Tag Archives: WOD

Pixie in the Box

short snatch

No ponytail required

I’ve been looking at short haircuts on Pinterest for months.

That’s how I do things.

I agonize over decisions, whether it’s a haircut or a weekend road trip.

A bad vacation you can edit: “The hotel was really close to all the sights [and was right above the biker bar].

A bad haircut is right out there for everyone to see: “My, what an [*cough] interesting haircut.”

But I’ve always wanted a really short, Pixie-ish haircut, and not just because I like the word ‘Pixie.’

A short haircut can go from classy to wild with one swoop of the hand and a little gel. As a runner and CrossFitter, my hair was usually in a ponytail or some variation thereof.

I wanted a new look. Some ‘oomph’ to my hair.

But I needed the right ‘do.’

One morning, I found it. A very simple picture of one side of a woman’s head, her hair cropped short.

Bingo.

I downloaded the picture for future reference. Because someday, I would cut my hair short.

Someday.

But then later, I was out running errands, and I realized I had some time free, which is kind of a rare thing for me. I could, conceivably, stop at a place downtown and see if they could chop off my hair.

Why not? 

What held me back?

Myself, mostly, and worrying about what other people would think. It was a risk.

That’s the thing with risks–you need to take them once in a while. Sure, you can’t plunge blindly into something, but you CAN plunge. In fact, you should take risks sometimes, because without them, your spirit flatlines.

So, with my Pinterest photo on my phone, I walked into a hair salon. The girl with the half silver, half black hair escorted me to a chair, and strangely, I felt I was in good hands. Because a person with half silver and half black hair wouldn’t give me the traditional Franconian, old-lady hairstyle #3 (they MUST have a book of Franconian approved hairstyles somewhere).

I showed her the picture.

She asked a couple questions, stretching out strands of my hair.

“Kurzer,” I answered a couple times.

And then she went to work.

It’s the best haircut I ever had.

I nearly hugged the girl.

I deliberately did not publicize it on facebook right away, because I wanted to have the experience of walking into the box and seeing people react (whether for good or bad). Not that I cared, really, if people liked it. But the point is that I loved it. And I did it for myself, without worrying about how other people would see me.

Maybe the confidence from the haircut translated into the way I carried myself, but the reaction has been more than I expected. I’ve heard that I look younger and that I ‘rock’ the hairstyle; and I’m learning new German adjectives, like geil.

I didn’t lose anything with the haircut. But I gained something intangible. Something that never tangles or needs conditioner.

For men, a haircut probably isn’t very significant. But a woman’s identity can be wrapped up and braided on top of her head. And while I did love my long hair, this Pixie feels pretty damn good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How CrossFit Ruined My Love Life

'I loved you--until I saw your kettlebell!'

‘I loved you–until I saw your kettlebell!’

CrossFit ruined my marriage.

At least, that’s what my estranged husband might say.

Before CrossFit, I was mild, docile, and never wanted to cause trouble.

But CrossFit changed more than my lats.

It gave me the courage to do things that were hard. After all, CrossFit, like great sex, is mostly in your mind. When you apply pressure to a person through a challenging WOD, their real nature comes out–for better or worse. Quite often, how a person reacts to a WOD is how they will react in everyday situations.

There are enough blog posts on why you should date a CrossFitter, and most have to do with the body and sex and so on. But what makes a person great is the mind and soul and character.

So, what do you see at CrossFit?

  • Faithfulness: Do you want to roll your eyes when someone tells you that [INSERT ANY EXERCISE PROGRAM HERE] is just as good as CrossFit?
  • Dedication: When you miss a WOD, or go to a different class, do your friends worry about you?
  • Endurance: Do you walk through the door, having quit already? Or do you give it your all until the clock runs out?
  • Social Skills: Do you talk to the people around you? Or do you sit in the corner, hoping nobody sees you?
  • Personal Responsibility: When you screw up do you admit it or blame it on your shoes/calluses/ponytail/big blue stupid kettelbell…
  • Healthy pride: It’s okay to yell or fist bump or collapse to the floor smiling when you PR.
  • Humility: Actions make a person great–not words.
  • Attitude: It doesn’t matter how fast or strong you are; or if others are faster or stronger–but what kind of a person are you, really? How do you attack your WOD? That’s the proof of your character. That shows how you live life.
  • Strength of character is the most attractive quality a person can have–and CrossFit can help develop it.

