fitness and nutrition, friendship

Just Show Up and Jump In

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“Our third teammate unexpectedly dropped out at the last minute with a sick kid.  Can anyone make it?”

A post to our gym community in the wee hours of a December Saturday morning.  I thought about it, but plans were already in motion for a day of chasing my daughter and her friends as they volunteered to help with a younger girls’ lacrosse team.  I sent my good wishes…hope someone can step in!

Then the text came in, just to me:  “Can you do the comp today and then come get the girls?”

A pause.  A stomach clench. My only job was transporting my kid and her friends and and now a friend was offering to take all that over so I could help on the team.  So how could I say no?  More stomach clench, I texted back.

“Ummmmm ok.  If that’s the best solution.”

(Inner voice of doubt saying:  “There must be a better solution!”)

From that moment, the whole day took a turn.  What are the workouts?  Do I need a shirt? I was already on the way to the gym…thank goodness I wore black shorts.

I turned the car around to head toward the competition site. The doubting voice crept in again…I haven’t eaten well!  How many burpees?? One rep max complex?!? I haven’t showered and shaved! I can’t do those weights!  I haven’t practiced!

WHAT. HAVE. I. DONE?!?!?!

Well, I was helping friends. I could do at least something and I would give my best. Just show up and jump in, I told myself.  Just show up and jump in. Every time I wanted to turn the car around, I’d tell the doubting voice to pipe down. Just show up and jump in.

And so, I got there about 15 minutes before the first workout.  Quick chat. Waited in the bathroom line, switched shirts, did a few stretches and bam, jumped in and competed.  Looking back now, it is awesome to be fit enough to just get there and give it a go.  Granted, I couldn’t lift as heavily as I would have liked to, but I jumped in and did what I could.  My two Ginger Thruster teammates did the heavy lifting, and lift they did! It was awesome to watch and be a part of.

By the time our first workout was over, some people were just seeing the early morning SOS post.  My friend Milagros asked if I needed anything – extra coffee and water, really.  She showed up with all that, plus some snacks and some needed encouragement.  Another part of the network coming together to solve a need.

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We pushed ourselves. We laughed a lot.  We fought for all the reps, strained for every pound.  I’ve never done so many jumping pull-ups in my life. It was a great day.

One great thing about this competition is they have a box member who is an amazing photographer, Davison Wheeler.  He generously shared nearly a thousand photos of the day, including the ones in this post.  It’s equal parts amazing and humbling to look at the people competing – their stamina, their strength, their skill.  When scroll through to find I the pictures of me, what I noticed is that I am often cheering for my teammates.  I may not be able to lift a huge number of pounds, but I try to lift spirits when I can.

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And a lot of that comes from just showing up and jumping in.

 

 

 

 

fitness and nutrition

Open Chronicles: 20.1

Each year I write about my adventures in the CrossFit Open.  The sport I love that lets me see how I stack up to others in my age group locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. #intheopen

I am not competing against others in this competition. I’m competing against myself year over year. Fortunately for me, I’m able to see how others stack up. This may motivate me in some instances and it may deflate me in others. That in itself fuels my life.

You can’t win or be the best at everything, but you can improve. Each Open season I may have a different weight, muscle mass, work schedule, or gym community. How I balance it all and participate is what’s worth documenting to me.

20.1 snuck up on me quickly. I wasn’t really ready because of life. I didn’t get my mind ready to do my best. I just did it and chipped away at it. I didn’t waver. I kept moving slow and steady.

10 rounds of 8 overhead bar moves with 65 pounds on a bar, followed by 10 burpees with a jump over the bar after each burpee. If you do the math, that is a total of 80 overhead movements at 65 pounds followed by 100 burpees. There is also a time limit. You have just 15 minutes to complete this task.

Can it be done? Yes. Will I achieve that? No. On my first attempt, I completed 8 full rounds and began chipping away at round 9. For me it was 67 overhead movements and 80 burpees, for a total of 147 reps. 147 out of 180 possible.

I was about 82% complete. I moved over 6,000 pounds over my head from the ground. Could I have done more? Possibly. Will I try a second attempt? I’m considering it. Am I sore the next day? A little.

Well, I did 20.1 again on Monday. I was a little tired but I wanted to do it again in hopes of improving. I didn’t fare so good.

The first bar movement seemed heavy. My body seemed slower on the burpees. My mind kept asking me: why are you doing hellacious workout again? Somehow I kept moving. My left knee was scraped raw from the friction on the floor. At 9 minutes my lungs were burning. At 11 minutes I said 4 more minutes, you can do it. Thankful for the cheers of my box mates, I made it to 15 minutes again. 141 reps compared to 147 reps on the first attempt.

