Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Hello Everyone! Christina here! I'm alive and well!!! Where did the past 4 week go? I can't believe it's been 4 weeks since I've posted! 

So much has been going on in my life, I'm sure all the Mom's and Dad's with school aged kids can relate! The excitement of school starting and getting back into routine has been great but a little overwhelming at the same time! I have to tell you, this has been maybe the best summer I've had as an adult! I've enjoyed my having so much fun with my kids and Greg! I've felt much freedom being active and getting out and living life! Camping, swimming, hiking! It's all been awesome! I've loved my mornings in the garage with Coach Swagar, Carina and Hillary! It was an amazing summer!

My last entry we were about to go camping! Here's our humble little campsite! 
It was amazing and I'm SO glad we went!

I've been getting great workouts in on my usual Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule at the garage with the Mosties! It has been great and physically I've been pushing hard and feeling good! I'm actually quite taken back by my push/effort the past couple weeks, it's surpassed what I thought I was capable of!  Oddly enough, some workouts have been very mentally challenging! I'm not too sure how it's possible but my body is working hard and I'm doing great yet I've been having some negative thoughts during my workouts. Thought's like "I can't do this", "why do you think you can do this? It's too hard for you" or "you should quit this, it's too hard for you". It's funny because it's like there's a little devil sitting on my shoulder telling me that and then I'm rebutting with thinks like "I can do this!" and "Keep going". Do you all think I'm crazy? HAHA! I'm not discouraged by this and am really trying to focus on positive thinking while I'm training. Perhaps the reason mentally I'm struggling is precisely because I'm physically working harder than I ever have?

Now I can't lie, life being busy hasn't been the only reason I haven't blogged. I just haven't really known what to share! Nothing really new is happening but things are going very well! I think I need to do some more firsts to share! Maybe I'll have to put a list of new "firsts" I need to accomplish! I welcome any ideas of things you think I should try! I'm still striving to embrace the changes that happen in life and continuing to enjoy the flow! 

As you all know, the CrossFit MOST Box will be opening very soon! I'm SO excited for my Coach and David! It's awesome to see dreams become reality and very inspiring! I've been working hard these past 4 months in the garage where I train with Coach Swagar and some others (The Mosties) who have excitedly been waiting for the Box to open. In the back of my mind I've had the goal of being confident and comfortable enough to workout in a class setting at the Box. Now that the day is almost here I have a confession ... I'm kinda freaking out about it! I've done one WoD at a Box (remember when I was in Whitefish for the 4th of july?) and it was a great experience! That said, over the years I've made great effort to avoid activity/exercise in group settings. I've never actually told anyone that but there it is, out in the open. I've been invited with friends to join bootcamps or to play ultimate frisbee (or other team sports) but I've never felt that I would be able to keep up with others so avoidance was my defense. 

Tomorrow and Friday Reebok CrossFit Ramsay is brining the Reebok CrossFit Drop Box to Eau Claire for 2 days of CrossFit Fun! A bunch of Calgary CrossFit Boxes will be running WOD's over the 2 days! I think it's SO awesome to see the community getting together and showing people how great CrossFit is! All the WOD's are free and open to the Public! AWESOME! The MOST Box is scheduled for the last slot on Friday at 2pm! I have to admit, I'm a little anxious about it! I really don't want to get there and look like weak! Isn't that terrible? All this work I've done the past 4 months and I find myself doubting my abilities! This is incredibly frustrating to find myself in this headspace! All that said, I'm going! Come hell or high water I'm getting my butt out there and giving it my all! I'll let you know how it goes!

As for the Box opening, I am going to just dive into it! Honestly, change has always been difficult for me and I'll always work to embrace it rather than feel anxious about it. This is going to be a change for me but I think it will be a good change! I want to inspire others who may think they are in too bad of shape to do CrossFit or too fat or weak or short or tall or WHATEVER walls they have put up to convince themselves they can't! I thought that just 4 short months ago! I want to show others that ANYBODY can make changes in their lives, that it's never too late and that CrossFit could be the change they were looking for! It's time for me to put a face to my postings and put myself out there! I am so excited to meet others who will inspire me and motivate me to always fight to do my best! 
Carina posted this on her Facebook and I just absolutely love it!
 It really is how I've lived much of my life but no more!

