Category Archives: Crossfit

The CrossFit Games Open 14.4 – My Own Worst Enemy

One of the things that surprised me the most throughout this journey – The CrossFit Games Open – Is the mental places it takes you. I walked in, knowing I wasn’t regionals material, knowing I wasn’t the best in my gym, knowing I probably would be closer to last. I walked in as confident as I could be, knowing it was just for fun. Still, it has definitely taken me places, mentally, that I just didn’t expect. Nothing made this more evident than 14.4 – The Chipper.

20140326-215824.jpgAnd boy-oh-boy was this a chipper. 14.4 was as follows

14 minute AMRAP:
60-calorie row
50 toes-to-bars
40 wall-ball shots, 20 / 14 lb.
30 cleans, 135 / 95 lb.
20 muscle-ups

This was the first time ever that rowing has shown up in the open. I’m not a huge fan of rowing, just because I have short legs and a short stride…so it’s very hard for me to be efficient, but it’s definitely not the worst way to start a workout. That being said, rowing can take a lot out of you, and going straight into that many toes-to-bar afterwards is pretty brutal. I have no problem with toes to bar, I was kind of hoping for them, and actually all the of the movements for this workout (with the exception of the muscle-ups) were well within my abilities, but…the volume. Watching the athletes do the workout during the announcement, and watching one of the coaches do it that night, it quickly became apparent that this combination of movements was way worse than it looked. I made a goal for myself of getting through the toes to bar. I struggle with grip endurance, so I knew I would have to pace this one.

I came into the box on Friday, and I taped my hands up to help with the grip. I wanted to give myself any advantage I could. I asked how people had been doing with it, and the coach mentioned that none of the girls had gotten past the toes to bar up until that point (it was still early in the game though). That made me want to reach my goal even more, but it also made me nervous.

3 – 2 -1 – GO!

I paced myself pretty well through the rowing. I think I averaged pretty solid for myself, and my stroke rate was pretty consistent. Still, it took me almost 4 minutes to pull the 60 calories. Then it was time for Toes-To-Bar. I started off pretty good, doing sets of 3 or 4. It quickly became apparent that the tape was nothing but a problem, so any time I jumped down to take a breath, I ripped some of the tape off. Then, around rep 20 or so, it happened. I hit a mental brick wall, big time. All of a sudden I was essentially paralyzed. I was hanging from the bar, psyching myself out, and this huge feeling of dread and doubt washed over me. I kept feeling like I couldn’t do it, even though I had just chipped my way through almost half of them. With every kip, I couldn’t bring myself to close my hips or swing my legs up. I jumped down and paced. This ate up a good minute of my time. I paced and breathed. I could do this, I can’t give up, Keep going, I kept telling myself. The coaches encouraged me to take my time, and keep going. Finally I broke through and did another rep. I was doing singles at this point. Jump up, rep, jump down, repeat. I didn’t even notice any pain in my grip, just that each rep was taking more and more out of me. Towards the end, I got three or four “no reps” in a row. My body was just giving out, and I couldn’t summon the extra strength or momentum to get my toes all the way to the bar. I pushed and pushed, but I was just done.

Then the time was up. I got through 45 of the 50 reps for Toes-To-Bar. 5 reps short of my goal. I was satisfied, since I had the highest score out of the girls up until that point, (and most people would go one to beat me, but that’s OK), so I felt I didn’t do terribly, but it still would have been nice to get to the wall balls. I think the most disappointing aspect, was that mental wall I hit. On one hand, it was profound and powerful to reach a point like that, and be able to break through it and free. On the other hand, I kept wondering if I hadn’t hit that wall, if I would have been able to reach my goal. I looked down at my hands, which were ripped up badly, and accepted that there was no way I was going to be able to re-do this. Some people can’t even do toes-to-bar, and I should be extremely proud of what I CAN do and have done up until this point.  20140326-215804.jpgNow I wait for tomorrow’s announcement of the final open workout. I honestly have no  clue what they could possibly throw at us. They have really challenged everyone this year, and I have no doubt that whatever they prescribe, I will gladly accept it with enthusiasm and the best of my abilities.

