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April 29, 2013

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END...

And mediocre things really must go.


My last post seemed to be a big hit to my three followers, so I figured why not go out on a positive note?

I've been posting on this blog since October 2005.  I've met a ton of really nice people, from near and distant lands.  And for that, I am very thankful.  But, my choice of athletic endeavours has changed a lot - as has my life in general.  I still think running is the bees knees, but my life as a full-time-stay-at-home-mom, married to an ever busy small business owner just doesn't afford the time to devote to long distance running.  I'm still running.  But, it's mostly a really slow and long run when the moon and stars align just right (or on Tuesday's when my favorite sister comes over to relieve me of my mommy duties).  For all those other days in between, I will continue to CrossFit.  What can I say?  As much as I complain about it, I continue to go back.  I guess I'm an addict.

Thanks for all the memories bloggy friends.  I have truly enjoyed this 8 year trip with you guys...and I look forward to the day when I can share all of these entries with Brenna.

xoxo

April 16, 2013

Go Instead...with Inner Strength...Young Grasshopper....

Yesterday, about 9am, I was having some serious anxiety.  I was jealous and envious and I'm sure if I had of looked in the mirror, my face would have been as green as grass.  I just couldn't take it anymore...or could I?  I was constantly refreshing FaceBook...looking...watching...waiting...my news feed was a buzz with all things Boston Marathon.

And, me?  I sat in my living room and wanted to cry.  Real tears.

I was so overcome with feelings of inadequacy (cue the Celias theme music) and anger and self-loathing.

I WANTED TO BE THERE.  

Joining the festivities.  Brushing elbows with Kenyans.  Getting ready for the run of my life. 

But, hell, I can't even find the time to get a measly 5k worked into my week.

So, at approximately 2:30, after watching the finishes and pictures and joy of my friends finishing the marathon, I decided that I needed a break from Facebook.

Like, a permanent break.

Because, really, it was FACEBOOK that was inciting this jealousy.

Right?

All this time I would have been happy and content if I just hadn't ever looked at FACEBOOK.

Right?

I deleted my iPhone Facebook app and at approximately 3pm I decided to look at my news feed via iPad one more time...one last goodbye.

And there it was....the first status update in my news feed was from someone I haven't seen since high school..."two explosions Boston Marathon."

I leapt to my feet and immediately texted Brenna's godparents.  They were there...he had just finished running...one of the many locals I knew...one of the many I had been jealous of.  There was alot of chaos.  People trying to get in touch with others...Facebook was a buzz with "has anyone heard from so and so?"  It was panic and terror on this end...and from the texts I was receiving it was confusion and fear on their end.  Fast forward - we all know now what transpired.  Thankfully all of our local athletes are now safe and sound in their own beds in Georgia.

But, as for me.  This whole situation...everything from start to finish...watching the camaraderie of the running community...it has inspired me.  All of those people I was jealous of on Monday morning...they have now all become my inspiration.

I went to the Track tonight.  We were having a welcome home party for our local athletes....a way to boost their spirits and remind them that amidst the despair, they accomplished something remarkable.  I got there a bit early.  I just wanted...needed...to run one quiet mile.  A wise man was there...an almost gray-haired, IronMan tattoo sporting, wise man....I told him the story of my jealousy...how I tried to blame Facebook for it...how ironic it was that if I had deleted my account it probably would have been hours before I realized anything had happened (we live in cable television's no-man's land....).  That wise man with the crooked hat and the fresh tattoo said "when I realize something is right for me I'm always jealous to see other people doing it.  If I didn't like doing it, if I didn't care about it, I wouldn't care if anyone else was doing it either.  Maybe you felt that way because it's really what you are supposed to be doing."

Why hadn't I ever thought about that?  Why would I care how accomplished all of these people were, if running wasn't right for me?  It's all so clear now.

The best time of my athletic life have been the years I spent as the Grasshopper.  Running was never about losing weight or looking good naked.  It was about the thrill of doing things that I never thought were possible.  It was that moment when I felt like I couldn't run...one...more...inch...but I would dig deep and find that there was a whole other person inside of me that I never knew existed.  It was that motivation and drive that kept me coming has brought me back.



