Quiet But Productive

28 09 2012

It has been a busy few days since my last post, especially with the kids home on Wednesday, but it has not felt hectic as I keep going back to my pink post-it note to ask myself, “What is more important?” as I organize my days and prioritize what feels like very limited time.  Wednesday worked out quite well as it was a rest day for me and it really set the tone for a relaxed day with my girls.  We had a leisurely breakfast, went for mani/pedis, followed by a visit to Terhune Orchard, a favorite of ours.  While we were there we got the exciting news that Alexis won the role of a Party Child in the American Repertory Ballet’s Nutcracker this season.  It is a tremendous role for a dancer her age and it is one that she aspired to, yet thought maybe next year.  In fact, she taught herself the role last year and was able to replicate most of it in our entranceway while the player piano accompanied her!  It was truly a moment of pure joy for both of us.

Another benefit of my pink post-it resulted in lunch plans on both Thursday and Friday, which is not something I would normally do as I always feel like I need to accomplish other things, you know, like paying bills and cleaning out the closet and… Needless to say, catching up with very dear friends I had not seen or spent time with for several months was not only rewarding, but just plain fun, too.  I believe that my life is as rich as it is because of spectacular people, like these.  It is important to foster those relationships yet sometimes life gets in the way.  I am glad I didn’t let that happen this week!

On the Morphin front, I am totally energized and excited by the last two days of workouts.  On Thursday, I did a snatch (pick a barbell up from the floor and with some magic pixie dust get the bar locked out overhead without using your arms to press it into place) ladder WOD.  There is a You Tube link under the exercise page of this blog for a benchmark called Isabel where the entire workout is snatching, feel free to take a peek if you haven’t seen a snatch before.  We did this exact WOD in March as part of the CrossFit Open workouts.  I was able to increase my weight on every round and also do 5 snatches at 50 pounds, which is something I had never done before!  Not only did I increase my weight, but I also increased my rep count – hurray!

This exercise is one that my body physically could not do when I started crossfit.  I remember the day clearly as I started the workout with 35#, had to drop to 25#, then to a 15# bar and still couldn’t get it overhead.  At that time my coach quietly handed me a PVC pipe and told me I should work with that.  Luckily, I held back the tears until I got to the car and proceeded to feel entirely defeated.  It is not a common occurrence for me to attempt something so whole-heartedly and just completely fail.  I didn’t like it and  I knew then I would defeat that lift, it took a long, long time but I finally have it!!

Fridays WOD was also one that I will put in my win column.  I was able to muster 70# thrusters, also a first, and complete every round of double unders unbroken.  I love my new rope and, for the first time, I feel a rhythm coming that was sorely missing before.  (Tracey and Andy, if you are reading, we need some dance music while we are jumping as I think that would help, too!)  Saving the best for last, my pull ups felt better than they have since returning from the beach in early September.  On the way down on one I hit my chin on the bar so I know that I really did get over it, something I wasn’t so sure I was doing for the last few weeks.

Feeling happy about stringing two strong workouts together and feeling grateful for sharing a larger part of my time with my family and friends the last three days, as well.  Maybe that combination is not a coincidence and the quality time with loved ones positively impacted my performance as an athlete and vice versa.  Perhaps I am over thinking it.  Who knows?  But I do feel my rather rudimentary approach to prioritization is paying off.

Wednesday, 9/26

  • Rest Day

Thursday, 9/27

  • Open WOD Snatch Ladder
  • 30@35#/30@45#/5@50
  • PR

Friday, 9/28

  • Amrap in 13 minutes
  • 5 pull ups (RX)
  • 5 thrusters (70# PR)
  • 10 kettle bell swings (35# RX)
  • 10 double unders (RX)
  • Total reps: 130

 

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It’s Good to be a Kid

25 09 2012

When I was new to CrossFit I remember the day I was first able to do a 20 inch box jump.  That night I demonstrated my new skill for David by jumping onto our bed with both feet simultaneously.  It was thrilling and I proceeded to jump on and off the bed for the next few minutes feeling completely giddy.  He thought I had completely lost it!  It didn’t matter, though, I felt happy, like a kid feels happy; simply and in the moment.  For me, CF brings out a lot of that kind of happiness.  Where else can I experience the thrill of jumping on a box, swinging and pulling from a bar, running in the middle of the parking lot, jumping rope and throwing a ball against a wall?  And I haven’t even gotten to the climbing a very high rope thing (still too afraid of the height!)  I believe this is a part of what is so addicting to so many crossfitters – we get to act like kids again.

