Sunday, September 4, 2011

"It JUST happened, you guys!"

Welcome to the Eno River, y'all.

The Eno is Durham's river, running (among other directions and places) between downtown and the northern suburbs and country area.  I live north of the river, but quite close to it.  Because of this, whenever I have some time to burn on a nice day (or a rainy one, for that matter!) I often head out to one of the many hiking trails along its length. Sometimes barefoot.

This time of year the woods by the river are just about as close to heaven as I can get.  Everything is absolutely bursting with verdant lifeThere are tiny little toads the size of your pinky nail - no, really! - hopping around everywhere, and I caught a frog in a water-filled crevice in the rock today.  And when the sun slants down and hits it just right, the whole forest just glows.

The best part about trekking around the woods right now is that, even though our September days are still pretty sticky-sweaty, you can always just dunk in the river and cool right down.  Matter of fact, it's a Durham County ordinance that you have to at least wade every time you go to the Eno.  Totally true fact.

So I usually end up immersed whenever I go there.  I don't have a bathing suit that fits and if I did I doubt it would be very comfortable to hike in.  Solution: I just swim in my clothes and keep a towel in the car.  In this case, I had on the normal uniform: high-cut black sports bra, ankle-length loose black pants and a ratty shirt that doubled as a foot-towel so I wouldn't have to re-shoe with muddy feet.  Walking back from my swimming hole (some distance upriver from the adorable but loud children), I wore everything but the shirt, which should be understandable.

Let me clarify that I was by no means in the running for the Most Skin Showing award.  It's a holiday weekend, which means lots of people.  Lots of shorts.  Lots of bathing suits.  And I swear I saw a miniskirt (which, in the woods, just kinda makes you go bwuh?).  But it should be clear that I'm more covered up than the majority of these people.

So I'm walking back, right?  I see these people coming the other way - a group of a couple families, with two sets of parents each walking a dog, and three boys of approximately 10 years of age following a little ways behind.  I say hello to the parents, let the dogs sniff me and smile at the boys as I go past.  And then I hear, in a low tone that is pure holy-shit-you-guys-someone-pinch-me, the following:

"I just saw.  A naked woman.  Walk past me."

Oh, little anonymous boy in the woods.  I'm not sure whether to congratulate you on your admirable imagination, ask you how I can get my own pair of x-ray contacts, or just call you a creeper.

In other news: OH MY GOD YOU GUYS THE MAN IS FINALLY IN THIS STATE!!!  He and his fam went straight to his aunt's house down south a ways, but he is LESS THAN 100 MILES FROM ME!!!  I'm making a list of all the fun Triangle-based activities I'm looking forward to sharing with him and his family:

Any other ideas?  Leave them in the comments!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Update part 2: Time crunch

I left off right when we were headed up to Ohio.  Unfortunately I don't have any photos to illustrate this next portion, but I hope my wittily sparkling prose will make up for that.

The reason we were headed up to the frozen North in the first place was a mini-convention about Mrs. Murr's exercise methodology of choice, T-Tapp.  Anyone heard of it?  I hadn't.  From the teeny little bit I read about it beforehand, most of which mentioned core stability and activation, I'd imagined a series of Pilates-esque balancing sorts of movements.  Well...not quite.  There's a lot of standing in one place and moving in various directions and ways, focusing on activating whatever muscle group you're working on despite the lack of actual resistance.  The deal is that you "become your own weight machine" by doing this.  A few of the moves I remember are very slow shallow lunges (decent), a move that approximates that machine where you rotate your arms to pull the levers together in front of you - don't know what it's called (I could only do this one-armed) and the "hoe-down," which can only be illustrated with a video.

The magic really starts at about 39 seconds.

I think it might be the fact that I don't actually like real weight machines, but this didn't float my boat too much.  It's obviously worked for Mrs. Murr and the other attendees of the event, and they're all immensely happy with it, and I wish them mountains of continued success.  But I think this just illustrates the fact that it's really not the methodology that matters - it's whatever works for you and with you to get you to the point, both in physical health and happiness, where you want to be.

(That said, as for me and my house, we will lift heavy things and run around barefoot.)

While in the Land of the Burning River, I also got to stay with The Man & fam for a little while, and the two of us met up with my lovely friend Liz for lunch, conversation and a perusal of an awesome little vintage store, "The Funky Hippie."  Check it out if you're ever in Akron.  Here's my haul:

 I eyed this gorgeous long dress as soon as we got in the door, but didn't actually think to try it on until The Man suggested it.  It's a stretchy velour-type fabric, but not at all scratchy on the inside.  Even better: it fits me like a glove.  As in, I don't need to wear a bra with it.  Given, I've only tried it on for brief stretches, but I think I could do a few minor alterations to ensure the comfy fit and coverage stay indefinitely. 

 The super-fantastic owner of the shop (whose name I unfortunately didn't catch) talked to me about swimming in ponds and driving to/through North Carolina and other bits of randomness, and then threw these earrings in for free when I bought the dress.  They are made of pure sparkle and reach to my shoulders, and swing every which way whenever I turn my head.  I'm wearing them right now and I keep swishing them back and forth.

And zomguh look at the BACK!  It's obviously sheer (which makes the lack of a need for underpinnings even more serendipitous) and just holy gods look at it, it's so PRETTY!  It makes me smile :)

By the way, the reason I talk about the dress and other trivial things so much is mostly that I actually have pictures of it, unlike The Man or Liz or the ridiculous amounts of 50-cent McDonald's ice cream cones I ate, paleo be damned.  I need to change this - it's so much easier to remember events when there are images to spark the memory - but I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to be so caught up in actually having the fun times that you forget to document them for posterity.

Here's a little tidbit I do remember pretty well, though.  So Liz, The Man and I were all in the same computer science classes and labs during one year at Hiram.  Liz and I were totes buds, but for some reason The Man and I never actually hung out then, just occasionally worked on lab papers together.  I remember one long night the three of us spent writing our papers in the computer lounge, with us girls on one side and him on the other, and he kept zooming across the room backwards in his rolling chair to compare notes.  We were reminiscing about that very night, and then everyone paused just to remember it.  Then I started to ask Liz,

"Did you ever thi-"

"Noooo.  Nope.  Never." (she said, in the sweetest way possible).

 Honestly, neither did I.  It's not that I thought about and scoffed at the possibility, it's just that I didn't even consider it.  And now, I realise that of the years since that day, we've been together for the majority.  And...well...let's just say that my collection of pond creatures is growing.

Gosh, we are just too saccharine for words.

Next up: my triumphant return (sans sling!) to the Land of the Pine, various experimentation with fermentation (delicious!), a big huge pile of old drawings (flying squirrel dragon, anyone?) and...preparations for the first day of school.  Which is this coming Monday.  That's right, bitches.  I'm back in the world of higher education, and I'm gonna totally destroy it.  Wish me luck.


PS: Caitlin, I an a mega stupid-head for not seeking you out on this latest visit to Ohio.  As soon as I can manage another trip, I'd really really love to see you, if you can spare the time.  And hopefully we can have cakes and ale and bonfires, if you catch my drift :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Update part 1: Army of Chickens

OH EM GEE!  I'm back again, from another ridiculously long absence!  Please don't throw anything at me. 

