I keep trying to let go, but the reality just keeps dragging me back. I hate the white board. I’m the dumb kid in this class and when we have to post our scores, it sucks all the joy out of my hard work because when reduced to nothing more than a score, it simply sucks.

I try to remind myself I get a great workout when I show up and work hard. I’ve been trying to tell myself this week that it’s my first full week back and one workout in four weeks doesn’t keep you in any kind of shape. My legs hurt. I’ve been saying this since Monday.

I said it Tuesday at CrossFit and again at Yoga. That’s because my legs hurt. I’ve been trying to mobilize here at home. I’ve done my own private You Tube Yoga practice crap, but despite all this, my legs hurt.

And today, I was again faced with my heart rate issues that hold me back no matter how hard I work or how often I work or how much I wish it didn’t. I can’t just keep moving no matter what CrossFit thinks I should be able to do. Short breaks or quick rests aren’t enough unless I pause after each and every movement and since I’ve never tried that, I’m not really sure even that would work.

All I know is that I’m stronger than I used to be. I’m even faster and have more stamina than before. I just ask more of myself and so I basically still suck.

Putting the score on the white board doesn’t do anything for those of us at the bottom of the heap. It might, if your workout buddy can’t show up at the same time as you, be fun for the two of you to compare your scores. But no one is comparing their scores to me and if they are they should stop. I’m not in their league. I’m the old fart.

And so, again today, after working hard, I’m defeated. I cut the reps back to a master’s level in order to get a score comparable to the ones already up on the board. I’m proud of what I could manage. I just hate the whole score thing.

This is unfair to me and to anyone who coaches me because I tend to get a bit less charitable when I’m angry. That may be a bit of an understatement. I just want to be a regular CrossFit person. Instead, I’m the old person. I do amazing crap, but I can’t do all the crap expected of me by some nameless, faceless somebody out there.

I worked hard today. I cut reps to make sure I didn’t look horrible on the white board and I feel like a cheat because of it. I have no idea what to do about this. I’ve been told for years now I shouldn’t worry about the scores, but that I HAVE to put it up there. I hope by Friday I have my equilibrium back because I really hate this feeling.

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I scale everything because I need to. I am unique, just like everybody else, but at my gym, I’m the only person who comes to classes and is over the age of 60. So that makes me an outlier. I’m not the norm, I’m way off the end of the curve.

A few weeks ago, two of us showed up for a brutal WOD and we were given the same half of the WOD to do. Me, because I’m old and feeble, and the other woman because she was just returning after surgery. We each managed to do 55 slam balls and 155 step-ups. It took me only slightly longer. She was happy and did all she had wanted to do. I did half the WOD as written and felt defeated. We did the exact same things, but in my head, I was a failure.

We have a program where you can enter your scores and then it ranks them with all the RX people from lowest to highest times and then all the non-RX people from lowest to highest times (highest to fewest reps, depending on the scoring). It is called the Leader board. But there can only be one leader. For me, it is a loser board. It is optional to post there and so I don’t except for that one time when I managed to RX a weighted WOD and then I didn’t even care that I had the lowest score, I had an RX score.

I hate the white board. I put a raw score up there and my number sits. If I’ve scaled just the weights but leave the rep scheme the same, I have scaled up there, but when I cut the reps back then I put “masters” on the board. But still, what is there is a bald faced number. More often than not, the worst number on the board.

And I’ve been gaming that number to my own detriment. Today, in a fit of sanity not seen in ages, I did the workout for me rather than the white board. I knew I could scale the move from knees to elbows to V-ups and get a higher number. But one of my goals is to get a pull-up and doing knees to wherever I can manage to get them is better for getting to that goal than V-ups. So even though I knew it would give me a lower number on the white board, I did what was better for me and my goals.

The white board is supposed to give you a sense of community and it might do that for those who can put great numbers on the board. But for me, where everything is a struggle and my heart rate is a problem, I don’t have great numbers.

Last Wednesday, the WOD was ground to overhead with the goal of 10,000 pounds for men and 7,000 pounds for women. Since my clean and jerk weight is 42#, that would have been 167 clean and jerks which was deemed excessive. So I only had to do 4,000 pounds which meant 95 clean and jerk. Because of my heart rate, I have a limit of three at a time so it took me over 30 minutes. There was one young guy who did his 10,000 pounds in ten minutes and some seconds. That is tremendously awesome. But so was I. Frankly, none of my friends who are my age could put two tons overhead. But as excited as I was to complete the modified WOD with fantastic form all the way through, it was still in the back of my head that I did less weight and took for damn ever. Three times the fastest time for less than half his weight.

