The Open is Closed

This year’s CrossFit Open is in the books. It was marketed as something everyone could do. Clearly, it was not. It seemed aimed at the top tier of athletes. Still, I don’t live on Fantasy Island, so I never harbored any delusions that I would go to Regionals. But I wanted to show myself how far I had come on this journey. I learned so much.

  1.  Double unders – I did them.  I had never done them before, but somehow managed to do 60 of them.  I’ve snagged a few since then, but I also still have much to do to be more consistent with them.

  2. My workout buddy’s jump rope is indeed magic.  I really think that was part of the 60 double unders.  I bought one. 

  3. Sometimes sanity must trump ego. 

  4. I still love deadlifts.  They just get really heavy when you have to do so many of them over a short period of time. 

  5. I have the best workout buddy ever.  We push each other to be better during workouts, we understand each other’s struggles and frustrations, celebrate each other’s victories, and keep it fun. And she has a magic jump rope. 

  6. I can kip. I had been practicing hollow rock/Superman for so long.  Then I hung on the bar repeating these things out loud trying to will my body to perform these moves while I was not on the floor.  And I almost got my head kind of close to the bar in a potential attempt to do a pull up.  Actually, I was working on toes to bar, but does that really matter?  What really matters is that I did it. 

  7. It takes work – a ton of work.  Like considering calling in to work immobile kind of hard work.  I had to be willing to stay late and work hard.  And I was.

  8. Protein.  That is all.
  9. Rowing 60 calories is not bad.  Having eight and a half minutes to work on toes to bar is pretty cool, too.  I worked on them, and worked and worked and worked.  And I did not get one.  But I worked on them the entire time.  If I had quit, I would have missed the opportunity to actually get one. 

  10. Sometimes you have to just forget the clock and break things up into pieces that you can handle.  I was not worried about it because I was not going to Regionals.

  11. You have to have fun. 

  12. When lifting a bar over your head, move your head out of the way.  Don’t ask me how I know, and ignore the purple bruise on my chin. 

  13. I love it when people encourage me.  I love it even more when people will come along side of me and offer practical help – like we are going to knock this out three at a time, or use your legs, or look at the spot where you want to land, or count to three and then give this another try.  If someone yelled at me to pick up the bar, I may or may not have strangled them in my head. 

  14.  Don’t redline.  Watch your heart rate. 

  15. Burpees are terrible.  Bar facing burpees are even worse, because every dream that you have ever had about tripping over a speck of dust and falling on your face in front of a squillion people comes rushing right back at you.  But I did them and did not die.

  16. When I started the last WOD, I had only ever done 8 thrusters at 65lbs.  Breaking them up into sets of three, I did 84 of them.  Bring me a cheeseburger!  But, yeah, without the bread – I’m still Paleo here. 

  17. There is absolutely nothing that is better than being part of a supportive community with coaches who care and want to see everyone be their best. 

So at the end, I still have much to do. The Open is done, but I am not.

So this afternoon, I will be back at the box working. There is less than a year until the next Open.

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Spring Garden

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Spring looks like it finally decided to show up this year, so the veggie garden is going in. This year, we’ve planted purple beans, tomatoes, and squash, as well as keeping up with our onions that miraculously survived the cold winter. In May, we’ll try planting some sweet potatoes. I’d like to try and find the purple ones if I can.

We may try to plant a few more things if space allows, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

I’m hoping to be able to can some tomatoes and potatoes from the garden, as well as freeze some of the beans and squash. We’ll see what happens!

 

 

 

Excuses Stop Here

So I was cruising through the Sunday paper as I was drinking my coffee – a real live paper newspaper – and I came across a title that caught my eye “Justin Bieber is a jerk, and his lawyer says it’s your fault.”  (Just to give fair credit, the author is Leonard Pitts, Jr.)

Awesome.   

I’m not a fan of the Biebs, but as a middle school teacher, I have several young ladies who seriously believe that they are going to grow up and marry this dude.  They are also counting on him actually growing up.  That, in itself, is an interesting thought.

