Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Not So Negative Nancy

I don't have too much to update you on today, although I do want to follow up on my previous post...

     Primarily the fact that the "low" from last week's post only lingered for a day. Thanks to my awesome community and my amazing coach, I had the opportunity to stop feeling mopey and start feeling strong again lickity split!
    After tons of encouragement from several people, including serious understanding from several of my Crossfit ladies, I came in to my Wednesday WOD ready to compete against myself- not in time, but in the stength and quality of my performance.

I'm not sure if Rob had read my previous post or not, but either way, he did just what I needed him to do in order to help me feel strong again. I could leave it at that, but you all know I just can't, so here comes story-time:
One part of our three-part workout was 21 kettlebell swings at 3/4 bodyweight. Thinking about this throughout the day, I put together that I would have to swing about 42kg in order to do the workout as prescribed; and considering we were supposed to use two kettlebells if necessary to total the correct weight, I would have to use two 20kg kettlebells for this workout. I've never used anything heavier than two 12's.
When the time came to pick out our kettlebells, Rob told me to grab a 32 kg kettlebell. For those of you who don't want to calculate in your noggin, that is 70.5 lbs. To swing between my legs and up into the air. Twenty-one times. For three rounds. Also, this was the same kettlebell that my stronger, heavier, and faster husband was grabbing.
I waited a second to see if he was joking, and he didn't seem to be, so I went to pick one up. I could barely lift it.
I turned back around to get his attention; "Hey Rob, really?"
He smirked, "Yes really."
"You aren't messing with me?"
"No. Use a 32."
So I wobbled out onto the floor with my 32, convinced that if I could barely carry it, there was no way I could swing it. But the disappointment of failing to push myself was still in my mind, and I was determined to at least try. Rob told me not to worry about the height of the swing; if I could only get it to my waist it was fine (as long as my form was okay and I wasn't hurting myself, of course).
I bent down, wrapped my palm and fingers around the handle, loaded my hamstrings, pivoted the kettlebell, and pulled back with all my might-  and I swung that beast!
Granted, throughout the workout there was a lot of advice given that wasn't heeded because once that monster was moving through the air there wasn't much adjustment I could make. If it was moving, my butt was tight, my back wasn't hurting, I was breathing, and I wasn't falling over, life was good!

I ended that night feeling wonderful- just as I usually do when I go to Crossfit Ansbach and work out with my friends. As the icing on the cake, Rob threw a few more compliments my way before I left, (making me think that he probably did read my blog and wanted to give me a pick-me-up); but, although his words were definitely appreciated, he had already done the perfect job of ridding me from my negativity, just by being the kind of coach that he is (one who knows what you are capable of even when you don't, and pushes you to be better).

Basically, If any of you are still wondering why I care so much about this crazy "cult" of fitness...

If you take away the people and the bonds, the muscles and endorphins, the other addicting and wonderful aspects of this "trend" ...  you will see that empowerment is the answer.

In a world filled to the brim with the promotion of self-doubt, to continuously learn the never-ending capacity of my mind, my body, and MYSELF is a priceless treasure.

 These are gifts which absolutely deserve appreciation and love.

Thanks again and again Crossfit Ansbach! See you tonight!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Day that Good Wasn't Good Enough (Just another unexpected Crossfit first....)

Have you ever been simultaneously proud and disappointed at the same time?
Yea, me neither.....Until last night....

This is the deal. Last night's workout was a killer before I even got there. Just reading it beforehand on the blog, I knew it was bound to be an absolute soul-crusher. (I do mean this as a compliment, by the way). I spent the whole day dreading the experience; mainly because the workout contained four 200-meter sprints IF you weren't able to get to one of the seven rowers (considering the evening classes are packed, it was by no means certain that I could get to one).