And even in victory, joy can be diminished by the numbers on the white board. I try not to look and I try not to care. The white board has never been a motivator for me. It is only disappointing and humiliating. It is my wall of shame, day after day and year after year.

I inspire people by my dedication and continued presence. I work as hard as I can every time I show up and I show up religiously. I whine and I cry and I pout and I come back and do it all again, simply to be low man on the totem pole. New people come in and zoom past me in a matter of days or sometimes it takes whole weeks. And there I lag, struggling and plodding through. And there are my scores, week after week. Crappy scores, although they are improving with time just as I am. I can do so much more now than I could three years ago. Which sorta lets you know exactly how bad my scores have been over time. All these years later and I’m still the oldest and still the crappiest.

Except that’s only when it is a raw score on the white board. There has to be another way to measure success or failure. Inside my head, I know that I’m rocking this shit. Not because of the scores and not even because of my status as only old fart there, but because I consistently show up and I work at improving even while feeling overwhelmed and totally defeated.

This has been a test of character for me. I was always one of the smart kids in the class, the one with the high scores on the nonexistent white board of the classroom. In that setting, no one would force the dumb kid to advertise his score on a test next to what would have been my superior score. But somehow, I find myself in a place where my score is broadcast amidst the young and the fit and I even have to say when and how I made the “test” easier to accommodate my feeble old self. And I still keep going back.

By the way, I met my goal today. I wanted to get 150 reps and I got to 153. In my head, I was a success. On the white board, I’m going to have, if not the lowest score, then damn near to it. It’s hard to stay positive like this.

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I stopped putting my scores on the white board. I’m always the crappiest score. This is in part because I’m the oldest person there. It is also due to my heart rate issues which make my life a little less stunning, at least at the box.

I’m awesome. I do CrossFit and have gone from literally not being able to do squats to doing all manner of dubious but remarkable things. I’ve stuck it out when it would have been far easier to quit. I have gone from not being able to open jars to being able to move heavy furniture with and sometimes without help.

But I’m still the crappiest score every single day. And I’m tired of it. I’m the low tide mark. People who are brand new to CrossFit can do more than I can in a matter of weeks, if not right out of the gate. They are, of course, young enough to be my children but that isn’t on the board. The only thing on the board is:

Patti: crappiest score of the day

I’m like the stupid third grader who is smart enough to know that she is not as smart as the overachievers. Making me put my score on the board, at least in my mind, is equivalent to making a list of all the third graders in a classroom and having them put their test scores on the board for all to see. We wouldn’t do that. Because it is cruel.

Today I got a new PR. I went from an 83# front squat to a one rep max of 90#. It was a bit shaky coming up, but I got the full squat and I got back to an upright position with the bar and could rack it. That is almost a 10% increase. I’m impressed with myself. I didn’t put it on the board. Either board.

Why? Because it is still quite pitiful. I couldn’t deadlift that much when I began this journey. Hell, it was a couple months before I could even deadlift 42#. I’m thrilled with my progress. If it was possible to put my scores into perspective, I might consider it. But they are just bald numbers without any reference point and when that is all it is, it’s pretty much a D- or something.

I scale everything in a manner that makes me work just as hard as all the other people I’m working out with. But I scale so I’m not working harder than any of the other people I’m working out with. I’m always working to capacity as evidenced by my consistently rapid heart rate making me stop and not die. I’m not holding anything back. This is the best I have. And it is pretty awesome for an old broad who couldn’t even squat when she started.

But that’s not what I see when I have to write a score on the white board. All I see is the worst score for the day. Every day. All the time. The low water mark which everyone can zoom past without any issues. They are twenty or thirty years younger than me and have been active in sports their whole lives, but that doesn’t show. All that is posted is the final number. And mine is always the worst.

I’m proud of what I have been able to accomplish. I’m proud that I didn’t quit when I really, really wanted to quit. I didn’t quit soon after I started and I didn’t quit this summer and I simply haven’t quit. I’m often disgusted with myself and my performance because I so desperately want to do better, do more, achieve greater things. And my heart rate is 175 and I can’t do even one more rep. I get discouraged.

I wanted to be better than this by now. I wanted to do the RX weights. I wanted to have my heart get as strong as my glutes. Perhaps it has gotten better and I just keep asking more of it. I  know that everything I do is more than I could do when I began. It just isn’t as much as I dreamed of.

The shoulds are killing my  joy. I got a PR today and I’m too ashamed to write it on the boards.

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