Teaching and Learning

A few weeks ago, we ran the Greenhill Mile. For those of you unfamiliar with this, the Greenhill Mile is the worst thing in the world. It's a mile pretty much straight uphill. But that's not all. You don't just run (walk) up the hill - you stop every 400 meters and do squats. Then you keep going. But this post isn't about the Greenhill Mile. After the workout, we had to get back down the hill, and it was suggested that we jog. Fine. I'm jogging along, talking away and Jeremy runs up behind me. I'm running all wrong. Don't swing your arms in front of you, pretend that somethings pulling your elbows back. Relax. Kick your feet up. OK That all actually made sense. And the next day when I ran the Truffle Shuffle, I thought about those things and I totally beat my goal. I learned something!
By the way, I just (within the last hour) finally beat my 5K goal of coming in under 30 minutes. I got in at 29:00 flat. That's 1:39 better than last time. I knew I was beating my last time because I listened to the same playlist, and when that playlist ended just after 28 minutes, I bolted. So happy. And I thought about my arms. I actually pretended I was cross-country skiing. I've done that before. I tried to relax, but that's fairly difficult these days.
Last week we did the Crossfit Total - back squat, shoulder press, and deadlift. You get three chances to get your max weight, and then you take your top weight from each, add them together, and there's your total. The back squat was great. Josh actually encouraged me to do 20 pounds more than I thought I would. Shoulder press - eh. It's not my shining moment. So I set up for the deadlift and I start at 175 lbs., 20 lbs less than my max. I did it, but it didn't look great. A great guy at the gym stopped me and we started practicing. Lift your hips and your shoulders at the same time. Don't go around your knees. Knees back! Maybe my heart wasn't in it. Maybe I wasn't in the mood for learning, but once I stepped back to the bar, I couldn't lift it. I was completely blocked. I was trying to remember all that he had told me. He asked me if he was tired, and I said, 'Mentally, yes.' I stepped away for a while, came back, and lifted the 175 again. I just couldn't get it together that night. I realized that I am probably a frustrating student some nights. Weights don't come naturally for me and I want to get it right. But sometimes, especially when my mind is going 100mph out of the gym, I just can't handle it.
The next night I went up to LBCC, where I teach a writing class. I realized coming home from that class how circumstances play such a big part in how you learn. I have a great class. They're so fun. But 2/3 of them are guys and it's a 3 hour class on a Thursday night. I know that only so much can get through to them. Just like some people can never learn where to place a comma, I may have a hard time knowing where to line up my hips and my shoulders when lifting a heavy weight. Or maybe it just depends on the night. Or maybe I should keep pretending that I'm skiing.


My Week of Not Eating Sugar

Or...My Five Days of Not Eating Sugar
I tried. I really did. And by sugar, I mean processed sugar (more specifically, the miniature candy bars in my bosses candy jar). I tried cutting it out completely and I did not do it. Am I upset about it? Absolutely not.(To be clear, I did not get in the candy jar) Yesterday, it was 60 degrees and sunny and the wineries were calling. It's more of a shame not to go to the wineries when it's that nice out. And today, I really had no excuse, other than I had already had sugar and I might as well go to Off-the-Waffle since it's in my neighborhood. It was delicious.
I struggle with the idea of this whole paleo diet. I understand the principals - eat what the cavemen eat, which means meats, veggies, nuts, and some fruit. This is entirely doable. BUT, there are some delicious foods in the world and it would be a shame not to eat them. The cavemen might not have eaten cheese, but they would if they had the selection that Market of Choice has. I don't eat a lot of cheese, and I certainly don't eat Velveeta, but I want to be able to try a nice gouda once in a while. There's nothing wrong with that.
Instead of this whole paleo thing, I support the French eating style. French people don't eat the processed crap that Americans eat. They eat real food. When I was there this summer, I'd pick up a delicious sandwich from a vendor on the street and it was perfect. I don't eat a lot of bread these days but I don't want to say no when I see it.
So on Friday I also had a sandwich. I hadn't had a sandwich in a while. But it was delicious. And I feel if I'm going to 'cheat,' then it better be good. It had chicken, bacon, cheese, and whatever other delicious stuff the Beer Stein puts in their sandwiches. Yum!
I'm not going to beat myself up over having some cheese or some wine or some chocolate. These are some of my favorite things and if I'm going to work so hard physically, why not enjoy the things I love?


