Sleep

Tonight, I want to sleep. Hard. And I want to wake up tomorrow with an open and free day.

And yet, tomorrow will not be that. It is a full day, mostly filled with things I do not love enough to want to do when I am so tired.

But, in order to get to that point where I can fill my days with what I want to be doing, I must weather these days like tomorrow first. And, the more heart and love and joy I put into them, the better it all will me.

So, I shall sleep now, and hope it is deep and restful. I shall wake up to an alarm in the morning, and get going quickly. I shall bring my best self to the table, and create a wonderful day, even and especially if I am feeling exhausted. I am here to love and to learn, so let’s love and learn, baby. 😉 I can sleep tomorrow night, as needed, and all I want.

Post-a-day 2021

Still tired…

Apparently, I am still recovering from the past couple weeks and all of their excitement and whelming. This afternoon, I was struck slightly by a thought. It was a worrisome concern. And, instead of it’s just remaining that, it kind of spread, virus-like, into so much more, I was a mess and ready to cry and rush home to ball up during, of all things, karate class. That class is usually my active healing time, my fight club, my releases. However, because I’ve been so worn down, my mental capacity was somewhat shot by this afternoon, and I could hardly keep it together enough to be in class, let alone put forth full effort. My full effort was measly, really, which brought me down even more, mentally.

Granted, I started menstruating today. However, that was only icing on the cake that gave me the exhausted ache of my whole being right now.

Anyway, off to sleep to help as best I can, despite the delay (due to yet another technological letdown) on getting to bed at a reasonable hour.

Post-a-day 2021

After midnight

Exhausted, feeling slightly ill, I roll onto the bed. It is so very late, and there has been so much action today, my mind, body, and spirit are all practically brimming with tears. They need rest. They need the door shut. They need the fresh air and lack of stimulation.

And so, we shall sleep… hopefully, very well.

Post-a-day 2021

Breathing through the pain

I woke up this morning, unable to walk. It was terrible. In intense pain, I struggled down the stairs to use the bathroom, then back up to see if I could sleep some more. I did sleep more, though it wasn’t as restful as I might have hoped (but as restful as I had expected).

Apparently, I have had some viral infection the past couple weeks-ish. I knew something was up. Stretching was miserably difficult each night, I was exhausted every day and sleeping poorly, and nothing seemed to give me the energy for everyday life, let alone to get through the workouts without feeling ridiculously heavy and incapable… Sure, menstruation has that kind of effect on my body, but only ever for a few days and only ever to a small degree – this was a whole different level of exhaustion and struggle. The kind that just feels like something is wrong inside.

And so it was.

I can finally feel things improving, now, as of a couple days ago. Each day is a little better, and today was the first day I didn’t feel heavy. Of course, it happened also to be the day that my leg muscles determined to be somewhat spastic, and not let me walk without intense pain in my knee/s…, but I’m hoping that will continue to subside overnight tonight, and I will be able to walk comfortably and capably tomorrow.

I didn’t get to exercise today because of that, and I am feeling that tomorrow might be the same. However, I have already scheduled a run with the weighted vest for Thursday morning (he day I usually do not go to the gym, as it is intensely knee-heavy), and a make-up time for the pull-up cycle work I missed this morning.

Anyway, I must sleep now. Goodnight, all… may we all rest deeply and effectively tonight.

Post-a-day 2021

Back on the log*

I stayed in bed – with possibly six bathroom breaks (number one only) – from 7:45pm to about 6:45am this morning. My sleep was fitful. I did my feel entirely rested when I got up. However, my bowels functioned somewhat normally, and without any pains, and that was a total win.

I still felt slow, my lower belly and lower right edge were still uncomfortable (but not in pain), and I was somehow a bit clumsy, but I felt significantly improved overall. It still took effort to talk, but a whole lot more came out, whenever I did attempt speaking, and much sooner than it had taken every time yesterday. My mom noticed that part immediately when we finally spoke later in the morning.

I wasn’t sure how the day would progress, and was worried I might have to be home and, possibly, in bed most of the day. By nine o’clock, I had determined that I likely would go in to work. It was only for three hours today, and the prospect of being at home all alone, especially with the discomfort and all, was not a delightful one. So, I took a fitful nap, after eating some, and then got up and went in. I was slow-moving still, with a light sensation of my guts being as of yet undetermined as to when they might escape my body and in which direction they might choose to do that escape.

