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The Clumsy CrossFitter

I completed the 5th and final workout of the Crossfit Open yesterday!  I had to do the scaled version of the workout because I am completely incapable of doing double unders with my jump rope (argh!).

17.5 was as follows:

10 rounds for time of:

9 thrusters at 45 lbs / 35 single under jump ropes

After I was done with the workout (finished with a time of 9:40), the person counting for me pointed out that I kept messing up on my jump ropes because I did a weird kick, which caused the rope to go between my legs and get caught.  Another person pointed out the weird kick to me as well and stated that he had never seen anyone have such an issue with having the rope end up in between their feet.

I have also fallen more than my fair share of times trying to do pistols (one legged squats)…

Soldier steps?  Ya know, the ones that you just kick your leg really high and touch your toes.  I have fallen over doing those too.

17.2 had several squat snatches that increased in weight as the workout went on.  At one point, I was doing the 35 lb bar and dropped it on my head.  Later in the workout, when the weight had increased to 95 lbs, I dropped the barbell so that it landed on my lower back – I still have no idea how I managed that.

Does anyone else have these issues or am I the only clumsy CrossFitter out there?

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T… why won’t you give it to me?

I have been feeling off this week.

I had an argument with a friend on Sunday that made me realize that it is very hard for some people in my life to support me in regards to my love of fitness and dedication to bettering myself.  This is not something that I understand nor is it something with which I agree.  I am a firm believer that you should want your friends to be happy and you should support hem as they better themselves.  So why is it that some of mine have been less than supportive at times?

Change scares people.

I have always been a social person.  I love hanging out with my friends/family and trying new things with them.  Meeting new people is something that I enjoy tremendously.  A very large part of being social in my past included drinking.

Wanna hang out? Sure – let’s go grab a drink.

Want to go grab dinner?  Yep, then let’s go to the bars.

I never realized how much drinking had been integrated into my friendships.  Most of my closest friends are ones that I met in college.  Drinking was part of the culture there so it makes sense that it is such a large part of our relationship.

However, it isn’t as much a part of my life anymore.  Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy going out with my friends and I still drink often in social settings.  I just don’t think that it always needs to be the focus of hanging out.  I try to avoid drinking completely a week or two before my races.  If I can’t do that, then I put my foot down 100% on at least the last few nights leading up to them.

I have found that some of my friends give me a really hard time about this.  If I don’t drink much and hang out with them, I get teased for not drinking enough and pressured into drinking more.  If I don’t hang out with them to avoid this pressure, I get chastised for not doing things with them.  I feel like I cannot win.  With some of my friends, I have started to feel like I can’t have both – I can’t work on myself AND be their friend.  This realization that I am not going to be able to sustain all of my relationships as I continue to make changes in my life hit me like a hard table being slammed onto my bad knee on Sunday night.

And it hurts.

I have tried to integrate these friends into my fitness life in an effort to spend time with them and/or give them the opportunity to understand this part of my life.  I ask them to go on runs with me, go to CrossFit class with me and even ask them to go to my races to support me.  I almost always get the same responses.  They are typically as follows:

  1. I hate running
  2. CrossFit is stupid/dangerous
  3. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with you if we ran together
  4. I don’t have time to go to your race

All of these are acceptable points to me.  Not everyone is going to love what I love or do what I do.  My intent with inviting them is simply to extend a bridge to a better understanding of me.  I do not invite anyone to go with me because I need them to change to be more like me.  Our differences are what enable us to help each other grow.  I don’t need my friends to accept my invitations to engage in the physical activities with me nor does it upset me when they do not.  Sometimes, the way that they blow off my invitations to cheer at my races upsets me but I get that not everybody wants to stand outside for two hours to watch me run by once or twice.  However, because it has been such a big source of contempt between us, it is important to me that I at least make that effort and offer it to them.

