becoming infinite

always learning. always growing. always lifting heavy things.


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9 weeks out – finding the drive.

today was the first day of a new, 4-week training block. i really enjoyed the last one, and i feel like my back and shoulders gained some strength and size. since it was a four day split i also enjoyed a little more flexibility with my three off days – i rock-climbed a few times, did some metcons, and once or twice just grabbed a platform after work and did some hang cleans to work on power and speed (my elbows, and really everything, are the opposite of speedy).

this past week didn’t go quite according to program. the girl i’m very much in love with and i called it quits; i’ve been sad as hell about it. it was the strangest, most loving break-up i’ve ever experienced, but i’m still so sad that it’s hard to move sometimes. and on monday i had to have a little surprise oral surgery, which led to more melting down because (a) i hate the dentist ANYWAY, (b) i wanted my mom, and (c) i now have a big-ass hole where my molar used to be.

so with all of that on my mind, i had a hard time hitting it in the gym with my normal energy. plus, my training partner and i haven’t been able to coordinate schedules all week so we both flew solo monday and wednesday.

but nothing is ever perfect. training schedules can’t be followed 100%, all the time. meal plans can’t be followed 100%, all of the time. i got in there and put in work, even on the day when i was still bleeding from aforementioned big-ass hole in my mouth or the day where i laid in pigeon bawling while i was doing my post-lift mobility.

but today i hit my projected squat opener for two triples. so there’s that.

 


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10 weeks out and sending a 9

up and down week, training-wise. if i could compete in accessory work i would own so many records. sadly, i compete in three lifts, and one of them (my squat, what else?) is currently a mess.

but today we hit projected second attempts on squat for three singles, and 240# came up like buttah. we widened my stance pretty considerably and it helped me feel like i could really sit down into the hole, rather than needing to hinge back. so that was exciting, and a pretty big relief too.

we hit second attempts on bench for 3×1 as well, but we were in a hurry because my coach had a 4pm client so there was maybe a minute rest between each. my first 135# came up slow but fine, second didn’t even budge off my chest, and third was a grind. right now it looks like i’ll open at 57.5kg/126# and take either 60kg/132# or 62.5kg/137# for my second. i think when i’m well-rested i should be able to bury 62.5, but we’ll see how the next few weeks pan out!

and then the girl and i went for a little friday night indoor climbing fun. i warmed up on a 6 and a 7, and then jumped to an easy 9. and while it was definitely a light 9, i sent it and was super stoked! i’ve (a) never sent a 9 before, and (b) not climbed since…november? then i went and climbed two other routes – an 8 and a 9 – and now my forearms are falling off. but we had so much fun. a good friend of ours works at the wall and caught us all night. after having spent the last four weeks with our relationship in so much flux and stress, it just felt incredible to hang out and be silly and have fun.

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this route was really fun to climb. i’m also really excited that my calf does this, because it’s kind of muscle-y and neat.

Week 4 of training continues tomorrow with tons of back, shoulder, and chest work. i have to get cranking on my El Paso presentation (the paper from which also just got accepted to a conference in LA…more on that later!) and some exam things for students.

here’s to a great weekend!


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meet prep: 11 weeks out.

we’re nearing the end of our first block of training. yesterday marked the beginning of Week 3; after Week 4 we’ll switch to a new block. since the reemergence of my appetite i’ve been feeling more comfortable with bigger weights (imagine that!) and not as frustrated.

monday we had 12×1 of our final bench warm-up. i hit 120# for all of my singles and they were smoke city. ideally i would like to open at 60kg (132#) on meet day, but i’m okay with opening at 57.5kg (126#) as well. we’re still far enough out that i can continue to plan and strategize!

but then we had 3×10 pause squats. my training partner is a former collegiate soccer player who then started CrossFit after graduation. she owns me in anything high-rep. i, on the other hand, am a tubby powerlifter who considers sets of five cardio conditioning.

we both did 135# for all of our working sets and i was straight f*cked up for three days. i literally got on my yoga mat at 5am on tuesday and thought to myself, “i can’t bend my knees so maybe i can just…freefall down to the floor…”

then yesterday we got to do something i’ve been waiting for for quite some time: we got to pull heavy! i worked up to my approximate opener weight (275# in the photo; will open at either 125kg/276# or 127.5kg/281#) for three speedy singles, then did 225# 3×3 with pauses at the knee. it was great to pull heavy again, and to be back pulling conventional too. i had good bar speed – especially for me, the world’s slowest lifter – and just need to focus on cranking my shoulders down.

