Monday, January 30, 2012

Burgers & Greens & Whining

First some pictures of something delicious, and then some whining.

I had been neglecting the 10ish pounds of ground beef that came with my cow share - it was a lot more exciting to make, say, a t-bone steak, or a roast, or fabulous green curry with beef cubes, than it is to start something with ground beef. Especially when you ALSO get 10ish pounds of pre-shaped burger patties, which are tremendously convenient.

BUT, rumblings have started about it being high time to get a second cow, and so I need to be more diligent about using up what I have so that I can re-up when everyone else does. So, the other day, I pulled out two pounds of ground beef in the morning before work, so that I'd be forced to make something with it when I got home that night.

I settled on burgers. First, I sauteed up an entire onion in some grassfed Icelandic butter.

While the onion cooked down, I seasoned the ground beef. There's no fat percentage on the cow share labels, but I'd guess it's around 80-20, maybe 85-15.

My old go-to burger recipe called for soy sauce and brown sugar...neither of which are among my current nutritional choices. So, I scoured my favorite new cookbook...

...and used the spices from their recipe for buffalo burgers. I tried to keep the patties relatively small, and I ended up with more than ten burgers. I cooked them in the same pan I sauteed the onions in, after taking out the onions. Didn't need to add any extra fat - the first round of burgers may stick a tiny bit at first, but they'll release more than enough fat to cook in without an issue.

I set the burgers aside to rest while I sauteed collard greens in the drippings.

Tasty. Two pounds of beef yielded dinner for PhillyGuy and I, plus three or four leftover patties for lunches and dinners that week.

And now, as promised, the whining.

This round of the CFCC BCCC is a little draining. It was discouraging to not perform to my expectations at the Total last weekend, and I reassured myself by trying to focus on the fact that I'm going to cut the last bit of body fat. However, as I'm entering my fourth week of black coffee, no dark chocolate, weekday salads without that handful of bacon bits or avocado, and rationing my sweet potatoes to long metcon's getting a little old. Other than the occasional 30 minutes of cravings here and there, I haven't felt too deprived, and it hasn't been HARD...but I'm struggling because I'm not seeing the results I feel that I should be seeing.

Part of this is because I had so much success with the first challenge. Fat seemed to just melt off - the scale consistently went down, and by the end of the challenge I had lost two inches off of my waist. Two inches! In 30 days! The first challenge also wasn't as restrictive for the entire time. I had chocolate a few times a week for the first two weeks and had cream in my coffee until the last ten days.

This time around, I'm just not seeing that same progress - and I understand that it's a different ballgame to lose pure "vanity pounds." This time, the scale's just not moving. I'm consistently within a 151-152 pound range, having started the challenge at (by my scale) 153.X. I don't actually care what I weigh, but I'm definitely not putting on muscle mass (as evidenced by my inability to PR two of my three lifts at the total), and I still have enough body fat that the scale should go down as I lean out. I took a quick measurement of my waist last night and I think I've gone down about a half inch - but I'm not sure, since I didn't take my first set of measurements.

All this to say - if I'm going to keep NOT eating that bar of Green & Black's 85% dark that's been sitting in my pantry, I want to see something from it. I try to keep reminding myself that my bodyweight stuff is getting stronger - pull ups continue to improve and all that - but damnit, if I can't have cream in my coffee 5 days out of the week, I'd really like to be a size 0 for my troubles.

Whining over. Workout recaps:

Monday, 1/23: Squat Elizabeth. 21-15-9 squat cleans (135/95), ring dips. No option to scale dips with a band - if not RX'ed on ring dips, sub push ups. 19:06 with RX'ed weight and pushups. My squat cleans continue to improve, in that I was able to actually squat clean most of these instead of power cleaning and doing a front squat, which is SO.MUCH.HARDER.

Tuesday, 1/24: strict muscle up work. False grip ring pull ups with mini band; close w/o band but still not there. Metcon: 10 rounds for time, 1 muscle up/5 handstand pushups/10 pistols/15 unbroken double-unders. 25:05 with strict pull up (bodyweight), inverted pushups from a box, single leg squats to box, 15 unbroken DU's. Shit, this was hard.

Wednesday, 1/25: intro to oly. Spent the entire 90 minutes working on my snatch (FNARR FNARR, as Modern Paleo Warfare would say). Lots of drills, followed by sets of 2-3 at 53 and 60lbs. Snatched from blocks at 53 and 63lbs. Drilled the overhead squat at 53-73lbs. Not my strongest performance ever.

