Week 1 of challenge complete (7 more to go)

The first week of my gym’s Crossfit Challenge is officially complete, and fortunately I was able to fit in all three extra workouts, plus not slip up on my nutrition.

Olympic Lifting workout
This was my OIlympic Lifting workout on Wednesday, Jan 16.

It was dicey, though. I woke up Monday morning and imagined I heard rain outside, so I didn’t do the first extra WOD when I had planned it. Zach rolled his eyes when I told him and gave me one of those incredulous looks like,”you are so full of excuses.”

And while most of the time I try not to come up with excuses, he was probably dead on in that case. And many others this week. I just didn’t want to be cold. It wasn’t until Friday morning that I pulled it together to actually do an early AM WOD on my own.

Crossfit WOD on the whiteboard
The whiteboard at Crossfit on Thursday, Jan 17.

I guess there’s a reason why I go to CLASSES. I’m less likely to flake out.

Today I had planned to do the Austin Gorilla Run, a 5K that benefits mountain gorilla conservation. That would have coincided nicely with this week’s endurance WOD, which was a 1, 2 or 3 mile run for time. Unfortunately, it conflicted with the Beekeeping class Andy bought me for Christmas, and beekeeping won out, Oh well — at least I’ll have the gorilla suit for next year.

Instead, I ran 2 miles in my neighborhood. I probably should have run 3, but the instructions said you should only choose the 3 miles if you have a 9 min mile and can run 3 in under 27 minutes. I wasn’t sure I could.

Turns out I may have been able to. Time: 17:48.

I definitely need some new music. The playlist on my phone is atrocious.

Afterward, I hung out with the kids while they rode their bike and trike up and down the sidewalk in front of our house. It’s so cool watching their progress. Both of them have gone from not being able to pedal or steer to zipping up and down the sidewalk with ease — within weeks!

My workout world: Meet my new running buddies

I’d like to introduce you to my new running buddies: Bennie and Goose.

My dog Bennie
Bennie (I call her Bennie Bean)
My dog Goose
This is Goose.

These are my girls. We adopted them more than 9 years ago from the Nashville Humane Association. They’ve endured a major move to Texas and the addition of two human children to our family. They each have their quirks. And they have become my new running buddies.

Bennie is a Treeing Walker Coonhound. At least, we’re pretty sure she is. We’ve had a number of people recognize the breed and ask if they could buy her. We imagine she was taken hunting sometime when she was a puppy, got lost, and somehow found her way into Nashville where she lived on the streets for a while before getting in a fight and being nursed back to health at the animal shelter. She has a different bugle for everything, which can be fun and annoyingly loud. She loves to run.

Goose is a black lab mix, and we think she’s mixed with pit bull. The shelter told us she had been rescued by a woman with 40 cats, but after a few months the lady turned her over to the shelter. Goose loves to chase small animals, and she’s actually killed several rats.

Andy used to be the one to walk them, but after Mads was born, it got harder and harder to take them out on walks. Then we lost their leashes somewhere and the walks stopped altogether.

Bennie and Goose tend to get stir crazy, so I decided I was going to make it a priority. I went out and bought new leashes, and in early December I started taking them for almost nightly walks. Brisk walks.

Then I started running them. At first it was around the block. Bennie had no problem, but Goose would start dragging halfway through. We’ve been gradually increasing the distance. Even Andy has noticed that Goose’s endurance is improving.  Not bad for a 10-year-old dog!

Maybe one day they’ll have to slow down for me, instead of me for them.

I’m not really interested in running long distances anymore, but I’d like to get the dogs able to run a few miles. They seems much healthier since the walks/runs started up again. I like spending time with them, and they tend to be less crazy at home.

Dogs make awesome running companions. I love how Austin Pets Alive sets up on the Town Lake Hike & Bike Trail and lets runners take the dogs out for a spin. The dogs get exercise and the people get to see how awesome dogs are.

Dogs aren’t substitutes for people, but they’re fun in their own way.

Intervals in the garden

Ever since I went back to work, I have neglected my wonderful vegetable garden. Less time plus insane heat left me with little motivation to spend time sweating, weeding and digging among the raised beds in our front yard.

Luke and Andy look at camera while sitting next to a garden bed
Fortunately for me, Andy has taken on the garden with gusto, and he’s managed to keep it alive through this long hot summer. He’s been more successful than I was, starting seeds in the house and transplanting them to the garden. His goal is to grow enough greens and other vegetables to feed not just our own insatiable appetite for vegetables but also donate to other families.

This morning, it was cool enough for us all to spend outside in the garden. Mads and I explored and watched as Luke and Andy mixed up soil and planted new seedlings in the garden. Hopefully those veggies will fuel our paleo meals!