275 pull january 2015

and then for fun we did a widowmaker on bench – video here! 75% of final competition warm-up, which had me right at 95#. the final rep was so long i wasn’t sure i would come out of it. and inb4 CHEATER ARCH. don’t hate on lumbar flexibility. brandon lilly even complimented it. so there.

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today we did accessory work, and i teach yoga for 2.5 hours tomorrow for some good ole active recovery. things feel good; a little beat up, but strong. excited to smoke the end of this training block and get going on the next one!


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we’re always all right

I win all the awards for worst blogger ever. Except that now that I have the WordPress app I’ll probably come around a lot more often. Sad but true.

Since acquiring the elusive and sought after status of Doctoral Candidate (Extraordinaire) I have managed to…do pretty much nothing productive. Unless you count copious amounts of cross-stitching, reading four books, and watching lots of Homeland and The L Word with my girlfriend as “productive.”

I spent winter break in Florida with my dad, at his new house right on the inlet:

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and my girlfriend joined me a few days after Christmas. The holidays without mom and now my grandmother too are still hard, but they’re getting more manageable every year. I had a really nice time, and as always am struggling with the whole “back to the grind” thing now.

Before I left I squat 185# for a set of 20. So that was something.

And now, here we are. I have a goal to have my dissertation proposal in a full draft form by spring break. One of my papers got accepted to a regional conference that will bring me to El Paso next month. And I’m competing in April.

Life is crazy. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, but most of the time it’s great. Maybe I’ll come back here more often. Until then:

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Smile and laugh, guys.


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All But Done!

as of this past monday, i am officially ABD. (which really stands for All But Dissertation, but All But Done works just as well…) passing my qualifying exams was the goal of this semester. i put training on the back burner; for the first time in my teaching career i wrote lesson plans the day of instead of the day or weekend before; i took advantage of the fact that we have no “official” dress code and my students have thus now seen me in jeans.

but it was all worth it because i passed and am one step closer to my PhD.

and now that it’s november and i can breathe a little, i can also sit back and reflect on what has gone down the past few months.

first off, i started dating this lovely lady (see below) in july. one of our favorite things to do together is acro yoga. i started out as our base but we were getting nowhere; one day we randomly switched and in five minutes i was up and in bow.

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this was day 2 of us messing around with me flying.

10405430_10101934463706025_3197186026047467459_nlast week or so? upside down bow. when i’m standing i feel like a very stout brick-human; here somehow i look like a spider monkey.

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can’t win ’em all!

besides that…training is going well. we’re continuing to un-yuck my squat technique. on halloween we worked up to a single at 225, did 3×2 at 185, and then closed with a widowmaker at 155. and then i tried to not puke or cry:

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my advisor instructed me to take this week off. no worrying about my dissertation, my proposal, next year’s fellowship…just relax. and i have been and it’s been great. i’m teaching 5 yoga classes a week plus i’m in the middle of a four-week workshop i’m running on yoga for athletes. i just booked my flight to see my dad for christmas, and the girl is meeting me in fort lauderdale for new year’s. i’m spending thanksgiving with her and her family.

sometime this week i want to come back and spruce this blog up. change the URL, maybe reorganize the pages, get some training videos up. i’ve got a instagram nowadays – @jenncanliftyou – if you want more photos of my silly faces and flexing and random acro things.

life is good. really good. maybe i didn’t get here quite the way i would have liked, but i’m really really content.


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full circle.

probably the most-read post i have ever written was about my first experience with cutting weight for a meet. at the time, i had been lifting with my coach for 3 1/2 months and had yet to reach my pre-op weight after almost a year and a half of rehab. 56kg is the low end of normal for me, but since 24-hour weigh-ins allow you to manipulate your “true” weight, it wasn’t a big deal to pee myself into my weight class.

then came my off-season. i ramped up both my eating and my training as we worked on technique, form, and building mass. and build mass i did, in the for of both lean muscle and body fat. this:

august 2013

turned into this:

may 2014

in less than nine months. i’m now squatting what my summer 2013 max deadlift was. and in the process i have, almost necessarily i would think, put on weight.

