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!

 

 

 

 

 

From Rhino To Rabbit

I went to bed early and had a hard time falling asleep last night. I was then woken up at 2330 by our new tenants moving in. SERIOUSLY!!! I was up until 0130, reading in bed and had just fallen back asleep when the husband walked into the bedroom. No way was he reading in bed, I’d had enough already!

I got woken up again at 0330 by people scavenging the recycling bins that were left out for pickup today (yes, that’s a thing in Victoria, people look for “empties” in other people’s recycling, and they don’t do so quietly).

My alarm went off at 0500 and my first thought was: “Oh, Hell no!” I got up anyway and got ready for some hard work.

It's dark outside at 0540!

It’s dark outside at 0540, but Man, do I love this place!

 

 

Skill: 3RM Strick Press

Before the 12 mins were on the clock, we were only allowed to warm up with an empty bar. Once the 12 minutes started, my strategy was to go E2M and increase by 5# every set. My previous 3RM was 62# and my goal was 65#. I teamed up with Telsey and we got going.

40#-45#-50#-55#-60#-65#

My last rep at 65# was probably the wonkiest, ugliest rep, but I got the bar up and that was a new 3# PR for me! I had my doubts that I would be able to do it, but I pushed through (literally) and was super happy to get the bar overhead!

Telsey managed 1 rep at 65# and she totally had the 2nd one as well, but I think her head said no. We dropped the weight down to 62# and she managed 3 reps! She will be passing me in no time, she’s so strong!

WOD: Run to the Bar

I did the FG for this one and set my heart out on 5 rounds of:

  • 400m run
  • 20 lunges
  • 10 double crunches

It was chilly this morning and my hip flexors were screaming at me on the 1st run (from the squats on Monday) so I took it easy and made sure to warm-up before I pushed it on the runs. The lunges didn’t help, but I felt good during the double crunches.

Rounds 1 and 2 were uneventful. I felt gassed on round 3. Coach Caleb told me not to pause the lunges and, whaddyaknow, I could do them with a full extension at the top without pausing! I made up some time by doing that! Thanks Coach!

On round 4, Tracey passed me during the run and as she did so, she said: “It’s getting harder and harder to catch up to you!” Uhm, I couldn’t speak (Come on, I was barely breathing and was really focusing on keeping Pukie the Clown at bay during this round), but I was determined to become the fastest rabbit she’d ever have to chase. I finished round 4 and set out on my last round.

Instead of picturing myself as  rhino charging out, I kept reminding myself of Kathleen’s cues: Lengthen the stride, stay loose and bend a bit forward. It was hard on the uphill, but Tracey didn’t catch up to me so that was something to me. Mind you, Tracey is a beast and she was doing the Comp Prep version (aka athlete version) while I was scaling it, but still, a goal is a goal!

I came back inside to finish up my lunges and my double crunches and clocked in at 21:01. Not too far behind all the Rxs and the Comp Prep, so I know I worked hard!

Hopefully, I’ll get a nap at some point today, because, guess what? There’s more cleaning to do upstairs! Ugh!

3 Little Steps

Im back!

We had a lovely week in Cuba, filled with fun family times, sun and ocean! I will do a photo recap a little later, but for now, it was back to business as usual this morning for a challenging WOD:

WOD: Six by Five

I was really hoping to do this one Rx and it was close, but my little noodle arms couldn’t do the KB push press at 35#, so I settled for FG with the following modifications:

6 RFT of:

  • 400m run
  • 15 AKBS @ 35#
  • 10 reverse KB lunges @ 35#
  • 5 KB push press @ 26#

I was expecting this to hurt bad after my week of lounging on the beach (I did only 1 WOD I made up while in Cuba, more on this in my Cuba recap post) and I was right. Rounds 1 through 3 went fairly well. I was slow compared to others, but I didn’t let it affect me. I kept up with my inner positive dialogue of “just one more rep, one more step”. It worked until round 4. When I first took off on the run, I stopped and took 3 walking steps. I don’t know why I did that, obviously, 3 steps is nothing and it was only a mental block I had to get through as those 3 little steps really didn’t offer any rest. I picked it up again and managed to not stop for the remainder of the runs. When I came back in from my 4th run, that KB was playing mind tricks on me. I did not want to pick it up again. I took a much longer rest, and finally, I won over my head and got back to work. I typically broke my AKBS in sets of 9-6 0r 10-5, lunges were broken into 5-5 and push press were done without rest.

