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.




5 rounds: 400 m run, 30 box jumps, 30 wall balls.

35 and 1/2 minutes for me, 28-something for the BF.

4 days later, my quads are still almost unusable.

Also, I had my first post-WOD puke after swallowing a not-insignificant amount of blood from a wall-ball induced fat lip. Turns out that nailing yourself in the mouth and then heading out for a quarter-mile jog of death (oh and then coming back in and doing 30 more box jumps and 30 more wall balls) is a great way to end up with a really angry stomach. BUT I am excited to announce that our gym now has one (yes, just one) 10-pound wall ball, and since I was the only girl in our WOD I had dibs on it. Getting hit repeatedly in the face with a 10-pound ball is way easier than getting hit in the face with a 14-pound one.

We have been in the middle of a very bizarre streak of monsoon rains, which has meant that we get to go to CrossFit in the evenings instead of trying to show up at 6:30AM before the heat of the day sets in. And tonight we are doing “Grace,” which is 30 Clean & Jerks for time. The prescribed weight is 135, but my Clean & Jerk max is somewhere around 80 lbs, so I will probably be doing 55. I think my goal will be under 10 minutes, and to not clock myself in the chin while trying to jerk. That last part might be the hardest.

Oh, by the way this weekend I picked up one of those massage-roller-stick-things (basically a rolling pin for your muscles) and OH WOW. Best $30 I’ve ever spent. I even took it with me to the bar on Saturday night and sat there rolling out my quads while everyone else stared at me. I wish I had been wearing At least I wasn’t wearing spandex.

10 Signs Your WOD Is Destroying You

This morning’s WOD was ROUGH.

8 rounds: Run 200 m, 8 Sumo Deadlift High Pulls (google it), 8 squat jumps, 8 thrusters. That’s a LOT of thrusters.

There were only 2 other people there, one being The BF who I never beat at anything (except Scrabble and being right about things), and the other being one of my very favorite people who we work out with. My second favorite thing about her is that she is better than me at most things, a little faster and a little stronger, but not by too much, so when we WOD together I can try to keep up with her and it pushes me without totally destroying me. My FIRST favorite thing about her is that she is one of those people who just has so much heart that you can’t help but totally root for her at all times. So I wasn’t too upset when she finished a full set in front of me, even though for the first 3 of 8 sets we had been exactly pacing each other. I am blaming it on the fact that halfway through the 3rd set I took some weights off my bar because I was getting crushed and that put me behind… but really I think it was just that I got destroyed.

So I decided to put together a few tips and tricks to recognize a WMD… WOD of Mass Destruction. (I just made that up, do you like it? Ha.)

1. You reach muscle failure during the warm-up. Twice.

2. You have to take weights off your bar less than halfway through the WOD, when your bar only had 5’s to start.

3. When you try to cheer someone else on, the only words that can come out of your mouth are “I’m going to die” and “Aaannggghhh…” (Maybe if you’re lucky you can get a “Yeah” out, but that’s it)

4. 8 sets of 8 reps turns quickly into 64 sets of 1 rep.

5. Your coach is watching you with a very concerned look on her face.

6. You start to legitimately wonder how long it would take them to notice if you passed out while running since everyone else is already finished.

7. You have to squeeze your eyes shut in order to get yourself to touch, let alone grab and lift, the bar.

8. There is a fleeting moment where you wish you were doing Wall Balls instead.

9. Later in the day you can’t actually recall almost any of the experience.

10. You look like the picture at the top by the end of it. Please notice The BF’s sweat angel in front of me. PS no that is not, by any stretch of the imagination, my bar.

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 86: Coming Attractions

Pretty much how I’m feeling today.

Oh, man. I am sore. Again. Always. How many posts have I started like this? I should count.

Yesterday morning, as I mentioned, we did Front Squat maxes and then Push Presses, Sit-Ups, and Wall Balls, and today we did Dead Lift maxes and then more Dead Lifts, Squat Jumps, and some running. Ouch! But, I have a new deadlift max! The last time I went through the process of getting my max was almost exactly 2 months ago, and I have gone up from 135 lbs to 150 lbs! Woo!

However, the last time we did Dead Lift maxes I also spent the next 3 days wearing a heat pack to the office. So let’s hope that doesn’t happen again. Pretty much today nothing is safe. I guess my pecs don’t hurt, and my calves don’t hurt…but everything else does!

With my 90th Day rapidly approaching I wanted to remind everyone about The Ascent Blog! If you go to right now you will find basically this blog but in a different format at a new address. I have been talking to the wonderful WordPress people who are going to help migrate all of my followers (that’s you guys!) once I am ready to make the full switch. But head on over there and let me know what you like or dislike about the new layout!

Also, I have already started writing some stuff that I am excited to put up once I switch over to The Ascent Blog! My first few posts are going to be a series about nutrition and food in general. I have tried to start writing those posts here but always end up feeling like there is WAY more information than I can (or would want to) put into just one post…Not just about Paleo, but about the American diet in general, my relationship with food, and the technical studies, environmental factors, and even the emotions that influence my decisions about what to put in my body. I’ve really enjoyed writing it so far and I think you are going to like it!

In other news, switching back to Paleo has proven to be a little more challenging than anticipated. It’s been pretty dang warm in this city for the past few days, and since we don’t have AC that makes us very very reluctant to cook and release any more heat into our house. So last night we used a coupon we had and ordered pizza. Granted we got the gluten-free polenta crust (which was terrible, frankly), but I mean it was still covered in probably-sugary tomato sauce and lots of cheese. Oh well.

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!

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…