August 2018


Review of the new Gmail platform for computers.

What the hell, Google? Why in the name of all that is holy would you believe this is an improvement?

First of all, it takes longer to load. I’m not sure why this is, but each time I sit there and watch the “loading” marker creep across the page, it annoys me. What takes so long? On my tablet and/or phone which don’t have the new and “improved” webpage presentation, it is faster to load than on my full power laptop.

Why would you put the little annoying message about my having deleted all the crap I get sent right over where the next email shows up, making it impossible to read the damn thing? Who thought this was a good idea? I realize email is the new landline and we all really don’t need it or anything, but … making it even more annoying isn’t a real help. Move that damn message back to the top of the screen and out of the way.

I put all my ads into the Promotional tab and then once or twice a week, select all and make it all go away. So far, I haven’t missed a damn thing with this strategy. Of course, I’m sure each and every company would like me to read the weekly, daily, or hourly update they insist on sending me about all their really cool deals. But I’m not that interested. If I’m in the mood for something, I will scan down the multitudinous list, look for the company I’m planning on visiting, and seeing if they have any coupons for me.

But now, when I select all, all the shit doesn’t go away. Those top two ads are able to be deleted if I X them out, but I can’t have an empty tab with a single click, even for just a second anymore.

I realize the internet isn’t free and we all have to pay our share. But the more ads they foist on us, the more we come to be blind to all of them. We have trained ourselves from the days of the red and blue seizure inducing flashing ads, to the videos that come on with full volume and make you shut down the entire webpage. We know there are ads, but we have taught ourselves to barely look, if we look at all. Ignoring the ads is an art form.

I didn’t look at the video Google/Gmail sent me to see all the new features of the webpage. All I want to do is see the few emails I actually look at consistently. I don’t need to have anything fancy. This is Gmail, not Outlook (the business email thing did all sorts of wonderful stuff and perhaps this does too, but I don’t care. I don’t need wonderful stuff). Mostly what I would like is for the thing to load faster, the black box telling me I deleted an email (or 50) to get out of my way, and to have a pristine tab for a millisecond or two.

I’m sure there is some integration between all the wonderful features Google offers and now my email can talk to my calendar which can do something with pictures or videos that I really don’t care about. I’m sure if I used Google docs there would be some fine features there, too. If I had watched the video, I might have found it is all voice activated (but I don’t have a microphone for the laptop, so that’s worthless) and might even pat me on the ass when I’ve been especially witty.

But all I want is a fast clean email client. I guess in this age of “features and more features” that’s just asking too much.

But really, move that delete message out of the way. Really. That’s just stupid. Very stupid. And annoying. Did I mention stupid? Untitled

Advertisements

Yesterday I was talking to a fellow gym rat. She started CrossFit a few years ago and mentioned how difficult it was to begin at fifty. I pointed out that I completely understood. I started at fifty-nine. And a half.

It was hard. I couldn’t do anything at all. I needed a cane to lunge down the mat because I kept falling over. My lifts weren’t much and my squats were mere dips. I sucked. Bad. I cried a lot. I wanted to be better. I wanted to be a lot better. And I wished it would all happen right now. I have no idea why I didn’t quit. It would have been the easiest thing to do. No one was making me go to the gym.

I kept going back. I got rid of the PVC pipe as cane and just lunged down the mat without support, but getting winded. I started adding small plates to my bar. My squat broke parallel. I got better. A lot better, actually. It took a long time, but I would be this old today regardless, so what the hell.

I’m often told by others that they wish they could do what I do. Who wouldn’t? I’m freaking awesome. And when I tell them they could be awesome, too, they tell me why they can’t.

I understand. I wanted to get here without doing the work, too. But it doesn’t work that way. If you want something in real life, you can’t get it my wishing or visualizing or sending thoughts into the cosmos and waiting for a reply. If you want something, in real life, you have to earn it with hard work, dedication, and perseverance. There is no free lunch.

You might never get to be able to move the same weight as me or you might surprise yourself and go whizzing past my weights. But wherever you are, sitting there and wishing isn’t going to move you forward even one teeny tiny millimeter. If you want to move, you have to get up and move. That’s the way it works.

