Social Media Break – Lessons Learned

Greetings, fellow bloggites!

Oh wow, it seems so weird to finally be writing a post again. The longer I procrastinate, the more I feel like I have to say, and the more I have to say the more I don’t know exactly what to write about. So I don’t write, and the cycle continues. Hashtag blogger problems.

In July and August I conducted a little Social Media Detox experiment on myself. For 30 days I stripped away all forms of social media and content intake in general to see how I felt and what would happen. I was mostly wondering if stepping away from the barrage of posts and likes and other sensory assults if it would help my brain a bit in focus and memory, since I still feel plagued by “baby brain” although it’s been almost two years (!!) since I actually had a baby. Clearly since I’m now posting and pinning and snapchatting I’m back on the Social Media market. So how was the detox? What did I find out?

It was pretty interesting.

For starters, I only intended on removing myself from the socials spaces for 30 days. Then on Day 31, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bring myself to log in again. I ended up waiting for another two weeks before I finally logged back into Instagram, and only a week or so ago did I put the Facebook app back on my phone. I really enjoyed having my own “space” in my head, without wondering what was being posted or if I’m missing out on anything interesting, or even having to question if I should Snapchat my lunch. If I took cute pictures of the kids, I’d just text them to family and friends. If I was curious what was going on in a friends’ life, I would call them. Occasionally when I would talk to people, their reaction for me not knowing about something they had posted on Facebook ad nauseam about made me feel a little silly; like, why would they have to go and explain all of this to me when all of the info is RIGHT THERE on Facebook? I like to be pretty self-sufficient in obtaining knowledge, preferring to dig up the answer myself rather than ask somebody, so it felt weird to ask about things when the answers were attainable somewhere else. But I felt so much more connected talking about my friend’s latest race details on the phone, or group texting new baby pictures with my friend who just gave birth (and commiserating in all of the new-mama war stories!). Instead of taking my kids to an event and being distracted by “ooh, let me take a good picture so I can post this to show the world what a great day we’re having!” I could actually be there and enjoy the great day we were having. I even commuted on the train and just sat and observed the experience – it was actually quite peaceful to take in all of the other commuters sharing this ride with me, ready to take out our individual days. I found myself overwhelmed with such feelings of community and gratitude when I noticed the small pleasantries other passengers would bestow on one another, such as giving directions to a new rider or helping a blind individual find a seat. Oh man, I sound like such a crunchy hippie now. But it really helped me to be able to look and see the good side of people.

As far as brain space goes, I did notice an improvement in my general mental chatter and focus. As I suspected, the lack of new content streaming into my brain did give my cognitive processing abilities a bit of a break to pay more attention to things like what the decision was from that meeting two weeks ago or to not forget that I’m taking Squish to preschool and not driving straight to work even when he is in the back seat. I was able to think more deeply about all of the interesting little topics and curiosities that I like to ponder. And I had an easier time not getting overwhelmed and losing my temper during those routine, chaotic moments that just come with running a busy house with small humans, of the we-have-to-leave-in-exactly-five-minutes-one-kid-is-naked-the-other-is-covered-in-food-the-dog-destroyed-a-couch-cushion-again-something-on-the-stove-is-burning-where-are-my-keys variety. Text that we’ll be late, turn off the burner, throw the dog outside, remember that messy houses mean fun houses, grab baby wipes and spare clothes on the way out the door, and don’t worry, the keys are probably still left in the car from the day before. See, that wasn’t too terrible.

The hardest part was finding out how addicted I was to having a mental escape to distract myself with when I was bored or needed a brain break. This may be TMI, but I suspect this is one of those things that everyone does and no one talks about: I always take my phone into the bathroom with me. And without social media apps to browse while I did my business, I would literally stare at the home screen in my hands. So weird. And during the day at work if I needed a quick mental break from a big task, there was no where for my mind to go. Taking a walk took too much time, I only wanted a minute or two to distract myself. I can’t pull out a book and read at my desk, that’s just weird. I would stand up and stretch and take a few cleansing deep breaths, but my brain still cried for entertainment. I don’t really have a good understanding or answer to this finding yet, of needing to be entertained. I’m filing it as something to explore in the future.

