Managing My Expectations

How do you handle expectations?

I don’t handle them well at all. I expect a lot out of myself. I get frustrated when I don’t lift well. I get frustrated when I don’t PR something. I get frustrated when something feels off. I get frustrated when I don’t meet my desired outcome. This isn’t just with CrossFit. This is just me. I expect a lot out of myself and normally that results in really good things.

First, I know this is totally normal. Most people get frustrated when they don’t do something well or achieve less than they aspired to in any given life situation. I actually think it is good to have feelings of annoyance or even a little anger as long as it doesn’t overwhelm or consume you. If you didn’t feel something, then you would not have the desire to be better.  You would be able to make excuses for yourself as to why you didn’t do well and wouldn’t think another second about it.

Today was Helen day. If you have been keeping up with my blog then you know about my constant battle to not suck at running. If I’m running a lot then I am great. If I’m not running much then it shows. What a concept!

Helen: 3 rounds 400 m run, 21 KB swings, 12 pull ups. Time: 9:03.

Initially looking at my time, I know it is a very good time. My PR is 8:57. How can I be that frustrated with a 9:03? Six seconds off my PR on a WOD that isn’t in my wheelhouse. Yes, I wanted to be faster. I wanted to be about thirty seconds faster. I didn’t feel awful. My lungs felt great. I did everything unbroken and fast. However, I felt heavy and slow running. My body just wouldn’t move as fast as I wanted it move. I moved steadily, just about fifteen seconds slower than anticipated on my last two 400’s. Boo.

What could I have done differently? Not much….besides run faster.

Now what? initially after the WOD I pouted to myself a little bit. I immediately thought I needed to get to a track tonight or maybe I would come back and give Helen another go later in the day to prove to myself I am faster than that.

Enter sanity.

Freaking out after a less than desired performance on a WOD does you no good. Re-doing the WOD immediately after or the same day does nothing but wear you down. What should I be doing? Look at what I know and learn from it. My running felt slow, my lungs felt good.

I’ve been doing some more distance running in the last few months, but I have neglected my sprinting. I was so focused on that two-mile trail run at GODAI that I kind of forgot about 400’s. My ability to breathe through a workout is great. I don’t lack lung capacity, but my legs have forgotten how to move quickly over and over again (400m and 200m repeats in WODs). I can pace out long distances much better now than I could a few months ago. My distance running is coming back. That is a good thing.

Instead of frustration, I will use this as a realization. Start speed work again! I am managing my expectations by learning from the outcome so next time I can achieve more. My Helen time will be under 8:30 soon. No doubt in my mind about that.

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Thankful For…

Happy Thanksgiving! Whether you are taking this day to completely rest and indulge or try new paleo friendly Thanksgiving dishes and hit a 5K, I hope this post finds you happy and healthy!

I’m resting and indulging.

I hope everyone takes a few moments out of their day to think about all you have been blessed with even if your situation seems gloomy.

Thankful for….

  • My husband who loves me, thinks I’m funny and believes that I can accomplish anything.
  • A family that loves me despite my many flaws.
  • A roof over my head and the means to pay our bills on time (as long as I remember!)
  • My two silly, spunky baby black dogs.
  • Barbells.
  • To live in a country where I am free to say what I feel and write what I think.
  • The men and women who defend my freedom every day all over the world.
  • My CrossFit families in OKC, Jenks and Michigan.
  • Hot bubble baths.
  • Friends who have stuck by me for years and years and years.
  • The dog park.
  • My strength, both of mind and body.
  • Chocolate Hazelnut butter.
  • An always forgiving and loving God.
  • My health and the health of my loved ones.
  • Rest days.

I am blessed. Be thankful for the big things and the little things. Tell those around you that you love them. Enjoy the beautiful weather and for the love stuff your face today and smile about it. 🙂

Happy Turkey Day!

