Not your average suburban mom. I’m more your typical, normal, commonplace, everyday, garden-variety suburban mom. With a thesaurus.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Still Busy Doing Warrior Stuffs

Texts with Hubby
Oh, and this year's Warrior Dash viking helmet.
I posted this on Instagram.
Where you can follow me.
I'm Sublurbanmama.
I know, it's a stretch.
Happy bi-yearly blog post!

Last week I was pulled from a sound sleep by the repeated peals of "Mama...Mama...Mama..." from across the house. It was hella early, and as I stumbled in a haze through the hallway to find the origin of my summoning, I could only speculate that the dear child who needed me so desperately was trapped in a sinkhole that suddenly struck our laundry room, or bound and held captive by suburban pirates who wanted to steal the giant container of Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte in the fridge, because for what other possible logical reason would the blessing from my womb be waking me at such an awful hour of the day?

I peeked in the bathroom to find my cherished only son sprawled like an octopus about the toilet - his rear inside the bowl with the rest of his limbs splayed akimbo. "Mama, it's about time you got here. Can you wipe me?" (1. Dude. Really? Gross.) (2. He's five. I KNOW ALRIGHT.) (I make myself feel better about wiping his tush by pretending it's my secret Super Hero identity "The Obliterator of Filth".) (Also, I have a Poop Alarm Clock. Don't get too jelly.)

In case you were wondering if my life got any less glamorous since I last blogged, rest assured, I'm still living like a Kardashian. And by that I mean large portions of my day are spent giving attention to the derriere of one family member in particular. *cough* Ezra *cough*

Other than living the Stay At Home Mama dream I am still plugging away with powerlifting. My shoulder is healing nicely, albeit slowly. (2000 Awesome Points for "albeit" usage.) I was officially released from physical therapy in June, and since I'd been there so.freaking.long they named a private room after me gave me two free t-shirts instead of one. #baller #knowspeople

Totally not me because I'm not stupid and
know to get my pop culture info from google
and Urban Dictionary like a responsible 36 year old
While I do miss the people at therapy I'm really really really happy to be back working towards my original goals. One thing injury cemented for me is that I know now I enjoy the strength aspect of lifting more than body building. While I do some body building work for aesthetic purposes (because c'mon, Mama Bear needs some fly lookin' delts)(if you didn't picture me saying that as Regina Goerge's mom, you're reading it wrong) (because I'm not a regular mom, I'm a cool mom) (obviously), most body building I do as accessory work for my big three lifts. There is just something unappealing about doing a million reps of a lift that works one main muscle at a time. It bores me and it is challenging in the wrong kind of way. It makes me feel like, "Oh, this is so not fun and the challenge is rooted solely in making myself finish the set." Powerlifting, where I'm lifting really heavy weights for a few reps, works a bunch of huge muscles at a time and has me all, "OHMYLANTA I WONDER IF I CAN LIFT THIS WEIGHT WITHOUT CRAPPING MY PANTS." (If you have to guess which of those two thoughts is more fun to have I don't even know why we're friends.) Plus? In powerlifting I get to wear a belt, so....

This is the closest I will ever come to being a fitness blogger/social media superstar because the level of embarrassment I had over taking this selfie at the gym was ridiculous. But there is me, in the far away mirror, rocking my capri's and Converse, and documenting that I did lift two hundred and thirty five freaking pounds. Twice.

The hardest part of this year has definitely been maintaining my weight. The hard part is that gaining weight makes me so much stronger. Like, not marginally stronger either. It's like "DAYUM GURL, go on and eat those Larry and Lenny protein cookies Wheaties because = 30# PR's for daaaaaaays" stronger. And that is seductive. What's not seductive is the discovery that my favorite dress no longer fits. So this year I am finding my sweet spot, or window really, of where I'm comfortable being as far as numbers on the scale. (Honestly, there is something I like about saying, "I've lost 100 pounds." I need to weigh 153 to be truthful for that. I also want to compete in the 148 weight class when I'm ready to compete. So my happy training window is around 153 strictly for emotional reasons. And I'm okay with that.)(Kind of. It was also really nice weighing 143 pre-shoulder injury, and I have a hard time not making that my new standard for where I need to be.)(Like, I'll weigh in at 153 and feel like I'm 10 pounds overweight and I get temporary amnesia where I forget that I'm still down ONE HUNDRED FREAKING POUNDS and all I can see are those ten pounds up from my lowest adult weight and I feel like I'm at my heaviest all over again.)(Also? The Kelly that was 253 pounds wants to smack 153 pound Kelly for even struggling with this ten pound dilemma.)(But 153 pound Kelly totally gets it.)