I’ve adopted a new attitude towards my relationship with social media as a result of this experiment. To me, social media is not only a way to connect with people I would like to connect with in real life, but also a form of entertainment just like TV and video games. It’s fun, it can be educational if used in that way, but it’s not meant to replace real life. I can’t play SimPark and think it’s the same as a hike in the real park, just like I can’t “like” my friend’s status and think it’s the same thing as grabbing coffee together. Also, social media shouldn’t “take away” from me. Before my detox, I noticed sometimes I would be in a good mood, then I would browse my news feeds. I would walk away feeling worse than if I had left my phone alone. All of the angry, opinionated memes, “Fitspo” articles, an other ugly stuff that is all too common in news feeds would just knock me out and leave me in a shame spiral – I can’t fix the world’s problems, I don’t have a six pack, and I sent my kid to school with cold pizza in his lunch because today was one of “those” mornings, so clearly I’m not “good enough” and I’m a terrible person. Since coming back to social media I took a hard look at the content I follow, and made changes to ensure that after I take a trip into SnapInstaBook I come away inspired and grateful, if not just the same as I was before. Because that’s what I’m here for – to have a little fun, share some virtual high-fives, and close my browser feeling a little refreshed and ready to move on with real life.

So that’s just what I found, and that was on my first round of Social Media Detox. I suspect that if I make this a regular thing I’ll uncover more observations on the impact social media has on my life and my relationship with it. This is such a strange new world we live in, one that no generation previously has ever experienced. It offers us so many opportunities, but I still want to be a little bit conscientious (without being a buzzkill!) about what we have to pay to have all of this information – and exposure – at our fingertips. Oh man, when did I become all responsible and stuff?

I’m curious, what are your thoughts? How do you view your relationship with social media? Have you ever considered a detox, or does it scare the crap out of you?😉

That’ all I have for now, go make it a great day!


Why I’m Taking a Social Media Break (not just because I’m nuts)

My brain doesn’t work. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Literally, my brain does work somewhat spectacularly. I don’t have to think too much about breathing or beating my heart, I can usually remember my kids’ names, and I can probably out-daydream anyone I know, except perhaps my sister Amanda. But as most moms can tell you, after kids your brain sort of goes “poof!” and suddenly trying to remember spare details of life such as where you put your purse or that you have an important meeting 9:00 Monday morning just doesn’t happen. Even stuff that occurs routinely, like Wednesday is trash night, just escape me. From who I was before having kids, this has been by far the biggest adjustment to try and deal with, the fact that my brain just can’t keep up with my life anymore.

Or can it?

Sleep deprivation is the most likely and most-cited culprit in Baby Brain. I mean, we are not made to function on four broken hours of sleep a night for months on end. Squish took a while before he was sleeping through the night enough to give me a decent rest. Buttercup, however, was one of those miracle babies that settled into a solid, predictable schedule right off the bat and was sleeping through the night in just a few months. I’ve had over a year of not really feeling like “oh I have a baby” is a justified excuse for poor sleep, since my own choices are now affecting how much time I get in bed more than my tiny, demanding humans. Finally owning up to this fact, I began do my best to get to bed on time, practicing good “sleep hygiene”,  and sleeping in if I feel like I need it. The past four months I’ve really improved my sleep, averaging 7:30 per night. While I have noticeably more energy and vast improvement on my overall mood, my brain still feels spacey and not really like it’s on it’s game.

Now that Whole30 has given me a good template for my diet, I’ve been more active with CrossFit, and my sleep is under control, so with the main factors of cognitive degradation under control I started exploring more options on how I can improve my mental performance. I was flirting with the idea of a social media detox of sorts, maybe doing a “SocialMedia30” of sorts where I abstain for a month. My totally inspiring bestie Alexis just embarked on her month media-free, which put the bug in my brain even more. But 30 days without social media is a bit drastic right? I mean, it’s not just a way to distract for me; this is how I share pictures of the kids with my grandma and stay in touch with friends that live abroad. Clearly I don’t misuse my online connections, do I?

There’s really only one way to find out: that dreaded “awarenes”.

Curious, I downloaded the Moment app, which tracks your phone usage. You guys, I’m spending on average about 2 hours a day on my phone. Two. Hours. I couldn’t believe it. I complain so much about not having time, about wanting to cram 30 hours into a 24 hour day, and here I am spending two hours a day on Facebook or who knows what.