I attempted to exceed my first attempt but failed. I am happy I put forth the extra effort despite the outcome. Top 19% worldwide in my age group. I’d consider that a success.

20.2 is just a few days away. Wonder what challenges that WOD will bring? #masterathlete #bonnieandclyde

fitness and nutrition

What Does Recovery Look Like for Me?

I’m recovering from the Festivus Games and thought I would diary my aches and pains.

Immediately after: I had no time to think about aches and pains. Had to hop in the shower after a long day to attend a preplanned event. Of course the event called for cowgirl boots so had to put those sore legs to work some more!

The next day: I was surprised that I could move when I awoke. I survived 4 WODs and I can move. That seems like something to celebrate.

I didn’t let the aches set in. I got up for my morning training session. It’s normally a run but I just walked about 3 miles to get the legs going but at a recovery pace. It was just what I needed.

I kept moving most of the day. Around 5pm, about 24 hours after the adrenaline pump concluded, I hit a wall. Started to get tired and cranky. Just fatigued. I guess it worked out for me so I could look at the 1 million pictures the group had from the event. It’s so much fun to reminisce on the triumphs and setbacks of the day.

I listened to my body and slowed my roll. Rested per se and went to bed early. Monday morning came and I didn’t want to get up but I did. I have accountability partners at my box so I got moving despite my desire to not move and pull the covers over my face permanently.

I scaled the workout for sure that morning. Used baby weights for the wod, rode the bike and scaled some movements but I moved and my Apple Watch said I fared okay.

Forearms, wrists and hands felt the aches mainly from all the grip work. Tight traps were present but not unbearable. Lots of good stretching today.

By Tuesday I was good and even put in some extra work conditioning on the bike erg. By Weds am my legs were a little tight from the bike ride but they loosened up as soon as I completed my WOD for the day.

Good to go now for this chick. 72 hours, back to normal, give or take. So many memories to make the recovery worth it all.

Recovery is just as important to me as the preparation. I preach this to my kids as they compete in sports and to whomever will listen. I hope that my tidbits here help those who read along with my fit journey posts.

I am not a trained professional. I am a mom getting her fitness on who competes to hold herself accountable.

Wishing you all the best in your fitness and recovery adventures.

celebrations, friendship

Full-on Festivus Fangirl

One part roadie, one part pit crew, one part media team, one part friend, five parts fangirl.  These were my jobs for the Faded Glory teams at this year’s Festivus Games.

Unlike Chick 1, I didn’t WOD in the sun and fun.  Scheduling and family commitments made competing impossible.  But I still got out and joined in for as long as I could.

My day started at 5am, just like most of the teams.  But, for my first stop I went and got my own workout in first at our home box (burpees over the rower, thrusters, and other fun times). I could have skipped, but even when (especially when!) you’re spending a lot of your time supporting others, you have to keep your own health in line.

Then it was off to the Games, sliding in with my friends to watch them work and support where I could, which led to these moments….

The roadie – Yes, I’ll carry your phone.  I’ll wear your watch. I’ll hold your bracelets.  Of course I’ll keep time for you and count down loud so you know how much you have left to go.

The pit crew – Yup, I’ll charge that dead (phone) battery.  I’ll change your oil (peppermint oil, of course, on sore hamstrings and lower backs).  I’ll drill your muscles with one of those crazy massage guns.  I’m there with your water when your engine overheats.  Creaky joints? Do you prefer Aleve, Advil, or Tylenol?

The media team – The pictures, the videos, the boomerangs. Did I get video of your snatches? Check. Boomerangs of your wall balls? Check. And THE LIFTING FACES!!!  Oh, the lifting faces. Can’t get enough of them.  Capturing the efforts and the agony.  The triumphs and the teamwork.  The small moments, the funny moments, the victories that many people miss – we even miss some of them ourselves!

Send them to each athlete, even send them to their spouses and our friends who couldn’t be there.  Those photos tell amazing stories of a time that will become incredible memories.

 

 

The friend – Just before she starts each event, I’m glancing at my partner, Milagros, and just give her the look.  The “you can do this.  Just breathe and do it” look.  That moment of reassurance between us!

Some of the highlights of the day are listening to pretty much all the competitors talk about their teammate.  In one way or another, each is fighting not to let their partner down.  To do their best, to give their all for that teammate.  This brings back memories of when I competed, and truly is one of the sweetest, most meaningful parts of the experiences.

