If I vomit can I stop? – CF Open 14.5

This workout was brutal. It is hard to even describe how my body felt while doing it. There is a high possibility that if I had closed my eyes during it I would have fallen asleep or passed out from pure exhaustion and lack of energy. I just felt off, sluggish, and completely nauseated.

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14.5 was a total of 84 thrusters and 84 burpees over the bar, broken into a rep scheme of 21-18-15-12-9-6-3, alternating thrusters and burpees. Thrusters are where you go down into a front squat, below parallel, then stand up and push the bar over your head.  For the burpees you had to jump, with both feet, over the bar in between each burpee. The female weight was 65 pounds.

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Mid way through the 18 thrusters I looked at my boyfriend, who was my judge, and I told him that I was done, that I couldn’t do it today and I would try again on Sunday. That’s how off I was feeling. I didn’t feel in pain, my breathing wasn’t out of control, I just felt exhausted. He convinced me to keep going, very slowly throwing my body on the ground and picking it up to jump over the bar. During most of the workout I felt like I was going to vomit, and actually wished that I would at one point because then it would give me an excuse to stop.

ImageFor the first time in my CrossFit experience I was the last person to finish the workout. Everyone who had been doing the workout (some doing it for the open, others with reduced weights/reps) gathered around me to cheer me on. At first I wanted to tell them it would be a while and they could go home, but then it turned in to me needing their support and feeling I had to finish for them. I had broken the thrusters into sets of three and each three I finished they would cheer. When I finally finished and collapsed on the floor multiple people came over to high five me. It wasn’t embarrassing at all, as I had always thought it might be, but instead was incredibly supportive and heartwarming to have people care enough to stick around after their workout to watch me trudge along.

It took me a full 35 minutes, which is almost 15 minutes more than I had thought it would. But, as my boyfriend told me as I lay on the ground trying not to pass out, it’s better to be Dead Fucking Last than Did Not Finish than Did Not Start.  And now, my first CrossFit Open is done.

CF Open 14.3 – 101 reps.

I’ve really sucked at blogging lately, sorry guys. It’s my last semester of law school and it’s gotten incredibly busy and stressed out, which doesn’t put me in the chattiest mood. The highlight of my weeks have been Thursdays at 6pm when the new Open workout is released. Last week I was at Happy Hour with my coworkers and when 6 o’clock came around I whipped out my phone to see what 14.3 was. I was SO happy to see a ladder of deadlifts/box jumps with deadlifts increasing in weight and reps each time. One of my coworkers used to do CF, so we were talking about it and explaining the open to everyone at my work. Most people think it’s pretty cool that it’s a world wide competition, so people on every continent are doing the same thing you are. It’s a small world, really 🙂

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I did 14.3 Friday night, and I had heard that a lot of people were getting stuck at 90 reps. This means that they completed the 20 reps of deadlifts at 155 and the 15 box jumps after, but couldn’t get any lifts at 185lbs.  I really wanted to get some lifts at 185lbs under my belt, so I was pretty nervous going into it. I felt like this was the first Open workout that could really test me, as it was the first one that contained all movements that I had done before. My boyfriend was there to help cheer me on and tell me to get back on the bar when I wanted to walk away. I got 101 reps in the 8 minute time cap, with 11 reps at 185lbs. I was really pleased with that, as I had only gone in expecting to get 3-4 reps at that weight due to fatigued legs. The best part was that while I was sore the next day, I could still make it up to the mountains to go snowboarding. That’s a win!

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Side note: I really want this shirt. ❤ Hunger games. I can’t wait for 14.4 I think it’s going to be clean and Jerks and burpees. What do you think it will be?

Becoming Comfortable with the Uncomfortable – CF Open

That phrase is used a lot in CrossFit. “Becoming Comfortable with the Uncomfortable”. So far, the Open has been hard. I expected it to be hard physically, to push me past my limits into pure exhaustion and into the uncomfortable. But I didn’t expect it to be as mentally uncomfortable as it has been. It is uncomfortable to hear the clock tick down 3-2-1 signaling you to start a movement that 48 hours ago you couldn’t even do and now you have to do at least 30reps  to move on.

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It is uncomfortable to dangle for 2 minutes from a bar kicking your feet and pulling with all your might to try to pull yourself up until your chest gets above the damned bar. It is uncomfortable to have people watching you in what any outsider could consider a failure as you trip on a jump rope over and over, or fail to heave your body up in the air.  But part of becoming comfortable is realizing that no matter how you rank against others, those things, while uncomfortable, are not failures.  You linked together three double unders when before you could only do one? That’s a success. You got all overhead squats without putting the bar down, even if your score was 10? That’s a success. You managed to get the ugliest, wiggling chest to bar ever seen and it took you a full minute? That’s a success.

