Friday, November 30, 2012

Advent Mobility Challenge

Happy Friday! If you're looking for some inspiration, head on over to A Dash of Meg and check out her weekly supportfest, High Five Friday!

Today I am excited to offer you all a challenge for the month of December (that doesn't call you to limit cookies or egg nog):

Advent Mobility!
I've been ruminating on this idea for at least a month now, and decided to give it a go. I've realized that CrossFitters tend to be really great about some things (eating reasonably healthy, making time for workouts, striving to get better/stronger/faster)...but when it comes to preventing injuries and increasing range of motion, we kinda suck.

Couch stretch - yikes! This one's killer

We all talk about how lame it is that a lot of the media promotes the idea that CrossFit is uber-intense and full of male and female meatheads working out till they puke or end up in surgery for their shoulders. We also come in and talk about how inflexible we are and how we can't get all the way down in a squat because our hips are too tight. And then we skip mobility unless our coach actually programs it into class, because we're just too busy to take the extra time.

This needs to change.
For the sake of our sport, we need to be smarter at taking care of ourselves. If you're limbered up with great range of motion, you are so much less likely to get hurt! When CrossFit athletes work hard not just for PRs but for safety, we'll fight the current image of our community as the "beat my time/weight goal at all costs" group.

For the sake of ourselves and our fitness goals, we have to develop better range of motion. Just like you don't increase your deadlift by never ever working on it, you can't improve your flexibility (and consequently form) without putting in some time.

Kelly Starrett, of the famous Mobility WOD website, advises in The Box magazine that mobility requires only 15 minutes per day...but he says it has to be seven days per week for you to see the payoff in your workouts.

So without further ado, I bring you my challenge (cause what are we in CrossFit if not competitive?):

I challenge you to do mobility work EVERY DAY from December 1st until Christmas.
"What???" you say. "I barely have time to shower post-WOD - let alone sit on a foam roller for 15 minutes after the workout!"

Never fear. I'm breaking this challenge into 3 categories:
    The Inspired Newbie
    You've been doing CrossFit for 6 months or less. You come 2-3 times a week and your daily goal is basically to not flee the box screaming when you see the WOD on the board. You keep coming because your ultimate goal is to fight some health concerns (e.g. high blood pressure, excess weight). Your RX? 5 minutes per day.

    The Committed Regular
    You've been doing CrossFit for at least 6 months, and you come about 3 times a week or so. Your daily goal is to avoid taking unnecessary rest during the WOD, and maybe to beat a few folks you know are in your level of fitness. Your ultimate goal is to get in great shape and start RXing more workouts. Your RX? 10 minutes per day.
    The Games-Bound Freak
    You've been doing CrossFit for at least a year, and you workout 5 days a week because smart people say you HAVE to rest at some point. Your daily goal is to politely kick every other score in the butt. Your ultimate goal is to be Rich Froning. Your RX? 15+ minutes per day.

Now you know who you are...if you feel like you're between (I fall somewhere between Regular and Freak), scale up. More is better.

Here's the way this works:
Sign up for the challenge in the comments below. (1 point for signing up - choose which category you're in for the month)

Every day, come see me here and I'll have suggested mobility work for you. 

Post in the comments what you worked on and your score (in minutes spent on mobility). (15 points each for: at least 5 minutes for the Inspired Newbies, at least 10 minutes for the Committed Regulars, at least 15 minutes for the Games-Bound Freaks)

Extra points if you post about the challenge on TheMeghaMix's Facebook page (5 points)or Tweet about it with the hashtag #adventmobility (5 points)

Extra credit challenge each week (10 points)

On December 25th, we'll all take a well deserved day off

On December 26th, I'll total the scores and announce the winner

I'll then pre-order a copy of Supple Leopard, K-Starr's new book in the winner's name

Ready? Me, too! See you tomorrow for day 1.

(P.S. Extra credit for the first week is to book yourself a massage!)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bar Muscle-ups, Rope Climbs and a Crazy RX

Last night I had my first rope climb at the box!

I've been sort of "reverse cherry picking" this week.  I wasn't really planning to go Monday or Wednesday but those days had programming I really wanted to work on, so I altered my schedule accordingly.

I knew I needed work on rope climbs and overhead movements, so yesterday's programming was perfect.

Our warmup this week includes bar muscle-ups.  I had to use the biggest band we have, but I finally got one last night!