" If that [failure] is our destiny, you cannot change it. But do not go with fear, Grasshopper; fear is eternal darkness. Go instead with inner strength, for it is like a deep river into which all streams flow. It increases, always moving forward; and soon, there is nothing that can stand in it's way. " -- Master Po

March 27, 2013

CROSSFIT ENDURANCE

Since 2005, when I first got bitten by the running bug, I have tried all sorts of things to stay active and healthy - running (from marathon training to hard-core "POD" training), bootcamps (where people really do yell at you and call you when you don't show up and tell you have 'chunky monkey legs'), personal training (post-pregnancy scaredy-catness), kickboxing (relieving stress), yoga (relieving more stress), pilates (because someone told me I would have abs of steel by doing it), and now CrossFit (because my husband told me I'd love it.  And I do).

My life has changed alot since 2005, and likewise, so have my goals, my priorities, and really - my life in general.  Don't believe me?  Go back and read this gem (my first month running).

The biggest struggle for me in the last two years isn't motivation.  It isn't the hard work.  And it isn't the lack of inspiration that surrounds  me.  It's the routine of it all, and trying to fit all the necessary workouts into a schedule that revolves around caring for a toddler.

If you didn't already know, my primary job is being a stay-at-home mom.  Little B goes to a 3 hour Mother's Morning Out group, twice a week, most weeks.  One day I use that time to run errands (have you EVER tried to grocery shop with a rowdy two-year old?), and the other day I use to work for our small business.  In between those six hours lies another 162 hours that is spent feeding, bathing, and entertaining the rowdy two- year old.  I am also responsible for the upkeep (think: laundry, dishes, vacuuming, cleaning toilets, etc) of our 3,100 square foot home - and when the weather finally turns warm I'll be responsible for alot of flower bed maintenance (remind me again why the three of us can't live in a cozy 800 sq ft apartment?).  At any rate, there's also the issue of sleep, and that I require at least seven hours per night of that pesky task.  So, my hours are numbered...sweet Little B does still sleep for two hours every  afternoon (okay, 'most' afternoons).  I usually use that time to decompress, eat some lunch, and get prepared for the afternoon festivities (cooking dinner, playing outside, giving B a bath, etc).  I would LOVE to use that time to get a CrossFit workout in, or go for a quick run...but, I can't leave her at home or let her sleep in the car; and besides the legality of all of that, CrossFit isn't even open during naptime (although I'm sure I could find a work-around with that one).

And the most important thing of all: that girl needs her nap.  If you have kids, you know what I speak.

I've tried a few "creative" things recently to get workouts in....I hired a babysitter to go to CrossFit with me two days a week.  That was convenient, but expensive and I just couldn't continue the arrangement in good faith to my family.  Besides, as convenient as it was for me, it was pretty inconvenient for B, with all the driving back and forth (we live 22 minutes from the nearest CrossFit [and the only CF I plan on joining]).  I just felt some serious mommy-guilt for shuttling her all over town.

I also struck up a deal with our CrossFit's co-owner.  I pick her three kids up twice a week (their school is less than five minutes from my house), take them to CrossFit; and in turn, they play with B while I workout.  In theory, this arrangement really really works.  Little B loves those girls, and they love her.  But, as I found out two weeks ago, I can't be in the middle of a WOD - sweat drenched, trying to beat the clock to get as many reps as possible, barely able to breath much less speak - and find out Little B has a stinky diaper.  Thank goodness the co-owner sortof remembered how to change a diaper (it's been like 10 years since her girls needed a diaper changed), but it totally threw me off my game and I realized then and there that I would need to focus on strength work on those days (or skills, or anything that would allow me to - pause - change diaper - resume workout).

I'm sure a few of you are scratching your head's wondering where my husband is in all of this.  His schedule, that of a small business owner, is pretty erratic.  If he's not leaving home at 7am to get to a job 45 minutes away, he's going to CrossFit himself.  And, I would probably faint if he was home before 7pm.  We have a wonderfully successful, but busy, small business.  He's grown it and cultivated it from a one-man operation to a team of seven happy and productive employees.  Not to be political on a very non-political blog, but HE really did build that.  And while I can count on him to be great father and an awesome provider for our family,  I can't count on him to be a part of my routine. 

So, with my current arrangement with the CF kiddos, I'm able to do some strength training twice a week, but I'm getting no metcons, no cardio, no sweat.  And I need an out.

Insert CrossFit Endurance.  Like almost everything else I've tried - it may work, or it may not.  But, at least it's something I can do within the constraints of my crazy schedule....well, for the first six weeks anyway.  And it's better than sitting around eating cupcakes and lamenting about the days when I used to leave the office and go run 20 miles...the days when my responsibilities came and went in eight-hour increments. 

