On being appreciative of your accomplishments

I realized yesterday that I focus so much on what I need to work on, or on what I can’t do yet, that I forget about the things I can do, and as a result, I’m not as appreciative of what I’ve accomplished.

Double unders are the perfect example. I remember not even being able do single jump rope swings right after Luke was born. It took months of practice in Kung Fu conditioning class and later at Crossfit to feel like jump rope was easy.

Double unders eluded me for a long time, though. It wasn’t until last summer that I finally got fed up and started practicing most days a week. It took a while, but gradually I began to string them together. Now, I’ve GOT them. It took work, but I did it. And when they come up in WODs, like they did on Tuesday, I can zoom through them quickly without scaling.

5 rounds
3 deadlift (M 305# / W 205#)
10 burpees
20 double unders

Time: 12:55 @ 155#

This was one of our mid-month benchmarks — it will show up again in 6 weeks. I debated over the weight to choose. I needed to go heavy, but how heavy? On Saturday my max was 165#, but maybe that was just that day? Zach gave us time to warmup with the bar, so I loaded 125# on the bar and worked my way up. When I got to 155#, it felt really challenging, so I knew I had found my weight.

When I was done and was cleaning up, Zach told me I did well on the double unders. That made me stop and think. They’ve become “just another thing I can do,” but not without effort. I really worked hard to “get” double unders, and as with all accomplishments, I should be appreciative.

Double unders: Practice makes a difference!

When I was growing up, I played the piano.

For an hour a day, I was expected to practice. I was sent to the living room to stare at the keyboard. The timer on the stove was set to keep track of my time.

I wanted to play the piano. I really did. But I also wanted it to come easily to me. And it didn’t. I also wanted to do a lot of other things, and sitting on that bench an hour a day sometimes felt extremely lonely. I would wait for the time to tick away, wishing that I could play beautifully without putting in the time and effort.

Now that I look back, I regret wasting so much time wishing for something to happen, rather than taking action to MAKE it happen.

How many times have I heard people say, “I wish I knew then what I know now.” It’s so true.

Why the deep philosophical commentary? My WOD this morning, of course!

5 rounds
35 double unders
200m run

Today was my interval day, and I saw this WOD somewhere and thought — Oooh! double unders!  Here’s a good way to work in practice! (Because I want to do Annie RX one day.)

I took the timer outside and set it to 25 minutes, thinking I would be so slow at double unders that I wouldn’t finish. I also started off doing the same thing I did last week and counting my failed double under attempts.

But after round 1, I realized I didn’t have to do that.  In fact, my double unders were a heck of a lot better. What’s more, I set a PR for unbroken double unders — 18!

Time: 17:22

I’ve been working on double unders and pullup strength nearly very day for the past month or more. I’ve been WANTING to do both for years and “working” on them sporadically — a workout here or there — but I’ve never put in a concerted effort. Until now.

So the lesson for me has been: if I really want something, I have to work for it.

I wonder what I can accomplish if I apply that to all aspects of my life….

The early side of Sunday

Saturday night into early Sunday morning was kind of rough at the Brummer casa. It seemed like no one could sleep!

I was awake. Mads was awake. Andy had trouble falling asleep. Luke fell asleep at 4pm, but woke up in the middle of the night and came looking for us. All in all — there were a lot of tired people Sunday morning!

I woke up early anyway because I was planning to do a strength workout on my own with no one interrupting me. Unfortunately, I didn’t let the dog out right away, so she went in the kids’ room and woke them up.

Grrr….

I got a workout in away. It was just delayed, and I felt bad that Andy had to entertain the troops when he so desperately needed sleep.

Sunday was scheduled to be a lighter weight day with more technical movements, so I stuck with my trusty 20# DBs.

