Friday, November 30, 2012

Is it Weird...?

That I'm dreaming about CrossFit? Last night I checked the CrossFit Woodbridge blog to see the WOD for the day and I noticed that a "front squat" was involved. I went to YouTube to see some videos on how to do a front squat. I feel less assaulted if I know what is coming the following day, and if I have some foreknowledge of the movement I feel just a little less dorky talking to the coaches and other athletes. I mean, I'm starting to understand that a "power clean" is not a deep cleaning of the entire house, but a hang clean? What, underwear and sheets on a clothesline? No. Both have to do with "violent hip extension" when moving the bar, loaded with weights up into the "rack" position. I have to admit that I was the jr. high girl in the back of the class giggling at my friend across the room when the coach said that with a very serious face as he demonstrated the move. Anyway, after getting the bar into the rack position we were supposed to do a front squat. I studied the move last night, and today when I arrived at class I was ready, baby.

Last night I dreamed I was doing a perfect squat, as low as I could possibly go, perfectly balanced, weight on my heels, head neutral, back straight, and I was in the middle of the box calling to everyone, "Hey, Look! I'm doing it! I'm squatting! I got it!" When I got up this morning I felt sure I was suddenly as flexible as a two-year-old and tried to execute the perfect squat. Alas, it was not as I had dreamed.

Anyway, I enjoyed the WOD today. I feel as if the "power clean" clicked a bit for me and I am starting to understand the sequence of moves needed. I am beginning to actually kind of enjoy lifting!

Today's WOD:
7 rounds of:
1 power clean, 1 hang clean, 1 front squat (all in a row without dropping the bar) I lifted 55#
25 double unders or 75 singles (jumping rope)
A double-under is when the rope passes twice beneath your feet in one jump. I can barely jump rope, so I was doing the 75 singles.
Time: 12:18 I wasn't very happy with the time, but it can only get better, right?

I was tired and sore at the end, but satisfied. I am starting to hear that voice that pushes me beyond my desire to quit. No, wait--that is Justin yelling at me, "rep it out, Kelly, rep it out." Aw, hang it!(no pun intended)--eventually the voice will be my own.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

CrossFit Kids: 1/2 Angie

The kids went to CrossFit tonight. I asked them how they felt after the WOD. "Great! Didn't even break a sweat!" they said.

Um. 50 Pull-ups, 50 push ups, 50 sit-ups, 50 squats. Didn't break a sweat? I'm signing you up for Crossfit Games, kids.

Mind you--Coach had Molly do 25 reps, but when you are 7 and barely 50 lbs, it might as well have been 50. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Benchmark #1: Humility

Today's WOD was a benchmark WOD:

20 minutes of skill of your choice before or after WOD
Row 500 m
40 air squats
30 sit ups
20 pushups (I'm still doing "girl pushups" on my knees)
10 pull-ups (gray band)
Time: 8:22 

Today as I was driving home from my WOD, I felt like crying. There was more than one reason that I wanted to cry - first was because I felt nauseated and sore. I could not have pushed harder or better than I did today, and I was really happy because I "crushed" it today. They were all skills I have now with some scaling, and I felt really excited about finishing hard. Another moment of success was completing 5 burpees without getting on my knees, but was able to do at least half of a regular pushup in the movement.

The other reason I felt like crying was because all of this is extremely humbling. Starting as a beginner in a room full of experts, or at the least very accomplished athletes, has the effect of making me feel very silly, small, childish... For example, on the skill portion of the workout I chose to work on kipping--a move that is intended to help the body get higher on the bar when doing pull-ups. "Kipping" does not result in a strict pull-up, but it requires a set of movements that I have never seen before, let alone attempted to do. Seeing as how strict pull-ups are still really hard for me, this was daunting. The combination of moves makes sense in theory, but physically, I do not yet have the strength to put them together. After several attempts to do the move with the coach's help, I tried several more times, and by then my arms were burning, and all I could do was hang on the bar with my raw hands, which felt both good and bad. My skill work lasted maybe 7 minutes. I decided to move on to the jump rope--something I hate to do because after two difficult birthing experiences I have, well, issues with jumping. My goal was to get 20 reps with the rope without getting tangled in it. This I succeeded in doing, after several attempts. I'm afraid that I will need a few more shots at "kipping." (see video-this is NOT how my first attempts at kipping looked!)

As I started my WOD, one of the guys in my class helped me count down and push through the rowing part. Then another guy and a girl joined in and cheered me through my ENTIRE workout. I had never rowed before except in warmups, and my legs were on fire by the time I got off the machine and went to my squats. HO! Those 40 squats burned, and I wasn't even getting down low enough! Then the situps, then the push ups, then the pull-ups, and the whole time these guys are saying "C'mon...You're halfway...only 5 million more!" On the one hand I love the support, and on the other I hate that I need it. I still feel so awkward, so inept.

