Sometimes the moments we feel most lost are the ones in which we find ourselves

Thursday, February 26, 2009

5K Fun!

I cannot believe that I didn’t blog about my 5k this weekend! I am training for a triathlon in May. Part of the things I am most worried about is making it through a run after a swim and a bike. Running is not my strong suit and I struggle with increasing my stamina and endurance. So this past weekend I signed up for a 5k just to see where I stood with my running.

It was a cold and windy day in Barton Creek, which is a particularly hilly part of town. I really wasn’t looking forward to the run, but I new it was something I had to do. The last 5k I did when I was in 3rd grade and my mom and I walked the whole thing. That should tell you how small a role running has played in my life! Before I began, I told myself to make it throughthe first mile without stopping, then see how I felt. Well I ran the first 2 miles, then got to a huge hill, which was a struggle just to walk up, and then ran the rest of the way. So I would say I ran 95% of the way and came in just over 32 minutes. SO even with a little bit of walking in there, I still averaged 10 minute miles. Running a steady 10 minute mile was one of my goals for I am Crossfit. On the treadmill, I tend to be able to run a lot longer then I can “on the streets,” but I run slower. I usually run a 12 minute mile on the treadmill. So 10 minutes was great for me. I ran faster and longer than usual and I finished well under my “acceptable” time.

I guess it goes to show what you can accomplish when you stop your mind from telling your body that you can’t.

Monday, February 23, 2009


I just got home from doing "Grace." A seemingly simple WOD. 30 clean and jerks. This is a fast workout involving getting heavy weight above your head. I am not good at this. Heavy weights are not my favorite and I usually struggle with the clean. Tonight was no different. Perscribed female weight was 95 pounds. I cannot clean 95 pounds and had a hard time doing 85 the other day in class. So I put 65 pounds on my bar and what do I hear? "Susannah, you can go heavier." Heavier? Heavier? Are you nuts? I really didn't want to go heavier because I know how hard it is for me to clean heavy weights. But if there is one thing I hate it is disappointing people. And Mike was giving me that look like, "I expect you to go heavier." So I went up to 75 pounds. And it was hard. Once I get the bar into the front rack position, I can get it up the rest of the way no problem. But it is so hard for me to clean the bar. But I did it. Yes, it took me longer than everyone else. But I went for it. So I am proud of myself. And you know what? I have to do it for myself and not for anyone else. Sometimes it bothers me that I have been doing this for almost a year and there are people who have only been there a few months who can blow me away. Mike made a comment along those lines tonight and at first it bugged me. I don't like to feel like I am not as good as I should be or that I am not giving it my all. But then something went off in my head. Just do it! No, I might not be as far along as I could be or should be or whatever. But I have come a long long way and I just need to keep on working it and pushing it and make sure that I don't get comfortable. So thanks Mike for pushing me harder than I push myself and giving me the support and edge that I need to go further. Kick it up! No excuses, right?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another Week Closer

Thursdays are my most hectic day of the week. I go to the gym at 5:30 am, work from 8 to 5, usually spend my lunch hour walking around the lake, then go to swim class at 6:15 pm. I get home around 7:30, shower, cook dinner, and get ready to do it all again. It is now 9 pm, I just finished eating and have 2 hours to kill before I pick up Keith from work at 11. I work out tomorrow at 5:30 in Lance's class. This weekend I have UTB on saturday and then Wendy and I are running a Mardi Gras 5k. What is my point? I am working my butt off. Running around trying to keep busy. I think it is as much to avoid being home alone as it is just wanted to be out doing stuff. Yes, I am tired and some mornings it takes everything I have to get up to hit the gym. But I am doing it. And you know what? Change is possible, you just have to work on it. I am trying to get stronger mentally so that when times get hard, I do not fall back on old habits. I am really proud of myself for getting out there and trying new things. I hate running, but I need to learn to love it. So the 5k this weekend should be very telling of how tough I am and what I am made of.




Need to work on these! I am getting better, but I still pull from my back. I have to not pay attention to how heavy others are going and just get my form down.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Changes in the Air

I have been kind of a Debbie Downer recently. Frustrated with my workouts, discouraged about weight loss, and pretty much over eating healthy. The last few days I have felt drained and really unmotivated. I have been giving up on myself and giving into the negativity. Today, I put two and two together. I think there is a direct correlation between your mental state and your physical state and there is something to be said the power of optimism. So today is a fresh day. I am going to accentuate the great things instead of getting so tied up in the things that are not so great.

