I am not a very good student. I often learn lessons that weren’t part of the curriculum. I learn stuff that was not intended to be taught. I don’t know if other people do this, but it is often how I manage to ruin any hope of joy I might trip over by mistake.

Yesterday’s workout was horrific. There were a total of 300 double unders and 150 dumbbell snatches along with a half mile of running. I was sure this was going to be a partner WOD, but nope. It was each of us for ourselves. My first issue came with believing I could do shit. I do manage to do some shit, but not very much of it. There was a time cap for all this nonsense at twenty minutes, so at least I didn’t have to struggle for infinity.

I’m supposed to work on the damn double unders because the only way to get better at something is to practice. I have worked up to doing half the reps of the normal people. I usually do 80% of the other stuff they do and walk only half the distance. So that was how I set myself up for this WOD. That meant I started with 50 double unders instead of 100 and 40 dumbbell snatches instead of 50.

I have to jump a couple times before I can start the double unders and then put in one single under between each double under. The most I strung together was 14 and I had to stop then because my heart rate was too high. But I had done 30 jumps to get those 14. When I missed on the first or second jump, I was taking 4 or 6 jumps to get 1 or 2 reps. It was horrible. It took me over 8 minutes to get those first 50 double unders.

Then it took me breaking the dumbbell snatches into three because I did 20 and then 14 and simply did not have the heart rate capacity to finish without another rest. Then out for my walk and back to the double unders. Only this time, the most I strung together was four or five. To get 40 double unders took the rest of the time. I finished with three seconds still on the clock but I was too tachycardic to continue. So my score was time cap + 220 reps.

I came home in tears. What I learned was that I shouldn’t be doing this crap at all. I should listen to the Sun City woman and just knit. Why do I put myself through this when I simply cannot manage to do any of the shit. Only two people actually finished the WOD yesterday inside the time cap. That’s just a point of reference.

It took every single bit of strength and determination to make myself go back to the gym this morning. I go on Saturday and it is Saturday and I should go. Why? It’s not like I can manage anything.

I know in my head that I’m SUPPOSED to scale everything. Nothing is written for a 66 year old. Even the super duper athletes at the Games get a nod to their advanced years. If the WOD was written for me, everyone else would be miserable. That’s what my head says. My heart says it is disappointed in me. I’ve been at this for over seven years and I still can’t do shit. I still struggle with every damn thing ever written on the board. I still have the crappiest scores put up on the “leader” board. I’m the loser every single day.

I was still vacillating about whether or not to show up today when it was time to actually leave the house. I forced myself into the car and into the gym.

It was a team WOD and there was no rest in there at all. Person one did maximum number of toes to bar – something I cannot do (big surprise there) while the second person held a barbell in the front rack position (95 pounds for the guys, 65 for the girls), and the third person did 25 wallballs and then ran a quarter mile with said wallball. We drew lots for teams.

There were 21 people there so there was no extra person. I wanted to just leave but was coerced (kindly) into staying. Kylie grabbed me and I just stood there crying. I can’t do the things. I can never do the things. I can be old. And feeble. But I cannot be competent. Kylie wouldn’t let me quit and tried her hardest to make me feel better.

The switching was based on the wallballs. When that person was done, team members switched to the next thing and the score was the total number of TTB. I ended up doing hanging knee raises, held a 45# barbell, did ten wallballs with a lighter med ball, and walked half the distance.

As always, I did something. As always, it wasn’t what was on the board. Years ago, I thought by this time I would be adequate. I thought that by this time, I would be able to do things.

I wrote about framing and how the way we look at things makes a huge difference. It’s also very difficult for me raising all sorts of cognizant dissonance when I try to lie to myself.

I know that 15 months ago I could, on rare occasions do a single double under at a time. Yesterday, I did 90. I know that seven years ago, I couldn’t even hang from the bar. Today, I did 70 hanging knee raises. I know that when I began, I used a six pound kid’s med ball and couldn’t hit the nine foot mark or do more than four or five. Today, I used ten pounds to the nine foot mark and did my ten reps.

