August Paleo Challenge

The never ending quest to not become that last guy.

People. I am in major need of getting back on the not-eating-crap bandwagon. The biggest culprits in my life right now are chips (to go with guacamole, obviously), cheese (who let me buy a block of cheese? come on), and juice. Surprise! Fruit juice is bad for you… it spikes your blood sugar just like soda does. We drink green juice sometimes, but lately I have been actually buying things from the store like cans of sweetened iced tea and Odwalla lemonade. Organic? Doesn’t matter. Still really, really full of sugar.

Posting my grocery list didn’t work, constantly complaining about how little willpower I have is obviously ineffective, so I am going to try a month-long, low-sugar personal Paleo/CrossFit Challenge of sorts for August. Is Paleo the only diet that would work to help keep me from eating crap? No, but it’s the one I’ve found that keeps me withing guidelines that are realistic for my life. I like that it focuses on keeping your body balanced and giving you fuel that your body is less likely to store as fat, and I also like that it emphasizes organic meat and produce. Is it perfect? No. But my current diet is definitely way less perfect.

The GOALS (which I like better than calling them rules, which they also sort of are):

1. No grains of any kind

2. No added sugar of any kind

3. No dairy of any kind

4. NO! Alcohol

5. No Progenex (instead I am going to recover using real food like pieces of chicken or fish)

6. Drink at least 64 oz. of water per day

7. Take at least 3g of fish oil per day

8. Eat out 2 meals or less per week

9. Have at least 2 weeks with 4 or more WODs

10. There is no 10th rule. But lists look better when they are in multiples of five, don’t you think?

This personal challenge will go from August 1-August 31 (yes I just definitely had to look up how many days are in August). I am not going to weigh or measure, but I am going to keep a very detailed food journal.

But more importantly, I hope that maybe some of you out there would be interested in doing something like this with me in August! If you want to do this little challenge, you can use my rules or modify them if you’d like–the biggest thing is just about sticking to Paleo principles and maintaining some restrictions while making it doable for your life! If you are thinking about doing this, leave a comment and I would love to be able to post some of your daily food journal entries and/or creative recipes throughout the month!

In other news, I apparently was too busy wallowing about my knee yesterday to talk about the really cool and scary thing that we saw this weekend! The BF, the dog, and I were walking through a marshy field across from Summit Lake on Mt. Evans on Saturday, heading back towards the car after hearing some thunder approaching, when I turned around and saw a funnel cloud about a mile away from us. It was pretty crazy, not only because it was so close, but also because we were at an elevation of about 12,800 feet, and I had no idea tornadoes could even form that high up! Also, you should know that as a child I had a legitimate panic-attack-inducing phobia of thunderstorms… and while my fear is not as debilitating as it once was, I don’t think you ever really fully get over a legitimate phobia. On the other hand, The BF used to be an amateur storm chaser. You could not have had two more opposite people standing in that field at that moment. So I stood there shaking, trying not to hyperventilate… while The BF took pictures.

Anyway, we survived, and apparently this funnel cloud actually touched down as a legitimate tornado at about 12,500′, making it the second highest altitude tornado ever recorded. Pretty crazy that we were right there for it!

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Being a Klutz

Back in the spring, before I started CrossFit, I signed myself up for a half marathon that is suddenly supposed to happen in less than two weeks. I am also signed up for a full marathon in October. You may have noticed that I never talk about going on training runs… that’s because I haven’t been going on any. And I am starting to freak out juuust a little bit.

So, last night I decided to go for a run. I have done some trail running this summer but haven’t gone for a road run in about 6 months, but there is a small lake near our house and a loop around the lake, plus the 3/4-ish miles it takes to get down to the lake and back, equals almost exactly 4 miles. Seemed like a good distance for my first road run in 6 months while still acknowledging that in about 10 days I have to run more than triple that distance. The BF and our friend who was visiting from Moab went running with me, and I was feeling pretty good. Slow (like 12-minute mile pace slow), but good. As we were coming back up on our house, which by the way is at the top of a half-mile grinding hill, I thought “I’m feeling great! I want to keep running!” This thought has never crossed my mind before in my entire life, so I decided I probably needed to go for it.

To put this into perspective, I NEVER bruise. I can’t remember the last time I even had a bruise. This is one unhappy knee.