And it’s not just Facebook. It’s Beyond the Whiteboard app where I record my CrossFit workouts and compare myself to my gymmates. It’s My Fitness Pal and the Up app that syncs with my Jawbone, where I load my sleep, food, and exercise data … and compare myself to the other users in the community and browse blog posts. It’s Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Yelp, my Feedly blog feeds, all of the apps that I don’t really need, but I find myself checking ever day, just because they’re there. And that’s not it. There’s all of the newsfeeds I subscribe to through email, with article links and other “healthy” tips that jam up my inbox and feed my brain with data.

What if I don’t have Baby Brain? What if my recent decline in cognitive abilities is because of the barrage of media consumption I subject myself to on a daily basis? Thinking about it: when I had Squish, the only social media I engaged in was Facebook, and I had just found out blogs were a thing. I don’t remember spending my free time sitting on my phone, except to put together a new iTunes playlist or read emails. Now, I am consistently turned onto all the things that are supposed to “connect” me. Connect me to whom? Not my Grandma. And then there is all the IM: the texting, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts. I’m constantly getting pings and notifications and reminders, and my brain cannot turn off.

Maybe I don’t have Baby Brain. Maybe my brain is just done with all of this extra stimulation.

The final straw was when I read this Fast Company article about the brain that I ironically ran across in the latest email newsletter from Dallas Hartwig. And it blew. My. Mind. The article, titled “Your Brain Has A “Delete” Button—Here’s How To Use It” took what I knew about your brain and sleep – as in, you need sleep for your brain to work – and took it a step further to explain how your brain uses sleep to “clean up” stuff, and more importantly, describes that your mindfulness and the things you focus on tells your brain what to clean up and what to repair. So when I’m looking at Instagram 326 times a day, I don’t remember what was decided on in that budget meeting I lead last week, but I do remember that funny meme or the wicked workout that <insert CrossFit Games athlete I follow> did yesterday. Because that’s what I’ve told my brain is important information to retain. Clearly important facts!

So I’m going to give this social media detox a shot. I’m going to go 30 days social media free, and see if/how my cognitive abilities improve. Here are the rules I am going to follow:

  1. No apps on my phone, and no apps in my phone web browsers. I’ve deleted the apps from my phone and web browser bookmarks.
  2. No email newsletters. I’ve either unsubscribed from all email newsletters, or have set up a gmail filter to mark them as “read” and move them to a special folder to read after my experiment, if I am so inclined.
  3. No reading blogs, articles, or online journals, but I will post here if I am so inclined because I sort of view my blog as a journal rather than social media. However if I find I’m posting more often as a substitute for real social connection, I’ll take another look at that rule.
  4. No podcasts. This will be a hard one; I love podcasts on my commute! But I know that if I listen to podcasts, I’ll probably start to crave online social interaction since many of the podcasts I listen to I also follow on social media. So better safe than sorry, and I’ll find other ways to amuse myself driving over the bridge. Like call my Grandma.

In addition to reclaiming my brain space, this social media detox will give me the opportunity to reconnect with the humans in my life, in my  real life. If you don’t know me in real life, please don’t take this as “Emily doesn’t care to know you anymore.” On the contrary, I’d love to get to know you better! Feel free to email me, and let’s connect! And if you do know me in real life, call/text/email me, and let’s connect without a screen in between us (except for my SoCal/East Coast babes, we might need to Skype! Skype is totally okay in my book), preferably over coffee or hiking mountains.

To be clear, I don’t think social media is bad. I think it is useful, purposeful, and an easy way to connect with people. But just like birthday cake not inherently “bad” and is useful and purposeful in the right setting (celebrating a birthday!), so is social media. It is a tool, not an activity. And just like I use a Whole30 to adjust my attitude to birthday cake (totally worth the splurge on birthdays, but not on, like, Tuesdays), I want to use this Social Media Break to identify the role social media has in my life and how I engage with it.

I am super pumped to get two hours back into my day. Wish me luck!

Now that I’m off to do something not social-media related, go forth and make it a great day!


Friday Favorites #2

It’s another Friday! Or as my mom calls it, Yippie-Skippy-Friday! I’m feeling that it’s time for another round of Friday Favorites.