The op/ed article dives in to the rationale of the lawyer for the Biebs, saying that celebrity worship and the need to destroy those who are successful are at fault for his client’s behavior, both during his deposition and just lately in general.  Pitts asserts that others have become famous very young, and have not taken the same road as the Biebs.  He states, “What we see in Bieber, then, seems to say less about celebrity than about one of its unfortunate byproducts: entitlement.  Has anyone ever held this kid accountable for anything?”  He goes on to list some of the excuses made for this guy and his bad behavior made by people who really have no stake in his life, and ends with this interesting note, “So if people really want to help this kid, the answer is simple:  Stop making excuses for him.” 

Biebs is a celebrity version of what so many people in my field deal with on a day to day basis:  entitlement, no accountability, excuses. 

“My student did not do this assignment, BUT (insert excuse here).”

Or if I correct a student for talking or misbehavior, I get, “But I was just (insert excuse here).”

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS GOOD AND RIGHT CAN WE PLEASE CUT THIS OUT???

It is really pretty simple to me.  If a student is not in eminent danger, having a medical emergency, or on fire, there is really no justifiable reason for that person to be talking during instruction.  Odds are, that student will ask a number of questions that I just answered.  And I am not answering them.  Look in the instructions. 

And I do realize that sometimes things happen and assignments do net get completed.  I get that.  It is why we give grace and drop the lowest daily grade.  There is no assignment in my room that a student cannot start in class, work on in class, or ask questions about in class; so not having anything completed is clearly not acceptable.  And the student should be accountable for that.   

I’ve even had parents say to me about other teachers that it is perfectly okay that a child did not turn in an assignment because, “That teacher hates everyone anyways.”  Perfect – send your kid the message that it is okay to not do your best in any situation where someone does not like you. 

Entitlement.  No accountability.  Excuses. 

After discussing Bieber’s entitled attitude at his deposition, Pitts follows with, “If you are treated that way, there’s a good chance that you will behave that way.  Bieber’s deposition is Exhibit A.” 

It is a very frightening thing to me that we could have an entire generation of Biebs on the way.  Arrogant and disrespectful because no one has ever taught them to be humble and take responsibility.  Entitled to everything yet accountable to no one. 

For the love…can we take steps to stop this right now? 

Our children are just that – children.  They are not perfect.  They will make mistakes.  That is part of the learning process.  It is not up to any of us to justify those mistakes away, but to teach our children how to do better the next time.  And it is a good thing to let them know when a behavior does not measure up and why.  Would we ever let our child touch a hot stove?  Of course not!  It would hurt them.  And we tell them “Don’t touch that stove!  It is hot and will burn you!”  And yes, there is the abbreviated version for emergencies and toddlers that still gets the message across. 

But in the same way, are we not hurting our children be allowing them to do things that we clearly know are wrong, and then making excuses and justifying it away? 

Can you imagine what will happen when you are no longer able to justify your child’s behavior or make excuses to get him or her out of trouble? 

Then what? 

Work for it.  Be accountable.  No excuses. 

Is this such a bad set of ideals to hand to the next generation? 

My Crock Pot Rocks – BBQ

It is a cool rainy day here, despite the school districts calling this spring break.  Warm weather or not, this has been our week off of school, and Monday we return for the last quarter of the school year.  This means that the student and teacher alike in this household will be doing a ton during these last nine weeks at school, as well as keeping up with our CrossFit schedule.   Cook dinner when I get home?  Ummm….

Which means it is time for…Super Crock Pot to the rescue!!

If your crock pot is not a super hero, it should be.  It will save you so much stress. 

So right now, I have BBQ going in the crock pot. 

Here is what you need:

Protein – chicken, beef (I like chuck), deer, pork – you choose

BBQ sauce of your choice (I like Stubbs Smokey Mesquite)

Chopped onions – optional

Take the defrosted protein of your choice, trim most of the fat, and place in crock pot.  Cover with BBQ sauce of your choice.  Add onions if you wish.   Put lid on crock pot, set on high, and go away. 

When your protein is done (chicken takes about 4 or so hours, others a bit more depending on thickness), shred it, and let it cool in the sauce.  When it is cool enough, divide into portions and freeze. 

This is great for BBQ baked potatoes, BBQ sandwiches, or just by itself.  This is one of those great dishes for lunches, too.  Pack it in a small enough container, and it will defrost during the day while you work. 

Thank you, Super Crock Pot! 

CrossFit Community – We Took It Back

So what is there to say about the Thursday Night Throwdown at the box last night?

We took the Open back!