So I passed the house and rounded the corner with my two running buddies who were probably thinking “No wonder she feels so good, she’s barely moving.” But they kept to themselves and we decided to run for about 15 more minutes, bringing us up to a solid hour. As we were less than a block from our turn-around point to make a final lap back to the house, I tried to step out of the way to avoid some sprinklers… and I tripped on an uneven sidewalk lip and landed HARD on my right knee and left elbow. The word “tripped” really doesn’t do it justice. I went DOWN. The BF, who is an EMT, immediately started saying helpful things like “Did you hit your head?” (and a few not-so-helpful things like “Man, you biffed so hard!”) and took one look at the growing lump in my knee and ran home to get the car. And thus, I have spent the last 18 hours with my leg on a pillow and an ice pack on my sad little knee. I even had to stay home from work today because I couldn’t walk to the bus stop. Boo.

Things have gotten a little better throughout the day due to lots of icing and lots of fish oil, and I’m hoping to be back in full swing by the end of the week. But I am laughing a little about the fact that for the past 4.5 months I’ve been doing lots of “dangerous” things like heavy lifting and pushing and pulling and jumping… and my worst injury of the year thus far happened because I tripped over the sidewalk during a run. Awesome.

Un-Skinny

This morning I got to work and loaded the elevator, which has a full-length window on one side that (if I’m alone in the elevator) I generally use as a mirror. I’m wearing a dress that is awkwardly stretchy around the middle–the kind that turns even the slightest belly pooch into a 2nd trimester pregnancy. So I got on the elevator and as the door slid shut, I turned to the side to give myself one last once-over before walking into the office. But my eyes passed over my stomach and landed on my arms. “Dang!” I thought, “Are those triceps?!”

A funny thing has happened since I started CrossFit: I have stopped worrying about being skinny. I thought that CrossFit would help my body image by making me look the way I’d always wanted to look, but I am realizing for the first time that “body image” is a state of mind that exists no matter how you look. I know that I post on here about losing inches and pounds, and I measure those things because they provide a concrete way to track the physical changes in my body. But I am realizing more and more that my size or weight is not an accurate way to gauge my physical fitness. This may seem obvious, but it has been sort of an epiphany for me.

When I was in high school and college, I wanted to be skinny. Not fit, but skinny. I wanted to fit into a size zero and I wanted arms that were practically the same width from my wrist to my shoulder. Luckily I love food too much for those things to have been a reality, but my “ideal” body was that of a Victoria’s Secret model, not an athlete.

But the more I learn about CrossFit and the more I witness people breaking through their physical boundaries, I am slowly realizing that there is no “ideal” body. The 1st and 2nd place women at The CrossFit Games had totally different body types, separated by 3-4 inches in height and nearly 20 lbs in body weight. Even in our small gym, there is a huge variation in body types. The BF, for example, is tall and lanky, which means he will never be able to lift as much as a stockier guy could, but he will outrun and out-jump them every time. The newest coach at our gym, Christina, is barely over 5 feet tall with a petite build, but can do an insane amount of muscle-ups because her strength-to-weight ratio is so high. Others at our gym might be plus-sized, but they are able to lift hundreds of pounds more than I can. What matters is that you use your body to its fullest extent, and if you treat your body well, then you will probably end up looking pretty healthy.

The realization that the size of my waist and the weight on the scale are about the least important indicators for my health and fitness is freeing. I don’t have to go into the “why” of my previous idealization of the supermodel physique… massmediabillboardsmagazines blah blah blah. But I am suddenly very aware of the fact that I have spent most of my life trying to attain a certain look instead of just treating my body well. I am also suddenly aware that most people will not ever recognize the difference.

Small Victories

It has been about a month since my “90 Days of CrossFit” ended, and in some ways I miss counting the days. It made my goals and progress seem much more tangible, instead of just existing within a never-ending spectrum of CrossFit madness. I haven’t measured any of my body parts or really even weighed myself since then, and despite my best efforts, my diet has been slacking. Last night we did some skill work with strict, unbanded pull-ups, and our trainer Lindsay ended up having to push what was at least 90% of my bodyweight into the air 30 times. Pretty sure that was more of a workout for her than for me (plus now I have bruises on my ribs from her having to grab me so hard just to get my chin above the bar…). And talk about a way to feel like you aren’t making any headway–four months in and I’m still nowhere near being able to do a pull-up. I don’t know about you guys, but watching the CrossFit Games pretty much had me sitting there thinking, “Yeah! That’s gonna be me!” …Reality check!

