Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gearing Up

for another year, another set of goals and (in a few days, anyway) another CFCC BCCC.

Lots of good stuff to get me there, like this.

What is that, you might ask? Well, that's what happens when you poke a fork into this:

Braised lamb shanks from Make it Paleo. These were incredibly simple (sear meat, deposit into slow cooker with beef broth and herbs, come home to falling-off-the-bone lamb) and a great change-up for my otherwise very repetitive (though very delicious) diet.

Like my regular weekend breakfast of Whole Foods dry rubbed black forest bacon...

...which generates the fat for cooking my eggs AND an entire bunch of kale.

Mmmmm, greens.

And last night, we reinstituted Friday-night-steak-night for the first time in a good month:

Steaks cooked in our new ginormous Le Creuset cast iron pan, sweet potatoes and green beans roasted with a little bit of the most incredible olive oil on the planet, from Kasandrinos Imports. (GO BUY SOME NOW. I got a three-liter can for myself and a couple bottles to give away as Christmas presents. It's light and lemony and oh holy shit.)

I'm not going to recap 2011 too much, except to say that over the last six months, I've made some incredible investments in myself. In late June, I joined CFCC. Sometime in July, I started eating paleo, at least 80-85% of the time, and started to drop a bunch of body fat. In October, I did my first CFCC BCCC and really cleaned up my diet - and REALLY got some results.

As of October 1, these were my goals:

Sitting here on December 31, I'm so proud to say that I've achieved them all (I think). I'm down a whole lotta pounds (at least 15-20), several sizes (at least 2) and am much, MUCH stronger. I never do knee pushups anymore and I can do one or two REAL PULL UPS. (To be established with video evidence this morning.) This week, I deadlifted 250 pounds (a 15-lb PR) for two reps. Last night, I pressed 80lbs (a 5-lb PR) for 2 reps. I have yet to back squat 185, but I feel confident that I'm going to put that number up at the total in January.

Not much more to say but - WHAT NOW MOTHERFUCKER. I'm still formulating my goals for the next six months, but I know they involve a 300-lb deadlift, continuing to chip away at deadhang pull ups and learning to kip so I can do more metcons RXed, and (for the love of christ) mastering the pistol/single leg squat.

Time to get dressed and head to the 9am class. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Very iPhone Christmas

back to work on this post-Christmas Tuesday...

(note: I managed to WAY oversleep, by a good hour, to 7:12. between my scrambling and my husband being kind enough to drop me off at work, I made it in by 8. and then not a SOUL was to be found in the office besides me until at least 8:30. oh well. I gots things to do, you know?)

I hope everyone's holiday weekend was fabulous. Continuing my trend of never using my DSLR anymore, here's how ours went:

Packed up the pups and some gifts into the sleigh to head up to the in-laws' on Saturday morning.

We went to a seriously packed Christmas Eve mass. And PhillyGuy and I MIGHT have sat in a corner on folding chairs and played Words with Friends. MAYBE. After that, it was back to the inlaws' house for Christmas Eve dinner and gift exchanges.

PhillyGuy's awesome aunt and uncle got us this adorable wine and cheese picnic basket. I told him we were going to take it to the dog park.

Same awesome aunt and uncle also got his parents the most ginormous box ever. Cosmo DID NOT trust it. I think he thought there was a great dane in there.

After we did the extended family gift exchange, PhillyGuy and his sister drove his grandparents home (they live a few streets over) and spent a few extra minutes setting up their new TV in their bedroom. It was late at this point - they didn't make it back until almost midnight - and Cosmo, overwhelmed from the excitement, passed the f out in my lap.

(Those are my preferred Christmas pajama pants. I picked them up during my 2L year of law school and they've served me well for the last...ugh, SIX years. They replaced a pair of flannel pants with Christmas trees on them that I had for all of college. I am nothing if not a creature of habit.)

We were up late doing the immediate-family gift exchange - we didn't go to bed until about 1:30am, which is pretty much the latest I've been up in years. Everyone woke up super-slowly on Christmas morning and lazed around. Like Sophie with her braided bully stick.

PhillyGuy's parents were far too generous with us, as always, and we headed home yesterday afternoon with a new crockpot, TWO pieces of Le Creuset cookware, and a new flatscreen for our bedroom (!!!!!!!!).

He set up the new TV while I was at the gym last night, and we spent the rest of the evening in bed playing Words with Friends on our phones watching CSI: Miami on demand with the dogs curled up between us. It was the perfect way to end a weekend.

