Honeymoon Stage

 

Everyone knows that in a relationship, the Honey Moon Stage might be the most fun, but ultimately is the least meaningful. Sure, you get butterflies when you’re on your way to hang out, you try really hard to impress the other person all the time, and you might even wear deodorant when you go to see them (wait, are we talking about boys or the gym here?). But ultimately, you don’t learn much about the other person or yourself in that phase, and you can’t stay there forever.

Since last week, when I wrote about feeling like it was time for me to go harder during WODs, I have definitely pushed myself a little more in each WOD–going heavier, longer, or a little faster each time. For example, last night, in honor of 9/11, we did a Hero WOD called “Holleyman,” which is 30 rounds of 5 wall balls, 3 handstand push-ups, and 1 power clean. At the beginning of the WOD I set the goal for myself that I would do every round of wall balls unbroken, and I stuck to it. I also went so heavy on my power cleans that TJ stepped in and took some weight off in the middle of the WOD, and if I bruised like a normal person, my sternum would be totally black and blue (not recommended, and also probably why TJ intervened).

But maybe a few too many meals of grilled-meat-with-the-same-side-of-veggies in the past few weeks have jaded me. Maybe fall is in the air and I am dreaming of pumpkin-ey baked goods and creamy soups and sleeping in through the only-getting-darker mornings instead of waking up for a WOD. I really do feel like in the past few weeks I have finally started to move from being a total CrossFit newbie into the realm of “beginner” and maybe even (VERY) occasionally “beginner/intermediate.” But I think the real reason I am suddenly dragging my feet on the way to CrossFit or lusting over Pinterest recipes for Nutella cookies and Crockpot Mac and Cheese is that this new progression comes with very different challenges. I am not seeing huge leaps and bounds in my abilities like I was when I first started, and even though that’s a sign that many of my basic skills are improving, it also sort of feels like I’m stalling because I haven’t had a big first or gain in a while.

In other words, I think it’s safe to say that the Honeymoon Phase is over.

What do you do when you hit plateaus like this? Is it time to take a week or two away from CrossFit? Or is it time to buckle down and recommit to my goals and maybe stop looking at baked goods on Pinterest?

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Harder

I have started to notice a weird phenomenon happening at CrossFit. I am getting comfortable. This is the opposite of what CrossFit is about, and I’m not sure how it happened. I’m not sure how the word “comfortable” can be associated with things like box jumps and wall balls, but on Sunday we did a Hero WOD called “Blake” (which included LOTS of box jumps and wall balls), and I noticed that the amount of discomfort I was in almost felt normal.

My awkwardly circular kneecap bruises from lunging down a pebbly sidewalk during “Blake”–I was very dedicated to touching my knee down every time!

At first I was kind of relieved, like hey, this is getting easier! But the more I think about it, I don’t think this is a good thing. CrossFit is supposed to be about pushing yourself and breaking through boundaries. On Sunday it felt like even though I was pushing myself, it was a comfortable amount of pushing. Does that still count? I’m not sure, but if my vague feeling of cheating myself out of my full potential is any indication, I would say no. I don’t get nervous driving to the gym anymore, and even though I went heavy and actually did a WOD fully prescribed on Friday (holy 45# kettlebell!), I am feeling more and more at the end of WODs like I could have gone a little harder.

Maybe the problem is that I am still working with the same intensity that I did when I started–which at time, was almost more than I could handle. But over the past almost 6 months (what!?), I have gotten a lot stronger, a little faster, and learned so much more about what my body is capable of, that doing 30 box jumps in sets of 5 isn’t my limit any more. Sure, it’s hard, but maybe I should be going even harder.

If you had asked me in April if I felt like I would ever get to a point where my then-maximum effort would feel like a cheat, I would have absolutely said no. At least I would have tried to say no, but it may have been tough with all the gasping for breath, trying not to vomit, and choking back tears because my body was so wrecked.

But I think that in the past week or so I may have reached my most meaningful (and unexpected) CrossFit milestone yet: I am ready to go harder.

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.

 

Day 89: The Last WOD

I’m tired. I’m really, really sore. And I made it.

I mean, this is not over. I will clearly keep doing CrossFit. Because it’s amazing. BUT, let me tell you that I have never before in my life set out to do anything for 90 days and stuck to it. I also want to stress that CrossFit is NOT a 90-day “program” and that it will take you much, much longer than 90 days to even begin to reach your potential with CF–but man, it’s been a great start.

I am working an event all day tomorrow and then Sunday we are hoping to get out of the heat (100s in Denver! Not cool, people. If I wanted heat like this I would just move back to Moab!) and head up to the mountains to hike a 14er. Which means that, as of now, I can say that I have officially reached my 90 day goal, because, well, tomorrow is the 90th day and I am not doing a WOD tomorrow.

This week we set out to do a WOD every day for 5 days. Having only ever done 2 days in a row before, we made it 4 days and then desperately needed to take today off. I’m happy with the 4 days we did–and my shoulders are very, very thankful that I didn’t go for that 5th WOD (Monday push presses, Tuesday thrusters, Wednesday clean & jerks, Thursday push-ups). But it does just go to show that even after doing CrossFit very regularly (3-4 times a week, on average!) for 3 months, we are still nowhere near reaching our full potential. I still can’t even do 1/2 of the movements, and of the 30+ WODs we’ve done in the past 90 days, I’ve only done a small handful without modifications.

