Author Archive: sparkmonkey

Oh, my God, you guys.

Our puppy is so ugly right now.  Seriously, I still love her, I will always love her, but at the moment she’s going through a reeeeally awkward growth spurt, and she has been savagely, mercilessly beaten with the ugly stick.  Her legs are all skinny and weird, and she’s oddly lanky for a Corgi, but the main thing is her head.  Oh my GOD does she look stupid.  Half her teeth are missing, so she’s got constant Derp Tongue, and she’s got a big bump on her snoot where the cartilage hasn’t caught up with the bone.  What’s worse, she’s got crazy, buggy pug eyes right now.  And they have different degrees of buggyness.  Her right eye pops just a fraction more than her left, so it’s always wandering off to the east while her left eye looks straight ahead.  Also we haven’t had rain, so the pollen counts are awful, so she’s got drippy eyes and her face is always stained.  And to cap it all off, the poor ugly thing doesn’t feel good.  She’s tired from the growth spurt, and her teeth hurt like a sonofabitch, so she’s afraid to eat her dinner.  The last two meals have been a mix of soaked kibble and ground beef, so she doesn’t have to chew much, and she wants to eat it out of a HAND, not out of her BOWL.  She’s got just four more baby teeth to lose, from what I can tell–one molar and three canines.  When that molar comes out, I think she’ll feel a whole lot better.  It’s loose, and I want to pull it so badly, but I don’t feel like losing a finger so I’ll just leave it alone.

On a positive note, her adult coat is growing in, and it is gorgeous, all wavy and bright red.  I mostly try to focus on that and just avoid looking at her face.

Oh hi!  It’s been a week.  Between my own fight with the pollen count (I don’t normally suffer from allergies but holy crap my head feels like a bubble of snot), puppy not feeling well, and going straight from work to CrossFit to cooking/eating dinner to spending quality time with my darling to bed… my days have been jam-packed, and blogging has taken a backseat.  Later on in my work season, as we start getting shows running and I’m at home during the day more often, it’ll be a little easier to post regularly.  In the meantime, things will probably stay a little sporadic.

What have we been up to at CrossFit?

Last Saturday was the typical cardio-heavy, time-intensive, partner WOD.  Coach often joins us in working out, so he rarely programs any heavy lifting.  It’s mostly bodyweight movements that don’t require him to keep an eagle eye on everyone.  It was stuff like box jumps, double unders, and a really fun station (no, seriously) that was a 10-minute AMRAP of ball slams, slam ball cleans, and slam ball wall balls.  Wall balls are very different with the slam ball, and I kind of liked it better, although my tendency of catching the ball with my face made me a little nervous (I only did it twice).

Monday was for finding our 1-rep max on strict press, back squats, and power cleans.  I PR’d on two of the three!  My strict press went up to a whopping 68#.  My power clean went to 98# (I wanted that 103# so badly but it wasn’t happening).  My back squat ended up tied with my PR of 143#–I brain-farted trying 148# and went straight to 153#, and it was uggggly.  I didn’t even go for three fails, the first two were so bad.  I needed help bailing out of one of them; I lost my balance and started tipping forward, and there was no way I could chuck it off backward.  Scared the crap out of the coach, but I was fine.  It did highlight my lack of range-of-motion in my lower half.  I always thought it was pretty good, but clearly it needs work, since the bar got ahead of me.

Tuesday was Helen!  400m run, 21 KB swings, and 12 pullups.  I sort-of PR’d; my time went up by 20 seconds, but I was able to Rx the kettlebell part, so I’m calling it a win.  I finished in 14:14 with jumping pullups.  Next goal is to start working on banded pullups (the blue band is not enough, but adding the green band makes it too easy).

Wednesday was a Tabata.  *grumble grumble*  20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of trying not to barf rest, for 4 minutes on each movement.  Box jumps, which I am SUPER proud of because it was a 20″ box and I jumped EVERY REP, situps, sumo deadlift high pulls, front squats, and hand-release pushups.  My scores were 5, 11, 8, 5, and 6.  That one killed me–I was okay Wednesday evening, but I got gradually more sore through the day yesterday, mostly in the abs and quads, which brings us up to…

…today.  A series of AMRAPs!  3 minutes of 3 deadlifts/3 burpees.  3 minutes’ rest.  Then 6 minutes of 6 squat cleans/6 burpees.  Then 6 minutes’ rest.  Then 9 minutes of 9 snatches/9 burpees.  The deadlift round was fine–115#, and I got through 5 rounds + 4 reps.  Then the wheels fell off.  I don’t like squat cleans on a good day; catching the bar in a squat is scary (I am super careful with my squat, and I don’t like to move through it quickly).  And today wasn’t a good day.  I did my first round at 75#, then I took off the little plates and did 2 more rounds with 65#.  3 rounds in 6 minutes.  Not great.  The snatch round wasn’t too bad, I guess… I was just tired.  I briefly considered snatching the empty 45# bar, but remembering my snatch failure from last week pushed me to make it 55#.  And that was fine.  I got it up.  It hurt, and I had to rest a lot, but I got it up and it wasn’t ugly.  I managed 2 rounds and 9 reps on that.

