becoming infinite

always learning. always growing. always lifting heavy things.


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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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3…2…1…

if i’m counting (which i totally am), i’m three days away from my 30th birthday! now i don’t even make resolutions or hopes or wishes on New Year’s because i think that the amount of things that can happen in 365 days is so mind-boggingly vast that trying to predict your progress is just counter-intuitive…but…

i’ve been thinking a lot about my 20s – what happened, what didn’t, what i thought would happen and if it did or didn’t – and relating it to my pending decade of good times and loud laughs.

i turned 20 on the last day of my sophomore year at cornell. seven months later my bulimia and cutting were out of control and i was admitted into renfrew and then, after about six weeks, transferred to a DBT-based program at columbia presbyterian in NYC.

i was 22 when i started my dream degree (voice) at one of a handful of dream schools (hartt).

when i was 25 i started dating somebody. i fell in love with her. i started to think about things like marriage and babies and happily ever after. i graduated from college, got into grad school – two, in fact! – and accepted a spot at the university of kentucky. 25 was a good year.

at 26 i moved 750 miles away from everything i had ever known, to start my master’s degree. i was 26 when i got engaged. i met people who grew to be cornerstones in my life.

and then 27 hit. my mom died. my family self-destructed. “i love you, don’t ever leave me” turned into “you’re not being fair, i can’t be with you any more.” i successfully defended my master’s thesis and graduated, but missed the ceremony because i had my leg sawed into by a wonderful surgeon whom i adore even though it sucked.

with 27 barely in the rearview, 28 brought the decision to stay in lexington another three years and become a PhD student. most of 28 was overshadowed by knee rehab; my physical therapist and my advisor kept me sane and alive that year.

on my 29th birthday i found out that what i had thought was just a bump in the road in my grandma’s health was actually terminal. i sat on the tennis court outside the gym and cried for an hour that day. i went home and booked a flight to florida to visit; it would be the last time i would see her.

the same week my grandma died, i started training with my powerlifting coach – i was actually driving home from our first session when my dad called to tell me grandma had passed away. i broke 5 state powerlifting records while i was 29. presented at my first professional conference, visited texas for the first time, and successfully completed my PhD coursework.

after the crap that was 27, i’ve found myself hopelessly smitten with somebody and it’s weird and surprising and a whole lot of fun.

i have no grandiose ideas for my 30s. i don’t necessarily want to: get married, have babies, buy a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence. maybe i will! and that would be cool. but if i don’t, that’s just as cool.

in 3 days, i’ll turn 30. i’ll teach a sunrise yoga class at 630am and i’ll run sprints a little before nine. after i crawl back to the gym i’ll foam roll and shower and i’ll spend the rest of the day at the library, studying for my qualifying exams. my uncle will call at some point, and my dad will too. when the library closes at five i’ll go home and have dinner and look at my training schedule for the next day.

at some point while i’m 30 i’ll pass my qualifying exams and maybe even get a dissertation proposal approved. i’ll start applying for sabbatical replacement positions and for fellowships.

i’ll lift a lot of things and i’ll laugh a lot. probably loudly, because that’s how i roll.

you never know how the chips are going to fall. am i happy that 27 went the way it did? of course not. but am i in love with the way my life is in the last three days of 29? you better freaking believe it. and i’m going to try my damnedest to make 30 just as great.


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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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NEDA Week 2014.

tomorrow is the first day of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2014. i’ve been thinking for almost the entire month about how i was going to approach it, if at all. and here’s what i’ve come to settle on:

this week is important, for sure. it’s important to raise awareness in the general public, not just about eating disorders and what they are, but also about their prevalence and the problems surrounding getting proper treatment for those in need. a while back i wrote about my feelings on recovery and why i have chosen to remain distant from the ED recovery community. that decision becomes especially apparent during this week. but since every now and again i get asked about how my recovery is going and how it “still works” after several years, here’s what i have to say:

recovery isn’t about this week. it’s not about going on as many NEDA Week Walks as you can find within driving distance. it’s not about buying the t-shirt with this year’s catchy slogan. it’s not about wearing your purple ribbon around fielding questions about what it stands for.

recovery isn’t about being a spokesperson, spouting information, or sharing your story. it’s not about NEDA symbol temporary tattoos or scale-smashing parties. all of those things might exist within your recovery, but they do not define or signify it.

