Monday, March 31, 2014

CrossFit Open WOD 14.5

I don't even know where to begin with this WOD.  First of all I was signed up to do this WOD on Friday evening, but when the WOD was announced on Thursday night I quickly changed to Monday because I had a half marathon to run on Saturday and it was very leg heavy.

I hadn't planned on running hard during the half, but it wound up that I did (FOR ME) and so I was thankful that I had put off the WOD until Monday.  Due to some cancellations with my kids activities, I was actually able to go watch Tracey do the WOD on Sunday.

After watching Tracey I was even more scared.  I saw Tracey struggle through this WOD, so that scared me because I know how strong and determined she is.  If Tracey struggled, I could only imagined how bad it would be for me.  Hint:  BAD!!!!!!

So here's the workout:

For those that don't like math, that is 84 thrusters (at 65 pounds) and 84 OVER THE BAR burpees (meaning with each rep you have to jump with two feet over the bar).  If you don't know what a thruster is, well it's the movement the girl in the picture above is doing and then you stand up and press the bar overhead.  i.e. NOT fun.

So yeah, I headed over to the box to do the WOD this morning and I was a wreck.  I wasn't nervous like I had been with past WODs-- it was a different feeling.  I was scared.  Really and truly scared.  I was so unsure if I would physically be able to do 65 pound thrusters 84 times.  That is a HEAVY weight for me and I've never even done a WOD with thrusters at that weight before.

Unfortunately my time came and I had to start despite really not wanting to do it.  My plan was to do the 21 thrusters as sets of 7,7,7 and then the 18 as 6,6,6, and so on.  Yeah that did not work.  I did 7 unbroken thrusters and then I don't even know what happened.  From then I decided 3 was a better number and I stuck to that for awhile.  Somehow I managed to get through 21 thrusters, but it took a LONG time and the thought of having to do so many more seemed-- well frankly it seemed undoable.

I really took my time on the burpees, trying to save as much of my energy as possible for the thrusters.  It was a good plan I think, but I don't know how much energy I really had.  The 18s were ugly.  I can't even tell you how many reps I was doing at a time, but maybe 2.  That means every time I had to do a thruster I had to clean the bar (expending more energy) but I just wasn't strong enough to keep going.  Eventually even two reps at a time ended in a no rep at the top so I started just doing literally 1 rep at a time.

Getting through the 15s was also torture.  Doing 1 rep at a time and gutting out every single one to make them count.  During this round is when I had to dig VERY deep for every single rep to count. I'd go to thrust it up and my arms wouldn't lock out at the top (no rep).  There were times that I literally said to myself, "pretend your kids' lives depend on it."  It worked for most of the reps, but there was a time I said that to myself, and well let's just said those kids would have been dead had it been for real.

There was a time during either the 12s or the 9s where I literally thought I would cry.  I was trying so hard, but I kept having no reps.  I wanted it so badly and I was using every ounce of strength in my body, but sometimes a rep just didn't count.  It's so discouraging to be telling your body to do something and it won't do it.

When times got tough throughout the workout, I took a lot of time to rest and breathe.  My breathing was just so out of control.  I felt often times like I was going to puke and I wouldn't allow myself to go again until I at least wasn't literally gasping for breath.  I would breathe and refocus and just go again.  The process may have taken awhile, but it's what I HAD to do to get through.

A bunch of people stayed after the 8:30 class to cheer me on-- something I hadn't expected and I'm so glad those ladies were there.  I wasn't making eye contact, but I could see them and I know when things got really gnarly during the 15s and 12s they were praying for every rep to count for me.  With every rep that counted, I felt their relief with mine and with every rep I missed I felt them "mourn" with me.   I know they were cheering me on and I used that energy to get me through.  So thank you ladies!  It really meant so much to me.

Tammy (our box owner) was my judge today and she was so encouraging to me the whole time.  I know there were times she would have loved to pick up that bar for me.  She gave me solid advice and stood there the whole time focused on me and helping me to make every rep count.  I'm so happy Tammy go to judge my last WOD (well not happy for HER, but happy for ME).  It meant a lot to me for her to see me gut it out because Tammy is the CrossFit mama and I really wanted to make her proud of my effort at the very least.

I wish I could tell you how terrible this WOD was.  I wish I could put into words the amount of energy and strength I put into it.  At times I felt like I was being asked to lift a Mack truck up over my head, but I would never allow my brain to quit even though my body wanted to.  I told Tammy going into the WOD I would NOT quit and I never intended nor did I want to.  Trust me, I wanted it to be over and I wanted to literally lie down on the floor and cry like a baby to make it stop, but I didn't.  I didn't stop and I didn't quit.  Not for 46 minutes and 41 seconds when I jumped over the bar once last time with my arms raised in victory.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Panera Official Training Menu-- Branching Out and Loving It

I'm the kind of girl that pretty much likes routine and tends to get stuck in a rut.  It's just easier to keep going on the same path rather than to change things up.  Change makes me feel uncomfortable.  I can't help it.  BUT, I've been able to branch out by being an Official Training Menu Blogger for Panera and I'm so glad I have.  

