getting worked up about upsetting things but for the wrong reasons

How does driving 73 miles per hour in a 65 mph zone even count as speeding? That is like the opposite of speeding. It is driving responsibly without pissing people off by driving like I’m 90. And there are so many ways in which I already act like I’m 90 (falling asleep at parties, for instance) that my driving really doesn’t need to get added to the list.

I’m still visiting at my parent’s house for Thanksgiving, and I thought that it might be fun to go WOD at my adopted PA crossfit box this morning. And on my way there I GOT PULLED OVER. For driving at exactly the same speed as everyone else. At first, I couldn’t figure out why the heck I was even getting pulled over. Then I started trying to figure out if I could still get to crossfit on time as long as I got this ticket business sorted out quickly.

Unfortunately Mr. Cop was not interested in moving very quickly this morning, and I couldn’t think of a subtle way to hurry him along. Also, I couldn’t remember where my insurance card was, which probably wasn’t helping matters all that much. Mr. Cop kept telling me to calm down and that it was “just a speeding ticket,” which was making me fairly disgruntled for two reasons. The first reason: I was already VERY CALM. In fact, I almost wished him a good morning when he walked over, but then I was like, “Hmm I’m clearly getting a ticket for something, so perhaps good is not the most accurate adjective I could use,” and by the time I had decided to skip the adjective altogether and just say, “Morning,” it was too late to say anything at all. The second reason I was feeling a little pissy about our conversation is that I already knew it was JUST A SPEEDING TICKET. What the hell else would it be? And even if I was getting at all distressed about the whole thing, which I was NOT, how would telling me that it was JUST a speeding ticket make it any less distressing?

I wanted desperately to point these things out, but thankfully, my polite and socially acceptable alter ego (you know, the one who keeps me from being rude to telemarketers even when I REALLY want to) kicked in and saved the day.

Except that my day wasn’t saved at all because, besides the fact that I have to pay $130 (which I do not have), I was also too late to go to crossfit. Once I grasped this fact, I actually did become distressed, but it was too late for Mr. Cop to notice and feel justified for having called me out on it ahead of time. Now that I was feeling so disgruntled about my life, I wanted to crossfit even more. And if it had been my box, I would have shown up anyway. The sight of me barging in the door 15 minutes late and in a towering rage is a pretty common occurrence at home. They’re used to it. They’ve seen worse. But I thought it would be a bit rude to behave this way around people who don’t already love me. So I turned around and drove home without getting in my crossfit fix. And I was upset about it for the rest of the day. And I’m still upset about it now.

Is there something wrong with me? The $130 is going to have a much greater negative impact on my life than one missed wod. I really need to get my priorities straightened out. 


never quite on time for anything

Why are guys with European accents so much hotter than American guys? (Sorry to all of my boring American guy friends.) I’m watching a car commercial right now that is actually making me want the stupid car just because there’s this British guy in the commercial. Marketing. It’s totally working on me.

Happy day after Thanksgiving everyone! As usual, I’m a little behind the times here. All my blogging friends wrote their Thanksgiving posts yesterday. And I meant to. I really did. But I was in such a pie-overdose stupor last night, and I could barely manage the tiny bit of mental capacity it took to stay awake long enough to watch the end of the football game. For some reason, whenever I eat so much that I feel sick (which seems to happen alarmingly often), I somehow think that I can fix the situation by eating MORE food of an alternate variety. You know, like, “Ohhh I feel so sugared out from eating all that pie. Sugar sounds gross right now. You know what would probably make me feel better? Eating more turkey!”

So I’m writing my list today. Except so many of the very many things I’m grateful for are the same things that were on my list last year. And they’re also the same things that are usually on other people’s lists. Not that that makes them insignificant. It just doesn’t make me want to write about them. Let’s see if I can come up with a more creative list. It’s not like we can’t be grateful for the little things too.

Oh how I love to write lists. I am grateful for:

