Illness, Friendships, and Lessons

I have been physically ill 6 times in 40 years: Twice with influenza, the standard high school mono outbreak, and I am currently suffering from my 3rd cold. Whenever I have called in to work “sick” (which was rare) I was in the midst of a severe anxiety attack or in the hospital under “watch”. I don’t count either as sick, those are just part of being me.

Anyway, I canceled my clients today but I never miss a workout. New Coach made this a hard call. He has World’s Strongest Man in one month. If I get him sick this close to his biggest competition, I would hate myself. And if I, inhuman immunity girl, am sick this must be one hell of a bug! I went in and let him make the call. He said I lift. My competition is just as important as his.

Reverse band deadlifts. Breaks were longer…much longer. 3 reps would leave me seeing spots and  gasping for air. We are down to purple bands (taking 20# total off the floor) and I got 3 sets of 2 reps at 290#.

He asked about my meds and if the constricted breathing makes my anxiety worse (nope). And then he detailed his anxiety attacks and asked more about mine (he’s been studying again, prep for both of us). I told him generalities and when he said “if you’re uncomfortable…” I replied “no, I hate admitting how weak I am. I’ve finally got a diagnosis I can get behind: OCD. The anxiety sets in when I can’t get a hold of it. And the fact is, if Coach is here I have to take 2 pills and sit in my car waiting for them to kick in before I can face walking in here. Otherwise I’m fine most of the time and if I do need one occassionally, it is only one”.

It makes perfect sense to him. I wish it did to me.

My absence has been due to good reason. I had 2 filmings (one for the gym!) and a photo shoot. I’ve been cordinating a summer program for high schoolers, prepping for comp, and hanging out with the husband and friends. I have the best in each.

One of my closest has a new girl and the vetting process has been…fun. She loves anime, PC gaming, and is getting ready for a Cosplay convention. She’s in school, gainfully employed, and sensible. And cute as cute can be. Spending loads of time with them has been healing for my spirit. The Husband threw me a belated 40th birthday party, complete with tiara and all. My new Training Partner is a beautiful red-head who did my make up for my photo shoot and she took me make-up shopping (her feeling is tough girls should still be pretty). After 40 years, I am learning how to put on make-up. And my dear New Mother (whose name will have to change soon…) continues to be the dearest friend I have ever had. We spend what extra time we have playing Mario Kart and chatting.

I am officially excited for the competition. I said to New Coach “I know you’ll tell me to reign it in” and he said I can and should be excited. “I wouldn’t have okayed it if you weren’t going to have fun. If you weren’t excited, if you weren’t having this much fun, I wouldn’t have encouraged it.”

This is such a different way of coaching. It’s better but nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Ever. It will take a lot of getting used to. I really hope I’m that kind of coach.

But the biggest change has been in me. The girl that never quits because she never learned how. I tried to keep fightig but when Coach left, I was ready to quit. At my last “real” job (at Target), a job I only took to buy time until I figured out what to do with my life, i met people who changed my life. I call them my Target family. They were all so proud that I competed even with the results. They all regularly ask when I will again (I couldn’t quit and keep face). They all called Coach cuss words when I tried to defend him. They all held my dream in safe keeping when I lost my energy for dreaming.  And now that I haven’t quit, that I am making another leap, several have asked if they can come support me in April. I never would have been open to this love and support before. But this victory – yes, even trying again is a victory – is theirs as much as mine. What a gift to give me?! To waste a whole day watching a sport they aren’t familar with, a long boring day, just to encourage me through 3 attempts on the bar…who in the world is luckier than I am?

So I guess I still haven’t learned to quit. But I have learned tonbe open to people. I have learned to say “yes, if you want to support me, I could use the help”. And slowly, though I miss who we should have been, I’m learning to let go of those who don’t.


New Coach Responds

The sun was out all day today! It looked beautiful but deceptive. I keep the 30″ box in front of the window at the gym, where the sun lands, and between clients I would curl up on it and work on my program. Surrounded by books and Kindles and notes, I wrote and scribbled and assessed realities.