So I am trying to focus on the smaller victories. Let’s be honest, nailing your first pull-up is a pretty big milestone, and it’s not going to happen overnight (or in four months, apparently). And CrossFit is all about celebrating small victories, too. Even the name of our gym, Jai, means victory in Sanskrit, for that very reason.

For example, I have been killing it with double-unders lately. I can link up to 35 on a consistent basis now, and my next big goal is to link 50. I also ran an 800 in 4:28 last week, which is a big deal for me (have I mentioned enough how slow of a runner I am?). AND it was after doing a full WOD. AND our gym is at the top of a hill, meaning that the last half of each lap is a fairly steep uphill (at least it sure feels steep when you’re running up it), and one of the other corners is at the bottom of a hill so even though you can pick it up a little on the downhill, you have to slam on the breaks before you can turn or you will hit a tree. Another fun fact is that a pair of pants that I bought in January that were so small I could barely wear them (why did I still buy them, you ask? Because they are J.Crew and they were on sale, that’s why) now are so LOOSE that I can barely wear them!  See? These small victories add up.

Ok, now I feel better. Which is good because my lats and biceps are so sore from my pull-up attempts that I can’t extend my arms over my head right now. Oww.

PS, tonight in our CSA we are getting PEACHES! Peaches peaches peaches! I cannot convey how excited I am about this. Hopefully I will come up with a delicious recipe involving these delicious peaches and post it on here, unless I eat them all tonight while standing over the sink letting peach juice drip down my chin. Ok yeah I’m definitely doing that actually.

 

A Long Time Comin

Wow that week went by fast! I was in Madison, WI (home of delicious cheese curds and the BF’s family) for the BF’s sister’s wedding. I took my laptop with me, thinking, “Oh I will have so much time to blog while I’m there!” I was really, really wrong. Turns out that holding a wedding in the backyard is about the easiest way to spend 5 days running around, putting up tents and arranging chairs, buying armfuls of sub sandwiches and compulsively checking the weather radar. So I did not blog, as you well know.

But I did do lots of other fun things! I even tried working out! The BF and I concocted our own basement-friendly WOD with the rusty 45-pound plates that his dad had on a shelf somewhere, and did 21-15-9 of modified sumo-deadlift-highpulls with a plate, burpees, jumping lunges, and tricep dips. But that was about the extent of our physical activity, unless you could trying to walk around in heels, which I do. Or dancing to Footloose with The BF’s grandma, which I also count. More importantly,  I ate squeaky cheese curds, drank delicious Wisconsin beer, and canoed on Lake Mendota. I got to spend some time with The BF’s fam, and watched his sister get married in a wedding that turned out flawlessly, despite all of our worries about trying to fit 100+ people in a normal suburban-sized backyard full of the potential for clouds of mosquitoes and/or torrential downpours. And then after the amazing wedding, we took a limo downtown and went to the dive bar where the bride and groom first met. And then, my friends, as our final act of the night, we ate Macaroni and Cheese PIZZA. It was so amazing. Made even more amazing by being in a half-drunk, 3AM-style hunger craze. It might have been the highlight of the night. Not really. But maybe.

And then, after the tent was taken down and the lights were put away and the leftovers were boxed up, we were finally free to spend a day and 1/2 doing whatever we wanted in Madison. So we went and got Ethiopian food, and whether it was from the food or from eating with unwashed hands, I got food poisoning and spent every last minute of our only full free-day sleeping and vomiting and crying. And then I got on a plane and payed $8 for a snack box solely for the applesauce cup. And today I am back at work, a full week since my last WOD, hoping and praying that I “get” to go tonight and do four rounds of 100 double unders, 100 air squats, and 40 push-ups, but kind of already knowing that instead I am probably going to go home and lay on the couch and try to eat some more applesauce.

And one other thing happened while I was in Wisconsin. A really horrible, horrible thing in a town only 30 minutes from my house, in a movie theater that could have been filled with my friends. I am so lucky that it wasn’t, but feel sick and so deeply sad for all of the people and the community who will forever be changed because of the acts of one deeply disturbed man. It has been a rough summer for us, Colorado.  So this is my little blog’s attempt at sending love and support to everyone in Denver, and really just everyone in general, who needs it today.

