Sunday, March 5, 2023

CrossFit Open '23 Closes, Opening...

I sit with the Starbucks’ venti-size Jain-citrus Hot-Tea of Victory this morning: another CrossFit Open is in “the books,” with invitation to be-with, smile, consider, and learn. 

This year, I’m startled by how very differently it ended for me, with a wondering whether I’m simply getting better at the mental game of it all, or whether my intentionality with the practice of CrossFit is paying off in some new ways. Probably a bit of both, I can hear my father say in a silly Stan Freberg voice.

As I have often said, one of the things I value most about this community of practice is its ethos, its “respect for the game, in depth,” to use a phrase from Hugh Heclo. CrossFit pushes me into courage, collegiality, challenge, and repeated failure…within daily/weekly containers that then hold, encourage all who participate into deepening tenacity, even a gentle humility. Not all gyms hold all this well, of course, and each gym does its community-culture differently. But the more I stay in the practices, widening my circles of practice, I see it more and more. With, of course, the human frailties and fragilities that can rub the wrong way too. None of it would feel real or ‘growth-ful’ without that. Having run my own LLC-business venture for nearly ten years, I feel for the affiliate-owners' hearts and challenges...who will probably also be glad when the Open has closed.

CrossFit Open 2023 landed me in a huge celebratory relief. For one, it’s over for another year. I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone, and now I can celebrate that, even ease up a little, for fun. I got three weeks of workouts that pushed my capacities as a scaled athlete, women’s 50-54 category, which resulted in two barbel PR’s! (personal records)

The ‘tests’ Adrian Bozman (left) crafted made space for everyone to participate well into a thorough workout, even if you didn’t have pull-ups (like me) or bar muscle-ups (like many of us). For instance, the final one of 2022 had pull-ups for the scaled wko, early enough in the work that if you didn’t have them, you’d simply spend the workout feeling your failure while trying at the bar. At least, someone with my psychology had a bad experience in it. I almost left with the shame I felt (which was old body history for me, probably age 10). Thankfully, a more seasoned CF friend confronted that voice in my head, insisting I submit the score and be proud of it. Without him, I would not have made it through the shame-fest. In honor of my tenacity, I framed that Open ‘score-sheet,’ symbol of pushing through what feels like failure to me. In contrast this year, there wasn’t one workout that a persistent-attendance athlete couldn’t do all the way through, with a sense of completion, having shown up. I still don’t have pull-ups, but that simply meant my tie-break time was 12 minutes. So credit to Bos, and an appreciative smile. (and an early Boz pic, right, made me smile).

But I also recognize that I am a different athlete this year, than I was last year, than I was the year before… I went into this year’s Open without an expectation that I would have any big pushes or successes. I didn’t imagine I’d get that pull-up. I kept myself steady, curious, wanting to push myself but without attachment to outcome. I’m gentler in my mental games these days. I have also broadened my learning practice community, receiving the benefit of a wide variety of coaching. My body memory for certain movements–particularly with the barbell–is better, stronger, less mental. I’m fortunate to be at a time in my life that I can invest the monies in what I love so very much, offering myself this breadth of resourcing.

All of which really showed up for me in the second and third ‘tests’ of this Open. I smile at my own “slowest burpees in the west” style, so I always just stay with my pace, doing so for the second wko. I knew my 3-rep max for thrusters was 90 lbs. In my head, I wanted to try for 100. My body felt the memory of a power-clean PR the month before–115#--and so I lived into my year-start intention: don’t be afraid of the heavy barbell. And I wasn’t! 105 lbs! I loved that it happened at CFD, so I got to ring the bell there. 

Then the third ‘test’ had the barbell snatch movement that has not been one of my strengths. My one-rep max was 65 lbs. Surrounded by CFD friends, I aimed for getting to the 65# bar in the workout, end of the 6 min. time cap. And I surprised myself, getting through all of them!! All 12 reps, then 3-reps into the 75# barbell!