Skills/Warmup:
200 jump rope swings
40 double unders
10 ring pullup holds-negatives

Strength:
A) 1-arm DB split snatch 5×3 reps (45 sec rest)
B) 2 DB Push Jerk 5×3 reps (45 sec rest)
C) 4 sets: 5 1-arm DB bench press/ 8 push ups (60 sec rest)
D) 4 sets: 60 sec wall squat / 10 squat jumps (60 sec rest)

Core:
3 rounds– 5 Turkish get-ups @ 10# DB / 6 Saxon side bends @ 10# DB / 10 V-ups / 10 knee hugs / 5 V-ups / 5 knee hugs

It turned out to be a nice, lazy day after that. Andy took Luke to the park to try out his new bike in the first of what will likely be many bike-riding lessons. I went on strike and decided not to clean. That’s about it.

Sometimes that’s all you need.

I did it! A double under PR!

I’m so excited.  I’ve made it my mission to work on pullups and double unders.  Whenever I can, I pull out my speed rope or whatever rope I can find and I practice.

Tonight I practiced in the driveway while Andy had the sprinkler out, watering the lawn (It’s our watering day). The sprinkler would occasionally get me as it waved back and forth, but it felt really good so I didn’t move.

I digress.

The last time I practiced, I resolved to do 20 double unders, and it took me a really long time.  Tonight, it went much faster.  So I decided to do 10 more.  And that went fast!  So I decided to try to string two together (I had been doing a few singles, then a double, singles, then a double).

I managed to string 5 together.

I was so proud, I ran inside to tell Andy.

“Andy! Andy! Guess what!  I got 35 double unders!”

I’m a dork.  I know. But one day I want to do “Annie” RX.  And I don’t want to have to scale in a competition like I did in the Garage Gym Throwdown.

I also did my 10 negative deadhang pullups, which suck.  Then I followed up with the WOD Andy did Monday.  Well, sort of.  It was the closest I could get without a rowing machine or a 24kg kettlebell.

2 rounds
400m run
35 Russian swings @ 50#
75 squats

Time: 12:03

I’m going to pay for that one tomorrow.  We’re doing a squat clean AMRAP. Ouch.

In a zombie… out alive

The past five days have been surreal.

I’m engulfed in a world that barely overlaps with the one in which I am usually surrounded.  It’s weird and inspiring and scary all at the same time.

Every year in March — during Spring Break — South by Southwest takes over Austin.  Some love it, some hate it.  I have found that the best way to get through the masses of people and changes to my town is to embrace it.  And as a result, I am on my last day as an attendee of the Interactive portion of the conference/festival.

For my work, it’s important.  But it’s played havoc with everything else in my life: time, family, sleep, exercise, nutrition.  I consider the disruption like being on vacation — it’s the 80/20 rule, right — but as a result, I’m exhausted.

Literally.

I’m exhausted.  I’m running on empty.  I’m loving it, but I honestly believe that SXSWi is trying to kill me.  Between the panels and the special events and all of the after-parties (which is where the networking is), I’m averaging 4-5 hours of sleep a night.

It hurts so good.

And because I’m completely stubborn, I refuse to slow down.  I want to see everything.  Do everything.  Plus take care of my family.  Plus… exercise.  At least a little.

So when I rolled into Crossfit this morning after yet another night of just 4 hours of sleep, I felt like a zombie.  And I REALLY believed that there was no way I would finish the workout.  I was questioning my own sanity for being there.  Why?  Why put myself through this?  What is driving me?

So we began.  And it hurt.  38 burpees for my friend Beth’s birthday as part of the warmup.  Dynamic warmups.  A 400m run.  And a workout on the big white board that loomed.

5 rounds
500m row
21 KB swings (M 24kg / W 16kg)
42 Double unders

And then something happened.

I woke up.  Or rather, my body did.  I was aware of how hard I was working, but I forgot about being tired.  It was just me and the WOD.  It hurt.  Oh, yes, it hurt.  And if I hadn’t been allowed to do 84 single jumps instead of 42 double unders, I never would have made it through round 1.

But I pushed.  And. It. Felt. So. Good.