Instead of a strength, we had skill work on the pre-WOD agenda:

I decided I've been getting way stronger and could finally tackle the rope again.  I went super simple, no fancy foot wrapping, and just kept telling myself not to look down.

I made it to the top for the first time since I was like 7 years old.  And I did it without gloves and didn't get a rope burn.  Score!

Next was the WOD.  I'd been thinking I could handle #65, so I went in and loaded my bar up. 

If you're confused, the workout went as follows:

1 Front Squat
1 Push Press (or push jerk)
2 Front Squats
2 Push Presses
3 Front Squats
3 Push Presses
and so on up to
10 Front Squats
10 Push Presses
9 Front Squats
9 Push Presses
8 Front Squats
8 Push Presses
and so on back down to
1 Front Squat
1 Push Press

(Also if you are unsure...this workout with 65 pounds was brutal.)

I got all ready to start and then started to panic.

Me: "Coach Corey, do you think I should scale?" Please say yes, please say yes.
Corey: "Nah, I think you are totally strong enough to do this."
Me: Panic panic panic.
Corey: "Tell you what - if we get to the 15 minute mark and you aren't halfway yet, we'll drop the weight down."
Me: "Okay." Hope!  Maybe I won't make 15 minutes and then I can scale down!

I started out fine but was doing push jerk instead of push press by about round 4.  I was able to get great depth with the squats, which made me proud, but boy were the push jerks killing me.  One thing that helped was to link the final squat with the first press (e.g. four front squats, one thruster, four push press).  It was so hard to stay on the bar.  I took a ton of breaks, but made the end of the 10th round by about 10:45 or so on the clock, so I knew I was in for the full RX WOD!

I kept reminding myself, "Corey thought I was strong enough to do it."

I finally finished just over 20:00 minutes.


Coach Corey snapped this gem after last night's 5pm class. I think it really speaks to the soul.


You tell me: Ever RX'ed a workout you didn't think you could do?  How do you fight the mental game and keep getting back on the bar?  Am I the only one who collapses after a tough WOD?  Do you have secrets for rope climbs?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend in Photos

Back Squats at the Gym on Turkey Day
Snatch work and Nancy on Saturday

New 'do


Air Force paperwork and date night with the hubby

Christmas shopping on Sunday

Fire, tea, and wrapping presents! 


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Equipment Fail

Yesterday was either strength or rest day on my workout schedule.  I packed workout clothes in case I had time to lift, but was also seriously considering an evening of chores and Gilmore Girls on DVD.

Then Jared told me that MICF had programmed "Annie" as the day's WOD.

You may recall that one of my year-end goals was a sub-10-minute Annie RX.

I've accomplished one goal so far, but still have four to go, and had been feeling a little discouraged that I'd be able to make them happen in 2012.

My double unders have been getting a lot better, and my core is a lot stronger, so I thought I might be able to tackle it. 

I showed up pumped and ready to crush my previous RX time of 14:51 with a 9:59 or better. 

The class started out great, with a #15 PR on my Thruster 1 Rep Max - I went from #85 to #100!  I felt like I could have gone even heavier, but wanted to really be strong for the WOD.  I grabbed my favorite jump rope and a mat for situps, and we got started.

Me and the red rope in September
A word to the wise: be careful of choosing one and only one favorite jump rope at your box.  Once you start learning double-unders, mix up the ropes you use and/or invest in one of your own.

Here's why:
  • You start Annie with favorite jump rope, ready to blow your previous time out of the water
  • Said favorite jump rope is not working for you as usual
  • You wonder what is going on and think maybe you are just having an off day
  • Handle of favorite jump rope detaches from rope mid-skip
  • You pretend to be a video game character, dodging other frantic athletes to retrieve a new rope
  • Time is slipping away quickly so you don't really check to see if new rope is a good length
  • It isn't
  • The handles of the new rope connect totally differently than your old rope's handles
  • You plod through the WOD whipping yourself and tripping yourself, only 1-3 double-unders at a time
  • You try to make up on the situps and thankfully stave off total gloom and doom, deciding to at least beat 14:51
  • Your round of 20 and 10 situps are kick-butt
  • You finish in 14:17, sweaty and kinda pissed


(My arms and left hand are still totally marked up today.  I wore long sleeves to the office.)

