Monday, December 30, 2013

When You Can't Work Out...

CrossFit...That thing that you GO and DO. Do Work. Lift Heavy. Run Fast. Pull Hard. Go back home and brag about what you just did.

In the whole year-plus since starting CrossFit I have never missed more than one WOD. Never done less than two workouts in a week, even on vacation. As I sit here today writing this, I am on day 9 of not WODding. I even got dressed for it, took the kids to their class this morning, walked in the door and my friend looked at me and said, "No way...You're crazy." True. I started bark-coughing and and realized that she was right. ((sigh)) Benched.

I am unfortunately one of those people who tries to see the deeper meaning in just about everything. I have trouble taking things at face value and just letting them be what they are. Let's just say that from the moment I came down with a fever last Monday, then a cough / bronchitis all through Christmas, I have had to work hard to just let this be what it is--I am human. Humans sometimes fall victim to viruses and what-not. I had been pushing myself hard, stressing about things that were really rather silly. I probably wrecked my own immune system, all by myself. I have to remember that this is not punishment for some wrong-doing or something too overly-spiritual. I can say, though, that getting sick helped me put a whole list of things in their proper perspective, not the least of which was how important it is to have the house clean before Christmas (it's not, really) and how badly I'll fall behind in CrossFit for having to take more than a week off (I won't, probably). Truth be told I can't say I've minded having these days when I actually can say I refuse to do anything, I am going to sleep / take a bath / sit here / watch you cook... I've needed the break.

A friend of mine says, "There is no cure for the cold because the cold is the cure." True.

I'll be back on my feet soon. CrossFit will still be there. Housekeeping and school and laundry and cooking will still all be there. Meanwhile I'm going to enjoy this excuse to just rest and recuperate.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

CrossFit: The (Full-time) Job You Pay to Have

SOOOOO...Your friend has invited you to check out their box, try a WOD, come and see what the CF thing is all about. Great. Let me just say up front that I am not one of those people who says CF is for everyone--just for everyone who is upright, breathing, and may or may not have limbs and joints and cartilage. You are going to feel more fit and strong and good-looking than you have in ages. You will lose body fat and inches. It's practically a guarantee...But you might be wondering how much time it will take from your schedule. You've heard it's fast and intense? It really is. A WOD will only take about 10-30 minutes out of your daily schedule.

Here's where it gets tricky. I will do the math for you so that you can predict just how much time you will need to carve out of your schedule to do CrossFit.

Time to drive to the Box (assuming you live fairly close): 10 minutes
Time to warm up: 10 minutes
Time to complete a normal AMRAP style WOD: 10 minutes
Time to cool down and stretch: 10 minutes
Time to drive home: 10 minutes

You have just done the best exercise you have ever done in your life and have only used up 50 minutes of your day, 20 of which were spent in the car. But wait, there's more.

Time to come home and lie on the floor and analyze every sore muscle in your body: 15 minutes
Time to get off the floor and hobble to the telephone: 5 minutes
Time to call your BFF and tell them what kind of crazy you just did (even though she was there and did it with you): 30 minutes
Time to crawl up the stairs to the shower: 8 minutes
Time to shower: 30 minutes (you'll need to soak those sore spots in the hot water, and you'll stink so badly you'll think you need extra time.)
Time to prepare the paleo lunch with all organic ingredients so as to maximize your new, fit, metabolism: 45 minutes
Time to eat the paleo lunch: 1 minute (You're starving. You are now freakin' starving. Like you have never eaten before.)
Time to look at you-tube instructional videos on all the new moves you'll see in tomorrow's WOD: 1 hour
Time to take and post the "after" selfie: 5 minutes (you had to try several poses before you found the right one)
Time to post on facebook about how amazing you are now that you do CrossFit: 2 minutes (you've been doing it a whole week now!)
Time to read the box blog and see if tomorrow's WOD is up yet: 5 minutes
Time to call BFF and freak out about tomorrow's WOD: 30 minutes
Time to look up photos of Rich Froning and pin them to your pinterest board: 2 hours
Time spent shopping for new workout clothes online: 1 hour

Okay, so consider that you have just purchased your brand-new membership at your local box and you went all-out and did the unlimited membership. You goal is to work out 5 days a week. At nearly 7 hours a day (that is what all those things up there added up to) you have just taken on the equivalent of another 35-hour per week job. Technically that is not full-time, but with the new Obamacare regulations, no one will be hiring for many more hours than that anyway, so it might as well be. I'm assuming also that you will not be blogging about your CF experiences, but if you are, please add an additional hour to all of that. In that case, you have just taken on a new full time job. Oh, and you do realize that YOU pay the box, not the other way around? Just checking.

In the long run, I expect you will not mind that you are paying for that unlimited membership, and somehow the rest of your life will start to absorb all the hours spent doing CrossFit related stuff, but I just wanted to make sure you were forewarned. Your new defined muscles, awesome-fitting clothes, comments from friends, energy, improved health, and new friends who share in that miserable 10-minutes of hell will be payment enough.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Bling! Girl Goes Gold!

Today's WOD was an amazing chipper. It went like this:

50 double-unders / 150 singles
40 KB swings / 35#
30 burpees
20 KB sumo dead lift high pulls
10 bear complex / 75#

my time: 13:26

Today was my 4th WOD this week, and I plan to go tomorrow. I'm not going to lie, I'm feeling kind of smoked in my shoulders and core, but nothing that will prevent me from doing tomorrow's team WOD with good pals...See, this week I took a huge step and upgraded my membership from 3 days a week to unlimited classes, a.k.a. "Gold membership." It's a pretty good deal financially, but really, I just want to push myself a little bit more--see if I can't take this a little further. While I have been very consistent in going to the box, there were still 4 whole days of the week that I wasn't working out. I'm starting to feel like something is missing on those days. I have a new goal of showing up 4-5 days per week. Dan (the owner of CrossFit Woodbridge) drew up my papers for the new contract for me. As I was filling and signing he said, "So are you sure about this CrossFit thing? Maybe you should check out L.A. Fitness down the street" (shaking my head, here...Oh sure...Zumba for me.) I handed the clipboard to him and he smiled and said, "Welcome to the club." Weird. What a thought...I just stepped into the realm of "the club," the people who are either seriously committed or seriously need to be committed (if you know what I mean) because they are gonzo over CrossFit. I wouldn't call this an obsession, exactly. Just a serious hobby, and the funny thing is, I kind of stink at it. Even funnier, they accept me anyway.

The Accidental CrossFitter has been quiet the last couple of months. I have been trying to decide whether I should continue blogging my CF journey or not. I'm not a newbie anymore, and I'm not sure if I have anything super-inspiring to say about it, but in the last couple of weeks things have been turning over again in my mind, and in fact, I have some thoughts. I don't much need to blog my daily WODs. After a while it becomes kind of same-old. Do people really want to read my work out junk? Nah. But I have some thoughts about other I'll carry this on a little bit longer. I met a girl at the box who just started on Monday. She's still in pain from her first WOD, and today she did this one. Her form was awesome, she was so strong...but she was nearly in tears. There was much more than just the pain of the WOD going on inside of her, and I could relate. We cheered her through her last reps and I remembered the agony of being last. I remembered the agony of feeling like I couldn't do it, like I would never measure up, that I was never, ever going to be the fit girl in cute jeans that I wanted to be. After the WOD we talked, and I told her the truth--that she was going to hurt in places that had nothing to do with muscles, and she nodded, knowing exactly what I meant. I also told her not to be afraid of it...Here I am over a year later. Gold. I'm not fast and I'm not fancy when I complete a WOD, but I am becoming the girl in jeans that I wanted to be.

...Did I mention that my best friend, my hero, my stud-muffin husband has also joined after a year of me wearing him down? Oh yeah, that happened last week. #happy

Friday, October 25, 2013

Why Today is Significant...