I still don't like running. It has gotten easier, and a warmup or cooldown jog is doable and sometimes enjoyable. Plus, I would rather sprint than do a long-distance run on any day of the week (by long-distance I'm talking anything over 800-meters... even if you told me to jog two-miles I would probably cry. Sad, I know). BUT, if you haven't ever tried to do more than one 200-meter sprint, just believe me when I say that 200-meter sprints are beyond tough. One 200-meter sprint is exhausting, yet invigorating; multiple sprints leave me barely able to move my legs, while trying to give myself a mental pep-talk and wondering if I am about to throw up or poop my pants. I don't know if this is a normal reaction or not, but it has been my personal experience so far.

The workout started with 10 unbroken cleans using any piece(s) of equipment in the box, or viper presses with a log. I chose the viper press. (click here to see a demo) I don't know why, but I actually find the movement fun, and when faced with an option to not do cleans, I will take it. For some reason, despite being the easiest movement for most people, I still haven't quite perfected cleans. This is on the goal list...
The next step of the workout was a 40 second row sprint IF you could get to the rower; if not, you had to sprint 200 meters. It may have been unfair/petty of me, but you best believe I set my log up right next to that set of rowers and made sure the men around me knew that I would fight dirty to end up on one. Luckily, Matt, who stood behind me, wanted to run (what!?) so that was at least one competitor out of the way.
The third part of the workout was 15 unbroken front squats; again, using any "toy" in the box. I chose to do goblet squats with one kettlebell. Knowing that I can do about 20 reps straight with 45 kilograms during back squats, that back squats are generally done with more weight than front squats, and that I would have to do 60 reps by the end of the workout, I stuck with a 16kg kettlebell.
Oh yea, and if you broke a set, you had to start over at the beginning of the set. Just for an added suck-cherry on top of the ass-kicking sundae! (again, I say this with total love and respect)
You repeated these three steps for four rounds, with sixty much-needed seconds of rest between each round.

When the timer started, I hit those viper presses like a banshee! I was the first one to hop onto a rower HALLELUJAH and hauled ass because if I didn't keep up I thought I wouldn't make it to the rower on the next round. Again, my main motivator for moving as fast as humanly possible was the prospect of having to sprint 200 meters.

Lo and behold, I finished the whole workout in 12 minutes and 45 seconds; a fairly quick time (from what I could tell). I immediately felt proud that I had finished faster than I expected (and faster than Cody's time from earlier in the day ;) ) and I was so incredibly relieved to be done working out. I couldn't gulp in air fast enough, my legs were numb, and my whole body was exhuasted; I couldn't really make out the clock across the room because my vision was blurring when I tried to look too far in the distance.

I know that I pushed myself to the limit as far as intensity goes. I couldn't have added weight to my viper press because I almost hit muscle failure on my last two reps. I rowed as hard as I possibly could, and made it to the rower every single time. Part of me wanted to do a little dance and call Cody to brag a little bit!

But when Rob came over to tell me I did a good job and ask if I felt strong.... the answer was no. I didn't want to say it, because I didn't want to sound negative or like I was begging for reinforcement, but looking around the room, I didn't feel strong at all.
So I just said, "my vision is blurry," which I guess was my exhausted and brain-dead way of saying, "well, I'm really worn out and pushed myself, if thats what you're asking."

The only reason I can figure out for being disappointed when I should feel good is that I have such an overwhelming desire to do better and be better when it comes to Crossfit.
and I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing....

Usually, when I finish among the first in the class or know I performed well during a workout, I feel super proud of myself. Last night, it wasn't enough to do the best that I could. I want to be better than I currently am. I may have "beaten" some women in the class time-wise, but there is no comparison, because those women were doing front squats with at least 30 kg!
I shouldn't, and usually don't, compare myself to other people, but I am so frustrated that my legs can't keep up with my desire to get stronger! I wonder if I have been cheating myself during workouts even though I don't mean to. Maybe I would feel better about it if I would have sucked it up and done the sprints instead of letting my intimidation rule me; even though I hate sprints, doing them would probably be better for me than sticking in my comfort zone.

