Getting There


My sister-in-law posted this picture of our family taken last weekend.

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 8.08.19 PM

We were just out for a short stroll around the block so the girls could ride their bikes (or in Béatrice’s case, be pulled by Daddy).

Check out my back… There used to be no definition whatsoever on that back, only back fat! There is still back fat, but you can definitely see muscles as well and that was not even after a workout! :)

Slowly, but surely, making progress. Can’t wait to see my next set of Progress Update pictures! ;)

Standing Together


Here’s a little secret…

I will enter my first ever Crossfit competition (outside of the 2014 Crossfit Games) in the Novice category on Sunday October 5. It just so happens that the day of the competition falls on the same day as my local Run for the Cure (in awareness of breast cancer). As some of you might know, Mamie is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments for a second time. I haven’t blogged about it before, but she gave me the “ok” to talk about it now since I will be raising funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Her breast cancer has come back and it has spread around. She is showing positive response to the chemotherapy so far and I want to dedicate my first competition to her strength, courage and determination. She has been an example of positivism and has kept moving forward during these trying times and I try to imitate her as best I can when the going gets tough i life and during the WODs. So, if, by any chance, you’re not busy on October 5th and you want to come see me sweat buckets cheer me on, please do so. If you want to make a small donation to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation to show your support, you can do so by clicking right here. If you don’t want to make a donation, please just come by and see what I’ve been talking about for the past year, it’ll be a fun display of strength and determination! :)

Archive from the Crossfit Games 2014, I will be standing up to cancer and standing up for Mamie on October 5.

Archive from the Crossfit Games 2014, I will be standing up to cancer and standing up for Mamie on October 5.

Skill: Handstand practice 5×20 sec E2M

Yay! Handstand practice! I partnered up with Tracey and Marika and we even managed a few attempts off the wall completely. We would kick up and the “spotters” would help us control our legs and balance while letting us figuring out our middle ground. It was fun and I was glad I managed to find my balance on a few attempts. :)

WOD: J.O.B. (Jumping over box)

That was a short one and since there were so many of us today, I did my “box jumps” on 6×45# plates stacked up together to equal a 20″ box. I actually liked that a lot better as the platform was smaller and I even managed a few jumps off the plates on my last set. I finished last in 6:24, but I wasn’t too far behind everybody else, so that made me happy. 

I was sore front he WOD on Monday and my DU practice. My calves are all seized up and my hip flexors were screaming at me during the plate jumps, but I got through it and I’m getting better everyday. Yesterday was the first day I stuck to my macros AND my caloric allotment for the day on a day that I don’t work out! I’m slowly getting the hang of this Eat to Perform and although I haven’t lost any weight, I feel stronger at the box and more focused! Win-win! 

Couldn't be closer to my macros!

Couldn’t be closer to my macros!

As I was making my way back to my belongings after the WOD, I ran into Michelle, a member of the On-Ramp class. We started talking and she admitted to being overweight and needing something to change for her to get in better shape. I told her a little bit about myself, about how I stumbled upon the sign on the side of the road one day last year and how I registered for the On-Ramp as well and here I was, a little over a year later and still going strong, still loving every second. She told me she puked on her first class and this was her second class today. I told her she might feel like puking a few more times along the way, but at least, she was here now and that’s all that mattered, really. One day at a time, one rep at a time. We all have to begin somewhere. I hope to see her around more. ;)

Oh My Squats!


I felt good when I woke up 5 mins before my alarm this morning. I had gotten to bed early and didn’t wake up until morning, so I thought: “Finally, a good night of sleep!” Turns out, I would need more than sleep to get through today’s WOD.

Warm-up: I was glad to be trying the jumping ring rows. Turns out I could easily string 10 in a row without too much struggle. It’s nice to see progress on moves we haven’t done in a while and I’m glad I can now do these a little better and faster.

