fitness and nutrition

21.2 Meets 17.1

Here we go again with my CrossFit Open stories. This one has a twist. 21.2 is really 17.1. A repeat workout. Flashback to 2017. I was new to CrossFit. My very first Open workout. I did the scaled version.

Today I did the Rx version which entailed 35 pound dumbbells instead of 20 pounds as well as box jumps instead of box step ups. Such a drastic improvement for myself. One of the major reasons I do the Open is to have a snapshot of my performance so I can track my highs, lows and everything in between. Because let’s face it, life has everything in between. 

The picture above shows the competition floor before the chaos began. So much sweat hit the floor. So much pride was in the air. So many cheers. Many gasping for breath as they endured the workout. The ambience of a competition. There really isn’t anything like it. The Open is special. Many working along side each other but working at different paces, goals and so on. It’s definitely an experience even if you are just a spectator.

Tidbit corner:  If we never measure our progress, we may never see where we need to improve. This can be applied to all aspects of life. Of course that’s not what this particular post is about today. The post today is about 21.2 and my progress from 2017 and the infamous 17.1 workout.

In more detail, this post is about my Open journey. My Open journey this year includes my daughter as she tackles her first Open. It is amazing to watch her grow in a sport we can both enjoy together. She competed Rx for her age group and finished with time to spare. She should be so proud of herself. Look at her fly through the box jumps below.

So many memories. So many milestones. We are living life to the fullest. Trying new things. Experiencing adventure and competition all in one. Welcome to my CrossFit world.

As I read about many hating this workout and its punishment on one’s back and legs afterwards, I am still planning to redo it on Monday. A glutton for punishment I’m sure. But in the end I want to see if I have more gas in the tank to perform a few more reps.

Off I go. Gotta jump, jump and jump some more. Hoping not to puke in round 2. The photo below is proof I did the workout again. Only improving by 2 reps, but still an improvement I would not have known I was capable of if I didn’t attempt it. And I did want to quit many times.

fitness and nutrition, perspective

Open to Growth

Last week I wrote about making a second attempt at 21.1 in the CrossFit Open. I was tired Monday morning but I told somebody special I would do the workout again with them. We both improved but many lessons were learned.

One lesson was I did better. I improved. I put in the work. I took my time where I needed to. It wasn’t about being the first to finish. It was about endurance for me. The climb on that wall. Over and over. It was a mental and physical challenge.

I needed to do this for me because in other compartments of life there are struggles. Those who take my mental energy without looking beyond themselves. It’s weird how my CrossFit workouts that hit that breaking point lead me to revelations outside in other aspects of life. When you dig deep, you are in a special kind of mindset.

Keeping with this story, my workout bud was struggling with a movement. She opted to halt her own progress by throwing in the towel a little early. She had enough. She wasn’t feeling like she put forth her best effort. She improved. She did amazing given her experience yet the improvement wasn’t enough for her in the moment. Sometimes we are harder on ourselves than we need to be. One can also easily display their frustrations outwardly on others around them which happened with this person. The dirty looks. The sour attitude. The pouty face. The isolation. It was all there. Front and center.

Taking this story to the outside world. Today it’s a door slam. Tomorrow it’s a hole in a wall. The next day it’s hurtful words. It’s always best to learn how to keep emotions in check. One can learn this at any age. The sooner you master your mindset and emotions the better.

Patience. Resilience. Balance. Strength. These words all come to mind when I want to shake someone and say yes you did great. Maybe not your personal best or what you were going for but it’s more than many. Nobody ever gets better if they don’t try. She tried which was a step toward growth. She didn’t see it herself. In moments like this other must help the person see their value when they can’t see it themselves.

We should never compare ourselves to others. We all have our own journey. Take pride in your progress and efforts. They will never be the same as the person to you.

It’s open season. Lots of raw emotions flair up day to day. Sometimes it’s my emotions other days it’s those around me. It’s part of the process. The community. We all support each other in successes and failures.

family, fitness and nutrition

Battle of the Ages

The time is here. The Battle of the Ages CrossFit comp is happening. I have been wanting to attempt this for a few years but it never worked out on the calendar and then corona hit. There was one last shot as we were rebounding from corona. 

