Good Reads: Tracking Workouts, Your Body, Put the Phone Away

Life is so crazy busy for me right now that I basically fit in all of my blog reading on the weekends, or at random times in the few evenings I have available. But I still like to share some of my favorite reads from what I’ve been able to catch through the past couple of weeks.

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Why Should You Track Your Workouts (Olive to Run): I am guilty of not tracking my workouts very well, which is pretty bad considering that I know it’s important to do so in CrossFit to track your progression. Tracking your workouts allows you to be proud of any little progression in your training, and help you set more realistic goals. I need to be better about it and plan to use an app on my phone. If you have any suggestions, please share them below!

Our Bodies are Really Darn Smart (Piloting Paper Airplanes): Ummm…yeah….I know I need to listen to my body more. My experience of nearly going to the hospital from exhaustion/walking pneumonia because of being way too busy taught me that. Being able to track your nutrition and seeing what you might be lacking is really interesting. I love the infographics that help illustrate things!

Look Up! (Life is Good):  This moving video has been going viral on Facebook this week. Admit it–we’re all at fault at some point or another about being glued to our phones, social media, etc. I know I am. And I know it’s frustrating when you’re at dinner with your husband and he has his phone out and having conversations with friends while you’re sitting across the table from you. Social media drives so much more than just the news now. But we need to step away and get reacquainted with the real world and life. Watch and spread the word!

15 Minor Life Annoyances (The Lean Green Bean Blog): This is awesome! I think we all need to do a little venting every now and then, and Lindsay rocked it with this post. Now that I got us all serious with the video above, now you can laugh and totally agree with this fun post.

Your turn: Share one of your favorite reads from the past few weeks below!

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My 1 Year Anniversary of CrossFit

A couple of weeks ago I realized I was celebrating my first year anniversary of doing CrossFit with Man O’War CrossFit. I can’t believe it’s already been a year! But I started the sport last year when I was forced to take time off from running due to patellar tendonitis, knowing I needed to get stronger in many ways to try to avoid more injuries.

My time with Man O’War CrossFit has been nothing short of awesome. I have to thank my coach, Taylor Johnson, and the community that is MOWCF for helping me get through what was going to be a crazy year.

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I know there are a lot of misconceptions and mixed perceptions about the sport of CrossFit. There have been articles written about rabdo, an athlete disabled by a completely freak accident, and people saying it’s just a fad that will soon fizzle. But I don’t listen to them.

CrossFit is exactly the workout that I’ve been needing. I get bored easily with things, and everyday at the box is something different, something challenging…something fun. Everyday I feel like I’ve accomplished something awesome.

There might have been some negatives along the way. Remember my tussle with the box jumps?

It wasn't pretty and hurt like hell!!

It wasn’t pretty and hurt like hell!!

Well, it was a big day when I tackled the boxes again…and I’m not nervous about them any more.

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And my leg looks better (there might be some permanent scarring, but it’s still fading away):

Almost a year later, the scars are fading away.

Almost a year later, the scars are fading away.

And I’ve had some pretty big milestones: being able to put my name on the leaderboard for the benchmark WODs for Karen (6:09), joining the 200lb Club with my deadlifts, seeing improvements in my other olympic lifts (120lb cleans, 100lb push press), and hitting my first Toes2Bar.

But the other bonus has been my mentality and attitude. Because of CrossFit, I have overcome depression and discovered how strong I can be both physically and mentally. I’ve learned to be my biggest cheerleader through difficult things and I’m always working to not let my mind talk me out of things. I have to thank Taylor for this, as well. He’s taught me that when I “fail” a lift, just walk away, shake it off and clear your head, then try it again. Don’t give up, and don’t let your inner demons talk you out of your progress.

I still haven’t accomplished what I’d like: kipping pull-ups without the band, doubleunders, and stringing together Toes2Bar, but I’m a work in progress and I know that by my 2-year anniversary, I’ll have all of those down. I just need to be consistent with my work and my goals.

I want to thank all of those who have supported me through this year in CrossFit and for putting up with me. There might be those who still roll their eyes when I get to talking about the “Sport of Fitness”, but it’s my lifestyle and I’m proud of it. Here’s to another successful year!

