Moving Forward

2015 ended on a high note in my fitness life (finally reached a huge goal of mine to back squat my body weight), but it was very sour and looking bleak on a more personal level. I am taking the appropriate steps to change and that and I’m remaining positive that this year will be better than the last and I’m looking forward to acquiring new tools to make this year better. Always growing and always learning makes you a better person. I’m a firm believer that we should always strive to better our personality and if it’s not a priority of yours, I strongly believe we wouldn’t have much in common.

As such, I made it a priority to get a workout in today and, after discussing it with my other half, I was cleared to make it to the 0600 class this morning. Yesterday was stressful at work and I felt like I was putting out fires all day, but it all comes with the territory of being a charge nurse. I did my best and came home feeling accomplished. Exhausted, but accomplished! I think it is slowly becoming apparent that my fitness is important to me as my co-workers are blurting out comments to me. I had 3 that made me laugh a lot because they were as random and out-of-the-blue as they come.  When I told a co-worker I was going on break, she asked: “Will you be back squatting your bodyweight in the break room?” Then, another (female) co-worker blurted out that “Your ass is tight!” clarifying shortly afterwards that I looked lean and fit and a third co-worked noted how I “Eat healthy all the time”. Preach by example, don’t impose your beliefs on people and answer questions is my way to make people understand that it’s all about hard work and dedication, but the rewards make it worth it by the ten-folds! I came home bone tired, my sciatic was acting up and I was ready for a long night of uninterrupted sleep.

My night was uninterrupted, but didn’t feel long enough with a 0500 alarm! I was happy to be back with my OG crew (the 0600!) and to be surrounded with people who share a passion for hard work. Here are the shenanigans we got up to today:

 

Skill: Deadlift 4-8-12-16 E2:30

I’ve been having a hard time concentrating lately. I read the WOD at night, elaborate a game plan and then, somehow, in the morning, I forget about my plan or can’t focus enough and can’t count plates properly. I was meaning to start the DL at 135# and take off 10# with each set, but instead, here’s what I did:

145#x4

125#x8

105#x12

85#x16

Meh! Can’t win them all. I was also wondering why I was struggling so hard to hang onto the bar on my 1st set and then realized I wasn’t using my mixed grip, like I normally am when DL heavy! See what I mean?!? Can’t focus to save my life!

Not my legs, in case you were wondering! Lol!

Mixed grip demo. Not my legs, in case you were wondering! Lol!

I did manage to hang on to the bar for all my rounds without having to drop it, so I was pretty happy with that!

WOD: Bingo Bango

I could have scaled this the same way I normally do, with banded pull-ups, but I decided to go a little harder. I had talked to Coach Caleb last week about my pull-ups and he suggested doing some building up with this little gem:

It’s more of a strict pull-up drill, but it really recruits the appropriate muscles needed for a pull-up and I was ready to put in the work today. I set-up my bar on the rig and we put a 70#KB in front of my feet so that I wouldn’t slide forward as the reps increased and I was set to go.  I wrote my rep scheme on a small whiteboard and I had written up to 10 pull-ups, thinking I would probably make it to the round of 7. Much to my surprise, I completed the 9th round for an AMRAP of 135. I was really conscious of my BJ and made a strong effort to not become sloppy for my reps. I was pretty happy with the work I put in today and came home to were proudly my new muscle shirt, gifted by the Nanny. She gets me so well and had given me this shirt that says: “Muscles and Mascara” on it.

My muscle shirt! <3 it!

My muscle shirt!

 

BeZU, flexing like a beast with Mama!

BeZU, flexing like a beast with Mama!

Having people who think like you, support and encourage you in your crazy adventures make the world of a difference and I was happy I got to see reconnect with my bunch of fit people this morning. These people are a source of inspiration on a daily basis and I consider myself lucky to have like-minded people in my life who provide friendship, love and support when it is needed! I am lucky to have a bunch of them in my life!

 

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!

