the Strength in rest…

The alarm was on, running cloths set out (this way I don’t REALLY have to wake up – just dress in order) yet… when it was time to get up for a run… my body just would not agree. 

I am in a constant state of battle with my body and mind.  I have a guilty streak like the combo of a traditional Jewish and Catholic mother… but it’s all internal.

My constant battle is a ragging conflict between listening to my body and “thinking” myself into over-exercising.  I have continuous discussions with my coaches, CrossFit and Strength, about over-training and not taking enough rest.  I have a strength session scheduled tonight and we took a great family run yesterday (on my rest day)… yet, I felt the need to go for a run this morning… honestly to off-set the “cheat meal” I had last night from my strict Paleo and Zone eating lifestyle.  I was over-ruled by my body.

As I reflect, I waver back and forth between logically knowing my body needed rest and knowing I will perform better this evening and in future wods… and feeling lazy and telling myself I should have pushed through, forced the early wake up and gotten through it.  

It’s difficult at times to know when you’re in need of rest and when you’d feel better post workout because you didn’t give in to a tired body.  I read research article and studies all the time about the balance of work and rest and how vital sleep and rest/recovery are… but too often I get swept up in seeing what other people are doing, hearing about two-a-days, talking with someone who is training and getting ramped up to compete.  I fall victim to the internal competition and all too often talk myself into workouts or out of rest when I feel I’m slacking.  Slacking on what?  My personal standard of fit… which I’m learning is an ever changing and fluid state of being.  (I don’t do well with this most times)

Do you struggle with this too?  

If you do, how have you found to work through it… I’m trying to see the rest as scheduled parts of my workouts… that way I’m falling the “plan”

Hope you find your TRUE Strength in rest too.

Patience is a virtue… just not one I have…

I’ve never been a good “waiter”

I’m antsy, I fidget, I DO NOT nap

I’m not even a good elevator rider… I’d rather just get out and run the stairs

However… I’m learning… **doesn’t mean I’m good at it yet… but I’m learning.

I’m learning to VALUE the process and to TRUST in the process

… what process?  

LIFE!  

Let me be clear… I’ll never be one who just waits and lets things come to me or happen.  If I can take action and be proactive I will be – that’s in my DNA.  However, for the extremely challenging times when you have to trust, give up control and believe in the process… I am getting better.

This is the part of TRUE Strength that includes heart, spirit and faith.  Having the heart to stay positive, the spirit to uplift those around you and within, and the faith that the journey is steadfast, true, and part of the reason the end goal is so joyous.

This patience comes into play with any and all goals… patience to build muscles, to run faster, to perform better, to win.  The patience to get that degree, to climb the corporate ladder, start your own company, .  The patience to build relationships, mend old ones, find love, and start a family.

Like I said… Patience is certainly a virtue… just not one I have… mastered yet.

Getting inked…

TRUE Strength

OK… lay down on the tattoo artist’s table, hold Kevin’s hand… with a death grip…deep breath in… let’s do this!

This weekend I got the words TRUE Strength tattooed across my ribs on my left side – as close to my heart as I could get them.  As one of my best friends joked… no, I didn’t get www.truestrength5.wordpress.com tattooed… this wasn’t an advertisement for this blog; it is a constant and forever reminder.  (Picture is from right after getting the tattoo which is why it’s so red!)

A constant reminder and statement about TRUE Strength and my dedication to the definition I have personally established for these words.

TRUE represents my marriage to Kevin and the dedication to our love, family, and our future together.  

Strength of body, mind, heart, spirit, and faith. 

I started thinking this morning about the TRUE Strength of body, mind, heart, spirit and faith.  In my experience, body and mind often work in tandem during a workout (and many other experiences) and sometimes they even work in conflict.  At times, the body wants to quit and give up and we must utilize the power of our mind to push through the uncomfortable and beyond our self imposed limitations.  In CrossFit we call this going to your “Dark Place”.

Other times, when our mind tells us to fear and hold back, our bodies surprise us doing what we thought we could not do… we tell our minds to be quiet, let go of fear and tada! our bodies have just accomplished great feats.

It is inevitable, at some point, during workouts, stressful times, trying challenges, our body and mind want to throw in the towel… At that point we must rely on our heart, spirit and faith. The more we let our heart, spirit, and faith grow and spread, the more powerful we are as individuals and as teammates (teammates in life, at work, in the CF Box, on the field… etc!).

TRUE Strength of letting go of fears, giving into our body, mind, heart, spirit and faith.  I will forever make my TRUE Strength statement and live by these principles.  

