Thursday, January 31, 2013

Time...

Today is a day of reflection for my family, friends and for me. It's the day that marks my sister's passing. Five years ago my little sister Kerstin passed away in a car accident. It's been hard the past five years, the hurt and sadness is still there but instead of focusing on that, I try to focus on the good memories and fun times we had.

I think this is important for any one who has lost someone in their life, try to focus on the memories that you created together, the times where you would laugh and roll on the floor, or when you cooked and spent quality time with one another. Yes there are the times that you fought or caught them using your clothes and they deny it, but that is what made you stronger as family, siblings or friends.

I have thought of all the times my sisters and I fought when we were getting ready for school. How I wanted to get there a little early and they said that it's stupid to get there 15 minutes early lol... I can laugh now because it was a silly little argument that had no barring on what would happen a few hours later or a few months or years later. As I think of it now, happy to have had that experience, tears rolling down my cheek, wishing I could have that now.

Even though I think of those memories, the ones that pop in my mind are the ones when we would have our deep conversations over the phone or in person about life, friends, passion or desire to do what we loved. I think of when our family would go to Disney with family friends, be silly and have fun. I think over the years how both my sisters have grown into beautiful ladies and how I am thankful to have them as sisters.

I remember exactly how my day was five years ago. Getting ready for school, I only had two classes on  Thursday. I remember thinking I wanted to call my sister before class since it had been awhile since I talked to her. I was running late, got to class and thought I'd call her after. After leaving class I forgot to call and said I would call later in the afternoon. Then I was cleaning up, getting ready for an interview for a part time job and saw a missed call from my mom. I saw a voicemail but just called her so I could chat. I called and then she told me what I never imagined. Kerstin passed away in a car accident. My heart dropped, crashed to the floor and my mind went blank. It wasn't possible, I couldn't fathom it being true. I didn't know how to react, I was empty, I didn't know whether to cry, to scream, to stare at a wall.

The next few hours were a daze but I remember them being clear as day. I had support from those close to me, comforting me and just being there. I was very thankful for it all. It was hard to grasp what just happened, let alone accept it. I got on the plane, had that dream that I described on my first blog post - my sister visiting me in my dreams, telling me that she 'can't come in but will be ok'.

The next day my family and I went to the funeral home where her body was. I saw her. It wasn't her because her soul, her spirit, was gone, no longer here with us. It was hard but at the same time I wanted to see her. I made the decision to see her. She had expressed that if she passed, she would want to be cremated. Later that day, we went to gather the rest of her things from her car. We saw what was left of the 4runner, it was pretty badly damaged, not repairable at all. Again, I wanted to see the car, to see what happened. Thinking back to it all, it was a hard to go through it all but I was there in that situation,  we all were.

Thinking back to that day and the days that followed, going through her things, seeing photos, having flash backs of memories and events in our lives, it was emotional but it's a part of the process. People asked me how I did it, how I got through it, how do I move forward. You have too. But at the same time, you make that decision to move forward. I made the decision to move forward and keep going. You can't stay stuck in the past; yes, remember the good memories and special times you shared but continue to move forward with your life. Kerstin would want me to move forward and live life every day. That's what she used to do and she would want all her loved ones to do their own 'thing' and follow their dreams.

This was an emotional post, but it feels good to write it and share my experience, hopefully I can help those who have gone through a similar experience. Make sure to tell your loved ones that you love them. If you have an urge to call or text your family or friend or person in your life, do so, don't wait. Life can change in a matter of seconds. Make every day worth it and live your life! Be grateful for the opportunities that you have as some may never have that chance. To all those in my life, thank you for all the support and love that you have offered and shared, I am forever thankful. Rest in peace Kerstin.

~ MCA

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Attention...

Give your attention to where it is needed. When you are driving, you are driving. There is no need to be on your phone, texting, checking Facebook or emails. Driving needs your attention so you are fully engaged. 

I see people on their phone while driving and I want to tell them to look up, to pay attention to the road.  What if the car in front of them all of sudden slams on their brakes? What if the person loses control of their car and then hits the person next to them? What if that is you? There are so many what ifs... you can't focus on them but you need to be aware of what you are doing and what is going on around you.

This is short post but I want it to make an impact with it. Focus on one thing at a time, put your phone away when you are driving. You may think it may only take a few seconds to write back or send a message, but it is that second or two that can make all the difference. Life can change in a second. 

~ MCA

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Team...

