fitness and nutrition

Dealing with Detours

One recent afternoon, I went on a hike with a good friend.  The trail had very few signs or markings (which drives this librarian crazy), but thankfully she had an app to help us stay on track. Even still, a number of times we went down what we thought was the right path, only to find ourselves backtracking and winding our way back to the real path that led us to our goal. Thankfully, I was with a friend and we weren’t too pressed for time, so the detours weren’t too worrisome.

But detours aren’t always like that in life.

As I wrote about a while ago, learning how to do toes-to-bar was one of my most exciting moments as a CrossFitter. I have to say, putting on my hand grips and kicking up to that bar made me feel like a rock star.  I could do 20, 40, even 70 during a workout.  Sure, it was one. at. a. time. But I would just keep setting, jumping to the bar, kicking up, and *bing* hitting the bar.  So satisfying!

I almost couldn’t wait for last fall’s CrossFit Open to come around, just because I could do this new Rx-level movement that would likely be in one of the workouts.

So, you can imagine my disappointment to learn that for my toes-to-bar to count in the Open, I had to start from a hang instead of my usual jump. When the movement came up, I spent over 15 minutes trying to put one together, but I didn’t get it. I was close to crying, my hands ripped to shreds.  I didn’t give up but I sure did feel defeated.

After the Open, I kept doing toes-to-bar my way during our every day workouts.  Then, I talked to the coaches and they gave me some movements to do that would get me closer to doing them the standard way. Of course, these movements don’t involve actually getting your toes up to the bar.  They are more about engaging the back muscles and swinging properly to eventually swing to the bar over and over again the right way.

I do these swinging knee raises, trying to get the rhythm, but it always feels like a step backward. I don’t like practicing them because I miss the satisfaction of watching my toes hit the bar.  Sometimes I just want to go back to doing it my way, the wrong way, just because I want that accomplishment I felt back again.

This is not the only skill I’m having to circle back, undo, and redo to get on the right path.  Jumping rope, skiing, snatches, so many things.  Heck, I don’t even breathe correctly.  That’s right, I’m even having to relearn breathing.  I’ve been working harder instead of smarter for a long time.

Still, it is mentally challenging to take the long way around to a goal, especially when you think you’ve made progress, even arrived.  It’s hard to unlearn habits.  It’s hard to be patient.  It’s hard to backtrack even if it means you eventually end up on the right path.  What to do?

Maybe, like the time this past weekend on a hike, I need to let go of the pressure of a deadline.  I can pass the detour time with friends.  I can just be patient as I make my way toward the goal, no matter how many or how long the detours may be.

In the mean time, I keep practicing and embracing the suck, er, the process as best I can.

 

 

fitness and nutrition, friendship

Mileage Madness

Just updating the world on my 2020 mileage challenge. So far, so good.

At the end of 2 full weeks I logged 147 miles or 8% of the 2,020 miles. Doesn’t seem like much but it is all extra work. The miles are in addition to my normal daily training. I fit them in where I can.

I arrive early some days for a couple of miles. I stay late when I can for a few more. I add some longer stretches at home when my schedule allows. I’m getting it done and so are my friends.

I have 3 races booked so far for 2020. A 15k in February, a 10k in May and a mud run in October. Just a fun way to get some miles away from the ordinary training locations.

Variety definitely helps keep the task at hand easier. One friend is splitting up her miles by category. 10% by rower, 10% run, 10% ski erg and so on. Why? For one, it’s harder. A mile on the rower or the ski erg take longer. Each may even seem more taxing than bike, but in small doses it’s not too bad.

Enter a group text message early Saturday morning with a 7-mile variety workout of sorts for a group challenge. It looked challenging yet I wanted to put in 11 miles that day so I adjusted the numbers to get me to 11 miles collectively. I said it’s not much more time. Hmmmm…

The above workout was now a reality. It took a while. Over an hour but it was manageable and I wasn’t exhausted after. Maybe my extra miles are helping me build endurance. I had a friend doing the work with me which always help to keep one moving.

I shared my update with the 2020 group and *boom* some brilliant member suggests we do it AGAIN tomorrow. Sunday. 5am. Who in their right mind wants to do that on a Sunday? The one day I can actually sleep in. WHAT? Have you lost your ever loving mind?

