Thursday, April 25, 2013

Happy Festivus!

On Saturday, April 13th, I stepped into CrossFit Country in Orlando and into an unfamiliar competition. I entered the Festivus Games, a nationwide CrossFit competition for novice and intermediate athletes. Because I had so much fun completing the CrossFit Open WODs, and I absolutely LOVE competing, I felt that entering a CrossFit competition would be the next logical move. 

Having done numerous 5ks, half marathons and OCRs, I didn't think this competition would be any big deal. I was a little wrong. My nerves were through the roof-- I was so nervous that I completely would've forgotten my morning coffee if my husband hadn't been there! 
The whole family made the trip up to Orlando and stayed for the entire competition. Yeah, Family! It was my husband's coaching and my sons' cheering that spurred me to perform as well as I did. 
CrossFit Country's facility is amazing! And quite large. The Festivus WODs were well organized, and there were plenty of helpful and encouraging volunteers. 

I entered the intermediate division and completed the following:
WOD 1: 
10 min AMRAP 
21, 15, 9 Calories rowed, Thrusters @ 65lbs, burpees (score 10:02-- 2 burpees shy of completing workout; took 2nd place) 
WOD 2: 

12 mins to get 3 rep max (in 45 seconds), floor to overhead (score 125-- new max; 6th place) 
WOD 3: 
Sprints in 1 minute increments-- 1 sprint and rest in 1 min. Then 2 sprints and rests in 1 min, etc. (score: 1st place 17.16) 

I was thrilled to find out that I placed 3rd! And even more excited that it meant a small payout. 

Lessons learned:
1. CrossFit is extremely fun!
2. I am a better CrossFitter than a runner. 
3. I would really like to be part of a CrossFit box/family.
**If you are looking for a good first competition event, the Festivus Games is a great one!
Photo Credit: Brandon Chestnut,
Just for fun:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston 2013

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." 
-Edmund Burke

I had begun working on another post, but my mind keeps only returning to the evil act that took place yesterday at the Boston Marathon finish line. 

My heart is broken.

For the families of those who were murdered.

For the injured who had come to cheer the runner's courage and dedication.

For the runners whose race put their loved ones in harm's way.

For the bystanders who ran towards the blast to give first aid to horrifying injuries.

For the runners who were pulled off the course and weren't allowed to finish. 

For friends and families of runners everywhere who now aren't just worried about runners hurting their knees or stressing their hearts.

For the good people everywhere to whom bad things happen, not just in this bombing at Boston.

My heart is broken.

For the parents whose kids have been diagnosed with horrendous illnesses.

For the kids whose innocence is shattered by evil acts of abusive adults.

For the world.

This past weekend, my pastor, Bob Coy at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale used the very same quote at the beginning of this post in his sermon. He talked about how evil happens in this world... it's a horrible side effect of the free will that God gives all humans. If God stopped it, He would be essentially stopping our freedom to choose. Our responsibility then, is to love others. To give hope. To remind the hurting that our lives are just vapor in the whole scheme of eternity and when death ends our short journey here, paradise awaits where there is no more crying or pain or evil. To point others toward a God who is love. 

I want now, more than ever, to qualify for and run in the Boston Marathon.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

2013 CrossFit Open. Done.

I just finished my last workout of the CrossFit Open, and I'm filled with so many contrasting emotions. Like the WODs themselves, the open felt so long when I was in the middle of it-- like the weeks would never end. But now that it's over, I feel like it was over too quickly. I want more time to prove myself.
13.4 with my son 
I entered the competition having no idea what to expect-- how I would complete the workouts, how I would stack up against my CrossFitting friends, other women in the region and in the world. Each workout brought an adrenaline rush... and that was just in waiting for the announcement of the WOD. Then there was the "Should I?" or "Shouldn't I?" aspect... practice it? go early in the week? go late? watch endless youtube instructional videos? watch the pros? check the leaderboard?


Then the performing of the WOD itself. It's everything awesome about competing in a race, every week-- the expectation, the seconds leading up to "go," the exertion of giving it all, and the being spent at the end. And after submitting the score, watching the leaderboard (yes, I probably care way too much about where I rank in my region).

