I am a perfectionist. I don’t live up to my own standards, but I’m still a perfectionist. I would love to be able to do what I expect of myself.

I wish I could do more or better at CrossFit. I’ve wished this the entire time I’ve struggled to improve micrometer by micrometer. I’m pretty freaking awesome now, but even so, I would like more. Always, there is more and always I am not in possession of it.

I know one of the things I don’t do is mobilization. When I get sore enough, I work on getting rid of the soreness. I know, I absolutely know, that mobilizing for just ten minutes a day, regardless of how I feel, would improve my overall well being. I don’t. I did when someone gave me a point or two for it. But after the points went away, so did the behavior.

I’ve tried rewarding myself, but that didn’t work at all. First of all, I have no real way to do that. When I want something, I just go out and buy it. I don’t have a way to make it rewarding, other than just feeling better and apparently that isn’t enough.

I get a massage every three weeks. That is helpful. If I was a Powerball winner, I would get a massage once a week. I don’t even play the lottery, so this seems like not much of a chance.

What would be beneficial for me is doing yoga. I’ve tried. Honestly, I’ve tried.

Like CrossFit where everyone is welcome and it’s all scalable, yoga is a judgment free zone. Except in my own head, where it has never (even for one nanosecond) been a judgment free zone. Inside my head, I’m judging. I judge myself harshly, more so than any outside person does.

CrossFit has a scoreboard. Some boxes don’t insist on writing your raw score on the board. Mine does. My old lady score goes right up there with the 20 something male athlete’s score. Two numbers, no explanation, no anything. Just raw scores. Mine is worse.

In yoga, another place to safely practice well being, there is a correct way to breathe. It is not the way I’ve been breathing for 64 years. So, I don’t even breathe correctly.

I don’t know the terminology. I don’t know the basics. I don’t know shit. I’m not expected to and no one, other than me, is finding it offensive or passing judgment.

I struggle with the problem of wishing I could do things and the knowledge that beginners always suck at stuff. Inside my head, I’m supposed to already be expert. I’m supposed to be flexible, know the jargon, do the poses without problems.

In actuality, I’m not that flexible, know next to none of the jargon, and my only good pose is holding a coffee cup and contemplating what sort of snack I’m interested in.

The way for me to get stronger, is to show up for a CrossFit WOD and do that thing, whatever it is and no matter how scared I am. I know this. And even after more than four years, I struggle to keep plugging along.

Starting something new is frightening. I can’t even breathe right.

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I keep trying to like yoga. I don’t. It is just one more thing I’m not able to do with any panache, skill, or even adequacy. I can’t even sit in lotus position. I’m not flexible enough to do the really beginner light stretch relaxation yoga. I tried. It was a nine minute video. I quit before it was done.

Yoga is supposed to be a beneficial way to stretch and relax and find peace. I stress and find my toes are about to crack off and my balance is enough to make me fall over and crack something on my nice yoga mat which offers no padding whatsoever.

Just relax into your breathing.

I hear that but it makes not even one whit of sense to me. I breathe simply to get air to my hemoglobin and have no idea how to relax into it. I’m lucky I’m still breathing, all things considered. If I focus on my breath, I get short of breath and start panting like a lizard on a hot rock. Or I get so light headed that I become dizzy. If I don’t pay any attention to my breathing, I seem to get along okay as I’ve not yet died of hypoxia.

Put this hand here and that foot there and bend backwards and kiss your ass. Relax.

I cannot do this. I’m precariously balanced, my ass is not happy with the gentle love, and if I was able to do anything else at this point, it would be to gently strangle the asshat who just told me to relax. And then stab her at least 75 times with a rusty a knife.

Empty your mind.

My mind worked really hard to fill itself up with mostly useless trivia. I have gathered together a repertoire of useless facts and can spew them out with wild abandon.  I have been accumulating these precious tidbits for decades upon decades and they do not easily abandon me, unless I’m playing a trivia game. While I am twisted into a variety of pretzel shapes with my toes cracking off is not the time for my mind to empty itself.

Stand on one foot and turn yourself into a corkscrew.

I cannot even just stand on one foot straight up. The twisting around after attempting to balance on one foot with the ankle wobbling around like a whirligig is not going to end well. At my age it is recommended that there be grab bars installed in the bathtub to help get in and out. It is not a good idea to make me fall over and crack my head open, but that may in fact help to empty my mind. So perhaps that is the plan.

Yoga is relaxing.

No it isn’t. It is brutally hard work for the stiff and unbalanced. I have not got a snowball’s chance in hell of actually doing the poses with full concentration let alone in a relaxed state. Sipping coffee and reading a book is relaxing. Yoga in contorting around in various attitudes from flat out on the floor, which has the benefit of not being able to fall over, to completely upright.

Yoga feels good.

Well, when you stop. Of course, slicing your arm off with a butter knife feels good when you stop, too. Something with the benefit of being great when it is over should be confined to CrossFit, something I’m already having enough difficulty sucking at. I do not need another arena in which to be a total failure.

