One of the most frustrating things about long term training in DC is how hard it is to spend real time with my kids. Time that isn’t rushing around getting me ready for work in the morning and them ready for daycare. Time that isn’t cooking or cleaning in the evening. Time that isn’t studying. Time that isn’t frantically running errands. Time that isn’t in the car.
I had previously solved this problem with Jasmine by cuddling her to sleep every night. When it was time for bed, I’d make her a bottle of warm milk, let her put an ice cube in it, then curl up in her bed with her to read and giggle and play until she finally fell asleep. Between the gym and meeting friends for dinners, I don’t get that quiet time with her anymore.
This morning when Jasmine wanted to cuddle on the bus to FSI, I just didn’t have to heart to tell her to sit back down in her seat. I miss spending one-on-one time with her too.
We only have a few months left in DC, and while Bertrand and I have really been too worn down to take advantage of everything this great city has to offer, I hope that over the next several weekends, Jasmine and I will get downtown to visit memorials and museums. I love this city, and I think it’s about time for me to exit from my “OMG I HAVE TWO KIDS UNDER THREE” panic mode. Quality time with my daughter and DC in the summer? Sounds like a plan to me.
The best way to get one-on-one time with the coaches at my gym box is to finish last. I like to think it’s because the coaches are admiring my determination and fortitude, but I’m pretty sure it’s only because they’re worried Imma hurt myself.
My box appears to have some rhyme and reason to its programming, and part of that is testing. How much can you lift? How fast can you get through this benchmark metcon workout? How far do you have to scale the workouts to complete them under the time cap? How much have you improved since the last time you tested? I’m happy to be done with benchmark week. I could do the last two workouts in the progression this weekend, but I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend snuggled up with my family and my Arabic flashcards.
This week I’ve discovered that I can deadlift a decent amount for a novice. I still can’t do a single goddamned pushup. And I infinitely prefer ring rows to rope raises.
Also, I have completed zero benchmark workouts under the time cap. Bless the coaches’ hearts, they let me finish anyway.
It’s “benchmark week” at my box gym, whatever that means. I think it means a lot of pain, but I could be wrong. No, wait, I’m probably right. Expect it to be described in excruciating and profane detail at the end of the week. Until then, here are a few articles that have crossed my radar in the last couple of days.
That’s not to say that we should ignore a woman’s size altogether, because as writer Lisa C. Knisely reminds us “the fucking worst thing you can tell a fat girl is that she isn’t fat,” but pointing it out in a cutesy, wink-wink,oh-we-get-it way might serve to make people feel infantilized or emphasize being treated differently. We need to celebrate people’s bodies for the right reasons.
I’m still a fat fucking CrossFitter, don’t you guys worry.
Naked, I stood at the closet doors with the lights on and made myself ready. I took a deep breath and positioned the mirrors so I could see all of me. I consciously worked to remove my self-believed inner image. I opened my eyes and looked very carefully at my body. And my heart lurched at the truth: I am not a young woman anymore. I am a woman well-lived. My body tells of all the years she has carried my spirit through life.
Perhaps most appalling is her date’s blindness to how hurtful he was.
If people have studies that say that everyone going paleo and doing crossfit will save on healthcare costs and be better for the “good of society” do we all have to eat a steak while we flip tires in a garage with no air conditioning? The only good answer to this is that each of us gets to choose how highly we prioritize our health and what path we choose to get there. Public health should be about making information and options available to the public, not making individual bodies the public’s business. If people want to flip tires in an air conditioned gym while eating Kraft singles and wearing a plarn backpack that’s totally their deal, I say rock on.
BONUS NON BODY ACCEPTANCE LINK: I’m loving Cup of Jo’s Motherhood Around the World series. Raising Jasmine, then later Grace, in Freetown was an adventure, but so wonderful. In a world where every day there’s a new story on CNN about something awful happening to a toddler, I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had while raising my own wonderful daughters.
Two friends, both of whom I respect greatly, have shared criticisms of a recent post I wrote about a CrossFit class. Kool-Aid isn’t paleo, but if it were, I’d certainly have drunk it. Instead of promising to write a glossary and then not doing it, I’m just going to provide a (profanity-free*) translation.
I went to CrossFit on Thursday because I looked at the WOD and said to myself, “Running? Partner metcon? FUCK THIS SHIT, I’m staying home.”
I went to the gym on Thursday because I checked out the programmed workout posted online by the gym and said to myself, “A cardio conditioning workout that requires that I run while my partner does another activity, and then we switch back and forth for fifteen minutes? To heck with this! I’m staying home.”
So of course I went, because I’m not about to be like, “Wah wah wah, I only do metcons I like.”
So of course I went, because I’m not about to be like, “Wah way wah, I only do workouts I like.”
And of course, there was neither a partner workout or running, and I was like FUCK YEAH, THURSDAYS ROCK.
And of course, there was neither a partner workout or running, and I was like, YEAH! THURSDAYS ROCK!
And then the coach was like, burpees + thrusters, and I was like, FUCK, I knew I should have STAYED HOME.
And then the trainer was like, squat thrusts + a left that involves a squat + a push press and some explosive force, and I was like, MAN! I should not have come today.
And then I didn’t finish the metcon within the time limit, and I was like, FUCK, it’ll only take me 30 more seconds, might as well finish anyway. So I did.
