April 24 (Day 231) – REMEMBER THIS when things go sideways…

nyad oneHaven’t written in a while. Things are all basically the same ole’ same ole’ – Crossfit, work, a little yoga, etc. We went to Calistoga which was fun, planning our trip to Vancouver Island, etc.

One new thing is I started Archery lessons last week – I am NOT VERY GOOD but it feels awesome. I even conned my BFF Alex’s daughter to come with me tonight. She’s the one that YEARS ago when Hunger Games (the book) first came out said I would love it – then we both eagerly awaited the next books together! It’s going to be fun to go with her. She’s a great kid.

In fact – in Archery, I not once but TWICE hit a steel beam from the length of the shooting area SO hard that the arrow “panged” off it and back BEHIND the shooting line – yeah, shattered the arrow. What a bad *ss. LOL. Funniest part was (this steel beam is not very wide), the instructor joked “betcha can’t do THAT again,” and within about 4 more shoots I “pang!!!” – had indeed done it. I said “good thing we didn’t put money on that, huh?” Oh so impressive in my missing-the-target-ness. (I quit when I actually quite accidentally hit the bull’s eye. I was wrapping up anyway because it’s killer on the shoulders and a lot to think about – but that happened and I didn’t even shoot the rest of the quiver – I just said “I’m GOOD!” which made the 2 other small children in my class laugh.)

HOWEVER, the reason I’m writing is I had “one of those days” in Crossfit today. Part of it was just general fear, in that because I am doing Archery class in the evening, I can’t do the Conditioning WOD as usual. I have to do the other track, in the morning now, on Thursdays before heading to the Farmer’s Market.

chalkGranted, usually, the Conditioning WOD is actually HARDER (example: You have to do the same WOD as the Pro WOD, with lighter weights, but add a 1 mile run before and after). But this time, the “Pro” WOD had all sorts of things like muscle ups, hand stand pushups, etc. During the Conditioning times that I go (M, W, F mornings) there are people doing both – Tuesday and Thursday nights is JUST Conditioning, but Tuesday and Thursday mornings is JUST Pro.

Anyway – I went – even though I’d peeked at the WOD. Coach Russ was leading. I love Coach Russ! The only problem, though, is that he’s a very “concerned” coach. So every time he’s watching me scale like a freakin’ boa, he comes over to discuss other things I might do, and he’s so earnest that I wind up crying. (I have only worked out under Coach Russ like two other times, and it happened both times then, too.)

Today, it was squats. I have been doing Crossfit for something like 7 months now. When I say I “can’t squat” folks all sagely nod their heads, but they don’t realize I REALLY can’t squat. I know that it’s partially because of all the training I have done for the last few years – my quads are WAY overdeveloped, and my hamstrings and glutes basically aren’t even turned on. Plus, I have a BIG bubble butt, which pulls me backwards (yes, really).

muscle up armThe WOD had muscle up practice first. I worked on “standing muscle up” practice. This means you have to grab the ring with the “reverse grip” first (seen to the left). Of course, I had to have Coach Sera (who was eating breakfast!) come over and SHOW me for the 1,000th time, since Coach Russ was helping all the bad asses who were doing REAL muscle-ups. Trying to get this grip makes me feel like a complete spazz. I can NEVER EVER do it. So I made Margo take a PHOTO of my hand, so that I can LOOK AT IT next time.

The idea of the standing practice is to hold the rings in the reverse grip, then lean all the way back to straight arms (feet under the rings), then pull up, keeping the rings right in at your body, flipping them as you put your head through. So you wind up with your elbows bent and your shoulder blades pinched together, quite low in between the rings. (Some folks can lift their feet off the ground at this point – I can’t.) I worked on this, and “my version” of kip swings which just means hanging there and doing a hollow rock and a superman – because when I try to “alley oop” even an INCH, it hurts my shoulder.

Next practice is what did me in – everyone was doing front squat 5 x 5s. So. I can’t even do front squats with a BAR. Not even the 10 pound “swirly bar.” I can ONLY do it with a 7.5 pound dumb bell held under my chin, and even THEN I often wind up not making it “up” at the bottom, thereby sitting down BOOM on the box. (I ALWAYS do ANY squat move with a 20″ box behind me – so my legs are either side of the “corner” of the box. NOTE, however, that I started with the tallest box and have at least worked DOWN to the shortest one. Yay me.)