I adjusted after a little while to being able to talk to people quite normally, and eventually was at almost full normalcy on that front. I was able to walk around a bit faster near the end, and even jogged back inside, when I discovered that I’d left my smoothie near-dregs in the fridge. That surprised me, even.

I did my grocery shopping, and headed home to change. Since late morning, I had been messaging a buddy from the gym about running together this afternoon/evening. He hadn’t replied to my inquiry yesterday (about running today), and I knew he probably had been out drinking.

Turns out that he had arrived home around 3:30am last night/this morning. I told him that 13+ hours was plenty of recovery time, and that, though he claimed he felt like he was dying, I had almost ended up in Urgent Care, and so he and I could die together – it would be better to die in good company than all alone, after all.

He allowed that we could make it work, assuming he didn’t feel quite so terrible by the evening. We agreed that we would be in touch after I finished grocery shopping in the afternoon.

By the time, however, that he responded to my messages in the afternoon, he told me that he was out drinking… right then. Can we get a facepalm, please?? ;P

I considered running to the bar to meet him, partly for getting back at him for leaving me hanging, and partly for my desire not to be left alone with whatever was going on in my belly. It was gorgeous outside, and I knew it was an outdoor patio kind of place, only a 5k from my house. However, he was actually doing some one-on-one time with a friend from out of town, and so I did not do that.

(Okay, but when was he planning to run with me, if he had the friend in all weekend, anyway?? Either he’s a sneaky liar or wasn’t thinking, I dare say.)

And so, I went running in my own. What had intended to be a short little run, maybe two miles at most (plus a .05 as stretch beyond the goal), and at a slower, we-are-ill pace, turned out to be a full-on ladder run – with the 10lb vest, recall – that ended up being the third-fastest 5k I have ever done. Period. That means without any weighted vest for those fastest times. And I did my third-fastest with a 10lb vest on me, wondering the whole time if I might hurl or just sh** my pants at any given moment.

That is some other-world Goggins stuff right there.* Nearly end up in a hospital in the morning, have a panic attack, work out late morning, nearly fall apart trying to work in the afternoon, so go home and get ready for bed at 4:45pm. Sleep forever, wake up still sick, go to work again anyway, and then do one of the hardest and most successful runs of my life, considering if and when I might need to crap or vomit on the side of the road somewhere. (I actually did come very close to vomiting right after I set out!)

So, yeah… what a day…

*If you don’t get the references, read David Goggins’s book, Can’t Hurt Me.

Post-a-day 2021

Oh, snap…

6:40am: Wake up groggily, in need of a bathroom. I have slept in by over two and a half hours, and my body is demanding that I get up to relieve it, at last. I do.

As I re-ascend, a flea lands on my ankle. I grab it immediately, destroy it, and flush it down the sink. This cycle repeats itself once more, but this time with the bug landing on my shin. I head downstairs a get plates and tea lights, set up the traps in a few spots, hoping to nab anything left while it is still somewhat dark outside, and pour the soapy water and light the candles.

As I am just about to head upstairs to my bed – for I had not felt as though I had slept eight hours, and felt a real need for more – , a pain strikes my lower belly. Oh, no… digestion problem, I think, rushing back to the bathroom. Everything had gone as usual in the bathroom initially, but my father’s (and my maternal grandfather’s) GI tract genes had been passed down to me, so it is somewhat always a toss-up as to whether by bowels will be normal or ridiculously sensitive.

Back in the bathroom, I find that nothing is interested in moving – it feels as though there is nothing to depart from my body, even. And yet, I am suddenly crying out in pain, it has become so intense. But nothing seems to be happening inside me. Just pain exists, increasing to a point I have never known. I have had success pains before, but they typically end within a minute, as things readjust inside me, and then I am fine.

But this is somehow different.

The cries of pain continue to escape my lips, shocking my more and more. What is happening?

There is a chance it could be the appendix. The position of the point of the most pain is appropriate. But I’d need a second opinion to be sure. Perhaps I would do best to call my mom and ask her, since I know that she knows. The cries and the pain continue and increase, as the phone calls.