Today is the Feast of St. Crispin, or St. Cripsin's Day. I know...Stop everything you're doing...You can't believe you have missed this amazing feast for all of your life, and now you know. Ignorant no more...

October 25 of this year is also significant because it is the one-year anniversary of the first CrossFit WOD of my life. I will never, ever, forget it. I lunged, wall-balled, and did sit-ups for the longest AMRAP of my life. I didn't know it was possible to hurt in as many places as I did after that first WOD. Still, I went back two days later, and signed up on the 28th. This is also Matt's one-year anniversary mark, as he attended the kids' class that same day.

So much has changed since then. Two days ago I was running around outside with my son, throwing a football, and nothing was hurting. I asked him if he remembered this time a year ago, how I would never have been able to do that without real pain, and I probably wouldn't have wanted to do it because I lacked energy. He said simply, "No." He doesn't remember, or chooses not to think about it.

I have brought friends into CrossFit and made new ones. I have forged relationships with people that I would never have considered before. I have found a community that truly cares about fitness and health and works incredibly hard at achieving them. I have been entertained watching some of the most fit, elite athletes compete against each other in the CrossFit Games, and supported friends from our box as they tried to make it into that group of the "Fittest on Earth."

Most significantly, however, I have changed, not just on the outside, but on the inside. I could post my before and after photos, but there is so much more than just how I look. Yes, I have changed physically--I have lost inches and gained pounds of muscle. I look better and feel better about my appearance, and have a new level of confidence in how I present myself (so my husband says). But today as I was getting dressed, I looked in the mirror and thought "strong, fit, and functional." I eat clean, I work out hard, I play more and am far more active than I was before. My doctor has informed me that I am "extremely healthy." I have stopped worrying about missing out on life because of ill health, and have started living it to the max.

A couple of months before I found CrossFit, I had prayed sincerely that God would help to break and heal the cycle of my sedentary, tired, achy life. I know that he heard me and answered my prayer. I knew that it was nothing that a lightning bolt from heaven would fix, but that I would have to be actively involved in the process of getting better. I just didn't know where to turn or how to start. I have thanked my coaches and friends for their help along the way many times, but my greatest thanks goes to God for hearing me and showing me this path.

That said, in honor of St. Crispin's Day and our one-year mark, I want give a shout out to my "band of brothers" who have sweat with me, suffered with me, encouraged and cheered me along this journey so far. We have signed up to do a 4-week challenge called CFW Classics: Helen, Fran, Elizabeth and Isabelle. We go tonight to do battle against the cold, our nerves, and our weaknesses. Enjoy this clip from Shakespeare's Henry V, which does a beautiful job of expressing this sentiment. Listen for these incredible lines:

"He that hath no stomach for this fight, let him depart..."

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers
For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother"

"Then he will strip his sleeves and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'"

"All things be ready if our minds be so!"

So see? It IS signifcant that it is St. Crispin's day...and my one-year CF anniversary...and the beginning of the Classics. Good luck, people. We're going to crush Helen and put her name to rest.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

CrossFit Roadkill

My son and I have an ongoing game in which we attempt to come up with an original, awesome name for the box we own in our minds. Today he came up with the best one yet:

CrossFit Roadkill

Because indeed that is how I felt after today's WOD.

20 minute time cap

I made it to the 9 rep round, completing 4 thrusters in that round. My score was a total of 201 total reps.

In two days I mark the one-year anniversary of starting CrossFit as well as embarking on the first of the four-week "CrossFit Classics" series in which we will do a different one of "The Girls" each Friday night. Helen, Fran, Elizabeth and Isabelle.

I expect that I will feel like roadkill after these. Here's to pushing myself a bit further than before...

CrossFit Roadkill
© 2013 
Kelly Mine

Friday, October 18, 2013

Setting Helen Straight

The other day I posted this post about how CrossFit is more than a gym. I mentioned that as a family we did Helen and showed this photo of all of our scores.
Notice that I have "four rounds" written under "Helen." The three ticks under "Kelly" and "Matty" indicate that we had completed three rounds and Hubs did not make a tick mark for the fourth round. So, we did exactly what was written on the board. We all found it to be a very challenging WOD, and I was okay with my time...until...

The next day I proceeded to tell my good friend my time, etc. and she compared my time with hers...Oh. wait. Her worst Helen time was 15 minutes and some change. Whaaa? I'm not that slow! I mean, yes, I KNOW I'm slow, but that was ridiculous. All week long I puzzled over this. How is it that all three of us were in the 20-plus minutes range?

Then yesterday as we were driving to CrossFit, Matt was looking in his WOD book and suddenly shouted out, "Mom! Helen is only three rounds!"

Need I say more? I was relieved to know that I was not the slug that the score seemed to reflect. Slow, but not a slug.

Also, in case you were wondering about how I would feel after yesterday's nemesis WOD, (I am pretty sure you weren't but anyway,) I woke up this morning sore, but not severely. I am noticing as the day goes on, however, that I am increasingly sore in ways I have not experienced since doing CrossFit. It causes me to realize that, much as I don't like running, I really need to do much more of it.

Today I had the wonderful privilege of working out with my favorite buddy, my son. Because he missed one of his classes this week, he was allowed to join the WOD with me (with my supervision). Today's WOD was:

1RM OHS (mine was 80#, his was 60#)

then, 15, 12, 9, 6, 3 up and over box jumps and OHS @ 50% 1RM

Matt absolutely crushed this WOD. He came home feeling great about it and I was so happy for him. I know I've said it before, but I love doing CrossFit with my family. There are few activities in this world that bring us closer. The concept of going through that hardship and helping, encouraging, and congratulating each other through the process builds a sense of team and camaraderie that few families have the opportunity to experience. Exercising together may be one of the most valuable things a family can do together...more on this later, but if you haven't considered this for yourself or your kids, please do. You will not regret it.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Facing My Nemesis

Thursday is not my day to WOD. I usually go to CF on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and if I get around to it, squeeze in an additional WOD at home during the week. I had not been to the box all week this week because of schedule stuff. I still had done two WODs at home, so it wasn't like I was slacking.

There are days when I see the WOD and think, "Oh, I really want to do that one!" and I will go out of my way to show up. Those are usually days that are fast and furious and involve a barbell, or power lifting days. Those are never, ever days that involve running or pullups. Those two things are my least favorite things in CrossFit, the two bitter enemies of my progress, and the things that keep me coming in last. When today's WOD was posted, however, I knew I had to go.

8 x 1 lap sprints
following sprints, 100 pullups for time

The sprints were one lap around the track which is 130 meters, I think. After each sprint, we were to rest for the same amount of time that it took us to run the sprint.

After the sprints we paused for a minute or two and went into our pullups. Using my bands, the first ten weren't so bad. Then, strangely, my left forearm started hurting, and getting through those 100 pullups was an exercise in pure mind over matter. There were moments when I truly considered quitting because of the lactic acid burn in my forearm, but by changing my grip every so often and just willing myself through it, I finished in under 15 minutes, which was a victory. Under normal circumstances I think I could have gone faster, but in this case, I was okay with my time.

It was pretty funny, actually...I knew I wasn't injured, but that I was just experiencing a muscle cramp of some sort. I have been working on pullups at home this week, and my arms were probably just not really in the mood for 100. As I walked back into the gym, I tried to move my hand, but it was cramped into a claw-like position, not fully open and not closed. I tried to open it but could not move my fingers. When I got into the gym, my friend had some Voodoo tape and did some magic on my arm and it felt better immediately. I faced my two worst enemies of the last year today in one WOD. At least I know that I can survive these things. As my husband said, "What can't you do?" Well, nothing, really, if I put my fears aside and dust off the ol' work ethic. Today was proof of that.