Thursday, 1/26: split jerk, singles. 45x3 to warm up, then 65-80-95-115F (oops, this was supposed to be 105)-105. 2lb PR from prior max of 103. Metcon: 10 handstand pushups, 20 pull ups, 30 kettlebell snatches (1.5/1pood), 40 wallballs (10'/8'). Option was to RX everything or scale everything - I don't do HSPU's yet so I chose to scale. 6:25 with inverted pushups from a box, pull ups with mini band, American kettlebell swings and regular wallballs. I went through the first three movements very quickly and then took the wallballs unnecessarily slow.

Sunday, 1/29: gymnastics followed by intro to oly. Back extension rolls to plank; bridge work; handstand limber. Skipped metcon to save my shoulders for oly. Snatch drills; back and overhead squatting; snatch balance; hang snatch. Snatched from boxes the entire time and worked with kilograms for most of class. 53lbs/24kg up to 66.2lbs/30.2kg. Clean, also in kilograms: 66.2lbs/30.2kg up to 45kg/99lbs for doubles, then singles at 49kg/108lbs, 51kg/112.4lbs (2.4lb PR over prior max of 110 and VERY easy). I tried 55kg (121.25lbs) three times and was SO CLOSE - first shot my elbows were too slow; second try I got under it, but got stuck at the bottom; third try my jump was huge and I should have had it, but those slow elbows get me. Next time I'll get this.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Little Disappointed

PR'ed my back squat and my overall total.

Hit my current PR for the press.

Not even close to PRing my deadlift.

187.4/245/80 for a total of 512.4.

Primary goals were 185/275/85 for a total of 545. My secondary deadlift goal was 260, for a total of 530.

But let's rewind a little bit. I woke up around 7:45 to plenty of snow and some ongoing freezing rain, which Cosmo and Sophie were not happy about. My lifting slot started at 10:30, so I decided not to eat breakfast, which is standard for my morning workouts. After standing around waiting for.e.ver for my dogs to pee, I came back in, had some coffee with cream (! THIS IS SO GOOD) and starting planning out my outfit.

(Not joking. I wanted to be colorful, and I have so many options. Eventually I settled on a bright blue t-shirt, neon pink socks and headband, and my new orange chucks.)

PhillyGuy came with me, so I have some pictures of myself looking (moderately) strong. When we got there, I was delighted to see Maddox keeping warm.

My glutes and hamstrings were ridiculously sore from Thursday's dynamic lunges, so I spent a ton of time with a foam roller and a lacrosse ball during my warmup. When 10:30 rolled around, we headed downstairs to warm up for the back squat.

Taking a warmup set with the bar.

I'm not completely sure where my warmups ended and my first attempts started - mainly because we were working with kilos and I had zero idea what was on the bar at any given time. I know I made a jump from about 170lbs to 187, bottomed out and failed - and then, when I tried to stand the bar up, it slipped off of my shoulders and right into Tim's hands. Um...oops. Sorry buddy.

At Tim's suggestion, I added a belt, which I've never used before, and backed off for my next attempts. I hit a couple more heavier weights (seriously, NO idea) before attempting 85kg again - or 187.39 pounds.

Want to know what my PR face looks like?

Yeah buddy.

I pulled it off - and it wasn't too slow, either. I was REALLY happy with this, since my squat was what I was most unsure of. After PRing my back squat by 12.4lbs, we headed back upstairs to warm up for the deadlift.

Right about here is where my day started heading downhill. I warmed up with a few reps - 115, 165, 195, 225. Things were feeling good, and I was planning to open with 260lbs (this would be a PR, but I figured it was a given, based on how smooth it felt when I doubled 250 a couple weeks ago), then jump to 270 and 275. So, based on that, I went to take my last warmup lift at 250.

In case you're wondering, THAT is what it looks like when I can't get 250lbs off of the floor to warm up.

And THIS is my "well, fuck, now what" face, as I watched Dorcus take 4-something and tried to figure out what I was going to do.

I decided to open at 245. And I couldn't move it. Opening with a fail is really not good for my attitude. Liz and I chatted briefly - I could NOT figure out what the crap was wrong with me and why I couldn't move a weight I'd pulled for three before. Maybe the soreness from the lunges affected me more than I initially thought?

"Are you cutting weight right now?" she asked.

....oh. "yeah. Yeah, I am." Well, that'll do it. So, I took my next rep at 235 so I'd at least put up something I knew I could do.

And then took my third and final attempt at 245.

245, locked out and totally nonplussed.

Disappointed, I went over to PhillyGuy, who decided we should take a picture of the mini-tear over my callus that popped up while moving 1.65x my bodyweight. (Not 1.82x, like I planned.)

