They would call me Calamity Jane… if my name were Jane

Cycling
See, I CAN stay upright… just as long as I don’t have to stop

I’m a klutz.  And not just your average feet-don’t-always-communicate-with-my-brain kind of klutz, but the kind that is always trying to convince my doctor that I’m not getting beaten by my husband every time I’m in because I’m always covered in scrapes and bruises.

So naturally, not only do I do Crossfit, but I cycle as well.

In my defense, I try not to take others down with me.  Up until a month ago I had never ridden in a group, and the few unsuspecting victims that did decide to ride with me received a full briefing on the importance of not being anywhere near me when it was time to unclip, stop, turn, or generally do anything other than pedal in a straight line.

Then I started with my current company, and wouldn’t you know it, we have a cycling TEAM here.  We even have our own jerseys.  Everyone is fit and fabulous, and there are even some beginners who are about my speed.  After three months of peer pressure (and we all know, I’m a sucker for peer pressure), I finally agreed to introduce my co-workers to the fabulosity that is me in spandex, and go on a ride.

This was a month ago.  I am happy to say, I’ve been on probably a dozen rides with them since then.  I’ve also joined a local cycling group, and am slowly getting faster and better on two wheels.  That said, I am still struggling to uphold my #1 rule of cycling:

 Do not let your ADD get the best of you when either foot is still clipped in. 

In case you’re not familiar with the cycling lingo, “clipped in” means that your cycling shoe, which has a cleat on the bottom of it, is clipped into the pedal that is attached to your bike.  It helps you generate more power when you’re pedaling, and is the standard for any cyclist that takes themself even a little bit seriously.  It’s also HUGELY problematic if you’re a klutz with ADD.

Imagine for a moment you are coming up on a stop light and you unclip your left foot and begin leaning to the left so that you can stop safely.  Now picture a shiny object to your right.  Look at the object.  Think “ooh ahhh pretty shiny object.”  Suddenly you realize not only are you looking right, but you’re leaning toward it as well.  To the right.   But wait, WAIT, your right foot is still clipped in.  Now you’re spastically trying to unclip, yanking at the pedal, but you’re off balance and you can’t get a good angle.  As you’re furiously attempting to impersonate the Tazmanian Devil doing the twist, you are past the point of no return.  The super slow motion fall, which happens even slower than a freaking tree grows, is the mark of any cycling newbie.

So when you’ve been cycling for 5 years, you have no excuse.

Hey, at least I’m entertaining.

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02.28.2013

SWOD:

Overhead Squats
5×5
10 warm up with training bar
1×5 at 35
3×5 at 45
1×5 at 50 (PR)

WOD:

“Lucky 7″
7 minute AMRAP
7 box jumps
7 lunges each leg
7 hang power cleans

Score: 3+15 with 16” box and 53lbs on cleans

Check me out... cleaning a weight in a WOD that was my PR just a month ago.
Check me out… cleaning a weight in a WOD that was my PR just a month ago.

Paleo Makes My Pants Fall Off

Make sure your worst enemy is not living between your own two ears
Enemy

There’s a saying in Crossfit that goes something like, “If at first you don’t succeed, try doing what your coach told you to the first time.”  I think I find that to be so hilarious because I am a stubborn opinionated ass and it’s possible that one of my coaches wrote that for me.

Luckily for me, I also succumb easily to peer pressure (how do you think I got into this Crossfit thing to begin with?), and because of it, I’ve seen some really amazing progress in my weight loss journey since the first of the year.  There are a lot of factors playing into my slow but sure transformation, but I’ve got to admit, Paleo has made all the difference in the world.

Let’s rewind to my first Crossfit class.  August 30, 2012.  98 degrees outside with 100% humidity and my fearless friend and I decide that we want to sign up for our intro class.   I talked to my now coach the day before to confirm our participation and attempted to make him promise that I wouldn’t cry or shit myself.  He said he could do neither.

So like all intelligent newbies, I ate Mexican for lunch that day, making sure to get extra rice because I “would need the carbs,” and headed to class.

We all know how this went.  Murder.  Torture.  My sweat smelled like tortillas and jalapenos.  I kept lunch and my spleen inside me, but I’m not sure how.

For those wondering, I managed not to crap myself.  In hindsight, that might be why I decided to come back.

The Elements (that’s the beginners class) coach was passionate about nutrition, and was preaching Paleo within a day.  Since I know everything and love bread and wine, I had no interest in his nonsense.  I would listen and smile, or sometimes not listen at all, or argue, or earn myself extra burpess… doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I simply wasn’t willing to listen, learn, and change my diet at that time.

Fast forward 4 months.  I had graduated the Elements program and was coming 3-4 times a week.  I had seen some progress in weight loss, but not as much as I had hoped for.  I also wasn’t getting much stronger or faster, and found that I was sore all the time and not recovering well.  I had been lifting the same weights for a few weeks, and a point came where I could no longer blame my lack of progress on lack of physical effort at Crossfit.  I was showing up.  I was doing the WOD, and I was giving it all I had.  I just felt like some part of the equation wasn’t there because didn’t have enough to give it any more.

