Dear CrossFit Lowell Community,

Let me tell you why I love you. You don’t judge me. You expect the best from me. You lift me up and all you ask in return is that I leave it on the floor. You believe in me.

I’m with you because I want to get better, be stronger. But if you know me even a little, you know I have some recent health issues. Osteoporosis (in my damn hip). Bad knee that fucking hurts all the time (aka patella-femoral syndrome).

I’m trying to take care of those things because I am trying to take care of myself. I’m listening to my body. It’s all part of my master plan to be squatting heavy at 90.

But let me tell you. Not everyone believes in me. And I’ve been subject to a lot more judgement than normal. Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about how I should limit myself.

For me, osteoporosis is a scary diagnosis. I’m too young for that shit. But here I am. I went to see an endocrinologist who reviewed all my treatment options. Medication, medication and medication. And let me tell you, the side effects of the medication are scary as shit. Devastatingly so. Like… increased chance of fractures (?!?!), a rotting jaw bone, chronic irregular heartbeat or ya know, esophageal cancer. Or how about the warning that I can’t lie down 30 – 60 minutes after taking one such treatment option, for fear that the acid reflux from it will be so bad it might wash the pill back up. Now, I know what you’re thinking: side effects come with every med. But go google side effects of osteoporosis treatment and then come back and tell me it doesn’t scare the shit out of you.

When I asked the doc about the possibility of weight bearing exercise, she hemmed and hawed a bit and said yes, that can help -but you WILL be treated medically at some point in your life for this. Ok, ok, I said. But why right now? It’s just starting, let’s see if I can up the exercise and my calcium/D intake. She wasn’t pleased. So I asked again, what kind of weight bearing exercise would be good for me. After vaguely describing what a squat might look like, she looked at me and said “Ya know, you’re not 18 any more”.

I’m not 18 any more. No fucking shit. And that’s an excuse not to work harder? It’s my body, I know what I am capable of.

Unfortunately, she’s not the only one concerned with my age. Aforementioned knee has received it’s treatment option: physical therapy. My therapist is nice enough, but while he was stretching my leg today I started asking him questions. “What muscle did you say I needed to strengthen?” Gluteus Medius. “Why do I need to strengthen it?” Some half-assed-I-don’t-feel-like-I-need-to-explain-it-to-you mumble. “So, do you think the weakness in my hips can cause trouble with my lunges and squats, because I often have trouble getting up or I fold forward?” Well, you know, when we get to be a certain age…

When we get to a certain age. Followed by the I’m-damaging-me-knee lecture chased down with the there-are-better-ways-to-gain-strength lecture.

I’m not saying medication and physical therapy don’t work. I’m saying: listen to me. Hear my goals. Work with me. I know and listen to my body. Let’s try and heal things together. Stop judging me and hear me.

I’m not 18, no, but I’ll put in the damn work. I will work so hard at what you tell me to do, docs, so let’s figure this out. Listen to me. Help me. Believe in me.

It occurs to me that if this were five years ago, I’d blindly listen to what I’m told. I’m too old. I could hurt myself. I shouldn’t push myself. I am now relegated to the weight machine portion of some cheap gym for the rest of my life.

But rather, I am just steaming mad. Why can’t I take an active role in my healing? Why can’t we discuss this and come up with a plan together that doesn’t involve me losing my jaw or sitting on some damn machine pushing five lbs.? Why should I do less when my body knows it can do more?

And here is where I circle right back to CrossFit Lowell. Because no one is going to cheer me for doing less than I can – ever. If all I can do is less than everyone else, you still cheer for me. You still push me. Our Coaches are always helping us improve or scale. They work with us to improve our bodies wherever we are in the grand scheme of ability.

You don’t give up on me. You don’t judge me. You believe I can do it.

And for that, I thank you all. I want to let you know that we have a damn rare thing. A precious thing. A magical place time and place that has all come together to create an amazing experience that I want to be part of for as long as humanly possible. I’m going to savor every damn second. So, thank you.

Your Fellow Athlete,





Yesterday, I competed in the first workout of the 2016 CrossFit Opens: 16.1.

