Sunday, November 28, 2010

Many Thanks

Thanksgiving morning I went to the gym for my regular Deadlift training session. There I ran into a woman who I hadn't seen in a few months. When I had spoken to her a few months back, she was new to the gym and she was definitely having a hard time with some things, she asked me a few questions here and there. Super nice and I thought she was going to do great, she was consistent and trying hard...anyway she disappeared.

Thursday when I saw her she came right up to me and said hello, I was really happy to see her :) I remarked that I hadn't seen her in a while, and she briefly told me that she had found a lump in her breast and then about all the tests and the procedures and ultimately she had surgery to have it removed. I asked her if she was ok, did she have to have chemo or radiation or anything and she said no - they got it all in surgery. And then she said, "so it's taken a while for me to recover enough to get back here, and now I'm just...(long pause here...and then she cried)...enormous!" Which, she wasn't..but whatever...WOW.

From the depths of my heart I wanted to just wrap my arms around her and give her a huge hug (I didn't, semi-stranger and all), but instead told her how much that SOOOOO didn't matter, that she's healthyand safe now and it's ok to build back to things slowly, and what a wonderful Thanksgiving gift! She cried some more because her foot was hurt somehow too and she couldn't squat, and she just felt *completely defeated*. It was all over her face and in her was heartbreaking. We talked a bit longer, she stopped crying, and she resolved to just start slow and try again and she wandered off. She didn't stay very long, maybe 20 minutes total and she left.

To make this about me (nice, right?) - I welled up tremendously on the inside when she came out with "enormous," it was honestly the last thing I expected to hear. I never believed more strongly than in that moment that the weight didn't matter, that she was healthy and not suffering through radiation or having chemicals all injected into her body. I'm trying to articulate something here that I'm having a hard time finding words for, so bear with me...

It was like anytime I had tried to say that before - whether to myself or to someone else, was in comparison, a total flat out downright lie. The power with which I felt that at that moment was immense, and if THAT is the measure I have to go by, then I can't possibly have ever believed it until right then. Does that make sense?

I felt small for the tremendous worry I've put into what amounts to somewhere between 6 and 10 pounds. This year has been hard for me and I've gotten way too caught up in the negative, so what with the finances, the cut and pay...I still can still eat and drive and have a roof. So what about the bank and the fucked up mortgage stuff, and so what to alllll of it - I am healthy and my friends and family are healthy and safe and despite the struggles, I really have so much to be thankful for and there is nothing REALLY wrong....

In that moment I realized that I really need to do a better job of getting my head out of my ass on a daily basis. And I've known that, and I've felt that before, but never quite so profoundly as I did Thursday. I know others have had moments like this...and even have shared them with me. Maybe not about weight or whatever, but general worry about things like jobs, economy, etc - worry followed by the realization of what really COULD be wrong, and a recognition (or re-remembrance of) what is important.

What COULD be wrong is someone that I care about could be very ill or dying. And thankfully right now, that is not the case. So in the face of nothing less than that - I should be strong and forever thankful for health and general well-being...the health of my family and friends and the health of myself.

For me, it finally connected, all of it. What's important. It's weird it came not from my mom's 5yr cancer all-clear, or a while back from a personal story a close friend shared with me about a health scare in their own family - but from what amounts to essentially a stranger. I'm not sure if it was because of the day, if it was because the time was just right, who knows why...but it did, and I'm sooooo grateful for that.

So I went into the rest of the day "light." I had no worries, I had no plan! What would I need to plan for? Really...I had a wonderful invitation to enjoy the day with RC's family, and that's all I needed to know and do :) I simply had every intention of enjoying that time, and I did :) And I can't say enough how wonderful it was to be welcomed into someone elses family that day when mine was so far away. And on THE day when all of this came together for me. What's important....oh here come the tears :) But happy ones :) Did I mention RC's mom? She's a shining bright light :)

Anyway - again the day with RC and his family was beautiful. We ate a million courses before the main meal, I enjoyed a little bit of wine, and a little of everything I wanted. After dinner we went for a short walk, then came back in a bit later for dessert. Which was plentiful, and included in addition to the traditional pie choices, also a birthday cake for RC's wife AND chocolate chip cookies for RC, hahah. I had THOSE, OMG yum. Two :)

I came home just filled with lots of thoughts, a lot of joy, a lot of 'lightness' despite the food..really I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. Interestingly, I was down a half a pound the next day.

