No Dream Deferred Here!

There is something magical about the many “firsts” that we experience in life, which cannot be duplicated.

The jubilation a mother experiences after hearing the first cry of her newborn, the jittery feeling of starting a new job, the joy of buying the first car or home, your child’s graduation from kindergarten or college, or in my case debuting as a figure competitor at 48 years old are feelings that can never be replicated.

The raw and unexpected ball of emotions that evolve from the onset of something new is remarkable!

Calm… anxious… proud… hype… disbelief… happy… tearful… overwhelmed… and more!

It took nearly two years of me pondering and to man up to the challenge of competing. The seven-month flight took me along a road of expected twists and turns. Today I’m scratching my head and earnestly wondering,

Why the heck did I wait so long?”

I can’t help but to reflect on one of my favorite Langston Hughes poems:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Thankfully, my desire to compete didn’t dissipate into a distant memory . However, my desired lingered and festered like a sore. Like a relentless kid in a candy store pulling on mom’s shirt tail, the want to compete, tugged and nagged at me until I couldn’t take it anymore and succumbed to the challenge.

I am happy I did, for I would have surely missed out on an incredible experience.

Ohm-gosh! There is so much to say, I’ll have to break it down into segments of several posts.

I’ll start with the question of, How did I measured up?

 IMG_2499 Women’s Figure Debut – 2nd Place

Women’s Figure Debut is for first time competitors. To place second behind a woman who has previous “stage” experience is pretty cool. I’ll take it.

3rd place

 

Women’s Figure Masters 40+ – 3rd Place

Women’s Figure Masters 40+ is just that, women over 40 years old. I went up against a few seasoned unofficial pros. To place 3rd is a major accomplishment!

 

4th place

Women’s Figure Open B ~ 4th Place

 In Women’s Figure Open, I competed against women’s entire figure division, young and old, so I am pleased with my results.

The most inspirational and moving moment was the ANBF’s first wheel chair body builder competitor.

 

DSC_0158

Amongst spectators, I sat and then stood screaming and applauding in amazement at his performance. This guy was remarkable! It was his front chest pose that stunned the audience evoking tears from many, including me. His muscles were well-defined and his composure and finesse was outstanding.

People come up with endless excuses for why they can’t or (chose) not to exercise. Yet a man, suffering from a brain tumor, with every valid excuse not to work out, obviously takes on the challenge and title of bodybuilder.   Come on now; really there is NO excuse.

I credit my success in this competition to my wonderful friend and trainer.

My inspirational friend and BEST Trainer around!

My inspirational friend and BEST Trainer around!

She’s an awesome woman, who helped me to develop not only the body, but also the confidence and ump to successfully compete!

Her dedication to a healthy lifestyle and  her commitment and work ethic is impeccable.  Regardless of how many hours she worked before we hit the gym, she brought her A game and kicked my butt daily!  Most mornings, I started my day feeling very sore (some days like I had been hit by a truck), but it was always after a fun, challenging, and very creative workout.

Thank you AR; you ROCK!!

My family and friends made me feel special on stage. They sported their blue, “Team Tanya” t-shirts and make their presence known.  The competition had a large number of competitors, yet my crew sat for the entire show (over 6 hours) and waited for the presentation of the awards. Thanks guys! I am so blessed!

Loyal "Team Tanya" supporters.

Some of the loyal “Team Tanya” supporters.

 

The guy in the front with the black t-shirt is from "Team Karen" who shared in the enthusiasm of my team.  Lol!

The guy in the front with the black t-shirt is from “Team Karen” who shared in the enthusiasm of my team. Lol!

The extra sparkle and edge on stage surely came from my “Glam Squad!”   Hair stylist and owner of KinHairitage Salon, Victoria Shelton and the fabulous make up artist Miss Takiyah did their thang!!  I wanted to represent the Natural Chicas in a Big way and they came through big time!!   I loved the hair!!

glam squad

There are more pictures to share with you, I have to get them off of my daughter’s camera, so I will post them in a day or so. For now, here are a few more photos.

 

This journey has been a blast and I am truly thankful for everyone’s support.

What’s next?

I’ve been bit by the bug…. Let’s just say, I’ll be back!!! Lol!!

 

3rd Place in Masters (over 40)

 

Happy Sunday!

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Saturday’s WOD

The CrossFit games are going on strong and so am I.

I see that the 14.3 was a beast!  While I am missing out on this round of the games, there will be others.

It has been nearly two weeks since completing my last WOD, so I was highly motivated to get to this morning’s class.

WOD: 5 Rds @ high effort:

250m Row
10 Thruster (75/55)
10 Pull Ups (24/20)
10 burpees
* mix order of movements each Rds

Stronger… I definitely am!  I did the thrusters at 55 pounds. There was a time, when the bar was the only option.

Not to get side-tracked, but speaking of options. The alternative to CrossFit this morning was a flapjack breakfast fundraiser at Applebee’s for B’Dazzle’s school.  Now don’t get me wrong, I support my son’s school 200%, but clearly, I would have been down right miserable picking over a plate loaded up with scrambled eggs while visions of burpees danced in my head!  Thankfully, hubby took him and his friend.