Favorite #1 – this deodorant


It’s getting abundantly clear now that I am becoming a Northern Californian. Mostly because I’ve started using “natural” deodorant. It’s been a bit trial-and-error finding one that works for me, but I’m really loving the Lavanila line. You can get it at Sephora, but I like Amazon, because Prime and lazy. My last pick was a three-pack of different scents, and I’m loving getting to choose what version of vanilla I want to smell like today.

Favorite #2: Podcasts, especially Girls Gone WOD


Because I spend about a billion hours commuting in the car every week to my office, I am totally dependent on audiobooks and podcasts to keep me sane. Right now, I am totally obsessed with the Girls Gone WOD podcast. Even if you aren’t a CrossFitter or even remotely active, you will love this show. Sure they talk a lot about gym stuff, but they are also hilarious and talk about everything random, such as how awesome PB2 is, favorite hats for all occasions, Marriage Hacks, and there is no shortage of Mean Girls quotes. It’s like hanging out with your besties that lift. Seriously, go listen and prepare to uncomfortably laugh out loud in public because you know you’re going to listen to it while in a coffee shop or at work or someplace super crowded.

Favorite #3: Diner Breakfast Fridays


I used to have this ritual where on Fridays I would get up a little earlier and have breakfast at a local diner. It was a major treat for me to enjoy some greasy eggs and french toast while quietly sipping my coffee and catching up on some reading or enjoying people-watching. I had gotten out of the habit, so today I decided to leave a bit early and hit up a local breakfast place. It’s not something I can do every Friday, but it’s nice to have the option when I have the time. P.S. the coffee was still decaf *sigh*

Favorite #4 – Bingo.


Hulk sent me this the other day. It’s hilarious, and surprisingly accurate. Bingo!

Need some more favorites? Check out Friday Favorites #1

That’s it for now. Go make it a great weekend!

Showing Up

I finally made it back to the gym this morning! I felt like I haven’t been going lately … but it turns out I have been going, I just haven’t been blogging about it. Since giving up coffee at the beginning of the month, I have felt a significant decrease in my strength and stamina during WODs, and to be honest workouts have felt pretty lousy. I found it really demotivating, and that coupled with my bailing on the Whole30 this month I felt too disheartened to post. Then I decided to stop fretting about it, but on my big girl pants and just do the damn work as needed. Who cares how much is on the barbell, as long as I enjoy lifting it? Not every day has to be a PR day; just showing up is half of the effort!

Skill work: 10 rope climbs, wheeeeee!

WOD: 20 min AMRAP:

  • 5 Handstand push-ups (or pike pushups)
  • 10 Dumbbell burpees over a box (10lb dumbbells and 16″ box)
  • 15 Dumbbell thrusters (10lb dumbbells for me)
  • 20 Sit-ups

Total score: 4 rounds + 3 thrusters

It’s just time to embrace the fact that I do not feel like the liquid lightning I used to feel since giving up my long-ago habit of a double espresso before class. I feel heavy and slow, but I pushed it and paced through the workout. I even felt a little pukey at one point, so I must have got a good workout in. Or maybe that was my pre-workout bacon Epic bar. Usually my go-to pre-workout snack is a few slices of turkey and some almond butter (not together), but I was running late and thought a bacon Epic bar would have a sufficient protein + fat combo. It did, but wow was that a strong flavor to choke down at 5:30 in the morning before, like, 50 burpees and  60 thrusters happened. Good to know.

On the recovery and self-care side of things, I also just started seeing a chiropractor for my neck and back. I’m just tired of being in pain all the time, and it makes training so much more pleasant if I’m not terrified that every big movement might be “the one” that throws me out of commission. So I found a highly recommended chiropractor in town that takes my insurance (yay!).

My neck, as it turns out, is – oh, what’s the clinical term? – effed up. You know how the vertebrae in necks are supposed to be, you know, gently curved? Mine is as straight as one of Squish’s lego towers. Which is bad. And I have a disk that’s starting to degenerate. But wait, there’s more. My left hip sits about .8cm above my right. Which is just dumb. So I’ll be snap-crackle-popping for the next several weeks while I get worked on.

Meanwhile, I’m also trying to get better at doing my PT exercises, and get regular massages. I had a super awesome pricey massage splurge at a fabulous therapeutic massage clinic in SF a few weeks back, and it was heavenly. Seriously, she gave me new legs. But after two days of my usual sit-in-commute-traffic-sit-in-desk-sit-in-more-commute-traffic routine my hamstrings were sore again. So time to do more mobility and glute activation work, and I’m trying to hit up the super cheap massage place in town when I can.

