Some people get to sleep in on Saturday mornings. They go to bed late Friday, don’t set an alarm, and by the time they’ve eaten their breakfast and had their coffee, it’s almost time to be thinking about lunch.
That’s not the case for CrossFitters. (Or anyone who has kids or a puppy or a weekend job BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT THIS POST IS ABOUT.) We set an alarm just in case, but usually the puppy wakes us up at our normal weekday time of 6:30ish. And we are in the box and ready to fight at 8:00.
Yesterday was, as usual, one of those multi-part, busy workouts that are impossible to log on my online whiteboard. We split up into groups of 3; I was assigned to a group with another woman who is a bit more advanced than me, and a high school boy who I’m pretty sure doesn’t feel gravity the same way as the rest of us. Or maybe he’s a robot.
- 1500m partner row (split it up how you like, we did 500m each)
- 800(ish)m sandbag run (one lap on our roughly triangular track; the group runs together, each person carrying the sandbag for one side of the track. High School Boy ran last in our group; he just heaved it up on his shoulder and took off like Seabiscuit. I can’t even run that fast without a fifty-pound bag of sand on my neck.)
- 15 rounds of a modified Cindy (5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 situps, rotating/overlapping group members so each does 5)
- 18 rounds of a kettlebell swing/box jump ladder up (again rotating/overlapping; I did 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, and 17 reps)
After it was over, Coach (who had worked out with us, as he often does on non-lifting Saturday WODs) was sitting on the floor next to Jason and me, rolling out his back; he commented that he expected there would be a little more rest in there, but it ended up being a lot harder than he thought it would be. He’s so funny.
The rest of the day was a long one–my mom had been hospitalized earlier in the week for some weird abdominal pain. She’s okay now! Back home and active and feeling fine, nothing’s wrong. But we wanted to go visit anyway. So we shoved the puppy in the car and drove the 2 hours northeast to visit them. It was a good thing we decided to bring Tegan’s dinner with us; we didn’t leave their place until 9:30. Poor Tegan didn’t nap much while we were away, so she was exhausted when we got home last night. Little does she know she’s not going to nap much later today, either; we’re going to visit Jason’s family this afternoon.
Anyway. We found an imperial moth in our backyard yesterday morning! We have a few giant moths in Indiana. I’ve seen cecropias and lunas, but not often and not recently. If we’re going to have bugs as big as sparrows, I’d rather they be pretty, sweet, friendly moths and not “Palmetto Beetles” (which is Floridan for JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL THAT’S A GIANT FUCKING COCKROACH IT’S THE SIZE OF A KITTEN AND IT’S FLYING).
I like the early-morning WOD. Our gym offers them three days a week; we take advantage of the Friday one, because there’s no 6:30PM one and that’s the only other time we can get to the gym during the week. We get up at 4:45, pre-dawn even in the summer, which somehow always feels like an adventure. Puppy is still sleepy, so it’s easy to take her out to pee and stick her right back in her crate without feeling like a horrible person. We throw on some clothes, chug some water, and we’re out the door before we have a chance to think too much about how sore [body part] is.
It’s not all great, though. As much as I like getting up early, I’m a slow starter in the mornings. Mentally I’m okay for that early-morning WOD, but physically, I’m not firing on all cylinders. My timing is off, I’m sluggish and uncoordinated, I can’t seem to move as freely as usual. It was the same when I was a runner, but at least that required nothing more than “left foot/right foot/stay on the left side of the road.”
I walked in this morning with my tris, abs, and hamstrings completely shot from Wednesday, so why not get the squat muscles today? Also I struggle with wall balls at the best of times, so of COURSE we did a lot of them at 5:30 in the morning when I have the mobility of a Lego minifig.
- 5 squat cleans (ladies’ Rx was 95#, I did 63#)
- unbroken wall balls (throw it till it hits the floor)
6 rounds, scored by total wall balls. We worked with a partner; only one person worked at a time, so everyone got some rest while the partner worked. My partner and I were the first ones done (which was a novel thing for me) but as we were counting by total reps, that’s nothing to brag about.
