The Crossfit Post

People always tell me they’re nervous to try yoga, or afraid to run, or hesitant to give November Project a shot. These are all things I adore and couldn’t imagine being intimidated by. But when you don’t know what to expect, it can be scary. That’s how I felt about crossfit.

To be honest, I went in with preconceived notions about it. I’m not a fan of some of their principles. My biggest issue is with how hard they push the paleo diet. Everybody knows I eat a carb-heavy diet. It’s what I like and what I eat to feel my best. I didn’t like the idea that a gym would guilt its members into going paleo. I believe in everything in moderation. That includes sugar and grains (unless you have a food allergy). If you want to eat paleo, go for it. But don’t tell me I’m doing something wrong by not eating paleo. Maybe not all crossfit gyms do this, but I do know paleo and crossfit generally go hand in hand.

crossfit

A few months ago, a new girl joined our team at work. She was a swimmer at the collegiate level as well so we have a ton in common. While I love running and spinning, she loves crossfit. For months she tried to convince me to come to her “box” with her on Thursdays when you can bring a friend for free. I was really hesitant to go. Mostly because I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I’m not very strong. Lifting anything more than 10 pounds is a lot for me. And I can’t couldn’t (until I started going to CorePower) do a full push-up without being on my knees. Which is generally for pregnant women, according to a guy I work with who coaches crossfit (he may have been making fun of me, but it still made me nervous to try it).

When we were acquired by AOL, they started offering free yoga, barre, and crossfit classes during the workday at local studios. I started going to barre and yoga a few days a week but I resisted the crossfit until one of my coworkers went one day and I promised I’d go the next week. I’ve now been twice and I’m no longer afraid of it. It’s far from my favorite workout, but I’m doing it.

crossfit 2

The first time I hated it and didn’t want to go back. I walked into the “box” and people were doing some sort of weird shoulder warm-up. Everyone looked like they knew what they were doing. Except me. When it was time to officially start, the coach (who I was very intimidated by) announced we were playing dodgeball to warm up. I’m afraid of getting hit by the ball. That’s why I stuck to swimming and running. Needless to say, I was one of the first people out and then stood there on the sidelines waiting for the game to be over.

My biggest complaint about that first day was the amount of standing you did. If the workout is only 45 minutes long, I want to be going balls-to-the-wall for all 45 minutes. I don’t want to stand there for 10 minutes waiting for the dodgeball game to end before we start the workout. From there, we did a partner WOD (workout of the day). I also hated this because of the waiting. Each exercise had 50 total reps, but you only did 25 of them and your partner did the other 25. We did this two times through. While your partner was doing their workout, you rested. So you rested for half the time. We played pass with a weighted medicine ball, did burpees, lunges, squats, bicep curls, shoulder presses with dumbells, and my least favorite part- the piggyback rides. The piggyback rides scared me the most. In my head I thought to myself, “there is NO WAY IN HELL that I can carry someone that weighs as much as I do across the room and back.” I was also afraid of crushing the girl who had to carry me. I did it though, so that was a proud moment.

All in all, the workout was 20 minutes long which meant I only worked out for 10 minutes. I’m not a coach or a professional, but I have a hard time believing that you can get just as good of a workout in in 10 minutes as you can in an hour.

The second week was much better. It was a running workout with kettlebells mixed in. We did 25 reps of each exercise (I don’t remember what they were but the usual swings, squats, etc.) with a 1/4 mile run between each one. The goal was to do as many rounds as possible. I almost asked to substitute the running with rowing, which was the alternative for the only pregnant woman in the class, but I was afraid the coach would think I was just being “weak” and didn’t want to run. Stupid, I know. Luckily I felt okay to keep going. In total, I ran just over a mile and a half. The instructor tried to tell me the weight I was lifting was too light (25 pounds–> practically the most I’ve ever lifted in my life) but it felt plenty hard to me. I did well on the running though; everyone just caught up to me on the strength portions. ;)

Overall, I’m not a crossfit lover. I don’t like the rough vibe which I know is part of the culture. I will never get on board with the paleo diet. The coaches are definitely not the warmest or most welcoming people I’ve ever met. And I don’t like the “suck less” signage. I know my limits and I know when to push myself and when to hold back. I got the impression that they want you to push you to failure. Again, maybe that’s just my perception or just this one “box.” I’m just one person who is more comfortable running.

The biggest lesson I’ve taken out of crossfit is that I’m stronger than I think. And that makes these weekly classes worth it. You won’t find me joining a crossfit box and doing WODs every day anytime soon, but I will be going every Friday to continue pushing past that discomfort. If nothing else, I’m growing mentally and physically stronger, as well as building relationships. I’m glad I gave crossfit a chance rather than continuing to assume things (you know what they say about assuming…) that may or may not be true.  Who knows… maybe I’ll learn to love it over the next few months and I’ll have an entirely different post about it.

Are you a crossfit fan?

Have you ever been intimidated to try a new workout?

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Thinking Out Loud

Hi there! It’s Thursday which means in the blog world, thinking out loud.

