training miles

This seemed like a good WOD to kick off training again. For one, I could do it RX, even if it would be a slog. Also, the running portion could be a partner WOD, and I have the best partner of all! He has floppy ears and yellow eyes and keeps a pretty steady pace even if he does trot on the diagonal. Like a boss, he’s also mastering terms like Stay and Place and Heel and Walk. It’s just him and me in our little slice of out-of-the-box garage WODs.

WOD 7-14-18WOD complete. Our time: 1:08, not that that matters much. It’s the doing that matters. As it turns out, we ran an extra mile at the end, which just makes us a couple of badasses.

It’s been almost a year now since I started cleaning out the garage and refitting it with CF gear. It’s amazing what can collect in a garage: dusty bug zappers, rusty trailer hitches, and castaway cans of leftover paint. Last summer the local dump had a hazardous waste disposal day. The mile-long line of cars on that sunny Saturday morning started lining up long before the gates opened. I drove along the queue until it finally came to an end, turned my nose around and pulled in to claim my spot, thinking, I can wait for as long as it takes. I had nowhere else to go, and there was no way in hell the soured antifreeze and curdled engine oil and other unidentifiable garage-type liquids stacked in the bins in the trunk of my car would be coming back home with me.

It’s amazing how something so simple as hazardous waste disposal day at the local dump can change your perspective. It was a catalyst, the beginning of something new for me. The garage felt cleaner, smelled fresher. Then I hung new curtains, put down a throw carpet and cleared away what I could from the floor. What I couldn’t store in the shed or hang on a nail on the wall, I tried to sell or giveaway. Some people’s junk can indeed be someone else’s treasure. Okay by me.

It was as if I felt like I could not start training again until I cleared out the half-used and forgotten piles of… stuff. It’s all stuff. Just stuff. So much stuff. I do not do well with clutter. My ideal space would be modern, open, white and gray walls and clean lines, minimal wall hangings if at all. White plates, red coffee pot, navy blue sheets. We need so little to live well.

It’s officially 12 weeks until the half-marathon.

Now the dog sleeps and soon so will I.

Every Day, Begin Again

Sometimes it’s exhausting to think about—having to start over every single day. Like, can’t I just keep building on the momentum I created today and carry it over into tomorrow and the day after tomorrow?

Sometimes we’re grateful for the reboot, not every day is good and we look forward to another start. Sometimes, for me, it’s the starting again, again, and again, that I get a little overwhelmed by, especially when it comes to health and some level of personal fitness. Even just maintaining in the ballpark can be too much, like I just want to chuck it and go on vacation from trying.

Despite knowing how this all works, that every day we begin anew, some part of me keeps looking for a finish line; a place where we reach our destination and we’re done, no more hard work and sacrifice. One could say that finish line is the ultimate finish line, when you’re dead, but I’m talking more about some hypothetical place of ultimate fitness and health where you can stop working so hard and sacrificing so much, and you get to sit inside your accomplishment with a margarita pizza and relish your new home without worrying about sliding back to the place you once were, the day, week, or year before.

You can’t go back in time, but your body and your mind can certainly regress to places you’ve spent a lifetime of meditating, abstaining, and scratching your way out of. It’s the hamster wheel that can wear one down. At least it can beat me up pretty damn good. Same shit, different day. But that’s a crappy way of looking at things and it gets no one anywhere which is probably why, we begin again.

After talking and thinking and pondering and planning and saying I will begin again tomorrow, okay maybe the day after tomorrow, I finally did it: I WODed. Right in my own garage. I’ve only spent the better part of the last 8 months collecting bits of equipment, like my lovely bella bar and a 44lbs. kettlebell and a pvc pipe (which you’d think would be the obvious simple first purchase, but it took me forever to remember the benefits of warming up with pvc, and then it took me another month or so to get up the nerve to ask the guy at Home Depot to cut it in half for me). Then there was the gift of a Concept 2. The box appeared in the garage one day after work. Somehow I knew what it was, I could just feel it. I was beyond excited. What a fkcn awesome gift.

