Thursday, May 31, 2012

Big Things?

Ugh.  I just...ugh.

I'm having a little bit of food fatigue, I think.  Since starting Operation: Get Strong Without Getting Fat, I've been cramming in the protein, aiming for 120-150g per day.  There have been a couple of days where I just wasn't focused and barely got in 100 or 110, but generally it's been doable.

And then yesterday.  It's peak week, and I'm geeked out about, well, peaking.  Back squats on Monday went really well - I've hit my June 30 goal over a month ahead of schedule.  I even PR'd my strict press by 2 little pounds (well, technically by a kilogram - so 2.2ish pounds - but whatever).  And I cannot WAIT to deadlift on Friday.  BUT.

That meant that yesterday, I had to set a reminder in my outlook calendar to tell me to eat at 4:30 pm.  Last Friday's 1.5-hours-from-eggs-to-Fran semi-disaster has made it clear that I need at least two solid hours between a meal and training.  And my lunch was a little light on the protein, since I had a practice group meeting and the best I could get was a salad with MAYBE four measly ounces of chicken (tasty, but so little!).  So...CHRIST.  There I was, at my desk, shoveling down eight ounces of tuna and trying to get it all in before 4:30 so I could train at 6:30.

So, it's not super glamorous.  But it's working.  And I do like eating a couple squares of chocolate before hitting the gym - that's kind of fun.  And I'm pleasantly surprised that adding in a bit more sugar, in the form of fruit a few days a week, plus all this protein and pre-training chocolate, has actually left me the tiniest bit leaner in addition to super-strong.  (Have you ever had berries with flaked coconut and a little bit of heavy cream?  And maybe some 85 or 90% dark chocolate shaved over it with a microplane zester?  CHRIST ON A CRACKER that's delicious.)

But I kind of wish I was this cat just for a minute.

I've also started logging my training at the CrossFit mainsite boards, here: Chrissey's CFCC Log

Saturday May 26: 4x750m row with 3:00 recovery.  Score is slowest interval.  3:07, 3:11, 3:13, 3:14.  A little inconsistent, but more annoyed that my last interval was also my slowest - I started out too fast (at a 1:50/500m pace) and just died somewhere in the middle.  I am getting substantially better at rowing but am still so far from being good at it.  Went rock climbing later in the day with some gym friends - and WOW.  I would be much better at that if my forearm strength was JUST a little bit better. 

Sunday May 27: Memorial Day Murph. 1 mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 air squats, 1 mile run.  In theory, I wanted to do the entire thing - but I wanted to PR my back squat on Monday, so I did half Murph...sort of.  Amber and I both ran the first mile and then split the pull ups, push ups and squats.  Mile run was about 8 minutes - 7:17 on the gym timer, but it was a little behind.  I did 11 full rounds of Cindy (5 pull ups, 10 push ups, 15 squats) plus half of the pushups and squats for a twelfth round.  We finished everything in 28:45 - I got a little caught up in stuff and almost went out for the second mile, but reminded myself that I needed to squat heavy the next day.

Monday May 28: ...and I'm glad I reined it in with Murph.  Back squat, peak of 1.  115x3 -145x3 - 170x2 - 185x1 - 200x1 - 210x1 (PR) - 215x1 (PR, but not counting it - I JUST got to parallel).  Next goal a legit 215 and then 225?

Tuesday May 29: strict press, peak of 1.  55x3 - 65x2 - 75x1 - 80x1 - 87x1 (PR).  87 got stuck around my forehead but I forced myself to get my head through and what do you know - that shit went RIGHT up.  Maybe I have 90 in me, maybe I don't.  This is one of my weaker spots.  Metcon: 60yd shuttle run, score is fastest attempt. Rounded to the nearest second, I did 16-16-15-16-16-16.  Hard to say how consistent I am because we can't measure any more accurately than a second, which is kind of a large increment for such a short run, but I'm happy with it.  Turning around is SO AWKWARD.

Wednesday May 30: some kipping pull up practice followed by strict pronated chest-to-bar pullups for a peak of 1.  I tried out the new pullup bar - it's a little more painful on your hands, but MAN is it easier to grip.  I was easily stringing together sets of 4 or 5 kipping pullups before losing my rhythm - which is real progress for me.  Did maybe 5 or 6 sets, then onto strength.  Light + mini band - light band - light + 5lbs - light + 10lbs - mini band only - mini band + 5lbs.  I think I have a bodyweight chest-to-bar in me.

