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Posts Tagged ‘crossfit’

I am Thankful for You

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

This year, like every year, has been one filled with ups and downs, events that went down as planned and events that went awry, things that happened for a reason and surprises that revealed themselves at the most opportune times.

Today was perhaps the most perfect Thanksgiving ever. It started by John and I going out last night to the 10pm showing of The Muppets and coming home to finish making Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (thanks to a delicious recipe from Bill the Butcher). Then this morning started by going to CrossFit and doing a team WOD with two of my best CrossFit friends. Participating in today’s WOD was a big deal since I’ve been doing solo workouts and rehabbing my shoulder due to tendonitis and bursitis that I’ve had for a year and a half.

For Thanksgiving dinner, we went to my in-laws’ house. They were the hosts and we dined with them, my sister-in-law, her fiancé, John, my parents, and a family friend. The feast was complimented by laughter and now I’m home on the couch, blogging, while John and I are watching Harry Potter, which is kind of a tradition in this house.

It was the perfect Thanksgiving Day.

Thirty Reasons to be Thankful

In the tradition of last year, here is what I am thankful for this year:

  • John – my support, my rock, my heart
  • Building strength, physical and psychological
  • New friends
  • Old friends
  • Friends who have moved from professional to personal friends
  • Twitter BFFs and blogging buddies
  • You, my reader
  • My blog
  • My new job
  • My old job
  • Mentors
  • My family – my parents, my in-laws, my sisters, my brothers, my nephew
  • Going to celebrate my nephew’s first birthday next week.
  • Having control over my own schedule
  • CrossFit
  • My acupuncturist and my chiropractor
  • Celebrating hump day
  • Being a writer
  • Mustaches
  • Hipsters and the hipster-way-of-life
  • Dancing, just because we can
  • Cooking and baking at home
  • Cuddling (even though my husband has dropped 50 pounds in the past year thanks to CrossFit, his hipbones are still fun to cuddle with)
  • Listening to my gut
  • Putting things in motion
  • Not settling
  • The ability, drive, and ambition to fix things that aren’t right
  • Big ideas, implemented
  • Do-ers
  • Being comfortable in my own skin and appreciating who I am.

That last one is probably the biggest way to summarize all that has happened so far this year. 2011 has been a “building” year – personally, professionally, physically, and psychologically.

Thank you – for reading and being here; lamiki.com would not be what it is without you.

Thank you.

Post-Thanksgiving CrossFit workout

Now, I’m going to do what I told you not to do yesterday and log off to spend time with the first item on this list.

When is it okay to quit?

quitter by jen collins (hellojenuine)

Two years ago in June, I walked into a CrossFit gym and started a workout with barely enough strength to lift the bar. This was embarrassing. I was not a newbie at all, but a nine-month veteran just home from three weeks away from the gym due to business travel. I was very familiar with the fact that I would not be as strong as when I left, but I wasn’t lifting any weight at all, I was just trying to lift the goddamn 35-pound bar.

Something was wrong. Something in my life beyond the gym was affecting my workout. And something needed to change.

That time I quit CrossFit

That summer my life was a mess – I was working for a manager who said I needed to do some “soul searching” to see if the job that I was doing was what I wanted to do, my husband and I were buying our first house, and I was discovering what it meant to be an “adult.”

They say that one of the main reasons why people work out is to relieve stress. But CrossFit is different; it requires concentration of your mind, body, and soul to push your body to do things that you never imagined it could. And as a friend put it, at CrossFit, you are very vulnerable. And those three things consumed all of my thoughts to the point that I could not put them aside so I could use my brain to focus on the work out at hand.

It was scary. And if you aren’t on solid ground mentally, emotionally, or physically, it makes it even worse.

And it can turn something you love into something that isn’t worth it anymore.

So I quit. I decided that I needed time away from this thing that I was growing to love. This activity that was the first and only form of working out that I ever “got.” This hobby that showed me I have damn good form and kick ass at lifting. This sport that was causing more stress that it was relieving.

