Thursday, February 23, 2017

L1


I'm the worst at self-development.  Literally.  It stems from being lazy about reading, and if there are too many big words or large paragraphs or the topic doesn't fully hold my attention, I ditch it.  So when I sat down at the beginning of this year, I tried to be reasonable about goals.

One goal that has been creeping around my mind for the past few months has been ways to develop my fitness background, professionally.  Then, through a series of cool events, that goal got fast-tracked - and this past weekend in Athens (which was a crazy story in itself) I went through the Crossfit Level 1 Training Course.

Yep, I was in a gym for most of my weekend in Greece.
A massive, beautiful gym for the record.

Crossfit North Zone

I learned way more than I anticipated - covering aspects of nutrition, how to calculate work and power, details around movements, etc. I could go on all day.

But what I really loved, is that I was the only American there (besides the instructors). I got to spend the weekend next to 7 Greeks, 2 Turks, 2 Egyptians, and 1 Cypriot, learning about constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movements.


While the course was in English - it was a second language for everyone but me.  Which wildly impressed me (there was a translator on hand who helped with some of the technical concepts - I really can't imagine learning about 'food blocks' in another language).

Stories were shared - crazy cool stories.  I sat next to a guy who had been doing Crossfit for three months, and loved it so much he decided to MOVE across Cyprus to live closer to an actual gym.  Then two months after that decided to take the L1 course.

Something else that really resonated with me is that we only had 4 females out of 13.  Compare that to the numbers I found for the 2016 Crossfit Open  - 42% female participation - to 31% females in my course.



I don't have numbers to back it up, but I'm pretty confident in suggesting that the female participation rate in Crossfit at an international level drops off big time if compared to just the US. It's more normal than not to find myself as the only female during classes in Tel Aviv.

Yet that doesn't really  discourage me.  It encourages me, because that shows potential for growth.

It also - for some reason - puts a chip on my shoulder to go harder.  Because it's not just that I'm a female in Crossfit - I'm also 5'11'', and I love running - two things that existentially go against Crossfit stereotypes.  I can't even tell you how many times I had to be corrected over the course of the training because I have these long ass femurs that refuse to track over my toes - my body is nowhere near compact - therefore I have a larger margin of error to f*ck up a movement.

Excuse my french.

It's my grind though. I might not "look" like I should be doing Crossfit but man do I love it, and how it's changed my outlook on both fitness and life.  Mentally it's made me stronger than being a Division 1 athlete did.  And I'm convinced I can be good at it, get down all the movements, and eventually coach it.  As a tall, gangly female.

But why?  Why Crossfit - why don't you just stick with running Kait?

Because Crossfit is running.  And rowing, and swimming.  And slamming balls around and swinging around on bars, walking upside - it's everything.  It's being able to move the bookshelf across the room without having to wait for your husband to get home to help, and it's being able to throw your 6 year old over your shoulder when they're having a temper tantrum in public.


It's cliche but it truly is training for life, and
I dig that.

But I think even more - I dig the camaraderie.  When you're grinding through crapiness together day in and day out, you realize that you actually have a team to help you get through.

And at the end of  Day 1 last Saturday, when the instructors (who were rockstars) threw a golden workout of thrusters and burpees at us, we had one classmate teammate struggling through the last set.  So you know what we did?

The rest of us - the 12 who had already finished - started hitting the floor with him.  The words 'I can't' left his mouth and we were like oh hell no, and we were up and down with him, grueling through, until he finished those freaking burpees.

And that's why I wanted a Level 1.

I've seen it change people's lives, I've seen people lose massive amounts of weight, kick habits, take on new hobbies because of it. But it's the knowing that you have people who believe in you - really truly - that's why it works.


Anyways, if you're reading this and rolling your eyes and thinking I'm brainwashed, I promise I'm not.  Or maybe I am, but I also know the facts. I've loved health and fitness for pretty much as long as it's been on my radar.  I jumped from globo gyms to niche gyms, consistently ran my face off through stress fractures and broken toes.  I've bought passes to hot yoga and cycling studios, and it's all great, I've enjoyed it all and still do.  But I've never seen or felt changes like Crossfit - and I've never seen fitness transfer into my other passions like this has.