Metcon was a mini-chipper.  For time, 50 double unders, 40 american kettlebell swings (1.5/1pood), 30 burpees, 20 pull ups, 10 handstand pushups.  11:56, as RXed - WOOF.  I wasted a LOT of time on the DUs, taking my first 25 or so in really small sets and tripping over the rope a bunch, before hitting a better rhythm for the last 25.  Kettlebell swings and burpees unbroken (can you "break up" burpees?  I didn't go fast, but didn't rest at all).  Pull ups finished in 5 sets.  And then I hit the HSPUs at about 8 minutes in - my first 5 or so were REALLY tough.  It was my first time using full ROM in a metcon (one abmat with plates on either side), and I didn't realize how much harder these would be when I was fatigued.  Once I worked out my hand placement, the last 5 felt much stronger, but still - those suckers took me four minutes.  Um and also:


Friday, May 25, 2012


Four day weekend?  Yes, I think I will.

Hoping for some of these:

over this


Been thinking hard about my training lately and where I want to take things.  I've made my back squat goal already - and I know I have more in me.  I pulled 265 for two deadlifts today and it felt decent - I'm hitting 300 next week.  I've brought my Fran time down substantially.  I can run much faster than I could when I was running all the time.  I look pretty damn good in little-ass shorts and knee socks.

(Not quite as good as Sly does though).

I feel happy and healthy and lean and focused.  So now what?  Get super-SKRONG?  Try to lean out and get super-fast?  Switch my focus to oly and maybe do a competition?  Run another half?  This whole "being athletic" thing is still relatively new to me, you know.  Aside from high school cheerleading, I haven't done any kind of competitive athletics since I was a kid - and when I was a kid, I was pretty slow and fat.  When I went to college and got in shape, it was very different - it was an hours-on-the-elliptical, eating-fat-free-cheese kind of "in shape." for thought on this long holiday weekend.

PhillyGuy and I had planned to go to the 8am session at CFCC this morning and then head to the new Green Eggs Cafe on 13th Street for breakfast afterwards.  But then I woke up, looked at my clock that said 7:19, and said "F this noise."  The pups and I went for a nice leisurely walk and I chilled in bed with my laptop and coffee for a couple hours, before we finally got moving and headed to breakfast around 9:45.

Beef bacon and blue cheese frittata:

PhillyGuy's steak and eggs and side of bacon in the background.  He had the far superior breakfast this morning.  The frittata was pretty disappointing - it wasn't bad, but it was very bland.  The blue cheese was very mild and had almost no tang, and the bacon-to-frittata ratio was unacceptably low.  Iced coffee was tasty, though, as were PG's rosemary potatoes (I stole one of those and a piece of his [meh] bacon).  I'd probably come here again on a gluten-binge to try their red velvet pancakes, but it's definitely not worth the crazy wait on the weekends for eggs.  Give me Mixto any day.


Thursday May 24: clean & jerk. 63x2-83x2-93x2-103x1-113x1-118F (uh why?)-118x1-123x1-128F-128F-128 clean only - failed the jerk twice, since I just couldn't seem to keep myself from trying to push press it, and, well, I can't push press almost 130lbs.  5lb PR for the clean and the jerk.  No metcon (yaaaaay).

Friday May 25: deadlift, peak of 2. 145-185-215-245-265.  posterior chain for days.

Fran - 21-15-9 thrusters (95/65), pull ups.

6:30, as RX'ed.  16-second PR.

Morgan and I battled that shit out - she is a squatting machine and absolutely beasted through the thrusters.  Glad she was there, honestly, because I probably would have been much slower without her in the corner of my eye.  I was COMPLETELY certain I was going to spew mediocre frittata everywhere mid-thruster, but I kept it down.  Note to self: at LEAST two hours from eggs to working out.

happy long weekend everyone.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

So That's Interesting

I haven't run in a long time.

I mean, a LONG time.  I plugged my Garmin in tonight and saw this:

Last recorded workout was March 17, 2011.  Last one before that was the Philly half from 2010.  Uh, yeah.

I whipped out the Garmin because I decided to run to the Art Museum steps, where my friends at Trap Door Athletics were hosting a "flash mob" workout.  The run there was easy - except for the part where there was a train on the tracks blocking my access to the Schuykill River path at Locust Street, so I had to run up and down the Walnut Street stairs...boooooooo.  Even with the detour up the stairs, I averaged an 8:39 pace there.

