The aftermath of success is killing me. I wasn’t going to sign up for the Open. Then I was. Then I wasn’t and that went back and forth and then yesterday, I did the workout with the group, still unregistered.

I had looked to see how badly I had to do to maintain my last position in America if not the world. There were, apparently, two women who couldn’t get up to a 20 inch box because they each only got the first ten reps and then quit. I was pretty confident I could get past that. I did.

I ended up with a score of 130 which was more than I dared hope for. I usually do a modified burpee and remove that push-up part. But I couldn’t for this event and so they really wiped me out and cranked up my heart rate. Regardless, I moved along as much as I could.

I was more worried about puking than having a heart attack. It was very difficult to not make a mess and my back was not liking the end of this. But I soldiered on and finished the twenty minutes still moving.

As I sat around watching the other athletes work through this (and out of 19 or so people there, only three were able to finish in time) I was cajoled into signing up for Open. It’s not about me being last in America for the Masters Garage Games, it’s about how I have improved over time and it was guaranteed I would not be last in the world. I don’t know if that’s going to be true or not, but I signed up anyway. I’m not planning on setting the world on fire, but I get stuck doing these anyway. I might as well get credit for it.

I did “no rep” myself as I realized I was leaning on my leg for the pull of the dumbbell snatch and I squealed and dropped the weight before I wasted it. My low scores are achieved with integrity, at least.

I was the scorer for another athlete and I had to “no rep” him for the same reason. I felt a little bad, but I knew I had done that to myself, too, so it made it easier to keep him reputable as well.

I came home elated and floated through the day. And then, somewhere between then and now, I started in on myself. Perhaps I could have not sat back down when I tried to start moving and “just couldn’t” and maybe really could have. Maybe I should have started the last push of snatches a little earlier to get a higher rep count. Maybe I could have magically become younger and fitter yesterday morning.

I want more. I want to be more. I want to achieve more. I have come so far that it is nearly impossible to remember where I was when I began. But still, there is more and always more and I want it. I remember being an A racquetball player and winning and overcoming. Hell, I even won a game on a broken ankle. Not that it was smart, but in my defense, I didn’t realize I had broken it.

But today, I’m encased in this older body. It does amazing things that other bodies, young or old, cannot do. I push my limits. I dare greatly in an arena I should never thought to enter. I really should knit. (Leslie, did you buy the yarn yet?) Inside my old body is this notion that I’m still 35. Every mirror, every interaction with my children (both of whom are over 35) should let me remember that I’m a Little Old Lady. An awesome one, to be sure.

And yet, I want still more.

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I am scared half to death. It’s 150 dumbbell snatches and 75 burpee over the box jumps. At my advanced age, I get to use just a ten pound dumbbell and I get to do step ups on the box. So there is that to look forward to.

Always and everywhere throughout CrossFit, women’s standards are just a tiny bit less than what is expected of men. For instance, for the young and fit this workout has men using a 50 pound dumbbell and women using a 35 pound dumbbell. Men jump to or over a 24 inch box and women jump to or over a 20 inch box.

However, at my age and in the scaled division, men use a 25 pound dumbbell while I get to use a 10 pound one. They may do step ups to a 20 inch box while I may do them to a, wait for it, 20 inch box.

Admittedly, in the RX division, men my age are still compelled to use a 24 inch box and all of us over the age of 55 get to use step ups rather than jumping. People in the scaled division are “competing” for a score and not for a place at the games. Allowing older men a chance to compete for a score is nice, but why are old women the only ones who can keep up with their male peers?

This is the second time this has appeared in a competition. In the Masters Garage Games, old men and old women could both snatch a 45 pound bar while at every other age, men’s weights were higher than women’s – just like everywhere else in CrossFit.

Old women are just as enfeebled by age as old men are. Why are we all of a sudden “equal” in some aspect or other? I assume this is equipment related. In order to get people to play along, there has to be the proper equipment. My gym does have boxes that can be rotated for different heights – now. But we started out with 12, 20, and 24 inch boxes (pretty much standard heights).

With upgraded equipment we can now have 12, 16, 18, 20, 24, and 30 inch boxes. But we have always, always, always been able to stack up some weight plates and make different heights. They can be stacked from the ground up or placed on top of boxes. This is how I know I can jump to a 22 inch box and I can take my entire shin off on a missed 23 inch box. I had plates atop a 20 inch box.

Even if we didn’t have a 16 inch box available, I could make a stack of objects 16 inches high if I were allowed to have the same scaled option of box height as old men get. Hell, the plates aren’t even being used for any other part of this WOD. Instead, me and no other person at my gym aged 55 or over will be doing the same height box, regardless of gender.

