College Coach and Studio Owner

It has been so long since I have been here. Where to begin? I guess with this moment as the past will be represented by where I am now. Especially sinceĀ I finally know what I want to be when I grow up – exactly what I am.

I landed the job of my dreams without even knowing there was an opening or pursuing any position like it. I am the volleyball conditioning coach at St. Norbert College. The head coach also is the head of our areas high school club league (and 90% of my clients are club players). In this world I find myself in, he is a VIP and I avoid VIPs like the plague (keep your head down and do your work is my motto). So the day that name showed up on my phone was a strange and exciting day. Apparently by keeping my head down and doing my work, his club athletes have improved and parents speak highly of me. The college team needs someone to show up, show interest and show enthusiasm when training. Check, check, and check – with the bonus that I write great programs. The ladies are lovely. They show up, they show interest and they show enthusiasm – with the bonus that they work their butts off.

College team training is extremely different than 1:1 high school training and there was a moment I thought I would compare. There is no comparison. Marrying the two is truly enhancing both. I have two dream jobs and, if you know me you know how uncharacteristic the following is, I am damn good at them.

I am also opening my own strength and conditioning studio. What to describe it as has been a struggle (studio sounds so cardio) but as it will solely be for 1:1 training I think studio was the term to us. The Husband, The Coach, and I all sat down to talk and it was decided that the time was right. I had been looking for places for 2 years and we all agreed that if I wait for the dream to be perfectly revealed, I would wait forever. But if I start living my dream, I will be able to create my vision over time. Dozens of friends donated time on renovations, Coach is loaning me some equipment, and the Rogue rack/Ohio bar/bumpers are en route. I worry what the girls and parents will think of the space (it isn’t beautiful or shiny) but, after telling them, most girls squealed, one girl cried in excitement and gave me hug, and all the parents have said “this is just another reason we chose you to be our daughters’ role model”. I’m not really sure if their daughters’ took such gambles they would be this thrilled.

And yes, the gap of time has filled my shelves with medals and trophies from powerlifting. I still do my thing. But that isn’t my life anymore. These young women that I am so blessed to have in my life and I get to watch and guide as they turn into college women and medical students and strong professionals…well, that is where my life is.


I Am


“All that time I spent fighting you when you wouldn’t let me track my weight (on my lifts), this cycle you tell me to track and I have to confess I just didn’t. If you need my numbers for the next cycle, I don’t have any to give you.” I say this to Coach like a kid about to get in trouble. He looked at me with a smirk and said “you finally get it after all these years.” I don’t know that I get it, it’s nice to know the numbers, but I am not obsessed with judging my ability and my worthiness to be on the team by the weight on the bar.

We worked the details today for bench press…or should I say detail. The little detail of pushing everything in the first two inches off the chest. Between sets Coach jumped the weight 20 pounds while asking when I noticed the back spasms. I wonder how he noticed them. I tell him I don’t really know. Laying on the bench just feels off and when lifting off the weight, nothing feels right or natural. I am not accustomed to this.

I fail many reps today but Coach says “better”, “you did your work today” and other positive things. Apparently he jumped the weight so much because I needed to work on that first two inch push, something that lighter weight I don’t need to give 100% to but the extra 20 pounds…I’m going to push like hell even if it only moves 2 inches.

Coach was maxing deadlifts between sets. On his last rep I think it was our combined sheer will that completed the rep. At the top the bar was bent in such a way it looked like something out of a cartoon. He limps away from the bar and says what he thought was a problem with the hamstring he now thinks is the tendon. We finish our accessory work.

And then we sat down at the laptop and finally make it official: I fill out the form for my competition. Our day to fill it out was October 1st but various events throughout the week caused me to evaluate who I was. Today was the day to become that person.

Throughout the last few weeks plenty of people were compelled to remind me of who I am not and what I am not. In a phone call with my father he began to tell me what I am “I saw a picture of you and you’ve gotten *(&^%$# huge…” I stopped listening. From him, this is not a complement. A few days ago, when I was telling Coach about another event, he said “Please tell me you expected this. You weren’t disappointed.” I shook my head but I was lying. “You need to stop trying to be good enough. You could do and be everything they want and, knowing you, you would do it exceptionally well, it still wouldn’t be good enough for them.” Fact.

I am a weightlifter. And I want to do more than hide out in a tiny gym in the middle of nowhere. I want to see what I can do. I’ve talked about competing, when I could no longer compete in CrossFit I still believed I would compete in something. We narrowed it down to two comps and then to one, but it still didn’t feel real. I could still change my mind. It wasn’t really who I was yet.

Today we pulled up the form and filled it out. Before we hit submit I looked at Coach and said, again, “you’ll be there? You promised you’d be there.” Yes. And I hit submit. ERROR flashed across the computer. This was not the plan. Coach laughed and said “Calm – you’ve seen this a million times. You’re missing the credit card expiration date. Calm.” I fix my error, hit submit and receive my receipt.

I am a weightlifter. I am finally a competitor. And I am good enough and getting better.

This was a big moment for me. We needed to commemorate it. My trusty photographer could not be present (I never thought to ask, I didn’t think it would be this monumental). So we got a selfie: the day I know who I am, the day I am becoming someone and the person who, through ups and downs and fights and make-ups, is always my strongest supporter and the best little brother a girl could have.