I took advantage of the cool temps this morning, too, with some interval sprints before dawn. I was nearly done before the kids woke up, but they managed to entertain themselves for a little while so I could finish.

8 x 200m
5 x 50m

200s – 1:11 / 1:09 / 1:10 / 1:09 / 1:10 / 1:11 / 1:11 / 1:12
50s – 11 sec each sprint

I also did core training this morning.

3 sets: 5 flags / 6 deadlift twists (each side) / 15 supermans / 8 DB twists (each side)
1 min plank hold

I could get used to these cooler temperatures. It’s been such a relief after that crazy and very long summer.

Double unders: Practice makes a difference!

When I was growing up, I played the piano.

For an hour a day, I was expected to practice. I was sent to the living room to stare at the keyboard. The timer on the stove was set to keep track of my time.

I wanted to play the piano. I really did. But I also wanted it to come easily to me. And it didn’t. I also wanted to do a lot of other things, and sitting on that bench an hour a day sometimes felt extremely lonely. I would wait for the time to tick away, wishing that I could play beautifully without putting in the time and effort.

Now that I look back, I regret wasting so much time wishing for something to happen, rather than taking action to MAKE it happen.

How many times have I heard people say, “I wish I knew then what I know now.” It’s so true.

Why the deep philosophical commentary? My WOD this morning, of course!

5 rounds
35 double unders
200m run

Today was my interval day, and I saw this WOD somewhere and thought — Oooh! double unders!  Here’s a good way to work in practice! (Because I want to do Annie RX one day.)

I took the timer outside and set it to 25 minutes, thinking I would be so slow at double unders that I wouldn’t finish. I also started off doing the same thing I did last week and counting my failed double under attempts.

But after round 1, I realized I didn’t have to do that.  In fact, my double unders were a heck of a lot better. What’s more, I set a PR for unbroken double unders — 18!

Time: 17:22

I’ve been working on double unders and pullup strength nearly very day for the past month or more. I’ve been WANTING to do both for years and “working” on them sporadically — a workout here or there — but I’ve never put in a concerted effort. Until now.

So the lesson for me has been: if I really want something, I have to work for it.

I wonder what I can accomplish if I apply that to all aspects of my life….

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!!!)

I did it! A double under PR!

I’m so excited.  I’ve made it my mission to work on pullups and double unders.  Whenever I can, I pull out my speed rope or whatever rope I can find and I practice.

Tonight I practiced in the driveway while Andy had the sprinkler out, watering the lawn (It’s our watering day). The sprinkler would occasionally get me as it waved back and forth, but it felt really good so I didn’t move.

I digress.

The last time I practiced, I resolved to do 20 double unders, and it took me a really long time.  Tonight, it went much faster.  So I decided to do 10 more.  And that went fast!  So I decided to try to string two together (I had been doing a few singles, then a double, singles, then a double).

I managed to string 5 together.

I was so proud, I ran inside to tell Andy.

“Andy! Andy! Guess what!  I got 35 double unders!”

I’m a dork.  I know. But one day I want to do “Annie” RX.  And I don’t want to have to scale in a competition like I did in the Garage Gym Throwdown.

I also did my 10 negative deadhang pullups, which suck.  Then I followed up with the WOD Andy did Monday.  Well, sort of.  It was the closest I could get without a rowing machine or a 24kg kettlebell.

2 rounds
400m run
35 Russian swings @ 50#
75 squats

Time: 12:03

I’m going to pay for that one tomorrow.  We’re doing a squat clean AMRAP. Ouch.

Revisiting “Griff” with legs of lead

I wonder what it is about “Griff” that makes my Crossfit class so… well… empty.

We revisited the hero WOD this morning.  We did this workout in early July, and there were only 5 people in class then. This morning? 6.  And only three of us were repeating the benchmark, including me and Steph.

There were quite a few differences between today and early July, including my time, which was slower.

800m run
400m backwards run
800m run
400m backwards run

Time: 16:33

I was more than 1 1/2 minutes slower this morning than I was right after vacation. But I wasn’t the only one.  I’m not going to say I’m not slower in general; however, it really wasn’t the SAME workout.  The lead-up was different.

In July, we warmed up and then did two different mobility exercises to open up our hips and grease our legs.

This morning, we did a 5 min AMRAP:

’10 staggered pushups
10 staggered pushups
20 situps
20 squats
(I finished 2 rounds + the pushups)

Plus, the run was different this morning.  Instead of running into the neighborhood backwards, we ran around the sidewalk to AutoZone and back, which was a bit more technical.  Plus, we had to run up and around the big storage container.  We didn’t have to do that last time.

So even though I felt a little stronger and springier — especially on the backwards runs — I was slower.

Oh well.  Andy is right — it’s hard to compare when the conditions are so different and you’re not running on a track.

