What I learned in the last week and a half from cluster flies:
• Lesson #1: Problems don’t go away if you ignore them. They just get worse.
• Lesson #2: You do catch more flies with honey.
I had felt for a long while as though I was a bit out of my groove. Out of sync, out of touch, out of flow. Work felt stalled (still does in some ways), I was pretty severely injured (I still am, and new things are cropping up to add to the mix but hey I’m taking 3 of the next 4 days completely off so there). Of course as we also know what you get out of a situation reflects your attitude and energy going into it.
My old boss at Exit41 wrote about me once that he thought I was happiest when I had almost too much going on. I started to get stressed at work late last week and it was the best feeling. Kind of like the workout a few nights back where we were instructed to go “balls to the wall” and not hold anything back for fear of getting tired or whatnot. You try to do that in all workouts but sometimes you reach local muscular failure or there is transition time between exercises that equates to a bit of rest but in this workout no, and the workout finished in 5:42 and it took me another 3 minutes to peel myself off the floor. I love that feeling: pushing yourself right to your limit, and walking away feeling like you couldn’t have given any more. I like going home after a long day of work feeling again like I have pushed myself 110%.
So once the hobbling around stopped, and whatever sequence of events caused this to happen but I have been very busy the last week and a half:
• Tuesday the 3rd, my one-year anniversary at work followed by dinner with Peter, Mandy, and Max in Newlands. My work family.
• Wednesday, my boss closed ½ of a big deal. Kind of a watershed moment. Spent some time at the Waterfront with a doyenne of our space and some others who were in town for a conference (World Economic Forum). Most interesting part of this conversation was when he commented that part of the problem with doing business in South Africa as opposed to ‘Africa’ was that selling products & services to the bottom of the pyramid is challenging in this country full stop, and God help you if you’re white and try and do that. I, in my typically American way, didn’t even think before saying: “Well, THAT has to change.” Which is true. It may not be PC but the culture of entitlement that exists in this country is a huge, huge problem.
• Afterwards, a very strange experience with a random stranger in the carpark who just randomly asked if I wanted to get a drink which of course, I didn’t because I’m not drinking. People are so open here to making new acquaintances: this would never happen in Boston or New York! then to &Union for Sam’s going away bash. Met some interesting people, including a photographer whose art opening I am going to tonight, and actually got to bed on time! Sad to see her go, but time will fly, and while distance matters, intent matters more. We get out of a relationship the energy we put in.
• Thursday, going away get-together at work for beautiful, lovely, wonderful Svenja. Trained with Mona for the first time (more on this below; beat her at burpees, somehow, and boy am I out of cardio shape) and stayed at the gym way too late. This was also my first proper leg workout in about a month and boy did it hurt!! Fashionably late to Svenja’s going away bash at Wim & Hanlie’s place (who I know from the gym, oddly enough!) which looks like it has stunning views during the day or a non-foggy evening. I am going to miss this bright spark terribly, and was actually thinking how everyone at that party was very, very cool.
• Then, putting the “late” into fashionably late at Henk’s birthday party at the Woodstock Lounge. Chatted with Roger about Silicon Cape and driving on the right, and heard someone recite a lovely poem called Silly Old Baboon from memory. Fourth drinking event over two nights, zero drinks, no regrets.
• Friday, internal strategy meeting during which I iced my knee extensively followed by a lot of time reviewing, restructuring, and adding to a very key contract for us going forward. Maybe in a past life I was a lawyer; I really love this stuff. Got told that pulling myself up on bars was “unladylike.” Heh.
• Quite an unfortunate gym session in which we had to do a pyramid of knees-to-elbows and wall balls (or wall push presses in my case) unbroken. Dropped the damn ball on 14 out of 20 (burst out laughing because what else can you do), and it took me three tries to get even close to getting the last 5 knees-to-elbows unbroken. Just could not hold onto the bar. My forearms were still jacked hours later at dinner at the Sidewalk Café with Mona, where we talked for hours and hours. She is a very interesting girl: 22 years old, daughter of a pro rugby player, 3-time karate champ, Olympic weightlifter who should make the SA team next year, personal trainer, and has one hell of a lot of potential as a CrossFit athlete. We have very similar personality types, and I think this is the beginning of a great friendship.
• Saturday mourned the Flyers sweep by the Bruins, easy gym workout, but I was feeling a bit tired so that was ok. Chilled at home, photo tour of the winelands, dinner with Deon in Gordon’s Bay, then to Ralf’s housewarming party in Vredehoek. I was absolutely exhausted by the time I got to this one and didn’t stay too late.
• Sunday, yoga then staying paleo at the Taste of Cape Town (food festival). It’s kind of like being a vegetarian: what you choose to eat depends on what you *can* eat. Man, some of those desserts looked good, but I’d already lost enough points earlier in the week (case in point, wine the night before, causing me to sleep terribly, ugg). Cooked dinner for a sick Charlotte: some awesome grassfed beef, herb salad, and roasted sweet potatoes with coconut oil & cinnamon. Heaven. She told me my arm muscles shouldn’t get too much bigger. I am apparently starting to get comments like these now, so I can sort of understand how some women start to get concerned about the impact of athletics on how they look. I have two things to say about this: firstly, I don’t care, and secondly, I look a hell of a lot better than I did a year ago and even with more muscular arms I’ll still look better than I did.
