October 2012


I was up in the middle of the night for no good reason. I finally fell back to sleep and was horrifically and rudely awakened by the terrifying noise of an alarm clock. I may have actually groaned at that point. I have to be careful, with all this working out I may squash the alarm too hard and crush the entire clock when I swat that noise off.

But I did manage to drag my butt out of bed. First thing I did was see what the temperature was. So I got my phone in front of my blind face and squinted to see that it was only 44⁰ here. Too cold for shorts today. Then I vacillated between short and long sleeves and ended up with short sleeves under my jacket. That was good plan.

Got to the box and there was one other car there. I was hoping somebody else would show up, but no. Poor Christine was stuck with just me. I suppose we could have just called it a day and both of us could have gone home, but after waking up in the middle of the night to work out, I worked out.

The warm-up was: 1000 meter row, Ryan complex, ten KB squats, ten sit-ups, ten of something else that for the life of my I can’t remember and then shoulder mobility stretches.

We practiced the various moves for the WOD and then began the WOD

1 Hi-Hang Snatch (full squat) + 1 Snatch Balance @ 80% of most recent 1RM.
Notes: Reps are at 0:00 – 0:30 – 1:00 – 1:30 – 2:00 – 2:30 – 3:00 – 3:30 – 4:00 – 4:30
-then-
2 minutes ME KB Snatch 24/16kg
-then (no break)-
8 minute AMRAP of:
8 Lateral Box Jumps 20″
16 OH Walking Lunges 45/25# (plate)
24 Pushups (hand release)
-then (no break)-
2 minutes ME KB Snatch 24/16kg

I tried practicing with the 22# bar and it was too much. There is STILL nothing less than a 22# bar except a PVC pipe. So, I used a PVC pipe.

I used a ten pound KB and managed 21 reps with my right arm

I jumped over a couple inch high barbell, had a 5# plate for the lunges, and did girl pushups. I only got through one complete round and then eight more jumps when my time was up. Then I managed 19 reps with my left hand.

Christine was on maternity leave for the last month-plus. She was also the person who did my three intro classes. So she knows exactly how much I couldn’t do when I started. She said I was doing much better now. I know I am because there are things I can do now that I couldn’t when I began. I also know that my heart monitor beeps less often. So I’m getting better, but it is hard to see the incremental improvement when it happens over time. However, Christine noted that I was doing much more than when she left to have a baby. For that, I get a gold star.

It has been five days since the last time my alarm went off at 5:15 and boy is that early. However, I managed to drag my fat behind out of bed, the most difficult part of the entire day at the box. As a reward for being out in the middle of the night, I was rewarded with a gorgeous full moon hanging high in the starry night sky on my drive in. There was also a coral spread across the sunrise sky on my ride home.

Christine is back and she brought her daughter with her, sleeping peacefully in her baby bucket thing. No matter how much noise we made either with music, dropped barbells, or thumping kettlebells – she never woke up.

The warm-up was fairly routine. We did a 400 m row, Ryan complex down the mat, 10 pushups, 10 sit-ups, and 10 pull-ups (I did ring rows). Then we did some mobility stuff. To think of this as a routine warm-up means I’ve totally lost my mind. That was really all hard work, I’m just getting stronger and more used to it.

The skill today was 7X1 3-Position-Snatch (hi-hang, hang, full) – heavy but perfect, rest 60 sec. I worked with just a 22# bar and managed to get all three movements done, not perfectly but better by the end than at the beginning. Perfection is going to have to come later.

WOD
50 KB Swings 32/24kg
30 Shoulder Touches
15 T2B
20 Shoulder Touches
15 T2B
10 Shoulder Touches
15 T2B
25 KB Swings 32/24kg
For time.

I did 2/3 of the reps, so 34, 20, 10, 14, 10, 7, 10, 17. I used a ten pound weight for my KB swings and was perched high atop a 20 inch box on my knees with my hands on the floor and did the shoulder touches from there. The toes to bar are not going to be in my repertoire this year and so I did knee lifts. My hands are roughed up and burning, but I did manage 30 total of those horrid things. My time was 14:45.