So here is what I usually say to these responses:

  1. I hate running – Okay, but I love it.  It’s important to me.  So you hating it doesn’t mean that I should or have to. 
  2. CrossFit is stupid/dangerous – Have you ever tried it?  Did you have a good coach?  I love it.  It makes me happy.  What makes you happy?
  3. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with you if we ran together – Hey, I’m happy to run at your pace. I understand that I have been consistently running for a while now.  Logistically, it makes sense that my pace may be faster than yours.  I’m happy to go on a run with you simply to be running with you, it doesn’t have to be a training/competitive run for me.  Also, you may surprise yourself.
  4. I don’t have time to go to your race – (Ouch) – Okay, yeah, we are all pretty busy. 

I really want to focus on #3 as this is the one that seemed to get me into big trouble on Sunday night with my friend.  Somehow, my friend perceived my typical response (which was pretty much delivered verbatim as listed above) as me saying “you suck, I’m great. You need to run. You should be ashamed of your body and try to get on my level.”

I won’t get into the details of the situation because they are irrelevant.  However, it feels important for me to talk about this because it is a recurring issue for me these days.  I open the door to this important part of my life to my friends and some take it as me insulting them or immediately slam it back in my face.

This particular friend of mine has been running and talking about how fitness is important to her too.  She’s been really working hard and seeing some pretty awesome results – I’m really proud of her for doing what she feels is important to her.  However, she isn’t supportive of my running nor does she respect the fact that it is important to me.  She often uses me as the butt of her jokes to other friends and scoffs at my dedication to my longer runs on weekends.  She later explained to me that she doesn’t enjoy running because she is doing it only to lose weight and it’s a task to her.

I didn’t ask her to run with me because I think she needs to “get on my level” or change herself.  I asked her to do it with me because I enjoy it and I want to enjoy it with her if possible.  I think it would be cool for her to see why I’ve come to enjoy running and how happy it makes me.  It was not at all my intention to force it upon her nor do I think I presented it that way.

There was a time in my life when I hated running and also only did it to lose weight.  This is why part of me does understand why she reacted the way that she did to me.  I also recall a time when my older sister was completely dedicated to fitness and eating well – she was absolutely killing it and she had already seemed like a very fit person to me.  It frustrated me when she asked me to run with her because I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with her.  I remember giving her very similar reactions even though that’s not at all what she meant – something I didn’t understand until recently.

I don’t need my friends to actually go out and run with me to be supportive either.  I have offered it to friends that have said no and I still think they’re supportive.  Again, I don’t need everyone to love running with me in order to me to consider them a supportive friend.  What frustrates me is the lack of respect/support when I say that I don’t want to drink or even stay up late the night before a race.  This particular friend told me to my face that not drinking made me boring – like I wasn’t worthy of being with the group unless I engaged in this ritual of drinking that somehow determined my worth or value to them.

A friend of mine recently got her CPA – whoop whoop!  She had to take several tests to reach this achievement and dedicated a lot of time to studying for her exams.  She often went out with us and didn’t drink so that she could wake up early and study the next day.  At times, she did not go out at all – the night before an exam or when she needed to study late at night.  I don’t think she was really ever given a hard time about this.  I remember some light teasing (my friends are pretty sarcastic) but nothing to the degree to which I have been roasted by the above mentioned friend in particular.

So why is my running/races different for my friends?  Why is it okay for her to opt into obtaining her CPA and cut back on drinking but it isn’t okay for me to opt into running races and cut back on drinking?  Why is what is important to her important to them and what is important to me isn’t?  I rarely even get a congratulatory text or high five after one of my big races – certainly never from this particular friend.

And this leads me to my brief touch point on #4 of the list.  Think about things that your friends do that are important to them and how you respond to those events.  Your friend trains for a kickboxing match, would you go to it?  Another friend works really hard on planning an event and invites you, would you attend?  Maybe your friend even earns a big designation in their field, do you celebrate it with them afterward?

I get frustrated that some of my friends typically show no interest in attending my races or even calling/texting me afterward to see how it went because I know that I do that for them with things that are important to them.  I also see them do that for other friends when they accomplish something.  I have come to understand that running just does not translate as an accomplishment for them.  And, quite frankly, it is a bummer that it being an accomplishment for me isn’t enough.

Again, I want to drive home the point that I am not talking about ALL of my friends here.  I am talking about the select few that go out of their way to belittle something that is so important to me.

