Failure

I’ve been trying to figure out how to word this entry and when to post it… I had a really rough training week last week so it feels right.

My biggest fear is failure. Failing myself, failing the people who care about me, failing at school, at crossfit, at life… at anything really.
I tend to do things I’m good at and avoid those that I’m not for this reason. Don’t get me wrong, I’m passionate and driven and when I want something, I make it happen, regardless of what is standing in my way. I just know that I avoid things I’m not good at because I’m afraid I won’t be the best.
So today I’m going to talk about the importance of failure. A little while ago I posted a video of my snatch attempts at 165. I missed the lift, over and over and over. I was angry and I almost punched a steel door (that could have been bad). I didn’t end up making the lift. I know how close I am and I know I will get it at some point, soon… with practice.
I felt like a failure. I should have made the lift. And I hated it.

So I got to thinking about failure and how important it is to our training and growth as both a person and athlete.
I think that without failure we get complacent and comfortable.
Winning doesn’t necessarily mean we are progressing, learning, or changing. It means we are performing at a level that is adequate or maybe we aren’t challenging ourselves enough. I think failure requires us to question how bad we want something and when we realize we want it, it forces us to adjust our circumstances and adjust our plan in order to get there. It forces us to work harder and push ourselves to places we didn’t think we could go.

How we react when confronted with failure can tell us an awful lot about ourselves. I believe we learn the most about ourselves during those times. In Crossfit- When you are towards the end of a workout and your body is telling you that it has nothing left to give, you either listen to it and give up, crumble to the ground, or you pick up the barbell one more time.

Chris recently pointed out a commercial that was on the other day (it’s a good thing because I’m never paying attention anyways) but it was an athlete who was talking about a coach who told him that you have to fall in love with the process of becoming great.

You are not always going to win and if your goals are big enough and what you want is important enough, you are going to fail. Over and over and over. But you have to learn from the failures, adjust your game plan, dig in and keep fighting. That’s where the really beautiful stuff happens. That is when you come face to face with what you are capable of and what you know and believe about yourself and challenge your assumptions- challenge your abilities. One of my favorite quotes and something I often read to myself before hard workouts speaks to this.

“Your biggest challenge isn’t someone else. It’s the ache in your lungs and the burning in your legs, and the voice inside you that yells ‘can’t. But you don’t listen, you just push harder and then you hear the voice whisper ‘can’, and you discover that the person you thought you were is no match for the one you really are.”

The journey is incredible important and your failures can remind you of how far you’ve come and how far you’re willing to push yourself to reach your goals. It’s how you deal with your failures that define you as both an athlete and a person. Do you let them get the best of you? or do you pick yourself up and charge on without looking back?

Crossfit is just a small part of life but I believe that the lessons learned in the gym, on the track, or on the platform transfer over into our everyday lives. I think this is one of the beautiful things about it.

I’m still angry though and it’s fueling my desire to make the lift. I’m still scared when I step up to the barbell next time I won’t be able to. I’m scared I will fail. But it is not stopping me. If anything it is driving me to prove that tiny voice inside my head wrong.

Learning to Love Yourself

So I’ve been thinking of doing this post for a while now and I was having a conversation with some friends today and it encouraged me to finally do it.
I am currently in a place in my life that is requiring me to reflect back into parts of my past. Things that have made me who I am and reasons why I am where I am etc…
I have a very vivid memory of summer camp, I was maybe 10 years old…(I have no concept of time so I’m just guessing here…) I was really young though. I remember making a list of things I wanted to change about myself or things I hated about my body. I remember this list being long and including things like my nails. Looking back and acknowledging this is painful. i was really young and self-loathing started early evidently. I’m not sure where it came from but I’m coming to a point in my life where I’m capable of accepting my flaws and I’m able to see them as beautiful or see things that I once saw as flaws, as strengths.
In the spirit of this and a recent video I did for a friend I’m doing the opposite- I’m making a list of the things I love about my body and the amazing things that they can do.

My hair- is long and blonde and beautiful. It may get caught everywhere (like my armpit when I’m lifting or behind my back while I’m driving… but I love it.

My complexion- Is pretty clear. Sometimes when I sweat I get pimples but hey, who doesn’t? I don’t need to wear foundation or a lot of makeup because I eat healthy and my face shows it.

My shoulders, arms, and back- are strong as shit and they carry the weight of my world and they do it well. I have large traps that help me clean and snatch a lot of weight. They allow me to do dozens of muscle ups and hundreds of pullups. My shoulders may be wide but they are beautiful. And they do amazing things. My arms look ripped in tank tops and make long sleeve shirts tight but they make walking on my hands easier and pushups simple.

