December Challenge

December is going to be an interesting month. My whole routine is going to change… I am working from home and watching the grandbaby. I am so happy and exited that I get to do this, but I have been a little concerned about my routine. I like routine… I pretty much do things at the same time and in the same sequence everyday. I am not sure if that is good or makes me like Sheldon on The Big Bang, but it is what it is. I don’t get bothered too much when my routine doesn’t go as planned, but this is a whole month.

So , we are on day three… I think we are figuring each other out and things will be fine. I decided to start work extra early (around 5:30AM) to get work done before she gets here. Today it worked out perfectly.. so hopefully it stays that way.

The only thing that has been nagging at me is my workout schedule. My Crossfit gym is 30 minutes away. It is in a perfect location when I go to the office… not so much from home.  My options were to go down there at 5-6AM or 6:30 PM. Neither appealing. I did the 6:30PM class Monday and it was tough to get home at 8:00 at night. Tuesday I was too tired to go out. I batted around the idea of going to a closer Crossfit gym for the month, but it still means getting up early and rushing back (and losing out on that work time) or again, a later class. I could have made a 5:30 work, but it would have taken coordination to get baby back to her momma. One more thing to think about after a busy and tiring day.

Luckily, I have a beautiful home gym that we have built over the years. Plus, I have ordered myself two new additions – a 35lb barbell and a smaller box jump.

So, for the next month I will go to the gym when I can, but on the days I can’t I will either do the same workout that was posted or do another workout.

Today the posted workout was running, overhead squats and muscle ups… I cant do any of these things here so.. I picked something elseL

HELEN

400 meter run ( I rowed 500 meters)

21 kettlebell swings – 35lbs

12 pull-ups (I did jumping pull-ups)

3 rounds for time  ( 13:20)

I also did a great warm-up and mobility afterwards. When I get my barbell I will also do the heavy lifts.

Progress

I read an article where super-strong lifter and coach, Diane Fu, describes what PROGRESS means to her. What is better?

I used to define progress as getting smaller. I never felt like I accomplished anything unless I was losing weight. I WANTED to define it by getting faster or running stronger, but at the end of the day it was all about the scale.

Progress has now changed.

What a relief.

Now I care about how hard I have worked. Did I give it my all? Did I have a positive attitude or doubt myself? Some days are better than others and I recognize them completely. Have I supported my fellow athletes or felt in competition? Now that John is doing Crossfit too I often feel like I have to “compete: with him about how hard my workouts are… how much I lifted. Instead, I should be proud of the work I have done and supportive and proud of the work he has done. We are all at different places and I have to honor that fact.

Am I willing to not judge myself or others on their body type? That is progress. I used to line up at the starting line and look for all of the other over-weight runners. I used to be so happy when I beat the skinny runners. Now we are all just athletes working hard. Progress.

I love the new mentality that Crossfit has given me. I love lifting heavy weights (for me) and not comparing myself against those lifting heavier or lighter. We are all working hard and making progress!

Grandma, Nana, Meemaw, Granny….

My daughter wrote a blog post about what she learned about being a new mother. It is thoughtful and sweet – just what I would expect from her. She is a natural at this motherhood gig… calm and caring, loving and nurturing…. nothing less than I expected out of her.

I struggled a bit more with my parenting. I was always a bit nervous and uptight. Always worried about doing something wrong or messing up. In her lessons learned she advises other new mothers to take care of themselves, take care of their husbands… put make-up on and take vitamins. Thank GOD she is smart. I didn’t do any of these things!  It is no small wonder that she turned out so well and her dad and I are still together!

So, now I am a grandma. Hopefully I will not flounder through my grandmother-hood like I did motherhood!

Some random thoughts about my first 3 weeks of being a grandmother:

- I have no idea what I will be called. People ask me daily… “what is the baby going to call you?”  When she first told us she was pregnant this was a big concern of mine. I don’t feel like a grandma and I don’t think I look like a grandma.  My grandma always seemed kind of OLD. But, then I thought… MY MOM is a grandma and she is not old! Heck, she was younger than me when my daughter was born.  So, now… I really do not care what baby girl calls me (as long as it is not meemaw).