While I'll always love my broccoli cheddar soup (I mean how can you not?) I'm so glad I've tried some new things because I've found some new loves.  

Here are some (and there are more) of the things I've tried from the menu that I had NEVER eaten before and how I think they're helping (or not) my training:  

Asian Sesame Chicken Salad:  I think to get me through after a long run or a workout, I'd have to eat this with more protein.  Perhaps order double chicken.  It was definitely satisfying, but not as filling as I would have liked on it's own. 

Mediterranean Egg White Sandwich:   This was filling and delicious.  I ate this twice, both times with a smoothie, and it was the perfect post workout breakfast.  It also kept me satisfied until lunch which is a rarity for me.

Chicken Tortellini Alfredo:  I got this during lent sans chicken and it was delicious.  In order to keep me satisfied I'd have to couple it with some protein as my other "pick 2" item or add a smoothie.

Spinach Power Salad:   This is a menu item that I will continue to eat over and over again.  I'm sorry sometimes a rut is a good place to be.  It's delicious, filling and delicious.  Did I mention delicious?  How bout filling?  

Fuji Apple Salad and Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich:  While both of these menu items were definitely good, they weren't MY personal favorites.  My BFF gets the fuji apple salad all the time, but I think I just prefer the sweet and salty of the spinach power salad more.  The mediterranean veggie sandwich is a good meatless alternative, but it wasn't AS satisfying for me.

Perhaps my favorite thing I've discovered via the training menu are Panera's two smoothies.  I really thought I'd like the fat free super fruit power smoothie best (it's pink duh!) but I wound up LOVING the low fat B green smoothie even more.  It is so good and VERY satisfying after a workout.  I've found adding it to a sandwich or even a pick 2 combo has helped to keep me fuller longer.  Let's face it when you're burning so many calories training for a marathon, you need to replace them.

I feel so good about all the changes and branching out I've been doing with Panera and how I've been fueling my body with Panera training for the Pittsburgh Marathon.  It's nice to know that I'm doing something good for my body and then not undoing it all with bad food choices-- well at least not at Panera.  

*This post is sponsored by Panera Bread and The Pittsburgh Marathon.  All opinions are my own. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Just a Short Run Half Marathon Race Recap

Today I ran my 14th half marathon, I ran the Just a Short Run Half Marathon.  Sometimes it's hard for me to wrap my head around 14, but yep it was number 14 and it felt great to get another half under my belt.  I really do love the half distance.  

All week the weather was calling for it to be cold and raining for the race today and I was dreading it!  As the week went on, it seemed it would be cold, but the rain would probably hold off or at least be at the tail end of the course.  So I planned for a 30 degree run and prayed for no rain.  

As it turned out, the weather was MUCH warmer this morning (closer to 40) and I was severely overdressed (and regretted it for most of the race).  I should have looked at the weather BEFORE I walked out the door.  I should know that things change minute to minute and not to trust the forecast before I went to bed.  I had on cold gear tights and a cold gear shirt as well as another layer on top.  I wore my ear warmer, but opted to leave my gloves in the car (thank God).  

This race was held in North Park where I do most of my training runs.  There is a 5k, 8.1 miler, half marathon and 30k. The half marathoners do 2 loops of the lake plus the 3.1 (5k) course, which includes a cruel and unusual hill right at the half mile mark or so. I was prepared for the hill (as in I knew it was coming) and I planned to walk it.  It's NOT a small hill.  I mean it is major and it is long!  

As it turned out, I just did a slow and steady chug up the hill and I never had to walk.  I'm actually glad the huge hill comes at mile .5 and not mile 12.5.  Once I knew it was out of the way I was happy.  

For the first time ever going into a race, I didn't have a real plan and I wasn't at all nervous.  I'm so shocked that I felt so nonchalant about the whole thing.  Right around the 3 mile mark, however, I decided to set a goal for myself.  I decided I wanted to beat my time in Austin last month (2:13:57).  I did some quick math and decided to shoot for a 10:05 to 10:10 pace.  

After 3 miles, I was pretty much on track despite that slow first mile due to the hill.  

Mile 1: 10:26 ----> dumb hill
Mile 2:  10:05 ----> wee a downhill 
Mile 3:  10:02 

After the 5k mark, I had my two loops to go.  The loops I run EVERY week, the loops I know like the back of my hand.  I was slowing down and I didn't really know why.  I kept asking myself if I really wanted to push myself of not.  I just wasn't into it.  I was bored and I was only a little bit into the race.  

Mile 4: 10:17 ----> Gu 
Mile 5:  10:18

Then right at the end of the 5th mile I saw someone coming from behind out of the corner of my eye.  It was the 10:00 minute pacer.  I was so confused.  I knew I was running more than a 10 minute mile.  Then it occurred to me, he was pacing the 30K.  I decided to hook on to him and see what I could do.  God knows I needed someone to push me because I wasn't pushing myself.  