And now I’m home, bills are paid (pennies are being pinched til they squeak, but bills are paid), and we’re looking at a gorgeous long weekend (4 days, in my case!), which hopefully will bring some badly-needed rain.

All we need is a puppy that doesn’t look like a mutant.  That might take a while.


I’m not dead yet!

My laptop, on the other hand… it has kicked the bucket.  Given up the ghost.  Shuffled off its mortal coil.  Shat the bed.  Last Thursday morning, I was sitting in my chair, having my coffee, and the wheezy old thing just died in my arms.  I wasn’t sorry, because the stupid thing was a piece of crap, but a new computer isn’t exactly in the budget right now.  I was planning on replacing it closer to Christmastime, after I had gotten some full-size paychecks in the bank, but I guess old Delilah (that was her name) was needed in Computer Heaven sooner than that.  My mom, bless her, offered to buy me a new computer.  I said no… but I also said if she wanted to front the money for a new computer, I would pay her back.  So that’s what happened.  I have a shiny new computer and I love it–mostly just because it works properly.  I’m not exactly a tech geek.  (Also I’m way better at naming computers now.  This one is Tits McGee.)

I’ve still been CrossFitting regularly, on our normal 5-a-week routine.  I’m not going to do a full recap, because I didn’t set any PRs or anything (with the exception of my automatic-PR-by-way-of-being-the-first Cindy, which was 14 rounds + 5 reps and a skinned knee from doing girl pushups).  My favorite WOD of the last week was last Friday morning.  We had a mountain of lifts (or rather, an avalanche, since the rep count went down on each round.  It was:

  • 50 deadlifts
  • 45 back squats
  • 40 power cleans
  • 35 push press
  • 30 sumo deadlift high pull
  • 25 hang cleans
  • 20 front squats
  • 15 thrusters
  • 10 snatches
  • 5 overhead squats

This was performed with a partner, so we got some rest in there, and we were able to switch off with each other however we wanted.  My partner and I used a 63# bar and did sets of 10 until we got to the front squats, when we switched to sets of 5.  We finished in 33:04, and were one of the very few groups in the box who were able to complete it within the 40 minute time limit.  Granted, we were not doing it Rx’d; I would have been ok with the Rx weight of 75#, until I got to the snatches.  Then I’d have a problem.

Speaking of problems with my snatch…

This morning was my least favorite WOD of the last week.  I didn’t sleep well last night, I’m still sore from the rest of the week, I had a fairly physically-demanding week at work, and I’m pretty sure I was low on my water intake yesterday, so I was sort of doomed from the beginning.  We started off with a 10-minute EMOM of 3 power snatches.  My partner and I were on a 65# bar, and I could.not. put that stupid bar over my head.  I could get it as high as my chin and no higher.  I had no drive in my hips and I couldn’t generate any amount of shrug, not even a little bit.  I was soooo tired.  Coach gave me the go-ahead to do clean & jerks instead, but I was just so aggravated.  After that, we did 100 burpees for time.  I wish I was joking.  I finished in 13:34, and I was the second-to-last finisher, but I finished.  And they were good reps.  And hopefully that means neither snatch nor burpee will make an appearance in tomorrow’s WOD.

So that’s been the last week.  CrossFit, back at work (where not one person has commented on my sick pythons), getting a lot of reading done in the absence of a computer.

It’s really, really nice to be online again.

The Hazards of a Mostly-Female Box

Well, one hazard, really.

Sometimes you run out of plates.

Yesterday’s WOD came in three parts–clean, bench press, and KB swings.  And because we were cleaning and bench pressing in two groups at the same time, all the 5, 10, and 15 pound plates got snapped up really quickly.

I don’t do much of anything really quickly.  So I missed out on starting with the weight I wanted.

Part 1: EMOM for 10 minutes, do 3 cleans.  Because there were about 20 of us present, we were paired up.  Person 1 did their set, then Person 2.  Note that this is necessary if you’re sharing a bar.  If you’re using different weights, it shouldn’t matter if you stagger your sets.  (This becomes important later.)