CrossFit Endurance (the six-week program) prescribes various metcons that involve pushups, pullups, situps, lunges, and squats.  In other words, all things I can do at home while Little B is asleep.  *and yes, we do have a pullup bar at home*  The running part consists of 50-200 meter sprints.  Conveniently, we live in a cul-de-sac that has no other houses.  The next house is....wait for it....200 meters away from us....I mean, it really couldn't get more convenient than that!  So, Little B can ride her bicycle around in circles or do cartwheels in the front yard while I sprint back and forth on our closed street.  And since our neighbors are all at work during the day, they won't know that I'm the crazy-running-lady that sprints around her cul-de-sac all afternoon.  I'll continue my two days of strength work - because, believe me, I see the most improvements in that area - and I'll do a 5k time trial at the beginning and the end to see if I made any progress.

I know this kind of training won't get me back to marathon levels of endurance, and heck, I'm not even sure that's what I want in my life right now.  I enjoy CrossFit.  I enjoy the speed, the hard work, the pressure, and the camaraderie of it all.  But,  I also miss running.  As much as I try to convince myself otherwise, I miss it for all of the same reasons that I love CrossFit.  And as is true of everything in life, this season - the season of "toddlerhood"- will end and we'll be faced with different schedules, new routines, obstacles to overcome and conflicts to resolve.

Above all of the goals - to swing a 44lb kettlebell, to figure out double unders, to do consecutive pullups...above all of those goals, I hope that Little B will look back on the life we have made for her, and follow our lead on staying active and healthy long into her adult years.

That's all I can ask for.  Well, that and a sub-22 minute 5k time.

Time trial Saturday morning. 


March 20, 2013

I'M ALLERGIC TO W.H.A.T.????


So, remember back around the holidays when I quit paleo?  Yeah....well...about the same time I began to get a mysterious rash on the side of my stomach, and sometimes on my back.  I chalked it up to stress.  We were in the middle of moving from one house to another, and...we lived with my parents for three weeks...three....whole...weeks....

That last part - living with your parents when you haven't in almost 20 years - yeah, that's enough stress to drive anyone over the edge.

At any rate, we closed on one house....closed on the new house...spent a week getting moved in....got unpacked....settled in...less stressed...life was good....but yet, my little gross rash continued.   

I finally decided to figure out what was wrong.  I haven't changed soaps, detergents, lotions, anything.  I am not stressed in the least (anymore so than my normal OCD/AR stressed-outness causes me).  I am back to Crossfitting (more on that later) and really really thinking about running again (a big step, these days).  The only logical explanation is food.

F.O.O.D.

I began the process of slowly eliminating various food irritants.  I started with the obvious - wheat.  I was certain that was it...and honestly, I hoped that was it.  It would give me an easy excuse to say 'no thanks' to breads, pasta, waffles, pancakes, cupcakes, donuts, brownies, cake and any other  wheat-filled products.

I noticed some days were better than others, but by and large the rash was still there.  So, I went to the next logical irritant - dairy.  I don't drink milk so I had to be a little more intentional with this one.  I ate alot of cheese and didn't blush by how much sour cream I put on my non-paleo baked potato for a solid week, to see if it would get remarkably worse.  And then, I cut it out for a week, to see if it got remarkably better.

Nothing remarkable happened except that I found out that I can eat an entire block of cheese in one day.  I might need to remember that, lest I ever enter an all-you-can-eat-cheese-eating contest.

I spent the next few weeks trying to eliminate all the weird stuff - anything "enriched," hydrogenated oils, soy protein isolate, maltodextrin, monoglycerides, cellulose gum, Polysorbate 60, and calcium sulfate....

On a side note, REALLY people look at the ingredients list on the foods you are serving your family....the above ingredients can all be found in hamburger helper (barf), swiss cake rolls, twinkies, and lucky charms.

At any rate, as I begin to eliminate, overcompensate, and just eat happy and crappy, I noticed that there was one common theme to my rash:

It happened when I ate processed foods.

So, if it isn't the wheat, the soy isolate, the MSG...then what the heck is it??????

The only thing left....is.....

S.U.G.A.R.

After many trials and errors (most notably with dark chocolate almond milk), I seem to have contracted an irritation or intolerance to refined sugar (I eliminated fruit, as well, in one of my experiments, with no adverse side effects).

And after some pretty extensive Google research, I guess I'm not alone.  Apparently, cutting out entire food categories, can cause a reaction when those foods are reintroduced.  The research shows that it may not be a temporary reaction either - it may be an intolerance all along that was overlooked or attributed to something else.  A good read on this sort of thing is Wheat Belly by Gary Taubes, with the case of wheat (duh), or Your Hidden Food Allergies are Making you Fat by Roger Deutsch and Rudy Rivera, M.D. (for pretty much everything else - try to get past the marketing aspect of having a full blown lab panel...yes, it's quicker but I got to the same point and didn't have to pay a deductible).

