Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Suckin' wind...

On Saturday, I had a chance to do something that I haven't done in awhile... a SATURDAY WOD! Saturday's are always busy around CFOT, but for me it's a hard day to get in because of work at the restaurant. This weekend I still had to hurry out the door to get to work, but I was glad I got to hit some weekend fun with the 0830 crew.

Our first wod was a 1RM push press. I didn't feel super strong, but I still managed to put up 125X1. I tried 135 but it just didn't happen. I think honestly that my lower back still being so sore is causing me to do some funky things. I'm trying to compensate by adjusting and moving differently and I don't think that's a good thing. Anyway, I'm going to go get it checked out soon, but for the time being it is what it is.

After the push press came the real fun. We did this wod a LOOOONG time ago. We hit this when we were still back in the Blue Room, so you know it's been over a year... but anyway, it's called Tail Pipe. I think it's aptly named since it feels like you're sucking fumes by the end, but anyway, it's a good challenging finisher. If you like finishers that burn, this one is good for you.

You need a partner though so don't try to do this alone, unless you give yourself a time frame for the second part. Start on the rower and row 250 meters. While you are rowing, your parter takes 2 KB and holds them in the rack, with your elbows out. As you row, your partner's job is to hold those bells. Don't put them down! Once you have rowed your meters, trade places. Do this for 3 rounds. It sucks. Regardless, it was good dirty fun! I'm glad I got to get in for some Saturday fun!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

You want me to DEADLIFT?!?!?!

After the CF regional games, I took a week off from CF to recover. Pulling a 300 lb deadlift PR was pretty awesome, but it also took a toll on my back. Being in a competition setting, I was more concerned with getting the weight up than I was with whether or not I was endangering myself. I was hurting the next day during the Chipper and I was hurting for a few days after. I'm not in severe pain now, but I'm noticing that especially when I bend over, my back is still pretty tight. What's odd (to me) is that it's only on one side, my left. I'm not sure if that's indicative of anything, but it seems that the tightness is only on the left side. Weird, but true.

When I saw the DL wod come up yesterday, I was a little intimidated. I won't lie. I really was just thinking that MAYBE I shouldn't go. But after yet another terrible meeting at school, I decided that it was a necessity. I needed to get into the box and throw some things around. I NEEDED it to be FUN. So, I decided to hit the box. Despite the fact that I was still feeling a smidgen tight, I decided to hit the DL wod, but scale back on the weight. Recommended for the wod was 80-85% of your 1RM. I was a little bit under that but not by much. The wod looked like this.

Every 3 minutes for 7 rounds
DL x 2
80-85% of your 1RM

I have to say that this actually felt pretty easy. I know you're thinking well "Duh, you scaled" but seriously, DL's NEVER feel easy for me. I mean, even though 200 is 100lbs less than my PR, it NEVER feels like it goes up easy. Yesterday I decided to go with 225 and it actually felt like it went up easy. For me, that was a big shock. I was trying extra extra hard to drive my weight through my heels and keep myself from pulling too much on my back, and I felt like I did a pretty good job of that. The 7th round I felt myself start to round a bit as I was getting tired, but overall I think I did a much better job than I normally do with keeping my back flat and my weight back.

I keep thinking back to a wod we did a few months ago where the programmed weight was 185 and I felt like it was soooo heavy that I couldn't budge it off the floor and I was totally pulling on my back every rep. This wod yesterday actually felt pretty good and I'm amazed that it was so different from just a few months ago. I don't know if maybe I was tired or sore that day or what, but this felt soooo much better than that last wod.

Unfortunately I set my alarm last night but failed to turn it on, so I won't be able to hit the box today. But I will be back tomorrow and Saturday. Two strength wods in a week is great but I'm feeling incredibly fat as I'm stress eating again big time, and I need to get my cardio back up. It was rough before sectionals and I havne't done myself any favors.... soooooo back to the box tomorrow and Saturday to get some work in.

Oh, I forgot to mention the best part of the WOD yesterday... our "after party" as Jerry has taken to calling the extra work was a waiter's walk. Pick your distance and KB or DB and walk 400, 600, or 800 m with a KB or DB locked out in active shoulder over your head. I chose a 45 lb KB and hit the 800 M walk. It was actually not as bad as I thought, but I struggled because I didn't want to drop the KB on the road or sidewalk. I got lots of strange looks from cars/buses/people walking by which kind of made me laugh. They seriously thought I was INSANE. It was FUN! :) And the good news is that the only part of my arms that hurt are where the KB was resting again my arm. That's a bit tender today, but other than that, I feel ok, minus the tweaky back.... but that doesn't count. I'm totally bummed that due to my alarm clock fail I miss the filthy fifty today, but like I said... back to the box tomorrow!!!!! :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Are you there God? It's me Katie...

