Practice Makes Perfect…or In My Case…Better….

Last night was play time aka gymnastics class!

It was my third visit and I feel like I am making progress by leaps and bounds. We started with some floor work again. Last night I finally nailed the handstand, forward roll and pike back into handstand! Here is what it looks like. Body control! That is what I have been wanting to get out of this whole thing! I did my little happy dance which is really just me jumping up and down and waving my arms back and forth. I do not like to put all of my body weight over my shoulders. It makes me uncomfortable and nervous. That has really held me back on hand stands and last night I overcame that fear!

We also did some free-standing handstand chicken pecking. I do this on the wall a lot to build up strength in my shoulders. My friend Paige, who is a fabulous CrossFitter and ex gymnast, taught me the move. I couldn’t find a video of it, but basically we did a freestanding hand stand and then picked up our right hand to the arm pit and set it down. Then the left. Then the right. So on and so forth. I was able to hold the hand stand and do six repetitions. Mandy, our coach, said as gymnasts they would have contests doing this and easily get up to 250. Wow! seriously impressive!

Last night I experience the vault for the first time. Ok, I didn’t actually vault, but I did get to mimic it with the spring-board and very large mat. I did front handsprings and round offs on the “vault” or “big blue mat”. Next time she said she will lower the vault very low so I can practice actually using it and then we will raise it from there. Very exciting! Never in my wildest dreams would I think I would be able to vault! This is exactly what I did last night. My mat was a bit higher to mimic more of an actual vault. Yes, this girl is probably five. I probably don’t even qualify for a level 1 gymnast. Believe me, for me that was a big deal. I do not like being upside down in the air!

Lastly, I worked on pikes or press on the beam into a hand stand. This was on the very low beam. I was able to pike into the hand stand. Now I have to work on lowering myself out of it after I hold it. Lots of fun and great work for my shoulder and core stability! This is pretty much what it is, except my beam was just a few inches off the ground.

Three visits and I’m making a lot of progress. I can’t wait to see where I will be in a few more!

Training:

Tuesday:

Strength: Incline Bench

 WOD:

3 min AMRAP 10 Burpees 5 DB Thrusters 30#

Rest 3 Minutes

3 min AMRAP 6 C2B pull ups 9 V Ups (awful)

Rest 3 Minutes

3 min AMRAP 10 KB Swings 55# 10 Ball Slams 20#

Wednesday:

Strength: Front Squats 10×3 @ 155 It was my “back off” day of front squats. I love that 155 seems like a light weight to me now after all that heavy junk…which I go back to next week.

 WOD:

4 rounds for time:

1 Rope Climb, 7 HSPU’s, 30 Double Unders

Gymnastics class!

Rest day today. Thank goodness.

What a Bench!

I love when I see something I have been working on carry over to other aspects of my fitness. Incline bench is something we have added into some of our training at CrossFit OKC. I’m brand new to incline. I benched before, but not that often. I have had the incline as my Tuesday lift for about the past two months. I still feel awkward, but I am seeing the benefits!

I feel very “sturdy” in my handstand….on the wall and free-standing. Benefit.

Push ups feel great, even though I do believe they are a strength of mine. I have been able to maintain higher reps even though I haven’t been “training” them. Benefit.

Lastly, my wall balls feel better than they ever have. Benefit.

I actually have always liked wall balls. I wish I was a few inches taller when I they come around, but overall they are a fairly decent movement for me. Yesterday, I PR’ed Karen (150 Wall Ball Shots for Time) by just under a minute. 7:19. My shoulders never let me down. My legs didn’t feel the same way towards the end.

I felt great, but I know I could have been under 7 if I kept it together a bit more at the end. My rep scheme went 45-10-10-10-10-10-10-10-5-5-5-5-5-5-5 Done!

No, I don’t think I owe all of those things solely to incline bench, but I know it is helping!

Hey! I’m Not Afraid Anymore!

Admittedly, there are certain workouts that terrify me. Amanda is one of them. Amanda debuted during the 2010 CrossFit Games. 9-7-5 Muscles Ups and Squat Snatch (135/95). I remember trying it a few weeks after the games. It was a horrendous display. I scaled my muscle ups to 5-3-1 and had to take my snatch weight down to 85# after the first 9 reps. I remember rolling my barbell into the second room at CrossFit Jenks (where I was training when I lived in Tulsa) to finish because the next class was starting. I think it took me about 26 minutes. I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry, but it made me think, “Do I really think I am competitive and strong enough to ever think I could go to the Games?”