So there is a little bit of an update for y'all! I've gotten so many emails this summer and I appreciate every one of you that take the time to read this little blog! Thanks again from the bottom of my heart. (Which is the best part.)(Because it's closest to my tummy.)(And that's where all the cookies are.) #science

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I'm pretty sure Jake is a meth dealer.

Delt and Trap inhibitor taping
Kinesio tape 4 lyfe
I'm equally in awe and super pissed at the complexity of the human shoulder. There are a lot of little muscles, tendons, arteries and such streaming allllll through that mess. I've discovered that they are all a bit interconnected. If you make one angry they can collectively gang up on you in group protest, because apparently they have unionized and know the power of collective bargaining. Like, "Oh, Kel, you messing with ROTATOR CUFF? Let me introduce you to Rotator's friends: Pec Major, Pec Minor, Long Bicep, Delt, and Tri. Under the superb leadership of Captain Trapezius they will no longer be working for you. Until, of course, you take care of Rotator Cuff who is a giant PITA and made up of a billion (or four - whatever) tendons."

In related news, that shoulder injury I mentioned in passing a few months ago? IS SLOWLY KILLING ME. When it wasn't healing on its own (i.e. me complaining about it and icing it sporadically) I ended up at physical therapy three times a week where they actually had a plan in place to fix my rotator cuff (and pec major, pec minor, and long bicep)(because they are all in on it). This plan involved rehabilitation that included not only a therapist and a team of techs but also the instructions that I not lift anything outside of therapy.

I'll let that sink in a moment.

No lifting. No training for my powerlifting meet. No access to my favorite (and most effective) method of stress management. No getting stronger or sculpting my body. No lifting.

My first session should have been a heads up that I was going to need to be in this for the long haul. My assessment was with my new physical therapist Jake (who fully embraced Movember by growing a wicked 'stache and saying the words "testicular cancer" way too frequently) (and also scarily reminded me of Walter White from Breaking Bad with his shaved head and reddish mustache) (the obvious conclusion is that Jake is a meth dealer) (I'm pretty sure). He also totally reminds me of my little brother in that he doesn't think I'm funny at all let me get away with ANYTHING.

Our first session went well. By well I mean I fully expected to be rehabilitated and back lifting my maxes in less than a week and Jake understood the reality of the situation and CRUSHED MY SOUL with the truth.

An average therapy session starts with 15 minutes of heat, then moves on to a bunch of exercises to strengthen my back and the muscles in my shoulder. I do these exercises under the supervision of one of three techs: Matteo, Tim, or Shane. At home I call them The White Hats because they remind me of the easy-going jock frat boys from college. Their primary job is to make sure I am doing each exercise safely and effectively tell on me to Jake when I ask to up my weights again. These guys are so much fun.

Next is 20 minutes of hands on therapy with Jake while we fight about what I can and can't do at the gym, a short ultrasound treatment (that I'm convinced is going to give me super powers a la Peter Parker and the radioactive spider bite), and finishes with 15 of the best minutes of my life spent in a machine called GAME READY *angel chorus sings*.

"Darling, it pains me that you can't deadlift."
Game Ready is a cold and compression machine that feels like swimming in McDonald's iced coffee while Tom Hiddleston reads you poetry and calls you "darling" in Loki's voice. I get velcroed (totally a verb) in an arm/shoulder sling and sit while it pulses icy water all around and squeezes my poor, tortured muscles. It feels incredible.

There will be Game Ready in heaven.