When A PR Disappoints

We had a busy weekend, spent family-style and running around. Saturday, we got up early and did our errands. We had intended to go to the Quadra Village Community Celebrations, but we had so much running around to do that we ended up missing the festivities. That’s ok, we ended up planting our herb garden and I was reminded that gardening, sometimes, feel like a workout:

Photo 2015-05-09, 1 11 04 PM

Burpee… Why you gotta haunt me so?

 

However, after Friday’s WOD, my sciatic was brutally letting me know that it was angry with me and things didn’t improve much over the weekend. 😦

We went out for breakfast for Mother’s Day. Who am I kidding, we went out for breakfast because it was Sunday! LoL! Afterwards, we decided to bike downtown and Ben hooked up the stroller to his bike. The girls traveled in style with the Jambox speaker in the stroller with them and music playing while poor Ben had to pull them through town. We parked the bikes and stroller while we strolled around. Rina got a blister on her toe from her plastic sandals and took them off. Béatrice didn’t want to be left behind so she copied her big sister. Their feet were filthy when we came back home! I thought the bike ride would help with the sciatic pain, but it didn’t. It didn’t make it worst either. It was just a constant throbbing, burning pain in my left buttock. We came back home to a late lunch and I took the girls to bed with me. Nobody slept, but it was nice to get some cuddles and relaxing time together. Ben also made me a stand for my iPad Mini and, although it wasn’t the costliest of Mother’s Day presents, I was really thankful for it. He had made one for himself a few months ago and I kept hogging borrowing it when he wasn’t using it. Now, I have my very own and don’t have to steal his! 😉

I was excited to see the WOD last night. Funny enough, I had been thinking about Baseline lately because it was my 1st WOD ever and I was curious to see where I stood compared to my humble beginnings. Well, here it goes:

Skill: Back squat 5×5 with HSPU 5-7reps E60s

Since I could feel EVERY butt giggle (not in a fun way, but in a “my sciatic is painful” way) on the warm-up run, I decided to avoid the squats today. Coach Caleb suggested I try some deadlifts instead. I chose a low weight to not irritate my sciatic even more, but even at the low 85#, I had to stop on the 3rd round. It was burning and pulling and hurting, so Coach Caleb said to just rest during the squats and keep working on the HSPU. I managed those with 1 yoga block and 3×5# plates. I did them strict and they were hard. During the back squats, I stretched and tried to do some active release in my glutes and hip flexors.

WOD: Baseline

I was ready for this one. Tracey and I paired up in order to score one another. I had a strategy and was ready to tackle it. I really wanted to get the most of my row and I extended back and reached forward as much as I could which resulted in me keeping my average stroke per 500m around the 2:10. Unheard of for me. I went above that towards the end as I fatigued, but I was able to bring it back for the last 50 metres. So far so good.

For the air squats, I wasn’t overly fast, but I only stopped twice if I remember properly and for only a few short seconds.

Then, it was onto the sit-ups. Again, I wasn’t overly fast, but I only took 2 short breaks before completing the 30 reps.I also no-repped myself for a rep because my hands didn’t touch the ground behind me on one rep. I was honest and corrected Tracey on her count! Accountability, people, accountability! If you cheat on a rep, you only cheat yourself! 😉

The push-ups were hard. I had a hard time stringing them along at the beginning, but managed to do 5 in-a-row towards the end. I did them all RX though and didn’t need to drop to my knees. Onto the pull-ups we go!

I had set-up with the red band and only managed a max of 2 in-a-row. They were mostly done singles and I think that’s where I lost most of my time. I never looked at the clock during the WOD (and waste precious seconds turning my head around?!? No siree!, Not me!) and I was expecting to finish around the 8:00 mark. I was incredibly disappointed when Tracey called out 8:37. Yep, even though it was a PR, I was angry. Yes, I had done the push-ups RX and my band for the pull-ups was the smallest I’d ever used for Baseline, but I was still mad that I wasn’t closer to my goal. Below is my progression for my multiple attempts at this WOD (The most recent on top):

Baseline progress

Baseline progress

I tried to shake it off, came back home showered and did my hair. I was still upset:

Not a happy camper

Not a happy camper

Then I thought: You have your lovely cozy yellow hoodie on and your freckles make you look good and you’re wearing funky leggings that show off your hamstrings and quads. Turn that frown upside-down and celebrate the fact that you can pull off wearing a banana-yellow hoodie and rock the rest of your day, even if it’s grey and chilly outside!