 I have been zipping all over the place!  As you know, I've been beslinged of late, and unable to do necessary things like, say, drive myself to get food.  So, since my parents were going out of town (to the Isle of Wight for their 30th anniversary, yay them!) I got shuffled off to Wake Forest, NC to spend some time getting taken care of by my godfamily, the Murrs, a couple of whom (Laura and Eamon) I introduced y'all to way back at Christmas.  I spent most of my time there eating.  Mrs. Murr is a fantastic cook, and plied me with (among varied delectables) mountains of homemade sauerkraut, rivers of happy milk and the thickest cream I've ever tasted and fresh eggs from their army of chickens.  Take a look:

just a few

my favorite one!
the delicious output
The birds are locked in an enclosure with a small yard and a henhouse at night, but during the day they have the run of the whole yard - which, as you can tell, is mostly pine forest.  There are about five different kinds: little white ones, slightly bigger black, red and striped ones and then the beauty you see above.  She's the biggest of the whole flock, and she has these gorgeous ruffles of feathers all the way down her legs, like fancy lace pantaloons.  She struts around like a big-bosomed aunt from a P. G. Wodehouse book, usually with a couple of the little white hens following her. 

Apart from the two Murr boys, Eamon and Liam, I encountered only a couple more beasties: first, the Murr's positively liquid cat, Luna:

...and a tiny kitten that Eamon brought home from a trip, named Ollie and threw into my arms, where he promptly fell asleep. 

yes i know he's not asleep here

He fell asleep pretty much everywhere else, too.

I was squealing like an idiot the entire time I took these (and many more) pictures.  I mean, really.  Kitten. Sleeping.  I can't not squeal.

During my stay, the eldest and sole Murr daughter, Laura, returned from a school trip to Mexico, bearing a real Mayan sleeping hammock (so cool!) and a sketchbook crammed with pictures of Mayan runes and temples and spouting crazy stories of beautiful female vampires who live in trees during the day and come out to feed at night.  She had only been home for a few days when she, Mrs. M. and I all packed up and took off again, heading north to Ohio...which is what the next post will be about.  Stay tuned!

For now, I'll leave you with more chickens:


Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to heal

I got to stop by CFD yesterday, and it was so amazing!  I didn't stay for a very long time, just enough to say hi to a bunch of people and show off my shoulder and how it's hooked up to a bunch of electrodes, so I can make it twitch.

Seeing all the lovely active sweaty people made me realise I need to stop sulking about being a one-armed wonder and start living the "wonder" part while making the "one-armed" part as short and impermanent as possible.  So here's my game plan.  Some of these points I'm already following; others I'm going to start incorporating.  As always, any and all comments and suggestions are welcome!

With a few exceptions that I'll note below, I'm going strict paleo until I'm healed enough to use my arm again.  The reasoning is pretty simple: it promotes reduction/avoidance of inflammation, which in turn helps avoid infection and speeds healing.  I've also been using an ice pack and occasional doses of ibuprofen, as my shoulder still seems to me to be a little swollen (no redness, oozing or other signs of infection, though).

I've also been keeping half an eye on portions, though I'm not actually counting calories.  Reason is that I know my BMR is about 1500 cals/day when I don't factor in any activity, and I haven't been very active at all lately.  This isn't too much of an issue, since the sudden and dramatic decrease in exercise and activity means my appetite dropped to almost nil.  However, I do tend to binge-eat when I'm bored, and ennui has been the main emotion of late.  The times I have caved, I've kept it pretty paleo, though, so that's a semi-victory.  A better fix is finding something to erase the boredom, and I'm working on that.

My exceptions to the paleo rule are mostly driven by the fact that I'll be staying with my godparents for a couple weeks while my parents are on vaycay and I'm still pretty helpless.  They keep chickens in their backyard!  I'm also expecting to encounter

  • delicious homemade fermented things (like sauerkraut, not beer), as well as
  • happy milk!  that is, not all cooked and nastified, just as pure as Bessie intended (wink wink)
In addition, I'm fully planning to deviate from strictitude when I just want some goddammn chocolate already.

So far, this has consisted of one leisurely two-mile stroll around the neighborhood a few days ago.  I attempted some squats and one-arm push-ups against the arm of the couch the same day, but I was still pretty shaky from the meds and it didn't work out very well.  Since then, however, I've focused on cutting down severely on the meds, and I think I'm finally close enough to myself again to attempt another try.  Besides walking, which I intend to do at least once a day, I've come up with
  • squats
  • pistols, once I'm up for it
  • one-armed push-ups off the wall or the arm of the couch
  • side plank holds
  • front one-armed plank holds, once I'm up for it
  • sit-ups
  • one-armed kettlebell stuff
As soon as I can do more than just slow controlled movements (I don't know how long that'll be), I'll start working bouts of slow running into my walks, preferably barefoot, as well as jumps onto low objects, like stairs.  At the moment, any movement that causes me to tense up my body and thus my shoulder involuntarily or quickly is fairly painful.

For my right arm: officially I'm still not supposed to take it out of the sling unless I'm showering or doing the only prescribed exercises, which consist of straightening my elbow and bending my wrist, 20 reps at a time, 3 times a day.  I've been taking it out of the sling and letting it rest on  a pillow in my lap as much as I can, working my wrist and hand, as well as bending and straightening my arm when I'm standing with it hanging by my side.  There's little to no pain associated with these movements, or with slow isolated shrugs (of which I'm still doing VERY few, just to be safe), mostly just joint stiffness.  I'm pretty worried (read: totally paranoid) about losing muscle mass, though, so in my eyes it looks like my arm's already transformed into this shrunken blobby thing from a week of disuse.  Meh.

Like I've mentioned before, I'm been prescribed some pretty serious meds for the pain, which all the doctors told me numerous times was going to be quite considerable.  The first several days it was bad enough that I was popping pills like a toddler eating jelly beans off the floor of a movie theater.  Side effects included being awake for like 4 hours a day, not wanting to eat anything at ALL and getting seriously backed up in the ol' GI department (tmi, sorry!  but something you should definitely be aware of if you ever have to take these), as well as being super shaky and out of it whenever I was awake.  Now the discomfort has shrunk to more manageable levels, so I'm trying to do without the scrips as much as possible, relying more on ibuprofen or my handy dandy shoulder electrifier during the day, then taking meds at night if I need the help to get comfortable enough to sleep.  

To help with the anti-inflammation, I'm taking between 6 and 9 capsules of fish oil every day.  I'm also drinking a couple glasses of Metamucil+water and at least 4 6-oz cups of fully caffeinated coffee every day to help combat the aforementioned particularly unfortunate side effect, and it is totally working.  The more you know...

At this point I'm just trying to get back into a normal awake-during-daylight-hours schedule, and get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep at night.  But sometimes naps are an awesome way to pass the time.

So there you have it!  My genius plan to take over the world be a total badass again as soon as possible.  What do you guys think?  

PS:  Here's me being extremely pouty a day or two after the surgery:

...and here's me right after I was finally able to take a SHOWER!  And put on REAL CLOTHES!  And a BRA!  I tell ya, bathing never felt so good.

(btw yes I know my clothes don't match at all.  it was the first thing I could put on after over 72 straight hours of that damn hospital gown, and I wanted some COLOR!)


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Surgery is not nearly as fun as it sounds

So.  I'm out of the hospital and fairly lucid, despite this heavy-duty shit I'm taking every four hours.  (PS: I'm gonna say that's the reason I might be a little more foul-mouthed in my writing than usual.  So far I've managed to hold myself back from howling "FUUUCK!" every time I tweak my arm, seeing as my mother's nearly always in earshot, but I need some kind of an outlet.)  I'm waiting for the latest dose to kick in so I can try and catch a couple winks, so I figured I'd share all the loveliness with you.

Honestly, it wasn't all that bad an experience.  Every single one of my doctors and nurses were totally spiffy.  Even the intern who bruised me up trying to get the IV in was a very sweet girl - it seems, however, that my veins shrink under stress.  There are FIVE needle holes from failed attempts in my hand and arm, with varying degrees of bruised-ness around them, including a real shiner that takes up a good patch of my forearm. Finally the nurse took over and got it in fairly quickly.  That was probably the worst part of anything that happened there, though.

