Namesake

I decided to do a quick AMRAP Wednesday night even though I went to Kung Fu in the morning.

At the risk of offending people who go to my Kung Fu school, it’s just not enough of a workout for me.  Sorry, folks — but when you only have an hour, have a kid in tow, and are trying to learn some new katas, it’s not a workout.  It’s simply being active.

I digress.  The AMRAP.  I do love “Cindy.”  This one I turned into:

“Baby Cindy”
AMRAP 15 min
5 pull ups (subbed ring rows)
10 push ups
15 squats

I made it through 12 rounds.  I would normally do the pull ups with a band, but my shoulders were sore from Tuesday, so I decided to do the rows.

In Kung Fu, I did a little review of lower belt material while of rest of class did freestyle on the bags.  Then Hugh finished showing me Table Top sword, which I love, but I can’t seem to make it stay in my head.

It’s frustrating because I haven’t been going regularly, I feel really behind, and I can’t seem to remember the new stuff I’m trying to learn.  Grrr….

Building that muscle!

I know I’ve SAID I have no food regrets, but I wish I had a little more self-control these days when it comes to sweets.  Once in a while is fine as far as I’m concerned.  But twice in one day?  A (CW) brownie and ice cream?

Oh my…

Oh well, at least my workouts have been good.  I know I’m building muscle because I can feel it this morning.

On Monday I showed up at Kung Fu, and the sifu had us do a little workout in between practicing katas.  It wasn’t much, compared to what I normally do — 2×20 fingertip pushups, crunches on both sides, knee bends.

I made the knee bends deep — more like squats — so they would actually give me some benefit.  I’m going to refrain from my usual criticism of the exercises and move on to how I finished my day.

3 rounds
50 lunges
30 squats
15 Romanian DB deadlifts (20#)

Ooooooo… those squats were hard after the lunges!  Great WOD, though.  Simple.  The deadlifts were supposed to be Good Mornings, but I don’t have a bar and I wanted to use heavier weight, so Andy showed me the deadlift form.

Time: 12:33

I knew I was going to pay for that workout Tuesday morning at Crossfit.

5 rounds
Max Reps Deadlifts (M 285# / F 205#)
Max Reps Handstand Push ups
Rest 3 minutes

We warmed up our shoulders by doing some crab walks, handstand walks and bear walks, which got us all laughing.  Some of us were better at things than others, but we were having a good time.

I teamed up with Barbara for the WOD, and we chose 155# for our deadlift weight.  It was extremely challenging, as I was only able to string together 5 on the first round.  The rest of the rounds I could only get 3 or 4 in a row.  We did handstand push ups on a box, and I think my shoulder strength is improving.  My depth was a lot lower.

Results: 19 Deadlift @ 155# / 57 handstand push ups on box

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Testing to 2nd black

Morning classLast night was my Kung Fu test to 2nd degree black belt.  I’ve been working for this test for the past two years, since the night I tested into black belt.  I wasn’t sure I’d make it.

Sometimes it’s easy to get sidetracked, especially when you work for something so long.  And when you have a 3-year-old, it can be tough to make it to class.

But I managed to find my way, despite the challenges, and I found myself seated before Grandmaster Sin Thursday night.  I was really nervous.  The room, which had cleared out some from previous tests, was still packed.  It was as if everyone wanted to stay to watch the black belts test.  I don’t know about you, but I tend to get a little nervous when I have that many people watching me.

The room was nearly silent as Grandmaster Sin opened testing for those going from 1st degree black into 2nd degree.  Seven of us were testing at that level, and I was called up in the first group.

We started with the black tigers, and while I didn’t notice it at the time, I realize now that the room melted away.  I forgot about everyone who was watching — they didn’t exist.  It was just me and the katas.

Spear formI felt good.  I was breathing heavily, but I felt good.  And when we got to the spears, I felt even better.  I feel like I did them even better than when I pre-tested — no hiccups.

I had a chance to rest while the next group went, then we were all called up to do Pa Kua – sections 3 through 8.  I’ve always felt uneasy about Pa Kua, but I remembered what Sifu Matt told me the night before about my circle and which way my legs should be, and I think I did much better.  I ended up on the side of the circle I should have!!

Grandmaster Sin told me at the end that we were fine.  He’s such a nice and funny man!  And when he laughs at his own jokes, you can’t help but laugh with him.

I had a huge grin on my face as he told us we had passed into 2nd degree black.  Awesome… milestone passed, goal achieved.

Before I wrap up this post, I want to comment on some things that really impressed me last night.  I had the opportunity to watch the brown belts test, and it was phenomenal to see some many people working hard.  I was so proud of the people I knew that were testing.

But there were two people in particular that impressed me — people I don’t know — and it’s not their skills that impressed me, but their attitudes.

