Why should someone else do this? Why would anyone want to join Crossfit?
I don't know. It seems to be different for everyone. Some people are natural athletes. They realize this school of thinking about fitness is different and it produces results that they can't achieve otherwise. That's not me. I'm not an athlete. I never will be. It's OK. It's not who I am.
Some people want to lose weight. I understand that. I've wanted to lose weight over the past five years. As a result of Crossfit, I've lost 13 pounds. But that's not why I'm doing it. If it was the reason, I would have lost another five pounds by now.
Some people want to be better at other sports or activities, like running. For some reason, Crossfit makes you a better runner. I can see this too, even though, as I said last week, I don't really like running. But I like the idea of it.
I think for me, the reason I do this is because I need something else to think about for four hours of the week. Whenever I'm at Crossfit, I can't think about anything else. I focus on what I'm doing and I get better. It's that simple. I think about Crossfit a lot outside of the gym, while I should be thinking about other things, but that's a distraction. I need time during the week to block out everything else and just do something that makes me uncomfortable.
As a result, I've lost weight. I'm better at running. I'm better at a lot of things. I need to figure out how to manage all my thoughts outside of work and outside of Crossfit. Just so much on my mind lately. But anyway, as a result of Crossfit, I look much better in pictures.
That's me in the middle - the skinny one in the green shirt who looks like a fast runner. I didn't look like that before.



Even though I'm usually excited about days where we have to do long-distance running, I'll let you in on a secret: I hate running. It doesn't feel good. My body isn't used to that much bounce. I had terrible shin splints in the fall; now I usually feel something for a while in my calves, and then it goes away. I have to focus on my breathing or I'll get a pain in my side. I have to tell myself to keep going, although I want to walk more than anything.
BUT despite all that, I like the challenge. I like the feeling I get when I finish and I hear my time and it's better than the last time. I will be so excited whenever I run a 5K and I see 29:39 instead of 30:39 (something about that 30 minute mark that's stuck with me). Yesterday, we had one of our hardest runs ever. We did 8 rounds of as many box jumps and squats as we could, followed by a one-minute rest, followed by a two-mile run. Seriously. My legs did not want to run after that. It was very much in my head that I wanted to walk. But I didn't. I finished the two miles in 20:03. Three seconds! Gah! If I just would have pushed it a little harder in my last stretch, I would have made it under 20 minutes, or under 10 minutes a mile. I know I can. I just want it to happen.
In a couple weeks, I'll run the Truffle Shuffle, which is a 4 mile run. I told someone at work that I've never run 4 miles, but I can run 3 miles. If I can do one, apparently I can do another. I'm hoping to get in under 42 minutes. We'll see. I need to run in my own time, which is sparse these days. And it seems like whenever I might have time, like a Sunday morning (right now), it's raining. I also realize that if I live in Eugene, Oregon, raining is no excuse for not running. Another mental block.
I also have these aspirations of running the Eugene half-marathon in May. It sounds like a couple hours of torture, but I would feel pretty damn accomplished afterwards. I don't like running, but I feel some strange need to do it.


6 months

Yesterday I realized that my 6 month Crossfit anniversary just passed. I started thinking about all the things I got rid of when I started Crossfit.
The first thing I got rid of was cereal. I like cereal. I used to eat a bowl of Life every morning. But it really didn't do anything for me and I realized there were better choices for breakfast. So I got rid of my cereal.
The next thing I got rid of were my thighs, shortly followed by my waist. I never thought I would lose either of these things, but they completely disappeared. All that fat that used to sit there on my thighs - gone. I don't plan on seeing it again anytime soon.
Because of that, I got rid of some pants. I had to keep a few, so you'll often see me wearing pants that are too big, but belted. I'm not sure I'm where I want to be yet, but I can't afford to keep buying new pants.
I also got rid of about 10 pounds. That doesn't seem like much, but the shape of my body completely changed. I don't have a scale so I would get weighed whenever I went to the doctor's office. Since I haven't seen the doctor lately, I went to Bed, Bath, & Beyond this weekend and stepped on a few of their scales. I seem to have lost 13 pounds since I started. I'd like to lose 5 more to get to the weight I think my body should be. I'm almost there, and I know I will get there.
Something that I got rid of that I may have gotten rid of without Crossfit is processed foods. The paleo diet is based on fresh food and after a while it tasted awful to eat anything out of a can or a box. This is something I wish more people would follow suit with.
Eventually, I got rid of my excuses. All I need to do is show up and do the work to the best of my ability. I don't have to do great all the time. I think my greatest strength in Crossfit is my consistency. Even when I get really busy and I have so much to do, I show up. I know it will help my sanity if I can just work really really hard for an hour.
I've also taken quite a few minutes off my 5K time. I'm just at 30 minutes right now and I'm about to be under 30 minutes. I will be next time.
So my goals for the next six months are to get that 5K time under 30, do a real pull-up, and keep doing what I'm doing. And learn how to do a handstand. I'll get there.


