Day 36. Day 37. Day 38. Day 39.

“There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them. But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there.”

― Paulo Coelho, The Fifth Mountain

It was just on Friday that I was talking to Jim and he asked how everything was going.

‘Sorry I haven’t checked in for a while. How is Oliver? How are you?’ he asked

‘Thanks for asking,’ I said. ‘You know things seems as if they have finally quieted down. Feels like things are not breaking or falling over as much, no one has gotten any stitches. Maybe I’m finally used to this. Beaten into submission,’ I added.

‘That’s good. That’s good,’ Jim said. ‘I’m glad to know you two are okay.’

This was on Friday. I was a little bothered that I had not heard from him in a while, wrapped in the expectation that he should be showing more concern for me but Monday was my follow up appointment with the doctor and I was feeling optimistic. Overly optimistic. I had high hopes for some good news. They would take an X-ray and somehow magically say I no longer needed a cast, that I had graduated to the boot, that my life on crutches was soon coming to an end.

I went about my weekend. Going to Friday Night Fights at ACF and cheering the competitors, taking photos, reconnecting with the community. Saturday morning up early and down to CrossFit Beyond to cheer some of my favorite CF Peeps in a fundraising WOD, Barbells for Boobs. Take some more pictures. Feel happy. On the road to somewhere good. Feeling like I’m making progress and getting healthier and getting back to who I want to be.

Sunday I go to brunch with my family and think about the week ahead. I look forward to the week ahead. I’ve somehow convinced myself that I will receive good news on Monday at the orthopedics. I’ve convinced myself.

Monday morning I check into the doctors office. They remove the purple cast and ask what color cast I would like next.

‘Aren’t you going to take an X-ray?’ I ask.

‘You’ll have to ask the doctor about that, first we need to get you into a new cast.’

‘But, if you don’t take an X-ray how will you know if my foot is healing?’

‘We can still take an X-ray over the cast,’ the nurse says to me. ‘What color would you like?’

‘Black,’ I say.

I’m dumbfounded. I’m not sure exactly what I expected, but in the very least I expected another X-ray. It’s been three weeks since my last appointment. I wanted to see progress, I wanted to know I was doing well, that my foot was almost healed that this life on crutches was soon to be behind me.

As the final bits of the black cast are wrapped around my leg the doctor walks into the room. He’s tall, broad chested, confidently slow moving almost goofily disarming.

‘Aren’t you going to take an X-ray?’ I plead.

‘You want an X-ray?’ he asks.

‘I NEED an X-ray!’ I say.

‘Ok,’ the doctor says.

‘I need an X-ray because I need to know.’ I say. ‘I need to see progress. Something positive. There has to be some hope in all of this.’

‘We will get an X-ray.’ the doctor says.

Frankly, I’m confused why an X-ray is not part of the original plan of this follow up visit. It has been 38 days since I broke my foot. 38 days. Shouldn’t my foot be healing? I simply do not understand. When did broken bones stop healing back together?

After the X-Ray my sister-in-law and I sit in the waiting room and discuss what color Sharpie would show up best on a black cast, silver or gold.

‘Want to see the X-ray?’ The doctor asks.

In his office I study the image on his computer screen. It looks foggy, I’m guessing because of the cast.

Here’s a synopsis of what I think the doctor said to me; ‘The good news is that your bones are lining up nicely. I’d say another 5 weeks in the cast, then you come back and we take another look.’

All I hear is: ‘another 5 weeks in a cast.’ It’s all I can focus on and not at all what I hoped for – what I planned for. The news is devastating. 5 weeks. 5 weeks. 5 weeks. Didn’t the last 4 plus weeks count for anything? Anything at all? When did broken bones stop healing? I don’t understand.

It’s as if all the days and weeks of struggling and growing into acceptance and relearning how to live have been erased and I’m starting from scratch once more. All hope is washed away. I’m not even half way through this journey. The light at the end of the tunnel snubbed out. There is no end in sight. Not for me. Not right now.

I took the news hard. I came home and lied down on the couch. I drank NyQuil to help me fall asleep. This morning I woke up groggy, not wanting to get up. I simply had no desire to get moving. No desire to get the dog fed and the coffee made and the dog downstairs and outside and my teeth brushed and my hair combed or to get dressed in a clean set of clothes. There was no part of my body or mind that wanted to do any of these things. There was no will to join the day.