Finally, the fangirl –  Cheering like crazy for each of them. (And all the videos with my shrill drum major voice!) Clapping from behind the lens.  “Pick it up!” I barked. Encouraging when I saw the looks of exhaustion, of near tears, of hating that stupid box, that idiotic dumbbell, that impossibly irritating kettlebell. And when I saw those fleeting looks of “It’s too hot.”  “It’s so heavy.”  ‘I’m not sure I can do anymore…” I’d get even louder:

YOU GOT THIS! COME ON!  LET’S GO!  And as others finished, they joined in the cheers. Surrounding teammates who had fought through adversity to encourage them to the bitter end.  We are fans of each other.

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What a day and a reason to support and shout for these incredible athletes.

Pushing themselves past the edge of the discomfort zone, some fighting through injuries and illness.  They showed up and WORKED.  All the training, the invisible hours, the practicing, the endless reps, heck even the no reps mattered.  It all adds up to knowing you fought like crazy to compete and give your best that day.

I’ll truly cherish wearing the #Katashi shirt with my honorary (if temporary) tattoo. That takes fangirling to a whole new level.  You’d be hard pressed to find two more fierce or fun competitors. Still gotta work on my booty game, though.

I’ll cherish the hugs and smiles and people laughing and feeling proud as they saw themselves in action. I’ll cherish seeing both first timers and “old” timers get in there to scrap with anyone who dares compete. Better bring your A game. I’ll cherish watching teams work with and for each other, and being on the team for all of them.

 

 

fitness and nutrition

New Fitness Tricks from Chick 2

Sometimes progress is hardly noticeable.  Other times we make giant leaps forward.

Whether it’s a time of strides or just moving along, I keep showing up as often as I can at the gym (which means most days).

I know I can get lazy.  I forget to try things I haven’t been able to do in the past. This is one reason it is so important to have coaches and workout friends who know you and encourage you along. This also makes it harder to be complacent, to just coast. It reminds me to keep goals fresh and in sight.

With that in mind, here are some new tricks I’ve learned lately: (see our instagram for additional video!)

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Toes-to-bar

This one was a complete surprise.  Chick 1 was brushing up on the skill and told me to give it a try.  I hadn’t tried since probably February or March, and never really got too much coaching.  But, I gave it a go.  First try was bad.  Second try was much closer to the bar…and then, on the third attempt, I did it!

Only a few days later I did 27 toes-to-bar in a workout, one at a time.  It’s exciting when something clicks.  New tricks are fun!  But, I ripped my hands horribly so now I’ve invested in grips to protect them.  (This feels like a sign of a real CrossFitter!)

Burpees over the Bar

I’ve written about jumps before.  I’m still doing 12-inch box jumps.  I jump over dumbbells.  But a couple of weeks ago I finally did burpees over the bar, jumping over a barbell with plates loaded.  It’s not a fluid motion, but I got it done!

 

Wall Balls

I’ve struggled with these most of my CrossFit life.  They exhaust me and my form deteriorates quickly, which leads to back strain if I am not mindful.  But, after a lot of work, I’ve finally started moving from the 10-pound to the 14-pound ball.  The sets I have to break them into are usually very small, but I am coming along.  (I still dread them in ways that I *don’t* dread burpees.  This is a mental challenge I need to work through. Practice saying: Wall balls!  YAY! I LOVE WALL BALLS!)

Handstand

I did do some special training videos working toward handstand strength and technique from Performance Plus Programming through Barbell Physio.  With help, I got an assisted handstand and need to keep pushing forward on these.  I can’t kick up yet, but I will sometime soon!

And a couple of other gym-related breakthroughs:

Chick 1 and I made it through a partner WOD without incident.  She will tell you that I yell at her during partner workouts (true!) and that does not work out for the overall good.  But, on a recent Saturday we ended up partnered and managed to make it through it.  Big stuff!

Finally, despite my spongy midsection and crepey drapey loose extra skin, I removed my soaked tank top at the end of the Peachtree Road Race in front of the 60,000 other runners and volunteers gathered in Piedmont Park.  I don’t think I’ll ever have firm, taut skin so although I am proud of my progress, showing my midsection is still cringe-inducing.  But, I decided to just do it since I was crazy hot and two of my running partners were already down to sports bras and shorts.  I’m pleased to report that everyone lived through this experience and no one has lasting vision damage (that I am aware of).  A bit of body confidence is a great feeling.

As much as I celebrate these, I also have friends and coaches pushing me to move forward.  Add more weight to the bar.  Start putting some moves together.  It’s easier to get used to my scales and just keep practicing the new stuff, but my coaches and friends at CrossFit Faded Glory are always pushing me to be better.  And even though I don’t always remember to try new tricks to see what I am improving at, every day I show up and do the work I am getting better.