Skill: Back squat 8,8,6,6 E2M

I wasn’t sure how to go about these in terms of weight. I paired up with Marika and started these as follows (she went a lot heavier than me, but I was ok with it!):

  • 8×85#
  • 8×95#
  • 6×100#
  • 6×105#

On my last set at 105#, I was ready to call it a day after the 3rd rep and wanted to drop that bar like there was no tomorrow, but Coach Caleb and Marika talked me through the last 3 reps and I stuck with it. It was tough though. Looking back at my PR page, I just realized I PR’d my back squat by doing so. My 5 rep max was 100# back in January. 5# is not a big PR, but it’s a PR nonetheless and I will take every inch I can when it comes to Crossfit! :)

WOD: Cindy Rows Fast

That was a mix of rowing and Cindy. We had to go through 3 rounds of the following:

  • Row for 30 cals
  • 3 rounds of Cindy: -5 kipping pull-ups (red and blue bands for me)

-10 hand release push-ups (I switched to knee push ups on the 2nd round)

-15 air squats

Once again, Marika teamed up with me and I absolutely struggled through this one. Originally, Coach Caleb had written out 4 rounds of the above, only to realize his mistake and tell us it was only 3 rounds. Right into the 1st round, I started having heavy abdominal cramping and could barely push through to finish the round. I had to stop and breathe deeply in order to keep going. It wasn’t monthly lady time cramping, it wasn’t oxygen deprivation cramping, it was silly ovulation cramping. I’ve had ovulation cramps before, but nothing like this. It made life miserable and the WOD was not fun at all (they never are, but this one was something else).

Just as I got off the Erg on the 3rd round, Coach Caleb announced it was only 3 rounds, not 4. That made me a little happier. The cramps had subsided a bit and I was able to finish. Our time was 24:24. Marika was a great partner for this one. Just the right amount of cheering and getting me to push further. I also heard Tracey, cheering me on while she was warming up for the 0700 class. I don’t think I’ve ever considered quitting a WOD before today, but I was close with this one. I just couldn’t get any sort of rhythm going. I’m not sure if it’s because my nutrition was crap yesterday or if it’s the 2 small glasses of wine I had for dinner last night, but I felt rubbish and wanted to stop so bad. I was just glad it was only 3 rounds as I’m sure I would still be at it, trying to finish the 4th round!

I came home and had to go upstairs to shower. I declared we needed an elevator. Ben asked if a carrying mule would do. I said anything would, as long as I didn’t have to get up there on my own. Once on the top landing, I sprawled on the floor. I swear, I almost fell asleep right then and there. I had a really rough time peeling myself off the floor, but eventually, ended up in the shower.

I’m on days off from work and only have to go back Friday, so I plan on doing absolutely nothing during my days off. Actually, not nothing. I just refuse to do any cleaning and I will space laundry throughout the week. This morning, I bought a separate countertop compost bin for the meat we’ll be putting away in the city compost bin. Ben has gone through the other compost bin that was left behind on our property when we bought the house, sifted through plastic bags and other trash and discovered some nice composted soil at the bottom. We will keep adding to it and use it for the garden. I also went to buy some terracotta pots for re-potting the aloes that keep growing like weeds in their little pots. I will also repot our Hibiscus so it has more room to grow in the spring, before we bring it inside for the winter. As for our red banana plant tree, I will wait a few more weeks before I repot it and bring it indoors for the winter. Hopefully, it won’t die on me and we will be able to transplant it outside next summer! Look at me, I’m becoming quite the gardener! Such a homeowner! ;)

Better, Faster, Stronger

When I saw the WOD posted on Tuesday night, I was both excited and a little defeated. I was excited for the handstand practice because eventually, these will lead to handstand push-ups (HSPU) and they are on my bucket list. I was a little defeated because not only there was running in the WOD, it was stretches of 600m, not 400m…

I was also excited to go on Thursday as that means the earliest class is at 0700 (not 0600) and it also meant I could “sleep in”! :) It was just Jessica and myself this morning and that girl is really funny and she can kick some serious butts too!

