So much to talk about

So a very rare thing happened TWICE in the last week. I was actually proud of something I did in the box.

First, 18.1. My initial feelings and thoughts were anger at yet another move that I cannot do, relegating me to the scaled arena once again. Don’t get me wrong, I sincerely don’t believe there is anything wrong with scaling a workout where appropriate. But the reality is, I’m starting to think there is something wrong with me that after 3+ years, I cannot do one of the most basic of gymnastic moves, toes to bar. So it being the very first move of The Open, really upset me. Dumbbell clean and jerk? Ok. Fine. Rowing? Yuck, but fine. Twenty minute grinder? Again, yuck, but fine. It was obvious from the very beginning that the obvious strategy is find a pace that you can keep and just keep moving.

So get over yourself. You are doing scaled, end of story. Buck up and set a goal for yourself, and do that quickly. So I pondered my engine. I watched the “big wigs” perform and get into their 13th round and pondered my engine some more. My engine is more akin to a cheetah than an African wild dog. Meaning I can go fast, but not long. I am hella strong (particularly for my “advanced” age), but I don’t have distance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not down on myself as my cardio is well above where it used to be, but it’s certainly not my strong suit.

So my initial goal was five rounds. 150 total reps. Many of my friends were thinking more like 8 rounds, which I felt was very much out of reach because of the rowing. I wasn’t worried about the dumbbell at all. I was concerned the rowing would tax my engine to the point I wouldn’t be able to keep going. I asked my friend to use what I call his “Sargent” voice to yell at me so I would keep going.

In the end, despite all my fears, I got 8 reps into round 10. 278 total reps, darn close to TWICE what I initially thought and even past what others predicted for me! I was so proud of myself. THAT is the feeling that I’m not used to. Something I did, me. Old, still overweight, with a engine that doesn’t run long distances, with the coordination of a drunken, one-legged penguin trying to fly through maple syrup. And yet here I was , proud of 278 scaled reps. I’m not used to this feeling at all. I’m used to saying something sarcastic to cover up my feelings of inadequacy. And yet there I was, lying on the floor, incapable of breathing, of moving, smiling. Happy.

Incident 2 happened today. Today was a 21 min EMOM. Min 1 was 8-10 DB cleans, min 2 was 8-10 burpees over the DB and min 3 was 12-16 box jumps. Okay, so I don’t have box jumps in my brain anymore after falling over them one too many times. I’m okay with scaling to step-ups. I elected to use the 30 pound dumbbell over the prescribed 35 pounds mostly because (or so I told myself) that I wanted to leave those for the people who could Rx the workout. Looking back, I should have used the 35 pound weights, but that is a story for another day. Burpees. Oh goody. I HATE burpees. HATE HATE HATE them. They demoralize me, tax my small engine and in general make me hate everything about me and crossfit.

One day, one of the coaches said she could tell a change in attitude between movements from deadlifts to burbees. She could read it on my face. Yep. That would be my hatred toward burpees.

Today, on round one, I slogged through them with my usual attitude. Step back, flop on the ground, drag myself up, step up, turn to face the DB, barely hop over, heavy sigh, repeat. I got 6 in a minute doing this. Could I move any slower? Seriously…it was the proof I needed that I wasn’t a worthy crossfit athlete. And my coach’s voice popped into my head about changing my attitude toward burpees, something about working on my opportunities. My inner voice started cussing up, down, left, right and center. And then I made a conscious decision to change my mind.

I made the conscious decision to continue to do “only” 6 burpees (not the prescribed 8), but I would do them as fast as I could, every round. Guess what happened? I did 6 in less than 30 seconds each of the last rounds. By the end of the workout, I recognized that I could have done the 8 within the time! In addition, I was actually HAPPY about how I did. Was it as the coach wrote? No. Was it scaled? Yes. Do I care? Nope, not at all. I did six rounds of 6 burpees and felt good about it. Meaning this was the first time in over two years that I felt good about a workout with burpees.