From there, it was time to buck up and warm up for the press.

I took my first attempt around 80lbs - my PR and a given.

I took the next two attempts at 84lbs, both of which were fails. I thought nothing was going to frustrate me more than the deadlift - until I got home and saw this picture of my second attempt.


Oh well. So, it wasn't my A+ goal of 545, and it wasn't my secondary "safe" goal of 525, but 512.4 is not too shabby - it's still a PR of 42.4lbs over September's total of 470. And I'm happy to be leaning out, because while my nutrition these past few weeks hasn't been great for my deadlift, it's been killer for my pull ups.

So, I've got plenty of time to finish out this BCCC and make a hard push to drop the last of my body fat so I'm at a happy, sustainable level, and then turn my focus back to my performance. I still have five and a half months to meet my next big set of goals (deadlift 300, back squat 200).

Friday, January 20, 2012

More Beastmode

Things that prove that I am awesome:

- Last weekend, I hit up Sammy's gymnastics skills class to spend some time refining my kip and learning to string kips together. I sort of succeeded - I can kip with ease, and I know what I need to do to string them together. I definitely need to practice, but soon I'll be Franning with the best of them (or, to be more accurate, I'll be Franning with the worst of those who can complete Fran RX'ed, but whatever - huuuuuge improvement over Franning with the worst of them who could NOT go RX'ed, which is where I started just a few short months ago).

This is less awesome, but still one of those weird things that crossfitters tend to brag about, so I feel like I should save this for posterity:

My first hand tear, which I got while practicing kips. I lost my grip with my left hand, which led to me pivoting around on my right hand. And ripping up a big fat chunk of callus while I was at it. It's pretty much healed now.

- Last night, we did weighted chin-ups (supinated grip). For the first time ever during a class, I (i) did an unassisted deadhang pull up, and (ii) did unassisted deadhang WEIGHTED pull ups. I am embarrassingly proud of that little 5lb change plate hanging from my weight belt. BAM. REMEMBER THAT TIME THAT I SUCKED AT PULLUPS?

- I found these convenient containers that come with tiny cups that snap into the lid. This means I can have my favorite olive-oil-rice-vinegar combo on my lunch salads without worrying about sogginess.



I figure between my hand tear and orange chucks, I am GUARANTEED to put up some big numbers at tomorrow's total.

Recent workouts:

Saturday, 1/14 - Gymnastics skillwork only. Worked on kipping pull ups with great success. Had planned to stay for fight gone bad right afterwards, but frankly, I was tired, not feeling so great, had a party to go to in AC and just wasn't feeling it, so I used my torn hand as an excuse and headed home.

Sunday, 1/15 - Gymnastics. Kipping handstand pushups and skin-the-cats. I'm getting much more stable in doing headstands (starting from the floor, yoga-style, as opposed to kicking up to handstands from a standing position), and much stronger in punching up with my hips. Skin-the-cats felt SUPER weird at first, but got more comfortable after a few reps. Kept the rings low so I could land on my feet at the back. Metcon - AMRAP 10 minutes, 3 kipping HSPUs, 3 skin-the-cats, 5 tuck jumps. HSPU to plank position; 5 rounds + 4 HSPU attempts (couldn't get my feet up, let alone back down and out).

Monday, 1/16 - Back squatting for an easy peak of 3. 95 - 125 (not low enough on the first 2) - 135 - 145 - 155. It's feeling much smoother and easier to triple 155, so I'm hopeful for my performance this weekend. Metcon - tabata box jumps (24/20). 67 total, plus 3 or 4 no-reps where my hips didn't get fully extended at the top.

Tuesday 1/17 - Strict press, easy peak of 3. 45-55-65-70 (very slow)-75 (ugly - went up on toes on my third rep). Felt kind of slow and grindy, but meh. Metcon: 21-15-9 kettlebell snatch (1.5/1 pood), pull ups. Subbed russian swings because snatching really irritated my hand rip. even taped up. With mini band, 9:38. Couldn't even remotely rep pull ups after the first five or so. Grip: annihilated.

Thursday 1/19 - Weighted supinated grip pull ups, easy peak of 1. Mini band - micro mini band (seriously, that thing is pointless) - bodyweight - +2.5 - +5. SO HAPPY with this. Metcon: AMRAP 10 minutes, 60 sec renegade rows, 60 second dynamic lunges (out and back in to starting point without moving your non-lunging foot). With 12kg kettlebells for the rows and a 25lb bumper plate for the lungers, 204 total...I think. It might have been 214 or 224, because I THINK I counted the 140s and the 160s twice (like...when I got to 149 reps I think I started back over at 140...). I really suck at counting reps.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Brief Whining, No Pictures

you've been warned.

