Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Lovely Weekend in Houston

I cannot believe we're already halfway through April!  Dave and I kicked off the month with a long weekend in Houston and I've been meaning to post about it for over a week now!  We went to visit our friends Mike and Jen (the friends who gifted us this amazing quilt).  We had the date of our visit planned for months and the flights seemed kind of steep.  It never occurred to me that we were headed to Houston the same weekend as the Final Four.  When Villanova made it, I was extremely glad I had already purchased our flights since the price tripled!  After that, everyone was asking us if we were going to attend the game while we were there.  We entertained the idea for a moment, but the tickets in the nosebleed section of the football stadium were over 200 bucks and the legit seats were $500!  It was still pretty fun to be headed down with all the Nova fans on Friday though!  I only went to Villanova for 3 graduate level classes, but I met Dave there so it will always hold a special place in my heart.  Congrats Nova!

Anyway, after a pretty turbulent flight down, we started our weekend with an awesome dinner at a place called Local Pour.  Everyone enjoyed a bunch of craft beers from their huge selection and I had a honey cider made in Texas.  Apparently it didn't occur to me to take any pics, but we started with goat cheese bruschetta and some ahi tuna that were both seriously amazing.  Everyone enjoyed their entrees, but for me the real star of the show was the chocolate mousse cake!  We went home full and ready to just relax and catch up.  We sipped on cocktails and caught up until I was falling asleep on the couch and finally put myself to bed.

Saturday we all slept in and then kicked the day off with a tasty homemade breakfast of french toast topped with bourbon peaches and pecans with sausage and strawberries.

After our bellies were full, we headed out for the day.  Our first stop was a trip to Top Golf, a fancy electronic driving range where you can play different games against your friends and enjoy fun cocktails in flashing light up golf bag shaped cups :)  I was pleasantly surprised when I hit the ball way better than I expected!  It was a really cool concept and we had a lot of fun.

Next on our agenda was Karbach Brewing Co. where the weather was literally perfect for enjoying their large outdoor biergarten with live music, corn hole, and a food truck.  For $12 you got a souvenir pint glass and 3 beers, talk about a deal!  I was enjoying their Weisse Versa and it was the first time I've drank a bunch of beer in a while.  It was really hitting the spot and we got some "gaucho fries" which were topped with grilled Brazilian sausage, house-made creamy chipotle mayo, parmesan cheese and green onions.  I also crushed it in corn hole and got all 4 bags in on one turn, like a boss!  By the time we were leaving, we were almost sunburned and a little tipsy.

Our last stop was a cool neighborhood bar, the D&T Drive Inn.  We tried their specialty, a frozen drink of shandy mixed with sangria and it was awesome, right up my alley.  Their patio was super cute and we could see why our friends were fans of the place.

Then we headed back to their place to watch the basketball game.  A couple of their friends came over and we enjoyed some delicious burgers and hung out by the fire pit.

Since we ran around all day Saturday, Sunday started a little on the slow side.  We kicked the day off with a delicious homemade quiche and then just vegged.  I spent the morning outside catching some rays (while it happened to be in the 30s at home in PA) and reading my book.  Jen had to head to a conference for work, so we said goodbye and then it was just the three of us.

The boys and I headed out for a late afternoon bite at a bar right near their house called Tailgators.  We had an appetizer of breaded gator bites which was good, but not nearly as exciting as my first taste of crawfish!  We devoured our first pound and decided to get a second.  Soon the waitress came out confused with a third pound by mistake that we ended up getting for free.  The crawfish required a bit of work, but they were worth it.  They were so good!

After that we headed to the concert venue for the Mumford & Sons show we were going to see that evening.  We parked for free (which was exciting since Philly does not know what this means) and hit up a bar in the area for a little pregaming.

When we got to the show, we rented chairs and staked out a great spot.  The weather was so pleasant and the opening act, Blake Mills, was pretty good.  Mumford & Sons was amazing!

After the concert we grabbed some Whataburger on the way home.  I remembered really liking the burgers when I was teaching cheer camps in Texas the summer after my freshman year of college and it did not disappoint.  I also think it was the only thing that saved me from a wicked hangover the next day haha.

Monday we slept in, packed up, and then stuffed our faces with some Tex Mex.  And said goodbye to this cutie!