Anyhow, that’s the beauty of strength training and CrossFit.  Maintaining consistency with a healthy nutrition plan will produce amazing results. Your physic, performance/strength, attitude, and confidence all increases. That’s better than any drug!

Five rounds of pull-ups, nets 50. 45 of my pull-ups were using a thin blue ban.  So tell me why chicken-head, that’d be me, downgrade to a green band for the last 5 pull-ups?  I’ll tell you why.  I was tired, which is a BS excuse, but in retrospect, I got caught up in the time trap. Rarely does that happen to me, but it did today. I wanted to finish the WOD, so I slid over to the green band.

There is a solution though.  Next time, I won’t bring a “just in case” second band.  If I only have one on hand, no other option will exist and that’s what I’ll have to work with.  Clearly if I can complete 45, 50 is a done deal. So what if it takes me longer!  Next time! SMH!

Surprisingly, the temps were mild at 8 o’clock this morning, so I opted for the 250 meter run instead of the row.  Any excuse to run!

Happy Saturday and enjoy the weekend!

~ Keep it movin’!


Thursday’s WOD

SWOD
Skill: Light snatch technique work – 10 minutes

WOD  15 minutes @ moderate effort

300m Row

60 sec plank hold

100 Single Unders

This afternoon I got high in CrossFit!  Well, at least that’s what I felt like during the WOD.  The rush of doing a little cardio sent my adrenaline into high gear!

Working on my snatch technique was much-needed. Snatches aren’t something I do in my figure training, so I was glad to get some practice reps in. I appreciate the way our trainer broke the technique down into move by move-it helped.

As soon as I positioned my feet and grabbed the handles to row, my heart raced like I was competing in the Olympics or something.  The thing is, I wasn’t looking forward to competing with anyone, I was just looking forward to the euphoric state, the endorphin rush, and the wonderful feeling I get from an intense cardio workout.   It’s my addiction.

The WOD wasn’t overly challenging, but enough for me to breakout into a nasty sweat.  Twenty seconds into my last plank and in the most sinister way, the coach placed a 25 pound weight on my back and another member’s back.

“Don’t move!  Hold it! Only 40 seconds to go.”

Putting myself in a meditative state of mind, I deeply inhaled…  slowly exhaled, concentrated on my body and held on!  By the way, I LOVED every second of it and I’m glad he did it.   Awesome!

Sweet dreams! 🙂


Saturday’s WOD

Image courtesy of google images

Image courtesy of google images

WOD

Warm Up: 3 Rounds

200M Run + 1 Cindy (5 Pull ups, 10 Push ups, 15 Air Squats)

Mobility: 7 Minutes

SWOD: Romanian Dead Lifts @ 40 x 1
4-6 Reps x 3 Sets

WOD: For Time

1000M Row

50 KBS (53/35) (44/20)

30 Burpees

This was the first Saturday morning CrossFit class that I’ve done in a while, so I was excited. So who gets excited about a WOD? Me!

Sometimes the WOD is posted on the LivingWell’s CrossFit website, but I wanted to be surprised today, so I didn’t take a peak.

CrossFitters had the option of WOD A or B. WOD B included muscle ups… I’m not ready for those, so I knew the alternative was for me.

Around 800 meters of rowing, my hamstrings started to burn to the tune of P’Diddy, singing….  “Hello Good morning… ”  Music is great motivation during a workout. A funky beat makes me wanna dance so I keep it moving.

Thanks to my friend and trainer, my kettle bell swings (26 lbs.)  are getting better. Yesterday, I did a better job of controlling the KB.  When I brought the KB down between my legs, I remembered to keep it steady and prevent it from swinging and rocking back and forth. As a result, my arms were on fire!

Oh wait, something else noteworthy– In the warm ups, I did the three rounds of five pull ups with a skinny blue band…. non stop!! At one point, I had to double-check because I was surprised that it was “me” doing them. Training for this competition is undoubtedly making me stronger.  How exciting!

Somehow I misread the count on the number of burpees… a fellow crossFitter walks up to me, “I think you’re doing too many! What number are you on?” Umm… 46.. “We were only supposed to do 30.”

LOL!! Darn! No wonder everyone else was finished! It’s all good though, At least I know I can kick 30 out with no problem.  I’m just happy that I could take CrossFit today.

Today is rest day and… the Superbowl of course. I’ve read in other blogs about cheat days. But it’s kind of weird, but I haven’t had the urge to cheat since the New Year. Hot wings, chili, chips, etc… will be a good test today.  I am ready though, because I will have healthy alternatives with me.

Regardless, I’ll enjoy today’s game and hope that you do too. It doesn’t matter who wins, I just hope that it’s a good game (no blow out), and that the commercials and halftime are entertaining. There’s nothing better than laughing at the crazy Superbowl commercials.

Have a great day and enjoy the game!


