I’m not a big fan of partner or team workouts. I always feel like I’m dragging the other people down with my slower, older self. I understand I am an outlier in the CrossFit world and it is just the way it is. Other people should be able to have the expectation of not being saddled with some old fart person for a workout.

For months now, our Thursday workouts have been a partner or team event. Saturday is also usually a partner event. I go anyway. I’m sorry people get stuck with me and I do my best to not hold anyone back. But I know I do.

We went out of town for a few days and so I missed today’s workout at my own gym. I was rather giddy at the thought of missing a team workout.

Instead, I went to Conviction Training Facility and participated there. When I say that CTF is my son’s gym, I don’t mean that it is the place where he works out. I mean he is the owner/operator of the gym. It is, in a very real sense, my son’s gym. And they know me there.

I have volunteered for a number of events and participated in a few things there. They know I’m old enough to be Craig’s mom since I am Craig’s mom.

I got there today, late! I hate late. But I gave myself what I thought was more than enough time to get there, but rush hour traffic was worse than I had anticipated. So I showed up late and they were already warming up. Craig had let them know I was coming so it wasn’t a total surprise. The late part was a surprise – for all of us.

They were warming up and so I joined in and only after there was a break in that did I go to the board and look. It was a team WOD. Dear sweet Jesus. It is bad enough when I have to inflict myself on people who know me, but this … this was just sad.

A woman who recognized me as Craig’s mom asked if I would like to join her team. I really wanted to run away, but I said I would. I then explained that I rowed interminably slow, had never swung a sledgehammer, and did ring rows instead of pull-ups. They didn’t care.

On the first row, I could manage a respectable time for my distance, but that’s because I started with a heart rate that was normal and it wasn’t going to get back down to that until the end of the class. So for subsequent rows, I would take longer.

Swinging a sledgehammer was both fun and awkward, especially left handed. But after a bit, I got a better rhythm and seemed to flow better. It was never a beautiful fluid movement, but it wasn’t as choppy or uncoordinated the more I did.

I’m grateful to the lovely women who let me play today. I had a lot of fun. I’m also sorry to all my partners since I first started this. I know there are people who go out of their way to make sure I can’t somehow get partnered with them. I realize I mess up the scoring, but I’m also often a bit hurt by the idea that it is so horrible to occasionally have a bad score – since I have one every single time I show up.

To those who willingly take me on, I thank you. To those who will pick up my slack, I’m eternally grateful. I wish I didn’t feel guilty about it.

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The gym was open last Tuesday, but only until 6 PM and then, because we were under a mandatory evacuation, it was closed until further notice.

On Wednesday, we did a lot of preparing for a storm and moving things around the house. And then we waited and waited.

We watched as the storm tracked farther north and away from us and were grateful we would be safe, knowing that put others in danger in our stead. But there you have it. I’m very sorry for all the people who were truly affected by Florence and am really glad we weren’t among them.

We were supposed to get deluged on Saturday so on Friday I took a nice long walk through the neighborhood. Then on Saturday morning, before it began to rain, we took a 5K walk and I may be the only person in the world to get sunburned during a hurricane.

On Sunday, after the storm was evidently not going to bother us, I went off for another walk. I wore shoes I had worn before, but this time, about a mile away from the house, I started to get a blister on my right heel. I tried walking funny, but that hurt my back so I eventually just took the shoe and sock off and walked a mile with one shoe on and one shoe off. I’m sure I was a visual treat for all those who saw me. I didn’t call home because I didn’t bring a phone with me.

The gym opened yesterday at noon, but there I was, already showered and with one very sore foot, so I successfully ignored that. However, I go to the gym on Monday and at least the bottom of my foot seems to be fine. I had to put a Band-Aid over the blister, but I was able to get out of the house and back to the gym.

It was heavenly. I have gotten used to being beaten up by workouts written for people half my age. I have learned how to scale them back so that I can manage to get them done and not die. I know my limitations and work around them to the best of my ability.

The deadlifts today were supposed to be heavy and I did the percentage on the board. But … I did them off my current max weight. I tried (and tried and tried) to get 150# up when we were seeing what our max was to start this series. I’ve done heavier, but I could not, no matter how hard I tried, get that off the floor. I got 145# up with great difficulty so my weight today was 130# and I did that. Then, on the last set I did 140# because it was sitting there and then we decided some math for another person may have been wrong and so a 150# bar was sitting there at the very end, staring at me. I wanted to know if I was still a hot mess or if I could get the damn thing up. I got the damn thing up.

I discussed with the coach, what I should do for the workout. Burpee over the box jumps aren’t really anything I do. I usually do a plank burpee (taking the push-up out of it) and walk it in and out, to boot. I can then string them together, with one deep breath in between each, and manage to get them done.

