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.

Has my training stalled out? Or am I still recovering from vacation?

I’m starting to feel frustrated about my training.

I feel like I should be lifting heavier and running faster.  Instead I feel like I’m not as strong as I was and slower.

Andy says it’s our vacation.  That week of travel was hardly a recovery week.  We were on the go, eating less than ideal food, and pushing ourselves without much sleep.

In essence, I need to recover from my recovery week.

I would say that Andy is probably right, but I was beginning to feel like I was stalling out before my vacation.  I’m frustrated.  I feel like I’m not making gains.  And after Tuesday morning, I’m really annoyed.

5 rounds
15 Push jerk (M 115# / W 85#)
500m row

Results: 2 rounds + 8 push jerk @ 65# in 12 minutes (I think it was 12min — could have been 15)

I sucked at the rowing and I sucked at the lift.  I struggled.  65# was hard.  It shouldn’t be anymore.  Plus, I rowed really slow.  My average pace was 2:42/500m.

It was like I was pushing the gas pedal, but nothing was happening.

Grrrr…. This is very frustrating.  I don’t like not being able to do what I want to do.  I want to be strong.  I’m ready to do a pullup without a band.  I don’t want to feel like I’m falling behind.

I’m impatient.  I know.  But being patient is for wusses.  That’s not for me.

How did you like “Cindy B”?

It was all about me on Thursday at Crossfit Central!

The WOD board shows Thursday's workout
The WOD was "Cindy B" on Thursday

Check out that WOD board — that’s right!  The workout was named for me!

I actually knew it was coming, but I didn’t know when.  This month, all of the workouts have been named for clients, and Zach had asked me a bunch of questions at the beginning of the month without explaining much.

I have to admit that the exercises in my WOD are not my strong points.  In fact, I pretty much suck at them.  But I do love Olympic Lifting and I also love to work on moves that are hard so I can get better!

I absolutely loved my Thursday morning, and I know I smiled a lot during the WOD.  One of the new girls cheered me on while I was in the middle of an OH Squat.  She’s never done that before, and I smiled big at her in appreciation.

Thanks for the love, CFC!

“Cindy B”
Hang Snatch 5×2

15 min AMRAP
1 Hang Snatch
2 Overhead Squats
1 Hang Snatch
250m row

Results:
Strength — 35-45-55 (ran out of time)
Met-Con — 5 rounds + 200m row @ 55#

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#)
7 HSPU

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.

In a zombie… out alive

The past five days have been surreal.

I’m engulfed in a world that barely overlaps with the one in which I am usually surrounded.  It’s weird and inspiring and scary all at the same time.

Every year in March — during Spring Break — South by Southwest takes over Austin.  Some love it, some hate it.  I have found that the best way to get through the masses of people and changes to my town is to embrace it.  And as a result, I am on my last day as an attendee of the Interactive portion of the conference/festival.

For my work, it’s important.  But it’s played havoc with everything else in my life: time, family, sleep, exercise, nutrition.  I consider the disruption like being on vacation — it’s the 80/20 rule, right — but as a result, I’m exhausted.

Literally.

I’m exhausted.  I’m running on empty.  I’m loving it, but I honestly believe that SXSWi is trying to kill me.  Between the panels and the special events and all of the after-parties (which is where the networking is), I’m averaging 4-5 hours of sleep a night.

It hurts so good.

And because I’m completely stubborn, I refuse to slow down.  I want to see everything.  Do everything.  Plus take care of my family.  Plus… exercise.  At least a little.

So when I rolled into Crossfit this morning after yet another night of just 4 hours of sleep, I felt like a zombie.  And I REALLY believed that there was no way I would finish the workout.  I was questioning my own sanity for being there.  Why?  Why put myself through this?  What is driving me?

So we began.  And it hurt.  38 burpees for my friend Beth’s birthday as part of the warmup.  Dynamic warmups.  A 400m run.  And a workout on the big white board that loomed.

5 rounds
500m row
21 KB swings (M 24kg / W 16kg)
42 Double unders

And then something happened.

