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 Nowadays, the 0500 wake-up call have been replaced by rushing through the morning routine for school for the girls, WOD at 0930, then rushing to get ready to pick up Béa from preschool, or groceries or cooking.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.

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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.

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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! 😉

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

Snatch-Limited

Today was another fun one at the Box. I walked in apprehending the work, but other than the last 2 rounds, it was right up my alley. I was reminded once again that I need to work on my snatches, but I feel like I have to start from the beginning. Let me explain:

Warm-up: I was happy I was able to get through this one without any leakage in my pants. Could it be that the days of urinary leakage are finally behind me?

WOD: Metabolic HEAT

This one looked daunting when I peaked at it online last night, but I was determined to give it a go. I was thinking of using 55# for the snatches, but I quickly realized I would struggle enough with 45#. I was also using 4×45# plates as a box in order to really work on not jutting out my hips when I step down.  It feels like I’m starting to control my step-down better, but when it comes to the snatch, I am back to square one. I have to relearn how to squat using my deep abdominals and controlling how low I allow myself to get at the bottom of the squat. In order to do that, I did a few rounds of the WOD using the MedBall as a guide for the depth of my squat. It’s hard to correct something that you have been doing wrong from the beginning and even more so to keep my internal ab muscles contracted when my legs are open at the bottom of the squat. And for all those reasons, I decided to stay at 45# and work on form instead of weight. It made for a fairly easy WOD (we were to use the same bar throughout), but, again, I focused on form and re-learning my snatch, squat and box jumps. I’m still weak in the stepping-down of the BJ, but I met with my physic again today and we’re working on that. It is pretty much a return to the basics for me in all of the lifts, but at least, I’ll do them right this time around.

I got sweaty on round 3 and the last 2 rounds were horrible for the snatches as I just couldn’t drop below my bar fast enough anymore, but I was glad I went and got to work on technique!

On the home front, Ben just got over a bout of food poisoning that kept him in bed, sleeping for 30hrs. Must be nice! When I get sick, I still have to keep up with the house and the kids! Women are the weaker sex my butt! 😉

Our basement is slowly getting dried up from the flood we had 2 weeks ago, then they’ll start the rebuilding and replacing what needs to be replaced. The fans and dehumidifier are going on full blast 24/7 and it’s driving me bananas. I can only imagine the noise level for our tenants who have decided to stay in the chaos for now! They are troopers! I’d be out of there in a heartbeat!

 

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!

Rough One

I had planned on going to the morning Crossfit class today. With it being Remembrance Day, there are only 2 classes being held today and I really wanted to go to the morning one. This being said, Ben had scheduled himself a lesson at around the same time and I made the decision to take the girls with me to Crossfit. I told them they had to stay in the play area, that there was going to be a lot of people and that it would be dangerous if they moved. I got them toys and snacks and got to warming up. The girls were total little angels during the long WOD and I was glad I didn’t have to discipline them at all. The WOD was brutal, even with me scaling it the way I did. I probably scaled a little too much seeing as I was in the first few to finish it. You know there’s something wrong when I finish first! Lol! The WOD was one they had done last year (I was probably at work and unable to do it last year)

Here’s what we did and how I modified it.

I managed 2 TTB during my personal warm-up and I was pretty happy with that. I didn’t go for a 3rd, maybe I should have!?!

Warm-up: As per my PT’s recommendations, I modified the KBS to RKBS. We are diligently trying to avoid any strain on my lower back, hence the RKBS instead of the American ones.

WOD: CSOR

After discussing this with my PT (she also does Crossfit with me, so that is very convenient when I need to ask her advice!), we came up with these modifications:

  • 30 hang power clean @55#
  • 800m run
  • 21-15-9 push jerks @55#
    • pull-ups with blue and purple bands
  • 800m run
  • 30 burpee box jumps
  • 800m run

I felt good during the power cleans and was the first one out for the run (!) which, in my head, was a good indicator that maybe I should have gone heavier, but at the same time, I really didn’t want to irritate my sciatic, so I played it on the safer side. I was soon joined by all the others outside and we worked on getting our specific mileages in. I had chosen to do 800m and I managed to do that non-stop.