So therapy is both awesome and terrible. Awesome because I love the people at the rehab clinic (even Jake but don't tell him), and terrible because they give me one pound dumbbells and I have to make myself *not* act like a disdainfully smug jerk holding them. Also, the ban on lifting has been obeyed by me completely at all times. (That sentence is a lie.)

It's hella hard to watch the months of hard work I put in at the gym disappear. I feel like I'm deflating. I spent the first two months of therapy nodding along to the rules Jake gave me and then going and doing whatever I wanted at the gym. That, of course, is the real reason I'm still hurt.

I'm the worst patient ever and also my own greatest enemy, because me ignoring my therapist has only resulted in him being crazily frustrated with me (picture him super pissed and actually hanging his head while he says, "IT'S JUST THAT YOU ARE CONSTANTLY PUSHING BOUNDARIES" as I sit like a lectured toddler while my bottom lip quivers but also like a petulant teenager while my heart screams, "BUT JAKE, YOU DON'T KNOW MY PAIN." (Of course I mean my figurative pain of being banned from lifting. Duh.)

If you missed the 90's I feel for you.
Because: this meme doe
Jake says, "Maaaaaaaybe you can try some wall push ups if you are careful," and I'm all, "I think what Jake meant was bench pressing heavy weight with full range of motion is now approved."  *Enter Lisa Loeb singing, "You say I only hear what I want to."*

About a month ago Kemper put his foot down and basically told me my only job right now is to heal my shoulder. Any muscle building/strength training would have to be secondary to getting my shoulder/chest back. And amazingly, listening to Kemper's directive to rest my shoulder (which Jake had been telling me for *literally* months) actually worked. I'm on the real road to recovery. Finally. Hoorah.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Lesson in Acoustics. Oh, and Sex Education.

It's rare I get one child all to myself; usually I have all four kiddos or some variation of the majority of them. So it was a pretty awesome discovery to realize that it was just Hosanna and I going to hear the Voices of Liberty inside the halls of the American Adventure at Epcot during our Disney vacation.

A quick note about Hosanna: she is by far my quietest child, but when she is alone with mom or dad the girl does.not.shut.up. It's like she's saved every scrap of every thought she has had since the last private conversation and unleashes it wildly without a breath or beat to spare. This is both precious and exhausting. It is hard for me to process so much input in such a short amount of time, which is why I concentrate on being an attentive listener, which is just a fancy way of describing how I let Hosanna deliver her monologue uninterrupted while maintaining eye contact and nodding to encourage her. (Parenting: nailing it.)

Our American Adventure Voices of Liberty date was no different. She chattered away, telling me all about the television show she had been watching recently. It was a reality show on TLC about a family who wanted children but had trouble having them because "the dad was missing something...or didn't have enough of something... ( MOVING ON) but then they found a doctor who found someone who had enough of what the dad was missing and the couple was able to have not only one baby but FIVE babies!" Hosanna told me alllllllll about this family as we waited for the a Capella group Voices of Liberty to sing*.

*Nerd Fact= I majored in music. Specifically, voice. So I may have been a little pumped to finally hear this renowned group sing in the space especially designed and known for it's perfect acoustics. What are acoustics? Acoustics are the way sound behaves in an enclosed space. Some acoustics will deaden sound, some will carry it. The acoustics in the dome of the American Adventure were designed so that a group of eight singers could sing patriotic songs without microphones and be heard perfectly all around. Translation: sound carries fabulously and vibrantly.

Voices of Liberty? Were dope. We sat right inside the domed shell and enjoyed every single note. Yeah, I found the girl that sings my voice part and yeah, I could have fit in her costume if I had boobs, so I'll definitely have that job someday. (I'm pretty sure that's how they cast those parts, right?) Hosanna kept leaning towards me to tell me something in between each song, but the flow was pretty steady, what with it only being a fifteen minute concert, so she never managed to get it out. She was almost bursting out of her skin as we listened to the final song, desperate to tell me the one last little thing that was on her mind.