Straight to voicemail. I call again, in case it is merely Do Not Disturb. Voicemail immediately. She’s still asleep. I could call the house, but only if absolutely necessary, as it would wake more than just her. Wait on that.

Thinking is growing fuzzy. As I begin to get up from the toilet, my ears lose full hearing, filling partly with a fuzzy, humming noise. My vision is shaking. I might be about to pass out.

I rush to wash my hands, and rinse some cool water on the back of my neck. It helps briefly and barely. I need water. But my bottle is upstairs. If something goes wrong, I need to be downstairs. There’s a cold bottle in the fridge, I recall.

I bolt in a slow stumble down the stairs to the kitchen, and open the fridge, shakily. I manage to pull out the water and drink some, then hold it against the back of my neck.

But I cannot hold it there. Before I really know how it has happened, I find myself on my hands and knees, my head laying inside the fridge, my breathing heavy and intense.

I just feel so hot.

And I hadn’t five minutes ago.

Something is definitely wrong.

I call my brother. He does not answer. I call the house for my mom twice, but it just keeps ringing both times. Some emergency contacts, I think, somewhere far back in my brain.

I might hurl, I realize. But I might just need a bowel release. Either way, I need to get back to the bathroom.

Because I always put things away, I put the water away in the fridge, though something inside tells me too weakly to bring it with me. Too hard to hold.

I crawl back up the stairs, so hot, out of breath, the pain only increasing in my lower belly, just above my pelvic floor, especially on the right side.

I make it to the bathroom. Nothing is moving in my bowels, nothing wants to exit. As I have been contemplating where to seek emergency medical care, should I need it – though, I had wanted a second opinion on that, this the phone calls – I am now faced fully with making the decision myself. But I know I cannot see well enough or function well enough to find the directions to the right place on my phone. Urgent Care, not ER, but I have never been there, so I’m not certain we’re it is; just that it is near.

First that, then see if I can drive… or even make it to the car.

I have been very near passing out this past several minutes, I know I need someone else to know of my situation, to help if I do pass out.

I call a friend on EDT, knowing she would be awake by 8:20am, even if it is a Saturday. She answers.

But I find that I cannot speak.

I manage a greeting of some sort, I believe, but then just continue breathing heavily, crying tears of pain and confusion and frustration. I know she will remain calm and evaluate properly, but I need to communicate what is happening.

My arms have gone completely tingly, shoulders to fingertips. When did that happen?

With much struggle and murkiness, I finally manage to say what is happening. I am only in underwear at this point. My shirt was wrenched off in the bathroom when the heat first began – I had thought that I only was overheating somewhat, but my skin was completely soaked with sweat once I’d slid off my shirt.

She first tells me that her husband (hems a doctor, but not the first reason I was calling her) is not with her right now, but then immediately tells me that I might be having a panic attack – BREATHE. At this point, I am lying face-down on the floor, my cheek just hanging over the first stair step. My left hand clenches a soaked paper towel… soaked with what? Tears, snot, sweat…, probably all of them, but I cannot quite remember how it even got to my hand. My right hand is pressed into my lower right belly, at the point of the most pain.

Staring at the phone – on speaker – on the floor next to me, I focus on calming my breathing, deepening each stroke. I am still terrified, but I already feel immensely better emotionally, now that someone is here with me. That helps my breathing ease better.

We laugh at her comment on how I should probably be talking to an actual doctor, not someone searching on WebMD. My face is soaked and my body hurts, my arms still tingling, but my hearing has been restored and I can see clearly, though my processing is still slow – it takes real effort to make the words come out. But I tell her that, if we determine I need to go to see a real doctor, I first need to make it upstairs to put on clothes. We laugh at the prospect of my showing up in my car in just a pair of underwear, and I wonder if I would end up with a ticket afterward for indecent exposure…. and yet an ambulance would have taken me in just my underwear, and that would have made their jobs even easier.

I marvel somewhere in the back at how I can even have such thoughts right now, but can barely manage to mutter a single simple sentence aloud.

I tell her that, even if it just turns out to be digestion issues, I am totally okay with that. I’m still glad I was able to get ahold of her. I’d actually rather not have it go that way if I ended up at Urgent Care, however. Not cool. She is giving me options of what might be wrong, assessing my specifics on the pain locations.

