Halloween willpower

Madeline stares at the camera in her monkey costume, with Luke in the background.
How did you handle Halloween?

I found myself eating a lot of carrots this week. Luke and Mads brought home a lot of trick-or-treat candy on Monday night, and we didn’t have a lot of trick-or-treaters, so we had leftovers.

The candy is calling my name.

So far I have resisted the candy urge, thanks in part to a ready supply of baby carrots and knowing that Zach will read my food log. But it’s been tough. I’m craving sugar.

I’m also sore. It’s Thursday night, and I’m beat. Training has been really good, especially these past two days, but I’m in need of some serious massage therapy.

Wednesday: Olympic Lifting

Back squats: 70% x 5, 75% x 4 85% 4×4 → 95/100/115
Hip Power Snatch + OHS: 3+3 x 2, 2+3 x 2 → 35/45
Snatch off blocks: 3×2, 2×3, 2×1 → 45/55/60

Things went much better on Wednesday. My attitude was better, and I felt like I improved. This is a hard class — no doubt. It’s one of the most mentally and physically challenging things I’ve ever tried.

Thursday: Crossfit

Push Press: 5-4-3-2-1 → 55/65/75/80/85(scratch)

For Time:
KB swings (M 24kg / W 16kg)
Wall ball shots(M 20# / W 14#)

Time → 8:22 RX

My wall ball shots were kind of a joke. I probably shouldn’t say I did the met-con RX because they weren’t high enough.

But check out that 80# push press — know what? I think that’s the first time I’ve push pressed anything over 75#. Looks like I’m getting stronger.

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?

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!

Popeye arms

All during Saturday night’s workout, Andy described his arms as feeling like Popeye arms.  I didn’t sweat that much, but my forearms and hands were screaming at me the entire time, too.

So here’s what I started with.  A little kettlebell warmup (devised on the fly, so it wasn’t very creative):

5 rounds
5 KB deadlift
5 swings
5 front squats

Time: 3:40 @ 1 pood

I only timed it to see how long my warmups take.  Looks like I need to go a bit longer, so I’m going to switch over to more AMRAPs.

Then Andy and I both worked on:

Push Press

Results: 65-70-75-80-85

A PR!  I’ve never done an 85# push press before!

3 rounds
200m farmer’s walk
25 Russian swings

I took this WOD from the Kettlebell program, and it was BRUTAL.  I chose to carry my two 25# dumbbells and swing with my 1 pood (16K) kettlebell.  The swings were the recovery, I promise you.  I’m also really glad we did this one under the cover of darkness, because we looked pretty funny walking up and down the street with weights.

Time: 17:31

We’re going to do this one again in a few weeks to test ourselves. I want to improve my grip — it will be good for all of the lifts as well as pull ups. And we all know I want to get better at pull ups.


WOD at sunset

The setting sun as seen from the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge.This view stopped me in my tracks Friday evening.  The setting sun over Lady Bird Lake.  I was in the middle of my run with Steph, and I just had to stop and take a picture.

I don’t often run in the evening, and it was absolutely beautiful Friday night.  There was a cool breeze and the heat of the day was fading.

I had planned to work out Friday morning.  Early.  But SOMEONE had turned the volume on my radio alarm all the way down and I didn’t hear it, so I woke up late.

At 6:30.

Yeah, I know.  Some people consider that early.

I was grateful it wasn’t a Crossfit morning.

But the sunset and weather on  Friday evening more than made up for the wrinkle in my plans.  Steph and I were running the 3 mile loop as a warmup to a WOD I had dreamed up earlier in the day.  The run was fairly fast, considering our stop in the middle for a photo, so we could get to the WOD before it got too dark.

3 rounds
20 Situps
10 DB push press
20 Tuck jumps
10 DB snatch (5 each side)

My plan was to use 2 dumbbells on the push press, but to simplify things (and to make the walk with the dumbbells to the park near Deep Eddy a little faster) we did 5 on each arm.

It was quick and fast, and my abs were screaming during those situps after yesterday’s WOD with 120.  Those tuck jumps were also no joke.

Time: 6:29 @ 20#

If you get a chance to run at sunset — do it.

My love-hate relationship with sleep

I can tell I haven’t had enough sleep.  I’m hungry!

Plus, I totally flaked on a workout last night and I didn’t feel all that strong at the gym this morning.

Push Press

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

To be fair, I did get one rep at 80# — it was the second rep I scratched on.  Would I have been successful with more sleep?  Good question.

