The Bull and the Horns

On Saturday, December 7th, 2013, I participated in my second ever CrossFit-inspired competition. No Baby, Leave the Stockings On was an all-women’s event with an Rx’d and Scaled division; the competition was held in Oregon City, OR for our region and was also run on the same day in several other locations throughout the country. One of my HEL teammates alerted several of us to the competition, and I agreed to sign up for the Scaled division. Another teammate joined in, and the three of us started gearing up. I even traveled down to Portland over Thanksgiving break so we could workout together and run through the competition WODs.

When our assigned heats posted, my stomach dropped. Even though I’ve competed in dance and piano and tried out for dance and cheer teams, seeing my name posted like that elicits a strong response. I was doing this for real, and I had no idea what to expect from my competitors. I was also excited, though, to be competing alongside my friends, testing out my progress yet again.

The day of the competition, I was tired and feeling far from ready. Even though we’d already done a “dress rehearsal” the week prior, I had no idea how things would go. Would I drop the bar? Would I miscount? Would I start cramping up in unforeseen ways? Would I be severely out-WOD’d by the other competitors?

I worked through my adrenaline by telling myself I knew the WODs. I knew my goals, and I knew my weaknesses. It was time to buck up and go out and give it my best shot. I warmed up with my most standard routine, starting with a row and some dynamic stretching.

WOD #1 was my most dreaded workout going into the competition. It consisted of only two movements: overhead squats and burpees over the barbell, and it was only 8 minutes long. WOD #2 was a clean/front squat/jerk complex, and WOD #3 was an AMRAP 10, consisting of 40 air squats, 20 kettlebell swings, and 10 deadlifts. But #1 was the one that felt the hardest during the run-throughs, and as such, was the one I was most nervous about.

When the clock counted down and the first WOD began, I focused and reached for the bar. I stabilized it overhead, and worked away for the full 8 minutes. I wouldn’t know until later that I was #11 in my division for WOD #1. I wouldn’t know until much later that I was #66 out of 500 Scaled competitors for that particular WOD.

WODs #2 and #3 went fine for me. I set a new personal record (PR) on my clean and jerk (115lbs.), as well as a new PR for my power clean (120lbs.). There were quite a few people who were putting up heavier weights, though, and WOD #3 burned out my back. I finished a bit more towards the bottom of the top 1/3, but I was happy with my performance.

Overall, I came in 20th out of 69 competitors in the Scaled division for our location. Nationwide, I finished 105th out of the 500. It was reaffirming to see that I held my own, but it was even more so inspiring to see the women who competed in both divisions come out and test their own strengths. I’m also incredibly proud of the work my friends did–and we’ll be competing as a team (with one more Belle we roped in!) in January.

When the fear I face is internal, it makes no sense to turn and run. I’m learning to stand firm and to take control.

And to be honest–I’m having a complete blast doing so.

HEL's Belles

HEL’s Belles

Train for Chaos (and really cool leggings)

Home for the Holidays

It took me fifteen hours to get home on Friday. My train left Portland at 12:15PM, and I didn’t get in to Wenatchee until 3AM. Fallen trees, snow slides, mudslides, etc. and so forth kept the inbound train running behind schedule; it didn’t help that my eastbound train stopped on the tracks for 45 minutes. When I realized at about 12:15AM that we were at a stand-still, I panicked. Were we going to be stuck all night? I didn’t even have a snack to comfort me at that point. No reception on the phone, and it was much too late for the PA system to keep me updated on our status. All in all, it was the worst trip.

However, here’s the thing: I made it home, and I made it home in one piece.

I am safe and sound at my mother’s house, and I have a full belly and a warm bed. I already saw my close friends yesterday, and I spent tonight watching a movie with Mom and her partner.

Some people didn’t make it home soundly, and that’s awful. Some people don’t have a home to which they can return. Some people don’t have a home to which they want to return.

So, I’m lucky. I’m lucky for the love I have. I’m lucky, even though my present didn’t arrive in time and traveling in the wintertime is awful.

I’m lucky to be here.

Count your blessings this holiday season. And love, love, love, love, love.


Things I Know Now

If I had gone to Colorado State University, I would have most likely been fine with any snowfall. It’s Colorado– they have snow equipment.

