Monday, November 21, 2011

"The best things in your life are not going to be easy to attain. Expect to work hard for this, very hard."

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 124:

It was one of those EARLY (class starts at 6:45am!) CrossFit mornings, BlogLand. I actually am pretty entertained by CF and the challenge it presents, so it is a bit easier to get myself moving in the morning. I'm still not perky and I'm definitely not pretty, but I'm more mobile than I would usually be, getting up at that time of day.

I was a bit apprehensive, as I'm still "new" to CF, and this morning there was a substitute instructor. I was a little sad, because I totally pick my classes and have structured my schedule around the instructors that I like the most. But hey, everyone has something to teach, I reminded myself, and tried to suck it up. It is moments like that, though, where I get nervous and have to squash Old Me trying to tell me that I don't belong, or they'll be wondering why I'm there, or any of that old crap. It's not true. At all. In fact, the CF people (here, anyway) have been super welcoming and accepting and have always treated me like I belonged there. I sternly reminded Old Me that we were just trying to make excuses to stay in (my super warm, comfy) bed, and there was no time for that. Took my 5 minutes of waking up time to peruse Facebook and infuse some Spartan-related inspiration, and it was feet on the floor.

I will say, I am SO looking forward to the new Spartan Race hoodie I ordered, for mornings like this, AFTER a morning like this. It was more than a bit frosty in Vermont this morning. I've also decided I need knee socks or leg warmers, because I typically wear capris to CF. Yes, if I was more awake in the morning, I could change into them there... but pretty much, I need to just roll out of my house geared up. Hence... Legwarmers and/or knee socks. haha

Anyway, today's CF time went like this:

The Crossfit Warmup x2
30 Second Samson Stretch
15 overhead squats (with a broomstick)
15 good mornings (w/broomstick)
15 sit ups
15 pull ups (jumping pull ups, for me)
15 dips (box dips, this time)

Then we moved on to the Strength Portion:
Front Squat, 3-3-1-1-1
Unfortunately, having no official frame of reference for where to start these and/or progress to (as in, I have no idea where my "max" is - where we were supposed to end up for the last rep), I still didn't quite find it. I apparently underestimate, greatly, how much I can front squat.
The last squat I did was 130#, and while I could feel the weight, it was not anywhere near where I would consider my "max" (Apparently, there's the "space shuttle" feeling... heavy on the bottom of the squat, then a bit of weightlessness, as the weight gets moving). Unfortunately, we were out of time for that particular segment, but it at least gave me a base to start at. It was also pretty gratifying to move that 130# with no issue. I have friends that weigh less than that. Maybe I need to start squatting them. LOL.

This is where I would like to take a moment to publicly thank My Most Awesome GT, and say how right he was. Again. A year ago, when I was still in the beginning stages of my weight loss and fitness quest, he told me that one of the best exercises that I could do was squats. He had me doing body weight squats, weighted squats, Bulgarian split squats, with and without weights, and the list goes on. I've kept up with my squatting (that sounds... awkward), and it has proven invaluable - it's helped strengthen my legs for running and made learning Olympic Lifts much, much easier. Also, as I come into crossfit, 'behind' other people who can beast out pull ups and push ups, I have one thing going for me - I can squat like a champ. And, true enough, it helps that squatting weight in various forms (as in that that uses your legs more than your upper body), makes me feel strong. There is something very empowering about feeling really solid and grounded, while pushing that weight up.
Long story short, do your squats, people. Even if it's only 1 or two at first, or just body weight squats... whatever you have to do. You'll get there. When I started, I'd get winded after doing 5-10 body weight squats... today, I easily squatted a person. BOOM.

Then, we move on to the WOD:
20 min AMRAP
7 hang cleans (40#)

7 burpees
7 push ups (knees)

I completed 9 rounds of that craziness. 40# of a hang clean, although it is not heavy, was an adequate weight for this WOD. With that 40# (although, I could've probably done around 60#), I was able to successfully complete all the reps in good form, rather than tiring too fast there and risk injuring myself.

And yes, you guessed it, this particular WOD was one of my own, tiny versions of Hell. Why? Well, we all know how much I love Burpees (...of Death!!), and then my next most *favorite* exercise - push ups. I'm trying to learn to turn my arms in a more ergonomic fashion, so my elbows are close to my body. But that seems to increase the difficultly for me by like 10 fold. I already have tiny, useless T-rex arms, and then I try and do push ups (it's a sad thing) and THEN I try and make it harder by keeping my elbows close. It MUST be painful to watch. It is painful to do. haha
Nonetheless, I persevered and pushed out a complete 9 rounds. The last few sets of burpees and push ups were slow and challenging... but I suppose, if they weren't, it wouldn't be a WOD!

Feeling sweaty-tastic and stretching after class, I got to chat with my fill-in instructor and a few classmates... I publicly admitted to training for a Spartan Race. They didn't laugh. WINNING!
I swear, I waited in my head for them to laugh. But they didn't - they asked some questions, proclaimed that "hard core" and listed a few people from the gym that had done, or wanted to do a SR too. Who knows, perhaps my CF peeps will make a Spartan showing next year!

And now... I'm going to bed. I'm struggling with No-Bread today. I *REALLY* want some toast. Or tortilla chips. Or a sandwich. That's all. But I'm holding strong. No-Bread. I have a goal, and a purpose, and I will not be deterred.

Tomorrow morning is Run Day!

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