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

Taking the Plunge

One of 2020 goals was to complete a triathlon. I registered and started training and then, you guessed it, COVID. Postponed until 2021.

A lot of life changed between mid-2020 and now. Still, I kept that race on my calendar and wondered at times if I should still give it a go. The swim was the weakest of my weak spots and I had not really done anything to train it. I happened to be at a lake the week before the race and swam for 20 minutes without touching bottom. It was slow, but I did it. I also completed a 10K successfully the week before the triathlon was scheduled. With those things in mind, I decided to give it a go.

A triathlon is a strange race. So much different than a show-up-and-lace-up-and-get-running 10K. There’s so much equipment, so many rules (a 24-page rule book!) There’s transitions to think about and plan for. There are referees, penalties, even disqualification. All this made me incredibly nervous. I read, made lists, planned, packed, and off I went. Brought my precious facebook marketplace bike in from my car and tucked it in. I was up half the night wondering if my decades-old helmet would meet the standards. Finally, 5:00 am came.

I double checked my list, had some hotel room coffee and off I went. Transition is such a madhouse. By the time I arrived there were already hundreds of bikes hung from racks. A lady saw me in my confusion, forcefully grabbed my bike and told me where to put my towel and transition setup. Everything was tight. You get about 12 x 18 inches to lay out your running shoes, socks, running belt, clothes, and anything else you need. If your space is too big or you block someone else it’s a penalty. Nerve wracking. Timing chip on my left ankle. Race number in permanent ink on both my biceps. My race age on the back of my leg. Now the long wait to start.

One of the reasons I chose this race was the waterslide start. Yes, you waterslide one at a time into a river then start the swim. This made for about a 30 minute wait after the first person started. But, it is better than the scary start-in-a-pack situations I have read about. There were maybe 50 people behind me. I met a couple of other first-time-tri-ers as we waited. We shared out nerves, our whys, and our training for the race. Finally, it was time for me to jump in and hit the course.

I confess, I can move in the water but I only kinda know how to swim in any systematic stroke. I can’t freestyle so I alternated between a sort of breaststroke and backstroke. People passed me many times as I made my way down the course, passing one buoy then another. Just keep going. I finally got out of the water and made my way to transition, being careful not to get hit by bikes on their way out.

I was one of the last to pick up my bike, so it wasn’t very crazy. The first people were already returning from the 14 mile bike. Helmet on almost first thing (that’s a disqualification if you get on your bike with no helmet.) Shirt, shoes, race belt with energy chews, water bottle, etc. etc. Finally I cross the mount line and I am off.

Bike riding is a peace place for me. Just gliding along. Had some energy blocks and hydration. Tried to keep it around 12 miles an hour which is a good pace for me. Looked around. Thanked police and security. Glide glide glide. I missed having my phone but taking pics would have slowed me down. Playing music or having headphones in is cause for disqualification – this was one of the hardest parts!

Finally, the run. This transition was much simpler. Just hang the bike and helmet, grab a water and go. Seeing people who had already finished was sort of hard but also motivating. Just keep going and it will be me, too.

Well, this second transition was logistically simpler, but physically this transition is rough rough rough. Trading the speed and relative ease of biking for the slow plod of running is a shock to the system. I just had to pace it out and keep going. This was hillier than I had anticipated and I just walked up the hills and didn’t worry over it. I met several people who were just walking the whole 5K. It was an out-and-back so I cheered on every one who was still on the course. I passed my two friends from the start line on my way back to the finish. We were going to do it!

Finally, I came up the hill and saw the finish line, so I broke my rule and jogged in. I jumped and slid down the finish slide and got my medal. After a minute to regroup, I went and waited for my new friends at the finish. I cheered them in. What a great feeling, to be a triathlete!

Did I place? No. Do I care? No. I didn’t specifically train, although I am active…but I was still just thankful to have made it through. Completion was the goal. I cheered for the winners. I gathered my things and slowly made my way back to the car.

I have never smelled as bad after a race as I did after this triathlon. It was a long 4 hour drive to the farm. Everyone who saw me in town and on the road seemed to know what I had done. Was it the medal? The numbers on my arms? (The smell?) Who knows. But lots of congratulations. Lots of reasons to smile and feel accomplished.

I would definitely do another one. I’d even train for it. Maybe even take swimming lessons. I have some people I’d like to do one with so that gives me something to look forward to. It was amazing and strange and memorable all in one. And I’ll always be able to say I have done it.

adventure, fitness and nutrition

I Took the Plunge

I signed up for my first triathlon. It’s a pretty big deal in my mind. A challenge I have never done and a test of my fitness at a different level.

Those of you who follow my writings know I am an avid CrossFitter. I also supplement my weekly CrossFit regimen with trainings for events or competitions of sorts.

I have done some 5k’s, 10k’s, 15k’s, a half marathon along with the odd runs. The color run. The mud run. The bubble run. The jail break run. The terrain race. The obstacle-type adventures definitely make the runs a little more fun and a little less boring. They all fill a spot on my calendar. So do CrossFit competitions and the CrossFit Open. Each year I challenge myself and this year is no different. Good thing I got this badass bling holder to hang onto all my keepsake medals or badges of honor!

500m swim with a grand entrance via water slide into the river. I am pretty excited about this feature. Onto a 12-mile bike ride on a road bike that I have yet to procure. Wrapping up with a 5k run on a relatively flat course. Did I mention this was in the heat of July?

Nonetheless the planning has begun or it’s been in the works before I even knew I would sign up. I started my 2020 mileage goal back on 1/1/20 and since then I have done a lot of biking on my stationary bike erg. Over 500 miles of training to be exact so I am confident I will have no issue with the bike portion.

The 5k I should be able to handle as well given my race history the past year however I have been told it’s a grueling run because your legs will be toast from the swim and bike ride. I will soon find out my fate.

And then there is the part I must work hard to train for. A 500-meter swim. I can swim but I’m no superstar. I’m definitely not conditioned to swim. Rather I am a recreational swimmer who takes a lap here and there. Time to buckle down and establish a training plan.

Off I go to work on my overall strength, endurance and positive mind set as I take on a new challenge. My first triathlon. You will be lucky enough to have a front row seat in my journey via this blog.

Gotta go find that perfect road bike stat. Can’t ride without a bike and my beach bike just won’t cut it for this event. Time to power up mentally, physically and emotionally. Wonder if I will have any buddies join me this year.

As a footnote to this post: I often write my posts and sit on them for some period of time before they go online. Maybe I need to finish my thought. Maybe I need to think about how one will view it. So many emotions.

For this post I think to myself, how important is it for me to post? It’s very important because in these uncertain times we see to look ahead and see what is possible when most things seem impossible. Today I’m investing in a new bike. I could go online and buy one on Craigslist or another online site and get a good deal. I’m opting to run to the local bike shop pay a little more and know I did my part to stimulate the economy and help another small business out.

I can ride my bike and socially distance myself while getting some exercise and training for an upcoming event. I hope this post makes you think about what you can do on your end while we face uncertainty in our lives.

There it is. My shiny new red ride. Together we will be knocking out some miles in 2020 together. Just me, the bike, some sweet tunes and a little pavement. #first10miles