Once the IV was in and the anesthesiologist was done chatting with another patient (very nice man and very good at his job but that dude could TALK!  Quote from the nurses:  "Where's Dr. So-and-so?"  "Oh, he's off somewhere talking." They both laugh.), I got a little something in the IV to calm me down and the doc administered a block on my right shoulder.  That's basically a numbing injection put in just below a nerve cluster so it spreads through my arm.  My thumb and first two fingers numbed up pretty quickly, but I could still feel the rest of my arm.  The other meds kicked in very quickly, though, so I was slightly past caring.  This was about when I lost all sense of time.

After a while, they rolled me into the OR.  I was still pretty content-feeling, but a lot more alert than they were expecting.  The surgeon noticed that my shoulder wasn't marked at all, so he quickly scribbled something on there, which I definitely felt.  "Is my shoulder supposed to be numb yet?"  Pause.  Some confused glances.  "Um...yes.  We'll fix that for you.  Don't worry, you'll be asleep for it."  Surgeon, anesthesiologist and one nurse rush around purposefully.  Two other nurses help me onto the table and give me a breathing mask.  "This is just oxygen.  Just take some deep breaths..."  Well, as it turns out, it wasn't actually just oxygen.  That's the last thing I remember before waking up.

I don't remember what I dreamed about, but I know it was all very vivid and seamlessly woven in with drifting into consciousness and seeing blurry nurses check my stats or just rush past before I dozed off again.  Finally there was more of the blurriness than the vividness, so I figured I was awake.  Everything was still flowing together pretty well, though, so I can't tell you at what point my mom came in to sit with me, or how long it was between then and the time we left.  I do remember saying very vehemently that if I ever had a kid, it would not be in a hospital.  Okay, semi-conscious self, whatever you say...

I do remember the conversation the people in the "room" (they're just separated by curtains) next to me were having...a little more specifically than I'd really like to.  As far as I could tell, it was an elderly lady who'd hurt one of her legs, accompanied by one or more daughters, all with very heavy, rather refined Southern accents - you know, the kind who actually still drink mint juleps.  At some point, she stood up with the aid of a walker, and immediately started pissing herself lavishly.  She was nowhere near shy about it, and neither were her daughters.  Some gems I remember: "Oh lawdie, it's all in my shoes!  They're just full of it!"  "Well now we're gonna have to rinse them out, Momma!  Don't let's forget now!"  And this one, a good five minutes after she started: "Are you still peeing now, Momma?"  "Yep, it's still just comin' and comin'!"

From ghoulies and  ghosties and piss-covered old ladies, good LAWD, deliver us!

That's all for now, folks.  I've got the deets on this fancy sling to share with y'all, as well as the pretty pictures they took of my insides while they were stitching me up.  For now, though, here's my flower.  They gave it to me when I left.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

And I'm off again...

I'm leaving for my surgery in about 15 minutes.

I am very scared.

For at least the first 10 days I'll be hopped up as all hell on two different kinds of very heavy-duty meds.  I might blog while on them, and if so it should be pretty hilarious.  But the bad thing is that I'll really need them.  The docs have warned me several times that once the injections they'll do for the actual procedure wear off, this will hurt.  A lot.  Constantly.

*deep breath*

This will fix my arm...this is the right thing to do...I can get through all the pain and rehab to get back to where I was the other day, when I maxed out the day's lifting schedule at 3x195 deadlift.  Even though it'll take a while.

But you better believe I'll come back stronger than ever.  My goal?  Bodyweight snatch by 18 months from this day.  Snatch Bost, you're my inspiration for this.

Arg.  I'm still super scared though.  Wish me luck, guys.

Be back at CFD as soon as possible!  If I say anything particularly ridiculous you have to remember it and tell me about it later.

Catch y'all on the flip side!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'm back! Did you miss me?

Last Monday I got up at some god-awful hour like five am (it didn't really matter, because I'd been too excited to sleep most of the night) to drive to the airport and catch an early plane to Ohio.  Why?  Because I got to go stay with The Man for a whole week!  (During which I opened my laptop maybe once.  So no blogging.)  And it was absolutely AMAZING.

Did I stick to paleo?  Hell no.  I wasn't even remotely primal.  I ate grilled cheese sandwiches and potatoes and corn cooked with bacon and cookies from Subway and marshmallows whenever I felt like it, and I drank coffee with milk (and sometimes cocoa mix) all day long.  And I didn't even try to think about calories.  I just ate what I wanted of what was there, when I felt like it.  And I focused more on the people I was dining with than the food itself.

Did I exercise?  Hrmm...well, yes.  Sometimes several times a day. shall I put this...I wasn't really focusing on burpees and air squats.  Well, not solo ones, at any rate.  Hee hee!  I kill me!

I did, however, get impromptu lessons on how to ride on of these:
It's like a skateboard with two wheels, and the fore and aft sections rotate individually.  I'm terrified of falling and freeze up as soon as both feet are on it, but I managed to go about two feet down the road a couple times.  I consider that a success.

Was I blissfully happy the entire time?  Well, no.  500+ miles is a lot to get over on a regular basis, but we manage.  And when it's suddenly shriveled down to nothing, it can be a bit of a shock to be so close, so soon, after months and months of distance.  Emotions run high and low and everywhere in-between before they finally level out (which usually takes just a few days) and the bliss does take over.  Sitting close together on an old bench, looking out over a perfect lake winking in the sun and letting the flood of feelings just rush out is a good way to speed up the process, too.  Especially if it ends with a whole bunch of kisses.

There weren't too many pictures taken - I didn't put on a shred of makeup or bother with my clothes save for the one day we went to a wedding.  Here's one pic from that day.  Please ignore the fact that I look like I'm about to eat the world and The Man looks (so he says) like he's shyly working his way up to strangling me.  That just gives us character.

Yep.  There we are.  Two adorably awkward, beautifully flawed, regular ol' people who managed to stumble into each other one day and never wanted the moment to end.  Funny how things work out like that.  And it's taken a hell of a lot of effort on both our parts to pull each other along this far - but now it's been just about three years since that first day, and hopefully we'll both keep on pulling for three score more.  Because you know what they say...

...slow and steady wins the race.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

CFD Lady Bloggers Unite! Self-Love Edition

So one of my readers is also a coach at CrossFit Durham, and a friend of mine.  I like to call her Coach Actually.  Ask her about it sometime.

Remember when I did that post last week about eleven fitness- and appearance-based goals I have?  It got more comments than average (and a lot of them focused on the topic of butt dimples.  which i still think are sexy, so there).  The general gist (and something I should have realised) was that some of them were attributes that, it seems, people are "just born with;" you either have it or you don't, and there's not much you can do body-recomposition-wise, to deal with that.  Ashley brought up the fact, in her comment and in the subsequent email convos we had on Facebook, that we (as ladies, even supercool athlete ladies) find it so easy to spout off lists of what we don't like about our bodies, or what we'd like to eventually attain, relating to both looks and abilities.  And it's not an argument for complacency or contentment with mediocrity, but we really need to be able to talk about what we do like about our bodies and current abilities in just as much glowing detail.  The point is that, regardless of future plans or goals, we are anything BUT mediocre right now.  We are freaking awesome.  Here's the proof:

1. I love my feet
They're little (smaller than almost all of my family's feet, even counting some of the chilluns).  They're kinda weird-looking (super-high arches that have fallen a bit, short scrunched-up toes, some crooked toes.  and they can get hairy).  But they're strong and flexible and, best of all, useful.  I can point them - maybe not a perfect practiced balletic "en pointe" pose, but it looks pretty to me!  I can take off my shoes and scramble up rocks at the river, using not just my toes but my whole foot to grip and climb.  I can run barefoot over smooth ground, and today I walked some unknown but long distance through the woods over gravel and roots and dried holly leaves, and it was the leaves that hurt my feet the most.