That gift, the Concept, took my little garage gym/box to the next level. Suddenly, I felt legitimate. I still wasn’t WODing, but I could WOD. At. Any. Moment. To be fair, I did row quite a bit when the Concept first arrived; I was getting into a routine of 2K per day. But then I woke up one morning on a new day and I stopped. And as the rower collected dust, I slid backward into some sort of funk. It’s easy to simply do nothing, it’s difficult to keep starting over and over.

Then, tonight, after a couple months of cleaning and dusting and reorganizing the garage with the hopes that one day would be the day that I would feel the spark, I did it: I WODed. Yes, on the first Sunday of June in the year 2018 at approximately 6:39 pm, I set Pandora to shuffle and I hit the start button on the timer, and it was 3, 2, 1, Go.

Bloody unbelievable.

As posted on CFHQ:

3 rounds for time of:
25 deadlifts
Bike 1,000 meters

Men: 185 lb.
Women: 125 lb.

Beginner Option (that’s me!)
3 rounds for time of:
20 deadlifts
Bike 500 meters

Men: 95 lb.
Women: 65 lb.

Completed in 12:28.

I substituted 500 meter row for the bike. Yes, it was the beginner version. Yes, the deadlifts felt heavy. But I was doing it. I was bloody doing it and it felt fan-fckn-tastic.

Perhaps beginning again day after day is a form of hope.

1st Inaugural WOD complete.

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.

 

90 DC Results

I realized I never posted my results from the 90DC. I PR’d on every benchmark!  See below:

The 2013 90 Day Challenge. January 1, 2013 – March 31, 2013:

Benchmark WODs: 

(to be completed first week of Jan., and again last week of March)

1. “Fran” – RX (95/65)
2. 1RM Snatch
3. 7 Minute AMRAP: Burpees
4. 10K Row 
5. 1RM BackSquat

Benchmark Results:

Benchmark WOD 1/1/13 3/31/13
1. “Fran” – RX at 65lbs. 5:24 5:19
2. 1RM Snatch 85 lbs. 105 lbs.
3. 7 Minute AMRAP: Max Burpees to 6” target 64 total 69 total
4. 10K Row 44:40 43:53
5. 1RM Back Squat 165 lbs. 185 lbs.

What’s found.

“Accept who you are; and revel in it.” ― Mitch Albom

Yesterday I received an email that began as follows:

Dear Mary,

Thank you for giving me the chance to read your work.  I am pleased to tell you that you have been selected to participate in this spring’s Writers Workshop.  Your manuscript stood out among a competitive pool of applicants. Congratulations.

If you read this blog you know two things, how much I love the following:

  1. CrossFit, and
  2. Writing.

This past week I received recognition for my hard work in each. In one week. Within days of one another. An award in one and recognition by acceptance into a workshop for another.

This kind of thing simply does not happen in life. It doesn’t! You wake up, you go to work, you go home, you spend 22 minutes throwing the tennis ball for your giant German Shedder, and if you’re lucky you make a nice dinner and watch Biggest Loser and go to bed. There’s some detours and holidays tossed in there but for the most part you hit repeat for the next day and the next and the next.

“You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger.”— Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on experiencing ‘flow’

If you have enough left in the day you throw your energy into something that’s really important to you, that makes your heart sing, that warms you from the inside out and gives you a sense of calm, a sense of purpose, that fills you with unconditional love for all things near to you and far. You see beauty and feel compassion and your heart swells with possibility.

When I write, time stands still.

It’s not all pixy dust and unicorns. There are the dark days of work; the toil and getting up and getting out and putting one foot in front of the other. I talk about these days often, sometimes from the isolated moments in the parking lot at ACF just before finding that last push from within needed to get out of the car and go through the doors. I fight with this familiar voice in my head that says, ‘Just go home, you deserve a rest day, pick up a gallon of Oreo ice cream on the way, you have definitely earned it.’