This summer in the Garage has been amazing and I will be forever grateful for this time with Coach Swagar, Carina and Hillary! These 3 woman have been a big part of getting me to where I am today! I am so happy to have them by my side! I am so happy to be on this journey and will enjoy each day! 

Stay tuned! I'll be sharing again very soon! Don't forget to suggest some new things for me to add to my "firsts" list if you have something you'd think I should try! :)


Saturday, 1 September 2012

Long intro to Failure

So as of late, I have been working on trying to improve my mobility and flexibility. I honestly say it is one of the hardest things that I have ever taken on. Seriously.
“Just stretch out and put your foot right there behind your head.” You want me to put my foot where? Give your head a shakeJ Who the F@$K do I look like? Gumby? I bend like a piece of 1 inch steal plate that someone has taken the time to harden. In other words. I do not.  Or at least very well.
Over the years I have been able to usually push through certain challenges that have been placed before me, by over coming some of my mobility/flexibility limitations with shear hard headedness. And for the most part have come out the other end of the tunnel no worse for wear.
Or so I thought. Enter “older” age.
Side bar; I will say “older” as I do not believe anyone is ever old, just older, and that your age is just a number. What you believe is all that matters. Age therefore is just a state of mind. And until I have the big one, and my heart stops, that is how I will continue to roll.
Carrying on with getting “older”. Over the past couple of years, this getting older phenomenon has started to hit home like Mark McGuire on crank. For those who do not know who Mr. McGuire is, just think about stepping out in front of a speeding locomotive. Hopefully that adds some clarity for ya. Suddenly getting properly warmed up for physical activity is a must. And I mean properly warmed up. A good lather if you will. And taking the time to cool down and stretch afterwards is essential. Some of these compromising positions that I was able to get away with prior, are sure letting me know I am out of whack now. And I usually end up with a few trips to a chiro or some other type of manual therapy to help remedy the situation if I continue to push it.
Anyhoo, with all this feed back my body has been giving me over the past couple of years, it has all pointed at my shit ass mobility/flexibility. Plain and simple. And I can no longer get away with crap arse form. So I have been working with Jenn and Dave to help sort out some of my glaring mobility issues. And my god are they a pain in the ass.
Literally and figuratively.
Needless to say, it has been a painfully slow process. Things are improving, just slower than what I would like to see. (over night would have been great) You see, these issues developed over 30 years, and I would like to think I should be able to clear them bitches up in 3 hoursJ Not likely.
So today at the end of my lifting session in the garage, I was quite cranky with myself. Was working on deadlifts and still am having a miserable time getting myself into proper position. Utter failure I was thinking to myself. If I could have thrown that bar out into the Pacific Ocean, I probably would have done it with one hell of a smile on my face.

After calling it quits for the day, and grabbing a cold cider, my aggravation finally gave way and my improvements, although small, came to the forefront. Where they should be. And the fact that I may have failed today, just adds more fuel to the fire for tomorrow.
That was the longest intro ever for what I actually wanted to chat quickly about. HA!
Something that everyone is going to experience throughout life, over and over. It is part of the journey. And when looked upon properly, can quite often teach all of us the largest and most valuable lessons in life. Failure not only expresses a weakness in our plan, but also challenges our character and how we can handle adversity when things are not going our way. Do you throw your hands in the air and say “I can’t do this.” Storming off never to try again. Or do you take the lessons from the failed attempt, apply them to the next go around, and hit that sucker head on again. We all have those choices, and when the latter is taken, you come out the other side 10 times the person that you would have ever been, if you had been successful with your first attempt.
Nothing in life that is anywhere monumental or worth your time is easy. The sooner you get your head around that the better. Becoming better takes work, and work is hard.
That being said, failure is something that needs to be expected. Whenever you are pushing your boundaries becoming a better person in any aspect of your life, failure is always going to be around the corner with any ugly little smile on its face. Just learn to take a running double-footed ghetto style drop kick at that miserable SOBs face, and take the lessons learned from it throughout the rest of your life.

Failure should always be expected; But never sincerely accepted. Adapt, Overcome, and become Awesome.


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

How To Find a Kick-Ass CrossFit Coach

How to find a kick-ass CrossFit Coach

Over the past few years (I talk like a veteran, but I've only really done about 2 years of CrossFit, but apparently that makes me an expert now.) I’ve had the chance to work with some pretty stellar coaches.

