I’m Heading into my Two Year Anniversary

I’m a few weeks away! November 1st will be two years from the day that I walked into Crossfit for the very first time, scared as could be… unhealthy, unhappy, and ready for a change. I remember when I first started applying to Graduate Schools, so many years ago. I was so desperate to get in that if they wanted me to eat dirt, I would have eaten dirt. I wanted it that much! It was the same for Crossfit. Turns out, my coach wanted me to eat more Paleo, which is kinda the same thing as “eating dirt” for someone who’s never considered Paleo before. Lol! I kid…. maybe! 😉

I don’t really know how to condense everything the last two years has meant to me. There’s been so much. I competed in a Crossfit event. I stopped taking every single one of my medications. I’ve lost right around 40 pounds and dropped from a pants size of 22w to a solid 14. I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life!!! And there’s more… there’s sooooo much more. How do I even get it all down???

The past two years have both flown by and trudged along, one foot in front of the other. There are moments when it seems like NOTHING is changing… I’m stuck at a plateau and the scale isn’t budging and the clothes are not getting looser and I’m questioning everything. I have wonderful coaches and every time I get stuck, they encourage me to trust the process and be patient. They keep me on the right path, review my food journals, go over my short and long term goals, and tweak things here and there. Then there are moments when in the blink of an eye, everything changes. I’m wearing a size 18W FOREVER… yeah… 18 months in and I was still wearing an 18W… and then bam, in three months I drop to a 16W and then a regular 14! It happened seemingly overnight!

Then there are my friends. I can’t even begin to say enough about the people in my life. I have rarely associated with such an amazing group of people who ALWAYS have something positive to say. I remember walking in the door, scared and afraid, and by that second week, people were talking to me, encouraging me, helping me. One of them told me recently that when she saw me come back for that second week, she knew I was going to be okay. She is a big reason why I am okay! She, along with my other friends there, saw changes in me when I didn’t yet see them, both physical and mental. They kept me engaged and focused. They pushed me and cheered the loudest when I succeeded. They became my role models and showed me that it IS possible to be a strong, fit woman at any age and no matter my history… even if the most athletic thing I’d ever done was be in high school band. They helped me with my eating, and probably got sick of all the food photos I texted them. Lol! The result, though, is that I’m much more conscious of what I put in my body and food isn’t just for fun, it’s fuel to get me through tough workouts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect by any means… but I’m better… and next week I’ll be better still.

Year One was all about getting smaller. I’m not going to lie, the whole reason I started Crossfit was to lose weight… and I genuinely believed I’d be finished in a year… but, somewhere along the way, things changed. Losing weight was important, and I can’t really be fully healthy carrying around so much extra fat… but the main focus began to change towards health and strength. The scale was still there, but instead of being the sole measure of my success, it became secondary to my lifting numbers and my clothing sizes.

Year Two was all about getting faster and stronger. I wanted to work on endurance and I have made some serious progress on that front. I can now do Jerry without walking, which is a total of running 2 miles and rowing 2000 meters. I no longer freak out when running shows up in a workout. I’m still nervous about it, but there’s no more crying. Lol… yes, there has been a little crying over the last two years, mostly related to running. Now, I know I can do it. There’s never going to be a wod where I have to run more than one mile at a time… and now I know I can do it. I’m still scared… but I know it’s going to be okay.

This week, one of my sons asked me about running. They’re doing a Pumpkin Run at school and apparently, they have to run for 8 minutes without stopping. He wanted to know if I could do it. For the FIRST time in my entire life, I can answer YES!!! Yes, I can run for more than 8 minutes at a time… much more. I don’t actually know how many minutes I can run without stopping since I’ve always stopped around the one mile mark, which for me is about 12 minutes. When I started out, I was done around 100 meters. I couldn’t make it past 100 meters without stopping to catch my breath and walk a bit. Now, I can do a full mile, 1600 meters, and likely much more than that on a good day. That’s just HUGE!!!