Today is day 5 of the current CFCC BCCC. After today, I have 25 more days to go. I know - intellectually, at least - that it will fly by, that I will be strict and consistent, and that on day 31 (or whenever I measure and weigh in), I will be really fucking happy about it.


Today is day 5. And on day 5, I am not happy. And it's ridiculous - this is only day three of no cream in my coffee, for chrissake. (Somewhat coincidentally, it IS day 5 of no chocolate.) But...gah. My little Sophie has been sick since Saturday - I suspect it might be because I gave her a piece of fat off of the edge of my t-bone steak, which may or may not have wreaked havoc on her otherwise-cooperative little puppy digestive system. Anyway, last night she woke me up at 12:30, 4:30 and 5:45 to go outside. Poor girl. And poor me, because I was really feeling it when I got up for good that third time.

Standing there in my kitchen just before 6am, ALL I wanted was cream in my coffee. I had no interest in drinking it black. I was miserable and bitter about it (not to mention miserable and bitter about the fact that I am a much lighter sleeper than PhillyGuy, who snored right through all of Sophie's emergencies - I woke him up and sent him out with her the first time, but it just felt mean). Not surprisingly, actually DRINKING the black coffee made me somewhat less miserable and bitter...especially when I added some cinnamon and nutmeg.

An hour and a half later (grumble), when I was making my breakfast, I opened my pantry to find TWO precious, unopened chocolate bars staring me in the face. One is my usual favorite - Green & Black's 85% - and the other is a new one to try - Theo's 70% with mint. I'm not throwing them away, since that's about $14 worth of chocolate, but GOD am I bitter that I can't have them.

BAH. This too shall pass (and quickly, since a good 95% of the time I feel perfectly content without these little indulgences). Eyes on the prize. Eyes on the prize. Eyes on the prize, dammit.


Wednesday, off - I had planned on going to class to push cars (!!!) but didn't feel comfortable leaving Sophie stuck in her crate with her questionable tummy any longer than I needed to. Did a couple pull ups and called this one a night on the couch.

Thursday - back squat. Yes, again - this time for a peak of one, so heavier than Monday's set of three, without maxing. 85x3 to warm up, and then 105-125-145-160-170. I was still a little sore from Dae Han, but felt pretty strong. Feeling better about my goals for the total next weekend. Metcon was "Diane" - 21-15-9 of deadlifts (225/185) and handstand pushups, with a 10:00 cap. If it weren't for the time cap, I'd have done the RX'ed weight, but I knew my pushups would be slow and I wanted to finish the workout. 8:00 even, with 155lbs/regular push ups. Repped the first ten or so deadlifts and then started dropping them from the top to keep my pace consistent.

training note...I hope we focus on HSPU's soon, because I'd like to start doing at least partial ROM in metcons. I feel like it might be easier for me to do partial ROM HSPU's than regular push ups. I'm much stronger at pushups than I was six months ago - I'm happy that I managed to rep out ten to start with, and that I only failed two pushups in this metcon, both in the last round - this is a huge leap from when I first started and had to do them on my knees.

Whining over. Back to work with me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lazy Chicken and Some Goals

First, the lazy chicken.

This is really, really lazy. Everything you need:

Chicken thighs (that's 4.5 pounds or so - about 15 thighs)
Herbs de Provence
Yellow onion (this would be really good with a Vidalia, too, but this is what I had around)
Package of dried mushrooms - I like shiitake for the smoky, bacon-ish flavor, but you could use whatever
Couple cloves of garlic
Unpictured kosher salt

...that's it.

Liberally coat your chicken thighs with herbs de provence and kosher salt. Use lots of seasoning and a decent amount of salt, and use your hands to really get in there and make sure the chicken is coated thoroughly and evenly.

Smash a few cloves of garlic and peel off the skin - I used four or five.

Slice onion into rings and arrange in a single layer on bottom of crockpot. Dump mushrooms over onions and toss in garlic cloves. Pour in chicken. Cook on low for 4.5 hours (yes, that's all).

And that's it. No liquid - the chicken generates more than enough juice by itself. If I had skin-on, bone-in thighs, I'd probably have browned the skin first, but I didn' it was a season-and-crockpot meal. This would be a great candidate for something to make in the morning before work, IF you have a crockpot that will shut off after 4.5 hours - it's really easy to overcook chicken and dry it out.

