Wednesday, July 1, 2015

BIG news!

It's been quite a while since I sat down and shared my thoughts with you guys! I will be getting back to a regular blogging schedule soon!!
So, I have had this post written for a few weeks. I just haven't been able to publish it, because I fear the comments that people will have toward it. But finally I decided that it doesn't matter what anyone thinks- it only matters what I think!

As most of you know, my weight has been a lifelong struggle. I've been heavy pretty much my whole life. I suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), thyroid problems, knee problems, anxiety, and depression.

What most of you don't know is that I had a failed attempt at weight loss surgery many years ago. It was my freshmen year in college & I wasn't really sure what I was doing. I went through all of the pre-surgery requirements, appointments with nutritionists and psychologists. I thought I was ready for this supposed "new lease on life." Man, was I wrong. I had LapBand surgery- where a band is placed around your stomach to make a new, smaller pouch. The doctor can access it to inject saline to restrict the amount of food that can go in. I had the surgery over Christmas break.

I was not prepared for the discomfort I felt with the band & how awful the "fills" would make me feel. I became even more depressed when the weight didn't come pouring off. At that time, I wasn't doing any sort of physical activity- just walking to and from class and clinical. The doctor that performed my surgery stopped following up with me after about a year, so I just forgot about it too. I lost no weight, in fact, I gained some...a lot. While it was partly the doctor's fault and partly my fault, I felt completely hopeless. I couldn't even manage to lose weight with surgical intervention. Now I was a complete failure. I felt like I let down my family and myself.

I continued to gain weight all through college despite the band. I thought to myself, oh I'll lose weight once I'm done with school and have a grown up job! NOT! I tried many different weight loss programs, to no avail. Finally, I found CrossFit, and I can honestly say it's the one thing that I have stuck with for longer than a few months. When I initially started at RCFBC, things were great- I was losing weight and my body was changing. Until I hit a plateau. The weights I lifted were getting heavier, and so was I. I tried going back to paleo life, but I felt more sluggish. I tried doing Zone & I couldn't really devote the time that is required for that.

I recently had my physical with my doctor, and that's when things took a turn. My iron was super low (currently getting infusions) my knee hurt, and I just felt like shit (pardon my French). My doctor has always suggested I get gastric bypass surgery- literally at every visit. I have been vehemently against it, because of my experience from the previous surgery, and because I'm scared that something will happen and I won't wake up from surgery. She suggested I see an ortho for my knee. Seeing him is what triggered this whole thing. He told me that I would need a total knee replacement soon. SOON. I'm 29 years old. This is not what is supposed to be happening. Then he asked me if I had considered gastric bypass surgery. The knee doctor wanted me to lose weight too. It wouldn't guarantee my knee problems would be fixed, but it could prevent the other one from breaking down too. I started crying (per usual) in his office. I can't believe that this is happening to me. I wore out my knee in 29 years. That's awful.

Ever since that appointment, I have been researching and talking with close friends about their opinions on surgery. If I decided to have gastric bypass surgery, my case would be a little more complicated. They would have to remove the band, then perform the other surgery. Much more involved than your standard bypass. I've joined forums and websites on gastric revision surgery- just to see what other people in my shoes are thinking or doing. And they are all happy. They are happy with their decision to get rid of the foreign object in their body. They are happy with the new person they've become. They said it's the best thing they've ever done. I can't seem to find any negative stories (although I know they are out there).

I am reluctant to share my decision with you all, but since you've already read up to this point, I guess it's fair. I've decided to have gastric sleeve revision surgery. With all of my existing medical issues (mainly the PCOS) there is no way I'll be able to lose the large amount of weight that I need to get rid of. There- I said it. I feel like a ton of bricks has been lifted off of my shoulders. I've been carrying it around for a few months now.
Gastric sleeve surgery is when they cut your stomach to the size of a banana. There is no rerouting of the intestines, so there are no absorption issues. I would of course have to get the band removed as well.

I have new patient orientation on July 9th at Mass General. I'm scared and excited. I don't know what's going to happen. I'm still in the very early stages of everything. I don't even have a surgeon assigned to me yet!
Just like anything out there- this is only a crutch. I have to put in the work and dedication to get this to work. I know that this time is different than before. I feel different already.
I'm scared that I will lose all of the hard work I've put into CF. I won't be able to lift heavy for a long time after surgery. I'll lose everything I've worked for. On the other hand, if I am smaller, I'll be able to do more bodyweight exercises, so I guess that's a plus. I'll have to be scaled to the max following surgery, but that's okay. I know the amazing coaches at RCFBC will make sure that I get a great workout!

