Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Crossfit will make me feel better

Aaaand we're back. Feeling slightly more upbeat than earlier today, thanks to a moderately more successful Crossfit session this afternoon, a good 2Sexy meeting (complete with good weigh-in!) and a delicious dinner. Here it is!One each of red and yellow bell peppers and a head of broccoli, stirfried with a little EVOO and some white balsamic vinegar; 2-egg omelette filled with a couple Ts of feta and a salmonburger; milk in a cute little jelly jar because it's so much more fun than drinking out of a plain old glass.

I went to the 5pm WOD at Crossfit and did the following:
  • Front squats with a barbell: a couple minutes of practicing form with an unweighted bar, then sets of 3 reps each of (if memory serves correctly) 33, 53, 63 and 78lbs; 3 sets of 1 rep 90lbs; 1 rep of 100; 3 reps of 110 (spaced out a bit). I was hoping to hit my 1-rep max in this round because I was working with a couple of regulars, but it didn't happen. Yeah...that feels kinda good :) Also, apparently I have nearly impeccable form.
  • WOD: AMRAP for 12 minutes of 20 double-unders with the jump-rope and 10 hand-release push-ups (just regular ones except you pick your hands off the floor at the bottom). I got about 3.5 rounds in because I cannot do double-unders to save my life. Dave said honest attempts could count (because otherwise I doubt I'd have finished even one round), so I think I did maybe 10 real ones the whole time and intensely frustrated efforts rife with muttered expletives the rest of the time.
Goals for the coming week, set at the meeting:
  • 2 days of complete paleo: no coffee, dairy or grains at all, preferably with a long tromp through the woods
  • 4 days of structured, non-Crossfit movement: aforementioned long tromps or running
  • get 1500 mg of sodium every day. Since I started tracking my food, I've noticed that I get somewhere between 0.8 and 1 grams, when my RDA (according to Daily Plate, at least) is about twice that. Apparently that can lead to low blood pressure (which I know I'm already prone to even when I'm semi-dehydrated and not exercising a lot), which can lead to bad things. Anyone know more about this? Let me know!
Oh yes. For those who don't know me, the title of this post is a reference to an old, old story in which little tiny Nelly is standing by the stove in the first house she remembers while Mama gets out the big brown glass bowl from the cabinet overhead to make a birthday cake for Papa. The bowl slips out of her hands, and little Nelly looks up to see the bowl falling down towards her, hitting the edge of the stove and shattering, showering her in a glittering torrent of shards. By some miracle, the only injury is a small, not-too-deep cut on her arm, which she is very brave about. As she is bandaged up in the bathroom, she sniffs back her tears and tells her Mama "Chocolate will make me feel better."

Crossfit is better than chocolate.


PS: Yes, I really remember watching the bowl fall. And I still have the scar.

Crossfit (and other) frustrations

This is a picture of me eating dinner last night.

Ok, so it's not, but it's damn close. Crossfit snatched me up (ha! pun! see the WOD below) and gnawed on me for 45 minutes before spitting me out and giving me a couple hard kicks to the gut for good measure. It was not so much the fun times.

  • 50 KB snatches with each hand. I did 25lb for the first 25 on each side, 20lb for the next 15, and then finished with the 25lb for the last 10. Each time we broke momentum, we had to do
  • 10 standing broad jumps (feet together, straight forward as far as you can)
And that was it. No sprints to warm up, no second WOD. Just that. And I was dead last, with several minutes to spare. Barely even finished at all, as cramps came on with a vengeance about 60% of the way through.

It's just embarrassing. I've been doing this shit (that is, Crossfit) for a year and a half now, and actively, daily trying to improve my fitness for a solid two years, and still my endurance is nowhere near where I want it to be, nor under any semblance of my control. Not only that, but I still came in LAST in a group that was at least half newbies. Yes, it's true that I was using the heaviest weight (to start, at least), and I didn't have the best day to start with, but still. LAST. It burns.

I called T up on the drive back and just sobbed. I guess I should be used to this by now. Every time we visit each other, it's a few days of pure blissful togetherness, followed by a few weeks of emotional rollercoasting, coming down from the high; being ripped out the sweetest dreams and thrown back into harsh reality. It's very draining, to say the least. LDRs suck monsterballs.


I think I'm done for now. Sorry for all the blog vomit lately. I'm not always this maudlin, and usually much more focused on actual fitness, with this being a fitness blog and all. I will leave you with this thought, which I am attempting to make my mantra for the time being:

Ok. I'm gonna go make tea now.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Quiet times

I've put together something of a collection of coffee mugs over the years. One's got a big "E" on it - it used to be my mother's (Emily) until she bequeathed it to me (my given name is Eleanor). One's a tiny little thing, holding about a quarter-cup and sporting a bas-relief dragonfly on the side - perfect for very strong dessert coffee with real cream, animated philosophical discussion and a crooked pinkie. One (perhaps my favorite) is shaped more like a short-stemmed goblet with a handle than a traditional mug, and the curves fit securely and warmly in your hand on a cold day. That one was a gift from T.
This one is another of my favorites. In case the picture's not clear, the words inside the lip say "Quiet times are to be treasured," a perfect phrase to be reminded of over a hot drink, which forces you to stop rushing and take your time so as not to get burnt.

