I've always been the type of person that respects those that make well thought-out choices. This sometimes mean not making the "smartest" choice. Let me explain:
If you choose to go out to eat with your work friends most nights after work, have a drink or 5, eat some restaurant food and probably a wonderfully prepared dessert, you can NOT realistically expect to have the body and health that you might hope to have if everything was perfect. I don't respect at all those people who bitch and moan about how they can't lose weight while refusing to change their lifestyles. I CAN respect however, those who understand that they are not making the healthiest of choices and fully accept the health risks and the responsibilities of what could happen if they continue living that sort of life. Similarly, a climber who choses to climb some insanely dangerous cliff without support falls and breaks her leg; if she complains about how sucky it is that this had to happen to HER, well, no simpathy from me! If she accepts the responsibility for making those unsafe choices, knowing that hurting herself is a clear risk, well, I can respect that.
You can take this point and use it for pretty much anything in life. All I feel I want to say with this post is that there is really no point in taking the hard way your entire life. And there is REALLY no point in playing dumb and being blind to all the risks of the choices you make. If you choose to drink, eat like crap, commit to a high-stress life, don't exercise regularly or intelligently, then don't get all depressed when your life ends up sucking later on. You may be a lucky person and somehow don't experience the negative effects for a really long time, like years and years. But the second you convince yourself that you are invincible and that bad stuff can't happen to you because it's not happening now, well, you're kind of being an idiot.
I'm not saying you can't cut loose a little, or "have fun" as people call being unhealthily for some god-awful reason. I'm just saying make your choices intelligently and take responsibility for what COULD happen given each and every choice you make. "Playing Chicken" with life in my mind means that you just do whatever the hell you want. And you do so with ignorance and arrogance. And when life reacts, you just keep on charging forward with your head down, not caring what the outcome is because you KNOW you'll win! But let me tell you something, and I say this with 100% confidence and will argue with anyone this point: at some point life will absolutely kick your ass and you will lose. The harder you charge against it without knowing what you're doing, the harder it will beat you up. So do yourself and favor and put a little thought into your life. Make your decisions with the knowledge and acceptance of everything that could happen. Then charge forward with all the passion you have.
Don't charge forward AGAINST life, charge forward WITH it.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Yesterday was my 31st Birthday, and with the celebratory day came a lot of reflection for me, as most "big days" do. It was so interesting to me to see and hear how people reacted to knowing a birthday was coming up. Pretty much everyone would smile in some form of excitement, and the questions that followed either were asking what I was planning on doing, or how did it feel to be older. Well, as my girlfriends aunt said, I am the only 8 year old with a beard she knows. I have never felt like I was old, or getting older, it just sort of seems that I become more and more knowledgable about some things as time goes on, and less and less knowledgable about others. The main thing I feel like I keep getting better at is knowing myself and how I interact with others. I wake up sore, I get bumps and bruises, but no more than I can remember having when I was a kid. Perhaps someday I'll just wake up and and all of a sudden care about all the bumps, bruises, and soreness. For now, and for as long as I possibly can, I'll see them all as a sign that I'm enjoying life.
Every now and then I realize that I am not a kid. This happens when I see younger people listening to music like Justin Beiber and stuff like that. I realize that I have a maturity in my taste of music. It also happens when I see myself in the mirror. I'm just a big dude with a beard. I like the way I look. I also see it in the fact that as time passes, I have more and more responsibilities. I must cook for myself and sometimes others, I must take care of my belongings, I must make money and save money. It seems pretty regular that I find out something new that I must take care of because I don't have someone in place to take care of it for me. That's cool, it's kind of exciting finding out all these things. And if this is what feeling older is like, cool. I think getting older is more of a mindset. Sure things happen physically to you through time, and so many other things happen to you as well. But it's always up to you to let those things take control of your life. I choose to stay young. No matter what my body does, no matter what my responsibilities are and become, my mindset will to be young.
"If growing up means it would be, beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I'll never grow up!"
- The Lost Boys, Peter Pan
My body will change, my world will change around me, even my mind will change so much. But I will always climb trees.
So for this birthday what did I do? My awesome girlfriend found a treehouse not too far from my home. We spent the night in a tree! Nestled in the hills of Hillsborough there's a family who owns a pretty rustic house surrounded by massive oaks. In one of the oaks they built a treehouse and you can rent it out for an evening, or a night, just like a bed and breakfast. It's not elaborate, just a wooden collection of ladders to get to the little porch where they have a couple chairs looking through the trees out to the San Francisco Bay. Then inside the tiny little space is a small table and chairs, a little bed space and a larger bed loft area. It's small, cozy, and perfect. Branches run through the house, and through the deck so that when you lie there in bed, you can even rest your feet against the tree itself. And there is always something about always being in contact with the things that have always been part of nature. It's overwhelmingly peaceful and calming.
