When I began doing CrossFit many years ago, I thought I would improve rapidly and then be able to do all the things. Instead, I improved slowly and still cannot manage all the things. Some days this makes me incredibly sad. Some days it makes me enthusiastically proud.

Last week, after being totally defeated by double unders, I was ready to quit it all. Just sit and crochet and color and do nothing else. But instead, I made it to the gym on Saturday and managed to do some stuff without too many tears.

Monday came and it was still a struggle to make myself go. What’s the point? I can’t do all the things. There is exactly one thing I do as written on the board. Sit ups. Otherwise, I scale. Everything. Why do I do this?

And then I had to figure out why I do this. It isn’t easy to explain, even to myself. But I do it because it is extremely difficult and there are very few challenges out there at my age. I do it because I actually can. I mean I scale all the stuff, but it is so much more than I could do the first time I tried. I do it because it feels incredibly wonderful to stop. And I do it because I like the way I look and feel when I’m not inside the gym. My posture is better, my stride is more solid, my clothes fit better.

I do this because it is the task I set for myself. I have been tempted to quit over and over again. I have been defeated by the workouts and by the white board. And mostly I have been defeated by the annoying, demanding, demeaning voice inside my head. I do this crap to try to silence that voice. Prove to the voice and to myself that I am stronger than the defeats.

So I went to the gym on Monday still tentative, frightened, unsure, and wishing I had never heard of CrossFit.

We are working on split jerks and that was the skill for the day. I could only manage 60 pounds – a weight I once upon a time would have been thrilled to move in any way, but was unhappy with because inside my head where the harsh critic lives, I know I have been able to move more.

I also know that this not yet a disease but treated like one has left me twenty pounds lighter and not all of that has been fat. I have lost some muscle along the way and I will have to build that back up because physics is like that.

Thankfully, the workout was short and because I cannot do a handstand let alone a handstand push-up, I scaled the movement. I was able to move through the AMRAP and get a decent score on the white board, but knew my scaling and so even when the numbers are respectable, I feel less.

I have tried to get rid of the stutter jump in my double unders since the beginning of the year. I have been unsuccessful. But the only way to get from unsuccessful to successful is to keep working on it. So I got out my jump rope and tried. I was only going to work for five minutes tops.

Amazingly, I got two in a row twice and then three in a row. And then, I decided to head home.

I talked to Craig over the weekend and he pointed out that I’m supposed to be scaling and that my workouts are not dependent on anyone else’s workout or ability. He also pointed out that I may be a bit burned out on CrossFit. He suggested I try some personal training and using some of the machines available on the floor of the gym. Coincidentally, they were running a special on personal training sessions that ended on Monday, so before I went home I signed up for them.

Then I had to show up again on Tuesday. It was less difficult to manage dragging myself in even though I knew we were doing snatches. Again, I only got to 50 pounds on the snatch, mostly because it was also with an overhead squat to follow. It wasn’t as bad as I thought and after the workout I got that damn jump rope out again. I missed. I got two. I got eight in a row. Holy shit! I packed up and went home, quitting while ahead.

I also knew what was coming today. More double unders in the WOD. Today was three rounds with a row, a run, and then 50 double unders. I wasn’t sure if I could manage anything for real without the stutter jump, but I wanted to try. I just didn’t want to try until the cows came home. I spoke with Laura and told her my plan. I would shoot for 20 double unders but if I didn’t get them in two minutes or less, I would just be done for that round. She agreed.

So I rowed and walked and then came in for my first round. I got two and missed. Then I got twelve. In a row! I’m in double digits on double unders. Then I got the last six and was thrilled. I didn’t manage to string that many together in the other two rounds, but I did get all 60 double unders done. On the last round, my two minutes was up and I was at 18 and I finished the last two because I could.

I scaled everything today. Again. But I don’t feel so defeated by it.