I’ll miss you most of all.

Everyone is gone. Driving home, boarding trains, and shuttles, and buses, and airplanes. It’s raining today. Every day of the residency was bathed in bright blue or kissed in the sparkle of white snow fall. But today, it rains and only the sound of crows. At once I feel ready to say goodbye and at another I feel sad and left alone. I can’t wait to see Oliver. Feel the velvet of his ears between my fingers. He’ll probably smell like the kennel. Cleaning supplies and neighboring dogs. I miss my friends, but we will be in touch. My heart has been filled from 10 days of like minded souls coming together to share, explore, and open themselves up to what were at first complete strangers and now loving family. I can do this. I can do the work. I’ll miss — particularly. He’s charming and brilliant and funny and kind. All those lovely things we love most of all. I am Dorothy and he is the Scarecrow and what I wanted to say when we hugged goodbye, I think I’ll miss you most of all.

(Author’s note: after years upon years of saying I was going to apply to grad school for an MFA in writing, I finally took the plunge and submitted my application in August, accepted an offer in October, and attended my first term on campus this January. Just getting home now after 10 days of my heart breaking open and love and admiration and brilliance and kindness pouring in. This is also no joke, there is an avalanche of work to be done, more than 100 books to be read, countless piles of pages to be written, word by sometimes painstaking word, for the next two years. Graduation, 2017. No breaks, unless you withdraw from the program, no easing of what you need to do in order to graduate. I refuse to let these people down, I refuse to let myself down. There will be incredible sacrifices, it is a drain on the finances, vacation time, time with loved ones, free time. There is no more free time. Not sure there ever was. But I am committed. It has been almost six months since I’ve posted on this blog. For some reason the words seem to flow easily on here despite being sent out into the blog-sphere and not remaining safely cradled in the depths of my notebook. For some reason the pressure is mostly off for me on this blog and there’s a feeling of freedom… to write what comes to mind. I’ve also taken a small break from CF, most recently for six plus weeks but intend to get back to it however painful that initially sounds, this week. That’s about all for now.)

You just have to ask.

“Ho! Ho! Ho! To the bottle I go
To heal my heart and drown my woe
Rain may fall, and wind may blow
And many miles be still to go
But under a tall tree will I lie
And let the clouds go sailing by” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien

It has been 9 days since surgery. 5 days since going off the pain meds. While I did not go to any bottle as so eloquently phrased above by Tolken, his poem speaks to me and paints a familiar picture.

I am in a time out from everything in my life. I’m under a tall tree and watching the clouds go sailing by. My tree is my living room the ground my couch, the clouds and rain and wind blow by outside my window. Oliver my sole companion.

I like watching the wind move through the pines and the sway of time as it passes through. There’s a certain peace in a forced time out, it’s taking an afternoon nap without any guilt, free to wake at your leisure with no where to go knowing even before you close your eyes there’s no task left undone waiting for you when you wake.

You are simply free to be.

It’s a rare opportunity in life to experience such respite. You’ve been sidelined and all the world including you are simply okay with this fact. You relax into its soft truth.

Some notes from Day 9 of Respite:

