Sep 6, 2008

Repost: Vacation WODs

Originally posted on another blog I write anonymously, but re-posted here because I want this blog to represent my entire journey since starting CrossFit.

Husbeetle and I had fun doing some independent Crossfitting while we were away on vacation. He just feels better if he works out. I need to workout to keep my brain working properly. If I don't, I start to stress out and flip out about stuff. Not good.

The trainers at CrossFit Philly(CFP) started things off right by posting two potential workouts for members of our gym to do on vacation. I'm not sure why, but the blog post was later taken down, so I'll copy and paste the workouts from my feed reader.

Option A
50 Squats
50 Push Ups
50 Walking Lunges
50 Sit Ups
50 Pledge Push Ups

Option B
3 Rounds
Run 400m
20 Leg Lifts
20 Push Ups
20 Jump Squats

I didn't like Option A because Husbeetle would be able to finish so much faster than me - I'm slow with pushups. Improving, but still slow. I refuse to do any on my knees, so I have to take breaks a lot. I can do them all, it just takes a while... And I was feeling the same way about Option B.

So on Sunday morning I decided to look back through the CFP blog to find workouts that didn't require equipment. Then I Googled "vacation CrossFit workout", and I found a great discussion topic in the CrossFit forums with a list of workouts that mostly don't require any equipment.

With all of those inputs, here's what we ended up with.

Sunday 8/31 - based on this, w/out kettlebells
4 rounds; 1 minute of each exercise; 2 minutes rest between rounds
- Pushups
- Burpees
- Squats
- Pledge pushups
- Plank

Monday 9/1
Option A from CFP.
C - 20:00 (approx) (damn pushups slowing me down!)
H - 9:20

Tuesday 9/2 - based on this
4 rounds; 1 minute of each exercise; 2 minutes rest between rounds
- Deep In&Outs
- Pledge pushups
- Alternating reverse lunges
- T-stabilization pushups
- Plank

Wednesday 9/3
I needed a day of vacation, so I walked on the beach and swam in the ocean. :) Husbeetle went running for about 40 minutes.

Thurday 9/4 - OBX WOD
- Hike the dunes at Jockey's Ridge State Park
- Climb the hill up to the Wright Brothers National Memorial
- 2 hour kayak tour in Currituck Sound

Saturday 9/6 - Hannah WOD
4 rounds, for time, in the rain:
- 400 meter run (around the block)
- 20 burpees (in my driveway)

C - 24:30
H - 18:30

Saturday 8/30 and Friday 9/5 were traveling days, so no workouts.

Husbeetle is already on me about what workout we're going to do today. He's not letting me skip due to wet shoes from our Hannah WOD in yesterday's rain. Damn! Gotta figure something out. I'm thinking Option B at the track near my house. We also need to catch up on our tabata bottom-to-bottom squats, which we do on the first day of the month at CFP.

Jul 26, 2008

Repost: Lazy Saturday afternoon

Originally posted on another blog I write anonymously, but re-posted here because I want this blog to represent my entire journey since starting CrossFit.

I may be feeling lazy now, but I was up and at 'em this morning!

I signed up for a 5 mile run this morning, but I went back to sleep after my alarm went off, and didn't have enough time to drive to the race, find parking and pickup my race packet before the race start at 0830. So I went to 0900 CrossFit instead. Honestly, I'm kinda glad I got out of going to the race, I still love running, but I haven't been in the right mindset for a while to do races. But I keep feeling like I *should*, and so I register for them, and then don't go (usually). I am so weird. I also think I'm over going to those kinds of things by myself - because all it took was having a buddy, and I went and did the triathlon without really prepping at all.

Anyway, off to CrossFit I went, with a smile on my face because Jason said yesterday that he was teaching Saturday morning. And I love me some Jason-led CrossFit. Also I checked out the blog last night and the workout looked awesome:

5 Push Presses (Heavy)
10 Jumping Pull-ups
15 Ring Rows or 5 Pull-ups
20 Hanging Knee Raises (or knees-to-elbows)
25 Sit-ups
30 Box Jumps
600 Meter Run

3 rounds

There were about 12 people, so we split in half - my half of the group did the circuit from the bottom to the top.