When there were about 15 minutes left on the chicken, I tore up some collard greens and cooked them with a slice of bacon, kosher salt and pepper.

Lazy chicken, completed:

Easy, lazy, and very tasty with collards on the side.

And with nothing on the side. I picked at that chicken for an entire week, between lunches at work and extra-lazy dinners (sensing a theme here?).

So, this past Monday started another CFCC BCCC. This time around, my goals are to be stricter with my eating to really lean out, and then to (probably through trial and error) figure out what I need to eat in order to maintain that level of body composition.

Ideally, I would lose enough fat to drop at least one more size and about an inch and a half more off of my waist. At that point, I think I'd be satisfied, and it would be something I could sustain without being incredibly restrictive all the time.

Performance-wise, my goals for this 30 days are to continue to improve my deadhang pull ups, to master kipping pull ups, and work on bodyweight skills (pistols, push ups, handstand push ups). Leaning out is definitely going to help with this. Longer term goals are still a 300lb deadlift (or 2x bodyweight, which may come first if I keep dropping weight).

Tuesday night I had my first meeting with Erin to review my food log and discuss my goals. She warned me - and I in turn warned my husband - that I was in for a cranky 30 days. This week's dietary changes: no nuts (not a big deal at all), no chocolate (gasp! not even on weekends!), no cream in my coffee (except on Saturday and Sunday mornings...SUPER GASP!), and experiment with making bone broth and substituting that for my usual afternoon snack of buffalo jerky (iiiiinteresting). I'm also under strict orders to be IN BED by 10pm, which is going to be a challenge, since at least three nights a week I'm at CFCC until 8:45 or so - right now I'm usually home by 9, walk the dogs, make a quick dinner, play with my pups and then in the shower by 10, asleep by 10:30. We'll see how this goes.

After our meeting, I stuck around for the 7:30 class. Foolishly. On the plus side...I climbed a rope (not all the way to the top, but a good 10 feet or more). That was an achievement. And then we did a hero WOD that I'd never heard of before - "Dae Han." 3 rounds for time of 800 meter run with a plate (45/25), three 15' rope climbs, 12 thrusters (135/95) - with a 25 minute cap. I scaled the rope climbs to 15 strict pull ups with a light band and used 65 pounds for the thrusters - in retrospect, they didn't feel too tough and I probably should have done 75 or 85.

So how did it go? Well, let me tell you something about running with a bumper plate. There's no good way to hold it. As soon as we started the run - within 15 seconds - we were all like "AW CRAP." I started with it behind my head, over my upper back, but it kept hitting me in the back of the head. I yelled "THIS IS STUPID" before switching it to over my chest...and then tucked under my arm...and then back to my back...repeat ad nauseum. Or for the six minutes or whatever it took me to run 800 meters. The pull ups were slow, but legit, and the thrusters were pretty easy - I was able to do 4 or 5 at a time without any issue. But that run. OH, that run. 2 rounds in 21:57. I could have gotten another 400m run in but I just did NOT want to.

My back is killing me tonight from those runs (or awkward shuffles, whatever). Time for a little more foam rolling, shower and then my 10pm bedtime.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Fran is pretty much THE crossfit baseline workout. 21-15-9, barbell thrusters/pull ups. RXed weight for women is 65lbs, for men it's 95. Ridiculous people do this in under three minutes. Really jacked people do it in under 5. Most others are somewhere in the 6-11 minute range, with appropriate scaling and all that jazz.

Before tonight, I had never done Fran. I've done Sandy Fran, which was an unmitigated disaster (over 13 minutes with an average band and a 40lb sandbag). I've done Heavy Fran, which was...well..heavy (15-12-9 of thrusters (135/95) and deadhang pull ups (+45 for men, bodyweight for women).

Since the last time we did any variation of the deadly thruster/pull up combo, I have been working REALLY hard on my pull ups. Every single day, I do at least one or two pull ups on my guest room closet door mounted bar. At first, all I could do were jumping pull ups. They got easier and easier, and I started messing around with my grip. Now, chin ups are almost easy, and I can do a couple pronated grip pull ups. And that, my friends, brings us to today's Franathon.

This may not be the most flattering picture anyone's ever taken of me, but it's fast becoming one of my favorites. In my last couple reps of thrusters:


10:24, 65lbs/mini band. MINI BAND. That's over three minutes off of my Sandy Fran time - and I used a substantially stronger band for Sandy Fran. I am so happy with this. Fran, you and I are going RX'ed next time. Promise.

