Finding my limits

I like pushing my limits. My ex-boss said it best in a letter of reference when he said that he was of the opinion that I am happiest when I have almost too much going on.

I think that’s one reason why I like CrossFit, because it’s fantastic to see how my limits increase upwards over time. A year ago, I couldn’t do a single pullup. Tuesday of this week I got a new personal best for consecutive pullups and they were chest-to-bar (this is where your chest must touch the bar, so chin over the bar isn’t enough). Some improvements are fast, and some are maddeningly slow.

One of the nice things about CrossFit in this way is that it’s measurable. Measurable progress is more pleasant than progress that’s difficult to measure. That’s why milestones and goals are also important in a work setting because if you don’t know where you’re going it is easy to deviate from the path, and it’s good psychologically to see progress even if it’s just going through a checklist.

This week I finally fell back into the groove at work. It’s been a rough ride for a number of reasons. I actually love change, but that doesn’t make it easy. I am so excited by what we’re doing and outrageously happy to be running the accelerator …. But at the same time a bit of writer’s block. We have a couple of new interns who are fantastic (or show signs of being such), and working with them has been great but has also highlighted our lack of process around inducting new interns, which is one of the projects one of them is now working on. I always knew that one of my weaknesses was getting started with things: once I’m going, I go. But this has been a testing process, and I’m learning how to get better at this. But it’s a slow process, and I suppose this might be a good time for a little self-compassion.

I love my parasympathetic nervous system. Last week Friday I was diagnosed with tendonitis in my right knee, which means I can’t do any sort of activity involving lunging or squatting until I am pain-free. I’m also learning the difference between “pain” and “pressure” as yesterday for the first time I was able to squat pain-free; but I did still feel pressure in the knee. But I swear I must be a genetic freak because the usual healing time for tendonitis is 4-6 weeks. At the rate I’m going, I’ll be fully fine in 3, or possibly less. We will see, and we will also see how the workout I’m about to do sets me back.

In order to qualify for the Regionals you must complete one workout every 6 weeks as prescribed (as RX’d in the lingo), and the top 60 men and women from each region qualify for the Regional competitions in a couple of weeks (second week of June in our case). We are in Africa so any woman who can complete the workouts as RX’d will qualify. Unfortunately for me, CrossFit HQ picked my worst nightmare workout for this week: as many repetitions as possible in 5 minutes of a squat clean & jerk at 50kgs. Now ordinarily this would be a little bit challenging but otherwise fine … but I shouldn’t be squatting on my knee at all right now, let alone with 50kgs! So I have to do 1 rep to qualify, which I will do, and hope it doesn’t set my healing back too much.

Apparently I also have a reputation for pushing my limits because Chris, who is one of our coaches, has told me literally twice every day this week since the workout came out that I must not do more than one rep. Now I may be foolhardy but when it comes to injury I’m no dummy. And yet. Well, whatever, I am in a cult after all.

Speaking of which, so inspiring today that four people at the gym did amazing things:
• Two of the guys got their first muscle-ups
• One girl did the 50kg squat clean and it was a PR lift by like 10kgs (if you know anything about Olympic lifting you’ll know just how impressive that jump is!)
• And another girl did 6 reps of the squat clean & jerk in the 5 minutes. This doesn’t necessarily sound like much until you learn that her PR for clean & jerk is 50kgs.

On Tuesday doing those chest-to-bar pullups I also strained one of my biceps so now I have to rest that too. After the gym that evening I went to Pecha Kucha, was not social at all, and just wanted it to be over with so I could go home and eat. My body is trying to tell me something, clearly, so it looks like some rest is in the cards for next week.

These are definitely trying times for a lot of people. I have been ridiculously out of sorts because I do not like being injured, and it bleeds through to everything else in my life. I feel OK though because I’m getting better and I couldn’t be more excited by what we’re doing at work. Well, that’s a lie, but once we get the ball rolling in a week or so and have the Easter break to do just-in-time process mapping things will get a lot cooler. I can’t wait to talk about it.

But also a lot of my friends have been going through challenging times at work: I have friends on literally three continents right now whose dissatisfaction with work is so palpable it’s almost painful. I take that back, too, it is painful. But that reminds me of what I posted about the last time. Change it, do something about it, or leave the situation, if accepting it is not an option. I guess that’s one somewhat unusual aspect of me: I don’t generally take a lot of time to wallow in self-pity (or do I? says the girl who’s been moping around all week because she’s worried about her knee; hmmm). OK maybe self-pity, but I do believe in not crying over spilt milk. Something broke, or didn’t go the way you wanted, or whatever … get over it. Move on. Are you really going to care in 5 years? Depending on the severity, maybe, but sitting around wishing the situation were different doesn’t help you.

Not knowing when you’re in a rut is the biggest problem. Awareness. I have been struggling a lot lately with presence, living in the moment, really listening. Dragging myself back to the now. I think I read or heard somewhere that 90% of what we talk and think about is either the past or the future. Think about it. But once you come to that realization (or if it’s obvious), well, it’s interesting. I think I will spend some more time probing and trying to understand my friends and what holds them back. Meanwhile, I will think about what’s held me back in the past. If I have half a brain, I’ll have a few extra hours this next week to do just such a thing.

“I can’t believe it.” – Luke
“That is why you fail.” – Yoda

This is why I heal quickly.

• “Let’s not confuse the guinea pig with the bacon.” – Nathan
• “You must go full throttle when it really counts.” – Shaun
• “Do it as Rx’d.” – CrossFit Games instruction guy (with a bit of a sneer, I might add!)
• “Just don’t do anything stupid.” – Chris
• “Yes, the cult comes first.” – Jaco (this was a statement of recognition, not agreement!)
• “Just because there’s a gap in the market doesn’t mean there’s a market in the gap.” – Jaco
• “Yeah but you’re a freak.” – Jeff (explaining that his ripped hand wouldn’t heal as fast as mine)


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