I loved being in Europe and visiting the wonderful villages with cobbled streets and the beautiful cathedrals with vaulting ceilings. I loved seeing new things, eating new foods, meeting new people, and generally having an exotic vacation.

It wasn’t all peaches and cream. I started out with just a cold and knew I had a cold when I started. But instead of getting better, it got progressively worse. By the time I got home, I was a mess. When I went to the doctor and he wanted to know why I didn’t come in sooner. I explained. I’ve been on antibiotics for bronchitis for over a week now and I’m finally breathing without much interference.

My plan had been to work out aboard ship which wouldn’t have been very easy once I saw the space and knew the times the workout room was open. But I never even tried because I was simply unable to stop coughing long enough to work out. Hiking across the countryside at a very slow pace was going to have to be it. And coughing. That’s quite strenuous if you do it enough; I did it enough.

I wanted to come back to CrossFit Summerville the day after I returned, but it was impossible. I wanted to get back there this past Monday, but it was still rather ridiculous to try to work out when moving at all sent me into a coughing fit.

But I have gotten progressively better and I went to the box today. It has been exactly one month since I was last there (but I had to leave early because I was unable to catch my breath). I’m better but not completely cured yet. And, to top it all off, I’m still old. Three strikes against me. Luckily for me, Coach Kim was there and when I explained all this to her, she was quite helpful.

The first thing she wanted to know was if I was healthy enough to do this. After work yesterday, I laced up the shoes and ran 200 meters without dying. I then did ten real push-ups and ten sit-ups and all in all, did fairly well. So I determined that I could do this today.

Warm up was a 500 meter row and we were so busy listening to Kim tell us what the sprints would be that I rowed right past the cutoff point and was horrified to see I was an over-achiever. I try to avoid that at all costs.

Next we high step jogged up and back on the mat, then kicked ourselves in the ass jogging up and back, then crab marched up and back and then cross crab up and back. My heart rate was too high to do the last and I didn’t much care. Then we did them all again. And again my heart rate was too high for the last thing and I didn’t mind not doing it. I was warmed up.

The WOD as written:
We’re going to spend some time at the beginning of this class working on Resisted Sprinting Drills.
What’s your 3 minute Grace weight?

We were to run against resistance to the halfway point of the parking lot, then just sprint to the end and then return. Three to five reps with a two to three minute rest period in between. Well, I barely jog and sprinting is difficult enough without any resistance. I offer enough of that mentally.

So my mission was to sprint to the halfway mark, jog to the end, pause for a second to regroup, sprint to the halfway point, jog to the finish line. My heart monitor started beeping on the last step or two each and every of the four times I did this. Candace had managed to do one I didn’t realize and so she had her five done and I felt no need to do another one just for the heck of it.

We discussed the Grace WOD. It is 30 clean and jerks with 135#. Most places scale for women at 95#. I can deadlift 95# but there is no way I can even rack it let alone push it over my head in any fashion. So that wasn’t an option.

Last time we did something like this, I was at 32# and Caren said I should up my weight. But that was weeks ago, when I was healthy, and for fewer reps. We discussed this to help me choose and I chose just the 22# bar and hoped for the best.

I’m sure I could have done a heavier weight without the time limit, but the idea was to do the 30 reps in three minutes.

The timer started and I got the first seven or eight in without problem. Then I began to get tired and my heart rate began to escalate. I was on rep 12 or 13 when I smacked myself in the face – clipping my lower lip and tip of my nose – with the bar. I did a few more reps but then I felt wetness. It would probably be really, really stupid to have a bloody nose and a very high heart rate and blood pressure. So I went to sit and make sure I wasn’t bleeding.

It was just sweat. So I waited and Candace did her 30 reps with 53# weight and had 12 seconds to spare. I told Kim I would still like to try it since I wasn’t, in fact, bleeding.

Candace said she would do it again with me, but she dropped her weight to just the 43# bar. Again, with my light bar, the first seven or eight were no problem but then my heart rate was up and the bar seemed to magically get heavier – and heavier – and heavier. I had ten left and one minute to go. My heart rate was in the 170s.

I had 30 seconds left and five more to do and my heart was pounding and my arms had somehow turned into noodles. It was ugly. My last two reps did not really have my left arm fully extended over my head. On the last one, I was saying, “I can’t” as I pushed the bar overhead. I did Grace with 22# in 2.50.

And then I collapsed and just panted.

But I did it.

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