becoming infinite

always learning. always growing. always lifting heavy things.


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there’s no crying in powerlifting!

i’m currently sitting in the airport, waiting to catch a 7am flight for a speedy day trip. since friday is the day i usually squat with my coach, we moved my session up to last night. which meant skipping wednesday’s rest day and doing thursday’s double instead.

even with my right quad still a little rough around the edges (i’m unbelievably thankful that our boss at the gym bought one of these for the trainers to use/me to sneak when the trainers aren’t using it) Week 3 of STV had me feeling great. my body fat is dropping and im putting on noticeable size in my shoulders and width to my back.

last night i showed up at 8pm to squat. we had been doing sticking point/1.25 squats for the past three weeks. to start Week 4 of STV we were going back to, as my coach calls it, “R.A.S.” – Regular-Ass Squats.

warm-ups felt good and we jumped from open bar to 95# to 135# without a problem. less than a year ago my max squat was 130# – i was waiting for the day when i could squat wheels (the 45s). now that’s my second warm-up after open bar work.

we hit 165# for a triple and it felt super, super solid. i belted up and we hit five triples at 185#. everything felt light and fast, i’m getting much better at driving into the bar and keeping my chest up, and i’m actually (finally!) getting some decent bounce out of the hole.

i looked up and caught myself in the mirror as i was getting under the bar and had to squint for a second. i look so different from the person i’m used to. my shoulders are significant, my quads are the kind you grow when you move heavy weight regularly – aka, feet apart, thighs together! – and my arms don’t hang at my sides any more because of the width of my lats.

never in a million years did i think i could look like this. never in a million years would i have imagined i would be standing in a fancy gym on a thursday evening putting almost 200# on my back and moving it around for easy triples.

and i am so grateful. sometimes i think about this sports and how much it has brought me and i get that little flutter in my chest and hitch in my throat like i’m about to cry out of sheer happiness.

five years ago, yoga saved me from myself when i was grasping at straws to finally get my eating disorder under control and out of my life.

two and a half years ago, running saved me from the avalanche of grief after my mom died.

and now…i don’t know what powerlifting is saving me from, but it’s sure doing something.

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sit in the suck.

as some of you may or may not know, i am a wannabe crossfitter. i almost joined a box last january, as a “something else” to add to my half marathon training. but then i got a ticket in florida that cost 3 months’ worth of crossfit, so i abandoned the idea. and then 6 months later i connected with my coach and the rest is powerlifting history.

i was watching the crossfit regionals this weekend and event 6 is a monster: 50-calorie row, 50 box jump-overs, 50 deadlifts, 50 wall balls, 50 ring dips…and then back down again. 21-minute time cap.

i turned on the live feed at the tail end of one of the men’s heats. only 2 men in the north central region actually completed the damn thing, to give you an indication of how brutal it was. no women in north central finished; stacie tovar was the only one to even make it back on the rower. but anyhoo, while watching one of the men complete the workout, as he was on the rower just tearing away, the absolute pain reading all over his face, one of the announcers said, “he is in the pain cave right now. and with a minute left…all you can do is sit in the suck.”

the hardest skill – and yes, it was a skill! – for me to wrap my head around in DBT was radical acceptance. the idea that sometimes…shit’s gonna happen. and there’s nothing you can do to change it, so you just…sit in the suck.

i think about the weight gain that came with recovery. i fought it for years – “well i can still be this weight and recovered…ish…” – because i couldn’t accept that my mental ‘ideal’ weight wasn’t one that was healthy for my physical self. and when i did finally come to terms with that…well there were still days where i would quite literally not leave my dorm room because i couldn’t stand the thought of putting my physical self out in front of people.

see also: it sucked.

when my mom died i tried so hard to be brave, to be strong, to be graceful. and i think i did an admirable job of being, in some capacity, all of these things. but sometimes, some days…you’re just walking down the street drinking a diet coke and you get slammed by a wall of sadness and all you can do is plop yourself down on the curb and cry.

and it sucks.

i try, really i do as it’s against my cynical nature, to look for the good in things. but the fact is, sometimes things just plain suck. and you you know what, sometimes it feels good to fight it – sometimes i just need to raise hell and be angry, and maybe i am banging my head against a wall but you can’t be graceful in the face of adversity all the time, right?

there are parts of recovery that just plain suck. most parts are great; some parts suck.

losing my mom…well, saying it sucked doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

and sometimes, you have to just embrace it. embrace it and sit in the suck.

 


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we are here.

we are here to drink beer
laugh at the odds
and live our lives so well that
death will tremble to take us.

