Time for a change: My meeting with the coach

I met with my coach last week to talk about how I’ve been frustrated with my training lately.

I told him all about how I feel like I’ve been losing ground since the I AM Challenge — how my running feels slower, my strength feels like it’s fading, and how in general, I just don’t think things are going well.

Zach listened and he asked lots of questions.  How much have I been training?  What have I been eating? What do I think the problem could be? Then he offered his advice: change the routine; get out the junk and clean up my nutrition.

It’s advice I readily accepted, and we started to formulate a plan.  My Crossfit workouts won’t change right away.  Soon I hope to move into his Olympic lifting class. In the meantime, Andy and I are changing our home workout routine to be less focused on met-cons and do more traditional strength.

I also asked Zach to help hold me accountable for my diet.  I’m sending him my food logs once a week.  I’m already making changes.  And I’m giving intermittent fasting a try.  I know there’s no single way to do it, so I’m experimenting.  IF has numerous health benefits, according to this article from Mark’s Daily Apple.  Andy’s been doing it frequently for some time.  And now that breastfeeding is slowing down, my appetite has decreased dramatically.  I’m hoping — at a minimum — IF will help me key into to my body’s hunger signals again, because I’m gotten so used to eating a lot of food on a schedule, that I’m eating even when I’m not hungry.

So there you have it.  Change in the works.  We’ll see what happens, right?

It’s already a little weird.  All Andy and I did was strength Wednesday night.  It felt weird, like I needed to do more, even though my arms and legs are tired.

Shoulder Press 3×10
Ring Rows 3×7
Deadlift 3×10

Results:
Shoulder Press: 45-50-55
Deadlift: 95-95-115
(Ring rows completed directly under rings with knees bent)

Andy is no running buddy

I was sitting at the kitchen table tonight, marking on the dry erase boards we keep on the fridge with our schedules and menu for the week (I’m endlessly anal if you haven’t noticed), when Andy sat down and said very seriously:

“Cindy, I don’t think I’m a good running buddy for you.”

Duh. Did he really just come to that conclusion?

“I run better when I’m setting my own pace,” he told me.

I smiled and answered, “I know, hon. But we’re training for the Tough Mudder.”

We had planned to work out on Saturday, but we were both so exhausted that we slept in, and by the time the kids were in bed it was super late and the temp still felt like 105 degrees outside.  (Plus Mads was still slightly fussy and restless for hours.)

Andy sitting on a wall, while Luke stands next to Mads in the yellow jogging stroller.So we agreed to run with the strollers on Sunday.  We got to the trail earlier this time, but it was still incredibly hot.  Mads fell asleep on our way to Auditorium Shores.  Along the way, Luke loudly pointed out all sorts of observations, all of which were interesting.  But since our culture frowns upon making comments about people within earshot, we got a lot of looks until we had a talk with Luke about what was socially acceptable in our culture.

Andy must have been dehydrated for most of the run, because he kept needing to stop and walk during our run, which looped from Mopac to the Congress Bridge at back.

Cindy poses at the Roberta Crenshaw trailhead at Lady Bird LakeBut still, it was a nice morning, even if it was close to 100 degrees.  I was wearing my new Lulu shorts and sports bra, and lamenting the fact that I had no top to go with my new clothes when Andy pointed out I could just run without a short.  Heck!  About half of the women on the trail do that.  I’m usually so conservative when it comes to my wardrobe that I shun stuff like that, but this time, I decided to take off my shirt and run the rest of the way in my bra.

“Why haven’t I been doing this all along?!”

Eff if I know, Andy told me.

Results: 00:001:59

When I got home, I decided to add some strength work on top of the run.  Andy started “breakfast”, while Luke and I went outside.  Here’s what I did:

Shoulder Press 3×3
55-65-70
Ring Rows 3×5
Front squat
65-75-85
Good mornings
65-70-75

Back in the saddle… and it hurts

I’m back from vacation, and truth be told… I’m not quite together yet.

One of my coworkers says it takes 3 days to catch up for every day you take off, but I don’t quite believe that.  I think it takes more.  And considering how much sugar I consumed and how little sleep I got… I wouldn’t exactly consider my vacation a recovery week.

So when Tuesday rolled around and it was time to head back to Crossfit… I wasn’t exactly refreshed.