Burpee... Why you gotta haunt me so?

Mindset is everything! Focus on the positive, let go of the negative!

I took my own thought to heart and decided that even though I wasn’t close to my goal, my score is still progress and I can only achieve progress with some failures thrown into the mix. Failure is growth and growth is progress!

Photo 2014-12-23, 7 57 19 PM

Now, if I could just get rid of my sciatic pain, life would be just peachy, cuddling on the couch with my little Béa! 🙂

Shin Guard Musings

Lately, I have been using my shin guards a little more, whether it’s for box jumps or simply for deadlifts (I have shin splints and even just brushing the bar along my shins is painful) and although I have perused the sayings on them, I really paid attention to them yesterday, when I took them out of the wash. Here’s the ones I have and I will elaborate on the motivational quotes that are on them:

 

Here are the quotes on them:

  • The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender
  • Life doesn’t have a dress rehearsal, make it count
  • A goal is a dream with a deadline
  • Luck is the time when preparation and opportunity meet
  • The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire
  • Work will win when wishing won’t
  • Discipline is remembering what you want
  • When it’s all over, it’s not who you were. It’s whether you made a difference
  • Pain is weakness leaving your body
  • It’s not the will to win but the will to prepare that makes a difference
  • Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm*
  • Pain is nothing compared to what it feels like to quit

I was wearing them again for the WOD this morning (deadlifts) and I felt so at peace. I don’t know if it’s because I was inspired by the quotes or whatnot, but I’m feeling a ton better than I was last week, both physically and mentally and I like where I am right now!

Since we didn’t have any skill work today, we had a longer warm-up and the WOD was pretty much all skills.

 

 

Deadlift 5×3 EMOM: When I had looked at it at home this morning, I was thinking 135# for the DL, but I settled for 105#. I didn’t have time to warm-up for a higher weight and although they felt easy, I was happy with my technique.

Hang power clean + push press 5×3 EMOM: For this one, I chose 60# and I think it was a good weight for me. I wanted to pay more attention to having quick elbows and pushing the elbows out on the hang power clean and the press felt good, yet somewhat challenging towards the end. Maybe I should have gone to 65#…

Hang power snatch + OHS 5×3 EMOM: For this one, I chose 55# and really wanted to take the opportunity to work on my snatch. At 55#, the snatch is challenging and so were the OHS. I really needed to remember to brace my core and block my breath on the squat. The snatch was a bit only for the first 2 sets, but I think it improved on the last 3.

I like barbell work. I like feeling the control needed in order to get the bar to move the way you want it too. I like that it is much more than just lifting the bar, it engages your core, glutes, quads, shoulders, traps, etc. It is so much more intricate than just “lifting the bar overhead” and although I still very much struggle for most lifts, I like the challenge it offers.

A few days ago, the sun was shining bright and I wanted to put my favourite shorts on. To my surprise, they were way too big and I couldn’t locate the only belt I own (which is also too big now):

Photo 2015-04-20, 11 13 56 AM

That only meant one thing: Shopping!

I ended up going to Old Navy with the girls and managed to find a few tank tops and 4 pairs of shorts (shorts that have nothing to do with Crossfit, that is ;)!) To my dismay, I went from a size 12 / large last summer (in the green shorts above) to a size 8 / medium. As for the tops, I went from a medium to a small. I was so happy with the progress! I also realize that my favourite Lululemon shorts and crop leggings are getting too big. I need to cinch the drawstrings to the max and I still have to pull them up all the time. Oh well, I will replace those gradually as they are quite costly $$$!

Last, but not least, Béatrice asked for pig tails this morning and she is just too darn cute for me not to share a few pics with you all (as you can see, I am making the best of my week off with my girls!):

Dancing in the wind

Dancing in the wind

Cuteness overload!

Cuteness overload!

Roar!

Roar!

 

* Having failed A LOT, this is probably my favourite one!

Yeah Baby!