I kicked it good on my first run, third of the six girls in my group, but then realized why the workout was ordered the way it was. During the box jumps, on number 20 or so, I totally whacked my left shin on the edge of the box. Doh! It was a hard enough bang that I had to walk it off a bit, and then switch the lower box (which annoyed me). I think I'm usually using the 24 inch box. I freaking love box jumps, first did them in high school track practice, and I have loved them ever since. When LT and I put together our home gym, we are totally getting some plyo boxes.

Second set of jumps I did them all on the 24 inch box. Third set I did 10 24'', 10 lower, 10 24''. Didn't feel like whacking my shin again. Ow.

Situps were cake, no biggie. I try to do them very strict - all the way down, all the way up - because one of my goals is to "score" 300 on the female USMC fitness test. And if LT "administers" my test, he will be a stickler for the situps.

First set of hanging knee raises I think I kind of half-assed them. I'd never done those before using a pullup bar. I got better with those through the 3 rounds, last one was the best as I kind of swung a little bit to get a higher raise.

Used the green/black (medium) band and did pullups because I HATE ring rows. I suck at them, and they take me forever. Plus I'm way more interested in continuing to work on my pullups, as I still want to achieve my goal of at least one unassisted pullup by the time LT gets back. I wasn't asking for a spot on these, so for a few of them I used my foot to help myself up at the bottom. To make up for that, I had Jason spot me for a last set of five after I completed the workout. Booyeah. Decided I'm definitely going to invest in some of those bands to have for myself. I can use them at the playground up the street.

Jumping pullups - used to be a hated exercise, but the more I do real pullups (w/ the band of course) the more I like jumping pullups. And of course my legs are getting a lot stronger too, and my lungs are working better. When I first did those, I would get totally out of breath *so* fast. It's nice to feel like I'm improving.

Used 30# dumbbells in each hand for my push presses. That exercise is in my top 5 CrossFit movements. Love those. I think I could've done 35#, but I have hard time picking those up and getting them into position. Maybe in a couple weeks.

Jul 15, 2008

Repost: Girlpower update

Originally posted on another blog I write anonymously, but re-posted here because I want this blog to represent my entire journey since starting CrossFit.

On the CrossFit front, I have been going to 0600 class (0800 on Saturdays) consistently, and I've been loving it. Last week I attended Wednesday-Saturday, and the week before I attended Monday-Thusday. And I did the Saturday before that. I'm already so much stronger. My pushups feel so much more confident, I'm using 20# dumbbells about 90% of the time, and I've just graduated to using the 30# kettlebell.

That's not to say I didn't feel some pain over the last couple weeks. I actually had a post in my head for a while that was titled "CrossFit cripple", because that's what I was referring to myself as at work. For those of you that work out, I'm sure you've been in that place where the muscles in your legs are so sore it's a bit painful to get up and walk around. My butt was *so* damn sore for many days. And my calves got so tight too. I love the challenge of jumping pullups, but I hope my calves get used to them so I can walk the day after next time we do them. :)

There are a few frustrations I've dealt with the last few weeks.

One, some days I was so timid, and I didn't push myself as far as I could. When I first began going to CrossFit back in May, I knew I had to go a little easy or I would just pull muscles and strain tendons and have to take several days off to rest. But I let that go on too long. I started to notice that I was resting and drinking water and pacing around and wiping my face with my towel way too much during workouts, rather than staying focused on completing the workout as quickly as possible.

Just about every CrossFit workout involves rounds (or circuits) - do these 5 exercises for 5 rounds, or something like that. One class back at the end of June I didn't actually finish all the rounds that were prescribed. The thought of doing that now makes me feel pissed at myself. I went from wussing out, to mentally wussing out. When I heard the number of rounds at the beginning of class, I would think to myself how hard and impossible that would be. Each round that I completed I would still be thinking those negative thoughts. Until I realized that every day I was feeling negative, but that feeling was not supported by the fact that I was successfully completing all the rounds. And I think that's what finally broke me out of my negative thought process.

