Should have used a bigger bell….

Don’t you hate it when you start a workout and you realize your should have chosen a different weight? That’s what happened to me in Thursday’s workout. The clock started, and suddenly I realized my weight was wrong.

It was too light.

AMRAP 10min
10 pushups (Games standard)
15 KB swings (M 2 pood / W 1.5 pood)
20 squats

I had chosen a 1 pood kettlebell — that’s 16K or 35 pounds. It was sitting in front of me while two of the elite girls in my class conferred with each other that they had chosen the 1.5 pood KB, which is 24K or 53 pounds.

I watched them thinking, “Twenty-four K is a lot to put over my head. If they were Russian swings, no problem….” (We were supposed to do American swings.)

Well, I’m kicking myself for not trying. I’m getting stronger. I’ve noticed that I can use the 1 pood kettlebell in my Oly warmups now. I can push it over my head a lot more easily.

I wouldn’t have been as fast, but I think I could have done it.

Completed: 6 rounds @ 16K

I’m reminded of a tweet I saw earlier this week, and it made me think.

Does that ever happen to you? Does thinking of how you USED to be keep you from reaching your potential?

Watch out for those kettlebells

Photo of kettlebellI have a massive bruise on my left forearm from a kettlebell. It’s where I got sloppy putting the kettlebell in the rack position during the warmup in Oly class this week. And it’s the bruise that my sweater doesn’t always conceal at work.

One of the ladies at work saw it and asked if I had an IV.

Me: Oh, ha-ha, no… that’s from a kettlebell.
Her: Oh no! A kettlebell! Yikes! (Co-worker’s) husband smushed his finger off with a kettlebell. They kept it, but Dr. (so-and-so) couldn’t reattach it. I stay away from those things.
Me: What was he doing?
Her: He was balancing on one and it tipped over and smashed his finger. Took it right off.
Me: Oh, yeah, well, that sounds pretty rare. I wasn’t doing that.
Her: I’ll stick with my thing, thanks.

Ummmm… OK.

I’m really not that bad with a kettlebell. It takes some skill, but they’re pretty damn cool.

Kettlebells were in Thursday’s WOD, and we set up for it with some strength training.

Sumo Deadlift

Results: 125-145-(no time, but I was going to attempt 165)

I feel like I did much better on my deadlifts, because I’ve been following Coach Travis Holley’s 365 Days of Strength series on his blog. He’s written several posts on the deadlift, and one on setting up for the deadlift that was really informative. And I think his tips really helped me out, because 145# didn’t feel as heavy and hard as I expected.

3 rounds
21 Sumo Deadlift High Pull w/ KB (M 1.5 pood / W 1 pood)
15 KB swings
9 Handstand pushups

This WOD was a sprint!

Time: 6:53 @ 1 pood (35#), HSPUs on box

I’m happy to report that there were no smashed fingers or other injuries due to kettlebells.

Hee-hee. 🙂

I <3 kettlebells


It was all about kettlebells this morning at Crossfit Central! And I am sooooooo glad I’ve been throwing jumping lunges into my workout regimen lately.

3 rounds
20 KB Explosive Lunges, in goblet position (M 1.5 pood / W 1 pood)
10 KB Clean & Press – R
10 KB Clean & Press-L
200m run with KB

Time: 14:31 @ 12kg

Those explosive lunges were slowing me down on the third round, but – wow! – did they make for a good workout.

I tried doing the strict press at first, but quickly I found I needed to push press the kettlebell in order to keep my form intact.

I found a position to hold the kettlebell during the run, and I managed to go more quickly. Unfortunately, it rested on my back and I KNOW I have a bruise.

Oh darn.

Still, gotta love those kettlebells. I have my sights set on doing that clean & press with a 1 pood kettlebell. Yes. It WILL happen.

(Can you tell I’m in a good mood? Seven hours of sleep — yeah!!!)

The importance of having a coach

Everyone needs a coach.  No matter what you do.

I didn’t always know this — at least not in these words. I left school thinking I was on my own, but in reality, you have to keep working on yourself, whether it’s your writing, career, personality, sport… you name it.

