Category: CrossFit

Showing Up: Burning Man 2013

Road Trip: Highway 447

Road Trip: Highway 447

During my week of vacation this summer I went to Burning Man (BM). I was on the fence about it for a long time. Similar to last year, I waited until the last minute to get a ticket. However, like last year, it was no problem and all the puzzle pieces seemed to naturally fall into place. Even after getting my ticket I waffled about whether or not I should go. Burning Man is a time and place where you get little sleep, there’s a million things to do, it’s hot and dusty, and the extremeness can be overwhelming and exhausting. Perhaps, I thought, it would be better to have a stay-cation and rest?

A friend of mine who I spent a lot of time with at BM 2012 called me on the phone. We had discussed camping together this year and were trying to coordinate plans. Her and her boyfriend had purchased a cheap car and had gone on a camping trip by the Yuba River. On the phone she explained that the car was more or less dead and it wouldn’t make the journey. No problem, I assured her, I would take them. And just like that I had committed to Burning Man 2013.

The Groc-Out. Fun times were had by all.

The Groc-Out. Fun times were had by all.

Panicking slightly that I had offered to be their ride, I told her that I was more than happy to make the drive out to Black Rock City with them. I was pumped to camp with them, too, but I wanted some level of independence and flexibility. I didn’t want them to depend on me for a ride home in case I freaked out and left early. I had been looking forward to this vacation for a long time and I wanted the autonomy to do what I liked when I felt like it. The last thing I wanted was to feel guilty for abandoning my friends in the middle of the desert. Luckily for me, my friends are badasses who have no issues making shit happen.

So that was that. I was going to BM, for better or for worse. The thrill of the trip sank in and kept me up at night. I only managed to pack the day before I planned to leave, stuffing rolled socks and lacy underwear into plastic bags, hoping that less was more. Last year I was with an organized camp, whereas this time it would only be the three of us and I wasn’t quite sure how it would all work out.

Even though I now had arranged to camp with my two friends, I felt as though I should approach the event as though I was going it alone. I did not want to rely on them as a couple for company and I definitely did not want to resent them for that either. I also wanted to mentally prepare myself for the tsunami of FOMO (fear of missing out). I desperately wanted to grant myself permission to do BM at my own pace with the least amount of comparison or pressure possible. I had been mulling this over for weeks and had no idea how I would feel once I arrived on the playa. It almost kept me from going, but the adventure was set in motion and the excitement was mounting. I was grateful to have friends as company and build a camp with and pleased that I was freewheeling.

After a 6am departure from Davis, CA and 7 hours of waiting, we made it through the long dusty lines and began looking for a spot to set up our tents. It took a while, but with some patience we found people who welcomed us with open arms. We were very limited in our supplies and incredibly under prepared compared to our neighbors. I felt like a gutter punk kid who was going to sleep in the dust all week choking on gas fumes while our fancy neighbors ran their generator next to my cheap tent. But it didn’t matter. I took pride in the simplicity of it all.

The line outside the gate.

The line outside the gate.

Despite all the back and forth, the worry of being unprepared, and insecurities surrounding loneliness, it was blissful to spend a week on the playa. I take pride in my ability to see the value of showing up and being present in situations, even when it is difficult and challenging. This is also how I ended up doing CrossFit. I often tell myself, when I meet resistance in attending a new class or event, that all I have to do is go – I don’t have to excel or do anything crazy, I don’t have to dance or make a new friend. As long as I bring my body and smile once, that can be enough.

So rather than staying in the bay area for a week and hiding out at my parents house to recharge, I committed to going to BM. I knew that I would regret it if I did not attend and I also knew that ultimately, the option of a good party and friends would be more valuable to me than spending 7 days alone in Palo Alto. All of my last minute decisions lead me to an “Oops, I did it again” moment, where I realized that I felt limited in my ability to contribute at BM and that may cause me to treat it more as an experience than a participatory community(!?) What I am saying is, that while I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to do BM, it relies heavily on people who whole-heartedly care about the city and build it from scratch. Then they return it to the same state the desert was in before we were there. That’s a shit ton of work.