My hands- are more like paws because my palms are big and my fingers are normal but they fit perfectly into my boyfriends hands. I can hold on to things that other women can’t. Like pull up bars and I can hook grip the barbell quite easily. Sometimes I even accidentally hook grip my steering wheel. (And by sometimes I mean all the time.)They allow my inspiration to ooze out of my body and onto the paper when I draw and paint and take photos. They help me mold my world around me.

My stomach- is perfect. It’s insides digest all of the amazing food I put in it to nourish me. It doesn’t have a six pack (yet) Maybe soon- but I love it anyways because my abs protect my back and stabilize me during overhead squats. And really everything else I do.

My legs and A**- well hot damn, what to say about my legs. They are my support. They let me explore the mountains that I am so in love with. They allow me to snowboard and mountain bike with my friends and hike with my boyfriend. They allow me to deadlift and squat more than most guys. They allow me to jump high and run fast (well sort of fast). My boyfriend says that if I ever lose my ass he’ll leave me. I think he’s only kind of kidding. I inherited it from the Colombian side of my family and I’ve always loved it.

My feet- take me everywhere I want to go. They may not always be perfectly pedicured or have nail polish but they let me walk in 6 inch stilettos or run around in the ocean barefoot.

My nails- are long and strong- thanks to the fish oil that I take. They are great to scratch my boyfriends back (he loves it) and my dog (he also loves it).

I think learning to love myself is something that I will always be doing. Being grateful for what I CAN do and not focusing on the things that I can’t is really important- at least for me.

Passion

Indecision claws at me
Pulling me backwards- like it’s done for a while now.
“Put up or Shut up” echoes in my head
Challenging me.

An insatiable drive is creeping up from behind
It’s familiar
Nostalgic even
it’s coming back-
Memories of the beast within.

It’s been a while.

I welcome her back with open arms
and
for the first time in a long time
I start to breathe.

Facing my Fears

I am competitive, I am an extremist, I am passionate, and I am motivated. These are things I have been for my entire life and character traits that my parents talk about me having as a baby. These are the things that drive me to do what I do. They make me stubborn and impatient, but they make me love life and they make me really really good at the things that I choose to do.
Crossfit has been a major part of my life for the past 3.5 years. I’ve played every sport I could (with the exception of those I wasn’t good at) and I’ve never come across a sport quite like it. I’ve also been through all the stages of Crossfit. I no longer try to stuff it down people’s throats…I could care less who does or doesn’t do it and I could care less when women say they don’t want to get bulky from it. (sort of)
I know what it does for people…not just physically. I’ve seen firsthand the confidence built through the completion of someones first pull up or the first time they dead lift over their body weight, over 200 lbs, or even over 300. I’ve seen the excitement in someones eyes the first time they get a muscle up, and the confidence built the first time they do something they never thought they could do before. And I’ve experienced it myself. Over and over and over again. The first time I got a muscle up, the first time I could clean my body weight, and the first time I was able to walk on my hands down the length of the gym. Things I never imagined I would do. With a gain in physical strength, came a tenfold gain in mental fortitude and confidence. The ability to get through your most difficult workout, while in pain or while you want to cry, either makes everything else in life seem easy, or gives you the determination to get through difficult times. I’ve never seen anything build confidence and mental strength the way that I have seen crossfit do it. So…for the past 3.5 years, I’ve been in love with crossfit.
That all changed when I moved to Denver.
It happened somewhat gradually but way faster than I remember it. I no longer had my gym, my support system, and my friends who pushed me to be the best that I could be…and I was thrown into a completely different environment in my personal and social life than I had experienced in a while. I started an unbelievably intensive graduate program that kept me in the studio standing or sitting at a table, often for 10+ hours a day. My body was hurting, my heart was hurting, and my head was hurting, literally. I created a basement gym so that I could do CrossFit whenever I had time. The first few weeks of school I ceased to workout at all. I had no motivation, no drive, and certainly no energy. I had never really experienced this before. My entire life, working out had been an outlet and had been something that made me feel better. The last thing I wanted to do was workout at night when I got out of school. I stopped caring. I stopped wanting to do crossfit even though I’d force myself. Like I said before, I’m an extremist. I have two speeds. go and stop. so instead of crossfitting full time, all the time, I stopped. I mean after the first few weeks of school I got my shit together and worked out. but my workouts consisted of 40 minutes on the treadmill or c2 with high reps at low weights of lifts every 5 minutes or set distance.
I’d do crossfit when I’d go back to colorado springs but it wasn’t a priority and it didn’t feel the same. I had stopped caring about my performance (to a certain extent) and I had honestly stopped caring a lot about myself. I told myself that I was putting school first, that it was okay because I needed to change my priorities and that I couldn’t always be a competitive crossfitter. I still don’t know if I was lying to myself or if these things are true. But I know that I stopped caring about something that has been unbelievably influential in my life for the past 3 years. (this is not abnormal for me…this happens a lot because I go through stages so I took it with a  grain of salt.)
But I got more and more depressed. I liked school, but not the way that I had loved crossfit. I function with high levels of passion day to day…without which I don’t see the point of doing something. I wasn’t passionate about school the way that I was about crossfit. The idea of choosing something to do for the rest of my life is revolting. I can’t imagine it and it makes me want to either crawl into a hole and die or run for my life into the mountains.
I ignored a lot of these emotions and at the beginning of winter break I had begun to enjoy my life in Denver… going out with friends and working my ass off at school. I was good at it. I was nominated for an award.
I made the decision not to compete this year because I felt like I would be putting too much pressure on myself because I wasn’t able to train. I had stopped taking care of myself. I was skipping meals because the time flies by in the studio and I had dropped around 10 lbs…probably of muscle. In a vain sort of way, I liked it. My abs looked good but I wasn’t beating everyone at every workout and I sure as hell didn’t feel good. Shockingly, I didn’t care. This was the most upsetting thing to me. I stopped caring. I was becoming apathetic- An emotion that I despise more than anything else really.

