Bitter Or Better? My Choice

imageThey say that you have two choices when faced with a crazy blow that life will sometimes deal you. You can either get bitter and assign blame, pout, get nasty, angry, and stay stuck. Or, you can get better and take responsibility, make a plan of action to rectify/change the situation, and move forward.

What happens is most people initially do get bitter. We’re angry. We ask, “Why?” We look for people to blame. If you stay in this mentality, the situation doesn’t really change. In fact, it may get worse. You could really dig yourself into a hole, or fall into an abyss that’s really hard to climb out of. I know, because I’ve been there and it wasn’t that long ago.

Three years ago, this month, March 28, 2013 to be exact, I blew my left knee out in a freak misstep when performing a move that was shoulder to overhead. I had not lifted that weight before so it was slightly difficult. Initially, I blamed my trainer who told me that the weight was “light” and that I could do it. I didn’t think I could, but I did do it once, so I believed I could do it again. Well, what resulted was me misstepping or landing incorrectly, and the way my foot planted tweaked my knee enough that it completely tore my left meniscus and severely bruised my ACL. I don’t believe that I ever really “healed” from that experience. What do I mean? Well, I know that my knee healed. I had surgery, and they removed my meniscus and I eventually went on to recover and get back to baseline, but my mind never really recovered.

imageI lost my shit when this happened. I seriously Lost. My. Shit. I was angry. I was depressed. I couldn’t function. I made the mistake of stopping all exercise as suggested by my orthopedist. It made sense because I could not truly bear weight on my left leg, couldn’t squat, blah, blah, blah. This lack of movement proved to be detrimental to my mental health. (You can read about it here.)

I think about how low I fell last time, metaphorically speaking, and I can tell you that I was NOT in a good place. I became very irritable. I gained weight that I have not yet been able to shed. I lost my fitness. And, worst of all, I became suicidal. Seriously, I wanted to die. I just wanted to die. I had become someone that I didn’t recognize. I was lost and frustrated. And even after my knee was repaired, I tried to make my way back into my fitness game, but it was far from the same. Where I once was running 25 miles/week, lifting weights 4-5 times a week, and even kickboxing 2-3 times a week, I was no longer able to workout as I had been. I believed that I would just get right back onto that horse, and what happened was that horse quickly bucked me off and laughed at me right in the face.

imageThis time is a little different because I know what to expect. My plan is to NOT fall into that same abyss that I fell into the last time I injured myself. How do I know it’s different? What am I going to do that’s different? Well …

It’s only been 4 days since I re-injured my knee. I was fatigued during the workout, so when it came time to squat clean 135lbs, I was already tired. I should have passed on attempting to lift it, but on a good day when I’m not fatigued, I can do it. I should have listened to my gut, but, I didn’t. I let my head and my ego get the best of me and I knew that I wanted to try. I only tried once and that was all that it took. It took me down immediately with my knee buckling inward.

I did not try to hide, mask, or pooh-pooh my injury. I cried out in agony, something that I would have never had done in the past. I let others help me. Someone got me ice. My trainer aced wrapped my knee. Last time, I did not seek medical attention. I had an appointment with my Physical Therapist the next day, and he was the one who convinced me to seek medical attention. I was naive in thinking that I would be able to fix and heal myself. This time, I knew what to expect, so I brought myself to the ER and requested an x-ray, then requested an MRI and an orthopedic consult. I had my MRI yesterday. I also immediately started working on the surrounding muscles of my knee by using a muscle stimulator. Along with compression, ice, and the use of my hinged brace has made a huge difference. I really haven’t had much pain. If anything, it’s 3 out of 10 on a 0-10 pain scale, and that’s really only when my knee is unstable and moves laterally. Something that I have already done this time that I never did last time, I reached out to my trainer and explained the consequences I may have if I limit or stop my movement. I asked for workouts that would instead focus on my core and upper body and cardiovascular exercise that would not require the “stabilization” or movement of my lower body, more specifically, my left knee.

