Our New Normal

So, I have two kids in school as of today! Rina is in kindergarten full-time and Béatrice has started preschool 2 mornings a week yesterday.

When it was time for us to leave Béatrice in her classroom yesterday, Rina burst into tears. She didn’t want to leave her little sister! That almost broke my heart, but she soon forgot about her heartache once I took her to the playground! 😉

These are the best pictures I could take of Béatrice on her first day of pre-school! Typical Béa!

These are the best pictures I could take of Béatrice on her first day of pre-school! Typical Béa!

This morning, we had to wake up much earlier than our usual. Rina was starting school and the bus comes by really early to pick her up.

Rina is now in kindergarten!

Rina is now in kindergarten!

She did really well getting on the bus, sat next to another little girl and forgot all about us! She’s so freakin’ independent that one!

With her starting school early, that also means that I won’t be able to go to the 0600 WOD anymore because Ben isn’t an early riser and I need to pitch in to get the girls ready to go in time when I’m not at work. I’m hoping to still be able to go to the Olympic lifting class at 0600 though, but I’ll have to negotiate that with my other half! We do things very give and take and since he’s not an early riser, I’ll pitch in A LOT when I’m not working. When I’m at work, he’ll have to do it all by himself, so I feel it’s only fair! Parenting is a 2-person job in this household!

After we dropped her off on the bus, I went to get some groceries, came back home and rested a bit before I headed out for the 0930 WOD. I was not excited because to me, it’s a new class, which means, new people who I don’t know and also, the WOD was crazy. I looked at it last night and thought: “I may need 45-60 mins to finish this one.” And there you have it: my goal was to finish sub 45:00!

 

WOD: The Pyramid Effect

We all got ready outside and we took off for the 1st mile (1600m, broken into 4x400m out and back). That was brutal, but I managed to do it without rest. Of course, everybody was done before me, but I didn’t care!

I was really hoping to do my pull-ups strict with the blue and purple bands, but even in the warm-up to the WOD, I knew I would struggle. On my 1st round of pull-ups, I asked advice from Coach France as to how to exactly DO a strict pull-up! I have never been really good at doing them and she told me I was kipping them. I paused at the bottom to really stop the swing and plowed through doing that for the rest of the reps. I broke up the pull-ups into sets of 3, the push-ups, I did Rx and broke them up into sets of 5.

Then, I was onto the 100 lunges that I broke into sets of 10. I was much more effective at doing them almost without pause and they were the easy part of this WOD for me.

Back to the push-ups (again, broken into sets of 5 mostly and Rx) and banded pull-ups. I was the last one out on the mile run and I took a lot of little walking breaks. I really was trying to not walk, but my legs were toast! I kept pushing and finished my 3rd and did all of my 4th running round by myself. I tried to pick up the pace on the 4th round and came back inside with a time of 42:19. Goal crushed!I was done though! That was a tough one!

Sweaty mess!

Sweaty mess!

I rushed home to shower quickly before Ben left for work and I’m now waiting for Rina to come back home from school. I can’t wait to hear how her first morning went! Now, I just need to figure out when I’ll have time to do all my cleaning since I was out for most of the morning and I need to nap before tonight’s night shift!

 

 

 

 

 

Gentle reminders

I went to bed last night petrified. I had looked up the WOD for this morning and saw that it was Mini Murph. Yikes! I woke up before my alarm and made sure I fuelled up appropriately for it:

  • 1/4 cup ground turkey (Tex Mex seasoned with lime juice)
  • 1/2 oz cashews
  • 1/2 banana (normally, I don’t do the banana, but this morning, I felt I could use the extra carbs. I’m glad I did this!)

I hopped in the car and tried to get my head in the game. My butt was still sore from all the lunges on Monday so my head slowly started to tremble with fear. Just e gentle reminder that my butt still needs working on. I tried to keep a cool attitude though. Fake it until you make it kind of attitude!

Bo showed up and then there were two of us dreading the WOD. He also kindly gave me a 2-month supply of multivitamins for free. His wife had extras and he figured: share the love!

Coach AJ showed up and we warmed up. We discussed the WOD and strategy and I chose a plan of attack: 800m run, 10 x (5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 air squats), 800m run. That seemed a little more decent than trying to do everything at once. The warm-up had some running in it and that made me dread the WOD even more. Just a gentle reminder that I am not an efficient runner.

