Why I Stayed

I log in, after scribbling a few bullet points on professional hopes and dreams in a notebook.

The button reads, “Write.”


That brings us to now. (I told you I wasn’t leaving.)

Several months… okay, almost two years ago, I wrote about my departure from higher education and student affairs. Almost two years later, I am still with my “new” employer, and I continue to build upon the foundation set by my learning and experience in student affairs.

I have also learned a fair amount about myself, about how to be more honest with what I want and what I need. Recently, I have been having conversations about what comes next for me; this requires multiple conversations and layers of unpacking, as I cannot seem to travel down a linear pathway. In my world, linear pathways just don’t exist.

I’ve learned that, while I certainly have a propensity to gravitate towards service roles, working with customers, students, and clients directly, there are strengths and interests I need to tend to and cultivate. I miss research and writing–activities nearly exclusive to my undergraduate and graduate career; I miss those hours spent synthesizing disparate sources to compose and share knowledge, and to create further questions and learning for myself and others. I have not had the space to be as intensely passionate (oh dear, I used that word) as I was about spiritual development or identity development or even the idea of how a concept as abstract as “trust” plays into the development or lack of relationships. I crave it.

Today, I shared with another person a sliver of my dreams, and as soon as I had a moment to start to elaborate on an idea I had, about a topic I thought I had a remote interest in, I found myself speaking without taking a breath, engrossed in elaborating on the questions I wanted to know more about. That spark I knew I still had is very much alive, and it’s up to me to continue to stoke the fire. Somehow, somewhere along my recent professional journey, I didn’t allow myself to truly pursue that which gave me energy because those things were “scary” or because I believe myself to be woefully unqualified.

Now, this isn’t to say that I’m bad at the jobs I held or what I currently do. It isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy what I do or the organization I’m at. In fact, everything I process in my head and put down on paper confirms that I am exactly where I want to be. Because of that, I also have the ability to finally allow myself to pursue ways in which my dominant strengths will flourish.

So what if I don’t have an MFA, nor have I ever held a position in which learning and development or training or writing were a significant component. Do I possess the skills to excel in roles that might demand these things? Sure. Do I possess an amount of confidence in myself to continue to learn, explore, and make positive impact on the community around me? Of course.

Am I committed to cultivating a mindset for success?

Well, I sure hope so. The only way to know is to stay long enough to find out.

Checked Baggage

My biggest piece of advice when it comes to CrossFit has always been, “Listen to your body.” My next piece of advice in all that I do has always been, “Leave your ego at the door.”

Well, it turns out, I really have to do both things this month, and I swear to all that is holy that it is the most frustrating, infuriating, and humbling process.

After two years of making steady progress in my fitness abilities despite coming to the table with a boatload of chronic injuries, I managed to piss off my left shoulder. I pulled too hard in some drill (a drill! a skill-building, strength-building drill!), and for three days, my arm felt just a bit more sore than usual. Then I noticed the pronounced asymmetry in strength in a behind-the-neck press. I forced myself to go light and not push like normal in that particular lift, and then I rested my shoulder for a few days. I tried to to do a workout like normal near the end of the week, and the next day, my arm was so sore and so tired, I had to use my other arm to move my left!

I scheduled a doctor’s visit for several weeks out, finally resigning that it was time to get a PT referral and have an expert tell me exactly what I damaged fifteen years ago in junior high PE.

Since scheduling the appointment, my shoulder has improved quite a bit through stretching and rest and backing off on weight. Most movements don’t even bother me, just like normal, but now I’m wary of tweaking it again. I’ve always been wary of tweaking it, which is why I suppose I’m so frustrated with this set-back; I’ve done almost everything possible to build my foundations (or so I thought) to avoid something like this.

Beyond that, I’ve found that double-unders cause my shin splints to flare up. Usually, I can mitigate the situation with proper taping and footwear, but for some reason, last night, I could barely do fifty double-unders before having to call it quits. I was pissed and found myself close to tears on a run, only the second time I’ve felt like crying during a workout (which is surprising, considering my slow attainment of skills and chronic injuries for which I compensate).