I came back inside and got to working on the push jerks. I broke my 21 into 11-5-2-3. Onto the rig for the pull-ups. I broke all my pull-up sets into 3s and that worked well for me. The 15 push jerks were done in 8-7 and the last round was done unbroken.

Back outside for another 800m run. I lost some time on towards the end as I noticed someone in crutches waiting to cross the street. Our box is right across from City Hall and they were having celebrations for Remembrance Day. These people were trying to make their way to City Hall and I asked them if they needed help to cross the street. When they said yes, I slowly made my way into the boulevard and stopped traffic to let them go through. I ran back inside once I was done and got started on the burpee box jumps. I managed all 30, but they were all very slow.

I went back out again for my last 800m run and I was so slow. My left hip flexor was so sore and I finished with a slight limp of my left leg. I couldn’t get over the fact that Mark was doing all this with a weighted vest. He really inspired me to finish strong (at least, as strong as I could). I came back inside and was probably in the first 10 to finish. You know I scaled too much when I finish in the first batch. I’m usually dead last. Like I said, I was just careful and didn’t want to make things worst with my sciatic. I finished in 38:12 and I was just glad I had kept on working with minimal breather breaks pretty much for the whole duration of my time!

After we were done, Michelle (my PT) told me I probably shouldn’t have done the box jumps. I should have done just regular burpees. I didn’t think about it either at the time, but she was right. Since we do step-downs and my dominant leg is my right, I got down on my right a lot which meant a hyper flexion of my left hip and it’s probably why my hip flexor was so bad on the last run.

As soon as I was done, the girls stated to let loose  and started running around and shrieking. Brett and Kim had brought their dog (gorgeous Sherman) inside and both girls and the dog were playing together. I then went to run some errands downtown.

On the way downtown, Béa banged her head on the car door and she then proceeded to fall on the sidewalk while holding my hand, which resulted in me inadvertently stepping on her other hand. She got a good scrape on a few fingers and was inconsolable so I called it a day and brought everybody back home for lunch. Rough day for the little one!

Once lunch was over, I was finally able to go clean myself up. Good thing too because the WOD had left me with some crazy hairdo!

Crazy hair, don't care!

Crazy hair, don’t care!

Now that laundry is folded, I was finally able to finish my morning coffee. Sometimes, I like to drink my coffee in a mug I took from my parents when I moved out. These mugs were purchased at a gas station at some point in the 80’s and it somehow brings me closer to my parents when I stop to think about my mom drinking her coffee from that same mug, a few decades ago! It is pretty ugly, but I love that it says “Mom” in french on it! 🙂

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My “mom” mug!

 

Womanhood

*Sorry gents, this one will discuss women problems/issues. You’re more than welcome to read through, but I doubt you’ll be able to relate much*

So, I haven’t blogged in a little while and there’s a few good reasons for it.

  1. Sometimes, I just need a break from the blogging world. I try to cram so much in a day and instead of giving you crappy posts, I just take a time out and focus on me instead
  2. I have been having pretty painful sciatic pain for 8 days now and I’ve been trying to deal with that, hence the title of my post. I did my first WOD since last Wednesday yesterday and will talk about it more below

I have breached this topic before, but let me dive in today. I have had pretty consistent sciatic pain since my pregnancy with Rina, 5 years ago. I have done chiropractic treatments before that have given some positive outcomes, but it always ends up coming back. It has seemed that over the years, it gets aggravated, no matter what I do. It was painful when I was an inactive mom, it is painful whether I work out or not, so before you go thinking that it’s all because of Crossfit, let me tell you right now, it isn’t. It does flare up when I squat or deadlift heavy (over 100lbs), but this last flare-up started after a WOD where there wasn’t any heavy lifting involved.

I just happened to mention to fellow Crossfitters that I’d been dealing with this for a while now and what I’d been doing in order to try to get better, when Michelle mentioned she was a PT and I should go see her. I was able to get an appointment with her the same day and I’m hoping to be able to solve some issues.

After 2 visits with her, here’s what we have discovered.