Tonight I’m feeling a little more settled. But there’s a lingering sensation of indifference. Knowing this is now my fate for the month of November I feel the need to pair down my life even further. My last day in my current job will be Nov. 8. I think about how long I can last until I find another job. The people in my life that I once thought of as best friends have disappeared, the people in my life that I never thought to ask to show up continue to show up consistently and all without my having to ask. The life lessons are plentiful. Like fireflies lighting a distant summer night, if I do not grab the illuminated lesson quickly beneath the lid of my mayonnaise jar the moment will pass and the illumination will disappear.

My perspective on life continues to readjust as new realities come into focus. All of life seems so fragile. Relationships, people, objects, pets, your health, your abilities, down to the smallest minute item we can take for granted. Just going out to get a cup of coffee is now a whole new unfamiliar script.

I feel vulnerable as I worry about my ability to take care of myself in the simplest of ways. I worry I’ll be left behind. I worry I will no longer be relevant. I worry no one will notice I’m no longer there. Losing my job during this time is an additional stress of the unknown.

The final truth is that none of us can really control any of these things. These are life’s events. Our job is to be as best prepared for these moments as you possibly can. Perhaps I should remember I’m able to do so well on crutches to begin with is because of all of my CrossFit training. Perhaps I should be grateful for the time spent with family now as a result of their taking the time to include me knowing I’m injured. Perhaps I should focus on the incredible generosity of those close to me and far, the rides to writing class, the gentleman who carried my groceries to the car, the resistance trainer in the garage secretly assembled and attached to my favorite road bike by my brother and his wife, ready to ride when I get the go ahead for weight bearing activity again. Perhaps I should remember all of these beautiful things.

trainer 2

That’s my favorite bike. And that’s a brand new resistance trainer installed on the rear wheel and ready for action once I’m ready for action too.

I’m finding when these set backs occur, like the one yesterday at the doctor’s office, when I did not hear the news I wanted to hear, when these expectations are not met and I feel disappointed, there’s a resulting bump in the road. A mental speed bump. I get sad, I feel disappointed, I get knocked down.

But it is now 48 hours later and I’m starting to build back up again. Remembering the generosity and love of those around me, I’m looking ahead to the month of November and thinking, take this time and use it. Use it and make it beautiful. Write, create, relax, enjoy. Your job is winding down, you will have some extra time. Granted you are on crutches but relish that you can heal and not feel like you have to be out the door doing and performing for a new job. Enjoy the cool weather, sit outside with Oliver. Go to mass on Sunday. Eat healthy. Focus on your volume training. Finally get a pull up. Get back to that place, get to that place, that you want to be, even if you have to get there on crutches.

You can still get there, even on crutches.

Front and Center.

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” ― Leo Tolstoy

Today was another day when I thought twice about going to the WOD. The list of excuses presented itself. Thrusters scare the crap out of me. Not sure why. It’s a very powerful movement. And I don’t care who you think you are, Thrusters can kick your ass in an instant. I showed up to the 4pm WOD, ready to do work. Front and Center.

I. Barbell Gymnastics:

Hang Squat Snatch – 7 x 2

*Rest 90 seconds between sets

Completed: 55lbs., 65lbs., 75lbs., tried for 85 but ran out of time. Felt great about my movement in these rounds. Felt as if the Snatch is finally coming to me.


3 Rounds for Time:


14 Thrusters (115/75)

21 AbMat Situps

Completed: in 8:05. Since pull-ups were scaled to ring rows, up’d the amount to 14 per round. Thrusters at 55lbs. This was lame. Should have gone 65lbs. Totally chickened out and I take full responsibility.

connecting. Open WOD 12.5

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” ― Mother Teresa

Sometimes after a long day it is everything I can do to get through the front door at ACF. Sometimes the draw of simply going home and going to sleep can be more powerful. But when successful in getting to ACF and showing up for the WOD, the result is consistently the same, gratitude for making the extra effort.

Today was one of those days. Hard to motivate. Until the moment I walked through the ACF doors wherein the subsequent lifting of my heart and mind commenced:

First by being greeted with hugs and high fives from Dean;

Then with informative and personal coaching from Kevin, Theresa, and Clark. ‘Good form, Mary, you’ve got this, nice job, you nailed it girl…’;

Followed by shout outs of encouragement and smiles by Kim from all the way across the hall in the double wide;

Matched by fellow Strong Person, Nancy watching and cheering right to the finish. Only to then step into the triple wide as the WOD ended to say Great Job and help me break down my bar and put the bumpers away. Thanks, Nancy.