What are your new fitness accomplishments?  Any new goals you’ve set?  Let us know in the comments!

 

fitness and nutrition

Working Vacation (or, Making Vacation Work)

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a whirlwind whiplash weekend in Pennsylvania with friends watching our daughters play lacrosse.

I could have completely tossed my diet and exercise habits out the window.  But driving over 10 hours both ways in the course of a few days left my body screaming for exercise and good food.  (Craving those things is a good sign.)

We stayed in a hotel with a gym.  I brought my workout clothes and got up at my usual crack-of-dawn hour. The weather was amazing!  When I went outside, the air was a crisp, cool change from the warm humid mornings in Atlanta.  Then, we just happened to be staying in a complex with some health care buildings.  As I was walking to warm up and get moving, I noticed a trail with some fitness stations along the way.  So, that became my plan.  A little jog and some step ups, incline situps and leg lifts, hanging leg raises, all while jogging station to station. Sweat happened.

Then, I went into the gym and did a quick 21-15-9 of burpees, dumbbell clean and jerks, and sit-ups.  It wasn’t the extreme race or marathon workout that many were doing back home, but it was enough to feel like I had worked my heart and muscles. It felt good.

Of the 3 days away, that was the only true workout I did.  We did some walking at the tournament fields and Hershey Park, but otherwise the two days were rest days.  I worked out all the other days around the trip so it was enough.

The other challenge on the road is eating.

I packed snacks…a few bags of turkey and beef jerky, protein water, chunks of grilled chicken, protein chips, and some random protein bars.  I ate some but not all. I also drank lots of water and sparkling water.

For the most part, I just tried to focus on protein and keep other things to a minimum. Examples:

For quick breakfast on the road I had a Chick-fil-a breakfast bowl with chicken and no hashbrowns.  I ate a 2 good yogurt for snack.  The chicken chunks came in handy on a long stretch of road with few options beside gas station food.

Eating out in Harrisburg, PA, at a local tapas spot – Kale and beet salad, Brussel sprouts with bacon, a small slice of pizza, charcuterie board with meat, cheese, pickles, flatbread, mustard.  Probably over on fat and salt but I could have done worse and it was delicious. Not enough protein but options were limited.

For hotel breakfast (twice): Eggs, spinach, cheese, salsa, light and fit yogurt, coffee with milk. For me, when I’m basically eyeballing things, not really planning eating, and going with my gut, I try to start the day with as much protein as possible and just keep going from there.

It’s not necessarily easy…the options I skipped were many: waffles, Froot Loops and other cereals, bagels, bread, crumb cake, juices, granola, muffins, peanut butter, etc.  None of these seemed worth it and the eggs looked decent.  (I would definitely eat crumb cake, for example, if it was from a bakery.  I look forward to bakery crumb cake at the Jersey Shore later this summer!)

It’s not always a simple win.  The amusement parks we went to the last two weekends were especially challenging for both cost and food quality reasons.  At Hershey Park, after long searching, I settled for a few chicken tenders (more bread than chicken) and a few fries.  Thankfully this was late in the day after decent eating before we got to the park.

An afternoon at Kings Dominion was more challenging.  I could almost stomach the idea of eating Panda Express, but the $15.00 price tag was a deal breaker (and for just one entree!)  I held out until we left, late afternoon, and quickly scarfed down my turkey jerky, protein water, some fresh cherry tomatoes, and Quest protein chips when I got to the car.  Sounds crazy to many, but it works for me.  I felt satisfied and not weighed down.  I was grateful I had packed a few things to have on hand.

And when it was worth it, I did treat myself across the two weekends.  I had top-notch street tacos (although I did skip all but one bite of tortilla since they were not special), I had a great meal with meats, cheeses, an amazingly fluffy buttered roll, and cucumber salad at a German restaurant called Fest, and I had a scoop of homemade strawberry swirl ice cream topped with toasted fluff (the specialty of the house) at Charm School Social Club.  Totally worth it.  And four days later, I’m not mad at myself or the scale. So I’m learning it is possible to keep it sane on the road, get some sweat in, feel good, and indulge when I really want to.  Let’s see how I do on my next journey…

 

 

dare to be different

Shoe Issues or is it Shoe Goals?

3 years of CrossFit and my shoes have evolved just like me.

When I was clueless as a newbie at CrossFit I wore tennis shoes. Plain Jane tennis shoes. Well they had a swoosh on them and they said cross trainers but were they good for CrossFit?