And then I didn’t finish the cardio conditioning within the time limit, and instead of stopping, I took 30 more seconds to finish.
Sounds like progress to me.
* Future posts will certainly not be profanity free because I am secretly twelve and still think fart jokes are funny. Sorry.
What an amazing way to celebrate the Fourth. The last time I was in the States for Independence Day, I was in college. Since then, I’ve elebrated as a Peace Corps Volunteer, as an entrepreneur abroad, as a local hire at a U.S. Embassy in Cotonou, in Freetown as the GSO (logistician-in-chief), and now, back in the States as a plain-old-regular American Citizen.
Lemme tell you, it is AMAZING celebrating Independence Day and not having responsibility for the enjoyment of anyone but my family.
We started the day by heading up to MD to have brunch with my parents and my brothers’ family. Trying to get all three families on the same page for major holidays has become a bit of a challenge. We’ve solved it by getting the Carpenters and Sondjos together for breakfast, instead of fighting over whose going to eat lunches and dinner where. Nobody else wants to get up at the ass-crack of dawn to drive to MD, so we never run into traffic, and we never have conflicting plans.
After an amazing (and unphotographed) breakfast, we went outside to let the kids exhaustthemselves. They did. OF COURSE AND THANKFULLY THEY DID.
On the way back to Crystal City, we saw a ton of people and tents at Long Bridge Park. I thought it would just be folks spreading out blankets to watch the show, but it turns out, there was a huge community event going on!
Except that Jasmine and Grace were fast asleep in the car and neither Bertrand nor I were convinced of their capacity to not turn into disasters before the fireworks started. We made a pact. We would go and have fun, and the moment either one of us thought either one of the kids were about to break down, we’d happily leave and not worry about the fireworks.
Soccer balls and face painting and food trucks and live music, oh my! The kids had a blast. We have been pleasantly surprised at what an effort Arlington and Crystal City are putting into making this area less “soulless suburbia” and more “pleasant neighborhood.”
After walking the entire park (and that thing is huge), Bertrand and I were ready to find a spot in the grass. I was exhausted. I’ve been practicing my thruster/ wall ball form with Jasmine all day. Turns out, you can get some real air on a toddler when you use proper form. Turns out, a 30 lbs toddler is a lot heavier than the 15 lbs bar I was using last night. We spread our blankets in the vicinity of a lot of families, and Jasmine had a great time running around like a maniac with other kids while we took a much needed break. I’d heard previously that a few hundred people would be at the park to watch the fireworks, but last night, there were easily a couple of thousand. The park was packed.
Amazingly, we made it until about 8:45. Without whining or screaming, Jasmine turned to me and said, “Maman, I’m TIRED. I want to go HOME.” Who can argue with that? So we packed up, got the kids together, convinced Jasmine to walk instead of being carried, and started making our way out of the park.
While on the long bridge out, we saw fireworks in the distance. We stopped and waited for a few more minutes, but they didn’t start in DC immediately, and Jasmine was turning into cranky pants. Just as we made it out of the park, we heard an explosion in the sky. The show had begun!
I’m so glad we got to see them! Jasmine was enchanted. Lights! In the sky! Over! And over! And over!
Costco’s summer strawberries are out of control. Is it possible to eat a over kilo of strawberries in a week? I managed to get through about half of them by making strawberry coconut ice pops for Jasmine and bringing some to lunch every day, but I got to the end of the week and still had about a pound left.
I needed a recipe that would be alright with imperfect strawberries just about at the end of their shelf-life, that didn’t have any added sugar (or honey or stevia or any sweetener whatsoever), and that I’ll be able to return to all summer, as our CSA continues to send us more fruit. I started pursuing Pinterest, but all of the recipes I found were either SWYPO (that is, paleo, but actually secretly a dessert, which is FINE, but not what I need right now), or had added sugars. So I got to work and started experimenting.
What better than a refreshing strawberry basil mocktail? The sweetness of the strawberries contrasts well with the subtle bite of the basil, but make no mistake, this is not a sweet drink!
Strawberry Basil Mocktail
Lots of strawberries (1 lb)
Lots of fresh basil leaves (1/2c)
Chop off the tops of the strawberries and blend them with 1/2 – 1 cup of water.
Roughly tear the fresh basil leaves in half.
Gently boil the strawberry slurry and basil down to a thick syrup, stirring frequently.
Store leftover syrup in the fridge for up to one week (or freeze it into ice cubes, like I did!).
Mix 3T strawberry basil syrup, 2T lime juice, and 1c fizzy water. Pour over ice.
Thought I was gonna puke halfway through last night’s workout. Bless his heart, the coach was like, “You should do a shorter run for this last round.” So I did, and I didn’t puke, and all was well with the world.
Crossfit seems to be about destroying yourself physically, workout after workout after workout. Short term misery for long term gains. You work your ass off during the skills and strength training part of the class, then you dump everything you’ve got left into the metcon, until you’re utterly incapable of giving anything more, and lying on the floor after the workout of your life.
That moment when you’re finished. And you don’t have to take one more step. And you know you’ve given it everything you can. And you know that somehow, you still have to find the energy walk off the fieldwalk home. And it’s the best feeling ever.
Also, it’s insanely expensive, has a rabidly obsessive community, instills in its followers sense of moral superiority over the rest of the world, and encourages a cult-like social scene.
Yup. CrossFit feels a lot like drum corps, sometimes.