Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Love my Box!

I saw on facebook this morning that the new instructional videos that have been in process at our box were posted. It was perfect timing for me, after yesterday's post about having issues with my squat. I went to the site and watched the video, and I am not only glad for the instruction, but I am impressed with and proud of my coaches and fellow athletes. The production displays the underlying commitment of CFW for excellence. I appreciate that the leadership of CrossFit Woodbridge strives for excellence in all things, and that they do everything they can to support us in our efforts toward that end! This is certainly reflected in the video. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Small Victories

When I got to CF this morning, the side doors of the box were wide open and there were only a few people at class. It was over 60 degrees--again. So weird. But ANYway...

Today's warmup had 400 m of running in it (approximately 1/4 mile). I ran full out the whole way, and did not think about slowing down to walk at all. Now to my running friends who read this, I know that this may sound seriously lame-o, but when I started CF, I could not do the whole run without walking part of it. I'll call that "small victory #1" for today.

The WOD:

snatch work
5 weighted strict pull-ups, scaled: use the lightest possible band

The snatch is a very technical move that I find to be a bit intimidating. There are just so many parts to remember, and if you miss one, you miss your lift. I worked up to 55# and just couldn't pull off 65#. I did get some nice lifts with the 55#.

On the pull-ups, I used only the green band and then tried some with the blue. I managed all five of the pull-ups with my chin fully over the bar with the green, but could only do 1 full pull-up with the blue band. Even that was great--I thought I wouldn't be able to do even one! I'll call that "small victory #2" today.

After all the lifting and bar work, I am getting some lovely calluses. They are badges of honor, supposedly. I might as well forget my dream of being a hand model...

Remember the post in which I complained of my knees hurting? Well, I learned today how to be more efficient in my squats. I knew that I needed to take the weight off the front of my legs and let my weight rest mostly in my hams and and in my heels. Even so, while I was getting lower and a little further back, I have still been throwing my weight too far forward, i.e. not getting my chest up straight enough which means that my knees are still bearing too much weight. With the smaller class today I got Nick to show me more specifically what was going wrong, and I managed a correct squat and felt a huge difference, even though my knees are really sore today. Hmmm... in some ways I feel set back a step or two, like now I need to relearn the most functional, basic movement of CF, but never mind--I'd rather take the time to correct things now and have longevity in the pursuit of fitness than ruin my knees and not be able to continue. Right? Right. I'll call this setback a victory for my knees, so "small victory #3."

Monday, January 28, 2013

More Fun with Burpees

How do you make a burpee more miserable fun than it already is? By adding a pull-up to the move! Yippee!

Today's WOD was hard! When I come home from CF the kids always ask me if I "crushed" it. Well, today I didn't "crush" it--there was too much of a learning curve, too much inefficiency, but I did it hard and learned well. We can add this to the list of difficult, un-fun moves.

Today's WOD:
4 rounds for time
1 clean
3 push jerks (55#)
12 burpee pull-ups
Time: 12:43

The burpee pull-ups are too hard to explain so I'll just show you this:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Whole Life Challenge is Coming

Beginning on February 16, I plan to take part in something called "Whole Life Challenge" (WLC) with others at my box. It's a challenge to help you recognize the areas of your life that need some tweaking with regards to health and fitness, and hold you accountable as you make changes. One of the key challenges is in how we eat. It encourages a paleo-style diet for 8 weeks, and I will admit that, while I am 80% of the way there, I am nervous about surrendering those last little things that I will have to give up. This style of eating means no grains, no sweeteners, and no legumes. I realize that for many of you I just listed your diet. It seems intimidating at first, and it has taken a while to adapt to the concept of a paleo diet, and the changes have come very gradually. I think I'm finally ready to take on the final step and do WLC.

One of the things I want to work on the most is increasing the variety and flavors of vegetables in my diet. Tonight we made something so quick and easy, but so delicious, I am going to put it on the top of the list of paleo-favorite meals. I'll call it "Warm Southwestern Cabbage Salad." I served it with a very simple chicken in chili-verde sauce that we blasted in the pressure cooker. That took all of 8 minutes and turned out better than if I had put it in the crock pot all day (love the pressure cooker!) I served it to my husband who loved it, to my daughter, who also loved it, and to another girl who is not of my flesh and blood and she loved it too, so it is kid-tested and approved!

