Dec 31, 2010

101 Push Press Challenge

I saw the CrossFit Love 101 Push Press Challenge on Facebook, and for some reason thought it would be a good idea?

Husband and I did it together, both at Rx weight -- 65# for me and 95# for him.

I took a video, but am *not* going to post it. My time was over 20 minutes. Mentally, I just wasn't prepared to take this one. I stomped around and bitched after finishing the first 25 or so, then decided I would just do sets of 5 PPs and do the 3 burpee penalty for dropping the bar after each set.

On the plus side, I attempted the challenge, and I did do all 101 push presses -- and actually did 1 extra. I plan to retest this in a few months, and will definitely do a better job of warming up and getting prepared mentally.

Dec 26, 2010

12 Days of Christmas

Hit this one up with my CF KoP peeps while visiting husband's family. (Check the link for a hilarious picture of me doing DB snatches)

12 Days of Christmas at CrossFit KoP
1 Deadlift (185/275)
2 Wall Ascents (6ft/8ft)
3 Ring Dips
4 Box Jumps (21"/25")
5 Med Ball Clean (14/20)
6 Clean and Jerk (75/115)
7 Toes to Bar
8 Burpees
9 Sumo Deadlift High Pull (55/75)
10 Wall Balls (14/20) to (9ft/10ft)
11 Thrusters (75/115)
12 DB Snatch 12L/12R 25/40

Results: 70:28

Deadlifts, clean and jerk, burpees and thrusters were all scaled due to my continuing (nagging) back injury. Everything else was Rx'd.

Weird about the burpees, right? Something about the part where you jump your feet back aggravates my QL muscle, so for many of them I stepped my feet back. Once I was nice and warm, in the middle and later days, I did jump my feet back on some of them.

I felt like I got hit by a truck after this. My core was wrecked, I think from the wall climbs and toes to bar -- don't do either of those with any regularity.

Best part of the WOD - watching a CF KoP superstar female athlete scaling the 8 foot wall. BAD. ASS. And her nickname is "Grans" -- love it.

Oct 25, 2010


Yes, I have once again abandoned the blog for 2 weeks. Yikes! A lot has been going on that I need to catch up on, so I will busy filling you in this week. :)
For right now, I am looking for your input. I'm programming some WODs for the new gym I'm coaching at, and for them I need to program a warmup as well as a WOD.

So, I'm just curious to hear how warmups go for all of you where you work out. If you're a member of an affiliate, tell me what goes on there. If you are in your garage or a globo gym on your own, tell me what you like to do.

Do you like to do the same warmup every day, or switch it up based on what movements are in your WOD?

Personally, I like to do the same thing every day. And I like to spend a LOOOOONG time warming up.

If you guys leave me comments, I promise to post pictures of me from Deadlifts and Dresses. :-D

Oct 7, 2010

Daily maxin' and back crackin'

So, I drove south to train with Coach H yesterday morning (as has become my custom on Wednesdays), and to my delight he says we are doing a daily max. Yay!

I mean, really, what good CrossFitter doesn't love to find a 1 rep max? It is part of the cult people. :-p

My current max in Olympic lifting training was 45kg (99# - just multiply the value in kilos by 2.2). That includes practice, and my first competition.

In practice I was a mess, and I don't even think I could stand up with 45. In competition, it was easy and light. Not a struggle at all to stand up with it at all. So I knew my "true" max was higher, but I was sure how much higher.

So, off we go in our practice session. I took the weight off the rack, did one split jerk from behind the neck, then dropped the bar, then did a full squat clean from the floor. (Oly lifting training is full of these "combo moves" as I call them. Like 1 clean and 3 front squats, or 1 clean and 1 power jerk and 1 split jerk. I love it.)

My weights went something like this:

I really thought I was done at 52.5! It was sloooooow standing up. But Coach H had me load my bar with 55, and we were off. I pressed out the 55kg jerk, so that didn't go too well. But my 55kg clean went great! Again, it was slooooow off the floor, but I stood up with it! Woooooooo!

I know 55 kilos is only 112#, so not exactly the most amazing squat clean in the universe, but it was amazing to me. I haven't felt this excited about making progress on a skill in a very long time.

I'm still having that weird pain in my hip, so instead of full snatching, we did a horrible exercise where you start from the hang, and then lower yourself through the proper positions in the lift. So, it's like an eccentric version of the lift. I have to do this because my back is too weak and tight to get into the correct starting position for the snatch. And because I just plain need practice in how to make that transition from floor to knee to above the knee to power position to jump. (More on this later)

Because I can't do the start position correctly, right now I only snatch from mid-thigh, above the knee and just below the knee. Last practice with Coach H I snatched 42 or 43 kilos from above the knee -- which is incredible since my current PR is 45. So once I get my starting position fixed, I should really start making big progress. Wheeee! :-D

Well, yesterday was my very first adjustment at the chiropractor. My husband has been doing chiropractic care *forever*, but since I don't suffer from any chronic back pain, I never really considered it. At least not until I learned from my Oly coaches that my back was incredibly weak and also incredibly tight -- and that the tightness was affecting movement throughout my lower back and hips. Not cool!

So in addition to strengthening my back under their direction, I decided I would also hit up husband's chiropractor and see if she could help loosen things up and improve my flexibility as I got stronger.

After reviewing my xrays with her, turns out I have a curvy spine! How weird is that! hehe So if you look at my back, as my spine leaves my pelvis, it curves over to the left and back in. There's some little "mini" curves just below my shoulder blades. The tightness comes from the body trying to compensate and keep the spine in line -- by tightening the connecting muscles first on the inward side of the curve, and then on the outward side of the curve. It's like a tug-of-war that's locked in a stalemate.

I'll admit, I'm still a bit skeptical of the whole thing. I'll believe it's when I see a second set of xrays after a few weeks of care and less curve. :) Also, less tightness in my low back after some of my lifting exercises would make me a *true* believer. :-D

One more thought on going to the chiropractor. Maybe this is venturing into TMI territory, but after my first adjustment yesterday, I couldn't help but make the connection between how your first adjustment is like your first trip to the gynecologist.

Here's my point. When you go to the gynecologist, you know lots of people who have gone, and you kind of get the general idea of what they're going to do to you. But for some reason, NO ONE warns you about the really surprising parts!

For gynecology, nobody warned me before my first appointment that the doctor was going to do a breast exam. I knew she would be poking around "down there", but geez, someone could've warned me about the stuff that was going to happen up top!

At the chiropractor, I really would've liked some prior warning that she was going to try to twist my head off my fucking neck! Seriously! She kinda felt around my neck, turned my head, everything was fine, and then BAM! What the fuck! So much stuff cracked inside my neck it made my sick to my stomach. I am *not* one of those people who likes things to crack -- except maybe a nice low back stretch, with one or two small pops. That is it.

So yeah, I am not so much looking forward to going back, especially because of the neck thing, but I am committed to trying it because I really want to do everything I can to get my body in optimal shape for Oly lifting. I'm also going to try some therapeutic massage as well, even though my last experience with that kinda sucked. The lady was on my traps for-ev-er and they were sore for a week afterward. Not cool!

Sorry this ended up so long! I know some of you wanted to hear more about my Oly adventures. I will try to keep it shorter and sweeter next time, and stick more to exact details on what we do in the training sessions, and what I'm learning about the lifts. Knowledge is power! :-D

Oct 5, 2010

Workin' on my (front) rack

Forgot my damn lifting shoes, which pissed me off! But still managed to do decent on the WOD in the flat Nike's. :)
5 rounds for time:
10 front squats* (135/85)
10 lateral burpees (jump over barbell)
*from the ground

Results: 13:48, Rx
Positive: All 5 sets of 10 front squats were unbroken. The 9th and 10th reps were kinda ugly near the end, but it's cool. I think I did well with maintaining a strong back, and pushing my knees out. Yay my Oly lifting stuff is working!

Negative: I still have that weird twinge over/in my right hip bone/oblique, so the burpees were very slow. As soon as I would lean down to start the first burpee after the front squats, I would get a *huge* twinge and nearly fall over. But if I kept moving slowly, it would ease up. So I was basically leaning over in a lunge type position, stepping both feet back one at a time, doing a strict pushup, and stepping the feet back in. No jumping out of the feet for me today. Jumping up and over the bar was no problem. Honestly I think moving so slowly on the burpees is what made me able to do all 10 front squats -- I have a real problem with squatting when I'm out of breath, because I can't hold my breath both down and up.

All in all, a nice little workout to keep me limbered up for my Oly session tomorrow with Coach H. :)

PS - After trying to PR on the 5k Saturday morning, and doing Jerry yesterday night, my ass hurts!! heh

Oct 4, 2010


Switching things up today, putting the WOD last. :)

In all the craziness of going to the Mud Run, I didn't get to introduce you all to a new bloggy friend, Sweet Assassin.

