My Best Tip For Improving Your Health

2011 Run to Feed the Hungry

One of the things you hear people just go on and on about when they are talking about why they love CrossFit is the commuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunity. Of course the fun workouts, fat loss, and extra energy are also super awesome, but today I want to talk a little bit about the element of community. If I had to pick one thing that has had the most impact on the changes in my health over the last three years it would be finding that community.

The Single Best Thing I Have Done For My Health + Fitness Is Find Friends Who Are Healthy + Fit

This may sound like no big deal, but having healthy it has helped me in so many ways.

1. Giving in to Peer Pressure has helped me try new things

I have tried so many awesome things at the suggestion of some of my super fit friends: Running my first 5k (and my second and my third) happened because a bunch of folks at my gym were doing it. Running my first half marathon was because Sarah suggested it might be fun! I push myself to lift heavier and heavier because I have other awesome lady friends who are doing it, so why wouldn’t I try?

2. Healthy Friends Also Usually Have Healthy Habits

Every once in a while I have a wild night out with friends that goes a little too late with a little too much wine. But you know what? The bulk of my friends get up early, don’t want to feel like shit on a Saturday, and make time to exercise. So their socializing? Has to support that. It’s pretty awesome to have a core group of people to do fun things with that don’t force me to choose fun or fitness.

3. Who Can’t Use A Dose of Healthy Competition?

There is nothing I love more than seeing friends succeed at goals they’ve been working toward, and a consequence of that is that it lights a fire under me. I have always had a competitive streak, so there is nothing more motivating to me than having friends who are LEAPS AND BOUNDS better than me! It gives me inspiration to set and crush my own goals. And nothing feels better than that!

4. You Always Have A Partner in Crime

Sometimes I want to try new things that sound scary — a new spin studio, a new yoga class, a Relay race — and it’s nice to have pals you can call on who like a good fitness adventure.

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The thing about improving your health is that a quick fix won’t work, right? You have to find something that works for your LIFESTYLE. So to me, mixing my fitness life and my social life has been the thing that has kept me going and motivated through all of my hurdles in the past few years. I can’t imagine I’d have the same success doing it alone! What do you think? Does an element of friendship and community motivate you in your efforts to maintain your health?

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A Week of Travel WOD Ideas

Travel Wod Ideas // Holly Would If She Could

On the road but still want to get in 4-5 workouts? I know the feeling. While I’m out of town this week I thought I’d leave you with some links to seriously awesome travel workout inspiration.

In case I can’t find time to get to a CrossFit box on the road I want to be armed with some ideas for how to squeeze my fitness in. While I definitely enjoy a relaxing vacation with no workouts at all, when I am traveling for work (as I am this week) I like to kind of keep my routine in place. If you are similar, I hope this helps!

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1. Rise and Shine (via Carrots + Cake)

Air Squats and Burpees and Hand Release Pushups, OH MY!

2. 100 Travel CrossFit Wods (via CrossFit Steele Creek)

Whatever exercises you do or don’t feel like doing (WHAT? You’re traveling, you are at liberty to cherry pick, I think!) there is probably a workout that includes them on this list.

3. Road Wods (via New Species CrossFit)

New Species CrossFit has a list of WODs that even utilize things like your suitcase! Love that. (Uh, except my suitcase weighs like FIFTY POUNDS! hahaha)

4. Home WOD (via WOD Daily)

I can see doing this in the hotel gym with the treadmill.

5. Have you seen this CrossFit Travel App?

DOWNLOADING IMMEDIATELY!

 

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How do you keep up when you are on the road? Do you have a favorite travel wod? Hotel gym circuit?

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CrossFit Advice For Newbies

CrossFit Advice For Beginners

I am long overdue on answering some emails on CrossFit advice for beginners, so I thought I would finally get my act together and put my thoughts all in one post. You can find a lot of advice on the internet, but I wanted to speak from my perspective specifically.

I was SCARED TO DEATH to head into a CrossFit gym when I started in 2010. I was more than 100lbs overweight, not in the best shape of my life, and wasn’t sure it would even be right for me based on the crazy videos I had seen on You Tube. But I also knew what I had been doing wasn’t getting me to my goals and I wanted to try something new.

I really had to work up the courage to set foot in the gym, and I really regret all that time lost hemming and hawing about whether or not I should go. If I could give advice to anyone considering checking out a CrossFit gym, here is what I would say:

1. Don’t Wait Until You Get Yourself in “Better Shape”

Starting my day off on a good note. Also on a stack of truck tires. Same diff...