I'm starting to rediscover a positive, can-do mindset, and that feels SO FUCKING GOOD. That kind of attitude is what made me so successful through high school, college and my early career. But in the mess of depression and a failed relationship and then the stresses of deployments, I've lost that spark. Getting back into a good groove with exercise has made me realize that I crave sports and athletics because they help me remember that I can do whatever I put my mind to. That even if I don't start out perfect at something, that I can work at it, and improve. Husbeetle has helped me so much with remembering how to feel that positive spark, but I also see now that I can get it back on my own, too. This makes me even more excited for him to come to CrossFit with me during block leave after the deployment ends. Adding his support to the fitness program that's already helping me will probably give me an even bigger boost.

Two... I'm trying to remember what I had in mind as my second frustration with CrossFit... I may have already talked about everything... OK, I'll just leave that one there.

(Quick aside, at the OBGYN my blood pressure was 120/70 - perfect! I told the nurse it was because I had worked out that morning. :-D Talking about stress made my think about my blood pressure. :-p)

In other girlpower news, I've officially proved to myself that: a) CrossFit really works and b) CrossFit really kicks your ass.

Test case was doing the Philadelphia Women's Triathlon on Sunday. Long story short, I did it in 2006, signed up in 2007 but didn't train at all and skipped it, signed up for 2008 but hadn't planned on participating. My college friend was also signed up, and stayed with me over race weekend since she lives in the DC area. At Saturday morning CrossFit I was totally pumped because we were doing a workout with a bunch of 600 meter runs. I was loving it - my legs felt so good, it was awesome to stretch them out and get them moving again. I think that's a big part of the reason why when I got home and started getting ready to go to the pre-race meeting and packet pickup with my friend that I suddenly decided I wanted to do the race. A quick ride around the block to make sure my bike was working and a pair of borrowed goggles later and my mind was totally made up.

Husbeetle was absolutely thrilled that I was doing it. He knew I had signed up, but had given up on trying to train for it. It made me feel so good to talk to him Saturday night and tell him I was doing the race. I love it when he's proud of me.

The day of the race I felt a little sore in the legs from CrossFit, but nothing even remotely in the realm of "CrossFit cripple". I hadn't been in a pool for about a year, so the swim made me a bit nervous - but I felt strong the whole time, my arms never even started to tire out in the 18-ish minutes I was in the water. Score one for CrossFit working the chest and shoulders!

I hadn't been on my bike in at least a year, if not way longer, but that went fine too. I certainly wasn't putting out the smoothest cadence, and I slowed down to 9mph at one point, which was kind of embarrassing on a nearly flat course, but I rolled in at just over an hour, which isn't too shabby for 17 miles on a mountain bike with slick tires. Score another one for CrossFit - I attribute that one to squats, bike riding is allllll about the butt.

And then of course you finish off with the run. Running is one of my "things". I've loved it ever since I started doing it. My legs were definitely feeling woozy, but I just picked a smooth pace and kept on moving. Short walks to drink some kind of Gatorade stuff at miles 1 and 2, but other than that I kept up a steady running pace. Ended up with a pace of 10:32 minutes / mile, which is pretty crappy for me, but I think it was awesome that even though I hadn't gone for a run in recent memory, I could run continuously for 3.1 miles after a 17-mile bike ride. Score a third point for CrossFit.

The fourth and final point registered Monday. I skipped 0600 CrossFit since I was overdue for a rest day. The workout included pullups and a run that day, so I was kinda bummed, but I felt like I shouldn't push my luck. Well it turned out that I wasn't sore at all, and I ended up bouncing off the walls at work with all the extra energy I had after skipping the morning workout. No soreness from swimming, biking or running, except the part of your butt that hurts after you sit on a bike seat for an hour. Nothing prevents that from happening other than sitting in the saddle and developing some callouses.

Yes people, I am now a believer in the concept that CrossFit is an appropriate training program for just about any physical activity. It is a really great program, and I'm so glad I got over my fear of the unknown and went to try it out. And I'm glad to have met some fellow female CrossFitters via blogging to help inspire me. Yay! :)

And so that concludes my monster update post. If you made it to the end of that novel, congratulations! :-p

Jun 5, 2008

Repost: CrossFit - June 5

Originally posted on another blog I write anonymously, but re-posted here because I want this blog to represent my entire journey since starting CrossFit.

