Saturday, August 24, 2019

You Are Stronger Than You Think

Last week I was at CrossFit, working on the weekly challenge. To improve grip strength, we had to hold all kinds of things for a total of 3 minutes. The weights of the items (plates, kettlebells, etc) were prescribed by the workout. But 53# kettlebells? I didn't think I could do it. I opted for 35# kettlebells and was standing with them when one of the other participants, a 60-something PT who has no filter, started ridiculing me for scaling the lift. I defended my choice. She kept at it and I started to get upset. She said to me; You are stronger than you think. Her son, who is one of the coaches, chimed in. He commented that I wasn't even struggling, that those 35# kettlebells were too light for me.

Fighting tears, my voice cracking, I told them to stop. Fine. I put down the 35# kettlebells and picked up the 53# pair. I held them one minute before I put them down to give my hands a rest. You held them for a minute? he said. See? You are stronger than you think. I finished the exercise, holding them for 2 consecutive minutes. When I was done, he and his mother congratulated me. I told them they were mean and the mood lightened.

Why did I get so upset? There's no crying at CrossFit, right? Why did I think I couldn't hold those kettlebells? Would I have pushed myself to lift heavier without that 'encouragement'? Am I holding back when I could be doing more?



Week in review:
Sunday: run 3 miles
Monday: CrossFit
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: Run 5 miles, Yoga with Adriene
Thursday: strength train, bootcamp (ran 1950m), finish up weekly challenge
Friday: rest
Saturday: 8 miles, Yoga with Adriene
Total: 17.26 miles

I've struggled with confidence issues since I was young. Certainly, as I've grown older, I've become more comfortable in my skin, my job, and as a runner. Intimidated by other athletes, never feeling like I could measure up, it took me a long time to join a running club or run with a group. Even though I've been working out with a coach for 5 years, I didn't participate in the group bootcamp until last year. Crossfit? The WOD? There's no way!

However, on that same day that I was called out for going light on the kettlebells, two of the women who regularly participate in CrossFit came up to me. "You really should do the WOD, " each of them said to me. "You're stronger than you think". 

Ok, if you believe in signs, I read them, loud and clear. On Monday, I signed up for my first WOD. I reviewed the workout on the website before I signed up. It looked doable. The first part of the workout was strength and the second part was MetCon (metabolic conditioning), which is kind of like bootcamp. One of the women, who is about my size, asked if I wanted to partner with her for the strength workout, strict presses. Perfect! My favorite overhead lift, I worked up to 55# x 5 reps x 5 sets.


The MetCon was called "tracks": 20m prowler push +50# plates, 10 back squats with 65# on a bar, 100m row +20 power pulls, and 100m run; this circuit was repeated for a total of 3. The workout was timed. I was worried more about safely getting the 65# bar over my head and on my shoulders and less about time. I cleaned the bar to my shoulders and lifted it over my head, placing it on my upper back. I loved that I could let the bar roll off my back when I was done with the lift.

That same coach who earlier in the week was riding me about not using the heavier kettlebells was right there, encouraging me during the WOD. "You got this, Wendy. You're stronger than you think!" But instead of feeling defensive or discouraged, I rose to the challenge. Yes, I came in DFL but I did the entire workout without needing to scale it.

When I returned on Thursday for my strength session and bootcamp, I brought that mantra with me. Coach Sammy Jo had me work on chest presses (working up to 65# x 6 reps) alternating with bent barbell rows. There was some stability work after that and I surprised myself by completing the alligator walks (using gliding disks) without having to stop. Bootcamp was a bunch of activities, with an 800m run to start and finish. I was thrilled to complete my first 800m run in 4 minutes!


Oh, running, how I've missed you! It's not that I haven't been running, but for a while, I haven't been running well. Is the tide turning? Wednesday's run was done in the humidity and heat and I was happy to end up with 5 miles. On Saturday, I woke up to near perfect running conditions. I changed my goal for the run from 6 miles to 8 and started out with the mantra. "You're stronger than you think." I brought back the run/walk intervals because that's where I'm at right now. Every time I wanted to quit, I repeated my mantra. When I look at my splits, I feel pretty good. Consistency is the goal and that is what I got.

Because yes, "I am stronger than I think." It's a good thing I'm feeling strong because I'm taking my youngest back to school today. It never gets easier.


You are stronger than you think! /via @oldrunningmom #runchat #runner #mantras

So many mantras, so little time! What are your go-to mantras when you're struggling? Do you push yourself or do you push a little harder when someone else pushes you? How was your week? Anyone else struggling with missing their college kids?

I'm linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Rundown.