I wish I had a dollar for every person who has told me that they are going to wait until they are more fit to try CrossFit — I’d be blogging from a giant pile of money right now! No matter what shape you are in, you can do the workouts effectively. CrossFit is based on functional movements done at high intensity. What is high intensity for YOU may differ from high intensity for the person next to you. This doesn’t mean you should wait until you are in better shape.

Everyone is at various different phases in their fitness and the workouts are scaled according to your level of fitness. The workout isn’t meant to be easy for anyone! I waited almost 2 years to start and worked on “getting in shape” by myself that whole time and I still couldn’t run 200 meters comfortable on my first day. Two months of CrossFit later, not only could I run a 5k comfortably but I was 30 lbs lighter.

2. Remember Everyone In Your Gym Had a “Day One”

Ready!

The most intimidating part of starting CrossFit is that you will talk yourself into believing that everyone inside that gym is awesome, and the record is going to skip when you walk in. But keep in mind — everyone in there had to start at their beginning. We all had to show up and put one foot in front of the other and learn the ropes. Everyone you’ll see had to learn the foundational movements. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has workouts they are good at and workouts that just leave their ego crushed.

Remember that we are all there there to work towards becoming our best selves, and it is both a mental and a physical task. Walking in there on that first day is that first courageous step toward saying “I believe in myself and my ability to get better.” No one is going to watch you take that step and be unsupportive.

3. Just Say No to You Tube Videos

Checking out CrossFit workouts on YouTube is like looking at a celebrity’s Instagram feed to see what they look like right when they wake up in the morning. It’s not reality, and when you are brand new I think it can be intimidating and make you feel like you aren’t good enough to do the workouts. CrossFit is universally scalable, which means a good coach will help you modify ANY exercise so that the version you do gives you a GREAT workout. Stay away from the exhibitionists grunting on You Tube when you start out and just lean on your coaches to explain any movements you’ve never heard of.

Of course, once you start, if you want to watch the silly CrossFit videos – be my guest!

4. Start By Building Skill, Then Strength

March 2012

Most gyms will make you complete an introductory course that teaches you the foundational movements of CrossFit before you can just dive in and complete a workout. If your gym doesn’t do that, personally, I’d run the other direction. This isn’t to make you feel like a goober, it’s to make sure you have a chance to be exposed to many of the skills you will use in everyday workouts. Take as much time as you need to build skill!

There are a lot of the movements you’ve probably heard of and done in the past (sit ups, pushups, running, rowing) but some things will be new and require technical skill like the olympic and power lifting as well as some of the gymnastic skills. It’s important to build a foundation before you try and test the limits of your strength. You will learn a lot about how your body works, how to increase mobility, and your beginning months will be where you develop a lot of muscle memory, so make sure you are doing it correctly. It will take time, so don’t feel the need to rush it. In the long run, it will be so much better than just carelessly throwing some weight over your head or flailing to get up and over a bar.

5. Focus on Responsible Recovery

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Speaking of learning about your body, if you take anything from this post, let it be this: Rest and recovery are just as important to your body as showing up to work out. Early on in my training I read a random rule that I have followed pretty religiously since I started CrossFit. That rule is: if you don’t sleep 6 hours the night before, you don’t earn a workout.

You can’t increase the intensity of your workouts and not take some time to think about how you will recover from that intensity. Sleeping and good nutrition are something you will hear a ton about, and while I don’t think you need to be overwhelmed by all of it on your first day, keep it in the back of your head. If you are making all these efforts while you are at the gym, don’t throw it away by acting nutty outside of the gym.

Also, make sure you are continually working on your mobility — it’s amazing how much of a difference it makes! Your body needs TLC so don’t just beat it up in the gym, help it out! If you have a few minutes before class, take time to foam roll or stretch.

6. Track Your Progress (And Cheer On The Progress of Others)

Wod Book

The whole point of CrossFit is to help YOU make YOURSELF better, not to keep up with the person next to you. But how will you know if you are getting better? You gotta keep track! There are a lot of helpful Benchmark Workouts that you will do over time, so making sure you write down your times/weights for those. You will probably also have lots of opportunities to find One Rep Maxes for the different lifts, which can be another fun thing to track.

But I also like to look at random things like:

*500m/100m row times
*400m sprint times
*1 mile run times
*Consecutive Double Unders
*What pull up bands I use in workouts
*Moving from scaled versions of movements to prescribed versions (like pushups, etc)

Tracking your daily workouts, performance, and how you feel may seem tedious; however, over time it can really enlighten you to all of the things you have gotten better at — and that will be SUPER MOTIVATING.