I struggled to get to sleep that night, so much adrenalin in my system. But I kept the clean-eating plan, just in case the morning... I knew I was going to the Bombers’ throw-down brunch, to cheer folks on, earn points for the yellow-team. But I awoke with a Whoop ‘green recovery’ day, so dressed with possibility of doing the wko again. Ate a performance-bar a couple hours before, just in case. There was space and time in the last heat, so I set myself the goal of getting to the 85# barbell. Having been through the wod the night before, I imagined where I could cut time…so pushed myself harder. I got to the 85# barbell with about 90 seconds to do 6 reps. The first time I got it, I stared at the circle of Bombers’ friends now in a circle cheering me on, exclaiming “I’ve never done that before!” We laughed. At 11:58, I got the sixth rep up in the air. I couldn’t believe it. I LOVED it. One could argue the adrenalin is still in my system this morning, given my activity level and mood. 

So this year’s Open has closed, officially complete tomorrow night at 5 p.m. EST (I think), with scores validated by Wednesday. I love being a part of the widening circles of practice I get to be in right now, both my original gym, CrossFit Dedication, and the newer gym that has offerings fit for my writing work this sabbatical, Bombers CrossFit. I sipped my pear-martini of victory last night, reveling in what it feels like to be in a nearly 54-year old body like this. 

CrossFit ethos, circles of practice, clean-eating (about which CFD offers the best re-orientations), and communities that hold one another in the health-to-fitness path. I’m re-motivated for 100% on-plan eating and seeing what the Spring will bring!

Friday, February 10, 2023

Pre-Open 2023 -- Progress Notes

Well…I signed up for the CrossFit Open once again, six days and counting til it begins. 

I remember my first year, experiencing a bit of intensity at the gym surrounding this world-wide fest. I was newly overcoming my ingrained shame-reflexes. The Open was not helping me in that. I rolled my eyes at all the hubbub. Now, over four years into the practice(s) of CrossFit, it provides a different kind of challenge, even a welcome one. Befriended.

Updating the profile is part of the registration ritual by now. It was fun for me this year, noting how in each category of cardio and strength, I’d come down in time and gone up in weight/capacity. I’m more willing to flirt with Rx weights/distances, at least in kettlebell and wallball movements, rowing/biking/skiing.

The current stretching between two affiliates is a marvelous, deeply appreciated path for the moment. I knew I’d never sign up for the Open in the new gym–a variety of reasons–but signing up with my home gym felt like a ritual by now. The ramp up to the whole thing has been quite pronounced in the new gym, and I’m learning to keep my own center as I anticipate the next three weeks of contests that will come. In some ways, I challenge myself more in the new space; in other ways, I explore-experiment-attempt more in my home gym. I'm fortunate to have landed in this "habit" and to be able to afford what I love most.

I suspect I’ll be solid in the Foundations track of Open workouts, particularly as I don’t have pull-ups yet. My deltoid muscle pain has largely disappeared, finally, so perhaps I begin again with the preliminaries of hangs, slow descents, etc. Or not… Getting a strict pull-up doesn’t mean what it used to mean to me. I’m finding new other things to try, to improve. Crossover jump-rope was the most recent buzz for me. Masters Scaled is a sweet spot for me, at least last year. We’ll see.

Another big ‘win’ for me of late has been holding the clean-eating and mental-game around ‘fitness’ a little less rigidly inside, trusting myself more as is. So much of the early practice of clean-eating required rigorous daily tracking, with intermittent InBody scans to track progress. Thankful for that, still. And I do best when I track macros, even though sometimes in the evening, I don’t weigh everything. Brian has pretty much adjusted to my clean-eating rhythms, so I don’t have to hold the boundaries as fiercely as I used to. And I made a commitment to myself to
not get on the scale anymore, and to decrease the frequency of the InBody scans. I don’t have any internal numbers I’m trying to get to, nor do I care as much about tracking daily. I am intending maintenance alongside moderation. It’s allowed me to trust myself more during the week, and accept my beautifully aging body just as it is. Clean eating erases the cravings, which is rationale enough beyond any numbers.