Now that I’m discovering who I am and who I WANT to be, I think a lot about these (and other) attributes. Life should be a steady work-in-progress, where we are always striving to improve some area of our lives. Whether it’s to relax more, to have fun, to pay more attention to detail, to be bolder–whatever it is for you, these things play out daily in the box. There is a body/mind connection, nearly indescribable, that shapes our character. Nobody’s perfect, but at least in CrossFit, we’re working towards something better.

And this is why CrossFit has ruined my love life–past, present, and future.

The past, because it gave me the strength to capsize the boat.

The present, because I’m currently in a new boat, and it’s a lot smaller (like…only room for me).

The future, because I’m convinced only another CrossFitter could eventually help me paddle upstream.


A Sugar Junkie Reforms (Again)

candy bugs

While I usually strive for excellent nutrition, this weekend I fell off the wagon–and I feel like it ran me over.

I’ve been participating in a strength and nutrition challenge, and I think I probably blew all my progress on one weekend of chocolate eggs, ham and potatoes.

But I reform!

Again.

My kids joke about me being a good addict because I always seem to mean it when I say I’m going to quit.

But it’s true this time.

Really.

From here on out, no more sugar (and a lot of other stuff on the verboten list).

The problem with being a junkie is that nobody believes you when you say you’re going to quit–you actually have to DO it. Even then they think you’re hiding M&M’s in your sock drawer.

However, before my relapse, I was feeling really good. I was more focused, energetic and I simply felt better overall (despite my dietary infractions with pommes).

I feel like I’ve arrived at a critical moment in my life, where several major events are intersecting, and how I handle them (like in a good time-travel movie) will shape my future–for better or worse.

I opt for better.

It’s easy to get caught up in the high of a single moment, instead of waiting for the rewards of a long-term investment.

No one forced me to eat chocolate eggs; it was a choice I made. A bad one, obviously, but it was still something over which I had control.

I was telling a friend about one of our WODs. I was doing a 100 meter farmers carry when it started hailing. She (not a cross fitter, but I love her dearly) said, “They MADE you go outside anyway?”

“Made me?”

“It’s not boot camp,” she replied. “You didn’t have to do it.”

“But it was for time!”

Sometimes you just do stuff–especially with the clock running. Getting ice down my tank top was just another variable that makes Crossfit interesting.

It’s the same thing with marathon training. I run in any kind of weather, except, perhaps, monsoons because I don’t like debris flying at me.

It’s a mindset.

If you think you can’t control your sugar problem, then you will relapse. But if you don’t give yourself an option, then you just might be ok this time.

There are a lot of things I won’t be able to control this week–like getting a face-to-face interview for the job I really want.

But what I can control, I will.

If it means choosing the 16kg kettle bells instead of the 12s, I will. Or at least I’ll try. If it means Just Saying No to pommes, then I’ll do that too.

It all boils down to something our coach asked while I was pressing:

How bad do you want it?

I was fairly happy with the press.

But how badly do I want a new life?

It’s all I can think about anymore.

And that means it’s time to stop talking about it and to dig in and make it happen. The whole course of my future could hinge on what choices I make today.

I want to make the right ones for a change.

I really mean it this time.

Wait and see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


When Life Gets Real, You Toughen Up

keri back squat

How does Crossfit help you in life outside the box?

I was contemplating this while sitting in a mental health facility–you know, the kind where they keep the doors locked.

I don’t quite understand how PR’ing the day before on my press, back squat and deadlift could help me through 11 hours of emotional hell, but it did.

I was sitting in a red vinyl chair, inhaling the remains of someone’s cigarette smoke, while “Thank You For the Music,” was cheerfully blaring from the stereo.

