16.1: Fire under my ass

Every year CrossFit  puts out a series of workouts which are completed around the globe racking and stacking elites and “normals” alike called the CrossFit Games.  These scores send folks to regionals, nationals, and maybe even the Open.  Last year, they added a ‘scaled’ division for those of us who, well, aren’t ready to play with the big kids.

Having just started CrossFit in October I didn’t think I should enter the games.  I wasn’t ready. ShooterGirl and CrossFit Runner both convinced me that since these workouts have a tendency to show up again and again that it would be a good idea for me to register.  That way I have a benchmark for myself to compete against.  I succumbed to their logic and registered.  Today was the first workout.

For the elites (and badasses) the workout was:

  • AMRP (as many rounds as possible) in 20 minutes
  • 25 feet walking overhead lunge (95lbs men/65lbs women)
  • 8 bar facing burpees
  • 25 feet walking overhead lunge
  • 8 chest to bar

For us “normals” the scaled workout was:

  • AMRP (as many rounds as possible) in 20 minutes
  • 25 feet walking front rack lunge (45lbs men/35lbs women)
  • 8 bar facing burpees
  • 25 feet walking front rack lunge
  • 8 jumping pullups

I was already worried about the workout before I even hit the box.  Burpees and I do not get along.  They make me wheeze.  No, let me clarify.  They set my lungs on fire to the point where breathing is like having a thousand hot needless stabbing my lungs.  When I arrived at the box I had the mindset that I was going to do how I was going to do and there wasn’t a damn thing I was going to be able to do about it.  I was in a very zen place about it.  Key word; was.

Now, my ex and I go to the same box.  It’s been fine post break up; he goes to a much later class than I do and I make sure that I am out of there way before he shows up.  Until today.  As CrossFit Runner headed for the bathroom out walks HIM. She didn’t know who HE was as she and I met after it all happened, but she said later she knew by my face who it was.  I wanted to scream at him WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING HERE?  THIS IS NOT YOUR TIME. Oh, I was so hot.  Me angry and pissed off is not a combo that you ever want to experience.

IMG_8397I had to focus.  CrossFit Runner was going first.  She was going to do the non-scaled version of the workout because she’s a badass.  She has been busting her tail for months trying to get a consistent chest to bar.  As the clock started the only thing I focused on was counting her reps.  I knew she was going to rock it (and she did, of course.)  She was nailing every single round like a beast.  She finished up with an AWESOME score.  I couldn’t have been more awed or amazed by her.  I want to be her when I grow up.

Then it was my turn.  Now, I know burpees make me wheeze.  However, now I had a fire lit under my ass.  I didn’t know what his score was, but dammit I was on a mission to out perform him.  I’ve been busting my hump both in the box and out of the box.  Dammit, I just ran not one but two PRs last weekend.  I was angry and I was fired up.  Never poke the bear.

Right before my round started I handed CrossFit Runner my inhaler.  She since was going to be close I wanted it just in case my mind cashed a check my lungs couldn’t handle.  As the timer went off I went and I went hard.  So much so, that one of the coaches actually IMG_8405came over and not so gently reminded me that this was a 20 minute workout and that I needed to pace myself.  What I didn’t say at the time because, well, I was in the middle of burpees and trying to breathe was, “Look I just went through 2:33 minutes of pain and darkness last weekend and I am out to crush my ex; I’m pretty sure I can handle 20 minutes.”  However, again I didn’t say that; I just kept pushing.

The greatest thing ever about the Games is that you don’t have to count.  All I had to do was do count the individual movements.  It was glorious.  I just kept pushing.  As the clock started to tick down I wanted to finish the round I was on.  I was determined to finish the round I was on.  My lungs were on fire.  The kind of fire that I knew if I kept pushing too hard I was probably going to wind up in a very bad spot, but I was determined.  I stopped counting my individual movements and just started counting my inhalations to focus my breathing.  My thoughts were just, “Ignore the fire in your lungs and keep pushing.  Good air in, bad air out.” As they called time and we added up my rounds I had finished a total of 201 movements.  Holy crap are you kidding me??? Granted, I didn’t quite finish the round I was on, but I was damn close.

