Happy Crossfit anniversary

It was exactly 3 years ago today that I wrote my first blog post for Red in the Face and 3 years ago this week that I started Crossfit.

Wow. I can’t believe how much has changed, and also, what’s not changed.

Zach is still my coach (yes, I’m a loyalist), I still can’t do a pull up on my own, and I still wear a bandana around my head for workouts.

But Kung Fu is long gone, I replaced my vegetarian diet with the Paleo diet, I’ve lost several inches, and I’m stronger all over.

I’m even participating in the Crossfit Open for the first time this year. This morning we did Open WOD 12.2 in class:

AMRAP 10 min (Proceed through the sequence and complete as many reps as possible)
30 snatch (M 75# / W 45#)
30 snatch (M 135# / W 75#)
30 snatch (M 165# / W 100#)
Max Rep snatch (M 210# / W 120#)

Completed: 30 reps RX / 1 rep @ 65#

It could be any kind of snatch (power, split, full), but the bar could not be cleaned or pressed.

I had to scale down from 75#, but 65# was a PR! I refused to drop the weight any further, because I was determined. I spent about 5 minutes working for that single rep, and I got it with just a few seconds to spare. Yes, I’m very proud of myself. And it helped me learn what Zach’s been telling me all these many months in Olympic lifting — it’s all technique. Consistently good form will yield consistently good results.

Unfortunately, none of the scores I submit for the games will help my ranking. I misunderstood and thought the gym would be entering our scores for us. Not the case. And by the time I found out, it was too late to submit my score for WOD 12.1. Here’s what I did:

7 min AMRAP
Burpees (Body all the way to floor & both hands touch bar/ring 6″ above reach)
Score: 75 burpees

I’m kicking myself. I was so disappointed.

But I’m even more determined to compete in the Open next year.  And dammit, I’m going to kick some ass.

“Wanda” made me crabby

I’ve been putting off writing about Thursday’s WOD because I walked away from it pretty crabby.

You know how you have certain expectations of yourself?  Well, I didn’t do as well as I expected.  And as a result I was kind of crabby the rest of the morning (until work completely distracted me and I was able to step away from my disappointment).

The WOD was named after one of the women in the Crossfit Women program.

For Time:
200m Farmer’s Walk (M 55# / W 35#)
45 Wall balls (M 20# / W 14#)
200m Farmer’s Walk
45 Burpees

Time: DNF

That’s right.  I didn’t finish.  There was a 15 minute cutoff and I didn’t finish.  I was four burpees away.  I ended up doing the rest of the burpees after time was called, because I’m just like that.  But I didn’t finish.  And that really annoyed me.

You know what slowed me down?  The wall balls.  I struggled to toss the ball above my head.  I used the 14# med ball, and it wasn’t going any higher that the top of the white board.  I think I took too many breaks.

I used the 35# dumbbells for the farmer carries.  That’s definitely the heaviest I’ve used so far, but my grip was lacking on the second walk, and I had to stop and readjust several times.  I wish I had grabbed kettlebells instead, because I think my hold would have been better.

I must not be rested, because I also felt pretty weak on the strength portion of the morning.

Power Clean

Results: 55-65-75-85-(no time)

I know I can power clean 85 –possibly 90 or 95.  But it just wasn’t happening Thursday morning.

I blame my crazy busy week.  With work all day and meetings every night after work or during lunch, I’m spent.  I’m exhausted.  I can’t wait to rest.

Breakfast and burpees


I wasn’t sure breakfast was going to be enough this morning. I packed homemade breakfast patties, made of beef and pork with spices, and a whole avocado.
If I hadn’t donated blood this afternoon, I would have fasted until dinner.
Instead I ate a full lunch and after giving blood drank some Gatorade and ate some raisins.
Oh well… Almost got it right.
I loved being back in the gym this morning. I practiced double unders when I arrived, and I’m getting a lot better!
Then I slammed through the WOD:

Plate burpees to overhead (M 45# / W 25#)

Time: 9:00 @ 25# (2 purple bands)

Pullups are feeling better… Those ring rows I’ve been doing must be helping.

The definition of ‘allstar’

Someone called me an “allstar” last week.

It’s the kind of comment I brush off because of modesty.   I believe I countered the comment with, “All the allstars left my class, so it only looks like I’m an allstar.”  I certainly don’t think of myself as an allstar.

But then, in the middle of my third WOD this past week, I was thinking about it, and I realized something.  Maybe being an allstar isn’t about being the one who always finishes first, or the only who loads the bar with the most weight or the one who does everything RX.  Maybe it’s about something else.

Maybe it’s about how hard you work.

I don’t think about it very much, because it’s just what I do and there’s nothing to think about as far as I’m concerned, but I do put a lot of effort into my time at the gym.  I push myself.  Sometimes I feel like I could have pushed myself harder, but what I do is no joke.

Take Tuesday:

“Mary D”
Thrusters (M 135# / W95#)
Weighted pullups (M 45# / W 24#)

Time: 14:02 @ 65# (2 purple bands for strict pullups)

Hard!  My arms were toasted after this one.  I was so tempted to bump down the weight or grab another band to make it easier, but I didn’t do it.  I stuck it out.