She held it in as the last notes died and the applause began, and, to her credit waited until the applause stopped and I was wiping the tears of emotion from my eyes (because I love a Capella music and 'Murica) before blurting, "IT WAS *SPERM*, MOM. HE WAS MISSING HIS SPERM."

And the perfect acoustics of the perfect dome in the perfectly magical land that is Disney carried that sweet little message to everyone in the room.

You're welcome, Disney World.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Barbells, Beards, and Bald heads Oh My!


Okay, so that might be a generous description for what was, although an extremely bad@ss time, only a two hour drive and a seven hour experience. Day trip, maybe? Whatever. All I know is that this mama of four, after spending ten days at Disney World, set off on a solo adventure across state to observe what would become her favorite sport in the history of the world.

That's right. It's time for a little report of the Michigan APF Fall Open. (Since I know the majority of you reading this are learning about powerlifting with me, I'm going to try to explain everything I needed explained to me. So, APF = American Powerlifting Federation. The Open meet would offer three events - the squat, bench press, and deadlift. This is different from the meet I will be doing in January, which is just a Push/Pull; push = bench press, and pull = deadlift.)

"Hey Kemp, remember when you worked your
voodoo magic on my hip flexor? Too bad Imma
use my new found flexibility to ROUNDHOUSE
COFFEE." (Seriously, bro, I know. Post workout
iced coffee is legit.)
The meet started at 9:00 am, but there was an informational meeting for the athletes at 8:00 that I wanted to crash. I planned to leave my house at 5:30 am in order to get there on time. My first stop was (duh) McDonalds for iced coffee. (I can see Kemper wincing at this news.)(Don't worry, Kemp, I also got an Egg McMuffin with an extra serving of egg whites.)(Somehow I don't think the "muffin" portion of that confession made Kemper feel better about the Carb Fest that is McDonalds Nectar of the Gods Sugar Free French Vanilla iced coffee.)(Total disclosure - totally worth it.)(Like, I would cage fight Kemper and win if iced coffee was on the line.)(Huzzah.)

I was honestly kicking butt on the drive over. I was flying down the highway, listening to early morning radio and Driver's Seat Performing whatever chart topper cued up. I noticed about an hour into my drive that my shoulder with the rotator cuff injury was getting a little sore from changing the radio station so frequently using my death crush of a super strong grip to hold the steering wheel, and that's when I realized I'd left my instant ice packs at home. No problem - I'd just stop off at the next exit that had a Meijer or a drug store and pick some up.

This would have been a stellar plan if the exit I chose also had a functional on ramp to get me back to the highway.

Not again.
Since I don't have a data plan for my phone (enter rant here) I couldn't look up an alternate route, so I had no choice but to get on the highway going the opposite direction and pull an illegal u-turn. Because clearly that was my only option. (Don't tell my sis the cop.)(Although she would totally agree with me out of family loyalty only.)

I finished the drive and arrived at the venue approximately five minutes after the informational meeting I'd booked it out there to hear was finished. Awesome.

The meet was held at DeVos Convention Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It's a really pretty building, and the APF rented out two meeting rooms for the event. One room was for the judging and the other was a warmup area and general place to hang out.

Walls of Jericho, anyone? I remember watching
Earthmover practice in the basement of the Hasty
House/Beaverland Ranch. #memories
Walking into the warmup room I was overwhelmed with Feels. Firstly, it felt so familiar. Years ago I was a hardcore music scene kid. This was back in the 90's when people wore baggy pants and *ahem* wallet chains and I got horrible tattoos and rad body piercings that I will still deny publicly ever having to this day. I embraced the counter-culture aspect of the hardcore scene. I connected to the "tough as nails/defeat is not an option/fight The Man" personal philosophy of the scene persona. I loved the freedom to be a little bit different. The freedom to embrace the dichotomy of being a sweet, quiet girl who loved screamy music filled with power chords and the inevitable breakdown.