Not only that, the culture of BM is maintained by those who are committed to practicing open mindedness and gifting. Approaching others in the spirit of non-expectation is no small feat and requires vigilance. As an organization, there are people working year round on creating this bedazzling parallel universe and I do not take it for granted. For this reason, I would like to acknowledge that there are endless opportunities to contribute to BM as a place, an event, and as a community. While I set multiple intentions for myself this year, they were very personal in dealing with my own emotions. I am planting the seed that the next time I go to BM, I would like to contribute more towards the experience as a whole and to a group at large. In this way, I am contemplating the core principles of the event and meditating on my own ability to shape experiences for myself and others.

After a weeks vacation in the desert, I have come back refreshed. I am satisfied to say that, despite the harsh conditions, I am rested and healthy. I am grateful for the art, the music, and the friends I bonded with. With my birthday only 2 weeks away, I’m excited for new writing material and bringing a fresh perspective to another year of life.

Get by with a little help from your friends.

Get by with a little help from your friends.

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Living a Value Driven Life

End of July 2013... MobilityWOD Tent at the CrossFit Games.

End of July 2013… MobilityWOD Tent at the CrossFit Games. Enjoying coconuts in the heat!

It is August 2013 and I have worked more in the last 12 months of my life than ever before. I have also moved three times and had five different jobs (often multiple at the same time). While my motivation levels have plummeted, my mind continues to race at high speed. I may not be inspired to act on many of my thoughts, but I can’t help asking “What’s next? How can I do this better? Is this what I really want?

I’ve been attempting to cut myself off from streams of input (blogs, podcasts, magazines, email, conferences) that will simply feed the incessant chatter in my head and increase the anxiety about not having “figured it out” yet. I am trying to say no more to information and opportunities that do not serve me, so that I can yes more to healing activities that allow me to process everything that has happened this year.

In August 2012 I was still at the Marin Headlands Hostel and about to go to Burning Man for the first time. Fast forward 8 weeks, I was working at the hostel, Lululemon, and Biergarten. For some reason I thought it was necessary to have multiple jobs to live in San Francisco. Note to self: if you can get by with less hours and just one job, DO THAT. I wrapped up working at the hostel in November, and soon began working at Suppenkuche (in addition to Lululemon and Biergarten). I continued to juggle these three jobs until February 2013. I don’t know what I was thinking.

Get by with a little help from your friends.

Get by with a little help from your friends.

In March I worked 18 – 20 hours a week. That was incredible. A breath of fresh air after holding my face in a murky mud puddle. Not pretty. I was working less, but had also finagled a part time work-trade with San Francisco CrossFit in order to continue my membership at the gym. March quickly turned into April and there was yet another job opportunity that I could not pass up. As soon as I heard about the Office Manager position at San Francisco CrossFit, I knew I had to pounce. So I did. By mid April, I was hired on to the San Francisco CrossFit Team and have never been more proud to accept a paid position.

Between April and July, I toggled between work modes and ran a tight ship. There was little room for error between two double shifts and a 6 day work week. Though my social life has suffered, I’ve met amazing new people, planned a bachelorette party, and accomplished several of my 27×27. In the past 4 weeks, I’ve worked one job, been out of town every weekend, and come face to face with the truth of being a total workaholic.

Working with good people is the only way to do things.

Working with good people is the only way to do things.

I won’t shut up about it. Sometimes it feels like all I do is talk about work and how much and all the time and complain complain complain. I was on the phone with my sister, explaining yet again why I wasn’t available to hang out. Work work work. “I work soooooo much, this is crazy.” There was a short pause. “So why do you do it?” She asked. “I don’t know! I’m sick. I’m totally sick. I suppose I am just not suffering enough. Otherwise, it would be different already” was my reply.