You know what else is super motivating? Seeing other people, day in and day out, put in their best efforts to to reach their goals — so make sure to encourage others. And then of course, once you feel settled in your gym and you see a new person walk in for the first time, don’t forget to introduce yourself and say hi. We all remember what Day One felt like, right? But everybody has to muster up the courage to do it at one point.

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Ok, fellow CrossFitters — what advice would YOU give to someone considering trying CrossFit for the first time?

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Opening Up

When I started CrossFit 3 years ago I did it mostly because I was bored. Bored, you ask? Yep. Bored with my fitness routine. Bored at my job. Bored (ok and maybe a little fed up) with being out of shape and overweight despite all the work that I put into changing that. I was in a rut, and I was open to try something different.

Almost immediately just the act of getting into that gym inspired me. For a long time it also scared me, but in a good way, you know? The intensity of the work outs lit a fire in my life that burned WAAAAAY more than my quads after a Body Pump class at Ye Olde 24 Hour Fitness and seeing the changes (big and small) in my body as well as my mind kept me motivated.

As my skills grew sharper, my commitment grew more intense. The best part of this whole thing was that my happiness and accomplishments inside the gym started to run over into my outside life. It was as if the Universe opened up the flood gates of success! I was trying new things that I never had the confidence to try before: I ran my first half marathon, I participated in a spur of the moment 10 miler, I spent a weekend running 20 miles while living out of a van with 7 other people. These were things that I never would have written in the Things I Am Capable Of column prior to Crossfit. And here they were written in indelible ink. Accomplishments that no one could take away from me.

Also notable: somewhere amidst all of that I shed 100 lbs. I say that as an afterthought because honestly, sometimes it felt like it was. I had spent 30 years WORKING HARD (and I mean reeeeeeeeeeally working) at losing weight. And now all of a sudden I tweaked my diet just a bit and showed up at this gym to hang out with cool people who were a great time and did workouts that were fun, where people would cheer me on and encourage me — and with seemingly little effort (aside from showing up and trying hard of course) those hundred pounds dropped off me like a bad habit in the first year and a half.

A year ago when my weight loss hit a bit of a stand still, I was concerned. But I certainly wasn’t obsessed because there were weights to life and races to run and experiences to be had and friends to hang out with and dogs to adopt and let’s be honest: life is about a million other things besides what your scale says — FULL STOP. I believe wholeheartedly in the idea that this website is built on: health is where good food and a good life intersect. And I knew if I pursued a good life, the health results would come. I continued to do what I had been doing, live my life, and of course pursue other avenues of achievement because, well…that’s who I am. I make no apologies that I am a person who sets goals and makes lists and charts paths and checks in and measures progress. I like to tinker with actions/results. While it is sometimes a frustrating process, I am open to change.

In November of last year, while all of that was going on, I had a professional opportunity fall into my lap. It was not something that was part of my long term plan, honestly, and at first I was a little gun shy about it. (I thought about the psychology of that reaction this weekend while reading Lean In, by the way and WOW could that be a whole post in itself.) It took a lot of thinking for me to take the plunge with this job and there were MANY speed bumps. It took quite a few conversations, personal and professional and in the end it took one part convincing and another part stars aligning and as you all know, in February I was in the new role. It was another bullet point that I would not have necessarily written on that list of Things I Am Capable Of but one I was open to. Let’s see where this goes, eh?

I was quickly reminded that growth always has a cost associated with it, right? We see this in our everyday training. The only way to gain muscle is to breakdown the tissue you already have and let it repair itself into something better and stronger, and obviously more capable. This experience was no different. All of the November to February hand-wringing and hemming and hawing and ultimately diving in wholeheartedly felt just like that muscle breakdown and repair cycle. It felt like I was sprinted my heart out and when I got to the finish line, I did so gasping for breath.

When I reached that finish line, I realized that this sprint had only led me to a the starting line of a marathon and that marathon has been something I have been telling the story of for the last six months. Just like an actual race, it has been very, very rewarding at times. The challenge has been mostly enlightening, and of course the monetary benefits are actively helping Garrett and I move towards some of the bigger picture line items on our Life To Do List (You know, Weddings, Babies, Homes, Cars — all of that stuff that AIN’T FREE. :)) But in almost equal measure, it has introduced plenty of moments where I have had to talk myself through doubt just to take one more step. And then another. I have wondered how many more steps so many times. Finding my rhythm has been a constant, and at times downright difficult, task. It has taken its mental toll.

