High living

Thank heavens I didn't have to be without T.V. when I took to the hills.

April Gym Pics

Karyn Marshall – The USA’s First Overall Women’s World Champion

Here is a welcome profile on Karyn Marshall, the USA’s First Overall Women’s World Champion, from USA Weightlifting.

Here is an excerpt, describing how she sealed her pioneering induction into the USAW Hall of Fame, 2010. Read the rest here.

She made all three C&J’s, not only winning her bodyweight category by 12.5 kg, but she out lifted the athletes in the unlimited bodyweight (over 82.5 kg. at the time) category, including the Chinese athlete who won that category. In short, Marshall made the highest total in the competition, and richly earned the title of World’s Strongest Woman. It was a glorious moment for her, and for US Weightlifting. To host a historic competition and have a US athlete lift the heaviest weights in a bodyweight category under the unlimited one, was a real thrill for the American audience. And they showed their glee with a thunderous ovation as Karyn triumphantly held her last C&J (the last lift of the entire competition) above her head, with a big smile on her face. It was a magical moment to say the least!

Photos from USA Weightlifting

Keeping the sweet science alive

The neighbor boys got gloves. I just had to step up. This is Jason & Alex learning da skillz in the Mighty Kat Powerhouse Gym. It's so dang cute, I just had to post!

boyz & grrls

In the past week, I've read that weightlifting is better suited to women than men, and that boxing is better suited to women than men. No matter to me either way, but I'm enjoying the time I live in to witness this discussion.

Now, how about bullriding?

Legend in our time, Sarah Bertram

bad night at the gym

Cold Marriage

On these platforms,
we come together
to battle ourselves,
united in solitary pursuit of a common vision.
A nod, a look, a short word
is all it takes
to gauge just where the man beside you is on the battlefield.

We can understand each other,
We can see what it is,
but no one can lift the bar for another.
Each man must fight alone.

Today I lost the battle.
Alone at night I brew tea
and stew in the depths of doubt
and frustration.
My legs
move stiffly,
knees seizing with each step.
Blood red pool aches across my thigh.

Casualties, not honor.
The marks of the body
testifying to me that
I am not fighting well.
Today I lost ground.

And I harbor blame
on this body
which did not obey
which did not listen
which failed me today.

Tomorrow we will work
on finding each other again,
my body and mind.

But tonight we are sullen
in a cold marriage,
trapped together another night
in a bed that’s too small.

Knee pain and squat boosting moves from Diesel

The guys at Diesel Crew have some exercises designed to prevent knee pain and improve squats. Looking forward to trying these, especially this one:

AB(Duction) Band Squats

Benefits -
No More Knee Pain
Hit Your Squat Depth
Improve Hip Mobility
Activates Glutes
Activates / Strengthens Hip Abductors
Improves Patella Tracking

Reflecting on mortality

It's not because I just turned a year older, but age and mortality in the face of pushing the physical life keeps coming up lately. I was just talking with a co-worker about our boss, who's over 60, who needs to exercise. My co-worker, more than 10 years my senior, said to me, "You and I just do it, cuz we're stupid."

I've been pushing it hard lately in the gym, and I messed up my knees. Last night I went home for the second night in a week and went straight to the tub to soak my knees in an Epsom salt bath. I took fish oil and glucosamine by the handful; reluctantly popped a few more ibuprophen, and iced my knees in front of Curb Your Enthusiasm. By bedtime, like any thinking American resembling my demographic, I had Googled enough about knee pain to scare myself silly, and went to bed trying to remain calm and assure myself that my knees will recover in a few days. When I told my coach about my knee pain last week, he said, "You know what that means. Old ass beyoch." I said I don't think that's what it means. (I'm pretty sure it is from pulling off the blocks and dropping it hard on my thighs. That's what the bruises indicate. I will be more careful.)

My father is about to turn 75. I asked him, in his sagacity, what his advice is for the rest of us. He said, "Don't get sick."

An article about a 90-year-old bodybuilder went around recently. He took it up in his 80s. His attitude is, it's not about chasing youth; it's about health.

I don't have any big moral or bottomline to this spiel at the moment. I know it can only be to keep pushing, be smart about it, make adjustments; your health is all you've really got, and everything depends on it. Being fit beats the alternative. I don't feel like making a big production about that message, as it's already been before - over and over - probably since the dawn of man.

People use their age as an excuse to be lazy far too often. It's not that I deny I'm aging, I just don't see it causing problems yet. There are too many inspirational examples for me not to be confident and inspired, and I plan on becoming one of them. Hell, I got carded on the plane while buying booze on a flight back home for my 40th birthday, and the woman was dead serious about it. How many people can say that? I'm aware of biological processes and mortality, but I see no need to dwell on it. That kind of thinking can only slow you down. I enjoy being mature; it has a lot of advantages. I'm still a bad ass.

