One Of Those Weeks

This week has been one of those weeks. You know the ones: Your workouts couldn’t have gone any better, you train hard, eat clean-ish, get some rest, spend quality time with the kiddos and make the most of it. Today is my last day off before going back to work tomorrow and I have yet another lovely day planned. Coffee with a friend all while letting the girls running in the water fountain at Uptown. Then, getting some groceries and stuff at Walmart, finishing up laundry and preparing for work tomorrow.

Already, I feel accomplished. This morning was Oly lifting class and I was mentally prepared for Clean & Jerk testing week. We kept the same pattern as we did for the Snatch last week and I was struggling a bit more with the rep scheme, but it went really well in the end. Here’s what we had to do:

  • 3x@75%
  • 3x@80%
  • 2x@85%
  • 2x@90%
  • 1x@95%
  • 1x@100%

Since my 1RM for the C&J is 80#, below are the weights I worked with:

Photo 2015-05-21, 6 16 15 AM

I had to modify some of the weights (either rounding up or down), but it worked well. The numbers on the right are just time cues for me to start my reps at. On my 1st set at 70#, Coach Caleb came by and told me I was doing a weird jerking motion from the ground up. I needed to slow my pull from the shin to the knee in order to work that kink out. I did and managed to do all my rounds, up to 80#.

Coach Caleb told me to switch and put 25# plates on my bar, but I knew that would psych me out, so I kept the 15# and added 2×10# on each side for my test. We had 3 attempts for a 1RM and I went for 85# on my 1st attempt and nailed it. I was so excited that I dropped the bar before bringing my feet back under my shoulders. Oops! I asked Coach Caleb if he wanted me to repeat it and he said to just increase my weight on the bar.

I obliged him and went up to 90#. I was starting to fatigue and coming out of the squat was hard. I managed to do it, I jerked it (and didn’t forget about my feet) and dropped that bar to the floor! Yes! 10# PR! Apparently, I do a little nod before I throw the bar down. I guess that’s my way of acknowledging that I destroyed this weight, now I will drop it like a fly! BAM!

I then tried to go for 95#.

1st attempt: Tracey recorded my attempts. When I reviewed the video, I saw that I could totally pull it high enough, but I wasn’t committing to dropping under the bar. Sounds familiar since I struggle with the same issue on my Snatch.

2nd attempt: Same thing happened here. Pulled high enough, didn’t drop. I had a chat with myself, trying to convince me that the worst I could do would be drop on my bum, so, just commit to it already!

3rd attempt: After reviewing the video, Coach Caleb noticed I hesitated a fraction of a second on the pull before dropping into the squat. I did drop though, but I fell down, since I wasn’t fast enough. Still! I was super happy I had committed to dropping since that’s a big issue for me.

Failed 95#, but I'm gunning for triple digits!

Failed 95#, but I’m gunning for triple digits!

Like I said, I may have failed at 95#, but I’m hoping to get into the triple digits this year! The perfect end to a perfect week of training. I love how supportive my Crossfit peeps are and how encouraging they are. I may not be at my ideal fitness / weight / appearance, but I feel strong as heck and I’m proud of my achievements this week. Not too shabby for someone who can only attend class 2x/week on a normal basis!

 

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!:

Progress!

Progress!

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! ;)

A Newbie No Longer

Today is a holiday in BC and that meant only 2 classes at Crossfit. We were a large group for the 0930 class, but it was a team WOD and I was pretty pumped about the work to accomplish.

 

I teamed up with a bunch of strong women with small feet so we wouldn’t fiddle with the erg (Alli, Bridget and Megan) and we got ready to tackle this stuff! I started us off on the thrusters. Man! Do I love working on the bar! Thrusters, especially! It’s a lift that comes easy to me, for some reason. I finished off with a 3RM of 85#. I had never done a 3RM before for the thrusters, but it’s a definite 15# PR from my 5×5 Squat Clean Thrusters. I started off by cleaning them from the floor, but I moved onto the rack at 75#. I felt proud as punch when we were done with these! Bridget killed it with 115#, Alli finished with 85# as well and Megan got 80#

After we were done our 4-mins rest, I started us off on the erg. I was trying to keep track of my calories for each interval, but I gave up after my second round. I know I got 13 and 15 cals for the 1st 2 rounds.