The pacer was really nice and we chatted for most of the time.  I felt so odd running with him because I was pretty much the only one with him.   There were two guys behind us keeping a 10:00 pace but they had their own conversation going on.  

Despite the pacer telling me he was perfect on his pacing, my miles kept coming up below 10:00 minutes.  I wasn't pleased.  Ha!  I was working pretty hard.  

Mile 6:  9:51
Mile 7:  9:45
Mile 8:  9:50

We completed our first loop of the lake and hit the timing mat at mile 8.1.  At that point the pacer knew he was supposed to be at 1:26:34 (clock time)  and we crossed at 1:27:21. He had some time so shave and I swear he was on a mission to do it.  I was so afraid I would lose him and I wanted to hold on as long as I possibly could so I just kept running despite being out of breath and getting a bit of a side stitch.  

Mile 9:  9:31 ----> Gu 
Mile 10:  9:44

After the 10th mile the pacer (by the way I never got his name) started doing some math in his head (he was talking out loud about it) and realized he was behind again.  I honestly don't see how that was possible.  Are you seeing my split times?  Anyway he sped up through the hilliest side of the loop and I dropped off right around the 11.5 mile mark.  

I tried my best to keep up with him, but my breathing was so labored through the hills.  I wasn't looking at my pace, but I knew I was working hard.   Once he pulled away I looked at my watch and just told myself to keep under a 10:00 minute mile through the hills and wait for the downhill that was coming.  

Right around the 12 mile mark is where things flatten out and I was never so happy.  I figured I'd cross the finish line in just under 2:10.  As it turned out when my watch hit 2:10 I was still .2 miles out.  I guess I hadn't run a good race because I was over on my mileage (but Tracey was too).  

I rounded the last corner through the finishers chute and I saw Tracey standing on the sidelines.  She said something like, "OMG you're here already.  I almost missed you."  I started giggling to myself.  I'd snuck in on her, finishing better than she or I anticipated. 

Mile 11:  9:21
Mile 12:  9:57
Mile 13:  9:26

Official Time:  2:11:53 Official Average:  10:05 
Garmin Time:  2:11:52 Garmin Average:  9:53  Garmin Distance:  13.34 

I know I'm not the fastest runner, but after a LOT of crappy and slow (for me) long runs, it felt good to run under 10:00 miles for so long.  I have to thank that pacer because I know I would NOT have come anywhere close to finishing in 2:11 without him there.  I guess that's what they're there for-- I've just never actually used a pacer before.  

Congrats to Tracey and Charlene for kicking butt today too.  Tracey come in 5th in her age group.   She's my hero.  I might forever be chasing her, but to be honest, I'm honored to do it.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I'm a Runner XXXVI Pittsburgh Marathon Training Edition

Susan Tirch
Dance in my car seat at red lights kinda dancer 
39, Mars, Pennsylvania 

I started training for this marathon in the beginning of January.  I wish I could add up how much snow has accumulated since the time I started training and the number of runs I did when it was less than 20 degrees.  Hint:  It's been A LOT!  I'm so ready for winter to be over.  I love the season, and I'm definitely ready for the next one to start!

I love to run in different places, but I've been in a real rut lately due to the pesky snow.  The only place I really feel safe running is at the park (on a path).  Now that most of the snow has cleared, maybe I can start running on the road again.

I was born to be something other than a runner (of that much I am sure) but I keep trying and I think I should get points for that.  Not sure who's really keeping score, but I deserve a little extra credit. Sometimes I think it takes more guts to continue to do something when you know you're really not that good at it, and probably never will be.

My first marathon was in February of 2011.  Here I am 3 years later and I'm wondering how training has been different and if I can realistically run a faster time than my previous 3 marathons.  Each race was different either in training or the run itself, but each ended in about the same result-- 5 hours.

I am a person who works well with positive reinforcement so I really do get into the crowd.  There's just something about someone calling out your name and reminding you, you CAN do it.  Remember when I got all excited by a banana at a race and wound up falling on my face?  So yeah, I love cheering peeps and think everyone should start coming out for my training runs.  Ha!

I like the Pittsburgh Marathon because it is so full of crowd support.  It seems like there's someone cheering on every corner, at every turn and in every neighborhood.  It's so uplifting and one of the reasons why Pittsburgh remains my favorite race.

There's a time in marathon training where you just want to be done.  You want race day to be here, so you can just go out there and do it.  That time has come for me!

Running has really been hard on my feet lately.  I've got all kinds of issues from blisters to bleeding toes, to bruises.  I've been working with the local running store (MoJo Running and Multisport) and I hope we've made the necessary corrections to help get my feet relief.  I know marathon training hurts, but I think my feet hurting is something that can be controllable.  I think.  I hope!

I've inspired some people to start running lately and I'll tell you that feels AMAZING!!!  It's my absolute favorite thing in the world.