I went home feeling still proud of my thruster accomplishment, and really proud of myself for being able to keep a fairly positive attitude throughout the WOD.  Technically, I still had a PR, and that's never a bad thing.  Plus, I feel like if I could only link a few reps at once AND had to stop early on to find a new rope...I can totally beat 10 minutes before January 1st.

I got a ride home from WOD buddy Joel and finished up the evening with an awesome protein-packed dinner: McMuffin on Steroids (or should I say Progenex?) - sourdough English muffin from Trader Joe's, fried egg, turkey bacon, and a leftover hamburger patty.

As Tina would say, Holy Yum!
I'm totally asking Santa for a new rope for Christmas.

You tell me: Ever had a piece of equipment crush your WOD?  Do you have your own rope?  Where did you get it?  I need recommendations!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Split Snatch

Hi, folks!
Last Tuesday was one of those days.
Those really great CrossFit days where you lift heavy and WOD well.
I tend to focus a lot on the downer days, and so for me, having a kick-butt evening at the box is hugely encouraging.  It's nice to feel like my months of heavy lifting on the side are starting to pay off!

I really wanted to push myself on our overhead squats.  I've had trouble getting heavy with these in the past, because my left wrist is weaker than my right, and it usually poops out on me.

I worked up to a final round of 5 reps at #75.  They were tough, but I got them with good form and felt super proud!

Next we were on to the WOD:

I'd never done split snatches before, so I looked for some resources before coming to class.  I found this great video from the CrossFit journal with Coach Burgener, and watched it before coming to class.  It was a HUGE help to me in tackling this technical lift.  Burgener breaks everything down and makes it simple and manageable.  I've been trying to make better use of all the free resources out there, and boy am I glad I found this one!

After Coach Jared walked us through proper form, the timer counted down and we started!

I wanted to get the split snatches in 6 at a time.  The first round went alright - Jared's been telling me to really pull myself under the bar, so I was working on that and also on getting my landing solid.

I cranked through the burpees (which I always love) and headed out for the first run.  I really need to devote some time to my running soon.  I'm always really slow for my fitness level and I think I need to just give a little focus to speedwork and getting over discomfort.

Second round went pretty well, about the same as the first.

Third round I broke up the split snatches more than I needed to.  I started out with my bar too close to another athlete and then tried to get distance while doing the lift.  (Bad idea.)  I could tell I was pretty close to my girl Jess, so I really tried to kill it on the burpees in the hopes of catching her.  I went out for the run as she was just turning around from the halfway point.  Getting close!

I went back in for the final split snatches and found the form was getting easier and more natural...but I was getting lazy.  I dropped the bar a couple times, which made me mad cause I really didn't need to.

I raced into the burpees and thought I still might have a chance to catch Jess, but breaking up the split snatches too much had cost me.  I finished about 20 seconds behind her.

All in all, I felt like this was a great WOD for me.  It wasn't too long or too heavy, so I got to RX.  It included a complicated lift, which required me to do a little extra prep work, and it included a strength (burpees) and a weakness (running). 

All in all, even though I wish I'd been a little tougher on the split snatches, I felt really proud of myself, and thankful to work out with people who really push me to do my best work.

You tell me: Do you ever do "homework" to prepare for a WOD?  Would you rather do burpees or run?  Who encourages you to work harder?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Killer Abs in 15 Minutes Per Week...Kinda

Hello hello!

Everyone's getting ready for Thanksgiving - I love to see all the great recipes being posted on Twitter and basking in the glow of a husband who cooks.  He's baking a pie for our family gathering on Thursday.  I'm...planning to come hungry.

Last year's pie
Last year's plate.  YUM.

If you are like me, you get a little sick of the magazines that say, "here's how to get this celeb cover girl's gorgeous abs in 5 minutes a day after just two weeks!" 

When in fact, said celeb usually says in her interview, "Well, between filming all my movies with or dating Tom Cruise/Channing Tatum/Robert Downey Jr./Christian Bale/Zack Efron, I really don't get to work out as much as I'd like.  But yoga once a week REALLY keeps me sane and gives me this great figure.   And no, I don't believe in diets - I have SUCH a sweet tooth and eat a lot of ice cream but I try to shop at farmer's markets to be local and all that.  PS I WAS A SWIMSUIT MODEL BEFORE I GOT INTO ACTING.  AND MY MOM AND AUNTS AND GRANDMAS MODELLED, TOO."

And then you realize that even the Victoria's Secret types get airbrushed.

