Day 11 – “friendly uncaring”

OK, so I don’t know what the right word is for “friendly uncaring.” I posted something on Facebook today, and everyone seemed to be all weirded out by what I said, so I guess I will have to tell the story (first) and in telling it, try to ‘splain (Lucy).

HERE is a link to the photos that I took – if I take more, I will put them in this album on Facebook, but I’ll try to remember to name them with the “Day” that it is (so these say Day One where it has to do with specific photos, the more “general” ones I didn’t tag with a “day”).

So this is my “first day of Crossfit” story.

When I turned in the Groupon on Friday, the gals in the “back office” definitely didn’t know what to do with me. Apparently, they’d “just been told an hour ago” that there was a Groupon – and I was the first to turn it in. The Groupon is for 20 Crossfit Conditioning classes, all to be taken I believe in a month. (So basically 5 classes a week.)

Pretty much the same thing happened when I got to the box. I had procrastinated mightily, so I wound up getting there like 3 minutes to 9:00. (That was really stupid, my own fault.) Anyway – it doesn’t really seem to matter, since there is a “Warm Up” up on the board, and then there is the workout for the day (WOD). This is a “Conditioning” class, and at this Crossfit, you have to do the On Ramp of I want to say 3 private sessions before joining “Level 1/2” (which is the “real” WOD), or 20 Conditioning classes.

The folks in the class had all been doing it for quite some time, that was very obvious. There was one gal who was coming back from 2 months in Costa Rica, but she was still a “member” of this box. The coach, Anthony, was super nice, but he also didn’t know what to do with me. He hadn’t really been told about the Groupon, either.

Here I am thankful for two things: (1) My Virgoness that has made me research Crossfit like a madwoman for the past week or so, including of course the podcasts from Barbell Shrugged and Girls Gone WOD, and (2) having taken the private lessons at Kat’s Crossfit box. I was familiar with the concept of the box, and some of what “might happen” because of these things.

The thing that didn’t work for me when I did the private lessons  at Kat’s box is that the coach never really introduced me particularly to “Crossfit.” I did what is supposed to be sort of a fitness eval – a row, then pushups, squats, situps – and I couldn’t really do much of anything, and was made to feel very “Less Than.” I did 12 private sessions (which was not inexpensive), and in the end, I did understand some of the things that one can be made to do in a Crossfit box (he made me push the sled, wrastle the big rope with a weight on it, etc.), but not really the concept of the WOD, etc. That coach was very high-energy and had me do a lot of things, but nothing was really particularly strung together. Also, he kept telling me how f*cked up I was from doing the workouts that I had been doing (long-distance running, biking, swimming). Now, the reason I had started was that I KNEW I was really unbalanced, but telling me over and over just isn’t the best recipe.

So, back to this morning. The Coach, Anthony, asked me if I’d done the “assessment” with them (row/squats/situps/pushups), which I had not. He then pointed to the Warm-Up on the board, and said to go out for the run and follow a gal who I also thought was new, but turned out was just back from Costa Rica (400m – around 2 buildings . . . 200m is around one building), then come back. I did run with her, tried to chat a little because I was nervous, and realized that she wasn’t “new” (as I’d thought and perhaps hoped) but “returning.” She assured me that “I’d get it” and all that jazz.

Then we came back, and Anthony pointed out the next part of the Warm-Up, which was 3 x (10 medicine ball “cleans”, 10 donkey kicks and 10  V-Ups). He said first that he wanted to see me squat, and of course from my previous experience, I knew this would be a problem. He tried a few times to get me to do it, and “that dog don’t hunt.” I started to get that “lungs closed off” feeling but tried to ignore it.

Interestingly, instead of just letting me go half-way (which the personal coach had done) , he took me over to one of the steel bars and told me to climb “up and down” the bar with my hands, doing the squat to the floor that way. If my knees hurt, to stop, but to use the vertical to get up and down. He said the most important part was to have my weight in my heels. He tried to get me to lean forward, but every time I would do that, I would come up onto the toe-part of my foot. He said to just keep doing it as best I could, and try to come more forward, because if I let go, I would fall over backwards (obviously). But that the most important part was to keep weighted in my heels.