  You hear the top athletes say “I work with so and so.”  The top athletes have a good point here. They have a main go-to person, as well as a close cadre of coaches they have identified that bring out the best in them.  I don’t think this is exclusive to them.  You may not be able to afford the quantities of Progenex they consume, but you can have a GREAT coach. 

That brings me to today’s blog topic… picking a coach.  Now that we are in a time of CrossFit plenty, we have the luxury of checking out different boxes all over our cities, and working with different people. There are as many different coaches out there, as there are elements you can throw into a CrossFit WoD.  I thought I’d write a few of my favourite things about my favourite coaches.

I may be horribly biased.  It’s a little incestuous here… all my favourite coaches have become some of my favourite people on this planet and among my closest friends.  

You know you have a great coach when you trust them with anything.  I trust them with my brain because I cannot think clearly during or after a WoD.  They take over with cues so I do not destroy myself in the process. I also trust them with my body, I trust that they are not going to kill me during this work out (actually, I reassure myself with this during WoDs ALL the time), and I trust that they are going to help me get to where I need to be.  

I think that 100% unconditional trust, inspiration and motivation comes when you find a kick ass human being that also happens to be a CF Coach.  They pull the best out of you and accept you during your worst!  (though chances are high that a good coach will mock you and your "low" moment later) 

So what are important things that my favourite people have in addition to CF-L1? 

-Their background.  What, beyond the CF Certifications and picture of their amazing sweaty abs, does the coach bring?  (Yes, I know having a sexy coach is a bonus and happens a lot in the CF world, but beyond that…)  What is their education? Is it related to CF?  Super important if you are a complicated human being (psychologically and physically) and/or a newbie.  I am both.  And my coaches are patient.  If they don't have an educational background, do they put their own time into self-education?  Huge, too.  Some of the best coaches are self-taught and rival those with formal educations.

-Their motivation.  Are they athletes themselves? (big bonus in my books.)  Was their life transformed in some way?  I want to know that the person coaching me “gets” where I am at.  I see right through coaches whose motivation is a paycheque or gratification of their own ego.

-Their personality.  If you are really, truly going to jive with a coach and have a great relationship, you’ve got to gel personality-wise.  I don’t think you know what really works, until you’ve tried different styles of coaching.  Lucky for me, I like a bit of everything.  I like the “good job” and kind words of encouragement when I’m having a down day, but I also like a bit of the “pick up the fucking bar!” too.  Call me twisted.  I am extroverted, and I like extroverted coaches.  Everyone is different.  Personally, I like witty banter, obnoxiousness, loudness, and bad words.  I feel like I just wrote an online dating ad. 

-Their reputation.  If you hear nothing aside from how great they are from people in the community, awesome. And same with the other way around.  They don’t have the time to gossip or bad-mouth – they are a kick ass person who doesn’t get involved in politics.   I’m interested in people who build the community, not partition it into geographical zones.

-Their willingness to help you.  Clearly, you’ve drunk the koolaid when you take membership in CF.  Once you’ve paid that monthly fee, a pandora’s box of nutrition, rest, rehabilitation, lifestyle management, and goal setting questions arise. “What do you mean crackers aren’t healthy?” 
Is the coach someone who can bring this knowledge to the table and patiently answer questions like you are not a complete fucking idiot? I’m not expecting an oracle of knowledge in my coach, but it’s pretty damn amazing when it’s not just the bar you learn how to maneuver.  If you are lucky enough to have a mentor in a coach, keep ‘em!

-Their Lifestyle.  Do they live what they preach? Are they an inspiring human being?  This is actually a really big one for me. There’s telling me to lead a better life, and then there’s SHOWING me what it’s like through setting an example.  Show is more powerful than tell in my books.  Once of the greatest things about this sport is the lifestyle it opened up.   

-Their Honesty.  Warning:  You have to be in a place where you are comfortable with constructive criticism.  Anyone with any lack of confidence or self-esteem issues need not apply for this kind of coach.  Insecure people + honest coach = dramarama!  On the part of the client.
Personally, I like the ones that confront me.  If I walk in and absolutely suck wind in my workout, I am always impressed by a coach who corners me and says “what is going on, why did you walk in here with no energy today?  Why does your attitude suck balls today?” rather than a passive “better job next time.”