Coach Russ came over, and asked what was the issue with the squat – was I actually injured, did it hurt, or was it just strength? This is where the tears started (I feel them even writing now!) It’s that “itchy nose, watery eyes welling up, hold your eyes REALLY open and DON’T BLINK so that no tears come out” thing. I was so frustrated. I would have LOVED to have said “no, it’s pain,” or it’s my knees, or it’s SOMETHING, but no, it’s just No Strength.

He made me show him squats, my “style.” Here’s the deal, I can squat down oh, about 3 inches (yes, really). Then, I don’t have any “midrange” really at all – and though I can get to the bottom of a squat, I either have to hold onto a vertical or I have to have my body so far forward to balance my booty that my forehead is NEARLY on the ground. (That’s an exaggeration, of course, but not TOO far off.) So Coach Russ worked with me on that “midrange” level. He said that I really just have to do that, working it down slowly, until I have the squat. That any time there is a move with “squats in it” that I’m doing myself a disservice to “try to” do that move when I don’t have the squat part.

Now, I know that. But FOR GOODNESS SAKE! Feeling SO defeated! Half the moves in the box involve squats (and it’s not like I can do OTHER things, mind you – but lots of folks use bands on pullups etc. – this squat is just me, all me.)

The next part of WOD I actually got the okay from Russ to just do the Conditioning one (since it was the same time – an 8 minute AMRAP). Theirs were 3 handstand pushups, 3 chest-to-bar, and 6 box jumps. Conditioning was 6 regular pushups, 6 pullups, 12 box jumps. So I did that, with the black band for the pullups, and kneeling pushups, but working on form the way Coach Anthony taught me, then actual box jumps (not step-ups) onto the 2-25k plates.

Michael photobombing Margo
Michael photobombing Margo

At the end of the WOD, Michael was over helping Margo with a ring thing. He’d seen that I was basically crying during the WOD, and asked about it. I said it was frustration (and then of course talking about it made it happen again!) He said that he was watching me do the pushups and that my form was REALLY great, and that he actually admired that I was really trying to do moves RIGHT instead of trying to get the most rounds in a bad-form way, or hurting myself. He’s hurt now – as are a few folks in the gym. I said what I said above – that I was just SO frustrated that 7 months in and I can’t even do a squat. He said that at least I wasn’t injured.

And then it hit me. I actually said to him: “Wait a second. When I came into Crossfit, I was injured. Both my shoulders and my knees were totally screwed up. Remember how I used to have to even do burpees against the wall for months and months?” And his eyes got big (since of course it takes a while for people to “get to know” you so he didn’t “know” who I was really back then), and he said “OMG that was YOU?! So you’re actually saying that NOTHING hurts you to do now?” And I started laughing. He laughed too, said “Well, that’s probably a first in Crossfit, someone who comes broken and gets un-broken, you gotta remember that!”

He also said that he’d been doing Crossfit for about 5 years, and that there are SO MANY people that make it a month, or two, and don’t really particularly progress, and then just QUIT. Now, with no false humility at ALL here, I am BY FAR the worst person in my box – at EVERYTHING. I don’t have ONE thing I can say “oh, I’m better than <her> at that.” But Michael’s point was that where “physical moves” are concerned, sure, I was the  lowest, but mentally, I was in the Top 1% for Perseverance.

 _IGP5837I wrote that in my training diary today. It’s hard to remember a lot of the time. I read blogs and listen to podcasts and such and I feel like such a lame-oh. There are gals saying “oh, but I only have a 90 pound snatch” (or whatever) and I think “I have a PVC pipe still, after 7 months.” But I work really, really hard. I don’t ever slack off, I go as hard as I can. (I’ve gotten “Fran lung” with the best of them!) And I guess that’s the thing – and that’s why the Regionals folks from our box and such know who I am now. They even cheer me, when I’m still heading out to run or jumping on the box or picking up the bar when they finished 10 minutes before me. 

I have to remember that.