On a positive note, I did have my heart monitor beeping for the KB swings, but I didn’t get real dizzy even with the 34. I had to stop twice in the middle but I didn’t feel sick, just like my heart rate was enough to supply the entire county.

My next goal for the shoulder touches is to see if I can do them from a plank position and count that. Both women I worked with today had been out of practice due to health issues and neither one of them was at the place where they had left off. So I was not the only person really struggling with even the movements today. Someday, I’m going to be a jock. I’m getting closer.

I made a command decision to sleep in today. There is no reason for me to wake up at the crack of middle-of-the-night when I have the day off. So instead of doing the 6 AM class, I decided to go to the 8 AM class.

What I learned: getting up and being out of the house in 30 minutes is different than being up for about an hour and then leaving the house. I should have made my protein shake first thing and downed that. I have been drinking it on my return from the box because otherwise I was about to puke too often. But by being awake for longer, I was starving when I got home. The banana and hand full of smoked almonds didn’t last very long. I’ve had the protein shake, my coffee, two eggs, and an English muffin now and I could still eat more, but I won’t.

The box was cavernous today. There was me and the Coach and that was it. That has happened once before. I always feel a bit bad about that. When there is only me there, it seems like a lot of effort without much payoff. The poor coach could have gone out for coffee or something if only one person hadn’t shown up. No one else has ever said that to me, but I feel bad about it, especially considering my athletic prowess. Again, no one but me is saying this, but I feel like I’m wasting their time.

Today’s class
Every 40 seconds for 6:00 minutes (10 total reps):
1 Power Clean + 1 Hang Clean (full squat) + 1 Push Jerk @ 80%
Notes: Reps are at 0:00 – 0:40 – 1:20 – 2:00 – 2:40 – 3:20 – 4:00 – 4:40 – 5:20 – 6:00

-then-
3 rounds for time of:
10 KB Snatch + OH Lunge (R arm, L leg) 24/16kg
10 KB Snatch + OH Lunge (L arm, R leg) 24/16kg
20 Lateral Burpee Over the Box Jumps 20″
30 Jumping Squats 45#

There was a warm-up of a 250 meter row, lunging down the mat with the snatch movement thrown in for practice, squatting, and some stretches included.

I did the 6 minutes of power lifting stuff with my 22# bar and didn’t fall over backwards or forwards. I’m getting a bit better with the movement. At 4:40 my heart monitor beeped, but my heart rate was back down at 5:20. I was beeping at the end and I had to wait until about 6:05 to do the last round and finished up beeping, but finished up.

Coach Kim really scaled the WOD for me. She said she would rather I do scaled movements and do three rounds rather than just do two rounds and quit.

I did 5 each arm KB snatch and overhead lunge with a five pound weight. Then on the first round I did three burpees with hopping over a four inch off the ground bar between them rather than just jumping up in the air, then three pushups, 3 burpees, 3 pushups, 3 burpees, 5 pushups. I’m really not very good at those damn burpees. I then did 15 squats. My heart monitor went off with the burpees each time and at squat 12.

Next round, just lunge without weight, five on each side, then 20 pushups and 15 squats. My heart monitor went off once during the pushups but I had to rest more frequently, heart monitor notwithstanding. And then 15 squats and again my heart monitor went off at squat 12.

The up and down movement of squats always makes me dizzy. I’ve tried focusing on something far away and straight ahead and that doesn’t matter. I’ve tried just not looking at anything and that doesn’t matter. I’ve always gotten dizzy with spinning and the up and down isn’t any different. That’s part of my problem with burpees, but definitely not the whole problem.

I was offered an option of quitting after round two. I declined and did the second round over with just lunges and pushups. The pushups were five at time, rest, five more, rest, five more, arms like spaghetti and shaking with effort but got the last five in. Finish up was 15 squats and I managed them all without beeping. Time was 21.15 and as I looked at the clock, I began beeping.

Another one into the books. And another gold star for the athlete who keeps showing up.