54 comments :

  1. You are stronger than you think and I think most of us are. It is easy for me to hold back as well because I am afraid to fail? I am not great at feeling uncomfortable either.I am glad to read you were able to attempt and succeed at the havier weights. Not sure I like those class mates bullying you into it though. Thanks for linking up and good luck with the move in

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    1. Yeah, that was a bit rough. I'm also very thin skinned, so I need to let stuff like that roll off my back. Anyhoo, it pushed me, right?

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  2. Yes, you are stronger than you think and you can get more and more because you have a great attitude.
    5 miles in such weather conditions is a good distance and on saturday ... you were stronger than you thought.

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    1. I have no problem pushing myself when I want to. It's just that the desire wanes when a tough workout looms ahead!!!

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  3. Congratulations on working through this! I work out with a trainer and he pushes me hard. I often end up a blithering mess by the end of our time together, but I very seldom say "no, I can't do this," because I know I can! It really gives me a sense of accomplishment after each workout.
    (One caveat, I've had a neck injury, so I do tell him if something is too heavy because I can tell it is affecting my neck, such as overhead presses.)

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    1. I do the same thing with lifts when my joints are bothering me. My coach is great at making modifications.

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  4. You are so strong! But I hope they realised that meanness can upset other people a bit too much and scale it back.

    I have a mantra of "I am a machine" that I got from Murakami's book. I also used to use, for some reason, the faintly hilarious "She is a dull but competent runner" to get through some long training runs. Ha!

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    1. I read your last mantra and nearly spit out my water! LOL! That is perfect for me too!

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  5. When I'm struggling during a run I always tell myself "keep moving forward". If that means running slower that's fine and if it means walking that's fine too. It's one way to keep myself out of a negative headspace because once I go negative, it's hard for me to come back from that.

    I really love reading your crossfire story this week. Sometimes we need that little push to run faster, lift heavier, etc. Often times other people can see more potential than we in ourselves.

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    1. Thank you for the positive spin on my CF experience! Everyone there is mostly supportive--getting called out like that was kind of tough on me. They were right, though.

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  6. Pushing is a good thing, but ridiculing? Seriously, it is just mean. And they're not your coach. I don't know, I'm glad that it worked out well, and yes, most of us are definitely stronger than we think we are, but sometimes the Crossfit mentality (at least, what I read about it) just doesn't sit well with me.

    I think it's kind of like how I never liked Jillian Miller's "motivation" (screaming in your face). Different strokes for different folks, right?

    Sounds like you had a really good week because of it so it's all good!

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    1. I didn't feel ridiculed, and I'm sorry if you read it that way. It was harsh, yes, but what they said is definitely NOT the CF mentality--if anything, I've found the community at my place to be extremely supportive. The encouragement from the other women is how I ended up starting to do the WOD.

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  7. I love this mantra - it's one I come back to frequently. I also just repeat some iteration of "push" or "onward" or "find one more second." But we are all stronger than we think and can go further than we think. Sport is so mental.

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    1. You are so right! One of the reasons group training is so effective is that the others in the group support and yes, push each other.

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  8. Yes! I had this on repeat last week during my second leg of the VT 100 on 100 relay. It was so freakin' hot and humid and I had 10 miles to run with almost 900 ft of elevation gain at 2 pm. I started to beat myself up when I felt myself slowing down but I switched the mantra to positivity. Guess what? It helped. I still was not loving running at the time but it made me keep moving through the tough parts.

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    1. I'm glad this mantra worked for you as well as it did for me!

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  9. "You're stronger than you think" is a great mantra. I love how it came to you naturally. You didn't have to search for it or think about it. Those are the best kinds. Your strength workout sounds awesome. Very impressive. And to finish it with a 4 minute 800 m? Crazy good!

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    1. It's interesting how the runs at CF feel so "easy" compared to my regular runs. It's like my body is saying, oh we know what this is!

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  10. Isn't it interesting how our minds hold us back sometimes? I"m glad you went for the heavier kettlebells!

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    1. Funny thing is, I thought about you after this class and how you would have told me the same thing! Clearly I need encouragers in my life!

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  11. I definitely push harder in a group setting, but I don't think I'd respond well to that kind of goading. It is good to challenge yourself, but you also need to know where to draw the line. I find it hard to know when I am being a wimp and when I am being smart. You are rising to a lot of challenges lately and learning how strong you are.

    Good luck with the college drop off!

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    1. I didn't respond well either since I was fighting tears! I am way too sensitive. Glad I got it done, though. Plus the whole experience gave me plenty to think about (and a blog post!).

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  12. I've used that mantra for awhile now- its such a good one! I tend to hold back and not push myself. Once we change our mindset our bodies usually follow pretty quickly! So glad you had some good workouts last week.