Time: 23:58 @ 16kg and single jumps

Beth teased me about flying through the workout after I said I wasn’t going to finish.  It turns out I was one of the few who did.

As I was leaving, the Crossfit Central gal who was minding the front desk asked me how I was feeling, since I walked in looking so tired.

“I walked in a zombie and I came out alive.”  That made her laugh.

The workout bought me time.  It gave me that last little bit of oomph I needed to finish out this conference.

I’ll be glad when life returns to normal for me.  I’ve been eating (and enjoying) bread and beer and other crap, and I need to cleanse my system.  I figure it will take a few weeks to get the gluten out and get rid of the sugar cravings.  I hope I haven’t erased the progress I made during the challenge, but then again… I don’t regret anything.  It’s been a really nice break, even if it has been a shock to my system.

My first double under

I sorta dreaded class on Thursday morning.

For time:
50-40-30-20-10
Double Unders
10-8-6-4-2
Renedage Row (M 55# / W 35#)

Ugh.  Double unders.

I can do single jumps with my rope pretty easily, but double unders?  I have a friend that can do double unders all day.  Seriously.  They’re like nothing to him.

Usually I try a few, get caught up, and double the number so I can do singles.

They wouldn’t let me do that Thursday morning.  We skipped our strength portion (push jerk) to practice.

That’s when something amazing happened.  While practicing the skill, I got my first double under.  Then I did 2 more.

Wow!  A PR!

Then we HAD to do them for the WOD.  Singles did not count.  Fortunately, each double under attempt counted as 1.

Because I struggled so much, I didn’t finish the WOD.  I was on the round of 30 at #25 when time was called.  I was using 25# dumbbells.

But I got probably 7 REAL double unders.  A victory!

This workout will make you — jump, jump

Living in Austin during the summer makes me appreciate the wonderfulness of fall, especially since fall-like temperatures don’t usually hit us until November.

The morning workouts have been chilly, but refreshing.  And Friday, Andy and I had a chance to workout at home when it actually felt good to have the sun warm your back.

It was one of those workouts we didn’t have a lot of time for — baby girl was restless and I had someplace to be — so we had to put a 20 minute time limit on this one from Ross:

8 rounds
100 jump rope swings
10 push ups
15 med ball slams (15#)
20 lateral med ball jumps

I finished 5 rounds in 20 minutes, which I think was pretty good.  It’s been ages since I jumped rope or did slams or med ball jumps.  Plus the jumping rope was in the backyard — in the grass (dirt).

We decided to revisit the workout in a couple of months to see whether we could do more rounds.

We meant to do a running WOD on Saturday, but we were both so sore, it never happened.  It turned it into an active recovery day — just walked a few miles with Jenny around the lake.  It was chilly and gorgeous.  Of course, it was our last walk for a while — we’re running again!  Yowza!

Return to working out

I should be in bed, so this will be a quick post.

I took several days off from working out after pulling a muscle in my back.  It was one of those I’m-embarrassed-that-it-happened-and-please-don’t-tell-my-OB-GYN-how-I-did-it-because-she-will-freak kind of injuries.

A light deadlift did it, and it really sucks not being able to take ibuprofen for the swelling.  All I could do was apply ice and take Tylenol for the pain.  Can you say ‘ow?’

I’m feeling better now, and I’m still careful to ice several times a day to make sure it stays that way.

Last night, Andy handed me a workout that would be a good way to get back into working out.  It was inspired by a workout some friends did last week.

50-40-30-20-10
Double Unders
Push ups

Time: 14:02

I don’t even mess with double unders right now, so I doubled the reps for single jump rope swings.  We were out front (being attacked by mosquitoes), so I did elevated push ups on the front railing — chest to rail.  Ow.

I planned to work out tonight, but a long day at the zoo really knocked it out of me.  Today became an active rest day instead.

No total? Nope — AMRAP

I walked into Crossfit this morning expecting us to do our benchmark for the month — Crossfit Total.