The family sets it up with a TV and DVD player so if that's something you want, you have it available, and you can even order a pizza if you have a chill evening planned there with you kids. They also made out a little side room in their house that you can get to and cook food, use a bathroom and shower, and eat a light breakfast that they set out for you in the morning. Lindsey and I hit a Trader Joes and bought some cheese, crackers and salami for our evening. We sat on the porch talking and eating our snacks. We read. We went to bed not to long after the sun went down and slept like we hadn't in years. We woke up, made some coffee and sat on the porch talking and looking out over the forrest to the Bay. And then before we left, Lindsey sat on the little swing they put out there, and I of course climbed out on the edge of the porch to hang there and goof off as only I know how. It was a wonderful experience all around. Our brains were running wild with all our plans to build our own treehouse, and after that night, I know I will be finding places to do this wherever I can. And if any of my San Mateo area peoples want a peaceful night in the trees, or if you want to send your kids to enjoy and awesome night in the trees (this place would be such a perfect getaway for a couple kids, it's safe, still right there in town, and you get to be in a TREE!) just let me know!
I think as I get "older" all I'll really be doing is finding more and more, and better and better ways to be "young" and have fun.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
"It is great that you are so passionate about these competitions but don't let it get to your head, man! Use it to be surrounded by others who are passionate as well and to continue to push yourself and test yourself, but all the time, no matter how it all turns out, know AT HEART you are a winner when you feel like a winner."
My sister wrote that to me at the end of an email in response to my pity-party post the other day. Pretty insightful if I do say so myself. And well timed as well. I had spent most of the day and night yesterday thinking about failure and goals and on and on. And this email from my sister was a little extra tug in the right direction. I challenge myself so much (as do most people) that if we ultimately decide to measure our self worth by the amount of times we "stand on the podium", we will be pretty miserable people. I have always preached that you can not rely on outside sources for happiness, positivity, and confirmation. You must choose to BE happy, positive, and feel confirmed. Winners FEEL like winners, they don't need the best score to tell them they are.
The large failure that took place for me this past weekend had me thinking about so much. I came out of it thinking that my God, I AM a winner. Screw the awards, the podiums, the medals, the pats on the backs, and so on. Nobody out there knows the struggles I go through, the challenges that I am faced with day in and day out, and how hard I push. The fact that I wake up every day and push as hard as I do is what makes me a true winner. Physically winning at something is a here-and-there reward of good, hard work, but is not the end all be all. I say this because no matter how many times I've been the actual winner, it never actually satisfies or fulfills me like I expect it to. I step down, go home, eat some food, and I'm back to training the next day. If I lost the event, I would step away, go home, eat some food, and get back to training the next day. Those events help to steer what I'm doing in every day life, but they do not define me. And what I am doing in every day life is what matters the most. The second I use my placement as the ONLY dictator for who I am as a person, I lose myself. I am not saying that being competitive is a bad thing at all, I am saying that it is dangerous to rely solely on those competitions to define yourself.
In all honesty, I think it's the time between events that truly define winners and losers. In my mind, a person who is incredibly talented but spends their days eating like crap and playing video games is a loser. I don't care if they can all of a sudden walk out to a baseball field and go 4 for 4 or throw 95, that just makes them damn lucky. It's the people who put in the hours, who take it seriously, who focus their lives to always want to be better day in and day out who are the winners. The ones who learn every day while also working their tails off. The ones who understand why they are working and learning, and do it because they love it and are so passionate about the process. Yeah, those people are freaking winners.
We are all allowed to wallow in self-pity now and again. But if you have made a point to let your life define who you are, not the awards and achievements, you will probably spend most of your life pretty happy, satisfied and fulfilled. I am still pretty bothered and disappointed in myself about The Open. But you know what I'll be doing today? I'll be in the gym, back on my program, laughing and sweating with my training partners. This week I'll be out in the woods a few times, running up hills so hard my head swims. I'll climb some trees, I'll coach my clients, I'll cook my food, I'll read my hundreds of articles, and I'll watch my TV shows. I love my life because I have found the things I am passionate about and made a point to surround myself with as much as I possibly can. I'll push my limits every day because it makes me feel good, because I learn from it. I'll fail, all the time; and I'll succeed, all the time.
