Thank you, Morning Chalk Up

3 months ago, I was stepping GINGERLY into the shower with my husband and I looked him in the eye and said “I’m never going to PR my squat again and I’m okay with it.”

The last time I was able to max was Fall of 2017. And my joint health has just been such a problem. But I didn’t ever give up. And I never stopped working.

In 2016, I had my first trip to the knee surgeon. The surgeon gave me 5 diagnoses on my left knee and assumed the right knee was in a similar status because I have a congenital defect. To simplify it – I was born with my knee caps in the wrong place and dislocate very easily. The surgeon told me that there was little to nothing that he could do. To quote him as closely as possible, what he said was “one day you’re going to not be able to bear the pain anymore and you’re going to say “it’s time” (to get a total knee replacement). The reason that he said “one day” is that if I went for a TKR, it would be a long and slow rehab and it would probably remove me from competitive CrossFit and Olympic lifting.

I’ve done the work that the knee surgeon recommended – I tape my knees (McConnell taping technique), wear braces, ice, compress and done so much PT.

Fast forward. May. I can pinpoint it. It was the Thursday before we were to do Murph. I had just done a shitton of double unders. I mean. SO MANY. Because my assignment was to get 10 sets of 30 unbroken and to keep going until I could do that. So. I did. And it took me about 45 minutes and 23,000 attempts. I was moving onto Snatches and had set up on the OLY platform. Next to the platform was a stack of weights that butted up to the weight shelf. I put my water bottle there, but being clumsy, I dropped it. I walked around to the front of the shelf to retrieve it, but I couldn’t reach. So, I stooped down and leaned forward, reaching for the water bottle. My knee gave a loud pop. But that was it. I got my water bottle and went back to practicing snatches.

Middle of the night, I got up to go to the bathroom, and I could not bear ANY weight on my knee.

After a day, we went to urgent care. Got x-rays. Got sent home with a big metal hinge brace and prescription for 400mg Ibuprofen. Doctor’s appointment and then surgeon appointment and then MRI and another surgeon’s appointment resulted in one course of oral prednisone (and a weight gain of about 8 lbs which is BOOOO HISSS) and then a cortisone shot in my knee … because … I tore my medial meniscus this time. I started PT at Rokke Therapy and had to lay off squatting.

But then. Slowly, strength in my legs started to come back. Jake programmed SO MANY exercises besides the PT (which I still do EVERY MORNING) … following the PT’s recommendations of lots of single leg work. Lots of slow, steady movement. SO MANY BOX SQUATS. BORING WORK. But work that I was willing to do.

So when there was a front squat ladder at last weekend’s competition that went from 65 to 175#, I was aiming to HOPEFULLY make the 155 bar. That one went down and up easy … so I decided to hit the 165# bar. And figured why not try on the 175. It was money.

I’m always learning.

I now know that I just can’t ever say something is not going to happen.

And I also know that the world is watching, or at least Mama Danger is ❤️ and she writes for the Morning Chalkup and they celebrate all of the wins.

How I Got Started = Move Part 1

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If you’ve read my “Journey” page – you will see this is what I have written about how I got started with exercise. Please realize, this is only PART of how I got started, but I am going to write a blog post about each arm that lead to success  (Mindset, Menu, Move, My Tribe).

I made a commitment to start to move my body.  Exercise seemed so out of reach for me, because my previous successful experience with exercise had only been through a $500 a month gym/personal trainer combination. But I decided to try. My sister sent me the DVD’s to do the 21-day fix through Beachbody and Autumn motivated me every morning to just hold on for 30 minutes. Then, I started walking my dogs. Even when it was raining (BTWs – pugs in raincoats are SUPER cute).  Then Lizzy, who was then 13 years old, said she was going to take over as my personal trainer. We did our first race together. Then our second. And more. And my BFF Shae signed us up for our first Ashley Horner Transform You Challenge, and we started lifting weights in my garage. Which morphed into becoming a transformation challenge winner and an Ashley Horner ambassador, earning me 1,000s of Ashlete Sisters and friends from across the globe.

Move:

The very first step for me was in my living room with a dvd player and borrowed DVDs (which I have since lent out and they have come back and been lent out again multiple times).  The DVDs were from the 21 day fix program, filled with positive motivation, compound whole body exercises using small dumbbell weights with focus on getting through the workout one minute at a time.

I will be very honest about this part of the process. 

IMG_9037It was NOT pretty.

I struggled.

It HURT to get up and down off of the floor. 

I felt BAD about myself.

I got MAD that I had let myself go. I used to be an athlete.

And I beat myself up on an almost daily basis in the very beginning.

BUT – in order to start – all I had to do was wake up 30 minutes earlier than normal. My sister kept bugging me. It was only 30 minutes. I had excuses and she had answers.

I had to convince myself that I had time.

I already took a shower before work. I already had the morning rush. So … if all I had to do to workout was get up 30 minutes earlier, go down some stairs and push a power button, I had to keep reminding myself, I had no excuse.

No more excuses

They say it takes 21 days to build a habit.

So, I set off for 21 days being my goal. Day after day, I would get up, do the DVD and then get ready for work. I followed what my sister (an avid beachbody coach at the time) encouraged me to … so, I downloaded a few fun graphic apps for my iPhone, worked on motivational sayings and took photos. I used the graphic apps, shared on Instagram and Facebook. I logged my progress. I posted a zillion positive affirmations to my social media. I reminded myself over and over that I could do this. I did not give up.