I believe this to be true. In situations where we are the ones in control, we must often suffer severely before we are moved to make significant changes. I am still completely perplexed as to why I kept saying yes to more work. I’m confounded as to why I still have 2 jobs and no vacation planned. Even during the 2 weekends I was away, on non-work related trips, I returned drained and exhausted rather than rejuvenated. How is this possible? Oh, sweet suffering, reveal my limits and let me know personal responsibility. It is a strange and wondrous thing to realize how out of line you are with your own values. Wake up call! This is not how you want to live your life.

If you’ve made it this far, you may be asking “Why does this story matter?” I’m impressed if you’ve read to this point because this is a total “Dear Diary” post. But let me tell you! Perhaps you’ve read this far and thought “Shit, I totally do that too.” Or “I feel this way sometimes,  but how do I know that I’m not in line with my values?” Realizing that we are not living the life we want to live is the first step to acknowledging we are not living in accordance with our values. Do you say one thing and do another? This is a pretty good sign that you are confused about your values and not living in line with them. For example, if I tell you that my friends and family are my priority, but I work all the time and never see them, then you can tell me that I’m full of shit. Actions speak louder than words.

Priorities: It's hard to choose between so many beautiful things.

Priorities: It’s hard to choose between so many beautiful things.

I am using my story about the past year as an example of a wake up call. It is not glamorous, it’s actually down right painful. It brutally sucks. But now that I can see how gross and distorted my decision making process has been, it is opening up space for action! This is exciting! This is a learning opportunity to avoid repeating mistakes in the future. Once we see what motivated us to make the decisions we did, we can look at how they do not align with how we want to live our lives. Or maybe they DO – it’s helpful to recognize how we set ourselves up for success so we can recreate it. Most importantly you have to choose one action that will help you live your values on a daily basis. Here are some examples.

Wake up call! I am not in line with these values:

  • Family and friends
  • Free time to be creative
  • Health

Reflection

  • Realizing I don’t need 3 jobs to survive in SF
  • Recognizing that it was my choice to work the extent of my contract and to stick around
  • Coming to terms with the fact that staying for the community can be enough for a while, that I want to be busy to distract myself from other crap, and because it makes me feel useful.
  • Admitting I am feeling unhealthy and miserable

Action!

  • Quitting
  • Cutting back hours
  • Taking a month to work very little
  • Setting aside time to do important things with friends and family
  • Taking a sick day
  • Reflecting, talking, and writing about my process
  • Asking for help: my family helped me move, my friends have gone out of their way to visit me at work, they have been forgiving and supportive when I have been tired and M.I.A.
Me me me: portrait with Doctor Zhivago poster, my namesake.

Me me me: portrait with Doctor Zhivago poster, my namesake.

My next steps are going to involve a few things from the action list above. First off, I need to cut back my work hours. My work week is not dialed in enough to feel sane. I need to plan a vacation just for me. This is extremely important psychologically. If I can give myself one piece of advice, I say this “If you are feeling burnt out and temporarily insane, it is time to be SELFISH. Do something completely indulgent for yourself that feels special and is in line with your core desired feelings 100%”. Important side note: do NOT allow yourself to feel guilty about this. If you feel guilty, as punishment, tack on another day of vacation.

Clap your hands if you’re workin’ too hard.

Working just right: my first paid work trip!

Working just right: my first paid work trip!

Getting Back on the Horse

What do you do when you fall off the horse? That’s right – you get back on.

In May I wrote 26 days out of 31. I haven’t written since June 3rd, but the time has come to start again. In May I focused on writing. I  stayed the course, writing almost every day, and experimented with posting to this blog twice a week (every Monday and Wednesday). In May I published 9 blog posts. Writing and posting this frequently has allowed me to explore several other themes this month.

I began by asking “what’s wrong with these pants?”  My way of exploring body issues and seeking to change my thought patterns in order to avoid further developing a self deprecating attitude. Especially while shopping because shopping is supposed to be fun and it sucks to be stuck crying in a dressing room somewhere, when we should all be striving to love ourselves more everyday.

