Thursday, June 13, 2013

Crossfit: Week 2

Better late than never, here is the recap of my second week of Crossfit.

Tuesday, being my 5th time at the box, I felt confidant in coming in and starting my warm up. Run 400m, 10 sit ups, 10 push ups, 10 pullups, 10 back extensions, 10 squats. I got this. Dare I even say that pull ups were starting to feel better. Granted, I was still doing jump-ups, but the motion itself felt so much better. Like my muscles knew where to go.

After the warm up we started working on the new skills for the day, which included back squats, wall balls, wall climbs and hand stands. I opted not to attempt a handstand, although I'm fairly certain I can actually do one, because I was really self-conscious. The idea of my shirt creeping up and exposing my flabby, white, muffin top was enough to sideline that. I did, however, try and succeed at the wall climb (basically walking your feet up the wall into a handstand). 

300m Row
15 Wall Balls
10 Push Ups
5 Pull Ups

While I won't be recruited to a rowing team any time soon, I can hold my own on the rowing machine. If I concentrate, I even have decent form. Wall Balls, are another story. At a whooping 6lbs, I was given the littlest, lightest medicine ball at the box. I'll fully admit that even that felt heavy by the third round, but even more than that, I am still struggling with my squats. Some combination of lack of mobility and lack of strength, makes squatting really hard for me (can any other runners relate??).  Keeping my knees wide and my butt out is haaaard. Jump ups and push ups (from my knees) rounded out the workout. I was really pleased to not be the last to finish. I wasn't first by any means, but came in somewhere in the middle of pack at 12:27.

The biggest upset of the day was learning that Tuesday's instructor, Dori, was teaching her last day for the summer. I really liked Dori's softspoken, yet motivating personality. Plus she is really observant and kind. Great instructor! Turns out, in summer she stays busy with her own Paddlesculpt business...looks like I'll have to check that out this summer, too!!  

Wednesday, despite tired legs and swampy air, I headed out for a short 3m run. It was National Running Day, I couldn't not run. It ended up being my fastest, best run in MONTHS. I came homing feeling pleasantly exhausted and like I was actually making progress. Maybe there's something to this crossfit thing?!

I should back up and mention that at some point Tuesday I noticed that my abs were feeling more than sore. Given the wrong movement,  like a sit up, I was noticing a sharp pain in my right lower ab. Since it didn't consistently bother me, I pretty much ignored it. 

Thursday is when the wheels seemed to completely fall off the track. The day's warm up included 400m run, 10 GHD sit ups, 10 extensions, 10 wall squats, 5 pull ups, 5 broad jumps. On my very first GHD sit up it felt like someone stabbed my in the ab. Sharp, searing, awful pain. Rather than say something, I moved to the floor to do regular sit ups. Still painful, but I did them anyway. Because I'm stubborn and stupid. Broad jumps hurt. Even my jump up pull ups hurts. 

I knew I had pulled or tweaked something, but didn't want to say anything. Skills for the day included ring work, lateral hops and rope climb. On the rings we worked on stability holds, ring dips, ring rows and ring push ups. Let it just suffice to say that all things ring-related are hard, but the push ups are impossible. At this point, even the act of engaging my core to support a movement was becoming unbearable. But I still did my best to keep up, and not say anything.

Oh, the rope. I haven't gone near one of these since like middle school. And it wasn't good then, either. The crossfit claim is that rope climbs have nothing to do with upper body strength, that it's all in the legs. I would argue that if you don't have the strength to hold on to the rope, and I don't, it doesn't matter if your legs can propel you up the rope or not. But I tried. And then settled in Up-Downs instead, which were more than difficult enough for me.

10 Minuites, on the Minute
3 Back Squats
20 Lateral Hops

Starting at 0. and the top of every minute, meant another round of 3 back squats/20 lateral hops. I kept the weight low on my squats and focused on form because of my squatting difficulties and my sore ab, but holy shit, do lateral hops add up fast.  After only a few rounds I moved from the 12" hurdle to just hopping over a line in the mat. And that was still exhausting.

After everything was done, I decided I should probably ask about my abs and what sort of modifications I should make to let things rest and heal. Jill forbid me from doing any sit ups, and had me try a plank. After less than 10 seconds I had to stop because the pain was back. That's when she said her best, non-medical, advice was full rest for a few days. No running, no crossfit, no anything. I left knowing she was right, but wanting to cry. I had just started to build some momentum and feel like I could actually maybe do crossfit, and now this?

Who seriously pulls their ab msucles?!

The next 48hours were miserable. Coughing hurt. Sitting up was near impossible. Laughing was out of the question. I was waking up every time I rolled over. As much as I wanted to go to crossfit on Saturday I knew the smart decision was to keep resting.

Two steps forward, one step back.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Crossfit: Week 1

The last week of May was jam-packed with highs and lows--and busy! Started an "until something better comes along" job (with an unruly commute), unpacked more, planted our veggie garden, ran a little, and committed to month of crossfit.

