One Year of CrossFit

Today is my 1-year anniversary with CrossFit!

Last fall, my pal Annie — a.k.a., Dirty Deeds — was looking for a new way to workout after retiring from the Texas Rollergirls. She told me about a Bootcamp her friend Amanda was doing and asked if I wanted try it with her.

At the time, my life was in a jumble. The hoopla and celebration of my book was over. My bank account was depleted. I’d retired from Roller Derby. After freelancing for six years, I’d just accepted a great 9-to-5 dayjob that I didn’t really want. I was staring down my 40th birthday. And, the bitter, rotten cherry on top of a sugar-poison sundae: I was re-gaining some of the weight I’d lost at Weight Watchers the year before, and I’d just gotten a haircut that made me cry when I looked in the mirror.

We’ve already established that I’m a cryer — but the frequency of the crying jags taking place in our house was beginning to alarm even me.

So I agreed to go to Bootcamp with Annie on a whim, figuring I’d try it for a month as a “kickstart” and then get back to my regular routine.


When mid-October rolled around, I found myself pre-paying for November. Without me even realizing it, my “regular routine” was being replaced with a newer, better, CrossFitter model.

One day, I heard myself say to Dave, “Maybe my new job will give me a chance to focus on getting healthy and in a year, I can get to my goal weight and grow out my hair and have some money in the bank and everything will be better. I just have to hang on for a year.”

What started as “hanging on” for a miserable year turned into an awesomely fun adventure. The corny truth is that the journey is as important as the end result. Don’t get me wrong: reaching the destination of my goal weight is so badass I can’t even really talk about it without sounding like a dork. Sometimes the joy in my chest feels as if it’s going to burst out like an alien and the only way I can release it is to squeeze some hot tears of happiness-gratitude from my eyes. (See? Dorky.)

This year has brought me so many gifts: New friends. New abilities. New daring. And the luxury of thinking about what I want to be able to do — rather than despairing that I will never be different/thinner/faster/stronger/happier.

Every workout feels like a celebration, which is why you’ll see me smiling like an idiot mid-workout, even as my body feels pushed to the limit.

Yesterday morning at Bootcamp we did fitness assessments, and I was so excited about my new numbers:

4X tabata squats: 22-21-22-24.
F*ck, yeah. 24 is my highest yet.

1-minute pushups: 33
Same as last time, damn it. We’re blaming it on FGB, burpees, and the 6X tabata pushups Crystal had us do on Monday.

1-minute situps: 40
Up from 33 last month.

3 laps around the parking lot: 1:07
We only had my numbers from last January… 2:14. That’s right! Chopped in half. Again I say, f*ck yeah.

I remember the first time we did assessments last year. I’d never done tabata squats before, and I was doing what I thought was my best. Felt pretty fast to me, you know? I did 16 on my first and second sets. Meh.

About halfway through the third 20 seconds, Crystal stood in front of me and started to squat. Fast. And I tried to match her, squat for squat. We did 18 squats together, and that was the first moment I realized, “I might be capable of more than I think.”

I thought about that all day long because it was also the moment I knew that having a great coach could really make a difference. Carey and Crystal (and Randal and Jeremy and Mike and Lance) have been a priceless influence and inspiration. I’ve learned something awesome from each of them.

This morning, I counted my blessings again as Carey wrote our workout on the whiteboard. Pullups!

Max rounds in 20 minutes:

  • 6 dumbbell cleans, 20-lb. dbs
  • 3/3 dumbbell snatch, 20-lb. db
  • 6 pullups (w/ the band)

I muddled through 8.5 rounds, and I think I’ve finally got the snatch motion embedded in my noggin and my muscles. I’ve got my sight set on those pullups. This morning I used the medium-weight band instead of the widest one, and my first three sets of six were pretty good.

This time next year, I’m determined to be writing about how I did an unassisted pullup, a handstand, and jumped on the tall box for my morning workout. October 1, 2009. You heard it here first.

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