Sunday, February 24, 2013

Competition...

This past weekend DCF had an inner-gym competition on Saturday and if you had a chance to come by and check it out, it was incredible.

There were three teams, the morning/AM crew, the midday crew and the afternoon/PM crew. Each team had a coach or two to take everyone on each team through the workouts and plan. Eleni and I were the coaches for the morning crew and it was an amazing experience.

Looking back on Saturday, I can see everyone's face and emotions, their mind running with so many thoughts... I want to do this workout; wait, can I do that movement? I don't know if I can do that movement, will I get a good score? I can feel the adrenaline running through everyone's body, the energy flowing with all the bodies in one area. People warming up, going through movements to get their bodies and minds prepped for the workouts ahead.

I spoke to many friends and they felt nervous and/or excited since this was the first time taking part in a CrossFit competition. I am in awe of all of this because even though some people had never done anything like this, they were there, in an environment to test themselves and see what they could do. But they were also there to have fun. To make the most of the day and event and enjoy what they love to do, to CrossFit.

As someone who has gone through numerous competitions of all natures, not just CrossFit, I see that there are so many factors and aspects that go into your competition/event. There is so much planning that is needed, especially with a team event with numerous people. Having a plan and a strategy is so important. It is also crucial to know that things may go wrong or not as planned and you have to be able to roll with them and keep going.

I wanted to deliver to my team; I wanted Len and I to be the best coaches for them and give each and every one of them words of support. I wanted to encourage and inspire them, so that deep down, they know they are capable of achieving everything.

There was a moment when we were doing burpees where the plan did not work. The strategy to count the burpees did not pan out and we ended up doing way more work than was needed. At that moment, my heart dropped, my emotions swelled up and over me like a huge tidal wave. A feeling of failure had emerged; I had let them down. The plan that was laid out to count the total reps had not worked and it landed right on top of me. Tears streamed down my cheeks because I did not want to let any one down; I wanted to have everything right for them, so they could move easily from one movement to the next and not worry about other details that the coach, me, was suppose to have figured out.

It was hard to hide the emotions and my tears rolled down my face. As we moved to the final component of the workout, Alex and others on our team reassured me that it was okay and that we are on to the next thing. It was hard to just let go of, but we were here to have fun and enjoy the experience. Thank you to Alex and everyone for believing in me.

I learned so much from this experience. As a coach, as a athlete; what is important - the timing, transitions, counting - it is all crucial. But the main thing to remember is to have fun, be calm and focus. They may seem like three different things, but they are all woven together.

Thank you to Diablo for putting on a great event; thank you to everyone that competed - you all did amazing! To my AM crew - thank you for letting Len and I be your coaches - you are a great group of people that are family and it was an incredible experience with everyone. Thank you to Len for being next me to coach everyone. Thank you to Alex for all your guidance, input, expertise and love - it means the world to me!

I hope you all know how much of an impact you make in my life. I have realized so much this past year and have become more awake and more alive - it is mind blowing to see how you can just go through movements and not really be awake. Be present and make the most of every moment!

~ MCA

Friday, February 15, 2013

What are you doing?

There are some days where you ponder what you are doing. Are you doing what you truly want to do? If not, why not?

Then there are days where you are on top of the world, you are climbing the highest mountain peaks, soaring through the sky, reaching your dreams.

There are ups and downs. The ups can be euphoric and amazing, bliss-like in a way. The downs can be grueling, excruciating and so very emotional. But when you take a step back, you think, this is a part of life; life has these ups and downs for me and for everyone else.

Some people go through more than others, they have to endure more and go through more to get to their goals, but that is what makes it worth it in the end. The goal that I am working towards is worth it. The days in the gym, the long hours are worth it. Every minute and hour. The more I think of it, the more I want it.

Some may say it's a lonely life, it's isolating because you are in the gym with only the weights, barbells, music in the background. But it's not, it feels good to be in the gym, working hard to make your goal. This is me; each person may differ, as everyone has a different goal.

My support has been my Alex, my family - Jane, Roberto, Remy and all of my family and friends from Diablo, the people I have met in the CrossFit community and from home. They are all part of my life; they contribute to a part of what I do; they support me and my goal. Yes I do the work, I am the one doing the lifts, the met cons, the accessory, but to have those close to me believe in me... it means a lot.

My dad wrote me the other day, short email but so very impactful... "Never lose your attitude... you can change the world with it...". This brought tears to my eyes, made my emotions fly high. It made me think of times when I get caught up on things that may not matter, on situations where my energy gets drained. I think, is it worth it to worry about something that is not helping me? To put energy in a thought that pulls away from positive thinking? No, it's not worth it, but your mind can run wild.