This is going to be hard. It's going to be different. And I'm going to need all of the support I can get. I'm hoping that the people that I call my friends now will not look down on me & make me feel bad about this decision. I hope my RCFBC will be supportive, but if they aren't, I'll have to come to terms with that.
There will be several appointments with a nutrionist, psychologist and doctor before anything happens. I'm going to one of the best hospitals in the world, so I know I'll be in good hands!

I'll post more after the new patient orientation. I'll have a clearer picture of things after that!

Thank you all for your continued support. I'm looking forward to this new life and I can't wait to share it with you all!

I'm not quite ready to talk about it in real life yet, so if you wish to show your support, a squeeze of the shoulder, a hug, or a high five will do. If you do NOT wish to support me, please keep your thoughts to yourself. There is enough negativity in this world, and I just don't need any more! I appreciate all of the support and love from you all!!

-AA <3 <3

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Open!

It's been a while and things have been nuts! The CrossFit Open is over (sad face) and I find myself a little sad on Thursday nights at 8pm! I'm still amazed that there were NO BURPEES!!! Definitely won that one haha! 
Anywho, CrossFit HQ recently announced an essay contest having to do with the open, and how community is a huge part of it. While I was not chosen, I still wanted to share my story with you all. I've said it a million times, but there is nothing quite like the feeling of the box during the Open wods- it's electric. I would be lost without the amazing support of the whole Bare Cove crew! Much love! Without further adieu, here it is!

The CrossFit Games Open is an exciting and challenging sporting competition that CrossFit enthusiasts all over the globe look forward to every year. After intense training sessions throughout the year, CrossFit athletes convene at the Open and measure their fitness by competing against each other to determine the best athlete in our sport.

As an overweight woman, I never envisioned myself participating in an event like the Open. I never felt like I could be a part of the CrossFit community. But, two years ago, I plucked up enough courage to join Reebok CrossFit Bare Cove in Hingham, MA. Head coach, Mike LeJeune, calmed my fears of inadequacy by assuring me that all movements were scalable and that even "I" would be able to compete in the Open. Mike, along with my other coaches, have always encouraged me to try new movements 
even if I didn't get them on the first try. During one of my first Open workouts, getting one 20in box step up was an obstacle for me. Despite the encouragement of my judge, Lenore, I was unable to conquer the box. Tears streamed down my face. Another coach, Lauren, suggested I approach the box a different way and before I knew it, I was on top of that box! Once time was called, I was met with cheers and claps from my coaches and other members of the CrossFit community. 

I am constantly reminded and surprised at what I am able achieve with hard work and effort. I can't help but feel a sense of community and belonging when complete strangers gather together at this event and cheer me on as well as each other. Because of my efforts and their support, here I am, in 2015, participating in my third Open.

This year, just as in years past, the energy at the box is electric during the Open. There is an air of anxiety and anticipation on Thursday night before the WOD is released.. I wait patiently to see THE Dave Castro step out on to the competition floor. He announces the WOD and relief rushes over me when I find out I don’t have double unders! Saturday morning, we are all dedicated to the Open workouts. I take this opportunity to chat with everyone there, from the retired Marine, to the mom of two, and ask what their 
approach is going to be to get through the WOD. The coaches brief us and give us their tips and tricks on how we should go after it. Though we all have varying abilities and are competing at different levels, we are all coming together for the same reason: to achieve something greater than we achieved yesterday. That’s what the Open is all about. It’s about striving to be better. It's about overcoming fears. And, it's about harnessing the energy, support, and encouragement of our CrossFit family from near and far and 
using it all to propel us forward. We band together and "embrace the suck." We root for each other and relish in our great accomplishments.

During 15.2- OHS! 

During the 2014 Open- So many happy tears! <3
Saturday AM Open throwdown! 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Snow depression, The Open, & other things!

Hi everyone!

It's been a while since my last post! I hope everyone is well! I've been sort of in a funk. This snow and cold has put me in a funk. All I want to do is snuggle in bed, wear sweatpants, and eat. Because of this seasonal depression, my WOD schedule has been affected. I've been skipping out on wods or cherry picking which wods I do go to. With the start of the CrossFit Open, I decided that I have to get it together. I can't stop moving forward because of the weather. Snow ain't got nothin' on me!

Speaking of the CrossFit Open, I hope all you fellow wodders are signed up! For those of you that don't know what the Open is, It's 5 weeks long test of fitness. Each Thursday, the workout of the week is announced, and you have until Monday to complete the workout, and submit your scores. There is a scaled and RX division this year.

The open is awesome. You push yourself harder than you ever would. You throw up more weight than you ever though possible. You move faster. You accomplish more. For me, I am in a constant state of panic on Thursdays until the workout is announced! I know I'm not going to the games, but for some reason, I get this anxiety thinking about it. I always go to that place where I doubt my abilities and fear the workouts. The first workout was announced last week, and my heart instantly sank. Here's what Dave Castro, the head games maker (He's basically Seneca Crane, for anyone who read the hunger games!):

9-minute AMRAP:
15 toes-to-bars / hanging knee raise (scaled)
10 deadlifts
5 snatches
(M 115 lb/75. / F 75/ 55 lb.)