-Straight forward.  Some warm fuzzies are good, but not tooooo many.   Even if I discuss what's on my mind.  I like words of encouragement on the days where my face betrays the fact I feel like a bag of smashed assholes...But if you come near me for a random hug and talk about female empowerment,  or worse, girl power, and try to grab my hands like Oprah does, I will block you with a pullup rig.  Hugs are appropriate when you haven't seen someone in more than 3 weeks, or when someone's sad/crying/distressed.  Both situations I try to avoid.  Telling me to man the fuck up and get it together touches my soul. :) 

-Tolerance.  I am appreciative of coaches who tolerate sprinkles of client stupidity here and there.  Key word: SPRINKLES.  When I’m front squatting because my coach knows I need to work on it and I’m like, “Fuck, seriously front squats?” Then 30 seconds later when I’ve finished the round, and I’m back at them again, saying “FUCK, AGAIN?” “Fuck off!” – my coach just smiles and patiently cues me.  What a wonderfully patient, decent human being. 

-Lay the smack down.  Pull me off a bar because I’m doing a shitty ass job of lifting it up and keeping good form, and I will have endless respect for you.  Don’t be afraid to lay down the law.  I really respect coaches who have control and respect from an entire classes’ worth of captain intensities.

-Humour.  I like humour. I love witty banter.  I like it when my coach occasionally cackles when writing down a WoD.  I like people I can jive with and laugh with. It makes it more fun, and they are still friends with me at the end of the day, after I’ve unleashed profanity for 20 minutes, spat in the middle of my run or let out a destructive fart.    In fact, they laugh too. :)     

-Programming.  Do they have a philosophy?   I really like coaches who don’t destroy my shoulders with pullup WoDs every day for 2 weeks.  I’m not picky.  I just like to stay away from over use injuries. Smart programming is great. Is their knowledge level such that they could help you progress toward specific goals through programming? They don’t need to be a tortured genius years way ahead of their time (highly possible if they frequently quote Sun Tzu or Machiavelli or try to introduce you to NAVY SEALS philosophies during cool down.)

 -Committed to Improvement: What have they done in the last year?  Have they attended a seminar, done something to keep their skills fresh?  Have they introduced new cues, new warmups, new mobility stuff?  I hate love it when my coach brings new mobility torture devices all designed to improve my movement, because they sat up for an hour watching mobility WoD the night before when they should have been sleeping.

-Humble: Every now and then I like to see my coach get down ‘n dirty with the rest of us and become a heap on the floor after a wod.  Not only is it gratifying in a slightly evil, “you’re suffering too ;)” way…but it shows that they “get it.” Ok, sometimes I don’t love that they are finishing their 6th round while I am still on my first, but I LOVE that they are working out right beside me!  It is so motivational.

And that ladies and gentlemen, makes a pretty solid coach in my books. 

Ps.  I also think it is pretty great if they are nice to look at.  

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Seizing the Moment!

Hello All! Christina here once again. 

We have been home from our wonderful summer vacation for 5 days. It was a great vacation but it's nice to be home! It's been a bit of a hard week. I've had a sick little girl so I've been up a lot through the night and got a little run down. Poor little thing, it has not been fun and I did have to miss one workout because of it. But I'm through with worrying and beating myself up over things like missing a workout or having some desert, or whatever I think that day I should feel guilty about. This is life and I intend to live it happily and healthy! I have moved on from missing that workout and am doing great! 

I felt a lot of accomplishment in this holiday! I really found balance for the first time ... maybe ever? I didn't deny myself but I didn't go overboard with my diet, I was active and got in 2 workouts (I missed 2) but I also spent time with my feet up and relaxed! It was wonderful! I came home feeling pretty great! My first workout back with Coach Swagar was definitely a little harder but still great! I'm glad I did those two workouts and stayed active! I swam a lot in the lake with the kids (which was amazing! They LOVED it!) and we did some hiking! It was awesome!

I was happy to get home and found it very easy to get back on track with my eating and exercise (other than the one missed workout due to life circumstances). This was very refreshing to me! In the past it would have been very hard for me to get back on track so this was another example of how this has really been a life change! 

