Fleeing the City

I am currently sitting in a motel room in Hope after consuming a delicious, late dinner at an Italian restaurant across the street. My husband had previously made plans for us to go to Harrison for the weekend to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Before he left for work this morning he said he’d really like to leave today and spend the night in Hope. Even though I am generally the sort of person who likes carefully laid plans, I am still able to be flexible and fly by the seat of my pants…even if I’m praying the entire way that we’ll be able to find an available hotel room! We did. It’s nothing fancy, but we have a king-sized bed and I’m drinking some wine out of a small glass that was wrapped in paper on the bathroom counter. And all of this is perfectly lovely! We aren’t high-faluting kind of people and, when this is your first kid-free, sporting event-free, multi-night trip away from home as a couple, well, let’s just say that we’re grinning like idiots. The rest of our weekend should be a little bit fancier, at least the hotel room, but we shall have a good time regardless.

Since we had already planned on heading out Friday morning, I knew that I’d need to get my final training session of the week done today. My work day was short and sweet, and I was at the gym within a half hour of finishing work.

1. wide grip bench press (2-2×0) 4 sets @6-10 reps

warm up: 45 lbs x 10, 65 x 6, 85 x 5

main event: 90 lbs x 10, 95 x 10, 90 x 9, 90 x 7

Surprisingly enough, the back was probably the least achy while arching in several weeks, which was nice and enabled me to pretty much do my normal bench set-up.

2. high bar squats (3-0x0) 3 sets @8-12 reps

warm up: 45 lbs x 6, 95 x 6

main event: 105 lbs x 11, 105 x 12, 105 x 8

Something is going on with my left leg/knee, sporadically and annoyingly. It began to be a bother again during these squats, mostly as I’d finish each rep and lock it out. Even with walking later it would randomly hurt. <sigh>

3. close grip bench (3-1×0) 2 sets @8-12

80 lbs x 11, 80 x 8

4a. back extensions

x 12, x 12, x 12

4b. leg raises

x 12, x 12, x 12

The leg raises were less of a bother on the back today as well! Can I call that progress?


Start of Week 4

I think the only thing I don’t like about Mondays is the accessory work in my training program. There is just something about this day’s accessory work that fills me with a sense of dread as I walk into the gym. This is not how I feel about the accessory work on my other training days. Today was my fourth week with this program, and I still feel the same. By the time I finish my high bar squats, close grip bench, and front squats, I’m exhausted and muscles are quivering. This morning was no exception. I didn’t mind the main lifts, but I had to dig deep to find perseverance to complete the accessories.

1. high bar squats (2-0x0)

warm up: 45 lbs x 10, 95 x 6, 135 x 4

main event: 160 x 6, 160 x 6, 160 x 6, 160 x 6

The first working set felt off. I realized that I hadn’t put my belt on, and it felt as if my stance was a touch wider than normal. The second set felt somewhat better with the belt and better stance but still a bit tough. The final two sets felt the best; however, I did get a random discomfort/ache in my left leg below the knee.

2. close grip bench press (2-0x0)

warm up: 45 lbs x 10, 65 x 6, 85 x 6, 100 x 3

main event: 110 x 4, 110 x 4, 110 x 4, 110 x 4

This felt tougher than last week even though I did the same weight for the same number of reps and sets.

3. front squats (3-1×0)

75 lbs x 12, 75 x 10, 75 x 8, 75 x 8

4a. walking lunges

70 lbs x 12, 70 x 10, 70 x 10

4b. dumbbell rows

35 lbs x 10, 35 x 10, 35 x 7

4c. plank

x 40 seconds, x 30 seconds, x 27 seconds

4d. dumbbell rear delts

12 lbs x 12, 12 x 12, 12 x 10

Express Yourself

Admittedly I haven’t been blogging a whole lot lately, at least not much more than posts about my training sessions. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to blog. There have been days when I have felt the need or desire to blog but I didn’t. There are many reasons for the lack of blog posts, ranging from the “I have nothing to say” to the “I don’t know what I can say”. In a way, I feel sort of handcuffed in what I can say on my own blog, because someone has chosen to twist my words into something drastically different than what I have ever said or intended. While I obviously cannot control how people may interpret my words, I know my heart and my intent and I am at peace with both. Despite the peace I feel in this situation, I have been feeling reluctant to blog about much of anything beyond the basics of training. I know this is a season of sorts, and I will get past it to blog more candidly once again.

