Not Winning

That's something I'm doing these days - not winning. Yesterday and today was the end of our Spring Leaning Challenge. We did the same tests and workouts three months ago. Our tests included:

Max effort pull-ups (I used a red band)
Max effort overhead squats (I did 35#)
Max box jumps in 1 minute (20" box)
Max effort handstand push-ups (yeah, right)
Max effort L-sit (you'd recognize it if you saw it)
800m run

My scores from 3 months ago are on the left - scores from yesterday in bold on the right

Max effort pull-ups - 16/24
Max effort overhead squats -  3/15
 Max box jumps in 1 minute - 26/ 28
Max effort handstand push-ups 0/0
Max effort L-sit - 6:04/6:34
800m run 3:44/3:46

Gee, good thing I've been spending all that time working on my running. In all honesty, when I looked back at my running score, I thought it was faster than usual the first time around and I didn't expect to beat it. But then I saw that most everyone improved in all of the categories. Well, yesterdays tests were only 25% of the challenge. Then there's today.

Today's workout is one of the worst workouts ever. Holding a 15# plate, you have to do:

Overhead lunges
200m run

Super sucktastic.I remember doing this back in March. It was just the worst. Lunges are bad enough, especially for short people that have to go the same distance as people with long legs, but when you have to hold weight over your head - come on! The burpees were just cruel. But I thought that this was the only chance I had to win this thing. The first time I did the workout in 17:48. Today I did it in 15:04. I was still drooling and had snot flying out of my nose, like the first time, but I managed to do it 2:44 quicker.

The workouts are where I really show my improvement. I remember when we did Fran early in the year and for some reason, it was just torturous for me. I could not get the last 9 pull-ups done for the life of me. But then when I did it a few months later, with the same band and weight, it was almost easy. I like this aspect of Crossfit - comparing what you did then to what you can do now. We're so much more capable than we think.

And speaking of being awesome, I managed to do a real pull up for the first time at 5:40 Friday night, June 25. Clay witnessed it. I've been trying to do the kipping pull-ups for a while now and on Friday I tried a dead hang and managed to get my chin above the bar. That's a pretty big accomplishment. Next the kipping. Then the workouts RX. Then, the world!


The Problem with Paleo

1. It's time-consuming
2. It's exhausting
3. For some of us, we tend to think about the things we can't have rather than the things we can have.

I usually write about #3. Today I'm going to talk about the first two. And I'm going to preface this by saying that I don't even have kids and I can't imagine where all of you amazing women get your energy to get through your day. Seriously. I'm just a girl in the world trying to make the right decisions for me (and any future kids I may have). And I even have someone making me dinner most days, so I really don't have a place to complain.

Many societies value food and sharing time with people while preparing and eating food. Ours does not. Many people still go with the 'Eat as much as you can as fast as you can so you can watch more TV/go to the monster truck rally/shop at Wal-Mart.' As food production has progressed (that's so not the right word), we have meals in a box/on a tray/in a can that we can just zap and be done with it. 

When did we get so busy? Do we have to be this busy? When did preparing food become such a hassle that nobody has time for? 

The reason that paleo, or any other eating plan where you actually have to think about what you're putting in your body, will take a long time to catch on is that preparing food is not a priority. Filling up is a priority. Tonight I got home from my softball game. I hardly even did anything in the game, or all day for that matter (besides run 3 miles and clean the house like crazy), but I was exhausted leaving the game. But I knew we didn't have enough food in the house to make the right decisions. So we run to the store first and pick up a rotisserie chicken, some fruit, bacon, eggs, etc. Then we get home. So tired. I have to talk myself into a simple task like hardboiling the eggs so I can take them to work as snacks. The 9-5 thing - uy - you have to go in prepared to eat healthy or you're fighting a losing battle. So I put the eggs on, I do the dishes, I grind the coffee, I fill the dog's water bowl, I should be ready to go tomorrow morning. But I don't do this every Sunday. If I'm going to do it right, I have to prepare. I can't let work stress be my downfall into eating more chocolate. I can't let myself get so hungry in the morning that I go to the store at noon and get a coconut macaroon (not like that happened on Friday). 

The irony is that eating better food is supposed to give you more energy. I think today's one of those rare days where I didn't eat enough food, but maybe that's what I'll keep track of this week - my energy level. I should be all set for the next few days, so I'll see if I still have energy on Wednesday to stick to the plan and get things ready the night before.

I can learn to love cooking. I can love to learn to eat healthy. Because you know what's really great - fitting into a size 4*. That's pretty freakin' great.

*This has only worked with the pants at the J Crew outlet, but I'm sure other brands in that size will fit me soon.



This week is benchmark week at Eugene Crossfit. That means we get to do really hard workouts all week. Yay! Monday was the hardest one on the list - Angie. 100 pull-ups, followed by 100 push-ups, followed by 100 sit-ups, followed by 100 squats. It's a bitch! I had done Angie twice before. Scaling back means a lot of things with Angie. You can use bands and do push-ups on your knees, and you can do fewer reps. The first time I did Angie, in October, I did 50 pull-ups and push-ups and 70 sit-ups and squats. After I finished, I knew I could have done more of the last two. The next time we did Angie, I did 75 of everything. Even then I knew I could have done 100 of the last two. This time, I did 100 for everything. I used the blue band for pull-ups. They were awful, but not as bad as I thought they would be. I used bands to assist me with push-ups - blue and tan - and then I started doing them on my knees after about 20 because my arms were burning. Push-ups are one of my biggest goats. They hold me back so much. But I finished the workout and felt pretty good about life.

