And then, he died…

Okay, so I’m still alive, but it’s just like me to drop a “hey guys, I might have early-onset Alzheimer’s” and then disappear for almost a month and a half. I was actually a little worried about my brainmeat there, because I saw my last post was August 28th and thought “I posted seven days ago? I thought it was a lot longer than that!”

My brainmeat has been a little iffy the more I pay attention to it. Kind of like when you notice something hurts a little, so you hyperfocus on the pain until it feels like you need surgery. Or a splint. Or something. My most recent word replacement was that holiday in March known throughout the world as Leprechaun Day. Granted, that’s not quite the same stretch as “fish museum,” but I’m rolling with it.

I’ve realized a few times lately at work that there are things I’ve done project-wise that I just have no memory of. We had an issue with on of the alarm zones and the keypads still had old maps next to them, not new maps representing our new alarm people. The shop guy comes to me about it and I’m trying to figure out why he’s bugging me. Oh, right. Because I was the one creating the new maps back in February. After some random searching along the lines of “If I were me, where would I put the file?” I found my last edit of the map which was a little lacking in information. It was enough to be left alone for a bit, so I used the time to start digging through my desk drawers to see if I had any sort of notes. I found a few printouts with modest amounts of info and figured this was what I was given.

A few minutes later, the head boss comes upstairs with his manila folder. “Here’s all of the things you sent me last time” he says, as he shows me the same printouts I was holding in my hand. Ah. So apparently I made these documents. Wondrous.

Similar thing occurred when I was reminded that I needed to set up the safety meeting for this quarter, since I’m the new head of the Safety Committee. The previous guy ran the last one, so this one is up to me. Previous guy wanted to sit with me to discuss what I had come up with as a topic for the meeting. Ummm… I was thinking the topic would be… safety?

I vaguely felt like I might have taken notes last time, so I looked around for those in the five or six half-used spirals I have around my desk. Here it is: “Have meetings on Wednesday. Next one: October,” Thank you, Past Brian. Now I totally know how to run this meeting.

Part of me was a little worried about these gaps in my memory. They kind of vaguely came into focus as I researched them, but they weren’t there before I did. Then I realized that a lot of that could just be not really caring about the job. I hear people talking about some of the things we do and rattling off product numbers and stuff, and I’m just amazed that anyone could have enough interest to learn any of it. So I think I’ve basically given my brain a free pass to delete whatever it wants in regards to the job. Lovely.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to try bowling. It turns out, I’m quite bad at it. Like get-a-strike-and-follow-with-four-gutter-balls bad. Little flashes where it seems like I know what I’m doing, followed by long stretches of “you know the object is to knock the pins down, right?” But today I played games 18, 19, & 20 with scores of 114, 81, and 79 respectively. In a way, I’m happy to just see a trend there. My average right now over those 20 game is a whopping 85. And that’s with three games over the 110 mark. Oof.

I’m being good-humored and patient about it, though. The only other time I ever bowled was in ’93 or ’94, and even then I only played a few games with friends. So I’m saying these 20 are my very first 20 at this point. One day I’ll learn how to be at least slightly consistent.

Then it’s all over for you bitches.

Retreat, Regather, Regain.

Well, it’s been an interesting week so far. Filled with various stressors initially but, today at least, taking a turn for the better.

I’ll start with what most of you are probably wondering about: CrossFit Zenith. This week, after so much time getting to this point, we finally got a first draft of the lease. All thirty-one pages of it. In lawyer-speak. Ugh. But we looked through it, as did our attorney, made a loooot of corrections/changes/improvements and sent it back to the owner. Now the waiting begins anew.

In addition to the expected stressor of having to wait for a reply, being this close to a lease means other kinds of stress as well. Now it’s not only time to start making those final decisions on what equipment we’re getting and from where, but it’s also time for… the web site.

I wanted to put up a maintenance mode placeholder so I could tinker behind the scenes. Rather than tracking down all of the local tools I used to use to build sites, I figured I’d do it like a regular mortal and get a template that’s pretty close to what I want, customize it through the WordPress backend and be done. Sounds like a brilliant plan if you don’t take three things into account:

  1. I’m a PC person, not a Mac person. I need to be able to not only tinker under the hood, but I need to have obvious stuff hidden. If you give me a big red “Click to Do It” button, I won’t see it. If I have to dig through ten menus to find the “Do It” entry, I’m much happier.
  2. I’m a perfectionist. If you want to get a perfectionist away from you for a bit, give them a website with a logo that’s five pixels off.
  3. I’ve forgotten how much I really hate web programming.

So yesterday was quite a frustrating little day. After beating my head against a wall for much longer than I’d care to reveal here, I have a coming soon page up that I don’t actively hate. Assuming I don’t look at it on an iPhone, that is.

To add to the frustration, I haven’t slept well at all the past couple of nights. In addition to the mind racing through CrossFit equipment and grousing about CSS as I lay wide awake in bed, there was something even more insidious.