There’s just so much more I want to share! I’m putting together my Before and “Middle” pictures for you. I’m not an “After” yet. I’m not sure what “After” is anymore. I now realize that there’s no definitive point when I’m going to be finished. There’s no point when I can stop, say I’ve arrived, and sit on my laurels eating ice cream. I’ll just get different goals and start working towards those. I do have a target weight, but it’s not set in stone. It depends on what I look like and how I feel… and if my body says NO then my body says NO and I’ll be happier 10 pounds higher if that’s what makes me feel and look the best. I’m still 50 pounds away, so I’ll be working towards this goal for a while, likely all of year three and possibly beyond. I have a size goal as well. I’d like to be a solid size 12. I look good as a size 12. I think it’s a realistic and achievable goal for year three. If my body decides to take me to a 10, then Amen, but I’m not going to stress about it. I’ve never been a 10 in my whole adult life so who knows if it’s even possible at this point. What will be… will be… and I’m happy and content to enjoy the ride.

So… that’s my update! I’ll be putting up those pictures soon… and I’ll keep plugging away at my goals. I’m going to make sure I do an extra workout to celebrate the start of Year Three!!! O.M.G… YEAR THREE!!! I still can’t believe it! I don’t know what I thought when I first started Crossfit, but it didn’t occur to me that I’d be here, two years later, talking about my goals for YEAR THREE!!! It’s just…. unfathomable!

Happy Crossfitting, y’all! I’m wishing you all the very, very best! 🙂

I Heard it Again Recently… Crossfit Makes You Bigger

I actually hear it all the time. Oh, Crossfit, that makes you bigger. Oh Crossfit, that makes you bulky. Oh, Crossfit, you’ll never get smaller on Crossfit. After hearing it fifteen million times, from people who DON’T DO Crossfit, I thought I’d sit down and think about it. Is Crossfit making me bigger???

I started almost two years ago (this coming November) and since then, I’ve gotten much, much stronger. I have muscles where I had only fat. Unfortunately, I don’t have actual measurements, but I can tell you that my arms, while still flabby, have MUCH more muscle to them than before… but overall, they are smaller. My chest has gone down several inches but my back muscles are bigger than before, but again, overall, my chest measurement is smaller. My forearms are smaller, my calves are smaller, my stomach is smaller… I’ve gone from a size 22 down to a stretchy 14. I would say that is Smaller!

However, not everything is smaller. My quads have transformed. The fat seems to have melted a bit, especially on the inside, and the actual quad muscle… well, these days it’s a baby Quadzilla. Lol! I wish I had measurements, though, because I suspect the overall circumference is not that different, only that my quad muscle is significantly more defined, while the fat on my inner thigh has diminished proportionately. And frankly, I’m completely happy with my baby Quadzillas. One day, I may have fully grown Quadzillas, and I’ll be sure to post pics of that! 😉

I agree with the Crossfit-Makes-You-Bigger group in one way. If you’re starting out skinny-fat (that’s a real term, y’all!) then you’re going to build some muscle. You’ll start seeing that muscle and if you happen to like the model look, you might not be too happy with actual muscle… and going up a size or two in the process. Being a bigger girl, I’ve never been on this side of the equation.

Oh, and one other thing… I think my Trapezius muscles (my traps) have gotten bigger as well, but I’ve never paid attention to them before, so I’m not really sure.

Basically, I wanted my bigger girl friends who, like me, may constantly hear “Crossfit makes you bigger.”, well, I just wanted to reassure them that it really doesn’t. Bigger girls lifting heavy weights does NOT make you bigger overall. Your muscles will surely get bigger and stronger, but the rest of you shrinks… shrinks more than the muscle you’re building. There’s no way someone will ever convince me that Crossfit will make me bigger when I’ve gone from a size 22 to a stretchy 14. It’s not possible.

But most importantly, let’s not forget that it’s really not about the size, anyway. It’s about health and being healthy… and there’s no question that Crossfit and eating better have made a world of difference in my life. So, Crossfit on, my big girl friends… Crossfit on…

 

 

 

Oh Nautilus Machines, You’re So Good For My Ego

Today is a rest day. The Hubs is home and I decided to tag along with him to his globo-gym.

