Random Thoughts of a Coach, Mother, Wife, Friend, Competitor, and Woman

Yes, it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted, and in all honesty, I’ve just been having a whirlwind of thoughts flood my mind lately.  I have at least 10 rough drafts completed, but none of them are ready to be posted yet.

So much to say.  So much to do.

Writing is a blessing and a curse.

Tonight, I thought I’d try something new…

Instead of trying to write intelligently and grammatically correct, I’m just going to share with you 5 minutes of what goes on inside my head…My crazy, beautiful mind…Every day…All day…Completely unfiltered…

Sometimes, it’s nice to just vent and let things out.

Ready?  Brace yourselves…This could be dangerous… 😉

3…2…1…GO!

10352582_549466858520190_7523399922307013146_nI really don’t want to clean up right now, but the kitchen is a mess, and it drives me crazy!  But, every time I clear off the counter, it inevitably gets covered with sh** again the next day.  Cleaning is a crappy cycle that never ends.  I wish we could just afford a maid.  I wish we could afford a chef. God, I wish we would just win the lottery.  People say money can’t buy you happiness, but it sure can make things a hell of a lot easier!  Man, if we won the lottery, the first thing I’d do is finish this damn house!  Another never-ending project in our life.  I wish HGTV would come over to our house and renovate the entire thing in one week!  Ahhhh, I watch those episodes with such envy.  We could move to Texas and get put on the show “Fixxer Upper!”  But, then we’d have to live in Texas.  And, we really don’t have any reason to move to Texas.  I would love to live in the east coast, though.  Or, maybe New Zealand.  Or, Hawaii?  Mmmm, I’d probably get “island fever,” though.  I’d miss my family and CrossFit family, though, if we moved.  Man, if we won the lottery, though, I would totally add in a Peet’s Coffee bar, a juice bar, an awesome kids playroom with licensed babysitters, locker rooms, showers, and a foam pit and trampoline in the gym!  That would be so awesome!!!!  I wonder what our members say about us?  I wonder if they ever think that I’m mean, or boring, or don’t like something about me?  Sometimes I wish I could be a fly on the wall.  Although, I don’t know…Would I really want to know what others think and say about me?  I’d like to think that people think I am a good person.  I hope I’m never condescending to anyone.  Hopefully, they can tell when I’m being sarcastic.  I think they can.  I think I’m pretty obvious with my feelings and intentions.  I wonder if I will ever get to stand up on a podium.  I think I work hard, but then every competition, I’m always shaking my finger at myself.  How much is too much?  How much is too little?  Sometimes I really wish I was just born talented and gifted.  But, then again, I’d probably take it for granted.  I guess I should be thankful for all of the lessons it’s taught me to have to earn it…But, damn…Sometimes it would be nice to have something come easy to me for once.  What are we going to do for Christmas?  I don’t even know what to get Spencer.  He is so hard to shop for.  I really wish I had the money to buy him his dream Eames Chair.  Maybe I should start saving a few bucks here and there every month…Maybe in like 5 years I will have saved up enough money to buy him one.  That would be pretty cool to see the look on his face if I got him one.  Maybe…Someday…  It’s like how my mom used to tell me that if she ever had the extra money, she would have bought my dad a Ranger Rover.  I think I can make Bailey’s Halloween costume for her.  Boo’s monster costume is pretty straight forward, and the nice thing is, it doesn’t have to be perfect.  Maybe I’ll try it.  Would be pretty awesome to be able to say that I made Bailey’s costume for her.  I can’t wait to watch her go trick-or-treating again!  I wonder if we’ll have a boy or girl for the next one.  Do we even want another one?  Hmmm…I wish there was some way to make it a boy.  I’d love to have one of each.  Of course, I’ll love whatever we get!  I don’t know if I could handle two kids, though.  Am I patient enough?  How the heck did my mom do it with 4 of us?!  If we won the lottery, I’d be all for having 4 kids, though!  Maybe we could adopt a boy.  That would be pretty neat.  I need to start lifting more.  My lifts have not been increasing enough.  I keep saying that, but I actually really need to shut up and just do it already!  Why is it so easy for me to coach others, and not myself?!?!  I wonder if Bailey is going to like CrossFit.  I’m really afraid of dying.  It scares me to think that death is going to happen anytime.  I try not to think about it, but sometimes it really haunts me.  I get why so many people believe in Heaven or other religious beliefs.  It’s so much more comforting to believe in something happy and beautiful to go to afterwards.  How is it that I’ve lived 34 years and never experienced even one death of a loved one?!?!  Sure, pets and grandparents have passed, but no one immediately close to me has died, and it scares me to think who my “first” one will be.  I often think that it will be my dad…or my brother.  They are like two peas in a pod.  I love them so much.  God, I wish they took better care of themselves.  Maybe that’s why I’m so crazy into fitness and health.  But, even being healthy doesn’t guarantee that I’ll live.  I really hope and pray I get to watch Bailey grow up, and I get to be a grandmother some day.  Sometimes I feel bad after a long day, and wish I had done more, said more to everyone.  Because, what if today is my last day?!  How do I want to be remembered?!  Will I even be remembered?!  I wish I could come back as a spirit, though, so that I could watch my family and friends, and still experience everything with them.  I need to switch over the laundry.  God, another endless task!  What if I could go back in time and start all over again?  What would I do differently?  But, then I wouldn’t have all the things I have now, and I definitely would not want to give up having Bailey and Spencer!!!  It breaks my heart watching some of my friends struggle being single or going through a divorce.  What would I ever do if that happened to me and Spencer?  I honestly don’t know if I’d ever want to get married again.  Dating sucks!  That is one place I never want to go back to ever again!  Why are some people so sh***y?!!!  It pisses me off when they do sh***y things to other people.  How does someone just cheat and then leave their kids?!  I can understand screwing over your husband or wife…But, how can you screw over your kids?!  What the f*** is wrong with people?!  Sometimes, I feel like we’re surrounded by idiots and a**holes.  Why can’t we send them all away?!  A lot of my anger stems from stupid, mean people.  Sometimes, it’s really, really difficult to have compassion for others.  Really difficult!!!  That’s when I love to use the slam ball at the gym!!!  Speaking of, we haven’t done slam balls in a while.  Maybe I’ll throw that in to the warm up this week.  Oh crap, I need to finish the coaching schedule for this month, too!  Am I doing a good job?  Am I a good coach?  Am I being a good mother to Bailey?  Am I good enough for Spencer?  Sometimes I worry that I’m not enough.  Sometimes I feel like I am failing at life.  Other times, I feel like I’m on top of the world.  Ugh.  Maybe I’m in a funk because of my period.  I hate hormones.  I need some chocolate.  I’m going to eat the rest of the s’mores stuff!  I really wish we’d win the damn lottery…

