December 2013


I worked yesterday and then I was done for the week. My son and his family finally arrived safely at their destination even though the tail lights on the truck had to be fixed (a technician was sent out), the headlights on the truck were weak, the defroster didn’t work, and the wipers were sub-par. Even in the cold and snow, they made it safely. Apparently they weren’t able to travel faster than their guardian angels could fly. I’m grateful beyond measure.

I also could finally sleep and slept in until 7.30 which is really, really late for me. It felt great and I was rested. Finally. Finally. Rested. Glad I don’t have to help unpack the truck or the totes. But that is up to someone else now.

I looked at the WOD last night and was simply thankful that I wasn’t going to be forced into going to a regular class. We had done toes to bar, handstand pushups, and push press surrounded by burpees and the next WOD was burpees and snatches. Really? I thought that one of the tenets of CrossFit was varied. That means something different. I could barely raise my arms over my head to get my shirt off and you want me to do 45 snatches?

Craig gets a little peeved – no, he gets outright pissed – by the programming for my box. He makes sure different major muscle groups are used and he scales so that people can choose their intensity level. My box – not so much. So I have to listen to him quite often being disappointed and worrying about me getting hurt. I’m old enough to be his mother and he cares about me. What a good son.

Today, if I had had to go to 6 AM, I would have asked for something different. I couldn’t have thrown weight overhead 45 times without hurting myself. I knew that. I don’t understand the allure of all these burpees except that no one likes to do burpees and we like to be “hardass” or something at my box. I don’t know of other goals we are attempting to achieve. Back squats are apparently really important, too.

Today’s WOD as written:
spend 10 min working on rolling pistol
then
21-15-9
power snatchs (115/75)RX+, (95/65)rx
burpees

I wasn’t doing that.

Craig’s WOD as written:
MOB: Achilles. Shoulders.
WU:
2:00 of easy jump rope/double under practice.
2 rounds of:
5 BB push jerks
5 BB good mornings
5 BB back squats
REVIEW: Push Jerk. T2B and subs.
S: Push Jerk. 3-3-2-2-1-1-1. Rest as needed.
C: EMOM for 10 minutes:
Max T2B in :15
20 double unders
Record total T2B reps to board.
LIII: 15 double unders
LII: Sub of choice. 10 double unders.
LI: Sub of choice. 5 double unders (attempts count) or 30 single unders.
PWOD MOB: Rollout Calves. Roller in t-spine and lats. Lax ball in C/S/B/G.

Well, I couldn’t quite do that, either. So, I sorta, kinda made something up based on this.

I did a warm-up and lots of stretches. I worked on my arms and shoulder ROM and on my hamstrings which felt tight.

I picked LI and did sit-ups for 15 seconds and then did 30 single unders and worked for the ten minutes. The first round I got 7 sit-ups and 8 on each round thereafter. I tried to get to nine once so I could have 80 on the sit-ups, but I couldn’t do it without cheating. So I ended up with 79. I did get the 300 jumps in without a problem. I didn’t try any double unders because me right knee is still achy from the last time I tried that stunt.

Since I didn’t do any skill or conditioning stuff, I opted to try one more little trick. I set the rower on 8 instead of my usual 5 and rowed for a 1000 meters. It usually takes me about 6+ minutes and I wanted less time. I don’t know if the higher power number does anything or not since I don’t understand the mechanics of the machine. But as I was getting closer to the 1000, I thought I might break the 5 minute mark. I was so close. I finished in 5.06 and with a heart rate of 173. Next time I will push a little more at the beginning and break that barrier.

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After the box on Friday, I got showered, packed, and we went to Hilton Head to help our son and his family pack up the house. Much had been done, but there was still much to do. Then we spent the night at the other son’s house (since he still had beds and stuff) and went back on Saturday to load all the crap into a moving van.

I haven’t eaten so much non-compliant non-Paleo food in a long time. I was sure I was going to see a huge increase on the scale but amazingly, all that packing and toting and running up and down stairs actually burned up more calories than I consumed. Even though I had 2.5 cans of Coke in there – first sodas I have had in probably six months. While it burned up the calories, it didn’t do anything for the whole making me feel sick from eating too much crap part of the deal.

