5 Weeks of Torture. Now with Dumbbells!

Hungry? We’ve been using Home Chef three days a week and lemme tell you, it’s awesome.  If you want to try it shoot me an email and I’ll send you a coupon.


The CrossFit Open 2017 is over.  After a jolly 5 week ride on the Rollercoaster Of Ultimate Suffering I skidded back to the platform, hair askew, grip shot, mildly queasy, and wondering why giving these assholes my money ever seemed like a good idea in the first place.  CrossFitHQ seems to value customer service, and since we all paid for a round house kick to the privates we certainly got our money’s worth.  Also, since I reviewed last year’s CrossFit Open, let’s see how this one stacks up.

In summary:

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This is only my second year of doing the CrossFit Open so it’s not like I have a long history of experience to draw from, but this year I felt progressively more decimated as each week concluded.  Last year I was all scaled.  This year I did three out of the five workouts RX! I know! I’m shocked, too!   Let’s scamper back down rhabdo lane, shall we?

17.1 Dumbbells and burpee box jumps is as stupid as it sounds.

Getting started on the list of Things I Don’t Like To Do early, 17.1 came out of the gate as a slobbering and angry Spaniard bull and I was the flimsy fool trying to run fast enough to avoid being gruesomely trampled.  It was a 20 minute dumbbell snatch and burpee box jump slog so I was all, hells yeah I’m doing it SCALED! I didn’t have a plan exactly, and I didn’t have a goal other than to finish and maybe that is where it went wrong.  Without a defined target I didn’t have a reason to knuckle in harder and work faster, and consequently at 20:00 I had one rep remaining.  ONE. REP. REMAINING.  I left the gym feeling embarrassed and frustrated and I may have sworn up a blue cloud in the car.

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Subsequently I learned that everyone else in the gym finished the scaled or RX version of the workout completely and under the time cap.  I hated myself for that all weekend long.  In the middle of my feverishly idiotic self loathing I came up with a plan: Do it again, but RX.  (I never said it was a good plan.)  If I wasn’t going to finish the workout I might as well not finish it with an RX tag on the end, I mean how bad could it be? So the following Monday I went back to the gym with a plan, and a target and two things happened.  1) I didn’t finish the workout, and 2) I didn’t fall on any of those box jumps! But more importantly a third thing happened: I hit my target.  Therefore, I called 17.1 a win and logged my score.

17.2 More Dumbbells But This Time With Other Stuff I Could Not Do.

It’s totally normal for there to be 1-5 workouts in the Open that require skills that I do not currently possess.  This week involved lunging about with dumbbells and conducting assorted activities from the pull up bars. For scaled it was hanging knee raises and then pull ups.  My goal was to get to the pull ups without looking like I was having some sort of hanging seizure.  While I made my goal I didn’t feel particularly proud of my accomplishment, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on why.

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I was comparing myself to everyone else.  Again.  I knew I didn’t do as well as many others with better cardio engines, but knowing there wasn’t a significant way to alter or improve my performance shrugged it off,  logged my score, and wrapped myself in a cocoon of self affirmations also known as pizza.

17.3 Apparently I won’t be going to the CF Games as a competitor

Reality has set in.  There will be no CrossFit Games, George Division.  This week we saw a fast-paced snatch ladder. Fast paced anything usually yields disaster, but I knew I could do much of this workout in the scaled category so I made my plan and set my goal. I wanted to get into the second time bracket and get working on the 65# snatches.  I got where I wanted to go and for the first time in this Open I felt genuinely happy with my results.

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Before I left the gym I logged my score, and before I got home my view of the Open, it’s purpose, and my participation had transformed.  The last two weeks of feeling ashamed of my scores or embarrassed about my performance compared to others had been swept out the door like a dead spider to be eaten by tiny ants who desperately need the nutrition.  Now I’m in it for fun.  For curiosity.  For the pure heck of it.  And, for the broad opportunities to exercise trash talking, which, as it turns out, I’m quite adept at.

17.4 Death by Counts of 55 revisited

As soon as the words, “17 point…4…will be…16…point 4!” left Dave Castro’s smirking jerk face I was doing a happy dance.  Because GUESS WHAT?! I’m going to do this workout in both RX and Scaled.

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Last year my goal was to complete the row in the scaled version of the workout, which I did and managed to squeak out 5 push ups before the time cap.  This year I had the same goal, but in the RX category.  I didn’t make it, but that’s OK and I’ll tell you why.

Scaled: 95# dead lift, 10# wall ball
RX: 155# dead lift, 14# wall ball

That’s a 62% increase in dead lift weight, and a 71% increase in wall ball weight.  Those capacities were gained IN ONE YEAR OF WORK! I was absurdly proud of myself and logged my score almost immediately.

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But, you can’t compare apples and oranges and get an absolutely clear picture of one’s gainz, so I set out to do the workout again on Monday in the scaled ring to see how it stacked up to last year’s performance. I must say that it stacked up quite nicely.  I got through 24 of the hand release push ups before being time capped.  That’s a 19 rep increase from last year, with a rowing split time improvement of over one minute.  I call #kennyz and #gainz on that.

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17.5 Dave Castro hates us as much as we hate him, see WOD for proof. 

It’s been five weeks.

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I’m tired.

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I know what’s coming.

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Sitting down to watch the Open announcement was basically sitting down to hear not only that I will die but in excruciating detail HOW I will die.  The only question was if I would die with a barbell or dumbbells in my hands.  Lucky break! I’ll die with a barbell in my hands! 10 rounds of insufferable thrusters and double unders.

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Do it RX? Do it scaled? Go big or go home, right? RX it is.  A 40 minute time cap is more generous than I would have expected, but I figured I could close this one up in 25-27 minutes. HA! That wisp of hope died after the first round.  It was in the second round as I was whipping myself like a derelict plough horse during the DUs I realized that the only way to make enough time to continue the flagellations on schedule was if I kept the thrusters unbroken.  So I did.  And, I came crashing across the finish line at just over 36 minutes. I finished the CrossFit Open on an RX note and how cool is that? Lil George running with the RX dawgs for the first time.