So basically twice in the past five days I’ve felt good about a crossfit performance. Who am I and what has happened to me? I will say, it’s a feeling I could get used to.


Reality Check

Dear self, you are 49 years old. You are not 20. You are not even 30. You are probably closer to death than to birth and this means certain things for your body. 

1. You are under no obligation to “keep up” with the younger athletes in your box. Push yourself, yes. Keep going, yes. But please try to stop beating yourself up when the 20 and 30 somethings are faster/stronger. You do you. 

2. You are under no obligation to keep up with those in your age group. Yes, there are several mid to late-40’s women that you very much look up to. They are doing their own thing. You are doing yours. Push yourself, yes. Be happy for their accomplishments, yes. You do you.

3. You are under no contractual obligation to get: pull-ups, double unders, toes-to-bar, rope climbs nor any of the plethora of moves you don’t have. Work toward them, yes. Push yourself to try them, sure. Should you, one day get them, rejoice. But life isn’t over if you never get them. You do you. 

4. You don’t have to excel at all the crossfit things. You might want to, but you were given certain skills and certain strengths and some of those might not be exactly what you need to excel at crossfit. This is okay. Work on your weaknesses, yes. Push yourself to get better, sure. But not excelling isn’t failure. You do you. 

5. Learn to accept your journey. I keep telling myself this one. I’m not sure my brain fully buys in to this one, mostly because it’s not all all the journey I had initially dreamed of when I decided to get healthy several years ago. This is the hardest to accept. But again, you do you. 

If I keep repeating these, maybe one day I will believe in them. 

The Feelz…

Last week we had a 40 min EMOM. Min 1 was 1-length bear crawl. Min 2 was 20 pushups; min 3 was a shuttle run, min 4 was 30s of ME toes to bar and min 5 was 15 box jumps to a 20″ box.

Looking at this WOD on Wodify, I knew it was going to be a tough one. I’m still nursing a calf injury and toes to bar is more like me flailing my legs wildly getting them nowhere near to touching the bar all the while making my hands very sore. Box jumps are no better when the calf muscles are not happy, and running…well…it’s one of my least favorite things to do and injuries are simply not helping there, but I showed up and thought that I would at least do what I could. I do like bear crawl, so at least 8 of the rounds would be okay!

Before we started, our coach said that anyone who had toes to bar had to work on stringing them together, try not to do one and drop etc. Those that didn’t, really had to try to get those knees to their chest and those that were close should work toward their first one. This left a LOT of us spending 8 rounds really trying to get one, practicing our swinging and really working on getting our legs up as far as we could. Hey, I can do that! I can swing my legs around in a vain attempt to touch the bar. (Now…I firmly believe that my not-inconsiderable jelly rolls are not really helping this particular move).

I believe we were in our 5th round and one of the other coaches was prepping things for the Boot Camp class and happened to be watching. After trying really hard and not getting anywhere near the bar, she came up to me and said, “Oh you are so close!” This woman doesn’t have an insincere bone in her body and it would never occur to her to say something that wasn’t true. However, I can visually see how far my feet are from the bar and to my mind there is approximately a one foot distance between my toes and the bar, and that is probably being generous. So I shook my head and replied, “I’m really not all that close”, and moved on to the next movement (box jumps – of which I was getting 10 of the 15). I do my jumps and here comes the coach for our class. She stops me and says, “You are allowed to give yourself credit for what you CAN do”. I must have looked very downtrodden at this (or some other emotion that I cannot begin to process), because she put her hand on my shoulder and said, “Seriously. It’s okay.”  I nearly burst into tears, but contained myself and moved on to my bear crawl and completed the workout to the best of my ability.