Monday, October 14, 2013

CrossFit: More than a Gym

One of my favorite WOD buddies is moving. For the last year Fabby has been coming consistently to the same 9:00 class that I attend, and bringing her adorable baby girl. It has been so much fun to work out with her and to get to help her with her little one for all these months. We have watched the little punkin go from "tippy," sitting up and grinning, to "toddling," into everything and still grinning. I know that next week is going to feel very bare without them at that class...

My point is, however, that in a CF community, you aren't just seeing faces at the gym. I have forged relationships with people that I would never have met or considered potential friends in my usual circles. It was a lovely hodgepodge of people that got together and enjoyed lunch and margaritas together to celebrate Fabby and the time we have spent suffering together!

Then there was this weekend. CrossFit Impavidus held a Teen Gauntlet competition and several of the guys from our box competed, including one of my son's regular workout buddies from his class. I originally had thought it might be a good idea for him to compete, but decided I would like for him to check out the situation first. When we got there, it was so amazing to see how glad our friend was that we were there, and I was so happy to be able to support him in this effort. I was also amazed that I had a voice the next day, after nearly screaming my head off for these kids! Even so, it wasn't just classmates that showed up, but even adults from our box who don't have kids came to cheer on the teens and encourage them.

Then there was today, which happens to be "Columbus Day." In my mind it is the lamest excuse for a day off ever invented, but even so, it was a federal work holiday (haha, the government has been furloughed for two weeks) and the box had "holiday hours," meaning only two classes. "Holiday hours" + an overcrowded box + an inevitable hero WOD = no class for me that day. I don't enjoy working out in a crowd, so we stayed home and did Helen as a family. Matt and I did the WOD first while hubs tended the clock and Molly cheered for us. Dad did the WOD next and the rest of us cheered our heads off for him. It was hard--half of our 400 m run is uphill! But we all survived and enjoyed the results of that WOD together as a family.

sweaty, but still smiling!
CrossFit has become so much more to us than just the gym where we work out. It has become friendships, relationships, a team, and an important component to our family life that brings us closer and keeps us healthy both in mind and body. It's more than just a gym.

Hahahaha! See this post about what I learned later this week about Helen!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dead Lifts Always Lift My Mood

I remember two dreams I had last night. One was that two of the coaches at our box who happen to be dating got married and they were ridiculously happy and sort of annoyingly  cute about it all, and I was ridiculously happy for them. I don't know if that will happen, but I'm all about marriage and happy people. I'll keep my fingers crossed. I know it isn't all as simple as I would like it to be...

The second dream was not as happy. I dreamed I was struggling through pull ups--again.

I went to CrossFit glad not to have to face the overhead bar again, that pull-ups were not on the menu, but I was in no mood for a WOD. Even so, it was a best-case scenario for me...

Today's WOD was:
5 RM dead lift, then 2 sets at 90%

So I kinda PR'ed at 200#. I'm pretty stoked. There are days that I just stink at CrossFit. I run slowly, I can't do pullups or ring dips, I am the last one finished if there is anything resembling lunges...but on lifting days I don't come home feeling bad. These are not the stinking days. Go home y'all. I'm the beast today.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

CrossFit on My Mind

I haven't written a lot lately about CF. Times around my house have been busy, schooling is in full swing, and the "government" has been "shut down" for over a week, forcing my husband home from work. If you don't understand why "government" and "shut down" are in quotes, you are not a real CrossFitter. No. You may be a real CrossFitter, but go read a decent news source or two.

Even so, last week I Rx'ed my first WOD. It is really important that I record that here. It went something like this:

4 rounds
21 box jumps
15 burpees
9 dead lifts, Rx 155#
12 min time cap--in remaining time, wall balls. Score is the number of wall balls completed.

I, of course, got a score of 0 since I did not complete four rounds. I completed 3 rounds + 4 dead lifts. But I did all of the dead lifts at 155# pounds. My hamstrings have not fully recovered, nearly a week later. But I did it. I've done a couple of other good WODs since then, but still I'm thinking about that Rx. I'm pleased, but there are so many other things I would like to accomplish.

I'm coming up on my 1 year anniversary at CrossFit later this month. I have come so far, but I still have body fat to shed, pull-ups to achieve (I still cannot do a full strict pull-up or an unassisted kipping pull-up), and miles to run. When I started, I said I was going to give CrossFit one year. At the end of it I would evaluate and see if I would continue. Since that time I have come so far in my physical strength, stamina, nutrition, and overall sense of well-being that I cannot actually imagine life without CF. We have started slowly putting together equipment in our garage, turning it into a mini home-box. We have a Rogue pull-up bar, a box, a rope, and bands for assisted pull-ups. My husband has gradually adopted more and more of CF's techniques and could be called a bona fide CrossFitter, though he doesn't do Olympic lifting due to previous shoulder injuries. That said, one year later, I could not consider quitting.

This month is decision time. Do I up my membership at the box or stay where I am? What to do, what to do?

Monday, September 16, 2013

LBBS...Betcha Don't Know that Acronym

LBBS is Low Bar Back Squat. You're welcome. I know you always wondered what that Acronym stood for.

Today was a WOD from heaven for me.

5RM back squat then 2 sets of 5 @90% of 5RM
then coach-led core work

I walked in, Nick was coaching (which is always a good day), warm ups weren't hideous, and I got to lift with two of my favorite peeps at CF. That, and--painful as it is--I love coach-led ab work. Oh, and we cannot neglect the fact that Nick played COUNTRY MUSIC the whole time we were there. I might as well have been at home on my couch with a bowl of ice cream, I was so happy. Oh, and he started the ab work Tabata with "Sweet Home Alabama." I guess I'm stronger than I realized because I was not thinking at all about the plank that I was holding, but rather about singing every word to the song accurately. That was the fastest Tabata WOD I've ever done! Thanks Nick!

We discussed the difference between the high-bar and low-bar back squat. I used the low bar position today as I had very recently done a series of high bar squats. I executed a final weight of 135 pounds before running out of time. I would have liked to have lifted another round or two.

After the WOD the kids were finishing up their class, and so we hung out for a while and worked on things like butterfly pull-ups and double-unders. You know, the normal stuff.

God. Bless. CrossFit. It was a perfect day at the box. Fun WOD, good friends, country music, and butterfly pull-ups. What? Yeah. I'll get them eventually...Thanks Wendy for showing me how. You're awesome. For reals.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Yesterday Nick let me know that the kids' memberships need to be renewed. That means my membership renewal is coming up very soon as well.

When I signed up last year (I can't believe it's been that long), I was so very out of shape and so desperate for help. I knew that the hefty financial commitment would at least guilt me into going--no $10 per month "LA Fitness" running on treadmills and Zumba classes for me. No...I would jump into the deep end first and swim or die trying. I'm not direspecting  Zumba--it actually looks fun. I am disrespecting treadmills, make no mistake, but I digress. I took the hefty plunge and signed up for one whole year. Six months was not enough--it would have been too easy to excuse myself if progress was taking longer than I hoped. Two days a week were not quite enough. I needed a regular commitment for a longer period of time. I signed up for three days a week for one year.

Dan asked, "Are you sure?"

Say what? "Never match wits with a Cicilian when death is on the line," nor question me when I've made a decision. (insert chuffing noise here)

I have a lot of thoughts and feelings concerning the completion of one year, and while I haven't reached that point just yet, I do have to begin to consider seriously how I want to approach CrossFit in the future. Do I increase the days I go? How far do I want to take this? Do I ever want to compete? What does optimal fitness look like for me?

Now it is time to evaluate, ponder, pray (yes, I actually pray about these things, because God cares about every aspect of our lives), and finally decide. By next month's end I will have a new contract with CFW, new goals, new challenges, but quitting is not among the options.