Round 5 went a little smoother than round 4 and I tried to “recover” on the runs, taking advantage of the downhills and picking up the speed. Round 6 destroyed me. I did NOT want to go back out and run again, let alone, do another round of this. Tracey and David came out to run with me and, although I didn’t want to disappoint them, I also didn’t want to push anymore. I was crying with exhaustion and I’m pretty sure I looked somewhat like Kara Webb during Murph at the Games this year. Although, to Webb’s credit, she probably still looked better than I did! I came back in and picked up the KB right away, I knew that if I hesitated, there was no way I would pick it up later so I just went straight to work with it. I finished my last rep at 34:14 and I was so freakin’ happy with that time.

Even though I finished almost last, I knew I had accomplished so much in those 34 minutes. I used to “run” 3km in 30 minutes before I had kids. Today, I ran 2.4km in 34:14, but I also knocked down some serious work as well, so to me, this is great. It’s a true testament of my fitness and where I’m at right now. I can honestly say, even though I don’t look my fittest (heck, I’ll never have my 18 year-old body with a 6-pack ever again), I’m probably in the best shape of my life and that means everything to me. I was elated when I made that realization and I couldn’t stop the happy tears from flowing. Onwards and Upwards my friends!

I may not have abs, but that smile is everything! Happy and comfortable with myself!

I may not have abs, but that smile is everything! Happy and comfortable with myself!

What Have I Done To Myself?

I had plans with Kath to meet up at her Jim’s Gym for a post-marital WOD today (Kath and Jim got hitched earlier this week 😉 ) Unfortunately, I had probably the crappiest sleep in a long while last night. Here’s how it went:

2130: in bed reading. Dozing off about 10 mins later, so I turned down and fell asleep quickly.

0100: wide awake. I read in bed, hoping it would help me fall back asleep.

0300: Finally dozing off, only to be awaken by the smoke detector going off right outside our bedroom. The nice thing is Ben woke up this time around, so I wasn’t alone awake this time.

0330: Just as I was dozing off (again), Béa woke up crying, asking to “rock with mommy”. She was holding on so tight to my neck that I made sure to hug her tight before putting her back into bed

0400: Dozed off, only to be woken up by Ben snoring. I grabbed my pillow, sweater, slippers and eye mask and made my way downstairs. It was cooler down there, so it took me a while to get comfortable (hood on my head, 2 wool blankets, eye mask on) and I was off for some sweet slumbers.

0625: Rina comes downstairs and wakes me up, shortly followed by Béa. They both tried to cuddle with me and I finally gave up on sleep after Béatrice wouldn’t stop digging into my leg with her toes.

I got up, showered and started laundry before we all headed out for breakfast with Grandma who is visiting from Ontario. We got some groceries on the way back and then I got ready to go meet Kathleen at her place.

I had asked Kathleen is we could do the Friday WOD from the Box since it had running in it and I felt like challenging myself.

Who is this person ASKING to run???

Who is this person ASKING to run???

When I arrived, Kath showed me the few running options we had for the 2nd part of the WOD and I chose the out-and-back with the steep hill at the beginning. We then warmed up for a bit and then moved the barbells in the backyard. I was debating using 55# or 60# for the bar work and I’m glad I settled on the 60# because I felt like I was sandbagging it after 3-4 rounds. I probably should have gone up to 65# or even 70# in order to really get some work done. It was nice to work outside though and we both did our work and chatted in-between sets. Her “garage gym” is pretty impressive and I felt lucky to be able to work out with a good friend on such a hot sunny day. I was slowly dreading the 2nd part of the WOD and was trying to not let my head win over my determination.

We determined a line in the middle of the street as our starting point and Kathleen took off on her gazelle legs. I could see her putting the distance between us, but I wasn’t upset about it. It wasn’t a competition between us two and I was kind of happy to see if I could run my longest distance since starting Crossfit all by myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love when some of my fellow Crossfitters join me on my runs, but today was going to be a true testament as to what I was made of. Just my legs and my head. Who was gonna win?

That hill came about quickly. It was something else though and it felt like it would never end. Looking back on the elevation graph, it was probably more daunting for this crappy runner than it really was:

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 4.19.30 PM

Yep! Just a small hill after all!