On top of these things, I’ve gotten very stubborn about fixing my shoddy technique in my Olympic lifts. I’ve achieved some great numbers in my clean, but with a shaky technical foundation. If I want to get where I want to be, it’s going to take stepping back a few notches to unlearn some bad habits.

And on top of that, I’m keen to fix my technical and foundation in a lot of other skills. There are a decent set of skills where I felt like I adequately mastered the progressions, but in actuality, I was tired of the modified or scaled version–especially because other people have been advancing more quickly, relative to their starting the sport.

This flies in the face of what I actually believe and know to be beneficial.

So now what?

I recognize my challenges, but I’m re-committing to tackling the underlying weaknesses in the foundation. Yes, I have progressed. Yes, I have gotten stronger. But at the same time, I’ve been compensating for injuries I never properly rehabilitated. I’ve been compensating for holes in my skill sets. And I’ve gotten by, utilizing my strengths in very particular areas.

But you know me–it’s not enough. I want more. And to get more, it means re-examining my goals, readjusting my necessary work, and basically being the over-analytic “trends-towards-perfectionism,” “how does this fit into the big picture?” scholar I am.

If I want to get stronger, master more skills, get faster, and all that good stuff, I need to check myself and do the work I need to do, put in the time, practice smart, and listen to my body. No over-training, but no skipping the foundational work that will help my shoulder and my ankles. No getting grumpy and giving up because I don’t like the standards I’ve set for myself. Instead, it’s lots of organization, tracking, goal-setting, time frame-setting, dedication, and work–oh, and remembering to learn from the experience, reflect on the experience, and find joy even in the suck.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and productive 2015.

…And maybe some one-armed clean and jerks.

First Time for Everything

I’m going through a week where I haven’t blogged because I have so many things I want to write about. I feel like I’m doing a disservice to each topic by even starting a blog post. I’m going to have to settle on something, though, because writing is my passion and currently my greatest talent, and I feel strange letting it sit there, unused, unnoticed, unproductive.

I went to the Puget Sound Colloquium yesterday at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. The Colloquium is an annual event for student affairs professionals in the greater Puget Sound region. Yesterday, the topic revolved around metacognition and teaching students how to learn–a distinct skill from “how to study.” As we went through the day, there were many great points, many of which I tweeted or typed into my phone; I came away with a lot of good thoughts and ideas about how to encourage my students to think about their education in different ways.

However, as a life-long learner and a CrossFit fanatic, I realized a lot of what was discussed could easily be translated to coaching and training. There was one specific takeaway that I am incorporating into this evolution, the notion that people often times believe that being “good” at something is solely the result of innate talent and skill. Applied to CrossFit, it’s this mindset that dictates because I don’t understand a skill right off the bat, I am not good at it, and it would make the most sense to accept such–or even walk away.

Now, let it be known, I am surrounded by many, many athletes who have a natural gift for athletics. They are incredibly talented, and some of them had many years in related sports, and some of them are just good at picking up new skills and excelling.

I’m not really either of those people. My years of dance do lend some help in things like flexibility and short, explosive workouts (All out for three minutes? That I can do!), but my lack of coordination deterred me from many other sports, and thus, it now hinders my fast progress. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to hit myself repeatedly with a stupid jump rope practicing double-unders, or to pull myself towards a bar as hard as possible and still not feel my chest make contact, or to fall over and over and over out of handstands. It’s awful being as uncoordinated as I am.

However, I also know that given the right settings and given the right amount of practice, I can excel. I never considered myself a particularly gifted dancer when I was younger, but I will say that I got much better in college. All the years of practice paid off into something; again, I still didn’t have the most beautiful leaps and turns, but I achieved a whole new level once thought impossible.

Same goes for CrossFit. It takes a lot of effort to go from awful to “just okay.” But the knowledge I have gleaned and the hours I’ve put in are paying off. I have a vast amount of knowledge at this point, and I crave more. This desire to learn, to immerse myself, to analyze what works and what doesn’t work–well, these things aren’t necessarily what will make me better, but it’s the processing. It’s assigning a deep meaning to the things that I do and the things that I learn that will stick with me.

That’s why I was so happy to land at HEL initially; the mission and the vision of making my training purposeful and holistic stuck with me. I didn’t know anything about CrossFit going into my time there, but I came away with a whole new fire–and a whole new me. I’ve taken that mentality with me to Seattle and my new team here, and it’s helping me achieve the next level. Granted, it’s slower than others’ paths, but that’s okay.