I've been able to carry this lightness with me all weekend. I met the guy for coffee turned lunch on Friday, and Saturday we had dinner out. So three days in a row...I've eaten what I've wanted and foods that aren't "normal" to me. I haven't logged a single calorie or figured any macros since Wednesday. I'm listening, trusting, and feeling, and find I'm getting so much better at knowing both hunger and satiety and I can feel some of the fear leaving as that improves...more lightness. Today even after a very rich meal last night, I'm down yet another half pound (obviously I'm still weighing myself daily)...but beyond that though I feel lighter in just BEING, I feel strong, and I feel more joyful. I really enjoyed the beach yesterday...honestly it may sound crazy cheesy but I just see things slightly differently.

Maybe I've finally made my first full step towards truly living weightless :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Laying the Foundation

I guess I'm looking at the past week or so as building the new foundation for myself...last week with all of the food and the meet I walked away feeling like my body really DOES know what it needs, and I CAN listen...I just have to be open to it. And I have to be open to it more than just once every few months come meet time....imagine a whole training period of doing it right and how the NEXT meet day will be?!

I CAN imagine it, especially after this one...and I'm up for the challenge. T-minus 10 weeks and counting till the next one. Lots of time to practice and get this right. A few bricks have been layed in the right direction.

I had an appointment with Christie today...we talked about the few days before the meet, the meet, after the meet...hahah...all about food. We talked about the realizations I'd had from the meet about the amount of food I probably need, but we also talked about last night at my last meal with my parents - I found another piece of the puzzle.

Disclaimer: if anyone's view of food is more skewed than mine, it's my dad's ;)

So we're at dinner. I had ordered a grilled mahi-mahi with veggies and a baked potato. He'd ordered fried clams, potato wedges and cole slaw, and an appetizer of clam chowder. He's about half way through his chowdah (correct spelling ;) and makes his very typical announcement, "well I'm full" as he takes another bite and then another. Then he tells me he doesn't really need to eat very much, really he needs very little and could eat just once a day, but he was raised that you always finish what's on your plate no matter what, so he just can't stop.

Sure dad. I proceeded to remind him he was an adult, and his mother was 2,000 miles away, and if he REALLY was full, to stop eating, no one here would shove it down his throat. Which he protested and couldn't do. He finished the chowdah, then his meal came and he finished almost all of it (few potato wedges left), continuing to make comments now and then about being forced his whole life to finish what's on his plate regardless of satiety.

And somehow this was a "click" moment for me. My Dad doesn't know when he's satisfied. I don't think he even knows when he's stuffed.

I've come pretty far in recognizing when I'm hungry, and I've been working on eating when I'm hungry too (but if I'm being honest I've done a crappy job at it..I essentially throw my hunger a bone and try to be all "oh...I'm hungry, ok I think I'll have a rice cake, that'll do the trick!"), and I know from my experience last weekend that I can recognize (*when I actually eat enough*) when I'm satisfied, and that I can stop eating before I get over full. But the catch is, on a day to day basis - I never give myself that opportunity to get fully satisfied (and stop eating!) because I prepare meals that are a certain size or portion, and that's it.

This right here [--------] is my meal. And that's it. When it's gone, I'm "satisfied", because that's the portion I prepared and because at some point along the way THAT was the right portion for weight loss. "Satisfied" in this case really simply means "done," satisfied or not! It's when I stop eating because THAT is the portion, not necessarily because I've had enough to eat. And while I've been trying to eat between meals when I'm hungry - maybe it's more that I shouldn't be hungry between meals (hahah...ding ding ding!).

So I don't really know what satisified feels like on a regular day-to-day basis...I eat to a point where I'm no longer ravenous, but never to the point where I feel really good and sated.

Today's work then has been preparing larger portions than "usual" and practicing eating until I'm satisfied. Which so far has been kind of scary (trust!) but going ok. This evening I feel like some of my energy is coming back...I was pretty wiped earlier in the day.

