And the scale goes up…

I stepped on the scale this morning for the first time in a couple of weeks. I really shouldn’t do that.

For months my weight has been pretty steady. This morning, it was up. Hmmmm….

My knee jerk reaction is that this Zone thing and eating lunch is not working the way I intended. Fortunately, part of me is a little calmer, and I’m considering the other possibilities.

For one, stepping on the scale once in the morning is just a snapshot. Weight fluctuates throughout the day. Secondly — maybe what I ate over Christmas finally caught up to me. Third — I haven’t slept as much lately thanks to a freelance gig I just took, so the cortisol is probably going crazy.

It’s only been a few days of zoning Paleo. I’m still figuring this whole thing out. To be honest — it’s a complete pain in the butt. I can feel myself getting a little obsessive. This is not something anyone with a history of eating disorders should go near.

However, portion control is the ultimate goal. I’m no longer breastfeeding, but my brain is used to eating a lot of food to support it. So really, I need to get my brain used to less food. And hopefully, this will help fuel muscle growth.

In the meantime, it’s been a front squat kind of week!

Hip Power Snatch + BN Snatch Grip Push Press + OHS 3+3+3×3 → 45/45/50
Hang Snatch below the knee 2×3, 1×3 → 55/55/55, 55/55/60
Clean Pulls 5×3 → 70×3
Front Squat 65% 4×4 → 85/85/85/85

Front squat 3×5 → 85/95/105/115/120
Team of 3 For Time:
2K row
100 Dual KB Thrusters
100 Burpees
Results: Team w/ Kat & Beth → 1500m row + 100 burpees+100 thrusters @ 25# DB (me), 20# DB (them)
Cutoff: 15min

The team WOD was fun, but what we did in class was NOT what they tweeted out the night before. It was supposed to be a 5K row and 250 each of the thrusters and burpees. We probably would have done it if there had been no strength component. But there just wasn’t time.

Well, off to bed for a little sleep tonight. G’night!

Finding focus

Have you ever been really concentrating on something and then been forced to interrupt your thought process so you could do something else? That’s been happening to me these last couple of weeks.

Work is intense. I’m a web designer/developer, and I’m in the middle of a particularly intense part of a website redesign. I basically sit down at my desk in the morning and concentrate on nothing else unless I have to. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I interrupt the process with my Olympic Lifting class. It’s tough shifting that focus.

But I don’t dare go to the gym with my mind on my job or family or anything other than what I’m about to do.  Not only is it bad for training, it’s dangerous. I need to focus on the bar, not be thinking about work, because someone could get hurt.

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” Bruce Lee

I don’t have a trick for shifting my focus away from work. But I do have a couple of strategies that help. The right kind of music helps, and by “right kind” I mean something invigorating. That usually means I have to play a CD and not listen to my usual radio station – KUT. When I leave for Olympic Lifting, John Aielli is hosting, and his kind of music is… well… slow. Or classical. Or folksy.

Not exactly “pump-me-up-for-a-workout” music.

I usually let my mind wander for a bit in the car, but about halfway there, I force out work. It has no place in my brain. It can wait. It’s almost like meditation. I try to think about one thing, related to class — kind of like a mantra. By the time I get to the gym, work is driven from my head and I can focus on the task at hand.

Sometimes, usually near the end of class, my mind will start wandering back to work. I’ve managed to catch myself and force it out. Work can wait until my shoes are off and I’m headed for the car.

I had a great class on Wednesday — I hit a PR!

Front squat max 5-3-1-1-1 → 75/80/100/115/125/130
Hip Snatch + OHS 3+3 x 3 → 45/55/60
Hang Power Snatch w/ pause @ knee & hip → 55/60/60
Snatch Balance 4×4 → 35/35/45/45

Zach had me do 4 singles of the front squats, and he still thinks I have more in me. I’m getting stronger!

The drills of the hip snatch and hand power snatch are pretty much the same as we’ve been doing.  I’m starting to hear more “Good jobs.” And the weight is slowly moving up a little at a time here and there, because I’m more consistent at the lighter weights.

What’s making the difference? Practice, time and focus.

Where now?

Mads and me look at the camera
This is me & Mads one morning after a workout. I was sipping coffee, she was chowing on a banana. Love my girl!

