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 Nowadays, the 0500 wake-up call have been replaced by rushing through the morning routine for school for the girls, WOD at 0930, then rushing to get ready to pick up Béa from preschool, or groceries or cooking.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


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! 😉


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!


“If It’s Hard, You’re Doing It Right!”

I was happy Ben and I came to a pact that I could still go to the 0600 Oly class on Thursdays if I wasn’t working. The evening classes were just impossible for me to attend having to deal with the girls and Ben has agreed to be on “school duty” an extra morning so that I could go lift some weights! He is pretty amazing! Over the weekend, he told me he loved my determination at getting fit and doing Crossfit. If that’s not a supportive husband, I don’t know what is! #hesakeeper


I got up before sunrise (hello autumn) and made my way to the Box for this:

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The snatch balance from the warm-up somehow were hurting my neck, but I was fine afterwards.

Snatch 10×2 OTM

I am still using my “fake 1RM” of 65#, therefore I went with 52# for these. I failed 2 reps total (I repeated one and half made up for the other one) during the 10 rounds and the hardest was catching my breath during the rest. That little sequence got my heart pumping and I got sweaty fast doing these. Still pretty happy with having managed to do all 10 rounds, even though it was hard. Coach Caleb said: “If it’s hard, you’re doing it right!” 😉

Hang Snatch 6×3 E2M

Since I had managed 90#x2 a few weeks ago (90# is also my C&J 1RM), I used that to calculate my weight and did 76.5# for all 6 rounds. The last rep was hard and I was having a hard time hanging onto the bar (we weren’t allowed to drop the bar between reps) and I could definitely feel it, but I managed all reps successfully. Getting up from the squat was much harder on some reps, but I managed to get up for all!

I rushed home so I could walk Rina to the bus stop and then, Ben dropped Béatrice at preschool. I had time to take a bath and cook some food for my night shifts uninterrupted. It was nice, but weird to have the house empty of kids. Something I will have to get used to for sure… For now, I get to enjoy some alone-time with Béatrice and it’s quite nice to focus on be able to spend some one-on-one time with her. She’s such a cuddle-bug!


It’s been a busy week and I’ll try to recap quickly.

Last Monday was a Civic Holiday here and we enjoyed the day at the beach with Ben’s mom who was visiting from Kingston. We hiked to Mystic Beach and had fun in the sun and sand before we headed out for the typical lunch at Mom’s Café.

Bra's natural summer highlights! I'd kill for these!

Béa’s natural summer highlights! I’d kill for these!

Rina, swinging from the rope swing on the beach

Rina, swinging from the rope swing on the beach

Cutie pie!

Cutie pie!

Rina, wave jumping

Rina, wave jumping

I had only 2 days at work before I was officially on vacation and although I was counting the hours on Wednesday. Let’s be real though, I kind of clocked out mentally around 1500, even though I was working until 1930. Nothing fazed me on that day and I was happy and lighthearted to make my way to my car at the end of the day! Off for a full month and I was more than ready for some time off. I already had 2 overtime calls to come in to work tonight so far… Not gonna happen!

I’ve spent yesterday and today getting some last minute shopping and making packing lists, getting everything organized and packed for our Cuban vacation! I can now say we are 98% ready to go, with little adjustments left to be done for our carry-on luggages.

I went to the Oly class yesterday morning and I was stoked to see Ryan show up: I wasn’t absolutely certain if there actually was a class or not and I was starting to think I’d gotten up at 0500 for nothing! Here’s what we did:

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High hang, low hang, full squat snatch x6 E3M

Lots of rest for these and we were to work up to 75% of our 1RM. Mine was supposed to be 48.75#, but the closest I could get to was 48.5# (not enough small plates to make it a real 75%, but close enough). I was struggling on some reps and had to repeat a few, but as I warmed up, it felt smoother towards the end.

Squat Clean, Front Squat, Split jerk x6 E3M

Again, we were supposed to only go up to 75% of our 1RM so I used 67.5# for all my reps. The split jerk was unstable at times, but I managed all my reps. I was exhausted by the end! So much rest and yet, I was done for!


This morning, I woke up at 0500 again and I was still tired. I’ve been going to bed a little later than usual and I could definitely feel it this morning:

I had misread the WOD last night and thought it was only 1 round. Gulp! There was no way I could do this RX seeing as my 1RM DL is 160# and my 1RM clean is 90#. That would have been cutting it too close to exhaustion and Coach Caleb wanted us to do close to 30 reps/30 secs. Sometimes, the guy cracks me up! 😉 No way I was going to achieve that either, but I was happy that I managed some pretty stable rep scheme throughout all rounds. I did FG with the following reps:

DL @ 115#:8-8-9-8-8

Front squats @ 65#: 9-9-9-8-8


Sometimes, I look at my reps and feel a bit discouraged at how low they are. Then, I analyze them in a different way and I’m pretty happy with my work. For example, my reps are low on the DL, but if you tally it all, it comes up to 4715 lbs moved in 2:30. For the front squats, it comes up to 2797 lbs squatted in the same amount of time.  As for my DUs, I only managed to string 8 in a row (last round), but they felt smoother with each rounds. Funny how I can do those better when I’m more physically tired. Maybe it’s because I’m not as tensed up?