I talked myself out of trying it again even as my muscle ups started stringing together and I got more comfortable with the squat snatch. I was scared. Finally, about three weeks before regionals I decided to give it a go. My goal was just to finish under 15 minutes. I ended up finishing in 11:48. I was so excited. I still hated every second of it, but I was proud of myself. I put up a fairly decent time…failed a few snatches, but that was OK. It was out of my system. Done. Never again…or so I thought.

When the workouts for the 2011 Regional were released I just started laughing. The only thing I did NOT want to see was a max rep snatch or a heavy squat snatch. 95# is heavy. And there it was….the first WOD of Sunday morning…AMANDA. I was nervous as all get out. I knew I had finished it before, but I wasn’t sure how I would do after everything we had already done that weekend. I completed it in about 12:30 at regionals. I was so excited to finish it under the time cut after the two grueling days before. If I never saw Amanda again I would be happy.

My husband has been encouraging me to try it again since I have been working on the squat snatch so much. This past Friday, I decided to give it another go. I had not been on the rings for a WOD in at least five weeks. I could tell. However, it went great! I PR’ed by over two minutes. 9:47! The snatches felt good, even though they still make my legs scream. I was all singles on the muscle ups during the rounds of 7 and 5, but I expected that since I hadn’t done them in a while. Guess what? Amanda terrifies me no more. I know I can get into the 7 minute range. I missed one snatch and spent far too much time gazing at the rings before I jumped to them. I actually almost….had fun. I. Feel. Confident.

What WOD scares you? Go tackle it! It will only beat you if you let it.

Squat training update:

Front Squats: 10×3 @ 170  Failed on 3rd rep of 9th set. Did not finish 10th set.

Back Squats: 10×3 @ 187

Front Squats 10×3 @ 175 Failed on 3rd rep of 9th set again. Finished with 145 on 10th set. My legs were demolished.

Today: Back Squats 10×2 @ 210. These felt so light and amazing. I can’t wait to max out when this is over!

Back squats and front squats are so different. Back squats make me sore. I feel them the next day. Front squats just destroy every part of my being. During the set, after the sets, later in the day….destroy. However, I’m not that sore the next day, which I like. Weird. I get to go down to 155 for my next set of front squats. Heaven!

Lastly, I ran my first 5K in maybe a year on Saturday. It was on grass and constant hills. Lots of curves. I was slow. 26:43 (I think). It was at least two minutes slower than I wanted to be. I kept a great pace my first two miles, considering the course, and then it was all downhill….except for on the actual course. Although my sprint running is getting better, my endurance running (yes, I now consider a 5K run endurance) is not where it needs to be. This means a I will be adding a longer run in each week as long as my body says it is OK. I’m going to give myself a few weeks and then find a nice 5K road race to give myself a better indicator for my running. YAY!

I’m Like Shannon Miller….Only Awful….

Sometimes looking at my list of “Things I Want To Be Good At” can be overwhelming. I want to be faster, I want to be stronger, I want better endurance, I want to be better at olympic lifting and I want to be competent in gymnastics. I love pull ups and muscle ups. I don’t have issues there, however, hand stands and handstand walks give me fits. I have good days and bad days, but I want to get to where I can expect to always have good days. I also want to master the levers (ahhhh!) and other “gymnastic-y” things.

Dynamo Gymnastics in Oklahoma City recently started an adult gymnastics class. They brought a couple of us in a few weeks ago to see where our skill level was and what we wanted to learn. I represented the super beginner crowd. A little background on my gymanstics….I took gymnastics as a little girl like almost every little girl does. I could walk across the beam, do cartwheels, and other very basic things. I quit when I was probably 8 or 9 because of other sports, but I was never ever good. I was always very aware of the fact that I could hurt myself. Back walkovers and handsprings never happened without a spotter. I did enjoy running and jumping into the foam pit. I was very good at that. I was not allowed to jump on a trampoline growing up (my dad is a physician and always told us about the injuries he saw so it was a no go for us outside of gymnastics class)….although I did disobey and sneak it in a few times. Shhhhhh. Don’t tell. To this day, I feel awkward jumping on a trampoline and have no body awareness at all.

Like most people, the first time I kicked up on the wall to try a handstand at a CrossFit gym I screamed like a little girl. My husband had to grab my feet and hold them so I wouldn’t freak out. I have come a very long way!

So, what can you expect in an adult gymnastics class?

We start by running a few laps around the mat. It is so springy. I feel like I am prancing which I love. They stretch us out, which is great because my flexibility is another issue and I’m hoping it gets better while going through this class. Next, we go through mat drills. These usually consist of forward rolls, backward rolls, handstand walks, handstand into forward roll then pike into a handstand (very difficult!), backward rolls into a handstand and rounds offs. The “more advanced” crowd will do round offs into back hand springs. I stick with rounds offs.