This is allll testing my tolerance but also probably proving a point...since I went back to work and working out and more of a "regimented" eating plan (and resultant lower calories) my weight has gone up (eat less, weigh more! :P) to almost 148....reaaaallly pushing it and honestly it stresses me out and makes it very hard to trust and not restrict restrict restrict. But I'm pushing through it, and feeling better is a big help.

Writing this all out I feel a bit like an it's all a lot of "duhhh," but at least I'm finally piecing the "duhhh" together and trying to act on it :)

It's important that I get this right! I want to be strong! And healthy! And not neurotic! Or at least, less neurotic ;) Dave sent me my new training parameters and has upped my maxes for the next meet to 205 squat (!), 125 bench, and 325 (!) deadlift. That means all of the weights I'll be training with have increased as well since they are based off a percent of max, so it's ramping up fast. Gotta get this.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Another Brick Down...

You know Sunday night I promised myself not to get on the scale on Monday morning after the insane food fest of the weekend. The thing about all that was that that I knew I wasn't overeating for what I needed to do on Sunday. I mean I would make different choices obviously on a regular basis, and the overall quantity probably needs to be less - but given what I weighed in at on Saturday, and what I weighed on Monday when I did not keep my promise to myself...I was shocked. I was only up 2.4lbs to 146.6 yesterday morning...I don't think that was fat either, some sodium from eating out every single meal and I think that's about it! And even today, after I spent the day basically on the sofa doing *nada*...just about the same as it was yesterday.

Trying not to overthink it(harder than you might think, hahah) but I keep going back to how much I ate this weekend vs a "regular" day for me, and wondering how much/if at all i am undereating on a regular basis. This shouldn't be so hard and I'm probably continuing to over think and over complicate it, so I need to stop - just putting these thoughts out there though.

Right now I'm just going to keep on the same path....

I wonder how long I need to keep proving to myself, over and over, that I can do this. As long as it takes I imagine. Another brick in the path has been laid...

Monday, November 8, 2010

9 for 9: The Overview

I can't tell you why or how I went into this meet feeling as confident and strong as I did - definitely more so than ever before. Was it knowing I trained my ass off? Experience maybe? Who knows, but I felt it and it was comforting to just somehow "know" that I was really ready :)

I hit all 9 of my lifts - a first for me! I hit all of the goals I set for this meet, another first! I PR'd in each of the 3 lifts, and my total (huge!) new deadlift PR actually ranks me among the Top 20 Raw/Female 148lb deadlifts!

I ate more, I ate better. I trained all came together, I had a great day :)

The nitty gritty details of the day and each lift here.

9 for 9: The Nitty Gritty

Saturday morning was weigh-in. Got there at 7:30 and hopped on the scale to see 144.2, solidly within the bounds of my weight class. About 5lbs heavier than average from all prior meets, but solidly within the bounds nonetheless.

I spoke with Raphael before leaving about my food before the meet. I needed to do the weigh-in on Saturday and then nail the food to be at my best. We talked about not being afraid to eat for strength and energy, good choices of food, really taking advantage of food to go in as strong as possible on Sunday. All things I knew, but maybe I just needed to hear that I knew what to do and could trust that. Here's what he wrote, "basically just hearty food spread through the day. No macros or any of that stuff. Foods like pancakes for breakfast with eggs, a huge burger with fries or big steak with fries, maybe a big muffin at some point in the day. Just eating for strength and energy but not too the point of stuffing it down. This will have Cooth like a superwoman at the meet and probably give her a sound night of sleep too."

And so I ate. A lot. And I did it guilt and worry-free, and knowing it was going to help me on Sunday and I felt good about that :) Careful not to just load up and feel lethargic and gross, but I ate a ton. Pancakes, eggs, turkey sausage, breakfast potatoes for breakfast, a half pound burger with cheese and sweet potato fries, a 7oz steak with mashed potatoes, a VPX bar, and a big chocolate chip cookie from starbucks. Saturday night I got my foods together for what I would eat to keep me going through the day at the meet. I packed 3 peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, a banana, a chocolate bar, a sliced up apple, and 2 VPX bars (Roasted Coconut, yum), plus 2 Spike Shooters and some xTend. That night I did sleep much more soundly..I woke up a lot, but the time I spent asleep was solid and restful.