Following my exploration of jeans and our psyche, I explored how one defines success. Maybe it’s by recognizing evil thoughts about your own body and reminding yourself you are WUNDERBAR! It’s an interesting thing to question your definitions of success because it is likely to uncover something either highly influenced by your parents or society and expose dreams that you may be discrediting.  This can be an incredibly powerful process because you can reframe your ideas and start building an empowering definition of success that supports who are. You may begin to see areas of your life you have been successful in that you didn’t realize before. It’s a great way to prioritize projects in your life and start moving towards the things you really care about.

May is national Bike to Work Month. I wrote a Bike to Work Day post about how I think bicycles are the coolest form of transportation. Did you know that they are still the most efficient form of transport in the world?! That blows my mind every time I think about it. I love riding bicycles. Get out an set yourself free!

While listening to BlogcastFM, I found out about a book called What Superachievers Have in Common by Camille Swiney and Josh Gosfield. I was so intrigued by the interview that I immediately went to a book store and bought it. I could write a blog post about every chapter, so I chose a few that stuck with me and started writing. The book is full of inspirational stories that make you want to get off your ass and practice getting totally awesome at something. It is also a great reminder of all the unconventional paths there are available in the world. Ever thought about what it would be like to create crossword puzzles for a living? Or designing baseball stadiums? Yea, don’t sweep your dreams under the rug, because chances are we need your crazy idea.

One of my favorite chapters in Superachievers is: How to be the Most Fabulous You. I think about Simon Doonan pretty much every day now. I hate feeling average or boring and feel that style and dress have the ability to brighten the world through our clothing choices. So I really take it to heart when Doonan says “dress everyday as though you were going to a Lady Gaga concert, you’re guaranteed to have more fun”. This is it, folks, this is your life. It’s all about today, there may not be a tomorrow. Get out there and express yourself!

My favorite blog post of the month is Rejection Sucks. Not only does the title sum up exactly how I feel, but this post explores several topics that I am super passionate about (relationships, vulnerability, risk, and love/hardcore crushes). It feels good to reflect on an experience that was painful, process the story, and come out the other side feeling like I’ve done the work to move on. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits has a wonderful blog post called The Obstacle is the Path, that was wonderfully serendipitous to read at the time. It can be a hard pill to swallow; the anger, the hurt, the rejection – that is the path. Walk it.

Embracing my own path, I came out and declared myself a Dear Diary blogger. Ah! The weight off my chest! I love Dear Diary blogging! I love owning my own shit and getting straight on my motivations. I asked myself why am I writing? I explored who I write for and what the writing process does for me. I wrapped up the month with Feats of Strength, a post reviewing my work at the CrossFit NorCal Regionals. It is impactful to watch humans perform such intense activities. It was an inspiring event that made me question where I want to focus my energy in my own exercise practice.

Believe it or not, that was the month of May. It felt good to write regularly and digest the various parts of my life that can seem so disparate. These posts helped me weave the different corners of my life together, in true blanket fashion. Superachievers meet CrossFit games, Zen Habits meet CrossFit thighs, rejection meet writing practice, blogging meeting psychology and Bam! 9 blog posts later I fall off the horse. Here is me dusting myself off and getting back on.

Feats of Strength

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This weekend was the NorCal CrossFit Regional Games 2013, hosted at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

It was an incredibly intense three days. The level of competition was palpable. My voice was hoarse by the end of the day one and I knew we were only getting started. San Francisco CrossFit attended with three individuals and one team. Our individuals were Courtney Walker, Lisa Warren, and Elizabeth Helton. Our team was comprised of: Tonya White, Natalie Durino, Erin Moody, Sam Sailor, Will Sockolov, and Brian Hassan.

Team San Francisco CrossFit Represent

Team San Francisco CrossFit Represent

I am inspired by all the athletes, it’s a fight and people are there to win. At the same time, fellow competitors and fans cheered each other on and support was abundant in the stands and on the grounds. Being a newbie to the CrossFit world over the past year, it was crazy to be part of the CrossFit Open which felt homegrown. Though the production on TV of games athletes from last year definitely shows the corporate exposure of CrossFit. Attending the regionals demonstrated to me the exponential growth of the sport of fitness in the world. Going from the Open at our own gyms, to the Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, though not huge, put the  growth of CrossFit in perspective.