Just this morning, I found myself wondering if a new breathwork practice I’m exploring is expanding my lung capacity, even my belly breathing during workouts. I give my own introduction and linked/cited resourcing to it on another blog I’ve started, here, but it is a simple, three-part active-breath practice in the pranayama lineage of Southeast Asian yoga.

Lying down, head flat, blanket to keep warm, comfortable. Inhale deeply into the belly. Inhale again into the upper chest. Exhale. Repeat for the duration of active-practice, then rest and return to normal restful breathing for 5-8 minutes afterward. I landed in this practice because of friends I trust. Joining one practitioner's Patreon page (with recordings/guided practices) I’ve now experimented on my own with short-practice sessions (8-10 minutes) and longer ones (30-35 mins). Each has its gift, but in these days of Brian’s pilgrimage-leadership, with more expansive time, I’m doing a long-practice each day. (Except yesterday, when I was in the car by 4:30 a.m., into afternoon meetings, then home to crash, get to bed early). 

The practice is shifting how I experience my body, or my body in relation to the world(s) around me, which is intriguing. I’m more grounded in my belly, in my own sense of intuition, wisdom. I’m increasingly curious about the images and associations that rise amidst the practice. I become aware of things with more oxygen in my system, which is what this practice instigates. The sensations–tingling, some tightening of muscles in my neck, hands, shoulders–are becoming more familiar, ‘normal.’ But each practice is different. My mind’s resistances to starting differ. Where the breath takes me changes each time. Except I’m noticing a peaceableness, a comfort in my skin, an anticipation of whatever mystery beckons. Courage and contentment both seem to be growing...

And this morning, my capacity to complete 150 wallballs (10# ball) in nearly nine minutes was GOOD. Made me wonder…?

For now, I’m battening down the clean-eating intentions for the next 7-8 days, which is when Brian returns for a celebratory Shabbat-style meal after his Israel-travels. We’ll find out 23.1 on Thursday, and off to the races we’ll go into the more formal CrossFit ‘season.’ My Instagram viewing increases threefold, as I love tracking various elite athletes these days.

Oh how things change as we stay with, continue to learn, continue to play.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Connection, CrossFit & Self-Supported Learning

 Connection facilitates and encourages self-directed or self-supported learning, which is the pathway through challenge—even failure--into delight, even abundance...ultimately more connection… with self, and with others.

This is an aphorism I’ve just made up as I deepen my CrossFit learnings in the soup of two differently-cultured CrossFit affiliates. Yes, it comes as I find myself listening to Brene Brown’s Atlas of the Heart, a summary of sorts of her decades of research on human connection, spelled out across the alphabet of varying emotions and/or cognitive-oriented sensations-states. Yes, it comes as I’ve given myself the gift of reconnection in my home CF gym for the season of the Open (at least) amidst a solitary sabbatical time. And yes, it comes with the recent awareness that my lifelong pattern of learning is now playing out in CrossFit like it has in my family, in the church, in the academy, in Women Writing for (a) Change.


The pattern, I now see: I land in a community of practice as a beginner. I progress in the practices (often despite myself), moving into leadership possibilities (I did take the L1, but I don’t want to coach; CF is my recess, playground). Then something moves me outward and I learn at the periphery of several of “these kinds of communities,” be they extended family members/families, or churches, or traditions, or circle-communities… The something is often a discomfort or dissonance of some kind that grows to be unbearable, distracting. So I now belong to a CF gym that is not my home, but that is contributing greatly to my learning. I am intentional about maintaining contact and connection with my home-gym-folks—my homies, we might say—and enjoy working out when I can with that community. I’ve reconnected ‘formally’ again, which feels generative and for now, is financially feasible. This pattern has freed something in me to continue to stay connected and lean into self-directed, self-supporting learning.


It’s my over-arching learning pattern, apparently. And I know it can be difficult for folks who are rooted in primarily one community—or I experience their emotions/sensations/feelings as difficult, given I want to be connected, even to please. Yet the drive to learn, to deepen, always pushes me through the discomfort in the end. [I wonder where I learned it first, and why? But that’s another blog and a different post… It’s probably my family of origin and the extended family-uncles pattern, now rooted in cousin-connectionalism. Hmmm…]


So what am I learning, and/or what am I receiving/offering?