I find this irritating. I find it annoying. It doesn’t do me any good to be either irritated or annoyed because the standards are what they are and I’m lucky they even have a scaled option at all and what in the hell did I expect anyway. As I’ve been told, I should knit.

Perhaps I’m focusing on this inequity in order to assuage my fears about the WOD in its entirety. Luckily there is a time cap and so I’m going to treat this as an AMRAP. I have little hope for completing 225 anythings in the allotted time, so I will see how far I can manage and be proud of whatever I can get done with my heart rate issues and 20 inch box.

There is an idea floating around the society in which I live that there is nothing more useless than an old woman. I wish CrossFit didn’t perpetuate this myth.

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I went yesterday. The 16 part of Sweet 16 was not rounds, so there is that to be thankful for. What it was instead, was a variation of all five the CrossFit Open Games WODs from 2016. That meant there was lots of everything.

I’m very hesitant to pick a partner. I usually wait for everyone to be paired up and the dimwit that didn’t pick anyone fast enough gets stuck with me. Yesterday, that turned out to be Eli. He is 24. He was a high school and college competitive swimmer. He’s awesome with an aerobic engine like you wouldn’t believe. He was stuck with me, the oldest person there with heart rate issues and her own cardiologist. What a match.

He told me to just do what I could and he would do the rest. Still, I was hoping to be able to do better. I got through Opens 16.1 through 16.4 sorta, kinda carrying my own weight. Not really, but not horribly lopsided. And then came 16.5 and I was lost. I was tired and spent and old and feeble and we had been working for a very long time. The task at hand was 32 heavy deadlifts, 32 wall balls, 32 calorie row, 16 HSPU with a hand release push-up as a sub.

I was able to get my half of the deadlifts. Eli did 16 wall balls, I did five and couldn’t move. My heart rate was 172 and climbing. He did the other 11 and then said he would do the entire row, which was really smart. He probably got two calories for every three pulls where I need three pulls for one calorie. I managed 12 push-ups and then, because I didn’t really know what I was talking about, I couldn’t go on. I thought we had to do that last round again (since most of the sections were to be done twice) and the thought of more heavy deadlifts just left me drained. Eli finished for us and we were done in 30.10. We didn’t have to do it twice and I usually push through at the end, knowing it is the end and what the hell, just get done.

And then I was awake most of the night castigating myself for not pulling my weight. Intellectually I know I’m not a 24 year old male in good physical condition. I got 40 years on this guy and I’m a wreck. He can and does outstrip every WOD I do. Keeping up was never really an option. And yet, I only did five wall balls.

And the spiral began. Instead of noting that I did five back to back WODs, as a partner, without knowing what was coming, bravely showed up, gave it my best shot, worked my ass off, and survived – I kept telling myself I only did five wall balls.

I have no idea how to talk kindly to myself. I only know how to point out all my flaws.

I don’t remember who the lady was who stood in the center of the contestants and said mean things, culminating in, “You are the weakest link” just before kicking them off the show. But that phrase is inside my head, over and over and over.

How do I tell myself that I’m doing amazingly awesome and my deadlifts today looked good? How do I tell myself when it is a day of chest to bar, HSPU, and pistols that I’ve improved when I can do none of those moves? I scaled/subbed each one and did crap anyway even though I knew I was going to the gym without a license to carry, unable to kick my ass up to the wall, and without even a pull-up let alone a chest to bar.

Today, just because I wanted to try, I did put three mats on the floor and did a head stand – kicking my fat ass up there without any help – and attempted to push myself up from there. I didn’t make it, but I did get inverted, so there is that.

I showed up yesterday and worked to capacity. I showed up again today and worked hard and even though I was exhausted, I put in my best effort.

I need to talk nicer to me. I don’t know how, because all I see is what’s not there and I’m unable to appreciate what is.

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It is the CrossFit Open. We, as CrossFitters, are given the opportunity to compete as one world. Everyone, everywhere, is given the opportunity to do the same WOD and compare outcomes. The top competitors get invited to Regional competitions and the winners there are invited to the CrossFit Games in the summer.

I am not that caliber of athlete. I am, however, a CrossFitter. And so, willingly or not, I’m participating because at our box, the Friday WOD is the Open WOD. So one might think I’m a bit depressed today.

Surprise upon surprise. I’m not. For two reasons. The first is that I had an epiphany a while ago. I did a workout with a woman who was coming back from major surgery. She and I scaled the WOD the exact same way to half. She was happy because she had done the whole thing she had planned to do. I was miserable because I had only done half the WOD as written. She was happy; I was defeated.