Today was a baseline check-in plus 1 mile. My last recorded score for this WOD was 5:24. Once I got started with the WOD, however, I had to wonder if that was accurate.

500 m rowing
40 squats
30 situps
20 pushups
10 pullups
time: 6:23

There were several things going on that might attribute to the slower time. One is that the last time I had my #1 CF buddy, Justin, cheering me on, and I always work better when he is there. The second factor is that I had to pause several times on the squats, as my lower back was still very stiff from a tough deadlift last night. Oh, and I just looked back at the blog post for that WOD--it was the pull-up bands. I'm using a skinnier band than I used to and today those pull-ups were tough. All of these factors probably contributed.

With the one-mile run my total time was 21:03. This was after walking to the track to catch my breath, and that after dawdling a little, not realizing that we were not supposed to take a breather between the WOD and the run. I thought they were separate. With all that taken into consideration, I probably ran about a 10-11 minute mile. Slow, I know, I ran the first unbroken mile I have ever run in my life. I have run a mile at CF before, but never unbroken.

In spite of still feeling like I am constantly at the back of the pack at CF, I look at days like today and realize just how far I have come. I have always hated running. Hated. Running. I have always hated it for the very reason that I was feeling on the first, second, and even third laps. Then I started thinking, "I did that one, I can do one more." Every lap I completed, I would count it and then think to myself, "Okay, one more" until all of them were done and I had not walked one step of that mile. 

Tonight I will celebrate this literal milestone. Here's to a great weekend!

**Wait...I have run an unbroken mile. I have run two. I used to jog around my mom's neighborhood when I thought I wanted to take up running when I was about 22. That was a very brief flirtation with running and so insignificant that I actually forgot it when I posted this. Still that mile is huge for me!

Monday, September 9, 2013

That Was Fun!

I personally didn't find it "fun," but today's WOD was hard, effective, and made me really feel like I had done something good for myself.

The person who DID find it fun was the effervescent Sara Jo who did her very first CrossFit WOD with us after crushing Kinetic Bootcamp! She even said the words "That was fun." Good job! Hope you continue to find all the WODs as fun as today's.

Today's WOD was "Hope"
3 rounds, 1 minute per movement

power snatch (50#)
box jumps
chest-to-bar pullups
rest 1 minute

I set a goal for myself of 150 reps, and I got 154!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Love This Article!

 I read this article today The 10 Things That Will Happen When You Begin CrossFit, and every. single. word. is true. Wish I had written it myself. Anyway, take a minute and read it. Then go sign yourself up, but do it before you read the next paragraph. Then when you get home, you can read how your life is about to change.

Glad I'm on a rest day today because this is today's WOD at my box. It's beastly. I already plenty sore from yesterday. This would have put me in the wheelchair. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Just. Keep. Moving.

Today's WOD

4 rounds for time:

12 pullups
20 m walking overhead lunges, 25#
12 dumbell snatches
20 m walking overhead lunges, 25#
time: 20:28

It really doesn't look that bad in writing. When I started out, it didn't feel too awful, but by the end of the second round, I felt like I would never finish. Oh, right...I forgot. Lunges hate me. I don't exactly hate them--there are other movements that I dislike a lot more than lunges, and 20 m doesn't sound all that far. But when you're carrying 25 lb over your head, it's far.

I kept moving through the WOD, breathed when I needed to, but tried very hard not break for too long. Even so, I was the last one finished. I wasn't the last one done by a little bit, but by a lot, but on days like today I don't mind so much. This was one of those days when nearly the whole class was there, cheering me on every step of the way, pushing me not to give up, not to lose my focus. When I finally finished, I was completely spent, dripping sweat, sucking water down. It felt great. I knew I had given it every last bit of strength I had.

It's days like today when I can really get my head around the concept of competing against myself and no one else. I'm sure that nearly everyone in my class is stronger and faster than I am, but I really can't care about that. Today I proved to myself that I am stronger and better than I've ever been. I didn't blog about it, but yesterday I did multiple rope climbs in a WOD--a total of four. That is huge for me. Today I lunged with 25#, which was the Rx weight--another huge milestone. I have friends there who cheered me through--friends who know my fitness strengths and weaknesses, who even notice things like the huge knot on my shin from a plate bouncing back and hitting me--and they care. They're proud of me and I'm proud of them. It was a great day at the box.

Thanks Candace, Emily, Justin (who did the last 20 m with me), Tami, Fabby, Jen, Rachel, Dan, and everyone else who cheered for me. You're the best!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Hotshot 19 Memorial WOD and Fundraiser


This week my son and daughter participated in a fund-raiser selling raffle tickets to support the families of the 19 firefighters who were killed in the Arizona wildfires. Members of the CrossFit community pitched in to help, and to participate in a memorial WOD to remember the men who lost their lives. Unfortunately my daughter could not do the WOD because she was under the weather with a cold, but my son completed the entire WOD.
"Hotshot 19"
6 Rounds
30 squats
19 power cleans (Rx was 95#, he used 55#)
7 pullups
Run 400 m
time: 54:13
I am so proud of his determination and commitment to completing a very difficult WOD which, practically speaking, was not scaled for the kids at all. They did the same moves and the same number of reps as the adults.

It was amazing to see such a well-organized community effort go towards helping these families who are mourning the loss of husbands, fathers, brothers and friends. Our CrossFit Kids raised $2,200 to support this cause, and you can still donate at the website here. CrossFit corporate broadcast the community workout that was held in the hometown of these men. You can watch it here, but be forewarned, you will need a tissue or two or three.

Friday, August 30, 2013

WOD Programming: Better than Yesterday!

Our WOD today is a huge improvement over Wednesday's WOD. I didn't go yesterday, so my title is a tad off...

4 rounds
25 double unders or 75 singles
15 snatches (Rx 65) (I did 55#)
time: 12:34

I was pleased with both the WOD and the score. I am beyond sore in my shoulders, neck and arms. Snatches get me every time.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

What Keeps Me Up at Night

Yesterday's WOD:
5 rounds for time
6 muscle ups
8 shoulder-to-overhead (Rx 105, I did 65#)

I did what I could. Obviously I had to scale because I have neither a muscle-up, nor multiple reps at 105# yet. My one-rep max is 105 for a clean and jerk, 110# for a power clean. Everything felt as heavy as the humidity was thick yesterday morning. Not my best day at CrossFit.

Taking another step back from a muscle up, let's consider the things I cannot do yet, let alone a muscle up: an unassisted pull-up from a dead hang, an unassisted kipping pull-up, unassisted ring dips, any form of chest-to-bar unless attached to a very strong band, pushups on my toes v. knees (without "snaking" up from the floor), handstands, handstand pushups, inclined pushups from a box, for that matter. Clearly that is a long list of "don't haves yet." For that matter, sometimes I still struggle with proper squat position.

I do emphasize the "yet" because I know that these things will come with time, and that it's a matter of building upper body strength. I have never been a powerful person in terms of brute strength, and yet I have been astonished at what I have been able to accomplish so far. I have gone from an original dead lift of 125# to 215# in less than one year. Something is getting stronger, of that I have no doubt! There are other momentous milestones as well, such as climbing a rope, box jumps, proper kettle bell snatches, nailing difficult PRs in all areas of weightlifting, running the track without keeling over, unassisted jumping pull-ups, learning how to use the GHD machine, getting the first double-unders, shaving three minutes off of my original benchmark WOD. There is so much.

