Friday Free-For-All – 01/20/17

Photo Jul 14, 10 05 37 AM

Inauguration day. Ugh. I’ve been doing my best not to think or stress about it too much, but today will be a struggle. I just feel so helpless, and I’ve been in a state of low-grade anxiety pretty much since election day. I’m very, very nervous about the next four years, and I know I’m not the only one.

Women’s marches. There’s a march on Montpelier, which is Vermont’s capital city, tomorrow. I’ve been going back and forth all week on whether or not I should go. While I feel very strongly about going and being part of history, I feel equally strongly that the whole day will be incredibly stressful with the traffic, crowds, and emotions. I need to decide pretty quickly what I want to do so that I can organize transportation and make a sign if I decide to go. I just don’t know.

Delayed onset muscle soreness is my new normal. Since starting CrossFit, I’ve been feeling DOMS pretty much every single day, in new and exciting areas (can you sense my sarcasm?). I’m sure I’ll regulate eventually, especially since I have the entire weekend to recover before my next class, but for now, every cough or sneeze, standing up from sitting or going down stairs, or reaching my arms over my head are all subtle reminders that CrossFit is making me work hard, which hopefully means I’m getting stronger.

Hamilton is continuing to make me feel all the emotions. Serious question to those of you who listen to the soundtrack a lot–Do you ever get to a point where Act 2 doesn’t move you to tears? Because I’m not there yet. It makes me cry every damn time. Maybe that’s due to me being a generally very emotional person, or due to the weight of the anxiety and stress I’ve been feeling lately, but damn. I can’t stop listening, but I also can’t stop crying.

Let’s focus on the positive–What’s something you’re looking forward to this weekend?

My First Actual, Legit CrossFit Workouts

In case you haven’t been following along for the last couple of weeks, I’m in the process of giving CrossFit the ole college try. You can read about my intro class here, and my one-on-one foundations class here.

Friday night I had my first actual, full-length CF class with other members of the box. I can’t lie, going in I was feeling INCREDIBLY nervous. Will the other people be nice? Will I hurt myself? Will I look like a spaz? Will I be able to keep up? Why in god’s name did I sign up for this? My stomach was in knots, and I arrived as close to the 5pm start as possible so I wouldn’t have to stand around feeling awkward and nervous.

When I got inside, I basically just walked up to the first group of women I saw and said “Hi, I’m Rachel, and I’m new,” like a total dork. But it worked. Everyone was super nice, particularly a woman named Laura, who was at the box when I was there for my intro class, and she remembered me.

Right at 5pm, the owner, Beau, got us started with warm-ups, but not before introducing me to the class and letting them know it was my first workout, which I thought was a really nice touch. After warm-ups, we went over the day’s workout, which pretty much went over my head, and I won’t get into too much detail here. Before getting started, Beau made sure that I knew what I should be doing, and gave me appropriately scaled weights and/or modifications to make sure I wouldn’t hurt myself.

Both Beau and Laura kept an eye on me throughout the workout, offering encouragement and helpful tips for my form. By the end I was definitely feeling it, but I wasn’t completely shredded. I felt like I had accomplished a lot, and felt like I really got the help I needed to be safe. I was also absolutely brimming with energy. I felt incredible. I bounced my way through a three hour dance rehearsal right after class because I just felt so good.

Monday’s class allowed me even more individual attention and coaching because both Dave and Beau were watching my form, giving me modifications, and checking in frequently to see how I was doing. The people at the box are super friendly and so encouraging. There was a girl who had been working really hard to get muscle-ups (click here if you don’t know what that means), and everyone was right there, offering tips, encouragement, cheering, and then right before the next class started, she got it, and everyone was so pumped for her. It made me feel really good.

So yeah. I like CrossFit. An awful lot. I never thought I’d be typing those words, but here I am. I’m paid up through the month of January, and I’m pretty sure I’ll keep going through February too. If nothing else, it’s something new and exciting. But I feel like it could be more than that for me. We’ll see. 🙂

Have you ever tried something you were skeptical of, only to find you really liked it?

 

 

 

(Long) Weekend Update – Rehearsal, CrossFit, and Bonus Day

Happy Tuesday, friends! I had a long weekend due to Martin Luther King Jr day, so today is my first day at work this week, and it’s been a bit of a slow start. Let’s delay the inevitable a few moments longer with a look back at my long weekend.