Skill: Handstand 5x 20sec.

We warmed up with some wall walks and although I have a hard time getting really close to the wall when I do these, I knew I could do the handstand against the wall, no problem. I kicked up my legs… and didn’t make it to the wall. I kicked off again and, this time, I managed to make it to the wall and got into position. On the 3rd attempt, I tried to get my feet off the wall to go into a real handstand, but I couldn’t figure it out. Coach Caleb came by on my 5th attempt so he could prevent my legs from going too far back  and as much as I tried to, I just couldn’t stabilize off the wall. It was a good first practice and I was happy to get that under my belt.

WOD:  I had no idea how many rounds I would complete, but I knew I wanted to fight for them. We took off for the first 600m and as I neared 200m, I wanted to take a walking break so bad, but instead, I slowed my pace and kept going. First 600m non-stop in the bag. I came back inside to do my burpee box jumps and no-repped myself for one box jump because my hand touched the box. I did all my burpees Rx (no granny-style burped for me today). Then, I moved onto the rig and started doing my knee raises. My hands kept slipping and I couldn’t string more than 3 or 4 together, but I got my 1st round done. Off to the run again. This time, I went out a lot slower and while I was “running” I kept repeating this mantra in my head:

I’m a runner. I’m a runner. I’m a runner…

I had to keep a grasp on my mental and it seemed to work. Second 600m non-stop done. Back inside for the burped box jumps. I was slow, but I kept my rhythm. Onto the rig for the knee raises. I was still slipping and had to no-rep myself for one because I didn’t clear my heels in the back on a rep. Honesty before score!

Third round of 600m run. It was painfully slow and I kept crossing Jessica as she was returning to the gym with a huge smile on her face. Every time she passed me, she encouraged me or gave me a little “high-five”. She reminded me of this guy. The one on the left with the purple shirt. Yeah, that guy. Except, picture a girl with a bob instead, looking like a freakin’ gazelle frolicking in the early morning and you have it down to a T.

Ridiculously good looking marathon guy

Ridiculously good-looking marathon guy

Meanwhile, there’s me, huffing and puffing like a hyperventilating rhino, slower than a turtle, but I’m still running. Ok, not sure running is the appropriate term, but I’m not walking and that’s all that matters to me. Third 600m non-stop done. Back inside for my burpee box jumps and another set of knee raises. 45 seconds left on the clock. As I take off for yet another run, Coach Caleb yells at me:” 200m Val, just 200m this time”. I probably could have kissed him right then and there, but that would have meant having to go back and adding to my running mileage and fat chance in hell of that happening. I did the last 200m non-stop. Jessica said I looked like I had the running part down. She said I looked at ease, with a good pace. Good thing she didn’t see me on my last two runs! ;)

Officially, my score was 63 (21 reps per rounds and I did 3 full rounds).

Unofficially, my score is 63.33 (3 full rounds + 200m run).

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go ice my shins before heading to bed for  glorious nap before my night at work! :)

P.S. I think the Eat to Perform plan is slowly showing its benefits. I still can’t control my calories that well on days when I don’t work out, but I hit my macros and eat healthier overall and I’ve noticed I’m slightly doing better in the WODs… Maybe I’m onto something here! ;)

Tough Times

This past month has been tough. Rina is definitely acting up with the fact that Ben and I are back to work full-time and Béatrice, being the little monkey-see-monkey-do that she is, copies her big sister all the time. When Rina has a meltdown, Béa has one just to be like her big sister. I’m not lying. Sometimes, she whines just because Rina is whining. It makes for a very loud household and it doesn’t get any better when I lose my patience and get loud on top of them.

I’m a loner. I like my quiet time. I need some “me time” where I can recharge in the peace and quiet of my house. I like my house clean (well, as clean and orderly as it can get with two children and a husband who isn’t so bothered by messiness). I can’t sit and relax until the house is somewhat orderly.