Warm Southwestern Cabbage Salad (Paleo, WLC)
(From the Kitchen of Kelly Mine)


bacon fat, lard, or other high-heat cooking oil, just enough to lightly coat pan and vegetables to prevent scorching
1/2 head green cabbage
several carrots
1 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
juice of 1/2 - 1 lime
enough olive oil to lightly coat salad
3 TBS apple cider vinegar
sliced avocado

Shred cabbage and carrots in food processor or by hand
Preheat pan, allowing oil to get hot, but not smoking
Add shredded cabbage and carrots, salt, pepper, and cilantro, tossing in oil until tender, but still crisp (about 2-3 minutes)
Remove vegetables from heat and toss with olive oil, lime juice and apple cider vinegar
Top with sliced avocados

Thursday, January 24, 2013

CrossFit Peeps / Happy Anniversary to Me!

Myself, Rae and Candace (left to right), CF athletes, all...
CrossFit Moms found refuge on the stack of plyo-boxes as we watched the kids' class. I love being at the box, I love the people there, and I love watching my kids when they are doing their WODs there. It is a place that I feel at home and feel completely comfortable being myself. Tomorrow is my three month anniversary, and yet I feel like it has been so much longer! I am astounded at the progress I have made. There is no turning back.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Knees Hurt

My Knees Hurt. My Knees Hurt. Did I mention that My Knees Hurt?

Ever since the fateful running WODS at the beginning of the month, and the 500,000 squats and lunges I've done every week, I'm beginning to think they will never feel right again. I am quite sure that there is no injury--the pain is very even, not acute or isolated to one place. Rather it feels like the places where my muscles attach to bone are being stretched. Really stretched. I expect that this is true because after a recovery day and when it is time to go back for a WOD I feel ready (even if they are not completely sore-free), and my squats and lunges get deeper and better with each workout. Once I'm home, though, My Knees Hurt. Oh, I already said that? Sorry, but they do. Could you pass me the ice packs please?

Today's WOD:

5 RM OHS (60#)

Then AMRAP in 8 minutes
3 bar muscle ups (scaled, 6 chest to bar pull-ups and 6 hand-release pushups)
6 power cleans (50#)
9 KB OHS (15# dumb-bell--these were HARD)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cindy, Cindy, Cindy...

Today I was draggin'. Normally after the warm-up I am feeling ready for the WOD, able to take on whatever...Not today. I almost went home. I was still feeling like I had sandpaper in my eyeballs and lead in my shoes. Admittedly, there are reasons, but I decided to push through and do what I could of the WOD.

Today's torture was "Cindy"
5 pull-ups
10 push-ups
15 squats
AMRAP for 20 min!

When we started I found that the thickest gray band that I have been using for assisted pull-ups was too thick for me! I was not having to work at all to get my chin over the bar, so I requested the next size down, which was much more challenging. Midway through I had to add a small band to the green one for a bit of extra boost, but I didn't have that "sling-shot" effect that I was having at first. The push-ups (on my knees) were very manageable and I made a maximum effort on my squats. I concentrated on getting the "hip crease below the knee" and keeping my knees in line over my toes. At one point Nick came along and counted my chips (I had done 9 rounds) and he encouraged me to complete 10 total rounds.

I completed 12.
Crushed it.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Benchmark #3 - Respect

I gained a nugget of wisdom today from an old friend. We were talking about CF (because it's all I ever talk about right now!) and I told her that one of the reasons I decided I needed to get moving is because my kids had only ever seen me sedentary, and I needed to lead them into a more active lifestyle. In response she said something that really made me stop and think, and it is this: If we do not allow ourselves to change, or we set an example of something that is not good for us (such as a sedentary lifestyle), then eventually our children will lose respect for us. Even more, they will lose respect for "mother"--that identity, that role, that office. "Mother" becomes a static point in their past who can not speak authoritatively into their lives because she has ceased to learn, grow, change, or to keep pace with them. I am not saying that we have to do the same things that they do or be enmeshed in their lives in an unhealthy way. On the contrary, they need to see that we are individuals--that our lives do not spin solely on their axes, but that we have lives that we are cultivating by being active, dynamic learners of human existence! If it so happens that we are sharing a common interest, even better!

There was this one hurdle to cross, however. In the past I didn't want my children to see me being weak, or at my worst. I didn't have respect for myself or what I had allowed my body to become. I knew I needed to do better. I knew that I was full of excuses. I knew that I hated how I looked. I needed to to regain respect for myself. 

