Training

Sometimes it feels like I’ve been in training for decades. I guess in a way I have although I haven’t always known what it is I’ve been training for. I know that every step (and misstep) I’ve taken is what has led me to where I am today. Each new day I am the accumulation of everything I’ve done, or thought or dreamed up to that point in my life.

When I was studying Taekwondo I was always in training for the next belt testing. The march from white belt to my fourth degree black belt took many years but there was always a goal to strive for. Along the way there were tournaments to compete in, new martial arts like escrima and ju-jitsu to experience, and challenges like concrete breaking to give focus to the training.

After Taekwondo there was cardio kickboxing and the intense workouts I taught for many years. Kicking, punching and sweating to loud music just went so well together and in the process my fitness level increased. The goal was always to be fitter than anyone else coming to my classes. It was more pushups, more situps, more squats, whatever it took to stay on top.

Then I was introduced to Crossfit and my fitness world shifted into a whole new dimension. I immediately discovered that my level of fitness was drastically below where I’d believed it to be. I had my ass handed to me on a platter. Always up for a new challenge I jumped in with both feet, going to every class and working to capacity each time. I was training harder than ever and seeing gains I didn’t think were possible. I got certified and soon I was coaching.

I’ve always migrated to positions of responsibility and enjoyed being able to use that role to help others achieve their goals. Crossfit was no different and I loved the coaching. And still I trained. My frequency increased and despite the hours put in I never felt I had come close to my potential. And that is the secret of Crossfit, no matter how well you do, there is always the feeling that if you could just fine tune your technique or increase your strength, then you could improve your performance. It doesn’t matter if you are struggling with a modest weight or lifting huge amounts, there is a wonderful motivation right there in front of you every day. Can you go faster? Can you lift more? Can you keep going longer without slowing down?

Crossfit even offers a gigantic competition that allows you to see how you compare to your age group from around the world. The Open Games says here is our level planning field, are you willing to step on it and see what you can do? Do the same workout as other athletes and see how you rank. After 5 weeks find out if you are good enough to move on to actually compete face to face with your athletic peer group. There are Regional Games and from that incredibly talented pool of competitors only a couple will make it to the top level and compete in the World Games.

I’m in the old guys category but to give them their due, these are a pretty fit bunch of old guys. And it appears that I am too because I’m in the top 20 from around the world and will be competing against my peers in L.A. in July. It is exciting and scary at the same time but I will simply go down and do my best. No matter what happens I’ll be proud of myself for trying. If I come in 20th I’ll still be glad I did it. I am so lucky to be surrounded by an amazing group of people who have cheered me on through the Open Games and given me their encouragement as I made it through. If I do better than 20th it will be because of their love and support because there is the intangible part of the training. The spirit that can be passed on by genuinely caring about how well another person is doing is so powerful in our gym that I will be taking a massive dose of that support with me.

So now I’m training even harder and trying to be more focused. In less than two months I’ll be there. Hopefully I’ll be ready and able to give 100 %. Until then I’ll do more, lift more, attempt to improve every technique. I’m training again with a purpose, to simply be better. And then it will be over and life will return to normal. I’ll still be training, trying hard to improve my lifts and my cheering on my fellow athletes in our gym, helping them to reach their own goals.

Within the Crossfit community I am delighted to be able to share in that common goal and make it my own. I just want to be better.

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For Mom

The best worst job has to be being a mother. For nine months they endure rampant hormonal disruption, a physical metamorphosis unlike anything else, nausea, aches and pains, sleepless nights, all just to get to the final moment of then having to face delivering their child.

From the minute a baby is born it has jumped straight to the front of the line and its needs will come before all other concerns a mother may have. What follows is more sleepless nights, a monumental challenge to regain their pre-baby body, more laundry than could be imagined and layers of self-doubt that a year earlier would have been inconceivable.

It is enough to make any sane person decide to skip child-rearing completely. But then there is that smile. That look between a mother and a baby, which connects them down to the depths of their souls. The connection may be there in the delivery room or it could slowly build, it doesn’t matter because the bond between a mother and her child is their own unique experience and while others may love that child without reservation, there is only one mother.

As time moves forward like only it can do and the child grows through the many stages of their life, they can push against those family ties but even the most self-centered adolescent will discover at some point how important their mother is.

There may be no gratitude at the time for the sacrifices that moms make. But eventually we all come to our senses and look at our mothers with an appreciation for all they did. They spends hours and hours behind the steering wheel driving thousands of miles to get us to school, sports, lessons, activities, and jobs. They look after all our needs, and do it all for love.

We collectively set aside one day each year to recognize just what amazing people our mothers are. On Mother’s Day we call, we visit, we send a card or flowers we give presents but its not enough. We need to take the time to connect with our mothers all year long. We need to tell them we love them that we appreciate them that we are grateful for all that they’ve done for us. They deserve it.

 

we all hear voices

We all hear voices. They can bounce around inside your head sending all manner of thoughts your way. There are good ones that encourage you when you need motivation, that assure you that you’re doing the right thing, that help guide you to the best decisions. And then there are the other voices that always seem to echo your worst feelings and fire them back at you. The voices that cause you to doubt yourself, the ones that say you’re not good enough, not strong enough, not smart enough. Those ones can sometimes drive a wedge into your confidence and force your will to break into pieces.

            I’ve heard both types many times. I try to strain to hear the positive ones and ignore the negative but not always with success. Sometimes it takes a little help from outside to drown out that bad voice so you can hear the good one. Lots of times I’ll settle for no voice at all and just try to slip into a mental state that allows me to simply keep going.

            This past weekend at the Crossfit Regional Games in Vancouver there were an incredible number of truly outstanding athletes competing against each other in hopes of winning one of the top positions. Every one who made it there did so by dedication and sacrifice. To compete at that level means to have put so many things on hold for your training just so you can be there.

            Its easy to applaud exceptional performances but so much more so when you know the athlete. We were fortunate enough to have plenty to cheer for from our gym. Two teams and two individuals made it through, then the eliminations came up. Our teams facing their first competition together stepped up to meet the challenge head on.

And we shouted out the encouragement to Corey and Roe as they did workout after workout with outstanding results.

            Corey moved weights with an explosive power that left us wowed with his strength and athleticism. Our fantastic female coach, Roe showed us all what courage meant when she fought through pain to work her way through to the last elimination round. It broke my heart to watch her hold an injured shoulder but refuse to quit. They both made us proud to know them and be supporters.Image

            One team was knocked out but the other one kept going. Then our two individuals were stopped just short of the very last workout. Finally on Sunday afternoon we had just one team left to cheer for. They fought their doubts and rose above them with an incredible performance. They took on the very best of Western Canada and made them stop and take notice. As the cheers echoed off the walls our athletes powered through the course of the final workout to finish it in third place. It was an incredible ending for a group of outstanding athletes.

            Corey, Roe, Mandy, Kaitlyn, Lindsey, Dani, Shannon, Phylis, Jian, Rich, Rob, Pete, Adam and Tom, each and every one of them stepped up and pushed aside their concerns for themselves, drowned out the negative voices and showed us what great competitors they were.

            It was inspiring, humbling, powerful and just amazing to see. The pride I felt for their achievements was greater than if I’d done the work myself. I was so proud of each of them and so happy that I was able to cheer them on.Image