Easter Eggs


I’m still not better. It’s quite annoying, this lingering 95% health.

You can’t train when you’re at this point, at least nothing hard. I thought I was better Friday, woke up Saturday feeling a bit less than 100% but not, you know, sick. If left to my own devices I wouldn’t have trained but this wasn’t any ordinary day: this was my last CrossFit Open workout in a community setting (next weekend is an inconveniently scheduled powerlifting competition).
It was also a workout that looked super fun – 3 clean & jerks, 3 toes-to-bar, then 6/6, 9/9, 12/12, etc. for 7 minutes. Now my high-rep Olympic lifting form is dreadful largely because I revert to a crappy old setup. I will fix this, but it’s not fixed yet. And toes-to-bar …. Fun, but not my best gymnastic skill. I lost a lot of time there. Also, I must remember to breathe! I remember Michelle yelling at me at one point to breathe. Good idea.
But overall I did pretty well. I was hoping to get about 6-8 reps into the toes-to-bar on the round of 15, and I got to 4. That’s not dreadful. I think the best thing I did all day was warm up with 50kgs on the bar, because when I then went to do the ‘normal’ weight of 43kgs it felt light by comparison. It was also good enough, by 4 reps (!) to post the best score of the people doing the workout on the Open tour (this week in my ‘hood at Ballistix!), and with it, a pair of Reebok Nanos that I’d been wanting for a while but I’m far too spoiled to BUY anything Reebok.
Long story short, I didn’t feel so hot after this workout. Turns out I may have not been as well as I thought. I was actually keeping it moderate too, believe it or not. If I’d been fully well I would have thrown my body against the wall a lot harder than I did. Glad I didn’t. It is frustrating though as this was the first time I’d gone harder than about 95% since that 500m row.
These may not be serious competitions, but they are fun. Even as non-seriously seriously as I take it, there’s still a bit of game face in the warmups, and the eye contact & acknowledgement of certain other athletes as we warm up and prepare to go to battle together. This is the community I love. There are very few athletes that I connect with on this level; when we warm up we kind of go into a tunnel with blinders on. To use a Wi-Fi analogy (!) it’s like channels. Some of us warm up on channel 5, other people warm up on channel 7. If you’re on channel 5, you connect with the other athletes on channel 5. The ones on channel 7 are there, but they’re kind of in a different little pre-workout world.
My one friend was saying CrossFit is too hardcore for her. I get that. It’s not for everyone. But it is designed to push you to the limits of what you’re capable of, regardless of what you’re currently capable of.
The mental training is possibly the best part.
I used to look at the rope and feel defeated, thinking I could never climb it. I still look at the skipping rope like that some days, ha!
I used to look at the pullup bar and feel defeated.
I used to look at the rings and feel defeated.
But they were also aspirational. I’m definitely not the best gymnast on the planet, or even in my gym. I’m not the best at pretty much anything (except strict handstand pushups, ha!). But it’s cool to be able to do things I couldn’t do before. Pullups & muscle ups & heavy snatches & 100kg back squats & walking on my hands. It’s like a fun game. Especially for someone like me who used to be an overweight couch potato, busy eating & drinking herself to an early grave, probably with a side dose of adult-onset diabetes and/or a fun autoimmune disease.
It may have its issues, and I may have my own issues in how I relate to it, but thank goodness for paleo & CrossFit.
I’m over the Open though. Really & truly over it. Normally the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is to check the Cape CrossFit web site so that I know what clothing & shoes to pack (true story). This week Thursday I woke up, checked the web site, and saw ‘Open prep 13.4.’ In contrast to a month ago where I went to bed super excited for the next day’s announcement and it was the first thing I thought of when waking up, this time around the exact thought that went through my head? ‘Oh, right. Damn it, now I have to go to ANOTHER web site to see what the workout is.’
True story.
So I have decided to do a buy-out of at least one strict muscle up before I leave the CrossFit gym. It turns out this is harder than it should be after you’ve just done 50 chest-to-bar pullups. They are also really tough on the shoulders.
Easter happened to be a four-day weekend this year which has made business slow. I was pretty good about not working the whole time although I did have the extreme displeasure of doing my U.S. taxes, which resulted in an unhappy surprise, especially given last year’s income. Sigh. Well, as I keep saying, no sense complaining about a situation I myself created.
I did manage to get a TON of stuff done on Monday: some more margin analysis, a requirements/functional spec (I think I may have overwhelmed Stefan a bit, but in a good way!), and three proposals; one of which had been in my queue far too long. We just did a big installation in Cape Town recently and I was reviewing the feedback on that: mostly positive which is always a good thing!
Then I turned my attention to a new market segment and in the process discovered a couple of very cool companies. Here’s another trick: when it comes to vendors or potential partners I like to send email to their info email, or fill out an online form if that’s what they have. Why? Well, how a company responds to such things is indicative of the company. Although I did kind of go off on someone who sent an untargeted email to our info (actually it was sales) email.
I said: “And just as a tip (product marketing 101 if you will), if YOU see a fit, lead with that. Don’t make me figure out how or whether your product could fit in with at we’re currently offering … we’re far too busy to put 2 and 2 together for a solution offering we don’t fully understand. No one knows your product like you do.” You send me an untargeted email without making it clear how your whatever can fit in with our line of business; well, I’ll ignore it. If you respond at all, they’ll probably respond back wanting to talk or something.