I woke up.  Or rather, my body did.  I was aware of how hard I was working, but I forgot about being tired.  It was just me and the WOD.  It hurt.  Oh, yes, it hurt.  And if I hadn’t been allowed to do 84 single jumps instead of 42 double unders, I never would have made it through round 1.

But I pushed.  And. It. Felt. So. Good.

Time: 23:58 @ 16kg and single jumps

Beth teased me about flying through the workout after I said I wasn’t going to finish.  It turns out I was one of the few who did.

As I was leaving, the Crossfit Central gal who was minding the front desk asked me how I was feeling, since I walked in looking so tired.

“I walked in a zombie and I came out alive.”  That made her laugh.

The workout bought me time.  It gave me that last little bit of oomph I needed to finish out this conference.

I’ll be glad when life returns to normal for me.  I’ve been eating (and enjoying) bread and beer and other crap, and I need to cleanse my system.  I figure it will take a few weeks to get the gluten out and get rid of the sugar cravings.  I hope I haven’t erased the progress I made during the challenge, but then again… I don’t regret anything.  It’s been a really nice break, even if it has been a shock to my system.

RX and the bruises to prove it

I did not relish the idea of my Crossfit class this morning.

For one, I’ve been up late just about every night for over a week, and I’m tired.  But also, I saw what the workout was Monday night when they tweeted it out.  We had only just done the exact same workout about 6 weeks ago, and I wasn’t thrilled with it then.

I half considered staying home.

“Christine”
3 rounds
500m row
12 Bodyweight deadlifts
21 Box Jump

I went anyway, obviously, but the whole way there I was half-hoping it had been a mistake and that it would be something else.

Nope.

Ah well.  I resigned myself and decided I was going to up the ante in the process.  Last time I used only 125# and I didn’t finish.  This time I was going to do it RX.

I happen to know my body weight, so I loaded 130# on my bar.  Heavy, but doable.  And the box jumps… well… I just proved last week I could do them.

Arm bruise and scrapeThe WOD tested me, for sure.  I fell on the box in a few seconds of not paying attention to what I was doing, and I really bruised up my arm.  It’s hard to tell from the photo. I can tell it will be very black and blue tomorrow — ’cause it hurts.

But I remembered reading that you have to immediately jump on the box again if you fall, so you can avoid that fear — so I did.  And it worked.  I finished the round and jumped through the 3rd round without fear.

Time: 17:23 RX

Ahhhh… it feels nice to write that.

Sweet, sweet broccoli

I’ve been pretty strict Paleo for going on 4 weeks now, and I feel really good.

No more cheese.  No more cream in my coffee (I’m taking a little cinnamon now).  And I’ve been replacing fruit with vegetables, so I’m eating fruit only sparingly these days.

I feel squeaky clean.  And without a lot of sugar in my diet — BROCCOLI tastes sweet.

Did I mention that?  Broccoli.  And winter squash. And sweet potatoes?  Oh my!  What an indulgence!

I tend to save sweet potatoes for the breakfasts after Crossfit, since they’re carb-heavy.  Tuesday was no exception.

3 rounds
AMRAP 5 min
200m row
7 KB Press R (M 16k / W 12K)
7 KB Press L

Rest 1 min between rounds

My results were kind of weird because there were fewer rowers than people and Zach told me and Fred to wait until someone jumped off.  That took too long, so I started on KB presses on round 2.

Results:
Round 1 — 1 round + row + 5 press
Round 2 — 2 rounds + 5 press
Round 3 — 2 rounds + 2 press

Extra work:
3 rounds
1 min plank hold
1 min max push ups

Awesome WOD.

I’ve been really paying attention to post-WOD nutrition.  One of the coaches had told me (and other ladies) to eat only protein and carbs within 30 minutes after a WOD.  But then I read a post by another coach and Zach said the same thing, essentially, so now I’m eating a protein and a fat.  It seems to be working for me, so I’m sticking with it.

Other than that, I’m eating copious amounts of leafy green vegetables.  Salad!  Chard!  Kale!  Oh my!  And while I’m not really trying to lose weight, the scale says I am.  Which is a nice side effect to the feeling of being stronger and faster.

