November 2012

It is my day off and I realized about a month ago that I really don’t have to wake up at 5.15 on my day off and get to the box at 6 am. I can sleep in and get to the box at 8 am and it is all good. Well, in theory it is all good; in practice, not so much.

I can’t sleep in all that late because I’m a lark and always have been. I was up shortly before 6 anyway. I tried to fall back to sleep since I didn’t need to be awake, but that didn’t happen. So I got up and ate a banana (which I always do before working out) and drank a protein shake (which I only do on Fridays).

Then I wasted some time until it was time to head to the box. I could have been done and home again, had breakfast, and been showered. But instead, I was heading to the box.

The warm-up was a 200 meter run which I actually tried and made about 150 meters before beeping. Then it was Ryan complex down the mat and 10 kettlebell swings, 10 jump squats, 10 pushups, and 20 sit-ups. Then dislocates and passthroughs. We then did a couple couch sits and some leg swings to loosen up a bit.

Since I began with beeping, I beeped a lot more than usual during the warm-up. At least that may have been why I was beeping so much. Perhaps, earlier in the morning, I’m still sleeping and my exercise demands sneak up on my heart and it doesn’t really notice.

Anyway, the WOD as written:

Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
Run 400 meters
Then three rounds of:
5 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
15 Squats

So, I “ran” which meant 90m of run and 110 m of walking and beeping like a crazy person. Then I did ring rows and girl pushups. Those squats just make me sick. I mean, they literally make me sick. I was so nauseous that I had to keep pausing to keep from puking (something I am loathe to do in public or even in private). I barely got through the first 30 moves.

I did the ring rows and pushups and started on the squats and nearly puked again. Kim suggest I do KB swings instead and so I did those. I finally got the third round in and was just about spent. My heart rate monitor had beeped continuously and I was so dizzy and nauseous that I was close to not being civil.

I sat still for a minute and then walked another 200 m without trying to run it at all. I came back and did the five ring rows, and got to 8 pushups before beeping. I finished out the last two pushups with a few seconds to spare.

So, my performance was pitiful. Just pitiful. Part of it was my heart and part my head. I worked as hard as I could and didn’t accomplish as much as I wanted. But I did better than if I had stayed at home and that’s probably all I’m going to be able to say about today.

The only other person working out was Ryan, of Ryan complex fame or the co-owner of the box. I hadn’t seen him since my free introductory class back at the end of August. He wanted to know if I was doing better and I honestly am, but my performance today might not look like it.

I couldn’t do lunges without a cane when I started. I couldn’t do ring rows in succession. Or pushups, either. KB swings were with a 2# weight and I was using a 10# real KB today. Everything I did was a great improvement over what I could do in August or September.

I’m never going to be all that “elite” but I am getting more awesome each day I show up. That’s enough for this little old lady.


I looked again last night. I really should stop looking. I knew it was futile. I’m not sure why anyone else wouldn’t know it was futile, but apparently it just looked “fun” or “hard” or something CrossFit-ish. But it was futile. It was, in fact, impossible. And not just for me.

Warm-up today was a 200 meter run so I did a 250 meter row. Then Ryan complex down the mat followed by a broad jump (into a squat) down the mat. Then a bear crawl down the mat and by this time I had an intimate knowledge of all the detritus in my lane. Ten cherry pickers, ten pull-ups (I did ring rows) and dislocates and pass throughs to end.

Next on the list of things to do:
Every 30 seconds for 5 minutes
1 power clean @ 80% of 1RM

Since my max effort is 42 pounds, I worked with 32 pounds for this. However, the five pound plates are smaller and so the bar is closer to the ground. So I had to build up little piles of plates to make a stack so that my bar was a “normal” height. However, with the smaller plates, the springs that hold them on, kept hitting the plates. I did my reps without holding the weights on. Nothing went flying off.

Next up: Introduction to the Pendlay Row

This is some funky squatted lift devised by Sadist Pendlay and named for him/her so we know who to swear at under our breath while doing this odd thing.