After yet another 4-mins rest, we moved on to the burpees. As much as I used to hate them when I first started Crossfit, they have now become one of my favourite move to do! I challenged myself by making sure I would touch the pull-up bar on every rep and managed 15 of them in my 1-minute. Not bad, considering everybody else on my team did the same, except for Megan who got 16! I felt so good after this WOD. I know I’m not at my peak performance yet, but I think I’m getting there. Tracey and I talked about the WOD when it was all done and she said that: “Someone who gets a 3RM Thrusters of 85# can no longer call themselves a newbie.” I guess I can’t hide behind that excuse anymore!

Coach AJ (who has come back to us recently) even said that I had gotten so much stronger since she had left. It was nice to hear and it made my proud of my hard work!

After I was done beaming, I made my way to the grocery store. I had forgotten to bring a change of clothes and was going around in my short shorts and my tank top. Yeah, let’s just say Crossfit attire outside the Box attracts some pretty marked glares! I passed a guy who gave me a nod and a smile after he stared at my shorts, then my Crossfit shoes. He was wearing a Crossfit shirt as well, so I smiled back! Crossfitters everywhere unite!

I’m so happy that I get the week off and will be able to go to the Box 4 times this week. This truly is my drug! I love Crossfit and I love me some barbell work! Proof is this love gush on Instagram!Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 1.36.02 PM

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 video posted 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…

 

When A PR Disappoints

We had a busy weekend, spent family-style and running around. Saturday, we got up early and did our errands. We had intended to go to the Quadra Village Community Celebrations, but we had so much running around to do that we ended up missing the festivities. That’s ok, we ended up planting our herb garden and I was reminded that gardening, sometimes, feel like a workout:

Photo 2015-05-09, 1 11 04 PM

Burpee… Why you gotta haunt me so?

 

However, after Friday’s WOD, my sciatic was brutally letting me know that it was angry with me and things didn’t improve much over the weekend. :(

We went out for breakfast for Mother’s Day. Who am I kidding, we went out for breakfast because it was Sunday! LoL! Afterwards, we decided to bike downtown and Ben hooked up the stroller to his bike. The girls traveled in style with the Jambox speaker in the stroller with them and music playing while poor Ben had to pull them through town. We parked the bikes and stroller while we strolled around. Rina got a blister on her toe from her plastic sandals and took them off. Béatrice didn’t want to be left behind so she copied her big sister. Their feet were filthy when we came back home! I thought the bike ride would help with the sciatic pain, but it didn’t. It didn’t make it worst either. It was just a constant throbbing, burning pain in my left buttock. We came back home to a late lunch and I took the girls to bed with me. Nobody slept, but it was nice to get some cuddles and relaxing time together. Ben also made me a stand for my iPad Mini and, although it wasn’t the costliest of Mother’s Day presents, I was really thankful for it. He had made one for himself a few months ago and I kept hogging borrowing it when he wasn’t using it. Now, I have my very own and don’t have to steal his! ;)

I was excited to see the WOD last night. Funny enough, I had been thinking about Baseline lately because it was my 1st WOD ever and I was curious to see where I stood compared to my humble beginnings. Well, here it goes:

Skill: Back squat 5×5 with HSPU 5-7reps E60s

Since I could feel EVERY butt giggle (not in a fun way, but in a “my sciatic is painful” way) on the warm-up run, I decided to avoid the squats today. Coach Caleb suggested I try some deadlifts instead. I chose a low weight to not irritate my sciatic even more, but even at the low 85#, I had to stop on the 3rd round. It was burning and pulling and hurting, so Coach Caleb said to just rest during the squats and keep working on the HSPU. I managed those with 1 yoga block and 3×5# plates. I did them strict and they were hard. During the back squats, I stretched and tried to do some active release in my glutes and hip flexors.

WOD: Baseline

I was ready for this one. Tracey and I paired up in order to score one another. I had a strategy and was ready to tackle it. I really wanted to get the most of my row and I extended back and reached forward as much as I could which resulted in me keeping my average stroke per 500m around the 2:10. Unheard of for me. I went above that towards the end as I fatigued, but I was able to bring it back for the last 50 metres. So far so good.

For the air squats, I wasn’t overly fast, but I only stopped twice if I remember properly and for only a few short seconds.

