Do it for YOU

Last week was rough. Suddenly I was staring down my first round of midterms in Graduate school. At this point, I don’t want training to take a back seat to school (go ahead, judge me), so I let myself fall behind on other things (i.e. blog posts, current events, grocery shopping, and socializing). Thursday afternoon I wrapped up my exhausting school week and welcomed the weekend with open arms – the first thing I did was get a power snatch PR.. Just for fun. Although I only tinker with my Olympic lifts about once a month, I am getting so much stronger that my lack of technical practice doesn’t really matter. When I deadlift 200-pounds to Clean it, the weight feels like a warm-up rep! Same with the Snatch, so on Thursday I decided to work up to a 1RM Power Snatch (didn’t want to squat the weight) and got 135-pounds. It probably wasn’t the prettiest Power Snatch, but it also felt like a feather.

Let me back up a bit, though. Like I said, my training did not fall by the wayside last week.. If anything, I use my training to put off studying an extra couple of hours. On Wednesday, my coach had programmed 8×2 Squat at 65% (200-lbs). I went into my training session with a tentative plan to work up to a heavy Squat single, but only if I was feeling good. After the 8×2, I was hungry for more so I worked up to match the PR that I hit a few weeks ago (140-kg/309-lbs). The weight came right up, so I went for more and hit 145-kg/320-lbs:

That rep looked and felt like a maximal load. I shifted back and forth between being on my heels and toes as I stood it up and worked my ass off for the rep. It was a PR by 13-pounds/5-kg from just two weeks prior. Following that Squat session, I did heavy Bench work:

Today is my 5th day of training in a row (tsk, tsk) and I worked up to a heavy Squat single this morning, matching 145-kg/320-pounds:

I thought I could get another small PR today, but 147.5-kg/325-pounds didn’t go. Part of it was probably related to attempt selection. From 140-kg, I should have jumped to 147.5-kg/325-lbs or even 150-kg/330-pounds.. But I’m still ok with matching my lifetime PR after my volume work increased so much in the last week and I haven’t had a rest day since last Tuesday. Hitting 145/320 again is a good confidence booster and it helps me get more comfy under that weight.

In the past, I have posted about beauty, working with what you got, defying stereotypes, and that sort of thing. This morning I watched an awesome video put together by CrossFit that brought tears to my eyes (that’s not an exaggeration). It falls right in line with my platform and I want every person in the world to see the video, believe it, and live by the message:

Beauty, to me, is doing something that makes ME feel powerful, strong, and accomplished. Whether or not that is perceived as “normal” cannot matter. It is what I want to do with my body, my time, my gifts, my life.

Think about how you perceive yourself

This might get a little preachy, but hear me out.

It is so very easy for women to get into a groove of nit-picking their bodies. I would know, I am a woman and I have been doing it my entire life. “If I could get rid of my love handles, shrink my thighs, lengthen my neck, and grow 4 inches taller – I would have my DREAM BODY!” You ladies know what I’m talking about, I am sure of it. So many women are spending all of their energy chasing their dream body that is unrealistic. For example, if you are naturally taller than average with broad shoulders and wide hips, you are wasting your time striving to get the same body as your petite, even skinny, friend.

I spent SO many years in that world – I wanted to be tiny. If you don’t already know what I look like, I am short and thick/stocky/stout/dense/whatever you want to call it. I’ve been that way my entire life, but for the longest time my vision was that one day I was going to look like a petite runner. Month after month, year after year, my body type wasn’t changing (*gasp*)… My weight would fluctuate up and down, but my shape never changed – I always had big thighs, a big ass, and little waist. Basically the opposite of what I was aiming for. At some point within the last two years, I woke up. How the hell was that journey EVER going to feel good? I was blessed with these genetics and I needed to start a journey that was going to bring me satisfaction, success, fulfillment.

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Rather than looking at yourself in a negative light, looking for things to change, and comparing yourself to others – EMBRACE what your mama (and papa) gave you. Find something that makes you feel happy, empowered, like you have purpose and work your ass off (not literally). Appreciate and love your body for what it’s capable of.

AMEN.

On that note, it is time for me to move some iron.

“There is nothing impossible to [her] who will try.”  – Alexander the Great

Feeling like a water balloon

Heavy training sessions leading up to the Top of the World meet are all done. Water loading has begun. Oh joy.

Worked up to 3 Bench singles at 185-lbs last Wednesday, which felt prettyyy good.

Then I worked up to a 290-pound Squat on Friday, which felt excellent.