• Monday, spent almost all day with FoodTents including working with Max and giving great tag-team commentary to Shaun on how to modify his presentation for the next day. Quite mentally tired at the end of that session! Gym: new max strict pullups: 4. Still a significant chink in the armor. Very happy that I got the best time in the gym for the WOD (including beating all the boys, not exactly the same because we used different weight kettlebells but still, happy, it’s certainly not every day that this happens, so now I guess I know what workout to hope for in the Regionals: anything involving burpees!). Chat with Tom Hoole. Water wasn’t working in upper TBK, so drinks with the Greens instead of dinner. My last wine until after Regionals. Skype call from Gary Minkoff as soon as I got home.
• Tuesday, rushed around in the morning followed by the launch of FutureFit in which we got some good mention, met Francois Bonnici for the first time, then rushed off to listen to Shaun speak at the Food Security conference. Max & I were having a grand old time in the back whenever we heard our feedback come out in the presentation. Such a pleasure to work with these guys. Some of the other presentations were interesting as well. Left before cocktail hour the better to get some work done. Acupuncture for knee and ankle followed by gym session (apparently you’re not supposed to train within 24 hours of acupuncture. Oops. Won’t make that mistake again!). New max nose-to-wall handstand pushups to abmat: 14 (failed on the 15th), but done after my metcon as opposed to fresh. Getting stronger all the time. My one-year CrossFit anniversary. Birthday dinner for Jeff at El Burro; he’s going back to the States in two weeks and I’m really going to miss him!
• Wednesday, rainy day, chiropractor then management meeting. Spent what feels like half the day talking politics, and the other half writing emails. Not a good day. Conference call with the USA re: setting up a non-profit organisation registered there.
I have been exhausted the last week or so. Doing a lot yes, indeed, but also getting only 8 hours of sleep on average. This time a year ago I was lucky if I got 7, and really now I realise I should be going for more like 9. Everything’s a choice, including the choice to write an email or go to bed instead. I have a couple emails I really need to write but instead I’m finishing this up and then heading out to the gym. Well, there’s still this evening.
Monday of this week was a really weird one. I had been in a mode the night before and fired off emails to about 10 people that I either needed to re-connect with, or owed an email, or, or, or. Then on Monday, I got emails or calls or chats or Skype calls from a total of 8 different people who all wanted to connect or re-connect with me. That was, in a word, weird. Like an astrological inflection point or something. Well, when it rains it pours. And, I suppose, be careful what you wish for. I wished my life would get back into groove and I would start to be more social (I just hadn’t been in the mood, so as a result my social interactions suffered). Now, I’m on my second week of having two things I’m doing most nights of the week and I’m craving a night at home by myself with absolutely nothing to do and the next one I have totally free is Sunday night, and even then I have a breakfast meeting the next morning so I will need to get to bed early. Of course I can always say no, but I think next week needs to be a bit of a social rest week. Stay tuned to see how that goes for me.
I also did have a bit of a mental breakthrough or insight in this last week. I was talking with Deon about why it is that he can’t just decide to do something and then do it. I’m sure he could if he wanted to and committed. I’m sure anyone could do almost anything if they just decide to do it. But I figured out why I get psyched out by 1-rep maxes (or other challenging things where I fail before I even start): fear of failure. Shocker, right? How to overcome that one, I don’t know. Some people in my gym have a hard time with going all out because they are afraid they’ll hit the wall or something. For the most part I don’t have that problem (Sandy Helen aside, another reason I want to re-do that workout again … one of these days I’ll go in with no fear). Probably something to meditate or practice yoga on.
• “I wonder what it’s like to be inside their brain?” – Peter
• “People always validate their own behaviour. Always.” – Peter
• “Maybe I kissed someone. I don’t know.” – Svenja
• “All you have to say is Sarkozy!” – Johanna
• “The problem with sales is that you actually have to follow up!” – Max
• “Cape Town has me.” – Svenja
• “Some people live in fear and other people don’t.” – Peter
• “I believe people come into your life for a reason.” – Mona
• “I don’t want to be like everybody else. I don’t want to have to compromise.” – Mona
• “That surprises me because he doesn’t seem sensitive to me at all!” – Babett
• “That’s the first time in my life that anyone has ever told me anything about a healthy lifestyle where I have gone, DAMN, that’s COOL! I could totally do that!” – Jacques (I was saying how the healthy lifestyle promotes binge drinking)
• “You’ve come a long way in a year.” – Jobst
• “The mind hijacks emotion as a tool to express the personality and that’s where it all goes pear-shaped.” – Peter
• “They were serving alcohol yesterday?” – Ellie
• “What’s that one thing it is that you’ve got? Oh yeah … self-discipline!” – Jacques
• “Just so, when the cops come we aren’t caught with our pants down.” – Ellie (immediately followed by “I can’t believe I just said that.”)