Intellectually, I know that I can't be good at every movement. Lord knows that I am usually closer to last place than first. And the cool part of Crossfit is that it incorporates so many aspects of fitness, that even the top competitors have workouts they don't do well during.
I know that I am leaps and bounds above where I was when I first started, and this in itself should be encouragement and a source of pride. and it usually is!
I know that I should be proud of what I excel at; those things that Rob points out to me all the time, and the movements that I can tell are truly improving each week...

But I feel disappointed.

So here is my first ever somewhat negative Crossfit post.... not because of Crossfit, but because of me being a negative-nancy. Which makes me feel even worse. Am I hormonal or something? Gross.

 I'm just going to spend all day looking at Crossfit motivation stuff on the internet and then come kick some ass at the box tonight. So there.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy 2014

*Disclaimer: I hope this post doesn't read smugly, as I am not trying to put down the idea of having a Resolution. There are times when a New Years Resolution is the perfect kick-start, and I'm sure I will make plenty of them in the years to come!*

I'm sitting here drinking a mug of Detox Tea and pondering over the saying that I discovered on the little flag that hangs out of the coffee cup during steeping (is there a name for that little flagy thing?):

Real happiness lies in that which never comes nor goes, but simply is.

I won't lie, my first thought was, "Woah, how many of these quotes have I missed reading?"
I have had several cups of this tea during my time here at the Education Center, and have never once noticed the fortune-cookie-like sayings hanging there...

My second and slightly more profound thought was that I was meant to notice this saying today. Reason being that I believe this little quote may partially explain why I have been having such a hard time coming up with a Resolution this year.

There are so many aspects to my life that have lent themselves to my being actually happy; the kind of happy that doesn't come and go, but is just present. In past years, I have been able to pin-point parts of my life which were lacking so I could work on improving my happiness in the year to come. But with an end of year that has been so fulfilling, its hard to make up a goal.

This is not to say that I don't have my days. I get grumpy, I get upset or mad, experience hurt feelings, get disappointed, act selfishly, etc. (as you all have seen and helped me to overcome) but my overall state of being these past several months, and where I am without (and despite) outside circumstances is simply....happy.

Don't get me wrong, this is not to say that I don't have anything to improve upon! It is exactly the opposite!
But, when I'm not happy, or I don't feel myself, I always make a goal during that moment to "fix" whatever it is that is bringing me down. I have already made so many goals for improvement during 2013 that the idea of making a new one just because of the new year doesn't make much sense this time. Every day is an opportunity to make and acheive our goals, every day is an opportunity to better myself from the day before. I believe I must have embraced those concepts because I don't think I've saved any specific goal for "next year."

Which brings me to the fact that I did truly try to think of Resolutions; silly ones, fun ones, Crossfit ones, marriage ones, tough ones, specific and vague ones... and none of them hit a nerve. Every idea I have I am already working towards and don't need a Resolution for, or doesn't seem important enough to require a whole year of focus.

Although I haven't been able to come up with just one set Resolution which is unique to 2014, I do have ongoing goals for myself. I want to continue growing stronger and healthier and quit this back-and-forth healthy/unhealthy eating I've been doing throughout the Holidays in order to get to a solid and unwavering lifestyle of improvement. I want to enjoy the time with my husband as much as I have been for the past few months and put a conscious effort into being the best wife I possibly can be. I want to keep my sanity when he deploys and continue to enjoy my life even though a part of me will be missing. I want to continue traveling as much as possible. I want to keep in touch with my friends and family who live far away, and improve the friendships I have forged here. I want to read and learn and relax and meditate and do all of the things that everybody wants to do in their life.

If I have to narrow it down, it would just be to improve, which is what everybody's goals are meant for, I suppose!

These past few months have been absolutely amazing and enriching. I feel as if Cody and I have gotten into a groove that works for us, and I couldn't be more thankful for every blessed day that I have on this earth. Even the bad days are the kind of days where I think to myself, "When will the bottom fall out? What disaster is about to strike?" because I don't deserve to be having as wonderful of a life as I am having.

So I hope, even if destruction awaits around the next corner about to throw this whole post in my face in an effort to make me eat my words, I can just spend 2014 happy. The kind of happy that never comes nor goes...