I’m ready to put a hot pack on my shoulders and real for the evening before yet another busy day tomorrow!

Going With The Flow

Early wake up call for another Oly lifting class this morning.

What we did today

What we did today

Power Snatch + OHS + Snatch x6 E2M

This was supposed to be a repeat of what we did 2 weeks ago, but since I was at work two weeks ago, it was my 1st go at it. Now that we have the smaller plates, I was able to get closer to the exact weights I needed in order to do 75% x2 (48.5#), 80% x2 (52.5#) and 85% x2 (mine was supposed to be 55.25#, but I did 55#).

My first round at 48.5# went pretty bad when I couldn’t do the OHS. I set the bar down and started the whole sequence from the beginning and pulled it off. My second attempt went well too. I felt a little sore on my upper back this morning from yesterday’s WOD, but it didn’t seem to affect my snatch today. It is still my trouble area though and I was glad to succeed both rounds at 55# without too much trouble. Maybe, one day, I’ll feel secure about doing 1 rep at 65#. I was just glad to see I didn’t have my usual fear of commitment about dropping in to the squat on my last reps and it felt a little more natural today.

Power Clean + 2 pause jerk (2s pause) E2M

I was thinking of getting up to my 85% (76.5#) for this one, but it turned out to be more challenging than I had anticipated so I stayed at my 80% (72#). What we had to do was to power clean the bar. Dip as if we were going to jerk, but before splitting, we had to hold our dip at the bottom for 2s. We also weren’t allowed to re-dip before doing the split jerk. Turns out my butt was sticking out on the dip so I chose to stay at 72# and making sure I was tucking my tail in on each pause. I was getting tired towards the end!

I took my time coming back home and had forgotten Béa had her follow-up appointment with the dermatologist this morning. Ben was kind enough to take her in so I wouldn’t have to rush. It was nice! I had a lovely breakfast and then, New Potential Nanny showed up on time (how refreshing!) in order to spend the day with me and the girls and see how our routine goes. So far, so good! I like her. She’s really sweet and energetic and it doesn’t hurt that she speaks French, this way, I’m not the only one speaking French to the girls at home! I was able to run some errands all by myself during the day which is always nice and right now, she has taken the girls to the swimming pool to give me a break. The girls were super wired this afternoon, so it was nice to get an extra set of hands to help out!

Keeping my fingers crossed it will all work out for the best! For now, I will drop to the floor and roll my sore back without having to anticipate some toddler jumping on my belly! 🙂

Working On Technique

I’ve been lucky enough to have had a “girls’ night” on Monday with some lovely ladies from Crossfit and the good it has done on my soul is tremendous. It was so relaxing to meet with beautiful, strong women who share so many similarities with me. We had all groups represented: working moms, retired women, women with older kids and childless women as well. We talked about our families and Crossfit (and no one to tell us to shut up about it already)! Not to mention that everyone had brought and cooked Whole30 compliant  delicious food, which made the whole evening that much more relaxing. I came home and felt rejuvenated for my days at work. I’ve slept a little better since and I’m hoping things will keep improving now that we have met with the dermatologist for Béa’s eczema. Maybe her new skin-care protocol will help her (and me) sleep through the night! Fingers crossed!

I woke up this morning and was very much looking forward to another Oly class. You know you’re at the Box early when you are there to witness the sprinklers go on AND off before anyone else shows up. #truestory #keener

I think there were 8 of us who showed up for the 0600 class and it felt like it was a big class! Jeff also was in attendance in order to assist Coach Caleb. I think he’ll be with us for a few weeks. Here’s what we tackled:

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Snatch grip DL with 2s pause 6×3 E2M

I felt comfortable doing these as I had done them with Coach Rachel 2 weeks ago. I knew what to work on (keep my butt down, invert my wrist on my grip and keep my shoulders over the bar). Coach Caleb wanted us to work up to our Snatch 1RM (65# for me) by the 3rd round and increase from there. I started very light and here’s what I did:


It felt good and I really worked on my grip, which, it turns out, really helps to keep my shoulders over the bar!

