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?

Aug 9, 2010

Big loads going overhead, videos

Strength + metcon today, so you know I was happy. :)
Strength: Push press 1-1-1-1-1-1

Results: 85-90-95-105-115-125
Everything went up fairly easy except the 125. I did lose my balance a bit and move my feet, which I think technically fails the rep? But I'm counting it since I know I didn't rebend the knees at all to try to jerk it. I can remember having that problem last time I worked push press.

I AM SO STOKED ABOUT THIS NUMBER! How amazing that I am putting that much weight over my head! Last time I tested this lift, I maxed out at 95. 30 pound PR baby! Woot!

After strength it was time for a metcon.
3 rounds:
50 double unders
25 wall balls

Result: 13:16
I should've been so much faster on this. Definitely didn't achieve anything close to 23 DUs this time, but I was able to get a couple sets of 10+.

I did a lot of resting in this metcon. When I start to try to push push push, I lose focus and miss attempts at both DUs and wall balls. I have to take a deep breath, focus, and start again.

Considering how angry and frustrated DUs used to make me, I'm glad I can maintain my focus, but at some point I need to do that without taking so much rest. I'll figure it out.

Cool video one of our coaches put together. Look for me in the colorful outfit with the blue socks. :)

Messed around with this butterfly technique today, and got a few singles out of it. Very neat! Take a quick second to watch and try it out. You know it's gotta be good if it's coming from Chris Spealler. :)

Aug 7, 2010


I'm supposed to be doing the dishes while husband mows, but you know I had to get on here and post my WOD first, right? :)

This morning we did "Allie" -- yep, named after one of my friends from the gym. She won the honor of creating a workout to torture us all after her slam-dunk victory on the Paleo challenge during April and March. My goal was to be my time from my first attempt on this WOD.
Run 400m
20 pullups
Run 400m
15 wall ball shots (20#)
Run 400m
10 burpees
Run 400m
5 tire flips
Results: 14:10 -- took 37 seconds off my old time, woot!

This WOD is deceiving -- it looks simple, just run a mile with some other stuff thrown in. But if you go all out, it really gasses you! Plus the humidity was horrible this morning, though thankfully there was cloud cover to keep the sun from totally scorching us on the runs.

Pullups were accomplished as follows: 5-5-5-4-1. My goal was sets of 5, but in hindsight, that isn't enough of a challenge for me. I regularly do sets of 5 deadhangs at the pool -- with kipping in play, I should be able to bust out more like 7 or 8 in a row. But then again, at least I didn't forget how to kip like I did on Wednesday's deadlift-pullup WOD. I'll be happy with 5's for today, and go for more next time. :)

Wall balls were to the 10' mark with the 14# ball. Forgot that Allie was using the 20# ball, and that I meant to use that one too. I think I'd be OK with throwing that to the 8' line. :)

OMG, runs must've been sooooooo slow. Like I've been saying for a bazillion years, I need to hit the track and do several 400m sprints to assess where I'm at. Did you guys know that in high school I ran a sub-6-minute mile, and a 400m in the 1:40s? I was fast as shit. Right now my weight is about 15 pounds heavier, mostly due to musculature I've built in my core, back, chest, shoulders and arms, so it's gonna be a lot harder to move my mass that fast. I'd like to bring my 400's down to the 2 minute mark. Should be doable -- my most recent timed mile was around 8:30.

OK, now I will go work on the kitchen. We have been ignoring it all week and it's a total disaster. I'm going to put on my fav NPR show ever, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, and hopefully that will help pass the time. :)

Aug 5, 2010

It feels good to "win"

My back was tight from deadlifts, but I knew the best remedy would be a workout. Today's WOD wasn't going to be hard on my back at all, so it was perfect for getting a good sweat and loosening everything up.
Strength: press

Results: 55-60-65-70-75-85-95
 I *really* wanted that 95 at the end, but it got stuck at my forehead. I was basically staring at it, willing it to go up, for about 3 or 4 seconds before I gave up. With 95 being my current 1RM, I'm not surprised at the result. Would've been nice to match that 1RM, but I'm still happy with the work I did today.
50 abmat situps
40 double unders
30 box jumps (20'')
20 wall ball shots (20#/14)
10 knees to elbows

Results: 6:26
When I saw today's metcon on the website last night, I thought to myself, "I can smack that bitch down." And when I was starting out the class with some strict press sets, I starting thinking again: "I can WIN."

Every once in a while when I know I'm good at everything in the WOD, my competitive spirit breaks out and I become absolutely determined to finish first.