At the museum, we did a ten-minute AMRAP of stair runs, air squats and pushups.  I felt those 200lb back squats...HARD.  I squeezed in five rounds, then watched some strongass people do Grace (30 clean & jerks for time) with 60lb sandbags and took plenty of awkward pictures...


...before flipping the Garmin back on and running the 1.6ish miles home.  My run home was much slower, since my legs were REALLY tired, but even so:

That's an average pace of 8:51.  And I haven't run outside in WELL over a year, and I haven't run at all  pretty much since I joined CFCC.  That doesn't really suck, you know?


and it's not even peak week yet.

That's my PR face.  For when I back squat 200lbs for a double.  I Beyonce'd the second one a little bit, and definitely made some really fun faces (and noises - pretty sure I screamed "I'm GETTING THIS"), but yup.

rest of my log:

Saturday May 19: ran to the gym - 1.57 miles in 12:36 easy.  Apparently, not running more than 400m repeats EVER has been pretty good for my running abilities.  Gymnastics: muscle-up work.  I am getting this in a year for sure - maybe even in 2012, though that seems a little ambitious.  Dips are getting stronger and my jumping muscle-up is easy.  I did a couple attempts at kipping a muscle-up, and my biggest problem is that I slip out of false grip VERY easily - which makes the transition a billion times more difficult.  Metcon: 15 minute AMRAP 5 false grip pull ups, 5 push ups, 10 toes-through-rings.  Kipped the pull ups after round 2, and wasted a good minute or 90 seconds on busted rings.  5 rounds plus 4 pushups, as RX'd.

Sunday May 20: "Hope."  This year's variation on Fight Gone Bad.  3 rounds of 60 seconds each burpees/power snatch (75/55)/box jump (24/20)/thruster (75/55)/chest to bar pull ups/rest.  184, as RX'ed - better than last time but still an ass-whooping.  Stayed for Croga and got supple.

Monday May 21: this was my eighth day of training in a row without rest and I was feeling a little tired, know...gotta squat and stuff.  Back squat, peak of 2.  95-125-145-165-185-195-200.  BOOM.  Glad I went.  Metcon: 3 rounds of 60 seconds back squat (135/95), 60 seconds row for calories, 60 seconds rest.  Scores - 29/29/31, as RX'ed.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bad Habit more ways than one. 

When I first got my bike back in December, it was a little unsettling getting used to riding around.  I hadn't even been on a bike at all in the better part of 15 years, except for one quick ride to return a bike my family rented on vacation in Edisto Island back in 2009.  And I'd definitely never actively ridden in traffic before.  I had no sense of what it felt like to be passed by cars or how wide a space needed to be in order for me to ride through it.  And god, what I must have looked like the first time I had to figure out the best way to lock my bike to one of those little bike-posts-with-a-circle-on-it they have on the sidewalks.  Spatial reasoning, she is not my strong suit.

But I got used to things really quickly and within a few weeks or a month or so was zipping around - between stopped traffic and parked cars, on streets without a dedicated bike lane, all kinds of fancy shit that terrified the bejeezus out of me at first.  And during the last month, I've developed kiiiiiind of a bad habit: listening to music while I ride.

I know, I know.  I keep the volume down and make sure to be extra-attentive to what's going on around me.  I don't blow through red lights or stop signs, and I certainly don't commit PhillyGuy's number one bike annoyance of riding between lanes of moving traffic.  But still. 

The other day, when I was riding, the Offspring's "Bad Habit" came on.  Smash is a great album, and back when I actually ran regularly, about eight songs from that album were on regular rotation in my running mixes.  This particular song, though, will ALWAYS bring me back to the summer of 1994 or 1995 - I was at Camp, old enough to have a "boyfriend" and young enough to think it was fun and scandalous to curse.  I had a friend who I was convinced was the coolest person I'd ever meet -  he was short, incredibly witty and a badass drummer (and has, actually, since gone on to have a fairly successful music career out in California).  Like most 13 year olds in the mid-90s, my knowledge of the Offspring was pretty much limited to the song "Self Esteem."  He made me a copy of the full album (on a cassette tape!), and my love for the Offspring was born.

(Incidentally, he also introduced to me to Rush.  I have a bootleg copy of 2112 somewhere in a shoebox, I'm sure of it.)

So, yes.  Hearing "Bad Habit" now takes me back to being a newly-minted teenager in the grunge era, walking through the woods with my friends screaming "YOU STUPID DUMBSHIT GODDAMN MOTHERFUCKER!" at the top of our lungs.  Because we were fucking awesome.