I’ve been doing a lot of pondering lately over my next set of goals.
I have this one big, broad overarching goal: Be strong.

But the steps I want and need to take to get there have been less clear and so far undefined.

Andy and I have been discussing some of the things I want to accomplish, and he made a very accurate observation — some of the things I want are divergent from my other goals.

On the one hand I want to finally nail that unassisted pullup. (How long have I wanted that?!) But on the other hand, I have goals I want to achieve in Olympic Lifting that are less about strength and more about technique and form.

I guess, right now at least, I’m not really sure where to go from here. But I need to figure it out of I risk stagnancy and training in an unfocused way that could land me in the situation I found myself over the summer — burnt out and tired.

Zach has offered to sit down with me to help me work out my goals. I’m going to take him up on that offer, but first I’d like to have a more specific idea.

How strong is strong? Do I want to compete? If so, will it be as a Crossfitter or lifter? Do I just want to be able to do the Crossfit WODs RX, or do I want to focus on a new sport and enjoy the side benefits of getting strong?

There’s a lot to think about. In the meantime, here’s the WOD I did Tuesday. It was pretty grueling:

AMRAP 25 min
21 calorie Row
12 Front squats

Results → 5 rounds + 6 cal @ 80#

Those front squats were challenging!

Sunday night I started feeling pain in my left calf while wearing heels to a party. I’m taking care of myself, but it looks a little more serious than muscle soreness. I almost skipped class Tuesday morning to rest it, but I went and let the coaches know how I was feeling. I subbed out exercises in the warmup to lay off the ankle, and it was very helpful.

We’ll see, but I will be doing some serious resting this weekend. No running. No Race for the Cure. It’s just not worth it.

We’re ‘special’

Zach calls us his “special” class.

That’s his tactful way of saying we (the noon Olympic Lifting class) need a lot of work. Last week, I felt like I caused Zach much consternation and exasperation. I don’t like disappointment myself or my coach, so I try REALLY hard.

Do I mess up? You bet. Sometimes I forget. Like on Monday when we did snatch balance and I put my hands in the press position. Zach walked up behind me and quietly said,” sweetheart, we’re doing snatch balance. Is that where you put your hands for the snatch?”

Oh yeah. Duh.

The amazing Carey Kepler was in my class on Monday, and it was really cool to have someone I really admire working hard on the platform next to me, learning at the same time.

We all have things we need to work on. I guess Carey wants to improve her lifting, too. It’s a fantastic reminder to me that we should never stop pushing ourselves — never stop learning.

I am happy that — even though he calls us his “special” class — Zach did say we were much improved Monday. It’s a lot of work in a short amount of time. And I’m always learning.

Front squats 70%x5, 75%x4, 85% 4×4 → 80/85/100
Power Snatch off blocks 4×4 → 35/35/35/55
Snatch Balance 5×4 → 35/35/35/45
Good Mornings 5×3 → 65/65/75

The perils of being late

If you were driving down Burnet Road near North Loop just after 12pm on Monday, you might have seen me running my tail off, curly locks flying behind me.

I was racing to catch up with my class, which started the warmup without me. I was late. Parking sucked, and I had parked near a fire station and run a couple of blocks to make it. Unfortunately, I was not on time.

Zach did not have a happy look on his face when he saw me. I threw down my bag and took off. There was no time to pull back my hair. And no time to dawdle.

Believe me, I was plenty warm by the end of the warmup.

Things improved after that. Zach eventually got over me and another girl being late, and was just his normal self.

Front Squats 70% x 5, 75% x 4, 80% 4×4 → 80/85/95
Hip Clean 4×4 → 35/55/55/75
Push Press 75%x5, 80% 4×4 → 55/60
Snatch DL 95%x5, 105% 4×3 → 65/85

We did a new lift on Monday: Hip Cleans. And you know what? I actually got the hang of this exercise. Zach even told me I was doing pretty good.

“Thanks,” I said, proud, but a little embarrassed. I don’t know why embarrassed. I just get a little humble when people tell me I did a good job on something.

Isn’t that weird? Why is it so hard to accept praise sometimes?

Crazy week makes for little blogging

I’ve been working out this week.  I just haven’t been writing about it.

