celebrations, fitness and nutrition

The Experience

Not too long ago I wrote about my upcoming CrossFit competition and my lack of preparedness. Today is the follow up which will summarize the experience because that’s what I decided it was. An experience that I will cherish for many years to come.

Let’s start with being fortunate. I am fortunate that at just shy of 50 I can compete at a high level and put myself out there in front of many. I am also happy that I get to share that experience with not only my friends but my youngest daughter. That in itself makes the experience more powerful and memorable. We did the same moves. We struggled together. We cheered together. We were a team although not on a team together. Just a day with my mini. 

Although this isn’t our first time competing together, it is always an adventure. New location. New moves. New competitors. New everything. I get to see her work through fears. I get to see her reach new heights. Sometimes I even see her coaching others who could be older than her. It’s a fun sight to see. I can truly say she grows with each event.

The day didn’t always go as planned. I started out workout one with strength but ripped my hands pretty good about 4 minutes into the 10-minute workout. I’m never good at working on the bar with my grip but when my hands ripped everything moved in slow motion except the pain. That was front and center. The suffering was over quick enough but how would the rest of the day go since I needed my hands. Luckily I pushed through. Of course I was the only one who ripped. Just my luck.

The day was long but so many giggles and milestones. My partner and I killed our box over and snatch workout. It’s the one I’d say we were most prepared for. This little bit of success helped us push through the afternoon. This workout was also the one my daughter and her partner did amazing at. Maybe even the fastest time of the day. Two little teens moving like they had fire on their feet. It was so exciting to witness. Team bonding. Team unity. True partnership. I was right there front and center to experience all of it.

Lunch break was fun, too. Chairs in the parking lot. Food trucks. Snacks galore. Chats with friends. Wardrobe changes. Selfie time for many. Just good clean fun. About this time a few non-participants showed up to cheer everyone on. That was just very cool. People took a long drive on a Saturday to cheer on friends and gym pals. This was amazing but this is CrossFit. Community. Like minded people coming together to unite around fitness. I will remember this because it was as a connection of people that went beyond the walls of a home base or gym.

The next workout was harsh. 12 minutes of repetitive moves requiring teamwork, communication and true grit. No real rest time. Pure adrenaline pumping in the body. Fatigue like you didn’t think was possible. You glance at the clock. It’s five minutes into 12 minutes. Will the workout ever end? Can I continue? So much runs through your mind. Are you contributing equal work as a partner? Is this a test? I survived my 12 minutes that felt like they would never end, but now it’s my daughter’s turn. I led by example. I gave hints for success. Will she listen? I mean she is a bullheaded teen. Will her age and inexperience hinder her? The day after post online noted below shows the confirmation of others thinking that 12 minutes was brutal!

The clock began. The battle with self ensued. Her partner was showing signs of weakness early on. She saw it. She didn’t want to accommodate her needs but she had no choice. Both were competing. They battled hard. They leaned on each other when they wanted to scream at each other. What a sight to see. In the end they persevered. It was such a sight to see. The after math was not so fun. The fatigue and anger showed their nasty side. This is part of the process.

The competition was nearing an end. A five minute workout remained. A simple one but so hard at the end of the day after all the athletes had endured. The power went out. The struggle with self continued on many levels for many athletes. You can’t quit now. The roar of the crowd gets you over the finish line. We did it. We came. We battled. We conquered ourselves. We left a little stronger. We gained a little respect for others. We enjoyed the experience from a-z.

This is CrossFit. Many say why do you do it? I do it for the fitness first and foremost. I do it for the friendships and community. I do it for the experiences. Competing takes all of that to a whole different level. It teaches you how to adapt. How to overcome. How to face adversity. How to smile. How to push through. These lessons crossover in life daily.

Our collective group of athletes hit the jackpot today. We all medaled. Not because of a low turnout but because we worked hard and did the best we could that day. There was a soon to be married couple in the mix. The doctor and the mid-twenties guy. Two sets of aged athletes in the masters category. Two teens. A wife and young adult combo. Such a diverse group.

This was a great experience. One to be shared. It is my hope that somebody reading this feels inspired to to try something new. Maybe it’s a new fitness routine. Maybe it’s just stepping outside their comfort zone to see what life can offer.

Enjoy today. I know I will. For tomorrow I will be sore. A sore like no other.

fitness and nutrition

Leather or Lace

What a title, right? Leather or lace what? Are we talking panties or tennis? Could it ever be both? 

Let’s start with tennis. I picked up a racquet a couple of times as a kid. Maybe at a summer recreation spot to try a new sport. It was meh at best as I never pursued it at that point.

I picked up a racquet again around the age of 20. Played a little. Learned a little but moved on after a very short stint for whatever reason. I maybe picked up a racquet with a friend 8-10 years ago and played a couple of rounds of tennis. Fun. Exercise. Time with a few pals. Nothing fancy but I might have learned to keep score.