It had taken over three years for me to incorporate the mindset of ISYMFW into my practice. I am responsible for my own behavior, but the CrossFit mentality of “having” to put your score on the white board was part of my issue. I had to let that go. My score on the white board is a raw scored number without any other person there in my league. I’m old and feeble. But even though I’m older than when I started, I’m much more powerful.

My competition isn’t the twentysomethings who rage through their workouts with lightning speed. It isn’t the fortysomethings who power through with skill and determination. My competition is me. Only me. It’s always been only me but I kept comparing myself to those others who weren’t me, hadn’t sat around as much, didn’t have a heart rate issue, weren’t feeble old coots.

Once I let that bit go, I started having fun. And surprisingly, I’m actually doing more with what I have to work with. I’ve been moving as well as I can for as long as I can. My heart rate still skyrockets and I have to stop to box breathe. Doesn’t matter. I’m getting more done and having more fun.

Imagine my surprise when I looked at the 16.1 Open list of scaling options. I’m far over 55 so I was all good to go with the masters division. I’m not a serious athlete. I’m a casual athlete. I’m not trying to get to the Games. I’m trying to get better at being me. So the scaled version was all I needed to care about. And I first saw the RX version and wanted to cry. But I scrolled down the page and voila, there was the Scaled Masters.

Today’s WOD as written:
25 feet walking lunges
8 burpees
25 feet walking lunges
8 jumping pull-ups

There was no weight, overhead or racked. I was permitted to walk the burpees in and out as long as I got my chest and thighs to the ground. We determined that since everyone else had to jump over a bar, I would have a PVC pipe to jump over as well and did so with both feet.

My jumping pull-ups were the very same thing I have been doing repeatedly and ad nauseum for weeks now in order to some day get a pull-up and they were the easiest part of the entire exercise. And 25 feet is about half the length of our mat, so that was easy. The burpees – well, they were burpees.

My heart rate soared, I did an extraordinary amount of box breathing to try to get it back down. I worked and I worked really hard. I never gave up. I just kept plowing through the very best I could.

I’m so freaking pleased with this. I could tell you my score, but it is unimportant. It was more than I thought I would really get and less than I really hoped to achieve, but not by much. I enjoyed the entire thing. I worked so damn hard and I succeeded. Not in blowing away a score, but in blowing away my competition – me.

I’m beaming. I’m going to guess they are going to throw some godawful thing in there in the next four weeks and I will have to scale the scaled version. But when/if I do, it will still be awesome because you see – I’m awesome. Really.

I was thinking on my drive home how I just want to be a bit better than yesterday. That’s all. For you youngsters out there under 50, that doesn’t even seem strange. But people my age are on the downhill side and it isn’t usual to be better than you were yesterday. At this age, you are generally just a wee bit worse than yesterday. But not me. I work out. I work really hard. I’m improving.

And I did 16.1 as written. Holy shit.

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This has been looming over my head since I read about it on Thursday night. I needed to get past this but it scared me practically witless. My tail bone is really not up to the WOD as written, so I had to modify it and even with that, it was much more work than an old fart like me should do. Frankly, no matter what injury I may have, I wasn’t up to this WOD as written. I think the 84 burpees by themselves would have done me in.

I gave myself a nice little warm-up run of 200 meters – ish. I believe it was a bit more than 200 but I ran some and back and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Simple air squats were a bit ouchy which was probably telling me to not do this workout, but I successfully ignored it. I did other stuff that didn’t hurt.

I worked on more shoulder mobility stuff since I didn’t have the bars and bands to do some better stretching. Whatever it was mostly worked.

Today’s WOD as written:
From CrossFit Open 14.5
MASTERS WOMEN – includes Masters Women 55+
21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
45-lb. thrusters
Burpees

Craig’s intramural WOD had beginners (which would be me) using 25# and starting at 18 rather than 21. They could do squat thrusts and walk over the bar for the burpee stuff. They also had a 15 minute cap.

Since I don’t have the ability to make a 25# weight (my empty bar is 30#) and since I can’t squat right now for either thrusters or burpees, I figured that I should begin at the 21 reps and do my push presses and then I just did push-ups and hoped for the best. I gave myself a 20 minute cap since I was doing 42 more reps, but they were easier reps.

I got to 17 on the push presses and started beeping. I don’t know why I quit with only four more, since I could have managed them at this point. But I stopped and got my heart rate down. Each time I had to pick up the bar, it hurt my behind. Not making that happen more often would have been smart. I was already being dumb.