 

 

 

 

Bring It On

While coaching the 9AM and 11AM classes today at CrossFit OKC, these were being made outside….

Atlas stones! That is right, we are going to be strong-manning it up soon. It is kind of like Christmas. Seriously, I love new toys…especially the ones that make you feel like an idiot the first few times you use them. I know, that sounds weird. Who wants to feel like they can’t do something? I remember when I first learned to flip a tire. I kept thinking to myself, “I’m strong enough to do this. Why is this not working and why do I feel so stupid?” Then you get the hang of it and then you feel invincible. It is a pretty sweet feeling. That is one of the things I love about CrossFit. Achieving things that you think you can’t.

A word to my Skillz and Drills class….be prepared. 🙂

Speaking of things that make me feel stupid, my newest skill I’m focusing on is the L-sit rope climb. We recently purchased the short climbing rope from Rogue. It is the perfect size to hang from our pull up bar in our garage. It isn’t long enough to actually climb, but if you want to work grip strength and leg free climbing at home this rope is money! I had attempted these maybe three times total prior to this week. Let’s just say I’m trying really hard to have a smile on my face while I go through them. Not my favorite thing, but something that I’m excited to master!

When you start working on something that you currently can’t do and get frustrated, just remind yourself of all the things you couldn’t do when you started and now you can! I had a really long list of “I Will Never Be Able To Do” and now it is getting a lot smaller. I guess being stubborn has some positives.

My New Favorite Cookie!

I love the holidays. I don’t take the word love lightly either. I wish it was socially acceptable to keep my tree up, play Christmas music and burn holiday scented candles all year-long. No matter your religion or traditions, this is just a fun time of year. One of the things I look forward to most is baking. Obviously, trying to keep a cleaner diet over the past few years has made this a bit more challenging.

Yesterday the baking bug bit me. I don’t know what sparked it. Maybe it was the cold weather or the fact that we brought our Christmas tree down for the attic. (It does not go up until after Thanksgiving though!) I decided it was time to test out some almond flour cookies.  I have had a bag of almond flour forever. I have been trying to find ways to use it, but then I get lazy. Sure, these cookies aren’t really “holiday-ish”, but it kept me from going crazy and whipping up a couple of pounds of fudge.

Here is a link to the blog post where I found the recipe. It is originally from Elana’s Pantry, but this had some good substitution recommendations.

It only made eight cookies and they didn’t last longer than about one hour in our house. Oops. Needless to say, they were tasty!

1 1/4 cups blanched almond flour (no substitutes)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup agave nectar, or honey or maple syrup or rice syrup or brown sugar
1/4 cup grapeseed oil or canola or melted coconut oil
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips

I used honey instead of agave nectar. After reading her reviews about using both, I wanted a more substantial dough. I also used coconut oil instead of grapeseed oil. It worked really well. My cookies needed about 11 minutes in the oven. My oven is a little slow, so I recommend checking on them every couple of minutes. They were easy to make! My own little changes were that I used dark chocolate chips and added a few chopped pecans. Super delicious!

I’m so excited that they turned out as well as they did so now I have a go to treat over the holidays…in moderation of course! Happy baking!

Jillian vs. CrossFit

Apparently today Bob Harper, Biggest Loser Trainer, made an appearance on The Doctor’s. Jillian Michaels is now a co-host on the show since leaving The Biggest Loser. As some of you may know, Bob has been getting into CrossFit lately. He trains at Brick CrossFit in California. I follow him on Twitter (because I am a nerd) and love hearing his comments on the WODs and his experience! Very cool!

Bob brought out a CrossFit challenge today for Jillian and friends. Everyone must first go watch the video here before reading on.  The work out consisted of four movements: max reps for thirty seconds of 20 inch box jump, 55# or 65# sumo deadlift high pull (couldn’t tell if it was a men’s bar or ladies), push press (same bar) and ball slams with a med ball.

