You can’t go home again, or can you

“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in.”
Robert Frost

Continue reading “You can’t go home again, or can you”


“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”

― Mahatma Gandhi


With the Fall, comes change. Kids back to school, shorter days… If you believe in a collective subconscious, that we are all plugging in and out of a shared frequency, then you’re probably picking up on some of the anxiety floating around associated with this back to school change felt by so many.

I do not have kids but the week of Labor Day when there was a lot of going back to school going on, I was full of anxiety. Just woke up that way. It’s a terrible feeling, like something really bad, really really bad, is going to happen at any moment. When I feel like that the only thing I can do to squelch the bubbling dread is to hit a WOD. Right up until it’s 3, 2, 1.. Go! my skin feels like it’s going to peel from the bone, my heart is in my stomach and I just want to coat my brain in a magic numbing elixir, whatever it takes to calm the rushing thoughts and invoke some peace.

Since the Holiday week has passed and I’ve resumed my routine and have been hitting WODs faithfully so too the anxiety has ebbed. Sometimes I wonder, when the anxiety hits and almost seems too much to bear, I wonder if these pelting bouts of dread are to be my fate in the years to come and worry if I will have the continued necessary strength to endure. Of course the answer is, Yes. I can say that now of course as I am once again on the other end.

But if you have ever experienced brow beating anxiety you know the weight of which I speak and the inability at times to see through to the other side.

There’s a really good Memoir, Monkey Mind by Daniel Smith, that chronicles a personal journey of living with Anxiety – well written and most important, wickedly funny.

When the rounds of Anxiety come knocking I’ve learned to arm myself with a few tricks of personal defense, drummed up after years of trial and error:

  1. Recognize – When the negative thoughts start to percolate, recognize their approach, know you have some work to do, tell yourself it’s okay, allow yourself the task at hand.
  2. Put on some calming music. Not pop, or anything with words for that matter, classical or actual meditation music, Pandora has some great heart meditation stations.
  3. Try to sit calmly somewhere comfortable. Close your eyes. Breathe.
  4. Identify – Focus on exactly what it is your are feeling. Don’t bury it. Call it out from behind the curtain and name that which you are feeling. Anger, guilt, remorse, fear. Stare it in the face. You’ll be surprised by the strength you gain in doing so. There’s nothing to be afraid of.
  5. Picture something arbitrary and beautiful – rolling clouds on a sunny day, an endless empty beach with crashing waves, wind blowing through pine trees. Something that will take your thoughts from the bad to something unrelated and light. Time to start redirecting the thought train in a new positive direction.
  6. WOD – I don’t care what it takes. You’ve checked your breathing and started to tame your thoughts. Now stand up, put on your gym clothes and step out the door and drive/walk/skateboard/skip to your box. Walk through the front door. That’s all you have to do. The rest will take care of itself. A friendly face will say your name and greet you, hello. You’ll put down your bag and take off your coat. You’ll study the white board and your thoughts will turn from dread to strategy, weights, reps and possibilities. Soon, your body will start to move and your heart will race and you will sweat. Your mind will focus on the one very immediate task in front of you and maybe you’ll think that you can’t but you will get after it anyway and you will know that you can and all else will melt away.

Individual strategies for coping with anxiety will vary. The above seems to work for me.

When there’s only a light sprinkle on the horizon I’ll just skip to number 5 on the way home from work knowing it’s the one true remedy. When the storm clouds really start to gather I’ll methodically go through each step from 1 to 4, sometimes more than once, before even attempting no. 5. Sometimes things can look so bleak I understand I’ll never get out the door unless I tame the thoughts first. Other days I can feel the trouble brewing and nip it with a WOD before it boils over. But in the end the WOD is always an integral part of the solution.

Tonight, it was box jumps.

I’m struggling with being laid off from work. About 60% of the staff in our office are currently without jobs come Nov. 8. There is still work to be done, important work, between now and then. It is not a fun place to be as there are a lot of unknowns, a lot of anxiety, some resentment, some ambivalence, mostly just uncertainty.

While I do believe great opportunities are born from moments like these, it does not make the process any easier. Combine the professional uncertainty with a poignant form of loneliness that surfaces every now and again, and you have a storm a brewin’. What will happen to me? Where will I end up? Who will be the lucky bastard that ends up with me?

And then you hit a WOD RX and do some 31″ box jumps. And everything gets a little brighter… Everything gets a lot brighter.


1. 10 Minute AMRAP of:
Power Cleans (135/95)
10 Push ups
15 Air Squats
Completed: at 95lbs. 5 Rounds plus 7.
2. 10 x 10 Unbroken Box Jumps
* Use a Box Height You That Is Higher Than You Would Normally Use.
** Rest A Full 60 Seconds Between Sets
* 15 Minute Time Cap
Completed: I ended up just testing my jumps, working at get higher and higher. Ended with 31″ after a few rounds of 10 at 24″, then 28″, and finally 31″.