Skill and talent can only take someone so far. Passion, curiosity, and the ability–and desire–to find deeper meaning, these things will change lives. Learning from failure and prevailing in the face of hardships and disappointments also make the difference. My journey hasn’t been without its valleys; those of you who know me are acutely aware of this. But though the road has been winding, it has been filled with lessons and moments that make me think, and process, and ultimately decide to keep moving forward, constantly exploring.

I’ll likely never be an elite CrossFitter. I’ll be average at best. But my attitude, my love for learning, and my desire to help others achieve their goals and improve themselves will set me apart–and we’re also talking outside the box.

There are many great things ahead of me. And if it means I come crashing in, flailing, uncoordinated, yet with the biggest smile and the loudest laugh, then so be it.

Little Victories

The holiday season and my lack of self-control both did some damage on my abs and waistline. I’m a fair bit fluffier, I’ll admit, but I know what to do to get back on track. I’ve still been going to the gym quite a bit, and I intend to pick it up a bit more in the coming weeks. I have another competition coming up, so it’s time to carve out time for four to five sessions a week, with a lot of deliberate skill work outside of class time. I’m going to have to push myself further than I previously have as I carve out new goals and milestones.

Speaking of milestones, I hit a very small one yesterday during a drop-in at the hometown CrossFit gym. Guess who can do frog stands now. That would be me. Having the balance to do these is a step in the right direction for me, the young woman who can’t quite get inverted not balanced in many cases. I even tested the stands outside the gym, at my mom’s home, and it’s confirmed–the skill I didn’t have several months ago is now a part of my skill set.

Small victories like this keep me going. PRs by five pounds, not feeling like death after a run, doing full push-ups, learning to climb a rope–these are all small victories. There are still many things on which to work, skills which require more strength, more coordination, more discipline and dedication. I’m a stickler for a good foundation, and while it will take me awhile to get up-to-speed in many regards, I know the long-term results will be not just better but also more rewarding; the effort I put in will be recognized–primarily by me–in the process.

That’s my philosophy in many aspects beyond CrossFit, too. I’m naturally a learner, so I play to that strength by gathering information and testing it out and building upon it to get to the next level. Hands-on work and drills are my method, but that’s not the only way to achieve goals. What it takes is getting in-tune with your own strengths, and also understanding your limitations in order to move past them–or even work with them.

As the new year approaches, don’t just make resolutions. Set your goals, then develop a strategy. Dig deeper.

I’ll be there right along with you.

What the CrossFit Open Games Taught Me

First of all, I didn’t register nor officially compete in the CrossFit Games. I probably should have registered, as I was present for each Open workout, and I could have added a few Rx’d reps to the team’s score, I suppose.

That’s all hindsight for now, however. Let’s recap what my first experience with the Open turned up.

1. We’re all humanThere are some crazy-strong people out there, y’all. But CrossFit HQ also had a crazy way of reminding everyone that everyone has room to improve. That was especially cool to a newbie like me. Even the fittest of the fit broke sweats, grimaced, collapsed to the ground at the end, etc. Even when those big numbers posted, there was a lot of humble acceptance of praise. And the other thing I noticed is that it gave people more to strive for. No matter what those goals are, this helped set new ones for me–and I know it helped others set goals for themselves. That’s pretty rad.

2. Butterflies still exist. I get really nervous about two things: 1. talking to a guy I find attractive; and 2. performance. I don’t think I walked into a single Open WOD without the same feeling I used to get right before a big competition dance number or cheer try-outs or the closing number at the end-of-the-year recital. Although I wasn’t running through a million eight-counts of rehearsed choreography, the principal was the same: I have trained for this moment, but there’s no way of knowing how it will go until it’s over. As I said during one particularly intimidating workout, as the timer counted down, “See you on the other side.”

It’s amazing just how much I’ve missed that rush. I’ve missed that chance to flip a switch and just be on, especially for the short workouts–just like the short numbers I was used to. You only have so much time to execute everything, and the world (or so it feels like) is watching.

Is there a better feeling? Maybe not for me.

