’twas the night before 18.5…

My love of CrossFit came about purely by accident.  In April last year I lost my Dad to a brain tumour. From the day he dropped the carton of milk – the day he figured something was wrong – to the day we said goodbye around his hospital bed, it was less than twelve weeks. To deal with the day to day agony of those weeks I indulged. I drank quite a few beers every night to fall asleep. I stacked back kilos I had worked so hard to strip off. I cried in front of my son – a lot. And I lost myself, the version of me that I liked. The version that Dad liked, too.

The day after his funeral I decided to stop drinking for a while.

The week after his funeral I decided I needed a new healthy hobby among people that didn’t know I had just lost my Dad, among people that didn’t feel sorry for me. I signed up for a four week program of Beginners Boot Camp classes at Complete Health Personal Training. It was perfect. I didn’t know anyone and it was bliss to be anonymous among such a positive, energetic vibe.

The coach, Bon, took us through the basics – things I thought I already knew – and taught me to like how it feels to be in my skin. I found myself lying in front of the TV at night, activating my glutes (AKA squeezing my butt cheeks.) I loved the feeling of aching muscles when I was in bed at night – aching because I had pushed myself hard.

Six weeks later I signed up for private PT sessions and entry to The Battle of The Cup. The Battle was a friendly competition between CHPT and NXT Level Fitness – a Crossfit Affiliate Gym based 40 kilometres away.  It was to take place on a Sunday and consist of 4 WOD’s. I had no idea what any of it meant but I was keen to add a little competition to my training. I have an extreme competitive streak and love to win. However, win I did not! What a rude awakening! It is so thoroughly frustrating to try your absolute best and still be the slowest and least strong in the room by such a substantial margin. It was like the first time I tried to smoke a cigarette. I coughed and spluttered and almost threw up.  And I said to myself, “Goddamn it, I will get better at this.” And sure enough, I was chain smoking Marlboros before I knew it – all it took was a little perseverance and commitment.

Flash forward to the beginning of February, 2018. I am a thousand times stronger than I was in July. I have stuck with the weekly Bootcamp classes, weekly PT sessions with my coach, Kate, and also added in some extra training for the rematch of Battle of the Cup. And I lost again. But this time it was different. This time I felt competitive. This time I knew to expect the unexpected and to throw my whole self in. And this time I left the building with the Coach’s award. What a rush. There was talk of the upcoming CrossFit Open. I vaguely knew that it was the qualifier to the CrossFit Games – the annual test of the elite. I Googled. And I wanted in.

CHPT were gracious enough to offer to host Friday Night Lights, I registered online as an unaffiliated athlete, and here we are.

As I write this, it is the night before the final workout of the 2018 CrossFit Open. 18.5 will be announced tomorrow morning. I will go straight to the gym after work, warm-up and give it my best.  I know that in the scheme of things, when ranked against a world of CrossFit athletes, my results seem trifling. When I publish them here next week, I hope you won’t scoff. Because right here, right now – they are the sum of my efforts. They are the sum of my determination.

I wish I had better knees.

I wish I had more time to train.

I wish I had more time to spend with my son and husband.

I wish I was ten kilos lighter.

But I am proud of how far I have come. I will not give up. I will fight for every rep. When I am lying in bed tomorrow night, feeling the aches in my muscles, I will like how it feels to be in my skin. I will like this version of me. Dad would like this version of me, too.

“Goddamn it, I will get better at this.”



The Upsidedown


On Wednesday I managed a handstand.  I even managed a handstand push up – or a HSPU.  It was about an inch – a little down and a little up – so more a mini handstand push up – MHSPU. Since then I’ve been sneeking in pike push ups all over the place – because I want to convert my MHSPU to a regular HSPU. Which I am hoping to then convert to multiple HSPU’s. I haven’t been able to wipe the smile off my face. Right up until Dave Castro announced 18.3 – the third workout in this years CrossFit Open.  I was feeling so good about my MHSPU that I had fooled myself into thinking that maybe I’d be able to RX this next workout – that I could dig deep and pull it off. But noooooo! Muscle Ups???!!! I can’t even do a pull up. And what is the scaled version of a muscle up? A pull up. Damn. Not a jumping pull up – just a regular one. Well – twelve to be exact. Hmm. Wish me luck!

*Photo credit Bonnie Grylls-Graham of CHPT


It begins…

I am an amateur CrossFit enthusiast with high hopes of creating some glory days to reminisce about when I am older and greyer – but still slanging weights like it ain’t no thang.

The idea of this blog came about while I was preparing to participate in the 2018 CrossFit Open. Overwhelming, exciting, ego-destroying. So much to learn and so much to say!  Better I say it here than risk my marriage with my obsessive blah blahing.

So – I am a forty something wannabe.  In this years Open you will find me languishing near the bottom of the 40-44 Masters division’s leaderboard. Scaled. Big sigh. But on the flip side, the only way is up!

So strap in. The next twelve months are going to be better than a roller coaster. Because I have no intention of staying scaled. And I have no intention of hanging around the bottom end of next year’s leaderboard.

Bring on the pain. Bring on the RX. Bring on the calluses.