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.

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Quitting Crossfit?

My son quit crossfit. My good friend quit crossfit. I’m dealing with an injury that still has me on the modification train. Should I quit?

I can come up with a million reasons to stop. Here are just a few:

1. After 3+ years there seem to be way too many moves I can’t do. 

2. I’m not fast, my cardio still sucks, I’m not coordinated (is that 3?).

3. So many newer athletes have greatly surpassed my skill set leaving me to wonder, what is wrong with me. 

4. It’s exhausting getting up at 4:30 every day. My natural inclination is toward night owl. 

5. I am injured and at some point this stupid injury will require a surgery. That seems like a darn good excuse in my mind!!

Etc etc etc

But I’m not going to quit for the one reason that really matters. I don’t want to. 

See you next week my fellow athletes!! 

WHYNDTYW (Why Have You Not Done This Yet Wednesday)

Take a vacation. 

I promised my son a trip somewhere in the country when he graduated high school. Pick a place and we will go there and do all the things. I tried to provide suggestions: Boston, New York, DC, visiting Revolutionary and/or Civil War battle sites etc. In the end we are going to St. Augustine, FL. 

My parents live there so free “hotel” so yeah! My parents are getting older so visiting is a good thing. And as it turns out, there is lots of stuff to do there. My son loves military history so that’s not a bad place to see some cool old forts. 

Now, of course, work has just gotten very busy and I really can’t afford the time away. I will pay for this week with nights and weekends. I’m tempted to cancel. BUT … 

1. The last vacation we took was 2012 when we went to the Grand Canyon. 

2. I made a promise to him and backing out is just mean. 

3. The work will still be there no matter what. 

4. It’s not every mom who gets to spend a week with her 18 year old son. 

So despite my reservations, we are going. 

It will be okay in the end. So go on vacation. Go do the things with family. The work isn’t going anywhere. And you will feel better in the end!

Why we (scale) crossfit

I’ve spent four days this week working on the Landscape Industry Certification test. I help set up, administer, and tear down. I do need to point out I am one of a slew of people needed for this. And it’s a lot of work. Most of the work isn’t physically demanding, but some of it is. Also my professor self is not used to working outside all day, in the blazing sun, in the billion percent humidity, doing any kind of work, much less hard work. 

So this got me thinking about why I crossfit. (Please inset whatever form of exercise you love). I started crossfit to look better. I kept it up to get stronger. I keep it up so I can get my old, kinda chunky, professor butt out of my office and work along side younger (mostly) guys who are used to being outside and doing this kind of work.

I heard the following over the past few days:

1. Nice guns!

2. You still doing that healthy stuff?

3. I started exercising after I spoke to you.

4. You’re a little thing, are you sure you can … yep! You definitely CAN lift that. 

I’m not trying to brag, but to point out that some form of strength training is essential as we age. It keeps the joints and muscles moving and able to lift things. It will allow me to do so for the next 20+ years.

Scaled or no… that is why I crossfit. 

Why Have You Not DONE This Yet?

This is a story of a rock. Actually many rocks.

My husband and I were walking the dogs and he found a painted rock. We picked it up and looked at it. On the back was a # and directions telling us to take a picture, post to this Facebook Group (Northeast Ohio Rocks) and rehide the rock. So we did.

I went to the group to discover close to 200,000 people painting and hiding rocks for others to find. And I thought, I can do this! I love to paint stuff. So I went into the yard, found a few rocks and painted some ‘hero’ logos on them (spiderman, superman, batman etc.) and #herorocks was born. Scroll through the page and you will see so many pictures of very happy humans. Turns out that when one finds a painted rock, it really makes your entire day!

Since then, I’ve gone to a rock store and purchased rocks. And earlier this week I discovered that WalMart (of all places) sold 3-5′ FLAT, ROUND rocks!!!  So I ordered 60 pounds of them. The people at ‘site to store’ are going to hate me, not that I care.

I paint them in large batches in the evening. I find this so enjoyable that I have to force myself to go to bed so I can get up for crossfit in the morning!

So even if you aren’t artistically inclined, take your dog for a walk and SLOW DOWN and look around. You just might get lucky and discover not only a painted rock, but a new, very relaxing hobby.IMG_3255[1]

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 Struggle

Okay guys…if you’ve been reading this for any length of time (or even if you simply scan our titles), you are aware that we are two crossfit athletes scaling our way through crossfit and have been doing so for close to three years.