There was a time, before kids, when I regularly worked out on Nautilus Machines, dutifully going down the line, 3 sets of 10, going up every other week. I never actually saw much progress, but it was fun, when it wasn’t boring or lonely. Eventually, life got in the way and to be honest, I lost motivation when the results weren’t spectacular. I thought it would be fun to play around with the machines today and see how much I’ve progressed since I’ve been crossfitting. It’s been a year since I used a machine.

Started with machine bench presses. I love bench presses and my real life (Crossfit) one rep max is 135#. I knew it would be higher on the machine, but even I was stunned to top out at 185# :faint: Lol! That would never happen with a bar and plates! I remember playing around with this last year and I was topping out at 145#. There’s clearly been some gain in the last year. 🙂 Moved on to tricep curls next. I don’t have a baseline for them, but I was thrilled to max out at 130#. I could have lifted more but at that point, I wasn’t able to lock out at the end, so I called it done. There’s no isolated tripcep curl in Crossfit. It’s sorta combined with strict push ups.

Finally, I went over to the quad machine and started around 50#. It flew up. lol!!! Okay… moved up to 100 and then moved the peg down the plate after every rep… and kept moving the peg down the plate after every rep… and kept moving the peg… and I maxed out the machine!!! :roflmao: O.M.G. I maxed out the leg quad machine and I know I had more in the tank. My final press was 245#!!!

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That is CRAZY!!! How the heck did it happen??? I don’t know. Crossfit must be doing something right. Clearly, I’m getting stronger. It’s exciting!!!

I did notice something while at the local globo-gym. It was lonely. There were lots of people there and lots of trainers milling around, but no one talked to each other. There wasn’t anyone there to cheer me on or give me a fist pump at the end. And frankly, halfway through my peg-moving, I lost interest and walked around for a few minutes before coming back to finish. Everyone has their niche, the exercise that excites them and gets them going. I’m so glad I’ve found mine!

Checking In After Thanksgiving

How’s it going? We passed Thanksgiving, the kick off of Eating Season and we’re heading straight into the Apex, Christmas!!! I had my little wake up call and I’ve made a few changes around here. There were a couple of typical American eating days around Thanksgiving, but I’ve pretty much held to my paleo plan… much, much less grain, more meats and veggies, hardly any snacking at all. Things are looking up at Cottage O’Hurley. Project Smaller Lori is on track and heading in the right direction. My hope is that this will translate to the scale in a positive fashion…. and translate even better to a smaller pants size! It might be unrealistic to hope to get smaller between Thanksgiving and Christmas… but why not. I either make my goal or stay the same. Nothing wrong with that! 

Yesterday, my gym had a CrossFit Total 2. I’d never done one before, never even heard of it… but I love lifting and I love one rep max days, so I was as happy as could be. I ended up with some great numbers. Does anyone else just sit back and look at your weights with shock? There always comes a point near the end of my one rep max when I just look at the weight and think, what the heck am I doing??? This is crazy heavy. How the heck am I going to lift this??? Then the magic happens and I do… and usually I have a friend nearby who says that was great and add 10 more pounds. Lol! Friends are very motivating and the very best part of CrossFit!!! There’s always someone there who can outlift me… or run faster than me (lol, not very hard when I run at turtle speed!)… or has more endurance than me. I’m grateful because these women are paving the way and showing me that it CAN be done! They are awesome!!! 

Crossfit Total 2 is the added weight totals of an Overhead Squat, a Bench Press, and a Clean. My hope was to hit 350, which was iffy because my shoulder doesn’t like Overhead Squats and Benches. It was a happy day and my shoulder cooperated. I ended up with 385!