The WOD as written:
The Pendlay Row 4 X 5 (45 seconds rest)
Row: 3X1K – rest 1:1 – 30 burpee penalty for every set that deviates +/- 5 sec. from the fastest set.
Run: 4X800m – rest 1:1 – 25 burpee penalty for every set that deviates +/- 5 sec. from the fastest set.

First problem with the WOD as written is there is no weight guide for the lovely Pendlay Row shit. I stuck with my 32# and my piled up plates and just worked with that.

Next was the rows and runs and this is why the thing is impossible. That 1:1 ratio means that if it takes four minutes to do something, then you rest for four minutes, then four minutes to do something and then rest.

Ricky was moving the fastest this morning and his time was right around that 4 minute mark. It will come as no surprise to anyone to learn that I was the slowest person and I was closer to 5:45 for each kilometer row. If we average that, we can be kind and let me do easier math and say 4 ½ minutes for a row, and so that means 9 minutes for a round. That is 27 minutes there.

Then we go on to the runs, but we have run out of time already. We did a 10-15 minute warm-up. Then we had to set up our weights and get ready for 5 minutes of lifts. Then we learned about this fresh new hell (as Dorothy Parker would say) and did that, with the required rest of 45 seconds, that’s another five minutes. We then had all this equipment out and had to put it away. So there was a half hour shot to hell and then we rowed for a half hour. Since class is an hour long, we ran out of time.

Now, we still have two miles to run in ¼ mile increments with each taking somewhere around 4 to 4 ½ minutes with that same 1:1 rest. So, let’s say 9 minutes, but we really don’t have to worry about that last rest since we are done. So that is just 32 minutes for the run stuff.

Now, if we didn’t get our times close enough, we are punished with burpees. There could be 60 due for the row (and for me there would have been) and 75 more for the runs, for me there weren’t.

What did I do? My rows were 5:33, 5:49, 5:46 (My heart monitor only beeped twice on the first round and three times for the other two. I don’t stop rowing, but I do slow down so I don’t have a heart attack, something we are hoping happens, but it screws up my times.)

Ricky didn’t do the runs at all. I did two 200 meter runs/walks for 2:14 and 2:10. Candace did two half miles and she was just returning as I was pulling out of the parking lot at 7.10.

None of us ever waited the full time between our rows and neither of us rested that long between our runs. No one was doing any burpees.

I did what I could. I feel good about what I achieved. I would like to see the people writing these WODs use a little more sense. But that may asking too much.

It was really nice to have several days off in a row. Off from work and off from working out. However, it made it especially difficult to get back in the box this morning. I knew that if I blew off one, I would slip into slugdom again. So even though I was up for two hours in the middle of the night for no good reason, I was also up at 5.15 in order to get to the box.

As an added bonus, it is really cold out there. Well, the first number was a 3 and that’s cold here in the balmy South. Regardless of the perils of outdoors, I got out of the house and arrived at the box with minutes to spare.

Today, Ricky and Sarah were there with me. Sarah was visiting from St. Louis and was leaving to get back home today. She wanted a workout in before leaving.

The warm-up was a 400 meter run so I did a 500 meter row. So did Sarah. Next was Ryan complex down the mat and then ten squats, ten pushups, ten med ball cleans, PVC push jerk and then dislocates and pass throughs, which are shoulder mobility things.

I looked at the WOD last night even though I told myself not to. They upset me and there is no reason to get upset because it is all scalable. But, I looked and I was upset. There were distributed, 30 STRICT pull-ups and 100 wall balls with either a 20 or a 14 pound ball. I can’t do a pull-up, so I was doing ring rows. But I get so nauseated with the up and down stuff that 100 wall balls was literally going to make me puke. I knew my weight would be different.

I’m terribly glad my sister teaches kindergarten because she said she looked at the WOD and if she was looking at the same thing, she thought I would be doing 60 wall balls. I’m not sure what she was looking at because here is the WOD as written. But hopefully, she isn’t teaching any higher math.

15 minutes to establish a 3RM Power Clean + Push Jerk (touch and go).