Today was water loading day 1.. That means I am drinking 2 gallons of water each day. It’s really hard to stay focused at the Library when you have to walk to the bathroom every 10 minutes – and that’s no exaggeration. Not to mention the hassle of all that standing up and sitting down when you’re sore as F! First world problems, right? Needless to say, I only survived the library a few hours before I was 1) too hungry to stay focused, and 2) sick of peeing in the library bathroom over and over.

I started the Whole Life Challenge (WLC) with CrossFit Alaska yesterday. It’s an 8-week long point-based Paleo challenge. We ended up with over 60 participants in our community! That’s huge and so exciting! I can’t wait to see the progress everyone makes 🙂

This week of training just consists of Monday and Wednesday. Tomorrow I’ll Squat 205-lbs for a handful of reps and bench 140-lbs. Wednesday is just some light Squats. My main focus is getting plenty of rest and keeping my mind right.

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Overdue Nationals Recap

I am feeling like I have told this recap a million times in the last week, so maybe this will be one last time 😉 I’ve been back in Alaska since last Tuesday night. It has taken this long to find the time to sit down and write because I was traveling for work Wednesday and Thursday, and then felt like Friday was a catch up day in a lot of other aspects of my life. Anyway, I’m here now and I’ll start from where I left off after my last post.

I had to do some last minute weight cutting the morning of meet day. At 6 AM (one hour before weigh-ins), I was 0.6-lbs over.. Nothing 30 minutes of jumping jacks bundled up in the hotel bathroom and spitting with Jolly Ranchers couldn’t fix, though. By the time I weighed in, I was about a pound under weight. For the calm, cool, and collective morning-of weight cutting, I have my brother to thank. Honestly, I had fun with it all because I was completely confident that I was going to get down to 158.7-lbs (72-kg) thanks to my brother. He is the first person I go to for a voice of reason when I need some grounding, and his calm demeanor was just what I needed in that situation.

I’m not going to repeat the numbers I lifted again, those are listed in my last post. What I will talk about is peeing. Sounds weird, I know, and I’ve gotten some hilarious reactions the last week telling this story.. Last weekend going into the Deadlift portion of Raw Nationals, I was sitting pretty in 2nd place overall. My opening Deadlift at 313-lbs was smooth, but as I walked back to the chair I was sitting in, I realized I kind of had to pee. Not a full-bladder kind of pee, but had a little sensation, and I didn’t think I had enough time to hit the bathroom before my 2nd attempt (336-lbs).. So I ignored it. Note to self: that was the WRONG choice. It was my turn for Deadlift #2 and I confidently marched out to the platform, tightened up my belt, went through my routine set-up, and as soon as I put tension on the bar I felt it coming. I pulled the bar to my knees before giving in to the pee that was streaming down my leg (sorry for being graphic) and put the bar back down. I think I yelled a profanity before turning around to my amazing handler/coach, “I just PISSED myself!” were my words. She knew, and very calmly she told me it was okay and to hit the bathroom, that I would get 336 on my 3rd attempt. Part of me (maybe my ego) didn’t want to hear that – I knew I was capable of lifting more – but I also know that my coaches know best and in situations like that, I need to trust their judgement. In a high-energy and emotional moment like that, it would be really easy for me to make a stupid decision that might cost me more in the end.. So it was better to play it safe. My 3rd deadlift was easier than I think a 3rd deadlift should be in a competition, but that’s okay.. It fuels my fire.

After last weekend, I made a pretty big decision. I’ve already committed to a late-October CrossFit competition here in Anchorage that I’m going to spend the next few months training for. But after that, I’m going to devote 100% of my time to training for the Arnold in late-February. Even though I didn’t do as well as I would have hoped at Nationals, I felt like I was totally in my element and that it was just where I needed to be, so I’m going to ride this wave and see where it takes me. It also dawned on me that I will only be in the Junior category until March 22nd of 2014, so the Arnold is going to be my last opportunity to chip my American Junior records if I still have them by then, or to reclaim them if not.

That means that for the Open next year (March-April most likely), I’ll be in powerlifting shape and not really in CrossFit shape, but I’m going to wing it. CrossFit Fairbanks is hosting a powerlifting competition on September 14 that I’m going to participate in, as well, to get more meet exposure before the Arnold.

I can’t even begin to thank my family enough for their unwavering support. I was a total b*tch sometimes with the stress, hunger, and nerves leading up to Nationals, but they stood by me faithfully. Another couple of trusty voices of reason in my life are my guardian angel, Rob, and my coach, Matt. I feel like I can ask them about anything and I’ll get a sound explanation, no matter how ridiculous. They are a couple of my biggest fans and I would have never, ever, EVER would have even dreamt of Nationals without their guidance. I also met some really great people.

I am so very excited to continue this journey.