A torturous little triplet that consisted of weighted lunges, chest to bar pull-ups and burpees. These are a few of my NOT favorite things. When I saw the announcement of 16.1 on Thursday (yes, the workouts are announced weekly, we never know what’s coming), I was kinda excited. For 20 minutes, as many rounds as possible: 25′ of walking lunges with weight overhead (or scaled to the front rack position), 8 bar facing burpees, 25′ repeat of the walking lunge and 8 chest to bar pull-ups. Burpees, ok. They suck, but ok. Chest to bar pull-ups, not a chance in hell – but the scale was doable: jumping pull-ups. The lunges, though. The lunges. Scaled or not, those lunges.

There are a few movements I fear: box jumps, overhead squats and lunges (NOT a complete list…). I don’t know why lunges strike such a cord with me. Maybe because I could never do them even without weight. Or that my brain still tells me I won’t be able to get up, after all this time. Or maybe that I knew everyone else was going to be able to do these things and I knew I was going to struggle. Hard.

Fear. It does funny things to a person. Looks like my brain chatter still likes to fuck with me.

I can go two ways in a competition: my brain shuts up and I work it like no one exists in the world but me, or my brain cranks up and I hide and struggle and defeat myself.

Guess what way I went yesterday?

But I tried, I really did. I fought past my horrible brain chatter and knee pain and didn’t quit. I went as far as I could with the weight, and then I stripped the weight to the bar and kept going. I just wanted to keep going. My judge, Jason, just kept pushing me on. He was so awesome, I wanted to cry. We took those lunges one by one and they were not pretty, but he worked with me while I struggled both physically and mentally. He gave me tips and tricks and cajoled and cheered and I remembered that I wasn’t there to impress anyone. So I just kept going.

In the end, I got 40 scaled reps for score.

When it was over, I was a mixed bag of emotions. Competing somehow does that to me. I was sad and happy and embarrassed and proud and exhausted and pumped and just buzzing. And now that I sit here and think about it, the Opens force out the bravery in me and knock me down into the most humble of places. I struggled, physically and mentally, but I pushed through those struggles, right to the end. I don’t know if anyone knows how hard, or how deep, that struggle can be for me. And I hate revealing myself, but there is no choice during these workouts. For me, competing in the Opens is like slicing open my chest, peeling back the skin and letting you all gaze at my insides. I feel naked. I feel like crying just thinking about it. But how amazing is it that there is a place in the world that allows me to do so with no shame? That’s some magical shit, right there, my friends.

16.1 done. And I’ll be there for 16.2, ready to fight that bitch in my head so my body can do its thing.

I’m bbaaaaaccckkkkk….

*Taps mic*

Testing. Testing.

Anybody out there?

It’s been a long time. I missed you all. I hope you are well. Oh, you ask, what have I been up to?

Well, let me tell you…

As I look back, 2015 was a stressful year. My wonderful team at work, that I built and nurtured and had running like a fine engine, was broken apart and my heart was broken. We put our house on the market, and after spending lots of time preparing it and packing, it didn’t sell. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, and put on meds. My thyroid took another downward turn and I gained another 20 lbs.. I popped a rib. Twice. Menopause was (and is) fucking with my life. I was recently diagnosed with osteoporosis. And I was (and am) tired. All the fucking time.

As far as CrossFit goes, 2015 was a year of wild inconsistency with me. I went, I didn’t, I went, I didn’t. The stretches between going and not going got longer. When I did go, it was once or twice a week. So, every time was like going for the first time. Painful. Long recovery. Exhaustion. The stress of my life was getting so overwhelming that the stress of working out was repelling me. Something that should have been helping was adding to the weight of the world on my shoulders. I almost gave up. I seriously considered just stopping at the end of 2015.

But then, my husband decided to go back to CrossFit with me. Now, I gotta tell ya, years of physical labor and stints in the gym have made him a strong man. And, I really hate saying this but, it irks me that he can walk into a gym, after two shoulder surgeries and a year of not working out and just bust out 10 pull-ups like it ain’t a thing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m happy he can be so fit and I love how strong he is. What pisses me off is me. I’m into my third year of doing CrossFit and I still can’t do a pull-up. Not even close. Again, don’t get me wrong, this is my own damn fault. I’ve not been putting in the work to get the result. I know this. The logical side of me comprehends that fact. But the emotional side is pissed the fuck off. And apparently, that seems to be just what I needed: a good dose of anger to get me going again. It’s kinda like a slap to the face. How dare he be stronger than me? I better get my act together.

