Tales of the Amazing Human Body

Hi there! I’ve missed you… I’ve missed blogging…. so many things (bad, good, and great!) over the last several weeks. 

(Bad – I have only got 1 more muscle up. Great – I got accepted to a professional development program by my employer)

 

I’m not entirely sure where the entire month of June went… other than lots of work, pool time, and puppy snuggles.

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Tonight, I am feeling sentimental … so I wanted to write about it. Of course, it’s about a workout..

The prescribed WOD was a two-parter.  The first part was CrossFit Endurance.  1 Mile for Time.  All day I stressed about this workout. Running has never been my forte – especially since my knee surgery.  I wanted to cherry-pick the WOD (aka: skip!) but I didn’t. I figured it was time to face my fear.

I will just jump right to it, because as it turns out, I set a 1 mile PR tonight!  I ran it in 8:30.

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Prior 1 mile would be 9 mins + some change.  

I know I’ve never been a fast runner.  And 8:30 is not “impressively fast” and it is far from the “gold standard” of 7-min mile set by my CF Coaches.  But it was a spectacular feeling for me tonight.

Realizing that 1-year ago, I literally cried in Physical Therapy as I did toe raises (i.e.: stand flat footed – raise to toes – and lower). My stitches had only been out for 3 days and I was still taking pain meds every six hours. 

 

Flashback Photo:

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What felt like torture at the time … and felt like I would never be “me” again…. time passed. Eventually (about 6 months ago), I got a full medical release.  I put in a lot of hard work. And I can’t wait to see where the next year takes me!

 

 

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Lesson learned: listen to your body

Tonight’s post is a quickie.

After being snowed in the house since Saturday, I finally made it out to the office and then the box. I don’t know if it was the cold wet weather, the lack of activity, or a curse… But my knee did not feel great today.

Going in to the 314 I told myself, my husband, and my coach that I didn’t feel super great and I would probably scale the WOD. I did scale some… But not enough.

I remember the ortho surgeon telling me that I would have days where I did too much. Just ice, medicate, and learn my limits.

Lesson learned to tell the difference between (a) using muscles I haven’t used in a while that I can push through and (b) rehab soreness than I need to back down from. I must do better next time. I’m disappointed with myself and in pain tonight. Not acceptable.

Keeping my spirits high… Here are a few motivational pictures I’ve come across recently.

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Fighting the Fat Talk – Screw the Scale

A lot of healthy living blogs out there are talking about how to “Fight the Fat Talk”. I will make no claim at being able to provide any professional advice or tips supported by any time of research. Instead, I want to talk about my own personal struggle and how I am trying to help myself.

Rewind One Year…

Last year, about this time, I was completing my first Whole30. It was an incredible experience. It literally changed my life. Food had a whole new meaning for me and “healthy” had been completely redefined in my vocabulary.

As 2013 progressed, a deeper change occurred. My inner voice, the judgmental one, went quiet. When I looked into the mirror, the first thoughts in my head were not belittling, nit-picking, or demeaning in any sort of way. I was happy with my body, my progress, …myself.

The love/hate affair with the scale was broken. With no batteries in the scale, I only weighed myself a few times over the twelve months (using gym scales occasionally). Instead I took my body measurements and went with an “intuitive” health scale.

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Unfortunately….something has happened…. and the mean voice has awoke with me. 

I have weighed myself every day the past week.

I find something to pick on each time I look in the mirror.

I have tummy issues.

I have skin break outs.

But most regrettably, I am starting to tell myself that I’m not good enough.

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There’s a fine line between “wanting to be a better person” and “not being good enough”. Everyone should strive for continuos improvement…whether it’s in their health, fitness, financial, intellectual, emotional, etc status. We can all be better people. But in doing so, we should also love ourselves in the process.

My box is doing an 8-week challenge (typical of most gyms with the body measurements, pictures, weight loss, prizes, etc). I told myself that I would not partake in this challenge because I want to tackle this in a healthy way. I need to break my bond with the scale.

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So now I know, I weigh 165-170lbs and I have 15.5-16% body fat. This means that over the last year I have gained almost 15-20lbs, but I have also lost 10lbs of body fat (used to hover around 25%). These are just numbers…and they do not define me. And I’m not going to hide those numbers out of shame. While I’m heavier, I know that I’m healthier.

I will clear the house of chocolate.

I will remove the battery from the scale.

I will focus on the things I love… including myself.

And surely, over time, once again…. I will silence the mean voice within….

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Hey Future Self… Stay Motivated!