As I sat there struggling to get air into my lungs that were on fire I was actually incredibly pleased.  I still have no idea what his score was.  What I do know,  is that I just completed my first Games workout, I didn’t give myself an asthma attack, and I floored it. Bring on 16.2!  Fuck him. I’m there for me, but yeah, I still want to know.  I told you don’t poke the bear.

Run Disney Part 2: Princess Half Marathon

Another 0300 wake up came and instead of bouncing out of bed I rolled off the couch cushions on the floor. One of the girls, Patient 0, had gotten the flu and I was not about to share a bed with her. My lungs hurt, my body hurt, and all I could think was sonofabiscuit. I was going to will my way through this thing if I had to. Apparently I wasn’t the only one. Bourbon’s Mom was

 even sicker than I was, Patient 1, and was also struggling by hacking up a lung. I just kept repeating ‘I am NOT getting sick’ in an effort to make it so and downing Airborne and Emergen-C.

After getting dressed, loaded on the buses, dropped off, and going through security I said good bye to the other girls, including Patients 0&1 and made my way towards my corral. The initial plan had been for Patient 0 to catch up to the other 2, as she is normally the faster runner (who forgot to submit her time) but given her state we weren’t even sure if she was going to make it. (Spoiler alert; she does.)

Unless you are in one of the first corrals expect a walk. A very LONG walk. Must have easily covered a mile or more just to get to my corral. I stood in there stretching and talking to the other girls and I saw the 3 hour pacer. No. Just no. Last half I finished in 2:51. I need to stay in front of her. I saw 2:45 in the next corral up. Mentally I took note. Must. Catch. Them.  Corral A started and I broke out my inhaler. The girl next to me started to chuckle. “You too?” We laughed and started swapping stories about  running with asthma. I think the folks around us were a little horrified. Hey, when you are a platypus and you find another platypus you stop and chat!

running with asthmaWe finally crossed the start line around 6 and I just put one foot in front of the other. For the first several miles I was passing a ton of people. I checked my pace on Coconut and, no, I wasn’t going out too fast. I just kept chugging along.

All of the walkers on the left could have pissed me off, but rather than even waste energy on that I just moved off into the dirt. Not only is it what I like running on better but it also had the added bonus of letting me not have to weave around people. Weaving is bad. It wears you out and adds to your miles. Did I mention how much I prefer riding in the dirt?

That’s probably one of the biggest take always for me this weekend. I much MUCH prefer the dirt. Mentally this weekend has been exhausting. Running on pavement doesn’t leave me at peace the way running on dirt does. Yes, I can go faster on pavement, but wow I didn’t remember/realize the true difference until this weekend.

This race was a struggle for me mentally. This was my second morning of getting up at 0300, getting on the bus, standing in the corral for over an hour, etc. It’s all just draining. The good news is that along parts of the course there are plenty of spectators.

cheer sign

cheer sign

Then there were parts of the course where there was not a soul. Mentally I was struggling. Mile 9-11 were especially hard. I was in pain. I just wanted to stop and walk. I knew though if I did that getting going again was going to be hard.  I just kept counting the miles. Digging deep when you are in a dark place and running solo is not easy. Guess it’s a good thing I’m stubborn.

Mile 12 had an overpass. Now granted I train on hills with way more incline than that. I eat hills like that. Yesterday after all of the concrete and pavement my hip flexor was just miserable. I broke down and walked the incline. Probably my lowest point in the race. The last full mile was run in Epoct and had a ton of turn arounds. When you’re in pain making those sharp U turns hurts even more.

Making the sharp S turn towards the finish I looked down at Coconut for the first time since the first mile. My jaw fell slack. I was going to finish sub-2:45. By a lot!!! I crossed the line in 2:33. That’s an 18 minute difference off of my last half time.

Now, I know full well that my next race will be right back to me being at the bottom of the pack. For now, though, I will cherish my top 20% in my age and top 22% overall placement. I’m also going to enjoy my 11:07 pace. That’s not bad. I still have a great deal of work to do, but it’s progress.

First race of the season. Check.

First double back race. Check.

First step towards the Endurnace Challenge Utah 50k. Check.

Lots of bling? Check!!

running medals

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Run Disney Part 1: Enchanted 10k

Many moons ago I had agreed to do the Glass Slipper Challenge; which, is a 10k on Saturday followed by a half marathon on Sunday. My plan had been to go out on the 10k course and just do an easy lope. Spoiler alert; I didn’t. I PRed. Oops. 