Six hours before, I had been sitting in a psychiatrist’s office with my husband, and now, I was navigating the admittance process of a German mental health clinic.

My brain was tired from being in nearly constant translation mode (I WISH I were fluent); my emotions were raw, and the tears were being bottled up and saved for a place other than the day room of the mental health ward.

The woman sitting next to me, the one I named “The Imposter,” because she had pretended to be a nurse when we had first arrived, commented on my ‘handy,’ upon which I was crying on virtual shoulders a continent away.

I set the phone down, and she and I had a conversation about cell phones, kids and (I think…like I said, I’m not fluent) sex. Then she got up and went out into the garden, where other patients were walking around or standing there smoking.

Alone and waiting for my husband to get done speaking with the doctor, I wanted to crumple. If you are going to begin an immobilizing crying jag, there’s probably no better place to do it. At least no one would bat an eye.

My life had suddenly gone from a county music song to The Notebook in a single day.

And I was done.

Emotionally.

Physically (not having anything to eat or drink in seven hours).

Mentally.

And though I didn’t know it,  I was little more than halfway through the ordeal.

It was a marathon. Only this time, there didn’t seem to be a beer and a medal waiting for me at the end.

There are times in Crossfit, when my core starts to weaken, my shoulders fold in, and the weight starts to heed the law of gravity as my form degrades. During those times, it’s not uncommon to hear the coach’s voice calling out, “Tighten up!” or “Do NOT set those kettle bells down!” It usually helps. 

This time was no exception.

As I sat in the red chair, looking into the garden through windows marked with two large, greasy handprints, contemplating words like Parkinson’s and dementia, I felt my core weaken. The weight of five worlds was finally starting to push me to the ground.

It sounds sappy and sentimental, but I could hear my coach’s voice, which can always pierce through the cacophony of groans, music and metal in the box, telling me one thing:

Toughen up! 

And I did.

The tears would come later, alone and in the car.

But there, mid-way through the worst day of my life thus far, I stayed strong.

Sometimes the world IS placed on your shoulders.

I’m glad I was ready. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


It Takes Courage

victory

Courage is a word we toss around quite a bit, and I’m sure it manifests itself in people differently.

Some of you got off your couches and ran a 5k, with a crowd of people starting at your spandex. That took courage for you.

Some of you walked through the open garage door of a local Box and felt like you could never possibly be like the people over on the rings doing dips, but you didn’t turn around and leave. You stepped in, shook hands and even if you felt awkward, you kept showing up. You still can’t do dips, but you still show courage.

Often, courage has a fearful spark igniting it. How many of you, parents, wouldn’t put yourself between a bear and your child? The fear of the bear harming your kid produces a type of courage that you don’t even think about. You just act. Your adrenaline is pumping, you might even feel sick; but you are wired for the fight, and you don’t second guess yourself.

Courage isn’t something you plan–you just do.

Or you don’t.

And if you don’t, then it’s the antonym.

Fear.

It’s not a healthy basis for living.

Sure we shouldn’t live a completely ‘fearless’ life–doing stupid things and thinking we’re bulletproof. But there are calculated risks we take every day. Limiting yourself by the ‘what-ifs’ will eventually clog up the healthy flow of your life until your heart is barely beating anymore. You go numb and are content to be that way.

Get rid of the ‘what ifs.’

Make the changes you need to. Face the challenges, no matter how sick it makes you feel. Do what’s right.

Most of all, show courage.

Once you begin to show courage, it gets easier and easier, until you start to feel alive again.

Life is hard. Sometimes we take a risk and it fails.

But when it doesn’t fail, then we can truly live.

 

 


In the Groove

running

There is a certain phenomenon in running when everything falls into place and you feel like you can run forever–this is called ‘flow.’

Crossfitters and other athletes experience this too: where your body and mind work together so well, you KNOW this game or fight or race or WOD is yours.

It is part training, part mental focus, part relaxation, and part endorphine high.

Flow is also elusive: the more you think about accomplishing it, the more it slips away.

