Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

I feel like I've been complaining a lot lately.This is unnecessary. So instead of posting about how much my pull-ups suck lately, I thought I'd post about good things. 

Harder- When I started Crossfit, I was told it only gets harder. This is true. I still struggle through my workouts, thinking that I can't do what I'm doing. I know I can. All I need to do is finish; it doesn't matter how I compare to everyone else. No matter what day or what time or what weather, I always feel like walking during a 400m run, but I never have. I think that's what keeps me running every time. I've never walked during a 400, so I can't do it now. I think there's a point during every workout when I want to quit. But I don't. It's not getting easier. I'll either move up a resistance band for pull-ups or I'll increase the weight. It will always get harder, but I'm up for the challenge.

Better - I've felt better emotionally. I have other influences in my life that are causing me stress, but otherwise I've been doing all right. I like having something to work towards. I like being challenged. I've told other crossfitters that crossfit is like a vacation from my real world. I'm not quite sure what that says about me, but it works.

Faster - A few years ago, when I moved to Eugene, I decided to be a runner. I could insert a long story here, but I'll just give you the ending: I'm not a runner. I don't like running. I'm determined to do it, and I usually show up when there's a running WOD for Crossfit, but I don't like the physical act. I feel like my body's not built for speed. BUT more than anything else, I can credit Crossfit for greatly increasing my speed. Before I started Crossfit, my last 5K time was in the 36 minute range. My best 5K time, about a month ago, was 29:00. That's a substantial difference. I also feel like my shorter distances are getting a lot faster. We did an 800m run today and I managed to run it in 3:44. I was really happy with that. My 400m runs are getting faster. This feels great. I still need to work on form - we're learning about how the foot should strike the surface and what to do with my arms and all that jazz. I think about it while I'm running. I'm getting there, and I'm getting there fast.

Stronger - After the bridal store lady told me I had a tiny waist last Thursday, I had to flex my arms in the mirror - while in a wedding dress. It's really the perfect backdrop to showcase my strength. It irritates me now to read fitness magazines or blogs and hear women say that they don't want to use heavy weights because they don't want to get bulky. Hey ladies, guess what - you're not going to get bulky! It's not going to happen! You'll burn calories a lot faster, and you'll be a hell of a lot more useful for moving things, but you're not going to get bulky. There are very few, if any, bulky women at Crossfit. There are some damn strong women, and they look amazing. I'm pretty proud of myself and so many people at the gym when we have heavy lifting days. It's one of those things where you go in thinking you can only do so much, but then you realize you can do so much more.

Stuff to work on:

  • Pull-ups. They are abysmal right now. So many excuses: my posture, sports bra, form, whatev. They need to get better, and I need to do a real pull-up soon.
  • Handstands. I was so close today. So close. I just need to practice and I'll be able to do a handstand. Then I'll do a handstand push up.
  • Overhead squats. I don't want to talk about these.
  • Speed. This isn't just running. It's box jumps, burpees, wall balls. I need to be able to do these things faster. I can do this.
I'll talk more about the Spring Leaning Challenge next time, but I do have goals. It will be hard, but I can do it. I know I'm getting better. I know I'm getting faster. And I'm definitely getting stronger.


I Can't Cook

I'm also no good at fending for myself. When left on my own, I think about what I'm going to eat and how it's going to appear on my plate. I often think about it so long that it's too late to make real food and I end up toasting some gluten-free waffles and calling it good. This is probably not the right approach to good nutrition.
I never thought I couldn't cook. For years I could get by making mac and cheese or eating a bowl of cereal. Spaghetti? Sure, I can do that! I can even bake a decent cookie. But putting together a healthy dinner? Not so much.
Maybe my inability, or my lack of motivation, to cook stems from not eating meat for many, many years. I didn't have to really worry about not cooking something so it's safe to eat. For about 10 years I didn't eat any meat, then over the course of a few years, I started eating fish, then turkey, then chicken. I don't really trust myself to cook fish. Chicken - I think I can get away with that. Last fall I started eating beef and pork because I really didn't know why I wasn't eating it anymore. But cooking it? I don't feel I'm qualified.
I'm on my own for a couple weeks and I attempted to cook a steak the other day. I always complain about the house getting so smoky when Josh cooks; now I understand why. I let it cook, just like the recipe said. I didn't move it. I thought the burner might be too hot, but I still didn't disturb it. So when I finally did, after three minutes, it was too late. It's probably a good thing our smoke detector doesn't pick up too much. But I tried!
What does this have to do with Crossfit? My eating has been horrible lately. I've totally lost control. Sugar has taken over my life. Take out is awesome. I know what I'm supposed to do; I'm just not doing it. I know that in order to really stick to the paleo diet, you should cook your own food. That's a little intimidating to me. I'm almost to the point where I want to commit to this again. Almost. Tonight at the store, I picked up a rottiserrie chicken, carrots, celery, lettuce ... and maybe just a little bit of ice cream. I'm getting there ... I just need some time.
And I know ... my workouts have been bad lately. I feel weak. Tomorrow I have to do the worst workout ever created - Karen. 150 wall balls. I can't promise a better time, but I'll be there. And I'm going to bring a salad for lunch. And I'm going to do my best to not get take out and to not burn anymore steaks.


