Wisdom and Self-Programming

Our little group gathered for drinks (coffee primarily) and games and I laughed almost as much as I did with the little ones just a day prior. July was the last time we were together. We have all had our worlds shaken in 2013 between aging and ill parents, financial crisis, death, addiction, you name it one of us has been hit with it. It was good to gather and laugh. We are bonded by our brokenness and our hope, by holding each other up and falling over in laughter, by our shared dark humor developed during our separate dark childhoods.

My best friend in this group is an artist, musician and poet. He pulls me aside and tells me about a tribe that sends it’s members into the woods alone to survive. It is a right of passage. The individual must remain calm if they are to find their way back to the tribe. The more panicked one becomes, the more lost they get. He looked at me and said “they believe that if you die in the woods it is the shame of being lost that killed you.” I am having a much needed weekend of peace and joy, why the deep thought? He says “You’ve been alone and lost for longer than usual this time but you are almost home. If you remain calm and look around you will see you are standing on a trail. Don’t let the shame of being lost kill you now.” And then he goes out into the bitter cold darkness and has a cigarette.

I wrote programs for 4 clients this morning and then tackled mine. Not surprisingly, mine was the most difficult. And among the rearranging, regrouping, reorganizing I found myself going crazy so I stopped, made tea, listened to the below zero wind rattle the windows, and recalled the hugs of little angels, the sounds of my friends laughter, the smell of my friend which is a mixture of smoke and coffee. I take a breath, calm down, and look around for that trail.

Ten minutes later I finish my program. I stop re-arranging and trying to find a perfect combination. I will fill in the weights as I lift. It isn’t perfect but Joel’s never were either (and he is the master programmer).

As for today, it is too cold to leave the house except for emergency so I will do a 15 minute AMRAP of 25 sit-ups, 25 air squats, 25 pushups.


Battle Plans

I find myself going it alone again. When I was first made aware that our time was at an end Coach gave me an option of programs to follow, I would simply adjust as the hip or my skill development required.

And now that the hip isn’t cooperating I am left to program for myself as well. Lifting will remain at 4 days but I will be changing the order. Coach programmed legs and shoulders (which included cleans and snatches) back-to-back and often I had to call one early because of pain in the hip. I will be separating them as best as I can. I will be working in WODs on the in-between days as the hip allows – my two days back to CrossFit made it clear how much conditioning I lost through rehab and I am desperate to get it back. When the hip doesn’t allow WODs, I will work in swimming (and it needs a lot of work!).

He ended our time after a 3×12 hypertrophy cycle and I will begin the next lifting 4×8. I always like hitting an 8 cycle because it means the weight starts getting heavy, I start working on strength. In a cruel twist of irony I program my first day largely as bodyweight work. I started with Chest work on Friday and I have to admit I really wanted to program my favorite movements. But I am proud to say I didn’t. I began with incline bench, (dislike tremendously), plyo push-ups (love), chest flys (eh), push-ups with one hand on med ball (I like but are my biggest challenge of the day) and narrow push ups to failure. My chest hasn’t been this sore in ages. Day one: success!

I had a client that afternoon and once again missed core work but I have made room in my calendar to get it in every day over the next two weeks. Tomorrow I will program the remaining days for the next three week cycle as well as digging through the file I kept of the WODs I wanted to do while I was hurt. Many of them came from blogger-land.

I met with The Mentor this morning and the conversation turned to my vision of my Warrior. I said “I wear chain mail and I’m smokin’ hot”. I also carry a sword but I kept that to myself.


Heros and Angels

I don’t know how he did it. After my last client of the day I came home to the shouts of “Aunt Lizzy tickle me!” and laughter filling the house. I didn’t even have time to take off my shoes before the attack.

For 3 amazing hours I tackled and tickled two little boys and a princess.

My big brother gave me my Christmas wish, a little teasing, and a great big hug.

And he brought me three wiggly, giggly angels. The best 3 hours of 2013!

Forgive the blurry picture, hubs is the worst with a camera, but I think you can sense the joyous chaos!

Another Program Change

As quickly as it began, it’s changing.

After 2 consecutive Outlaw workouts my hip is inflamed and the pain was at a 7.