Then, it was onto the sit-ups. Again, I wasn’t overly fast, but I only took 2 short breaks before completing the 30 reps.I also no-repped myself for a rep because my hands didn’t touch the ground behind me on one rep. I was honest and corrected Tracey on her count! Accountability, people, accountability! If you cheat on a rep, you only cheat yourself! ;)

The push-ups were hard. I had a hard time stringing them along at the beginning, but managed to do 5 in-a-row towards the end. I did them all RX though and didn’t need to drop to my knees. Onto the pull-ups we go!

I had set-up with the red band and only managed a max of 2 in-a-row. They were mostly done singles and I think that’s where I lost most of my time. I never looked at the clock during the WOD (and waste precious seconds turning my head around?!? No siree!, Not me!) and I was expecting to finish around the 8:00 mark. I was incredibly disappointed when Tracey called out 8:37. Yep, even though it was a PR, I was angry. Yes, I had done the push-ups RX and my band for the pull-ups was the smallest I’d ever used for Baseline, but I was still mad that I wasn’t closer to my goal. Below is my progression for my multiple attempts at this WOD (The most recent on top):

Baseline progress

Baseline progress

I tried to shake it off, came back home showered and did my hair. I was still upset:

Not a happy camper

Not a happy camper

Then I thought: You have your lovely cozy yellow hoodie on and your freckles make you look good and you’re wearing funky leggings that show off your hamstrings and quads. Turn that frown upside-down and celebrate the fact that you can pull off wearing a banana-yellow hoodie and rock the rest of your day, even if it’s grey and chilly outside!

Burpee... Why you gotta haunt me so?

Mindset is everything! Focus on the positive, let go of the negative!

I took my own thought to heart and decided that even though I wasn’t close to my goal, my score is still progress and I can only achieve progress with some failures thrown into the mix. Failure is growth and growth is progress!

Photo 2014-12-23, 7 57 19 PM

Now, if I could just get rid of my sciatic pain, life would be just peachy, cuddling on the couch with my little Béa! :)

Inspiration…Me? Who Knew?

Look what I got in the mail yesterday:

Class act post card from Coach Be over at Crossfit Stasis

Class act post card from Coach Be over at Crossfit Stasis! I love the French Thanks at the bottom! 

 

Yesterday was rough. I only managed to sleep for 3hrs after my night shift and I was so relieved when I was granted the night off (without pay, of course). I swear, the night shifts are slowly killing me. I managed to string another solid 6hrs when I finally went to bed for the night and then, I was up bright and early for Crossfit!

The warmup was Bring Sally Up where you do squats on the Moby song. Overtime he says “down” you squat down and only get up when he says “bring Sally up”. The Rx weight is 135# for men and 95# for women, but unless you have impeccable form, it shouldn’t be attempted at those weights. We did it doing air squats and Coach Caleb let us out of our misery early by cutting the song a little short. My hip flexors were screaming!

WOD: Deadlimp

I was determined to use a little bit heavier for the DL than I normally use (105#), so I went with 115# for all rounds. I was doing ok for the first few rounds, using the 35# KB for the lunges, but on round 4, my left quad started to seize up and I had to resort to stepping up the box jumps and dropped down to 26# for the reverse lunges. I finished all rounds, but I had to roll my quad during the “rest” periods. That was a tough one!

The legs failed me, but I stayed strong and focused until the finish!

The legs failed me, but I stayed strong and focused until the finish!

When we were done, Tracey asked me if she could introduce me to her friend Lara and Kelsey showed up a little later. They have just started in the On-Ramp class. Tracey had been sharing some of my blog posts and tagged both Lara and Telsey in it so that they could see Crossfit is feasible for EVERYONE! We chatted up a bit about being moms, our insecurities and the challenges that Crossfit bring about, but I also mentioned some of the tremendous benefits. It was ver humbling to know that these two women were inspired by little old me and my little blog. Heck, I had just celebrated the fact that I didn’t come last in the WOD on Wednesday (by a mere 7 seconds, but still, I wasn’t last! :) ) So, to know that even though I far from excel at this, but yet can still inspire others to take it on (and surpass my accomplishments) is extremely humbling and it made me feel good about my whole journey.