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The Crossfit Games Open – My journey so far

Over the past year and a half that I’ve been doing CrossFit, I’ve hit a lot of PR’s and gained not only strength, but invaluable confidence in myself and my abilities. I also walk into the box for every WOD, knowing my weaknesses, but instead of feeling like they are holding me back, they just let me know where I need to work harder. That desire to assess my current ability, and push myself to face movements that still intimidate me, was a big reason I decided to participate with my box in this years CrossFit Games Open. While I know I am not the strongest, or fastest – not by a long shot – and while I’m not a hugely competitive person, at least not against others (against myself is another story) I decided I was curious enough to take on the challenge, just to see where I ended up in the world, and amongst my comrades.

Last year, I didn’t officially participate, but I did a few of the WODs. I don’t think I RXed all of them, but I came into this year, pretty confident that I could handle the weights they threw at me. The idea of being judged both made me nervous and excited. When I work out, I tend to zone out into my own little bubble, so the idea of someone paying so much attention to me kinda freaked me out. There is a fine line we dance on, between being confident in ourselves, and allowing ourselves to feel vulnerable and being judged. At the same time, I feel it helps to keep me motivated to push harder. At the end of the day, I think often an athlete is only as good as their coach, and there have been many times that my coaches helped me get over a hump of doubt and achieve more.

The workouts are announced every Thursday, so I try to perform them on Friday. It makes sense to me, since they get programmed as the WOD for the day and I like to get it over with. For each WOD so far, I’ve gone down to my box to watch the announcement with my comrades, and I’m actually surprised at the amount of anxiety and excitement the events have given me. I feel such a sense of community and family with my box, now more than ever, because I am a part of this great, worldwide event, and we are all in it together. My scores might not help much, but they add something to our team, and for that I am proud.

Leading up to the first workout, I had no idea what to expect. There are definitely movements that I was terrified to see, just because I’m not good at them, or can’t do them. Double unders, chest to bar pull ups, and muscle ups easily fit into this category. The night that 14.1 was announced, I was incredibly nervous and anxious, but I ran down to the box to find out what I was in for. As I stood there, eyes glued to the screen along with a small handful of fellow competitors, of course one of my feared opponents was included in the WOD. It was a 10 minute AMRAP (As many rounds/reps as possible) of 30 double unders and 15 power snatches (at 55# for women).

I can physically do double unders, which I guess is better than when I started out, but I am extremely inefficient. I’m not a cardio person; I can handle myself with weights, but running, rowing, and double unders will never be my forte. The biggest thing that slows me down, is not being able to string them together. I can do a single – single – double pattern, or single – double – single – double pattern on occasion, but even then, I mess up a lot. Double unders are like bracing for the cat – o – nine – tails. jump – jump – jump – OUCH! Anyway, I knew the double unders would be a formidable foe, but I also knew I could do a few of them. I was just hoping that it wouldn’t take me the entire 10 minutes to get through 30 of them!

The next day, as I drove to the box, I felt my heart beating a mile a minute, I was so nervous. I was trying to calm myself down, and warm up sufficiently. I did some PVC mobility, and a few practice snatches, and felt ok with them. I warmed up nice and thoroughly with the jump rope, doing singles, doubles, backwards singles, one leg jumps. Then I rested. It was time. I thought to myself, “Am I ready?” – I was as ready as I ever would be.

3 – 2 – 1 – Go!

The double unders were tough. Sometimes I would get into a good rhythm and bang out 7 or 8 of them before messing up. Sometimes I was a mess. I don’t even want to know how many “No Reps” I got. The snatches were probably 70%  give or take of my max, so they were on the heavy side, but I felt good doing them, and I feel like they were some of my best power snatches ever. I’m pretty sure I maintained pretty good form, which is a big thing. One of my pet peeves with these competitions, is seeing form go to hell. I don’t care if It gets me a few more reps, I’m going to try my hardest to keep it together. I put my everything into the workout, and the coach that was scoring me knew how hard I was trying. I think he felt bad that he had to no rep me so much. I didn’t care, I did my  best. My lungs were burning by the end of it. I crumpled to the floor, my chest heaving, my lungs gasping for breath. It was honestly the closest I’ve come to being nauseous at the end of a workout. I ended up with a score of 90 , and went home feeling good about it.