At some point I found her blog, saw she was, a) female and b) doing CrossFit, and so I added her to the "Badass CrossFit Ladies" list in my side bar.

And then she found me, and found herself in that list! (emphasis mine)
For a second, I thought, "there's another sweet assassin?" I hit the link and it lead me right HERE. I was dumbfounded and touched. In my journey discovering my physical capabilities, meeting goals, taking big strides, seeing the changes in my body and how I approach everyday challenges, never ever have I thought myself a bad ass crossfit lady. This moniker I save for the other women that I cheer on in my box, that I marvel at in the Games, and those I meet in our growing community... but not little old me. So to see myself placed in the group by a BAD ASS CROSSFIT LADY is humbling and inspiring to keep progressing in my crossfit journey.

Crossfit keeps getting better and better.
Well, Sweet Assassin, now you know where I stand -- to me ALL my CrossFit ladies are BADASS CROSSFIT LADIES. No matter if they are scaled or Rx. No matter what opinion they have about their body, their abilities or their worthiness for that title. THEY ARE BADASS. And you absolutely are too. :)

Even though I posted a bunch of stuff on Saturday, for some reason I forgot to talk about what I actually did on that day. Um, yeah, I am supah smart. heh

I got up early to run a 5k, while husband headed out on a half marathon.

Unfortunately I did not PR, even though I did try. Boooo! :( I would like to blame the extremely crowded start of the race, but really I just did not push myself hard enough. Fortunately for me, the race season picks up tremendously down here in the fall and winter, so there should be lots of opportunities for me to attempt to PR on the 5K distance in the near future.

And finally, today's WOD.
1 mile run
2k row
1 mile run

Results: 27:17
Used my watch to time my first mile -- I'm happy to say it was 8:03. Yay 8 minute mile! :-D

2K row, however, was pitiful -- 9:21. Total sandbag -- I set in at a 2:20 pace and just stayed there the entire time.

Second mile was 9 minutes "ish". Had some watch issues, but no biggie, I was mostly interested in the time of my first mile anyway.

Overall my goal was to finish in less than 30 minutes, which I did. And the weird tight/cramp thing I was having in my lower right back/hip area is now alleviated, so I'm very glad I worked out today.

Due to that pain, I'm going to my first chiropractor appointment tomorrow. Hopefully it helps and doesn't hurt, like my massage I got in February that made my traps sore for a week. That sucked. Keep your fingers crossed. :)

Time to shower and find some dinner. Nighty night. :)

Oct 3, 2010

"Regularly learn and play new sports"

So, wanna guess what my new sport is?


Hells yeah bitches!!!

The back story. :)

I have been following the blog and Facebook page of a CrossFit gym in my area (35-45 minute drive from where I live) for a while now -- Sandbox Athletics. I noticed several announcements about their weightlifting club, and the results of competitions they attended. Then a few guys from my gym started going to their training sessions, and a few took part in some of the competitions.

I was still just thinking about checking it out, and then 2 important events happened in quick succession.

I had my mind-blowing private session with Aimee at CF KoP, and learned that my clean was stalled because it needed to be completely rebuilt. I knew then it was high time to find myself a local coach who could help me on a consistent basis.

A few days later, an announcement came through my feed reader about Sandbox Weightlifting club looking for new members.

The decision to join basically made itself -- I wanted to improve my lifts, get coaching on a consistent basis, and also learn more about coaching the lifts by working through the process of fixing my own problems.

One thing I didn't expect was to participate in my first competition just 2 weeks after my first practice! It was hectic, but in hindsight I'm glad the timing worked out that way for a few reasons. One, it got me through those "first time jitters". And I definitely suffered from some jitters. :) Two, I learned a lot about how weightlifting competitions are organized. They are very confusing -- hands on experience is a must to figure out how things work. Three, I now have a baseline from the true beginning of my training, which I can use to measure my progress. Yay! :)

My first competition was on September 11th. I know, I am sooo late filling you all in on this stuff!

If you have zero experience with Olympic weightlifting (like me 1 month ago), here's the basics:
  • Competitors are organized into weight classes. I lift in the 69kg weight class at the moment. There are hopes I could drop down to 64kg, we'll see. :)
  • Each competitor gets 3 attempts at each lift -- snatch and clean and jerk. 
  • Weight classes are usually divided into sessions, and all the competitors in a session perform their 3 snatch attempts, then there's a break, then all competitors perform their 3 clean and jerk attempts.
  • There are 3 judges who watch each lift, and each judge can either activate a white light or a red light indicating if the lift was good or bad. As long as you get 2 of 3 white lights, the lift counts.

Here's how I did at the competition:
Snatch: 35kg, 37kg, 39kg
Clean: 37kg, 39kg, 45kg

All my lifts were judged as good, so I went 6 for 6! Also, I got all 3 white lights on each lift as well, so that made me super happy. :)

These were very light weights in comparison to my fellow competitors, but the goal for my first competition was just to get 6 good attempts and experience my first competition. Done and done. Now I'll be focused on competing with myself, and PR'ing at every competition. Sometime in the farther off future I'll be ready to compete and try to win something. :)

Hope you aren't disappointed by my "big news" -- it's big to me! I've been training at Sandbox Weightlifting, and also at another local gym with my coach's coach, at least twice a week, and I hope to bump that up to 4. Which explains my measly 2-3 CrossFit WODs per week.

I won't be doing WODs that involve the Olympic lifts anymore, mostly because I need to ensure perfect form every time I approach the barball, and secondarily because my "home" gym doesn't have any ladies bars. Didn't realize how important it was to have a bar that's the right size for your hands! Now I finally understand why I could never get my thumb locked when I "hooked" on a men's bar. :)

I could totally go on forever about this, so I'll stop myself here, and keep my updates on this short and sweet in the future. If you want to know more about the specifics of my training, just shoot me an email. I might start posting my Oly lifting workouts here in addition to my CrossFit WODs, but I haven't decided yet.

Random internet goodness for you -- do any of you remember that game for NES where you could do clean & jerk and snatch, and also other weird sports, like cliff diving and log rolling?

Ok, well *I* remember that game randomly today, and wanted to look it up to see if I could play it online, or at least just see a screen grab. At first I thought it was part of "Track & Field", but thankfully Google helped me figure it out.

It was called "World Games", and put out by some random manufacturer. And I found a great page with tons of description, and best of all, pictures!

And I found video of the game play too! Luckily weightlifting is the first sport in the game, so it's right at the beginning. :)

I can remember trying to play this game, and failing miserably. Maybe now that I understand the point I would be able to play it better. :-D

Also, I wanted to throw in a link with this post. Here's a cool blog from some chicks who lift -- I love the name: Pretty Strong Blog.

They're just getting started, but I have a feeling they'll be posting some good stuff!

Oct 1, 2010

Friday Hero - Jack


Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
115 pound/ 75 Push press, 10 reps (from the ground)
10 KB Swings, 24k/16
10 Box jumps, 24 inch box

Results: 6 rounds + 7 box jumps, Rx*
What I loved about this hero WOD was how it could be performed by a wide variety of athletes without much scaling. That's the beauty of an AMRAP, IMHO.

That said, yes I went a bit slow -- got beat by the other chicks in my group by 2ish rounds. But I had a bit of a concentration problem with the coach trying to interfere with my push press technique.

Note: Please do not try to "school" me in the middle of an AMRAP. It makes me want to toss my loaded barball at you.

That said, I also wished I had worn my Oly shoes. I didn't because they're heavier and I thought they would slow me down on the box jumps. But it was the push press where I was having the most trouble, and they definitely would've helped stabilize my dip there, as well as in cleaning the barball from the ground.

*One other item of interest -- I used the 45# kettlebell on my even rounds, since we had 5 chicks and only 3 16kg kettlebells. Allie went badass with me and used it on opposite rounds. :)

Sep 27, 2010

Deadlift by threes

It was a strength plus metcon day, so you know I enjoyed it. :-D

Results: 165-170-175-175
Ran out of time, due to watching/helping others, so I only did 4. But that was plenty -- even though I escaped any low back pain that day, I'm still in a little bit of pain nearly a week later.

No more deadlifting for me in the foreseeable future.

AMRAP 10 min
5 man-makers (35lb DB/20)
10 box jumps 20"

Results: 5 rounds + 1 MM
Again, looking back these dumbbells should've been 25's to be 70% of men's Rx. But oh well. :)

My pushups were sloppy on this one, I think if I had better form (tigher core and posterior chain) I would've moved faster and possibly squeezed in one more round.

But I only came in 2 short of tying up with my girl Jess, who was a beast on this one, so I'm happy. :)

Sep 24, 2010

USMC Mud Run

Geez, I am not doing well with posting after each of my WODs! It's been 2 weeks since my last post, and I've barely posted all about WODs, or filled you in on my big news. First, WODs. Then, big news. :)

And no, I'm not pregnant, and no, I didn't get a muscle up. How funny is it that both would be absolutely mind-blowing at this point in my life? Hilarious! hehe :-D

Unfortunately I did not get to do Fight Gone Bad again this year. I forget exactly what was going on last year, but I had a conflict. Then this year I was already signed up for a Mud Run on the same date when the FGB5 date was announced. Booooo!