Then, he had me take a length of PVC pipe, and just start it at my collar bone, and push it up over my head. I know there is a name for this, just don’t remember – so I’m going to call it an overhead press. He tried to get my elbows into a certain position but it made my shoulder hurt. He said no, nothing should hurt, and just to do it how I was. He kept reminding me to go up straight, to duck my head back, then put my head forward as I lifted my arms up and sort of behind my head. I’ve seen people do that in the videos, etc. with a weighted barbell, and that’s always really scared me. It looks like their shoulders should rip off. But i was surprised that it felt fine. (Of course, I’m lifting a PVC pipe. HELLO…)

Then finally was situps. The first round I did it with my hands behind my head, the second crossed on my chest, the third hands on my legs. Sheesh, I can’t even do situps any more! I was too nervous to ask for anything to sit on (there are the hard black rubber mats in there), because of my tailbone curving out instead of “under” – so of course, when I got home, I had a big blood spot on the back of my shorts where my tailbone had rubbed through my skin. I guess tomorrow I have to mention this if I have to do situps. I really HATE to talk about crap like that. I don’t mind accommodations like doing the actual WOD routine or warm-up a certain way because I can’t do the one on the board – but explaining that I need some sort of cushion because I have a freakin’ TAIL is just too much information for a first date (sigh).

Anyway, so I got the Warm-Up done (well, ~my~ warmup), and then it was time to start the WOD. So I figured out from what Anthony was saying that you sort of pick a “spot” where you’re going to have all the stuff that you need to do the WOD. There were a lot of people in there, and they were doing stuff on rings/with barbells. Specifically, their WOD was 8 RFT: 200 m run; 10 PowerClean 50/35 kg, 10 Ring Dip. I think RFT means “Repeats For Time” – I knew that I had to do 8, and when he says “Go” a big clock on the wall went to 00:00, so I imagined that this meant that the “FT” meant “For Time” especially as everyone took off like bats out of Hell. They were nice enough, two of the girls talking about how “slow” their runs were and they were always at the back of the pack, etc. – but they were around the corner of the building before I was past the dogs. (There were 2 boxers tied up right outside.)

My workout was the 200 m run, 10 bringing the 10 pound medicine ball up from the floor to under my chin (is that a clean?), then 10 of the PVC pipe-ups, 8 times.

The first round, I rounded the corner of the building to the back, and had a “closed lung” panic attack. I couldn’t breathe. I slowed down, and my inner gremlin just POUNDED on me about how here I was, so slow that no one was even in sight, what the Hell was I doing, yadda yadda. I walked a bit, around the corner, then ran the final stretch back to the garage doors. I know that I was SUPER slow because Anthony had ducked outside and was looking for me, but didn’t say anything like “Are you all right?” or anything.

And here’s the “friendly uncaring” thing. If someone had said “Are you all right?” at ANY time during the whole episode, I would have quit and never come back. If anyone had tried to “make me feel better” or “patted me on the shoulder” or seemed “concerned.” Everyone was perfectly friendly, but “uncaring” about what was going on with me. And that’s what kept me going. Now granted, someone shouting “suck it up, buttercup” in my face would have sent me running too. It’s a fine balance. I can’t explain it – but in actuality, it was perfect.

I think that this is why I didn’t choose one of the other two Crossfit boxes that are in my county, though I know people at each one and frankly they’re each miles closer to me. (One is up and over the mountain from my house, so a walk if I wanted to – the other is down in town, so a run away. This one is a drive on the highway South.) I don’t WANT to be somewhere where someone “cares” about me. I remember when I started doing Authentic Movement – H asked me if I would like to do a workshop with him, and I said no (we had just been dating a few months then) – because I wanted to experience A.M. myself, and decide if I wanted to accept or reject it. I was too afraid that if I tried it in a workshop and hated the modality, it might seem that I was rejecting ~him~ not Movement. I knew back then, as he was already an advanced ballroom dancer, that though I wanted to do ballroom, I couldn’t just “step into” Gold classes. But with Movement, I had to experience it where I was just a lump of person there, not “someone” to anyone.

And that’s why this Crossfit box was perfect for me. I tried to say that on Facebook, but people got hung up on the “uncaring” part. It’s not “bitchy/uncaring” as one of my friends (who does Crossfit at one of the other boxes) said – it’s actually quite friendly/uncaring. Not sure there is a word for that.

So, for the medicine ball part, geez Louise, I sucked really bad at the beginning. There are a “lot of moving parts” to doing this stuff right. Anthony was trying not to laugh at my attempts, but wow, he was very good. He’d just fix one thing at a time. And he’d let me do 10 of them that included a bunch of faults, but then the next round, he’d fix something else (so I’d have 2 things to think about), the next round he’d fix something else, etc. That worked really well for me. Granted by the end I had 8 things to think about, and I’m not sure I will retain those 8 things, but I did feel like I was doing a lot better than my first try. (That’s how I felt with the “assisted” squats, too – by the end, I felt like I was doing a LOT better.)