  1. My sciatic pain might not be related to my sciatic at all.
  2. I may be too flexible for my own good.
  3. I may benefit from pelvic floor physiotherapy.

I have breached the topic lightly before on the blog, but as a Crossfit woman, it’s no surprise that I suffer from “leakage” when lifting heavy or doing box jumps or attempting DUs or even sneezing, if I’m not careful. Apparently, this could all be improved with some pelvic floor PT.

You see, apparently childbirth can be traumatic and damaging to a body (no sh** Sherlock!) I’m diving deep right now so if you’re squeamish, STOP READING NOW!

When I delivered Rina, I tore my perineum (the area between your anus and your vagina. Not sorry about the TMI right now because I’m sure I’m not the only ) to the 3rd degree and required 15 stitches in my nether region. Also, I attempted to push her out for 3 1/2 hrs. That may (or may not) have injured my coccyx. Add to that a second pregnancy with a second tear (only 7 stitches this time around!) and some baby carrying on the same hip (I am right-handed and have a tendency to carry my girls nicely propped on my left hip in order to have my right hand free for other stuff) and I have a slight shift (about an inch or so) between my hips. My left hip sits higher than my right one, resulting in an imbalance on EVERYTHING I do when I move.

Because I am so limber, I haven’t really felt the imbalance before, but after a few years of having to do extra work, my left hip, pelvis and sciatic have finally said: “Enough!” and I’m listening. It turns out that the Pelvic Floor Physio could help with what my PT thinks is mostly a coccyx injury that needs decompression. She is, unfortunately not allowed to do such a thing, but a pelvic floor PT is. I have an appointment next week and I will keep you posted when I go. As for now, I have also been told to stop stretching (just until we figure out the origin of my sciatic pain), which means I haven’t done any ROMWOD since last week. 😦 I have to say, I kind of miss it, but I’ll listen to the expert’s advice until further notice.

In the meantime, I dream of a day when I wouldn’t need to sit on the couch with my hot water bottle up my butt/lower back in order to obtain some relief. That and no leakage would be awesome too! 😉

After Kath canceled our Kitty and Cougar WOD yesterday (turns out she had too much on her plate and couldn’t fit this in her schedule), I decided to do the Box WOD at home, since it didn’t give me much time to get my stuff together for the 0930 class. Kath felt super guilty about backing out of the competition, but to me, it was just an excuse to get together with her and WOD together, we can do that anytime and don’t need the extra stress of the competition in order to do that!

Here’s what I did yesterday:

We only had a 25# KB at home so I went out and decided to get myself a little treat: a brand new 35# KB! I had both girls with me (Rina had stayed home from school with a cold and Béa was on a day off from preschool) and Rina didn’t want to be left in the dust, so she convinced me to get her a cute little 5# KB.

A family that lifts together... gets strong together! Lol!

A family that lifts together… gets strong together! Lol!

I packed the girls in their double stroller and set off for my run. I had a choice between running a 720m or 920m in my neighbourhood, so I aimed high and went for the 920m loop. Because I have the memory of a fly, I couldn’t remember that I had to do taters and did AKBS.  Pushing the stroller up the hills was interesting, seeing as the girls and the stroller combined added close to 80# of lump I had to get up 3 little hills. 1 was short, 1 was medium and long and the third was short but at a steep incline which had me walking. The fun part was that I also had to go a steady downhill on my way back home. I had to pause my timer, get the girls out of the stroller and get Béatrice set up with something to occupy her while Rina and I got to work on the AKBS. Rina was more interested in chalking up her little hands than actually lifting the KB, but she did about 20 reps with me. I broke mine up in sets of 10 and only started to lose my grip on rep #47. I finished my 3 reps and looked at my timer: 9:52. Not too bad considering I had last done this one RX (without having to push a heavy stroller up a hill) so I’m guessing I probably could have done a similar time as well!