Tuesday:

“Griff”
800m run
400m backwards run
800m run
400m backwards run

Time: 15:00

This was a hero WOD, and it was kind of brutal.  Running backwards really slowed me down, so I was lucky to finish right at the cut off.  It was painfully obvious I haven’t been running much since the challenge.  Gotta change that.

On Thursday, I ended class by lying on the sidewalk, trying to catch my breath.  Staring up at the power lines, I knew I had given it my all.

Shoulder Press
3-3-3-3-3

Results: 50-55-65-ran out of time

This was a bad day for lifting.  It just wasn’t there, even though I’ve done 70# in this same rep scheme.  Some days you got it.  Some days you don’t.  I didn’t have it on Thursday.

For Time:
30 wall balls (M20# / W 14#)
30 Burpees
30 Power cleans (M 95# / W 65#)
30 Toes-to-bar
150ft walking OH lunge w/plate (M 45# / W 25#)

Time: 11:48 RX (except toes-to-bar)

This week reminded me how important sleep and nutrition are to training.  I haven’t been sleeping, and while on vacation, I haven’t been eating well.  Now that I’m back, I’m focusing on portion control and eating nutritious foods.  I’m trying to cut back on fruit, cut out sweets, and up healthy fats and protein.  It’s hard breaking the sugar habit, but I’m determined.  I’m also cutting out alcohol for a while.  It’s sugar I just don’t need right now.

Tomorrow morning, Andy and I are hoping to get back in the swing of home workouts with some strength, a met-con and a long run.  I’m still searching for a new running buddy.  I’m hoping for a human buddy, but I may try out one of my canine pals.  Bennie seems like she might be up for it.  She’s got the endurance to hang with me.

“There she goes!”

There is constant construction in my neighborhood.  Houses are old, and sometimes the owners die and homes are renovated or razed when new owners take over.

There’s a house up the street that’s been under renovation for months. I think the woman that owned it moved into a nursing home or died.  I feel bad that I never met her, but I never saw her outside.

In January or February there was a port-o-potty in front of the house.  It’s gone now, but every time I pass the house I think about that port-o-potty and how my friend Beth ducked into it during a warmup 400m run from my house.  “Did you just use that port-o-potty?”  “Yeah.”  “You know I have a bathroom at my house…” “I know, but I’ve already used it twice…”

I laugh every time I remember that.


There were workmen in front of the house Monday morning.  They were sitting in their trucks, waiting for the foreman or contractor, I assume.  They stared at me as I made my way to the telephone pole and back on the first leg of my endurance workout (which I had skipped on Sunday).  I felt a little uneasy running by — like I was being judged.  I nearly called off the whole WOD.  But I gave myself a hard kick in the pants and told myself to suck it up and finish.  It didn’t matter that I was putting on a show.  Hell — it would be a GOOD-LOOKING show, and I should be proud.

As I ran back to my house on round 6, I heard one of them say “there she goes!”  I laughed.  I HAD put on a good show.

Here was my workout:

6 rounds
400m repeats
(rest 2 minutes between rounds)

OK — so I did modify it a little.  The original was 8 rounds — but I didn’t want to run by the workmen THAT many times.  And the rest was only supposed to be the amount of time it took you to run the previous interval (which was about 1:47 for me) but logistically, it was easier to set the clock to 2 min.

Times: 1:47-1:43-1:46-1:47-1:47-1:48

All under 2 minutes!  Yay!  And that wasn’t all.  I warmed up with a mini met-con and some strength work:

5min AMRAP
9 sprawl
6 KB Russian twist (1 pood — each side)
3 KB press from ground

Results: 4 rounds + 7 sprawl

This was a great WOD, and it can easily be turned into a longer met-com.  Andy made it a 12min AMRAP, changing the presses to 3 one-armed on each side.

Love my kettlebell!

Then, I tested my shoulder press strength:

Shoulder Press
3-3-3-3-3

Results: 50-60-70(only got 2)-70(only got 1)-65

Check it out — I got 2 at 70#.  That means it’s not my 1 rep max anymore!  I can’t wait for Crossfit Total in June — I will be smashing some PR’s!

Handling failure

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
— Winston Churchill

How do you handle failure?

Be honest with yourself.  No one is listening.