At work, it’s my peers, the blogs I follow, books, my husband.  When I did Kung Fu, it was my sifus (teachers).  They challenged me to reach beyond what I thought my potential was so that I would improve and exceed my own expectations.

It’s no different in the gym.  I can work out in my backyard all day long, but my coach is the person I turn to to help me get better.  Andy’s been a casual coach for me.  He constantly challenges me and helps me rethink my routines (even though sometimes I resist.  Hard.)  But spouses aren’t ideal coaches because they are your best friends first and your coach second.

I’ve found that the most effective coaches are your coach first and your friend second.

RedBlack Gym
RedBlackGymRedBlack Gym

 In this Gym we are your coach FIRST friend Second. Family always. Which gives us a license to break yo’ ass down. Only to build you stronger

15 Aug

I’ve had my coach for 2 1/2 years.  I am fiercely loyal to him.  He is the guy who demands that I give my all.  There are no excuses.  You either do the work or you go home.

I turn to him for guidance.  And what he asks isn’t easy.  But it works.

This morning I was practicing kipping pullups before class like one of the other coaches suggested when he walked up.

“You really want to get better at pullups?  Do negatives.  You’re about ‘this’ far from the bar.  It’s just a matter of strength.”

So that’s what I’m going to do. Because I trust him.  He knows.

Then during the workout, despite my best efforts to keep my core tight, I just couldn’t lift my hips at the same as my chest during pushups.  So he told me to do them on my knees.  Better to have good form from the knees than sloppy form from the toes.  It feels like a demotion, but he’s right.  So I did. Speaking of this morning’s WOD:

5 rounds
3 min AMRAP / 1 min rest
9 box jumps
6 DB goblet squats (M 55# / W 35#)
9 pushups

Results: 10 rounds (+ jumps each round, squats on first round) @ 35# KB

I know it’s not always easy to find that person who can be an effective guide, coach, teacher — whatever.  If you’re looking for a Crossfit coach, I found an interesting post about how to choose a coach, because there’s a ton out there now and not all of them are going to be right for you.

Who is your coach?  What do you like about him/her?  How have they helped you?

Word of advice: Manage your calluses

I got beat up a little this morning.

The workout beat the hell out of me. I went home torn, bleeding, and covered in welts.  Of course, it’s really all my own fault.

  • I never wear socks, so when we do deadlifts I always drag the bar up and down my bare shins.
  • I haven’t mastered the kettlebell clean, so when the weight comes up it slaps the back of my wrist.
  • I didn’t manage my calluses, so when it came time for kettlebell cleans and pullups, my hands were just asking to be ripped.

Cindy displays her hands for the cameraThat lovely look on my face is me being mad at myself for not taking care of my hands.  I didn’t finish the workout in part because it was so painful to complete the pullups.

Sumo Deadlift

Results: 95-135-145-155-165

On a positive note — I was much stronger with these today than I was the last time, when I scratched at 160.

3 rounds
15 KB Clean – Right arm (M 2 pood / W 1.5 pood)
15 KB Clean – Left arm
35 pullups

Completed 2 rounds in 12 minutes @ 1 pood (2 purple bands)

I neglected my hands for too long.  I’ll be laying on the Aquafor for a while.  But you don’t have to.  Here are some good resources to make sure you don’t rip ’em.

And today’s word is: Sweaty

Sometimes I wonder if Austin is going to turn into this:

Ripples on Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

This is from Death Valley, courtesy the National Park Service.

We haven’t had rain in nearly a month here in Austin.  The ground is cracked.  Trees are obviously suffering.  Grass is browning.  My air conditioner seems to be running nearly constantly.  And when you walk outside between 9am and 9pm, it feels like someone is blowing a hot hair dryer on you.

Fun stuff.

Early morning is the only time when I feel comfortable outside.  At the gym, a (sort of) cool breeze blows in through the garage doors.  The feeling of relief is only temporary.  The warmups are enough to make me drip with sweat.

I long for a nice relaxing dip in the pool.

