no shame here

Back squat 3-3-3-3 reps @ 55, 60, 65, 70
Thruster 3-3-3-3 reps @ 55lbs.
4 attempts at a max L-sit hold for time, knee tuck @ 25 seconds.

Finished in 11:20.

Life is a Series of Comebacks

cf 2-12-16I’m starting up this blog again.

There’s certain things I’ve missed:

1. Writing this blog, and

2. Writing about CrossFit.

The first time I ever tried CrossFit was in October, 2011. I remember the feel of that first workout in boot camp. I do not remember what we had to physically do in that first workout, but I do remember how it felt. Boot camp is engineered for beginners and designed to challenge you but to not kill you; to push you just enough that you want to come back. As the workout began I remember thinking, Hey, I’m in shape, I ride my bike, I’ll show these guys what I’m made of. Although, by the end, not so much. As that 8 minute workout ticked to a close I found myself lying on the floor and staring at the ceiling and wondering where my next breath would come from. That was almost five years ago.

Back then everything was so new, and scary. Every workout (Annie, Filthy Fifty, Jeremy…), every movement (squat snatch, hang power clean…), even every acronym (HSPU, WB, DU…) felt foreign and overwhelming. There was always something new to learn. I loved the feeling of learning a strange new movement, and saying hello to the stranger next to me. I kept showing up and mimicking what I saw and attempting my own versions. I listened to the coaches and agreed to push myself most of the time. And then the changes started to come. My strength and endurance grew and the PRs, oh the PRs, they were bountiful and seeming to be in endless supply.

Being new to CF is a sweet spot. You’ve never performed a deadlift before? Step up to the bar and hang on. And just like that, every time you do it you just seem to get better and stronger in astounding feats of power. You get to keep adding plates! 10, 15, 25lbs… Especially with deadlifts.

And then, one day,  you don’t.

About a year or so into it you start to level off, and then the PRs are hard won if at all and that’s when you begin to stall. There’s a few different things you can do at this point; stop, or keep going. Either dial it in and work harder—because the better at CrossFit you become, well, the harder it gets—Or you can quit.

I kept going. And then I got injured. Sprinkle in some major-life-events, and then a few more, some of which I can’t even remember now (but let me tell you they were epic, at least they seemed that way at the time–they always do), and it all seemed to start tumbling down hill in a frenzy.

I lost a job. I got another one. I moved. I broke a bone. Then I broke that same bone again. Top it off with a couple of surgeries, a few pizzas, and well, you’ve got yourself a stalemate. I found myself stopping and starting and stopping and starting and stopping and starting CrossFit again, and then again.

Today, things are a lot different then they were back then, all of three years ago. For one, I’m at a new box, having moved to a new town to follow a job. Also, my body is different. It’s older.

Scanning through the old posts on this blog it’s clear I had a lot of goals back then: CF competitions and Strongman and marathons. But now my biggest goal is to just show up to the WOD. Dr Wayne Dyer talked about how our bodies are always changing, never the same from one minute to the next, as we are constantly shedding old cells and growing new ones. My body feels different from what it was. Oddly, I feel weaker in some areas I never thought I’d lose ground (deadlift) and stronger in other movements I had resigned to sleep with the fishes in terms of gainz (overhead squat). Somebody probably knows why, but I sure do not.

In the end, the whole point of this post is to say the one thing that has never changed–the center axis on which all those old workouts and PRs and acronyms and reflective blog posts spin out from–life is a series of stops and starts. It’s a series of comebacks. Doesn’t matter the scenario; you lose your job, your beloved pet, your home, your parent, your cell phone. At some point you are faced with two choices; give up, or begin again. It’s simple but not always easy. In fact, the higher the stakes–the more shredded the heart or the body or the soul–the harder it is to put one foot in front of the other, again. There were so many times when I wanted to give up, especially this summer when I told myself I was done with CrossFit for good. Work was too busy, I felt too far gone, left behind, what’s the point.

