Time To Pause

I’m struggling…

In my personal life, in the gym, on the blog.

I am working on my personal life issues and have taken steps in order to make things better. Don’t worry, I’m not in jeopardy, but it hasn’t been easy since Christmas. That’s all I’m gonna say about it on here. Some things need to remain private and I’m drawing the line here.

I have forced myself to get into the gym for the past 3 weeks or more. I still go 2-4 x/week, but it’s a struggle to get the motivation to go. I go, I lift/sweat, I still PR and I even started going back to Oly lifting class. It’s been a while since I’ve felt the happiness of the endorphins, but I still force myself to go, because I know it’s good for me. If, for nothing else, it has had its magical therapeutic effect on me. I’m just tired of crying with almost every single workout. The physical exertion opens up the emotional floodgate and the rubber mat is on the receiving end of all I’m trying to keep bottled up. I am fully aware of that and, like I said, I’m dealing with the emotional side, no worries.

We are well into February and this is my 6th post since the beginning of the year. Whereas I normally blog 2-3x/week. Motivation has been lacking for the blog as well and it has become a rushed chore more than anything else. Blogging has been a wonderful outlet for me since I became pregnant with Rina. I have found support and comfort in your kind comments when I was struggling as a new mom but lately, I find it’s taken my focus away from my kids and I just want to live in the “now” instead of recording every little workout or PR. I want to not feel the pressure to write, the possible judgement that comes with blogging on a regular basis and instead, I want to focus on the things that matter to me the most: my health, my children and my family.

With this said, I am taking a break from the blog. Will it be definite? Only time will tell.  I wanted to thank you for reading throughout the year and for understanding. I will keep reading some of my favourite blogs, but I may not contribute as much on here as you’ve been used to, or at all, for that matter, but I’ll still here. I’m still strong. I’m still going on, one day at a time, one rep at a time, one breath at a time. It’s just time for me to take care of me for once.

So for now, I’ll say: See you around! It’s been a pleasure to write and maybe I’ll be back one day!

 

In The Nick Of Time

Let’s be honest here. Why do we put ourselves through Crossfit if it’s not to improve our fitness?

For me, it has never been about me against others (ok, maybe a little bit of secret competition between me and others, but they don’t need to know! 😉 ), but mainly, a quest at getting stronger, both mentally and physically.

From the get-go, I have set goals for myself. One of them was to back squat my body weight. In the past few weeks, I have been so close to achieving this goal, but I was still 5lbs short. I knew I wanted to go in for the WOD this morning because our skill was back squats and it would be my last attempt for this goal for the year (my current deadline for this goal). I have set many goals throughout the year and just roll them over to the next year when they are not achieved. I stepped on the scale this morning just because I wanted to know which weight I needed to hit in order to make it happen. The scale read 144.8lbs. Alright! 145# would have to happen somehow today in order for me to make my goal happen.

Skill: Back Squat 6×2 E90s

Coach Adrianna was coaching us today and I was super happy to get to see her before she leaves us for Seattle. Those Seattle people are so lucky to have her and they don’t even know it. I will miss her terribly and I was gonna take advantage of today to make the most of it. She told me to try to hit 140# on my 5th set and if I missed, I could always lower the weight on my bar for the 6th round. If I succeeded, then I was golden to try at 145# on the 6th round. Ben and the girls also came to cheer me on so that was good too! Marika was there and we were doing stupid shit throughout our warm-up, doing the Hullk pose similar to this:

425.the.incredible.hulk.033108

 

all while grunting and saying stupid things like “Bro sesh!”

We warmed up individually and then we all set off for our sets, just as Mr Lucas Parker walked in. That’s right! He trains at our gym and I get to see him a lot, but I’m still way too intimidated to talk to him, so I go about my business as usual when he’s there.  I started at 120# and made 5# increments with each rounds. When I got to 135#, it started to get heavy. I was nervous about hitting 140# x2 because I had missed my 2nd rep just 17 days ago. I managed to pull through the two reps and got ready to attack 145#. I went down with the bar on my back and started to go up. I got stuck for what felt like an eternity. I was out of the bottom of the squat, but couldn’t straighten my legs anymore. CRAP! I really wanted to hit my goal this year and I didn’t want to let go of the bar! I kept the bar on my back, pulled on it with all my might and, somehow, managed to get out of the squat and get back out.

YYYYYYEEEEEESSSSSS!

I let out a huge victory scream as I had finally achieved the goal I had set for myself 2 weeks after my 1st Crossfit class!

I've never been prouder of a yellow star!

I’ve never been prouder of a yellow star!

