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?


Manic Monday – 04/21/14

Another edition of Manic Monday, where I recap the previous week and set out goals for the upcoming week!

I walked the 2 miles to and from work.  Ben declared that it was too nice out to go to the gym (sunny, 75 and breezy), so he played basketball with Pete and I ran some errands.  I did some random strength exercises after dinner just so the day wouldn’t be a total wash–body weight squats and sumo squats, push-ups, biceps curls, and a couple of minutes of planking.

Photo Apr 19, 3 37 06 PMI walked the 2 miles to work in the morning.  After work was supposed to be a 3 mile run, but it was cold, windy and rainy, AND we had dinner plans at 6.  So instead, I pulled up my Nike Training Club app and did their 15-minute “Ab Blast” workout.  It certainly got me sweaty, and I was sore the next day.  Then we had so much good food!  Our friend Erik loves to cook, and he made bacon-wrapped veal meatloaf, pureed cauliflower, and asparagus.  I also had a few beers.  Delish! Although my tummy was not pleased the next morning…

I finally did some cross-training!  I went over to my friends Aimee and Andrew’s house because they have a home gym.  Andrew is a PE teacher and a fitness nut, and he KICKED.MY.A$$.  Or rather my arms.  We did over an hour of upper body super sets and it was pure torture awesome.  I really want to try to make it over there once a week because a) Andrew makes me do stuff I wouldn’t do on my own, and b) it’s fun to work out with friends!

I was scheduled for a 4 mile run, but I was so stiff in my upper body from Wednesday’s workout that I was having a tough time regulating my breathing and pace.  I think I was also hungry and a little under-hydrated, because it was a rough go, and I stopped at 3 miles.  I also walked to work in the morning.

Scheduled rest day, which worked out well because Ben’s sister Emily and our friend Johannes (from Austria!) were in town, so we went to Ben’s parents’ place for a bonfire and beers.

The Light the Night 5k!  I PR’d, which was amazing (full race recap coming soon), but I’m not sure I’d ever do an evening race again.  It’s hard to stay focused and in preparation mode all day.

Scheduled rest day.  We slept late and had a nice, early Easter dinner with Ben’s parents.

All in all it was a good week.  I think I did a pretty good job of hitting my goals from last week’s Manic Monday, although I still have work to do on the hydrating and eating better fronts.  I brought my 32 oz Nalgene water bottle to work today, and I’m going to try to finish one full bottle before lunch and one before heading home.

Goals for Upcoming Week

  • Incorporate speed work and/or hills.  This is definitely something that has been missing from my training up till now
  • Complete ALL scheduled runs for the week.  The last couple of weeks I’ve missed at least one for one reason or another.
  • Do more cross-training

Before I sign off, I have to send love and positive vibes to everyone who ran, volunteered, or was otherwise involved with the Boston Marathon.  I will never cease to be amazed.

Race Prep?

On Saturday night, I will be running my first race since November 2012.  It’s only a 5k (it’s absolutely insane to me that I can say “only” when talking about 3.1 miles), so I’m not really doing any race prep, per se.  I’m staying hydrated (which I normally do), trying to get plenty of sleep (which I normally do), and eating normally.  I’ll run my scheduled 4 miles tonight at a normal pace and then that will be it until the race.

I had said previously that I didn’t have any goals going into this race, but I guess that’s no longer true.  I’d like to PR (last official 5k time was 31:31).  I’d also REALLY like to get under 30 minutes.  I’m trying to remember, however, that my ultimate goal is to complete a half marathon.  If I go in guns blazing for a 5k, I could potentially injure myself and throw off my training.  So really, the idea is to run at my normal short run pace and have fun.

dwightIn other news, I did an upper body session with my buddy Andrew last night.  He’s my friend, Aimee’s husband, he’s a PE teacher, and he’s a BEAST!  They have a bunch of workout equipment in their basement and they live about a 10 minute drive away, so it was more convenient than going to the gym.  The session lasted over an hour, which is unusual for me anyway, but it was also absolutely the most intense weight lifting session I’ve ever done–I got my butt kicked!  While I’m really sore at the moment, I loved it.  Andrew is very knowledgeable, and super positive, so he’s a great workout partner.  Of course, I can’t lift my arms above my head at the moment, but that will pass!  I’m excited to hopefully keep up these lifting sessions.  Andrew kept saying, “Just wait till leg day…” *gulp*

Do you incorporate strength training?  Do you lift alone, or with a partner?

Sunday Summary – 4/6/14

Oops!  Yet another “Sunday Summary” on Monday.  Maybe I should just change it to weekly wrap up so I can post it whenever?  But I really like alliteration…  Oh well.  Anyway…

What a difference a week can make!  Being back home has been incredible, both on the running front, and on the healthy eating front.  I have really been focusing on upping my produce and protein intake.  I also hit all my mileage goals and managed to get some cross-training in.  I’m feeling great!

Monday:  First day back in the gym for lifting in over two weeks, and boy did I feel it!  Squats, dead-lifts, bench press, bent over rows, donkey kicks, fire hydrants, lots of abs and a one minute plank.  It was nice to just get a full-body, all over workout in.  I also walked 2 miles to work in the morning.

Tuesday:  Walked 2 miles to work in the morning, and then did a lovely 3.3 mile outdoor run.  It was warm(ish), then sun was out, and I felt great, even though it was wet and muddy!

Wednesday:  Walked 2 miles to work in the am.  The weather was incredible and I thought about going for a run, but my calves were still stiff and sore from my Tuesday run, so I decided not to push it.  I had a glass of red wine and watched the Walking Dead instead 🙂

Thursday:  Walked 2 miles to work in the morning  Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite as nice out as Wednesday, but I got a comfortable 4 miles in.  My calves are a bit sore again, so I’m really looking forward to getting the foam roller that I ordered.  I hear it hurts so good!

The view over Lake Champlain

The view over Lake Champlain

Friday:  Ben and I went over to our friends’ house for a couples date.  We had a few drinks and played some Wii.  We were supposed to go downtown to meet up with some people after, but I was tired, and knew I had a long run scheduled for Saturday morning, so I just hit the hay at 11.  I turned down drinks so I could get my sleep for running… Who am I?!?!

Saturday:  LONGEST RUN EVER!  Personal record of 6.1 miles.  And what’s crazy is, I actually maintained an average pace of just about 10 minutes/mile.  That’s WAY faster than I expected.  I’m feeling way more confident about my ability to complete a half after this.  From here on out, every long run will be a distance record.  Yeehaw!

Photo Apr 05, 9 37 08 AM

Sunday:  We slept in.  Had a leisurely breakfast.  Did our taxes (yuck).  We went for frozen yogurt at Orange Leaf (yum!) and then decided to go for a nice long walk along the water front and through downtown, which helped to offset the fro-yo a little bit 🙂  Then I made some absolutely heavenly butternut squash soup for dinner–recipe will be posted this week!

Frank's Red Hot makes everything better!

Frank’s Red Hot makes everything better!

This has been a really excellent week, both on the life side of things and the running side of things.  I’m feeling way more positive about running, and excited to continue on this journey.  I think it’s the weather.  It’s finally warming up and the sun is streaming through the windows as I type.  Definitely a mood booster!