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I made the very mature determination yesterday not to go to the gym today.  No, really.  After a week that started with an obstacle race last Saturday, and included Fight Gone Bad on Wednesday and working on snatches yesterday, my legs are smoked, and Saturday WODs always involve running.  This year has been rough on my body, with my Achilles tendons mysteriously tight and cramping after only a mile or two every time I run despite spending the last two years running half marathons with no trouble at all… and I need to heal.

But it’s hard.

Sure, I understand the principle of rest days.  I even know that I feel better after I take them.  But sitting around cleaning the kitchen while everyone else plays is no better at thirty-five than it was at five, or fifteen.  And that’s what gym time is for me right now, playtime.

I got bitten by the Crossfit bug, inducted into the cult, whatever you want to call it, two years ago (on November 21, but who’s counting?).  At the time I weighed in somewhere between 180 and 190 (probably; I stopped weighing in after 170) and on my first day the coach handed me the 10 lb medicine ball and I couldn’t even hit the target 10 times in a row. 

Now, let me back this up a little more.  I have always been physically strong.  I mean, “strong for a girl” and “objectively strong.”  And so have my friends.  We’re the ones that get that case of paper off the top shelf for you and change the water cooler bottle.  The ones who carry the keg in from the truck.  Who grew up bucking hay.  So the idea that I couldn’t squat down and then toss a 10 lb ball nine feet in the air was utterly foreign to me. 

I did three rounds of that WOD.  Everyone else did five.  I was hooked.

Now I weigh in around 155, but wear clothes 3-4 sizes smaller than I did at the start (Crossfit makes you bulky! nuh-unh!)  I can front squat my bodyweight and back squat more, and deadlift double.  And I can’t get enough. 

And today I’m staying home because I know it improves performance overall and I’m halfway through another Whole30 and I know the energy is about to kick in and the fat is about to come off, if it’s anything like the last one (although I’ve been dying for a peanut butter brownie and a glass of red wine – not together, I promise) for a week) but oh. my . GAWD.

I want to go pick up heavy things and throw them down.  I want to feel the special exhaustion that I know is the start of my recovery curve. 

But most of all, it’s been a really really stressful couple of weeks, and I want my fucking meditiation, ok?  We’re in the middle of major life changes (new job, hopefully new house, which may have been derailed by new job, new dog to fit into my pack because Granddad died and so now the greyhound and Weimaraner have to figure out this 11 lb shithead who is actually quite a good dog only he’s never had to deal with not being the center of attention so even though he’s miraculously not spoiled he’s still pushy and willful because hey, Dachshund…) and the thing about Crossfit…

The thing is…

When you’re working out, that’s all you can do.

It’s not like going to a 24 hour fitness where you do your circuit on the machines and rest in between sets and talk to your friends.  When the 10-second clock hits GO, you go.  And all you do is count.  Sets and reps and if you have ANY brain left you try to figure out how to budget your breathing for the next set.  It’s like counting sheep.  It’s part of what makes Fight Gone Bad one of the most mentally challenging WODs for me, trying to make my counts match or exceed what I did in the last minute, without running out of steam entirely for the next exercise.  I have a really busy brain usually (could you tell? I bet you couldn’t tell) and just being able to Shut. It. Off. for fifteen minutes is this incredible blessing that I’m as hooked on as I am on any of the physical improvements I see in myself. 

So I’m sad today to be staying home and cleaning the kitchen up and doing food prep for a get-together with friends today (I’m doing a really awesome spicy root vegetable mash to go with roast and gravy, plus making ghee because, dude, we’re out. I’m not sure The Boy (who yes, needs a special blogname, but whatever) understands about portion control for cooking fat?) instead of (yes, we’re still in this sentence, WHAT.) going to the Saturday team WOD and seeing all my friends and getting properly tired out.   Instead of “meditating” I’m dumping here.  And I’m not going to pout, much, because I know this will make me better, faster, stronger next week, but oh, I love the gym.

I still hate wall balls, though.