all the cool kids do front squats, eat hot dogs, and sing Disney songs on their birthdays

My birthday is the best birthday ever. No, seriously. Not just because it’s MY birthday either. July 3rd is a consistently fabulous day every year. First off, it’s in the summer, so no matter how bad the weather is (and it’s usually pretty good) I am so much better off than those poor souls born in, say, February. There is nothing redeeming about any day in February, as far as I’m concerned. Secondly, when your birthday is on July 3rd, you always have the day after your birthday off from work or school, BUT the Fourth of July is not one of those annoying and overshadowing holidays that make everyone else forget that it’s your birthday and should, therefore, be all about YOU. This is more like just having the coolest birthday buddy ever. The third reason it’s the best: there are usually fireworks on your birthday, and even if you don’t manage to go see some until the day after, you will remain thoroughly convinced throughout your entire life that the fireworks are being set off purely to celebrate your special day. This Independence Day rigmarole is entirely coincidental.

SO, my birthday was pretty fantastic, despite the fact that I had a cold/horrible allergies that day. These are some things that I did on my birthday (in no particular order):

1. Ate red, white, and blue cupcakes at work. Accidentally turned my mouth blue. Contrary to what the color scheme may lead you to believe, the cupcakes were brought in by a friend for MY birthday and had nothing to do with America.

2. Ate hotdogs wrapped in bacon. L had a little party for me over at her house (our house is not really big enough for parties), and made her husband grill a delicious variety of foods for us.

3. Ate red-velvet cake topped with oreos that Kate baked especially for me. Discovered that Kate is MUCH better at cake decorating than L and I were when we baked Kate’s birthday cake.

4. Did things other than eat food, I promise.

5. Got the unintentional birthday present of a crossfit WOD that I absolutely adored. Killed it, and had the fleeting glory of having the highest score on the board out of the entire day’s worth of scores. For fifteen minutes. Until L did it and squeaked out two more reps than I did. I was cheering for her our loud, but in my head I was shrieking, Nooooooo!

6. Sang karaoke with crossfit friends and L’s parents. The only songs I know the words well enough to do this with originate from either Disney or Broadway. Let it go, let it go, I am one with the wind and sky …

7. Got into a bit of a karaoke war with L’s husband who was not a fan of Disney OR Broadway (for some reason) and wanted to sing to rap songs that I had never heard of and was completely uninterested in.

8. Did part of a Shakespearian monologue for everyone. Not entirely sure why.

9. Wore a headband that made me look like I had multi-colored antennae for the entire evening. Got a horrible headache as a result, but it was totally worth it.

10. Could not leave the party and go to bed at 10 like I usually would have, because it was MY birthday party.

11. Ate second helpings of cake and hotdogs. Perked back up after that and did not go to bed until after midnight, which was technically not my birthday anymore anyway, and was also impressively late for me to be staying up at all. Because I behave like an old woman.

winning that napping workout again

It’s funny, I used write about races all the time. And races are the easiest thing in the world to blog about. They make for hilarious posts napping picbecause I am guaranteed to always do something embarrassing while I’m running, and because they are easy to understand. I don’t have to explain the premise of a race (every reader understands that the goal is to run from point A to point B as fast as you can), which leaves me free to ramble on about the things that I really want to talk about. There are even mile markers to make my stories progress in a (marginally) linear fashion.

But lately, I’ve replaced racing with crossfit competitions. Still fun, but there’s just too much extra explaining involved to actually WRITE about them. Possibly, the root of the problem here lies in the laziness of the author rather than the complexity of the subject matter.

And on that note, I should get a prize for the athlete-able-to-fall-asleep-most-easily-at-a-crossfit-competition, which, considering the noise and energy level at these things, is quite an accomplishment.

Since I can’t really sleep when I’m away from home, I generally don’t hold up all that great at these out-of-town competitions. But when my dear crossfit pal from back home in PA texted me because a friend of hers needed another woman for his team, I agreed straightaway. Partly because M is one of those people I simply cannot say no to, and partly because the attention whore in me suspected this might provide some sort of opportunity for showing off.