It was so much fun, and it showcased one of the very best parts about CrossFit – our community.  So many people came together to make Wrestlemania look small time in comparison to this event.  We had a professional announcer/dj who gave us both an introduction that suited us, and let us pick our own music to run out to.  We had snacks and punch made by the best bartender ever.  We had judges that gave up their evening to do this.  We had a photographer who captured the good, the bad, and the downright ugly of the WOD.  We had a ton of people who came to cheer us on, and those who could not be there sent Facebook messages encouraging us. 

We had our loving, supportive, and quirky community surrounding us for 14.3…and it was awesome! 

And it is for this that I am grateful. 

Because without this loving, supportive, and quirky community, none of us would be where we are today.  Without my workout buddy who pushes me, I would still be using the 8lb wall ball and not stretching myself in any other way.  Without the people who celebrate every small accomplishment with me, I don’t think I would truly have a picture of how much progress I have made.  And I am happy to turn around and do the same for those who have given so much to me. 

So who got the most reps on 14.3?  My workout buddy kicked tail end and did.  I am so proud of her!

And I am so proud of all of us for taking the Open back! 

Green Bean and Pork Skillet

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This is super simple and quick.  Make some and use it for lunches or go to suppers for the week.

You will need:

Boneless pork chops cut into thin strips

Green beans – fresh or frozen

Your favorite grilling spice blend (I like Penzey’s Mural of Flavor)

Fat of Choice

Heat the fat of your choice in the skillet (I love my iron skillet for this).  Add pork, season, stir, and cook until pork is browned.  Then add green beans, season, and cook until the green beans are done, stirring occasionally. 

And that’s it.  Quick, only four ingredients, and makes awesome leftovers. 

Enjoy! 

We’re Taking It Back

“The Crossfit Open is for everyone” was the marketing slogan this year.  “Come Join the Party” they said. 

That sounded awesome. 

So I did my research, talked to my coaches and workout buddy, and registered.  After all, in looking at the WODs from prior Opens, most of them contained something I could do…that most of us could do.  Several of the people in my box registered; all of us excited and ready to go. 

But by the second WOD, the dude in charge of the Open seemed to have forgotten his own marketing slogan.  He wanted to “make it more difficult, to change up the leaderboard.”  And the WOD he designed proved it.  Divisive was the best word for it. 

I’m not bitter because I can’t do a 65lb overhead squat.  That is something I need to work on doing.  I’m unhappy with how the Open director seems to think that the average Crossfitter should be able to do chest to bar. 

FOR REAL?? 

I’ve been doing Crossfit for a little over a year, and have spent the past two months doing extra work so that maybe I can snag a pull-up without a band.  I’m not there yet.  And to hear that chest to bar is something that an average Crossfitter should be able to do is more than discouraging.  I cannot even imagine how the people who have been doing this longer than I have and still struggle feel.  And the poor newbies…yikes. 

And all of those people on the message board saying that others who are unhappy with this just need to shut up and work harder need to just back that truck up.  It is not a matter of hard work here.  It is a matter of bad marketing.  Yes, we all know that difficult moves have been in the WODs before, but the regular folks will still be working on those 150 wall balls or however many burpees that came first.  And we will be winning against ourselves. 

But clearly, this dude is invested in the top of the leaderboard and seeing how he can manipulate them, much like that old 80’s movie Clash of the Titans where the gods sit around their chessboard controlling the people whose figurines they have. 

If he wants to play it that way, fine. 

But we are taking the Open back. 

My workout buddy and I are meeting in a head to head contest at our box as soon as the workout is announced.  We don’t need professionals to show us how it is done.  We need people just like us to show that something can be done.  If the WOD starts with muscle ups, then we are just going to hang around trying vainly to do those because a number of the people in our box will be doing the exact same thing.  Burpees – done.  We can do those.  Hand stand push ups…well, those are questionable. 

But most importantly, we are taking back what the Open tried to take from us – our community.  We are a hodgepodge of people; all of us in different places and all wanting to improve.  We laugh, love, support, tape, motivate, spot, encourage, and WOD together…all while trying to maintain our dignity and sense of humor. 

Already, we have a photographer, a publicity person, a small Facebook following, an announcer, one of the best bartenders in the area, snacks, a repurposed trophy, judges, and amazing people at our box who have already put this event on their calendar. 

This is what it is all about – our community.

And we are taking it back.