OHS with 5s pause 6×3 E2M

Coach Caleb wanted us to keep the weight light on these and not aim for our snatch 1RM. I figured I would aim to finish close to my 1RM on the last round, only if I could keep my glutes engaged at the bottom and not struggle too much. I paired up with Ryan (who counted my pauses for me) and go going with very light weights:


The 55# and 60# were challenging. Coach Caleb wanted me to speed up my glutes on the up. Overall, I was pretty happy with how it went, considering I really worked up to my 1RM (I have achieved a snatch at 60#, failed the 65#, but Coach Caleb wants me to use 65# to calculate all my percentages in order to, hopefully, progress).

Barbell love

Barbell love

That got me sweaty and I rushed home to shower. Although Rina has officially “graduated” from preschool yesterday, I still had Béa’s appointment early this morning, which meant I couldn’t just stay behind at the Box.

Kindergarten next year!

Kindergarten next year!

I didn’t even have time to finish breakfast before we left, but like I said, it was for a good cause! I came back home, got into my comfy clothes to clean the upstairs, turned the music up and got to work.


When it's 25C outside early in the morning, you gotta rock the booty shorts. Any tips to get rid of my inner-thigh bulge are welcome! ;)

When it’s 25C outside early in the morning and you have to clean the house, you gotta rock the booty shorts. Any tips to get rid of my inner-thigh bulge are welcome! 😉

Ben helped out by keeping up with the laundry and I was done a little earlier than usual, which gave me time to go for a walk with the girls before lunch and get some groceries.

I am very much looking forward to my nap this afternoon before my night at work and even more so, to our special Beach WOD on Sunday. Ben said he would come see us and bring the girls as cheerleaders! I don’t know what the WOD is, but I’m pretty excited to go for another WOD outdoors!

Béa, showing me her muscles and her ponytail!

Béa, showing me her muscles and her ponytail!


Warning Signs

I’ve been getting a few warning signs lately and I have been paying attention. Yesterday, on my way home from work, I was stopped at a red light at a busy intersection. My car decided to just completely stop. Nothing was lit up on my dashboard. Panic hit me like a ton of brick as I tried a few times to restart my engine without any luck. Great. I’ll be the dumba** stuck in the left lane and not moving. Luckily, I gave my car a little rest and was able to restart my car and drive home. This morning, it started but my radio was playing static on every station. I’m pretty sure it is my battery dying and I took my car in after lifting class to get a new one and get my car serviced.

After a little sleep yesterday, I still felt dizzy and spinning and was glad I took a sick day from work. I’ve had a hard week with more lady-problems than usual and I just felt so tired from the previous night at work. I went to bed early after a massive allergy attack hit me around 2100. Loaded myself up with anti-histamines and was hoping to wake up refreshed. No such luck, unfortunately. I woke up feeling like this:

Totally empty

Totally empty

Waking up and feeling like I could use a whole other night of sleep isn’t great. Knowing I mentally committed to going to Oly class made it just that much worst. I was still extremely sore from Tuesday’s Boulder Shoulder WOD and I haven’t been able to pick up the girls since then. I was hoping that moving for the lifting class would help get rid of the soreness so I got up at 0500 and showed up.

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The warmup almost did me in and I didn’t have any expectations for the lifts.

Snatch Balance + 2 OHS (7×2 E2M @87.5%): I had missed this set 3 weeks ago and I did 85% for the hang snatch (turns out it would have been my 87.5% as well).

I chose 55# and stuck to it. I was really trying to commit and landing the bar over my head while at the bottom of my squat. The OHS were mostly good, except for 2 that were wobbly, but I’m really getting comfortable at this weight! 🙂

Power Clean & Jerk 6×2 E3M: I was aiming to finish at 80# on this lift and worked my weights backwards from that. It felt really good until I hit 75#.


The power cleans were getting hard and I totally screwed up my last rep at 80# on both the clean and the jerk. Meh! I was done! Had absolutely nothing left! I did, however felt like I could at least raise my arms overhead, so that was a win on mobility, compared to how sore I was when I first walked in the gym this morning!

6am and already at the bar!

6am and already at the bar (almost feeling hungover too)!

Now. Confession time. I’ve been cheating. I know I said I was starting my Whole30 on June 15, but I have slowly been weaning myself into it. I have to say, I did read about the timeline and quickly discarded it to the back of my already full little brain. I am probably on day 5 today and now, my week and how I’ve been feeling is all starting to make sense.

The feeling hungover on Tuesday, me being short-tempered with Béatrice at bedtime last night and the absolute zero energy this morning. It’s all starting to make sense now. I hadn’t thought about it, but now it all makes sense. I am a day ahead of “schedule”, but it still makes sense. Let’s just say I am very much looking forward to “Tiger blood” day.