I like when I hit my sweet spot during a training run.  It normally comes between miles 5 and 9 and they are the most glorious miles.  Before everything is shit and after everything is shit, but miles 5 to 9 are great.  I need to do a race where just miles 5 to 9 count!  Ha!

As part of my training, I've partnered with Panera Bread and The Pittsburgh Marathon and am an Official Training Menu Blogger.  Y'all know this already.  Well today I stopped by after my morning run for breakfast and I had THE BEST THING I'VE EVER EATEN AT PANERA.  Yes, that deserved all caps.  I got the mediterranean eggwhite sandwich and it was amazing people.  AH-MAZ-ING!  Here's the description from the menu:  Egg whites, a thick slice of Vermont white cheddar, roasted tomatoes, fresh spinach and basil pesto on our freshly baked Ciabatta.  

You'll thank me if you go to Panera and order this.  Yes you will!  You're welcome!  I'm going back for this again soon.  Yes, I also had the Fat Free Super Fruit Power Smoothie.  Ahhh Panera.  I love you and your training menu.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

CrossFit Open WOD 14.4

Oh the CrossFit Open how I love thee and hate thee all the same.  I pretty much knew Toes to bar (T2B) were coming as they haven't been seen yet and they're almost always a given in the open.  Consequently, I wasn't shocked when they were announced as part of the 14.4 WOD.  


So I did the same thing I do every time the open is announced.  I panicked and then took a breath and decided to try to practice the skill I am unable to do.  I went to Oxford Club (my "normal" gym) on Friday and practiced my toes to bar.  Toes to bar is kind of self explanatory, but it is when you hang from the pull up bar and touch both feet, AT THE SAME TIME, to the bar.   As of Friday the number of T2B I have every been able to complete was ZERO!  Impressive I know.  

I had tried T2B at CrossFit before and have recently gotten VERY close, but had never gotten one.  I will admit that I haven't practiced T2B a lot at CrossFit, so it's my own fault I didn't have them.  Anyway, I went to Oxford with George so he could help me and I practiced my toes to bar.  I hopped up on the bar and I busted one out my very first try.  

I was so flipping excited.  I busted out about 15 and did practice trying to string some together, but was unsuccessful.  The good thing I learned was that I could do them even if it was just one at a time.  I was worried, however, because the diameter of the pull up bar at Oxford was much smaller at than at CrossFit and I worried that was the key factor in getting my T2B.  I mean a good grip is key… so I worried.  

So what was 14.4 WOD anyway?  It was a beautiful chipper and guess what I gave up chips for lent so I shouldn't have even attempted this one!  Ha!  

It looked like this: 

14 minute AMRAP 

60 calorie row
50 T2B
40 Wall balls (14 lbs to 9 ft target) 
30 Cleans 95 lbs 
20 Muscle Ups 

When the WOD was announced, I pretty much knew I wouldn't make it any further than the T2B, but I hoped I could at least get one T2B.  With my new confidence after being at Oxford, I hoped I could get 10 and maybe stretch to 15.  Worst case scenario, I'd get a score of 60.  At least I could row.  

I wasn't really as nervous about this workout as I have been in workouts in the past because I knew I was limited.  There was no way I could have just learned to do T2B and bust out 50 in the time limit.  So really the pressure wasn't on.  I just wanted to get as many T2B as possible and be pleased with myself.  Really anything greater than zero was a win.  

I started off with the row and I wanted to give it a good effort, but obviously I was in no hurry as I wasn't making it past T2B anyway.   Nevertheless, when I started rowing and my coach started "yelling" at me, I couldn't help but give it my all and it wasn't easy.  Rowing is WAAAAAY harder than it seems.  

I remember thinking about the Tagalong (Girl Scout cookie) I had eaten earlier in the day and wondered if it was really worth all this rowing just to work it off.  Answer:  it is not!  It took me about 4:40 to row 60 calories.  Almost 5 minutes of HARD work to work off a cookie.  STUPID I tell you just stupid.  Nevertheless, I was pretty pleased with my rowing.  Not horrible.  

I took a few seconds to catch my breath and and chalk my hands and I jumped right up on the bar and nailed my first T2B.  

After that things got a little sketchy.  I don't know what the huge difference between CrossFit and Oxford was, but things were NOT the same.  I guess the diameter of the bar really did make a difference.  Despite being able to do single after single at Oxford, I was barely getting any good reps during the Open.  

I never gave up however.  I spent nearly 9 minutes going and going and going.  

I only managed to turn out 5 T2B.  

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed.  How could I not be?  I wasn't mad though.  I mean I went from having zero T2B on Friday to having completed 5 in a workout on Saturday.  The fact that I got any is really a miracle.  The fact that I tried is because of the Open and that in and of itself is an accomplishment.  

I'm really excited to practice T2B and get them so when they arrive in next year's open (yes WHEN not if) I'll be able to do them so much better.  Also, does anyone know how I can order up some bigger hands because I totally think that would have helped.  Ha!  

