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October 22, 2013

Through the Fire

Through the FireSky Fire

“What is to give light must endure burning.”
~ Viktor Frankl

 

There is an old saying in the world of fitness:

No pain, no gain.

There is an old joke in medicine that goes like this:

Doctor, it hurts when I do this,” said the patient.
Well, then don’t do that,” said the doctor.

Like an angel and a devil sitting on each shoulder, I often hear both voices at the same time. Yesterday I was at CrossFit™ and our workout had one exercise that just hurt. The weight was too high, the movement too awkward, the feeling was wrong even when I slowed it down. The one voice in my head says It’s just 4 rounds – do it…and then the other voice says that’s 80 reps you crazy woman you will not be able to walk tomorrow.

In the end, the desire to do the workout despite the pain won. It took me longer than almost everyone else, it hurt, and I finished it. But I know the risks. I have had enough injury to know that pushing too hard can do real damage. I have also done enough exercise to know that often, my greatest gains come from finding that edgy space right between pushing hard and pushing too hard and working right there.

Pain, in theory, has a protective element to it. The doctor joke is only half a joke…pain is partly a signal to stop doing the thing that hurts. That said, we can condition ourselves to override some of that. We can raise our pain threshold so that it takes more and more stimulus to get to that place of “stop.” We can convince ourselves that pain is good.

And sometimes it that is fine. Continue reading…

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August 14, 2013

To Fail Better

To Fail Better

Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

~ Samuel Beckett

I don’t do failure well. OK, I know that sounds funny. After all, failure is failure and it’s not meant to be beautiful or graceful. Failure more typically looks clumsy and awkward, right?

Tonight at CrossFit we were working on Power Cleans (PC) and Snatches. I was getting comfortable working up to a heavier weight so when we went to start a timed workout that was going to call for 15 PCs and an equal amount of Front Squats, I lightened the weight a bit and figured it was going to be fine. It was the plate push that killed me. Why or why pushing a weight across a stretch of turf make my thighs feel like jelly is still a mystery to me…but I did that plate push one time and the weight I had easily cleaned 5 times just a few minutes earlier wouldn’t get over my knees.

One time. Two times. Three. Nothing.

I put the bar down and stare at it for a minute. Everyone else moves on to the next rep without me.

Eventually I change out my plates and finish up at a lower weight. But inside a part of me hurts. It’s some mix of frustration and anger and embarrassment. I feel a little betrayed by my body and maybe even more betrayed by my mind that somehow could not overcome the obstacle and see a way through. Continue reading…

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August 12, 2013

Balanced on the Edge

Balanced on the Edge

You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge.

~ Danielle LaPorte

I have never been excellent with boundaries. Maybe as a child no one told me no often enough, or I somehow missed the lesson that there were things I couldn’t at least try if not achieve. I have always figured that this somewhat contributed to my success in life – I have not been afraid to try things, to push forward, to test boundaries (mine and others). I have been lucky. I have continued to find my way down a successful path – one that has allowed me to have a comfortable life, personal success and more than I really ever asked for.

I have often approached life like a fitness pursuit. Always looking for the next level of my personal ability like a runner looks for better times or a weightlifter a new PR (personal record)

The two are not that different really – you work hard and continue to put new challenges in front of yourself to see if you can do better. If you run you can always run a little farther, tackle a hill, pick up your pace. CrossFit is built for this – there is always a heavier weight, a harder technique, another rep to add. Life is basically the same if you think about it. Continue reading…

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