I close with some words from LMFAO, their song 'Yes', the lyrics say "Every day I see my dream, every every day I see my dream..."

You need to see your dream, you need to focus on it and the people that make believe in you and support you. Work hard, put your blood, sweat and tears into all you do and make it all worth it.

~ MCA


Appreciation...

Valentine's day came and went; people got their loved ones cards, candy, flowers, wine, dinner and the such. These gestures are great and sincere. Don't get me wrong, I love cards, absolutely love them, but there shouldn't be just one day to show your loved ones that you care for them. Valentine's day should be every day.

You should tell your boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé, mom, dad, sister, brother and all other family or special people in your life that they mean the world to you. Don't wait for one day to tell the person, buy her or him flowers or a special card to surprise them. Yes, ladies can buy their man flowers, I did it. I wanted to show Alex that I was thinking of him and bring a smile to his face.

Dance in the middle of the room with your loved one, hug and show love to each other. Call or text each other; send a card or email to express your feelings. Don't wait til your anniversary or a holiday to share your thoughts and feelings.

Be appreciative of not only the people in your life but also the things or opportunities that arise. Say thank you out loud. Write it in a journal. The more you are aware of it, the more you will see what have in your life. Life can be amazing, remember you have the power to make it so.

~ MCA

Life...

I started this post a week ago but didn't have time to finish it but I wanted to share the first part of my writings...

There are days where you think about your 'self'. Your being, your spirit, who you are, what you emulate. What is life about, what do you do that defines your 'self'?

Driving to work this afternoon (last Friday) I was getting a little irritated by the traffic. Trying to get to the gym on time or a little bit before so I am prepared and ready. I stopped for a minute and caught myself getting upset at something I have no control over. The traffic, the way people drive, the stop lights, etc. I took a breath and looked up at the sky, saw the amazing contrast of the bright sun rays, the combination of the white, off white and grey clouds, the green hills underneath, magnifying the contrast of colors against the blue sky.

After a week has passed, this made me think down a little different path: what are we doing in life? What am I doing? Am I reaching out to others the way I wanted to? Am I helping others in a positive way? Am I making a positive impact to those in my life? Am I authentic?

I hope to be able to bring knowledge and belief to those I am in contact with. To the people in my life, I hope I am able to bring happiness and joy and some positive influence.

When you say you are going to live life, you should live it. You should do the things that make you happy and follow your passion and dreams. When you are with your family, friends or your special someone, be with them, be in the moment, share that experience together.

I think of a quote/conversation in a movie where the female character is saying/asking the male character that if they said they were going  to share their lives together, why didn't they share their lives? It's something that makes you think, you should be sharing your life with your significant other, your friends, your family. Share the things that go on in your life, the big and small things, they are all important and the person on the other side is interested.

That is, if you want to; you could go threw life keeping things to yourself, not opening up or sharing. But what kind of life is that? Not to look at the negative or down side to it, but it can get lonely and isolating. Unless there is a reason you don't want to share your life and things that you are doing. :( If you start to not share things; then there is less and less conversation between the people. You start to lose connection to those in your life, then you are in a different place.

This can go on and on, but don't let it. Make a choice to live life, to share the big and small things in life. Talk, have conversations, open up to those in your life, they would like to hear what is going on. Life is so precious and when you look back, you want to see that you lived your life to the fullest and enjoyed everything with the special people in your life.

I have learned over the years to open up,  share and 'feel' more. I want to continue to do this and be more authentic with those in my life. To have true friendships and relationships in life; to share what goes on in my life. I would like the same from the people in my life. I want authentic and true people in my life that respect me, my goals, passions and my loved ones. Be respectful of those in your life. Honor and cherish what you have, life can change in an instance.

~ MCA

Monday, February 4, 2013

Muscle ups...

Muscle ups. It's one of the more advanced movements in CrossFit. For some, it is one of the most challenging movements, for others it is a smooth movement that can be executed very eloquently. For gymnasts, it's what they do to start their routine on the rings, how they get up onto the rings.

Muscle ups have been one of the harder movements for me in with my training. Last year at the 2012 CrossFit Regionals, the final workout had 7 deadlifts, 7 muscle ups for three rounds as the first part of the workout. For those that were there, I gave it my everything for those muscle ups, I tried over and over to get on top of those rings... and I did, I got on top of those rings, but was not able to press out. I couldn't lock out my arms after three days of competition. I had hit failure, but I didn't give up.