So, for the last two months, we’ve been going to CrossFit consistently – three times a week (minus one week for sickness). I’ve made it a priority to go for a walk every single day. We’ve been getting our eating under control – not dieting, believe me, but focusing on healthy whole foods again. Not eating out so much. Eating more veggies. Not bingeing on all the food on the weekends.

I do believe, I’m starting to feel better. Of course, life has its way of throwing a few curveballs. My patella tendonitis is acting up non-stop, but I’m working out around it and getting it treated by the awesome Gina at CFL. I’m still very tired, but I make myself move and I go at my own speed. I have to see an endocrinologist to see what’s up with this osteoporosis shit, but I’m ready to deal. My job is non-stop stress, but I accept it is what it is. But, for once, I don’t feel so sad about it all. Misery is optional. I’ll deal with the medical stuff. I’ll deal with the job stuff. I want to do the things I enjoy again: reading and writing and lifting weights. Dear Husband recently suggested we go to CrossFit five times a week and I love him for it. The CrossFit Opens season is right around the corner and I’m all signed up. And, the weather is starting to get nice again. I feel like I can breathe.

So, Dear Reader, I’m back. Telling you my stories is something I enjoy. I want that pull-up this year. Just one. And maybe a push-up, too. And box jumps have been on my mind lately. And trying out heavier weights. And failing. And sweet success. Just the sheer joy of trying. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.


A couple of weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a formidable woman in my field about body image. It was a great conversation. We discussed the possibility of people accepting themselves as they are and how great it would be if self-love were the norm. How freeing it would be if we weren’t taught that there is an image of “perfection” that we should all strive toward. How the world would be if little boys and girls weren’t bombarded with glossy images of idealism, if they could look in the mirror and find themselves beautiful, instead of lacking.

I was inspired by the discussion and blurted out how I was working on my strength. How surprised I was that I loved weightlifting and how it changed my goals and my body image. I had to share that I was working toward a strict pull-up and how happy I was that my clothes were tight around my biceps and quads, but loose everywhere else. I’m sure she saw how passionate I was, but the conversation suddenly paused. She squinted at me, cocked her head sideways and said:

Yeah, but there’s a limit, right?

I was confused for a second. A limit? I asked.

Yes, she said. You don’t want to get too big or have too many muscles. You’ll look like a guy.

Wait, what?

My turn to look at her sideways. Weren’t we just talking about freeing ourselves from traditional body types? Weren’t we just discussing how we should shun the media propaganda we’re showered with everyday and choose for ourselves how we want to look?

And I thought, as I looked at this powerful woman in my field, how far we’ve come. And how far we have to go.

For a moment, I felt that familiar twinge of shame. That little whisper of guilt that says I’m not being a good girl, that I should submit to the skinny god and wear make-up and make a nice dinner for my husband tonight. The little disparaging voice in my head whispered: she’s right. And for a split second, I felt defeated. But then, following right on the heels of that: fucking bullshit. I can’t help it, I love weightlifting! I love CrossFit. I love how I feel when I complete a WOD. I love the idea of big, strong muscles. I love the idea of being stronger than my husband. I dream of push-ups, instead of boob jobs. I want my pull-up, instead of a 10 lb. weight loss. And I’m not fucking apologizing for it!

And then I thought, how far I’ve come. What progress I’ve made. And how far I still have to go. But this is a journey I look forward to, every damn day. I’m drawn to the barbell. I love working on the weight on my bar, not worrying about the weight on my ass. Ain’t no one gonna make me ashamed of that. Period.

All this went through my head before I said: Limits? No, there are no limits for me.

And I gave her my brightest smile before I said: I’m not ever going to stop working on my strength, maybe the next time you see me I’ll look a little more like Arnold.

Oh, she said. Well, it was nice talking to you, I wish you the best of luck!

And as she walked away, I smiled at her. Maybe I just played a little role in breaking down a stereotype in her mind. Or, maybe she thought I was crazy. But, for once in my life I really didn’t care. I know who I want to be. And I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the barbell. Smiling, I headed for the door so I could make the 6PM class. It was time to continue my journey, work on my perfection, my dream.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone!