The saddest part about all this is that I’ve been hearing this stuff now for years. I didn’t get here overnight and I’ve worked hard at stuff only to fail at many different things. I can tell you exactly why I have no desire to climb a rope up fifteen feet into the air or do a handstand push-up. But, I would like to continue to get my weights on lifts incrementally heavier, using great form of course.

If those who would like to have gotten some of this stuff for their own had started years ago when they first mentioned they would have liked it, they would be well on their way to the same mountaintop I strive for. Instead, they are just years older and even less able or inclined to do the many things.

It isn’t easy. It is worth it.

My husband joined the gym a couple weeks ago although he is not interested in CrossFit. He simply has watched me get stronger and more able as he has gotten older and weaker. He finally decided to step up his game mostly in the hopes of improving his golf game, but hey, we all have goals. He is training for mobility, stability, and core strength. These are the foundational things we all need to keep as much as possible especially as we age.

I’m very proud of him. He goes to a personal trainer and works hard. He is “humbled” by his current overall strength. But with time and practice he will get better. I know this. I’ve seen it work. I am the result.

Not everyone needs to do CrossFit. It would be way too crowded at the gym if they did. But everyone needs to do all they can to maintain their range of motion, strength, balance, and ability to take care of their daily activities. We do this by getting up and moving. It is great if there is someone around to help you learn the best way to get to your goals.

Stay as strong as you can for as long as you can. We live a long time now and living well comes at a price. You have to move now in order to be able to move later. It’s not too late, but it is getting closer and closer to midnight. Take the chance.

39515197_1861020314005393_2821840496119250944_n

I’ve now got another week in the books. Truly. I write down all my workouts and what I did to modify them and then how I managed to get through the things.

I used to post a blog each day about what the WOD was, how it was cruel and unusual punishment, why I sucked so bad while trying to do anything, how much it hurt after, and whined a bit in there as well. It was delightful.

I don’t post a daily blog and now put the stuff in a book. I wanted to get more of the workouts in paper format and so got out a notebook and went back to 2015 and started writing them into my notebook. I was unable to move as much weight as I can now, but not really a significant increase overall. Each lift is higher by twenty or thirty pounds at most and my heart rate still is my greatest issue.

It was interesting to see what I did back then and what I do now and how much more consistent I have become with time. It was also nice to see some of the things that were written on the white board years ago as opposed to what the WODs are at my new place. One thing I’m truly grateful for is that the new place doesn’t have ropes to climb.

But I did my stuff this week and was not in too much pain post WODs. I did go to a yin yoga class on Thursday which was also the hardest day at the gym. It was 30 minute workout with teams of three or four. I don’t move for 30 minutes without stopping, unless you want me to come to a full stop forevermore.

I managed to do all the things except “run” after I had just done a max effort on front squats. By the time I reracked the bar, my heart rate was 170ish and I’m supposed to stop at mid-160s, so for that particular run, I would sit it out and box breathe to get my heart rate back to being able to hold the deadlift bar in tandem with a teammate, while another person maxed out on the front squats. It worked okay and I didn’t die.

Saturdays are usually partner or team WODs and so that’s what I was expecting today. But instead, it was another 30 minutes of hell. There were three five minute intervals of EMOM thrusters and three interspersed five minute intervals with a half mile run to be completed. The kicker was the number and weight of those horrid thrusters.

The weight was higher than what we had to do for the Open and the reps were even more than the 90 expected then. Note, the time cap was less as well. We were supposed to do five per minute for the first five minutes, then seven per minute for the next round of these, and end with nine per minute. My maximum without having to stop for heart rate stuff is five and then I need nearly a minute to get my heart rate back down. So, I did 2, 3, and 4 instead of the higher numbers and that means I did 45 instead of 105. My heart rate was too high after four, but I was able to get it down again before the next minute started and so could do them all.

I might have been able to go for 3, 4, and 5 but what I really wanted today was anything without weights overhead. Yesterday, we did muscle up or chest to bar work which means that I did a bunch of band assisted pull-ups, since I can’t even do a single non band assisted one. Then the WOD was a bunch of HSPUs and I had to modify those, too, but did the number written on the board instead of cutting that back to 80%. The deadlifts were fine and didn’t hurt me. By the end of the thing, my arms already hurt and so I wanted anything not overhead today.