For me, here is a recap of all the moves I don’t currently have in my crossfit arsenal: double unders (these were close before my calf injury), toes-to-bar, pull-ups, chest to bar, muscle-ups, rope climbs, box jumps (I HAD these until the box tried to eat me), hand stand pushups, handstand walk, pistols, PROPER GHD situps. Here is a list of moves that I still struggle with and really need to work on mobility/cardio: Olympic lifts, burpees, the blasted Assault bike, running, over head squats, v-ups, wall-climbs. Here is a list of moves that I either really like, or feel at least proficient in doing: dead lift, bench press, back and front squats, push press, strict press, Ski-erg, wall ball and thrusters.

I’m sure there are others that we do semi-regularly that could go on these various lists. The point of this isn’t to highlight all the things I can’t do, but to move into how I end up feeling when the WODs include several moves that I really struggle with.

This week, we had a WOD that was 40 Toes-to Bar, 10 wall climbs, 20 T2B, 8 wall climbs, 10 T2B and 6 wall climbs. This was followed by accessory work (single arm bench press, banded triceps pull downs and flutter kicks). I KNEW going into this workout that it would be rough. I don’t have T2B and wall climbs rank up there as one of my least favorite movements. I feel as if I get far more exhausted than I should get doing them, and my inability to breathe doing them only makes that worse, I’m sure.  But when I saw the workout, I thought to myself, “Well, I will really try and hopefully come close to getting ONE, just ONE.”

Three tries in, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. My hands (even chalked and wrapped) were slipping off the bar, I stopped trusting myself to even hold myself up there. I tried knees to elbow. Nope. So knee raises it was. I tried doing several in a row and lacked the ability to even control my legs and ended up basically feeling as if I was just swinging my legs wildly, slipping off the bar. The sets of 20 and 10 were worse because I was fatigued. But I was SO FRUSTRATED with my inability even to control knee raises! This frustration grew worse and worse and worse. So much so that 10 minutes in, I was ready to walk out of the gym. This feeling of wanting to quit hadn’t happened in nearly 2 years and was contributing even more to my frustrations. I didn’t walk out. I finished (badly) the workout, slower than everyone else, but I finished.

This frustration led me to questioning the accessory work. I KNOW the bench press is a strength of mine, but I lowered the weights anyhow. I didn’t push myself. That only added to what I was feeling; crossfit is supposed to be about pushing yourself. I mean, I understand that some days you just aren’t on point and other days you are on fire. This isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m taking about the conscious decision to not do a harder weight, not because of injury, not because of working on form (I did that today with the snatches so I could concentrate on trying to keep good form and my breathing), but because I was angry, frustrated with myself and riding the mental struggle bus.

Later, I posted that I really wanted to walk out of the gym on Facebook. Another member posted that I worked through it and folks look up to me as an athlete. What I WANTED to say was “you all should look up to someone who can actually DO crossfit”. I didn’t because the coaches would see and I would get burpess for having a negative attitude. But it was very hard to me to see why someone, anyone, would look up to me, especially at that very moment in time.

I’ve spoken about this to one of the coaches. Apparently I embody the spirit of crossfit: keeping coming back, going in even if I know the WOD will stuck, going in even if I know I can’t do the moves, if I have to scale everything. Going in even with injuries, cheering, encouraging and  embracing the community that has developed in the gym. I know we are supposed to be practicing having more positive attitude (PMA), but I simply cannot be all PMA 24-7. I know that little things will get in the way; they always have; this is just me. I bet all of us get frustrated at things from time to time. It’s part of being human. For me, it’s definitely part of the struggle of lack of confidence.

I might have upset a coach or two for thinking of walking out. I might have upset an athlete or two for it as well. I probably upset a few for voicing the thoughts. But here’s the thing about me, you can knock me down; I can knock myself down, but I showed up the next day and actually felt good about the workout (even with injury modifications). So I might have WANTED to quit, but I didn’t. I overcame the mental issues.

Conclusion? Push through. Show up the next day and the next. Do what you can do, when you can do it. One bad workout can’t define you.