It’s not that I’m unfriendly. I just don’t like wasting time. Waste my time and I will be a bit unfriendly, I’m not going to lie. I don’t have a great filter and honestly I care more about getting stuff done than about always being popular. How times have changed. When I go out on a sales call I do my homework ahead of time; I at least know the prospect’s line of business, and ideally have some idea of related items they might be interested in. But I sure as heck lead with why I think my solution matters TO THEM, and then I listen and ask questions because I don’t know their business as well as they do.
It’s a pet peeve. People do not GET product marketing. It’s about the benefits, not the features, stupid. Do you buy a car for the 33 features that make it safe, or do you buy it because you want a safe car to drive your kids around in?
Other pet peeves? Ad hominems. Unsubstantiated claims. Pessimism. Dogmatism. Standing in the middle of a walkway (especially if it’s at my martial arts studio where you are blocking the symbolic door to the training floor!). Having to repeat myself. Begging.
Things that annoy me that shouldn’t? Cheating (both intentional & unintentional). See 13.2. Why on earth do I CARE about some of the scores that I KNOW are not legit? I know what I did, and what I’m capable of, and that’s all that matters. I’m also not egotistical enough to repeat an Open workout just to score higher. We’re in a Region where it doesn’t matter, at least if you’re a female at my level (having said that, I’m not going to qualify as an individual thanks to my one wall ball!).
Also, it actually does annoy me when people don’t see what I see. How can I fault someone for a lack of vision? Vision/insight is a gift. It would be like not respecting someone at all as an athlete if they are not a top athlete. Oh, I guess I covered that above under ad hominems.
Look, we all kind of look up. To the best athletes, to our leaders. I think the dynamic in me where I kind of do want to be talked about, but really only if it’s good, and I really don’t want the baggage that comes along with it, is not unique. Some people, like my brother, do not like any part of the limelight. I just agreed to speak in front of 125 people next week without blinking. But my fear, my biggest fear? Failing to execute.
Vision without execution is just hallucination. It’s why the gymnastic rings are so scary.
There’s also a strange balance between wanting the respect and approval of the people we look up to, and, depending on who those people are, feeling a bit of jealousy/resentment. This is why there is a Twitter account for Tom Brady’s Ego.
People talk about a fear of success. I honestly do not understand that. I understand fearing fame. But success? Do we fear success because it puts a target on our back?
I love my team. I may smack them around from time to time. Sometimes things aren’t as hard as we think, or as hard as we make them. We just need to get our priorities straight and understand where we need to be patient, and where we should, reasonably, be impatient. Someone was saying this week how something will finally be true, for the first time ever. I was quick to caution that there is really no such thing as perfection in business systems. Human error abounds.
The one thing you can be sure of is that everyone at the company will make mistakes. Everyone. It’s not about the mistakes. It’s about not doing the same thing twice, or at least learning from the mistakes.
Easter Eggs: I didn’t consume any chocolate ones. But a lot of normal eggs and bacon. I love eggs. Easter eggs also refer to hidden features in software or design. Our brand is a playful one, and I’m  a playful one. I’ll play with people I like. If I tease you, it means I like you.
If I criticise, it’s also because I care. Even when it’s unsolicited and can be hurtful; I think about it. It’s a public service to tell sales people when they are annoying me, or when their targeting is non-existent. Maybe they won’t learn. But if no one ever gives us feedback, what chance do we have?
The world is hard enough if we are always walking on eggshells and not giving that tough love. Although, as always, there’s well-intentioned tough love and just being cranky and projecting our own bullshit onto others.
I was reading someone’s blog the other day about how she has issues being a people pleaser and this manifests as cooking a separate dinner for herself, her husband, and her son, and loudly banging pots and pans around so everyone knows what a trouble this is for her. I have a bit of the passive aggressive in me. Beats the hell out of a covert aggressive.
But damn, I’d rather be called a bitch than a martyr, fool, or tool. What biases or insecurities does that reveal? See above.
  • “You don’t need to rest as much as you think you do.” – Neil
  • “See that guy? He beat me by one rep!” “Who?” “Him.” “That’s a GUY, Ellie!” – Ellie & Michelle
  • “Oh she said that? Well then I’m glad I [fait accompli omitted].” – Ellie
  • “I mean … you ran across the room to see if you could do a two-finger pullup.” – Michelle
  • “I’m not trying to sell you sugar.” – Jono
  • “Rule number 1: don’t respond while emotional.” – Ellie
  • “It may hit you in the head again but it won’t hurt you.” – Mike
  • “Yes, please have him come visit us.” – Kresten
  • “Is that a good idea?” – Rika
  • “I mean you don’t look at a wall ball and think ‘I’m going to fail this thing!’” – Ellie
  • “You can’t count your bodyweight as weight in a weighted pullup!” – Rika
  • “I don’t think we’re supposed to understand or connect with everyone.” – Hes
  • “You coulda done more than one wall ball.” – Laa-Laa
  • “We’re going to have to replace the power supply. It looks like rats chewed through the cables.” – Adam (a few weeks ago it was baboons down on the peninsula)
  • “He’s weird.” “Yeah, but so am I.” “Not like him.” – Rob & Ellie
  • “Can I have my new phone now?” “Yes. No.” – Ellie & Adam
  • “I said that I heard their Wi-Fi wasn’t very good. He just laughed.” – Adam
  • “Don’t be afraid to get under the bar!” – Jean
  • “It would have been great if it had some of these vital things.” – Stefan
  • “I have no faith in bureaucracy.” – Kerry 
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