more stats

Garage temp: 42 degrees. BP: 6am – 157/81. 8:30pm – 148/79.

5×5 Strict Press @ 45lbs. Single arm dumbbell row @ 15lbs.

Cleaning out the kitchen… processed foods and grains, pasta, pancake batter, rice, mostly gone. I’ve done W30 a few times and appreciate all that it taught me about food, namely that there is sugar in everything. W30 also taught me how to think of food differently, and how to creatively cook from scratch using ingredients I couldn’t even identify, like ginger, coconut aminos, and ghee. But I’m a little bit bored with W30, and I ate way too many nuts. I’m not a math person, but I love collecting data, total pounds lifted, reps completed, calories burned, fat vs. carbs vs. protein grams. I like to collect it and I like to log it. I like to write shit down. Counting macros—specifically, achieving ketosis by targeting measured daily intake %’s of fat, carbs, and protein— is my next curiosity.

I tried the Bone Broth fast for five days. One big take away from that endeavor was all the free time! During all those hours before, after, even during work, when I would normally think about my next meal, I would have to remind myself to find something else to do. It’s really quite something to think about how much time we spend preparing and eating food. I guess it beats some alternatives.

The Bone Broth went well, but I want to learn more. I want to experiment more, cooking bright, beautiful, unfamiliar foods—researching recipes and new ingredients—is where the adventure lives for now.

Tonight I made my first-ever batch of keto/paleo mayo. If you have an immersion blender, it’s ridiculously simple to do.

Stats

Garage Temp: 31 degrees. BP: 9am, 132/77. 10pm, 132/74.

10 minute row, breathing thru nose: 1,821 meters.

5 x 5 SDHP @ 55lbs.

The programming is fairly detailed. Seems like every time I read it I find something new. Tonight I realized I’m not exactly doing the row as prescribed. Additional instructions include: Total meters is just a benchmark/starting-point to be able to track progress. Look at average 500m pace and record that. Each week aim to improve average 500m split pace by 1 second.

Hmmm… more calculating to do.

 

Coincidences?

You spend twenty minutes googling that scene from a show or movie where the beatnik audience snaps in applause instead of clapping. But you can’t find it. The next morning you overhear co-workers talking about that beatnik episode from Happy Days where they snap instead of clap. You wonder where that dog that used to come into the office has been. And today, he’s here. You’ve been thinking about someone that you have not talked to in a very long time. The phone rings. You have a dream about a place that you’ve never been to but the feeling of that place is familiar even while you sleep. The next morning, the dream is forgotten. A friend invites you on an outing, someplace new, the moment you arrive you think, I’ve been here before, even though you never have.

I like to think in term of frequencies. You tap in and you tap out.

Just like the days you’re convinced that you and 2,500 of your closest friends all decided at the exact same time to go to the post office and then Starbucks and then Trader Joe’s, in that order. We are linked. And the thread that links us does not connect us via the brain, but through the energy that flows in and around and through us, through our bodies. That undercurrent is the unmanifested, as Eckhart Tolle calls it.

” Through the inner body, you are inseparably connected to this unmanifested One Life — birthless, deathless, eternally present—through the inner body, you are forever one…” – Eckhart Tolle

It is not only my goal to get my body back to a healthier state but to stop ignoring it as if it is not a part of me. I spend so much time in my mind, thinking, planning, processing, worrying, remembering, setting expectations, and always what if-ing. Always what if-ing for the infinite possibilities of what may be, which is insanity… you cannot plan for the infinitely unknown, it is infinitely impossible.

Blood Pressures Readings:

  • 1/17/18 – 6am – 166/87
  • 1/17/18 – 5pm – 142/85
  • 1/18/18 – 6am – 127/66
  • 1/18/18 – 10pm – 124/59
  • 1/19/18 – 6am – 121/68

I put away all the salt shakers in the house. If you knew how much I love salt, you would know what a big deal this is. They (yes, plural salt shakers) used to sit out on the counter, the kitchen table, the coffee table, always within reach. I salted food in all its stages—from prepping to cooking to placing the food on my plate—long before I took the time to actually taste the food. I kept a salt shaker on my desk at work. Today I threw it in the garbage.

