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.

challenges, fitness and nutrition

Part 3, the Finals

This is the end of the Masters of the Master Competition Series. The finals. The championship. Destination: Texas, USA. The stage is set. The invites were sent out. What an honor to get invited.

The travel was planned. The bags were packed. The plan was in motion. Would I remember everything? Would my bags get lost? Would I be ready? So many variables.

Rise early. Time to grind. It’s competition day. A long day. Many new faces. A new area. A new gym. New rules. Mask on. Mask off. One must be prepared to adapt to whatever comes your way. Oh the nerves that cause trips to the restroom until the first heat starts.

8:28, 11:06am, 1:04pm, and 3:33pm. Those were my heat times. Cold weather. Outdoor waiting area due to COVID. Adverse conditions one may say. Challenge accepted. So many ups and downs for this competition but it was still an amazing experience. The woman above was a fierce competitor and took the #1 spot in our division. She inspires me to work harder. 

  •  I met some amazing competitors from cities I have never been to. I learned their fascinating stories of CrossFit. Because everyone has a story.
  • I was forced to use a port-a-potty multiple times in a day. So nasty. This was also a personal record for me.
  • I watched my favorite age group of 65-70 year old women killing it in the competition. I saw them move their bodies as I did mine. Slower but with such convictions. Now I have goals for myself at that age.
  • I traveled with friends who are like family who supported each other. My favorite word being “incoming” after spending hours in the car together on and off. We even celebrated with fancy cupcakes. We sang comp car karaoke and so much more. Memories were made for sure!
  • My virtual cheers. FaceTime calls. Coaches texts. Gym friends even sent notes of motivation. Social media shout outs. My CrossFit Community is amazing. 
  • I competed solo causing me only to rely on me. I have to put in the work over and over again.
  • My daughter came along and what a great experience for her to see athletes from 35-70 competing for a spot on the podium. She watched intently. She learned movement strategies. She cheered with conviction. This was an unexpected benefit to the comp but one I thoroughly enjoyed observing.

At the end of the day I made the podium. So many emotions and self triumphs. A rebound of sorts. Pushing through movements I don’t like or are not my favorite. Hitting new limits under extreme fatigue. Celebrating after.

Many may question why compete. Many may wonder why travel. Many may think of so many reasons why not to take the risk to compete. Winning is never guaranteed. It’s the journey. The ups and downs. The friendships. The hard work. The spirit of competition. It all fuels the fire in my belly.

Next competition is a few weeks away. Time to rest a day and get back to training hard. Next comp is 4 team members representing different generations. Teen, 20 something, 30 something, and the good old caboose rolling in at 49. 

The comp should be a 2 male / 2 female combo but we are going in disadvantaged with 3 female / 1 male. It’s an experiment of sorts. 3 of my family members will be competing in this one. That makes it extra special for me. My fitness regimen spilling over to my kids is just heartwarming to say the least.

Until next time.

family

Mystery Envelope

A self-addressed stamped envelope on the kitchen table. (Who even does that anymore?) My own handwriting. A return address sticker with a name I didn’t know. Confusion.

Opened the envelope to find a letter and some photos. A pile of very old and very unexpected memories.

It was her very first plane ride. A whiplash trip to Naples, Florida. Me and my little baby.

Took the 8am flight out, the 8pm flight back. Nothing but a car carrier, diaper bag, formula, a ton of diapers, my little front baby pouch, and some food. Her Great Grandma was nearing the end of life, and I wanted them to meet each other before Great Grandma passed away.

We took a shuttle straight to the nursing home. Met her Great Grandma during recreation time. She sat in her wheelchair. My little Anne, still wobbly on her feet, reached up for her. Great Grandma was deep into dementia by then. I’m sure she didn’t know me, she didn’t know Anne. But still, even through the fog and confusion, Great Grandma’s face lit up. A sweet little baby, soft and curious, reaching up to be held. Their smiles echoed each other’s – wide and cheerful.

We spent a couple of hours. Just talking about nothing in particular. Great Grandma hadn’t been my family for very long. She was my Grandpa’s fourth wife. He had been her third husband. He passed away first, leaving my little known new Grandma to handle his affairs. This wasn’t an easy process, but my Dad loved and accepted her because she had been his Dad’s choice. He still called her every week. But she hardly knew me. I hardly knew her. There was just a lot of smiling and playing with the baby.

We flew home. I wrote her a letter and sent her photos of the visit. As I wrote in the letter, I knew she didn’t have much use for clutter in her tiny single room. So I sent a self-addressed stamped envelope in case she wanted to return them.

Fifteen years later, 2021, the envelope, the photos, appear in my mailbox. My sweet baby in the photos now drives her own car. Still has the blond hair, but she’s five foot nine. She still reaches up. She still smiles, and brings smiles to many.

A letter from her daughter came with it. She had just found the photos, with my letter and envelope, in a long packed away box of photos and keepsakes. Obviously Great Grandma wanted to keep them, she wrote. What can you do but wistfully smile at fate and memory and times long gone?

I got to share the story with Anne, and the pictures. Shortly after that visit, I learned that those were the very last photos ever taken of Great Grandma. Her own children appreciated them, and cherished that we took the time to visit.

Across fifteen years, a whisper from a daughter I may have met once. A memory of an experience that mattered, even if Great Grandma and Anne wouldn’t have known it at the time.

