Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Journey

This week I want to feature Stephanie. She has been with me for over a year and doesn't look to be going anywhere any time soon. I have to be honest with you tough,. When Stephanie first started at my 5:30am CrossFit Central class I was not a big fan of her. She whined and her attitude was not the greatest. Needless to say I wanted her in another class so I wouldn't have to deal with her.
I year later she is still in my Central class and is Olympic Lifting twice a week with me at Red Black Gym. She has made great strides and continues to grow as a CrossFitter and an Olympic Lifter as well. I absolutely love having her around and consider a friend.

I joined Crossfit Central in November of 2010. It quickly became very apparent to me that I would need A LOT of extra attention if I ever hoped to learn any of the Olympic lifts, let alone be able to perform them fast with some sort of technique. In April of 2011, I decided to add on Zach’s Olympic Lifting class to my normal schedule. My thinking was, I’ll take this class for three months, figure the lifts out and then I can go back to just crossfitting.

I can remember my first few classes; everything seemed very foreign and really difficult. When I started, I was secretly afraid of snatching. After all, my idea of the lift was to take a weighted bar and throw it at my head, how can you not be afraid of that? So, in the beginning I could only lift with the bar which weighs a whopping 35lbs; hey, everyone has to start somewhere. Even with the bar, I could somehow manage to lose my balance and fall or hit myself with the bar in some other way (I’m embarrassed to even imagine what that looked like.) NOTE: Learning something new is not for the proud; you have to be vulnerable and willing. I would wake up almost every morning with new bruises but all I could think about was how/what I could improve in the next class. It was physically difficult, but more mentally exhausting and at times I felt like a small child trying to learn how to tie my shoe and then immediately jump up and throw a ball. I say mentally exhausting because I would spend a few minutes in front of the bar running through a checklist in my head of things I had learned and was trying to make a habit for my body. It would go something like; feet even and toes pointed slightly out, shins lined up with the bar, bar against the body, hands in the same place each time, hook grip, eyes forward, chest up, shoulders back, knees out, back tight, weight in middle of the foot, deep breath in, hold it, small prayer to God that I would complete the lift, and this is all just to get set up. I could probably spend an hour on the platform just preparing for a lift, but then that’s where the mental part kicks in. I could talk myself out of a lift in equally the same amount of time. Now, imagine doing all of that and your body still only does half of what you told it to do.
Like I said, mentally exhausting. ..

I have had several small achievements, and some big achievements, but they all make huge impressions on my attitude. The first time I received a clean in the proper position and stood it up, I was so happy and it felt so easy, I couldn’t wait to try it again. The first time I snatched and pulled myself under the bar, I realized I would never hit myself in the head with the bar! No longer being afraid of something is incredibly liberating. That’s how it goes; you get something right, then you go back to being inept, then you get something right again. It’s a cycle and somehow along the way you learn and hopefully reinforce only the good. That’s where Zach comes in, he’s always watching.

Zach sees a lift and Boom!, you have immediate feedback on what went wrong and what you were supposed to do instead. Now get back on the platform and try again! Zach’s passion for Olympic lifting is obvious to anyone that he meets and his commitment to the sport pushes me to work harder than I thought I could. He also breaks the lift’s down so we practice progressions. Now instead of feeling like that “small child trying to learn how to tie my shoe and then immediately jump up and throw a ball,” I’m just focused on getting the loop on the laces right. Then rest will come, but it’s all in the details and you build on the technique.

I knew lifting was going to be hard when I started, but I never expected that that I would love it and would become addicted to it. I have gotten so much stronger and never fear Crossfit WOD’s with Olympic lifts in them because I always know how much weight I can handle. The initial three months I signed up for came and went; I’ve been in the class for almost eight months now and have no plans of leaving. Instead, I have huge goals for next year…like snatching my body



Emily Jane Baker said...

Damn Steph! That just got me fired up girl! You are amazing and I have loved getting to train w/ you. Keep it up sister!

Cindy B said...

Steph and Zach, thank you so much for sharing this. What Staph went through in the beginning is how I feel now -awkward and new, but eager to learn more. And now look at her! You're an inspiration!