We came back inside and set up our pull-up stations. I tried to do a few with just the red band, but seeing as there were 50 to do, I added the purple band as well. I was already tired and the WOD hadn’t even started. Just a gentle reminder that shift work, no matter the amount of sleep you get, wreaks havoc on your body.

3-2-1-GO!

I let everybody pass me easily and held out at the back. I did my 1st 800m run without stopping. It had rained earlier and although it wasn’t raining anymore, the air was cool and it felt good to run in cooler weather.I came back inside and jump don the rig to tackle my 1st set of pull-ups. I pretty much went with little rest for the 1st 5 rounds. I then allowed myself a sip of water and went back to work. I was determined to do all my push-ups RX and as I rested on my 6th set, I inhaled deeply and could smell the very typical rain smell in the air. It calmed me down and I kept going. Rounds 7, 8, 9 and 10 were a struggle. Not so much for the push-ups as I had anticipated, but the pull-ups were slowly doing my head in. I kept staring at the bar and my head was just telling me “Nope! No more!” Thank goodness, Coach AJ and Tracey were there to tell me to get back onto the bar. I listened to them, instead of my head and keep going.

After round 10, I took another sip of water and headed out for the last 800m run. Mark and Gail came out and ran with me. We did the first 400m and I was trying to potentialize on the downhills as much as I could and tried to pick up the spreed. I was struggling. I took of for the last 400m and Mark stayed with me. I felt like telling him to go back inside, I got this (after all, he had done the WOD with a 20# vest on and had finished way before I did), but I’m glad I didn’t. He was chatting me up while I picked up the speed a little more on the downhills. On the last uphill, Mark told me to give ‘er and not save anything. My head was saying I didn’t have anything left. Once again, I listened to Mark and picked up the pace until I was running full speed and made my way back inside. Just a gentle reminder that your head will want to quit before your body does. I looked at the clock: 31:10! I was exhausted, but so proud! I was expecting this to take me an hour! Just a gentle reminder that I am stronger and fitter than I think. When you doubt yourself, trust in the people who believe and support you.

I came back home on such a high! I showered,  dolled myself up and am now ready to spend a day with my entire family. The rain has picked up now and is a gentle reminder of the fall and winter weather slowly approaching.

Natural high!

All dolled up and on a natural high!

 

Rain on my car and Crossfit on my mind!

Rain on my car and Crossfit on my mind!

I still can’t believe how much my fitness has improved in the last few months. I am stronger, physically and mentally and a tad faster too. I am also more confident in what I can achieve and it is empowering to see how much I can get done. Just a gentle reminder to trust your body more than your head. While your head will screw with you, your body will show you how strong you really are.

In other news, French Nanny (from now on, she will be Nanny) is a delight to work with. She has picked up the slack this week when temporary Nanny got sick and she has raised above and beyond the call of duty. She has cleaned up my floors more than I do myself, has done our laundry, even though it wasn’t asked of her and she plays tirelessly with the girls, so much so that they fall asleep before hitting their pillows at night. To top it all off, she woke me up with coffee in bed yesterday afternoon, after my night shift! I told Ben he had some fierce competition: she makes me coffee AND she cleans! Lol! He said she was Mary Freakin’ Poppin! I will make sure to do everything in my power so she doesn’t fly away from us. Just a gentle reminder that there are still good, loving people out there.

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:

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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!

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

Reverse Psychology

I was desperately trying to fall back asleep at 0430 this morning, but poor Ben kept coughing next to me, so that was that for my night. I got up and got ready for the Box:

Skill: Deadlift 5×3 E90S

I based my weight on my 5×5, but I should have gone heavier. It still felt really easy on the last round. I’ll know better for next time!

100-105-110-115-120

WOD: Ballox

Yay! Wallballs! Said no short person ever! However, I was determined to do this one Rx and I even managed to use some reverse psychology on my whiteboard:

It got wiped out and so did I!

It got wiped out and so did I!

I’m really trying to convince myself that I Luuuurve wallballs. Don’t know that it worked today, but I think I only no-repped myself on 3 or 4 out of 60, so that’s not too bad! I broke the wallballs into sets of 5. The push-ups were equally as hard. Surprisingly, the step-down box jumps were where I could recover a bit and catch my breath. I didn’t break any time records by any means, but I managed to finish under 15 mins… Barely! I finished at 14:59! I did all my push-ups standard, but I have a hard time doing them consecutively. I broke them into 5 and 3, would rest a bit, and pick it back up. I was just happy to be done, really! It’s always the WODs that look like they’re not going to be too bad that kick you in the gut! Kevin came to me after I was done and said something really sweet:

Skinny Val is way tougher than bigger Val!