And therein lies the beauty of Crossfit, the connection it builds between its athletes. It’s intangible, powerful, untouchable, strong, persistent, delicate. This video tells the story of Connecting well.


I. Barbell Lunges in Front Rack

3 sets, 10 reps (5 per leg)

Completed: first at 55lbs., then 75lbs.

II. Open WOD 12.5

AMRAP in 7 minutes of the following progression:

3 Thrusters (100/65)

3 Chest-to-Bar Pullups

6 Thrusters

6 Chest-to-Bar Pullups

9 Thrusters

9 Chest-to-Bar Pullups

and so on….

Completed: This is Crossfit Open WOD 12.5. Means was the 5th WOD of the 2012 Open. I did this at 55lbs. Clock ran out at Round 15, with 15 Thrusters and 11 Ring Dips.

65lbs. was RX for women. I do believe I could have gone 65lbs. and will remember this if/when the WOD reappears for the 2013 Open.

It’s interesting this WOD appearing today. As I keep thinking about the Masters Division. You can see their results for the 2012 Open posted here. It is very possible for me to achieve similar results. I’m getting close to a full pull up. Very close indeed. With more than a year to train, sky’s the limit.

Strength in who you are.

I’ve been out of commission since Friday. Nothing tragic. Just a minor setback. The Dr. suggested keeping clear of the squat until Thursday. Okay. Okay. I said.


The forced semi-retirement has been good. You know you’ve heard the term, overtraining, and you think, that’s impossible. Overtraining takes a lot of motivation. But, I was pushing so hard with the overhead stuff, wanting it so badly, getting frustrated by the relentless plateau, that this respite might be well timed. Perhaps I was over-obsessing. Is that even possible? Seems accurate enough. Either way, I’m welcoming the break.

I did get in to train with Dean on Monday. Upper body only. ($%#!*#%!@)

It was a great session, and sadly my last with him. Even so he continued to teach. Revelations like how I am not that far from an actual pull-up. That I can go deeper and closer to parallel on the ring push up. He even pushed me to the heaviest kettle bell yet, 88 lbs. Was I just talking about a plateau? Yes, in the overhead. That’s right. We’re taking a few rest days from that.

In my last WOD with Dean, it was 5 Rounds. 10 ring push ups, with heels to the wall, 8 jumping pull-ups, first standing from the 25lbs. bumper, then 10lbs. then the floor. And 10 kettle bell swings, first with the 75lbs., then the 88lbs.

Oh the joy in asking your body to be capable, and it more than surpasses your expectations.

I was sad that it was the last of our training sessions. He taught me much: Resistance training with chains and bands, corrected my deadlift form to where I pushed through that plateau and PR’d twice in the following two weeks, rounding out at 245lbs. Did I mention the PR box jump at 27″? That was a surprise.

At the end of class I asked him for a hug. A big hug. It was a lot to ask. I was sweaty. He stood on the giant Strongman tire and reached down and hugged me tight. You’re a good person, he said.

So are you, I said.

In the end, past the technical stuff, Dean taught me that I am strong. Stronger than I know. He also taught me to have confidence in my strength.

I think for a very long time I was embarrassed by my strength. Tried to hide it. I’m pretty tall. Especially tall for a girl. Strength in a girl is not generally celebrated. People say they like tall women, but I have plenty of awkward teen and college years to prove otherwise. The 20’s are a whole other train wreck. In summation, there have been more than a few very difficult moments. And it would always make me feel better when people would say, You’re a big girl. …. ***….

Never call a girl big. Just don’t do it.

I was embarrassed by my size. I was certain those around me were embarrassed for me too. What I really wanted to do was just disappear. And often tried.

This is not just another accolade to Crossfit. But rather an opening in the way I see things. A softening in how I see myself. A gentle confidence growing. This is a song to something I see as a result of showing up, and getting used to being uncomfortable. This is a welcomed change in how I see myself in the world, something I like. Crossfit, in all its complexity (and there is a lot under that umbrella), has brought this out in me.

It’s okay to be strong. It’s okay to be who you are.

horse sh*t.