You know those moments in life when someone says the simplest thing to you, but it is the wisdom for the moment to cover just about everything? Well, I was grousing to my coach about ring dips at class. I am terrible, even at assisted ring dips, so I asked my coach for an alternative. He gave me a thicker band (more assistance), set me up and told me to suck it up. More specifically, he got in my space, towered over me (he's a Marine officer and about 6'5") and said with a twinkle in his eye, but in all seriousness, "I hear your excuses and I'm not buyin' 'em."

Right. Thank you. Excuses are the front door to loss of respect. When I hear people whining about what they can't do, I want to walk away and say, "talk to the hand," but unfortunately I cannot walk away from myself. 

In the last three months, I have learned so much about what it means to be an example to my kids and demonstrate self-respect. We have all discovered the joy of exercising together. I am ashamed to admit that I used to be very private about exercise--I would not do it around the kids. I hated for them to see me sweat, I felt weak and out of shape and I did not want them to see at my "worst." However, I finally realized that they need to see me rise up and face my weakness, and that this in itself was leadership. I have allowed them to see me sweat, suffer, and be challenged. They share in my victories and miseries and I in theirs. I have done WODs with them that were tough for all of us. I am still usually last to finish, and there is no greater feeling than having my kids cheer for me saying "Come on, Mom! Just five more! You're almost there!" 

Matt is finding his niche with CF. He is already doing things that are pretty spectacular, and he throws himself completely into it. He enjoys the activity and the challenge. He is getting to know the  coach and the other kids at the box, and doesn't want to miss class. He is supporting his little sister who also thinks she is one tough cookie to be hanging and doin' with all the bigger dogs. She enjoys having his support.

I have raised my kids to have a deep faith and walk with God. Now I have to teach them to respect all of His creation including themselves. I guess that means I must start with me.

Matt easily clears a 24" box
Learning handstands
The CF Kids Woodbridge class is so fun and supportive!
Sibling support!
After a WOD together at home

Friday, January 18, 2013

Push Jerks

No, that does not mean I went around pushing jerks today, though it's not a bad idea...hmmm...

I did, however, manage to get myself under a bar loaded with 90# of weight three times in succession. I tried to get 100# over my head for a one rep max, but failed all three attempts.

I also did some very painful core strengthening exercises. Truly, I felt the burn.

I also got a massage today. Much needed. Ecstasy.

I love that I earned this weekend with three awesome days at CF, so I'm going tomorrow to watch people who are awesome-er than I am compete against each other to see who is the biggest bad-a... their word, not mine. Go CFW!

Today's WOD
push jerk - 5-5-5-3-3-3-1-1-1-1 ((90# max)
coach-led core strength exercises

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wall Balls...Wall Balls...Wall Balls

No matter how many times you say it, it still sounds like "wall balls." There is no way to make it sound more fun than it already sounds. It is a difficult move, but the kid in me still gets excited at the fact that I am throwing a ball in the air and catching it.

Today's WOD
12 dead lifts
40 wall balls
9 dead lifts
30 wall balls
6 dead lifts
20 wall balls
3 dead lifts
10 wall balls

dead lift weight 105#
10# ball
Time: 12:45

After the WOD, Dan had us do ab work. The very thought of what he had us do makes me laugh because after that WOD it was reaching into the depths of my impossible extremely difficult! I didn't do very well, but I tried very hard. It just served to show me how much more I need to strengthen my core.

I will confess to not squatting as deeply as I should have in the wall balls. My knees and hips have been sore and stiff ever since the Laredo running WOD, but I hit the target every time, and made sincere effort to not shoulder the ball (a huge temptation) and to jump out of what squat that I did to get the ball to the target. I hit the target every time except one, and dropped once.

This week has been a good one at CF for me. On Monday I threw myself into the intensity portion of the WOD with new energy. I did the same today. I had to pause from time to time, of course, but there is this determination inside myself that has been elusive until now. Suffering as I was during the wall balls, I thought to myself, "I am so happy to be here." I can only wonder who put the kool-aid in my drink? I clearly have consumed some, though I don't know how it happened.

(p.s.) Okay, I went and watched some videos on how to do WBs well. Let's just say that I really need to work on my form, but even so, heaving ten pounds over my head 100 times to hit a ten-foot target was still exhausting.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Smart Guy, that Lloyd...

