Thursday, March 26, 2015

CrossFit Open Workout 15.4

I probably should have written this post right after the workout happened because my reflection might have been tainted a little by time.  Nonetheless, here's my recap of 15.4.  

The Rx (as prescribed) open workout started with HSPU (hand stand push ups), which I can't do strict.  That automatically put me out of the Rx workout.  I had to scale and I wasn't happy about it, but it was that or do nothing so scale I would.

The scaled workout was as follows:

8 minute AMRAP 

10 Push Press 65 lbs 

push press

10 Cleans 75 lbs 


I was nervous as usual because pushing 65 pounds overhead isn't easy for me.  Couple that with my bad shoulder that had been flaring up and I just didn't know what I could do.  I prayed 8 minutes would just go by quickly.

Just before I was set to go, George walked in with Nicholas and my dad to surprise me and watch.  That made me extra nervous, but I was glad they were there.  They sat right in front of me and I told myself to just get busy and do the best I could.

65 lbs is heavy for me and it didn't feel great from the get go.  I decided to use the slow and steady approach.  I wanted to complete one full round in 1:30 and therefore get more than 4 rounds in.  I kinda knew that was shooting for the stars and made my "B" goal 80 reps.

I felt so slow on the push presses and I probably was.  I wasted so much time at the top of each rep making sure I was locked out.  My shoulder just makes that hard and I worried I'd get no-repped.  

Nonetheless, I made it through the push presses and in good time.  On to the clean.

The clean felt relatively "easy."  I mean not EASY, EASY, but it didn't feel as bad as the push press.  I got through the first 10 unscathed.

I finished my first round in 1:15 and rested until 1:30.  That was my plan right?  To do the round in 1:30.  So I took the rest.  Well, the next round was harder and slower and I got back to the push presses again after the 3:00 mark so there was no time to rest.  

I some how powered through another round of push presses and then the cleans.  At the end of round 3 I was done.  I went back to the push presses and actually said out loud "I don't want to do this."  The weight just felt so heavy.  

Somehow I managed all 10 push presses and everyone was screaming at me.  I got on the bar for the cleans and started banging them out.  I dropped the bar at rep #5 and everyone roared to get the bar back up.  I did.  Dropped again.  Yelling again.  I got one last rep and time was called. 

77 reps.  Meh.  I don't know, I thought I had given it all I had, but now (after over 5 days of reflection) I wish I hadn't rested at all and I hadn't taken so many "I feel sorry for myself because I can't breathe" breaks.  Does it really matter? NO!  

One workout left folks!!  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Shamrock Shuffle Half Marathon Race Recap 2015

Ok so how in the heck did I get talked into running the Shamrock Shuffle Half Marathon?  It's only one of the hilliest half marathons in all of Pennsylvania.  I didn't make that up, I believe it is ranked 5th or something like that.  I planned to do a spring half marathon, but not THIS race.  Tracey had told me numerous times how miserable it was and how she'd never do it again.  Why then, when she said she was signing up (I knew shouldn't couldn't walk away from that race without a respectable time, in her mind) did I agree to do it with her?  Not only did I agree to do it with her, but I made sure to recruit some others as well.  Jaime and I agreed to run together and we both agreed, we just wanted to survive.  

After a VERY LONG and cold winter, I found myself in the second week of March without having run a single mile in over 5 weeks.  I had dropped down a few months ago to running just long runs on the weekends, but getting those in between snow, ice and freezing temperatures just wasn't a priority this year.  I'm not going to make an excuse, I simply didn't do the work.  Mind you, I have been workout out and diligently at CrossFit, I just haven't been running.  Oh so now you're all up to date.  

The day before the race, I got a text from my friend Kate asking if I was planning to run rain or shine.  I let her know we would, and it most definitely would be raining.  100% at all hours of the race.  There was no doubt when I went to bed Friday night that we'd be running in the rain.  Saturday morning it was about 45 degrees and pretty much constant rain.  I was surprised when I walked in the church (where racers were waiting) and saw Kate.  She willingly signed up for one of the hilliest ever half marathons, IN THE RAIN!  I don't know if she's a badass or a dumb ass.  Ha!  The former I think!  