Part 2: After a couple minutes’ rest, find your max rep KB swings in 5 minutes.

Part 3: EMOM for 10 minutes, do 5 bench press.  Again, stagger with your partner (although for this one, if you need different weights, there was enough time to pull/add weights).

This is the first time I’ve worked out with someone who… didn’t really make me feel like a part of the group.  For starters, when Coach paired us up (for what reason, I do not know, because we were sorely mismatched), she seemed kind of disappointed.  Rx weight was way over my level of ability; she was doing the prescribed 135#, whereas I wanted 85#.  But because of the plate shortage, I was still searching when the WOD started–so I had to go with 65#.  After a few rounds, I realized it was way too easy, so I said I was going to do 5 reps instead of the three.  Her response?  “Well that leaves less time for me to do my set!”  First of all, we didn’t need to stagger in the first place, and second of all, if she couldn’t start until after I’d finished, isn’t that still… basically a full minute she gets to do her set?  And since my 65# cleans were taking me all of ten stupid seconds… ugh.  Whatever.  (Coach did find me some 10# plates from somewhere–he might have stolen them–so I was able to get some good hard work in after the first few sets.)  And then I tried making small talk during the rest period, and she just stared at me, as if she couldn’t believe I would have the audacity to chat during a very serious time.  We traded partners with a similarly-mismatched pair for the bench press, and I think we were all much happier.  I know I was.

Anyway.  That was my clean section.  I was really, really happy with my KB section–104 reps at 35#!  Of course, Coach didn’t start watching me until the end when I had to rest more often, so I got hollered at, but I got a high-five and a hug when he heard my number, so yay.

Bench press… ick.  I am so, so weak in that area.  My partner and I were doing 73#, and after the first three or four rounds I could only manage 3 reps.  It didn’t help that I was coming to it after a really intense round of KB swings, so my forearms were exhausted and it felt like I could very easily have dropped the bar right on m’face.  But, whatever, I got through it and really I enjoyed the whole WOD.  I remember when I didn’t like KB swings very much… they’ve grown on me in the last few months, and I don’t dread the WOD that has them anymore.

Oh, and my first day back at work was a fun one.  My boss and I literally did nothing but talk all day.  It was pretty sweet.

Aaaaand my summer is over.

This weekend was my last precious moment of freedom before I shoulder the yoke that is a full-time job in the theatre.

I’m not a workaholic, not by any stretch.  But my job is basically my other husband, and it’s way more demanding than my real one.  Jason is an absolute star when it comes to putting up with the eccentricities of my occupation.  I work a lot of nights and weekends and some holidays, I rarely have more than one day off a week, my schedule is always changing, and it’s difficult (sometimes impossible) to schedule time off for family things or special occasions.  I had to compromise to get time off for our wedding and honeymoon.  All that said, I do like my job.  Sometimes I even love it.  And I’m good at it.  The pay is shit, but I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Anyway, so we ended up going to the Indiana State Fair on Sunday!  I love the State Fair–I keep saying I’m going to enter something in the fair someday.  There’s the knitting, of course, and I know how to make quilts, and they also have a competition for backyard gardeners that is free to enter.  No prize money, but you get a ribbon if you place.  Maybe someday I’ll even show a chicken!  (Why yes, I was a 4H kid, how did you ever guess.)

One of my favorite things about the State Fair is that my Paleo sensibilities get checked at the gate.  The State Fair is for eating All The Fried Things.  Granted, this year I’m broke and my awesome parents were footing the bill, so I only had a giant corndog and an ice cream cone.  But hot diggity damn that corndog made me happy.

And Saturday’s WOD was another tough one, so I feel like I earned the corndog.  It was a 2-part, 3-person team WOD, with a few minutes’ rest between the parts.

First Part: start each round at 3 minutes.  Work one after another , each partner starting in turn after the person ahead finishes their movement.  8cal row, 20 wall balls, 20 ball slams.  5 rounds.

Second Part: same rotational setup as the first part.  12 burpees, “parking lot run” (which is maybe around 100m-ish), 10 push press, 20 double unders OR 30 singles.

I felt really, really good on the first part.  I don’t especially like rowing, but I’m among the faster women in the box, so I guess I’m doing something right.  I definitely don’t like wall balls, but I’m getting better at them.  I felt a little lame because every time I got up behind Anne after the row, she was done and I had to start right in on the wall balls without any rest, but during the break she confessed she was only doing 15 reps.  I did get maybe ten seconds’ rest after each set of ball slams, so I didn’t die completely.  It was a really tough 15 minutes, though.