All in all this Open was much more enlightening, much more entertaining, and much more challenging than last year.  I saw, for the first time, my progress being applied.  I felt, for the first time, my capacities being tested. I experienced, for the first time, what I’ve always advocated but have difficulty doing, and that was not to waste time comparing myself to others but to enjoy the process for my own sake.  I don’t celebrate my own accomplishments easily, but gosh darn it I did OK.  George isn’t the fastest, nor is she the strongest, nor is she the most efficient, but she’s getting there. I have the anchor of a good gym, good friends, and some of the best coaching I could have ever hoped to receive and I will express my gratitude the best way I know how: By working harder and making the investment of their encouragement and time worth it.  Except if it involves the Assault bike.  Anyone asks me to assault bike with them I’ll be all LOL,

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The Murph Hero Wod: A Visual Story

Hungry? My Super Husband (I’m not speaking in hyperbole or anything.) has been ordering two to three meals through Home Chef of late and I have to say they’ve all been quite nice, both in terms of taste and economics.


 

Memorial Day appears to be easily mistaken for Veterans Day.  As far as I know, everyone who reads my periodic rantings is fully aware of the distinct and specific differences, but if you are requiring elucidation then read here and here, oh, and here.  Of the veterans that I know personally, most of them are not judgmental against anyone on how they choose to spend their 3 day weekend, and for that I’m grateful. There is far too much judgement happening.  From What not to say to someone with curly hair to You’ve been cutting tomatoes wrong your whole life to Top 10 reasons people don’t like you, truly it’s exhausting to keep up with all the things I’m doing wrong.  Judgement and condemnation have taken live-and-let-live out into the street and beaten it to death and left its creme de carcass for the birds (who are, apparently, all assholes.) But, I digress.  For this day, Memorial Day, I am striving to teach my children love for their country, respect for their military, and honor for their family, and occasionally that includes revving up the grill and turning on the sprinklers to play in the water.

 

But, we all known I do CrossFit, too, and a Memorial Day CrossFit tradition is the hero WOD Murph.  To take your Murph workout to the absolute next level watch the documentary The Protector, and also The Lone Survivor.  (Full disclosure: I haven’t seen either of these films because I am an absolute chicken shit about watching movies were the events happened to very real people.  I think I may have an overactive empathy gland.) If you didn’t read the link, Murph is a simple but brutal workout, which if done 100% as written, includes wearing a 20 pound vest (I did not wear the vest since I consider the permanent attachment of ass and chest to equal about 20 disbursed pounds.). (Which reminds me, I should write about the 2014 genesis of the #kennyz hashtag.) (I think I’ll start writing exclusively in parentheses.  It feels like we’re having a secret conversation.)  Where was I? Awww yisss… Murph.

1 mile run + 100 pull ups + 200 push ups + 300 air squats + 1 mile run.

I’ve been doing CrossFit since 2013. I’ve been asked to complete Murph, or a scaled variant, each year.

2013 – “George, wanna do Murph?”

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2014 – “Hey, George, are you signed up fo-“

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2015 – “George, let’s do a partner Murph.”

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2016 – “George, you’re doing Murph.” 

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I mean, let’s be honest here.  Since moving to NY I’ve been exercising more than I’ve really been doing anything else other than complaining and doing laundry, therefore approaching Murph solo should be well within the realm of actual reality.  Right? RIGHT?? Right.  Concordantly, I made a plan.

1) Get to the gym and exude confidence.  Shock and awe, man, shock and awe.

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2) Warm up the ankles, shoulders, and intercostal clavicle.  Stretch out the hamstrings and achilles.  Always be time for stretching.

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3) Stake out my pull up bar and guard it with territorial simian fierceness.

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4) Pose up together with everyone else going in the 8am heat for a group picture.

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5) 3-2-1 Go! The plan called for an 00:11:30-00:12:00 first mile, which I accomplished (yay!). Then it was onto ten rounds of 10 pull ups, 20 push ups, and 30 air squats.  Nothing to do here but put your head down and knuckle in.

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 Small hiccup in the plan in round 8 when my palm started to tear on the pull ups. I waved my microscopic injury at Coach Phil who gave me his patented, “Really, George? Really?” look but still gave me a replacement scale for my already scaled pull ups: hollow rocks.  I threw the finger at the pull up bar and kept working.

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6) I wanted to complete the 10 rounds before the clock hit the 60 minute time cap to get on that last mile run.  At 00:51:somethingorother I stood up my last air squat and Coach Phil, known for his effective motivational motivating, yelled at me, “GET OUT!!” which I did and it looked a lot like this:

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But about 20 yards later the rest of my run looked like this.

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7) I came skidding back into the gym where the clock read 65:40.

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I had done it! I had completed a full Murph on my own!

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And, when the negative side of my brain tried to diminish my efforts by telling myself, “Well, you scaled cuz you used a band on the pull ups and were on your knees for the push ups and everyone did it faster than you so you’re not exactly hot shit on a silver salver.” I told myself to STFU.

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 It was a genuine accomplishment four years in the making.  So, I went back to victory mode.

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And, then I went into victory eating mode.

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And, then I went into victory napping mode.

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The View From The Top Of The Rope

Hungry?  Sorry.  I got nuthin.  Maybe try this?


I accomplished my first ever rope climb about a week ago.

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And, that got me to thinking (which in itself can be problematic) about “the view from the top of the rope,” as Coach Ben put it. Which then got me thinking about the entire process of accomplishment. Then I got wrapped up in second guessing what I wanted to say which ultimately ended up with me opining about nothing cohesive or actually useful.  I’d rather just shut up than accidentally sound like a David Wolfe meme.

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But, back to the subject of success. When we moved from New Mexico to Texas I was grossly overweight and on antidepressant and anti anxiety medication.  Within a year of our move to Texas I discovered CrossFit, which is sort of only halfway true because Matthew had been CrossFitting for nearly two years by then and could do all the things. We all know the story. My time at CrossFit Toro Grande could best be described as teaching a person how to drive for the first time.  There’s a lot of fits and starts, stalls, shredded clutch bearings, confusion, whip lash, and frustration.  Basically, every workout looked like this.

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The progress and measurable gainz were steady and motivating and it dusted off an aspect of myself I’ve grown to really enjoy and identify with.  Now we live in New York and I workout at CrossFit Mount Kisco and the workout scenario still looks like that, only now I’m using more weight, and going faster!   All the work and all the time and all the foundation that was laid all those days in Texas combined with focus, intensity, and charisma of New York have coalesced in a rain of personal records unlike anything I had ever expected to see, all leading up to the surprise PR of 2016: The rope climb.

Moving to New York  jolted me into a new and refined focus for my body goals. When you have no social circle, you’re new to town, and the only thing you know how to do is clean toilets, cook food, and do CrossFit you quickly find oneself at a crossroads: Cloister myself at home and go back to a life of excuse-driven emotional eating and watch everything I worked for over the previous months disappear, OR get my ass back into a gym. Given the relative newness of my active lifestyle compared to the longer backstory of, y’know, not that, history favored eating.