This whole experience is growing in me an understanding of the concept of discipline. Proverbs 12:1 says, "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid." (Yes, the Bible actually says "stupid.") If I cannot allow myself to be taught, trained, and disciplined, it is only my pride at work. So let the pride be wounded--it is no harm to my body. Proverbs 16:18 says "Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall." Discipline hurts. every. time. and still, pride is wounded more easily than the body. It is not the physical pain that could make me quit this as easily as the ache in my pride that I can't do what the others can do. If I can break my pride here with each WOD, then I hope I can break pride in the other areas of my life. So am I training my body here or my pride? The answer is Yes.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Play Like Kids

I love this explanation for why we need to do squats, and the diagram is awesome!

I have heard that if we just watch the kids and do what they do, we'll be fit in no time. My daughter, who is seven can do handstand pushups, knees to elbows, and the bear crawl  as easily as eating cake, which isn't so easy these days after giving up gluten, but I digress. I tried it last year at the beach--the kids were chasing the little ghost crabs all over the sand, trying to keep them from getting back in their little holes (the poor tortured creatures). I started copying their movements, which were surprisingly reminiscent of basketball practice in Jr. High. I was winded and wasted after about a minute, but they did this all evening until the sun went down!

Here are my little athletes. They will start going regularly to CrossFit Kids this Thursday night. They have both tried it and love it, but we waited until after Thanksgiving to sign them up so they wouldn't have to miss their first week of class.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday: Back to Life, Back to Reality

I am back from the Thanksgiving holiday after visiting family in Florida for a week. I have been eating food that has been delicious, but definitely not what I am used to, and it took its toll on the way I felt! Bloating, stomach aches, headaches, puffiness, gas--ugh. It was so good to come home and eat the way my tummy prefers!

Today begins my second month of CrossFit. I realized last night that it had been exactly one month since my first workout, and since that time have logged 13 WODS, having missed 3 or 4 due to sickness, hurricanes and travel. In that time was the decision-making process, signing up, and getting my bearings with all of this.

My goal is to continue working out three days a week. In the next couple of weeks (yes, even though Christmas is coming) my husband and I are going to be prepping our pantry and fridge for a full-on paleo diet cleanse which we will start as soon as possible, and definitely by the new year. It just happens to be close to the new year, but this is not a resolution. This is a systematic, methodical introduction of a different lifestyle for ourselves. In the meantime we will continue with our gluten-free, reduced-grains and dairy mode that we have had for the past few months.

I took my measurements last night. They are not pretty. I will not post them--some things are just too personal! I will however update when I see progress, and report on inches lost.

So far, I am unable to do a majority of the moves. I always think in terms of "cannot do yet," because the fact is I simply am not yet strong enough. Meanwhile I am working on building the muscles by scaling the movements to my ability level, with the help of the  coaches at CrossFit Woodbridge.

Today's WOD was:
3x3x3x3x3 back squats max weight was 105#
then 12 minutes AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible):
3 handstand pushups - I did inclined pushups with feet on a box and another scale with my knees on the box
5 pullups - I am working on form and building strength, so I am using the strongest band for assistance at this point. I can do 5 pull-ups with this band, and by the 5th I'm feeling it, so I expect to be able to change to the next smaller band in a week or two.
7 knees to elbows - hahaha...I could get knees to about waist high. I could do 4 reps, then  drop, then do 3 more.

I was able to do 4 full rounds. 

I think sometimes that I am using much of the time working out how to do the various moves. Nevertheless, by the end of the workout I am sore and tired, so I must be doing something! On my last round of inclined pushups, I tried to do the first of the three, and my back just collapsed so it was back to the knees. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Last Straw, First Step

I am 43 years old, a mom of two, wife of one, overweight and out of shape, except for round, which I understand is a shape, but not the one I prefer.

Like so many women who are staring down middle age, I am feeling the effects of life on my body, which up until the birth of my daughter seven and a half years ago, was pretty healthy, or at least symptom-free. I had my first reality check 11 years ago when I did not have the natural, romantic birth experience that I desired with my son. I realized then that I am not invincible, but until the birth of my daughter, I never felt exactly bad.