I take full responsibility for what happened. I know the risks and benefits of doing the things that I love. I would not be me if I sat back and watched others do the things that I love and did not participate in the activity myself. Quite frankly, I am tired of people telling me, “You know you’re not a youngster anymore. You really should be careful. Maybe you should find another hobby.” Are you kidding me? I know exactly how old I am. And I know what I’m doing. I am doing what I need to do to feel alive, to feel happy, and to live my life. I don’t owe anyone any explanations at all. Like I said, I take full responsibility, and I will continue doing things that I love, that make ME happy, and that make ME feel alive. I’ve watched the video of what/how it happened. It serves me no purpose to keep rehashing and reliving it over and over again. What’s done is done. I can only learn from what’s happened and move forward.

So you can see, I have chosen to not become bitter this time around. I’ve already had my cry in my last blog post. I choose to see it as another learning opportunity. You see, things will continue to happen in your life until you understand the lesson that it is trying to teach you. I cannot yet tell you what the lesson is that I am to learn from all of this. I can tell you that I am open. I know that in order to figure out what’s happening to me on the outside, to understand why this lesson is being brought forth to me again, I must turn inward. I need to seek the answers within myself because the answers are inside of me.

I am different this time around. I am more open and vulnerable this time around, and I am also showing more of my vulnerability without shame. I am attempting to remain calm as I ask others for help, or when I tell my story, and not feel humiliated. I know that people are talking about me, saying things like I was stupid to even attempt that, but that’s their opinion. It’s not the truth. I was not being reckless, I was putting myself out there and doing something that not many women my age do.

I will not fall into the abyss this time around. I have a plan and have already began to institute it and illicit the help of those who love me.

So … Bitter or Better? I say BETTER. My attitude and my outlook are both different this time around. More optimistic, and realistic. I believe that things WILL get better. I believe that I WILL once again be restored and made whole. I believe that I WILL once again run, jump, lift. I believe that I WILL figure it out and healing IS already taking place within me.  Things CAN and WILL only get better from here on out.

Stay tuned.



The Dreaded Email From My Doctor.
The Dreaded Email From My Doctor.

It’s the middle of April 2014 already! How does this happen? I’ve looked in my que and I can see posts from 2013 that I haven’t posted or even finished. Such a lagger, and I have no excuses! Yeesh! Let’s see how this goes … Everyone and their uncle knows that 2013 was not exactly the “Best Year Of My Life” kind of year.  I really wanted it to be, and I really thought it would be because “13” is my favorite number.  It started off well, and just sort of ended just before it even really began.  Towards the end, however, it started to pick back up and I started to get into a groove – I was starting to CrossFit again, and I even ran a half marathon, but I just never felt “right.” I still felt out of sorts and even discombobulated. I thought I would elicit the help of my doctor to help me.  So I emailed my doctor in December to ask her if I could have a simple blood test to see where my hormone levels were. I know that in times of stress, hormones can get out of whack. I knew that my adrenals were fatigued, so my cortisol levels were skyrocketing. My doctor did email me back, but her response was NOT what I was expecting. It was no where near sympathetic, not even close. She basically told me that she did not believe that what I had was Adrenal Fatigue, rather she told me that I was depressed! What. The. Hell?!?  Wow! Just like that. She wrote a prescription out for some sleeping pills, and referred me to Mental Health. Wow. Needless to say, it set me off on a tangent and it fueled me to seek my own answers and get help for myself.  I can only imagine other patients emailing her and getting the same response and BELIEVING her and buying into the bullshit that they’re depressed, and taking medications that they don’t need! Wow. Just wow! I have no words to describe the disappointment that I feel in my primary care provider. I can only offer you this advice: YOU are the expert on your body.  YOU know yourself better than anyone else regardless if they have a medical degree. YOU KNOW YOU. Seek your own answers, don’t take the word of an “expert” who’s supposed to be on your side helping you. Just because they went to years of school, doesn’t make them an expert on you! God, help us all. So … I did what I believed was best for me. I fired my doctor, and I went on a quest to find my own answers to help myself.