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Consequently, it is of remarkable noteworthiness that Dignity intervened and with a hand on her hip and an annoyed look on her face said, “George.  Really?” to which I replied, “What?” all indignant and shit. Then Self said, “Listen to Dignity, George, she’s on to something here.” and I was all, “Why are you guys ganging up on me?” and that’s when Pride swaggered in rolling her eyes and barked, “Quit being a twit. You’re gonna get fat again.” Dignity shot Pride a frown and interjected, “What Pride means is all the work you put in over the last couple of years will be lost and I’d hate to see you start at level zero again.” And Pride backed it up with, “Oh for gawd’s sake put the ice cream down.” Now, like, no one takes my ice cream so I got all pissy, but that’s when Self Control stepped in and swatted the ice cream out of my hands and took a selfie with my phone.

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“Is that what you want?” Pride asked, an insufferable know-it-all smirk on her ageless face. I chewed my lip and thought for a moment. “No,” I replied quietly. “I didn’t hear you, what was that?” asked Self, clearly enjoying herself.  “No,” I repeated more confidently. Self sat back and crossed her arms and gave Dignity a knowing look, “Finish her,” Self muttered to Dignity.  Dignity looked me dead in the eye and said, “It’s not me.  It’s you. Either you get back to the gym or I’m leaving you forever.” My eyes flicked open wide as I considered the implications of Dignity’s threat.  No Dignity? If Dignity moves out so does Pride cuz those bitches are tight. And Self Control will follow Pride and Dignity like a little sheep and if Self Control goes all the rest of the Sorority of Gamma George Gamma will depart for sunnier shores and all I’ll be left with are the freeloading hags Depression, Anxiety, and Excuses.  Uhhhhh…. No thank you.

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Success Step 1: Having enough dignity to stick to my goals, even in the midst of ultimate upheaval and change.  In fact, goals really are nothing more than change maps.  Goals cannot exist without change.  So, goals.

Success Step 2: Trusting in the process that has yet to fail.  The process of show up, do work, repeat.  Apply liberally to all areas wanting improvement, which, if you’re me, is in all the areas.

Success Step 3: Letting Pride be a source of motivation, but that’s it.  Pride can be duplicitous and cahoot about with Negative Self Talk who we all know is besties with Poor Self Image and seriously if they get to talking it’s like no one else can get a word in edgewise.   Don’t confuse Pride with Dignity.  Dignity is in this deal for the long haul physical and mental benefits.  Pride is in it for smaller pants as soon as possible.

Success Step 4: Try.  Try.  Try. Try.  Try the heavier weight.  Try the longer run.  Try the leaner meat. Try the sauteed kale.  Try to string one extra rep into that series of ten reps to get to eleven, then twelve, then thirteen and so on.  Try not putting the wall ball down. Try. Try the rope climb for the elevendieth time even though you’ve never done anything other than fail.  Failure is more indicative of success than the actual success is.  (Ugh.  I still sound like David Wolfe, don’t I.)

Success Step 5: Humble pie is my new favorite food.  See Success Step 3.

Success Step 6: Let your coach be critical and encouraging. If there’s nothing to criticize there’s nothing to improve on and if I can’t be receptive to criticism and correction then I’ve already failed completely.   Let your friends be encouraging. Be encouraging to your friends. Change, “Yeah, well I scaled” to “Yeah, I did the work.”  Be generous giving high fives and gracious when receiving them. Be truthful with your reps and with your scores! Not every day can be a Pollyanna romp through a daisy filled meadow, but what we are supposed to learn from Pollyanna isn’t that everything is joyfully perfect but that joy can be perfected in everything.  (Oh my, look at all the animated singing birds flyin around!)

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What does the view look like from the top of the rope?  I can see all my goals laid out like a landscape, some are closer and some will take longer to get to.  That mountain way out in the distance? That’s Muscle Up Mountain, and one day I’ll get to summiting it.  For now, I’m navigating the Pull Up Foothills, which shares a border with the Valley of Unscaled Push Ups. Somewhere between the two I expect is the verdant glade of Double Unders.  Beyond the Crest of Chest To  Bar pull ups, before reaching the white water rapids of Strict Hand Stand Push Up River is the broad expansive plateau where RXville lives in peace and harmony with StrictMovementopolis.  And, all along the road I’ll be traveling I will be visiting the villages Cardiosskill, Endurancetown, and the federated municipalities of DontEatStupidCrap Castle.  It’s a pretty great view.  It’s a view that says I’ve got a long journey still ahead of me. The top of the rope isn’t the end of a climb, it’s just a new way to see where I’m going. So…. Off I go!

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via openwalls.com

 

Close door. Drop Mic. Take a bow. It’s done.

Hungry?  I’ve been thinking about the good ol’ 505 lately, so I made red chile pork posole in my crock pot. My recipe comes from memory and a container of Bueno Red Chile, but you could use this.  It’s not necessarily paleo unless you adjust it some, but it will feed your soul and there’s a lot of benefit to that.


 

Welp, the Crossfit Games Open 2016 is over. I think I speak for many and most when I shout a hearty, “GOOD RIDDANCE!” Now, let’s talk about how it went.

In summary:

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In more specific detail:

16.1 – 20 Min AMRAP walking lunges and other stuff.

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I tried hard, but perhaps a different strategy would have yielded better results.  It’s only in the last week I’ve figured out how to optimize jumping pull ups.  Data that would’ve been useful here.

16.2 – Increasing clock of stupid cardio crap and squat clean ladder.

The cardio parts pretty much looked like this the whole time (Thank you, jump rope).

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But, the squat cleans had me feeling super swole.

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I set my eyes on a goal and when I got there I allowed myself to feel good about the effort.  Good enough to drink a vodka and soda that night, as I recall.

16.3 – 7 minute AMRAP of power snatch and bar muscle ups.  Or not.  Mostly Not.  

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This workout left me feeling completely disrespected.How hard could a jumping chest to bar pull up be? Honestly, how hard? Oh, I see.  Impossible. And, just when I thought my day was done after 7 minutes the incredulous voice of my coach boomed across the gym saying, and I quote, “I would never program just a seven minute workout, that’s ridiculous.” Then he pointed at the board upon which was written a partner workout of 100 reps of all the things.  The whole day was one big NOPE.

16.4 – 13 minute AMRAP of death by counts of 55.

After the relative humiliation of the week prior I may have approached this with some excessive bravado.

