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.


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!

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.


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.

Bye, bye baby body. I’m back.

Mads is over 5 months old now, and we’ve both changed so much.

She’s growing like a weed.  She’s starting to sit up, roll over, and I love how she laughs when we sing and talk to her.  It’s crazy how she’s turning into this little person right before my eyes.

I’m changing, too — and I’m noticing it physically.  I’m… well… SMALLER.  My pajamas, which were tight just a few months ago, are now loose around my waist.  I’m back to wearing my small pair of Lulu WunderUnders.  And I just went shopping this weekend and was pleasantly amazed by the sizes I had to buy.

Eight weeks of clean-eating and intense training really can change things.

But I think what has been really telling is my results at the gym.  Yesterday we started Crossfit Total  I only had time to complete one of the 3 max-weight exercises:

Back Squat

Results: 115-125-145

I’m back.  145# was my max up through the first half of my pregnancy.  After that, it was too unsafe to even go that high.  And after Mads was born, I had to rebuild the strength I had lost.  I tried 145# in December, and scratched.

I’m back.  If anything rings a bell for me that I have recovered from pregnancy — it’s this.  I can’t wait to finish out Total on Thursday.

Later on Tuesday, I did one of the challenge’s home workouts, since I skipped it on Saturday.

20 swings
10 push ups
30 swings
15 push ups
40 swings
20 push ups

Time: 6:02 @ 30#

I really need a kettlebell, so I can use a full pood on those swings.

Today I get my body comp done for the end of the challenge — we’ll see how I did!

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.

Attack of the double workout

It’s happened.

My weekend workouts have brought me to my knees.

It’s Sunday afternoon.  I’m wiped.  I’m already in my pajamas. It’s agony to stand up and walk, and sitting on the couch is about the only thing I can do.

I’m dreading the next time the baby needs me to get up and tend to her.

So what brought me to this sorry state?  Definitely Saturday’s team workout, with a run and a double WOD on top.

Jenny and I ran a couple of miles Sunday morning, since the Paramount 5K is closing in fast.

Then, Beth and Stephanie and I met at Zilker around midday to do Week 5’s endurance WOD.

16 rounds tabata running
20 sec sprints / 10 sec rest

We started on the trail across Barton Creek from Lou Neff Point and headed east to Auditorium Shores.  In the 8 minutes, we made it there and then some, covering 1 mile — which is pretty fast for me.  I actually thought this one was going to be fun, but with the rests so short, it was hard to regroup.  I found myself gasping the time to the others, only to hear the bell a second later.

We walked back to the playscape, which was a nice recovery.  Then Stephanie and I decided to knock out one more WOD for the week.  It was a calculated decision to pile up 2 workouts in one day.  I already knew I was going to be tired on Monday.  I chose to rest instead of pushing through until Friday without one.

At the top of a dumbbell sumo deadlift high pullHalfway through a dumbbell swing

We chose a spot in the field near the playscape at Zilker.  We got quite a few looks as we swung around those dumbbells, which was awesome.  I love attracting attention sometimes.

I had Beth take some pictures of us while she timed the workout.  Here’s what we did:

Sumo Deadlift High Pull

Time: 8:03

I used a 30# dumbbell (the weight for the elite level).

I think I’m going to go to sleep early tonight.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzz…

Team bonding for the Krewe of Crossfit

There’s nothing like a shredder to bring a team together.

Zach hosted our first I AM team workout Saturday morning at the Red & Black gym.  I expected it to be just us, but there were a ton of people and coaches there, working on private training.  It was cold outside, and even colder inside.  And to be honest, the place was kind of intimidating at first.  The gym is designed for elite athletes, and I certainly don’t feel elite.

Zach had been telling us all week that we should show up “ready to work” and he wasn’t kidding.  He sent us off on a run for our warm up — which was just under a mile.  When we got back, we did our usual 2×10 squats/pushups/rotations.  Then, for grins and giggles, he gave us a mini-WOD.

3 rounds
20 lunges
20 jumping squats
20 sit ups

That was just the warm up.

The WOD was a partner WOD, and I teamed up with Beth.  Zach told me to get 25# dumbbells, and I wasn’t sure I could do the weight when I looked at the workout:

100 DB Thrusters (M 45# / W 25#)
150 ring pushups
200 DB swings

We were told to split up the exercises evenly — no partner was to shoulder the burden.  I grimaced when I looked at those dumbbells.  25# was something I had been working toward, but I wasn’t there yet, I thought.

Turns out I was wrong.

Don’t get me wrong — this was an extremely difficult workout.  We had to go by 5’s during the thrusters AND the ring pushups.  But we DID it.  I had to do the pushups on my knees — I’m not quite able to be on my toes when I’m using the rings.  They fried my arms.  The swings were a piece of cake after everything else.  Beth and I are both used to swinging 1 pood, which is about 35#, so the 25# DB felt so light.  We sailed through the swings.

Time: 21:15

We were the first to finish, and it felt good.

After stretching, we started talking about nutrition and what was expected.  I remember being where many of my teammates are — brand new to the whole idea of paleo.  I made the transition much more gradually than they are expected to, and I kind of have it easy with a whole family on board.

In a couple of weeks, I’m hosting a dinner for my team.  Andy and I have decided to share some of our favorite dishes.  It should be great fun.  I’m starting to get anxious, though.  Only 2 weeks to get my house in order?!  Yikes!

Be gone muffin top!

My pajama bottoms are looser.

I noticed this evening.  I remember trying to wear these right after Mads was born.  They were uncomfortable, and I remember feeling annoyed that giving birth didn’t mean that I would instantly go back to the size I was before.

Stronger, faster, leaner.

It’s my mantra for 2011.  And I think it’s starting to happen.

On Thursday:

Power Snatch

Results: 45-50-50-55-55

The snatch is a scary move for me, and 55# was HEAVY.  I was starting to lose form, too, so I didn’t move it up much.


Every minute on the minute for 10 minutes:
7 KB swings (M 32k / W 24k)
7 ring pushups
14 jumping lunges

I was surprised that I finished 6 complete cycles out of the 10.  Yay!  I was using a 16K KB and had to do the ring push ups on my knees.

Today my quads are screaming at me, which made for an interesting run.  But that’s a story for tomorrow.

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!