My friend Georgia, in what may be the greatest workout pants of all time. #crossfit
Someone please tell me where I can get these!!
So it seems ‘birthday week’ kick-ass wods continues. I walked in to the box and saw ‘Cindy’ on the board and as captivated by her charms – or at least her benchmark-ness. Going in the plan was to limit any use of my shoulder (still recovering from ‘Grace’) but I just couldn’t resist going all out in ‘Cindy’. It’s been a very long time since we’ve done ‘Cindy’, since January actually and I wasn’t Rx-ing it back then (15/18 with orange band and knee push-ups). We did ‘Half Cindy’ in early April and I scored 6/1 Rx and then again in August we did ‘Cindy’ with a twist – 4 rounds of 5 minute AMRAP ‘Cindy’ with 2 minutes of tabata plank holds in between each round. I scored 13/19 then Rx.
After two days of C&J’s and easily power cleaning 50kg I started thinking about Grace on the way to the box – more specifically ‘Grace Off’ which is happening this weekend at SF Gym as a breast cancer fundraiser. I was thinking about whether I should do it and if so if I should register as intermediate or Rx thinking I could probably do Rx but knowing that it would take a bit longer – I’ve been wanting to Rx ‘Grace’ for a long time and knowing I can now do it was really cool – I figured it’d be awesome to Rx ‘Grace’ on my 36th birthday (Saturday conveniently). As I was going through these thoughts I also vividly recalled watching Coach Match write both ‘Grace’ and ‘Isabel’ on the PR boards in the box on Monday night knowing that we’d (clearly) be filling them in soon – I thought we might do ‘Grace’ soon as we’d just done heavy C&J’s but didn’t think he program it the very next night – still, it was on my mind.
As I walked into the box I saw Tim doing some shoulder mobility and he looked at me with that twinkle in his eye and asked me to guess what we were doing – I got a bit excited then – knew I would like it – and as he was starting to say ‘what you did last night’ I was bursting forth with ‘grace?’ (and there may have been a little happy dance that followed). I knew right then and there that I would be Rx-ing ‘Grace’ – I texted Cam to tell him exactly that – there was no doubt. I was ready. More than ready.
We did a warm-up. There were burpees and shuttle sprints (and I didn’t mind the burpees again, what?). I raced Tim a bit just for fun even though we were just warming up. Shonelle and I partnered up for some partner resisted sprints with the bands and we did other stuff – really I was just going through the motions super excited to meet ‘Grace’, full on this time.
WOD: Benchmark 'Grace’
30 Clean & Jerk (45/60kg)
Coach Match informed me that there was a 10 minute cut-off. Ok, that’s three reps a minute just to finish – easy. I checked out the times of the other girls who Rx-ed earlier in the day – there were only three – Kayla, Tash and Chriselle – and knowing Kayla (pretty much) warms up at 45kg and that Tash is the unstoppable energizer bunny in every WOD (superfast) I just hoped I could keep up with Chriselle. Goal was under 7 minutes – that meant about 4 a minute. Then I upped that a bit – figured I could do probably do 5 every minute and if I did I could get under 6 minutes. Game on though I knew it’d be tough.
Tim had told me to try and push jerk the reps if I could rather than split jerking which would take more time. Noted. Coach Match also suggested minimizing rest time between reps as this was the biggest hurdle in getting a good time. Noted. I heard Jack and Tim discussing a game plan and I made the comment that game plans were dangerous (you never know how things are going to go) but I clearly had one – 5 reps a minute until I was done. Go.
The first rep I push jerked and it was tough. I also tried to lower the bar back to the ground, also tough. From then on I split jerked each rep. I also did single reps dropping the bar every time. The bar would take one bounce, I’d pat it down and pick it right back up again focusing on tightening my shoulder blades and getting a solid clean (ignoring the protest from my already bruised clavicle) and then part two – quick jerk with focus on locking out my arms over head. I stopped for chalk after 15 reps but quickly got back on the bar. I was racing the clock. I managed to get up by two reps in the first minute (7 reps done) and lost a few somewhere after that – four minutes in I had 10 to go. I could do this. I was on track.
Because I was dropping the bar every rep the collars became quite loose though in my mind I had no time to fix that – I needed to pick the bar right back up, the game was most definitely on. I pushed through the last 5 starting them with one minute remaining. I worked really hard for every single one but hearing the others cheering me on really helped and as I dropped the bar one final time I burst out into the hugest grin. I had won. 5:51. Done. Tim came over for a high-five and he got a hug. I was beaming. I truly was. I still am. It is a huge achievement for me – something that I’ve wanted for so long – I final made it. I beat ‘Grace’. All of ‘Grace’. There is no looking back now. Next up is ‘Isabel’. I have a lot more work to get there but I’m eager. Aiming high.
