Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category


Oscar Pistorius stretching

Oscar Pistorius stretching

 

I wrote the post “Why you gotta hate?” (below the asterisks) last year during the Summer Olympics. Today, my husband asked “Have you seen the headlines?”

 

“I haven’t been on the Internet yet today,” I replied

 

“You’re not going to like this,” he said, then clicked to CNN. The breaking news headline?

 

‘Blade runner’ Pistorius charged with murder of model girlfriend

 

“Oh, God,” I said. “I hope it isn’t true.”

 

“I’m afraid it probably is,” said my husband.

 

Goddammit.

 

I have given Lance Armstrong a hard time in some of my blogs. I owe him an apology. He may be a driven man, but his “disgrace” is nothing by comparison. I’ve met enough “heroes” over my life to know that not all of them are people I’d want to hang out with. I know that a drive to win or succeed or survive doesn’t automatically mean the individual has great character–some do, some don’t, just like the rest of humanity.

 

Lance Armstrong arguably wasn’t cheating. The Tour de France awards haven’t been given to anyone else, because they’d all been doing the same thing. At what point is it no longer cheating? I don’t have the answer for that, but if the point is to prevent unfair competition, it appears that the top contenders were competing “fairly” if they were all doping in some fashion. If it’s to preserve the health of the athletes, please. Look at two champions in their respective fields: Muhammad Ali and Earl Campbell. The sport itself was enough to damage them.

 

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong in his heyday. (Photo credit: goat karma)

 

I hope Oscar Pistorius is innocent, but in high profile cases like that, most law enforcement officers and prosecutors want to be very sure before they move on it. Look at how the LAPD was taken to task in the O.J. Simpson trial. And I mean “innocent.” I don’t mean “not guilty.” A verdict of not guilty doesn’t mean that the suspect didn’t do the deed; it just means the jurors didn’t feel there was quite enough evidence to convict. I’ve talked to plenty of jurors who believed a criminal defendant did what they were accused of, but not deeply enough to send a man to prison.

 

But, like O.J., Oscar will never be a hero again. Lance Armstrong has the capacity to “redeem” himself; what he did was not intrinsically evil, the kind of crime that is called “malum in se” in legalese. Oscar, if believed by the majority to be the murderer regardless of the outcome of any trial, cannot rehabilitate his legacy.

 

And that’s tragic. Not just because I’m personally embarrassed to have taken a strong public stance supporting him and now feel like an idiot, but because Oscar had, far more than O.J., put himself in a position where he was a role model.

 

That pressure is enormous; Sidney Poitier hated being “the Prince of his People” because he had to be very mindful of everything he did. He was, by his success, placed in the position of being a representative for an entire group of Americans.

 

Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pistorius had inspirational stories, magnified by their successes. Lance Armstrong is still inspirational, because he beat out other people in their own game, but the luster is dimmed. He has distanced himself from his foundation, LiveStrong, and I respect him for that.

 

Oscar Pistorius, no matter the outcome, will be replaced as an inspiration. Luckily, there are more parathletes coming up that may be able to compete at the Olympic level, and do so with grace. Oscar hasn’t set the bar very high for another to eclipse him.

 

*******************************************

 

Here beginneth the post that was, and should be no more:

 

One of the most inspirational  athletes in the London Olympics is South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius. Why? Because he learned to run, when even walking should have been impossible for him.

 

And yet, even though he has no problem with competing against able-bodied athletes, you read over and over, in almost every article about him, people are whining that the carbon fiber legs give him an unfair advantage.

 

Excuse me?

 

First, I’d like to see a show of hands of how many competitive runners will voluntarily amputate both their legs below the knees so they can presumably run faster? Anyone?

 

Next, just how big a problem is this? Are there scores of bilateral amputees who are going to qualify for the Olympics? If the entire group of qualifying athletes are running on carbon fiber Cheetahs or similar prostheses, then maybe it should be seriously addressed. Until then, why exclude one guy who has the willpower to have gotten himself to the point that he could possibly qualify? How many years did it take to begin policing the far larger problem of steroid usage when it was pretty clear to everyone that a significant number of gold medals were taken home by folks that clearly looked as though they’d been pumped up by something other than weight lifting?

 

The Flex-Foot Cheetahs that Oscar Pistorius wears (which are cool in a sci-fi way) demonstrate how far prosthetics have come. It should be a source of inspiration that Pistorius can run fast enough to compete with the able-bodied. Instead of celebrating that fact, everyone got bogged down into whether the prosthetics gave him an unfair advantage.