First, I was so excited to watch this video. So many people love and adore Bob and Jillian. I think it is so great that Bob has been “Pro CrossFit”. You can even see it in his training if you watch Biggest Loser. How cool if Jillian got on board too! They would be able to expose a whole other group of people to CrossFit and get them excited! The CrossFit Games Facebook page originally posted the link to the video and spread like wildfire through all my CrossFit friends on FB. After watching the video, I proceeded to read the comments on The CrossFit Games Facebook page. I was shocked.

Negative. Negative. Negative. I don’t care if it is Jillian Michaels or someone no one knows, snarky comments about someone’s first CrossFit experience are simply uncalled for and awful. As a trainer or member of the community in general, it is not our job to judge. We are supposed to support and encourage. Isn’t that what is so great about CrossFit? The community? The encouragement?

Do you really think Jillian Michaels does SDLHP’s and max rep push press on a regular basis? No. Do you really think she is going to breeze through box jumps like some of us do? Probably not. She doesn’t train that way. I didn’t train like that before CrossFit either. 55# used to be very heavy. Now I look at a 55# bar and smile, but I have also been doing this five days a week for the last three and a half years. There is a learning curve. It isn’t like she has been going around talking about how awesome she was going to be at CrossFit.  Sheesh!

Social media is great. It allows us to share things with others that we normally wouldn’t be able to share. However, we also have to be very smart. Others look at our comments. Others will notice our judgements. Others will be scared away from something that could change their life because they don’t want to be ridiculed. No, I don’t think Jillian Michaels is going to cry and get her feelings hurt. She is a tough girl. She can take the criticism. However, what about the people who train in your box? If they see you commenting harshly about someone like that, what do they suspect you say about them?

I’m not exactly sure why all of this bothered me so much, but it did. I expected a welcoming “way to give it a try!” to be the majority from our community. I expected people to say, “Look at what Jillian did!  You must try it!”

Thank the Good Lord that my first CrossFit workout was not on video. I was in decent shape, but a long ways from where I am now. I probably worked out very similarly to how Jillian works out on a daily basis. Cardio, free weights, etc. I had muscle, but I wasn’t CrossFit fit yet. Pull ups were hard, barbell overhead squats were not fun, I panted and gasped. We have all been through it, maybe some more  than others. Maybe it has just been too long since we have all experienced it and fail to remember what that was like in the beginning.

We are not better than anyone who doesn’t CrossFit. We are not better than those who we beat in our own gyms day-to-day. We are a community of people who encourage each other to live a healthier, better life and to do things today that we could not do yesterday. Let’s show that to those outside the community.

I would also like to see what Jillian can do with a year of CrossFit under her belt. Interesting. I personally hope she sticks with it! Remember everyone, good trainer does not always equal great athlete. You can be a great trainer, but not be competitive and you can be a great athlete and really suck as a trainer.

P.S. I think Bob would be an excellent CrossFit trainer. I loved hearing him encouraging Jillian to keep moving. Awesome!

Baby Steps

I have been to about seven gymnastic classes. When I started, I could not hold a handstand to save my life. My “walk” was me flailing about with an ugly bent back and absolutely no control. I still have a long way to go, but I’m getting better. This is a short handstand walk from three weeks ago.

Now, it isn’t Games material by any means, but look at that! I’m tight and my legs are straight. I actually kind of look like I have a slight idea about what I am doing. Huge progress! There is hope!

Every time I come home Kody asks me how gymnastics went. Last night I told him how I’m getting more and more consistent being able to walk longer distances AND I’m holding a handstand in general for a much longer time.  Apparently, I tell him the same thing every week. However, that isn’t a bad thing at all. Every week I am getting better and more consistent. Every week I am feeling more confident in my gymnastics skills.

I’m finally learning how to control the distance of my “steps” without throwing myself out of balance. This is my biggest problem with the handstand walk. If I feel my center of gravity shift, I overcompensate too quickly throwing the whole thing off. I’m figuring out that small strides with my arms is where the money is.

