Sunday, June 29, 2014

You Can Do Hard Things...And Other Lessons My Kids Learn From Crossfit

 "When you thought I wasn't looking"
When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator,
and I wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw you feed a stray cat,
and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw you make my favorite cake for me,
and I knew that little things are special things.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I heard you say a prayer,
and I believed that there was a God to talk to.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I felt you kiss me goodnight,
and I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw tears come from your eyes,
and I learned that sometimes things hurt,
but it's alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw that you cared,
and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I looked....
and I wanted to say thanks for all the things
I saw when you thought I wasn't looking.
Author: Mary Rita Schilke Korazan

When I first embarked on my journey towards a healthier me, in January of 2014, I began creating signs to display, in different rooms of my home, that would serve to encourage me. My favorite of the signs is one, painted on canvas, which has become my mantra.  It reads "You Can Do Hard Things."
I forget this, and need to be reminded of its truth,  I CAN do hard things.  The evidence of which, I had seen, in the last six months of 2013, when I challenged many of my fears, by taking an improv class, completing
our local Citizens Fire Academy-
scaling ladders, including a 100+ foot doozy, though I am terrified of heights, and swimming in open water, in the Carribbean, with 10-15 foot reef sharks (yes, they have big teeth and yes, they could have eaten me for lunch). 

Believe it or not, Crossfit is harder for me than all of those things, and fear swells inside of me, every time I enter the box.  But I do it anyway.  Yesterday morning, I awoke with dread- knowing that I had a challenge to complete, and I was really behind.  On Tuesday, those of us involved in the "ninety day challenge" were instructed to supplement our WODs with 90 double unders, every day, until Saturday at 1:00.  And if you could not yet do a double under, you must substitute 250 singles.  That's 1500 singles total, for me, and, friends, that is no joke.  It ended up being a busy week, getting home from vacation on Sunday, and hosting a college friend and her family until Thursday morning...So by yesterday, I had only completed 480 of the required singles-and I knew I was in trouble.  At 11:05, I sauntered into 427 Washington Road, along with my hubby and two of my four children...feeling less than enthusiastic about the jumps.  So I did the only thing I know how to do- with such a task- what I've learned, from the coaches and my colleagues at the box: I broke the 1,120 singles down into sets of 25 reps.  And slowly, but surely, after warming up on the rower, I began to chip away at the goal. 

About half way through, I started to smile...
not only because it seemed that I just might endure, but because I had become
acutely aware that my children were getting a most invaluable lesson,
through all of this.  Though they were busy completing challenges that they had set for themselves,
I knew that they were absorbing all of the other magic taking place in the room, as well.  Silently, they were seeing their parents, who are overweight and out of shape, struggle to overcome the insurmountable task in front of them- no complaining-no apologies.
  They saw their parents determined to better themselves, without consciousness of how they looked or how simple their feats were compared to other, more elite athletes in the room.  They witnessed the power of not giving up....the joy of finishing that which seemed impossible just an hour before.  And I thought about the poem, which a friend had copied for me when my oldest child was just a baby.  And I thought how I'd rewrite it for this occasion:


When you thought I wasn't looking
I saw how crossfit athletes come in all shapes and sizes, but are all very powerful
And I knew that strength was better than body type.
When you thought I wasn't looking
I saw members of a box, young & old, black & white & in between, cheering one another on

And I knew that humanity is kind, and caring, and together is so much better than alone
When you thought I wasn't looking
I saw how you struggled to keep jumping
And I knew that if you could do it, so could I.

When you thought I wasn't looking
I saw how you stopped to catch your breath, and you wanted to give up
And I knew that you can always start again

When you thought I wasn't looking
I saw how you could have gone home, but you persevered
And I knew that you only fail if you quit.

When you thought I wasn't looking
I saw a Mom and Dad who are trying very hard to overcome difficult habits
And I knew that its never too late to pick yourself up and be better than you were before

Eventually I finished the goal, dripping sweat, but feeling fantastic.  It was a difficult morning, but, my kids getting these kind of lessons?  Totally worth 1,120 singles. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Doing It Anyway

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 - 1962)

I lost my battle with the temptation of donuts, yesterday morning, and finally caved into the Sombar daily beach ritual of inhaling Krispy Kremes, from the "Farm Store."  I thought I'd be writing a different post, really.  I thought I'd be boasting of my will power and strength against old triggers- like fried dough, dipped in sugar. first I scarfed down two...then today, it was two and a half.  Truth be told, I could have eaten a whole dozen.  Luckily, the embarrassment of buying that quantity saved me from such a disaster.  But I thought about it.  I pondered spending my whole Thursday eating donuts, in bed.  But then, that pesky "do the next right thing" idea floated through my mind, again, and I knew it was time to practice what I preach.
Headphones on, Fifty Cent rapping in my ears, I took off down Bunting Avenue, toward the mailbox, a half mile ahead, which was my turn-around point.  I am the slowest runner on earth.  Partially because I am a bit fattish.  But also because I hate running.  I get so out of breath, which feels like dying to me.  I have an aversion to dying, and anything that resembles dying. I told myself that I just needed to complete the mile, unbroken, and then, if I really was dying, or just totally miserable, I could quit.  Brad, one of my coaches, at CFMTL,  told me, the first and last time that the mile was scheduled as part of a workout, that all I had to do was finish the mile.  I've decided that he meant that in a forever sense.  Even though that was a month ago...really, for the rest of my life, all I really need to do is run that mile. (Though, maybe I should be shooting for more, at this stage in the game).
Eleven minutes and fifty seconds later, I arrived back at our rental.  Not dead, but wanting to be dead..or at least in bed...with donuts.. I know. 11:50 is a horrifying time to post.  Who in the world needs that long to run a mile? But I DID NOT STOP, PEOPLE.  AND REALLY, YOU NEED TO GIVE ME SOME CREDIT FOR OPTING FOR SWEATING AND PANTING INSTEAD OF BURYING MY FACE IN DONUTS.  
Then.....given what I currently look like in my bathing suit, I took about one hundred and fifty thousand deep breaths, and started the WOD, in the parking lot, probably to the horror and confusion of the neighbors:
WOD:Time4 Rounds