Fitness-and-health-related recap:

- I managed to avoid going off the rails completely over this holiday. I didn't work out Friday, Saturday or Sunday, which was not ideal - I had planned to do a quick workout at least once over the weekend. I figured 50 burpees for time would be fast, inconspicuous (well, if I did it in the basement, anyway) and require zero equipment...but then, well, I just didn't do it. Oh well.

- I didn't have enough jerky stores to bring some with me. I should have, but in a pinch, I got through with a couple bags of the gas station stuff (which is SO not as good as my favorite buffalo jerky) and a bag of salted cashews. That served as my breakfast and lunch on Saturday (everyone else ate pizza when we got in), and my lunch on Monday on our way home.

- When questioned by PhillyGuy's mom as to whether I was "still watching my carbs," I just told her I wasn't eating gluten anymore. Which is true, though not the whole story. I don't like being scrutinized about my diet, and I don't like to debate stuff like that with other people lest they think I'm scrutinizing them. So, no pizza or pasta or breaded tilapia or broccoli casserole with cream-of-something-soup and a couple sleeves of crushed saltines on top. LOTS of prime rib and roast pork and salad and antipasto. I did eat more cheese than I usually would, but PhillyGuy's uncle always has the hookup with this incredible sharp provolone and I am NOT going to avoid that.

- I DID, however, indulge in some christmas cookies. My usual favorites are the peanut butter ones with the hershey's kiss in the middle - I had two or three of those over the weekend, and frankly would have had more but this batch was a little bit dry. The real crack for me was these hairy ball looking cookies that his mom makes. They're basically like a Larabar, but with rice krispies mixed into the date and nut "dough," and rolled in shredded coconut. She said something about frying them in butter too, but I'm not sure if that was a joke. Regardless...I ate like eight of those. Over three days, I understand that 10 or 12 small-ish cookies is really not that much, in the grand scheme of things, but holy CRAP was I (really, AM I) feeling it.

- Monday afternoon we made it back to Philly in time for me to make the 5:30 class at CFCC. I knew this wasn't going to be my finest performance, but I was feeling so sluggish and blech that I really needed to do SOMETHING.

Back squats, peak of 2: 85-100-120-130-140-150-160. In retrospect, I would have started heavier, made bigger jumps and done fewer sets. 160 was stiiiiiiiiicky through the middle. This doesn't bode super well for my goal of 185 at the total, but we'll see. Metcon was half Mary (15 minute AMRAP of 5 handstand pushups, 10 pistols (5 each leg), 15 pull ups). 5 rounds + 6 SLS, subbing regular pushups, single leg squats to a box (some assisted, some not - "assisting" by grabbing a pole doesn't really "assist" me, so I just kind of suck at these no matter what), light band. My pull ups have improved SO MUCH. I can rep at least 10 with a light band now - this is leaps and bounds better than where I was at the beginning of October.

and now back to work....

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I mean - seriously.

I have made some ridiculous gains in the last three months.

So...I've lost about 20 pounds, give or take, since late summer - at least 15lbs since October 1. In short, I've gotten a whole lot LESS fat by eating a whole lot MORE fat, which is pretty damn good. That has a lot to do with things like, say, how much progress I've made on my pull ups.

But then there's my major lifts. Last Friday, we did strict presses for the first time in months, and I did my previous max - 75lbs - for four reps, and came really close to a fifth.

Today? Today, we deadlifted. My previous max was 235 - 230 at the total in August, and then during the next cycle, I hit 235 sumo. And today - in bare feet, since I forgot shoes - TODAY, I did 235 for three.

Yeah, I tripled my previous max. WHAT IS GOING ON?!?!?!

The next total is January 21. I'm shooting for 525 -- 55 pounds over my last total score of 470. I'm thinking deadlift 255, press 85, squat 185. I can do it.

Does this sweatshirt make me look strong?

Workout log:

Skipped Tuesday & Wednesday - had to work late.

Thursday: DEADLIIIIIIIIIIFTS. Peak set of three. 115-145-175-205-225-235. WHAT NOW BITCHES. Metcon: 3 rounds for time of 15 deadlifts (135/95), 30 air squats, 15 pullups. RX'ed for the deadlifts (and holy shit 95lbs felt light that first round), light band for pull ups. I was way slower than I needed to be on the air squats. 7:25.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

So Much

to post about (sort of). So little time (totally).

I have a bunch of great stuff backed up, like the amazing lamb shanks I made last week from "Make it Paleo," which I picked up when Bill and Hayley from the Primal Palate joined us at CFCC for our Halloween party/WOD.