Yesterday was beautiful here after the monsoons passed through in the morning. It was in the mid-70s and sunny by afternoon. We took a nice leisurely walk around the big block – about 4 miles. It was gorgeous. Then for dinner we had turkey pot pies and I’m pleased to announce that almost all the turkey is gone. There is enough for a sandwich or two and that’s it! There is a bit more ham left.

Joe and Sarah stopped for the night in West Virginia and will finish their trip today. So far they are safe and sound. I will be happier when they are completely settled.

Up in the middle of the night to hit the box. There were a couple people visiting from Florida and a total of nine people there this morning. Todd was there without Cindy again. We really need to do something about that.

Warm-up was a run and then a bunch of other stuff, some of it more odious than other portions. I hate plank clocks. Really. I can do them without falling apart now, but I still don’t like them. At all.

Today’s WOD as written:
3×5 back squats
WOD
Complete 25 burpees
Then
5 rounds
12 T2B
9 HSPU
6 power clean to push press(155/100)RX+, (115/75)rx
Then
25 burpees

We had to double up on the bars because there were so many of us. At 6 AM. During the holidays. Wow.

I did my back squats with 73# and managed to knock them out okay.

Looking at the WOD last night made me just sigh. I’m still not moving all that great from the 12 damn days of Christmas. My butt is sore. My knees are sore. I can’t easily get out of a chair because everything hurts. 50 burpees was just too much.

Instead, I did a 10 slam balls for my buy in and cash out. Then I did knees to nearly elbows, hand stand pushups were done from a 20″ box and were pitiful. I used a 42# bar for the cleans and presses. My time was 17.38.

I managed the first 10 slam balls without stopping. I could knock out the T2B and HSPU okay but the cleans were a problem. I broke the cleans/presses into 2-2-2, 4-2, 3-3, 3-3, 4-2 schemes. I just did as much of those as I could at a time. My highest heart rate today was only 165 because I kept pausing between moves and that 165 was on the last ten slam balls after 6 – then I got back down to sustainable for life and finished them off.

I had many options for what to do to get rid of the badness from this WOD. I could cut back the burpees, but between burpees and box jumps last week, my glutes were fried and I was just done with that. I realized how horrific burpees really are when I jumped at a chance to do slam balls instead of them. Lord have mercy. There are just so many nasty things available for torture at the box.

I don’t know if it is stress, bad eating, not sleeping right, or a combination of all it, but I was so sickish for most of this workout. I didn’t really feel like I might puke, but I was felt slightly nauseous for most of it. The push press was heavy for me and I dropped the bar really sloppy, not a controlled put it down kind of move, and Ryan thought I hurt myself. I don’t think I did, I just ran out of steam.

Oh, the perils of being the oldest person there. But, I’m there and that’s what counts.

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Partner WOD day and so even though I don’t work, I was up in the middle of the night to get to the box for 6 AM. It was dark and cold and not very nice out there so I was hoping that at least one other person would show up.

Jason had to leave for work early and I have no idea who the coach was for the class, but she said she likes long warm-ups, especially since there was no skill today. So we ran and then did all manner of other things, none of them all that fun but which did end up making us all warm. The cruelest part was the ten wall balls. I mean, really?

Steve was there and then everybody else was a not-regular 6 AMer. Ricky is still in Ohio and Carma is still in Georgia. Todd and Cindy have been missing all week. Ed moved to Columbia and is gone forever. I was there.

Today’s WOD as written:
In teams of 2
3 min amrap 
one person rows 500m rest remaining time
other person gets as many wall balls as possible in 3 min
rest one min
switch
rest one min then
10 min amrap one person works at a time
3 deadlifts(225/155)
6 ring dips
9 box jumps(24/20)

So, the big question was how we were going to partner. There were 7 of us which is not an even number and meant there was an issue. Sara said she would go it alone. I piped up loud and clear because I believe one must address the elephant in the room, “Who gets stuck with me?”