My capacities are expanding, but it’s due to the strength&metcon combination in one location and the movement-progressions coaching in the other. I wouldn’t want either one to change, as I benefit from the distinctiveness of both. For instance, I jumped a 26’ box+plate this week! I couldn’t have done the 24” box for the WOD, as knew it would take me much longer than I felt comfortable with. But I was not remotely afraid of trying it, as I knew I could do it. Long legs. Good hip extension. Today, I did cross-over singles in a workout for the first time! 10/round! I’d never done them until today! The movement progression coaching pretty much insists that everyone try the easiest scale, moving into the next level, then the next. It forces me to try things I wouldn’t otherwise try on my own. It’s also a methodology that would have ultimately pushed me away, early on in my CF journey. So curious.


I’m getting healthier, both inside and out. ‘We’ in my home-gym caught me in the familiar but outdated “calorie counting” mode with my eating-exercising-resting rhythms. Stepping onto the InBody machine, it became apparent that my metabolism rate was declining, as it always does with calorie-reduction. I relinquished the old habits of mind and returned to the macros counting that tracks lower-but-higher-quality carbs, higher (good) fats, and protein. I’ve not confirmed through InBody, but my appetite-in-balance suggests my metabolism rate is returning to its higher levels. I’ve remembered the food-freedom and delight in crafting on-plan meals, trying new foods with proteins and greens. And my sensitivities are honed to know that attending the Nutrition Seminar at the new gym is not for me. I love the coach who’s leading it, but his language wedded counting macros with calorie counting. Not where I need to be.


And a bit of distance has given me perspective on the emotional dissonance that ultimately pushed me out of my 8am rhythm in my home gym. My pattern always seems to require a discomfort or a dissonance for me to open to my own deepening-learning curve. The woman who is a regular now at that class, that just got under my skin? OMG. She’s my mother, whom I love but also with whom I’ve had a difficult relationship since awakening to the feminine. I never saw it before. Red-haired. Sour-expression and negative energies. Unresponsive to conversation. Competitive. Not celebrative of others’ successes. My mother-baggage gets triggered every time. Almost made me laugh aloud when I realized it. Consciousness of it now will lessen the trigger, but the 8 am doesn’t work well with my writing/working-sabbatical schedule needs. So be it. It all unfolds as it should…needs to…right? I won’t be writing this 8am woman a thank-you note, but I am glad her presence pushed me into my next learning curves.

The impending hooh-hah about the Open is what ultimately goaded me into more-formally reconnecting with my home-gym. The new gym doesn’t have the relational-consistency and connection I need to stay in my own learning through the challenges of The Open. I couldn’t imagine signing up for it in the new gym (to me) culture, expectations. But I know the challenge tests me in ways I value. So…plan is to register for The Open within my home gym, see what happens this year. I still don’t have pull-ups as I had hoped. Deltoid muscle pain seemed too high a cost to pay. So…the month of January invites 4 minutes of shoulder-mobility a day. I’ll see if it’s truly a muscle/tendon injury, or simply working at my computer all day, lack of mobility and flexibility. Connection with my homies paves a pathway to be consistent with it, to enter in and try without shame or fear.

So I return to where I began: Connection facilitates and encourages self-directed or self-supporting learning, which is the pathway through challenge—even failure—into delight, even abundance…ultimately more connection…to myself and to a community of practice. Reconnection with my home community of practice is solidifying a lot of my new learning while grounding me in a sense of belonging I've needed to stay at my sabbatical-solitary work. The additional spiritual-direction work that I do–one directee/week or so–covers the added expense of my intensifying CrossFit ‘habit.’ (Though not my shoes. Nor my clothes ). But apparently, I learn best when I’m on the periphery of differing spaces-community. I just never thought it would apply to CrossFit.