It's okay ...
It’s okay …

In January, I could feel that I wasn’t 100% … I felt as if I were half-assing the WODs at CrossFit. I also felt as if I wasn’t giving anywhere near 100%. My body may have been in the box, but I really I felt as if I were not really progressing. I felt as if I were just there, taking up space and going through the motions.  I wasn’t dropping the weight that I gained throughout out the last year. And I was fatigued – mentally, physically, spiritually … I was spent. Drained. (Hello, HIGH cortisol levels!) So I knew that something had to change, and it was up to me to make that change. After a little, okay A LOT of soul searching, a few talks with my husband, and some others whose opinions I highly value, I made a few decisions to start the process of “resetting” myself and set if on an quest to restore balance within myself.

Tiny Smile Half 2014
Tiny Smiles Half 2014

Two things happened in February … I ran my first half-marathon of the year, the Tiny Smiles Half in Galt, and then the next day I started Bikram Yoga. As much as I love the power that my body emits during a long run, that feeling of pushing my mind to get my body through to the finish line, I really love and enjoy the peace that Bikram gives my mind as it restores my body from the “punishment” I bestow upon it. I love that it’s a open eye meditation.  I was just getting back into practice last year when I got injured and had to put it, as well as everything else, on the back burner.  This time I made a commitment to myself to practice two to three times a week. Within the first week, I was hooked again and felt amazing. I love the heat, but what I really love is the intense focus that I give myself for the 60 to 90 minutes that I am there. As easy as it is for me to get into a zone while running, during Bikram yoga I am able to easily transcend while there, and I come out of that hot room a different person than when I walked in.

Bikram Buddies
Bikram Buddies
Addicted to needles.
Addicted to needles.
Manual Adjustment by my Chiro.
Manual Adjustment by my Chiro.

Initially, the plan was for me to take the month of February off from any and all “hardcore” training. I wanted to miss CrossFit, and I did, but as February came and went, I still didn’t feel “ready.” March was to be more of the same – yoga, kickboxing, and working out in my own home box which I dubbed the “STAT Box.” I met up and consulted with a Compounding Pharmacist who was able to verify that I did indeed have Adrenal Fatigue, and was able to prescribe some medications and supplements to help me in my quest to restore balance. In this time, I went to see my Chiropractor and my Acupuncturist regularly and just continued to relax and wait.

Classes & Mindset Therapy.
Classes & Mindset Therapy.

I missed CrossFit. I missed my beloved box 209. I missed my trainer. I missed my body when it does CrossFit. But I wasn’t ready to go back. I was content to just keep on what I was doing. I felt rested. I felt better. I planted plants in my garden.  I watched my husband go to CrossFit and workout without me. I took a lot of classes that enriched my mind. It was ironic that the classes that I found and registered for were in line with my goals to stay focused, stay happy, and find balance. I love that I was directed to take a class on happiness entitled The Secrets of Happy People. There was a series at work that was offered as free for employees that I was able to register for. I was able to connect with a Psychotherapist who specialized in CrossFit Athletes, and I was able to sign up for online coaching to “reset” my mindset.  And the most interesting of all was a class on meditation that I was led to by complete accident.  Well, I don’t believe in “accidents.”  I believe that things happen for a reason, and that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Wow. Things were just all in alignment for me. Through all of these classes I was able to learn things that I felt in tune with. So it was an amazing two months of self-discovery and rest.

Running Of The Elk Half 2014.
Running Of The Elk Half 2014.