Unless you are actually trying to win the games, the goal should not be to be the best. You can’t control how anyone else performs. The goal is to be better than you were yesterday. To have pushed yourself outside of that comfort zone physically and mentally. To not give up when you hear the workout is something you can’t do, but to go in and try your damnedest to at least get 1 rep down, without embarrassment  or apology.

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I cannot go to my box now without seeing someone in the corner whipping their shins as they practice double unders over and over, determined to not let them sneak up on them in a work out again. Countless people may have gotten a 10 on 14.2, but they learned that their working overhead squat weight should be 65#, not 55#, since they were physically capable of doing it, even if it was a little bit shaky.  That is learning to take a weakness and turn it into motivation. Instead of pushing what you can’t do from your mind, you are forced to meet it straight on, to acknowledge it and to conquer it while people watch. That is becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable. And to me, that’s what the Open is all about.

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Have you been able to do all the moves in the workouts? If not, how have you felt about it?

What would your ideal open work out be?

And Finally, a Pull Up and breaking 200lbs.

First, someone found my blog today by googling “CrossFit has taught me to love my body”. I LOVE that that google search brought them to my blog, because I 100% agree with that sentiment and love that I’m attached to it.

In other news, I’ve been struggling to find motivation to keep working hard the past two weeks or so. I’ve totally fallen into the February slump that seems to have been making it’s way around. I think it’s because the christmas lights I love so much have been taken down, but it’s still dark too early and that’s totally depressing.

It’s not the best time to get in a slump considering the CrossFit Open (the beginning of a competition that leads to “The Games”, like the Olympics of CrossFit) starts this Thursday! I did not even hesitate to sign up, even though I can’t do some of the movement standards, because really… what do I have to lose? It’ll motivate me to bust my ass harder every Friday for the next 5 weeks when the Open competition work outs take place. AND, I get a nifty little profile on the CrossFit website!

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There have been a couple highlights from the past couple weeks of not feeling quite right during work outs. Valentines weekend the boy and I went in to the box one night solely with the goal of getting me to hit a 200lb dead lift (we’re romantic like that). I had tried about a month ago and couldn’t get past 195lbs without my back rounding. With the help of him changing my pre-stance so that my hamstrings were fully engaged and yelling at me as I lifted, I not only got to 200 but knocked out 205lbs. I was pretty dang stoked on that.

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Tonight we had a gymnastics clinic to work on all types of gymnastics movements but mainly pull ups, toes to bar, and pistols. I have been wanting pull ups FOREVER. I can do a strict pull-up, but just could not get the movement pattern needed to get a kipping pull up. The reason you want to learn kipping compared to strict is because it makes it way easier to bust out multiple pull ups without expending too much energy.  Tonight we spent over an hour straight practicing different techniques to build the foundation to do a kipping pull up. During this I ripped my hand, taped it, bled through that tape, then ripped it in another spot. (Scroll down quickly if you get grossed out easily…)

Those two calluses in the middle ? Hanging off.

Those two calluses in the middle ? Hanging off.

BUT IT WAS WORTH IT. Because I could finally do couple kipping pull-ups! Not linked together (yet) but I am SO happy I finally got one. Now I am actually motivated to practice them every day so that I can link them together! At least I know if there are pull-ups in the open workout I can slowly get some done.

Have you signed up for the Open? What are you most worried about?

Have you felt sluggish during February or is it just me?

Becoming OK with Weight Gain and the Scale

I have gained twenty pounds since I moved to Colorado three years ago. 2-0. The weight of a small child has slathered itself across my body. I’d like to say it’s all muscle, but it’s not. When I moved here I was partying too much, eating too little, all while running a ton of mileage while training for half marathons.