Workout Part A
1-rep-max clean and jerk
6-minute time cap

Toes to bar? Really, Dave Castro? That's what you put first???? I started crying...I feel like I cry way too much at CrossFit- that's another issue haha. Hanging on to the rig and grip strength are two of my many goats. It's hard to hold this much up there for an extended period of time. The most time I've ever clocked hanging on the rig was around 40 seconds. So to think that I would have to not only hang on the rig, but bring my legs up at the same time- I already felt defeated. I was texting my awesome friend, Lizzie during the announcement and of course I was freaking out. She sent me something that really stuck with me, and helped me really collect myself and realize that I am so much stronger than I give myself credit for. She said "Braver than you believe and stronger than you seem, always and everyday." It's something that will stick with me forever. So thanks for that Lizzie! <3

Now came the time- time for the workout! Of course I was panicking! But I pulled it together- chalked up my hands, put some gloves on, chalked the gloves and chalked the bar. It was 3,2,1, GO and off we went! I had to do fast singles on the hanging knee raises. The deadlift and snatches were light weight, so I busted through them. Before I knew it, the first part of the workout was over. I had completed more than my goal of one knee raise. Like way more- like 92 reps total more. I was so excited. But I had to complete the second part before I started celebrating! After a few attempts, I ended up getting a 110lb Clean and Jerk. I couldn't have been more happy! The smile on my face and pep in my step was so great. 
Hand tears and all! Post WOD!

All I could think was, why did I doubt myself so much? I should know by now that I am capable of so much more! I have to start believing in myself more. 
Most unflattering pic, but so awesome!! 

So now, we're on to week 2, and the panic is back! I won't be able to relax until I know what the wod is!

In addition to the beginning of the CrossFit games season, this past weekend I participated in my first ever bike time trial. Sometimes I wonder how I get myself involved in these things, but I'm glad that I did! Mike M, one of our amazing coaches and an avid cyclist set up an amazing event. I don't even have a bike- I haven't been on one in years, except for the Air Assault bike, which is the devil. Luckily, my friends Hill and Phil had a road bike that I could borrow for the event. This was a legit bike- like intense gears and an awfully hard seat! Mike M hooked me up with his bike expertise and tried to teach me the gears, Spoiler alert: I couldn't remember what they were when it was time for the actual event! Luckily, Coach Ali was there to help! They hooked the bikes up to this trainer thing- it was pretty cool. It was a 6 mile ride with all sorts of elevations, etc. Maybe 10 minutes into the ride, my knees were killing me, and even though I was pedaling, the ride was very jerky. I decided to hop off and finish my ride on the assault bike. While I felt like I was giving up or disappointing Mike, I think it was a good decision. We would've been there all day! There's always next year!

Along with getting back on my regular crossfit schedule, I decided today that I need help getting back on my meal plan schedule. A couple of months ago, my awesome coach Kaylee (who is also my girl crush! haha) helped me make meal plans and actually stick to them. So I will be going back to that schedule with her, starting on Monday. I'm looking forward to getting my groove back! I'm hoping that with these positive changes, I'll be able to let go of this blah feeling I've been having.

Good luck to anyone doing the open- I hope it's a good one! Here's to getting out of our comfort zones, and making ourselves proud!


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Arrivederci, 2014!


I hope you all had a wonderful holiday- I know I did! Lots of time with family, lots of food, and lots of fun. However, I'll be happy to get back on my regular CF schedule after the new year! It's hard to believe in a couple of days we will be welcoming 2015. This year just flew by. It's hard for me to let go of this year- so many amazingly good things happened- but I know 2015 will be just as good, if not better! I thought I would use this post to try and sort out all the cool stuff that happened this past year- hopefully I don't get too emotional!!! 

*Celebrated my 1 year anniversary at RCFBC. I couldn't imagine working out at a different place. These people have become some of my best friends, and I'm incredibly grateful for the coaches & owners for making a difference everyday. 
*I stepped on a box for the first time since I broke my wrist. With the help of Mike, Elena, Olivia, & CiCi. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. <3
*Also- MET RICH FRONING!!!! How could I forget! I was fortunate to attend the KCECC and see some amazing athletes compete, and meet the love of my life, Rich! 

I just can't day ever. 