March 6, 2021. Cartersville, GA. 2 males and 2 females is the division but we are rolling in with 3 females and 1 male. A disadvantage in any weight lifting events due to the mixed requirements favoring a male team with 2 men vs an extra female. It’s okay. We knew we were up for a challenge when we signed up. This competition is more about the memories, milestones and working in a team made up of family members in multiple generations.


The players were Nick, Tasha, Karen and Lexi. A familiar grouping. Each has crossovers and for me 2 are related. This is one of the coolest parts of the comp for me. I am competing with my teen, my 20-something and my normal comp partner rolling in mid-30s with me on the caboose at 49. 49 and feeling fine, fit and fabulous. Feeling fine doesn’t equate to moving as fast as the younger generations, just saying!


It will take teamwork, skill, strength, cheering and so much more to endure the grueling workouts. 7 teams competing in our bracket. 3 podium spots. It’s unlikely we we will make the podium however we will all put in our max efforts.


Workout one: push/pull event. This was the event I was most looking forward to. It was deceiving, though. Shoes slipped on the boards. Rope was taxing on your hands and there was no break. Exhausting!

Workout two: conditioning with a twist. A lot of biking, a little rope climbing and a lot of thrusters. This was a one and done for me. Somehow I did extra thrusters while my team was rope climbing leading me to lose my rest period. I was a mess in this workout.

Workout three (picture above): lifting heavy and holding in a high position while your partners are doing a bunch of other movements. This was a mess. Holding 245 pounds while your team does burpee box jumps is nerve wracking. If you drop the weight you let your team down. Talk about stress. My one job was hold that weight. Hold that weight. Had to find a focal point and just stare away. My grip strength weakened by the second.

Workout four: max lift on cleans as a team when we are all plum wore out. Cleaning is one of my least favorite lifts as my wrist mobility is not the best. Nonetheless I pushed through and got a personal record. However my kiddo had a personal best as well and it was a big progress step for her. 125 pounds is not only a personal best but a major learning opportunity. She believed she could and she did. 

Makes for a fun day. Makes for a tiring day. Makes for a day of making memories. Makes for a great challenge for oneself. 

Just as I dust off the boo boos and ego blow from this competition I shift my mind back to preparation level. Next comp is a few weeks away. Another road trip on the horizon to compete. This time with the ladies. A trio of three taking on the beach venue in the masters division. An unlikely competition team but we are out for fun on this one. Stay tuned for more details.

fitness and nutrition

The Burn

21.1 of the CrossFit Open. Year 5 for me. The unknown workout hits as a news flash Thursday evening. Gyms across the world scramble to prepare their boxes.

I was busy and didn’t really watch the announcement this year. Very different than past years. I watched a glimpse of a Youtube video as I headed to the gym in the dark of the morning. I was tired before arriving. Wasn’t prepared as I should have been.

The setup at my box was new this year as well due to new ownership. Some regulars were not in class that day. Many distractions. The 5 am class noted the difficulty of being upside down under fatigue over and over again.

I was in heat two. Face down on the floor to measure my tape-to-wall distance. Time to start. 15 minutes on the clock. Off I go. Somehow I knocked one wall walk rep out quickly.  At this point I exceeded my expectation. Off to do sloppy double unders. Two at a time. They were not pretty. Knocked those out. 2 minutes into the 15 minutes and I’m back on the wall.

My next rep was wobbly. I took my time and paused. The next rep I was stalled at the wall. I wasted so much energy. I dropped, defeated. Determined I went on the wall about three more times and stalled at the same place. A hair shy of line I need to touch with my left hand. It was awful. To be so close yet so far.

Every muscle from my toe to shoulder seemed engaged to hold my thick self upside down in the nearest straight line I could imagine. This was mentally and physically taxing on my already tired self.

I walked away from the stupid wall. I broke and did some extra double unders just to shift my mind. They didn’t count but I did them anyway to give myself a feeling of accomplishment. Back to the wall. I got another rep. Yes!

Take a little break and try again before the time is up. Failure. Fatigue. Frustration. Try again. Stalled on the wall. The story of the morning. Stalled on the wall. I was close but didn’t get the last one wall rep to move along to the next round. I was frustrated to a point but still happy I beat the wall a couple of times.

I felt good the rest of the day. I figured I would try again before Monday. Until Saturday, when woke to sore shoulders. Tightness in places I haven’t felt ache before. I used my theragun and my shoulders said nope this is beyond normal soreness. Rest day it is for this girl. I did other things but I took a day off from the gym. Not normal for me but I do listen to my body when it needs to recover.

