Friday, March 29, 2013

Progress...

What can happen in a year? What progress can you make with 365 days? I say a lot. Depending on what you do and how much work you want to put into your goal, you can accomplish a lot if you set your mind to it.

I am thinking of my Alex right now. He is a hard worker. I mean, a very hard worker; he puts his heart and soul into all he does. We will share stories from our lives and we get to learn about more about each other. He has accomplished a lot during his life. He has done so many great things, traveled to many places and has learned so much. I love hearing his stories because it's like an adventure, I get to experience what he went through with his words and vivid descriptions. It brings a smile to my face because there is so much to him as a person and this is just one aspect.

This post was sparked by a conversation Alex and I were having in regards to the open. He has been working very hard these past few months to come back from an injury and huge surgery.

In August 11, 2012, he participated in the Occupy Strength competition at CrossFit OneWorld in Union City. The workouts were testing your max lifts: power clean, back squat, bench press and dead lift. Alex was up to find his max back squat. As he hit his second lift, he felt something pull and snap. At the moment he didn't know what it was but was rushed to the ER. Thank you to our amazing friends Connie and Steve for being there, you are the best!

He had x-rays and an MRI done at the hospital to determine what happened. We then went to the doctor and had an ultra sound to see what it could be. The conclusion was that he had a hernia. We talked about what to do and what would be the best option. He was going to have surgery at the end of August to repair the hernia.

The surgery date arrived and it went well. The doctor said it took longer than anticipated due to the amount of muscle that he had. As I write this post, I remember being there in the hospital with him and feeling good, knowing that it went well. I can imagine that it was rough to go through all that but I would be there for him for anything. I love my Alex and want the best for him.

The next few months were the hardest though; his range of motion was very limited and he couldn't do certain movements because of the surgery. Think about it, your midsection, your core is opened up and then closed back up. Your body is trying to recovery and protect itself. I have never had a surgery like this, so I can't say 'I've been there'. I had surgery on my wrist years ago, but that was my wrist, not even close to your core or midsection.

I admire Alex because he went through something so physically and mentally challenging. Yes, there were up days and down days but we kept going forward. He wasn't able to train for four months! Four months... that's a long time when you are always in the gym, training, working towards your goals. He would try to do movements with the barbell but when it got to a certain weight, he would feel that pulling sensation again and it was hard to keep going. We would research the recovery time for a hernia surgery and there would be different reports, some said weeks, others months. It was hard to gauge how long it was going to take. I believed in him and knew that he would get back to where he was before, but I knew it was going to take awhile, maybe longer than what we wanted.

Near the end of November/beginning of December, he was able to lift more weight, incorporate some movements that were impossible before. A long time had passed, but I know that he would bounce back. We started to train more for the open, but if you think about it, there were only three months to train! That's not a lot of time to get back where you originally were. There were more ups and downs but Alex kept going. I wished I could have taken the surgery away and make the pain and frustration melt away, but it was there and we focused on staying positive.

Alex's heart and dedication to keep going and move forward was amazing, absolutely incredible. He had been taken back so far by this surgery but didn't give up. I am motivated by him to keep pushing and to keep working hard. This surgery tested him mentally, being able to keep going and having faith that he would physically recovery and be able to do lift again. This last open workout, 13.3, was a good measure. Alex did one muscle up last year and this year he did six!! Six muscle ups, and with a shoulder issue! Omg he's amazing, so proud. I smile because he is an astonishing athlete and I love how he keeps working and moving and gives it his best.

I am so so proud of Alex for all he has done! He has accomplished so much in such a small time frame. I look up to him in so many ways. He is a hard worker with a caring and gentle heart. He overcame such a huge obstacle and I know that he can over come any challenge that is placed in front of him. I am so lucky to have met Alex and have crossed paths with him. I am truly blessed and am thankful every day for my Alex.

Thank you babe for showing me so much in the time we have known each other. You are an incredible person, athlete, man and individual. Keep up all your hard work because it is paying off and you are doing amazing things! Here's to your progress, our progress and progress in life!

~ MCA

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Birthdays...

My thoughts were reflecting on my birthday last week and it made me think of how people perceive their birthday and just the process of getting older and growing up.

I wanted to share some cards that were given to me on my birthday... from Alex, my mom, my grandma, roommates, family and friends...