I know I am better than when I began. I know I’m better than I was a year ago. I know I’m still the crappiest person in the gym day after miserable day. I have no idea how to make that okay. I know I should. I know it is absolute astounding that I do any of this shit at all. I just thought I was going to be better at it by now.



What does framing do for us? Does it really make any difference at all? How can we go about framing less than stellar things in a positive light and have it fool us?

I keep trying to reframe my performance into a successful outcome. Sometimes I succeed and many times I do not.

Yesterday’s skill was jerks. Two push jerks and then one split jerk at a high percentage of a 1RM. We know that mass moves mass and I have lost nearly 15% of my body weight in the last six months. I didn’t really mean to do that. I liked the first bit and then I’ve worked to keep even more and more from falling away. But, I’m one pound short of that 15% mark. Most of that, I hope, has been useless fat. Some of it has probably been some muscle wasting. I could not move 95% of my 1RM. We were supposed to move 87 to 95% and the weight I failed at was the 87% weight.

How do I reframe that to look successful? I really don’t know. I still got the 65 pounds up once. Then I dropped the bar and couldn’t manage another one with full lockout.

The workout was 30 Turkish get ups and a half mile run. The last time I did a Turkish get up I thought I should increase the weight. I’ve done them without any weight, with three pounds, or five pounds. They jack my heart rate up because that’s pretty much what they do to everybody. The last time was done with five pounds. Yesterday, I did 7.5 pounds. I really should have tried the ten, but I chickened out. I also did my old fart discount of 80% of the reps. My “runs” are always half the distance because I need to walk. But I have been trying to run at least part of the way. Yesterday, after going 300 meters, my heart rate was low enough that I thought I could run it in. And I did. I really ran, too, I didn’t jog or trot. It still wasn’t super fast, but I made it.

I can find a way to look at the whole day in a negative light. I can also realize that I was there. I showed up. Just like always. The workouts are not written for old people like me. The skill part … well, I’m trying to adjust to this whole prediabetic thing and getting my diet and weight under control. My percentages are just off for now. With work, I might get them back or I might just continue to get older and older.

The conditioning portion was pretty awesome. I raised my weight by an extra 50% and I should give myself a pat on the back for that. I did the number of reps I usually do for these types of things, allowing myself to get a good workout without working tremendously harder than the regular people there. And I ran part of the run. Really ran.

It used to just grate on my last nerve that I was always the last one done. Everyone else would have a ten minute workout which was the goal of the damn thing, I would be working for more than fifteen minutes because I would have to keep stopping to get my heart rate to a place where I didn’t die. It took me years to realize I could simply cut the number or reps back, a scaling option. If the workout is supposed to be a ten minute thing, it should be a ten minute thing for me, too. And by doing 80%, it often is (now).

I also scale calories on both the assault bike and rower by half. Distances in meters are usually things like 250, 500, or 1000 meters and then I just row 200, 400, or 800 and can manage the same relatively close times. This is important when we are sharing the rowers and my exaggerated time would throw everyone off. I walk half the distance.

If I could actually RX the workout, it might need to be rewritten because all the other people at the box would be totally under challenged. I’m supposed to scale and athletes my age who don’t have to are simply way more awesome than me. Good on them. But I have to deal with where I am at the gym.

I know I have scaled correctly when my modified score is nearly the middle of the pack. I have scaled too much if I’m the first done or the highest reps. I haven’t scaled enough if I’m way behind in time or reps. I’m not the best person there, but I’m improving in my level of fitness and I think that’s the frame I have to put around my story.

I try. I try really hard. I show up on the days I’m supposed to show up. I do the partner WODs even though they are the most terrifying part of CrossFit for me. I do many things I couldn’t do when I started and so … I guess I’ve won. I wish I could feel like that more often, but no one else is responsible for how I feel about this. It’s what I’m choosing. Dumbass.


A Turkish get up is also a get back down in the exact reverse movements.

We are now a biparticipation family with both of us making our way to the gym each week. Dick has a personal trainer he meets with once a week and on his other trip to the gym, he warms up with us back in the CrossFit area and then when we start our workout, he takes off for the machine part of the gym.