Sunday morning - it was time. I started out with a SOLID breakfast of eggs, breakfast potatoes, a muffin, and a bagel. I got there a little early knowing I needed to register my first attempts and rack heights, and be on time for the rules meeting that started at 9. I registered all my first attempts as I had planned before the meet...Squat 170, Bench 100, Deads 270, but after the rules meeting I panicked a little and dropped my squat opener to 160. It's just the first lift of the meet, I needed to know I'd nail it no questions asked, and in the Rules meeting the meet director explained that 3 people bombed out on squats the day before - that was NOT going to be me!

He also explained that he re-arranged the flights to be 2 instead of 3, but they would be large. He wasn't kidding! I'd say each had 18 lifters. That makes for a LONG day (10 - 4), and a LOT of time between lifts...IMO too long, but you adapt or you don't - so I adapted.

I was a little worried about how things would go down in the warm-up room, since I was the only chick and they were all starting their warm-ups where I was ENDING...hahah..but they were really cool, they all helped me strip down the bar when I needed, gave me tips, etc. Pretty awesome, way friendlier than a lot of the women I've met in PL so far!

Here's how the day went down:

Opening Squat @ 49:50 (160)
Down and up, easy! Got some comments from Myles and Dave that I went "excessively" deep. The rule is the hip joint needs to be below the top surface of the knee...I didn't want to leave anything open to interpretation I guess, so I was sure to nail depth on my opener. First lift of the day done, and I knew it was going to be a good day - I felt real strong.

2nd Attempt Squat @ 1:09:00 (180)
Wellllll ok then...this one almost went wrong. I got too far back on my heels and my knees came in and I started down that "pancake" road, where I just fall forward and can't stand up out of the hole...this one was a battle, but it wasn't because of the weight, it was because I compromised my form. I was able to fight through it and get it back, and I came up strong - but I could feel them moving in to grab it! Again Dave and Myles said I went "excessively deep" and they blamed the form issues on that and a too fast descent. Based on the 180 being a struggle, they were concerned about the plan to go for 195 or 200 on the 3rd. Even though I stated multiple times that it wasn't the weight that was the issue, that it was my form and I would be sure to nail it on the 3rd, I almost let Dave talk me into just going for 190 on the 3rd, which would have tied my PR. Thankfully Myles very forcefully said, " do you WANT?" I said, "what do I WANT? I WANT at least 195!" And with that, I entered my 3rd attempt at 195 :)

3rd Attempt Squat @ 1:29:00 (195)
Ahead of this squat, I visualized the descent and the pop up out of the hole. I visualized how it would feel to stand up with it on my back and knowing how it would feel when I nailed it. Myles focused my attention further on the squat I had done a few weeks earlier with him in the gym during an evaluation...more controlled descent, not as deep...*deep breath* I can DO this! I unracked, waited for my command...down....UP! I was unsure about my depth as I rose, but there was nothing I could do at that point - just needed to finish it! In my head it was a combination of "OMG it's going up! and OMG it wasn't deep enough, was it?!" In the auditorium the judge yelled "RACK!" I racked it and I heard, "and it's good!" and I knew I got it! I couldn't believe I got it! YES!

Did I have another 5lbs? I might have, I dont know...but I do know that I nailed a 5lb PR and it was time to move on and hit the bench.

It was Redemption time.

Bench 1 @ 32:00 (100)
Opened way light, because why not? Down, up, done! Smooth!

Bench 2 @ 49:40 (110)
Ahhh...110lbs. A number that has haunted me from my first powerlifting meet, and one that defeated me at my last meet. It was time to own it...110 loaded on the bar and down...wait for the command...PRESS! Up it went, no doubts, no pauses, not the slightest bit was AWESOME! I can't tell you what a relief it was to have owned it! FINALLY! And then it came time to not only own it...but to put it totally behind me...a quick conference with Dave and Myles on the 3rd attempt and in it final Bench attempt was going to be 120.