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My goal was to finish the 55 calorie row, and I had no further aspirations.  So, when it became clear I was certainly going to finish the row, my coach came up behind me and yelled, and I quote, “FALL OFF THE ROWER AND GET TO YOUR PUSH UPS!” It was an effective motivator, and looked a lot like this:

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I got five hand release push ups completed before the clock dinged.  To set a goal and meet that goal is, like, the most satisfying feeling EVER.

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This one was almost as validating as 16.2.  Almost.

16.5 – Repeat of 14.5 which no one ever asked for ever. 

There seemed to be two general reactions, judging by the Twitverse.  (Or is it Twitterverse? Or Twitsphere? I don’t know.)

 

There was no time cap.  Just giant endless carts supplying the thruster and burpee buffet.  Lucky for us at CrossFit Mount Kisco we’d tested this wod some months prior and the coach said, and I quote, “Lucky for us did this recently! We’ve got some times to beat!” Then he posted a picture of the results whiteboard from the previous time, the revelation of which yielded one of two general reactions.

Initially, I thought my previous time was near the 30 minute mark. But, it was 21:19. And, it was 10 pounds lighter.  How does one PR their weight AND time? By deciding to, evidently.  Or by accident.  I think a little of both is actually what happened.   Ultimately, I ended up with three PRs: 1) Used a 45# bar; 2) Finished under my 20 minute goal at 19:54; 3) Completed the first 21 thrusters unbroken.  UN. BROKEN.  UN. HEARD OF. Was I happy? Darn tootin’.

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Epilogue. 

In the scaled individual women category I ended up in 1,499th place in my region, and a stellar 13,777th place worldwide and TAH-DAH!  It’s done. $20 well spent?  At a minimum it seems to have paid for my steerage class ticket on the bullet train to Gainztown, so I’m content.

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16.1 and 16.2 plus Unicorn Dust

Hungry? Well, too bad.  It’s the Open.  All you should be eating is haunch of boar and the occasional brussels sprout.  Just kidding.  Try this.


 

The CrossFit Games Open is upon us and so far I’ve survived the first two workouts.  Mostly.  Since this is my first ever paid-for-a-seat-in-the-Open experience I thought it would be fun to review the experience.  I could be wrong, but let’s see where this goes.

16.1 (a.k.a., Ass Assasin)


The announcement played out much like you might have thought, with very fit people doing very fit things.  I think it may be possible that CrossFit HQ is reading my blog because low and behold they integrated average athletes into the actual aired and featured workout! That was wonderful.  You’re welcome, CFHQ.  You know where to find me if you need any other super marketable ideas.  After watching the WOD I mentally decided that my goal would be five rounds.  Five seemed doable.

If you didn’t watch the video, the workout was prescribed as follows:

25-ft. overhead walking lunge
8 bar-facing burpees
25-ft. overhead walking lunge
8 chest-to-bar pull-ups

Men lunge 95 lb.
Women lunge 65 lb.

That’s not what I did, though, because I’m firmly in the not-even-kidding-scaled-athlete camp, so that meant:

25-ft. front rack walking lunge
8 bar-facing burpees
25-ft. front rack walking lunge
8 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups

Men lunge 45 lb.
Women lunge 35 lb.

Like 99.9999% of people signed up for the Open, I did the workout the next Friday. I walked into the gym and saw colored tape marking out lanes and looking eerily similar to a complex network of runways at a high volume airport.  I chose a rickety chalk lane in the far corner, and in terms of strategery this was a poor choice because it ticked rep-less time off the clock as I moved back and forth between my bar path and my jumping pull up station.   3-2-1 and GO gets called and I move off in a steady, although not spritely, pace averaging 8-9 lunges per 25 feet.  Burpees are, well, burpees.  Truthfully, by the time I get to about 20 burpees it starts to feel like I’m trying to fold an orange with all that bending. And jumping pull ups are what they are.  You jump and pull up.  Twenty minutes is a long workout, and of all the workouts that one could watch this was probably one of the most droningest boringest ones created since Cindy, so hats off to all you coaches who had to watch gawd knows how many iterations of that silliness.

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At the end of 20 minutes, I had achieved my goal! Five founds plus 10 extra reps saw me come in with what I thought was a respectable 140 reps.  Then everyone else started callouchie-doging in their numbers and I realized that I must’ve been standing still, or lunging in slow motion, or standing still.  Mostly standing still, apparently.  So, while I did make my goal happen, it was clear that I hadn’t pushed myself nearly as hard as I should have or could have.  But, by the time I accepted this DOMS had settled into my cheekular muscles with alarming and focused intensity.  Like, my ass was on FIRE and not in a gaseously punitive way.

By Friday night, stairs stopped being stairs and became horrid abominations of torture.

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So, understanding how I felt after five rounds I promptly entered my score into the Games website and called it good.   By Monday night at 9pm, I was ranked 10,977 in the Open for workout 16.1.

16.2 (a.k.a., Farewell, Grip. I hardly knew Thee.)

This workout was filmed in a home garage gym in North Carolina and judging by Castro’s arctic explorer outfit it must’ve been cold.  The workout was a ladder-style workout, well considered and well designed.  The scaled options are in italics.

Beginning on a 4-minute clock, complete as many reps as possible of:
25 toes-to-bars (hanging knee raises)
50 double-unders (single unders)
15 squat cleans, 135 / 85 lb. (95/55)

If completed before 4 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
25 toes-to-bars (hanging knee raises)
50 double-unders (single unders)
13 squat cleans, 185 / 115 lb. (115/75)

If completed before 8 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
25 toes-to-bars (hanging knee raises)
50 double-unders (single unders)
11 squat cleans, 225 / 145 lb. (135/95)

If completed before 12 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
25 toes-to-bars (hanging knee raises)
50 double-unders (single unders)
9 squat cleans, 275 / 175 lb. (155/115)

If completed before 16 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
25 toes-to-bars (hanging knee raises)
50 double-unders (single unders)
7 squat cleans, 315 / 205 lb. (175/135)

Stop at 20 minutes.

I thought to myself, Self, this is really a workout you could enjoy! After all, who doesn’t like squat cleans? The rest of it was not exactly my favorite, but endurable to see how far I could get with them squat cleans.  I set my sights at three rounds.  I wanted to get at those 95lb bars.  I walked into the gym feeling all swole and shit, wearing my PR pants and everything.