(No wonder I am slowly killing off my female health & fitness magazine subscriptions in favor of WODTalk and The Box.  Ugh.)

Here's MY "secret" to abs.  Yes, there's 15 minutes a week of official core the bottom of the list.  Prepare to commit.
  • Sleep.  I don't care that Thomas Edison only needed 4 hours a night.  You are not Edison.  Get 8 hours a night for a month and then try come tell me you don't feel better.  Your body cannot take care of itself if you always run it into the ground.
  • De-stress.  I read yesterday that your body cannot distinguish between workout-type stress and life-type stress.  Cortisol is not your friend, however much you prize "running on adrenaline."  (See importance of sleep, above.)  When you are stressed, beside having less time to sleep, prep/eat good food, and workout, you body goes into extra credit fat-holding mode.  Which in turn is no good for your tummy.
  • Hydrate and eat up.  Unless you are one of those model types who can scarf nachos, party it up every weekend, and still look gorgeous (in which case you would not be reading this), you HAVE to refuel and to prioritize your food.  I don't support any particular diet, but I think all experts would agree on more produce, more protein, and less processed foods.  Have food you like, by all means, but make sure you are getting enough veggies and protein, and then be uber-picky about your indulgences.  (If you are not into wine, have water with dinner and hold out for a great desserty cocktail.  If like me, you could care less about cake, pass on it but really enjoy that doughnut Saturday morning.)  Also, drink more water.  Duh.
  • CrossFit.  Technically I could say "Lift heavy.  Do cardio."  But that is basically the same thing offering less guidance and requiring more of your time.  Girls seem weirdly hesitant to "build muscle" but we all wanna "burn fat."  Ladies, I have news for us.  Muscle and fat are kinda the two choices.  The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest.  Plus if you do not build muscle, you will never achieve that "lean, toned" look.  You will still have fat...there will just be less of it.
  • CrossFit.  Yes, I know I already said this.  But see exhibits A and B (Camille Le-Blanc Bazinet) below.  You can lift heavy, have killer abs, and STILL be feminine.  Find a box near you, do their ramp-up or intro series, and start going a minimum of twice a week.  Bump it up to three or more times a week as soon as your coach thinks you're ready.

  • Core work.  CrossFit includes the core in almost everything, because you have to engage your abs to have good form and stay safe on every single lift, not to mention stability in lunges, strength in kipping pullups, and of course, sit-ups and V-ups.  But we don't do a lot of plank work, which for me is a requirement to keep up my core strength for all the CrossFit work we do.  It's made a big difference for me in my performance at the Box.
I perform this 5 minute routine 3 days a week.  You can do it anywhere.  All you need is the ground and a running clock.

First: 2 minute forearm plank.

Second: 1 minute side forearm plank (pick a side).

Third: 1 minute side forearm plank (other side).

Finally: Finish out the remainder of the five minutes with 10-20 supermans.  (Start position for each rep is laid out flat on your face.)

You tell me:  Do you get annoyed with "wow I'm so busy but my body is magically perfect"?  What's your abs routine?  What are you making for Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Confessions of a Teenage Meathead

Back Squat #170 - New 1 Rep Max
  • I lift at the gym either in the early morning with the old dudes or in the afternoon with the high school football players and wrestlers.
  • I consume at least one protein shake per day.
  • I have a favorite protein powder and can give you a run-down on the good, the bad, and the ugly of the protein world.
  • I used to eat small meals or snacks every 2-3 hours.  Now I eat with at least the same frequency, but a WAY bigger appetite.
  • I get special chances to give input on fitness products and supplements at work because everyone knows I take that stuff seriously.
  • I almost got caught by a coworker flexing my biceps in the mirror at the office.
  • I practice "fast elbows" for my cleans when I think no one is looking.
  • I watch YouTube videos of people lifting heavy or busting out muscle-ups.
  • I put way more effort and moolah into what I wear to the gym versus what I wear to work.
  • I felt like a total pansy lifting dumbbells this week. 
  • I have explain fitness equipment and movements to the less informed guys at my office.
  • Last week I hurt my elbow trying to air-practice a lift in the bathroom stall.
  • I need a ton of sleep each night or I get grouchy (here's hoping I'm in the midst of a growth spurt).
  • I was kinda pissed that I missed a chance to PR my bench press last week cause the guy I asked to spot me actually didn't know squat about spotting.
  • I have guys at the gym tell me they don't lift like I do because they don't wanna bulk up.
  • I scoff at the wimps doing "pushups" who don't actually touch chest-to-floor on each rep.
  • I scoff at the other wimps doing "pullups" who don't fully extend their arms on each rep.
  • I care way more about the weight on my bar than the weight on my scale.
  • I don't have time for yoga because it would cut into my lifting days.
  • I do make time for mobility because K-Starr says it'll up my front squats.
  • I'd rather go to the Olympic lifting and "Girl" WOD class than the team/partner WOD class.
  • I'm saving money for my L1 CrossFit Cert since after that I can take the Striking course because I love to hit stuff.
  • I want my husband to choose his med school based on CrossFit gyms and resources in the area (UCSD = Mike Burgener.)
  • I can explain Wendler's method cause I use it regularly.
  • I'm more stoked about compliments on my traps than my hair.
Oh yeah,
Former 20-Something Girly-Girl

