The definition of ‘allstar’

Someone called me an “allstar” last week.

It’s the kind of comment I brush off because of modesty.   I believe I countered the comment with, “All the allstars left my class, so it only looks like I’m an allstar.”  I certainly don’t think of myself as an allstar.

But then, in the middle of my third WOD this past week, I was thinking about it, and I realized something.  Maybe being an allstar isn’t about being the one who always finishes first, or the only who loads the bar with the most weight or the one who does everything RX.  Maybe it’s about something else.

Maybe it’s about how hard you work.

I don’t think about it very much, because it’s just what I do and there’s nothing to think about as far as I’m concerned, but I do put a lot of effort into my time at the gym.  I push myself.  Sometimes I feel like I could have pushed myself harder, but what I do is no joke.

Take Tuesday:

“Mary D”
Thrusters (M 135# / W95#)
Weighted pullups (M 45# / W 24#)

Time: 14:02 @ 65# (2 purple bands for strict pullups)

Hard!  My arms were toasted after this one.  I was so tempted to bump down the weight or grab another band to make it easier, but I didn’t do it.  I stuck it out.

We celebrated my birthday on Thursday with 35 birthday burpees and a BRUTAL WOD.

Sumo Deadlift

Results: 135-145-155-160160

That damn butt muscle ACTED UP AGAIN!  The same one from when I was pregnant.  Grrrr!  I’m not sure I can blame it for scratching on those last two sets, but it certainly didn’t help.

12min AMRAP
2 wall walks
10 DB Muscle Snatch (M 55#/W 35#)
20 box jump

Results: 3 rounds + 2 walks + 10 DB snatch @ 30#

The bad: Wall walks.  I just couldn’t pull myself vertical.  I need to do this more.  A lot more.
The good: The 25# DB was too light!  I am so happy I was able to bump up to 30#!

Friday was the day I started thinking about what it means to be an allstar.  I had dropped into Big Mike’s class and the comment was made.  I felt a little uncomfortable, because it seems like everyone is so much stronger and faster than I am.

Bench Press

Results: 65-65-70-70-(ran out of time)

4 rounds
400m run
10 back squat (M 155# / W 110#)

Time: 15:19 @ 105#

This WOD seemed pretty straightforward when I read it, but 105# was a lot harder than I thought it would be.  I really pushed myself on this WOD.  The cutoff was 15min, but Big Mike let me finish, and he coached me through to the end.

I think I screamed on the last 3.

Yeah, it was that painful.

I’m still feeling those squats today.  I’m glad for a rest week.  I’m walking around, but no WODs.  Alright, maybe a light run tomorrow with Andy if there’s time.  MAYBE an endurance WOD toward the end of the week.  But all in all, I’m taking a break.  My friends are doing a benchmark tomorrow, and I’ll be cheering them on from the sidelines.

Even allstars need to heal.

“Fran” revisited

Carey and Crystal WOD December 5, 2008 from SICFIT on Vimeo.

I love that video.  Two of the most inspiring women I know are in it, and when I saw this video for the first time, way back when I started Crossfitting, I simultaneously thought — “I want to be like them” and “I’ll never be like them.”

Fortunately, I now know that I can be whatever the hell I want to be, and I CAN be strong and fast if I want to.

It just takes some work.

The WOD for Tuesday was “Fran.”  Again.  We did this WOD back on March 8.  Tuesday was our test.  Had we improved?  Had I improved?  In March, I set a goal for myself — use the RX weight of 65# and a purple band or no band.

I didn’t chicken out.

Thrusters (M 95# / W 65#)
Pull ups

I DID NOT FINISH. (I hate not finishing.)  But I CHALLENGED MYSELF.  And not because Zach fussed at the class about how we should be challenging ourselves (which he did).

There were times when I would drop the bar and scream “FUCK!” And pant.  And drip.  And then I would gasp and grab the bar again.

“5 more.”