How do you handle it?  Do you get mad at yourself?  Do you gloss over it and try to be positive?  Do you give up?  Or do you turn your failure into a success?

One of the things I have learned as part of being a parent is that feelings are OK.  Mine AND my child’s.  I don’t tell Luke or Mads not to cry.  I don’t tell them not to be angry.  Because that’s stupid. They’re upset.  They’re scared.  Feelings happen. What is important is to acknowledge their feelings.  Let them REALLY feel them.  Otherwise, how can they possible learn to handle them as adults?

It’s important not just to do that for children, but also ourselves.  It’s stupid to gloss over feelings of frustration when we fail just because some self-help book told us we have to stay positive.  Yes — positive attitudes count, but embracing our initial feelings is incredibly important so we CAN move on to being positive.

Where am I going with this ramble?  My perceived failure this morning on Part 2 of Crossfit Total.

Shoulder Press
Deadlift
1-1-1

Results:
Shoulder Press — 60-6565
Deadlift — 155-175-195

I’m not happy with how I did.  My shoulder press goal was 80#.  My max is 70#.  And I couldn’t even lift 65#.  (Here’s how I did last time.)

I’m less disturbed by the deadlift.  I had further to go with that after pregnancy.  But my max last year was 185#.  I wanted to return there, and even beat it.  It’s true that I deadlifted more this time than last time, but it still feels like failure.

Here’s what’s going to happen.  I’m going to think about my lifts this morning — probably for the rest of the day.  There may be some pouting involved.  There may even be some excuse-making (“I was tired.”  “It was a bad day.”  “I did a tough workout Wednesday.”).  I’m going to embrace my feelings of failure.

And then, I’m going to let them go.

I will set new goals.  I will add more lifting into my workout schedule with Andy.  I will not shy away from my failure.  I will remember how it made me feel and I will turn it into success.

Feelings are fleeting.  Drive pushes us forward.  Accept what you feel, but don’t let that distract you from your path.

Women and weights

My friends Beth and Stephanie came over Wednesday to do a strength WOD and one of our weekly EPOC workouts.

Beth said she left her house telling her kids that she had to go lift weights, and her son said exasperatedly, “Why are moms always doing that?”

“Most moms aren’t always doing that!” she told him.

It’s true.  Most moms don’t.  In fact, there are so many myths about women weight-training that persist even today!  (Here’s one of my favorite posts that debunks those myths.) But maybe my kids will grow up with the impression that moms — all women, really — should lift weights heavier than 5 pounds.

Anyway, our strength WOD was a long one this week.  We followed it up with a fast met-con.  (Damn!  I wish I had pulled out my camera!)

Strength
Shoulder Press 1-1-1-1-1
Push Press 3-3-3-3-3
Push Jerk 5-5-5-5-5

Results:
45-55-65-70-80
55-60-65-70-75
55-65-70-75-80

No such luck on meeting that I AM goal of an 80# shoulder press — not yet!

Met-con
100 dumbbell snatches for time

Time: 8:00 @ 20#

Whew!  I followed that up with some major eating at dinner.  Pressure-cooker chuck roast.  Delish!

Sweet, sweet broccoli

I’ve been pretty strict Paleo for going on 4 weeks now, and I feel really good.

No more cheese.  No more cream in my coffee (I’m taking a little cinnamon now).  And I’ve been replacing fruit with vegetables, so I’m eating fruit only sparingly these days.

I feel squeaky clean.  And without a lot of sugar in my diet — BROCCOLI tastes sweet.

Did I mention that?  Broccoli.  And winter squash. And sweet potatoes?  Oh my!  What an indulgence!

I tend to save sweet potatoes for the breakfasts after Crossfit, since they’re carb-heavy.  Tuesday was no exception.

3 rounds
AMRAP 5 min
200m row
7 KB Press R (M 16k / W 12K)
7 KB Press L

Rest 1 min between rounds

My results were kind of weird because there were fewer rowers than people and Zach told me and Fred to wait until someone jumped off.  That took too long, so I started on KB presses on round 2.

Results:
Round 1 — 1 round + row + 5 press
Round 2 — 2 rounds + 5 press
Round 3 — 2 rounds + 2 press

Extra work:
3 rounds
1 min plank hold
1 min max push ups

Awesome WOD.

