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Old 12-08-2008, 07:11 PM   #401
Chantal Brien
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Lisbeth Darsh's Article on CrossFit Women

Thanks Jennifer! I found the article and posted it below.

Thanks Veronica!

Thanks Matt! They're all good guys and it's all teasing in a fun way, maybe I should have been a little more clear on that.

Thanks Alix, it is fun to beat the boys!

And now for the article:
I’m a woman and I’m confused: I love CrossFit even though, according to the dominant theories on women and competition, I should not. CrossFit, with its quasi-military culture, posting of standings, and inherent performance-oriented hierarchy should make me want to run screaming in the other direction toward some scrapbooking club or, at least, a nail salon. (Lucky for me, I don’t like either place. In fact, I’d rather have my nails pulled out than endure another vacuous conversation centering on hair or nails or whether somebody’s butt looks big in a pair of jeans.) CrossFit is a competitive beast. We grunt, lift heavy weights, talk about “snatches” and, when someone fails to meet our standards, we call them the pejorative term for a kitty. I’m not certain this is what our grandmothers would call “normal” behavior for women.
So, I should not like it and yet I do: am I an oddity? Are all CrossFit women oddities? Kathleen J. DeBoer reminds us in Gender and Competition that “The very reason that scorekeeping is so important to men makes it disruptive to women. For men, the score tells them where they stand in relation to others playing the game, whether they are ahead or behind in the pecking order. They are more comfortable with this knowledge than without it. The opposite is true for women. Scorekeeping segregates people into winners and losers, thus disrupting the connections of their network. This segregation produces anxiety.” Is DeBoer right? Am I supposed to have anxiety? Did I miss this lesson in the fifth grade when they showed us that “special” movie on our bodies? How come nobody told me I was supposed to fret about a good “Helen” time?

Or, maybe, women are competitive but many of us just deny it. A few years ago, at a tiny mountain bike triathlon in California, I walked into the lake behind a group of female athletes waiting for the start and listened, stunned, at the nervous chit chat that peppered the air: “Well, we’re not competitive like the men anyhow. None of us . . . Although, did you see that one woman with the muscles and the wetsuit in the parking lot? She looked competitive. She was kind of scary.” Oops. I would have hidden but there’s no place to duck when you’re standing knee-deep in a lake wearing a sleeveless wetsuit with entry numbers etched in Sharpie ink on your “guns”. But then, why should I have hidden? We all had signed up for a TRIATHLON, for God’s sake! One sport wasn’t enough for us; we wanted to be good at three! And then we’re going to claim that we’re not competitive? Who’s fooling themselves here?

Women have a competitive streak: a big one. It’s just not usually socially acceptable to admit it. A woman might say, “Oh, I’m not competitive” in the gym but then she goes home and *****es about her boss, or her girlfriends, or her spouse behind their backs. That’s competition but it’s just not posted on a whiteboard for the world to see. Perhaps we’d be a healthier gender, psychologically speaking, if we channeled a bit more aggression into sports and less into our personal lives. Maybe CrossFit is even more important to women than we thought. Maybe besides developing our muscles, we’re developing our humanity. Because we don’t want to end up like my old mountain bike riding partner, who vehemently maintained that she was not competitive; that is, as long as she was beating me. Once I killed her on the trail, she killed our friendship. It seems competition was okay only as long as she won. That’s not evolved, that’s pathetic.

So, along comes CrossFit, which not only encourages women to embrace their competitive nature but almost demands it. And we do roar in our workouts and afterwards, but then, on the message boards and in the daily Comments section, we are still mostly silent. I have yet to teach CrossFit to a woman and have her hate it. Sure, women hate the workouts while they’re in the middle of them. (Don’t we all? In a strange way, CrossFit is kind of similar to childbirth in that you find yourself in a place of indescribable pain, all the while saying to yourself: I knew this was going to hurt! What the hell was I thinking? Why did I agree to do this? ARGGGGH! PUSSSSHHHHHHHHH!) Yet, while 80% of my female clients visit the main site, fewer read the Daily Comments or the message boards, and 0% posts anything.

To be certain, CrossFit has some very public female faces: Nicole Carroll, Annie Sakamoto, Eva Twardokens, etc. But let us not confuse the CrossFit elite or the videos with the rank-and-file female membership of our affiliates and all those other women out there doing CrossFit on their own. One is public and heard; the other is private and relatively silent. We have some female voices on the message boards but they are few when you compare them to the sheer numbers of men posting.

So, what’s this all mean? Would we be a better community if we had more female voices on the boards? Without a doubt. Differing perspectives add to the conversation. A community is the sum of its members; not the sum of half of its members. So, CrossFit women, speak up! Stomp that conventional “women don’t like competition” malarkey under your Chuck Taylors and tell me what you’ve done today. Inspire me in the way that Nicole and Annie and Eva inspire us all. Ask and answer questions on the CrossFit message boards or use the Daily Comments to post your “Eva” time and, by doing so, dare me to beat it! CrossFit Women, let me hear you roar!

