Chronicles of CrossFit

This week I watched three rockstar fellow gym mates get bummed out by a “less than hoped for” performance on an Open workout – 18.4 to be exact. They did pretty amazing in my eyes as well as others, so the “subpar” view really came from within. The workout was tough, a new standard made handstand push-ups even harder (not that handstand push-ups are ever easy, just clarifying). Lots of folks didn’t do as well as they hoped.

Our head coach even sent out a quick post-workout video encouraging athletes to keep their chins up, recognize progress they’ve made, even if their score on this particular workout didn’t show it. This is part of the process, for sure.

 

Striving for your best on any given day, putting it out there and then accepting where you’re at. It’s pretty darn cool when you get to witness new heights in others (and yourself), but it’s also pretty cool getting to see that integral process unfold, slowly but surely, when you work toward goals on a consistent basis, your strength will surface.

Sometimes you even surprise yourself!

I did the easiest version for this one since there were going to be 90 deadlifts (half @ 80# and half @ 95#) in addition to a bunch of hand release push-ups, I need to save my back!

My goal was to complete the workout within the nine minutes allotted and that I did, beating it by ten seconds. Today I watched two women do the “in between scale” with 95# and 135# deadlifts and they both finished within the time cap – so impressive! To say the least.

Why do I feel inspired to write about this?

Because it’s pretty frickin’ cool the kinds of experiences + lessons you really can get in a CrossFit gym. And maybe not every CF gym, but you certainly can in mine.

crossfitworthy

Every Saturday our gym has been coming together at 9 a.m. to do the workout of the week in conjunction with the Open. We have teams (with funny names!), people volunteer to judge one another, we all rally around and cheer for each other and everyone gets to feel the love, no matter if you’re pulling 315# at RX mens or 80# like me.

We run the gamut with age and I’m constantly inspired by fellow CrossFitters who are my elder. They show me what’s possible and that age means only as much as you have it mean. Don’t get me wrong, on most days, I’m nearly double the age of fellow peeps in the gym, and that’s okay. I find that I learn from pretty much everyone I connect with, and that’s what makes our place extra special.

Last week I put myself to the test and got my first kipping pull-up!

It’s funny. Each week we can choose the “scale” we are going to do for the workout and my initial instinct was to select the easiest option because, you know, I couldn’t really do a pull-up. I use bands (and lots of them lol) which make things easier, but we couldn’t use them for this workout. I went ahead and selected the easy option.

Then I got to thinking on Friday during my noon class. I wondered if I might be able to eek out at least one kipping pull-up. I got all the bands out, tried one with the green band. Got it. Tried one with the blue band. Got it. Tried one with the red band. Got it.

Hymmm.

The red band is sort of like using nothing, but it’s still using a band. Mental. It’s in my head. How much of this is really in our heads? How often do we limit ourselves because of what we *think* to be true? That’s the beauty of the Open really. It’s a time to challenge ourselves, try things and see, to perhaps push ourselves in ways we don’t normally. You know, so we can experience what’s actually possible.

I got input on my decision from several coaches, I called a friend, I kinda got a nervous feeling in my belly, but I did it anyway. I changed myself to scale one instead of two, which meant I was going to be doing a bunch of jump roping, overhead squats, dumb bell snatches, and yes, I would see if a kipping pull-up would be possible, without my comforting red band. My goal was to get one.

I dreamt about it the night before. I was super focused the day of. I was nervous. I convinced Conner to be my judge so that she could coach me through. And that she did. And I got one! And then about 20 or so more … more or less. That first one was the best, and I probably got my chin above the bar on most others, but now I know I need to work on my form, more of a “pop and pull,” if you will. Setting up a training session next week to do just that. Want to build on the momentum.

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Suffice it to say this process teaches us a lot. About ourselves. About each other. About our community as a whole. In a way, the Open helps form a strong base for relationships that bloom + develop throughout the rest of the year. As for those who keep coming back, the Open also gives you a benchmark for your progress.

We can all take pride in the growth that happens every year. Which is why the athletes I mentioned at the top of this post, came around to feeling “less bummed” about maybe not getting as many handstand push-ups; truth is, the ones they got will carry them far.

This piece is long (!), but I want to go back to the coaching part of this. I had intended to write an entire post about Brock (smile), a superb athlete and one of our younger coaches who judged me in 18.2. Dumb bell squats and over the bar burpees galore with a one rep max clean to boot! What Brock provided me that day (or Conner, as I’m on the bar trying to do a pull-up), it’s hard to really capture. 

The coaching + support we receive at CrossFit Worthy goes above + beyond.

It truly does.

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CrossFit Worthy coaches (photo credit: Heather Barnes)

I’m trying to describe the feeling as I’m flopping my body on the floor and back up, while at the same time, Brock is “negotiating” with me how I’m going to immediately pick up the dumb bells for the next set of squats. He’s literally lying on the gym floor so he can be face to face telling me this. With my body saying, “this is kinda stupid,” Brock helped my mind stay focused on the task at hand. Finish the workout. Have time to get a clean in that I’ll be proud of (which I did!) and feel accomplished for having done it.

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ultimate coaching = Brock (photo credit: Kaylee Kok)

Lastly, I have mention always having the best “cheering section” for each workout, with multiple folks encouraging me along, in addition to our “special kiddos” who are learning all about this process at an early age! They sure help keep me going. For 18.2, my good friend and her kids had a front row seat, which is the best.