 

I’ve got a friend who works in prosthetics and who met the man. I asked him about the “unfair advantage” thing, and, aside from saying that Pistorius is an incredibly cool dude, he became very passionate about the fact that the prosthetics DO NOT give him an advantage. I didn’t know the science; I just thought raising the question sounded like it came from petulant children.

 

Part of the problem is that the two main studies that have been discussed are the one commissioned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the one commissioned by Pistorius. On the face of it, that’s a problem because both studies could clearly be considered biased. They also took different approaches, so we end up with apples and oranges.

 

IAAF is always fighting an uphill battle to level the playing field, sometimes getting bogged down in some truly esoteric trivia. And they seem to assume anything new is an unfair advantage, as reflected in the decision outlawing the full body swimsuits which seem to me to be something that anyone can get, provided they have the money. Oh, wait, the rationale *is* that not everyone can afford them. Qua? Since when have we had any problem with the national budget of any country competing in the Olympics. The ban doesn’t seem to have ended the problem, given that a different swimsuit purportedly may give an edge to the Brits.

 

But isn’t the entire sports world about doing everything they can to get that slight edge? And let’s face it, the nations with the most money to spend on the Olympics intrinsically have an unfair advantage. Maybe they should consider a spending cap of some sort across the board, instead of just picking on the swimsuits, although policing that would be as much of a headache as trying to keep up with the newest, bestest drug. Even better, perhaps they should just require that everyone in every sport has the same haircut, same height, same weight and, most of all, compete completely in the nude.

 

On the other hand, the report commissioned by Oscar Pistorius is problematic because it’s hard not to believe that the study was done to prove that there was no advantage. Even if the science was unimpeachable, the fact that it was not independent makes it automatically suspect.

 

The best evaluation of the information comes, surprisingly enough, from an article published in the Boston University International Law Journal. For those of you not familiar with law journals, they are rigorously scrutinized to verify every citation the author uses. Members of the journal’s staff will look up every citation and make sure not only that it is there, but that the cited material says what the author purports it to say.

 

Anyway, Patricia J. Zettler examines the Pistorius case in her article “Is it cheating to use Cheetahs?: The implications of technologically innovative prostheses for sports values and rules.” After an extensive discussion of both of the studies mentioned above, she reviews the scientific literature of the Cheetah and similar prosthetics and concludes, quoting Peter Weyand, a biomechanist at Rice University at the time, and now at Southern Methodist University:

 

In summary, “existing evidence doesn’t prove Pistorius has an advantage, [but] it doesn’t prove that he doesn’t have one, either.”

 

So, those of you complaining, either chop off your legs to get on Pistorius’s level, or man up and stop fearing the guy missing some body parts.

 


Crystal Mayhue, a 35-year-old massage therapist and SAHM (Stay-at-Home-Mom), balancing her part-time business with raising two young sons and  hanging out with her husband as well as CrossFitting, contacted me about her CrossFit experience. I loved what she had to say, and want to pass it along to you.  Crystal, you now have the floor (or screen…whatever):

From Crystal’s Pinterest board

I started CrossFit recently and I am so addicted. I refer to myself as “Chunky Girl Works Out.”

I started referring to myself as “chunky” after my first pregnancy. I’d developed a serious B12 deficiency which triggered a case of RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) of epic proportions. The baby came and the RLS never went away. Baby number two was also a fan of B12. Lets just say RLS is here to stay.

As a result, I am constantly sleep-deprived which has resulted in weight gain. I would never have called myself an athelete, but I spent years weight training and doing cardio. As long as I kept an eye on what I ate and made sure I was physically active, my curvaceous body was kept in check. The minute the RLS hit and sleep was something I could not accomplish, the curves turned to “CHUNK”! I even have a Pinterest board (http://pinterest.com/massagemomma/chunky-girl-works-out) named for it.

I waited two years to get into CrossFit for many reasons. I found out about CrossFit by way of Facebook, of course. I had reconnected to an old high school friend and she was always talking about going to “CrossFit.” I asked her about it.

I have what I lovingly refer to as “Exercise A.D.D”. I get bored so easily. I find running boring so I started doing mud runs like the Warrior Dash and the Merrell Down & Dirty. I got bored weight training on my own so I started taking BodyPump.

So, when my friend tried her best to explain the beast that is CrossFit, I was very intrigued. I turned to Google to find out more. Thirty minutes into my research I knew that sooner or later I was going to start CrossFit! The idea that it was mix of cardio and weight training and could happen indoor or outdoor and then you throw in kettle bells and a garage type atmosphere … I was in Exercise A.D.D heaven!!