The 2nd time that I headed out for the run, folks were already either back from their 2nd runs already or into their 2nd workouts. (I was always running alone.) That time behind the building I had the other type of panic attack I get, the “woe is me” crying panic attack. I came super duper close to just leaving. But I realized that my keys were back in the box. I’m not sure I really would have left, but I had a Moment. But I knew I had to go back, because I couldn’t leave without getting my keys.

Runs 3-8, I basically “breathed myself down” from my panic attack-ness, and ultimately just got to a “F&ck This” mentality. Basically, “just get it done.”

I wound up at (I think) 22:53 – I took a picture of the board (they post everyone’s times – I knew that from the Girls Gone WOD podcast), but it’s blurry. And yes, I was last. However, it wasn’t like I was afraid of, which was that everyone would basically be standing there with their hands crossed over their chests looking at their watches and waiting for the “slow girl” to finish.

Instead (thankfully!, when I got back, people were all just putting their weights away and tidying things up. That’s it. I did some stretching, and chatted with an older guy who was sitting on one of the boxes that you jump up on. He was cooling off, and that box is where I’d put the medicine ball and PVC pipe during the WOD. It was ~almost~ but not quite outside the garage doors, right on the “track” (yeah, quick escape, much?). He was a nice guy, asked how I’d liked it, and I was sort of thinking about it and he laughed and said “Hey, you didn’t get hurt, you finished, right? You coming back?” and I said Yes, I’d be back tomorrow and he said then it’s all good.

The Costa Rica gal had somehow (??) gotten a bloody nose/lip during the Warm-Up, but she did everything still (I think that she had either come off the rings or doing the donkey kicks – which are sort of “Kick ups” to presage kicking into a handstand – I didn’t see it though she definitely had a “fat lip.”

I admit it’s sort of an odd set-up. There isn’t really an “end” per se. There were people there doing other things beside the WOD, too – a couple of quite amazingly 8-pack’d women doing rowing and something on parallel bars, another gal getting personal coaching, etc. So I said Bye to Anthony, who said that he doesn’t work tomorrow. It doesn’t really matter to me – as long as there is someone there to give me direction. I didn’t check in (except to tell him my name, so he could write it on the board) – though he did ask me if I’d filled out the waiver online (which I had). So I suppose that no one really keeps track of anyone . . . and I suppose all these podcasts and postings and such about basically P.R.’s, the people keep their own notes and times. Like I said, I really had no idea when I stepped in there how things worked, and I just sort of went with it.

I did take photos though of the Warm-Up and the WOD, and my time, and then some other shots, so that I would remember what we did. I imagine that perhaps you could bring a notebook and write it all down and keep track of it that way. I wonder what people do – ??

I don’t feel too sore, but I was WAY sweatier than I’d anticipated, so I had to go home and take a shower and change, as I was going to see a client afterwards.

I realized as I was leaving the box that I had to go to the bathroom, but I was too intimidated (not sure that’s the right word, but something like that) to ask where the bathroom was there, so I went to my chiropractor’s office which is right down the street and used the bathroom in his building.

Tomorrow will be another day. I really hope I’m not all that sore. I do have to find out where the bathroom is.

I was really proud of myself getting all the way to the floor and back up in those squats where I was helping myself up and down by “climbing” up and down the vertical stanchion. That really is something I thought I would just never do – I have “mobility issues” that make getting down into that squatting position a non-starter. But that is the one thing I was the most proud of, actually getting down and up. If I can actually, physically, get down and up, then I am ~sure~ that over time, I can do it without holding onto the stanchion. I didn’t really think it was “do-able” and still keeping the weight in my heels. That was cool.

Oh, and I really am going to have to say something about the tailbone thing.

The rest of the day was pretty easy-going – I met with a client over coffee (unfortunately not a meeting I could charge for) and he took a bit longer time than I’d anticipated, so yoga was started by the time I arrived, which was a bummer. I wasn’t completely sure I’d do the class, though I’d brought my stuff in case. Unfortunately, I arrived too late so that decision was made “for” me. So I started work-study early, and now I’m back home.

We’ll see how tomorrow goes, eh?


PS: OH, and song that came on as the workout started – Kay Perry ROAR (did I say that already?)