“2 more.”

The pull ups were just as challenging.  I used two purple.  It was muggy.  I was sweaty.  My hands would slip.  I hoped I could keep pulling.

Results: 2 rounds @ 65#

My shoulders and arms felt swollen afterward.  Huge.  Could I be developing some upper body strength?  Finally?  The girl who used to think that putting heavy dishes in the upper cabinets was hard?

Next time… gonna finish “Fran.”

Barbell love

Steak and my barbell.  Those two things totally turned my Saturday around.

I already wrote about the Diva Dash, and when I got home I felt like I had something to prove.  I felt like I needed to do something to make up for how poorly I did.  The baby was asleep, I was already sweaty and gross, and Andy was up for a workout, so we pulled out out my workout log.

Being the total freak that I am, I have Post-its of workouts stuck throughout my log for the next 3 months.  Maybe I knew I would want to workout after the Diva Dash?  Because this is what was posted for Saturday:

30 Clean and Jerk

While Andy set up the bars, Luke and I went on a short warmup run, then I pulled out my kettlebell.  I’ve been trying to work more kettlebell into my warmups after talking to Steph about her warmups in the Oly class she’s taking with Zach (I totally want to take it!).  So I did kettlebell carries in the farmer, clean and overhead position on both sides.

I couldn’t decide whether to load the bar with 65# or 55#.  I chickened out and used 55# — using the heat as an excuse. (I need to cut that out.)

In retrospect, I should have tried 65#, because I totally slammed through this workout.  In fact, I was able to thrust up from the squat clean position, rather than just stand up and push jerk the weight.  My results were quite an improvement from the last time I did this WOD.

Time: 4:49 @ 55#

After a shower and some playtime with the kids, we celebrated my new job (yes, I got a new job and I’m headed back to work full-time) with STEAK!  We haven’t had steak in AGES, and Andy picked two hefty one up from our friends at Fredericksburg Grassfed Beef during his trip to the downtown Farmer’s Market.

Talk about delicious!

I downed my entire steak, which was huge, and covered in sauteed mushrooms.  There was salad and braised kale on the side with red wine.  It was amazing.

No burpees. Please.

I did not want to do burpees today.

Or rather — I didn’t want to do them during the warmup as a punishment.

Zach wants us to bring our workout logs to class, and he threatened us with burpees if just one person forgot.  It was bound to happen — I mean, no one’s perfect.  And so on Tuesday morning, we skipped our usual warmup for 40 burpees.

And then someone wasn’t doing them right.  And I guess he didn’t listen to Zach when it was pointed out because that’s when Zach got mad.  And then we had to do 50.  And then 60.  And by the end of that ordeal most everyone was pretty ticked off and worn out.

So this morning, log book in had, I was prepared to tell anyone who didn’t show up with their book to turn around and go home.  But as a testament to how awesome the people in my class are — 100% compliance!  Yay!

Too bad there were burpees in the WOD.

I guess I should start with the strength component.

Sumo Deadlift

Note: This is not a high pull — just a deadlift.  As Zach and Jeff showed us, the legs are wide, the grip narrow.  And Zach said it’s possible to lift more in the sumo form than you usually can on a deadlift.  My buds and I shared a bar and this is what my results were:


Yep — just 5 pounds apparently made the difference between success and a scratch.  It was weird.  Maybe I was distracted or tired or both.  I also felt distracted and tired during the WOD, and it showed in my time.

3 rounds (12 min cutoff)
25 Box jumps
20 Thrusters (M 75 / W 55)
15 burpees

Sadly, I only made it into round 2 before time was called — I finished 1 round + 25 box jumps + 15 thrusters.  But I did it RX!  The thrusters slowed me down a lot as well as the box jumps, but it was important to me to do the RX move rather than scaling just so I could go fast.

That’s how you get stronger, baby!

My Fran goal

As I start this post, Madeline is rolling around on her playmat.