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special cheering section! photo credit: Cece First

Suffice it to say I’m really glad to be having this experience at this point in my life. It helps me stay grounded, focused, connected, empowered, motivated, strong, accomplished, engaged and happy. I’m already bummed that our last CF Open workout is this weekend. I’m out of town, so I’ll miss all the Worthy fun, but I’m going to make some new friends at CrossFit Asheville instead! We might be in store for some thrusters.

Oh joy!

One of our team names is But Did You Die. LOL

P.S. Had to include one last SUPER FUN photo … because … that’s how we roll.

thegirls
these girls make my day (photo credit: Kaylee Kok)

18.1

It’s Open season for the CrossFit Games which is a worldwide competition for CrossFit athletes. I’ve never really considered myself an athlete, but this is my third year participating in the CrossFit Open. I’m not “officially” signed up, but I get to participate because my most awesome gym, CrossFit Worthy, hosts the competition for anyone who wants to join each Saturday during the five weeks it runs every spring.

It’s pretty darn cool to have this experience, especially as a novice CrossFitter.

They announce each workout on Thursday, and it’s kind of a big deal. Clues are posted on Instagram. People have fun guessing what the workout will be. Lots of folks watch it live and then check out several people actually doing the workout. That’s when you get to learn the movement standards, “strategizing” starts to happen and you begin to wonder what YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ACTUALLY DO when your turn is up!

Most everyone at my gym is participating, so that makes the anticipation + overall process doubly fun.

I did 18.1 (what the first workout is called) at a scaled version which included a 20 minute AMRAP (as many reps as possible) with 8 big tucks (on the bar), 10 clean + jerks (with a 20 pound dumbbell) and then a 12 calorie row (you just keeping doing those 3 movements over and over).

I got just over eight rounds, which is good for me!

Athletes have until Monday to record their scores, so we can still do the workout during open gym that day. Sometimes people will re-do the workout to see if they can enhance their score. I’ve re-done things a handful of times over the past two seasons and it’s taught me a lot about myself.

I’m not a huge “goal setting” person, but I was curious if I could do *any* rounds at the RX level (the prescribed weight for like, you know, the “real” athletes lol). This meant doing the same workout, but much harder with actual toes to bar (T2B) and using a 35# dumbbell, a super big jump in weight for me!

I made myself a goal of achieving five rounds, just to see if I could do it.

My friend Rocky judged me and helped get me through. And I surpassed my goal! Did just over five rounds, including an additional 8 T2B and 5 clean + jerks. That was the hardest part! Really really had to concentrate on getting that weight UP, locking out my arm and legs each time. Was about hyperventilating by the end of 20 minutes, but I made it!

Check out my video on RX-ing 18.1 >> CLICK HERE 🙂

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chatting up 18.1

Why am I writing about this experience? Because for me, it’s pretty monumental in building my confidence, getting real about what I’m capable of and pushing myself in ways I normally don’t. I say this all the time, but CrossFit has been one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done.

Our community at CrossFit Worthy is a big reason why.

When I see firsthand that I can lift a weight I really didn’t think I could, then I begin to see that I *might* be able to do other things I really didn’t think I could do. The experience TRANSLATES and that’s where the magic really happens. I’m building “muscle memories” that translate to the heart.

So, what are YOU doing these days to challenge yourself?

It’s a good thing to do from time to time.

Especially if you tend to be a “creature of comfort” like me.

Get out there and see what’s possible.

You might be surprised.

 

 

 

 

starting anew

Hello there!

I’m starting a “fresh” blog to share ponderings, insights, my own evolution really. I’ve been blogging for about four years now, although it seems longer. I think it takes a good amount of courage to self express and although it makes me nervous sometimes, I feel called to keep doing it. As a matter of fact, I’m feeling called to do it even more.

I try to show up for our students and shine my light in ways that will lead to greater clarity + grounding in their lives, for today and in the long-term. Planting seeds I like to call it. If I’m honest, I’m working to do this better for my own family. We’re all a work in progress. The cool thing is that we’re connected and sharing in the journey.

I know I have something good to offer and this spring I’m diving deeper to find it. I feel grounded in my work with McNair more than ever. I’m utterly blessed to support our scholars in their own evolution. Truth is their growth spurs my own.

I’m determined to keep developing my own voice so that I can contribute in even more meaningful ways. A dear friend took this photograph of me back in summer of 2016 and I frequently use it as a profile pic. I like that she caught me in the moment and I love the light. It’s one of my favorite places to sit outside and enjoy lunch too – Green Tree!

I see my work ultimately helping students be in the moment more. We all need to be in the moment more. Learning to be okay with what is, and thus, worrying less about how everything is going to turn out in the future is key. Using our breath as an anchor is a great place to start. Noticing the beauty that surrounds us, especially the smallest things that can easily go unnoticed is also key.

So, I wanted to put out an introductory post, if you will. Letting folks know of my intentions, because once you declare and share something, chances are greater bringing your vision to fruition. I’m really good at having ideas + starting things and then petering out when my confidence wanes or bumps in the road appear. I’m putting this to a stop right here.

I invite you to come along on the journey as I’m always game to learning from others, hearing your story and offering support + encouragement.

In essence, I’m interested in creating community and holding the space.

For us all.

Photo credit: Graciela Mercedes

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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