Another one into the books. I kept waiting for the WOD to be posted last night and when it finally went up, I was no more enlightened about what I would be doing today than before. It read:

21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
Sumo deadlift high pull (95/65)
Lateral box jumps (24/20)

Well, I could figure out what lateral box jumps were, but I did look at a video just to make sure. It was also decided this morning that we were doing lateral obstacle jumps and you didn’t need to clear both the height and the width of a box. Sumo deadlift high pulls are exciting. I’m supposed to fluidly move and pop and rise to perfection and sink back down to the ground (again in a fluid motion) and it should look just the same forward as backward. I’m positive I did not manage that. I did manage to do the move, just not in quite a popping/fluid/reversible motion.

First thing to get through was the warm up. I might start packing my own jump rope since it is the right length for me and not kinked. I have still not managed another double under but I do have some nice whip marks on my lower legs now.

CrossFit Summerville has one baby four pound ball that I have been trying to use for wall balls. It’s been a while since we last did any of those. I did all ten with really hitting the red line on the wall. I’ve never done that before. I really am getting better at this.

There are short little PVC pipe railing things that are maybe eight inches off the ground. I tried a lateral jump over that and hit it when I wasn’t tired or spent or beeping. I was going to get a barbell and jump over that and it would just be a couple inches off the ground. Karen suggested just using a PVC pipe.

Since I do 2/3 of the reps, my stuff was 14-12-10-8-6-4-2 and I used a ten pound kettlebell for my weight. Then I jumped side to side across the PVC pipe and my heart rate was skyrocketing all throughout the WOD. I spend about half my time just trying to breathe and get my heart rate back to normal. However, I managed to finish in 14.20.

I feel sorta, kinda bad about scaling back the reps, but in reality, adding just half again as much time would be unrealistic. If I did the last third, I wouldn’t be working for 21.30 because I would not have been able to keep up the lightning pace I had done before I was nearly wiped out. The other 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps would have taken me far longer to do. I wouldn’t last that long. Chris was done with the proscribed WOD in 14.38 and he was jumping over a 24 inch box, not just a pipe at 24 inches from the ground like the other guys. I know he worked really hard. I did, too. So, in honor of my hard work I hereby bestow upon me – a gold star.

Another trip to the box. Getting up this morning was difficult, but at least there were no bears making noise in the middle of the night. Just the alarm clock and it was expected.

Today’s WOD as written:
For time.
30 T2B
20 Thrusters 115/75#
Run 800m
20 Thrusters 115/75#
30 T2B

The T2B means just what I thought it was going to mean. If C2B is chest to bar, the only other ridiculous thing I could think of was toes to bar and sure enough, that’s what it means.

Thrusters are where you keep the bar in the racked position (up at shoulder height), squat with it and then pop up in the air and push the bar overhead all in one graceful movement. Then rack the bar and squat and thrust again.

When substituting rows for runs, rows are increased by 25% so the 800 meter run becomes a 1000 meter row.

Now comes the math where I figure out the 2/3 of all these numbers. 2/3 of 30 is easy, so I had 20 T2B, then 14 thrusters, and 666 meter row. That seemed appropriate. I technically should round up on that row, but with such an auspicious number, why do that?

I asked about how to scale the T2B and my options were hang from the bar and pull my knees up as high as I could, lay flat on the floor and do flutter kicks like I was swimming on my back, or do sit-ups. I tried hanging from the bar and didn’t think I had the arm strength to manage it, but I would try five of those and then 15 (each leg) flutter kicks.

The time started and I amazed myself. At five knee lifts I just kept going and did ten of them. Then I did the rest as flutter kicks. I did the thrusters with a 20 inch box under my fat behind and used a 22# bar. My heart monitor beeped and I had to stop, but eventually I got through all 14. Then I rowed. When my heart monitor beeps while I’m rowing, I don’t stop completely. I just slow way down and my heart rate drops.

Karen was watching and I was rowing like a crazy person and then s-l-o-w-e-d way down. She started to say something and then asked, “Is your heart monitor beeping?” I nodded and continued to s-l-o-w-l-y row for another few seconds.