New Coach had asked me to send it on when I was done. I did, with notes on my logic: my current program has 12-13 workouts per week. By the time the weekend comes my body shuts down, I’ve missed my 2 weekend workouts the last two weeks and I beat myself up. The new program has a rest day mid-week and rest day on Sunday.

I hit send without expectations, having been so used to these being ignored. It must really suck to be the coach that follows Coach. An hour later a long response came. He was hoping I would realize what was happening and was happy I made the choice before injury or mental fatigue.

Before tweaking the program he will study it more in depth this weekend and I am supposed to be prepared to answer questions, prepare sound logic for Monday.

I had my first rest day today. One of the teens (The Crossfitter) will be traveling with me to my April competition. A better ally I couldn’t ask for.

NCAA made my day. She’s beginning to become a mental fighter. Coach once said “someday you’ll have one like you and then you’ll know what a pain you are”. Well, I do and I couldn’t be more proud.  She and I are going to be filmed this weekend for some local stuff. I do wish it would focus on her, you can see how amazing she is – as all my kids are. But just look, I can’t take credit for this!


Conquering Demons, Feeding Others

New Coach grabbed the 2.5 lbs, put it back, made a couple faces and then said “put 2.5 on each side”. After completing my bench press day he said “It didn’t look heavy but it was a little shakey. Did it get in your head?”

“Of course it got in my head. I failed in front of hundreds of people, 3 times, at that weight and because of that weight Coach fucking gave up on me”. It was the first not awesome communication moment I had with New Coach.

And his response “oh shit, this wasn’t my plan. I forgot my plan in getting you over this”. And then I laughed and said “well, you forgetting is probably best – after all, I got it up, it didn’t feel heavy, and no scheming was required. It would always be a monster if I didn’t just face it on my own”.

Bench day over, I went into the bathroom, locked the door and sobbed.

The Mentor has mentioned forgiveness. My Dear Friend has mentioned practicing forgiveness.  My Doctor mentioned forgiveness but then patted my hand and said “knowing you the way he did, he’s betrayed you worse than anyone. You don’t need to forgive him. Ever.”

And indeed, I would live many lifetimes of my early life rather than have one happy day with him.

I suspect this is another reason I haven’t been writing lately. I am supposed to let go and move on but he promised me repeatedly we would be better than ever after the competition and he’d always have my back. We were what family is supposed to be, not like our families. I think about the many times he said such things every time I come here to write. Every reflection on my current day leads me to look around at what I’ve done, still unable to understand why he isn’t there, unable to accept he lied to me. I am alone. He was like my family, he never had my back or was by my side…or anywhere.

I am afraid of my own hurt and anger. Until Coach, I never trusted or believed in anyone since I was 8, when my big brother left me. My closest friend said “you are so cautious how did you even let him enter your life?”

As I cried in that bathroom I just wanted to shout “giving up on me was the best thing you ever did”. And I will never forgive him for it.


Brief update

I made it out of February alive. That was all I wanted.

I have lots of writing to make up for, lots of highs to report (reverse band deadlifys are up to 345#), but time is limited at the moment.

What I can’t wait to say is: New Coach’s wife is a sweetheart and I am supposed to start using a belt. She has loaned me some of hers to try today so I can make an educated decision. They have both taken great pains to make me part of their group. Strongman and powerlifting are close enough in programming that I can join in the group sometimes.

And announcement number 2: New Coach conceded that I need to compete soon. Before he said he would support it, he asked me what motivated me. My answer: originally I just wanted to know all my hard work meant something but when I was in NC, I realized how alone I am up here. I liked being in a room with people like me. I’m feeling more isolated than ever, especially with all the Strongmen/women prepping for their comps so I can’t work out with them for the next few months. I don’t have a training partner. I’m more isolated than ever right now.

His answer: I’m on board if you agree to deadlift only. Yes, yes I do.

April 18. I will be there by myself, he has World’s Strongest Man that week, but at least I will be surrounded by people like me, whether I know them or not.

Go Warrior Girl!