perspective

Stripping the Fun Stuff Away

The return to “normal” has begun.  Gyms, restaurants, hair salons, sports leagues, bowling alleys, summer camps and a host of other businesses have gotten the green light to open their doors. Yay! (right?)

Of course, nothing is really normal and the “new normal” has already lost it’s luster (if it ever had any). Opening business doors often comes along with an eye-popping list of new restrictions.

Both the chicks have recently given their views on restaurant dining.

Like restaurants, for many businesses, industries, and institutions, it’s still a strange time. We are all figuring it out on the fly, customers included.  I’ve noticed that in some cases, we are stuck trying to do the hard parts but the fun parts are what we miss now.  Here are a few examples:

Gyms are starting to reopen.  But, I never really stopped working out.  I’m still exercising in my basement or on the pavement most mornings due to financial and work constraints. Some lifting, some cardio, some basic bodyweight movement, Heroes on Mondays. I get my exercise in one way or another.

Is it the same?  Yes and no.  Yes, I get my movement in.  But some of the most enjoyable parts of the gym experience are gone.  I don’t see friends and like-minded people.  I don’t get coaching.  I don’t get to use all the great equipment. I don’t get the occasional coffee and breakfast after with friends. Sure, I don’t miss certain things about the gym, but some of the parts that made it fun and special (and the hard parts less hard) can’t be replicated in my home.

My work is a similar situation.  I am a librarian that teaches in an elementary school.  We left school for a long weekend in mid-March, not knowing that students and most teachers wouldn’t return this year.  Instead, we’ve been teaching and learning online for almost 9 weeks.

Are we getting the job done?  Yes and no.  Yes, there are lessons and many teachers working extremely hard to connect with students and families.  Yes, there is learning happening.  But, some of the parts that make school fun and meaningful are stripped away.  Field day. End-of-year culminations of work and celebrations.  Social time at lunch and recess on the playground. Working shoulder-to-shoulder to finish a puzzle or create something together. For me, it’s just walking through the library with a student and helping them find a great book.

Or reading a funny or suspenseful picture book to a live Kindergarten audience, laughing and responding together in that moment. Nothing replaces those. And those are some of the things that make school worth going to for many kids (not to mention food, etc.)  Instead, online school often seems like a lot more of the work and a lot less of the fun stuff that makes school special. (And yes, this is about the teachers, too.  I miss the energy of my students! Computer screens, while helpful, don’t cut it for connection!)

On the flip side, there are also students and families who aren’t built for distance learning.  Some have limited or no access to technology. Some need the structure and surroundings and encouragement of others working.  Some need the social benefits.  Some need the food and care that come along with being at school.  Some parents are working from home while also trying to manage multiple children learning online.  It is all extremely stressful.  School isn’t working for many, and it is definitely not the same even for those getting by.

Then, there are the fun things that are just not happening anymore at all.  Most notably for me are travel plans for myself and my family, and races I was training for.  Pleasure travel by anything other than car seems risky (and if you take a road trip, where do you stay overnight?)

I was sad that the triathlon I was training for got canceled.  They can’t guarantee safety and I am sure liability is also a big part of that decision.  Would I have wanted to participate in some sort of sanitized race?  I had mixed feelings about the virtual 10K I ran recently. Although it wasn’t terrible since I was able to do it with friends, I missed the trip to Nashville, the mass of runners, all the spectators and the thrill of race day. It just wasn’t the same. I may still do a virtual version of the triathlon at some point since I am already training.  But, some things just can’t be replaced.  You can’t take away some of the most fun and challenging parts and expect a similar experience. Again, some of the most fun stuff of life is stripped away.  And it is hard not to be bogged down in the frustration and sadness of it all.

You can’t recreate the Mona Lisa with a Magic Marker. It just isn’t the same.  And will it ever be the same?  What do I expect? I don’t know. I know many people are trying their best.  I know many people disagree about how all of this is being carried out.  Frankly, between dealing with that personal and political drama and the abundance of the day-to-day changes, I am exhausted at times. The fun stuff buoys me along and there is so much less of that.  Nonetheless, I want to try to find the celebration in the irritation.  Today, I realized I would have never bought my road bike if I hadn’t set the triathlon as a goal.  My bike has been a huge part of my sanity through the stay-at-home orders. So there is a bit of sunshine.

It’s hard not to wonder when things will get back to some kind of regularity.  What will things look like on the other end? When can we plan a race, some pleasure travel?  When will I be able to read to kids again?  When is the finish line of this mess?  I can budget my energy if I have a finish line in sight.  But now we are in the long middle miles when it’s hard to stay energized and forward moving.

I think it’s ok to pout as long as you don’t wallow in it.  Acknowledge the loss then move on.  It might be easier if we knew the story had a happy ending.  I can deal with suspense as long as it gets resolved.  I have to believe that day will come.  Maybe not quite happily ever after, and maybe this is a heck of a long chapter, but it will be resolved.

 

 

 

 

 

celebrations, fitness and nutrition

Festivus Games Was No Joke

Well, this comp was a little different about 5 minutes after I signed up! Then, when I got to the competition site the crazy level stepped up a bit….the competition was 90% outside. Holy smokes.

Looking back, I somehow stacked 1/2 marathon training, a 45 day bicep/tricep challenge, a physical residence move, a big trip to see family and life on top of comp training and my regular CrossFit and adult life.