Your turn: When you celebrate your anniversaries (of running, CrossFit, etc.), what has stood out the most for you?

Hardest

CrossFit 14.4 & a 6 Mile Run

This weekend was supposed to be about getting everything done that I needed to get done before I leave for Pennsylvania for the 2014 American Kennel Club (AKC) National Agility Championships. You might remember me going to Tulsa last year with Dally, and this year we’re lucky to get to experience Pennsylvania in March…ugh. Looking at the 10-day forecast I’m not so excited. But, I’m trying to look at the positive! 🙂

Friday I tackled 14.4 at Man O’War CrossFit. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get through the 50 toes to bar–I do well to squeeze out one real toes to bar. I really wished it went 50 wall balls–I can sail through those! Anyway, here’s the WOD:

CrossFit Open 14.4

14 minute AMRAP
60 calorie row
50 toes to bar
40 wall balls (20/14)
30 cleans (135/95)
20 muscle-ups

I outfitted myself with some hand guards made by Taylor for the toes to bar. It was my first time wearing such things, and I kind-of liked them! But I definitely need to practice making them myself…Taylor wasn’t impressed with my attempt (I wish I could have taken a photo). I did kipping knees to elbow instead of the toes to bar and zoomed through the wall balls. Half-way through the cleans I realized I hadn’t changed my weight from the warm-up 65 (we did a mini WOD to warm up) to the need 95. Whomp whomp. Udder FAIL. I just continued through the WOD, pushing myself harder. I got through the cleans, then started on my (red) banded ring dips, another modification. I finished the WOD in the 14 minutes allotted.

Then Saturday morning I hit the pavement for 6 miles around the neighborhood. I’m trying to keep a routine of long(er) runs on the weekends until I really start upping my training for a half marathon in June. I had 6 miles on the docket, and none of my friends were around, so I turned on the tunes on my phone and belted out 6.3 miles in 1:00:54:

Mile 1 – 9:17
Mile 2 – 9:15
Mile 3 – 9:40
Mile 4 – 9:34
Mile 5 – 10:08
Mile 6 – 9:47
0.3 nubbin – 9:03
9:35 avg/mi

I did walk a little twice, but I definitely need to work on my pacing more and keeping things consistent. I felt great during my run. It was lower 50s and perfect weather.

I followed up the run with a 2-mile dog walk, which included a friend’s two dogs that I was dog sitting–let me tell you, the looks I got from people in my neighborhood when they saw me walking four dogs… LOL

4 dogs? No problem!

4 dogs? No problem!

I ended the weekend grilling some chicken breasts for M to have for dinner while I’m away in Pennsylvania, making chocolate chip cookies for the trip, and cheering on the guys at MOWCF for 14.4. One of our guys, Jon, made it through 8 muscle-ups (8!!). Rough WOD!

Coach Taylor (right) and Iverson (left) attacking the 135 lb cleans during 14.4.

Coach Taylor (right) and Iverson (left) attacking the 135 lb cleans during 14.4.

Your turn: How was your weekend?

The CrossFit Open is Here!

It was the announcement everyone in the CrossFit Community has been waiting for: the first WOD of the 2014 CrossFit Open. When they announced that 14.1 was going to be a 10 minute AMRAP of 30 doubleunders and 15 snatches, I’m sure I heard the entire world moan.

This will be my first CrossFit Open to really observe. I’ve read about the event on Tina and Lindsay’s blogs before, but I’ve never experienced it for myself. And yet this year I did not register. Why? Well, maybe it was a lot of things, but I had to decide between spending the money on the Open or a half marathon…the half marathon won out.

But I’ll still be doing the workouts, so I’m still going to be pushing myself like everyone else…it just won’t be official. And I’m OK with that.

Unfortunately, though, I was not able to tackle 14.1. Wednesday I came down with a horrible cold that knocked me to the couch for days. It sucked. I didn’t do anything for three days and that sucked even more–my body hurt more from doing nothing than it does from an exhausting CrossFit WOD or long training run! It wasn’t until Sunday that I finally felt like I could tackle something to break a sweat.

