Dragon Age: Inquisition And Desperation

I haven’t been keeping up with my daily or every-other-day posting and here I am twice in one day! I have never blogged about the depths of my geek side but you should know that while many people think Warrior Girl refers to my unstoppable spirit, it is actually an homage to my love of RPGs and I always play a Warrior Girl.

A friend of mine dropped something on my doorstep and sped away. It was something I had been looking forward to for years, the one thing I was going to do for myself. But then unexpected expenses made it impossible. He bought me Dragon Age Inquisition. Poor kid. The problem wasn’t the cost of the game. The problem was my gaming PC was no longer functional and the “new” used car required me to allocate all my funds towards it rather than the picture I had on my fridge. I didn’t have the heart to tell him.

Since the games release, my big brother has been texting constantly “You have to start playing” “It’s better than you were hoping for” “This is awesome” “I haven’t gone to work in two days” and great shit like that. I, however, knew how awesome it was as I was watching some of my favorite players on Twitch and glaring at the game taunting me from under the Christmas tree. Soooo…

Saturday I went into the hole in the wall my favorite techie works out of to see what we could do. Sure, he had plenty of 1.5 – 2K machines he could sell me but I am his favorite geeky Warrior Girl so he suggested I poke around in the spare parts room and put something together. I affectionately call my “new” computer Frankenstein. You can imagine. And since I will be returning almost everything this summer when I build my dream machine, I got it for the low low price of $500 and will recoup it all. I am proud to note that Frankenstein is the nicest freakin’ PC I have ever owned and I BUILT IT FROM SCRAPS! What??? I can only imagine what I will come up with in a few months when I have time and money. SWEET!

As for my review of the game: Mind Blown. Best time I ever had. I’d like to be able to carry a little more life on me and it’s not my favorite inventory screen but neither suck so bad I would actually complain about them. They don’t even suck. If I didn’t have a competition to prep for, I would be cutting back on my training by many many hours. In the end, this is probably a lesson in learning how to balance life. At any rate, I am sure post-comp I will still have many hours of playing left.

In case you were wondering (and this applies to all RPGs) I am a Warrior. In a unique twist I am going sword AND shield. Yep, Warrior Girl’s changing it up a bit.

And thanks Tom!!! Coffee is on me next time!

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Things Fall Apart

As I log into my WordPress site on a computer (yes, all the recent posts have been from my phone which explains all the typos), I am excited to note that soon I will have a new header photo. Coach and I both look like different people.

We only have to make it 17 more days. Does that sound fatalist? It is not intended to. I am so excited I can hardly stand it. But I am also exhausted mentally and physically. And the holidays are coming. Not my favorite time of year. Coach is exhausted mentally and with life in general. And the holidays are coming for him too. I am beginning to walk on eggshells as we seem to implode every six months and the last one was June. This isn’t the vision I had for these last 2 weeks. I wanted us to be better than ever. When we’re good, we are freaking amazing.

I am doing my best to stay focused. The Middle of Nowhere was hit with an ice-turned-snow storm last night into this morning. My 15 minute ride home took an hour and I cried the whole way. Weather WON”T keep me from getting to NC! It can’t. I have worked to hard to have that happen. I imagined  December 11 arriving and hearing Coach say “The highways are shut down” and me shouting “find a friggin’ sleigh”. I slept until 3AM and peaked outside. Still snowing. And I cried until 7. At 6 I picked up my phone and pulled up Coach’s number. I wanted to tell him I can’t do this. It requires too much faith. Faith in my training, in him, mostly in myself. Faith I don’t have. I never had that feeling with CrossFit. I was super stressed but I knew I was good and giving 100%. Lifting is my primary love but I have never felt good enough at it. I am scared. I put the phone away. I won’t let fear make this decision.

My morning crowd cancelled and I hadn’t heard from Coach so I went in early. The logic being he could leave early. But just as I pulled into the parking lot he texted that all his clients cancelled and wouldn’t be in.

I told him months ago my last heavy week (we are at 90%) would go horribly wrong. I knew deadlifts fell on Thanksgiving and while he has always worked the holiday, I had a feeling this year would be different. Indeed, he is taking the Thursday and Friday off but he is coming in for me. And while this may be a good opportunity to say how great my Coach is, I think it comes more from being a loving little brother who wants me to succeed.

For that alone, I should have sucked it up and done my work today. But I am exhausted. My husband thought I was crazy when I left the house and I told him “I’ve never wanted a day off more but I can’t wait until later. I am too tired to do this on my own today”. When I read Coach’s text, I fought with myself for ages. Coach has said I’m on his team because I am the hardest worker he knows, he’d be stupid not to have me. What he doesn’t realize (he is still young) is that I am tired. I have always been the hardest worker but I have never been the best. And to watch people who barely care achieve what I am working so hard towards and will never reach just because they are young…I am tired.

