So confused

Since my last post, I officially became a CrossFit convert/junkie. In order to justify the expense, I ditched my YMCA membership (we had a good run there for 7 years, but time to move on), and put my Massage Envy membership on hold. I could lease a small Kia for what CrossFit costs each month, so no room for other luxuries in the budget.

What I am loving about CrossFit is that each day I can’t wait for the next workout. I can’t say I have ever felt this way about running. I know, blasphemy given the title of this blog. But mixing things up is good for both your muscles and your mind. Hey, if something can get me out of bed 3-4 mornings a week, that’s saying a lot. I think I maybe ran one morning a week when I was super motivated. This could die out quickly but for now, I am going with it.

I just finished up three straight days of workouts (yesterday was endurance so think hill work/lots of running outside) so I am going to take a rest day tomorrow. I already feel like I am in better shape, although the more logical explanation could be that I have quickly learned my limitations (pregnancy-related or otherwise) and I am not pushing myself too hard. Seriously people, before you go all loco on me like everyone did about this lady please keep in mind I am scaling a lot – using bands on pull-ups, lifting less than the prescribed weight on anything overhead, nothing inverted, and NO ROPE CLIMBS. Mainly because I can’t, but also because I know there are certain things that just automatically put me at higher risk for falling and thus, injury. I also keep my heart rate in check and pace myself, which I cannot say I was ever good at in the past. Always wanted to go go go and push push push.

So what have I become? Am I officially a gym rat? How do I find balance and get back to running? Am I bailing on running because I know I can’t get faster in the next five months, and will have a major uphill battle getting back to my very former running speed after I have Super Baby? Or is this my true calling in life? Was running just something I did for the past 20 years on and off because of my background in a solo endurance sport? Maybe I will just get really swoll and be one of those badass masters at the CrossFit games in 10 years. Yeah, probably not…

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This will be me in 4 months… psych. No one wants to see my big fat pregnant stomach. Also, I can’t lift that much, ever.

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To WOD or not?

This post is REALLY LONG.

Ok, I know I have mentioned in the past that I’ve been in a bit of a workout rut since we moved to Raleigh. I haven’t really connected to the Y system here, and some other options are just a bit too pricey or not at all convenient with my schedule.

A lot of my friends have been doing CrossFit for quite a while. See, e.g. “Lisa” P, “Daaron” H, and “Harry” Q. I didn’t know much about it, other than a) it appears to be cult-like, b) it’s expensive, and c) the people who do it are freaking RIPPED. With all the shoulder issues I have had, and generally my fear of change, I have resisted the urge to delve into the world of WODs (workout of the day). Until last week.

Disclaimer: in Athletic Conditioning and another class at the Y in Cary that I have taken sporadically, we did a lot of the classic CrossFit exercises, like dead lifts, snatches, double unders, pull-ups, kettle bell swings, etc. Obviously no crazy heavy lifts, but overall, between my base fitness level and my cursory experience with the core exercises, I got the blessing from my OB to give CrossFit a try, with the ever present reminder to gauge my heart rate and not do anything I was uncomfortable with.

I have a free one week trial at a local gym, which offers CrossFit, Performance endurance classes (think WODs that involve running, obstacles, kettle bells, and endurance based moves rather than mainly strength), weightlifting, and other special skills classes. It’s not your traditional box though it is a CrossFit affiliate.

On Wednesday night, I drove to my first CrossFit workout, scared out of my wits. I had no idea what to expect- would we be doing ropes climbs and pulling sleds? Would I have to do 100 unassisted pull-ups or else I would get laughed out of the gym? Everyone was super friendly as soon as I walked in. The coach walked me through the warmup, which was finding our power clean max. We had 10 minutes to basically do a few sets of five reps. I had the least weight on my bar, but could care less. I wanted to make sure my form was good, and I did not want to overwork my back. The coach helped me with my form for most of the warmup time.

The main WOD was 6 minutes long. I thought “6 minutes? I shower for longer than 6 minutes. This can’t be a workout.” False. During that time, we had to sprint a 400m (which by the way, after doing 10 minutes of power cleans, was not super easy), then do 4 dead lifts and 6 burpees for as many rounds as possible (AMRAP). The 400 was only the “buy in,” so it was just the dead lifts and burpees we were repeating. The recommended weight on the deadlift to Rx the workout was 55kg and I actually lifted that comfortably. I was pleased to complete 6 rounds plus the first four deadlifts of round 7. I can crush some burpees.

The second WOD was called Cindy. Although Cindy is traditionally 20 minutes long, ours was only 10 minutes, I guess because of the other WOD. With Cindy, you are supposed to do as many rounds as possible of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 squats. Doesn’t sound so bad right? Wrong. After about three rounds, I was jello. I used the squats to sort of catch my breath and check on my heartrate each round. I almost got through 10 rounds, with assistance from pull-up bands for most of the rounds. Almost all the women, except for those doing the Rx+ workout (aka “beast mode”) used bands, and so did some men. One day I hope to be strong enough to do a whole WOD without bands, but for day one, I was happy.