3. There isn’t shame in trying. In fact, there’s respect to be found in trying. I was out of town a bit during the Open, and I actually had to attempt my first Open WOD at a Las Vegas box. I had luckily gone several days earlier, and I had at least one newly-friend who would cheer me on as I slogged through my first set of burpees. At the end of 13.1, even though I had loaded my bar wrong for the second set of snatches, I had PR’d multiple times. I had PR’d multiple times at a gym that wasn’t my regular haunt with multiple people telling me, “C’mon, girl! You GOT this!”

And so it went through the next Open WODs. There was at least one time when I got the very lowest score out of everyone who did the workout at my gym. There were, however, more times that I remember being able to put “Rx” next to my scores. There was even the night that I beat my PR from four days earlier–and put that weight up six times total.

All in all, I came away with a stronger sense of respect for myself. I came away with admiration for all of my teammates and all of my friends who train alongside me (and that includes those who train several hours away). I came away with the goal to compete next year–even if it means finishing 7908th out of, like, 8000 people in the region. I’m going to do it.

That attitude? Well, to sum it up: Coach K said it pretty well:

Yep. Pretty much. (You are welcome to come take me out for drinks, guys. Maybe a whole grilled trout, too.)

I leave you with this, from CrossFit 204:

[…]And that’s where everyone can learn from some of our athletes for whom 135 and 95 lb. were heavy loads indeed. We often cluster around to watch our top athletes put up huge scores as they seem to move the weight with ease, but this week I had the pleasure of judging some inspirational athletes who walked in wondering if 135 or 95 would go up even once. For them, each rep was a max effort at a weight well above a current PR.

Those athletes bent over to grip the bar and didn’t know if it would go up, and those 7 minutes weren’t spent worrying about 80 or 100 reps but rather 1 rep. Each of those athletes gave all he or she had to earn each rep. No multiples, no unbroken sets, no strategic rest, no targeting scores by leaderboard stalking. Just a final number amassed by a series of max efforts with nothing saved for later.

None of those athletes wanted to do the workout again. They spent everything they had, and when I told them their score, they were overjoyed because they knew it represented 100 percent effort. They knew they had earned that score.

(Out of the nine reps I earned on 13.4, six of them came from a 95lb. clean-and-jerk. Maybe someday that will move with ease, but now, I at least know I now have the fortitude to come in and give it 100%.)

Better Late Than…

First, I accidentally scheduled my Monday post to go live on Sunday. Then, I missed my Wednesday post because I was having too much fun.

This last week has seemed long, given the holiday weekend and a break from the usual routine. I tried to be intentional in my wellness throughout, although I doubt the Thanksgiving dinner and leftovers did anything towards health. Wellness, sure. I can’t complain when presented with green bean casserole, dark meat turkey, sweet potatoes, and homemade pumpkin and apple pies.

Here is what I did accomplish over the past several days.

Thursday, Nov. 22nd (Thanksgiving Day)
Individual track day

I woke up somewhat early and drove myself to a nearby park where there happens to be a nice track. I spent the day focusing on my running form because I know traditionally, I have been a heel-striker, even though all I ever learned in dance said this was wrong. I watched some running tutorials (yup) the night before and got some good ideas for mobility and form drills.

One of the videos placed a lot of emphasis on good, proper warm-ups for running. For short distances, the coach said about 30 minutes is needed; those 30 minutes were broken down into different segments. I did what I could to incorporate increasing my pace, mobility, dynamic stretching, and other drills into the warm-up. My warm-up took me through about 1600m, and then my workout was another 1600m. I ran 400m, concentrating on making sure the middle of my foot, not my heel, made contact first, then walked 400m and threw 20 air squats in at the close of the walk. I repeated this, and then stretched. I was out at the track long enough that the informal “Turkey Bowl” games concluded, then it was off to prepare for Thanksgiving in Beaverton.

I found it mentally challenging to push myself to run–since running is not my favorite activity–and also concentrate on improving my form. The walks were mostly to give my shins a rest since over-doing it easily leads to shin splints in my world. My legs were spent for the remainder of the day.

Friday, Nov. 23rd
CrossFit HEL – WOD: Fran

My first Fran!