The garage was already too hot. I didn’t put in my contacts and had my glasses on with them fogging up now and again. I was going to have a rough time here, but there was no other option at this point. I was thinking I should have brought out a fan, but it was too late for such a good idea. See? Dumb! Right from the start.

By the end of 21 push-ups, I was already quite tired and had to break the 18 reps into sets of 6 for both moves. By the 15 reps, I was into sets of 5 for the push press but managed the push-ups in two halves. Then on to 12 and I managed two sets of six for both and then on to the 9 reps with not enough time on the clock. I started too soon and could only manage 3 so I powered through 6 to get to the push-ups. I got them done split up and got the push presses in with 12 seconds left. I tried to power through six push-ups, but could only manage 3 before that blessed buzzer went off on my timer. I had a score of 159. I know I could have finished the last nine moves if I hadn’t capped the time. I would never have been able to do this as written.

Somehow I managed to do some on all of the CrossFit Open WODs and even did one as Masters Women RX. I’m glad this is over and I hope my tail bone heals soon because I’m pretty tired of having a pain in the ass instead of just being one.

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Yesterday was a nice, lazy kind of day. I got some writing done and got some groceries in the house and cooked dinner and that’s about all that got done. We went for a walk while the pork chops were in the oven and that was the most activity around here all day.

After dinner I just waited impatiently for the 14.4 Open WOD to be announced. It was not available right at 8 PM which is rather crappy. They have one job. Announce at 8 PM. I kept checking until it finally popped up on the website. And I groaned.

I have no idea how many rowers other boxes have, but we have six. That means that only six people can do this WOD at a time. Then a new wave can start and then if needed a new wave can start. And on and on depending on how many people are there. We had talked about going to Hilton Head for their Saturday group WOD stuff, but this was going to be a problem. I have no idea how many rowers Craig has, but he has way more athletes than rowers and adding more confusion to the mix was rather silly.

I guess those with abundant resources don’t worry about stuff like this, but it is a fact of life out in the field. So I was thinking that it might not be a good idea to travel tomorrow.

The 5 AM class was still doing the workout when we got there (they started in waves) and they were using the bars, so I couldn’t practice my negative pull-ups. I thought I might do that after.

Today’s warm-up started with a run since it was finally not rainy out there – and the rowers were set to measure calories rather than distance. Either way, we ran. Then we did a bunch of other stuff.

Today’s WOD as written:
Front Squats – 8 x 4 @ 80% 1RM
then
Open WOD 14.4
MASTERS WOMEN – includes Masters Women 55+
Complete as many rounds and repetitions as possible in 14 minutes of:
60-calorie row
50 toes-to-bars
40 wall-ball shots, 10 lb. to 9-foot target
30 cleans, 65 lb.
20 muscle-ups

First was those back squats. I worked up to and then used a 63# bar for all of them and got them done without too much trouble. By the end, I would swear someone had added some weight, but it was just me being tired.

Then on to the Open WOD. No RX for me this week. I wasn’t worried about the 65# cleans because I was certain I wasn’t going to get that far. I always use a 10# med ball anyway, so that was nice. But I can’t do a toes to bar. I’m happy I can finally do knees to elbows.

Ricky is really doing the Open and so Coach Jason was monitoring him for the WOD. The rest of us were on our own, but that’s not a problem. Ricky was done with the 60 calorie row when I was just turning 29 calories. It took me over six minutes to get the 60 calories. So I had time to get more reps in. I started with the knees to elbows, which is all I can do and managed two or three at a time and then would pause and start again. I know I could have gotten more reps by just bring my knees up, but the idea is to do what I can do and make it worth counting as a rep. So I struggled and worked as hard as I could.

Time was creeping by and I desperately wanted to break 100 reps. I didn’t know if I could. I needed at least 40 knees to elbows to make the 100. I was at 37 and thought I could get three and then maybe, just maybe, get more. There was still over a minute of time left. I got two and went for the third one, giving me 100 reps and as I pulled my legs up, my hands slipped off the bar and before I could even scream, I was flat on my back on the cold, cement floor. What hurt most immediately after hitting was my tailbone.

Cheryl was working right next to me and she jumped down to make sure I was all right. I was seeing if my feet/legs moved and they seemed to. I was starting to get up when Todd was there asking if I was all right. I sat up and said I was, or at least thought I was.

I was at rep 99. There was still time. So I gingerly stood up and everything seemed to work. I jumped up to the bar and got two more in and there was still a bit of time so I got two more. My score was 103.

I am going to be really sore for a few days and figure I’m going to have a bruised butt. But everything works. I asked Ricky to make sure I could get into my midget car before everyone left the parking lot and I was able to get in (and once I got home, I could get out). But I was a bit too creaky to try working on those negative pull-ups.