I tried to go for a 2nd rep, but I really couldn’t get out of the bottom and bailed out safely. Still though! I was so pumped! I have had this goal for 868 days (2 years, 4 months and 16 days, but who’s counting, really?!?) and I can finally put a check mark next to it, all on the last day of my target date! Nothing was gonna wipe the goofy smile off my face!

Kathleen walked in literally a minute too late to witness my feat, but she was still super pumped for me! As I was getting my stuff ready for the WOD, Lucas commented on my squat and said “That was a good lift!”

Seriously? Could this day get any better? Not only do I reach a massive goal, but Lucas Parker compliments me on it! Hell yeah! I thanked him and got my spot ready for the WOD.

WOD: You Lift Me Up

That was a tough one as you were supposed to go all out at max effort for 2 mins and use the built-in rest after. I was gonna try the FG with my bar at 65# for the thrusters and use the 35# KB. It was my 1st time doing thrusters at 65# outside the Open and I was struggling. I managed 24 reps (2 cycles) on the 1st round and 19 reps on the 2nd cycle. Coach Adrianna came by and switched my KB down for a 26# for the other 2 rounds. On my 3rd round, I managed another 24 reps and I was then able to do the AKBS without breaking them, but I was getting tired. The struggle became real on my last round when I couldn’t push the bar overhead for the thrusters and had to set it down. Most of my thruster reps were muscled overhead and that got exhausting really fast. I only managed 15 reps for that round before I slumped on the floor, tired, giggling with happiness and exhausted!

Sweat angel! I got junk in my trunk, but that butt helped me squat my body weight, so there!

Sweat angel! I got junk in my trunk, but that butt helped me squat my body weight, so there!

I celebrated a little more with Marika, Adrianna, Kathleen, Ben and the girls before I got cleaned up a bit. I then met “new Adam” (a new coach at our Box) and he seems very friendly! We spoke French a bit as well since he’s from Ottawa! I then had to say goodbye to Coach Adrianna. She asked if she could hug me. I wasn’t even going to offer because I was afraid it would tip both of us into a puddle of tears. It felt like I could have hung on to her hug forever. She has been an amazing coach and supporter and her encouragements and tips haven’t gone into deaf ears. I will make sure to remember her advices and hopefully will go to visit her in Seattle sometime in the next 2 years.

We left the Box and got groceries, ran errands downtown, finished laundry at home and made dinner. My legs are shaking when I get on my tippy toes and for some weird reason, my right heel hurts. My traps are also sore from all those muscled thrusters and I can’t wait to sit with my hot water bottle, my blanket and my knitting in front of the TV. I’m not sure I’ll be up to ring in the new year as I can feel my body slowly shutting down from the adrenaline and excitement from today.

In all honesty, it’s been a very rough end of the year for reasons I won’t get into on the blog (what? I’m allowed some privacy, no?!? Lol!) and I certainly wish 2016 will get better for me. In any case, the only resolution I plan on making for the next year is to put myself and my needs at the top of my list, just below my children’s needs. I have proven to myself that I am strong and that when I have something in mind, nothing will get in the way of my determination. I will now apply that in my personal life as well. If people around me thought I was ruthless before, they ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

I'm currently holding on, but will hopefully soon exhale...

I’m currently holding on, but will hopefully soon relax and exhale…

May your celebrations of the end of 2015 be merry and safe. May your 2016 be bold, relentless and strong. I know mine will be because that’s what I want it to be.

The Duelling Realities Of Motherhood

I come home much later than usual. People got stuck in traffic coming in to work and I had to stay behind to give my report. I was also caught in heavier traffic coming home, thanks to back-to-school, I guess, hence the lateness of my arrival home.

When I come in, Rina has already gone on the bus for school and Ben is getting ready to leave and drive Béatrice to pre-school. He has decided he will do some computer work at a café before getting the girls back home (Rina is only doing half-days this week, full days begin next week).

There is a certain relief in knowing that I will be able to fall asleep after a night shift, to an absolutely quiet, empty house. At the same time, I am unnerved: I didn’t get to see Rina before going to school and I barely saw Béa before she left. That constant pulling and tugging at the mama’s heart. The everlasting dichotomy between enjoying this time for myself and missing my children. My heart is raw at this new, yet very familiar struggle.

The girls are 2 and 4. I’ve felt this emotional tug-of-war from the moment Rina has taken her very long-awaited first breath in the delivery room and it is something I still struggle with on an almost daily basis. I have a feeling this is something I will have to battle my entire life. The constant struggle between being an individual and being a mother, between being a mother and being a wife, between being a mother and being a Crossfitter, between being a mother and being a nurse.

There’s no point to this post, I just wanted to share how I feel. Time to go to bed… in my very quiet house.