Last night we went through drills to progress into a front tuck. We worked on rebounding off the floor, we did punch outs (I think…still learning terminology) into a semi front tuck on the cheese wedge mat and we practiced running and jumping off the spring-board. Well, that is as far as I took it. The “others” actually did front tucks off the spring boards. Very impressive! Maybe someday soon….

Next, we moved to the tumble track. Sounds fun, right? It is a long trampoline with a huge mat at the end. This is where gymnasts learn and perfect their tumbling passes before moving to the floor. I did tuck jumps down that mat and finished with a front tuck onto the mat. At first, I was jumping three or four times and the end before I could make myself flip. It took me a long time to build up my confidence.  After a few trips I could go right into the front tuck. I’m overcoming some big time fears! I hate to admit how terrified all of this makes me, but it feels so good to master something even if it is very elementary for the sport.

Last we went to beam. I’m really glad I don’t have video of myself on the beam from our first day. Today was much better. I actually did a cart-wheel into a handstand on the low beam (about six inches off the ground) and held it for two seconds! Yes, this is amazing progress for me! I’m becoming so much more confident! I made it about a third of the way across the blue mat last night with my handstand walk. They tweaked just a few things with my body positioning and I can feel such a difference. I can actually balance and hold a pretty handstand for a while.

No, I don’t expect to learn routines or become an expert. I want to gain core strength and body awareness. I can see that I will get there. It is going to take time and repetition. My goal within the next month or two is to be able to handstand walk across the entire floor mat! I can do it. The guys are working on tumbling, handstand and ring work. I hope to get some ring work in as well the next few weeks!

If anyone is interested, let me know and I can get you information. This class is for anyone. They offer it on Monday and Wednesday evening from 8PM to 9PM. You can go once or twice a week. I’m starting with once a week. You can pick and choose what you want to work on and they are very helpful and patient. Thank goodness because I’m definitely a handful!

 

Fight Gone Bad

Saturday was Fight Gone Bad everywhere in CrossFit World. We had an amazing turnout at CrossFit OKC. There were over 150 competitors! I kind of gasp just looking at that number. We had heats going from 9AM until just after 12PM. I have got to say, I have been in a lot of great gyms and CrossFit areas before, but I haven’t seen an area come together like the Oklahoma City area CrossFit gyms. Very cool! Thanks to Edmond CrossFit, CrossFit 405, CrossFit Exile, CrossFit Complete, CrossFit Ground Zero and CrossFit Native for participating! If I missed anyone I sincerely apologize!

Fight Gone Bad, 3 rounds for total reps of:

1 min max rep wall balls (20/14)

1 min max rep sumo dead lift high pull (75/55)

1 min max rep box jump 20 inch box

1 min max rep push press (75/55)

1 min max calorie row

1 min rest

There were a lot of regulars (i.e. those of us who compete all the time) and a lot of newbies.  I saw so many people doing Fight Gone Bad for the first time OR doing it for the first time as Rx’d! A lot of people surprised themselves and there were some amazing scores. We had a packed house cheering for a solid three hours. I don’t think a single person there felt like they didn’t have someone cheering for them.

I love Fight Gone Bad. I like the strategy behind it and the mental will it takes to keep going. The weight is light so you can keep moving, it is just a matter of far can you push yourself? I PR’ed by about eight reps and was just eight reps shy of my goal! Next time I know I will hit it. A big shout out to my girl Kristen Dolf who broke 300 for the first time! And also to a few of the ladies from our 9AM class, Andrea, Terri and Sarah who all competed for the first time and killed it! I know they were hesitant and first, but did a phenomenal job. So proud!

In training news…..

These squats are about to kill me. I think the love/hate relationship is becoming more of a tolerate/hate relationship. I got a bit off last week so I’m making up ground this week. Last week I made it through my back squats 10×3 @ 205. I’m looking foward to my next back squat set. I get to drop to 188 on Wednesday for a 10×3 which sounds so light after going through it at 205. Lovely.This morning was front squats. 10×3 @ 170. I failed on my third rep in my 9th set. Ugh.  I was pretty pleased though. I felt good until about set seven. Then it  was downhill very fast.  I’m working on keeping more of a grip on the bar during my front squat instead of rolling it back on my finger tips. This helps simulate more of what it will feel like coming out of the squat clean. It was a good tip from Cole that is helping out a lot on my cleans!

I rested about ten minutes and then went through my WOD for the day. It was a main site WOD from a few weeks ago. I definitely should have rested a bit longer…my back was not too happy with me!

