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?