This is an open letter to everyone who might think I’m awesome because I do CrossFit. I am. But I am not unique. You can be awesome, too. You. Can be awesome. You. Really. It is all scalable and you can do stuff you didn’t even know you could.

How do I know this? Because when I started I couldn’t do squat. I couldn’t do a lift. I couldn’t even get through the warm-up. But I kept working on it. And now I can. There are still many things I can’t do. I can’t climb a rope or do a handstand push-up. I can’t do a pull-up. But I can lunge down the mat without a PVC pipe as a cane. In fact, I can do it with weight, albeit a light weight.

The CrossFit Games are elite athletes who are phenomenal and I will never be those people. But I used to work out with a guy who was at the Games and should be there again this summer. He is awesome. He does amazing things.

I am awesome and I do amazing things. Not the same things he does, but amazing all the same. Mostly, the things I do are amazing exactly because I’m not an elite athlete. I was just a little old lady who decided one day to do this. And I have.

My one rep maxes are low numbers, but I never did anything at all even remotely like this before I was 59. So I was starting on square one but old and feeble to boot.

It hasn’t been easy. I’ve sweat, hurt myself, and cried. The biggest injuries have been to my ego or pride. I’ve never tried anything so far outside my comfort zone before and so there were so many times I was ready to quit. But I always had a good reason to keep going. Things like I had just bought a new bag of protein shake powder and what else was I going to do with it? So I keep going back.

And it has been amazing. I have trouble getting more than 50 pounds over my head, but when I started I couldn’t even lift 50 pounds off the floor, so it’s a real improvement. I have to modify many of the moves and because of my heart rate, I often even scale the number of reps I do. But I do stuff. Amazing stuff. Stuff I couldn’t even begin to do when I started.

It’s really hard to fail your way to success. Each disappointment is a cruel reminder that I’m only 35 inside my head. Well, since both my sons are over 35, that’s also a reminder but not usually anything I think about at the box.

One of my goals when I began this nonsense was to lose weight. I haven’t. Well, two pounds, but that really doesn’t count, now does it? I have dropped two pants sizes. My shirt size is the same (unless it sleeveless) because – get this – the guns are too big to get into a small. Who would have ever thought muscles would be an issue at my age?

And I have muscles. Not Arnold Schwarzenegger muscles, but visible honest to goodness muscles just the same. And it’s the muscles that account for the drop in clothing size because they are so much  more compact than the flab I was carrying around with me.

My balance is so much better. This alone is reason to sign up. People my age, especially women, tend to fall over more frequently and then hurt themselves. Bone density lessens with age – but with the weightlifting, I’m also reversing that issue. But because I lift, I need a tight core which is what gives us balance. So rather than fall down and break a hip, I do awesome things that amaze people – including myself.

I feel rather sad each time I hear someone say they can’t do this. They can. There are people in wheelchairs who do CrossFit. There are all sorts of ways to modify the moves, modify the reps, modify the weights. And the advantages are vast and far-reaching and way beyond what you might think can happen.

The work has been worth it. I sound like I’m proselytizing, and perhaps I am. I know how much better off I am today. I have the community of the people at the box along with the skills and know how to move iron around. I wish everyone could have this feeling of accomplishment.

I started with nothing. Today, I did a named WOD for the fifth time. Each time has seen an improvement. Looking backwards I can see how very far I’ve come. It’s been one hell of a ride and worth all the bumps and bruises to my body and my pride. I wish you could see me now. I wish you could be like me – awesome.

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I made a major decision yesterday – well major in the fact that it was so outside my comfort zone. I have mentioned that I’m just teeny, tiny bit competitive and also just a tad compulsive. I need to do it perfectly all the time. I can’t just toss off something and say it doesn’t matter.

Each time I post a blog, I write it in Microsoft Word, edit it, reread it, touch it up, copy and paste it into Word Press, reread it and touch it up some more, and if (when) I see errors in the published blog, I am totally mortified and go and fix them up as soon as I find them. That’s what I do for a blog post; you should have seen what I did with a resume when I was looking for a job. I sent it out to three or four of my family members to have them proofread and fix and make perfect.