Lis Darsh at CrossFit Watertown.....http://crossfitwatertown.typepad.com/index
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Old 12-08-2008, 07:22 PM   #402
Alix Clark
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Re: Chantal's Workout Log

Lis Darsh rocks. I know that the other chicks at my CF think I'm completely weird for being competitive, writing down my scores/weights etc. But I get a massive buzz out of beating myself and beating some of the guys (esp the ones who are younger than me). I think I missed the class (like Lis) where they told us we weren't supposed to be competitive. As far as I can tell, life is competitive and I like being prepared for that.

thanks Chantal
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Old 12-09-2008, 07:37 AM   #403
Jennifer Ellington
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Re: Chantal's Workout Log

Thanks for posting that, Chantal. Liz Darsh definitely rocks, and she touched several sore spots for me. I'm competitive as hell, and I've found myself trying to dial it down at times in order to spare the feelings of the people around me (especially other women). I grew up playing sports, I went to a military college, and spent 9 years on active duty with the Army. After spending so much of my life in male-dominated environments, I really struggled when I transitioned to civilian life and had to start working in environments that were majority women.
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Old 12-09-2008, 10:48 AM   #404
Chantal Brien
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Annie

You're both welcome ladies! I have a lot of respect for Liz Darsh - that article was one of the things that got me into CrossFit and I'm glad that she articulated all the resons why women can enjoy CrossFit and thrive on it as a workout program. As some of my frequent log readers might have gathered, I am also very competitive and so far as I'm concerned, that's a perfectly healthy and normal so long as you don't get so wrapped up in what you are not yet able to accomplish that you forget to celebrate what you are achieving and so long as you don't express your competitive nature in a way that is intentionally degrading or demeaning to others (with the exception of people curling dumbbells in the squat rack - demeaning, degrading and exasperated type behaviour are all acceptable in that case OR people who tell you that "women can't deadlift that much weight without hurting themselves, you should take it easy" - in that case I fully support demonstrating in every possible way that you are in better shape than the prick of a guy who said that to you).

On to today's workout, this is possibly the first time I've done Annie, and definately the first time I've done her as rx'd. Total time was 16:49. Breakdown per round was:
DU Situps (feet anchored)
50 4:09 1:33
40 3:30 1:05
30 2:36 0:47
20 1:26 0:34
10 0:46 0:18

I am still struggling with DU, but in the spirit of embracing the suck have done them for warm-up, cool-down on some recent workouts and it arrears to be slowly paying off. I scored a PR for consecutive reps today with 7 (although I also somehow managed to end up with one foot caught in the rope one way, and the other foot the other way with one arm and my hair also tied up into the mix, so I'm pretty sure those two accomplishments cancel each other out...)
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Old 12-09-2008, 12:25 PM   #405
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Re: Chantal's Workout Log

Awesome job on the double unders!
And thanks for posting that article. I'm competitive, you bet! (Of course I don't compare to most of the CF women lol). I love to beat my last time!
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Old 12-09-2008, 12:26 PM   #406
Matt Bahen
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Re: Chantal's Workout Log

WOW! Liz Drash DOES rock doesn't she?!?!

You know who else rocks in my book: Chantal Rocks!

Seriously, as I read the article I swore that it was all about you Chantal. In fact, all the CF Women I've "talked" to on the boards and seen perform rock. I couldn't be more happy to be in a group that not only "allows" women to compete...but highly ENCOURAGES it as well! I don't have any daughters (yet) but I'm gonna make sure that they get this article read to them...often!

Nice work on Annie today!
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Old 12-09-2008, 05:48 PM   #407
Chantal Brien
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Shoveling

Thanks Camille! I think you compare just fine with a lot of the CF women - how many people can say they've improved as much as you have in such a short time frame...

Awww Matt , Thanks! That means a lot coming from you; if/when you have daughters, I'm sure you'll do an awesome job of teaching them how to be strong, confident, competant women who aren't afraid to stand up and roar when the occasion demands.

WOD # 2 for today was clearing out my driveway after geting homw from work. The temp has gone up so the snow was wet and HEAVY. I decided to clear it for time just to make things more interesting. Took me a little under a haf hour to clean my driveway and part of my neighbours (she shoveled earlier, but the plows came by and blocked the enterance to her driveway. I could have left it, but it just wouldn't have felt right cuz she's working on her masters in addition to being full time military). So my time sucks in comparison to the size of my driveway, but hey, that means an easy PR next time . My body is now feeling quite done for the day, but I still have to get ready for a big parade (change of command at my unit) tomorrow. Looking forward to a rest day tomorrow...
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Old 12-09-2008, 06:13 PM   #408
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Re: Chantal's Workout Log

Another great article from a CF chick (Melissa Byers) here http://byerscrossfit.blogspot.com/20...it-enough.html (some profanity)

A bit about being competitive and a lot about being inclusive or elitist. Interesting reading.

Chantal - I set up the rings for ring push ups off the chin up bar.
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Old 12-09-2008, 06:48 PM   #409
Veronica Davis
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Re: Chantal's Workout Log

That's a great article... and so true.
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Old 12-10-2008, 10:12 AM   #410
Alycia McGinley
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Re: Chantal's Workout Log

Hi,
Thanks for the kind words on my log. Your heavy lift numbers are motivating to me! I gotta start making the drive to a real crossfit facility so I can have someone there to watch my form. Then I'll catch up to you in no time hehe.
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