We started the day with a 3×3 front squat workout (three rounds of three reps). I lifted 70lbs. which was an increase from the last time I’d done front squats (40lbs. during an EMOM5 of five reps each).

Then Fran went like this:
21-15-9 reps for time of:

I scaled thrusters to 50lbs. and used the box for jumping pull-ups. I wanted to use a green resistance band (60lbs. resistance, I think) but I couldn’t spot one in time; I may or may not have added resistance bands to my holiday wishlist. Next time, I’m looking to increase weight and get off the box for pull-ups.

Overall time was 7 minutes and 20 seconds.

Monday, Nov. 26th
CrossFit HEL – WOD: Annie

Monday’s workout started with lifting. We did back squats, working to a 2 rep working load, then scaling back for a round of 10 reps. My 2 rep load was 85lbs. and my 10 rep round was at 65lbs. My shoulders felt a lot better than they did the first time I attempted back squats, although the flexibility isn’t quite there. I still have to spend a lot of time shaking out my shoulders after my workouts.

After our back squats, we went to an “Every Minute On the Minute for 6 mins.” segment. With the 45lb. bar on my back, it was five lunges per leg on the minute. I felt good despite the occasional popping in my knee. That only happened a few times; I made sure to position myself better so I could avoid the sensation.

Annie was next, with a “50-40-30-20-10” structure of double-unders and sit-ups. I have not learned how to do double-unders yet, so I did single-unders (jump rope) with three times the required reps. I positioned my ab mat wrong, so my first 50 sit-ups were pretty difficult. After Coach pointed out the positioning error, sit-ups went a lot better. Overall time with mods: 12 minutes and 31 seconds.

Tuesday, Nov. 27th
CrossFit HEL – WOD: B2B Tabata Squats

I don’t really mind tabata work-outs. They’re good discipline, and they give me a chance to focus on my form.

We started the night with lifting. This time, it was a 3×3 press. Presses are a difficult lift for me, since you’re not allowed to use your legs (except to stand). However, last night in the 3×3, I pressed 55lbs. That’s a jump from the 35lbs. I was used to.

Next came an EMOM for 10 minutes. 5 push presses (read: you get to use your legs!) every minute for a total of 50. Most of us scaled down a bit, so I went to 50lbs. for push press.

Then there was the Tabata portion of push-ups and “bottom to bottom” squats. No, they are not team-building back-to-back squats. It just meant that our resting position was in a squat or “paleo chair.” 8 intervals of each, so the work-out itself was fairly short, clocking in at eight minutes total. My lowest number of repetitions in a given interval was 9 for push-ups (modified from the knee) and 7 for squats (which, after about the fourth interval, started to burn like fire in my quads).

There was much stretching afterwards. Especially of the quads.

Wednesday, Nov. 28th
Holiday Ale Fest

Nope. Not actually a work-out. Just a fun event with friends that caused my Thursday to be very, very tired.

Thursday, Nov. 29th
CrossFit HEL – Agility Course

There are probably better days to try an agility/obstacle course. Preferably not days when you’re still feeling the effects of some strong, tasty holiday ales. But, I went because I: (a) needed to work-out; (b) needed to challenge myself mentally.

One of my teammates is also in a similar boat where a lot of the skills in the A-courses are intimidating. My coordination is coming, but as in gymnastics, a lot of skills still require me to build trust with myself. My body has disowned me in many ways, and mentally, it’s a hurdle to overcome those limitations.

Now, granted, I only got through the full course twice during the thirty minutes. There were quite a few instances where I had to negotiate with myself to try something new. “Spider wall.” Swinging from Olympic rings in a monkey bar fashion. A balance beam suspended from the rafters. Jumping from the tops of boxes onto other boxes.

In regards to jumping from box to box, I noticed a lot of the same hesitation in commitment that I had in gymnastics classes. My first round comprised of a lot of analyzing of my next moves, weighing possibilities before executing a skill. During my second round, I tried envisioning myself making it to the next step. I know I can leap from point A to point B, at least in a jete-type fashion; so, I thought of bridging the gap between two boxes as a leap, and it worked.

The balance beam was tricky, partially because it was suspended from the ceiling. The first time I tried it out, it took me a long time to even figure out how to get up to the beam and then step around the first supporting strap. But, I got better each time.

