challenges, change

Oh My Aches

Well 50 has been glorious thus far. So many aches creep up after the big 5-0. Today, I thought I would jot a few down.

The tennis ache: I have a love hate relationship with this kind of ache. I love tennis. I hate the ache in my forearm from overuse. A year ago the ache seemed insignificant. Could the big 5-0 really cause aches?

The CrossFit ache: this ache comes and goes depending on the programming of movements and/or the frequency of my attendance on a regular basis. The ache however is the same. It’s a graduating ache. You must move to keep the tightness from settling in any one place, especially the buttocks. Nobody likes a tight ass. Consistency helps with this ache but age does enlighten you when evaluating aches.

The knee ache: this one is ever so annoying. I can walk. I can bend. I can ride a bike. However, if I sit in a plane seat or a car seat for any length of time my knee is locked. The unlocking part leaves a lingering pain deep inside. Could this be old age? I have no idea what a bad knee feels like but now that I’m fifty I think about it.

Although there are physical aches, there are also emotional and social aches. The social aches come and go with time conflicts and scheduling for adults. Those who want to spend time together but then schedules and life gets in the way. The emotional aches can swing from one side to the other.

One side of the emotional ache could be with growth. Watching your child or young adult grow or not grow. The other side could be emotional aches resulting from the loss of loved ones near and far. Add that 5-0 menopausal self and you might get a an emotional wreck, front and center.

Environmental aches sneak up on you too. The annoying neighbor. The boss who is a pain. The co-worker who slacks causing you extra work.  The weather might even throw you off or makes your aches worse if it’s cold or rainy. One seems easily shaken or disturbed as into that crotchety self over fifty.

I never used to notice aches and pains as much as I have this year. Menopause. Aging. Life. It all hits at once. Or so it seems to me. My forty-five year old self was so much more indestructible. My forty-seven year old self was so adventurous. My fifty and challenged self is changing daily. Likes. Dislikes. Wants. Don’t wants. Needs. No’s. Do’s. Dont’s. I can’t even name them all because change is on the horizon, daily. I also think snoring magnifies over 50.

As I write today, I think of how much I enjoy the still of my day today. The fall air. The cool breeze. The comfy sweatpants. As day shifts to night, I will enjoy something different. The outdoors. The giggles. The challenges. The competition. I hit the field tonight with my new team. I will enjoy some fall memories with this group that will surely keep me on my toes and easily make me forget my aches of the ages.

For now I focus on moving as much as I can and as often as I can. I try to stretch my mind to try new things to counter balance my aging. I often remember to giggle. I also disregard those around me who attempt to suck the life out of me. This is a necessary step to keep the other aches at bay.

Nobody wants to add heartache or worse on top of the other aches I listed above. Well not me anyway. Time to throw my frisbees to my dogs and breathe fresh air.

fitness and nutrition

Dirty Work

Summer time is a time of change.

Schedules change. Daylight times change. Eating habits change and more. I try to just ride the wave and embrace it all.

This summer has also brought a change in my workouts. Street Parking launched the Summer Grind / Dirty Work series program for the summer. These workouts focus on odd objects like sandbags, heavy weighted balls, sleds, rucksacks and battle ropes. I’ve been using my sandbag pretty consistently for about a year and I love throwing that thing around. Otherwise, working with these pieces of equipment is mostly new to me. In a time where I’ve felt pretty restless (and even a little bored) with my workout routine, this has been an energizing change.

Something different, something new. Something to learn.

Rucking gets me outside more. D-ball workouts let me slam new things down. For some reason, I feel like a badass when I do sled pushes. Different muscles are sore. Different senses are awakened. Different skills used.

It’s funny how little changes can actually help me stay consistent. Something new can keep me coming back every single day, but with renewed energy. Plus, Street Parking has me chasing all the virtual badges. I’ve been a gold-star chaser since I was a little kid. Some things never change!

What’s new in your routines? Any little changes breathing life into your healthy habits? If not, what can get you inspired to move? Hiking somewhere new? A new sport or game with friends? What small changes can make a difference in your big picture?

fitness and nutrition

Fresh Eyes

Sometimes a pair of fresh eyes can make you see yourself differently.

We had a new coach at my CrossFit gym.

First of all, I got to class late. I’m ashamed to admit this has become my norm over the past few months. I haven’t stopped to unpack why yet, but it was still embarrassing to make a first impression that way.

Next, he had already explained the workout by the time I got there. Every coach does things a little differently, but I wasn’t expecting to miss the whole description with my lateness. Yikes! And as a teacher myself, I knew better than to ask him to repeat it.