And then yesterday, I'm on my way home from the gym and I hear "All-Star" by Smashmouth.  Come ON.  I cannot hear this song without instantly being transported to the late spring of 1999.  I was a junior in high school, had a license and my very first car (a 1991 two-door Nissan Sentra with power nothing and no tape deck, let alone a CD player), and remember blasting that song while I drove out to camp (yes, god, camp AGAIN) to pick up my materials for what I didn't realize at the time would be my very last summer working there.  I clearly remember having my windows down, leopard print fuzzy dice bobbing around, and wearing a really, truly awful black spaghetti-strap, slightly cropped tank top with some tribal-ish design on the front and super-wide-leg khaki cargo pants (think JNCOs).  You have to understand that I thought I was really, REALLY hot stuff then - I was different! and UNIQUE! and SO INTERESTING!  God, I miss the 90s sometimes.

Anyway, that's that.  I wish I hadn't gotten rid of my JNCOs - particularly the sweet Hypnotix with a 32" leg opening and a red and white swirl down the side - but it's more fun, on balance, being a grown-up.

Workout log:

Wednesday May 16: practice with kipping pullups. Stringing them together is my weak spot, but I'm working on it.  Pronated grip chest-to-bar strict pullups, peak of three - OY, these are tough. Light + mini bands; light band for two sets; light +2.5lbs.  Metcon: Four rounds of 2-minute AMRAP 4 box jumps (30/24"), 8 toes to bar, 12 american kettlebell swings (1.5/1pood). As RX'd, 1 round + 2 KBS, 1+7 T2B, 1+8T2B, 1+5T2B.  Stayed for gymnastics; worked on pressing up to a handstand from tucked, straddle and piked positions, and bridge work with kickovers.  I usually don't do two metcons in a day, but this looked fun: 5 rounds of 5 touch-and-go straddle handstands, 7 bridge ups, 9 piked v-ups.  8:40 as RX'ed.

Thursday May 17: clean & jerk. 53x2-73x2-88x1-98x1-108x1, pressed out-108x1-113x1, power cleaned but easy.  Felt much better than last week.  Metcon: 6 minute AMRAP of 60' bear crawl, 20 air squats.  I totally ate it TWICE during the bear crawl when my legs outran my hands.  Squats slow as shit.  5 rounds + 30' bear crawl.

Friday May 18: FRAN FRIDAYS.  Deadlift, peak of 3.  Didn't feel as strong this week - 135-165-195-215-235.  Attempted 255, but it felt REALLY heavy on my first pull so I called it at one.  Fran, 7:08 as RX'ed.

Gettin' better at this.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Things I Love

Thing I love, number one: recently, I've hit a new level of genius (and laziness): you can scramble eggs in the microwave.

They aren't quite as tasty as pan-cooked eggs (mostly, I suspect, because you don't add any cooking fat), but it is faster since there's no cleanup required.  So, I've been bringing a little tupperware to work with me, with a couple of eggs (three if I'm not adding meat OR two plus meat of choice) and some veggies (salsa is a really good "cheater" veggie...or a handful of spinach and cherry tomatoes...and lately, SO MUCH KIMCHI).  When I get there, I break the eggs into the tupperware with whatever meat I'm using, stir it all up with a fork, microwave for a minute and 15 seconds, stir, and nuke for a little longer to finish cooking - usually another 15-45 seconds, depending on the meat.  Top with veggies of choice, and it looks like this: 

Thing I love, number two: so this morning, I'm standing there in the office kitchen chatting with a coworker, who's watching me stir a couple of eggs in with leftover smoked pulled pork and a (particularly beautiful) chunk of brisket.  I work in a small office, so everyone has noticed my recent weight loss and several people keep asking me how I did it.  I usually say that I found out I was allergic to gluten, which isn't COMPLETELY true, but generally staves off any scrutiny about "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU'RE NOT EATING WHOLE GRAINS ARE YOU ON ATKINS UGH YOU ARE GOING TO DIE."  

Anyway, she's telling me how she needs to start eating better, and going to the gym, and she just can't seem to lose weight.  "It's not like I overeat!  I haven't eaten anything yet today, and in a little while I'm going to have a yogurt.  That's what I'll have today...a yogurt."

It makes me die a little bit inside to know how miserable and frustrated she must feel.  I hate having my eating choices criticized, so I generally don't do the same to others (PhillyGuy must be rolling his eyes through the back of his skull right now - but it's DIFFERENT because I LOVE YOU!), but I always feel like I have this big amazing secret I want to share with all the sad dieters existing on boiled chicken breast and Yoplait.