2. I love my squat(ting ability)
I am really good at squats.  We did so freaking many of them all throughout my...1.5 years? of bootcamp that I consider myself kind of a pro.  I figured out how to avoid the "butt wink" (your lower back rounding out at the bottom of the move) pretty well, which allowed me to get my back squat up to 185 so far.  And I can sit in the bottom of a squat so well that when we were all doing it for like 5 minutes straight in mobility class, some jealous person who shall remain unnamed pointed at me and said "that is not normal!"  Nope, it's not.  It's awesome.

3. I love my tattoo
It's on the back of my neck, which has caused some people to point out that I'll never be able to see it without a mirror or camera.  True, but I still know it's there.  It's in the shape of an apple star - the five-pointed floret of seeds that you see if you cut an apple in half horizontally.  It's known as the Star of Knowledge, and is said to have been the symbol of King Solomon, Pythagoras and other such smarty-pantses.  It's also become connected with the pentacle in that they are both five-pointed stars, so it's known (among witchy people, at least) as a "secret" symbol for paganism.  To me, it represents the magic, beauty and perfect geometry inherent everywhere in nature, if you only know where to look.

4. I love my burpees 
I've never seen myself doing them, obvs (anyone wanna hold the video camera and help me fix that?) but apparently I kick my feet way out and up, and bring my chest to the ground faster.  Like the beginning of "the worm."  Amy says "donkey kick."  Jed says "balletic."  I just think it's fun!

5. I love my eyes
I get SO many compliments on my eyes.  They're large and dark and my eyelashes have been known to elicit cries of wonder and jealousy from friends, make-up artists and several random customers in various restaurants I've worked in over the years who just walked up and told me how gorgeous they were.  The Man tells me that they are two-toned: the insides are a golden brown and the outsides are light hazel-green.  But you can only see that if you get really close :)

6. I love my ability to enjoy the hell out of swimming even though I'm bad at it
I took swimming lessons as a kid.  I distinctly remember it.  Our instructor was named Sheila and, nerdy little rugrats that we were, we called her Shelob behind her back.  That's the huge spider from Return of the King, in case you have a life.  But now I can barely dog paddle, although I only halfway suck at lying on one side and scooting along.  I really don't care.  Being in the water - lake, river, ocean; even a pool or bathtub in a pinch - just puts me at the purest ease I've ever experienced.  I especially like twirling around like an otter.

7. I love my hands
There's probably not a square inch of skin on my hands that doesn't bear at least a fading scar, handy as I am with the chef's knife.  But they're long-fingered and thick-skinned where it counts.  My hands aren't white or soft or "pretty," but they're strong and graceful, allowing me to write and sign and lift and climb and caress and poke and anything else I want to do with them.

8. I love my old ballet skills
I took ballet for a good 8 years when I was younger, and while I can lo longer do a pirouette without falling over (but still having fun), I've held on to a number of skills I gleaned from that stint.  I can rise up on my toes in demi-pointe and balance there on both or just one foot, which is apparently not something everyone can do.  I'm fairly flexible, even without a great deal of intentional upkeep.  And, although I don't see it, people tell me I'm graceful, with what seem like normal movements to me appearing as very dancer-like to others.  And graceful people are fun to watch.  So that's cool.

9.  I love my belly button
It's just so darn cute!  Even with the scar from the time I pierced it myself with a needle when I was 15, before my sister convinced me that it would go gangrenous and I'd slowly die of omphalic rot, but not before she told our parents, who would of course disown me.  It's still cute, though.

10. I love my friends
You might be thinking "no fair!  cop-out!" but bear with me on this.  My friends are an amazing group of people.  They're smart, funny, motivated and interesting, and the fact that they're all damn sexy is just a bonus.  I am friends with them because I think they'll make my life better.  As such, I've got a pretty high regard for their opinions.  And their opinions include the fact that I am amazing enough for them to be friends with me.  Therefore, I'm pretty amazing.  If I do say so myself.

 So that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Although, reading back over this list, I'm struck with a desire to get pictorial or video evidence of each of these things.  Hmm...more post ideas....

Check these ladies out!  They're all writing about how awesome they are along with me.

Ashley has the funnest laugh ever.  Just thinking about her impression of "laughter yoga" has me giggling to myself.
Bea is equal parts adorableness and badassery in a fun-size package.  I kind of want to be her.
Lindsay is the main reason that the Sartorialist needs to come visit Durham.  Even in her workout clothes.  Especially in her workout clothes.
Melinda is not only kicking cancer's ass in a major way, but she's also got one of the most beautiful, authentic smiles I've ever seen.
I don't know Colleen too well, but I do know that she's got legs like yeah whoa and I've never seen her not smiling.
Amy.  Oh, Amy.  I would KILL for your ass.  I might not even kill to actually have it, just because its hypnotic power compelled me to do so.  You have a great gift.  Never use your powers for evil.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Big changes

So remember all those times I complained about my bum shoulder?

Well, as it turns out, I had a fairly good reason to be doing so.  After over a decade of simply whining and trying to deal, I went to Triangle Orthopedic on Monday for an arthrogram and MRI, and I just got the results back yesterday.  Two days ago I wouldn't have been able to tell you anything about the labrum, and now I know exactly where it is, what it's supposed to do, and how mine is not doing what it should.

Here's a drawing of a labral tear.  Mine is in the back of the shoulder, and there's also a chance that the tendons in the front are overly loose(possibly contributing to or as a result of the injury), which won't be known for sure until they go in there, but will be an easy-ish fix if that is the case.

The doc told me that there's basically two options.  Number one is basically just keep doing what I have for the past decade and a half - there's nothing included in conventional injury-specific physical therapy that I haven't already tried.  I've done stretching and strengthening of all kinds, periods of immobilisation, chiropractic adjustment, and on and on.  And I can still never tell you if today will be the day that I'll be doing a pull-up, or shifting the baby from one hip to the other, or even taking off my shirt and suddenly the joint will slip and I'll gasp in sudden, intense pain and probably drop whatever I'm holding.  Note that I have dropped myself off the pull-up bar before but I have never, ever dropped a baby, and I never plan to.

And...option number two is surgery.

Apparently the surgery itself is nothing to worry about.  There wouldn't be any metal pins or the like inside me - the only foreign substances would be sutures and this polymer stuff that would eventually melt and be replaced by my bone.  I wouldn't even have to stay in the hospital overnight.  But I'm still scared as hell for everything that comes afterwards: according to my awesome doc (Dr. Silver at Triangle Orthopedics, if anyone's looking for a nice dude to fix what ails ya, joint-wise), it would be a month with my arm in a sling to start.  Then 2-3 months relearning how to do everyday things - driving springs to mind.  And THEN it would be a good 6-8 months (I was unsure and forgot to ask if this was cumulative or not) before I could think about doing any kind of lifting or semi-serious upper body exercise again.  Read: no CrossFit.

So this is why I'm most scared.  Assuming the worst, that each of those specified times are on their own, not cumulative, that adds up to a full year of not being able to lift or do CrossFit.  The reason this scares me so much is that before I started any of this, I was fat and sad and had no direction whatsoever in my life.  Each one of those things has been reversed as a direct result of doing this stuff.  So I'm terrified that without the ability to keep doing it, I'll change course again and head inevitably back to where I started, which was not a fun place to be at all.

I know I really need to get this done, and it's really not that big a deal, considering what some people go through.  I'm just worried and scared (I've never been put under before, another point of stress) and bleargh.

