Strong = Fun

Lots of things are fun – new restaurants, drinks with friends, movie
marathons. For me though, what’s really, really fun, is taking on a
new challenge. That might be navigating through a foreign city,
attempting a new recipe, or lately, trying to accomplish a physical

Saturday mornings at the gym a few of us women – “Badass CrossFit
Girls” – get together to play, to try new things, and to cheer each
other on. No program, no prescribed weights, sets or reps, just fun.
The others are very strong and very fit, and it’s a great challenge
for me just to hang with them. My instant reaction when I see one try
something I haven’t done is “I want to try it!” (We all share that
trait.) I still think “try” not “do” because my brain hasn’t caught up
with my body – it doesn’t recognize how strong I’ve become yet.

Yesterday was the most fun Saturday yet. It started with my attempt to
pick up the Atlas stone. I’d watched for weeks with growing envy as
seemingly everyone else in the gym shouldered the stones. It seemed
like the ultimate test of strength. Some reading told me it requires a
strong back, glutes, hamstrings, hips, quadriceps, abs and biceps.
That’s a tall order. My first attempt I couldn’t budge it. My second
got it a centimeter off the mat.

When I’d asked Ben the weekend before if he thought I was up to it
yet, he’d said I could try it Friday. Unbelievably, I forgot about it
Friday. But I as soon as I’d warmed up Saturday I went straight for
the “Get Stoned” corner. Pete was kind enough to move the big dudes’
stone out of the way and get the “little” one – the one that weighs as
much as me and then some. The girls gathered around, along with some of the guys to watch and coach.

Much to my surprise, I got it off the ground, but didn’t know what to
do with it next so I dropped it. Sean explained how to get it into my
lap, and after a quick rest, I went back at it. I huddled myself
around it and heaved it off the floor. Then the hard part began –
trying to lift it up onto the shelf. The girls’ cheering kept me
going, super determined to get it on the shelf, but it was just too
tall. When I started trying to use my knee to boost it the last inch,
Sean told me to drop it. I didn’t want to but I’d never be foolish
enough to disregard a coach’s order, so I dropped it. I hadn’t made it
but I was ecstatic nonetheless – I really didn’t know I had the
strength yet to even pick it up.

rope climb

Who knew? I can climb the rope

The morning kept getting better. Alise conquered the rope climb,
jubilant that she’d accomplished a task she’d never been able to do. I
had to try for myself then. Rachel gave me some excellent instructions
on how to wrap my feet so that my weight could rest on them as I
climbed. I began to haul myself up and found it so much easier than
I’d have thought! I’d eyed the rope for months wondering if or when
I’d ever be strong enough, and there I was! I pulled myself up about
two thirds of the way and paused to calculate how much I had left and
what it would take to come down. I wanted to finish it but good sense
prevailed, and I came down, scoring some rope burns along the way to
add to my roughed up arms from the stone (I’ll wear pants, not shorts
next time!).

Giddy at this second accomplishment, we moved to handstand push-ups
next. I had shown Susan box pushups, which she said were just as hard
as handstand ones, so I was ready to give them a try. I wasn’t afraid
of the stone or the rope, but flinging myself upside down like Susan
did with such ease scared me. Visions of my arms giving way and
falling on my head persisted. Then Rachel showed me an alternate way
to get in the handstand – hands down first, then kick up with one leg,
pulling the other along. “You’re strong enough to do it this way,” she
said. “Those were the magic words, and next thing I knew I was upside
down, feet on the wall. Rachel held me against the wall as I did a
couple push-ups (little ones, as I’d built up a cushion under my head
for my first attempt). I came down and she explained how to tuck my
hips and hang my head down in order to hold myself upright. I went
into another handstand and this time held it myself. This was so much


Rachel, Alise, me and Susan rocking the handstands

We also played a little with the battle ropes, did some weighted and
some banded situps on the GHR, and I finished with holding a plank
with 45 pounds on my back for as long as I could – 45 seconds.

I felt like a kid after the coolest recess ever by the time Sean
shooed us out of the gym at noon. None of this fun would have been
possible if it weren’t for the last few months of work building
strength. As I get stronger I can’t wait to see how much more fun I
can have!


new addiction: plank work


One thought on “Strong = Fun

  1. Wow – congratulations!! I’m hoping that Chi’s budding film career will work out the way I hope it will (yeah, I know that sounds dotty), and in the meantime they will open a Crossfit in Chinatown or Echo Park. Then I’ll be able to get back into that fun too and feel ok about my body again! Gambatte!

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