I go to the gym five days a week, taking a rest day on Wednesday and Sunday. I’ve gotten back into doing my yin yoga four to six times a week from twenty minutes to one hour per session. I just use YouTube and follow along upstairs where I have my space all set up.

Dick also golfs three times a week and walks the course, which he had maintained was all the exercise he needed. I knew he was not really getting all the exercise he needed, but going for a nice walk is better than going for a nice sit and watching TV so I let it go. At the end of last summer, there was a deal for a family member to get a special rate to join the gym and I didn’t even mention it to him because he has always thought I was a bit too extreme with my CrossFit stuff.

I did talk about it to someone else and he overheard and thought he might like to try. He went and joined up and had his initial assessment. He was as much out of shape as I was when I went for my first introductory free CrossFit class. He couldn’t do much of anything. He was chagrined to find he was in such bad shape.

That’s the thing. We lose a little bit of our youth each day. We age incrementally. We don’t really notice how much we have lost until we are smacked in the face with it. And then it is “humbling” for us. Inside our heads, we stop aging and we are adult and that’s it and we don’t really remember exactly how adult we are. Sometimes when passing a mirror, it can be a bit disconcerting to see an old person staring back, but we manage to move on and forget how old we really are.

We don’t realize that as we age, it’s not just smooth skin that leaves us. It is all manner of things. If we don’t ever have to try to do those things, we can just muddle through and be fine. But eventually, it catches up to us. We have neglected our physical selves for so long that we can no longer manage a whole flight of stairs or to get out of a chair without giving ourselves a push. It isn’t like we were running marathons one day and incapacitated the next. It is a slow descent into incapacity.

When is the best time to try to keep our youthful abilities? Today is a great day to start, yesterday would have been better. If you can’t do much today because you waited too long, do what you can now and keep at it day after day. If you can’t make it up the entire staircase without using the handrail and struggling, then go halfway up and come back down. Do that five times with rests in between and then call it a day. Tomorrow, do it again. Then keep at it until you can manage the entire flight of stairs. Then keep doing it so it doesn’t go away again.

If you can’t manage to get out of a chair without help, use the help and get in and out of the chair ten times. Then rest (in the chair) and then when you have caught your breath, do it again. Keep this up over time and you will eventually be able to get in and out of chairs without assistance.

When you make it that far, try adding some things to your list of what you need to do to keep moving adequately. I lift weights, but not everyone has to do that. I enjoy it. Perhaps all you care about is getting the groceries into the house. So, practice lifting a full milk jug over and over. You can start with a half gallon and work your way up to a gallon. If you keep practicing, you might eventually be able to get all the groceries into the house in just one trip.

If you are young enough to not have fallen into such sad shape, keep moving now while it is still easier to make gains. The older you are, the slower you body is to respond to this stuff. Taking care of your younger self is something your older self will thank you for, be delighted with, and celebrate as you manage to hold on to the life you want for longer than those who didn’t care for their outer shell.

No one dreams of dying in a nursing home. I’ve never heard anyone say they hoped they ended up in one. The best chance you have for staying out of them is to take care of yourself now. Once it is too late, it will take a monumental effort to overcome the inertia of years or decades.

You don’t have to do CrossFit. It is all scalable and you can do CrossFit, but it isn’t mandatory. What you do have to do is adequate range of motion and some weight resistance. It makes a difference.


I don’t go to the gym on Wednesday. I need a rest day in the middle of the week. I go two days, rest a day, go three days, and rest a day. That’s been my schedule for over a year now. I endure partner WODs in the name of getting a workout five times a week and if you have watched me over time, you know how I dread partner WODs. I always fear how little I can do and how much I hurt my partner as they have to work out with me affecting their scores.

I’ve been at Pivotal Fitness long enough to have to renew my membership. So I did. As part of a membership, you get an assessment. Last year, I skipped it. This year, I decided I wanted to know how fit and/or unfit I am.

I usually feel terribly unfit because I work with a bunch of people who are younger and fitter than I am or could ever hope to be. The next oldest person in Forge is sixty, so I’ve got her by six years. She rarely works out at the same time as me. Unfortunately, she is much fitter than I am. She is stronger and faster and all the things I am not. Well, it is fortunate for her, but leaves me feeling unable to do shit.

