November 2018


Here is something I never thought I would say. I really was sad to see that today’s workout was not a partner WOD. Who would ever have thought that idea would even quickly pass through my brain. And yet, here we are.

Laura didn’t start with the 20:00 EMOM written out and so the entire concept was very confusing to start. Then there was something in there called a devil press. I had never seen that before but others had and they weren’t all that thrilled with it. It is essentially a burpee with weights that you throw overhead as the final movement. Great. Burpees were also included along with toes to bar and then there was calories to accumulate both on the assault bike and on the rower. The capping movement was a clean and jerk at 155/135 for RX and 135/95 for scaled. And then there was me.

I was in near tears after this was explained. The reps per minute would be drawn from the red bag. They were from eight to twelve reps each time. I couldn’t do that in a minute no matter what the hell we were doing. So, I had to scale the scale and then scale some more.

My weights were 45 pounds on the clean and jerks and just ten pound dumbbells for the devil press. The RX weights were 50/35 for that. I did hanging knee raises which were nearly knees to elbow, but not quite. And I rowed and biked and hated them both. I then opted to do half of the reps, so mine were from four to six and on the odd numbers I rounded up.

The most difficult part of this was that the minute was filled with the movements and there wasn’t really enough time to get my heart rate back down enough to do stuff. It was especially difficult after the assault bike because the next move was the clean and jerk. The bike spikes my heart rate more than rowing.

But I managed to get through the entire workout keeping my weights as I started and doing half the reps for twenty minutes. Then, because of issues beyond our control, we got a bonus minute and turned the workout into a 21 minute EMOM just for kicks and giggles.

I survived. I was faithful in my range of motion. I did what I could. And as always, I felt like it wasn’t enough. All these other people were whizzing around and doing things and I was exhausted and spent.

I didn’t duck out as soon as the workout was over, but hung around for a little bit and listened to the other athletes dissecting this WOD. Apparently, they were all having trouble. I noticed that several people dropped down to lower weights on the clean and jerks and when they didn’t have access to a lower weight bar (there were a limited number of bars set up) they would simply do a clean and call it a day. I also noticed that they dropped their weights on the devil presses or else broke the weight into more of a clean and jerk movement rather than a kettlebell swing type arcing the weight overhead.

I always think that they are simply awesome because to me, they all seem to be doing so much more, so much better, so much. And there I am struggling with my lighter weights and fewer reps and having to try to not have a heart attack and ruin everyone’s day.

But, and who knew this, they aren’t always doing so much better. Kelly is freaking awesome and never got more than five clean and jerks and only once in 21 minutes did she get all the reps in. I had no idea. I would have just thought that everyone was doing everything except for me, the old and feeble (Craig says I’m not supposed to call myself that) woman in the corner.

My saving grace is that I’m old and feeble. I didn’t even have a ghost of a chance of doing this workout as written. I scaled back everything appropriately before I started. Craig also says, pick your weight and stick with it. I did. I was offered a chance for a 35 pound clean and jerk and I knew I could do 45, just not as many. I wouldn’t have been able to get twice the reps at the lower weight anyway, so would probably still have had to cut back. But the easiest math to do was just cut in half. I can manage six clean and jerks in a minute at 45 pounds.

For the last five to ten minutes, somewhere in there, Laura started saying, “Just do half. Just do half.” Hell, I had that part already covered.

I managed to do what I set out to do. I didn’t actually cry, even though I thought about it. I kept up with the task I set for myself and survived.

And I found out that others struggle along with me. I just have them perched up on a pedestal, a very unstable and nasty place to be. While they are able to do much more stuff because they aren’t as old nor as feeble, they still have their limitations. Amazing.

Another one in the books. Go me.

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After my fiasco with trying to get something readable to post from WordPress yesterday, I was desperate enough to actually ask them for the help I needed to get rid of the imperfect new editor. I haven’t gotten any help yet.

Every time I touched anything in a paragraph, which had helpfully put itself into some separate block, it ruined the text in the rest of the block. It would just delete the spaces between words because trying toread somethinglike thisis somuch fun. It didn’t ever run more than two words together and they weren’t all in a straight line or anything. Just randomly throughout the rest of the paragraph would be clumped together words.