And this weekend's Rittenhouse Run, where I did a bunch of double-unders and turkish get-ups in public, in 30-degree weather, while wearing red lululemon shorts and green knee socks (this is seriously a fabulous combination of a lot of the things that make people want to punch crossfitters, I think).

(Thanks to CFCC and Mike Mackintosh for the pic! Which I stole. Without permission.)

BUT since it is December 20 (HOLYCRAPITISDECEMBER20!!!!) and I have a lot (a LOT) of crap to finish this week, I will just leave you with some workout logging and promises to make more fun posts later on.

Saturday December 10 - little WOD named "faceplant" to get me moving before Mama PhillyGirl's wedding. AMRAP 5 minute row for calories, 4 minutes of squat cleans (155/105), 3 minutes handstand pushups, 2 minutes box jumps, 1 minute kettlebell swings (1.5/1p). Scaled with 95lb squat cleans (and WOW those are a WHOLE LOT HARDER after rowing like crazy for five minutes) and regular push ups (by the way, I rep these "for real" now!). Score: 138, though I suspect it may have been a bit higher since I found myself very uncertain of my rep count on at LEAST three different occasions during the workout.

Sunday December 11: intro to oly. Didn't drop a bar on my foot this time (woo!). Snatch: 53x2 (hey where's your pull?), 53x2 (what third pull?), 53F/53, 58x2 (OH, right, PULL UNDER), 58x2, 58x2 (landed super high, but whatever), 63x1 (muscled up, dumped at top), 63x1. Clean & jerk: focusing on that goddamn third pull and putting my feet where they belong in the jerk. 63x2, 73x2+2j, 73x2+2j, 83x2, 93x1, 98x1, 103x1. Some pull up work - 2 unassisted chins, ALMOST one unassisted pronated pull up.

Monday December 12: back squats, peak of 5. 75-85-105-115-125-135-145. Dear body: why do you insist on folding in half when you squat? Metcon: 2 rounds, AMRAP 2 minutes each of back squat (185/135), burpees to plate, row for calories. 11/28/25/4/26/26 = 120 total, as RX'ed.

Tuesday December 13: weighted pronated pull up, peak of 3. Last time I did this was over the summer and woo boy have I improved. At that point, peaked at average band + 7.5 (maybe 10). This time - average band, average + 7.5, light band, light + 7.5. Metcon: Angie (100 pull ups, 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, 100 squats). I did half-Angie using a light band and otherwise RX'ed. CRAPFEST, those push ups killed me - took me more than 8 minutes to complete the push ups, but glad I chose to do them legit. 20:34.

Thursday December 15: I am putting this in here because I am so sad. I've been looking SO FORWARD to deadlifting...but Wednesday night I gave Cosmo a rib bone and let's just say it was too rich for his blood. SO, instead of deadlifting for 5 on Thursday night, I washed my dog. And all of his bedding. And fed him pepto-bismol.

Friday December 16: Strict press, peak of 5. Um, I have gotten a WHOLE LOT STRONGER. Previous max, from the last CF Total back in August, was 75 - and that was a true max, since I failed at 80. This time: 45-55-65-70, and then 75 for FOUR. Yes, I did my previous max for a set of four, and came SO CLOSE to getting it for five. BAM. Metcon: 3 rounds for time of 250m row and short loop run, with option of subbing 30 double-unders for short loop run. I foolishly chose the double-unders since I haven't run on my foot since busting it. BAD choice. Would have been faster for me to walk the short loop. 11:05 (everyone else finished in like...6 minutes. and cheered my on during my last round of jumping rope. wherein I subbed 90 singles because I did not want to be there until midnight).

Saturday: couple pull ups, followed by a brutal partner WOD. 3 rounds of 50 wallballs (20/14), 50 overhead squats (95/65), and 50 pull ups. Each round for time, rest between rounds as needed. Mel and I went RX'ed, except that I used a light band for the pull ups. 10:38, 10:31, 10:38. Um, and during the third round I sort of dropped a barbell on my face. I...I just have no excuse.

Sunday: Rittenhouse Run. Will explain later.

Monday: some pre-class pull ups (3 or 4 with mixed grip, 1 pronated with some serious kicking). back squat, peak of 3. 85, 105, 125, 145, 155 (baaaaaaaah). 155 didn't count, because while I did get the weight up and down, I did that thing where I fold in half and then on the third one didn't get anywhere near the right depth. Metcon was fun: 5 rounds for time of 5 back squats with 50% of your peak set, 60' bear crawl, 10 russian kettlebell swings (2/1.5p). 6:20, as RX'ed (73 pounds), immediately collapsed on to the floor next to my bar afterwards.