Overhead Squat… 105# (pr)

Bench Press… 125#

Clean… 155# (pr)

Then, since I’d already cleaned the bar up, I just wanted to see if I could Jerk it all the way up… and hit a new Clean and Jerk pr of 145#. Yesterday was a great day. Now… reality is going to hit and hit hard. When we have a mostly lifting day, it’s usually balanced out by a week of cardio/burner wods. My end goal is to be more balanced… keep my weights high and increase my speed and endurance. I’ll have the rest of the week to work on it. Let’s just hope I’m still breathing by the end. 🙂

It Ends With a BANG!

I thought it would go out with a whimper. My first full year of CrossFit ended yesterday. The big event, my present, the highlight, was a couple of weeks ago, that awesome Festivus Thruster, and I fully expected to just coast through the rest of my first year, eagerly looking forward to the next. (Holy run-on sentence, Batman!) It didn’t happen that way. What happened??? Well… I knocked my socks off!!!

CrossFit Total was yesterday, the last day of my first year… fitting because my very first day of CrossFit was also CrossFit Total. I have to say, I was a bit nervous going in. I’d taken 5 weeks off from doing anything overhead to let my shoulder heal. I’d also switched all back squats to front squats because it hurt to get my shoulder in the right position. Frankly, I wasn’t expecting much. I did decide to do the Total out of order. My Deadlift had been stalled at 235# for about 6 months and I really wanted to concentrate on that, especially since I was expecting a poor back squat.

Let me stop here for a second and reiterate, I’m a Book Nerd… a geek… not the cool sciency/math type… but the rather plain and boring book type. My incredibly poor math skills are important for our story. Now…

So, I’m throwing weights on the deadlift… lift, add, lift, add. I sorta knew how much weight was on there, but it’s always best if I don’t know. My awesome coach is keeping track, making sure I’m safe and correcting a couple of form issues…. and BAM, I finally hit a wall and can’t lift one more thing… and my coach comes over and tells me how much weight I really had on the bar. 275#!!! Holy Batman and Robin!!! I had no idea! I added wrong and thought I was in the neighborhood of 240-250. I hit a 40# pr!!! There was a little cheering (okay… maybe it was just me cheering!) and some pats on the back!!! It was unbelievable!

Next, I head over to do the rack for a strict standing press. I am rehabbing my shoulder. It’s getting better. I’m finally going back overhead without pain so I wasn’t expecting much here. My last CrossFit Total I was only able to get 85#. My personal best was 105#, but that was a year ago and it’s been holding steady, or going down, ever since. Slow and steady… the numbers went up. I topped out at 110#!!!! Coming off of an injury, I was FLOORED!!! It’s a 5# pr! I’ll take it!!! 🙂

Finally, the back squat… again, lift, add, lift, add. Frankly, I had no idea how much weight I had on the bar. I didn’t stop to count, and let’s be honest, I usually have to triple count to get it right and I didn’t want to take the time. My awesome coach came over just as I was adding a set of #15’s on there, and he double checked my last pr… and said he was going to spot me on the lift… ALL clues that maybe I was in shaky territory and possibly in over my head. Well, my roots are dishwater blonde so I missed it and just happily went on with my lift. I was stuck coming back up. It felt like an eternity, but probably was only a second or two… and then I pushed through my hips… and finished the lift! I still had no idea what it was, thinking it might have been 245 or so. My coach finally told me… 265#!!! Holy Smokes!!! I could NOT believe I just did that, a 30# pr. I never would have made that kind of jump if I could actually do math! lol!!! Sometimes, ignorance IS bliss!!! This time, there really WAS cheering and high fives and all kinds of excitement (probably still mostly from me)… but I was floored! I didn’t expect it… it was my last lift of the day… and it was brilliant!

Since my first and last day of this past year were both CrossFit Total days, I’m able to see exactly what’s changed in the last year. I’ve already talked about all the chemical changes… and still, the lack of real physical changes (i.e. my pant size!)… but now I can tell you how much stronger I’ve gotten over the last year. It’s unbelievable. It’s freaky unbelievable.

Back Squat, Day 1… 105#
Back Squat, Now… 265# (160# difference!!!)

