Time To Pause

I’m struggling…

In my personal life, in the gym, on the blog.

I am working on my personal life issues and have taken steps in order to make things better. Don’t worry, I’m not in jeopardy, but it hasn’t been easy since Christmas. That’s all I’m gonna say about it on here. Some things need to remain private and I’m drawing the line here.

I have forced myself to get into the gym for the past 3 weeks or more. I still go 2-4 x/week, but it’s a struggle to get the motivation to go. I go, I lift/sweat, I still PR and I even started going back to Oly lifting class. It’s been a while since I’ve felt the happiness of the endorphins, but I still force myself to go, because I know it’s good for me. If, for nothing else, it has had its magical therapeutic effect on me. I’m just tired of crying with almost every single workout. The physical exertion opens up the emotional floodgate and the rubber mat is on the receiving end of all I’m trying to keep bottled up. I am fully aware of that and, like I said, I’m dealing with the emotional side, no worries.

We are well into February and this is my 6th post since the beginning of the year. Whereas I normally blog 2-3x/week. Motivation has been lacking for the blog as well and it has become a rushed chore more than anything else. Blogging has been a wonderful outlet for me since I became pregnant with Rina. I have found support and comfort in your kind comments when I was struggling as a new mom but lately, I find it’s taken my focus away from my kids and I just want to live in the “now” instead of recording every little workout or PR. I want to not feel the pressure to write, the possible judgement that comes with blogging on a regular basis and instead, I want to focus on the things that matter to me the most: my health, my children and my family.

With this said, I am taking a break from the blog. Will it be definite? Only time will tell.  I wanted to thank you for reading throughout the year and for understanding. I will keep reading some of my favourite blogs, but I may not contribute as much on here as you’ve been used to, or at all, for that matter, but I’ll still here. I’m still strong. I’m still going on, one day at a time, one rep at a time, one breath at a time. It’s just time for me to take care of me for once.

So for now, I’ll say: See you around! It’s been a pleasure to write and maybe I’ll be back one day!

 

Lighten Up!

I got off night shift yesterday morning and only slept for 3hrs before giving up on sleeping. The house was noisy, but I knew it would be so I made peace with it and got up for the day at 1pm. Needless to say I passed out on the couch at 2130! I had planned to get up at 0500 for the 0600 class this morning (the girls don’t have school today) and I was regretting that decision when my alarm went off! I got up anyway and made my way to the Box for this:

Warm-Up: Cindy x 3 rounds (5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 air squats)

I couldn’t get my pull-ups with just the blue band so I added up the purple band and was n’t impressed with how I was doing, but at least, I was warming up.

Skills: Handstand push-ups: 4-5 x 6-10 reps

I’ve been struggling to find the ideal “tripod” position between my hands and head and I only managed one successful round of 5  strict reps from a yoga block + 3×5# plates. I’ve done better in the past, but I just wasn’t feeling it today. I did try a kipping rep and it is SO MUCH EASIER!!! I guess I should master a strict without any scaling before I start thinking about kipping my reps though, right?!? 😉

 

WOD: Lift Up Step Down

Coach Caleb said we should aim at 75-80% for our DL. That meant I should have gone with 120#-125# for my reps, but as I was warming up, 105# felt challenging enough as it was and I stuck with that for the WOD. My DUs are still elusive and I can only manage one-at-a-time interspersed with single skips in-between. I aimed at the FG for 8 DUs + 16 SUs for each rounds.

We got going and I managed the 1st round doing all the BJ Rx. I did, however, scale it back to step-ups for the rest of the rounds as I felt my form was suffering and I didn’t want to make my sciatic angry. I know DL usually make it angry, so I wasn’t gonna push it too much with the BJ.

Here were my times for each rounds:

1:55 – 1:40 – 1:37 – 1:32 – 1:37

fastest + slowest = 3:27

Was I happy about my performance today? Nope, but at least I went and did the work. Sometimes, you have to cut yourself some slack and not allow a crappy workout to turn your day into crap. Funny enough, the Box blog post was all about scaling and how there’s no shame in scaling movements or weights once in a while!

