Posted in Crossfit, Depression, Yoga

Fun and Anxiety

Today at Crossfit was a lot of fun.  It was a WoD that mostly played to my strengths and I beat Will’s time by 3 minutes-ish, so I was pretty pleased with myself on that front.  I really like weights, so most of the WoDs involving weights are going to be ones I like, as was the case today.  After last week being difficult, it was nice to know I hadn’t lost my Crossfit mojo.

Mondays are my day off.  I have a pretty flexible schedule as a freelance writer and as a tarot reader (I have like 50 jobs currently).  I realized early on that I needed to set aside one day for myself where I didn’t deal with work.  I still sometimes end up conducting interviews, checking emails, making appointments and other things here and there on a Monday, but fundamentally it is my day off.  Downtime.

Sometimes I deal well with downtime, and sometimes my free floating anxiety attaches to whatever it can and makes for a miserable day.  Today has been when one of those days where my brain is spinning out on me, worried about things that either do not matter or are out of my control.  I’ve meditated, I’ve tried reading, and I’ve tried a few other tricks I know, but to no avail.  The worst thing for me is having to wait to move on things.  There are a lot of things I could do, but most of them have to be done tomorrow.  I need to have something to think about, something to do.  I finally decided to bug Will with it – his own fault, he asked me what I was up to and I was currently up to making myself anxious over trifles.  He suggested we go for a run.

Well, yeah.  Duh.  I think this is part of why I need him around (don’t tell him that, though, it will merely feed his rather large ego).  He thinks of things that are obvious and good solutions, but that I would not come up with myself as I am sitting in the throes of anxious-over-nothing.  Do I know that doing something physical will help me?  Yes.  Is it one of the things I try to do when I am dealing with a misbehaving brain?  No.  The exercise thing is still too new a concept for me to apply it to my daily life readily.

That is going to change.

We didn’t run far.  Basically we did a loop around the half block here, so not very far at all, however the anxiety is gone.  Will kept pace with me, walked when I walked (although I did run over half of it), and generally had me laughing by the time we got back home.   Running around the block has been his go-to exercise for a few weeks now for when he is sleepy, bored, annoyed, or whatever other unpleasant emotion is plaguing him.  I think that I am done talking about maybe joining sometime (I could make that vaguer, right?) and at the point where I am just going to go with him when he goes.  It does not take long to run (or run/walk) around the block.  Also, I will be able to chart my progress as I know our block very well.  If I do this often enough, maybe running won’t be such a huge ordeal.  Today it was kind of fun.  First the half block, then the whole block, and as I get one section down to running nonstop, I can add more.

Depression and anxiety are two things I am very familiar with dealing with as I have had both since high school, maybe longer.  I have a made the conscious effort to do Crossfit three times a week and yoga twice a week because that is a good pre-emptive strike at depression and anxiety.  On days where I do physical activity that is strenuous, I tend to be happy and less prone to anxiety.  Considering today was a Crossfit day, I should not technically even be having the anxiety issues, but there are always exceptions.  I have a whole bag of tricks that I use to nullify their influence in my life, but I just realized that most of those tricks are sedentary in nature.  Exercise is a new trick that works really well and almost instantaneously.  I just need to remember exercise and use it more often.

Posted in Crossfit

Crossfit: Killer Week Thus Far

I go to Crossfit Simple about three times a week for Crossfit and twice a week for yoga.  This week has been totally kicking my butt.  First off, I gave up sugar so that has been a drag.  Then the first Crossfit Workout of the Day (WOD) this week was hugely fun, but kind of insane.  I really enjoy the insane workouts because I feel pretty accomplished after.  The insane workouts are the ones where just finishing feels like I have accomplished something great and wondrous.  In this workout, we ran a lap with a weight (I had 25# and Will had 45#), bear crawled the length of the field, ran back.  Then we did 21 alternating box jumps (super freaking fun!), 21 kettle bell swings, and 21 cleans.  Then we did this again lowering the number of box jumps, kettlebells, and cleans to 15, then again to 9.  The running and bear crawl in between each set were particularly killer for me as I am not a good runner.  (Yet.)