I was willing to put the push-up back in, but then doing 45 of them with the over the box thing as well, was looking a bit iffy. So the deal was, I would do half but put the push-up in.

The whole 21-15-9 thing is a total of 45 and it is the middle round that is so obnoxious. I always cut runs and rows in half because I’m old and cranky and I don’t want to spend my entire workout time doing cardio when my cardiologist doesn’t particularly like my heart rate too high. My deal was to do half. I did 11-8-5 calorie rows and then 10 walked in and out but with the push-up included burpee over the box which was a bench that is 18 inches high (which means I can do it without my knee brace). Then, in a fit of over achieving, I opted to jump the burpees in and out for the 8 and 5 rounds. I managed half of the 8 and had to rest because my heart rate was too high and then when I got to the last ones, after four it was still too high, but what the hell, there was only one left. I did it and finished.

It felt great to get back to the gym. It was wonderful to get some heavy deadlifts in. I don’t mind the runs and rows and assault bike crap because I know this is part and parcel of the whole deal and I am an outlier so, I just know I do half and then get a “Modified” on the board, even though it might be RX for Senior Citizens.

I could have done my 80% of the burpees without the push-ups included, and I probably would have had about the same time because I can just keep going. The jumping spikes my heart rate but I was feeling a bit edgy from too many days of doing essentially nothing. So I risked it. The reward was worth it. I finished right in the middle of the pack, where I like to be. I know I scaled too much if I’m the first one done and I know I was too proud to cut back if I’m struggling to finish after everyone else is already home with breakfast eaten. So, I did it right again.

It was good to be back. I’m used to this stuff now and I miss it when it goes away.

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A friend of mine posted this today: “I am not marking myself safe for a hurricane I wasn’t in.’

Facebook keeps letting me know I can mark myself as safe after the hurricane. The hurricane did cause some damage locally with a few dropped trees here and there on coastal islands and right on the shore. In our own neighborhood, one of the trees that tend to fall over after a hummingbird passes was on the ground. Other than that, there was little to nothing out there.

I understand that Florence was a category 4 storm for part of the time. I understand the meteorology is an inexact science. I understand that we are lucky the storm dissipated some before striking land. I understand that television isn’t for the consumer, but is a vehicle for advertising. I understand that a crisis is more exciting than simple weather.

I understand all these things and yet, I was nervous and uncertain and not sure I made the correct choice several days ago. I did. I didn’t let the fear mongers on the TV cloud my own judgment. The local weather reporters had us watching because they are local and had no need to make this storm “The Storm of the Decade” or anything. They just reported on the weather as one of their stories, not as THE story.

I’m not sure why the governor doesn’t understand Zones that the state put in place, but South Carolina is not one of the smartest states in the nation. I think we are way down on the “smart” list and very near the bottom. But making people who were safe evacuate made it more difficult for the people who really were not safe. Those on the west side of my county who could have stayed home were taking up space from those nearer the ocean or more north and in the messy part of the hurricane.

We have been inundated with fake news to the point where all of journalism is simply considered to be biased, yellow in color, and unreliable. There is no trusted news source today. They are all just advertisers. And that puts us all at risk.

The storm was coming and it was going to make landfall somewhere. And the science isn’t good enough to accurately tell, way in advance, exactly where that landfall will take place. Erring on the side of caution is all well and good until the error makes it even more difficult for the people who actually need to evacuate find they now have no rooms at the  inn.

I’m grateful that we didn’t get anything more than a little rain, little being the operative word there, and some winds, not any more than in any thunderstorm passing by. I’m sorry for the people in the path of the storm. I’m even sorrier still that I live in time and place where no one seems to have read the fable about The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Every time you overstate the case of an emergency, there is less of a chance that the next warning will be heeded. This will not end well. But the advertising dollars rolled in for days and days and there must be something really good about that.

Florence landfall

Landfall prediction for Hurricane Florence

I’m waiting, not for Godot, but for Florence. I’ve been waiting for what seems like a long time now. I’m in an evacuation county of South Carolina, but instead of noticing that my county ranges from near coastal to pretty far inland, the governor just noticed that coastal part. The county was divided into zones for a reason, and reasonable people would see that.

Parts of the next county, Orangeburg, are closer to the ocean than where I live in Dorchester, and they are deemed safe. This does not make any sense to me. At all.

We have watched Florence and decided to stay put. I know the government means well, but if you can’t figure out the system you put into place, it’s not boding well for my ability to now trust your judgment over my own. And so I sit and wait.

Much has been said of the idiots in New Orleans who didn’t leave. But even as we speak, the Weather Channel is churning out disaster twenty-four hours a day even though the weather is mostly not that disastrous. When it is, it is really bad. I understand that. But a “news” channel is built, not for our benefit, but for the advertisers and disaster sells. Big time. The more eyes, the better. And when your only news is weather, it needs to be big to get eyes.

