Tuesday, March 3, 2015

CrossFit: "Hello, Week 18."

It's been a little bit since I've written on the personal side of this new journey so I just want to take a few minutes today to flesh out my progress and let you know: I haven't quit.

2015 CrossFit Open 15.1 and 15.1A
This Thursday, the 2nd of 5 workouts will be announced by CrossFit HQ as part of the 2015 CrossFit Games Open. Last Thursday night, my whole family gathered around the TV and watched 15.1 announced live from Boston, MA and the two top male athletes from 2014 go head to head. You might say we were passing the jug of "CrossFit Kool-Aid" to our kids after chugging a lot on our own. Friday morning, I did 15.1 and 15.1A because my weekend was full with a marriage retreat my wife and I were leading. The 15.1 portion of the workout was a triplet of knee raises, dead lifts, and snatches...for 9min. Then, they added a 15.1A portion that was pure strength. We had an additional 6min to get our max weight up in a Clean & Jerk. To be totally honest, I had never done that lift prior to the workout...ever. I had some baseline data from recent lifts to know where to go with it but I didn't actually have a log of a C&J. I ended up getting 135lbs over my head that was great for me. I actually failed at 130 then came back at got 135 with about 10sec to spare. Photo here is of all 4 movements. The bottom right is my final lift in the Clean and Jerk. See me on my toes? BAD! I have got to focus on driving from my heels and stay there. There are times where being on my toes is ok (lifting in the first part of a clean, for example) but when driving overhead, I need to get on my heels. All in all, I'm happy with 15.1 and continue to struggle with comparing myself to others. As a whole, this is NOT heavy. For me, though, and my garbage flexibility and weaker upper body, it's all I could muster. This Thursday night at 8pm, we'll find out with 15.2 is and I'll be doing it this Saturday with the rest of my fellow athletes at the box.

Back at 6 weeks.
For the past month, my progress has been solid. On most days, I do something new for the first time or I set a new personal record on something. One lift that stands out is from Monday, Feb. 16. I finally back squatted more than my body weight at 215 pounds. That was a 20lb personal record that day. But some days, I don't do either but still have a great workout. Often, though, my weight has been going up on a variety of lifts and I continue to work on pull-ups, rope climbs, and hand stands...all weaknesses of mine but getting better. Back 18 weeks ago, I could not do a pull-up. Not one. Not even close. Since then, I've been doing them but they have been band-assisted. This photo here is from week 6 and I struggled to do them WITH a band! Today, we started by doing pull-up holds. We pull our chins up over the bar and hold it until told to release. Prior to starting and hooking up my band, I grabbed the bar and pulled myself up, clearly over the bar with no assistance! I hadn't even tried to do that since I began. I came down and just stood there stunned. Kinda funny to surprise myself like that! The workout began and I didn't do anymore but I will be revisiting that to see how many strict ones I can do. (no kipping, that is)

One thing that has been on the not-so-good area is community. I work out at a box that has several classes during the day and those people, for the most part, don't cross paths. This keeps us all segregated, essentially, and isn't very "community-building." I am hopeful that as the air warms outside, that other events/opportunities will arise that will maybe bring together the athletes. This sense of "community" is one thing that was a draw some 18 weeks ago and while I have made some great new friends, I know there is a lot more potential. To do my part, I continue to volunteer to do things around the gym to be more involved and take more "ownership" and pride in it, but I still haven't been taken up on that. I'm hopeful that things will turn more heavy towards community and pride in our box soon. The training, however, is spot on and I'm truly appreciative of it.

I started to do a new side-by-side photo of myself a few days back. I posted a "before and after" blog back 6 weeks ago. (read it here) I thought better of it and put the camera down. While I could see more change, it seemed a bit narcissistic so I didn't. Physically, though, I can tell you that those size 32 jeans in that photo are a little more loose these days and a whole lot more definition is present in my upper body in every area above my waistline. On the pain and soreness front, I have no pain. Obviously, I have soreness after tough workouts and definitely feel my shoulders today, thanks to two days of heavy shoulder work. But, that's expected with high intensity work. I refuel/rebuild now with Hammer Nutrition's whey powder after these workouts so I'm giving my body what it needs to rebuild and be ready for the next day. On the scale, I don't own an operational scale but I do have one at my office. Fully clothed in uniform, I haven't really lost more than 5 or so pounds but I really don't care what the scale says. What I care about is how I feel about myself and my clothes and how they fit give me all the feedback I need...whether I like it or not! I will say that I donated a huge box of sweatshirts, sweaters, and shirts to AMVETS yesterday that simply have no place in my closet! No looking back!

Nutritionally speaking, I still tend to eat pretty well but don't follow any particular "plan." I do not consume high fructose corn syrup at all. That's easy to avoid. I have oatmeal with walnuts and honey often for breakfast or farm fresh eggs that my wife prepares. Check out this omelet she made from last week. Incredible. Farm fresh eggs from friends of ours, mushrooms, spinach, and avocado. Oh so good and perfect after a hard workout. Outside of breakfast, I do love the sweet and salty bars from Nature Valley, I drink a lot of water, and our dinner time meals often consist of beef, pork, or chicken with some kind of vegetable and/or sweet potatoes. The occasional visit to a restaurant for a cheat meal definitely happens but all in all, I eat pretty good. I love good food and it's important to me to enjoy it and not eat it because some plan tells me to. I may not be as "chiseled" or lean as I could be but I'm happy just as I am via hard work and smart decisions for what I eat. That's good enough for me.

Before I leave you today, I want to share this photo that is my current Facebook Timeline photo. I got this Reebok CrossFit shirt late last week, thanks to a 40% off coupon code and I love it. Most tees out there are cotton and as a runner, I can't stand them. I prefer a tech tee every time. Anyway, I wore this yesterday and the workout took me to a place where I felt closer to throwing up than ever before. It was a mixture of thrusters and kettle bell swings. It was 5-10-15-10-5 thrusters and 10-20-30-20-10 kettle bell swings for time. HARD workout. Afterwards, the song "let the bodies hit the floor!" rang in my brain as I immediately took the mat at my feet as a bed for a few moments...just to catch my breath and get my heart back in my chest. When I got up, I had "branded" the mat with my sweat...picture perfect, eh?! I think that tells the story just perfectly. Oh yea, I loved it. :)

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