I was surprised with all the birthday wishes that I received, the cards, messages, flowers, cake, wine and posts on Facebook, I was very appreciative of it all. Thank you to everyone who wished me happy birthday, I really appreciate it!

I think the concept of birthdays are neat, you get to celebrate your birth into this world and enjoy the day as you wish. I hear some people complain that they are getting older or that it's just another day. Yes, I agree, you are getting older and it is just another day, but why take a sour attitude to it? Just because it's your birthday doesn't mean you finally do what you have been wanting to do for weeks or months. You should take a hold of each day that you have and do what you want. You may not be able to complete everything that you want to do, but if you accomplish one that you have been itching to do, then that makes it a successful day, right? 

For example, I didn't want to do much for my birthday, one, because I usually make more plans than I should for a day and I usually end up running around verses enjoying my day. Two, I always say that I want to relax and enjoy the evening, then I end up cooking for two hours or going through papers that have accumulated on my side table haha. So, when Alex and I grabbed some food and just relaxed and watched TV, it was very refreshing. 

The other thought is that you are getting older. Well, pardon my french, but no shit. Every year, you and everyone else around you is going to get older. I am assuming that we all know this, yet I still hear or see people complain or whine about how they are getting older and things aren't like they used to be (whatever they may be referencing).

Approach it with a positive attitude or as positive as you can. I actually look forward to the year that comes up. I definitely enjoy each year and yeah I am 28 years old, but I try to make the most of each year and I look forward to what is ahead. Our bodies and minds may change but make a change for the better. I can guarantee that I am healthier and stronger now than when I was 22. I live an active lifestyle and eat healthy/clean for my lifestyle. 

Each person is different, but make a choice to enjoy each year and do what you can to enhance your life. Read a book, learn a language, celebrate each day with your loved ones. When you look back at your life, you want to smile and know that you enjoyed your life and didn't wait for one special day to make the most of it. Celebrate each year with a smile :)

~ MCA

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Encouragement...

The past few days of training were a little hard in the sense that I have been under the weather. It's hard to go 100% when you feel congested and have restricted breathing, but it was not the end of the world, I was still able to do some work while sick.

Alex and I discussed what I could do and decided to do Max's class Saturday morning and just lift, nothing to follow in the morning. Depending on how I felt, maybe try something in the afternoon. I had plans to go support Sandy and some other friends at a competition in Hercules, so after the gym, I traveled out there while Alex slept from coming off his night shift. By the way, Sandy and everyone did amazing, very proud of all the athletes that competed!

At the end of the day, I was beat and my body was telling me that I needed more rest, so I called it day and just rested. We talked about training on Sun and would see how my body felt and we could go from there.

I absolutely love the talks that Alex and I have; I feel as though we are able to connect and share our words with one another. We are able to express our concerns or deep inside thoughts about many things and have meaningful conversations. The support and encouragement that I receive from him, is amazing, I'm so thankful and lucky to have it. More on the encouragement in a little bit.

As Sunday came around, I felt a little better, so I looked at our plan for the day and I gave it my all. Did the yoga class, went for a 3 mile run, strict pressed, did some snatches and muscle ups, rested a little bit and then another met con, diablo crippler. It was a long day but a good day; fighting some of the sickness off, I felt better than Saturday and was able to get some work completed. There was some accessory work to be done, but we decided the plan could be shifted a little bit.

Come Monday, I felt better than Sunday, still a little drained but back at it in the gym. Alex had today off, so we were able to train together.... and I love the days that we can do this, it's so much fun but also motivating. Watching him lift and workout gets me all hyped up. I love cheering him on and supporting him, all day, every day. You should have positive encouragement in your life, in any and all aspects of life.

Monday was a heavier training day, a bench pyramid, power cleans and muscle- ups, some accessory work and then an awesome workout laid out by Alex lol. It was 1k row, tabata pull ups, 500m row, tabata squats and a final 500m row for time. Woah, it was a hard workout, a mental tester for sure.

Alex had just worked out and pushed himself to do a brutal workout with thrusters, double unders and v-ups and this was amazing for me to watch because he just had came off the night shift. I can only imagine what it is like to come off working nights and then try and switch to a day shift. I'm in awe of you Alex and am so proud of you every day. After he finished his workout, he came over and helped me count for my workout. Near the end of the workout, he had some encouraging words to push me to finish strong. He told me things that are important to know. He motivated me to keep pushing, to keep going until the end. Reflecting back on those words and phrases, it makes my drive even stronger. It makes me want to dig even deeper to reach our goal of getting top three at regionals.