the struggle for the past few months has been deciding on a weight class. at the georgetown classic i weighed in at 57.0kg – a kilo over for the 56kg class, and that was after a nasty, gnarly cut that i never want to relive. it was frustrating, especially knowing that i still had some body fat i could have pulled, and potentially could have made weight.

i have nationally competitive numbers as a 56kg lifter. as a 60kg lifter – which also happens to be a much more common weight class, for whatever reason – i am a bebe fish in a very large and strong pond. so of course the competitive and stubborn side of me wants to remain in the 56kg class.

my coach and i have spent a lot of time talking about this. STV has caused me to build a startling amount of lean mass in just over a month’s time. and i’m also dropping body fat. yet my weight remains around 62-63kg.

so yesterday i did something i had assumed i would never need to do again in my adult life: i went to a nutritionist.

nutritionist appointments were a part of my regular treatment team/schedule for years. there were times in my treatment history i actually had a better relationship with my nutritionist than my therapist. i have sat in those offices and screamed, argued, cried, cursed, and flat-out refused to do things like eat full-fat cheese or not break my bagel into meticulous, tiny pieces before eating it.

i have also sat in those offices and said things like, “i no longer need 12 cups of coffee to get through my day,” or “i don’t get dizzy every time i stand up any more.” those offices, the arguments and meltdowns and revelations, played a huge role in me healing my relationship with food and my body.

and i never thought i would find myself in one again, after all these years! but yet yesterday, there i was. i had been put into contact with a sports nutrition professor who specializes in part with athletes who compete in weight-classed sports.

it was strange to be in one of those offices and not boiling over with anxiety. it was strange to have no stipulations beyond “i’ll eat anything but olives.” it was strange to be in that position as a healthy person with a comfortable relationship to food and their body.

maybe we can never escape our pasts, but we can look back at them and, when a situation presents itself that shows us how much we have changed, how much we have grown, we can appreciate them and how they molded us.


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achievement unlocked.

yesterday began Phase 2 of my STV training cycle. i did some measurements in the morning to see what changed and what didn’t over the past four weeks/Phase 1. in a nutshell: shoulders grew an inch. body weight and body fat went down. pretty much everything else stayed the same/only shifted marginally.

then at around 8am yesterday i got a text from my coach: “we’re moving heavy weight today. get ur mind right, if everything goes as planned we walk away very happy.”

i walked into the gym that afternoon mostly excited, and a little nervous. maxing always makes me jittery. we warmed up and got in the rack. did some open bar work, then a triple at 95, double at 135. from then on, singles: 165, 185, 205. my PR is 215, which i squat at the georgetown classic last month.

so then this happened: i bring you, my first two-plate (225#) squat!

after that we did another single at 225, then one at 235. that one was definitely a max effort/grind, but my favorite part is my dorky laugh at the end because it really did feel like the longest lift on the planet.

after that he stripped off the 5 and one 45 from each side and said, “now we’re gonna prove a point. you’re gonna squat this for a set of 20.” and i wish we had video of it because when i racked it i literally melted to the ground and laid there panting and laughing and unable to undo my belt but not caring because what just happened.

in summation, yesterday i:

  • squat two plates
  • officially hit the 100# mark on my back squat, in under a year (in july 2013 my max was 135#)
  • proceeded to squat my july 2013 max for a set of 20
  • went home and ate an entire pizza

watching the videos i can definitely see where my bar placement and form still need work, but i’m pleased with my improved ability to squat into the bar, keep my knees driving out, and just my increased mid-back strength overall. plus i’m not tapered and have no knee wraps or even sleeves on. tapered and wrapped i should have a 250 in me somewhere!

while i was laying on the floor laughing and gasping my coach was sitting on the box next to me grinning like a fool. when i finally started moving he goes, “i’m not even gonna strip the bar. we’re just gonna leave that there, i don’t care. you own this gym right now.”

i was literally in a haze the rest of the evening. partially because my legs were stunned and i was anticipating debilitating soreness, but mostly because i was so dang excited and proud i could barely function.

and now i have my STV Phase 2 plan…today was a rest day, and tomorrow is a “beach body” day (aka “do whatever makes ya feel good”) and then i kick into Phase 2 on monday.

in a nutshell…life is good.