Back:  Emily (CrossFit friend), Tracey, Jaime (my running partner)
Front:  Moi, Kate (the badass), Kim and Charlene 

I told Jaime slow was fine and told her we should go for about a 10:30 pace.  Ha!  I have no idea what I was thinking.  Between the hills  and my legs (which were extremely sore from 4 days of CrossFit) I wasn't even in 10:30 running shape.  We all agreed, having fun was a goal with this race and agreed we would walk the hills.

We were met with our first hill around mile 1.5 or 2 and we were already walking.  This portion of the course was one of many out and backs and Tracey saw us walking.  She told us we had no business walking yet.  This wasn't even a hill.  Holy shit, I'm in trouble.

I really wasn't enjoying running even though I was running slowly (which normally equals happy running for me).  It was cold, I was wet, my legs hurt and I just wan't having much fun at all.   I felt like I was holding Jaime and Kate up and told them to go on without me several times.  Jaime was adamant that she wasn't leaving me.

Mile 1: 10:47
Mile 2: 11:19
Mile 3:  10:50
Mile 4:  11:16
Mile 5:  11:32 (definitely more walking)

I think the really beastly hill started at mile 5.  I mean these hills were like nothing I have ever seen before.  I remember thinking that the hills were so steep, I probably couldn't even ride my bike up the hills.  We walked and it KILLED my hamstrings.

 We finally made it to the top of the GIANT hill where we were met with Jello shots and a keg.  Some of us partook (hint... NOT me).

I surely would have barfed had I tried that.  Kate was having so much fun on this run.  Clearly for her, she was in her happy running place.  She even said to me one time, I can't believe you're not having fun.  No Kate, no I am not!  At least we were half way there.  But, and this is a big but, all the hills we climbed we had to turn around and do the other way now.  Ugh.  Knowing what was waiting for me was slowly killing my spirit.

Mile 6: 12:55 THE BEAST and ALL the WALKING
Mile 7: 14:26 more walking, bathroom and keg stands (total time thus far 1:23:08)

Right at mile 8 my Garmin died.  Apparently the main memory was full (from not deleting workouts) and so it just quit.  By the time I realized what happened it was too late to even worry about it.  It sucked not knowing where we were or if I was going to be able to finish actually running.  I really felt like crap.  My pace was slowing (or so I thought).

By mile 10 the majority of the hills were gone.  We still had to run that one that Tracey told us wasn't a hill in the beginning again, but that did seem mild at this point.  Plus I was going to walk it again, so there was that!  Kate was antsy to finish, we were all soaked and cold, so she took off.  Jaime wouldn't leave me and promised she couldn't be going any faster either.

Once we finally made it up that last hill, we said we'd run the rest of the way and it felt so good.  I finally felt like I could be happy.  Just then we saw Kim and Charlene trudging up the last hill.  I felt for them, but was happy to know they weren't too far behind.

The finish was anticlimactic, but I did finish right with Jaime arms raised in victory.  I will NEVER run this race again.  Well... never say never.  Right Tracey?

Tracey, Me, Charlene, Jaime, Kim and Kelli (why wasn't she in the start picture?) 

Official Finish Time:  2:33:55 11:45 pace (our back half was actually faster by about 6 seconds per mile).  

Sunday, March 8, 2015

CrossFit Open Workout 15.2

By now you know the drill.  Thursday night at 8pm the Open workout for the week is announced and I go into panic mode until it's my time to go.  Only this week's WOD was a repeat of last year's 14.2 and I so I didn't exactly go into panic mode because I already knew I'd do better than last year.  

I still can't do unassisted pull-ups but I hoped with a reverse grip (chin up) I'd be able to get in a few.  I got to the box really early and spent a lot of time warming up and making sure my hips and shoulders were loose.  I squatted 65 pounds quite a fews times and it felt good. I looked up at the pull up bar, but was too intimidated by all the people there to even try.  I honestly didn't know if I'd get there anyway.  

Tracey was there competing with me and Kim and Ella were there cheering me on.  It meant so much to have all the girl support.  