So I headed to Man O’War CrossFit to get in a simple workout of my own (6, 500m row intervals, then 30 35lb kettle bell swings) and to cheer on everyone else doing their official 14.1. It was a lot of fun to cheer everyone on. We had guys who were doing their fourth Open, guys doing their first Open, and even on who just started doing doubleunders on Friday. Whether they scored 300+ or just 100, each one had a lot to be proud of.

Morgan tackled 14.1 a second time to better his score from Saturday. Sunday's score? 336

Morgan tackled 14.1 a second time to better his score from Saturday. Sunday’s score? 336

I had thought about giving the workout a try, but knowing that I’m still struggling to breathe normal, I knew it wasn’t smart for me to try that cardio-heavy workout just yet. But I’m hoping to be back to 100% for 14.2’s announcement and back to the box and my runs consistently all this week.

Your turn: Did you register for the Open? If not, why not?

Fitness Friday: Workouts From the Week

I missed last week’s “Fitness Friday” so I’ll share the past eight workouts we’ve done at Man O’War CrossFit.

First off last week:

20131121-204645.jpgNovember has been all about heavy lifting. Taylor, our coach, was inspired by the last CrossFit competition (I’m guessing), so we’re upping our game with the weights. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to seeing how much I’ve improved from previous maxes. I’m trying to work on my split jerks, but it’s so hard to remember to drive forward with my front foot and not go too wide on my stance. (Note: Any tips?)

Thursday you’ll see the WOD called “Morrison”. This is a hero WOD, and those are typically butt kickers. Unfortunately, this was a day that no one else showed up for my 7:30 class so I had to do this workout by myself (with some cheering from Taylor, Natalie, and Tara, of course). Knowing that I just got over my fear of box jumps, I asked if I could switch up the order. So I did box jumps, then wall balls, then the kettlebell swings. Let me tell you…50 box jumps in a row is hard, no matter when you do them! We had a 30 minute time cap, but I felt like I could complete it all in those 30 minutes.

This was a hard workout to go through when you are still getting over a cold and you have asthma. There were times I was just breathing so hard while I was resting. The heavy breathing, plus the repetitious movements of my upper body turned out to be a bad combination. I was finishing my 20 box jumps when I started to feel a twinge in my upper right side of my back. I pushed through to finish the 20 and moved on to the wall balls. One throw of the ball and I was done–my back was in a complete muscle spasm and I couldn’t lift my right arm very high. I had about 8 minutes left when this happened, and I tried to work through it so I could finish. Taylor brought a lacrosse ball over for me to use, but it wasn’t subsiding. I ended up having to call it a day…as much as I hated it. I spent the rest of the day on the heating pad, took a muscle relaxer that night, but I couldn’t move the best Friday morning. So I skipped CrossFit that morning, but later went for a 2.5 mile run to help shake out the legs and my back. I think it helped because I was good to go by Saturday.

20131121-204700.jpgThis week we backed off on the weight, preparing for our max lifts next week. Monday’s WOD of overhead lunges was done with 45 pounds, but it was still killer. Tuesday we had way too much fun swinging around on the rings (hung low on the pull-up bar) to learn the movement of muscle ups. I don’t think I could see myself ever being able to do a muscle up for real, but it’s still fun to work on them!

I woke up Thursday morning with tight hamstrings–I’m sure that’s probably thanks to Wednesday’s squat jumps (65 pounds). Nothing a little bit of jump rope, foam rolling, and stretching couldn’t fix.

I’ve been running a little throughout the week as well–no real long distances, but just some nice runs with friends. I’m starting to run with another running club based out of downtown Lexington and out of a local brewery (yes, runners and beer are the best combination). I’ll post more about that later.

I’m appreciating the time Taylor has put into developing our strength program because I’m seeing improvements here and there.

Oh…and I plan on finishing Morrison soon. I will conquer that hero WOD!

Your turn: What’s been your favorite workout this week?

CrossFit: Fit to Fight it Out

Just as I was trying to get back on a roll with my workout posts, I skipped a week…fail!

