Never cleaned a 95# nuthin’… till now

I hit a PR tonight.

I worked on hang power cleans before doing a “retest” workout.  I surprised myself.  I  hang cleaned 95#… twice.

Hang Power Clean

Results: 65-75-85-90-95 (only 2 times, but that’s better than nothing!)

The last time I worked on hang power cleans was back in December.  That’s when I PR’d at 85#.  In fact, looking back through my journal, I couldn’t find any other time when I lifted 95# doing any kind of clean.

It feels pretty good reaching a PR.

I followed it up with a workout I’ve done twice before: in May and in March.  (You’ll recall I was so annoyed with how I did in March I vowed to keep testing myself.)  I didn’t do as well as in May, but Andy pointed out that I had just set a PR on hang power clean, so I was already pretty busted for the WOD.  Plus we ran/walked Sunday morning, so my legs were pretty fatigued.

AMRAP 12 min
3 HSPU (knees on deck)
6 Power cleans (75#)
9 box jumps (on deck — about 20″)

Results: 6 rounds

Luke’s birthday party is Sunday, and Andy baked Luke a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  It looks and smells absolutely incredible.  I’m not supposed to go near sweets right now.  I’m not even supposed to eat fruit. I’m not sure what I’ll do, although the Whole 9 approach to cheats is appealing.

Work out like your life depended on it

Sometimes, in my reading, I run across a statement that kind of clings to me.  At least it does for a while.  And it keeps coming back to me.

This week’s statement: Work out like your life depended on it.

I may have read it on Facebook.  It doesn’t matter.

What matters is the sentiment.  Work out like your life depended on it.  Give it everything you have — because there are no other chances.

I thought about that a lot during Tuesday’s WOD.  There was a sprint in it, and I tried to imagine myself running from some crazy monster.  There’s been a lot of talk about zombies lately, but zombies aren’t my thing.  When I imagine a monster, I’m thinking this guy:

I know I’m a goofball.

4 rounds
200m sprint
5 cleans (M 155# / W 105#)
5 Muscle Ups
5 Handstand Pushups

There was a 15 min cutoff, but at the end, Zach said the WOD needed 20 minutes.  I don’t think anyone finished.

As far as I was concerned, I wanted to work as hard as I could, particularly strength-wise.  I hit all of the sprints as hard as I could.  I loaded my bar with 85#, dropping down to 80# for the WOD only because my form was REALLY off,  (It improved at 80# and yet it remained extremely challenging.)  And I did the muscle ups scaled from my knees on the ground.  I think next time I should try a box.  It might be time.

Results: Completed 3 rounds + sprint @ 80#

My Fight For Air (and busting out some WODs)

Saturday morning was the Fight For Air Climb.

I felt half-hearted about this event, since I didn’t know anyone else who was doing it and I wasn’t sure I was going to like it.  But two people donated money for me to climb, including one of my best friends, so I kinda felt obligated to follow through.

It was actually chilly Saturday morning, and since there was a whole lot of standing around, it was kind of uncomfortable.  But the people on my team (whom I had never met) were really cool, and it made the time pass by much more quickly. My team (Relentless Boot Camp — which is run by Crossfit Central) led some warmups, and then we managed to get to the front of the line for the climb pretty quickly.  They let groups of 2 and 3 go up about every 2 minutes.  We started from the street level entrance to a stairwell in the Frost Bank Tower in downtown Austin.

I had been nervous that I would need to slow down or stop, but that turned out not to be necessary.  In fact, I was well-prepared for the climb without even training.  I took the first 10 or so flight two steps at a time, then I settled into a fast step-at-a-time climb most of the way — running a flight or two as I went.  I climbed 31 stories — about 60 flights of stairs — to the top.  It felt like it flew by.

I was feeling fine at the top — a little shaky in my legs, but otherwise OK.  At the bottom ( everyone took the elevator down), I felt some burning in my lungs, and I coughed a bit — which was the point.  You’re supposed to understand the challenges of breathing problems.