I no-repped the shit out of those wall balls, but as long as they went up and came back down, I counted them. I still only got 4 reps on the first round (I maybe probably should have thrown some practice ones before we started…), but I did a lot better on the other rounds, for a total of 63.
It was a relatively short WOD, and we were treated to a fantastic sunrise on the way home. I had my bacon, eggs, and coffee, puppy went for her morning constitutional around the property, and it was so nice and not humid, I ventured into the
weedpatch garden (seriously, do not judge my garden, it is obscenely weedy right now) and took some pictures. Behold:
I think this afternoon I’m gonna get mah knit on. It’s been too long (and hot, just lately).
Rain sweat, anyway. Seriously, last night’s WOD had me sweating more than I think I’ve ever sweated in my life. It was rushing down my face like I was standing under a waterfall. I wished it was a cool, refreshing waterfall crashing down from a riverbed above while I stood in a quiet ravine with trees all around. But no. It was hot and salty and pouring out of the surface of my skin while Eminem screamed at me in the background. (When you think about it, sweating is WEIRD. It’s a natural bodily function, necessary for our health and comfort, but it is weird. SALTY WATER COMES OUT OF YOUR SKINNNNN. Creepy.)
Coach was trying to kill us again last night. The woman is insane. You know, in a good way, and she’s a good coach who pays a lot of attention to everyone during the WOD. BUT SHE’S NUTS. The WOD was:
- 100 sumo deadlift high pulls, with 3 plate burpees EMOM
- 100 weighted v-ups, with 6 hand-release pushups EMOM
- 100 push press, with 20 dubs or 30 singles EMOM
30 minute time cap. (I love it when there’s a cap… and I also hate it, because I know it’s going to be haaarrrrd.)
I was in group 2, so I was to start with the v-ups. My core is quite strong; my shoulders started griping about the med ball before I felt it in my abs. But pushups are something with which I struggle horribly. So even though I was able to do all my v-ups in under 9 minutes, my shoulders were trembling after 54 pushups.
After my first round, I staggered over and found a 53# bar. Rx was 65#, which I could do a few times, but not a hundred times. I was a hot mess (literally–I was covered in dirt and chalk from rolling around on the floor and sweating like a wrung sponge) and had trouble getting through my 30 singles. On the first minute, I was able to get 10 push press reps, and after that… I don’t know, I just fell apart. At one point I had to take a full minute to just stand there and rest, and I could only crank out 3 or 4 reps per minute. Coach came over to compliment my form (at least that hadn’t gone to hell) and I said, “I think I’m gonna die on this hill.” She told me to scale the reps so I could at least get some of the SDHP in. I was at 47 reps (and something like 17 minutes) when she said that, so I decided on the spot that I was no hero, and I was going to pull it back to 50 reps.
It’s amazing how such a small decision can really light a fire under your ass.
Those last 3 reps were the fastest ones, and I headed over to the line of kettlebells with a little more spring in my step.
I’ll admit, I still skipped some of the burpees in favor of 15 seconds’ rest. Burpees suck, I was squirting sweat all over the place, I was already covered in shit from the pushups, and anyway, I was feeling menstrual and cranky (SORRY FOR THE TMI, GUYS). I could have probably gone for 100 reps on the SDHP, but mentally I was done. Just done. So I went to 50 and tapped out at something like 25 or 26 minutes, I can’t remember. For the first time in a WOD I chose not to do the prescribed reps. I regret nothing.
Today is a rest day, and holy crap do I need it. My shoulders are exhausted. My hamstrings are exhausted. My sweat glands are exhausted. And on Fridays we WOD at 5:30 in the AM, so I’m taking the rest.
Tegan is growing. She’s about a half-inch away from being able to jump on the couch herself. This could be problematic. She’s even starting to lose her baby face–we’re starting to see Grown-Up Tegan.
