I’m trying. As Dick likes to point, there are times when I can be really trying. I have asked the interwebs out there for help and help has been sent.

Cathie sent me a link for mindfulness. I’ve read the entire article and not merely skimmed it as I tend to do with things that are more than one page long. Then she sent me a link for actual mindfulness exercises. That is a really helpful website all around.

Others have responded as well. I tried to focus on not focusing for ten minutes. My mind needs a leash or a keeper or something. Not thinking or thinking about not thinking or whatever it is I need to do to empty my mind isn’t working well. Perhaps this is like stepping into CrossFit the first time. I’m supposed to practice mindfulness and with practice it will get better – or possible.

I don’t think I spend time examining my life very often. I do however, rate it. Which means I had to have some evaluative process going on first. My introspection is apparently second nature.

Things I learned from doing this Challenge:

  1. This is harder than I thought it was going to be.
  2. The lifestyle thing is incredibly daunting. The water was a pain in the ass, the sleep was easy mostly because I was lucky enough to not have an insomnia night along with an alarm clock morning. This mindfulness piece is mind-boggling. I can’t wait to see the fourth thing.
  3. I’m getting more used to the diet but have no intention of keeping this strict kind of control over my food when I’m done.
  4. Neither Dick nor I really miss potatoes. What we miss is pasta. I really love pasta. I think I may look into a healthier version of pasta and begin making my own. I hear it isn’t difficult and maybe with semolina and real ingredients, it will be a bit healthier.
  5. The portion I put off until the end of the day is the mobilization. It is the thing that I believe is doing wonders for me. My whole body feels better with this. I used to have to set a timer to make sure I got ten minutes. I don’t now. I work on loosening up all the creaky parts until I feel better. Sometimes it is just twelve minutes or so and sometimes it is closer to twenty. No matter how many minutes, it always feels good.

Foods I’m going to keep:

  1. Rutabagas
  2. Dates as a snack
  3. Smoothies as breakfast on my non-workout days
  4. Unsweetened almond milk
  5. Baked broccoli (and I’m going to try this type of cooking with other vegetables) [I will post the recipe here later today because it was incredibly easy and Dick actually went for a second helping of vegetable because they were that good and then he asked if we could do this with cauliflower which is simply amazing.]
  6. Quinoa, but only on a rare occasion since Dick hates the bird seed but he can have rice when I fix it for me.
  7. Stevia

Foods I can’t wait to get back and have no intention of shunning for the rest of my life:

  1. Chocolate
  2. Cheese
  3. Pasta, see above
  4. Good bakery bread with my homemade soups
  5. English muffin with my morning eggs (I’m always starving in the late morning after a WOD because all I eat are my two eggs and a coffee. I run out of steam and then I go on a hunt for food.)
  6. Potato chips

Practices I will or won’t keep:

  1. I stopped the water nonsense the day before it was officially done and used a bonus point. I was supposed to notice a difference in my skin but all I noticed were the bags under my eyes from not sleeping.
  2. Dick and I have talked incessantly while eating all our out-of-the-ordinary meals about what we would eat after the Challenge is over. I want to eat better, but I honestly don’t need to be this good. I need to go through the pantry and find all the foods I don’t want to resume eating and take them to a food pantry or shelter or something.
  3. I want more real food and less out of boxes non-food things. I would like at least half my dinners to be what I’ve been eating on the Challenge, but I also want my pasta back. Just not every night.
  4. I will keep the mobilization going. This has been quite helpful. When I go for a massage, my neck is actually still moving as I arrive instead of only as I leave.
  5. I will keep doing the recovery days activity. I was giving myself an “off” day meaning that I really did absolutely no extra movement stuff. I always park in the parking garage and walk the extra to work. I always take the stairs. There are small things I have always done, but the actually giving myself a bit of work on my recovery days seems to keep me from turning into a total slug three days a week.
  6. I have always loved the written word and do much of my self-examination here in front of a computer screen. I write about my days here and post them – sometimes. So if you think you see a bit TMI here, just be advised that I sometimes delete the whole thing.
  7. I will keep working at emptying my mind of all the critiques of the past and worries of the future and live in the moment. If I could master this, it would be invaluable on those insomnia nights – like the one just past where I was awake for nearly two hours in the middle of the night for no earthly reason. I want to be able to do this.
  8. I will keep doing CrossFit. Of course, I would have done that with or without the challenge. But after working that hard at the box four times a week, it only makes sense to put in a little extra effort at home and get an entirely better life out of the deal.

Having said that, the best thing that CrossFit has given me is a sense of accomplishment. Really. I know I can’t do much at the box especially when compared to the rest of the people there. But CrossFit isn’t about comparing yourself to the rest of the people there. Any fitness program should not be about comparing yourself to others. It is about comparing yourself to who you were yesterday. I’m so much stronger, fitter, even better cardio-wise than when I started. I have a confidence and a swagger that belies my age. I can say, without blushing, “I’m a CrossFitter.” That means something – at least to me.

Favorite quote from Warrior Girl’s post: “I never understand why the first thing people ask is ‘how much do you lift’ when the real test is how hard was it to finish?”

It is hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it. But only those with grit and determination are strong enough to push to the finish line. I cross that line four times a week and it shows on all seven days.