Nothing quite lines up as well as the facts that 1)I am near beginning menstruation, and 2)I have bad bowel genes. I ate brisket yesterday, which I do not usually do, but everything else was rather normal in my food.

As we sit on the phone, the pain slowly begins to ebb away, bit by bit. I ask her to stay with me, and she agrees with a firmness that she had already planned on that.

After an hour, I finally have been able to roll to my right side, and curl up in a ball for a bit, and then lie on my back, knees up. The pain has finally begun shifting around slightly, no longer covering such a great area within my body, but it has shifted partly, though gently, to the tender area just above the pelvic bone and in front of the uterus. It is relaxing its grip, nonetheless. I make it to my hands and knees. My arms are only barely tingling.

I need water. I had wanted some already, and had laughed as I’d told her that my brain felt like she could get it for me, because she was here with me now… that fogginess hadn’t been able to sort out the different between digital and physical presence, obviously. But so, I have finally made it to my hands and knees. After staying there a while longer, I finally make it shakily to my feet, and then head downstairs. Perhaps I should eat food, too.

I have some calm, dry food, after I gulp some more water, and she tells me she’ll check in again later.

It is almost 9:00 now. I use the bathroom once more – no BM or gas, of course – and head upstairs to rest briefly. For some reason, I have it in my head that I still need to go to the gym. I had already canceled the 9:00am cardio class, knowing that was neither an option nor a good idea. Not paying that no-show fee. But the 10:00 class is just calm weights, and part of that was something I had missed Monday and had been waiting to make up all week.

I couldn’t miss it… but that had been a thought I’d had before the morning’s insanity. However, my brain was still so murky that it was not able to notice that fully. It just knew that I had to go to 10:00. And that I had convinced someone to go with me, and had helped that person sign up for the class this morning… while I was lying on the floor in the hallway, shaking still…

(I know, right?)

And so, after a brief nap, I did go. Before we began, one of the guys asked about my morning so far – I think – and so I told him a brief summary.

‘And you’re still here?!’

My brain hadn’t even considered that yet. Life goes on, was all it could think, and so it had had me continue onward in my day.

It was still very difficult to talk, to make my body out forth the effort of creating and spitting out words, more than just a few at a time. But, once we got to work on our training, I didn’t really need words – not more than a few every so often – and so life felt somewhat normal. I was sleepy, exactly, but my brain felt something like sleepy, and my body was definitely tired. I had the wherewithal to take it all easy, but not to consider that I maybe should just go to bed or something.

I think I really wanted to be with people for a while. And whatever was wrong with me seemed utterly unlikely to be contagious. I’d even checked my temperature, and it was quite low. No elevation whatsoever. And I don’t feel that kind of sick, anyway. I just felt cloudy and a bit weak on endurance.

And I was. But I got through all that I’d determined to do for today’s workout, and I felt much improved by the end of it. Though, no longer having a specific, repetitive task in front of me, it was a struggle to walk to the car to get myself home. I stopped for bananas on the way, knowing I would want smoothies today and tomorrow, and feeling a call toward eating a banana, anyway.

I managed to make food and eat it, and drink some smoothie, and then shower and nap for a while before having to head to work. When I got in, I found that I couldn’t talk. Not quickly, anyway. If someone greeted me, I could only smile, and then wonder how speech worked, feeling mentally my throat and mouth. I set down my stuff, and acknowledged that maybe I couldn’t do this work today, despite my efforts to show up. My belly had begun aching again, but I wasn’t sure when. Every time I considered genuinely talking, my eyes started to burn.

I went a spoke to the supervisor. She reminded me what the store actually does, that they’ve been short workers before, and that it is significantly more important that I take care of my own health and well-being than suffer through helping there. They absolutely would make it without me, if I needed to go home. And the fact that I had shown up in the first place spoke volumes to my dedication. No, there were no negative repercussions for me, if I determined that I needed to go home right now. Think about it, she told me, and let her know. I had been crying from the moment I’d started telling her what had happened.