Gratitude for the journey… Such a blessing to be precisely where and as I am. May this blessing also be for the sacred work that is to come…

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Remembering, Refocusing -- Fitness Freedom

I’m remembering this week what fitness-freedom feels like, shaking my head a bit at how often I need to re-learn and re-member this sense of freedom inside. How can I not anticipate the mind-habits that narrow and narrow, constraining and confining inside my body? So very curious, this gift of impermanence and remembering.

I dipped into my home gym this weekend, both for a drop-in WOD and to do the InBody scan before the holidays really land. For about 7 weeks, I’d been experimenting with an intermittent fasting routine that I’d read about in The Obesity Code–a MWF “don’t eat until noon” routine, so six hour eating windows on those days. The rest of the days, deep intentionality about making my calories’ daily intake. I did fairly well, keeping track. I noted some familiarity of energy-deprivation, satisfaction, at “what i must be losing” with such a routine. I found myself weighing in on the downstairs scale, to confirm the habitual weight-loss accounting. 

The InBody showed the lowest BMR (basal metabolic rate) I’ve ever had. Yes, I was down in total weight, but muscle was also down. The fasting routine was lowering my body’s rate of metabolism. Though I know I need to eat more and aim for good fats, proteins, lower carb and no added sugar, I had inadvertently slipped into a calorie-reduction mode, frustrated I wasn’t reaching the lower body weight I had in mind. I was back into the habits of “refrain and reduction of calories” means fitness, when all I succeeded in was lowering my body’s metabolism.

This week, I’ve relinquished that “reduction” mindset, and stayed precisely on-plan, with the calorie amount recommended by my FatSecret app. It’s a lot of food, when you come right down to it, but there is also an abundance mindset that comes with it. A freedom to eat, and eat more. Each day has had less than 50g net carbs, sometimes even less than 30. I’ve not worried as much about fats and protein ratios, trusting them to sort themselves out while I restart my BMR climbing again. And I'm remembering the fitness freedom I've known before. It feels easy to not crave or desire old-habit foods.

All this may seem overly technical and even exhausting for those who don’t want to think so much about nutrition and body-fueling. I think my take-aways are pretty straightforward, signals for me once again…

  • Stay off the f**king scale, even when it seems like it could tell you something. It’s too hard to see the numbers–either high or low–and have any clue to what’s actually going on. Standing on the scale leads to old habits.
  • Love the abundance of food you get to eat in this way of being, more than gaming the dance with carbs or finding the least amount possible, which won’t really assist fitness anyway, in the end.
  • Focus my fitness energies with other movement-goals, pursuits...

In the end, trust that staying off the scale, focusing on abundance of clean foods, and enjoying the movement like I do each week is enough. Focus on other fitness goals, like shoulder mobility and core-strength development, persistence.

Do that? Become more fit.

Good enough. Not only that. Just plain GOOD.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

CrossFit Container Contentment

 I found myself naming “the deepest contentment I have ever known in my body” in some writing today, attributed to my CrossFit journey. There are other reasons for such contentment, in other words, but my CrossFit ‘bucket’ is a large one into which I can place a lot of reasons. It’s living in a CrossFit ‘container’ or entire ecology of attitudes, practices, and community that holds so much of it all together: body, nutrition, fitness, fun, friendship, challenge, failure, trying again…all of it needs to be held close in somehow, and CrossFit means that, does that, for me. As today is a rest day, I thought I might muse a bit on whatever arises.

I just finished making a batch of cauliflower-mash for the week, which seems to be my new favorite accompaniment. I had to experiment with the recipes I could find, so to land on one that would stay fresh for the week. The first recipe–with coconut cream as a part of it–did not. This one–one head of cauliflower, Kerrygold butter, garlic, unsweetened almond milk, a little chicken stock, salt–stays fresh all week long. And it goes with everything, somehow, feeling like ‘mashed potatoes’ to me by now. A delightful treat. I’ll probably add rosemary to it for the holidays.

I do think I forget how drastically different my palette must be from Brian’s. He’s been critical of my cooking of late, which I began to get defensive about inside. For one, my palette is so ‘quiet’ compared to his. I don’t need or even desire the sweet- or rich-highs that he craves. He probably doesn’t appreciate becoming aware of those in himself, in contrast to my own body-steadiness. Two, my weekly staples he rarely samples–except the homemade mayos–so what can he actually be critical of? I think he must still grieve because our choices are so very different. 