Okay, so today's post reflected a rather confusing WOD. I know that I was a little confused. But one of our coaches revealed his purpose behind designing the workout the way he did. I have always found his coaching techniques to be very helpful--I mean, I am often overwhelmed by all the "new" movements I am encountering, but he has helped me numerous times to get past a mental block or a snag in my movements. So here is his reasoning behind today's WOD, and I have to hand it to him--it worked! I really wanted to get to that bar at least once, and I threw myself into those burpees with all I had. Good going, Coach. You nailed it.

Oh, and just so he doesn't feel left out, I have to give a shout out to Nick, who is quite good at getting me to push myself just a little bit further than I think I can go. That Turkey didn't let me do bench dips today but made me do ring dips even though I thought about having a tantrum. I figured it wasn't worth it--I was still in a good mood from my PR OHTs. I still hate ring dips. I hated him at the time. But I love him now. Thanks, Nick.

My First "PR"

I went in today after completely resting my knee from last week. It was a necessary thing--my left knee, which has always been a bit grumpy was extremely tender, so I took Friday off to let it heal. Today I was itching to get back to the box. I was ready for another weightlifting WOD.

1 RM OHT (overhead thrusters) - PRed with 80#
then two rounds of 5 minutes each, 2 mins. rest between of
3-round buy in
10 ring dips
15 burpees
AMRAP OHS, max weight until time

score was based on the number of overhead squats (OHS). My score, of course was 0, because I never finished the ring dips and burpees in time to get to the bar. Even so, I completed around 80 burpees today--don't know the exact number, BUT I got my first PR today!

Now I am home with the kids, ready to start school with them, so pleased that I'm walking on air.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I'm Not Dead Yet

I still have not figured out exactly what the heck I'm doing here. Rachel says, "Anyone want to try CrossFit? Come to bring-a-friend day!" All cheery, like it's some fun thing, and I'm all "SURE! Sounds like fun!"

Good grief. Three days a week I'm slogging through these WODs and I still hurt 80% of the time. I've never been so cray-cray about anything in my life. I'm still stunned and dazed, wondering what has become of my sanity!

6 Rounds for time
24 squats
24 pushups
24 walking lunges
run 400 meters
time: 34:36
legs / knees - needed ice immediately upon arriving home.
heart - completely full when two friends ran the last lap with me just to keep me going. amazing.

This was a killer WOD. On the 4th round I started scaling my reps some because my knees were killing me. I didn't think I could do the running if I did the full number of lunges. Even so I was still the last woman to finish, and I ran / jogged an extra lap with the last guy to finish to help him along the way some of the ladies helped me. A whole group of us ran with him, and I was amazed at this wonderful, supportive community of people. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

Today was the first time I showed up unafraid. Completely unafraid. I didn't care what the WOD was, I knew I would get there and do it, no matter how difficult. The thought of running did not intimidate me, even though it is still very tough. I just know now that I will survive, and I will be stronger for it, and with folks around who care and support, how can I lose? Last to finish? I still win.

Monday, January 7, 2013

What Was That?

Ugh. Today's WOD:

100 one-arm KB snatch
100 toes to bar (TTB)

Time: 22:23, scaled by using dumbbell rather than KB, knees to chest (or as high as I could go) on the TTBs.
9 blisters on my hands.

BFF Candace came back for day two of the torture treatment. Signed up for 6 months, 2x per week. This should be fun.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Benchmark #2: Vision

This has been my most difficult week of CF so far. I have had varying degrees of success at three different benchmark WODs--Fran on Monday, Elizabeth on Wednesday, and Nancy today.

Nancy: 5 rounds for time
400 m running
15 overhead squats (OHS)
Time: 19:57
I am thrilled that I finished in under 20 minutes. Thrilled. So in my little beginner CF world, I crushed it.