Our very own, Lisa Warren.

Our very own, Lisa Warren.

It isn’t only the media coverage and the stands packed with cheering fans. The level of competition happening in all heats blew my mind. These people are so strong. I feel like their quads could crush my skull. Looking at them, they look like the bodies of lore, made from the flesh of gods. Their muscles ripple in the sunlight, glistening with sweat. No matter how cut their abs are, they are lifting insanely heavy weight and moving fast. It’s actually difficult for me to comprehend and it’s happening infront of my own eyes. Standing at the sidelines, jaw hanging open in awe, I wondered “Is this real?” Yes, they did just do one hundred pull-ups, yes, they did just run from rope climbs to cleans.

Will Sokolov on the rope.

Will Sockolov on the rope.

I am walking away from Regionals feeling motivated as an athlete. I am inspired to look at my life and analyze my workouts from the stand point of “What do I want?” I want to remain consistent, I want to get stronger, and I want to build coordination. The competition has rekindled my faith in the belief that we can accomplish anything we put our minds to. Make shit happen. Do one thing today that makes you stronger/happier/more at peace tomorrow. Prioritize for you. If you were hit by a bus tomorrow, what would you do today? This is a question that helps me put life in perspective. Vulnerability can suck, but you know what sucks more? Not making ourselves vulnerable, not facing our fears, and not knowing what’s on the other side.

This is what's on the other side.

This is what’s on the other side.

 

What’s wrong with your pants?

Nothing like a little Vonnegut to make your day. So it does!

Nothing like a little Vonnegut to make your day. So it does!

Ka-POW! So it came, so it went. So it goes. What a month! How did I do goal-wise? This is when it’s a good time to know what your measure of success is. If I hit my target 1 out of  2 times, do I feel successful? This month, I feel like a failure as far as measuring certain actions: days at Crossfit, mobilization, eating well/paleo, writing, hours at work, reading and counseling.

How do I feel like I failed? I only did “serious” mobilizing 10 out of 30 days this month. In the same way that I feel I need to focus more on diet and nutrition to improve my overall health (versus exercising more), I believe that I need to focus on mobilizing effectively to improve my athletic performance. My knee needs targeted help, so do my shoulders. They aren’t going to magically get better all on their own, so I need to show them some love. More than 10 days of love per month.

Read Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett for every tip you have ever wanted to fix your bad self.

Read Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett for every tip you have ever wanted to fix your bad self.

I have not been writing everyday. I have barely been writing at all. I wrote 14 out of 30 days. Not terrible, but not good. It sucks, actually. I feel so disappointed. It’s physically more difficult to sit and write. Not writing for 20 minutes a day, letting it slip for multiple days at a time, makes it infinitely more challenging to get ideas out in a way that flows. Writing for smaller chunks of time on a regular basis allows me to review what I have written recently and begin to play with ideas that intrigue me. The process of work and play come out. The editing process begins to unfold, structure and substance begin to arise and that feels awesome. Saying to myself that I will post to It’s All in the Blanket only twice a month is a terrible idea. It is nowhere near enough to motivate me to write everyday. However, maybe what I was posting would be well crafted and “deep” if I did write everyday in between those posts… That being said, I have a huge list of topics I would love to write about, so posting twice a month really doesn’t cut it.

Bottom line: I feel like I’ve failed as far as writing throughout April. SOoooo, I signed up for Leo Babauta’s Sea of Change program this month! May = Writing Month! I’m getting back on the horse. Leo is sending out accountability emails and writing prompts for the month of May. Let’s start fucking shit up! It’s also Bike to Work Month and National Masturbation and Radical Self-Love Month. I have BIG goals surrounding all of these things! May is going to be very exciting! Are you ready!?

Mobilizing and writing are where I can feel the disappointment most acutely. Overall, I feel like I haven’t measured things as much as I was aiming to. It makes me feel like a failure, not being able to fill out my measurable goals sheet for April. My conclusion is that I took on too much. I bit off more than I could chew. I have more specific measurements, I can get numbers for almost every category, but I’m not particularly impressed in my level of involvement in any of them.

Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte. Keep it real.

Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte and Dune.         Keepin’ it real.

The way I am trying to change my attitude towards jeans is similar to how I want to rephrase my attitude towards goals this month. In the last month, I have found every single pair of pants that I own are ripped. I have had most of them for over 3 years. Finding new jeans is hardly ever an enjoyable experience. Since beginning CrossFit, my body has changed a lot and I am still adjusting. I find that most jeans are made for skinny people or people without muscles. Pants tend to be too tight in the thighs and butt. I have endless ideas for making sexy clothes for fit and curvy people, just another business idea kicking around. So during my quest to find new jeans, I realized I would feel really shitty about myself and my brain would get stuck on repeat “What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with my body? Why don’t these pants fit perfectly!?” This is bullshit.

I hit the pause button as much as I can. I hit pause, take a breath, and then say to myself “Bitch, please! What the fuck is wrong with these jeans?!” The therapist I have talked to since 2004, Tonja, has told me that I should practice thought-stopping. A practice that I am not very good at. So, here I am, practicing. Notice that son-of-a-bitch thought that makes you feel bad → stop it. Then replace it with positive one. It’s good to have a go-to thought to replace any negative thought with. The Jeans Quest auto-replacement thought is: What is wrong with these jeans?

May: Radical Self Love Month

May: Radical Self Love Month

To bring this analogy full circle, what I am trying to accomplish is the following: instead of asking myself “what is wrong with me? Why did I not accomplish all 54 million goals on my list this month?” I am attempting to reframe my thinking  with thoughts such as “What stopped me from accomplishing my goals this month? What’s wrong with the goal? How can I take a step back and set myself up for success next time? What’s wrong with this system?” This is the only way I can stay motivated for the coming month. I can approach new goals today because I know the weakness was lack of focus and making goals that were too big. How will I do better in May? I am going to focus on writing.

And guess what? I found AWESOME jeans. They don’t only fit, they feel and look amazing. People tell me so. I love them. Here’s a major plug: CrossFit girls, drop the $$$, Lucky Brand has jeans that are bangin’! They fit and flatter my curvy muscles and are delicious feeling. Try on a pair of these pants and then celebrate your bad self with a mimosa. Jeans aren’t worth crying over (which I have done). Thank You Lucky Brand, Thank You Tonja – cheers to living boldly! Love, Strength, and Vigor, Baby Cakes.

Good Mail Day

Good Mail Day

#1 Goal(s)

Buy yourself flowers. It's nice.

Buy yourself flowers. It’s nice.

I found a blog the other night that I find interesting. Hack the System with Maneesh Sethi. What a crazy dude. When you subscribe to his email list he asks that you write to him about your number one goal.  I found myself thinking that I should have a number one goal because I have so many of them. When I read his email requesting to hear what is it, I thought “Shit, man!” And then my brain came to a stuttering halt.

I have a lot of goals. Too many, actually. How do I know it’s too many? From Stevo, the sport psychologists perspective, if it feels like too many, it is.  Well, it feels like too many. From Byron Katie’s perspective, it’s not too many, it just IS and it’s only my thoughts in relation to the number of goals that is causing any stress. Byron Katie is the author of Loving What Is. She is the creator of “The Work”, which is a series of four questions about our thoughts and then a turn around that aims to transform our relationship to ourselves. Here is an example.

The Work on Having Too Many Goals.

Statement and/or judgments: I have too many goals.

Is that true?  No. (If no, you can move to #3)

Can I absolutely know that to be true? I can not know it to be 100% fact.

How do I react when I think that thought? How do I treat myself and/or others when I think that thought? Stressed out! I am irritable and frustrated. I hate on myself. I feel like I am scattered and unfocused. I feel like I can’t see progress clearly and that I am a failure. I get panicky and anxious.

Who would I be without that thought? Who would I be without believing that I have too many goals? I would feel peaceful and calm. Life would feel more harmonious and I would celebrate the small victories.