5 Hang Squat Cleans 155/115
5 Bar MU
30 Double Unders
Since I have no weights with me, on vacation, I swapped out the hanging squat cleans for air squats. And I also haven't located any pull-up bars near the townhouse (no, the lifeguard stands won't work- I checked), so I exchanged the five bar muscle ups for ten knee push-ups.  I am not yet able to do a double under, so instead I completed the required substitute of one hundred twenty singles, each round. 
Thirty singles into a total of four hundred and eighty, and out walk two of my lovely children, who refused to accompany their father to the beach, to begin their hourly campaign to make me insane.  "Mommy, what are you doing? Are you doing your WOD? Are you done, yet? How many have you done? Can we go to the pool? Can you do the WOD at the pool? Where is the pool key? Are you going to buy me new sunglasses, Mommy? Are we going to the boardwalk tonight? Are we going to the rides? Can we go to the arcade? Are you done yet? How much more do you have to do? Where is Daddy? Where is Lily? Where is Poppy?" I wanted to punch both of them in the face, then lie on the sidewalk and cry.  I really didn't have it in me to do four hundred and fifty more jumps.  I hate the jump rope.  Its so pretty but its as bad as running.  But, I kept forging onward, as did the children with diarrhea of the questions  "Mommy, we can't find the you know where the pool key is Mommy? How much have you done? Are you done yet? When are you going to be done? Where do you think the key is?"
I finished my last two rounds, on the side of the community pool, because I am a push-over, sick of people whining, trying not to end up in jail for homicide  great mom.  Then, for dramatic effect, and because I am a nut, I jumped into said pool with my clothes on
I didn't want to move my body today, except to buy more donuts- then eat them.  But I did it anyway.  Because doing it anyway is the only road, to victory, over everything that holds me back.  And it is certainly the only way to stop being fat and a slave to food and a crossfit bad ass. 
What do you need to do anyway, today? If this girl can do a WOD like that, in public, and survive, then you certainly can do what you need to do, too.  This I know, for sure.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Picking Myself Up From Failure- Doing The Next Right Thing

First official day of summer vacation, yesterday, and I was already spent.  We'd driven down to Fenwick Island, Delaware, from our home in Pittsburgh, at the crack of dawn on Saturday, for a family trip to the beach. Seems wonderful, but two of our children have the attention span of a spastic mosquito, and by Monday morning, 6am, they were already bored.  BORED. AT THE BEACH. A WHOLE OCEAN WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE OF OUR RENTAL...AND. THEY. WERE. BORED.  Thus, began, the behaviors.  The whining, the fighting, the throwing of sand, the screaming, the ugly name-calling, the crying, the running noon, I wanted to get drunk and leave town.  And I'm not really drinking anymore.  So, I did what my brain immediately equates with relief: I began eating...I ate double my portion of lunch, then headed to the infamous Candy Kitchen and went on a spree...a pound of fudge of varying flavors (did I mention that I DON'T EVEN LIKE FUDGE?), and a quarter pound of almond butter crunch. By the time I returned to our temporary home by the sea, I was discouraged and depressed- the better than sex almond chocolate stuff obliterated and the fudge, untouched (remember- I don't like fudge).  I wanted to quit my whole life at this point- or maybe just return for more candy...But, then, I made a choice...which has been absent from my repertoire until recently....I chose to do the next right thing. 
I changed into yoga pants and a tank top, laced up my running shoes, and left the townhouse, in the pitch dark, and ran.  Without street lamps, I had no idea how far I had gone, so I stopped after a while, and turned for home, a bit frustrated and a lot exhausted and out of breath- walking this time, at a decent pace.  The negative voice, which holds
Night running on Fenwick Island- No street lamps
to light my way.  Yes, I am a bit nuts but Determination Wins!
major real estate in my head, told me that I was such a loser because I wasn't running the mile, unbroken...that walking the way back was taking the chicken way out. It begged me to give up, eat some more, and then go to bed.  But I didn't.  I reached the front porch of our rental and proceeded to do forty air squats, then one hundred singles with my jump rope
This journey is not pretty-its edges are rough and inconsistent.  But each step teaches me something else I need for the long haul.  This lesson was about coming back from failure...about moving forward with a positive action,  which is not only possible, but the quickest way to save yourself from spiraling downward.  In the past, a binge would have led to more reckless eating, then despair- it would have been an excuse to quit my goals for good.  Instead, I went to bed, an hour later, feeling much more capable of triumph and second chances.  
What is your next right thing?