It’s 2015. Wow. Most people have set their resolutions and are recovering from what they probably think was one last night of debauchery before the diets and gym memberships begin.

But not me. Well, I’m recovering from all the pizza and cookies and wine, but I’m not setting resolutions or going on a diet. Instead, I’m setting some goals. And, I’m laying this down here so I don’t forget it when I begin to harshly judge myself later on in the year: it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. It’s not reaching the goal, it’s the work I put in to get there. I’m not going to judge myself for not reaching the goal. Instead, I’m going to measure myself on the work I put in.

So, with that said. My goals for 2015:

  1. One strict pull-up.
  2. One strict push-up.
  3. Back squat 100 lbs. to depth.

I’m going to need some serious work on form, and strength. I need to work on my nutrition, and my consistency. I need more time in class. More time moving around. More mobility. I think these are goals that will help me with all of those things.

That’s it!

Onward. I wish you all the best year, with lots of happiness and love and many, many PRs!

I’m back!

Hello Dear Reader. It’s been awhile. A few months. It’s not that I haven’t been writing, because I have. It’s just that, well … I’ve been frustrated with my writing. Every post seemed to take longer, as I tweaked it this way and that, trying to get it perfect. Trying to say the right thing. So, I stopped. But, like most of my loves, writing calls to me. This blog was like an unfinished conversation, and I had to come back. And continue on. But with changes. From now on, posts go up as they are. Raw or polished, painful or inspirational. Perfect or flawed. I hope you don’t mind, because I’m still on this fitness journey and I still have a lot to share.

So, here’s to more writing! I hope you enjoy.


It’s that time of year again at work – review time.  The time when all good managers sit down and evaluate each team members performance, provide guidance on how to improve in the coming year and, if we’re lucky, hand out the cash.

I’m a manager in a software company, so I get to sit down and write a review for each of my engineers and my boss gets to write one for me.  This can be a daunting task (both to write and receive), to do it well takes a lot of thought and consideration.  But I have a formula.  I simply write: here’s all the great things you’ve done this past year, here’s where I think you want your career to go and here’s how I think I can help you get there.  That’s it (besides the cash, if we’re lucky).  I don’t ponder on where you didn’t meet your schedule, or where you didn’t do as well as you usually do, because no one fucks up on purpose.  Distracting shit happens all the time in this business.  We do the best we can, and move on to the next task.

Why do I tell you all of this?

Well, over the summer I’ve been learning how to be a coach.  Not that I want to be a coach, mind you.  But my box offers a Summer Apprenticeship Program (SAP).  It’s a learn-all-the-shit-behind-the-scenes opportunity, and I love that stuff.  I want to know why my coach just told me grip the bar a certain way, or why my wrists need to be straight or my toes turned out.  What am I trying to accomplish when I do those things?  I know what the coaches ask us to do isn’t randomly generated shit and I want to peek at the method behind the madness.  Or, as one of my senior managers at work likes to say, to take a look inside the sausage factory (not that I would do that, since I’m a vegetarian and all…).

SAP isn’t all about why we just did 50 fucking burpees or how to execute the perfect squat, although we do learn those things. We’re also learning about the softer skills.  How to be a good coach.  How to teach. How to influence.  These topics particularly interest me because I relate them to how to be a good manager.  And how to be a good manager is always on my mind.  Coaching and managing aren’t really all that different.  If you’re good at them then you’re always thinking about how to move people forward, how to help them strive to get better, how to help get them where they want to go.  It’s like being a guide on an important journey, and there are lots of skills one needs to be an effective guide.

And one of those skills needed to be an effective guide: you meet people where they’re at.   You have to pay attention and assess where a person is with their skills, you have to have the patience to listen to where they want to go in their career (or fitness journey!) and you have to have the willingness to work with them to get them to be the best they can be.  This involves risk taking, constant monitoring with open ears and eyes (and heart) and more than a little bit of faith.  As my father often says, as a manager, you are just as responsible for an employees success as they are.

This “meeting people where they’re at” skill, this is one of reasons Crossfit works so well for so many people.  And this is one of the things the coaches at Crossfit Lowell excel at.  They see us.  They listen to us.  I bet they think about us all the time.  Just like I think about my teams future, and how to help them move forward, I know the coaches at CFL are in that little office planning programming that moves us forward as a group  but addresses our individual needs as well.  They give us something to aim at, but recognize not all of us are there so they provide us guidance and leadership as we traverse the fitness continuum.