I’m in a good and balanced season, in both food and alcohol consumption. I’ve landed in a high-intentionality, clean-eating rhythm for the last several weeks, with the occasional ‘splurges’ of some gluten-light flatbreads for egg sandwiches (Ghostlight Coffee, in particular). A few more carbs in the morning feels good, once or twice a week. And strangely, I’m so attuned inside now, I can actually say that with a knowing smile. The ReFrame and DrinkControl apps I’ve played with these last two months have also created a conscious-choice rhythm for cocktail-hours with Brian. I easily keep my weekly ‘limit’ and find myself choosing homemade seltzer in a big ol’ wineglass much more often. Not sure why that matters, but I feel splurgey and participating in cocktail hour if I’m drinking seltzer in a wine-glass. Whatever.

I’m finding my way into staying connected to my own deepening practice and to friends-in-community while stretched somewhat between two ‘boxes.’ My workaday rhythms have settled into a 6 a.m. class most weekdays, looking into the week’s work-on-campus commitments for a weekly 4 p.m. drop-in with my home-gym. I do like being showered and into work by 7:45 a.m., and I’m getting more work done, more efficiently. Feels good for now. When weekend spaciousness allows, I drop-in for Open Gym, enjoying a more intensive workout, potentially partner-style, with CFD folks. Brian’s asked me to sing the choir for Advent, so that’ll cut into my own spaciousness, but…it’s a good time to be highly visible in his work-life there.

The actual CrossFit practice is deepening for me too. The previous post nodded to my GHD learnings, but I’m enjoying the diversity of coaches and coaching at the new ‘box.’ I love the ‘movement-review’ that happens in every class, regardless of whether there are new or seasoned athletes present. I love the post-WOD stretching, which reminds me how important mobility work is for my 53-year-old body. My movement-skill is increasing, as is my confidence.

I’m much more aware of this deep confidence, letting it lead in deciding on my level of challenge for the day. As a result, I’m choosing more-challenging, more-often, though I’m careful about that depending upon the movements in play. We had a rowing-max-thruster WOD on Friday morning, for instance. First of all, I was surprised I’d woken up ready to go, having done my first round of Filthy Fifty the day before. Green WHOOP recovery, though, so…alright then! I probably could have chosen a heavier weight for the barbel–even Rx, which was 75–but I also figured I’d barely get 2-4 reps per round, with probably pretty weary form. I chose to go lighter–55#--and found myself in the zone of others’ rep-counts. Which wasn’t even a determinant for me, but I do scale myself so to maximize strong movements–rowing, for me–and minimize ‘cost’ of other movements I know I’m slower at–thrusters, squats, etc.

There is also now a 6 a.m. crew that is seeming to gather each weekday–Sergei, Gabriel, Anthony, Christi, Alex, Stacey and Michael, even a new Mike yesterday. The summer was touch-and-go for who all might show up, so now I’m enjoying the familiarity of the faces, even as it’s all ‘armed-forces-social’--i.e. not within my own sense of familiar. 

The last item that seems noteworthy for musing is my newer experimentation with intermittent fasting days. I re-read The Obesity Code sometime in August, I think, and was surprised by the ‘intermittent fasting schedules’ he offered in the Appendices in the back. One was a MWF schedule of intermittent fasting days. That seemed a bit extreme to me, given what I’ve learned and experimented with before. But I was heading into a week of work travel in which the food felt it would be questionably ‘clean,’ so I thought…why not? Try it and see what I might learn. I’ve been quite surprised at the heightened energies on those days, and the rhythm that it creates in my week. MWF, I eat at noontime, with dinner usually around 6 p.m. The other days remain a more normal 9/10 a.m. into 6/7 p.m. eating window. The calories have stayed largely the same, perhaps a little less on MWF, but close to my 2000 (BMR of 1706-39 over the years). It’s altered my food-intake a little–more protein, less fat perhaps, if still within the 15% carbs/20-30% protein/60-70% fat ranges. I’ll be curious what the InBody scan shows in a couple months.