But the idea of injury scares me. A lot. I am only recently feeling fully recovered after being hit by a truck over a year ago. I am hyper aware that the awesome feeling of being strong me is only one incident away from being gone. I am so aware of how wrong things could go at any moment that I think I could excel in selling insurance or a becoming agoraphobic. There's not much to do about it, because it's true. I don't think there's a big moral to be had on this one, even if I were in the mind to soapbox. Just be careful and try not to let it overshadow living life.

So, cheers everyone, you're a little older today than you have been your entire life. You could become injured or sick or be taken out of the picture altogether at any moment. I hope you'll join me and "be here now," take advantage of everything you have going for you in this moment, and keep moving, keep pushing. Don't listen to anyone who tries to hold you back. This is your shot.

Old age is no place for sissies.
- Bette Davis
Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.
- Samuel Ullman

Jerk Session

I love jerks, so for my birthday, I did nothing but jerks and fought to go heavier than e'er before. Gonna be a big year.

12 great things about being an amateur athlete

Photo of Chip Conrad by Allyson Goble

12. It's only as expensive as you want it to be. We all whine about the price of everything from dues to shoes, but come on - you find the money for it because you prioritize it. If you didn't have control over this, you'd be out of the sport or out on the street in order to do it.

11. You do not have to worry about political and economic sanctions preventing you from advancing your sporting career. There will always be a local meet somewhere, even if you have to drive a few hours. And there will probably be pretty decent parking.

10. You set the schedule. Sure, it's not ideal. I know that, because no one in this world will tell you they have the ideal schedule for their training. Want to appreciate how much control you do have over it? Compare it to the control you have over your work schedule.

9. The training options available to you are almost limitless. You're at a smorgasbord with a platter in your hands. You can dabble in other sports besides your dedicated sport. You can pick and choose whatever you like - the deadlift from powerlifting, the neckroll from MMA, heavybag drills from boxing, sprints from track, bouldering from rock climbing, snatches from weightlifting, bicep curls from bodybuilding - you name it, you have the option. Pros do not have this luxury. They can't afford it. It detracts from their goal and exposes them to injury.

8. You need not live with the fear of the wrath of the masses. Sure, competing at the amateur level can be as nerve-wracking as your personality wants to make it, but that is a completely different beast from the knowledge that if your performance is off, a stadium or coliseum of crazed fans may boo, jeer, curse, throw things at you, and you may actually be in danger. You are not in a position to disgrace your countrymen on an off day.

7. When you are injured, you can take as long as you need to recover. Nothing obligates you to go make it worse by training or competing again before your body is ready. When you do resume training, you can go as gingerly as you like and change anything you need to in order to maintain your health.

6. You probably will not have to face the dilemmas of corruption which permeate professional sports. Bribes, fixes, harassment and worse - just count your blessings. Your biggest complaint in amateur competing is likely to be that a judge got it wrong - and that's just life.

5. Your development is not on a timetable. If it takes you months or even years to get good, if you spend your lifetime perfecting your technique, that's okay. There's no rush. Any deadlines are arbitrary. Try to remember that when you're in a funk about your progress.

4. The whole world is not going to see you fail. Sure, not making your numbers in a meet may seem like the biggest devastation you've had since your last cat died, but most people in your life will not know about it, not care and not begin to understand. If you compete, that in itself is usually enough to impress the folks you'll meet in your daily life, anyway.

3. You will never be too old for this. Take it up at 30, 40, or 50 years old - live and train right - and you can look forward to enjoying your sport at age 80, 90, as long as you can manage. There is no retirement at age 24 and floundering to make a living after. You are cleverly living a lifestyle that will support your amateur sport life all the way.

2. You do not have to be the best. You may choose to focus on becoming the best you can be at your chosen sport, or you may choose to be just okay enough to play on the weekends, or even be at peace with being pretty bad. Being the best in the county, state, country and world are not the goals that must make or break your career, your livelihood, your experience in the sport, or even your sanity. Even if you're not great at it, you are still allowed to do it if you want to.

And the #1 great thing about being an amateur athlete -

1. You can enjoy it. This sport can and should be a source of joy to you. This is not always the case with pros. When you are a pro, it is your job, and even on your best day, how much do you enjoy your job? This is what you do on your own time. You do this because you love it and you get a lot of benefits out of it. It makes your life better. It makes you better, so you can make the world better. And that's really the bottom line, isn't it?

random spring images

Little Darling, it's been a long, cold lonely winter... (add WET dat)