July 2015


I have been trying to get back into the swing of writing more. My Little Bits of History essays are caught up and I’m ready to post August but I should be a bit farther along on September already. I like to keep the pressure off by being enough ahead.

On the plus side, because I wasn’t efficiently ahead, when my brother in law posted something interesting from his bike trip (he rode from Ohio, up to Alaska, and is coming back via a different route with a stop in Sturgis), I could use the bit in my essays because I wasn’t that far ahead. So it all worked out. But I need to get back in the swing of writing.

I finished the girl afghan I was making and I’m not sure what girl will get it. But since it is pink and purple, I’m pretty sure a boy doesn’t want it. Even if I were to tell them that pink used to be for boys and they tried to trick Death into taking worthless girls and began dressing them in pink – they still wouldn’t want it.

Now I’m back to working on my own afghan. I’m loving the way it is turning out. But I can’t crochet and write at the same time. So it is a choice I need to watch. Crocheting is less work.

I looked at the WOD as soon as it was posted last night and knew it had to be wrong. My first instinct was that the RFT part was missing. By this morning, I decided the AMRAP was missing. Wrong on both counts.

It was me and Kat today with Kim coaching. It was a cool ⁰F 82 out there so not as bad as it has been. But it still was hot. I looked at the board and just laughed. I knew what was on the website couldn’t be right.

We warmed up and bear crawls were in there. It has been a while since I had to do those and quite frankly, I haven’t missed them at all. I tried not to whine or complain.

Today’s WOD as written:
Strength:

Split Jerk Work:
Light to moderate weight, concentrating on footwork and speed under the bar
5X5
WOD:
50 Dubs/25 abmats sit ups/15 HSPU

I never choose to do a split jerk because I feel so blasted unsteady with them. Not quite as bad as an overhead squat, but close. I asked about lead leg. I tried just jumping out without any weight at all. I put my right foot forward. I tried this with just the 22# bar. I was, just as I remembered, very unsteady.

After the first set, as I sat there and got my heart rate back down, I thought about my life. I was in the high school marching band for three years. It was drilled into my head to lead with my right foot. But I’m really left footed.

I got up for the next set, did a couple with my right foot and then asked about switching and trying my left foot forward. Kim said to try and she would watch carefully. I nailed it. It felt steady. I could manage to move without feeling like I would fall over. I did all the rest of them with my left foot forward and felt comfortable with the move by the end of the fifth set.

And now the WOD as not written online but on the white board
50 dubs/ 25 abmat sit-ups/ 15 HSPU
40 dubs/ 20 abmat sit-ups/ 12 HSPU
30 dubs/ 15 abmat sit-ups/ 9 HSPU
20 dubs/ 10 abmat sit-ups/ 6 HSPU
10 dubs/ 5 abmat sit-ups/ 3 HSPU

There are things to scale here. I can do abmat sit-ups but then it all falls apart. For the double unders I did the jump to the bar thing. Then I did HSPUs from a 20” box with one mat on the floor mostly because I’m really afraid of slamming my face into the floor. This is important.

I also cut off the entire first line. So the only part written online was what I didn’t do. I began with the 40 jumps, did those and immediately did the sit-ups. So far so good. My heart rate was at 163 and I took a couple deep breaths and began the HSPU. I got five done fairly well and then fell on my face. Not from high up and I didn’t hurt myself at all. Mostly I scared myself, but I was extremely glad I had that cushion there to keep my nose from really impacting the ground. Kim asked if I needed help but I was already pushing myself back upright. Then the important question – was that a rep. She said since I really got my head to the ground and pushed myself back up, it was a rep. I regrouped and got my heart rate down and then did the last six.

I did the jumps and sit-ups and then rested. I managed all 9 HSPUs without stopping since I got my heart rate down a bit more before starting. Then I had to rest and do the next round the same. After I finished the 6 HSPUs, I was tempted to go and begin the jumps, but instead I got my heart rate down to 155 and then did the entire last round without stopping at all. I finished in 9.44. Kat finished just a few seconds later. I’m glad I didn’t try to do the first round. I was done by the time I finished and I really didn’t have all that other stuff left.

The last time I did HSPUs, I got sick and thought I would puke. So I did have some dumbbells handy to do shoulder presses if I needed them, but I think the whole upside down thing is more challenging. I was able to stick with it for the entire WOD, even as written on the white board and scaled for a master.

DeWayne was just coming in as I was leaving and I got to congratulate him and talk a bit about his experience. It was fun from here and he said it was great from California.

