16 Weeks Out

I wrote a post over the weekend with lift details (Friday was good, or so I thought) and an update on the search for a coach (I found one but was struggling with what to do). It felt like all the other recent posts. Torn, depressed, looking for my heart.

And then Monday happened. Shoulder day. Rough moment with Coach. Rough moments with clients. Unfocused lifting. And it all ended with Coach kicking my ass. In short “your showing up and doing your lifts but you aren’t working. You’re not giving 100%. If we were on the practice field I would have pulled you and not to sit on the sidelines but I would have sent your ass home. I’ve tried to figure out what’s going on in your head, I’ve tried every way I know how to flip your ‘On’ switch and I can’t find it. Whatever obstacle is in your head, you need to get rid of it. 16 weeks. You have 16 weeks. Whatever it is, don’t push it aside, don’t deal with it later. Get rid of it. You know you haven’t been doing your work. In the last month, who has been working harder: you or me?”

No one out works me. It’s all I know how to do so I do it at full speed. But he’s right. “You” I answered and it sucked. I don’t let anyone out work me, not even Coach. And then I said “but what if you’re the obstacle?” “Get rid of me. You don’t have time for obstacles”. “I’ve been looking”. “Good. Any athlete that wants to win would”. “But I found one…this isn’t how it’s supposed to be”. “You’re supposed to want to win. Period. I think you can get there with me but if you can’t, get me out of your way. If you can’t flip the switch with me, you have to go to him.” “I have 16 weeks. You know me better than I know myself. He doesn’t know me. But there aren’t blurred lines with him.” “There’s good and bad to both. You have a hard decision to make.”

I had a long night. I cried. I broke things. I wrote. I read old posts from when I was a warrior. I said “f*ck you Coach” (a lot). I watched a marathon of “Frasier” and laughed (a little). I watched him slack off for a year (which he admits) and he has the nerve to say he works harder than me?! And the worst part is, I had to admit he was right. The list of things I am not is never-ending: I am not talented, gifted, smart, pretty, sweet, athletic. What I am is the hardest worker. Any time, any place, any task. I out work everyone.

And today I finally showed up and did my work. Towards the end, when I realized this little button-pushing speech worked, I started to laugh and said “You stole that speech from me. I gave you the same damn one months ago. Did it work?” “It got me thinking. And then I wanted to punch you.” That’s about right. When all was done, he said I did a nice job showing up. Of course I did. No one out works me and I will prove it every damn day. 

Maybe lift details will follow later. Maybe not. If not, just know my deadlifts were solid, my right hip carried the squats, I’ve taken 2 ice baths. Workout number two is about to take place.

Whatever the future for Coach and I may be, I can say this with certainty: This warrior has been retreating for months. Last night I had to choose if I was giving up or armoring up. I did not put 4 years worth of work into this battle to quit 16 weeks away from accomplishing something. Everything else is put aside. I am marching back to war.

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Vacation

Vacation Day 1 was a bust. It was going well when I posted and then I ran into work for my second workout and 1 rehab client. Total time should have been 1-1/2 hours…

5 hours later … The hubs texts “where the hell are you?” With clients and resenting every second of it. Driving home, muttering about “give an inch and people take a mile; they know I’m on vacation, why would they take advantage?” and other things, I decided it was unfair to blame them. At any time I could have said no. I should have gone to the gym where I’m anonymous, I should set boundaries for my sanity.

Day 2 was wonderful! To avoid anything work related we left town and turned the phone off. We hiked (carefully, my hip/hamstrings/glutes were a mess), swam in the river, had a picnic and listened to old-time radio shows.

We have the most beautiful state park system in the country and it is our goal to visit every park. We are well over half-way. Today we crossed another off our list and, while it was small, it was amazing. I didn’t take my hiking shoes (my foot strikes differently in them which irritates my hip). Instead I wore my older pair of running shoes. I don’t need them pristine but I do need them usable. I avoided one mud pit about 50 yards across, by using a fallen log as a balance beam. The second mud pit, however, had no such luxury.

I don’t know how much the hubs has been lifting lately, he goes to a different gym than either of mine, but today I found out he’s doing well. He came over to me, knelt down and told me to get on his back. I was hesitant. “I’m not little anymore you know”. He didn’t budge. So I climbed on him and he walked across. His foot sank in the mud at one point, sending us teetering, but he pulled it out and then picked up the pace. And feeling like kids again (or wanting to show off) he carried me up the hill.

Yes, the next time I take vacation, the next time I am supposed to be present for him, the next time I need to be present for myself, I will say no.

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Another Step Forward

I am on vacation…sort of. I have one finishing up a rehab program and I promised to go in for her. And, of course, I had leg day.

And what kind of progress did I make on leg day? My hip was able to handle deadlifts AND squats on the same day. I don’t even remember the last time I did that. And since January my back squat has been at 95#, regardless of the number of reps and sets…the next day would always be filled with pain. More often than not, weeks go by without squatting at all.