We celebrated my birthday on Thursday with 35 birthday burpees and a BRUTAL WOD.

Sumo Deadlift

Results: 135-145-155-160160

That damn butt muscle ACTED UP AGAIN!  The same one from when I was pregnant.  Grrrr!  I’m not sure I can blame it for scratching on those last two sets, but it certainly didn’t help.

12min AMRAP
2 wall walks
10 DB Muscle Snatch (M 55#/W 35#)
20 box jump

Results: 3 rounds + 2 walks + 10 DB snatch @ 30#

The bad: Wall walks.  I just couldn’t pull myself vertical.  I need to do this more.  A lot more.
The good: The 25# DB was too light!  I am so happy I was able to bump up to 30#!

Friday was the day I started thinking about what it means to be an allstar.  I had dropped into Big Mike’s class and the comment was made.  I felt a little uncomfortable, because it seems like everyone is so much stronger and faster than I am.

Bench Press

Results: 65-65-70-70-(ran out of time)

4 rounds
400m run
10 back squat (M 155# / W 110#)

Time: 15:19 @ 105#

This WOD seemed pretty straightforward when I read it, but 105# was a lot harder than I thought it would be.  I really pushed myself on this WOD.  The cutoff was 15min, but Big Mike let me finish, and he coached me through to the end.

I think I screamed on the last 3.

Yeah, it was that painful.

I’m still feeling those squats today.  I’m glad for a rest week.  I’m walking around, but no WODs.  Alright, maybe a light run tomorrow with Andy if there’s time.  MAYBE an endurance WOD toward the end of the week.  But all in all, I’m taking a break.  My friends are doing a benchmark tomorrow, and I’ll be cheering them on from the sidelines.

Even allstars need to heal.

Giving it everything you have

I think I finally understand the whole thing about giving every last bit of yourself to a WOD.

I’ve seen lots of people — in class, competitions or in pictures — collapse with exhaustion after a WOD.  They just lay there on the floor, trying to recover.  I think I felt like I needed to do that when I first started, or did I?

If I did, I don’t remember, because after Thursday’s WOD, I really do understand pushing the intensity level of a WOD — not stopping, just pushing yourself to the finish.

5 rounds
12 Burpee to Overhead w/ plate (M 45# / W 25#)
200m run w/plate

To be honest, the workout is a blur.  I remember thinking that the burpees were not as hard as I thought they would be, so I went as fast as I could.

I also remember my bandanna falling off, but I just wanted to finish, so I kept going.  This was tragic, because it was the 5th round and my hip (which is now badly bruised) was too sore for me to hold the plate at my side, so I rested it on my back and did this weird shuffle-run.  The plate aided in pulling the rest of my hair down, so I had hair in my eyes.  between my hair and the angle of my head while the plate was on my back, I felt like I was running blind.  I must have looked a site, too!

Time: 15:20 RX

There was a 15min cutoff, and Jeff said I was the only person who came close to finishing.

Of course, I was panting so hard, I barely understood at the time what that meant.  All I wanted to do was melt into the floor and breathe.  But I had to run to work, so I wrote my time on the board and grabbed my stuff.

I could have used a stretch.  And that floor.  Honestly — it was the first time in a long time I felt like I pushed myself to my limit.  And it felt good.

Midday PR and burpees

The last several nights have been rough.  It took me 2 hours to settle Mads down, even though I could tell she was tired.  Andy dealt with Luke, who has been doing everything he can to delay bedtime.

And just as I thought would happen tonight, Andy was exhausted and collapsed.  At 8:30.  (Awww… give him a break.  He’s not used to waking up at 5.)  But it meant not working out together, despite the best intentions.

So I’m happy I had a premonition about this very thing and worked out on my own before noon while Mads took an epic nap.

Yeah — I am so smart.

Because I know Zach uses kettlebells in his Oly class, and because I’m deathly afraid of not being strong enough if I join the class, I’ve been working kettlebells into my warmups.  In addition to carries in the farmer, front rack and overhead position, I worked in this mini WOD on the fly:

7 rounds
7 KB deadlift
7 KB swings
7 KB squats

Time: 9:16 @ 1 pood

I nearly busted my bottom lip open transitioning from the swing to squat position with the kettlebell during round 2.  I have a sweet little blood blister now.  But eventually I started tossing the weight in the air and catching it for the squats.  I felt pretty proud.

Then it was strength time.

Push Jerk

Results: 55-65-75-80-85

A PR!  By 10#!  Andy thinks I should test that shoulder press this weekend and see if I’m able to hit 80 yet, since that’s been a huge goal.

After a little rest, I did another met-con — the main met-com I had put in my planner.

100 burpees for time

My goal was under 10 minutes.   My time: 9:41.

I will probably rue my choice of Wednesday workouts.  I have had a nagging feeling all day that someone will forget their workout log on Thursday morning and we will all be sentenced to 40 burpees (or more — it’s happened before).

Oh yay.  More burpees.