What keeps me up at night are WODs like the one I encountered yesterday. I was instructed to use a band strapped to the two rings and form a sling, lie back on it, and do a "transition" to a muscle up--12 reps in lieu of the six prescribed actual muscle ups. I understand the coaches want to push us out of our comfort zones sometimes, but I am beyond a beginner in this area. I cannot do a ring dip comfortably yet, and so to ask me to do a complicated set of movements into a locked-out ring position is fairly ridiculous. I believe it is difficult for some of the coaches to fathom that someone could actually be as weak and inept as some of us are when we begin CrossFit. I'm not exactly a beginner anymore, but I'm not what I would consider even "intermediate." I was not offered a viable scaling option, so I had to make my own, which I'm not sure was very useful. I did as many transitions as I could, but felt I was struggling so much with the band that I was losing intensity in my WOD, so I did as many assisted ring dips as possible until I could no longer lock out my arms. I came home from my WOD thinking "help? a little help here...?"

That said, I would love to know some real progression exercises that would take me from feeble weakling on the rings to maybe, possibly, someday accomplishing a muscle up, or at least a bar M.U. Then again, what does a 40-something mom of two kids need to do a muscle up for? I'm not actually sure that a muscle-up is something I'm putting on my bucket list. I'm open to someone convincing me that it should be there. There is a comment section for stuff like that.

Which, by the way, I know y'all read my blog. How about dropping a comment now and then? (I can see the page hit count going up, up, up, so you're not invisible! Just admit that you read this crummy blog and leave a comment.)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

NOW I'm sore

DOMS. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Mmm hmmm. I am learning that magnesium and zinc supplements can help a lot with this, and so it looks like an epsom salt bath may be in the cards for me today!

Sunday after church I did this WOD with my son. That evening I checked the CFW Blog to see the next day's WOD and it was remarkably similar. Oh, okay. That's kinda funny, but cool--at least I'm on the right track when I combine moves for my own programming.

It went:
6 rounds
6 box jumps
6 pull-ups

time: 8:32 (it took me a few seconds longer than my 21-15-9 WOD because I had to strap in for the pull-ups each round)

 Monday morning I was not sore at all from Sunday's workout. Monday afternoon I was not sore at all from the combination of the two WODs. In the middle of the night last night I was tossing and turning and aware that my whole upper body was just...sore. Nothing acute, just sore. sore.

I actually love kettle bell work because it is such a whole-body experience and I know that everything is getting worked. If I had to choose the absolute minimal equipment for a good workout (and I currently am building a little collection of CF gear) kettle bells would top the list, everything ranging from 20-53 lbs. Currently I use a 35 lb. bell. When I started I couldn't swing that thing without endangering myself. Now it is just right, and soon I expect I will be ramping up when they say, "go heavy."

I also really love having a box in my arsenal. Step-ups and jumps are especially good for me because I have had such limited hip mobility coming into CF. I always feel those moves later in my lower back and hips, but in a good way. I know I'm getting stronger. I can now do all of the jumps that a WOD requires and for many of them I am bounding rather than stepping back off the box.

Two days and two favorite moves, lots of sore muscles. It's all good.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

CrossFit at Home

My favorite component of CF is not the workouts, it the fun I have doing it with other people and the relationships that are being forged in puddles of sweat. This applies even more so to my family, as we go on this fitness journey together.

"The family that sweats together, sticks together."

What? EW! That's nasty. It may be true, but I'd rather not think of the literal implication there.

Anyway, my favorite workout buddy is my son. Admittedly, he smokes me on every single workout, but he encourages me so much, and doesn't allow me to let up on my intensity or my form. Today we did a WOD together in our garage that we wrote for ourselves:
Buy in: 1 rope climb
then: 21-15-9
20" box jumps
KBS @35#

Son's time: 6:47
Mom's time: 8:26

We are slowly gathering equipment at home. We have not spent much money on exercise gear because we use the box, but our membership only allows me three classes a week. As I have progressed, I sometimes feel the need or desire to work out more than three days a week, or if I miss a day I want to have the option to have a decent workout at home. So far we have accumulated an adjustable kettle bell, some light kettle bells for the kids, my husband built us a box for box-jumps and step-ups in the same dimensions as the standard CF boxes (20x24x30), we bought a Rogue pull-up bar for my son's birthday, and my husband happened to catch the sale on 10' climbing ropes from the CrossFit games. Our rope just might have Rich Froning's sweat on it! This is very inspiring, indeed! While the standard rope climb is actually 15-20', it is good to have the rope to just keep practicing speed, agility, and skills. Two pulls gets us to the top, so for a WOD we would just double the number of rope climbs, as I can do a 15' in four pulls.

So, here's to a home box and the best WOD buddy ever!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Crawling out of my Funk...

It was a great WOD today. I wouldn't say that I crushed it, but I did well. We did something a bit different with a coach-led warmup. Typically we just do the warmup as it is written on the board at our own pace, then come back together for class. Today we were given no information, but were led through the warmup and coached through the moves.

Okay, I'll make a confession here. Recently I may or may not have been getting a little lax in my warmups. I may or may not have been giving them my best effort, I may or may not skip a rep or two on occasion. Today, however, there was none of that. I was being watched. I shouldn't need that, but it really helps, and today when I left, I felt that I had really earned my score and that my whole workout was legit.

Today's WOD

Strength: 1 RM front squat (previous PR was 105#) Today's new PR: 135#

1/2 Cindy (10 minute AMRAP)
5 pullups
10 pushups
15 squats
7 rounds + 4 pullups, which is one full round plus improvement from my previous "Cindy"

Okay...maybe I did crush it, but I still have a long way to go...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What Will It Take?

This post is going to sound a little schizo because my last post was Could I Love CrossFit More? That was a great day and I was truly inspired by my kids' amazing performance in competition, but this is a bit more personal. It's been a week since my last WOD. Since my last visit to a coach-led workout, I have been camping with the family and beginning the school year with my homeschooled children. We have eaten camping food (and you know that includes s'mores), eaten ice cream, and basically had our last hurrah for the summer. It was fun but it took its toll, albeit minor.

Even before I left, however, I was feeling CrossFit Discouraged. There is no denying that I have made significant gains since starting CF nine months ago. However, I thought I would be further along than I am. I still feel much heavier than I want to be, though I have gone down a pants size since I started, and I have finally broken my dependence on the scale. Ideally I would like to shed another size or two, if possible. This is not pure vanity--this is also practical. I feel heavy. I want to feel easier, lighter, and more agile than I do. There is a bit of vanity tucked in there as well, but that is certainly not the only motivator. I would like to achieve my first unassisted pull-up. I would really love to enjoy running more. I still despise it. It hurts. What is it going to take to get there? I think I'm really afraid to find out, because it's not like I'm not already working harder than I ever have before at getting fit.

When I came back from camping I felt exhausted because I don't sleep much when I'm separated by just a thin sheet of nylon from bears lurking just outside. I also felt extra fat for not having been eating well or doing much strenuous exercise (tubing down a river for four hours doesn't count in my book.) I tried to get back in the groove on Sunday with some work on my deadlifts. I maxed out at my current PR, but did not surpass it - 215#. Today I did the daily WOD:

overhead squats (OHS), kettle bell swings (KBS)
time: 9:07 @ 55# and 35#

My husband came in during the WOD to pick up my daughter and happened to see a few of my squats. He mentioned that my form was pretty bad. may have been. Squats are not my forte--I have trouble keeping my chest up. Didn't help my mood any.

Two more days to go this week, and I'm hoping my bad attitude takes a hike. I need to get my head back in this game. I need to cook some really amazing meals that are paleo / real food / leave me wanting more. I need to get started on the "Breakthrough Challenge" that we will be starting in a couple of weeks at the box. I need

Monday, August 12, 2013

Could I Love CrossFit More?

...Maybe, but at the moment it's hard to imagine. Anyone mom who reads this will understand that anything that is good for your kids receives your highest praise and devotion. Anything that makes you a better mom is something worth being committed to. Today I am basking in all of this! Here are just a few of my favorite photos from our box's first CF Kids competition.