  1. Time goes by incredibly fast – one minute I was setting the alarm for a 6am surgery, the next in recovery sipping ginger-ale, the next home in bed. The next, updating my blog with 8 days in the rear view.
  2. Time goes by incredibly fast – it deserves repeating because it freaking does. It’s, um, incredible. Even when you don’t have any where to go or anything to do the clock still ticks the same. Meh, the clock says to you.
  3. The people in your life are incredibly generous. If you let them be. They are generous with their time and their hearts and their patience. You just have to ask. It’s not always easy to ask for help when you do CrossFit six plus days per week and are used to doing everything your self and your way and consider it a personal challenge to leave no grocery bag behind on the first and only trip from the car to the house. But the reality of knowing you will be out of commish for a bit, including a giant German Shepherd that needs tending, leads to letting down the tough gal act and asking for help. Hard to do. But when you do…what happens? You wake up with an army at your door, bringing you seltzer and peanut butter and picking up bags of dog food and taking out your trash and the recycling and throwing in a load of laundry and sitting next to you and just being with you and taking time out of their lives (lives that did not go on hiatus and are still busily poking away just outside the door) to watch a couple episodes of Law and Order SVU with you and then ask one more time if you need anything before they go. Blessed.
  4. The dog will still want you to throw the ball even if you are temporarily unable to do so.
  5. Sleep is a beautiful thing.
  6. I miss my CrossFit community. I do check in on Facebook during the day, but try not to do so too much. I don’t want to be a Lurker. When I do check the news feed it does leave me feeling a little sad and admittedly left out. Loser-ville. Population, One. Ugh. I hate admitting that but truth is I miss our colorful sweaty community and the fun and connecting and high-fiving and ongoing challenge to do good.
  7. I’m grateful for the time out. I’m grateful for the opportunity to sit on the sidelines. Yes, to let my body heal but also to just take a break. From everything. Ive been reading a lot more on the CF Games competitors and apparently there is a high rate of burn out. At first this was surprising to me but then not so much. CrossFit is intense. In every way. It pushes everything to the extreme, the body and the mind and the central nervous system and all things firing within and around you. It’s impossible to keep up that intensity all the time. Perhaps one of the things I’m learning during this hiatus is that it doesn’t have to be all intense all the time. Sometimes it is okay to just go in and hit a WOD to get a workout. What? I know, cray cray. But think about it – sometimes you just need some exercise, you know, for the sake of exercise. Granted you’re in your element with your peeps and we challenge one another but it’s not all about PR’s and pushing to max load and effort, sometimes it can be about just doing and active recovery and getting your body moving and generating an accelerated heart beat and some sweat. Maybe others understand this but I’m only just processing it now, CrossFit can be just a workout and that is okay. CrossFit does not always have to be all or nothing.
  8. I do not want to gain weight. While I am not able to CrossFit for the next five weeks I am determined to stay healthy. How? With my diet. No cheat days, no BS. None of those little sneaks here and there because I know I have a killer WOD waiting for me at the end of the day. Nope. There’s no where to hide. It’s just me and the food in my kitchen and the choices I make and the way my clothes fit and the next five weeks. Game on. The Plan – to Intermittent Fast with a short 4 – 6 hour feeding window. This basically translates to coffee in the morning, water all day, one substantial healthy meal for dinner which will include a farm raised protein and lots of veggies. Minimal fruits, minimal nuts. That is all. You can argue for or against my IF feeding plan, but over time and experimenting with many schools of thought, this is ultimately what works best for me. Personally I do believe as a society we are way overfed. We eat way too much too frequently every day.
  9. It’s time for bed. Once again it’s before 9pm and I’m headed to bed. As my lovely friend Mia stated in her last text to me yesterday at 8:27pm before she too was getting ready to call it a day; ‘Hey, at least it’s dark outside.. that makes it okay. Right? Nighty Nite.’
  10. Nighty Nite to you.

2013 Row.

“Anyhow, I’ve learned one thing now. You only really get to know people when you’ve had a jolly good row with them. Then and then only can you judge their true characters!”  ― Anne Frank

holiday cheer

This was in the break room this morning. First day back to work in the New Year. I understand how baking and sharing is a form of love, it’s just I struggle to find the logic in sharing something that is a vice. Something the majority of us struggle against. Except the world would be a dim place without any cookies. Just the word ‘cookie’ is such a happy word. Think, Cookie Monster.

Doesn’t get much more loveable.

The 90 Day Challenge is up and running. It is Day 2. I feel sleepy as I write this, imagine it’s due to all the gluten and sugar and tequila draining from my system. Not that the wheels completely came off over the Holidays, but there were moments of indulgence. When you’re with friends and family and feeling festive it just feels damn good to join in the merry making. It just feels good.

It’s a part of the connecting process.

But now I’m ready to get serious. I’m ready to clear my head and my body and reach some new goals. It doesn’t happen all at once this clearing of mind and body. It’s a slow determined process. Small steps at a time. Day by day of one healthy choice after another. Momentum being gained in the direction you are determined to head, towards a more healthy strong clear-minded you.

There are four specific goals I would like to achieve within the first 3 months of 2013, the 90 Day Challenge period. Achieving these specific goals will solidify the ground beneath my feet on a new path paved in the direction I intend to go:

  1. Get a real pull up
  2. Apply to Grad School. Deadline March 1
  3. 24% body fat
  4. 300lbs. Deadlift

2nd 90 Day Challenge Benchmark WOD:

Row 10K for time.

Completed: in 45:22