Turn it around: I do not have too many goals. I do not have enough goals. I have the right amount of goals. I have the perfect number of goals.

Workin hard. FSS.

Workin hard.

Perhaps this is another step in dismantling the 27 x 27. I am happy to have so many goals. They can just hang there in space, the letters typed neatly out on the page. The list will grow, wilt, and stagnate at times. I want to cultivate a compassionate relationship to the goal list. It is, afterall, my list of dreams. They each symbolize a process through which I get to know myself a little better and that lead me down my path a little further.

Looking at what I would like to focus on for April and reflecting on what I worked on in March, I am seeing that not much has changed. I am trying to start small and continue slowly. For March I had a fatty list: Interchange counseling sessions, write everyday, handstand practice, mobility, read, work on the Fire Starter Sessions, and attend the CrossFit certification course.

April

April

How did I do?

Interchange: I had a couple of Interchange sessions. I have surpassed my 20 hours of counseling now.

Write:  I have a check mark for everyday that I wrote on my calendar and made it a practice to write every morning. It increased the amount I post to my blog based on working with more material. This has been a very enjoyable process for me.

Handstands: I have had many 20 minute sessions in the park and practiced at CrossFit. I have seen a lot of improvement and have had a lot of fun!

Mobility: This is another item I have on the daily checklist. I have struggled with this because sometimes it is enjoyable and other times it is just a pain in the ass. Literally. But I am committed to working on my knee and the rest of my body.

Read: I have been reading more! I read the entire CrossFit training guide and I am in the process of finishing Loving What Is. I have also read a TON of blogs and information online. I also bought a GOOD magazine.

The Fire Starter Sessions (FSS): I love this book. Danielle LaPorte is awesome and the book is beautiful. Maria and I have been meeting about FSS and it is amazingly therapeutic and motivating. We’re lighting shit up!

CrossFit Certification: done and done! I attended the weekend course, which was great, and I past the test! BAM! PLUS, I applied for a job at San Francisco CrossFit and guess what?! I GOT THE JOB! The cert has already paid off.

Fire Starter Sessions

Fire Starter Sessions

Writing this has been so satisfying. Earlier I felt like the March list was way too long. However looking at all the progress that I have made for each item, I can see that I have actually been quite successful! WhatWhat!!! I think that one thing that would allow me to see progress more is by recording small measurable benchmarks or each. That would look like this:

Goal: Record daily check marks, record time spent on activity and other detailed notes.

I am halfway there. I have recorded most of this stuff, but I could get into the details if I wanted to see more numerical results.

So let’s circle back to the beginning. What is my #1 goal?

My number one  goal is to feel awesome. I’ve been able to pin-point four core feelings that are important to me and I want to connect to those feelings in all that I do. Those four core feelings are: Connection, Clarity, Creative, and Powerful. I don’t have to feel all four of the feelings all the time, but I want clarity in my activities because I think it makes for more harmonious living.

You can read about my twenty-seven #1 goals and how they tap into my core feelings here. If you think that this post is a bunch of bull and that my goal is way too vague, then here are some specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive (S.M.A.R.T.) goals to feast on:

Wild Success! Things that were not on the goal list but make me feel ON FIRE:

Thanks to Maneesh Sethi for pushing my thoughts about goals a little further.

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Rewind: Pre-13.1

The Bar at Biergarten. Plus a pirate boat I made out of the squid ink pretzel.

The Bar at Biergarten. Plus a pirate boat I made out of the squid ink pretzel.

7 AM, Friday March 8: Last night it hit me. The 2013 CrossFit Open Games have officially begun and the first workout (13.1) has been posted. Well, though many CrossFitters have been talking about it, I had barely thought about it, till last night. I was covering a Thursday shift, which was unfortunate because that means I missed mobility class with Kelly Starrett and I also missed a talk on mental toughness with Stevo at San Francisco CrossFit (SFCF). I see now why it was extra unfortunate: mobility last night was most definitely aimed at preparing us for the Open workout this evening. Instead of gearing up for the Open, I was hanging out in the cold drizzle drinking beer and eating bread at Biergarten. Indulging in the two things that I am trying to avoid at work.

