good byes.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – A.A. Milne

It’s a funny thing, saying good bye. As much as you try you can never quite prepare for it. At parties I like to be the person that hugs and says hello at the beginning and then quietly leaves without notice at the end.

With the most important and intimate of relationships though, the one on one stuff, as difficult as a face to face good bye can be I do believe they are necessary. Taking a moment to say good bye to one another in person provides a formal moment within which to say whatever might be necessary, a moment to pause and recognize what is happening before you turn and go. How ever you may react to the moment there is a beauty in the exchange, in the acknowledgement of what transpires.

A connection is created adding strength across the distance that is about to grow between you.

I’m going to have to say good bye to my beloved ACF community for several weeks. Much past attempting 13.4 and getting my final 1RM Back Squat and Dead Lift this Saturday, I’m going to be out for six weeks. I’m having minor surgery and unfortunately the recovery requires lifting nothing heavier than 5lbs. For six weeks! I’ve asked the doctor and the nurses in every which way possible if there’s anything I can do other than to NOT LIFT and the resounding answer has consistently come back to me, ‘No.’

You may not lift anything heavier than 5lbs for six weeks.

‘But…I CrossFit!’ I said.

‘Especially no CrossFit,’ was the response.

‘Do you know what this means to me?’ I asked.

‘Do you want to get better?’ They responded.

‘Fine,’ I said, feeling uncertain and defeated.

So here I am forced to sit on the sidelines. What an incredibly uncomfortable feeling. All I can think about is the gains that will be lost. All my hard work sidelined and left to atrophy. What will happen to my strength? Will I gain weight? This explains why I’ve been OD’ing on CF this past month, signing up for every seminar, volunteer opportunity and WOD as far as the eye can see. Just trying to get my fill. The goal being to step off into this next chapter from the healthiest possible plateau.

People come and go from the ACF community every day. It is a large group of diverse individuals checking their personal shit at the door for an hour or two and jumping in to get stripped to the core so that they can rebuild. An incredibly frightening and uncomfortable process but absolutely integral when building strength and character. Then they go home or back to work or to the grocery store or maybe buy a new pair of kicks.

So as much as I believe in the face to face good bye in the most important of your relationships, in this instance I’m simply going to slip out the back for a while. My hiatus in the scheme of it all is NBD. People walk in and out every day. Some return, some do not.

Of course it’s all no big deal except to me.

ACF has become such an integral part of my life and of who I am. The go to for all things good and bad. Bad day at work, hit a WOD to clear your head. Good day at work, hit a WOD to celebrate. Feeling tired, hit a WOD to get some energy. Feeling anxious, hit a WOD to calm your mood. CrossFit has become a part of who I am.

CrossFit is my sounding board.

So now how to fill those non-CrossFitting hours? Well, for starters being accepted to the New York State Writer’s Institute will help. Classes start this week and go for 9 weeks. Delete CrossFit, insert Writing. It will be good to have another passion to dial into. Then in six weeks if all goes well just as I’m coming out of recovery and able to start training again so the class will draw to a close and my window to WOD will once again open.

I wonder what I will learn during this shift in focus. I wonder where it will lead.

Some birds…appear when you need them most.

“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.” — Stephen King, Shawshank Redemption

I. Strength:

5 x 2 Power Clean (3 Second Pause Below The Knees) + 1 Push Jerk

* Rest 60 Seconds

** As Heavy As Possible While Maintaining Perfect Technique.

*** The Push Jerk Is Only Performed After The Second Power Clean.

Completed: 65lbs., 75lbs., 85lbs., 95lbs., 100lbs.

II. Conditioning:

7 minute AMRAP of:

8 Push Jerks (155/105)
10 Toes 2 Bar
40 Double-Unders

– Then (No Rest)

1 Minute AMRAP of:

Unbroken Hang Power Cleans (155/105)

* If You Drop The Bar Your 1 Minute AMRAP Is Finished.

Completed: lost count on the 7 Minute AMRAP. Finished somewhere around 10 reps on the 1 Minute AMRAP HPC at 85lbs.

After yesterday’s WOD and then Strongman, one after the other in the same evening, my shoulders were toast. Of course I didn’t realize this until it was 3, 2, 1 … Go! and I reached Push Jerk no. 5 in only the first go round of the AMRAP and I knew it was not going to end well. I just didn’t have it in me. The spaghetti arms appeared and I floundered and lost my footing, side to side, front and back, trying to steady myself under the weight overhead. I simply pooped out. The arms pooped out.

Today is Valentine’s Day. Along with making my Valentine some scrambled eggs, I bought him a few gifts to commemorate; a squeaky toy and some milk bones. Oliver loves scrambled eggs. On Sunday he’ll get some bacon. We both will.

I’d like to think I’m above or removed or indifferent to the Valentine buzz that seems to permeate throughout today. The flowers being delivered to the office, little Valentine forget-me-nots left on chairs and in the keyboards of fellow coworkers. It reminds me of third grade and the tiny colorful valentine cards handed out during class.

In reality, I’m really not so removed from the Valentine Day hum. In truth I wish I could dive into what I like to believe it is really all about; connecting with that one person that is the most important in the world to you. That one person with which you share a trust and knowing that you accept and love one another for exactly as each of you are. And you laugh a shit-ton together too.

For a moment it is fun to imagine I have a secret admirer. Someone who has seen me from across the triple-wide and thinks, look at that pretty tall girl. She works so hard. She doesn’t even sweat, she glistens! And her smile, I don’t know why but it warms my heart unlike any other. I should go up and talk to her.

I would love it if that person did just that. Come up to me and say hello. What if they left a note on my windshield; Hello Pretty Girl, seeing you makes me happy. It’s as simple as that. Yeah, I’m definitely longing for that type of mystery, that kind of true spark, fueled by genuine kindness, warmth and tenderness. Seems like there’s so much abrasion recently, so much he said she said too cool for school let me tag you on Facebook. It all feels so removed, so indifferent, impersonal, lacking complete trust and true intimacy.

But tomorrow is another day. And thankfully we have friends, really great friends. Like my BFF Carmen, who tonight after Part I of the WOD and my last Clean and Jerk at 100lbs. said to me; Mary, remember when all you wanted was to get 100lbs. over head? It was your goal for the longest time. Now it seems like nothing to you!

I had completely forgotten. And in that moment she reminded me of all my hard work, and how it had paid off with little or no notice up until that moment when a great friend pointed it out to me.

Thank you, Carmen. Thank you for that. Happy Valentine’s Day my dear friend.