I have been trying to pick apart why I made the decision not to compete in the first place and what exactly changed my mind. I’m petrified of failure. always have been. I’m afraid of losing, of stepping up to the bar and trying my hardest and that not being good enough. I’m afraid that I am not actually trying my best…that there’s always one more rep in me, always something I could have done better… Admitting this feels horrible. I am supposed to be inspirational and ‘coachy’ but I guess we all have our weaknesses. Those who know me well probably already know this. I’m lucky that there are a lot of things that come naturally, especially fitness related. If I’m not good, chances are I  don’t do it. Simple. It’s made for some really great times and a lot of ‘wins’ but it’s also kept me from doing things because I’m afraid that I will fail.
I’m working on this. I’d like to get out of my comfort zone a little more and maybe that is why I love Crossfit so much…while I am naturally pretty adept at moving heavy loads…theres always something to improve upon, always something that I am not good at. By competing again, I’ll be forced to face that. While I’ve been unbelievably competitive my entire life, I’m no longer competing with anyone else, I’m competing with myself. When I step up to the bar, my heart pounding, and my body shaking, there is no one else in the world. It is me and the workout. And that workout is as honest as anything gets. It will divulge my weaknesses, it will showcase my strengths, and it won’t let me bullshit or lie or cheat. If I don’t respect it, I’ll end up flat on my back by the end. But if I do, and if I give it my all, well now… the possibilities are endless.

After a rough first semester emotionally and some loss of fitness, I signed up and couldn’t be happier with my decision. I’d like to qualify for regionals again and I’d like to help my gym qualify a team. But If I don’t, that’s life. It doesn’t make me any better of a person and it doesn’t mean that I’ve failed…something I’m slowly starting to realize.

399180_3992553455325_2065064111_n155991_3976255647890_399263268_n

Holding On

I used to be really strong… and by that, I mean I used to be able to hide things really well. I would pretend like everything was okay when it wasn’t and I never cried, ever. I used to run into my bedroom and pull the covers over my head. I’ve changed since then, sort of…I might metaphorically pull the covers over my head I suppose. I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve. I want to be able to control everything. I want everything to go my way, all of the time, and I want to fix problems- especially the problems of the people I care about. And I will go to any length I believe is necessary to try and fix those problems. I believe everything should have a black and white solution (but I know that’s not the case) and when I can’t find that solution or can’t fix the problem, well, I freak out. I’m self- destructive and my coping mechanisms aren’t always the best. I have unbelievably vivid memories of coping with things as a kid..or not actually coping with them. When I’m freaking out and trying to deal with something now, those memories come flooding back. I’m the first to admit that I desire to control situations and the first to admit I’m not always right and that I don’t have all the answers. I wish I did and I try to find answers to problems that don’t necessarily have one. We are shaped less by the good things that happen to us than we are the bad and without those bad times, we wouldn’t know how good everything actually is. It really doesn’t matter how many times you fall down…as long as you can pick yourself up afterwards.
So lesson of the week is to keep your head up…allow yourself to freak out, because you undoubtedly will when things get tough. What matters is how you handle everything after sh*t hits the fan. A friend told me today that it seems like a lot of people’s lives are spinning out of control. We have a choice…stay on for the ride and handle things as they come, or give up and jump off. Your choice.