Be gentle with yourself…

This came from a great friend just at the time it was most needed…

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

To be wealthy… not rich

“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common –this is my symphony.” – William Henry Channing

As I type these words I am struck my the power in them… and even the power in the physical action of typing them.  They are becoming committed to my definition of TRUE Strength.  This is the way I want to conduct my life, my goals, my family, and my future.

Elegance and grace over luxury.  To live without want. To learn with an open heart and an eager desire.

To be TRUE-ly wealthy.   

A person can be surrounded by riches, gold, toys, and money… and at the same time lacking in all the true wealth of the world.  Life should not be spent tied to your desk, phone, or email.  TRUE Wealth is not necessarily found in your paycheck.  It’s found in those you spend your time with (others AND yourself!!!) It’s found in your laughter, your memories, your triumphs and struggles, your growth and lessons taught and learned.

May you find your wealth… not your rich.

TRUE Strength 

Oh the difference it makes

“Coaching is an action, not a title
and actions result in successes!”
-Byron & Catherine Pulsifer

NO FREAKIN WAY!!!!!

I actually hit the ball!!!!!!!!

Ahhh the difference a coach makes! Real coaching… not just good intentions and hopeful wishes… but true coaching.

This weekend was full of TRUE coaching... which really means… it was full of me doing things of which I am not good at… and giving in – letting myself be coached, and realizing how much of a difference real coaching can make.  It also was a great lesson in putting words into action.  Right on the heels of Show ’em You Got This (my post about exuding confidence) I had to walk the walk, let go of fear, and build confidence in my ability.

So what’s happened??  Let me describe the two (monumental <— too dramatic???) experiences.

The first was on the driving range… for about… oh… four years my husband has been wanting to take me golfing.  It is a sport he loves and would love to teach me so we can do it together.  Our son is a natural athlete and loves golfing so it would be a fun family sport.  BUT… I attempted golf (once) and was terrible… really embarrassingly terrible actually.  So, each time I’d smile and say… yea maybe soon… I’d follow with… you know I’m not coordinated, I doubt I’d even be able to hit the ball.

Experience from the one and only outing to a driving range nearly seven years ago was doing the talking for me. The short version of this experience is: I was at a golf course driving range with a very impatient person.  He told me to just “hit the ball” I swung… I flat out whiffed… next swing… I woke up the worms and dug a huge divot… the ball only moved because I moved the ground around it.  My third attempt… another swing and a miss.  I was done.  The person I was with said… “well, you clearly are no good.  You probably shouldn’t mess up the course anymore.”  And that was it.  I was done… absolutely convinced I just simply could not play golf.  (Let alone actually hit the ball!)

The difference this time… my coach.  Patient, clear, encouraging… he (my husband) gave me clear and concise instructions.  He clearly had more confidence in me than I did and was just as (or more!) excited on that first swing went it went far and straight!!!  I almost wanted to stop right then – out on a high note… but we kept at it.  He taught as we went… what the different irons mean, when you use different clubs, how to aim.  When one shanked I heard no laughter… instead I heard… “You did XYZ great, the reason it went that way was because of this, try doing this next time.”

POSITIVE, followed by explanation, followed by suggestions for IMPROVEMENT

How valuable… this teaching and coaching process… it’s impossible to miss how this translates to life in general.  

The next coaching lesson came Sunday.  I was (am) tired of struggling with muscle ups (CrossFit)… I CAN do muscle ups… oddly enough I am much more likely to get more muscle ups if I do them strict than kipping.  VERY ODD.  If you tell me to go do a muscle up, it will look like an awkward, kinda kip, then a strict muscle up… followed by finishing it through sheer determination and “pissed-off-ness”.  It is neither effective nor efficient.

I was not taught the proper form… and in all honesty… someone probably did TRY to teach me… but I never listened because I was so consumed with just getting the damn thing.  In the CrossFit world, getting your muscle up is like a badge of accomplishment… you’ve arrived.  SO I WAS GOING TO GET THAT DAMN THING!  So, even though they tried, because they were not connecting with me and my motivation we had a disconnect between athlete and coach.  **I HOPE THIS REALIZATION STAYS WITH ME AS I CONTINUE TO COACH** 

So Sunday morning was the time… the time to realize… what I was doing was not working and would hold me back.  My coach is also my great friend… we’ve known each other now for 16 years and treat each other like brother and sister… lovingly bickering at times included.  So I’m sure this familiarity and background helps our coach/athlete relationship.  We broke it down… removed the embarrassment I felt for not being able to do this and started at the lowest common denominator… compartmentalizing each move and then explaining how they related to each other in an effort to conceptually understand, as well as, train my body and muscle to commit it to muscle memory.