The difference between quitting and failure

It’s okay to say enough is enough and put a stop to what’s not working. For me, quitting CrossFit allowed me to take one responsibility off the table so I could spend my energy on working through some really big milestones in my life. It allowed me to preserve the sanctity of CrossFit so that it would still be fresh when, or if, I decided to return.

The idea of quitting is romantic. It’s an action that many of us would like to do, but rarely act upon. And I’m not talking give-the-man-the-finger type of quitting; I’m talking about the “it’s not good for me anymore” type of quitting. The kind that slips out of your mouth over wine with a friend when you tell her about the job that you’re not into anymore or the man you’re seeing who doesn’t fulfill your life the way he used to; the kind that she’ll encourage you to get over and promise that that feeling will come back and that you’ll come out stronger than when you started.

Or, if she’s a good friend, she will tell you to listen to that feeling and just fucking do it.

I like how John Falchetto says it, quitting is a choice:

I chose to quit when there is no progress. When no matter the effort I am exerting, in whichever direction I am pushing no progress is made whatsoever. Sometimes it is easier to walk around the wall than try to push through it.

Quitting is not the same thing as failure. Failure is the act of something not working in the way that you intended it to work. Failure is an outcome, quitting is a choice. Failure is something that happens to you (or something you direct), quitting is you putting a screeching halt to something. And sometimes to prevent being run over by the train, you have to change the tracks and put up the stop sign.

And it’s okay.

Whether it’s a hobby, how you workout, your job, your lover, and even your best friend – quitting, when you know why you’re doing it, is okay.

Learning from the past

Technically this isn’t a story about quitting; it’s a story about hitting pause. Four months after I quit CrossFit, I found my way back. I resolved two of the three issues that got in my way during the summer and found a new gym. This new gym invited me to join their community and I fell back in love with CrossFit.

It wasn’t the same kind of love. This time, I know that I will have an “off” night and that things will happen at work and at home that will affect how I perform at the gym. There are nights when I will fight back tears because emotionally, I can’t find the strength to start or even finish a work out, but I will find the strength to show up. And that’s okay.

This time, the relationship is different because I am approaching it differently.

What have you quit? What did it teach you?

Photo credit: Jen Collins (hellojenuine)

The Problem with Criticism and Flexibility

sookiepose by 416style

I have been in a funk. Yes, that’s right, I said it. I don’t know if it’s Seattle’s endless winter or the fact that some things in my life have not been rolling on the shiniest side of the coin and I don’t really know what’s going on.

Okay, that’s a lie. I know what’s wrong and what’s not right and I’m nervous to admit it. Mainly I’m upset because I’m guilty of not moving forward. You know that I’m a fan of getting things done, making things happen, and a ton of other clichés. I am not wearing my strong suit right now and I’d rather shy away from the public eye instead of staring what’s wrong in the face, owning it, and changing it.

And then I write.

I received some really honest feedback about a month and a half ago that was so spot-on that it made me nervous. I internalized it and because of that I’ve let that feedback turn from constructive criticism, a chance to inspire and motivate myself, into something that has been halting me.

This has happened before and I know that “feedback” is hanging over my head when it really shouldn’t. It was meant to empower and give myself a gut check, and I totally took it the wrong way.

The problem with criticism (constructive or not)

I’ve been guilty of violating Tara Sophia Mohr’s eighth rule for Brilliant Women as I have been open to the feedback and guidance others are graciously offering to me, but I have not been viewing their feedback through my own eyes and my own perspective about myself. It is good to be open to the advice and feedback of others as it’s a good gut-check to how I’m coming off in public, but never, ever, when it’s at the expense of myself.

For example, I have been struggling with an injury since last summer and in January I started taking control of my own body and going to see specialists, physical therapists, massage therapists, and an acupuncturist to try and diagnose what happened so I can recover. It’s working, slowly. But around the first few weeks of February I came to a stand still when my physical therapist declared that I am a “hyper flexible” person or have “hyperextension” in my joints. It’s not bad, it’s just how I am and probably attributed to the injury. But then my doc gave me a barrage of information about how I should be aware as a “hyper flexible” person when lifting weights that I don’t over extend myself since I have weak joints, etc.