It’s just what I do

You remember that movie Bridget Jones?

She had a life implosion, and she emptied her fridge of food and watched sad movies.  It always make me laugh because I am sooooo not like the sterotypical depressed woman when I am sad.

When I feel sad, I stop eating and I walk through life like a zombie. My eyes are usually dead-looking and puffy, but I’m not big on sharing.  I’d rather continue on.

That’s why, even when I feel sad, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, I get up, feed the baby, pull out my workout clothes and head to the gym.

It’s just what I do — so why change the routine?

3 rounds
9 Overhead squats (M 135 / W 95)
15 Hip ext.
21 Calorie row

Time: 12:54 @ 55#

I was a little timid on those workout — possibly because of how I was feeling?  I guess I was thinking I was still not ready to bump up the weight on those OHS.  I think I could have done 60#.  Or 65# maybe.  Next time I’ll try it.

I’m glad I went.  It was that ME time I needed.  Because I always feel better after a workout.  Well, mentally at least.  🙂

My return

When I first started at Crossfit, I used to dread it.

Leading up to the time I woke up, this gnawing feeling tugged at my guts, making it hard to sit still or sleep.  It was the workout that worried me, but with time, I grew to look forward to my mornings with my classmates and coaches.

A few times yesterday, I felt that old, dreadful  feeling again as my return to class (this morning) approached.  It was kind of about the workout, but really it was also about logistics.  My sleep has been averaging 5-6 hours a night — interrupted — and I feel far from rested.  I knew I also needed to get up even earlier to be there on time, because I needed to feed Madeline before I left.

All in all, everything worked out.  Madeline was fed, I was dressed and mostly awake, and I felt pretty skinny in my Lulu pants, T-shirt and running jacket.  I felt like a woman who in no way looked like I had a baby a mere 6 weeks ago, and I felt proud of that.

I was even ready for the workout they threw at us.

2000m row
Max reps deadlift (M 275# / W 185#)

This was one of the WODs from sectionals.  For every deadlift, you subtract 5 sec from your row time.

I scaled the deadlifts to 135#, since 185# is really close to my max and it’s been ages since I’ve done a deadlift.  I only pulled off 3 before I had to pause at the bottom, which meant my effort was over.  Sucks.

Time: 10:27

True, it’s awesome that I’m back, and that I was able to handle the warm-up run without keeling over, but the WOD reminded me how far I have to go to regain endurance and gain strength.  Add yet another movement to my “needs improvement” list: deadlift.

Catching up…

I’ve really fallen down on the job this past week with updating the blog on my workouts.  Honestly, I just haven’t had it in me to do much of anything.

However, I have managed to continue working out, even when I don’t feel well.  I always feel better — at least for a little while.

I’ve done a number of home workouts, subbing exercises as needed.  I’m pretty much off all pull ups these days.  The band rubs my belly, and hanging from the bar and swinging is really uncomfortable through my core.  So I’ve done ring rows instead.

I’ll skip going through all of my home workouts (which included Baby Fran yesterday), and just focus on the two at the gym.

On Thursday at Crossfit:

Strength
3-3-3-3-3
Push Press

Results: 50-55-60-65-70

I think that’s the first time I’ve ever done 70# on push press.  Yay me!

Met-con
5 rounds
15 pull ups (sub ring rows)
15 hip extensions (sub Good Mornings with 45# bar)
200m run (sub 200m row)

The cut off was 12 minutes, and I finished through 135m of rowing in the 4th round.

Today:

10 Handstand push ups / 30 Box jumps
8/30
6/30
4/30
2/30

I subbed step ups for the box jumps and elevated my knees on a 18″-20″ box to do full push ups instead of the HSPUs.

Time: 10:15

It was nice to finish.  🙂

My nutrition has been horrible ever since my baby shower when I let myself eat as much sugar as I wanted.  Now the cravings are insane.  I’m headed to a Crossfit Central nutrition meeting today to a brush-up and garner some inspiration on healthy eating habits.  Might as well start now, because once this baby arrives, I will be much stricter about my nutrition, without restricting calories of course, because I’ll need them to feed the baby.