Monday, July 25, 2022

The Whoop Experiment -- Field Notes for July

Green recovery day! I said to Brian this morning as we eased into our morning coffee, reading the news, slow-Monday dawning… For nearly six months, I’ve been learning a digital-app-based body metric system known as the Whoop band/strap. It came at a discount after the Level 1 CrossFit Training Seminar last September, so I decided it was a Christmas present for myself. (Supply chain issues meant the tech-band didn’t arrive until end of January). Ever since then, I’ve watched my strain-recovery-and-sleep metrics each day.

 As I am not an elite athlete, monitoring top performance requirements, Whoop serves as a nerdy conversation partner for me, most days. I like how it keeps me intentional about my body, both in energy output and in healthy recovery practices. Intentionality is probably its biggest gift to me.


There’s a journal function, for instance, which allows me to track my macros/food-intake about 4-5 times a week. This keeps me conscious and honest about how I’m eating, what I’m eating. The ‘recovery score’ reminds me to balance strain and sleep with intention as well. I’m largely a yellow-recovery person, with few in the red, a bit more in the green. (Red=0-33%, Yellow=34-66%, Green 67%-100). It really is quite stunning how a good night’s sleep skyrockets my recovery into the green.


The biggest surprise for me, however, has been how the strain score gives me a sense of both confidence and challenge. I’ve needed an outside metric to balance my sizeable anxiety and/or fear about my body, its messages to me I learned to distrust from an early age. I am relearning trust, with confirmation.


Several days in the spring were in the 13’s, even 14’s, as I played with morning WODs followed by afternoon runs. I listened to my body—it really did feel like moving, pushing—and I eased off when the strain moved into the 13’s. I knew that was my upper limit for a healthy ‘push.’ Having that outside metric as confidence-builder allowed me to push myself in ways I didn’t know I could. I felt better and stronger, more and more confident. The largest strain score I’ve recorded was the July 4th WOD plus “reorganization of the storage unit” while Brian was away. A partner WOD and all the lifting and moving of stuff? 15.0 strain. I was exhausted. And slept hard into a yellow recovery.


At one point, I set Whoop’s alarm function for whenever Recovery would hit 67%.  That wasn’t a good pairing for me, as I would sleep ‘on edge,’ waiting for the buzz that sometimes didn’t come. I realized finally I relaxed and trusted more when I wasn’t waiting for “Recovery success.” Pay more attention to the big picture.


So I’m enjoying my Whoop experiment. It’s given me more confidence in my body, stronger ability to push myself without fear.

Or maybe I simply feel most at home with nerdy conversational partners.


Friday, July 1, 2022

Do You Want to Join the Team?

“Hey Lisa, you want to join the Savage Race team?” read the text message from a Crossfit buddy. I stopped what I was doing and re-read it a couple times. On Google, I researched a bit. Hmmm…yes…it is what I thought it was. A campy American Ninja obstacle course, 5 miles or more. Participants soaked in mud from top to bottom, posing for pictures with their medal. What did I want…?

I was ambiguous in my first response, asking for more information. I checked the calendar—weekend immediately before my days of intensive teaching. My project-manager-self began her argument for why this was a bad idea. Like Saturday’s events could irreparably harm Monday’s classroom responsibilities? Some other part of me grabbed the phone and texted him, “Sure. Why not? I love the stuff you get me into...” I wrote CF into my calendar, letting it sit. I didn’t say anything to Brian about it, though told him I’d be out “for a CrossFit thing” on that Saturday in June. He nodded. I smiled at myself… What in the world was I thinking…?

Well, apparently some part of me simply wanted to have an adventure!!!

As the day drew near, I found my anxiety rising, with a sense of forboding. What if I broke a bone before teaching in class the following week? What if I let the team down somehow by not being able to do one of the obstacles? What if I let myself down and backed out at the last minute? These are the kinds of things my mind runs my gut through before an adventure that some other part of me wants to have.

On this side now: It was AWESOME!!! I was prepared for multiple strategies—two different pairs of shoes, options to bring knee sleeves or gloves with better grip when muddy, several protein bars and two water bottles filled with electrolyte-mixed water. I was SET. I made the choices that needed making when I got there, watching everyone else I could see. And we dove into the marathon-obstacle-course, together, laughing.
What a hoot. Running up the hill when pictures would be taken, then walking slowly the rest of the way to the summit. Walking carefully through the potential muddy lanes, until "why bother?" Crawling under real barbed wire, or learning to roll, which was more fun. Carrying logs through the woods. Scaling 50-ft-high nets both up and down amidst a water sprinkler. Anything that depended solely on upper body strength, I’d give one shot, then laugh and walk around.

I didn’t break anything but a smile.
Our team did the obstacles as each desired, waiting for any/all of us before the next one.
We crossed the finish line together, arms up in victory.


One couple I joined in congratulations gave me a real compliment as gift too.

"Not bad for 53," I had said to them with a smile. "FIFTY-THREE?!" She exclaimed. "You're a beast! "

I'll take it.