The husband is off all week. We turned up the heat, decorated the Christmas tree, watched movies and played games. It was chest and tricep day so I did push-ups as needed. And just for a little while, I cut myself some slack.

Tomorrow it will be 16 days. Wednesday’s are rest days and he wouldn’t let me make this day up anyway. Moments like this always remind me of a book I had to read in high school. I don’t remember one thing about it except the title, it struck me so strongly that I see the book cover every time I have a day like this and use these words: Things Fall Apart. When those words pop into my head, I know it is a particularly bad day for me. They mean I have hit the bottom of my black pit. Things Fall Apart.

And tomorrow I will wake up thinking: But I can always put them back together. Things always come back together in some way or another.

Little Brothers and Little Babies

The week ended very badly. The weekend brought an amazing gift.

Good: The lifting was great. Coach didn’t have me weigh-in.

Bad: All our relationships except the Coach-Athlete are strained. Quite honestly, as long as he can coach me I don’t even care. That makes me sad.

The weekend started with an unbelievable joy. A good friend of mine and his wife (another client of mine) asked me to be the first non-family to meet their 12 hour old son. I was over the moon.

Loving a little brother is infuriating. Loving a new baby is bliss.

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And don’t my clients have the cutest babies?! I should market this somehow…

3 Weeks

3 weeks from this very moment Coach and I will be 6 hours into our drive. I suspect this will be the time he takes over driving so I can rest, if not sleep.

I look forward to things. I like anticipation, imagining all the wonderful ways things can turn out.  Once a party or vacation or event starts I begin seeing the end – so the actual thing happening is tinged with saddness. But the looking forward to is always happy. And fun. I have 3 weeks of fun ahead. 3 weeks of work and happy.

Deadlifts today worked up to 80% max. I failed my last rep. Part way through something happened and the conversation turned from lifts to life and I couldn’t get my head back in it. I used too much hamstring on the last pulls and tonight it throbs.

That’s it for the lifting portion. My afternoon workout is core work.

I started this year training on my own. I had such big goals but I was alone. I was not going to give up but I began to believe that those dreams I turned into goals would just be dreams forever.

But here I am. In 3 weeks I will be 6 hours away from The Middle of Nowhere and 6 hours closer to my dream. And I won’t be alone. This is the most fun I’ve ever had!

My (first) Last Cycle Begins

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The last cycle has arrived. Circa max. I am three workouts in and sitting down to write this I just broke out in a smile: This is really happening. I don’t know who this person is but I gotta admit she’s kind of a badass. Who would have seen this as my future? It’s a god thing I have this feeling since the Monday/Tuesday workouts don’t leave one feeling awesome.

Monday:  5AM 45 minutes cardio
10AM 4×20 deadlifts, hamstring curls
6PM  4×20 leg press, leg extensions

Tuesday:  10AM 4×20 DB Bench, chest press, flys
6PM 4×20 single arm overhead tri extensions, skullcrushers, dips

Wednesday: late day 45 minutes cardio

Today I have to push my 6PM workout to 5AM Wednesday. I am pretty sure Coach won’t approve. I so rarely talk to my big brother and he’s been contacting me all day today. Postponing my lift 11 hours seemed like a fair trade for this little sister.

Thursday and Friday this week I will be deadlifting and benching 80% max weight, accessory work will be 4×20.

I booked the hotel today, budgeted for gas and post competition meal, made my packing list, Coach is handling the food. I am sure I will check these things a dozen times between now and our departure which is scheduled for 5:30 PM Thursday December 11.

This is exciting. Coach pointed out that regardless of how I do, I need to remember to have fun. “How many times have you been around a bunch of other big lifters? (never) Do your work but accept that it isn’t going to be your best day. Have fun finally being part of something. Have fun watching people like you lifting. You love to watch people lift.”

I will. Lifting is a beautiful thing. And I’m badass enough to be a part of it – that is pretty awesome.

Weigh-Ins: My Biggest Dragon

I have to get on the scale. Part of competition is being put in a weight class. When I first started talking about competing Coach had said we wouldn’t worry about it: whatever I weighed that day is what class I would lift in. But we also want to be competitive and the right class can make the difference. And seriously, the first time I get on a scale would be day of competition? I am pretty sure that is a recipe for disaster. The last time I had an official weigh in (years ago) I had rocketed from 80# to 105#. I was a hot mess for a while. I love my strength. I hate my body.