CrossFit Games Fitspo

Did anyone else watch (bits and pieces via the internet of) The CrossFit Games this past week? Holy crap. If that doesn’t inspire you to get off your butt and try to get your Fran time to sub-2:30, I don’t know what will. I’ll say it again: Holy crap.

Here are some of my favorite images from the women’s competitions this past weekend. These are all from the CrossFit Games website, and I have linked them all accordingly!

But first, let’s start with this great little video, basically with people just talking about what makes CrossFit so special and why it’s growing so much. If you identify with CrossFit in even the tiniest way, I think you will identify with this video, too.

The Sport of CrossFit

And now for some major inspiration:

 

 

Love and CrossFit

Ok, first of all I need an opinion. Is it CrossFit or Crossfit? Capital F or lowercase f? Let’s settle this.

Great. Moving on.

This is not us. In fact this would be really dangerous because I can’t do an OH squat with weight without falling over. But isn’t this picture just so cute?

This weekend is my 2nd anniversary with The Boyfriend. We met 2 years ago in a parking lot in Moab, UT when he helped me tie an inflatable kayak to the top of my car. We were both living in Moab working at rafting companies, and I thought he was cute, so about a week later I came back, quasi-stalked him, and got his number. Maybe a little creepy, but it worked! Now, two years later, we have survived 3 months of Skyping while I lived briefly in NE Vermont, two moves together, adopting and training a border collie mix whose name used to be Chaos, 7 months of unemployment on my end, the first semester of 5-6 years of being back in school on his end, a few (but not enough) powder days, at least 50 hours on I-70, and exactly one rafting trip together. And now, CrossFit.

Doing WODs with your boyfriend can be a funny thing. Yesterday, The BF asked how much weight I had used for my power cleans. I told him 65 lbs, but that it felt too light, and he said “You’re huge!” I’m pretty sure that CrossFit is the only place where someone can tell their girlfriend that they’re huge and not get slapped.

The BF is a lot stronger and way more flexible than I am, has way more endurance, and is the fastest runner at our gym. All signs point to him being better at CrossFit. But my hands don’t tear as easily, and I get perverse satisfaction from knowing that when we run, I work twice as hard as he does, which clearly makes me tougher. So it evens out.

A few weekends ago, The BF competed in a local competition for beginners. I made signs, brought snacks (and a cowbell), and stood inches away from him yelling very helpful things like “PICK IT UP!” and “KEEP MOVING!” as he burned his way through thrusters and box jumps. I had flashes of the moms in Toddlers in Tiaras and was struck by the oddness of being a “CrossFit girlfriend,” and somehow wanted to tell everyone, “Hey, I do CrossFit, too! I’m legit, I swear!” Similarly, yesterday we were working on muscle-ups. I am not even close, so my “muscle-up” really just comprises of jumping up and down between two waist-high rings. The BF is a lot closer, so he was standing on a box in the middle of the gym working on rings suspended 8 feet or so in the air. I am so far from a muscle-up that I have no idea how this would happen, but he somehow ended up scraping up his triceps during our warm-up, and wanted to cover them before the WOD started. As we went over some final guidelines for power cleans, I noticed him sitting on a box in the corner, struggling to cover the back of his own arm with tape, so I put down my bar and helped him with the last few layers. After the WOD our trainer said, “Hey thanks for jumping in on that, I thought about going over to help him but I was trying to get everyone set up for the cleans.” “Hey, you don’t bring your girlfriend to CrossFit with you for nothing,” I said.

But it’s possible to be a CrossFit Boyfriend, too. First of all, if it wasn’t for him I would literally never make it to the 6:30AM WODs. I would turn off my alarm and roll back over because I am the antithesis of a morning person. I’m also not a night person. I am a sleep person. But he gets up and lets the dog out and fills up our water and shaker bottles and puts a banana in my hand as I shuffle half-awake towards the door. And last week after finishing Kelly, I was exhausted and actually vomited just a little bit outside in the grass. He came out with water bottle in hand, and when we went back inside he picked up my box and stacked it for me.

And then I got a big, sweat-dripping-off-my-nose, forgot-to-wear-deoderant, literally-just-vomited smooch. That’s love right there, folks.