Jerk – PR!

2. Open WOW 11.3

5 Minute AMRAP of:

1 Clean (165/110)

1 Jerk (165/110)

Not sure my total reps. But PR’d my Jerk at 120lbs.

Push Press PR

 Been negligent in writing down and recording my WODs. Like the following. All I do know is I PR’d my Push Press, at 110lbs.
1. Establish a 1RM Push Press in 12 Minutes
* Rest 1 Minute Between Attempts
15 Minute AMRAP of:
9 Deadlifts (155/100)
15 Box Jumps (24/20)
* Accumulate As Much Time As Possible In 4 Minutes.

F*ck It.

This is my newest and most favorite t-shirt. Pretty much says everything that needs to be said. I love it.

pretty much says it all

I also love Especially searching quotes on GoodReads.

In line with my mood for today I entered the following text, ‘F*ck It’ and hit ‘Search.’ Below are some of my favorite resulting quotes:

“You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened… or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on.” ― Tupac Shakur

 “Ok. You fuck me, then snub me. You love me, you hate me. You show me a sensitive side, then you turn into a total asshole. Is this a pretty accurate description of our relationship.” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

 “You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

“Operation Self-Esteem–Day Fucking One.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

 “Nobody dies a virgin… Life fucks us all.” ― Kurt Cobain

 “Half of life is fucking up, the other half is dealing with it.” ― Henry Rollins

 “You’re fucked. You thought you were going to be someone, but now it’s obvious you’re nobody. You haven’t got as much talent as you thought you had, and there was no Plan B, and you got no skills and no education, and now you’re looking at forty or fifty years of nothing. Less than nothing, probably. That’s pretty heavy. That’s worse than having the brain thing, because what you got now will take a lot longer to kill you. You’ve got the choice of a slow, painful death, or a quick, merciful one.” ― Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down

 “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn” ― Orson Welles

“By the way, when Oprah Winfrey is suggesting you may have overextended yourself, you need to examine your fucking life.” ― Tina Fey, Bossypants

 “I learned that the world doesn’t want to be saved, and it will fucking punch you in the face if you try.” ― Gerard Way

 “Listen, smile, agree, and then do whatever the fuck you were gonna do anyway.” ― Robert Downey Jr.

 “When she came to her senses again she cut off all contact with him. It had not been easy, but she had steeled herself. The last time she saw him she was standing on a platform in the tunnelbana at Gamla Stan and he was sitting in the train on his way downtown. She had stared at him for a whole minute and decided that she did not have a grain of feeling left, because it would have been the same as bleeding to death. Fuck you.” ― Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire

“You need just the right amount of ‘Fuck the world’ and the right amount of belief in something…and you need the right amount of love.” ― Gerard Way

 “Get there early because hope does not park your mother-fucking car.” ― Jon Stewart

It only seems right that it’s Deadlift Day at ACF. Bring on the long overdue Deadlift PR.

WOD Prep:
* 2 Minutes Per Side
1. Establish a 1RM Deadlift in 25 Minutes.
Completed: 300lbs. deadlift PR!!

At long last – 300lbs. 

This has been a goal since forever. Granted as soon as the bar landed to the ground my head started spinning and the stars came out I would have fallen over had Viv not taken hold of my arm and gently spoke to me, ‘It’s okay, you’re okay… Mary, you’re okay.’ Her muffled words somehow breaking through the pretty molten colors and landing on my brain.

I regained composure and looked around and realized there were quite a few athletes watching and wondering if I was going to topple. The feeling in the triple wide was electric. Perhaps it was the lack of oxygen. There were a lot of PR’s, a lot of athletes working hard and supporting one another. All the things I love best about CrossFit neatly wrapped up in a 300lbs. Deadlift PR. 

10 Minute AMRAP of:
10 Deadlifts (115/75)
15 Box Jumps (24/20)
Completed: 6 rounds + 2. 182 reps total. No where near my open score. But it was a great night and I worked fucking hard. I’ll take it. Woot.

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.

Benchmark Update

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien


4 of the 5 Benchmark workouts are complete. While we have until April 5 to submit results I’m on a strict timeline and must have all benchmarks completed by Sunday. The only thing left to do as of this morning, 1RM Back Squat as well as attempt a 300lbs. Deadlift since that too has been a long time goal.

Last night I tackled the 10K Row after Strongman and beat my last time by about a minute. PR! Amazing the things you can do when you have no time to waste.

4 of 5 Results as follows:

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.
6. 1RM Dead Lift 260lbs. TBD