At this moment, she is playing an odd game of fetch with herself. One toy (a Mr. Bill doll) is on one side of the living room. Another toy (a giant red lobster) is on the other side of the room. For the last ten minutes, she’s been pouncing on one toy and furiously attacking it for about fifteen seconds, then racing away to the other toy and attacking that one for a few seconds. Repeat over and over and over.
I’m waiting for her to squeeze Mr. Bill’s voice box. She doesn’t like it when he goes OH NOOOOOOO. She drops him and barks at him like “YOU SCARED ME, YOU SONOFABITCH!” And then she goes right back to chewing and shaking him. It’s pretty hilarious.
There are lots of reasons Jason and I decided to look for a place in the country when we decided we were ready for homeownership.
- I grew up in the country with many generations of farming behind me; I have never felt at home in the city.
- Jason grew up in small towns with relatives that live in the country; he also feels comfortable in the middle of nowhere.
- We don’t like having neighbors on top of us, all up in our business.
- I freak the freak out during bad weather when I can’t see the horizon.
And one of the biggest reasons of all:
- Our dedication to a Paleo diet has created in us a burning desire to raise our own food.
Actually, that’s not even “one of the biggest reasons.” That’s Reason Number One. And really the only one that truly matters.
Both of us grew up eating the fruits of our parents’ gardens. Indiana summers can grow some pretty good stuff, tomatoes being the top of the list–I am a tomato snob and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Jason’s dad still keeps a large, beautiful garden, and we get to enjoy a bit of it every time we visit. My mom would like to have a garden, but between her full-time job and running the books for my dad’s shop, she just doesn’t have time for one. She will be planting one, and getting chickens, when she retires, but that’s still a few years off.
The last few years, when we were renting a cheap house in a vinyl village, we just had some herbs in pots on the deck. I don’t have the greenest of thumbs, and I struggle to get the water level right with potted plants (and by that I mean I forget to water them for days on end). So that experiment had mixed results.
Well… now we own a house, in the country, on a beautiful sunny hill, with an acre and a half and no close neighbors. I have a garden now! We’ve had a good (if late) spring, and the little 15’x20′ plot is just popping with delicious noms. I’ve got tomatoes starting to turn red, lots of gorgeous neon chard, four summer squash plants just about to drown us in zucchini and yellow straightnecks, and six five-foot-long rows of carrots.
Tonight we will eat those little baby carrots, and some Swiss chard, along with our pork chops. There are few things more wonderful and amazing than eating something that you grew yourself, with nothing more than dirt, water, and sunshine.
Someday down the road, we want to expand the things we grow and raise ourselves. Our new property already has a chicken house; it needs a little work, and I want to fence in part of the property, but we’ll get some chicks late next winter so we’ll have laying hens by summer. Our current property is too small, but ultimately we want to have room to raise some beef. I grew up eating home-raised beef, and I miss it.
Until then, we’ve got our garden. Soon we’ll have a berry patch. Not long after that, some fruit trees. Maybe a bigger garden. Chickens for eggs and meat. We’ll buy our meat in bulk from local farms. We eat three times a day, every single day; that’s worth the investment of energy, time, and money to do it the best we can.
Haha, just kidding. I Helen’d like… I don’t know, like someone who can’t do pullups yet. And runs really slowly.
We don’t seem to do the benchmarks too terribly often at our box. We’re more than welcome to do them on our own; one of my favorite things about our box is that there are no attendance restrictions. It’s a flat fee (and a very low one at that, as far as CrossFit goes) and we can go in any time the doors are open. Thursday and Sunday are the official rest days, but they open the box for 3 hours on Thursday and 2 hours on Sunday for “open gym” time. The coaches are there and available to help you work on things. I keep meaning to go in to work on my heavy clean technique… and I keep not doing it… but that’s my problem.
