Running is fun again!

Prior to moving to Colorado I loved running. I did it everyday, down to the beach and along the boardwalk. It was my stress relief during a very rough period of my life, my confidence builder during times I was shaken and one of the only things keeping me healthy. I channeled that love in to training for half marathons, excited to move to a town that was a running mecca.

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This was all before I learned what elevation did to my lungs. My first day here I burst out the door on my first run and barely made it half a mile without gasping for air. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am very sensitive to altitude and moving a mile up into the sky wrecked my endurance. Instead of pushing through it, I allowed myself to make excuses for not training and running fell to the wayside.

About 8 months after moving, I decided to try to pick it up again now that I was adjusted to the altitude, but then I broke my ankle and was benched for 5 months. Ever since then, I would sporadically get the urge to run, strap on my shoes to pound the pavement and find myself so discouraged that my mile splits were almost two minutes slower per mile then when I left LA that I would stop.

Recently I’ve gotten the itch to get back into running and searching for races online. The past week I ran everyday, trying to focus on enjoying the run and not constantly staring at my watch to see what my pace was. Today I went for a trail run, forgetting until I arrived at the trail that it had recently snowed meaning the trail would be icey and muddy.

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This meant that there were portions where I had to tread lightly, balancing over icy rocks and splashing through mud to get to the free space where I could stretch my legs and burst through the woods. My mind was focused on my steps and enjoying the beautiful snowy landscape around me.

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I loved it. I didn’t care about my time, I didn’t care about the distance. I was running for the pure joy of running, for probably the first time in over 2 years. Sometimes its good to leave the watches and measures behind and remember why you love doing something in the first place. Simply because it makes you feel alive.

If I vomit can I stop? – CF Open 14.5

This workout was brutal. It is hard to even describe how my body felt while doing it. There is a high possibility that if I had closed my eyes during it I would have fallen asleep or passed out from pure exhaustion and lack of energy. I just felt off, sluggish, and completely nauseated.

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14.5 was a total of 84 thrusters and 84 burpees over the bar, broken into a rep scheme of 21-18-15-12-9-6-3, alternating thrusters and burpees. Thrusters are where you go down into a front squat, below parallel, then stand up and push the bar over your head.  For the burpees you had to jump, with both feet, over the bar in between each burpee. The female weight was 65 pounds.

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Mid way through the 18 thrusters I looked at my boyfriend, who was my judge, and I told him that I was done, that I couldn’t do it today and I would try again on Sunday. That’s how off I was feeling. I didn’t feel in pain, my breathing wasn’t out of control, I just felt exhausted. He convinced me to keep going, very slowly throwing my body on the ground and picking it up to jump over the bar. During most of the workout I felt like I was going to vomit, and actually wished that I would at one point because then it would give me an excuse to stop.

ImageFor the first time in my CrossFit experience I was the last person to finish the workout. Everyone who had been doing the workout (some doing it for the open, others with reduced weights/reps) gathered around me to cheer me on. At first I wanted to tell them it would be a while and they could go home, but then it turned in to me needing their support and feeling I had to finish for them. I had broken the thrusters into sets of three and each three I finished they would cheer. When I finally finished and collapsed on the floor multiple people came over to high five me. It wasn’t embarrassing at all, as I had always thought it might be, but instead was incredibly supportive and heartwarming to have people care enough to stick around after their workout to watch me trudge along.

It took me a full 35 minutes, which is almost 15 minutes more than I had thought it would. But, as my boyfriend told me as I lay on the ground trying not to pass out, it’s better to be Dead Fucking Last than Did Not Finish than Did Not Start.  And now, my first CrossFit Open is done.

CF Open – 14.4 and Spring Break Starts Now!