Looking back at the days in the gym, some are great, some are good, some are not so good, but we are putting the effort in. We are working towards our goals and making things happen. You have to make it happen. Put in the work and hours that are needed; have the support and motivation of your loved ones around you. You can reach your dreams and goals but you have to work hard for it and fight for it, every step of the way. It is all worth it in the end.

~ MCA

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Strategy and Mangofit...

I believe that it is important to have a plan or program set up to achieve your goals. Whether your goal is to save money, build a house or make it to the CrossFit games, you must have a strategy to ensure you are on a path to meet your goal.

I am thinking of my programming and the journey that Alex and I have been on with this programming. We have sat down numerous times, talked about my goals, his goals, our goals and what we want to achieve. Many emails, texts, videos, photos and articles have been sent back and forth to determine what needs to be worked on, what needs to be improved and so on.

Alex has done an amazing job of laying out a program for me to follow. I know I have written a little bit about this before, in terms of the programming and training and work that is being done. Yes I am the one doing the workouts and the lifting, but how did it get there. It didn't just magically appear in front of my eyes. A lot of hard work and effort went into that programming and Alex did that hard work. It isn't easy to just write a program, there are so many details that go into it and I have realized a lot from sitting and talking with Alex.

We have had conversations that go into details about how to be able to do a certain movement. What is required, how do we get there. Alex has this keen sense of understanding everything in a broad picture and then being able to break it down into steps or sections. He is incredible and it has been an amazing journey with him, thank you Alex! I look forward to more that is ahead, with all aspects of our life.

In regards to my programming, how did I get to where I am at today? I followed a plan, a strategy laid out in front of me. Alex and I talked about things that needed work and what would need to be done in the gym to get there. I worked hard and did what I needed to do to get stronger in areas that I was lacking. I was having a shoulder issue and we decided that we would avoid overhead movements for a while until it got better.

We talked about things that I should incorporate and start doing to strengthen my shoulders and arms. I started doing some movements that he had researched and some that I had found and I considered them my shoulder rehab exercises. I also did things that might not be considered 'CrossFit'... bicep curls, tricep extensions, core work, etc. How did people respond when they saw me doing these? A little bit of laughter, some curiosity, some taunting... hahaha what are you doing?! Tricep extensions? Mangofit exercises...

I would laugh it off and let it slide off my back. It didn't get to me; it didn't bother me or make me feel insecure about what I was doing. I just know that people would say stuff because I was doing something different, I wasn't doing what everyone else was doing.

But I was okay with it because growing up, I wasn't always doing what everyone else was doing. I would be a little different than everyone else. I just didn't want to be another person in class, I wanted to make a difference, a positive impact. Maybe I stood alone sometimes, but oh well, that's what you need to do sometimes. I think back to 7th grade when a guy was getting made fun of in class by a few kids and when I walked into the room I told them to stop and leave him alone because it wasn't nice and they shouldn't make fun of him. I don't think those kids expected an answer like that from me or let alone another person; but they stopped bothering him.

I continued with the plan that Alex had laid out. I had faith in him and faith in the plan and program. If there was something I didn't understand, I would ask to make sure I was on the same page as him. I kept doing my Mangofit, but I was proud of it. I had fun, I was learning and doing new things that I had never done before. As the weeks and months went by, we started to see results; I was slowly getting stronger and better at things that needed improvement.

As I look back from where Alex and I started, there has been huge growth and we have come a long way. I smile as I think of my Mangofit, because it was the foundation that I needed. You have to have a strong foundation first and we worked on building that foundation. It took some time to get strong and have a solid base, but it was all worth it. :)

I am sharing a video that Alex sent to me the other day to show me how far I have come. It was good to see because I remember that day and all the days that we worked on muscle ups. Definitely a good reminder to see how far I have come. I think of all the long hours that Alex has put into the programming, all his dedication, love, hard work and effort... you are amazing Alex and hope you know this! I am very blessed to have an amazing partner and companion in life who supports me. I love that we can experience and live life together. Forever and always.