So this was last Thursday and I’ve been basically incapable of processing this 3 second transaction all weekend. All these people talk about Crossfit giving one confidence and I feel the opposite. It has shown me all the things that I cannot do. I’m not graceful, coordinated, fast, or agile. (I am strong as hell; if there are things I CAN do, it involves power). So it’s really tough for me to feel confident in anything because I’m regularly last in the class, scale a good portion of moves all the time, rarely Rx anything, and struggle with so many things. So how am I supposed to celebrate the things I can do when I cannot do so many things? How do I give myself credit for how far I’ve come, when it feels as if I’m STILL barely out of the starting gate?

To top this off, I spent this past Saturday at a local competition watching and taking pictures of a lot of our members competing, many of whom were competing for the first time. They were so nervous and I spend the day yelling, encouraging, telling them to get out of their heads and reminding them that although we all spend a good portion of our time hanging out with crossfitters, most of the world thinks we are nuts and they were there, putting themselves out there and pushing hard when most people were not doing that. At one point, one of the ladies was getting very frustrated with her movements and turned to her teammate and said, “I will try this” (referring to the weight on the bar for a squat snatch). I yelled to her a Yoda quote, “Do, or do not. There is no try.” And one of the coaches, who was also there as support starting poking me. I turned and she said, “When will you listen to your own advice? You are the most negative, positive person around.”

Needless to say, all of this has me very reflective and I’m still not 100% sure how to process all these things.

I will end by reminding myself that this is MY journey and at least I was able to back squat 260 pounds 3 times today, so there is that!

Diet and Exercise

So, what would a CrossFit blog be without discussing food?  But I promise to be brief because we could all have a week long discussion about food, cross fit, their relationship, our individual relationships to both , etc, etc.

I just finished listening to a great episode of the Girls Gone WOD podcast that focused around the topic of eating disorders and the two hosts had excellent discussions with a dietician and behavioral therapist.  Basically the big breakthrough and topic that I wanted to highlight was that food has no moral value (good nor bad) only nutritional value.  When you eat something, your body has no idea (nor does it care at that moment) if the food is a “good” food or a “bad” food…. It only knows that it’s food!

My personal opinion about diet is that any registered dietician worth their salt is not going to tell you to cut out whole food groups.  It’s important to understand proportions, nutritional values, and personal relationships with your food.

I highly recommend using a good tracker like MyFitnessPal to see what your current intake looks like.  Then, I highly recommend seeking out a registered dietician (not a nutrition consultant… at least for your first consult.  Registered dieticians are licensed professionals… They know their stuff!) to discuss where to go from where you are.

So, I highly recommend listening to the episode of GGW (I think it’s episode 66) and also taking your own steps to further understand your relationship with exercise and food.

2017 Goalz – Laura’s Edition

So here we are at the precipice of 2017. I’m so ready to say goodbye to 2016 because what I THOUGHT was going to be a great year, full of PMA, gains, goals and greatness, basically fell apart and I was left with depression, anxiety, bills and a marriage that very nearly disintegrated.

Throughout the year, the one constant was CrossFit. Not that I felt that I was getting anywhere with it, but I kept going. It was the one place where I knew things weren’t going to change. I would show up, I would either walk out feeling like crap at my performance, or feeling on top of the world at my performance. There was nothing in the middle and I was perfectly okay with this. In fact, I needed this consistency in my otherwise chaotic life. (Don’t get me wrong, the things that happened were total #firstworldproblems and I am well aware so many others have it worse).

My Partner in Crime, my CrossFit Sista, my dear friend challenged me with setting some goalz (I think the z is more positive, right?!), and after a year of simply getting by, she’s right. I need goalz, or I will spend another year of few gains. And I don’t want gains; I want GAINZ!!