And people say I’m the head of the Bad Idea Club! Well, in this instance I said “wait, I’ll be there.” Why? Because I’m just as crazy as the others on the group chain.

It’s 4:30 am. It’s cold. I’m still tired. It’s laundry day so my favorite gym clothes are dirty. Do I even want to do this? I check to make sure my pals are up and moving because it would be a sick joke to wake me up this early for nothing. And I’m secretly hoping nobody replies! I sigh as two chirps got my phone.

It’s Kim and Mindy who are clearly up and ready to go go go. Guess I got to get going too. Off we go again to rack up another 11 miles, or 11 miles, 60 pushups and 90 sit-ups to be exact. Will I have a better finish time? I doubt it. It’s at 5am and I will barely be awake. Now I have to figure out who I can get to drag themselves out of bed so we can be miserable together. Picture proof below.

6 souls rose in the 4 am hour to meet at the gym for a 5 am start. Over an hour of hard work. Running in the dark and cold. Cheering each other on. We even had a cheerleader there snapping pictures.

Bike, ski, row, run, push up then sit up over and over again. We did it!

Off to work the nurse goes. Off to the grocery store three others go as it’s meal prep day. One rushes out before the hubs wakes up and one just vanishes into the darkness.

Another day. Another 11 miles. A little closer to the end goal. A whole lot of fitness. A great time with wonderful women I call friends. Fitness can actually be fun if you make it fun with friends.

fitness and nutrition, friendship, healthy hacks

Monday Madness

Today’s post isn’t about a lot of words or wisdom. Rather it’s about practical and useful knowledge.

My day started like most: walking the dog and hitting the box for a sweat session. A little koala challenge to put my Monday in high gear with my gal pal Tashi. Maybe I will describe what a koala challenge is in another post.

Then the average ordinary case of the Mondays set in. It’s a not-so-fabulous word used to describe a Monday: WORK. How do you attack a Monday when it’s rainy and blah? Here’s a nice hack for you:

BUT FIRST COFFEE. And not just any cup of coffee. A protein-packed coffee that is good for your macros. You get the sweet taste and the caffeine but without the calories and creamer you get at the big coffee chains. And most likely you are saving a few bucks.

The hack is a brewed cup of your favorite coffee. Add your favorite protein, mine is, of course, Salted Caramel from Teamkattouf Nutrition. I may be partial just because they list KAT on their tub and those are my initials. Then all you have to do is grab your handy dandy frother and get to work. Actually it’s no work at all.

This little hack can turn a sour Monday into a productive day. Of course it can do the trick any other day as well. Hope you enjoyed my coffee hack this morning.

This post is dedicated to my friend Kim who taught me this trick a while back and let me sample her protein. Everyone needs a friend like Kim in their life.

fitness and nutrition, friendship, perspective

What I Learned from Coming In Last

“It’s not a big deal to me how we do, as long as we’re not last.”

These words came from one of my amazing teammates at a recent competition. I nodded in agreement, and I’ve said them, too.

Flashback to my very first 5k “race.”  Run Your Cookies Off – a fundraiser for the Girl Scouts.  I was probably 80 or 100 pounds heavier than I am now, maybe more.  I had no idea what I was doing. I was a slow walker / jogger as I approached the start line in terror.  But as long as I am not last I’m ok, I thought.

I wasn’t last that day, but I was close.  I could see the last person behind me by maybe 30 yards most of the time.  I kept looking over my shoulder, fighting to stay ahead. I gasped and choked as I stumbled across the finish line, maybe 5th to last out of a few hundred runners.  But, not last.

Fast forward eight years or so to only a few weeks ago, the line comes into my head again. A CrossFit competition.  Looking around at some of the fitter people I’ve seen in recent memory, our direct competitors. Some twenty or more years younger.  But, we will be fine as long as we are not last.

After the first workout, we were second to last.  So, not last – a win!  And then, after that, for the rest of the day, workout after workout, it happened. We. Were. Last.

Yup, I was finally on the other side of the “as long as we’re not…”

And I looked at my teammates, two fierce, fit, incredible women, working their ever-loving asses off.  All three of us had been sick that week, with some of that sickness lingering on competition day.  All three of us were super nervous.  But we showed up, and we brought our best. And we cheered for each other.  And we pushed as hard as we could, pushed beyond what we thought we could do.  We pulled together and fought like heck for every rep, every lift, every jump and burpee and pushup and calorie.

