Tillifinney's Journey...Three-Month Recap!

  • By Eric Evenstad
  • 25 Jul, 2015
Join Tillifinney as we follow her fitness journey over six months, starting on April 16th, 2014. The highs, the lows, the goals, the PRs...she shares it all!

And now...Three Month Recap!

You know what, guys? When I’m feeling really down on myself about my journey, you know exactly how to pick me back up. Thank you for all the awesome thoughts and feelings that came out of last week’s blog. You are a huge reason why I love DeCO so much. Yes, you. A super special thanks go out to Coach Haven this week too, because my personal struggle was real today, and he knew exactly what to say and exactly how to get me through it. Also thanks to him for all the fun warm­ups as of late! This house of music­teaching CrossFitters can get down to warm-ups that require active listening.

Updates! Nothing new to report. I have updated you as progress happens, and right now my goal section stands with only one and a half goals unchecked – a full handstand push up and 10 double unders. So I will keep plugging away at those, as well as continue to find my 1RM of all the lifts and improve my lifting technique. Today, I RX’d my first benchmark WOD on pretest day, and holy cow do I feel it! I look forward to the progress I will make by the end of August, and I will update you as it happens! Looks like all you need now is a picture! See below. Sorry about the shirt change! Last month’s picture was taken in the middle of moving and I couldn’t find the plain blue one, so I’ll stay consistent with the blue stripes from here on out.
This week is a special week, friends. I have told you time and time again that my journey wouldn’t be half as successful without two very special women in my life, so I have decided to give them a turn to take the reins of the blog if they choose to do so. They are both going through their own CrossFit/health/life journeys too, and I find them both to be particularly amazing individuals that I love with my whole heart. Let me also remind you that living with two people who are in the same field of work AND CrossFit leads to some incredibly wonderful level of nerdiness that I wouldn’t change for anything. This week, you will hear from Ms. Lauren. I don’t know what she has to say, because I have asked her to keep it from me until the blog is officially posted on Facebook, but I know it will be a great read and will definitely give you some conversation material with her next time you see her! So, enjoy this special blog brought to you by Lauren!

Hey there DeCO folks and interwebs! I’m Lauren, if you don’t know me I live with Tillie and Rachel, and I’m also a teacher, and I can’t lie to you the death of our chicken had very little impact on my day­to­day life. I guess a little more about me before I go into some significant over­sharing, I also teach High School marching band, have a fantastic dog named Kaz, and I know all the words to most of the Frozen Soundtrack (hit me up for some sing­along time if you’re interested). Tillie asked me about three weeks ago if I would guest blog and my first reaction was “hell to the no” #sharingisntreallymything. Then after the initial throw up in my mouth a little feeling, I thought what do I have to lose? Then the real struggle began, what do I know about blogging? What am I willing to put out there on the big giant world wide web? Conveniently enough though, in the three weeks that I have been avoiding doing this after I said I would, I feel like I reached a turning point in not only my CrossFit, but day to day life as well.

So here it is, a brief synopsis of my CrossFit journey, fair warning I might be going into some pretty significant over share material, but according to a Facebook quiz I took a little ways back I’m a linguistic processor, so.....you’re welcome! Hopefully you’ll laugh and cry in all of the right places.

My journey started in January with Carla Aguilar convincing Tillifinney and I to come to an open Saturday class. If you’ve been following her blog you’ve heard that story and seen the pictures, so I wont retell all of that story. Then Tillie bought me one month unlimited with fundies from Living Social for my Birthday and I was set to go for some CrossFit life changing. And then life said, “hold up Lauren I’ll show you change!”. This was all for the best in the long run, after 5 and a half years I ended the relationship with my fiancé who I was supposed to marry on April 26th, 2014. I was supposed to start fundies on March 23rd, but that’s the day my life as I knew it went....
There’s obviously quite a few details left out there, but I just ask that if you’re thinking some judgment riddled thoughts that you know we’re both way better off without each other. Moving right along!

Now why share all of this other than to explain why I started fundies two weeks later than I intended to? Because CrossFit has been a huge part of my processing and dealing with all of the emotions that came from that relationship ending. To me it has literally been a physical representation of everything that I’ve felt going through one of the hardest experiences of my life. Andrew was the person who even brought it to my attention that my body, along with all of the limitations I felt it had were tied to some emotional things that I probably hadn’t dealt with yet. Mind = Blown. After that conversation with Andrew I thought, what do I need to do in order to put my body and my mind in the same place?