Friday

Friday evening I went to my first-ever actual Crossfit class, and it went great! I’ll go more in depth on Wednesday, but for now I’ll say, I’m planning to stick with it for a while! After CF, I had a three hour dance rehearsal for 9 to 5. Thankfully, my endorphins were running hot after a great workout, so I felt amazing and awake all evening. I went straight home after rehearsal, had a beer with Ben and my in-laws, and went to bed.

Saturday

Saturday was a great, lazy day, because I knew I also had Monday to give me some extra time for all my usual weekend chores. I spent the morning tidying up our room a bit, and then spent most of the afternoon playing Fallout 3. #cantstopwontstop. In the evening, we got spiffed up for a party in town, but first, we stopped by Grammy’s room at Sterling House to drop off a belated Christmas present and chat for a few minutes.

The annual January Thaw party hosted by my friends Freda and Michael was a blast. Lots of my favorite people, way too much food, and a few too many servings of vodka for me made for a very good time. Ben was my gallant DD, who also forced me to chug water and take an Advil before I went to bed.

Sunday

Sunday started off a bit rough for me. I drank a bunch of water and took some more ibuprofen, which started to even things out a bit, but then my father in law made a magnificent feast of steak, eggs, and fried potatoes and I was well on my way to recovery.

On the way in for rehearsal, I bought a large coffee, some Polar seltzer, and some beef jerky, and that was the final piece of the hangover cure; after that I felt totally fine, and had a great time dancing my butt off at rehearsal.

Monday

I was SUPER productive on Monday. After breakfast I did laundry, loaded my new musical soundtracks from Christmas into my iTunes library, meal prepped all my lunches and dinners for the week, and cleaned the bathroom. After lunch, I decided I was done with productivity and played Fallout 3 for about an hour and a half, and then it was time to get myself together for CrossFit and rehearsal.

After a quick wash, some clean clothes, and gathering up all my stuff, I headed into town for my second CF class, which was just as good as my first, and left me full of energy. Rehearsal was a quick one; I was in and out in an hour, which meant that I got to come home, have an actual dinner, finish this blog post, and read before bed. Woot!

I’m realizing that I really should start taking more picture to accompany these posts, otherwise it’s just a whole lotta words. I’m just not very good about thinking in the moment “Oh, hey, I should take a picture for the blog!” And half the time when I DO think of it, I’m too embarrassed to whip out my phone to take a picture “for my blog.” Ah well. I’ll figure it out.

Did you have a long weekend? What did you do with your “extra” day?

Friday Free-For-All – 01/13/17

Photo Jul 14, 10 05 37 AM

We went out to a fancy dinner on Tuesday night. My father in law wanted to take the whole family out for dinner before Emily heads back to Prague. The thing is, this fancy shmancy restaurant has two locations. I assumed it was the one in Stowe, VT because that’s the original location. It didn’t even occur to me until I arrived at the restaurant that our reservation just might be at the other location. Which is in Burlington. Which is where I work. A quick text to Ben confirmed that I was indeed in the wrong place, meaning I ended up driving about 50 miles and an hour out of my way before finally ending up in the right place. Ugh. In spite of that, though, the food was excellent and I had a great night.

I had my one-on-one CrossFit “Elements” class last night. Coach Dave continues to be awesome, and I met a couple of members, which was also nice. It’s hard to tell at this point whether or not I really like CF because I’m still learning and I haven’t been to a regular class yet, but I’m continuing to try keep an open mind, have fun, and learn a lot. I’ll be attending my first actual class tonight, so hopefully that will help me get a better handle on things.

Emily went back to Prague last night. She was home for just about a month, and it was so much fun having her around. I’m going to miss her! I not-so-secretly want her to move home so we can hang out all the time, but she really likes it there, and just got a great job working admissions at a university, so I don’t think she’s moving back any time soon. Ben will be going to Prague to visit her this summer, but I just don’t have enough time off from work to make it happen, and I’m super bummed.

ringI bought a silicone “wedding ring” for CrossFit. CF involves a lot of work with bars, so I knew that wearing my wedding band and engagement ring would be a bad idea, both for the health of my fingers, and the health of the rings themselves. It feels weird not to wear anything, so I wanted to get a placeholder that I could safely wear while lifting. My friends Aimee and Andrew swear by their Qalo brand rings, but I couldn’t justify spending $20-25 on something I was just going to wear to class. I did a little snooping on Amazon and found a similar product for a whopping $8 with Prime shipping. So far, so good.

Married folks, do you ever go sans rings?

 

My Intro to CrossFit Class

On Saturday morning, I hauled my buns to CrossFit Burlington. The main reasons I chose this particular box are a) it’s less than a mile from my office, and b) their class schedule is the most convenient for me. I was a bit skeptical because they didn’t have any pricing listed on their website, but I was willing to just give it a shot.