There were only 4 people in my class this morning, and I finished first by a minute, and I was damn proud!

Best moment of the morning -- I did 23 double unders!!!! It was fucking amazing! I just keep doing them, and doing them, and doing them -- what a great feeling! And then I finished out the rest of the 40 unbroken, so that's 17 unbroken.

Those are basically my #1 and #2 longest sets of double unders I've ever done. Just goes to show what happens when I put on my game face. I need to go to that place more often!

Situps I did unbroken.

Box jumps I took a slow and steady approach. Started not paying close attention and missed one attempt, but focused back in after that and kept the knees high.

Wall balls were also amazing, considering my history with sucking at those- banged them out in 2 solid sets of 10. I used a 14# ball and threw it to the 10 foot line.

Side note on wall balls: I can't accept that women should scale both weight and height on wall balls. Height of the throw should be scaled based on the person's height, not their gender. Like, if you're 5'4'' or shorter, use the 8 foot line. Taller, use the 10 foot line. And those giant people over 6 feet should have an even higher line!

OK, end wall ball rant and ramblings about the metcon. Suffice it to say it was a fun day in the gym, and I enjoyed my little moment of victory. :) (Though I'm thinking somebody probably beat my time in the evening classes)

Later gators. :)

Scaling deadlifts

Sooooo, yesterday I broke the rules of scaling, and used a load because I wanted to be closer to Rx. Please note -- DO NOT DO THIS.
Deadlift (275/175)
Results: 17:15 @155

Before I talk about deads, let me just say that I forgot how to kip AGAIN. Note to self -- you must never go more than 1 week without practicing high rep kipping pullups (minimum of 25 reps). I've been doing deadhangs at the pool for so many weeks that I lost my kipping mojo again -- and no I won't bother linking to my early summer posts where I rip on myself for "losing" my pullups. Ick. No one wants to revisit that.

I was doing my sets of 21 and 15 in onsie-twosie fashion, then on the set of 9, BAM, I was kipping and did 3 sets of 3. Good thing I was working out alone between coaching the 0630 and 0830 classes because I was certainly yelling the F word during those first two sets of pullups. :-p

So, deadlifts... I took forever to get setup for this WOD, and had two bars loaded with various weights to try, even though I knew what load I should use. 135 - 145 -- no brainer. 175 was out of the question, since my 1RM is still right around 200. But because I'm stubborn I still messed around with a bar at 165, and then decided to do 155. My 3RM is 170. So it didn't take long for me to be doing 2 reps at a time on my set of 21. Not exactly what you're going for on a couplet like this. It should be hard and fast like Fran. Things stayed onsie-twosie pretty much the whole WOD.

Anyway, by the last set, the pulls were getting ugly, but my time was so awful I just kept pounding through. And so my back is tight today. Not in an "I tweaked it" sort of way, but more than an "I challenged myself."

Though I don't know... Sometimes I wonder where the line is? I tend to shrink back from heavier deadlifts in WODs, but with other lifts (cleans, snatches, OHS) I am more willing to just go for it and see what happens. And maybe that is why my deadlift numbers are so low in comparison to my other lifts?

Ideally I would like to try to do PTP again... I really think the short time I did it helped tremendously, and at least from that I have my form locked in enough to help my athletes perform the movement correctly.

Great list of frequently asked questions from CrossFit Park City.

Aug 3, 2010

Deserves it's own post

Fat Guys Don't Finish Last

Love that blog, great insights on coaching. Learning to scale appropriately, and communicating the need for that process to my athletes, is probably my number 1 goal right now, possibly number 2 only to getting better at leading great warmups.


I coached 0830 class this morning, then had to run off to the pool to help teach lessons at 1000, so no WOD for me. Since it's a gazillion degrees (heat index over 100) here in the Georgia swamp, I decided to do a workout entirely in the pool. Plus I needed to practice my strokes.

2 rounds:
  • 100yd front crawl
  • 100yd breaststroke
  • 100yd back crawl
  • 100yd sidestroke
  • 100yd elementary backstroke
I rested as little as possible between strokes, and not at all within each 100.

To finish up I did 50 flutter kick, 50 breaststroke kick, 50 dolphin kick and 50 butterfly. My 'fly wasn't too bad today! I need to practice it more often.

Question for you guys. If you're doing a workout with multiple runs of the same distance, do you care at all what your times on each run are?

I coached a very "grinder" WOD today, and instead of just standing there making inane comments while people were trying to grind out their burpees, I timed their 400m runs. I missed a couple people heading out and coming in, but got a lot of times for them to see.