Went to Elements class again tonight. This was an upper body centric day. We covered form for one-arm push presses, strict over head presses (one arm), and some kind of a rowing movement that involved a squat, can't remember the name. Oh yeah, and wall ball.

Once that painfulness was over, we got down to business and did a circuit. I think it was 30 seconds on for each exercise, and the one-armed strict overhead presses were 15 seconds for each arm.
- jumping pullups
- strict overhead one arm press
- reverse pullups on the rings
- pushups

The arms were hurting pretty bad afterward, so I didn't even attempt to mow the lawn. It's going to take me forever to do it tomorrow - the grass is so high, I'll have to mow in tiny little strips or the lawn mower will just cut out from being clogged with grass. I've been mowing just about every Friday night lately. Very exciting.

Jun 3, 2008

Repost: Ramblings

Originally posted on another blog I write anonymously, but re-posted here because I want this blog to represent my entire journey since starting CrossFit.

Tonight is Crossfit - I'm freakin' excited. I think I'm starting to be hooked - now I just need to figure out how to do it on my own since I can't afford to drive my Escape the whole way over to the gym more than twice a week...

May 29, 2008

Repost: CrossFit - May 29

Originally posted on another blog I write anonymously, but re-posted here because I want this blog to represent my entire journey since starting CrossFit.

Quick recap as I'm on my way to bed.

I left the house at 5:20, and I was still 10 minutes late to class, which started at 6. I really like doing the elements class, but the "regular" class is an hour later, and that will cut the drive time in half. Or I need to try out the 0600 class on Wednesday mornings -- not a strong possibility, as I've been awful about waking up on time lately.

Tonight the second trainer led the session, and I was not a fan of his style. He seemed very unfocused on the actual session, and very distracted. He didn't seem to register that I had only attended a few classes, and needed him to explain and/or demonstrate some of the exercises in the circuit. He gave almost all negative feedback while we were working out, and barely any positive feedback.

(Doing some kind of training on the side is something I've been interested in for a while, so I'm going to comment here about what I like and dislike about the CrossFit trainers, to help me see what makes a good trainer.)

We did a circuit - each exercise for 30 seconds, about 2 minutes of rest (didn't catch the exact time), 5 times through. I only got through 4 since I was late - damn traffic. This was a modified version of the WOD.

- reverse lunges
- pushups
- bear hug squats
- band rows
- jumping pull ups (did these with a rope hanging over a pullup bar - grabbed one side in each hand)
- wall ball
- body weight squats
- box jumps (on the next to smallest box)
- kettlebell swings
- double push presses (these were fun, and harder than I thought they would be!)

All in all, not as satisfying as the workout on Tuesday, but I was still feeling the burn.

May 27, 2008

Repost: CrossFit - May 27

Originally posted on another blog I write anonymously, but re-posted here because I want this blog to represent my entire journey since starting CrossFit.

I attended Elements class at CrossFit Philly for the second time yesterday, and I'm happy to say I don't seem to have any tendinitis in my elbow this week. Thank God! I couldn't pick up my water bottle in meetings until Friday last week. The use of my elbows is kind of important to me, in general. :-p

Another positive - I actually got there on time this week. That was good.

There were 3 other women there. One I had met last week, and two I hadn't met before. One of them was very tall, and very whiny. I hate when people whine about working out. What do they expect to be doing? Just taking it easy? I don't understand people. If you're willing to pay $160/month to do crappy workouts, let me know and I'll be your personal trainer. Bring on the 2 pound dumbbells and "toning" exercise. Ugh.

Anyway, despite annoying whining girl, I really enjoyed my hour at the gym. It just felt awesome to get good and sweaty.