As a follow up – I was too excited for the follow up text with Cam to let him know I did it… he got a call as soon as I got home – the excitement that had built all through my drive burst out at him. The awesome part – he was just as excited for me and let me repeat my accomplishment a gazillion times. Oh, and he reminded me of it again this morning – made me smile all over again. Thanks!
Once recovered, run 1 mile or row 1km for time
With aching glutes and tired arms I rode over to crossfit for another session. During the warm-up it was quite interesting to hear how tired/sore Kayla was as well which I guess in some ways made me feel a little better. And what better way to work out all the kinks than with a session of crossfit.
Shoulder Mobility with bands (always love this one)
7 minute AMRAP
30 air squats
30 bulgarian squats (1 leg on box)
30 strict pull-ups
30 box jumps (20”)
Partnered up with Glen on this one and it was fun though not entirely a partner workout since we had to split the reps evenly and were both working at the same time. The only thing was that you couldn’t move on to the next movement until you both were done AND the strict pull-ups were done without bands which meant you had to get your partner to help you if you couldn’t do them on your own. Thankfully (and awesomely) Glen can do these and he got them done fast. I did two on my own before he gave me a bit ton of assistance pushing my feet up each rep. It made me laugh – quite funny. My hand was bleeding before we even started the AMRAP as I had tore off a bit of skin and so after we finished the first round I went to tape up my hand thinking we were done but then Coach Tim told us about the AMRAP part (the white board only said 7 minute cut-off). So once I got that done we flew through the air squats and push-ups again and then time was up.
We finished up the warm-up working through the clean and press progressions – deadlift, cleans, shoulder to overhead, clean and press.
Clean & press (30/45kg)
KB swings (24/32kg)
15:02* Rx.5/18kg KB
*There was a 15 minute cut-off to this WOD but I was three reps into the last set of KB swings so finished it off.
I knew going in that this one would be tough on the forearms and that it was going to hurt with the compounded movements. I am still nursing my back after Thursday night (feeling a bit more sore yesterday too) so I took it easy on the KB swings – was going to go 16kg but the 18kg was right there. It was tough but I didn’t pull anything and managed to finish it off.
I did 10-10-5 on the clean and presses the first round. And 15-10 on the KB swings. It got really hard after that. I think I was on to sets of max. 5 reps on the clean and presses (jerks) and 10 max on the KBs. Pretty early on I started to clean and jerk the barbell which helped and actually just feels easier for me and definitely saves my shoulders. Coach Tim came by once or twice and commented about how I had good speed getting under the bar which was nice to hear. Good reinforcement of technique. The KB swings really were mostly mental. As soon as I picked it up I wanted to put it down again and I kept just asking myself why – it wasn’t because I was tired (yet) so I kept swinging really focusing on using my hips knowing that my back needed me to. I pushed through even as time was winding down. I was on the 10 KB swings with about a minute left and really wanted to finish so I made a bit of a push – and Bonnie watching/ urging me on really helped. I did the final set of clean and presses as 3-2 and then picked up the KB right away to get the last swings it. They weren’t at all pretty but they got done.
I am so happy I picked a lighter KB so that I could keep working throughout with smaller breaks. I know that had I gone heavier it would have been a bad day. Sometimes it’s okay to scale back and we need to all be personally aware of what’s best for our own bodies.
Busy week this week so I’m back at it tonight and tomorrow before 4 days off (which I think will be good for my body).
Worked on my glutes after the workout - excruciatingly tight. Ouch! And did a little bit on my calves though they weren’t nearly as bad as last week. Interesting as I still feel my hamstrings are tight.
Still going well as the weekdays too though did enjoy a nice cold beer with dinner last night. Just felt like it and it was worth it. Also this weeks challenge of sleep isn’t a big deal for me as 7 hours is easy – it just means I have to be in bed by 11pm (I get up at 6am) – I can’t actually stay awake until 11pm most days anyway so I’m definitely getting 7 hours in, the thing is that 7 hours is not enough- I’m paying the price for staying up to almost 11pm last night and it hurts. I need at least 8… will work on that one instead.
Also, a big thanks to everyone who reads this little blog of mine. Many days I have no idea why you all what to read about every detail that I suffer through during my workouts but I’m humbled to see that you do. I hit 10,000 page views yesterday and other than random comments from people about things I’ve posted I barely know who any of you are – feel free to say hello in the comments!