Remember to always have a plan and stick to it. There may be small bumps that come up, but think of your plan as a river, it takes turns left and right and it may not be a straight line but know that you are working towards your goal. It's always ok to have your own thing.

~ MCA aka Mango




Tuesday, March 5, 2013

All or nothing?

What is your mentality on things? Is something worth it if you put your 100% into it but don't get the results you want or desire? Was it worth it or was it for nothing?

It's been a long time since I have written my thoughts. I have been itching to write, to blog, to share my thoughts with those who are interested in listening.

I think of the life I have gone through; the opportunity that I have had to experience many things, traveling to different places in the world, participating in numerous sports and activities and I look back thinking of the many things that I have experienced. There are so many more things I want to experience but I am happy and grateful for all I have done.

I look back and I see that I put 100% into all that I do. I put everything into my Tae Kwon do classes to achieve my black belt by the time I was 12 years old. I dedicated to classes weekly, starting from the age of 8 years old. Not what the typical 8 year old may be doing but I liked it; it challenged me and it sure gave me some discipline and appreciation to see what a human being is capable of.

I remember the international golf tournament that I did in Australia after graduating high school. I put everything into it, I put my heart and everything into each tournament that we had. I came in on that final 18, turned my score card in and waited to see every one's final round. I looked up at the board and realized that I missed first place by one stroke... one stroke. One stroke. It was heart wrenching; I cried, a lot. My dad was there to tell me that I did a great job, my friends that I had made on this trip said that I did great and gave it my best. That might have been the case, but how do you react when you give it your everything but don't get the result you expect? Was it worth it; was it a waste? It was definitely worth it.

I think back to college, when I had to write papers. One of my hardest and most dreaded things to do was to write a paper. It was so hard, I wanted it to be perfect right off the bat. I wanted to have the best introduction, body and conclusion. I would stare at the paper or computer, getting anxious and nervous that it would not turn out alright or good enough to receive an 'A'. My dad, Roberto, helped me a lot with this. He explained that it may not be perfect right off the bat, but to write and let it flow and from there, I could go back and fix it up later. I learned that I could write the body first, conclusion and then come back to the introduction and lay out the paper from there. It was a hard thing that made me stressed out and frustrated but by the end of my college years, I had turned out numerous papers with an 'A'.

I realized that my stress came from giving it 100% but worried that I wouldn't get the best grade, that I would get an 'A' verses a 'B'. I wanted to get the best grade, I wanted it to be perfect. I was nervous before I even started to write! Looking back on it now, I see that I was putting everything into it, but was hesitate to start because I didn't know if it would get me the 100% or the 'A'. Was it worth it? Hell ya it was. I would have never gotten that experience with writing. I would have missed a great opportunity to learn how to write just because I was nervous or afraid of not getting the best grade.

How does this translate to now or my present? Well, a great example is my training for the CrossFit games. The first workout comes out tomorrow, 13.1, the first workout of the season, the open. I have put, Alex has put, we have put so much into my training, his training, our training, from last year up until now to see it will pay off. I have said before that my goal is to make it to regionals and place top three at the regionals and continue to the games. It is a lofty goal with only two years of CrossFit under my belt but I have been working hard for this; we both have. I want it so bad.

I feel it in my blood and my tears that I shed. I think of it when I am running, when I am working out. How bad do I want it? Real bad.

It's a deep desire to want something and put 100% into it. Is it worth it if I don't make it? It is all or nothing? It is definitely worth it. All the work and effort that I have put in, that Alex has put in, is worth it. Every sweat drip, blood drop, smile, yell that I exert when I am training, is all worth it. I focus on the positive as much as possible; I keep my head up as much as I can. There are some days that are so much harder than others. When I put everything into my training and come up short at the end of the day, was it worth it? Yes it was. Why? Because I am putting 100% into it; I am going for my goals, I am reaching for the stars.

When I do something, I put my heart and soul into it and if I fall short or don't get the goal I was reaching for, I am still learning something and growing. I will pick myself up and keep trying.

So when you go for something, put your all into it. Don't be afraid of your goal; if you don't reach it, you will learn a lesson and become stronger, smarter, more knowledgeable.  Don't do something because you have a fear of maybe not reaching it. You will never know until you try. Think of the people who may never have a chance to go for their goals.

~ MCA