One of the reasons for delaying my first CrossFit experience was “Super Fit Girls + Super Ripped Guys= WTF stares at Chunky Girl Works Out.” I had the itch to try it so bad I even had thoughts of setting up a backyard CrossFit.

I turned to my dear friend Google and his girlfriend Pinterest to see what it would take to create a “box” in my own backyard. I found I could do it on the cheap. But, honestly, I still didn’t totally grasp the whole of what CrossFit was and felt like I needed more instruction. And, quite frankly, I run a house and family and I am constantly in charge and making decisions. Sometimes I just want someone to tell me what to do and how to do it so I don’t have to think about it. I know, sounds lazy. But I’m a Mom, a wife, and I have a part-time Massage Therapy business. I don’t want to have to come up with my own workouts. I want someone to tell me what to do for once.

I have two boys. Very. Busy. Boys! My oldest will be seven in November and is in the first grade. My youngest is four and now attends all day PreK at the same elementary school as my oldest. I was overwhelmed at what the heck I was going to do all day. The idea that my baby was going to start school totally knocked me down. I knew that I was going to have to find something to do that would excite me or I was going down for the count.

We are a “traditional” family, I guess you could say. My husband works and I, for the most part, stay at home with my kiddos. The idea that I was no longer going to have my little buddy to take care of all day still brings me to tears. So, I set my sights on CrossFit. I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to see if it was as awesome as I had made it out in my mind to be.

So, I found a CrossFit box and signed up.

Finding a CrossFit box in my area wasn’t easy. When I first looked into CrossFit, there was nothing close to me. One day, I happened to be talking to a nurse in my doctors office  and she mentioned she did CrossFit. She raved about her box. She said the coaches were awesome and the members were like family and that she was in the best shape of her life. So, I went to the official CrossFit website and looked it up. Two CF boxes had opened in a somewhat close proximity to my home.  I only visited one of them. My nurse was so passionate in talking about her CF box, CrossFit of Locust Grove (Georgia), that I never doubted that it was the one for me. When I met the owner, Todd Springer, I was impressed with how he continually talked about CFLG being a family.

I started on a Monday morning. There were about twelve people in the class. There were men and women ranging in age from early twenties to late forties in a spectrum of fitness levels.

The first day I almost puked because I knew these people were going to die when they saw Chunky Butt walk in. But, you know. I have never met people more eager to help and guide and cheer a person on. I have belonged to many gyms…Gold’s, local athletic clubs, YMCA…. never have I ever had people so willing to help me catch on and want me to succeed.

The first person to speak to me, other than Todd the owner/coach, was a very fit, thirty-something woman. During each part of the WOD she made sure I knew where the equipment was, showed me what to do, and gave me encouragement. I was shocked. I tell you, I spent hours at my local Y before anyone ever even spoke a word to me. But, during a WOD that consisted of way too many push ups and box jumps, I had people that I had only laid eyes on that day telling me not to stop, to push through and that I could indeed finish the last round.

Since that first day I have attended morning, afternoon and evening classes. Each person I come in contact has been as helpful as the first. We have a Facebook group for members. People are always posting about getting together to go to events, or telling another member how great they did during the day’s WOD or just posting life stuff. They are family. We are family.

I have been apart of CrossFit of Locust Grove for two months. And, when my Dad was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, the outpouring of understanding and compassion from my CrossFit family rivaled that of my church family. Sometimes when you are mad at the world and feel like you have no control over anything—you just need to drag a tire across pavement, do a hundred burpees and seventy-five squat jumps and then hear someone tell you just how beastly you are because you finished.

CrossFitters, for the most part, really seem to have a passion for athleticism and really want for others to feel the same euphoria they do when finished with a WOD.  But, believe me, I know the fear of walking into a crowd of super fits….YIKES!!…..but I strongly urge everyone that is curious about CrossFit to visit their local box. The outpouring of support and  camaraderie that you get being apart of a CrossFit family far out weighs the nervousness you feel when walking into your first CrossFit class.

You can contact Crystal Mayhue by email at massage_momma (at) att (dot) net.


