capable calloused hands.

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”  ― Mahatma Gandhi
It has been 24 days since the start of the 90 Day Challenge. As big of a chunk of time as 90 days may seem, it really is not that long. My resolve to stick to it is stronger than the tick of the clock or flip of the calendar page. On Sunday I was out to dinner with friends for a birthday celebration. My friend Tracy knew the waitress, Sarah. Sarah is a coach from another local Crossfit Box. I knew I liked her immediately as she was calm and collected and just the right amount of chatty. Seems her box is doing something similar to our own 90 Day Challenge, because as soon as she learned I was in the challenge she immediately kicked it into Supportive CrossFitter Mode and talked through menu items with me, answering questions and suggesting paleo substitutes.
That Supportive CrossFit mode is an entity unto its own. You can feel it when it springs to life and clicks into gear around you. It’s a mutual exchange of understanding and support mixed with an honest intent of ‘I want the best for you.’
‘For you I would suggest the curried cashews and kale for a side,’ she said. Our eyes locked in that knowing wink, wink, nod, nod, I know you and you know me and we share something very strong and you are in a safe supportive place.
‘Okay!’ I enthusiastically responded.
‘And there’s an excellent cubed butternut squash side as well,’ she added.
‘I’ll take it,’ I said, closing my menu and handing it back to her as if to say, I am very willingly leaving it all in your very capable calloused hands.


Push Press – 5 x 1 @ 90%1RM

* Rest 1 Minute Between Sets

 Completed: up to 85lbs.



10 Rounds For Time Of:

11 Chest To Bar Pull-Ups

22 Front Squats (75#/55#)

* 30 Minute Time Cap

Completed: in 20:27 at 35lbs. for front squat.

I did not even have a bite of birthday cake.


“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
― Emily Dickinson

I. CrossFit Games Open WOD 12.5:

Complete as many reps as possible in 7 minutes of the following rep scheme:
Thruster, 3 reps
3 Chest to bar Pull-ups
Thruster, 6 reps
6 Chest to bar Pull-ups
Thruster, 9 reps
9 Chest to bar Pull-ups
Thruster, 12 reps
12 Chest to bar Pull-ups
Thruster, 15 reps
15 Chest to bar Pull-ups
Thruster, 18 reps

Etc. until you just can’t go anymore, or the clock runs out.

Completed: at 65lbs. Scaled to ring rows. 12 Rounds plus 7.

There’s something about Thrusters. When I see them in a WOD I immediately get crazy nervous.

Thankfully these days I’m somehow long past not showing up for a WOD that scares me. No matter what’s prescribed if it’s my day to go, it’s my day to go.

Before it was 3, 2, 1 … Go! for today’s WOD as I was setting up my bar and my rings, my stomach turned in on itself and my heart started to pound. It was that old familiar dreadful fear. I didn’t want to do what I was about to do. And the thoughts began to creep in; ‘You don’t have to do this, go lighter on the bar, skip today and come back tomorrow..’

Thrusters in particular have this effect.

I didn’t leave. I stayed and completed the WOD. And just like all those days before chronicled here, I was so happy I stayed and fought through the fear.

There’s a lesson that needs to be learned although I’m not quite sure it ever will be: it never gets any easier. The fear never goes away. It simply does not. The fear revisits with all its intensity and indifference and sometimes feels even worse than the time before and you still have to find that certain something within yourself that says, I’m ready. Let’s go.

Finding the Gumption.

“Girls aren’t beautiful, they’re pretty. Beautiful is too heavy a word to assign to a girl. Women are beautiful because their faces show that they know they have lost something and picked up something else.” 
― Henry Rollins

I sat in the car parking lot at ACF pondering the hellish looking WOD that awaited inside and text the following to my group of ACF lovies:

I’m sitting in my car in the parking lot at ACF wondering why I’m not at home in bed right now with Oliver curled up on top of the covers and I’m also wondering why do we do these things to ourselves…

I continued, Like, why do we go to torturous WODs and deprive ourselves of beautiful things like pizza and red wine and chocolate and peanut butter M&Ms…


One good outcome from this test, and this is a test…My brother and I talk just about every day now because he’s gone clean for the month of January in support of my efforts.

At this point I’m pretty sure no one is reading my rant, so I continue…

So now my brother calls just about every day and says things like, I miss beer, and then gives me updates on his weekend and how good he feels but that he’s not seeing colors yet but thought he would cuz he’s never been so clean…

At this point there’s no point in holding back so on I go..