What is great about today? Well, 2 things. The new jeans I bought 3 weeks ago that fit perfectly are now a little baggier. I hadn’t worn them yet and I put them on expecting them to fit just as they had in the store. But they are noticeable baggier. So that is good. The other positive thing is that I am motivating and encouraging my husband to get healthy, eat right, and start moving. He means the world to me and I know how much my journey has improved my life, so I want nothing more than for him to succeed. It is a hard road to walk, but once you are on it you will find it is well worth it. The benefits are immeasurable and your quality of life will improve tenfold. So I now need to be strong not just for myself, but for him as well. Show him that it is possible with a little hard work, dedication, and planning.

We had a very active Valentine's Day walking around the zoo and then today Keith hit the trail for a good 3 hours! I am super proud of him and I think it is a good indication of the changes to come.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Staying Strong

I feel like I have hit a wall. Since the start of January, I have been going to the gym 5 days a week and doing at least one workout on my own. Usually this is just a run or something and I sometimes skip it if my week has been particularly hectic. But, for the most part, I have been pushing myself harder than ever before. Physically, I feel good. A bit tired and probably in need of more sleep. But for the most part I am adjusting well. Mentally, I feel great. I am proud of myself and know that I am making steps to get to the next level. Now it is my new routine to go 5 days a week so it is not as difficult as it was at first.

So here is the down side. I am working really hard, but my weight has stayed the same for about 3 weeks. It’s like my body doesn’t want to go any lower than 160. Stuck. Every now and then it will drip down to 158 or 159, but then on my “official” weigh in days it is always 160. Seriously. I know. I know. Don’t pay that much attention to the scale. But it is hard, especially when you are watching everything you eat and working out like a crazy lady. Then I see other people who are not nearly as diligent and they can drop 2 or 3 pounds like that. I know every body is different, but it drives me nuts. This is when I usually backslide. This is when I get frustrated and figure if I am not making any progress, I might as well cheat. So this time is going to be different. This time I am going to stick it out and push through. My goal for the end of “I am Crossfit” is to be down to 150. That is three weeks away. I don’t care if I see it on the scale at the gym, but I want to see it that morning at my house. Can I do it? Is it possible? Now is the time to turn up the heat, keep doing what I am doing, and have faith that things will turn around sooner or later. But for my mental health, I could certainly use a little reassurance that sooner is not out of my reach.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Be Agressive, B-E Agressive

How does one become more aggressive?

Last night, Mike told me I need to be more aggressive in my workouts. Zach has told me repeatedly to get more fired up. Gain intensity. Be explosive. For those who know me, I am not a very aggressive person. I will stand up for myself, speak my mind, and call you out when need be, but aggressive is not a word I would use to describe myself. I have certainly gotten better. I have gained a thicker skin and am not so nervous about trying new things. But I am not sure how to become aggressive. Is that something you can practice? Is it a skill you can acquire? Or is it just something you either have or you don’t?

I think a lot of it comes from the fact that I don’t like to draw a lot of attention to myself. I am almost more afraid of success than I am of failure. Does that make sense? I limit myself with weights, speed, intensity so that I am just average and blend in. Not that I am some hot shot, but I know I have more than I am giving. We got done with Fran yesterday, and after a minute of heavy breathing, I could have done it again. If I hadn’t been meeting a friend for dinner, I would have gone for a run afterwards. You shouldn’t feel that way after a crossfit workout. Your tank should be empty because you left everything you had on the floor. So is aggression a mental thing that has physical ramifications? Let your body take you as far as it can go and then get fired up to push beyond that. I suppose I need to stop having negative connotations of the word “aggressive” because it is not a bad thing altogether. I have to look at it as another tool or skill that needs to be worked on. If you have any suggestions on how I might do this, I am all ears. Maybe I just need to go back to my gangsta’ attitude of 7th grade…but even that was pseudo aggression. You can’t fake anything in crossfit.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Small Victory!

I have decided to participate in the Danskin Triathlon in June. It is a ½ mile swim, 12 mile bike ride, and a 5K run. I don’t think I have ever swum continuously more than maybe 4 laps in my life, I don’t own a bike and haven’t been on one since I was 12, and I hate running. Why am I doing a triathlon then? To see what I am made of. To push myself where I wouldn’t otherwise go. I know it will be difficult, but I am ready to take it on. I have 4 months to get ready for it and my goal at this point is to just complete it.

In preparation, I am taking a swim class at the YMCA with one of my co-workers who is also doing the Danskin. Our first class was last night and it felt good to be in the water. It wasn’t anything super difficult; we just practiced our different strokes and the instructor evaluated where we were. Thursday will be the next class and he said we will do more difficult stuff then. I am glad I have taken the first step, but I know there is a lot left to do if I want to make this a reality.