She’s kind of irritated.  She’s not moving as fast as she wants to or where she wants to.  And she’s upset.

But after fussing for a couple of minutes, she rolls again.  And again.  Constantly practicing.  Constantly moving.

She’ll be crawling before you know it.

Challenges.  We all face them.  It’s how we deal with them that determines whether we make progress or not.

Madeline’s constant quest for movement reminds me of my own quest to get strong and fast.  The WODs suck.  They irritate me.  They take me out of my comfort zone.  But I get a little stronger or a little faster every time.

One of the most irritating WODs is Fran.  I don’t hate it, but I certainly don’t love it.  And it can be very grueling.

Thrusters (M 95# / W 65#)
Pull ups

I wasn’t in the right mindset to take on this WOD Tuesday morning.  I walked into class thinking, “I’m resting this week” rather than “I’m ready to do this!”

Big mistake.  Anytime I do that, I’m already setting myself up to suffer.  But at least I didn’t wuss out too much on the weight.

Time: 11:41 @ 60# (blue band)

I started off slow.  I rested too much.  I struggled.  I certainly didn’t feel strong.

But you know what?  The last time I did this WOD I was pregnant and used just the bar.  And the time before that?  Just the bar and the green band.  And before that?  The 35# bar! Look how far I’ve come!

Jeff told us we would revisit Fran again in 6 weeks, so I’ve set a goal for myself: I will do Fran at the RX weight of 65# and use either a purple band or no band.  If I don’t finish, so be it.  But I’m going to make the attempt.

Challenges make us stronger.  You gotta keep pushing yourself to get where you want to go.

My kiddos remind me of that every day.

A WOD ‘sandwich’

I had a feeling Wednesday evening as we chose the workout with the 800m runs that, somehow, the fates would get together to make me run 800s again on Thursday morning.

Afterall, it’s been a week of running 800s.  Why stop now?

And damned if I wasn’t right!

For time:
800m run
30 pull ups
30 R-armed DB Thruster (M 35# / W 25#)
30 L-armed DB Thruster
30 pull ups
800m run

Zach, who was in a particularly peppy mood Thursday (what the hell was that about?!), described the WOD as a kind of sandwich.  The 800s were the bread; the first set of pull ups was the lettuce; the thrusters were the bread and cheese; and the other set of pull ups was the condiments.

Someone pointed out that we don’t eat bread, so Zach told us it was Whataburger and we had just been at the bars, drinking.  Oooo—kaaaaay.

Despite my attempt to sleep more the previous night, I had been foiled, and I was still really tired.  I got off to a slow start on the run, and by the time I got back someone had taken my pull up spot.

“Dude!”  I yelled.  The thief explained there weren’t enough pull up stations, but he moved anyway.  And I finally got started.

Someone also took my dumbbell, but Zach quickly pointed me toward another one.  I used the RX weight, and we were not allowed to switch arms.

Our assistant coach pointed out how I was losing form and getting inefficient with the move, and suggested I work on keeping my core tight.  I always laugh when people say stuff like that to me, considering how weak my abs are still, but I always try.

Anyway, this WOD was brutal, but I pushed through.

Time: 20:38

It wasn’t RX because I’m still using a band for pull ups.  One day.  One day.

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!

It wasn’t just me — it’s the WOD

I realized something these past two days.

For the past year, I’ve been thinking these challenge WODs were insanely tough because I was pregnant.  As it turns out, they’re just insanely tough.  I’m feeling the BURN just as much as I did a year ago.

Hang power clean
Clean that bar, baby! Yeah!!!

I remember thinking on round 2 of the benchmark yesterday — “Wow!  This really IS a hard WOD!”

Those exact same thoughts went through my head again today as I took on my first challenge WOD at home.