It’s been a couple days of rest and evaluating the cost-benefit of cortisone shots (it would be a series of 4 shots). Those aren’t cheap for the uninsured (and I suspect they aren’t much cheaper with insurance).

Then the hubs put it to me this way “if I gave you the money up-front, right now, what would you do with it?”

Cortisone shots were second. I have another, more important priority which he doesn’t agree with. I don’t get the money (I can’t be mad at the hubs when I understand his POV).

So now, as quickly as I changed programming, I have to change again. I’ve been up most of the night trying to put together this puzzle. Then taking it apart and rearranging. Something will fit. Something will work.

There is always a way.

Warrior Girl Returns to CrossFit


Six months and 2 weeks later, I am cleared to return to CrossFit workouts. Coach walked in and said “We have to discuss programming. It is time to get ready for The Open.” Truth be told, I had stopped thinking The Open was possible. Ever. I just wanted to get my strength back and find my enthusiasm for the sport again. I thought Coach had given up too. Only a month ago he quietly said “I never say never but…” and looked at me like he kicked a dog. To hear the words “get ready for The Open” come out of his mouth as if he were saying “sure did snow a lot” – I am ecstatic! I have hope! All I need is a little hope, a little belief from my Coach, and I can do the rest.

But now I have choices. I have made it clear here that I am a lifter first, crossfitter second, and I wanted more of my strength back before I returned to CrossFit. Strength gains are slower when my attention is divided. And before I am too old, I want to deadlift over 300#, I want to squat 300# to bottom, not just to parallel. I simply am a five-year old that wants Santa to bring her everything in the toy catalog.

Now that Spencer has left Outlaw, the question Coach poses to me is: Are you going to follow Spencer or Rudy? I want him to choose. Coach is my Coach. He is taking me to Chicago. He should choose my path to get there. Instead he listens as I list the pro’s and con’s of each: I like Spencer. His programming is geared towards lifting, he seems like a decent human being, his programming makes sense to me but his new program is unproven. Rudy and Outlaw: I still think their program aggravated the hip situation, though I should have taken a day off when I needed it, I don’t enjoy the workouts and they don’t always make sense to me, I don’t particularly like Rudy even though I have no reason not to. Is liking the programmer important? Then Coach and I sit in silence. I think Coach isn’t helping at all but, truthfully, his silence is the most helpful thing he can give.

What I hear in this silence is: this is my journey, my choice, my trip to Chicago. Coach is letting me choose the path to my destination and supporting me regardless of which path I choose. I am unaccustomed to such limitless support from anyone, without any strings attached.

It is my choice and I choose Outlaw and Rudy. I don’t like the programming which is a sign that it is good for me. Outlaw has proven itself and when Coach “graduated” me to it, it was the biggest badge of honor he could give me. I chose it because it challenges me, pushes me, and because I hate it. And when I finish a workout, regardless of performance, I allow myself to say “Eff you and I’ll beat you again tomorrow too.” Coach will still be making alterations to it. I ask when I will start and Coach replies “right now”. Ummm, no.

It is Christmas week and there will be no Christmas for me. No big brother coming home to tease me and give me advice, no little boys to tackle and tickle, no sweet niece to crown with her tiara and read stories to, no sister-in-law to cook side by side. It is a miracle I got out of bed today so we surely, after this discussion, cannot be starting today, this week.

Coach hands me the workout with the alterations and I look at him dumbfounded: “I’m not starting today!” “Why? What else do you have to do this afternoon?” And I tell him the truth. I need my pajamas, I need to crawl into bed, I need to cry until I don’t have any tears left. I need to just be as sad and lonely as I feel. And he says “Or you could do your workout.” The look on his face is more one of “get your ass over to the pull-up bar”. I grab my paper and go over to the pull-up bar.

Six months and 2 weeks of zero conditioning. I have a lot of work ahead me. Good thing I’m a worker. 3 rounds ME pull-ups, 3 rounds front rack walking lunges. Then 5 rounds for time with 1 minute rest between rounds: 15 burpees to mark, 20 thrusters. Puked 3 times. Coach comes over during my last round of thrusters and I yell at him for something. When it is over he asks what I need to work on and I reply “I need to re-learn pacing and I need to puke faster. That was a lot of wasted time”. He laughs and says that’s a good idea but … breathing. Apparently whenever he looked over I wasn’t breathing.