So I signed up for the assessment and was told it is better to do it either before a workout or on a day when you don’t work out at all. So I made an appointment for today. I want to know how I stack up against the norms for a 66 year old woman, not a 66 year old CrossFitter. I know where I stack up there. I’ve looked at my numbers and compared them to the leader board on the Open Games and I’m not the worst person in the world but there are many, many women who do much more than I can.

I was hoping to see that what I’m doing is paying off and I’m getting some benefit from all the hard work I put in. I mean, I know what I couldn’t do when I started and what I can do now, so I know I’ve improved over time. I know that I couldn’t string together double unders a year ago and now I can. I know I can run short distances and not die. I know I can do the Olympic lifts and my weights have increased over the years.

I want validation, I guess. I want the voice in my head to stop telling me I’m not enough and I should be doing more weights, more reps, faster times, and why the hell don’t I have a pull-up yet? I want to be who I thought I might turn into when I started all those years ago. I want to be 35 or even 45 again. I don’t think I’m going to able to pull that off.

I do laundry on Wednesday. And so today, I did the laundry and then got ready for my appointment at the gym for an assessment I hoped would make me feel a bit better about how little I can do (when seen against my WOD mates) or how much I can do (when seen against my overall peers).

I piddled around until it was time to go and drove over to the place. I walked in and scanned my membership card and asked what I was supposed to do next.

There is a new General Manager for the place. He’s not very trustworthy. In the past, he has looked me straight in the eye and told me there had been a $4000 order placed to replace stolen and damaged equipment for Forge. One of our coaches drove to North Carolina in order to get back most of the stolen equipment, but three of the women’s barbells never made it to the CrossFit there. The thief off loaded them before “donating” the rest of our equipment. They are now supposedly being replaced after the boss lady found out about the theft (which happened just before she came over here).

This liar guy was behind the desk this morning when I showed up. This asshat got a text from the man who was supposed to do my assessment last night around 8.45. The assessment guy is sick. And yet, there I stood in front of the damn desk. I glared at General Manager of Incompetence and he kept saying he was sorry. He told me there was a problem with something at the gym and he was sorry and he mumbled about being sorry.

They open before 5 AM so there was at least 4.5 hours in there when someone, anyone, a minion, this asshat, somebody could have sent me a text to say they had to cancel. But no. I drove over to the gym on my day away from the gym for no damn reason. If you have a personal training session and don’t cancel, they charge you the session anyway. Just saying.

Asshat Guy encouraged me to work out while I was there. I told him I didn’t work out on Wednesdays and that was specifically why I was there at that time. He said he was sorry. Again. I asked if he had my contact information. He acknowledged that he did. I left.

So here I am, old and feeble and madder than a wet hen. The guy is such an incompetent twit it makes me wonder how in the hell he has managed to work his way into this job. He lies. He is unable to actually manage anything.

He has also assured me that the lights will really be replaced. The kind they purchased several years ago are now dying. Well, the lights are fine, but the specialized light bulbs are no longer being manufactured. We are down to two out of nine. I wonder how long we will be working out in the dark while this buffoon takes care of business.


I have been doing CrossFit for over six years. I started this when I was 59 and I am now 66. I often think I’m just pitiful because most of the people I work out with are young enough to be my children. But I’m not pitiful, I am old. And yet, I do amazing shit. Sometimes.

I hate thrusters. We have been doing more and more thrusters because the Open always has thrusters and we needed to be ready. So last Monday thrusters were on the menu and I did 35 of them because that was my scaling option I made up for myself.

On Friday, I was over it. I was defeated by the sheer number of reps. The 105 thrusters and 105 jumping pull-ups were beyond me. The twenty minute time cap wasn’t, but I was tired of the whole thing. And defeated. I was mostly defeated. I’m not sure what the Open is supposed to teach us, but I often learn lessons that weren’t intended. For me, the Open teaches me that I am old and feeble and should take up knitting.

I went to the gym on Saturday because that is another of my usual workout days and I already skipped Friday. I was feeling totally inept and yet, I showed up because I’m really quite awesome even when I think I’m just old and feeble. Going when you don’t want to go is a sign of superior strength even if it is just of will. And I went.