I would correct stuff in one place and then the clumped words would show up somewhere else. I had to keep going from the posted blog back to the editor to try to correct stuff and then something else would be amiss. It was at the very least, aggravating. At my worst, I was looking for a hammer to hit something, perhaps a programmer or two.

I looked online to see how to get the classic editor back. I finally found directions for that, but the “return to classic editor” option that was supposed to be located below the “options” option wasn’t there. I cannot work this hard for no good reason. I was simply not going to post anything else until I got this straightened out.

Then, in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep and do some of my best problem solving as well as most fantastic worrying, I thought of something else to try.

I use Chrome. I also have both Edge and Firefox on my computer because you should always have more than one browser because there are situations like this that crop up from time to time and having another option is always a better way to go.

After the gym today (where I got 60 band assisted pull-ups), I remembered my middle of the night brilliance. I opened Edge (formerly known as Explorer and not any better under any name). I got to my editor and it was still the same new and improved until it broke piece of crap. But the “return to classic editor” option was there. I clicked on it.

It returned me to classic editor which isn’t really the classic editor. I’ve been blogging long enough that this is the newer edition and there is an older classic classic editor which is now lost to history but I still remember it. I am not trying the improved version in this browser because I don’t like using this browser. But I am posting this from Edge so WordPress will know I mean business about wanting the older but not oldest editor they have.

If you use Chrome, don’t try the new editor until they figure out why touching one thing screws up everything else. If you use a different browser, it may work as it is supposed to. However, any programmer worth his salt (a Roman reference there) should know that you must check your program on all platforms where it will be used. This is especially true if you don’t make sure it works in the browser with market share. Two-thirds of us use Chrome. Make your stuff work in Chrome.

So this is a warning. And if any WordPress folks out there wonder what’s wrong, this is a detailed rant on why your new editor sucks. I type in Microsoft Word and copy and paste over to your place. I taught kids to use Microsoft Office and know all the tricks and shortcuts. I have my auto correct set so that it works to my own advantage. It makes typing so much easier when it corrects my mistakes as I type.

It also is set to capitalize words at the beginning of sentences and changes the misspelled t-e-h to the and all manner of helpful things. In my Word, I can type two bs together and have box breathing come up. It puts the hyphen in pull-up and push-up for me. Typing cj brings up clean and jerk and things like that. It makes typing the stuff I type over and over again easier. I don’t type in the editor. It’s too much work.

So until this is fixed, I want to keep the old version. I hope that doing that in Edge will keep it available to me in Chrome. It certainly opened in the new crap in Edge when I did that in Chrome, so if the reverse holds true, I might be happier for a while.

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I’m working right now with some rougher, thicker yarn than my favorite stuff. There is nothing inherently wrong with the yarn itself. It’s still softer than really cheap, icky yarn. But it isn’t the best stuff I’ve ever worked with. I bought it because it was on sale and I make baby blankets to give away. I could make lots of blankets for half the price so I bought lots of this yarn. I’m on the last one and then I get to go back to the preferable but more expensive yarn.

I’ve been dissatisfied with this situation since I put myself in it. The yarn is four ply instead of three and I’m using a different pattern because of that, as well, making what was an unfortunate choice even worse. And I’m whining to myself each time I have to get a new one started. Why in the name of all that is holy did I do this to myself?

And there is the rub. I did this to myself and I’m unhappy with my choice. I’m too cheap to just toss the stuff and it isn’t that bad. But I am dissatisfied with the process and the outcome. I love the other ones I’ve made. I like these, but they aren’t my first choice.

I see pictures on Facebook of other people’s wonderful dinners. We have wonderful dinners every once in a while ourselves. Today is going to be one of those days. I have beautiful, huge shrimp from Argentina and I’m going to cook them in a garlic butter sauce. They are so big they are almost like Langoustine lobster. I will enjoy the meal immensely. Tomorrow’s dinner is not going to be nearly as good because I can’t do this day after day.

Other people probably do the same thing. They have crappy dinners lots of times and just don’t post a picture of it on Facebook. We post our highlights on there and we live in a more not-all-highlight world. In fact, if everything were always wonderful, wonderful would become average. It would water down the joy from the spectacular because it would no longer be special.