What did I find? I surprised myself. Having no official CrossFit official training, having no box to WOD in, my husband's skill as a trainer once again brought me success. He crafted workouts that challenged me and changed me. He pushed me to go heavier than I thought I could, to give more than I thought I had to give. More than once I cried in frustration; more than once I yelled in exhilaration.

If you are considering registering for the open next year, I would recommend it... IF you do your homework--

  1. Join a CrossFit box to train for the specific workouts. I underestimated the difficulty of the short but incredibly intense WODs in the open. Even though I had done similar workouts, mine tended to be longer and a little more leisurely-- my only competition in training was myself and the clock. In a CrossFit box, I think I would've pushed myself to go faster because there would be others performing the same workout as me. 
  2. Do some research. I was surprised that some others competing in the open couldn't do some of the very common CrossFit exercises, such as double unders, toes to bar, or pull ups. Even before entering the open, I began learning the DU because I knew that if I couldn't do those, I wouldn't have a chance.
  3. Practice, practice, practice. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Myth Busting

“I reject your reality and substitute my own.” Adam Savage (Mythbusters)

Recently (well, always), I've seen too many posts on facebook and too much discussion on day time t.v. (thank you, Spring Break) about diet and exercise related myths. We have a whole world of information at our finger tips-- I just can't believe that so many people still believe so many myths! So, read on, people and be informed!
1. Lifting heavy weights will make me (a woman) look like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. False. Lifting heavy weights and taking male hormones (aka steroids) will make you look like him. Read this article for some good info on heavy lifting.

2. Running is bad for my knees. False. While some old research indicated that it could be bad for your joints, new research shows that's not the case. The benefits of running far outweigh the risks.

3. Doing more crunches (or other ab exercise) will give me a flat stomach. False. We have flabby abs because we are carrying excess body fat. Eating a clean diet with an appropriate amount of calories and exercising will cause your body to get leaner, which means bye bye flab. See this article for some research on the dangers of belly fat and solutions.

4. Help! I can't stand my _____ (insert love handles, saddle bags, or other flabby body part here)! What exercise can I do to get rid of it? See my comments on #3. And this.

5. If 30 minutes in the gym is good for me, then 3 hours is even better. False. There is a ton of research out there. First, it depends on your level of fitness. However, I know lots of people who I would consider serious athletes, but who spend way too much time in the weight room at one time. The body releases cortisol, a stress hormone, when... stressed. After 45 minutes of training, cortisol begins to be released and your body starts to use muscle as fuel. That's bad news and detrimental to gains in strength and loss of fat.

6. If I just buy ____ (insert latest magic pill or fad exercise product here), I would lose weight/have a bikini body. False. Hard work, people. The miracle cure/secret product is hard work. 

7. Caffeine is bad for me. False. Giant coffee drinks with all that fluffy junk in them are full of unnecessary calories and sugar, and therefore, bad for you. Red Bull and Monster are packed with caffeine and sugar and are not good for you. Caffeine is not evil or bad. But like anything else, you don't want to overdo it. I found a great, informative article that summarizes some of caffeine's pros and cons.  

8. A great way to lose weight is by replacing junk food with low fat, sugar free, all natural (etc.) snack foods. False. The best foods are whole foods and eating clean. Basically-- eat real foods that aren't wrapped in plastic and sealed in a box. Food labels can be deceptive-- even if the front of the box says all natural, it can still be full of sugar and calories that you don't need.

9. Skipping meals (or severely restricting calories) will help me lose weight. False. Losing weight is pretty simple math-- if you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose weight. If you are reading this blog, I'm assuming that you train regularly, so you need to make sure that you are getting enough calories to fuel your workouts. However, we often underestimate the amount of food we eat, so keeping a log of what you eat is a good way to assess the amount of calories you take in. Also remember that the number of calories burned as listed on fitness equipment (treadmill, elliptical, etc.) are not always accurate. There are many apps that help you track your calorie intake and output. 

10. Gluten, bread, white potatoes, carbs, dairy and red meat are bad for you. False. Some people are allergic or sensitive to gluten-- if that's you, then cut it out. If you gorge yourself on any of those things, it's bad for you. Eat clean and eat sensibly. I really do believe that moderation is the key. I wrote a blog about the "diet" I follow here.

Well, those are what I find to be the most egregious myths. Follow the links. Most importantly, don't believe everything you hear... or read... even in this blog. Do your research. Your health depends on it.

What myths would you like to see busted?