- I am fairly opinionated about things concerning health and well being. I feel the need to share things just because I think some things are good to share. I have to be careful to remember that my daughter is SMART and she will do what is right for baby girl and everyone will be fine.  My mother was/is a great example… she is always there and always willing to give advice when asked:)

- I am going to continue to “spoil” my daughter. My daughter is still the most amazing human on this earth. As much as I am going to love baby girl, she will never replace my OWN baby girl. One day she will understand… as I have learned over the years.. your mom still loves YOU the most.

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Deadlift

I was so excited all week for the deadlift one-rep-max. I did this move years ago with my brother but never at any significant weight. After my lovely back squat PR and seeing what the other girls were lifting I was sure to hit a bit number. I didn’t. I struggled with this move more than I thought. I had it in my mind that I was going to life big and I didn’t at all – 155 lbs. I was so disappointed! I know it was because I had expectations… with the other moves that I did for the first time I was happy with my performance. I had no expectations.

I am going to just have to be ok with it and work on the move. Hopefully at the end of this cycle I will see better numbers.

Recovery Day

I decided to make today a recovery day and focus on walking and mobility. Yesterday hit me a bit harder than I thought it would and tomorrow is another one-rep-max day with the deadlift. I can’t wait to see what that weight will be.

Today I walked 45 minutes at lunch – perfect.

Mobility tonight included:

Test for Hip Flexion – stand on one leg with a braced neutral spine and pull one knee to chest – 120 degrees or better (fail)

- Banded Hip, single-leg squat

- Double banded hip distraction

- Glute Smash and floss

- Voodoo floss heel cord

For the heel cord I have been doing the VooDoo Floss for the past few days by just wrapping and moving my ankle around. Today I watched a video from Mobility WOD on heel cord work and it prescribed 30 air squats and then full range of motion using the kettle bell as a prop. (I had pictures, but they will not load)… so, watch the video if you are interested.

Since my right heel cord has been bothering me for a while I am supposed to be working on it 5 times a day. I have to say… it hurts to do the VooDoo floss so I decided to work my way up. I am at two times a day. I will try for more this weekend.

PR Day!

I love it when we do the “one rep max” days… always a great indicator of how the hard work is paying off. When I started Crossfit 6 months ago my back squat was 150 lbs… I was pretty proud of that. Over a few months I worked up to 185lbs. I was THRILLED. My goal today was 200lbs, but I did not quite get there… I got to 195lbs. It is funny how that first 35 pound jump was relatively easy!  Not so much anymore.  I put the 200lbs on and could not make it to parallel. My knees started caving in and I stopped and re-racked. I tried three times and it was just not happening.

This is on my way down with 195… not really pretty, but it felt good!

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After that we had an awesome workout. For some reason I love these really tough ones… plus, whenever we have a time limit I seem to crush it because I am worried about timing out.

Metcon:
50 Double-Unders (I did 3:1 single jumps – 150)
50 Thrusters (75/55)
400m Run
40 Handstand Push-ups (I did the kneeling on the box modification)
*15 minute cut-off  ( whoo hoo! 12:20)
I am continuing to stay focused on my nutrition. I added an afternoon snack around 4:00 of dates and almond butter and I think it is helping!
Now on to my date with my new mobility tools:
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No Days Off

I am going to add another element to my training… serious mobility every day. I got the tools and the resources and now I need to make it a habit. 10 minutes a day… everyday.

I discovered Kelly Starrett a couple of years ago when he first started the Mobility Wod Project. I watched his videos daily and did the “homework”. This was during my marathon training when I was determined to finally cross the finish line of an event I had trained so hard for. I wanted to finish strong and healthy. I have been plagued with hip pain for quite some time… mostly due to muscle tightness and improper movement.  I think my hip issues started when I compensated my gait for foot pain – Morton’s Neuroma in my right foot.  The leg bone is connected to the foot bone… and all that…

The foot pain was temporarily alleviated with cortisone shots. Sadly, too many. Cortisone does not cure, in fact it makes it worse. Surgery is not for me so I just deal with it. The problem is that it caused more damaged upstream.

During marathon training I was consistent with my hip mobility. I felt good and despite 5 months of long training I finished the marathon healthy and felt good enough to run a half marathon the very next weekend.