Re-reading quickly, I smile at the ecosystem of it all, what I mean by CrossFit that most others do not understand “as CrossFit.” Even Brian, who lives with the close-up views of my daily life. I think he still sees CrossFit as my morning workout. But it’s all the above…food, fitness, fun, friends.  

A good season...

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

And So It Goes...the Sneaky GHD

One of the things I love about CrossFit is its regular stretching of what I thought I knew, how I have come to know my body and capacity, and the community that holds me well amidst these challenges. It’s all good, “as long as it doesn’t result in hospitalization,” a friend texted me today. I’m fine, and my body is fine, yet I’ve also learned a lot in the last 24 hours!


Basically, I’ve had my first prolonged encounter with the GHD (glute-hams-developer), at the newer-to-me CrossFit gym. Having done the L1 training, I’m always a bit surprised when it’s listed in the programming there. This is a much higher-skill, greater risk ‘machine’ in the mix of CrossFit movements, with most beginners advised to do just that…begin…slowly, and with a different movement than a sit-up (hip-extension, from stomach-position). Whenever I’ve seen it programmed here, I’ve tended to choose abmat sit-ups as scaled option. I know I always need to work on core-strength, particularly now as the newer gym doesn’t tend to it as well as my home gym.

 Yesterday, it was an EMOM (every minute on the minute) skill-building workout where I could keep the reps low and listen more slowly in the movement: GHD situps, deadlifts, and chest-to-bar pull-ups. I decided to stay with the more advanced GHD movement, though staying largely above ‘parallel,’ which meant only a ¾ sit-up each rep. It seemed conservative enough for me, yet also stepping into something that I would have previously avoided. As I’ve taken to saying, CrossFit is my near daily practice in ‘small steps of courage.’ I’ve grown and challenged myself this way, loving what I get to learn.


I knew something was different in my body as I left the gym that morning. Inarticulate. I felt fine, but also wearier ‘inside’ somehow than I’d been in a long time. I could feel my hamstrings/posterior-chain weary, with some back and shoulder exertions too. But I was glad. I knew I’d sink into the 90-minute massage I’d scheduled for the afternoon.


The morning appointments via Zoom at home were rich, and breakfast at noon was delicious. I did sink into the massage, and having seen it as an option on the entry-form, I welcomed some abdominal work for the first time too. Unsure what that might have meant, I learned it was careful attention to hip-bones, hip-flexors, tendons of the pelvis. All was tender, but I could also feel stress and energetic releasing too. I drank my large glasses of water and, unusual for me post-massage, I curled up on my bed and took a 90 minute nap.


That probably should have been my first clue, but we had a business dinner to attend to, so off we went. I suspected that a 6 a.m. workout was not in my future, given later dinner and emotionally heavy content of it. I texted some CF peeps to find out the workout in my home gym, decided I might enjoy a drop-in after my afternoon meetings on campus.

I named some of my GHD adventure with a friend—also a CrossFit mama or older-sister—and she startled enough to insist I check in with her in the morning. “That’s 80 reps!” she said. I smiled inside, feeling both cared-for and warmed by the bit of “her over-concern.” I enjoyed my evening hot-bath-soak and slept well.


I did indeed sleep in (for me), and first thing, noticed weariness. Nothing too extreme, and all the signals of the morning were fine. I texted in that I was smiling and fine. “Abs sore?” she texted back. “A little,” I responded, “but nothing horrible. All is well.” I noticed lower back tenderness, but that sometimes happens when Nala leans into me at night and my arm gets at an odd angle. Didn’t think much of it.


As the morning wore on, the weariness didn’t abate, and even seemed to get heavier. I felt something that might be called ‘echoes of cramps,’ which was odd for a post-menopausal woman. Not painful, but whispers of discomfort of an era gone by. Lower back remained weary, tender. Not painful, but tired. By the time it came to decide whether I was going to drop-in for the 4 p.m. WOD, I sat in my car, and it dawned on me.

My abs were really sore. I laughed aloud in the car. She’d been right after all.