When I think of a team, I think of people working together for a goal. Blending the ways of different individuals into one so you are able to make that goal or goals.

Right now I am thinking of the team that Alex and I have created. I think of the things that we do for one another; we help each other out. We don't do it because we think, oh he/she will do something for me later. No, we help each other out because we want to, we chose to. When he's working, I will make some food or pick some food up for him for the night. I will get him some coffee or help with anything else he needs so he can make the most of his time when he's working multiple days in a row. He will do the same for me when I work late one night and have to get up early the next morning. 

I am very blessed to have such an amazing and incredible man by my side. I am very grateful for all he has done and am very happy with our team that we have created. 

Alex has also helped me in many ways with training and programming. He has helped me grow in many ways, both physically and mentally. He has so much knowledge about numerous things, it amazes me and inspires me to learn more as an athlete and coach. I love our days in the gym where we train and help one another with our lifts, we are each others eyes from the outside, to help with positive feedback on what we are doing or not doing or what we need to work on. We push each other and encourage one another on workouts. I help with stretching and mobility too.  :)  We will send each one another texts, emails, posts throughout the day or night to share articles, thoughts or to say hello.

When we are not in the gym, we are enjoying time together, going to a movie, cooking, hanging out with friends, going to Lowe's together. We are creating our own little adventures and experiencing things together. 

Communication is a big part for any team and I feel that Alex and I have that. We work together towards our goal, being his girlfriend, him being my boyfriend, life partners/companions, best friends, everything. When you find this special bond, you cherish it. Friendships, relationships with family work the same way, communication goes both ways. If you are working towards keeping that friendship or relationship with family, reach out to them, call, text, email or write a letter! Writing a letter seems like a lost art; to take the time to sit down and write a friend or family member a letter is special, it's not something that happens that often any more. 

There are many different types of teams, so for the team that you are working towards, communicate with the other person, reach out and find that goal or goals that you both or all are working towards. 

Thank you to Alex for being my team mate, best friend, my everything. For those who have their everything, cherish and enjoy each moment with them. For those searching, that person will come when you are ready or when you least expect it. Life unfolds in many ways.

~ MCA

Friday, January 18, 2013

Passion...

What is your passion? What intrigues you to do what you do? Do you love what you are doing? I had this urge to write about passion today. Thoughts run through my mind like a river, winding through the earth. The cool water quickly running over the smooth stones in the river bed; moving left and right, carving a deep path for the river to flow from one point to another. This makes me think of my passion. How did it start, where did it come from, why does it make me curious to learn more?

Every one has a different passion; some may have a similar field, like coaching sports, teaching art classes or riding motorcycles, but it will vary person to person. Some may love to coach football, others want to coach golf or swimming. Each person also adds their flair to their passion; no two coaches or instructors are the same.

My passion has been in with fitness, health and wellness. I flash back to when I was little - taking tennis and ballet lessons, then doing Tae Kwon do, gymnastics, horseback riding, golf and on and on. This was the beginning of my river or small stream to be more exact. My parents had me active at a young age and I am so grateful for this! This planted the seed for me to enjoy playing and being in an 'active state'.

As I flash through the years, no matter where I went I found something that kept me moving and that challenged me. Moving from California, to Washington, to Montana I kept up with the ballet, started horseback riding, golf and added a few more activities to my list. Then moving to Hawaii, I started running and working out at a gym, rolling out, stretching, doing what I wanted to stay healthy and active. After two years in Hawaii, I started Outrigger Canoe Paddling and wow was that challenging, but it was beyond a great experience. Most recently moving to California, I continued my running, signed up for some half marathons, challenge races and then tried some wrestling and mixed martial arts classes. I wanted to get involved with martial arts again because I felt that it was a great tool when I was younger, prepping me to be physically and mentally strong.

After partaking in all of these activities I wanted to try something different. I learned of CrossFit and started taking classes. Flash forward to the present, I am focused on training for the CrossFit Games. I spend numerous hours training each day, week, month for my goal. I have created a deep river, flowing  with numerous years of being active. Each activity/sport creating a deeper desire for my passion. For my love to be active and challenge myself, to see if I can do all the work that is put in front of me. I am intrigued to see what I can do, both mentally and physically.