People who have had operations that require a lot of recovery time (especially athletes/CrossFitters): how do you cope?  I'd really like to know.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Eleven Goals Not Based On Weight (slightly NSFW)

I've been thinking lately about my renewed resolve to ignore the scale.  I don't care to tie my view of my health to a number that's so wildly variable.  And as much as I try to focus on other markers, the feelings associated with specific numbers are insidious - I can't ever seem to forget that the proper "healthy" weight for a woman my height is somewhere around 135-142, even though I know I'm carrying a hell of a lot more muscle than average and the number's probably skewed to start with.  I don't like feeling gross when I realise that my weight is nearly the same as my 6-foot tall male friend, when I should be reminding myself of the fact that my bench press is considerably closer to that number than his is.

So the scale is out.  Problem is, it's probably the easiest marker of progress to track with any objectivity* - I can go just by how my clothes fit, but it's hard to quantify that.  Solution: come up with other goals.  I tried to make a mix of both appearance/body-based goals and ones based on awesome things I want to be able to do.  Which is of course all that matters in the end.  But I'd kind of like to look hot while doing them.  These are very roughly in reverse order of want, meaning #1 is definitely #1 but the rest are just thrown about.

11.  Have guns like Batty
...meaning not only totally beasting it, but also sporting pretty pretty tats.  If you haven't read Batty's blog, you need to go over there and do it like NOW. I yoinked this particular pic from this post, which I absolutely love and advise everyone to bookmark the page.  This is the one I used to convince a beautiful healthy teenage employee of mine that she really did not need to lose 20 lbs, nor should she ever shy away from being strong and capable for the sake of some twisted, narrow image of "beauty."  And it worked.  Yay Melbell!

10. Do a muscle-up

 Useful for climbing walls, escaping the bad guys and generally being a ninja.  Impressive as all hell.  What's not to love?

9. Get to 22% body fat
No matter what my size, I've always been proportionally bigger in the regions of T&A (the former more than the latter, but both overall).  I figure 22%, mixed with the fact that a lot of that is going to stay with Ralphie and Louie, is probably low enough to give me abs while staying totally healthy.

8. Do a cat pass/kong vault/whatever you call it

Again with the getting-away-from-bad-guys.  This one's an especial dream of mine, as it was the one move in the Fundamentals of Parkour class with Colin that I really couldn't even begin to do, reason being that my shoulder slipped out of joint the first time I tried it.  That's an ongoing problem that I'm finally taking care of - I actually got the arthrogram and MRI of my shoulder done today...which is why I'm inside writing instead of at CFD doing presses.

7. Have that line down the middle of my abs

I'm not asking for a full-on six-pack, but I think the look of this is really nice.  Plus, it's Maggie Gyllenhaal in Agent Provocateur.  No one loses here.

6. Run a 7-minute mile.  Preferably barefoot.
I've always been a distinctly "meh" runner.  Not too great at either speed (except for really, really short bursts) or distance (I doubt I've ever gone more than about 3 or 4 miles at one time, ever).  But it's useful.  And fun.  And apparently we're all designed to do it.  So yeah.

5. Have dimples of Venus
You cannot tell me that's not hot as all hell.  Even with the plumber's crack.  Or maybe even more so because of it, depending on your taste.  Right now, I can feel where those are supposed to be but I can't quite see them yet.

4. Do a freestanding handstand
...unless my spotter is a young, shirtless Sean Connery.

  3. Have a perfect 0.7 waist-to-hip ratio
Simply put, it's the universal, evolutionarily-ordained marker of human feminine attractiveness.  For a bonus, try and name all the ladies shown above.  I got three.

2. Deadlift 300 lbs
That's a hell of a lot.  Almost twice my bodyweight.   For a lady, that's pretty damn decent.  It's also an enormous number that I can brag about.

And the number one thing I'm working towards...

Partly to look good.  Mostly so I can actually buy nice jeans and pants and not have my monster thighs shred the insides of them within months.  This has happened to every single pair of real pants I've ever had, and some of the stretchy ones too.  When I'm pantsless, I love my thighs and what they can do (just ask The Man, wink wink nudge nudge).  But any other time, they are literally Why We Can't Have Nice (leg-covering) Things.  And they chafe.  Ow.

And there's my list.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Comments?  What would you use for your own?

*since I still can't find the damn tape measure.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

IF = meh, plus cheat-day madness

So I've been following the IF (intermittent fasting) eating template for just about two weeks now.  I've got some mixed feelings about it.
  • CON: I feel really kind of restricted by my meal times.  The way my schedule works out, I break my fast after I get back from work, around 1pm or so.  Because of this, I can't really stop off anywhere on my way - no more river swims or library visits, unless I want to go out later - because I feel like I absolutely have to eat then.  I'm sure I could actually go longer without food if I wanted to, but I'm frickin' hungry and really don't want to wait.
  • PRO: I can see a difference.  It's a little one, and I can't give any concrete proof of it, as I've stopped weighing myself again (reasons why in this post), haven't gotten my body fat tested since the follow-up of Bonesetter Stew's cleanse dealio, and can't find my damn tape measure.  But the difference is there, if (so far) slight.  My waist is a little less puffy and my arms are a little more defined.  Inner thighs, I'm still waiting on you.
  • CON: I'm almost certain I am more irritable.  Maybe Shirtless Man #1 was right, and I should either eat the first meal sooner (putting it right in the middle of the time I'm usually feeding Baby Bug his third breakfast) or have the last one at...11pm.  Um, maybe not.  Anyone wanna weigh in, especially ladies who've tried IF?  Coach TCTH aka Mike K, I know Paul Po would include you in that category, but feel free to offer advice as a dude.
  • PRO: It's fairly easy to follow.  There's no weighing or measuring or figuring out blocks, and although Coach TCTH is all finicky about counting calories and I'd probably see results even faster if I did too, I don't think it's entirely necessary.  The very act of eating everything within a smaller window means that you unconsciously restrict a bit, or else you'd just be constantly stuffed to the point of discomfort during that time.  And that restriction gives me a little leeway to not stick completely to paleo - if I want some cream in my coffee, I'll have some, and not worry about it.
So there you have it.  It's decent enough, even if the scheduling gets a little annoying.  Maybe I should just quit whining and pack lunch.  Which I could then eat at the river.  I know, I know.  Sometimes I astound even myself.

But enough talk about healthiness.  Today was Saturday, and that means I get to eat whatever I want, whenever I want.  And today was, in general but especially in that regard, AWESOME.
  • 6:00am: went running around the Duke Wall with Vivian.  Afterwards, we drove to Guglhupf and sat in the parking lot until it opened at 7:30.  The cream puffs came out literally five seconds before I got to the counter.  Loaded up with delicious flaky sugary goodness of various kinds, we left feeling supremely satisfied, an emotion that only increased when I devoured said cream puff (the size of my palm!) in the car on the way back to my house.
  • 9:00am: buckets of coffee with cream, plus a chocolate croissant and a butter croissant (the rest of my haul from the bakery; each one larger than my hand).  And then a good-sized plate bacon and liver fried up together.  And then I realised that was a hell of a lot of food to eat within an hour of working out.  Whoops.
  • 10:00am: got to CrossFit, feeling only slightly stuffed.  Completed the WOD without puking.  I consider this a major accomplishment.  Stayed for mobility and then the shoulder health seminar, finally leaving around 2.
  • 2:30pm: a good cup of blueberries (3 for 1 at Harris Teeter!) swimming (and I do mean swimming) in whipping cream.  Some leftover salmon.  A plum.
  • 6:00pm: a small piece of chicken.  Losing steam here.  I think I need the mother of all cheat dinners here.  Any suggestions?  It has to be supremely non-paleo.  Chinese takeout is a possibility if I feel like driving and spending more money.
Updates to come when I eat some more.  For now, here's a picture of a cream puff:



Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why I Wear Short Shorts

Full title that was too long: Why I Wear Short Shorts, Even Though I Don't Particularly Like My Thighs All That Much.