This is a 54 year old man, he’s funny. And I’m babbling. Thanks for listening. Time to WOD.

One response came over the wire from my lovely friend Carmen who wrote, ‘Awwww I love it! Now go get that WOD!!’

The 8:30pm on Monday might be a new regular class for me. It is now being taught by one of my favorite ACF athletes and fellow Strong People and friend, Andrew. When you talk with Andrew one of the first things you notice is how much he loves to coach. How he loves to help people reach their goals. How he has found his passion in life. It all may sound cliché but you can see that certain sparkle in his eye when he talks with you. You can feel the good person standing in front of you.

Tonight before the WOD Andrew stood in front of the whiteboard and asked the class, Why?

Why do you Crossfit?

I wondered if he was reading my earlier texts which of course would be impossible but the coincidence only solidified the need to revisit the question; Why do you Crossfit?

As I copied the WOD into my logbook I wrote the following on the side margin in large capital letters: WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF?

There’s so many reasons why but it really boils down to this, I Crossfit to challenge myself. There’s really no other answer. When I rise to meet a challenge, even one so simple as an hour WOD, something happens; it wears me out, it calms my mind, it turns off the worry, it changes the way I see things, it releases the pressure valve, it simultaneously draws a finish line and hugs me as I cross it. It puts the book end at the close of my day.

I. Barbell Gymnastics:

Every Minute on the Minute for 7 minutes – 1 Power Clean + 1 Push Jerk + 1 Hang Squat Clean

Completed: Working weight at 80lbs.

II. Conditioning: 

3 Rounds for Time of:

25 Hand Stand Push-Ups

20 Wallballs (20/14)

15 Burpees

10 Toes 2 Bar

Completed: in 17:24. This WOD was very, very difficult. And the more I wanted to scale my burpees or pushups the more I told myself that it was simply not an option and it’s okay to finish last. Just do the work. And so I did not scale and did the work and was one of the last to finish.

I think the real struggle lies not within the actual WOD but for me within the understanding that there will always be a WOD. It’s not as if you finish one and it’s your last for ever and ever. No. You finish the WOD and you go home and you eat dinner and you go to sleep and you wake up tomorrow and do it all over again. And you keep doing it. You should keep doing it. You have to somehow find the motivation to keep doing it. Like getting out of bed and brushing your teeth every morning and going to work. It’s just what you do. As far as I know there is no place that you someday reach and are able to stop. No healthy place that I know. To maintain your health and to get healthier and to eat and sleep and love and live a good life you have to keep showing up.

Even if sometimes it means sitting in the parking lot struggling to find the gumption for a couple minutes beforehand.

Strong People. Light Hearts.

“I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.” 
― Abraham Lincoln

My Sundays get swept away. Lately after Strongman we will go out to eat. A big burly bunch of meat heats out for a late lunch. Not really. Just a group of average people going out to get something to eat after working out together. Kind of. I love every minute of it. Getting to know these people, seeing them as my friends and laughing at their sharp wit and swimming in the shared lightheartedness. Strong people, light hearts. Probably because we spend the first two hours together lifting beastly things made of rubber and steel and cement and cheering one another on to each of our personal individual bests, getting gritty and sweaty and grunting and seeing stars.

Lunch anyone?

Today for me was a double header. First, Fight Gone Bad for the 10:30 WOD. Then Strongman at noon. Followed by a rogue Fight Gone Bad by some fellow athletes who missed the 10:30. I stayed to run the clock and cheer and count down the final seconds for each round.

I love the sound of barbells hitting the floor. It lifts my heart. It is the sound of people going deep and turning themselves inside out. It is the sound of victory.

First, the Kettle Bell Warmup deserves a burly shout-out as it felt like a WOD in itself:

For girls, 35lbs. Kettle Bell –

20 Russian Swings

10 Sumo Deadlift HighPulls

20 Russian Swings


20 RS


Etc. counting down till your reach 1 SDHP.

If you do the math, that’s 200 Russian Kettle bell swings. For a warmup. Holy good golly this was tough.

Then onto….