I wish there was some sort of solution – some aha! moment that would come at the end of this blog where I’d say “here, reader, this is what you should do in these situations.”  But, I don’t have one and that’s why this situation has been so bothersome and consuming for me.  People change.  Some people will adapt and grow with you and others won’t.  At the end of the day, remember to stand your ground and don’t sacrifice what is important to you to appease people that aren’t respecting you.

Running like a snail, feeling like a whale, hating the scale – cheers to the days that feel like a complete fail (ure- hehe)!

Quick update from my last post – I am back up to 185.2 lbs.

ARGHHHHHHHHHHH!

You can bet your bottom dollar that I was pissed when I saw that number on the scale during my body scan with my CrossFit coach.  I have been working so hard and my weight is going UP?!  Immediately, I started thinking about all of the bad foods I had eaten, the runs that I could have gone through faster and the workouts that I scaled the weeks prior.

After the scan was completed, I begrudgingly put my socks and shoes back on and turned to my coach to discuss the findings of the scale.  Get this – he was impressed.

Um, I’m sorry, what?  – I thought to myself.  Why would he be impressed with those three digits on the scale?  My goal weight is 155 and now I’m over 30 lbs away again!  I could feel my eyes narrowing and tears forming from frustration and he was acting like my scan was good – sheesh!

Well, guess what?  The overall number on the scale didn’t mean a thing to him.  He looked at the scan and explained that my skeletal muscle mass v. body fat mass was good – I am the picture of a healthy/fit 25 year old female.

Whaaaaaaaaaat? It didn’t make any sense to me.  I still weigh more than all of the guys that I date, my BMI is usually in the “overweight” category, and I still have a gut that will not go away.  I get that muscle weighs more than fat and everyone says that but it doesn’t feel like it!  Sharing a weight of 185.2 is embarrassing!  I should weigh so much less than that!

I am sharing some of the results of my scan with you to really drive home the fact that the generic number on the scale actually doesn’t mean much.  I never believed people when they said that to me.  I have always used my weight to determine if I was healthy  or losing fat effectively.  According to the scan, I only have 28.3 lbs of fat on my body (so my weight loss goal of 30 lbs isn’t really realistic unless I want to lose muscle mass as well).  That’s 15% body fat.  According to what I have read online, a very healthy female athlete at my age usually has 14-17% body fat.  15 might be my new favorite number, I’m just sayin’!

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I have had some time to process this information since my scan, which happened about a week ago.  Since that time, I have removed my own personal scale from my bathroom and put it up on a high shelf in the closet (keep in mind that I’m almost 6′ tall so I can easily get it down whenever I want to, but still).

I have also been thinking about why teeny tiny numbers on a small digital screen had come to mean so much to me when they really weren’t even a good measure of my progress.  I think, in general, we are raised to think that way.  I have heard so many times that you shouldn’t ask a woman what she weighs.  I see memes that say things like “my goal is to weigh as much as I told them I did when I got my driver’s license.”  Weight loss programs are geared only toward this number.  MyFitnessPal never asked about my body composition, just my weight (perhaps not a such a great pal after all, eh?).  Plus, it recommended a calorie intake of 1400/day for me at some point.  According to my scan, I need at least 1908 calories just to function as a couch potato for a day.

Don’t get me wrong, everyone is different.  I understand that there are people that actually need to drop pounds for health reasons.  Using body weight increase/decrease is  a good generic measure of success in the beginning of trying to make a healthy lifestyle change.  It’s one unit that everyone can measure and understand.  However, my point is that it isn’t everything.  I should not have gotten so upset when I saw that number on the scale.  Logically, I should have thought about how my pant size hasn’t changed even though that number had gone up (a good indicator that I was gaining lean muscle mass and not fat) and I should have focused on the fact that I am still feeling great.