Fast forward to sometime this year. I was invited to play pickup tennis on a weeknight. I dusted off the racquet and headed to the court with low expectations. I’m old. I’m rusty. To my surprise I had fun. I was into it. How could that be? I opted to play a short season of tennis with one of my gym competition partners. We weren’t great but we won more than 50% of our games. In the process we got some cute skirts. I bought some new tennis shoes so the fancy tennis ladies were not bugging me about my CrossFit shoes on the court. I was set to play again.

This time it was a team. A whole new element. More to learn. New partners to adjust to. Outfit matching, it is a thing?  More games to fit in the schedule. A new fitness routine that makes me take a day off regular training for tennis. A big mindset shift for me. New racquet this season to be all fancy and a friend got me an accessory for it. The butt sticker! Oh boy did I love the butt sticker gift.

Of course it couldn’t be an ordinary butt sticker. It had to have flair. She found the best one for me. Leather or lace. Now as match begins and the racquet is spun for court decisions, I ask leather or lace. What an ice breaker. A personally intrusive question for the ladies on the other side of the court. Giggles. Eye rolls. Game on ladies. So much fun to set the tone early for the crazy of the matches ahead. Now I haven’t had to spin the racquet for a guy yet but I can’t wait for that response as well. 

Each response is unscripted and so fun to watch. Just like tennis. Unpredictable. Unscripted. Maybe this is what I like most about tennis right now. It’s just a go with the flow game. Sure there is a format and scoring but the court play is dynamic. It’s ever changing. It’s unpredictable. You have to be thinking on your toes. I win. I lose. I sometimes play a tie breaker or go into overtime. It’s all a fun experience for now.

Competition is good for me. Trying new partners is good for me. Making room for tennis in my schedule is good for me now. The real question is am I leather or am I lace? Or maybe nothing as the last lady responded. Absolutely nothing. I’ll let the mic drop there and just say I can’t wait to get the guys responses on my butt sticker.

Just a tennis tidbit for you today.

friendship

The Mud Bowl

It was planned for a Saturday weeks in advance. A kickball game for a very special friend’s birthday. An outdoor picnic and just fun for all. 

The weather had other plans. 2 days of torrential rain. Mud puddles everywhere but a break in the rain drops just as the party begins. Many opt not to show. Some opt to wear boots. Others opt to watch. The die hard thrill seekers show up ready to play. In the end the birthday girl was happy to have a muddy game and time with friends which is all that mattered.

This was an adventure nobody planned but a fun one at that. All ages played from kids to adults. Some more competitive than others. An orange glow was among everyone’s hands and feet that ventured onto the playing field. Break time was called about mid way through the event. A time out of sorts that should have promoted good sportsmanship.

Time for cake and munchies. Maybe a little conversation. Nope not for this group. The cake eating turned into a cake fight on a whim. Blue frosting and red frosting smeared across faces, in ears, on clothing, and so on. For those who didn’t get caked, they either ran for hiding or just left. It was a sight to see. Some ran faster than I’ve ever seen. 

Then there was the washroom experience. This is where everyone washed the cake smashes off of each other as most were covered pretty good. The recovery was quick and back to the game play we went.

A few took nose dives into the mud. One down the first base line. This was extra funny as he only joined the games in the second half as it looked drier! Another laid flat out on his back with a foul kick. He said getting old did him in on that one.

Of course we didn’t catch them on camera. Some completely missed the ball they attempted to kick. Others just watched or played umpire. Or took selfies of themselves on the phone that was left out….

There might have even been a dancer on the side lines performing a show to the music that was playing. It was about 3 hours of chaos, commraderie, fun, giggles, tears of joy, screams and so much more.

It’s great to be outside again. Among friends. Playing. Enjoying company and activities without so many rules. Spring 2021 is already better than spring 2020.

Kickball, dodgeball, softball, I live to play them all. I love them even more when I get to share the experience with friends or makeshift teammates.

fitness and nutrition

And Just Like That…

I was sucked in. Sucked in to the leaderboard. The invitation. The competition. The unknown. The opportunity itself.

What could I possibly be talking about? I made it to the national leader board for the Masters of the Masters competition. The #2 spot. Who me? Yes you! Boom. The invite hit my mailbox just before the holiday hustle and bustle went into full swing. Should I travel to compete? Should I just be happy with where I made it to? So many questions.

I was on the fence for days. Should I? Should I not? At the end of the day, I took the plunge. I went for it. I signed up for round two of competing and the training. This time in the grand state of Texas. A plane ride away. A different dynamic for round 2. 

An unknown location and facility. A new state which requires a day of travel. Sleeping in a bed aside from mine can impact my preparedness. No community cheering me on. So many variables.