I think all that makes me a winner.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Those three stupid numbers are the score I got for my three attempts for the final workout of the CrossFit Games Open. The goal was 90 in 4 minutes, so that I would have another 4 minutes to accumulate reps and move myself into a "guaranteed" spot at the Regionals event. As of the time of me writing this, there is still a incredibly thin chance I get a sort of “invite” to this event in May, but I’m not even thinking about that. What I’m thinking about is the intense pain I feel after failing by 1 rep.
It reminds me of last year when I missed the individual Regionals event by 1 point. Granted, I was signed up to go with a team, but it still stung.
I could write a pretty lengthy book filled with all my failures, from small to big. From little “meaningless” ones like burning a meal I’m cooking for myself, to large ones like failing two classes my first semester Freshman year and needing to take summer courses to keep eligible for baseball.
But I don’t want to list all those, it’s too depressing to think about right now as I feel like a pretty big failure this exact moment. Right now I’m thinking about how tough it is to be so good at so many things, without ever being excellent at any of them. My best friend shot me a text after asking how this workout went and he reminded me that I was born a remarkable athlete. One who could play professional baseball, run 12 marathons, perform at a high level in triathlon and jiu-jitsu, and one who has clearly proven himself at the Sport Of Fitness. I’m “better” than 99% of the people out there he says.
But what hurts for guys like me is that I’m just one step, no, a half step or less away from being one of the best. Being that .01% out there that is just flat out amazing at shit, there are not that many people who have that, but they are there, and we all know them. It may sound pretentious of me, or arrogant or something, but the pain of being good enough to perform with the best, but always finish behind them is almost too great sometimes. There are so many times, times like today, when I just wish I wasn’t good at stuff. There wouldn’t be that hope in me at all times that I have a chance. There wouldn’t be that drive to be the best, because there would be flat out no chance of me being there. But instead I am faced every single day with so much evidence that I can perform with the best of the best (well, maybe not WITH them, but a half step behind them) and my brain and body goes into focus mode. I work so hard. I train, I study, I analyze every bit of my life to figure out what I could do to gain that ½ step. I work, and then work some more. And when it comes down to it, I’m still a half step behind. Is it that I don’t work hard enough? Is it that I’m not doing the right things? I really doubt it.
As a coach I would tell my athletes to focus on all the little achievements. Celebrate the fact that you are determined to get better and that the fact that you would work so hard is the real success. And writing that now, I realize that that is exactly what I have to do. I gave that workout everything I possibly could and my celebration should be in the fact that I worked so hard for the reps I got. It should not be that I failed in achieving my goals. Every single person has limits: physical, emotional psychological, and so on. I am obviously the type of person that tries to test those limits on myself on a pretty regular basis.
Interestingly enough, I have been ignorant in stating I’ve never found my limits (I’ve written that many times). I’ve always thought that there’d be some sort of explosion of awareness in my mind or something when that breaking point actually hit, but that’s not how it works. How it works is, I fail. When I can’t go any further, I fail. I have found my limits over and over, and over again, my entire life. And yet I choose to keep pushing them. I guess my little “catch phrase” I write after every post actually does mean a lot to me. Maybe it’s just a constant reminder to myself as to what my life is all about.
Never Stop. GET FIT.
Talking with a couple people late last night I realized something damn cool about this final workout: it literally defines what I love so much about CrossFit. It is not necessarily the most in-shape person who will score well on this one. Very fit people will also need to know themselves and how they function on these specific movements perfectly. It includes a portion of experience. My training partner is an absolute beast and will be going to Regionals along with me. But I fear he will struggle more with this workout than any of the others because he has never done Fran and has no clue what to expect from doing something like that. Fran is the go-to workout for CrossFit because of its simplicity coupled by its absolute degree of difficulty. Not only is it brutal for those who know how to do it, but it's always tough because you think it should be easy, and it's not. And then to top it off, this Open Workout is slightly harder than Fran, and throws that mind-f**k of added time into the mix. I am shocked that Jason Khalipa got nowhere near that third time addition, AND I have never seen Rich Froning look that beat up while exercising. This one is BRUTAL!