And with all our fight, all our heart, all our effort, we still came in last.  (We actually tied for last with some of our good friends who made up another rockin’ team from our box, which made it all the more sweet.)

So, you may ask, what are the after effects of coming in last? Honestly, not much different than coming in higher on the board.

I’m proud of my teammates, as I should be.  One rocked her first competition ever, conquering move after move, challenge after challenge.  The other overcame huge obstacles to PR her snatch not just once but 5 times that day.  5 times!!!  I still smile when I pull out my team shirt and shorts.  We had a great and memorable day for our squad.  Weeks later, no one remembers what place we came in.

I’ve held onto a line I heard once many years back when I was just starting to get my health together.  It still serves me on crappy running days, and those inevitable afternoons when I just would rather not go to the gym at all:

As long as you show up…”you’re lapping everyone on the couch.”

No matter what place we finished in, we showed up. There are many who are less fit, and even many who are more fit, who didn’t have the guts or the gumption to just show up, put themselves out there, and see how they measure up.

There’s an old saying that nice guys finish last…now I also see that good people, people who work hard, train hard, and put forth tons of effort still do finish last sometimes. In fact, that effort may represent a huge personal triumph no matter what the leaderboard says. One that should be applauded.  Still, for better or worse, it’s just one day. One memorable day full of proud moments.

The real after effects of coming in last are what we choose to do moving forward. What matters most is what comes next. Nothing stops us from continuing to train and get better and cheer for each other. We’re already signed up for more races, more challenges, more adventures. Who knows where we will turn up next?

 

 

 

fitness and nutrition

Jumping into 2020

I jumped into 2020 with my fitness. I did a challenging 2020 workout dedicated to the year 2020 (20 reps of multiple lifts and movements) with my workout pals and I was ready for a nap after a grueling 45 minutes of go hard. In a nutshell, my body was T-I-R-E-D with a Capital T.

I recovered for what seemed like a short time as my new work year picked up less than 24 hours later. Where did the holiday break go? Why does it feel like Sunday? Talk about lack of motivation to wake up at 5:30 am to work out.

Well, my puppy beat my alarm clock today. She had me up at 4:20 to potty and play. Good thing she is super cute. #teddie  Boy I wish I had her energy at that hour. I guess the day started earlier than expected so I had a little extra time to checkout the workout in advance. Sigh.

It’s pretty much a jumprope-a-thon focusing on double unders which is a skill I have not mastered and really don’t like to work on. Why don’t I like to work on it? Because I suck most days and it requires multi-step directions which can challenge me some days in the coordination department. Good thing the new year is upon us and I had literally just listed double unders as a skills goal to work on for 2020.

I guess I have to go. I guess there may be hope for me to get better at double unders aka dubs in this decade since I wasn’t so hot last decade! Hope can conquer most things I would say. Just not sure dubs are on the hope list this year.🤪

To my surprise Mute Sports put on a great dubs class. So many tidbits of information that will help me get better and we got to try out their cool ropes. I wasn’t optimistic going into the class but I really enjoyed it. If you are searching for a rope, these guys are very helpful and I love supporting local businesses.

I ended up getting a new rope and a cute little fastener to keep it from getting tangled. I opted for two different handles because I need flair in my life. I only got the black cable because I need that thickness since I am entry level on the skill side. I will definitely put this bad boy to use each week to hopefully build up some muscle memory and link more than four dubs together at once. I also picked up a neat little round stone-type callus remover that they sell. It’s got a cylinder shape and I can toss it in my purse. Another great little gadget to add to my CrossFit trinkets.

But before I sign off, I think I should show you some of my jump rope history. My first rope was a brand I can’t recall that I purchased online. I was clueless when I bought it and didn’t do so hot with it so I gave it to a friend when I got my second rope, pictured below. This one I opted for hot pink and thicker cable that was coated because the whip marks on the other rope about killed me.

This was a good rope for me to reacquaint my self with single-under jumping. I did many, many jumps with this rope and still keep it my car in case I have the need to jump somewhere. This is a rope I seem to see at my box and other CrossFit boxes I have visited in the past. For this I would say great starter rope based on my experience.