This post brought to you by the Sunday funny papers.
one of my favorite strips.  official site here

I got up early this morning to run the Duke Wall with my friend/client Vivian, and although I was certain I'd want to collapse right back into bed once I returned, there's something about watching the sun rise while running outside that invigorates you enormously.  So I brewed up some chicory coffee with a little local cream and sat down to get my early-morning giggle fix.  (Pearls Before Swine was especially funny to NPR listeners today, bee tee dubs).

Amidst the chuckles, though, I got a hefty dose of introspection.  Check out what Opal's saying in the third and fourth panels there.  In case you can't read it, she's looking at an old photo album and muses "It's amazing.  At the time these photos were taken, I hated how I looked in them.  But looking at them now I think, wow, I wish I still looked that good!"

Um.  Hello, soulmate?  Well, with me and every other grown-ish woman rich enough to have the luxury of dissatisfaction with looks.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Caveman Ninja Strikes Back

This is part two in a 3-post series on the Fifth Ape Fundamentals course I took with Colin.  Here's part one, and here's the write-up of the first class I took from him.

So I had this dream the other night.

You know how sometimes you'll have a "flying" dream?  Where suddenly, by some miraculous mechanism, you find yourself floating a few inches off the ground, then higher and higher and before you know it you're soaring, miles high.  And it always feels so incredibly effortless and natural - you were born to fly, it couldn't be any other way! - that when you first wake up, the action of remaining tethered to the earth is the one that seems more unnatural.

Well.  I had a parkour dream.

I can't remember all the details, but there was definitely some insane intrigue going on.  At some point I had to chase someone through an airport terminal that was also somehow a grocery store.  But that's not important.  The important part is, while chasing this unremembered foe, I had to get myself over a lowish obstacle (I think it was a turnstile.  yes I know there are not normally turnstiles in airports or grocery stores).  And I vaulted.

like this.  via
When I woke, everything else about the dream faded fairly quickly.  But that feeling - of effortless almost-flight through no miracle but the work of my own body - has stuck with me.  So it's in dedication to that awesomest of dreams (and in hopes of eventually making them reality) that I'm writing this now.

Monday, June 6, 2011

So many shirtless men (part 1)

SO many.  They're all doing something right.  And they're all doing something different.  It's maddening.

Shirtless Man #1*: Martin Berkhan

Not gonna lie, this guy frightens me just a little.  But he gets insane results and backs up everything he says with exhaustive research and scientific studies.  He also seems to be the most widely-cited authority on intermittent fasting, heretofore referred to as "IF."  The general gist is that you have a window of time in the day during which you eat all of your meals, and outside of which you abstain from anything with more than a few calories, preferably sticking to water.

His method is the one I'm trying first.  It seems to be a bit of a magic bullet - that is, if it really works.  I can't quite wrap my head around the fact that consuming the same amount of calories in a smaller time span could actually work as well as (if not better than) basic calorie restriction, which is what Berkhan puts forth on his site. But it meshes perfectly with my existing schedule - basically, all I'm doing is skipping breakfast, then making my first meal of the day that which I eat after getting back from work at about  1pm.  Berkhan mentions that, while men seem to do best on an 8-hour window, women have a little more leeway: a 10-hour window is recommended for us of the fairer sex.  Why?  Because it makes us less irritable.  No, seriously.  We'll see about that one.  Still, I'm starting with that window and seeing where it takes me.

There's also a note in Berkhan's guide regarding consumption of...well, edibles, if not necessarily food, around training.  He's not a fan of completely fasted training (despite a study quoted about Muslim athletes followed during Ramadan - apparently the fact that they consumed nothing at all, not even water, during the day had no real effect on their athletic performance).  Instead, he recommends taking a smallish amount of a mixture (powder or tablets) containing branched-chain amino acids, or BCAA; alternately, a little whey protein powder mixed with water could stand in.  The purpose of this seems to be to get some of the benefit of eating a little protein pre-workout (as Whole9 recommends in the form of real food, and which I'm used to) without the actual calories.  I don't really make it a practice to take regular supplements of any kind (exceptions include Omega 3 fish oil, when I remember it), so I'm a little iffy about this, but the way that my schedule is set up, I doubt I'll even need to consider it very often - most of my workouts are later in the day, and so would fall within the feeding window, negating the need for (according to the forums, pretty damn nasty-tasting) fake-food powdery shit.

This is the end of day one for me, and I think the first things I need to learn from are:
  • I eat way too much fruit (or at least far too high a ratio of fruit to veggies)
  • I eat way, way too fast.  I don't even know how I choke stuff down so quickly.  Even (especially) the delicious food I should be spending as long as possible on!
  • DO NOT, under any circumstances, pound back the raw carrots.  HOLY BLEARGH.  It's like you just chugged a smoothie full of shaved lead.  Just don't.

This week is "back to basics."  We're spending time reviewing all the simplest movements that everyone tends to get sloppy on, and making sure we can do them perfectly.  Today's programming:

Skill: Push-ups
  • 5 perfect-form push-ups on the minute for 10 minutes.  "1-Mississippi"-count hold at the top and bottom; chest to deck; straight plank all the way through.
  • Tababa push-ups: 20 sec on/10 sec off for 8 rounds, or 4 minutes total.  The lowest number of reps that you hit is your score.  I got 8 on this, which was tied for the best score of the day!
Run 400 m

50-30-20 reps of
  • Russian kettlebell swings (35lb)
  • Double-under jump ropes (or 3x single unders, which was what I did)
Run 400 m

Finished in 14:41.  I really need to get cracking on the DUJRs - it's time I had them perfect already, for serious.  But then Coach Phil told me I had the most beautiful KB swings of the whole day.  Aw shucks, I ain't all that.  But I certainly don't mind hearing it :D


*He's not the number one shirtless man in the world.  (That honor belongs to a certain caramel-colored cutie up by Cleveland.)  I just happen to be testing his method first.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Good for what ails ya

Last night was an absolute BLAST, thanks to the incomparable Ms. Amy Scott, the hostess with the most-ess.  Watermelon (which I have been devouring like a fiend lately), guacamole and grapefruit juice + pineapple vodka to start the night, and cornhole, hula hooping, impromptu tango and swing dancing (not to mention the Cleveland Shuffle) as well as 90 push-ups and 20 burpees by the end of the whole shebang.

Side note: apparently I have "balletic" burpees.  Who knew?  But thanks, Jed :)

And that is why CrossFit parties rock harder than any others.  Although next time we try to film the process, we might want to have a couple more of the classic filming essentials.  Like, you know, light.  Yes, Ashley Thompson Denton, I just called you out.

Here's the link to see the vid on Facebook.  If you can't see it you might have to friend me; just drop a note about why you're doing so along with the request so I know you're not a random creeper.

And then today we all got together and did this crazy WOD.  Check it out:

15 minute AMRAP* of
  • 3 power cleans (75 lbs)
  • 6 push-ups
  • 9 air squats
Rest for 5 minutes

15 minute AMRAP of
  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 burpees
 The deal was that you'd team up with one or two other people, and you'd complete an entire round, then rest and cheer while your teammates did their rounds
I teamed up with Amy and Jonathon Johnson, aka JJ, and we killed it.  Unfortunately I don't know exactly how dead it got because I neglected to write down how many rounds we got.  Amy or JJ, wanna fill me in if you remember?

Then we all got our mobility on.  Coach TCTH** and I chatted about IF - he does it and likes it, because he says it helped him stop being fat.  Which he never was.  So we'll see how well it works for someone who's actually got something to lose.