I kinda got the hang of what was happening, and launched into my usual scales. One of the movements was pullups. For some reason, the modifications I have become some comfortable with suddenly felt “less than.” I’ve been doing CrossFit for several years now and I am no closer to a pullup than I was two years ago. In fact, I’ve stopped trying to progress in that area. I just don’t really care…but in that moment, I felt a little bit lazy for giving up on it. Should I be content to just be a beginner in certain things for the foreseeable future? Does it matter? Why should I give up on it? Should I really be doing CrossFit if I don’t care about making progress and don’t even bother to get to class on time?

All these thoughts from a pair of fresh eyes on me. My usual coaches have gotten used to my actions, and maybe they just don’t try to argue with me anymore. They joke about my tardiness. They don’t tell me to pick up more weight or try something that will help me move forward. I’ve kind of stalled out.

Not sure why it left me rattled and thinking hard. No conclusions yet, but something I need to think about moving forward. What direction am I heading?

fitness and nutrition

Year 6: The Open

I was adamant I wasn’t officially participating in the CrossFit Open this year. The main reason for this decision is: I wasn’t feeling like I was in the same shape I was a few years back. Making me think I wouldn’t be happy with my results. I thought about it a good bit. I answered NO, when asked if I was participating many times.

Then I decided to log into my Open app. It showed my participation history and I had already invested five years in tracking my performance. Why not make it six years? Why not see how many years I can physically participate vs focusing on what number I am on the leaderboard?

This year I am 50. I hit a new age band. I had competed in RX the past few years but I have shifted to scaled workouts in most of my recent events. I also focus on going the distance or continuing to move through a grueling wod vs pausing. Slow and steady is my pace these days. It has taken me some time to adjust, but I have come to terms with being a scaled athlete. However, I strive to be the best version of scaled I can be. Thus I will see how I fare as a masters athlete in year six of my CrossFit Open history.

Another fitness benchmark. A couple of weeks of focus and self-motivation. A snapshot of my abilities at that point in time. A worldwide leaderboard allowing me to compare my peers worldwide. Why pass up the opportunity to get better?

Once my decision was solidified I decided to write this post. At the same time I glanced back at what I wrote last year about my Open participation. To my surprise I was on the fence about signing up but I did it. Just as I am doing again this year. Funny how my blog posts serve me purpose time and time again when I want to reflect on a subject. 

My vault is online. Cataloged for many to read. It is by no means all-inclusive memoirs however, the content is genuine. I write with feelings and undoubtedly express emotions to others in a very public way. I’m sure some will read this and the feelings are relatable. Others may lose interest and click away. It’s okay either way. 

As I want to end my evening with a dessert, I instead wrote this blog. In good conscience I will attempt to eat better for the coming days to prepare a tiny bit. Wish me luck. That translates to no dessert. Even if it was my favorite Kind bar frozen treat.

mental health

Chad, Again

Last week was Veteran’s Day. It’s become a recent tradition for some in the CrossFit and fitness communities to complete the hero workout Chad. I have done this one once before, right as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting. That seems like a decade ago in so many ways…work, family, fitness, friendship, life in general.

I skipped it last year but this year it pulled on me over and over again. I finally chimed in to my fitness group to see if anyone wanted to complete it the weekend after Veteran’s Day. I can’t decide if I was surprised or not that some of my friends said yes. In many ways this workout feels like a “one and done” but my friends are also crazy like that. We couldn’t all be there, but we had some cheering for us in spirit.

I was glad I had written about my first experience doing this workout in detail. I went back and reread my thoughts before I started. I remembered it being grueling. I remembered rushing to try to get to work (on my couch). Much of the rest I had just let go of.

This time was different, doing at a gym. This time was different, doing it with a vest…a little lighter than last time, but a weight I would not take off (no matter how much I wanted a break!)

This time was different, though, since I had friends to do it with.

Friends made the experience a bit less challenging. Was it still long and tedious? Absolutely. In fact, it may have taken me 45 minutes longer this time around. Some of that I attribute to a lower level of fitness. But some is just because we chatted between the rounds. I lost count a bunch of times. But I kept going. We were going to finish this.

Friends make hard things a little easier. This was the main lesson I learned this time around. Hard things don’t stop being hard. But the hard path isn’t as lonely. It makes me think about VFWs and other social organizations. Sometimes we need a place where we are truly and deeply understood.

Life has been challenging, lifey, whatever you want to call it lately. Things feel heavy. In some ways, time is moving very slowly. I’m not at all comparing my challenges to veterans, but I knew I had to complete this workout for myself as well. Getting something done is hard these days for me. My mental soundtrack has been less positive.

These and other friends inspire me to just keep going. Keep showing up. Keep moving. Every day won’t feel great or be the best. Some of the challenges will seem unending. But if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, I will eventually reach the goals I have. Days will get brighter. Get up, show up, never give up.