90-second max effort ball slams
90-second max effort shuttle run
90-second max-effort tire flips. Support from brother!
more tire flips
boys shuttle run

max effort...bring out the beast!
The 5 events
I could not be more proud of the way my children threw their hearts and souls into that competition. Five WODs in one day! I am completely impressed with their strength and endurance, and I think that they surprised themselves with what they were able to do, also! All of the kids did so well, and the parents were all brimming with pride, from all I could tell. Some of them were given to cry with each new rotation. I won't mention who (Michelle) but we do understand!

The truth is that they inspired me so much, I found myself pushing extra-hard in my WOD today. It was a tough one! Here it is:

21-15-9 (Rx 65#)
SDHP (sumo deadlift high pulls)
Push press
Front squat
time: 14:28 @60#

What? 60# I wrote 55# on the board and realized as I was driving later that I added 10 to my 50! 50+10=60, does it not? Dang! I should  have just Rx'ed it! I have yet to Rx a WOD, but I'm so. stinkin'. close!

Anyway, I'm a stronger, better mom today because of CF, and my kids are stronger better kids. I could not be more grateful for what this has done for our family! Thanks CFW!

Here are some more photos from the competition:
Love seeing this effort!
Support from Coach Evy!
Goofy girl!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bench Press Whaaaaa?

Really? Only 85# on a 3 RM. Hm. I could have sworn I could do more.

Never mind...the fun part today was coach Lloyd's diabolical gem after the bench presses. I really need to work on my core strength, so I never mind when the coach led core work comes up (it's always a surprise) no matter how much it hurts when I'm doing it. We drew chips out of a bag, then found our partner (the person whose chip color matched yours). I was paired with a visitor from out of town (who happened to be a very nice lady and a decent match).

20 straight-leg situp med-ball passes
30 flutter kicks / bar hang (partner hangs while other kicks)
40 Russian twists / plank hold

Hard, but good, and a note of progress: When I first started CF I could not do Russian twists without resting my feet on the floor to support me in the hollow body position. Today, I was able to hold the position through the entire set.

At the moment I feel that I have hit a bit of a plateau on my fitness level. Rather than get discouraged, however, I will look for areas that I have improved, even a little, and keep going. Next month we will participate in a new challenge intended to break through that plateau.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Girl Problems

This post is more of a weekly wrap-up because I haven't posted my WODs at all. I've been focused on writing at my other blog The Accidental Homeschooler. I am gearing up to start academic lessons with my kids in a couple of weeks (we will start in mid-August). Last year I started CF in October, so the school year was already underway, and I have to admit that it was a huge paradigm shift for me to be taking that time out of our regular routine to go and...exercise? Wow.

So this week my routine was a little off. I didn't WOD on Wednesday, so I went Monday morning, Thursday afternoon, and Friday morning. Today is Saturday, and this is my week-in-review.

Monday's WOD was tough, but great. It's been a while since I did a really good metcon workout, and so I was definitely feeling this one for a few days after:

Run 1 lap
15 dead lifts (DLs) @ 185# (scaled to 135#)
20 hand release pushups
Run 1 lap
30 DLs @ 155# (scaled to 95#)
20 HR pushups
Run 1 lap
45 DLs @ 95 (scaled to 70#)

Time: 22:25 - Soreness immediately after: 0. Soreness the next day: owwww.

Thursday afternoon was a 1RM high-bar back squat followed by Tabata ab work
I wasn't really sure how much weight I could lift in a HBBS, as I had only ever done a 1RM with a low-bar position. I jumped too quickly from what was a pretty light lift to a much heavier weight, and the result of that was one of those embarrassing female moments. Oops! I got distracted and knew I wouldn't be able to push the weight back up once I was in the squat, and so decided to drop the weight. Embarrassing situation no. 2 then ensued as my ponytail was trapped between the bar and my back. When I tried to cast the weight off, it kind of rolled down my back and took my ponytail with it, with me yelping in pain and attracting all kinds of attention from people who thought I was breaking my neck. No...nothing that dramatic...just...ugh!? What should I feel more embarrassed about, the original girl problem or the secondary girl problem? I stood up laughing and didn't have a broken neck--just a crick--so all is well.

For some helpful info on HBBS vs. LBBS, here is a good blog post to read.

Friday morning I went back and did this WOD:
5 90-second rounds / 90 seconds rest
8 handstand pushup buy-in (scaled to inclined pushups)
AMRAP power cleans @100# (scaled to 85#)
Score was lowest number of power cleans in one round - 6

Today I feel a tad sore. Okay, a little more than a tad. I feel a bit beaten up. But these days that is a welcome feeling in the sense that I know I will be stronger on the other side of it.

Here is a little encouragement from the friendly folks at CrossFit on "girl problems." Embarrassing, but true.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Getting Stronger

I didn't post yesterday because I was extremely absorbed in watching every detail of the CrossFit Games. I will be today and tomorrow as well. I can't wait to see the outcomes!

Today was another lifting sequence, and one that I really enjoyed. We have been doing some similar movements over the past few weeks. I have have learned so much from this series of lifting WODs, yet I do understand the need to keep things constantly varied in CrossFit. Even so, sometimes we who are newer to the sport need some opportunity to just drill our new skills, so thanks to Nick who programmed these past few weeks.

Today was 5 rounds of 3x1 clean + 1 jerk AHAP (as heavy as possible)

95# was the heaviest I could go today.

Gotta go...the games are starting soon...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Back Squats and Head Spins

Wow...I think this is the last day of back squats for a while. We've been working on a strength series for the past two weeks, to be concluded this week. Today was 6x6 reps @70% of the 1 RM HBBS (high bar back squat). Since I did not have that 1RM recorded in the past, I had to go with the heaviest weight I could do each time and today I worked at 115#.

Today is not my best day...I started getting a headache near the end of the WOD and was perhaps dehydrated (I was sweating profusely!) I felt a little tired and grumpy. On one of the reps I blacked out for a second and was seeing stars. I very nearly dropped the bar--scared both me and my lifting partner. It's part of the CrossFit life.

Sometimes you eat the bear,
sometimes the bear eats you.

Sometimes you eat the bear,
but end up with indigestion.

that was today.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Power Clean PR

Yep...another PR today.

For the last couple of weeks we have been doing a strength series--back squats, snatches, cleans. Today's work was this:

20 minutes to find 1 RM power clean

then, 5 minute EMOM 1 power clean at 90# of 1 RM

My last 1 RM on cleans was 105#, today I achieved 110#, a new personal best! I was able to successfully lift all of the reps at 90% (100#), and I left feeling good.

It is so hot outside. Every day going to CrossFit is one of those, "just get in the car and go, and work out the rest when you get there." I really dislike the heat, the dripping sweat, the feeling of the thick, humid air, but for the first time in my life, there is something that I love more than my hatred of the heat, and it keeps me coming back for more.

Here's to more PRs next week!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Technique, Technique, Technique

The programming lately has been geared toward building strength. There has been a lot of weightlifting and short met-con WODs--my favorite type. Today's WOD was very similar to last Monday's.

10 x 4 reps high bar back squat @80% with 2 minute rest between sets

Interestingly, I was able to do more weight this week (115# vs. 110# last week), and I hit a groove in the squat that I have never felt before. Today as I squatted, I was able to go lower, bear the weight in my heels, and bounce out of the squat in a way that felt so much better than it has in the past. It's the THING with all things CF--rarely or never is it best to just muscle through something. There is always some technique that,when strength, coaching, and experience meet, makes the move almost easy. The reps that I was able to accomplish in the perfect squat position with the weight in my heels felt strangely  easy. This shows me that honestly, I could probably be lifting even more, but I must get to the point where I can consistently move the weight correctly. It's all in the technique.