How I got my exercise before CrossFit

How I got my exercise before CrossFit

When I got my mind right and healthy eating on track, my body put on more than just muscle to reach it’s happy place. Unfortunately, it took some time for me to be okay with that happy place. When there is no mirror in front of me and I’m doing something I’d proud of, like CrossFit, I feel like I’m the baddest thing to walk this earth. Most days I can look in the mirror and be more than happy with what I see. But some times that urge to step on the scale overpowers me and, when I do, it shatters that confident image of myself

I was talking to some girls at my box a couple weeks ago about how crazy it is how those little numbers on a screen can make or break you day. No matter how much I preach, and usually tend to believe, that you should value performance over looks, it’s hard not to have a little part of you that still wants to be at that magical number that you have in your head that is your “thin/sexy/hot/goal” weight. I went out to dinner a couple weeks ago with my non CrossFit friend and she was telling me about her struggles to loose weight. She told me that no matter what, her body just stays at her current weight. I told her it had probably just reached a healthy homeostasis and she said “Yeah, probably…. I just wish my natural weight were 5 pounds lighter”. What is it about NUMBERS that can drive us crazy? She is absolutely gorgeous, but somehow 5 lbs that no one else would notice is the difference between a good body and a “bad” body.

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I was talking (well, annoyingly whining) to my boyfriend about how I felt big the other day and he told me I need to delete all my instagram “fitness” accounts because they are giving me unrealistic expectations of what girls should look like. I know this, I wrote a blog post about this, but I still tried to justify it with “No, it doesn’t, it motivates me to work out”. He responded “No, it makes you feel bad and guilty about yourself, so you go to work out”. He then proceeded to give me a long talk about valuing performance over looks, that society has constructed the idea that women shouldn’t have muscle but there is nothing sexier than a girl busting her ass to give it her all (He’s pretty great, huh?::sigh::). He then made me read the article “I became awesome, not skinny“, which every female athlete should read.

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So I deleted all the instagram fitness accounts I followed, but I still couldn’t get out of my funk. That is, until this past weekend at the Tuff Luv CrossFit Competition. I was suddenly surrounded by some bad ass women, in all shapes and sizes, with no make up, hair in messy ponytails with enough confidence to fill a football stadium. I was overwhelmed with love for the human body and what it can do. I was reminded, once again, of my goals, which don’t involve dieting back down to a size 2. If my body is making gains and lifting heavier weight at this size, then this is the size that I need to be. Because, in the end, being able to clean and jerk 195lb like the woman did this weekend is gonna make me a hell of a lot more ecstatic and memorable than fitting in to my old jeans.

 

Can the scale still make or break your day?

How do you plan on getting over that? Or how did you?

CrossFit Frustrations

Patience can be hard.  As I’ve mentioned before, I have a nasty little habit of giving up on something if I don’t get it right away. I’m trying to kick that habit by continuing to get better at snowboarding, but  recently I’m noticing those familiar frustrations are sneaking into my CrossFit workouts. And they’ve brought their  nasty little friend jealousy.

Image I can’t squat.  I have a distinct memory of a conversation I had in high school with my friend Cameron trying to figure out why she could just hang out in a low squat so easily and when I tried I would just role backwards. At the time, we came to the conclusion it was because I had wide hips that made me unsteady compared to her narrows ones. Now I’ve learned that’s not the case, that it has to do with hip flexor mobility, strong glutes and hamstrings etc etc. But some days, I still feel like just chalking it up to my wide hips and throwing in the towel would be way easier than to carry on trying.

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I’ve made some good progress, but with each step I take forward my coaches ask more of me and it’s another step backwards. Sometimes the nature of always being able to improve on a skill can be exhausting.

Today I finally started to feel like I was getting below parallel with heavier weight consistently, when I got told that my feet point out in a duck position too much and I need to make them parallel facing forward. I tried it, and found I was back at square one.  I stood there wanting to ask my coach if it really f*&king matters how my feet point if I was still getting low and getting stronger?

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But I didn’t, because I know better. Of course it matters. There are no shortcuts to success. Proper form is an essential foundation if I want to keep getting stronger, so if that means going back to square one so be it.

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Yesterday I stayed after the WOD to do some more work during open gym. Our  box has a special program for our “competitors” aka the most elite atheletes in the gym. They were going through a WOD while I was doing my own thing and I watched as they moved seamlessly through rope climbs, pull ups, hand stand push ups, pistols… All things that I hope one day to do. Some of the comppetitors only recently joined that WOD, after having made significant improvements in the regular WODs that I attend. I couldn’t help but feel some jealousy at first, mad that I hadn’t been making more progress.

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You can say “I’ve come so far from where I was X months ago”, but sometimes it really doesn’t matter. You aren’t where you want to be and that sucks.  But as I sat there I realized I had two choices. I could sit and be frustrated and jealous and pout that I wasn’t getting better fast enough… or I could keep focused, bust my ass more in work outs and trust that if I give it my all it will come. So, I took a moment to acknowledge my frustration, and then tried to push it out of my mind. More mobilizing, more technique work and more determination. It will come and it will be more rewarding if I know I didn’t take any short cuts to get there.