About midway through this, I am thinking to myself “I do not know if I am going to be able to finish this one.”  My vision kept graying out to that tunnel right before you pass out, which is annoying.  My lungs were furious with me.  However, once I got past that point, it became easier again.  It is like once my body knows I am not going to cave in to it, it figures that it might as well finish things up because then I am not torturing it anymore.

The next workout was a partner WOD.  The funny thing about partner WOD’s is they always seem to come on mornings when I am ready to kill Will.  He was complaining about my driving, asking if I had caffeine that morning (I haven’t had caffeine for two years now except in cases of emergencies), and then just generally gaslighting me.  By the time we walked into Crossfit Simple, I just wanted to choke him.  His version of these events center around me being terribly impatient as a driver and grumpy to boot, and some other valid complaints I tuned out.  At any rate, for some reason on days I want to kill Will we have partner WOD’s.  Partner WOD’s involve having to work together – something Will takes very seriously.  As far as he is concerned, we should work well together as a team and partner WOD’s are just practice for real life teamwork.  He wants to strategize with me.  Come up with a plan of attack.

I like partner WOD’s because they usually allow for some down time or a little bit of rest in between doing things.  For some reason, this particular one just kicked my butt.  It was three rounds for time of 15 pullups (my scaled version was jumping pullups), 25 knees to elbows (or in my scaled version, knees to as high as I can get them, Scott calls them frog kicks), 35 burpees (burpees are a tool of the devil) and then 4 laps.  Scott said normally the numbers were even but he wanted to add a little tension to the WOD – since I was annoyed with Will I was more than happy with this.  In partner WOD’s he tends to do more than I do.

For some reason, my brain thought this would be fairly easy.  I knew the running would be hard – it always is for me, but the rest seemed fairly straightforward and I got to split it up with Will.  In May, I will have been doing this for a year, but I still do not have a good idea of what is easy and what isn’t.  I think I need to just assume that everything is going to be harder than I anticipate that way I am pleasantly surprised. While the previous day was challenging, the partner WOD was even more so.  By the time I got home, I needed to curl up in a fetal position for a little while simply because my abs were so mad at me and most of the rest of my body was equally shaky and displeased.

This was the second WOD in a week where midway through I was afraid I was going to have to quit.  The graying out thing was happening, but it was weirdly worse and I had a harder time breathing (one night, ONE night where I didn’t take my allergy medication – what gives, lungs?).  I actually went outside at one point as I was afraid I was not going to be able to catch my breath or that I might pass out.  The graying out on this day became a bit narrower of a tunnel, so I knew I needed to get my breathing evened out and my head between my knees or I was going to hit the ground in an embarrassing thud.  However, I was able to get both back to normal and go back in and finish.  Again, the victory was in completing the WOD.

On the way home talking this over with Will, he was irritated I went outside where no one could help me.  What was there to help?  I know what I feel like and what I see before I pass out because I’ve passed out enough that I recognize it.  You breathe as evenly and deeply as possible, put your head between yours knees, and then you simply make yourself not pass out.   Mind over body.  Easy peasy.  As for breathing, no one can really help with that.  Someone standing by, hovering, would have just made things worse.  It is harder to get your body under control when you have someone nearby who is being worried at you.

Two workouts in a row where I wanted to quit midway through is not the norm for me.  I was a bit worried that we had somehow fallen through a weird vortex where we lost skill points or something.  Were we regressing?

I asked Scott if we were regressing or if the workouts were harder.  Thank God he replied that he was giving us more cardio since we tend to need work in that area as we are good on strength and form.  It was a relief to know that he was just helping us get better at something we are not particular great at (yet) and not that we fell behind somehow when I wasn’t looking.

One of the joys of Crossfit is that it is always hard.  By the time I get something down enough that it becomes easy, I then level up the scale to a harder version.  I feel like this means that regardless of anything else, I am always getting better, getting stronger, and getting more physically fit.  The first few WODs after leveling up are a bit demoralizing, but pretty satisfying as I feel like I am one step closer to being where I want to be.  And I want to be kickass.  As long as I finish the WOD’s, I think I can be.