One unexpected change in behavior that has resulted since starting Crossfit is my decrease in alcohol consumption. No more happy hours. No more Boozeday Tuesdays. I still drink, just not as much as I used to. It's never been a problem, but it's always been a presence in my life.

My dad died of cirrhosis when he was 54 and I was 22. He drank too much for too long. I'm a lot like my dad. But I've always been aware of how easy it could be for me to fall off the deep end. I was never a binge drinker. I never woke up not knowing where I was (I think). Sure, I made some mistakes in my early 20s, but who didn't? Isn't that what you're supposed to do? I drank a lot the summer after he died. I drank every night. I made bad choices. But I managed to make it out of that summer reasonably OK. I've always known that I could easily get hooked on something, like alcohol ... or gambling ... or sugar. But, thank god, there's always been a voice of reason inside my head and I've managed, I guess, to be a responsible adult.

When we moved out here a few years ago, the first thing we did was go to the wineries. Who wouldn't? There was wine everywhere!  You can go anywhere in Eugene on a Friday night and there will be a wine tasting  nearby. It seems like our whole first year revolved around wine. We even went to Napa!
That's a good time! Now that I look at that picture, I realize that shirt looks a lot better on me now than it did then. Anyway, wine became part of our life. Anytime anyone came out to visit (which, admittedly, was not often), we took them to the wineries. We even had a wine tasting party just over a year ago.
I poured the wine. I sampled lots of it, too. Apparently, it made my face shiny.

During my first month of Crossfit, I decided to cut out alcohol because it's not paleo. Then I went out of town for a conference for work and there was karaoke and ...anyway. Then we went to Europe a couple weeks later. 

But after that, last fall, I did cut back substantially. It wasn't really a conscious decision, but I was watching what I was eating. I never cut it out completely - there's always a reason to open a bottle of wine, or order a gin and tonic, but I did cut back. It was particularly nice on a Saturday in February, so of course, we had to go where we always go when it's nice out. This spring, or just a few weeks ago, I realized that I hadn't had anything to drink in over a month. My niece came to visit and I couldn't take her to the wineries! But once I realized that I haven't done something in a while, I think about it. I've had some wine since then.

I hate cutting things out of my life completely. That's why I have a problem with sugar. If I try to cut it out, I think about it. I did manage to cut Facebook out of my life for a whole 48 hours last weekend. I do need to do that more often. 48 hours is manageable. If I'm obsessed, it's only for 48 hours. Then I can have sugar, or facebook, or crossfit, or a drink. I think I can manage that.


Quitters Never Win

Recently on Project Runway, a bright young designer abruptly left the show - very close to the finals - because she felt she wasn't ready and couldn't handle it. The other contestants thought she was crazy. She had a great chance of making it to Bryant Park. She may have been a lot younger than the rest. She might have needed to work on her perspective. Maybe she couldn't deal with the stress. She had a lot of excuses. And she quit.

During every workout, no matter what workout we're doing, there comes a time when I feel I can't finish. This usually comes within the first few minutes of the WOD. My legs can't run. I can't do another pull-up. I'm tired. I tell myself a lot of things while I keep doing the WOD. But I finish. Of course I finish. Quitting isn't an option.

Maybe that self-doubt is my past reminding me of what I used to be. I'd get bored and quit, or I wouldn't go in the first place. I have a feeling that little voice will always be there. But there's another voice - a voice that's louder, a voice that tells me, "5 more minutes and this will be done. Just get through it," or "I can take as much time as I need to do these last few pull-ups, but I will finish them."

I listen to that voice now.



Last week, we had to do a lot of cleans. A clean would look familiar if you watch a lot of Olympic weight lifting, but not so much if you're like me. It's a move that's more complicated than it needs to be. We can practice it over and over and over again, but it's something that needs to click in your head before you can do it right. It's not curling a weight up to your chest; it's getting under that weight.

The first time we did this last week, we did 5-4-3-2-1 reps. So we start out fairly heavy and try to work up to our heaviest weight. I was doing all right until I tried to lift 85 lbs. for my max. I knew I was trying to lift 85 lbs. and I had never cleaned that much. I still haven't cleaned that much. Sometimes I wish someone else would put the weight on so I wouldn't know how much I was trying to lift. So I took 5 lbs. off and felt OK with my 80 lb. max.