Soon the 10 second count down was on and I grabbed that bar with the utmost confidence.  I swear I went into some sort of zone.  I blocked everything out around me (including those cheering for me... not on purpose) and focused on myself and my judge's counting.  

I went down 2 times unbroken and I think I got a little cocky because it felt quite easy.  On the third rep I tipped forward and dropped the bar.  

I can't believe I allowed myself to lose my concentration.  I refocused and went back to work.  I got no-repped one more time and that was it.  I had completed my 10 reps!  I looked to my judge Tricia just to be sure before I dropped the bar.  

During my last couple reps I heard the box erupt and I knew it was for Tracey.  I knew she had gotten a chest to bar pull up.  I didn't glance over at her.  I was in the zone, but I knew if she had done it I had to too.  Not to compete with her, but because she inspired me.  She tried and succeeded and I could too.  I tried the reverse grip and OMG I did it! 

I'm not all the way up here.  You have to get past collarbone for a chest-to-bar to count 
I was pumped up.  I couldn't believe I just did it.  Things started coming back into focus and people were yelling at me to try again.  So I did.  

It took every ounce of strength to muscle myself up over that bar.

It definitely was NOT pretty, but I managed to get SIX chest-to-bar pull ups (chin ups really) and for that I was so extremely happy.

My final score for 15.2 was 16 points.  That's more than 5 times what I got last year (3 points) and I'll take it.  Pull-ups are most likely finished for the Open and I'm happy about that.  I'm excited for accomplishing more than I thought I could on this WOD and I'm looking forward to the next WOD.

I'm also incredibly thankful to be going through the Open with these amazing women.  It's so awesome to have cheerleaders who I know believe in me and of course I believe in them.  We're all pushing ourselves beyond our limits and we're all making big things happen.  Sure we're not moving on to regionals anytime soon, but this journey isn't about that for us.

Kim, Me, Tracey, Meghan 

 In the words of my friend Kim, "I do this for me!"

Sunday, March 1, 2015

CrossFit Open WOD 15.1

It's that time of year again.  Time for the CrossFit Open.  In case you don't know, the CrossFit Open is a 5 week competition (with 1 WOD a week) where the top scoring individuals advance to regionals and then on to the CrossFit Games.  Obviously, I am not advancing to the games or regionals either, but I compete in the Open to push myself to do things outside my comfort zone.  Sometimes FAR outside my comfort zone.  As it was last year, I've got my partner in crime, Tracey. 

I have to admit, this year I was NOWHERE near as nervous as I was last year.  I think I realized that it REALLY doesn't matter.  I'm doing this all for ME and me alone and to push myself beyond my currently perceived limits.  So when the workout was announced on Thursday evening, I didn't exactly panic.  

The Workout: 

I was kind of nervous because of the toes to bar (T2B), but the snatches really had me worried.  It wasn't so much the weight, but the snatch had to be taken from the floor and I normally do my snatches from the high hang position.  For those that don't know what that means, it's just basically standing up and holding the bar.  

So I went into the box on Friday morning to "cram" for the open WOD.  I practiced my 75 pound snatch. I was able to do it from the high hang, but despite trying and trying could NOT get it from the floor.   I did, however, get some valuable instruction from my coach Tricia and I felt pretty good about the snatch when I left.  I didn't know if I could do it, but I knew I had the tools to try and I prayed for WOD strength.  

Next up I practiced my T2B which haven't been stellar up until this point.  I could not string more than 1 together and often times didn't get my toes all the way to the bar.  Magically, when I started practicing, my toes hit the bar every time.  Again, Tricia helped me and I even managed to string 3 together.  

My cram session had me feeling much more confident for my 7:00 am WOD time for the open on Saturday morning.  

I arrived at the box and felt far more nervous than I thought I would.  I warmed up and did some 55 pound snatches and just tried to relax as much as possible.  Tammy (my box owner) was selected as my judge and it was go time.  

My plan for the T2B was to go 3 at a time.  I got my first three in a row and things were going great.  Then when I jumped up to do the 4th, I decided singles would be best.  I did NOT want to waste time getting no repped and decided singles ultimately would be better than wasting time and energy doing otherwise.  

