becoming infinite

always learning. always growing. always lifting heavy things.


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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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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.

 


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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.


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catch-up and blog re-vamp!

the semester is nearly over and i’m finally starting to feel like myself again! this semester was a killer, and i spent most of it feeling decidedly “off.” but just in the past week, knowing that the end is near, i’ve felt myself relaxing back to my normal self. which is by no means “normal,” but we all know that already.

the next four weeks are going to be a bit of an experiment, and i think i’ll use this blog to document it. here’s the deal:

my body responds really well to high-volume training. in a meet prep cycle that’s not really an advisable method – aka you need to be working under heavy workloads getting towards your 1RM – but i’m in my off-season now so my coach and i are experimenting with my training.

i have three major weaknesses, physically: my middle back, my hamstrings, and my anterior delts/shoulders overall. i also have a summer schedule looming, which means no class, studying for quals, and teaching yoga at the gym 5 times a week.

which led to the development of my next training cycle: Shit Ton of Volume (STV), Phase 1.

the general gist is this: i’ll lift 4 days a week. one of those days will be a single session with my coach; the other 3 will be double sessions – major lift (squat, push press, or bench) in the morning with one or two accessory movements, and then opposite muscle group accessory work in the afternoon. (i.e. if i push press¬† in the morning i’ll do lower body accessory work in the afternoon). on top of that, twice a week i’ll be getting in a sprint cycle – 4-6 round of 30 seconds max effort followed by 2 minutes of rest. it doesn’t always have to be running sprints, but i’d like them to be at least once a week.

the goals are to increase my posterior chain strength and power, grow my quads some more, and grow some caps (shoulders), all while hopefully leaning me out a bit too.

i took a bunch of measurements this morning as a baseline, and at the end of 4 weeks/Phase 1, i’ll re-measure and see how everything shook out!

also, yes i competed a few weeks ago. i’ll spare you a long update; my PL page is updated with numbers, and here’s a picture to tide you over!

Georgetown 215gotta love dat lifting face!


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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!