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

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