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And, what do you suppose happens? Oh, just guess.  No?  OK.  Apparently you’re a sucker for happy endings.  I totally made it five reps into the 95lb squat cleans before the 12 minute cap. I felt elated, pumped, and nauseous all at the same time.  My last rep had me all like,

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This workout tempted me with the idea of a redo, but to be completely honest, it was unlikely I’d magically complete 11 reps at 95 pounds, so contentment settled in, a drink got poured, and I posted my score of 258 reps and a tie breaker time of 10:01.   As for coming in somewhere in the middle of the pack? I’m calling lower one third, but who’s counting.  Oh yeah, those database jerks at CrossFit. Well, drink that score in, database jerks.  Drink. It. In. Also, what’s CrossFit without a dose of humility with a heaping side of smashed ego? While I’m riding high on my little 5 rep accomplishment, there are a lot of folks  in the scaled division that almost finished or ACTUALLY DID FINISH this workout! Y’all are amazing .  AHHH-Mazing.

SO. Now, what does this all mean? Well, nothing if you’re not tracking the CrossFit Games Open or concerned in any way about my fitness levels and their relative increases or decreases.  Yet, from my own view as an active participant in CrossFit and shepherd to my gainz this has been nothing short of extraordinary.  While I’m not a full convert to the idea of paying money to enjoy the rewards of the Open I am suspicious that in doing so I have a more visceral investment for the outcome of each week.

  1. 95lb squat clean is 90% of my currently known 1 rep of 105lb
  2. I need longer legs if I’m going to participate in a lunge workout like that again.
  3. My grip strength is improving noticably, allowing me greater endurance on gymnastics movements, even if my knee raises looked more like hanging grand mal seizures.
  4. Having a great person counting reps, judging, and encouraging makes ALL the difference between making the goal like an EFFING MAN and just making the goal and wondering if I could have done better.
  5. Extra work pays off.  I’m going to keep on doing extra work.

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Why I’m Not Signing Up For The CrossFit Open

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1. It takes money.  My money.  

January is the season of endless streams of commentary from the Shredded and Ripped camp of super mega athletes whose job it is to exercise.  Posts of their triple digit weight lifts, rope climbs, hand stand walks, and running across sandy beaches clenching a 2 pood kettle bell in their teeth explode all over Instagram and Twitter like shit out of a confetti cannon.  Their exploits are compiled into videos like these.

Darn it all if they aren’t all Shredded and Ripped. If you watch this closely, though, you’ll agree these are people who’ve lost touch with their basic survival instinct.

Now, little people like my self (where little is a euphemism for NOT a member of the Shredded and Ripped club) watch those videos and feel pumped up and motivated, right?  NO! These videos fail to excite, fail to motivate, fail to inspire.  They represent a level of commitment that is unrelatable, something I will most likely never experience, and I am absolutely OK with that.

But, Adventure Cooker, CrossFit is about competing against yourself and being the best athlete you can be.  You don’t have to be the strongest, or the fastest, you just have to try the hardest.

Agreed.  And, since that’s true, I don’t understand why I have to give someone $20 to compete against myself when I’m already paying my affiliate to do the same thing. What does that $20 buy me?

  • An athlete profile on their website
  • The opportunity to see myself ranked against the other athletes in my region, country, and the world at large.
  • The pride of completing The Open workouts.

Imuscles_funny_geek_shirt-reabaef828bb84cec9ea7f3f8569b933a_jyr6t_324ncidentally, completing The Open workouts is non optional anyway, as they are the required WOD in any gym the Friday after the workout is announced.  So, I’m paying to have my name put on a leader-board that no one looks at beyond checking to see where Rich Froning is in the standings and I’m paying to do workouts I’d be obligated to do anyway.  I’m pretty damn prideful for completing ANY workout, much less an Open workout.  (Also, CrossFit HQ doesn’t even mail out participation ribbons which is pretty lousy.)  What I want is an option to sign up for The Open in the scaled division where the registration money goes back to my affiliate.

 

2. Bringing down the team average

When you sign up for The Open you’re required to identify your affiliate, and also identify your “team” which, in my case, is also the name of my affiliate.   This suggests that the scores (or non scores) I put up in The Open also reflect against the large gym group as a whole. So, while the big dawgs roll all kinds of RX whilst and at the same time I will be scrambling along trying to meet the requirements of the scaled division.  It’s anxiety triggering to think that my performance could impact the chances of other people around me. Especially if those people have actual aspirations made of actual skill.

But, Adventure Cooker, CrossFit is all about community, and supporting each other, and doing our very best!

Let’s all remember that when y’all’re tempted to beat me with PVC pipes in the parking lot after I DNF another workout because it required some twist skill that I hadn’t anticipated like hand stand dead lifts or some weird shit they invent this year. suck-at-crossfit

There should be room at regionals for the last place finishers of The Open.  Imagine how insane the crowd would be rooting on the under dogs, for the people who’ve committed to change  and actually accomplished it! If we tout the community aspect of The Open then regionals should be similarly open to those people who’ve made it across the biggest hurdles.  Crossfit HQ is missing out on a stupendous opportunity.

 

3. CrossFit HQ doesn’t need my participation to find the Fittest On Earth

Seriously.  At no time will my being signed up for The Open in any way alter the outcome of the Shredded and Ripped gladiators convention.

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4. Everyone gets a magical PR unicorn except me

2013 was my first year doing CrossFit and I wouldn’t have known about The Open if you held a gun to my head and told me to Google it.  2014 I knew what it was and enjoyed watching other people do it, given that this was before they offered a “scaled” option.  2015 I was in the throes of healing my back injury so even if I wanted to sign up (which I didn’t) I couldn’t. Every year there has been an avalanche of videos, and posts, and articles that bragged off (and rightfully so) the athletes who suddenly and inexplicably punched through walls and ceilings to achieve PR upon PR as if the stress of The Open allowed them to shed their human exoskeleton and release the beast within.  It was like all those weight loss programs and health drinks that show you the giant, unhappy, mud-clogged house hippo and then a flashing star swirls across the screen and says, “10 weeks later!!” and the hippo is now a svelt and sleek impala of the suburban Serengeti.  Show side by side comparison photos, talk about being your best self now for only eighty dollars a day and fade to black.  Does signing up for The Open gave you magical eagle powers?

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Apparently, yes. While the PR scenario might be very real for certain people, I have felt grounded and confident that this house hippo was happy riding towards the rear of the Gainz Train understanding that the supernatural PR pixie dust is reserved for the front cars.

But, Adventure Cooker, you do have eagle powers! You just have to keep putting in the work! Your PRs are significant for you! And, minimizing your accomplishments with insanely witty self deprecation is unnecessary!