We live in a time and place where we can all “boast honk” as my family calls it. We have Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and many other places where we can share our best times. We go somewhere exciting, take a few pictures, and then go to social media to share our good fortune. The days we just manage to make it to the laundry room and grocery store are undocumented. We don’t share the “joy” of every day’s mundaneness.

Most of our days are simply that. Although there is a sunrise and sunset each day, some days are cloudy and you can’t see them. Some days are too busy and we don’t take the time to stop to look. Most of the rainy days don’t produce amazing rainbows. But if we lived a life of total bliss and excitement, how long would it take for that to become blasé and mundane as well?

I think the trick is to find the joy in the moment and know that many moments aren’t really joyful in the first place. The idea of mindfulness is to stop and look for the tiny victories, the delight, the frisson of fun.

We are often too busy comparing ourselves in all our moments to the highlights posted in social media. We see our friends out in the world, travelling and having a great time and forget that to get there they had to endure the TSA and airports in general, lost luggage, jet lag, traffic jams, and the irritants of a bunch of angry people tossed together.

No one is happy all the time. Life doesn’t work that way. Not because we don’t deserve to be happy, but because the way we know we are happy is because we know what it is like to be sad or disappointed. We only know the yin when we have the yang.

Today, I will enjoy my dinner. I will enjoy completing this last of the not-really-crappy-but-still-unlovely yarn projects. And then I will plod on, knowing that something else is going to go wrong before I have another chance to enjoy something going completely right. And when I have those unhappy moments, I will remind myself of the happier times to come.

And here is another example of dissatisfaction to be worked through. I let WordPress give me the new and improved editor to work with today. I always type over in Word and then copy and paste it here. I proofread in Word but with a different outlook, I can find more mistakes. So, I correct them. Every single time I touched a “Paragraph block” it would for some reason screw up the rest of the paragraph. It took spaces out between many of the words, but not all of them. And so if there are still errors in this, I will try to find and correct them, but it seems to just mess with my stuff of its own free will. I hope they fix this before they foist it on me forever. It took five edits to correct all the mistakes it added for me. 

I will now try again to find my happier times. 

I know why so many old farts don’t take up the gym life. It is demoralizing to be so inept around such athletic youngsters. You have to have a strong self concept to be able to go back and do remarkable things for yourself while in the midst of being the oldest, crappiest person in the box. It is tough to always be so poopy.

But this is the fate I’ve chosen, for better or worse, and I struggle with it with varying degrees of success. Yesterday was a complete failure. The workout skill was overhead squats and my weight on that is pitiable. I mean, really. It takes an incredible amount of core strength and stability to be able to do that stuff. I did get up to forty pounds, but couldn’t hold the bottom of the squat for three seconds at that weight.

Then the WOD was 3 RFT of deadlifts, snatches, and overhead squats all with the same bar. I was just pitiful. I mean, the best I can do in a WOD with repeated movement is a 35# bar. Deadlifts with a 35# bar seem so ungymlike. Honestly, I could do that six years ago. It was crushing. I even did fewer reps than all the “real” athletes as well as nearly half their weight and still got the same time-ish or worse.

I came home feeling absolutely crushed. After all this time, it hurts to not be able to do the things. I show up at the gym over and over and I try really, really hard and for what? Of course, when I started I couldn’t even put 35# over my head. I don’t think I could even rack it. But … I keep thinking that I should somehow magically become this person I thought was going to show up when I started six years ago. That person is apparently AWOL or maybe even dead by now cuz she simply ain’t here.

At this gym, we don’t get a peek at what the WOD is until that day. There is nothing posted at 8 PM the night before. What is on the board is the moves that will be incorporated in the skill/WOD for each day. So I had no idea what the workout would actually be but I knew it was toes to bar, HSPU, and double unders. I can’t do those. Any of those. I could do the hollow body hold that was also in there. I seriously considered not going to the gym.

It’s Tuesday. I go to the gym on Tuesdays. I would sub hanging knee raises for the toes to bar and I would sub some downward dog type of push-ups for the handstand. And I would work on double unders. Sometimes they work; most of the time they don’t.

Back in January when I got here, I could do a couple. I mean that. Two in a row was a very rare event. Today, we would be doing three rounds of the four moves, spending three minutes on each move (incorporating whatever rest time we needed in there) and the score would be the lowest number of each move over all three rounds. Scoring was like a Tabata, if you know what that is.