I went to the bar next and Coach had to remind me that thrusters were next. I had to stop twice during that portion and then I went to the bar and started. I got seven and had to stop. Then I got six more and had to stop. Then I got my last seven and was done. 13.36 was my time.

My hands hurt like hell. But my heart is happy. Two months ago, there was not one part of that WOD I could have done. Well, I could have rowed, but not in the time I did it today. I could not have done the knee lifts and I certainly could not have done the thrusters. I couldn’t have even done the warm-up since it included lunge walking stuff.

This is a process and today, I got another step closer to some place where I am fit and healthy and able to meet the world head on. Go me.

I never go anywhere. I keep saying that, but in fact, I do get around. This past weekend instead of sitting around and doing nothing, we went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We knew we wanted to go in the fall and we really had no idea what the best time would be. We scheduled our trip around other obligations and things we wanted to do.

So, according to our calendars, this was the perfect weekend to go. We figured we would see some pretty trees and hoped for the best. We happened to pick the best weekend of the year. The trees were at their very best. The colors were vivid and the weather was beautiful. It was perfect.

We weren’t really picking our hotel for its AAA rating. We just wanted a hotel in downtown Gatlinburg so we could walk everywhere. The last time we went to Gatlinburg we had a wonderful cabin up on top of the mountain. It had a great view. It was horrible getting up and down the mountain because we thought we might go down the mountain really, really fast when we fell off the side of it. So, we opted for a more central location.

The hotel was centrally located and we were able to walk everywhere. I brought my computer because they advertised that they had Wi-Fi. The first night, I couldn’t get onto the network because they were full and too many people were trying to use it. The desk person suggested I sit closer to the window which was okay, but there were no plugs anywhere along that wall. At least I had the netbook which has a longer battery life. But I still couldn’t connect. I did manage to sometimes get online on Saturday.

There was a connecting door between our room and the one next door, but we had it securely locked. There were a bunch of kids in the next room. They were old enough to be loud but not young enough to cry and whimper all night. They tested the door to make sure they couldn’t move into our room to be loud, too. Luckily, they couldn’t.

There was lots of noise at the garbage receptacle during the middle of the night and I assumed it was garbagemen making an extra pickup or something. It disturbed my not sound sleep no matter what it was. In the morning we noticed lots of strewn trash and figured the garbage collectors were slobs. But no, when we talked to the woman at the desk, she told us that bears were looking for food. We don’t have that here at home.

We had a great day in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg and walked about a zillion miles or so. The day was wonderful. I did notice that children who were not native English speakers and came from India or Pakistan or somewhere like that were very used to large crowds and had absolutely no compunction about pushing and shoving to get to wherever they wanted to be. I tried not to be too crabby about it and managed to never trip the little shits or push them back.

Back in our not five star hotel for a second night. We were once again playing Scatagories. Again, it was a bit difficult. There was a table and two chairs, but there was no lighting anywhere near it. There was no electrical outlet anywhere near where the table was. We pulled the table out, pulled the floor lamp over as far as the cord would reach, and we played our game in the glow of the distant lamp and the really neat gas fireplace. That was a nice touch.

After all our walking and shopping and being busy all day, we turned in early to sleep the sleep of the just. I had dozed off when this horrible racket from next door broke out. Because the walls were thin enough, we learned that the toilet had backed up and the repair guy was snaking out the toilet in the middle of our night. That was exciting, but he apparently got that fixed after 15 to 20 minutes.

Once again in the middle of the night, there was banging and clanging at the dumpster. There was also some growling going on. I was tempted to go out on the balcony and see if I could get a picture of the bear or bears looking for takeout. But it was too cold and I was too sleepy to get out of my nice warm bed and go out for a photo op.

All in all, our trip was a success. On the way home, there was one place where traffic moved slowly for about five miles or so. We never fully stopped. When we got the problem, there was a wreck on the other side of the road and we were going slow for the rubberneckers. A red pickup truck, a white pickup truck towing a camper, and a construction wall didn’t all agree with each other. The traffic on the other side of the road was at a standstill for several miles.

