Arriving in LA

The next post will be on the Games, I promise. But that was too much writing for one post. So you’ll just have to wait.

It’s a bit funny to be a tourist in your own country. But that is how I feel although this is also the most happy and content I’ve been on a visit since I moved to SA. Although maybe that has something to do with the weather?

What is even more amusing is watching my teammates experience America, and what they choose to take pictures of (a high school, for one thing). Then again, I found myself taking pictures of some odd things. And some things are odd, like minimum $341 fines and 24-minute parking (2/5 of an hour I get it, but weird). Highway metering, if you’re not used to it. Driving on the right (Rob only nearly got us into one major accident after refusing to let the American drive lest I get into an accident even though we bought the insurance on the rental car on his credit card. I would be less bitter if I didn’t love driving so much!).

The trip over was relatively uneventful; our team blog post about it is here. What didn’t make it in there was how awesome the Emirates flight crews were at letting me hang out in the galleys on both flights, and stretch, drink all the water I wanted, etc. The second flight was quite cool, the one guy made me an ice pack out of a surgical glove then the other guy was showing how you could make a heat pack with powder or some such…. I have no idea but it made for some amusing photos.

If I am totally honest, second to the competition and getting to rub shoulders with the CrossFit elite I was most excited to get all the free clothing Reebok gave us. And I was not disappointed. I think the haul was 8 pairs of short tights, 1 pair of longer tights, two jackets, three pairs of long socks and a bunch of short socks, five t-shirts, five spandex tanks, 7 sports bras, three headbands, three baseball caps, as much tape as we wanted, and yet another gym bag. This one is quite awesome actually. The writeup of this one for the team blog is here.

What we did before the competition was settle into the awesome house that we rented, go shopping (once we found a Whole Foods!), go to registration to pick up our gear (Rika and Janie arrived a day later so they went the next day while I went with the boys to Santa Monica beach; Mona was at orientation). Then the next day we went to Malibu (there is nothing to see there, but I got to hear the boys whine how it was boring and the water wasn’t warm enough..), then to see the Hollywood sign although that was a bit of a disaster because Lady Gaga was doing a block party for Jimmy Kimmel so there was insane traffic and we were 15 minutes late to the team briefing at the Home Depot Center. Then again, all they really briefed us on was the brand police rules. Short version: Reebok is sponsoring us and they are awesome so you may not enter the competition arena with any other logo displayed anywhere, including on a tattoo. This is true, before our first event they wouldn’t allow our water bottles on the field due to logos we forgot to tape over.

Wednesday night there was a buffet of appetizers and they announced the first event. More on this in the Games post but to me the interesting thing here was the guy from Reebok who was talking. It was interesting because he literally said all the right things. Now that is marketing so sophisticated that it makes me suspicious. Although sometimes intent and action don’t need to be correlated, but really if you’re trying to win the hearts and minds of CrossFitters, do what Reebok did and unleash how the competition is great but it’s really all about how it changes people’s lives (including the real example of the Reebok employee who started CrossFitting and soon will be able to go off her cholesterol medication or whatever it is that she has), and how Reebok is really all about CrossFit, etc., etc. I mean it’s flattering to be the center of someone’s world, right? Making us feel like we’re the center of Reebok’s, even if it is not actually true, is a smart move. And who knows, maybe it is.

As I said the next post will be about the competition and whole experience itself but what I will say is that the whole thing was much more intense than I was anticipating. From the amount of rushing around that we did (including me trying to get a hair cut because I wanted that weightless feeling) to being in close quarters with the same people for days on end, it was really actually a bit much for me. You learn a lot about not just other people but also yourself from a situation like this and one thing that I learned was that I’m just not myself here (ok I already knew that) but also that I don’t deal with negativity well, and probably I am actually a natural introvert no matter how much personality tests say the opposite. When people get to be too much, I just detach and/or get snippy for no good reason. I should really control that better; I know better, but it’s part of being here that I don’t like about myself. Anyway as usual, thank goodness for Chris being around to keep our team together and in good spirits. But not really surprising: I know this group fairly well and I anticipated certain dynamics ahead of time but I was also quite pleasantly surprised by how easy to live with quite a couple people were.

Because I’m extremely tired and behind at this blog here are some other random thoughts that passed through my head this week:
• Jack in the Box seems to be changing its logo
• There are a hell of a lot of police in this country
• The concept of metering entrance to the highways is weird if you’re not used to it
• I’d forgotten how expensive food is, and I am too spoiled to pay $2.50 for an avocado! I mean, really…
• Speaking of food I love how CrossFitters think alike. I asked Chris to make me some eggs and he didn’t know if I wanted three or four but he assumed correctly
• It is nice to have more than about two radio stations
• Dollar has some pretty lousy rentals, all things considered
• I do actually really like California. It is not home, but I really, really do like it here
• Yes, the boys did hang out most of the week shirtless

To bed with myself now. More on the Games shortly! Suffice to say by way of teaser that a) it was epic b) I learned a whole hell of a lot, although I disappointed myself a lot. But as Janie says you don’t learn by watching videos, you learn by messing up. So, all this has done is make me want to be better. And I have a hell of a lot of better to get.

• “I think I’m going to get the whole jar of cookies.” – Rob
• “He’s not a bodybuilder. He’s a stripper. That’s way cooler.” – Chris
• “That was a smart move, asking for towels.” – Rob
• “That’s a ficus. …. What’s the plural of ficus? Focii?” – Rob
• “Ellie, why do you have a cucumber?” “I have three.” – Rob & Ellie
• “All we know is, it’s gonna hurt.” – Chris
• “Why would you buy a surf board with a shark on it?” – Hermann
• “Where do you pay for this shit? Oh, where it says pay station.” – Rob
• “I’m not kidding. My face is itching! This stuff is awesome! …. Dude, it usually takes half an hour. That was like five minutes!” – Hermann
• “I just made him a woman!” – Chris
• “I don’t have a habit of changing my habits.” – Hermann
• “Did you turn all the vents towards yourself?” “Of course.” – Rob & Chris
• “You really shouldn’t let me take drugs.” – Ellie
• “Don’t get in the same emergency.” – guy at CrossFit LA
• “I wouldn’t want to go to Disneyland even if it were right here [next to me].” – Chris
• “So how do you feel about being a guy, Ellie?” – Chris
• “It makes me look fat.” “You are fat, man.” “That might be the case.” – Chris & Rob
• “That’s just so bad I can’t even come up with a joke about it.” – Chris (it wasn’t that bad because I can’t remember it!)
• “Well, you are a boy-girl.” – Chris
• “Just be happy.” – Mona

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