Anyways, thanks for reading if you got through this whole thing.  I'm excited about what's to come, if you can't already tell.  And huge thanks to my husband & my "boss" -  who both enthusiastically got behind me to pay for the training - that sh*t ain't cheap - and it was one heck of a bday gift/work perk.

Signing off, just in time for the Crossfit Open to kick off.  Oh, and to drag my butt 13.1 miles (21.1 km) tomorrow morning.

Cheers - 
Kait

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Seconds

This is something that I've been stewing on for awhile now, and have been hesitant to post due to the mild sappiness of it. So try to peel back some of the sap, and just hear me out.

About two weeks ago, Andrew came home from work midday as his lunch break.  We were both still sick at that point, energy was low and laying in bed for awhile sounded like the right call.  Due to the bronchitis I wasn't necessarily feeling super sentimental, but as we laid there with the sun shining in and a light 60 degree breeze off the sea, the dog in between us at 2 pm on a Tuesday, the moment snagged a 'hold up' trigger in my brain.

"We will literally never have a time in life like this again."

We will never find ourselves living  in Tel Aviv again, and we will very likely never in our working lives both be home at 2 pm on a weekday for a quick nap... maybe down the road when retired.

And while our our high-strung husky sometimes feels like a part-time job as it is, God willing we will eventually have kids running around as well, needing to be attended to, certainly not allowing mid-day lounge sessions.

What's my point?



I guess I'm just saying, I think it's too easy to overlook the specialness of moments when you're currently in them. More often than not they're pretty small, and can slip past you without realizing how noteworthy they actually are, often due to the imperfectness of the crazy life around you.

It might be your morning coffee with your journal open, or a quiet run before the city wakes up.

It happened again a few days ago, mid-run, along the beach.  There are only certain mornings that we can actually run along the water - the tide has to be low enough so that the sand is packed down along the water, basically creating a beach-side trail.

Kai and I were trotting along, an occasional wave misting us.  And while my mind was actively planning all of my to-dos for the day, a wave knocked me out of planning mode and forced me to instead be grateful.

The odds of us residing a half mile from a beach on the Med, myself with a work schedule that I can shape to be my own... the odds of all of this aligning again are minuscule.

And that's ok; that's not something that saddens me. But the reminder does force me to appreciate it more.

Stop. Soak it in. Your babies aren't going to be crawling forever - your quiet time is going to be harder to come by. Your coworkers aren't going to be your coworkers forever, and eventually your roommates may get married/buy a house/move to a new city. Your favorite coffee shop or corner bar could close tomorrow. You just never know when the uniqueness of situations you never even thought to recognize as unique will disappear.

And even if you're in a crappy, blah place in life - I promise there are beautiful moments in the midst of the 'blah' that you may be looking right past.

Taking things for granted is something we all do, because it's easy; I'm not calling anyone out here.  Yet I think when we are a little more intentional about simply not doing that, we start to more often notice those seconds/minutes/hours that are more extraordinary in the moment than you ever realized.

                             Hindsight is 20/20. Let's work on that insight.


Alright, I'm off the soapbox.  Have a great rest of your week - and appreciate your Wednesday :)

Cheers - 
Kait



Friday, February 10, 2017

5.2

I'm happy to report that the violent cold/cough/sickening that haunted me for roughly 15 days has finally surpassed, and this week I've had the pleasure of being back to operating normally.  It's a little sad that it took a hell of a cold to remind me not to take my health for granted, but nevertheless this week I've been uber aware of way more pros, and way less cons.

Ready?  Five things Friday - 

1. Yesterday on a mid-day walk, I noticed a group of tourist snapping pictures of myself and the dog. I tried to act like I didn't notice and continued gazing off into the distance, as if in deep contemplation of life.  In reality I internally was laughing at the situation, hoping that when the tourists get back home they post the pictures and caption the one of me as:

'A local Israeli walking her native dog.'