Working at Biergarten when it is slow, cold, and rainy is always a bonding experience. There is a silliness and camaraderie that develops that you simply don’t have the time for on busy days. It was while I was in the bar when it struck me that maybe I should cool it on the beer drinking and get my ass home to bed because I am competing. I AM COMPETING! The wheels began turning, and I realized that I hadn’t read the rules, I didn’t know my heat time or when I was judging. I was also painfully aware of the tenseness in my muscles partially due to the cold and partially due to soreness from Wednesday’s workout. I don’t think I can remember the last time I competed in something. I felt very unprepared.

Biergarten is open on rainy days! We put out giant umbrellas.

Biergarten is open on rainy days! We put out giant umbrellas.

I biked home in the rain, made a giant mint tea, and hopped into bed to do some research on what is going down. Of course the team at SFCF made a badass video on the most important things to focus on to prepare for the snatches and burprees that comprise the 13.1 workout. I spent a good half hour soaking up quality information on snatch and burpree technique, what constitutes a no rep, and how to pace myself. Big breath. “Shit, what did I get myself into?”

Warm light.

Warm light.

I wrote this Friday morning pre-workout. What did I get myself into? Read about it here post-workout.

13.1 Shout Out to SFCF

Wow. What an evening. I think I’m still high from that bust-your-balls work out. I just competed in my first CrossFit Open work out and it was intense. I wasn’t nervous until Thursday night. Then I had trouble sleeping. I watched as some of the coaches did the workout this afternoon. It was reassuring to see that it was similar to just another WOD. However… that nervousness sat with me till the end.

13.1 in all it's glory.

13.1 in all it’s glory.

The count down alone: Three-two-one! Was wild. That “black-out” period sets right in and you just go, giving it whatever you got. I love the reminders to breath. Something so basic and so important, it’s almost laughable, but it really helps to have that as one of your cues. Breath. So simple. Keep breathing, keep moving, no problem. Stop breathing? You’re finished.

I have arrived home from competing in my first CrossFit Open workout and I am sitting down to write for 20 minutes, because it feels like this is a 20 minutes I don’t want to lose. Tonight was magic. San Francisco CrossFit (SFCF) continues to Wow My Pants Off and the community that it growing at that place makes my heart swell huge. “I’m surrounded by badasses!” That’s the vibe.

As I began my burpees, just out of the gate of the 17 minutes of pain, I had my eyes on the ground. The first round of snatches at 45 pounds was bearable, fun, even. Another 30 burpees: heart pounding, ears howling, cheeks burning, breath god  damnit! Then the real work begins. 30 snatches at 75 pounds. I am at the bar, brace myself, pull. No rep. This shit is HEAVY. The bar is on the ground again and I am trying to set myself up. Go again. No rep. I’m thinking, “Fuck. This is it. I can’t go any further.” But there is still time on the clock and what am I going to do? Stop trying? Hell no.

Standing by the bar, trying to catch my breath, I look up and find myself surrounded by friends. Friends who happen to be strong, motivated athletes and they are cheering me on. They’ve got constructive criticism, cues, and hollers. Fuel to my fire, baby. Metal to your shins, chest up, eyes up, lock out your arms, break that bar and shrug that shit off the ground like you mean it; land under the bar and pUMP it UP. Lock. It. Out. Done. Rep One. Six minutes later we have 30 seconds on the clock, I knock out 2 more snatches for a total of 25 reps at 75 pounds. Bam, bitches, 13.1!

What an amazing crew. It brings tears to my eyes. I am shouting out to all the amazing athletes who came out to SFCF this evening and made it a night to remember. I appreciate the kind words, the observations, the attention, the camaraderie, the support, and the unconditional positive regard. Incredible. It’s going to be an awesome season.

Crappy shot of 13.1 in action at SFCF. It's what I got.

Crappy shot of 13.1 in action at SFCF. It’s what I got. Carlos Avina Killin’ It!

See you next week.