When I got home, I started replaying the WOD in my head, and over-thinking. “If only I was better at double unders” or “It would have been nice to break 100” and I contemplated. I decided I wanted to try the workout again, to see if I could get to 100 reps. I went back into the box the next day, hell-bent on trying harder. Maybe it was because it was only the next day, without real rest in between but I just didn’t do as well the second time. I had a lot of frustrating trouble with the double unders, and I fell short of my original score by 10 reps. I left feeling a little bit defeated, but it quickly turned to being proud of my initial performance, now knowing that I truly did my best.

The next week was 14.2, and once again, a dreaded foe. This time it included chest to bar pull-ups, which I was pretty sure I couldn’t even do. Basically you had 3 minutes to do 2 rounds of  10 overhead squats (65 # for women) and 10 chest to bar pull-ups. If you got through the round, you would continue with another three minutes, and a 12 – 12 rep scheme. This would continue on, adding 2 reps each 3 minute round, until you fail to complete the 2 rounds. I went into the workout, confident I would get a score of 10 – but not expecting much more, so I wasn’t nearly as anxious. I practiced with the weight, and it was heavy, but very much doable, and I used a light bar and a pvc, to work on my squat mobility, warming up with some overhead squats facing a wall. Coach remarked on my really good mobility doing this, and so I was extra happy. Then I did some pull up practice.  Using a regular grip, I just don’t have the strength yet to bring my chest to the bar. Luckily though, you could use the grip of your choice, as long as you extend all the way, and you touch the bar below the collar-bone. I tried a few different grip variations, and much to my surprise, I was able to get a chest to bar pull-ups, using either an alternating grip, or reverse grip. For the workout, I used reverse.

3- 2- 1- GO!

I power snatched the bar up and started my overhead squats. I wasn’t really sure how heavy it was going to be, since we haven’t worked on our one rep max in a while. Towards the end of last year, my max was 65# so, I figured it would probably feel pretty heavy. It was tough, but I actually managed to do all 10 reps unbroken. I feel like my form was good, and I think all the squat mobility I’ve been working on is paying off. This was the easy part of the workout. Then came the dreaded Chest to Bar pull-ups. My goal was one – I actually got nine! They were hard, even with the reverse grip, but a few times I even managed to string a couple together. The hardest part was actually getting below my collarbone to touch the bar. There were a few times where I pulled high enough to get my neck over the bar, but just could not summon the extra push to get up the last few inches.  Those are the worst No-Reps because you are so close, so darn close, but your body just gives out inches from the top. I would have loved to get to another round of overhead squats, but honestly, I walked out of 14.2 super psyched, because I was able to get way more reps than I expected walking in. I faced my fear, I faced my weakness, and I overcame it. I still have A LOT of work to do on my pull-ups….but knowing you CAN do it, and just need to GET BETTER at it, is totally empowering and is a great boost.

Friday, I walked into 14.3 – a Box Jump and Deadlift ladder.

When I saw the announcement Thursday, I was thrilled! Finally, a workout I can be fairly confident about, I thought. The weights get heavy quick, and I figured, If I get to the 155# round it will be almost at my max (the heaviest I’ve lifted is 165#), but these are movements I can feel good about. For the box jumps, you are allowed to do step ups, and that was a no brainer for me. I am not fast, and with the muscle fatigue from the deadlifts, the added stress of jumping would put too much risk on my back. I tend to land deeper into a squat than some, so It just taxes the muscles and raises your heart rate causing you to waste time having to catch your breath and recoup. I will not sacrifice form for time, and although it’s a competition I need to play smart, especially when it comes to deadlifts. I’m no Sam Briggs or Rich Froning, I’m not going to the games, there is NO REASON to hurt myself for reps. That being said, I knew I would be pushing hard.