Bench 3 @ 1:06:30 (120)
I had no doubts, no trepidation...I'd done 122 in training. But I wasn't cocky...I had been confident in 110 in the previous meet and it completely defeated me, so setting it for 120 made sense. That and EVERYONE was spastic about the length of the pause at the bottom, the head judge was a stickler for a solid pause and she waited to the letter of the rule "until the bar sits motionless on the chest." So prudence was in order, otherwise I'd continue to be stuck with the 110. The bar was set and it was time...down with control...PRESS! And up it went. Fast! Are you kidding me? 10lb bench PR?! After nearly 2 years of 110 haunting me, and I put it behind me by a full 10lbs! YEAH!

Now on to my favorite lift....deads :)

Opening Deadlift @ 42:50 - 270
This went up fast and easy, but something in my initial set up (too close to the bar, we think) had me off balance at the top. I felt it at lockout and felt like I could have easily lost it and fallen forward. I didn't, but I knew I needed to watch the set up on the 2nd attempt. Still - no question on the 2nd attempt...stick with the plan, stay light/conservative on the 2nd so you've got something left for the 3rd....I entered 290.

2nd Attempt Deadlift @ 9:55 - 290
The plan here was to PR my total on the 2nd attempt and lock that in. By hitting 290, my official total would become 605 - 10lbs over my former total PR (it stood at 595). I walked up to that bar owning it..careful on the set up...up! No problem! Set up was better, I was more stable at the it was time to seal the deal...we conference...go for 315 or 320? Everyone agreed 315 felt like the right thing to do - so that's what I entered...a big lift, 5lbs over my last PR.

3rd Attempt Deadlift @ 24:00 - 315
Again I spent the time between these lifts visualizing the lockout on this lift. How will it feel to stand up with that bar in my hands, shoulders back - totally locked out with 315lbs? I was aggressive..own it! own it! I went out again, deliberate on the setup, no mistakes, solid arch, chest up and liiiiift! As usual a slight stick on the floor and the minute it broke the floor....up! YEAH!

A new total PR...from 595 now to 630 - HUGE!
A PR on every lift!
9 solid lifts! I've NEVER gone 9 for 9 in a meet!
Myles and Dave both said "you had at least 320 and I think 325 in you!" On that, I do agree!

What a day...I'm still on cloud 9. Nine for 9 lifts....

That night we had to drive back from Tampa...a minimum of 4 hour drive. We stopped at Dunkin Donuts before heading out of townand I grabbed a bottle of milk (chocolate, 1% yummmm) and a big fat blueberry muffin (and one chocolate munchkin). That held me until we got back here and we grabbed some pizza. I was pretty exhausted - dropped my folks off at their condo and came back here to crash.

My body was wiped, but my mind could not shut down (probably the caffeine from the Spike) and I didn't sleep too well - thank goodness I'm off today and tomorrow :)

Today I feel like I've been hit by a bus, but I'm happy about it. I learned that my 315 deadlift puts me in the Top 20 Female Deadlifters in my weight class...I'm now ranked 15th in the country for the Unequipped 148s! I went to the grocery store today and that's about it. Just woke up from a nap and still feeling pretty tired, so I'll continue to take it easy the next day or so.

Dave says he wants me back in the gym on Wednesday and will send me my new training program soon. I honestly can't wait :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

RAW United North American Open

I'm just wrapping a few things up here and then I am OFF! 5 days of vacation...very much needed.

Tomorrow is the drive over to Tampa, Saturday is weigh-ins and then some long lost family stuff (long story ;) and then Sunday is THE day and I am SO FREAKING PUMPED for this, I can't even tell you! YEAH!

The meet will stream live on the net on Sunday, if any of you want to tune in! I love knowing you guys are cheering me on virtually so if you CAN tune in even for just a short while, I would LOVE IT!

The meet starts at 10am EST (remember to Fall Back this weekend/Saturday night) and I am in "Flight C." I am thinking my first squat will be around 10:40 or 10:45am. I'm the ONLY chick lifting on Sunday (long story #2), so you won't be able to miss me when I'm up, hahah ;)

Anyway - if you want to, you can tune in here!

I'll be back Sunday night and can update then :)

I think that's all! YEAH so ready and excited I can hardly contain myself at this point, heh heh....I feel SOLID!