There are even darker days with writing. I’ve only known CrossFit for a year and half, I’ve known writing my whole life.

Writing is not what I do. Writing is who I am. I am always writing, jotting things down on pieces of paper, typing notes in my phone, or even simply and silently in my head – telling myself to try and remember this moment for later. There’s even the token notebook by the bed. Whatever it takes. The thoughts are endless and they are usually followed by, ‘Remember this, write it down. There’s a story here.’

The drive to write comes from a drive to ultimately someday compile it all in a friendly way and get it out there, get it published. Why? Because I want to reach people. I want to be that voice that reaches through the pages to you in that single solitary moment and let’s you know you are not alone. The voice that lifts you up or makes you laugh, or helps you remember, or forgive, or finally make that tough decision. A voice of a stranger who is now a trusted friend; private and knowing.

There is a quote painted on the wall at ACF that reads: ‘No, it doesn’t get any easier and you wouldn’t want it to either.’ I think of this often. It reminds me that whatever you are going through, chances are someone else has gone through it too and may even be going through it right now too. It is in the struggle to keep going that we find ourselves. It is in the will to find the energy to dig deeper and work harder and the desire to change for the better, that we come to know who we really are, and hopefully you’re happy with what you find.

I. Strength:

3 Hi-Hang Cleans + 1 Push Jerk x 5 Sets

* Rest 60 Seconds

** Heaviest Possible

Completed: at 55lbs., 65lbs., 75lbs., 85lbs., 95lbs. Damn I like Hang Power Cleans, even with the squat thrown in. The Oly shoes make it extra awesome as they make the feet and body feel secure and stable.

II. Conditioning:

20 Minute Partner AMRAP:

Partner A) Row 400m

Partner B) As Many Kettlebell Swings (53/35) As Possible.

* Both Partners Moving At The Same Time.

** Score Is Total Distance Rowed + Kettlebell Swings completed.

Completed: with Kim, as we had a WOD date today.  Awww. 3,809 total meters rowed. The worst part being the non-stop KB swings at 35lbs. Which were not totally non-stop, as I averaged two breaks per round.

Code Red.

“Two people in love, alone, isolated from the world, that’s beautiful.” ― Milan Kundera

codes

Do you ever find yourself always looking for the Finish Line? I do it all the time, in a WOD, at work, carrying groceries from the car. Where am I going? Where’s my destination? When will this current task be complete?

One of the things I struggle with most on my fitness road is understanding and accepting that there is no finish line in being healthy. You do not suddenly wake up one day in a state of ultimate fitness and can officially put an end to all fitness activities. I’m not saying I want to do this, but the goal oriented person in me is always looking for that spot on the horizon. This strategy works with most things, applying to school, doing your taxes, running a 10K. You set your sights on the finish line and get to work on taking the steps necessary to get there.

But with being healthy it is different. Being healthy is a state of existence. It’s an ever moving target that shifts and changes and morphs depending on the moment. One day you PR the shit out of your deadlift, the next you can barely nudge the bumper clips on the bar. Being healthy is not easy. It takes work. One right decision after the next after the next, into infinity, which is why there can be no finish line. It’s an endless work in progress; that work being you. I suppose you could equate it to making the right decisions in life on a moral scale. I choose to not steal, to not do harm to others, to not lie. Some bad choices carrying more dire consequences than others. But it’s not like you will wake up one day and it will suddenly be okay to steal. No, pretty sure you’re going to have to make the decision to not steal, if you so choose, from now until infinity.

Perhaps instead of viewing fitness as an extracurricular activity, it might be better to view it as a necessity. An integral part of life. An integral building block to a good life. Sometimes it feels as if being healthy is an accessory, like a piece of jewelry; there’s a choice to put it on or no, your day relatively unaffected if you do not. Code, Green. Unlike pants or not stealing which are quantifiable in your day to day, in that if you choose to not wear one or to participate in the other, it is going to have an immediate impact on your life. Code, Red.