I realize I haven’t blogged at all last week. I made a conscious decision to deal with more important family affairs and that meant the blog took the back burner. Our nanny is moving at the end of February, so I’m trying to find a suitable replacement. It feels like my days off are spent working out, cleaning, cooking and having nanny interviews. Not my idea of a fun day off and since the girls have a pro-D day today, I’m cutting this post short so I can make the most of our day together!

In other news, Béatrice drew this this morning. It’s her 1st “character” drawing where you can actually recognize the features. Apparently, I’m the one on the right because I’m “the angriest!” Lol!

Budding artist makes me so proud!

Budding artist makes me so proud!

 

The one at the top reminds me of Barbapapa!

Anybody else used to watch this show as a kid?

Anybody else used to watch this show as a kid?

When Crushing Your Goal Is Disappointing

I had my last Pelvic floor physic appointment yesterday and I’m also all done with my regular physio, with only my “homework to work on at home and at the gym. Although rehab from sciatica is far from over, it’s a work in progress and I’m slowly moving forward with it.

I looked at the WOD last night and I set myself some mental goals:

  • do the rowing intervals unbroken.
  • attempt the thrusters @ 65#
  • Finish sub 30′

It was a whole different ball game when I started to warm-up for it. I had talked with Heather before the WOD and she had suggested to drop down to 55# for the thrusters. In my stubborn set-up mind, I told her I would still try at 65#. YEAH. RIGHT! I warmed up and because I’m still figuring out a safe depth for me to drop to in a squat (not as deep as I CAN go, but still below parallel. Goldilocks I tell you!) I quickly figured out that staying at 55# would be safer and smarter for me.

It was my 1st time back on the erg since my sciatica flare-up and I was very apprehensive. My splits were horrible and I only managed my 4th round unbroken. That’s right! I stopped, sometimes more than once, rowing during the row intervals. Talk about wasting time. I even got into the ugly, bawling cry on my last interval. Breathing through that was fun… Not!

So, although I did manage to finish sub 30′ (my time was 18:49) I still wasn’t super impressed with how I did today. Maybe next time, I need to cut myself more slack. Although I was glad I was done, I wasn’t proud of how I managed to get it done, if that makes any sense. I guess, WODs aren’t always all roses and unicorns and sometimes, they are ugly, even when you get through them!

Anyway, I got through it and I survived so I came back home for a well-needed shower.

"Do Crossfit" they said, "it'll be fun!"  I don't know if I had fun, but it sure gave me funny hair! ;)

“Do Crossfit” they said, “it’ll be fun!” I don’t know if I had fun, but it sure gave me funny hair! 😉

Now, I’m back to being a mommy and looking forward to some knitting when Béa goes for her nap/quiet time!

5 And 3! Oh My!

If you’ve been a reader of my Ramblings for a while, you’ll know that my wonderful daughters share a birthday, 2 years apart. If you’re new to this little blog of mine, well, now you’re in the know as well! 😉

Today is the girls’ birthdays. They are turning 5 (Rina) and 3 (Béatrice). I have been busy trying to organize their special day, getting birthday and christmas presents done and finding a good paleo cake recipe.

I have managed to get the birthdays all done and under control and I still have a few items to pick up for the girls for Christmas. I have made a futile attempt at writing my Christmas cards with high hopes of sending them out later this week and I managed to only write up one so far! Man! I tell you, I feel like I’m somewhat organized in my day-to-day life, then December rolls around and all hell breaks loose! I get nothing done and stress levels go through the roof. Fortunately, the hubster has been pitching in a lot lately and I’m secretly hoping it will be a trend that lasts. 😉

We went to the truck light parade on Saturday evening and I think the girls enjoyed it very much. Rina was squealing like the most high-pitched piglet out there and Béatrice was dancing on my shoulders. Then, yesterday, we celebrated the girls since Rina had school today.

 

I'd say they managed a decent loot!

I’d say they managed a decent loot!