We’re headed to “Hotlanta” in a week or so, and I’ll be missing my classes that week.  I decided to make them up before my trip, just in case Andy gets that call to join Big Mike’s class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays when we get back.  If that happens, I’d have to go in the afternoon.  When it’s 100+ degrees out.


So I showed up to Big Mike’s class Friday.  Big Mike was at the Crossfit Regionals down in Tomball, so Coach Randall was subbing.  I wasn’t the only one from Tuesdays/Thursdays there.  A bunch of us were making up classes, so it kinda felt like I was with my “family.”

Randall changed up the workout a bit from what had been tweeted out the night before.

5 rounds
KB Snatch 10/10 (M24kg / W 16kg)
Deadlift 15 (M 135# / W 95#)
Lateral jumps over barbell 20

Randall is a really good coach.  He spent time going over the snatch with us, and I learned a lot more about proper technique.  Still, I need to work on building overhead strength, so I was unable to go RX with the kettlebell.  I found a 12kg KB for the WOD, although I was envious of the girls who were using heavier weights.  One day!

I did go RX for the deadlifts.  And although I worried about being able to do the jumps without tripping over the bar, it turns out my fears were unfounded.  I started out a little slow on the jumps, but I made a conscious effort to push myself.  By the end of the WOD I felt much more comfortable with them.

Randall challenged us to do the reps unbroken, which seemed possible during round 1, but grew more and more difficult.  Our cutoff was 12 minutes.  I think I would have finished had the cutoff been 15 minutes.

Still, it’s not like I didn’t do work.  I was still dripping with sweat when I got home.  Those are the mornings I opt for a cool shower, rather than a hot one.  It’s already hot enough outside.

Results: 4 rounds + 5 clean @ 12kg/95#

Are you a roadrunner?

Did you know we have roadrunners in Central Texas?  Yep, we do.  I learned all about it at the Texas Memorial Museum.

We took Luke and Mads this weekend, and yet again we visited that oh-so-creepy 2nd floor with all of the stuffed creatures put into poses to make them seem sorta real.  Except they’re not.  And it makes you want to hike the greenbelt just to get a glimpse of some real creature.  But I digress.

When I think if roadrunners, I think of this:

Looney Tunes Roadrunner runs on white background

But really, they look like this:

A real roadrunner in the brush
Click on the image if you want to know more about this fascinating creature.

I’ve never seen a live one.  Andy has.  He told me this story about how he was at work one day, talking with some folks, and looked outside to see a roadrunner outside the window.  His building has giant windows — like a big downtown office building — and they reflect the light and seem mirrored from the outside.  The roadrunner had just killed a lizard, and I guess he (or she) could only see himself in the glass, and it stared running up and down along the window, shaking its head and showing off.

It must have been very proud of its catch.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit this… but sometimes I do that, too.  Don’t we all sometimes?  We look in the mirror and see ourselves, and when no one’s around, we flex our muscles or smile.   Admit it — you’ve talked to your reflection.

Here’s my embarrassing confession:  Sometimes I steal glances of myself as I’m walking into work in front of the reflective glass just to see how my leg muscles look as I walk in a skirt or my arms look in a blouse.  Lately, I’ve also been kind of obsessed with how my tummy looks. A couple of weeks ago a woman congratulated me on my pregnancy.

Not the birth of my child.  The impending birth of a child.  She thought I was pregnant.  And I was very embarrassed.  So now I’m always sneaking a peak to see if my stupid belly is poking out too far, and I’m trying to hold it in.


Despite assurances from Andy and Jenny that I do not look pregnant,  I’ve been hitting workouts extra hard lately.  Here’s what I’ve done over the holiday weekend.


Shoulder Press 3×3

Results: 55-65-75-1 rep at 70#

5 rounds
20 OH Walking lunge w/ plate (M 45# / W 25#)
20 pushups

This was the WOD at my gym on Friday, and it was really similar to what I had programmed for myself (coincidence!), so I just did they’re WOD (I didn’t feel like doing burpees).

Time: 11:25 RX


5K run (easy pace — about 32 minutes)

4 rounds
400m run
15 KB swings (16Kg)
15 KB cleans
15 pushups

Time: 17:34

Ouch!  The downside to KB cleans is that I suck at them and my wrists are really bruised.