Once I got over the hill, I picked up the pace a little and kept an eye out on the address Kathleen had given me as our turnaround point. I had it written down on my thigh with a dry-erase marker, to make sure I would remember. Kathleen came back and gave me another visual pointer for the turnaround point and kept making her way back to her place. I had yet to reach the turnaround point and although it was really hot, I felt like I could maybe do this. I finally reached the turning point and started making my way back. It felt like more downhill and I was trying to pick-up the pace a little without losing control of my short little legs. Regulating my breath on the faster pace was hard and I managed to get a good rhythm going.

Kathleen was done and she came back to provide encouragement. She told me I was in at 9:15 and urged me to lengthen my stride and pick up the pace. I felt like I had nothing left and said so out loud. Kathleen would have none of this nonsense and urged me to keep going. I chugged along, picked up the pace and crossed the line in the street before putting my hands on my knees and chasing my breath. Kath told me my time: 9:56!

I was so freaking proud of that time! I used to average 13:00/km back in 2011 and now, I had just done a mile (1600m) in 9:54! Don’t get me wrong, there’s no way I could have sustained that pace for very long, but if you compared that when I started Crossfit 2 years ago, I had to sub running for 200m run-walk, I’m pretty happy with where I am today! Not to forget that it was after doing some barbell work!

After I caught my breath, I was overwhelmed with this proud feeling of great accomplishment! We went back inside and Kath lent me some books that I could take with me on our Cuban vacation. I cooled off a bit and came back home to shower and finish up laundry. I fuelled up on a delicious lunch and am now feeling my legs getting slightly heavy. We are all relaxing on the deck and I’m kind of looking forward to bedtime! Tomorrow, we have a little hike planned for early morning! Here’s to a great way to spend the long weekend!

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.

Mental Fortitude

Like I mentioned in my previous post, there’s been a lot of stress in our lives recently and there’s been a resurgence of it last night. Ex-Nanny sent me a nasty message on Facebook, calling me names and saying stuff about my husband and children. I won’t share the screen caption because it’s truly not worth it. I know who I am, I am confident in my marriage with my husband and my relationship with my daughters. I won’t lie, I was upset when I first read her message, but that’s probably what she wanted and I won’t play her game. There was plenty I wanted to say to her, but I held back. SHE IS NOT WORTH MY TIME OR ENERGY.

Instead, I used those bottled up emotions as fuel for this morning’s workout.

Skill: Push Press 6×3 E90S

I teamed up with Kristin this morning and we started with 70#. She looked so good doing them! She made it look effortless. She ended up going up to 100# and those looked like easy reps as well. Here’s what I did:

70#-75#-80#-85#-90#-95 (failed my last rep)

I was so close to a new PR! I had to fight for my first 2 reps and failed my last one at 95#. It’s ok though, I still managed to keep my previous PR and considering I hadn’t done these in 9 months, I’m very happy with having kept my progress up!

WOD: Squander

I attacked this one with 3 goals in mind:

  1. do all my running intervals without stopping (a challenge for me on the new running route)
  2. pick up the bar as soon as I get to it and do at least one rep
  3. use 65#

We started off and I stuck to the back of the pack because, well, I’m slow and didn’t want to be in anybody’s way. I stayed at the back of the pack, but I was somewhat keeping up without gassing myself, so I felt good about it. I came back in, picked up the bar, did 2 reps, took a little break and managed the first round.

Back outside for my running. I was pacing myself, trying to take advantage of the downhills in order to lengthen my strides in order to make up for my slow uphill, short strides. Our running route consists of 2 downhills and 2 uphills, finishing up with an uphill. The old running route was an out and back that consisted of an uphill and we came back to the Box on a downhill, so it was easy to “rest” on the last part of the runs. Not so much with the new running route. I struggled, but manage to keep running for the whole interval. Back to the bar for one rep, before resting a bit and finishing up my 2nd round.

I was getting winded, but again, taking advantage of the downhills to recover as much as I could and picking up the speed as well. I came back to the Box at a slow pace, but I was still moving and picked up the bar right away. I kept hearing Kathleen’s voice in my head, saying: “It’s just one rep, Val. Pick it up! Anybody can do just one rep!” It helped! I pushed through, finishing up with 3 reps in a row before heading back out for my last run.

