|In case you weren't sure where Indiana was.|
We'd been living in England all of two weeks when I booked my trip home to Indiana. I knew I would need the break. Living in a foreign country isn't easy. Everything is harder than you think and nothing comes naturally. This doesn't mean that I don't like living in England, but I do miss the ease and familiarity of living in the US. Life without a job and a car can be very boring and isolating. I'd been looking forward to this trip for months, I even had a countdown app on my phone. I woke up before the alarm on departure day, and Jeff dropped me off at the Manchester airport with more than 2 hours to spare before my plane took off. The airport stresses me out, so I love to be there early. The more time to deal with all the lines, the better. I'm not relaxed until I'm sitting at my gate reading a gossipy magazine and eating
If you read this blog regularly (which you should because it's awesome), you'd know that something goes wrong at the airport every time Jeff and I travel. But since I wasn't flying into a small European country where I don't speak the language, and I wasn't going to have to figure out how to pay for and find a bus to get to a hotel once I landed, I thought this trip would be the exception. But of course not! I walked in to find a huge, overflowing line of people at the American Airlines counter. They had a full flight to Chicago and a full flight to New York scheduled to depart within an hour of each other. The kiosks that print boarding passes kept running out of paper. The baggage belt system for the entire airport was broken. The boarding pass scanner at security was broken also. It took nearly two hours just to check my bag. Every flight out of Manchester left late that day.
Thankfully my arrival was much better than my departure. I was greeted by my parents and sister holding up a glittery sign with my name on it. I've always wanted my name on a sign at the airport, and this one even had Mini Eggs attached to it!
|I hate my nickname, but at least it's in glitter.|
We headed to Valpo, where we spent the rest of the day playing cards and eating Mexican. The next night (Friday) my family had planned a "garage party" for me, which is exactly as it sounds. The garage was heated and decked out in Christmas lights, corn hole boards were set up, pizza was ordered, drinks were poured and a plethora of family members were in attendance.
|Fronczak Garage Party.|
|It's instinctual to lean in, even though it's entirely unnecessary.|
|I have no idea how to get pictures side by side.|
|Out at a bar, taking shots. Normal Saturday night for this family.|
They had recreated Christmas! I couldn't believe it! I'd been telling them to just leave me out of Christmas this year since I wouldn't be home and couldn't really bring them gifts or bring back any gifts. I'm so glad they didn't listen.
|The "Christmas" morning mess.|
After a great weekend with my family, I headed down to Indy with my sister and brother for the rest of my trip. I picked up my rental car and spent the next 5 days driving myself to Target, Panera, and CrossFit Indy North (CFIN). I spent more time socializing than working out, but I had lot to catch up on and was in rest mode due to an upcoming competition. My trip home happened to coincide with the third annual Great Lakes Invitational, which is a competition CFIN hosts every year. I had competed in the two previous GLIs, and since a Team category was added this year I decided to give it a go. My three teammates were all good friends and people I had competed on a team with before. Doug, Matt and I were on the Bee Team at Regionals last year and "2Bunz" Linsday and I were on the very first CFIN Regionals team the year before. How could this not be fun?
The competition started Saturday morning with 3 minutes for all four team members to establish max reps bench press at a designated weight. The weight for females was 125 pounds. The two times I'd practiced this I'd only gotten 1 rep. Which I was fine with because my former 1 rep max was 135 and I hadn't really done bench press in the past 8 months due to an elbow inury. But thanks to my teammates yelling, I got three reps! My day was made, I could quit now and be happy. That was not an option, so onto event 2. This event was done in guy/guy, girl/girl pairs and included overhead squats, overhead carries, box jumps, and pullups. It was perfect for 2Bunz and 2Gunz, she loves overhead squats and I love box jumps and pullups. Our team did great and we were off to a good start.
|Box jumps. One of my favorite CrossFit movements.|
|My teammate Lindsay repping out 110# overhead squats|
We all headed to our camp of gym bags and coolers to refuel and rest before the next event. This is when the universe decided it had shown me enough love and kindness. I got up to walk and felt a stabbing pain in my ankle. I couldn't put my full weight on it or walk normally. Considering the next event had double unders (jump rope in which the rope passes under your feet twice each jump) and buddy carries (carry your partner on your back and a 65# barbell with one hand for 200 feet), this was not good. But my years as a competitive gymnast taught me to ignore pain, so I continued on. I wasn't about to let my team down.
|Matt having a blast being carried by Doug.|
|Fellow CFINers Vic and Gina. I love their intensity.|
|Doug falling off Matt.|
Buddy carries make for great photos. I didn't even try to make those last two pictures side by side. It just happened.
We made it through and finished the day in 6th place. Our goal as a team was to get to the final event. To do so, we had to finish in the top 6 after 6 events. (Three events Saturday, three on Sunday).
I woke up Sunday morning and was still in a world of pain, so I had my nurse friend and fellow CFINer Sarah tape up my ankle. Between that and a massive amount of painkillers, I was able to get through the first event-a clean and jerk ladder. My fellow teammates are crazy strong and did very well-this moved our team into 5th place! Next up was deficit handstand push-ups followed immediately by a spring/lunge combination. Lunges suck. They will make your butt sore for days. Add a 95# barbell in the front rack position and you're really screwed. Add an injured ankle and you should probably just go home. But between the adrenaline, the painkillers, and the ankle tape, I could barely feel my ankle at this point. I hobbled through it as fast as I could. Thankfully that was the last event before the field was cut from 30 to 6.
|Deficit handstand push-ups. Another favorite of mine.|
|My teammates yelling at me not to put the bar down during the lunge/sprint event.|
|Team Never Was. Love you guys!|
After two weeks of stress free, care free life in the US (other than ankle injury), it was time to head back to England. I was looking forward to getting back and planning the next round of European adventures. Me and my boot survived the long flight and arrived at Manchester airport early Friday morning. Jeff was picking me up and decided to park the car and come into the airport to help get my 100 pounds worth of luggage through the British snowstorm and to the car. It was as if England could sense my relaxed state of mind and wanted to immediately destroy it. We got stuck in the parking garage for 30 minutes due to a mechanical error with the parking ticket dispenser. We ran out of wiper fluid on the drive home in the snowstorm and had to stop to buy some. Not a big deal but when you need to use the car manual to learn how to pop the bonnet (hood), it gets annoying. (You have to open the passenger side door to see the lever.) Also, when you've been traveling for 20 hours with no sleep, anything is annoying. Then Jeff tells me that the boiler in our house is broken and therefore we don't have heat. Our house was 42 degrees when we walked in. Welcome back.