ANYWAY. God, I get so sidetracked. We don’t do the benchmarks as part of a group WOD all that often. We did Annie a few weeks after I started, and we did Murph on Memorial Day (we did the full distance/rep scheme but I scaled the shit out of it with burpees instead of pullups, so I’m not sure I actually scaled it at all). Other than that the only PRs I have on the board are a few lifts and a 2k row. So I was really happy to be able to put up another hilariously bad PR.
- 400m run
- 21 KB swings
- 12 Pullups
3 rounds for time.
I used a 30# KB (which is getting easier; I should be able to Rx that soon!) and I did jumping pullups. The class was big enough yesterday we had to partner up and stagger our starts; I was sort of bragging to my partner that I’ve finally started being able to do banded pullups, and I was going to try that. She was like “Knock yourself out, I’m jumping” (only she didn’t say it in a snotty way because she’s really nice). So I got through the first run, the swings (unbroken! All three rounds, unbroken!), and then as soon as I got my foot in the band my arms were like LOL FUCK OFF and… yeah, I did jumping pullups.
Final time 13:57. I want to try it again when it’s not so horribly humid (yay, Midwestern summers…). I suspect I have very slight exercise-induced asthma; sometimes when the humidity is up, I feel like the lower half of my lungs isn’t working. I’ll take a deep, gulping breath but it feels like it just stops about about halfway down. It’s not something that really concerns me, but I’m definitely aware of it and I feel like it slows me down a bit sometimes.
Anyway, since that was the whole WOD today, Coach told us to use the time after smacking Helen in the face to work on some of the more advanced moves. She did a quick n dirty coaching session on rope climbs and handstand pushups; I chose to
flog myself for twenty minutes work on my double-unders. My poor shins took a beating and I never did get one. I can’t seem to separate my wrist rhythm from my feet; as soon as I start to swing faster, my feet are like “OKAY I GO FAST NOW TOO YAAAAAY JUMPING” and smack goes the rope.
So yeah. I need to go in on open gym days to work on double unders, heavy cleans, probably shoulder mobility, pullups, maybe some chest strength because I have very little…
Damn. That’s a pretty busy rest day.
Let me just put this out there: I am not trying to lose weight. Do I carry some extra fat on my frame? Yup. Would I mind getting rid of it? Nope. But I don’t have a “goal weight” in mind. I couldn’t give a shit what that number on the scale says. I’ve had some people comment on my “weight loss,” but what they’re really seeing is just nicer muscle tone. I’m pretty sure my arms are slightly *bigger* than when I started. I don’t really know for sure, because I’m judging my progress strictly on the weights I’m pushing, the box I’m jumping on, and the amount of time it takes me to do my WOD. That’s it.
Now, I do weigh myself occasionally, mostly just out of idle curiosity, and because it’s funny to watch my clothes get looser as the number stays the same (or heaven forbid, GETS BIGGER). I am about five feet six inches tall, and at the moment I weigh a hundred and sixty pounds. I don’t care who knows it, because it’s completely irrelevant. Sure, if I had dreams of going to the CrossFit Games, I’d probably want to be a little lighter, because it would be easier to haul my juicy, squat-constructed arse up a rope or whatever and I’d be able to Get Shit Done (TM) faster.
But that’s not one of my goals. What are my goals for CrossFit? I want to do a boy push-up. I want to do a pull-up. I want to put a triple-digit weight over my own head. I want to go around my everyday life with the confidence that my body and mind won’t fail me when I want or need to do something difficult.
All of those things require that I have strong arms and legs. Not one of them requires size 6 jeans. Toned abs will also help. Nobody has to see those abs. Those strong arms and legs? On my frame, they ain’t gonna be thin. The only way my arms could be thin is if they were completely devoid of muscle. I’m built like a German barmaid; if I was “thin” the way fashion dictates it, I would be ill. Having six-pack abs? Shit, I already have them. You just can’t see them because I also have a taste for beer and wine, and while I’m all for healthy living, I’m also all for *enjoying* life. I like the balance I’ve struck, so there.