Monday, November 12, 2012

Neighborcare Health Pumpkin Push 2012

Happy Monday!

You may recall I had several races set-up for the end of 2012...well, the first was October's Halloween-themed Pumpkin Push 5k!

I had run the 5k in 2010, volunteered in 2011, and this year, I decided, why not do both?


I checked with a couple of friends to see if anyone else was interested, but in the end it turned out to just be me!  I was actually kinda excited...I like doing events on my own sometimes.  It's relaxing to totally go at your own pace and not have to worry about trying to meet up beforehand (especially in the dark and cold).

After emailing the race volunteer coordinators, I learned that there were a few different time slots available...and I knew right away which spot was the one for me:

"Set-up, 5am - 8am, must be able to lift 50 lbs. & pretend to be cheerful so early in the morning!"

I'm a morning person AND I CrossFit, so I wanted to be up early and moving things around.  I also figured I could help with registration if need be before the race actually got started at 10am.  This slot would allow me to be helpful, and meant that after the race I could dry off and head out (I was supposed to meet my mom, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law for tea).

Jared was a total sport and got up to drive me out to Seattle for the race.  I had a ton of gear including extra snacks, a head lamp, and several layers of clothes.  Jared wisely encouraged me to wear as much of my costume as possible under my volunteering layers so I wouldn't have to fully change later.  I did my hair in a high bun to have some volume in time for the race and did my makeup before leaving.

I decided at the last minute to only pack one pair of  running shoes.  (This later turned out to be an insane choice, but I was also lugging my post-run outfit for tea so I was trying to consolidate.)

It was dark but dry the whole drive over...until we were almost to Seward Park.  When we arrived, it started raining. I was actually the first one there, but within about a minute, Rosemary (the volunteer coordinator) and some other folks arrived. Rosemary let me dump all my gear in her car and Jared drove home to try to get some more sleep.

As we started working, it started pouring. We set up tents and tables and a pumpkin patch in a very strong wind and a deluge of water. Pretty soon everyone had donned rain ponchos, which helped a bit. My water-resistant trail shoes were soaked through and we were all pretty chilled to the bone.  I was surprised at how many hours we were working in was probably 8am before it got light. 

Nothing like Seattle in the fall!

I have to say, however, that besides the rain, I had an incredibly good time!  Rosemary and Clover (the gals running the event) were SO organized, and everyone was so friendly and positive, despite the hour and the weather.  They also provided coffee and treats to the volunteers, including these amazing pumpkin rolls from Great Harvest. 

What with one thing and another, I ended up working until about 9, at which time Rosemary made sure I got registered for the run (volunteers run free) and then let me hang out and warm up in her car until I was ready to run the race.

My wet and soggy clothes and shoes
The view looking outside the car
I managed to dry off (thankfully I had brought a towel) and my undermost layer - my costume - wasn't even damp!

I wasn't sure what to do about my sopping shoes and socks.  I had an extra pair for tea, but I figured in a pinch I could just wear my boots without socks...but I didn't want to put clean dry socks into soggy running shoes!  Finally, I remembered a trick that a friend does when skiing...I thankfully had two small plastic shopping bags, and I put them over my socks before putting my shoes on.  This served me well (thanks, Pexa!) and my feet stayed mostly dry during the run.

I fixed my hair as best I could and made sure my Wonder Woman logo was still set on my face.