10 STRICT Pullups
10 Wall Balls 20/14#
8 STRICT Pullups
15 Wall Balls 20/14#
6 STRICT Pullups
20 Wall Balls 20/14#
4 STRICT Pullups
25 Wall Balls 20/14#
2 STRICT Pullups
30 Wall Balls 20/14#
For time.

I managed 42# with the clean and jerks.

What I did was halve the number of wall balls and use a 4# ball. But I didn’t count when I didn’t hit the red mark on the wall. I had to stop a couple times because I was dizzy and a several times for my heart rate to get back down. However, I did the whole thing without getting nauseous – mostly because I didn’t really full squat before throwing the ball. I finished in 11.16.

Ricky Rx’d the thing and Sarah finished before the both of us. Try as I might, I can’t help comparing myself to those around me which is often diminishing my own hard work. I might not have been the greatest sizzle at the box, but I lapped everybody sitting on the couch and even did much, much better than all those still snug in their beds. I’m happy with my results.

I was pitiful today at the box. I’m so proud of myself. There was not one thing I did today that I could have managed in any way, shape, or form when I started this a couple months ago.

Today, Candace and Craig were there with me. The warm-up had me beeping, but that’s probably because I’m pushing harder on even the warm-up now. There was an option of a 400 meter run or a 500 meter row. The stars were shining and it was a beautiful, crisp fall morning out there. I rowed. I know there are a couple potholes in the parking lot and twisting my ankle was not on my agenda today.

The first rule of life is to know thyself. My self is a klutz and I need to protect me from me. Running in the dark when I’m graceless in the light is just not on my list of things to do. I row.

Lunge down the mat was next, ten jump squats (and by this time I was dizzy already), ten ring rows, ten sit-ups, and ten ball cleans (which is an odd movement and I’m sure there are movies out there that can explain it).

There is some problem with the website today so there was nothing posted last night and there is still nothing posted today. However, there was a WOD.

I believe it was another named WOD, but I thought I was going to be able to see it online and didn’t take a picture of the board.

WOD today as I remember it.

AMRAP in 30 minutes
5 dead lifts (I don’t remember the proscribed weight but it was high, I did 42#)
13 pushups
9 box jumps (24/20) I did my 14″ and really should have done just the 12″ box

Time started and I kept up right through the first 5 dead lifts, then the others went zooming past me. I was hoping to get five rounds in, but it went a bit faster than I thought. I had to rest often.

At one point, the  song ended and there was silence except for the beep-beep-beep noise. Craig asked what that noise was and Christine said it was my heart monitor. At least I don’t stand around doing nothing for no reason.

At the five minute mark, I had completed one round and was working on the second. I was sure I could get my five rounds in. I know the longer I work, the more frequently my heart rate escalates and so just multiplying time  doesn’t work. It is more exponential for my poor, old heart.

On round six (she says casually) I noted I should have not put the extra two inches on top of the box and Christine said I could take them off. But my own Craig says to carefully pick your weight (or in this case height) and stick with it. I stuck with it.

I finished round eight with five seconds to spare and a heart rate of 178.

I am so proud of myself. I never quit, I just rested until my heart rate would let me work some more. I had weights on my weight and height on my height. I still have to do girl pushups, but I do them with correct form.

I know that everybody else at the place is going to far surpass my reps. But I also know that everyone outside the box got zero and many, many people my age couldn’t have managed what I did today. I’m proud of myself for trying and for not giving up even when it is hard.

My work area, 42# dead lift, mat for push ups, and 14″ box and EIGHT hash marks

PS. I looked this up later in the day. It was a named WOD. In fact, it is a Hero WOD. McGhee.

I don’t know why I get so upset. I look at the WOD, become overwhelmed, think to myself that I’m crazy to even be trying to do this, get all frustrated and angry, go to bed mad after stubbornly setting the alarm, end up at the box and do the WOD. Every. Single. Time. I do the WOD. Scaled, to be sure, but I do the WOD.