What I didn’t really anticipate — though it seems so obvious to me now in hindsight — is that it has also taken a physical toll. The intensity of my Real Life has amped up a whole helluva lot and especially between the hours of 9 and 5. When I get to my 6pm workouts these days, my mind and body have so much less to give than they did just a couple short years ago. The past 6 months for me have felt like a cascade of poor sleep (I’m back to wearing my super sexy night guard to keep me from grinding my teeth. HAWT!), weight gain (in particular, an increase in body fat all around my mid secion. HAWT!), muscle tension, and less than ideal digestion. (Please, never EVER eat dried cherries after eating brussels sprouts. That is a gift from me to you.) For some time I have been a walking, talking poster child for stress, sugar cravings, and hormonal imbalance.

I have been as proactive as possible about prioritizing sleep when I can, eating fairly cleanly, trying hard but failing miserably at my burgeoning meditation practice, and supporting myself physically with some very specific supplementation. But for the longest time I have completely avoided examining my exercise routine. I’m sure you read the same things that I read and listen to the same podcasts — whether I love doing it or not, it is a fact that high intensity exercise (just like most exercise, actually) causes a cortisol response. And all of that is generally fine until YOUR LIFE starts causing a cortisol response. And I have buried my head to that over the last few months.

But I think it’s an important thing to explore, and more importantly I think it is worth discussing in the context of a blog like this. You have been with me through a lot of my successes over the past few years, and I want to be just as open with you about my opportunities. I have begun the process of actively reevaluating where I need to go with MY fitness. I’m thinking about what my goals are in my life long term (uh…don’t die, lose some body fat, protect fertility, etc) but also what my goals are right now (calm the fuck down and stop being a cortisol factory.) And somewhere between those two things I’m trying to find a fitness routine that will help me strike that balance. I never EVER want to give up CrossFit — sorry, I’m not sorry — it is my first love. But I think my goal of showing up no matter what the workout is and going 100% effort may need some adjusting.

I came across this old Chris Kresser article the other day called Why You May Need To Exercise Less and it really helped me put things into perspective. Maybe I can figure out something specific for ME, at THIS time in MY life. I am still going to keep my CrossFit workouts around at least three times per week (though I plan to be judicious with my metcons) but I am also going incorporate some yoga, some long walks, and a little bit more “Working In” into my Work Out Schedule. I am a little nervous about the change, and to be honest I have no idea where this path is going to take me. But I am hoping as long as I am open, I’ll find my way.

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A Nice Reminder

So hey, remember that Partner Competition at our gym that I was bitching about on Friday? The one that Garrett signed us up for?

Dude, you guys, WE WON OUR DIVISION. I mean, what? Who the hell was judging and how did THAT happen?

Winners

We competed in the scaled division (I STILL CAN’T DO PULL UPS AND GOD DAMN IT, IT HOLDS ME BACK EVERY TIME) but we had fun working together as a team, coming up with a strategy that embraced our strengths, supporting one another, and I really can’t believe we ended up winning. I was secretly hoping that we would come in 3rd, because all the teams had to compete in 3 workouts, but only the top 2 teams in Rx and Scaled competed in one final head to head workout for all the marbles. So, you know, call me lazy but a 3rd place would have suited me juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust just fine! :)

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The energy at the gym was super fun, as usual, and it was great to see so many people I like putting it all out there. I don’t have any desire to be a real competitor, but it’s definitely nice to do stuff like this in a safe environment every once in a while because you really do push yourself a little harder. Both Garrett and I PR’d our squat clean 1 Rep Maxes, and I really think we just didn’t want to let each other down, so we just did the best we could.
Just sayin.

I’ve been pretty down on myself, fitness-wise, as of late because I haven’t been working out as often as I’d like, or by the time I get to the gym at the end of a long work day I’m zonked. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the last 3 years and these days my performance hasn’t been particularly newsworthy. But this weekend reminded me of how good it feels to have fitness goals and how fun it is when you reach them. I don’t know what that means for the rest of the summer, but I feel like both Garrett were reminded again this weekend about why we like our gym so much. And the fact that we all got to hang out and celebrate at the annual anniverary party BBQ afterward was just icing on the cake!

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The Great Iowa Adventure (Part Two)

So when I woke up Thursday morning all of my work was done, and now it was time to focus on Vacation Iowa. I grabbed a coffee at Starbucks and said goodbye to the our Iowa corporate office and then headed back to the hotel.
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That picture was from the day before, on Thursday, however, the weather was SUPER CRAPTASTIC. But then, like an hour later — all of a sudden the weather was great. Here was the view out of my hotel room (scenic, I know) before and after I showered and got ready.