Knowing that I was going to have to run in below-thirty degree weather had me awake last night, tossing and turning for two hours. I was literally wrestling with myself as to whether or not I was going to do this. I was facing the reality of being quite sore, as I had inadvertently overdone exercise yesterday with 500 reps of jumping rope followed by practicing box jumps. My knees were hurting, my triceps were still very sore from Elizabeth and running has always, always been my nemesis. It took every bit of mental strength to tell myself that I could / would do this today. But as I lay in bed, fretting over my sore muscles and feeling sorry for myself that I was going to have to run in the cold, I had a couple of revelations.
  • CF is designed to push me to the outer limits of what I can do psychologically. What I mean by this is that whatever I think I can do, CF knows that I can do more. I have reached my level of "can't" when I experience muscle failure, or simply do not know the proper technique for something. Muscle failure is merely a temporary limitation. I will be stronger on the next attempt, and so for now I will switch to a more scaled option. Lack of knowledge is easily fixed by asking a coach, watching videos, and practicing. 
The fact is that now that I have experienced this feeling of being pushed further than I thought I could go, would I really be satisfied with anything else? Anything less would be tantamount to failure. Failure is not an option, here. There is always a way through whatever is presented, always a way to scale, always a little more push. When I fall unconscious or die, then I'll say "I can't do it today." Last time I checked I was still breathing and conscious.
  • I must have VISION to see through today's WOD.   The thing that got me to the box today to complete this WOD is the establishment of a VISION that has been emerging for the last two months. I realized early on that I cannot just careen from workout to workout in a haphazard way, wondering what was going to befall my poor body. I have to have an understanding of where I am physically, who I am mentally, and where I want to be in the future in both of those areas. I have never been strong--in fact I am probably one of the weakest people I know, especially after being largely sedentary aside from walks and the occasional hike. So here I am at the beginning of my thousand-mile journey. Will I make a commitment to myself for the rest of my life, or is this an experiment? Research proves what common sense knows well: that I must commit to peak fitness for the remainder of my life, or I will lose my health through disease or injury and lose my mental capacity and my ability to think clearly. It is pretty common knowledge that fitness is tied to both of these things. Therefore, today's WOD is just a tiny stepping stone in that direction. I have to see through this to who I am and who I want to be! Success, and even perceived failure in one workout have little to do with the VISION of a life lived to its healthy fullness, but the accumulation of these over time build up to a treasure of fulfilled VISION.
Today I was so encouraged to have those who finished ahead of me cheering me on, pushing me to go lower in my squat and to finish strong on my run. I really was able to "see through" the experience of pain and exhaustion to the completion of the workout. Thanks Justin, thanks Pamela. Thanks to everyone who said "good job!" and gave a hi-five. Just. Thanks.

I know that there will be many more days like this, and to get through them is going to take discipline and leadership, which are other "benchmarks" that will be coming up in later posts. For today, it was VISION. It got me through. I won.

By the way, I have never felt so deserving of a weekend in my life. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Those Blasted Box Jumps

Matty easily clears 24"
So I spent the day staring at this blasted box that my dear husband built for me. I have achieved the 20" box jump at CFW (CFW is CrossFit Woodbridge). Last Saturday, in fact. I worked up to it by jumping on a progressively taller stack of 45lb weights, then onto the box. Then I did several more. The box I used originally is the shape of a trapezoid. It's amazing that my mind can convince me that a rectangular box was a different thing. It isn't. So today I went to CFW, and while the kids were having their class, I worked on  box jumps using a box that was proportionately identical to mine. I did it. Now I really have no excuse!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dear Elizabeth, I have a Confession...

Oh, man, I have so far to go with this. I think for a moment that I am making progress, and then I have an epic failure that reminds me that I am (still) mortal. Everything felt hard today. I am not sure why, except that maybe over the last few days I have not eaten as clean as I should have and I am still sore from Fran, but really, I don't have a clear explanation for why today was so hard! In the warmup, it felt as if I was doing every movement in deep sand, my legs felt very heavy, and things that are getting easier for me were burning deep.

Elizabeth, like Fran, is a benchmark WOD that is 21-15-9 cleans and ring dips.
I have only done ring dips one other time, and not very many reps of them. I have done ring holds with a band before, but not actual dips. On my set of 21 I was only able to complete 16. I simply could not raise myself up one more time. On my set of 15 I made it to 13, and on the last set I made it to 6. When I say I couldn't do more, the question is couldn't or wouldn't? I'm not entirely sure--it may be a combination of the two, but at one point I did experience muscle failure when I simply could not raise myself up one more time and lock out my arms...even with the band. The bad news is I failed at ring dips. The good news is, I can only improve from here.

In preparation for the next time I have to do ring dips, I will practice doing bench dips here at home. I found this article at CrossFit One World on building a progression to ring dips. I think I may need to try this, rather than just jump in with the big dogs.