No Sleep & Active Rest

Wednesday: active rest. I dreamed my 5:30 AM canceled and it shot me awake at 1:18 AM. Just short of 3 hours of sleep. I was afraid to go back to sleep, worried that when the alarm went off my foggy brain would think the dream was a reality. I watched the clock until I couldn’t stand it, rolled out of bed and nursed my coffee until 4 then just went in. She was 45 minutes early, another one who couldn’t sleep. We just went to work.

As we were finishing Coach arrived. I love this. He used to talk about having his own facility, how he’d need me to help him. I loved his storytelling. This is probably the closest we will get. I tend to prepare for the worst, I know these days of working alongside each other won’t last forever, but for once in my life I am not going to worry about the ending. I am happy, living a (modified) dream and I am going to enjoy every moment.

I then went to the bill paying job and all of the equipment was down – “global issues” which always cracks me up as we are in 2 countries, not so global if you ask me. I spent part of my morning setting up for Christmas (super cute stuff) then working in the back room. For those who have never worked retail, back stocking requires many skills developed in crossfit: dead lifting, squatting, sprinting, climbing. Heck, I’m sure I could have worked in handstands somehow.

I should have gone for a walk or bike ride but having broken a sweat at work and needing a nap, I came home, put ice on my hip, snuggled up with my cats and slept.

Coach has never answered my day 1 question: does my job which is on my feet, constant walking, often lifting, count as active rest? He’s always said I still need to do something else on Wednesdays but when I simply can’t, do I need to feel guilty?

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Three backs and Three Take-Aways

Tuesday: Back day for everyone. My client had back, Coach had back, I had back.

It is official: all of my clients stay and finish their workouts after their time with me is up!! This is an exciting and proud moment for me. I know it is the easy to walk away at the end of session and so I declare “I have the BEST clients ever!”

Coach was doing straight leg RDLs as my previous client was leaving and I called her over to watch. He is so good at everything and I tell everyone this fact. I admit, I wanted a witness. AND I learned something valuable. I spend so much time watching his depth and hip movement that when she said to him “your chest expansion…” and listened to his reply, I realized I never noticed it. I coach my people shoulders down and back but I am pretty sure one of my people will understand “expand the chest” better. How did I not think of this?!

Thanks, by the way, for your astute observation. I used it on my go and my movement improved.

Barbell row, SA row, SL RDL, standing lat pull downs, Lat pull downs, back extensions and reverse glute hyper extensions. I was concerned for both of us on the SL RDL: Coach’s right knee injury left him pretty wobbly and I knew it could muck up my right hip if I engaged it incorrectly. He took forever getting through these because of it, I powered through – I knew stability was my only hope for survival so I stayed stable and went to it.

He had a client after so he stayed to help me finish the lat work, he would do his after the next session. When he told me the plan I finally said “I’m afraid I’m holding you up, you would have been done and with enough time to shower before your client.” He said “are you kidding? I’m doing my workouts”. Yeah, me too. Before the solution neither of us were doing our work.

Accountability…I’ve never been on a stretch like this, where I just lack the drive to do my work. And I have never known Coach to be like this, though he obviously has since he prepared a program for such times.

Education…before we were a team I watched him lift and tried to figure out what he was doing so I could mimic his form. Now I get to observe up-close for countless reps. We discuss the movements between sets and when switching turns. It is making me a better lifter and a better trainer.

And fun… This is loads of fun for me: Choosing my weights, lifting alongside the best without all the stress of overachieving, crushing goals. It is the best of the way it was when I started: lifting for the love of lifting but I have proven my ability to hang with the best. With regionals off the table (for now), he cues me differently and my reaction isn’t so personal. The focus is on simply getting better, getting stronger, together.

At the end Coach said something about putting him on display (he was teasing and didn’t mind it). But I told him I couldn’t help it. For one thing she was working RDLs and I wanted her to see excellent form. But also, I am always telling everyone how amazing he is at lifting (and that HE wanted ME to be his trainer) that I wanted someone else to witness, someone that appreciates my excitement about form and lifting.

He really should enjoy this moment because I am hot on his heels. Pretty soon he will be putting me back on display!

It’s Good To Be Queen

Monday: I knew I would like being Coach’s coach on this day. Volume overload on chest followed by 60 knees to elbows, 60 decline weighted sit-ups and 60 dips.

I’ve already been a spotter for him on chest days, I already know the look he has just before a fail. I know his wrists will be wonky, when I mention it they will improve…for 3 reps then get wonky again. At one point he said he thought he had 6 left so he knew really had 8 (a lesson he learned our first day together).