There was a little girl there — she was probably 8 or 9 — and she had a smile on her face while bowing in front of the grandmaster that communicated such joy.  And it really touched me, because often everyone looks so serious.  But here was a person who was joyous, and it really lifted my spirits and helped ease the tension of the evening.

Then, there was a gentleman, testing to black belt, who also had a wonderful smile on his face while going through his katas.   He kind of reminded me of my father in the way he moved, and when he made a mistake, he smiled, and moved on.  He didn’t get frustrated — he looked like he was enjoying the moment.  We later found out that he’s 72.  WOW!

There’s something about seeing people really enjoy what they do that inspires me.  I hope that I can have that same smile on my face, no matter what I do.

Kung Fu test-2nd black

I tested for my 2nd degree black belt on February 25, 2010.

Brain fart

The pre-test for my Kung Fu belt test was postponed until last night — Wednesday — due to Tuesday’s snow.

Normally I go to Kung Fu on Wednesday mornings, but I decided to sleep in and trust that I knew my material well enough to make it through.  I also don’t like psyching myself out on the day of a test or pre-test with a bunch of extra practice.  It actually makes things worse for me because I begin to second-guess myself.

I showed up early and signed in.  Then I got to watch the brown belts do EVERYTHING they have EVER learned.  Uh-oh — this did not bode well.

When it was the black belts’ turn, we lined up in front of Sifu Matt on the floor.  Three of us were testing to 2nd black, 2 were testing to 3rd, and one was testing to 4th.

We started out together — he had us do all of our brown belt open-hand forms.  Everything was going well for me until the last one — Connecting Fist.

Connecting Fist is one of my strongest forms, so I don’t know what happened.  Maybe I took off my blinders and noticed the people around me?  Maybe I was exhausted from doing the 8 other forms?  But I got confused — really bad.  I had to start over… and things just got worse.  I ended up not finishing.  I looked at Sifu Matt and he shook his hand to say, “No worries… I already know you can do it.”

With all those people watching on the side, I felt really embarrassed.  I was trying to compose myself, when Sifu Matt broke us into groups.  The two other 1st blacks and I had one part of the room to do our forms, while the other black belts had the rest of the floor.

Thank goodness we started with Tai Chi.  It allowed me to focus and get my head back together.  Pa Qua was next — and my circle got all weird, but I made it through. The tigers felt strong, even though I realized I tripped up on a couple of moves here and there.

Then it was time for spears.  And as soon as the spear was in my hand, I felt instantly at ease.  I felt smooth and comfortable.  It was like the spear was an extension of myself, and it felt good to move, even though we were in a tight space.

Sifu Matt said everything looked fine, he gave us all some tips, and we were sent on our way.  The test is tonight in front of the grandmaster.  Now that the pre-test is behind me, I don’t feel as worried.

I welcome any friendly faces to come and watch me.  Andy can’t come, because he needs to put Luke to bed.  If you want to watch me, comment and let me know — I’ll tell you where and when it will be.

Time for a muscle up? Well, sure…

Have you ever dreaded a day because you had a feeling you had packed in way too many activities?

I tend to over-schedule myself – a bad habit that I have been working hard to break.  In the past several months I have slowly worked to down-size my commitments in order to make more free time for myself and my family.  It’s amazing how many things I thought I couldn’t give up, but when I did, it was such a relief.

Well, today felt like it might be a crazy day – just like the old days.  My calendar had Crossfit, Kung Fu practice, work (which included a snow prediction – so CRAZY busy), and the Kung Fu pre-test.

Thankfully, things didn’t go quite as planned.  I skipped the Kung Fu practice, because I decided to eat breakfast with my family.  Instead, I practiced a little at home before work.  Work was busy, but not crazy.  The snow moved out well before the evening shows.  And the pre-test was postponed until tomorrow night!

Ahhhh….

And the best part was the workout this morning was awesome.  I didn’t kill myself, so I should feel good tomorrow night for the pre-test.

For time:
30 muscle ups

Love it – a chance to work on some skills!  Some folks in my class chose to do the muscle up substitute: 4 pull ups + 4 ring dips = 1 muscle up.  I decided to do a scaled version.  There weren’t enough rings, so I teamed up with my pal Barbara on a set and we rotated doing the scaled muscle up from the floor.

We finished in 6:53.

I felt strong – much stronger than the last time I did muscle ups.  After we finished, I told Barbara that we need to do it from the box next time.

We did partner medicine ball work after the WOD:

2 x 20 Russian twists
2 x 20 overhead sit up throws
2 x 20 supermans/planks
20 around-the-worlds

I am looking forward to sleep!

Countdown to testing

Kung Fu testing is this week, and I can honestly say that I am in full-on testing mode.