So, I’ve tried to like yoga because it is so wonderfully relaxing and health inducing. But all I find is that I’m unable to manage it, I get stressed out beyond all reason, and the only part I like at all is when I stop.

I think maybe yoga isn’t for me.

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I met Cindy for the yoga class at CrossFit Summerville on Saturday morning. I’m the klutz in the class and can’t manage most of the work. It is amazing to me to watch other people manage to twist themselves up like that. I used both a block and a PVC pipe for balance on some pose that has a name, but I have no idea what it is. I just know I was trying to fall over even with extra support.

The most important thing I learned came at the end of class. Karen had put lavender scented wet washcloths in the refrigerator and passed them out at the end of class so we could cool down. It was heavenly.

We went to a party on Saturday afternoon and I ate way too much great food that might not be considered healthy. We had five different desserts to pick from and I picked all. That’s just the way I roll and now rolling is appropriate since I’m rounder. Again.

Yesterday we went coffee mug shopping. I need something to keep my coffee warm while I drink slowly. Both of our thermal cups were falling apart. We looked and found what we thought would work. It does if I just cut off my nose or smash it into the top of the cup. Neither of these are as pleasant as they sound.

This week at the box is retest week to see how much we have progressed in eight weeks of doing Wendler. I assumed I would progress zero because I’m so old that eight weeks is something like one-quarter of one percent of my lifetime and that is just a blink of an eye.

We had a visitor from Texas today. Kat was still out. Betsy was coaching. And then there was me. Pitiful me. Betsy was going to start with a run and then realized that I wasn’t up to showing the visitor where a real turn around place was because I cheat and don’t go that far. We rowed.

We did a bunch of other stuff and then were declared warm enough to get on with our day.

Today’s WOD as written:
Baseline Testing Week

Determine a 1RM Press – maintain proper, strict form.

Determine a ME Ring Dips – proper strict form. Carefully note any scaling for comparison.

Determine a ME Pull Ups – hollow body & strict form. note scaling for comparison.

Determine a ME Tabata Air Squat – record the lowest number of reps in any of the rounds and total reps.

Post your scores and any PR’s with a previous record for comparison.

I looked back and actually read what I had written for the first week. I was disgusted at the time and just wrote it in a word document and didn’t post stuff online because I was considering just quitting the whole thing, taking my marbles, and going home. I’m so sick of being weenie. I still am, but I’m not quite ready to quit yet.

But when I read the original thing I typed up, I found that I did not get a 54# strict press. I tried twice and failed. My one rep max for this was 52# and I figured all my numbers on 54#, not that it really matters. But today, I again tried at 54# – twice – and failed twice. I got the 52# up but that was it.

I had to go back and really read to see what that other stuff was. I did the ring dips with a blue band and got to 15. Today, I got to 10 and then 13 but couldn’t make my old number. Part of the reason was I was wearing a golf skirt and the damn skirt part kept catching on my thumb as I gripped the ring. A better outfit would have been good. Probably not enough to really matter.

Then the damn pull-ups. I used a green band. The first time I got 7. Today I got 9. We have been doing an awful lot of pull-ups. An awful lot.

The Tabata air squats were done last time with 8 each round and on the last round I did more for a total of 69. Today, I did 9 on each round for a total of 72 and I was making moaning noises like DeWayne as I finished. He had already come in for open gym and he approved.

The other thing I purchased while coffee mug shopping was a pack of white washcloths. I had a wet cloth (no lavender scent included) in a plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator before class began. At the end of class, it was nice and cold and I dabbed at my sweating face, my neck, cooled my arms and legs and generally enjoyed the bliss of coolness. Brilliant.

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On Tuesday evening I went back to Yoga Loft and did another Restorative Yoga class. It was quite different than the first one, which was as advertised. Last week, the instructor said each time was different.  We ended with this quarter-moon, banana type pose which is probably something that would benefit my disparate height. I’m shorter on one side than the other and this pose to the left was very different than when done toward the right. I suppose that means something.

I came home from class and peeked at the WOD for Wednesday. It was another hero WOD. I’m beaten. I’m crushed. I’m sore and tired and cranky. I posted something on Facebook and Kat said she was not going to be able to make it to class. The more I thought about it, the more I disliked putting myself through another hero WOD.

I looked back. The last seven WODs have all been – at least for me – well over 15 minutes of work. There have been no sweet little seven minute AMRAP things. Just laundry lists of slugging through and proving I have the stamina of Hercules and the brains of Tweedledum. I have proven that to myself and anyone else looking. I was simply too beat up to go. It is all scalable. I am not supposed to cherry pick. They are not supposed to kill me. I stayed home.

I worked on some mobilization and did absolutely nothing else. I rationalized my lapse in many ways. On Tuesday, we had gone to Fort Moultrie and walked around the historic national park for an hour and a half. It was beautiful and interesting and the ocean, as always, was both calming and invigorating.

I needed the rest and recovery. I was a mess after just 100 push-ups and so adding the pull-ups and squats made me even more of a mess. I can walk forever so that part didn’t really do anything other than eat up time. But I had already had 46 minutes of working out for the week which was enough for two days.