When I have to go to work, I need my scrubs out, my lunch and dinner packed the night before in order to optimize my sleeping time. Heck, I even fill my bottle of water and put it in the fridge overnight so I don’t have to do it in the morning. That’s how organized I am.

Rina has been a wonderful toddler up until very recently. She is now acting up a lot more, talking back and kicking and screaming. I can tell my “time-out” method isn’t going to last for much longer and I’m not sure what kind of discipline I’ll use when it doesn’t. I’ll admit to resorting to screaming a lot more than I would like to lately and I’m absolutely exhausted. Exhausted because the screaming isn’t helping, it only adds up to my frustration and exhausted because that’s not the kind of parenting I want to be doing.

I spoke to Mamie today and she reassured me that it is normal to have phases when you get more tired as a parent. I find it hard when Rina keeps behaving badly (and Béatrice imitates her) and it makes me not like motherhood at times. I don’t mean that I don’t like my daughters, quite the contrary. I live and breathe for these two little persons, but sometimes, I really don’t like being a mom. The kind of mom that has to choose between discipline and teaching the rules or giving up on your child. The mom who has to make a choice between folding laundry and cleaning the house or going to the playground. The mom who caves in and feeds “fishy crackers” and “bunny noodles” once in a while so that we don’t have to fight over mealtime.

Then, there’s the guilt. I know I need time to myself, but I feel guilty when I do take the time I need by myself. It’s never ending. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. One thing I won’t budge on though is Crossfit. I need Crossfit as an outlet where I can be “me” for an hour a few times a week. When I’m at Crossfit, I’m not Mommy, I’m just another woman, giving the best she has to the bar, the Erg, the Airdyne or the rig. To be completely honest, that’s one of the reason I love Crossfit so much: it’s a great outlet to my everyday life frustrations and I absolutely CANNOT think about anything else than what is going on in that very second, otherwise, injury would ensue, I’m absolutely convinced of that.

So, this morning, I was selfish and I went to the box. For my physical, mental and emotional health, as well as the eel–being of my daughters! ;)

Warm-up: That was the best warm-up ever, running, but with walking intervals. My kind of running!

Skill: Back squat 6×3 E2M

I was all excited about back squats! I teamed up with Jen and Victoria and we increased with similar weight throughout the progression. Here were my reps:

  • 90#-95#-100#-100#-105#-105#

I repeated the 100# twice because I couldn’t keep my shoulders up on the up part of the squat. I also repeated the 105# twice because my last rep at 105# was ugly. I couldn’t engage my core enough to make it straight on the up for the last rep of either set at 105#. It’s ok, I have 6 weeks to work on that until we move onto the next phase of training. Reading the blog, I was happy to find out we will be working on the snatch, the back squat and the handstand pushup over the next 6 weeks. I’m particularly happy about the HSPU as it’s something I’ve been curious of trying. Let’s just hope I don’t miss too many HSPU days because of my work schedule! ;)

WOD: Labour Daze

I paired up with Victoria and Jen again for this one and although it wasn’t easy, we did well. We did the FG and my modifications were mainly for the strict pull-ups (I used the blue and red bands) and stuck to the 14# wallballs. I started on the rower and lost track of my personal scores. I think I averaged 10-12 calories/minute on the Erg, 6-8 wall balls/minute (i know it’s low, but I’m still new to the 14# wallballs and they were a killer after rowing) and between 6-8 pull-ups/minute. I was sweaty after this one and although it seemed like a good idea to get moving after my little at-home WOd from Saturday, it made my legs really sore! Can’t wait to see how I’ll be walking tomorrow… Not!

Still playing with my macronutrients and learning about eating within my macros over the next week, but I can feel things are slowly clicking. I’m a slow learning, what can I say! :)

Sunday Downtown + Making A House A Home Pt.3

The girls have been split up for a while, but Béatrice finally made her move from the crib to Rina’s toddler bed yesterday after we bought Rina her twin mattress at Costco ($200 for a Posturepedic, can’t really beat that price!) Jenn and Stu were kind enough to come help us out with Stu’s pick up so we could haul the mattress back home and in return, we gave them Béatrice’s crib to help out with their niece visiting. Win-win!