The difference an hour makes in Iowa. This blows my mind.

Crazy, right? Midwest weather vexes me. The difference a few minutes can make absolutely blows my mind. Luckily it the weather turned in my favor because I was about to embark on a 3 hour road trip to see AndreAnna.

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It was a mostly scenic drive and I made it out there singing 80s tunes at the top of my lungs, so all in all…not a bad trip. And I was so happy to see AndreAnna! It was SO. DANG. GOOD. to catch up with a good friend over some beverages on the patio in the sun. We had a million things to talk about, she is an awesome hostess and almost immediately we decided we should go and get manicures and pedicures.

The thing I miss so much about friends far away are days like this where you just get to HANG OUT! We took full advantage and also added in some pampering! I decided right then and there, sitting in that salon chair, that I am going to do much more pampering this summer. We had a relaxing Thursday night and AndreAnna’s husband made some awesome gluten free pizzas for us to sample (WHICH WERE AMAZEBALLS) and then we turned in pretty early because we had a big Friday ahead.

Friday we were up early to get in a workout at Quad Cities CrossFit. It was a partner workout with a combo of my most favorite (Squat Cleans) and my least favorite (Toes to Bar) movements. Ha! We powered through it though, and then of course we had to get some serious breakfast. I mean OBVIOUSLY.
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We headed over to The Machine Shed for breakfast, and they are not at all kidding when they say they serve cinnamon rolls THE SIZE OF YOUR HEAD. It was a super cute restaurant, and we chowed down and headed out to our next adventure.
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Sadly, our next adventure was not a tractor ride — but it was even better — MASSAGES! I mean, I literally was shouting out AndreAnna’s car window “I’M NEVER LEAVING IOWA.” Manis and pedis! Tough Workouts! Delicious Food! FREAKING RIDICULOUS MASSAGES! I mean, what else does one need? (Ok, ok — maybe my dude and my dog but luckily Garrett was sending me silly photos and texts the whole week to let me know they were doing just fine back at home.)

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After massages we grabbed some groceries for that evening because AndreAnna had invites some friends over and the ladies were having a Ladies Night while the gents stayed at home. We hit up Sam’s Club and managed to pick the loudest, most unruly cart in the store as well as drop an entire 6 pack of beer on the ground. We were like Laverne & Shirley, but we got out of there with some good eats and an in tact 6 pack. :)

When we headed home it was time for some patio drinking again (the weather was AWESOME on Friday) and then it was time to shower and put our party pants on because it was Ladies Night On The Town. We headed out to Front Street Brewery and I got to try their amazing BBQ Pork Nachos. They might LITERALLY be the best nachos I’ve ever had, and despite the fact that I try not to consume corn chips on a regular basis, I consider myself a bit of a nacho conossieur. Don’t worry, I’ve put that on my resume.
Did you know...they serve BBQ Pork Nachos in heaven? #truestory

We rounded out the evening with…well, quite a few “Vodka Sodas with a Shit-ton of Lime” — which I highly recommend. They go down easy on a hot summer night and you are practically hydrating while drinking. :) They may, however, make you force the driver of your vehicle to pull over while you are passing the Mississippi River. I mean you guys: IT WAS A FULL MOON OVER THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER! This just seemed so novel to me. I’m a California Girl…so looking at the freaking Mississippi River just made me realize I was soooooo far from home! Far enough from home that I had to bust out the spirit fingers.

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All in all, it was a very fun night with some very fun ladies:
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I don’t have a lot of pictures from our adventures on Saturday, but that is probably for the best since the weather got SUPER yucky and we mostly lounged around working off our vodka sodas by playing cards and drinking more. :) No one needs pictures of me and my greasy ponytail playing cards, I promise. Sunday, the weather was equally icky and unfortunately Sunday was my big travel day back home — which involved another 3 hour road trip. Iowa, you are no fun to drive in when there are crazy thunderstorms! I guess it was fitting though, because had it been another beautiful day I really may never have left.

I was up and on the road early. It was so sad to leave — I wish AndreAnna and her awesome family were my next door neighbors because seriously, we had SUCH A GOOD TIME — but I had also been away from my life for 7 days and you know how that goes, right? I knew it would be good to get back home. I had to drive 3 hours back to Des Moines and then get on a little puddle jumper plane to get up to Minneapolis — eep! I don’t love tiny planes — and then from Minneapolis back to Sacramento.