After we were done with lunch and it was time for me to bring out the less than impressive cake I made. I really don’t enjoy baking. To make it worst, I’m not really talented at it either. I’m just not crafty that way! I tried really hard to make them a cute birthday cake and it turned out more like a laughable mommy-fail of the year. I made a paleo cake from PaleOMG’s book and although I was told the cake and icing tasted good, the decorating was similar to Rina’s drawings… Not quite what I was going for. We sang “Happy birthday” twice and the girls blew their candles. BeZU even hugged me while she said: “Thank you for my cake Maman!” Bless her heart, that kid is simply amazing!

Once we were done eating lunch, cake and opening presents, we decided to go to the park atop the reservoir and have a little walk. We split up into two groups and somehow, lost Rina by doing so. I thought she was with the husband’s group and vice versa. A quick run along the trails surrounding the park and I found her sitting at the lookout, just waiting there. She got a quick scolding and I thing she was pretty scared off as she was all teary when she ran back to me. I told her she did good by waiting in one place and we went over other safety things before rejoining the rest of the group.

Before we lost Rina

Before we lost Rina

This morning, I went to Crossfit and even though I wasn’t feeling it at all (still sore from 1/2 Cindy on Friday), I was determined to get the juice flowing again in my sore body. Here’s what we did:

Skill: (1 Hang squat clean + 3 Front squats) x 5 E90s

I was aiming for 95# on my last set, with a realistic goal of 90#. I ended up doing this:

75#-80#-85#-85#-85#

I was stripping my butt out of the squat and I really wanted to focus on NOT doing that in order not to screw up my sciatica even more. Also, I was using the slam ball as a guide as to how low to get to at the bottom and hoping to create muscle memory without going lower than I need to. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s getting better, I think. It’s so hard to have to re-program all my lifts and not dropping as low as I can go into them, but I know I’m taking a few steps back in order to keep moving forward injury-free.

WOD: Swing And Pop

That was my first attempt at this one and what was written on our white board is different from what’s written on our blog so I’m a little confused, but I ended up doing what was on our white board, FG:

8min AMRAP:

  • 5  DUs + 15 singles
  • 15 AKB @ 26#
  • 5 KB push press / arm @ 26#

I didn’t think I would be strong enough to do all my rounds with the 26# KB for the KB push press and I had the 18# on my mat as a back up, but I managed just fine. It was a lot of hard work and my reps were low compared to everyone else, but I am so skittish of injuring my sciatic again, that I really don’t mind. I’m still working hard and making the best of it all while remaining safe. So far, so good!

I came back home, showered, ate lunch with Béa and then I was off to finally deliver baby Bailey’s blanket. I finished it a while back and finally managed to deliver it today. She’s such a cutie and so friendly! She was singing and cuddling and just adorable! I could have squeezed her all day, but I had to go back to my chores. I made some food for dinner and then it was time to pick up Rina from school and our evening routine. Hopefully, I can get to my christmas cards tomorrow and get those done and over with! Here’s to hoping! 😉

 

 

Motivation

Some days, I feel super motivated to keep going in my journey towards being healthy. I’ve managed to keep on track with the Whole30 for the past week (my second round at it) and having 8 days off from work means I can get my workouts in easily. Not having to deal with sciatic pain is a lovely added bonus and still a welcome novelty to me.

Some days weeks, however, it is harder to find the motivation. I get stuck in a funk at times and I wonder why I put myself through all of this. What is the benefit of all this torture fitness known as Crossfit. Why did I keep waking up at 0500 for 2 whole years, paying good, hard-earned money to subject myself to workouts that are so demanding, I sometimes end up crying on the mat at the end. Nowadays, the 0500 wake-up call have been replaced by rushing through the morning routine for school for the girls, WOD at 0930, then rushing to get ready to pick up Béa from preschool, or groceries or cooking. Some days, I sit down for the first time at 5pm and I’m exhausted. Why do I suck up all of the precious energy I have and go “waste” it all on a workout? Why, you say? I’ll tell you why.

I’m tired. ALL.THE.TIME. It doesn’t matter that I get to sleep in one day a month or not. I’m the wife of a husband who travels a lot for work which means I’m “single-married” (married, but alone at home with the kids for extended periods of time) a lot.