This week I've spent some time reflecting on how I want to live my life! I feel like I have a handle on living more actively and healthy in a physical sense, but I'm more talking about how I want to feel inside and what I allow to drive me!  I've spend a lot of my life trying to please others. I've found it very difficult to say no to people and many times I've said yes at the expense of myself or my family. When I have said no I've felt guilt and worried about having people angry with me. I don't want to live that way anymore! 

Don't get me wrong, I still want to help others! As a matter of fact, that is a priority in my life! Part of my living life happily is helping others and doing things for others joyfully! But when that joy is not there and I feel resentment or taken advantage of because I've put my need or my families needs aside that is not healthy for me! This is an area that is getting easier and that I will continue to nurture.

Another area I'm focusing on is living life ... I mean really living life! I've touched on this before but it's really being put into action! This weekend we are going camping! 12 hours ago we were not going camping, we were spending the weekend at home. Now we're going camping! We got a phone call this morning from a campsite that we were on the cancelation list and we had a spot if we wanted it! We had called prior to Catie being sick but I hadn't really given it another thought, we were 6th on the list and I didn't think we'd get in, which was fine. My initial reaction when we got the call this morning was to say no. But I reluctantly said yes. I have a list of reasons we shouldn't go 

- Catie has been sick all week
- Morgan (our oldest son) has a birthday party Friday afternoon
- We have a funeral to attend Friday at 7
- I'm not prepared 
- It's expensive
- I have to work this weekend (I have a little nail salon and do nails from home)

All those reasons aside, the truth is it's somewhat spontaneous and that's hard for me! This is a perfect opportunity for me to work on this area. If I think about it, all those reason are excuses to sit on the sidelines and not live life ...

- Catie is so much better since starting her antibiotics yesterday and will be that much better tomorrow (Plus we are in a warm tent trailer where she will be very comfortable). 
- We are close enough to Calgary I can bring Morgan into the birthday Party and then he and I can attend the funeral. Greg and the little two can have a nice time together out camping and we'll even be back in time for a fire before bed. 
- The tent trailer took 30 minutes to put the clean sheet in it and give it a wipe down. All I have to do is pack some clothes for everyone, not a big deal!
- We found some free firewood (it took about 5 minutes on kijiji), I've got lots of food to bring out from home, there's no reason I can cook healthy meals out there like I do at home! That's what we did the last time we were out (minus the lucky charms hehe). Free wood, food that we'd be eating at home anyway ... it's really it's not going to be expensive! 
- I was able to move one client to tonight and as long as I get home by noon on Sunday there will be no problem! The whole reason I have a home business is so I can make my schedule and enjoy my family and life!

THERE! We have NO reason not to seize this opportunity and enjoy some time away as a family! I've spent so many years finding excuses to not do things it's become second nature to say no! BUT NO MORE! I'm retraining the way I think and I'm going to enjoy doing more and being spontaneous! 

On a sad note: 
On Monday I learned that one of Morgan's school friends, older brother died after a 8 month battle with cancer. Once again I find myself reminded how important it is to live each day as a gift and to enjoy life! So quickly everything can change! The little boy who lost his battle to cancer and was such a fighter at the young age of 8 (he just turned 8 last month). This family who lost their sweet little boy have acted with such courage and it's been inspiring! 

I just want to live each day happily! I want to be good to
 others and good to myself!! I want to stop putting off 
until tomorrow and really live for today! - ME!

This post has been a bit of a ramble! There's been lots stirring inside me this week and I just wanted to put it all down! 

I hope somewhere in all this rambling there has been something that has hit a cord in you to live the life you want to live ... whatever that might be to you!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Taking Responsibility for my Movement

Guest Post by Carina Huggins

Corrective exercise is about rebuilding and strengthening connections.

It is all about taking active responsibility for your movement.  It is so much more than listening to cues from a coach and correcting them during a WoD.  It is so much more than letting your mind fade and body take over.  

A few months back, I participated in a low back pain research study.  During the study, I was able to observe my multifudus and transverse abdominus muscles on an ultrasound screen.  A key component of the study was building the patient’s awareness of the mind-body connection.  The clinical researcher asked me to imagine my TrA contracting.  I did, with some skepticism, and was shocked to see a tiny grey band of muscles on the ultrasound screen flinch in response:  My transverse abdominus, were moving in response to a thought.  Not even an active attempt at a movement.  Just a visualization!  It was in that moment that I really began to understand the mind-body connection.