Now, everyone’s body is going to respond differently, and that’s perfect. That’s what I love about CrossFit–literally everyone can participate. Your muscles might get long and lean (are you a long-legged, natural-born runner?). Your muscles might get thick and round (did you grow up rasslin’ with your brother and usually winning?). But no matter what your body type, CrossFit will look good on you. Some things will come easier than others. Some people will smash the cardio workouts and constantly struggle with lifts. Others will lift strong like ox, but whimper their way through the burpees and box jumps. That’s when you bask in the things you’re good at, and work hard to improve the things you’re not good at. (If you’re good at both, get thee to the Games.) No matter what, you will settle at a “weight” that looks good on you, no matter what the label on your pants says.
If I was unhealthily overweight, then yes, I would want to lose some weight. It’s bad for your joints, your heart, all sorts of stuff to be overweight. CrossFit is great for burning that junk off, provided you team it up with a good, clean diet. But that’s not my situation. My situation is that I’m simply not as strong as I think I could be. I’ll build muscle, probably burn off some fat, and my weight is most likely going to stay right around that 160 mark.
So yeah, I don’t want to hear “You’ve lost weight!” I want to hear “Holy shit, woman, you could crack a coconut with those thighs.” That would be a hell of a compliment.
I like it when the WOD starts with burpees. You get the worst part out of the way first. And then you’re wasted for the rest of the workout! Woohoo!
Just kidding. That’s not a woohoo. That’s a grrrrr.
Today’s WOD was one of those busy ones that has a lot going on. Not a lot of information to keep track of, it wasn’t complicated or anything… just busy.
Three rounds. Ten minutes each. Work on every other minute.
- 10 burpees, 10 wall balls, 10 med ball cleans
- 20DU/30 singles, 10 situps, 10 ball slams
- 10cal (men)/8cal (women) row, 10 KB swings, 10 box jumps
I’m definitely one of those people who likes to get the hard or unpleasant stuff out of the way first. I’ve done that ever since I was a kid–if I have a list of tasks or activities, and I don’t have to do them in any particular order, I will always, always do them in order from most suck to least suck. So yay, my group got to start with burpees!
I would have happily saved Round 2 for last, because that one was a breeze, but oh well. Can’t win everything.
I also can’t do All The Burpees yet. I was working out next to a sprightly high school boy; he was down and up and down and up like a superball. I felt more like a hacky-sack. A sweaty, 32-year-old, huffin, puffin hacky-sack. After the first two sets, I brought it down to 5 burpees and felt much better.
So. I scaled my burpee reps, and I also opted to step rather than jump on my box. I’m still a little scared of box jumps, especially when it’s at the end of a WOD and my heart is leaping out of my chest and Coach didn’t drag out the little baby 12″ box for me. Lately I’ve been fine on a 14″ box, but I don’t know… it just felt really, really high this morning. So I stepped. I regret nothing.
So yeah, that was the WOD. Honestly not as taxing as some Saturday WODS, but I’m okay with that. Yesterday was quite hard enough (and it kind of buggered up my shoulder) so it’s fine.
Tomorrow: rest day. And I need it.
- …you can eat more at breakfast than some people eat in an entire day.
- …you finish your workout, then work out some more.
- …you don’t know the last time you slept in on a Saturday morning.
- …you don’t wear certain fabrics because they get snagged on your calluses, and those calluses are more important than pretty clothes.
- …people back away slowly when they see how many cartons of eggs go in your shopping cart.
- …you surreptitiously admire your own arms whenever you reach for something.
- …you politely decline offers of help when carrying something heavy, but inside you’re bellowing “I CROSSFIT, SUCKA”
- …you pity the people whose workouts take over an hour.
- …you realize life offers a surprising number of opportunities to use your clean technique.
- …you estimate your growing puppy’s weight by considering how she compares to a 10-pound med ball. (It helps that she’s kind of med-ball-shaped.)
- …you have to remind yourself that almost nobody outside of your box cares about your deadlift PR this morning. And sometimes that reminder doesn’t work (oops).