I’m a NICU nurse and I work shift-work and have been doing so for the past 10 years. 10 years of switching between nights and days on a dime. It takes its toll on a body. More recently, I have gone into a Charge Nurse position. I love the challenges it has brought upon me, but it can be added stress at times. That also doesn’t help making me feel less tired.

I’m a mom to 2 lovely, cuddly, active little girls. They like to be on the go and we try to accommodate that as much as possible. Some days, I crave 5 mins to myself. Even if we don’t do something big, they constantly want us to be involved in their little play, which means I can’t focus on anything I’d like to be doing for myself. That’s ok though, if I have a little bit of energy left in the evening after they’ve gone to bed is when I usually try to focus on myself. If the energy is AWOL, I usually just sit and watch TV and find some other time to do MY things.

When you put all those realities of my life together, it’s only normal that I need an outlet to REALLY focus on myself: my physical, emotional and mental well-being. THAT’S why I do Crossfit. When I am there, it’s usually 1hr of my life where I only need to make minimal decisions: Will I use 55lbs or 65lbs for the WOD? Do I need my wrist wraps or not?, etc. Nobody’s life hangs in my hands and I can let out of all the emotions that have been bottled up inside my short little body. Am I exhausted at the end of a WOD? For sure! Then again, I’m always exhausted and at least, I’ve done something for myself to get in better health!

Lately, I have struggled to find the motivation to get going. Whether it’s because the PRs don’t come as easily as they used to or because I have struggled with my sciatica, I’m not sure. I was talking to Kathleen about that a few weeks ago and I was debating taking a break. It is a scary thought. I feel like I would probably get lost if I didn’t do Crossfit. Either that, or I’m afraid I would never go back and all the hard work (and money) invested in myself for the past 2 years would be a total waste. Because of those fears, I have kept going, pushed through the struggles and injury and keep telling myself things will look brighter again soon (hopefully). When I really struggle with my motivation, I like to “check-in” with myself. I did one of those “check-in” 2 days ago and it has lit up a small fire of determination to keep going:

Top is on my 1st day of Crossfit, bottom is a few days ago. 28 months in between pictures

Top is on my 1st day of Crossfit, bottom is a few days ago. 28 months in between pictures

Sure the progress could be a lot better, but like I said, I’m a wife, a mom and a nurse. My diet isn’t always the best and I workout 1-3x/week at best. Progress is progress and seeing it helps re-focus my drive.

This morning was my first day back at the Box for Oly lifting in over a month. I was debating going at all as I feel like I have to re-learn everything about my snatch and C&J as well. I decided to go in anyway with the philosophy that everyone has to start somewhere. I don’t want to make the coaches feel like they are wasting their time with me, but I also would like to move past my injury and finally get proficient at those Olympic lifts. Coach Caleb wasn’t there this morning and we had the lovely Coach Val to guide us through our session. Karen and I struggle with dropping into the squat in the snatch and Coach Val has given us some pointers to fire up our hips and drop quickly.

I was trying with an empty 35#-bar this morning and Coach Val suggested I get a training bar (10#) and put some plates on it so that I would get the proper feel of the bar. That meant I started my snatch work at a very low weight, but I was at peace with that. I got my Dynamax ball for my butt depth into the squat and got working on things.

Photo 2015-11-26, 6 11 51 AM

Snatch 6×2 E2M: Here were my reps for this one:

30#-35#-40#-45#-50#-50#

I stayed at 50# for my last 2 rounds and had to drop the bar in-between all my reps in order to reset my form, but I managed to get it done and somewhat drop into the squat. I was happy with that. Not quite at the 90% target of my 1RM (50# was 77% of my “fake 1RM of 65# and 83% of my real 1RM of 60#), but not too bad considering I’m re-learning to move safely for my sciatic. I was glad I managed to get up that high as I was expecting to stay at 45# and just work on form.

