fitness and nutrition

21.2 Meets 17.1

Here we go again with my CrossFit Open stories. This one has a twist. 21.2 is really 17.1. A repeat workout. Flashback to 2017. I was new to CrossFit. My very first Open workout. I did the scaled version.

Today I did the Rx version which entailed 35 pound dumbbells instead of 20 pounds as well as box jumps instead of box step ups. Such a drastic improvement for myself. One of the major reasons I do the Open is to have a snapshot of my performance so I can track my highs, lows and everything in between. Because let’s face it, life has everything in between. 

The picture above shows the competition floor before the chaos began. So much sweat hit the floor. So much pride was in the air. So many cheers. Many gasping for breath as they endured the workout. The ambience of a competition. There really isn’t anything like it. The Open is special. Many working along side each other but working at different paces, goals and so on. It’s definitely an experience even if you are just a spectator.

Tidbit corner:  If we never measure our progress, we may never see where we need to improve. This can be applied to all aspects of life. Of course that’s not what this particular post is about today. The post today is about 21.2 and my progress from 2017 and the infamous 17.1 workout.

In more detail, this post is about my Open journey. My Open journey this year includes my daughter as she tackles her first Open. It is amazing to watch her grow in a sport we can both enjoy together. She competed Rx for her age group and finished with time to spare. She should be so proud of herself. Look at her fly through the box jumps below.

So many memories. So many milestones. We are living life to the fullest. Trying new things. Experiencing adventure and competition all in one. Welcome to my CrossFit world.

As I read about many hating this workout and its punishment on one’s back and legs afterwards, I am still planning to redo it on Monday. A glutton for punishment I’m sure. But in the end I want to see if I have more gas in the tank to perform a few more reps.

Off I go. Gotta jump, jump and jump some more. Hoping not to puke in round 2. The photo below is proof I did the workout again. Only improving by 2 reps, but still an improvement I would not have known I was capable of if I didn’t attempt it. And I did want to quit many times.

fitness and nutrition

Max Mentality, Part 2

I’ve written before about my inability (or unwillingness) to hit my max effort. I instinctively shy away from redlining. Sending it. Whatever you want to call it.

My comfort zone is running along between 60-80 percent most days. It’s my sweet spot. My happy place. I don’t feel out of control there. I’m putting in work but I can keep going. And frankly, I can stay at that place (and that pace) for a long time. Long endurance work is my strength over short sprints at high intensity. I’m much more turtle than rabbit.

I listened to our box’s CrossFit podcast the other day and they were talking about the upcoming CrossFit Open. Our coaches were trying to describe it, to prepare people who haven’t been a part of it before. The Open is CrossFit’s yearly(-ish) community testing event. You can see how you stack up against many others in the sport, and if you’ve been a part of the community for a while, you can see how you are progressing against yourself, year-over-year. For that reason, there’s a special competitive spirit in the Open. You have a judge and more eyes on you than usual. People push themselves to their max. After such punishing workouts, you often see CrossFitters rolling on the floor, struggling to breathe, even throwing up on occasion. If you haven’t witnessed it before, it can be surprising. But to many of us, it’s just another Open workout at the box. Just with extra sweat and a DJ.

The coaches took a minute to talk about this and made a point to say, if you haven’t gone to that max space, that rolling-on-the-floor-unable-to-breathe-uh-oh-I’m-gonna-puke place, you should try it. I’m thinking to myself, why does that feel so vulnerable? Like going there would take a special brand of courage I’m not sure I have?

I have been wrestling with what to expect of myself this year. I’ll write about that in depth in another post. But I have noticed that our new programming is giving me opportunities to dip my toe into maxing out. I haven’t “redlined” or “sent it” or thrown up in a conditioning workout. But in small ways I have hit failure. I’ve attempted some lifts lately that I’ve failed on. (Usually I don’t venture close to this point!) One I attempted again after I failed it and made. Another I didn’t. I recorded these weights in my notes, something I haven’t done in a long time. Perhaps that’s a sign that I am ready to get more systematic about keeping track of my progress.

Maybe the most glaring instance happened the other day, when we were working on jumping in skill progressions. We usually do a few broad jumps in warm ups and they are something I feel weaker at compared to many. On this day, we did a series of broad jumps for max distance, then rotated to other movements, then back to broad jumps. We did this several times. Each time I got back to the jumps, I felt better about them. In warmups they don’t feel natural, but working on them a few times did. On my third series of jumps, I really tried to push myself to jump longer. And of course, on the last jump, I landed on my heels then fell back into a roly poly ball on the floor. Nothing like going tail over tea kettle with 20 sets of onlooking eyes. Was I embarrassed? A little. But I also laughed. I smiled as I got up. I realized that I had actually pushed myself beyond my comfort level. So I couldn’t hold the landing? Ok. I know what to work on. A friend told me to engage my core, which I did the next round and didn’t fall. I’ll get better at it, failing forward. Inch by inch. Progress.

A little snapshot of going bigger. It might feel foolish. I might fail. People might see. All part of the doing and growing that this year holds for me. What will I fail at next?

fitness and nutrition, friendship

Just Show Up and Jump In

Screen Shot 2020-01-29 at 5.28.47 AM

“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.

Screen Shot 2020-01-29 at 5.29.10 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2020-01-29 at 5.30.21 AM

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

 

 

 

 

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!)

img_2131.png

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!