Candice was there today and so were two new guys. Ricky and Steve. At least those were names I could remember. I am not sure which one is which, but I got their names. That’s good.

I was beeping half way through the warm-up today. Okay, that was generous, I was beeping long before halfway through. We had to run up and down the mat ten times and I started first and ended last. Then we crab walked sideways up and down and then we went up and back lifting our knees to chest and then finished off kicking ourselves in the butt, which seemed terrifyingly appropriate. Next was ten pushups, ten pull-ups, ten sit-ups, and then shoulder mobility. All the young people waited for me to finish.

Next we gathered together an abundance of equipment for our workout. There was lots of equipment because what we did today was:

FGB – really – that’s all the website said. I had to look it up. I’m very good at looking things up because I have to do it often. FGB? Fucking Golf Balls? Fred’s Geography Book? Frankie’s Gorgeous Balloon? Not just no, but hell no. Fight Gone Bad.

Really? I’m going to do Fight Gone Bad. I was just freaked out by the entire concept. I’m getting used to The Girls – named WODs that are tough. So far, Heroes have been left off the board. But really, little old lady me doing Fight Gone Bad?!? What is wrong with me? Why even bother?

Because I’m stubborn. What, you ask, is Fight Gone Bad:

In this workout you move from each of five stations after a minute. This is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. (This is a copy and paste and I am not responsible for the grammar.)

. Wallball Shots: 20 pound ball, 10 ft target. (Reps)
. Sumo Deadlift High-Pull: 75 pounds (Reps)
. Box Jump: 20″ box (Reps)
. Push Press: 75 pounds (Reps)
. Row: calories (Calories)
We did 3 rounds

I personally used a 4# ball and had a 22# bar for the lifts. I did my box jumps on 14″ and calories were just calories.

I spent at least half and usually more than half of each minute trying to get my heart rate back to something compatible with life. I was actually working about 20 – 30 seconds of each minute and trying to calculate when to stop to be able to get something out of the next minute. My heart rate topped out at 167 which isn’t so bad, but trying to get it back low enough to get some rounds in for the next thing was the trick. If I wait just to 159 and started again, I start beeping almost immediately. So part of this is strategy building.

When I began this, less than three months ago, I couldn’t hit any wall balls. I couldn’t lift a 22# over my head even once, I jumped on the two inches of weights alone, without the 12″ box underneath them. I know I’m getting better at this.

I really have to stop scaring myself the night before I work out. I also would really like a heart that pumped more efficiently. If I can get my other muscles to behave better, what is taking my heart so long. Ah, the joys of old age.

And just for the record, even with having to pause and rest and get my heart rate back down repeatedly, I got a score of 84.

Another day at the box, but this one was later in the morning and so I didn’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to get there. Ah, the luxury.

I had a massage after work yesterday and it wore out about ten minutes after eight this morning. I knew that was going to happen. But it felt good while it lasted.

Kim has a friend who can get her into Madonna concerts and so she was missing today, as she is out of the area being entertained. When I got to the box, there were more cars there than I have seen in a very long time. Mark was there, but his kid needed something and he had to leave and didn’t get to work out. Christine was there and some guy came in for a fundamentals class, so they were not involved with our workout.

So all that was left was Coach Karen, Lolli (the birthday girl in whose honor today’s WOD was made) and the little old lady from not Pasadena. So the participants in the workout were pretty much the same as usual, there were just more cars.

Warm-up today was a 400 meter run and although I could have tried that, I just rowed for 500 meters. Then Ryan complex down the mat, 10 cherry pickers, 10 passthroughs, which I did using 20″ boxes but Lolli really used the little plastic thingies (I tried but I couldn’t manage them), 10 pushups and then 10 dislocates and passthroughs.

The WOD as written:
5 rounds, time each round

20 Pull-ups
30 Push-ups
40 Sit-ups
50 Squats
rest 3 minutes between rounds

When it is a named WOD, you know you are in trouble. I looked at this last night and immediately thought to myself, “Holy shit” but I know that everything is scalable and so I just slept the sleep of the just and turned up. One of the first things I said after hello was, “How should I scale this?”