But when I got to the bottom I also realized I was supposed to pick up a chip timeer.  Which I hadn’t done.  D’oh.  No official time for me.  I could have kicked myself.  It was my first even where the chip was separate from the bib, so I didn’t even think about it.  Sucks.

I know I was done in under 10 minutes.  I estimate it was around 8 minutes.

Did I like this event?  Yes.  It was a little weird and running behind, but otherwise well organized and well planned.  I think I might do it again next year if they offer it.

I still wanted to do a WOD with Andy on Saturday, so we did a retest of on we did back on April 23.  I wrote about it here.  My goal was to beat my previous time, and I ended up blowing it out of the water.

3 rounds
200m Farmer carry (2-25# DBs)
25 Russian swings (1 pood KB)

Time 12:50

We started off the evening with some strength work.

Push Press 3-3-2-2-1

Results: 65-70-75-80-85

There wasn’t anything remarkable about my results — I did the exact same weights as last time.  Maybe next time I’ll do more.

Sunday morning I went for a run with Jenny for the first time in weeks.  It was so nice to be out on the trail again.  We had tons to catch up on, and we started off really strong.  But Jenny’s been sick, we wwe walked halfway around our usual loop.  No matter — the girl gossip time was well worth walking.

After I got home and had breakfast, Andy and I headed out to the backyard for a workout.  It was nice to exercise in some BEAUTFiUL weather.

We started with strength:

Overhead squat

Results: 50-55-60-65-70

I think that’s a PR for me!

Then we did another retest (it’s been a weekend of testing!).  And yet again — I blew my previous time/score out of the water.

AMRAP 12 min
3 Handstand pushups
6 Power clean (75#)
9 Box jumps

Results: 7 rounds + 3 HSPU + 6 Power cleans (compare to 3-31-11)

Wow — I guess I’m strong, because I certainly am not more rested.  Speaking of rest, I’m already up way too late.  I better get my butt to bed.  G’night!

Competitive spirit

I just bought music, and already I’ve decided a couple of songs are destined for my “Run!” playlist.

I’m a fan of Brett Dennen, and his new album was released today.  Normally I could care less about buying music on the day of its release, but this album is fun, so I’ve been anxiously awaiting its release.

It’s not pop — which is NOT my style — and I’m not sure many runners would add his songs to their playlists.

But I’m not most runners.

Have you ever felt like you need a push to go where you need to go?  I do — all the time.  I get comfortable, and I forget to challenge myself.

It’s easy to fall into a rut.

But lately I’ve been pushing myself more than usual.  My Crossfit friends are getting stronger and faster, and I’ve been feeling a competitive spirit to keep up with them. (I have to — or they’ll leave me behind!)

It’s a really good thing.

I found myself chasing Steph during the warmup this morning.  And while I didn’t win, I had a huge smile on my face that made Zach ask why the hell I was smiling.  “I just like being here,” I grinned.

The competitive spirit also kept me from choosing a lighter weight this morning (just like last night when faced with the dumbbells).  The weight made the WOD significantly harder and I didn’t finish, but I’m damn proud of how I did.

5 rounds
500m row
12 Power clean (M 155# / W 105#)

Results: Completed 3 rounds + 12 PC + 7 HSPU + 100m of row @ 75# (20 min cutoff)

I love having friends who push me to go faster and lift heavier.  All last year, I didn’t really have anyone at my level, plus I was pregnant, and I had to play it safe most of the time.

So this is different.  This is good.

Pushing outside your comfort zone

I’ve been doing a lot of reflection over the past few weeks on my comfort zone,  both at the gym and personally.  It’s amazing how fast you can go from pushing past your comfort zone to developing a new one.  And it’s frustrating how easily I can talk myself into staying in my comfort zone.

That’s why it’s good to have coaches and friends to push you.