I’ve been really paying attention to post-WOD nutrition.  One of the coaches had told me (and other ladies) to eat only protein and carbs within 30 minutes after a WOD.  But then I read a post by another coach and Zach said the same thing, essentially, so now I’m eating a protein and a fat.  It seems to be working for me, so I’m sticking with it.

Other than that, I’m eating copious amounts of leafy green vegetables.  Salad!  Chard!  Kale!  Oh my!  And while I’m not really trying to lose weight, the scale says I am.  Which is a nice side effect to the feeling of being stronger and faster.

Running in the rain

As I sit down to write this post, it’s raining outside.  Dark.  Rainy.  I have such as urge to curl up with some hot cocoa.  My coffee is near.  I’m wearing my new hoodie over my PJs.  It’s warm.  And I’m (no longer secretly) hoping that my running buddy will decide she does not want to run this morning.

My calves are also sore.  I can tell I haven’t rested in almost a week.

I’m not looking forward to getting wet.

Jenny and I ran together yesterday — the first time since before Christmas.  The trails were wet and it was sprinkling lightly.  It was also cold, and my feet lost all feeling very quickly.

It was not the most pleasant run.

It also wasn’t the fastest.  It took about 35 minutes from start to finish (for a 5K), including our water stop, a stop for tying shoes and walking up some steps.

Later that day, I decided to do my first challenge WOD for week 2.  Here was my thinking: “I better do this now, because I’m going to be too tired tonight.”

AMRAP 12 min
3 shoulder press (Elite – 20# DB)
6 broad jumps
9 supermans

Results: 14 rounds

I need to stop comparing my workout times to last year.  I upped the weight from last year and did 1/2 a round more, but the note in my journal from last year clearly stated: Nauseous in the morning.

I keep wondering — how did I survive last year’s challenge?

It’s nearly time to leave for this morning’s run.  And no text message saying “Let’s call it off.”

Darn.

I’m off.

Answer: All of the above?

The last of the Thanksgiving leftovers are right now going into a Turkey Curry recipe, the pumpkin cheesecake was polished off by our resident dessert expert, Luke, and the other leftovers disappeared days ago.

Now that T-Day is behind us, I can feel the pre-Christmas frenzy descending.  It seems like my to-do list grew by feet within just a matter of days.

With everything going on, it should come as no surprise that I’m not quite 100%.  The boys have been sick;  I may be fighting off a virus;  I haven’t taken time to sleep enough; and the weather has been oscillating between hot and cold.  Also I indulged in a piece of gluten-free but highly sugary spice cake on Friday and I’m only now feeling its effects leave my system.

Maybe that explains my off day for:

Crossfit Total (Part 1)
1-1-1
Back Squat
Shoulder Press

I felt really weak, and my numbers showed it.  Not only was I unable to PR, but I also couldn’t even lift the weight I know I can do.

Back squat: 115-125-145
Press: 60-6565

Not my strongest lifts.  Not even close.  Andy’s first thought was the virus.  Then I suggested lack of sleep (Mads got me up in the middle of the night).  We kept naming possibilities when I finally said — maybe it’s everything.

Bottom line, every day is different.  Today wasn’t my strongest day.  On the other hand, I felt really fast during the warmup run.

At least I can look on the bright side.  Hopefully I don’t sound too much like a Pollyanna.

Hedging my bet

Things have been a little nutty around here lately.  Andy and I planned to work  out together Monday night, but with everything that’s been going on, I was afraid he would be too tired by 8pm.

So I did a quick midday workout by myself just in case.

2 rounds
30 DB swings (30#)
15 Push Jerk (65#)
50 sit ups

This is actually the workout the Crossfit Central Women’s classes did Monday — just modified because I don’t have a kettlebell.  I should have gone heavier on the swings — I could have totally done it.

Time: 13:01

As it turned out, Andy wasn’t tired at all, but neither of us felt like running in the dark.  I talked him into a strength session.

Shoulder Press
5×5
Pistols
3×3

Results: 45-50-55-60-60

I don’t remember doing so many strict presses at that weight before — maybe I’m wrong.

Anyway, I remarked to Andy that it took me a while to understand that I need to challenge myself (and be smart about it) in order to improve.  It’s only been within the past couple of years that I started actually doing that.

I think it’s making a difference, too.