Since I’ve gotten home, my arms have gotten increasingly tight and sore. At least tomorrow is a rest day and I can give myself a little break. That’s the plan, anyway.

Untitled

After a really hard week of grueling WODs, I showed up for Saturday’s partner WOD anyway. I’ve been trying to make myself actually believe that I belong in the gym. It’s difficult because I’m so different than all the other athletes. I’ve been successful in this on and off and then something happens and I’m cast back into the whole “I’m not worthy” crap. This is the lie I tell myself and if I could figure out why, I might be able to stop.

But I showed up even though my legs hurt a bit. Friday was leg day with 200 squats on the board, 40 of them weighted. There was also the warm-up and get up to the heavy weight for the front squats, and then 160 air squats. My version of the WOD itself was less and I “only” did somewhere around 140 or so squats for the entire day, but did the entire 40 weighted ones.

Anyway, my legs hurt but I went anyway because I could.

The WOD as written:

Partner WOD
30:00 AMRAP
5 burpees
10 box jumps 24/20
20 double unders
* each partner does one movement and then switch back and forth

I’ve been working on my double unders but they have been sketchy at best. I bargained for getting just two per round, but attempts wouldn’t count. Only real double unders were going to be counted. I missed a few at the beginning and it was taking me about the same amount of time to get my two as the “kids” were using to get their 20, so it seemed fair.

Then, out of nowhere, it started to click. I was getting them, bam, bam. I was done in no time. That didn’t seem as fair AND I’m supposed to be working toward getting six in a row. So, I started trying to get as many as I could string together at one time.

Seventeen minutes into this mess, I managed to string five together. A new PR. In the middle. Of a WOD. I was able to get four once and three a couple times. When my heart rate was sky high, I gave myself permission to just get the two I really needed. But there I was, tired, legs hurting, old, feeble, getting a PR right in the middle of a WOD. It was awesome.

I spent the rest of the day either saying or thinking “My legs hurt”. I wish I had kept count. It was a big number.

Luckily, by the time I had to get into the car on Sunday and ride for a couple hours at a time there and back, my legs weren’t hurting as much and I could walk better.

So, all in all, I was damn awesome on Saturday, giving me a bit of a boost for the week.

After saying all that, I’m scrolling Facebook this morning and CrossFit Invictus has a program for the 40+ athlete. I’ve seen this before and each time I want to just scream a little bit.

I feel so bad for those forty year olds who can’t complete with the 20 year olds when they are so much older. And yet, I’m lumped into that same group even though I am 25 years older than a 40 year old. I was talking to Craig yesterday about how many women my age he has had at his gym. A handful. I asked how many of them could get a pull-up. One.

Maybe I need to stop worrying about what I can do or can’t do at the gym. He’s been a successful CrossFit box owner with hundreds of members and even more visitors, and women my age are not the regular demographic. It is not my job to compete with the twenty somethings. It isn’t even my job to compete with those in their 40s. I’m supposed to compete with myself, improving incrementally over time.

I don’t RX things because the prescription written on the board isn’t meant for me. We don’t give newborn babies the same prescriptions even for the same issues. We scale their dosing. If we gave adult dosages to babies, toddlers, or small children, we would kill them. This is no different. I’m not the same as any 20 year old today or who I was myself when I was 20.

I have to repeatedly remind myself of this. I’m at the gym. I’m doing things. That is all. That is all it ever needs to be.

* I wrote the above before heading to the gym for the day. I managed to respectably (and with integrity) finish my version of the WOD. Then, because I’m supposed to be working on my double unders, I rested and got my heart rate back down and felt good enough to get the jump rope out.

I tried and missed. I tried and missed. I tried and got one and missed the second. I stopped trying and took three deep breaths and then … banged out six in a row. Another PR. Now I want ten.

12686_4588251324816_261468669_n

While I was on vacation, there was a really onerous Saturday partner WOD that apparently set a bunch of whiners into full bitch mode. They complained to a substitute coach, not the regular coach / the person who wrote the WOD. This made for some unhappiness.

