Iowa was the most rewarding trip I have ever been on. My CrossFitter went with me (middle picture), NCAA/Team USA Girl got bronze, and I caught up with a former athlete who is strength training high school girls and running triatholons.
At the moment I am processing all the craziness of this summer, thank God for Coach who is the calmest most centered person I know besides The Husband. Home and lifting have been rock solid, peaceful places…finally. And Coach’s wife has become a great friend to be goofy with. I’ve missed being goofy.
My lifts are slowly increasing, as Coach said “not as quickly as you want but I’m happy” so therefore so am I. I would rather go slow, be pain-free and having fun than what I was before. I am becoming the athlete I want my girls to be. That makes me proud.
And let me repeat, I am – almost – doing everything I was before (not tennis) and am pain-free. Pain-free. I should have jumped ship a few years ago.
But if I did, I might not be who I have become and am becoming. And I’m turning out ok.
And my girls are turning out to be amazing!
Coach is making sure that I am having fun, not only with lifting but with life. And because of that, and in spite of the losses we have had, The Husband and I feel like this whole summer is a second honeymoon. We are hiking and swimming and rock climbing and biking and running (short distances) and golfing. I have never liked golfing but as my injuries have permanently ended my tennis playing, golfing it is. And we have never had so much fun, so much laughter, so much love, before. All things I had been banned from doing before…even before my injury. I started some of these things on my own and one day when I walked into the training room a little more sore than I should have been, Coach asked what was up. I told him and said “so now I suppose my life is going to come to a halt again because training is more important”. He looked at me and said “ya know, if this is all you have, life is going to suck. And worse, this is going to suck.” “And I’ll go back to hating it and crying everyday.” “Yep. Your old coach and I have different approaches that way. Well, as long as running isn’t a marathon and you don’t play tennis ever again.”
Tomorrow night we leave for 5 days in the woods. The Husband and Coach like each other (that helps) and The Husband is rewarding my return to life by making sure I have a session with Coach before we leave and offering to come home early so I can be back before my deadlift session on Monday. I kind of feel like I have it all.
I am still not hitting the numbers I want but I am enjoying the process of figuring out the issue. It isn’t lack of strength and it isn’t my head (yay!!). Something just isn’t activating properly. Coach has made this lull incredibly fun. At the end of each session, if I haven’t met my goal, he throws a little fun time my way. So far we’ve had 9 reps of 225# deads as fast as possible with a time cap of 1 minute and I did it in 21 seconds; 6 reps of 245# deads in under a minute and I did that in 58 seconds; and the best one was yesterday: 235# deads 1 rep every 10 seconds, goal 10 reps…I got 8 and he called it on 9 for rounding my back. There was an audience. They cheered, I said I missed my goal and Coach, laughing, said “Hell, I set a pretty damn lofty goal. I am impressed.” These little endings are the closest I will come to CrossFitting again – they remind me of bits of CrossFit workouts and leave me with that same exhaustion and pride I always had after a WOD. Oh, how I have missed that joy – and it is absolute joy!
And apparently this renewed spirit is noticeable to everyone. If I had a dollar for every person who has approached me and said “your the person I remember again”…I wouldn’t be able to retire but I would be able to get three sessions a week with Coach.
It isn’t the roller coaster good and bad either. It is just a solid foundation of confidence and happiness.
And now to continue the honeymoon of a summer….
23 days ago…my last post. That evening My Crossfitter’s mom called. There had been a tragic accident, could I come?
The next 14 days were an emotional horror. My 17-year old Crossfitter, often referred to as “My Girl” and “My Athlete”, had been holding hands with one of her best friends when they dove into a quarry. My Girl surfaced, her friend did not. The joyful yet always ready for a fight girl I had just seen a few hours before is forever changed. Over the next two weeks her mom and I took turns holding her, making sure she ate, watching her begin to laugh just to have her collapse in tears. I repeatedly and silently gave thanks that I don’t have children of my own. I desperately wanted to take this pain from her, and I am just her trainer. What her mom, what the mom of the dead friend will forever experience, I don’t know how they will ever be sane again.
Since we are in The Middle of Nowhere, most of my athletes and parents knew one or the other of the girls. They were all incredibly flexible with their schedules and patient when my biweekly “athlete updates” were emailed late. One mother said “I know you would do the same for X if she needed it” and I would. Coach has a magical way of shutting everything in the world out once I cross the threshold to his training area. It was about the only respite I had – lifting and learning. As he is a more experienced coach than I am, and has worked with hundreds of kids compared to my dozens, he would sit down at my desk, outside of the training room, and offer advice and guidance on the role of a coach to kids who need a little more support in the world.
And just as that immediate crisis entered normal grieving, an amazing man in my life died. Six weeks prior we were told he was terminal. All of his “strays” spent a last father’s day with him, and then he died. I was glad for him and his minimal suffering. But he sure didn’t give us time to adjust to the idea of a world without him. One of my friends wrote the obit which began “Wise Wayne, known for collecting stray cats and stray people…”. Just last summer he and his wife celebrated 50 years of marriage and the tough old German gave a speech to her that reduced us all to tears; such love and they were so entwined, I don’t know how she will breathe without him.
Today is the funeral.
So I haven’t updated here. I used all my energy staying mentally well through all these unexpected journeys.
Hopefully all returns to normal after today and the next post is back to workouts. 9 weeks to my next meet!