I have to admit that part of my reluctance to blog flows out of the knowledge that my blog could be read by those who choose to twist my words into something I never intended. Obviously, if you find something on the internet personally offensive to you, you have complete freedom to NOT continue to read it, right?! This is my blog. It is about me and my journey. This is my journey of self-discovery, of growing comfortable in my own skin, and knowing who I am. Sometimes my journey towards becoming Angela involves other people, because we do not go through life without being touched by others and in turn touching others. This is my journey. If you don’t like it…don’t read it. Plain and simple! I don’t blog for personal glory or recognition or followers. I have no expectation that anyone reads my blog and won’t be offended if nobody does.

And still, I hesitate. I open my WordPress site with the intention of blogging and then I hesitate. I think about who might read my blog, about who might take my innocent words and twist them into something ugly. So I pause until I have no more time to blog, or I simply blog about my training, all the while feeling censored.

Despite how I feel in regards to blogging, I am feeling perfectly fine. I am sleeping well. I am happy and at peace with myself. Although I have been hurt and rejected recently, I am doing very well. My husband and I were talking about that situation the other day, and he asked me if I had forgiven the offending party. I was kind of taken by surprise by his question, because I don’t even look at that turn of events as being worth my time or attention. Was I hurt? Yes. Am I holding onto any of that hurt or resentment? Heck no! While I do not agree in any way shape or form with the other point of view in this situation, I also don’t consider this to be worth holding onto. It’s difficult to explain how I feel without going into more detail in the situation, which is something I am not going to do. Suffice it to say that I am completely comfortable with who I am to know that I am not at fault in this situation, and as such my forgiveness is essentially automatic. Would I be comfortable bumping into this person in public unexpectedly? Probably not but that’s just me and my non-confrontational nature potentially pushed into an uncontrollable scenario! Am I losing sleep or stressed out over what has happened? Absolutely not! Like I said, I know who I am. I know my own heart and my intentions. I can put my head on my pillow each night knowing that I was true to myself, to my family, and to my friends. If someone sees that differently, then that is their problem and not mine.

I suppose this post is where I draw a line in the sand and say, “No more!” This is my blog. This blog is about me and my journey and what makes me who I am. If you have a problem with that, then feel free to stop visiting! If, on the other hand, my journey interests you, then please follow along. I cannot promise that my journey will always be cool or exciting, but I will always strive to be real and honest. I am no one of consequence or importance. I am merely Angela, a 45 year old woman, a wife of 25 years and mother of 3. I am a friend, a powerlifter, a barista, someone who is thankful for everything and entitled to nothing. Although my education is limited, I am a lover of words, and writing is how I express myself best. And this is my blog.

A Sliver of Sunshine

I am a big believer in being thankful, expressing gratitude, and looking for the blessings all around us, big and small. It has been my Facebook tradition for more than two years now to make a daily post of some of the things that I am thankful for or make my heart happy. Although there has been the odd day I’ve missed over the years, I have never intentionally neglected making my list of happy, thankful things…until this week. It has been a tough week, and my heart doesn’t feel particularly happy; however, I know that choosing to focus on the negative will only perpetuate the darkness. As difficult as it can be to find bright spots in stormy days, a little light soon spreads warmth and hope that the darkness cannot chase away. Still, I am not ready to resume my Facebook happy things, but maybe here…

  1. A stranger in Costco complimented me on how I looked in my dress.
  2. I love my job and connecting with my customers. Last night, a completely unknown customer showed me pictures of her afternoon at a local winery.
  3. For the first time this week, I made dinner. It was tacos, so super easy, but I also cut up a ton of raw veggies.
  4. the sweetest, freshest carrots from the Farmer’s Market
  5. A new pillow because Kane thinks it might help me sleep better. I’m doubtful and had no complaints with my “old” pillow, but I’ll give it a go.
  6. pen and paper and time on the deck
  7. dark chocolate, caramel, sea salt…a perfect combination



Ten days until Provincials! Yes, I am still excitedly anticipating the competition and counting down the days. Yes, I still don’t know what my performance will look like or what numbers I will be attempting, but I am choosing not to dwell on that fact for the time being. And yes, I am generally calm on the surface but chaos underneath. I need sleep. I need a little break from the routines of life. Exhaustion is seeping out of my pores, not from over-training but from simply being busy and “on” almost all of my waking hours and from not sleeping overly well.