  1. TALL PEOPLE because they make me feel small and, for some reason, I love feeling small. Nothing against short people though. After all, Roomie is almost a certifiable midget. Seriously, if she were an inch shorter, she could get a handicap tag for her car. Maybe, if my best friend wasn’t so little, I wouldn’t have this strange and uncomfortable idea that I am a giant.
  2. MY ROLLING PIN, which can multitask beautifully as a substitute foam roller when I am too lazy to get off the couch and actually roll on the floor like a normal person. Well, relatively normal.
  3. HAIR TIES because, when I wake up in the morning my hair looks like a bunch of wild gerbils spent the night raging civil war on my head. (Ew, did not need that mental image. WHY do I think of these things?) Hair ties are the best, because they make it possible to spend less than 30 seconds turning the gerbil war zone into something I can take to work. What would I do without them?!
  4. WORDS THAT ARE FUN TO SAY, like barbecue, or satellite, or Czechoslovakia. If you are having a kind of annoying day, pick one of these words and say it to yourself a bunch of times. It will make you feel better. Or does that just work on me?
  5. COMMA SPLICES and the fact that 90 percent of the rest of the world doesn’t know how to use a semi colon. Although these things are listed on the pet peeves list of most writers, I choose, instead, to be thankful for them. They give me a job. And I enjoy editing. At the end of the day, I get to feel good about myself and how smart I am every time I fix a comma splice or a misunderstood semicolon instead of feeling annoyed at whoever put it there in the first place.
  6. HARRY POTTER. I will never get tired of rereading these books. Though I don’t actually read them anymore. I just listen to them on tape every night while I fall asleep. The way some people watch TV. They are like comfort food for my brain. The mental equivalent of mom’s macaroni and cheese. There is something magical about these books, besides all of the ACTUAL magic (haha, I’m so funny! I’m pretty sure that was a pun and I didn’t even put it there on purpose), which makes me able to reread them over, and over, and over, and over again.
  7. BUTTER, which is the magical food that makes every other food taste better. I don’t care if it’s paleo or not. How many foods have the quality to improve almost any other food they come in contact with, even if they are not super fantastic all by themselves? It would be great if people tried to be more like butter. Maybe that will be my New Year’s resolution this year: be more butter-like. Done.

For some reason seven seems like a good place to stop. Did you know that seven is the most powerfully magical number? No? Is that because you have not read each of the Harry Potter books 20 times a piece. That’s probably a good thing. Way to be normal and well adjusted; I applaud you.

a road trip to NJ, heavy clean and jerks, and some really fun people

So, last Saturday I went to another crossfit competition (yes, yes, we all know I’m clearly an addict now). I wasn’t planning on writing anything much about this one because it wasn’t really a big deal. I was only going because Madeline, my dear crossfit pal from Pennsylvania, posted the link on my facebook wall a while ago and said, “I’m doing this. You should look into it.” And of course, Madeline is one of those people who only has to say, “Hey, you should …” before I find myself agreeing to do things.

I signed up the next day.

Then I realized I was going to have to spend four hours in the car getting there and back, so I told L she was going too; I needed some company. Thankfully, good-looking birds flock together (or whatever that phrase is) and L didn’t even bother to ask when or where it was before telling me to sign her up.

So that, my friends, is how I ended up at a crossfit competition in New Jersey, at a gym I’d never heard of, with only two people I knew (instead of the usual two dozen friends who show up at the more local festivities).

And I had the time of my life.

I was going to write about how much I loved getting to hang out with Madeline (who is not only the loveliest human being, but to whom I also owe the eternal debt of having introduced me to the world crossfit). And I was going to write about how we all got PRs on the clean and jerk ladder, how I exceeded my wildest expectations by placing remarkably well at the end of the day, how L made top ten and got her first muscle up right after the clock ran out on the final wod.

But I don’t have time to write about ALL the things I loved, and what I REALLY want to write about are the people I didn’t know when the day started.

It’s funny, because I love the fact that half of our box show up at the local competitions, I really do. They are the most supportive group of people I have ever met, but being at a competition without them forced us to make new friends, and I am  amazed all over again at how kind and welcoming the crossfit community is as a whole. Of course, it helped to have L in tow since she could carry on a conversation with a post and has no problem walking up to random people and simply saying, “Wow, you’re so strong!”

Throughout the course of the day we befriended about a dozen strangers. Early on, L dragged me over to introduce me to her new friend Katie, who had competed in Regionals last year, and whose blog L follows religiously. Since, I had about five minutes before I had to start the first wod (and, predictably, needed to use them to pee), I just blurted out a quick, “Good to meet you. You went to regionals? Ohmygosh you must be so good! Sorry, I have to go!”

So I was surprised to see Katie in the crowd later on, yelling my name and cheering for me to get my clean and jerk PR. She was the sweetest person. Speaking of the clean and jerk ladder, I had the BEST judge for it (except that I also had the best judge for the other two wods). We had a minute for each lift, and there wasn’t a lot to do in the between time so I wiggled around a lot, threw in a few white-girl dance moves, and mostly just struck up a lively conversation with my judge. We would prattle away enthusiastically about I-don’t-know-what, and every time the clock would beep, I’d interrupt with a quick, “Oh, hang on one second.” Then I’d do the lift and we’d keep talking. Once I got to about #135, I had to try and focus at least a little bit, but my judge would still cheer and high-five me every time I got the bar up. I was so excited when I got my PR that I even hugged her. And then proceeded to jump around like a maniac a lot. I might have been better off conserving my energy for the next weight, which I cleaned, but didn’t manage to get over my head. Oh well, I’ve never been the best for planning ahead.