Then we had another round and once again, I tried to clean 80 lbs. I was getting tired and really, I was just ready to go. I was thinking about lifting it and not thinking about getting under it. I was getting pretty frustrated. Then lovely Emilee came in and reminded me of the basics. Lift it up until the mid-thigh, then get under it. And I did.

We also did cleans during another workout, but they were actually the easier part of that one. The next one we had to do cleans, burpees, and running. That one was fairly miserable, but the cleans again were the easier part.

I write all this realizing that my vocabulary has changed. Who cares about cleans? Why am I talking about them? It's a move that looks easy but is massively complicated. Most of us probably do it wrong. But we keep trying. We keep getting stronger. We talk about cleans and burpees and snatches (heh) and we may sweat and swear and get angry at ourselves during the workout, but we do it. We show up and we do the work. That's what matters.

And I need to clean the house. I'm having awesome, amazing Crossfit women over for food in a couple days. Must get things clean.


All or Nothing

In an ideal world, I could eat a little piece of chocolate every day and be completely satisfied. In my real world, I eat a little piece of chocolate and then I go out and buy a cake. 

12 days ago, we started the Spring Leaning challenge at Crossfit. I figured that this would be my opportunity to finally drop those few extra pounds and get my body to where I really want it to be. I'm pretty happy with it right now, but there is room for improvement. For the past few years, I've had the number 135 in my head as my ideal weight, and I'm very close to that. I can totally get there if I just try.

For the first few days of the challenge, I was totally committed. I'm back to being paleo. I'm going to win this thing. Piece of cake. (no, no piece of cake. Cake would make me lose. Never mind.) Then I took my niece up to Seattle. And I still managed to do OK. It was the next day, when we drove from Seattle to Portland, when I decided to veer off course and stop at a diner and have some breakfast for lunch. Sure, I could have had an omelet and bacon, but let's get real. If you're stopping at a diner that serves breakfast all day, it's almost insulting if you don't order the pancakes or french toast. So I had some delicious french toast, with syrup. Yum. 

After that, we continued our drive and made it to Multnomah Falls. I really only planned to take some pictures and enjoy the view, but then we started hiking up. And I thought that we're here - we might as well keep hiking. So we hiked all the way to the top.

That's a long way to the top. Neither of us was expecting a hike, but we were there and we did it. On the way down, I asked her if she wanted something to eat or drink. Nope, she's OK. Then we see a kid with an ice cream cone. You know what comes next.

The following morning, before I took her to the airport, we stopped again to have a big breakfast. I can't pass up french toast and I had just had some. Whatever. I'll be good from here on out. French toast for everyone!

A couple days later was Easter and a friend held an impromptu brunch. I ate plenty of bacon and eggs, but I also ate some yummy bread and cookies. It's a holiday!

Aside from all of that, which seems like a lot when I put it down in writing, I have been pretty good these past two weeks. We had a going away dessert potluck at work, and I managed to eat my fruit and not eat any of the delicious goodies, even as they sat in the fridge for the rest of the week.  I unexpectedly received a piece of chocolate in the mail today from a resort that wants my wedding business, and I popped it in my mouth without even thinking. But after that, I thought that maybe I can be good for the rest of the week and eat whatever I want on Saturdays. Can I do that? What if I wake up the next day and want french toast? Can I go get my Ron's Island Grill tonight, with maybe a piece of carrot cake, and go back to eating normal tomorrow? I'm no good at moderation. I'm either in it all the way or I'm totally off base. I know this about myself. I can hardly moderate 'healthy' food. I got some trail mix to snack on at work. This stuff is ridiculously good. Almonds, seeds, hazelnuts, dried fruit, and apparently some addictive drug combined to make me shove handful after handful in my mouth. If I'm trying to moderate that, I'll need to physically separate it into ziploc bags of reasonable daily intakes. Until then, I'll keep thinking about moderation. While I think about it, I'll either have a big salad or a piece of cake. I'm guessing neither will make me really happy.