It was not to be.  Next week we’ll do it.  Today an AMRAP awaited us and a skill session with one of the exercises in it.

AMRAP 12 minutes
15 Squats
9 Toes-to-bar
6 Sumo deadlift high pulls (M 135# / W 95#)

We were apparently supposed to work on kettlebell snatches as part of the skill session, but Zach decided he’d rather have us work on SDLHP.  He said he’s seen some really bad form and wanted us to get it right.

After working with the PVC pipe, we loaded up some bars for the following:

SDLHP
3-3-3-3-3

While I would have loved to go heavy, I went pretty conservative on the weight.

35-35-55-65-65

I was all set to do 65# for the WOD, but in the middle of my first round, I realized it was too heavy to maintain for 6 reps through that many rounds.  I dropped back to 55#.

As much as I dislike knee raises (my substitution for toes-to-bar), I’m really glad we did them, because they’re a great ab workout for me.  I don’t have many options right now, so knee raises will do.

I felt strong throughout the WOD and finished 8 rounds + 10 squats.

Here’s a couple of home WODs we did over the holiday weekend:

Sunday:

“Rosalie”
3 rounds
200m Farmer’s walk (20# dumbbells)
15 Thrusters (20# DBs)
15 ring rows

This one looked easy, but it was DECEPTIVE.  Time: 19:56

Monday: (Andy’s workout from Saturday, sorta)

3 rounds
10 deadlifts (65# barbell — LOVE it)
30 squats
100 rope swings

Time: 8:50

Bad week, good WODs

I’ll just be honest.  It’s been a very bad week — starting about Saturday.

No need to go into specifics.  The reasons are not important to the outside world, and I’m so super private about stuff like that anyway (believe it or not) that I would never in a million years write about them in a public forum.  Let’s just leave it at bad.

Despite that, I did manage to keep up with my workouts this week.  I’ll run through them quickly.

MONDAY:

We planned a met-con, but it was raining outside, so we did an indoor strength workout instead.

One-legged squats 3-3-3 (assisted w/ band)
Overhead press 2-3-4 (25# DB)
Bent-over row 5-5-5 (25# DB

TUESDAY:

This was a Crossfit morning.

Burgener Warm-up (PVC pipe)

-then-

21-15-9
Hang Power Snatch  (M 95# / W 65#)
Overhead Squat  (M 95# / W 65#)

Cindy holds up the 45# bar at the end of the hang power snatch
By Coach Carl

Here I am finishing up the move with the 45# bar.  I almost grabbed a 35# bar.  Glad I didn’t — didn’t need to.

Again, Zach called me out that the “preggo lady has the best form in the class.”  It’s interesting that you can barely tell I’m pregnant in this photo.

I finished in 11:07.

THURSDAY:

Thursday’s at Crossfit have become part lifting and part met-con, and I love it.

Shoulder Press
3-3-3-3-3

My max is only 65 on the strict press, so I kept it fairly light, considering.

45-50-50-50-55

-then-

15-3-9-6-12
Pull ups (assisted w/ blue band)
Box Jumps (step ups for me from now on)
Row for calories

I finished last in my class, but it doesn’t bother me — got a great workout: 12:28.

SATURDAY:

Andy went to the free indoor workout at my gym, which sounded brutal, so I did a WOD on my own.

“Baby Annie”
30-20-10
Double-unders or Tuck jumps
knees-to-elbows

This was a quick one: 5:52.

I really like subbing knees-to-elbows for the sit ups, because it still works my abs, plus I get to work on my grip.  I’m still no good at double-unders, so I tried those tuck jumps, which are really hard!  Much harder than singles!

I should mention that before starting, I swam five laps at Northwest pool with the kickboard, which tired out my legs.

I also started working on deadhang pull ups.  Inspired by the women’s class, I used a band to help me do 10.  My plan is to keep at it every other day, lowering the thickness of the bend until I don’t need help at all.  One day, I’m going to do an unassisted pull up!