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

Click

Today, something kind of clicked into place for me.  I don’t know what it was or quite how it happened, but things kind of just worked for me.  I moved myself to various tasks throughout the day, added in details to my activities that I had wanted for so long to include (like having classical music playing in the background most of the day), and even got myself outside for a bit with an umbrella, despite the extreme heat.

I am not fully free of all of this recent stuff, but today was definitely a new day, a new experience of life – one much different from the past many weeks.

And I am grateful for it.

Post-a-day 2020

Something’s wrong, and that’s perfect

Every so often – read “almost every day, especially when I’m not doing so well” – I have thoughts of concern around the idea that there might be or that there is something wrong with me.

As I thought about this today and last night, it started to wonder, Well, so what?  So what if something’s wrong with me?  What does that even mean, anyway?  It had me consider that the whole concept of ‘something’s wrong’ is, in a way, utterly and totally made-up.  I think about the whole moth scenario, where the white moths all thrive in the snowy place, until the factory opens up, and soot is abundant, turning most of the snow gray…. at which point, the moth population slowly but surely turns almost entirely gray – the genetic mutation allowed for improved survival in the altered times, when snow was no longer white but gray.  By our standards, we could say that something was wrong with the gray moths, back when everything was white…, but none of them has a problem with that wrongness now, with everything being gray around them.

Basically, so something about me works differently than other people, or even than most people…, and, so what?  Why must I feel inferior or inadequate or lesser of a being because of it?  If my hormonal system doesn’t understand how to function superbly, does that make me a terrible human being, or a lame one, or even a non-human?  No.

For one thing, it is 100% in our nature as living beings to have mutations – differences, changes, seemingly inexplicable alterations – in our DNA and resulting bodies.  My body not working like the rest of humanity’s bodies is totally normal, scientifically speaking.  Female hormonal systems work this way, and mine just doesn’t – it works differently than the average female hormonal system.  It is statistically abnormal…, but abnormal statistics don’t make me a lesser being.

For a second thing, perhaps this is just a way of my DNA, my body, preparing for those unexpected factories to move into town and turn all the snow gray… perhaps they are preparing me for the unknown contingencies in life.  I have no idea what those scenarios would be to have any of these alterations from the average in my body’s function make sense…, but it somehow wouldn’t surprise me if, someday, whether I’m still alive then or not, these alterations all do make sense.

I’m still a bit nervous about the fact that, well, part of my body kind of seems to be screwing the rest of my body over, by not taking care of itself…, however, I like this idea of considering that it is merely a natural genetic mutation, a gray moth among the whites.  Plus, I have found various ways to help those struggling parts of my body to function better, and, though I don’t know quite how it all will look down the line, at least for now, I know what works best so far, and I can stick with doing that.

I certainly have had many a struggle and even a good handful of breakdowns around the fact that ‘my body isn’t normal’…, so I hope that this shift in perspective proves to be a powerful one.  I want to feel and be okay and comfortable with my altered-from-average body.  Anyway, plenty of people who had altered-from-average bodies ended up being spectacular at things other people couldn’t be spectacular at doing.  A woman with no arms can use her legs and feet like most people do hands.  A blind person can hear things most people don’t even notice.  Several genius-types couldn’t function socially or in schools very well, and some not at all.  I don’t know – not yet, anyway – for what my alteration from average allows in my life, but I am going to keep an eye out for it now, now that I’m thinking about it this way.  Perhaps there is something to this idea, even with my hormonal system’s situation…  I shall observe and consider, and hopefully see.  🙂

So, going forward, I shall remember – do what I can as I get adjusted to the idea, anyway – that something is wrong with me, and that that is totally perfect.  Seriously: perfect.  🙂

Post-a-day 2020

Got a sec’?

It is very difficult for me to ask people for things, to make requests of others.  No matter the situation, no matter the request, it is always somewhat – if not extremely – difficult for me to make the request.  Of course, people seem to feel as though I have a comfortable confidence when making these requests, and have admitted to me of having no knowledge of my difficulty in making requests.  But that is simply because I make sure I am as ready as possible before making the requests.  I am usually the only one present for the inevitable turmoil that precedes a request for me.  Occasionally, my mother or best friend is around for part of the paranoia, and so they understand it a bit.  However, most people have no idea what it takes for me to make the simplest of requests of them.

All of that being said, perhaps one could understand how devastating it can be for me when I am denied a request, especially one that I might have expected to have been granted easily enough.  I am always so willing to receive requests from others, and yet I cannot practice what I wish to receive from others.  I suppose I have just had a little too much rejection of sorts in the past, that I lack the confidence now.

