Sunday, August 21, 2011

Test Video

This is our test. The gal in blue is my pal and partner for the weekend Linda.  I'm so insanely proud of her and the inner beast she unleashed. 
I really wish I'd gotten her face on video. She had this moment where she was at the bottom of her tank and was surrounded by the 3 CKTs that were "judging" her performance and who had the right to call her test done at any time if they felt she was endangering herself.

They were watching her and she was struggling to do her 30 right side snatches. I was trying to count her reps and keep an eye on the "powers that be" hoping they wouldn't stop her.
All of a sudden she got this look in her eyes and that was it. She pretty much said
"Fuck you. I'm passing this shit"
and she dug even deeper and cranked out the last 15 or so on the right side. The left side was a cake walk for her by comparison and then she totally aced the squats.

That moment for her. That second where she decided she was going to die trying was so inspiring to see.

My test starts at the 25 minute mark. You see my hand is wrapped at the start of Linda's test. We wrapped it  to protect the two skin tears I'd gotten the day before. All it did was rub on them and make them hurt more so I took the wrap off.

You see me put the Kettlebell down and start to cry.  I didn't MEAN to cry. I didn't think I was going to cry. I didn't feel like I wanted to cry and then the second I put it down the tears were streaming down my face.

I watch this and I'm proud of the work that I was able to do. I leave the day behind with my head held high. Next week I'll be posting my video of my completed test. You will see. I'm going to kick some ass...


So let me discuss how I'm attemping to digest my failure with dignity and grace and a grownup outlook but the disapointed little girl in me just wants to throw herself on the ground and kick and scream and cry.

I did not pass the Certification. I ran out of gas somewhere during the right arm set of the 30 snatches.
These are my hand tears. I'm actually insanely proud of them and how hard I had to work to earn them. Click the photo to enlarge and see them in all their yucky glory.

I walk away with a whole lotta hand tears and a ton of new techniques and information and an even deeper love of the sport of Kettlebell.

I'm insanely glad I was a part of this event but I'm frustrated that not only could I not finish the test today but that I'm the only one who took it and didn't pass.
That's really really hard to swallow.

Yes, this reaction is completely ego driven but I'm cool with that.

It's also frustrating that I know I put that Kettlebell down only when I had absoutely nothing left. I gave up only when my arm couldn't do anything more. To know that the best I had today wasn't even close to enough is also a blow to the ego.

To know that at the end when Ken was telling everyone he would mail them their certificates and when he said "For those of you who didn't pass" he was speaking only to me is a blow to the ego.

Yes, I'd been working hard all weekend, yes my back was injured but at the end of the day the bottom line is I couldn't finish. I didn't have the strength.

Yes, of course I worked really hard today and yes, of course I'm going to rest and submit my test via video to the IKFF but it sort of feels like getting my GED or failing your driving test first time out. I didn't graduate with the rest of the kids.

I'm spending the rest of today being frustrated at myself and tomorrow I will go at it all again with a renewed fire in my belly and next week when my hands are healed and my muscles are rested I will have David video my test and I will rock it and send  it to the IKFF and I will get my Certification.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Life & Goals

The body is a really funny thing. I've been working so super hard to train for the IKFF Kettlebell Workshop & Certification. I've been pushing myself (and everyone around me) to train hard to get ready for it and a week before I hurt my back.

It started to bother me two weeks ago and so I took a scheduled week off and went to my family's home in the beautiful Berkshires in Massachusetts. I did nothing in the form of exercise other than take 2 miles hilly hikes with my mother and sister every day. I rested my back and hoped the awful pain that radiated across the lower portion would go away.

I came back to Boot Camp this past Tuesday and found that it hadn't gotten better but had actually gotten worse. The simple act of lifting and doing a front carry with a 12kg Kettlebell had me fighting back tears and biting my lower lip in pain.

With the Workshop on Friday & the Certification program on Saturday & Sunday I knew I had to do something so I sucked it up and went to see a Chiropractor. I went on Wednesday, was sent for XRays on Friday morning and then had a follow up apt with the Dr. at 4pm on Friday. The Workshop started at 6pm that same evening.

He looked at my XRays, put some electrical Stims on my lower back to loosen up the muscles, and then showed me on the XRay that what we were looking at were two compressed Vertebrae. He then cracked my back and sent me to his receptionist to schedule a shitload of appointments with him and Physical Therapy.  He also told me that under no circumstances was I to participate in the Workshop or the Certification this weekend.

I sat out the Workshop. I watched and learned a whole lot but realized that there was absolutely no way on this planet or any other that I was going to sit out the Certification program.  It was an opportunity that wasn't going to come around again and to sit it out would be one of those things I regretted right till they put me in the ground.

I'd talked to David & Ken prior and told them about my back and told them that today I wasn't going to be observing, that I was going to try to participate. I wasn't going to be dangerous or reckless and if I felt any pain, I'd stop and that would be that.

Everyone agreed that if I went light on the weights and listened to my body I should be okay. We did warmups, no pain, we practiced our swing form with no weight and there was no pain.  I gingerly picked up the 8kg Kettlebell when told to do so and attempted a swing. No pain. 

My partner was my pal Linda who is a Coach at Hoboken Boot Camps and as we did our swings, we both realized that we've been doing it all wrong for all this time.  Too complicated to explain here but we've had it all backwards. 

Unlearning and trying to teach my muscles and body to do something difference than what I've been doing for a year and a half now was (and will be tomorrow) insanely frustrating.
Add a new way of breathing into the mix and she and I were getting more and more anxious as we both tried and tried and neither of us got the movement or the groove right.

We also worked on our Snatches today which I've been concerned about because we've never once, never ever ever practiced the full snatch. We've always done the half snatch.
For the Certification test we need to do 30 snatches on each side but not the half snatch, the whole thing, the real deal. So by tomorrow I need to perfect the Swing and the Snatch.
(sarcasm) No pressure though. (end sarcasm)

We worked on the Squat today as well and that I started to feel in my back but I'm not sure if that's just because we'd been working all day and my muscles were all really tired.

As I said I did all of the work today with the 8kg Kettlebell and even with that light a weight (10 pounds lighter than I need to use to pass the certification) my arm muscles were rubber at the end of our clean and press drill. I think in the 2 minute drill I switched arms about 6 times.  I've been away from Kettlebells for over 2 weeks and my muscles were so weak. 

This of course is niggling at the back of my brain in the cave of the lazy bitch, the part of me that tells me I can't do it and I shouldn't even try.
I am going to go tomorrow and I'm going to give it all that I have. I'm going to push harder than I ever have before.  Whatever happens I want to be able to say that I gave every ounce of strength and energy that I had.

Of course the second I decided that this was my attitude, that I was going to try, I immediately heard Yoda in my head telling me "Do or do not. There is no try".

I know that tomorrow our partner will be counting our reps and keeping our time with a stopwatch so that means I can focus on trying to keep my brain occupied with other thoughts rather than counting or time. Keep the negative thoughts from creeping in, keeps the muscle exhaustion from forcing me to stop.

I will let you know tomorrow how it went...