After I sat down and thought for a moment, I had to change the title of this post. It seems that the last two years for me have been years frought with extreme highs and extreme lows. I suppose that's how life really goes, but it'd be nice if life would sort of float on an even keel for awhile. Regardless though, I really feel like I'm at a crossroads in my life. All of the frustrations that were mounting before sectionals and regionals had a lot to do with work. Cf for so long had been an escape from my frustrations with my job that when it became more than just a release, it stopped being fun. It started to become another source of ADDED stress, the exact opposite of what I needed. Now that regionals are gone, I'm feeling the weight of that stressor gone, but unfortunately still not the others.

As I sit less than a week away from my 28th birthday, I am forced to admit that I am not happy with my life. When I was younger I of course had the idylic dreams of the terrific and fabulous life I'd be leading all by the tender age of 26. Somewhere in there, dreams and reality never quite met up but I still always thought that I'd love the life I had regardless of whether or not it was what I thought it would be when I was younger. Lately though, I've been realizing that not only do I not like my life, I pretty much despise some aspects of it.

I have always thought that hard work was the answer to everything and never shied away from that. Hard work got me through the first few months of CF. Hard work brought progress. Hard work kept me afloat financially. Hard work has helped me make lots of friends in lots of places. Hard work has helped me get things done and meet deadlines. But now, hard work means no time for myself. No time for my family. No time for friends. No time to find someone to share my life with. It means having no time to do things that I enjoy. It means always missing the party.

Somewhere along the line, hard work ceased to be a quality and it overtook me. I'm not saying I desire to turn into a fat, lazy, slug who never moves from her couch, but I'd love to find a job that I enjoy. I'd love to find a job where I can leave at 5 or 6 o'clock and know that for the day, my work is DONE. I don't know if I can make anyone understand what it's like to be at work at the restaurant and have to run through a list of things that need to get done at school the next day before the kids get there because you couldn't get them done today because you couldn't stay late. Or how frustrating it is to leave at 800 at night and STILL not be done with everything you're expected to do. Or how utterly deflating it is to put all you have into your work, and still be asked to do more.

Teacher burnout typically occurs within the first five years. I'm on year 5 and I'm there. This isn't fun. This isn't enjoyable. And I'm tired of feeling guilty because I don't spend 25 hours a day doing school things. I'm tired of people trying to MAKE me feel guilty for that. I need to change. I need out and it needs to happen before the stress levels seriously impact my health. But, the problem is, I don't know how to go about doing that or what to change to. I've been asking a lot of folks what they think I could do with a teaching degree and I've gotten lots of different answers. I've gotten lots of different suggestions for possibilities and lots of different criticisms for wanting to leave too. Some think me leaving is taking the easy way out. Some think it's a good thing. I think for now, I think it's necessary. I just want to have a life. I want to enjoy being me. I think it's fair to say that I don't even think that I've felt like myself much of the last few years. The only times I'm ever myself are the two months that I'm NOT teaching. That's not the kind of life I want for myself.

In coming to all of these realizations, I've also had to come to grips with how utterly scared to death I am. Again, young and having dreams, I thought I'd find a school I loved and retire from there after 30 years. Unfortunately, that's not the case, and now I'm terrified. Terrified of being stuck somewhere where I am this unhappy and terrified that things won't get better. Terrified that I won't be able to find a way out. Terrified that I will never get back to being me.

So why am I sharing this? Because.... it's my blog and I'll ramble if I want to? Partially. But also because again, if someone else feels the same way I do, and reading this makes them feel like someone understands, the typing was worth it. I have come to the conclusion, after several seemingly mindless chats with the Big Man, that being scared is ok. The Great Unknown, or Unknowable, is scary. It's terrifying to realize your life isn't going the way you want. But, I think in his own way, the Big Man has tried to tell me, it's ok and that I need to keep pushing forward. I need to finish out this year, and then seriously examine what I want to do and where I want to go.

I'm not someone who is huge on religion, and I'm not someone who, until recently, would have even mentioned this topic in a blog, but lately the Big Man and I have started to chat. Well, I chat. He listens. Or at least I think he does. He's kinda busy so I'm sure all the mindless chatter doesn't get through, but I think most of it does. Anyway, I'm not saying that I'm encouraging everyone to go pick up a Bible and get Jesafied, but I'm of the belief nowadays that it can't be a bad thing just to talk. Most parents in the world I think would agree that sometimes, they just want to talk to their kids. Good, bad, or indifferent talk, it's just nice to hear their voice.

