January 2013


Still sick, but not so bad. It’s a little tricky to breathe, but I seem to have managed to keep at it, regardless of difficulty. I’m not up to coughing my head off yet, either, so I opted to try a trip to the box. I had looked at the WOD last night and figured I might be able to live through it and should give it a go.

I had my handful of almonds before I left the house and off I went into the fog where the mysterious out there was hidden from view – all except a small slice illuminated by the headlights. Makes it a little more difficult to drive that way, but all things must be dealt with and I made it to the box without incident.

Warm-up was a 400 meter run but I only did 200 and actually ran about 180 of it. I have no idea what to do about this lack of stamina. My heart rate just takes off and I have to slow down to a walk or else I will slow down to fall when I pass out. That could hurt.

Next we did a pushup, inchworm, pushup, inchworm thing down the mat. I had no idea that mat was so long. I think it might be a couple miles or so from one end to the other. Then ten ring rows and follow that with dislocates and passthroughs.

The WOD as written:
15 minutes to find a max Farmer’s Carry. Distance is the length of the black mats.
20 minute AMRAP:
3 Rope Climbs
15 KB Swings 24kg/16kg
30 Double-Unders

Being unsure how much I can lift at all, I started with eight pounds in each hand. I watched others having lots more fun. Ken ended with 280 pounds, Ricky with 260. Candice did 160 and Cindy did 150. I did 70 which is more than I thought I would manage. It was fun to see so much weight traveling around.

I have always been told that three progressives equal one rope climb but today Christine said it was four. So, I opted to scale (I guess that’s the word I’m looking for) and keep it at three. I brought my jump rope and threw my gloves in my purse, too. So I had my hands protected. I had vacillated about bringing the gloves and I’m so glad I did. I used a 10# KB and should have used a 15# barbell, but hindsight is great. I don’t do double unders so I did 120 jumps. I managed three sets.

There were five people and only four ropes so Cindy started with the KB swings and rotated through. Just at the end when she was starting her last set of progressive rope climbs she got all upset. “I’ve been cheating. I didn’t mean it. I cheated.” She had the number four in her head and had been doing four progressives instead of the twelve that she should have been doing. No one killed her or anything but she kept mumbling to herself.

We all get a number in our heads and that is what we shoot for. That was my problem with the difference between nine and twelve. I wasn’t going higher than my head had planned.

What I need to do next time is move up on the weight for my KB swings. I’m stronger than the ten pounds and I need to inch upwards. The next weight is a 25# one and that is too big of a step, but I can do a bit more than I have been in that regard.

All in all, I’m glad I went and managed to put another one into the books. I’m even more glad I used the gloves, my fingertips are burning. I can’t believe I do this and enjoy it. I think I’ve lost my mind.

And I was dripping today

And I was dripping today

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I’m sick again. It started late Saturday when I was fine right up until I wasn’t. My throat was normal and then, within fifteen minutes it went from starting to hurt to on fire.

That is how my Christmas illness started. I had a very sore throat for about 36 hours and then I didn’t but my nose was runny. Then I tried to cough my lungs up and was just lucky to keep breathing. It finally went away – I thought. But it seems to be back and following the same course as last time. I thought my immune system was supposed to recognize that this was a nasty thing and politely kill it off.

I was asked if I had gotten a flu shot and of course, I had not. Why? Well, I can only point to the child’s tale of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

In our society of constant communication, we all want to be heard. We have a voice (I’m posting this to a blog that is, theoretically, available worldwide) and we all want to be heard, regardless of the importance of the message.

In order to be heard above the background din of billions of voices screaming in the wilderness, we catastrophize.  Everything is bigger, better, bolder or worse to the point of planet wide destruction. A couple years ago, the Bird Flu which had to be renamed so the birds didn’t feel bullied, was going to kill us all. There would be a pandemic and it would be horrible. H1N1 was just the flu, not worse than any other flu and certainly nothing like the Spanish Flu (which didn’t even start in Spain, so take that birds) at the end of World War I.

So, when this was supposed to be the worst flu season since the beginning of time or at least recorded time, I didn’t listen. Every year it is the worst since the beginning of the universe and the big bang had nothing on the upcoming chaos. I don’t know if this is worse than any other flu season, but it is the first time I’ve been sick with this nonsense in over a decade.

This is the same reason people didn’t leave New Orleans or New York City as storms approached with power to wipe out coastal regions. Every storm is the Storm of the Century. Every problem is the Catastrophe to End the World. No one listens.

The boy who cried “wolf” over and over was not heeded when the wolf actually came and attacked the herd of sheep. He had played that trick too many times.

So I’m looking at you CDC. You have predicted catastrophe each winter since I can remember. This is not even catastrophic. The Spanish flu was a catastrophe and most of that was the result of the end of a world war weakening the response system.

