Sunday, May 6, 2007

Where's my bunny?

I'm meandering through a miasma of fatigue this morning but I'm at home with my com padres on The Hill. They all have hangovers. We're being propped up by invisible girder work - the mysterious physics of civil order - queuing for coffee. It might just be as simple as the smell and the knowledge that caffeine saves that holds us all erect but swaying. Either way, we're comfortably in our PJ's and only mildly pretending that the clothes we're wearing weren't peeled off the floor or slept in.

I did the CrossFit Total yesterday which today feels like a fifth of tequila and a couple of drunken tumbles. I taxed my muscles, my central nervous system and my will in a combination of max squat, max deadlift and max overhead press to firmly establish a meaningless ranking. I feel like I was mugged, stripped of my valuables and left for dead. I'm wondering as I hold my place in line if that wasn't nearly as toxic as the guy behind me who may have spent his evening drinking good martinis and having poorly-reasoned sex with a bad date. How, I wonder, did that rank?

I say it was a 'meaningless' ranking only because it's no resume builder and if I nudged the hungover guy behind me to share my triumph he probably couldn't muster the energy to be interested. It means something only to those of us who showed up and only to the degree in which we consider it a measure of anything.

In those three lifts I squatted, lifted and pressed 550 pounds. That's a lot of weight for a little middle-aged woman. My body would be happy to explain the impact of that if it wasn't busy trying to make me nap.

For me it's a number and a scenic overlook. I'm not 'there' yet - as if there's a 'there' there. But that long path I've taken is suddenly visible when I peer over the guardrails and I get a hint of how far I've come. At least for that fleeting moment until I swerve back onto the road.

Reasons, reasons, excuses, justifications, analysis and more reasons. Competitions like that are never as simple as getting weight to move. If it were only as easy as 'it was too heavy' we would never shy away from the platform. What stops us can be so many things and most of them are made up to explain some flavor of fear. My usual answer to failure is "I zigged when I should have zagged" in the immortal words of Bugs Bunny. Does it really matter? Most of the reasons are just Monday morning quarterback answers for why I wasn't there when I showed up. Figuring out why is such an easy sport but lifting the weight is so much harder.

What happened yesterday was that a lot of people picked up or pushed a lot of heavy things. That's not even interesting. The epic battle was the one going on in everybody's head and it was electric and tangible.

My battle was the same. I can out-lift every woman in the room - that's not judgement, I've just been doing this longer and I'll be happy to welcome them here when they decide they want to be 'there'. But I've become the first target for every man who walks in the door. Step 1 in world domination - beat the girl. I'm the carcass to step over. When that happens, it's expected because most of them will have the genetic potential to beat me - it's a boy/girl thing.

The guys all sat around the bar afterwards and had a long conversation about who they edged out and who is on their radar. They tasted victory but were spurred on by the sounds of noisy pursuit just at their backs. They talked about who was 'the bunny' to chase in a race with long odds. I sat quietly like the awkward 'tween' - not so much a kid, not so much an adolescent. I have no bunny, except the noisy scaredy-cat in my head that makes me drop things sometimes.

The competitor at your back can sometimes have more respect for you than you do. The clamour they make drowns out whatever noise your head generates. I would like to have that adversary who fears me and who I fear. It would keep me from crawling into my own mean thoughts which is proving the nastier fight for me right now.