And then...I went home.  And I made myself THE BEST post-WOD/hangover recovery meal of all time.  OF ALL TIME, ladies and gentlemen.  Check it out:

Can't tell what it is?  Look closer...

First I chopped up some bacon into little pieces and cooked it.  Then I set it aside, dropped the heat, added a little coconut oil and cooked a whole onion, chopped into strips, for about 20 minutes on low.  Then I dropped in a little EVOO, sea salt and some chicken livers, fried that shit up for a few minutes, added the bacon back and HOLY GODS.  Yes, all of them.  It was just that amazing. 

Moral of the story: I LOVE LIVER.  And I had no idea.  Try new things, people.  Worst case scenario, you'll have a cool story to tell at parties.

Upcoming posts: thoughts and research on IF, which I'm probably gonna try starting in the next few days.  Also, wrap-ups of the other two parkour etc. classes I took with Colin.

Yay comments!


*As Many Rounds As Possible
**Too Cute To Hate, aka Michael Kelley

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Troie is this crazy dude who I see about once a week in the gym, because he generally comes in at the 615am WOD on weekdays.  He likes to parade around shirtless and be-Vibramed, and it's very, very rare to see him when he's not either totally beasting a WOD or air drumming (sometimes both at once).  My nickname for his is Little Jacked Drummer Boy, or Clark Kent when he's in his work clothes.  And he's now 27!  So we did the following:

4 rounds for time of
  • 27 jumping air squats
  • 27 plyometric push-ups
  • 27 bodyweight (hah) deadlifts
  • 27 ab mat sit-ups
  • 27-second hold at the top of a pull-up
 I freaking ROCK at jumping air squats.  It seems like they go by a lot faster than regular squats.  I don't know if that's actually the case, but I just like jumping, so that makes it awesome.

So, plyometric push-ups, right?  They're rather akin to the jumping air squats, in that you go through the regular movement, but instead of letting gravity stop you at the top of the move, you just ignore that bitch and keep going.  So, regular push-up, but you push up extra hard and leave the ground slightly at the top.  When I saw this move on the board, I kind of chuckled to myself and then waved Coach Ryan (who doesn't have a nickname yet) over to discuss scaling.  He said I could either go to my knees or do them off of an elevated surface, so I planned on the knees.  And then the WOD started and I got to them...and...I didn't need to scale.  I can do plyo push-ups, and not just a couple at a time, either!  (I eventually went to my knees for 5 at a time in-between regular ones later, but only when I was close to failure).  So yeah.  I am a rockstar.

DLs ended up being 135lbs for the first round and 95 for the rest.  I could have gone higher than 95 but that's a hell of a lot of  reps, and I'm already slow.  And I went up to 200lbs for 4 reps the other day.  Still a rockstar.

The pull-up holds were meh...they're really, really hard, and apparently I ripped my hands up, so that kind of hurt.  I subbed as close as I could get to the same position on the rings, using a false grip with my feet on the ground, after the first or second round.

Truth be told, I only did 3 rounds of this.  I am currently experiencing hormone poisoning, which helps with the rage and adrenaline, but also makes me all woozy if I go too hard.  I got really dizzy partway through the third round, so decided to call it after that.  Still took me 31:34.  So...not too much a rockstar, after all.  I want to try this one again when I'm not indisposed.

And then we did mobility!  I hadn't seen Coach Too-Cute-To-Hate in seriously a month, so it was awesome to see him, even though he laughed at me pretty much as soon as he saw me.  It's ok, though.  I told him the really funny thing was that my hair was shorter than his and his voice was higher than mine.

On a last note, we were all stretching by one of the walls and Dave decided to saunter on over and touch up a patch low on the wall right beside ME - nowhere else that wasn't 8 feet in the air! - so that I put my hand right in the wet paint.  Next time I will high-five your FACE, Dave.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

And then I ate it all

You know what the only thing better than finishing up your strictly acetic cleanse-y type dealio and being able to eat chocolate again is?
Finishing it up just in time for the monthly hormone poisoning.  Holy gods.  The stomachache and sugar coma are SO worth it.

So I finished Bonesetter Stew's cleanse thing!  Yay me! I don't have new pictures yet but here are the numeric stats:

Weight: Stew ran the numbers with 155. This was higher than what I actually weighed in at (159).  He's running the numbers again because I'm anal like that, but here are the ones gleaned with 155.

BMI: 24.28, a drop of about 3/4% to put me just under the cut-off for "overweight."  Did I mention that I upped my max deadlift to 220? Damn skippy :)

Body Fat Percentage: 24.9%, a drop of 1.4%.  Not too shabby!  With the weight of 155, this means I've got 38.6 lbs of fat and 116.4 lbs of lean mass.  Boo on the slight loss of muscle but yay on the greater loss of fat!  Now, more lifting!

Stew & I postulated that a decent overall goal might be 20-21% body fat, so this is a really good first step.  Note that I'm definitely not tying myself to that number.  If I keep cutting it down and start to really lose my boobs, you can bet your ass I'm reevaluating my goals.  Having really nicely-cut abs would be cool, but not at the expense of Ralphie and Louie.

Total Body Water:  A solid 45L/64%, up from 43L/59.7% last time.  Yay hydration!

Basal Metabolic Rate:  1518 kCal, down from 1540 before.  Merh.  I wqs hoping for a move in the opposite direction, but I guess that goes along with the slight drop in muscle.  Bring on the steaks and heavy weights!

Daily Energy Expenditure: 2278 kCal, up from 2002.  Joanne, you told me what this meant before.  Does the increase just mean that I'm doing more during the day?  If so, how can they tell that?  It seems an awfully complicated and variable thing to measure so precisely.

I forgot to measure my waist and hips.  And now my waist is like ba-FWOOOM! from the aforementioned hormone poisoning so I'm not really inclined to want to whip out the ol' tape measure.

So, overall, decentish results, at least from my perspective.  Honestly, though, I kind of hated it while it was going on.  My self-esteem and mood dropped pretty low, and my trichotillomania started acting up again...a lot.  As in, I had a dream about shaving my head two nights ago and now I really want to act on it.  I also had these batshit insane cravings for stuff like skim milk (I can't stand the taste anymore, but wanted it like crazy) and butter (not on anything, just by itself).  And when I roasted my weekly chicken, I saved the fat as normal for use in future cooking.  But I got this incredibly strong urge to get a spoon and just drink the liquid fat right there.  I was simultaneously nauseated and absolutely drooling for it.  Mindfuck.

All said and done, I don't know if I would do this again.  Like I said, the results are decent, and I don't know how much of the weird thought processes were because of other things and just coincided, but the coincidence is enough to give me pause.  I don't like cringing when I look in the mirror.  I don't like ripping at my hair and skin enough so that I'm sore and bleeding.  And I really don't have any desire to drink straight fat.  Just ew.

Has anyone else done this dealio?  Ashley, I'm looking at you.  Are my experiences just a fluke?  I'd really like to hear that they are.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Return of the Caveman Ninja

Alternate title that was too long to use: "I'm covered in bruises and too sore to move.  GIVE ME MORE!"

Yep, you guessed it!  Colin's back!  I'm signed up for his Fundamentals of Parkour series of classes, but since I wasn't able to make the first session last Sunday (because I was watching The Man strut his bad self across the stage while wearing a funny hat and a dress), we met up this afternoon at the Forest Theater in Chapel Hill.
If you live in the Triangle or ever visit this area, try and stop by there - it's just lovely!  However, it's also entirely made of stone and hard-packed sand - not so easy on the ol' bod.  It's amazing how much the awareness of pain disappears, or at least significantly lessens, when you're having an absolute blast.  Yeah, it hurts when I launch myself headlong into the abyss, only to crack my shins on the edge of a solid stone step.  But feeling pain is a lot less interesting than trying the leap again, so it gets pushed aside.