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When I first arrived, I felt SO out of place. If you’ve ever been to a CF box, you probably know what I mean. It’s just not like other gyms. There are no frills. Nothing is pretty. It’s a big open space with pull up bars, stacks of weights and medicine balls, and rowing machines. I was further discouraged when I got to the desk, and without even saying hello, the guy working there just handed me a waiver to fill out. Like, “OK, nice to meet you too, guy.”

Only after I had filled out the waiver did I receive any verbal acknowledgement from the desk guy. He asked if I’d ever done CF before, if I’d ever done any high intensity workout program before, or if I had any injuries or illnesses that might make me unable to complete certain exercises. After that, he said that we’d be working with Coach Dave, and to make ourselves at home until he came to fetch us. I nervously struck up conversation with the only other noob present, a guy named Rob. He was really nice, and just as nervous as I was, so I felt like I had a good companion.

Going in, I was fully prepared to bail if I felt at all like I was being pressured to do things I had no business doing, but thankfully it never came to that. When Coach Dave came over and introduced himself, I immediately liked him better than counter guy (who as it turns out is the owner?). He explained that we’d do a tour of the facility, go through the standard warmup, break down some exercises, and do a workout using those exercises. He was very friendly, clear, and checked in with us frequently to see if we had any questions.

He took us around and showed us the board where they post the weekly schedule and the workout of the day (WOD). As we walked around, several people offered greetings, told us to have a great workout, and that we were going to love it, which I thought was nice. Everyone seemed really friendly and outgoing. After that it was time for warmups, which were pretty standard dynamic warmups–high knees, butt kicks, and other similar exercises back and forth across the floor.

Next we went over proper squat form, because a squat is one of the “9 foundational functional movements” of CF. It’s also part of a wall ball toss, which we’d be doing as part of our workout. Generally, I pride myself on my squat form, but I got a few good pointers from Coach Dave, and I was DEFINITELY feeling it more than I usually do by implementing his suggestions. We also learned box jumps (which are scary!), proper pushup form, and wall ball tosses. I was already a bit tired just from learning the exercises and going through them a few times, but now it was time for the actual workout. We were to do 9 wall balls, 9 situps, 9 box jumps, 9 pushups, and then grab the medicine ball and run out to the sdiewalk and back. We’d have 9 minutes to do as many reps of the cycle as possible.

Now, 9 minutes doesn’t sound like that long, but when you don’t have a recovery period in between exercises, well, it starts to be a lot harder. I completed my first round doing full pushups and jumping onto a 16 inch box, but the second round, I had to switch back to the 8 inch box, and I did a nine count plank instead of pushups. Coach Dave had offered this as a modification, but I still expected him to berate me for not trying pushups. Instead, he shouted “Great plank, Rachel, nice!” which surprised me and made me feel good. Throughout the three reps I managed to complete, Coach Dave was encouraging and positive, never mean, never telling us that we weren’t good enough, or giving us a hard time for taking modifications where necessary.

By the end of the nine minutes, I was breathing hard, shaking, and feeling a bit pukey, but also feeling really proud of myself. Rob and I high fived each other, and Coach Dave high fived each of us as well. We took a few minutes to recover, and then it was time for the pricing/membership spiel. If we want to join the box, the next step is a one hour, one-on-one session with either Coach Dave or the owner to go over the 9 foundation movements and make sure we can complete them with good form. Many CF boxes offer a two week foundations class for $200, but CF Burlington just condenses it into this one-on-one session, which costs $50. After that, 12 classes per month are $165, or unlimited classes are $195. These prices are comparable to other boxes in the area that I’d researched, so I wasn’t too surprised. On my way out, the owner actually remembered my name and said good job, so that helped to revise my opinion of him a bit.

All day Sunday and Monday I had some pretty intense DOMS, particularly in my quads, but nothing that I haven’t experienced before after a tough workout or race, and today I feel completely back to normal. I’ve already signed up to do a one-on-one session with Coach Dave tomorrow night, so I can give CrossFit a serious try for at least one month, to see if it can get me where I want to be. I liked Coach Dave, I felt like the other box members were pretty nice, and I felt like I got a lot out of a relatively short workout. With how busy as I am, I just don’t have the time to commit to spending hours slogging away at the gym. Having a short, intense workout is just what I need right now.

Have you ever tried box jumps? Do you find them scary too?