For me personally, this is extremely important.  Just like at work, there is no one size fits at all. There is no one way to get from point A to point B.   In my journey to fitness, I acknowledge that I’m a newbie and that makes me vulnerable.  That I need to be guided along the way, because I’ll get lost out there alone.  And this vulnerability, if handled incorrectly, can get a person hurt or drive someone away.  There needs to be mutual trust between manager and employee, between coach and athlete.  And let me tell you, I trust my coaches – and I don’t trust easily, either.  As mentioned in a previous post, it takes me a long time to warm up to things.   But here are some reasons why I’m a loyal CFLer:

Coach Gina, who knows how important squatting has become for me, watches my form constantly and always offers me advice on the next thing I can improve on.  She doesn’t overwhelm me with everything I need to improve all at once.  She leads me from improvement to improvement over time, so I get a real sense of accomplishment.  Who, when I was struggling with 135 lb. deadlifts in one of the opens workouts, saw that I wasn’t failing the lift, I was letting go of the bar out of fear, and she told me so.  She seems to see right through me, and knows when my brain is in the way.  Somehow she knows exactly what to say to dislodge the mental block and move me forward.

Coach Mike, my judge in the Opens workout with the deadlifts, who encouraged me and cheered me and coaxed me along to get those 15 lifts at 135.  Who showed such faith in me, it was hard not to see it in myself.  Who, when I finished and started crying tears of joy, hugged me and said “That was go great to see, I’m so proud of you.  I knew you could do it.”  with tears in his eyes himself.  And when I got my first handstand, he gave me another hug and told me how proud he was.  The genuine happiness in his smile made me feel proud, and I knew he had my back.

Coach Sean, who always seems to run those last 400 meters with me because he knows I’m not going to push myself.  He knows when to give me that extra kick.  Who always watches like a hawk, and gives small straight-to-the-point visual cues that I can emulate easily.  His nods of approval speak volumes.  And, who once helped me with my fear of box jumps by stacking several plates for me to jump on, and after I was done, seeing my huge smile, said: “If you’re happy that makes me happy!”  And that made me even happier.

Coach Steve, who takes all the time in the world to help me get it right, and offers me alternatives and tips and encouragement.  Who was my judge during another Opens workout that had toes to bar in it. Who, when I approached the bar and apologetically said “I can’t do toes to bar”, said back to me “That’s ok.  We’ve got plenty of time and I got plenty of tricks up my sleeve.  Let’s spend the rest of the time working on it.”  The sense of relief was so great, the fear just seeped out of me and we got right to work.  I was so grateful he didn’t find me lacking, instead he saw my potential.

No judgement, no bad attitude, no anger.  These coaches meet us where we are with encouragement and faith.  They see and cultivate our potential, no matter what the fitness level – whether we just got off the couch or whether we’ve been athletes all our lives.  Our progress and achievements and tiny victories have meaning for them.  They celebrate with us, our joy is theirs.

Coaching and management: yeah, not so different.  It all comes down to leadership.  Like Coach Gina says, you have no idea what a person may be going through, but there they are in front of you.  They’re putting their trust in you, and that trust is a valuable and fragile thing.  We, as coaches and managers and leaders, have a rare opportunity to help our people soar.  The coaches at CFL know this, they understand the value of a perfect squat and the value of the human performing it and the value of true leadership.  Thanks coaches!


That last 400 meters… (and when was my last post?)

Wow, has it really been a month since I last posted to this blog?  I guess it has.  Although, in all fairness, I have written several posts in the last month, but none of them felt “right”.  When I write, I write from my heart and I know when a post is ok to publish because I feel it in my gut.  I just haven’t felt that way lately, I wasn’t sure if I was saying what I really wanted to say.  So, I let it be.  I tend to listen to my gut, it always leads me in the right direction.

And so, here I am tonight.  Because during this evenings WOD, as I was suffering through the last round of hell, I saw this post clearly and knew I’d never get to sleep unless I got it down.