We spent an hour working on the kip… I did not do 1 muscle up… because that’s not what I need to learn.  Skill, technique, new way of thinking of something, practice, practice, practice…  kip after kip after kip.  Each time learning a little more and realizing when something felt differently and when I could actually feel myself doing it right! By the end, my confidence was soaring… and again, I didn’t do even 1 muscle up.  ** I did do a little ninja action on the flying pull-up bar which was so much fun**  There will be several more training sessions together working on this kip, and one day I’m going to proudly announce… I DID IT!!!

Today – I’m crazy sore.  ALL OVER… crazy sore from using new muscles I haven’t been using because I haven’t been doing it right.

A few things I learned….

  • Coaching is a life skill… parenting, leading, being coached, and doing the coaching… all LIFE SKILLS
  • One will never perfect the art of coaching… and will never perfect the art of being coached
  • It’s GOOD to do the things you once thought you’d never do
  • It’s valuable to take a step aside (back??) to learn something the right way
  • I can’t wait to get back onto the driving range
  • I can’t wait to get back up on the rings for more kipping action!

Each of us are coaches in some way… and each of us can and should open ourselves up to new coaching and learning!  

TRUE Strength

Show ’em you got this!

“Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.” – Vince Lombardi

Woo Hoo!  8pm each night you know where to find me… enjoying family time with Kev and Brocke watching the Olympics!!  Many times… I’ve cheated and have read the news and know who wins or looses or what drama has taken place but it’s been so much fun watching Brocke cheer on his favorite swimmer, gymnast, fencer… whatever the sport, we’ve decided on favorites!

Never  in my life have I learned so much about new (ie: random) sports!

This year’s Olympics has opened my eyes and I’ve absolutely fascinated with the games and the athletes… perhaps it is because for the first time in my life I’m watching as an athlete myself.  Sure, in the past I’ve been “athletic” running, cheerleading, and dancing… but I truly never considered myself an athlete. **HOWEVER I really, really feel that everyone is an athlete in their own way no matter what they do.   I am also now watching having experienced training, living and breathing competition, and having it end in a disappointing way.  I watch the athletes who have trained their way to the Olympic stage to fall short of their expectations and although it’s completely different degrees and level I feel a connection to their experience.  My heart goes out to them.

As a careful observer, I carefully watched the athletes faces, body language and reactions before and after an event.  Some motivation for this is to try to learn how to harness my nerves before and during a CrossFit WOD and competition.  I know I have to get control of this or I will not perform to my best abilities.

While studying the athletes I kept hearing the old adage… “Sometimes you have to fake it to make it” again and again while watching the gymnastics athletes I kept thinking of this… fake it to make it!

Fake it to make it translates to… exude confidence… even if you may not feel all that solid inside… walk into a room, own it, hold yourself with confidence, and act with purpose.

How valuable is this (illusion of??) confidence in a sport like gymnastics and diving where points and judging are subjective in-contrast to clear cut timing of track and swimming races or points on the basketball court… VERY!!!!  When a gymnast finishes a routine, lands, and pumps their fists in the air with a huge smile on their face they exude a confidence and power that says… I JUST DID AWESOME!!!  On the flip side, when they land, face and expression tight or defeated, body language drooping, they are illustrating… I suck… I just failed, judge me poorly because that’s how I did.

It takes skill to exude this confidence, to stay steady and strong even if you’re head is spinning, heart racing, if doubt has crept in.  <— Whether we’re talking athletics, professionally, or personally… this is a skill.  It’s also a skill to balance confidence with being humble.  Probably something that we all need to practice and continue developing.

I wonder if some people are born with this ability to have control over their nerves or if it comes with practice and training.  I know if I’m in front of a group of people in a professional setting… I’m on stage and LOVE it! Give me a presentation or a sponsorship to sell and I’m about it.  BUT as I’ve experienced… put me in an athletic arena and I go to high hell… my nerves get the best of me.  My coach once told me that I suffer from TBS… Tight Butt-hole Syndrome… yes… not very classy but TRUE!  I remember a quote from an old movie and I won’t get it right but it went something like…

“Underneath my make-up I may be cracking, falling, and flailing, but no matter what my lipstick will be bright red and perfect, my mascara, never smudged.” 

Sometimes you just have to fake it to make it and show ’em… Yea… I got this!

TRUE Strength