*Participated in my second CrossFit games Open!
*Took home second place at the Annual Iceberg Classic rowing competition at RCFBC!
*Successfully got not one, but TWO DOUBLE UNDERS & was able to put a score in for the first Open workout!!
*Worked through a bad fear of overhead squats & got through a few reps for the Open workout
*Got my first wall walk, which turned into 12 wall walks that day!
*Got through 15 (!!!) 20in step ups during Open wod 14.3- Cried so much that day, but the tears were worth it. Still remember how awesome that day was.
*Took on 14.5- the absolute worst wod I've ever done in my life. It took me just under an hour to finish it, but I finished strong & surrounded by some of the best people ever. It was an amazing day to say the least!
*Participated in the Murph event at RCFBC. What an awesome day. So looking forward to next year's event!
*Signed up for my first ever CF competition!
*Was fortunate enough to go to the NorthEast Regionals at Reebok HQ & see some amazing athletes compete!!
*Participated in the Swim Across America 24hr rowing challenge at Nantasket Beach with the RCFBC  crew! So much fun/ so many laughs! Can't wait for next year!
*Participated in the Battle of The South Shore Boxes at CF781. That day forever changed my life & has changed me for the better. I watched the video again, and got chills. I love the CrossFit community more and more every day!
*Climbed to the top of Blue Hills!
*Signed up for my second CF competition!
*Barbells for Boobs competition at CrossFit Tolerance! First time being away from the comforts of the   South Shore! Best time with my girl Lenore! Came in 11th out of 13th in the scaled division!
*02X challenge! Didn't finish, but definitely was pushed way out of my comfort zone! Cannot wait to do this   next year & finish!!! Oh, and I got to meet Mat Fraser!!
*Started Olympic Lifting class!
*Participated in the Three Wise Men Tribute for Veteran's Day. Tough WOD, but it was for a good cause!
*Participated in my second Turkey Trot 5K! Shaved 3 minutes off of my time!
*Had my first public speaking event at Lowell General Hospital for my professional society. So scary, but  now I know I can do it!
* Had way too many PRs throughout the year to list! Stronger & happier! 

Wow. Seeing this all typed out is amazing. I'm crying- just in case you were wondering...haha. Seeing all of these accomplishments just makes me feel so happy. The next time I think I can't do something, I will look at this and prove myself wrong. 

This year has been nothing short of incredible. I've been through a lot- lost some old friends; made a lot of new friends, but never forgot where I started. I've cried, but laughed more; grew but stayed the same. I've stepped out my comfort zone more than once, and I'm happy I did. I am looking forward to the challenges that 2015 holds. One thing is certain, I will never stop making myself better & I will become the best version of myself.  

Thank you all for your continuous support & well wishes. It's one of the main things that keeps me going. You are only as strong as the people surrounding you. <3

Mike, Sharon, Chris, Kaylee, Lauren, JD, Eats, Ali, Sarah, Harrison & all the members at Reebok CrossFit Bare Cove- You are the most amazing group of people a girl could ask for. My life has changed because of you all. Thanks for always cheering me on when I'm on those last few reps, giving me a shoulder to cry on when I'm having a bad day, or laughing with me when I can't stop. I'm looking forward to the next year (s) with you guys!

14.3...tears & day.

Love these ladies so much!

14.5- so many burpees!

Murph event with the best!

Regionals with my loves!

2nd Place in the iceberg challenge! 

24hr Row! 

Second competition away from home! 

I climbed up this!!

02X Challenge with this group of nuts!!  

Where my 02X journey finished! I made it up that whole way!!

Met Mat Fraser!! YESSS
Turkey Trot 2014! 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Veteran's Day and other things

Hello! Hope you are well!
November has been good to me so far. I've still been trying to wrap my head around the fact that I actually climbed up the mountain. I still have a hard time believing it. I would NEVER have even entertained that thought if someone asked me last year! It's so awesome! I'm actually looking forward to next year!

 Anyway, Veteran's Day just passed, and I was so glad that I was able to participate in the Three Wise Men Tribute WOD. It was a pretty tough wod, but it was for a good cause: "The Three Wise Men Veterans Day Tribute launched a national movement to bring communities together on Veterans Day to honor those who survived their combat experience but have come home and are struggling."  The veterans are very near and dear to my heart. If you're friends with me on facebook, you've read a lot of my stories! I have a soft spot for all service men and women, and I think it's important to honor them. Just because they come home from overseas, doesn't mean they can suddenly go back to normal. They need help. Next time you see a veteran (they don't have to be old) just say thank you- just that little bit of kindness and appreciation will mean so much. Okay, now that I got through my sappy part, here's the wod that we did:

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 4 minutes of:
5 Hang Squat Snatch (Elite = 185/125 lbs, RX = 135/95 lbs, Scaled = 95/65 lbs)
10 Burpees Over the Barbell
Rest 2 minutes, and then…
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 4 minutes of:
10 Power Cleans (Elite = 185/125 lbs, RX = 135/95 lbs, Scaled = 95/65 lbs)
20 Pull-Ups
Rest 2 minutes, and then…
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 4 minutes of:
15 Box Jump-Overs (Elite & RX = 24”/20”; Scaled – 24”/20” Step-Overs Allowed)
30 Wall Ball Shots (Elite & RX = 20/14 lbs; Scaled – 14/8 lbs)

That's a lot of stuff. I am the WORST at squat snatches. I can't get the coordination down. So Ali (one of our fabulous coaches) said that we could do a power snatch, and then squat down with the bar overhead. You would think with all of this olympic lifting work that I'm doing, that I would be a little bit better at this! It will come with practice I hope! This WOD went by so quick! Before you knew it, it was over! I was so happy to have brought some awareness to a great cause! 