Slowly, I stopped beating myself up, and I started being proud.

img_9029.pngFirst, I was proud when I could complete a set.

Then, I became more proud when I could use … then increase … the weight I was lifting.

Then even more proud when I saw comparison photos.

Supplementary to these 30 minute exercise DVDs was simply going outside for a walk.

I had two fat pugs and I decided for their health, and mine, we would walk.

At first, all my knees would handle would be around the block (maybe 400 meters?). But by this point … I wouldn’t let knee pain stop me (stubborn much?!?).

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Then, I slowly built to a half mile, then a mile, then three. I would walk NO MATTER WHAT after dinner at night. Rain (put on a rain coat and go – and we even got the pugs raincoats). Darkness (put on a headlamp and a taser in your pocket). Exhausted (it’s only a few minutes out of your day and you owe it to yourself to do this before bed). Busy (when are you not busy?). Mom duties (Really? There’s a track where they practice soccer.  You can walk round and round and round the soccer field the whole 90 minutes she’s at soccer listening to podcasts about science so that you’re ready for your next exam).

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The walks turned into jogs. Then my daughter Lizzy decided that it was her time to be in charge of my “training” and that we were going to do a race.  So, we signed up for a 10k. And we trained for it. And we finished it.

The next phase: thanks to one of my BFFs, I discovered Ashley Horner and started my home gym.

To be continued …

 

 

So, The Cooks were featured on the Morning Chalk Up …

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About a year and a half ago or maybe more, Caleb, one of my friends at CrossFit, introduced me to this great daily email called The Morning Chalk Up.

So, of course, being ALL IN to this newfound CrossFit life … I enthusiastically subscribed and religiously read it. Even when I am B-U-S-Y … I leave the emails unread in my email box so that I can catch up on the weekend.

I have sent the Morning Chalk Up’s “tips” email a few items here and there  … mostly events.

One morning, over my cup of coffee, I noticed that neither of the upcoming Barbells for Boobs events we are attending were appearing on the email’s calendar.  I decided that I better submit them.  After all, I set a fundraising goal of $250 and I needed to meet it … plus I felt the publicity would be great for both gyms.

When I sent the email to their tips line, I think that I said something along the lines of “this is the event at my new gym” and “this is the event where I met my husband – you should share that story.”  The completely unexpected response was … “Okay. Let’s hear this story.

My full intent in dropping the hint in the first place was (1) to fundraise for Barbells for Boobs (and … YES! it worked – we got a random donation from a person saying she liked our story).  And … especially because one of my favorite instagrammers is going through some dating world shit along with three of my Ashlete sisters sharing terrible dating stories … (2) so that the message of hope could be spread.

THANK YOU MORNING CHALK UP for helping me spread this message <3.

When it comes to relationships … I now write “believe in the fairy tale … it does exist” to other women. BECAUSE IT DOES.  This is not Disney bullshit. It’s about living life without compromise.

I LOVE to keep life positive and am living proof of how working hard, keeping focused and slow and steady can have terrific outcomes…. YET …. SO MANY WOMEN (that was me a year ago!!) feel like they have to work SO HARD to pursue men in order to find the one AND DO IT IN A HOT MINUTE.

But mine fell in my lap.  Truthbomb: I would have NEVER found him on a dating app. Not. Ever. He’s old (my age range on the app ended at 50. He’s 52). He’s short (seriously he is seriously short – 5’2″ and maybe a half and the shortest my range went was 5’8″).

Fast forward a few email exchanges with Jessica Danger over a few weeks time and I woke up to about 300 instagram notifications and knew it had been published.

Read and enjoy …

She Just Came To Do Grace And Left With A Husband

Don’t Forget Where You Came From

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#transformationtuesday = don’t forget where you came from ||| I need to vent for a second. I’ve been told lately that my social media posts are “too much” or that people don’t understand why I post my lifts and workouts almost daily and it’s almost like I’m expected to defend myself. Like this is a bad thing. Evidently I am annoying to these people and they have unfollowed me, which is apparently supposed to hurt my feelings. I really want it understood why I do this … I tried so hard to find someone I could use as an example when I was so unhealthy and struggling. But EVERY time I did, they just wanted my money. They wanted to sell me a pill. Or a bottle of drops or a magical tea. Or a plan based on starving me or packaged food or their brand. These people promised ridiculous results and each time I tried, it was a miserable failure which sent me downward spiraling into a viscous cycle of excitement to failure. The whole time I was trying these things, I JUST WANTED SOMEONE I COULD BELIEVE IN. Someone who could demonstrate how to get healthy in mind-body-soul without all of the fads and within my single mom budget. Someone who had REALLY been there. Someone who wanted to help me but NOT for profit. And I couldn’t find this person. SO, I BECAME HER. If you think I post too much, that I’m arrogant or “showing off” or ridiculous because I belong on the JV team and should wait for PRs to post my lifts, you are more than welcome to think that – I can’t argue with your opinion. I’m obviously not posting for you. I’m posting for the people that I talk to on a weekly basis … or for the people who stumble upon my page and tell me their story … these people who need to have someone as a role model not trying to sell them a damn thing other than believing that they could do this, too. Am I perfect? FUCK NO. I am a work in progress, ever learning, accepting advice and just someone who wants to be the best mom she can be … do I recommend training programs? Sure. But they will only work if you put in the time. #transformationjourney#progressnotperfection#eatcleantraindirty #nobadvibes #lovelife#ashleyhornerambassador #crossfitgirls