How I love the Deadlift. who knew this would be the case. Especially if you read one of my older posts from 1972. Where my working Deadlift weight was 125 lbs. If ever inspiration was needed, must remember it’s really quite something to go back and read these posts, from not even one year ago. Super helpful when I let myself get down and convince myself of something ridiculous like I’m not making progress. Horse Sh*t.


I. Deadlift


Completed: with the most awesome strong person ever, Kim.  Didn’t think I could meet her strength, but hung in there at 195 lbs. for round 1, then 215 lbs. for rounds 2, 3, and 4. That’s 6 reps per round. At what only 2 months ago used to be my 1 Rep Max. Progress over horse sh*t. Dean said this word to me today. Horse sh*t. In response to my tentatively not being able to do the Westside Powerlifting 6 week training class. Horse sh*t, he responded. I agree.

II. 8 Minute AMRAP:

Hang Power Cleans (155/105)

Handstand Pushups

Completed: 6 rounds total. Scaled to hand release pushups, and 75 lbs. on the Cleans. Mmmm… could have maybe pushed to 85lbs., but was feeling rather weak and starry eyed. Decided to get in the reps rather than pass out. Decisions. Decisions.


“I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.” ― Jerome K. Jerome

For today’s WOD, three separate, 8 minute AMRAPs.


I. 8 Minute AMRAP:

10 Wallballs

Handstand Pushups

Rest 4 Minutes

Completed: 6 rounds plus 10.

II. 8 Minute AMRAP:

10 Russian Swings (70/53)

Ring Dips

Rest 4 Minutes

Completed: Per Caleb’s most excellent suggestion, Kettle Bell at 53lbs. Even then, felt I could go heavier. 10 rounds. Ring Dips scaled to Ring Pushups.

III. 8 Minute AMRAP:

10 Mountain Climbers


Completed: 9 rounds.

No Pressure.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ― Confucius

I grind my teeth when I sleep. The dentist gave me a mouth guard. It helps, but I don’t always wear it. It’s not very comfortable. I would say I put a lot of pressure on myself, but I’m not really sure how my level of pressure compares. I can’t vouch for the pressure other people put on themselves. I’m not in their head. There’s simply no way to know for certain.

Here’s a sampling of questions I ask myself during the day: What are your Goals? Are you making progress towards them? How do other people succeed? What is your definition of success? If you suddenly had everything you ever dreamt you wanted, would you really be happy? Isn’t struggling kismet to happiness? Nothing has any real value unless it is earned. Haven’t I struggled enough already? Sometimes I wonder how much more I can take. Then I tell myself to get over myself, that I’m not living as a slave, or drinking from a sewer, or lacking shoes for my feet. Enough already. So, really, what I am is lucky. Do I have too many opportunities? Am I paralyzed by indecision? Do you think I’m indecisive?

See. Pressure. It can go on from there. Spinning out of control into a web of what if’s and self-doubts. All mapped out and processed in my brain before my head leaves the pillow. It doesn’t take long. Pick a direction, any direction, and the mind can take you there.

Back to Goals. How precise do you need to be in setting goals? I think you have to be pretty darn precise. No mamby-pambying. No scaling. Your goals should be RX. The more specific, the better. Have you ever just sat down and written a very specific list of exactly what it is you want in life? Want to achieve? Very. Specific. List.

No pressure.


I. 5 Sets:

Push Presses (Heavy)

Max Strict Pullups

Completed: Push Press at 85lbs. Wanted to go heavier. Simply was not able.

*Rest 2 Minutes

II. 7 Minute AMRAP:

10 Jumping Squats

Handstand Pushups

Completed. Scaled to release push-ups.

Sometimes I get really overzealous with the weight. I just want to set it up and LIFT IT. The really HEAVY shi*t. But wanting to, and being able to, are two totally different things. Yeah, Being able to Press 125lbs. would be really cool. 100lbs. even. But simply wanting it will not make it so.

You know what comes next.

I have to set the Goal, the very specific goal of being able to press 100lbs. by (insert specific date here). And then put a plan into place to do it. And then, here comes the most important part: Do It.

Execute the Plan.

What’s the difference between Pressure, putting pressure on yourself, and feeling Vested?

Vested to me means you just wake up and do it. It’s a part of who you are now. Pressure to me says, resistance, resentment, a lack of true desire.