i’ll tell you what recovery is. recovery is about being a fucking warrior. why? because it’s hard as hell. you’re going to have to fight every goddamn day, hour, minute to keep doing what you need to do to emerge from the rubble of a decimated self-concept.

recovery is about taking responsibility. before anyone starts throwing shade at me and calling me insensitive: the biggest turning point in me moving from sorta-kinda-in-recovery with a side of relapse to full-on recovery was taking responsibility for my actions and my reactions. people are going to say shitty things, do shitty things, shit is going to happen. just because something is upsetting or “triggering” does not mean you are bound by some invisible contract to react in a way that engages your eating disorder. begin exercising your human right to make your own choices and to rise above habit and reactionary decisions. which goes back to the idea of being a warrior – force yourself to rise above the situation and come out stronger.

and finally, at some wonderful amazing point in the process, recovery becomes about not needing your eating disorder as a definition of yourself. you no longer need to cling to your diagnosis like a security blanket, because in sloughing off the skin of your disorder you have uncovered three dozen things that are infinitely more important to your idea of self.

recovery is a 365-day-a-year engagement. this week might be a little booster for you, a nudge or a reigniting of the flame, but recovery doesn’t only come out of its shell during these seven days in february every year. enjoy this week and use it in the way that best furthers your endeavors, but go out and be a warrior every day from here on out.


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thoughts on my first keto carb-up.

a lot of people carb cycle with keto. my coach and i decided that, after i had been solidly in ketosis for a few weeks, i should probably do so as well.

i also decided that, after 3 weeks of livin’ the keto life, my first carb-up was going to be lenient in terms of “cleanliness”. because sometimes, a girl just needs some damn golden grahams.

here’s what i have to say about keto, participating in a weight-controlled sport, carb cycling, and everything in between: they test your commitment to recovery, 157%. if i wasn’t soundly and solidly sure of my place in recovery, i would have gone off the rails a long time ago. but that doesn’t mean that i don’t see the dangers inherent to this life.

and as i was cruising through the aisles at kroger on thursday – center aisles i hadn’t pushed a cart through in three weeks, since eating keto pretty much means you live on the outer edges of the grocery store – i suddenly remembered all of those times in college that i would go to the “grocery store” on campus and buy 40$ worth of junk food – food i never “allowed” myself to eat otherwise – and cart it back to my dorm, curl up in my desk chair, and inhale it all in under an hour, pausing only to slip to the bathroom to purge, make room, eat more, throw up again and again until my eyes were so swollen i could barely see and my low back would seize up and spasm continuously for the rest of the night.

this sent panicked warning bells off in my head. and it did make me pause, somewhere in the cereal aisle as i had second thoughts about the golden grahams in light of lucky charms, and think:

a big step in accepting this ketogenic diet as a diet, not a “diet,” has been reconciling the notion that it is not the same as disordered eating. and i know there are people out there who knew me when and are giving me side-eye through the computer screen, and that’s just fine; you just keep on side-eyeing. and i’ll just keep not having seizures.

the important part is that i would not be able to do this if my relationship with food was still fucked up. when i was sick, as soon as i mentally made a food “off-limits” that food would instantly rise to the top of my “to binge on and throw up” list. and rest assured, that was a LONG ASS LIST.

so how is this any different?

as i shuttled my cart around kroger, i didn’t feel any rising panic or intense anxiety. i knew what i wanted, and i knew that, for that 24-hour window, my muscles were going to have a damn field day filling up on glycogen they hadn’t seen in almost a month. i was looking forward to it, sure, but it was serving a purpose.

what it wasn’t was a tornado of frenzied bulimic shopping where i would quite literally grab anything i could get my hands on and throw money at the cashier, not even waiting for change, just so i could get the hell away from people so i could start eating right fucking now in the car on the walk back to my dorm in the bathroom stall at the mall.

and before i go i will say one last thing about my glorious carb-up that helped me squat 5×5 @ 155# on friday: when your body hasn’t had more than trace carbohydrates for three weeks…that initial carb bomb is gonna be a doozy. although coach was unimpressed by my 3.3kg gain, i thought it was pretty laudable. eat all the carbs; retain all the water!

this has been a long-ass post.

 


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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!