But here it is … April already, and I’m starting to get the itch. I’m ready to find my way back to my trainer and to my box. I feel mentally stronger. I feel as if mentally, I have always been strong, but the compounding stresses that I experienced in 2013 really took a toll on my and beat me up psychologically more than physically. It’s time to test the mind again, and I did that recently with another half marathon that I was totally unprepared for physically. The Elk Grove Running of The Elk Half Marathon. Ugh. Never have I wanted more to just stay home and in my warm bed.  Never have I gotten into my car and just thought, “I’m just going to sit here,” until 15 minutes to gun time. I seriously sat in my car and had to talk myself into walking to the start line. Wow. But I did it. I got out of my car and I walked to the starting line with NO time to spare after having to use the porta potty! Throughout the ENTIRE run, I kid you not, I prayed. I seriously believe that God wanted me to be in church that day because all I did was pray. I knew that my body knew what to do to get me through to the finish line, it was my mind that I had to tell to STFU! Time to move on. Time to get serious about training again. Time to let go of the past, and move forward with myself. I’ve hit the “reset” button and now it’s time to put what I’ve learned in motion. It’s time to start rebuilding Row.  I’m not going to say much about what I’m doing, rather I’m just going to let the results speak for themselves.  033121

Stronger than ever ...
Stronger than ever …


Stronger Than You Believe

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Henry Ford said that and it came to mind today because something happened that stirred up a lot of emotions within me.

I work in a volatile environment. The Emergency Room is an environment where a lot of emotions can get heated, and the atmosphere can change in the blink of an eye. Hospitals were once considered a place of safe haven, but in reality, they not really a “happy” place to be for most people. People usually only end up there because they’re sick or because they were injured … sometimes severely. So you never really know what can happen.

The workbooks from my classes.
The workbooks from my classes.

It is because of this that I, as well as other Health Care workers who work in volatile environments, are required by JCAHO (Joint Comission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization) to be able to prevent violence in the health care setting. So … the solution is to mandate their employees to attend training to be able to diffuse violent situations, or to protect themselves should we/they become a victim.

I was in a class today, my second one in two weeks, but for a different place of employment (I work in two different hospitals). It’s funny how in my first class, when the instructor asked, “What would you do, if you were in a situation with a violent individual?” and the majority of the individuals, those that knew me, all jokingly (??) responded, “I’d go get Row.!” Really? And then again today, I was in a class where I knew only a few people, yet someone who only knows of me remarked something similar, that they had been forewarned about my “skills.”  Wow.

It was during my class today that I had an epiphany of sorts … something happened that reinforced my belief in myself. I was in a class with a nurse who was afraid.  She was afraid of what would happen if a situation (violent, irate patient) were to really spiral out of control; afraid to let herself get into a situation where she would have to protect herself or her staff.  I felt her apprehension. I felt her fear emanating from her. Our classroom setting was FAR from real, but her fear was palpable and I didn’t like it. So, while in the middle of her voicing her over-reactions, I told her not to worry, to just run, to get herself out of that situation. I’m not sure that she liked my comment, I could see it in face, but I went on, telling her that she was making the situation worse by being so fearful and letting on that she was scared. I told her that it was okay if she was afraid, that it was okay to call for help, but she had to leave the situation.  My comment was not intended to come out mean, or condescending, but I wanted her to know that she had to leave the situation because if I could feel the fear from her in a non-threatening classroom situation, imagine how heightened her fear would be in a real life situation.

The thing is, is that although I’m small, I refuse – REFUSE – to be a victim.  I’m small, however, I am so much stronger than I let on. I am not a fan of women who play small and meek. Stand up. If I’m ever in a situation where someone is trying to take me down and wants to hurt or kill me or someone that I love, you better believe that I’m going to fight. I’m going to do whatever it takes – WHATEVER THE F#@K IT TAKES – to get up.

So … I train. I train because I am afraid. I train because I don’t want to be afraid. I train to get rid of stress, anger, anxiety, to look good, to escape, to live longer, to be stronger … I train because I don’t want to look like a victim. I don’t want to be that small, meek woman who’s a easy target.  I want someone to look at me and think, “Let’s go mess with someone else.”

During my training, it was amazing and empowering for me to hear things like, “You’re strong.” “Don’t mess with Row.” “Watch how she changes when she gets into fight stance.” or “I was warned about you. Mike Miller (one of my training partners and instructors) told me about you.”