I take that as a compliment, my friend and thank you for the encouragement! Speaking of skinny, I know I have to do my body shots, they will come later this week, when I get off work.

I came back home to have a long hot shower, and then hug and kiss the girls. Then it was the whirlwind of breakfast, pre-school, laundry, dishes and now I have to go clean the upstairs, before folding laundry and hopefully, napping before work tonight. I’ve had 2 busy day shifts and I’m hoping things settle down today… Or maybe, I should hope for things to pick up so that they really settle down?!? Does reverse psychology work on patient assignment? Lol!

PR And Beating Myself Up

I woke up after a more decent night of sleep, although, still far from optimal. At least, I didn’t wake up at 0230, started to take my clothes out for Crossfit, only to realize at 0300 that I had to work in the morning and couldn’t make it to Crossfit… #truestory 😉

I got ready, had a quick snack and headed on over to the Box.

Skill: Back Squat 6×3 E90S

I love me some heavy squats, but I felt like my gas tank was totally empty this morning. I still managed a PR at 125#. I am 25# away from a bodyweight back squat and that is something I want to tick off my goal list. Here were my reps:
100#-105#-110#-115#-120#-125#

WOD: Sprinkler

I was hoping to do this one RX, but Coach Caleb told us the push-ups were NOT HRPU, they were the real thing. To top it all off, we couldn’t have our thighs or our bellies touch the floor for those, so I had to resort to doing knee push-ups. 😦 I finished dead last, once again. I don’t know why, but it really bothered me today. Normally, I’m used to being last, but I sure hope one day I won’t be bringing up the rear. Mark was his true gentleman self and came out with me for my last 300m run. I know my pace was perfect for his cool down and I enjoyed his company during the last hurdle. He was chatting next to me, while I was just trying to breathe. My answers were very short and mostly consisted of “u-huh”. I finished in 16:36. I did do the AKBS with the RX weight though, so that’s that!

I came home and had a mini pity party for myself. Ben tried to comfort me by saying that the people I work out with are some fiercely fit people and the fact that I can still “hang in the back” is an accomplishment in itself. Thanks Babe, you’re the best. It’s just hard sometimes to realize that I still suck at this even after giving it my all for the past 18 months. I guess I just have to refocus my attention on myself and be proud of my accomplishments.

So, in order to change my mood, I sat down and did this:

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It always makes me laugh to see them refer to me as “athlete”. Lol!

 

It’s official, I’m now registered for the 2015 Crossfit Open Games! Yay! 5 weeks of asking myself why on earth did I ever volunteered (and paid $20) to submit myself to this. Let’s see if I can finish up better than last year! Will you join me in the Games this year?

 

Gone Floating!

I was excited this morning because I had some “me” time scheduled for later! But before I could go and enjoy some peace and quiet, I had to get through this!

Skill: Strict press 1×10 E90S 90-95% of 1RM

That meant I should stick to 60# (90%) or 65# (95%) of my 1-rep max (67#). I managed the following reps:

  • 5x 60#
  • 6x 65# (I had to do an extra one because Coach Caleb said I had the slightest knee bending during my last rep, therefore making it a push press and not a strict press. I didn’t mind the extra work! 🙂

WOD: This one was interesting. I have to say, the burpees really broke the flow of this one and made it a challenging WOD. Also, for the first time, I did my strict pull-ups with the red and blue bands! No more green band for me! 🙂 I didn’t pace myself very well for the first round and was winded after that. I also did all my burpees granny-style. I used to be able to do more “real” burpees, but nit so much anymore and when I do, I just deplete the gas tank super quickly, so I’d rather pace myself on those and have some gas left for everything else. I finished up with a score of 166 (FG). That means 4 full rounds and I completed my 8 double crunches on the 5th round. I was so close to finishing the 5th round, all I was missing were the 14 box jumps. Next time, hopefully, I can get it done! I did, however, do all my push-ups from the toes. It really helps not to drop the knees onto the floor when you release your hands and I’m pretty sure that’s what got me through all the rounds!