I want my life perfectly ordered for the things that matter to me. I can’t stand clutter but dust bunnies don’t count. When I wipe down the kitchen sink after dishes, there are no water spots, but I don’t mind a sink full of dishes all afternoon. My kitchen counters are not to be filled with detritus from everyday use and if I had enough cupboard storage, there would be nothing on the counters as all. Well, maybe pretty decorative things and I guess the paper towels really have to be accessible. But nothing else.

I don’t normally eat like this. I normally eat pretty much like most Americans but without the fast food because I don’t like hamburgers and I’m cheap and fast food is expensive with low taste and high calories. I’m too lazy to stop into Paneras for a muffin even if I passed right by it on my way to work. Once I’m in the car, I don’t want to stop for anything until I arrive at my destination so some crappy – or even good – food along the way doesn’t tempt me. I also don’t want to leave the house until the last minutes so I don’t have time to stop.

I eat potatoes and bread and pasta and lots of food from the shelves that I have found out are simply loaded with sugar and more sugar and high fructose corn syrup and other things in the badness column.

Every day after the box, I would microwave two eggs and toast an English muffin and put real butter on it and have a cup of coffee and that was breakfast. On the days I didn’t work out, I had a bowl of Organic Farms granola (usually vanilla) with milk.

Lunch when I work was a salad with romaine lettuce (baby spinach sometimes), broccoli slaw, shredded carrots, tomatoes, two colossal olives sliced, two slices of bacon crumbled, topping of almonds with sunflower seeds and dried cranberries, and homemade dressing – either honey mustard or balsamic vinaigrette. When I don’t work, usually cheese and crackers (Triscuits). This has had to be altered. Some things in the salad are gone, and no cheese and no crackers.

Dinner was anything. Lots of pasta. I love things like my Beer Cheese Soup with some really good sourdough bread. Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup with crusty French bread is good, too. We often have baked potatoes with anything that doesn’t have pasta. There is always meat and potatoes or pasta and sometimes, but not always a vegetable is included. One of my favorite I-don’t-want-to-cook meals is a plate of hot buttered noodles.

I don’t drink much – an occasional social glass of wine. My beverage of choice is coffee with milk only. I rarely have a soda, maybe I consume a six-pack during the year. Maybe not that much. I drink hot chocolate and herbal or flavored teas as well.

I didn’t think my diet was that bad until I got to the WLC and found out that it wasn’t as healthy as I thought. However, I have printed lists of what is allowed on the beginner platform and I have been obsessive about following that list. I know I eat chocolate and I knew I was going to lose points for this. However, before signing up, I checked with the Leader of the Pack and asked if I could just take a hit per serving because I could make a serving last for days. It turns out, I can make a serving last for a couple weeks if I need to.

I love roast chicken. I made it. But we couldn’t have the white potatoes or the stuffing. I made gravy with cornstarch because I can have corn products on my list of allowed items. It looked funny but tasted okay. Our meal wasn’t horrible without the stuffing, but it wasn’t great, either. We have been using leftover chicken for a couple days.

Yesterday, my long suffering husband was going to make dinner compliant for both of us because he didn’t feel right eating “good” which meant tasty in front of me while I ate “good” which meant healthy. So we were both going to suffer. In a totally uncharacteristic move, but something that I believe has to be more important than points, I opted for a whole life that included tasty. Our pot pie was made with sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes which was amazingly good. He had already precooked both the potatoes and the carrots. We had pie crust on the top – made with wheat and costing a point.

To simply throw out a point like that was not even a real issue as I have three bonus points saved up. So I still have bonus points available for use which I will need in a few more days because my single serving of chocolate is getting low. By the time it is gone, I will probably have two more points.

I think that to keep my life healthy and in balance, I need to let go of the whole concept of ALL the points and live with some freedom to choose tasty or fun or better at life instead of best at points.

I will continue to try to eat clean. I don’t think my adventure last night is going to lead me to the brink of disaster, although that is in hindsight and I wasn’t all that sure prior to making the decision. I need balance in my life for it to be a healthy and happy life. I need to stop obsessing about points and know that I’m winning no matter how many points I have on the board. I’m living outside my comfort zone for a few weeks and finding it isn’t all that uncomfortable until I make it so.

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