-charles bukowski

 

the past few weeks i have really, truly felt as if i am living well. i just finished up my last semester of doctoral coursework. i have two good, strong plans for what to do once i pass my quals in the fall. my transition from post-meet to a new, high-volume training cycle has made me feel awesome, physically and mentally.

i laugh a lot.

i go out for burgers and pizza with friends.

i do a little dance before i make a big lift because this sport is fun, darn it!

sometimes i look around and i’m amazed. all those years buried by an eating disorder, and all of the years of restrictive “healthy” eating and vigilant “healthy” exercise veiled as recovery…i can’t believe i was missing out on all of this. last saturday my friend stopped me after i got done training and said, “hey wanna go grab a burger?” and we went and sat at the bar and had burgers and fries and i laughed so hard that i lost my voice.

six years ago my greatest concern was maintaining my thigh gap and burning a minimum of 750 calories on the cardio machines every morning before class. now every day i wake up just wanting to be a better version of myself than i was the day before. i still work hard at the gym, but it’s a different focus, a different energy. i’m an athlete; i love that and i own it.

i’m turning 30 in two weeks and i finally feel like i am living life well, living it fully and the way it ought to be lived. i’m healthy and strong and i’ll always be a work in progress but dammit i am living.


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turning the tables: what i’m excited about.

like i mentioned in my previous post, i’m just beginning a new training cycle, and i’m ridiculously excited about it. i’m excited to get stronger. i’m excited to work on my weaknesses. and i’m excited to get bigger.

this is a revelation for me. i took measurements on saturday as a “pre-STV” baseline. body weight, body fat percentage, and waist, hips, chest, shoulders, and each quad. the prediction is that the first three will go down, and everything else will go up.

in layman’s terms, i’m going to get bigger.

and i am so excited.

this paradigm shift has occurred gradually over the past less-than-year that i’ve been lifting seriously. you wanna squat big? grow quads and hamstrings. pull heavy? grow more hamstrings, some glutes, and upper and middle back. want a big bench? getcha some pecs, delts, and triceps.

basically, you have to grow in order to…well, grow.

i go to bed dreaming of 40″ hips. every day in the gym i’m working toward broader shoulders and a wider back. my thighs touch and i don’t give two shits about it. after spending two decades wishing and willing myself smaller, frailer, more delicate, waif-like…it’s so liberating to finally say, “ya know what? i take up space and that’s okay. and i’m going to take up more space tomorrow than i do today because that’s what i want to do. because getting bigger and stronger is what makes me happy right now.”

i have put on a lot of muscle in the past year. and i plan to keep putting it on as long as it makes me happy to do so. right now, the gym is my happy place. lifting is my therapy, my drug. and i am 100% ready to get big to lift big.


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throwin’ it back.

here’s a little throwback thursday for ya!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWEpu1qhKRM (sorry, i can’t figure out how to embed videos!)

this was nearly exactly a year ago, when my other yogi colleagues and myself made a promo video for campus recreation! here i am in my power yoga teaching glory. : )

i actually had a good chuckle watching this, and it’s crazy to think that was an entire year ago!

  • my hair, thank goodness, has grown out of that horrid awkward phase. (new friends, i donate my hair every couple of years. i was, and still am, growing out this particular chop.)
  • i was just beginning my training cycle for the derby half marathon when this was filmed. running ~3o miles a week; lifting minimally. you can tell the difference in my body – i’ve put on 10-15lbs. since then, my back is broader, my quads are bigger, and i’m slightly fluffier. : )
  • i hate my voice but i guess i’m stuck with it.

a lot can happen in a year! (just ask my hairdresser – she’s always marveling at how quickly my mop grows.)

i have some interesting/fun things on the horizon that i’m getting ready to post about. until then, finishing up these first few days back to the class and teaching grind, and getting ready for some heavy squats tomorrow!


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happy monday! let’s get conditioned.

happy monday everyone! we start classes on wednseday of this week, so meetings and bypass exams and such things are beginning to creak to life today and tomorrow.

i had to give some exams at 8:00 this morning, so i figured that would still leave me plenty of time to bang through my conditioning this morning – as long as i dragged myself out of bed on time and got to the gym right at six. ’twas a miracle, but it did indeed happen!

i spent about 10 minutes foam rolling and doing some dynamic warm-ups before i got going. today’s chosen path was:

5 rounds, not dropping the bar until completion of each round, of
10 deadlifts
10 hang high pulls
10 front squats
10 overhead presses
10 back squats

for me obviously the limiting factor was going to be the overheads – there are very few weights i can put over my head for 10 consecutive reps, especially when those reps come after my delts just got destroyed during high pulls.