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I managed to get the car out of the garage all by myself like a big girl. I kept trying to step on the clutch, but there isn’t one since it is an automatic. I tried to grab the key from the ignition, it’s not there. I have a fob. The ride is so smooth, I kept speeding. It just floats, very unlike the low slung sports car. This is going to take some getting used to. I also figured out how to make a hands free phone call and I managed to get the car back into the garage.

With two real cars, the garage seems so full. The little low sports car was smaller than this, but not by that much. However, this has a volume about twice that of the go kart since it is much taller. Quite shocking and yet, in no time I will adjust because – humanity.

Kim is back from the CrossFit Games. She said it was wonderful to watch amazing athletes, but after a while, and particularly with specific WODs, it was less thrilling. How exciting can it be to watch someone not be able to climb a board? Or row? But she was glad she went and got a little better at flying, too. DeWayne ended up 13th in his division. I know someone from the Games. Isn’t that impressive?

Today it was me and Kat with Kim coaching. We began with a run and then did all manner of other things. Many things. Various and sundry things. And then we were declared warm.

Today’s WOD as written:
Strength:

Dumbbell single arm snatches
3-3-3-3 each arm (more experienced can use kettle bells)
WOD
Full Clean plus full clean and jerk ladder EMOM

Men’s RX
75, 95, 135, 155, 175, 195, 210
Women’s RX
43, 73, 93, 113, 123, 133, 143
Once you reach your max, each athlete must do 10 burpees EMOM until all athletes finish the ladder or fail until the 10 minute mark. For example, if you are a male and fail at 155 lbs, then you will do 10 burpees EMOM until 10 minutes (6 rds of burpees). You get as many chances to lift the weight during that minute, but if you cannot, the next minute you must start your burpees. Notice the ladder only has 7 posted weights, so all athletes will do 3 rounds of burpees regardless.

Part of the warm-up had been working with the dumbbells so those were all handy. I started with 8# and went to 10# and then did 15# twice. I might have been able to do 20# with my right arm, but not my left. I could barely get the three done with the 15#. But I did.

Kim said the goal was to really do the cleans and clean and jerks. She didn’t want us just doing burpees. That was good since I would have had to do 90 burpees in 9 minutes and we can guarantee that wouldn’t happen. I had a game plan for what ever way this was supposed to go. I was ready come what may.

I began with a 22# bar and had it up on parallettes. That made the whole plate changing thing easier, too. She had lines of bars all set up for the entire ladder and I’m not sure how it worked if there were more people, but Kat and I each used our own setup and did pretty much different things.

I hoped for 22-27-32-37-42-47-52 but my heart rate was so high after the 47 that I knew that 52 was not going to work at all. I’m leery of throwing the weight overhead when my heart rate is over 165 and it was even doing the 47# so I was sure the next round was going to be worse. Our directions were to get seven cleans and clean and jerks done and only do three minutes of burpees. So I stayed with the 47# on the last round.

I’m always a mess after WODs with burpees because I walk them in and out and that torques my back and hips too much. Jumping them in and out jacks my heart rate too much. So, in the realization that I’m old with a wonky heart, I opted to just do 3 jumping the damn things in and out burpees. But at the end of the clean and jerk my heart rate was 175 – a mere ten points higher than I’m really supposed to go.

I couldn’t get it low enough to start the burpees by the top of the minute. Kim said to do the burpees at the 30 second mark. I could have a bit of an extended rest before starting them, but would then have a minute before each start. I did that. I managed to jump them in and out, but three was all I could manage. My heart rate would be at 168 by that time and I would have to box breathe to get it back for the next pitiful attempt.

On the plus side, they were real burpees. And I did all that I had hoped to with that portion of the day. I scaled appropriately. I was dripping wet, red faced, panting like a lizard on a hot rock, and wilted. But they were real burpees. And my back doesn’t hurt.

Last week, after 90 lunges, I spent the entire next day saying, “My butt hurts” and somehow, after all the squatting with the warm-up and the WOD, I’m thinking I’m going to be saying the same thing again tomorrow.

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I usually don’t have much to do with buying cars. At one time, one of the cars was always in my name and I had to go and sign final papers and whatnot, but I didn’t have to do much else.

The 2006 Mazda Miata has been in our family for five years (exactly to the day, it was purchased on July 28, 2010). I had absolutely nothing to do with buying it. We test drove a few Miatas and then I went on vacation. I was out in Arizona when Dick found the car and bought it. I came home and there was my cute little convertible sitting there waiting.

It didn’t have very many miles on it, but it wasn’t as fun anymore. It was hard to get in and out of and there wasn’t much room for stuff and certainly no room for people. While my sisters were here, I had to drive Dick’s car because no one would ride in the trunk. It was really nice to not have to shift – after I got used to not shifting. It was also very nice to have a little camera showing me where I was backing up.