If I had gone to Seattle University, I would have most likely been fine school-wise for any snowfall. I lived four blocks away from the university.

I’m at Oregon State, and I live on-campus. I have no excuses for not being able to get to work due to snow.

I should have thought through this more.

I remember my very first snow day at Western Washington University.

Let me preface why. I grew up in eastern Washington, as most of you know, where snowplows make up 10% of the working population, and de-icers and sand trucks are common sights during the winter. Everyone has snow tires, unless they drive an AWD vehicle, which is common. (Note: I loved my studless traction tires that were on my Corolla. They were like a badge of pride in Bellingham when I went to college.) That said, snow days back home were, at the most, a two-hour delay to the start of school. That was mostly to accommodate the folks who came from Badger Mountain or other towns outside the direct city area. Word on the street is, my friends at Cashmere High School would sometimes shovel snow off their gym’s roof during P.E. classes on snow days. Either way, snow back home was usually no big deal. (Unless you had procrastinated getting your studded tires on and were driving front-wheel drive. Then you had to get out of the car and walk the rest of the half mile to school. But gosh darn it, my dad was still able to get the car turned around and back down the hill. I, on the other hand, spent the rest of the school day looking like a drowned rat.)

Snow at WWU was another beast. I woke up early one morning, peeked through the blinds, and saw 1 or 2 inches of fluffy white snow on the ground. I grumbled to myself, “Hour delay at best.” I made my way into the bathroom and began showering. About halfway through my shower, and nowhere near being awake, E popped into the bathroom suite to tell me, “Classes are cancelled!”

Excuse me?

At first it seemed ridiculous. Of course, it was lots of fun. Two of the future Nesters and I even took the bus all the way out to the mall.

But the mall was closed at 4PM. Due to snow.

We wandered around some more– I think we were looking for gloves or something– finally finding Cost Cutter open. Eventually, we made it to Denny’s, enjoyed some hot chocolate, then waited for the bus and its chained-up glory to arrive.

The roads weren’t plowed. There were tire tracks which packed down all the snow. But there was no salt, and the only plow I remembered seeing hadn’t even been plowing at all.

Well, whaddya know. The roads froze over. And that’s when the town REALLY shut down.

All because of what I thought was a one-hour delay.

No One Likes a Debbie Downer

Remember that, Corvallis, when you decide to go all typical Pacific Northwest on me and turn your weather switch to “Winter.”

For now, I am enjoying delicious sunlight and hoping that I can stock up on enough vitamin D to last until May. Yikes. (Tip: Dark beers have higher amounts of this vitamin, which strengthens the case for stouts and porters during the dreary fallwinter season [we really don’t get a clear-cut line between the two in the coastal PNW. Shut your face, eastern Washington.])

Just a quick update before I celebrate National Coffee Day and head off to class. And dodge the Nerf darts currently being fired in my hall.

All About Flannel

Nah. That would be way too boring.

I generally dislike winter. Sure, snow’s pretty to look at, and sometimes I even go snowboarding or sledding, but other than that, snow/ice/cold cramps my style. I’m a summer girl; I feel and look better in the summer. It’s this simple fact that causes me to miss my Wenatchee summers. 90 degrees during the day! Tank top weather at night! Now that’s summer weather– none of this 70-degree, wussy stuff I’ve been living with for the past four years.

When fall and winter sneak back, I find myself struggling with clothing choices. I’m proud to say I expanded my cold weather wardrobe last year, and I’m continuing to do so. It’s almost to the point where I look good a majority of the time. That also means I have a lot of boots. I never thought I would be a person with a boot fetish, but I have a tub of boots now. It’s my treasure chest.

I suppose winter (note: I keep referring to fall and winter as just “winter.” Take that, cold weather.) does give me an excuse to snuggle up in blankets. I have an electric blanket, and it’s heavenly.

This post really has little direction, so I’ll end my rambling with just a few more thoughts.

One: There was frost on my car last night. Not. Cool.

Two: A dear friend’s wedding took place yesterday. It was so much fun– everything about the day made me smile. (And there were funfetti cupcakes.)

Three: Flannel sheets are awesome. I’m totally buying myself another set from Target when the ridiculous holiday prints come out.