I needed an equalizer and I decided to do something that I was always too scared to do, a mud obstacle 5k. I chose Rugged Maniac because it was one I knew would push me but be within my reach for the short time I felt I had available to prepare. I also felt like it would be important for me to do it by myself, I asked a couple of people to do it with me but didn’t push it, and I felt like I could do it. Step 1: running, never really done it but I have a pretty awesome running buddy in Rachel, and occasionally Kaz but he’s easily distracted, but super cute! See...
Step 2: Get to DeCO as often as I can – this proved to be challenging, it seemed like inevitably something big at DeCO meant that a curveball was coming my way. This happened in a couple of different I tried not to be a victim to my circumstances ever, but sometimes it got me. I found myself leaning on people more than I ever have before, I also found myself more willing to be vulnerable and really express what I needed in the moment. All positives right?!

I also used CrossFit as a coping mechanism, sometimes using it to not deal with things I was feeling. This started to show up in all of my WODS. The weekend I was supposed to have been married, Tillie, Rachel, and I went to St. Louis where even though I had a little help I was able to hold a handstand against the Arch. Then we got back and things started to fall apart a little bit for me. My handstands took a major backwards slide, my form started to slip, my squats which were getting to actually look like squats, were going back towards the just shaking my hips direction (ask Leslie she does a pretty good impression of what they looked like in the beginning). Or if you want to just try to do it yourself, pretend like you’re about to bend over to pick something up and stop about a third of the way down, #nailedit. That’s why Andrew started calling me Squats...

In the timeline of things lets call it late June, or early July, I’m not getting to DeCO as much as I would like, I’m running A LOT, but neglecting other parts of my fitness life. Then we went to Vegas, not a lot of fitness conscious decisions were made, unless you count wading in a shallow pool holding a bucket of beer up #perspective. The first WOD I did when we got back was the “Air Force” re­test, holy shit balls... that was real, but a huge wake up. I had Rugged Maniac coming up that weekend too, so for me that wasn’t a huge confidence boost. I was kind of freaking out about the decision to do it by myself but knew that it was still important for me that I go through that kind of physical challenge by myself.

Fast forward to the next Saturday morning, Tillie and Rachel took me to the race site and I was getting more and more nervous about not having anybody out there with me. We sat on a hill and watched some people run the course before my heat and kind of “strategized” the best way for me to get around some of the first obstacles, and sooner than I wanted it to be it was time for me to get lined up to go. To enter the starting area there’s this red barricade that’s supposedly 5 feet tall that you have to hop over, I’m 5’4’’. I totally had the thought – what if I can’t even make it over to get to the starting line. So I came up with a strategy that I used for the whole race, just don’t stop to think about it. I approached it slowly, but I didn’t stop, and turns out I can just sort of hoist myself up and hop over those things, who knew?

That’s what I did over the entire course, I tried everything, except a balance beam over muddy water, but that’s because my knee was freshly bleeding cause of a mishap over something called the “Frog Hopper” which I handled the most gracefully I assure you. I just wanted to give it time to clot before I covered it with mud, sound medical reasoning right? As I was going through the course, sometimes running, sometimes walking, or climbing, or crawling,

I started to have more and more faith in the idea that I can do something like that by myself. I can be completely self-sufficient when it comes to my physical life, and emotional well being. Which was a hugely liberating feeling for me.

The last obstacle was a half­pipe wall that participants were expected to run up, and either hoist themselves over or get themselves hoisted over if they make it to somebody else’s hands. This was the obstacle I was the most afraid of. All of the participants are basically bottle­necked here and I was waiting for what seemed like forever to even get a chance to go. I almost walked up a ladder on the side because I was talking myself out of being able to do it. My fantastic support team at the finish line just told me to try one time, so I said I would. The first time, I touched the fingertips of the person reaching out to me and then slid down most of a muddy, sandy, vert ramp. I had all the scrapes and bruises to prove it too. I was so close though so I decided to give it one more shot, and check out this picture, this one I actually made it to the lovely volunteers up top and they helped me over the other side. Woot!
Ok so CrossFit, and me learning that I can be self­reliant, all related right? Sure, but even more important I think is that I learned that while I can do all of those things by myself. I don’t want to, and I don’t have to. I have an incredible community of people around me, people that I love and I know love me. They push me to be better, like they always have. Only now the difference is I can trust it to come from within me, which I didn’t before. I needed to run that race by myself as maybe some sort of weird symbolic closure for me. But now my outlook towards an everyday WOD has changed, I’m working through it for myself, and bettering me. And I trust myself to be able to do it, so I’m pushing myself harder than I ever have before in terms of the goals I’m setting for myself.

Thank you if you’ve made it this far, indulging all of my ramblings and perhaps poorly organized thoughts. Thanks to Tillie for giving me this terrifying opportunity to share. And here’s to CrossFit, mud, friends, loved ones, life­changes, and of course dogs (my dog Kaz mostly). Have a beer tonight friends, I most likely will be joining in from a softball field.
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