I learned a better way to top-load weights. For people who know, who have been doing it forever, it may seem obvious. But my only client on a strength program is Coach and when I am running my strength program I concern myself more with not dropping the weight on my face (yep, that’s happened) instead of what Coach is doing.

Then it is my turn to go. Throughout these next weeks, Coach has me picking the weights (more often than not we say the same weight at the same time). This is new. When he took over my training he made me hand over all control. Our first Coach-Athlete talk before our first official workout he made it clear he would be in charge of everything 100%. It made me insane, it made for a lot of fighting, especially when he would forget. But I finally let go after a year. He’s in charge, he has the map, I just follow and accept that he will forget. Now, suddenly, he is making me part of the process. We have finally started working together.

Now I have to choose weights: not based on where I was (I have lost so much strength) and not based on fear of failing (it would be too light to see improvement). I have to base this on the combination of reality and long-term goals.

I must be doing a pretty good job because he will ask “how much?” There will be a pause and, more often than not we say the same weight at the same time.

It was much more fun being the trainer than the athlete today – and I like chest day. But volume lifting sucks! I was fairly spot on for weight since it sucked but wasn’t impossible. At one point I looked at Coach and said “your trainer’s Coach is an ass”. He made the translation.

After our session I was training another client, Coach was in the same corner finishing his workout, and another one of mine came back to begin hers. I couldn’t help but smile and feel proud: my people doing their work…I was queen of the weightlifters!

Determination

Hello DOMS, I have missed you. This is the second worst case of it I have had. I have increased my BCAAs intake, added protein shakes, ice bathing regularly, foam rolling (so painful yet so good), and stretching.

My legs and glutes are still on fire, I can barely move, I sat on my tush and slid down the stairs because laundry must be done. And then I realized I had no plan to get back up the stairs. Two days after legs day, the overflow of soreness has spread to my arms, back, chest…

Yesterday I thought it was fun – I felt like I was me again. A soreness I hadn’t felt since May. But today I feel every missed workout, every ounce of lost muscle, every day I went without eating.

Determination. Friday kicked my butt, it still is, and I don’t like it. The next eight weeks will be hell but I am healthy, focused, calm and determined – a Warrior.

Coaching Coach

My big brother (years older than me) is one of the greatest men to walk the planet (even with his very human failings). He played baseball since before I was born, an amazing catcher and the smartest person I will ever meet. He was my hero in so many other ways as well. In high school he blew out his knee and came back stronger than ever. The next fall he blew out his other knee. He rehabbed again and went back to catching. Still amazing but I know his body was in pain. He had a dream though, and talent, skill, intelligence, determination, fight, an intense drive, confidence with a hint of cockiness, a fierce belief that he was special – and he was. Because the knees slowed him a little he was told he would have to work harder. So he worked harder.

I could have watched him play forever. I studied and learned the intricacies of the game from him. But if he asked me my opinion on something, I would go mute. I would be giddy that he asked even though I am sure he was humoring me, making me feel more important than I really was. HE was the brilliant one. HE was the one reading everything and every player and making split second decisions. Who was I, 6-7-8 years old, to tell HIM what could be improved or what he missed or who to look out for? How could I say he was to slow on the throw when I knew he still threw pretty damn good even with all the pain? HE was the athlete. HE was the hero. I was just his biggest, silent fan.

I think I may have this problem with Coach. He is the first, and the best, person I have seen Olympic lifting in real life. Like my big brother did so long ago, he leaves me in awe and I learn so much just by studying each movement. He, like my big brother, is my hero in so many other ways as well. So who am I to say, to question, his lifting or form?

The programming part is easy: he has a fall back re-set program he uses for coming back from injury when lacking motivation. We are both on it. Yesterday was more of a training partner set up since we both had extra time. We took turns resting while the other went. We focused on legs: squats and deadlifts. His hamstrings were cramping throughout. We picked our own weights and he chose his perfectly, I should have increased my deadlifts. Honestly, the biggest need he had of me on Friday was to count. Every set of every movement he would say “six left?” and I would reply “EIGHT!” He puked…twice. I take credit for that since, if left on his own, he would have cheated the reps big time. After the session we were both left barely able to walk, both stopping to buy ice. He sent me his recovery today – still icing.

It is hard to coach the person you are trying to become. The day I really feel like I am contributing to his goals, beyond counting, will be a great day: It will mean that my confidence has fully arrived and that I believe I am a valuable contributor to this partnership. It will mean I accept the human-ness of my 2nd hero. I almost wonder if this isn’t part of his greater plan, he is usually a step ahead of me when it comes to master plans.