Even though doing singles wasn't ideal, it worked for me and I was off the bar fairly quickly.  

On to the deadlifts.  To be honest 75 pound deadlifts are a really light weight.  I took my time to breath and regroup before I had to move on to the dreaded snatch. 

I set myself up for the snatch, but my mind was definitely playing tricks on me.  I was psyching myself out.  

I tried and failed a few times and it definitely wasn't pretty.  

It was my second or third time trying and I snatched that baby up.  I think I shocked the hell out of myself.  

I literally screamed.  

You can see, Tammy was extremely happy for me!  I love this picture because Tammy is literally jumping for joy.  It goes to show how much she cares about her athletes and how she wants to see us all achieve good things.  

I remember coming back to the bar to try for the second snatch and having goosebumps.  Everyone in the box had cheered and shouted when I got the 75 pounds and the moment was pretty exciting for me.  

Unfortunately, that was the only time I got under the bar for the snatch.  I just couldn't get the mechanics down of taking it from the floor.  My brain go in the way, I could NOT force myself to drop under the bar no matter what I did.  It was quite the mess.  I was so proud of my one 75 pound rep.  I honestly felt amazing about it.  I will be snatching 75 lbs from the ground consistently this year.  

Next up was the 1 rep max of the clean and jerk.  I had a plan to do 85, 95 and then go for 100 pounds.  I had made a short-term goal for myself at the beginning of the year to get 100 pounds overhead and the Open was going to be my place to get it.  I was confident.

I started with 85 pounds and easily cleaned and jerked it overhead.  I decided on the split jerk and for whatever reason forgot to bring my feet back to center.  NO REP.  It didn't matter to me.  I knew I could get more than 85 pounds anyway, so I set up for 95.  Again, it seemed so easy.  I was excited.  I knew I was going to get 100 pounds.   I cleaned.

I jerked. 

I easily put 100 pounds overhead.  I was so excited.  Another PR during the Open.  I had a bunch of time left so I decided to add on.  I loaded 105 pounds and was able to clean it.  I failed twice trying to jerk it overhead.  It was so frustrating because 100 pounds felt so comfortable, but 105 pounds felt like a Mack truck.  What's up with that?  I didn't care, however, I had met my goal!  

And just like that 15.1 was in the books.  Final score:  26 reps and 100 pounds.  I'll take it.  

I'm nothing but excited for 15.2.  

Monday, February 9, 2015

CrossFit Open 14.1 Redux

I woke up this morning an checked Wodify the way I always do and was elated to see the workout was an Open workout from last year.   The workout was 14.1.  You can read about my workout from last year here.

The WOD consist of a 10 minute AMRAP (as many reps as possible) of:

30 DU (Double Unders)
15 Snatches (55 lbs)



Last year I scored a 106.  That means I got through 2 rounds and 16 DU.  I went back and read my recap of 14.1 and I was shocked at how hard the workout was for me.  Going into 14.1 I did NOT have my DU, I decided to do them single, single, double and I made it through.  Going into today I've gotten my DU but have never really been able to string any meaningful number together and certainly not consistently.

I was so excited when the 10 second countdown began.  I was excited to see how much I could improve.

I started off with the double unders and I couldn't believe it, but I actually strung some together.  I strung together quite a few actually-- like 15!  I was so excited I actually screamed.  How did that actually just happen.  Each time I attempted, I strung a decent number together.  6, 7, and even 20!!!!!  I can't even tell you how happy this makes me.

The only problem is, I do the "pike" (feet kick forward) and I expend sooooooo much energy doing the DU.  By the time I got to the snatches I was hunched over the bar trying to take some time to compose myself and get my breathing under control.

I don't care though.  I will take stringing DU together using a lot of energy versus not being able to do them at all.  I can continue to tweak things until I get it right.  I've come a far way so far and I hope I just continue to improve.

The snatches were definitely hard, but I took them a little at a time (5) and got through them.  I was working hard and was out of breath, but nowhere near what I described last year.  That AND I scored much higher than last year.

I made it through 3 full rounds, 30 DU and 4 more snatches.  Score = 169!  Hell yes!  I will take it.