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5. I am a CrossFit atheist

Everyone who has been involved with CrossFit for a year or less already knows the three patron saints of CrossFit.

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Our Lord and Savior, Greg Glassman

 

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St Castro of Dave, First of his name, prophet from the tribe of WOD Announcers, and Malevolent Giver of Zero Effs

 

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The Archangel Froning, Smiter of Competitions and Wielder of Lats

 

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We have all knelt at the alter of functional fitness and drank the sacramental Kool-Aid, right? We have all been born again in a hail of sweat bullets leaving our sorry, excuse-riddled meat tubes behind going forth in salvation of gains everlasting, right? We are quick to defend the honor of our glorious CrossFit HQ living, except for St Castro of Dave whom we all agree has a well manicured douche-canoe public persona.  AND WOE TO THEE WHO CALLETH DOWN THE WRATH OF THE ARCHANGEL FRONING! FOR HE SHALL SMOTE YOUR RUIN UPON THE BLADCK MATS! AND THEN PROBABLY GO SHOOTETH SOME GUNS AND RIDETH HIS 4-WHEELER!

I don’t care if Mr Glassman touts the Open as a communal challenge between friends, or some sort of broader community building event.  Realistically, each time I get to the gym and see the people I work out with every day is how the communal community gets built.  It also gets built at happy hours.  But, at the end of the day, what Glassman and Castro are looking for are the biggest of all the big dawgs and people like myself are of low consequence to their program.

But, Adventure Cooker, that’s not true! Greg Glassman loves us all and accepts us all where we are! If it wasn’t for Greg Glassman none of us would be here! Greg Glassman just wants us all to be healthy! You’re hateful, Adventure Cooker! Talking about Greg Glassman like that… *ugly cries*

Mr Glassman is an exceedingly wealthy man thanks in large part to getting to a very thirsty market first and I’m sure he’s a lovely man.  Even so, again I go back to the question about why my $20 is so damn critical for The Open to be conducted.  It’s hype, and craze, and frenzy that drives this many people to sign up for an activity only 12 people per region per division will ever see benefits from.  I won’t diminish the zealot believer that CrossFit is the one true road, and The Open is the fitness version of Lent leading to the climactic end, but I remained reticent, and here’s why.

The Open ain’t shit if your coach turns into an enabling sack of garbage for five fridays in a row.  Duh, right? Stay with me here. During The Open a coach’s gym becomes a frothing pit of competitive hormones, and the wrong coach will let it go unchecked throughout the 5 weeks and end up with a whole pile of athletes that are broken.  A good coach will continue coaching across each workout whereas a bad coach will let you go all Tasmanian devil for the untenable hope of good scores.  A good coach will remind athletes to check their egos and to put on their invisible thinking caps to remember safety and form.  A good coach will look at The Open with pragmatic eyes, and their athletes with even keener attention.  The Open makes people go score mad, and a good coach can keep them from redlining straight into a preventable injury.  I am not blind to how fortunate I’ve been with my coaches.  So, I would rather laud them.

  • Coach Laurie, Conductor of the TX Gainz Train
  • Coach Ben, maker of Unicornz and provoker of #kennyz
  • Coach Mike, giver of first opportunities and tolerator of me
  • Coach Dave the Stoic and taker of no shit
  • Coach Gene, programmer of daily crucibles
  • Coach Phil, giver of work, gifter of PRs, distributor of sarcasm

Thank you for doing what you do.  You are who builds the community.  You are who creates communal connection.

6. I’m not doing it. I’m not signing up. 

In summary,

  • I don’t want to give them my money
  • I don’t want to ruin anyone else’s chances for glory
  • I don’t want to give them my money
  • I don’t want to give in to peer pressure
  • I don’t want to give them my money.
  • I don’t think Holy Trinity of CrossFit need my money

Well crap.  None of that sounds very convincing.

But, Adventure Cooker, it’ll be fun!

Really?!  Sweet!  Here’s my athlete profile.

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Rule Three……SaNdlOt science is born

Rule # 3–  Have FUN.

There are two common dimensions within CrossFit….I’m on that number three ish. There are many details to argue that lie within these three, but if you’re drinking the cool-aid, right now you are living in one of them. For the record, there are people I love dearly gettin fit in all three. Nobody is perfect….

One dimension is looking for the edge on success in CrossFit. Specific programming with waves and percentages. Every detail outlined and laid out. When to workout, when to eat, how much, supplementation, when to supplement, how to incorporate your food into particular days based on your training, how to breakdown the science of success within your pursuit of CrossFit MegaStarDumb!? There are as many schools on this subject as there are seconds in the day. All using various measures to gauge success.

One dimension screams…..GET OUT OF THE BOXXXXXXX!!!!!!! This side prescribes itself to the notion that we train to apply our newfound level of fitness in the world outside of the box. It sells you on the fact that you should hit it and quit it, then get out there and just L.I.V.I.N. (in my best McCONAUGHEY voice).

I got no patience for allowing a program to run my training or my life…much less validate my fitness! There are nuggets of greatness within most of what I see in the Ivan Drago Dimension (see what I did there?). Most of it though bores the ever loving fucking piss out of me and is too busy looking cool. It is a dimension with entirely too much structure required in a world constantly at odds with it. It frankly feels way too much like a job….fuck that, I got jobs, one of which is coaching, it is THE ONE job that I am most passionate about, it is a honor, and one I take very seriously. That being said, I do not confuse my job as a coach with my “training” ever….ever. Nor do I confuse the idea of a job with work. I love WORK, work is how I validate my life….straight blue collar baby. I can also get hip to the idea of enjoying being outside the box. I do realize that for some their time in the box is just that and nothing more. I don’t understand it, but I do hear you. I also hear your bullshit. I like trees and shit, I can even tolerate you five finger vibrate shoe fuckers for moments of shenanigans, but I won’t allow myself to be mediocre or a creature of convenience within the box, using the ” say bruh, when is life gonna ask me to do double unders, or who cares about muscle ups? I’m all about the REAL world.” Look here fucko, keep making excuses, and I’ll keep being mindful of the fact that I am never not in the real world.