It is not about ‘thinking;’ it’s about ‘knowing.’ It’s a difference I can hardly even put words to. You just have to be there once, even for a moment, to understand.

Buddhists probably have a term for this.

Many of us add a spiritual component to flow–a higher power that gives you this ability to face a giant with a slingshot and walk away with more strength than an entire army.

Last week my life was in the groove.

I hadn’t had a job interview since 1994, and last week I had three, back to back. I walked away from each feeling that I’d nailed it. When my resume didn’t speak for itself, I was able to put in the right words.

When you’ve been trained to move around like the stage crew, working, hidden between scenes of someone else’s play, it’s hard to step into the spotlight–to sell yourself. To make a potential employer see that you are worthy of the job at hand. To make them see that they would be foolish NOT to hire you.

But the thing they don’t tell you about the groove, is that you still work.

Your muscles still extend and contract; your lungs might burn; your feet still hit the pavement with up to three times the force of your bodyweight; though you feel like you’re flying, no one carries you to the finish.

To put it in Crossfit terms: even those with the most unrelenting thrusters still leave a puddle of sweat. They make it look easy, but it’s not. We all know it’s not.

Life is this way too.

Even in the groove, you have to work. There is no coasting through life. And when you have a goal, you can’t give up on it–despite the naysayers. You have to give it a shot. You have to use your talent, your wit, your strength to get out and accomplish things that are hard.

The challenges will come in droves, and it’s easy to get bogged down by them–to let them frighten or overwhelm you. But you can’t turn away. You have to press on.

You have to relax and put out that positive energy so you can receive some positive energy back. It’s incredible when that happens.

That’s when we find our groove.

If I worry about potential deadfalls, I’ll lose my cadence. It’s better to just run, and deal with the challenges as they come across my path.

And I know they’re coming. Challenges are on the left and on the right, behind me and in front of me.

But I’ve got to carry on. To let life flow.

It’s still hard.

And frightening.

But eventually, I’ll get to the finish.

And there’ll be a new race to run.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Crossfit: an Assertiveness Immersion Course

weights

A sled doesn’t move unless you pull it.

Sounds simple, right?

But think about the alternative.

What happens if you’re passive about:

  • what you eat & drink
  • other chemicals you put into your body (yes, smokers…I’m nagging you)
  • HOW and when you exercise (*note: I didn’t say ‘if’ you exercise)
  • HOW and when you sleep
  • your spiritual life
  • your job
  • your relationship with your kids
  • love & romance (yes–it’s important too)
  • your finances
  • your present
  • your future

Each of those things (and probably more) requires an active, dedicated, thoughtful effort. 

The result of letting things slide means critical failure at some point. And trust me–it WILL catch up to you eventually.

I’m learning this now, the hard way.

Pieces of my life are falling down around me, and I often wonder how I’m going to claw my way out of the rubble.

But I will.

I know I will.

Crossfit (no topic is too deep for Crossfit) has loosened passivity’s grip on my life and has frequently been the impetus for change.

Being assertive does not make you annoying–it gives your opinion value. Think how your life would be different if you were assertive in the things mentioned above: your health, your relationships, using the present to shape your future. 

At the very beginning of this current personal hell I’m going through, a Crossfitter friend asked me where I saw myself in five years.

I had no answer.

I had never envisioned life five years down the road. I had simply been along for the ride, letting others dictate how the course of my life would run.

I have a five-year vision now. 

It includes relationships, joy, Crossfit, marathons, a simple life, fluency in German, a job I love, a six year-old labrador and lots of coffee.

I’ll also have a deeper appreciation for the things I have. 

I already do.

I have a LOT to be thankful for: my kids, my friends, my family in the US, my always-cheerful labrador, the cup of coffee at my side, and of course, today’s WOD–whatever it may be.

Most of us don’t just walk into a box and do a muscle-up. It takes practice, dedication and a lot of sweat. But at some point, you’ll find yourself doing things you once thought impossible.

Think about one area in which you’ve been passive–and take steps today to change it.

Your future depends on it.