I think that sometimes, just by talking, even without response, we figure things out just because we had a chance to spill our guts and admit lots of stuff. And who better to admit your guts to than someone who won't judge and who won't ever share? If you're not a Big Man kind of person, ok, then write. Get it out. Write that you're scared or terrified, or heartbroken, or lonely or whatever you're feeling. I guarantee you will feel better just by getting it out there. I'll admit, when I first started talking to the Big Man, I felt like an idiot. I wasn't sure I was doing it right and I wasn't sure if he was listening or understood. I very much felt like the main character in "Are you there God? It's me, Margaret." But regardless, I think the important thing was that I tried, and that I was putting myself out there. I find that I like to picture the Big Man in cargo shorts, a CF shirt and flip flops, and that helps immensely too. I think it just makes him easier to relate to, and seem less overwhelming. Right or wrong, it helps me relax and get thoughts out. And usually, after some sharing, I've found that I'm feeling better and have even found an answer or two, all just because I let it out.

I'm working my way through things, but unfortunately, I think this is going to be a very long process. I think I have a lot to figure out. I've written posts along similar lines before, but things are even more strained now than before. The need for a solution is more pressing. How things are going to wind up, I don't know. But I know that I am going to get back to CF. I'm going to find a way to make it fun again. Find a way to get off these few extra pounds, and find a way to get back on track with what I want. I know I CAN do it. I just need to find the way. So hang in there folks. I have a feeling this ride is going to get a little crazy.

Friday, May 14, 2010

But what CAN I do?

A lot of my thoughts pertaining to CrossFit have a lot to do with perspective and keeping it. With CrossFit being such a badass, hard, tough, competitive arena, I find it very easy to lose sight of things. It's really easy to get down on myself. Especially after the thorough trouncing a took this weekend at the games, it's easy to feel like I don't belong in this community. I dnf'd two out of four wods, one of which I couldn't even attempt as rx'd. I nearly came in last in another wod, and the fourth wod placed me very close to the top 10 girls in our region. So, this sort of leaves me with a very defeated feeling. It does feel like I can't do anything, but I know that's not true. So the question is then, what CAN I do?

If you're like me, sometimes when life hands you lemons, you tend to focus on the lemons instead of the pretty kickass lemondae you can make with them (especially if you add a little vodka... DEEEEEE-LICIOUS.... but you didn't hear that from me). I've been trying lately to keep focusing on things that I can do... focus on the positive sides to things. (I SAID TRYING!!! GEEZ!) So in keeping with that idea that there is good in every situation, instead of focusing on all the things I CAN'T do, I thought I'd focus on some things that I can do. I gave myself a pretty stern talking to, and here is the list that I came up with... it may not contain muscle ups but there are some other pretty cool things on that list.

Things Katie CAN do...

1. On a good day, I can manage to contain a classroom full of 26 8 year olds and teach them something
2. On a good day, I can manage to corral a pool full of hormonal high school teenagers and convince them to swim a few laps.
3. I can multitask with the best of them
4. I'm great at selling beer
5. I can work a 70 hour work week
6. I can make someone smile by sending them a card or present for no reason at all
7. I can inspire someone else to finish hard
8. I can drive stick
9. Even though I suck at running, I CAN run 13 miles when I put my mind to it
10. I can make you laugh with my ridiculous sense of humor, and my ability to speak in a language full of made up words and "Katieisms"
11. I can complete CrossFit wods (they may not always be fast, but I have this no quitting rule)
12. I can send emails with attachments, write a blog, create a power point, make a Smart Board lesson, and type a word document without making my head explode or calling a support tech
13. I can be proud and support someone else's athletic endeavor
14. I can love you like nobody's business... you may not want it, and you may not give it in return, but you'll never doubt whether or not I care about you.
15. I can look back at my CrossFit career and know that I have come a long way... baby...
16. I can sing on key, and actually pretty darn well
17. I can walk and chew gum at the same time
18. I can use Google with the best of them
19. I'm not afraid to work hard and I can do it
20. I can forgive
21. I can say "I'm sorry"
22. I can say "I was wrong"
23. I can stop and ask for directions
24. I can put someone else first
25. I can remind you that you can do things too....

Monday, May 10, 2010

Katie on: The CrossFit Central East Regionals

The one that got away... I was very close to finishing this Chipper wod... I just couldn't get through the swings fast enough to get back to the box jumps...

When I wrote my recap on the DC/VA/WVA sectionals, I was riding high after a great weekend. I loved the wods that they pulled out for our sectional, aside from the weighted Cindy, and I felt like Maggie and Jeff literally ran a flawless competition. The wods were running like clock work, they provided a relaxation space with water and nutrition bars, and I felt that for the most part, standards were upheld. Were there mistakes made, absolutely. When dealing with humans, you will have a certain percentage of human error. But overall, I thought they did a great job.