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    1. Now to apply that principle to my running. I have to get over this hump!

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  13. Looks like my comment bit the dust (?) Anyways, I think ALL of us are much stronger than we give ourselves credit for. It's a shame it (often times) takes hearing it from others to get us to believe it. Great job at the gym last week!

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    1. My insecurities run deep! It was good to get that push, even if it was painful hearing it.

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  14. So amazing!!

    I think this post came at an auspicious time for me. I'm battling some acute issues as well as some chronic ones, and it is all too easy to go all too easy, because I'm worried. Thanks for the reminder that I'm stronger than I think.

    You are a daily motivation for me and I love reading about your successes. Way to go in the gym this week!!

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    1. You are so kind! I think we all motivate each other, especially on this weekly training recap.

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  15. I love the mantra... "THere is going to be a day you can't do this and today is not that day." Hope you have a good week!

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    1. That mantra really hits home for me because I am starting to feel as though I am running out of time. I just said that to my husband last week. It's kind of scary!

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  16. Hmmm. I like it when my coach will ask me how I feel while I'm doing something with weights and then, if I say great, fine, or anything denoting easy, he will laugh and hand me heavier weights. I know that I need help with moving to the next level with what I can do, even if I don't realize it, my coach will get me there. But I don't think I would respond well to ridicule; I'm impressed that you handled that as well as you did.

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    1. As I said to Judy above, I didn't feel ridiculed, I just didn't like the way I was being pushed. My coach took me aside later to talk to me about what happened. Bottom line, it made me push harder and that is a good outcome!

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  17. Sounds like a great week overall! I would have been upset about the comments about scaling down the weights but it sounds like they had good reasons and were right that you could handle more. Great job pushing yourself!

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  18. You are stronger than you think is a great mantra, especially when you're doubting yourself. I always repeat to myself that I can do hard things if I set my mind to it. I guess that's my mantra ;-) And way to power through it all!!!

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    1. This strength training has really pushed me beyond any limits I ever thought I had!

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  19. You are absolutely stronger than you think! That's one of the things I love about CrossFit.

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    1. It's intimidating but I love that we can scale the workouts if we need to!

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  20. I feel for you Wendy!! We have all had those moments, and emotions can take us by surprise, but you handled it REALLY well and absolutely rose to the challenge!! I think we are ALL stronger than we think and are quick to say "there's no way I can do that" and not even try. I often use my kids as examples in those situations and try to adapt their mindset because they have never said no to a challenge and literally think they can do ANYTHING! The best part? If they fail, they just shrug it off. GREAT job with the WOD and applying what you learned directly to the next day. Just awesome!!

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    1. Thank you friend!!! I just didn't want to quit or walk out--I don't think I could ever have faced them again. And yep, I rose to the challege.

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  21. That's a mantra I've been turning to a lot lately. My other one has been "strong mind, strong body". You had a great week!

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    1. I like that one too! Because it really is all mental, right?

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  22. Well, I already knew this! I'm glad you're learning too. I laugh, but I struggle with confidence (and shyness) too. We are much more than we think and I guess sometimes it takes a somewhat rude person to bring that out of us. :-)

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    1. Kind of funny how that works? :P There was no way I was going to cry in front of her--or anyone else there!

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  23. Amazing!! Stronger Than You Think, Brilliant. Beyond Stoked For You Right Now. Well Done!! As Time Fly's Right On By, The College Kids Will Return Soon. Really, Those Holidays Aren't Too Far Away. Big Hugs Wendy Roo

    Cheers

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    1. I'll get to see him this weekend. Going to the lake. He's got a rugby match too.

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  24. I agree - I've got a t-shirt that says exactly that - I'm stronger than I thought. I got it when I qualified for Boston. That was a dream come true for me! We all have so much more in us than we believe sometimes :)

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    1. That BQ is the one goal I never achieved--my mental game just wasn't strong enough! I needed to believe.

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  25. You are absolutely stronger than you think! I like that mantra a lot, but there's also a huge difference in saying a mantra to oneself than receiving it as a comment from someone else. My go-to mantra is "I can do this all day." Even if I can't actually, it helps me dig deep to push for just a little longer.

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    1. You are so right and hearing that from 4 people that day was really affirming!

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  26. It is a great mantra! And I agree that you are stronger than you think. We are our own worst critics and rarely acknowledge the great things we can do. You have had many hiccups along the way but you are still doing phenomenally. You are truly amazing!!!

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    1. You're too kind. I'm still looking for that missing endurance!

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  27. You are stronger than you think - what a great mantra! I'm glad you rose to the challenge and congrats on so many great workouts last week.

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