LOL

2. Speaking of the dog - I've mentioned this before, but I'm unsure that Kai is ever going to get over the cat situation here.  Probably my favorite cat occurrence yet was also yesterday, when a cat women came out to feed the local strays near her apartment.  We just happened to be on that side of the street when literally 10+ cats began swarming the woman, meowing loudly.

Kai froze, as she usually does when she sees cats, as if it's the most alarming and fascinating situation she's ever seen.  Yet in this case, watching double digit cats shove their faces with food was simply too much.  She refused to move, or even cross the street with me; went full rigamortis to the point where the cat lady glared at me, as if we were plotting to hunt down one of the cats for our next meal. Maybe we were.

In the end, I had to pick up and carry my 50 lb dog around the cat buffet, and even after that it took her awhile to recover.

3. I will forever mix up cilantro and parsley at the grocery store.  They look the same, the labels are in Hebrew, and I'm still too lazy scared to ask the check-out lady which one is which.  Three times now I have purchase the wrong one, leaving our dinners herb-less.

Upon googling, I just discovered this great side by side comparison that still literally helps me in no way. 

4. Recently I've been doing some freelance editing/content writing for a local start-up.  The way I fell into it is absurd, but the point of me sharing is simply to note that I've discovered I really actually enjoy editing content. Like a lot. So, if anyone out there ever needs something edited - I'm your girl.  Unless it's like a 100 page document, then you're probably going to have to flash some green at me.

5. I was recently educated that this weekend is the Jewish New Year for trees - Tu Bishvat.  Because plants deserve New Years too. Supposedly you celebrate by feasting on fruit, planting trees, and drinking wine.  I can get on that train.

Anyways, hope you enjoyed five random things. Make your weekend great.

Cheers - 
Kait

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Clean

I'm so tired.

Not just from hardly sleeping the past two nights due to a hacking cough that has sent both Andrew and the dog running to sleep on the couch (sorry guys) - but I'm so emotionally tired as well.

I'm tired of logging onto almost any form of social media and seeing hate being spewed everywhere. I'm tired of being bombarded with news stories and suggestions that we are all screwed, or one end of the 'spectrum' attacking the other. I'm tired of people choosing to consistently post negativity, instead of positivity.

I'm tired of being sick.  From a minor surgery earlier this month that majorly slowed me down, followed shortly by a cold that has now turned into a sinus, ear and eye infection, January has felt like a train plowed me over.  Health-wise, I'm not sure I've felt more defeated.

Lastly, I'm tired of being worried what other people think when they read my blog, see pictures I post, etc.  I shouldn't care, but I do.  I see all the mean comments out there on the world wide web, and I can't help but wonder.

So, here we are - February - my birthday month, the shortest month of the year.  And I'm wondering, maybe I can just start 2017 today? Because January sure didn't feel like a New Year.  It felt like being dragged through the mud behind a tractor.

A post caught my eye this morning, and it triggered a series of thoughts.  The blogger was explaining a Clean Slate Challenge she was participating in, and while most of her ideas are centered around health & fitness, it got me to thinking...

Clean Slate February has a nice ring to it.

So like Taylor Swift's song 'Clean' - that's my February theme.  My focus will be on all things positive - getting my health back into check, continuing to pursue passions and self-development, educating myself daily, healthy morning habits, pouring into healthy relationships  - all the while eliminating things that are dirtying my slate.

This includes a whole lot of negative thoughts, angry internal rants, poor self-talk, too much time on my phone, getting sucked into hyperbolized news articles, and worrying what others think about what I think. It's literally sucking the life out of me, and I'm over it.

So that's it.  This post may be complete crap because I don't write well when I'm tired - but man am I tired, and I just need to get this off my chest.  I would love if you chose to join me going into this short 28 day month - clean your slate, however you may need to.  I'll leave you with this, that was emailed to me earlier this week and is now my phone lock screen.  Whether you're a Bible reader or not, I think it's something we all need to strive towards.



Cheers - 
Kait