One more workout to go in the Open.  I'm praying for some burpees… that I can do!  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Pittsburgh Marathon Training Long Run: 20 Miles

I owe you a post on the CrossFit Open WOD 14.4, but I was waiting for the pics to be posted and so now you have to wait until tomorrow.  Today, you get to hear about my long run because when do you not want to hear about my long runs?  Never!  Exactly!  

So first let's talk about my illness.  Last Thursday (as in over 10 days ago) I was diagnosed with a sinus infection and put on antibiotics.  Well 8 days into antibiotics I still wasn't feeling better (worse actually as everything had moved to my chest).  So, I called my doctor and now I'm on an inhaler and steroids.  

Heading into today's 20 miler, I really had no idea if it would be something I would be able to accomplish.  But, as you probably know by now, I'm determined and I decided to move forward with the run (not without giving it some serious side eye). 

I met Tracey at 7:30 and we were going to tackle the first 5 mile loop and my friend Kim was coming for the second 5.  

I told Tracey that I thought this run would be slow.  I hoped to maintain about an 11:00 pace for the whole thing.  As you all know, Tracey is MUCH faster than I so I felt badly asking her to run so slowly, but it's really all I thought I could do today.  Slow and steady.  

She luckily obliged me and we had a really good first 5 miles.  

Mile 1: 11:01
Mile 2: 11:06
Mile 3:  10:37 (can you guess where the flat parts of this loop are?) 
Mile 4:  11:06
Mile 5:  10:30  (another flat portion)

We got back to the boathouse and Kim was there waiting for us.  When I saw Kim, she wasn't her normal happy, smiling, cheerful self.  I asked her if there was something wrong and she said she was just tired.  I was bummed that Kim was feeling less than herself this morning.  

Kim is a BRAND NEW runner, she just finished her first 5k and she kicked ass at it too.  She's gone from total non-runner to now training for the Pittsburgh Marathon Relay in less than a few months.  I'm so proud of her.   

Mile 6:  11:10
Mile 7:  10:51----> Gu 
Mile 8:  11:05
Mile 9:  11:10
Mile 10:  11:19 

When we finished Kim thought we had run 4.5 miles due to the way we ran the loop, but when I mentioned 5 miles she realized she had just run her VERY FIRST 5 mile run without stopping.  I saw tears well up in her eyes when she realized and then I saw the big smile and the cheerful, happy Kim!  I loved being a part of that moment.  Priceless!  

We said farewell to Kim and headed out for our third loop.  I think this was my best loop mentally.  I was feeling pretty good.  Despite a few coughs here and there, my lungs weren't giving me a fit and I was feeling pretty decent physically.  

We got to about the 14 mile mark and Tracey asked me how I felt.  I told her I didn't want to jinx anything, but I felt pretty darn good.  I mentioned that my hamstrings were getting tight, but that I felt good.  Hmmm will it last? 

Mile 11: 10:35
Mile 12: 10:40
Mile 13:  10:14
Mile 14: 10:31
Mile 15:  10:42 -----> Honey Stinger Waffle 

Well my "good feeling" didn't last too long.  Right at about mile 16 my legs really started cramping up. My hamstrings felt very tight and I looked down and my left shoe was full of blood.  At first I thought it was my normal blister spots, but no-- my two toes had been rubbing together and my toenail cut the other toe, but it bled and A LOT.  It wasn't as painful, but my blisters were really hurting.   My hips and calves were hurting too, but not as badly as my hamstrings.  I HAD to slow down and Tracey was still going strong.  

After a bunch of convincing, I sent Tracey on her way to finish alone at the 18 mile mark.  

Mile 16:  11:09
Mile 17:  11:08
Mile 18:  11:28
Mile 19:  11:48

I was really, really struggling by the 19 mile mark and I started thinking about pushing through the pain and how I WILL have to push through on marathon day.  I thought so much about people who can't run due to reason too many to name and I thought about my friend Lissa.  

Lissa is a friend of mine from high school who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  She is the absolutely the most positive person I have ever met.  Her spirit is so uplifting and she has not let cancer, losing her hair (she shaved it when it started to fall out) or anything else get in the way of her living her life.  In addition to having cancer, Lissa also has MS.  I mean seriously, who wouldn't think why me or feel a little down.  NOT LISSA!  She continues to run THROUGH her chemotherapy treatments.  Yes I mean run, as in several times per week and in races.  Lissa is a huge inspiration to me (whether she knows it or not).  

I decided to dedicate my last mile to Lissa and decided if she can run while having cancer and going through Chemo, all while having MS too, then what battle did I really have?  None.  At one point during this mile, I felt like I was soaring and I know Lissa's positive attitude and uplifting spirt where with me!