Then I found out there was swimming involved. Hello swimming ability of an injured kangaroo. Sorry attention-whore, you just bought yourself an opportunity for extreme embarrassment instead.

My teammates were surprisingly chill about the swim (along with mostly everything else), and I somehow managed to string together seven 95lb snatches later on, so the day still qualified as an overall success. Except that, by one in the afternoon, my ass was dragging like nobody’s business. So I fell back to my usual standby of laying on the floor and falling asleep.

I did wake up briefly for the third wod of the day. Instead of actually warming up properly, I sort of gormlessly stood around staring at a deadlift bar and trying to will 185lbs off the ground with my mental powers.

“Are you okay?” M had to check up on me, “You’re looking a bit … forlorn.”

“Oh don’t worry, I’m just not awake.” I suppose this could have been something to worry about ten seconds before I was supposed to work out, but past experience with the magic of adrenaline assured me that everything would be alright. And it was. I spent 8 minutes throwing weight around like a total champ, and 30 minutes later I was passed out on the floor again.

I now have a reputation with two separate boxes as the girl who falls asleep everywhere and at inappropriate times.

injury, sunburn, and I clearly need to be bubble wrapped for my own protection

I currently have a tissue stuffed down the front of my pants to protect my poor sunburned stomach from the scathingly scratchy waistband of my burlap dress pants. The pants may look like cotton and nylon, but I can assure you that they are definitely made of burlap. Or possibly bailing twine. Normally, I would not have had time to get properly sunburned without a trip to the beach or some such excuse to lay around and completely ignore sunscreen, but after recovering from being deathly ill all winter, I’ve managed to manufacture new reasons to lay around by the pool and be a lazy bum.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to liven up the wod at Crossfit by falling off a 20-inch box with a 95lb barbell on top of me. These tactics met with smashing success in the attention whoring department because every person in the gym had to stop working out so they could come over and see whether I had broken my neck. It transpired that I had not (also a great success), and that I was now permitted to complain at least eight times as much as usual because my neck hurt, and my back hurt, and my ankle hurt. Sadly, I had to chill out on the self pity when Coach broke his ankle three days later and couldn’t compete in Regionals that weekend.

Well, I just stopped complaining to Coach, actually. Everyone else was still fair game.

My neck and ankle are pretty much back to normal, but my back still feels like somebody took a sledge hammer (or a 95lb barbell) to it whenever I try to lift any real weights. Since I’m exercising about half as much as usual but refuse to stop eating like a house, I’ve decided my best tactic is definitely to just cover up the resulting pudge with a beautiful tan. Or a scalding sunburn that will shortly turn into a beautiful tan . . . if I put enough aloe on it. The tissue in my pants will be worth it in the end.  At least I was actually IN the sun when I got burned. Kate was at the pool this weekend too, but she sat her red-haired self in the shade and fretted about whether or not she was wearing enough spf 50. 50!?! I was wearing spf 8 that I had stolen from Roomie and feeling proud of myself for it. Based on this test group, I’m willing to guess that one’s IQ has some sort of direct correlation with the number on the sunscreen one chooses to wear. I don’t care. I WILL be golden brown.

P.S. Don’t worry, I’ve made an appointment to see a doctor about my back this week. My track record of having problems that doctors can actually fix is not good, but I have not given up hope that there is some sort of quick fix for this. Random thought! Do you think they call a doctor’s customers patients because you must be patient for medicine to work? If so, I’m a lousy customer. 

guess who didn’t have to ask for help getting out of her own undergarments

Stuck in my sports bra. Yup, that was me yesterday morning when I was trying to get changed into my work clothes at the gym. I don’t understand. I have worn this bra a million times before, but, unknown to me, it had suddenly shrunk to about one tenth its original size yesterday.