That's a motto I have not exactly been living my life by these days.

It seems like these days, almost all of my time is taken up with working, working out, working on school, driving somewhere, or frantically trying to fill what down time I do have with more activities and distractions, trying to disguise from myself the fact that I am 600 miles from where I want to be - literally, that is. Figuratively speaking, the distance is in light years.

T is a great comfort, even if I have only his voice. He tells me I've spent hours and more convincing him that things will get better and making him see how far he's already come, and so it's now his turn to do that for me. I guess I'm not the best at practising what I preach, but when I stop to think about it, it is true. Just over two years ago, I was heartbroken and abandoned by my friends, quite literally homeless and with no idea of where my next meal would come from. Now I have a roof over my head and enough money coming in to save a good chunk every month, as well as being around people who care about me, even if they're not always good at showing me that (and I'm not the best at accepting it, I know).

I've also got the amazing luxury of having to worry about eating too much. Two years ago, I was scrounging restaurant leftovers and begging day-old muffins, eating as much as I could get, which still wasn't enough to support 10-hour shifts at the restaurant on top of walking 5 miles a day and sleeping only a couple of hours a night. I frightened myself when I looked in the mirror - the skin on my face was taut and gray, you could trace my hipbones and count every rib. Fortunately, things got marginally better and I was able to gain back enough that none of my friends or family noticed a change when I moved back down South (and then I just kept gaining...) It still haunts me, though. And I'm sure the fear of seeing that ghastly, destitute skeleton in the mirror again is a large part of my mental block towards losing more than a few pounds.

However, what I'm trying to say with all this rambling is that T is right. I've come amazingly far, and I need to stop distracting myself and recognise that fact more often, reminding myself what the alternative to my current situation could still be.
I just got this book (pic via amazon.com) out from the library, along with another on Zen that I couldn't find an image for - haven't cracked it open yet, but I'm hoping it will go well with some tea and deep breathing tonight. And quiet. Beautiful quiet.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Eden with a front porch

Ohio is absolutely gorgeous right now. All weekend, it was crisp but not cold, right on the cusp of all the leaves exploding into their flaming fall colors, and (except for one late-afternoon cloudburst) brilliantly sunny the whole time. And silly me forgot to take any pictures. ANY. I fully admit that I am le stupid. In an attempt to make up for that, here is a picture of the inn we stayed at, via bbonline.com:
It's a restored Victorian-era house, with gorgeous ancient wood floors, push-buttons instead of light switches, and all the details done to a tee! The website is here if you want to see more pictures. We stayed in a private suite on the second floor that was positively sumptuous - enormous bed (though still just a tad too short for the 6'2"-in-bare-feet giant I call my boy) that was insanely comfortable and did not squeak at all (wink wink), bay-windowed view onto a quiet, tree-lined street, shower with one of those showerheads that's supposed to emulate rain and does a pretty bang-up job at it...just wow.

And that's only just the one room! The innkeepers have obviously spent years perfecting the details of this place and adding to their fascinating collection of knick-knacks. Er, make that collections, plural. There's a little shelf in a corner with all sorts of glass and china figurines, an antique coat-rack draped with tiny bejeweled and embroidered handbags, a group of old perfume bottles on a mirrored tray in what was our room, a row of teacups hung on the wall in the dining room...you get the picture. You could wander around this house for hours just looking at all the fascinating little objets d'art.

The innkeepers, Dean and Vicki (short for Victoria, from whence cometh the name of the inn), are some of the sweetest people you will ever meet. They obviously love the work they put into keeping the place running, and it really shows. And they are FANTASTIC cooks. I took a break from paleo for the weekend to enjoy homemade pumpkin waffles with cheesecake filling one day, and fresh french toast with caramelised pears the next, besides fresh fruit and coffee every day and local sausage (as in the farm is right down the road) for those who would take it, which I hear was pretty much a foodgasm.

So yeah. Next time you're in Mantua, OH (which isn't too far from other, less backwoods areas), seriously check this place out. We paid 85/night, which, over the weekend, including hot breakfast and considering that the place is just drop dead gorgeous, was a pretty amazing price. Definitely on my list of favorite places to stay now.