That’s the update for now, go make it a great day!

Rough Week

It’s been a bit of a rough week over here. Life stuff is rolling along smoothly as usual, but the news lately has been wretched. Along with the National stories of horror (eff you too, all news from Florida) I’ve found out quite a few people have passed away recently. Some I knew personally, some were family and friends of friends, and some were community leaders who inspired me. Then the Warriors lost game 6 of the playoffs. The bad news just kept rolling in all week.

So when I woke up before my alarm this morning, I knew a bit of self care was in order before I headed to work. I knocked off a session of Headspace meditation, then once I saw what a beautiful, sunny day it was, I took Olive to our favorite trail.

happy dog

I started writing a bit more about my thoughts on this week’s events, but it got super deep and woo-ish super fast, so we’ll keep it light by saying it’s the weekend, yay! Let’s go out and do cool stuff. Play a game, get dirty, laugh hard. Ponder life’s mysteries, give really good hugs, and frolic. Live life the way it was meant to be lived. That’s the best legacy and memory we can make for anyone. And go make it a great day.

Lessons Learned

First off, let me just say we need more love in the world. I’ve stepped away from a lot of social media and news the past few months because I simply can’t handle it. There is so much hurt and destruction and it’s all stupid. But even if I remove Facebook from my phone and stop reading news articles, I still hear about stuff. It can’t be ignored. People still suck. Which sucks, because people also have such a capacity to be really, really awesome. So let’s focus on the awesome. With enough light we can obliterate even the darkest of darkness. /rant

Okay, onto my self-centered, petty musings!

So, I’ve learned something new recently. If I announce that I plan to do or am doing a Whole30 on my blog, I will not finish it. The Whole30s I’ve successfully completed happened when I hardly breathed a word on the blog, or I would wait until like Day 20 to mention it. But I posted last week that Hulk and I were doing a Whole30 together. And then we went away for the weekend with friends to the cabin in the middle of the woods that’s off the grid with no wifi or internet. I consulted our friend over menu options, and bought a ton of Whole30 food to share, so I thought we would be good. But then we get there, and it’s vacation, and the kids are all in bed and the adults are playing board games and hanging out on the patio, and why not a cocktail? It feels festive. It’s just one. Ugh, terrible decision. Totally not worth it. But as guilty as I feel, at least I can chalk it up to a learning experience. Next time, stick with the program!

The other think I’ve learned lately is that I will always regret sleeping in and not going to CrossFit, but I never regret getting up early to go to the gym. Even if I barely got any sleep and I’m exhausted, I never regret going first thing in the morning. I can always try to catch a nap when I get home, or sleep in tomorrow. Just something to keep in mind when I try to hit that snooze button at 5:15am.

Part of my June Whole30 was to also give up coffee for the month. I figure since I was up to about 5 cups a day, it was about time to give myself a Caffeine Holiday. Although I didn’t stick with the Whole30, I learned that I really don’t miss my morning coffee all that much. It’s really nice having one less thing to do in the morning, and not spilling coffee all over my pants in the car, and washing out travel mugs with that gross stale coffee smell. I miss the taste and the ritual of a hot cup of coffee in the morning when I’m working at my desk planning my day, but for the most part once I’m focused on work I don’t even miss it. I thought about replacing my cup with a tea or hot lemon water. Which I can do if I want. But I really like not having to fix myself a hot beverage of any kind in the morning. My laziness has no bounds, apparently. Once the month’s up I’ll probably indulge in a cup on weekends, maybe, but I do not want it to become a morning habit again. Because withdrawal. *shudder*

That’s all I’ve learned for now. Go make it a great day!

Life Lately: Some Updates

My planner reminded me of a depressing point last week.

Ugh. You’re right, Nancy. My planner’s name is Nancy. Nancy is a name that sounds like someone who has her sh*t so together, she can help me with mine.