I got my elbow wedged sort of strangely part way under the side before it started to make ominous seam ripping noises. Freeze. Move a little, the scary noise starts again. Freeze. This process continued for a little while before I paused, arm strangely clamped to my body with hand sticking out like a useless fingered flipper, and wondered if I should leave the bathroom and ask for help.

It’s not as bad as it sounds. Nobody particular had been inspired to get up and work out with us at 6:30 that day, so only two other people were there at the moment. Both women. Both good friends of mine. I tried to picture the scene, Hey ladies, you’ve probably never heard this from another woman before, but would someone please take my clothes off? It wouldn’t actually be THAT embarrassing, not by my usual standards anyway. But I was really wedged in now and wasn’t entirely sure that outside help would do the situation any good. Plus, I would have had to somehow get my pants back on before leaving the bathroom . . .  my friends were not THAT good of friends.

I briefly contemplated plan B, giving up and putting work clothes on overtop of my sweaty sports bra, but quickly disregarded this idea in favor of the faster and easier plan C – just yanking the bra off regardless of any ripping noises and consequential damage.

Success. I got it off in one piece. Amazingly, the bra was still in one piece too. But I’m now afraid to wear it again. Not only because I am worried about hidden structural damage from all that yanking, but also because there is no way to know when if the dang thing is going to suddenly shrink up and take a strangle hold on me again after I’ve already gotten it on. I’m not sure what to do.

On an unrelated note, I am dying of allergies that I did not know I had before this year. All of the usual remedies have done NOTHING. Help! What does one do when this happens?

On another note that is also not related to the post OR to the first unrelated note, did you know that calories consumed on a day when you had to go to the dentist don’t count? It’s an official rule that I just made up. You can thank me later.

this year’s open, some self pity, and Coach has to double as a therapist again

So, the crossfit open. We’re almost through this year’s five weeks of competition, and I haven’t written one blog post on the topic. Certain readers are probably relieved about this after I inundated them with crossfit-open posts last year (ahem, my sister informed me that my blog would be more interesting if I write about normal things, so she could understand what I was talking about). But I need to at least acknowledge the open.

So here’s the deal. This year, I just don’t care. I really tried to at the beginning. L made me video my first WOD because she was hoping for the slim but possible chance of regionals qualification, and, bless her heart, refuses to acknowledge how much better she is than me. But I couldn’t get into it, because I felt like I wasn’t any good anymore. I’d been sliding down that slippery slope of fewer and fewer gains since before Christmas, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on. And love these people though I might, crossfiters have a tendency toward absolute positivity that is absolutely wonderful about 98 percent of the time. But that other two percent of the time …

When your performance is less-than-great over and over and over again, and everybody still tells you “great job” over and over and over again, it makes you wonder if maybe this is good. Maybe mediocre is the best you can manage. Nobody seems disappointed in you, so why would you be disappointed in yourself?

It’s funny how much difference one conversation can make.

“Yeah, I was wondering what’s going on with you lately. It seems like you’re struggling. But you know that’s all in your head, right?”

Poor Coach. We had started the perfectly normal conversation talking about I-don’t-remember-what, how I’m lousy at following directions, I think. He had no idea what he was in for. Thankfully, it’s not the first time I’ve succumbed to completely unnecessary tears in front of him. Or the second. I’ve lost count by now. In hindsight, “I’m getting worse at everything!” and, “All my friends are better than me!” may have been approaching the realms of hyperbole, but they summed up how I was feeling at the time.

Oh well, being a crossfit coach basically comes with the imperative that you must be able to deal with—or quickly learn to deal with—crying women. I KNOW I am not the only one here.

Anyway, that one conversation basically fixed me. It’s weird, that all I needed was for somebody to say, “I’ve noticed that you seem to be sucking at this lately, and that doesn’t seem like you.” All the positivity in the world couldn’t help as much as having somebody else acknowledge that there was a problem. I was finally back to feeling like I could accomplish anything I wanted to. Hooray!

For a week. Until I threw out my back doing 14.3 and shortly afterward got the flu.