Post-a-day 2018

Breakdown & Breakthrough: All in a day’s work

Today’s stuff was intense and deep and wonderful.  Rather than explain and describe everything, I turn to selections from the Facebook Messenger conversation I had with my cousin.  As a note that you can understand afterward, I have seven large trash bags crammed in my trunk right now, ready to be donated tomorrow, plus a bag of specifics for my cousin.  I went through two bags of trash – and no, I genuinely do not understand what trash is in the bags for the most part, nor from where it all came, seeing as how I was going through clothing only today…  Anyway, there was hesitation and uncertainty at the start, then paralyzing panic, followed by red-eyed determination, and then finally comfortable relaxation and ease.

At one point, after probably five (of the eventual 8) bags had been moved to the trunk, I opened up my guitar.  I had to cut off the plastic ties that were still around the case from having brought it here on the airplane.  I tuned it up from the extremely loose state in which the strings had been for months, played a song, and then just played around for a few minutes.  All-in-all, it wasn’t even 15 minutes spent with the guitar, but it was blissful, and I was filled with delight by the end of it.  It may seem like little, but having done this specifically speaks volumes about how effective today was – I hadn’t even considered pulling out the guitar until today.  The guitar is enjoyment and relaxation and fun.  Those haven’t really been an option in my life lately.

Anyway, find the selections here, below, and have a wonderful day.  🙂

………………………………………………………..

Hannah Any chance you read my weblog from last night?
I feel stuck
Cousin i have not
Hannah And I’d like your opinion
Cousin I will add that to my list of goals for today
Hannah I guess, essentially, I have planned to do my clothes today, KonMari style
But I feel like I can’t relate to joy sparking feeling
It’s like, because I have so much stuff, it all just stresses me out a little bit
And I feel kind of guilty at having it all in the first place
Maybe not guilt, but something… almost like shame
Cousin I went ahead and read the what you wrote
I hear you. I feel that way every time I move. Which is a lot of times.
Hannah Ha
Cousin I wonder what that ‘shame’ feeling is attached to. Is it a ‘supposed to’?
I’m not ‘supposed to’ have this much stuff?
Hannah Perhaps
I think so
Like that I was wasteful in getting things I don’t love in the first place
Cousin that was a different kind of joy at the time though
Hannah It’s currently just a big sense of stress
No specifics to it
Cousin specifically talking about the clothes right now. it sounds like you’re not being able to relate to confront them on a one on one level because you’re dealing with them as a whole emotionally.
Hannah Like I mentioned, my main issue right now is that I can’t get that spark joy feeling
Yeah, I think so
Cousin And you know there is no benefit to bringing the baggage of what you “should or should not” have done with any of these things.
That baggage is just more clutter
Even if the purchases you made turned out not to bring a usefulness and sustaining joy, there was at least a small amount of freedom and joy in obtaining them when you did. Otherwise you wouldn’t have done it.
That is all past now. You have grown. You have learned. You did good. Gold starts all around.
Now we get the excitement of meeting this new phase in your life. You get to make all these creative choices again with things you already own.
Like editing the draft of a novel.
And you don’t have to worry about making the wrong decision. Because your life si so abundant.
You may never find those plates from college. That sucks.
But. You didn’t know those plates would bring you joy before you found them.
ANd that may happen again with new plates.
Hannah Yeah
M– has always said that ‘If it isn’t a definite YES!, then it’s definitely a no’
[…]
Cousin The ‘definite yes’ thing can be useful, but it can also be a lot of pressure to put on yourself
[…]
Cousin especially because of where you are in your life.
It’s easier to know ‘definite yes’ when you’ve been living with the same stuff in the same place for several years
it’s harder when you’re in flux
there is an episode of gilmore girls actually that deals with that in the last season.
Hannah Ha
Hannah Remember that time I got rid of the multiple black trash bags of clothes?
At the two-Story apartment
Cousin yes
Hannah I did this activity then
It was just the clothes I had at that apartment, but still
It worked great
And I was so happy with it all
Now I finally have everything in one place
I want to do the activity again
I think I’m getting overwhelmed with the fact that there’s just so much sh*t everywhere in my room, in the house, and in my life
And I’m somewhat scared of what life will be when I let go of it all
Slash terrified
Cousin well, I know what you need then
some Tina Turner
Your montage moment is waiting for you whenever you are ready to have it
(and it’s okay not to be ready yet. You can also be scared of it and choose to be a cat instead until you’re ready.)