Today I’m turning over the blog to Rick Martinez of Transition Possible. As the daughter of an Air Force fighter pilot, the niece of an Army Ranger and Green Beret, the cousin of an Iraqi War vet from the Coast Guard, and the mother of an EOD tech, living in a world populated with active-duty servicemembers, reservists, retirees, veterans and their dependents, I know too many individuals and families who bear a heavier burden than the average American for the various armed conflicts our country has been involved in. No matter how you feel about the politics behind the conflicts, the intrinsic honor and sacrifice of our servicemembers are not diminished nor tarnished by performing their duties. 

My name is Rick Martinez and my mission is Transition Possible. I am a retired Army nurse, an entrepreneur, the head vision-keeper of the Fitness Porvida movement, the owner of two CrossFit gyms and the founder of an organization that allows us to support and celebrate our nation’s heroes. It’s my moral obligation and I believe it is one that we all have.

Picture from Transition Possible

The parents of SPC Tracy Willis, who was killed in action in 2007 in Afghanistan. Transition Possible held a fundraiser in Willis’s honor and named the WOD “Tracy. “(Photo Credit: Transition Possible)

Transition Possible’s mission is four-fold:

  •  To positively impact the lives of our nation’s heroes
  • To encourage them to continue living and achieving through sport and functional athletics
  • To show the world that the warrior spirit can thrive no matter the circumstance
  • To bridge the gap between wounded heroes and citizens

As I post this, we are one day away from the launch of the world’s first non-profit whose vision is to create mentorship and leadership programs through which wounded heroes and adaptive athletes can find a new path or career in the world of sport. Think entrepreneurial boot camp for heroes.

On Saturday, October 6, 2012, in San Antonio, Texas, we will host the Warrior Summit II, which will bring together the nation’s best coaches, U.S. Paralympians and adaptive athletes to prove that CrossFit can be for everyone. In the evening, we will be hosting a special fundraiser (tickets available here) with keynote speaker Kyle Maynard — an ESPY-award winning athlete and one of the most motivational individuals in this world. “An Evening with Heroes” will celebrate adaptive sport and our nation’s heroes and will raise funds to support Transition Possible.

Why does this vision, this launch and this cause matter?

Let me share Mike’s story:

How a daisy-chain IED is set up. (Photo credit: GlobalSecurity.org)

Mike Gallardo is a Tribe Member and he is an amputee. His dream was to become an elite trooper, “Delta Force,” he says, to serve his country. The events of February 7, 2008 had a different path for Mike. That’s when his platoon was hit by a daisy-chain IED. That’s when he, for lack of better words, became broken.

Folks, that’s when Mike’s hopes and dreams were radically changed because he made the choice to serve. To protect us. Mike came to us some time ago, buy us I mean Fitness Porvida, and it was evident that though broken physically, mentally he was not bowed. He attacked the program and embraced CrossFit as a means to a new end. The Tribe was his new platoon.

Mike Gallardo at work … or play? (Photo Credit: Transition Possible)

The WODs were his new mission.

But where does it go?

How does that fulfill a destiny?

Even more, how does that offer a life of fulfillment where a man can support a family, start a career and be a productive citizen?

Mike was integrated into the Tribe (as we call it at Fitness Porvida), accepted as a regular Joe and soon he started a 90-day internship pilot program to test the efficacy of making a coach/trainer a viable career option.
Here are his words:

The internship helped me in many ways people can’t see. It has helped with my PTSD because I did not like to be around lots of people. The Tribe made me feel at home and that I can trust people once again. It helped with my TBI because before I could barely remember my own birthday, now I can remember over 50-100 members names. It also helped me be a little more organized because I have to plan my day and keep a daily planner for my tasks.

WOW!

Soon after, Mike was offered employment as a coach at Fitness Porvida. He’s one of the finest coaches
we have EVER had. In his words,

Fitness Porvida has been very helpful because they have set me up for success. They helped me make goals for myself and accomplish them ahead of time. They helped me become a good coach, but they still are in contact with me to make me a great coach. Not only did they treat me with respect, they treated me as part of the family.

Now imagine doing this ten-fold, folks

Transition Possible exists to make this transition possible.

Today it’s Mike.

Tomorrow … well … tomorrow depends on you.

Be a part of making the transition possible.

~ Rick Martinez


Peanut Butter Cookie Batch

Peanut Butter Cookie Batch (Photo credit: Greatist): I can’t stand peanut butter, but maybe some of you crave it.