The point of my rant today isn’t to bash on people that use the number on the scale to measure their success as they try to be healthier.  Again, it’s simply to point out that it isn’t everything.  We shouldn’t be embarrassed by our weight – it’s just a number.  It’s like the fact that my hair is blonde.  I weigh 185.2 lbs and my hair is blonde.  I can change both things if I wanted to, I could adjust them.  But they are just general facts about a physical characteristic.  The color of my hair doesn’t tell you if it’s healthy or even if it looks good (which it doesn’t today, mind you).  The same thing goes for someone’s weight – the number doesn’t tell you the full story.

Please keep this in mind as you work to improve your health and body.  Keep your head up on rough days and keep up the good work!

 

 

To my dear friend, the “why” man

Hi there!

I know what you’re thinking – you have probably been anxiously awaiting the release of this blog. After all, the world really doesn’t have enough people blogging about fitness, lifestyles, clothing, etc. I will be the first blogger of my kind – ha!

Honestly, I have been wanting to start a blog for a while now; I just didn’t know if I would have anything interesting enough to say in it. I am still not sure that I do!  We already have such bright and driven people writing about how hard they push themselves and the cool things that they do.  I, my friends, am probably not as cool as them or probably even you for that matter (even though my guess is that you’re pretty cool).  I haven’t lost 250 lbs or climbed Mt Everest.  I am actually kind of a scaredy cat.  I’m the girl at Crossfit that is afraid of hitting her mouth on the bar during pull ups.  According to my friends, I have also become the girl that obsessively talks about Crossfit like a lot of people these days.  In other words, I’m completely ordinary.  I’m not a phenomenal runner, I don’t have a crazy amazing talent and, quite frankly, I’m not a great writer.

But I’m trying.

A friend of mine recently pressed me (really REALLY hard I might add) on why I wanted to start a blog.

Why? Why? Who are you trying to talk to? What is the point?  Why do you need to put that out on the internet?  What good will it do for the world?

(Yeah, he’s intense but he’s also pretty great so don’t get too far ahead of yourselves.)

To be honest, I have no idea why I want to start this blog. I don’t know what good, if any, will come from it.  I am not sure if anyone will ever even see it.  I just want to do it.  I like talking about my experiences while working out – good and bad.  I enjoy talking to people that I think are like me and don’t have everything come easily to them at the gym.

For me, reading other people’s blogs is a lot like when you see an outfit on Pinterest and it looks so good on the Pinterest model but you try on the exact same thing and somehow look like you got caught in a crazy rainstorm and had to borrow hand-me-downs from your awkward cousin, Bertha.  I just wanted a place where I could talk about my real experiences while working out and living life or whatever.  Fitness doesn’t come easily to me but I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I like that about it.

So to come up with an answer to my friend’s questions, I guess my unrealistic hope would be that this blog would find someone that is in the same place mentally that I was a year ago and it tells them that they’re not alone. Maybe even encourages them to find something about fitness that they actually like and inspires them to work out for something other than trying to look like that one Pinterest model?

Maybe…

I supposed I should give you a little background information on myself. I’m 25 years old and living in the Chicagoland area.  About 14 months go I was at my heaviest weight, 218 lbs.  I’m down to about 175 lbs now, which is the smallest that I have been at my full grown height of just under 6’.  I was pretty close to this same weight back in college but I was a pant size larger.  I just keep reminding myself that muscle weighs more than fat… right?

I have been obsessed with losing weight my entire life. I started taking my first diet pills when I was 15 and took them pretty consistently up until the age of 24.  I find this interesting considering that most of the boxes have a small print that discourages taking the weight loss pills for more than 6-8 weeks (oops).  Needless to say, I kind of messed up my metabolism – go me!

Around August of last year (aka the 218 lb era), I decided that enough was enough and it was time to make some changes to my body AND my mentality. I nixed the diet pills – which I had been taking around that time at the recommendation of the guy I was seeing (ouch!) – and signed up for my 3rd half marathon.  I had run my first half marathon when I was a senior in college and had the time to dedicate to running/training but never really got into and somehow found a way to plow through the negative feelings in order to finish that race.  I finished my 2nd half marathon in Connecticut (I used to live there for work) with the boyfriend that I had at that time (a boyfriend that once took me to the McDonald’s drive thru to make up for fighting with me).  It was TERRIBLE and I had promised myself that I would never EVER sign up for another race again.  But, I set aside my doubts and signed up for a half marathon the following April.