We decided that I could so three rounds of half the reps. So that was my goal.

I did the first round in 5:36  and was freaking amazed at myself at the start. I did all ten ring rows without stopping. Then it went downhill. I was so dizzy, nauseous, sick, and pukey from the up and down of the sit-ups and the squats that I was fighting to keep my protein shake down. Not using my best sense, I rested 3 minutes and started again. I only managed 7 ring rows before having to rest for a few seconds. Same thing with the dizziness with the squats. I finished that round at 17:46.

I told Karen I would halve the number of reps again, an option we had discussed before I started, and do a third round. She suggested instead of doing a full squat, I just do a dip but work to engage all the lower muscles as one would in a full squat. I did that. I was done at 24:26 and said I was finished. But as I sat there for the three minutes resting, I talked myself into one more quarter round so that I would have done three half rounds. And so I dragged myself back up and did more.

I finished the quarter reps and only did the dips. I did not feel so sick doing that. I finished up for real at 30:33.

The birthday girl was doing the real WOD using a green band for her pull-ups. She had just finished the third round as I was leaving. For all I know, she is still there. Happy birthday, Lolli, you rock.

I did look and my birthday is on a Sunday. I told Karen that today and she said we could do the WOD for me on Monday. I said no one was going to be there for New Year’s Eve and so …. I’m off the hook on that one.

I have a friend who blogs. I know, everybody does, right? But this is a response to a blog she put up here

Sometimes I think it is really difficult to be a teenager, but probably not for the reasons one might think. Teens seem to believe that at some later date, they are going to be adults and in total charge of their lives. I am not really sure why they believe this since their parents are probably just like every other parent I’ve ever met. They are harried, working in jobs so they can get a paycheck to pay for the teenagers’ many wants and needs.

And don’t even start to talk about the worry of having a teenager. No teens ever seem to think about this. As a former mother of teens and now looking forward to those teens being fathers of teens, I can tell you that worry is not just the prerogative of teens.

Boring, stultified parents of teens worry about their own lost youth and all the missed opportunities. They also worry about their own teens not missing some of those opportunities. They worry about aging and being in the sandwich generation, caring for angst-filled teens and failing need-driven parents. They are crushed by the worries of earning a living in uncertain economic times and having pressure coming at them from all sides.

We old people are not in charge of our lives any more than we were when we were young and filled with dreams for a splendid future. We are judged on a daily basis and put up with the same society that exists in the halls of high schools. Only we are pushed around by bosses who not only can make our lives miserable for the time being, but can actually make our lives worse if we don’t want to put up with the inanities of the halls of capitalism.

Even in the workplace, there are the popular ones, the geeks, the nerds, the annoyances, the whiners, and fitness aficionados preaching diets and workouts. We strive for perfection, not because we feel we can achieve it, or even feel that it is important. We really just want to keep our jobs. Well, that’s not quite true. We really just want to keep our paychecks.

We need to worry constantly about keeping up in a world that is fast outpacing our moldy, decrepit, moribund lives. We still have teenagers who need to be put through college and then married off and then they might need help with a down payment on a house in the suburbs. Perhaps they need us for other things, as well. Things like bailing them out of their own bad choices which somehow makes parents feel like they should do something.

All this worry and we are faced with the prospect of jobs disappearing or newly minted (lower paid) college graduates taking those crap jobs we really didn’t want but are all we are qualified for. Perhaps our jobs will disappear the way a cooper’s or blacksmith’s job did a century ago. Times are outpacing those of us who move slower.

I’m sure it is tough to be a teenager in today’s world. It was tough to be a teenager half a century ago. But what often breaks my heart is that these children who believe they are well on their way to adulthood and freedom are going to be so disappointed when they find out that adults aren’t any more free than they are.

We may get to make the rules for them, but there are others out there who make the rules for us. We are not the masters of our fate any more than they are. And when they get to this point in their lives, they may look back on these years and think to themselves, “Hey, I really didn’t quite understand back then.”

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