becoming infinite

always learning. always growing. always lifting heavy things.


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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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change and things.

life is crazy. busy and stressful and insane and wonderful.

the semester has started; i’m teaching two sophomore classes. the faculty member i’m working under for one of them is a lot of fun and super laid-back. my adviser is on sabbatical this term so while i miss her intensely, she has gifted me her office as an office/study space in her absence. and it’s a beautiful thing.

my seizures have been out. of. control. these exams need to be over so they’ll hopefully settle down.

i moved. i’m sharing a house with three other people. i’m a 5-minute walk from my office and a 3-minute walk from a coffee shop, a fro-yo place, and a liquor store. aka i have moved to heaven.

 

10394511_10101746354408565_8498642638783457684_ni bought a bike. she’s fun.

i squat 275 with wraps last week. and then two days later i pulled 285 for six triples. i’m competing in two weeks, just for shits and giggles, and then our big meet is in december. if i can cut to a 56kg and not lose any strength i can put a serious scare in the national deadlift record.

i’m seeing someone. and it’s fucking spectacular. we’ve known one another for a few years, peripherally, and we started hanging out this summer. she’s somethin’. it’s a new relationship but i’ve got a good feeling about it. it’s relaxed. i laugh more with her than with anybody, outside of maybe my college best friend. we take things one day at a time. and today, things are awesome. hopefully tomorrow they will be, too.

my first qualifying exam is in 19 days. it’s my non-area exam but it has been eating up all of my study time lately. i think i’ll be fine. i have tons of outlines, i just need to commit them to something of a working narrative in my memory. then once that’s over i have exactly one month until my 8 hours of area exams.

this is a hurdle, a rite of passage. i’ll do well, but not without some tears and fits and  lot of caffeine, i’m sure.

this blog…i don’t know what i want to do with it. i have a new phone and i make training videos a lot now. i want to make a training-specific blog, especially now that i’m getting my technique de-bugged and starting to get more confident in my lifts.

we’ll see. it’s a process. everything is a process. change is inevitable. sometimes it sucks but damn sometimes it’s awesome.


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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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raid my ipod.

i study music for a living. however, i have really eclectic tastes when it comes to my life outside of the classroom. lately i’ve realized that my lifting/training playlists are getting more and more bizarre – it’s not always old-school eminem that pumps me up for lifts. it could be a ballad that just really digs in my gut. so i bring you…a peek into my ipod!

 

coconut skins – damien rice

i’ve been perfecting my forearm balances to this song for a week now. : )

 

latch – disclosure ft. sam smith

this song is just straight-up sexy. done and done.

 

sail – AWOLnation

i admit it, it heard this the first time on a jon north/attitude nation training montage. but dang it’s catchy.

 

sing – ed sheeran

again, this song is just sexy. plus i love ed sheeran.

 

orange sky – alexi murdoch

here’s an example of a ballad-y song that just locked itself into my gut and gives me chills. and yes, i have squat 200+ to this song.

 

breezeblocks – alt-j

a yoga student turned me onto alt-j and i’m obsessed.

 

welp there ya have it – listen, watch, and enjoy!

 


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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.

 


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carpe diem, and go kiss that boy.

^ words of advice from a friend this afternoon.

this weekend has thrown me on my head, albeit in a really great way. i was explaining to my friend about everything – the guy, the fact that i actually really enjoyed being with him (i never enjoy people!! and i don’t like guys!!), and now the fact that i am useless 23 hours a day. in the half second it takes me to turn a page in whatever book i’m studying from, i get lost in thinking about him and it’s fifteen minutes before i can focus again.

and this conversation with said friend. i blurted out, “i feel like an asshole, i never even felt this way about the person i was going to marry! or wait, maybe i did, and then it got tainted after we broke up and i’ve blocked it out…” to which she responded, “NO! that’s what makes it beautiful. if that hadn’t happened, you wouldn’t be here right now. even if it was terrible and painful at the time. carpe diem, my friend. and go kiss that boy!”

i’m free-falling and it’s terrifying and thrilling and i can’t breathe but i don’t mind.


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olives.

excerpt from an e-mail to my friend, sent about a month ago:

(backstory: i went on a date i didn’t know was a date. with a guy who didn’t know that i actually date females.)

so we went out for a drink the next friday and i’m completely not catching on to the part about this guy wanting to get with me until his tongue is in my mouth and just in case anyone was curious NOPE i do not like boys one bit NOPE NOPE NOPE. not even a little bit. and i try and explain that to this guy and he KEEPS TRYING. like…dude i’m stronger than you are, for starters, so please let’s not play around here. and secondly, please don’t try and convince me that i want to make out with you because trust me i do NOT. that’s like somebody trying to convince me that i like olives even though every olive i have ever eaten has been god awful disgusting. I DON’T LIKE OLIVES OKAY.”

i went to this same friend’s wedding last night. hopped on a 7am flight to hartford, got there at noon, got ready and to the wedding by 7pm. i forgot my hair straightener so i needed to finagle an updo:

Photo 113

 

and i thankfully had a dress that didn’t keep me in lat jail all night:

Photo 118(please excuse my asymmetry and my inability to flex.)

the wedding was beautiful, really intimate and unique and lots of fun.

and then i got introduced to a nephew of the bride, who happens to be an oly lifter (which is the reason we were introduced), and who also happens to be the cutest human. and very fun to be around.

time warp: when i wrote about this, i failed to mention that the person behind the butterflies (which, yes, are still there to an extent) is of the male persuasion. i’ve only mentioned it to one person, in fact, because it caught me so off guard.

i’ve been attracted to women since i was in fifth grade. yes, i dated guys, but finally coming out felt like a huge sigh of relief, felt so right. that was ten years ago, and i’ve never identified as anything but a lesbian since.

and now this. it’s all really new and strange to me but oddly not causing me to panic per se. i’m just…baffled. confused. hence the text i sent to my friend this morning: “girl. i’m sitting here in the airport with morning-after hair trying to get my life together.”

because after thirty years…maybe i like olives after all.