The past two weeks has mostly been CrossFit. I did squeeze in a couple of runs, but nothing to really brag about.

We’ll hit the first four (missed) workouts at Man O’War CrossFit:

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Monday: This was a workout that I was excited to get going because I was hoping to get a new PR. I ended up improving my clean PR from 105 to 110 pounds! It felt good to have a new PR in the box because it had been a while.

Tuesday: Pull-up hell! Plus we had to clean our barbells, so that meant not being able to really squat a whole lot. I stuck with 65 pounds through the whole WOD because my arms were getting tired from all the pull-ups. I was able to finish the WOD before the 15 minute time cap.

Wednesday: Cardio hell! This was a rough morning workout. Ryan and I were the only two in our class, so we pushed each other and fed off of each other–I liked that. On the Every Minute On The Minute WODs, you tried to give yourself as much time to recover and catch your breath. I’d finish the 15 wall balls in about 30 seconds. I did the AMRAP with a 42 pound kettlebell and did 4 rounds. The last EMOTM was rough, though!!

Thursday: Yet another chance at a PR, only with the dreaded snatch. I didn’t do as well on this as I would have liked, but the snatch is a very awkward movement and I’m still working on my form. I lost my record, but I think I got 65 or 70 pounds.

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Friday: This was a long, rough WOD, but I finished in under 25 minutes. Our air squats were changed to goblet squats with 35 pound kettle bells, which were also used with our lunges (I changed to 26 pounds for the lunges after a while). By the time I got to the box dips my arms were like JellO and I placed my foot down to help stabilize,

Monday (this week): Another rough cardio WOD. The weights were done with kettle bells, so I used a 35 pound bell. All I could think about was trying to get everything done quickly because I did not want to do any more 100 meter sprints! By the time I got to the burpee tuck jumps, I really was only able to do three tuck jumps, then I just hoped to try to get some air between my toes and the floor. Still working my way up, I did the box jumps on a 12″ box with a 45 pound plate.

Tuesday: We worked on our basic movements of split jerks, yet another awkward movement that we don’t work on as much as maybe we should. I got up to 75 pounds with a push jerk and split jerk. I started to feel some soreness in my right shoulder/bicep so I took it easy on the WOD with just 55 pounds.

Wednesday: This WOD wasn’t as hard as you’d think it was. My shoulder/bicep was still giving me trouble (Taylor says it’s bicep tendonitis), so instead of handstand push-ups, I did ring pulls. I did singles until the end and did 10 double-unders–I’m still trying to get consistent with my double-unders and I knew it’d take me forever to do that many.

Running:

I squeezed in a couple of runs in the last two weeks. They weren’t really for distance, but just to get out and run. Last Wednesday I ran 2.5 miles because I just wanted to get in a good sprint. I finished with a pace per mile at 8:30–pretty impressive!

Then on Sunday, I had planned a 5 mile run but I just wasn’t feeling it. I took a route that I knew had some turn offs, just in case I couldn’t finish the run. I’m glad I did–when I got to about 3 miles, I just wasn’t feeling the best, so I turned for home. I got in 3.61 miles in 32:53 (avg 9:07). Hey, a run’s a run.

Overall, I’m doing better physically–I just need to figure out my eating. I don’t feel like I’m eating a lot, but maybe just not the most well-rounded diet.

Your turn: What’s one improvement you’ve seen in your workouts and/or runs in the past two weeks?

CrossFit: It’s All Mental

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the six months I’ve been doing CrossFit at Man O’War CrossFit, it’s that this sport is just as much mental as it is physical. But, then again, so is running. Maybe that’s why I like it so much?

I came to this conclusion last week, as I started to work towards getting back to my 20″ box jumps since my accident a few weeks ago. About a week after the accident I did a competition WOD that included burpee box step-ups, which was the first time I had done a similar movement to that day. Taylor said it was a positive step in the right direction.