So there you go, I should be back for more Crossfit tales tomorrow, if I feel like blogging about it! 😉

Modified Fitness Is Still Fitness

My sciatic has been acting up since Monday and hasn’t let up really. I was limping badly yesterday and even though I did my ROMWOD, foam rolled, LaCrosse-balled it, it is still pinching. I showed up to the Box this morning and didn’t have high hopes of being able to perform the WOD, but after I spoke with Coach France, we came up with a plan of attack on how to modify the WOD and still get a good workout in. The only warning she gave me was: “If it’s not feeling good, don’t push through, just do some push-ups instead.” With those modifications and that one rule, I was ready to go. Anxious, but ready! 😉

I started modifying during the warm-up when the air squats were a bit much for me. I could feel a pinch and therefore, dropped and did push-ups instead.

As for the WOD, here’s what I did instead:

  • 800m run x 1 (non stop, at an easy pace) followed by an AMRAP of
  • 10 x push press @55#
  • 10 burpees (no bar hop for me)

I tried my best to bounce back quickly on the turnarounds on the run, instead of taking a few walking steps, I just pushed off and bounced back into it. I managed to complete only 43 reps of this one, but I was still happy to just be moving at all!

We then had a 10-mins rest before we tackled the second part of the WOD:

  • 1200m on the Airdyne (non-stop and I never let go of the handles either, pretty proud of this new feat!) followed by AMRAP of
  • 10 pullups (blue and purple bands)
  • 10 air squats

I completed 82 reps on this one and it felt good. I know I probably didn’t spend as much energy as everyone else, but like I said, I was sweaty, I worked hard and managed to get some fitness in, even though I had a pretty bad bum bugging me. The air squats felt good on the last part of the WOD, maybe because I was warmed up a bit?

All in all, I was pretty pleased with my work today. The pull-ups were banded perfectly and I was able to string 4 and 3 of them throughout the whole workout. I was in a good place mentally and blocked out all negative self-talk during the workout. The Airdyne was sure challenging, but when it got too much, I just closed my eyes, focused on breathing and kept going. I was truly happy to be able to move and get my heart pumping for a bit!

I am now back home, showered and ready to go to a short meeting at work. When I come back, I will try to book myself a physio appointment and see if they can give me pointers to help out with my sciatic! In the meantime, I will keep up with my ROMWOD tonight, without pushing it. After all, I have my Kitty and Cougar Throwdown comp I need to be ready for with Kathleen! Look for us , we are team Beasty Belles!

Putting In The Work, Reaping The Slow Progress

I’ve been at this Crossfit craziness for a little over two years now and to say that I absolutely love it is an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I truly don’t enjoy the WODs (ahem, crazy warm-up sesh followed by DT, ahem), but I know and trust my coaches and I know that, in the end, no matter how much I scale back, I am still working towards becoming fitter.

From the beginning of my little journey, I have always wanted to make sure that I understand the mobility behind a lift before I start increasing my weights. It has sometimes been frustrating to see others progress faster, to see them putting heavier plates on the barbells or to see them master a lift or a gymnastic move that still evades me, but, overall, I have managed to stay true to my promise of moving properly before adding weight. Two years into this, I am between Novice and Intermediate (as per this chart) for all my lifts. I’m sure I could probably be a solid intermediate or even higher if I trained more, but I am a wife, a mom and I have a job, therefore, I am pretty happy with where I stand today.

Up until recently, I was using 55# for all my lifts during WODs and I kind of promoted myself to 65# a few weeks ago. It has been challenging for certain WODs, impossible for others and has felt comfortable for some. See? Intermediate! 😉

Here’s what we did today:

We really warmed-up our hips and ankles and the mood was pretty cheerful throughout the warm-up. Then, it was time to get serious and tackle this WOD.

Triple Treat

I warmed-up with 55# and although the thrusters felt somewhat easy and the deadlifts were truly easy, I knew it would become taxing towards the end. Still, I unloaded my bar, put on 15# plates on each end and was ready to tackle this one at 65#. Coach AJ came by and told me she wanted me to really be explosive from the hips in the BJ and actually move my hips. I have a tendency to keep my hips at the same height and only pull my legs up like  a frog jumps. It makes things easier for this short stuff to get on the box, but it’s not proper form. I did a few reps and it was definitely more challenging, but it gave me something new to work on, form-wise.