Saturdays are usually partner WODs but this was each of us on our own. It started out with a mile run. I don’t run. All running does is spike my heart rate which doesn’t really need all that much help. But … what the hell. I usually walk half the distance but I started out running. First I told myself just 100 meters but at that mark, I was still able to keep running. I made it 200 meters before I walked. My heart rate was 159 at that point. I walked to the turn around point and on the way back, I ran another 50 to 75 meters and walked the final 200 meters back to the gym.

So, I knew I could run 200 meters if I had a low enough heart rate to start and had a space to lower my heart rate when I quit running.

Today’s WOD as written:
400 m run
25 ABMAT sit-ups
rest 2-3 minutes

This would work for me. Sit-ups don’t spike my heart rate although I can attain impressive monkey butt if enough of them are on the menu. I could run half the distance instead of walk it, if that was okay. Laura said it was okay. I ran the 200 meters I can manage and could then immediately do the sit-ups and then rest and start again.

If you aren’t meter/mile adept, that means I ran a total of 800 meters which is a half mile. I ran a half mile. I think I was a kid the last time I ran a half mile. I don’t run. I walk faster than I can run when the distance is too great.

If we just do math, my top heart rate should be 220-66=154 and then my target heart rate would be 80% of that or 123. I get higher than that before the warm up starts for real. My resting heart rate is 55 when I’m just sitting around knitting, but as soon as I start to move, bam! It skyrockets.

My heart rate was 159 to 162 as I returned after each of my runs. This is okay with my cardiologist. The sit-ups weren’t making it go higher. I rested two minutes between rounds 1 and 2 and found that wasn’t really enough and did 2.5 minutes between the other two rounds. We then had to subtract our resting time from our working time. I ran a half mile and did 100 sit-ups in 9.01.

And now I can’t stop saying to myself, “I ran a half mile.” Because, you see, I ran a half mile.

I had to move gyms a little over a year ago because my old place closed. It closed because there simply weren’t enough members to sustain it. I worked out with one or two other people unless I was there all alone. And while my friends there were wonderful, there is something to be said for working out with a larger class. There is a bit more camaraderie and encouragement or even competition.

Whatever the reasons, and they could simply be that I’m truly getting better at this shit, I now do double unders (last week I got to my 50% mark and did 100 of them (broken into sets) along with those damn thrusters) and now I’ve run a half mile.

As my British and Australian friends might say, I’m chuffed.

Runner Fitness Female Running Long Distance

I know that going to the gym helps my overall well being. I like pushing myself. I’ve grown tremendously. Things I once only dreamed of doing are now things I do all the time. I’m still not heading out to the Games or anything, but I’ve improved with continual practice.

It feels good to be able to move well. It’s impressive to see muscles on anybody and on me – dang impressive for an old fart. And so, I go to the gym without ever really questioning it. It’s what I do. I wake up and go to the gym. Period. No deciding. No debating. I just go.

I also know I have to eat better. I don’t have that choice any more. I’m pre-diabetic and if I don’t want to end up post-diabetic, I have to watch what I eat. I don’t get a cheat day. I can’t just decide I don’t want to do this now. I’m stuck with this if I want to stay on this side of the A1C line. And I do. So I eat and watch my carbs and try to choose better. No debating. This is just my life now.

I know I move better when I do yoga. I don’t do Hatha yoga or Vinyassa yoga. I do Yin yoga. It’s a practice that holds poses for minutes at a time, stretching as you sink into the pose and breathe in and out (through your nose when there isn’t too much pollen in the air). It helps with connective tissue stretching and allows you to move easier.

Somehow, I gave myself permission to choose on this one. I have no idea why. Probably because my routine wasn’t set in stone. There were no classes I had to attend or people would miss me. I have all my props right here at home and I can select from a range of over a bazillion YouTube videos. I have some favorite posting people who don’t annoy me as I’m trying to relax into the pose. It’s counter-productive to be annoyed while trying to do yoga.

