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! 😉

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Partner Nurwor AKA The One That Destroyed Me

I looked at the WOD this morning and was not super thrilled with what I found. Partner Nurwor aka rowing and running. Not my best display of fitness, but I was determined to give it my all (as usual).

Skill: HSPU Progression

I started those with 1 yoga block and 2×5# plates, did 2 reps and couldn’t do more so I went to get a 3rd plate. On the second round, I was really struggling with coming out of the bottom, so I chose to do balance holds instead. I managed a few 10-20s holds off the wall and was happy with that. Some days, your body just refuses to do what you want it to and there’s no point fighting it!

WOD: Partner Nurwor

Today was my 4th go at this WOD. I paired up with Tracey (she’s now been my partner for 3 of those 4th attempts, Thanks Tracey!) and we set up quickly. I started on the Erg 1st and we got going. I was so slow on that Erg. I forgot to look at my splits, but as the rounds progressed, I got slower and slower. I know that I was around 2:10 for my 1st round and between 2:30-2:35 for my last one. On the 3rd round, I felt empty. Coach Caleb came by with a wooden dowel to prevent me dipping too low. I was struggling really hard and trying to maintain form was a tremendous challenge. I kind of wish he could have done that for my last 2 rounds as well, but I had to be disciplined and take it upon myself to correct my bad form. A slug in peanut butter probably was faster than me. And that’s not even mentioning the runs. I was so slow that Tracey managed to get about 30 secs rest periods on each rounds while I just kept chugging through. On my last run, Bo and Dave came to run with me. I knew I had an escort, but I never turned around to see who was there. I just pretended they were after me and tried to outrun them. I picked up the pace so much that I felt like I was flying on the last 200m (downhill, thank you Sweet Baby Jesus!). I don’t think I’ve ever ran that fast in my entire life! I came back inside, made my way up the stairs, looked at the clock and fell on all fours. I didn’t even make it onto the mats, I just crouched down on the concrete floor. Not long after, I collapsed on my belly. I broke my promise to never lie down after a WOD. Nurwor broke me. Once I caught my breath, I got back up and hugged Tracey. I then looked at my previous times and realized I had PR’d the crap out of Nurwor by 1:46 with my trustee partner! That put the smile back on my face and I was elated! 🙂

Sometimes, you have to give credit where credit is due. I give massive props to Tracey for pushing me, even though she probably didn’t know it. That woman brings it and she’s a beast. You cannot help but try to bring your inner beast out, just so you keep up with her! Then, there were my two angels, Dave and Bo, who literally gave me wings on my last run. I was probably running at a slow pace still for them, but their cheers and support pushed me to finish strong. So happy to see how I’ve progressed on this WOD and to have had the support of my Crossfit family!:



I honestly think this WOD should be renamed Let’s Destroy Val though… Just a thought! 😉 Time to shower off the stink and get ready to tackle the rest of my day with my darling girls! 🙂 Hopefully, I can nurse those nasty blisters too!

Hello blisters!

Hello blisters!

Yet another reason this shorty isn’t a fan of the Erg. I get blisters every time I get on that machine. I think it’s slowly become a toss-up between the Erg and the Airdyne as to which is the devil’s spawn between these two torture devices… Something to ponder! 😉

*Funnily enough, WordPress just reminded me that this is my 666th post on my blog… How fitting! 😉

Rx-ing My Inner Demons And Nemeses

Yesterday was a hard day at work. I received a bit of bad news first thing when I started my shift and then, someone asked me when I was due… As in pregnant due… Yeah, I brushed it off and just let it slide, but I really wanted to rip that person’s head off. It’s not the first time I get asked (last time though, was upon my return from my maternity leave) and I’m sure it will happen again. I have worked my butt off over the past year and I know what my body is capable of. I have a very specific goal for next summer: Our family will all vacation together somewhere tropical and I’d like to be comfortable in a bikini by then. I know it’s a very shallow goal, but it’s my goal and I’d like to make it happen! 🙂

So, after that emotional roller-coaster day at work, I was ready for a mind-numbing WOD. You know the kind: you grunt through every rep, struggle through it all and feel absolutely drained physically when you’re done. Usually, those WODs are an open floodgate for me emotionally as well and that’s when I let the tears flow free. Yeah, it was exactly what I needed to do today.