Yes, I’m Alive!

Does anyone else ever wonder if something horrible has happened to a blogger if they don’t write for a long time? Is that just me? Well, I can assure you that I am A-okay, if not a bit too full from Christmas cookies and a bit sore from this mornings WOD. After my finals were over I had 4 days before I took off to go home for the holidays. Although some of those days were in the negatives, I tried to take full advantage of my freedom by getting to the mountains for some snowboarding.  The first day was amazing, perfect blue skies, warm and I ended up sounding like a little kid just repeating “again, again, again” until  it was time to go home.

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The second time it was very cold, snowing and I wanted nothing more than to get off the mountain. In that hurry, we ended up heading down a black diamond.  I pretty much road the brakes the whole time while yelling at my boyfriend for leading me down here (sorry babe). I did get a nice cuddle buddy for the ride home, though, which gave it a happy ending.

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Then I came home to the east coast for the holidays. I spent three days at CrossFit City Line (box review here) and definitely enjoyed myself. They had a “12 Days of Crossmas” WOD, which kicked my ass. I was inspired, however, to write a “Twas the Night Before Crossmas” rendition, for all you CrossFit nerds out there (there have to be more like me…).  I plan on checking out the Reebok sponsored Reebok CrossFit Back Bay tomorrow to see how fancy schmancy that one is.

Christmas morning started with a very cold 4 mile run. My hands froze after the first 10 minutes and I had to run awkwardly with them balled up under my armpits.

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Santa was very nice with some cross fit themed shirts this year. Does anyone else LOVE the themed shirts? They just make me chuckle.

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I also got some help opening presents from my lovely pup. That present happened to be for him, which is why he was so excited for me to open it.

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How were your holidays? Were you able to get any workouts in or did you simply relax? What was your favorite present?

Thanksgiving Break Recap

I know. I realize it’s Wednesday and Thanksgiving break ended a couple days ago, but it’s finals season and as much as I would prefer to be blogging, any free time I have is devoted to CrossFit and even more studying. Life is so fun right now…. not. Luckily, I had a great week off last week to squeeze in some fun before the next two weeks of my second to last finals ever (thank god). I celebrated Thanksgiving with the new boy in my life (like how I snuck that in there?) at his sister’s house in  Denver.

We started the day off with a turkey trot of our own in an attempt to counter act all the food we would be cramming in our faces soon enough. It was a gorgeous day, so I was glad to spend some time outside

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I didn’t have to cook anything, which was kinda nice to be able to just sit back and have people bring me food. Though at the end I felt a little like Jabba the Hut.  The food was delicious and included a maple bacon wrapped turkey. It. Was. Amazing. And the gravy was even better.I could have eaten it plain. I took home a big tupperware of it and have been putting it on everything I eat.

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I’m usually not a big fan of black friday. I think it’s hilarious (in a bad way) that a day after we celebrate and be appreciative of everything we have to be thankful for, we go out and fight people over items we feel we need.  That being said, I did head out to buy something on Friday to take advantage of some deals. I got new snowboard boots and bindings! During the course of putting the new ones on, I was told that I had been set up improperly and had been riding the wrong way this whole time. At least I found it out at some point!

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So on Saturday I headed up to Copper Mountain and the day could not have been more perfect. I started the morning with a beer at 9:30, because that’s what you do when you snowboard.

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Then I tried out my new binding set up and boots. It made SUCH a difference and I was able to get off the beginner greens and onto the intermediates. Black Diamonds here I come! (Not really.. I’m still scared to go too fast). It was a great relaxed day, with a couple runs, then a beer, then a couple more runs and another beer. I like this whole snowboarding thing.

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On Sunday, me and the boy decided to go get some trail running in while the ground was still free of snow. We went out to Matthew Winters Trail in Morrison, CO. I highly recommend it. It’s a 5 mile loop that allows bikers and runners, with some challenging terrain to keep you entertained. It had a nice incline that made me feel like I was dying from breathing too hard and left my booty a little sore after, which is my favorite.

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But every time I started to want to stop, I would look ahead and realize my companion was wearing a 30lb weight vest like a crazy person and still trudging on, so I pumped my arms hard and pushed through.

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Going down was a lot more fun. We made it down just as the sun was setting on a beautiful weekend, with a lot to be thankful and appreciative for. Hope you all had a wonderful break 🙂

First day on the slopes!

Today someone found my blog by Googling “fattie meatloaf”. To that person – I applaud you.. Hope my Bacon Meatloaf helped make your day that much better.