3 rounds
50 situps
50 lunges

Time: 10:45

I can do situps and lunges all day long, so to speak.  Andy thought I should have been able to knock this WOD out in under 8 minutes.  I know I should have done it in under 10.  On round 3, I could tell I had paced myself too much.  I should have thrown myself into it, leaving nothing to spare.

Damn, sleep.

I wish it weren’t so important to health, because it’s one of the last hurdles I’ve been facing.  It’s endlessly frustrating to be tired, but also to have so much that I want to fit in during a day that I simply can’t.  Yes, I can choose not to fill my schedule so much.  But I don’t WANT to.  I want to do everything I set my mind to!  Can’t I have it all?  The stubborn part of me says “YES.”

It’s with that stubbornness that I battle daily.

Damn sleep.

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!)

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


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

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!

I just couldn’t stay away…

Technically, I didn’t have Crossfit this week.  Classes don’t start again until next week.  But my gym, knowing people just can’t get enough, hosted a number of free workouts for anyone and everyone.

Naturally, I signed up for a couple (the maximum allowed).  Dozens of people were there, and I got to see a bunch of friends in other classes, who are just as crazy as I am for some brutal WODs.


Partner WOD (Teams of 3)
3 rounds
KB Swings
Burpee to pull up bar touches
200m carry with plate (M 45# / W 25#)

My team for this one was Mari and Jennifer — both are mom’s from Luke’s school and both are bad asses.  We rotated through each exercise so that everyone did 3 rounds.  We counted however many swings and burpees could be done during the run. It came out to 263 swings and 139 burpees — 402 total.


Partner WOD — each person completes 5 rounds, alternating
5 rounds
10 deadlift (M 95# / W65#)
7 hang power cleans
5 push press

The one really tested me.  My partner was so strong, but I tired quickly and struggled moving the weight overhead.  In fact, Coach Jeremy advised me to do a push jerk instead of the push press.  My partner was great — she really cheered me on, and so did several other people who finished before we did.  It really helped motivate me to keep pushing.

Time: 9:05

I have to admit — the 65# hang power clean really intimidates me now after that WOD — and it’s part of the I AM benchmark workout.  That’s just over a week away.  Yikes!

Back to the daily grind….

We’re back to the usual morning hustle and bustle here at my house, but — oh my! — the Thanksgiving holiday was so nice!

Taking our time to cook breakfast, sitting down to leisurely meals, feasting on turkey, toasting with friends — so nice.

But all was not ideal in Brummerland — Andy came down with some kind of stomach bug, and I think Mads is teething, so Sunday was not the picture of productivity that I had envisioned.

I also had to come up with a quick indoor workout that Luke could participate in.  Here’s what I did:

With a continuously running clock, do 1 min at each station (no rests)
3 rounds
DB Push Press (#20)
Sit ups
DB Lunges
DB Squat cleans

Maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t warmed up, maybe I needed Andy to help push me along, or maybe I haven’t worked with dumbbells in months, but I felt pretty weak.  I moved very slowly during the first round, and my did not improve much.

On the other hand, sit ups were easier, so it looks like my core strength is increasing.  Yay!

Three days and counting

I picked up my Turkey Trot packet Monday down at RunTex on Riverside.  Wow, there were a lot of people!  But I have no complaints because the line was moving fast.

At this point, I’m a little worried about this run.  I have done exactly one long run, but lots of little runs (400m in WODs) leading up to the race.  I haven’t run 5 miles in… a year.

And I’m running with a stroller, with which I’ve had no practice.

And the person in the stroller is 34 pounds.

Hmmmm… this should be interesting.

Well, at least my running buddy is one of my favorite people in the world.  Luke is super excited about joining me — even if it is frigid and rainy Thanksgiving morning.  I even made sure one of the registrations got him a T-shirt, which he hasn’t taken off yet.

Andy wanted to do deadlifts Monday night, so I did that, and followed it up with a WOD one of my friends did recently.


Results: 95-95-115-115-135


5 rounds
200m run
10 Push press (55#)
10 Weighted lunges (35# plate)
15 sit ups

Time: 20:05

Those deadlifts really wore me out, otherwise I think I could have bumped up that push press weight to #65.

Andy said he was impressed because my run time didn’t decrease as I moved through the rounds (he timed me — didn’t participate).  I hit the run at 90 seconds or less, which is still pretty slow.  My goal is to run a 400 in less than 2min.  But right now, I just want to survive Thursday, and this was my last run leading up to race day.