Angie Smashed My Cupcake and Made Me Cry

[photo of smashed cupcake, which so accurately represents
my workout today, from Cake Spy]

Angie seems to have gathered her strength in the last three months. Many of my favorite CrossFit ladies – including Erika, Georgia, Erin, and Jessica – have written about their recent battle with Angie.

Here’s my own tale of woe…

Angie made me cry. For real. Twice.

Not because the workout hurt, but because I was so f*cking frustrated. The pullups were just not happening. Just not.

I used the blue band, and the best I could do was two or three in a row. I can usually get a faux kip going with the band, but this morning, I had no kip, which meant a lot of pull. Which meant my arms pooped out fairly early in the experience.

And I quit.

I think in my entire history of CrossFit, I’ve only NOT completed a workout two times. It’s just not usually in my nature to give up. I might scale or be the last to finish, but damn it! I will finish.

Not today.

I just couldn’t make myself care about completing all the reps – at the same time that I was frustrated and disappointed that I wasn’t doing it.


I started with situps and squats to make the warmup longer because it was so freaking cold. 30 degrees. Dark. Bone-chilling, even in my Under Armor pants, mock turtleneck, hooded sweatshirt, hat, and gloves. I was padded out like the Michelin man, and I was still cold.

I knocked out the situps and squats, easy-peasy, then got on the damn blue band. At around 40, my eyes were burning with tears because my monster was saying things like, “You’re not getting any better. In fact, you’re doing worse! This is your worst Angie ever! God! A year ago, you did 70 pullups with the blue band.” At 60, I gave up because there were only five minutes left before the 25-minute cutoff, and “at least I’m good at pushups.”

Except I wasn’t today.

I was on pushup 35 or so when I started crying AGAIN. Crystal called ‘time’ when I was on number 60 and asked, “Mel, are you going to keep going?

I said no.

Can you even? Given the option, I decided to stop. I just could not make myself commit to doing 40 more pushups.

I know! Where’s the “Never cheat. Never quit.” mantra now?!

Since then, I’ve been trying to sort out what’s up. Here’s what I’ve come up with – not excuses, but trying to find some kind of explanation for myself so I don’t have a total “I suck” meltdown:

1. It was so very cold.

2. I’ve had two bad nights of sleeping from cedar allergies. Waking up very frequently to cough. Sleeping sitting up to try to avoid the coughing.

3. I did 5X5 heavy bench press yesterday, so my pull and my pushups were compromised today.

Those explanations all seem reasonble, but they don’t take away the sting of a failed workout. Tomorrow is a rest day, and I intend to go to bed early and sleep late in the morning. There may even be some Nyquil in my future to help with the nighttime coughing.

And happily, Thursday is another workout day.

As Erika said this morning, “Tomorrow will be better; its potential to be the best day of your life is never ending.”

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  • Amber says:

    It sounds like your cedar allergies are like my cottonwood allergies. I'm so sorry. Tomorrow does have so much potential. Get a good nights sleep and it will all seem possible 🙂

  • Amy says:

    After 3 1/2 months of not working out I got back on my grizzly yesterday. Ouch. Angie!

    It was a rude awakening. My workout pants are very tight in the bottom.

    Also, I wear 11's and have wide feet. Thanks for the shoe recommendation!!

    Hang in there sister. You are inspiring and it's good to hear that workouts are hard for the workout pro's too!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Thanks, Amber. May your allergies leave you immediately!

    Amy, trust me… every workout is hard. They don't get easier. I just get used to being uncomfortable. 😉

  • barbara says:

    Mel…my battle with " Angie" hurt too…seriously scaled back and in pain.

  • anniebug says:

    PLUS…you gotta count the million times harder because it's in that treacherous weather! The bar was so cold, I felt my fingers stick to it!

  • Jessica says:

    I'm right there with you, sister. Sometimes regardless of how much intention I have for kicking butt, I just don't do it for whatever reason. What I've come to learn is that failure is a part of success and we have to remember not to fear it. What's the worst that can happen?! We will one day be writing each other about how good it feels to finally Rx Angie in under 20 minutes. I promise!!! You're a Warrior!

  • Erin Clare says:

    "Never cheat." You never have.
    "Never quit." You never did. Nor have you. Nor will you.

    It's not a mantra that is to be applied because of one day where your body tells you, "today, i ain't having none of it." Because come Thursday, you'll be sending out a different message. And that, my friend, is no quitter. Not in my eyes.

    I love you, you crazy-ass fitness monster. I don't love the vision of the smashed cupcake though. That just plain breaks my heart!!

  • georgia says:

    That Erika…I swear, sometimes, she's like a fairy put on this earth to whisper those perfectly-timed somethings in our ear that warm our hearts and correct our perspective. Love that girl!

    As for Angie, believe-you-me, I am intimately aware of how haunting an incomplete or (in my eyes) failed workout feels. But just think, you got out of bed and you did something fantastic for yourself. You moved your body. You challenged your mind. You even challenged your spirit. And, you lived to fight another day. Next time you'll smash that cupcake in pretty-little-cheerleader-perfect Angie's face!

  • Lory says:

    Adding to Annie's PLUS… CFC has been closed for 2 weeks! Even though I know you are a rockstar that has the dedication to work out when the gym is closed, you've been missing all the crazy crossfit energy without the xfit women!

    Come April, Angie is going to get a huge beat down by all of us disgruntled warriors!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    It's been a long day of talking myself out of feeling miserable, but thanks to all you beautiful people listed above — and Blake and Erika and Dave and the Moxy-Boss — I'm feeling excited about my rest day tomorrow and my workout on Thursday.

    What is it about me (us? CrossFit?) that makes me (us?) minimize the accomplishments we acheive every day?

    I mean, there are two ways to look at my Angie performance today:

    1. I didn't do 40 pullups and 40 pushups that were prescribed.

    2. I did 60 pullups, 60 pushups, 100 situps, and 100 squats.

    I'm trying to get to a real place of being proud of #2 without it being followed by a "but." It's a fine line between expecting a lot — the best — of oneself and undermining success by demanding perfection.

    Thank you EVERYONE for picking me up today.

    When we meet Angie again in April, we'll all be ready to give her a what-for.

  • Catherine Hart Rebholz says:

    I halved that stupid thing and it took me LONGER than when I did the WHOLE thing last time. Pa-the-tic!!!

    I think Angie was just having very bad PMS and didn't feel like hanging out with any of us.

    And listen to Erin, you have never cheated and you have never quit. Nope. Not ever.

  • Aaron says:


    All the outstand people who commented above are right.

    There is a picture you've got posted on the left of your blog, just below your lingo definitions. Go read it.

    So you cried today? That's not cupcake, that's not being a baby. Everybody has bad training days. But it was a training day. You got up this morning, in the cold, and got after a freaking tough workout. Be proud of that.

    Be patient:

    And next time, smack Angie around like a redheaded stepchild 😉