Post-Fran, I was ravenous. (OK, PRE-Fran I was ravenous. The last of my BCAAs staved off the "I'm going to barf" hunger headache, but that shit is NOT food.) Observe the laziest dinner ever: 4 ounces of smoked salmon and an entire avocado (halved and sprinkled with kosher salt and pepper) over a "salad" comprised of the last of my container of baby spinach, a bunch of grape tomatoes, a little handful of crumbled bacon, delicious olive oil, rice vinegar and granulated garlic. Served right in the container, so as not to dirty a dish.

And after I inhaled this and I was still hungry, I ate a leftover pork rib. CFCC BCCC, day one down.

Yesterday's stuff: gymnastics (! hooray), followed by intro to oly (frustrating!). Gymnastics was freestanding handstand practice followed by iron cross ring work. I'm getting much better at ring support, and was able to move my hands out the tiiiiiniest bit. Skipped the metcon to conserve energy for oly, where I spent the entire hour and a half working on my snatch. (I don't even have the energy to make a joke there, because the third pull of the snatch is such a source of frustration for me. it's my latest nemesis.) Couple sets at 53lbs, a whole bunch of sets at 63lbs, and then a lot of drills (snatching from blocks and snatch balance) with 53lbs.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cow Share Beef Green Curry

Back in October, a bunch of us at the gym split a cow.

No, really. I thought I posted about it, but I skimmed my posts and I guess not - but there's not really much to it. A fellow CFCC'er organized a cow share through Philly CowShare. For just under $350, I got an eighth of a cow - about 50 pounds of beef total. I'd estimate half of it is ground beef, whether in patties or in one-pound blocks. The rest of it is a split between roasts, steaks, and stew meat.

I will definitely do this again. I was worried initially about freezer space, but once I got rid of a lot of the freezer-burned shit I had in there (ancient steam-in-bag veggies, a sad caving-in box of Dr. Praeger's veggie burgers (incidentally, as much as I WANTED to like those, they were really kind of gross and soggy no matter what I did to them), a Costco-size bag of bagel thins from god knows when), I had more than enough room for everything and then some.

But the best part is that it's forced me to have a lot more variety in my diet. Which is not something that comes easily to me.

The other night, I took advantage of something I'd normally never have - beef cubes - and made something I'd never made before - Thai green curry.

I got the inspiration from Modern Paleo Warfare (by the way, if you don't read him, you absolutely need to). Since I had pretty much none of the necessary ingredients on hand, I perused a few other sources (Nom Nom Paleo and good old Google) and added a few things to my shopping list.

Not all of this is new to me - fish sauce has been a pantry staple for me since the first time I went to Vietnam (the restaurant, not the country) about five years ago, and I've been using coconut oil since sometime in October. However, this the first time I've ever bought coconut milk, and I recently swapped out my dusty bottle of soy sauce for this new, shiny bottle of coconut aminos. And, of course, the star of the show: green curry paste.

And the fresh stuff: about a pound of cow share beef cubes, red pepper, snow peas, and (lazy) pre-shredded cabbage.

This is only the third or fourth time I've had the chance to use my beautiful Le Creuset 5.5 quart dutch oven, but holy crap do I ever love this thing. I snagged it at the Le Creuset outlet, and it's worth every penny of the seriously-reduced price (about $130, I think).

I browned the beef in coconut oil with some salt and pepper.

Once the meat was browned, I put it aside and added a tiny bit more coconut oil to the bottom of the pot. I fried a couple tablespoons of green curry paste in the coconut oil and beef drippings for a couple minutes ("until fragrant" - or at least until MORE fragrant, since I think this stuff's pretty fragrant to begin with). I added the coconut milk and whisked thoroughly until it was completely combined, with no chunks of cream or curry paste, before adding the fish sauce and coconut aminos.

Once the sauce was mixed, I added the veggies (including half an onion that's not pictured), except for the cabbage, and the beef back to the pot.

I combined everything well and ended up adding about half a can's worth of beef broth so that there was sufficient sauce to cover. Next time, I'd probably get a second can of coconut milk and just make more. I brought the entire thing to a boil before covering and popping into the oven for an hour at 300 degrees.

When there was about ten minutes left, I pulled the curry out, dumped in the cabbage, and put it back into the oven. The remaining time was enough to soften the cabbage without it getting mushy.

Dinner is served.

This shit was BANGIN'. And so, so easy. I ate two bowls, which was just about half the batch. I just got done eating another bowl of leftovers for lunch, and let me tell you, it (like most soups/stews/chilies) just gets better and better as it sits.

Recent workouts: Not too much.