After 10 days of being a single parent, I was really looking forward to my husband coming home tonight. Of course, I woke up with a cold sore on my lip so celebrating with a kiss will have to wait just a little longer. Also, I realized when I woke up that I am working a night shift tonight and I will leave the house before my husband gets here, so technically, I will have to wait until tomorrow morning to catch a glimpse of him before I head to bed. Meh!

Anyway, I got up this morning and hurried to make breakfast, clean the house and do the laundry so I could go to the Box and tackle 15.1. That’s right! If you’re not into Crossfit, let me remind you that the Crossfit Open 2015 has officially begun and the 1st workout has been released last Thursday. Here’s what it consists of:

I did not do the Rx version since I do not have my TTB yet. Scaled it was for me. I would do hanging knee raises from the rig and the weight on my bar was 55#. I didn’t have a judge going into the workout today, but I figured I could always ask someone at the Box to judge me once I got there.

I warmed up a bit by myself and then I took a bar to one corner of the gym and warmed up my snatches, deadlifts, and clean & jerks at 55#. The snatches were the hardest, but I could manage them. I had a plan to split all my hanging knee raises into 8 & 7 for all the rounds. Now, I was on the lookout for a judge. I felt super start struck when I asked Lindsay to be my judge. She is an amazing athlete and she usually competes in the Regionals. She is super friendly, but I felt like who was I to ask her to be my judge? She accepted readily and she actually gave me pointers throughout the workout which helped out a lot.

My goals for today was to complete at least 3 rounds of 15.1 and try to PR my Clean & Jerk by 5# for 15.1A. I managed to do just that and more! I finished 4 full rounds + 13 hanging knee raises for a total of 133 reps for 15.1 and I also managed 90# on my clean & jerk on 15.1A, which was a 10# PR from 10 days ago! I tried 95# twice, but I was trying to power clean it and didn’t think of trying to squat cleaning it instead. I managed to get the bar up, but I wasn’t fast enough to get under the bar. Oh well, I’m still super happy of what I achieved today! Now, I’m looking forward to my nap before heading into work tonight. 🙂

When Fran Fights You, Fight Back!

I woke up a few minutes before my alarm and felt so groggy. Béatrice was up a few times last night as she has a cold and even though I only got up once for her (thanks Babe, you’re the best!), I was really tired. Once I finally woke up, I was happy and ready to go have another round at FRAN!

There were 20 of us for the 0600 class this morning! 20! I don’t know how we magically worked it out, but there wasn’t a bar left in the Box and yet, nobody was missing a bar to lift!

 

Skill: Deadlift 5×5 E90s

I went with 105# for these and decided to stick with that weight for all the reps since I wanted to work on my form. We had to do the hook grip for all reps and couldn’t drop the bar (burpee penalty if you did, but nobody did!). I also wanted to work on the hook grip with the mixed grip as I struggle with my mix grip. I know it will help me lift heavier in the long run. It was fun to see everyone just chatting in-between sets, the mood was festive and the Box felt so lively this early in the morning!

WOD: Fran

Fran is yet another 4-letter word. I was not dreading her before I started the WOD, because I’d done her a few times before. I had chosen to go with 55# (a weight approved by Coach Caleb. He said he would have recommended that weight for me had I not chosen it for myself) and I wanted to use the red and purple bands for the pull-ups since I always end up doing C2B with the red and blue ones (too much momentum). On my round of 15, Fran tried to kick me down to the ground. I had to break my thrusters so many times. I wanted to just keep going, but my shoulders wouldn’t go along with my plan. After yesterday’s Bear Complex, I had little left in me. And then, Fran got in my head. She was trying to tell me that I wouldn’t be able to finish her. I was so frustrated with her, tears welled up in my eyes and then I was annoyed at myself for tearing up. I let out a groan, bucked up and kicked that Fran right in the teeth. I kept going and went on to do the round of 9 thrusters (broke it into 5 and 4) and then really fought for my pull-ups. I finished in 12:03. My slowest time ever for Fran, but at the same time, I PR’d. I used smaller bands than previous attempts and heavier weights. I am 10# away from doing the thrusters RX and, to me, that’s a big improvement.