Feeling as confident as I did, I was surprised that I was so anxious going in. Maybe it was excitement, but I definitely had workout butterflies. Me and another girl from the gym warmed up, and as we added weight, I got to feel the different weights I would be using. I had no problem with the 95#, it was fairly light. The 135# was heavy, but I thought it was very doable. The 155# was very heavy, but I knew I could do it in singles for at least a couple of reps. Finally it was time for the WOD. I set up the weight so that I only had to add weight, instead of wasting time stripping off plates.

3 – 2 – 1 – GO!

It started out pretty easy, as I thought it would. The deadlifts were at a comfortable weight, and I had a good rhythm with the step ups. I paced myself, and I did the deadlifts unbroken. Then I added the weight to 135# and went for it. I changed up my grip to alternating after the first few reps. I usually never do that, but I think it actually made me feel more stable. I think I stopped to breathe after every five reps, breaking it up slightly, but only for a moment. I was happy about how I was pacing it so far. The step ups were also really useful for catching my breath, and I kept a good pace, alternating legs every one or two reps. At this point I still had 3 or 4 minutes left on the clock. Then I increased the weight to 155#  and it was definitely HEAVY. It wasn’t however, as bad as I imagined it to be. I went through the reps in singles, dropping it, instead of placing it down. I kept a steady pace of lift – drop – breath – lift – drop – breath. Amazingly I didn’t feel any pain or strain in my back, and I think I was able to maintain pretty good form the whole way though. Somehow, I managed to get through all 20 reps, even though that weight is probably 90-95% of my one rep max. I even had time to bang out all 15 step ups. At the end of the box jump/step ups – The clock read 7 min 45 sec – So I knew that even if I wanted to attempt the 185#, I wouldn’t have time to change the weights. I was done with a score of 90 reps! Considering I watched one of the coaches, who I think is in pretty great shape, do 103 reps the night before, I was pretty psyched at my performance. I definitely did the best I possibly could, and honestly, I don’t think I would have even been able to get 185# off the floor even If I had the time.

And so now, the wait for 14.4 begins, and I don’t even know what to expect at this point. The challenges so far have tested my strength, my confidence, and my abilities to adapt. It has shown me barriers, that I have broken, and weaknesses that I have faced and shook hands with at the end. It has given me knowledge of things to work on, and surprised me with how far I have come. I may not be the best, but I am an athlete. I am more of an athlete today, than I have ever been in my 29 years on earth. I am so glad to be a part of not only MY community and MY box, but the rest of the world putting their heart and souls into these workouts week after week. All I can say at this point? Whatever you have for us in the next two weeks – Bring It!


Day 56: The End of The Whole Life Challenge Fall 2013: Results!

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It’s over! It’s done! We did it! This marks the end of another chapter, and now I can say I am a 2 time WLC veteran! I love it. Seriously, I don’t mean to sound like a commercial, but if you haven’t done one, you owe it to yourself to do it, at least once… And give it everything you’ve got! What did I do once I was free? Well, I sat on the couch with a single glass of red wine, and I relaxed. I took a few minutes to just celebrate myself and my accomplishments. I did NOT binge on pizza, or sugar, or pasta – because I know better than to do that. If there is one thing this challenge teaches you, it’s that YOU are in control of your actions. So if those foods don’t cause your body distress, and you really need to have them, then go ahead…. But be reasonable and make sure it’s worth it. Today, I promised myself a treat. Since I don’t tolerate dairy, I’ve pretty much written off ice cream, no way will that ever be allowed in my mouth. However, There are some great, limited ingredient/junk free coconut milk based ice creams that I’ve been meaning to try, so I’m gonna have one.

This time around, the food felt easy. I’ve been eating Paleo since the last challenge, so it was really just eliminating the occasional sweetener (Honey, Maple Syrup), and the alcohol. I was already gluten, grain, and dairy free (With the exception of a rare portion of rice with sushi or Thai). I definitely learned to use my crock pot more, to prep ahead more, and to always have a supply of home-made stock for cooking. Last challenge I felt deprived when I couldn’t go out for a beer with friends. This time I knew I could find a way to stay compliant anywhere (even if that meant eating beforehand), and if everyone was drinking, I would be content with my seltzer and a lime wedge. I truly felt in control.