 

Weekend Update: CrossFit, Cooking, and Rehearsal

Good morning, lovies! It’s Monday morning, and all of our network drives are down, meaning I literally cannot do any work. Wheee! I’m drinking some tea, bullet-journaling, and trying to massage my very sore quads. Let’s take a look at what I got up to this weekend, shall we?

Friday

I had rehearsal until 10 on Friday night, and when I got home, Ben, Emily, and my mother in law were out at a nice little bonfire in the yard, so I changed into some warm clothes, grabbed a beer, and joined them for a few minutes. They were actually about to head inside when I arrived home, but it was nice to enjoy the bonfire for a bit. After that we headed straight to bed.

Saturday

I was up bright and early so I’d have time to eat before my CrossFit intro class. I was pretty nervous all morning, but managed to get there on time with minimal stressing out. I’ll write a larger post on this later this week, but I actually kind of liked it, and will likely be giving it a chance for a month or two.

After I got home, I showered, did laundry, and cleaned up our room a bit, and then basically spent the rest of the afternoon playing Fallout 3 in my PJs. It was glorious. Emily’s friends Liz and Beck came over for dinner, and we had lasagna with salad and an amazing cheesy, garlicky bread thing, with chocolate cake for dessert. I ate way too much, but it was worth it. We ended up going to bed super early, which I think I needed. I slept like a rock until 8:30 Sunday morning.

Sunday

I knew I wanted to get some meal prep stuff done before rehearsal, so I got right up and started getting my shit together. I made a huge batch of beans and rice that I divided up into containers for the rest of the week. It didn’t make quite as much as I was hoping, but I should have enough to cover lunches and dinners on rehearsal days in case there aren’t leftovers to snag.

Then it was Nine to Five rehearsal from 1 until 5 pm. I was pretty sore from CrossFit, so dancing and stretching out felt good. Rehearsal was a blast, and I feel really good about my role and the stuff I get to do. They ended up releasing us about 15 minutes early, which was excellent, because I was meeting Ben and the family at some friends’ house for dinner, and it was a bit of a drive.

I arrived at Chris and Jeff’s only about 10 minutes after everyone else, and enjoyed a really nice evening of delicious food, drink, and conversation. We were home by 9:30 and in bed by 10, ready for another week.

This will be my first full week of work in almost three weeks, so I’m anticipating a rough go of it. If my computer issues this morning are any indicator, it’s going to be VERY rough. But I have a few nice things to look forward to this week, so I’m just trying to buck up and deal.

When’s the last time you had a bonfire?

Friday Free-For-All – 01/06/17

Photo Jul 14, 10 05 37 AM

This week has kicked my butt. First week back at work after the holidays. First week of the new quarter and the new year. First week of rehearsals for 9 to 5 the Musical. I’m POOPED. I’m just trying to wait for things to equalize and not freak out. This weekend will be mostly about catching up on sleep and getting serious about meal planning and prep so I can eat like a normal, healthy human being instead of a garbage disposal. And also not spend all my money on eating out.

I know I’m late to the party, but I’m officially obsessed with Hamilton. For over a year, all my musical theatre friends have been all “Hamilton is so great, Hamilton is so amazing, blah blah.” I tried to listen to the soundtrack a few times in the past and just didn’t get it. I just didn’t understand why people were so crazy over it. It was interesting, but I didn’t feel anything emotionally. Then I got the soundtrack for Christmas and listened to it on my terrible, horrible, no good, very long car ride to New Jersey last weekend, and something about being in the car and surrounded by the music finally helped me feel it. I’ve been listening to exclusively the Hamilton soundtrack ever since.

I didn’t make any new year’s resolutions or goals for 2017. I didn’t for 2016 either, and I feel pretty good about it. Goals stress me out rather than motivating me, and I never follow through on resolutions anyway. I do, however, have an extensive list of shit I need to get done this year. Exciting, adult things like an eye exam, gum surgery, wisdom teeth extractions, and rolling over 401(k)’s, whee! I’m hoping to chip away at things bit by bit and get most of the scary, expensive stuff like gum surgery out of the way before I (hopefully) get knocked up later this year.

What’s the most pressing thing on your 2017 to-do list?

Why I’ve Decided to Try CrossFit

I used to swear up and down that I was never going to try CrossFit. I was simply not interested. I think the Paleo diet is a bunch of BS, and I generally avoid hanging out with “meatheads” or participating in anything that might be described as cult-like. We’ve all heard the CrossFit horror stories of being pressured into fad diets, or doing too much too fast and winding up grievously injured. I turned my nose up at the possibility that so-called normal people could get anything out of CrossFit.