Once home, I mentioned to Dick that it would have been a really bad idea to go to Hilton Head because of the type of WOD this is and now it would also be a bad idea because I don’t think I’m going to want to be in a car for hours and hours tomorrow.

Ah, the life of a jock.

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My day off was spent by lollygagging around and getting not much of anything (besides laundry) done. What a waste of a day. I need to be a bit more productive today which may prove difficult because I was up half the night tossing and turning and acting like a salad. I must have fallen to sleep eventually because the alarm did wake me and then it was time to get ready for the box.

I looked at the forecast last night and I knew to have long pants out for today. And knee socks. It was 43⁰ out there this morning and raining. Lovely. I was so glad this WOD didn’t have any running in it. I don’t like to run at the best of times and in the rain is even worse.

I got there a little early despite someone who was so short their head didn’t rise above the headrest and was terribly frightened to be driving in the dark and in the rain and so had to move at a snail’s pace and just be generally in the way. However, even with this onerous hardship, I was able to get my negative pull-ups done before class. They are still too fast, but I can ease myself down instead of dropping like a rock. So I assume that means I’m getting just a bit better.

Warm-up was a 1000 meter row and I was the last one done. I know that shocks everyone. I, myself, was terribly surprised. We did other stuff and then we did Bring Sally Up with just air squats and even that was more than I could handle. I have no idea how anyone does it with weight. I am still, after all this time, a weenie. In all fairness, when I first began this CrossFit nonsense, I wasn’t able to actually squat and today I just had trouble holding the long ones. It wasn’t bothering my knee, I’m just pathetic.

Today’s WOD as written:
Workout 14.2
For as long as possible:
From 0:00-3:00
2 rounds of:
10 overhead squats, 95 / 65 lb.
10 chest-to-bar pull-ups
From 3:00-6:00
2 rounds of:
12 overhead squats, 95 / 65 lb.
12 chest-to-bar pull-ups
From 6:00-9:00
2 rounds of:
14 overhead squats, 95 / 65 lb.
14 chest-to-bar pull-ups
Etc., following same pattern
Anvil Rx Version
Follow the same timing pattern for the entire workout but start with 6 reps instead of 10. Substitute front squats for overhead squats and regular pull ups for chest to bar pull ups as follows:
6 front squats (95/65)
6 pull ups
Anvil Foundation Version
If you cannot perform our version as Rx, then start with 4 reps instead of 6. Scale weights for the front squats as needed to make this a test of stamina not strength. Substitute ring rows or jumping pull ups for pull ups. The time it takes to get in and out of bands will take away from your ability to maintain intensity on this workout.
4 front squats
4 jumping pull ups / ring rows

My 1 RM for a full clean is 57# so I knew I needed a bit lighter than that. I can front squat more pulling it from the rack, but defying gravity first is an issue. So I used a 42# bar and went with that. I don’t know if I’m doing them wrong, but it seems to me that jumping pull-ups are much easier than ring rows. I did ring rows.

Cindy and I completely forgot about round two of each EMOM-ish thing and were ready to be done after the first one. Luckily Justin knew what he was doing and we were reminded about the WOD’s rules.

Ricky was doing 14.2 as written but none of the rest of us could actually do pull-ups unassisted let alone chest to bar. Justin and I did the ring rows and Cindy and Todd did band assisted pull-ups. All four of us used the foundation version and began with four rep rounds.

Ricky made it through the first three minutes and while working on the 12 rep rounds, he finished the first and was on the overhead squats when he hit himself in the head with the bar. I missed that part, but did almost get hit with the 95# bar he dropped.

Justin was next out and had to quit at nine minutes in. I got the rounds in for that, but I was beeping and had no time to rest when the next round started. I managed one round of the 10 reps each scheme and got seven more front squats. If I had known the math, I really think I would have killed myself for one more rep, but instead, I had a score of 99.

Cindy and Todd both completed that round and got to the 12-15 minute mark and the 12 rep scheme but neither of them could finish. On the final round, Todd moved to ring rows and so although he got more reps overall than Cindy, she maintains she beat him because she stuck with the pull-ups. Married people are fun to watch.

I’m happy with my performance today. I was working really hard and my ring rows were much better than I remembered them being. I might, maybe, possibly be getting just a bit stronger. Perhaps. It is also so much nicer to see things written scaled so I don’t have to feel like an utter failure every time I walk into the place. Thanks, Ryan. This is so much nicer. I know it must be more difficult, but it really make a difference to feel like I belong inside the box and I’m not an interloper who is barely tolerated.

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