Barbells and Princesses

I had such a full day yesterday!

Crossfit in the morning followed by more house cleaning (I’m almost done deep cleaning the kitchen), interrupted with a lovely at-home pedicure by a mobile pedicurist /fellow crossfitter, more cleaning and finally, falling asleep on the couch while “watching” TV.

After I made my way to my bed, I woke up at 0500 and got ready for Oly lifting class this morning, because it’s “just lifting”!

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The tall snatch was a struggle with just the empty bar and it’s still something I need to work on. Why is everything snatch-related such a struggle? I guess we all have our weaknesses and the snatch truly is one of mine.

Since I missed the last testing session, I’m still using 65# as my 1RM for the snatch and that meant I used 55# today for the Snatch EMOM x 10 @85%. I think it went well overall, but I was feeling fatigued on my last rep.

For the hang clean, I really wanted to attempt 90# on my last set, just to prove to myself that I could do it without catching it on my sternum. Coach Caleb wanted us to focus on not dropping the bar in-between reps and get back into the hook grip.


My “wings” (as Ben calls my bruise) are healing nicely. And yes, I know, I look exhausted!

Everything went peachy until my 6th set. I managed all my reps without hesitation and after a pointer from Coach Caleb, I reminded myself to keep my chest and elbows up in the catch. When I got to 90#, I was in my head and really afraid of failing the lift.

1st attempt: failed.

I came back to the bar and approached it. Pick up the bar. Exhale. Inhale. Block breath, dip and lift.

2nd attempt: failed.

I walked away from the bar. Sat on the bench for about 30s, then approached the bar again. Pick up the bar. Exhale. Inhale. Block breath, dip and lift.

3rd attempt: failed.

This time, I sat down right away and had a chat with myself. I knew I could do it, I had managed 2 reps earlier this week. Yeah, I’m tired, but I can totally do this. Just get to the bar and DO IT! You just need to drop into the squat to catch it.

Approach the bar. Set my hands. Pick up the bar. Exhale. Inhale. Block breath, dip and lift.

4th attempt: 1st lift successful! I wanted to celebrate, but there was still another lift to do. I reset the bar on my hips and reset my hook grip. Dang! That bar is heavy. All you have to do is repeat what you just did! You got this. I can barely hold on to the bar! Just do it, don’t think about it. JUST DO IT!

Hook grip. Exhale. Inhale. Block breath, dip and lift.

2nd lift caught very deep at the bottom of the squat and I was afraid I would crumple into the bottom, but I managed to push out of it and managed my 2nd lift! I threw that bar on the floor and was beaming! I had just done 2 reps at my 1RM C&J!!! Whoot! Whoot! Also, that was a 15# PR from my previous attempt at this only 3 short months ago!

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I couldn’t stop smiling! Looks like even though I’m exhausted, I can still find it in me to push hard and improve!

I came back home for a shower and a hearty breakfast before taking the girls to Hatley Castle for their surprise Princess Day! No cleaning today, I’m taking a break from being a housekeeper and I’m taking time to rest and enjoy my last few days off before my vacation is over! We went to pick up Nanny as I had asked her if she wanted to come with us (not to work, but to enjoy the day and be tourist in her new town).

The day had started a bit cloudy and cooler, but the sun came out and the heat did too. I chose to only pay for the garden tour as I highly doubted the girls’ attention span would last enough for the indoor guided tour. I think it was the best decision, even though I will have to go back one day to visit the inside of the castle.

We toured the Italian garden, the Japanese garden, the Rose garden and the green houses. The photographer in me had a blast taking some shot and editing them. Below is just a small sample of the 140+ shots I took today! 😉

Trust Your Body When You Have No expectations

I finished work yesterday morning and managed a little bit more sleep after that last night shift (5hrs instead of 4) and I woke up from my nap with a sore left shoulder. It felt like I pinched something in there which hurt when I did certain movements more than others. I applied a hot bag to it when the girls went to bed and was hoping it would feel better in the morning. It was still sore when I woke up, so I decided to still go to Oly lifting class, but I didn’t have much expectations as to what I would accomplish this morning.

Since our Box moved over the weekend, I made my way to the new digs and here’s what we did:

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The warm-up was challenging in itself for me. Those tall snatches did not feel natural and my head was struggling to grasp the movements required. I couldn’t really land this in the squat at all, but I kept trying.