There were lots of nice features to the new car. But the little car has been serviceable and paid for, which is always nice. This broke and that broke and they were always not quite deal-breaking bills. But there were getting to be more and more of them.

And then there was the problem of getting in and out of the car. Not so bad if it wasn’t the day after leg day. But after enough squats, wall balls, or lunges – or a combination of them – then it was really difficult to get my fat ass in or out of the car. Especially if someone parked too close to my door while I was mincing through the grocery store.

There was room for exactly five bags of groceries (using the reusable bags, not the Walmart type of bagging where only two items or less go in each bag) in the trunk and if I bought too many groceries, it was going to be difficult to get them home. Sports cars are fun, but they aren’t without issues.

The last time the car broke was right after my sisters went back home. It wasn’t anything major. The thermostat needed replaced and it was around $375 to fix – just under our $400 limit. And so we discussed selling the car. We had said when the last thing broke that the next one would mean it was time to sell. And now, here was the next time.

We had lots of time to discuss this on our trip back and forth to Ohio. We were in Dick’s fancy car 12 hours each way and this was one of the items up for discussion. I really liked driving Dick’s Ford and I liked the features (including the navigation and computer display) and so we looked at Fords. We decided we would go car shopping today.

We left the house right around 11 AM on what I thought was going to be a test drive. We tried a Fiesta, but they only had a low end, bottom of the line model on the lot and I simply hated it. It was awful. The seat was like sitting on a wooden box and we finally figured out that you had to pump the seat to get it to tilt which was absolutely bizarre in my opinion.

I did ask before driving if I could take the salesman to our house because part of the test drive was seeing if I could get it in and out of the garage (I am too uncertain to move Dick’s car in or out of the garage, partly due to its size and partly because it is on the wrong side of the garage). I could get this car in and out of the garage without trouble. But I really, really hated it.

Then I tried a Focus. It had everything on it and much more. It was the top of the line or something ridiculous which meant that its price tag was higher than I wanted. It was also white which wasn’t the color I was hoping for. I was hoping for red or blue. But it is the end of the model year and there were fewer cars on the lot.

I again brought the car to the house and successfully parked in the garage and got back out. It is bigger than the Miata, but not enough to scare the living crap out of me. Everything was way cool, the seat was a power seat and I could actually get it where it was comfortable to sit in. The ride was much smoother, but since I’m used to a sports car, that wasn’t as much of a big deal. I am sure it will be later. It had the computer/navigation thing. It’s got a super sound system with ten speakers – see, lots of stuff I didn’t need.

Everything about it was nice except the price tag. But the sales manager said he could deal with us. He did. He gave us a deal! Sticker price minus the Ford rebate plus about ⅔ what we knew we could get for the Mazda. We looked at him stunned.

We went back and forth and I finally had to get my phone’s calculator all fired up. By now, hours had passed and I missed lunch. I do not miss meals willingly, or politely. As we put numbers in and fiddled around with the numbers game, I finally put in some of my own numbers. I was done by then.

I announced that we would leave and sell the Mazda on our own and if the Ford was still there, we could come back and buy it, but if not too bad. Dick knew exactly how much someone was willing to buy the Mazda for and it was more than they were offering. I even started to stand up when the sales manager finally figured out we were serious about not giving away the Mazda.

Dick countered with an even number and said if he could sell us the car for that amount, we would buy it. They did and we did. By this time I was shaking like a leaf. This is not what I am cut out to do.

Then the paperwork started and that was annoyingly drawn out, but what else can you do. Then we went to the finance guy to sign up for 0% financing. That was also a lot of paperwork but didn’t take as long as it might have. In fact, it was so quick, they hadn’t finished detailing the car.

We waited for about an hour for them to wash the car. We finally got home, with my pretty new car with all the stuff on it anyone could want, at 5 PM. The car needs to last for the rest of my life because I really don’t want to have to go through this again.

I don’t understand why this has to be so hard. If they had immediately met Dick’s price, we would have paid $1,000 more for the car than we ended up paying. But they couldn’t afford to sell it for that and so ended up selling it for less. But, I’m good to go for a long time. I hope.

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Before being cleaned up and made pretty.

I have been keeping a log of my infrequent and pitiful workouts in a Word document rather than posting here online. I figure my whining online isn’t helpful and my low scores and high times aren’t impressive. I’m not happy with what I do at the box and feel like if someone my age can do a 112# thruster, then I should be doing more at the box.

But then I look around the world and notice that most women my age don’t do anything and many of them are incapacitated in some way and many more didn’t even make it this far. And here I am, still going to the box and doing amazing things.