Today was an absolute great day!!  I got to throw myself on the floor and jump up (burpee), hang from a bar and pull myself up,  jump rope really fast and row on a machine.  Later in the day I got to run really fast and then jump rope again.  It was like recess at school!  So many of us dread the “workout”.  Why not embrace the child in you and look at it as play.  After all, many parents encourage their children to be active and to just go out and play, me included, why shouldn’t we do the same?  Heck, our laptops and iPads are just the grown-up version of video games.

Today’s WOD was a partner workout, which I love and find highly motivating, it’s kind of like a playdate.  Aside from the brain freeze I had while attempting to figure out a strategy, the workout was awesome and my partners rocked it!!  My pull ups are still not coming but I will keep practicing and know it is only a matter of time before they improve.  I really need to find a way to put more time in, though, and am thinking about having a pull up bar installed at the house.  My stamina felt better today than it has in a long time and I made a point of doing an Endurance WOD this afternoon to keep the momentum going.  The icing on the cake was adjusting my new jump rope (it’s fast!) and practicing double unders.  It felt good and I am really finding a rhythm.

Last week I was finding it difficult to fit the endurance wods in to my normal schedule so this week I got creative.  I dropped Alexis off at ballet and then headed to the soccer field with Courtney and Olivia.  They joined their practice and I did my running, adjusted my new rope and practiced double unders.  I then picked up Alexis and she joined me back on the soccer field where we both practiced with the new rope.  What is normally a mindless routine became enjoyable and energizing today.  Thank you, CF, for my day of fun!

Partner Wod (total reps for team)

  • 45 Burpees
  • 90 Pull Ups
  • 120 Sit Ups
  • 180 Double Unders
  • 1800m Row

Time: 14:15

Finisher (kind of like desert after a big meal!)

  • Tabata Bottoms-to-Bottoms
  • 8 rounds of 20 sec on/ 10 sec off of air squats resting at the bottom
  • Lowest rep count is score

Score: 6

Endurance WOD

  • 9 rounds of running at 95%
  •  1 min on/ 1 min off

Double Under Practice

  • pass a jump rope under feet twice in one jump
  • 10 rounds of max reps
  • PR stands at 16, which I matched today, but will have that beat soon!




What a Difference a Day Makes

24 09 2012

Last night I went to bed feeling a bit defeated.  My performance in the last two WODs had been very disappointing and I really fell off the paleo wagon last night while out to dinner with my family.  I had plans to cook a Paleo Pad Thai, which is one of our favorites, and put the spaghetti squash in to bake before heading out to pick up Alexis from her Nutcracker audition (so proud of her!).  It was not quite done so I put it back in and asked David to pull it out in ten minutes.  You might guess what happened next and you would likely be right.  I came home to the very pungent, but sweet, smell of overcooked squash.  Oh well!!  Since my normal cook up for the week is on Monday there wasn’t much to eat that would be quick so we decided to go out.   Bad call!!  We ended up at the Tap Room in Nassau Inn, where I planned to get a salad and a burger with lettuce and tomato, no bun, of course.  All was going well until the girls’ appetizer showed up: garlic puffs.  For those of you who know my Italian roots, I cook with tons of garlic and it is simply irresistible to me.  I not only felt physically horrible after eating them, I was just plain pissed off at myself on the way home.

I woke with a new intensity to resist those horrible temptations (I thought I had it nailed going into yesterday!) and a strong desire to kick butt at CrossFit today.  And I did both!!  I was back to 100% delicious, satisfying and feel-good paleo and I killed it at CF today!!  There was both a strength and stamina element of the same Olympic lift: Clean and Jerk.  There is something about the olympic lifts that I just love.  They are extremely challenging but in a good way.  (What girl wouldn’t love to clean & jerk, right??)  I not only achieved a PR (personal record) for my clean & jerk, at 87.5 pounds, but for my clean, as well.  In fact, I had never been able to successfully clean more than 75 pounds before today.  The only bummer of the strength portion of the workout was that I left a 2.5 pound on the floor when racking up my last set, and I am sure I would have hit 90 pounds had I not done that.  Time was up when I realized my mistake but there is always next time!