I love Greatist. I encourage anyone interested in health, fitness and weight loss to subscribe to them. No, I have no financial or personal interest in them, so feel free to take it or leave it with my blessing and no effect on my pocketbook:

  1. How to foam roll like a pro
  2. Can you be too sore to work out?
  3. 10 interval training mobile apps to download right now
  4. News: Talk to yourself to stay motivated
  5. Schedule your day to reduce stress
  6. Give in to cravings to avoid binges
  7. Ultimate guide to good posture at work
  8. Develop a routine to improve sleep
  9. Why do I eat when I’m not hungry?
  10. How to handle criticism like a pro

There seems to be a “routines” theme in my list. Maybe I’m trying to tell myself something. I’m not even touching the word “pro,” given that I’m a woman old enough to remember that as a euphemism.


Oscar Pistorius stretching

Oscar Pistorius stretching

One of the most inspirational  athletes in the London Olympics is South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius. Why? Because he learned to run, when even walking should have been impossible for him.

And yet, even though he has no problem with competing against able-bodied athletes, you read over and over, in almost every article about him, people are whining that the carbon fiber legs give him an unfair advantage.

Excuse me?

First, I’d like to see a show of hands of how many competitive runners will voluntarily amputate both their legs below the knees so they can presumably run faster? Anyone?

Next, just how big a problem is this? Are there scores of bilateral amputees who are going to qualify for the Olympics? If the entire group of qualifying athletes are running on carbon fiber Cheetahs or similar prostheses, then maybe it should be seriously addressed. Until then, why exclude one guy who has the willpower to have gotten himself to the point that he could possibly qualify? How many years did it take to begin policing the far larger problem of steroid usage when it was pretty clear to everyone that a significant number of gold medals were taken home by folks that clearly looked as though they’d been pumped up by something other than weight lifting?

The Flex-Foot Cheetahs that Oscar Pistorius wears (which are cool in a sci-fi way) demonstrate how far prosthetics have come. It should be a source of inspiration that Pistorius can run fast enough to compete with the able-bodied. Instead of celebrating that fact, everyone got bogged down into whether the prosthetics gave him an unfair advantage.

I’ve got a friend who works in prosthetics and who met the man. I asked him about the “unfair advantage” thing, and, aside from saying that Pistorius is an incredibly cool dude, he became very passionate about the fact that the prosthetics DO NOT give him an advantage. I didn’t know the science; I just thought raising the question sounded like it came from petulant children.

Part of the problem is that the two main studies that have been discussed are the one commissioned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the one commissioned by Pistorius. On the face of it, that’s a problem because both studies could clearly be considered biased. They also took different approaches, so we end up with apples and oranges.

IAAF is always fighting an uphill battle to level the playing field, sometimes getting bogged down in some truly esoteric trivia. And they seem to assume anything new is an unfair advantage, as reflected in the decision outlawing the full body swimsuits which seem to me to be something that anyone can get, provided they have the money. Oh, wait, the rationale *is* that not everyone can afford them. Qua? Since when have we had any problem with the national budget of any country competing in the Olympics. The ban doesn’t seem to have ended the problem, given that a different swimsuit purportedly may give an edge to the Brits.

But isn’t the entire sports world about doing everything they can to get that slight edge? And let’s face it, the nations with the most money to spend on the Olympics intrinsically have an unfair advantage. Maybe they should consider a spending cap of some sort across the board, instead of just picking on the swimsuits, although policing that would be as much of a headache as trying to keep up with the newest, bestest drug. Even better, perhaps they should just require that everyone in every sport has the same haircut, same height, same weight and, most of all, compete completely in the nude.

On the other hand, the report commissioned by Oscar Pistorius is problematic because it’s hard not to believe that the study was done to prove that there was no advantage. Even if the science was unimpeachable, the fact that it was not independent makes it automatically suspect.

The best evaluation of the information comes, surprisingly enough, from an article published in the Boston University International Law Journal. For those of you not familiar with law journals, they are rigorously scrutinized to verify every citation the author uses. Members of the journal’s staff will look up every citation and make sure not only that it is there, but that the cited material says what the author purports it to say.

Anyway, Patricia J. Zettler examines the Pistorius case in her article “Is it cheating to use Cheetahs?: The implications of technologically innovative prostheses for sports values and rules.” After an extensive discussion of both of the studies mentioned above, she reviews the scientific literature of the Cheetah and similar prosthetics and concludes, quoting Peter Weyand, a biomechanist at Rice University at the time, and now at Southern Methodist University:

In summary, “existing evidence doesn’t prove Pistorius has an advantage, [but] it doesn’t prove that he doesn’t have one, either.”

So, those of you complaining, either chop off your legs to get on Pistorius’s level, or man up and stop fearing the guy missing some body parts.