I understand about storm surges. I also live farther inland than even a tsunami can reach. I understand that we are going to get wind and rain and there could be flooding. I understand that everyone wants me to be safe. I want me to be safe, too.

And so we have taken lots of precautions. We have lanterns and a camp stove in case we lose power. We also have a battery radio. We have proper food and water. We have prepared the house, too. And we have listened to both local weather and the national weather. The catastrophic destruction is possible, but it seems highly unlikely to take place here.

This sitting and waiting is difficult. I don’t know for certain, 100% certain, that we made the right choice. I’m 95% sure, however. So I’m here. I’m waiting and wondering. I hope I chose wisely. I won’t know for days to come.

I feel like news agencies forgot to read or understand “The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf”. I also don’t think they understood the destructive force of “fake news” and how it erodes trust.

For now, all is quiet on the eastern front. I’ll stay in touch.

No one is ever a perfect parent. There aren’t any and so we are all pretty much screwed in some way or another. Life is just like that. It’s unfair and at times downright catastrophic.

I’m the child of an alcoholic. That makes a difference. My relationship with alcohol has always been steeped in fear and loathing. I do take an occasional drink, but I rarely finish it. I’ve never been drunk. I know I have an addictive personality (I can’t really stop eating chocolate and I’m both physically and emotionally addicted to coffee). For these reasons, I’ve also never done any street drugs and I’m willing to put up with pain rather than risk getting used to pain pills.

I watched my dad’s life spiral out of control. I watched the outbursts of anger. I watched the diminishment of mental faculties. I watched his life become less because he drank more. It seemed like such a waste. And it was terrifying for a small child to see this hero adult behave so badly, so out of his own control, so scary.

I made an active choice to not subject my own children to even the possibility of this type of life. We didn’t visit Dad if he was drinking and there was a likelihood of some violent rage outburst. I tried to minimize their exposure. I tried to minimize my own responses.

Even at the time, I used to ask my husband/their dad what the hell we were doing to mess up our kids. I knew what I wasn’t doing, but I didn’t know which mistakes I was making and how they would play out in the future.

We are told now that alcoholism is a disease and the patients can’t help it. I might buy into that in some measure, but my dad could go months without drinking and then months of drunkenness. He knew that first drink was going to be a months long journey into despair. And yet, he took that first drink. Over and over again. Only to hit bottom, climb out of the pit he had made for himself and his family, and sober up for a while. Only to start the cycle over again. And again. And again.

I wish my response to this early life had somehow prepared me better for what was to come. Instead, I inflicted a different set of issues onto my own children’s lives. And they are inflicting their own issues onto their kids and we are off to the races. And this is why there are no perfect parents.

I did my best, but I know it wasn’t enough. I watch my sons struggle and wish I could have somehow made their lives better, less traumatic.

But (and that negates everything I’ve already said) I think they have turned out to be (relatively speaking) wonderful men. They are conscientious and caring and loving husband/fathers and working successfully in careers that make a difference.

I like where they stand now. I’m not sure how they feel about the matter, but I’m proud of them and all they have done. They have stepped up when the world tried to knock them down. They behave responsibly, heroically, humanely.

The only way any of us can get to where we are, exactly, right this instant, was to follow the bumpy, detour littered road to this exact spot. We, each of us, had to deal with the demons we saw, overcome them as best we could, and strive to make our tiny corner of the world just a teeny bit better. If we aren’t completely satisfied with our current hot mess of a life (and no one really is) then we just have to pick up the shattered pieces of our lives, get out the superglue and put it all back together, and boldly march into an unknown future.

It’s the best we can do. It isn’t enough. It never was.

I suppose we parents need to take a course in forgiveness. Not for all those others, but for ourselves. We were raised with issues and we either passed those on or made up new ones. It’s the only way. Because we are only human.

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It’s a good thing my self-worth isn’t based on my gym performance. Or maybe, it’s too bad I don’t put enough stock in my gym performance. Either way, something good or bad results from my gym performance and I suppose it is up to me to decide what it will be.

After six years, I’m pretty good at estimating what I can and can’t manage. I would like to manage more since it is after six years. I had obviously overinflated expectations of what I would be doing and when I would be doing it. I am not where I once thought I would be in just a couple short years. Instead, I’m in this different place that is amazingly difficult after a much longer time.

Today’s workout was a partner WOD, not my favorite thing but I go anyway and feel really bad for my partner.