I waited until about 15 minutes or less before the start time since I didn't want to stand in the rain anymore than necessary.  I hopped out, got a passerby to take my photo, and then headed for the porta-potty lines!

Wonder Woman on the cheap!
I wasn't sure whether my costume would carry...I'm a theatre girl on a budget so I did my best to make it recognizable.  As I headed to find the 9-10 minute mile pace group, I heard someone say, "Hey, Wonder Woman!"  Woot!

I'd been worried my calf would bother me, but it actually did great for the whole race!  I averaged a 10-minute pace and finished just a little shy of my sub-30-minute goal with a time of 30:58.

It was a little disappointing, but I was still happy with my time considering I hadn't really run since May.  Besides, Neighborcare Health is an awesome cause, and I was glad to volunteer for such a great organization at such a fun event.  In the week following the run, I got a sweet thank you card AND a gift card to a local running store! 

At 4:30 that morning, I had told Jared, "Never let me volunteer for a 5am slot again!"  And now I already want to do it again next year!

You tell me: Run any great races lately?  Have you ever volunteered for a race?  What was your experience like?  Who's your favorite super hero? 

Friday, November 9, 2012

SELF Day 11.12 (New 1 Rep Maxes)

Flowers from one of my girlfriends - felt so loved!
You may feel like I have a lot of Self Days over here.

Well, I do.

I try to take one every month, especially since I've noticed that if I miss a shows, and everyone kinda suffers for it.

This Tuesday was November's day off to enjoy life and rejuvenate myself. 

Little things in life (like hippie playdough and
monster dish-scrubbies) go a long way
I started out with a bang by lifting weights at the box.

It was my day to retest my deadlift and overhead press one rep maxes.  After a month of Wendler training, I was so ready to see if my dedication had paid off.

Technically I probably should have retested at the gym instead of at CrossFit, since the bars and plates are different, but I knew I'd have the box to myself and so I caved to my introvert criteria.

The overhead press seemed a little harder at the box than at the gym, because the bar itself is heavier (45 pounds instead of 40) and so I think the weight distribution at the ends makes balancing a little more difficult?  (I welcome your opinions...I honestly don't know much about lifting yet and don't know what role the bar can play.)

I warmed up really well, then started progessing up in weight until I hit my previous one rep max of #70.

It went up alright, and so after a few minutes of rest, I went on to try #75.

My first attempt failed, so I took a little break, and then did a few reps with the #15 bar, just to remind my body that I do know how to do this.

I went up  to try again with good focus on form, and's what happened:

After getting a new PR of #75 I was debating whether to try for more, since the lift was a struggle.  I figured I could at least try #80, and if it didn't work...oh, well.

I could hardly get the bar off my we'll say #75 is an improvement over #70, and so I'm content.

My deadlift was another story - the plates in the fitness center have a much smaller diameter, so the range of motion for a deadlift from the floor is a lot greater.  The bar is also kinda slippery, even with the hook grip, which makes the lifts more challenging.  At the box, I knew it would be much easier and I could definitely nail my goal of breaking #175 and hitting at least #180.

I warmed up sufficiently, and worked up in weight to my previous max of #175.  I felt great and decided to jump to #185 instead of #180.  I made #185 with no trouble, hit #195, and then decided to try for #205!  This would be the first time I'd ever lifted anything so heavy...but I knew some of the gals at my box had recently done #205 and it really motivated me.

After sufficient rest, I went for the lift:

Not the prettiest form, but I got my hips fully extended at the top and was SUPER proud (as you can tell from me skipping and applauding myself).  I thought about trying for #210, but didn't want to hurt myself and decided to just be proud and call it a day.

This was my first experience videoing myself while lifting, and I must say, it was really eye-opening.  I was able to see where I was weak and where my form slipped on things - I bet you aren't surprised to hear that my back was sore and my hamstrings were not...oops.  I decided to set up my own YouTube channel and am excited to have realized this (free) resource for improving.

The rest of the day was delightful!  I got to catch up with my dear friend Beth and her adorable son, Charlie.  We had coffee and then ended up walking and talking for hours.

Charlie's a total lightweight, though.  He crashed about 30 seconds into the walk.

Afterwards I ran a few errands and then went home to enjoy snacks, my latest murder mystery (a Lord Wimsey), and the company of my space heater.

I went out later to take my husband some dinner before his basketball games, and then went to visit my buddy Meghan on her break between teaching (she's a kempo karate instructor).