So, right to the point.  Tonight’s WOD: 5 rounds for time – 400m run, 8 snatches (95 lbs. for the guys, 65 for the women).  When I saw that this morning, I said fuck.  Running.  I hate running.  And it’s hot as hell out.  And humid.  I can’t even walk outside in this weather without getting out of breath.  Of course, I was looking for an excuse not to go, but honestly – I was in an exceptionally bad mood today.  I needed to run my battery down and hopefully calm my horrific attitude.

By the time we warmed up and did some weight lifting, I was already covered in sweat and breathing hard.  My face was a lovely shade of maroon.  I loaded up my bar for the WOD – I scaled to 41 lbs. – and gave it a test.  I struggled.  Oh shit, I thought, this is going to be bad.  I looked at my husband, who was also covered in sweat, as he rolled out a rowing machine.  His knee has been giving him lots of trouble, so he substituted rowing for running.  I looked at that rower like a water mirage in the desert.  I may have actually drooled.  I started scanning my body: did my knee hurt?  Yeah, yeah, my knee hurts.  Maybe I could row too!  But no, my knee felt fine.  I told myself to stop being an asshole, and line up at the door to run.   I watched the dreaded timer as it counted down – 3. 2. 1… and we were off.

It was bad right off the bat.  Not physically.  Mentally.  My brain was screaming so much my body was polarized.  As everyone pulled far ahead of me, I started to feel defeated.  You’re already done on the first round, my brain whispered, you won’t make the whole thing, you’re going to have to stop.  Fuck you, I said, fuck you.  I knew I could get through at least one round, so I aimed at that.  As I was finishing my first run and getting ready to start my snatches, almost everyone was out the door for their second run.  Look, my brain whispered, you are going to come in waayyyyy last.   Shut up, for fucks sake!  I struggled through my snatches as my panic mounted and set out for my second run.  I got halfway through, 200m, and suddenly I felt completely drained – just mentally drained.  My mind was screeching: just stop!  Just go back in and lay down and STOP!  And then a tiny voice whispered: Chris, this is not physical. You’re in no pain.  This is a mental game.  You can do this, but you are not letting it happen.

Ok.  Ok, I had a very valid point.  I scanned my body, and I was a little achy but no real pain anywhere.  I was finding it hard to breathe, but that’s cause I was running!  And so I ran.  I snatched.  And on my third round, I had a lot of trouble, but I put my over-active mind to use strategizing.  Run 20 paces, walk 10.  Can I do that?  Yes.  Try running 30 paces, walk 10.  Can I do that?  Yep!  The fourth round went mostly that way, too, and I was really out of breath, covered in sweat and a shade of dark red that probably scared the hell out of my coaches.

On my last round, Coach Sean said: is this your last round?  I gave him the thumbs up because I was not capable of speaking.  OK, he said, let’s go.  Let’s go?  I was out the door and he was with me, and so were my fellow athletes Sid and Amanda.  You guys are coming? I asked.  Yep, Coach Sean said, we’re your kick in the ass.

Holy shit.  At that moment, I realized that was EXACTLY what I needed.  My brain was talking me out what I knew I could do, and I was listening.  I needed a good swift kick, and Coach Sean knew it.  So, I ran as far as I could.  I sounded like I was going to die, and I stopped once to walk, but I almost ran the whole thing.  Would I have done that if they didn’t come with me?  Hell no.  When I got back to the box, I finished my 8 snatches surrounded by people who believed I could finish strong, and so I did.   As I collapsed on the floor, my husband looked down on me with a wiseass grin and said: It really wasn’t that bad.  I laughed for the first time all day.

I completed all 5 rounds in 21 minutes, 39 seconds.  Not so bad for someone who was willing to give up in the second round.  And once again, I was reminded of why I Crossfit.  I Crossfit because it’s hard, and because the rewards are worth fighting for.  I Crossfit because people push me to be the best me and to not give up.  I Crossfit because the people at my box believe in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.  And I need that support, I need that kick in the ass, because I’m a damn good negotiator and I can talk myself out of anything.  So, thank you for tonight, Coach Sean, Amanda and Sid.  Thank you for that kick in the ass which was sorely needed.  And, thank you to everyone else at the box who surrounded me as I belted out those last snatches.  I’m feeling happy for the first time all day, and I’ll sleep tonight with a smile on my face.