*Whew* 😉

 

Open Arms

291708_4875163839951_1369268_nBeing a CrossFit Co-Owner and Coach, I see and hear A LOT!

I know so much about my clients, both athletically and personally.  Not only do I know their 1 rep max Front Squat and their “Fran” time, but I also know about their struggle to care for their mother fighting cancer, I know how their husband proposed, I know that they are working two jobs to make ends meet, I know about the cheating wife, the monster-in-law, the traumatic childhood, the husband away on deployment, the daughter with special needs, the car accident that took away their parents, the daily struggles of being a single parent, the insecurities they have in a swimsuit, the demons that haunt them.

I know everything.  Being a coach isn’t just about training people in fitness.  It’s also about being a mentor and therapist in many ways.

I know when my clients are having a bad day, when they are sandbagging a workout, when they need me to yell at them, and when they need me to hug them.  I know when I can push them, and when I need to back off.  I know what drives them, and what pushes them away.

And, I have heard so many amazing stories.  So many feats of courage.  So many heartbreaks, tragedies, hardships, and downright sh***y things.  And, believe it or not, sometimes it’s the person with the brightest smile and seemingly “perfect” life who has the saddest stories to tell.

So often, when a client pours her heart out to me, she then assumes that everyone else at our gym is living an awesome, carefree life.  She thinks she has it harder than everyone else.  She believes that no one else is going what she’s going through.

She feels alone.

I think this is why so many people often feel ashamed or embarrassed about their lives.  They think they are the only ones going through whatever it is they are dealing with.

The grass always looks greener on the other side.  And, many of us feel the need to put on a front and fake perfection in order to be like everyone else…When in actuality, we are all faking it, and we are all hurting inside.

Facebook is by far the biggest culprit of this!  Check out this short video:

I can tell you, from firsthand experience, from ALLLLLLLL of the thousands of stories I have been told by hundreds of clients ~ YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!