And the we got to Part Two and the wheels fell off.  I mean, it took me about a minute just to do the burpees.  And then I was all wobbly on the run.  Then I needed to suck air for a bit before I picked up the bar.  And I was so tired I couldn’t do more than 15 or 16 singles without messing myself up.  I never did do 10 push press on each round–I did 5 at 53# and that was quite hard enough.  After the first round, I didn’t do 12 burpees, either.  I think I did 10, then 6.  And I sat out a full round.  Our timing was all messed up anyway, because no way in hell were we getting through all of that in three minutes.

Maybe I phoned it in, but maybe I don’t care.  I was still sweating enough to fill a bathtub.

Rest day good.

As hard as it is sometimes to get up at a quarter to dark in the morning and Rusty-Tin-Man my way through the warmup, I have yet to suffer a Friday 5:30am WOD that truly sucks.  I know it’s the same workout the later sessions will use, but it always seems to take a little less out of me than usual.  Maybe it’s because I’m coming off a rest day, or maybe I’m just too tired to think much about it.

Anyway, today we gathered ’round while Coach instructed us to pair up and do 3×5 front squats.  “Work up to something fairly heavy, because the WOD weight is 95 and 65, and you’ll want that to feel pretty light.  Once you’re done with your sets I’ll tell you the WOD.”  I thought that sounded suspiciously like thrusters (and like he was avoiding telling us about thrusters), and I said as much to my partner.  She was all, Gawd I hope not, but we did as we were told and did 65#, 75#, and 85#, and we all had some gas in the tank so we threw another couple 5s on there and did a set of 95#.

About fifteen minutes later, once we’d all finished out squats, he told us the WOD.  8 minute ladder up, thrusters and kettlebell swings.  (TOTALLY CALLED IT, Y’ALL.  BOOM.)  You show me one person who doesn’t hate thrusters as much as they hate burpees, and I’ll turn them around and show you a big fat liar.  I jumped on the chance to go first, so I could just get it over with.  My partner and I agreed, while we were certainly capable of a 65# thruster, we weren’t capable of surviving more than, like, three of them.  So we went and got a girly bar and made it 53#.  She used a 30# KB, and I am bound and determined that all my KBs shall now be Rx.  I can’t Rx much, but I can Rx that.  SO I DID.

Thank the Lord that eight minutes goes pretty quickly when you’re sweating balls and sucking air.  After my first few rounds, I glanced at the clock every time I started another set of thrusters, and it was strangely encouraging to see that so much time had passed–it made me want to work that much harder, because I was that much closer to being done.  “Just one more round” and all that.  When Coach bellowed that we had one more minute, I was just starting another round of thrusters, and hot damn did I want to finish that round.

Sad trombone… I ended up with 7 full rounds and fifteen reps.  If you’re counting (AND I WAS), that’s one piddly little swing short of a full round.  Ooooh, I was mad.  I swung it anyway, just to appeal to my sense of order, but I wrote on the whiteboard, “Shanelle – 7 + 15 (MF!!!!!!!!)”  If only I hadn’t needed to pause for chalk before my last set!  Wah-wah.

Crossfit always sets a good tone for the rest of the day.  We get home from the box half an hour before we’d even be hitting snooze on any other weekday, and we’re already bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, so there’s no rushing.  We can play with the puppy for a little bit, enjoy breakfast at a relaxing pace, and Jason gets out the door when he’s supposed to (and not ten minutes late, like almost every day).

And on this particular day, my bestie is coming over!  Ever since moving out to the corn, I don’t see much of my friends anymore, and while I love living out here, I miss them, particularly Bestie.  We were also housemates for three years during college and almost four years afterward, and we spent so much time at each other’s apartments when we weren’t living together that we still felt like roomies.  So it’s a little weird now, since she moved away and then I moved away… we still only live about an hour apart, but for years she was either across the hall or within a few miles.  It’s not just the distance that gets in the way–her job is busy and erratic when mine is quiet, and vice-versa.  So it can be really difficult to find time to hang out.

But today, she is… doing something work-related, I don’t know what, at a library near me, and she’ll be done there by mid-afternoon.  It’s a little out of her way to stop by here on her way home, but not too much, and she wants to meet my new puppy (and, you know, hang out with her awesome friend me).  Hopefully she can stay until Jason gets home, and we’ll all go out and get dinner and it will be great.

And I really, really hope she notices my guns, because I’ve been working hard on these puppies and nobody has seen them yet!  Except Jason, but he’s got his own guns.  So it’s not the same.