I always think of these muscles as being only in my stomach, around belt-line or waist-line. But the muscles the GHD requires your body to use are lower, pelvic-oriented, and surround the area below the waist. All of my morning’s discomforts were post-GHD discomforts. Even though I had been measured, care-full, knowing the higher risk skill-building, I’d still let it sneak up on me.




But oh well. Bedtime is coming. I feel much much better. I stepped into something that had previously scared me, perhaps stepping in a bit too far, but now I know to cut any rep-counts in half, at least. I've wanted to work on core-strength, and did. I know more of my body's capacity and how it speaks to me 'after.' And I’ve been reminded all day that CrossFit community checks in with its own. I’m blessed with friends who care, and show it.

Even blessed with friends who are always right, blessing and curse as that may be (for her). 😜


Monday, August 8, 2022

Looking into the 2022 CrossFit Games...

So the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games are done.

Order has been restored, if with a helluva fascinating competition. Moreso than the last years when the leaders seemed to dominate the field. CrossFit commentators say this “bodes well for the sport,” which has always struck me as an odd conclusion. Like CrossFit is only a business or a sport aiming for professionalization. CrossFit is and always will be a grassroots community building fitness community to me, which professionalization and specialization hinder. All that said, I’m clearly ‘caught’ in the hoopla now, with my favorite athletes and curiosities to see who’s “up and coming.”


CrossFit Reykjavik didn’t do as well as they had hoped, I’m sure, but it was still fun to cheer them on. Annie Thorisdottir will always be my favorite, particularly as she approached Rich Froning in the normal CF post-competition ‘hug.’ That took class. He hardly gave her the time of day, not even a smile, which bears poorly on him. Competition and rivalry are marvelous, as long as there is respect. She held her end, he did not.

 Tia-Clair Toomey’s journey through the Games surprised me with its impact felt within me. It literally pained me to see the cameras focus on her during the progression event where she missed the 75 unbroken singles. It actually felt mean to me, defensive of her (shaking my head). I’m an egghead, after all, with little to no emotional investment in anything athletic. Yet I was relieved when her fitness clearly 'held up' over the 13 events.


Ricky Garard’s return was also complicated but interesting. How does redemption and/or forgiveness function in our world today, in a strong-knit community like CrossFit? He erred, got caught, and “paid his penalty” of four years.

I was morally supportive of his return to the Games. And then I found his attitude/voice in interviews irritating. I was glad that the podium landed as it did. I love that Justin Medeiros won the competition without ever winning a single event.


This is the first Games I’ve paid such close attention to the Teams competition, given Annie’s involvement. I find the road to success curious, as it involves much more team-building, communication, and communal strategizing than the straight-forward individuals’ competition(s). At the same time, it’s clear (at least in Mayhem Freedom) that the team-division is/was simply another vehicle for Rich Froning iconography. The other team-members’ names are not media-focused nor therefore memorable after any particular year. I was startled to hear that no Mayhem Freedom team has ever been the same, except Froning.


Annie’s move to create her own team from elite athletes around the world couldn’t give much time for the team-building, intuitive-perceptive movement of the parts as one whole. Particularly with such strong-willed folks that elite athletes would have to be. 

Seeing these two next to one another, I can see two familiar styles in contrast. One, a pretty old-school “train with the master in the toga” philosophy, surrendered to his charisma and will. Two, a convergence of expertise or elites that has less skill at the team-building, development of communal intuition & cohesion. Unless done over time, though I’d doubt CrossFit Reykjavik will be reconvening to train another year.

Though I didn’t enjoy the event itself as much, my favorite moment(s) happened in the Sand Bag Ladder. I loved seeing the community of elite athletes look with awe at Dani Speegle and the 250lb bag. At the 240# bag, one of the commentators gave voice to the community: “Okay…we’re clearly competing for second place here.” Loved that.

All in all, a good run through the Games, I thought. Even without Dave Castro at the helm. So the community evolves, grows, changes. As we all must. FUN.

I think my husband is glad the Games are over though. :) Now we can go on vacation together.