Heck, even I have sh***y days and a few demons lingering around.  My life is not perfect by any means, and I still have hardships from time to time.  Last year, I went to therapy for over a year to overcome a traumatic experience in high school.  My father is a food addict with Diabetes Type II.  My brother is an Alcoholic living with my parents.  Spencer and I fight sometimes.  I’ve yelled at Bailey before.  I’ve done things that I am not proud of.  I’ve said things to my mother as a teenager that I wish I could take back.

Sh** happens.  Life happens.

You are not alone.

You don’t have to pretend.  In fact, of all of the places, the CrossFit gym is the last place you need to put on a front and hide your life.

Why do you think we all come here, anyway?!!  That’s right – To sweat out all that bullsh** from the day, to grunt out all the pain, to lift up our moods, to run off some steam, and to fight and support each other through it for that hour.

That one hour – We get to be together as one, and through all of our personal struggles, we get to escape our lives for that moment, and just be.  We get to turn it off, and for that one hour we can be together as a family and help each other through it.

But, instead of directly helping someone through her nasty divorce, during the WOD you are helping her through those last 10 reps to prove to herself that she can not only get through the WOD itself, but she can also get through this divorce.  By encouraging and supporting her through the workout, we are inadvertently supporting her through her tough time.

Running alongside a member in the last 400m, you are inadvertently telling him that you are by his side, both inside the gym and in life.

Cheering on a member during the workout, you are inadvertently helping her gain self-confidence.

The things we do for each other inside of the gym have a HUGE impact on our personal lives, whether we realize it or not.

So many people write about how CrossFit has saved their lives.  But, the truth of the matter is, CrossFit has saved ALL of our lives in some way or another.

None of us have it worse.  None of us have it better.  It’s a relative thing.  We all have struggles and hardships.  We have all experienced difficult times at one point or another.

The question is ~ Are you going to be a victim, or are you going to be stronger?!  I don’t like the word survivor, personally, because it implies a victim.

Remember that you truly are not alone in this world.  You are not the only one.  Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed.  Don’t assume others have it better, either.

You have one of the best support systems ever ~ Your CrossFit family!

CrossFit is here with open arms.

Embrace it.

Pay It Forward

downloadYesterday afternoon, one of my members/friend was on her last round of the WOD.

The WOD was 3 RFT: 30 Box Jumps, 20 SDLHP, and 30 Wall Balls.  Looks easy on paper, but catches up to you fast!

“Jenny” was on her last set of SDLHPs, and everyone else had finished already.  As she went over to her medicine ball, everyone crowded around to cheer her on to the finish.  After she fought through the first 20 Wall Balls, I grabbed a medicine ball and joined her on the remaining reps.

Cheering and being there for someone when they are fighting for the finish is always nice, but it’s even better when you can fight the good fight WITH them!  After all, we are here for SO much more than a bikini-ready body.  And, we definitely are not here to try to always beat each other and win everything.

Of course, Jenny was super appreciative of everyone sticking around, as well as for me doing the last 10 reps with her.  It’s an awesome feeling to know that you have friends/family at your gym who will struggle and feel pain with you!

I got to have the favor returned to me today.

Today’s WOD is: For Time ~ Buy In: 800m Run, then 4 Rounds: 10 KBS, 10 Push ups, 10 Pull ups, then Buy Out: 800m Run.

One of my members/friend, “Bill,” kept a strong pace for the first 800m run, and my goal was to simply keep him within arms-length of me the entire time.  He held a good 5 rep lead on me throughout the 4 rounds, but then I finally caught him on the last set of 10 pull ups.  My initial reaction was to sprint out the gates and try to gain as much of a lead on the run as possible, because I knew Bill would catch me at some point.

While in my mind I was competing with Bill, he had other plans.  It only took him about a minute to catch up to me, and we were side by side at 200m.

I expected and waited for him to pass me by, and part of me was frustrated that I couldn’t beat him.  But, then, I quickly realized that he was pacing me.  He stayed with me the entire time, pushing me along, encouraging me, and made me run harder than I would have on my own.

In all honesty, if Bill had passed me by and beat me, I probably would have just paced the remainder of the run and finished semi-strong.  I kind of think Bill knew that about me, too. 😉

So, we ran hard together for the next 400m, and then in the last 200m, we paced the first 100m, and then sprinted hard for the last 100m, finishing together at the exact same time.

It was an awesome and humbling experience.  Bill did something for me that many of us forget to do for each other ~ He sacrificed his “best time” and the “win” to be with me.  He put his teammate’s needs in front of his own.  Bill pulled back just enough to help me be a better athlete, and to make me believe in myself in the last 200m.