Personally, I love any and all metrics, and would've appreciated this. Just curious what you all think -- a worthwhile endeavor, or just something that was distracting me from providing coaching to my athletes?

10 ways to be a better CrossFitter -- Lisbeth Darsh

I recommit to practicing #3 approximately once a day, or more.

Pistols -- Beastskills

Don't we all want to be better at these (or learn to do them, in my case) after watching the CrossFit Games?

Via my friend Stephanie Vincent:
This explains the “factual reasons” I choose not to eat grains: Whole grains, Wholesome Goodness?

This explains the "emotional reasons" why: Radical Hate Loss via Paleo
Steph is also a Bas Ass Bitch. :)
Why can I not be just satisfied with doing CrossFit 3 times week- scaling everything forever? I could still have fun. I would still maintain health. I could resign myself to the idea that my body was neglected for way to long to be able to improve much more than it has. I’m healthy, I am strong….isn’t that good enough?

Sometimes I wish it could be that way. I see other people happy that
way, but I am a different animal. I am passionate, intense and courageous. Sure new experiences and lofty goals rise fear inside me, but I find I am the kind of person that is willing to stare fear right in the face, grounded in its polar opposite...LOVE.

Aug 2, 2010

Clap, my ass!

Today's WOD involved the following.
4 rounds for time:
25 lunge steps
15 clapping push ups
150m run
Results: 15:01

Other times were more in the 11-13 minute range, so I wasn't that far off. But still significant enough for my 0830 ladies to comment on it. I think my time was affected by me doing the WOD alone between coaching the 0630 and 0830 classes. But it was mostly affected by how annoying I found the clapping pushups.

I put an "Rx" by my name on the board, but I'm not so sure I fully deserved it... My claps were more like "fling your hands towards each other and if they touch at all, it counts". There was definitely a lack of actual sound being produced by round 4.

This was my first attempt at clapping pushups, and I'm not sure I'll be too motivated to try them again anytime soon. Just very annoying. Reminded me of my days at CrossFit Philly doing pledge pushups and being super-annoyed by them. :)

We did some plank holds after class, which I enjoyed. I'd like to do those more. Some of the athletes aren't quite getting the GHD situp technique, so I'm hesitant to have them do that after class too often, but everybody (me included) always needs core work. Tomorrow I might hit them with handstand holds and wall sits, depending on what the WOD ends up being -- I'm coaching, but I still have to wait for the owner to post it later tonight.

My friend Sara recently began training a fellow military wife just with the equipment she had available, and now Jenn has gone out and joined a local affiliate and is loving it! I had to share her latest "progress" post with you all, because I love her reflections on how CrossFit has had a positive impact on her day-to-day life.

That's one of the cornerstones of CrossFit that I think tends to be overlooked -- it's a general physical preparedness program that gets you ready for the known and unknowable challenges that life throws at you. It's not just firefighters carrying people out of burning buildings -- it's also yard work, putting a suitcase into an overhead bin, squatting to get laundry out of the dryer or carrying that huge sack of dog food on your shoulder.

As promised a few days ago, in honor of kelsalynn signing up to attend a CF Level I cert, here's a collection of links about Level I cert experiences.
Also, I'll throw in a link to the Level I Training Guide, which is basically a bad-ass compendium of the best CF Journal articles on the basics of CrossFit. Love it. 

When kd went to her cert, I finally took out my notes and wrote down my "I wish I knew this ahead of time" thoughts from my cert. No, I still haven't written down an account of my whole weekend, I'm sad to say. I think at this point it's been so long ago that I wouldn't have much insight, other than the following:

  • Brainstorm questions and write them down ahead of time; it's hard to think of them on the fly during the Q&A sessions. When you're reading the material, write questions on a separate page that you can reference during the Q&A sessions. On the drive home after my cert I remembered I wanted to ask about the importance of shoe choice. (All the Level 2 trainers wore "regular" athletic shoes, btw)
  • There is a short break after each of the small group sessions where you learn/practice the 9 foundational movements. Use that time to take notes on how your Level II instructor worked with your group, what cues they used, their progressions, and whatever struck you as awesome/helpful/whatever. I especially wished I had done this after doing the press series -- strict press, push press, push jerk. Chuck Carswell did an awesome job teaching the push jerk, and by the next day I couldn't remember the specifics. Same thing with Justin Berg teaching snatch.
  • Saturday PM or Sunday AM re-read your notes from the prior day to see if you have any questions for the wrap-up Q&A session on Sunday. When I re-read my notes on Monday I found some questions, but that wasn't as helpful as it would have been to find them before the cert ended. 
My final piece of advice is to practice your tabata squats prior to attending, just so you're legs are ready for the break out sessions. Even though I was CrossFitting 5-6 times a week leading up to my cert, I was still really sore after day 1's practice sessions, and even more so after day 2. I believe working on my tabatas helped me to be sore, but not immobilized. :)

Aug 1, 2010

Death by C&J, Amanda, new gear

Thursday July 29
I've been reading about the "death by" WODs for a while, but haven't tried one, so I was curious to see how the experience would turn out.