I want to do the same Mud Run again next year -- USMC Mud Run in Columbia, SC -- but I have a bad feeling the dates will continue to conflict. If they do, my plan is to either do FGB the Friday night prior, or find a CrossFit in the Columbia area and do it before or after the run. Yes, I'm crazy like that. :)

The Mud Run went OK... There were some obstacles that I couldn't do on my own, and I lost my focus when I started getting frustrated about my husband having to help me.

And by "lost my focus", I mean close to a complete melt down. In some moments I look at how much progress I've made getting stronger over the past year, and then realize how far I still have to go to really be super strong, and capable of anything. It's the "pullup effect" -- I know it well, but I still can't seem to control those feelings when the well up from inside me. God bless our other 2 teammates for their patience, because I definitely had a few verbal blow-ups with my husband. And God bless my crazy husband for still tossing my ass over some giant logs even after I had flipped out on him. :)

By next year, I will be able to climb over the 5' logs on my own. FOR SURE. I am going to get some lessons and practice at the obstacle course on base.

And I'm also going to get a bar muscle up on a thick bar so I can conquer this f***ing thing. Lowest bar is 8' high. You get on top of the lower bar, then go over the top bar and then climb back down.

Long term goals will be to go through these 2 on my own:

Monkey bars from HELL; yes, they step up. 1-armed pullup, anyone?

The Weaver - over and under the logs without touching the ground.

Sep 23, 2010

Main site chipper

We took on the crazy chipper from the main site at our box, and it was interesting to say the least!
25 Walking lunge steps
20 Pull-ups
50 Box jumps, 20 inch box
20 Double-unders
25 Ring dips
20 Knees to elbows
30 Kettlebell swings, 24k/16
30 Sit-ups
20 Hang squat cleans, 35/20 pound dumbells
25 Back extensions
30 Wall ball shots, 20/14 pound ball
3 Rope climb ascents

Results: 30:50
I completed the pullups without incident, definitely got 5 to kick things off. THANK GOD.

Banged out the box jumps at a good pace.

Thought my 20 DUs were in the bag, but missed #20 and had to do one single DU. Still pleased with that. :)

Skinny band for the ring dips -- need to rededicated myself to getting rid of that soon.

K2Es were fucking beautiful, not to brag. :-D

Swings, situps, hang cleans -- no problemo.

Back extensions -- this is where I wussed out big time. I've learned recently that my back is a very weak area in my body, comparatively. So I have a stronger back than some people, but overall I'm front-dominant to compensate for a weaker back. I knew these back extensions would lock me up, but did them anyway. And then got locked up. Probably wasted 2 minutes afterwards trying to un-fuck myself enough to do the wall balls. I had a Filthy Fifty flashback for sure.

Wall balls were badass, got 15 the first set, not sure if I broke the 2nd half or not. Soooooo glad these don't trip me up so much anymore.

ROPE CLIMBS. Went up with the rope wrapped around, came down with feet in the J-hook. Probably rested a little too long between attempts, but I'm still too freaked out to do these while I'm super-winded or feeling weak in the arms. Since we don't have a crash mat, I'm OK with this.

The only thing I'm pissed about is the WOD was posted with 24kg/16kg for the kettlebell swings, and Rx on the main site was 2 pood (32kg) -- which means ladies Rx was 24kg. Boooooo. I would've used my 45# kettlebell or maybe even the big one if I had known that.

Plus ladies Rx should really have been 25# dumbbells... Bummah.

But based on what was written on the whiteboard the day I did this, I am happy that I only scaled ring dips. Woot! I will take "nearly Rx" whenever I can get it. :-D

Sep 17, 2010

Finally Friday

I can't remember the last time I did CrossFit for five days in a row -- fulfilling my promise to complete all of my WODs during my week of programming was tough! Most folks at our box get a rest day on Wednesday, as there's no evening class, but I think my bud Melissa joined me for the 5 day WOD fest. :-D

Would any bodyweight-focused week of programming be complete without some kind of tabata? I think not!
"Tabata Something Else"
Complete 32 intervals of 20 seconds of work followed by ten seconds of rest where the first 8 intervals are pull-ups, the second 8 are push-ups, the third 8 intervals are sit-ups, and finally, the last 8 intervals are squats. There is no rest between exercises.

Score is total reps from all 32 intervals.

Results: 270
Pullups - Started out with the goal of doing 5 per round. Did 5 on the first round, dropped down, and sadly waited until time ran out and didn't do anymore. I felt bad that I didn't jump up for another couple. So I did my 5 and then 1 or 2 the next round. :) I started crapping out after 4, then 3, then 2. My lowest score was 3 or 4 on the last round -- mostly because my right hand ripped open on round 7. I'm happy to report my kip was pretty good -- in terms of using hip power, and not just shoulder power. Yay! :) I think my total for pullups was in the high 30's.

Pushups -- Dropped down to 5 pretty quickly, but hung in there for the duration. I'm happy with that, because I know 95% of the pushups I did were full ROM.

Situps -- Stuck with 10 or 11 the whole way through, which is pretty standard for me on tabata ab mat butterfly situps. Like I said after my last crack at "Annie", I think I just need to find a way to do situps fasters. But that is pretty much at the very bottom of any CrossFit priority list I have. :-D hehe

Squats -- Holy shit were my legs beat down from the rest of the week! I was barely cranking out 10 or 11 by the last round. Crap! Usually I'm good to stick at 14 towards the end of tabata squats, but not on this day. My legs were cramping up and really hurting badly by the end, but I was trying to push through the pain as much as possible. I think I did manage to get over 100 on squats, though, so that was good. :)

Later Friday night I did a "make up" WOD with a friend who'd had to miss class on Wednesday and Friday. Here's what we made up for ourselves.

double unders (x3 singles)

Finished up with a sprint down and back on her cul-de-sac. During which we were followed by her husband driving the neighborhood kids around on a golf cart. Good times. :-D

Sep 16, 2010

Double AMRAP

Thursday's WOD I programmed as two short AMRAPs just because I love those types of WODs. :)

My intent was to practice some difficult upper body exercises in small doses, interspersed with some elements that would keep your heart going. And after trying it, I think the WOD definitely fulfilled it's intended purpose.
AMRAP in 6 min:
10 jump squats

rest 5 minutes

AMRAP in 8 min:
5 ring dips
Broad jump, 25ft (length of mats)
 Results: I think I got 5 and 6 rounds? Forgot to write this one down

HSPU I did to two AbMats. A few times I got "stuck" in the bottom instead of popping back out. It's like doing front squats or cleans -- if you stop in the bottom, many times you ain't getting back out. :-D

This was a good opportunity to practice -- I can't say I've really been practicing handstands or HSPU much lately. Need to do 10 after each WOD, just like with my pullups.

The second AMRAP didn't go as well as I had hoped. I still fatigue SOOOO quickly on ring dips, and with only 8 minutes, I wasn't going to take the time to recover enough to do them unassisted. So after 3 in a row at the start, I threw on the skinny band. By the time I reached my attempted 7th round, I was just failing on the ring dips. I wasn't getting any more without a nice long rest -- or maybe not even after that.

Broad jumps aren't something we do a lot at our box -- maybe we've never done them before? So it was fun to introduce something completely new to everybody.

The skill for this day was muscle ups. So we taught everybody about using the false grip, and had each of them practice the transition movement from their feet. Fun! We did have one guy do his first 3 muscle ups, which was even more fun. :-D

Worrying about size

What I write about here is usually pretty cut-and-dried: I'm usually focused on recapping my workouts, mapping out my athletic goals, and occassionally sharing my thoughts on coaching.

I also tend to throw in a few links here and there. And many of them are concerned with topics that I don't write about much, but that I read and think about on a daily basis.

Body image, self love, self acceptance, self care, living in the present moment.

I study and think about these topics daily because I am committed to learning how to eliminate negative things from my life: obsession with weight loss, obsession with achieving a certain body shape/size/weight, emotional eating (using food to numb my feelings), binge eating, excessively comparing myself to others.

Right now I feel like the newest of "newbies" when it comes to learning to love myself just as I am, so I tend to link to those who I think "say" what I wish I could say in my own blog, instead of writing about it myself. Maybe one day I will feel like I am far enough along in my journey to share what I learned in overcoming my challenges -- right now I'm just writing about struggling through them, like in this post from February.

I most often look to my mentor Stephanie for guidance and inspiration. She has the ability to explain her experiences in a way that I feel that I can apply what she has done in my own life.