0300 came super early. I had to be on the bus by 0400 and I still needed to get through my normal race routine. After sitting around until 0530 they finally kicked off with corral A. By the time my corral got to the start it was 0630. I did, however, manage to find an Alice and a Cheshire Cat right by me!  

Alice Queen of Hearts and Cheshire CatMy plan had been to just go out easy. I had already been warned about walkers not obeying the cardinal rule of staying right. Why there were walkers in front of me I have no idea…

 As I was blowing past people standing in line for the porta potty, walking, character opportunities, etc I have to admit I kind of liked it. Usually I’m the one getting blown past. I just kept trucking along. I didn’t feel like I was pushing my pace at all. Around mile 3 I broke out a Picky Bar and had a snack while I continued to plug along. Hey, it was second breakfast time. Tomorrow for the half Sainted Mary gave me a full fuel plan. 

Just as I was getting bored ShooterGirl started texting me telling me to go faster. Her banter totally made the boring parts go faster.  She made me laugh so hard that I completely forgot I was even running for a couple of minutes. 

runner problems I wasn’t impressed with the 10k course. It was over mile 3 before we even entered the park. Even when we did it was the back side (think deliveries and trash). It wasn’t until mile 4 we got to the front side. We only spent maybe a mile in the park itself then we were right back to the backside. Not very glamorous that’s for sure. 

The finish is a blind finish; you basically pop around a corner and there it is. I had plenty of gas in the tank and I sprinted across the finish line. 1:09! That’s my unofficial (not chip) time. I’m thrilled beyond belief. It’s not a sub-hour (yet) but it is a PR, I am running a half marathon tomorrow, and most importantly I wasn’t supposed to even go that fast! Oops. 

Asthma + CrossFit

High Intensity? To an Asthmatic – that’s like asking an elephant to fly.-Shane

IMG_5067-0.JPGRarely do I talk about my asthma.  Most of my closest friends know; you know, in case I pass out, but the majority of folks in my life don’t know.  Why?  Because I don’t let it stop me from doing anything.  Nothing makes me more angry than hearing an asthmatic say; “I can’t do that because I have asthma.”  That’s a load of bullsh*t. I run.   I swim. I bike.  I hike.  I camp.  I’m going to run an ultra AT ALTITUDE.

I’m really lucky. My asthma doc and I have an agreement; she gives me enough leash for me to hang myself.  She knows that I am active.  There has only been twice where she has said, absolutely not; diving and deploying to the Middle East.  Otherwise, we talk about my activities and we lay out a plan.  Granted, sometimes I go a wee bit too far, but that is rare.  I take my medicine, I see my doc, I know my triggers.  Overall, I would consider myself a good patient.

Recently, however, with my addition of CrossFit into my workout regime I’ve discovered a new little twist to my asthma; explosive movements.  Specifically, for me, box jumps and burpees.  At first I thought that the reason that my lungs felt like they were filling with needles and burned was because I was doing something new. Yesterday, however, after I had a full blown asthma attack I realized what was really going on.  I have been approaching the red line of an asthma attack.

Lucky for me, my Dad is a PA and I have an appointment next week with my asthma doc.  While I’m waiting to see her I asked him what is going on. His response; “The greater the exercise the more a trigger is released, such as jumping ;running and jumping together, jumping rope, but not riding a Harley or climbing Longs Peak as it does not involve violent activity unless your riding a Harley and kicking ass or climbing Longs Peak and kicking your dad’s ass…”

What that translates to is that short burst (aka; explosive, high intensity, basically all things CrossFit) activities cause my lungs to freak out.  When I run my lungs have time to adjust and surrender accept the activity.  What that also means is that I need to have a serious conversation with my Doc, but more importantly on the days where I know I’m going to have issues (burpees/box jumps/Tabata) I need to keep my coaches in the loop. Am I going to let this stop me?  Oh hell no.  Just means that I need to be more cognoscente and careful.  Just call me Dumbo.

 

Today I Spartan-ed Up!

I did it!!! -Me

I’ve made it no secret why I started doing CrossFit.  I wanted to get stronger to improve my running and for running Spartan Races.  I mean, if you are going to do something that scares the living crap out of you (CrossFit) you have to have a reason to get you to show up for the workouts. Although, to be honest, knowing that ShooterGirl and CrossFit Runner are going to be there gives me extra oomph some days to get there.