Then on Thursday- I was reminded of how amazing the CrossFit community is (again). The WOD seemed to be do-able....on paper. It was:
Wall Balls  30 – 25 – 20 – 15 – 10 – 5
C2B Pull Ups 10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5
Example….30 wall balls, 10 C2B, 25 wall balls, 9 C2b, etc.

AFTER we did front squat and strict press supersets. Let's chat about those supersets. I don't know what was going on with me, but I couldn't even get through 2 sets of either movement. I stink at front squats anyway, but it was exceptionally tough that day. Which was awesome, since we had a boat load of wall-balls to do. Sometimes you have a rough day- just gotta work through it! 
Anyhow, we moved on to the met-con. Wall balls are just the worst. I get gassed so fast (hello, "Karen" sucks). And pull ups I can't do yet, so I did ring rows. I always my community was amazing, but I was reminded again during this wod. I was of course the last person still working. We had a 15 min time cap, and I thought I would just time out. NOPE. I was in the last few sets, and I was fading. My friend Kate came over and told me to keep going. After that, I basically had the whole class surrounding me (again!). I didn't cry...that was a first haha, but instead I was incredibly humbled. It's these moments that make me realize how special the community is. These people, some of which I barely knew, came over to cheer me on. You really will never get that at Planet Fitness....just saying. You just don't know how much that support means to a person. I literally get no support at home...actually, I get negativity! So the support that people give me at the box, means even more. So thanks for that! 

This week, I was also interviewed by my friend Christine who is doing a paper on something (I can't remember, sorry!!!!!).  But being interviewed by her brought back some very important moments that I can't forget from the beginning of my story. When I walked into the first day of onramp, I was so scared and felt so out of place. It didn't matter. I couldn't jump off the ground; I couldn't do a push up; I couldn't jump rope; I could barely walk- never-mind run. And with all of those road blocks, my coaches stuck with me & believed in me. I still can't do a lot of things, but the things that I can do are amazing, considering where I was when I started. The other thing the interview made me realize is that a significant amount of my good friends are from CrossFit. I was never a good people person, so this is amazing. These people have been with me through everything, and I can't imagine my life without them. 

There's something that I've been thinking about all week. I was talking with someone who happened to be in the waiting room at work. We were talking about how the waiting room was empty, and the guy proceeded to say "Well the big lady that went before me isn't here anymore" It really irked me. He could've just said "the lady" "the woman" but no, he chose the words big lady. It's not like we have an influx of female patients- it just made me so mad. Is it really the worst thing to be big or fat? He wasn't a toothpick either. There are way worse things that a person can be besides fat...hello- murderer? rapist? mean? I just needed to get that off of my chest!! 

I was cleaning out my closet and organizing my shoes, and I stumbled across my very first pair of Nanos. I thought about getting rid of them, but I just couldn't. I wore those shoes through so many firsts, so many tears, and so many triumphs. So they are now proudly displayed on my new shoe rack! I don't know if I can ever get rid of them!! 

While I still have a long way to go, I'm proud of where I am right now. My biggest thing is being able to feel comfortable in my own skin. I'm not quite there yet, but I know I'm getting closer everyday. 

So now,  my next goal is the upcoming Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving day! Last year was my first time participating. I walked the whole way, and this year I'm hoping to run (jog....slowly) at least part of the way. After the 02X Challenge, anything will be easier! haha. I'm hoping it's not as cold as it was last year! 


Sunday, October 26, 2014

I climbed up a mountain....almost!

Hey everyone!
The past few weeks have been incredible! I've been really busy, but it's been amazing.
On October 12th, I competed at CrossFit Tolerance in Johnston, RI for Barbells for Boobs. It was amazing. This was my first competition outside the comforts of my South Shore area. The only person that was familiar to me was my girl, Lenore. She is a complete bad ass, and did the competition while almost 8 months pregnant!! It was her first competition & she came in 2nd in her division. What a rockstar! I was so glad she was there. I ended up PRing my squat clean by 15lbs & shaving 18 seconds off of my previous "Grace" time! It was so great. We had an awesome time, and it was all for a great cause. Huge shout out to Justin & everyone at CFT- you guys have an amazing box & community- thanks so much for hosting & having us!!