At the age of 35, after little girlie came along, I began feeling tired. A lot. I lost my "spring" and I had aches and pains I had never had. I would get extremely moody and  depressed when PMS struck. I had frequent headaches and and an overall brain fog, which I attributed to being overly tired from lack of sleep and nursing a baby. I began taking high-quality supplements in 2008. This helped greatly and started me on a path of much better eating and living, but it wasn't a magic bullet. I began to gain weight, and over the course of five years grew heavier than I ever thought I could be. A friend had success with the HCG diet, and I, never having dieted a day in my life, decided to try it and lost an amazing 31 pounds. I looked so much better, but I was still weak, and while the diet helped me to really establish some different and better eating habits, I have gained 20 of the pounds back over the course of a year.

About the time we did HCG, my husband and I began hearing of a way of eating called "paleo" and so he started researching it and listening to a number of podcasts. Interestingly, I found that he would come home and tell me all these cool nutrition factoids that he had learned, and I would reply, "uh huh--I know." I knew, but I didn't do. It just didn't sound practical or appealing. Along with that information he began hearing of a way of exercising called "CrossFit." This he didn't bring up too much except to inform me that this is what Ryan Lochte was doing when NBC sports aired his profile and showed him hauling around tractor tires as part of his workout. My response? "Oh, okay."

Fitness, schmitness...I'm a lumpy mom. I cook and clean and homeschool my kids, which amounts to a full-time job. I fret about my looks and weight. I have no time to work out, especially with dirty, stinky tractor tires, which was now my impression of CrossFit. Though my husband was growing increasingly interested in fitness and paleo-style eating, he knew this mindset of mine very well, and wisely, did not bug me about it. There was this thing, however that was really bugging me. I was looking for more opportunities for my son to be physically fit and active, but I have always resisted the notion that my kids must play organized sports in order to counteract the standard, sedentary American lifestyle. I wanted to be fit and active together as part of our lifestyle--not running around taking them to sports fields so I could sit on my bum and gossip with other mothers. It kept nagging at me that I needed to set the pace and be active myself, and the kids would follow. My spreading behind and my lethargy had to go. I was finished. My thousand mile journey had to start with my first step--the hardest one to take.

I started researching gyms in the area--I hated the idea, but thought that really what I needed was a class of some sort, and CrossFit Woodbridge came up. I looked at it, then looked at it again, and again. I had no idea what it was really about, but when my old La Leche League co-leader announced a "bring a friend" day on Facebook (and would anyone like to join her?) I decided it was a very low-risk way to try it out, not to mention get back in touch with someone I really liked!

On that fateful Thursday afternoon (October 25, 2012) I went to "The Box" and did my first CrossFit partner workout. The WOD (WOD means Workout Of the Day) involved something like half-a-million lunges, wall balls, sit ups, pushups, and all of that after a warm-up that nearly had me laid out. I went home in agony, and the lactic acid burn did not go away until noon the following day. I soaked in the jacuzzi and massaged my legs. I took Advil. I went to bed and tossed and turned all night. I couldn't sit down in a chair without doing some major groaning and "helping" myself down, and going down stairs was horrible. Somewhere in all that stiffness and pain however, I found this clarity in my head that I hadn't had in years, and a feeling of being alive in a way I had never felt. It was as if my body was screaming, "Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!" I went back two days later. Then Hurricane Sandy hit and I caught a nasty cold (probably from just being physically taxed) and as soon as all of that was worked out, less than a week later, I was back at the box, signing up for three workouts a week for an entire year. WHAT? Yes. A year.

I don't think my story is very different from a huge number of American women my age. I believe that there are so many of us who have fallen prey to the "inevitability" of a fatigued, "mommied-out" body and the mindset that it is just part of getting older. Here is where I think and hope I am different. I don't think it is inevitable, and I am going to do my absolute best to challenge conventional thinking and make my middle years the healthiest and fittest I have ever had.

I am starting this blog for two reasons. The first is that if I know you are reading this and waiting to see if I am going to give up, I will not give up. So there. Accountability is huge, and this is too important a thing for me to fail by way of quitting. Serious injury or death could stop me, but laziness will not. The second reason I am writing here is because I don't know if many 40-something moms think they can do this, at least not moms who are starting from ground-zero, with a zero-shaped rear-end to prove it. Let me tell you that if I succeed at this, you can too. For sure. I bring nothing to the table but my will and desire. I am seriously out of shape. If you want to see just how bad it is, there is a photo of me at CrossFit from my very first day--I couldn't believe they took a picture of me, let alone put it on the blog! I am the round-bottomed, red-faced one high-fiving the guy who did the whole workout with one arm. The amazingly fit, good-looking gal in the red shirt is my friend who invited me. I owe her big time.

(link was broken and I cannot find the photo...suffice it to say...progress has been made! 3/19/2015)

Coming Soon!

Hi everyone! The Accidental CrossFitter is under construction. Check back next week to follow the story of one mom's journey from unathletic, tired, and flabby to becoming an athlete, from the very beginning.