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.

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