Have an excellent weekend, my friends!  When next I post… I’ll be back to work.  Oh listen, another sad trombone…

My want-to is busted.

Ugh.  I’ve been cleaning the house today.  Our house is never in really terrible shape, but it’s pretty much never really spotless, either.  I realized the other day that there was a rather thick layer of dust on everything–living on a gravel road has its disadvantages.  It’s a bit frustrating, though, because we’re also still in a little post-moving limbo.  There are pictures to hang, but we’ve not decided where to hang them.  There are ornaments and tchotchkes still in boxes because we have no shelves on which to place them yet.  And… we kind of ran out of steam after painting, so there are some things we just plain haven’t unpacked yet.  Even though it’s all more-or-less tidy, it still feels cluttered.  I’ve been sort of waiting for a chance to sit down with Jason and find homes for everything, but I think I’m just going to have to do it myself and tell him where crap is.

I just want money, so I can buy a home for everything, be it a shelf, box, basket, or bin.  The easier it is to have everything organized, the more likely I am to keep up with it.

Anyway, moving on to last night’s WOD.

It sucked and I hated it.

  • 500m row
  • 25 burpees
  • Max rep pullups
  • 3 rounds, starting ten minutes apart; the faster you finish, the more rest you get.

I think Tuesday’s hammering took a lot of wind out of my sails.  Neither my head nor my heart was in it.  Right from the beginning, I was struggling with the row, which normally doesn’t give me too much trouble.  I think my first row was in the 2:12 neighborhood, which is pretty slow for me.  I rarely have any problem going sub-2:00 on a 500m row, especially right out of the gate.  I just couldn’t find any energy or drive.  Then on to 25 burpees… slooooowly managed that.  And then my max-rep pullups were just stupid.  I had decided early that I wanted to try banded pullups.  I guess I’m still not quite strong enough for that.  I managed two.  TWO PULLUPS.  I decided to hold myself up on the second one as long as I could, since I wasn’t going to get any more reps in.  I think I held it for, like, three seconds.  The only good part about the whole workout was my final row, which I did in exactly 2:00, but I was so wiped after that, I had to take a pretty serious breather before buckling down on my (s.l.o.w.) burpees.  Once again, I was the last one working out.  I was so dejected that I didn’t even bother writing down my times or reps.  I was so wiped, and so sweaty, when we got home that I had a hell of a time getting my bra off.

I don’t know what was going on with me.  I thought I had eaten enough lunch, but maybe not.  I even took a nap yesterday afternoon, and I almost never nap.  Slept fine last night, although I had some weird-ass dreams.  In one, I was living at my parents’ house, and I looked out the window and saw some guy in a Tyvek hazmat-type suit and respirator dousing my garden and herb beds with weed killer, and I marched out there and gave him the what-for and he called me a hippie.

Anyway, now it’s chucking down rain, Tegan is sleeping with her eyes creepily half-open and rolling around, and I need to stop avoiding housework.

A Big Old Blogging Smorgasbord

My brain is all over the place today.  Maybe it’s because the weather has all of a sudden changed from “glorious” to “intestinally humid” and the windows are closed up tight for the first time in like two weeks.  Maybe it’s because Tegan still hasn’t really developed a potty routine (translation: her morning poop doesn’t happen til she’s damn well good and ready, which might be 7:45 or it might be 10) and starting Monday, she’s going to be alone for almost 9 hours every day, and I’m afraid it’s going to completely derail everything.  Most likely it’s because Jason’s in that agonizing post-job-interview limbo, and the interview happened to go well, so we’re both kind of on edge waiting for a response.  Either way, I feel scattered.

I’m also officially tired of our living room, which is the room where I’ve spent the vast majority of my time this summer.  It’s not that it’s such a bad room, really.  It’s large and light and really close to the kitchen, where the food is.  It’s just so drab.  When we were house-shopping, our criteria were pretty simple.

  • Rural location.
  • Smallish house, largeish property.
  • Not a complete dump.

That’s about it, really.  Sure, we had a list of Wants: hardwood floors, one story, fireplace, gas stove, efficient windows… and wouldn’t you believe it, we got all those things.  Yeah, we had to paint, and there are a lot of personalizing projects we still want to do, but it was absolutely move-in ready.  Our house does have one carpeted room… and it’s the living room.

The living room is a newer addition to the house, which is a very plain, typical, early-1960s ranch.  Seriously, this room is big.  I haven’t measured, but an eyeballing puts it at about 15’x25′.  It’s big… and brown.  The walls are fake-wood paneling, the trim is “natural” (which also means fake wood), the carpet is a speckled tan semi-shag, and the granite fireplace surround is mottled beige/brown/orange.  The curtains are dark brown.  And our couch just happens to be beige and brown.