Blogging fell to the wayside, just like the vacuuming and dusting, and all of the other things I need and want to take care of but can’t because home life has been jam-packed. Add to that Baby Girl getting sick — and then me — and it’s been downright impossible to even want to crack open my computer at night.

But I’ll catch you up ever so quickly.

This was week 2 for my new Olympic Lifting class! And the workouts were very similar to last week.

I’m loving the format, because the class is small and we actually have TIME to work on lift form. Of course, that also means Zach watches me more closely, which is good because he notices stuff I had no idea I was doing. But he also yells because I’m such an awkward goof trying to learn these new muscle movements.

I go through this mental checklist in my head, and sometimes… SOMETIMES…  I get a “That was better” or “I guess that was OK” Those are the moments I LIVE for. Most of the time, I hear “You have to BE AGGRESSIVE!” and a whole bunch of other stuff about how to move my body effectively and efficiently. He does not like repeating himself. I hope that one day he won’t have to.

Like I said, I’m an awkward goof. But I keep telling myself that I’m learning something very new. I’m forging new neural connections! I’m building muscle memory! And while I want to catch on quickly, I did not expect to be remotely good at the lifts when I started. Even though I’ve been doing them for 2 1/2 years. I’ve picked up some poor habits.

So here’s what I did:

Front Squats 65% x 5 /  70% x 4 /  80% 4×4 → 70/80/90
Hang Power Snatch (bar below the knee) 3×3 / 2×3 / 1×3 → 35/45/55
Snatch Balance 3×3 → 35/35/35
Snatch Deadlift 95%x4 / 105% 4×3 → 65/85

Back Squat 70% x 5 / 75% x 4 / 85% 4×4 → 95/100/115
Snatch Pull & Snatch 3+2×2 / 2+2×2 / 1+1×2 → 35/35/35
Push Press 70%x5 / 75% 4×4 → 50/55

I’m still trying to step it up in my regular Crossfit classes, too. But now that I’m in an Olympic Lifting class with only about 5 or 6 people, Crossfit feels a little crowded. Not really in a bad way. We have a lot of really new people who are just learning the ropes. It’s awesome to see so many people taking control of their health!

This week’s workouts were short! Both had 10 minute cut-offs, including a “Girl” WOD benchmark that will repeat in 6 weeks.

Handstand pushups

Time: 8:28 @ 135# (HSPU on knees from box)

Push Jerk

Results: 35-45-50-60-70-75

3 rounds
35 box jumps
15 ring rows

Time: 9:35 (rows scaled w/ bent knees)

I haven’t been doing any core training this week. With feeling sick early in the week and  Baby Girl’s being sick, I’ve had to put my own sleep ahead of additional training.  I’ll pick that up again next week.

Today, I rest. And rest is soooooo sweet.

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
Ring Rows 3×5
Front squat
Good mornings

Losing time

The weeks are flying by.

Everything feels like time is rushing along at a furious pace, and I’m just hanging on, trying to keep up.  I always thought summer was for slowing down, but this year, it feels like life has gone into 5th gear.  Job.  Kids.  Chores. To dos.  It’s harder to keep up with friends, even with my many social media apps.  I just am not as available as I was.  And neither are they.

And so an entire week has passed since I sat down to write about the Garage Gym Throwdown.  A whole week of workouts.  Workouts I loved.  Workouts I hated.  Squeezed in for 45 minutes in the morning or late at night after the kids have fallen asleep.  I just finished one.  I’m sweaty and salty and gross, and it’s 11pm.  I have to be up before 5 tomorrow morning.  I still have to take a shower.

But I want to write about what I’ve done.  What I’ve accomplished.  Where I’ve failed.  I’m proud of my performance this week.  I’m disappointed that I’ve eaten without regard to how it makes me feel.  Lunches out.  Dinners out.  More than just a few indulgences.  It makes me wonder, if I had paid attention, would I have done better?  Would I be stronger now?


Front Squat

Results: 50-55-60-65-75


6-4 Intervals
5x 400m holding best pace possible, not deviating more than 3 seconds from fastest interval
2 min recovery


Comments:  SLOW!!!!!!


Power Snatch (M 115# / W 80#)
Ring Rows

Time: 12:04 @ 55# (ring rows scaled)

Comments:  Ow.  This one really hurt.  I tried 65#, but my form was weak and wobbly, so I dropped back to 55#, which was extremely challenging, but my form was much improved.