Tonight, I row and SDHP…

the rub

So, at long last, I’m returning to CrossFit. Well, modified CF. The nearest box is an hour away. In the last year and a half since moving I don’t miss much, I love this new place, but I can say with sincerity that I do miss CF. Whatever it was in my life, some unnameable force that kept me healthy and engaged and connected and taught me to finish what I start: I miss it. In an effort to get some piece of that unnameable whatever back into my life, I reached out to the first CF coach that I ever met who got me started in the sport in 2012, Caleb.

Caleb and I met 10 days ago and put together a 30 day plan, a holistic mind/body program that I could follow on my own. More about that here. Anyway, lift off has been slow … but steady … and I’m determined. My progress is best described in a note sent to him today. See below. It’s a longer read, but my health is not what it was five years ago and I need to make some changes.

Hi Caleb,

Great to hear from you.

In truth, this endeavor has gotten off to a slow start. There are good things, and medium things, to report. I think the best way to give an accurate roundup of the last ten days is by line-item from the overall plan. Bear with me on this as I’m excited about all of it, even if it’s not unfolding in the structured manner originally hoped for. But here goes:

Outside the Gym:

Daily Habit –

  1. Love Your Outfit – I started ditching the flannel shirts and brought out some forgotten favorites, blazers, tops, and scarves. On the first day of this new endeavor, I received a compliment from a coworker saying how nice I looked having left the bulky go-to fleece at home.
  2. Connect – I’ve made an extra effort at work to stop and talk with people, look them in the eye, ask questions about their lives, their families, a new home, their dog. It’s working! Even though the job is still fairly new, people are not only saying hello in the hallway and at the coffee machine, but they are offering the same kindness, of engaging and listening, in return.
  3. Breathing and Stress Relief – In lieu of the crocodile breathing practice, I’ve incorporated an alternate meditation which I’ve been meaning to try for a while: lie down and place your hands over your heart, take the time to feel your heart beating and your blood pumping, breathe, and think of three things (small or large/esp. small) that you are grateful for. This seems to have a calming effect and moves me out of my mind and into my body and away from worry.

Weekly Practice – Healthy Partnership & Healthy Weekly Activity – Partner is traveling. On hold for now.

Nutrition – I dialed this in immediately after we met. I cut out wine during the week and have been prepping all food at home with veggies as my primary ingredient. No eating out. It’s been fun discovering new recipes with seasonal root vegetables like turnips (taste like carrots) and kohlrabi (totally yum). At some point, I’d like to go vegetarian for a month or so, but that’s another topic.

Gym-ish Stuff –

  1. Barbell Club – I will be there!
  2. Monthly Check-In – See you soon!
  3. At Home Practice – During the last week while getting food prep organized, I read through the new programming multiple times, watched the videos, and surveyed the gym space at work. I plotted, I planned, I packed gym clothes for work… and I planned some more.

Turns out the gym at work is not equipped for back squats, overhead, dead lifts, or any real free-weight lifting. In the garage at home, I now have free weights along with a squat rack, a Concept 2, pull-up bar, and med ball. The temperature in the garage is currently averaging between 28 and 31 degrees.

Why is the hardest part of getting started taking the first step? Clearly, this is a matter of re-engineering old habits.

On Sunday (1/14), layered up in fleece and a ski hat and gloves, I rowed for 10 minutes in the garage while focusing on breathing thru the nose. I could see my exhaled breaths floating in the air. It felt amazing. It forced me to slow down, to focus on a pattern of rhythmic breathing and not the meters clicking by on the screen. I finished out at 1,596 meters total. Then I did my first set of 5×5 SDHPs @ 55lbs. focused on form. I have not squatted in a long time and my chest dropped and I could not for the life of me get my butt down. Think, stripper pull. By round three of the SDHP, I was ready to quit. But I finished.