I picked my numbers accordingly. I picked what I thought I would still be able to do in the third round. So, 20 hanging knee raises, 60 seconds (not continuous) of hollow body hold, 30 sub HSPU, and then whatever I got on that first round of double unders would be what I would shoot for on the next two rounds. I got 17. I did 3, then ten in a row. Ten. In a row. I had to get my heart rate back down and then I got four more.

The second round also was okay on those double unders and I could stick with my other numbers pretty easily. On the third round, I struggled with the hanging knee raises because by then my smashed finger was really hurting (I caught my fingertip between a 45# plate and a bar on Saturday). My shoulders were fried by the HSPUs on the last round, but I got them in. And then the double unders.

I spent the first minute missing every single one. This was going to be just like all my early Tabatas. I would get a score of zero because I was going to miss this. I dropped (more like threw) the rope and sat and got my heart rate down. I then got ten in a row again. My heart rate was way too high to keep going, but there was still time. So I got my heart rate down and with 30 seconds left, I tried for some more. I got six in a row. And then I needed one more. And got it. A total of 51 double unders. That’s a record for me.

It’s so hard to keep showing up and being less than. But today, even though that was nowhere near the top number of double unders done, it was like bliss for me. I did something I’ve never done before.

It would be so much nicer if there were lots of Little Old Ladies at the gym so I didn’t always have to be the crappiest person there. I know why there aren’t and I try to tell myself I was the best old fart there on any given day. But it is still difficult to struggle for such small achievements. Today, I’m just going to take the win and be happy. I know, as my mother used to say, This too shall pass.

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After years of work, I am able to do amazing things. Period. Full stop. Considering my advanced age, I’m able to do really amazing things. There are days when I feel like some sort of superhero. I go to the gym and gasp at the white board and immediately start to tell myself how I’m going to manage this fresh new hell (I love Dorothy Parker).

I have successfully managed to do the shit each time. Not ever exactly as it is written on the board, but appropriately for a woman of my advanced years. In other words, I scale things.

In the beginning, I cried a lot because I couldn’t do any of the things. At all. As the years have whizzed past, I’ve gotten better at many of the things and I speak gym now. Still, today had something new. DB C&J was on the board. I have done a DB snatch before but this was new. And it is exactly what one might assume it would be. Using a dumbbell, do a clean and jerk with one arm. Then switch and repeat.

That part of the workout was difficult only because I kept wanting to do a DB snatch and not break the movement into two parts. But after enough of them, I was getting the hang of it.

The part that made me want to just cry, throw in the towel, quit, take my marbles and go home, and generally be dissatisfied with life altogether was the assault bike. The run was also a pain in the butt. I’m used to that part and people just run around me and try not to knock me over.

I have no stamina. My heart rate zooms to the top and then I’m supposed to stop and not have a heart attack as that is considered rude at the gym. And so, I have to go slow and deep breathe and hope I can just last for the amount of time. I’m not ever going to get that many calories on the bike because I will have died before that.

I remember when I was young and athletic and winning racquetball games (even when injured) and able to run around the court for 2.5 to 3 hours three times a week. I won a reasonable amount of my games and had lots of fun.

Now, two minutes on an assault bike has me feeling like I belong in a nursing home on bed rest. I feel old and feeble and incompetent and I just want to cry. I know I’m not able to move like that young woman anymore. None of these people knew me thirty years ago when I was a powerhouse. Now, I’m the cute little old lady who is an “inspiration” for all the people who can actually do all the shit.

I know I do stuff that many people simply can’t do. When we add in age and gender, the number of people who can’t do what I can do is even higher. And yet all I see today are the things I could do way back then and now I can’t. I want to be younger not for the sake of being younger, but because that was when I was fitter. More capable. Able to run around the court for hours and win games and not always and forever be the crappiest score person.

After failing with the assault bike today, I know I get to go back tomorrow and not be able to do the pull-ups and then face the wall balls that crank my heart rate sky high and so suck at that, too.

And I will. I go because I go to the gym on Friday and tomorrow is Friday so I will be there. I will be old and feeble and inspirational. I wish I could be inspirational by being competent instead of just being present.

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