Not to mention, with the sectional being so close to us, CFOT took a huge amount of competitors. With such a large team there, not to mention our supporters, it was a terrific environment to compete in. There was so much support from everyone that I literally felt loved doing the sectional. It was well organized, well thought out, and I really felt that they did a good job. There was definitely a lot of stress for me leading up to the competition, especially the late release of the wods, but I still enjoyed it once things got moving. I really had a great experience with the sectionals.

This past weekend though, I can't say I had that same feel good experience with the Central East Regional. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people feel the same way I do. Somewhere between sectionals and regionals for me, this stopped being fun. I think that there were a combination of factors involved in that change, but the fact still remains that lately, I haven't been enjoying CF. The sectional for us was so taxing that it literally took me nearly 4 weeks to recover. It was brutal. That left only about 2 weeks until the regional. I cut it a bit close and to then turn around and do everything all over again simply wasn't fun for me. I love CF and everything it has given me and done for me, but this experience is not one that I enjoyed.

Aside from the fact that I was burnt out, I saw a lot of issues at our regional. Our regional was held outside in May, in a Mid- Atlantic state. I understand that the average temperature for states like Ohio and PA is close to 70 at about this time of year. However, that's the average. And one thing that people did not take into account I don't think is that weather in the Mid-Atlantic states in April/May is EXTREMELY finicky. I lived in PA for 23 years, trust me on this. It snows in April sometimes! Getting back on track though, they decided to host an outdoor event, but one which provided no shelter for any of the athletes. Why? I understand that some will say that as CF'ers we should be prepared for anything. Ok, I'll give you that. True. But the Ohio sectional was AT THE ARNOLD. How did we go from such an awesome venue, to the middle of nowhere without any type of shelter or protection for athletes? That alone made things very hard on everyone. Friday was 80 degrees, Saturday was 50 with 40 MPH wind gusts and cloud cover. Imagine trying to do a muscle up in that. Yeah guys, I get it. Ready for anything, but let's be honest. I think there is probably a venue that would have been a better choice for this and would have allowed everyone to have a much better experience. I understand that part of the reason this was chosen had to do with the large hill and trail run. I understand that logic, but I think more than JUST the wods needs to be taken into account for something like this.

The weather of course was one thing that bothered me about this experience, but the wods in general bothered me a bit. I understand the first wod. They wanted that to be a seperator. That makes perfect sense. What I didn't get was WOD #3, the max deadlift. I didn't think that a max deadlift was a great choice. I feel like that is nothing but strength. Why not choose a max snatch or max OHS? Those are more complex than a deadlift, and I feel they would be a more accurate reflection of someone's ability to master the different domains. I understand that you want a metcon vs. strength component, but there has got to be a better way to do that. Max efforts are fun to watch, and I think making them a part of the games is exciting. However, I think there is probably another lift that is a little bit better than a max DL. While I did pull a PR of #300 lbs in the competition and did very well in that wod, I still feel like there could have been something out there that would have been a better choice. Furthermore, I didn't understand the idea of putting the deadlift before a long chipper. I guess they were thinking you need to fight through, but putting KB swings after a max deadlift didn't seem like a good idea. I know that it f'ed my back up, so I'm wondering if it did anyone else? I know I was one of only a handful to DNF that chipper wod, so obviously others fought through, but from a training/programming standpoint, that seems very dangerous to me.

In addition, from an athlete's perspective, it appeared that our region was very disorganized. The odd release (in the comments section of a post) of the standards video, and the lack of a release of an affiliate standards video seemed very off to me. Further, the late heat release of the individuals also made it appear that the organizers didn't have everything together. Perhaps Maggie and Jeff did such a great job with the sectionals that anyone would look disorganized by comparison, I don't know. But from an athlete standpoint, it appeared that our region wasn't well organized. Maybe they really were and it just came off that way, but from a competitor standpoint, I was very frustrated. I understand that putting on something of this magnitude is hard, but when you assume that responsibility, I think you need to make sure that you are making things user friendly, and that you are dotting your i's and crossing your t's. It just didn't seem like our region did that in all areas. Saturday was cold and miserable and as soon as we were done, we left. We were never told via email or online what time to arrive the next day or what heats would be. It just made things more uncertain than they needed to be.