Then last week I started working back to jumping the standard height, but by using the 12″ box with a 25 pound plate on top to add some height. I had been working, by myself, in a separate room on the box jumps because I didn’t want all eyes on me. In my mind, I assumed people were thinking, “Will she be brave enough to get back up there?” etc. Most likely no one was really thinking about that, or judging me in any way, but you can’t help but think about those things and maybe doubt yourself when you’ve had a scary incident like I did.

Let’s face it: BOX JUMPS ARE SCARY!

Slowly building back my height for box jumps, which also means slowly rebuilding my confidence in the box.

Slowly building back my height for box jumps, which also means slowly rebuilding my confidence in the box.

But I pushed through, pushed out all the doubts and concerns, focused on a spot on the floor to blur out everything else, and just jumped.

And then I did it again this morning, completing 50 box jumps on a 12″ box with a 45 pound plate on top. To my right was Taylor, working on 30″ box jumps. A couple of times I saw him stub his toe on the edge going up, a lot like what I did, and I winced–he caught himself and kept going without losing rhythm, and I kept looking straight ahead, telling myself to just keep jumping.

That’s what we tell ourselves–just one more. Keep pushing. Keep going. You can do it. Without that mental cheering, would you be able to get through a WOD? I don’t think so. I know I definitely needed it to get through today’s “fun”:

Today's WOD was a test of physical and mental conditioning.

Today’s WOD was a test of physical and mental conditioning.

CrossFit is just as much mental as it is physical. You have to make yourself believe you can deadlift how much you weigh before you can even wrap your hands around that barbell. You have to give yourself that pep talk as you walk through the doors, telling yourself that yes, you’re tired, yes you’d rather be sleeping, but think of how bad ass you’re going to feel in an hour.

MentalToughness

Considering everything I’ve gone through this summer, I relish these mental breaks when I walk into the box. It’s the one of the few things any more that keeps me going every day. Yes…I go to CrossFit 4-5 days a week, but it’s because I need it mentally. CrossFit makes you feel like you can tackle the world after completing a WOD. It empowers you in so many ways.

Your turn: How do you mentally prepare for a tough workout or run?

Sore Traps & Triceps: This Week’s Workouts

Happy Friday!! I’m so excited for the weekend to be here–normally for me the weekend is just any other day right now, but this weekend we’re heading to Tennessee for an agility trial with the pups. The weather should be gorgeous and it’s at a new facility, so I’m excited for a change.

I realized that lately I’ve skimped on posting my workouts. Just because I haven’t been sharing them on here doesn’t mean I haven’t been busting my bum, don’t worry! I’ve actually noticed that I’ve lost some more weight, but still gaining a lot of muscle.

This week was a little light on the workouts at Man O’War CrossFit. Tuesday I had a job interview in Louisville, so I used that as my rest day instead of the usual Wednesday. Then instead of running my 6 planned miles this week, I did extra long walks with the dogs (my IT band was bothering me a little after my 5K this past weekend).

So here were the WODs I did this week:

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Monday’s was killer, especially since my quads were still sore from the 5K and previous week. I did back squats at 105 pounds and deadlifts at 115, and averaged about 25-28 wall balls every minute. The 3×400 took me about 7 minutes or so to do, with the 2 minutes rest in there.

Wednesday made my arms so sore for the rest of the week! I did 70 pounds for the thrusters, then 65 pounds for the hang clusters. For three of the rounds I did my toes to bar on the ground, meaning I laid flat on my back with my arms out to the side and raised my legs up and down–we didn’t have any chalk in the box and I didn’t want to risk tearing my finally-healed hands again.

Thursdays are generally our partner workout days. Ashley and I teamed up, crushing the firs 800. We went into the WOD thinking we’d do two circuits, then switch, but after a couple of rounds Ashley could only do one at a time, while I continued doing two. I couldn’t tell you how many I ended up doing, but it was at 65 pounds, and towards the end that last push press sucked!

Friday should have seemed easy because it was all body weight, right?? Wrong! We’re talking 100 pull-ups, 150 push-ups, 200 sit-ups, and 250 air squats. I used rubber bands for the pull-ups, and did almost all of the push-ups on my toes. My bum is rubbed raw from using the ab mat on the sit-ups–those suck! And I’m sure I’ll feel my quads tomorrow morning.