I was exhausted by the end, but totally exhilarated. I signed up for the endurance class at 7am the following morning. Crazy, I know. But the endurance class was more running with a few wall ball (okay, 90) shots and pull-ups along the way. We did mobility work with hurdles which was fun. This class is a lot like what I am used to, and I think I will probably take it twice a week, with one classic CrossFit workout one day a week.

I was so unbelievably sore for two days after my 24 hour CrossFit indoctrination. I wavered between “this is crazy” and “I want to do more” over the past 48 hours. Also, “how do I pay for this addiction?” Much like the thought process someone on the show Intervention may experience.

I have had friends point out there are a lot of pros and cons to CrossFit. Ok, one friend whose name rhymes with Hameron Womens who pointed me to this article which scared the crap out of me. We all know the benefits are the community, the overall workout you get, and an incentive to push yourself harder. But pushing yourself harder can lead to injury, which is very prolific in the sport. I am very pretty injury prone, and obviously, being pregnant, I don’t want to sustain any injuries. First and foremost, I don’t want anything to happen to the baby. Secondarily, if I get injured and can’t workout at all, I will get reall REALLY round and really ornery.

So what I want to know is, do you CrossFit? If so, how do you prevent injury? If you used to CrossFit, why don’t you Crossfit anymore? Any runners who use a moderate amount of CrossFit for your strength needs? Is it possible to just do a moderate amount of CrossFit? I just have so many questions before I decide to dive in.

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Found

I found two things this week!

The first is totally relevant because it involves workout apparel. I found these insane lululemon Speed Shorts that came out last week and sold out online in minutes. I missed them, and also missed them in stores in Raleigh. People were apparently lining up at the door waiting for the store to open so they could buy these shorts. Of course, I saw this as a business opportunity, because I sell lululemon stuff I no longer want on ebay. These lunatics women will pay MORE than what the clothing retailed for originally. For used stuff. So I knew that I had to have these shorts, not only because they are cute, but because they sold out so fast, I would be able to make a killing on them down the road. I am actually at the point where I don’t buy any new lulu unless I have sold a used piece. That’s reasonable right?

I discovered, from an inside source (friend who is a manager at lululemon) that the store in Charlotte got the shorts late Wednesday night, so I implored my buddy- we will call her Lisa- to go to the store as soon as it opened Thursday and buy them for me. She agreed, not realizing that she was signing herself up for texts from me every 5 minutes beginning at 9am Thursday. I am surprised that a restraining order was not taken out. The shorts were secured, and delivered to another friend, “Harry,” who then transported them in an armored car to Asheville, where we were for a bachelorette party. Funds were exchanged via Paypal, and all was right in the world. And now Super Dad knows how deep my addiction runs. It’s a disease really.

Ok, so on to the second thing I found: my endorphins! I started my second round of oral steroids to treat the herniated disc in my back, and fingers crossed- I think it’s working this time. Assuming I continue to get better, I won’t need an epidural steroid injection or surgery. My friend “Richard Simmons” asked me if I had ever seen an epidural needle before. Ummm, I have given birth twice and I was induced both times, so yes, I have most definitely seen an epidural needle before.

Anyway, because I am feeling better, I naturally went full steam ahead and did a class at the Y this morning. Really, I felt this was a responsible decision because I still can’t really run and think that I am not ready to sit on a bike for a couple hours. The class used to be called Intensity, but then the Y started to offer the Insanity classes that a lot of lunatics people have been doing, so Y-goers got confused. Thus, the Y changed the name of the Intensity class to Muscle Madness. It’s basically like a Bootcamp and CrossFit all rolled into one. I hated liked the workout so much that I wanted to share it.

WOD 1:
1:50 of jump rope, then 10 seconds of thrusters (I used 15 lb dumb bells)
1:40 jump rope, 20 seconds thrusters

… And so on, until you get down to only 10 seconds of jump rope and 1:50 of thrusters.

It ends up being 11 rounds = 22 minutes of activity with NO REST. Holy shoulder death.

WOD 2:
1:50 air squats, then 10 seconds of box jump burpees
–> –> –>
10 seconds air squats, 1:50 box jump burpees

Again, 11 rounds = 22 minutes of exercise.

I had to modify the box jump so that I stepped down instead of jumped down. And the burpees were of course full chest to ground burpees, as my friend “Nelly” always made us do in Athletic Conditioning in Charlotte. It’s NOT a burpee unless your chest touches the ground people! Check out her blog blog here!

This workout is perfect for a big group exercise class because you can just use a step with risers if you don’t have a box, and you only need a jump rope and one set of weights. Plus you can have partners take turns deciding whether to start with 1:50 of the thrusters or the jump rope if you are pressed for steps/boxes. Also, modifications can be made like changing the box jump burpee to a burpee with a jump squat, or burpee with a switch lunge jump. There’s something for everyone 🙂

This workout nade my shoulders and legs burn, and I think this kind of hurt is directly proportional to the endorphins created. So I am a very very happy girl today, because as you know, my endorphins were lost for the last week or so.

Did you find/buy/try anything new this week? Is there anything I should try next week, besides abridging my blog posts?