So, where do I go from here?

 My only suggestion thus far is to eat a cupcake laced with Benadryl. 

Since that's not very practical - Benadryl knocks me out for 6 hours minimum - I guess I'm going to have to....try....to...give...up....really...crappy....food.

Like cupcakes, and brownies, and ice cream, and chocolate milk, and Chick-fil-a sandwiches (the marinade's first ingredient is sugar), and barbecue sauce, and heath bar blizzards with extra heath bar, and blue cheese dressing, and EVEN coconut milk ice cream sandwiches.

I would be depressed just thinking about it, except that I've lost 2 pounds just in the last two days.  I'll keep reminding myself of that statistic everytime I feel weak-kneed around a honey bun.

On a completely unrelated, but related, statistical note: My Google stats show that I've had almost 41,000 views of this blog.  41,000 people - probably just 6 who really really  like me - have clicked on my profile 41,000 times.  41,000 times.  That's amazing and creepy all at the same time.

Have a great Wednesday.  

January 22, 2013

RUN. EAT. SMILE.

Keeping with my true manic relationships with exercise and food, I have once again quit something I started.

CrossFit and Paleo.

Well, sortof....

I've had this love-hate relationship with the scheduling of CrossFit for the last six months or so.  Most "boxes" are open really early in the morning, closing mid-morning, and reopen around mid- to late afternoon.  The one I attended was no different.  I see the point - there isn't alot of traffic during the day, so why fool with the extra overhead of lights, employees to man the empty building, etc.  Believe me, I totally get it.  But...that doesn't preclude me from being aggravated with it...on a daily basis.

See, I'm a stay-at-home mom.  Every week, with the exception of the 6 hours she attends a local mother's morning out program, my sweet sweet daughter is with me.  At my feet.  On my  hip.  Craving entertainment, food, and a clean diaper.  Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't change any of it.  I'm so thankful and blessed beyond measure that I get to see all of her moments - the good, the bad, and all of the amazement in between.  But, that still doesn't preclude me from being aggravated with the schedule...on a daily basis.

Trying to coordinate my workout schedule with a husband who does not have a consistent schedule...ever...is even more frustrating.  Case in point - we are staying with my parents for three weeks while we are in between selling one house and moving to another - every night my sweet sweet parents want to know what time Troy will be home for dinner.  My response - every single night?  "I have no idea.  It could be 5:30...It could be 10:00."  Of course, that doesn't preclude them from continuing to ask me...every...single...day.

Ever hear the definition of insanity?

I digress.

Because of my husband's crazy work schedule, it is imperative that he workout at the crack of dawn.  Which means we both can't work out at the crack of dawn (there's all the laws about leaving toddlers at home to fend for themselves....).  So, I tried (three times, I tried) to go to CrossFit as soon as I dropped my sweet daughter off at mother's morning out.  I dropped her promptly at 9:00am....sped over to CF to begin the WOD around 9:15.  The WOD might take anywhere from 5 minutes to 25 minutes.  And then there is the period after the WOD that I had to catch my breath, realize that I didn't die, and regain my composure.  That usually took another 5 minutes.  And then CrossFit closed at 10:00.

In other words, I was racing to drop my child off...racing to get to CF...racing to get the WOD done...racing to cool down...and all that racing made me realize that I need more than 45 minutes twice a week to work out. 

So, I decided to give running another try.  And it turns out, while I've lost most of my endurance, it was just as fun as I remembered it being.

I'm going back to being a runner.  The schedule is accommodating.  I can do it most anywhere.  And if I'm really in a pinch, I can toss B in a stroller and we can take off.

It solves all of my exercising woes.  And it's still fun.

I'll still do some CrossFit-ish things at home...squats, pushups, double unders, burpees...and maybe in the Fall when B starts a more regular preschool routine, I'll be able to go back to CrossFit.

But, in the meantime, watch out 35-39 age group.  I'm back to take my rightful place in the center of the pack.

As for Paleo...well, that's a different story.