There's No Crying in Crossfit!

Instead of dealing with my emotions in a normal, healthy manor, I like to bottle them up and let them go at inappropriate times, like sitting in a meeting, standing in line at a grocery store, or trying to do an overhead squat. This happened last week. In order to do some things well, you need to focus. An overhead squat is one of those things. It doesn't feel natural to hold a 35 pound bar over your head while you squat. It takes some balance and coordination. During a workout last week, we had to run 400 meters, do 10 overhead squats, 20 pull-ups, and 30 kettlebell swings (3 rounds), then run 400 m again. After the run, I was the last one in. I was distracted because my car needed to be moved, which someone volunteered to do for me. By the time I got to my bar, I felt like I was in a hurry and I wasn't even thinking about what I was doing. I stumbled a little, lost my balance. I couldn't hold that weight over my head. I got upset and finished that set, deciding to do a lesser weight. No, not 25, but 15. I was a mess. I lost focus. It's scary to have something fall and to not be ready for it. Next time, I'll take a deep breath and think about what I'm doing.
I'm also an emotional eater. I am. I always have been. This paleo thing helped me in the summer and I cut out all the binge eating. Winter is different. I rarely see daylight. I get bored. If no one's at my end of the office, I'll get into the candy jar. I know that it makes me feel bad, but it still sounds like a good idea. It's not. It never is. When I eat bad things, I don't just eat a little, I eat a lot. Last night during the Super Bowl, we picked up a couple slices of pizza, potato wedges, and chicken tenders. None of that is good for you. But I didn't just eat a slice of pizza. I went after it all. You know how I felt after.
So before all that happened yesterday, I made a breakthrough in my running. I ran the Truffle Shuffle 4 mile race. I ran the whole thing (no walking) and had a goal of coming in under 42 minutes. I actually, to my shock, came in just under 40 minutes. I kept a steady pace the whole way. I managed to run under 10 minutes a mile. It's a miracle. But while I was walking back to my car, I couldn't think about anything but pizza. I hardly ever crave pizza, but man, a nice hot slice with pineapple sounded soooo good. And I ended up having it. I can't imagine how I would feel if I ran a half-marathon. I think I'd have to warn the Chinese Buffet ahead of time.


Shape Up for the Big Day!

I've been getting a lot of emails from random companies about my upcoming wedding. Today's email wanted to tell me how to get in shape for it. They obviously don't know who they're emailing. I really wish there was a person on the other end of the email because what I'd really like to do is hit 'Reply' and tell them that I don't need to shape up for my big day. I don't need a pair of 5 pound weights to make my arms look toned - I'll just do some pull-ups! Haven't these people heard of Crossfit?
I've never been one to try really hard to look better for something in the future. I didn't even go to my high school reunion. Whenever I think I have to look better for an event, it all seems so far away and I get bored two weeks after starting something. And this wedding is a pretty good chunk of time in the future - a year and a half. If I started now, I might lose those 10 pounds! I'm going to look awesome for my wedding as long as I keep doing what I'm doing - and I have no intention of stopping. I might even do burpees at the reception just to show off (but not handstands - not like I can do those yet anyways).
And you know what I'd really like to do - arm wrestle someone! I was always really bad at arm wrestling. For some reason, I used to do it quite a bit in college. But now I have some strength in these arms and I might be able to get some money out of them. I'd love to just walk into a bar - like the one on the corner where we turn to go to Crossfit- the bar that's always open - and challenge someone, anyone to an arm wrestling match. Maybe that's the movie I should write. Average girl gets buff and uses arm wrestling as an escape from her boring life. She becomes like the best ever. It'll be like Over the Top meets Saturday Night Fever. That's how I'm going to get in shape for my wedding.