Mile 20:  11:53 (ok it might not have been the fastest, but it was the most meaningful)

Total: 3:40:15
Average: 11:00

After running 20 miles one is quite hungry and I turned to Panera and the Official Training Menu to help fuel my hungry body.  I chose the U pick 2 Asian Sesame Chicken Salad and Broccoli Cheddar Soup (not on the training menu) and added the Low Fat B Green Smoothie too.  Adding the smoothies to my meals have been key to helping to keep me full after expending a large number of calories working out.  I really liked the Green Smoothie too.  I was so surprised because I expected not to like it (health food… what?) and I did.  It felt like a treat despite being packed full of nutrition.  This will DEFINITELY be had again and I highly recommend you try it.

Thanks to Panera Bread and The Pittsburgh Marathon for sponsoring me in training and fueling for this awesome race.  Today, I'm one step closer to getting to that finish line.

Friday, March 21, 2014

FitBit Winners

The winners of the Fitbit flex have been selected and are as follows:

Chris N 
Chris R 

I have contacted the winners via email to claim their prize.   Thanks to everyone who entered!  

Thank you to Everydayhero for sponsoring this awesome giveaway.  Don't forget to pre-register today!  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Three Thing Thursday 3.20

Three things Thursday….. and go:

1)  I never blogged about my long run on Sunday.  Primarily because it sucked, AGAIN, and what's the sense in writing about my crappy long run… AGAIN.

It was 12 crappy miles (was supposed to be 15) and ended short because I could no longer breathe.   I have a sinus infection that I'm taking antibiotics for, but I'm still nowhere near 100%. I called my doctor again today and told them how everything is settling in my chest and I can't breathe.  They phoned me in an albuterol inhaler and some steroids.  Yay for breathing.  That is a prerequisite to running right?

So yeah anyway… 12 miles.  2 hours 11 minutes and some odd seconds.  NOT GOOD, but I'm moving on.  20 miles this Sunday.  I can do this right?  Right?

2)  I've been eating at Panera.  You know this right?  You know I'm a Panera Official Training Menu blogger right?  Oh you didn't? I haven't talked about it much?  hahaha Ok if you really didn't know you can read about it here.

So yeah I've been enjoying the Training Menu and how it's been helping me stay on a healthy eating train as I train for the Pittsburgh Marathon, which by the way is sold out!  Well you can still do the 5k or the Pet Walk (if you're a pet or have a pet).

Anyway, how do I always get off on these tangents, my menu selections today were delicious.  Once again I went for the Spinach Power Salad, but I tried something new and got the Fat Free Superfruit Power Smoothie and it was a great addition to my meal.  I should also confess that I also had broccoli cheddar soup, which is NOT on the training menu, but delicious nonetheless.  I think I was having withdrawal, so I had to get it.

I thinking adding the smoothie to my lunch (even though I had to share with Jack) was a smart addition.  It helped to keep me fuller longer and that is a good thing.   I'm excited to try the low fat Green B Smoothie next.*

3)  Ella had her half birthday on the 17th and I realized I didn't talk about any of the kids' half birthdays on the blog this year.  So I thought I'd share what you've missed.

My 6.5 year old:

My 8.5 year old:

 My 10.5 year old:

How are my kids growing up so fast.  I say it all the time, but I just can't get over it and how sad it makes me.  *tear*

Don't forget to enter for your chance to win a Fitbit Flex. Click on over to this post and fill out the rafflecopter form at the bottom of the post.

*This post is sponsored by Panera Bread and The Pittsburgh Marathon.  All opinions are my own. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

EverydayHero and FitBit Giveaway

I'm excited to tell you about a very cool new platform called everydayhero.  Everydayhero helps people to track their Giving Footprint. The platform allows people to fundraise for a charity how they want (run a marathon, bake cupcakes, etc.) and visually see all the effort (miles run, time volunteering, social engagement) they put into supporting a cause. Why? Because everything you do to improve the world matters and should count -- not just the dollars you raise. 

Here's some important information about Everydayhero:  

  • The everydayhero platform is arriving soon in the U.S. People can pre-register for the platform (and get a sneak peak in advance) by visiting the everydayhero site:
  • The everydayhero platform is transforming the giving experience by offering people a way to track and see all the good they do for causes they are passionate about. The platform not only allows people to raise and donate money to nonprofits, but it takes the notion of giving a step further. It allows users to raise money and track their Giving Footprint™ to measure, monitor and amplify everything they put forth when giving to a cause.
  • The Giving Footprint™ provides a visual window into people's giving activities to quantify everything they do when supporting a cause -- miles run, hour spent volunteering, voice amplified across social, etc. Everydayhero wants people to realize that everything counts when supporting a cause, such as Muscular Dystrophy, Breast Cancer Awareness or Animal Cruelty, and that every action should be accounted for and acknowledged. 

We've all been part of a fundraising event at some point. I know I have, and I think being able to track things and see how you're doing is a great concept.  I also think everydayhero is a great concept to help kids track their giving footprint.  I know for sure I'll be using it the next time my kids raise money, or to show their volunteering is making an impact and to see there is purpose.  How cool is that? 

If you're interested and want to how the platform works, click here for a short video explaining everything you need to know.  