After the clean and jerks were over, I congratulated the woman who had been lifting next to me, even though I was slightly terrified to approach her because she had looked so intense during the wod. But the minute I talked to her, her face lit up and she held up her hand for a high five: “Girrrll! You too!! You killed it.” After that, we realized that we had parked out stuff right next to each other and proceeded to be best buds for the rest of the day. It was somewhat comical since she was just so COOL, with her bad-ass attitude, tattoos, and edgy hair cut; whereas, I am dorky, super blond, and extremely overenthusiastic.

For the sake of brevity, I will fast forward through my other two judges, the wonderful people I met from Madeline’s box, and every other person who smiled, high-fived me, and wished me luck. Because I want to talk about the last wod of the day. The wod I didn’t even do. By that point, the field had been pared  down to the top ten, and though I didn’t manage to make the cutoff, L did.

The final wod included 10 muscle ups.

Neither of us had ever done a muscle up before, so I wasn’t any help. But in her usual optimistic fashion, L simply wandered around saying, “Does anybody want to teach me how to do a muscle up in the next 20 minutes??” And everybody did want to teach her, including ALL of the women she would competing against. Crossfitters are great.

In the end, our new friend Alyssa, whom L had met at a previous competition, turned out to be a muscle-up instructor extraordinaire. Although she had also not made it into the final wod, Alyssa and her sister stayed to watch and cheer with me, and shared their beer and goldfish crackers all around too (and we all know that anyone who shares their food with me is my new favorite person). Since most of the competitors had cleared out by then, I was thrilled to have the company, and even though L didn’t get her muscle up in the wod, we were all still there to scream for her when she finally did one just after the clock had run out.

The great thing about crossfit is that, no matter how different we all are (and we are all VERY different), crossfitters are never hard to talk to because we all have the same favorite thing in common.

you can always count on me to forget stuff and fall on my head a lot

It finally happened. The dreaded day that I knew was coming has finally arrived. Today, I forgot to bring part of my work clothes to the gym with me.

I’ve done this before, but in reverse. I’ve arrived at crossfit in the evening only to discover that I forgot to bring socks, or a sports bra, or – on one memorable occasion – shoes. But at crossfit, it’s only annoying, not really embarrassing, because my crossfitters have seen me in every possible state of embarrassment I can come up with. I know I bring it on myself, but when you announce that you’re going to do a handstand and then flip over backward, or when you confess in a very carrying voice that you just peed your pants doing double unders, it’s really not much of a stretch to be able to walk in and yell, “Does anyone have an extra sports bra? I’m not wearing one!”

But ever since I started going to the gym in the morning too, I’ve had this growing fear that I will forget to pack a REAL bra, or some such article of clothing. And I really, REALLY can’t be showing up to work partially dressed in gym clothes. That would not fly.

I did make it quite a long time before that happened. But one cannot persevere forever, and today I forgot … an undershirt.

Now, I know what you all are thinking: someone who goes to work without underwear on 50 percent of the time really shouldn’t be worried about a missing undershirt. And, as a matter of fact, I don’t wear ANY undershirt most of the time. But today, I had packed a dress that is SO low cut that I really can’t imagine that any person could possibly wear it without something underneath (although people frequently wear things that I could never imagine anyone wearing). At any rate, it would be utterly inappropriate to wear to the office, especially an office full of men. To use Kate’s wording, I would have “given them a heart attack.” So I went in search of a safety pin.

Safety pins, unfortunately, turned out to be a little thin on the ground at the box, so I started my usual moaning and groaning and loud contemplations of what the heck I was going to do, which generally encourage other people to help me out (if only to get me to shut up). And, get this, one of the GUYS was the person who came up with a solution for me: “just tape it.”

Duh. So yeah. I went to work today with a piece of athletic tape holding my dress together. It didn’t look quite right, but it also didn’t look like you could totally see my boobs, so I just had to roll with it and try my best to hide the weird taped part with a scarf.  

Speaking of my looking silly (and, really, when do we ever get a chance to talk about anything else?), I went to a gymnastics clinic over the weekend. If anybody needs a gymnastics clinic, it’s me. Put a barbell in my hands, let me throw some weight around, and I am a happy camper. Make me throw my OWN weight around and I will struggle and wiggle and flop over and generally just muddle through.

So, anyway, I went to this gymnastics clinic yesterday. And, as usual, I struggled with handstand walking. And handstands in general. Pretty much anything that requires me to be upside down without a wall to balance on is not cool with me. But I did it anyway, and while I was hanging out with my hands on the ground foolishly trying to kick my feet over my head, it occurred to me how cool it was that I could do something so incredibly silly looking in a room full of other adults who were totally not judging me, because a lot of them were doing exactly the same thing. Crossfit is kind of great for that.

I did manage to hold a handstand for all of three seconds by the end of the class, which pretty much shattered all of my previous handstanding accomplishments. Because they consisted of no handstands whatsoever. So there is that.

“race” report?