I managed to do all 6 rounds with a squat thruster for my 1st rep of every thrusters and keep going from there. The deadlifts were definitely the easiest (for me) in this WOD and I tried my little heart out to really engage my hips in the BJ. That made for some very noisy landings on the box, but I think, overall, I did ok. I could tell on my last round that my form was slowly reverting to my old habits, but I was still determined to work on these! Even though this WOD was a “no score” one, we were able to keep track of our times for each rounds. Here’s how I did:

  1. 0:52
  2. 0:50
  3. 0:46
  4. 0:45
  5. 0:43
  6. 0:42

I was pretty pleased that I was able to shave off 10 secs of my initial time for this!

After the WOD, Coach AJ came by and told me I made her “want to try that ROMWOD thing. You’re moving so well and your squats are so good!” It’s nice to know that what I’ve been working so hard on for the past 2 years is finally paying off and people are noticing.

She asked me if I felt any different in my performance and, funnily enough, today is the first day that my sciatic is truly killing me post WOD since I have started the ROMWOD. Is it because I changed my BJ? Not sure, but it sure is (literally) a giant pain in my butt. I went to the mall with Béatrice after my workout and I couldn’t walk while holding her in my arms, it was hurting too much. Even with her walking by herself, I was limping next to her while we walked really slow. I guess it’s really time I book a chiro appointment for some active release therapy!

As for ROMWOD, I can definitely see an improvement in my flexibility, but I’m not sure how it’S helping me in my performance overall. I really enjoy the increased flexibility I have gained in the past 2 weeks and am looking forward to keeping it up, even if it feels like relaxation most of the time.

Seated Straddle, 2 weeks ago, after 4 minutes into the pose.

Seated Straddle, 2 weeks ago, after 4 minutes into the pose. Head isn’t touching the forearms, shoulders are up.

Seated Straddle, 2 days ago, at the beginning of the 4-minute hold of the pose

Seated Straddle, 2 days ago, at the beginning of the 4-minute hold of the pose. Forehead is almost touching the forearms

Seated Straddle, 2 days ago, at the end of the 4-minute hold. My head is almost touching the ground. Definitely and improvement!

Seated Straddle, 2 days ago, at the end of the 4-minute hold. My head is past the forearms and almost touching the ground. Definitely an improvement!

What Was That?!?

I went to bed at a decent hour last night, woke up, got Rina ready for school and then even had some time to do a little food prep before heading in to the Box. I had read the workout last night and I knew it was going to be a tough one, but I thought to myself: “It’s DT. You can do it at 65# if you strategize appropriately about it.” RIIIIIiiiiiiight!

That was before somebody pointed out that the warm-up was x3 this morning. I had read it as x1 only. Holy Cow, this was gonna be hard!

Warm-up (aka WOD #1):  3x

  • 500m row
  • 15 burpees
  • 30 light RKBS

Myeah, ok. I’ll get right on that! There was a few of us and in a way, I’m thankful for that because that meant I had to do 0.6km on the death bike for my second round since none of the ergs were available. To say that I enjoyed this much more than the erg is an understatement. At least, I was benefiting from the wind I was generating on the death bike vs. the erg. I did all my rounds with an 18# KB and did all my burpees Rx, but I had to stop twice during my last row. That was intense to say the least and it put me in a foul mood. How was I supposed to use 65# for DT now, when I felt like I had nothing left in the tank? I warmed up to 55# and called it a day. I felt like wiping down the barbell before I got started because it was already full of sweat from the hang power cleans!

Yep!

Yep!

WOD: DT

3.2.1.Go!

I managed all my rounds with unbroken DL. I would go up to 11, take a few breaths and then do my last rep before transitioning to the Hang Power Cleans. Those were the hardest for me. I had to break most rounds into sets of 4-4-1 and that made me waste a lot of time. I just didn’t have the forearms to push through. I did manage to do all push jerks unbroken, which tells me I probably should have stuck to my idea of using 65#, but I was too angry. The amount of swearing I did in my head was pretty phenomenal, even for me! Thanks goodness I managed to keep my mouth shut and just grind through it. I could tell I had my “pissed off” face on and the first thing that came out of my mouth when I was done was: “That was stupid!”