Walking into the powerlifting meet felt like returning to my youth. I told Brian later it was like the scene grew up and got into lifting. I understood the people. I got the music. I felt the camaraderie. *sighs dramatically and gazes earnestly* It felt like going home.

monolith squat rack after it jumped
out of nowhere and tried to maim
my cheek
I found Sara and dumped my stuff with her. I'd packed all my food for the day since I wasn't sure how long the meet would last. Sara gave me a quick tour of the meet set up and I "saw" my first monolith squat rack in person. "Saw" is the new way I'm describing running into it with my face because I wasn't paying attention to where I was going. I met some new people as we waited for the start. The National Anthem was played (totally wasn't expecting that) and the meet began.

Squats started the day. Each lifter turns in their "openers" - the weight they want to attempt for their first lift. The order of athletes is scheduled with lifts going from lightest to heaviest. This makes sense because with each new lifter the spotters only have to add weight to the bar, not completely unload it. Each person gets three lifts in each event, but the attempts are separated by a rotation through the line up, very similar to batting order in baseball. Each lift is judged by three people who individually vote if the lift is good or not. It takes 2 out of 3 white lights for a lift to be counted.

Watching people lift left my mind completely blown. Since powerlifting is an individual sport, numbers are really subjective. How much someone can lift is often considered in correlation with their body weight. For example, a 200 lb deadlift may not be that impressive to a lot of people, but when a tiny little 98 lb woman lifts it, people (um, me) be like, "Whut."

After squatting came bench press. This was Powerlifter Sara's first event. I was hyper nervous, so literally no encouragement cheering was coming from my mouth yet. Sara is crazy strong, so she did great on bench. I spent a lot of time observing protocol, getting a lay of logistics, and noticing why people failed certain lifts.

Firstly, yes, this picture is huge. But here you can clearly see all the players involved in this crazy
pageant of awesomeness. The woman on the left in the pink and the two men in white shirts are the judges. The two men in black standing next to the plates on the barbell are the spotters. They are there to stop you from dying if you fail the lift. The man in black holding the barbell over Sara is her handler Bob. Sara is on the bench with her super cute braids done by yours truly that you can not see. Not pictured: the super hot spotter who just happened to make every other picture I took that day. 

After bench was my favorite event: deadlift. 

Sara and her braids deadlifting.

I don't know this dude at all but his beard is on point.
Also, Brian makes fun of me every time I say on point.

By the time we got to the deadlift portion I felt a lot more confident in my decision to compete in powerlifting. The environment is so encouraging. After I got over my nerves I was able to fully join in with the yelling* that happens when someone struggles on a lift. I watched a lot of people fail on lifts, especially in the third rounds, and no one made fun of them. That really changed my whole approach to choosing my goal weights. Why go conservative when it doesn't hurt to try for all you got?

(*The yelling = I loved hearing one guy in particular yell encouragement to his buddies. In fact, I took his pic to show to Powerlifter Tracey because he was wearing a t-shirt from the gym where she trains and I figured she would be able to identify him. I want to be adopted into his lifting family so he can yell awesome cues to me like, "CHEST UP! SQUEEZE YOUR @SS!" because duh, then I totally will because his cues are both succinct and yelled with authority.)

(Seriously, I totally want this to happen.)

The day culminated with me witnessing an EIGHT HUNDRED FOUR POUND deadlift. Guys, this seems incomprehensible to me. You know my undying love for my Internet Boyfriend Elliott Hulse from Strength Camp? I remember my mind being completely blown that he could deadlift more than 600 pounds. EIGHT HUNDRED FOUR POUNDS? is ridiculous. Here is a picture of that happening:

While this was happening, it was loud in the room. But when those three white lights lit up indicating the lift was good it was like OUR TEAM WON THE SUPER BOWL.
(I also posted this to Instagram.)(Because did you know I'm on Instagram now?)(Sublurban Mama)(Follow that mess.)

So that is my recap of attending my first ever powerlifting meet. Welcome to the world of powerlifting y'all. Buckle your seat belts. We are in for a ride.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Disney World, Bootkemp, Day-Trippin', the return of The Walking Dead, and an Injury: A short tale

We on a Disney boat, y'all!
One of the great ironies of vacationing with children is often that you need a vacation to recover from the vacation once it is finished. We arrived home last Tuesday night after ten glorious days at Disney World and spent the next three days doing laundry and getting back to normal life. (i.e. consuming copious amounts of water and vegetables that the children were begging for.)("Begging for" is the new way I'm describing "being forced to ingest" as they whiningly requested the mac and cheese and chocolate chip cookies that comprised the majority of their diet for the preceding week and a half.)