The last few months have been about re-routing the energy that passes between the brain, nervous system and skeletal system. It is a deeply transformational practice that involves immersing yourself completely in sensation, yet at the same time, keeping your mind active and aware. The nervous system is quite a dynamic system. If you observe nerves under a microscope, you can see that they are like strange little star fish - alive, moving and constantly forming new connections.  

Somewhere in the middle of struggling up out of a squat, with a weighted bar on my back, I take note of what my body wants to do, and how it wants to get the bar up there.  Before, I would have just carried on that path upward toward the rack, my mind absent and in the “zone.”  It is SO much easier to just let go mentally, and let your body take over, with the habits and patterns that it knows.

 This detached “zone” state - or sticking with your current patterned movement is common.  Even if you see people responding to corrective cues, at some point it slips and they revert back to what their body has patterned.  It is so much easier to just go with what you body feels is "normal" to it.  Even if your "normal" isn't what is "right."

CrossFit lit up my nervous system; new movements and activities resulted in a surge of activity in my muscular and nervous systems.  Those connections took place in the context of acute pain, dysfunctional movement and imbalance.  After thousands of reps at another CrossFit box, bad patterns were deeply ingrained and compensatory patterns were well developed (the only way I kept up with some movements despite my clear limitations was through compensation.)

Unsurprisingly, acute pain was established.  Unfortunately your muscles do not speak English.  They only speak in the language of pain.  And in emitting these pain signals up to the brain, they really, really hope (and pray) you have the sense to figure things out.  Because they really, really hope (and pray) that you have good connections between your mind and body. 

Training at CrossFit MOST, I have to be aware.  No more detaching during a workout into a muddled place called “the zone.”  

I need to go deep inside myself to feel which muscles are priming themselves to fire. In a split second, I have to shake off the physical sensations of my muscles burning and reconnect my mind with my body.  I focus on my body is supposed to do, and think about activating the right muscles to make that movement.  

Doing it right sometimes feels unnatural:  Strange and unfamiliar territory.  Just like a squat felt the first time you ever did one with a bar. Just like a wallball felt, the first time you threw it and caught it with your face!
It may be subtle (nobody is going to guess from your pain-face that all this crazy shit above, is going on in your mind!) but it is very, very effective.  

With time and repetitions the connections are being forged and strengthened.  Many corrective movements do not feel alien anymore.  Inside, my nervous system is responding and the right muscles are developing.

In the space of half a second, I have gone through this profound process on the inside.  On the outside, my coach is observing my squat and complementing me on it.  It has begun to take on the form it should, and I am rising up to the bar.

Repatterning movements through corrective exercise involves internal intelligence. 

To improve mind-body connections, you must have a bridge.  That bridge is coaching and the development of deep internal awareness.  Coaches help us with both - they bring to us that awareness of our patterns and behavior, tapping into the knowledge base that the body has already developed.  Then, they help us reformulate everything that we’ve learnt up to that point: Through explanation, demonstration and touch.  

Much of the rest of it is up to you.  For deep, fundamental change you must get away from passive WoD-brain.  You must focus in on bodily sensation and the internal experience.  Sometimes you want to throw off those cues and do it the easier way, the way your body has programmed.  But you cannot.  You have to summon willpower and take in the cues and start forging those new connections.

Being Real With Your Goals

 Series: From Super Model to Muay Thai Fighter.
Being Real With Your Goals.

Hello out there!  It’s been quite a while since I last posted, which ties into the topic of this blog.  
As I mentioned in my first post, anxiety has long been a battle for me. 

At present, I have a deep fear of taking responsibility for my abilities, because if I do but don’t succeed, I am afraid that my worth will be confirmed as a failure.  Even in the case of writing for this blog, I’m afraid that I won’t be able to come up with anything of value.  I always worry about not living up to the hopes I have for myself, and I think that this impedes my journey of becoming that person.  Even in my training, I have unrealistic expectations for myself that align with the future version of ‘Hilary’ that I hope to someday become, and this prevents me from achieving success in the now and fully embodying the current phase of my progress.  Even in the middle of a workout or sparring session, if I feel that I am not performing to the imaginary standards of my potential self, I become frustrated and negatively reinforce my attitude.  I am afraid to experiment with new weight lifting or fight techniques because I don’t want to risk exposing my inexperience or inability, and finding out (or worse, having others find out) that I’m not actually the all star that I like to pretend I am.  