I was really trying to finish before Linda and I didn’t manage to do so, but I hung on to her pretty well and I did whatever it took for me to get over this insane warm-up/WOD. It’s rare that a workout puts me in such a bad mood and I’ve been trying to understand why it has done so. Was it because I felt drained form the warm-up? Was it because I didn’t use 65# like I had originally planned on doing when I misread the WOD last night? Was it because it was a grey/rainy day? I still don’t have the answer to that and I’m still pretty mad at the whole thing. I know I should let it go and I will, but it is surprising to me how upset I am at the whole thing. I finished with a time of 10:25, which puts me right in the middle of the pack (I think) and makes me think I scaled appropriately. I’m just not sure why I had such a violent reaction to that WOD. I spoke to Rob afterwards and he seemed to think like me. We were both agreeing that we HATED this one! Oh well, it’s done and over with and I now have a record for this Hero WOD, but it sure didn’t make me feel like one when I was doing it. Gotta check that mental fortitude and my internal self-talk, once again!

I came home, finished my food prep for the week, finished laundry and now have a luxurious 15-mins break to lounge before I go get Rina at the bus stop. Then, it’s prepping dinner, bath time and ROMWOD for me when the girls get to bed. I’m truly hoping the ROMWOD will help lift up my sourpuss mood!

That's what I should have done today!

That’s what I should have done today!

Swole And Flexy

I have recently discovered ROMWOD, through a friend on Facebook and it has been one of those very nice little discoveries. Pat (my FB friend: we have never met. We both have a friend in common and we all do Crossfit. We became friends on FB during the Open and have been cheering each other on ever since! Crossfit is such a great community, even with strangers who become friends!) had posted about it on IG and I was curious so I asked him about it. After looking into it more myself, I registered and am I ever glad I did! Below is my review of the site:

ROMWOD stands for Range Of Motion Workout Of the Day. Long name for something that could be called yoga for Crossfitters or any other athlete, really. When you register, you need to give them your credit card number, but they give you access to the site for 7 days for free before they start charging you $13.95/month. What it gives you is the following: access to a daily online yoga session ranging from 10-45 mins in length, targeted at increasing your flexibility and range of motion, which then, helps out in your mobility and lifts when you do Crossfit or weightlifting. They have “warrior” sessions on Thursdays that are  longer (45mins) and I have enjoyed all the sessions tremendously.

Each video session is lead in a different Crossfit affiliate and while some are lend by very bendy people, some are also led by your average flexible Joe and makes it easy to see what modifications you could do for each poses. They also have a detailed instruction for each pose on the website as well as how to modify each poses according to flexibility.

Here’s what I have enjoyed so far since I started, a week ago:

  • The narrator isn’t annoying at all and doesn’t talk through the entire session
  • You mostly stay in the poses for longer periods of time (2-4 mins/pose) and deepen your stretching over this length of time, with deep breathing. I really enjoy this because while you’re not imposing the stretch on your body, you can work into it.
  • The sessions are short enough that I can do them everyday, even after a long day at work.
  • Some of the poses are easier for me. I was a dancer in my younger days, so I’m fairly flexible, but I’ve lost a lot of my flexibility over the last 10-15 years because I haven’t worked on it very much. I see fast progress on the seated folds and I think I could probably get back into a straddle split and maybe even a front split before the end of the year if I keep at it. The butterfly is also easy and I believe I will be able to complete i with a full fold soon too.
Front Split. Still need to go much lower with my upper body, but it's a good start!

Front Split. Still need to go much lower with my upper body, but it’s a good start!

 

Butterfly pose. Look at how low my knees are already!

Butterfly pose. Look at how low my knees are already!

  • While some of the poses are easy, others are quite challenging and I have to use the modifications for them: the Saddle, particularly is challenging for me. I really feel it in the knees and the Standing Straddle is usually challenging for me to hold for long periods of time. But I’m making progress in them and that’s all that matters to me!
  • Although I wouldn’t recommend doing these everyday with the kiddos, it is doable! I have done one with the girls before their bed time. It was a little challenging and I couldn’t really relax as well into the poses, but I still managed to get my stretch in and the girls had fun getting on the floor with me!
Family Standing Straddle!