When I think about it, it was kind of crazy. Take a baby on a plane? By myself? Twice in one day? Just to see someone who probably won’t recognize me? Who may not even know why we are there? Yup, I did that. I’m still that kind of crazy. The kind of crazy that will drive hours out of my way for a hug. That will go over and above just to do something little. The little things are the big things.

Take time for people. Take time to write. To chronicle and share. To connect and care.

balance

My Control Panel

In a challenge right now with a fitness group, we were tasked with thinking daily about what in our lives we can and cannot control. We had to write it down and repeat it to ourselves each day several times. To some this might seem silly, but especially in this time of flux and frustration, I found it useful. Here are some of the things I wrote down this week.

What I cannot control:

-My other family members’ schedules

-Other people’s priorities

-How other people interpret and respond to my choices

-How other people see me

-Many details about my work day – where I work, how I allocate my time, how many meetings I have to attend

-Traffic

-How fast the postal service delivers packages

-The coronavirus pandemic – its length, severity, and impact on people I care about and the world at large

-How others respond to the pandemic…their movements, opinions, responses, precautions (or lack of)

-Whether or not my daughter will have a lacrosse season

-The weather

-Other people’s level of stress and its’ impact on their actions, attitudes, etc.

The list goes on…and I realize I spend a LOT of time spinning my mental and spiritual wheels on the list above. NOTHING I CAN DO ANYTHING ABOUT. AT. ALL.

Here’s what I can control.

-My actions

-My choices

-Where I put my energy – writing, reading, recreation, learning, exercise, rest

-Where I direct my attention

-My movement

-What I consume – food, media, etc.

-My hydration

-My attitude toward challenges

Really, it’s a small list, but it’s what I need to focus on. You notice that most of what I can’t control involves other people and most of what I can involves me. When I find myself fretting about the world and all its ups and downs, I remember what I can control and then try to DO something related to these lists.

It seems like a goofy task to say these things several times a day, but I learned that my anxiousness lessens when I consciously remind myself what I can do something about. And then DO one of those things. What’s on your lists? Give it a try and see how you fare.

challenges, fitness and nutrition

Duathlon DIY-Style, and 2021’s OLW

One of my goals last year was to challenge myself to a duathlon. I ended up registering for a summer triathlon which was pushed back until next year.

I had all but given up on this goal at the end of the summer. After the race was postponed, I lost my excitement and drive to train and learn for the event. It wasn’t until a friend rallied a group of gym women around an engine building cardio challenge that I found the will to run and bike again with any kind of regularity.

I knew I wouldn’t tri this year, but a duathlon wasn’t out of the question. I decided not to register for an official race at year end. But I wanted to at least complete a “ceremonial” sprint duathlon to have a benchmark and a check mark. So I went for it one frigid December morning just after sunrise. Just me, my playlist, my essentials and my mileage counters. On my mark, get set, go.

3.1 mile run. The mist was rising off the lake. Bridges were still slippery from the chill and the dew. Three loops, making my way along. Not too fast, but not too bad

Transition to the bike. Fleece hat off, helmet on. Legs adjusting to the pedals. Skittering along. Ups, downs, loops. The sting of the cold on my face. Losing feeling in my hands as I watch the miles tick, tick, tick away. Singing along while avoiding potholes and traffic. I finally found a quarter mile loop for a soccer field off the beaten path. Rode it again and again and again for about 8 miles. Only a quick stop for a carb boost in the middle. Then back to dancing on the pedals. Saddle soreness set in at mile 8. Toe cramps began at 10. I held on to finish the 12.4 mile stretch. Ended this leg averaging 10.9 mph which is actually a decent pace. If I had been on flats the whole time it would have been quicker. Lifting and loading my bike with frozen hands was a challenge all its own.

Then the final crunch. The one you train for. The one that hurts. Off the bike and into the last run. When I trained for the tri early this year, I read about this transition and how brutal it is. The quick pace of the bike makes that last mile grueling at best. I started pretty well then it quickly deteriorated. As the mile wore on, I just willed myself forward. I passed a committee of vultures. Keep singing. Dodged piles of goose poop on the path. Keep moving. Step after step. One at a time. No stopping. Knees hurting. No breaks. Just all ahead as much as I can.

I finished. No crowds no medals no beers or cokes. No parades or high fives. No banana no T-shirt. But I checked it off. I don’t need festivities to know what I have done. Didn’t quite make it under my two hour goal, but sometimes completion is the victory in that moment. I will get that goal next time. I’ll take my imaginary participation ribbon thankyouverymuch.

A DIY-duathlon gives you a lot of time to think. My mind couldn’t help but wander as I looped around and around. As much discomfort as I felt, I thanked my body for carrying me through those 17-plus miles. My mental and physical stamina made it a successful effort. A year like this one makes me realize all the more how much these different types of health are worth.

I’ve shared many times how much I love words and wordplay here on the blog. In those bike miles, I found my mind playing with the word duathlon. I bet many people didn’t even know that was a word. Then I broke it into do-athlon. Which led to a good long think about the word “DO.” I am such a thinker, often an overthinker, and not always such a do-er. I decided in those miles that my word of 2021 will be DO. It will be my year to jump in and get things done. I’m still settling into this word and what it will mean for me. I hope you’ll read along wherever the path leads.