Front Squat

Results: 65-75-85-95-105-110

“Jess E”
20 Wall Ball (M20# / W 14#)
1 Inverted Burpee
18/2, 16/3, 14/4, 12/5, 10/6, 8/7, 6/8, 4/9, 2/10

Results: Completed 9 rounds RX in 15 minutes


5K run

Time: 32:27 (easy pace)

5 rounds
12 Deadlift (M 155# / W 95#)
9 Hang Power Clean
6 Push Jerk

Time: 7:54 @ 65#

Comments: Time to bump up the weight!  This is one of my own benchmarks, and this time I cut a significant amount of time off this WOD.  Last time, I was over 10 minutes.  Whoo-hoo!


For Time:
21 Deadlift (225#)
400m run
18 deadlift
400m run
15 deadlift
400m run
12 deadlift
400m run

Time: 13:25 @ 95#

Shoulder Press

Results: 45-50-55-60-60

Comments: I considered trying 115# for a little while, and maybe I should have since I pretty much flew through the workout.  I felt like I had a lot of energy for the runs, but my legs just didn’t want to move.  Andy tried 185#, and me got all the way into round 3 before nearly throwing up.  He finished with the run and called it a day.

We’re going to be hitting it hard over the next couple of weeks.  We’re taking a full week of rest, a very necessary part of training.  And yes, I am in training.  We signed up for the Tough Mudder.  Paid the money and everything.  No turning back now.  At least, not for me.  It’s so important to eat clean and train right from now until October.

What a way to celebrate a wedding anniversary.

Upping the ante

I’m skipping my workout tonight.


It’s been a tough 3 weeks for weekday workouts.  Tonight I opted to rest and get to bed early, even though I’m awake and dying to spend some time outside.

But I know I have a WOD in the morning and my day starts super early on those days.  It will be another long one, and I’m already sleep deprived.

No sense making it worse.

My quads are protesting the WOD I did yesterday morning.  So are my shoulders.  And I have a nice bruise on my right shoulder and some scrapes on my forearms.  I’m damn proud of those marks, because I feel like I upped the ante a bit and pushed myself.

For Time:
1 Front squat (M 135# / W 95#)
1 Ring Dip
2/2, 3/3, 4/4… 10/10

Time: 13:24 @ 80# and red (middle) band for ring dips

I tried 75# and I knew I could do a little more, so I added another 5# to the bar.  That was good.  It made it really challenging.  On rounds 4 and 5, it was getting heavy.  By round 6, I was working REALLY hard.  And I’m so proud of using the band.  It’s the first time I’ve used one, and it made it a lot harder.  I definitely had most of my weight on my arms.

I was one of the last in my class to finish.  At one point Jeff teased me that I had my “game face on.” I must look pretty serious during the workouts.

Wish someone would snap a photo — it’d be funny to see.

Pushing through sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation is no bueno.

Seriously.  Too much to do.  Too little time.  Between work, the kids, the house, and now a tech conference (SXSW Interactive — yay!), I may have bitten off a bit more than I can chew.

It was the baby that kept me from sleeping much Wednesday night — sweet girl — and I was pretty bleary-eyed when I rolled into class Thursday morning.  I was glad the workout was a straight up bodyweight met-con.  Not that barbells didn’t make an appearance.

Front Squat

Results: 65-75-85-95-105

Zach said I didn’t go low enough in my squat.  Damn it.

4 rounds
200m run
25 push ups
15 toes-to-bar

There was a 10 minute cut off — I finished 3 full rounds, plus round 4’s run and 10 pushups.

I was happy with how this WOD went.  I felt fast on the runs and I did all of the push ups on my toes.  No — I didn’t get my toes to the bar, but I managed to swing my knees higher than I ever have — definitely higher than my previous knee raises.

I’m hoping to get a couple of runs in this weekend before heading off to the events at SXSWi, but I can honestly say that I’m more worried about eating clean.  I plan to enjoy a few drinks, and I’ll be surrounded by delicious looking food that I know will make me feel sick but for some reason tempts me anyway.

Ruh-roh.  Need to stay strong.  There’s nothing wrong with an indulgence as long as it’s worth it!