About 5 months into doing "paleo-ish" (80% paleo/20% non-paleo), I noticed that I started to get really moody.  I would even go as far as to say I felt depressed.  I've never been depressed in my life, so I'm not totally sure that is a correct diagnosis, but it was just general sadness for no good reason.  I began to do a little Google research about what could be the cause.   I kept coming back to the question: was I getting the right amount of vitamins and nutrients?  I don't know the answer to that question.  Remember, I chase a toddler for a living, so counting out magnesium and folic acid and making sure I get enough of everything I need is a little much, even for my organized, OCD self.   At any rate, I wondered what I was losing in the form of fortification through grains.  So, I did a little experiment - I began to add a few non-paleo things back to my diet.  Some oats.  Some cheese.  Even a waffle or two.  And guess what?  The sadness disappeared.  My energy came back almost immediately.  I didn't/haven't gained any weight and I don't feel lethargic.  Of course, I still eat those non-paleo foods in moderation, but I've added them back and I feel better than ever.

What is the moral of this story?  While wheat and other modified foods still scare the bejeezus out of me, I'm not qualified enough to cut out entire food groups and not have some small to serious health consequences.  Are those health consequences more or less severe than the consequences of eating non-paleo foods?  I don't know.  While I'm a fairly smart girl, and I can put away some books, I'm really not qualified to make these sorts of decisions on my own - regardless of the number of books I read.  I wish I was.   But, this period of sadness (during the most happiest time of the year - the holidays!) made me realize that if I'm going to something drastic like paleo, I really need to consult with an expert.  And since my full-time job of chasing a toddler doesn't bring home a huge paycheck (huge dividends, but not a huge paycheck), the services of a nutritionist will have to wait. Until she finishes college, I assume.

In the meantime, I'm back to what I know I can do well:

Run.

Eat.

Smile. 

The fruits of  my slow labor....or, proof of what can happen if you just show up.

January 01, 2013

SO...I RAN TODAY

The end of summer was always so blissful for me.  While all of my friends were lamenting over the thought of going back to school, I quietly got great satisfaction out of making my "back to school list."  My organized-mother would have us fill out an index card with a list of what we currently had - 6 pairs of white socks, 4 pairs of underwear, 1 pair of jeans, 3 t-shirts, 4 pencils, 7 black pens, etc.  She would combine our list of what we had, with her list of what we needed; and crank out a master list of what was left to be purchased....it was always the *secret* highlight of my year.

For me, new things, like school clothes and supplies, always symbolize a do-over.  I can do things differently, better, or, if I'm really risky,  not at all. 

So, as I sat this week and made my list of goals for 2013...my do-overs...the things I wanted to change, be better at, or just forget that I ever tried them...running kept rearing it's head, screaming "hey, what about me?"

And, hey what about running?

It's been a good three years since I've actually trained for something...ran for a purpose.

There's been all sorts of reasons...defenses...excuses...for my lack of running.  If I listed all of the cop-outs I've used over the last three years...I'd still be here typing in another three years.

So, I sucked up my pride; pulled my Garmin out of the drawer; and retrieved my running shoes from the farthest depths of my closet.

And I showed up to the track club's annual New Year's Day run.

I was surprised at how many of the faces I didn't recognize.  There is a whole new crew of runners when you sit out for this long.  The people that I do know...well, I haven't seen most of them in so long...especially not on this turf...it was awkward and a little uncomfortable but I vowed to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving.

As I suspected, I was the only person running at my pace; and since the runs were 5.5+ miles, I knew I would eventually - or entirely - be running alone.

And, it was in those first few minutes of running that I realized what I missed the most about running...

The comfortable solitude. 

I wasn't far enough back to not be able to see the rest of the group, but I was far enough back to be in my own running world...steering my thoughts towards the New Year...new goals...new resolutions...and maybe even a new Garmin.  I was able to have 30 minutes of peace and quiet (I don't get that often with a toddler running around all day)...30 minutes of doing something for myself just because I could.  Not because I needed to.  Not because I had to.  Just because I wanted to.

I forgot what that feeling was like.

So, as I begin 2013...with a slow three mile run...I am reminded of all those years of do-overs...and all the opportunities given...and all the opportunities taken away.  My hope for 2013 is that I find as much satisfaction in running as I have in all my many do-overs over the last 36 years.

Happy 2013.

November 14, 2012

YES....CROSSFIT DOES WORK

I know all six of my readers have been on pins and needles waiting for my report - did CrossFit keep me prepared for a half marathon?

The report is in...and yes...alarmingly, yes...CrossFit did make me completely and utterly prepared to run 13.1 miles.  In case you missed all the other posts - I ran about 30 miles all year long and did alot of CrossFit in preparation for this half-marathon....haha...who am I kidding?  I did nothing to prepare for the half, and only did CrossFit because it is so totally awesome and way better than just running on any day - even a sunny day where the temperature never gets above 70 degrees and the wind is always at my back.   Yep, CrossFit rocks more than that most perfect run.  But, I digress....