As my training continued to intensify and become more time-consuming with triathlon training, the key component that kept me healthy got squeezed out. All the stretching and mobility that kept my performance high was the one thing I needed, yet didn’t make time for. I have paid the price this past year as those darn hip issues resurfaced.

Now that I am focused on my performance again I know that mobility is the key to help me do the lifts that I love and get back to running.

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I have had Becoming a Supple Leopard since it first came out. I looked through it and consulted it, but never stuck to the rule of “10 minutes a day… every day”. Last week his second book came out, Ready to Run, and I knew I had to have it. It is running specific and very well-organized. It has specific recommendations for problem areas and, the best part, a 28 day mobility plan. I always have liked plans!

I already had some of the basic mobility tools – foam rollers, lacrosse balls and bands, and now I have invested in a couple other pieces. Can’t wait to share those!

So, tonight I did the first day which included the famous “couch stretch” and a new fun move the “two ball smash and floss”.

One of the many (great) things Kelly Starrett says is, “all human beings should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves.” I love this saying and I am going to take it to heart and fix some of the problem areas that are holding me back.

Retest Day!

Today we retested the workouts we did a month ago to see how we improved. I am very happy with my results! I feel strong and excited to start the next wave of training.

Strength Test:
1RM Push Press.  (test: 95lbs – retest today 105lbs)
Conditioning Test:
“Fight Gone Bad”
Max effort reps for 1 minute at each station –  (test 176 total reps – retest today – 227)
Wall Balls (20/14) (10′)
Sumo Deadlift High-Pulls (75/55)
Box Jump (20″)
Push Press (75/55)
Row (calories)
x 3
Rest 1 minute after each round

Days 19-28

I have been off doing grandmother things:) It has been so exciting seeing my daughter bring a new life into this world. My focus is stronger than ever to be a “bad-ass grandma”, as one of my friends said!

While I have not really been logging my food, I have been eating what I eat. Challenge or not I pretty much eat the same way I have been for the past few years.  I have, however, gotten a bit lax over some food choices over the past year and this challenge has helped me dial that back in.  I didn’t realize how much I was reaching for chips (potato, tortilla) as snacks (they ARE gluten free after all…)  I was reaching for gluten free versions of certain foods more often where I wasn’t before. Gluten free breads, snacks, etc. are all crap. They are junk food just like there glutenated counter parts.

I also realized with this challenge how much dairy creeped back into my diet.  I didn’t have any for the first two weeks then one weekend I had some cheese and a latte. I noticed a difference in my digestion. While it wasn’t extreme, it was a reminder that I do not need to eat it daily.

Since vacation I have also been making a point to eat more slowly. I didn’t realized how much I rushed eating until vacation… I would be done with my food and John wouldn’t even be half done. I started intentionally slowing down…. putting my fork down and chewing slower. I still catch myself shoveling it in, but that usually happens when I get too hungry.

The two things I have struggled with this past week have been sleep and hydration.  We were up all night last Saturday waiting for the baby to come then I had the dogs for two nights after that. Needless to say I was very sleep deprived.  They went home Tuesday, but I still felt anxious that night and Wednesday. It was the first time in the past month that I reached for some junk food (chips) and almost devoured the whole bag. Instead of understanding the clues that I was tired and thirsty, I ate crap. What I needed to do was drink water and sleep…. I paid for this choice when I went to workout on Thursday and Friday. I felt weak and parched.

I am looking forward to this week and getting back on my normal routine!

Day 18

The highlight of today were the hanging knee-ups. Before the workout even started I convinced myself that I could not do them. Needless to say, with a little prodding from someone and encouragement from Cassie, I got through them. Another win for me.. ignoring my own doubting mind.

Metcon:
1200 meter run
25 Toes-to-Bar
800 meter run
20 Toes-to-Bar
400 meter run
15 Toes-to-Bar
I finished in 23:33.
Food:
B: eggs and sausage
L: butternut squash soup, salad with Boars Head chicken
D: eggs and sausage
Dinner was supposed to be chuck roast in the crockpot. I got a beautiful roast at Earthfare and covered it in pepper and two different paprikas… then topped with a can of fire roasted tomatoes. This recipe turns out perfect every time…. when the power stays on.  I was so disappoint to walk in and see the crockpot off – I knew something was wrong because it is usually on warm. BOO.  I hated having to throw that away!
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