Mental Health Matters

Earlier today I read the heart wrenching story about 19 year-old Madison Holleran.   Less than four days ago, the University of Pennsylvania student committed suicide.  She wrote a note to her parents, left them gifts, and jumped to her death from a Center City parking garage.

By all accounts Madison had everything to live for.  A freshman track star, who finished her first semester with 3.5 GPA respectfully.  Mail Online quoted her parents as saying, “her sadness stemmed from the strains the student found herself under since going to college.”    Her parents suggested therapy and even offered to help her transfer to another college, but after the holiday break, she return to Philadelphia.

Madison isn’t my daughter, but the death of any child lies heavy on my heart. I teared thinking about Madison’s last moments of life.  My daughter is 24-year-old.  The thought of her living out what must be the last and most agonizing moments of her life sends chills down my spine.

In 2007, suicide  was the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 34,598 deaths.


In 2007, suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24
. Of every 100,000 young people in each age group, the following number died by suicide:

  • Children ages 10 to 14 — 0.9 per 100,000
  • Adolescents ages 15 to 19 — 6.9 per 100,000
  • Young adults ages 20 to 24 — 12.7 per 100,000

 National Institute of Mental Health (NHM)

Much emphasis is placed on outer beauty and physical fitness.  We see a beautiful woman or handsome man with a great physique– They are friendly, out going, and seem to have it all.  We assess (really judge) them to be successful or make positive assumptions about them.  This is so wrong!

A warm smile could be a mask or smoke screen.  The warm smile could be an indicator of internal pain, sadness, depression, or something else. The photos of Madison hardly projects the face of depression or does it?  As my friend JH says, “Honey, all that glitters ain’t gold!”

My senior year of high school was one of the most difficult years of my life.  The death of my father and the ratchet conflict with my mother gave me stomach ulcers and bald spots.  I walked around school smiling like my life was a fairy tale.  I didn’t tell anyone, not even my closest confident.  I kept my anger, sadness, and frustration in until it slowly infected by body, but thankfully not my mind.  I was lucky, Madison was not.  How sad.

Fitness junkies like me make the time for a long or short run, an hour or more at the gym, or an hour of CrossFit.  But how many of us, including those who don’t work out, make the time to evaluate if our mental health is in a good place?

As parents, how many of us know the signs of depression and can recognize them in our own children?  Will you be honest with yourself or will you surround yourself with denial with the hopes that the situation will get better?

Suicide statistics are astounding. I encourage everyone to learn more about suicide risk factors, the signs, prevention, and how to seek help.

Every life is precious. RIP Madison Holleran

If you are in a crisis and need help right away:

Call this toll-free number, available 24 hours a day, every day: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a service available to anyone. You may call for yourself or for someone you care about. All calls are confidential.

ADDITIONAL READING

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

National Institute of Mental Health

American Foundation For Suicide Prevention

Bringing Teens Into the Conversation About Suicide Prevention


Conditions For Success… One Rep At A Time

If you are serious about your goals, drop the conditions.  Go directly to your goal.  Be your goal.

Be your goal! Conditions often disguise strategies for escaping accountability.  Why not just take charge and create the experience you are looking for.

Eric Allenbaugh

By 7:45 this morning, I was well rested and warming up on the treadmill. Coasting along at 3.5 mph I hum and sing along to the music pumping into my ears. Give or take about 15 fellow gym rats ran on the tread, glided on an elliptical, or banged out weights to their maximum ability.

Anticipating today’s work out stirred me. For nearly three months, we’ve yet to repeat a routine, and that’s so cool. The routine is always a surprise–I only know that the routine will be increasingly challenging.

Within 30 minutes, my biceps and triceps “felt like fire running through my veins.”  That’s what my friend and trainer told me my arms would feel like.  She was right!  Some of the sets that flamed my muscles were:

The burning, the aching, and the explosive muscle stinging is necessary for muscle growth.  During the lifting phase of strength training, the muscles tear and are broken down.  Proper nutrition and rest allows the muscles to repair and grow.

Hallelujah!  It’s not easy, but I’m finally meeting my daily calorie goals. I forced this plate of food (dinner) down tonight because I cannot skip a meal.  I’ve gotta eat.

6 oz. chicken breast, 1 cup of white sweet potatoes, 1 cup of leafy frozen spinach

6 oz. chicken breast, 1 cup of white sweet potatoes, 1 cup of leafy frozen spinach

The LIVESTRONG application is helpful.

Because of my high metabolism, my daily calorie goal is 2000 - 2400

Because of my high metabolism, my daily calorie goal is 2000 – 2400

I got my hands on some fabric samples for my competition suit.  The vivid colors and the soft fabric are beautiful!  I have no idea what color suit I’ll be wearing, but I do know that it will be bright.  I love bright colors and they look stunning against my dark tanned skin.

fabric

There’s just so much to think about.  I know that schedule wise, I’m on track, but I’m a planner and will not satisfied until all the pieces are in place.

One day at a time and one rep at a time puts me one step closer to my goal.

Enjoy your weekend!