becoming infinite

always learning. always growing. always lifting heavy things.


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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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12 weeks out – meet prep life.

i’ve decided to compete in another full power meet, on April 18th. even more exciting is that for the first time, i have a training partner! she’s also a grad student here, and we’ve been lifting together for about two months now on and off. she decided she wants to compete, so we’re running this meet prep cycle together. our pulls are almost exactly the same; i have a bigger squat but hers is way prettier than mine; and she never really benched regularly so while mine is bigger, hers will shoot up in the next few weeks.

this prep cycle is way lower volume than i’m used to – only four days of lifting per week, and big lifts on only two of those days. i wondered if having three “off” days would make me anxious or antsy, but so far i love it – the training days tax me so much i’m more then ready to take an entire day to recover before the next one!

mobility is a huge priority for me right now. it helps that i’m teaching yoga 5-6 days a week. plus i force my sorry butt to get up and do some spinal and hip work every morning before i go to the office. my back unlocked over break; now we’re just trying to keep it there!

my squat continues to plague me; my bench is growing slowly but steadily. we pull heavy on friday for the first time in ages, and that will determine openers. i’m shooting for 231/126/281. i hit 120 for twelve really fast singles on bench today so that bodes well. 126 was my second attempt last meet so it would be nice to open there or even 132 if i get some good training reps in these next few months.

i had lost my appetite – and a good deal of body weight – due to some crazy stress and anxiety earlier this month. everything is slowly getting back to normal, and my metabolic furnace is back to its usual spastic and speedy self.

and in other, less gym-y news, if you don’t follow me on instagram (@jenncanliftyou) already, go do that so you can watch videos of my girlfriend and i playing the ukulele and singing. it’s so cute i swear you’ll fall in love with us.

and i’m going to el paso next month for a conference. so there’s that too.


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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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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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there’s no crying in powerlifting!

i’m currently sitting in the airport, waiting to catch a 7am flight for a speedy day trip. since friday is the day i usually squat with my coach, we moved my session up to last night. which meant skipping wednesday’s rest day and doing thursday’s double instead.

even with my right quad still a little rough around the edges (i’m unbelievably thankful that our boss at the gym bought one of these for the trainers to use/me to sneak when the trainers aren’t using it) Week 3 of STV had me feeling great. my body fat is dropping and im putting on noticeable size in my shoulders and width to my back.

last night i showed up at 8pm to squat. we had been doing sticking point/1.25 squats for the past three weeks. to start Week 4 of STV we were going back to, as my coach calls it, “R.A.S.” – Regular-Ass Squats.

warm-ups felt good and we jumped from open bar to 95# to 135# without a problem. less than a year ago my max squat was 130# – i was waiting for the day when i could squat wheels (the 45s). now that’s my second warm-up after open bar work.

we hit 165# for a triple and it felt super, super solid. i belted up and we hit five triples at 185#. everything felt light and fast, i’m getting much better at driving into the bar and keeping my chest up, and i’m actually (finally!) getting some decent bounce out of the hole.

i looked up and caught myself in the mirror as i was getting under the bar and had to squint for a second. i look so different from the person i’m used to. my shoulders are significant, my quads are the kind you grow when you move heavy weight regularly – aka, feet apart, thighs together! – and my arms don’t hang at my sides any more because of the width of my lats.

never in a million years did i think i could look like this. never in a million years would i have imagined i would be standing in a fancy gym on a thursday evening putting almost 200# on my back and moving it around for easy triples.

and i am so grateful. sometimes i think about this sports and how much it has brought me and i get that little flutter in my chest and hitch in my throat like i’m about to cry out of sheer happiness.

five years ago, yoga saved me from myself when i was grasping at straws to finally get my eating disorder under control and out of my life.

two and a half years ago, running saved me from the avalanche of grief after my mom died.

and now…i don’t know what powerlifting is saving me from, but it’s sure doing something.


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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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hi hello i didn’t forget you!

spring break has finally arrived!! and with it will come posts and updates…just not tonight.

i have a very special post in the works right now, and i’m excited to share it with you all as it’s off my usual topical trend…but it’s not quite finished yet so you’ll have to sit in suspense!

but to tide you over, here are some highlights of life since i disappeared:

  • TEXAS WAS AWESOME. my paper was very well-received. i met amazing people. i ate my weight in fajitas. and i drank some killer margaritas. (hey that rhymed!)
  • we’re on spring break – did i mention that?! because we are. and it’s awesome.
  • i’m <4 weeks out from my meet. recent training in a nutshell:
    • squat 200# for a triple
    • squat 215# for three clean singles, belt no wraps
    • did my circuit max squat and got 315# with wraps and reverse bands!!
    • benched 125# for a triple
    • pulled 275# for a (very ugly) triple
    • feeling good about my numbers and my prep!
  • school is eating my soul. it’s my last semester of coursework and i am just riding the struggle bus right on into struggletown.
  • i’m visiting my dad and his new house next month!
  • i filed my taxes today and for the first time in my adult life i’m going to spend my tax return money. my computer is old and decrepit and breaks down more and more frequently, so i’m finally biting the bullet and getting a new one. so i’m not exactly blowing my tax return on something frivolous, but…my inner frugal queen is screaming.

there ya have it. bear with me as i get my feet back under me in the glorious span of 9 school-less days. i have three papers to write (finished one today) and then i’ll feel much more in control of my life!