After a few minutes sitting there, chatting – well, sort of – with another coworker who had been in the room with us, I noticed that I was hunching forward. When I stood up, I could not stand up straight. The pain was too strong, and I was too weak.

I was going home.

Now, it is just after 6:30pm. I am lying uncomfortably in bed, that lower right spot gently twisting again. The aim is to sleep. The goal is to awaken healed tomorrow. We shall see what happens.

Post-a-day 2021

Oh, dear

It is far too late for me to be awake right now. Especially considering that, not only do I have to get up at my regular time tomorrow, but I then have things back-to-back until 8:30 PM. Remember that my morning wake-up time is 4:20 AM, and my regular bedtime is 8:30 PM. It is currently 12:38 AM.

But I saw the nutritionist and chiropractor tonight, and it just happened to be a terrible week to have that happen. Today was already rather booked, from rising to 7:00 PM. But add onto that the sitting around and waiting in the office, until I finally have and finish my appointment just before midnight – I could have gone home after work, slept three hours, and then gone to the office, really. This is just a tad absurd.

Man.

Okay, deep breaths. Tomorrow will be beautiful. And I will sleep fantastically tomorrow night, for sure. Perhaps this is why I never signed up for be volunteering at the park for Wednesday morning – the Universe knew that I might need the rest then. Depending on how tomorrow goes, I might see about still signing up tomorrow night for Wednesday morning. But we shall see. Fingers crossed, and goddesses bless!! 😉

Post-a-day 2021

A day of rest

My weighted vest arrived yesterday. I went to bed last night, considering that I actually might not be going to the workout this morning, but still leaning more towards going. When I awoke this morning, around two hours before my alarm, I was almost certain I would not be going to the workout. I felt terrible, utterly exhausted. When my alarm later sounded, it was confirmed: I was going back to bed, because I needed some serious rest. I slept an extra three and a half hours before waking for real. I didn’t actually get up until another half hour later, listening to an audiobook as I lay curled on my side under the comforter, eyes closed.

I eventually got up and made breakfast, though. After eating, I went and unpacked the vest with delight. I was super excited. As soon as I unpacked it, I put it on and wore it around the house for a while. It was certainly heavy, and would take some major adjusting, if ever I were intending to run two miles with this thing. I’m still not sure that I’ll ever do it, but I’m not giving up the idea so easily. Slow and steady, were my thoughts. We still have time.

By 10:00, I was barely staying awake, however, and so I lay down comfortably on the floor… and passed out… hard. I woke only once, and fell right back asleep, adding yet another additional three hours to my sleep tank for the day. I really was wiped, I thought. I had needed this day of rest, for more than just resting my muscles – so much of me was tired. Last week and the weekend and start of this week had been, well, a lot. And being behind on sleep with all of that only made things harder, both then and now.

And so I truly rested today, swapping between a new book on the kindle – got the notification this morning that it was now available from the library! – and the audiobook on my phone (also from the library, of course), and even spent close to an hour just stretching while reading, and half an hour swinging on the front porch, despite the heat and humidity (once the mosquitos arrived, however, I was done sitting out there).

Around 5:00pm, I was unsure as to what to do. I had rested much today, but didn’t want to rest too much. I also didn’t want to exert myself when I actually just needed rest. But I could feel it within myself that I needed to move. Not intensely or hard, but truly to move. So, I donned the weighted vest, though only with 10lbs now, instead fo 20, and went on a long walk. Two and a half miles in the heat, I walked at a mostly brisk pace, experiencing moving with the vest on me. It was simultaneously rough and easy.

Now, it is 9:00pm, and I can hardly stand up, I am so sleepy and tired. Therefore, I bid you all a wonderful night. 😉

P.S. Tomorrow is my anniversary of first beginning as a member at the gym. I had reached 55 workouts so far this calendar year yesterday, and so was comfortable not going today. Last year, at this point, I had done only 51 workouts. I still considered going at noon or in the afternoon today, just to round out the year’s total, but my body went into sleep mode for the noon class, and was too exhausted to fathom doing such work by late afternoon.

Post-a-day 2021

Body Image

I intentionally look at myself in the mirror, nude – or almost entirely – every single day.  I look and I see all that there is to my body.  I fill myself with the experience of all that my body is, standing before that mirror.  And I love myself.  Through and through, from the tiniest hair to the German skin to the inherited bowels that are all too sensitive – I love my body for all that it is and for all that it is not.  This is my vessel, my space, my temple, my power, my source in this life.  And I am ever grateful for and in love with it.