So then came the O2X challenge. The event that I've been stressing over for the past few months. I had been freaking out over this pretty much the whole time after I signed up. I still don't know what possessed me to sign up for it, but I did, and now I had to follow through. My stress level was at an all time high on Friday- while driving up to NH. There was a crazy amount of traffic- like way more than I was expecting. Damn leaf peepers! Luckily, I had a car full of funny ladies to keep me company! A ride that should've take us about 3 hours, ended up taking us about 4-5ish hours! We were hangry and tired. Yes, hangry. When we FINALLY got to the condo we were staying in (Huge thanks to the Valles family for having us all weekend!!), we had a few minutes, then had to turn around & get back in the car to make it to the fire side chat on Loon! The only reason why I went to that chat was because MAT FRASER WAS THERE. Who is Mat Fraser? He's only the second fittest man in the world, and was competing in the same race that I was doing- hello! So awesome!

One of my goals for the challenge was to get a selfie with Mat Fraser. Of course I succeeded with this. He's my fourth favorite male athlete..haha. He was very down to earth, and nice....and little- but super strong! What an excellent opportunity to meet such an amazing athlete, and share the field with him for this competition.
Mat Fraser & I!! 
My other goal for the challenge was to finish without sustaining a serious injury or dying on the mountain. Seems like it would be another easy take, right? Wrong. I obviously didn't die, and I didn't sustain injuries (physically) but I did sustain a pretty big blow to my ego. The start to the run was up part of a ski hill, down the same hill, on the pavement for a little bit, then on a trail. Starting out I was okay. It was a little slippery and my socks got wet almost instantly, but it was totally doable. Of course I was the last one, but I was fine with it. I knew I wasn't coming in first- this was a total personal challenge for me. It started out as a really nice hike. I can't believe I said that, but it was nice! I made it to this part in the challenge that was absolutely terrifying & it started to rain.  I started out having to get myself over this tall pipe in the ground- done. Then after that pipe is where all hell broke loose. We were in this very narrow, steep part of the woods. Before I knew it, the other heats were gaining on us. I hate holding people up, so I tried my best to get out of the way for the other crazies that were running! It was so scary in there. There was peat moss- I didn't even know that was really found outside- I thought that it was just sold at craft stores!! There were so many rocks, trees, and leaves. My foot got caught in some peat moss, and I freaked out. All I had to do was simply lift my foot up. But me being the drama queen that I am, lost it and started crying. Like, why would I ever think that crying would get my foot out? LOL. Then I saw the sign that said "You have risen 250ft." ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I could have sworn we were already more than half way. So then I cried again because we were less than a quarter of the way done. All the people from the other heats were flying by me, and I was getting discouraged. Why would I think that I would ever be able to finish this? I wasn't like any of these other people. I'm not limber and I have no idea how to maneuver the outdoors. We were almost at the top of this part of the mountain. There was this guy (Brent) at the top that just kept yelling, "Come on CrossFit girl!" He was so nice, but all I could think was please be on your way- I do not need anyone else waiting for me or looking at me- I was a hot crying mess! Below us there was a guy sitting on a rock, eating a snack (Greg). He looked like one of the guys that was in our group, so I started yelling for wasn't that guy, so now I looked like a crazy for sure! I tried to focus myself back on the task at hand. I was going to take a step, and my foot got stuck again, this time in a little hole in between rocks. I cried again. I could see Brent at the top, and now Greg was beside me. I could see the top, and it looked flat. All I had to do was get up there. Brent grabbed my hand, and helped me up over the last big rock. I was so happy to be on flat ground, so what do you do when you're happy? You cry! haha. We stopped to take a breather, and of course our new friends Greg and Brent stayed with us. I kept trying to tell them to go, that we were fine, and they just said no- they wanted to hang out with us. Greg gave us some energy chews- they could've been poison, and I would have still taken them!
We started again and came to the next hill. It was a ski hill. An actual ski hill...on Loon mountain. I looked up (not the best idea) and I just didn't know what to do. It was so high and the signs for the challenge seemed so far away. I would move a few steps, and then have to stop and catch my breath. This went on until we got about half way up the hill. I looked up again, and saw that the trail ended way further up than I thought originally. At that moment I completely lost it. I had a panic attack. I've never felt this way before. My heart was beating so fast, my breathing was short, and I couldn't catch my breath. I was lucky enough to have an EMT, a nurse, and a paramedic in my group. They tried to get me to calm down, but to no avail. Brent gave me some pedialyte that he had in his camelback. He told me it would replenish the electrolytes- once again, could've been poison haha. Once everyone realized that my breathing wasn't getting any better, Brent and Greg took off to find help. After what seemed like an hour, a medic on a four wheeler came to our location. Of course I was so embarrassed. Andrew the medic told me I was done for the day, and that they were going to get me back to base camp- all I had to do was make it up to where the four wheeler was parked. The only problem was that the four wheeler was so far away! We made it up there- it took a while, but we made it there. Once I got up there, I had to wait for a Gator to come and get me. What's a gator you ask? It's one of those carts that football or baseball players get carted off in when they get injured during a game. I was even more embarrassed than I was before. The ride down to the bottom of the mountain was more terrifying than anything I experienced on that mountain. I closed my eyes the whole time- I didn't want to know anything about this ride-I just wanted to get down without being in an accident! At the bottom of the mountain, after the 25 minute gator ride, there was an ambulance waiting- could things get  any more embarrassing??! I was feeling better & didn't want any care. So the ambulance just gave me a ride back to base camp. I broke my 28 year streak of never being in an ambulance that day! When I got back to base camp, the first person I saw was Phil. He came right down the hill and gave me a big hug. It was just what I needed after that ordeal. He told me everyone was waiting for me & to come in when I was ready. I pulled myself together, and made my way inside- I would have to face my fellow bare covers sooner or later. When I walked in the whole group clapped and got up to hug me. Of course I cried again. The love and support coming from that group was amazing. These people are the most amazing group of people that I have the pleasure of calling my friends. It's great. They are great.
Sadie, Me, Christy, and Toni. Love these ladies! <3
I have to give a huge, huge thank you to the ladies that stayed by my side the entire time I was on that mountain. Christy, Sadie, & Toni. You ladies literally pushed me up that mountain. Every time I wanted to quit- you told me that I was fine. You let me cry, you made me laugh, you gave me a hand to hold, a shoulder to grab on to, and all the love and support in the world. I would have never got to my ending point without you three. I am eternally grateful for everything you did for me that day. I will never forget that. Much love <3.