My time sucked so bad I can’t even post it. But it was day one. It will only get better. I said to Coach I was glad I stayed since I threw up all my fluids and I won’t have any left for crying. I was exhausted and content. I had no energy left to think of what and who is missing.

With us now on different programs, we can’t really be training partners and I don’t know how the coaching Coach can possibly work out. He has said he will still need a trainer, it will work out. But it is Christmas, an extra sad Christmas and when tears flood my eyes I say “We don’t need to worry about it today. We just have to get through Christmas.” And as kindly as could be he replies “we just have to get through Christmas”.

I said on my gratitude page that Coach brought hope to my life and today, with “get ready for The Open” he brought it again. We don’t always get along (but we are so much better than we were), we have taken breaks for various reasons, he never apologizes when he is in the wrong and I constantly apologize for everything, we have never given up on each other. Coach is my Coach and I won’t ever have another. We are a team. We are starting a new journey to Chicago and have new timelines. From day 1 together he has pushed me out of my comfort zones, told me horrible truths, and made me face realities I would rather ignore. And, I must confess, I am becoming the person I always knew I could be.

I just need a little faith, a little hope, a little direction. I can do the rest. I AM a Warrior Girl after all.

Thanks Coach.

Sublexed Shoulder

Time to lift and Coach is dragging. I can’t wait for him – I am a storm of every emotion possible and I need to lift. My jerks are good: wrists straight, beautiful lock- outs. I may just up weight…until the last rep of the first set when it gets too far out front. Instead of dropping it I try to pull it in and all kinds of popping and tearing go on in my right shoulder. Coach is emerging from the locker room and, holding my shoulder, I hobble over and just say “help?”.

He filled a ziplock bag with snow and as he lifts, I hold the bag on my shoulder and keep count. We think it’s just sublexed.

Coach asks what I should have done differently and I said I should have calmed the eff down before I started lifting, I lost focus of the rep at hand. He nods his head and says “I was thinking you shouldn’t have tried to pull it in and save it but those are where the lift went wrong. Lifts will go wrong, don’t try to save it when it’s too far out front”. It’s so easy to say but in a split second I’m not really sure I make that choice, my body just seems to react. Oh, and that goal of “don’t be afraid to drop the weight”…that still needs work.

This happens to my left all the time, the result if it coming out of socket regularly as a kid. But the right is not used to this. Between my right hip and shoulder, I should just lay my whole right side in a snow bank.

I said to Coach that maybe my left arm will have to participate now but he reminds me this didn’t work for the hip.

I won’t be very useful at the bill-paying job and my shoulder will be wrapped.

I might think I’m too old for this shit but it’s Leg Day Saturday. I’m hoping to up my front squat, tear open calluses on deadlifts, and there are boxes to jump on. I don’t have time to debate my age.

Bacon Day & Good Luck Charms

Bacon Day was Wednesday. This is what Coach has dubbed the day of my birth. It can be a hard day because of family stuff and it’s right in between two family holidays. So I focus on the bacon. I talk about actual bacon non-stop until it arrives. Even at my lightest weight I would eat as much of it as I could get my hands on.

My dad sent an envelope with two scratch off lottery tickets, an annual birthday and Christmas tradition (though two is a bonus) and I took them in to do with Coach. I never win more than $5 anyway. My birthday can be hard but I must say: coach made it awesome. He turned those scratch offs into a dramatic, cliff-hanging comedic event. It resulted in $11 and we split the winnings.

Late that night my hero, my brother, called with sad news and ended with “oh shit, it’s your birthday”. I know he feels bad for forgetting and I wanted to cry so, like any good little sis, I said “remember that building you blew up…” he’s a chemical engineer these days and that story always makes me laugh. The explosion could be seen across a Great Lake, in another state. HE was not actually at fault but it was his project.

And today I gained TWO clients! I’m so close to making THIS my bill paying job. Coach says between the lottery and the clients he’s my good luck charm. Like I didn’t know…