I came back home to more laundry than I could ever care for, dusting, vacuuming and  mopping. I was trying to get it all done before I had to leave to go floating. That’s right, I went floating! For mother’s day, my lovely hubby bought me 90-minutes in a sensory-deprivation pod. You float in water that is warmed up to 34°C (body temperature) and full of Epsom salt (think the Dead Sea floating and you’re close). The whole experience was perfect after a tough WOD. As soon as my time in the pod started, I shut the lights off and was anxiously awaiting for the music to stop. You see, I am a bit of a loner. I like people and spending time with loved ones, but my days are filled with loud noises either at work (all the alarms from the monitors, cpap, ventilators, phones, etc) or just plain loud noises at home (hello, I have two toddlers who love nothing more than begin screaming matches at 0730)!

To say that I was very much looking forward to 90 minutes of peace and quiet at Float House Victoria is an understatement. My husband knows me well and that was the perfect present for me. I truly enjoyed floating around without any stimuli. Some people are a bit put-off by having to wear the earplugs, but it’s something I do on a daily basis when I have to sleep after a night shift at home, so it wasn’t anything new to me. To be able to be in the dark, in complete silence (except for the sound of my heart beating) was delightful! I kept waking myself off because I was twitching in my sleep so much. Yes, I’m a twitcher and yes, I fell asleep in the tank… Numerous times! Haha!  That just means that I was fully able to relax and let go. I truly enjoyed the healthy benefits of the relaxation, but also the Epsom salts were great on my sore and tired muscles! At first, I was thinking that 90 minutes was a long time to be in that tank, but when my time was up and the music came back on, I was sad to have to get out of there so quickly! I felt like all my limbs weighed a ton, yet I felt rejuvenated! I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to spend some quality alone time as well as for any athlete out there looking for some recovery. If I had one down side to say about my whole experience is that I would like the water maybe 1/2 or 1° warmer, but that’s just me, I like my water scolding hot! I also made up for that by having a nice  hot shower getting out of the tank. Go see Erik (a friend of ours) or his wife Svetlana and let go of all your preconceptions to fully enjoy the float! It is amazingly refreshing and rejuvenating as well! 🙂

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Click on pic to be redirected to the Float House Victoria Website!

Mother’s Day And Barracks

Friday night, I was working my regular shift when a nagging, burning pain started to irradiate from my neck, to my shoulder and the front of my chest as well. By the end of the night, I took my next night shift off and I couldn’t wait to get out of work and go to the 24hrs drugstore to get me some muscle relaxant. I popped one before going to bed and another one when I got up and took it easy for the rest of the night. By Sunday morning, I was still a bit stiff, but I was feeling much better.

I honestly think I had the best Mother’s Day so far since becoming a mother 3 years ago. It all began with breakfast at a restaurant from the east coast, which reminded me of home. We then headed back home only to pack and get our bikes ready and headed out for downtown. Ben pulled the girls in the Chariot (love that thing for biking as a family with the wee ones!) and we stopped on the way to pick up Aunt Sandy, who joined us on our ride downtown. Once there, we locked up the bikes, put the stroller wheels back on the stroller and headed out for some window shopping and grabbed a quick lunch, before heading back home so the girls could nap. Ben had hooked the GoPro to the back of his seat and we have some pretty funny shots of the girls 🙂

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Béatrice looks scared on all of them and Rina is just hilarious, whether she looks super stoked, unsure or tired. I think the sun and fresh air did everybody some good as both Ben and myself were falling asleep on the couch by 2100!

This morning, after a refreshing good night of sleep, I woke up early to attend the 0600 class. I wasn’t expecting Coach Caleb to show up as he competed in the Canada West Regionals over the weekend. Coach Sarah showed up bright and bubbly and it made for a fun early WOD.

Skill: I managed to repeat my previous PR at 90# doing the Tempo 3-2-1 Back Squats (3 seconds to get down, stop for 2 seconds at the bottom, get back up in 1 second). My reps were 70#-75#-80#-85-90#. I just need to remember to keep my hips aligned in order to prevent tipping the bar forward when I push up.

WOD: I tried to do the decline push ups from the 20″ box, but it was too hard. Thinking back, I should have set-up some plate lower than 20″, but I didn’t think about it until just now. I ended up doing regular push-ups from my toes. For the strict pull-ups, I used the red and green bands and for the box jumps, I used 20″. I finished with a total of 148 reps (7 full rounds + 1 strict pull-up).

I cam back home and, as usual, Rina greeted me with her: “So Mama… How was Crossfit?” I told her it was fun and she then went on to show me her KB Deadlift at 83% of her body weight, 1 RM 😉

 

I love that she gets inspired by her Mama and she knows what Crossfit is all about! Hope you have a fabulous day!