Life is busy. I’ve said it before and will say it again. Life is busy for everyone. We all have 24 hours in the day, 7 days in the week. Since my husband had his surgery 3 weeks ago, my life feels busier than normal. I feel as if I truly cannot complain much, because my husband is progressing rather well and has been a better patient than I anticipated. He has been washing the dishes at home pretty much since getting home from the hospital, because it is something that he can do easily enough. He just can’t put everything away. He has vacuumed twice, although he really should not have done that. He has been out of the house for appointments, to survey jobs (but not work them!), and even for coffee with friends, but he isn’t permitted to drive for some time yet, which means someone has to drive him around. My eldest son does the work-related driving. The friends have picked him up for coffee dates, but I am the one often called upon to drive here and there and everywhere. Since my daughter does not drive and the bus system isn’t always reliable, I have also been kind enough to drive her around when she needs it most. While all the driving is relatively not a big deal, it cuts into my free time, requires more sitting time (which I try to avoid for my back’s sake), and can be frustrating and exhausting considering traffic and idiotic drivers. I just want to be a passenger again!

The back is still not 100%, and I still don’t know what percentage to put on how it feels at any given moment. Maybe 80-90% depending on the moment. It felt decent during Monday’s deadlifts. It felt decent yesterday morning. In both cases, I would rate my back closer to 90%, but something shifted shortly after I started work yesterday afternoon. That persistent trouble spot on my low back (the SI joint area I believe) began to hurt. A lot. It ached in a way that was instantly familiar but no longer commonly experienced; a feeling that something wasn’t quite rightly placed. Feeling both sides of the back of my pelvis, I am fairly certain that there was a noticeable difference between the two. Now I have no idea if my perception is accurate or true, but every time I have this particular pain in that spot I can physically feel a difference, as if I am in need of a chiropractic adjustment.

The pain yesterday wasn’t severe enough to stop me from doing what I needed to do at work or to make me take some Ibuprofen (although I probably only didn’t more for being focused on my job and forgetting about it until I was already going to bed). I did not sleep very well last night. That’s partly due to the back, partly the fact my shoulders can get cranky about sleeping on my side, and mostly due to a brain that wouldn’t shut off.

The back felt okay first thing this morning, but that trouble spot feels a bit cranky as I am laying here on the floor. Hopefully it doesn’t get worse. It shouldn’t, although it might not bounce back to 90% right away.

Running on Empty

“Mental toughness is finding fuel on an empty tank.” ~ Kent Morris

Life is usually busy, crazy, and littered with bumps and pitfalls and mountains. It can be an adventure. It can also be exhausting at times. That seems to be where I am at right now…exhausted and in need of some breathing room or space.

I am glad that my husband finally had his hip replacement surgery, but I am beginning to feel the strain of having him at home all the time, especially with the knowledge that he will be home all the time for quite a while yet. He is doing well with his recovery and with his attitude, so I really have no reason to complain. Am I complaining? I don’t think so. I’m actually surprised by how well I have managed to keep my own attitude positive over the past two weeks. When he gets a cold or flu, I get grumpy within a day or two. Either I have turned into Mother Teresa or I have somehow acquired a level of patience I’ve never had before.