While I did have a small amount of knee pain that went as quickly as it came, muscular/skeletolly speaking, I never felt better.  My legs and my lungs were literally taking a jog around the park. (And for the record, "skeletolly" is not a word but it really should be).

Unfortunately, the other stupid things I did along the way almost ruined the whole race for me. 

For example:

- I didn't look at the weather report prior to packing for the race.  This one should have been easy, but in all my non-preparation for this event, looking at the local weather report wasn't ever on my radar (no pun intended...I promise).  I brought long sleeves, gloves, a fleece, ear warmers, and long sleeves.  I mention the sleeves twice because by the time I finished the race it was nearly 80 degrees.  And I was in long sleeves.  Around mile 5,  I **almost** convinced myself that I was in good enough shape to run in just my bra.  Like I said, I **almost** had myself convinced.....it was cold in 2011, I just ASSUMED it would be cold again...

- Hydrate.  At least once.  Before mile 7.  Again, this should have been easy, but at some point between mile 4 and mile 6, I convinced myself that passing every water stop was a good idea.  It did not help at all that those miles were where all the crowds were...and that my watch had me clocking a sub-9 minute pace.  I really didn't want to stop the momentum.  Unfortunately, my lack of hydration caught up with me at mile 10 where I stopped. Dead. In. My. Tracks.  Hunched over....holding the aching cramp in my sternum...police and medical personnel staring me directly in the face.  Had they come over to check on me, I would have quit right then and there.  But, they never even asked if I needed assistance, so I dug DEEP and began a slow jog....trot...walk...method that I would continue for the next 3.1 miles. 

- Thinking that Pandora was a good option for music.   During my only two training runs for this event, I switched back and forth from the Missy Elliot station, to the "Call Me Maybe" station.  It got me through those two dreadful 12 mile runs....so I was certain it would get me through another dreadful 13.1 miles.  Except that either Verizon sucked, or my iPhone sucked because I got 3/4 of the way through "Call Me Maybe" during my first mile and then heard dead silence for another 4 miles.  Dead silence.  For another 4 miles.  Then I got 4.5 miles of Missy Elliot...and the rest of the race...dead. silence.  It was miserable. 

I finished....in a respectable time and much faster than my 2011 time.  Had I not made those elementary mistakes above, I would have been much happier with my time.  And, had it not been for CrossFit, I would have never made it beyond mile 2.  I'm pretty sure of that.

So, thank you CrossFit for making me stronger and happier than I ever thought I could be.  And thank you to the police and medical personnel at mile 10 for not helping me - because had you been doing your job, I probably would have been carted back to the race start in the back of an ambulance.

On to next year....


October 17, 2012

DOES CROSSFIT TRANSCEND TO OTHER ATHLETIC PURSUITS?

This is a question I have been constantly asking myself...and even more frequently, Googling to find the answer.

Specifically, I wanted to know: "could I just do CrossFit 3-5 times a week and still be prepared for a half marathon?"

And yes, in my quest to not actually go run, I Googled that question more times than I care to count.

I found alot of information about CrossFit athletes and their running endeavours.  Most agreed that you could solely train with CrossFit and still finish - up to a half marathon, in a respectable amount of time.  But, what they also concluded was that there needed to be some incorporation of "CrossFit Endurance" or "CrossFit Football."  I was too lazy and, honestly, a little too scared to delve further and find out what "endurance" or "football" really were.  I mean, let's be real...I've been at this CrossFit gig for exactly one year now.  I am immensely more stronger than I was last October, but I still suck at it.  I can't do double-unders.  I still scale my weight down at least 10 pounds.  And, as a I discovered yesterday, I am awesomely horrible at power snatches.  BUT, I have lost upwards of 12 pounds and at least 3 body fat percentage points.  And, well, if I'm being real, I'll just let you know that I could stand in front of a mirror and look at myself naked all day long....CrossFit has a way of making you THAT proud of the little accomplishments. 

So, with the Savannah Half Marathon less than a month away, I finally came to terms with myself.  I decided that at some point I needed to run for two hours.   My best half-marathon time was around 1:50 and my not so best was around 2:24, so I convinced myself that meeting in the middle would be sufficient.  I figured it wouldn't be pleasant and it certainly wouldn't be pretty; but if I could just put one foot in front of the other for 2 non-stop hours, I would be ready for Savannah.  Or I would end up at the orthopedic office.  And if I ended up in the ortho's office, at least I gave it a fighting chance.