- …observing your surroundings invariably leads to thinking “I wonder if I could pick that up. I bet I could. Yeah… yeah, I could pick that up.”
- …you can tell another woman “Your snatch looks great!” without giggling. Well… maybe you giggle a little bit.
- …you are getting seriously pissed off that the double-under continues to elude you.
Don’t wanna be all by myself anymore.
Jason had to go to Iowa for work this week; he left yesterday a little after noon. We had to go to CrossFit in the morning, which was really nice. As much as I love going, I also love getting it out of the way early.
Yesterday’s WOD was tough; started off with 5×5 front squats, on which I got a PR (5 reps @ 103#, yeyyyy). Then we moved into the next part of the WOD, which was 3 rounds, 5 minutes each, ladder up by 2 on the second movement, with two minutes’ rest between each round:
10 jumping air squats, chest-to-bar pullups
20 DU/50 singles, med ball cleans
5 burpees, kettlebell swings
I scaled with banded pullups (for the first time!), and I used a 14# ball and a 30# KB. Made it to 8 pullups, 8 cleans, and 10 swings. All my burpees were unbroken! Only 5 at a time, I know, BUT STILL. UNBROKEN. But after all those squats to start with… holy crap, my legs were toast. And then they wanted us to jump squat? And clean? Sadists, the lot of them.
Anyway… so puppy was crated for an hour and a half while we WODed, and again for nearly three hours while I took Jason to the airport (and had delicious sushi for lunch from the best cheap sushi place on the planet). So she was kind of climbing the walls when I got home. She played crazy-crazy for a couple hours, then took a nap before dinner.
After dinner… she became possessed by demons.
Ordinarily, Jason and I will take turns playing with her in the evenings, and when we tag-team her like that, we can have her worn out and ready for bed by about 9:00. She naps for a while, we take her out for one final pee at about 10:30, and she’s in her crate by 10:45, when we go to bed. She’s good about her crate; she’ll settle right down, and when she starts stirring at around 3, Jason takes her out to pee. She’ll go right back to sleep when he puts her back, and she wakes up around sunrise. I take her out for the morning pee, and we start our day. It works perfectly.
Last night, she was having NONE OF IT. I could not get her to settle down for anything. She was all over the place, barking in my face, biting at everything she could reach, just being a crazy meth dog. And when I finally called it quits and put us both to bed, she settled down… until her 3:30am constitutional. She would NOT go back to sleep after that, just sat in her crate whining and circling and obsessively (and noisily) licking her butt (and barking at her butt when she couldn’t quite reach the spot she wanted). She hasn’t cried in her crate since the third night we had her, so I don’t know what her problem was, unless she was really that upset that I took her out for the middle-of-the-night pee, instead of Jason (TRUST ME, DOG, I WASN’T TOO THRILLED EITHER).
So far today she seems mostly normal, but we’ll see. I’m taking her to the park this evening for a nice long walk; hopefully that will help. We can’t take long walks from home; we live in the country, and all our neighbors let their large dogs run loose. We can go a few hundred yards down the road in each direction, but other than that we’re stuck circling our property. Normally a rowdy game of fetch or keep-away is more than enough exercise, but I know she needs a change of scenery too. It’s just hard to walk every day when we have to drive her somewhere to do it. It’s funny, because at home she’s a pain in the ass on-leash; at the park, she’s an angel and a joy to walk.
Today’s WOD was fun. We paired up and did 4 rounds of 400m run and max rep clean & jerk. Partner 1 ran while Partner 2 lifted; when Partner 1 got back we switched places. I was lifting 63#, which is admittedly slightly lower than what I could (and probably should) have done, but a) my partner was new and b) OMFG I WAS SO TIRED. I got in 30 reps, so I was happy with that. Round numbers please me so.
And now I’m back home, I had a big brunch, puppy is being sweet, I’m finally caffeinated, and I have all 3 seasons of Downton Abbey on Blu-Ray that require viewing. I’ll enjoy it while I can.
Tegan and I miss Jason. Monday can’t get here soon enough.