He is doing well, but he is not allowed to drive for quite some time, which means that my chauffeuring skills are being called upon more often. That also means that my “free” time is also being eaten up by more tasks that fall outside of my schedule and routine. Like the doctor’s appointment of the other day that chewed up free time before work…

With Provincials being two weeks away, I am beginning to feel the pressure of time collapsing around me. While life is always busy, it seems as if these next two weeks are somehow busier than usual. Some of that is by choice, some is just perception, and then there are just things and activities that must be attended to. Although I definitely use a day-timer and the calendar on my Iphone, I really should make a list of what needs doing and when. Seems redundant, right? But I am a maker of lists. I like checking/crossing off items as I have completed them, and I need the visual to help me stay focused and organized. Because, for some odd reason despite being busy, I seem to be in the mood for purging, spring cleaning, and catching up on little household tasks that fell by the wayside while my back was feeling significantly more pain.

After work today, I put my Mother’s Day sketch from my daughter into a frame and hung it on the wall. I also finally hung her graduation photo on the wall next to her brothers’. I changed the shower curtain liner. I did my exercises for my back and some band pull-aparts (because those are always a good thing). I drove my husband to somewhere that he needed to be. I put a chalkboard label on my coffee canister, so that I can note which type of coffee I am currently using. I made dinner. I did some writing in my Owner’s Manual notebook. I still need to prepare my food for work tomorrow…and my clothes, because I start super early and need to be as quiet as a church mouse. My husband needs me to drive him to the grocery store for supplies.

Two weeks. I have 9 work shifts remaining. A chiropractic appointment. Either 5 or 6 training sessions. I have an appointment to drop my car off to have the rear bumper fixed. My youngest son is graduating from university the day before I compete. While not absolutely essential, I would like to get my brows waxed and my hair cut and coloured. It’s kind of my tradition to get my hair done before a competition, and I’ve been seeing the silver in my hair for too long already. With sitting having been so painful for so long, I delayed a hair appointment even longer than is normal for me. I’m sure my husband has more medical appointments, although he’ll need other transportation if they don’t work with my schedule.

Really, I am looking forward to Provincials, because it will allow me a few holiday-like days. Not really holidays but I’ll take what I can get.

National Wine Day?

I’m tired, and apparently it is National Wine Day. Those two facts really don’t have anything to do with each other. My combining the two facts speaks to the current state of my brain and body. I am indeed tired, like mouth-gaping yawns and bones melting into the floor tired. I’d also absolutely love to have a glass of wine. alas, I have none in the house and I’m trying to keep my diet clean until after Provincials. Perhaps I can get a decent sleep tonight. My day wound up being even longer than I expected. It wasn’t a bad day, just long, especially since my day started quite early.

1a. squats-low bar, with sleeves

45 lbs x 8, 95 x 6

with belt: 135 x 5, 165 x 3, 185 x 3, 195 x 3, 195 x 3, 195 x 3

The bar felt heavier today when I got to 185 pounds, but it only felt heavy as I unracked it. I finished my reps feeling like I could have easily done a few more. After my second set at 195, Michael asked what I wanted to do. There wasn’t even a question about adding weight. That second set was a little on the slow and tough looking side of things, so he definitely didn’t want to add weight. However, he knew that sometimes my middle sets can be worse than the rest. Another set would be fine, so long as the reps were good and not grinders. I didn’t know what to say, because lately it feels like my body does not know squat the way it used to. So, I said I’d like to do another set and gave him permission to shut me down if the reps started looking bad. In typical Angela fashion, that final set was the best of the bunch.

1b. band pull-aparts

15 reps before every bench set

1c. bench press-competition grip

feet on bench: 43 x 10, 63 x 6

feet on floor and arch: 93 x 5, 110 x 3, 125 x 1, 125 x 1, 125 x 1

The heavy singles weren’t bad, although at least a couple of them were slower than Michael would have liked.

I am going to have to seriously work to keep a positive attitude towards Provincials and my bench press. My competition bench has been stuck at the same weight for a long time. So long that it is far too easy to feel dread that I’m going to continue to be stuck at that weight, and that dread spikes every time the bar feels heavy and slow in the gym.

2. ab wheel

x 12, x 10

My back still resists certain body movements, like a pelvic tilt when doing ab wheel roll-outs, but these were not too bad today. Certainly better than the last time I did them, and I think I was rolling out a bit further, too.