Double Unders

There are SOME people I know that can do double unders all day without blinking.  (Yep — I’m lookin’ at you, Richard.)  Unfortunately, double unders are not a skill I have mastered.  So I tripled the number of singles for each round.

Time: 10:27

More situps, please.  I no longer want a pouchy tummy.  I want to feel good when I have my roadrunner moments.

Kicking Andy’s ass

Since 4pm Sunday, Andy has been telling me how the workout I came up with was brutal and horrible and how it was one of the hardest workout’s he’s ever done.

Something I imagined caused that much pain?  Little ole’ me?

A little perspective: we worked out on Saturday at home, too.  And it was nothing to sneeze at.


Results: 55-65-75-85-80

I got 2 reps at 85, but on the third, my wrists were hurting so much that I just couldn’t manage the load.  80# felt much better

For Time:
Run 800m
30 DB Snatch (25# DB — 15 on each side)
Run 400m
20 DB Snatch
Run 200m
10 DB Snatch

Time: 10:56 @ 25#

We went back and forth over whether to do this one.  It was lightning all around and we wanted to be done fast.  In the end, it never rained on us, and it was pretty fast after all/

On Sunday I wanted to squeeze in a workout before hanging out with some friends.

4 rounds (1 min/45 sec/30 sec/15 sec)
Max reps of:
Wall Ball (6# med ball)
Med ball clean
KB Swings (1 pood or 35#)
Shoulder Pres (45# bar)

Results: IT WAS REALLY HARD (no reps recorded)

Andy timed me while playing with the kids in the sandbox.  He said it was painful to watch.  It was SOOOO hard.  I didn’t realize it was going to be that hard.  When it was Andy’s turn, he plowed through, but I think it gave him heat exhaustion.  He just lay on the ground — and later on the floor — for a really long time.  He said it was reminiscent of Fight Gone Bad.


Crush your leg, crush the WOD

I always wear pants.

Well… I should say that it’s rare for me to wear a skirt or dress.  It’s not that I’m against the girly thing or anything.  In fact, I love dresses and skirts.  But I rarely wear them because of how my legs look.

I used to think they were fat.  I was embarrassed.  Over the past two years the size of my legs is no longer what bugs me.  It’s the bruises.  It’s the scrapes.  It’s the scars.  I bang up my legs on a weekly basis WITHOUT FAIL.  Sometimes I don’t even notice until days later.

Today I noticed.

We worked on an unfamiliar lift this morning — the snatch grip deadlift.  It felt awkward.  And on top of it.  It was hot.  Zach warned us we probably wouldn’t be able to lift as much as we usually deadlift because of the mechanics of the lift.

Snatch Grip Deadlift

Results: 95-115-125-135-145

I got the first rep of that 145# round, but I ran into trouble on the second.  My hands were sweaty, and I needed to chalk them, but we were in a hurry to finish, so I forged ahead.  I lifted up and had the bar almost all the way up when my right hand slipped and the bar fell.

It hit my knee, which I was trying to pull out of the way.  It left a scrape, and I hopped around trying to shake it off.  Zach had seen, and he questioned me about it, but I assured him I was fine.  I was more embarrassed than anything.  My knee stung — but I could still put weight on it.

I’m glad I kept going, because I think it helped.  Although it caused even more nasty bruises on my wrists and forearms.

For time:
400m run
30 KB cleans (M 2 pood / W 1.5 pood)
60 GHD situps
30 KB cleans
400m run

Time: 13:07 @ 1 pood

I probably would not have bruised up my arms so bad if my form were better on those cleans.  And I don’t even want to see what my lower back looks like, because instead of GHD situps we did ab mat situps — 120 of them.

I didn’t start to feel real pain until I got home and everything started to stiffen up.  I iced my knee, but I didn’t notice my arms until Andy spotted them at lunch and winced.

Well, now I’m starting to get annoyed with myself for complaining so much. All in all, I’m really happy with how this workout went, despite the marks it left on me.  What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, right?

“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

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!