Saturday, October 29, 2011

Riding High On Life With Grace!!!

The past couple of months have been crazy and exciting all at the same time! God is good and life has been full of many recent blessings. Our baby girl, Emille, has been growing and getting sweeter with each passing day, Vin is blossoming into a full-time little boy with an agenda of his own, Jenny has recently gone back to work after being on maternity leave, and I've been up to my faux hawk in HOA3 planning and preparation. My head has almost healed all the way from the nasty abscess removal surgery I had last month. I've now got a nice 2 inch scar and a sexy bald spot on my head as keepsakes from the whole ordeal. Way more fun than scars and bald spots is the pick'em up truck I just bought last week! Upon taking my old ride in to get an inspection for tag renewal, I was informed that I'd need around $1200-1500 worth of fixes. Ouch. So, rather than dump more money into the ole' "gangsta-ride" Lincoln LS I've been pushing around for the past few years, I figured it was time to "man-up" with a new Toyota Tundra. I'm loving it and am very thankful to have found a good deal on one.

My training has been going well. I'm still just trying to gain strength and work on having fun with my workouts. I've had a few lingering injuries but I know my body well enough at this point to also know what I need to be doing to fix them. The only problem for me is that I'm really good at knowing and not so great on doing right now. After HOA winds down I plan to get back to yoga and eating a little better and hopefully some of my mobility issues will resolve.

I did manage to PR on "Grace" yesterday which was fun. "Grace" is undoubtedly one of my favorite CrossFit benchmark WODs because it's short and sweet. It had been almost a year since I last did it, so I figured I'd program the workout for CFS and give myself an excuse to pony up and see if I could improve on my previous PR of 1:46. I hit 22 reps unbroken but kind of punked out and dropped the bar in between reps 25, 26, and 27. Had I been able to push through just a little bit more I think I might have been able to pull a sub-1:30 score. Regardless, I'm pleased with bettering my time by 10 seconds. Here's a video of my effort:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

If You Chop Them Down, They Will GROW

I have the hiccups. I am speaking to you right now, from the middle of the now, and I keep hiccuping over and over again. It's completely irrelevant to the point I'd like to speak to but it's really pissing me off so I thought I'd just throw that out there. Now that we've cleared that up, I'd like to talk about my many failure's, or hiccups, in life. I know, it's hard to comprehend but, yes, I've screwed up LOTS. And LOTS.

As the firstborn child in my family I frequently suffered from what many would describe simply as a disorder of, "I am the center of the universe-itis." If you too are the eldest of your siblings you might relate well to this condition. Jealousy, selfishness, entitlement, and a tendency towards temper-tantrums are all frequently reported symptoms associated with this typical childhood disorder.

As a teenager in high school, I used my four years at Kickapoo High School to climb to the pinnacle of the failure mountaintop. I've always hated math. My solution at the time was to do everything in my power to find ways to cheat my way through every math class I ever took in HS. Although it got me through, as you can imagine, I learned absolutely nothing. If I'm honest with myself, I graduated from KHS with an underwhelming sense of responsibility and no comprehension of what it means to have work ethic.

In my sophomore year of high school there was one weekend evening where myself and a buddy snuck out of my house and broke into some cars in the neighborhood. We ended up stealing nothing of value but did end up landing ourselves in juvenile hall and were ordered to serve community service.

My bad-boy streak didn't end there as in my junior year-right before summer break- I ran from the police when an impromptu drinking party in a parking lot was broken up. I wasn't so crossfit at the time so needless to say, they caught me and I landed myself in jail for the evening.

It's not that I always maintained a rebellious attitude but for the most part, all the way through my young adult years, I managed to always find a way to screw up in epic fashion. In no way am I proud of any of these personal shortcomings but I have come to realize something quite profound through each of these instances- and the many blunders I've strategically failed to mention to you: I've managed to learn from my failures. I've experienced personal growth which has directly contributed to more decisive victories throughout my adult life.

At 24, after my wife, Jenny, and I were married, I went back to college at Missouri State University to study Sports Medicine and Athletic Training. During my first feeble attempt to receive a higher education I, of course, failed out of school. Never went to class and did nothing but party. This go-around the stakes were higher. Now, I was married and out of the desire to succeed for myself and my family, I resolved in my heart of hearts to do something I'd never actually done: To try. To try with every fiber of my being. I enrolled in classes at MSU and received an academic renewal. I sat in the front of every class. I listened. I studied. Four years later, I graduated from one of the most rigorous (we started with 44 students in my SMAT class; 10 completed the program) undergrad programs offered at MSU.

Looking back, my will to grow as a man and succeed in life was not birthed only out of my desire or duty to be a good husband or family man. It grew slowly and steadily because of many of the consequences of my failures. The community service I did back in high school was spent at a local nursing home. For weeks, I showed up at this nursing home day in and day out to perform janitorial tasks, wash dishes, and help transport beds. Ultimately, I would interact and socialize with many of the elderly folks who were living out their final days and months of life at the facility. They would tell me stories of their lives, of their families, their failures, successes, and what they learned from it all. Again, I listened. More than anything, I was blessed. In doing so I developed a keen awareness of the fact that our mistakes and failures have the uncanny ability to till up the soil in the landscape of our lives. From this state of tilled and broken soil we are given the chance to grow new gardens; new gardens which, if properly nurtured, maintained, and constantly cared for, can bear good fruit and bring forth abundant life.

The thought I would pose to myself and to you is this: When we fail (or maybe just have a hiccup or two) and look down only to find our feet sunken in broken ground, the only way we'll ever have a chance at bringing life back to our barren lot of land is if we begin sowing good seed. It may take time, but with lots of love, hope, patience, and perseverance we'll one day experience the joy of strolling through a fruitful garden rather than the regret of sauntering through an unproductive desert.

I've trained, coached, and competed as a CrossFitter for a few years now and one thing I've noticed is that whenever you allow any fear of failure to permeate your psyche, you immediately diminish the possibility for athletic growth to occur. To make gains in human performance, it's necessary to take risks, to try, and to expose oneself to bigger and tougher challenges. Likewise, in life outside the box, if we are ever to experience sustainable personal growth, we must free ourselves from the paralyzing fear of failure by intentionally giving an honest effort every moment of each and every day. Here's to daily sinking in our roots a little deeper, sprawling out our branches a little wider, and when necessary, breaking new ground and planting new trees!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Where's That Darn Easy Button...

After being stuck at 225lb for over a year, this week I finally PR'd on snatch with a lift of 233.8lb. Here's a clip of the lift:

My training has been going fairly well lately. Each week is kind of hit-or-miss but more than anything, I'm just trying to enjoy myself and enjoy being in the off-season for CrossFit Games competition. I've competed at the regional level each of the past 3 years and each year, gaining strength is the focal point of my off-season training. There's been plenty of action in my life as of late: a beautiful newborn baby girl, 2011 HOA planning, and a recent surgery to remove a nasty infection on my scalp which put 13 staples in my dome...

Balancing family time with work has been tough so, needless to say, my training has somewhat taken a back seat for the time being- which is fine by me. I'm really more concerned with getting my diet cleaned up sooner than later. It's not that I've been eating terribly, it's more that I've just been pretty inconsistent over the past couple of months. When it comes to eating healthy, I struggle with the same issue most everyone else does; I'll do great throughout the week and then I end up crushing everything in sight on the weekend. Which reminds me- it's Wednesday...only 2 more days til the weekend! Sweet.