I think I planned the run twelve times over the last three weeks.  I planned it....something came up...I rescheduled it....something came up....rescheduled...another plan-breaker...twelve times over.  Finally, I decided that Sunday, October 14 would be my day.  I recruited Brenna's godmother to run with me and we agreed that we'd do a 6 mile loop twice....I needed an escape plan in case things went really south within the first hour.

We met at 6am and by 6:30 we were off.

I'd like to say that it was amazing or that the challenge of it all made me a stronger person....but, really?  It was sort of easy.  Granted we weren't running any rock star pace (10:20 overall), but I never felt like I couldn't do it.  Sure, my left hip hurt for a minute and then my right knee began to scream a little.   My shoes were rubbing my heels and the little bone on the inner part of my right foot felt weird.  I could feel my toes getting bruised, knowing that inevitable black toenail would resurface.  I wished I hadn't worn brand new minimalist shoes for a not-so-minimalist run.  And on the second loop, I wanted some better headphones.

But, what surprised me the most?  My heart.  I never once felt like I was taxing it.  Actually, I never once felt like my heart rate got even remotely high.  I really could have carried on an entire conversation for two solid hours - one foot in front of the other.  It was the strangest feeling to just run and run and run and feel like (other than the pains in my joints or tendons), I wasn't doing anything at all.  My muscles never ached.  My lungs never screamed to stop.  My feet just kept telling to me to keep going and going and going.

So, back to  my own question -

"Could I just do CrossFit 3-5 times a week and still be prepared for a half marathon?"  

After having run a total of three times this entire year, and none of those runs being longer than 4 miles, I think it's safe to say that, for me, CrossFit does transcend into other athletic pursuits. I really believe, that despite my suck-edness at most things CrossFit, it has made me prepared for anything....including running a half marathon on little to no "specific" training - one of CrossFit's motto's is "our specialty is not specializing" and for ME?  It's working.


September 25, 2012

CHALLENGES

Challenges...challenges...we all face them.  Whether it's becoming drug-free, or just getting all the laundry sorted and put away...we all have our challenges. 

And then some of us are dumb enough to make up challenges (side note: when I say "dumb" I am ONLY referring to myself).

Insert the challenges I agreed to participate in over the next 9 weeks:


The first one, the LuRong Challenge, was supposed to be a way for our gym to possibly win a $50,000 makeover.  It's the one I'm most aggravated that I signed up for.  It cost $50 (that does go to a charity of sorts), but that's not what gets me...it's the fact that I'm supposed to eat 100% Paleo all day, every day.  Guess what?  I like my cheats.  I like a good glass of chocolate almond milk.  I like a blizzard after a steak meal.  Why yes, yes I would like fries with that.  And ketchup too.  Don't get me wrong...I've LOVED this whole Paleo thing.  See blog post below to see my testament to all things Paleo.  But, I LOVE to cheat and not feel guilty about it.

The Bingo Card.  We did this back in April and I really think it gave me the jump start that I needed to get "more" serious about CrossFit.  I would have never attended a Signature Saturday if it weren't for those bingo spaces.  I didn't win the competition but I did get a bottle opener for my efforts (which opens my very non-Paleo Fat Tire), and I realized during that month that I really really really love CrossFit.  For some reason, this time around, my heart is just not in it.  I'm much more intrigued by figuring out how to do a correct Power Snatch, then I am trying to best my prowler-pushing time.  BUT, if you are new to CrossFit or just need a kick start to doing some things you never thought you were capable of, I suggest signing up for the Bingo Challenge.

The Savannah Half Marathon...what can I say?  I'm a glutton for signing up for races and then not training for them.  This one won't be any different.  I've run 3 consecutive miles since April.   This time, it's not that my heart isn't it, it's that running gets pushed to the bottom of my to-do list...that place where I have 1 to 2 hours of free time in day sans toddler, and I'm not having to pay a babysitter $10 per hour to chase after that precious baby....oh yeah...that place doesn't exist in my world.

100 Burpees for 100 Days.  I suggest reading the link above.  It says way more than I could ever say about this challenge.

One thing I have learned during this last week is that I've got alot more challenges to OVERCOME before I can commit to challenges that are made up by well-intentioned masochists.

