20.2 & Lessons

On Thursday, the second workout of the 2020 CrossFit open was released.  My initial thought was, “that doesn’t look too terrible,” and then I realized that working through the same three movements round after round for 20 minutes might be a little more soul crushing than I initially thought.  My second thought was, “sure hope I don’t drop a 35lb dumbbell on my head in round 8, that would be embarrassing.”  If you’re not familiar with format of the CrossFit Open WODs, feel free to check out my previous post,   https://metconsandmiles.com/2019/10/12/20-1/.

This week’s WOD was:
20 Minute AMRAP
4 dumbbell thrusters (35lbs)
6 toes to bar
24 double-unders

For more about the movement standards, you can checkout www.games.crossfit.com.

Once again, I was out of town for the majority of the previous week.  I’m not usually traveling for work during back to back weeks, and like I’ve mentioned, I’m an introvert.  So being stuck in a conference room for two weeks, having to interact with other human beings all day is exhausting to say the least.  Friday morning I ran 7 miles on the treadmill, had some early work meetings, and then got back home late afternoon.  As soon as I walked in the door, I made myself a pancake, got changed, and then went to the box with my two boys.  My warm up consisted of me trying to french braid my hair on the assault bike, 3 toes to bar, a couple double-unders, and one thruster.  Braids are key for double-unders in my opinion, and I figured a 20 minute AMRAP would give plenty of time to warm-up, right?

The WOD honestly wasn’t too terrible.  The dumbbells were fairly heavy for me, but manageable considering I only had to throw them over my head four times per round.  My goal for this week was the same as last week; stay consistent and keep moving until my time ran out.  I felt fairly efficient, and while I definitely was not speeding through anything, I was mostly able to keep going without much rest in between movements.  The thrusters stayed unbroken, and while I started off stringing all of the toes to bar together, by the end of the workout my grip strength kinda gave out.  I was able to stay on the rig without dropping in between, but by about round six I was done stringing them together and started doing fast singles without letting go.  The double-unders were what really went to crap for me.  They weren’t hard, and I wasn’t out of breath, but as I got tired, my arms tended to travel out.  I was generally able to string 10-15 together at a time, but there was also a good amount of rope smacking my arms and legs in latter rounds.  What’s a workout without a few good welts?

It was not my best workout, but it also wasn’t my worst.  In the end, I completed 12 rounds exactly, and after 20 minutes I had a beer, hung out with my guys, and watched all the other fools enjoy the rinse, wash, and repeat of the workout.  What I enjoyed the most was that both of my boys were there.  My husband to cheer me on and take the obligatory pictures, and my son to eat snacks and ask when I would be done.  My six year old has been in and out of boxes since he was about two, and he’s not generally impressed with what goes on.  While he’s not interested in sitting and watching an entire workout, he does a great job hamming it up and showing off how fast he can run outside.  I know he doesn’t think too much about what mom and dad do at CrossFit, but I hope the sheer exposure will be one of the things that lays the ground work for an active adolescence. 

As a person who has a fair amount of mental health history in family, and her own experiences with anxiety, I know there’s a decent possibility that my son might struggle with mental health at some point in his life.  Honestly, I think it’s part of being a human being, and so I don’t want to shield him from it.  I know that I never would have recognized the true force of my own resilience without the hard days I experienced.  But I also know that for me, being in the habit of being active even when I felt like crap was one of the things that kept me functional during the really tough periods. 

All that being said, it’s important to me that my kid also views physical activity as a part of everyday routine; the same way eating and showering is.  My husband I try to get him outside on his bike or skateboard at least once a day.  We talk a lot about how it’s important to take care of our bodies by working out and eating healthy foods.  We take him to marathons and CrossFit events.  We try to incorporate it into our daily and weekly routines.  So that one day, when maybe he’s not feeling so great, and he doesn’t necessarily want to do the things he knows are good for him, maybe that routine will be strong enough to keep him moving.  For me, it made all the difference.  So even though he may not be ready yet to toss a dumbbell over his head and roll his eyes when someone says “only 6 more minutes,” I’m glad that he’s able to see the example of his dad and I prioritizing our physical and mental health.

And this is something I see so many parents struggle with.  It’s easy to feel selfish for setting aside regular time to workout, especially when there’s homework and dinner and so many other things we feel like we should be doing.  It’s also easy to forget that kids learn so much more watching what we do than hearing what we say.  Back in my days as a therapist, I had so many conversations with women who were run down and depleted, and felt like they were failing as moms and partners.  Over and over I reminded my clients that you can’t pour from an empty cup, and I asked the parents I worked with if they would want their kids to grow up and consider their mental and physical health as a second, third, or fourth priority.  Every time, the answer was no. 

For this reason, I think it’s so important to keep having the conversation that self-care in all forms is not a luxury.  It’s also not something you do just for yourself.  Because taking care of yourself physically and mentally allows us to support the people we love more fully.  Being active allows me to deal with the difficulties and frustrations that naturally come from being an adult without losing my shit (as often).  And that is a lesson that I gladly hope to pass on to my son, one CrossFit open WOD at a time.

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