I can still accomplish anything I want to. Just not right at this very second. Bring on the 2015 open; I think I missed it this year.

sometimes, you just have to cry about it and take some Motrin

Fan-fucking-tastic. If you say it really fast, it almost sounds like an actual word. Fanfuckingtastic. I had a friend in college who used to say this all the time. Abso-fucking-lutely was another favorite of hers. I could never quite pull it off. These creative compound words always sounded a bit awkward coming from me, no matter how slyly I tried to slip them into a conversation. I wasn’t averse to colorful language; by that point, Roomie (did I ever mention that we were also roommates freshman year of college?) had already educated my blonde country ass on how to speak fluent sailor. No, I think my problem was that I could never muster the appropriate amount of sarcasm to really pull these words off.

Because, of course, fan-fucking-tastic means exactly the opposite of its original, less colorful, counterpart. Like, if you asked someone how their exam went, and they said, fanfuckingtastic thanks very much, you knew to leave the subject well alone after that.

I feel like I have finally accumulated the proper amount of rage and all around bad humor necessary to pull it off. Friends, my last week was, to put it very precisely, fan-fucking-tastic. You can’t tell, because I’m writing instead of talking, but just know that THIS time, I pulled it off. And it was beautifully done, if I do say so myself.

The reason for my general misery is due mostly to a boring combination of bad weather, work, and some extremely drawn-out flu-like symptoms. But that would make for a really crappy blog post. So let me tell you about the somewhat unintelligent decision that started my week off in the wrong direction.

If you have already been sick for the better part of a month and, instead of getting better, seem only to be getting sicker, going to an out-of-town crossfit competition may not be the best medicine. I wish somebody would have beaten me over the head this obvious fact, but I suspect I just didn’t ask the right people. You tend to get biased opinions when most of your friends are crossfitters.

L’s friend Katie had kindly invited us to stay with her the night before the competition, so we didn’t have to stay at a hotel or get up inhumanly early. It sounded like a fun plan at the time. But I remember complaining to Doc (Remember Doc? Of the shoulder injury last April. Yup, I still make him put me back together on a regular basis.) the night before we left that having to spend the weekend with all these people was going to be a lot of WORK. Ugh. I’d have to, like, talk to them and stuff.

I’m not usually right about much (though I will never admit this if you get into an argument with me), but it turns out I was right about this one. Total failure. But I hear that’s healthy for you. Or something. Please tell me that’s true.

I did not sleep on Friday night because I am an insomniac. Saturday morning, I consumed enough caffeine to resuscitate a sleeping zombie, which still didn’t REALLY make me feel much better, and then I proceeded to have an asthma and/or panic attack during the first wod. At any rate, I could not breath, and the cardio wod that would have been my weakness anyway quickly turned into the WORST EIGHT MINUTES OF MY LIFE.

Afterward, I gasped my way back over to my inhaler and then, like the tough and beastly crossfit machine that I am, burst into tears. I don’t think anybody quite knew how to deal with me at that point. I had forbidden L, on previous occasions, to tell me “good job” when it clearly had not been, and crying women are simply not Coach’s forte. The task of piecing me back together enough to get me through the next two wods fell to my dear friend Michelle, who, now that I think about it, was the one who had to do that the LAST time I had a mental breakdown at one of these things. The poor girl is probably going to check that I’m not going before she signs up for her next competition.

Eventually, I DID get myself together enough to drag my sickly ass through the next two workouts, which, thank the Gods, involved little-or-no cardio. Problem was, I was only JUST holding it together. So everyone would see me not crying and think it was safe to have a conversation with me. Those conversations inevitably went like this:

Helpful friend: “Oh, are you feeling better now?”

Anna: (reminded about feeling badly) “Umm, not really?” Starts crying again. Thinks, What the heck is wrong with me?! but is too busy crying now to communicate this thought.