This morning as I was completing round 6 of "Black Jack" (7 rounds of 7 thrusters, 7 pullups, 7 burpees), I had a lot of time to think...I realized that my fitness level has decreased significantly since I gave up the 50/20 plan (50 reps of back squats or strict presses in 20 minutes).  I realized that I shouldn't have to break up 7 thrusters into 3-3-1 especially when I wasn't even close to Rx.  I realized that taking a week off because I was overwhelmed with packing and moving and having a yard sale and, oh yeah, having a child that had 2 pre-op appointments and minor surgery; causes me to suck at thrusters and burpees (I will always suck at pullups).


I realized that MY challenge is just getting to CrossFit 6 days a week.  Stepping over the mound of laundry that needs to be washed, walking past the sink full of dishes, turning my head to the coffee that wasn't brewed, and getting in my car and showing up.  I have so much to gain by just showing up and doing the posted WOD, practicing skills that are stupid (like double-unders), and getting back to my happy place with 50/20.  So, with that said, I'm bailing on the challenges listed above.  (Well, not the Half Marathon because I've signed up AND paid for my lodging.)  I'm sorry to my partners-in-challenge-crime to leave the group...but, I feel like this is what challenges are for - to help you recognize your weaknesses and overcome them.  And guess what?  I was never going to overcome the little bit of vomit in the back of my throat every time I thought about how stupid doing 97, 98, 99, 100 burpees over 4 days would be. 

August 23, 2012

PALEO

I've been trying to find some inspiration to write about my recent journey down paleo-lane.  For some reason, the only thing I can come up with is:

Down 7 pounds and 2 body fat percentage points in a month.  

And, after that little piece of heaven, I've got nothing.

You see, going paleo really hasn't been that hard.  

It's hard to count calories and weigh them against exercise.  It's hard to track a point system that gives an avocado the same point ranking as donut holes.  It's hard to micromanage protein and fat and carbohydrates and take into consideration the glycemic index of the foods you do eat.

All of that is hard.

Paleo (disclaimer: in my non-nutritionist/dietitian/physician opinion) is not hard.

Don't eat grains.  Any of them.

Don't eat dairy.   Any of it.

Don't eat anything processed.  All of it.

Make sure I eat alot of meat, vegetables, fruit, seeds & nuts.  And to flavor things up, I eat alot of spices....spices that I never even knew I had in my cabinets.

That's it.  

I do cheat.  Sometimes I do 85/15 (approximately 3 meals a week that are non-paleo), sometimes I do 100/0 (all meals are paleo), and sometimes I do 0/100 (zero meals are paleo).  When I do that last one, I can definitely tell that something is amiss in my body.  When I cheat, that little muffin top around my middle shows back up to remind me that sugar is bad.  Processed is bad.  Grains are bad.  And there is nothing like feeling puffy to make me straighten up and fly right.  

Cooking has been fun.  I've cooked everything from spaghetti to mashed potatoes to peach cobbler.  And I've made it all within paleo guidelines (shout out to my friend Google for making things so easy to find).   I've actually put thought into my meals, and had a good time learning.  Did you know that homemade salad dressing is sooooo much better than the stuff you get in a bottle?  And it has no sugar, no xantham gum, no Polysorbate 60, and no natamyxin (seriously, what the heck is that last stuff??).  And raisins and honey make a great sugar base for sweet dishes that normally call for sugar.  

Everyone (okay, 3 of my FB friends) has asked me about cost.  It's got to be more expensive, right?  And I guess it is.  I did up our "food budget" for the month, but only because 1) I wasn't sure how much everything would cost 2) I wanted to buy organic if available 3) I'm too lazy to price shop (please don't tell my husband about that last part).  So, yes for us, it has been more expensive.  But, my husband's opportunity cost by letting me spend more money is that he has a wife who looks hot naked*.  Anyone could do it on a lesser budget, with a little bit of time and patience.  Contrary to popular belief, buying meat from a local wholesaler (grass-fed all the way) is not marginally more expensive than buying it from the grocery store (and we don't even want to begin to talk about the vast taste differences between "real" fresh and "visually" fresh meat.  Local markets are not marginally more expensive either, but the issue is availability.  You won't be able to get bananas from our local market - ever.  But, I make due with alot of local goodies that I might not have ever tried before.

In my (completely unlicensed) opinion, paleo just means making a plan, and executing that plan with near perfection.   And anyone who knows me, knows I love a good plan....especially when I can chart it, blog about it, and make fancy binders with all my favorite paleo recipes in it.  

So, in summary, while pale is not super-easy (you must plan), it's not nearly as hard as deciding whether to use those "food points" for one lean ground beef patty or a basket of nachos and cheese (because, according to this site, they are equivalent). 

*Apologies to my mother, father, brother, minister, and anyone else I might have embarrassed by that comment.