It was a wonderful weekend :)  A huge thank you to Mike and Jen for showing us such a good time!

Monday, March 28, 2016


After 16.4 wrecked my back, I took the whole week to rest up for 16.5 and it paid off.  My back felt better and better every day and when they announced the last CrossFit Open WOD on Thursday night, I knew I was going to be able to complete it.

See the movement standards here.

When I got to the gym, a few people were just finishing the workout and it looked brutal.  The thing about any "reps for time" workout is that the clock won't save you.  The only thing that will stop the pain is just finishing the work.  I knew this was going to suck, but I knew that I could do it.  I just had to keep moving.

I broke the first round up into 3 rounds of 7, the thrusters felt fine.  I took the burpees slow and steady, knowing that I needed to pace myself in general.  I was already breathing heavy when I finished the first round.  I thought my coach was crazy when she told me to break the 18 into 3 rounds of 6.  It just seemed like a lot at the time and I was thinking 5-5-4-4 sounded a lot better.  But I pushed and I did it.  The burpees felt never ending, but I just kept hopping over that bar.  The 15 round was ok, 3 sets of 5 sounded manageable after the last round of 6s.  The thrusters felt strong.  The burpees continued to suck.

I honestly can't remember how I did the set of 12... I may have done 5-4-3.  Things were getting kind of hazy at this point.  I definitely hit a wall somewhere in the 12/9 range.  Everyone kept telling me that I was almost there and it was all downhill, but I really just felt like I was dying.  I couldn't catch my breath at all during the burpees and I had a little side stitch I was trying to work through.  It was really hard to stop myself from just laying on the floor mid burpee.  My coach stayed on me, kept me moving.  I focused on using as little effort as possible to clear the bar.

But soon I was at 6 and I knew it really was almost over.  Everyone in the gym gathered around me as I was finishing and it was so encouraging!  I did all 6 thrusters unbroken and got through my 6 burpees.  And then it was only 3!  My last thrusters were super strong and 3 burpees later, sweet relief!!!!!  I finished in 22:17!

This was a repeat of 14.5, but I didn't participate in the Open in 2014.  I was in the middle of studying for an 8 hour exam and planning a wedding and I already had way too much on my plate.  I really wish that I had a score from 2 years ago to see my progress, but I do know that the thrusters in this workout felt much easier than they did in 15.5 and my legs didn't feel like jello immediately afterwards.

I Rxed all 5 of the 2016 CrossFit Open workouts and even though some were more exciting for me than others, I am very proud of my performance overall.  I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and happened to discover that I can do chest to bar pull ups!  The Open also identified some of my weakness (dubs, I'm looking at you) and emphasized the fact that I need to get back into a consistent gym schedule.  I've really only been making it to the gym about twice a week on average and I know I need to commit to more workouts and perhaps some extra time on the rower to develop my "CrossFit lungs."

March 18th marked our 3 year CF anniversary and I'm so glad I got sucked into this awesome sport!

Did you do the Open?  What did you think of 16.5?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Weekly Workouts: CrossFit Open 16.3 & 16.4

Hello!  I made it to the gym 3 times this past week and I didn't want to miss the chance to blog about 16.3 and 16.4, so here we go!

F - 0.9 mi with the pups + CrossFit
  • WOD CrossFit Open 16.3: 7 minute AMRAP
I had never attempted a bar muscle up before, so my expectations were pretty low, but I knew I was going to do the Rx version anyway since the 10 reps would rank me higher than any amount of scaled reps.  After getting through the 10 snatches, I attempted to get my body over the bar quite a few times, but the whole sit up portion just doesn't compute and I completed the rest of the workout with chest to bar pull ups (which are still challenging and exciting for me).