What was especially bothersome to me though was the failure on the part of the region staff to think through their scoring system for the first wod. The region announced that they would allow people to sub the first WOD with the understanding that anyone who didn't complete the MU's could not advance to the games. Got it. That makes perfect sense. But what was not explained was how they would score anyone who didn't do the MU's. Now, I understand that some people may say, "Well if you're not completing the wod and you can't advance, what does it matter?", well in reality, in the grand scheme of the advancement, it doesn't. But I still trained and I want to do well, so it should be fair. So, what was not known in advance was that if you spent the whole time on muscle ups, you would place higher than anyone who did the sub. And if you just started at the sub because you knew you didn't have any muscle ups, then you couldn't score higher than someone who literally stood there for 15 minutes and just jumped on the rings. I also know for a fact that there was a girl who did jumping ring dips (and they weren't even actually dips), who scored higher than I did in the standings because she completed more reps. WTF? I don't understand how that worked, AT ALL. Regardless of whether or not I'm going to move to the finals for the games, I want things to be scored fairly and I want my final standing to be an accurate reflection of how I did. Did I do very well? Ha, no but regions managed to pull out EVERYTHING I suck at... so truthfully should I be much higher? No, not really. But should it still be fair? ABSOFREAKINLUTELY. And I know if it wasn't fair for me, then it also wasn't fair for other folks.

I know that it sounds like I'm complaining and that nothing good came out of this weekend, but that's not true. There were plenty of good parts. I competed, period, the end. That in and of itself is great. I had some really great judges to help me through. (Thank you volunteers!) I deadlifted a PR by 25 lbs and hit 300. That's awesome. I spent some time with amazingly fit people and had a terrific time with great teammates. I, a shitty shitty runner, completed a trail run that was uphill. I didn't do it very fast, or beat many people, but I did it! Holy determination Batman! Those parts of the experience were great. But on the flipside, I'm an athlete who is very frustrated. I did train, amidst an INSANE schedule, and I was just bothered by what I saw. It left a sour taste in my mouth, and just made me question whether or not this is something I want to do again. I know competition isn't for everyone, and maybe I'm one of those people who it's not good for. I don't know. I have a lot to ponder (and work on) before next year rolls around.

Having said that though, I'm incredibly proud of myself for the effort I did put forth this weekend, and I'm proud of myself for fighting through things that are most definitely not my strengths. Funny but true, deadlifts are my weakest lift, I suck at running, can't do muscle ups, and the only thing I'm really good at that they pulled out were cleans! So, for a girl who sucks at everything they pulled, I did really well. My only real disappointment came from that last wod. My back was so tight from the deadlifts that I couldn't move through the KB swings in the chipper. It was in knots and hurt immensely. I'm still having trouble bending and moving, and I don't want to even ATTEMPT to pick up or carry anything right now.

So, what does this rambling bunch of mish mash mean? Well, it means that I'm not real thrilled with the region as a whole, but I'm glad I did the event. I know that they did do a lot of work, but I wish that it just would have been done a little differently. We are most definitely sending our top athletes to the games though, and there is no doubt about that. Those women were freaking phoenomenal! Regardless though of what all the other women did, I'm proud of myself because I've proved that I can grit through a lot of really shitty stuff, and that deadlift wod proved that I am strong enough to compete with the girls in this region. I did learn however that I'm just not fast enough or good enough at gymnastics to compete with them all around. So, I'm taking away these lessons and hopefully will learn from them as I continue with CF. It's time to start having fun again, and while I learned a lot and am proud of myself, I'm glad that it's over and done. Bring on a rest week, and then some good old fashioned CFOT wods..... :)

If you'd like to see my deadlift (and the awesome PR's of my two other teammates) click here....

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Those damn mice...

Ok, so I always say that the best laid plans of mice and men oft times go awry. No really, I say that all the time. Anyway, my big plan was this past weekend to get my blog back in tip top shape, write about 10 blogs that I have on my mind and seriously get back to this whole writing and blogging business. Needless to say, it didn't happen. I hope you don't think I've forgotten that bloggerland needs a dose of my insanity. I haven't. But in all seriousness, I just haven't been able to get here. With regionals on the calendar this week I've been scrambling like mad to make a few extra bucks here in the final push so I've been working like mad, and let's not forget that I do have a full time job which, oh yeah, I can't just call of sick. I've been mad planning and trying to get all of my ducks in a row so I can take three days off. Dear lord, I haven't taken three consectutive days off from school since 3 years ago when I had my tonsils removed. Seriously. I'm not kidding. I haven't. I've barely been able to stay out two. It's too much work and it's a hassle to come back to. Anyway, I promise if I have a few spare minutes I will try to update last week's wods and get some thought down that have just been running through my head lately. So don't worry... I'm not dead... the mice just ate my plans again...