“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” ~ Bob Marley

So, here is a reminder to all of you CrossFitters and non-CrossFitters out there ~ Be kind, and pay it forward.  Your kindness will go a lot further than you could ever imagine.  One good turn deserves another, and can be an awesome domino effect in this world.

Bill reminded me today of a very important lesson.  It’s easy to go back for the others when you’re already done with your workout, and it’s not too much more to join them on the last few reps.  But, to do the workout side-by-side with them to push them further than they originally thought possible, to be willing to slow down a little bit to bring them up, and to finish together, rather than in 1st and 2nd place – Now THAT is a true display of sportsmanship, friendship, and integrity.

We make each other better together.

Thanks Bill! 😉

Pay It Forward.

My Reality

1157642_10201738537888190_2119404513_nHumans are such an enigma.  The fact that we can experience feelings, have different perspectives, and live such adventurous lives is so beautiful, and yet also so mysterious.

So much is based on our own thoughts and feelings.  We are driven by an inner soul.

I always find it so interesting how so many people can look at the exact same painting, for example, and yet all of them have very different feelings and interpretations of the artwork.

So much of life is run by opinions, not facts.

In my short 34 years on Earth, there are some life lessons I have come to realize for myself:

1. I am my own reality.  What ever I believe to be true, it is true.  What ever I say I am, I am.  What ever I say I can or cannot do, it’s true.  If I say that I am a victim, then I am, and I will live my life as such.  If I believe that I am strong and independent, then I am.  If I think everyone is out to get me, then it’s true.  If I think people are mostly good, then they are.  I create my own reality.  Just as you create your own, whether you want to accept that responsibility or not.

It’s a big deal if I make it a big deal.  If someone cuts me off in traffic, I can get upset and think he’s an a**hole…I can assume he’s rushing to the hospital to see his baby born…I can just ignore it and move on…There are many ways I can interpret that moment and make it a reality for myself.

My life can be beautiful and easy going.  Or, it can be hard and depressing.  I could say that my friends are reliable and trustworthy.  Or, I could believe that they are all two-faced and fake.  It’s my own reality…My own interpretation of my life and the people in it.

It’s a monumental responsibility to take on.  Knowing that my own thoughts and feelings control my own reality and way of life is like finding out that you were born with a superpower, and as you grow older, you must learn more and more how to control it and use it for good (or bad).

2. What ever I can change, I can change.  What ever is out of my control, I can change how I react and feel about it.  Beating a dead horse is unproductive.  If I don’t like something that I cannot change, then I must take the responsibility for myself to change how I deal it personally.

Harping on something, letting it nag me, and allowing people to live “rent free” in my mind is destructive and hinders growth and happiness.  I can make the conscious decision to move on and be free.  People and situations are only difficult if I allow it to be.

Now, this is not to say that you shouldn’t care about things and get upset.  Human emotions are raw and beautiful, and you should feel every one of them.  But, they do not have to consume you, define you, or destroy you.  And, don’t accept someone else’s reality of you.  Remember, YOU are you own reality.

3. I am not important in the grand scheme of things.  This sounds really harsh, but strangely enough, when I accepted this, it actually had a very calming effect on me.  I am not the end all, be all of things.  If I die, life will still go on.  If I fail at something, life will still go on.  If I miss the party, the party will still go on.  If I miss a rep, the competition will still go on.  I do not control the sun and moon, and I definitely do not determine the fate of the human race.

Most people don’t even care about what I am doing or saying.  I think a lot of people worry about what others are saying behind their backs, or what others will think of them, and the honest truth is, they don’t know, don’t care, or don’t even know you exist.  They are too caught up in their own reality to be worrying about yours.

4. I am important to those that matter.  My husband, my daughter, my parents, my brothers and sister, and a few very good friends.  I think all too often, many of us work harder for the love and attention of people who don’t really matter, and we take for granted those that do.  Put your time and energy into the right people.

There is a wonderful satisfaction in putting your time and energy into the right people, and letting all the others exist in the background.  And, it’s not nearly as draining as trying to win over people who are committed to seeing you in a bad light.

_______________________________________________________

I put my reality to the test today at the gym.  I was going for a 1 rep max Strict Shoulder Press.  My previous was 110#, so of course I wanted a PR today.

I started out feeling “tired” and “not in to it.”  So, I lifted like that.  The barbell felt very heavy!

Then, I switched gears, and told myself I felt awesome and strong.  Lo and behold, I lifted better and the barbell suddenly felt a little lighter.