=10,000 page views
Wow! While this blog has been focused on my workouts, my getting better… everyday stronger… this past year (and a bit) has been about so much more than that. It’s been a transformation for my body - getting leaner, stronger, more capable but it’s also been a transformation for my mind - stronger, clearer, braver. The stats, the improvements, the milestones are all there but it’s nice to look back on how far I have come in just over a year – it’s a long way and I’m happier, more confident and overall in a better place because I found crossfit, this lifestyle and most importantly this group of people that I’m surround by. So, just for fun – a little look back on it all – in links.
The Cell (where Mel trains) held a partner pink day WOD today as a fundraiser for breast cancer month. It was awesome. In brief…
PINK DAY WOD
Today was a rough day for me at Crossfit… I just felt tired when I got there even after a day off. My shoulders were still sore and then I saw my (least) favorite combination on the board – a 21-15-9 couplet (always so hard). We’ll get to that though…
In pairs – one person bear crawls the width of the room twice while the other does air squats – repeat 3x each
Coach Tim was a bit late getting to class and Coach Match who started us in the warm-up let us choose how many burpees he’d get for being late – the deal was 5 for every minute. Tim arrived at exactly 5pm however we’d actually started at 4:57 because everyone was there and ready to go so he (and Jack) each got 15 burpees. After we finished going through the shoulder mobility and Coach Match handed over the class to Tim we were all a bit worried that we’d be doing burpees to warm-up as well but we didn’t… thankfully!
Match got a ton (exaggeration clearly) of rings as new equipment for the box and just like the KB’s when the additional ones arrived we were of course going to make good use of them immediately. I knew this as soon as I walked in and saw all the straps hanging down from the pull-up bars.
Tabata plank with feet in rings
Ring Planks (back corner) - Source
This felt fairly easy at first, not much harder anyway than normal planks however that quickly changed. The thing was though that my shoulders were hurting more than my abs. Don’t get me wrong, I knew my abs were working but my shoulders killed. I really need to figure out how to get them stronger (they should be catching up already) but still they ache all the time. Definitely need to figure this one out.
I did however (sore shoulders and cranky abs and all) manage to get through all the rounds with good form and not collapsing – the last one was so hard though.
I figured it would be interesting to compare my measurements from the start of the WLC to where I was before/ after the Primal/ Paleo Challenge back in February. I’ll do this again in another 8 weeks but for now:
Jan. 31/Feb. 21/Sept15
Hips (cm) - 94.2/94.7/101
Waist (cm) - 88.6/84.1/74
Thigh (cm) - 63.8/60.7/55
Arm (cm) - 31.2/31.3/30
Weight (kg) - 69.9/66.7/62.8
Definitely interesting. The only measurement that’s gone up has been my hips which I can (hopefully) attribute to muscle gain? I am happy with my progress. Ecstatic really when I sit back and reflect. My body shape has changed a lot over the past year - since I started crossfit at the end of July 2011 and it’s been a steady progress in the right direction. Most importantly however it’s been maintained, I still love what I’m doing which has made it easy to keep at it and continue to see results.
I think overall I’m happiest about how my (new) clothes fit more than anything. I pretty much have a new wardrobe from this time last year - I’ve dropped several clothes sizes. Back in Canada I was generally a 12-14, sometimes a 10 (north american sizes) and now I’m a 2-4 for pants, 6-8 for lululemon generally and I like being able to go in a easily find clothes my size on the racks - usually I pick up something and have to go back for a smaller size as I’ve underestimated where I am now but there are worse problems to have.
Mostly though I’m quite happy with my weight. I know many people who aim for something much lower and typical BMI charts tell us unreasonable numbers but I fluctuate between 135 and 140 and I’m good with that. In fact I don’t want to lose any more weight - this wouldn’t be a good thing for me - it would mean losing strength and I’d rather have strength than a lower number on the scale - it goes to show that scales are kind of crap. Now I only use it to ensure I am in fact not losing any more…
The biggest issue for me so far is getting my head to catch up to what I see in the mirror - so often I still think of myself as that girl who was 12kg heavier and out of shape (though didn’t even realize it at the time). I have to learn to include myself in the same categories as the girls I work out with - the strong and fast ones who I still look up to. I can keep up with them now, I’m in that category too and I need to remember that for myself.
I think we can all benefit from taking a step back and looking at who we were a year ago on this journey - what we could do then, how our bodies responded, how we viewed food… and far we’ve come - mastering new skills, lifting heavier weights, going faster, being stronger. It’s hard to see our progress in the day to day but everyone I’m surrounded by is making huge leaps and gains, putting in the effort and getting the rewards and I’m right there with them. We need to remind each other of these accomplishments but more importantly we need to remind ourselves. We need to see the positives, the gains and the achievements rather than beating ourselves up over things we haven’t yet accomplished because I can tell you a little secret…if we keep at it like we all are then this time next year we are going to hugely eclipse who we are now at this moment in time.
Daily pep talk complete!