Let me give you a little tip, however. When doing high-bar back squats, take your necklace off. The pain of lifting heavy weight is nothing in comparison to the pain of having the loaded bar press a small metal chain deeply into your flesh. Ask me how I know.

A similar thing happened with snatching yesterday (not the necklace part) when I attended the skills class. After many reps of pulling early and missing even light lifts, I put my full concentration on the "scarecrow" move, late in the lift. I flew under the bar and stood there shocked and how low I received the bar as well as how light the weight felt. It's all in the technique.

Another area where technique has proven itself is in rope-climbing. When the coach says get your legs up as high as possible, they mean it. It is the difference between depending on your arm strength and grip to get you up the rope, and powering up feet at a time by using your legs and core. It is the difference between an exhausting 7 or 8 pulls and an easy 3 to 4.  It's all in the technique.

I have to remind myself constantly that these "techniques" are brand new to me and that "Rome was not built in a day." Why it took me 8 months to understand what it meant to have the weight in my heels is a mystery, but today I felt it and I can check that off the list. I know that one now. On to the next thing, while continuing to practice that blasted squat!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Still Snatching

So after my tutorial with Dan last week I was sure that I would be a whiz at the snatch today. Not so much. It is still the most difficult move in CF and the one that intrigues me the most. I would so love to perfect it.

I hit some, I missed some. I came within 5 pounds of my one rep max, mainly because I really wanted to focus on my form. I may have managed to muscle up my 1RM, but that was not the point. I am really starting to feel the pull from the floor, and when I sneak myself under that bar, it feels good...but it's hard.

Today I snatched 70 lbs, with 3 push presses from the back rack position.

I want more, but I'm going to take this slowly. All in good time.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

White Challenge

Ready to go!
Warming up
Warm-up climb
I hope I never do this WOD again. I did what I set out to do. I joined the class so that I could learn to climb the blasted rope. I did. Here's the WOD I did in 90+ degree blazing sunshine and lived to tell...

5 rounds
3 rope climbs ( I got 1, did walkups the rest of the way)
10 toes to bar (knee raises)
21 walking lunges @25# (15#)
400 m run

Time: 42:08 (it took me 7 minutes more this time due to the heat. I ended up walking almost the entire 3rd lap)

3-2-1 (Sorry, Jen, I tried to crop it!)
Getting it done... 
So glad my family was there to cheer for me...
bar work... 
my nemesis...running...
one of the many painful moments

My friend Emily, who has been affectionately nicknamed "Gymily"

I wish I had the picture that my friend Candace took of all three of us, Emily and Candace and myself all together, because we really did this TOGETHER. It was so very hot out there today--the redeeming quality of it all was having such great people to do this with, not to mention those who just came out to support us in this effort.

Here's a shout out to all the people who I appreciate today:

Candace and Emily--I love WODding with you girls.
Glen, Matty, and Molly--I love you--thanks for cheering and for being proud of me.
Jen, Allison, Lindsay, Amanda, Donna, Erica, and all the other ladies who suffered with us...
Michele for running that last hateful lap with me--you are a star!
Rachel--thanks for dragging me into this mess.
Paul, for talking to my hubs today and winning big points for the community.
Sara, for appreciating the small successes along the way, and really helping us to learn new skills.

U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ashley White, 24, of Alliance, Ohio, assigned to the 230th Brigade Support Battalion, 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina National Guard, based in Goldsboro, North Carolina, died on October 22, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, from wounds suffered when insurgents attacked her unit with an improvised explosive device. She is survived by her husband Captain Jason Stumpf, her parents Robert and Deborah, brother Josh, and sister Brittney.

Friday, July 5, 2013

It's All In Your Head...

So please remove it from your patootie...

Throughout the six weeks of this White Hero WOD challenge I have (as I have posted before) been struggling with rope climbs. I have felt completely silly even when doing the drills, pretty much unable to coordinate the movements or find the strength to do certain things like jump and then hang on the rope. In last Saturday's class, however, things started to click for me. I was sure that I was the only one around feeling like a failure, struggling with these skills, while everyone else around me was scurrying up the rope like lizards up walls.

Today's WOD was very good for us, as tomorrow is the final White challenge. Here it is:

3 rounds for time:
8 front squats (Rx 105, I did 85#)
1 rope climb
8 back squats (Rx 105, I did 85#)

score: 13:01

There are about 5 blog posts I could write from what I learned, observed and felt about today's class, so this may be lengthy, I'll try to be concise.

First of all, one of the top athletes (Shannon) at our box was in the 9:00 class this morning. These girls are such amazing athletes, so strong, so cool. Each one of them has an energy and a vibrance about them, and they have every reason to set themselves apart and act like CF snobs...but they do not. For me, those 85# squats were tough today. I was fully able to do them, but it took everything I had to get through 8 front squats. Shannon parked herself in front of me and cheered me through my most difficult reps, and I could not have been more grateful. It truly helped me to dig deep and find the strength that I needed.

Several girls from the White class were also there at the 9:00 WOD this morning, and we had the chance to practice a bit more and encourage each other as we prepare both physically and mentally for tomorrow.

As I looked around, it wasn't just I who was struggling to get up that rope. Somehow I had never seen it before. There were people there who are younger and stronger and still--the rope was a bully for them. We were there giving each other advice, hi-fiving each others' successes (even the small ones) and cheering for the big ones. I had been so intimidated, so self-absorbed and cranky about this whole thing that I forgot that everyone struggles from time to time, not just me. CrossFit is the perfect place to be reminded of this, and the folks there are so encouraging, you might even be reminded gently, in a good-natured way.

So here's to getting your head out of your patootie, setting aside your fears, and cheering on a teammate. Get up that rope! It's all in your head, and if it's in the wrong place, well...

Oh, and by the way...I achieved two whole rope climbs today. One before class when I was pondering the rope with the other girls, and another in the WOD. I got another 1/2 climb in during the WOD but didn't feel strong enough to continue, so I finished with walkups...Tomorrow, White Challenge final test.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Individual Coaching Session: Snatch Progression

Since I started CrossFit 8 months ago (wow! 8 months?) I had not taken advantage of my individual coaching sessions that come with my membership, until today.

I scheduled my session with Dan, the owner of the box, and the first coach that I ever met at CrossFit Woodbridge. I chose him for the specific reason that I see him working with the newest members of the box on a daily basis, and I felt comfortable with his demeanor, since I would be coming from a definite beginner's perspective on whatever I chose to work on. I gave the one-on-one session a good amount of thought and decided I would work on a move that really stymies me in WODs and on lifting days--the snatch. When he first greeted me, he questioned me in a joking way, thinking I hadn't given the session a lot of thought but in fact, I had--possibly too much! I was a bit nervous, but once we settled in to work, it was all business and burning quads!

The snatch is, put simply, moving the weight on the barbell from the floor to overhead in one movement. Between here and there however, is a series of very technical movements that are not easy to do. Flinging the weight overhead is not the goal, not to mention the fact that it's dangerous to do this lift heavy without knowing the proper technique. The progressions we were doing in class just weren't enough to get this to click for me. 

Today's session started with me warming up with the class, then beginning with what I thought was a snatch but, as I understand now, was far from it. 

We worked on the minutia of the move, the hardest part of which was moving the bar the first few inches off of the floor. As Dan said, "Betchya weren't expecting to spend 40 minutes deadlifting a PVC pipe, were you?", I wasn't. I burned an enormous amount of calories standing in that squat position trying to figure out what it meant to move the bar using my hips, knees, and arms up from the floor into the "pocket" position and keep it all together in my mind. I was sweating profusely, my quads were burning, and I was concentrating on every inch of the bar's movement...and it was a PVC pipe! 