Today I laddered deadlifts up to 225#. I squatted 135 for 9 reps. Something in my hip pinched during deads but nothing to whine about. And then it was time for a decision: what to do about the remaining lifts? Just because nothing hurts today, it doesn’t mean I will be able to walk tomorrow (I’ve been here before) but the thought of finally completing a leg day…I decided to take my win an see what the results are. If I am good tomorrow, next week I will push a little harder. I do need to sit on ice tonight. Legs are a 2-a-day (as will chest be) and before I ice, I will do hamstring work.

It looks like I may be competing in North Carolina instead of Missouri. I have to admit that heading south in December instead of west has a certain appeal! And Coach said he’s certain that we will be adding deadlift to the competition, even if it’s just for the experience of it. I will be consistent enough to do it. Gotta admit – I’m pretty excited (though I am muting that fact!).

As for the rest of my vacation, today it is 90 (it’s about time!) and I am enjoying sitting in the yard looking at my blooming flowers. Each flower bed contains varying hues of pink, randomly planted. It’s a color I usually hate but that I love in my garden.

And with this post completed, I am going to enjoy the peace of watching my garden grow.

New Cycle, No Sleep

It was a wonderful day and for the next two days I am on vacation. It is time to relax. I am exhausted and crawled into bed…and tossed. Then turned. Then kicked off the blankets. Pulled them back on. After 2 hours, here I sit, repeating one of my go-to thoughts: successful people surround themselves with successful people.

New cycle. Three weeks of 3×3. Monday’s still belong to shoulders. Mil Press 55#, upright row 85#. Then on to 3×15 work: smith shoulder press, lat raises, rear delt work. After 5 weeks, Coach is coaching me again which means I can make more than just feeble progress. My lifting today was effective. It was another workout he made up on the fly. That used to make me angry, him putting no thought into an athletes program, but I am finding those to be the best and the most pain-free. They have become some of my favorites.

So why, after a wonderful and full day with clients, after a good lift day myself, and the start of a mini vacation, can’t I sleep? I have collected the names of a handful of coaches within reasonable driving time. No one can possibly be as brilliant as Coach but he is no longer the leader this Warrior Girl needs. I won’t leave Coach until after I compete. And this is what weighs on my mind when the lights go out and silence fills the room: if I don’t tell him soon, he will find out anyway and life will be hell. There will be no competition. If I do tell him, it will be over in that moment and there will be no competition. I have never lied or omitted a detail from him but it seems prudent to do so now. I always try to do the right thing, to be honest and loyal, but what does a person do when it is in such contrast with their best interest?

And for so long, before Coach was my coach, it was my dream to be on his team, his athlete. Part of me still can’t believe I am. I am good enough to be one of Zimmermann’s! It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this.

My goal for 2015 is to compete in an all-around (squat, deadlift, bench) and in 2016 qualify for a national competition. I won’t have time deal with 5 or 6 weeks of his meltdowns and my reactions, every 6 months. Coach, a year ago, would not want this for me. What it does to my head is more detrimental to my lifting than any of my injuries have been. And I want to be successful.

He’s there every day. He must know it’s time as well.

Strength In Real Life

Another weekend working at the river. This time I enlisted the help of another lifter (and mother of My Athlete).

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The work is almost done, the logs are in and we finished pounding in the metal posts.

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The boys are wrapping the fencing next weekend.

Once again we ended the day in the river.

Neither one of is would have signed up for this 3 years ago. I weighed less than the pounder and she had the opposite issue. It’s pretty amazing how far we’ve come…and to be able to put our strength to work. To build something that will last.

I tell people that what we do in the gym is only as good as the use we make of it in life. Inside the gym I’ve been struggling with my workouts, I am no longer on the team but I keep showing up and working my ass off. Why? Why do I keep going and working? Because that’s life. Because, even if it’s for a day or a few weekends in a row, occasionally a team needs a worker, a warrior. Because this warrior needs a team and I will be ready when I find one.

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A Husband, A Friend, and A Dream

My husband is amazing. Don’t get me wrong, he can be a big PITA at times, but more often than not he is amazing. So amazing in fact, that it should probably be his name on my back instead of Coach’s.

He eats chicken and broccoli (or asparagus) every night with me. He washes the dishes while I take my programmed nap. He rubs my sore muscles and buys ice for my baths. He is disappointed that, together, we can no longer rock climb, play tennis, swim, hike (like we used to), go to the ropes courses, etc. yet he is always the first one to remind me to care for my hip. He works his tush off to pay the bills so I can sell my grandmothers silver to pay for Coach and get my business going.

He doesn’t understand my goal. He misses the active and petite girl he married. But, in his quiet and non- demonstrative way, he is my number one supporter. He is my “behind-the-scenes”. I forget this much too often.

I remembered today. Back day.

When visiting New Mom yesterday (she and Baby Girl are the most beautiful sight!) she repeated something she has said a handful of times, a warning I thought I had heeded. I laid awake last night and listened. I finally heard what she was saying. Throughout my lifting today, her voice, her hard to hear message delivered so sweetly, was constantly on my mind. A gut feeling she has long had that I’ve trusted the wrong person. As someone who doesn’t trust people, to hear I may have chosen poorly is hard. And true.