My third dimension…..OUR dimension was born from early mornings of work, philosophy, and theory. There is no bullshit at 4:30 in the morning, and me and MAV’s talks are specific to CrossFit at times, but always come full circle to life and keeping shit simple. So here it is….Sandlot- Be better than yesterday, every damn morning. Require more of yourself, you’re worth it, and capable. You are only as good as your worst quality. Face that, and fix it, you’ll become a better person. PERIOD. There is nothing you cannot do. PERIOD. There is no science or equation that substitutes or replaces hard honest work, done every single fucking day. It is okay to train because you love to fucking train, you don’t have to apologize for it, so don’t. Fuck people who would dismiss your choices because you have decided that what everybody else does, does not apply to you….you are not everybody else. Have the ability to identify what and where you need to work, with brutal honesty. Become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Validate your work through simple measures.. am I faster? Am I stronger? Can go further than I did last time? If the answer is yes, keep it up. If the answer is no, fix that shit, and I don’t mean reinvent the wheel. Just fucking fix it.  AND FOR FUCKS SAKE, HAVE FUN!

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IT’s HOW You SAVE Boobies that matters most

On the eve of a Barbell’s for Boobs charity event I find myself hearing an awful lot about “Grace.” I don’t want to participate, my time will be horrible and I will be embarrassed. What weight should I do? What’s a good Grace time? What strategy should I use? I’m gonna take a rest day Friday and make sure I eat right before Grace. What should I do I be ready? First, FUCK Grace, and if you…..nope never mind, FUCK Grace! Tomorrow is for charity and a truly worthy one at that. How you deal with Grace will be what matters, not how quickly, not at what weight, not any fucking other thing. No matter what weight you sling or how long it takes you, your heart and commitment will validate your CrossFitCred. Everybody respects an epic performance at RX weight done with a pace slightly slower than lightning. No denying it, but NOBODY forgets that motherfucker who grinds out every single rep like their life depends on it, or maybe their favorite pair of boobies. Point is this, if you give your all to a task, truly, nobody can take it away from you. We should all strive for that in everything we do. Remember we all are different, no matter what, our hours and minutes leading up to a simple thirty reps tomorrow will be unlike any others we share the day with. What will define us will be how we go about completing those thirty reps. WE are one community showing how we fucking roll in support of saving lives/boobies in true CrossFit fashion! Your heat will be your family, be about your business, and remain mindful that at 3-2-1 you go all in together, and Grace will not be finished until the last of you calls time. If you get your 30 and find yourself amongst family working, scream your head off in support, it will be your greatest contribution to your family. If you find yourself grinding out reps surrounded by screaming family, smile, dig in, and DO WORK to the last rep! As a family celebrate the time spent and make sure to support the rest of the community with the same intensity. Time and kilos will not define the morning, the heart of OUR community will! Give all you got and walk with swagger……..and make sure to make a contribution, your boobies or someone’s that you are very fond of might need it!

ALL IN to GO ALL OUT!!

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My Damn Mojo!!! You seen my damn MOJO!?

It is enevitable,,,,,we hit the wall, we plateau, we stop fucking following rule 3. Somehow, somewhere we find ourselves in a CrossFit slump. The magic seems to be gone……..perhaps you and the WOD have “lost that loving feeling!” See what I did there? Our CrossFit swagger is nowhere to be found……I’VE LOST MY MOJO!!!!! HAVE YOU SEEN MY MOJO!?

One of the reasons I LOVE CrossFit is because it IS a proving ground for how to deal with adversity, not only in the BOX, but in life as well!!

For the next part of this installment I will be using LifeFit. My intention is to show how what we do in the box parallels what we do in the rest of our daily lives.

LifeFit is not easy, fact. LifeFit never gets easy, fact. Chewing on this for a moment makes me realize how we condition ourselves daily to become accustomed to a particular “life.” Now quickly the rules for first timers. Rules of LifeFit:
1- Don’t Die
2- Safety is Paramount
3- HAVE FUN
The only situation in LifeFit that trumps a rule is the rule before it. PERIOD. Now is this an oversimplification of LifeFit? It is for those of you conditioned to be full of shit, excuses, and just plain afraid of greatness. We ALL slip from time to time, that’s why there are fucking rules. Get your head right and get in gear!

I may be quickly getting to the ever loving point…..and it excites me!!!

In LifeFit NEVER forget the rules!! Especially when you or those around you become full of shit, doubt, and or excuses!! Combine this with an absolute certainty in LifeFit that consistent hard work will always win!! Stop hatin’ and start participatin’!! You will never have success if you don’t get in the game, and you NEVER quit, ever. This is where we find our MOJO, or is it? NO IT IS FUCKING NOT!!!!! Dammit!!! It’s YOUR MOJO, you don’t find it, YOU MOTHERFUCKING REALIZE IT!!!! Let that truth bomb marinate on your mind for a moment………..now let it marinate a bit longer……

You fired up!!! I fucking am!!!! Currently I’m doing fucking hot laps around the waiting room where my Airrosti magician Jeremy Robillard will call my name shortly. Don’t have much time!!!

Here it is. In LifeFit, it’s not rocket science, in fact….fuck science, fuck gear, fuck finding “that” program, fuck anything that allows LifeFit to become complicated, and especially fuck anything that makes following rule three difficult/impossible. Do Work!!….consistently, EVERY fucking day know that you gotta show up to blow up!!!! Never forget that we all start somewhere, and that somewhere is different for every single one of us….EVERY single one of us!!!! Have a LifeFit goal/s, make them grand!!!! Make them for you!!!! As you work, realize your MOJO!!!!! Celebrate it!!! Give it some walking around money, and show it the fuck off!!!! IT’s YOURS!! For fucks sake, have fun and keep it simple. Our MOJO isn’t complicated, do not make it more than it is. Set your goals, do work every single day, be patient, never quit, ever!!! On the mornings that we wake up feeling like we have lost our MOJO, never forget, we will never LOSE our MOJO, at times we simply have to realize it is right there waiting for us to follow the rules and remember why we do what we do. Train triumphant!!! Every single day!! LifeFit is gonna kick you in the balls/ovaries…get a cup. LifeFit is gonna punch you in the head……get a helmet. LifeFit will become hard, complicated, and will lend itself to doubt, insecurity, worst of all excuses for mediocrity…….GEAR UP fucker, your MOJO is right there with you wait in’, and that MOTHER FUCKER is a peacock….you gotta let it fly!!!!

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The Greater Central Texas Crapping Swallow

Hungry?  Try this: Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Zucchini.  Not one of mine, but a true entry in the winner-winner-chicken-dinner category of meal options.

