August 20, 2012

Crossfit and Re-evaluating Goals


Going to Crossfit three times a week is much harder than I originally thought it would be. It’s taxing on the body, of course, but it has been surprisingly taxing on the mental front as well. I’m doing movements that I learned over the past two weeks and I’m not completely confident in myself. It’s hard to trust yourself to do repeated rope climbs when you can’t even remember if you ever did them in middle school gym class. When you’re dangling from a rope 20 feet in the air, you want to be sure of yourself. Never mind that you might be slightly scared of heights too! 

Saturday marked my first full week of being a real crossfitter, not an intro learner (not meaning to say I’m not still learning and considering myself a beginner).  On Monday, we did the usual warmup and about 15 min of our gymnastics: practicing handstands, ring pushups, tripods, overhead squats, kb deadlifts…and then we moved on to the WOD: three rounds for time of 10 box jumps, 10 knees to elbows, 10 box jumps, 20 pushups. I managed to get through it in a weak 8:17. Arm workouts in general have never been my favorite. I’m bad at them and severely lack upper body muscle, and so I used to just skip working that part of my body out. Thank God I’m forced to work out my upper body now. I’m tired of wobbly turkey arms! BRING ON THE ARM WRESTLING! Just kidding.  

I skipped Wednesday’s workout because I just really wasn’t’ feeling well. I began working at the office on Thursday, and I was pretty tired by the time the end of the work day rolled around for Friday. After much debating, showing up super early to the gym, then driving home (it’s like five min away), then deciding last minute to go back to the gym…I got in another WOD. We did gymnastics again, this time I managed a handstand on my own (FINALLY!), and then the WOD was as follows: 20 min AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) with the rounds being one rope climb, then rowing 250 meters. Then rope climb. Row 500 meters. Rope climb. Row 750 meters. Rope climb. Row 1000 meters….you get the idea. I was in a sucky moody…drained, exhausted, and still feeling under the weather…but crossfit don’t care. You show up, you get it done. That’s it. No whining to your coaches about it, no making excuses for your performance. I tried to suck it up as much as possible but the workout has been one of my least favorite so far. I almost cried. Coach Tony kept trying to motivate me, seeing that I wasn’t at my best and I felt like I was letting myself down and allowing myself to cop out by going half steam. I made it completely up the rope on the first climb, then halfway or a little more each other time. I made it through 4 rope climbs and 415 meters out of what was going to be my 1000 meter row. It. Was. Hard.

Since I skipped Wednesday’s WOD and I’m signed up for three visits a week, I decided to go in on Saturday.  We did a chipper. The good news was we didn’t do the gymnastics, which kinda tire out my arms before we even get to the WOD. The bad news was it was a super challenging workout. 

Saturday’s Chipper:
50 wall balls, rx 14/20# ball, used 10#
45 sit-ups
40 air squats
35 ring dips, mine modified with an assistance strap
30 double unders or 90 singles, I did 90 singles
25 push ups, mine modified
20 walking lunges with 25# plate
15 push press, rx 55#/95# or something, weak me did 35# and struggled
10 box jumps
5 sumo deadlift high pulls

My time – 17:59. When I say I struggled, I mean I S T R U G G L E D. Big time. By the time I finished 50 wall balls, I felt like my life was over. The situps were a very welcome break. I’m good at those and they don’t use your arms or legs. The 40 air squats were difficult considering wall balls are squats too. 35 ring dips…..come on. I have a hard time doing 10. 90 single jump ropes were okay for me, but I noticed the sweat flying off of me.   Again, I suck at pushups and these were difficult after the wall balls and ring dips. Walking lunges were okay on my legs but my arms were severely struggling with that 25# plate overhead. I wanted to get those over with ASAP. The push press is where I had the hardest time. Tony stood there the entire time I did those 15, making me redo a few because I couldn’t get my elbows straight. These just completely disheartened me. I felt so sad that I had such a hard time lifting 35 pounds above my head. Box jumps were uneventful other than Tony was still standing right there cheering me on, then by the time I got to the SDHP I was the last person still going and only had five moves to knock out and I would finally be finished. Everyone started egging me on and it was surprisingly nice to have everyone rooting for me. They were fairly easy to get through, I’m much better at the lower body movements. It’s gratifying to complete really challenging work outs like that, but in the heat of the moment all you want to do is lay down. At least I know I’m getting my money’s worth!