Spartan racing is something new to my wheelhouse.  I did my first Sprint (a short 3(ish) miler) in September with He Who Shall Not be Named.  That was his thing, but I wanted to experience the thing that he loved.  As Fall went on, he did a Super (a mid length) and a Beast (a long length); I was there to drive him, fuel him, and encourage/support him. All the while though I was watching.  I was watching the experience.  I was watching the people.  I was watching the obstacles.  I knew, at that time, I just didn’t have what it was going to take to be able to go out and do one of the longer races. Especially with many of the obstacles requiring upper body strength.  Run 13 miles, great! Carry heavy objects, sure, I’ve got that down.  I’ve moved literally tons of horse manure via wheelbarrow.  Climb a rope? No way, no how.  What does every single Spartan race have?  You guessed it rope climbs.

About a month after I started CrossFit there was a WOD that required rope climbs.  I knew that this wasn’t in my wheelhouse.  However, after the workout Chriss was nice enough to let me give it a whirl on the rope with knots.  I got about 25% of the way up the rope, I looked down, my legs started shaking and I knew it wasn’t going to end well.  I knew at that point going to the climbing gym and spending some time up on the wall to get accustomed to heights again was going to be in order. This was all in addition to needing more strength to get it done.

Months have gone by and I’ve slowly been working on my strength.  Adding 1/2 pound here and there.  Tonights WOD had rope climbs in it and I was actually excited about it.  I wanted to see what, if any, kind of improvement I had made.  In the 2+ months since I did it last.

With CrossFit Runner and one of the coaches guidance/assistance I did it!! I made it to the top.  Granted, it is a rope with knots, but you’ve got to start somewhere.  One more tool for me to use.  One more demonstration of the growth I’ve had over the last 14 months.  Today I Spartan-ed Up and I’m very proud.

50 First Dates: Weight Loss and Clothes

**Disclaimer; I originally had not listed the actual sizes, but for making of several points I put them in there.  It is not my intention to be prideful, gauche, or vain about my size, but rather make a point.**

This morning started like any other; I got up, took a shower, and attempted to get dressed for work.  This morning I went to grab a dress that a friend gave me out of her closet.  I pulled it off the hanger and saw the size and the manufacturer.

“Hrm, that’s a size 8 in Anne Taylor I don’t know if that will fit me.”

It’s amazing to me that after all of this time and all of the weight loss; my default response still is, “I don’t know if that will fit me.”  That’s the funny thing about weight loss your body may change, but you mind needs time to catch up.

As I slipped the dress over my head and reached over to zip it up I prepared myself for the prospect that it wouldn’t zip.  In my mind the friend that gave me this dress is super skinny and there is no way that it would fit me.  I even said;

“Well, it’s a size 8 in Anne Taylor it wouldn’t surprise me if it didn’t fit.”

As I easily slid the zipper up to the top I was shocked.

“They most likely cut it big.”

It hit me like a ton of bricks my response wasn’t; look at all of the hard work I’ve done, or, look at how amazing this is.  No my first response was they cut it big.  I feel like I’m the Drew Barrymore character 50 First Dates because every day I have the same level of shock and awe when I put on the size clothes that I am putting on.  You’d think that at a year plus into my weight loss journey that I’d be accustomed to it by now.

This is the mind fuck that clothing manufacturers do on women.  There is no standard sizing.  I have in my closet at this point everything from a 6 to a 10.  Granted truthfully some of the 10s are starting to get a bit loose, but still there is no consistency.   This is one of the reasons why as I’ve lost the weight it has become so hard for me to mentally wrap my head around the fact that I actually have shrunk.  It’s not until I see pictures of myself that I truly see the difference.

I know it is going to take time for me to settle into this new body.  Now that I am 4.5 pounds away from my final-not kidding-ultimate-Mary and I both say no more goal number it will finally start to hit me.  I will start to become more confident when I walk into clothing stores and stop going to be “big girl” section first.  Right now, in this moment, I’m still defaulting to the response that I have had for years the expectation that clothes aren’t going to fit me. Maybe one day that will stop, but after years of  that condition response it is going to take time.  In the meantime, I will continue to wake up every morning and be just as amazed and giddy when clothes fit.