As I mentioned, Wednesday's classes were cancelled for a nutrition seminar. Thursday my office was incredibly stuffy, and I was just dragging and exhausted. I ended up deciding to skip deadlift night (!! my favorite!) in favor of this curry, which was clearly a good choice.

Friday, January 6: Strict press, peak of one. 45x3 - 55x1 - 65x - 70x1 - 75x1 - 80x1 - 85F. So frustrating, because 80 goes up without TOO much trouble, and then 85 I just can't get past my nose. GAH. Still shooting for this at the total. Metcon was 21-15-9 American kettlebell swings (1.5/1pood) and burpees. This flew by, though I wish my burpees were a little faster. 4:52 as RX'ed.

Saturday, January 7: some skill work on the squat clean and the ab wheel rollout. I was lucky and snagged one of the good ab wheels - with actual handles, not just a bunch of electrical tape wrapped around a thin piece of metal. Metcon - 21-15-9 squat clean (135)/ab wheel rollouts. I used 85pounds, which blew. Or, to be more specific, my oly technique blows. Since I have SO. MUCH. TROUBLE. pulling under the bar, I ended up power cleaning and then doing a front squat...which is pretty much twice the work. So my 21 cleans took for-freaking-ever - I was the last one still going. I decided to switch to power cleans for the 15/9 rounds, which I (as usual) now think was stupid. I should have just finished what I started, even if it meant being the last one moving. Oh well. At least I can do ab wheel rollouts now, which I couldn't do without band assistance before. Anyway - 16:33.

Got measured in this afternoon for the next round of the BCCC. While my weight was back up a couple pounds (to 157.4 from my recent low of about 152), I'm very proud to say that my waist is down another inch from the end of the last BCCC, and three inches total from October 1. THREE GODDAMN INCHES. DO YOU HEAR ME, PEOPLE? EAT PALEO!

...and on that note I'm off to get ready for a birthday dinner tonight. Happy weekend! And do yourself a favor and MAKE SOME CURRY.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Too Cold to Bike

I don't know how I managed not to mention this on here, but last month - after five and a half years of living in the city - I FINALLY got a bike.

(Pictured: the bigass Victoria's Secret freebie bag my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas two years ago, since it came for free with the multiple pairs of sweatpants she bought me. It's the best grocery bag I have.)

Recently, I'd started to feel like my digs in G-Ho were just too freaking far from everything. I work at 18th and Market, I work out at 13th and Locust, I go to the grocery store at 9th and South. You get the picture. The worst was rushing out the door from work around 6pm to rush into the house, walk the dogs, rush them back upstairs, rush to change my clothes, rush to get them fed and back into their crates so I could rush right back out and make the 7:30 class at CFCC...and then either walk home (getting me in around 9pm) or cab it home (getting me home closer to 8:45, but at $10 a pop).

This is life-changing. I don't love the hot pink handlebars, but whatever. At first, it was a little weird getting used to riding a bike regularly for the first time since I was about twelve. For real, on my first ride, I had an overwhelming sensation that I was supposed to be wearing a seatbelt (um...what?). And it was a little freaky to get used to being passed by cars. But I got accustomed to it pretty quickly, and WOOHOO! It no longer takes me 25 or 30 minutes to walk from home to CFCC, or 20 minutes to walk to work.

However, there are certain things I'm still learning. Like my regular winter gloves, which do a great job of blocking the wind, don't really do a great job of actually keeping my fingers warm when I can't put my hands in my pockets. Last night, when it was about 25 degrees, I thought my fingers were going to fall off on my ride home. Note to self: buy puffy gloves for bike riding, even if you look like an asshole.

So, when I woke up to walk the dogs this morning and saw that it was 14 degrees, with a zero degree wind chill, I made a very quick and easy decision NOT to ride my bike today. And to go out at lunch and buy some puffy gloves.

Cosmo was not pleased with his morning walk in the cold, and immediately jumped back into bed when we came back in.

Recent workouts:

- Sunday, January 1: couple of pronated-grip jumping pull ups in my guest room. My forearms and elbows were REALLY sore from Saturday's toes-to-bar/clean & jerk extravaganza, so these HURT.

- Monday, January 2: one pronated-grip guest room pull up to start the day. Elbows still sore, so I left it alone after that. I went to the 4:30 class at CFCC, which was a fun change from my usual late evening sessions. Started with some box jumps - Amber and I made it to 30", which I'm happy with. Would have liked to get higher, but mentally I have issues jumping onto a single plate - the surface seems too small, so I get all weirded out. Back squats for a peak of 1: 85x3, 115x2, 135x2, 155x1, 175x1, 180F. Got stuck just out of the bottom. I suspect I may need to push harder. Still sticking with my goal of 185 for the total in a couple weeks. Metcon was really embarrassing. 3 rounds for time of 15 box jumps (24/20), 30 double unders. 11:43. FAAAAAAAARK. I don't know what happened to my double-unders - I had gotten pretty good at them (easily able to do 10-20 unbroken), but the last couple of times we've done them in a metcon, I've barely been able to eke out one or two at a time. I was incredibly frustrated with this one, but whatever - I finished it.