I thrive under pressure. I live for new experiences. I meet new people all the time. I learn and grow when I’m out of my comfort zone. For all these reasons I said yes. Yes to the comp! Now I need to prepare for the unknown. 

I need to dial into my nutrition and commit to working hard the next several weeks. I can do it. I will do it. No matter where I end up on the final leaderboard I can say I took a big step in just showing up.

I’m not fearing the competition movements or my competitors.

I’m not giving into self doubt. I know I can do my best and be okay with the results. Showing up is half the battle.

I don’t know how to quit. That means I will push through even the hard stuff.

At my age, I’m lucky I can move to the extent I do. I’m even more happy to say I’m a competitor. I don’t worry about others judging me because if it was easy everyone would do it. Even if you are not built to compete. You can get moving.

I hope this post inspires someone to start moving to a fitter self. The first step is the hardest, but anyone can move. Look for updates next month on my big adventure. 

challenges, friendship

Garage Games Part Two

It’s the Garage Games Competition time. Master’s division/scaled for this girl this weekend. I wrote about the preparation for this comp a few weeks back but so much has happened in between that post and the actual competition itself.

Corona waves hit some of the competitors I knew, making their prep come to a halt. The recovery for COVID and its impact on one’s lungs will make competing extra grueling for these folks. They will get it done at their best level for that day. I will be cheering for them between rounds as I can.

The comp itself changed some setup rules to accommodate for more social distancing due to waves hitting the area. Only active athletes competing can be inside the gym for their heat. No fans cheering. No warm ups in the gym. No watching the heat before yours. So many changes. These workouts are non-forgiving so that extra cheer will make a difference for some who want to give up in the moment.

Warmups are outside but it’s freezing out. So very cold at 6am, 7am and so on. The bars are cold. The chill is in the air. So that’s a whole different element of warming up your body and then performing in a different temperature inside. 

Talk about added stress for me. It’s also stressful to know I will immediately be shuffled outside as a sweaty mess to cool down in the elements. That’s a recipe to get sick as in a cold. Not COVID but a cold. Unfortunately, now days a cold is like COVID where you have to be locked up if you have the slightest cough or sniffle. So yeah I’m not thrilled.

The reality is also hard to think about visualizing how you compare to others on that big board outside of your home gym when you might feel like a big fish in your pond but when you go in the ocean you seem so much smaller. 

The leaderboard is part of the experience. The measuring stick. How you measure up to others who are CrossFit junkies in your age band of 5 years. There is no asterisk next to your name that says competed under duress. For me the comp is a challenge of myself. The will to push through and thrive as a party of one in hard times. In today’s crazy climate which is a shit show on most days. The temperature elements in the environment. The COVID restrictions. The lack of cheering. It all dials back to just me. Which ironically has been what a lot of 2020 has been for me.

Self discovery. Finding hope inside of oneself. Pushing through individually. A party of one it literally is. My daughter and friends are coming to cheer me on through the windows. Thanks to COVID they have to stay outside in the cold for the safety of the athletes participating. I get it but that’s part of the competition. The crowd. The cheers. The roars. As a competitor I feed off that. There will only be silence and the silence will kill your performance if you let it!

This is a battle I wasn’t expecting when I signed up. I guess I could just celebrate that’s it’s not canceled but I can’t. The reason for this is I did a few virtual races already this year and I again missed the chaos of the crowd, the cheers and the small touches that make those events fun.

When will the world stop snatching all the fun things from us? How long will the madness of isolation, separation, and masked life and more go on? My pals improvised. They made signs and yelled through doorways. I loved their efforts.

My mini group will have fun in our outdoor parking space of solidarity. Socially distanced. Bundled up in warm onesies and blankets. No hot cocoa. No fire barrel but maybe we will have a makeshift heater. Here’s to parking lot madness on a Saturday with good people getting their fitness grind on. This is what masters do. They master adversity. It’s a sign of grit.

(drum roll please) Comp results:

I completed all three taxing workouts.

I didn’t die although I was exhausted.

I changed outfits three times so I wouldn’t be sitting in sweaty clothes in the elements.

I wore a hat during a comp for the first time ever!

I met a cool competitor today and we took a ton of pics together.

I had fun with all the parking lot shenanigans.

I munched on comp snacks from the darkness of the morning through the day.

I put up my best efforts given the environmental challenges.

Now I get to see where I fall on the leaderboard. Took the gold for the local comp. Let’s see if I make to the big board.

It’s time to move on. A new day. A new week. A new month. A new year is on the horizon. On to bigger and better things as this event is now history.

The next event on the chopping block is sunrise yoga with the girls for a fun holiday gathering since we can do this distanced. How are you ringing in the holidays this year?