Sooner or later I’m going to have to admit that more than four years of committed, difficult work has paid off and I’m adequate. That’s scary. I might even have to admit that I have passed adequate and moved on toward awesome. I might even have to claim awesome status.

Today’s WOD as written:
Strength
Deadlift
1 X 2 @ 90%
Deadlift
6 X 3 @ 75%
Touch and go reps, 90 -120 seconds rest between sets.

WOD
AMRAP 10 minutes
Bar Facing burpees
Shoulder to overhead 135/95
3-6-9-12-15-18-21……..

My 90% was 148# pounds. I used to dream big and think some day I might be able to get sort of close to my body weight and lift it. That 90% is over my body weight and I not only lifted it up, but controlled it for a touch and go. I can remember the absolute thrill when I got to three digits and managed to lift over 100# and today that’s my normal WOD weight for a deadlift.

I entered the Masters Garage Games a couple years ago. There were only 7 scaled women in my age group throughout the country. So there weren’t many of us brave enough to do that nonsense. I was one of them. The last workout was a 45# shoulder to overhead move and I could maybe get two to three of them at a time and then I had to sit on the floor and box breathe. It was pitiful. It was part of the reason I came in seventh overall for the event. I did take second place on the day since it was just me and Cheryl in our age group.

I asked about weight today and was told the 22# bar with 10# plates should work for me. So I did my modified burpees and then did shoulder to overhead with 42# which is the equipment we have.

I did the 3s without stopping and then did the six burpees. Then I rested and got my heart rate down and did the 6 shoulder to overhead. I then had to rest a bit, but not much, and then got the 9 burpees. I did my box breathing and got my heart rate down and then managed – without setting the bar down, all 9 shoulder to overhead. I couldn’t manage more than three at the Masters Garage Games and today I did 9. That’s a pretty impressive improvement. I did the 12 burpees, rested, had to break the 12 shoulder to overhead into two sets of six, and then I managed to plod through all 15 burpees after I got my heart rate under control. The time ended with me getting 75 reps (30 shoulder to overhead and 45 modified burpees). All that work in 10 minutes.

That’s pretty damn adequate. Inside my head is still the small voice that says they were MODIFIED burpees. Inside my head is a voice that nags and says I probably could have managed either 47 or maybe even 53# on the shoulder to overhead. Inside my head is the critic that always says I could/should have done more or better. Perhaps I didn’t get that A+ and only got an A or even an A- and surely I could do more or better.

And that voice tries to rob me of any joy I may have achieved and I have to silence it because the thing is, I’m supposed to scale things and that doesn’t make me not awesome. In fact, the people who can just bang this stuff out aren’t any more awesome than me. They may be younger, fitter, stronger, and more athletic, but can they write about it later and then crochet a fancy scarf? Can they be a grandparent? Can they do any of the multitudinous things I also do beside lift some weights? Do they even have a cardiologist?

I might have to realize that all the work I’ve put in has insisted I pay the price and give up the negative self talk. I did good today.

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I’m disgruntled. I don’t know if I have ever been gruntled or what that would even mean, but I know that I’m disillusioned and disappointed with myself and my seeming lack of progress. I want more and I want it now and I am taking forever to improve and I used to be young and now I’m just old and slow.

I follow a number of CrossFit women’s blogs. They are all younger (okay, much younger) than me and it is amazing to see how much they can do and move and accomplish. It makes me, frankly, jealous. Most of them are young enough to be my daughters so, conversely, I’m old enough to be their mother. I don’t expect to be able to do as much as my own sons and neither of my daughters-in-law(ish) do CrossFit (routinely). But even if they did, they would either start out better than I am now, or soon outstrip me.

So why do I keep going back? Do I just love the humiliation of always having the fewest AMRAP reps or the longest RFT time? What am I doing at CrossFit?

Well, first of all, I hate the numbers. I hate being the most weenie person day after damn day. Newbies come in and whiz past me as I struggle with each and every thing we do. They are simply younger, stronger, fitter, more agile, and have more stamina than me.

Craig used to have something called Boot Camp where new people did four weeks of acclimation and learning about CrossFit and in that four week time would see marked improvements. They did the same WOD on the first and last day and could see how far they had come in just four weeks.

I’ve been doing this for eleven months. What has improved in all that time?

When I went to the first free Saturday class, I couldn’t finish the class. I was sitting on the sidelines before they even tried the burpees. I tried a band assisted pull-up and if Ryan hadn’t caught me, I would have done a slingshot move across the gym. I pretty much just sucked. Really sucked.

One of the flippant usual warm-up moves is lunge down the mat and it is just an off the cuff thing of no real concern. I couldn’t manage it. At first, I couldn’t even make it down the whole mat. Even with using a PVC pipe as a cane. I’ve done a lunge down the mat with a weight (admittedly it was only five pounds) and managed to not fall over. I can lunge down the mat doing passthroughs without even faltering.

When I first started, I couldn’t squat to parallel let alone break parallel and get ass to grass. And when I finally managed to get my fat ass down, I couldn’t get myself back up. I began trying to squat with a PVC pipe in the racked position all the way down to a 24″ box. And I lifted no iron and certainly there were no weights on my weight. I simply didn’t have the ROM or the strength.

Yesterday, I did a squat clean thruster with a full squat and coming overhead with a 32# bar. It isn’t earth shattering, but it is so much more than I could do when I started.

I could look back and see the first time I managed a lift with weights on my weight. I have a picture of me beaming with 42# held in a deadlift. I can back squat with 58# now. My deadlift max (from a few months ago) was 112#.

I had to start out with ring rows and could barely string a few together. I’m not really very good at band assisted pull-ups, but I have managed to string seven in a row, which was more than the number of ring rows I could do when I started.

My first “box jump” was onto a 25# plate. My last box jump was on a 12″ box with a bunch of plates stacked to 22″. My last missed box jump was at 23″ and my leg still hurts (which is probably a big reason why I’m so grumpy now – after more than a week, I want this boo-boo to be healed and unless I find a tent preacher, I’m not going to be healed any time soon).

I still can’t run for any distance. I can’t do anything that needs stamina. My heart rate goes too high too often. I am always the last, the slowest, the weakest, the oldest. It is humiliating. But, here’s the thing, even though it is taking me forever, when I look back on last August, before I joined CrossFit and started this insanity, I was in even worse shape.

Last August, I was fatter, less muscled, even weaker and slower, and had even less balance. Last August I kept listening to my sons and wishing I was their age and could do what they were doing.

I’m never going to be young again. I’m never going to progress at the same rate as those who are still young. I’m old and can’t give it much of an approvement rating except it beats the alternative. I move slower and unfortunately, I heal slower.

I’m ten pounds lighter than when I started. I’m two dress sizes smaller than when I started (those muscles just are sleeker than fat globs). I’ve got weights on my weights for most of my moves (snatch, I’m coming for you) and I have some goals.

I should go to an open gym and work on deadlifts because I’m sick of weeks on end of one move to the exclusion of everything else. I want to see if I can lift my own body weight yet. I really don’t care about Smolov or even Outlaw. I just want to keep getting better. I want to, someday, just jump up and grab the bar and do a pull-up like the big people do. I want to be able to be unashamed of the numbers on the white board. I don’t have a dream of ever Rxing anything, because I believe that is somewhat unrealistic at my age and fitness level. I waited too long to start this and I sat around doing nothing for too many years.

But there are things I believe I still can accomplish. And so I keep going back, over and over again. Even when I’m disappointed and disillusioned. It is the only way I’m going to get better. I won’t have to start over if I never quit.

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