It was hard. I took 2 walking steps and let a car go through at the crosswalk, then picked it up again. The last uphill was slowly doing me in, but I kept pushing through. I probably looked like I was walking, but it felt like running to me! 😉

I came back to my bar, picked it up for 1 rep and dropped it down. I was last, but I didn’t care. I finished my reps and I have to say, I felt really, really good about this WOD. It felt like I took fewer breaks” and the ones that I did take felt shorter. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I don’t care. I was really proud of my performance on this one!

After we were done, I could tell Lara was struggling with how she performed. She was really defeated that she didn’t go for the 4th round. I tried to explain to her that it took me a year before I could put 55# on the bar and she had done 3 rounds with that weight today, with only a few months of doing Crossfit.

More often than not, Crossfit is mental first, physical second. I really wanted to go do the WOD yesterday, but I knew my body needed the rest and proper fuel. I’m so glad I chose to rest yesterday as I felt really good on the WOD today. Since I plan on doing 3 days in-a-row, I think it was the smart decision to rest yesterday.

I had a good day with the girls yesterday, all the way up until bedtime. They had a massive meltdown because I wouldn’t knit them winter hats right then and there. I took this pic, because I’m an #assholeparent (according to ex-Nanny!) She must be right! 😉

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 9.47.03 AM

 

 

Ugliness

I finished work yesterday morning, went to sleep for 4hrs and then got up to take Béatrice to a Dr’s appointment (she has really bad eczema). The doctor told me to keep doing what we’ve been doing for her eczema and referred us to a dermatologist.

I came back home and was über cranky. Lack of sleep will do that to a person sometimes. I had absolutely zero patience and for about an hour or two, I had decided to take a day off Crossfit and not go in this morning. I changed my mind before going to bed, set my alarm and got up at 7am in order to take my time getting ready for the 0900 class. Rina begged to come with and although she was really clingy when I was warming up on my own before class began, she quickly cuddled Hank The Tank (Megan’s dog) on the couch. She didn’t leave his side after that! 😉

Turns out Kathleen was there too as well as Heather, Cindy and Kristin (and more people whom I forget the names, we were 12 in total). Everybody was bubbly and chatty and that gave me a little bit of energy to do this:

Skill: Back squat 5×5 E90S, build to a heavy 5.

I had done 110# back in April and I set my goal for today to 120# with some expectation to fail at 115#. I reached my goal for today, which means a 10# PR on my 5×5! I’ll take it and that was the only good thing about today’s workout…

WOD: Runny Row Buddy

I think this is probably the one WOD I despised the most so far, even compared to 14.5 or 15.5. Maybe it’s because I was running low on sleep and recovery or because I had given so much to my back squats, but this one was UGLY!

I paired up with Kristin and started us off on the erg for 1000m while she hit the box jumps and the running. My pace wasn’t so bad on this one throughout, between 2:10 and 2:30. I then went onto the box jumps and needed to do 10 step-up ones in order to catch my breath before I was able to do them properly. At least, I kept moving. I then headed on outside for the run. It’s an out-and-back route that dips down before getting uphill just before the turnaround point. That means you dip the slope and have to go back up it just before coming back inside. Yeah, I found this one a lot harder than the one at our previous locations (uphill on the out, downhill on the back). Since I’m such a great runner (ahem, not!), I’ll have to build to it I guess! The second go around was absolutely disgusting for me. My rowing pace was between 2:30 and 2:40 and I wanted to quit after the first 200m (800m to go!) I actually took a break with only 110m to go. I kept having to close my eyes while I rowed and got so disheartened when I saw I had only rowed 100m at a time. Let’s just say Kristin got some decent rest! 😉 I went back to the box and had to do 15 step-ups this time around before I could start jumping the box jumps again. I set outside and was the last one out there. Everybody was lapping me on the way back and I made it to the turnaround point all alone. I was determined to not stop though, as hard as it was. I only stopped when a car was oncoming at the crossroad on my way back, but it was my lovely husband coming to join me so he let me go without me having to actually stop (thanks Hun!)

Kathleen came outside to cheer me on and told me to use my long light legs… I think she might need glasses! I told her I didn’t have any of these and tried to pick up the pace as much as my short thick legs permitted! I came in, looked at the clock and I was done! It’s rare that I’m really irked by a WOD, but this one, I REALLY didn’t like! I’m glad I went, but am now thinking maybe I should have used the rest day after all. One thing’s for sure, I am gonna nap on the couch as soon as I’m done with this post! 😉

I would definitely choose squatting over running ANY DAY!!!

I would definitely choose squatting over running ANY DAY!!!