One of the things that's surprised me with my third BCCC is that I'm not actually getting quite as much protein as I'd assumed I was.  Focusing on gettin' SKRONGER means that I need to make sure I'm eating a sufficient amount of protein - at LEAST one gram per pound of lean body mass.  With some very rough estimating, I've been using 115lbs as my LBM - so I shoot for 120-150g of protein every day.  I figured that'd be a given.  It is NOT.

Which brings us to thing I love, number three: canned fish.

Sardines, tuna, smoked herring (what my grandfather used to call "kippered snacks"): whatever.  They don't need to be refrigerated or cooked or prepared, which means I can keep a couple tins stashed in my desk drawer.  It's a decent way to get a hit of protein - one little tin of sardines has 22g - and if you stick with a good brand, the ingredients are nice and clean.

( is a serving HALF of this little baby tin?)  So we'll see.  The past week has been rough, but I'm off antibiotics now and feeling MUCH better.  I'm still taking a probiotic supplement and eating kimchi and yogurt like it's my job, but hopefully my gut flora will rebuild themselves pretty quickly and I'll be back to normal. 


Tuesday May 15: some strict HSPU work - tripod to headstand and pressing up from the bottom. THAT SHIT IS NOT EASY.  Even though I can do a few sets of strict HSPUs with light and mini bands, and can kip them easily, I couldn't even press out of the bottom with an average (green) band.  Oy.  Strict overhead press, peak of three. 45-60-70-80-85x2, failed on the third.  This is a PR, since I could never get 85 up before, but it was incredibly ugly - I went up on my toes, arched the shit out of my back, etc.  These are still on my suck list.  Oh well.  Metcon: AMRAP 7 minutes, burpees.  I got 93 - quads seizing, sweat dripping off of my face, mascara annihilated, and beating my score from the open by nearly 20.

Monday, May 14, 2012


I've been sick.  It's been a long week.  My productivity at work wasn't great last week and I feel like I'm super behind.  I've eaten my weight in kimchi and some full-fat yogurt here and there, but the antibiotics are still kicking my ass (and my digestive system) a little bit.  We traveled up to visit the inlaws this weekend and my diet wasn't ideal - I ate far more dried apricots and almonds than was necessary, but I suppose in the grand scheme of things, gorging myself on dried fruit and nuts in a movie theater beats the many, MANY other things I could have gorged myself on. 

Pretty sweet theater, though.  Why doesn't Philly have one of these?

I don't have a ton to say, except that I want to curl up in bed with a bagel or maybe some nachos.  Instead I'm going to drink a buttload of water and do my best to force myself to be a workhorse today.

Training log:

Tuesday May 8: strict press, peak of three. 55-65-75-80-80.  Yep, tripled my prior (and honestly, probably current) max.  This is not my strongest lift, but my shoulders feel like they're a little stronger than they were.  Metcon, 5 rounds of AMRAP 60 seconds wallballs (20/14lbs), 60 seconds handstand pushups.  Half-assed the wallballs.  Total reps 87, as RX'ed.

Thursday May 10: clean & jerk. 63x2, 83x2, 103x2...and then I started pulling with my arms. 103x1, 108x1, 108x1...and then two sets of 5 clean pulls at 108lbs.  Woof.  15lbs under my max.  I went to a morning class and had to rush to get to work, so I wasn't sad to skip the metcon (50 bar facing burpees for time).

Friday May 11: deadlifts, peak of three. 145-185-215-235-255.  Fast and easy to 255; 255 was heavy but still fast enough out of the bottom that I was satisfied.  Fran (21-15-9 thrusters (95/65) and pull ups): 7:40 as RX'ed.  54 seconds slower than last week's time.  Like last time, broke the 15 thrusters up into 7 and 8 - but I failed THREE TIMES to squat clean the bar for my 8th rep, which ate up a bunch of time.  Post-Fran I felt awful - sick and nauseated - not sure if it was due to the workout or to the nasty shot of antibiotics I got in my arm earlier that day, but I had a coconut water and ginger Larabar afterwards and felt much better.

Monday, May 14: another morning class. back squats, peak of 3.  85-115-135-155-175 easy.  Could have gone up to 185, but I decided to skip it and planned to take two sets in today's metcon - 20 rep back squat.  Last time we did this I did 115 and 125 and remember it being fairly easy, so I planned to do 135 and 145.  Should have done the extra work set instead, because I wore a belt and FRIED my lower back on the 135.  Easy weight for my legs, though.