Monday, May 28, 2012

Confidence comes from hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication. - Roger Staubach

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 313:

I spent some time on my floor this evening, in the infamous "starfish" pose, in a puddle of my own sweat, with ice packs on both knees, pondering all the things I wanted to tell you about tonight, BlogLand. It is a glamorous life I lead, I know.

I rolled out of bed this morning, ready to feel hit-by-truck syndrome, but thanks to some well placed Tiger Balm (seriously, I should buy stock in this company) and a few Ibuprofen, my feet hit the floor and I was in minimal discomfort. My ankles (old injuries) were a wee bit stiff from yesterday's time road-running, but loosened up after wandering around my house for 10-15 minutes or so. I think I've figured out how to best "recover" my body from unusual exertions.

Being Memorial Day, there was a lot on my list of things to do. Not the least of which was CrossFit's Infamous Memorial Day Murph WOD. I didn't make it to the class this morning (I genuinely needed the sleep), but promised myself I would get it done before the day was out. Memorial Day is about something much bigger than a BBQ, and I intended to honor that, at least in this small way, by committing to this WOD of remembrance.

However, being such a beautiful day, FIRST I decided to set forth on my inaugural kayak voyage for the season!
Not my most photogenic moment, but hey, you get the idea. I made a couple of interesting observations during this experience. First, learning how to do a Clean & Press in CrossFit does, in fact, have a real world application: ever gotten your kayak from the ground, to the rack over your head? Yep! Let's just say it was significantly easier this year, than it has been before. ALSO, with 50+ less pounds than I had the last time I went kayaking, it was really interesting to see how much easier it was. Getting in and out of the kayak I had more mobility, I didn't feel squeezed in when I was in the kayak, and the whole experience was just more pleasurable - not riddled with little discomforts. Yay for unforeseen benefits!

A lovely meandering paddle upstream (against the current!), then a jaunt back downstream clocked my buddy and I in at around 2.5 hours. I admit, I was grateful to see the shoreline at this point - my rusty kayak muscles (which seem to be my traps), were getting pretty fatigued at this point. It had gotten to the point, in the last 10 minutes, where I employed the same mindset I do with running sometimes - just getting lost in the mindless rhythm of left, right, left, right... to get through it.

Back to my Paternal Unit's house to drop of the kayak for storage, snag a 20 minute before-dinner nap and have some food. Finishing dinner, I remembered that I had promised myself I would Murph before the day was out. I better get a move on.

Getting home and preparing to Murph, I noticed I had made a stellar accomplishment today. While I had sunscreened my face and arms, etc. I apparently did not sunscreen my legs. For any of your veteran kayakers, you'll understand when I say that it can leave you with the weirdest sunburn known to man. My crowning accomplishment looks like this:
What that is, is a raging sunburn covering my inner knee/thigh, and making a very dramatic line down the middle of my knee and down the side of my calf. I have a matching one on the right leg. Here's the best part: if you look closely at that picture, you can also see the ridiculous results of wearing the same pair of capri pants for two sunny races in a row.

I think I have already won the contest for most outrageous tan lines. Stop trying people; my inability to do anything but burn in weird ways over the summer makes me a clear shoe-in victory.

However, it was starting to get that stingy-ouchy feeling. Slathering on some Aloe, I ignored it as best as I could and got to work on the Murph.

The Memorial Day Murph WOD:
1 mile run
100 Pull Ups
200 Push Ups
300 Squats
1 mile run

It's a doozy and one of the longer WODs in CrossFit. The movements are relatively simple, and you're allowed to break up the maneuvers however you want, as long as you complete them all and start/end with a one mile run. Simple, right? SO WRONG.

I was determined to get through this one, this year, because last year at this time, CrossFit had just popped on my radar. I had taken a tour of the gym on memorial day and seen all the crazies getting after this WOD. I was horribly intimidated and 100% sure I could never do it. Today, I would do it.

My game plan was to rotate through them in sets of 20, until the pull ups (my weakest link) were done, then get through the push ups and squats as best as possible. I know, it was a highly technical plan.

I was doing pull ups at home, with the aid of a stool (I only put one leg on it to make it a little harder on myself...). I got busy. 10 with help from my right leg, 10 with help from my left. Down for the push ups. Up for the squats. So far, so good. Round 2. Round 3.

Then, it got hard. BlogLand, my upper body is crappy. There is a reason several people jokingly post T-Rex pictures to my FB Wall. I struggled hard through the last set of pull ups. 100 Pull ups. Done.

... but I was still left with something in the neighborhood of 100 push ups, and a 160+ squats.

I got back down to my knees for push ups. The sunburn on my knees felt like battery acid when I knelt on it, and a creeping burn with every squat. I plodded forward. 2/3 of the way through, I was not stopping now, but I sure as hell was no longer having any fun.

At pushup #124, my arms failed. I got to the bottom of my push up and Up wasn't happening at that moment.

I will be honest here, BlogLand, I cried a little bit. I know this is a particularly hard WOD that exploits a lot of my weak areas. However, it is even more difficult for me for my mind to be strong, but my body to *still* not be willing. I have spent the last year making a lot of changes and overcoming a lot of challenges, and committing to a new lifestyle. To be part way through a WOD and seriously have to consider whether you are legitimately physically able to do it, is the most frustrating thing in the world, after you've spent 6 days a week for the last year training your body so that it can. Hence, I was face down in my ugly brown carpet, sweat dripping into my eyes, while tears poured out of them.

With that frustration, I rotated through some more squats (which I can do, even those they were getting sore), and back to the push ups. I was bound and determined that even if it took me all night, I was finishing this WOD.

Angry tears trickled down my face during the last 20 push ups, as I was doing them in sets of 2. Literally. Down, Up. Down, Up. Rest. Repeat. It hurt. My muscles were protesting, my arms were wobbling. It was like trying to use jello to push my gigantic self off the floor. But finally, I was done. 200 push ups.

With only 30 squats left, I stood up, and went to work.

Counting out that last squat was the most beautiful moment of the day. I promptly marked it in my book, then grabbed two ice packs and starfished on the floor, as it was the coolest place in my apartment.

The ice packs were for the sun burn on my knees. Who knew that would be the ouchiest part, immediately following Murphing?!

Nonetheless, I was done. I finished it. 58 minutes and 30 seconds. Complete with crying breaks. LOL. (Sometimes, it is challenging being an emotionally centered human.)

I am also happy to report that while I detested every last second of it, I also completed my food log for the weekend - accounting for the post-race beer and pizza, as well as the cookies I ate today. I hated it. I hate detailing that. But I WANT to lose the rest of this weight, and I will. If I need to detail my food in order to figure out how to make that happen, so be it.

It was a day full of angry successes, I suppose.

Now, I'm off to slather on some more aloe and get some sleep....
Happy Memorial Day, All... and remember as you go to sleep, safe and sound in your comfortable beds, all those who have given their lives to allow you that privilege.


  1. excellent post as always :)

  2. You're really taking control of your health but part of that is your skin. Wear sunscreen! Don't flirt with skin cancer.