Here's what we actually did:
1. Warmup - circles around the gym jogging, skipping, shuffle to the front, shuffle to the back; walking lunges; 15 pushups
2. Medicine ball cleans - this was the learning portion of the class; this was an interesting movement to learn, I might have to go over to the gym in my office building to try it out again today - can't wait to get it right 100% of the time
3. Wall ball - this one was fun; it got even more fun when we put a medicine ball behind us to make sure we were doing our squats deep enough; I thought for sure adding all that other catching and throwing stuff to the squat would make me lose form on the squats and hurts my knees, but that doesn't seem to be the case
4. Circuit - 30 seconds each of kettlebell swings, pushups, kettlebell high pulls (elbows out, lift up to chin), plank (elbows and toes); 2 rounds

This was a great workout. I was sweating, but I didn't feel like I was going to die. The last round of the circuit made me feel like I got my ass kicked a little bit, but that's a good thing. And I like that it's something I could totally do on my own, if I felt like it.

The Elements class is continuing to be a great experience for a beginner - I am learning to love me some CrossFit.

May 21, 2008

Repost: Not in as much pain as I thought I would be

Originally posted on another blog I write anonymously, but re-posted here because I want this blog to represent my entire journey since starting CrossFit.

So, I went to the CrossFit Philly gym last night, but I didn't actually do a "real" CrossFit workout. The gym has something they call the "elements class". You still do a circuit-style workout with CrossFit exercises, but you can go at your own pace, and there's a big focus on form and executing the movements properly, rather than speed or load. Also the class sessions incorporate learning new moves, so that after a month or so, you're fully prepared to jump right into "real" Crossfit.

I think it's a great system. And honestly, it probably does a lot to help "convert" people to the method. I was so intimidated by all of the information online about CrossFit. But the idea of starting small and learning and building up to that seems much more feasible to me. I'm more motivated to try now, because it doesn't sound so impossible.

My workout yesterday was just to get a baseline, and see "how I move", according to the instructor. First she had me do 20 body weight squats. She wanted me to get pretty low, so I was a bit off balance until my muscles "remembered" how to do deep squats. Then she wanted to see me do pushups - we started with 15.

At that moment I was SOOOOOO glad that I had put the time in about two years ago to focus on doing "regular" boy pushups. It was always embarrassing to me that I couldn't do pushups, and then when I started dating Husbeetle, it became more important to me to overcome that challenge. So I incorporated them into my post-run stretching, and eventually I was doing them with my feet up on my front step! I never did get up to 30 in a row, but I did get over 25.

Anyway, I did 15 "real" pushups (which was pretty much my max for one set, I was pretty wobbly on the last 2) and that was good. Then the instructor had me do a reverse pushup - I think it had a real name but I can't remember it... She lowered a pair or rings to about armpit height, and I grabbed them and leaned back, balancing on my heels, with my body totally straight and my arms straight out. Then I pulled myself upward in a pushup motion. Did that one 10 times, which was another max.

She asked me how those 3 movements felt, I said good, and so she set me off to do 4 more sets of 20 bodyweight squats, 10 pushups and 10 reverse pushups. I had to put my knees down on the third set for pushups, and only made it to 8 on the fifth set. And I don't even know if all 8 were really that good.

It was good!

After that she taught me the basics of swinging a kettlebell. I've read about kettlebells and seen some videos of them being used, but never tried it. I liked it! It was cool that it wasn't an arm exercise at all. It was all about the legs and trunk, and translating their power into moving the weight. Very cool. I only did a few of those, but I did graduate to a heavier one before we quit, so I think I was doing well. :-D

We finished up with planks. There were 2 other people there for the elements class, and they had started at the beginning of the month, so they were doing a modified version of the "real" workout of the day (WOD). They finished up as I finished with kettlebell stuff, so all 3 of us did planks together. It felt awesome. I was totally quivering because my muscles were so f-ed up from all the other exercises. It rocked. But I didn't put my knees down at all, maybe just let my butt stick up a tiny bit near the end of the second one. :-p

I called my sister on the way home, and could barely hold my phone up to my ear because my shoulder muscles were taking a break from being able to contract. Good workout!

Because I'm insane, after I got home I was inspired to do some gardening since it had been raining the last 2 days. So I got out the shovel and moved around some small bushes in preparation for putting in some new annuals that I bought.