We finally added light weight to a bar and worked on form only--getting the extension of the hips and the snatch overhead. Near the end of the hour it was wonderful to hear him say, "Now you're snatching--not flinging." 

Three things to remember when snatching:

1. Sweep the bar past the knees 
2. Hips and knees move at the same time
3. Once in the pocket, open up and keep the arms straight

I love this video of Chad Vaughn (Olympic lifter) executing the snatch in super-slow-motion. I have always appreciated the technical difficulty in the move, but now I have a slightly more trained eye and can see exactly the things Dan was telling me today in the move. If you have neglected your one-on-one session, definitely take advantage of it...oh, and enjoy the video.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Better than Yesterday

Today was Hero WOD "White" skills class, the last one before the actual test WOD. This class has been by far the most difficult thing I have done at CF, but not only because the skills themselves are difficult, but because of the mental toughness that I have needed to face it. Through most of it I have suffered with a debilitating lack of confidence, mostly due to the rope, though I have struggled with kipping a bit as well. 

I have climbed the rope successfully once before. It was after the kids' class and their coach saw me head over to the rope and start to climb and she (in her very subdued manner) strolled over, and talked me through every pull. Before I knew it I was at the top. I thought for sure after this I would always be able to climb the rope, but it was not so. Every time since then I have failed miserably. I would be unable to catch the rope between my feet, I would lose strength, my grip would slip and slide uncontrollably down the rope. I felt like such a dork, and even though I knew that the other women in the class were not in any way judging my efforts, my lame attempts felt so conspicuous. 

Something was different today, and I'm not sure what it was but I'll try to unpack it...

First I had a profound realization when I wrote my last post about kayaking with my kids and the newfound freedom I experienced in that. I realized that I am not doing CrossFit to impress any coaches, classmates or even myself. I am doing CrossFit for life. This is not a competition for me, it's a lifestyle, and if I allow myself to be discouraged by comparison, it won't last.

Second, I was encouraged just walking into the box. I am getting to know more and more people, it was friendly and noisy with people chatting and laughing, and several people came up to me and commented that they were enjoying reading my blog. If you are one of those people, THANK YOU! You should know how much that matters! In addition, both my kids had great WODs and were pleased at the end of their class with their work. This made me want to do work that would make them proud of me, in return. 

I did struggle at first with the rope, but then something clicked...I jumped up, locked my feet and got a couple of pulls. I was able to do this several times. When it came time for the WOD, Sara said we had to make an attempt to climb the rope every round before doing walkups. In the first round I got a pull, then did walk ups. In the second round I jumped up and got my feet hooked, and Evy (the kids coach) strolled over and started talking me through again. Something in me clicked into gear and I got within one pull of the red line, then slipped. I managed to catch myself (sort of) but Sara was waiting at the bottom to break my fall! Even so, I was so happy to have made it that far...happy, and utterly exhausted by the effort. 

These things take practice, plain and simple. They take time to build up strength. It takes humility to keep trying and not quit. I have improved, there is no doubt. In spite of feeling really anxious before every class, I am really glad that I did it and stuck it out. I will absolutely, positively thrilled to be done with that final WOD next Saturday. I will post my results!

Today: make an attempt at climbing each round, then 3 walkups for every climb to scale

4 rope climbs 
20 walking lunges
10 T2B
5 burpees
Ladder down rope climbs 3, 2, 1, all else remains the same

time: 22:34

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Benchmark #5: Freedom

I wish I had a picture to show you of me with my kids kayaking on the river where I spent so much time when I was a kid, but I didn't want to risk taking my iPhone with me. I did take some shots of them before I jumped into the one-man kayak and headed up the river with them.

Two things compelled me, not the least of which was that their uncle allowed them to go in the kayak alone, while he watched from the dock. This freaked me out a little though he wasn't allowing them to go out of earshot. When I came down to the dock, however, I could not see how far they had gone, and I realized that they were feeling a little over-confident. These are city kids, see. They swim in swimming pools, and there are snapping turtles in that river water!

After calling them back and taking a few photos, another thing compelled me. It was the simple knowledge that "I can do this!" I hopped into the one-man kayak, grabbed a paddle and to their delight, said to the kids "C'mon! Let's go!" In the past I would have never done more than a short, somewhat disappointing paddle up the river if I even went at all, and I would have come home sore and stayed that way for days.

This time, however, I paddled as far as my Crossfitting son could go, and then pushed him a little more. The tide turned at just the right time and we paddled home with a light, favorable current. It was a gorgeous ride up to the "secret" part of the river where motor boats can't navigate well due to the shallow water and narrow passes between fallen trees. It was like having a huge, gorgeous garden, heavy with summer and noisy with wildlife all to ourselves! Turtles, fish, heron, ducks, blue dragonflies, birds, and spiders...It was all wonderful, except for the spiders. Time slipped away quickly, and I don't actually know how long we were gone, though my sister said it was quite a while. I came home with nothing worse than a blister. While we were going we felt like real adventurers paddling on the Amazon, discovering new worlds, but the river was a place so familiar to me--the memories of my childhood, and I was sharing it with my children.

We enjoyed this adventure so much that we repeated it, and went even farther today.

Upon my return home, I ran upstairs, changed my clothes, and ran off to CrossFit to try my one rep max deadlift. I PR'ed at 215 lbs, then endured 12 minutes of excruciating core work.

CrossFit espouses the notion that we are training for life, whether it is paddling with my kids, hauling kayaks onto a dock, or dead lifting at the box. It's pushing myself to be better, stronger, faster, and along with that sharper, wiser, and smarter. It's the the ability to be free from physical limitations and laziness. It's the physical stamina to remain a mentally acute student of life.

There are no guarantees in life, to be sure. My main objective in going to my hometown was to visit my mom, who has Alzheimer's and is living in specialized care. It is painful beyond description to watch the strongest, most influential person in my life deteriorate in such a horrible way. I watched her battle rheumatoid arthritis for all of my life, and the added blow of Alzheimer's seems an unjust and wicked sentence.

I don't know how we could have changed Mom's outcome. There are so many "if only's." Even so, as I look back on her life and the things that may have affected her health and her strength, I see where I can make radical course corrections in my life and can hope that I have made them in time. I want the freedom to enjoy my whole life, my children, my grandchildren, and even the wisdom and activity of my old age. I want to live my whole life free, in good health, with the people I love. I don't want my kids to suffer what I am suffering with my mom.

This is why I CrossFit. Thank you, CrossFit Woodbridge for being the place that has strengthened me to be able to have moments like this with my kids, my family, my life.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It's Not That Bad...Yes It Is...No, It's Not

Welcome to summer in VA! It is now officially hot and humid, and the air sticks to you like a wet bathing suit when you need to pee really badly. It's a desperate feeling.

The last two days have been tough. The WODs have not made me want to rush over to CF and "do work." I don't mind a good work out, but the heat plus the intensity of these particular WODs have made me feel a little depressed. I was much less depressed, though when my friend said enthusiastically that she would be my partner for the WOD yesterday. I had never partnered with her before, but she is more experienced than I and has a way of encouraging that just got me through it! I want to be her partner every day!

50 Bench presses @body weight (hahaha! We used 65#)
every time you stop, 10 hand release pushups
50 front rack step-ups @1/2 body weight (we used 35#)
every time you stop 20 air squats
accumulate 2:00 minutes in an L-sit bar hang
every time you drop, 15 sit ups

So I came home feeling like I had been pressed through a giant clothes presser and thinking that I would wake up like Flat Stanley, but folded lengthwise in half. 50 bench presses! My husband pointed out, though, that I was still upright and walking, and said he was proud of me. When I woke this morning, I was not folded in half--I am feeling a bit sore, but nothing horrible.

Thanks Jen for helping me through that WOD--You're the best!