Squat Snatch 5×2 E3M @ 87.5%

My 87.5% is 56.875# (my 1RM is 65, even though I didn’t succeed at 65#, Coach Caleb now wants me to use this as my 1RM in order to hopefully progress). Since there’s no way to accomplish that weight with the plates available to us, I went wit 55#. Throughout the rounds, I was really working on two things: my hook grip (see picture below and landing in the squat position (not hesitating at the top of the pull).

I can only wrap my index finger around my thumb (and very badly at that since my hands are small and my thumbs are ridiculously short. Source

I can only wrap my index finger around my thumb (and very badly at that since my hands are small and my thumbs are ridiculously short. Source

My 1st rep of every set was always better than the second one, but I managed ok on both my goals for most of the reps. On my 2nd round, I failed to drop into the squat completely so I reset my bar and was then successful at my 2 lifts. Overall, I’m really happy that I was able to get all 5 rounds in since, technically, these were all done at 92% of my real 1RM (60#). It felt a little more natural to drop right into the squat and I was happy I got to work on that. My shoulder was never an issue for any of the reps and I was happy about that too! 🙂

Hang Squat Clean 6×2 E3M @85%

My 1RM for these is 90# so my 85% = so I used 75#. I felt strong and confident doing these. Funny how the cleans and C&J come easy to me and the snatches are so challenging. I did 75# on all reps and didn’t fail once. Again, my shoulder wasn’t an issue and it actually feels a lot better now. It just goes to show that if you go in without any expectations, sometimes, your body will surprise you!

Once we were done, I had the luxury of sticking around and taking my time for once, chatting with people. Usually, I rush back home to help Ben get the girls ready for preschool or gymnastics, but on Thursdays, they have no preschool or activities which means it’s our “slow morning”. I got to stick around and chat to Tracey and it was nice to just take my time, for once.

I came back home to the usual laundry and a little more free time since we started using our dishwasher on a regular basis. I know, we have lived in the house for close to a year and I wasn’t using our dishwasher until about 2 weeks ago… Why? First of all, we were in the habit of washing everything by hand for the past 7 years. Second, it’s noisy as heck and we have a pretty open concept 1st floor, so it annoyed me to have it running when the girls nap or in the evening. I’m pretty sensitive to loud noises because of all the bing-bong-ing that goes on at my work place. When I get home, the last thing I want is loud noise and the house is noisy enough with 2 kids. I have, however, figured out that having the dishwasher run after breakfast is the logical thing to do and it frees me from having to do dishes after every meal. It is a bit noisy, but the house is usually noisy at that time anyway, so it gets noisier for about 1hr after breakfast! 🙂

I am slowly gearing up to my #Whole30 and trying to clean up my eating a bit and looking up recipes before I officially start on June 15. So far, the recipes I’ve tried are delicious!

I’ll leave you with this, normal life in our household and the girls love it when Daddy plays guitar:

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Music time with the girls. Yes, our house is messy, but there’s no way around it. I love the saying that goes: “Excuse the mess in our house, we’re busy making memories”!



Games Standing And Family Life

As promised earlier, here’s my standing in the Games. For some reason, every time I check my standing, it keeps changing. I don’t know why people are still allowed to enter/validate their scores, but I’ll keep with the standing I had as of earlier this morning (0900) for the purpose of this post:

Open 2015 standing

Open 2015 standing

51760 out of 108,764 women worldwide places me in the top 55% (I was in the bottom 14% last year).

I also managed to place 1538 out of 2777 women on the Canada West division, which places me in the top  44% (I don’t have those stats from last year). Just to give you an idea of how strong my little Box is, I came in at 76/83 total registrants, placing me in the bottom 8% (I was in the bottom 6% last year). Now do you believe me when I tell you that I work out with fit/beastly people?!? Lol!

Looking back at those numbers, I’m pretty happy about my accomplishments on the worldwide front, that’s a huge improvement! I also noticed the number of women registered worldwide has more than doubled from last year (from 52550 to 108,764)! That’s insane!

I got up before dawn again for my Oly class. Here’s what we did:

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For the Squat Snatch, if we failed a rep, we had to drop back to our last successful weight, which is why I dropped back to 50# since I had failed my 2nd rep at 55#. Overall though, it felt a lot smoother than it ever has before and the concept of pulling the bar while dropping underneath it is slowly coming around… if I don’t think about it too much! 😉

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We had to start at 65% of our PR for our Power Clean and Jerk which meant 40# for me. I progressed with every round and finished at 65#. The Split Jerk comes naturally to me and I was working on really dropping lower under the bar. It felt good to do so and the reps felt strong throughout.