Getting a Grip

Today we did heavy lifting and I decided NOT to wear my gloves. I kind of feel like a wuss when we do pull-ups and I wear gloves; it's especially bad when we do a lot of pull-ups and my gloves get sweaty and there's no chance of getting a grip on the bar. So I decided to do something about it and tried the back squat and dead lift with no gloves. My hands are a little calloused. I guess I'm not used to doing actual physical labor anymore. I'll give up my dreams of hand-modeling career. The gloves are coming off for a while - but only for lifting. I can't do pull-ups without them (yet).
I've figured out that the higher the stress in my life, the higher the probability of me having a meltdown in Crossfit. That being said, I've been fairly stressed out lately. I showed up for a WOD after work on a Friday a couple weeks ago. One of the movements was handstand push-ups. I go in thinking I'll just do them from a bench, since that's what I've done before and I can't even do a stupid handstand yet. But Jeremy had different plans and said I should do the handstand push-ups from the resistance bands and he would help me get into them. Fine. I'll try anything twice. So I get into the bands and he lets go and I land on my head. The tears start welling up and I feel like an idiot. I know, it just scared me. I wasn't expecting it. But it had also been a very long week. I took a moment, composed myself, and Jeremy got some different bands. This time it worked. I did the handstand push-ups - even in the workout. I even did some GHD sit-ups in the workout and boy, did I feel that for a while. Meltdown narrowly avoided.
Last week, we had a workout called The Bear. Awesome! You may not know this, but I love bears. Really! When he posted the workout, I started thinking about what bear shirt I could wear - I have 6!
I chose the Easter Bear shirt. It's a good one. Anyway, The Bear involves moving from one lift to another - 5 moves x 7 rounds. It's confusing. But one of the moves is going from a back squat into a push press. That doesn't make a lot of sense, but I seemed to get it in the practice. Another woman and I both started with a 35 pound bar and did the first round. That was easy, right? We should move up to 45! So we put the weights on and I start the reps. For some reason, the second time through, I could not get that bar from a back squat to an overhead. I tried a couple times and I couldn't do it. Oh boy, here come the tears again. The thought of not being able to do a workout was not acceptable. It was only the second round. So I practiced that one move a few times and it started coming along. I finished that round and kept the same weight for the next. When I went to change my weights for the 4th round, I had a hard time figuring out the math in my head. That's when I realized that I wasn't lifting 45 pounds before; I had put a 10 on each side and I was lifting 55. 20 pounds was a big weight increase for that second round and I felt a lot better knowing it wasn't just me not being able to lift something, it was my inability to do simple addition.
Life has been more stressful lately because work has been more stressful. For work, I have a full-time job, a teaching gig, some freelance writing, and another company that I do projects for once in a while. That's 4 jobs. I don't do them all at the same time, but I guess I was trying to do three of them a couple weeks ago. It was a bit much. I love teaching, and unfortunately that's ending within the week. I'll teach again, but not until the fall. That will leave more time for other things and hopefully eliminate some of the stress. I don't know why I take on so much; maybe I think that if I don't, it won't be there when I need it. I know what it's like to have zero sources of income and I can't go back there. It's all about balance and handling the weight that you put on your bar. Sometimes, you miscalculate and lift more than you intend. With some practice and some focus, I'll get through my workouts confident that I can finish.