Wednesday, November 5, 2014

From Kindergarten to College Math

Yesterday at ITF we warmed up on the rowers, and practiced double unders (I didn't even get one yesterday, but I did manage to spank my own butt with the rope--THAT takes real talent!).  Then we learned how to do the push press and "knees to elbows".

The push press is like the strict press, but with a little dip and jump.  So much of what we do in there is about coordination....making this muscle snap/activate when that other muscle does this other thing.  This move requires the glutes and quads to snap while the arms push the bar up, which also requires the lats to activate.  It's a thing of beauty when it all works together...and all those muscles working together to accomplish the lift means heavier weights can be moved.  

I just realized I added TWENTY POUNDS yesterday to the weight I was struggling with on the strict press last Tuesday!!..

((Sorry...I had to take a moment to do a happy dance!!))

...Then we moved over to the super scary pull up bars.  The rings used for the dips on Monday were on the pull up bars, but they hang down so I wasn't too nervous going over there.  (You think I'm kidding...I'm not really's like going to a Halloween haunted house.  You KNOW there are things in there that are going to jump out at you and you KNOW they are not really going to hurt you, but your blood pressure rises anyway.  That's how I feel when I even think about the pull up bar.)  I started to get nervous, but then the coach broke down the movement.  

Side story about the coach...there are three coaches in this gym, two males and a female.  They all have their own personality (naturally) but the female comes from a gymnastics/dance background.  She really knows how to break movement down in a way that makes it feel like taking baby steps...which is REALLY comforting to me.  It's not "we're going to go over to this bar, jump up and bring our knees  up to our elbows...", it's "we're going to jump up and hang.  Then we are going to activate our shoulders forward and back.  We aren't going to swing like this (demonstrates swinging), but we are going to control our bodies like this (demonstrates the difference and shows us how to tell...)".  
We all had a favorite teacher in far she's my favorite coach in the gym (sorry guys, I know you are the favorites of other people there...).

So...she broke down the movement into pieces I thought I could handle and then I put my big girl pants on and faced that stupid bar.  I hung from it, then I moved back and forth, then I attempted to bring my knees up to my elbows.  I didn't really make it but I sort of did something that almost looked like I was trying to do something like it!  :D

And...theeeen we were introduced to a "new" concept.  


ITF has all kinds of abbreviations for the WOD to making the writing of it simple and easy.  The "!" doesn't mean it's a really excited 10 like I originally thought ("OH--we only have to do 10 really good reps of two things! YAY!!!"  I mean, come on, who wouldn't get excited about that!?) quite.  The coach called it a "differential" but my mathy husband told me it's actually a "factorial".

Whatever it's called, that lovely exclamation point means you do 10 reps of both, then 9 reps of both, then 8 reps of both....and so on down to 1.  If my math is correct that means you are doing 55 of each thing.  I think there should be another way of expressing that because (as everyone who knows me knows) I LOVE the exclamation point!!  (Someone said I AM an exclamation point, and I LOVED that!)  I think seeing that in this WOD and now knowing what it means, and feeling the after effects of it this morning, I don't really think using that symbol is appropriate.  I think it would be better to use something that resembles stairs would be better...or a ladder (although ladders generally go up and down...).

When we got to the WOD I was back to being nervous.  My shoulder didn't REALLY like knees to elbows, but it wasn't hurting.  It was mainly just coming off the bar that it really didn't like at all.  At. ALL.  But once I was off the bar I was pretty okay.  So I decided to just do my best.  I could always take weight off the push press or do V sit instead of K2E (another abbreviation).

I don't think I did, but there is a chance I lost count in there somewhere.  I really tried hard to keep up with what I was doing, but somehow I ended up finishing before the guy in our group.  Now...he was lifting A LOT more weight on that push press that I was, but I was sure he was ahead of me the whole time...but when I thought I was done he was still going.  I have got to get better at that.  (I know it will come with practice because I used to not be able to count swim laps either.)  Either way I didn't take weight off and I didn't do V sits and I didn't hurt myself because I did listen to my body!  

I'm happy to report today that my lats are sore enough I know I worked them pretty hard, but my shoulder does NOT hurt!!!!!  In fact, I would go so far to say it feels a skinch better than usual!!  (I think shoulder day is going to be my hardest and my best day of the workout week.)  Who would have thought?

We also talked about hand care.  I don't know if I talked about it here, but when I was considering doing this ITF thing I watched a video (that I can't find anymore) talking about "hand care" for "rips".  That was almost a non-starter for me but I talked to Turtle (who has been doing CrossFit for years) and she told me rips don't have to happen.  (For anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about...when you do a lot of work with barbells or on the pull up bar your hands can get callused and that skin can rip...)  Well...the coach ((I have to think of a name for her)) talked about how to care for your hands to avoid rips, not how to care for them after rips.  (Yet another reason she elevated in my estimation.) I know some of you are thinking it's crazy to do an activity where you have to worry about ripping your hands, but even guitar players have to callus their fingers up in order to play.

One more day and I'll be officially half-way through this introduction.  I'm still loving it....

Until next time...

Monday, November 3, 2014

Double Unders...Not to be Confused with Double Dutch

Tonight at ITF we REALLY went to kindergarten and not only jumped rope, but we also "played" on the rings (at least everyone but me "played" on the rings...I did box dips instead because I was too scared to try the rings since my shoulder is really NOT even close to 100% yet).

