Tuesday, February 26, 2013

a lot of words about working out

Towards the end of last year I mentioned how I had become a human garbage disposal, eating any and everything in sight. I knew going into the new year I wanted to get myself back on track not only with food but also with exercise. I am a constant runner because it is an easy activity for me and enjoyable but other forms of exercise, not so much. Things that require a teacher and a studio take more dedication because I actually have to get into my car and go to them. I have to be there at a certain time or get fined for being late. It all just feels like so much pressure and work.

But I knew I needed to dedicate myself to something other than running if I wanted to change my body composition from cookie to muscle and after investing no thought into it, I choose CrossFit as my new exercise. I picked it because a local friend has had amazing results at CrossFit Central and really, who doesn't love it when a friend admires you enough to copy your every move?

I've been going every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday since January and guys, I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I am really enjoying it. I haven't consumed the CrossFit Kool-Aide yet (although jparks has. He's in it to win it. Which he can't do because I'm totally crushing him.) but I do like it enough to not think twice when it's time to renew my membership each month.

So what does CrossFit involve and can the average person who has never touched a barbell in her life do it? Will people laugh when I can't do a pullup? Is grunting necessary?

Y'all, I asked everyone I know who is currently enrolled in CrossFit a million questions because I needed to be prepared so I didn't look like an ass my first class. I knew that I wanted flat trainers, preferably Converse or a pair of minimus shoes for class because lots of padding isn't good for weight lifting. Yes, knee socks are common because you don't want the bar to skin your shins. Some grunting does happen but no one will think you're weird if you work out quietly. Pullups are easily modified for beginners like me. Hell, everything is easily modified for beginners like me and when you finally move beyond those modifications, people will cheer for you. Your classmates are this weird set of cheerleaders who want to see you improve and will get just as excited as you when you finally nail a double under. It's totally weird and uncomfortable for me because I am such an internal and sarcastic person but it just works in the CrossFit gym setting.

My coach has been great about helping me figure out what I can do instead of whatever impossible move is included in the Workout of the Day. Impossible moves include:

Handstand pushups!

Double unders!

Burpees over the bar! (with bonus power cleans in the beginning. I've actually done this WOD and towards the end, I would get to the bottom part of the burpee and just lay on the ground waiting for death.)

Wall Walks!

Honestly, it's not nearly as scary as I expected. I also felt overwhelmed by all the acronyms and special move names but you quickly start to figure things out (HSPU! AMRAP! WOD! Clean! Jerk! Russian Swing!) and I can't stress this enough, the coaches are like super human nice to beginners (and to old pros too). I don't think I'm ever that nice to anyone at any point in time but there they are, being so nice while I struggle to do one pushup. "Oh you need me to show you a clean and press for the third time this session? Okay! Let's do it!" I wouldn't be able to resist adding an "idiot" to the end of that but they do! It's amazing really.

So to close out the wordiest post about CrossFit ever, I just want to say that you shouldn't be scared or intimated by it at all. Honestly, if I can do it then I know you can do it too. Hey, let's get together for some burpees soon! Maybe an out and back sled push! 400m run! Or you know, we could get together and talk about doing those things while eating ice cream. Same difference.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Last Sunday I ran the Livestrong Austin Half Marathon and if you follow me on any social media site, then you know I PR'ed, smashing the crap out of my previous half time by 12 minutes and 21 seconds. That's a huge jump especially considering I set my last PR in January at the 3M race. Yay for that!

Before I left for the expo to pick up my race bib I was thinking about how I ran a half in January and I was now running one in February and hey, what a fun way to kick off the year. Then I saw the race shirt and I had an idea.


2013 would be the year of the half marathon! 2013.1! I would run a half every month this year! I didn't give myself time to think about how many miles I would be running this year just in races (157.2) or how much travel would be involved in this plan, I hit the ground running (see what I did there?) and started researching races. I asked my friends if they knew of any half marathons near them so I could start plotting various months and the responses flooded in. Grand Rapids! Kiawah! New York! Chicago! Baton Rouge! So many options. Then I started to look up race registration fees and airfare and realized if I didn't want to go broke I needed a better plan. That's when I remembered that Rock 'N' Roll races offer a Tour Pass.

The Rock 'N' Roll races weren't my first choice but I couldn't beat $399 for as many races as I could fit into my calendar so here we are. I've never run one of their races and it feels like I'm taking a big chance, but I'm sure it'll be fine. Here's what my year looks like so far:

  • January 13th 3M Half Austin, TX
  • February 17th Livestrong Half Austin, TX
  • March 23rd Zooma Half Bastrop, TX
  • April 14th More Magazine/Fitness Magazine NYRR Half NYC
  • May 19th Rock 'N' Roll Portland, OR
  • June 22nd Rock 'N' Roll Seattle, WA
  • July 21st Rock 'N' Roll Chicago, IL
  • August 4th Rock 'N' Roll Pittsburgh, PA
  • September 15th Rock 'N' Roll Philadelphia, PA
  • October 6th, Rock 'N' Roll San Jose, CA 
  • November 17th, Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio, TX
December hasn't been decided yet. A lot of races haven't opened registration this early and Rock 'N' Roll doesn't seem to have anything that month. I've been presented with plenty of options, so once I'm registered for something I'll let you know where I'm headed. 

I'm super excited about this project and assuming I finish all of those Rock 'N' Roll races, I'll be presented a special finisher medal. I'll also get an additional medal for completing the Pacific Peaks portion of the year.

I'm also really looking forward to seeing friends all over the country and getting one night of sleep each month where I won't have to get up at 6am with the kids. 

Am I coming to your part of the country? Do you have a spare bed you wouldn't mind letting me sleep in? Would you like to come out and see me along a race course? Want to get a pre-race drink with me? I'm game, let's do it!