As for me, I worked today which I am sure helped my legs and glutes. They are still on fire though and walking is a happy agony. I’ve taken 5 ice bathes in the last 24 hours and stretched. No hip pain. I am slowly getting back to eating but the increased food is causing pain. This will pass as I get used to it again and I will need the nutrition to be able to do the program, for recovery.

Realities

Two weeks of vacation from my lifting, but it is time to be a Warrior Girl lifting again. And another client arrives.

I went in to lift back and considered working power cleans. This morning I noticed my ribs in the mirror again. Counting my ribs used to give me a high but this scared me, I haven’t seen so many in ages. I worked my ass off to get away from that high. While I am not allowed to get on a scale, I needed to know what has happened. I would swear my nutrition was on track, even though there were bumps with it through my hip rehab. I know running is not allowed but how much damage could 2 weeks of it have done?

A lot. I have done a lot of damage. My weight is as low as it has been in 21 months. This is a major set back. I decided not to analyze the entire summer but simply reflect on the last few weeks. Calmly I realize this former anorexic still has the automatic brain function of an anorexic. I decide to be brutally honest with myself. My stress has flipped that loose switch in my brain. I have only been eating my steel cut oats everyday at lunch, when people are around to witness and comment (they always comment on my oats). This reinforces the fact that yes, I am indeed eating, people point it out, no worries. Somehow I have forgotten this isn’t a days worth of nutrition. I forgot to set my timers, which I do when I am stressed, but the timers are set around my lifting and I haven’t been lifting. I forgot about me being a priority while caring for other priorities…

So this morning I had breakfast and went to lift. Off schedule and Coach was there. I had to tell him, I had to ask for help. I can focus on one priority but I need help taking care of the other…of me. I asked if we can scratch everything, the whole plan and just start over with my program. He laughed and said we were in the same boat. His latest injury has left him a bit defeated, without motivation, needing accountability. He is scratching his own plan and starting over. He said he had been thinking about my situation for a while, his well-trained eye had noticed my physical decline, and because of it training partners is not a possibility right now. I’ve been waiting so long for training partner status, I was so close, but I am too weak now to keep up with even a battered him, but …

He needs a trainer who knows what they are doing and he wants me. The perfect set up will be for me to come in after the bill paying job, I train him, then he trains me. Fair trade, no cash needed. We hold each other accountable.

This will be an interesting experiment. Tomorrow we start with legs. The next few weeks are volume overload. It may go horribly wrong but how can I not try? I must be ok for him to keep trying to find ways to make it work.

Priorities

I have been absent from posting, lifting, crossfit, and many other daily habits while trying to get my business jump started.

I feel like a hypocrite as I am sitting there preaching the importance of weightlifting in a training program when I haven’t touched a weight in two weeks – except to demonstrate for a client.

When people tell me “I don’t have the time” I inwardly roll my eyes. Everyone has the time, they just choose not to allocate the time. In my head I want to say, do you have the time for a heart attack and the subsequent rehab? Because that is a lot more time than working out a few days a week.

But I honestly don’t have the time. I am up by 4 AM working on my presentation. I then go to work, then to clients, then homework from the Mentor, followed by trying to keep my marriage from falling apart because I have dedicated too much time to my dream (a dream he does not share), then more homework. Finally time – 1 AM.

Finally time and no place to lift. So I have been running. Coach, who isn’t my Coach anymore but I will always call him Coach, would be disgusted. But what is a person to do at 1 AM when they finally have time? This person straps on running shoes and runs.

And then I turn around and explain to people that distance running is contraindicated to their program.

Hypocritical? Yes. Good therapy? Yes. Am I going to pay dearly when 2014 comes and I want to start lifting again? Absolutely!

Is it worth it? 100%! I have picked up another client and the November rent will be paid. My schedule will alter slightly as this client will be a 5 AMer. BUT: I only need one more and I will actually begin to turn a profit.

Coach once said “you have no idea how much you owe me” so I attached a monetary value and before I do anything else, I will clear that debt.

What does all this have to do with crossfit? Crossfit taught me how strong I am, not just physically but mentally and emotionally. Even when I think I’m broken I know I will finish. Thanks to Fran, Elizabeth, Angie, and all the others, I learned to keep going even when the going sucks and you have to pause to puke.

And for now I run in the dark, chilly October air. It’s like going home for me – running was me for so much of my life. It’s always nice to visit home but I won’t be moving back their. I am still a lifter.