So I’m stuck here with a choice. How do I package this stuff? What is the proper way to look at my performance? What lens do I use? How do I judge?

One of my angst driven issues lately has been the “group” I’m working out with. It is me. Alone. I know people will actually pay a lot of money to have a private coaching session, but I’m not really trying to be a super athlete. I’m just trying to get through a WOD without dying. I feel sorry for a coach with just me in the class. They can’t even be enthusiastic while I sit there and box breathe and hope to be able to get off my fat ass and get more work done.

I’ve looked at the 6 AM class to see if I should just give up and wake up before dawn in order to have a group to work with. But there has been no one at the 6 AM class. So I might as well sleep in and be alone at the 8 AM class. I really thought there would be more people there during the summer, but there isn’t. I could get up for a group workout at the 5 AM time slot, but that’s not happening.

So today, it was Chris coaching and me trying not to whine. This guy is an amazing athlete. He is strong and powerful and amazing to watch. He started CrossFit shortly after me and he was already pretty amazing. He’s better now. And in truth, so am I.

He knows I hate to run and so he let me row and then I did other stuff and eventually I was declared warmed up.

Today’s WOD as written:
Strength: Back Squat

3×3 moderate weight
2X3 Heavy weight
WOD:
3 RFT:

50 Over the Bar jumps (both feet leave the ground and land at the same time, can be lateral jumps)
10 Power Snatches (95/65)

I asked what percentages I should go with for the lifts and Chris said about 60% and then add 10 or 20#. So that’s what I did. I warmed up to 63# and did the three sets and then went to 83# and did two more sets.

My snatches are pitifully low weight. Recently, I actually managed two 42# power snatches and so I figured I would try, for the first time in a WOD, to use the empty 33# bar for the snatch. But since I was using a bar without plates, it would be fairly easy to jump over. Chris thought I might be able to walk across a 12” box laterally, but I figured I could jump over a bar sitting on the floor without hurting myself. I should have taken his suggestion because I think it would have been less tiring. But I managed to do what I had planned.

I had a 22# bar sitting there in case I weenied out. My “masters” rep scheme was 80% of the reps the real athletes used. That meant 40 jumps and 8 hang power snatches. I got my heart rate down low enough to start and then began.

The lowest time on the board was 5.17. I was over 3 minutes finishing the first round. I did the 40 jumps, rested, actually had to use chalk because my hands were too wet and did 4 snatches, rested, rechalked, and did 4 snatches. Then I rested and began again. Each of the rounds was the same. The 22# bar was sitting there, tauntingly close. But I was managing the 33# bar and so I kept at it. I would think about how much easier it would be to go to the lighter bar, but I didn’t. I stayed with the 50% heavier bar than I am used to using – a huge jump.

Comparison is the thief of joy. Many of the earlier athletes finished in the 8 to 9 minute range, but there was that 5.17 time in there, too. My time, even with only 80% of the reps was slow. Tortoise slow.

I finished in 12.06. This was a horrible time. I suck as CrossFit.
I stuck with my 50% higher weight. This is an accomplishment. I’m a CrossFitter.

I vacillate between these two ideas on a constant basis.

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I have been in a bad mood. For weeks. Perhaps that’s the definition of depression or perhaps I’m just naturally cranky. Either way, I’ve been feeling unhappy for weeks. I had a chance to be with my sisters and I loved it. Then they had to go home. I had a chance to be with my son and his family and I loved it. Then we had to go home. I miss my family. I’m not happy to be so far from the people I love.

That’s probably the reason I’ve been in a bad mood for weeks. I was happy while my sisters were here and I was happy when we were with the kids. Then I went back to cranky. I can list a million things that are wrong in my little world. And I have been. All the myriad and multiple problems have become my overriding self-talk. This is wrong and that is wrong and everything is wrong.

But it isn’t. I have two sisters and we love each other and are, for eleven and a half months a year, just a phone call away. I have two sons and four grandchildren and we love each other. They aren’t close geographically, but in this technological era, why does that even matter?

I’ve been married to my starter husband for 42 years. He has put up with all my shit for that long and miraculously, for some very odd reason, still loves me. It’s inexplicable. I’m not easy to live with. But he soldiers on.

We aren’t the Gates or Warren Buffet, but we have enough money so that we can indulge many of our wants and not have to worry about eating cat food. Because Dick stayed at a single company for most of his working life, and because it was long enough ago that these things happened, he has a great pension. I have a little pension. We have been frugal, maybe even cheap, for most of our lives and that means we can afford our early retirements.