So when I read a message on Twitter today that just didn't sit right with me, I sent her a message. I asked her how she would respond, because I felt like I "knew" I didn't agree with the Twitter post, but I didn't know how to express that verbally.

The tweet:
@CrossFitChron Surgeon General says that we can be "fit and healthy without worrying about size." You're fired.
My question to Steph:
So I saw a tweet and I wanted to respond with "I disagree" but I feel like I can't articulate why properly... I want to explain how preoccupation with size/shape/appearance can derail our ability to make changes from the inside out that lead to healthy lifestyles... Do you have a post in your blog that you think specifically address that point, that I could reply with? Or you reply since I consider you the mentor and myself the mentee. :)
Steph's response (w/ a little editing from me for clarity :)):
I don't think i have a single blog post to address that. My response-

Fit and healthy does not always equal thin. There are a hell of a lot of thin folks walking around very unhealthy. There are those that eat healthy and exercise that would be categorized as overweight by the BMI index.

Furthermore worrying about your size in my opinion only leads to negative self-image. And when you dislike yourself and your body, taking care of it is near impossible. When you accept your size -- whether genetics or negative habits got you to it -- you can then begin to love yourself. That is when your best personal health and fitness becomes possible -- with joy and with ease.

The size issue in this county is a distraction from how fucked up EVERYONE'S health is, no matter if that has translated into excess weight. The processed crap we are eating, our attitudes about fitness (it's a chore), and our hatred for our bodies as they are are responsible for poor health...ALL AROUND...thin and obese.
 So the point of writing this post?

Well, primarily, so I have a link to send in response to CrossFitChron. And let me stress here that usually we are on the same page! I love Web's enthusiasm for hard work, dedication to your goals, and perseverance. Plus the videos and pics of his daughter are so damn cute. :) But I had to take this opportunity to spread the message about these new things that I'm learning, and how we all need to change our attitudes to shift our focus to what will *really* get people in our country, and our world, healthy.

And second, as a way to let those of you who read this blog know that I will be trying to write more about this internal journey that I'm on, and share more of that with you.

In closing, something I found on Facebook that I wanted to share with you guys.


Sep 15, 2010

Swing, squat and pull

Today I finally got to introduce my box to one of my all-time favorite WODs, which I first did at CrossFit KoP.
For time:
20 KB Swings, 20 Squats, 10 Pull-ups
18 KB Swings, 18 Squats, 9 Pull-ups
16 KB Swings, 16 Squats, 8 Pull-ups
14 KB Swings, 14 Squats, 7 Pull-ups
12 KB Swings, 12 Squats, 6 Pull-ups
10 KB Swings, 10 Squats, 5 Pull-ups
8 KB Swings, 8 Squats, 4 Pull-ups
6 KB Swings, 6 Squats, 3 Pull-ups
4 KB Swings, 4 Squats, 2 Pull-ups
2 KB Swings, 2 Squats, 1 Pull-up

Results: 20:38 -- 45# kb, kipping pullups
The clock was all jacked up, and stopped for an undetermined length of time at 19 minutes. So I'm not really sure how accurate my time was. But it couldn't have been more than a minute or two off, so I'm happy, since last time I used a 45# kettlebell and "mental floss" for my pullups, and finished in 23:35.

I did all sets of swings unbroken except 16. I don't know what the heck happened, I just lost focus and dropped it after like the 7th swing. Lame.

Started off with 5 pullups in a row, so that rocked. :) Started losing my kip a little bit, but I gave myself a little mental pep talk and brought it back at the end. Yes there were a few ugly, somewhat deadhang pullups, but I've accepted those as normal for me. Maybe one day I'll have that beautiful consistent kip that others have. But until then, I'll get my chin over the bar however I can. :-D

I didn't remember how challenging the squats felt! Or maybe they just felt challenging today due to all the other stuff we've been up to this week. Making the promise to do all my own workouts is going to kill me! I am sooooo ready for a rest day, thankfully tomorrow's WOD is only 14 minutes total of work. But then again I should know better than to think a short AMRAP would feel "easy". :-p

Sep 14, 2010

Getting comfy upside down & interval training

Tuesday was a fun day at the gym. I showed up at 0830 to workout, but ended up coaching, which was cool, because it meant our head coach was busy taking a new person through the on ramp. Yay! :-D

The skill for Tuesday was handstand progressions and handstand pushups progressions.

The reason I broke them down into two areas was in light of my own athletic development in that area. My subtitle for the handstand progressions was "get comfy upside down".

I don't remember if I posted about this, but the first time I tried to kick up into a handstand, I basically just collapsed into a heap on the mat. After the same thing happened on my second attempt, I was gently banned from handstands, and introduced to the headstand and frog stand. I practiced these religiously for weeks, then kind of sporadically for a few more weeks. I think I got more interested in pullup practice at that point.

I didn't really know much else to do to prep myself for kicking up, until one day at CF KoP I was introduced to the concept of facing away from the wall, and walking my feet up the wall to get myself upside down. So then I had a new trick that I practiced to try to convince myself I could support my own weight upside down.

Then I learned about the HSPU harness, and started messing around with that, using it to practice handstand holds and also HSPU.

Finally one day I had the confidence in myself to try to kick up again -- and I could do it! I was so freaking excited by this, you have no idea. It wasn't as much excitement as getting pullups, but it was in my top 5 CrossFit moments.

The moral of the story is to meet your athletes where they're at, and give them a clearly delineated path to success. Learning the progressions for doing handstand pushups isn't necessarily going to translate into being able to kick up into a handstand. Putting your body in pike position off a bench or box, or even hanging your feet over a bar in the rack -- they just don't instill the same skills as other types of handstand practice. So while you're working your progressions for HSPU, don't forget about getting comfy upside down. :)

Hopefully what we taught yesterday will get more of our athletes on the road to confident handstands and eventually handstand pushups. :)

The WOD for Tuesday wasn't really a CrossFit WOD, because there wasn't any scoring. It was just a straight-up interval and conditioning session, and it was hard!
4 rounds
1 min at each station, 1 minute rest between rounds
Ring rows
Jumping lunges
Ab mat situps -- butterfly
Handstand hold -- if 5 full ROM HSPU, scale up to HSPU

Results: Really fucking tired! hehe
Seriously, I forgot how brutalizing jumping lunges are. If you want your legs to feel like they're going to fall off, or for them to just straight up go numb while you're trying to move them, try jumping lunges. It's a truly explosive movement, very good for developing strength, power, agility and balance.

And ring rows aren't just that exercise for people who can't do pullups yet. Try some, they are really challenging! If you have trouble finishing out your pullups at the top, add some ring rows to develop the shoulder -- make sure to bring the rings into the armpit. This is also a great movement to work the  stabilizing muscles of the core, since you hold a plank position the whole time.

OMG the handstand holds were brutal. I had done some Oly lift practice prior to doing this WOD, and I hope that's the reason why I could barely stay in a handstand hold for 45 seconds. I had to drop at least once every time. Geez. Time to work holds back into my cool downs again.

Sep 13, 2010

Squat clinic deets, "10"

Well, this morning was my first shot at the squat clinic, and I think it went well!

It was a nice manageable group of 5 at the 0830 class, and several of them really seemed to enjoy working on the basics. Got some feedback, and will tweak a tiny bit in the 2 evening classes, but overall I like what I came up with. Should be interesting to see how everybody progresses through the week, and beyond.

At some point I will try to make a short video of what am doing in our clinic. I'll have to find a volunteer to do the "ass lowering" drill, though. :-D

Honestly, just watch this Dan John video. You will be glad you did. Stick around for about 30 minutes, or at least make it to 20. He does go off on a few little tangents, but they're little nuggets of good info, not rambling, so it's all good. I am pretty much copying all of his techniques and cues.

Here's the sequence that the athletes will repeat each day after their warmup:
  • Samson Stretch/Lunge -- 30 seconds total for each leg; open hips fully
  • Bottom of the squat stretch -- 30 seconds total; elbows pressing knees out; make sure everybody has feet wide enough, and angled enough; make first assessment on depth
  • The "Amazing Ass Dropping Drill" OR "Mr. Universe & Buddha Belly" -- this one is where the Dan John video comes in, very hard to explain written out*
  • Potato sack squats -- extend arms down, with fingers interlaced like you're holding a sack of potatoes; squat down and touch backs of fingers to the floor; provides a tactile cue when you've reached the bottom postion
  • Potato sack squat to OHS -- lay PVC on floor in front of athlete; perform P.S. squat, then grab PVC with wide grip and lock out overhead; stand up; viola, an overhead squat!
  • Wall squat -- you can't beat the classics; great for reinforcing sending the butt back, tall posture as you drop, weight in heels, and knees tracking out over toes
* So here's a written explanation of the Amazing Ass Dropping Drill, as I have now named it. :)
  1. Athlete squats in goblet squat position -- elbows pressing at knees
  2. Trainer stands behind athlete and provides support by bracing the outside of the athlete's butt with the inside of their calf/shin
  3. Providing support allows the athlete to drop lower than their normal "comfort zone"
  4.  Trainer cues athlete -- "Big chest" or "Mr. Universe" or "Break the finger"; these are all aimed at improving the lumbar curve and spreading the chest out and up and moving the torso into a more upright position
  5. Trainer cues athlete -- "Buddha belly"; athlete relaxes lower belly, or actually pushes lower belly outward; this will cause the butt to drop, so trainer must be ready to provide support with their legs
  6. Continue to give alternating cues -- "Mr. Universe" and "Buddha belly" until athlete is at the bottom position, or is becoming unstable
  7. Lift athlete up and out of bottom position -- they will not be able to stand up from here on their own, as the stress response to push upward has been basically "switched off" by the drill
 So now go watch the damn video! :-D

In addition to squat therapy, we're also doing pushup therapy this week. Now that it's my chance to run the show for a week, I've instituted a "no knees" policy for pushups. I'm so excited to see if the ladies (and gentlemen) at our gym take to this new progression, and if they do, how much improvement it will lead to. Squeee!