On Monday (1/15) I rowed again, this time I got up the nerve to do it in the gym at work. I don’t know what it is, but the office gym is not that big and the space can get crowded and these are people that I see in meetings. People that I want to get along with. People that I want to like me. Sometimes shyness can overtake a person. I don’t want to sweat in front of these people, or grunt, or look disheveled or worse, have bad form. It just takes me time to warm up to certain things. I can circle a drain for days, weeks, years. Sometimes I never get up the gumption to go in, and then I give up and go home. But not on Monday. I picked up my gym bag and walked towards the gym, twice. The first time I lingered outside the door. I could hear someone on the treadmill and so I decided it would be better if I came back another time. The second time I changed in the bathroom before approaching the door to the gym. I thumbed the phone for my favorite Pandora station, took a deep breath and went in. There were a couple of people that I did not recognize on the treadmills but there was no going back. I put up 1,800 meters in 10 minutes of breathing thru the nose.

At home, after some of your programmed mobility, I back squat, 5×5 @ 55lbs. Again, the legs were weak and the butt did not want to take me below parallel. I lined up the med ball as a target, but no good. The hips and legs and core are out of practice.

Tuesday (1/16) in the garage and dressed in full flannel and fleece, I completed my first round of Daily Movements as you prescribed. I wrote it down and will use it as a benchmark for the days ahead. For the 5×5 strict press, I started out at 55lbs. but then went down to 45lbs. and finished out there.

These are not epic numbers. But it’s a start. It’s something. I’m doing it.

Now for the unexpected in all of this: recently I purchased a blood pressure machine for kicks. Seriously, my blood pressure has always, always been healthy but I thought the machine would be cool to have so I could check my pulse. Last night I took my first measurements and then again this morning, and here are the numbers:

1/16 at 8:46 pm – 141/84

1/17 at 6:18 am – 166/87

Turns out, I’m bordering on hypertension.

. . .  :  / . . . .  : /  . . . .

I’m not sure what to do with that. Other than face it. I’m still processing. I guess it’s more fuel for the fire to get back to healthy. That’s about it for now.

My best to you. See you next week.

Mary

 

long forgotten, but found

I write all the time. I write in a journal during breaks at work. I scribble on post-it notes and deposit them in my pocket so I won’t forget something that seems important to remember at the time. I thumb text msg.s to myself and capture quotes in apps like Day One on my phone. Writing is my pair of golden cuffs and my golden lasso.

Writing is the safest place I know to filter all that is ingested throughout the passing days and nights. It’s how I process; it’s how I let go; it’s how I say hello; it’s how I make sense; it’s how I capture; it’s where I put my sadness, and joy, and all the muddiness in between (lots of muddiness). Writing is where I say this happened today and this is how I perceived it and I want someone to know. The notebook. I want to share it, capture it, understand it, get it out of my system. Writing is my lifelong friend. It has saved me too many times to possibly know how many times it has saved me. If I were locked away, I would have to find a way to write, otherwise I would surely die. These are the things I’ve been thinking about since 5:30am this morning.

Now that that’s over with. Here’s a random list of 2018 objectives from the notebook:

  1. Volunteer at the local home for the elderly
  2. Start a local writing group
  3. Stop drinking wine during the week
  4. Eat vegetarian for a day, a week, a month
  5. Watch dog training videos
  6. Continue online copyediting certification
  7. Back squat
  8. Overhead squat
  9. Connect with the people in front of me
  10. Stop buying useless crap off the internet
  11. Park the car stern-in, with nose pointing out, makes for a quicker getaway

On Saturday, I met with one of my former trainers, Caleb from ACF. Sitting down with him was like plugging into a warm empathetic frequency of good. A first step into getting back to healthy. Since his training facility is located about an hour from me, the idea is to follow programming on my own, and then come in on Saturdays and the occasional Wednesday night for Barbell Club. When we were talking I could hear the barbells dropping in the other room. It was like hearing a long-forgotten piece of music that I didn’t know how much I missed until the sound filled the air again. I’m pretty sure I could feel my heart skipping an extra beat with each thud of rubber-plates hitting the floor.

Including weekly workout programming, Caleb also gave me some suggested daily habits to boost my mind and heart and soul. As I ease into this new way of approaching my day I will share them here. This week, the focus has been on righting the food and wine habits. So far, I’m happy to report, so good. So very good.