That does not mean that I do not want to improve upon it.  One can love something and still want better for it.  Indeed, I believe part of loving something means always wanting better for it.  Such is the case with my body.  Every day, as I see the improvements from only a week ago or days ago, I am grateful that I have blessed it with such love… such love as it takes to get out of bed when I want to snuggle in deeper to the cozy covers, to get myself ready for bed early enough to have enough sleep, to choose these foods over those, to deny the casual pressure of those who do not have the same intentions with their food and drink and schedule, not to take the easy route, and just to accept the current and temporary convenience of eating this standard meal that I find before me, possibly even for free.

They mean no harm to me, I am sure, but such a meal is not free for me.  It has its costs.  Yes, it is utterly convenient, and significantly less socially odd and, sometimes, less embarrassing.  But, it is not blessing my body when I consume it.  Often, it causes my body actual pain, in some small way or other.  And, occasionally, it causes pain in some not-so-small ways… things I never noticed until I began to pay close attention.  I always thought eating meant one would feel ever so slightly ill afterward.  But that is only with certain foods, with the ones that do not serve my body, that I feel that way.  I have learned.

My food is my medicine – I take no other – and it is my daily blessing that gives me the energy for tomorrow.  It gives me my strength to exercise at 5:15 most mornings, as though it were a normal hour of the day.  It gives me the nutrition I need for my deep slumbers at night to restore and improve my strength and energy.

And it is not always easy.  Indeed, it often is difficult to manage getting myself the food I need, whenever I am doing things away from home, with others or alone.  Even at home, it takes effort.  And yet, after all this time, the effort seems like almost nothing.  Why?  Because it is so incredibly worth it.  I don’t even have to think about giving myself the right foods to serve me best, let alone thinking twice about it.  All because I love and want to take loving care of my body.

My body is merely the starting place.  If I am comfortable in my body, and it is ready and able for anything, then my spirit, too, with my body’s support, can take on whatever comes my way, and with a ready heart.  So, as I gaze at myself in the mirror each day, easily noticing the room for improvement, I also marvel at the beauty of all that I am, of all that I have become, and of all that I see I can become… all because I love myself for exactly who and how I am. I once was afraid to see myself naked – I couldn’t stand it.  Now, I look forward to that time of intimacy and being attuned to and connected in all ways with my physical self.  It is one of the most beloved times of my day, and it fills me always with love, joy, and gratitude for this life and for this current step within it.

Post-a-day 2021

Why I do the hard workouts

Zachary Tellier, from what I have been able to gather from various online resources (including the military times), is listed in military memory as the following:

Army Sgt. Zachary D. Tellier

Died September 29, 2007 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


31, of Charlotte, N.C.; assigned to the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Sept. 29 at Firebase Wilderness, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using small-arms fire.

And, from an obituary, we have this:

FORT BRAGG — An 82nd Airborne paratrooper who pulled two comrades from a burning vehicle in April died Saturday of wounds sustained while on a ground patrol in Afghanistan, military officials said Monday.

Sgt. Zachary D. Tellier, 31, who most recently lived in Charlotte, was a combat infantryman with the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team at Fort Bragg.

“He really just wanted to serve his country,” said wife Sara Tellier. “He felt it was something he should do with his life. … He didn’t like to be called a hero. He was very uncomfortable with that, but he was definitely very brave man.”

Sara Tellier said her husband grew up in New England, but they moved to Charlotte in 2004. He joined the military in 2005.

He was supposed to fly to Atlanta for a brief leave this month. Sara Tellier has been splitting time between Charlotte and Atlanta, where she has family.

In April, Tellier’s unit was on a mounted patrol when one of its vehicles drove over and detonated a bomb, which set the vehicle on fire, officials said.

Tellier pulled two paratroopers to safety, suffering severe burns to his hands. He was awarded the Bronze Star with valor for his actions. Tellier also had received two Purple Hearts.

After he was burned, Tellier jumped up in the turret to return fire, said Sgt. Michael Layton, a member of his unit. A lieutenant made Tellier get out of the vehicle because of his injuries.