Sunday was my first day up on the slopes this year! When I moved to CO I had wanted to get really good at snowboarding. I went twice my first year and three-four times my second. Turns out, you have to actually practice something regularly to get good at it. Fancy that. A month ago I went to this ski/snowboard movie with some friends and was totally inspired. Not that I ever have any plans of jumping out of helicopters to fly down a mountain, but being able to get off the easy greens would be nice. So, I decided to get my ass in gear and get up on that mountain early in the season so I can really make some progress this year.

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My amazing friend has come with me the past couple times I went to help teach me, since she rocks the mountain and makes it look easy. She is super patient and encouraging, yelling out “Yah Fiona, you go it!” super loud and drawing attention so that people zooming by me began to comment “you got i!” and “making progress”.  I’m getting better at connecting my turns and not making it so I have to go super wide, but I still am petrified every time I start picking up speed and throw on the brakes. I’ve been told it’s like riding a bike and it’s actually easier once you have some speed, but I still just picture myself rolling down the mountain and breaking my face every time I get going. Anyone have any tips for getting over that?

We were there for about 4 hours, but then it started to get dark, icy and cold, so we decided to call it a day. I love driving through the mountains at night, nice and warm in the car staring at the dark snow covered trees. It was the perfect way to close out the weekend and, hopefully, just the start of many days up in the mountains this winter.

Olympic Lifting Competition – Review

I did it. I competed in my first ever Olympic Lifting Competition. I waited a couple days before writing about it so I had time to reflect on the experience. I know that I have a habit of being very hard on myself, especially if I don’t live up to my high expectations. To cut to the chase, I didn’t PR at the comp, nor did I hit weights I had previously hit. I was surprised by how incredibly nervous I was, how much I got in my head and just how much it affected my abilities. I was pretty upset at myself at first, but after spending some time thinking about how far I had come in the past couple months I decide beating myself up wasn’t productive and it was better to be proud I had taken the risk and just focus that energy on further gains instead of negative thoughts.

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I got to the box that the competition was being held at at 8:30 for registration check in and weigh in. We lined up as they weighed us, confirmed our starting lifts and wrote it all down on a card. Maybe it’s just because I have a history of distorted body image, but I loved the fact that all of the women weighed in and had their weights said out-loud without batting an eyelid. I remember a time where stepping on the scale could make or break not only the day, but the whole week. To be surrounded by women who didn’t care what the number was and finding myself to be one of them was empowering. 

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Next I hung around with the two girls from my box who were also competing. They were definitely in a class above me, really strong girls and very inspiring. We did a typical Oly stretching warm up followed by individualized barbell warm ups our Oly coach had written for us depending on our starting lifts. They consisted of: good mornings, front squats, press, overhead squat, jerk, rdl and cleans (all with just the barbell). Then we slowly added weight doing 1-3 reps until we reached 5 lbs below our starting weight. 

They organized us from lightest start weight to heaviest. For the snatch I was 4th from the top, for clean I was 8th from the top. For each lift you stand on a stage, in front of a room of people in dead silence. There are three judges in front of you who determine whether the lifts counts or doesn’t by flashing a red or white card. You get three total chances at both the clean and jerk and the snatch. I missed the first attempt (what should have been very light) at both the clean and jerk and the snatch because I was so incredibly nervous. Both of them I missed because I didn’t lock out my arms at the top, but instead got the weight up with a bend in my elbows and finished by pushing it overhead until my arms were straight.  I got stuck at 70lb snatch and 110lb clean and jerk, neither of which were what my current PRs are. That was frustrating, but once again I just have to keep reminding myself it was my first competition and, hopefully, the next one will mean less nerves and more PRs. 

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A lot of people came to watch, both from my box and my coworker and the girl I used to workout with prior to joining crossfit. It was really nice to have all that support and people to distract me in between lifts. It also felt really great that they could have been anywhere on a nice saturday morning and chose to come cheer us on. Gotta love the CF community.

Originally they said that I had gotten 8th place (out of 18), but they later sent out an email correcting themselves and bumping me down to 11th. Another little bummer moment, but moving on from that. Now it’s time to focus on new goals. I want to get my “engine” in better shape. I went trail running the other day and died and I’m determined to go back and run the same loop in a couple months and have it not be a problem. As of now there are no competitions on the horizon (running or lifting) for the first time in like 7 months. I’m sure that won’t last too long though. I love having those goals to push me in my training.

How was your weekend?

Do you like competitions?

What motivates you to work harder?