15-12-9-6-3  Power Clean 95# and Bar Facing Burpees  Time: 7:15

Me and bar facing burpees do not get along in any way, shape or form. I’m not quick off my feet like I need to be so this was a good one for me to go through. I was about a minute slower than I wanted to be, but I’ll take it.  Tonight I’m going to my first adult gymnastic’s class! I will post on that tomorrow. I did an intro class last week that was fantastic. I can’t wait to see what we do tonight!

This is where all the fun goes down when I’m not at CrossFit OKC. This is CrossFit King aka my garage. We have just about everything you need minus a good place for wall balls.

Confidence

Everything we do in CrossFit requires confidence, at least for me it does. If I feel timid before I lift then I’m done. If I have a bad attitude or already feel defeated before a WOD because I don’t think I can handle the weight or movements, I’ve lost. You have to be confident in what you can do regardless of the outcome.

I spend a lot of time working on skills and technique. This means working on things I don’t like, AKA “Things I’m Not Good At”. Working on skills you aren’t comfortable with is awful. However, if you want to get better there is no getting around it. I will not get better at my snatch technique by not snatching. Dangit. I’ve spent a good portion of the last month working on snatches, butterfly pull ups, handstand push ups, split jerks, handstand walks and various other things.

The scary part is, once you work the skills you have to test them out in WOD’s. Right? This makes me nervous for a couple of reasons. 1. What if I can’t pull it off in a WOD? 2. What if being fatigued really makes my form suffer and then I fail, fail, fail? 3. What if I’m just never going to be able to get these movements down when it counts? Have I spent all the time working on these things only to see they still aren’t up to par? Frustrating.

Yesterday, my goal was to hit some heavy snatches and butterfly pull ups in my WOD.  Here is what I did:

3 Rounds for time:

10 GHD Sit Ups, 15 Butterfly Pull Ups, 2 Squat Snatches @ 110#, 10 Power Cleans @ 110#, 10 Burpees.

I have never used more than 95# for a squat snatch in a WOD. Honestly, 95# just became a weight I feel confident with when I’m tired. I had also not tested my butterfly pull ups out in a WOD yet. So, how did it go?

I hit all six snatches without failing. Actually, each round they felt better and better because I felt more and more confident. I didn’t waste time in between the two reps. I trusted my technique and pulled the heck out of the bar.  I hit my pull ups in sets of 10 and 5 each round. No, they aren’t perfect yet, but I can do them and they felt good. I know that I will be stringing together longer sets soon.

Small victories build confidence. Remember how it feels to succeed with a movement and remember that every single time you attempt it.

Training Note:

I try to work my pull ups a couple of days a week outside of wods. Here is a rep scheme I started using: 5 dead hang, 5 chest to bar, 5 kipping all unbroken x 2. This means all 15 pull ups are done before coming off the bar. The last few weeks I threw in a set of 5 butterfly after the dead hang bringing the total to 20. Try it in your warm up sometime this week. Make the reps higher or lower depending on what you can do.

Obligatory Food Post

As some of you may know, I wrote a paleo blog for two years. It was fun for the first six months and then I got bored and very sporadic in my posts. Funny thing however, I noticed a direct correlation between my posts and eating habits. If I was eating well, I posted. If was eating junk, I didn’t. That is one reason I love having a blog…it keeps me accountable!

I’ve become much healthier in the way I view food in the last few years. I LOVE to eat. I love eating healthy things and I love eating not as healthy things. I do my best to keep it healthy at home. I admit, we go out to eat more than I like, but sometimes cooking just isn’t going to happen. Especially if I have to use a stove and it is 100+ degrees outside.

A staple in our diet is turkey. Kody was not a huge fan when I started using turkey meat in chili instead of regular beef when we first got married. I had to trick him and not show him the packaging. If he didn’t see it, then he didn’t notice a difference. Boys are so silly. Thankfully, he isn’t too picky so it isn’t much of a battle.

I get bored with food very fast. I’m the person that never knows what I want to eat, I just know I’m hungry and need to eat. First, chicken got boring so I started making a lot more pork. Then pork got boring so I’ve been back on turkey. Now turkey is getting boring again, until I found this! Honeysuckle White Turkey is making Italian Meatballs. WOOHOO! I’m sure it would be better if I made them on my own, but frankly I don’t always have time. These things were great. Super fast. I just threw them on the skilled with a little olive oil until they were hot. I found these at Crest in Edmond.

They would be good with any side veggie dish, you could put them on top of zucchini noodles (another King home favorite), or mix them in with cabbage and onions like I did last night. De-Lish!

Now that the weather is cooling off I’m looking forward to more quality time with my stove top and oven. I think my body with thank me. Happy cooking!