After my exhausting crossfit intro class, I took a few days to think it over and recover. I looked at training plans and thought about to balance running, biking, maybe swimming, the occasional yoga class AND crossfit. And rest days, don't forget the rest days. It seemed like a daunting task, and June will be put to the test, but I've been told it can be done. And I'm going to try. So I took the plunge and registered for the beginner month at Tangletown Crossfit. I decided I really needed to commit 100% to the month to really know if crossfit was a good fit for me. So for 4-weeks I will be doing ridiculous things I never thought I was capable of doing 3-times a week. I'm also assuming I'll be sore for most of the month of June...

Crossfit: Week 1

Tuesday started off with me standing awkwardly aside at the box, while everyone around me seemed to know what to do be doing. It's a 4-week cycle, but not everyone is starting new at the same time. So there I was, the new girl. Tuesday's instructor, Dori, is a little ginger firecracker! Super friendly, pint-sized with a punch. After an exhausting warm up (400m run, 30sec L-sit, 10 sit ups, 10 wall squats, 10 pull ups, 10 broad jumps), we learned the ins and outs of the strict press and a basic kettle bell swing.

And then the WOD began.

12min AMRAP
5 Press
10 Kettle Bell Swings

I was sharing a station with another girl, and we agreed on a 33lb bar and a 10lb kettle bell. When the giant, intimidating, stop watch on the wall hit zero we had completed 10 rounds. I got busted for not using a heavier kettle bell, but was definitely feeling it by my last set of presses, so I think it worked out.

The weight I used for the WOD must not have been heavy enough, because my upper body wasn't sore at all after that. My quads and hams, however, were angry for several days. Too many squats.

Thursday I came into the box with a little better idea of what to do and where to go. Jill, another pint-sized, super-powered instructor, was really friendly and encouraging. I worked my way through another exhausting warm up (400m run, 10 GHD sit ups, 10 pull ups, 10 extensions, 10 broad jumps) and then worked on dead lifts, followed by 5 sets of 5 DL working towards a 5RM. I never found my 5RM because I was really unsure on how much weight to add at a time.

Pull Ups
Sit Ups
Kettle Bell SDLHP (Sumo Dead Lift High Pull)

I honestly wanted to throw up when I saw the work out. I can't do one pull up, let alone 21, 15 or 9. And certainly not 45. There aren't enough giant rubber bands at the box to propel me over the bar for a pull up. I had no idea what I was going to do. Jill was nice enough before the WOD began to talk me through pull ups and how to engage my lats to make it "easier." Mind you this entire conversation took place while she was effortlessly doing pull ups, occasionally hanging by one arm so she could gesture with the other, and never missing a beat. Or being out of breath. I'm not sure if I want to hate her, or be her.

My first set of 21 I started out pulling myself up maybe 3/4 of the way, with the help if a red and green band, but even that lasted only 14 or 15 reps. Eventually it was determined I would do jump-ups, and work on controlling the down motion of the pull up, with the help of a giant rubber band. Sit ups and SDLHPs challenging but doable, but those f'ing pull ups made me want to cry

I was definitely the last to finish this WOD. By like a minute or so. I don't even know what my final time was. Slow? I left the box exhausted and defeated, really wondering what I had gotten myself in to.

Saturday's class is led by Darcy, the box owner, who was the one who convinced me to give it a try in the first place. She claims to be 40 with two kids, but her six-pack showing through her fitted tank, would tell you otherwise. It started out with a similar warm up (400m run, 10 GHD sit ups, 10 pull ups, 10 extensions, 3 GHD extensions, 10 wall sits) followed by a demo on strict press, push press and push jerk.

Strict press, I can handle. Push press requires some thinking, but doable. Push jerk, however, requires way more coordination than I have. Luckily we focused on determining our strict press 5RM, and put the other two on the back burner...until the WOD

5 Rounds
3 Press
3 Push Press
3 Push Jerk
10 Sit Ups
15  Air Squats

We used 65% of our 5RM (mine was a measly 45lb) from our drills for the workout or, in my case, just the 33lb barbell. Once the timer started all I could think about was not wanting to be last, again. Anything but last. I found that I concentrate so hard on getting the lift just right that I tend to slow myself way down, but I suppose speed will come with practice and time.

There is also the fact that my quads still felt like they were going to explode from Tuesday's WOD. So that didn't help either.

I finished the WOD in 11:35, just 3 seconds before the last person.

And then, rubbery arms and all, we went outside to learn how to properly swing a sledge hammer into a giant tractor tire. I can't even make this stuff up. I would, however, recommend giving me plenty of room when I'm swinging a sledge hammer.

Week 1 is in the books and I am honestly excited to go back for week 2. I'm hoping that it will start to get easier with some time and practice, and that I will start to be more comfortable in my skin eventually. What this first week has taught me is that crossfit will never get boring, and that while some things may get easier, there will always be something challenging. And if someone as uncoordinated and weak as I am can do it, anyone can.