He is survived by his wife, Sara; his father, David W. Tellier of Groton, Mass.; and his mother, Pamela Rodriguez, of Falmouth, Mass.

It is difficult to honor someone fully without having known him, and especially so, when only a small bit of text on a screen is all that is provided.  I did read some of the personal notes at the bottom of the obituary page.  However, they somehow felt too personal for such an outsider to be reading.  Nonetheless, one stood out to me in particular, and I think it is what I was meant to see on that page.  Benjamin Shields, a fellow member of the military, commented, “He was one of the most selfless individuals I have ever met and I still think about him to this day.”  And, when Benjamin eventually became a sergeant, he said that he did his best to model Zachary’s leadership.

Originally, CrossFit released what are called “Hero WODs” (workout of the day) to honor and to pay tribute to specific individuals who have fallen and died during active service to our country.  Eventually, the fitness community around the globe began creating their own Hero WODs to honor and to pay tribute to their selected, wonderful individuals who would be missed, due to the same result of falling while serving this country.  It seems Zachary Tellier was one of the second group of individuals, from what I have gathered so far.  Yet his name has become known across the globe, simply because of the workout given to honor him, to pay tribute to all that he was and all that he did, as well as to all that he still today inspires in those he knew.

The workout titled “Zachary Tellier” is not an easy one.  None of the Hero WODs are.  And yet, yesterday morning, as I was crawling back into bed to go to sleep, to take a day of rest from my regular, difficult exercise, I saw his name listed at the top of my gym’s Workout of the Day page, and I jumped into action.  I told myself inwardly to wake myself up, because we are not missing this one, no matter the oh-so-few hours of sleep we had gotten last night.  This was was worth it.  And my body agreed.

I arrived at the gym, excited, almost bouncy.  This was Zachary Tellier, after all – how could I not be?  I had donned an all-black outfit with an American flag scrunchie in my hair.  Today’s workout was to honor the struggles through which so many people go in order to provide for me and for my life.  From the smallest to the largest, their sacrifices, their persistence, their struggles, both won and lost, are all a part of my ability to live a life I love.  Just as mine affect those around me.  Today’s workout was about honoring all of them, while giving special attention and gratitude to this one known but unknown individual, Zachary.

He is a reminder that even the unexpected can be faced effectively, even the worst of our fears can be faced successfully, and, even when we do fail at something, we succeed in something greater than we could have imagined.  He did not consider himself a hero, it seems.  And yet, for so many, he was just that through his daily life, through who he was as a person.  And the world is a better place because he was part of it, and because he showed up in it.

Now, that all being said, let’s look at what this workout actually is.

For Time:

10 Burpees

10 Burpees
25 Push-Ups

10 Burpees
25 Push-Ups
50 Lunges

10 Burpees
25 Push-Ups
50 Lunges
100 Sit-Ups


10 Burpees
25 Push-Ups
50 Lunges
100 Sit-Ups
150 Air Squats

Before I began at the gym, I am almost certain that I would have looked at this workout and thought, No Way.  It was not in the realm of the possible for myself.  And, I likely would have thought that as being applicable for the rest of my life.  It wasn’t just a ‘not today’ kind of thing, but a ‘not ever’ one.  I would not have thought it possible for me to complete this workout in a day, let alone all at once, or even within an hour’s time.  If I had attempted it, I likely would have made it ten to 12 burpees into the thing and given up.  Not for me, I would have determined.

Even when we had been at the gym for almost three months, and we did this workout all together, I was concerned partway through whether I would be able to complete the thing, let alone within any set amount of time.  I did knee push-ups with an ab-mat under my chest (so I didn’t have to go as low on them), and likely really sucky lunges and squats, as well as push-ups, and I genuinely wondered whether I would survive, whether I could make it to the end… several times.  I could barely move or breathe after about halfway through it.

And yet, I did survive.  And I did finish.  It took me 36 minutes and 20 seconds to finish, and my repetitions weren’t great at all, but I had done it.  I had pushed through the intense struggles I was facing – not to mention the mental struggle of fitness that plagued me in the first place – and I had done the best I could, crappy, pathetic push-ups and all.  And I had made it to the other side.  I remember looking back on it afterward, wondering how on Earth I had done it – it had felt like the workout would never end, like I would fall to the ground, defeated long before I made it through to those squats.