……………………………………………….

Hannah I just put the second item into the give-away bag, and I’ve started deep crying
It’s like I can see what’s going on for me, but I can’t seem to do anything about it
Because it isn’t just letting go – it is intentionally clearing the space
So much of what I have is out of necessity
That’s why I got a lot of it
Also, not really knowing who I want to be right now makes this tough
My current lifestyle leans toward making me feel useless in life
Cousin That’s why I was serious about my last suggestions. You’ve done your logic homework. This is body primal stuff.
Hannah It’s terrifying to let go of the safety that I’ve known
A lot of my clothes are representative of the safety I’ve had in my life
Mostly financially, but also mentally and all
Cousin Absolutely. This actually reminds me a little bit of when you shaved your head
Hannah Really?
I had no struggle with making that move
Haha
Cousin Conversations we had after the fact I mean
About how you had to find different ways to express your femininity
Hannah About having to deal with people seeing me so differently, and having to examine how I wanted to present myself?
Yeah
Cousin Exactly
Hannah It’s like I’m scared to show a grown-up, feminine me here
In Japan, I was okay with it
Cousin New slate, new rules
Hannah There were multiple occasions where I just stared st myself, ‘cause I envied the woman I was in that moment and outfit and everything
And here, I feel like I’m allowed to be a kid and/or tomboy
Only
Cousin Another identity to contend with
Hannah
Cousin Grl, YES
This is very much an Artist’s Way date
Hannah Haha
[…]

Hannah With quick folding, most of it went into my dresser, and the rest in one laundry basket!
Hannah I also started noticing differences in feelings as I was folding them up. It were as though, now that I have so much less, I could see suddenly all these individual emotions that were difficult to see before. Before, it was a simple ‘good feeling’ versus ‘not good feeling’ with each item. Now that all the ‘not good feeling’ items are out of the picture, I’m seeing what the different subcategories, if you will, of ‘good feeling’ are.

…………………………………………………………………………..

P.S.  Sonntag means Sunday.  It’s German.  😉

Post-a-day 2018

Walking the fence

Sometimes, it feels like life is on the brink of either incredible breakthrough or tremendous breakdown… as though I’m balancing on a fence, walking along the upper slate of wood, like I did all the time as a kid.  I know it isn’t very safe, and so I am careful, but I do it, nonetheless.  I know it could end in near-tragedy.  But I know, too, that it could end in complete success.  That’s how my life feels right now.  Though my balance seems to be deteriorating as of late, it still feels like I am just one little step away from something huge.

Do I even really care what that is?  I think not.  I just want to know that there is actually something there.

I know fully that I could drop all of this and move elsewhere, find great work, and move forward happily in life.  But something has me here right now, and makes going elsewhere feel like running away.  I just can’t see what it is that I keep wanting to escape every time my balance gets wobbly.  I can’t see the hand that is gripping me from behind, pinning me here either.  I guess I’m walking the fence with blinders on… makes me feel even worse for horses, because this kind of really sucks.

Whatever… I’ll keep thinking on it all.  I know everything will be great eventually for me.  I’m clear on that.  I just hope that I don’t end up running away from something, leaving myself incomplete… perhaps that is the key to everything moving forward.  Well, of course it is.  Duh.  Hmm…

Post-a-day 2018

the body

Do you ever feel betrayed by your own body?  Where you believe in something intensely, and then clarity suddenly sets in, bringing reality along with it, and you see easily and perfectly that things are not as they had seemed… perhaps this betrayal is the worst of all betrayal, because the body has no conscience nor malice, nor does it have an ability to love or to hate you… it just betrays you.

 

Post-a-day 2017

And the tears come rolling in

Today, I cried multiple times.  Some were at work, and some at home…, one even on the way home from work.  I am very tired right now, but the pains and hurts and strains of today, the ones that activated the crying, have reminded me of my time hiking Mt. Fuji.  It was painful, and annoyingly so, because I knew that I could do it, but so totally did not want to go through the hassle and pain that I knew would result by doing it.  And so were the various situations today – annoyingly painful, because I knew that I could (and still know that I can) deal with the various situations and circumstances, and they weren’t necessarily necessary for my life to move forward, so I just didn’t want to have to deal with them all (or any of them, really).  But I also knew/know that something useful awaits me, and will greet me upon my successful completion of dealing with the stuff.  So, I cried some today and now I will deal some more.

Post-a-day 2017