Olympic rings were my biggest challenge. I never figured out how to climb monkey bars correctly as a child, and that movement was probably something I needed on those rings tonight. Coach helped me get the swinging motion right, but when it came to letting go and reaching out, I hesitated again, and eventually just had to do a straight drop onto the mats. However, I was up there, I thought about it, and now I know another skill to practice.

As I said tonight, I showed up. I could have easily skipped, but I didn’t. The rounds weren’t perfect, but I tried. I’ll get better with time, and again, those lessons are applicable to all I do.

Then, after my work-out, I hunted down some pho to round out the night. Not bad; not bad at all.

The Last Two Weeks in Fitness and Health

Whoops. I skipped last Wednesday. Here’s to accountability…

Saturday, Sept. 29th
The Color Run 5K

I am not sure how to count this, primarily because I drank a PBR before I even started. I did manage to carry out a combination of walking and running over the five kilometers, and for the next several days, I was sufficiently sore. I still loathe long-distance running, and it doesn’t look like that will change. Now, a short run (vs. a jog) is fine, and spliced with a fast walk, well, I guess it still works.

Still not my favorite.

Tuesday, Oct. 2nd
Yoga at home
This day, I used a 22-minute video on Hulu. The instructor was crazy quick through all her poses, so I was a bit sloppy with my practice. It still felt good, and I still got in some strength exercises aimed towards my core and quads.

Thursday, Oct. 4th
CrossFit – Work-Out of the Day (W.O.D.): Undone
Bench Press – 3 [reps]-2-2
Started with just the bar during the warm-up; during the working portion, I managed to get up to 65lbs. for the 2-rep part, which is a big accomplishment for me because: 1. I have not benched for years; 2. 65lbs. was my maximum weight for that exercise last time I checked (years ago).

Then there was this:
12-9-6* reps for time of:
​- Dumbell Thrusters
​- Dead-Hang Pull-ups (Chest to Bar)
​- Kettleball Swings
Not like any of this was super-pretty during my work-out… For the thrusters, I had 15lbs. in each hand, utilized a band that was probably way too resistant during pull-ups, and used the 12oz. kettleball.

Final time was 6 minutes, 46 seconds. I could have done better in terms of form.

*First round was 12 reps of each exercise; second, 9 reps; third, 6 reps.

Monday, Oct. 8th
CrossFit – WOD: TN1
Okay, let’s see… this was Monday.

5 sets of 5 reps – Strict Press (a.k.a., “Good luck getting the bar above your head without using your legs!”)
The strict press is like having a flier (cheerleading reference, warning) who won’t pull her weight, plus you can’t use your legs because your knees are locked. My first round was super-sloppy with a 45lb. bar, so I focused on form with a 35lb. bar for the remainder.
​5×3 – Push Press (a.k.a., “Oh thank God, my knees work again!”)
Push press, much better. This time, it was more like the motion I’m used to, with a dip in the knees followed by exploding upwards with the weight. 45lb. bar the entire time, and it felt good.
​5×1 – Push Jerk
45lbs. Look up the lift.
​5×1 Split Jerk
45lbs. again. Yippee, at least I was using the “normal” bar.

We had a 25-minute cut-off on the above. I finished within the limit, which is good considering I was working on form and technique, not weight.

Next came the following portion.
21-18-15 reps for time (with a maximum time limit of 10 minutes) of:
– Kettleball Swings
– Knees to Elbows (hanging from the pull-up bar)
– Double-Unders with a jumprope, or in my case… Single-Unders with the reps multiplied by 3
I finished in 8 minutes, 44 seconds with the 12oz. kettleball, really cruddy knees-to-elbows (my grip was exhausted after the first round), and punishment for being so uncoordinated in elementary school when we learned how to jumprope.

And then guess what…

Tuesday, Oct. 9th
– WOD: Triple Double
Today was the day that I got off work an hour early, so I went to the gym an hour earlier than normal. I also managed to stumble into one of the more elite groups and I was the only woman. So, imagine me working out with my mini-loads and modifications alongside a bunch of really strong male regulars. Everyone has to start somewhere!