During my training, I was used as an “example” during the hands-on portion of the class. My reaction times are quick and I’m not afraid to be placed in situations. It’s during this time, when I enter into “fight stance” that my demeanor changes and I become someone or something else. The more you practice and train, the more comfortable you become. With that being said, if you are not comfortable, it’s okay to be afraid and to get yourself out of that situation. It’s okay to call for help. I would do the same if I knew that I could not control the situation. I’d still call out for help just because I know that there is power and safety in numbers when in a dangerous situation. The goal, my goal, is NOT to look like a badass. My goal is to get out alive, safely. My goal is to go home to my family in ONE piece.

I don’t believe that it serves any woman, or anyone for that matter, to play small. I know so many women who don’t own their power. OWN IT. You are so much STRONGER than you believe yourself to be. Never believe that you can’t or that you’re not able to do something … When that thought first creeps into your mind, you’re DONE and you don’t ever want to be DONE in that situation.

**Note: The classes that I took for my jobs were both for NON-VIOLENT techniques to diffuse a situation. I would NEVER jeopardize myself, my license, or any patient in the workplace setting. I would protect myself, yes, but seriously, my jobs don’t care about my self-defense or fighting skills. They want more to make sure that everyone is safe, and I understand that. The goal is to go home in one piece, remember? 

It’s Septemberrrrrr …

Believe in yourself and start … Put one foot in front of the other and gooooo!

It’s September and you know what that means for me … I’m supposed to start running again. And I don’t mean just running … I mean RUNNING! I’ve got a really rigid and FULL racing schedule that starts in a week!  A WEEK!!! EEK!

Love this little bit of motivation.

Wow … That being said … Let me tell you that I’m NOT ready.  I’m not 100% healed.  My poor right foot still aches at times and I feel bad that it’s not completely healed up.  I have seriously rested it as much as possible, and have been faithfully going to see my Accupuncturist, and my Chiropractor.  I’ve been using my H-Wave, pain patches, and what not.  Let me say this … If I get my insert in my shoe just right, then I have NO issues and absoulutely NO pain. I just have to figure out how to do it so that my insert doesn’t slide around in my shoe and stays put while I’m running. I have a lot of work to do still to get my foot to 100%, but I’m okay. I can do this!

Other than that … Life is good.  I had a great August off from racing. I have been focused on CrossFit and training with my stellar trainer, spinning here and there, and like I said, just working on healing up my foot.  But September is here and this is what I have coming up in the next few weeks …

This says it all … Just Run!

Yeah … I know … Reading it makes me tired! But I love it. I love the atmosphere of racing – even though I’m not a “racer,” just a runner enjoying the venue and atmosphere. I love the race signs, the crowd support, the cheering and motivation. It’s just fun to be there.  I used to say that I loved the bling, but honestly, I’m not completely in it anymore for the bling as they just hang there on my wall … =)

I have NO room for negativity in my life.

In other news … I got my first “hate” comment on my blog.  For obvious reasons, I chose not to approve the comment and let it remain in limbo.  Someone “Anonymous” was quite unhappy with me that I took credit for my friend winning the NWM entry, and then went to say that I should not have won or even entered in the first place.  Because I did enter, this individual basically stated that I was full of myself, not a good friend for entering a contest that my friend who really wanted to win was in, and that I didn’t deserve a the entry I had won into the NWM. Ah, I’m not going to dwell on it.  Whoever it was, thank you for your opinion although it was not warranted.

Moving forward … I’m looking forward to the next upcoming weeks. I am truly thankful to be able to run and participate in some awesome events and running with friends.  My youngest son has been convinced by his friend to join the H.S. Cross Country team.  I’m secretly happy for this choice. I was on my H.S. Cross Country team.  My boys have been so busy with their activities – baseball, basketball, school, etc.  My daughter has found a love in CrossFit209 Kids. I’m happy for that! And … my husband has made a conscious choice to amp up his training and has also added CrossFit into his regime! You don’t even know how extremely happy I am about this!  I love working out beside him! He’s the best!  I have and lead a great life and I am thankful for everything that I have been blessed with.