Double case you don't know, this is a jump rope thing.  You jump once and swish the rope around twice before your feet hit the ground.  Shockingly it's a wrist movement.  Embarrassingly enough at first I couldn't even get the single under down.  Mercifully the coach told us most people don't get the double under the first night, and many people take months to get it down.  You can guess, I had one goal for the night-to get at least one double under done.

We learned how to do ring dips but I opted out of that one.  The coach said it's not a strength issue for most people but a stability issue.  I can't afford to have my shoulder any more unhappy than it is right now already so I said no to the word "stability", and like I said earlier, I did box dips.  I have to say I didn't think I could do those either.  They didn't feel good, but I did all of the ones I was supposed to do and I'm okay so far.

Lastly we learned how to do a proper weighted front squat.  This seemed to be the thing that hurt my shoulder the most.  Mainly, I think, because the bar is resting on the part of my shoulder that hurts the most.

After we learned our new exercises we partnered up and did the WOD.  A partner workout is one in which you have a set number of rounds/reps and you split it however you want between partners.  We had 3 rounds of: a ridiculous number of double unders ((or WAY more single unders which everyone was doing instead)), some front squats and then ring dips (or box dips in my case).  Only one person could be working at a time and you could switch back and forth as you needed to.   I felt bad for my partner...I was REALLY struggling to jump rope and then my shoe came untied...and then my other shoe came untied!!  I was just glad she didn't beat me with that jump rope!!

On that first round I could't get more than a few jumps in at a time.  But, by the last round I got 40 in a row!!  Then I DID IT...ONE double under!!  I couldn't do another one, but I did ONE!  Goal MET!!  :D  I can't honestly say, but I don't think my partner and I were last tonight.  I think there was one other group that had a little bit harder time than we did.  I was consumed with the fact I couldn't jump rope and with the fact I was too scared to even try a ring dip to really notice anyone else's time.  But, if I don't listen to my body no one else will so it's up to me to decide what I can and can't do...what I will and won't do.

Still lovin it.

Until next time...

Sunday, November 2, 2014

SLURP....(that's me drinking the Koolaid)

Thursday at ITF we got to use the rowing machines!  I know it's silly, but these are the nicest rowers I've used (that's not saying much, I haven't used many...), and I was rocking the row.  And we learned how to do a proper dead lift.
Unlike rowing, I've had experience with the dead lift.  But, as I told my coach when we got started, I know I've never done it correctly because I have NEVER felt it anywhere (except sometimes my lower back, but not in a "oh that's working a muscle" kind of way, more like a "that's not supposed to feel like that" kind of way).  The theme of the day was "you can't recover from a bad set up" we spent a LONG time on proper set up for this exercise.  We build the move from the ground up starting with where our feet belong all the way up to our head.  Since there were only three of us there we got a lot of individual attention along the way.

The WOD was three rounds of rowing/dead lifts/squats-for time.  I came in second (the guy beat me so I'm not crying over it...).  I realized when it was over that I really could have lifted a good bit more weight...but I didn't know what to expect so I went with the standard "women's 101 weight".

I have to say...I'm three classes in and I'm hooked.  I love it.  I absolutely love it.  It's short enough that it's not onerous.  It's varied enough that it's not boring.  It's tough but doable.  And, since you are doing it for time there's an element of competition (with your tribe mates and with yourself).  I love that we encourage each other, we push each other (well, I see the regular classes doing that with each other...we are just starting out so we aren't really there just yet with each other....well, I do it because that's just who I am...)

I can't say that I'm at the point I will tattoo the logo on my chest (I'm not even there with Iron Man)...but I have definitely hit the "Koolaid Point" and I'll be downing another big pitcher full this week.

Running update:  After Thursday's workout I did my long run (18 miles and they were pretty decent trail miles).  Friday I ran another 14.5.  But yesterday I didn't do my run because I am in fact listening to my body over the slurping of the Koolaid.  I hadn't gotten nearly enough sleep all week so I went to bed early Friday night and slept late Saturday (6:30!!).

"Diet" update:  (I really dislike that word...maybe I'll call it the "lifestyle update"?)....Well....I should probably change the title of this blog post to "drinking the Kombucha", but I won't since only a few people would get it.  I have become "that person".  I had a "big cooking day" today in order to get ready for the coming week.  I made a chicken and deboned it.  I made a huge batch of sausage.  I made tuna and chicken salad.  And I have a menu planned for the week.  All-in-all I think it's worth the effort I'm putting into it.  I haven't seen any change on the scale but I have seen a slight change in the way pants are fitting.  More than that, I've felt a change in my brain (no brain fog) and in my gut (although that isn't great's better than it was).  I think the reason it's not great is that there is a group of foods (FODMAPs) that cause digestive issues for a lot of people (i.e. gas, bloating...irritable bowl syndrome...).  Cleaning up my diet has almost spotlighted the fact that FODMAP foods give me trouble.  I have hit a decent groove with food right now so I'm not going to complicate things more by taking that group out too right now.  But I am trying to pay attention to it as much as I can.

Now...let me get back to my Koolaide/Kombucha....  


Until next time...