And now I leave you with a picture of my dogs, sharing a dog bed that I set up next to me in the kitchen while I was working. They were great officemates.

Tell me a funny story.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Achievements and Not So Much

First of all...Mama PhillyGirl is getting married tomorrow. Yes. Tomorrow is my mother's wedding. I took today off so I could get last-minute errands done, and join my mom to get our nails done. Probably going to pick up a couple little splits of champagne on the way there so we can really class it up.

Anyway. I took advantage of my day off by hitting up CFCC for the 8am class, which I've never done before - weekday mornings are a completely different group than my usual 6:30/7:30pm bunch. Today was front squatting.

Today was disappointing.

My front squat max is 140. This week is "peak week," which means that everyone who's spent the last four weeks working on their lifts is PR'ing all over the place.

Not me. The fact is, between my workload and my foot injury, I just haven't been spending time in the gym, and it showed. My squats:

Yup, that's where I failed my prior max twice. TWICE. So frustrating. I understand why and all that, but frankly, it sucks and it's disheartening.

Metcon was a little more fun.

The focus was on being fast. At the beginning of class, I tested my 50 double-unders and it did not go fabulously - I did the first 20 or so unbroken, and then couldn't string together more than one or two after that. So, with 100 singles (completed mostly unbroken), 1 pood kettlebell swings (completed first round unbroken, second round 23/7), and 15 pull ups with light + mini bands (5, then 4, then doubles and singles), 3:43 and 4:17. That didn't suck as much.

Last night: handstand walking skill work. Meh. This is another source of frustration, since I'm good at handstands but for some reason find it difficult to get all the way up (TWSS) on the mat, so I never end up actually walking. Metcon: AMRAP 60 seconds each air squats, strict pull ups, row for calories. Scoring 1 point per squat, 1 point per pull up, 3 points per calorie. 50/11/20 = 121. That wasn't bad.

I figured I'd recap all of this as I sit here icing my foot and getting ready to get moving on my errands.

(If you're wondering, that would be an ice pack tied around my foot with an undershirt. It ain't fancy but it works.)

The fact is...I don't like not working out. My performance suffers and I get very frustrated very quickly. I'm frustrated that I've been working so much, and I'm frustrated that I hurt myself in such a silly way (really? bruised foot bones from warming up with an empty bar? and WHY am i not healed yet? the doctor said i'd be almost 100% better after a week or 10 days, and it's going on three weeks now).

And it takes away from my accomplishments. Like last night, when I was working on pull ups before class, and I got TWO unassisted, legit deadhang chin ups (palms in) and came SO, SO close to a legit deadhang pull up (palms out). This is huge progress for me, and yet - having to dump the bar twice at 140 this morning completely deflated it.

BAH. Time to get a little cleaned up and out the door. Back soonish, with pictures of my fabulous mom's wedding!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

um you guys

seriously, fuck work.

but anyway.

I don't have much of anything interesting to blog about. I've barely been making it to crossfit four times a week (which I do not like) and I'm eating the same thing day in and out (which I do really like).

I did try Rotisseur for lunch last week and was hooked.

Half chicken.

Kale chips.


Good stuff.

More crossfitting:

- Friday: front squats, peak of 2. Um...after nutts, this was not so pretty. 65-85-105-115-125F-125F. WHAT? my max is 140. Metcon: 3-6-9-12 of thrusters (95/65) and deadhang pull ups. 9:16 with light+mini bands.

- Saturday: Crossfit Endurance. I suck at rowing. I mean, really bad - I'm very uncoordinated. So, you know, I guess I need to do it a whole lot more until I don't suck at it. 1:00 on, 1:00 rest, 3:00 on, 2:00 rest, 4:00 on, 3:00 rest, 5:00 on, at 90% effort for max distance. Total: 3041 meters. Not awful, but plenty of room for improvement.

- Sunday: My foot is STILL not 100% healed and was pretty sore, so I opted out of intro to oly and did a bunch of jumping pull ups throughout the day on the door frame bar in my guest room. That goal I had of doing a bodyweight deadhang pull up by year end? Yeah, that's coming up FAST.