I’m sure you were all waiting, with baited breath, what happened today. Well, my darling hubby (who scored 9th on the STLFD Captain’s exam — hint hint) was officially promoted captain!!! There were so many days and nights spent studying. Housework that may have gone by the wayside, Workouts that didn’t get done, and Date Nights (and Brunches) over flashcards.  And all of that hard work paid off!! I was not invited to today’s ceremony, but I look forward to one in the near future that family is invited to.

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Now…back to ME! 

Just over one year ago I thought I was a fit person. And I was… all things considering. After all, I was healing from meniscus tear repair (that I tore while training for a half marathon). I practiced yoga, did workout DVDs, and spent long hours on treadmills, ellipticals, and stair masters.

Then I started CrossFit.

Granted, I’ve had my set backs (two months into it – major ankle sprain; 6 months into it – ACL & meniscus tear!). But through it all I’ve learned to eat much healthier (Whole30!) and stay focused on the things I can do… keeping my body moving through the surgery pre-hab and re-hab!

These are my one year progress pictures. It’s hard to believe they are both me. When I look at them, a small part of my brain thinks “jeez, think how really great these would be without those injuries!” … then the sensible part of my brain kicks in and says “damn, girl! you look good!”

So… I don’t post these as a fish for compliments. I don’t post these to get any internet stalkers for my hot bod. But, I do post these so that I will remember what one year of hard work and focused dedication can do. And just maybe the inspiration will strike another.

I have no doubt that life will continue to throw me curve balls. Try as I might, I’m sure I’ll get injured again (fingers crossed not!) and I’m sure I’ll get busy with work, life, and living. But I absolutely hope that I will remember how happy I am right now. Not just with my physical state but with my overall being.

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Things the CrossFit Open 2013 taught me

1. I am competitive. This first fact is a bit of a surprise to me, honestly. Growing up I was competitive in academics (some day I’ll tell you about the no-holds-barred approach I took to ensuring I was my High School Valedictorian); despite that, I was never super competitive in athletics. Perhaps it didn’t come naturally, or perhaps I just didn’t have enough time to for sports between church, choir, drama, school and part time job.

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2. I am persistant. During the FIRST open WOD, we had to snatch 75lbs. (after lots of burpees and snatches at 45lbs). I had only worked on snatch work a few other times…. and got no where close to that weight (75lbs). When it came time to try the lifts, many of the other girls decided to take the points they got and just keep snatching at the lower weight. For several minutes I fought that bar. Just doing anything I could to get it up. Tim, one of the trainers gave me a suggestion… and next try I got it!  And I proceeded to get three more! Boom.

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3. I can always push myself a little harder. One of the great things about CF is that everything is scalable. And as a novice to the sport, scaling is strongly encouraged. However, there may be times that I scale too much…simply because I have the option to do so. During the Open… there is no scaling. Getting those ever elusive “Rx” behind my name… for Five WODS… I know I should take a run at an Rx in regular classes.

4. I am capable of some pretty awesome shit. Not much more needs to be said about that! 😉 I’m lifting heavy weight, climbing tall ropes, running faster, pushing heavy things…

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5. I have a lot to learn… and I love it! Every WOD presents a different challenge. Whether it’s a move I’ve never done, a weight I should lift heavier, or movements I should complete faster.

6. I’m no longer intimidated to be in the weight room with the guys. When I’m not lifting… I miss it. And when I’m in a class with 4 others (all males) it doesn’t phase me…. Until my coach tells them “don’t let Kristin beat you.”  … Then, all I want to do is BEAT THEM!  RAWR!

 

In the end, I faired pretty well for my first CrossFit Open. Having a few months under my belt… I’m excited to see how I fair next year!

I am the 20,192 fittest woman in the world… and I ranked pretty good in my box too 🙂

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Training for a Run… but not from Running

So, I’ve been doing CrossFit for a little over four months. Before CF I was training for a half marathon for four months. Then I blew out my meniscus and I haven’t really been running much since then.

In early 2012, during my half training, I averaged a 11:00 min/mile (or so). Looking back at my log, my “fastest” runs where I averaged under 10:30 were the short runs (3miles or so).

This is the weekend one of the biggest St. Louis running weekends. The annual Go! STL marathon, half marathon, and relay are all taking place tomorrow. I registered for the 5k run/walk last fall, as I was recovering from the knee surgery (and before starting CrossFit). I saw it as serving two purposes… #1 I’d have something to “train” for and yet at the same time #2 I wouldn’t be over committed.

Well, then… I fell in love with CrossFit. I started going to 314 several times a week… and I’d only run if it was programmed in the WOD.

I forgot I had this 5k… until just a few weeks ago. I told myself that I’d run for two weeks leading up to it. 