Skill: Push press 10×2 OTM

I think I probably could have gone for 85% (75#) of my 3RM (90#), but instead, I chose to focus on my form and not throw my butt back on the dip and did all my reps with 65#. I’m really loving my wrist wraps. I love that I could tighten them up so easily after each round and it definitely helped with my wrists.

WOD: Block Rock

This one had been recurring at the box, but I had never done it yet. Coach Caleb said the times were running between 7-12mins and, although I knew I would be much longer than that (I finished in 19:39), I planned on Rx-ing this one. This WOD consists of pretty much my least favourite things in a WOD: running and wallballs. Can you say nemeses?!? Bleh! It doesn’t matter, I was going to chip at it anyway, like I do any other day! 😉

The wallballs were definitely killing me and I could not, for the life of me, do more than one rep at a time. I wish we had a 12# ball, but we only have  10#s or 14#s. 10# would have been sandbagging it and although 14# was Rx, it was a struggle. I finished my 1st round when pretty much everyone were finishing their second one. I ran my 3rd round all by myself and chipped through my wallballs. I kept having to no-rep myself because my ball was either missing the mark on the wall or not touching the wall at all. I had to no-rep myself on my very last rep, I wanted to scream at that silly ball to JUST. TOUCH. THE. WALL. ALREADY!!! I know I had no one else to blame but myself and when I was done, the tears just came flowing freely. Every emotion I had bottled up from my crappy day at work just came out in a snotty blubber. For once, I didn’t try to stop it. I let it all out on the mat. I didn’t care about people being around me. I just sobbed and cried for a few minutes.

As a NICU nurse, we celebrate successes with our patients and their families and we also share their frustrations. We are there with these families for 12hrs on end. We get to know them on a personal level, get to know their habits, their likes and dislikes. We connect with some of them more than others. Some stay on our unit for a few hours, others, for months on end.  In a day’s work, we can celebrate a tremendous achievement as well as feel incredible frustrations and a deep sense of loss. We are not robots. I don’t care how much we are supposed to put our feelings aside, it’s not always an easy task. We are also not allowed to discuss our cases with anybody outside of our unit for fear of legal reprimands and I get that, confidentiality issues and all. To add to all of this, we have our own personal load of crap that we deal with everyday, whether it’s at home or at work. Which brings me to this point. When I struggled through the WOD this morning, my discomfort was nothing compared to the struggles some of my patients’ families are going through. One more wallball is nothing in the greater scheme of things. So I kept going, kept pushing, kept fighting. And I broke down once I was done. Not because it was such a tremendous physical challenge, but because breaking through that physical pain opened the door to let go of all these bottled up emotions. Some people choose therapy. For me, Crossfit IS my therapy. Now, I’m ready for my last night shift before I get to enjoy my family over the Christmas break. If you can, have a special thought for all the nurses (doctors, RRTs, cops, EMTs and firemen as well) working over the holidays. We sacrifice celebrating with our families so we can look after yours…

Cherish your loved ones, I know I will cherish mine over the holidays!

The Dualities Of The Working Mom

I am a mom. I also work full-time as a nurse. This week, I’m struggling in dealing with both of these realities of my life.

I need to be re-certified for a test at work. A test I have been taking every 2 years for the past 9 years. I cannot pass this test to save my life right now. I have a hard time focusing on the studying part and an even harder time answering the questions properly. I don’t think I’m an idiot, but failing this test over and over again sure makes me feel like one and it’s making me doubt my qualifications as a nurse. I have some tremendous co-workers helping me deal with it and it is nice to feel like I am part of a team that wants to see me succeed. I am lucky to be able to get help and encouragements from these co-workers. I don’t need to name you, you know who you are and I am thankful you were there to show your support.