If you don't know what I'm talking about here, see "Get Off Your Knees" by Lisbeth Darsh.

The WOD today was very simple, and gave everybody a chance to reinforce what we talked about during the skill session. Despite it's simplicity, if you execute it at a high enough intensity, it will feel like hell!
10 rounds:
10 pushups
10 situps
10 squats

Results: 15:58
I finished last out of all the 830 peeps, which I thought was kinda hilarious! Though I did stop a bit here and there to check out form, and give some feedback. But still this was slow. My metcon/cardio has gone down the freaking toilet since I haven't really worked on it lately. I'm much more concerned with strength right now, and I think I probably always will be biased toward strength.

Which is where another Lis article comes into play -- "Lighten Up While You Still Can". That article is all about having a focus for each WOD -- either go heavy, or go fast. Commit to one and stick with it and don't fuck around. So true.

I think very soon it will be time for to unload the bar, stop trying to be the strongest at everything, and work at what I *really* suck at -- intensity.

Sep 12, 2010

WOD free for a few days & adventures in programming

Other than the Blackjack WOD, I haven't done any CrossFit WODs since I the rope climb WOD almost 2 weeks ago.

On one of those rope climbs, I jumped to the ground and landed on a piece of the rope -- we have quite a bit of extra rope that lays on the floor due to the low height of our ceiling beams where they're hung.

The side of my foot felt funny, but it seemed like it was just one of those momentary twinges, and nothing major. I get twinges like that from time to time ever since I switched to less supportive shoes -- I think it's my feet re-learning how to act as shock absorbers, and it's also me learning how to use my feet in that way, and land in the right position.

Anyway, that afternoon my foot started aching, so I put some ice on it, and by dinner time I was really in pain. Damn! Got it X-rayed the next day, and luckily nothing was broken -- the doctor declared that pain to be from soft tissue damage (though oddly my foot never got swollen or looked bruised). Spent the next couple days using crutches, an ice pack and 800mg Motrin a lot. Ditched the crutches, but still icing once a day, usually in the evening, and doing Motrin at least once a day.

So now you know why I haven't been posting about my WODs! :)

The thing about soft tissue damage is that you need to be gentle on it, and let it rest so it can heal. I didn't want this injury to be nagging me for months, so I haven't run or jumped since I hurt myself. This week I'm going to get back into doing WODs, but I might still continue to row instead of run. Just gonna take it day by day.

This week is a big week for me -- it's the week my box will be doing the WODs that I programmed! I was so excited to come up with a week-long training program for our athletes, and I'm really excited to see what they think.

My theme for the week is GYMNASTICS! :) All the WODs will involve only body weight movements, with 2 exceptions -- kettlebell swings on Wednesday, and kettlebell sumo deadlift high pulls on Saturday.

The week kicks off on Monday with what I'm calling a "Squat Clinic". Remember when I asked you guys for your input on squat resources? I took your suggestions into account, and I also found a great new resource that gave me the basis for helping my athletes improve their squat.

YOU MUST WATCH THIS!! If only for the first 20 minutes, but watch the whole thing if you have time. It's a video of Dan John sharing his techniques for coaching Olympic lifters, and he basically just talks about squatting for the first half of the video. The guy is obviously a total pro, and just understands how to get people moving properly. Amazing.

So after I teach the squat mobility movements on Monday, we'll be repeating them everyday proir to the WOD for the rest of the week. I'm hoping that by Saturday we'll have been able to reinforce some changes in squat technique and get some muscle memory in place for the long term.

The primary goal of the week is to improve the squat -- the secondary goal is to improve knowledge of scaling other body weight movements. The gymnastic component of CrossFit is the most frustrating to beginners, in my opinion, because it's hard to learn to do a movement when you can't actually DO the movement.

Anybody else out there have a moment of shock when you learned that you could do pullups with a huge rubber band under your foot? I definitely did. I was absolutely thrilled to find a substitution where I could perform the full range of motion of the movement without it involving someone pushing on my fucking foot. Woot!

That aside, I just want to education my athletes about their options for progressions on handstands, handstand pushups, dips & ring dips, and muscle ups. And for muscle ups, I want our gym to move past the x3 pullups and dips substitution, and start practicing the skills needed to perform a muscle up. You've already heard my rants in that area, so I'll leave it at that. :)

Well, I've just rambled on, but suffice it to say that I'm super excited about next week, and I'm going to try to do every WOD that I've programmed, so you'll see them here. :)

Sep 7, 2010


Nope, didn't hit up a casino -- just a 2nd attempt at an interesting WOD I did for the first time last fall.
"Blackjack" or "21"
For time.
Start with 20 push ups and 1 sit up.
Each round reduce 1 push up and add 1 sit up until you reach 1 push up and 20 sit ups.
Results: 32:50

While this was about 6 minutes slower than last time, it was a triumph in my eyes because I did every single pushup with full ROM.

Last time I said:
"This will be a good workout to use as a benchmark as I improve my pushups. I wonder if one day I will be able to do the whole thing with "real" pushups, instead of on my knees. That would kick so much ass. :)"
How fucking cool is that? About 11 months later, and I am kicking ass on pushups. Cause CrossFit works. :)

Aug 31, 2010

Up the rope...

Another workout that changed things up a bit today -- doing lots of different movements is good for me, I like it.
3 rounds:
5 Legless Rope Climbs
25 Sledge Strikes Right
25 Sledge Strikes Left
14 Single Arm Power Snatch Right (40/20)
14 Single Arm Power Snatch Left

Results:  30:02 -- regular rope climbs
What took me so long was the resting I did between rope climbs. I just had no confidence in that today, and honestly just didn't feel like doing it anymore after the first few trips up the rope. I was just standing at the bottom of the rope thinking to myself, "wow, I so don't want to do that at all... can I just skip this part?"

Sometimes I crack myself up with my mental dialogue. heh

In any case, even though it took me a while, I still did all my climbs. But damn if my foot didn't hurt from wrapping the rope around it and stomping down with the other one. I need to rethink my footwear choices on my next rope climb WOD -- something a bit more substantial is probably a good idea.

I am the bomb diggity with dumbbell snatches. My first CrossFit gym didn't use barbells at all, we did everything with kettlebells and dumbbells, so I first learned to snatch with one arm and a dumbbell. It was fun to just power snatch because that's sooooooo much easier. And my legs are *hurting* from back squats yesterday, so that made me happy.

Speaking of hurting, holy shit, my chest and upper back are so tight from that handstand walk thing yesterday that I can barely take a deep breath! Seriously! Seems like I should keep doing those on a regular basis, because they definitely worked me out in a new and interesting way! :)

Looking for your input on improving squat technique. Do you have any personal experience about fixing your own squat? Have you been able to help others? Do you know of a great online resource that you could point me to?

At our box, there are tons of people with squat issues, myself included. I have the chance to program a week of workouts, and I want to use that time to focus on the squat and help people get started on improving it. Right now no one really wants to focus on that as a goal, despite the fact that it's so important. Achieving below parallel on the squat with good form is not the "sexiest" goal, but certainly one that will reap huge benefit once achieved.

Pay Now Live Later: How I Ditched the Chemicals in my Bathroom Cabinet

This blog post really intrigued me, especially in light of my current Primal mindset. It was only after reading The Primal Blueprint and The Omnivore's Dilemna that I started thinking about pesticides and how it's important to know where our food comes from and how it's grown / raised. (plant & animal)

This article takes that next step and makes you think about all the health and beauty product you use, and how those might be manufactured in an unsafe way, the same way the food might be grown / raised in a manner than is less than optimal for health.

I don't think I'll give up my whitening toothpaste anytime soon, but I might try the soap and shampoo suggestions, just to give it a shot...