The stamina WOD was a benchmark called Grace (30 Clean and Jerks for time) but at 60% of our 1 rep max, which is lighter than normally prescribed.  I decided to go a little heavier than prescribed today and did the workout at 60 pounds, instead of 50  pounds as one of my primary goals during my Morphin is to gain strength and the 50 just felt too light.  I completed the WOD in 3:43, which was not stellar but I was thrilled with the weight and by the fact that I did not have to put the bar down that often.  It felt great!!! I left tCF today encouraged that I am on the right road and even though there may be days when it is not all coming together there will be others like today when I feel like King of the World!!

Strength:

  • 5-4-3-1-1-1
  • 65#-75#-80#-85#-87.5#  PR

WOD:

  • Grace “light”
  • 60#
  • 3:43




The Weekend Wrap-Up

23 09 2012

The weekends are normally very busy for me, busier, even, then the weekdays.  We run from swimming to CrossFit to soccer to errands to dinner with friends, etc!!  I love spending time with my family and relish our Saturday nights out without the kids but there is usually very little time for sitting and relaxing.  In my feeble attempt to multi-task, I brought my iPad to gymnastics Friday evening planning to write an update for this blog.  Technology has not been my friend and I just can’t seem to get the cursor to show up while working on a post – weird.  I have an appointment at Apple tomorrow for something unrelated but, hopefully, this will get resolved, too, as I spend a lot of time at the pool, on the soccer field and in gymnastic and dance studios and would like to be productive when I can.

So yesterday was one of those Saturdays where I was out of the house from 8am – 5pm with mostly kid-related commitments with a mere 15 minute stopover at home around 2:30.  When I finally returned I was just exhausted and really needed to sit for 20 minutes to recharge before getting dinner ready for the kids, updating my blog and heading in to the shower to primp for our dinner out with friends.  I grabbed part of the newspaper and headed out to a lounge chair on the back porch.  Maybe I made it through one article and then fell fast asleep, dreaming and all!

When I woke the sun was waning and there was an abundant amount of wildlife activity in the yard.  The squirrels, groundhog and birds must have forgotten I was there as I was still for so long.  I sat for a while just watching while listening to the cacophony of tweets, scratches and rustling wind.  The sky was quickly changing from day to night and was half filled with abundant clouds and half vividly blue.  It was incredibly moving to me, as I truly relish those moments yet I was also reminded of our miniscule place in the universe and how fleeting our time here really is.  Being outside under a vast sky and quietly enjoying all that is around me seems to have this effect on me.  It was at that moment that I decided to have a glass of wine at dinner.  How deep, right!

David and I do our best to get out Saturday nights without the kids, and the last two weeks have been no exception.  Last Saturday it was just the two of us and I honestly (really!) had no desire for that glass of wine.  But last night we were out with dear friends and I knew that sharing a glass of wine with them would make me happy and not doing so would make me feel a bit sad.  Again, I don’t feel bad about my decision, and in the scheme of things happiness counts for something.  (Thank you, moment in nature!!)

That brings me to where I am with my Morphin.  I have been eating 100% Paleo for two weeks now without and any significant cheats – a first for me!  I had two small pieces of watermelon the first week.  (Sounds okay but we are warding off any fruit except berries for this 30-day challenge.)  Last week I popped a few tater tots from one of the girls’ plates without giving it much thought as that was normal behavior in the past.  I didn’t particularly feel bad about either of those incidents and don’t feel they impacted the success of what I am trying to do.  In fact, I feel absolutely great and have a resurgence of energy.

Although I feel energetic my energy levels have not been parlaying into success in my CrossFit WODs.  I felt particularly slow and weak both Friday and Saturday.  There was a running component to both WODs and my legs were lead-like and my stamina poor.  Having done a lot of running in the past, and not having much of a problem with it at CF, the last two days have been surprising to me.  Not quite sure what is going on but will pay close attention to how much I am eating and attempt to get more sleep to see if either of those might help.  I was also planning on an Endurance WOD today, Sunday, but just did not have one in me.  I decided to take it as a rest day and not sweat it as my body probably just needs it after five CF WODs and one Endurance WOD this week.  I am scheduled for the 8:15 tomorrow morning and am ready to tackle it with more gusto and success!!