This week, both my daughters are sick. They both have a terrible cold and Rina was coughing so much she vomited today. The Nanny called me at work just to give me a quick update. I don’t have my cell phone on at work while I’m on “the floor” and I usually call the Nanny on my breaks, but she wanted to keep me in the loop and she called me at work. Well, I got some negative feedback from a co-worker about receiving this short personal phone call while I was on duty. At first, I was furious, then I felt sad. Obviously, this person doesn’t know about the struggles of the working mother. She doesn’t know about the guilt one can feel for not seeing their babies for a full 48hrs. She doesn’t know about the constant worry in the back of your head while you are trying to give your 100% at work. She doesn’t know about how wrong it feels to not be the one cuddling your babies when they are sick. She doesn’t know that your day is much longer than the 12-hrs you put in at work. She doesn’t know about the mountains of snot you had to wipe before you left home in the morning and she sure as heck doesn’t know about the pang you feel when you walk in the door after your hard and busy day at work only to hear your baby cry through the front door. She doesn’t know about how you barely take time to put your bags down before picking up the crying baby and cuddling her in the dark to try to put her to sleep. She doesn’t know that, even though these moments are stolen moments (because your child should be sound asleep already), you are tremendously grateful to get to be the one to calm her down and help her back to a peaceful sleep.

I understand that she doesn’t get a “free pass” because she doesn’t have kids and I am not asking for one because I DO have kids. Having children is a choice I made and fully assume. I am not angry at that co-worker. I understand that she wants me to be focused and “in the moment” at work. I work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and you need to be on your A-Game and I get it. She doesn’t know that I got tremendous positive feedback for my work with my patients’ family today and how it helped me not feel like such a big failure for not being able to pass that silly test. I also know that she gets to go home to a quiet childless house at night and I wouldn’t trade places with her for anything in the world. 

I don’t quite know where I’m going with this post. Being a stay-at-home mom is hard, I know, I’ve done it twice for over 13 months both times. Being a working mother is hard. No matter what you do, you are always pulled in a million directions at once and I don’t think you ever feel like you’ve given your 100% at anything you do, but I am doing the best I can and that’s all I can ask of myself. I consider myself lucky to be able to work AND come home to cuddle and smell my babies’ hair while I kiss them in their sleep. Most of my co-workers are living a similar reality and are supportive. I just wish that working moms wouldn’t be made to feel guilty about being working moms. We are, after all, in the 21st century…

Never give up!


That’s how I’ve been feeling since the moment I woke up this morning. I feel like I just need to take a big breath and exhale. I am slightly frustrated. Frustrated to be so far away from all my good friends, frustrated to be so far from my parents, frustrated to be on my own most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I am with my girls and I love them to pieces, but sometimes, I just need some adult conversation and it can be pretty lonely being at home all day.

I went to Crossfit and felt defeated even before I started moving. I need to stop with all this negative self talk. Yes, I am struggling at Crossfit, but I only have myself to blame. I’m not losing weight and I know it has to do with my nutrition. It’s just so dang hard to cook healthy vegan food that I end up eating alone anyway and then have to cook for Rina and cook something else for Béatrice. Although, Béa will sometimes eat what I cook for myself. I really want my girls to be eating healthy and not see me struggle so much with my weight. And I am frustrated with myself that I can’t get back to the Whole Foods Plant Based nutrition that I know is best for me and used to come so easy to me. Like Nicole (Not the fat kid in gym class anymore) said it so well in this post, I need to get off the roller coaster once and for all. Anyway, enough about this nutrition ride and onto today’s WOD:


I was teamed up with a new (to me?) guy at the box. He looked to be about 15 so I knew he was gonna kill it and I was gonna slow him way down, but I didn’t care. We finished with a time of 17:27 and although those last wallballs kicked my round tush, I only scaled with the weight of the ball (I used a 10#). It is way better than when I started Crossfit (where I would normally scale the weights AND the # of reps). I managed to get through the WOD doing the FG  and the best thing of all, even though we finished about 2 minutes after everyone else, I managed to keep my last rowing interval with an average for 500m below 2:20. I know it’s far from being great, but compared to the 2:32 average I was at in the OnRamp class, I’d say it’s a good improvement! I just need to stop beating myself up when I’m not performing as well as I would like to. It’s just hard knowing that I used to be very athletic and am now stomped in my fitness because of my weight. In the meantime, I’ll keep giving it my all and will also remember to breathe!