Meghan and Meghan
I got there early, and figured she'd want protein (as usual), so I stopped at Emerald City to grab some smoothies and read a little more.

I peeked in for the end of her class and then we got to chat a little while consuming frozen produce and protein powder through straws.  She's a champ.

Then I finished up the evening with my sweet mother-in-law watching Jared play basketball and win.

Such a good day.

You tell me:  Do you ever take vacation days just because?  What's your favorite smoothie joint?  Any tricks you've learned to improve your lifting techniques?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Veni, Sustuli, Vici: I Came, I Lifted, I Conquered

Me in my crazy Nike capris
swinging the #53 kettlebell!

Last week at the box we retested the WODs from the 2012 CrossFit Open.  Due to my schedule (and the fact that my body doesn't do 5 days in a row with no rest), I made it in to retest just two of the five.  I was picky about which WODs to retest, since I wanted them to really show me my progress.  (I had only started CrossFit a few months before the open, and there were a lot of movements I couldn't execute, besides not being able to lift much.)

I started with Open WOD 12.2 on Tuesday:

"Proceed through the sequence below completing as many reps as possible in 10 minutes of: 30 Snatch #75/45 30 Snatch #135/75 etc."

Previously, I'd been able to get 30 reps at #45, but zero at #75.  I'd finished out the workout with 18 reps at #55, but my "official" score was 30.

This time, I was pumped because my snatch form has gotten much better and I know I'm stronger.  If I could do just one rep at #75, it would show a big improvement!  I got through the 30 reps at #45 fairly easily in about half the total time allotted.

I loaded up for #75, and failed my first attempt.  Before I got serious about CrossFit, I think the old me would have said, "Ah, well.  I tried."  But new me said, "I bet if I focus on everything Jared was telling me about my form last week, I could do this."

The next one went up!  I couldn't link reps because I was actually in the fitness center instead of our box, and the weight plates are not the sort you can drop or bounce off the ground.  It took me a while, but I managed 8 reps at #75 before running out of time.

I was so stoked!

On Friday, I came in for Open WOD 12.5:

"Complete as many reps as possible in 7 minutes: 3 Thruster #100/65, 3 pull ups, 6 Thrusters, 6 pull ups, 9 thrusters, 9 pullups"

I was particularly stoked to retest this WOD since it was the only one of the five that I couldn't RX anything!  I originally did the thrusters at #55 and used two bands (blue and purple) for the chest to bar pullups for a total score of 56 reps, but an official score of zero.

I had high hopes of RXing this time...I have been working on my chest to bar pullups and I know my thrusters are WAY stronger. 

Well, I tried a few times to get an unassisted chest to bar pullup, and it just wasn't happening.  Coach Jared told me to try the red band for the workout - it would still be a challenge and would be an improvement from last time, but not be so difficult that I couldn't get through any of the WOD.

I loaded up my bar for the #65 thrusters and told myself that I just wanted to get through the end of the round of 6 and 6.  I actually was pretty strong for 3 and 3 AND 6 and 6, which made it kinda tough to keep pushing as hard when I'd "made my goal" way earlier in the time than I'd expected.  The round of 9 was okay on thrusters but the pullups took me FOREVER.  We had to no rep ourselves, and chest to bar makes it REALLY easy to know if you made it or not...if you didn't feel yourself make contact with the bar below your didn't count.  Finally I got into a little rhythm where I started with a "trashed" kipping pullup and used it to get momentum to have a strong kip into linking a few chest to bar reps.  I took too much rest on the set of 12 thrusters and finished with 50 total reps, and an official score of 3.

Not what I'd hoped, but still definitely an improvement.  I'll take it.

After the WOD, we had to "cash out" with a 500 meter row and 30 kettlebell swings.  You were supposed to either pick a weight at which you knew you could link all 30 reps without setting the bell down, or a really challenging weight.  With a little encouragement from Coach Jared, I decided to try the #53 for the first time ever!

I managed to link 10 reps 3 times to finish out my swings! 

Made the PR board!
I was so proud of myself for trying - I love seeing my hard work pay off, not only in my physical capabilities, but in my mental game and confidence!

You tell me: What are your recent achievements?  Did you nail your first double-under (my mom!)?  Qualify for Boston (my mom's friend who is incidentally my friend's mom!)?  Pack your lunch?  Avoid chewing out the guy who cut you off?  I wanna know!