Thursday, January 27, 2011

Who turned the light off?

I’ve only cried two times after a CrossFit WOD. The first time was after doing “Murph.” The other time was today. Today I did “Holbrook.” Another Hero WOD. I hadn’t made that connection until just now. Anyway, that’s beside the point. My reason for crying after “Murph” was from complete exhaustion. My reason for crying today was quite different. Don’t get me wrong, I was certainly tired. But what brought me to tears was the realization and acknowledgement of the path that had gotten me to this day.

My friend, Jay Roughton (see pic), owner of CrossFit All In, wrote a post the other day that spoke volumes to me. It was called “Find your Switch.” Read it when you get a chance, (Jan 24, 11). To paraphrase what Jay was saying is that people can either go through the motions, or they can tap in to that part of themselves that goes beyond just completing a task. It’s that part that doesn’t say quit, doesn’t give up, doesn’t back down, doesn’t make excuses. Being ON means that you give every ounce of yourself to everything that’s put in front of you.

I’ve taken a lot of time off in the last few months. The reasons are numerous and don’t really matter at this point. Reasons don't change the outcome. Oh yes, I still CrossFit daily. But. . . my switch has been OFF. This awareness left me in tears, sitting in my car, after a tough WOD this morning. It might not bring everyone to tears. I am an emotional girl, I guess. And passionate about what I love.

Today, I met a new friend and fellow CrossFitter, Loraine, for a workout at her box, Sumner CrossFit. I knew what I was walking in to because I’d seen the WOD online before I left. I had some anxiety. I always do before a WOD, but this was different. Some of it was new surroundings, new faces and being out of my comfort zone. However, if I was completely honest, it was how I thought I might do that was driving most of the fear. As it turns out, I was spot on in guessing how it might go. I basically had my ass handed to me on a platter! I was so wholly disappointed in my performance. It wasn’t my time, or who beat me. It was that I should have done better. I didn’t lose to anyone but myself. I lost the WOD because it had the better of me from the first rep. That made me angry. At myself.

You see, when you turn yourself off for any length of time, you will bear the consequences, both mentally and physically. Mentally, you lose your drive, lose confidence, and lose that competitive edge that drives CrossFitters. Those are things that others don’t necessarily see, but you know it’s there or its lack thereof rather. You start defeating yourself before 3-2-1-Go! The physical ramifications are quite clear. You suffer a decrease in overall strength, power, and intensity.

CrossFit is like a rollercoaster; a heart-pounding, kickass rollercoaster. If you take a step back from the one that takes your breath away -- the one that pushes your limits, and jump on the kiddy rides, you will pay the price. That is certain.

So how do you turn back on? Well, I imagine that one needs to decide that they want to get back in the game. I mean, you have to really want to flip that switch back on. And stop making excuses for yourself. Or telling yourself all the stupid reasons why you gave up. Stop thinking in terms of “used to be.” “Used to be” means nothing. What you are now is what matters. Embrace that. Be okay with it. Listen to the wakeup call and be grateful for it.

My wake-up call was today. It may have left me in tears. It may have humbled me, but it didn’t break me. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Look better naked.

If you ever follow the CrossFit main site, you know that in the last month there have been a couple of pictures, posted on the front page, that have caused quite a controversy. Of course I can’t resist weighing in on my personal opinion. I have so many opinions; I figure it’s only fair to share with everyone.

These pictures featured topless (from the back) CrossFit women hanging from a pull-up bar. I could not resist taking my own picture in the same manner. I should also add that my dear friend, Cari and I, took topless pictures, in board-shorts, of ourselves to mimic a humorous CrossFit parody over a year ago. We should have submitted them to CrossFit HQ. Apparently we were ahead of our time. I won’t post those pics. She would kill me. Anyway, let’s just talk a moment about what is seen in a picture like this.

Here is what I see. . . Well, first and foremost, I do not see a woman being objectified. I also do not see anything obscene, or racy, or even outright sexy. What I see is the back and legs of a woman who trains. I see a woman with visible muscle tone – which means she’s worked pretty hard for it. I see someone strong enough to hold her body weight over a pull-up bar. I see someone who is proud of her hard work. That is simply all I see.

Here is what some other people have seen in photos like this. . . Outrage. Sexism. Objectification. The comments have been numerous and very impassioned. This certainly strikes a nerve with some people. Quick to criticize. Form judgment. They critique musculature. Question ability. Form opinions on the women in the pictures.