But then I got a good night’s sleep and said I’d give it one more go. Okay, that sucked. Maybe try again on Thursday. I don’t know why but I kept walking through the door. And now it’s winter and I still find myself standing in front of the whiteboard day after day. I’m weaker in some areas, yes, stronger in others (not really), but there’s still some magic in there for me. I’m thankful for it. Part of the challenge is to accept where you are and start from there. Part of the accepting-part is to stop thinking about where you were, or where you’d like to be in some far off universe sprinkled with pixy dust. The trick is to just be there on the floor with your fellow athletes and say, ‘Ready!’ Even if there’s thrusters.

So here I am. Rebooting the blog. Rebooting one of my first true loves, CrossFit. The writing part, well it’s always been there, but for some reason I find it therapeutic to write about CF. The words come easy. Unlike thrusters, which, by the way, were in the WOD today and I let the pansy-portion of my brain get the best of me and went into it light, at 35#. I knew at the end of the first round I was being a weenie. Did I put more weight on the bar? No. Not today, but I’ll get there.

As my neighbor on the rig next to me said, “The hardest part is just showing up.” Knuckle bump.

Back to planet earth.

“Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention. If you don’t have this, all your pleas and desires are boneless, floppy, inert; they swirl at your feet in a cold fog and never lift.” 
― Elizabeth Gilbert

II. Strength:

7 Rep Max Thruster

Completed: working weight at 75lbs.

Conditioning:

“Angie”

100 Pullups

100 Pushups

100 Situps

100 Air Squats

Completed: in 21:19.

Just so glad to be back in my routine and back in the triple-wide tonight. It was the only thing that was able to clear my Fog: fog from the energy of being nominated for Athlete of the Year, fog from the formal, from winning the award, from the daylight savings, from staying awake until 3am, make that 4am, from the tequila (hey, it’s Paleo), from trying to go to Strongman the next day on Sunday and just standing around feeling like all I wanted to do was go home and lie on the couch and eat potato chips and drink Pepsi.

I’m so happy to be back on planet earth. Thank you, Angie.

The beauty in routine.

“A thousand half-loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home.” ― Rumi,

Is routine boring?

It feels rebellious to break from the everyday. To go off and explore new places or revisit those long ago places worn thin in the memory only to be rediscovered. Airports have a feeling of complete abandonment and freedom. Once you’re through security it’s as if you’ve tagged safety and you’re in some kind of untouchable time out, free of all responsibility where you’re only single obligation is to make it to the gate in time for your flight.

It’s exciting to plan and pack for a trip. To anticipate all the memories ahead, the old friends you will see again and the new ones you will meet for the first time. The being out and about in new places. The adventure. Oh, the adventure. When you’re navigating in your new place everything is a new decision. Where do you get your morning coffee? How do you do your laundry? Do you eat out? Sushi or burger? How do I get there from here? Where do you buy your food if you want to cook? Where’s the nearest pharmacy? Did they say left at the stop sign or right? Should I hit the WOD at the local box? Did we pass it? !@%$#@^$#@ where is this place?

Imagine trying to navigate it all before smart phones. Actually having to stop and ask someone how to get there from here. My phone was exploding over vacation. Between the texts – we r here, where r u, meet you there, what time are we meeting, who else is meeting us, waiting for you, still waiting…

To the quick phone calls, to the Googling and mapping. Oh the Google mapping. In .5 miles take a light onto Krauss Dr., your destination is on the left.

Recalculating.

I actually have one sibling who refuses to text. That was fun.

While adventure is necessary, I also love to come home again.

There’s comfort in routine. There’s a reason why people park in the same spot every day or enjoy wearing a uniform to work. It takes the decision making out of the mundane. You can relax and focus on other things. It feels good to be back in my routine. One of the things I’ve missed most is my daily WOD at ACF. Yes, the community, always the community, and within that lies the ability to walk through the door and lose myself in the absolute discomfort of a Thruster or Burpee or 129th front squat in the complete comfort of a familiar place that feels like home.