Strict Press, Day 1… 105#
Strict Press, Now… 110# (5# difference. Apparently, I was always freaky strong in shoulder lifts, likely from the twins!)

Dead Lift, Day 1… 135#
Dead Lift, Now… 275# (140# difference!)

Total Day 1… 345#
Total Now… 650#

My CrossFit Total went up 305# in a year!!!

Are you as SHOCKED as I am??? Those numbers are amazing! I know that it won’t ever be this way again. You just can’t make these big number leaps from here on out… but I’m sure I’ll still be making some leaps this next year… and I can’t wait! 🙂

Today is Day 1 of my Second Year in CrossFit! Time to work on some weaknesses (endurance/sprints) and work more on my diet. It’s going to be a GREAT year!!! 🙂

Festivus 2013, aka, Happy Anniversary to Me!

It’s not quite a year, that day is actually November 5th, but competing in Festivus (a scaled CrossFit competition) was my one year present to myself. I’ve never consistently participated in anything this long, so it’s kind of a big deal to me. It’s a sign that things really are starting to change inside my head.

So, how did it go? It was GREAT! I had a few goals going in, some I met, some I didn’t… but it was an experience that I loved so much, I’ve already promised to do it again next year! My first goal was to not be last. lol! I wasn’t, but I think I would have been just fine if I were. Next, I wanted to come in under the time cap for everything. I didn’t meet this one and it really is okay. The second wod ended and I had a long way left to go. Those dang burpees got me… slowed me way down.

My biggest goal, something I didn’t dare say until after the competition was over… I wanted to place in the top 3 in the first wod. It was all strength and I knew I had a fighting chance because I’m a strong girl. It was a Thruster Ladder ending at 125#. I knew I could do it because I’d done it for the first time the week before. That was truly the highlight of the entire day for me. I posted the pic a few days ago. One of my awesome coaches snapped the shot. I ended up placing second and I’m thrilled!!! Only one other Novice woman made it to the top of the ladder.

The rest of the day went in fast forward, an adrenaline rush the entire time. Several people congratulated me after the Thruster lift. A few women like myself, dare I say it… bigger girls… told me it was amazing seeing a bigger womon out there at the top of the ladder. That was truly my area… the sprint and the endurance wods kicked my patootie! However, because I’d finished so high in the strength part, my overall place was 26 out of 34. I would have liked it to be closer to the middle of the pack, but honestly, I’m still pretty thrilled. When I finally crashed, I was exhausted and brain dead. The next day was spent walking around like a zombie with as much time on the couch as 5 kids will allow. I went to the gym yesterday for a special Birthday Wod, and my body just didn’t work right. Things I tried to lift just didn’t lift. lol! I guess I needed another day or two to recover.

I have a lot of other thoughts floating around in my head and I’m not sure how to get them on paper. I’m still wondering when I’m going to start feeling like a Crossfitter. It’s been nearly a year. I have to be honest, though, the cool, hot pink socks I wore for the competition helped. lol. But seriously, I know it’s all in my head… but WHEN do I start feeling like a Crossfitter and not just someone who does CrossFit? When will I feel comfortable wearing a CrossFit shirt and not wonder if I’m embarrassing the box’s owner, a big girl wearing a fitness shirt… gee, that fitness program must work pretty well, look at her fat arse! Sometimes I’m pretty cruel in my head. Sigh.

I have other thoughts floating around, about being a bigger girl and being good at lifting weights. People in my life have been subtle (and sometimes not), and I’ve received the message loud and clear… it’s great that you can lift, but when are you going to lose the weight??? One person flat out asked me when I’m going to lose my stomach. That was about 6 months ago. My stomach isn’t really any smaller now than it was then. I’m already dreading heading into Christmas looking physically exactly the same. Yes, I can lift probably twice as much as I could last Christmas, but I’m still the exact same size a year later. The message I get from society, the message I get from my inner circle… it’s still the same… lifting is great but when are you going to LOOK any different. Okay… that might not be a truly fair statement. The real message I get from those closest to me… SILENCE! I have never done anything physical in my entire life, at least not longer than a couple of months. It hurts to feel that the one thing I am actually good at, is discounted because it’s not something society says women should do, especially BIG women.