Coach told me weeks ago when and why we were starting this. When he said “between now and competition you will weigh in with me on bench day. Before or after is your choice but remember, you will weigh in with people present and before you lift that day so…” i think i went into shock. In the corner of my mind I knew people would be present and this will be public information but I just hadn’t thought about it. Terror and shaking set in. I can imagine the look on my face, I know I curled up into a ball, and Coach reached for my tremblimg hand and held it as he spoke. This is harder than I thought it would be.

Everything else is just a mountain to climb but this is something entirely different. This makes me tremble with fear. I would rather die than get on that scale.

I chose before lifting for 2 reasons: 1) I need to practice weighing in and moving on, and 2) I am afraid to weigh-in and suddenly find myself alone. I will be lost and hating myself – never a good place to be. I need Coach’s help: to process, to give me something to do, to be the voice of reason when my thoughts are unreasonable.

Last week was my first weigh-in and it was rough but I got on, Coach read the scale, I went on to bench and it was a good lift day. I thought I handled it well. This week I got on, Coach read the scale, I panicked. He sat me down and talked for a long time. As much as he can be a hard-ass he has a sweet side and would break up his talk to gently ask “do you understand? ” If I shook my head he would rephrase, when I nodded my head I would follow up “I know this is my disorder talking but…” and he would bring all my crazy thoughts back to my lifting – the one thing I have always heard over the disordered voices.

My lifts weren’t awesome, I struggled mostly with the lockout, and I didn’t increase from last week. This spurred a pep talk (again highly unusual from Coach) regarding the difference between competion records and training records and he wants me to cut myself some slack since it’s my first competition. Ever.

For all the patience he displayed throughout the day I can only conclude that my reaction to the scale was worse than I thought it was (or could be) and he was worried. When Coach is worried, I worry. I stuck to the food plan (mostly) over the weekend. We’ve come so far, I owe it to both of us to give 100%. This battle is so much easier now that I have people who believe in me; now that I believe in me.

And a Warrior Girl has to keep her strength up. After all, there are swords to carry, armor to wear and dragons to slay.

Deadlifts, Intruders & Examples

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November 2012 I maxed my deadlift at 265#. I set my next 6 month goal as 300#. I like big goals.

February 2013 my hip started to hurt constantly and it worsened every day. I never complained. I had goals to work towards. June 2013 came and I maxed my deadlift at…265#. My right glute and hip didn’t activate at all. The next week I was down. I had no clue how long it would take to climb back up. I decided early on I would get back to 265 and work like mad to reach 300.

So when Coach said deads would be in for competition I was shocked.  It had been a year since I went down and I was still in the 100’s. I wasn’t ready. I was disheartened. I was frustrated. I was afraid.

Through the last 3 cycles 225 has been written on my sheet. I pulled it once in 10 weeks. I’ve been consistently falling apart at 195. This cycle is written “1 rep to fail +1” increasing weight 10# each successful rep. I’ve not made it past 215.

Today, as a special treat, the other trainer who I don’t know and I’m not fond of, was following us around chatting. I have no tolerance for chatting (or him) while I am working but I follow Coach’s lead and he is playing along. Walking up for my 195 I know this is where I fall apart and I am unhappy to have this audience.

I have often commented that I love the bar, I love lifting, more than anything in my life. As weird as it sounds, it is the most intimate part of my day, the most passionate moments of my life. It is gentle and raging all at once. I lose myself and find myself at the same time. I want to choose who I share these moments with. He is intruding.

So I walk up to 195 and lift it beautifully and in record time. We keep increasing weight and I stop doing the math. The intruder leaves part way through. All pulls move quickly, cleanly, pain-free. I fail. My +1 is easy and beautiful. Coach smiles and says “by the looks of that one you have more in you but…” it was my +1, I know.

I later come back to him and ask what the last weight was. 235#. I calmly say “I’m so proud of myself. Can I be a little excited?” He smiles again and says “I’m f%_÷€! $ excited about it. Your deads today: that’s what happens when you are patient. Patience will bring you success.”

I used to think nothing counted until I got back to 265. That was the point I would start keeping track again, reporting actual numbers, nothing counted until then. But today I got up 235. I haven’t done that since June 2013 either. Today counted. Every day has counted. Every day was a fight and every day was progress. 

Oh, I will hit 300# someday but I have a lot of good moments waiting for me until then. And I will not “go gentle into that good night”. I will fight for and earn and even celebrate those moments.

As a side note, Coach has been injured and unable to bench or the accessory work for a while. Today was his first day back at it and he hit 315. As we stripped the weight the other trainer said “nice job” and Coach shrugged his shoulders and moved on. Later, alone, he said to me “315 on my first day back. Holy shit!” and his face was lit up. I high fived him and thought about his initial reaction. I have so much to learn from him about remaining calm and just doing the work. I am amazed to be the one he shares his excitement with. I’m not just the team mascot, I’m a key member on the team.