CrossFit goalz (there are so many, but I’m going to put just 4 into the world)…

  •      300 pound back squat
  •      Sub 2-min 500m row
  •      Rope climb
  •      Pull-ups

Eating/Nutrition goalz

  •      No more Diet Coke (ooooo…this one will hurt)
  •      No more alcohol (this was also the one constant this past year…this will also hurt)
  •      Hit my macros consistently (Sunday will be my biggest challenge)
  •      Cheat meals are occasional again

Personal/work goalz

  •      I’m on sabbatical this semester, so setting AND KEEPING a regular schedule
  •      Save enough for CrossFit Level 1 Certification (I don’t want to coach, I just need to know all the things…)
  •      Pay down the seemingly insurmountable debt that accrued from this past year
  •      Simplify my life, declutter, destress, live more purposefully
  •      Read more, Facebook less (yes, I know I said only four, but it’s my post and thus my rules)

And since Keri did one, I will too:

BIG, BOLD BODACIOUS GOAL – Find a way to reconnect with my family, my hubby in particular.



2017 Goalz – Keri’s Edition

So, 2017 is just around the corner…is it technically 4 days or 5 at this point?  Anyway, I was inspired by the Girls Gone WOD Podcast and thought we should send our 2017 goalz out into the world and then do some periodic checking-in to see how we’re doing.  I did want to cover several spheres of life and not have these be just CrossFit-centric goalz.  So, here we go:

CrossFit Goalz:

  1. Clean & Jerk 100# +
  2. Double Freaking Unders (string at least 10 together)
  3. Box Jumps
  4. Go Rowling

Nutrition/Health Goalz:

  1. Eat or drink at least one locally sourced item per day.
  2. Give up Starbucks.
  3. Get my steps in every day!

Personal/Work Goalz

  1. Log into Facebook once daily and then logout and don’t check it anymore.
  2. Volunteer once a month.
  3. Host a Chopped party or chili (paleo?) cook-off.
  4. Get my CCRC certification.


  1. Finish de-wallpapering my house (ugh)

Alright Laura, let’s see what you’ve got…..

Strange Feelz

This time of year always has me feeling weird, but lately I’ve been feeling weird because several of the newer folks in the gym have told me they look up to me and enjoy watching me work; that I am an inspiration to them.

Part of me is really proud of this. After all, I’ve been doing this crossfit thing for two and a half years now, so HOPEFULLY I have some skills. Deep down inside though, I don’t really believe in my own abilities (see Lack of confidence), so the fact that someone looks up to these non-existent abilities is very strange. I just want to say, “You should really find a REAL crossfitter to admire”. I mean, look at me. I weigh basically what I weighed when I started, I’m not really any skinnier (I mean, I am, but I don’t think I look like it); my belly jelly rolls are all still very much in tact and I still can’t do: pull-ups, rope climbs, hand stand push-ups, toes-to-bar, pistols, and my double unders are barely there. So why are these folks admiring me? What in the world is there to admire?

Some positives. I DO show up consistently. I rarely miss a day; when I do miss a day, some work thing (usually travel) has gotten in the way. I’m really quite strong; I’m almost always tops in the box at the lifting part. If one compares me to other women my age, I am certainly up there in terms of strength. I have improved my performance in so many things, in so many ways!  I’ve NEVER had good cardio ability, even in high school and college athletics. I always played the positions that didn’t really require a lot of running (keeper in soccer, catcher in softball, bench warmer in basketball and shot-put in track), but I have gotten better.

Proof of performance increases. During the 2015 Crossfit Open, for the very last workout, 15.5 (27, 21, 15, 9: Calorie row and thrusters at 65) I did the Rx weight and it took me 22:38. The ENTIRE box was cheering me on. My coach even took video of this. I was mortified. It’s cool, but embarrassing to have the entire group cheering you on. I was barely able to pull 500 on the rower by the end and was doing my thrusters in groups of 1. We did this same workout this week and I did it in 14:02. So this is a HUGE improvement; I was very pleased with myself. There was evidence that although I’m not skinny, I’m getting better.

Yet I still don’t know how I feel about being looked up to. Like they should look up to folks who are faster, stronger, better. But maybe, just maybe, I’m worthy of this and have something to offer.