Comparison is the thief of joy. – Theodore Roosevelt

Look in the mirror … that’s your competition. – Sports adage

I made myself miserable for most of the day yesterday by forgetting these two things. I could have killed myself by forgetting the rules of the game.

I like to win. I’ve always preferred winning to losing. Losing is part of life, however sad that fact may be. But I usually can win at most pursuits, at least part of the time. This is my major difficulty with CrossFit. I never win. Ever. I’m always the worst score on the whiteboard. Always. I’m the oldest member at my box and I’m in the worst shape of anyone there. I’m pitiful.

I am not nearly as pitiful as when I started. Back at the beginning, I was VERY pitiful. Nearly despicable. I couldn’t do squat(s). I couldn’t lunge without a crutch. I moved exactly zero iron. I couldn’t do a push-up or even a band assisted pull-up. I couldn’t even jump to the lowest box. I could do nothing. At all. I have no idea why I went back.

If I could remember that my competition is the person in the mirror, I would be happier with my progress. Too often, while writing yet again a miserable number on the whiteboard with either high time or low reps followed by the word “scaled” I get discouraged.

I’ve read many articles lately about those numbers on the board. They don’t tell the whole story. They don’t give an indication of form or compare to the scorers’ one rep max. If a person can max at 215 and the WOD calls for 135, they are lifting light. If it calls for 95 and my one rep max is 75, I’m over my limit and must scale.

Most of the time I can remember this and be happy with what I have accomplished. Most of the time it is just me against me and while it is crappy numbers and pitiful performance, it is better than it was and so with that mindset and a different definition of what it means to win – I win. Perhaps that is cheating or perhaps it is what keeps me going back.

Fun Fridays are partner WODs and they are anything but fun for me. I hate them. I’m no longer competing with the person in the mirror because it isn’t just me who is competing. Some schmuck is stuck with me. At 6 AM we are honest and play “Pass the Patti” and different people acknowledge that they have to take a turn getting paired with me. But I hate getting up in the middle of the night on my days off and so I have tried something new. I’ve been going at noon.

These people don’t really know me and they are still trying to be nice. The WODs have been written in a way that they are playing directly into my weaknesses – which isn’t all that hard to do because I have so many of them. But they have been written so that I can’t be a productive member of a pair or a team.

I kept pushing myself yesterday trying to let my partner get a real workout in. He couldn’t advance until I had completed my round, too. But I’m old and my heart rate goes too high. I was over 175 several times yesterday which can’t be good for me or my heart. I didn’t have any chest pain, but I did get very lightheaded and try to fall over on the lunges. The hypostatic stuff wasn’t helping the already compromised vascular system. I knew better. I also knew that somebody else’s score depended on my moving continually for five minutes, something which I simply can’t do at this pace.

I was sickish all morning worrying about this and crying all afternoon because of my miserable performance. I was ready to just quit. I’m so sick of losing all the time. All. The. Time. There is no awesome for me. There is losing. Scaling and still crappy scores. Simply sucking at everything.

Unless I get a different frame. If instead of comparing myself to 40 somethings, 30 somethings, and even 20 somethings (hell, I have socks older than that) – I could compare myself to other 60 somethings – oh, wait, I’m the only one there. So, on each and every workout – I’m best in my age group. I was the only person who was permitted to do the Master’s level for the Open WODs we did. That’s because I’m the only old fart there.

I have RXd exactly three WODs since I started. One was rowing until the cows came home and everyone else was home and had breakfast eaten before I finished, but I did finish the WOD. The other was the Patti RX thing Ryan wrote specially for me where my deadlifts were my one rep max minus my age, giving me a chance. The other RX was from the Open when they allowed for my age and wrote deadlifts starting with low enough weight that I again had a chance.

My stumbling block isn’t the WODs. I can make crap up so that I can somehow manage to do something along the lines of what is written, even if it is pistols and muscle-ups or handstand walks and running a mile. I manage most days when it is just me.

I’m going to just stop having fun on Fridays and figure out a way to get in a workout without having a partner unless they are written so that I have rest time while my partner is working. I could go to open gym at 9 AM and do something or go on Saturdays instead when there is open gym. Or I could use the equipment I have in the garage. There is a way around this and it doesn’t involve quitting. That would really make me a loser.