Then Karen, my buddy, was still doing sit-ups and said something about quitting. There's no quitting in Crossfit! So I got down on the mat and finished the last 25 sit ups with her. So did the rest of the women there. It was awesome! Then we took turns doing squats with her. Those squats can burn after a while, so doing 10 at a time was fine with us. Here's me and Karen taking care of business.

Hell yeah. She finished under 30 minutes! That's a tough workout!

What does this have to do with movement? Yeah, I'm having a tough time moving my arms today. Straightening them doesn't feel too good. Lifting anything overhead seems impossible. Still, I managed to do Grace today, which is 30 clean and jerks. I definitely could have done more weight on any other day, but just showing up was an accomplishment for me, so I was happy with just doing it. Later this week we have wall balls and thrusters and pull-ups, oh my! I'm pretty sure doing anything on Saturday is out of the question.

Oh, and my friends and I had an impromptu Lady Gaga dance party the other night. I haven't danced in a while. I used to all the time. I need to incorporate dancing into my workouts. We all do.


Zombie Apocalypse

I keep seeing my friends post updates saying that they're going to lose weight - they're going to exercise and get back into shape. I'll be honest with you - I have a hard time believing any of them. It's not that I don't believe that my friends can do it, but I've been there, and you actually have to DO it.

For many people, exercising is one more thing they have to try to fit into the day instead of something that should be part of their day, like sleeping and eating. Exercise isn't a choice - it's a basic element of survival. Tired after a day of work? Many people will choose to zone out on the couch. What's the better choice? Do something physically challenging or at least take a damn walk.

The way we live has made it very easy for us to be complacent. But is that how YOU want to live? The word 'life' insinuates some kind of movement or energy, but YOU have to exert that energy. YOU have to make it happen.

Here's the deal - if there's a zombie apocalypse, do you really want to be 'that guy' who can't walk fast enough to get away from a zombie? Because zombies don't move very fast. If you don't include exercise as part of your day and you have trouble walking around the block, all of us crossfitters will have made it to our safe place with our weapons and energy. (I think a kettlebell would be a good weapon in this situation) You can be a zombie for all I care. Not me, fatty. We can't let them win.

**edited to add that I did not see Mark's Primal Apple post yesterday about Primal Preparations for the Post Apocalypse. That is a weird coincidence. But hey, stock up!



A very wise woman once told me that the key to emotional eating is mindfulness. I've heard about this concept before. Think about what you're eating. Enjoy every bite. Etc, etc. I eat too fast to do that. But I was thinking about mindfulness last night in terms of the WOD's. One of the many reasons I love Crossfit is that you can't really think about anything else while you're doing a WOD. You have to think about what you're doing or else you'll screw up. You'll hurt yourself or somebody else. Then I thought that it would be great if someone could record my thoughts while doing a workout. Say I was going to do Helen after work on a Tuesday. I can imagine this would be my thought process as we were getting ready to do the workout.

OK, I'm nervous. Maybe I should throw up. Or at least pee. I don't have time. OK, I can do this.
3-2-1 Go!
Running. I hate running. My ass feels like it's bouncing. Great. I'm not supposed to swing my arms in front of me. I'll pretend like I'm cross-country skiing. I really feel like walking. I can't walk. I never walk. It's only 400 meters. I've done this a million times. I'm not the slowest one here today. That's good. Wait til the pull-ups. Then I'll be the slowest one. Why can't I run faster? I keep trying to run faster! I really want to walk, but I can't walk. Keep running. It's almost done.
Ok, kettlebells. One pood. I should have tried for one and a half. I'm totally strong. OK, I'll do 10 in a row and see how I'm doing. I hope none of the kettlebells fly out of anyone's hands and hit me. That would be a disaster. OK. I totally rule the kettlebells and should do one and a half pood next time. I can totally do 25 in a row. I'm awesome. My hands are getting sweaty. I hope it doesn't fly out of my hands and hit somebody. That would be even worse. 
OK, pull-ups. Only 12. I can totally do 12 pull-ups in a row. I've done this before. Why is the red band so much harder than the blue? OK, I can do  6 pull-ups in a row. I hate pull-ups so much. I can't finish this workout. Yes I can. I've done it before. 6 more. OK, 3 at a time. I know I can do this. OK. First round done. Now back to running.

This is typically where I zone out until I get to the last round of running.

Why am I so slow? Where is everyone else? How did three people finish and I still have one more round to go? It's those damn pull-ups that slow me down. I can totally make up time on the running, right? This is where I can go faster. .... OK, maybe not. But this is the last time I have to run. No more running today after this. If I can make it around this corner, I'll be good. I've run this a million times.
I'm so glad I didn't use one and a half pood. There's no way I could have done this. I'll do 12 in a row. I know I can do 12 in a row, then a really quick rest. My hands are so sweaty. Damn it! This is where I can make up time. I can totally get all these in a row.
OK. Only 12 pull-ups. Then I'm done. I can do these. I know I can. 4 at a time. OK, 8 more. ... 6 more. DAMN IT! Why do these goddamn pull-ups always do this to me? I have 6 more to go and I'm going to be doing them 2 at a time. I HATE PULL-UPS! Why can't I do real ones yet? I've been doing this for almost a year! I would be done if I had used the blue band. Two more, then a break. I'm so close to being done. Why is Jeremy yelling at me? Why are people cheering me on? STOP IT!!! This is going to take me a while to do these 3 stupid pull-ups! One at a time now. My arms are done. Use your body to pull you up. Damn it! One more! I can do this. I can do this.


That's my idea of mindfulness during a workout.