The coach looked appalled and everybody else looked around. There I stood with my gray hair and huffing and puffing from a warm-up. Colleen said she would be happy to be my partner and I think I heard sighs of relief from the others.

I don’t do a 155# deadlift. I couldn’t if I had to save my life. Colleen let me pick the weight and I said I usually use a 93# bar. I should have gone 103 and I think next time there are this few, I will. Only three would have worked with ten more pounds. I needed a red band for ring dips (since this was just done yesterday) and so did Colleen and I was doing step ups and so a 20″ box was fine (just like yesterday).

I think we need to remind the programmer that it is VARIED workouts not the same thing two days in a row.

I did the wallballs first because I knew they were going to kill me. I got as many as possible, got my heart rate back down, got as many as possible, repeat several times. Then with 20 seconds left I was going to go for it, but I had to stop and regroup. I made 50 as she was calling time. I could barely make it over to the rowers, but I knew I could sit there, so that was incentive.

I felt much better after my row because when I asked Colleen how many she got, she said 50 and so I didn’t suck as bad as I thought.

I started the deadlift, Colleen did the ring dips, I did the box jumps, Colleen did the deadlift, I did the ring dips, Colleen did the box jumps (she really jumped), and repeat. The hard part was that between the box jumps and the ring dips was only three deadlifts so by the time we walked from the box to the rings, it was time to start. Luckily, after that there was a rest while the other person did the box.

I beeped a lot but kept working through. I had enough rest during Colleen’s box jumps that I was able to get through my parts. We managed 11+14 which was respectable. I wasn’t as bad of a partner as I might have been.

The only thing I can think of for a reason for the 50 wallballs is that slam balls suck so much that I’m better at wallballs now.

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I’m trying my best to come to terms with my son and his family moving away. Just a few more days and then … far away. I’m trying to appreciate the time I’ve had with the babies and how nice it has been to watch them grow up. I’m trying to not hear Frankie asking why her cousin is leaving. I’m trying not to just start crying. I’m mostly succeeding, but not all the time.

He has a job he starts January 2 and they have a place to stay with a lease only lasting a short time so they can upgrade later if needed. I often catastrophize and this is no exception, so I’m working on looking at the bright side. I’m pretty sure that Christmas Eve was the last time the kids will be at my house. Traveling two hours once a year was so difficult that I’m certain 12 hours will be impossible. So if I want to see the kids, just as always really, it will be up to me to figure out a way to get there. We’ve been doing that already, so it isn’t that different. We will find a way.

Because I’m so jittery and angry and upset and worried and all the other things I am, it was really important that I work some of the stuff out. But I didn’t want to wake up in the middle of the night and face another long day of trying not to cry. So the plan was to sleep in and go to open gym. I didn’t manage to sleep in much, but an extra hour is an extra hour. It was also a bit warmer by 9 AM and that is a plus for this now-Southern girl.

Getting to the box and burning through some energy was just what I needed. I bought myself some Reebok socks and I wore a pair on Monday. But I couldn’t get the other ones on because my legs were too fat. I don’t think that’s right! Today, I used some baby powder first and got them on. Wild socks with my wild shoes. I was ready for the box!

I didn’t feel like running so I did some jump rope stuff. I missed a few and then ran 125 jumps without stopping. I stopped, didn’t miss, but I had run out of steam. I used to be able to jump rope as a kid forever. This getting old crap isn’t that easy. Then I worked on warming up some more and finally felt good enough to start.

Today’s WOD as written:
10 min working on candle stick roll into a pistol
5 RFT
10 ring dips
10 box jumps (24/20)

My behind is already on the verge of road rash from all the sit-ups and the whole candlestick roll thing wasn’t looking at all good to me. Instead, I opted to work on my front squat. That’s the beauty of open gym. I do what I want.

Every damn Monday is back squat and my back squat has gotten much better. But since I don’t go on Wednesday and I go late on Thursday and Friday is partner WOD and we don’t seem to have a skill in there because it is necessary to try to kill us – because of all these things, I don’t get to work on basic skills.