The week I got back from vacation, I learned of these events, but it was max out week and so the WODs for the week had already been in place before the whining/bitching/caterwauling took place. So we did the stuff as written and went on our merry way. I got two PRs and was doing pretty good until I  crashed and burned on the deadlift. I couldn’t even get close to my one rep max. But, that’s life.

This week, each and every WOD was difficult and with a time cap. No one could RX Monday or Tuesday’s WODs and they were really getting annoyed. They wanted to do something less taxing, more barbell, more possible for the usual RX people to get the RX status they are used to. On Wednesday, a couple people were able to manage the thing, Thursday’s WOD was also possible for the most resilient as was today’s. Most people, however, got a score of TC+reps remaining.

I scaled everything and barely managed to survive. It was interesting to hear people muttering about the impossibility of achieving what was on the board. They were totally dismayed and chagrined. They really were feeling a bit put out. The WODs were too difficult.

Welcome to my world. Every single damn WOD since day one has been too much for me. These workouts were from CrossFit Games and made up for super athletes. The regular people at my gym couldn’t manage them. Really? That’s me every time I am brave enough to show up. The workouts aren’t written with 65 year old Little Old Ladies in mind. They are written for the relatively fit but normal walking around people.

It amazed me to see the disappointment in the faces of those who realized the WOD was going to be impossible for them. They are all impossible for me. I scale and/or modify everything. And I have gotten better, stronger, faster, and more confident over the years. Perhaps it is the “not able” to RX anything that has given me the perspective here, but I work really hard each time I show up. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve conquered the world and sometimes I feel like I really could have done more or better, but I always come home knowing I worked hard at my version of what was there.

I’m hoping we get back to things more “normal” or at least at normal as CrossFit can be. I know that I can do some version of anything, but I would like to have less scaling needed. I know that whatever happens and what appears on the board will still be beyond me. It’s supposed to be. If the workouts were written with me in mind, the “kids” in their thirties and forties would be really disappointed. I’m an outlier.

I also hope that those same kids realized this week that scaling is not failure. That RX is not mandatory. That CrossFit is hard and supposed to be. That they could survive without perfection. I learned that long ago. It helps.

32381174_1813578885371554_657847247236497408_n

There was a post on my gym’s Facebook page recently where one of the members reminded us of the poster board in the hallway where we put out goals for the year. She wanted to know how many of us had achieved at least some of the goals now that the year is more than half gone.

Confession: I did not put any goals up there. I have no idea what my goals are. Mostly, I’m hoping to still be alive at the end of the year. This doesn’t always happen for people my age, so it is a risk. I am hoping to get there anyway.

I have no idea what a realistic goal would be anyway. I know what dreams I had six years ago when I thought I was going to zoom in and become superhero stuff. Then I actually started CrossFit and found out that old farts who sat around doing nothing for fifteen or more years were not going to zoom anywhere.

I have always worked out with much younger people, some of whom are young enough to be my grandchildren. I have worked out with some amazing athletes, one of whom actually made it to the CrossFit Games – twice. I really can’t compete with either of those groups.

I also work out with many tough individuals in their thirties and forties and they work really hard and do amazing things. They are fun to watch. I’m old enough to be their mother and so it is difficult for me to keep up with them, too.

What I have never worked out with (except for the times I’ve visited my son’s gym) is women my own age. I’m always at least ten years older and far more feeble than all the people I stand next to in the gym.

I have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing when I step into the box. I scale everything. I have done the RX weight exactly once and it was because the deadlifts were only 95 pounds and were supposed to be light and fast. For me they were heavy and slow, but I did RX the damn thing, so there is that. Otherwise, I always drop the weight. Usually because I simply cannot do the RX weight. My one rep max on a snatch is 60 pounds, so doing 50 of them at 75 pounds is simply outside my capabilities. So I don’t.

I very frequently also cut the reps. I will often give myself permission to do just 80% of whatever the younger kids are doing. Sometimes, when it is especially odious, I can cut it back to only half, but that is usually very unsatisfying because if I wasn’t such a scared weenie, I could do the damn 80%.

