I married a golfer. I thought I knew what that meant, but I didn’t – really. He loves to golf. He loves it so much, he wanted to share the experience with me. He took me golfing. I am Irish and German and I get a sunburn in about 3.7 nanoseconds. He is part Cherokee and has to be in the sun for days before getting slightly pink. It should have stunned no one to find out I was burned after wandering around like the Jews in the desert for forty years, occasionally hitting a small white ball while all the while preferring the option of hitting the guy who brought me.

But true love is a wondrous thing and he brought me golfing a second time on a very cloudy day. After it had rained. The course was muddy. I ruined my shoes. I prefer shoes to golf by a margin of a bazillion to one. I tried one more time. I got stung by a bee. I was done with golf.

He has golfed the entire time I have known him. He isn’t a scratch golfer by any means but he enjoys his time out there. He has gotten a couple witnessed holes in one. He is out on the course three times a week and still plans special weeks where he goes even more often. He loves golf. Not as much as me. I think.

About 37 years ago, his cousin introduced him to racquetball. This is inside so no chance of sunburn or bee stings. That’s a plus. He talked me into trying this out as well. I did. I didn’t do very well that first time, but I eventually learned to read the walls and could place my shots. I was a woman’s A player and won a substantial portion of my games.

I got to play often and he didn’t. Every time we played together, I won. I could have just served and counted and won that way, but I would hit shots he could return and then he would get mad because I was letting him hit the ball. So I would smack the ball in ways he couldn’t return and then he would get mad because he wasn’t able to hit the ball. We stopped playing together.

Both of us are rather competitive. Both of us like to win. So it is much better if we don’t play at the same thing. He could win his golf match and I could win my racquetball match and we could both be happy. That worked for some time. But even the best of times, according to Charles Dickens, don’t last forever.

I have no explanation for why I love CrossFit so much. I suck at it by various measurements. I excel at it by other measurements. I show up, routinely. That’s my greatest strength. I am coachable. When I’m told “chest up” or “elbows in” I do what I’m told to the best of my abilities. I’m not going to be a competitive athlete. I have no great skill or strength other than doggedness.

I have a list of PRs that has slowing been inching upwards. And while I don’t move tons of weight at a time, I’ve moved more tons of weight than I ever would have imagined possible. I go. I try. I survive. Sometimes I cry in here. But I go back.

Our son’s gym functions quite a bit differently than mine does. I can work out in Hilton Head and be comfortable and I can do the same at home. But the culture for each box is unique. Dick has seen, repeatedly, after all the events we have volunteered at, how Conviction Training Facility works. But he has never, ever participated in a workout.

I asked him to come with me to CrossFit Summerville. He did. I warned the coach/owner that I would be bringing him. I told her what he found to be intimidating. I picked a day without weights. Mostly.

Our skill was weighted good mornings and he used a PVC pipe and then a sand filled pipe. That was fine. He could manage. Then the WOD was rowing, burpees, and double unders. We could both row without issue. We both did plank burpees. I did single unders and he jumped an imaginary rope since this was really bothering him. Two minutes for each move with a minute rest and then do that again for three rounds.

He never quit. He managed to do a 20 minute WOD and never quit. I was so proud of him. On the way home I mentioned that he owed me two more times at the box because I golfed three times. He said he did it once and that was enough.

I think it may be best this way. He has golf. I have CrossFit. We are too competitive. From experience, I know that people start out and quickly zoom past me as I struggle with heart rate and age and general suckiness. We don’t do well “enjoying” the same thing as we compete to see who is better at it.

We each need our own domain. I should let this one go and enjoy my space, my time, my success at CrossFit.

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I am competitive. My baby sister just read that and said in a very sarcastic tone, “Ya think?”

Yes, I think so. I enjoy winning. Always. Set up a contest and I want to win it. There doesn’t have to be a prize, I just want to win. I want to be the best, not just the best me I can be, but the actual best. It is disheartening how often I fail at that, but it does keep me striving.

My biggest obstacle for CrossFit is how pitiful I am. Putting thing on the white board is often embarrassing. I’m supposed to feel good about the fact that I at least showed up. And I am. It is really hard to show up so many times a week – especially when the numbers on the white board are so crappy. Day after day, week after week, month after month. They are crappy numbers. They are much better numbers than they were before which is the only thing anyone can hope for and why I keep going back.

When I saw the invitation to a dinner party in the midst of this WLC, my first reaction was to just decline. I didn’t have to do this. But I enjoy spending an evening with our friends. This is the Whole LIFE Challenge, not a death sentence. It is supposed to show me how to have a better, more balanced, life. I am not supposed to hide. Health shouldn’t be something you tack on to the remainder of your day, but the foundation for the rest of your longer, healthier, stronger, fitter, more able life.

So after a few moments of stark terror and perhaps even getting misty eyed, I took a deep breath and opted to go. I knew I would be losing a point or two, but what the hell. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed and this was going to be enjoyable.

I brought along fruit with homemade complaint (at beginner level) dips and figured it was a way to avoid what I knew would be tempting, tasty treats. It worked. We were served chicken Marsala with a pasta side and a salad. So I took a hit on the pasta. It was the first pasta I have had in six weeks and it was fabulous. So was the chicken. The salad was safe. I stayed away from the bread.

Steve brought some stuffed tomatoes that looked great and everyone said were wonderful. They had three different kinds of cheese and bread crumbs for the stuffing along with I don’t remember what else. But they would have been another point. Maybe next time.

Chris made something called potato candy which was mashed potatoes with confectioners sugar and other stuff in there squished between two graham crackers and topped with chocolate. I’m not sure about them no matter what. I don’t like mashed potatoes at all, ever. But I would probably have tried a bite.

The hardest thing to stay away from was Dianne’s tiramisu. It looked like it wanted me to take a slice and enjoy the moment. I could have. I have extra bonus points. It wouldn’t have killed me. But the deal I made with myself was fruit for dessert because I could. The only person I would have cheated was myself – the only person who really matters.

I made a promise to myself to not talk about either CrossFit or the Whole Life Challenge and this stupid diet and its dumb restrictions. But I couldn’t manage to keep my mouth shut. Everyone was kind and didn’t try to encourage me to eat outside my dietary restrictions and I was truly grateful. I got asked some quite lucid questions and I did my best to answer them.

I believe strongly in this health stuff I’m doing. I want to continue with some – but certainly not all – of the dietary stuff when this is over. I am totally astounded every time I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror. I’ve only lost between 15 and 20 pounds over the course of an entire year with just five in the last few weeks. But the packaging is so totally different.

All the hard work shows in what I look like now. But that is only the superficial part. I am stronger. I am more flexible. I am more balanced. I have more stamina. I am faster. Even my heart rate is better. I’m even more confident, which is probably something I didn’t need.

In fact, I’m winning at my life. This is the best me I can be at this age. I’m not the same as I was when I was playing racquetball as obsessively as I am now doing CrossFit. I was much younger back then. But I don’t shy away from stuff like I did a year ago. I’m still old and I don’t ever have a chance to forget that. But I am one strong, powerful, bitchin’ ass old broad. I’m totally rocking this old fart thing.

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