By the time I finished my pull-ups I was considering the why of these two people…why the hubs puts up with this? What’s the angle? Answer: 1) he wants the business to succeed, to relieve him of financial burden. I want this too. 2) I think he truly wants me to have something of my own, to be able to say “I did this”. The why of New Mom? Through all of my dumbell rows I considered this and realized something else: I can’t find an angle. She genuinely is concerned with nothing to gain. I have never experienced this from someone. She, too, genuinely wants me to have my dream. I should pay attention to her words.

It can be no surprise that, by the time I hit RDLs and Good Mornings, I couldn’t find my hamstrings. I was no longer thinking about other things but I was exhausted.

I did something to my shoulder on pull-ups. Tonight it is throbbing with pain. This weekend I program mobility for it and, while Coach said focus on muscle movement, I am fairly certain I need to focus on the joint and rotation.

I looked at the pile of dishes and knew I should do them before hubs got home. In the next moment I was sleeping. By the time I woke up they were washed. I put the chicken and broccoli on the grill and hugged the man who helps me live my dream. He may have an angle, I may not connect with him and I take him for granted, but we dance in our kitchen on Saturday nights and we love each other every day (even the days we forget).

And, in the end, the best idea may be to wear my own name come competition day: Warrior Girl

Lifting, Family, and More

I apologize for any spelling and/or grammatical errors you may find. My computer caught a virus and my thumbs are pecking this out on my phone. I blame this little bug on the sudden drop in temperatures – one day it was a beautiful 82 and humid and the next it was 50 and drizzling. It’s enough to make anyone and any thing catch a bug.

Bench day Friday was with commands again. I never loved to bench so much. The week before Coach had pointed out that, as much progress as I have made, my lift off still isn’t lined up correctly. So I practiced with just the bar throughout the week. And Friday I was only off by a hair. My triceps are behind so accessory work is focussed on developing those: dips and push-ups and tri extensions, oh my!

Saturday I missed my mobility work but I don’t think I missed out. I returned to the river and peeled wood, hauled mulch and 5 gallon buckets of water, tended the new orchard, and best of all: my step-dad who doesn’t let anyone play with his toys, called out in his stern, booming voice “Elizabeth, get on the tractor”. Oh, yes! This little girl got to drive the tractor! Terrifying and SO MUCH FUN. Mom walking in front of my path at unexpected moments did not help my terror. Despite the chilly weather we were drenched in sweat and stink. So mom, hubs and I jumped in the river for an hour.

Sunday my hip was tender but not yet inflamed. I tended it: ice, foam roller, gentle mobility. This is the feeling I lives with for 6 months before it went, that I never told Coach about. The feeling I have the day before inflammation sets in. I wanted to keep it until Monday so I could show him and accurately describe the issue. My self care was too good however and except for the weakness that is left in its wake, my hip was all clear and functional by Monday.

Sunday my step-mother was rushed to the hospital and my father has been a mess. Our limited and strained relationship has suddenly become very involved and increasingly strained. I came face-to-face with how little I have progressed when I thought I had come so far: I haven’t forgiven as much as I thought, I haven’t developed the patience I have been practicing. I have been able to stay true to a promise I made myself: She is all he has and I know the aloneness he fears so much. Even he, if I can help it, will not feel all alone in the world.

Shoulder day Monday. I am in the last week of a the Wendler cycle: 5-3-1. Wendler cycles are my favorite by far and while the lifting portion has been great (it’s the only time I have had a clear head), I haven’t been able to carry that joy throughout my day. But For 1 hour I did not receive a frantic phone call or text. Coach was making an effort to bridge our gap (and, while I promised myself I wouldn’t let down my wall, I cracked a smile, he made it back in). As for my pride in my 55# DB chest press a few weeks ago, it was knocked to floor when I shoulder pressed that weight. Not bad! More tricep work…

And today. Leg day. Coach has me returning to my favorite position in the deadlift and finally, after many many weeks, I am back over 200. Laddering up took a ton of pulls, and at 225 I had nothing left. But being over 200 has me honestly believing that I could be back to where I was (pre-injury) by year end. No matter how slow the progress, it is still progress.

And then I squatted. All other lifts were dropped. My hips were done. Tonight my glutes are on fire.

I have spent weeks feeling like I’m treading water, looking for a rope to grab. And too much family time is like a hurricane in this precarious position. But today, exhausted and unable to continue this level of stress, I was able to look around and find amazing gifts. Coach was first among them, when he listened to my darkness and didn’t think less of me. A friend just popped in with coffee. A client brought homemade soup – for my household and my father’s. And the New Mother is having me over for time with baby tomorrow.

It occurs to me, after all these years of me telling myself that “no one should ever feel alone, not even my father” I probably should say …not even me. Coach is the first person I trusted enough to let behind my wall since I was a little girl, followed by the safe and unseen readers of my blog. But maybe, just maybe, I should reconsider the distance I keep from real-life people…