S - 2.1 mi with the dogs and Dave

S - Rest

M - CrossFit
  • Strength: Back Squat 3 x 4 at 75% - I did these at 140 lbs and they were tough, but good.
  • WOD: For Time (12 Minute Cap)
    • 50 Calorie Row
    • 40 Thrusters (95/65)
    • 30 Burpees Over Bar
I was hesitant to Rx this workout because I knew the 65 lbs thrusters were going to be rough, but I also think 65 lbs thrusters are coming in one of the next two Open workouts, so I figured I should give them a dry run before Friday.  My row was slow but steady.  My friend finished when I was only half way done!  Rowing is not my favorite haha.  The thrusters were not as bad as I thought they would be.  I chipped away at them 5 at a time and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I didn't hate them.  Burpees always suck, especially when you have to clear the bar.  I had 6 or 7 burpees left when the time cap hit, so I just decided to finish.  I was done in 12:50.  My coach pushed me to Rx and I'm glad he did.
After I caught my breath a little, I started to cheer on the athletes that were still working because they started a few minutes behind us in the second heat.  I honestly didn't think much about joining one of the girls for her last few burpees since I definitely know how much it sucks to struggle through the end of a workout when everyone else is already done.  When I got home from the gym, I saw that my coach had posted this :D
  • After Party: EMOM 5
    • Strict Pull Ups - I did 5 pull ups each time with a red band for assistance

T - CrossFit
  • Strength: EMOM 9
    • Min 1-3: 2 High Hang Clean (power or full)
    • Min 4-6: 1 Hang Clean (power or full)
    • Min 7-9: 1 Clean (power or full)
    • I got up to 110# with power cleans, my legs were way too sore to do any squatting! 
  • WOD: For Time (10 Minute Cap)
After doing so poorly on my dubs in 16.2, my only goal for this workout was to just string some together and not get overly frustrated.  My friend had me try her jump rope (because mine is on the thicker/heavier side) and tried to help me out with some tips and then my coach gave me lots of cues and actually gifted me a jump rope!  The same coach lets me use her barbell, another girl just gifted me her old lifting belt, and my lifting shoes were a gift from a previous gym member last year.  Everyone at my gym is so generous!  I know I've said it before, but the community aspect of CF is the best!  The workout went pretty well.  I was glad I didn't Rx the power cleans for the sake of my back, which has been feeling great (yay).  My dubs were ok, definitely better than both of my 16.2 attempts.  I was able to get a couple good strings and even though I still violently whipped myself more than a few times, I will call it progress.  I finished 8 rounds + 1 clean.
  • After Party:
    • Tabata Handstand Holds
    • 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, 4 minutes total
    • These are shoulder killers! 
W - 3.0 miles with the dogs at the park

Th - 1.1 miles with the dogs

F - CrossFit
  • WOD CrossFit Open 16.4: 13 minute AMRAP
    • 55 Deadlifts (225/155)
    • 55 Wallballs (20/14)
    • 55 Calorie Row
    • 55 Handstand Push Ups
Heavy deadlifts, exactly what I did NOT want in the Open.  When I got to the gym, I discussed the workout with my coach and she told me to warm up and just see how it felt.  I kept adding weight to the bar and I was shocked when I had no back pain at all.  I decided that I was going to do the Rx version at 155 lbs (scaled would've been 95) and just take my time and focus keeping perfect form.  I knew my workout was just going to be 13 minutes of as many deadlifts as I could get.
My counter for the workout was one of my coaches who is specifically very form focused and he watched every single rep.  He told me they looked great and the workout started off awesome.  155 lbs definitely isn't my max and the reps were feeling good.  I was somewhere around 20 when I felt the first twinge of pain in my back.  I took a good minute and a half break to stretch and grab some water.  When I came back to the bar, I felt a little something when I bent down to grab the bar, but the lift felt fine.  I kept cruising through the deadlifts one by one, with my coach confirming that I was still using proper technique.  With 15 seconds left, I picked up the bar for my 50th rep and felt a horrible shooting pain.  I don't know if I rushed the lift to try and get one more before the clock ran out or what... my coach said my form was the same as the rep before.  Maybe it was just the high volume.  Maybe I should've stopped when I felt the first sign of pain halfway through the workout.  Ugh!  I was in a lot of pain for the rest of the night, but I felt so proud that I was able to get 50 reps when I thought I wasn't going to be able to do any.

One more Open workout left!  I'm kind of scared they are going to make us repeat 15.5.  I'm really hoping my back feels somewhat normal by Friday.  I'm taking it super easy this week, doing lots of push aways, and spending some quality time with my heating pad... so we'll see.  

Does your gym feel like a community?
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