We started (and eventually ended) with jumping.  Well, landing first, and then jumping.  You might think that you can't land before you jump, but apparently if you just kinda shove yourself over the edge of something and then land, it just counts as falling, not jumping.  The way you land is on your toes, slightly bent over, in what's called the cannonball position.  If you need to, you can also continue the momentum forward and put your hands down, but never your knees.  The worst thing to do when falling, apparently, is to land on your toes and then let your knees fall forward.  Then they go crunch.  Ow.

So once my landings were looking decent-ish, we moved on to the actual jumping and then landing part.  It's crazy technical, and absolutely maddening how completely naturally it seems to come to Colin.  You have to fling your arms forward at the same time as you extend your hips and take off at a 45-degree angle to the ground and pick your feet up and not overshoot and also land on your toes.  Yeah.

This is where we jumped.  Ending point is the step where the red X is.  I started from the gravel ditch just a couple feet away, then tried backing up until I went from the step with the green X, which is at the same height as the other one, maybe 5 feet away?  I'm not sure.  Colin kindly helped out by letting me know that the floor was now a pit of lava filled with spikes and I would die a horrible, fiery, impaled death if I didn't make the jump.  Thanks, Colin.  You're a real card.  For everyone else: the primary rule of doing anything at all with this guy is that the floor is ALWAYS lava.  And when it is not, CRAWL!

So after I hove myself over certain peril enough times to satisfy, he had me step up.  Just one step.  Not even a foot back or 6 inches up, just to where the blue X is.  But damn if the vapors from the lava didn't make me absolutely sick.  I have this thing about falling...and just that little tiny difference made me freeze up completely.  Sooo we moved on.

To the normal person, walls are annoying.  They're always getting in the way!  Not for the caveman ninja, though!  He just runs at them headlong and hopes for the best bounces right on up there, catching/pushing with his arms but doing most of the work with his legs.  If the wall's higher than about nose-height (the one we practised on was about a foot over my head), the trick is to take a final step on the wall itself, propelling yourself even higher and pulling yourself forward with your arms so you don't just fall backwards.  From there it's just a quick twist to get your foot (NOT your knee; that hurts like a bitch and I am bruised) on top of the wall and then stand up.  Piece of (paleo) cake!  This was probably my favorite section because I could actually do it without too much pain or terror.

So when the wall is too tall for you to scale that way, the aim is to jump as high as possible in the way just mentioned (by pushing off, or "tacking," with your foot) and try and grab the top of the wall so you can pull yourself up.  The fact that you need extra height means you need to start off with more speed.  Which means that you RUN STRAIGHT AT THE (10-foot high, solid stone) WALL.  This is just a little unnerving, not to mention difficult.  You have to push off while you bring the opposite knee up as high as possible, keeping the same hand in front of your face (so you don't kiss stone if you miss) and reaching the opposite hand up to grab...or in my case, just kinda slap at the wall.  I got up to the very edge of the top but couldn't actually transition to grabbing it.  Next time...

Then we picked up and dragged around some big huge fallen trees for a while.  Fun and useful but not particularly noteworthy.

And was back to the jumping spot.  Colin really wanted me to at least attempt a jump from the farther starting point.  I did too, but I also didn't want to trip and break my head open on the stairs and die in a pool of mashed brains.  So I jumped down to the (molten) gravel a few times first, burning my feet off in the process.  Then I jumped from the lower step to the opposite one without doing any serious damage.  Then I shut my brain off and leapt...

...and I made the hell out of it.  Had to catch myself on my hands but I stuck it.  And then I did it once more (or twice, if you ask Colin, who is too nice) before my brain woke up again and I started freaking out.  So that was it for the day.

Next session is on Sunday and I CANNOT wait.  Stay tuned for more tales of the Caveman Ninja!  What's a good sidekick/student/minor character name for me?  Let me know in the comments!


PS: Two direct quotes from Colin today: "Oh, excuse me, Mr. Ant!" (as he stepped sideways to avoid crushing the insect in question) and "Oops!  Sorry, Plant!" (as he accidentally dropped a log onto a shrubbery).  Need any more proof that he is not only a trip and a half but awesome as all get out?  I didn't think so.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Smoothie, deconstructed (plus CF update!)

Isn't this lovely?

I know I've blathered about this before, but seriously though.  Good food is just so nice to look at.

Frozen strawberries and peaches, nuked for a minute or two, plus one perfectly ripe avocado.  I've found that just a pinch of sea salt added when I blend the thing up with protein powder makes it even more spectacular.

I'm going to save you the picture of the finished product because it looked like vomit.  But it was still delicious :)

So breakfast today marked the last meal of the first week of this cleanse dealio I'm doing.  Honestly, it has kind of sucked monkey balls so far.  Up until yesterday, I was dealing with these nagging headaches and enormous stomach bloat that made me feel about as sexy as a maggot-filled drowned rat, as well as all kinds of physical and mental "meh."  But I stuck with the damn thing because Bonesetter Stew said it would get better.  And hey presto, it actually did!  I'm feeling much more human, and I notice my skin (which wasn't too bad to start with) is actually noticeably better.  Cool!  No updates on stats yet, as that won't come till I finish the whole thing.  I feel pretty damn good, though.  And that's mostly what matters.  Plus, I GET TO EAT CHICKEN TODAY!  It's a little ridiculous how excited I am.

CrossFit Update!

I think Sunday was my first honest-to-god rest day since...damn, I don't even know.  That's probably a bad thing.  But usually, if I do have to take a day off from lifting, I like to spend it hopping around on the rocks at the Eno River.  Here's some highlights from the last week (you can take a look at all the programming if you want, I just didn't want to put it all here):

May 2: PAINSTORM.  Max unbroken reps ground-to-overhead to start, then 15 rounds (3 handstand push-ups, 6 American kettlebell swings, 9 air squats) followed by the same number of GTOs.
So THAT'S what a painstorm is.  This was kind of a bitch, as if you couldn't guess.  I used 75lbs and clean&jerks for the GTOs (15 reps), then scaled to kneeling on a box for the HSPUs but went Rx with 35lbs for the KB swings.  I wasn't last!  But I wasn't first either.  But I had fun.

May 3: 15-min AMRAP* (run 400m, 50 sledgehammer swings)
I think I got about three and a half rounds out of this.  But but BUT!  I did it barefoot.  That's right.  Barefoot sprints on the road (except when I had to leap out of the way of cars onto the sidewalk).  Also, I just love sledgehammer swings.

May 4: 5 rounds (9 clusters,  9 pull-ups)
Clusters are SO MUCH FUN.  They consist of a squat clean into a thruster, two of my favorite moves EVER.  Rx at 65 lbs on the barbell for these babies.  I'm thinking these might play a major role in Quarter-Life Crisis, Partie Deux next year...

May 5: Push-up pyramid! 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 push-ups.
Pyramids are like ladders except better.  Everyone did these together on Ashley's count, and in-between we got to watch her rendition of "laughter yoga."   I'm still giggling :)

May 6: 10-min AMRAP (18 KB goblet lunges, 5 push-ups, 3 pull-ups)
This was the community WOD taught by Paul (first one I ever attended with him as coach), to which I dragged Babysis!  And she loved it!  And she's coming back next Saturday!  Success!

That's pretty much it.  I did a bunch more stuff, but those were my favorite things.  Also, it turns out that I missed 1RM** deadlifts on Sunday.  Now I'm sad.  But, on we go anyways!


*as many rounds as possible
**one-rep maximum (weight)