Here is a video of my 3rd deadlift at 336-pounds

Posting from the beach

I’m currently laying on the beach in Daytona, but figured I should give some kind of update to anyone that might be following. I will provide more details and videos when I get a chance later this week.

Yesterday did not go as well as I would have desired. I made 5/9 of my lifts.. The standard is 6/9. I missed my 3rd squat trying to chip my own American Record at 299-pounds, missed my 2nd and 3rd bench attempts at 187-pounds (which is a weight I have successfully lifted countless times), and missed my 2nd deadlift (don’t ever do heavy deadlifts with a full bladder – I’ll spare you the details). In the end, I got 2nd for my Juniors (20-23 years old) class and took 6th overall (missed 5th by 0.5kg). My Wilkes score from the day was 355, which I am just ok with because 345 is the Arnold qualifier.

Anyway, back to vacation. Thanks to everyone for unwavering support and being awesome.

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Walk Tall

Today was a big mental day. Stepped on the scale to find that I was up 2 pounds from Saturday. Although I am totally aware that it is water weight, it still messed with my head the first half of the day. I started water loading today, which entails drinking 2 gallons a day all week until about 12 hours before weigh ins, then water consumption stops and you eat an entire lemon. The whole damn thing. Mmmmm.

During the lunch hour, I did my last lifting session on my program for Raw Nationals, light bench (up to 146-lbs) and light squats (up to doubles at 210-lbs). This evening I did some rowing and airdyne intervals, which were actually really enjoyable. The working intervals were at a manageable pace, just one to keep my heart rate at about 160 BPM, so nothing terrible.

Tonight I’m focusing on relaxing. I’m going to watch an episode (or as much of one that I can before passing out) of Modern Family to get my mind elsewhere 🙂

And on that note, sayonara.

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Sunday Funday

This was a great weekend. Finished off my Friday night with smooth-as-butter (get used to that analogy, it’s my fave) heavy bench doubles (178.5-lbs / 91.5%), a 15 minute AMRAP of deadlifts, push-ups, and 200m sprints (I didn’t actually sprint), and then finally a 20 mile ride on my bike.

Saturday morning I checked my weight and I was down to only 3 pounds over, then I did a not-for-time WOD before coaching for 5 hours. After an afternoon nap, I rode my bike 12 miles and then slipped on a summer dress and went to a going away gathering.

I went a little nuts today and I’m pretty spent right now. Started off the day with an 18 mile ride. After getting a few things done, I met up with some of the amazing gals I work out with and they did a pretty ridiculous WOD with me.

10 rounds* (1 min at each station)
-Heavy prowler push (on the force treadmill)
-Burpees
-Step-ups
-Plank hold
-Farmers carry with (60-lb dumbbells)

*While rocking a 20-lb weight vest

I needed to simply do consistent work today. That meant maintaining the same intensity level throughout the 50 minute workout. We opted to not keep score and to rest on an as-needed basis. I’m really fortunate to have women like them in my life because there is no way I could/would do that workout alone.

All in all, a great weekend. Time to prep some food and hit the hay. This is a big week leading up to Raw Nationals and I need to focus on lots and lots of sleep every night.

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Today marks 8 days out from Raw Nationals. This morning I checked my weight and I’m 4.7 pounds over and from here on out, I’ll be weighing myself every morning to get a good idea of how much I float over night. I’m really fortunate that I have my brother to help me out. He’s a D1 wrestler for U of Minnesota, if anyone knows how to shed weight, it’s him. My office is providing pizza for our lunch meeting.. Needless to say, I’ll be enjoying my steamed veggies and chicken 😉

Squats this morning felt great. I did my warmup progression that I’ll be doing on meet day, but hit my last warm-up weight (250-lbs/113.5-kg) for 3 singles.

This afternoon I will bench 8×2 at 178.5-lbs (91.5%) and do a lot of conditioning and sweating.

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New blog, same athlete

Welcome! I was formerly a blogger at alaskancrossfitter.blogspot.com, but have decided to convert to WP because it seems to be smoother to me. I’ve had an ongoing battle with blog consistency, so maybe I am subconsciously trying to start my blogging career over… Who knows.

Now for a little background information on the title of “Cannonball Fitness”.. I picked up the nickname from a CrossFit coach when I “rolled down the competition” during Team Event 4 at the 2013 CrossFit Regionals. CrossFit Alaska was close to last (maybe dead last) in our heat going into the last athlete (myself) and we ended up winning the heat. Apparently I emulated a cannonball… And I can’t lie, I kinda like it.

Anyway, for those who don’t already know – I am a CrossFit enthusiast, newbie Powerlifter, casual cyclist, and whatever else comes along. I eat pretty clean and have a tendency to be excessively competitive.