I’m not exactly a monochrome sort of person.  Truthfully, I’m not even really a “neutral” sort of person.  The couch I had before Jason and I combined households was robin’s-egg-blue.  My side of the closet is a riot of color.  I consider grass green to be a neutral.  I’m also not really a matchy sort of person.  My decorating sensibility leans toward the “flea market fabulous” side of things.  This is not to be confused with “shabby chic.”  Shabby Chic tends to incorporate things like peeling paint, old suitcases, and ratty linens.  Chipped, faded kitchen chairs?  Yes, lead paint is a very nice seasoning on your scrambled eggs.  Old steamer chest as a coffee table?  No better place to store extra blankets than with a colony of silverfish!  Ratty old linens?  Absolutely I would like to sleep in a mouse toilet.  I like mismatched things, as long as there’s still a cohesive feeling.  Non-matching but coordinating, I guess.  Old wooden chairs make me happy, but REPAINT THE STUPID THINGS.  Have a funky coffee table… just not a dry-rotted leather steamer chest.  Those things make my skin crawl.  AND DON’T SLEEP IN SOMEONE ELSE’S HUNDRED-YEAR-OLD BEDDING.  If it was my own family’s heirloom, that’s one thing.  At least I know nobody died under that quilt.

So anyway… maybe next summer we can afford to re-do the living room.

  • New carpet.  Something not shag, speckly, or brown.  There’s a really nice warm gray color in the mottling of the fireplace surround; that would be nice.
  • DRYWALL.  I Do Not Like the fake wood paneling.  I would be okay with just painting it, except it was not especially well-done, and it’s all wavy and saggy.  I suspect (hope) there is already unfinished drywall behind the paneling; if that’s the case, it won’t be too much of a nightmare to finish it.  If not… Jason’s dad is good with crap like that, and enjoys it, so he can help us.  And it would be painted a COLOR.  NOT TAN.
  • Built-ins next to the fireplace.  It’s really a very pretty fireplace, but it’s just kind of stuck in the middle of one wall.  Built-ins will give it a little more character, and will give us a little more much-needed storage.
  • Take down the circa-1984 ceiling fan.  Set it on fire.
  • New furniture?  Maybe?  Aside from being uncomfortable, our current sofa is now sporting a large, lovely hole in one cushion (THANKS, TEGAN).

Combined with the outdoor projects I’d like to do for next year (deck railing, minor landscaping, major garden extension)… I’m never going to want to leave the house.  I already never want to leave the house… this could be trouble.

Moving on.  Last night’s WOD!  As I mentioned, yesterday was one coach’s birthday, and I suspected the other coach would program a 42-themed WOD for that.  I wasn’t wrong.

Warm-up with 3×3 heavy squat cleans.  We were to start with a weight we could do a lot, because we’d come back to that for the WOD.  My weights were 65# (not too hard), 75# (a little hard), and 85# (fuck you, squat cleans).

And then the metcon:

  • 10 squat cleans
  • 42 double-unders
  • 10 push press
  • 42 hand-release pushups
  • 10 hang cleans
  • 42 DU
  • 10 front squats
  • 42 HRPU

I was really, really okay with this.  Going along at a good clip, breaking my lifts into sets of 5, doing 84 singles instead of DU… and then I hit the first set of pushups and came to a screeching halt.

I am weak on pushups.  Just terrible.  Even just normal, non-hand-release pushups, I can only string together a set of 6 or 7.  On my knees.  Hand-release?  Let’s make that 3 or 4.  It’s embarrassing and infuriating.  There were people finished with the whole damn thing before I finished my first set of pushups.  Coach was walking by during my hang clean mid-set break, and I double-checked with her to make sure Other Coach wasn’t actually turning 20.  She just laughed, so I guess that was a no.  And then I got all sweaty in my eyes, and I couldn’t read the board, so I accidentally started doing squat cleans again instead of front squats, so I wasted a bunch of time and energy on that.

Aaaand then I had the stupid pushups again.  By that point, I was so sweaty I had to move to the carpet to keep from sliding backwards on every rep.  I was definitely the last one still working.  Everyone else was wiping up sweat puddles, breaking down bars, hanging up ropes, and doing awesome fun things like sitting still, drinking water, and breathing.  And I still had half my reps to go.  Coach came over and sat on the tire next to me, talking me through it.  She wasn’t yelling or pushing, which is good, because I was getting mad.  My last ten or so reps were not hand-release, and I gave no shits.  My very last rep was extremely close to being a downward dog.  It was just ugly.  But again–no shits.  All I cared about was getting off the floor.