I loved keeping up with mobility and daily activity. The lifestyle challenges were great this time around. I really want to get better at working mindfulness into my day, maybe during my break at work. It’s so important to allow yourself some time to just clear your head, and just exist. Stress management is essential to good health, and I think it would greatly benefit me, to continue to try to work it in. The reading lifestyle challenge, and the “Things You Love” were a wonderful touch this time.

Anyway, the results! I actually surprised myself! I didn’t lose that much in terms of a scale number, but I lost way more in inches than I anticipated! Considering my diet was pretty up to speed and on par going in, I didn’t expect much, but I definitely exceeded my expectations! (I was also annoyed because this was a hormonally bloaty week for me – women you know – and I didn’t want it to negatively impact my results!)

Preliminary Measurements:
Weight: 131 lbs
Waist: 33″
Hips: 37″

Final Measurements:
Weight: 123.5 lbs
Waist: 29″
Hips: 34.5″

For the workout, I felt like I had more endurance, and just moved better. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I felt like I didn’t do as well on the sit-ups, but apparently I did. In the end, even a marginal improvement is something to be proud of. Just to remind everyone what the official workout was:

Complete the following for maximum points:

2 min – 25 yd Shuttle Run
– complete as many 25 yd runs as possible between two cones (or marks)
– (5 points for each complete 25 yds)

– 1 min rest –

2 min – complete as many reps as possible, repeating the following sequence:
5 push ups
15 squats
(1 point for each Push-up and Squat)

– 1 min rest –

2 min – complete as many reps as possible of:
Sit Ups
(1 point for each sit-up)

– 1 min rest –

2 min – 25 yd Shuttle Run
– complete as many 25 yd runs as possible between two cones (or marks)
– (5 points for each complete 25yds)

Workout Results:

Preliminary Total Points: 257
Shuttle Runs: 15 (75 points)
Push-ups/Squats: 66
Sit-Ups: 46
Shuttle Runs: 14 (70 points)

Finals Total Points: 277
Shuttle Runs: 17 (85 points)
Push-ups/Squats: 69
Sit-Ups: 48
Shuttle Runs: 15 (75 points)

Improvement: 20 points

Those are just numbers though, looking at pictures side by side I definitely see improvements, and I did indeed lean out a bit as I hoped. As usual I’m going to continue to move forward, and we’ll see where I naturally end up tapering off! If I naturally and healthily get leaner, and lose more fat, then great. At the end of the day, I feel healthy and look healthy, so even if nothing changes I am very happy with where I am. Here are the visual results! (Same outfit and poses so you can really compare properly)

Prelims:

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Finals:

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And Here are each pose side by side compared:

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So Did YOU do the challenge? How did YOU do?

Oh…And I posted this on Twitter last week (Are you following me yet!) but I thought it was pretty relevant for here. This is a picture comparing where I was August 2012, Right when I started at CrossFit Stony Brook, and before the first challenge in the spring. I gained some muscle and lost a small amount of fat, but my hidden food intolerance(s) kept me from really losing. Back then I was skeptical of Paleo and thought I was eating healthy (veggies, lean meats, whole grains, occasional treats and things in moderation) It wasn’t until the Spring Whole Life Challenge, that I really became dialed in to my body and realized how much food was sabotaging my desire to be healthy! I sometimes like to look back and remind myself where I was before this journey started, and sometimes I can’t believe it…it shocks me that I was that much heavier just ONE YEAR ago. That in one year, I could transform so much, and not have to worry about starving myself, counting calories, religiously watching a scale number, or depriving myself of delicious food. I did it the healthy way, and in a way that’s sustainable for the rest of my life. I remind myself of this journey, and the reason why I’m here, telling you guys about it. I want to tell you that it’s possible for you too!