Workout numero cuatro is done! This was the first one that I watched the live broadcast of and my stomach kept dropping as Castro kept listing all the things we had to complete in 14 minutes. 60 cals on the rower (about 1000 meters), 50 toes to bar, 40 wall balls, 30 cleans and 20 muscle ups. They call these workouts  “chippers” because you just have to keep chipping away at the vast number of reps.  Toes to bar is another movement I’m not so great at. Unlike these ladies:

ImageIn order for the rep to count you have to have both feet hit the bar at the same time. I finished rowing  under 4 minutes, and spent the remaining 10+ minutes on that damn bar (again…sounds like 14.2). I probably attempted abut 70 times, often time with one foot hitting first or, towards the end, getting about an inch away. I was not happy. So after the 14 minutes was done, I decided I was going to finish the rest of it anyway. 40 wall balls and 30 95lb cleans felt like a breeze after the toes to bar. Then came the muscle ups, which I can’t do either. So I decided to do 20 strict ring pull ups in their place.

In other news, it’s spring break!! The boyfriend and I are going on a mini road/camping trip down to southern colorado and Canyonlands, Utah. Can’t wait to spend some carefree days in this beautiful land. See you in a  week :)

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CF Open 14.3 – 101 reps.

I’ve really sucked at blogging lately, sorry guys. It’s my last semester of law school and it’s gotten incredibly busy and stressed out, which doesn’t put me in the chattiest mood. The highlight of my weeks have been Thursdays at 6pm when the new Open workout is released. Last week I was at Happy Hour with my coworkers and when 6 o’clock came around I whipped out my phone to see what 14.3 was. I was SO happy to see a ladder of deadlifts/box jumps with deadlifts increasing in weight and reps each time. One of my coworkers used to do CF, so we were talking about it and explaining the open to everyone at my work. Most people think it’s pretty cool that it’s a world wide competition, so people on every continent are doing the same thing you are. It’s a small world, really :)

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I did 14.3 Friday night, and I had heard that a lot of people were getting stuck at 90 reps. This means that they completed the 20 reps of deadlifts at 155 and the 15 box jumps after, but couldn’t get any lifts at 185lbs.  I really wanted to get some lifts at 185lbs under my belt, so I was pretty nervous going into it. I felt like this was the first Open workout that could really test me, as it was the first one that contained all movements that I had done before. My boyfriend was there to help cheer me on and tell me to get back on the bar when I wanted to walk away. I got 101 reps in the 8 minute time cap, with 11 reps at 185lbs. I was really pleased with that, as I had only gone in expecting to get 3-4 reps at that weight due to fatigued legs. The best part was that while I was sore the next day, I could still make it up to the mountains to go snowboarding. That’s a win!

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Side note: I really want this shirt. <3 Hunger games. I can’t wait for 14.4 I think it’s going to be clean and Jerks and burpees. What do you think it will be?

Becoming Comfortable with the Uncomfortable – CF Open

That phrase is used a lot in CrossFit. “Becoming Comfortable with the Uncomfortable”. So far, the Open has been hard. I expected it to be hard physically, to push me past my limits into pure exhaustion and into the uncomfortable. But I didn’t expect it to be as mentally uncomfortable as it has been. It is uncomfortable to hear the clock tick down 3-2-1 signaling you to start a movement that 48 hours ago you couldn’t even do and now you have to do at least 30reps  to move on.

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It is uncomfortable to dangle for 2 minutes from a bar kicking your feet and pulling with all your might to try to pull yourself up until your chest gets above the damned bar. It is uncomfortable to have people watching you in what any outsider could consider a failure as you trip on a jump rope over and over, or fail to heave your body up in the air.  But part of becoming comfortable is realizing that no matter how you rank against others, those things, while uncomfortable, are not failures.  You linked together three double unders when before you could only do one? That’s a success. You got all overhead squats without putting the bar down, even if your score was 10? That’s a success. You managed to get the ugliest, wiggling chest to bar ever seen and it took you a full minute? That’s a success.

Unless you are actually trying to win the games, the goal should not be to be the best. You can’t control how anyone else performs. The goal is to be better than you were yesterday. To have pushed yourself outside of that comfort zone physically and mentally. To not give up when you hear the workout is something you can’t do, but to go in and try your damnedest to at least get 1 rep down, without embarrassment  or apology.