By now you should have learned a few things about me:

  1. I had an unhealthy obsession with losing weight for a long time
  2. I was never really that out of shape given that I was able to run 2 half marathons without much training – but I felt terrible
  3. I have a terrible taste in men

After signing up, I started training religiously. I got on a treadmill 3-4 days/week and committed to going 5 miles, even if I had to walk a bit (or a lot) here and there.  Oddly, I lost my appetite around that time and not in a healthy way.  I kept eating because I have always been very conscious of eating disorders given my self-awareness of the obsession I had with weight loss but I definitely didn’t WANT to eat.  I also didn’t eat well necessarily.  I didn’t want to diet – dieting never worked for me.  I wanted to be healthy but I just didn’t know where to start.

Honestly, it all sucked for a long time and I hated it. I trained because I felt like I had to and not because I wanted to.  I didn’t enjoy being on the treadmill or running next to that girl at the gym that was on the treadmill next to mine before I got there, ran faster than me and was still running by the time that I was done.  I also felt embarrassed about the way I looked at the gym and overall uncomfortable.

I was introduced to Crossfit in March of this year. I tried it out with a new boyfriend that I had at the time and truthfully only signed up to spend more time with him.  It was awkward for me at first.  I felt uncoordinated and definitely was not anywhere near as good as the other girls at the gym.  I often found myself comparing my skills to theirs and getting frustrated when I realized I was so far behind.  However, I stuck with it and powered through.  My coaches and then-boyfriend had advice about eating and even helped with my running.  I got into the habit of going to Crossfit 3x/week and doing a long run every weekend with my boyfriend – it really helped having a partner to keep me in check when I first started.  To the dismay of many of my friends, I still give him a lot of credit for where I am today even though we are no longer together (but we are still gym buddies – woo!).  It is really hard to start doing something that challenges you and actually stick with it or at least it is for me.  I was very fortunate to have been dating someone at that time in my life whose priorities seemed to be aligned with mine.

I finished my 3rd half marathon in the pouring rain at 2:14:58.  That’s a 10:17/mile pace.  It isn’t the greatest time but it’s mine and I worked my ass off to get it.  I’m proud of it.  I felt so good after that race and it kind of reminded me that working hard toward something really makes it all worth it.  Especially because a lot of my thoughts during that 2:14:58 were a lot like this: f*** this. Why am I doing this? Who does this? Why did I pay $90 to run 13.1 miles? I could have run this for free or not at all.  What the hell was I thinking?

When I go to the gym or run nowadays, I try to remind myself that if it isn’t hard for me than it doesn’t count. Every time I want to do only 18 box jumps instead of the 20 listed on the workout, I remind myself that the only person that I am cheating is me.  I really try to push myself to the next level because all it proves to me is that I’m stronger than I was before.  I also remind myself a lot that difficult moments are just that – moments – and they will pass.  I do that whenever I have a hard time in general, not just at the gym.  It surprisingly helps me through a lot of things.

For the first time in my life, I can’t credit my weight loss to diet pills because I didn’t take any. I own my improvement – that was all me.  It’s an amazing feeling for me.

I ran another half marathon a couple of weekends ago and actually finished at a worse time than the one I did in April – a whopping 34 seconds slower. Hey, at least I’m consistent!  I felt like I was so in control of my breathing while I was running and that was my biggest win from that race.  My sister asked me after the race if I would ever do a full.  I told her that I would not.  I would never EVER do a full.

Guess what I just signed up for…?

You guessed it – I’ll be doing my first full marathon in April.

More things you’ve probably learned at this point:

4. I curse a lot in my head when I run.

5. I always end up doing the things that I promise myself I will never do again – hopefully this doesn’t start carrying over into bad habits, eh?

So, I hope to use this blog to share with you all of the crazy terrible and crazy awesome experiences that I have while I train for my full marathon and continue to do Crossfit (maybe even some competitions here and there?). I will likely share other things as well when I’m feeling inspired, which is not all that often…ha!

Until next time!

 

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