To read:

F* Off Fit: So I was watching Fight Club
"We push societies limits on what is normal for women. We dont run and do pilates and eat air salads and aim to see our bones. We eat fats, and animal proteins, we celebrate our guns and love our strong legs. WE have calloused hands in which, when we are in normal groups of peoples, make them frown or look at us oddly."
Already Pretty: An Argument for Self-love
"Happiness is important, but serenity is vital. And it can feel impossible to achieve when you’re busily judging yourself. Because even when the more immediate worries clear out, self-loathing is still there, whirring busily in the background and keeping you agitated. Make it stop, and serenity is within reach. Learn to love yourself, and happiness follows close behind."
Healthy Girl: Has the Number on the Scale Ever Ruined Your Whole Day?
"No offense to your doctor, but for anyone who’s even slightly weird about food or their body, weighing themselves daily is a prescription for Crazy! I know why he or she advised you to do it—the National Weight Loss Registry, this big survey of people who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off—showed that many of them weight themselves often, even daily. But as people with disordered eating issues, we can’t just directly apply info like that to ourselves."
--> completely agree with everything in this article

Aug 30, 2010

Fun and different WOD

Am I getting old if I actually thought about writing about how I think our coach Paul is creative and enthusiastic due to his youth?

I think, maybe, yes. Must be time to just start saying I'm 30 even though I'm only 29. :-p

But seriously, Paul had a cool WOD on tap for us today. It made me kinda nervous looking at it, but now that I've finished it, it was pretty fun!
6 rounds:
5 back squat (185/135)
Handstand walk, 50ft

Results: 24:55, 135# and "on the shoulder" wheelbarrow walk for 100ft
Ok, so for the handstand walk I definitely had to substitute -- if I hadn't, I would've busted my freakin' head open on the rubber mats. Or broken my neck.

Sooooo, we did the badass version of the wheelbarrow walk -- instead of holding your partner's feet, you put them up on your shoulders, so they're more inverted. Then the person being held just has to "pike" their body and get as vertical as they can, like in a modified HSPU, to simulate a handstand walk. Crazy, yet fun! I actually "held" two of my peeps before I took my turn, so I got some extra work in. :)

Holy shit 135# was really heavy for me on back squats. And I'm left with sore quads, which tells me that I was rolling up onto my toes a lot. Boooooo. But when I tried to keep my chest high at the bottom, I lost the bar off the back. Urgh. Need to have someone video me doing this so I can assess. But in any case, I still did all the reps, I just had to break them up into 2s and 3's starting in round 3. Thank GOD will was there to clean the bar back up for me the two times I dropped it.

Oh yeah, and that handstand wheelbarrow walk is hard on your abs!

I've been following the Primal Blueprint Fitness stuff going on at Mark's Daily Apple, and like what I see so far. Except I'm sad about what I saw in his pushup video.

I was really hoping that after starting off with the wall pushup, he would tell people to just keep lowering their hands until they could finally do pushups on the ground. But instead he instructs you to put your knees down. Boo!

Robb Wolf was interviewed on T-Nation about his new book, The Paleo Solution.

He also released a video where he talks about the book. After listening to his Paleolithic Solution podcast, it's kind of weird to "see" him talk.

I've already pre-ordered the book, and I'll post my thoughts here once I read it. If it's even half as good as the podcasts, it's going to be awesome. The only problem I have wit the podcast is I listen to it in the car, and then I can't take notes on the little tidbits that interest me. :)

I hope they didn't edit out his sense of humor from the book, because he's fucking hilarious. This guy seriously needs to join The Daily Show as their health/fitness correspondent. :-D

Aug 23, 2010

Visiting a new affiliate

A CrossFit affiliate recently opened up in my hometown, so while I was visiting my parents I stopped in for a WOD.
Box jumps

Results:  18:31 -- 65# SDHP, 24'' box jump

I liked the combo this WOD put together, and I think I would like to try it again. I felt like the spot on the floor I chose was so uneven that my bar was bouncing all crazy at the bottom of my SDHPs. I wasn't able to do more than 5 in a row, and I know I've done more than that at 55# for Fight Gone Bad. Really made me mad to have to break them up so much! Also there weren't any floor mats where the boxes were setup, and jumping down from the 24'' box onto concrete was hurting my feet. Owie! I could probably cut 5 minutes off this time, but all in all I enjoyed it!

However, there were a couple things about the session that rubbed me the wrong way, and that's the reason I'm not naming or linking the gym here.

First red flag -- no movement demo at the start of the session. When I first started coaching I was drilled on the importance of this, and now that I've had more experience as a coach, I see just how important it is. Identifying movement standards and full range of motion is important to reinforce learning in your students, and it also introduces the cues that you'll use during the workout to correct their errors quickly, instead of having to stop them and go through a long explanation.

The trainer did reference the recently-completed intro session that all of them had taken, and said something like, "you all looked great on this in the INDOC". I don't know about you guys, but after going over all those different barbell movement, it took me months to learn all the names and the proper execution for each. It's something that needs to be reviewed again and again, by all athletes, no matter how long they've been CrossFitting.

Add to this there's nothing that bothers me more than horribly executed SDHPs, and there was some ugliness going on... It was literally making me nauseous watching one guy whose load was WAAAAAAY too heavy for his ability, not to mention the bad form. *URGH*

Which brings me to red flag number two -- the coach worked out with the group. This is a BIG ASS NO-NO PEOPLE! I guess coaches do this so they don't have to find time to do the WOD on their own, or they hate working out alone and want to take advantage of the group that's there, or they think it's somehow motivating or instructional for their athletes for the coach to participate. However, there is NEVER a good reason for doing this, especially considering the inexperience of the athletes in the group.

So now that I've checked out the gym, and I've seen what's going on there, I am torn.

This is the first CrossFit that's reasonably close to many friends and family members, and I so badly wanted to send them all there to experience the awesomeness of CrossFit. But now that I've seen the [lack of] coaching skills, I definitely won't be doing that, except maybe with my brother who I know is like me and will study on his own.

So what can I do to ensure that one day (hopefully soon) I will feel comfortable referring people to this gym? Should I give the coach some unsolicited feedback? No worries, I would be polite and deliver my thoughts in a more constructive fashion that what I've written here. But isn't unsolicited advice really annoying? Or should I not care if it's annoying, since I have the best interests of his athletes' safety and the growth of this business? I just get the impression he's a martial arts guy who started doing CrossFit on his own, really liked it, and wanted to make some money with it. I have no problem with that. I just think he needs some advice...

In my position, what would you do?

PS - I will say this -- I feel much more confident in my ability to start my own gym after visiting his. A big part of me wishes I was living closer and could try to get him to let me team up with him! :)

Aug 21, 2010

MetroDash Philly

This was so freaking fun! If you have one in your city, definitely consider signing up!

MetroDash website

The only thing that I didn't like about this event was the language they chose for the website and email communications with the competitors. Honestly, I thought they really exaggerated the difficulty and intensity of the event. I understand wanting to bill this as an "ultimate test of athleticism" -- and if you did the course for time, that's probably what it would be. But how about leaving the door open for just finishing? That was mentioned, but not highlighted. Which is contradictory, because the website made it clear there would be no "winner", just finishers. So why not focus more on just finishing the challenge?

OK, end rant, back to the fun stuff!

My biggest source of excitement for this event was just seeing more of my CrossFit KoP friends, and spending time with them. Especially Steph and Cindy. As a bonus my husband also signed up, as well as a friend I used to work with and haven't seen in forever, plus I got to meet a bunch more of the CF KoP group. Yay!

Running with Steph through the city was an absolute blast. The way my husband feels about the mountains, that's how I feel about the city. It's just so different that is amazingly energizing. And only in the city would you almost collide with a parked Vespa while dodging slow pedestrians! Love it! :-D

The challenge points include tabata squats, tabata pushups, tabata situps, tabata star jumps, bear crawls, walking lunges and as part of "The Gauntlet", tire flips, rope whipping (what the heck is that called??), sled drags, box jumps, slam balls, kettlebell swings (we made fun of the 15 and 20 pound bells :-p) and an 8 foot wall to climb over.

My only regret from this event was not attempting the 8' wall unassisted. I stood on husband's knee, from which I could just grab the top of the wall, and used my own strength to pull up and over from there. But I wish I had tried to run and jump, or stand and jump, at least once... I wanted to attempt a do-over once we had finished, but the wall had been disassembled by then. Boo! :( Looks like I'll be signing up again next year -- they better still have the wall in the course!

Just because I love when other people include pictures, here's a couple. If you want to pick me out, I'm wearing the pink tank. None of husbeetle's face, though -- he doesn't like that on the good old blog, and I gotta respect that. But you can see the back of his head in the pic of Steph flipping the tire. :)

At the start
Steph flips the tire, husbeetle to her right
Sled drag
Sled drag
Box jump
Finish line!