Draining Snatch Work

I had a couple of busy day shifts at work and I was absolutely spent when I arrived home last night, to my 2 girls who just wanted some Mama time before they went to bed. After I spent some time with them, I showered and fell asleep on the couch watched some TV. I got off the couch only to drag my sore body to bed and almost fell asleep as my husband was tucking me in (he comes to bed later and has tucked me in ever since we’ve started dating). I woke up a few hours later to the sound of snores in my ears (the hubs) and had about 30 mins left before the alarm would go off. I managed to fall back asleep and it was a struggle to get up for the Oly class this morning. I hate showing up when I feel like I have nothing left in my tank. It makes for a difficult class…

To make things harder, today was Snatch Testing Week. Eesh… The format was different from the previous testing weeks I had done and although it was super challenging, I liked it much better. Instead of testing both the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk in the same session, today was a self-led test of the Snatch  only. Here’s how we ran things:

Photo 2015-05-14, 5 49 50 AM

The top was our warm-up, the % were the weights we had to use in order to build up to our 1RM

Considering my previous 1RM was 60#, here were the numbers I had to play with:

My low attempts at a 1RM snatch

My low attempts at a 1RM snatch

Because my 1RM is so low, it didn’t give me much room to play with my weights and I had to modify as above. The numbers on the right were just times on the timer for me to start my reps at. As you can see, there was plenty of time for rest. Here’s how it all went down:

  • 3×40#: Felt good and easy to actually drop into the squat
  • 3×45#: More challenging, but I was still able to drop straight into the squat
  • 2×50#: I was planting my feet too early in the catch. My feet planted when I was still upright, instead of down into the squat
  • 2×50#: That was my worst set. When the weight increases, I get this mental blockage about dropping into the squat. Had a good chat with Coach Caleb and he explained why it was actually SAFER to drop into the squat with locked elbows and fail a rep than to catch it upright, without locked elbows, and then trying to control the drop into the squat. I was exhausted and frustrated. I feel like every week I attend the Oly class, poor Coach Caleb repeats himself ALL. THE. TIME! I know what I,m doing wrong, I just have a real struggle fixing it. I felt like I had nothing left. I wanted to quit and go home. This lift really frustrates the crap out of me and it challenges me and pushes my buttons. I took a longer rest and reset my mind frame before attempting the next one.
  • 1×55#: I really committed to this lift and, although it was a fail and I had to bail out of it (too much on my heels), Coach Caleb was way happier with this one because I had actually dropped into the squat with locked elbows.
  • 1×55#: Success! It was hard, but somehow felt smooth.
  • 1×60#: Success and much more efficient than my previous 1RM attempt. I actually dropped. I caught it higher than a squat, but much lower than I’m used to. Coach Caleb said it was now time to go for my 1RM

Snatch 1RM: We had 3 attempts for each weight. If you succeeded, you then had 3 attempts at a heavier weight until you reached failure on all 3 attempts.

3×1 @ 105% = 65#.

Tracey wanted to film my attempts. I think it made me a bit self-conscious, but it was nice to see where my mistakes were.

1st attempt: No problem pulling the bar up to my shoulders, but I didn’t commit to dropping, therefore failed.

2nd attempt: I couldn’t get the bar high enough.

3rd attempt: I managed to pull the bar and somewhat dropped underneath it, but I was too much on my toes and therefore had the bar too much in front of me and couldn’t correct it.

Below is Coach Caleb, doing a Snatch from the box. I cannot get over his speed in pulling the bar upwards, all the while, dropping into the squat! I’m in awe! He’s so fluid! This is what it should look like, but from the ground up instead.

225lb for a double from the blocks #bouncy #crossfit #crossfitregionals #roadtoregionals #snatch #thxcam #horseeyes

A post shared by Caleb Woiwod (@calebwoiwod) on

 

So, my 1RM remains at 60# for now. However, for the purpose of %, Coach Caleb now wants me to use 65# instead of 60#, otherwise, I will never progress.

I came home to wrestling kids and even though all I wanted to do was go back to bed, it wasn’t gonna happen. I had to laugh at some of the things you say as a mom sometimes. For example, Rina was in the process of getting dressed and was walking around, butt naked. Béatrice kept on head butting her in the groin and I, very matter-of-factly, said to her: “Béatrice, don’t put your head in your sister’s vagina!”

Yeah, this is the kind of stuff you can hear more often than I’d like around my house…

 

Fight The Suck

15.5 was announced on Thursday. Here’s what was awaiting me for the final Open 2015 workout:

My first reaction was:

Then, I saw the girls go through it (Sam, Annie and Camille) and I saw how the struggle was real for these phenomenal athletes and my confidence was slowly fading away. My initial goal was a sub 25:00 to finish. As time went on, I started thinking that a sub 30:00 would be great, then a sub 35:00 would be ok. Really, I just wanted to finish under my 14.5 score of 38:53. That would be my end goal for this one. I was getting scared beyond belief. I remembered how much 14.5 sucked and I knew 15.5 would probably be equally sucky.