I need to start rotating through the basic moves and get some work done on my own time. I’m smarter than a box of rocks (barely) and should act like it. So today, I worked on front squats. First order of business was to see what my last PR was. 62#

I worked with a 33# bar and so technically, 63# was a new PR. I got three easy squats with that weight. So 68# was also a PR. So was 73# and again at 78# and even 83# was a new PR. But I didn’t drop the bar on that weight so I added five more and got a full squat and back up and racked the damn thing with 88#. That’s a 26# increase or a 41% increase. I front squatted with more than 2/3 of my body weight. And it was much deeper than an air squat was when I started this crap. CrossFit really works – if you do.

There were two other people at the box for open gym. Becky and her boyfriend. Or something. I have no idea who he was or what his name was or anything. They were both younger than me by decades. Just like always.

He did real ring dips, she used a red band, I used a blue band. He jumped on a 24″ box, she jumped on 20″ box, and I tried jumping on an 18″ stack and freaked out after three jumps and nearly skimming the top and just added another 25# plate to my stack and did step-ups on a 20″ height and called it a day.

I had to rest before each round of ring dips because I was beeping too much, but I managed to string them together mostly. Just slight pauses to regroup and reposition my hands or something. I finished in 6.53 which was better than I thought I would do. I had a heart rate of 173, but it came down quickly. I have no idea how to overcome this fear of losing my shins again. It is just so scary and I’m such a weenie with these horrid box jumps.

So now I’m home again and fed and watered. My next big challenge is going to be to see if I can get these sausage socks back off.

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Merry Christmas Eve.

My intention was to go to the box today. I would arrive at 6 AM and workout, hit the grocery store and then get ready for the arrival of grandchildren.

There was only one time to workout today. It was 10 AM or nothing. Now what? I know I did the Twelve Days of Christmas last year so I must have figured it out then. I go to the box on Tuesday and this is a Tuesday and I can adjust. Plus it was a special fun day.

I was still at the grocery store at 7 AM and got the rest of the ingredients for all the things I wanted to fix to feed the family. I got home and started cooking. I precooked broccoli for later. I got Aunt Tillie potatoes ready to go. I made the pumpkin dip as well and then it was time to head off to the box.

There were lots and lots of people there today. I’m not really sure how many there were but after a quick warm-up and an explanation of the WOD, we set up work areas and hoped for the best. If there wasn’t space available, it would be a good time to rest. The idea was to stay safe and to have fun.

Today’s WOD as written:

12 days of Christmas
That was all the website said last night and so we had to wait until we arrived to see what we would be doing.
1 parking lot sprint
2 tire flips
3 shoulder to overhead
4 power cleans
5 toes to bar
6 slam balls
7 wall balls
8 pistols
9 burpee pull-ups
10 kettlebell swings
11 hand stand pushups
12 oz curl

We needed to stagger start or we were going to have trouble with the tire flips. There were five tires out there to choose from and 50 people or more. We started in six different groups. I mentioned, loudly and perhaps stridently, that I needed to be in the first group to start because I was going to be the last one done.

The WOD is done like the song. First day; second day and first day; third day, second day, first day; etc.

I actually ran the first two parking lot sprints but then I used that time to get my heart rate back down. I used only a bare 33# bar for shoulder to overhead and power cleans. For the first three times, I actually did knees to elbows and then the bars were so full of people doing a variety of different things that I just did sit-ups. I used a 25# ball for the slam balls and a 10# ball for the wall balls and they both sucked. On the first round I did pistols while hanging onto the bar, but then it was so crowded there that I figured I would either get hurt or be in the way and an option was just plain squats so I did those. On the burpee pull-ups, I ignored the pull-up part and just walked burpees in and out. These were the only things that I couldn’t string together without a break. I could only do half of them at a time. I used a 25# KB and did Russian swings and the option for the HSPU was just a regular pushups. By this time I was so tired that I did girl pushups for the first time in months. It was like cheating because they were ridiculously easy. The 12 ounce curl was chugging a beer and I’ve never done that in my life and today wasn’t the day I was going to start. I had an option of just water and didn’t bother with a whole 12 ounces but did take a nice long drink. I got through and actually sprinted, such as it was, back into the box just as Kim was saying “Is everybody done?” I yelled out “No” because I had one more thing to do.