Not long after, I got a custom rope at some point as a gift. This was thinner, lighter and had a fun look to it. I used this one off / on but never really mastered the dubs skill with it. I do however use this at home when I have time to practice. This one may be a fav just because of the aesthetic look. #wonderwoman

Some time mid-2019 I had a competition that called for lots of jumping. Singles, but the faster I could do them the better off I would be so I invested in yet another rope that a friend had. This one I have and use it from time to time but it will make more of an appearance once I master dubs. This one definitely hurts when you get whipped as it’s bare wire. Some of you may like whip marks but I’m a little bit of a baby so I’ll just say I’m not quite ready for this bad boy full time! Maybe that’s why they named it Bullet and advertise it as the fastest rope. Maybe there should be a warning that says use with caution unless you like pain.

As I close out my jump rope history I am merely sharing my woes of up down, up down, up down again and again. Much like jumping rope there are many ups and downs to finding a rope that fits you physically but also makes you feel confident enough to rock those double unders over and over again.

I will be jumping up down and around through 2020 but now I know I have options in ropes and tricks to help me be some a better jump roper. Thank you Muse for that one-on-one attention today.

Don’t get me wrong I can jump for a while doing singles. I’m improving at one leg or even alternating but I haven’t mastered the cadence, the breathing, the jump motion and the patience to be a double under dynamo. Not yet at least.

I will however keep you posted on my progress over the year. Gotta go it’s time to jump back into some emails. Let’s hope the Muse techniques and rope help me meet my 2020 dubs goal.

fitness and nutrition

I Like to Lift

I like to lift weights. There is something about a power snatch that gets my blood pumping.

That same power snatch makes me feel like nothing else stressful in my life matters at that moment. It’s just me and the bar. Of course I have to pay attention to only the bar so I don’t drop the weight on my head! (Photo: Davison Wheeler Photography)

Dumbbells are not my favorite but they serve a purpose. They help me move weight in a different manner than I would if I had just the bar. It lets me focus on defining my muscles in a different way. Although they are not my favorite they are a big part of my weightlifting regimen.  (Photo: Davison Wheeler Photography)

Cleans and jerks. I can definitely say I despise cleaning and don’t have room in my life for jerks but I do work on clean and jerks in the gym weekly. Getting my elbows up and transitioning the heavy weight above my head takes a lot of physical and mental energy. Some days are good while others just suck. Most depends on how well I stretch my wrist and if I can fully commit my mind the way I need to. Self-talk can make or break you on this movement.

This picture is just a random placeholder for me in action. First, I love my shirt. Second, the flair on my arms were for a costume day we had. And finally, I was wearing my taco shorts and who doesn’t love tacos? Which leads me to a shameless plug for Feed Me Fight Me. They have the most comfortable booty shorts for weight lifting girls like me with thick thighs.

Ah the deadlift. A simple but powerful movement that does require the right technique and weight to not throw out your back. It’s a delicate balance but a challenge I like. This picture is a throw back to a 2019 competition I did and thoroughly enjoyed the deadlift ladder.

I also like to bench press. Many girls don’t but I don’t mind it. For some reason I couldn’t find the right photo to post so let’s just go with the fact I like to bench press and chasing the guys weight load. It gives me motivation not hair on my chest.

There are many other lifts I like and many that I just do to keep my fitness up. That being said I have thick thighs and broad shoulders from the lifting portion of my life. I love the strength my body has and for that I embrace thick thighs and strong shoulders.

It always amazes me when a stranger asks me what sport I do. I could be on a plane or at a business meeting. The scenery may change but the question is the same. Now my answer is always I lift weights or do CrossFit.

Some don’t know what CrossFit is so they can relate to weightlifting. Whatever the case I either get a male comment of “how much weight can you squat?” or a woman may say “oh,” as in that’s not feminine. These reactions crack me up.

Many women at my gym are strong and powerful. Some are thick and some are thin. It doesn’t matter. I am far from the strongest but I enjoy striving for better. My counterparts are strong mentally and physically and they can challenge those who are not committed to fitness or healthy living.