- Tuesday, January 3: weighted pull ups! light band x3 to warm up, followed by singles: light band + 5lbs, LB+7.5, LB+10; mini band; MB+2.5; MB+5, MB+7.5, MB+10. I sort of regret not just going for a bodyweight one at the end, but since I can JUST manage to do one, I was worried that the lighter sets beforehand would have been enough to tax me out of it. Metcon was tough but enjoyable: "liquid cocaine." 5 rounds for time of 5 clean & jerks (155/105), 10 chest-to-bar pull ups. 13:11, with 85lbs/light band. I should have warmed up with 65 first, because that first 85lb clean felt REALLY heavy, but I'm happy with my time (and with the fact that I can do 50 chest-to-bar pull ups with the light band, even if most of them were one or two at a time).

Happy Wednesday. No gym for me tonight - evening classes are cancelled for a nutrition seminar. I wish I could go, but there's no chance I can make it there by instead, I'm spending the evening coming up with some specific goals for the next CFCC BCCC, which starts on Monday.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Training Log Dump

New Year's was great. PhillyGuy and I got all snazzed up and had dinner with some friends at Osteria. And I loved our sparkly dresses so much that I made my friend pose with me in front of our TV.

Sad that you can't see my fabulous 5" black platform heels, but such is life. Afterwards, we all came back to my place for sweatpants, some beers, a wild game of Clue, and general mockery of the Times Square scene while watching Dick Clark's New Years Rockin' Eve.

True story: I never even drank that beer. All told, on New Year's Eve, I had maybe 2.5 glasses of wine, two or three sips of champagne to toast, and a whole bunch of water between 6:45ish and 2:30am when we finally went to bed. I just didn't feel like drinking, so...I didn't. Crazy, huh.

(hangover-free) Sunday was chill. I took the day off of training aside from five or six guest-room pull ups throughout the day, and we did our usual New Year's dinner at my mom's house, where I gorged myself on roast pork and asparagus and sauteed mushrooms (AMAZING) and one too many Lindt "extra dark" (60% - laughable) truffles. Now, I'm enjoying the last day of my fabulous five-day weekend.

I bought a new notebook for my 2012 food and training log, so I wanted to dump my recent gym sessions here before I forgot. I tend to flip through here (rather than the notebook itself) when I'm looking for, say, prior times for benchmark metcons, or prior weights for certain lifts, to gauge my progress. Without further adieu (or any sense of narrative whatsoever):

Tuesday, 12/27: weighted pull ups, set of 2. light band, light + 2.5, light + 5, light + 7.5, lights + 10, mini, mini + 2.5 (1, failed on 2). Metcon: AMRAP 12 minutes of 4 chest-to-bar pull ups, 4 ring dips, 4 handstand pushups, 4 kettlebell snatches each arm (1.5/1p). 5 rounds + 1 pull up, mini band (dips and pull ups), regular pushups.

Thursday, 12/29: deadlifts, set of 2. 115-155-185-205-225-240-250. FIFTEEN POUND PR - for two. Yeah boy. Metcon: tabata pull ups followed by tabata pushups. 70 total - 41/29, with mini band.

Friday, 12/30: strict press, set of 2. 45-55-65-75-80F-80-85F-70x6, fail at 7. This gets so hard so fast (TWSS), but i'm still sticking with my goal of 85 for the total in a couple of weeks. Metcon: row 1k, rest as needed, row 1k. I fucking hate rowing, though I'm starting to suck less at it. 4:06, 4:18.9 - I was TOTALLY gassed afterwards and my quads were seizing up.

Saturday, 12/31: 3 rounds for time of 30 toes to bar, 21 clean & jerks (95/65). Screwed up the first round and did 21 toes to bar and 30 C&J. After the first round of TTB took me 40 years, I subbed knees to elbows/tucks for the second rounds, though in retrospect I wish I'd just let it take forever. 19:34, grip and forearms wasted. (Fun fact: this WOD gave me my first ever hand tear. AWWWWWWWWW.)

Time to take the pups for a long walk and get Sophie's nails trimmed (yes, I could do this myself, but it's $10 well spent).