Persistence, I thought.  Not giving up, and just going for it… just doing it.  That was how I’d done it.  Certainly, the community around me was encouragement in and of itself.  But, I could have easily seen where I was relative to them – so painfully far behind them – and given up.  Yet I didn’t.  Because something was more important than giving up.  Because I saw that my attitude toward this workout could be no different than my attitude toward life as a whole.  How did I tend to respond when faced with a seemingly impossible task?  When I was faced with intense struggle that seemed like it might not let up anytime soon?  I knew how I usually responded, and it almost made me sick to my core.  My breathing was heavy during that workout for more than just the physical effort it was taking.  I almost always gave up, when things got hard.  I ran away, avoided.  I gave up so many opportunities even for fear of their being too difficult – too difficult being defined as more effort than was easy to give.

This workout was just one step toward letting all of that go, and helping myself to become someone I wanted to be: someone who didn’t give up, who didn’t lose sight just because things got hard and seemed impossible.  I can be strong, I can trust myself to survive, and I can make it through to the other side.  After all, I already was showing myself that I could do that, simply by being at the gym that day, and each day since we had joined.  All those tears shed were for the pain I was overcoming with each workout.  And this one was just another, albeit a much more difficult one.

And so, in the intense heat and humidity that is always July 4th in Houston, Texas, I faced my fears and my stops in life, I pushed through and persisted, trusting myself in a way I was no longer accustomed to doing, and I completed the workout.  In the tiniest of ways, I felt my success to be heroic in its own way.  An inward Thank you… was all I could offer to Zachary Tellier after the workout, but I had meant it with all of my being.  And so, though I did not know this man, and it was likely that he never would know how people across the globe, who never knew him, would be saying his name for years to come, I was grateful to him for the reminder that he forever would be for me: That I could do it, that I could survive, that I could thrive.

Now, roughly a year and nine months later, I found myself jumping out of a beloved opportunity for sleep and rest, donning an attitude of, “I can do this,” and heading into the 5:15am round of the Zachary Tellier workout with intense joy.  My first time through, I had spent 36:20 on the seemingly impossible workout.  The second time, exactly a year ago (nine months after the first time), it was 33:33, and I no longer used the ab-mat for my push-ups.  Yesterday, though I wanted to show Zachary – as if we are buddies who meet up every time I do his workout – that I had improved upon myself, and I wanted to complete the workout faster than before, I knew that the best way to honor him and to pay tribute and true gratitude to him was to focus on my struggles.  How I face this workout is how I face the world, right?  So, let’s face it with confidence, excitement, and a touch of fear, ready to take on the challenge and face the unknown.  In other words, I shall be my best self.

And I was.  When things got really hard, I gave myself the needed breath, and got right back to it.  A cry of pain or exhaustion was merely a release – like that old poster, it was weakness leaving the body – and each one allowed me to keep moving, to keep going.  I knew I wasn’t in danger of hurting myself – I merely was pushing through the discomfort, the fears, the doubts, the impossibilities I had placed upon my own mind.  I still was one of the last ones to finish, but I hardly even noticed that.  It wasn’t about that.  It was about my attitude and what I did in the face of the struggles.  And, because of that, I had an amazing time.  I was baffled when I saw the clock was only at 28:00 exactly after my final air squat.  That was a 16.5% increase in speed from last year, and 23% faster than the first time.  And isn’t that spectacular?  Especially for a workout that had once seemed an impossibility for me.

I had initially intended to talk merely about the difficulty of this workout here, and yet, here we are, having talked first about the man for whom it was named, and then the workout itself…  I suppose that man is half the reason my heart is in it, though, so it only makes sense.  Without his name, it merely would be a list of activities.  With his name, however, it gains a life of its own, and it reminds me to work on myself so that I might serve others in my world through my life.  When I improve on this workout, I can see how, through my physical fitness and mental growth, I am better able to serve and to love those around me, better able to be patient, to endure, to work through the pain of what once seemed impossible.  I can see how I am better able to be my best self.

Post-a-day 2021