becoming infinite

always learning. always growing. always lifting heavy things.


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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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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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fun fact friday!

it’s been a looooong while since i did one of these! but since i’m curled up on my couch, procrastinating showering off my gym sweat, it seems that this would be a perfect time to resurrect the tradition.

  • i stick my tongue out when i cough. always have. no idea why.
  • i used to hide my laugh. it’s really loud and cackle-y, and i was really self-conscious over it. but as i’ve gotten older i’ve realized that enjoying life fully trumps being quiet and contained. and if my laugh annoys somebody…well, too bad.

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30729_764432893195_3862088_nas my ex once said, i have “big laughs.”

  • my favorite candy bar is twix. hands down.
  • i can’t train in anything that has sleeves, unless it’s a long-sleeve fitted top that i wear to warm up if it’s chilly. otherwise, it has to be tank-tops; i hate having something on my shoulders while i’m moving weight.
  • my mom used to buy me one of those huge tins of popcorn every year for christmas – the kind that had butter, cheese, and caramel popcorn segments. it was one of those things where we all agreed the popcorn wasn’t very good, but we always ate it, every year.
  • i have a slightly unhealthy love of crime dramas, and whenever i come home you can find me parked in front of the television for at least one CSI/SVU/Criminal Minds marathon.

lift big, eat big, laugh loud!  : )


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revival.

i had been meaning to make a “how i like 5/3/1 so far” post…and then my first cycle ended (how time flies!) so now that seems silly.

BUT i’m running a second cycle, and it started today! i pulled 225# for 8 reps and it was awesome. and i may have peed a little on the last rep.

i also bought these awesome and obnoxious leggings and wore them to train today.

Photo 104they’re a combination of paint splatter and camo haha. also, i had just finished eating a pizza prior to taking this photo. (yes, a pizza. an entire one. it was delicious.)

all in all i liked my first cycle of 5/3/1 well enough. pulling for reps sucks though, my hands have never been so destroyed between that and all of the pull-ups and rows. i finally bought some harbinger straps just to save me on high-volume pulls. the accessory option i chose is also really high volume, which sucks in practice (5×15…really?!) but i’ve put noticeable size on my shoulders and back, so it’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing!

i also hit an awesome milestone last friday! i told my coach i wanted a 300# pull for christmas, so “for fun” after we did a shit-ton of box squats we decided to do some rack pulls.

and i pulled 3 plates (315#) for three triples. but even more awesome…the bar bent!! i have always secretly wanted to be badass enough to have the bar bend on one of my deadlifts. now for that 300# pull from the floor!

besides straps, i also decided it was time to purchase some chalk, since my gym decided to finally allow it. however…

Photo 105the description said “one pound of chalk.” i figured, one pound, not a lot at all! i was wrong. i am now the proud owner of enough chalk to last well into my 40s. thank goodness it came packaged in 2-oz blocks.

in other news…we have two more weeks of classes, then finals, then DONE. i submitted five conference proposals today (12/1 is a common deadline) – yale, cinci conservatory, texas, MTSE in tampa (i think?), and MTMA (which this year is in virginia…which i don’t really consider to be the mid-atlantic…). oh and indiana, too. there’s another round of deadlines around the 15th, and i’ll have a couple more papers done by then and might consider prepping abstracts for those instead.

my holiday travel is booked. i’m already having a hard time thinking about christmas. last year was my first one without mom; this year my grandma’s gone as well. and they both (my mom especially) really loved the holidays, so it makes it extra hard.

i hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving!!


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surprises at every turn.

i’m officially done with the first week of 5/3/1. today was mys first day of week 2, in fact.

on my rep-out sets last week (minimum 5 reps; go till ya can’t go any more) i got 8 reps on deads (215#) bench (105#) and squat (135#), and a barely-there bare minimum on OHP (70#).

that taught me a couple of important things.

1. i’m way stronger than i thought. i was shooting for an 8-rep on pulls, but deadlifts are my strongest of the big three. no way did i think i could make 8 reps on bench that close to my max.

2. and no way did i think i was going to get 8 reps on squat. because, come on, my squat is crap.

3. …or is it? doing a lot of rotational ab work (booooo abs) is helping my hip flexors immensely, as is a new warm-up. i’m hammering my middle back (150 pullups a week, guys, come on) and it’s helping me stay tight and upright in the hole. my squat is a big mental game for me. once i get more confident, and as i continue to work on my posterior chain, i think it’s going to get crazy.

4. i also front squat 3×3 at 135# on friday. if we’re keeping track, my back squat 1RM was 130# in july. and i hammered out 3 triples at 135# on a freaking front squat. please refer to bullet point #1.

i’m liking 5/3/1 thus far. i chose the accessory option that is suuuuper high-volume (5×15 for everything) so while it takes a bit of time, it gives me the option to get my heart rate up and work on my weak spots. i’m also adding in a widowmaker set per lift, per week. this week it’s squats; next week i’ll bench it.

i have my eyes on blowing right through a 600# total at my next meet and making a move on 650#.

i should also maybe invest in some chalk, because this happened when i pulled 225# for 5 reps today:

Photo 103callous central. the 30 pull-ups a day doesn’t help, either.

i’m enjoying the program. i’m enjoying being challenged, and in turn being surprised at how much i have in there if i really dig my heels in.

it’s a good time to be a me.