It’s like a person who, during a disagreement, doesn’t healthily assert their position and opinions, feels walked over, and then later comes up with all of the excessively aggressive arguments they ‘should have said’ to bolster themselves because they haven’t yet learned not to place their identity in their own opinions or those of others. 

Essentially, I’m afraid to learn and am resistant to the learning process.  There is incongruence between my ego and my actual self: my ego is over inflated to make up for my fear of being exposed and lack of confidence in my ability to achieve my dreams.  

When I first told my fight coach after a couple of months of training that I wanted to someday get in the ring, I cried with embarrassment because I didn’t believe I was capable of such a dream…and anyone else who knew me at the time would have (and did) laugh at me when they caught wind of my new passion and ambitions.  But my first fight was a specific and attainable goal; he couldn’t promise me that I would win it (which I happened to), but my fight coach promised that he could get me there. 
I will strive to work hard at overcoming myself in order to earn my future skill set, becoming humbly responsible with what I have achieved, and no longer arrogantly inflating my abilities to make up for my weaknesses.  
Even if I were handed my dreams tomorrow they wouldn’t be enough because I wouldn’t have traveled the hard road and become the person capable of happily inhabiting them.  It is the process that will change me, make me stronger, smooth the calloused and sharpened edges of my ego, and transform my worth into something more meaningful than any goal reached ever could.

These realizations have been in the forefront of my mind for the past week or two, because Coach Swagar had kindly offered to help me in setting my personal goals.  I have never actually tried narrowing down my vast and vague hopes for the future, and can’t say I did a particularly good job. 

My dreams are lofty, and I’m terrified of admitting them to anyone else because I’m afraid they are going to tell me that they’re not possible.  

So when Jenn saw some of my goals, she explained to me that they were ‘unattainable’.  Immediately my defenses went up, embarrassed for having been caught overestimating my abilities.  However, she then explained to me what she meant by that, which was that if there were more than two uncontrollable factors influencing my goals, they were ‘unattainable’ in the sense that I could not safely be certain that I could achieve them by my own powers.  For instance, many of my goals are outcome based, such as ‘winning’ a fight, which is out of my control because there is another person involved.  In logic I don’t actually care whether I win or not, I just want to perform to the best of my abilities and if that brings about a win: great, if not, then knowing I did the best I could is enough.  
Therefore, I need to shift my perspective from ‘outcome based’ goals to ‘performance based’ goals.I feel that such a transition in mindset will help me not only in setting realistic, shorter-sighted performance goals that will boost my confidence as I find them within my reach, but also will improve the quality of my current training as I learn to be satisfied with, and proud of, where I am currently at. 

If my smaller goals build upon one another and bring me to my ultimate aspirations, then they will have become attainable.  But it’s not even about that: I understand that the purpose is the journey, not the destination.


Monday, 13 August 2012

Greetings from Holidays!

Hello Everyone!

It's Christina writing you from my vacation! We've been gone since Friday and are having the most fabulous time! I've had a few pretty significant accomplishments on holidays so far.

As some of you know, I'm not really good with spontaneity. I like to have a plan and stick to that plan. When we left Calgary Friday morning we were all set for some camping but didn't know exactly where we were going to go. We didn't have a reservation and we were hoping we'd find somewhere around Fernie. When we got to Fernie everything was booked up. We got away later than expected and it was almost 3 o'clock, we'd been traveling for hours and everyone was starting to get antsy. I was starting to panic a little, what if we couldn't find somewhere?

As always, I'm going to be very honest with you. In the past this would have been a prime example of when I would get my bitch on ... I'm happy to say that was not the case this time! I felt the anxiousness, I took deep breaths and I stayed calm and in good spirits! Greg commented on a couple of occasions how good I was handling the situation! We did find a beautiful spot and I won't lie, when we got there I felt a lot of relief.

