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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Are we defined by what we have, who we are or what we do?

CrossFit WODThe past few weeks have involved shed-loads of stuff – literally! Tony’s had his surgery, made a great recovery and then got an infection that has set him back a bit. One of my dearest friends got married – that was fun, although Tony’s deteriorating condition meant I had to leave the party early. I did some CrossFit, although actual wods are a bit of a blur, to be honest. We had help putting our shed up. The thing is, if you listened to what I said, the whole month would have been about Tony. I don’t know how many times I told story 1 (operation, larger than expected tumour, excellent recovery, home, catheterised, after 24 hours) or story 2 (plummeting health after removal of catheter, rocketing temperature, mental fog, inability to sleep, dehydration) but it started to feel like I was reciting it as soon as anybody came into my eyeline, like a Pavlovian dog hearing a bell ring. In amongst all that I managed to train twice a week. In fact I’d just finished a wod when Tony rang to say he’d come round from the anaesthetic, and the surgeon had told him it hadn’t been two small tumours but one large one and the operation had therefore been ‘more extensive’. I had a quiet cry on a 22” box and coach Marta came and gave me a hug and some encouragement. It was actually a great place, and a great moment, to receive difficult news, because I didn’t have any adrenaline to give to it, I had to just accept it as fact. But cancer does come to define you, whether you’re the person with it, or the person who’s relaying the information about the person with it. It’s great that people care, and it’s great to be able to talk about it, but I’m starting to feel like a professional cancer communicator. CrossFit shed raisingSo on Sunday we had a shed-raising. Tony and I would usually do all the work in our garden ourselves, but he’s not really ready to take on major projects and we wanted to get the shed up before the end of the summer. A dozen lovely CrossFitters pitched up, along with other friends, to drink beer, eat barbecue and help us build stuff. The weather was hot, the company great and the shed was assembled in no time flat, so ‘team Connect’ moved onto the fences! I think our neighbours were amazed. We had two gorgeous women sitting on their roof, person-handling fence panels in place, while a stalwart chap essentially got the panels to bed down by doing chin-ups on them! Small (but exceedingly strong) children carried chunks of wood around (thank you Leo and Ada May) while other people just mucked in and fetched and carried and hammered and … basically proved we don’t use machines, we are machines. I served food and watched. We never doubted that CrossFit was a way of life, not just an exercise regime, but having so many people show up to help us really confirmed our understanding. If we are defined by what we do, we’re CrossFitters, even if – like Tony – we can’t currently train. If CrossFit is defined by who does it, then it’s much more than just functional fitness – it’s a way of creating communities that take action to support each other. On Sunday we were the grateful recipients of help. CrossFit boxOn Monday morning our box flooded. We got down there about 11am, when most of the hard work had been done, but we still mopped up a bit and moved stuff around, and I took some home-made ice-cream along. Today there will be no classes, which feels weird, because even if we’re not training, we tend to check and discuss the whiteboard at the end of the day. We were glad to be able to help a bit, and if it floods tomorrow, we’ll go down and move stuff again. The CrossFit games happened. I know who won, but the whole of the rest of it went straight past me – it just wasn’t significant in my life this year. But CrossFit itself is still vital to who we are and what we do, and I’m really glad about that. Thank you to all the amazing folk who helped build my beautiful shed – we really, truly, literally couldn’t have done it without you!


CrossFit, Cancer and 3 July WOD

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20140626_190312This is Tony, and according to the hospital, where he had his pre-operative appointment yesterday, he’s the healthiest 55-year-old they’ve seen ‘apart from the cancer’. The ‘apart from the cancer’ is a pretty big caveat!

His appointment is 14 July – which is quicker than we were led to expect and that’s great. The no quite so great is that it will be about two months, maybe longer, before he can train again. In total that will be nearly four months out of serious training for him, and he’s not happy about it. But he is the picture of health and we need to remember that – he couldn’t be better placed to deal with cancer mentally, physically or emotionally.

I’ve been re-reading Primal Blueprint Fitness, and focusing on the proportions of exercise Mark Sisson recommends. 2- 5 hours a week of easy exercise such as walking is eminently possible for him after his surgery and I could probably participate in that a couple of times a week if I do some rescheduling … actually it’s quite interesting because although I’d have said I do 5-8 hours a week of easy exercise, looking at his definition of 55-75% of heart rate for 2-5 hours a week, I haven’t. Not by quite a long shot …

10448222_10152121214201360_1076709911877495884_nI’ve probably been doing mid-range exercise, including light-ish weights (not sure what a full watering can weighs, let alone two full watering cans, let alone two full watering cans multiplied by about twenty journeys up and down a 250 metre allotment) and digging, and taking out tree stumps for 8-16 hours a week …. I might not have been calibrating my exercise very sensibly, is the point, and perhaps this is a great opportunity to step back and look again and what I actually do. Even though many people apparently overestimate their exercise levels as reported in the The New York Times, it appears I might have been substantially underestimating mine!

Which brings us to yesterday’s WOD. I felt like crap before I went down to the box to train. Had a stinking cold at the beginning of the week, couldn’t breathe, rotten headache, the whole shebang. By Thursday I could breathe properly, more or less, but still had the headache and hesitated about training. And then I saw the board … AMRAP burpees.

WOD whiteboardSo I got 88 burpees in seven minutes. I’m happy with that, although the plank was pretty feeble at 1 minute 15 seconds. The snatch sequence was rubbish though – completely rubbish. I have a lot of catching up to do in that regard; it’s months and months since I’ve done snatch and it really showed!

The truth is, I really enjoyed the WOD – for seven minutes I could simply try and remember to breathe and hope that the horror would stop soon, and that’s the kind of WOD I love the best!


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~Cruising through my Life~

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