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When I got to Minneapolis I was pretty exhausted, but then out of nowhere they called my name at the gate upgraded me to First Class for the rest of my flight home. You guys, that like actually happens in real life! After that flight experience, I seriously I NEVER WANT TO FLY COACH AGAIN….HAHAHAHAHAHAHA uh, you know, unless I’m actually paying for it! :) I rolled into the Sacramento airport at about 7pm Sunday night and despite it already being a long day I was super energized when I got there. It was still light out and super hot and it just felt like home! I was so, so happy to be back reunited with Buster, then Garrett cooked me a nice dinner, and I slept soundly in my own bed for the first time in a week.

Reuniiiiiited!

Sometimes it takes some time away to make you realize all the silly little things that you love about your life, right? I couldn’t have asked for a better time in Iowa, but I have enjoyed being back home and back to my routines over the last week and a half. It’s starting to feel like summer around here and I am marinating on some things I want to make sure I do over the next few months. A bucket list of sorts — but with much less productivity and more superficial fun!

More on that soon…

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The Great Iowa Adventure (Part One)

Greetings! I’m back from my 7 day adventure traipsing all over Iowa and I’ve had about a day to recover, so hey — why not get right back into it. (Boy, I need a weekend to recover from my weekend.) I fully intended to blog my way through the state, but it went by so much quicker than I thought and I just never felt like pulling out my laptop — so indulge me in a little recapping, would ya?

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I started my week last Monday at 3:30 in the morning. When I booked my flight out, 6am seemed like a reasonable idea, but let me tell you, A 6AM FLIGHT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA. I don’t know what I was thinking! But after about 6 hours of travel (and a nap or two) I made it to Des Moines safe and sound.

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I hadn’t been there since early 2006 and while many things looked the same (airport, hotel, etc), so much seemed different – especially with respect to my life. Back in 2006, when I first started working for my company, I had to go to Des Moines for 2 weeks for training and at the time, Garrett and I had only been together for a little over 2 months so it all seemed SO DRAMATIC to have to be gone for 2! WHOLE! WEEKS! This time around I was like “Ok babe! Take care of the dog! Hope you don’t starve!” hahahaha. Well, not exactly, but you know what I’m saying, right?

After I checked into the hotel and got settled, I decided to brave it and walk over to CrossFit Primal and get in a workout. Visiting a new CrossFit gym is always so intimidating. I always expect it to be full of fire breathing Games Athletes that are going to roll their eyes at me. It NEVER is though, so I’m glad I put on my big girl (workout) pants and headed over.
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I felt right at home with the instructor and the class and it was nice to feel like I had some semblance of routine even though I was on the road. I am a pretty good traveler but 7 days on the road is a long time so I wanted to keep things as normal as possible (which is why on my way home I totally stopped at Walgreens all disgusting and sweaty and bought handsoap for the hotel bathroom…because seriously? A BAR OF SOAP? Who washes their hands with A BAR OF SOAP?) Anyway, the workout was fun and I knew INSTANTLY that my legs would be feeling it the next day.
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And lo and behold, they were! Which made it glaringly obvious how low the the hotel toilets were, but that is neither here nor there. Tuesday morning I woke up early after a SUPER crappy night of sleep. Tons of thunder and warnings of tornadoes kept me a little anxious all night so needless to say I didn’t squeeze in a workout before I headed into the office.

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Luckily the weather was pretty nice all of Tuesday and despite not staying outside to enjoy it the day just flew by. Tuesday and Wednesday were my long days at work so I just tried to stay focused on the tasks at hand. But by Wednesday night I was ready for some vacation! I met up with blog reader Jillian for some well deserved cocktails and we had an awesome meal chatting it up like we had known each other forever. I had a real “I Love The Internet” moment!
Yesssssss! #earned

Afterward I walked back to the hotel and got everything ready for my big road trip to Davenport the next day to hang with AndreAnna. It had been almost a year and a half since we had last hung out and I was super excited to get to her neck of the woods and see her in real life!

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about how the vacation portion of the week went down….

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Relay Training Recap — Week 9

Relay Training

Can we just talk about how calling this recap training for The Relay is getting embarrassing because there is no actual running happening? Yeah. I’m gonna have to reconcile that somehow soon but tonight is not that night.

Do you ever have those days where every single thing you try to do in an effort to be productive ends up foiled? And then, in your failed attempts at productivity, you actually end up creating MORE WORK for yourself? Yes, well that is how today has gone. And how this week has gone actually. And how this training plan is going.