My question is why? Why do they care that I, or anyone else, choose to pose for a picture to display my aesthetic physical accomplishments?

I think it makes some people uncomfortable. For many reasons, I’m guessing. Modest sensibilities at the top of the list? Thinking that this distracts from “serious training?” By the way, it doesn’t. Even girls who’ll pose topless, want to kick your ass in a WOD.

I don’t know why so many people are seriously bothered by pictures like this. Should I be more modest? Heck no. Or maybe. I don't know. But I am 40 years old. I am proud of my body. I should be able to show it without criticism. And it’s not like I walk around a gym topless. It’s just a photo. We see photos of ripped dudes almost daily on Do we complain? Do we cry outrage? No. We take in the beautiful view and say “thank you.” This outrage is specifically placed towards women. Not fair, people.

There seems to be an element of the CrossFit community that still hold on to the belief that a “fit” woman should not care about how she looks. Or show it off. That is complete crap. The vast majority of CrossFit women, started CrossFit training to find the means to ONE end. . . to look better naked. Now, I will say, I also believe they found (as I have), that there is more to fitness than fitting in to a smaller pair of jeans. Although, even the hard-core, would appreciate those sides affects.

My point is. . . Yes, I care about my performance in the gym. Yes, I care about my numbers, my max lifts, my physical accomplishments. But yes, I also care about how I look. And yes, that fact contributes to my drive to work out. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Look at a picture like this. Appreciate it, or don't, for what it is, and read nothing more in to it.

This is a picture of my fitness journey. And I am proud of it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Today. Was the day.

Unless you have loved a pet. I mean, really loved a pet, you need not read further. This will seem not worthy of the attention or emotion I am giving it.

That was your warning. . .

Almost a year ago, I wrote a blog that begged the question, “When do you say goodbye” to a pet. I woke up this morning with the painful answer.

It was today.

My dear cat, Winni, was 17-1/2 years old this morning. Her tiny little body had withered down to just barely 6 pounds. Today I watched Winni go.

Here is what Winni meant to me. What she represented in my world.
She and Charlie (her sister) were my first pets as a real live grown up. I took pictures of them like they were my children. I think I even have the kitten “brag” book of photos somewhere near where I am sitting. They were so tiny when we got them that they could crawl under the doors of our mobile home (yes, I said mobile home. On an alfalfa field. In Omak). I watched them grow, shred my curtains and I loved them dearly. They made many moves with us. They went from “country” cats to “city” kitties and back again. We lost Charlie to kidney failure 5 years ago. Yet another truly heartbreaking experience. But Winni. . . she’s been in my life every step of the way. Through countless moves, 2 babies, lots of laughter, lots of tears. She’s been the one constant.

And she’s one tough bird. She was always a little thing. We called her “skinny Winni.” Only about 12 pounds in her heyday. But tough as nails. A great hunter. A perfect cat. Never had an accident. Never scratched. Very loving. The best cat you could ask for.

I have watched her health ail for quite some time now. I kept doing everything I could do to make life easier for her. The final step was to move food and water down stairs because her arthritis made walking up uncomfortable for her. I put cat boxes everywhere. But she just didn’t use them. It wasn’t her. She was lost in a world of aging and maybe even pain she couldn’t tell me about.

So last night as I watched her stumble off the couch, barely catching her balance, I knew it was time. I knew without a doubt I was capable of putting her out of pain. I knew I was being selfish. I finally knew. I loved her more than watching her deteriorate any further. I told Dion to pet his cat last night. She laid with him for a while.

I woke up this morning with purpose. I didn’t tell anyone what I was going to do. I made sure the girls gave all the cats “some love” before they went to school. I called the vet. I made the appointment. I laid on the floor with her in front of the fireplace and petted her while she purred. And we stayed there until it was time to go. I held her on the table while they administered the “medicine.” My hands were the last thing she felt and my eyes were the last thing she saw.

I brought Winni home in a carrier on the front seat of my car. She was afraid of what lay ahead of her. I remember holding my hand close to her and Charlie, assuring them I would take care of them and everything would be all right. I took her “home” today in a carrier on the front seat of my car. She was afraid of what lay ahead of her. I held my hand next to her and assured her I would take care of her and everything would be all right.

She is at peace.