I didn’t. I went to CrossFit instead.

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When I thought about “opting” out and not showing up at the starting line today, Gregg helped set my mind straight. I had to go.

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Waking up this morning, I felt off. My stomach was upset with me (probably nerves) and I had no idea what to expect from myself.

I showed up at the ‘packet pickup’ promptly at 715am. It was 45 mins before the race was to start. I hate being pre-race solo. I didn’t like it for the Halloween run downtown and I hated it this morning. So I decided to set a goal for myself, I wanted to maintain a 10min pace and not take any walk breaks. I knew this was a “stretch” goal for me, considering how I felt on during Friday’s WOD that had three 400m runs.

But without a lofty goal, I won’t push myself.

In the starting line I met a young middle school girl who was clearly nervous. She had never run a race before and she was only doing it to participate in her school’s “Read, Write, Run” program. I told her the most important thing was that she had fun…. 

 And then, it was time to run.

The first mile felt slow. Very bogged down and crowded. I lined up too far back from the starting line.

At 1.5miles they had a water station. It seemed silly and unnecessary for such a short run, but my lips were feeling chapped and I needed just a little something. This was a bad idea, I didn’t stop, slow down, or try to pay attention to my drink. Sloshing it all over myself I took a sip, half of it going down the wrong pipe, and throwing the cup away. Only a quarter of a mile later I got a cramp/stitch in my side that lasted the next full mile. But I just kept running… 

Keeping an eye on my time and being mindful of my pace… I realized I was going to make my goal! 

Crossing the finish line at 29:58 I felt so good. My ankles and knee ached but I accomplished my stretch goal!  I finished 27th in my age division (top 11%).

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Honestly, I was shocked. Not having run any distance longer than 800m with any consistency in the past four months, I went out and ran 3.1 miles (no walk breaks). Compare that to the Halloween 5k that I ran in October (33:04) with several walk breaks and that’s a HUGE 3:30min PR.

 

I may not have been “Training” for a 5k…but I am certainly stronger. Both physically and mentally. I’m learning how to push myself. I’m learning how to set goals…. and achieve them.

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And now, let me tell you a secret… the racing bug may have bitten me again….. 

My First CrossFit Competition

Saturday, March 2nd was the South Side Throw Down!! Three of the crossfit affiliates in the area all gathered at my box… each gym brought a handful of teams. About a month ago when I signed up for the competition, I honestly had no idea what to expect. And even the night before I wasn’t entirely sure what I’d gotten myself into.

There were three WODS (workouts) that day. Most teams consisted of five to six athletes. That meant that most athletes would participate in two WODs. 

The workouts were posted a few days in advance. Some of the teams probably had strategy to maximize their strengths or hide their weaknesses. My team was full of “fairly” new people so we all just wanted to have fun! Oh, and by the way, my team was three boys and two girls. That means both of us girls had to compete in EVERY single WOD.

So let’s break it down…

That morning Gregg and I made sure to have a good breakfast. We arrived at the gym around 12:30… and signed in. At the registration table, my coach Neil said “Kristin, we’ve been talking about you….” The three coaches at 314 had been debating whether I belonged in the Beginner or Intermediate category. Remember a few posts back when I said Neil would consider putting me in Intermediate …and I was stoked?! Well, reality started setting in and I was so nervous. I told him I was worried about not being able to compete in that category (there were scales for Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced). My biggest worry was not being able to get pull ups (sans band). 

Neil left it up to me to decide but encouraged me to challenge myself. So, I said “Let’s do this” and signed up as an Intermediate!! I’ve been doing this stuff for three months and I was placed in a category with others who have been doing it for years!

Workout #1 will be a team sled push relay and max weight turkish getup.

On paper I was not worried about this one. In reality, it was my LEAST favorite one! It was so cold outside and I didn’t have appropriate attire. Running the first lap with Tina pushing 45lbs on the sled I was a little surprised how slow it went. I raced ahead to get my weight ready. Pushing 90lbs on the sled out was bad, but not terrible. Turning around I lost so much strength. Half way back I slowed to a fast walk. I was frustrated. I was pushing and apologizing to my team the whole way. They were great and just kept encouraging me. As my third teammate, Ryan, loaded up the sled the team went running off. I tried to run and my legs just wouldn’t move. They were jelly. And then… I fell. Some people say I tripped on something. I know I didn’t. I know that my legs just refused to work. I was worried about my ankle and I was humiliated. But I got up and slowly jogged to catch up with my team. We were the last of three teams to finish in our heat. Gregg came up to check on me, and my ankle. Again, I was mortified. I didn’t treat him with the respect for his patience that he deserved…he was only looking out for me.