In an effort to get everyone on board with tracking and the US launch of everydayhero, the awesome people at everydayhero will be giving away TWO Fitbit Flex Bands to two MomSwimBikeRun readers*.  To enter, I simply invite you to click on over to everydayhero and preregister and start supporting the causes you already love and fill out the rafflecopter form below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway *For official rules and details about the giveaway click here.  

This post and giveaway are sponsored by everydayhero, but all opinions are my own

Saturday, March 15, 2014

CrossFit Open 14.3

OMG y'all what a difference a week makes in the open.  Some days it's your day, some days it's not and I do believe that is a valuable lesson to learn in the open.  Well I've learned it.  Let's go back and take a look at things shall we?

14.3 (get it?) 

I'm always scared heading into the open, especially on Thursday nights before the announcement, but this week I was doubly scared because I have been really sick all week.  Yes I realize I was just sick (last month coming back from Austin) but I got another cold/never got rid of the old one????  I'd been having an annoying cough for over a week, but on Monday I felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck, I laid on the couch all day.  Tuesday and Wednesday were barely better and I hadn't gotten in a single run or workout all week.  Thursday I decided enough was enough.  I had been sick for the majority of time since February 19th and I was heading into 14.3.  Something had to be done.  I went to the doctor and found out I have a sinus infection.  I explained to him my situation about the open and my long run this weekend.  He asked me if I could try not to workout until Monday.  I gave him the side eye. 

Friday I woke up feeling a tad bit better.  Jack and I went to Panera for lunch in hopes of fueling my body with a healthy choice from the Official Training Menu.  I have to say, it was a little tricky selecting a meal on a Friday during lent at Panera.  There really aren't many choices (especially if you don't like tuna-- but I do).  Anyway, I wound up with the U Pick 2 tuna sandwich and the Chicken Tortellini Alfredo (sans chicken).  

I admit this meal wasn't as filling as I would have liked, but it was still delicious.  I just need more ruffage or protein to keep this big belly full.  It was a 650 calorie meal.  Maybe it was mental.  I don't know, either way it was still tasty and that's all I really care about.  Don't think I didn't want that cookie either, but Jack wouldn't share.  Cookie as big as your face?  Yes please!  

That was a long intro, but at least you know the backstory into 14.3 and I may just have to recreate it because OMG you guys I am so happy.  

So here's 14.3: AMRAP (as many reps as possible) in 8 minutes 

10 Deadlifts @ 95 lbs 
15 box jumps (20 inch box) 
15 Deadlifts @ 135 lbs 
15 box jumps (20 inch box) 
20 Deadlifts @ 155 lbs
15 box jumps (20 inch box) 
25 Deadlifts @ 185 lbs 
15 box jumps (20 inch box) 
30 Deadlifts @ 205 lbs 
15 box jumps (20 inch box) 
35 Deadlifts @ 225 lbs 

My max deadlift coming into this WOD was 155 lbs.  I haven't done max deadlifts in a long time, but yeah my 1 rep max was 155 lbs.  That means I did 155 lbs one time in my life.  I had to do it 20 to move on and then it was just crazy weight from there on out.  My goal was to make it through the first 2 full rounds and score a 55.  If I did get to the 155 lb mark, I hoped I'd be able to do 155 lbs a few times.  

I was so, so nervous at the beginning (as per usual). 

This is what nervous/anxious looks like i.e. NOT pretty.  Ha! 

I had watched 3 other heats go and had gotten some good ideas about strategy from the coaches, so by the time my heat started I was nervous, but ready.  

I had decided to go unbroken on the DL (deadlifts) as long as possible.  That means I planned to not break between reps as long as I could.  The countdown was on and I went to town on the 95 lb deadlifts.  It didn't take me long at all and I don't know if it was adrenaline or what, but it felt so easy.  

Before I knew it, I was on the first set of box jumps.  Box jumps are normally lung burners for me.  They really get the cardio going and in this workout it was meant to be your recovery. NOT!  

Nevertheless I feel like I got through them ok.  It was a little slower than I would have liked on the first set, but I did it and was back at the bar.  

I'm not really sure, but I think I went unbroken on 135 lbs too.  I swear I was having an out of body experience, because I don't remember a whole lot about this 8 minutes.  I just  busted out 15 reps as quickly as possible and was back to the box jumps.  

By this time I'm sure my heart rate was through the roof and I really wanted to use the box jumps to get my heart rate under control.  Everyone was yelling at me to push and recover as I added my weights for the deadlifts.  So I pushed and it wasn't easy (as my face shows). 

This is my "I might be dying" face 

Now on to 155 lbs and I knew it wasn't going to be easy.  I knew I would NOT go unbroken on this round.  I remember talking strategy with my coaches and remember them saying do 5, then 3, then 2 if need be.  My goal was to try to get 5 and go from there. 