WOD:

Conditioning:

Hokey Pokey

30 Reps For Time:

1 Rep Consists of:

Squat Clean (135/95)

Right Foot Lunge (put your right foot in)

Stand Tall (take your right foot out)

Left Foot Lunge (put your left in)

Stand Tall (take your left foot out)

Thruster

Completed: in 17:57 at 65lbs. Holy, this was hard. Truly thought I could not do it. But did it nonetheless. This should be the mantra for this blog: Thought I couldn’t do it, but did it anyway. Thought I couldn’t do it, but did it anyway. Thought I couldn’t do it, but did it….

Midline:

3 Sets – 20 Weighted Anchored Situps

Home is where the Heart Lives.

Thrusters.

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
― Emily Dickinson

I. CrossFit Games Open WOD 12.5:

Complete as many reps as possible in 7 minutes of the following rep scheme:
Thruster, 3 reps
3 Chest to bar Pull-ups
Thruster, 6 reps
6 Chest to bar Pull-ups
Thruster, 9 reps
9 Chest to bar Pull-ups
Thruster, 12 reps
12 Chest to bar Pull-ups
Thruster, 15 reps
15 Chest to bar Pull-ups
Thruster, 18 reps

Etc. until you just can’t go anymore, or the clock runs out.

Completed: at 65lbs. Scaled to ring rows. 12 Rounds plus 7.

There’s something about Thrusters. When I see them in a WOD I immediately get crazy nervous.

Thankfully these days I’m somehow long past not showing up for a WOD that scares me. No matter what’s prescribed if it’s my day to go, it’s my day to go.

Before it was 3, 2, 1 … Go! for today’s WOD as I was setting up my bar and my rings, my stomach turned in on itself and my heart started to pound. It was that old familiar dreadful fear. I didn’t want to do what I was about to do. And the thoughts began to creep in; ‘You don’t have to do this, go lighter on the bar, skip today and come back tomorrow..’

Thrusters in particular have this effect.

I didn’t leave. I stayed and completed the WOD. And just like all those days before chronicled here, I was so happy I stayed and fought through the fear.

There’s a lesson that needs to be learned although I’m not quite sure it ever will be: it never gets any easier. The fear never goes away. It simply does not. The fear revisits with all its intensity and indifference and sometimes feels even worse than the time before and you still have to find that certain something within yourself that says, I’m ready. Let’s go.

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.

II.Conditioning:

3 Rounds for Time:

Pullups

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.

Kal Su

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

For me on this day, the one thing that scared me was a WOD named Kal Su. It haunted me throughout the day, from checking it in the morning and watching the demos, till the afternoon whereby I would check again to make sure by some stroke things might have changed in my favor. No such luck. Kal Su is a combination of all things that not only take me a long time to complete, but take me a long time to complete. It is a medley of all my absolute sucks wrapped up in a bow.

I fretted over this WOD all day. Trying to think of any excuse not to go. But yesterday was my rest day and no rationalization seemed strong enough. The truth is, you have to face these things and I knew if I didn’t show up and at least try I would only regret it.

Warm-Up:

2 Rounds:

15 Overhead Squats with Barbell

20 Jumping Lunges

25 AbMat Situps

Strength:

Establish a 1RM Thruster in 10 minutes

Completed: 65lbs, 85lbs., 95lbs., 105lbs.  Then onto Kal Su. My stomach was in my throat. Kevin very nicely shared a story about how when he performed this WOD for the very first time many years ago it about ruined him to Crossfit for good. That’s how much it leveled him. Kevin is one of the top coaches at ACF. Strong, very knowledgeable. Don’t get stuck in burpee hell, he said. And I knew then my best approach was to scale as best possible, and just get through it.

Conditioning:

“Kalsu”

On the minute:

Complete 5 Burpees and then perform Max Thrusters (135/95).  Continue this pattern until you’ve completed 100 Total Thrusters.

*25 minute cap

Completed: scaled to 3 burpees per round and Thrusters at 55lbs. Completed 72 Thrusters total in the 25 minute time cap. Was not looking for any personal record setting here. Just glad I showed up and did it. For me that is the grand achievement for today.