I am not feeling positive about this, if you can’t tell. If you have a pep talk inside of you, I am ALL EARS.

Anyway, here are my workout breakdowns this week:

Monday
LIFT

5 Rounds
1 Shoulder Press
3 Push Press
5 Push Jerk
(45, 55, 65, 75, 85 lbs)

METCON

AMRAP in 4 minutes:
10 jumping pull-ups
200 m run
Rest 1 minute

AMRAP in 4 minutes:
10 ground release push-ups
250 m row
Rest 1 minute

AMRAP in 4 minutes:
10 toes to bar
35 double-unders

Overall Score: 7 rounds

*This was my day to do a double workout and I flaked and took a nap instead. Yep, just being honest.

Tuesday

SKILL

Spend 10 minutes working on your pistol squats or ps progressions – Hey, guess what? I don’t even need 10 minutes to show you how bad I am at pistols. UGH

METCON
800 m run, then
5 Rounds of:
5 HSPU
10 hang power cleans (95lbs)

then run 800 m

Time: 16:48. This workout was awful and I loved it.

Wednesday

Rest day if you are testing 13.4 the next day. And apparently this was right where this week went downhill.

Thursday

I tested 13.4 and I already told you how CRAPTACULAR that went. On top of completely failing to do Toes to Bar AGAIN, I ripped my hands open which royally sucked.

Friday

Nancy was on the menu at the gym, which for some strange reason is my FAVORITE workout. My hands were totally screwed up but I decided scale the weight and see if I could do it anyway.

5 Rounds for Time
Run 400 m
15 Overhead Squats (65lbs)

I did the first round at 65lbs and then realized my form was all crappy because I was holding the bar funny with my ripped up hands. I scaled to 45lbs, but mentally my heart just wasn’t in it. My hands hurt, plus it was just me and 3 super speedy dudes doing the workout together which was just enough to make me feel like I was failing at life. (Spoiler Alert: I was not. I was just being melodramatic. But melodramatic at high intensity does not a pleasant workout make.) I finished the workout in 21:45, which is like 2 minutes slower than my old PR (and my old PR is lifting 20 lbs heavier!) so I was basically annoyed.

Saturday and Sunday

We were supposed to be driving to Monterey to see my family and celebrate my cousin Sara’s 30th birthday; however, on Friday my Grandma was checked into the hospital for digestive stuff. I woke up on Saturday feeling stressed, defeated and bummed and also in EXCRUTIATING PAIN from a pinched joint capsule in my neck, which I’m sure was caused by 1 part stress, 1 part exhaustion and 1 part crappy overhead squat form. I’m super lucky that my uncle is a retired chiropractor so he hooked me up with some 911 adjustment, but I was basically immobile most of the day. I woke up this morning feeling slightly better, though still not 100%.

Obviously there was no running or exercising or enjoying life at all really. There was lots of icing, eating ibuprofen and lying supine. Needless to say this, uh, “training week” hasn’t been a high five for the log books. I hope next week has good stuff in store.

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Relay Training Recap – Week 8

Relay Training

HOLLA! Things are getting back to normal! This week I logged 6 workouts (and even a few that had me running) with no knee pain at all. ::::knocks wood:::: I think we are through the worst of it! I also tried something new at the beginning of the week that I think will be helpful moving forward over the next couple of weeks. DOUBLE DAYS! HA…let me tell you about it.

MONDAY
I woke up and worked out at 6am Monday morning, which reminded me how much I LOVE morning workouts! It was as follows:

LIFT
Overhead Squat: 3-3-3-3-3 (75-85-95-105-115lbs)

METCON

3 Rounds for Time
400 m Run
25 KB Swings (35lbs)
50 Air Squats

Finished in 16:47.

Then, because I wanted to start thinking about what it will feel like to run on tired legs (and this was DEFINITELY a leg tiring workout) I went back at 5pm and did the workout again after sitting at my desk all day at work.

It definitely affected my lifting — in the afternoon session I only lifted 65-75-85-95-95 lbs. But I was surprised that during the metcon portion I was only slightly slower….physically. I finished the second one in 17:53, so about an extra minute. But let me tell you, MENTALLY, that shit was rough. So I think it’s going to be a good idea to do that a bit in the coming weeks, just to prepare myself.