PS - I toyed with the idea of adding labels for all the exercises we did at the challenges, but eh, I think I'll pass and just label it "vacation WOD". :-D

Aug 20, 2010

Primal exercise in the Poconos

We originally planned to hit up some fun outdoors activities in the State College / Penn State area for our vacation, but I made the mistake of not checking the academic calendar. Since we had inadvertently overlapped ourselves with move-in week (for a school with 40,000 students, this is a major problem), we decided on a change of plans, and headed due north instead, to the Poconos.
Since it was August, we had a nice warm day on the first day of vacation, so we drove to our hotel and then immediately headed for a nearby waterpark -- Camelbeach Waterpark. This is an ingenious use of a ski area -- Camelback Mountain. Some of the slides are disassembled and reassembled each fall and spring. And apparently they fill the lazy river with barrels, then cover it all with plywood, and push snow right over top! The ski lodge and lazy river are at the bottom of the picture below.

We are lovers of water, so this was a great way to start our vacation. I spent a lot of the afternoon thinking about how I wished I was wearing some Vibrams, and realizing how much I heel strike when walking. It's funny how primal living starts to push it's way into every facet of your life once you start studying it and becoming aware of it. :)

The next day, Wednesday, we headed to Bushkill Falls, billed as "the Niagara of Pennsylvania".

I personally would not make that comparison, but it was still beautiful, and a very neat type of trail. There is a whole series of wooden walkways and stairs attached to the gully that the falls drop into -- without that, it would be a lot harder for most people to be able to see it. You can see a railing at the very top of the picture above. There were also a couple miles worth of "normal" trails -- though as usually for Pennsylvania, they were still pretty rocky.

I got one of the "Trail Map Adventure" kits -- which I think is a program intended for children -- and it totally made my day! For a few dollars you got a more detailed topographical map (to scale w/ elevations and other stuff not included in the free one) as well as a little card with 20 points listed, and 20 squares to mark each off. When you reached each of the 20 points along the trail, there was a little hole punch thing hanging from a post. Each punch made a certain pattern of tiny holes on the little card. So of course we had to hike to all 20 points, which meant covering every bit of the trail, and a few parts twice when I missed a punch. :) A perfect day in the mountains -- only having our dog along would've made it better. Though I'm not sure what her thoughts would have been on all the stairs and bridges. :)

Oh yeah, and how could I forget to mention my joy at only sweating a little in the "normal" places - a little on the face, neck, armpits and feet. It was amazing to exert myself without having my arms and legs beaded all over with sweat like when I do anything down here in the Georgia swamp. As a native of the north, I still just find that much sweating weird!

Thursday was our last day, and it rocked!

First up on our plan -- a high ropes course! We saw this when we bought our tickets for the waterpark, and knew we *had* to try it. And it was just as amazing as we had hoped! The only thing that would make it better would be to not have to wait so much for other people ahead of you. So I definitely want to go back another day and go out in the first group at 9:30am and climb into those trees first!

Here's a picture I got from the website of one of the awesome obstacles -- those log things swing and twist, it's so much fun! If you follow the link above, you can actually look through the "games" on each of the 5 courses. As the finale, you get to do one final, long zip line, which was awesome. :-D

If I had tried to do this course 1 year ago, before I started getting back into CrossFit, I don't think it would've been as fun of an experience. Doing it now, when I know I'm strong and can support my own weight, I was excited to fool around and see what I could do. I think last year I would've been out of breath, glad for all the rests we had waiting for the slower people ahead of us, and sore and exhausted the next day. As it was, I felt awesome, not sore at all. Such a great example of why CrossFit isn't just about being good at CrossFit -- it's about being good at life.

Sadly I did not take my iPod or camera with me, so I don't have any videos of us on the course. :( But that's just another reason to go back again, right? :-D

After our ropes course, we wanted to spend a little more time on the trails, so we headed over to Big Pocono State Park. We hikes a few miles around the Indian Trail, which takes you out to the scenic overlook of the valley below. There is just nothing like being in the mountains, taking a walk through the forest...

This trip made so glad to have grown up where I did, in such a beautiful environment. My husband loves and is energized by a trip to the mountains because it's exotic to him, it's new and different. But for me, it's a homecoming, it's a feeling of peace and a sense of belonging. I hope one day we will move to a big mountain home with a 3 mile driveway. :)

So, that's our trip -- no WODs, persay, but plenty of great primal exercise, don't you think? I thought it was just perfect. :)

Aug 16, 2010

Worst WOD in a looooooooong time

Doing some catch-up posting, and back dating the next couple posts. Apologizes for the feed reader overload!

Sooooo, remember that Monday morning session with Aimee that I blogged about? I was pretty beat down from that, but had a date with Dorothy to head back to KoP for the 4:30 workout. As a bonus, my husband even wanted to go, and finally got to meet Aimee and Jason, who had been on vacation when he came in over Christmas.

OK, so here's the WOD.
4 rounds:
500m Row
15 Pull-ups
15 Sandbag Burpees (lateral jump over sandbag)

Results: 32:27
Shit. You. Not. That was my finish time. Over 30 minutes.  Holy fucking hell.

At CF KoP, the pullup bar are next to a wall. And I swear if there had been a couple more pullups in this workout, I would've punched the wall. Seriously. I thought about doing a million times during the WOD. I was doing pullups 1 at a time, I was doing them with 2/3 kip and 1/3 deadhang in many cases, and it was awful.

As for the row, after round 1 I just started shutting my eyes so I couldn't even see how slow I was rowing. Boo.

But really it was the pullups that killed my spirit on this one. I guess I didn't enter the WOD with a confident spirit, so I beat myself before I even started. Yeah it was hot and I couldn't get a good grip on the bar even with tape and chalk, but so what? Everybody else was operating under those same conditions, and Aimee was even 5 months or so pregnant!

This was one WOD I really didn't want to finish. With all the fibers of my being, I did NOT want to finish. But I did.

I just hope it taught me something? Sometimes I feel like other people have these great experiences with just finishing horrible WODs, but when I do awful, I never get that sense of pride just for finishing. I did feel very proud for finishing Murph, despite it taking 90 minutes... I dunno. I guess this is just another area of the mental game where I need to keep observing myself and my reactions and hopefully learn something I can apply to future WODs...

Cleans with Coach Aimee

Hello from vacation! :) We're relaxing in our hotel after a fun afternoon at the water park. We had dinner at a DINER, which we were both super-stoked about, because good diners do not exist in the south. Yes, we're going back again in the morning for breakfast. :-D

Soooooooo, let's talk about Monday, shall we? (Saturday and Sunday were essentially rest days)

In the morning I had an hour-long, 1-on-1 coaching session with Aimee Lyons at CF KoP. I had emailed her a long list of stuff to review, but we spent the entire hour on the clean.

Feel free to skip the following section, I need to write about what we did so I won't forget...

We started with the first pull, because as Aimee said, "there's a lot you can fuck up when you pull the bar off the ground."

First, she totally revamped my setup. Feet were moved farther apart -- they were too narrow. Toes and knees were pointed slightly out. Ass was lowered. A LOT.

Then, I tried a hook grip on the ladies bar. I think that was the first time I actually did hook grip properly, with my thumb wrapped around the bar, and my fingers wrapped around my thumb. I so need one of those bars now... Not likely to happen any time soon.

Then, my ass was lowered MORE. Aimee proved to me that my shoulders were still in front of the bar, even with my ass practically on the grass. Craziness -- no wonder I couldn't figure this shit out on my own.

Learning to start the pull slowly took me a minute. Pulling the bar against my shins was more learn-able, since I've been practicing that with deadlifts. Took me another minute to figure out how to move my knees out of the way -- unbend, but don't completely straighten.

Cue: "Pull slowly to your pockets, then explode."

With all the work we did at the start, I was overthinking, and having a hard time with my "explosion". I even forgot to move my feet on a few attempts, WTF? *sigh* I am always such a trainwreck during 1-on-1 sessions. I trainwrecked a good bit at my L1 cert anytime the instructor was focused directly on me. Especially during push jerk, ugh.

Anyway, also related to L1, my squat is still busted. Fuck fuckity fuck. Boo.

I first learned I had a butt wink at my L1, and started trying to fix it after that. But apparently I haven't gone far enough, because it's still there. And it's keeping me from coming up out of the bottom of the squat clean.

Scenario: clean bar, land in squat, lose lumbar at bottom of squat, fight up to regain lumbar, ass jumps up, then (if you're lucky and the load is light) you come up out of the squat. Not a pretty picture.

So, I am to practice deep front squats with good form. "Good form" == no loss of lumbar, no shooting butt up first out of bottom (think about elbows/chest up first). I am going to need to do a lot of video of myself...

I have to learn to release the hook grip. That could be a problem once I get to heavier loads.

I squat cleaned 113, but failed 3-4 attempts at 125. One attempt I cleaned and caught at the bottom, but my lumbar was lost so I couldn't get back out of the bottom.

