Manic Monday – 10/02/17

Manic Monday

Leaf Peepers Half Marathon Training
What Was Planned vs. What Happened

Monday 09/25/17: CrossFit | CrossFit
We started with a strength WOD of 5 x 5 push presses, then did 5 rounds of 5 deadlifts, 5 front squats, 5 thrusters, and 5 push presses. I finished well under the time cap and promptly collapsed on the floor, haha. I hate to complain about the weather but it has been unseasonably hot lately!

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Tuesday 09/16/17: 5k Run | Rest
I had lunch plans and after work plans, so a run sadly wasn’t in the cards. I was secretly ok with it though, because it was still super hot.

Wednesday 09/27/17: CrossFit | 4.1 Mile Run
I was still VERY sore from Monday’s CF workout, so I headed out for a quick run. It was really hot, so I made a point of not checking my pace AT ALL and just running by feel. I surprised the hell out of myself with an average pace of just under 10 minute miles. Woohoo!

Thursday 09/28/17: 5k Run | CrossFit
I was feeling a bit less stiff, so I made up Wednesday’s CF class. We did a bunch of sprints, which I nailed, if I do say so myself, then a workout of deadlifts and muscle-ups (or ring dips in my case), with some double-unders sprinkled in every three minutes. It was tough, but good.

Friday 09/29/17: CrossFit | 5k Run
With the gorgeous fall weather, I just HAD to get out for a run. I took it to a hilly portion of the bike path to help prepare me for Sunday’s race.

Saturday 09/30/17: Rest | Rest
I did some productive stuff around the house and hydrated like a boss. We had some friends over for supper, but I made it to bed at a decent hour.

Sunday 10/01/17: Leaf Peepers Half | Leaf Peepers Half
If you follow me on social media, you know that I got a big fat PR! Full recap to come later this week ūüôā

Weekly Mileage:  20.3
Total 2017 Mileage: 183

Tardy Tuesday – 09/05/17

Manic Monday

Whoops! The holiday made me forget to post. Better late than never, right?

Training For: Charlotte Covered Bridges Half?

What Was Planned vs. What Happened

Monday 08/28/17: CrossFit | CrossFit
We did a special workout to celebrate some members of the box getting married. It was a LOT of work, but also lots of fun, wrapping up with Hero WOD Bradley, which is 10 rounds of 100 m run, 10 pull-ups, 100 m run, and 10 burpees, with 30 seconds of rest in between.

Tuesday 08/29/17: 5k Run | 5k Run
Not much to say about this, other than it was great weather and a solid run.

Wednesday 08/30/17: CrossFit | CrossFit
We did Helen (3 rounds of 400 m run, 21 KB swings, and 12 pull-ups), then did a “death by wall ball shot” workout, which meant an EMOM of wall ball shots, starting with 6 and adding 2 each minute until you couldn’t complete them within the minute. It was ROUGH, but good.

Thursday 08/31/17: 5 Mile Run | 5 Mile Run
A lovely afternoon and a lovely run. I averaged right around a 10 minute mile pace and felt great the whole time.

Friday 09/01/17: CrossFit | Rest
I had my wisdom teeth out in the morning, so I opted not to go to CrossFit.

Saturday 09/02/17: Rest | Rest
Ben and I drove to the Berkshires and back in one day to see a production of the musical Company at Barrington Stage Company. It was a long day, but well worth the trip.

Sunday 09/03/17: 10 Mile Run | Rest
It was a cold, stormy day, so I didn’t run. I knew I had Monday off work, so I pushed it off.

Overall, it was a pretty good week. I would have gone to three CrossFit classes had it not been for my oral surgery, and I got two runs in too. AND I actually did my long run on Monday. Sweet!

 

5 Ways CrossFit Has Been Great for My Running

From November to March, I took an extended break from running. During that running break, I started attending about three CrossFit classes a week (obviously quite a few less than that while I was busy with Dogfight). Since I picked up running again, making time for both has been a bit challenging, but has also had some excellent benefits.

Obviously, CrossFit is not for everyone, but for me, combining CrossFit with running has been doing great things for my running, and I hope to continue with both. Here’s why.

Physical Strength
I’m sure it goes without saying, but being strong is great for a runner. I’m physically stronger now than I’ve ever been before in my life, and I’m only going to keep getting stronger. My legs, core, and arms are strong and balanced, so running feels a lot easier than it ever has before. I used to have occasional pain in my right hip after longer or harder runs, probably due to some un-diagnosed weakness or imbalance, but those days are gone.

Mental Toughness
Just as mental toughness is essential for a runner, it’s essential for a CrossFit athlete. At least once during every CF workout I think, “How can I possibly keep this up for another x number of rounds or minutes?” But I don’t give up. I take a breath, adjust my pacing, and keep going. I remind myself that I haven’t quit on a workout yet, and if I’ve gotten through in the past, I will this time too.

That mental toughness totally translates into running. I’ve gotten practiced at pushing through to the finish even when I’m gasping for breath and my legs are shaking and I just want to quit. I just remind myself that I’ve done harder things before, and keep on moving.

Confidence
CrossFit has been an INCREDIBLE confidence boost. I’ve done things I never thought I could do, lifted weights and executed movements I never imagined I was capable of. My form and strength have improved boatloads since I started. My friends at the box only ever encourage me, and congratulate me every time I reach a new milestone.¬†I know for a fact that I can do hard things. And that is VERY powerful.

CrossFit is Harder Than Running
I do not in any way intend to offend with this statement. I know running is very hard. But for me, CrossFit is harder. The average CF workout is WAY harder than an average run, so now, running just seems… easier by comparison. Especially just run-of-the-mill steady state running. It makes getting out there and hitting the pavement a lot less daunting.

Knowing My Limits… And Pushing Beyond Them
A big piece of CrossFit is learning how to push outside your comfort zone (in a safe, measured way). It’s about setting a one rep max in a workout, and then maybe a couple of weeks later, setting a new one. Or repeating Fran a few months after your first attempt, and finishing faster, or using heavier weights.

In my running, I was often afraid to push too hard during a race because I was afraid of blowing up or “failing,” but failing a movement is just a normal part of CrossFit. You try to add some weight to a movement, you give it a shot, and if you can’t do it, no big deal. You can try again next time. Getting used to trying hard things, to adding more and more weight, to¬†failure, has been so instructive for me. For so much of my life, I’ve avoided taking chances for fear of failing, but CrossFit doesn’t really allow me to do that.

Now, I know what the “edge” feels like.¬†And I’m not afraid to step right up to it, maybe put a toe over, and see what I can do. And I’m SO EXCITED to see what that attitude will continue to do for my running.

Have you found a form of cross-training that’s the perfect compliment to your sport of choice?

 

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?