There have been ups and downs and it hasn't been all sunshine and cupcakes along the way (I have eaten a cupcake or two or six... they were pretty good). Some days are great days were I hit a PR, others are struggles to hit some numbers, but I keep going. Why? Because I love this, I enjoy pushing myself, testing myself to see what I can do. I love to workout, to train, to work towards a goal. I make sure to enjoy myself along the way. I want to enjoy my journey so when I look back, I can smile and say, I had fun and enjoyed myself every step of the way. I can guarantee that I will still be working out when I am older.

So for those amazing loved ones, friends, family and acquaintances that read my blog and support me, I hope you find your passion. I hope you do what you love and do what inspires you. Follow your heart, your dreams and create your own river. It is never to late to start.

~ MCA

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My journey continued...

To follow my post earlier today, I want to focus a little more on my training and the path that I am on. Alex and I have talked about our plan and what we want to improve; a lot of it has been focused on gymnastics and working on increasing capacity.

On Wednesday, Alex had written in four mile repeats with a 1:1 rest ratio with a goal pace was 6:50 for each of the runs. I made sure to mobilize and get in a dynamic warmup then started my runs. It was a brisk day outside, but I love to run outdoors. To feel the wind brush against my cheeks as I move across the running path is refreshing. I think of the end goal while I place one foot in front of the other, focusing on where I want to be in May. I enjoy the work that I am doing now, the training I am focusing on as it is just as important as the goal I am working towards.

As I came in from the first run, I hit a 6:58 time. I felt that I paced it a little too slow, so I picked it up just a little on the second run and hit a 6:45 time. On the third run I came in at 6:45 again. I was happy to be consistent with my times. As I was resting after my third run, Alex came to the gym and we talked a little bit about the runs and how I was feeling. He asked me to try and run the last mile at a 6:40 pace. So I started the run a little faster, kept a steady pace for the most part and on the last 200 meters, I turned it on to finish with a 6:32 pace.

It took me a little by surprise because I ran this mile four seconds slower than my max effort mile (6:28) that I ran a couple of months ago. I was happy with my mile runs and felt good about the work I had put in. I finished up my training with some accessory work and closed the day out.

Today, Alex had programmed a max power clean, tabata pull ups, and reverse ladder workout with accessory work. I warmed up and started lifting, feeling good with the warm up sets. I tend to nitpick my lifts and see what I can do better on each lift; I want to do better and hit each lift with great form and technique. Alex encouraged me and supported me on each lift; which I love because it motivates me more to lift more and keep improving.

I ended up hitting 178 for a power clean and felt good about it. I hit 180 but I hit it a little below parallel, so not yet a power clean, but hopefully soon :)

Until the next training session...

~ MCA

My journey...

My last post was about the new year and what I learned from this past year. Going forward I want to really look at my new journey and my path that I am on right now. I want to share my journey with those good people around me. I want to take a peak into the training I was doing last year and a little bit of the year before and see how I have progressed.

I started crossfitting in 2011; I actually started right before the 2011 CF Open. I was told about it and thought, yeah, I'll try this. I love to challenge myself and wanted to see what I can do with just 3 weeks of crossfit under my belt. It was a great experience and I enjoyed every minute of it; even the photo of me screaming my lungs out because I couldn't do double unders in the 11.1 workout (30 double unders, 15 snatches - or ground to overhead 55#). 

When I did that workout, I got 4 rounds and some change. Alex had programmed this workout a few months ago and I got 6 rounds and 30 double unders. He had programmed it again for Monday and we discussed the workout and how I would approach it. It made me a little nervous to do the workout again, but I felt good going into it; I was going to give it my best. I ended up getting 7 rounds, 30 double unders and 1 snatch. Wow... it was brutal but I happy with how I finished and how I have been able to progress in the past year. 

This was a good test to see where I came from. It will be two years in March and I look forward to each day, as it brings something new to me and to us. 

To take a look back, after the open was finished, I engulfed myself with CrossFit. I got my CF Mobility and Movement Certification in April. Then in June I got my Level 1 Certification. The following weekend, Whitney and I volunteered for the Southern California Regionals and helped out with the set up and organization for that weekend. It was amazing; to be able to be on the field with all those athletes, it was inspiring. I told myself that I want to make it to regionals and compete at that level. I want to be able to do all the work that is put in front of me and accomplish a goal of getting to that arena.

Following the SoCal Regionals, I volunteered to help out with CrossFit Games staff in July. I headed down there, helped set up and prep for the workouts. Again, another amazing opportunity to be backstage. Don't get me wrong, the days were long, 12+ hours moving weight, racks, running around getting food for the athletes and all the stuff that was needed for different workouts in the track and stadium. It was definitely work but it was totally worth it because it was an experience that cannot be replaced by anything.