P.S. A scarf around the neck in the winter is like your woogie.

something must change

None of the things I said I was going to do in November (write 50,000 words), or December (run a 10K), none of those things happened. Not a one.

This is unusual for me, or at least it used to be. Maybe not so much anymore. My cup runneth over with projects/goals started but never completed. I have no answer as to ‘why.’ I am beset with an overall feeling of total and complete melancholy.

Is it possible that as we age we lose motivation? Like the point of things just seems to get lost? Like, why not just pick up smoking again and start drinking tequila straight from the bottle. I’ve been struggling with this ‘why’ a lot lately. Why get healthy? Why get off the couch? Why bother?

But there are certain things that I miss. I miss that feeling of being so in tune with my body that I enjoyed burpees. Truth. I miss sleeping through the night, like, really sleeping, uninterrupted peaceful heavy slumber. I miss other things too, like knowing I can pick that thing up and move it; that I can run a mile or two without stopping to walk multiple, multiple (multiple) times. I miss the way my clothes used to fit. I miss enjoying getting dressed in the morning. I miss shopping for workout clothes. Now all I shop for is flannel shirts, oversized men’s flannel shirts that offer full upper-body coverage. I miss my neckline. I miss my CrossFit shoulders. Those shoulders would not get me on the cover of Muscle Magazine, but they were mine, they were toned, they enabled me to enjoy sleeveless shirts in the summertime. I still have shoulders but they are safely hidden under flannel. I also miss my waistline and wearing belts. I miss tucking in my shirt. I miss not having to adjust my pants when I sit down. I miss being able to put on shoes without grunting. I miss working towards pull-ups, which I have never, ever had. But I miss the hope that maybe someday they will materialize. I miss deadlifting. I miss the sound of barbells hitting the floor.

I miss the sound of barbells hitting the floor.

I miss signing up for group challenges, like a strongman competition, or a 10k. Regardless of where I finished. At least I finished. I miss events that get you and your old friends and your new friends focused on healthy and get you training together. I miss accountability, which leads to training on your own even when it’s dark and cold outside. I miss running with the dog: going for long runs with the sound of four furry feet padding alongside. I miss the way the dog falls asleep for hours once we get home. I miss that feeling of having a well-exercised dog that sleeps contently after our afternoon romp together. I have a young dog in my life again, he does not get enough exercise. I recognize this.

I miss feeling like I can do things. I can do that. And that.

I miss coworkers saying to me, “Hey CrossFit, can you open this for me?”

I miss the clarity of mind.

I miss people. I miss working alongside healthy like-minded people. Together we focus on the simple mechanical task in front of us: lifting the weight off the floor, or getting one more rep, or running one more lap around the parking lot. Don’t get me wrong, during 9-5 hours I work alongside some pretty dynamic folks in our shared office space, but the electronics that surround us get all of our attention. I miss spending time with people in real time and getting our hands dirty; building up blisters and scratching down numbers with bits of chalk; setting up in preparation to work out together and taking it all down again in a that kind of post-WOD meditative state; high-fiving and leaving a trail of sweat on the floor along the way.

I miss these things.

So, here’s the rub, I live in the woods, in a cabin in the woods, three miles down a dirt road which is currently frozen over in ice and packed snow. The nearest CF is over an hour away. It is way too easy to hibernate in my cabin with my young dog who does not get out of doors nearly enough. It is January, we are just emerging from a week of sub-zero temps. I have an extension cord running across the kitchen floor to where it is plugged into a utility lamp under the kitchen sink, trying to keep the pipes from freezing at night. I am full of excuses.

I need a goal. Something I’ve never done before. Not another 5k on a Saturday morning. Right now, the idea of a 5K on a Saturday morning feels like a gnat to be swatted away. Annoying. I am about to turn 49 years old. What do I have to show for it? A lot: A nice comfy home. I can finally say I am earning a paycheck doing what I love for a living. And I get to keep learning, and with each new course of study, I add to the knowledge base from which I earn my keep in the world. I am finally investing in me.

So why can’t I get off the couch on the weekends? Why can’t I see how my habits are dwindling the overall selection of clothes that I can wear. Why do I look sideways into the mirror? Squinting even.

Something must change.