i did this entire thing with just the bar and i swear i thought my shoulders were going to explode, and my legs were actually shaking. i took about 2min rest between each round. using just the 45# bar sounds kind of lame, but when you get right down to it, it’s a 250-rep metcon.

it was so so hard but so worth it. my heart rate was through the roof and i was sweating up a storm. (plus i had a sick shoulder pump going on, with some vein action, but that just sounds douchey so i saved it for last.) i did some hanging leg raises and then foam rolled some more, and was in the shower at 7:05.

not too shabby for an hour’s work! and i made it to the office to give my exams with enough time to eat my bacon and eggs before anybody showed up! : )

i’m actually home now for a few hours – i teach a yoga class later tonight. i have a few odds and ends to do, but i’m mostly just relaxing and tidying.

on the P:GK front, i’ve found myself getting hungry more frequently lately – more so than i was when i initially began keto. i think part of that is due to the fact that i got the plague/a head cold those first few days of my transition, which in effect killed my appetite. now that i’m healthy again, and back on a 5-day training schedule, my appetite has ramped up. once i add in classes and teaching, it’s only going to get stronger. which means i may need to re-address my macros. not a huge deal; it’ll be a lot of trial and error, i’m sure.

since i have no interest in being in caloric deficit (i’m okay riding around 60kg until march; then we need to start whittling me down towards 58kg or so and i can waterload out the last 2kg the week of the meet) i still think it’s interesting that my body has definitely changed a bit since starting keto all of 10 days ago. i did drop about 1.5kgs (of water i’m sure), and my muscle definition has begun to pop a teeny bit. (remember, i’m still a noodle.) but i can definitely tell in my quads and triceps that there are some baby lines peeking out.

not the goal of keto for me, but definitely a nice fringe benefit!

it’s crazy windy outside and i have a very drafty apartment, so i do believe that’s my sign to throw some coffee on. i hope everyone has an outstanding start to their week!


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survival and spitting fire.

Don’t worry about your body.
It isn’t as small as it once was,
But honestly, the world needs more of you.
You look in the mirror
like you’ve done something wrong,
But you look perfect.
Anyone who says otherwise is telling a lie
to make you feel weak.
And you know better.
You’ve survived every single day,
for as long as you’ve been alive.
You could spit fire if you wanted.

clementine von radics

first off, i love clementine von radics’ work, and if you haven’t heard of her, go here instead of reading the rest of this post.

something i haven’t talked about much (or at all) is how my shift in training, from distance running to powerlifting, has changed my body.

even when i was training for my half marathons i never had that endurance runner “look.” i’ve never been lanky and lean, that’s just not the way my body exists. i was seeded in the first wave (sub-8:00 pace) both times i ran the derby half, and looking around the corral as we were getting ready to go i remember thinking, “i am such a little brick compared to these people!”

then i got into powerlifting.

since july i have been training exclusively in powerlifting; i lift heavy most days of the week, and my cardio consists of lifting faster. i knew my body would change, but i have been honestly and consistently surprised by just how much.

without going into great boring detail, i have gotten bigger. there’s no sugar-coating it – my quads are bigger, my butt is bigger, my shoulders and back have gotten significantly broader.

and i’ll be honest, it’s been a huge adjustment mentally. i feel the most comfortable when i’m in the gym – partly because spandex is comfy (i know that seems counter-intuitive to some people, but if i could live in compression shorts and bro tanks, i would), and partly because when i’m in the gym throwing weight around, i don’t give two shits what i look like. all i know in that moment is i feel strong, and that’s all that matters.

but i definitely struggle in the mornings when i’m getting ready for work. we’re not in sundress weather any more; i’m stuck with a whole lot of separates, and they fit a lot differently than they used to. there are certain things i simply can’t wear right now – blazers that can’t contain my lats, jeans that have no prayer of holding my butt and thighs. and i’m not gonna lie, it’s tough. it’s difficult to intercept those thoughts of “oh my god i gained weight this is awful i’m fat” when they’re still – even after all this time – somewhat ingrained.

but then i get in the gym and i pull 250 pounds off the ground and think, “well shit, who cares if i have a big butt?! this body does some pretty damn cool stuff.”

so yes – my body is not as small as it once was. but when i think of all it can do, all it has survived, its size suddenly becomes irrelevant. and i know, damn well, that i could spit fire if i wanted.

(also, as an aside: fit and feminist linked my last post to their facebook page, and it generated a ridiculous amount of traffic last week. so thanks to the ladies there for the publicity, and thanks to all of you who visited and any of you who came back a second time!!)