August 2016

What am I most afraid of? Seems like it might be success. Well, not really success itself, but someone else pointing out my success isn’t all that successful.

This is the crux of my issues with awesomeness. You see, I have no idea where the bar is so I can’t tell if I’ve cleared it with room to spare, just got over, or knocked it to the ground.

I do CrossFit. I’ve been at this for nearly four years. I’ve improved greatly. I can do things today that I could only dream of when I started. I’m much improved. But … and there is always a but in here … I have no idea what it is that I should be doing.

My deadlift is half my son’s back squat. Is that any good? For either of us? I don’t know. And I don’t know where to find this information. Surely there must be some chart with what it is that a Little Old Lady with a cardiologist should be able to perform after nearly four years of practice. But … and there is always a but … there isn’t. There is no magic chart that tells me where the line is.

I have no way to figure out how to tell if I’m giving myself too much leeway to account for my age/condition/heart rate or if I’m not giving myself enough. If I claim awesomeness, will someone come by and point out that my weights are low, my reps are low, my performance is not up to par? Why can’t I find a par for me? That’s really what I need.

This is driving me crazy. I have always been able to find a par and then meet or exceed it. That’s been my life. And this whole CrossFit thing doesn’t do that. It makes me work to my own capacity and know that I’m doing all I can do with what I have to work with on this day and at this time. And then, be happy with the results.

I’m proud of all my hard work. I’ve come so far. And yet, I’m still in the foothills. I haven’t even started to climb the mountain. And if I proclaim my abilities, will someone unkindly point out that there is a whole mountain in front of me. And how can I not see the mountain myself.

Am I supposed to be climbing mountains at my age? Shouldn’t I be happy with navigating the foothills? I’ve done so much to get to this point. But … and there is always a but … there is that mountain. How can I be awesome with a whole mountain in front of me?

There is one thing that Coach Craig, Coach Kim, and all my friends seem to agree on. I don’t give myself enough credit for what I manage to do. I’m at the gym on a regular basis and working as hard as my aging body and cantankerous heart will allow. That’s pretty awesome since I could be on the couch or in front of the computer.

But … and there is always a but … that computer will allow me to look and see what Little Old Ladies did at the CrossFit Games. The leader in the one rep max for a squat clean managed 142# for that. I can deadlift 153# max. But … and there is always a but … I have no idea how long this 60 year old has been working at this stuff and what her history is and what she does has nothing to do with me anyway.

Intellectually, I know all this. The people at the games are freaking amazing. They are like Olympians in that this is really, really important to them and they work much harder, for much longer at getting to their peak performance than I ever will or ever want to. So comparing myself to the world’s best athletes from any arena is stupid.

But … and there is always a but … I still have no idea what to expect from myself. I’m not sure how to figure out the chart I need to work from. I want to push myself to successfully complete my WODs. I want to also be able to move the next day or the day after. I need to work hard but not injure myself because I’m old and it takes me longer to heal.

I just don’t know where that mark is. And to claim I’m awesome just because I try seems like giving myself an honor I haven’t earned. Unless, I have earned it somehow and just don’t understand the rules.

I am afraid. I’m afraid that if I call myself awesome for doing all the awesome stuff I do, someone will unkindly point out that it isn’t really all that much – compared to the elite athletes at the Games or the twentysomething young men, or the fortysomething women out there.

I really wish I knew how to give myself credit for all the shit I’ve accomplished. I need a chart.




I spent nearly four weeks, four glorious weeks, with my family. First I went to Arizona for Sistercation and had time with the people who have known me longer than anybody else on the planet. We laughed and shopped and laughed and traveled and laughed and museumed. Mostly we laughed together.

Then I went to Ohio and visited my son and his family. More laughter, more shopping, more traveling, and mostly loving every minute together.

I loved my vacation. I’m not all that fond of flying – it makes me nervous and cranky. I’m not fond of hours and hours in the car, either. It doesn’t make me that nervous, but it’s boring as hell and makes me cranky. There is a pattern there. Lots of things make me cranky. I’m a cranky old lady.

So I flew around the country and was encased in a car for twelve hours. The other price I paid for this wondrous and much-loved vacation was four weeks away from the gym. I did some stuff while I was away, but nothing at all like a CrossFit WOD.

I came back to two named WODs and managed to get through those. Monday’s WOD was overhead squats and over the bar burpees. Killed my legs on that one even though I cut the reps way back. But I had a massage on Tuesday and managed to hobble into the box again today.

Today’s WOD as written:
Strict pull-ups

3 x 10
12 minute AMRAP
3 deadlifts 315/225
9 box jumps 24/20

I’m still trying to get back into the swing of things. So although the weight on the deadlift was supposed to be heavy, I stuck at 93#. I did my HSPU from a box to one mat. I did step-ups onto the same 20” box.

I got a respectable score. Nothing great, but not horrible. But I’m unhappy with it. I’m always unhappy with my score. I work so very hard and I have come an enormous distance. It took me weeks to deadlift 42# and I was lightening my lift today with 93# because I’m just coming back from vacation. My scaled HSPUs were executed well (except by the fourth round, my knees were slipping from all the “glow” involved in working out in South Carolina in the summer).

But I’m unhappy with myself. I don’t know why or what to do to realize that I’m freaking awesome. I can say the words, but I can’t feel the awesome. I only feel the failure. The failure of not being as strong or flexible or possess the endurance I wish to have. Being old.

Most women my age are knitting. While I can knit, too, I do this weightlifting stuff. But I never feel like I’m doing enough. Kim has listened to my doubts for four years now; she is a saint. And no matter how much I improve; I never feel “enough” to be happy.

I realize that this is a process and I’m not looking for complacency. There will always be a higher weight to move and I will never be the person to move it. But I honestly don’t know what I’m supposed to be able to achieve and how I will know when I’m to a place that is truly awesome instead of a atta girl pat on the head sort of whoop dee do thing. I don’t know what my expectations are.

I’m the best old fart at my box simply by the fact of being the only one. I’m sure everyone’s heart rate is way over mid-160s on these WODs, but I’m the one who has a cardiologist who has put that type of cap on my exertion. That means I should get a pass, right? But how much of a pass do I allow myself? When do I know that I’m approaching real awesome and not some self-induced lying awesome?

Why can’t I be happy with everything I’ve accomplished? I’m never happy with my performance. It’s slow and light and even with all the scaling in the world, a score has to go on the board that is, in a raw number format, pitiful. I know that is part of my problem. Scoring.

As I was watching my heart rate stay too high despite box breathing today, I had to keep telling myself that the score was unimportant and what mattered was that I was working really hard and doing my best. Do your best. Isn’t that what they say to the less bright kids in school? “Just do your best!” And here I am, doing my best and it isn’t nearly good enough.

I want to be better. I’m betting Rich Froning and Annie Thorisdottir want to be better, too. It’s what we do; we work hard to get better. I just wish I could feel like I was good enough now.