They got a bell to ring for PRs and we were supposed to ring it when we finished. I still had to ring the bell.

I didn’t look at what time I finished, but after I had caught my breath and the guy who finished first at RX weight got his prize, I looked and it had just turned 60 minutes, so I finished in under an hour.

On round five or six, as I was doing my shoulder to overhead, I hit some guy with the bar. He was walking from behind me and I had no idea anyone was there. He kept telling me it wasn’t my fault and I knew it wasn’t because I don’t have eyes in the back of my head, but I still felt bad. Luckily, I had a light bar and I hit his shoulder and didn’t clunk him in the head. He is the guy who won the prize and apparently he was moving so quickly he forgot to look where he was going.

My face was still beet red when I got home and I was whipped. But I was so proud of myself. Last year I had to scale things ridiculously light and some things I didn’t do at all. I got through day nine and then jumped to day twelve. Today, I still went light when I could, but I used a real med ball instead of the baby ball, the RX weight for slam ball because I didn’t have any other choice, and a real KB instead of a dumbbell. And, I didn’t quit.

So that was 12 parking lot meanders, 22 tire flips, 30 shoulder to overhead, 36 power cleans, 40 knees to elbows/sit-ups, 42 slam balls, 42 wall balls, 40 squats, 36 burpees, 30 KB swings, 22 pushups, and one long drink. That’s a lot of fun for an old fart.

Then I got home and finished getting stuff ready for our Christmas Eve party. We had turkey and stuffing, ham, Aunt Tillie potatoes, butternut squash with apples and cranberries, sautéed mushrooms and broccoli, sticky buns, cookies and candy, and lots of fun and noise and laughs.

Joe is moving on Sunday. He has a place to stay and a job so I feel a bit better.

All in all, it was a Merry Christmas.

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After last week’s workouts and massage, I was battered. The massage helped after it was done hurting, but to get the knots out took some deep pressure and I was bruised from it. My arms were nearly non-functional as well. All in all, I was a mess.

After a couple days off, I was much better. We went for a nice walk yesterday, enjoying the beautiful weather here in the southeast.

In the middle of the night a windstorm blew through. It might have rained at that time, but the howling wind was enough to wake the dead or at least it woke me up. That made it even harder to wake up when the alarm went off. But I did.

It was 72⁰ out there this morning. The humidity is only 83% but it feels worse than that. The air is thick and muggy. The upshot is that I wore shorts to the box today. I have been wearing layers so I can be okay in the cold. Today, I had a short sleeved shirt over a tank top thinking I wanted to protect my shoulders for back squats. It was too hot to leave the short sleeved shirt on.

Warm-up was a 400 meter run and I walked part of it. Then we were supposed to lunge down the mat backwards, but my right knee cap is still mad at me. I did it frontwards and it was still a bit touchy. Then we played a game. There had been 12 people at the 5 AM class so I don’t know what their game was. Ours, with six people there, had six stations and we did 30 seconds at each and then moved to the next and started again. Ten seconds set aside to move from place to place.

I started with slam balls so I could get them out of the way. Next was burpees, then wall balls and the med ball was so slick I couldn’t keep hold of it. Then box jumps, sit-ups , and finally KB swings. I’m not sure why this was a game since it was really hard work for this old coot.

Today’s WOD as written:
3×5 back squats
then
triple tabata one right into the other
burpees
air squats
toes to bar

I worked up to a 73# bar and did that for my three sets of five. Since I had already taken the t-shirt off, I just draped it over my shoulders. I’m such a delicate flower and all.

As we all know, I hate Tabatas. I believe they are just mean. I’m old. They are supposed to be hard and help with stamina and I have none. I learned long ago that I need to do 15-15 instead of 20-10 for the rounds so that I can recover enough to not have to skip a round.

Today, we were to keep track of all reps rather than the usual, punitive scoring option. But I managed to keep my reps the same for each round by planning ahead and working through the yuck.

I walked the burpees in and out and got to round six before I started beeping. I kept beeping and beeping. I managed to keep three burpees per 15 seconds the entire eight rounds for a score of 24.

