About KarenAnamCara

Fiber artist

What if

What if you knew you couldn’t fail?  What if you knew for sure that this time, this would really work, that you would finally be successful?  What if you chose to be brave?  What if you didn’t let fear overtake you?  What if you believed in yourself?  What if you didn’t fear failure?  What if you didn’t fear success?  Yes, success.

There’s a certain amount of responsibility that comes with achieving success, reaching a goal.  If we don’t reach that finish line, we still have an out that not becoming successful affords us.  Reaching the goal, achieving success, we have to live up to ourselves.  We have to keep on being successful, keep on achieving.  And that can be a very scary thing to some of us.  “Jeez Louise, accomplishing this seemingly monumental goal is scary enough, but once I do, you mean I’m gonna have to do it all over again???  And something even bigger and better and even scarier???  Um, no.  No thank you.  I think I’ll stay where I am, thank you very much – even though I’m miserable.”

Think about that.  Does this sound familiar?  Is the fear of being successful, of being accountable to your future self holding you back?  Instead of letting fear hold you back from an awesome life, what if

  • you trust yourself
  • you choose to be brave
  • you live joyfully
  • you are grateful
  • you believe in yourself
  • you build upon the seemingly small successes that achieve each day
  • you live with determination
  • you stand up for yourself

What if you take the time to dream about what you really, truly want for yourself?  What will your life be like?

Share your thoughts with us!  We are here to help you live the sisu way:  with determination, character, strength of will, perseverance and courage.

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Karen’s Cancer Adventure

Pressing double 16kg kettlbells (35# each). Feeling strong and powerful. Sisu.

In June 1997 I was diagnosed with stage 3 thyroid cancer and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I had been healthy and active my entire life, so it came as quite a shock. Even more shocking was when the doctor said I had two years to live – if I was lucky. I was 34 years old. I had a radical thyroidectomy. In addition to the thyroid being malignant, I also had 2 malignant parathyroids and 6 malignant lymph nodes. The surgeon also removed 2 more lymph nodes that were precancerous, plus neck muscle and my jugular vein for good measure. For two months after my surgery, the range of motion of my right arm was shot. I was unable to dress myself. Michael had to get in the shower with me.

One day I decided to try to exercise. I put Richard Simmons’ “Stretchin’ to the Classics” in the VCR. I couldn’t even stand up for 5 minutes. Richard kicked my butt. I cried. The next day, I tried again. I cried again. But I kept trying. Every day I got a little bit better. And I mean a very little bit. But I kept trying.

Over the next two years, I felt hunted, always wondering if the cancer would come back. When it didn’t, I felt relieved. But I was still sick – I seemed to catch one cold after another. I had bronchitis, pneumonia and mononucleosis. I wasn’t able to exercise like I had in the past. I made horrible food choices. I gained weight. A lot of weight. And I lost a lot of confidence in myself. I had all but given up. I figured if I really was going to die of thyroid cancer, then who cared what size corpse I was?

After several years of trying to lose weight, getting sick and gaining all the weight back again, I got fed up. I decided to make one small change at a time. I started by ditching sodas and walking. I picked up my dumbbells again. I tried Pilates and yoga. Slowly the weight came off, and my confidence started to come back. Then I hit a plateau. In hindsight, I realize that the plateau came at the same time I got bored with my workouts.

In April 2010, I found out about a free, online kettlebell and nutrition program. I went in with the attitude that if I lost 5 pounds, it would be great. I’d be happy. After 12 weeks, I had lost 12 pounds and regained my confidence in myself and my body. I had increased my strength and mobility, too. The day I snatched a 12kg kettlebell was one of the proudest days of my life. That’s the day I knew I had beaten cancer. I was hooked. So hooked, I decided to become a certified kettlebell instructor.

In May 2011, Michael and I became RKC certified. The RKC (Russian Kettlebell Challenge) is the gold standard of kettlebell certifications. I pushed myself mentally and physically over the 3 day cert in ways I never dreamed possible. We left the certification excited and determined to help our clients improve the quality of their lives through kettlebell training.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my cancer adventure. I no longer feel hunted. I am full of hope and grateful that such a horrifying experience led to the wonderful life I have now. Sure, I’m missing parts, but I’ve gained a stronger, happier, more grateful me in the bargain.

Small Group Training

Interested in a great training program?  Want to build friendships that will last a lifetime?  Need some motivation and accountability in your training program?  Come join us!

We have regularly scheduled small group classes Monday – Saturday.  During the winter, we meet indoors.  During the warmer months, we meet in the park.  The park / playground is located on 39th Street, NW in McLean Gardens.  The closest street address is 3700 39th Street, NW, Washington, DC  20016.  The park is across the street from the intersection of Porter Street, NW and 39th Street, NW.  Email us for more information.

Each session will build on skills learned in previous sessions, so you won’t want to miss one! If, however, your schedule requires some “tweaking”, we can certainly work with you to make sure you stay on track.

What to bring:

Water, a towel and a great attitude!

What to wear:

Comfortable clothes to workout in, flat soled shoes – or go barefoot. Cross trainer or running shoes will throw off your form while swinging, so barefeet or flat shoes are best. Vibram Five Fingers, Nike Free, Merrells, Chuck Taylors are all good examples.

Kettlebell swing playdate here

This is SISU

Several days ago, I was thinking about my “cancer adventure”. Nothing unusual – I think about it at least once a day. I thought about what my life would be like today if I had given up, if I hadn’t kept trying to reclaim my health and my life. And then I came across this video on Facebook.  This is exactly what “sisu” is all about.  Let me know what you think. ~Karen

 

Swing workshop

Join us for a great introduction to the kettlebell swing on Saturday, May 12 at 10:00 a.m.  The park / playground is located on 39th Street, NW in McLean Gardens.  The closest street address is 3700 39th Street, NW, Washington, DC  20016.  The park is across the street from the intersection of Porter Street, NW and 39th Street, NW.  Email us to let us know if you are coming so we have enough kettlebells to go around.

What to bring:

Water, a towel and a great attitude!

What to wear:

Comfortable clothes to workout in, flat soled shoes – or go barefoot. Cross trainer or running shoes will throw off your form while swinging, so barefeet or flat shoes are best. Vibram Five Fingers, Nike Free, Merrells, Chuck Taylors are all good examples.

Kettlebell swing playdate here