So I did something very out of character for me, I came to the conclusion that I might be wrong about the whole diet thing.  I researched Paleo.  I found that it made sense.  Not only did it make sense, but many of the ailments that they described and the side effects of a western diet applied to me.  Maybe there was something to this after all.

On January 1st I made a commitment to myself that I would eat Paleo for 2 weeks, telling myself it was only 2 weeks and that if women worldwide could be pregnant and not drink wine for 9 freaking months I could last two weeks.  I would decide after that point if it was a lifestyle change I could stick with.

I haven’t looked back.  Sure, there’s been a slice of pizza here and a girl scout cookie there.  I’m not a saint for crying out loud.  But the increase in energy I saw in just a week made me not even question that this was the right nutrition approach to follow for my new Crossfit lifestyle.

Almost 2 months later I’m down 11 lbs.  I’ve PRed every single one of the lifts I’ve attempted in the past 3 weeks regardless of the rep scheme.  I am now coming to Crossfit religiously 5 days a week, as well as cycling at least 3 for a total of 40+ miles and have the energy to do more.  My body has found this amazing ability to recover, and though I am sore from time to time, it never keeps me from coming in for a WOD.  I’m rarely tiered, and when I am I fall asleep instantly when I go to bed and sleep like a grizzly bear in hibernation, complete with growling and drool.

The only regret I have is that I didn’t just commit to this change 100% back in August, as I would be at my goal weight by now.  Luckily, there’s time to get there and get better from there.

Then, my biggest problem will just be my pants falling off while I’m running.  And let’s face it, that’s a grand problem to have.

Burpees for Breakfast

Determination will get you through this.
Today’s WOD Mantra

Since starting Crossfit, I’ve developed what can only be described as a love hate relationship with the fantastic men and women that we call our coaches.  At my box, Crossfit LWR, they always come up with new ways to motivate you.  Today I got two comments from my coach that I will probably hold with me for a long time.

Comment 1: I was asked  “who is this girl is that you’ve been bringing to the box every day, because she’s not the one that was coming a few months ago.”

Since it was 6 a.m., and I was grunting my way through a snatch pull at a weight that I never thought I would be able to deadlift much less thrust and hop with, I needed some clarification.

I asked my coach if this girl is better than the girl from a few months ago, and he responded “no, this one is badass.”

I’m sorry, but when a dude that could snatch me if he put his mind to it says I’m badass, I get a little more pimp in my limp if you know what I’m sayin…

The second comment came later, once the pimp juice wore off.

Comment 2: I was near the end of a burpee infested WOD, with about 10 burpees left to go and I really really really just wanted to quit.

My coach knew it, and took a very active approach with making sure I didn’t.  Standing at my side, counting down the last 15 reps for me, he came up with the perfect thing to say.  He told me “don’t feel sorry for yourself.  Get your ass down there and hop back up and finish this WOD.”

Clearly, he has ESP because yes, in that moment, I was feeling sorry for myself.   I was thinking I was having an off day, that the WOD was way too hard, that I would never get good at burpees, that I should have lied about the total I had left to do… and on and on and on.

That one comment put it all in perspective and snapped me out of it completely.  I’m there because I want to be.  I’m there because it makes me better.  And for the love of bacon and kale, if I just do 10 more burpees I can collapse and pant and puke if needed.  So I did them.

They weren’t pretty.  In fact I’m sure the last few were reminiscent of a stripper worm maneuver, boobs up first then booty in the air then flop back on my stomach panting and dripping with sweat, but I didn’t care.

At 6 a.m. you don’t get points for style… thank god, since most days I don’t bother brushing my hair.

Fitness Test Confessions

Confession- I loathe “fitness tests.” They always remind me of middle or high school gym class where I was totally the fat kid who finished dead last, or faked an injury or illness to get out of participating that day.

Since starting Crossfit I do, on some level, realize pretty much every day is some sort of fitness test.  We try to lift more weight than last time, do more reps in an AMRAP, shave a few seconds off of our Fran time.  I understand that on a basic level.  But because we call it a WOD and the people around me are amazing, I never once thought of any of it as a true fitness test.

Until today.

Last night, I checked the WOD online like I do every night at 8:01 p.m. (what, they post it at 8, I try to wait at least a minute so I don’t seem totally spastic).  What does our fearless leader have in store for us tomorrow?

A Fitness Test.

There were the words, in black and white, making me pee in my sweatpants a little and begin questioning myself more so than usual as to why I get out of bed at 5:30 a.m. to suffer through this.

For anyone who has experienced WOD panic before, I know you all know what I did next.

I went to bed early, set my alarm, and when the time came, I sucked it up and went to Crossfit.

In hindishght, I can not put into words how glad I am that I did.  Not only did I PR my front squat by 15 pounds, I beat my mile time by nearly a full minute.  When I first started CF I could not do even a single modified push up without the giant bungee cord, and today I did 22 in a minute. But beyond all that, not once did I feel anything but strong, and amazing, and completely supported by the people around me.

Did I finish last on the mile? Sure, but unlike high school gym class with the skinny girls staring and mocking, instead I got high fives and fist bumps and my own cheering squad as I did. So anyway, Crossfit, and the people at my box are awesome.  This sport and my coaches push me daily to be better and just… more… than I ever believed I could be before.

Now, let’s all go eat some bacon.