Fran evolution

My Fran evolution

I may never be an RX athlete for the WODs, I’m ok with that, but it won’t be for lack of trying. I will always fight for my time, fight for my rep, fight for my weight. As long as I keep up the fight, I will be content with my results. Speaking of fighting for it, here’s a picture I took of Mark O. He’s had a shoulder surgery a few months back and I was in awe, watching him do his pull-ups. That was true inspiration for me today:

Inspiration!

Inspiration!

I sent him the picture and we had a little chat afterwards:

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 10.13.53 AM

My lovely hubby was telling me last night that my body has changed in the past 2 months. According to him, my bum is more defined and firm, my legs and arms have toned up and my boobs are firmer (sorry about the TMI, that was his thoughts, not mine)! He said I was starting to look like Camille! Bwahaha! I laughed at that, but I understand he was paying me a compliment and it meant a lot coming from the love of my life!

As for us, we are slowly getting ready for the girls’ birthday on Sunday. Some of you might not know, but our daughters share a birthday, 2 years apart. BeZU will turn 2 and Rina will be 4! Looking forward to their special day! 🙂

Up We Go!

I’m so happy Ben came back last night. The girls were dead tired which meant they were cranky and extra whiney at bedtime. I was very proud of Béa though for using the toilet for the very 1st time! And we’re not even potty-training her yet! She started whining as she came out of the tub so I plopped her on the toilet and she went! I made a big fuss about it, giving her thumbs-up and high-fiving her. She was so proud!

We sat down together and watched Rudderless. It was such a good movie and the music is pretty good in it too!

I almost didn’t hear my alarm this morning for the 0600 WOD, but I woke up in the end and here’s what we did:

Skill: Strict Handstand push-ups

I paired up with Tracey and I started mine off of 2 yoga blocks for 2 rounds. I was struggling and Tracey gave me the great tip to widen my hands. It worked! I was able to do those 4 reps very quickly. I then decided to make things more challenging by replacing a yoga block with 5x 5# plates. It was not a big difference in height, but I certainly could feel it. I did that for 2×4 reps and then removed another plate for a total height of 1 yoga block with 4x 5# plates. I managed those as well, but had to fight for my last rep! I’m still pretty impressed that I can do Handstand push-ups so I was very pleased with today’s work! 🙂

WOD: Amanda G

I wasn’t sure how to go about this one. I knew there was no way I could do RX as I don’t have the pull-ups yet and the deadlift was too heavy (my 1RM is 160#). I settled for this modified FG1:

2 rounds of:

  • 600m run (non-stop for both, Woohoo!)
  • 15 deadlift x 115# (I broke those in sets of 5 for both rounds)
  • 20 kipping pull-ups with red and blue bands

I finished at 16:38, way after everyone else, but I’m proud of myself. The 1st run felt good and the second was a bit more challenging, but I’m so pumped that I can now do these without taking walking breaks. My runs are never fast, but at least, I don’t stop anymore. I was hesitating between 105# and 115# for the deadlifts and I’m glad Marika suggested I go with 115# (I could always have taken out the extra weight). Since everybody was done, I had lots of cheering on my second round of deadlifts and they weren’t letting me get away with sets smaller than 5 reps and Mark was good at making sure my form wasn’t wonky. Looking back, that’s a total of 3450 lbs I lifted in those 16 minutes! Not too shabby for this short stuff!

Then I was off onto the rig for my pull-ups. I decided to go back to the red and blue bands for these today seeing as I struggled so much with the red and purple bands last week. I was able to do a few sets of 3 and 4 with a decent kip and it made me more confident in them.

All in all, it was a fun WOD. Challenging, but fun!

Now, I’m off to a busy day:

  • haircut this morning (bye bye long hair, hello new ‘do. I’ll post pics later)
  • picking up Rina from preschool
  • flu shot (I get mine for free at the hospital since I work there)
  • cooking dinner for tonight (shepherd pie)
  • massage (I’m sure it’ll be good/painful)

I leave you with a song that I cranked up in the car in order to get pumped up for today’s workout! 🙂