And I’m looking at you weather.com, each storm is not a potential disaster. If you keep hyping the Cat 3 hurricanes (says someone who has lived through a couple Cat 3 hurricanes that did nothing even though landfall was within 25 miles of the house), no one listens when a Cat 5 stops by.

With the cacophony that is the Internet, we need to remember that our words may get lost in the avalanche of letters posted, but that doesn’t mean we can take license and increase the weight of the words by inflating the message. It is up to us, as writers, to keep it honest, but it is also up to us as consumers to demand that the hype be dropped and the truth be told. Even if that truth isn’t nearly as exciting as mayhem.

Yesterday was a great day. I felt like I worked really hard at the box. My outfit made me feel good because the last time I wore that dress, it didn’t fit the same. My weight hasn’t changed much, but the packaging is quite different and while I’m still “puffy” I’m no longer PUFFY, which is really nice. Then, after work, I had a massage and Tina worked on my bad leg/knee and got a lot more of the knots out of the abused muscle.

So I was feeling quite wonderful and then I looked at today’s WOD and didn’t even understand the words. So I went to Google and put in CrossFit and each of the moves and had to watch movies about what I was supposed to be doing . I thought I could figure out what a burpee pull-up was, but I was sure I must be mistaken. I was not.

So I looked at the WOD some more and tried to figure out for myself what in the world I should be doing. I can do a burpee, barely, but I can’t do an unassisted pull-up at all. I couldn’t figure it out and so I put a note on the board asking for guidance on how to scale. I knew that Kim had a 5 am class today so I figured she was already asleep by the time I looked at the WOD, but I was hopeful that something pertinent would be on the board this morning.

I have no idea why I was a little late leaving the house, but I was. And then, every single light was red, although most mornings there are no red lights. I did get a couple knee stretches in. It was below freezing out there so we had an option of a 400 meter run or a 500 meter row and both of the runners opted to row because it was simply too cold  for nice Southerners. Then Ryan complex down the mat followed by ten wall balls. Then ten sit-ups and dislocates and passthroughs.

The WOD as written:
15 minutes to establish a 2 rep max Snatch Balance
21-15-9
Ground to Overhead 95#/65#
Burpee Pull ups

I worked for most of the time just trying to see how to drop under the bar when the bar was a PVC pipe. I then put a real bar up and I just couldn’t make myself even try. My knee is feeling better and I don’t want to mess it up. So, I worked hard at getting the form and then, tried with a bar. My squat did not break parallel. It didn’t come close. I could with the PVC pipe, but the weight, even though small, was just too much and I could feel the pull on my knee. I could sorta squat, but it wasn’t pretty. I did not try any heavier weight.

I suck at burpees. I can do at most five in a row but during a strenuous WOD, it ends up being 2-3 and then resting while my heart rate drops to a viable level. Forty-five burpees is really beyond me. I was thinking of scaling the reps to 15-9-3 and hoping I could manage that. Instead, the 5 am class substituted a jumping squat for the burpee pull-up and so I did that and kept the reps the same. I used just a bar for ground to overhead.

I managed 15 overheads before I had to rest, then finished them. I did the 21 jumping squats in two parts, but did 11 and then 10. Then I did 8 and 7 with rests and 5 and 4 with rests and managed to eke out the WOD in 10.33.

I think it is marvelous that people can do these extreme types of moves with grace and perseverance. However, I’m a Little Old Lady and while I am getting to athlete status slowly but surely, I’m not really an athlete. I know with CrossFit they will bestow the title upon me, but everything I do has to be tweaked so that an old coot can do it. I feel good when I can manage to find a tweak that is challenging and pushes me, but doesn’t crush me. Today, I feel good.

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Yesterday was rest day as well as another visit to the chiropractor. My knee is getting better but I do not yet have Buns of Steel. I may have buns of weakened plastic by now rather than buns of overheated, ready to fray elastic bands. I was able to do a full squat today without it hurting and with paying strict attention to planting my heels firmly on the floor and keeping my lower legs upright and not letting my knee drift inward. No wonder it is so hard to do these things. I wonder how babies keep all that in mind when they do it.

I looked at the WOD last night and almost had myself talked out of going. Then the good me said to the bad me, “Scaled” and the bad me whined and the good me said something about promises and finally the bad me scowled and acquiesced and I set the damn alarm clock.

I have never run for distance. Ever. When I was athletically active, I played racquetball and there is no long distance in that little room. It is all a few steps and stop and after a volley, resting before serving. Nothing long distance at all. Today’s WOD was to run a mile. Divided and with rests, but it was still a mile. The good me talked the bad me into running/walking a half mile. I could do that. Theoretically.