And I simply didn’t want to go and do another hero WOD. And I didn’t want to do another long WOD. And I stayed home and sat around and felt guilty, but not enough to go to either open gym or the noon class.

Last night was a wine tasting and it was really nice. I got to see some old friends and meet new people. I also got to catch up on some gossip, the total reason for any social occasion. I ate too much but only had one glass of pretty good wine. It was called Casanova. How romantic.

Then I had to do interval training today. I hate to run. I can’t do it well and nothing I try seems to improve the overall suckiness of the event. My heart rate is too high consistently. No matter how slowly I walk during my rest phase, my heart rate doesn’t come back down. I box breathe. I have to remember to walk even slower than a normal pace. My heart rate remains high.

After the first 30 second run my heart rate was 117 and it never got below 100 again. By the end of the third run it was over 130 and after the fourth run was never lower than 130 again. That’s two minutes of running with six minutes of not running and my heart rate was still way too high. By the seventh run, it was over 150 by the end and was still climbing for about ten seconds after I stopped running. It would take between 40 and 50 seconds just to get back down to where it was when I finished my run.

I got back to the house and sat for about four minutes and my heart rate was finally under 100 again. I am at a loss of what to do to get this one muscle to work better, more efficiently, and without slowing me down so much.

As I was running, which was really jogging, I kept thinking of the slogan: It’s not your legs that are tired, it’s your head. Keep moving. My legs were never tired. My head wasn’t tired. My heart was trying to kill me. If I ran until my legs were tired, I would fall over dead or with a heart attack or maybe just passed out.

They keep saying you will pass out before you die, but I’m not sure which order will happen when the “athlete” and I use that term loosely, is my age. Although, at my advanced age, I have far more collateral circulation and should I have a heart attack, I have a much greater likelihood of surviving it. But I’m pretty sure it would really interfere with my training, so I try not to go there.

Someday, I may get a heart rate compatible with exercise. I’m getting close to three years into CrossFit and I haven’t gotten there yet. I wonder if I can be the crappiest CrossFitter for the longest time ever. It might be a goal I can reach.

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The choice to try new things and suck at them has never been one I would gladly make. CrossFit Summerville offered a free yoga class today. Marlene came to the box and offered this free class and then I’m not sure what happens in two weeks, other than I will be out of state.

So today was a chance to take a yoga class and find out just one more way I’m inadequate and unable to do most things. It was highly unlikely for me and outside my comfort zone by leaps and bounds. I showed up. I really had no idea what to expect. I’m not sure what I thought it would be like, but I was certain I would want to be at the back of the class.

That is where I chose to put myself. Unfortunately, later people got even farther to the back and so I was more like the middle, but that could not be helped. I knew I did not want to be at the front of the class.

I’m more flexible than many people my age, but I have no illusions about what that means in the general population. I wasn’t there with a bunch of old farts, I was there with a bunch of young CrossFitters and I was totally out of my element.

At least the temperature was still under 80⁰ when we started the morning at 8 AM.  When I left the house, I had told Dick that I was taking a yoga class and didn’t know if I would still be doing a WOD or not and so I had no idea when I would be home. I did not do any WOD stuff afterwards.

Off I went, ill-prepared and there I was, yet again, the oldest person in the room. Cindy was there with her daughter and so we were next to each other towards the back of the class. Best place for a bunch of folks who had no idea what they were doing.

The class started and right away I was in trouble. The child pose hurt my right knee – the one with the partial tear in the ACL. The compression wasn’t horrible until we stayed there for too long and I needed to straighten my leg out. There I was, not even five minutes into the class and an underachiever. Who knew?

What I learned was:

  1. I’m not particularly gifted at this stuff.
  2. I’m not the worst in the world at this stuff.
  3. My quads are tighter than my hamstrings.
  4. I have absolutely no balance.
  5. It is more work than you might imagine.
  6. I get really dizzy with the constant up and down stuff.
  7. I get really dizzy when I have my head lower than my heart.

I spent the last ten minutes of the class hoping I wouldn’t puke. I would get so dizzy when we were doing that arms up overhead and sweep down to the ground stretch, recovery, resting thing that I wanted to puke – literally. But it seemed like a really bad idea. So I didn’t.

There are some things that were simply beyond me and probably would be for a long time, things like a head stand or anything where your feet aren’t touching the ground. There were things where I was supposed to, in a perfect world, not have my knee touching. My knee was touching.

I was dripping all over the place but my heart rate was never high. I know because I was so dizzy, I looked. It wasn’t too low, but it was only mildly elevated, like 118. That means my heart rate had nothing to do with how bad I was doing. I was just doing poorly.

I did this. It wasn’t the worst thing ever. I’m not sure I would do it again. There is another class in two weeks but I won’t be here. I’m not sure what will happen after that. It is difficult enough to do CrossFit where I can’t do anything. I don’t know if I want to take on something else where I can’t do anything. There are only so many ways I can tolerate failure. But with practice, I could get better even if I never get to best.

But for today, I stepped outside my comfort zone. I lived.

That's me in the bright, neon green shirt

That’s me in the bright, neon green shirt