3-2-1-let’s go!

3 days to go. Are you excited?

I am.

I’ve got to say, I am disappointed that I am not where I had hoped to be.  I had grand plans of completing every Open workout as prescribed and reaching dizzy heights on the leader board. I am still hopeful that the stars align and I can complete at least one workout RX’d but if that isn’t the case I am not going to beat myself up over it.

I am a year older and have undertaken thousands of reps in the last twelve months. I am proud of my efforts. At different times of the year I have been stronger than I have ever been before. At different times of the year I have been fitter than I have ever been before. This week, going into the Open, is sadly not one of those times. I haven’t hit a strict pull up in a couple of months. I haven’t mastered double-unders or toes to bar.

But I don’t mind, much. A lot has changed for me in the last year. I am achieving goals in other areas of my life. I have just started working in a field that I love and I start study to support that this week. This change has affected my outlook profoundly. Where I had been unsatisfied and unhappy with my working life, I channeled a lot of that frustration into training. Now that I am happier, I don’t currently feel the need as much. I’m sure the rose coloured glasses will fade soon enough and I will again get the fire in my belly to burn off steam at the gym.

The flip side of that is that now I train because I enjoy it. I am not just trying to arrive at a destination but am now enjoying the journey. While I still find it irritating that I have to train around my bodgy knees, I am starting to see them as being the obstacle which is the way. And I will find success in spite of them, or maybe even because of them.

Long story short, I am in a good place. I am looking forward to Friday night lights and the next 5 weeks.

See you there!

xoxo

PS – I love it in the days before the Open when everyone is in first place ⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓

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55 days to go

Oh my goodness. 55 days to go until The Crossfit Open. Heavens to Betsy!

I can’t squeeze in enough training to kick all the goals I had hoped for.

Muscle ups will not be making an appearance at this years’ Open. And my knees still won’t let me overhead squat the prescribed weight, or even well below it. But I won’t let this stop me from having a crack at RXing as many workouts as I can. Making the Top 200 in my division is still a distant dream but a dream nonetheless. And I would be extremely proud of my efforts if I found myself somewhere in the middle of the field rather than taking up the rear again.

2018 has been a great year for me.

I learnt new things. 

I did an Olympic Weightlifting course with Aussie Champ Natalia (Natcho) Chorobcyzk at The Strongroom in Oakleigh. Six weeks of very early Saturday mornings to fine tune my understanding of the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk. And I learnt that there is a whole lot to learn. It’s like a dance, and when all the steps come together, the bar literally floats up and over your head and you just gotta get yourself under it. And of the hundreds of lifts I did over that six weeks, I made that bar float two or three times and it was exhilarating! My cheeks hurt from smiling that day.  Nat gave me the gift of a big love for Oly lifting and I am ever so grateful. “Punch it, punch it up!”

I lifted heavy things.

I started doing weekly strength sessions alongside some young local athletes under the expert tutelage of Josh Graham. It has been a lot of fun training with people half my age and they have been gracious and kind, despite being able to move significantly more weight than this old chicken. My favorite thing has probably been adding chains to barbells and developing my upper body strength. I have really enjoyed mixing things up with different techniques that I never would have tried on my own. I also appreciated the theory we learnt along with the training and the time spent on mobility.

I challenged myself.

I competed in The Masters League Online Challenge in May – and performed terribly! I was in a lot of pain at the time and started treatment on my knee soon after. I then competed in The Aussie Throw-down in October and was much happier with the outcome. I didn’t enter in the beginners section for this comp and the heavier weights and more difficult movements were very challenging but so much more rewarding. I still placed at the back of the pack but was happy with how I had progressed. Double Unders! Woo-hoo!

I did something that scared me.

I entered into an Olympic Weightlifting Competition at The Training Geek. What was I thinking?  It was terrifying, exhilarating, humbling. And it deserves a post of it’s own so I will leave that tale for another day.

I hit some goals.

Double-unders! Chin-ups! Toes to Bar! Handstand Pushups!                                                      These four movements are what I will be working on the hardest over the next 55 days because I wouldn’t say that I do any of them well. The good news is that they are movements that I enjoy training for and that is half the battle. If you love the process it doesn’t feel so much like work.