The thing is, in not choosing to be healthy, you really won’t see the repercussions right away. Perhaps not for 30 years. And so, hey, what’s the urgency? Of course that does not mean the repercussions of your decisions are not there, lurking and waiting to surface.

I found this CrossFit chart of basic strength standards. It seems, according to this, after a year and a half of Crossfit, I am about to embark upon the Intermediate Level. Qui est foutrement incroyable.

I. Strength:

High Bar Back Squat

2 x 5 @ 70% – Rest 45 Seconds – completed at 115lbs.

2 x 3 @ 75% – Rest 45 Seconds – completed at 125lbs.

3 x 1 @ 80% – Rest 30 Seconds – completed at 135lbs.

* Sets at each percentage should be performed without re-racking the barbell.

** Take 90 Seconds rest between each percentage.

Completed: This was a blast since I was able to partner up with Kim, whom I haven’t seen in forever. We share similar strength. It was just great to get to spend the time with her.

 II. Conditioning:

Perform The Following With A Partner:

Row 9 x 200m

* Every set should be an all-out effort.

** Each partner will perform all 9 sets. Alternate after each 200m.

Completed: again with Kim. Awesome! This was a lung burner. Set the goal to avg. 1:45 pace per round. 3,600 meters completed in 14:38.

Try.

“The right choice is to try.” – Alex, ACF Coach

I’ve been feeling distracted lately. Distracted from the one thing I enjoy even more than Crossfit, writing. The urge to write just simply hasn’t been there. It’s a sad feeling when you lose the desire for something you love. You feel lost… without the anchor you’ve grown accustomed to for comfort, for peace. I’m not 100% certain why the drive to write faded but I do know it can be scary when the feeling goes. It’s a kind of general overall; Meh. And Meh is not a good place to be. It lacks passion, it lacks love, it lacks hope. It lacks all those beautiful things.

Thankfully the motivation to hit WODs has still been strong. Except for tonight. While I still made it through the door to the triple-wide I couldn’t help shaking the feeling that all I wanted to do was go home and take a nap. But if there’s anything I’ve learned there is one simple absolute; no matter how much I may not feel like making it to ACF, there has never been a day when I regret going. Never. Simple truth.

Crossfit is hard earned peace. Ironically, it provides a much needed break in the day. You work your ass off during that break and it’s worth every drop. There’s a palpable calmness that takes over when the WOD is through. A feeling of accomplishment and exhaustion from hard work.

Writing can have the same effect. Sometimes it’s so hard to write. You can’t just throw words on to the page. Well, you can. But there’s no satisfaction in that. There’s a poetry to be discovered in writing and therein lies the struggle. It takes work! Which is probably why I enjoy it so much too. You have to earn its reward. Just like in Crossfit. Come to think of it, there’s never been a time when I’ve forced myself to write that I wasn’t in the end so glad I finally did put words to the page.

Stepping through the doors at ACF or filling up the blank page, at least I tried. No matter how indifferent or disconnected you may feel the choice is always, always, to at least try.

Writing, like Crossfit, is therapy. Private soul cleansing therapy.

I’m happy to report that after a couple weeks of loafing around this joint the Meh’s are finally vacating. I’m glad to see them go.

I. Strength:

First Pull + Hang Snatch 7 x 2

* Heavy As Possible

** Rest 60 Seconds Per Set

Note: This movement should be performed with a pull to the knees – First Pull, a 3 second pause at the knees, then a Snatch from the hang position (at the knees).

Completed: Working weight at 65lbs. focusing solely on form.

II. Conditioning:

3 Rounds For Total Working Time of:

Row 400m

25 Wall Balls (20/14)

* Rest 3 Minutes Between Rounds

** Each Round Should Be An All Out Effort

Completed: at 14lbs. wall ball. Didn’t look at the clock, not sure my time. Just know the lungs and legs were burning.