We also resumed homeschool bright and early Wednesday morning, which was as enjoyable as you can imagine returning to the real world after doing ALLTHEFUNTHINGS could be. Thankfully we returned home to find our internet was out, so we were forced to school at the public library where we could steal their wifi the fear of an audience of strangers kept the children from completely melting down in their defiance of learning.

On Wednesday and Thursday I hit up the gym because as wonderful and all-inclusive as my Disney experience was, it lacked greatly in the powerlifting equipment area, and I was itching to grab a hold of the barbell. On Wednesday I deadlifted and did back and biceps, and on Thursday I benched and did upper body.

That's when I admitted something was going on. (*enter dramatic suspense music*) This is how it went down:

Me to Ironman Sarah who works in orthopaedics: Dude, my shoulder is being all weird. Like, it totally hurts when I shoulder press. When I'm lifting, once I get it passed my ear I'm totally fine but from my shoulder to that point it totally hurts. I even lightened my weights in front of ALLTHEBOYZ because I was scared I was going to really hurt myself.

Ironman Sarah: It sounds like your rotator cuff. I'll check it out later and be able to tell for sure.

Me: Cool.

*Later on, as I was checking in with Powerlifter Sara and her trainer, Trainer Corey*

Me: So is it cool to lift normally if I have a messed up rotator cuff?


(Ok, so maybe that is more of what I heard. What he actually said was something like this:)

Trainer Corey: Nope. You need to see a doctor. You could really hurt yourself. If your rotator cuff is torn you could need surgery. If it's not torn but just inflamed and you don't let it heal it could tear. You could be setting yourself up for a lifelong problem if you're not careful. So don't lift anything until you know for sure.


(Again, maybe this is more of how I was feeling. The actual conversation was something like this:)

Kelly: *stares incredulously* But only shoulder press hurts. Can I bench? *Corey shakes head negatively* *Kelly's voice goes up in pitch* Can I squat? *Corey's head again denies* *Kelly's voice goes even higher* Can I deadlift?

Trainer Corey: Not until you know for sure. You could really hurt yourself.

Kelly: I hate you right now. Why do you have to be so good at your job? (Yep. Verbatim.)

This blog gettin' all medical.
The next day I visited Ironman Sarah in her office where she examined me and declared my rotator cuff was not torn, but was indeed inflamed. I got a prescription to deal with the inflammation, and some worksheets full of rehabilitation exercises to do. That night I trained with Kemper. I'll write a full report of that later (because some FANTASTIC things happened there) and he did more of his voodoo magic manipulations and determined the rotator cuff injury was specifically affecting my Supraspinatus muscle and one other muscle. (I only remember the first one because I was all, "Trust me to hurt my SUPERspinatus muscle because I'm so SUPER," and Kemper was all, "It's SUPRA, Kel.")

Right now drugs, ice, and yes, upper body rest are my besties. I hate it. But you do what you gotta do, you know.

Saturday I attended (as a spectator) my first ever powerlifting meet. I drove a few hours to see Powerlifter Sara compete in the Michigan APF Fall Open. I saw 53 competitors of all ages and sizes squat, bench, and deadlift their maxes. Two days later and I'm still out of superlatives to adequately describe how it was. It was a very good thing. A game-changer, if you will. I will also write a full report on that experience, because the pics alone are worth your time even if you hate powerlifting. Trust me.

Yesterday we went to church, ate a special family lunch at Moe's (dem burrito bowls doe), and, after we settled the kiddos in bed, watched the much anticipated return of The Walking Dead.

It has been a crazy three weeks around here. I had so much fun, but I'm glad to be home. *clicks my Dorothy heels together* Happy Monday!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

If giggling over testicles is wrong, I can't be right.