Wall balls and thrusters on the other hand, well, they may require new knees.

How are you prepping for The Open? Any tips?

 

 

An ode to my league of extraordinary women.

Today I ran into an old friend. We briefly smooshed our faces together and she asked me to write more on this blog. She said the last piece resonated with her and I secretly took it as the greatest compliment in the world. It’s like getting a nod and a wink from one of your heroes. What I didn’t tell her was that she is the reason I started in this direction in the first place. In fact, my sweet friend was instrumental in several of the twists my path has taken me on in my adult life. And it got me thinking about  some of the extraordinary women who have also made such a big impact on my life.  This is a shout out to some of them.

Robyn, who first encouraged me to follow my wanderlust twenty odd years ago, which inadvertently led to my long term stint as an expat in Cambodia. She taught me that my gut instinct is almost always right and she showed me how to be brave, even when I wasn’t strong. More recently, she inspired me to be physically strong too. Through social media, I watched her from the other side of the equator as she transformed into an amazonian, smashing spartan races and half marathons with a smile on her face, a glint in her eye and dirt in her hair.

Ky. The woman who gave me a home when I needed one. She reminded me to be brave. She taught me that chasing my own happiness was not an unforgivable act. She makes me laugh til I cry and when I cry she makes me laugh. She is the kind of mother I aspire to be. She has raised the most wonderful boy into a man and now is doing it all over again. And she is hot. Smokin’ hot. If she was a man, we would have married long ago. She introduced me to my husband I introduced her to hers. She is the salt to my vinegar, the nut to my bolt, the spring in my step, the chip for my dip.

Anna, who on a balmy Bangkok afternoon, surrounded by condom art, convinced me that I could have it all – a baby, an apartment in Phnom Penh with a yard and a barbecue, and that I could make a difference. And whenever I tell her that I have achieved something that I worked hard to get, her response is always the same: “Of course you did.” She makes the world a better place for so many and does it with style.

Kristy, who believed in my soup kitchen idea so much she funded it. And she continues to fight the good fight for the people who need an amplifier for their voices, a roof over their heads, and a future for their kids.

Bon, who took me in when I was broken and gave me Beast Mode. Who inspires me by her example and work ethic. Who is boarding a plane to Barcelona tomorrow to kick some ass on the international weightlifting stage, representing the Land of Oz.

My sister, the smartest human I know.

My Mum.

There are others, so many others. And there will be more, and I am looking forward to meeting you, too.

The common thread is that they have believed in me. They have empowered me and made me strong.  They gave me the courage I needed to take risks and strive for more. To take the leap.

They have all played a part in the evolution of me.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wrong yardstick.

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Having goals can be highly motivating. It gives you a point to aim for, a target to hit, a focus point to hone in on. But what do you do when you miss your mark?

Personally, I beat myself up. I belittle myself. I aim a sledgehammer at my self esteem. My self talk is reduced to “I told you so, what were you thinking?” I keep reminding myself that I haven’t done what I set out to do in the time-frame I assigned myself to do it in.

The disappointment hurts. My ego has kept me away from this blog because this is the scene of the crime – the place where I committed to achieving something which seemed reachable – albeit at a stretch. It’s embarrassing. And who to blame? Me. And my bodgy knee. But mostly just me.

But this blame is a problem. A big problem. And it only exists in my mind. Nobody else is blaming me for anything. There isn’t a crowd of people muttering their disappointment in me. No-one is shaking their head and whispering that I have confirmed all their doubts. No one is using the word failure. Only me. I am the problem. And even saying this condemns me, as though I ought to be punished.

What I should actually do is stop being so damned hard on myself.  Instead of looking at how far I still have to go, I should take a beat to consider how far I have come.

I should gently reassess the goals I set for myself and make some new ones – sharpening the focus of the list and taking my harsh schedule out of the plan altogether.

