Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall 2012 Sweataway: Day 2 (REVIEW: Graham CrossFit)

After a great first evening in Almost Paradise, we spent the first part of day 2 doing some really important things, like sleeping, eating, and chilling. 

We started by waking up without an alarm.  Usually our Mondays begin at 4:15am, so this was a huge win.

Breakfast was a fun twist on our usual salad and eggs:

We mix the tangerine and carrot juice for extra vitamins and flavor and less sugar.  When I was a kid I had a book about baby animals who had a sleepover party and wokeup to watch the sunrise.  They ate muffins and drank carrot juice, and so now I'm a fan.  Leftover frittata cannot be beat, folks.  And yes, we did bring along our gummy vites.  We're pretty much five years old at heart.

We weren't sure what to expect of the provided breakfast, and I think for us health nut freaks, it was good that we brought our own.  Here's a peek at the basket in case you are interested, though!

We followed up breakfast with me doing some dishes - amazing how even that can be fun on a trip like this.  Then we lazed around reading for a couple hours.  Jared let me borrow a book he's been studying called A Praying Life.  It had a great chapter on prayer and anxiety, and I got so hooked I went back to the beginning and intend to read the whole thing.  Seriously, if you love Jesus and feel like when you start praying, ten seconds later you are thinking about something else and then you feel guilty and finally give up altogether because "I'm really not good at praying," this book is for you (and me).

Finally lunch time rolled around and Jared put together some wraps and baby carrots for us.  Amazing how much cheese elevates a lettuce wrap!

We ate while rewatching some of the first season of Castle.

Eventually, it got to be time to get ready to head out for our "field trip" to Graham CrossFit!

When planning our trip, I had used the ol' Google to find CrossFit boxes in the area.  Apparently NOTHING is "in the area" when it comes to Ashford and Paradise, so I adjusted my expectations to anything within an hour or so of our place.  After looking at a couple different boxes, I was really impressed with Graham, particularly since the website talked about how excited they were to have visitors!

Jared emailed Diana (one of the coaches at Graham) to ask about programming and whether we could come by for a visit.  Jared is currently doing the Invictus programming (which I like to call CrossFit on Steroids) and wanted to be sure that whatever box we visited wouldn't mind his continuing with his scheduled workout in their space.  Diana was incredibly gracious and invited us to come by for either a class or simply to use the box for our own workouts.  I decided to take the Monday 4pm class, but we decided to go early at about 3:30 to have time to fill out any necessary paperwork and meet Diana and get a look at the box.

We packed up some snacks, and I ended up grabbing the milk from our untouched breakfast basket.  I'd left my blender bottle at home and wanted an easy post-WOD protein.

En route, we continued listening to our book on CD (so doesn't sound as cool as book on tape): Clive Cussler's "Lost Empire."  If you like light-hearted action/adventure, I highly recommend this tale of a husband and wife treasure hunting team (complete with diving in Africa, Aztec lore, and a lost Civil War battleship).

The trip went by quickly and we made it to Graham CrossFit with no trouble finding the box.

Graham meets in a large warehouse, which to us Mercer Island kids is basically enormous.

Benchmark WODs!

(I especially loved the pullup bars because the short ones were short enough for 5'2" me to actually jump up and easily grab hold!) 

We got to meet Diana and another coach, Martha (she coachs CF Kids - check out her blog!) and filled out our paperwork.  It was one of my first visits to a new box; previously I had only been to MICF and Stoneway CrossFit.  I love that CrossFit feels like a family, and going to Graham was like visiting cousins!  Diana, Martha, and everyone at the box was SO welcoming.  People came up to me before class started to introduce themselves and make sure I felt at home.  I even met a gal whose brother just started Western Pacific CrossFit in Kirkland, so that's on my list to visit in October!

Jared getting his Invictus on

The 4pm WOD

We started the class right on time, with about 16 students including me.  Our warmup consisted of line drills (reminded me of doing track as a kid) and some intense quad/hip flexor stretching.  Then we partnered up to work on clean and jerks.  At first, I was surprised Diana had us partner up because clearly Graham had enough space and equipment for everyone to have their own bar.  Later I realized it allowed us to take turns so that Diana could watch everyone's form to make sure we all nailed the lift safely. 

I ended up not going very heavy on this one, since I'd just done Grace at MICF a few days before and my shoulder was kinda bothering me.  It was perfect, since my partner didn't plan to go too heavy, either.  Sometimes it's nice to not have a weight goal and just focus on form.

After the lifting, I asked Coach Diana if I could substitute a different movement for the hang clean & jerks in the WOD.  She suggested kettlebell goblet squats.  I went and got a #35 and set up my 20" box near a short pullup bar.  It was kinda fun to have my own little space for the WOD!

It was great to be doing a Hero WOD as always - makes you take time to think about the men and women who give their lives for this country so that we can do things like working out in safety.  I love that CrossFit honors sacrifices like this and doesn't let us take them for granted!

I made it through four fulls rounds plus the goblet squats and a few box jumps.  I was beat but really proud of myself for not freaking out about the box jumps.  I've taken a spill or two recently, but this time when I tripped, I caught myself and took a deep breath and kept going safely. 

(Some tips from coaches that have helped: Find one spot on the box itself and look right at it every time you jump.  Imagine the box is four inches higher - jump high enough to clear that and you'll nail the box you really have.  Don't try to exntend your hips until after you land; otherwise you risk catching your toe on the box.)

After we finished, Diana got a group photo for us!

We had such a good time that it was hard to leave....Jared wanted to play around on the rings.

There were some really cute shirts (we like to represent great places), but they were sold out of my size.  Sounds like they got another order in this week, so we are thinking of heading down for another visit!

A few other things of note for anyone interested in Graham CrossFit:
  • Price point is VERY reasonable.  Special deals if you are a student, in the military, or serving in emergency (e.g. firefighter).
  • Class times are varied and convenient.
  • Like most boxes, Graham offers intro-level classes, so if you are thinking of checking it out but feel like CrossFit is too intimidating, hit up one of these and you won't feel too far out of your comfort zone!
Honestly, we have nothing but good to say about this place (and we're picky)!  If you ever get a chance, swing by and pay them a visit - you'll get a warm welcome and a killer workout!

We stopped on the way "home" to get gas so we wouldn't have to worry about it anymore on the trip.  Here's Team Matson post-WOD...Jared with compression gear and Meghan with protein!!!

Dinner plan for Monday night?  Salad and seafood from the zest cookbook!

Toasting pistachios for the salad

It was HUGE

Shrimp and scallops and awesomeness
We such a relaxing evening, including a trip to our sauna pre dinner.

Aahh...heaven for the fitness nerds on vacation. 

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  1. Looks like an awesome box! Mine is pretty small too. Thanks for sharing the box jump tips. I've been working on mastering those!

    1. Sure thing! Our coaches have really helped me out and I was actually able to do the 20 inch box plus a weight plate the other day. Now I have my sights set on the 24"!


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