A long time ago, I remember having a conversation with a friend about whether or not bootie shorts were required attire at crossfit competitions. It was a VERY long time ago. We were crossfit newbies. I don’t think I could do a single pull up at that point.

“If I go to a competition, I would just wear my normal old workout clothes,” friend explained, gesturing to her hacked up tee-shirt and baggy boys’ shorts. “That way, it would look like I’m not good at anything. So then, when it turns out I’m not good at anything, nobody will be surprised.”

I remembered that conversation while I was packing my bag for Saturday’s competition, and even though I chose a cute crossfit-themed tank top that Alea had given to me for the next morning, I also stuffed my favorite old tee shirt into my gym bag, armpit stains, rips, and all. You never know.

I had refused for the longest time to sign up for a crossfit competition because, for some reason, I feel as though I am not very good at crossfit. I know this is actually not true, and it doesn’t stop me from loving the sport; I just thought, “If there’s no chance of winning, why would I compete?” But I somehow got signed up for this one more or less by accident. When a friend texted me a couple of months ago to ask if I would be his partner for this two-person team competition, I responded less than enthusiastically.

“Umm I dunno, let me think about it.”

“Come on, Why not do it? I thought of you right away. We would be great!”

I gave my most common (and highly valid) excuse: “I’ve spent too much money on races lately. I can’t afford it.”

“Oh, is that all? Don’t worry about it. I’ll pay for you.”

Well, firstly, I seriously have the nicest friends. I mean, I would not have offered to pay for me. And secondly, I had played my hand and he beat me. What could I say to that? I let him sign us up.

So anyway, that’s how I ended up in Virginia on Saturday, competing against 35 other two-person teams in the Rx division, several of whom were other pals from the box. And, even though I had a fairly bad cold going into it, I really can’t complain, because it turned out to be a shitload of fun. (Btw, my word processor just informed me that crapload is not a word. So I changed it to shitload, which is, apparently, acceptable. Just fyi.)

The day proceeded more or less uneventfully through the first three wods, which were spaced fairly close together. Predictably, I performed brilliantly in the first, strength-based wod; a good sight less than brilliantly in the second, cardio (read, too-many-burpees) wod; and pretty well in the third wod that was designed in a way that allowed the faster teammate (this was my partner Lawrence, not me) to compensate for the slower—and sicker!—one (guess who?).

At some point in the fairly long break before the fourth (and last) wod in the competition, my body remembered that it was sick. Suddenly, the only thing I really felt like doing was taking a nap. Gosh darn it! This was very unfortunate timing, since this workout required each partner to do equal amounts of work, including 30 chest-to-bar pull ups a piece. My stubby fetus fingers can barely hang onto the bar for regular pull ups! Apparently, I was not alone in my anxiety though, because when I went out to the car to change into my baggy old tee shirt (the judge can’t tell if your chest REALLY hit the bar when you’re in a baggy shirt), I found two of my friends in the parking lot, adding extra padding to their bras. I’m not even kidding. This, my friends, is what we call planning ahead. Even with a little extra padding, most crossfit ladies can hardly be called buxom.

I tried to get myself psyched for the wod by drinking a bunch of caffeine. This turned out not to be the best solution, as I was now simply someone with shaky hands who STILL wanted a nap. While our judge was going over the movement standards with us right before the start, I told Law not to worry too much about the stuff in the second half of the wod because there was a good chance I wasn’t going to get through my 30 pull ups in the 12 minute time cap. He told me to stop being silly.

Shockingly, 11 minutes and 45 seconds later, I found myself with only two reps left to finish the workout. Two more #115 hang cleans and we would actually have completed the entire thing, a feat that not many teams had managed to do. I had two reps left, when the bar slipped out of my hands. My short little fingers just couldn’t hang on any longer. I knew I’d never get both reps in now, but I could see my friends yelling their heads off in the crowd, so I tried to get one last clean in before time ran out.

I didn’t manage it. But in those last ten seconds, when everyone was screaming for me to pick it back up, I thought, “Ah, this is why everyone likes to compete.” On my way out, I got a few hugs from people I didn’t even know. It was awesome.

A little while after that Law had to come wake me up, because, back in my sickness stupor, I had fallen asleep against a pile of floor mats in one of the quieter rooms. He told me we were in seventh place. And I said, “Thank God,” because if we had made it into the top six, we would have gotten into the day’s ‘playoffs,’ which meant MORE wods.

I hadn’t moved from that same place when, a couple minutes later, another friend came over to inform me that we were actually in sixth place. I’m pretty sure he thought it was good news. I almost cried.

In the end, Law ended up doing the bulk of what was meant to be a two-person wod, so it’s no surprise we didn’t make it through the first round of playoffs. Still, sixth place was nothing to complain about. Imagine how much fun a competition would be if I wasn’t sick. I’m totally hooked now.