The second part of WOD #1 was much more enjoyable. I like Turkish Get Ups. A lot. I thought I’d be able to do more than the 35lbs that I did…but after the sled push my body was pretty maxed out.

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Between WOD 1 and WOD 2 I realized it was 2:00 in the afternoon and I hadn’t eaten lunch. I scarfed down a Larabar while watching other athletes.

Workout #2 will be a max weight clean and jerk (complex).

Finding my 3RM (three rep max) Power Clean and Jerk was empowering. I tried not to keep track of the weight I was lifting, because sometimes the numbers get in my head forming a very large mental roadblock. I successfully lifted 95lbs three times. There were many attempts (I’d get two and fail) so a part of me wonders if I would have rested more adequately between attempts if I could have lifted more.

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check out the video here:

 

Workout #3 will be an 18 minute AMRAP.

This was just like a regular workout at CrossFit314. Six stations, three minutes at each station with a partner. I kicked ass on the rope climbs. Looking back now, I wish I would have offered to do more of them to help Tina out…because I certainly relied on her in other stations. Especially the second one, box jumps. I’ve only done box jumps three or four times now. And my inability to confidently jump down (bc of my ankle) really hinders my form and efficiency. Shuttle runs felt good…though running just feet in front of the spectators was a little overwhelming (if I thought about it). But really, most of the time I just ignored the crowd. On to the pull ups (no band!) I warned Tina I would need her help. I would eek out 2 or 3 and then drop down. I was able to do that several times though! Which means, I need to start doing more without a band! The last two stations were Thrusters and Burpees. ‘Nough said. Basically, they were the nail in a very tired coffin.

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In the end, my team tied for 5 out of 11. I’m very proud of everyone. I know that I surprised myself with my confidence (and competitiveness) and I’m already looking forward to next year’s competition!

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Here’s a video that one of the owners/trainers at 314 made. Enjoy!

Don’t Compare Your Beginning…

I found a very motivational picture/saying… so I wanted to share it with you. 

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Good, yeah?

 

This speaks to me on so many levels. 

First, and probably the most obvious, just stop comparing yourself to everyone else. You are you. You must love yourself. But you must also hold yourself to high standards, just as you would expect from others.

I’ve been guilty of comparing myself to the skinny girl in the bar, the stylish girl in the office, the strong girl in the gym… I’ve compared myself to anyone and everyone at some point. Sometimes I would fool myself, saying that in doing so I was just raising the bar and setting goals. That’s bullshit.

Comparing myself to anyone only degrades me. I will point out my flaws and feel less accomplished and less proud.

And what about the rare time I compare myself to the slightly chubbier or less intelligent woman?? That’s just as bad!   This world is tough enough, we don’t need to make it any harder on each other. I don’t know what that other woman is going through and just like me, she doesn’t wear a shirt that lists all her amazingly-awesome talents.

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The second message here is a little more subtle…but the word “middle” strikes a chord with me. 

I think it says “middle” because no matter how far we come and how much we accomplish we should never be content. Our journey is ongoing. We can always be stronger, smarter, faster, funnier.

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Now….Remind me of all these things after I compete in my first CrossFit Competition on Saturday!!

Travels

I’m writing this post from several thousand feet in the air… Somewhere in the Midwest between Colorado and Texas. I’m on my way to my home town to visit family.

My great grandma is turning 93 years old and the family usually plans a little reunion around her day. Last year was the first time I was able to go and I enjoyed myself so much, I’m really looking forward to this years’ trip.

During my travels I plan to do a lot of reading. Currently, I’ve started Paleo for Athletes. I plan to visit a Crossfit affiliate in the small town I’m staying at. And lastly, I’ve set a goal for myself to work out 4 of the 6 days.

Still being unable to run, this may be a little tricky but I have a jump rope so Ill be able to figure something out!

Lastly, I’m trying to decide whether or not I want to sign up for the Crossfit Games. I know that I will have to scale many of the WODS but I’m curious to see how I fair. I also think it would be a great milestone to measure myself to next year!

My box, Crossfit 314, along with several other south city boxes are having a throwdown on march 2. I wanted to sign up but was very hesitant given my newbie status. By the time march 2nd roles around, I will only have three months under my belt. So I emailed one of the coaches and asked his opinion… Of course he didn’t let me out of it. “Don’t be foolish.” He said, ” in fact, I might put you in the intermediate category.” whoa! What the What?!

Of course this made me feel more confident as I signed my name…

And that will certainly weigh on my mind now as I spend my first week away from the box.

Crossfit withdrawals?! Yup.

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