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I cannot go to my box now without seeing someone in the corner whipping their shins as they practice double unders over and over, determined to not let them sneak up on them in a work out again. Countless people may have gotten a 10 on 14.2, but they learned that their working overhead squat weight should be 65#, not 55#, since they were physically capable of doing it, even if it was a little bit shaky.  That is learning to take a weakness and turn it into motivation. Instead of pushing what you can’t do from your mind, you are forced to meet it straight on, to acknowledge it and to conquer it while people watch. That is becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable. And to me, that’s what the Open is all about.

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Have you been able to do all the moves in the workouts? If not, how have you felt about it?

What would your ideal open work out be?

And so it begins

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The first workout of the CrossFit open was announced last night. 10 minutes as many rounds as possible of 30 double unders (having a jump rope pass twice under you with one jump) and 15 muscle snatches. The snatches will be fine but I can’t do double unders, but that wasn’t even my first thought when I saw this workout. My first thought was ‘this workout was made for Heather!’ Heather is a friend at my box who busts her ass daily trying to get better. She rocks double unders, as in 75 unbroken, and has been working hard on her snatches recently.

When I told her this workout was made for her she said that 5 other people had told her that. I say it all the time, but I love the supportive CrossFit community that gets excited about other people’s success.

As for me, I decided to compete at 11:30 on Sunday. That means I have two days to learn how to string some double unders together. Fingers crossed!

And Finally, a Pull Up and breaking 200lbs.

First, someone found my blog today by googling “CrossFit has taught me to love my body”. I LOVE that that google search brought them to my blog, because I 100% agree with that sentiment and love that I’m attached to it.

In other news, I’ve been struggling to find motivation to keep working hard the past two weeks or so. I’ve totally fallen into the February slump that seems to have been making it’s way around. I think it’s because the christmas lights I love so much have been taken down, but it’s still dark too early and that’s totally depressing.

It’s not the best time to get in a slump considering the CrossFit Open (the beginning of a competition that leads to “The Games”, like the Olympics of CrossFit) starts this Thursday! I did not even hesitate to sign up, even though I can’t do some of the movement standards, because really… what do I have to lose? It’ll motivate me to bust my ass harder every Friday for the next 5 weeks when the Open competition work outs take place. AND, I get a nifty little profile on the CrossFit website!

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There have been a couple highlights from the past couple weeks of not feeling quite right during work outs. Valentines weekend the boy and I went in to the box one night solely with the goal of getting me to hit a 200lb dead lift (we’re romantic like that). I had tried about a month ago and couldn’t get past 195lbs without my back rounding. With the help of him changing my pre-stance so that my hamstrings were fully engaged and yelling at me as I lifted, I not only got to 200 but knocked out 205lbs. I was pretty dang stoked on that.

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Tonight we had a gymnastics clinic to work on all types of gymnastics movements but mainly pull ups, toes to bar, and pistols. I have been wanting pull ups FOREVER. I can do a strict pull-up, but just could not get the movement pattern needed to get a kipping pull up. The reason you want to learn kipping compared to strict is because it makes it way easier to bust out multiple pull ups without expending too much energy.  Tonight we spent over an hour straight practicing different techniques to build the foundation to do a kipping pull up. During this I ripped my hand, taped it, bled through that tape, then ripped it in another spot. (Scroll down quickly if you get grossed out easily…)

Those two calluses in the middle ? Hanging off.

Those two calluses in the middle ? Hanging off.

BUT IT WAS WORTH IT. Because I could finally do couple kipping pull-ups! Not linked together (yet) but I am SO happy I finally got one. Now I am actually motivated to practice them every day so that I can link them together! At least I know if there are pull-ups in the open workout I can slowly get some done.

Have you signed up for the Open? What are you most worried about?

Have you felt sluggish during February or is it just me?