So what’s next??? I’ve spent a few days thinking about this. I’m not entirely sure what’s next. I need some new goals. I need to work harder on some old goals. Eating is still a problem. Time to spend some effort and energy into figuring out what the zone is and how to get there. I could also use another detox. Sugar and flour have crept back into my diet and I need to give them eviction notices. I’m also trying to figure out the best way to balance my lifting with my sprint/endurance stuff, both huge weaknesses. I want to spend some time in my gym’s Olympic Lifting section and work with the world class Olympic coach on my technique… but it can’t come at the expense of my regular wods… or the after school commitments I already have. I’m going to have to find some balance. And, of course, it would be nice to lose the weight!

Overall, I’m heading into my second year of CrossFit, just as excited as ever. There’s lots more to accomplish… it’s been an amazing year! 🙂

My Present to Myself Arrives Next Saturday

Festivus Games!!!

I bought myself a ticket while flying down the highway, somewhere in South Carolina. It’s my one year anniversary present to myself. The meet is next weekend and then my official one year anniversary is November 5th. Honestly, I’m nervous as heck. The strength part is fine. It’s the endurance and the sprint that I’m going to be last in… and I’m trying my very best to be okay with that. It’s the process of competing that is the gift to myself. It’s one thing I can check off my bucket list… compete in an athletic event.

I’m not going to lie to you, though. Instead of focusing on the competition, the last 11 days have wreaked havoc on me. My Hubs is working and we’re not getting paid. Thank you, Government!!! (insert angry, profanity-filled rant!) Things are getting cut (grocery budget!) and the high quality, organic, grass fed stuff was the first to go. At times, my grocery cart looks downright ghetto! Cereal and Ramen noodles have been in there a time or two. I’m not eating them, and I feel guilty for buying them… but two teen boys in the house, I need fillers that don’t cost much. Organic lunch chips have been replaced with cheap chips. Ham sandwiches are now pb&j. Beans and rice are been back on the menu as well as lots of soups and chili with beans. Add in the looming bills, especially my rent… and I’m a walking basket case, desperately trying not to self-medicate with food… but with no Xanex in the house… well, let’s just say I’m sure the scale went up in the last two weeks. Sigh.

This too shall pass… but it’s really hard to feel that way when instead, you feel like the house is crashing down on you. Everyone is testy and grumpy. Teen drama is on high alert. I’m trying really hard not to let myself sink into depression, but my own anxieties, coupled with the anxieties of everyone around me, is getting to be too much. Let’s not even talk about the two hours of homework I do every night with the twins… #bangingheadonthetable

So… that’s where I am… trying to get ready for a competition that I’m wholly unprepared for…. and trying to steer my entire family through some bumps in the road without causing permanent psychological damage to any of us. Maybe it’s not just the “teen” drama… perhaps we’re all being a bit more dramatic these days.

I’m still making it to the gym 3x a week, and that is what’s saving my sanity. Today, the only reason I went was because that’s what I do on Friday mornings at 10:30. It was hard to get out the door. In fact, I missed the weightlifting class and was 8 minutes late to class… but I got there.  I’m always glad I went and today was no exception. I felt much, much better overall. I feel so sorry for y’all because, really, I have the best gym and the best coaches in the world! 🙂

There is some good news in all of this. I have been resting my shoulder and not doing anything overhead for the last several weeks. Wednesday was my official “going back overhead” day and I managed to hit a 125# thruster from the ground up! Best part… no shoulder pain afterwards! Today, I worked on some lightweight snatches (55#) and while I couldn’t quite get into a full squat snatch, I think I did pretty well. Still… no shoulder pain! I don’t know what’s going on or why my pain seems to have suddenly gotten better…. but in light of everything else going on around me, I’ll take it!