Yes, I am more driven and motivated than many others, but I have learned I only push myself incrementally.  It takes a push from someone else to get me to go farther — whether it be a coach yelling at me or a friend encouraging (or competing with) me.

This morning I teetered in my comfort zone.

Back Squat

Results: 75-95-105-115-(ran out of time)

I should have tried to go heavier, but in my head I was thinking “I’m sore.  My max is 145#.  I’m sore.  Don’t push it.”  Our assistant coach, Jeff, did encourage us to go heavier. (I think his exact words were “weak sauce.”)  I shouldn’t have argued.

AMRAP 12 min
3 Handstand push ups
6 Power cleans (M 155# / W 105#)
9 Box jumps (M 24″ / W 20″)

I was slow.  And I’m disappointed in myself.  The average on the board was more than 6 rounds.  I finished 4 rounds + 3 HSPU + 3 cleans @ 75#.  That’s pretty pathetic.  As Stephanie accurately pointed out, my box jumps are suuuuuuppppppppeeeeeerrrrrr slow. The fear shows on my face, apparently.  And I took too long on the power cleans.  I did not need to rest as much as I did.

But here’s the positive (because you know me — there MUST be a silver lining): I pushed past my comfort zone on weight (although, maybe I should have pushed more).  At first I planned to do 65#.  But then the competitor in me decided to do 75# when I heard Zach tell Steph to do 105# and Suzette to do 75# or 95#.  I very nearly wimped out and pulled the weight off after my first round when I stalled and could not clean the weight after several tries.  But I persisted.  I did NOT want to wimp out.

I am not going to let this WOD defeat me.  I will revisit it again in 6 weeks on my own.  It’s written down on a post-it in my journal for May 11.  My goal is to add at least 2 rounds to my results.

I can do it.  I WILL push past my comfort zone.

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!

Really? More swings and burpees

Allow me to take this moment to thank the “weather gods” for sending these temperatures my way.

It was so wonderful Thursday morning!

For the first time in months I left for class without my jacket — just a T-shirt and my Lulu crops.  Sweet!  And the wind felt so good in the gym.  I love this time of year in Austin.

And I love that I wasn’t too sore from Wednesday’s swings and burpees, because that’s what the WOD was.

AMRAP 10 min
2 Handstand push ups
4 burpees
8 swings (M 2 pood / W 1.5 pood)

Results: 7 rounds + HSPU + Burpees + 4 swings @ 1 pood (16kg)

Why such a short AMRAP?  Because we did a strength component today:

Hang Squat Clean

I feel much more comfortable with the clean moves.  I did 45-65-75-80-85.  An 85# clean?  I’ll take it.

And this weather?  I’ll take it too.  Welcome, spring!  I’ve missed you!  I just wish you would stick around past May and June.

Lookie… here comes cookie

There’s something about the holidays that puts me in the baking mood.

Last week I whipped up 3 batches of my famous gingerbread muffins for Luke’s teachers and some friends (I already told you how I devoured one after a run Saturday).

Well, on Tuesday I was back to baking.  And despite it taking 4 hours to make muffins and a batch of cookies because my lovely daughter just had to be held most of the morning, both glutenous dishes turned out beautifully.

The cookies — especially — are sinfully delicious.

No, I don’t eat such delectables most of the time, but I love baking, and it’s Christmas.  I don’t really feel like I need to justify eating cookies every once in a while, but if you’re wondering where my thought process comes from, I love this post from the folks at Whole9 about eating dirty.

It’s not like I didn’t workout today  I had a private training session with one of the Crossfit Central coaches: Jen Cardella.  It was great!  Here’s what we did:

500m row
5 rounds “Cindy” (5 pull ups, 10 push ups, 15 squats)
25 box jumps (I did some jumping work to conquer my fear)
25 KB swings (I used 1 pood)

Muscle Up
Kipping Pull up

Hang Power Clean

On the hang power clean, I ended up lifting 85# — a PR! — and attempting 90#, but I just didn’t have it.