So with the fact that I have no clue how everyone reading this is, I will explain how I plan to approach this workout, and I'll touch on a couple different things you should be thinking about going into it. First off, for those athletes gunning for the 3rd time installment, figuring out timing of thrusters and pull ups probably won;t help you all that much. Pacing this on based off of time will work for such a small collection of people, and I'm sure those people know their times. If you try to pace out 90 perfect reps in 4 minutes you'll hit a wall no matter what and end up screwing yourself up through the 8 minutes. I honestly think the best way to go about this workout is getting your 90 reps (again, for people gunning for the 12 minutes workout) while performing just under your red-line. Then go about doing everything in your power to get another 90 resp in before the 8 minute mark hits. If you are gifted/lucky enough to make it into the 3rd round, it honestly doesn't matter at that point. Take a minute rest and just accumulate some reps. You'll be in such a small percentile of athletes, you'll be pretty set. My point is, any score above 180 is going to be an incredibly high score.
That is obviously pretty vague, but I think it's a good base of approach. Get your first 90 in without blacking out, then go for broke at a pace YOU can handle and hope to the dear Lord above that you get another 90 in before time expires.
I will be going about it like so: If my butterfly C2B's are working, I'll plan to hit two rounds unbroken. I'll then plan to hit the 3rd round of 15's with unbroken thrusters and then break the C2Bs up either 8/7 or 6/5/4. While I feel good with the C2Bs, I know that they take SO much out of you. It's worth breaking them up earlier with the knowledge that it's always better to do slightly larger chucks of them rather than going to singles and doubles when you get really crushed. After getting the initial 90, it'll be about putting the BB down before hitting a wall so that I can conserve enough energy to get my larger chunks of C2Bs. At that point, all that matters is getting to 180, so it'll be a conservative sprint from there on out. Knowing myself, I can always get 4-6 of each of these movements as long as I'm still standing, so I will plan on making sure I stay at a pace where I can do that. I will probably do 8/8 or 5/5/5 on the thrusters, and 6/5/4 or 5/5/5 on the C2Bs for as long as I can. When I hit a wall with that, I'll just get freaking reps however humanly possible until I am either done (read: dead), or I get the "joy" of getting to go for another 4 minutes. And again, for anyone lucky enough to get to that 3rd round, good work, just get a whatever you can. It's going to be a VERY small collection of people.
For those of you who hope to get into the second round. Get to it with just enough energy to spare, then just get reps in. You know your workout will be over no matter what at 8 minutes so view it as an 8 minute AMRAP. But don;t go too slow at the start. Hit that sub-red-line pace to make sure you get the initial 90, then accumulate reps until you're done.
For those of you who know you won't make it past 4. Sweet, this is a pretty "easy" workout for you. Get as many reps as you possibly can in 4 minutes. Go!
I recognize that this post is the least insightful of all my "notes" posts, but that is because the strategy here is going to be ever so slightly different for each and every person. Go to GymnasticsWOD and get your efficiency notes form Carl Paoli/ The get your mobility prep from MobilityWod and Kelly Starett. After that, break down your Fran, and then your ability to handle a slightly tougher Fran, and be honest and realistic. I know for me, getting 180 reps is possible, but will take some serious star-aligning for it to happen. So I need to set a pace (that i know how to do through experience CrossFitting, and having done Fran 5 times) to give myself the best opportunity to get 180 resp in 8 minutes. If I plan to have any energy after that, I didn't approach this workout correctly.
I recommend weightlifting shoes. They obviously help on the thrusters, and for me, they actually assist my butterfly kip because of the weight distribution to my feet.
Put something on your hands. Wear gloves, or those hand protector things, or tape, something. And shave down those callouses ASAP. If there was a workout out there that would rip your hands up, this is it. And I really have no interest in seeing all the pictures on Facebook with people showing off how "cool" and "bad ass" (read: stupid, and really freaking stupid) they are because they were stupid and ripped their hands.
Warm up by mobilizing your hips and shoulders, AND stabilizing your shoulders. This workout is the equivalent of throwing a 12 inning game with weighted baseballs with both hands (that would be a bad thing by the way, for all you non-baseball minds out there. The point is, this workout is going to destroy your shoulders. make sure they are mobile AND the muscles are active and prepared for hundreds of floppy, gross, dynamic, tendon-ripping reps.
Leave it all on the floor. This is the last workout of The Open! You've come this far, you may as well go all out. For people like me and my training partner, it;s all about gaining a few more extra spots up the leaderboard to assure our spot at Regioanls. For others, it's the a chance to see what you're made of on a diabolical workout. But remember, if you have no chance competing in Regionals, be sure to pay attention to your hands and shoulders throughout. There is no point hurting yourself, or causing a week or more of no training just to get a few more reps.
No matter what happens, we can all rejoice in the fact that the open is over after this!!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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