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.