Friday, 9/21/12

  •  400m run 
  • 3 rounds of:
  • 30 wallballs (14#/9ft)
  • 20 push-ups
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 400m run

Time 19:47 RX (Max was 20 minutes so I just made it!)

Saturday, 9/22/12

Skill: Every minute on the minute 8x (45# first round/40# for rest)

  • Hang Power Snatch
  • Power Snatch
  • Overhead Squat
  • Squat Snatch

WOD: AMRAP in 10 minutes

  • 200m run
  • 15 Kettlebell Swings (35#)
  • 5 Burpees

Total reps: 110

Sunday, 9/23/12

Rest Day 🙂





Self-Confidence: Where do you find it?

20 09 2012

You know you love something when you relish adding an additional two hours of it to your already hectic day!  I had the pleasure of assisting my coaches, Tracey and Andy, today with a Foundations class at transform CrossFit.  This class is designed to teach new CrossFitters the basic movements and fundamental nutrition concepts so that they can be successful in their CF pursuits.  It was truly an honor to be a part of this program today.  During the spring I attended a Level 1 CrossFit Certificate class, passed my test and was thus qualified to be a CF trainer by headquarter’s standards.  My intention was not to become a trainer but to advance my knowledge and understanding of CF, in general.  The funny thing was once I had that qualification in my pocket, so to speak, it nagged at me to not leave it at that.  Helping out today is the first step on the road to uncover if I truly have the desire and/or ability to one day coach a class.  Although I have no way of knowing where I will go with this I know I will enjoy the journey and likely learn a few things, too.

Thinking about my Level 1 class and participating in the foundations class today uncovered a characteristic that I believe might be holding me back from advancing as an athlete: lack of confidence.  It became clear as Tracey asked if I was okay demonstrating three exercises, the shoulder press, push press and push jerk, that I was actually not so sure of myself.  After answering her that I would be happy to, I became nervous and started thinking that I would screw up the mechanics of the lifts and then be used as the example of what not to do.  Really!!  I know my form is not perfect on all that I do in CF but I certainly can do these three exercises quite easily and without any glaring errors.  In fact, my only limitations are likely related to flexibility and mobility issues, not lack of skill and/or knowledge.

So why was I so nervous and immediately feeling like I was going to botch it?  Why did I feel like a CrossFitting fraud when I attended the Level 1 course?  Unfortunately, I am not quite sure where that comes from but I can tell you it has followed me around in life in all areas, such as my career and now, as a mom.  I am certain, though, that if I increase my self-confidence I will increase my ability and my performance at CF.  Stay tuned for strategies, or feel free to offer some words of advice or reading recommendations.

Before participating in the foundations class this morning I did have a great workout and was mostly pleased with my performance.  I had tons of energy and most of the exercises came easily except the toes-to-bar (this is when you hang from a bar and attempt to touch your toes to said bar – fun!!).  My rhythm was completely off and I was unable to get it back during the entire 15 minute AMRAP.  Every time I got on the bar I was thinking this would be the time it would click; it never did.  There is obviously something wrong with my mechanics and a fellow crossfitter kindly attempted to help me following class but I was like a lip-chewing bad dancer missing every beat.  I know this ties in to the disaster that my pull-ups are so I guess it is more time on that bar for me!!

WOD

15 minute AMRAP of:

  • 5 Medicine Ball Cleans (14#)
  • 10 Toes-to-Bar
  • 10 Deadlifts (115#)
  • 20 Box Jumps (20 inch)

195 total reps, RX

Endurance:

  • 100 Double Unders (jump rope passes under feet twice in one jump)

4:28





What is More Important??

19 09 2012

My apologies for missing a few days of posts but priorities are priorities.  My youngest daughter, Olivia, cut her eyelid bad enough to require a visit to the emergency room Monday night while I was traveling into New York City for a YPO dinner event with Tom Brokaw.  (As cool as that sounds, I would have prefered the alternative of caring for Olivia and, subsequently, had half an ear for the speech he gave.)  The original report from the babysitter was that it was just a scratch and I should continue on.  Once my mom arrived she called to let me know that it might need to be seen by a doctor!  By that time I was at the venue and the car service had departed leaving me all but stranded until the event was over as my husband and I were catching a ride home with the Chapter Chair – oyy!!  The time I had allocated for my blog during the drive was, of course, consumed with this unfortunate injury, as was yesterday as I kept Olivia home for the day.  The poor girl was exhausted and slightly traumatized by it all!