Later that afternoon, after just such a conversation, one of my friends asked if I wouldn’t like some Motrin and cough drops. Motrin changed my life. Or at least my life on that particular day. I was still bummed about having done so dreadfully that morning, but I no longer felt like the world was going to end because of it. Also my throat didn’t hurt anymore, so I could talk again. I celebrated my extreme gain in composure by tracking down most of the people I had cried on earlier and babbling on about how sorry I was for behaving like an enormous boob. There were a lot of people to track down. I’m sure I missed a few, but I was trying, people!

So, yes, life lessons (this seems like a life-lessons sort of post): if your day is going poorly, try taking some drugs.

No? Not good? I’ll stop talking now.

lists of disconnected stuff seem to be my thing lately

I promise I will write a better list soon. 

So, there is a note written on the back of my hand that says (I think, it’s a little faded) “IRS paperwork.” This doesn’t sound promising. Also, I have no idea what paperwork it is referring to, and the note looks about two days old. But now that I look a bit more closely, maybe it says “IRA paperwork.” Still don’t know what that’s about, but it’s much less scary.

I’m in the mood for a list today, and an obvious topic would be, things that happened since the last blog post I wrote a really long time ago.

1. CHRISTMAS. Christmas happened, and I had a stomach bug. Who has the worst timing ever? This girl. Well, actually, my sister was sick on Thanksgiving, so I really can’t claim to have the WORST timing. Maybe it’s genetic? Anyhoo it wasn’t that bad of a stomach bug, but I felt sick and had a horrible stomach ache whenever I ate anything. However, when I was hungry, I felt fantastic! Except that I was hungry. Which, if you know me, you know is not okay.

2. LEARNING HOW KILOGRAMS WORK. For Christmas, L got me a USAW membership. I did not get her anything. I am a horrible friend. BUT as she was quick to point out, the main reason she got me the membership was so I could be peer pressured into doing oly lifting competitions with her. This is something new we’re dabbling in, and L’s friend Mario offered to coach us and help us figure everything out. Mostly, helping us figure things out entails doing a lot of conversions in his head between pounds (crossfit speak) and kilos (lifting speak). I realized after the first (tiny) lifting meet we attended that I had, very intelligently, failed to find out how much I actually lifted that day. I just told Mario my previous max for each lift, in pounds, and let him throw weights onto a bar for me. I think my total was 120 for both lifts? Or something. I’m very scientific about this.

3. TURNING INTO THE SAME PERSON AS L. Well, this is an ongoing process, but when we had to weigh in for our lifting meet, we discovered that L and I weigh EXACTLY the same thing. Down to the quarter kilo. It was freaky. Although, she drank a bigger coffee than I did beforehand, so I’m going to claim that I actually weigh more than she does. Either way, we were both astonished to discover that we weighed less than previously imagined and pledged to eat more from now on. Which hasn’t really been that tough since this all took place four days before Christmas.

4. NOT GETTING FIRED FROM MY JOB. Year-end performance evaluations stress me the hell out. But it turns out, I’m still okay at my job. Phew. Glad that’s over with. I should have a party. Oh wait, my friends are already having a big old party on New Year’s Eve, and I’m opting not to go because I don’t like parties that start after my bedtime. What is WRONG with me??

5. READING WHEN I SHOULD BE WRITING. Sooo I kinda figured I would catch up on my blog posts and other writing things while I had a few days off around Christmas, but then I started reading Divergent. And I finished reading it too. And then I had to go out and buy the second book in the trilogy. Guys, I paid good money for something I could have gotten totally free at the library. But I just couldn’t wait for all the other people who had a hold on the book to finish with it. I just couldn’t. So obviously, if I wanted it badly enough to go out and BUY it, little things like blog posting and, uh, bathroom cleaning are not going to be a priority until I’m done with all three books. Oh yeah, I may have bought the third one too. Well, actually, I talked my mom into buying it for me, so that’s totally fine.

I promise, more than six things have happened to me in the last month. But I’ve suddenly realized that I am out of time for this post, and I have a feeling that if I bother to save it to work on later, it’s just going to become one of those posts that never  goes up at all. And I feel like a slacker for only writing three times this month. So I have to publish this one. Happy Friday everyone!