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Squat This! Doing the “Bring Sally Up” Squat Challenge

What a great WOD today (For those who don’t CrossFit, that’s our little acronym for “Workout Of the Day”)! We did the “Bring Sally Up Challenge” – and it’s incredibly fun, incredibly easy (in concept), and incredibly challenging workout! It was created by Rich Froning ( A CrossFit Games Athlete), when he tweeted:

“CHALLENGE: to the song “Bring Sally Up” by Moby w/ a 135# barbell on back. Squat on “Bring Sally Down” Stand on “Bring Sally Up””

And that’s it! And actually the song by Moby is called “Flower” – but that’s besides the point. The Prescribed weight is 135# for men and 95# for women, but you can use a comfortable weight for you , or no weight at all if you are new to exercising. When I first heard about it, I tried it at home with air squats (no weight), which was challenging. It seems easy, and the song is less than 4 minutes long, but when you are holding the bottom of the squat, your legs get tired, and it gets hard to stand back up! After trying it with no weight, I rested a minute or two, and then tried it again holding 15# dumbbells in rack position….THAT was tough. Today, I used a 45# barbell. Here’s a video from YouTube of some guys doing the challenge so you can get an idea of how to do it…don’t let the muscles intimidate you from doing the challenge to your own abilities!

You can also do it using a number of variations. Tonight we did the workout a second time, and I did it using a 33# barbell to push-press. THAT was harder for me than the squats. When doing push presses for the challenge, or really any variation, you want to do the holds (The movement you do on “Bring Sally Down”) in the active position. This means that the bar is down in rack position during the “Bring Sally Up” line, and pressed up for “Bring Sally Down”. Let me tell you, that gets tiring VERY quick. With the squats I made it through the whole song without rest, with the push presses there were a few times I had to stop and shake out my arms because they just wouldn’t hold. Other things you can do instead include push ups (Holding 2″ above the floor), pull ups or chin ups (Holding in the UP position), hand stand push ups, dips, etc. Here is a vision showing some variations:

The most important thing is to have fun, and practice good form. You want to make sure with the squats that you are keeping good back position, keeping vertical/not hunching or leaning forward, and pushing your knees out. Form is ultimately the most important thing when doing any sort of physical activity, since it will keep you from getting hurt. A lot of us tend to lose our form when we get tired…stay focused.

Oh! Before I forget! If you haven’t noticed already, I now have a Facebook page and a twitter for the blog. You can connect via the left side bar! I’ll post links, pictures of dinners throughout the week, and easy recipes that may or may not end up on here. So be in the known and connect with me!


The Whole Life Challenge Fall 2013

Alright! I am all signed up for the fall edition of the Whole Life Challenge! I’m psyched. Now for those of you wondering why I would sign up to do it again, when I already eat mostly compliant, it’s simple: I still have areas I can improve on. While my diet is pretty much compliant to the challenge, I’ve allowed myself a little more wiggle room during the summer. Some of it was testing (tried some cheese here, had some rice there), in small amounts of course, and some of it was fun (allowing myself a cocktail or gluten-free beer or wine during the week). This was an important step for me, because it solidified in my head, that I have the power to make choices, smart choices, and that I am in control. From the spring challenge, I’ve learned:

  • I should not consume dairy, ever, it’s not worth the discomfort, and hell it wrecks on my body. The only thing I’ve ever consumed dairy wise, that seems to not totally kill me, is very occasional clotted cream from the tea place in the area (because it’s delicious), and maybe small amounts of whipped cream. It doesn’t totally wreck me. Other cream/milk based things give me digestive issues that last a few days, and cheese causes stomach spasms….no thank you. Oh and you know what, at first, anytime I went to the tea place I HAD to taste a small bite of the clotted cream…OK this only happened twice this summer….but yesterday, it was in the house, since the boyfriend had left overs….and I didn’t touch it. You know why….because, I HAD CONTROL.
  • Grains are weird and so I continue to cut them out. I definitely stay away from Gluten, I attribute my headaches to it. I used to have terrible headaches, and sometimes migraines consistently several days a week – like 5-7 days a week. Since the challenge I have not had one. Actually, I did have one, but it was a day I was “Testing” and it came within 10 minutes of eating something I shouldn’t have. In the past, beer has always given me terrible headaches, but I liked beer, so sometimes I would suffer. Since the challenge, I’ve tried some “Gluten Free” beers, and have not gotten a single headache from them. Hence….I blame gluten. I’m apparently pretty sensitive too, because even distilled spirits can have an effect on me. I’ve noticed grain based vodkas make me feel pretty crappy, while non grain based liquors (like rum) are fine. Occasionally, I’ll eat some white rice with sushi, or Thai food, with minimal effect, but I’ve noticed I’ve been a little too frequent with it (recently, I had it twice in one week) and noticed  when I over consume rice, it makes me bloated and gassy. Not terribly….but I need to continue to make smart choices, and really limit when I allow myself the treat of eating rice. Gluten on the other hand is not cool, and I have absolutely no desire to shove bread into my mouth.
  • Raw honey is awesome (NOT allowed on the challenge) and Medjool dates are seriously natures candy (Totally allowed on the challenge)….but seriously folks…one date, or one teaspoon, should be enough…and not every day. I hardly ever make treats, and even now I almost never sweeten anything. My food tastes good on its own, I use good ingredients, there’s no reason to add sugar to hide bland recipes or sub par ingredients. Even when I make a treat, it’s usually something like raw unsweetened cocoa powder, mixed with some cashew butter, maybe some chopped pecans, and raw unsweetened cocoa nibs, and I roll it into a ball and call it “cookie dough”. I don’t over do it, but it feels a little indulgent, so it’s good for a treat. You learn to control yourself, and make choices. I used to always eat the cookies and cakes that ended up in the break room at work, now, I don’t even notice them. I physically see them, but they aren’t special, and they aren’t worth it, so my brain doesn’t even acknowledge them.

So again, why am I doing this again. Well, I’m not perfect. I am looking forward to getting back on track with things like “doing 10 minutes of exercise and 10 minutes of mobility/stretching everyday”  and making sure I drink half my bodyweight in ounces of water. All the lifestyle areas of the challenge are important (drinking enough water, sleeping enough, being mindful), and definitely where I need to “dial it in”. I’m looking forward to the accountability and the community, and really seeing improvements not so much in myself, but in my friends and challengers doing it with me. ]

I also think it will be a nice way to detox. I am going away to Colorado with my family, spending a week on a ranch horseback riding, mountain biking, rock climbing, and general fun and adventuring….as well as eating and drinking. I have control over my choices and how much I choose to eat and drink (which I’m told includes a lot of grilled meats and veggies…score!), but there are always things I have less control over (unknown additives/sugars/food quality). Having the challenge, and the 8 weeks of abstinence from drinking will be a welcome time to get everything running smoothly again.

In terms of physical improvements, I am looking forward to having better recovery from my workouts, and maybe leaning out a little faster. Since my diet is still pretty much on par with the challenge, I’m still consistently losing fat, even with  the more lenient summer, so I don’t know how drastic it will be, but I expect some.

Anyway, It’s truly an amazing, life altering experience.  I am a walking testimonial to its success. I feel better, and am a healthier person, because of it. It’s only 8 weeks, it really isn’t a long time. I think everyone owes it to themselves to try it….once….just to see. I don’t care how skeptical you are, the first time around, I was too. It’s going to be tough for some of you, the first two weeks are going to SUCK if you are addicted to your food. Some of you WILL go through withdrawals. I was lucky, because I had already started to cut back the grains and sugar, I wasn’t a food addict. Stick with it, use the website and community, and become a stronger person with me – and I think most of you who try it, will find yourselves unable, or unwilling to go back. [Also, While you will get benefits from doing it, regardless of level, I highly recomend going into it and doing the “perscribed” or RX’d – in the end, it will really show you what your body is made of, and what your food is doing to it]

Now most of my recipes are compliant, I’m going to say 99% of them are. Through the challenge, since I am going to be doing it too, they all will be. I’m hoping in the next few weeks and into the start of the challenge, to put up a few more “Not Recipe” challenge related posts, so keep an eye out.

On the Left, Is my body in August when I joined crossfit. On the Right is my body as of May 2013.

