Thursday, February 25, 2010

This Week in Crossfit

Yeah, I deadlifted 225.
Now my butt hurts.
Today, there will be running (or at least "a" run) outside, as well as rowing, double unders, burpees, box jumps.
But, the lesson I learned this week was from watching other people. It's like grade school, when you get bored, and then you look over to see what someone else is doing. Hey, what answer does she have? But, unfortunately, Crossfit doesn't work that way. It doesn't matter what anyone else is doing.
Why is Person X so much faster than me? Maybe she's doing knee push ups, or maybe she's sacrificing form for time. But who cares.
Because it's only about what I'm doing.
Since I hurt my shoulder, I've had to slow down, concentrate on form. Think while doing. On Monday, I had to do 26 pushups by doing 26 sets of 1 push up. After each one, I thought about my shoulders, made sure they were in the correct position, then did the next one. I was painfully slow. But the pushups were not painful.
The lesson I learned, ergo, (and again, I might add), is Forget Everyone Else. It's not a race. It's about what I'm doing, compared to what I have done or can do.
As James, the trainer, would say, That's some Zen shit.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Movies = Good

I don't really have anything to say (not a good start to a blog post, perhaps), but I needed to get that Death post out of here. On to happier things!
Middlebrow and I, somehow, against all odds, have actually watched a few movies lately, all of them good. "District 9," "Crazy Heart," and "The Class."
We are stuck somewhere, stylistically, between last year and, say, January. But we are catching up. We will never be caught up, but always, somewhere, in the process. The present progressive. The -ing.
Even when movies are bad, they are diverting. But after watching "The Class" last night, Middlebrow made some sweeping generalization that I agreed with, something about seeing movies like "The Class" and being turned off by Hollywood movies. Which is why, I told him, I will never see "Avatar."
Now, I've heard all your reasons, and they have been noted. But, and this is most important, do I really have 3 hours to waste on this movie? The answer, my friends, is no. There are many, many other movies I need to see and books I need to read. So I will be skipping "Avatar."
Middlebrow, however, still plans on seeing it. For "research" purposes or whatever. But that is three hours I could fill otherwise. Like seeing that stupid Leap Year movie. I know, it will be stupid. But do I care? No, I do not.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dear Death, I am Against You

We don't know each other, though I have seen you before, in the fate of friends. I know you are an inevitable part of life, that I should just accept you, the way I accept rain and oxygen. And sometimes, I can accept that you are like rain, soft, necessary, productive. Without death, where would the cycle of life be?
No, death, I am not talking about your kinder, inevitable side. I'm talking about when you show up where you know you don't belong, in the lives of children, the young, the healthy. Where life could go on perfectly well without you.
I don't say this for myself, as I have been blessed in my life. No, I speak for friends whose lives you have shattered by arriving suddenly, seemingly without warning, wreaking havoc on perfectly lovely people who have done you no wrong.
Death, isn't it time for a lovely vacation, say maybe in some place cold and sparsely populated, some place where you couldn't hit anyone with your deadly glares because no one lives there? Some place not here, not near the people I love and care for.
Just take a break, death. I know, inevitable, cycle of life, yadda yadda yadda. You'll be back. We all know that. We know. We won't forget about you. It'd just be nice if we didn't have to be reminded of you each day, every day.
Death, we need a few days off.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Balance, On Seeking

Today, for the first time in a long time, I went to yoga. Now, most of you probably know that I have been doing Crossfit since April, and since I picked that up, the time I spend swimming and doing yoga has dwindled and finally disappeared.
But a recurring shoulder injury has forced me to slow down, to reassess what I do and why, and yes, how. I've been thinking about range of motion and flexibility. I'm stronger than I have ever been in my life. And leaner. But I'm less flexible. And now my shoulder doesn't work the way it should.
So I sought solace in yoga. I first started doing yoga in college, actually. It was a PE credit and it was fun, but it didn't change my life. I don't remember much about it except thinking that the thin, hippy-ish teacher was hitting on a friend of mine from women's studies. Then I started going again in Bellingham and got pretty into it. I went to a school there that was in Fairhaven. Then I did yoga with a friend in my studio apartment.
I've done yoga off and on here, searching for the right teacher, the right class. A few years ago, I went fairly often to a yoga class that is close to my house. I started going less when I started running and swimming, but still went once a week or so. Usually less. Then I started going to another studio because I like the guy who owns it. Then I started Crossfit.
When I started Crossfit, all my time and money went to that.
So I went today looking for some help with my injury. And there was less stretching in the class than I needed, but, as usual with yoga (for me at least) I heard what I needed to hear, namely the idea of Disconnecting. I've already held forth on this in the comments over at Counterintuitive's blog, but let me just hold forth here.
The idea of Disconnecting is that we are all over committed. We have schedules and we try to fill them. The idea of disconnecting is trying to lessen that, trying to unplug, leaving holes in our schedules. Free time. Remember that?
The other thing the teacher did was read a poem by Wendell Berry. The line she focused on was something about the grace of the world. What I took from her was the idea that the world is amazing, and we are always trying to fill our lives with activities, some of which distract us from the amazing-ness of the world. Why not try to just be idle for a while? A few minutes? An hour? And just be in the grace of the world.
It reminded me that I constantly struggle with myself, tell myself that I'm not doing enough, not being enough, not lifting enough, not writing enough, not spending enough time with Son, not reading enough, not doing enough for my students, not running enough.
Today I received the perfect reminder that it's okay to do nothing. It's okay to take time off from being amazing and just listen and look and breathe.
I think yoga may be the balance I need right now. Where Crossfit is intense, yoga is reflective. You can't rush through it. You have to be in it.
Good lesson.