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Blueberry Banana Bread Muffins

So I’ve had a number of requests for the blueberry banana bread muffins. the recipe is already on here but I will post it again. The first recipe had some problems with it because I forgot to put some of the information. My bad. Keep in mind that I approximate most measurements. Especially with little things like cinnamon and vanilla. Do what feels right.

BANANA BREAD MUFFINS
(these can be made as muffins or a loaf of bread. I usually make muffins so the baking time will differ slightly.)

In a blender (Or if you are a normal person, a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor and use a blender, mix the bananas first. This will be a fairly thick ‘batter’)
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup roasted/salted cashews
4 ripe bananas
2 tbs olive oil (I use ‘light’ vanilla infused olive oil. The light just means it’s light flavored and throw two vanilla beans in a jar and let it sit for a while.)
1 tbs melted coconut oil
1 cup raw unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)
If it’s too thick you can add a 1/4 cup of water.

In a bowl:
2 eggs, whisked
1 cup almond meal (there are a few different kinds of almond meal. My favorite is the raw kind and it’s available at a natural grocers. It is also the cheapest.)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
3 tsp vanilla
cinnamon (not sure how much I used…whatever seems right)

Mix the two together and then add a container of blueberries (or two.) I also sometimes add chopped bananas. The more blueberries, the more moist the bread will be…which can be good or bad depending on what you like.

I also add vanilla protein powder sometimes which I thoroughly enjoy.

Bake at 375 for around 25 minutes. Test with a toothpick or knife.
Enjoy :)

What I’ve been up to

I’m so sorry it’s been like a month and I have had no useful information for you guys. I’m working on something about success and what it means (or doesn’t mean)
For now, this will have to suffice…

My life has been a little different this past month…and by a little, I mean a lot different.
Instead of waking up at 6 to make breakfast for or with the tribe and take the furry one to work with me, I wake up at 5:30 and make breakfast for myself and get my things ready for the day. (pretty similar)
Then I go to school. I get there around 7:30. About the same time I used to get to Progressive. Instead of hanging out with Ma and having coffee and mobilizing for an hour, I sit in a chair and do reading or work on some drawings. Instead of working out for an hour or two or three, I go to class and sit in a chair and learn (interesting and cool) things for a few hours. Then I go back to the studio and eat lunch. Instead of hanging out at the gym and coaching and working out some more, I hang out all afternoon and draw or build models or go back to class…until about 5:30 or 6 when I go home. Most of the time I’m pretty tired and don’t work out…On days I only have class once a day I try and workout in the afternoon.

Instead of working out (or doing mobility) for at least 2 hours a day, I struggle to get a workout in during my day. Instead of eating like 5 times during my day, I eat 3 times. And for those of you who knew my meal plan…I’m eating like 10 blocks now. (awesome right!?) Keep in mind my activity level dropped drastically so don’t freak out.
So working out in my basement is not very motivating. Sometimes I get to work out with Juli but my schedule is so unpredictable that it’s hard. I miss my schedule because I don’t feel very healthy.
And i miss all of you who brighten up my day and allow me to yell at you to get lower in your squat and stuff like that.
On a positive note- I’m surrounded by some smart and cool people who are super creative and I’m learning a ton of new stuff.

So I’m learning what it’s like to make excuses. (I know, I know…not so great) Not that I didn’t know how to before. But I’m allowing other things to come before training. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing… I ran a 6:59 mile this weekend which was pretty awesome but I am not sure if I could squat clean 195# and my handstand pushups are miserable at the moment. I’m trying to find a balance between school and training and all of that stuff. I’d honestly rather be working out than sitting at a drafting table…but I’d also rather be in the mountains than working out. As you guys know, I don’t do well with things in moderation. I tend to take something and run with it and I’m an all or nothing sort of person. It makes me passionate, but it also makes me restless, impatient, and even a bit reckless at times.

So I miss you guys. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about all of you and what you are doing and how many goals or PR’s you are reaching and how much I’d love to be coaching you. But I am there in spirit like I have said many times. I will see you all at the masters comp in Denver!

“Passion, it lies in all of us, sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted… unbidden… it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us… passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love… the clarity of hatred… and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion maybe we’d know some kind of peace… but we would be hollow… Empty rooms shuttered and dank. Without passion we’d be truly dead.”
– Joss Whedon

A few shots of what I’ve been up to…