It took me 17 minutes and 32 seconds to do what most people did in less than ten minutes.  It was not fun.  And yet I’m looking forward to going back tonight.  Such is the beauty of CrossFit… no matter how much it sucks, I came out the other side, and I can be proud of that.  And maybe the next time will be better.  Because it probably won’t contain pushups.

If it does contain pushups… I can’t promise I won’t just walk home.

What the Kell(y)

Oh, Tuesday morning, I like you.  It’s cloudy, which means it might rain, which means I might not have to water the garden.  Jason had a job interview that went really, really well (he has a job he likes well enough, but he’s looking to advance his career and he’s kind of gone as far as he can go where he is now).  Tegan and Pickle are coexisting in relative peace, even though Tegan is a little wound up and excitable.  We’re good on groceries so I don’t have to leave the house until Crossfit tonight.  I’m having a lot of fun planning next year’s garden (it’s gonna be a big one!).  And I have hundreds and hundreds of pages of caveman stories to read this afternoon.  So… yeah.  It’s a good day.

Last night’s WOD was Kelly.  Ugggghhhh… screw you, Kelly.

  • 400m run
  • 30 box jumps
  • 30 wall balls
  • 5 RFT

Coach told us before we started that she wanted us jumping if at all possible.  “You can step if you have to… you know I hate stepping, but do it if you have to.”  I don’t know why she hates stepping.  I mean, I had been jumping on a 14″ box for quite a while.  The 6″ move to the next box size is huge.  Jumping on a 20″ box, once you’ve gotten the feel of a 14″ one, feels like you’re jumping onto the Empire State Building.  I know it’s completely, 100% in my head, but I can’t just magically feel the difference and be able to start jumping on a 20″ box right away.  At least with steps, I can get some memory in my muscles without the risk of going tits over teakettle.  I’m still getting on top of the box, right?  And pairing that with running and wall balls?  Why don’t you just hamstring me while you’re at it?

So I compromised.  Each round, I broke up the box jump into two sets of ten steps/five jumps.  I’ve jumped on a 20″ box a few times without killing myself or anyone else, so I knew it could be done.  And it wasn’t too bad!  I was squeaking my shoes a few times in the last couple rounds because I was juuuuust barely jumping high enough, but at no point did I come close to wetting myself out of fear, so I call it a success.

I also, at the beginning, very seriously considered scaling by either cutting reps or rounds.  Even the fast times on the whiteboard were on the dark side of 25 minutes, and the majority seemed to be at or around 30 minutes.  But when it came down to the “3… 2… 1… GO!” I just went.

I did all the reps.  I did all the rounds.  I no-repped the shit out of my wall balls, but that’s nothing new, and I counted them anyway.  I caught at least three of them with my face.  I even got picky about which ball I’d use (the orange ten-pounder is slippery and too round!).  But I didn’t have to take a ton of rest breaks, and not once after we started did I consider phoning it in or quitting.  I was committed.

And I was not the last one to finish.  In fact, that feels so good, I will say it again, louder.  I was not.  The last one.  To finish.  I got into a race with Chris at the end (never mind that she was doing it fully Rx’d), and that head-to-head race in the final round of wall balls lit a fire under my ass.  I am absolutely not a competitive person.  The only contest in which I’d really put up a fight is a bacon-eating contest.  But I really, really wanted to get done before she did, because too many times I’ve still been working my ass off while everyone else is breaking down barbells and wiping sweat off the slam balls.

I hurled my last wall ball with a mighty roar (I think I really yelled “FUUUUUCK” without the consonants), whipped my head around, and saw the clock tick over 35:00 even.  So I am calling my official time 34:59.  And I got a big, fat PR to put on the board!

Today is our coach’s 42nd birthday.  He’s out of town for work this week, but his wife is the other main coach, and she will probably have some kind of 42 chipper for us.  I’m not exactly quaking with fear, but I can’t say I’m not a little bit nervous.

Better late than never

Okay, so I’m getting to this a little late today.  Sorry.  I started re-reading the Earth’s Children series, and that’s basically all I did today.  I think this is the third time I’ve read those books?  I’m one of those people.  When I find a book I love, I will read it over and over and over until my copy falls apart and then I buy it again and read it over and over and over.  If that book is part of a series?  I have to read the whole series, in order.  Every time.  Even the volumes I don’t love as much as the others (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I’m looking at you).