“Fight Gone Bad”

3 Rounds for Total Reps:

1 Minute Max Wallballs (14lbs.) – Completed per round: 25, 20, 20

1 Minute Max Sumo-Deadlift High-Pulls (55lbs.) – 12, 10, 10

1 Minute Max Box Jumps (20″) – 10, 10, 10

1 Minute Max Push Presses (55lbs.) – 15, 12, 12

1 Minute Max Calories on Rower – 12, 12, 12

*Rest 1 Minute Between Rounds

Completed: 202 total score. not great but not a total suck either. My strategy, pick a number of reps per movement and stick to it for each round. Love this workout.

then… Burp.

Today the whiteboard in the triple wide read:


If you —> CF > 1 year


0 Double Unders




… yeah, that’d be me.

I. Barbell Gymnastics:

Hang Power Snatch – 5 x 1

Completed: up to working weight at 85lbs.

II. Conditioning:

For time.

100 Double-Unders

25 Wall Balls (20/14)

75 Double-Unders

25 Wall Balls

50 Double-Unders

25 Wall Balls

Completed: in 6:26. With single unders and Wall Balls at 14lbs. And as the board in the triple wide said today, I should have been doing burpees because my lame CF > 1 year ass has yet to nail the double under. Will add this to the list of goals to be achieved at the end of the 90DC.

so that’s how I’m doing.

“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.” ― Khalil Gibran
At the end of a meeting today a couple of coworkers were standing around talking about the new year and how it’s come and gone and the topic turned to New Years Resolutions and Goals…
As the group shared and commiserated about their New Years Resolutions someone asked, ‘So Mary, how have you been doing with your resolutions?’

I thought twice about sharing and then said:

‘I have not had sugar or any grains for 10 days.’


Collectively the group looked at me and said nothing.

Then someone asked, ‘Why?’

I struggled with a concise answer and do not remember my exact excuse of a response.

‘You’re nuts,’ they said.


So let’s ask the question again here, Why?

Why resolve to eat clean for the new year: no sugar or alcohol or grains or legumes or sulfites or cured meats or soy or even minimally processed foods. Why the strict diet with only the occasional slice of cheese and some heavy cream in your coffee?

Why would you do that to yourself?

There’s a list of reasons a lot of which are listed here at the Whole 30. One of my favorite websites on eating clean. But in truth the real answer as to why is:

To challenge myself.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. Because I Can.

That might not help you if you have had the pleasure of working with me or happened to be walking next to me these last few days as it seems the dial’s been turned up a bit. Almost to 11. Sensors are on overdrive. I went from wanting to put my head down at my desk and take a nap to being overtly alert. Too alert. The ADD or OCD or a double down dose of both has kicked in and I’m just a wee bit antsy and only a tad bit agitated when poked. Poking can be defined in many ways from asking to help unpack a car from a recent event to saying good morning how are you. Is this what manic feels like?

I just decided it would probably be a good idea to stay away from FB for a bit otherwise I’ll be commenting and posting on every damn sunset and puppies photo that appears in my feed. I’m just hyper sensitive right now. From being in tears on the drive to work listening to a story on NPR about lifelong friendships to fits of laughter after reading an ecard and marveling how it can so eloquently equate drinking wine with just not giving a shit about anything. Give me strength.

So, that’s how I’m doing. Damnit.

Normally I would just go to ACF and hit a WOD and work it out but I’m also tired in some muted lethargic way and simply need a rest day after 4 days straight including a second 10K row and Strongman last night where I jammed my middle finger trying to catch the 90lbs stone on the rebound. See? Manic.

Tomorrow will be a full WOD day complete with a personal training session followed by an evening with the ladies training and lifting and focusing on form at another garage gym downtown. Yes this will be my Friday.

Note: There’s a deadline to this strict fast. – Jan 25 and my birthday weekend. The current goal is to get through the month of January strict. Then once past that hurdle to ease up on the brakes a bit. Not too much. Just enough. Perhaps to propel me past hermit status although I’m not sure how those about me might feel about this.

What exactly does this all mean I do not know. Yet.

seek and find.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” 
― Rumi

Have you ever found yourself missing someone that you have never met?

Perhaps you knew them once but they are gone from your life now and it just occurred to you who they are, who you were with them, and what you were together.

Maybe you are different now and you’ve just seen them recently and they are different now too but you’re both just the same and you did not stop to say hello.

It could be you just have not met them yet but you know this person and love them as if you have been a part of each other’s lives all along and it’s only a matter of time before you finally do meet. You will meet. You keep hoping.

What would you say to this person that you miss and love like they are the biggest and best part of your life?

“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.” ― Rumi