Week after week I go to CrossFit and wonder if I'm even improving.  Well this shows me, I am absolutely improving and it makes me very happy.  Bring on 15.1


Sunday, February 8, 2015

2015 Race Plan

I've kind of been hemming and hawing about my race schedule this year.  As always, things can (and most likely WILL) change, but this is my plan for 2015.

January:  3M Half Marathon.  Yeah that already happened.  You can read the recap here.

Kortni, Me, Val 

February:  I wanted to do a 10k on Valentine's Day, but it has a late start time and conflicts with my son's hockey schedule.  Whomp Whomp.

March:  Shamrock Shuffle Half Marathon.  Somehow I got talked into doing a race I did NOT want to do, but I'm excited about it.  It's super hilly and I didn't want to do it because of that, but I decided to run with my friend Jaime and we plan to just HAVE FUN!  Those are the best races.  Seriously.... going for a 2:30 finish time.  Here's the elevation.

Elevation Chart.  HILLS!!!!!!!!!

April:  Pirates 5k Home Run.  I don't want to run another 5k, but I have to because I know I can improve my time and this is a flat fast place to do it.  Plus it's the Pirates!

At my last 5k in September 2014 

May:  Indianapolis Mini Marathon and Pittsburgh Half Marathon.  That's right 2 half marathons in one month.  In fact, they're on back-to-back days.  The Pittsburgh Half Marathon is my favorite race and it is ALWAYS the same weekend as the Indianapolis Mini.  I've always wanted to do the Mini, but didn't want to miss out on Pittsburgh.  I concocted this crazy idea to do the Indy Mini on Saturday and the Pittsburgh Half on Sunday and even managed to talk 4 other crazy ladies into it with me (pictured below).

Tracey and Kim

Kate (in the front).  Jaime (in the back) was sparred some how 

June:  MS 150.  I really enjoy this 2 day bike ride.  It's torturous, but it's for a good cause.

2014 MS Escape to the Lake 

Runcations 5k (in the Outer Banks).  This race will jut be for fun.  It's run on the beach on a Wednesday.  It's just a fun thing to do on vacation.  The last time I did it, was NOT fun and SUPER slow.

2013 OBX Sunrise 5k 

The Dam Tri.  This race (olympic distance) is the Sunday that I get back from vacation.  It's not ideal for sure, but after all the rest and relaxation, I should be good to go... go slowly.

2014 Dam Tri 
July:  Lake Latonka Friendly Frolic.  This is the 2 mile race I do with my family every year.  It's challenging for me (I hate running fast) but one of these days I'll beat Nicholas or my dad.  One can dream. 

2014 (less people attended than normal)
Moraine Butler Sprint Tri.  This race is low key and fun.  I think I'll always do it if I can because I enjoy the short swim and bike course.  I need to step up my game this year.  


Liberty Mile:  Maybe.  This is a one mile all out race.  

August:  I don't do anything when it's hot.  Haha.  I can't believe I don't have anything planned (that I can remember) in August.  I better remedy that.  Maybe my wallet could use a break.  

September:  The Great Race.  I need a FLAT FAST 10k and this is it.  It's actually down hill.  I've never done this hometown race but there's a conflict..... see below.  If I happened to not do Ragnar, I'll do the Great Race. 

Adirondacks Ragnar Relay.  I had SO MUCH fun with Ragnar last year that I really want to do it again this year.  Our team isn't set in stone yet, but we're getting there.  Hard to commit this far out.  

Van 2.  Love these ladies.  

October:  Quick Chick 10K.  If I don't do the great race, I'll do this race.  I want to race it this year and see what I can do.

Buffalo Creek Half Marathon.  It's just a must.  Small, local and flat.

2014 with Kim 
November:  EQT 10 miler.  I want to do this race and it will probably work out well for the taper, but I'm kinda hoping I'll be on a cruise when this race is happening.  Sacrifices.  We shall see!  

Philly Marathon.  My 4th attempt at 26.2 and hopefully a PR for me.  

December:  Christmas is here.  My wallet needs another break!  

So There you have it.  13 to 16 races/events.  Please don't add up the money spent.  Running is a cheap sport, remember? ha!