It was interesting.
"Death by Clean & Jerk"
Perform 1 C&J the 1st minute.
Perform 2 C&J the 2nd minute.
Continue until you can no longer complete the require reps within 1 minute.
Load: 135/95
Results:  7 full rounds, plus 4 C&J's in minute 8 -- @ 95#.

This WOD turned out exactly as I was expecting, honestly. My goal was to make it to 7, which I did. And if you do the math, that is 28 reps. Just 2 less than "Grace". In total I did 32 reps before I was too wrecked to do more.

I think this proves the concept that our body gets conditioned to the stimuli that we expose it to.  I've exposed my body to 30 reps of 95# clean & jerks, and that's what I was able to do. I think it would be a struggle to get 8 rounds in this WOD -- it would probably take one of two things. Training C&J with a heavier load, or training C&J at a lighter load with a crap-ton of intensity. I think I shall do both as much as I can. :)

Saturday, July 31
It was an open gym Saturday, so I decided I needed to make up for skipping "Amanda" on Monday morning.
muscle ups
squat snatch (135/95)
Result: around 15 minutes

I wasn't really ready for the 3-2-1-go on this, so some of my time was spent screwing around with barbells and plates. But I didn't want to be difficult and have a separate timer from the rest of the group. Plus this WOD was more experimental for me. I wasn't doing it for time, I was just doing it to experience it and try to learn something about how to approach it in the future.

Muscle ups were performed by sitting in the green band. This provides a heck of a lot of assistance, and it also impedes the movement of the shoulders to a position over the rings for the dip. Also, I learned that if you do muscle up this way while wearing a tank top, you will get weird skin abrasions on the front of your shoulders where they contact the band during the dip. In a word, EWWW.

I really wanted to do my muscle ups by sitting in a band that was pulled across a squat rack, but I couldn't figure out a setup that gave me enough assistance to get through transition. Boo. I need to work on this while I'm in the gym coaching this week, because I do *not* want to re-open these weird shoulder gouges that I got yesterday. Ew. Maybe if I look at the differences between my home setup (which works) and the gym setup (which I can't get to work) I can figure out what's going wrong.

Yes, video and/or pics of this stuff to come so you guys actually know what the hell I'm describing when I talk about these progressions. :)

I did some warmup squat snatches at 35#, then 45#. I had planned on doing the WOD at 45#, but started rethinking that during my fist set of muscle ups. So I grabbed a regular bar and loaded it with 2 5# training plates to make 55# and got started on my first 9 reps. After completing about 6 reps, I started thinking to myself, "Why am I scaling this to 55# when I can do 15 continuous 65# OHS?". So I stopped and reloaded with 2 10# plates and used 65# for the rest of the workout. I did have a few ugly reps, and one attempt where I went over onto my ass, but I think that's a good thing.

I would like to take the load up to 70# or 75# next time I attempt this WOD, since it is meant to be heavy, and I'll only succeed on reps with near perfect form at that load. Snatch is something I should work on more often -- when I do it, I realize I love it almost as much as cleans, though cleans are my first Oly love. :)

My birthday present from my husband arrived on Friday -- it's a 24-inch plyo box! Woohoo! It's painted an awesome shade of blue, and has a great "grippy" surface on top so I'll still be able to use it if it's wet outside. Squeee!

I'm a bit afraid for myself because it's square on the sides, and not tapered, but oh well! A little shin gash never hurt anybody -- hopefully I'll just re-injure myself on the same spot where I have a scar on my left shin. :-p

I have so many plans for vacation WODs now, OMG. And they definitely involve tabata box jumps and kettle bell swings.

Yep, he's a keeper. :)

I leave you with a fun picture from the end of the summer party we had at the pool on Friday. That's me with my pullup buddy M. He has tolerated some constructive input from me on his pullup form, and he's rocking like 10-15 in a row these days, and looking hot. I've also got him doing L-pullups, which I think accounts for the 6 pack he's now sporting. He wants to be a Navy Seal, and I hope to see him achieve that goal one day. Maybe I'll even talk him into coming and training with me at our gym. :)