No burpees. Please.

I did not want to do burpees today.

Or rather — I didn’t want to do them during the warmup as a punishment.

Zach wants us to bring our workout logs to class, and he threatened us with burpees if just one person forgot.  It was bound to happen — I mean, no one’s perfect.  And so on Tuesday morning, we skipped our usual warmup for 40 burpees.

And then someone wasn’t doing them right.  And I guess he didn’t listen to Zach when it was pointed out because that’s when Zach got mad.  And then we had to do 50.  And then 60.  And by the end of that ordeal most everyone was pretty ticked off and worn out.

So this morning, log book in had, I was prepared to tell anyone who didn’t show up with their book to turn around and go home.  But as a testament to how awesome the people in my class are — 100% compliance!  Yay!

Too bad there were burpees in the WOD.

I guess I should start with the strength component.

Sumo Deadlift

Note: This is not a high pull — just a deadlift.  As Zach and Jeff showed us, the legs are wide, the grip narrow.  And Zach said it’s possible to lift more in the sumo form than you usually can on a deadlift.  My buds and I shared a bar and this is what my results were:


Yep — just 5 pounds apparently made the difference between success and a scratch.  It was weird.  Maybe I was distracted or tired or both.  I also felt distracted and tired during the WOD, and it showed in my time.

3 rounds (12 min cutoff)
25 Box jumps
20 Thrusters (M 75 / W 55)
15 burpees

Sadly, I only made it into round 2 before time was called — I finished 1 round + 25 box jumps + 15 thrusters.  But I did it RX!  The thrusters slowed me down a lot as well as the box jumps, but it was important to me to do the RX move rather than scaling just so I could go fast.

That’s how you get stronger, baby!

Welcome back, Andy!

I killed Andy tonight — or so he says.

We haven’t worked out together since early December when Andy hurt his leg.  Now that the I AM challenge is over and his leg is healed, we’ve resumed working out together.

Just like before, we put the kids to bed, changed our clothes, and headed out back into the dark.  It felt so good out there with the breeze blowing.  I chose a WOD that included kettlebells, so I could use the one my Crossfit friends gave me as a thank you.

Andy was nervous, since it’s been so long for him.  He said he was going to take it slow, then he totally smoked me.

4 rounds
20 KB swings
15 Box jumps
10 Burpees
5 Handstand pushups

Time: 13:49 @ 1 pood (16kg) with hill jumps and scaled HSPUs

I was soooooo happy to take a shower after that one.  Whew!

My body comp and a WOD

Remember that body comp I mentioned in my last post?  (Here’s a refresher in case you missed it.)  I’m happy to say the results were positive.

I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me right now, but I remember the highlights.

Weight: Lost 6lbs
Body Fat: Lost 5%
Inches: Lost many places — most dramatic loss was in the hips
Gained inches in my shoulders

(Here’s where I started.)

I’ll blog my exact numbers when I get a copy of the assessment.  All in all, I’m really happy with my results.

I’m going to take a few days to look at everything from this challenge — body composition, strength, speed, nutrition — and set new goals.  It doesn’t end here.  And I don’t plan on waiting for another formal challenge to start going for them.

In the meantime, I have just a couple more days left in the I AM CROSSFIT EPOC Challenge.  On Wednesday, Steph, Beth and I got together for our last strength and met-cons.

3 x 16 weighted lunges (Dumbbells M 45# / W 30#)

I used a 65# bar for the first set of 16, then switched with Beth and used 30# DBs for the last 2 sets.  I had trouble getting my knee to the ground.  These were very hard.

Then it was WOD time.  Beth decided to do the one I did on Tuesday, Steph decided to sit out and cheer us on because she’s taking Zach’s Oly Lifting class, and I did this:

3 rounds
20 squats
20 burpees
400m run

Ugh.  This was really hard.  Andy reminded me as I was in the middle of it that they were the last burpees of the challenge, and they all cheered me on as I struggled through rounds 2 and 3.  It felt really good to have such support, and I don’t think I would have done as well as I did if I didn’t have my cheerleaders.

Time: 13:25

I’m pretty sure this WOD and the lunges affected my performance on Thursday morning.  But more on that in my next post.

“Air Force WOD”

When I lived in Nashville, I used to meet my friend Steve in the mornings to skate hills in Brentwood, which is a suburb just south of the city.

I was a flake.

If it was cold or I had had a particularly rough shift on the morning show, I would call and cancel.  Steve was good-natured about it.  He used to say, “This ain’t the Army.”

I thought about that when I decided to get up early Saturday and do this WOD, because I knew there wouldn’t be time later in the day.  Partly because of the name, and partly because of how I don think I can be described as a flake any longer.

“Air Force WOD”
5 burpees
20 thrusters
20 sumo deadlift high pull
5 burpees
20 push press
20 overhead squat
5 burpees
20 front squats

Time: 9:54 @ 20#

This one was really hard.  I know my form was terrible on the overhead squats.  But I remember doing this one last year and I couldn’t even hold both dumbbells over my head.  So there ya go — progress.

Even if it isn’t the Army.