I came back home to walk Duke and was rewarded by this gorgeous sunrise once I reached the park:

Modern Day Rapunzel tower as the girls like to pretend when I take them with me! ;)

Modern Day Rapunzel tower as the girls like to pretend when I take them with me! 😉

Once we came back home, I lounged in bed for a little bit with Ben and Rina and then she decided to blow raspberries on my belly. We were both laughing hysterically. Fart noises are funny at any age! 😉

Then it was onto breakfast, laundry and cleaning. The girls have been easily upset and a puddle of cries and tears all morning. So much so that I had to put both of them in their rooms with the doors closed in order for them to calm down. This BabyMama is very much looking forward to quiet time and nap time before I head in to work before my night shift!



Hard Snatches and Improving Thrusters!

I have a feeling I’m never going to get anywhere if I don’t sleep. Waking up at 0300 and 0400 consistently isn’t conducive to good muscle recovery. I woke up dead tired, again. Still, I made my way to the Oly lifting class (olympic lifting). On the board today, it all sounded like dirty talk and it was even more dirtier work:

Actually, Ryan, I do care about what my coach has to say about my snatch since I don't want to get injured. However, thanks for the compliment! ;)

Actually, Ryan, I do care about what my coach has to say about my snatch since I don’t want to get injured. However, thanks for the compliment! 😉

5×2 Squat Snatch from Blocks E2M 85% of Mx

Here’s what the Squat snatch is supposed to look like. Now, just imagine the plates of the barbell are resting on 2 boxes that are about mid-shin height and that’s where I started lifting from.

I did those from a low box because I’m vertically challenged and Tracey paired up with me. Starting from the blocks was supposed to help us focus on the actual pull and not waste too much energy from cleaning it from the ground. I wish it would have also helped with mental exhaustion, but alas! We were supposed to go E2M, but we screwed up somehow with changing the plates and wasted a lot of time, so we finished later than the boys. These are most definitely the hardest lift for me. I get into my head and then I psych myself out about lifting that bar and dropping underneath it with a heavy weight (for me). I (more often than not) land in a semi-squat, pause and then drop into the full squat. I just have to stop thinking about it and just do it. When I’m able to clear my head before the lift, I can actually manage a somewhat decent rep. I had to bow out of one and it scared the bejezus out of me, but I went right back to it. It scared me, not because I was afraid of hurting myself, but it spooked me to the core. I managed the following weights for each round:

45#-50#-55#-55# (bow out of 1st rep)- 55#


Then, it was on to the

Thruster 5×7 E3M

Here’s what a thruster should look like (demonstrated by Christmas Abbott):

My shoulders were sore for these. I managed to increase my weight for every set, but it was tough. How did I ever do 14.5 at 65# is beyond me (the Crossfit Open WOD 14.5 was a total of 84 thrusters at 65#)! Today’s rounds were with the following reps:


60# was my 5RM back in November, so I guess that would be a PR for my thrusters today since I did 7 @ 60#! 🙂


I came back home exhausted and Ben was very happy that I was talking about my snatch and thrusters! 😉 It took me forever to clean the main floor of our house because both girls were home this morning (no pre-school nor extra-curricular activities on Thursday) and they were messy. We were also interrupted by a nanny coming by for an interview and then, Aunt Sandy saved the day when she came by and took the girls to play upstairs while I finished vacuuming and mopping the floors. As much as I don’t enjoy cleaning, there is something that makes me proud when my house is spotless and done so just the way I like it. 🙂

We then took off to go for a play date for the girls with their favourite twins and I got to hang out with their wonderful mama! The girls missed their nap/quiet time and I was sure I would pay for this. Rina had a meltdown at bedtime because I mentioned “Daddy is going on an airplane tomorrow”. I think she felt better once she saw him on FaceTime, but she was still crying and upset when I finally put her to bed.

Now, it’s time for me to relax a bit before I head to bed myself. No Crossfit for me tomorrow as I don’t have anyone to watch the girls and I’ll be by myself to get the girls ready to leave early for preschool. Wish me luck!

I got junk in my trunk and I don't care anymore!

I got junk in my trunk and I don’t care anymore!

New Skills

This morning, I awoke to something new at the box: my very first Skills Plus class.