Last night we spent a lot of time just holding a handstand and moving around…not neccesarily walking. Forwards, backwards, side to side, turning, etc. We focused on correcting our bodies when we got out of position. I’m getting a lot better at saving my handstand and not crashing.

My new mission is now to increase my forearm strength. I have an obvious weakness in grip. Toes to bar, hang anything and deadlift holds. Awful. I was told last night that forearm strength can help my handstand walk a lot as well. Bonus! I had huge forearms in college. We rolled dumbbells on string up and down all the time. It was so painful, but it was extremely helpful for hitting power. I hated having a forearm bump aka muscle. Now, I think I actually miss it. Funny how things change.

I love new projects! Happy training everyone!

Consistency and Strength

It is time to get my butt in gear.

I took it a little easy last week after GODAI. I hit a few wods, did a little endurance rowing (ack!) and worked on some lifts. Now the next few weeks I have to be consistent and on my game. Sleep, diet, strength, endurance, skills…all of it. If I’m going to compete, I want to do it right.

December 10th is the 3rd Annual All Cities Open in Dallas hosted by Dallas Central CrossFit. I. Am. So. Excited. This will be a great competition to prep all of us for Open’s which are going to be here before we know it. I swear regionals just finished…

There are going to be a lot of great competitors from Texas and Oklahoma going head to head. This is a great opportunity to see where I am at in my training and what I really need to focus on for the next few months, although I’m pretty sure I have a good general idea of what I am lacking. I have days where I feel like no one can touch me and then days where I feel like I should just quit. In the last 48 hours I have had two or three moments of each. Now the goal is consistency.

Yesterday morning I started the day with some power cleans. Typically, I really enjoy this lift. Just a month ago I was barely missing 175. Never got it, but knew I had it. Yesterday, I couldn’t clean 160 to save my life. 155 was probably the ugliest thing you had ever seen. Frustrated. Instead of continuing on with a WOD, I decided to get some work done come back later that evening. I needed a fresh mindset.

The evening started with 3×5 thrusters from the ground, no rack. This is another lift I really like, but hardly work into my training as strength. I hit 103-113-123 for sets of 5. I went onto 133 and made it through four reps. I felt pretty good with this since my max thruster (non rack) is 155. Our WOD was 5 rounds of 15 Box Jumps (24 inch) and 15 Toes to Bar. Despite these being two of my least favorite movements on the planet, I felt good and ended the day on a positive note.

This morning was our last session of bench during our current strength program. My current max is 145. I have felt super strong on bench the last few weeks. I was hitting 4×1 at 140 last week easy and multiples at135 the week before. Today we worked heavy singles up to our max. I went 130, 140, 145. 145 felt solid. Not light, but it came right up. There was not a doubt in my mind about making 150 or 155….until I attempted it. UGH. 150 just sat on my chest laughing at me. I felt so discouraged. Six weeks of bench work and no improvement in my max. What gives?

I’ve had time to think about it and here is my conclusion: I’m way too focused on max numbers. Yes, maxes are great. In competition if they test 1RM you need to be strong. However, what I fail to realize all the time is that even if my maxes aren’t jumping in some lifts like I want them to, my multiples just under my max have gotten extremely strong. I rocked out a 3 x 5 overhead squat at 135 two weeks ago. I did a happy dance. Six weeks ago I would not have been hitting multiples at 135 or more than one single at 140 on bench. Now it is a weight I will never ever miss. A month ago 115 on a snatch was iffy for me. (Sad, but true.) Now I hit it every time. My max hasn’t jumped…but it will. I just need to give it time. I am getting a lot stronger. When heavy WODs come up, I’m going to have no problems. I may not win a 1RM snatch, clean, bench, or deadlift right now….but someday I will.

Strength is not just defined by a 1RM. I will not let my 1RM numbers define my strength.