I truly attribute my positive behavior change to the changes I've made in my life! Working with C.S. (Coach Swagar) and having CrossFit in my life really has changed my outlook! When I write that I'm a little taken aback! How can a thing like exercise change a person so much? How is this possible? Don't get me wrong, I still struggle! I still have bad moments and even bad days! I'm not always the best wife, mother, sister, daughter or friend that I can be. I still make bad decisions and sometimes behave in a way that I wish I hadn't, but on a whole I feel so different!

While we were camping on Saturday, Greg suggested we do a workout. I'll admit, I didn't feel at all like exercising. Not only did I not feel like exercising, there were people around who I knew would see and I felt embarrassed. Regardless of those feelings, I went back in my journal and found a WoD that I did last month that would work at the campsite. We did a quick 10 min AMRAP and although I did well, I felt very self conscious. I was very happy when those 10 minutes were up!

Later that evening, we got the kids to bed and Greg and I were sitting and having a beer by the fire when two woman walked up to us from the campsite across the way. They said they saw us working out earlier and it inspired them to also get out and exercise! I couldn't believe it, the workout that I felt so self conscious about inspired 2 other people to do something active! Hearing that made those 10 minutes so worth it! I felt proud and it's exactly what I needed at that time!

The thing about camping, especially with 3 kids, is it's not overly relaxing. Everything is an event! To set up the campsite, make beds, cook, warm up water, do dishes, get dressed ... Everything is requires effort! I loved it! Even when I was doing it I was able to acknowledge that a year ago I would have been hating every minute of it because it would have been work then. Now it's not work, it's life! When the kids were finally in bed at the end of the day and Greg and I would sit and have drinks by the fire, I thought about the day we'd had and loved it. I look forward to more camping in our future!

We had great meals when we were camping! It was not all healthy but we're on holidays and there will be treats! We had hamburgers, corn on the cob, cucumber slices, carrot sticks and good old fashion potato chips for dinner Friday night! Lucky Charms for breakfast on Saturday morning. It was the first time in probably 20 years that I had Lucky Charms and they were still Magically Delicious! Ha! For real though, they were awesome. Saturday night we had steak, sautéed mushrooms and onions, baked sweet potato with garlic and baked zucchini. It was awesome! Sunday morning before we packed up I made a big breakfast using up the leftover from Saturday nights supper! Scrambled eggs with the leftover mushrooms and onions, sweet potato and bacon hash, steak and bacon! It was all awesome!
We packed up the tent trailer after cleaning up from breakfast and headed to Whitefish. I don't know if I've ever been so happy to see plumbing! There is nothing like a shower after a weekend of camping!

This morning I woke up knowing I was going to do a WoD that I did when I was here at the beginning of July. It was a hard one that C.S. and David had to literally be at my side to finish. It consisted of 20 skips and then going up the driveway to the road and back, 10 times! I didn't record my last time but I'm pretty sure it took me almost 25 minutes. I was nervous about this WoD. Last time was so hard and I was nervous without C.S. and Dave by my side I wouldn't be able to do it all.

I found 10 rocks and put them in a pile, I told Catie (our youngest, she's 3, almost 4) to put one rock on the ledge of a flower garden each time I got back down the driveway. After a deep breath I started. The last time I did this WoD I found myself having a lot of negative head talk. I remember specifically on my 3 round last time thinking "why the hell are you even trying to do this, you can't do it" and "how did you let yourself get here? You'll never be able to dig yourself out of this hole you've gotten yourself in". This time on my third round my head talk was "you got this! Think about when all those rocks are on the ledge! You can do this". At no point in the 10 rounds did it ever come into my head that I wouldn't be able to finish this WoD. I'm happy to tell you not only did I finish it but I beat my last time! I did it in 23.07!

Soon after I was done I called C.S. and told her about it. When she asked me how I felt I started to cry, not because it was hard or because I wasn't happy but because of the accomplishment I felt. Just 6 weeks ago I could have never finished on my own and today not only did I finish but did it in less time ... Completely by myself! The kids watched and encouraged and Catie even came partly up the driveway every time greeting me on my way back down. At the end of the workout I saw those 10 rocks lined up and felt like a million bucks! This has been the sweetest WoD of my journey to date.

I now know I can do this! No matter what, I have the drive, I have the strength and I have the confidence! Life is great!