Now the big decision is repeat on Monday or hold firm on my low score? I have more in the tank but do I want to repeat such a grueling shoulder wod? Time will tell.

It seems CrossFitters are a bit crazy so anything is possible. The decision for me is can I prove to myself that I can get better? Whether I choose to make another attempt or not is growth for me. I evaluate the pros and cons. I comb over my initial performance and I see where I have opportunities to grow. 

The wall in the wod can be such a reflection of life. The many times you climb knowing you may fall. The rising again to persevere. You don’t win every time but you sure do try. That’s life. To me CrossFit mirrors life in many ways. That’s why many never try CrossFit. It’s hard. Some avoid doing hard things in life. For now I feel that burn. The burn of my shoulders and all the fibers from head to toe that we’re engaged for 21.1.

With the burn comes a feeling of pride. I am physically able to do the same work as younger and fitter athletes. My body endures the same movements despite my body being weathered. Rep count may be different but the body mechanics are the same. I work hard to be able to endure the physically taxing workouts. My burn is filled with pride.

I challenge you to climb that wall in your life knowing you may fall. You will learn from the experience. Just make the climb.

fitness and nutrition

Max Mentality, Part 2

I’ve written before about my inability (or unwillingness) to hit my max effort. I instinctively shy away from redlining. Sending it. Whatever you want to call it.

My comfort zone is running along between 60-80 percent most days. It’s my sweet spot. My happy place. I don’t feel out of control there. I’m putting in work but I can keep going. And frankly, I can stay at that place (and that pace) for a long time. Long endurance work is my strength over short sprints at high intensity. I’m much more turtle than rabbit.

I listened to our box’s CrossFit podcast the other day and they were talking about the upcoming CrossFit Open. Our coaches were trying to describe it, to prepare people who haven’t been a part of it before. The Open is CrossFit’s yearly(-ish) community testing event. You can see how you stack up against many others in the sport, and if you’ve been a part of the community for a while, you can see how you are progressing against yourself, year-over-year. For that reason, there’s a special competitive spirit in the Open. You have a judge and more eyes on you than usual. People push themselves to their max. After such punishing workouts, you often see CrossFitters rolling on the floor, struggling to breathe, even throwing up on occasion. If you haven’t witnessed it before, it can be surprising. But to many of us, it’s just another Open workout at the box. Just with extra sweat and a DJ.

The coaches took a minute to talk about this and made a point to say, if you haven’t gone to that max space, that rolling-on-the-floor-unable-to-breathe-uh-oh-I’m-gonna-puke place, you should try it. I’m thinking to myself, why does that feel so vulnerable? Like going there would take a special brand of courage I’m not sure I have?

I have been wrestling with what to expect of myself this year. I’ll write about that in depth in another post. But I have noticed that our new programming is giving me opportunities to dip my toe into maxing out. I haven’t “redlined” or “sent it” or thrown up in a conditioning workout. But in small ways I have hit failure. I’ve attempted some lifts lately that I’ve failed on. (Usually I don’t venture close to this point!) One I attempted again after I failed it and made. Another I didn’t. I recorded these weights in my notes, something I haven’t done in a long time. Perhaps that’s a sign that I am ready to get more systematic about keeping track of my progress.

Maybe the most glaring instance happened the other day, when we were working on jumping in skill progressions. We usually do a few broad jumps in warm ups and they are something I feel weaker at compared to many. On this day, we did a series of broad jumps for max distance, then rotated to other movements, then back to broad jumps. We did this several times. Each time I got back to the jumps, I felt better about them. In warmups they don’t feel natural, but working on them a few times did. On my third series of jumps, I really tried to push myself to jump longer. And of course, on the last jump, I landed on my heels then fell back into a roly poly ball on the floor. Nothing like going tail over tea kettle with 20 sets of onlooking eyes. Was I embarrassed? A little. But I also laughed. I smiled as I got up. I realized that I had actually pushed myself beyond my comfort level. So I couldn’t hold the landing? Ok. I know what to work on. A friend told me to engage my core, which I did the next round and didn’t fall. I’ll get better at it, failing forward. Inch by inch. Progress.

A little snapshot of going bigger. It might feel foolish. I might fail. People might see. All part of the doing and growing that this year holds for me. What will I fail at next?