Anyway. We embarked on a Whole30 for June. I’m a little timid in taking about it, because historically whenever I talk a lot about my Whole30 on the blog, it jinxed it and I end up face first in a Safeway vanilla sheet cake. So far it’s going really well, because Hulk is doing it with me! You may now all pick your jaws up on the floor. Yes, my beer-brewing, “elimination diets are pointless”-viewed husband is doing a Whole30 with me for support. It’s been great trading off meals and having someone else volunteer ideas for “what’s for dinner.” And breaking out our matching LaCroix on the back patio Friday nights instead of the usual beer has a good vein of solidarity to it that keeps me from caving to certain hoppy brewed temptations.

One good note is that our Home Chef dinners are pretty simple to modify.

I just check all of the spices and sauces and replace the sugar and dairy for stuff we have on hand. For example, the Cole slaw last night called for sugar, so I used the juice of a clementine instead. Gave it a great citrus-y kick!

Also for June, my goal is to get outside more. So Squish and I had a little beach date Saturday morning. 

We went to Half Moon Bay. It was chilly, but clearly comfortable enough to to roll around repeatedly in the sand. He even got me to help him play “Construction” with his trucks, pushing them up and down the dunes. We left sandy and satisfied.

I’m still taking CrossFit easy. I had an amazing therapeutic massage on my hamstrings Tuesday, but I’m still feeling a bit off. I did the WOD yesterday and it took me a good 10 minutes into the workout to really feel warmed up and ready to go. I think I just need to take more time to warm up, to come to the gym early and get the process started sooner. Ugh, it’s terrible to get old, I tell ya.

That’s the update for now. Go make it a great day!

So Long, San Francisco!

It’s been a year since my family and I moved from our downtown SF apartment to our “forever home” in the East Bay. I had started this post last year but never published it because, well, we moved and I was totally swamped with moving-related activities. The past few moves we’ve added a child each time, and it’s amazing how exponentially harder it is to move with the addition of each small human. I normally like to move, but after this last one, I’m happy to stay camped out for a while! Anyway, here is a little tribute to our happy little cosmopolitan nest perched on the 31st floor that we enjoyed for 2 1/2 years.

That time is finally upon us. After months of searching and weeks of planning, we are moving out of our little SF apartment to our new home in the East Bay. We’ve had quite the adventures over the past couple of years.

2012 11 25 Moving Day 4
Moving day view from the living room, 11/25/2012

We came to SF from Sonoma County because I found a job downtown mere blocks from our apartment. It was a dream to have a commute I could walk.

2013 02 25 Emily Office View.JPG

Then I took another job on the peninsula where I could bike commute to the commuter train. Still pretty awesome.


Our little Squishy-man celebrated three birthdays in our apartment, growing from a baby to a toddler to a preschooler in a blink.

And let’s not forget that Miss Buttercup made her debut. Followed by Olive’s introduction to the family.

2014 12 31 Mercedes NYE Outfit 1

2015 05 22 Olive 1

And we said goodbye to our furry friend, Duke. I still miss you, buddy.

2013 11 14 Duke's Last Pic

We had tons of fun in SF events that were in our own backyard.

And had our fair share of good times with our city crew! Plus that New Years Eve 2013 party we hosted on the roof was epic. Just sayin’.

It was also fun to watch Squish become a “city kid.” He had a very different experience than Hulk and I did, growing up in the suburban midwest! That kid will never have a fear of heights, that’s for sure.

And then there was the pool. I’ll miss the pool.


And now it’s time to pack it in, and say our goodbyes. It’s been an incredible stop in the proverbial journey of life, but now it’s time for a new chapter. And I do not care that I am mixing metaphors.

2015 05 23 Packing

Farewell, San Francisco! We’ve had a wonderful time. And you’ll only be a BART ride away for future adventures and shenanigans!

2015 05 23 Last SF Sunset 7

Spring Fling Recap Event #3 – But Did You Die?

Time for the third and final post about my first CrossFit competition recap, the Spring Fling!

In case you missed it, here are recaps for Event #1 and Event #2.

Are you exhausted yet? I hope not, because Event #3 was a good ol’ chipper!

Event #3: a good ol’ chipper – Complete the following sequence for time. Time cap of 16 minutes:

  • 100 DB presses (25lb)
  • 50 box jumps (20″)
  • 50 kettlebell lunges (35lb)
  • 50 kettlebell swings (35 lb)
  • 50 goblet squats (35 lb)

Scoring is by time completed, or how many movements were completed before the time cutoff.

16 minutes? Bha ha ha ha! That’s cute, they thought I could finish in 16 minutes! I assumed I would be lucky to make it to the swings. And I was right.