I came back home, cleaned up and took this pic:

 

 

Hello Traps! :)

Hello Traps! :)

Now, I’m looking forward to a relaxing day with the girls and Ben in the afternoon!

 

No Longer Afraid

I’ve been thinking a lot about my Crossfit journey lately. What it has brought to me, how it has changed me and the benefits of it all.

For the past 21 months, I have been (mostly) attending the 0600 class, which means that I have been waking up at 0500 in order to go workout. I know, right? For some people, this seems unfathomable and a little on the cray-cray side of things. It is what works for me and my family and obviously, if I’ve stuck to it for so long, it’s because I enjoy it!

I remember the first few months, how I was apprehensive about the WODs. Now, I don’t even think about checking in advance what the workout will be. Sometimes, I will, just to make sure I have everything I need in my bag or to compare the weights I used previously in order to go heavier. I no longer apprehend WODs, instead, I strategize and plan to be efficient. Proof is, I tackled Fight Gone Bad over the weekend without any prep and we just tackled Nancy this morning.

To say that I am more mellow is something only the people close to me will notice. I am still the spirited (ahem), unfiltered French girl amongst the “anglos” around me, but I no longer let the little things get to me. I tackle struggles in strides, one rep at a time, one step at a time. Don’t get me wrong, I still stand out with my personality, I have just mellowed down a bit!

Yep! Still the same, just muted down a bit!

Yep! Still the same, just muted down a bit!

 

I can now lift heavy things or people by myself. A few months ago, I deadlifted one of these puppies at work to help out a co-worker move the ventilator tubes from underneath the wheels. Mind you, I only deadlifted the one side so probably about half the weight of this beast, but it’s still about 140lbs! :

 

The Giraffe Omnibed incubator by GE

The Giraffe Omnibed incubator by GE

I can also carry both my kids upstairs on my body when bedtime comes around, even when I’m sick. Last week, Rina wanted me to pick her up while Béatrice wanted to hang onto my back to go upstairs at bedtime. I had kept Nanny around because I was nauseous and not feeling well. She was impressed when she saw the monkeys hanging off me while I made my way up the stairs. That is 60lbs of little humans to carry upstairs! I can also move furniture without my lovely other half around. The downside of this is I also assume everybody else should be able to do the same… I need to learn to lower my expectations! ;)

Today's WOD Source

Today’s WOD
Source

Speaking of expectations, I had none for Nancy this morning. I had only ever done the 3 rounds of Nancy previously and it was terribly scaled down for the OHS weight. You can see by yourself:

Dowel only or training bar

As you can see on my results, I was using the wooden dowel only or a dowel with a 10# plate on it x 15 reps for the OHS  and only doing 3 rounds of the whole thing (running 200m on my 1st attempt and running 400m on my second). Can you say I’ve progressed tremendously since then? Lol!

Here’s how I modified it today. Still not RX, but getting closer.

5 rounds of:

  • 400m run
  • 15 OHS @ 45#

I split up my OHS mostly into sets of 8 reps, followed by 7 reps. I probably could have done 55#, but I don’t think I would have been able to split my OHS like I did today. Nancy sounds easy when you look at it on paper (or on the screen), but when you really analyze it, it’s a 2km run with 75 OHS. If you want to look into it even deeper, the way I scaled it today was 2km run and squatting overhead 3375 lbs (total)! Yeah… It was a tough one! I was happy to finish sub 25 minutes at 23:17, even though it was scaled. I added on way more weight on that bar and did way more reps too, so to me, this is REALLY, REALLY good!

Skill: Power Clean 8×2 EMOM

Since we were keeping the same weight throughout, I chose 60# for all my reps. I was really focusing on jumping (getting my feet off the ground and landing wider)the bar up, all the while maintaining contact on my thighs on the pull.

I came back home, made pancakes for the little ones, showered, did 3 loads of laundry and folded 4 (Nanny was nice enough to give me a head start on my laundry last night before she headed home), cleaned upstairs, picked up Rina from preschool and got everybody lunch. To say that I’m looking forward to sitting on the couch before I go nap (I’m working a night shift tonight) is the understatement of the year. I thought for sure I would be sore in the legs tonight around 10pm. My prediction was so wrong… It’s barely 1pm and my hips and butt are already killing me. Fun night at work tonight, I’m sure! ;)