TUESDAY

STRENGTH
Weighted Pull-Ups + Ring Dips (I worked on strict pull ups and dips with the band.) I had another very vivid dream about doing a pull up a few nights before. Unfortunately it didn’t manifest in the gym. :)

METCON

“Annie”
50-40-30-20-10
Double Unders
Situps

I was aiming for under 8:47, since that was my previous PR. Unfortunately I got caught up on my double unders during the 40 round which really slowed me down. I finished in 9:47. Super Boo.

WEDNESDAY

Wednesday’s are mandatory rest days at the gym if you are testing the Open WOD on Thursday, so I was happy to oblige.

THURSDAY

13.3! I already covered how I performed but let me just underscore again what a GOOD WORKOUT this is!!! It’s only 12 minutes, but man it is a killer! I almost wanted to do it again!

FRIDAY

I planned to workout this morning but I woke up and was really tired. Miraculously I wasn’t sore from 13.3, but I was super sleepy when my alarm went off so I just went back to bed! :) Friday afternoon I was doing happy hour at work with my team so I didn’t end up working out at all, which was fine.

SATURDAY

Rest and Relaxation Day!

SUNDAY

Logged a very easy 2 miler with the pooch and Garrett at the park. It was gorgeous, there were tons of people and dogs out and Buster loved it. Then we came home and Garrett and I did a face off of 100 Kettlebell swings for time with our 53 lb Kettlebell. Garrett won. grumblegrumbegrumble But only by 25 seconds! :)

******

This is the first week in more than a month that my body has just felt like my own. It’s performed when I pushed it and just generally felt really good. I want to keep up that momentum this week and maybe increase the running…so that’s the unofficial plan!

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Looking Backward Won’t Propel You Forward

Games2013_Games_slider

Well, your finger crossing worked! No box jumps in the first CrossFit Games Open workout. Hooray! Here’s what I’m up against:

Proceed through the sequence below completing as many reps as possible in 17 minutes of:
40 Burpees
45 pound Snatch, 30 reps
30 Burpees
75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
20 Burpees
100 pound Snatch, 30 reps
10 burpees
120 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible

While I’m super happy it’s not box jumps, I have to say I’m not that thrilled with all the burpees — especially since there were 70 at the end of our workout on Tuesday. YIKES! :)

burpees

But I’m happy that I can even participate, and this year that is a win. I’ve been thinking a lot about this year vs. last year recently. At least once a day actually, thanks to Timehop. I have a love/hate relationship with that app. You are probably using it too, but in case you aren’t it’s an app that gives you a daily update of what you were doing a year ago based on your facebook/twitter feeds. Sometimes it is awesome and makes me think back on good times and get all warm and fuzzy.

photo

On the flip side, sometimes I read what I was doing a year ago and I think, “Man, my life looks very different right now.” And then I kind of miss my old life. I had that feeling the other day when my timehop linked to my tweet about this post  which coincidentally, was the day I made my CrossFit Games Competitor Profile last year.

I read through it and realized that so many things look different now. I am no longer working out on that schedule. My work schedule has made it practically impossible to workout in the mornings these days, so that workout efficiency isn’t possible. I’m also working out less. I’m not lifting as heavy as I was last year and well,  I STILL have that 40lbs to lose. When I reviewed that post the other day it kind of bummed me out.

But I’ve thought about it and thought about it some more and talked myself into the idea that viewing life as a singular snapshot doesn’t always reveal the complexities of daily routines. And likewise, sometimes when we work on many goals at once our efficacy changes.  What it takes to get to ALL of our goals isn’t just easily cross-off-able lines on a black and white list. I have spent the last year traveling and busting my tail at work to get a promotion. A promotion that was a bit of a financial game changer for my little (and hopefully soon to be growing) family. That was a purposeful decision and it took sacrifice. Part of what I sacrificed was how much weight I can snatch, you know?

Was it worth it? HELL YES. Do I still fret over things like that when I’m in the gym though? YOU KNOW IT. But I also think I’m getting ready to let that go. And I think letting that go will actually help me feel a greater appreciation for where I am presently. And where I am in the present IS A REALLY GREAT PLACE TO BE.

Comparison-is-the-thief-of-joy

We’ve all seen this quote floating around on the internet and I know it is a common touchstone for people when they are feeling envy of others. But I also think it is important to acknowledge that when you compare versions of yourself you are also doing a disservice. Life is not lived in a vacuum. The variables of today are not the variables of yesterday. The only constant is change, right? And as long as I’m evaluating, adapting and acting — I am succeeding.

And let this be your little daily reminder that no matter where you were a year ago, you are succeeding too.

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