I got up at 0630 to go walk the Duke and although it was early to get up for on a day off, it was nice. We walked up to the reservoir and since it was so early, there was nobody there and I was able to let him off leash so he could run to his little heart’s content! He still has the puppy run and trips over his legs, so I had a few good laughs with him.

We came back home, I showered and had a lazy breakfast. I was sure the class was starting at 0930 this morning, but I checked the website just to be safe. Good thing I did because class was starting in 30 mins (0900, not 0930). I gobbled the rest of my breakfast and got going. I paired up with Megan and she would go first and would judge me in the second heat. Megan did awesome and it was empowering yet intimidating to see her accomplish her goal for each rounds of thrusters.

Then it was my turn. My breakfast resurfaced in my throat and stayed there for the entire WOD. I got on the erg and was aiming at around 900cals/500m for that round. I managed to keep that up and moved onto the thrusters.

Wearing my "Two Peas In A WOD" tank with the hopes that Krista (my other pea) would somehow give me some of her strength.

Wearing my “Two Peas In A WOD” tank with the hopes that Krista (my other pea) would somehow give me some of her strength.

I had set out a goal of 7-5-5-5-5 for the first round of thrusters. Yeah no. I dropped that goal quickly. I broke everything into rounds of 3 for all the rounds. Which made the suck last this much longer.

Already have my "hurt face" on... It was still early in the WOD as I'm still wearing my tank top...

Already have my “hurt face” on… It was still early in the WOD as I’m still wearing my tank top…

Back to the erg for a row of 21cals. I managed to keep everything around 900cals/500m for that one as well and even though it was hard, I felt like this was my recovery. Onto the thrusters I went. I tried my best to do more than 3 reps in a row, but I just couldn’t keep it up. Rounds of 3 reps and I managed to squat clean my 1st rep on almost all rounds. And then, the WOD broke me. I was trying my best not to have an emotional breakdown, but the sobs just came out and the tears flowed out.

Back on the erg for 15 more calories. For the first 10 calories, I was just trying to control the sobs and my breathing.  I fought to keep my strokes above 800cals/500m. I kept thinking of my darling girls and how I was doing this so I can be a better mom for them. It was already hard enough, I needed to get my breathing back under control in order to keep going. I think I managed to do so before stepping off the erg and it took all my mental fortitude not to break down again as I made my way to the thrusters. I just wanted to rest and recover a little longer before going back to that damn bar. No such luck. I broke the 15 in sets of 3 again and there was one set where I just couldn’t get that bar on my shoulders. I dropped it back, got my breath under control, picked it up again and kept fighting for every rep. For the remainder of the Thrusters, I kept thinking about my mom, who fought through 2 bouts of breast cancer and chemo weekly for almost 8 months. The pain I was feeling was nothing compared to all the struggles she has gone through. I just needed to suck it up and keep going.

Photo 2015-03-28, 10 14 20 AM

Pain. Plain and simple, all over my face. Also, abs are making their first appearance in over a decade. This is good!

Back to the erg for the final 9 calories-row. I tried to maintain my strokes above 750cals/500m. I just want more time to recover. I don’t want to go back to the thrusters. NO. MORE. THRUSTERS. PLEASE!

I broke them into sets of 3 again and finished dead last. Didn’t even care about my final time, I just broke down in tears, yet again. I literally left it all on the floor. Megan came by and told me I crushed my 30 mins goal. I looked up at my time on that little piece of paper and saw the magic number:

23:09.

I had done it and not only had I crushed my goal of finishing under my 14.5 time, I had also crushed my original goal of sub 25:00. Am I happy with my score? Yes and no. I really wish I hadn’t broken down like I did, but I still managed to push through and finished under my goal time.

Krista texted me just as I was finishing the WOD and she wanted to see my post-WOD face. Here’s the pic I sent her:

Photo 2015-03-28, 10 27 21 AM

Not a pretty face, but then again, nothing was pretty about 15.5!

 

The 2015 Crossfit Open Games are now officially over for me. All I need now is to wait until next Tuesday to see where I finish up in the rankings. I hope I’ll finish better than last year but only time will tell.

The inside of my shorts. I don't know that I destroyed 15.5, but I finished and that's all I wanted in the end!

The inside of my shorts. I don’t know that I destroyed 15.5, but I finished and that’s all I wanted in the end!