What was I thinking? I probably wasn’t thinking until I hit the WODs hard the 2 weeks prior to the event. At that point my body was already sluggish from a physical move and my arms were burning on the daily from the other bicep/tricep challenge and then heck most days my legs were like we don’t need any additional miles today!

Of course there was outfit planning. Tanks and booty shorts. This may be the most fun part of competing because my crazy partner agreed to change outfits four times. Really she had no choice but it’s part of the experience and what sets us apart from others. We beat to our own drum or anthem in many ways. Class act I tell ya!

One week to go and I rip my hand bad. How did that impact the event? Came down with a cold as well a week before so breathing wasn’t 100%. Complaints or excuses? Time to press on and put in work. This is a self note that I am sharing.

The last seven days were focused on eating well, sleeping well and staying healthy. I wasn’t perfect but I made an attempt. Rest being most important since my body is aging.

Last practice session on our weakness was a good showing. Compared to day one it was tremendous growth. Now to wait and see how the big day goes.

Comp day. It starts with the dreadful alarm at 5am, food prep, and carpool ride at 6am. Oh and let me tell you about the ride:

One passenger snoring in the back who wouldn’t share the back seat. Yup, that’s my partner!

One driver kind enough to volunteer to drive knowing the drive home will suck bad. Thank you, CW.

And then me. The sleepy one mesmerized by the cool new truck I was in. Air flowing through the seats and a massaging seat. Yup, just what I needed and I gladly staked my claim for that seat on the way home!

Then the wait for heat one at 9:50am. The morning aches and stiffness were among the bunch as we waited, joked and stretched together. We all prepped differently yet we all did it together.

That’s a lot of idle time for nervous jitters that lead to multiple potty breaks. Fun times all around meeting neighbors in tent city and taking pics as we wait. A group of friends are competing so we will have a blast tailgating and cheering each other on. Of course we are still competing so it’s not all rainbows and lollipops for those in the same division.

Did I mention our team name this time around? 2 Tatted Bitches – ha! Offensive to some but perfect to us! Check out the cool shirts we got compliments of Chick 2’s designing skills. Oh, how the announcer fumbled purposely all day on that name. However, if we made the podium he said he would say the full name prominently. And he did just that!

WOD 1 – my favorite. The deadlift ladder. Easy peasy 205 pounds. We accumulated 75 bonus points with our extra efforts in less than a minute. Took 3rd in this WOD. Feeling good but the worst is yet to come. And the pic below shows one of the good faces. There were many more crazy faces to come.

WOD 2 a and b=death! Add extreme heat outdoors, direct sun and and and….WOD was outside, 90+ degrees and I don’t usually workout outside in direct sunlight. It gave me a new respect for other athletes who compete outside on a regular basis. Body weight movements AKA devil press (named appropriately), weighted box step overs, reverse lunges weighted and a partner row. Part A we scored 4th but Part B was 8th….my no reps for not locking my arms out cost us big time. I was not happy with my judge. Well, we could have given up but this is the time where we kicked it up a notch or attempted to.

WOD 3 – Outside again with a forecast raining wallballs and snatches. Get low, get low, get low…that’s all I would hear for what seemed like an hour. My legs were shot but somehow I was going to have to squat 45 times with a 14-pound wall ball going up down up down. I wanted to puke in the heat was a gross understatement. My practice rounds were timed and my partner was suppose to hold me accountable for a personal best despite the environmental conditions. She did but I wasted breath saying “stop yelling at me.” Big mistake but I made it through by the grace of God. Our time was not our best but we squeezed out 3rd solely with our heart and desire to make up for the WOD before.

WOD 4 – the synchro WOD that I had been dreading since sign up. Not really sure how to explain this other than heavy and weird object being tossed around like a ping pong ball over and over and over again. But it was not a ping pong ball. It was a heavy anchor that bumped and bruised your body and your ego with each movement. It was brutal. And I was focused on this part of the workout making me totally forget about the 100 buy in of knees-to-chest movements. Oh crap! Suck it up buttercup because we had to place high in this round to get on that podium. Thankfully my partner killed this movement and made up for my shortcoming and we were on fire with the synchro piece. Over 100 reps of pure grit and we pulled out 2nd in the event.

It was bittersweet. A podium finish of 3rd. Hard work pays off. Good partner chemistry paid off. Supportive gym mates were the icing on the cake. Not to mention our honorary tatted bitch who donned our shirt and branded herself with Katashi just for us. Was a great friend.

We’re walking away from this event with a medal but it’s not the medal that’s most memorable. It’s the journey. The journey of training that’s years in the making. The fellowship along the way. The learning process of developing skills. The coaching you receive along the way. The commitment required to grind another day when your mind tells you to quit. Mental toughness, tenacity, determination, are all words that come to mind.

I leave you with this message: anyone can commit to changing their environment, their attitude and their perspective. Many will talk about it but won’t follow through because the road along the way is full of big hills, speed bumps and life detours. It is not easy. Surround yourself with a tribe that will challenge you, push you, motivate you and ultimately make you see your own potential. It’s really all about you, just like this post is all about me.

I’m not one to gloat per se, but I am one to share my stories with the world to offer hope to others who have a hard time seeing it in themselves in the mirror.

Happy Sunday, y’all. I’m back to training for my 1/2 marathon in 3, 2, 1….