I became the poster child for “hyper flexible” people. I actually met someone at a party and we bonded over our hyper-flexibility. Seriously, if I found a bumper sticker that said, “Hyper Flexible People Unite!” it would have gone on my car.

Flexibility isn’t always a good thing

Everything I did was through the lens of a “hyper flexible” person. I was an advocate with a new identity (and a ridiculous one at that). And then one day at the gym my coach sat me down and read the following quote from Epictetus, the Greek Stoic philosopher, to me:

Disease is an impediment to the body, but not to the will, unless the will itself chooses. Lameness is an impediment to the leg, but not the will. And add this reflection on the occasion of everything that happens; for you will find it an impediment to something else, but not to yourself.

Whether it’s a physical ailment or part of what drives you, you can let something define you or it can just be a part of who you are. You can let it rule your life or you can rule it.

The choice is yours.

Has something someone said ever rocked you to the core and changed how you thought about yourself? How did you crawl out of that and find “you” again?

Photo by: 416style

My Unfinished Business with Angie

Down with you!! J. Star

In CrossFit, the workout-of-the-day (WOD) is generally named after a person. They can be named after girls, heroes, and other guys in between. Sadly, the hero workouts are named after CrossFitters who serve in the military or armed forces and died in the line of duty. I haven’t found how the girls earn a WOD named after them (or which real-life ladies inspire the said workouts), but it’s my goal to someday have a WOD named “Laura.”

Anyway, if I am the hero of my CrossFit destiny, pushing myself against me and laying down personal records day in and day out, then I can’t be a true superhero without an archenemy. And mine goes by the name of Angie.

Angie is a body-weight workout and the worst 20 to 30 minutes of your life (or 10 minutes, if you’re that good).

ANGIE

100 pull-ups
100 push-ups
100 sit-ups
100 air squats

For time.

CrossFit Evolution – Angie from Lori Schwartzberg on Vimeo.

My history with Angie

Angie and I have played together three times over the past year, which is a lot since CrossFit programming is constantly varied.

1/8/10 4/11/10 7/26/10

ANGIE adjusted

50 ring dips, 50 jumping pull-ups
75 knee push-ups
100 sit-ups
100 squats

ANGIE

100 banded pull-ups
100 knee push-ups
100 sit-ups
100 squats

ANGIE

100 banded pull-ups
100 knee push-ups
100 sit-ups
100 squats

29:11 27:09 29:17

To set the context, April’s Angie was during the 40 WOD Challenge when I was going to CrossFit 3-days in a row, 1-day rest, 3-days on, 1-day rest, etc. I was at the height of my physical fitness for the year and was kicking some major muscle. In July, I just started a new job and was barely going twice a week. The thing that really pissed me off was I was busting out some killer pull-ups and rock-solid sit-ups. The push-ups, well, were a struggle. But two minutes slower? (more…)

What’s the deal with handstands?

Laura Kimball_handstand_Mazda2_Lamiki

Occasionally I post pictures on Twitter, Facebook, and even this blog of myself doing handstands. There are some friends and followers will consistently “like” those photos and drop comments of excitement and delight. Then there are other friends who will wait until we’re face-to-face and ask, “Why is your profile picture upside down?” Or even more direct—“What’s up with those handstands?”

What’s up with those handstands?

Handstands are the unofficial sign of a CrossFitter. To quote Greg Glassman, the father of CrossFit, “Handstands, hand walking, and pressing to the handstand are critical exercises to developing your athletic potential and essential components to becoming ‘CrossFit.’

Handstands work your balance, strength, and flexibility, three important elements that are “CrossFit.” They’re something that we can do outside of the gym, on a whim, and without any equipment. In the woods? At a national landmark? In your mother’s backyard—do a handstand; have someone take a picture of it and share it with your friends online for all to see and comment on.

It’s kind of like a gang sign as it shows your affiliation to a very specific group of people.  If you search on Google, bing, or Flickr for “CrossFit handstand,” the SERP will turn up a number of photos of people inside a gym and at the most awesome places around the world. These are CrossFitters in their natural habitats, doing their thing. (more…)