 


 

We have lived in Texas only two years, but in those two years I’ve really enjoyed experiencing all those unique things that Texas has to offer that, to me, are new, but to every other resident are a plague on survival.  For example, summer.  Summer in New Mexico is hot and dry, and regardless of your opinions of the added oppression of humidity, 100+F is just freakin’ hot.  When we first moved to our home here in central Texas I had taken the kids to the neighborhood park where two other fathers were sweating and swearing about the midday heat.  When I asked if the heat gets worse they looked at me like I was special brand of stupid and nodded emphatically.  One dad followed up with a careless shrug and said, “It’s not bad if you can regularly get out in the heat and get used to it.  Then it’s endurable.”  I thought he was a) serious and b) telling the truth.  Turns out he was a master weaver of terrible lies for the very next day I took myself on a exploratory bike ride leaving behind me a trail of sweat and fat renderings.  My knees were sweating.  My ears were sweating.  My EYEBALLS were sweating.  It was magical, and my body transformed that day, like a superhero who gets blasted with corrosive chemical lubricant and gamma rays, because I biked almost everywhere that summer and the following summer.  The kids would fit snugly in the bike trailer, each with a cup of crushed ice to suck on to keep cool and hydrated, and off we’d go to the pool or the grocery store or a park or to crossfit or to the movies. I never minded having to travel by bike.  In fact, in the grand human quest for validation this really fit the bill with people either being impressed with my stamina or being impressed with my stupidity.  Either way they were impressed so that was a tic in the win column.

Another unique feature of Texas is the different bird population from what I was used to in New Mexico.  Rare are the giant fat Western Blue Jays whose rage-filled honking bristled the air, and in their place is an incredible population of smaller, cuter, sweeter tweeting birds that are a joy to listen to when sitting on the back porch.  Among this collection of birds is what I’m assuming is a common barn swallow.

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Or, as I’ve come to know them, the Greater Central Texas Crapping Swallow.  But more on that in a moment. I’m going to do this spectacular thing where I draw a parallel between life and a bird that craps magnificent piles of crap by the front door.

We bought our current house at the very dawn of summer in 2012.  March 2013 heralded spring and by the late month and I had cheerfully pointed out that it looked like a pair of swallows was building a mud nest in the alcove over the front door to my visiting parents.  (During this little show and tell episode, one of the swallows took the opportunity to tour the interior of our home that fine late evening.  After chasing it upstairs, and finally corralling it in the media room I ended up opening the windows and using the lit-up screen of my iPad to effectively swat the intruder back out into the wild suburban jungle.) My mother assured me that this was definitely NOT something I wanted to allow due to a number of sanitation risks, not to mention the unsightly mound of bird leavings, so with some guilt we knocked down the partially constructed mud nest.  Two days passed and it was clear the swallows were not deterred and began reconstruction in the exact same spot, and over the next three weeks we were locked in a battle of wills: The swallows persisted in building up a nest, and we continued to knock down their efforts.  Then, one day as I was exiting the house through the front door I did my habitual glance upward to make visual contact on the swallows so they wouldn’t dart into the house and was stunned to see a fully completed mud nest tucked over the entry archway, complete with a decorative downy feather edging.  The realization of having been DUPED BY TINY BIRDS dawned on me with the light of a nuclear blast: I had only looked for the nest we could see when ENTERING the house, and never checked any of the other three architecturally available surfaces that comprised the entryway alcove.  And there, 180 degrees from the nest we insistently knocked down was a completed nest now hosting eggs and two very smug looking swallows who gleefully crapped a monstrous pile of crap over the course of the next few weeks, which only got bigger once the babies learned the art of high altitude defecation.  The swallows had worked double time building a decoy nest to keep our destructive broom handle busy while they cleverly built their actual nest on the opposite sides.  A small bird had more creative solution awareness in its peanut brain than I had in my ostensibly greater intellect.

In my mind I saw these two swallows flying off to the greenbelt to sit on tiny velvet wingback chairs, their feet propped up on tiny tufted footstools, sipping earl gray tea, enjoying crustless cucumber sandwiches and smiling ruefully and knowingly at each other as they discussed in deeply intellectual words how they were getting the better of me.  It was an insulting mental image.  As we watched the evolution of the nest with the eggs hatching, the tiny baby bird heads peeping over the edge, the baby birds growing and fledging and crapping with the best of them I decided that there had to be a lesson in this experience.  The swallows had a single, pin-pointed goal: to build a sturdy nest in a safe place, free from the threat of egg-stealing bats, vandalizing robins, and the Godzilla inclinations of the homeowner for the sole purpose of procreating other swallows to continue the endless life cycle of dive bombing squirrels and crapping on doorsteps.  Their goal was unshakable, and, clearly, unstoppable. Therein was the lesson.

As I find myself caught up in the cyclone of obsessing over weight loss, food, and weight loss I am reminded of these persistent birds.  I knocked down their first nest and they calmly shrugged their bird shoulders and agreed that they picked the entryway of an asshole in which to build their nest, but given that it was such a splendid entryway it would be advantageous to find a way to accomplish the goal in spite of the homeowner’s clearly demonstrated preferences. Similarly, I’m trying to build a solid nest of good choices that will yield a healthy offspring of good results, but, either by my own hand or by the intervention of the intergalactic douche-nozzle, Fate, my nest gets knocked down.  A lot.  That leaves the question of how to build a decoy nest while simultaneously building the real and lasting one.

Life has this consistent habit of changing. One day may go beautifully as planned, and then next five will be like a cartwheeling firecracker of unpredictability.  Historically, my ability to adapt and evolve with the flow of life has consistently been poor.  Let’s be honest: laughter and poor diet are a sad substitute for laughter and, well, NOT a poor diet.  Like the swallows, I want to build the decoy nest of daily chores, activities, plans, and ideas that is secondary to the long-range goals of exercise and eating right.  And, while life perpetually knocks down the semi-accomplished decoy nest it will be theoretically too busy to notice the ongoing construction of the permanent nest.  Some things don’t have to be subject to a well-aimed broom handle or pressure washer.  Some things can continue on steadily regardless of all other environmental variables.  I can always find a way to exercise, even if it doesn’t include getting to crossfit exactly on the schedule that I want.  I can alway choose to eat the right foods, even when we are scraping the dregs of fast food for a quick meal.  I have come to accept that every day will not conform 100% to my expectations, but that doesn’t mean I am allowed to throw my hands up and abandon all good choice making.  Good choices are the permanent nest in the frothing sea of knocked-down decoy nests.

There it is.  The life lesson of the Greater Central Texas Crapping Swallow.  A tenuous connection, I grant you, but a connection nonetheless.  Also, there’s no life lesson relating to the giant pile of bird crap we are dealing with for the second spring season in a row.  Crap is crap, and periodically it has to be mucked out to make room for fresh crap.  As a mother of young children it holds to my belief that it will be many many years before I am no longer dealing with poop in some form or other.