I don't even know what my face is doing 

I'm really fuzzy about the details, but I'm pretty sure I got at least 5 before I dropped the bar.  I may have gotten just 3.  From then on out I would not allow myself to do less than 2 before I dropped the bar.  I'm not sure how I did it, but I finished 20 155 pounds deadlifts!!!!  I had about 2 minutes left to finish up as much as I could.  

My goal was to get through the box jumps and do it quickly.  I went all out as fast as I possibly could (which probably wasn't that fast, but it felt fast to me).  

I literally got to the bar on my knees to put the weight on.  My heart and lungs were on fire.  By this time, I had to lift 185 lbs.  I seriously did not know if I could do it.  There's not knowing and then really not knowing.  I'm all about having confidence and believing in yourself, but you also have to know your limits and I was afraid I had met my limit.  

I told my judge I didn't know if I could do it and she told me to just try.  I told myself, "Just try.  Just get one."  So I set myself up and I tried.  

Sticking your tongue out apparently helps 

The first time I pulled, I couldn't do it.  By this time the box owner, Tammy came over and was standing right in front of me.  Tammy knows each of her athletes.  She knows what each person is capable of.  She knew what I was attempting wasn't easy for me.  She told me to get my chest up and do it.  So I did!!! 

I think this is actually a shot from 155lbs 

I stood up with it quite easily actually, but in order for the rep to count, you have to lock out your legs and put your shoulders back.  I swear I fought for 10 seconds to get my shoulders back and have the rep count.  As soon as my judge gave me the nod, everyone started screaming and I was so flipping happy.  I was done… or so I thought. 

I had some time left and everyone started screaming at me to go again and so I did.  Again, I was able to get it up rather easily (I didn't say anything about form), but getting in that final position for the rep to count took every ounce of my strength.  I really thought I was going to drop it, but I fought so hard for that rep and I did it…. just as time ran out.  Literally the clock turned to 8:00.  Tammy gave me the biggest hug and I had tears well up in my eyes.  It was an absolutely amazing feeling.  

THIS is why I chose to do the open.  I will not soon forget how it feels to give it your all.  I mean it… I gave every ounce of my heart and every ounce of my strength to this workout.  I scored a 92 and I could not be happier.  It feels phenomenal!  

Thank you to all the amazing people at CrossFit TPA.  To Megan, my judge, I could NOT have done this without you.  You are amazing.  To Tammy, your hug meant more to me than you could know.  I felt like you were a proud mama and who doesn't want to make their CrossFit mama happy.  To my constant rock in all aspects of my training-- Tracey.  What can I say?  I love you girl!!!!  To all the other athletes there cheering me on, it meant a lot to me to hear your screams.  I did hear them even if I didn't know who it was or where it was coming from.  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Exercise Your Heart

Today was the science fair for Ella's school.  I love watching my kids participate in this sort of thing.  I always beam with pride.  I wasn't going to make a post about it, but then I thought how important it would be to me to have these memories one day in the (not so distant) future when Ella is too old for the science fair. *tear*

Ella's project was "Exercise Your Heart" where she found out the effect of different exercises on heart rate.

The "what" she did really isn't important.  It's the "how" she did.  We stayed up later than her normal bedtime last night practicing going through her slides so she knew all the information about her project. Both of us were overtired and the learning session ended in tears and a stern voice from mom.  You see, I don't accept just good enough.  I expect my kids to give 100% and that 100% meant really knowing what she was talking about.  After all, this is HER project-- not mine.

Eventually last night I had to hug Ella and tell her I knew she'd know the information tomorrow, that she was just overtired and everything would be just fine.  You see, the science fair is completely voluntary.  It doesn't count for a grade and she doesn't get any credit for it.  She only gets the satisfaction of knowing she's done a job and done it well.

When the first person came up to talk to Ella about her project, she seemed nervous, but she went through everything beautifully.  It was almost as though she had a script and she went through it perfectly (even if it did seem pre-rehearsed).  She told me she was so relieved after she talked to the first person because it was a lot easier than she thought.

As each person came and spoke with her she beamed with pride with their compliments and I could tell she felt proud.  Finally when the official scientist came over to hear her presentation she was confident and explained her project just like I knew she could.  He seemed really impressed and maybe he acted that way to all the students, but neither Ella or I were the wiser.

Ella asked me, "Did I do a good job mommy?"  And I told her what a wonderful job she had done and how proud I was of her.  I asked her if me being hard on her last night had paid off and she said it had.  I truly believe this is how you give your children confidence.  Ella was not sure when she went to bed last night if she could do it.  She was nervous and anxious about the whole thing.  I assured her she would be fine, but when she went into the fair today and talked about her project with knowledge and ease, she realized she was fine.   She was able to achieve something that last night seemed just outside her reach.  Not knowing if you can and then achieving something is the perfect recipe for developing one's own self worth.

Today my little girl earned a trophy, but more importantly she earned a little pride and a ton of confidence.  It might not be shiny and gold, but I think it's worth so much more and it's something she can take with her into that not so distant future.