The Earth’s Children books are pretty new in my library of favorites (obviously, if I’ve only gotten through them twice before).  I think I just discovered them a little less than two years ago.  They’re not perfect–they tend to be wordy, the lead character is a little too infallible, and there is way too much caveman sex, but the amount of research that went into the whole series is absolutely staggering, and if you have even a passing interest in survival stories or the history of humankind, they are fascinating.  (I just skim through the caveman sex parts.  It doesn’t offend me… it’s just that there is a lot of caveman sex.  And there are only so many ways you can describe fellatio before it gets a little repetitive.)

Anyway.  Saturday’s WOD!  Another doozy, but this was one pretty fun, and not nearly as demoralizing as the previous Saturday.  We were split into teams of 4, and did a little circuit around the room.  8 minutes per station, with 2 minutes’ rest between each one, working continuously through each minute.

  • KB swings/ball slams.  One minute on each for four rounds.
  • Double-unders or singles–one minute on, one minute off.
  • Sled complex: pull the sled, with 80# loaded on it, across the room to you (about 75 feet).  Push it back to where it started.  Setup on that end was a tire and a sledgehammer; hit the tire with the hammer 20 times or until the next person behind you completes the sled push, whichever comes first.  Lunge back to your starting place, do 8 burpees, and start again.
  • Situps/pushups.  Similar to the first round–one minute on each movement, four rounds.  The pushups were performed on a bar with bumper plates, sitting on the floor braced against the pullup rig.  The lift from the bar made the actual push part easier, but the bar wanted to spin in the plates, so there was some stabilization going on there that added a little bit of difficulty.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I had fun with that WOD!  Especially the sled complex–maybe it’s because we don’t get to play with the sleds all that often, but I freaking loved pulling and pushing that thing around the room.  The sledgehammer was fun, too, if a little awkward at first (I would not have been one bit surprised if I’d managed to whack myself in the shin).  Most of all, I loved that it based on time, not reps.  38 minutes and we were finished.  I guess I should have been counting my total reps, but I didn’t and I don’t care.

The rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful–we just stayed home.  And it was nice.


Endure the sprints

Oh, the 5:30am on Friday.  There’s nothing quite like working out in your sleep.  Also, I would like to point out that by now, it is clearly obvious that we are moving away from the summer solstice.  Around then, it was nearly dawn when we set out for the box at 5:15.  Now, though, it is still completely and totally dark, and it starts to get light once we’ve warmed up and we’re starting the WOD.  By winter, it won’t even be light by the time we leave the box at 6:30.  But that’s still a long way off, so I’ll not worry about it yet.  (Actually, I won’t worry about it at all, because I kind of like winter.  I’M A KNITTER.  I HAVE WOOL.  But I realize most people think there’s something wrong with me when I say that, so I mostly keep it to myself.  Until now, because it’s on the internet for all to see.  MOVING ON.)

This morning’s WOD was a sort of sprint/endurance combination.  A “sprindurance,” if you will.

  • 100m row
  • 5 lateral burpee box jumps
  • 15 snatch
  • 800m run

3 RFT.  The snatch weights were fairly low; 75/53, and Coach also had some empty 45# bars lying out for scaling.

I’m not the worst rower in our box.  In fact, in my heat, I was the first one off the rower.  Burpees pulled me back down to the middle of the pack… and then the snatch did its usual “Imma-kill-you” thing.  I can snatch 53 pounds, no problem.  Fifteen times, though?  Huh.  Not quickly.  Coach actually said I could scale with front squats, if I wanted to; I was really sore in the traps and shoulders this morning, and whining about it.  But no, I was just being a giant baby.  I wasn’t that sore.  So I went ahead and snatched.  Slowly.

The run, though… this summer has been delightfully cool, almost the whole time.  We’ve had, like, two really hot weeks, but mostly it’s been below normal–way below normal, in some cases.  My garden does not approve, and my tomatoes especially hate it, but CrossFit?  CrossFit has been quite nice.  Oh yeah, today’s run.  I felt like a damn gazelle.  The air was cool and dry and slightly breezy, and in the dark it’s easy to feel like you’re running way faster than you really are.  I was out there running all by myself (except for the last lap, when Jason passed me), and I just loved it.  I really don’t like running all that much, but when everything falls into place and the conditions are perfect… I like that.

Anyway, now I’m home, the house is relatively tidy, and my in-laws just left.  They had a little two-seat porch glider they didn’t have room for anymore, so they gave it to us.  They also brought us a couple things from their garden.  So now I think I will curl up with a good book and listen to the wind for the rest of the day.  Maybe with some tea.  It’s that kind of day.

One more week of freedom, then it’s hellooooo theatre season!