I need to consider the constraints my recovering knee places on the training I can do. I need to consider the time I can really spare to train. When I set the bar too high I am only setting myself up for a fall. I should remember how motivating it is to actually achieve a goal so I should include some smaller ones along the way. None of this is rocket science. In my quest to achieve everything I managed to achieve nothing.  Not one thing on my list.

But last night, while visiting family, I overheard my son telling my sister-in-law how strong his mama is. And it made me think about how very wrong I have been in the way I measure success.

And that first pull-up is going to be mighty sweet when I finally get there.

Eating my feelings

So I tripped and fell in a food hole and ate my feelings – for two whole weeks!

Does this happen to other people? Do you ever find yourself at the wrong end of a packet of Tim Tams and instead of dusting yourself off and saying “Geeze, I took that a little too far,” you instead go and raid your four year old’s Easter Egg stash while he sleeps? And then, instead of going to the gym after work the next day like you usually do, you come home via the pizza takeout shop and smash a six pack of delicious beer.

I find it so easy to fall into a cycle of bad food and guilty feelings which always seems to snowball out of control at the speed of an avalanche.

I’d like to blame the stress of my job but I suspect it is a chicken and egg situation. It’s hard to pinpoint which came first – a bad day at work or a bad day of eating which amplified my feelings about my bad day at work. Same with the migraines.  Did they rear their ugly head because I am stressed out, or because I inhaled all the chocolate in a five kilometre radius?

I have issues.

At least you can’t accuse me of being boring.

Apparently I need to get better at being a little naughty and moving on. I need to look into the 80/20 philosophy.  Because being good all the time really isn’t for me.

Anyway, I am pleased to report I have pulled myself partially out of the hole. I am back in training. And mainly eating how I should, around 80% of the time.

So go on, dust your shoulders off.

And I have an appointment with a guru about my bodgy knee this week. Because I need to keep eyeballing all of my excuses.

Stay strong amigos.

 

 

 

#formidable

Inspiring fear or respect through being impressively large, powerful, intense, or capable.

It is hard to imagine myself as anything but awkward in the gym. I get the wiggles and shakes. My squats aren’t deep enough. My toes and chin just won’t reach that bar.

In order to earn the right to use #formidable, I am going to have to spend a lot of time with my awkward self, doing awkward things. And soon, maybe those things won’t feel so awkward.

So I guess I need to turn to a different hashtag for now.

#consistent

It’s not sexy but it will get me where I want to be.

 

 

 

 

Leaderboarding – is that a verb?

So the results are in! And ouch – that stings like a muthafucker.

17,921st out of 19,859 women in the 40 – 44 age division worldwide.

1265th out of 1,415 women in the 40 – 44 age division in Australia.

 

I have been reading a lot about how you should only be competing with yourself and that The Open is a time to reflect on where you are at in your fitness journey.  Blah blah blah.  I say “Fuck that.”  It sounds like defeatist talk to me.

I am the only person I know I can do better than. I can already beat the 2018 Open version of myself. But how will I do against Rachel Smith next year? She came in one place higher than me and she didn’t even complete two of the events. If I only compete with myself I don’t think I will push as hard. So instead I plan on kicking Rachel Smith’s ass. Sorry Rach – nothing personal, I’m sure you’re really nice and all.

But I want to aim so much higher than that, even though it may be perceived as overly ambitious. The further you stretch, the more of your neck you expose, which in turn leaves you vulnerable. But I am ready to be that vulnerable person now. I have spent so many years trying to maintain a veneer of composure and control. I am ready to strip back to a naked and raw version of myself who is ready to admit I have dreams which are not what might be expected of me. But I am tired of being what people expect – it is exhausting.  A wise person I know says that if you write down and plan your dreams they become goals.  And goals are something you can work toward achieving. Make a plan. Put in some work.

So why not write them down in a public forum – be openly accountable to my goals?

I don’t want to just do better than I did this year. I want to be internationally competitive.

I want to finish in the top 200.  I want to participate on the Online Qualifier.

Have I lost you now? Was that the point when you thought to yourself “She is dreaming.” Maybe. Maybe you just went from a supporter to a detractor. Articulating an idea from a dream into a goal can be polarizing.

But just imagine if I can pull it off…