It was my intention to practice this weekend, but I was so sore, I felt like I needed to give my muscles a rest.  I don’t want to be too sore to test!

I crammed in a practice session this morning.  I was scheduled to work an early shift, so I woke up at 5:15, worked for over an hour, and raced off to Kung Fu.

I went through all of my open-hand forms – not just the black belt material – everything.  The birds tripped me up.  Argh!  No time for mistakes!  The birds have always been a weak point for me.  But at one point, after practicing the forms several times, my muscle memory finally took over, and I didn’t have to think about them anymore – the body remembered.

“There it is!”  I felt like celebrating.

I only have to worry about material I previously tested on – like the birds – tomorrow night during the pre-test.  That’s when I can be asked to do ANYTHING.  It’s unlikely they’ll ask me to do everything I’ve learned, but I have no idea what they’ll ask of me.  They could ask me to do short katas, blue belt staff, all of the birds – who knows?

The only thing I’m sure of is that I’ll be testing on all of my “new” material too.  That’s the stuff I’ve learned as a black belt.  I’ve learned 18 forms as a black belt – 10 are required for the test.  And I have to admit, I’ve only been practicing those 10 for the past 5 months in preparation for the test, so if he asks me to do dagger (which is not one of the required) – heaven help me.

I crammed in a weapon review when I got home from work this afternoon.  Brr!  It was cold in the backyard!  I was glad to finally finish AND glad that nothing tripped me up.  Weapons — they’re my favs.  I tend to do those really well.

I warmed up inside with a little Tai Chi and Pa Qua practice.

When Andy got home, we decided to do an EPOC WOD.  While waiting for Andy to pull his weights together, Luke led me through some yoga moves he’s apparently learned at school.  It was so cool — he knew all of the names and everything.

“Air Force WOD”
5 Burpees
20 Thrusters
20 Sumo Deadlift High Pull
5 Burpees
20 Push Press
20 Overhead squats
5 Burpees
20 Front Squats

Ugh.  HARD.  I used the intermediate weight — 15#.  When I got to the overhead squats, I had to drop one of them because my back just couldn’t handle both.  I made it through this bruiser in 8:30 — would have been faster but I had to stop and rest during the thrusters and push press.

Wonder how I’ll feel tomorrow….

Grimaces and ice

This evening I took on the last challenge workout for the week.  I was sore from Thursday’s and Friday’s WODs, but it’s Saturday, and it’s got to get done.

4 rounds
25 double unders or bell hops
25 swings
10 burpees
25 situps
25 walking lunges

I didn’t have the intermediate weight of 20# for the swings, so I went with the 15# dumbbell.  I would have used Andy’s homemade “kettlebell,” but the swings were supposed to be American — over the head — and the homemade rig isn’t safe above eye level.

I also chose bell hops, because I can’t do more than 1 or 2 double unders.

I finished in 17:51.

Sitting on the deck next to Andy after the workout, I attempted to pull the mulch out of my Lulu pants — not fun.  But it was even less fun standing up.  That glute muscle, which has been bothering me for weeks, screamed out in PAIN.  I immediately went inside to change and get an ice pack.

I alternated ice on and off every 15 or 20 minutes or so.  The inflammation is better.

Dammit — I wish I could take something other than Tylenol for the pain.  I’m not allowed to take anything else right now, and Tylenol doesn’t do a darn thing for muscle pain.

Sigh.

I hope this starts to heal soon.  My test is this week, and I need to feel strong before doing some of those moves.  Cartwheels?  Drops? Rolls?  Low stances?

This is going to hurt.

Week of intensity… and rest

No, I haven’t felt much like writing as of late.

I’ve still been working my tail off in my workouts, but I’ve also been crawling into bed early each night, desperately trying to snatch whatever extra hours of sleep I can before that alarm goes off the next morning.  I’ve been craving 9 and 10 hours of sleep a night.  Sometimes 8 hours just aren’t enough.

Looking back at my performance journal since Tuesday, I see an awful lot of rest days.  Not that that is necessarily a bad thing — it just doesn’t happen very often.  And it’s odd to see so much white space in a week where I’ve not missed Crossfit or Kung Fu at all.

I am thoroughly in the midst of a fever to review my Kung Fu material before my test.  The pre-test is February 23 — just over a week away.  The test itself is on February 25.  Both are on Crossfit days and both are in the late evening, when I’m usually crawling into bed.  I’m praying that I have my head together enough to show that I really do know my material.  I’m much more together in the morning, and testing will definitely be a challenge.

Thursday’s WOD turned out to be a really good one for me:

30-20-10 DB snatch (M 35# / W 25#)
20-10-30 Box Jumps
10-30-20 Pull ups

I used 15# for the weight so I could focus on form and still move quickly.  Zach’s description of pulling the dumbbell up like you’re starting a lawnmower really made sense to me.  Still, I had the move down better on the right side that the left side for some reason.