I got to 105# and after I completed it, I told myself, “Oh boy, that felt really heavy, I don’t know if I can get over 110# today.”

I went for 115# anyway, and totally missed it.  Not even close. My reality was already decided before I attempted it with my negative attitude.

I walked away, then switched the bar to 112#, and told myself that this was totally doable!  I believed that a 2# PR was easily attainable.  And, what do you know, I lifted it with ease – Even easier than the 115# attempt!

So, I shook my head and laughed a little, and went back to 115#.  Gave myself a couple of minutes, told myself I was going to make it, and as I started to lift the bar, I kept telling myself, “Yes, you can, you will, it’s going up, up, UP!”  And, I nailed it!

The mind is so powerful.

What ever you believe, will be.

You are what ever you say you are, and your life is what ever you say it is…So, what kind of person are you creating yourself to be, and what kind of life are you allowing yourself to live?

Be honest.

Be humble.

And, take control.

Fish Fairy

tyhulse-catchingwishesWhen I was about 7 or 8 years old, I found out the truth about the Tooth Fairy.  I still remember that night like it was yesterday.  I was extra excited for the Tooth Fairy to come, because I had left her a new dollhouse rocking chair.  I wanted to see her surprised face, and see her sit in the chair, so I stayed up that night.

As I pretended to sleep, anxiously awaiting the Tooth Fairy, I suddenly heard my mom coming down the hallway.  I panicked a little and held my breath.  My mom quietly snuck into my room, I felt her lift up my pillow, and then quickly sneak out.

For a moment, I was confused.  Maybe she was making sure I remembered to put my tooth under my pillow?  But, then when I looked under my pillow, I saw the dollar bill.  Instant heart crusher!

I cried myself to sleep that night.  My thoughts snowballed – If there’s no Tooth Fairy, then that means there’s no Santa…Which means no Easter Bunny…Which means…It was too much for my little heart to take.

The next morning, I confronted my mom as she was making breakfast for us.  I told her I knew the truth!  And, then I told my older brother, Nate, that I was really sad about it all.  Nate was only about 9 or 10 at the time.

He hugged me, and then he said, “Don’t worry, Kara, there’s always the Fish Fairy!”

“Fish Fairy???”

“Oh, yeah!  If you make a fishing pole, and leave it out in the swimming pool, or any area of water, and you’re well-behaved that day, then the Fish Fairy will leave you something at the end of the line,” my brother explained to me.

So, we ran out to the backyard, found a long stick and some string, and made a fishing rod and line.

My childhood beliefs were restored!

The next morning, I pulled the fishing rod out of our pool, and found a stuffed dog, Odie, from “Garfield.”  I was so excited!  The Fish Fairy WAS real!

We left the fishing line out again the next night, and the next morning I had another toy waiting for me at the end of the line!

We continued doing this for about two weeks.

Then, one day, my mom sat me down on the couch and said we needed to talk.  My first thought was, “Uh oh, what did I do this time?!” 😉

But, then she told me, “Kara, honey, I know you have been enjoying the Fish Fairy and all, but I have to tell you the truth.  Your brother made up the story about the Fish Fairy to make you feel better, and he’s been going out there every night, and giving you toys from his room.  He’s running out of things to give you, honey.  And, this just can’t go on anymore.  Unfortunately, we need to stop the Fish Fairy.  Do you understand?”

At first, I was heartbroken again, because another childhood belief was being shattered.  But, then my heart swelled up with so much gratitude.

I think it was at that moment I really understood what love meant.

The Fish Fairy story is one of my all-time favorite memories from my childhood.  I often go back to this story in my life to remind myself of what is really important.

It’s not the actual gifts and material things.  It’s the love given to you.  My brother, even at the young age of 9 or 10, loved me so much that he made up the Fish Fairy for me, and on a whim nonetheless!

The love given to me in the CrossFit community is very similar, and I’m sure many, if not all of you, can relate to what I’m saying.  That unconditional, positive regard is priceless.

When I didn’t qualify for Regionals, I felt like my entire gym tried to give me the Fish Fairy back.

It’s what we do here – We lift each other up!  When a member is down, we all jump in to give love and support, because at the end of the day, the scores and times don’t really mean much compared to the relationships and memories we are making here each and every day.

It is always the journey, not the destination.  It’s the people, not the things.  It’s the memories and how you were made to feel.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou

My brother makes me feel loved.  CrossFit makes me feel strong.  My CrossFit community makes me feel supported.

How do you make the people most important in your life feel?