Today’s WOD as written:

10 RFT
* partners alternate rounds
10 HSPU
20 DB snatches (50/35)
30 double unders
30:00 time cap

Well, that wasn’t going to really work for me. I would be a total detriment as this is written. If there hadn’t been an odd number of people, I would have had to do something else, but since there was, I just did my five rounds all by myself and sat around box breathing whenever I needed to, which got to be more and more frequent as time dragged on.

I can’t do hand stand push-ups and they don’t use boxes here, so I was stuck with pike push-ups. In the CrossFit Open, old fart woman scaled thing, my weight for those dumbbell snatches was 10 pounds. My plan has been to incrementally up the weight so that if I’m ever dumb enough to sign up for the Open again, my weights will be a bit lighter there and I might not crash and burn so quickly. So I used 15 pounds today.

I’ve been working on double unders and they are coming along. Slowly. But surely. But not 150 of them.

I scale everything and so did 80% of the push-ups and snatches but since my double unders are iffy at best, I did 20% of them, or 8 pike push-ups, 16 dumbbell snatches, and 6 double unders per round. I managed to get the push-ups without stopping each time. I got the snatches without stopping twice and then had to break them into two sets (12-4 twice and 10-6 on the last round). The double unders, however, were killing me.

The most I ever strung together today was four and I missed so many that I’m sure I could have managed all the jumps as single unders several times over in the time it took me to get those damn 6 double unders. But, frustrated, heart rate too high, sweating like a pig, panting like a lizard on a hot rock and all, I got 30 damn double unders during the WOD today.

I finished my five rounds within the timeframe, but just barely. My time was 26.01.

I would like to have a stronger, better heart. I’m doing everything I know of to get there, but it is not working as well as I would like.

Yesterday’s WOD was pistols and I did lunges instead because of my right knee problems. I did ten at a time right after the ten burpees. I managed it. When I first started I could do neither ten lunges nor ten burpees in a row let alone both of them together. So I know my heart is beating more efficiently. It’s just that it’s old, like the rest of me, and doesn’t work as well as it did many years ago.

I’ve worked hard to get here. I’m proud of how far I have come. I just thought, all those years ago, it would be farther or different or something else. So I’m also a bit chagrined. I guess both are valid.

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Review of the new Gmail platform for computers.

What the hell, Google? Why in the name of all that is holy would you believe this is an improvement?

First of all, it takes longer to load. I’m not sure why this is, but each time I sit there and watch the “loading” marker creep across the page, it annoys me. What takes so long? On my tablet and/or phone which don’t have the new and “improved” webpage presentation, it is faster to load than on my full power laptop.

Why would you put the little annoying message about my having deleted all the crap I get sent right over where the next email shows up, making it impossible to read the damn thing? Who thought this was a good idea? I realize email is the new landline and we all really don’t need it or anything, but … making it even more annoying isn’t a real help. Move that damn message back to the top of the screen and out of the way.

I put all my ads into the Promotional tab and then once or twice a week, select all and make it all go away. So far, I haven’t missed a damn thing with this strategy. Of course, I’m sure each and every company would like me to read the weekly, daily, or hourly update they insist on sending me about all their really cool deals. But I’m not that interested. If I’m in the mood for something, I will scan down the multitudinous list, look for the company I’m planning on visiting, and seeing if they have any coupons for me.

But now, when I select all, all the shit doesn’t go away. Those top two ads are able to be deleted if I X them out, but I can’t have an empty tab with a single click, even for just a second anymore.

I realize the internet isn’t free and we all have to pay our share. But the more ads they foist on us, the more we come to be blind to all of them. We have trained ourselves from the days of the red and blue seizure inducing flashing ads, to the videos that come on with full volume and make you shut down the entire webpage. We know there are ads, but we have taught ourselves to barely look, if we look at all. Ignoring the ads is an art form.

I didn’t look at the video Google/Gmail sent me to see all the new features of the webpage. All I want to do is see the few emails I actually look at consistently. I don’t need to have anything fancy. This is Gmail, not Outlook (the business email thing did all sorts of wonderful stuff and perhaps this does too, but I don’t care. I don’t need wonderful stuff). Mostly what I would like is for the thing to load faster, the black box telling me I deleted an email (or 50) to get out of my way, and to have a pristine tab for a millisecond or two.

I’m sure there is some integration between all the wonderful features Google offers and now my email can talk to my calendar which can do something with pictures or videos that I really don’t care about. I’m sure if I used Google docs there would be some fine features there, too. If I had watched the video, I might have found it is all voice activated (but I don’t have a microphone for the laptop, so that’s worthless) and might even pat me on the ass when I’ve been especially witty.

But all I want is a fast clean email client. I guess in this age of “features and more features” that’s just asking too much.

But really, move that delete message out of the way. Really. That’s just stupid. Very stupid. And annoying. Did I mention stupid? Untitled