We followed up the WOD with 2 rounds of max pullups.  I got 10 the first round and 11 the second with 2 purple bands.  TOUGH!

Maybe I should not worry about comparing past and present workouts for a while.  This morning, Jeff reminded us that “Griff” was a benchmark, and we should try to beat our previous time.

“Don’t put pressure on me!” I told him.

I’ve been so focused on improving lately and so disappointed with what I’ve been doing that I’ve been mentally placing roadblocks in front of myself.  I just need to focus on each workout, do my best, and not worry about how I did before.

I’ve changed the routine.  I’ve tightened my nutrition. I’ve set goals.  I’m actually working on them. Improvement will come with time. It’s up to me to be patient.

6 rounds of annoying

I’m going to make this post brief because I’m not happy with how I did in this morning’s workout.

It’s been stewing in the back of my brain all day.  I perceive my performance as a total lack of strength and nearly failure.  I know the negativity does nothing to help me, but it really bugs me.

Push Press

Results: 55-60-65-65-55

My back arched on the last rep of the 4th set and it tweaked a little, so I backed off on round 5.  Annoying.  I should be stronger.  65# should not be a struggle.

6 rounds
100m run
3 Deadlift (M 305#(?) / W 205#)
15 situps

Time: DNF
Completed 5 rounds + run+ deadlifts in 10min at 135#

I would have finished had I not had to take time to drop weight in the first round from 150# to 135#.  After that first run, I can back and simply could NOT lift that bar off the ground. The run changed the game THAT MUCH.

Annoying.  I should be stronger.

135# was pretty challenging for me.  I made more noise lifting that bar than I did giving birth to Madeline. (Seriously.  I was loud and embarrassing.)  Still, why was that so hard if my max is 185#?

I’m trying to be patient, but it’s hard.  I know that changes that I’m making don’t necessarily yield instant results.  It’s better to see how things go over the long run. But it’s still frustrating.

It also doesn’t help that my body doesn’t feel completely awake in the morning.  My awesome dermatologist (a fellow Crossfitter at Central FYI!) has me on anti-histamines at night among other remedies for a skin condition I just can’t seem to shake.

It sucks feeling like your body won’t wake up.  On the other hand, if the treatment works, it will be well worth it.

SIGH.  The sacrifices we make….

Endurance WOD: 400m repeats


400m on a track:
Start somewhere on oval; run around the curve toward the left; finish at same spot on oval.
400m at my house:
Start in backyard on mulch; run around porch corner; dodge homemade rings dangling from pull up bar; through the gate; over the weedy side yard; around the carport post; sharp left at the sidewalk; maneuver over bumby, uneven sidewalk; U-turn at the 2nd telephone pole; back down the sidewalk; sharp right at the driveway; dodge the car; through overgrown weeds; in the gate; around the rings; around the porch corner and back to the start.
It’s been a while since I did a straight up endurance WOD. I toyed with the idea of adding something like squats, but I decided that would be too much like a met-con.
This one pretty much killed me. It laid me out, but I went all out on this one.

8 x 400m repeats
(Rest the exact time it took to run interval.)
1) 1:54
2) 1:53
3) 1:55
4) 1:54
5) 1:55
7) 1:54
8) 1:53

I was shocked by my times. All under 2 mins! Yay!
I still feel shaky, but what a workout!

Benchmark: Slower time but more weight

Sometimes these benchmark workouts simultaneously frustrate and excite me.

Today was “CC Flyers.” Class was D.E.A.D.  Six people showed up. (I would never dream of not showing up, but then again, I’m kind of weird. I showed up the day before Mads was born.)

CC Flyers
3 rounds
400m run
21 Box jumps
12 Overhead squats (M 95# / W 65#)

We did overhead squats last week, so I decided that I would try the same weight again — 65#. RX.  It was a struggle for me, but I felt much stronger than last week.  It was like I KNEW that I could do it, so I just DID it.  Did I have a mental conversation with myself? Absolutely.  What Cindy workout wouldn’t be complete without a running dialog in my head?

Me: This is hard.

Other me: Yep.  Keep going.

Me: Really hard.

Other me: Keep going.  You may not finish, but you gotta keep going.

Me: I really want to finish.  I finished with 55# last time.

Other me: But you want to be strong.  And to get stronger you have to move heavy things. You’re not Gweneth Paltrow.

Me: They’re going to cut me off soon.

Other me: Keep going, dammit!

Big thanks to my friend Steph who cheered me on (and finished, by the way) as I was doing those last box jumps.  It kept me from taking a bunch of breaks. And big thanks to Coach Zach who offered to take pictures of me during the WODs so I could post on my blog.

Last time we did this benchmark (May 3), my time was 14:49 @ 55#. Today:

Time: Completed 2 rounds + run + 19 box jumps RX

Next time — I plan to finish.