Once I returned from the Games, I wanted to compete, a lot. I signed up and competed in three competitions, three weekends in a row. Looking back it wasn't the best decision, but I wanted to see what I could do and I put challenges in front of me. The month of August looked like this:

FemmeFit Summer Edition Competition - August 6th
LaLanne Competition - August 13th
CrossFit Mission Gorge Competition - August 20th

I had the next weekend off, then the following weekend I did the Moxie Team Competition in San Jose. After all these competitions, I was still interested in doing more, but I scaled back a little. I was interested in doing a Powerlifting meet but it didn't work out. In the next two months I did two more events, Diablo's Barbell for Boobs in October and the Good Times CrossFit Competition in November. After all this experience, I had learned a lot about myself. I love to push myself and see what I can accomplish when I put a goal in front of me.

During this time (August through November/December), I was all over the board with my training. I was lifting and doing met cons at Diablo, driving to CF Pleasanton to do Powerlifting and driving to CF 707 to practice my Olympic lifts with a coach out there. I enjoyed learning so much; I felt like I was a sponge and wanted to soak up all the knowledge and information that I was gathering from every place I was traveling too.

But, I was getting worn down. I was spending a lot of time driving, skimping on some sleep, not having enough time to get prepared for the next day. I was coaching three days a week at CF Pleasanton and five days a week at Diablo CF, so being prepared for the next day was huge for me. I felt like I was a pinball, going everywhere, trying to become a better athlete and coach.

Another aspect that was playing a part was my nutrition; I was eating a low carb/paleo food plan, lots of protein and fat, minimal to low carbs and it was starting to show that it wasn't the best for me in terms of what I was doing. I started to get migraines, almost every day. If I didn't have one when I woke up, it was induced by me exercising. This went on for almost three weeks; it was brutal. I felt tired a lot even when I was getting 7/8 hours of sleep. So to wrap it up, I was all over the board, trying to do everything all the time and it was taking a toll on me, mentally, physically and emotionally.

My journey then was over the hills, around the corner, back to the house, through the garage and over the hills again; doable but hectic and a little stressful. Things have changed a lot; it has taken about a year to get to a place where I am less stressed and not running around like a pinball, but it is well worth it. A big thanks goes to Alex for helping me see this and realize this. When we first met, we talked about having a goal and working towards that goal with a plan, and you can't focus on that goal if you are all over the place. I wanted to keep doing all the things I was doing, but if I really wanted to become a better athlete and coach, I need to focus myself and not spread myself too thin.

Fast forward to today, this year, this month. I am in a much better place; I am more focused and have a much better plan. I am training at one gym, focusing on my weaknesses and making gains with a plan that Alex and I have written out. It already has been an amazing journey, I have learned a lot in the past year and I know I will continue to learn as the days, months and years go by. Yes, I am the one doing the work and the lifts and all the stuff, but Alex has been the other half to this amazing journey and there is so much more in store.

I know this a very long post and it turned out to be more than I anticipated, but I feel that it is worth it. I want to write more on my journey going forward. There is so much that goes into training, it is more than just working out. I hope that I can inspire you to want more for yourself, to push and challenge yourself. To our journey's ahead...

~ MCA

Friday, January 4, 2013

New year...

This past year has come to a close. The turning of a new page, a new chapter, a new year. What did you do in 2012 that made an impact on your life? Did you close one door and open another? Did you meet your goals or work on something that you set your sights on in the beginning of the year? I hope you enjoyed your year and the journey you took.

I learned a lot, and I mean a lot. There are so many things that I can write down in regards to the knowledge that I gained. It includes things about myself, what I am doing in my life, where am I heading and how am I going to take steps to get there. I also learned a great deal about training, working out, coaching and how to include other things in my life. 

As this new year is just starting, I am gazing at my goals and my life in front of me and what I want to focus on. I want to put a plan into action and keep my drive and determination aimed at my plan. My plan will include all facets of my life: my boyfriend, family, friends, training, education, coaching and enjoying every step of the way. There may be some downs and ups, but keeping level headed and going with the flow is important. 

I am very grateful for the life that I have and all of the amazing people in my life. Be thankful and grateful for those special people in your life. Make goals for yourself and work hard for all that you have in life.

~ MCA