After taking a bit of a car nap and eating some food, I was ready to kill the third event and get it all over with. I was super pumped by the first couple of women’s heats. Given how long I had to wait until my heat started I was worried about losing mental interest and my warm-up, so I kept moving around and trying to cheer for the other athletes as they slogged through the workout. I figured the key was just to pace it, and keep steady and keep moving. Which as it turns out, is my jam. I love chippers.

Doing the math, I figured to finish within the time cut I had to complete each exercise within 3-4 minutes. No way. I mean, maybe I could crank out the swings in that time, but box jumps? We’ll just have to go in and do our best there. I started my heat, and the push presses were laughable. It was hard to only use one arm, it took me a few reps to figure out the balance! And my right was clearly stronger than my left. At first I tried to keep my splits even, do 10 presses on the right, then switch and do 10 on the left, but my left was taking so much longer! I eventually did the last 20 reps all on my right in the interest of time.

After the 100th push press, I immediately dropped the dumbbell and started with the box jumps. After watching the other heats, I figured I would do better if I just stepped up on the box instead of jumping up, which was legal. When you’re tired it takes just as long to step up as to jump and recover, and since I’m only 5′ tall a 20″ box is a significant height, like, almost the length of my whole leg. I was able to cruise at a pretty steady pace, switching legs as needed and never needing to break it up. Towards the end I was putting my hands on my knees to help myself up, but I never needed to stop. Nailed it.

After the box jumps were the weighted lunges. Lunges are hard. They’ve always been a bit of a menace to me. And lunges with a 35lb kettlebell just suck. I would much rather lunge with a barbell, because at least it’s not awkward to carry. I sort of cradled the kettlebell to my chest with one arm and held it in place with the other while I lunged away. I ended up breaking out in groups of 8’s and 4’s as my quads slowly died on me. And holding the kettlebell to my chest was causing my lower back some problems that ended up doing me in. In hindsight, I should have balanced the kettlebell on my shoulder, or held it to my side, swapping sides. But I chalk this up to the “you don’t know what you don’t know” category of competing for the first time. I cranked them out best I could and moved on to the swings.

The swings are where I died. My lower back was cramping so bad, I couldn’t even get the thrust to move the kettlebell. I just sort of collapsed on all fours after 10 reps, unable to continue. I was super frustrated. I had done so well, and now this! I would scrabble up, do a couple more reps until I thought my back would break, and collapse down again. I twisted and stretched and it did nothing. I would try to land a couple more swings, then curse and throw the weight down again. At one point with just a couple minutes left until the time cutoff, my gym owner saw me and asked my judge if I was done. I shook my head; I’m not done, I just can’t move! She offered a modification to the swing, to bend my elbows and use more arm to muscle up the kettlebell, rather than keeping my arms straight. That actually worked really well, using my arms more than my back to support, and I was able to finish with a final score of 40 swings.

I didn’t make it to the goblet squats, but with my back thoroughly cramping I can’t imagine that would have been super spectacular. Still, I wish there wasn’t a time cap so I could have had the opportunity to know where I would have finished. I’m guessing I needed another 3-4 minutes to crank out the rest of the swings and the squats. I probably could have finished in under 20. But with my final score I ended up 17th in Event #3.

After the last of the heats were completed, we had beer. And awarded the winners. I came in 15th overall out of 27 participants, which is about how I did throughout my academic career, so nothing to complain about there (I always said C’s get degrees!).

The best part was, when I went home, I was home alone. The kids were visiting their grandparents, and Hulk had flown out to Austin, TX that morning on a business trip. This was, like, the ultimate luxury. So I cooked up a Home Chef meal (pork chops with butternut squash-apple mash, yay protein and carbs!), took an ice bath (eek!) followed by a really long epsom salt soak, and binged-watched the last season of Downton Abbey with Olive. It was a good day.

It’s so weird, at the time I was sort of beating myself up about my scores. Then as I’m walking through the day again, it’s like I sort of realized what a badass I am, that I did everything I could and there are very few regrets, performance-wise. And I am so looking forward to the next competition, whenever that will be. The CrossFit competition kool-aid has been drunk by the gallon over here.

And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed my recap, in all of its self-induglent, CrossFitty glory.

Go make it a great weekend!