Last Tuesday, I had a CT of my chest and abdomen. My left collarbone has been doing weird things on clean & jerk days and is noticeably different than the right one. Back when I got diagnosed, they took a lymph node from the right side that’s right about where the left collarbone is poking out. My oncologist thought it was probably nothing, but since we’re going to be signing a very expensive lease someday soon, I figured it would  be best to play it safe and talked him into a CT.

The chest portion was fine, but there was something strange on one of the kidneys that was hard to identify. I discovered this when the Health Plan called to set up an appointment for an abdominal ultrasound out of the blue. That didn’t freak me out at all. To make things even better, that sono was scheduled for today, which means a week of “WTF” lurking in the back of my head. The past couple of days, it’s been coming to the forefront a little more often, so that means even less sleep.

This morning after another restless night, I drank my water and went to get my sono. She saw something a little indeterminate as well, so I got to go home to fret. Now I’ve got my health, our gym and a website all looming over me, weighing down my brain. It was then that I made the best decision of the day: time to lift.

I needed something to focus on, so rather than the scheduled metcon I decided I’d do the oly class’ WOD so I could lose myself in form and technique and blot out everything else.

Guess what you need to oly lift. Your brain and attention. I put my hands on 95 pounds for a snatch that… saying it didn’t work is putting it kindly. I mobilized a little more and still couldn’t get into the squat quick enough. Maybe if I switch to power snatches? Nope. Maybe if I grab a 15 pound bar and run through my technique? Nnnope. Now, not only am I diseased, frustrated, tired, overwhelmed and hating technology, I can’t lift either. Great.

Rather than throwing myself against the bar over and over and just pissing myself off, I took a step back and warmed up my brain muscles. Technique sucks today and going home now is not an option. That means it’s wheelhouse time: back squats.

The oly workout had percentage back squats in it, so I had already looked up my 1RM. The only problem was, I looked it up by looking at our gym leaderboard. There was my old 340# PR, lurking in second behind CoachPoach’s 360#.

The late Col. Jeff Cooper observed that ‘the fear of sporting failure is worse than the fear of death.’ It is our observation that men will die for points. – Greg Glassman, “Understanding CrossFit”

So I turned around to the rack and started loading up the bar. Made my way up the warm-up rep ladder feeling pretty good. A little creaky at 225, smoother at 295, smoother still at 315. Interesting. I throw 25 more pounds on the bar and easily tie the old PR. This could be a good day. However, I’ve moved a lot of weight so far, and I’m already thinking of how I’m going to get to that 360. Not wanting to waste time with a lot of building weights, I jump up to 355. Fifteen pounds over my PR.

The late Col. Jeff Cooper observed that ‘the fear of sporting failure is worse than the fear of death.’ It is our observation that men will die for points. – Greg Glassman, “Understanding CrossFit”

The 355 went about like you’d expect a fifteen pound jump over your PR would go: directly to the ground, where it stayed after I dumped it.

I had already been thinking about doing some deadlifting after the squats, so it was convenient that the bar was lying there waiting to be picked up. But in the back of my head was that curiosity. What if I wasn’t a dumbass and just went up a little bit in weight to get an easy PR? Now I was faced with a decision: forget the PR for the day and start in on the deadlifts or strip a LOT of weight so I can get the bar back in the rack.

The late Col. Jeff Cooper observed that ‘the fear of sporting failure is worse than the fear of death.’ It is our observation that men will die for points. – Greg Glassman, “Understanding CrossFit”

Yeah, I stripped the weight down and went back to the rack, loading up 345 this time. Down and up, no problems. 350? Down and up, no problems. Remember me talking about superstition in the last post? Because obviously the only reason I failed at 355 before was because the 5 pound plates I put on were unlucky. So instead of a 5 and a 2½, I put three 2½ plates on each side.

New lifting rule: when in doubt, go with superstition. 355 wasn’t cake, but it went up and back in the rack. Now I start to look at just how small those 2½ pound plates look. It shouldn’t be too hard to do the lift again with two of those itty bitty plates on it, right? And just in case this is the last lift of the day, I’ll put these little ¼ pound rings for no underlying devious reason. That’s right, math wizards: 360.5 because I’m an asshole like that.

The late Col. Jeff Cooper observed that ‘the fear of sporting failure is worse than the fear of death.’ It is our observation that men will die for points. – Greg Glassman, “Understanding CrossFit”

I chalked my shoulders, tightened my belt and approached the bar. As always, that first moment is filled with no other thought than “Holy CRAP this is heavy!” Toss that thought out, squat down, stand back up, put it in the rack. Done.

What started off as a really crappy day that was only heading lower turned into a 20.5 pound back squat PR. The trick is knowing when to find the pattern to turn things around. Stop what you’re doing and take a step back. Think about what’s happening and why. Step back into it and succeed. Retreat, regather and regain.

And superstition. Always believe your superstitions.

To top off the day (since Barb pointed out I didn’t include it), I had an email from my oncologist waiting for me when I got home: the kidneys are fine. Booyah.