In the past, I may have found it difficult to prioritize something like blogging (I made a commitment) to spending quality time with a slightly injured child.  (The cut only required surgical glue and white tape!)  Last week, as I was filling in the calendar for the fall with the kids’ actitivties, games, auditions and rehearsals I was feeling a little overwhelmed by the thought of also taking on additional commitments for myself.  I knew I would have to do a better job at prioritizing to make this work but I just wasn’t sure how.  I wrote the question “What is more important?” on a neon pink sticky note and stuck it on the front of my computer to remind me to ask that question when I am deciding what to do next.  So, Olivia took priority and I am happy for it.  Although, I will admit to a small amount of guilt anyway.

On to my Morphin!  I have been feeling really good lately.  My workouts have all been challenging and I am still a bit frustrated with the “summer effect” of lost strength and stamina but every day is better.  The workout on Monday was one we had done back in January and I was able to measure my progress from then.  Even at my limited ability I was still able to beat not only my score but increased the weight by 10 pounds, as well.  I know 10 pounds does not sound like a lot but the exercise which most hindered me doing more was the push press, which is moving a weighted barbel directly overhead with a slight dip to help create some momentum.  My overhead strength is the absolute weak link for me right now and one of the things I really need to work on as I move forward.

Tuesday’s WOD was all metabolic conditioning and I was surprised by my added stamina.  I truly believe my strict adherence to Paleo for the last nine days is already paying off.  My performance, while respectable, was not stellar, by any means, yet I walked taller knowing I did my best and RX’d it, at that!!

Monday, 9/17: 5 round AMRAP (as many reps as possible)  5 min/4 min/3 min/ 2 min/ 1 min.  Rest 1 minute between each AMRAP

  • 4 Deadlifts
  • 4 Hang Power Cleans
  • 4 Push Presses
  • 4 Reverse Lunges

212 total reps, 60#

Tuesday, 9/18: 30 seconds on/30 seconds off

  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Burpees

Plus: AMRAP in 5  minutes of

  • 10 sit-ups
  • 15 squats

267 total reps, 35#  RX (baby!)

Wednesday, 9/19: Rest Day





Rest Day – Shhhhhhh…..

16 09 2012

The concept of a true rest day is actually quite comical to me since I have four young daughters and they are anything but restful.  Somehow, though, going in to the day knowing that it was being logged as an official rest day (as it relates to my Morphin) my body did actually slow down for the first time in quite a while.  I slept in and, after first waking at 6:00am and willing myself to go back to sleep, I did not glance at the clock again until 9:00am!

As anyone with young children knows, that is a small miracle in and of itself.  David and I have been coaching our girls to please, please let us sleep when they wake before us.  This has never happened – UNTIL TODAY!  I heard Courtney come in at 6:00am but somehow the message finally sunk in as she grabbed my iPad and disappeared, off to her own room, I think.  By some stroke of luck, when Olivia joined her they were able to play together for some time without any trouble, which is not normally the case.

When I finally got out of bed at 9:00 I felt completely refreshed having had eight hours of sleep, which is awesome for me!  I made my typical cup of coffee and only drank about a third of it – I didn’t need more.  This being Day 7 of a full Paleo diet, my energy levels are up and I really feel great.  I was able to enjoy a lazy morning with the family, shop in the afternoon with two of the girls and finish dinner by 7:00pm.

I truly believe that quality sleep and good nutrition have a tremendous impact on our energy levels yet I have found it impossible to string together a few good nights’ sleep over the past ten years while also not completely committing to a healthy diet.  If I not only believe this, but advocate it, too, then why is it so difficult for me to live it?  The truth is, behavior patterns are very difficult to break and, even though, one intellectually knows a path to be the better one it does not necessarily translate  to change.  As I continue my Morphin a major goal will be to break those self-defeating patterns and replace them with ones that will serve me better.

My body is still SORE from last week’s workouts but I am ready to get back to it tomorrow!  Thank you, Rest Day, for giving me just what I needed.