Death by Power Cleans: It was my 1st time doing this one and since I don’t even have a 1RM at 92.5# for my C&J, I was definitely going to scale down for this one. After discussing with Coach Val, I decided on 65# and warmed up to that. Coach Val told us to aim for 10 rounds and I felt like I would probably bail out before then, but I went it anyway. I managed to go unbroken for rounds 1-7 and then things started to slow down a little after that. I had to drop the bar a few times during my round of 8, then started introducing singles into the round of 9. I was pretty pumped to complete the round of 10 and still have 15s to catch my breath before diving into the round of 11! 😉  I had to do them all as singles and there were a few reps that I caught really high in my neck, but I pushed through and squeezed in my last rep with 1s left in the round. Technically, I could have started right away on the round of 12, but I had nothing left in the tank. My for was getting wonky, my neck was catching the bar more and more and my left wrist was getting slow in the catch so I chose to stop there.

Photo 2015-11-26, 8 24 41 AM

What do you get at a 5am lifting class? Bruised neck and dark circles, that’s what you get!

I came back home and jumped right back into the realities of motherhood. Béa had tried to go pee by herself. She managed to get her pants off, hoist herself onto the toilet and couldn’t figure out the toilet paper, so she called out for help. I’m just thankful she didn’t put that pile of paper in the bowl as that would have been a nice plug! 😉

Photo 2015-11-26, 9 20 57 AM

See? Finding balance and purpose is what keeps me motivated! 😉

PR During Rehab

*More about women’s health and pelvic floor stuff in this post. Dudes might want to skip this one too*

Let’s be honest here. I’ve been in a funk. I fairly certain that I have SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and the gloomy/rainy weather isn’t helping a ton. I was also having a little pity party regarding my sciatic pain and I was secretly afraid this would mean the end of me squatting, deadlifting, thruster-ing, clean & jerk-ing and snatching. It made me really sad that I was thinking about giving up, but the butt pain was annoying to no end. Ok, maybe I wasn’t really sad about never having to snatch ever again, but that’s a different story. I have a tendency to keep quiet when I feel this way because my Mom always said to keep your mouth shut if you have nothing nice to say…

So yeah, annoying funk. When I get in a funk, I eat. Not always good food choices. My new jeans are feeling snug and so are my scrub tops again. In order to snap myself out of the funk and emotional eating, I reached out to Kathleen and Courtney and we have embarked on a (second for me) Whole30 together. If one of us falls off the wagon, we ALL have to do 15 burpees… per cheat snack. We started last Thursday and so far, everyone has been on plan! Way to go ladies!

I have also had my 1st appointment with the pelvic floor physic. It was interesting and mildly uncomfortable at times. I mean, where else do you get little stickers (electrodes) put next to your bum hole and vagina, hooked up to an ultrasound and get to see the strength of your inner abdominal muscles and rectal muscles as well. Add to that the presence of an almost 3-year-old who was peeking under my gown and asked A LOT of questions and you have a pretty good picture of my appointment.

The findings were interesting though:

  • I have weak rectus abdominis (front abs)
  • My abdominal muscles remain contracted too tight, even at rest.
  • I can’t hold a deep abdominal contraction for 10s during kegels
  • I get better control of those contractions if I think more about contracting my anus than if I focus on my abdomen.
  • My internal obliques and transversus abdominis are working overtime in order to compensate

In terms of regular physic, here’s what’s wrong with me as well:

  • I have too much mobility and squat too low, curving my spine at the bottom of the squat, resulting in my obliques taking over and adding a toll onto my lower back
  • Too much mobility on the erg as well, resulting in the same outcome as in the squat

What I’m doing to fix this:

  • Lots of kegels (we’re talking 60 reps of 10s contractions with holding and 10s rest)
  • a weird contraction of the deep abs while lying on the floor and opening my legs sideways, then extending the leg out straight.
  • firing the small deep posterior chain before doing any squatting or any heavy lifting
  • contracting my pelvic floor muscles when lifting heavy, or even lifting the girls
  • one-legged step-ups in the stairs and focusing on not tilting my pelvis
  • Squatting down to a med ball to limit my squat depth and ensuring I don’t squat too low (still below parallel, but not ass-to-the-grass

It doesn’t sound like much and when I do my keels and pelvic floor exercises I pretty much look like I’m just standing or lying down and staring into nothing-ness, but it’s a lot of hard work. I also started these on last Thursday.