Jen told us that the I AM workout will be the same as last year — run, pull ups and hang power cleans.  Now that I know what to expect, I’m both relieved and dreading it.  The workout was a killer for me last year, and I barely finished it.  I definitely will be mulling over this one for a while.

On Tuesday evening I decided to workout with Andy and blow off some steam.  I’ve been feeling some significant stress lately, and I needed to let go.  So we did:

4 rounds
400 m run
20 KB swings (25# plate)
15 Box jumps (on hill)
10 Burpees
5 Handstand push ups

Cutoff: 20 minutes
Finished: 3 rounds + 400m run + 3 swings

If I had not been some slow in the transitions, I might have gotten closer to finishing, but I can’t stand the feel of mulch on my hands and clothes, and I got it all over me on the burpees.

After it was all over… I went inside and ate a cookie.


Screwy sleep

My eyes POPPED open at 4:15am — a full 15 minutes before my alarm was set to go off.  And I wasn’t even tired.

Can you say — “Boy, Cindy, you sure are screwed for the rest of the day.” ?

I thought about going back to sleep.  But hey, it’s not like I didn’t have things to do, including getting ready for class.

Here’s what awaited me for my last class before Thanksgiving:

10 rounds
2 Squat cleans (M 185 / W 135)
4 Handstand Push ups
8 Pull ups

They cut off this WOD after 15 minutes.  I got 7 rounds + 2 cleans + 4 HSPU + 4 pullups.  SO I ALMOST finished round 8.

As for that weight… umm… sure… maybe one day.  Today I raised the bar for myself a bit and went with 70#, which was plenty challenging.

I really need to do more handstands, though.  My HSPU (still scaled with knees on the box) have not improved.  And I know that if I just hold a handstand, my strength will increase.

And the pull ups really wore me out for the cleans.  I started with the blue band, but got bumped to the green when I couldn’t get into my space.  So instead of doing kipping (because I know I don’t need the green), I tried to do more strict pull ups.  It was hard, though — they wore me out!

I’ve got a MILLION things to do today, and I know I will be tempted to go to bed as soon as the kids are asleep, but I probably won’t.  Too much to do!

Yep, I’m screwed.

Recovery and return

Hey — check out this link from my gym on Crossfitting while Pregnant.

It’s been more than 2 weeks since my daughter was born, and I have to admit, it’s been a rough recovery so far.

I feel no need to go into the details of how I’ve been feeling, because 1) I don’t like to sound like I’m complaining.  I keep that for the privacy of my own home and 2) I’m a very private person.  But suffice it to say, I’ve been sore and feeling rather weak.

Slowly but surely I’ve been improving, thanks in part to lots of Ibuprofen and to just staying as active as possible.  Even doing housework and walking around the house and trying to keep after everyone who lives here can be quite active.

My efforts are finally paying off.  I am finally feeling better.  So today I started what I hope will be the first of daily walks with Madeline.  It was a leisurely pace, but according to my route-mapper, I went 1.7 miles.  That’s the farthest I’ve been in weeks, possibly months.  I’m hoping to build up my strength and start running a little, too.  I even have a jogging stroller ready to go.

I also, nervously, decided to do a WOD last night at home with Andy.  I took it easy.

7 rounds
7 pushups
7 dumbbell squats (15#)
7 push press (15#)

Time 10:45

It was nice to move some weights again.  I’m hoping I’ll be up to another workout tonight or tomorrow.

I’ve been peeking at the scale the past few days, and while I know weight is not as important as body fat percentage and muscle, I was curious if I had lost any pregnancy weight.

The answer? Yes.  I’ve lost a little more than half of the weight I gained.  To get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, I need to lose 5-10 more pounds.  That’s encouraging!

I don’t plan on restricting what I eat too much, because I’m breastfeeding right now and burning about 500 calories everyday just to support that.  Yet another benefit to breastfeeding!