Radio waves

So on Monday, Henk taught me about TV white space (TVWS). Why does this matter? Well firstly because it’s TVWS that’s taking me into Africa for the first time later this month. Secondly, because he started off by explaining, as one does, some of the basics of radio frequencies and in doing so he drew some squiggly lines.
You’ve all heard of infra-red and ultra-violet? Well, infra-red waves are long and slow, and ultra-violet are short and fast. Which do you think goes further?
It’s kind of the RF equivalent of slow & steady wins the race. Although CrossFit has taught me that slow and steady does NOT win the race, I love the analogy because what it does show is the harm of peaks & troughs.
So you eat sugar and you spike your insulin then it crashes then you’re hungry. Oops. Or you get overly excited by each new prospect, or possibility, or fad, or whatnot. Stay the course. Stay the damned course. Unless the course is wrong; then change it.
I let some data change my course recently, but I’m happy with that. The worst thing is to have a blind spot. I’m sure I do have them, but what really worries me is knowing that we have a cognitive bias towards consistency, not course-correcting when necessary. I would rather admit that I was wrong than fiddle while Rome burns.
Monday morning I was going up a stairwell, with some speed, in a building that should probably be a hard-hat zone and the lifts were broken. Coming down the stairwell was a construction worker with a 2×4 just at forehead level. Only my reflexes saved a massive collision. No the universe isn’t out to get me. But man, sometimes you dodge a bullet.
I’m somehow feeling much more relaxed about, well, pretty much everything. There is some cognitive overload that comes from having a lot on your plate and I made good progress on a large number of things on Sunday, including wrapping my head in ever more detail around our customer database. I had 15 things I wanted to get done, and I got 11 done. That’s actually not too bad. And, it means I set my goal high enough.
This notion of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is interesting because it’s way harder to do than we think. Signing up for the CrossFit Regionals as an individual was one of those things. Jumping off a cliff in a way, and as much as I felt very left out listening to the team meeting on Wednesday, I am also very glad for the decision.
There was an online blog post somewhere about performance anxiety. I normally don’t get any; but there are times that I do. The distinction is how uncomfortable am I. When I was in elementary school we had this performance art guy come coach us through writing & performing our own play. One of the things he said that really stuck was that there’s a difference between being embarrassed and being humiliated. Being embarrassed is fine. Being humiliated is not.
If there’s no time to think or if it’s ‘just’ a tough workout I love competition with or without an audience. If it’s something I think I might suck or fail at, that’s a whole other worry, as I discovered last year with that dumbbell snatch workout.
I was reading another thing that said you should ask yourself a question: why do I compete? And then ask yourself the why to that question. I have been thinking about this a lot, and I actually have no answer. It’s more complicated than that it pushes me further than I’d push myself. It’s more complicated than that I’m competitive and I want to show off.
At this point, being a competitive CrossFitter is part of how I define myself. But why? And must it be that way? For this I have no answer, and doing something without knowing why is strange, no? I got into it to lose weight and get into better shape. I remember this one overhead walking lunge workout I couldn’t even complete in the time cap. And now I can do things with my body that I used to think were impossible for me. I was telling someone recently that you can really do anything you set your mind to. It’s just a question of how much practice it takes to get there.
I think the closest I’ve gotten is that my demon is the couch potato. It scares me to think I might go back to that, so I define myself as the opposite of what I don’t want to be, and being a competitive athlete just gives me motivation. Eat ice cream weekly, don’t look so good in the mirror, don’t finish so well in competition. That much is simple.
It’s also that I know I’m not getting any younger and part of me is so jealous of the younger girls; not because I’d want to be young again, goodness no, and lose the wisdom of age (I’m finally starting to understand the wisdom of age!). But that my body can’t recover as fast, maybe it’s easier to learn gymnastic things at a younger age, etc., etc. I know like all competitive athletes that I have a limited career, so you don’t want to waste it.
It’s a fear of falling behind as much as a fear of not accomplishing what I might be capable of if I only gave it a chance. It’s so easy to cop out. It’s not easy to stick your neck out. Which is the next thing: getting out of your comfort zone. Competition does that to me. And that’s also a good thing. Whatever floats your boat I suppose.
Wednesday was a public holiday. Workers Day. In America we celebrate this day in September as Labour Day, and actually it’s interesting. Like the 4th of July, Labour Day is normally about the food. Not so much so in South Africa. This one isn’t National Braai Day. But both are autumn holidays and, if you’re lucky, the weather cooperates.
I actually took the day mostly off; hiked Table Mountain in the morning. Absolutely stunning, from the sunrise to the light on the mountain to the fog rolling over the city. It’s so easy when you live in a place like this to take it for granted. But the weather was perfect, and I mean perfect. Sunny and warm, but not hot. A perfect autumn day.
But it is spectacular. The mountains, the air, the sea, the proteas. I saw blooming King proteas in the wild, and Lions Head from directions I’d never seen. The hike was fun; we went up the India Venster route which involved some scrambling up rocks, which made it much more fun. Then Sindy & I caught the last breakfast order at Sandbar before I hit the gym for some fun with snatching. It’s always a good day when your snatch balance feels better than your overhead squat!
Until the Regional workouts are announced I am trying to work on my weaknesses, yes, but really I’m just having fun. I work on something gymnastic-y every day after class, and on this day which was essentially open gym for me I did another non-unilateral-type workout, this time with kettlebell snatches and overhead squats.
Unfortunately, I know what will happen when the workouts are announced. I will start to fantasise about the ones that are in my wheelhouse, and stress about the ones where I am not proficient at what I have to do.
Maybe this is where the keep calm and carry on comes in. Well, that and sort out my shoulder.
I’m looking forward to May and June though. I’m lining up some very cool stuff at work from the supply side to the marketing side to the product side, and hopefully it will translate to more sales, of course. And then we have Regionals, my trip to Africa (Dakar, to be exact), the resumption of drinking season (some days I miss wine & whiskey), London, and a week’s leave. Summer in Europe.
Kind of like interval training: I enjoy life more when I’m overly busy followed by a chilled period. I wonder what sort of wave length that would be? Maybe not a wave then, but something like a heartbeat?
  • “I think we’d have to drop the ball.” – Adam
  • “Probably because he thinks he’s better than you.” – Adam
  • “Wi-Fi is, by its very nature, not harmful.” – Henk (you had to understand the context!)
  • “I guess not every day can be a good training day.” – Grant
  • “You bargain like a Persian!” – Jalal (I’m hoping this is a compliment)
  • “Ellie, how do you do that?” “What?” “Walk & talk at the same time?” – Rosica & Ellie
  • Looking forward to catching up on the Mediterranean.” – Zach 


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