Overall, I pushed it hard with the weights this week! My traps, triceps, and quads are all sore, but in a good way. I’m feeling stronger every day and I love it!

Your turn: Any tips for ab mat sit-ups and preventing bum-burns? 

October Goals

October

I know I’m a few days late, but it’s been a pretty busy week, so I’m going to let it slide that I’m just now posting my goals for October:

  1. Run/walk 70 miles. I was so close in September, and I’d like to see myself do more running this month, so this should be attainable!
  2. Continue to work on my kipping pull-ups. As long as I don’t tear up my hands again, I should be able to do at least a couple kips everyday I’m at the box.
  3. Plank A Day. Even though I know a lot of the exercises we do in CrossFit help strengthen the core, I feel like I need to do more ab exercises and get back to doing planks, so why not do a #PlankADay Challenge?
  4. Re-work/Re-design my blog a little bit. I’ve been blogging for a year now and I feel like it’s time for a little bit of a change. I’d be welcome to any suggestions!

I’m already at 11 miles for the month, so I’m doing well already!

Your turn: What are your goals for October?

What suggestions do you have for my blog design/layout?

Attack of the Box Jumps

Wasn’t it just last week I was talking about CrossFit “badges of honor“? Ugh. I probably shouldn’t have said anything. I now have a pretty big “badge of honor” thanks to yesterday’s WOD.

The workout was surely going to be a killer:

7 squat cleans
8 burpee box jumps
9 rounds with a 30 minute time cap

I was working with 65 pounds for the squat cleans and using a 20-inch box jump. After Monday’s WOD (snatches and deadlifts), I didn’t think my legs were too tired, but as I started the first round of squat cleans, I soon discovered they were tired. But I pushed through all 7 squat cleans and started in on my burpee box jumps.

The first two jumps onto the box I could really feel it in my quads. I remember looking over at Cari and Valentina with a look like “OMG My legs might not make it through this workout!” I think it was the third jump that I barely made it up. So I shook my legs a little, did a burpee, then attempt to jump onto the box. It happened so fast: my left toe hit the top edge of the box (while my right foot made it up on top) and I crashed my shin into the box. I  cussed a little and walked away to try to shake it off. A few asked me if I was alright and I thought I was–it just smarted. Then I looked down at my leg…. NOTE: Never look down at your injuries! I saw the scrape all down my shin, even seeing a little white and my mind went into overdrive–is that bone?? OMG Did I break something??

That’s when I got real dizzy and nauseous. I limped to the bathroom and almost passed out. After a while of writing on the floor in pain, I made it out of the bathroom and back into the box. I wanted to get to my phone to have M come pick me up. After I called him, Coach turned the fan on me and tried to help me feel a little better. I basically went into shock upon seeing my leg. It took M no time to get to the box (he was on his way home from work), but it took me 20-30 minutes to be able to sit up without feeling dizzy and close to passing out. Meanwhile, we shared stories of “badges of honor” and Natalie told me about when she got hurt pretty badly on the box jumps.

I came home and rested my leg the rest of the day. I iced it multiple times, took Ibuprofen, and then later in the evening, when the skin wasn’t so sensitive to touch, I did an Epsom salt soak to help with the swelling and soreness. I’m happy to report that the swelling has gone down, but it’s still sore and a little sensitive. I’m taking the day off (minus walking the dogs) from working out, and hope to get back to the box on Thursday (but no jump/running).

This was a couple of hours after coming home and icing my shin.

This was a couple of hours after coming home and icing my shin.

Now I’m worried about getting my confidence back on box jumps. It took me a while to work up to the 20″ boxes–I’ve never been one to have a big vertical jump or anything. Natalie warned me it’ll be a while before I’m comfortable with them again, so I plan on taking my time.

I think the next time I start to boast about my “badges of honor” I’ll think twice–not sure I can get anything bigger than the scrape I have right now.

Your turn: Have you ever had a crash and burn in the gym that’s gotten you thinking twice about why you do what you’re doing? I know for a moment there I thought “Maybe I’m done with CrossFit…” but I know that was just crazy talk!