Feeling Better

January is usually a bad month for me. I have the traditional problems like everyone else - it's winter and I hardly see daylight; it's post-holiday let down. It's also the month that my dad died - 9 years ago. Some years I'm OK - I think about it a little and move one. Some years I'm not. Last year was especially difficult. I don't know what it was about it, but it hung over me for weeks. I'm already thinking about it this year, although the anniversary is at the end of the month. I know that if I keep myself busy and allow myself to mourn just a little, I should be OK. Part of that will be Crossfit. If I'm one thing, I'm consistent. I go 4 times a week, sometimes 5 if I'm ambitious.
I've been dealing with depression since my teens. It's something my dad left me with! One element of depression that's a continuous struggle is making the effort to get out of bed and not sit on the couch all day. Sometimes it just sounds better to not do anything at all or to not deal with anything. But I must move and I must keep moving if I want to be an active participant in my life. When I belonged to a regular gym, I did my best to get in there and move a few times a week. Of course, it was mindless. And when something is mindless, I keep thinking about the things I always think about. The best workouts are the ones where I can't think about anything else. I have to focus on what my body is doing. I'm hoping that Crossfit will help me through this month.
It also takes a conscious effort on my part to make the right choices concerning food. I mentioned earlier that I'm being mindful of my eating this month and avoiding sugar and starch. This includes alcohol. It's good that I've already made the decision not to drink for the month - I have an excuse! But it's amazing how many opportunities there have been already and how many times I've said no. But if I can stay mindful of what I put into my body for the next few weeks, hopefully my state of mind will reflect the difference.
Here's to a better January.



Today I went to the big Bridal Show at the fairgrounds. It didn't make a lot of sense - I'm not getting married here, or this year - but I was curious. This whole industry really isn't my thing. My dress doesn't look anything like the costumes they were parading around. Anyway, my big accomplishment was that I didn't eat anything that I shouldn't have. Many caterers and bakeries had samples. I did have a few bites (smoked salmon, fruit), but no cake. And Sweet Life was there. I did not try any of the Sweet Life cakes. Who am I?
It has to be delicious. They always are. And now that I'm looking at them, I kind of want some. So I should look at other things. The point is that I haven't had any processed sugar and very little starch over the past week. No beer, no wine, no bread, no cookies. But I'm all right.
I've done quite a few workouts, despite the week being quite busy. There's a Sunday workout now, which is nice, although I'm not sure if I'll make it tomorrow. My legs hurt from a combination of box jumps on Sunday and Cindy on Monday. My big accomplishment for the week is that I used a blue band for pull-ups during Cindy. This is a definite move up.
There are a few things I think I'm not ready for in Crossfit, but maybe I am. GHD sit-ups seem like a bit much to take on.Since I'm using the 18" box for box jumps, 20" isn't that much more. Anyway, progress is being made, but there's always more to work on.


Gluten and Me

I just came across this article on the Huffington Post about the dangers of gluten. I'm not sure about all the connections between autism and gluten or depression and gluten, but I wish people would take all of this more seriously.
In my experience, when I cut out wheat, bread, starches, etc., I felt a hell of a lot better. Yes, the first couple weeks were difficult. I used to eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast every morning. But once I got used to making real food for breakfast, it wasn't a problem. I stopped having cravings in my everyday life. I cut out gluten for a month, then went to Europe. The difference there is that their food isn't nearly as processed as ours. I ate some sandwiches in Paris, but the bread was fresh. I ate some pasta in Italy, yet again - fresh! When I got back from Europe, I actually made a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and I couldn't eat it because it tasted so .... weird. And this has always been one of my favorite foods.
As I got back into my real life, I realized that it wasn't gluten that needed to be cut out - it was processed foods. So I did. Once in a while I would eat something that was freshly baked, but for the most part I cut out wheat. And every time I lapse into eating what I used to, like during the holidays, I pay for it.
It's so simple - the more whole the food you eat, the better you feel. And again, this comes down to the idea of access and economics. People need to be able to afford real, whole food if we're going to change the health outcomes of this country. I just jumped over a bunch of steps there, but that's really what it comes down to.

I Can Carry a 60 Pound Sandbag on My Back

But I can't do a handstand. Not yet. I never did gymnastics as a kid. Well, I did in gym class, but I wasn't very good at it. I just don't know how to move my body that way. Now, it's really bothering me. I know I just need to do it once and then I'll get it, but for now I'm frustrated. It's a definite goal to work towards. It seems so simple. I just need to get over this mental block.
My stomach is upset. I've been snacking today - good snacks, but still snacks. I just finished the last couple bites of a dark chocolate bar that my sister got me for Christmas. So that's gone. Yesterday at the store I loaded up on nuts, salad, some meat, some veggies ... there had to be other things. It was a really expensive shopping trip. But they were all good foods- organic foods- and I'm ready to get back into this. I wouldn't mind losing about 10 more pounds and I know I can do it. I just need to commit to it. And I need to do the work that goes along with it, which means preparing my food.
This upcoming week gets me back into a routine. I know I'll do Crossfit at least 4 times - 5 if I can manage. This morning was my first time back in a week and a half and I felt it. In teams, we did mountain climbers, squats, and burpees, with an 800m run with sandbag (see above) thrown in the middle. The last few burpees were making my stomach feel a bit queasy, but I made it through. I always do. No pukies yet!



My fitness and nutrition have been lackluster through the holidays. I ate a lot of cookies. I can't even remember all I had for Christmas dinner but I know I felt sick afterwards. I'm not used to eating certain foods anymore and I'm not used to eating so much food. I know what I need to do to feel good; I just need to do it.
I did have a lovely holiday too. I spent it with my family. I showed off my muscles to my nephews. My 6 year old nephew and I did as many push-ups as we could in a row. As for workouts, I did one. Yeah, one. It was 10 double unders, 10 push-ups, and 10 squats -as many as possible in 10 minutes. I did it alone in my sisters garage. I tried doing real push-ups. They didn't look great, but I did them.
So in this new year, I have a few goals. We're going gluten free as much as possible. I already try to do that, but I'm going to try harder. I'll do 4 workouts a week, which I usually do. I need to get better at both push-ups and pull-ups. I need to do a handstand. And in May, I'm going to run the Eugene half-marathon. This I know I can do.
And I'm also getting married in the next couple years. This is new. I already have my dress picked out. It'll look awesome. I'm not worried about that.