Things I have done that I thought I’d ever actually do:

  • Lifted heavy weights, period. I used to stick to Jillian Michaels-esque workouts where “Grab your heavy weights!” meant I was reaching for 8-pound hand weights. On Monday, I deadlifted 150 lbs.
  • Drank protein powder every day. The only people who do that are meat heads, right?And me, apparently.
  • Done 100 squats, or 50 burpees, or run a mile–and then continue to do lots of other things before, after, and in-between. I never would have done 50 burpees for any reason period, but if I had, you can bet that I would have spent a good long time sitting on the floor afterwards. If I sat on the floor between sets at CrossFit… Well, I just wouldn’t do that (unless I was about to pass out, which is a different story).
  • Cried after a workout.
  • Woke up at 6AM for many days in a row just to go kill myself at the gym before rushing home to shower and go to work. I am NOT a morning person. But this week alone I made it to three 6:30AM WODs.
  • Gave up gluten. REALLY never saw that one coming. But I can’t tell you how much better I feel for it.
  • Kept going even though every firing synapse was shouting, “What are you doing? You can’t do this! Just stop now!” And I relearned the most valuable lesson that’s been taught to me in my life: It’s not a matter of “Can I do this?” but “How can I do this?”

Thanks for sticking with me through this crazy 90 days! Before & After photos and measurements will be put up later this weekend, and next week I will start using The Ascent Blog! “90 Days of CrossFit” may be over, but I’m just getting started…

Day 85: Monday

Wow, it’s Day 85! My 90 Days of CrossFit Challenge will officially be OVER on Saturday! I’m sure I will write a long nostalgic post on that day so today I will spare you, but man, 90 days goes by fast.

The Monday headlines for today:

I may or may not have recently developed a CrossFit nickname. I’m not going to tell you what it is.

This morning I found out that my front squat max is 100 pounds. Woo!

I got in a fight with a wall ball (again! those bastards!) and lost. Can you sprain your nose? Because I think I did.

CrossFit Jai has a new coach! Her name is Christina (she also has some long CF nickname that is Mini-Sexy-Something-Something) and she is from Front Range CrossFit. She was there this morning and gave me some super helpful tips for my front squat. Even though Juli was coaching at Jai until just recently, I never did a WOD with her, and I just think that something about the way women lift is fundamentally different from how men lift. I think she is going to be an awesome addition to Jai; it will be great to work with a female coach sometimes!

As of today we are back on the Paleo (+small amounts of brown rice and beer) bandwagon. I’m looking forward to paying more attention to what I put in my body again, and hopefully not having another bagel incident, ever.

Monday headlines in your life? Ready go!

Women’s Lifting Class with Juli Bauer at CrossFit Jai!

Julie Bauer, being a badass

Sorry for the double post today but there is a fun thing that I just found out and wanted to share! CrossFit Jai is going to be hosting a series of 2-hour Women’s lifting clinics taught by Juli Bauer (a former CrossFit Jai coach, author of PaleOMG, CrossFit competitor, and general badass). The first one is scheduled for Saturday June 30th from 12-2PM at CrossFit Jai in LoHi! Sorry fellas, this is Women ONLY! The cost is $50 and is open to anyone who has a basic knowledge and some experience with a snatch and a clean & jerk. Meaning, you don’t have to be a bodybuilder but you should have a basic knowledge and some experience with variations of the movements and not be asking, “Wait, what’s a snatch?”

Click Here to Register!

The class is limited to 12 students so get in there! Select “Juli Bauer’s Lifting Seminar” on the calendar and it will take you to registration and payment options.

(PS, if you can’t make this one there will be more in the future that will cover different lifts, I will post them here once they become available!)

Day 79: Two for Two!

First of all, thank you all so much for the sweet comments and messages about my latest photos! It has obviously been a LOT of hard work but I really feel like I can finally see some real changes in my body and that is a great feeling. I try to not put too much value in the size or shape of my body as long as I am being healthy and active, but it still feels good to tighten up the belly just a bit 🙂

In other news: I have gone to CrossFit every day this week so far! Aka… Monday and Tuesday. Two whole days of back-to-back CrossFit. Granted I am not going today because of a work obligation (which is the only reason I went last night in the first place), but nonetheless I think this was my first time doing 2 back-to-back WODs! Sorry body, no recovery time for you!

Monday’s WOD started with a mini-workshop on Clean Pulls (just the shrug portion of a clean where you just pop back and lift your shoulders up) and Power Cleans from the Power Position, aka cleans that start just above your knees instead of taking it all the way to the ground. I did fine with the Clean Pulls but struggled big time with the Power Clean/Power Position concept–basically I just started to way overthink everything, which is never a good idea. I would pull the bar up, but when it came time to drop under the bar and transfer it onto my chest “shelf,” I kept dropping it because my mind went “Drop – Wait! No! – Ah! Wait, that was right!” Even though my Power Clean max is 90 lbs, I was struggling with 65 lbs and ended up finishing the set with just the 35 lbs bar.

The WOD itself was 5 rounds of AMRAP 30 seconds of toes-to-bar and 30 seconds of double-unders with 30 seconds of rest between rounds. And I am proud to report that I linked 20 DU’s for the first time! My previous max of linked DU’s was somewhere in the 2-3 neighborhood. And then I got to 20 and thought “WOOHOO! I DID 20!” and then of course my excitement got the best of me and I tripped on the 21st.

Yesterday’s WOD was 3 rounds of Burpees>Power Snatch>Box Jump>Thrusters>Pull-Ups, doing 1 minute of each of those in a row without resting and then taking a 1 minute break in-between rounds. It was exhausting. And it was the first time I’d done the Power Snatch and I was all over the place. Needless to say, between those, the thrusters, and the Power Shrugs and Power Cleans from Monday, today my shoulders are TOAST. Even just lifting my water bottle at work is a little painful. Hard to not feel like a wuss when picking up a water bottle makes you whimper…