On the other side of the coin, I haven’t ridden the bike the past few days. It took every ounce of my energy to make it to crossfit, that I’ve been too tired to ride the bike. And don’t even ask me if I’ve been to the pool to work on my swimming. That hasn’t happened either. And neither has running unless it’s been part of the crossfit warmup.

I’ve been thinking more about my fitness goals lately, now that I do feel a little stronger and muscley. I have Big Sur Marathon at the end of April, and I want to start running again very soon so I can work my way up safely.  I thought about using that race as a benchmark for a fifty miler training, because it’s still something I really want to accomplish but I’m just not sure. All the fiftys around here are pretty challenging…

Then there’s the prospective goal of a half ironman with several sprint and Olympic triathlons in the spring leading up to a 70.3 in the summer. I love riding the bike, I’m okay with the running aspect…it’s just that gosh darn swimming I’m not sure about. I’m not very confident that I can teach myself how to effective swim 1.2 miles while also training for running, biking, and maintaining crossfit. Maybe instead I should shift my efforts to looking at some cycling events and running events…just leave out swimming altogether. Complete a century ride, etc…

In other news, we were watching a marathon of ‘I Won The Lottery’ or whatever that show is called where they follow up on how some lottery winners spent their money and how it changed their life….tooootally makes me want to go buy some lotto tickets. I think the CO lottery is up to 50mil or something! We could do a lot of outdoor things with that money!!!!

…Only in my dreams…

August 07, 2012

Building A Better Body

After the fifty miler attempt and numerous injuries over the past year, it was obvious to me that something needed to change. I knew I wasn't doing the best job developing my muscles and keeping my legs balanced to support all of the miles I was putting in. It was just a matter of time before my body said enough already. I haven't put my dream of crossing a fifty miler finish line out of my mind; it's merely been postponed for a little while until I can get everything back on track.

Yesterday marked the fourth of six intro workouts at Anchor Crossfit. We learned a ton of kettle bell moves and some shoulder press moves. When my alarm went off at 5:40am, I had a hard time convincing myself to hurry up and put on my workout clothes and head to the gym. I'm constantly sore somewhere on my body and knowing I'm about to head to another workout leaves my enthusiasm lacking that early in the morning.

As with running, it's best to convince yourself to head out anyway. And as usually with running, I haven't regretted it. I'm still at the very beginning of knowing everyone who attends Anchor, but the familiar faces I see every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning help put me in a good mood. I feel like this is the start of a very great thing. On Friday, I will complete the last intro class and then I will be able to sign up as a real member. I never thought I would get into the crossfit community because I was intimidated and because financially it just seemed unwise. To put the membership fees into perspective I think of it like this: I'm changing my body for the stronger, getting pretty close to individual attention ensuring I do the workouts safely and properly, I gain encouragement from the members and coaches, and I actually enjoy the sweat sessions and seeing myself change for the better. That's priceless.

Mentally, I welcome the break and new challenge that comes from doing the exercises at crossfit and the different disciplines I am trying to develop for triathlon training. As I was saying in my last post, I was looking into getting a road bike to work on my cycling skills for a future triathlon. Well, on Saturday, R and I went back to REI where they fitted me for a bike and I got to test out the Novara Carema Pro outside the store and on a trail by the water. It was so much fun! I loved the bike and we brought it home with a new helmet, dual sided clip less pedals so I can ride without clipping in for now and build up to getting the shoes that clip, and of course, a pair of padded cycling shorts! BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER! 

So yesterday I decided to take it out for a spin. For an hour. Of pure bliss. The best kind of exercise is the type that leaves you wanting to continue even when it's time quit. I need to figure out the gears and shifting...that's for sure...but I'm hoping once I join the Rocky Mountain Tri Club I will have a ton of people to show me the ropes. My hamstrings are still a little sore, and now my arms and shoulders are also sore...so I haven't been to the pool to practice my freestyle since Thursday. Maybe tomorrow...today I will probably head out on the bike again for just a little bit, then making some whole grain homemade pizza for dinner! Eventually I'm going to have to get over it and dedicate some serious time to figuring out this swimming thing. Otherwise, how do I expect to do a half ironman?!

Alright, off to ride!