When all was said and done, I made it up about 644ft, a little over half way through the full course. I should be proud of that, seeing as it was my first time ever on a mountain! But I wasn't. I was disappointed in myself for not being able to finish, and I was mad that I couldn't get out of my  head. I let my emotions get the best of me. I was also upset because I thought that I let down one of my coaches, Mike M. He pushed me to do this challenge, and had no doubt in his mind that I would finish. When I didn't, the first thing I  thought was MM is going to be so upset. He was the second person I saw, and he was so happy that I got to the spot that I did. He was happy that I even signed up and showed up. It was then that I realized that I should be proud of what I've accomplished. If you asked me last year if I would sign up for anything like this, I would most certainly would've said no.
My ending point...not too shabby! 

I didn't get the fancy canteen that they gave finishers, or the awesome finish line photo, but I did get memories & pride from completing what I did. Next year I will finish- mark my words! The O2X was an amazing challenge, and is an experience I will carry with me forever. I learned that I'm stronger than I think, and I can get through a lot more than I give myself credit for. I just have to believe in myself a little more. Although I was embarrassed and disappointed at the time, I can now laugh about the experience, and learn from it. Yeah, I was the only person who had to get taken down, I was the only person without an actual finish, and I was the only person that cried at least 6 times on the mountain. But I had the courage to to sign up and show up, and that says a lot. Next year, I will cross that finish line, I'll earn that canteen and fancy picture, and I'll be happier than ever.

Now, I'm focusing on my Olympic lifting course & getting stronger! Thanks again for all the love and support!

Most thoughtful gift! 
P.S.- I got this amazing surprise shirt in the mail from the awesome people at Latitude Gear RX. It was so sweet, and thoughtful. Thanks again! I love it! <3

Starting line! 

Toni & I before takeoff! 

Sadie found a 4 leaf clover for me! 


Love! <3

Love these people so much! Best community! <3

Sunday, October 5, 2014

You gotta shake it off!

Hey everyone!