There was no minute rest in between because why would we do that! Instead, right on to squats. I was hoping for ten but only got to 9 on the first round. I still hadn’t stopped beeping. At one point, Coach Ryan asked if I had quit beeping and I said hell, no. He said that for the new year I should raise my limit by one beat. I don’t even understand the logic there. I hadn’t stopped as soon as I started beeping. It is more of an indicator to start again when I do stop, not where I just quit when I beep. I beeped for a good solid six minutes without ever stopping except for the regular rest period of a Tabata.

Instead of toes to bar if we couldn’t do them, we were supposed to do sit-ups. Those aren’t as hard on my heart rate and I managed to actually stop beeping. I got 8 for each of the rounds.

My score was 24-72-64 which wasn’t as bad as it might have been.

And then, because it was so hot out there, on December 23 I drove home with the top down.

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As the year winds down, it is often a time to look back and reflect on what has happened. Some people do this by sending out a Christmas letter telling friends and family what has taken place. Since I blog continuously, it is already chronicled. And since I’m on Facebook way too often, it is listed in more detail than is necessary.

Facebook has a link to my highlights for 2013. How in the world would they know? I have no idea what algorithm was used, but I do know that it cannot be faultless. Mostly I know this because I didn’t post some of the important things TO Facebook.

In a world of uncensored and unfiltered postings, I still – at least sometimes – think before I post. So some of the big moments weren’t really for public consumption. Some of the more meaningful times are private and personal and really don’t need or deserve to be shared. It would cheapen the moment.

What I know for sure is that the year, like all those before, has been incredible. I know this because life on planet Earth is incredible. There have been far more good moments than bad moments but some of the things that stick out are crappy. Why is this? Why do we set ourselves up like this? We expect things to go well and when they don’t, we take both notice and offense.

There have been literally hundreds of days this past year when I didn’t wreck the car on the way to or from someplace. But instead of being grateful for this magical feat, which is more and more difficult with so many distracted drivers on the road, I get cranky for the near misses. A miss is as good as a mile, goes the proverb. My car and my body are both intact. I don’t even notice the miracle of a group of strangers barreling down the road side by side and not colliding, stopping at the red lights, and generally working in concert. It is an amazing achievement in civility.

Every single day for the entire year, I’ve had enough to eat, clean water to drink (and to turn into coffee), a warm or cool house (depending on the season), and closets full of clothes. If that wasn’t enough, there have been stark trees coming into leaf, gardens full of blooming flowers, the palette of fall sparkling in the sunlight, and full moons scattered in every four weeks. All of this beauty was there for the taking.

There has been a visit to a far away land, places I’d never been before, sights I’d never seen before, a chance of a lifetime. There has been a Sistercation where I got to spend time with the only people on the planet who have been with me every single step of the way (or at least as many of the steps as I can remember). There have been many, many trips to Hilton Head where the boys and their families live. I’ve played and laughed and loved every journey.

At the beginning of the year, the granddaughters were three years apart in age which was really too much. The younger granddaughter adored her older cousin and followed along in hero worship with the older one resenting the entire thing. They are still three years apart in age, but now that doesn’t matter. The baby got old enough to be a great playmate and the cousins have taken to looking for each other to play with, not just the younger one yearning for her hero. Nothing changed, but everything changed.

It is moments like this that never make it to Facebook. It is the stuff that makes grandmotherly hearts sing. It is important. It is ephemeral. It is written in the sands of time and washes away with the next wave. But here, in my heart, I remember and bring the experience out to examine it every once in a while and smile the contented smile of a matriarch.

There have been moments of connection that meant far more than one would imagine. Slivers of time so thin that if you blink, they are missed. But it is moments like these that make the job of living worth the effort. The successes not in the marketplace, but in the world at large, are the ones that taste the sweetest. The times of togetherness, perfect and harmonious, are the gifts we need to keep in our hearts. They don’t come with bows or fancy paper. They are forgotten in the hustle and bustle of life. Which is really odd, because it is these precious moments that ARE life.

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