Lifting weights has benefits. My friend Sarah started at the gym to increase her strength to fight off her body weakening due to a health condition. Lifting weights can help people regain control of their body after an accident or injury. So many more benefits but hopefully you get the point.

Like I said above, I like to lift. That’s my story for today. Hope you enjoyed the pics and a glimpse of my lifting preferences.

Enjoy today.

fitness and nutrition, hustle

Sore is an Understatement

I am so sore after my last competition. My quads and my traps were literally on fire day 1 post-comp. By day 2 the traps moved to achy, but the quads were still flaming hot. As day 3 approached, the thought of working out those sore muscles was insane but a much needed step in the recovery process. At day 4, I was trudging along but at a turtle’s pace in most activities. The pain and recovery phase is nearing completion. Thank goodness.

I competed last week in the Jingle Bells and Barbells CrossFit competition with a bunch of my crazy CrossFit friends. It was an amazing experience like most competitions I do, but this one had had workouts programmed with heavy weights and overall grueling movement combinations to test your mind, body and soul. Yes, the soul. You had to dig deep into your soul to power through some of these workouts.

Up at the wee hours of the morning to make the drive for the early am check-in. First workout starts promptly at 8:30am. 22 minutes of movement with three team members pushing their limits. Each with different strengths and weaknesses. Round one left my legs shaking and my body craving fuel to endure the next round. 4th place out of 22 is where my team sat after round 1.

About 11:00 am round 2 was upon us. A heavy lifting ladder. 90 seconds for three team members to move up in weight on a complex movement (2 deadlifts, 1 squat clean, then 1 shoulder-to-overhead). I tapped out at 125 lbs, another team member 145 lbs and another 155lbs. Despite our strength, we were still in 4th place. There was some tough competition in our bracket.

Round 3 hit around 12:30 pm. A partner relay of sorts with pull-ups, push-ups and dumbbell snatches followed by a max combined number of 85-pound snatches. This was killer but one I was looking forward to. Well not really the relay part but the snatches part as that is a movement I like and am decent at. Over 14 minutes we worked hard as a team. 9 minutes dedicated to snatches. 128 snatches over head for team Katashie. We nailed 1st in this workout by a longshot but our bodies were depleted. This bumped us up to 3rd place overall. We were excited we would make the podium.

And then there was a curve ball. A final workout of sorts to see who really makes the podium. The first four teams in each division have to compete in one more workout that is a secret. An unknown workout when your body is already taxed. No time to prepare. What an awesome plot twist for those who like to compete.

We were nervous. We were in fourth place until the last workout. We didn’t have a big points differential with the team now in fourth place. That means they could take our podium spot. The pressure was on. GHDs, rope climbs and wheel barrows were our movements. 9 minutes is all you got. We were last off the GHDs – LAST – but somehow we picked up time on the rope climbs. We kicked it into high gear to finish 3 laps in a tandem wheelbarrow of people. We squeaked out 2nd place in this workout despite getting a rough start. What a triumph.

We actually made the podium in 2nd place overall out of 22 teams. What an accomplishment. As I say I am sore, I am also prideful. I am beaming with pride for my team who worked hard as a unit over time to reach the podium. I am also thankful for my physical ability to be able to compete amongst others who may be my age or even 20 plus years younger. Thank you to Erica and Tasha for partnering with me at this comp. It was a blast.

Whether I made the podium or not, I put in work. I did more than many others my age on that Saturday. I did the work among friends. I smiled. I laughed. I earned my carbs for that whole weekend, I promise. And to top it off, three of my friends competed for their first time. Congrats to Kim, Taco and Nicole. You killed it.

The added bonus is any time I can say I competed with my oldest son. Last month it was the Marathon. This month it was this competition. A year ago it was Super Team Comp where we shared the same coed team. Having the opportunity to share fitness and lifestyle goals with your kids is amazing. Next duo event for us is a 15k in February. I’m doing it for the swag bag, he is doing it for the run. #goals

One day I may not be able to compete but I will always have this blog to relive the memories as an CrossFit athlete. Competition is good. It lets you see where you can grow and lets you see how you stack up to others who choose to compete as well. Not every time is a success story on the podium, but for me every time I cross the finish line I will celebrate my individual accomplishments.

Until next time, check out some of my comp pics. The first two are courtesy of Davison Wheeler Photography.

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