I've got a list of errands and things to get done today, as well as going to Crossfit tonight (as well as yesterday), so I'll leave it here for now and post more later on exercise and food updates and how I actually spent my time in Ohio. It was not all oohing and ahhing over the figurines, let me tell you ;)


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Good and bad

image from this blog via Google Images

BAD: Summer is officially over. No more fresh fruit and tomatoes at the farmer's market! Soon I'll have to start wearing sleeves again. Also, I was a bad pagan and missed all the summer festivals.
GOOD: Fall is probably my favorite season except for the fact that winter comes right after it. Apples! Squash! More apples! CIDER! And there's Mabon and Samhain to look forward to (and actually get something planned for this time around!)

BAD: I've had coffee several times this week, instead of sticking to the original goal of just once.
GOOD: I no longer rely on the stuff to get me awake in the morning. As such, I can now actually enjoy it for the taste, instead of just slamming it back, too impatient for the effects to kick in to even remember that oh yeah that's right, it's hazelnut-flavored.
mmmm, hazelnut...

BAD: I live 600 miles away from my boy and only get to see him a couple of times a year.
GOOD: We've somehow managed to keep continuously falling in love with each other for just over two years now. And the next time I see him will be this Friday! In approximately 57 hours! I'm too excited, you say? Nooo...

GOOD(i'm switching 'em up now! watch out!): The Primal Blueprint 30-day Challenge over on MDA just started up yesterday. Yay for eating healthy food and being active!
BAD: Um...I'm actually sipping coffee right now. While I'm inside. Sitting at the computer. And all this coming weekend I'll be wined and dined and also eating at my Grandma's house and trying not to offend her. (she gets rawther annoyed by vegetarians/pescetarians/lo-carbers/no-carbers/anyone with food restrictions, really)
BETTER: Other than the coffee, I am being amazingly good about what I eat. And there's always something at restaurants, even if you have to ask for it special. And Grandma still talked to me even after I attended Thanksgiving at her place while being vegan. So it shouldn't be too bad.

BAD: I just got my first bikini-area wax yesterday and it hurt like a BITCHMONSTER.
GOOD: It did not hurt NEARLY as much as I thought it would. Also, now it's over and done with! And apparently the first time is always the hardest, should I decide to get it done again.

BAD: Last session was my last official Crossfit Bootcamp. Now I'm no longer the second-most-experienced vet in the class...just one more (noticeably fluffier than most of the other regulars) fish in a pond (that is filled to the gills (MIXED FISH-RELATED METAPHORS LOL) with the crazy elites).
GOOD: See those insanely fit people doing hundreds of one-armed handstand pushups in a row?

That's gonna be ME.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010


...also titled, "Rubber Band Girl: The Later Years."
image from this site
So when Maggie and I were wee little things taking ballet classes together, we (she more than I, but still the both of us) were known as among the most flexible. Once I grew up and out and no longer practiced ballet, I was still pretty proud of the fact that I maintained most of that flexibility without trying too hard, despite all the talk I heard about runners being notoriously stiff. In recent memory, I could, for example, keep both legs straight and my back flat while I stood with my face pressed to my knees without discomfort.

Well, after just attempting this feat again to prove to myself that I still could, I have to say that...I can't do that anymore.

This makes me very sad.

I can still put my hands flat on the floor in-between my feet, but that's with some definite tension in the back of my legs. Any further than that and it gets pretty painful.

Sigh. There are always trade-offs when I try to improve myself. Stop biting my nails; develop trichotillomania. Beat trich; get addicted to checking my email. Lose some weight; lose most of my T&A (VERY sad when that happened :'( ). Lose some more weight and improve fitness; lose most of the natural flexibility I still had left.

Well, it stops here, damnit. I want to sit in a center split with my chin on the ground and be able to call it "resting" again! I'll be attempting to put together some kind of stretching routine and posting it here once that's figured out.

For now, here is some food.
Big ol' salad with homemade hummus dressing and an egg, salmon steak, cherries and a delicious pale ale. And Eric Idle as the Lord High Executioner. Can't beat that.

Big ol' scoops of veggies (steamed broccoli and some OKRA, courtesy of amam. I actually liked it and it was not slimy!) topped with EVOO and grated parmesan, salmon steaks, blueberries and milk.

Yesterday's dinner. It was AMAZING. Sauteed 1/2 onion in a little EVOO over low heat until it was soft, then added red cabbage with ACV, sea salt and water to steam it, then sliced apples about a minute later. Once that looked pretty good, topped it with ripped-up kale and some more EVOO, then just let it sit until the water was gone and the kale was cooked and I couldn't wait any longer. Topped with 15 stir-fried shrimp and eaten with gusto. Also, some milk.

Exercise: yesterday I ran 1.6 around the Duke Wall; made it 3.0 this morning (with nasty cramps and a lot of walking). And Crossfit tonight. Yay!