had started to become ill. Then Friday morning, at about 3 AM I woke up with the distinct feeling that there was a wombat in my throat. Ugh.. I had a great couple workouts. I had just jumped right back into all sorts of things once I got back from South Carolina, but now this?

I don't have time to be sick this summer, so much happening....then Friday, I get an email from an old friend that says, in general terms, "I know you had a huge week last week, I hope you are enjoying this week off for reflection."

Oh....oh my....

Well, I seemed to have skipped that piece. I am avoiding the reflection, thinking it is better to just keep moving forward, keep pushing through. No big deal, right? After all, everything that is happening is positive, right?


So, being sick? A gift. I had so much to do this weekend. What did I choose last night? I sat on the couch and watched a couple of episodes of Downton Abbey. The rest of this weekend? I have canceled any thoughts of working out or throwing. I am planning on spending lots of time sitting on my back porch drinking tea, looking at the stars. I will watch my boy's final dance concert. I think I may do some laundry, but maybe not. Perhaps next week I will get more done, but who knows maybe I won't.

Perhaps, I will even take the time to look back at the last couple of weeks to see just what I see. To wonder if I am wonder how I am the breathe and enjoy where I have been-before I start reaching toward what may be next.

Hopefully, at the very least, I will get rid of the wombat in my throat.