I talked to my sister because she's stopping by my house on her way home from a trip up north. Visitors motivate me to make my house pretty, so after coming inside from playing in the dirt, I washed 2 weeks worth of dishes and did a few loads of laundry.

I think that last bit explains why my right arm is a *lot* more painful today than my left arm. But it's not the worst I've felt after my first day of a workout. My legs feel fine, I will need to incorporate some running or something after the Crossfit stuff if they don't work the legs more. Three words for you - September beach vacation. Gotta look good from behind as I go running down the beach. :-p

This morning I must've been feeling *really* motivated by that workout, because I weighed myself for the first time in about a year. 145.4. Pretty much what I thought. I'm going to use SparkPeople to track my weight, but not calorie stuff, which I've used it for in the past.

I felt so good this morning... I wish I could feel that way every day. I'm going to try my best to make that happen.

May 20, 2008

Repost: The beginning of the first try

Originally posted on another blog I write anonymously, but re-posted here because I want this blog to represent my entire journey since starting CrossFit.

I am going to take the dog around the block so she can poop (TMI!!!) and then - dun dun duuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnn - I'm going to CROSSFIT.

I feel like I'm gonna throw up. Just like I did everyday before track practice when I was in high school. When you're really good at lots of stuff naturally, the things that come only with hard work tend to be very frustrating and intimidating. It's a weird catch 22, I think. Your self confidence goes too high, or something.

Random aside. I read an article about raising your kids by praising their effort, not their ability, and how that led to your kid being more self-confident and successful, because they believed in their ability to learn and improve, and didn't think that there was some inherent reason why they could or couldn't do something. I should try to Google around and find a link to that...

So yeah, Crossfit...

This is the article.

May 17, 2008

Repost: Thinking about starting

Originally posted on another blog I write anonymously, but re-posted here because I want this blog to represent my entire journey since starting CrossFit.

So, I emailed the Crossfit Philly peeps to learn about their "Elements Class", and see if it's a beginning of the month start only, or if you can come in at any time.

Since leaving organized sports in high school, I've been mostly off-and-on with working out... And even though I've had a membership to a gym almost constantly for the 5 years since I left college, I hate working out in the gym, and hardly ever go.

My only committed period, where I was on a good schedule, and got great results, was founded in doing videos at home and running. Very solitary and private.

The idea of going somewhere to work out with a group kind of scares me.

I'm also convinced that I'll get all started up and planned for doing this, and then just never go. And waste the money anyway.

Can't you just do CrossFit kind of stuff at home, in private? I have been Googling to try to find something, but all of these messages board and blog posts just sound like Greek to me. There's nowhere that someone says, "Hey, this is how I got started." Or what to do when the WOD says 100 pullups, and you can't do one?? I guess part of me just doesn't get how this whole thing will work. I hate attempting anything I can't do. And I hate trying to do something I can't in front of other people...

For now I gotta get my ass off the computer and go do something. It's Saturday at noon and by Sunday night I want to feel like I accomplished something with my weekend...

May 15, 2008

Repost: First thoughts on CrossFit

Originally posted on another blog I write anonymously, but re-posted here because I want this blog to represent my entire journey since starting CrossFit.

I've been thinking about how I really want to be able to do pullups, and just have the motivation to exercise again. Those thoughts are always floating around, but reading Vypergirl and Wheninrome have inspired me a little more than usual. And ironically, they both do CrossFit. I've read about that before, and considered trying it...

I think maybe it's time to take the plunge. I need something new. And I think it would definitely be something that Husbeetle and I could do together. The way the workout scales based on your ability is perfect for us. Because he is obviously in way better shape than me.

But he is not that kind of guy. Not for one second would he ever think to tell me that I need to be in better shape because he is in such good shape. He gives the most inspiring pep talks I have ever heard. And they never feel critical. Even if the root of the pep talk is "you need to get out and exercise", it never feels that way when you hear it. It just sounds like "you are so awesome and I love you and exercising is fun and don't you want to do some because it would make you feel better?".

Maybe he just hypnotizes me with his 8-pack abs? I don't know. :-p