I kept telling myself it was just an hour and I needed to get upstairs and stretch a little. Instead, I just debated myself and opted to not go upstairs, not stretch, not do the thing I knew would help. Last weekend, I finally forced myself upstairs and I was horrified.

All the things I could do once upon a time are gone. I’m not able to bend or move like I could a few months ago. Instead, I’m about as pliable as I was a couple years ago when I first got talked into doing some of this crap.

I know it is better to have this set of skills in my life for a variety of reasons. The most noticeable is that it makes going to the gym easier and that is why I finally got my unhappy ass back upstairs. But it makes the rest of my day better, too. It makes falling asleep and staying asleep easier. It just has a whole host of benefits.

When I’ve been awake for too long, I’m entirely capable of talking myself out of anything that seems like too much work. So, I have my alarm set for earlier on the days I go to the gym and I have been doing just a thirty minute routine before getting ready for the gym. That worked on Monday and Tuesday.

Wednesday is my rest day. I do laundry instead of going to the gym. I could have gotten up and started the laundry and done a real whole hour yoga class. I didn’t. I decided around lunch time that my issue was I didn’t want to do a whole hour class. I have nothing better to do, but that was my sticking point.

So instead of blowing the whole thing off, I figured it was better to do a thirty minute practice than a zero minute one. And that’s what I did.

I have no idea how long it will take me to get the flexibility back. Since I’m perfectly willing to do this before I hit the gym, I should be able to get in five 30-minute sessions a week and then on my rest days, I can opt to either do some or no yoga. At least I can opt for that once I’m a little farther along the path of habit and routine. Right now, I really need to keep myself vigilant because otherwise I will be back to no yoga again.

And then there is meditation. I need to return to that as well. It is supposed to help with my scattered nervousness. At least that is the theory and it seemed to work that way when I actually did it. So, I tried some of that today, too.

I know how to be healthy. Why is it so much work?


I have been doing CrossFit now for years. This is my sixth year of doing the Open WODs even though I have only actually signed up to do the Open once. They just seem to follow me around. I haven’t done all of the workouts because I have been out of town or even out of the country. But I have done at least part of each year for six years now.

The year I was actually signed up, my scaling for muscle ups was a jumping CTB (chest to bar). For the first part of the WOD, I was to do jumping pull-ups and then I had to increase to jumping CTB. I tried. And tried. And tried some more. I spent close to four or five minutes trying to manage even one. I couldn’t get them.

It wasn’t until months later that I figured out if I did a reverse grip on the bar, I could pull myself into it and meet the bar. I was getting the height, I just wasn’t able to touch the bar.

I am not signed up for the Open this year. I was out of the state, but still in the country, for the first week. I have absolutely no intention of doing thrusters if there are more than 50 of them. I’ve already proved I can do that, I don’t need to prove it again. So, I am not signed up. But I’m still doing the WODs.

Today’s scaled version for 19.4 for older than dirt females was:
3 rounds
10 power snatches at 35#
12 bar facing burpees (regulation height barbell, but may step over)
rest for 3 minutes
3 rounds
10 jumping CTB (bar must be at least 6 inches overhead)
12 bar facing burpees
time cap = 12:00

If you didn’t get finished with the first three rounds before nine minutes, you were done because you HAD to take the three minutes of rest. I wanted desperately to get done before that nine minute mark, but I wasn’t really sure I could. I could do the snatches, but I usually do a plank burpee, taking the push-up part out of it. Otherwise the things just crank my heart rate so high I’m left panting like a lizard on a hot rock. But for the Open, I do the things as written for my old self.

I got finished at 8.27 so I could start back up again at 11.27 which gave me some time to try to get some of those damn CTB things. And I did. I was touching just below my collar bone, but I managed to eke some out. I used the reverse grip and pulled myself into the bar and I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t translate well into a real CTB. But since I can’t even do a real pull-up (yet) [probably ever] that is not really a concern.

I got a score of 74. I was beyond thrilled. I didn’t have to stop at 66 because of either time or incompetence. I simply managed a few more reps. A few more than I could do at all last time this was on the menu. Although a few isn’t monumental, something new and different can be and in this case, is. I’m not able to add many new things to my lists at this age. So anything new and improved is awesome. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


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