Ben made some pretty cool art-work for the girls’ bedroom door. The entire idea and concept was his. He took pictures of the girls on the beach with their names written in sand, collected small driftwood, glued the driftwood onto a frame and added pink letter for their names. Pretty awesome if I do say so myself!

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Béatrice's room, pretty much all done.

Béatrice’s room, pretty much all done.

Her "new" toddler bed

Her “new” toddler bed

Rina's room. We still need to unpack and get her furniture in

Rina’s room. We still need to unpack and get her furniture in

Missing her furniture.

Missing her furniture.

Our room. Eventually, we'll get new furniture as well.

Our room. Eventually, we’ll get new furniture as well.

The afternoon nap for the girls was pretty hectic and they barely slept with Béatrice getting out of bed a lot and going to bug Rina and by the time dinnertime rolled around, they were just miserable, impolite and down right rude to me. When Ben is around, it’s like they become these total daddy’s girls and lose complete respect and love for me. I know I should get used to it now as it probably will get worst as they get older, but it irritates me to no end that I bend myself over backwards for these little human beings and get absolutely nothing in return. Asking for a kiss and a hug is like asking for the moon and I had just about reached my limit last night. Anyway, rant over!

For the past 2 weeks, we’ve been riding our bikes downtown with the girls in their carrier and have just walked through the city, doing some mindless window shopping and entertaining the girls for free. After yesterday’s WOD at home, my glutes, quads and hamstrings could just about tolerate the light biking. The girls love the ride and walk downtown, exploring the city and we don’t have to spend a dime! Another win! Here are some pictures I took today from our little bike ride downtown:

No better toy than an empty box!

No better toy than an empty box!

Classical beauty!

Classical beauty!

Portrait taken by Rina

Portrait taken by Rina

Daddy and his girls!

Daddy and his girls!

Johnson St. bridge with some menacing clouds

Johnson St. bridge with some menacing clouds

Rina, all blamed up for her bike ride!

Rina, all glamed up for her bike ride!

BeZU, hiding in plain sight

BeZU, hiding in plain sight

Sister playing

Sisters playing


Karachi In The Yard

There was no way I was going to go to Crossfit yesterday after I worked all night and slept only 5hrs. However, when I looked at the WOD, I realized I had almost everything to do the whole class at home with some modifications. The only thing I was missing was our Kettlebell which my husband was kind enough to go pick up from his work place so I could do the WOD in the yard (he’s a squash pro and works out when he’s not giving lessons, so it’s not weird at all for him to show up with his KB at work! ;) )

Warm-up: I did this with a few modifications, using my 25# KB. 4 rounds of the following:

  • 6 deadlifts with the KB
  • 3 KB snatch / arm at 25#
  • 6 squats with the KB on a back rack

Mobility: everything Rx since I had all the equipment required! ;)

WOD: Karachi I did this one FG since our KB is 25#. It was short, but intense! The 1 min rest in between rounds got my legs feeling like jelly for the Taters!

First WOD behind our very own (recently repainted by the hubby) white picket fence! Feeling like a proud home owner

First WOD behind our very own (recently repainted by the hubby) white picket fence. Feeling like a proud home owner!

I had a quick shower post WOD and was hoping to get some down time while the girls are supposed to be napping, but I can hear them walking around and playing upstairs. We have just gotten BeZU into her toddler bed and Rina is on her twin mattress on the floor of her room until we get her furniture delivered. Slowly but surely, we are getting things done around the house to make it our own. We are also lucky to have found a tenant and although she has been moved in for a week now, I can only tell she’s home when I hear the dryer going, she’s so quiet! I don’t think life can get any better than this! :)