So the most exciting part of my time in the pool didn’t have to do with swimming at all. In fact, it had to do with sinking. When I was little, I could never stay on the bottom of the pool. I was always a great floater because a good 40% of my body was fat. I would try and try, but I could never stay down for very long because I would instantly start to float back up. Last night while Wendy and I were waiting for our instructor to come back, she joked that we should have a tea party. For those of you too cool to know, that is when you sit on the bottom of the pool with your friends and pretend to drink tea. Well, when I went down, I stayed down!!! For a really long time! I didn’t float up or anything. I was amazed. I wish I could hold my breath longer so I could stay down there, but it was such a great feeling. It is such a great feeling when you have those little, unexpected milestones. A pound on the scale is great, but it is the everyday impact it has on your life that is really what counts.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sobering Weekend

This weekend was a rather sobering one for me. I went to Galveston with my dad and some of his students from Southwestern for a service project. We worked with the Episcopal church to help rebuild some houses that were damaged by Hurricane Ike last September. I got married in Galveston and Keith and I made many a trip there in the year leading up to our wedding. My dad’s family also has a long history with the city, so I have always had an affinity for it. I hadn’t been down there since December of 2007, but we sailed by on our way out to see on our cruise in October 2008. Anyway, I knew there had been a lot of destruction and damage, but I hadn’t really heard more than that.

When we arrived in Galveston on Friday, it was already dark. However, there were piles or rubble and trash every where and holes in the horizon where homes should have been. As we drove down the main street, many of the houses and store fronts were dark and you could tell nobody was living there. The next day we went to work on the house of an older couple that had already been totally gutted and had new sheet rock and insulation installed. We worked on mudding the seams, which was an all day project. The house was in a neighborhood on the ocean side of the city and at a lower elevation. They had about 4 feet of standing water, which wasn’t too bad all things considered. Some part of the city got much more than that. It was great to help them, but you realize that your whole day’s work accomplished only a very very small part of the job that has to be done before those people can return to a normal life. A lot of people are not that lucky and I got the feeling that many people just left and didn’t come back. Some people don’t have the money to rebuild, others have nothing left to even work with. The whole city seemed to be empty and rundown, which is beyond sad to me.

Later that day, we all went over the ferry to Bolivar, which is where Keith and I got married. Bolivar was probably the hardest hit by Ike and most of the dramatic pictures taken during and after the storm where from Bolivar. I knew our house was more than likely not going to be standing, but it was heart breaking to see that there was literally nothing left. No foundation or stilts or even grass. Just a lot covered in sand, two dying palm trees, and the little concrete sidewalk that served as our aisle. The two houses next door were standing and obviously being rebuilt, but they were the exception. Almost all of the ocean front homes were gone or unable to be salvaged. The ones farther back were in a little better shape, but it seemed like it was total chance which ones were destroyed and which were spared. The dunes are also gone. No grass anywhere. The beach grew considerably because all of the sand that eroded off of the island beaches was pushed up to Bolivar because of the currents.

I have never been to war and have never seen a “war zone,” but it is really the only thing I can compare it to. There were homes that had fallen off of there stilts and were sitting just next to them, fully intact, on the ground. There were others that were still standing, but were missing huge chunks to where you could see through the house. We drove by a field that had an upside down house that looked like a monopoly house someone had thrown across the table. There was trash everywhere from when the water came in. A forest of plastic bags. The ferry landing didn’t even have power. There were no animals aside from the occasional stray cat. It felt like nothing was alive. The grass had been suffocated by sand and the leaves on the trees had all been blasted off. There were impromptu mobile home parks and tent cities of the people who had nowhere else to go.

It makes me sad to know that the place where I have so many amazing and beautiful memories has been reduced to such chaos. It makes me sad that we can never go back and rent the beach house where we got married or even walk down the path that served as our aisle. It makes me sad that for every home that you see destroyed, there is a family left picking up the pieces. It makes me sad that people have to live in conditions that are unsanitary, dangerous, and often hopeless. But it pisses me off that more is not being done about it. It was a big deal when it happened, and then the media forgot about it. Where are the pictures now? Where are the stories about the recovery process? Why isn’t this as important as Katrina or Rita? Where is the federal aid? I don’t think that people realize how bad it really is down there and how much help is needed. Even if you can only give a day or a dollar, that is more than some people have at this point.

I will post some of the pictures I took once Keith gets back with our camera. But I encourage anyone who reads this to educate themselves more on the situation in Galveston and Bolivar and what they can do to help.