Lately, though, my mindset has shifted somewhat. Some of the reasons are pretty personal so I’m not gonna get into that, but suffice to say, I’m ready to commit to putting my health first.  I have a HORRIBLE family health history, including but not limited to: Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure, and a selection of cancers on both sides. I need to really take care of myself or I’ll end up on the same path as my aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

Also, I have made no secret over the course of my time writing this blog about the fact that I’m not super happy with where I’m at physically. Since moving to Vermont in 2013, I’ve slowly but surely gained about 20 pounds. I thought that by really committing to running, training for my first half, and then another few halves, and then my first marathon, I might finally drop the weight and get back to a better place mentally, but that hasn’t been the case. In fact, it’s gone the opposite way and I’ve GAINED weight since I started running more. I’m hopeful that really mixing things up and adding serious weight training into my routine will help me achieve the results that have been eluding me for some time now, not to mention helping to prevent the aforementioned health issues.

I definitely still have some anxiety and fear regarding CF, but I’ve been doing a lot of research. What I’ve read has led me to believe that a good box and a good trainer really have your best interests at heart, and care about keeping you healthy and helping you achieve your goals. There’s a box less than a mile from my office that offers a free intro class every Saturday morning, so I’m gonna go check it out this weekend. I know CF is pretty expensive, but I’ve decided that if I like it and feel like it will help me get where I want to be, I’m willing to pony up the cash. It’s time to stop whining about how unhappy I am and actually do something about it. Who knows, I may totally hate it and feel uncomfortable and whatever, but I’ll never know unless I try, right?

Have you ever tried CrossFit? Thoughts?

 

Friday Free-For-All – 12/23/16

Photo Jul 14, 10 05 37 AM

I AM SO READY FOR A LONG WEEKEND. I have to work today (Ben has the day off and I’m very jealous), but then I have Monday off for Christmas, so I’m basically living for 4:30 pm. I’m very much looking forward to relaxing with my family, watching Christmas movies, sipping eggnog, and NOT being at work for three days. And then I only have to work three days next week, and only four days the week after that, so basically I don’t work a full week for the next two weeks. Score!

Christmas music has gotten me through this week. I just haven’t been feeling work at all lately, but jamming out to Christmas tunes has at least kept my mood up enough that I can perform my basic job functions. In fact, I’ve actually been pretty productive this week in preparation for year-end and quarter-end madness. I’m just trying to square everything away today so I don’t have any work anxiety this weekend.

My sister-in-law Emily is home from Prague. It’s been really fun having here here. She’s been living in the Czech Republic for almost two years now, so I don’t get to see her very much. We’ve been spending lots of quality time together playing video games, cooking, and eating. My other SIL Leah is arriving on Saturday, at which point I will be in Quechee with my folks, but she’s staying through New Year’s, so I’ll still get to spend some time with her as well. I’m anticipating some marathon games of Settlers of Catan once we’re all in the house 🙂

I started a Bullet Journal in September and it’s pretty magical. I’m not going to try to explain what a Bullet Journal is because there are so many descriptions, videos, blog posts, and general rave reviews already out there. I’m just saying, it’s been great for me. Part planner, part journal, part to-do list, part art project, it’s working for me the way other planners never have, because it’s 100% customize-able to my needs and preferences. If you like paper planners but have never found the “perfect” one, go Google Bullet Journal and prepare to fall down the rabbit hole.

Did you/do you have to work today? Are you ready for Christmas?

 

Winter Slump, or Recharging Batteries?

It seems that every year in late November/through December, I hit an exercise slump. My racing season is over (although I did very little racing this year), it’s cold and dark, and I’m gearing up for a busy holiday season, and then straight into four months of rehearsals, so all I want to do is sit at home, snuggle my kitties, play video games, and hang out with my family and friends. It’s like I’m hard-wired to take a giant step back from everything this time of year and just rest and recharge.

I was feeling guilty this morning that I haven’t been running in ages, and that my gym membership badge is collecting dust, and that I haven’t been using the recumbent bike at home as much as I “should.” But then I realized that’s silly, exactly because of the reasons above. I need this time to myself without pushing and stressing and running around. My body and my subconscious have sort of taken charge and pushed the “pause” button, and I’m feeling pretty good about it.

All this is not to say that I’m planning to just loaf around for the next month, or let this inaction become the new normal, but for now, I’m comfortable. I have big plans for 2017, including but not limited to: trying CrossFit (who even am I?), buying a house, and hopefully, starting a family. Closing 2016 out on a restful note is just what I need to get ready.

Does anyone else find it hard to stay active this time of year?