Because anatomy is funny.
This is how you know you've chosen the proper Specialist to care for your chronically ill child.

I am at Hosanna's biannual allergy appointment. Dr. M (who totally reminds me of Eric Foreman from That 70's Show) and I have finished talking over the important issues like the cutting edge trials taking place to cure children of food allergies, how to heal her weeping skin and the resulting infections, and what new dietary and/or lifestyle changes need to be made to adjust to her current issues, when we move on to small talk.

We are discussing future plans, and Dr. M mentions retirement. I am shocked because I always forget he is 20 years older than me. He explains:

Dr M: I have to take my re-certification test next year, and at about $4,000 (and a lot of work) I can't imagine wanting to take the test again ten years later at 65 years old. So I'll probably just retire and go into missions.

Kelly: Yeah, my triathlon training partner is a PA for an orthopedic surgeon, and she had to help him get ready for his tests last year. It was super hard on her, so I can imagine how stressful it is on the testers. Or, not the testers, the-

Kelly and Dr. M (in unison): TEST-EES.

Kelly: *realizes what they just said* *thinks of testicles* *smirks* *smirk grows into grin* *realizes Dr. M is a mirror image of her own changing expressions* *are now both internally chanting, "Don't give in to the laughter, you are a GROWN UP," to no avail because they share a slight Beavis and Butthead giggle* *because they just pseudo shouted,"TESTES" and the idea of testicles is hilarious*

And that is how you know you've chosen the proper Specialist to care for your chronically ill child.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


You know how sometimes you have this huge internal struggle that you wrestle with for months?

And when you finally, finally decide "The heck with it; I'm balls in" you can't wait for the opportunity to tell all those you love?

Because you *know* all those you love will be shocked at the leap of faith you are taking?

But when you publicly drop the life-altering, life-changing decision you toiled over, all your friends and family are like, "Yeah, I saw *that* coming a mile away," leaving you wondering, "Am I really such a foregone conclusion?"

So that happened this month.

Yes, I'm talking about the decision to compete in my first powerlifting meet.

(Y'all saw that coming, too, huh?)(Apparently I'm last to the party on this one.)

At a recent training session, Kemper valiantly tried to argue one more time for the merits of going into figure competition. I finally trumped all his subtle coercion with the ultimate deal-breaker for me: modesty. There is no way around that one if I was going to go into figure competition. (Mom Those who may be wondering, figure competition is the one where you put on a tiny bikini and heels and stand on a stage to show the results of your months of strict diet and hardcore training.) Kemper conceded if modesty was my main issue then, um, yeah, figure wasn't going to work for me.

But if not figure, then what did I really want to do? I've spent the last twelve weeks working Kemper's 5x5 strength training plan. It was a total blast and hella effective. Here are the results from twelve weeks training:

Me getting ready to squat 170 x 5
Also, apparently I squat low bar naturally.
Because my traps are weak delicate.
I started the plan at 147.9 pounds (I'm 5' 3.5" tall) and 23.6% body fat.

I benched 65 for reps with a 1 rep max of 95.
I squatted 95 for reps with a 1 rep max of 155.
I deadlifted 115 for reps with a 1 rep max of 165.

Last weigh in I weighed 146 with 20% body fat.

I bench 95 for reps.
I squat 170 for reps.
I deadlift 165 for reps.

I have yet to test my new 1 rep maxes*, but I think it's fair to say Kemper's strength training plan has been fruitful. So what's next?

It's for STRENGTH GAINZ, geez.
The decision to go into powerlifting was hard for one simple, ridiculous reason. The scale. For me it started and ended with knowing I was going to need to change my diet to support my powerlifting goals, which meant I had to be okay with maybe gaining weight. Kemper used fun terminology like "calorie progression" to talk about eating for strength gains but I knew that was really code for "let's make you a nice, strong Chunky Monkey totally fluffified in time for all your Christmas photos". (Confession. The thought of Kemper actually uttering the words "Chunky Monkey" or "fluffified" kinda sets me to snickering.)(But it would be rad.)