Okay … I better get going and planning out and packing up for the next few weeks.  You ready? Who’s with me? Let’s goooooo!

Obsessed or Addicted?

Resting is an IMPORTANT part of any training ...

The last two months have been rough on me and my body.  I’ve been sicker than I have been in a really LONG time.  But I’ve worked through it and I’ve gotten considerably better and am at almost 100% … because I’ve actually taken the time to rest and take care of myself.  Being sick was actually more like a “forced rest” for my rib joints that have been injured, and it was a blessing that I finally went to  see my Physical Therapist.

I’ve gotten a lot of flack from people though about my exercise habits, especially while sick.  Not a little, but a lot.  People like to say things to me like, “You’re obsessed.” Or, “You’re addicted.”  Really, people?  Maybe I am, but which one am I?  Let’s look at the definitions and then figure out which one I am, obsessed or addicted …

The World English Dictionary defines obsessed as: (noun)  A persistent preoccupation, idea, or feeling.  In psychiatry, they say it’s a persistent idea or impulse that continually forcesits way into consciousness, often associated with anxiety andmental illness.  Ohhhhkaaayyy … so an obsession is something that dominates your thinking or your thoughts, right? That can’t be all that bad.

Addiction, on the other hand, is defined by as: (noun)  The state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.  So, of the two, obsession or addiction, this is the worse of the two, right, because it implies that it affects your mood and behavior negatively. This is BAD.

I’m neither.  Seriously … I do think about my exercise habits, but not to the point where I think I’m going to kill myself trying to do it.  Honestly, in the last couple weeks, I have NOT exercised consistently at all.  My trainer has sent me texts wondering if I have fallen off the planet.  I’ve run a few races, but not at 100%.  The last race I ran, I practically had to walk because I was so sick.  So … I know my limits.  I understand and know when I can’t push and should stop.  What most people are seeing though are my Facebook posts that I “ran” a race or that I went to workout.  It’s not consistent, people.  Yes, I love my workouts.  I love working out and getting physical, but I know when I can and can’t and shouldn’t  … I know.  Ask my friends that I workout with … They will vouch that I have NOT been in the box hitting the gym consistently at all.  Ask my running partners … They will tell you that I have not been running as far or even as much as I should.  My husband will tell you that I go to races sick and gagging, but I still run because 1) I already paid for the race, and 2) I wouldn’t run if I really physically couldn’t.  Ask my trainer, and he’ll tell you that I’ve been missing in action, and he’s been big on me getting better so he tells me to get better then get my a$$ back in the gym. Over the last few weeks, I could be found lounging on the couch or in bed chillin’, and taking more vitamins and even a round of antibiotics that I usually would NOT take.

There ya go ...

So obsessed or addicted? I believe that my behaviors border on obsession, but … I believe that the word we’re looking for here is dedicated.  Defined, dedicated means: (adjective) wholly committed to something, as to an ideal, political cause, or personal goal.  I have fitness and training goals, and I LOVE training and working out, however not to the point where I’d say I’d kill myself if I didn’t.  I like to joke that I am somewhat “OCD” about my workouts, but I’ve been known to be lazy at times, so “addiction” does not fit me.  It’s dedication, not obsessed, nor addicted … I am DEDICATED.

Shhhh! Shut up already!

I also would like to point out that the people who are such “experts” on letting me know that I have obsessed and addicted behaviors, have BMIs over 30+ and are no where near active in any way shape or form and they should just keep their mouths shut – verbally and physically to keep the crap that they say from spewing out, and to keep the crap that they feed themselves from getting in! Really, don’t people have better things to do than comment on MY behavior, when they have absolutely NO room to talk about their obsessions and addictions with lack of exercise and with their love of carbs and junk food?

Bitter much? Naw, just tired of people who think they know everything about me when they don’t even know me … Let ME worry about ME.  Okay … I know that I’ve really gone round and round with this over the last few posts so I’ll get off my soap box now.  I’m done. Before I sign off, have a peek at this article … It’s a really good article on foods that can help you heal and recover.   Have a great day, everyone!