I made myself jump on the box for at least half of the jumps — except the 10 set, when I jumped for all of them.  On pull ups, I felt weak — it had been a while since I had worked on pull ups.

I finished in 14:34.

That night, knowing I would be really sore the next day, I decided to do one of my challenge WODs.  Andy and Luke joined me.  Luke was doing his version of a burpee on the mat while Andy and I:

21-15-9
Sumo Deadlift High Pull
Swings
Burpees

I used 20# and finished in 6:47.  I was toast for 2 days after that.

I managed to put off the challenge endurance WOD until Sunday morning, when I ran the Paramount 5K — probably my last race until late fall 2010.  I was kind of fudging the WOD, and I hope I don’t get fussed at for it, but I wasn’t looking forward to running 3 miles on the heels of a 3 mile run.

Here’s what the WOD was:

Run 3 miles
3 min at 80%
1 min at 50%

I’m going to guess that I did that.  There were times I felt like I was really pushing it, and times I had to slow down.  I was really proud that I didn’t stop.  I just kept going.

Thank goodness my friend Jenny ran with me, because I probably wouldn’t have done it without her.  She helped me pace myself and stuck near me the whole time.

I don’t have my exact time yet (I wore a chip), but I crossed the finish line around 30:40 — and I started about 20 seconds after the race started, give or take.  That’s a slow mile, but right now, I’ll take it.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.  Don’t forget to enjoy dark chocolate — everyone deserves a yummy treat!

We meet again: Fight Gone Bad

I’ve been rushing about the house in the hours since my workout ended this morning, and I haven’t had much time to reflect on how I did.  Now, sipping my tea, I can think about it, even though the dogs are running through the house, playing, and making a huge racket.

They’re fun to watch.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, the WOD:

Fight Gone Bad
1 min max reps
Row
Wall Balls (W 14#)
Sumo Deadlift High Pull (W 55#)
Box Jumps
Push Press (W 55#)

My reps per exercise were written down on my sheet that gets kept in my folder at the gym, and I neglected to write them down. I do know my total reps: 121.

It was low compared to my class, and a little lower than the last time I did 2 rounds of Fight Gone Bad three months ago (126).  Disappointing at first glance.  But here’s why I’m not disappointed.  This time I did the whole thing as prescribed.  I used the Rx weight and I jumped on the box — I did not scale it to step ups, which is what I did last time.  Jumps are slower for me, so I’m not surprised the reps went down.  The fact that they only went down by 5 is amazing to me, considering how crappy I felt this morning.

I felt stronger on push press, which is where I started the rounds, but I felt weaker on the SDLHP.  Wall balls continue to be a struggle for me — something else I need to work on — because I was hitting so low on the wall.

I’ll take 121.

Last night I took on a challenge WOD at home.  Andy did this one with me, and I must have been really off, because I really struggled.

AMRAP 12 min
8 shoulder press (15#)
12 renegade rows
15 situps

I only got through 4 rounds.  Yikes!  Of course, I didn’t read the directions all the way through, which stated clearly that you should do 6 rows with one arm and 6 with the other each set.  I did 12 with both.  No wonder I was slow.  Oh well, great workout.

I also returned to Kung Fu yesterday morning for the first time in 2 weeks.  Testing is getting really close, and I really shouldn’t take any more time off between now and then.  I have my material, but I need to make sure it’s solid and fluid.  I’ll probably start practicing weekends at home in the backyard for a few weeks. 

There’s no backing out now — Master Joe knows I’m testing, and he’s expecting me to be there.  Plus, why back out if I’m ready?

My last Friday conditioning class

This morning I led the Friday conditioning class for the last time.  It was fun while it lasted. 

I gave up the class last weekend after much soul-searching.  It was a difficult decision, but one for the best I think.  The reasons behind my decision are not appropriate for public discussion, but I did not decide this lightly.

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and the class was me, Andy and Darrin.  I didn’t have anything planned, so we finally came up with the following:

For 20 minutes:
1 min jump rope
20 sec squats
1 min jump rope
20 sec pushups
1 min jump rope
20 sec situps

It came to about 15 rounds, total.  My feet were raw during the jump rope, and I felt very tired — this is Day 4 of exercise for me, and I desperately need a rest day.

So now, what next?  I initially thought I’d continue to show up as a class participant on Fridays, but now I’m not so sure I want to commit to that.  Possibly in the short term… but who knows down the road?  I know I’m going to need another workout during the week, so Andy and I are adding a Sunday WOD at home.  And maybe I’ll be able to add some more Crossfit days to my schedule.  It will be easier now to change my schedule as needed.

I’m staying positive and moving forward.