This looks nothing like Kemper.
But the expression? Dude.
(Also, Random Thought For Free = I made Brian watch Brian and I watched The Fault In Our Stars Saturday night and Kemper totally has a facial expression twin. The actor that plays Augustus makes so many Kemper faces it kept taking me out of the imaginary world of Hazel Grace and Augustus (that was absolutely destroying me anyway, let's be honest) because I would be all, "Where have I seen that look..." and be mystified for all of three seconds before I was like, "Kemper freaking Sosa."

So what I was trying to say before Augustus Waters hijacked my life yet again, is that it took a fair amount of internal debate and reflection to see if I'm in a place to be able to mentally handle any body image issues that may arise because of bulking  becoming a fluffified Chunky Monkey  calorie progression. Finally I decided, "Dude, stop being a freaking girl and just go for it." So Imma do it.

What's the plan?

Baby Sister/Police Officer Extraordinaire
Full disclosure: Her name is Cassie.
But what kind of second rate older
sister would let the golden opportunity
pass to drop the nickname "Casshole"?
Not this one.
Firstly, I'm taking a three week break just to have fun. I'm sticking with the general outline of my strength plan (Mondays = chest and arms, Tuesday = yoga and sometimes run, Wednesday - deadlift and back, Thursday = chest/arms/HIIT, Friday = rest, Saturday = LEG DAY, Sunday = abs and HIIT) but I'm trying out a bunch of new-to-me exercises and machines. I'm training with Rachel Who Looks Like Meg Ryan on Mondays (and some Thursdays) and Powerlifter Sara on some Wednesdays and Saturdays. I trained with my baby sister (the beautiful and strong Casshole) last Thursday at LA Fitness. I'm playing around with stances and grips and throwing up new weights just because I can. HOORAH.

I'll meet with Kemper the first week of October to go over THE NEW TRAINING PROGRAM. You know, the one that prepares me for my first ever powerlifting meet. *throws up in my mouth a little from fear* I found a meet in January that is relatively close by; unfortunately it is only a push/pull competition, which means I will only be doing bench press and deadlift. (No squatting this time.)(Which I actually think might be a nice way to ease into this sport.) I'll start The New Training Program October 13, which gives me roughly 12 weeks to prepare. I'm also attending a meet in Grand Rapids, Michigan on October 11 to see Powerlifter Sara compete, which will give me some idea of what to expect when it's my turn.

I'm nervous, guys. I'm freaking out a little. I'm worried I may be the weakest person there. I'm worried I won't make my lifts. But this is good freaking out, and healthy fear. This is the fear that pushes me to try new things, to be better. These are the nerves that challenge my Navy Seal dreams. Second place is FIRST LOSER.

In conclusion, (I love that dropping that phrase always makes me feel like I've actually made some cohesive points) here is a picture of me hitting a new PR for deadlift on Sunday morning that has nothing to do with any of this post, and everything with just wanting to post a ginormous picture of myself deadlifting TWO HUNDRED POUNDS.

True story about this picture: Lifetime Fitness is relatively empty at 6:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning, which made it the perfect time to play around with a sumo deadlift stance and see how much I could lift. I did some light sets of ten reps to warm up (at 95# and 115#) and then started rocking out two reps every 10#-20# increase. My previous 1 rep max lift was 165#; after Kemper's strength training plan I could do 2-3 sets of 5 reps each at 165#. But I'd never done more than that. When I got to 175# it was a big deal. A NEW PR! But I kept going. 185#. Then 190#. I was all, "THAT'S A 25# PR!" Then I thought, "A 30# PR would be nicer." So I did it. Then I reasoned, "I'm only 5 measly pounds away from 200 - which is a really nice number." So I pulled 200# and freaked the heck out.
 Then I proceeded to ask every single person within a fifty foot radius if they had a camera with them and would someone pretty please with a cherry on top take a picture (because: proof) and email it to me?!?!
Thankfully my new best friend Toni (a.k.a. previously a perfect stranger) ran down to the locker room (oh yes, she did) to grab her phone and take the lovely shot above which she emailed to me because she loves and supports other women who lift. And I am super, super grateful.
The End.
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