- Monday: couple sets of pull ups before class - 4x1 with mini band; 3 or 4x3 with light band. Squat cleans: 65x2 + jerk, 65x2+ push press, 65x2, 75x2 + push press, 85x1, 95x1, 95x1, 105x1. I am FINALLY starting to figure out the third pull. Metcon: Grace. 30 clean & jerks (or ground-to-overhead however) for time, 135/95. Last time we did this was on Halloween - I started that with 85lbs and dropped to 75 after failing my third rep three times. This time, I started with 75 and finished in 4:47 - more than THREE MINUTES faster than my prior time of 7:58. Um, time to start doing this one RXed, I think.

I missed the last two nights due to work and I'm feeling it. Life was a little easier when I was able to get to the gym six days a week - while that's kind of like "duh" - if you have enough free time to spend most of your evenings working out, of course that'll be less stressful than those nights you find yourself working until after ten - there's also a bit of a chicken-and-egg thing there, too. Would I be a little less frantic and working a little more efficiently if I took he time to sweat? Probably.


Friday, December 2, 2011

It's Christmastime Bitches

I LOVE decorating for Christmas.

And every year, I insist on doing it the weekend after Thanksgiving. It puts me in a good mood. Most years, I also insist that we watch "Love Actually" while we're decorating, but this year I was feeling the Muppets.

Our tree is nothing special - a prelit special from Target a few years ago - but it's easy.

This year, I added lights in the kitchen, on my new(ish) shelves.

I'm pretty sure at least half of our ornaments are dog-themed.

Even though the dogs are really not impressed by the tribute. all.

(She spent half the evening wigging out about the tree, the lights, the boxes of ornaments, etc., and then, when she had exhausted herself, laid on the floor looking depressed.)

Later in the week, I crockpotted a London broil from my cow share. Since London broil is a fairly lean cut of beef, I figured it would do well with a low-and-slow cooking time, but I was having a tough time trying to come up with just what to braise it in. After my initial google search turned up a disturbing number of "recipes" including ingredients like canned cream-of-something soup and packets of ranch dressing mix (or italian dressing mix or brown gravy mix), I just decided to wing it. I chose not to brown the meat first, covered it with salt, pepper and granulated garlic, and put it on top of a layer of sliced onions in the crockpot. I added a couple cups of beef broth, topped it with mushrooms, and called it good.

Hours later, it looked promising. My house smelled amazing and the meat fell apart to the touch. I paired it with some kale sauteed with a slice of bacon and eagerly dug in.

Meh. The flavors were delicious, but because the meat is so lean, it was kind of dry and stringy despite all the broth and juices. I think it either needs to be browned first OR to be cooked in something a little fattier. Or just not crockpotted at all. Le sigh.

Like I said last week, work has been insane. I went two solid weeks without my usual evening crossfit sessions, and it's been taking its toll on my sanity. Even though my foot is STILL not 100%, I'm getting back into it this week, slowly but surely:

- Tuesday: strict muscle up skill work. Practicing false grip hang; did about a billion false grip ring pull ups, starting with a light band and working up to two mini bands. Tried one mini band and just hung there like a fish, so there's that. Metcon: AMRAP, 3 rounds of 1 minute ring rows, 1 minute push ups, 1 minute double-unders. It's freaking hard to do double unders after two minutes of ring rows and push ups. 120 reps total (tried for the last 15 seconds to get JUST ONE MORE double under and couldn't).

- Thursday: hero WOD. "Nutts."

Things I cannot do with my bum foot: box jumps and weighted running (non-weighted running, too, for that matter). While I probably COULD have done the required wall balls and double-unders, my wise and logical coach advised me not to tempt fate with more jumping. As scaled for my foot: 10 push ups, 15 deadlifts at 165lbs, 25 russian kettlebell swings at 1.5 pood (24kg/52lbs), 50 pull ups (light+mini bands), 100 goblet squats with a 1pood (16kg/35lbs) kettlebell, row 1k. Fuck rowing. By the official 25 minute cap, I had rowed something like 450 meters, maybe less. To complete, 27:32. Worst part mentally was the goblet squats. Getting to 80 reps of something only to realize you still have 20 more? GAAAAAAH.

Tonight we're front squatting and I can't wait. This strength cycle has been really fun (lots of pulling and lots of fun squatting variations - front squats, overhead squats) and I'm so unhappy that I've had to miss so much of it. On the other hand, DTE tells me on I'm on track to bill over 2200 hours this year, so, you know, there's that.

(I read recently that trying to make partner at a law firm is like winning a pie eating contest where the prize is more pie.)

Happy Friday!