In a short time I found out I didn’t like to box jump in them because I bit it more than once. Could have been my skill level but I will go with the shoes. I didn’t like to run in them because they didn’t feel good on my shins. Whether it was the shoes or my excuses, I don’t really know for sure. Then before long I found out I didn’t like to lift in them. Just all around blah. But since I didn’t know if I would like CrossFit I didn’t invest in shoes just yet.

A few months passed and the new year came. I waited patiently and watched to see what others had on their feet. There was a good variety of brands and types. Some even changed shoes to run or to lift. I was fascinated. I asked questions. In no time, I bought my first pair of Metcons. Vibrant blue. Oh, how they seemed heavy when I ran. Like I was running with bricks on my feet. They just didn’t move well with me. Off they go to a friend.

“Don’t I just waste money on shoes?” I say to myself. I mean it happens to the best of us. I have bought heels before and they feel fine when I’m in the shoe store then I wear them for a day and I’m like heck no.  After some debate with myself, I ended up with some Reebok Nanos. I liked them. First I had a black pair. Black matches everything but then I felt goth. A new model Nano was coming out so I picked up a blue pair since I liked these. Then white. I was content but they were not my favorite to run in and in year two I started running a lot more.

Enter the new Nanos that were a cross between a running shoe and the other model. I saw a badass in the gym wearing them. I inquired. I purchased. First, a black pair. A conservative option. Oops, I ran a mud race in them which was a bad choice so I replaced them with black pair #2. Then, fun colors came out and so did the sales. I snagged pink, navy blue, turquoise and a grayish green color. I could match most outfits and I liked to run in these. I wanted to buy a few pairs in case they went end of life. Of course, it helped they had fun color choices.

I ventured out and bought a pair of of the new Nanos…7 or 8. I hated them. They had a weird coating on them and they had a small toe base. Gave those suckers away to a friend quickly. So then I said I’m gonna break the hundred dollar spend limit and invest in some No Bull shoes. Purely because the name was cool. They were red on the box but had an orange glow. Just didn’t feel comfy in them so I passed them on to a friend. Barely worn shoes can easily find a second home.

I went on shoe restriction for a bit. Just counting above will explain why I put myself on shoe restriction. I mean I still need flip flops, heels for work and cute tennies for my everyday outfits.

Okay, so it was maybe 3 months later when my son started CrossFitting with me. He needed some new shoes. He bought Camo Metcons. He loved them. We wear the same size so I tried them and guess what? I liked these. Either they got lighter or my legs got stronger and I didn’t think they were too heavy. I checked online and darn it they didn’t have cool girl colors. What a let down.

Then I flipped over to the dude colors and was like what the heck? They have a much better selection. I couldn’t decide between the grey Camo and orange or the red and army Camo. I just bought both on a whim. Then I decided I would wear one of each shoe together. That was a lot of fun. Then I switched back to just orange and grey and red and army Camo.

Then the phone ads pop up. The girls line just came out with baby blue with shimmer Metcons. Seriously, just after my men’s order shipped. It was Valentine’s Day so I gifted them to myself…sneaky, I know.

Then the chalkboard and whiteboard versions. I wanted both but I passed on them. I just figured too many would have them and I just like to be on the edge of different.

A few more versions were released for girls and I wanted them bad but I refrained. It was hard. Then I saw a bright pink, white and black pair conveniently around my birthday. Gift time again. Nobody ever knows what to get this girl so Metcons it was. These were preorder so I didn’t get them for another month. I just love them, all of them.

Then today I see a new flashy pair. Golden with floral pops. A must have! Did you say Mother’s Day is just around the corner? Sure did! Look a perfect gift for Mom. Metcons for Mom. Preorders rock. A little delayed gratification for this girl but now I have the run of the closet floor to choose from for my daily WODs.

To some, I am sure they see me as wasteful but I seriously choose my outfit down to my socks based on what movements we are doing that day.  Shoes are included in this regimen. Crazy girl I am but welcome to my world of shoes. I absolutely refuse to add up the dollar amount spent but I seriously work hard so I can buy shoes.

And, I almost forgot I also have a pair of Reebok lifters. White with pink. Only use those for special occasions. And I just ordered a pair of Nike running shoes for my spring/summer running goals. Colorful and full of flair just like me. I guess you can see I am not your simple, basic girl.

My goals are big. My shoes are expensive. I work hard to afford my shoe fetish. #kt.247

I also have a t-shirt problem but I will save that for another post. Chick 2 may contribute to my delinquency in this arena. To the extent I probably need to open a t-shirt company. (Enter a big sigh.)