We had a great time. The weather was perfect. The trees were at their prettiest. Even today there were already spots where all the leaves had dropped. We managed to pick the right time and had a great weekend – all by chance.

I had a really crappy day at the box on Friday. The WOD was already overwhelming when “then a midline” was added to a difficult WOD. My squat form is off because I’ve been practicing without weight and it doesn’t give negative feedback. So when I tried weight, which should have been possible, I couldn’t manage at all. The machines thwart me because just when I think I know how to do stuff, something else doesn’t work the way it always has which is supposed to not happen with a machine. But as I change the parameters, the machine balks.

All in all, my day sucked. My day sucked partly because of the situation and partly because of me. However, lots of days at the box are awesome and wonderful and make me so proud of what I’m doing, even at my age – or especially at my age.

Why do I keep going back?

  1. I’m stubborn. That’s all that got me through the first two to three weeks. The muscle aches and pains should have won over and I could have just stopped right then and there. But I didn’t.
  2. I want to be more fit. I used to be a jock. Inside my head, I’m still a jock. Then, my body tries to do something and BAM, I realize I’m no longer a jock. Instead, I’m an injured old lady. I would rather be a jock.
  3. I’m slowly but surely getting stronger. As an example, I got the emergency brake off with one hand. The Mazda’s emergency brake has always taken me two hands and struggling even with that. I had the brake on and released it, just like that. One handed. No problem. Just BAM.
  4. I’m slowly but surely getting leaner. I’ve only lost a pound or two, but my clothes look different on me. They fit better. There is less bulging where bulges aren’t really supposed to be.
  5. My own goals are attainable. I have little more than two more months until my birthday. By that time, I want to be working with weights on my bar. Not for everything, of course, but I want to be able to lift weight even with just a clean. Technically, the bar is weight. This is part of my problem, but I really want weights with my weight.

How do I know I’m getting better even inside the box?

  1. I couldn’t do lunges down the mat when I got there. I needed a PVC pipe as a prop, like an old lady cane, to manage it. I’m still not graceful doing lunges, but I can do them. There are a bazillion more examples just like this.
  2. My heart rate monitor still goes off each day at the box. However, it goes off far less often and my heart rate gets back to a normal range much more quickly. I think this is the feature I like the very best. Of all muscles in my body, I want my heart muscle to be the strongest. And by going back over and over, it is getting stronger. I really, really like this.
  3. The regulars at the 6 AM time slot are all accepting of my incompetency. When I manage to drag my old, fat, lazy ass across some finish line drawn in the sand, I will get a high five from another athlete just like I’m “one of the guys” even though I’m an old, fat, lazy old broad. I’m being accepted as an athlete.
  4. I amaze myself. I look at the WOD each night. Since no one else does, I figure how I’m going to scale it. I actually come up with things on how to scale it myself. My most brilliant move was to only do 2/3 of the reps. Someday I want to get to 3/4. Eventually I will even get to the proscribed reps. That will come before I get to the proscribed weights, which may never happen. At real garage games they have lesser weights for Masters than they have for the younger folks. I’m older. I know that. So, I might just have to learn to live with my lower weight expectations and give myself a pass. But regardless of my plans for the future, I get through the WODs three times a week and that is something most people regardless of age don’t or can’t do. I’m very proud of that.

There are some things I would like to be different. CrossFit is not a franchise, it is an affiliate. This means each box is run differently than the others. Craig has a different philosophy and I truly appreciate it. It isn’t really odd that my son’s philosophy about life is more similar to my own than some complete strangers’ outlooks. That doesn’t make CrossFit Summerville wrong, it just makes it different.

I need to get my big girl pants on and stop whining. I know their business model and box philosophy is not the same as Craig’s. It isn’t supposed to be. I am killing myself with “shoulds” and my biggest should list is my own. I “should” scale my workouts to something I can achieve. I “should” continue to push myself in this new direction. I “should” be proud of what I have managed to accomplish in just two short months. I “should” give myself a gold star. I think I will.

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