I continued to pour all my energy and effort into those rings and I spent the entire workout trying to complete those 7 muscle ups and get back to the deadlifts. 17 minutes... 17 minutes of 'keep trying, I'm going to try'. It was really hard, very emotional, giving it my all but not able to get those reps. Looking to my right, seeing Alex cheer me on, encouraging me; looking up in the stands, seeing my friends, family and loved ones cheer me one. Everyone yelling, supporting me, not giving up on me.

It was an amazing experience, to be out there, giving it my all, holding back my tears, gripping the rings to try it again. That image in burned in my head, just like the 1st open workout in 2011 with double unders; I can describe it perfectly and can see that image in my head.

Fast forward to a few months ago, Alex and I have worked hard to improve my muscle ups and become better, more efficient, stronger with this movement. He had programmed a workout from the OC Throwdown, the 20 min amrap with muscle ups, overhead squats and toes to bar. I struggled with the first round, got through it but then hit a wall. It was a very hard and sturdy wall, filled with bricks and cement. I did not move on; I couldn't get through those muscle ups.

That was a day of mental toughness because I think it brought me back to that day where I stared at the rings at regionals. It was a little bit of a beat down, but I let it out, wiped the tears away and went about finishing my training for that day.

Now, as I turn the page to today, Alex programmed half of this workout, 10 min amrap of 3 muscle ups, 6 overhead squats and 9 toes to bar. I was a little nervous to do this workout, but at the same time, felt confident to try it again and see how I do.

I got ready for the workout and Christy joined me. It was nice to do the workout with another friend, just like the first time doing it with Len and Stav. I stuck to my plan, doing the muscle ups as singles and keeping the overhead squats unbroken. The toes to bar were 5/4 for the most part. I felt good with the turn out: my final score was 5 rounds plus 6 overhead squats; definitely better than last time lol.

I look back at these two different days, the workout the same, but more time has been put into getting more shoulder strength and stamina. It has paid off, it hasn't been easy, but it's all been worth it. To see the progress and slow progression forward is nice. Not every day is a PR day, but there are days that you make a stride forward and it is to be recognized, appreciated and noted. See the greatness in it, no matter what it is, and then back to the grind.

Thank you Alex for your love, time, attention and care, it means so much to me! Thank you to all those who have cheered me on and support me, you all are amazing and am very thankful for you all! Focus on your goal and work hard for it. You are the one doing the work, make it happen.

~ MCA

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The day you didn't want to go to the gym...

There are some days where you just want to be lazy, stay at home and lounge around. Yesterday was one of those days. Alex and I got about 10 hours of sleep and were feeling kind of sluggish as we got to the gym. We have noticed that if we get more than 9 hours of sleep, we tend to feel more tired or sleepy than if we only get 7-8 hours of sleep. Everyone is different and this is what we have been noticing. 

We did have pasta the night before and we joked that maybe it was the pasta that made us feel tired. It has been a long long time since we've had pasta, so it could have played a part. We felt a little bloated that night after eating the pasta, so that might not be a meal we have ever again or very often to say the least. 

We talked about what might have been the main factor, but the fact was that we weren't really feeling the gym; we would have rather left and spent some time at home. 

Well... I can say that we are both glad we stayed. After warming up, we started to feel more awake and ended up doing some work. Alex was working up to a 1 RM snatch for the first time since his injury. He was moving really well and worked up to 235. His technique is amazing and he has worked hard to improve this lift. I do have to say that he did some mobility work for is overhead position, and it helped, yay for mobility. He was able to get underneath the bar and stick the catch, a huge improvement from where he was a few months ago. I'm very proud of all the work he has done and the advancement he has made! We called it a day with the snatching and talked about some things that he can do to work on catching in the bottom of the hole. A great success for him with the snatch. :)

Next, I worked up to a 1 RM clean and jerk. I was feeling good with my lifts and my jerks were feeling solid; something that I have worked on a lot since I have had a shoulder issue and avoided overhead movements for a while last year. I worked up to 183, then 188, then 193. In the past, I have hit 185 before but was not able to lock out the jerk for the 188. Today, this lift felt a lot better, the jerk was very smooth and we decided to go up to 193. The clean was a little slow getting out of the hole but I took a little bit of time, focused on staying in my heels and then jerked it. 193... yay! After reviewing the lift, I tried for 195 but we thought it might be a little hard since my clean was slow out of the hole; I tried for it but caught it on my toes and it was a no go. It's okay because I felt good about what I had hit and would take that away for the day.

So, reflecting back on yesterday, I am so very glad that we stayed in the gym and did our training. It resulted in many good things for both of us. For those who have a day where they plan to go to the gym, but do not feel motivated, turn up and give it your best. Know that what you do will contribute to your overall goal. 

~ MCA