I began the day with knee stretches. Then we all rowed 500 meters but there were so many people there this morning that we had more people than machines so Candace and Ricky ran. Then lunge down the mat with a medicine ball, but I just lunged and was very careful with my knee. Then ten medicine ball cleans and I managed a full squat, paying close attention to the whole heel/leg position. Then ten sit-ups and ten pushups and I managed all those. Dislocates and passthroughs followed along with some shoulder mobility stuff.

The WOD as written:
20 minutes working on Kipping Pull up technique.
-If you already have the Kipping pull up down, see if you can find out how many Unbroken Chest to Bar pull ups you can get!

Then:
4 x 400m Sprints
-Rest 1:1

Well, see why I thought going was just ludicrous. But, scaled, all things are possible. I worked for 20 minutes on not slingshotting myself across the room while trying to master green banded pull-ups. I would say have I mastered getting my foot into the green band but not so good on extricating myself. I did manage to get five pull-ups, then another five, then … and get this … seven. I managed to do seven. Then another five. And then thankfully that was done.

Now on to sprints. I can sprint maybe ten feet and then I’m done with the sprinting stuff. So I barely jogged and hoped for the best. On the first round, I managed to actually “run” such as it was, for about ¾ of the distance. Then I only managed to run half and walk half. But I did do all four rounds and didn’t do as bad as I thought. My goal was to do half the distance in less than twice the time it took Ricky, our long distance runner, to do the real distance. I managed that!

I’m glad I went. I surprised myself. I must be one tough old broad. I just wish I was really a hard ass so my knee would stop hurting.

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I’ve been doing my exercises for my knee. They are really designed to keep me from hurting myself in the future and aren’t much on helping the issue right at the moment. But if I keep reinjuring it, it will never heal, so there is method to the madness. Last night I had the heating pad on my knee and leg and then went and worked for about ten minutes just trying to loosen all the knots that had accumulated in the muscle and tendon region and it felt much better. Well, it felt better when I stopped.

I still started today’s WOD with my stretch. Warm-up was a 400 meter run and I rowed. Then Ryan complex down the mat and ten sit-ups and pushups. Then dislocates and passthroughs. And my knee still made crinkle noises, but not as much and it didn’t hurt. However, I know that adding weight to the squatting is adding problems for my knee. So, if it hurt at all, my plan was to stop.

The WOD as written:
5 x 5 Front Squat

4 Rounds for Time:
20 Kettlebell Snatch 10L/10R  24kg/ 16kg
15 Ring Dips
20 Box Jumps

I used a 20″ box to squat to. It does hurt when I break parallel even without weight and so I’m not supposed to do that. I know part of my problem is that I’m not keeping my leg properly aligned and it folds inward, creating torque. I’m trying to concentrate on staying on my heels and then something else goes haywire. Who knew that a simple squat could be so defeating?

I began with just a bar, but after two rounds of that, it didn’t hurt at all, so I added 5# to each side and did the rest. My knee did not hurt.

I used a ten pound barbell for the KB snatch because there is only one 10# KB and someone else was using it. I did have an 8# one in reserve, but never used it. It was insurance in case I got even weenier than I did. Instead of ring dips, I used two 24″ boxes and knelt between them and raised myself from there to fully extended arms. I did box jumps on a 14″ box and that was my down fall.

I didn’t start beeping until after the 20 snatches. I rested briefly and then did the 10 dips and was okay. Then jumping started. And stopped. I could do seven before my heart rate was over 170 and then rest and then seven and then rest and then six and then nearly five minutes was gone. I still had to rest before starting the second round.

I managed to get through to the box jumps again and did five jumps and five step ups. Then rested and on the second jump I missed the height and heard my ankle make a creaky noise. It didn’t really hurt, but I didn’t think more jumping was a good idea. I did step ups for the rest of the WOD.

I managed to do all four rounds in 17:35 and my heart rate was way high and even without a heart monitor, I could feel my pulse pounding in my carotids and thought I must look like Frankenstein’s monster with a bulging bolt like protrusion on my neck with each heart beat.

I was unhappy with my performance today. Not that I was slacking off or just not working hard, but that I was working so hard and accomplishing so little. I was dripping wet and panting and beeping and still taking forever to do a very scaled WOD. I know it was a difficult WOD, but I would really like to be better at this by now.

The only way to get better at this for later is to keep going back to the box, but thankfully tomorrow is my off day so I get a chance to regroup before I return.

I got home and took a shower right away just in case in really hurt my ankle but it appears all right and there is no swelling and it doesn’t hurt to walk. So at least that might be okay.

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A couple days off helped my knee a bit. However, on Saturday I wasn’t completely CrossFit-less. We went down to watch CrossFit Hilton Head have their second annual Polar Bear WOD. The proscribed was a 200 meter bear crawl with partners switching as needed, then 100 squats for each partner, then partner carry back 200 meters and then 100 pushups shared between partners, repeat except at the end no pushups but jump into the freezing ocean until your butt was wet.