Just a reminder of the results I experienced from the first Whole Life Challenge Spring 2013


Memorial Day Murph

murph2013
Yesterday I did Murph. Murph is a hero WOD. For those who don’t do crossfit, or are not familiar with the workout, It’s a mile run, followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats, and then another mile run to end it. Luckily you can partition the pull ups, push ups, and squats how you want, so I did it with 20 rounds of 5,10,15.

Today, my whole body hurt. I finally had a chance to reflect on the workout.

I did it, I did it. The whole thing. I went in with a goal of finishing under 90 minutes. And I did it in 87:14

The last time Murph came up, was Dec 31st, and I scaled the whole thing in half. It took all the life out of me then, but I vowed to go all the way for Memorial Day. I had a few months to get better. This was before the whole life challenge, this was before being able to do regular push-ups, this was before hand stands and kipping pull ups. Back then I did all the push-ups on my knees, and I used the green pull up band, adding on the thin blue band midway through. This was when I only did half.

Saturday I bought gloves to save my callused hands, which were beginning to hurt. I would have just shaved them, but they are usually really tender the next day. I wanted to be prepared. I was up until 4am prepping for company coming Sunday afternoon. I set an alarm for 9:30 so I would have some time in the morning to eat breakfast and wake up.

Sunday I woke up at 10:45 – I was signed up for the 11:00 heat – I panicked, I shoved trail mix down my throat and grabbed a coconut water. I was half asleep still – I got there at 11:05. On the way there, I was A little anxious, and down on myself for being late. I thought they probably started already and I would have to start by myself. I got there right when they were setting the clock, no time to settle, no time to warm up mentally, but I made it. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-GO!

I ran much of the first mile keeping pace with Taylor, but when we got to Bennett’s Rd I started getting a cramp in my side. I slowed down a little, but didn’t stop running. I just started this, I needed to keep pushing. So the first mile I got through, without stopping, without walking, I just kept going. During the run, I realize I left my gloves at home – I was gonna have to just grin and bear it. I got back to the box and partitioned the middle as 20 rounds of 5-10-15, and I just went for it. I used the blue band for the pull ups. Push ups I did in normal plank position. I thought maybe at some point I’d have to switch to my knees – since I don’t think I’ve done more than 50-75 or so regular push ups in one work out, but I decided I was going to push as far as I could. I reached the midway point at around 40 minutes, and was feeling good. The pull-ups were going smoothly. Getting 5 with the blue band was working. The push-ups were still going strong. At first I was getting 6 or 7 before having to stop to shake out, but by this point I was stopping for a moment after 5. I decided as long as I could get through 5, there was no way I was going to let myself do them on my knees. I kept pushing. By round 13 or 14 my arms were getting shaky, and I was starting to hit a mental wall. I pushed….It was a little emotional…but I felt strong and weak at the same time, my body was tired. Sometimes I got 5 in, sometimes I got 3 or 4, I was ok with this, I kept pushing the pull ups in regular plank. By round 15 – with only 5 to go, I made a decision to refuse to drop to my knees. Plank position Push ups all the way, no matter how long it took. With all the encouragement from those there watching, supporting, and with my own raging determination to finish at this point, I kept going. 20 rounds done – 1 mile to go. I started feeling surprisingly strong. By halfway, I had a pretty painful cramp. I slowed to a walk briefly to let it subside, but not for long. As soon as it subsided a little, I started running again. I slowed to a walk briefly twice during the last run, but at a certain point I just kept telling myself that I was almost done, and I just had to push through the pain. As I neared the end, and was in sight, I heard people cheering my name to finish. It was a fire to keep moving. As I came back through the door and got my time, 87:14 – It dawned on me that I did it. I not only finished, but I succeeded in finishing in under 90 minutes. I sat on the floor, caught my breath, and was filled with exhaustion, accomplishment, pride, and strength.

I think those are the emotions that come out of a really good hero work out. I felt honor, I felt closer to a fallen hero. I felt strong. One day – I will do it with the weighted vest…..We’ll see where I am this time next year.

“Murph”

Run 1 mile
100 pull ups
200 Push ups
300 squats
Run 1 mile

Here is a link to the fundraising page.


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