I bought a pair of shorts today.

Not bootie shorts, heck no, but not down-to-the-knee-not-really-shorts shorts either.  They’re running shorts, you know, the kind you’d wear when you – well – run.  I was in Marshall’s looking for a frying pan, when I walked by said shorts.  They were cheap, and black and pink.  And I don’t have any shorts.  And it’s 90 fucking degrees out.  So, I considered them for a few minutes and then walked away.  Then I went back and considered them some more.  Running dialog in my head: those will be great for running but they’re kind of short they’ll show your thighs and everyone will see your cellulite but who cares you won’t be sweating your ass off but yeah you’re fat so why would you buy shorts?

Wait.  Did I just call myself fat?  Why yes, self, I did.  I called myself fat.  I grabbed the shorts and ran for the register, didn’t even try them on.  I have no idea if they fit, they’re still in the bag.  But I was so mad.  And, for once, I was very conscious of the self-deprecating dialog in my head.  I felt defiant, and a surge of confidence as I paid for the shorts.

Now let me take a step or two back here, and take you into my mind the last week or so.  Early last week, the following phrase floated through my head: Crossfit makes me feel confident.  Just flitted through my consciousness and brought my mind chatter to a screaming halt.  Crossfit makes me feel confident.  I examined those words.  Yes, yes, I thought – it’s true.  I’ve been observing some tiny changes in me lately.  Wearing sleeveless shirts to work without a sweater, wearing tank tops out in public, wearing skinny jeans.  Stuff I would never do because I’m embarrassed of my arms, my belly, my legs, my cellulite.

But lately… I’ve been wondering where I got these absurd ideas.  Why, at my age, am I embarrassed to wear a tank top?  Why would I care so much about what people think?  After Marshalls, I ran over to Market Basket, and while I was waiting in line I felt like someone slapped me as I read all the magazine covers.   The titles proclaimed: How they lost half their size in one year!  How to lose 30 lbs. in three weeks!  How these stars got their new bodies and you can too!  It was like I was being bombarded with this shit for the first time and it hurt!  My first thought was: I should return the shorts.  Then I got pissed again.

Why?  I’ll tell you why.  It’s because I’ve been feeling better about myself lately.  Because Crossfit does make me feel confident.  When I walk into the box, I feel good about myself.  When I walk out of the box, I’m always so damn proud of myself.  No one cares if I’m in a tank top and yoga pants.  And I bet they wouldn’t give a shit if I wore shorts.  What people care about is if I work hard.  If I’m giving it my all.  They could care less if I’m a hot mess when I walk in.  They could care less when I’m collapsed in a puddle on the floor, bright pink and covered in sweat.  And they don’t give two shits about my cellulite.  What matters is what I can do.  People cheer for me when I PR.  People encourage me when I try.  People tell me “good job” when I’m collapsed on the floor.  It feels so good.  We support each other, no matter where we are on the fitness scale.  And slowly, slowly, this mentality has been creeping into my everyday life.

And I like it.  I like hearing my brain say: those arms of yours hold a handstand.  That belly is getting strong.  Those legs are feeling more solid.  I like thinking about all the things my body can do, and all the things my body will do, instead of fearing a few fat bumps on my legs and arms.  I wear my burpee bruises with pride, and my deadlift scrapes with honor.  My body is getting strong.  Fuck those magazine covers.

And this is why it was important that I bought those shorts today.  Score one for growing confidence.  Score one for recognizing strong is more important  over what the world thinks I should look like.  Score one for my growing positive self image.  Sometimes I can’t believe the way my thoughts are changing at the age of 44, but I gotta tell you folks – Crossfit is some powerful stuff for me.  The support, the community, the values – Crossfit has its heart in the right place.  Those shorts are still in the bag, I still haven’t tried them on, and I don’t even care if they fit.  It’s not important.  I bought them.  And it feels good.  And I hope I’m wearing them when I PR that next back squat, but it won’t really matter.  Because what matters is that I have the confidence to put the weight on the bar and push my physical limits.  What matters is that I have the confidence to tell the world that it doesn’t get to define my self-image.  What matters is that I have the confidence to be who I am, imperfections and all.  Because those imperfections won’t get in the way of my goals and dreams, and that’s all that matters.