Game plan:
 - Practice squat cleans @ 95# with low ass starting position, hook grip, slow first pull and then explosion, release of hook grip, strong front squat with high elbows out of the bottom; use video to determine if arms are bending early
 - Practice slow first pull and POP @ 55# or 65# (also with new setup)
 - Squat therapy (need to Google for more advice on fixing butt wink...)

While I learned SO MUCH at this session, which was exciting, I have to admit that by the end I felt very frustrated and defeated. Not being able to do 125 for a "finale" was very disheartening, and I could feel some tears coming up. Not being able to get out of the bottom of the squat a few times even at 113# was incredibly frustrating, and surprising. That's not where I expected to fail, because I thought front squats were one of my strengths. Hell, Jason complimented me on my front squat form during my last visit! I guess maybe it doesn't exactly translate to the front squat the end of a clean... 

Driving home I admit that I was thinking, "if I'm this fucked up on a lift like the clean, what makes me capable of helping others learn this stuff?"

I know the best I can do for my athletes is continue to learn and better myself, and I *am* doing that... But I guess that perfectionist side of me demands that I be better, know more, before I put myself in front of others and ask them to trust my advice.

At some point you have to be GOOD to be a coach, good intentions just won't make the cut...

So yeah, I think I'll be back in Philly sooner rather than later for more coaching, and I'll be doing a lot more clean videos of myself and really applying what I have learned. That's the only area I will focus on as far as barbell movements, while I continue to focus on improving my gymnastics.

Speaking of which, I forgot my kip again, or something, but the story of Monday afternoon's 30 minute WOD will have to wait til another day, no more computer for me tonight. Back to vacation. :)

Aug 13, 2010


Woke up early so I could drive north from North Carolina (spent the night there) and still have time to hit a WOD at CrossFit KoP. My ass is super-sore from those weighted lunges yesterday morning, but I knew I could handle the scheduled WOD -- "Annie" -- even with a little soreness. Plus it's a great opportunity to test my new double under success.
double unders

Results:  9:20
That's a little under a 6 minute PR on this WOD. Woot!

In the first round I did 30-something double unders. Woot! I was thinking about making a goal of 40 consecutive, since I had pretty much checked off the 25 in a row goal I had previously, but I think I'll switch that goal to 50.

I did situps unanchored with an Ab Mat.

I'm happy with my effort on this one. I really minimized rest, only rested while getting reset to do DU's. I knew I was doing well with pushing myself when I started getting that crappy feeling in my stomach that comes from moving "too fast". Which on a WOD like this is just the right speed. :)

However, I think I can still go faster. Round 2 of the DU's didn't start out so well -- the first 20 were very choppy, in 3's, 4's, 5's. If I can go nearly unbroken on each set, or at least do only 2-3 small sets, that will speed things up. I also think I can do my situps faster, which I think will take some practice.

Vacation rocks so far! Last night I got to stay up late talking to my sister, and then I got a great early start this morning. I got a shower and chowed down on some chicken and kalamata olives, and very soon I'm off to pickup husband at the airport and drive down to the Jersey shore! I'd wave to Snooki for you guys, but she's in Miami this summer. :-p

Aug 12, 2010

Last day at CFC before VACAY!

Was gonna leave for vacation yesterday, but had a ton of errands to do. So I hit the gym this AM, and I'm gonna leave right after a shower.
Complete for time:
1000m row
30 overhead lunge steps right hand (40lb DB/25)
20 GHD hip extentions
30 OH lunge steps left
20 GHD sit ups
20 OH lunge steps right
20 knees to elbows
20 OH lunge steps left
20 AB mat sit ups
10 OH lunge steps right
20 knees to elbows
10 OH lunge steps left

Results: 26:26 Rx
I used a 12kg kettlebell instead of a dumbbell -- that's about 26 pounds, so still Rx.

This took me about 5 minutes longer than everybody else, and it's cause I was dawdling. Guess I started my vacation early? :-p

My reaction to this workout on the board, and my experience with performing it, tells me that I still have a lot to learn about programming. Just like yesterday, it "sounded" a lot harder to me than it actually was to perform. I thought the load on the lunges would be super-heavy, but it was totally do-able. Always learning, learning, learning...

Speaking of learning, I've got a private session scheduled with Aimee at CrossFit KoP next Monday, and I'm super excited! We're going to go over, snatch (+ snatch balance, muscle snatch, etc), clean (as in, why is my PR stuck at 125?), kettlebell snatch (haven't ever had instruction on these), and HSPU.

Woot woot!

Also on tap for my trip up north, I'll be participating in Metro Dash Philadelphia! I am so pumped about spending the day with my CF KoP peeps, plus I even got my husband to sign up. Will definitely take the iPod -- maybe Steph and I will collaborate on some awesome video. :-D

Be back soon with some vacation WODs, which will include some hiking! :-D

Aug 11, 2010

Interesting chipper, lots of questions

I envisioned this WOD taking *forever*, but it really wasn't that bad. I could improve my time on this one, but I was pretty happy with the work I did.
4 rope climbs
50 thrusters (45/25)
400m run
50 thrusters
1 mile run
Results: 22:39 Rx; time for 1 mile: 9:32

The 4 climbs went well! I used the "standard" rope around the leg technique to go up, and then experimented with different feet placements to come back down again.

Rope Climbs from c wiss on Vimeo.

For some explanation about the different stuff I was trying, check out this video on rope climbing tips from

Our gym is talking about having another Paleo challenge... And I'm not sure how I feel about it. At the start of our last challenge I had been eating Paleo on my own for several months, had seen excellent results in losing fat and improving performance, and was super gung-ho about getting others on board.

Then the challenge started, and all hell broke loose. Some kind of latent adolescent rebellion kicked in, and suddenly didn't want to eat Paleo because now I "had to".

And honestly, my Paleo mojo has been majorly fucked up ever since. To the point where I'm reading "The Primal Blueprint" and eating a bowl of ice cream.

Recently I read a blog post -- Is Competition Always Good? -- that was good food for thought.
[O]verall, I think this kind of competition is counterproductive. I’m not saying “don’t run a 5K” or don’t challenge yourself in a way that feels right to you. I am saying that the challenge or competition mentality, when it comes to our bodies and our health, is probably more of a distraction than a help. I think it pushes us into a more narrow definition of what’s acceptable for ourselves.
I can't find the link, but I also read a blog post once about a woman who started a challenge, and had it derail her from a good routine because she wasn't able to be a perfect competitor. So, if I can summarize, she had a good thing going, hitting the gym regularly, doing her thing, good results. Then the gym started a challenge -- you know the drill, start with a benchmark WOD, 6 weeks, repeat benchmark WOD. She had this grandiose plan about how she would "pump up" her current routine so that she would blow her old time away at the end of the challenge. But the pressure to be a perfect competitor completely stalled her ability to even continue what she had been doing. She stopped going to the gym completely because she wasn't able to do it perfectly, as the perfect competitor.

Hope that made sense to you guys -- I'm bummed I can't remember what blog that story came from.

Today I read a post on PaleoChix, which is the first in a series of posts about members of CrossFit Scotsdale who have participated in a Paleo Challenge. This post had a very positive outcome for the athlete.

I'm left wondering if they'll include a story that turned out badly for the athlete, like what happened with me. Where a person that had made a relaxed and gradual switch to Paleo found themself derailed by the challenge, because it created pressure to adhere to a perfect standard.

Thoughts from you all? Have you done a Paleo challenge?  If you have, did you like or dislike it? Did it help or hurt your overall efforts?

For 2 weeks earlier this month I had the opportunity to assist with teaching swimming lessons at our pool on base, since I had just completed (and thankfully passed!) my Red Cross Water Safety Instructor course.

And you know what? I'm pretty good at helping little kids learn how to swim. Except the making them submerge when they don't want to part, I am not good at that yet. But other stuff, I'm pretty good at.

It was so fun to see the students in the 2 classes I helped with progress! They worked so hard, and learned a ton, and never gave up, and had so much fun and were so excited.

And so now I'm seriously thinking about signing up for the CrossFit Kids certification, especially because one is being held in Atlanta soon, and that's actually within driving distance for me...

Some additional inspiration came from:
 - Melli: CrossFitting Kids
 - Raw CrossFit: Imagine if you CrossFit as a kid
 - Miss Jovina

Those of you who CrossFit and have kids -- let me know your thoughts on CF Kids. Are your children already too busy with other sports to participate? Or is it something they would enjoy making time for? Would you like your kids to have class at the same time as you? Or at a different time so you can watch them and maybe participate a little bit in their class?

CrossFit Is A Gateway Drug
I think metabolic conditioning is our “bait” – it’s the bright shiny object we use to reel them in.
 Did CrossFit draw you in with the "great sweat" workouts, and then you found yourself becoming obsessed with barbell lifts or gymnastics? This was true for me, so I'm just curious if it was true for you guys too?