My home is comfortable. Our lives are secure here. We have enough space to stay out of each other’s way when we want privacy and we have a place to come together when we don’t. It’s nice here, although in the summer it is hot and muggy – at least we don’t have to shovel it.

I’m healthy. Most people my age are on some type of medication for some chronic problem. I’m on room air. That’s it. I can and do work out three times a week. I’m better than when I started and I do believe it is contributing to my overall healthy status.

There are many things in my life that make it wonderful. I have been choosing to look at all the things that are wrong.

My family is far away. And after 42 years, there aren’t many mysteries left. We aren’t gobsmacking rich and so can’t indulge every whim. The house isn’t perfect. I’m the crappiest person at my entire gym. I can create a much longer list.

I have been spending too much time looking at that paragraph above instead of all the other things I wrote. I have been choosing to examine every single minute thing that is wrong with my life. I have been making myself unhappy.

I think I need to choose better. I think it is time to remember how good my life is. It isn’t perfect because no one has a perfect life. But it is much better than I have any right to expect. Life is hard and then you die. But my life isn’t really all that hard. And I’m not dying any time soon. I should make the time I have left be happy. And I can choose that. So, I think I will.

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I figured all the squats from Monday would leave me crippled. I did my mobilization and worked on my legs and butt with only minimal success or maybe I would have been really crippled without it. But I wasn’t cured with it. I made popcorn last night and when a kernel hit the floor, I couldn’t squat to pick it up. It hurt too much and I had to hold on to the counter and bend forward just like the old person I am. It was not a good sign.

So I ate my popcorn and it was delicious and then I did a second session of mobilization for my legs. I still had to push myself out of chairs instead of just rising, like I have become accustomed to moving. For people who aren’t completely stupid, pain is a sign to back off and let the body heal. I had to put my vanity and/or ego aside and know that 32 more squats today was simply not in my own best interest.

I got there and Kat was back. Desiree was there and her mom talked her into the doing the WOD with us. Kim coached us. We warmed up and even doing leg swings was not fun. There were ten air squats as part of the warm-up and I tried, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t break parallel even once. I was getting closer by the end.

Today’s WOD as written:
5 min abs
included in warm up
1 min plank
1 min V ups
1 min flutter kicks
1 min bicycle
1 min flutter kicks
WOD:
8 min EMOM of each
a. 2 HSC (Hang squat clean)
b. 2 HSS (hang squat snatch)
c. 2 Pull cleans (should be heavier than Power Clean 1RM, this is only the pull or position
1 of the clean lift)
d. chest press
Rest at least 2 min between each EMOM. Lifts should be heavy.

I held my core tighter on the plank and managed 45 seconds today which is longer than I managed on Monday. The V-ups were okay and I did them slowly. The flutter kicks were horrible and I did them intermittently and not very many, the bicycle was a welcome relief, and then the horrible flutter kicks again. I’m unsure what my abs are supposed to do, but being a six pack isn’t in their future.

I decided to simply do power cleans and power snatches and give my aching legs a rest. I drug over the 12” box to sit on during the rest thing since getting up off the floor was difficult and ungainly. And I like sitting on the boxes since it helps me get my heart rate back down better.

We practiced with the moves to warm up and then were told that we could add weight as we went along. I began the power cleans with 42# and then went to 47, 52, and did the last round with 57 only because I was thinking we were going to be doing ten rounds of each and didn’t add the weights right.

I suck at snatches. I began with 27# and then went to 32, 37, and finished at 42#. Since I realized we were doing eight, I did two reps at each weight. That 42# was a one rep max which I guess was a two rep max. I have never tried that before and I managed it twice – twice. Amazing.

The next move was more than a deadlift but less than a power clean. It was to be the lift from the floor and then the explosive hips and the shrug before you “floated” the bar up. I love the way that sounds and we got silly talking about it. I don’t know what my one rep max is but I began at 67# and then went to 72 and 77 and I didn’t have any more weights handy and so I stopped there.

The chest press is where I keep dropping the bar on myself. Luckily, I’m small enough that I don’t actually hurt myself doing this as the weights keep the actual bar off me. But I can’t say I like it. I did 6 rounds at 42# and seemed to be holding on okay. I upped it to 47# for the last two and didn’t drop the weight on myself. 52 is where I usually do that and I didn’t try that today.

We ran over a bit on the time because that’s a lot of EMOM stuff which really can’t be rushed.

By the end, my legs were feeling better. If I had had to do an overhead squat with the snatch bar, I wouldn’t have been brave enough to even try that 42# bar. I’m sure I scaled this right for the day. I’m happy with the results. I was happier to get into the air conditioning and get some food, but that’s usual.

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