But I never really know what I “should” do and I have no way to figure out what the hell that “should” should be. I don’t have a point of reference. I just have me dawdling along, out of breath, heart rate too high, gray hair dripping sweat down my back, struggling to get through whatever the hell my version of what is on the board is.

I don’t even know where to look to see “old ladies who were pitifully out of shape when they started but have worked really hard for years now” should be. I often feel like a failure next to the young and fit and athletic people surrounding me. I need some peers working with me.

Since I have no idea what I “should” be doing, I have no idea where I am on my journey to “enough”. I know I can’t do a pull-up. I know I can’t do a HSPU. I know I can’t run a mile (without dying). I know that every single Olympic lift I do today is far heavier than it was six years ago. I know that I’ve strung three (count them, three) double unders together. I know that I can execute far more (and nicer looking) push-ups than when I started. I can actually lunge with or without weight and not fall over. I can do many of the things I couldn’t do when I started.

I just don’t know what is reasonable for me to dream about now. I don’t have any goals, other than staying alive. That’s really all I’m trying to do. Stay alive and as healthy as I can for as long as I can. Wish me luck.

6a694d4b4587d493e848050e88a6fc41

I started CrossFit almost six years ago. I was pitiful. I couldn’t do a damn thing. At all. Not even close. I cried a lot. But … I so wanted to be a CrossFitter so I had to keep at it.

It took me weeks to be able to deadlift 42 pounds, the lightest weight possible at my gym with full sized plates. I was elated. Please note that a bottle of water for water coolers is 40 pounds. Just saying.

I needed to use a PVC pipe as a cane to lunge down the mat and not fall over. Everything was a struggle. One of my early goals was to have weights on my weight for a back squat before I was sixty. That was going to happen before the end of the year – just before the end of the year. December 30 loomed and I was still using a bare 22 pound bar and squatting to a box and barely able to stand back up.

Then, just days before my birthday, I got that damn 27 pound back squat. It was to a box and not a full depth squat, but we all let me count it and I was thrilled.

***

I was gone for three weeks in June, home for a few weeks, and then gone again for two weeks. I got back home on Sunday and was back at the gym on Monday. This week is max out week. I’ve been missing for a lot of the time.

Yesterday was clean and jerk and I managed a 75 pound weight for a PR of three pounds increase. I managed a clean without the jerk at 85 pounds, something I had done once before. I got my micro weights out and tried 87 pounds and just couldn’t manage it.

Today was back squat max out. I had gotten 110 pounds before I began all this vacation stuff. But I’ve been missing in action quite a bit this summer. I don’t always travel this much, but the point of being retired is to be able to come and go as we please. I pleased a lot of coming and going.

I did get the 110 pounds again today and then I got those tiny little micro weights out again. It was 112 pounds. I got down and struggled to get back up. I ended up yelling (I don’t know why making noise helps me with this, but it does) and got my fat ass along with the bar back to an upright position.

Four times my goal weight from all those years ago is less than my one rep max today. I did it. I should feel really proud of myself. I do. But I don’t. The kid who was sharing my bar did the 112 and he had room. He wanted to quit and I pressured him into one more try and he got 115 pounds. I knew he could. I was so happy for him.

I do not have the lowest weight on the board, but only one person’s weight is even punier than mine. I’m more than twice her age and I know that, too. I want to be proud of my weight, but I’m sure someone will point out that Kylie did over 200 pounds (I think 245 but I’m not positive). I want to glory in my hard work, but I know that no matter how hard I work, I’m not one of those stellar athletes who does amazing thing. I’m an old fart who does amazing things. I should revel in that. I don’t. I do. Sometimes. But I’m terrified someone will come by and point out how minuscule all my lifts really are.

And so I talk myself out of being completely happy. I’m sorta happy, but I can’t let go of the fact that no matter how hard I try, I’m not where I want to be. I show up and work hard and still miss my own unrealistic goals.

All the old people I know don’t lift weights and are amazed by the stuff I can do. But people who do lift weights know what the numbers for these lifts can or should be.

I wish I could give myself the permission to appreciate how far I’ve come. I’m too afraid for that.

28167906_1719556774773766_4219750386716375559_n