4 rounds
10 DB Thrusters (15#)
10 Burpees

Time: 6:46

I thought about doing 20#, but we’re supposed to choose a weight that’s challenging but let’s us move fast.  Admittedly, I had to stop to breathe several times.  I’m a little disappointed I was nearly a minute slower than last year.

There was also a strength component to this WOD, which I eagerly took on.  I did this part first, so that may be why I was slower.

Back squat

Results: 45-55-65-75-80

I know I can back squat more, but I was limited by how much I can clean and press — no rack at home.

My workout grid also had me working on my handstands and running.  For the handstands, Andy had me try a headstand against the wall — which I sucked at — so he switched me over to laying on my back and pushing my feet as high as possible toward the ceiling.  I did about 10 of those.

I finished out everything with sprints.

5x 100m sprints
24 sec / 23 sec / 24 sec / 23 sec / 23 sec

Again — slower than I was last year — but that’s why I’m doing the challenge, right?

Climbing the rope

When I was a kid, P.E. was something we only did once every few weeks.  It was one of those extra activities that rotated with music and art.

We played games like dodge ball and four square.   And we ran and had field days.  I had fun for the most part, but there were two things that terrified me:  the rope climb and the presidential fitness test.

I was a heavy kid.  Not necessarily obese, but not skinny like the other girls.  I couldn’t do sit ups well.  I definitely couldn’t do the flex arm hang (which was what the girls were expected to do — only boys did pull ups).  And I couldn’t climb the rope.

This morning was my last training session with Coach Jen Cardella.  As part of our workout, she had set up the rope.  I was eager to see if I could do it, but not too hopeful — after all, despite all these years, I still remember my elementary school failures vividly.

But Jen did something my P.E. teacher never did.  She showed us HOW to do it.

I was timid, but I jumped on, locking the rope between my feet, putting one foot on top of the other.

And I climbed.  And climbed.  I was half way up when I yelled, “I’m doing it!  I’m doing it!”  I guess the shock of actually being able to climb the rope was a little overwhelming because I found myself descending soon after.  I think I could have kept going.

I’m eager to try again, and fortunately, Andy bought a rope and is hanging it in our tree RIGHT NOW!  I have requested he also buy a 2″ rope (the one we have is 1″).

The training session was an awesome way to end 2010.  Here’s what we did:

500m row
200 single jump rope swings
25 push ups
50 squats
25 box jumps
400m run


Results: 35-55-60-65-60-55

Pull up (15 deadhang, 5 kipping)
Rope climb (1 climb half way, 1 -1/4 climb)

25 DB Thrusters (20#)

Time: 1:42

I grew more and more tired as we worked on barbell snatches.  The more tired I got, the harder it became to pull the weight up off the ground.  I was really impressed with the other ladies, who managed to keep up their strength through the session.  I dropped the weight as my form suffered.

The little WOD felt brutal, and if we set the weight down, we would have had to start over.  I made sure I didn’t set it down, and now my shoulders are burning.

Andy and I finished making my workout grid for the challenge.  He printed out an entire chart of when to do my workouts and when to add in the extra exercises we chose for me to help me achieve my goals.  I’ll have two days off, and I’ll NEED them.  This is going to be an intensive challenge, and I intend to meet my goals — EVERY ONE of them.  I can’t wait to find out who my coach is!

Blame it on the pecans

I think candied pecans will be my downfall.

I’ve managed to avoid succumbing to the tempting call of most sweets, but we went to a party Sunday night and there was much to eat other than salad and… those pecans.


Then, we got a gift basket with goodies from Austinuts and guess what was in the basket.  That’s right — candied pecans.  So amazing.

Well, at least I’m still working out.  Here is the workout I did at home on Wednesday:

5 rounds
400m run
7 thrusters

Time: 15:53 @ 45#

OK — so 45# was way too light for me. Anytime you describe thrusters as “easy” — the weight was too light.  Andy’s still suffering from using 75#.  I should have used at least 55#.  But honestly, I was being a little lazy.

Must have been those pecans.