Scaled was a 200 meter sprint, 50 squats, lunge back with partners sharing, 50 burpees with partners sharing, repeat and end after lunges with going in the ocean. Even that was more squats than I can do without puking and more burpees than I can do. Craig didn’t participate, he was the time keeper, but at the end, he and I went into the freezing ocean. He stayed for five minutes, I just got wet and out. It was cold. It was also fun.

Today’s warm-up was a 1000 meter row, lunge down the mat, and then running back and forth, sideways and backwards between obstacles for the length of the mat.

The WOD as written:
15 minutes to establish a 1RM Push Press
10 minute AMRAP:
1 Wall Walk (chest & thighs to wall and floor)
10 Weight Overhead Walking Lunges (45/25) (arms locked out)
5 Knees to Elbows
10 Push Presses (95/65)

I managed to add a little weight to my push press this morning. I began with the bar, added 5, then 10, then 15, then 20, and finally 25 pounds to the bar. I was struggling at the end and even though there was still 2 minutes left, I didn’t have any more oomph. However, 47# is heavier than my last push press.

So, the entire WOD was over my head, as it were. I held a plank position and lifted my hands alternately to my shoulders for ten, then did just lunges, my knees were past my waist, but not up to my elbows, and I did push presses with 27# and managed to do three rounds and 16 moves for my AMRAP (as many reps as possible) in ten minutes. My heart rate was consistently high and this was just a whole lot more work than it might look like.

So, here I am, back at home and my water bottle is at the box because I forgot it there. My knee is wrapped and doesn’t feel too bad.

All in all, I’m fairly proud of myself this morning. I increased my push press max and I managed the planking and hand lift things. There are times when I ask myself what I’m doing this at my age, and then myself answers …. Getting stronger. I’m getting stronger.

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Well, our mid-winter summer appears to have gone south. It was 45⁰ out there this morning. It was 60 yesterday morning. The storm front that blew through brought some lower temps with it. No top down on the cute little car today.

I looked at the WOD last night and there wasn’t a whole bunch of stuff that would hurt my knee so I opted to set the alarm and get to the box. The 5 AM class still had cars in the parking lot so we looked like we were really having a full class. It was the usual suspects there and the early, early risers went on to work or whatever.

I began the day with my knee stretch and managed to make it move easier. Warm-up was a 200 meter run so I did a walk/run and then we lunged down the mat and then sit-ups, pushup, and pull-ups, ten each. I tried to do real pushups today and managed to squeak out ten of them. Just like a big girl.

The WOD as written:

Every 30 seconds for 5:00 minutes (22 total reps):
2 Banded Deadlifts @ 60% + Band
Notes: Purple Band for DL up to 200#, Red Band for DL up to 300#, Blue Band for DL above 300#.
-then-
Conditioning
100 Double-Unders
25 Wall Balls 20/14#
75 Double-Unders
25 Wall Balls 20/14#
50 Double-Unders
25 Wall Balls 20/14#
For time.

I used the purple band with my 42# weights. I had used a very small band last time and could manage the lift. It was much harder with a band twice as wide, but I managed 22 lifts without going all weenie and using the lighter band. Although, as insurance, I had it sitting there just in case. Craig, forgive me.

I had looked at the WOD last night and knew that 20 wall balls was too much at the beginning of the week, so I opted to scaled all those back to 15 and I use a 10# ball and am getting closer to the line on the wall but still don’t hit it. I could have done 25 of them to the mark with the 4# ball, but it is too easy. So, I scaled back and used a heavier weight.

I can’t do a double under, and the ratio is 4:1 so it would be 400 jumps for 100 double unders. That would be 900 jumps and 75 wall balls to do this WOD as written. I’m too old for that. Or possibly, ain’t nobody got time for that. Or something.

I opted for 75, 50, 25, on the double unders for 300, 200, and 100 jumps and then 15 wall balls in between. My time was 19:32.

Both Ken and Sabre were doing the reps as written. They were still working when I left at 7 AM. I had stayed around for a bit to cool down, catch, my breath, and do some leg stretches, but it was time for me to leave. Sabre was just starting her second set of wall balls when I left.

What I love about looking at Craig’s WODs is that not only is every workout scalable, but we really should scale. I know it is fun to write Rx on the board, but it is better to not burn out and keep coming back. At the beginning, I was getting so frustrated with working twice as long as the athletes and I was wrung out by the end of each WOD. I was frustrated, angry, and ready to quit. But then I gave myself permission to scale.

I might have been scaling too much and not pushing as much as I could, but I kept going back. For me, that’s a win. And now, I was one of the athletes. Scaled, to be sure, but working really hard and showing up over and over and over.

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