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?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

My February (& March) Whole30 Results!

So I sort of forgot I never posted this!  My February (& March) Whole30 ended 10 days ago and it was a great success!

Start Weight = 156.4 lbs
End Weight  = 145.0 lbs
Weight Loss = 11.4 lbs

These before and after pictures never fail to amaze me.  I can't believe how puffy I was and how much thinner my face looks.  It's crazy!

Holiday indulgence was a slippery slope into I guess I'll just wear big flowy shirts for the rest of the winter.  My true low point was the day I wore unbuttoned dress pants to work.  Sad but true.  The clip kept popping open so I just said screw it and left it that way.  Talk about depressing.  And thus it was time for another Whole30.

Food is a powerful drug.  Having a tough day?  Eat some ice cream, it will make you feel better.  Just completed a tough workout?  Enjoy a few slices of pizza, you earned it.  Feeling sorry for yourself about your clothes not fitting well?  Have a drink, you'll care less (although I do suppose alcohol is a whole other conversation...)  Food is fuel for our bodies, but it's also so much more.  It's a source of pleasure, a crutch to lean on, a reward, an addiction... And that's why I love the Whole30.  It brings me back to a place where I can step away from food emotionally and truly see and feel the impact of what I'm putting in my body.  It breaks my sugar addiction and helps me realize that most of the cravings I have are just the result of overstimulating processed food.

This Whole30 was great!  I avoided any crazy slips and I think my only cheat at all was some lunchmeat that most likely wasn't compliant.  By the end, I was basically on autopilot.  It was easy to stay on track when I always had large helpings of delicious compliant food in my fridge.  Not only did I follow the Whole30 eating standards for 30 days, I also took the stairs at work every day, flossed every night (except for Day 24 when I was dying), and quit coffee on Day 21.  I've only had it once in the past 3 weeks and don't really miss it.  I also focused on getting tons of sleep and I got 7.5 to 8 hours most nights.  I wanted to get to the gym more often, but I really only averaged twice a week.

I've always thought my skin looks better during a Whole30, but I had never taken before and after pics.  I think you can definitely see a difference.

Other than getting a cold right at the end, I truly felt amazing!  And I've been enjoying wearing a bunch of clothing I was avoiding for months :)

Now as always, I'm trying to find that balance, trying to determine which foods are worth it and which just aren't.  I've definitely enjoyed a bunch of non compliant choices but now looking at these pictures makes me regret some of the not so special choices.  I've already lost that super lean "are those my abs?!" look I had achieved at the end of the 30 days... and it's just leaving me thinking was that hamburger bun really worth it?

I'll admit it, I know I'm pretty vain.  I like dropping a few pounds and looking slim, but all these Whole30s are about something much more important: my health!  I will never do a Whole365... but as I approach my 30th birthday later this year, I know I want to ring in the next decade feeling fabulous, looking fit, and doing everything I can to prep my body for our future family plans!  I want to have super healthy pregnancies, feed my family the best diet possible, and be around long after my children are grown to hopefully run around with my grandkids!

My nutrition will always be an ongoing battle, but it's definitely something worth fighting for!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Philadelphia Flower Show

I had never been to the Philadelphia Flower Show and when I went two weekends ago, it truly blew me away!  The theme was National Parks this year and it was neat to see how each display represented their park.  Michelle and I had a sisters bonding day and we had so much fun, but it was also pretty exhausting dealing with the crowds of opening day and doing so much walking (while dealing with my cold).  We checked out all the flowers, did a bunch of shopping, and checked out the butterfly room.  I will definitely be back next year!

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