It's been awhile! Life has been out of control. September came and went, and now my head is spinning with thought of October already being here. I guess it's good to be busy! Anyway, my last post sort of touched on the negative things that have been going on in life. While all of the negativity doesn't seem to be gone, I sure have been able to get rid of most of it!
The past few weeks have again showed me that I'm stronger than I think. As most of you know, I'll be participating in the O2X Challenge on October 18th at Loon Mountain. It's probably one of the most terrifying things I'll ever do in my life. It's an outdoor trail run (walk for me) with natural obstacles. Again, I don't know what possessed me to sign up for this, but I did, and now I have to focus. This past weekend a group of us made a trip up to Blue Hills Ski area to do some trail run prep. Our group was lead by the amazing Mike Monarch. When we got there he told us that we were going to go up and down the ski slope as many times as possible. UP THE SKI SLOPE- like the slope that people ski DOWN. Oh okay. It was too late to back out, because he already saw me- haha. So we started warming up, doing some stretches, and the whole time I'm looking up at the slope. My body was going to have to make it all the way up there. And back. More than once. We finished warming up, and MM cut us loose to get up the slope at our own pace. Of course pretty much everyone took off running. Not me- I know my limits, and it was also SO HOT on Sunday. Like, come on Fall, get it together. I got about 1/4 of the way up and turned around to see how far I had gone. It wasn't that far- and I had so much more to go. I was struggling. I was breathing so heavy, my back hurt, I was sweating (who wears all black to go hiking?) and I was thinking about turning around and calling it a day. Just at that moment, MM came down from the top, and asked me how I was doing. Obviously I was struggling. I probably was crying, I don't even know at this point. I remember the first thing I said to him was "My body wasn't made for this kind of activity." His response- "Of course it was-let's go." I knew he wasn't gonna let me just scoot back down the slope- I was getting up there, no matter how long it took. We got to this particularly steep spot, and that's when I lost it. I told him that there's absolutely no way I'm getting up there, and I'm going to drop out of the O2X challenge (drama queen that I am). Of course he talked me off the ledge and made me go up a little more, then rest. In the whole time I was on that slope, I can't even count how many random people stopped to ask if I wanted some water, if I was okay, if I wanted their walking stick, and to tell me how great I was doing. It was truly a humbling experience. It restored my faith in humanity a little. So Mike and I kept trucking. I felt so bad for keeping him behind, and not letting him get his trail run in, but he assured me it was fine, so on we went. We finally made it to the top, and it was the best feeling. Just like completing all of those box step-ups at the competition. There was a group of people at the top who started clapping when I got up there; a few of the guys from my group who were waiting and of course, Mike. I can't thank that man enough for everything he's done for me. He is truly an amazing human, and a great example of what a coach should be. After a few minutes of rest, it was time to get back down. Mike took me down the bunny hill, since it would be less steep, and scary. Wrong- it was still scary. I think going downhill is more scary- you don't have much control, but thankfully I had my new trail shoes, which worked out really well. I made it back down to the bottom to see Elena, Alisa, & Olivia waiting for me. They had already been up and down a few times- totally impressed by those ladies. Another guy in our group, Chris had this fancy watch on which told us what altitude we were at. After all was said and done, we ended up rising up 553ish FT. That's legit. I'm so proud and happy that I made it up there, but more importantly, I'm actually excited for the O2X. I mean, of course I'm going to be scared until we get there, but for now, I'm excited- because I know that I will be able to do it. Thank you MM and EM for everything- Words cannot express the amount of love and respect I have for you both. I'm forever grateful for you!

Other big things happening soon:
I signed up for my SECOND competition!! WOOT. I'm so excited! This one is for a good cause. It's for Barbells for Boobs being held at CrossFit Tolerance in Rhode Island. I initially wasn't going to sign up for it, because one of the wods was burpee barbell jump overs- and I'm just not there yet, but Justin, the owner of CFT, was super cool and accommodating. He ended up changing the standards anyway, so that in the scaled division, you could have a trailing foot. That is coming up next weekend on October 12th! If you would like to donate, I've included the link in this post. It's for a great cause, that helps pay for mammograms for early detection for breast cancer. Every little bit helps, so just give it a thought!

#NutritionFest starts tomorrow at RCFBC! It's a paleo challenge with a teammate! I'm glad to be back on paleo challenge- I feel like I got a lot out of it last time, and I'm fully committed this time. Naturally, I chose my main chick- Kate Hutch to partner up with. We did all of our food shopping today & we are ready to go for tomorrow! Team #BlackonBlackonBlack is coming for you guys!!!

Tomorrow also begins the start of my first Olympic Lifting course. I'm very excited. I'm not sure what to expect, but I know it's going to be awesome. I have been waiting for this class to happen at bare cove, and finally it's here!! I'm hoping to make some gains, learn some new skills, and get stronger overall.

Other NEWS! Reebok CrossFit Bare Cove is opening a second location on the Scituate/Cohasset line called CrossFit SciCoh!! It was a huge announcement, and an awesome surprise. I'm so happy for Mike, Chris & Sharon on this new endeavor. I'm excited for our community to expand, although I am a little nervous that we'll lose some of our members. Everything will work out! This is going to be awesome for the community!

So that covers most of what's going on. Honestly, I can't remember what else, but this seems like a pretty decent list of good things!

Oh yeah....I HAVE A WEBSITE!!!! With the help of many people, I finally setup a website, and will be posting my blogs on there, along with my favorite recipes, products, etc. I'm so excited to share it with you all! Take a peek, share with your friends, and leave me some feedback! I appreciate everyone's support more than you know! DISCLAIMER** Sometimes the website displays my blogs, sometimes it doesn't- I have to figure out what's wrong with it!! ****

Have a wonderful week! XOXOXOXO - AA