What I have noticed so far:

  • I haven’t had a flare up in my sciatic pain since Thursday.
  • The numbing I felt in my lower back has decreased tremendously. So much so that I recently sat down and was amazed to notice what it felt like to sit down and not have that low numbing pain in my back
  • I did thrusters today, PR’d my 1RM and there was no leakage
  • I sneezed twice today without crossing my legs and also without experiencing any leakage
  • I’m not feeling any discomfort in my sciatic or lower back at all after doing the thrusters today
  • The pelvic floor PT gave me the green light to start doing my ROMWOD again, now I just have to clear it with the regular PT!

This is huge people! After 5 + years of lower back pain/ butt pain/ sciatic pain, I’m walking almost pain-free and it feels awesome. It has brought back a little of positiveness in my life and it makes the world of a difference in my day-to-day life.

Ok, enough about my lady bits and let’s now focus on the WOD today:

1RM Thruster: I warmed up to 65# before the timer went off and I planned on doing those E2M with 5# increases on each rep. I was hoping to hit 90# on my last rep, which would have been a 5# PR. Here’s what I ended up doing

65#-70#-75# with the assist of a med ball behind me in order to know when to stop dropping. I almost tripped on it when I did 80#, so I decided to try without any assist on the last 2 reps. 85# went well and Coach AJ told me I had good speed. I failed 90#. I managed to squat it and get up with it, but I couldn’t press it overhead. I was slightly disappointed. I humm-ed and aww-ed for a little bit and then decided to try for a 2#-PR anyway and go for 87#. I went to get the fractional plates and added them onto my bar. I had about 20 seconds left before the 12 minutes were up and i took a deep breath and went for it! I was so happy to get it up and above my head! I didn’t have much expectations that I would PR while rehab-ing my sciatic, but this was a nice welcomed surprise! 🙂

Double Tabata Row: A Tabata is an interval workout. You do 8 rounds of 20s work / 10s rest. Because it was so intense for my sciatic, I chose to go for the Assault bike instead of the erg. I probably could have done a regular Tabata, but not a double one. I set myself up next to Marika (who was on the Airdyne) and off we went. For the 1st Tabata, I managed to keep my intervals at 4 cals for all but the 7th interval! I was disappointed, but kept going and managed to get 4 cals for the 8th round. As soon as we entered the second part of the Tabata, I was just trying my best to keep each interval at 3 cals. I surprised myself by getting 4 cals for a few rounds, but I mostly stayed at 3. I was glad when It was over and my quads were throbbing nicely and seizing up slowly. I got off the Assault bike, got on all fours and then slumped onto my belly on the floor. I caught my breath and went to write my score on the board. I was shocked when I saw that Marika’s lowest score was 6 cals! Holy crap! I thought I’d worked hard for all my rounds, but my score was a measly 3! Coach AJ told us that they don’t count calories the same way and after doing some research online, I found in some forums that people mentioned the Assault bike was scoring about 1/2 the cals and distance when compared to the Airdyne. Good to know I wasn’t so far behind then!

I’m just happy with how today’s session went. I know you can’t always have great workout days, but it sure start the day the right way when you do well on the Skill and WOD!

Random Béatrice 

For those who know her, you also know that Béatrice can be a little space cadet and random at times.

Today will go down in my little life as one of the shittiest. Let’s see why:

Basement that flooded last Thursday was finally dry, until water started coming in again
I got rear-ended on my way to work by somebody who had expired insurance and registrations. I’m fine, my bumper has a little scratch, we’ll live.
I had to go to work, then pick up Béatrice, rush home, go to physio, go shopping for birthday presents and Christmas, rush back home and decide if I was going to take the girls to Crossfit. I really wasn’t in he mood, but I know Rina would enjoy it so I sucked it up and we went.
It’s been crazy with wind and rain all day and all I’ve wanted to do was curl up on the couch with my hot water bottle and my knitting. Unfortunately, I still have to clean the kitchen, fold the laundry and the girls aren’t even close to being in bed.

As I head upstairs for a quick bath, BeZU calls out to me

Béatrice: Mom!… Mom?… MOM!

Me: (exhausted and a little annoyed) Yeah buddy?

Béatrice: I love you Mom!

Well done, clever girl, well done!