Family Standing Straddle!

  • You can do these in the comfort of your living room (in your pjs even, in my case) without requiring massive props. I sometimes wish I had a yoga block (Béatrice chewed it all up when she was younger and teething), but that’s easy enough to get and for now, I deal with couch pillows!

As for the benefits, I really felt I was able to get deeper into my squat on my C&J this morning. Also, I’m not sure if it has anything to do with helping with my shoulder mobility (thanks to the Puppy Dog), but I’ve been able to successfully do 2 TTB earlier this week (which I have never been able to do before). I’ve also only had one very short episode of sciatic pinch since I’ve started the program, even though I have been lifting heavy at Crossfit. Usually, running, squatting and deadlifts do my sciatic a world of pain and I haven’t felt it as much this week. If anything, it allows me to wind down and de-stress after a long day at work and, to me, that’s very beneficial.

Alright! Enough about my ROMWOD and here’s what we did in our Oly class this morning. Last week was Snatch testing and I missed it because of work. 😦 Although I’m not a fan of snatching (sorry Coach Caleb), I was really curious to see if I could hit my “fake PR” of 65#. Next time! Here’s what we did this morning:

Photo 2015-10-22, 8 50 24 AM

2.5# PR on my C&J!

I PR’d my C&J by 2.5#! It’s not a huge increase, but I was happy with that! I tried at 95# and although I had a good high pull on both attempts, I just didn’t have anything left in me to drop into the squat and catch it there. The jerk was also a challenge at 92.5# and I knew I was pushing it by trying at 95#, but I just had to give it a shot! 😉

Good lifting session in the books for today!

 

When You PR Your Bad Day!

Got woken up by Rina slapping me in the face at 0500! Slept in until 0600, feeling exhausted after two challenging days at work. I am currently transitioning into a new position and assuming my new role has proven to be testing. I think I’m doing ok though, it’s just different to step from bedside nursing after 10 years to assume a more managerial position.

Got the little ones ready for school and got ready for the Box. On my way downstairs with the empty laundry baskets, I was telling Béa to be careful in the staircase and missed the last step myself. Baskets went flying, I caught myself just in time and only have a small bruise on my wrist. Seriously universe? I also got a speeding ticket on the way in to Crossfit so that was awesome… NOT. The officer was a bit of a douche so I stopped talking when he told me I wasn’t driving safely after I told him I had seen my speedometer at 60km/h. Seriously, Dude…

I didn’t have time to warm up as well as I wanted to, but I figured the anger from the speeding ticket and adrenaline rushing through my body would do the rest. Plus, Rob was there, so I felt obliged to work on my TTB. I got 2! New PR!

Skill: 1 Hang Clean + 2 front squats x 5 E90s

I was thinking of going up to 90# on those. I know I can squat that weight, but the hang clean would be challenging. Here’s what my reps looked like:

70#-75#-80#-85#-95#

That’s right! I thought, screw it! Get all the anger out and try at 95#. I knew I could do 90#, but I wanted to try to push myself. The hang clean wasn’t pretty at all, but I managed to catch it and then, it was all a matter of doing my 2 squats. Heck yeah! I felt good after that.

WOD: Helen

I had done this one back in April and had used the blue and purple bands for the pull-ups, but the 26#KB. I was a little confused today. I thought we had to do 4 rounds so I used the 35#KB, but the red and blue bands for the pull-ups. My runs felt really slow and I couldn’t believe it when I came back in from my 3rd run and everyone was done. I thought I still had one more round to do. Coach AJ was cheering me on and I mentioned I still had another round to go. She corrected me and confirmed it was only 3 rounds, not 4, and apparently, my face lit up like Christmas had come early!

I finished in 16:38 with a new PR (to me). Looking back, I should have used the blue and purple bands today as well because I was doing C2B. Oh well! I did increase the KB and I really wanted to break them into 11-10 for all sets, but  I just didn’t have it in me on the second round. I did 11-5-5  and on my 3rd round I did 11-6-4.

That’s it for me, I have to go cuddle with Béa before I head in to work for the night!