Friday was bench day and the first day this week my head was somewhat clear of the emotional fog. It has been a deload week which is usually bad when life is rearing its dark side but this week it was good timing. Until Friday I mentally wasn’t present, I couldn’t refocus and deload was as much of a load as I could push.
Friday my mental game showed up and I had some of my best bench technique to date. Consistency is the focus and I was consistent through 4 of my 5 reps on every set. Coach pointed out I needed to keep the intensity through rep 5 (true) but today I carried it through 4 repeatedly. That’s a first and I noted my small accomplishment.
We then sat down and discussed what the next seven months of competition prep will look like. Coach said “I always wanted you to focus on the powerlifting instead of being distracted by prepping for CrossFit”. BS! And thank goodness for mental exhaustion because if I had one ounce of energy I probably would have said unforgivable things (feelings that only today I am able to put calm words to). What I did say was “That isn’t true and you know it. It’s easy now to look back and regret our choice – OUR choice – for me. But honestly, I needed CrossFit. I loved it. I am a better athlete and person because of it, and without it I never would have believed in my ability to do anything in this life. I did amazing things and I deserved to find out what I am made of. Only CrossFit could have shown me that. We did what we did and looking back will destroy me. We can only work with today and prepare for the future. What’s the plan? ”
Monday we begin implementing the program. We actually have come a long way: there was no arguing, no questioning (beyond clarifying specific points), no defensiveness as Coach laid out the plan. I am receiving yet another new (to me) set up for lifting. We are back to the standard four day split (shoulders, legs, rest, back, chest). Bench is going to be my focus lift in December and I was anticipating 2 days of work for it – one dedicated to max effort, one dedicated to dynamic effort. Coach wants all of my main lifts to be ME and the accessories on each day to be DE. And with all of this focus on Bench, what is the plan for my deadlift? I originally thought that would be my main lift.
Before we can even consider the deadlift in competition, I must be able to 1) complete an entire leg workout and 2) have consecutive days that my hip doesn’t feel like garbage. Realistically I will be competing in the “bench only” category in December. If things go surprisingly well, I may add in the deadlift only category; if they go miraculously well, I could compete in the overall.
I have to eat 8 times a day, everyday, no relapses for 7 months. This is where my anxiety kicks in. 8 times a day? On a good day I hit calories and eat 5 times. Most days I am 200-300 under in 4 meals. And then I relapse anywhere from 2 days to 3 weeks, eating 200-500 calories a day. The first thing I did after our talk was make a meal schedule and menu. There is a blessing in every curse and my blessing: since I have such an aversion to food, no hunger mechanism, no cravings, I can eat the same thing for seven months without the menu getting old. One menu, one shopping list, one routine. The only thing I need to worry about is execution.
Saturday was day one of the eating. Mentally it was challenging. I used my alarms. But physically it hurt. I am not sure eating enough, doing what I am supposed to, is supposed to hurt but it does. Beginning with meal 5 I wasn’t able to keep much down but when my alarms went off, I went for the next meal. I am not sure I retained many of the calories I consumed at this point but I did eat my 8 meals. Today I am green just thinking about food but I will get there. I will do it. It was this way when I first started lifting and they had me start with 2 meals a day. Look at the progress I made? I can do this. This is a battle I was born to win.
I must do 3-4 days of cardio that does not involve the hip. And what about the second chance my brother gave me to be on his team for the mud run in October? Coach said “oh shit”. I couldn’t participate the first time my brother asked me because it interfered with my training. Coach knows it broke my heart, he knows how much “being picked” means to me and he knows my brother doesn’t give second chances. I could see he wanted to say “like hell you will do it” but instead he said “oh shit” (pause that lasted an eternity) “let’s reevaluate that once it is closer”.
Friday night I went to one of our local art galleries as I knew the featured artist. The Middle of Nowhere has an a brilliant art community. I ran into a trainer I haven’t seen in years and she asked about my program. I was surprised when she said “you don’t seem happy about competing. I expected you to be overflowing with excitement”. I am so excited I can barely see straight but I have a lot of work ahead and, if CrossFit taught me anything, it is to not get too attached to the end-game and enjoy the day-to-day. Anything can happen.