I have been wishing for this to happen for a while now and the day was finally here. These class focus on olympic lifting and work through the progression and form of the lift in more depth than we do in regular class. Up to now, these classes were only offered in the evening and it was impossible for me to attend them as I’m too busy / tired with the girls in the evening. However, the box has now created a 0600 Skill Plus class and Coach Cam has agreed to let me attend even though I don’t quite fit the criteria : you need to attend 6 months of 3 days/week training  (I have 16 months at 2 days/week) and be able to do most WODs at the Rx level (hum, say what? I do FG most of the time).

I must admit, I was glad to see all familiar faces as I walked in this morning since I felt like the biggest fraud showing up for a Skills Plus class. We needed to know our 1RM for the squat snatch(35#) and squat clean and jerk (65#). I know. My numbers are not impressive, but I’m here to learn and what better place to improve than in a lifting class!?! On the other side, Ben thought it was hilarious whenever I said snatch or clean & jerk when I came back home and was talking about my lifting session today. For once, he didn’t stop me from talking about Crossfit! 😉

I had so much fun working on these this morning. The squat snatch DOES NOT come naturally at all. I was going to warm-up with the 15# bar and Coach Caleb stopped me dead in my track and told me to warm up with an empty 35# bar. Yikes! Warming up with my previous 1RM. I was afraid of tiring quickly, but I managed to increase my weights by quite a lot on this one. Here were my reps:

45-45-50-55 and a very ugly rep at 60# so I’m no-repping myself on that one and therefore achieving a new 1RM at 55# (20# PR)

The squat clean & jerk came a little bit easier and it felt way more natural. Here were my reps:

55-60-65-70 and, again, one failed attempt at 75#. Coach Caleb made me repeat it as I didn’t even get the clean part properly. On the repeat, I managed to do it, but it was all broken down into sections and not flowing at all so, I no repped myself again and still come out with a new 1RM (5#PR). I’m very much looking forward to going to these classes again. I’m so glad I finally get the chance to attend and improve on my lifts! If you can’t already tell, I am one very happy Crossfitter right now! 🙂

I came back home and got the girls downstairs while I got breakfast ready. I was hoping to give Ben a break since he stayed home with a nasty cough last night and coughed for most of the night. I really wanted him to sleep in, but he got up quite early (0800) all things considered. I made pancakes for Rina and eggs for myself (a version of huevos rancheros and scrambled for Béa).

I’ve been reading up on the Zone diet and although I’m not done reading all the principles and calculations behind it, I’ve tried to apply it to my menus with the help of menus suggestions provided by Formula Zone. I’m not quite there yet, but I’ve lost 1.5lbs this week and 0.5% body fat. Hopefully, I’ll get the hang of things and it will become second nature quickly!

Once I was done cleaning and doing laundry, I took the girls to play outside and ride their trikes around the block and around the house. I love the perfect fall lighting after it’s been raining, it makes for the best lighting for close-up portraits!

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35# Kind of Day


Just a little heavier than what Rina weighs at the moment.

That’s what I used all day today at the box.

Warm-up:  I was already sweating profusely after the 4 rounds. What is it they say?



Skill: Hang Squat Snatch.

I missed the past 2 week of the progression for this move so I wasn’t feeling confident at all. I started warming up with a wooden dowel, then moved onto the 15# bar and eventually settled on an empty 35# bar for my sets. I stayed at that weight for all the sets as I still felt my shoulders being way too mobile during the snatch and I had a hard time synchronizing the squat part with moving under the bar. I think I was close towards my 4th set, but I chose to practice some more at 35#.

WOD: Verocity

Friday = Run Day! Yay! (Well, not really. That was sarcasm!)

We all lined up outside and everybody took off like it was a stampede. Little old turtle me was left behind in no time, but I kept trotting along. I only took about 10 steps of walking around 400m in (uphill), but I picked up the speed on the last 400m (downhill). I ran back inside in just under 5 mins (4:53 to be exact. I know it’s slow, but at least, I did it!) where I had set up with 2 KBs: one 26# and one 35#. I wanted to try the 35#, but had the security of the 26# nearby if the 35# became too much. I broke down all my sets in sets of 5 except for my last set, when I did 10. I finished way after everybody else, but I did it Rx with minimal running break! That, to me, is a total win!

Now, we are on our way to drop off Rina at preschool, do the Costco run (Costco, I ❤ you!) pick up Rina from preschool, finish off some address changes, enrol the girls in gymnastics class for the year and finish up laundry before I head back in to work tomorrow. Just another day in this BabyMama’s life!