So, here’s what happened after warm-ups:

As Many Rounds As Possible within 10 minutes (AMRAP10):
​- 5 Back Squats
– ​10 handstand push-ups
(3 minutes of rest)
– ​5 Front Squats
– ​10 Olympic Ring Dips
​(3 minutes of rest)
– ​5 Overhead Squats
​- 10 Clapping Push-ups (or modified hand-release push-ups where you need to bring your hands off the ground between reps, which I chose and still almost died doing)

I ended up with 5 rounds/7 rounds/6 rounds respectively for each pairing. The modifications were abundant in my life, and I’m going to elect to not disclose what the prescribed weights were. What I will tell you is this: I used a 45lb. bar for back squats and confirmed that my shoulders don’t like rotating internally. This is not news, but having it described as trouble with the rotation is new. And good. (Thank you to my coach who gets it.) For the remainder, I used the 35lb. bar. The 22lb. bar was brought out in case my shoulders bothered me during the last pairing, but I stuck with 35lb. even though my overhead squats seem to have a more restricted range of motion.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering: no, I did not do actual ring dips nor handstand push-ups. I’m not there yet. Again, modifications to build up strength and get down the technique are more important than sloppy work.

All in all, the past two weeks have been full of getting back into some sort of routine. I’ve officially joined the CrossFit gym, and while it is pretty darn pricey, I am making the commitment to get stronger and work through mental and physical roadblocks. This also means going out a lot less and not impulse spending on stupid things. It also (sadly) means being much more intentional in when I book my travels. I know my health and wellness, as well as travel and exploration, are important, so striking a balance will mean forcing myself to adhere to a budget.

That’s a wrap for Wednesday. Hopefully next time, I won’t report that I’m stuck under a barbell or something.



Two Prompts and Some Snowfall

Dec. 21st

Prompt: Future self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?) (Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want @jenny_blake)

Five years from now? I’ll be 30. And if I were to advise my 25-year-old self about how to approach 2011… I’d probably say this:
“Don’t be an idiot. Make sure you make time for school, play, and health. Call your momma. Flirt like crazy. Learn to cook. Adventure more. Don’t worry so much. Get involved with grad school even more. Don’t settle for less. Keep believing in the impossible. Where’d you get that top? It looks great! Take care of yourself. Be happy. You’ve been doing a pretty good job of reflecting and making meaning– do even more of that. Enjoy the ride. And for the love of God, learn to ride a bicycle. Or swim.”

I’m not doing the bonus part because I got a letter from myself 10 years ago over the summer. I already talked to past-Ardith and patted her on the head for not worrying about marriage or anything crazy like that. Basically, past-Ardith was a dreamer. She had crazy, unfocused energy, and she was incredibly insecure. If I could go back in time, the advice I would give past-Ardith would include: (a) wax your eyebrows; (b) find a flat-iron; (c) smile a lot; (d) be awesome. There’s not too much more a 15-year-old version of myself would listen to, I’m sure. And in the end, I think past-Ardith did a pretty good job of getting present-Ardith to where she needs to be.

Dec. 22nd

Prompt: Travel. How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? (The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business @missrogue)

How did I travel in 2010, you ask? Well, cha, I did quite a bit, relatively speaking. First, I made a few short trips to Corvallis, OR and Fort Collins, CO for graduate school interviews. I got to take the time to experience potential new homes. After that, I moved to Madrid, Spain for a month and lived with a host family. That was unlike anything I have ever done before, and it was awesome. I put myself in a brand new situation and got so much out of it– I’m hankering to do it again. After that, I jet-set around Europe (expect it was more like I took a bunch of trains and just a few aeroplanes) to see friends all over the continent. Now that I know I’m capable of doing that style of travel, I would really like to tackle it again, possibly as a graduation trip in 2012.

What would I like to do in 2011? Well, I’m really hoping to land an internship abroad, somewhere in Europe. If it works out, I would be in a country I have not visited before. If not through an internship, though, I may try to sign up for a study abroad short-term course in either Rome or London. And if it all falls through, I’m buying a plane ticket and designing my own adventure. Those are my big goals at the moment, although I hope to also get in some decent time in Colorado or another state. Just a few days or so.
It’s currently snowing in Wenatchee, WA. I’m not sure what to do with myself.