Make Up or Vegetate

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Make Up Day = Make up the workout you missed, take an active rest day and work on a skill at a low intensity level, or go VEGETATIVE rest and enjoy your well-earned day off!

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Is My Slow Progress TOO Slow?

by Danette “Dizzle” Rivera on Breaking Muscle.

danette rivera, dizzle, mature athlete, progress, crossfit, parentingI’ve been CrossFitting for over two years now. Much to my surprise, I cannot handstand walk to the grocery store. Or churn out butterfly pull ups at the park. I can’t muscle up to
get stuff off a top shelf in the kitchen. Okay, that last sentence is
ridiculous because I haven’t installed gymnastic rings in the kitchen
yet. My thirteen-year-old daughter did four handstand pushups the other
day, on a whim, when I’m still getting past the awkwardness of being
upside down. Newer people at the gym sometimes do the same weight as me.
Many who started CrossFit the same time I did have had a faster rate of
progress and now beat my times in workouts. It all makes me wonder: is
there such a thing as progressing too slowly?

It’s not always easy to remember that progress is progress. Ninety-five
percent of the time I know that every bit forward counts and is not
insignificant. But this doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes compare myself to
the best in my gym, the best online, and sometimes the best in the
world.
The 2012 CrossFit Games are playing on ESPN now and it’s hard to not want to be like those athletes. Most of the photos online
of CrossFit women are ones of chiseled beauties who can snatch their
bodyweight or muscle up like hell. Some are handstand walking to the
grocery store. Not really, but the point is that my relative reality
becomes skewed. I wonder how some athletes who started CrossFit six
months ago are already Games material when I still feel strict pull ups
are a mother-effer.

Sometimes I forget these amazing athletes are not the majority. There
are arguably about a half-million CrossFitters at present time at
affiliates alone, not even counting people in their home gyms. And only a
very small percentage of that number is phenomenal. The rest of us – the majority of us – are average or relatively new, scaling some, many, or all of our workouts.
It’s ridiculous to compare myself to anyone. Of course I know this. I
kick myself for allowing myself to feel any less than my magnificent
self. But seriously, why when I overhead squat do I feel like my entire
insides are about to explode, not to mention my shoulders and ankles?

danette rivera, dizzle, mature athlete, progress, crossfit, parentingI
am not trying out for the fire academy any time soon nor am I making a
run for the 2016 Olympics, so sometimes I wonder why constantly smashing
personal records becomes so important. I get that bypassing PRs is part
of the CrossFit culture, but I suppose that personally I always want to
be better at whatever I love and spend so much time doing.

I don’t like to wallow in this type of mentality especially when I am still progressing.
I’m not one to badmouth my performances usually, but I do think it’s
important to acknowledge these kinds of days and not pretend like they
don’t happen.
I’m sure they happen to a lot of us especially
when we see so much strength and greatness around us in the CrossFit
world. Many of us are competitive spirits and it’s only natural to feel a
need to keep up with the extraordinary no matter how out of reach. We
can’t help ourselves. But we then tend to forget our own
extraordinariness. There are a ton of reasons why we’re great in and out
of the athletic realm.

After the acknowledgement of my perceived stagnation – and maybe a
tiny bit of self-pity – I move on. There’s nothing else to do but just
keep going. If I still love it, I’ll plod forward. Snail’s pace be damned.

My daughter, Mina, the one who can do handstand pushups, is a tennis player. That’s
her passion and she practices five days a week. She works hard on her
game. She just started playing more tournaments and she’s had very
little success. A couple wins here and there, but she has never advanced
past the second round. She puts in the work on the court, she cross
trains, she works on her serve, but her progress when it comes to
winning matches is very slow. My husband and I tell her to keep going.

Mina squashes her frustration well, a lot like me in a way, because
she believes us when we tell her that if she still loves it and still
wants to put in the time, then she should just keep going. She believes
us because we are one hundred percent sincere. Each tournament, she gets
a fraction better. The mental side of her game is starting to gel with
the physical. This last Saturday she lost pretty badly to a strong
opponent. She took the loss well. She kept her chin up, but most likely
she didn’t want to hear “keep going” after that kind of match. I only said, “I love you very much, Mina, and I’m so proud of the athlete you are right now and the one you are becoming.” She hugged me and thanked me.

danette rivera, dizzle, mature athlete, progress, crossfit, parentingI
think I’m going to text myself that note. Because really, I shouldn’t
feel any less understanding of the athlete that I am than I do of Mina. I don’t tell her things like that because it’s bullshit.
And if I really mean it, then it holds the same weight for me. I am
proud of the athlete I am right now and the one I’m becoming. In two
years, I’ve learned so much about my strength and what I’m able to still
accomplish. Two years is relatively nothing in a quest to be good at
something.

I daydream about competing sometimes, but ultimately I started all of this so I could sustain a very high quality of life for a long time. I want to ride my bike until
I’m so old I can’t see the road. They’re going to have to kick me off. I
want to wrestle grocery bags away from bag boys determined to help me
to my car. Beat it, kid, I got it. I want to be one of those crazy old
people doing pull ups in the park because I can, much to the
embarrassment of my grandkids. Shoot, maybe by then I’ll finally be able
to churn out some butterfly pull ups.

Let me know if you’d like me to text that note to you, too.

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