1)I realized I missed my 2 year November Project anniversary! This group has changed my life in so many ways- it brought me a social life in Baltimore that changed the way I viewed the city completely, I became a social runner again, I started trying new workouts (hi burpees) and classes, I met some really good friends (and a boyfriend), and I moved back to Baltimore after swearing I never would. It’s an incredible community and I love that no matter where I’m living, there will be a tribe waiting for me.

First day ever

The beginning.

2) I hate Valentine’s Day. There. I said it. Relationship or not, I think it’s a dumb holiday. It’s commercialized and if you really care about someone, you’re (or at least you should be) expressing that love every day. Not just one day because Hallmark says to. I’m not into the cheesy stuff. I’m not a mushy person. I gave Tim a card once that said, “You suck less than most people.” In general, we don’t even do cards. I’d rather do something, or put the money towards a trip. For any holiday and person, not just Valentine’s Day and not just a significant other. Make dinner, eat a really good dessert (preferably of the red velvet variety), and watch Netflix <– perfect night. Last year we happened to be in New York so we didn’t make it a big thing. I’m not sure what we’re doing this year. It’s a secret I guess.

new york

3) My dog tore her ACL. I didn’t even know that was possible. Apparently it’s a result of too many trail runs/walks on the beach with my dad. She’s just such an energetic dog, she never stops moving. Well, until now I guess. She’s on antibiotics for a bit to see if it helps, and if not, doggy surgery it is. Poor Chloe :(

chloe beach 2

4) This is what my road looked like the other day. Thank goodness I walk to work. It’s impossible to drive through it when the tide comes up high (it gets so bad that it reaches the top of my tires), so you pretty much have to wait it out or rely on uber to get anywhere.

street flooded

5) I got a new pair of Mizunos and nowhere to wear them. For now, I’ve only been able to take them out on short walks. The Wave Catalyst replaced the Wave Elixir which used to be my favorite shoe. They offer a small amount of stability (not as much as the Brooks Adrenaline, Saucony Guide, or Mizuno Wave Inspire) but they’re a faster, lightweight racing shoe. When I do start running again, they won’t replace my wave riders + orthotics, but they will be a good addition to my shoe closet for tempo runs and races. I may talk more about these once I’ve run in them, but for now I get to stare at them and dream of running again.

mizuno 2

6) On that note, I’m still not running. I did a mile and a half at crossfit last week and it felt great (crossfit post coming tomorrow), but I probably wouldn’t have if I hadn’t been mildly intimidated by the coach. We were already warmed up and I felt no pain while we were running. The pain comes and goes randomly. Sometimes I can feel it while I’m sitting or walking, others it’s only when I’m isolating the muscle. I found a running specific physical therapy clinic in Baltimore that I’ll go to once I get a doctor’s referral, so I’m getting closer to finding the root of the issue.

crossfit 2

7) I feel like my schedule these days is wake up, work, eat, yoga sculpt, sleep, repeat. I don’t hate it. I’ve been taking CorePower Yoga Sculpt classes about 4 days a week for the past month and a half and I’ve seen a lot of really awesome results (physically and mentally — I CAN DO A REAL PUSHUP NOW!), so I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. If you have a CorePower near you, try it! It’s free for a week. Nobody is paying me to say that. I just really love it and want to share the love.

8) I’m really enjoying being out of the house so much. I think it’s contributing to that overall “choose happiness” goal I have for the year. I’m spending less time sitting in bed at night watching Netflix, less time sleeping, and less time alone in general. I used to watch Netflix in bed from 6-9pm most nights. I can’t tell you the last time I did that. Now, I get home from sculpt around 8:45, shower, read, and fall asleep around 10.

9) This quote. As many of you know, I go through waves of struggling with living far away from home. I have it in my head that once I move, life will suddenly be so much better. I get caught up in “destination addiction.” By going to sculpt and making more plans with friends, I’m starting to get away from that negative mindset. Does that mean I’m not still planning on moving? No. But I’m not there yet and there’s no point in dwelling on that fact. I’m learning to be happy where I am now rather than where I will be in the future. It really works. Try it out.

happiness quote

10) I’m going to Stoney River for dinner tonight with a friend for the first time since I moved back to Baltimore. It used to be my go-to date night restaurant back in the day. I pretty much had a standing date there once a week sophomore year. We became friendly with the manager at the time and he would take care of us. I miss their cake. And the rolls are to die for. Oh… and the steak is good too. I’m hungry already.

StoneyRiver1

Do you have Valentine’s Day plans?

Do you get caught up in destination addiction?

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When Mom Comes to Town

This weekend was one for the books.

Friday began as a pretty normal workday with a crossfit WOD at lunch. I’m in the middle of writing a post about my thoughts about crossfit in general, but I will say that I enjoyed this week much more than last. I even ran just over a mile and a half pain-free for the first time in almost 3 weeks. The next morning I woke up feeling like I had run a marathon the day before, I was so sore.

crossfit

My mom took an uber to my office. She has never been there so I was excited to show her around and she sat with me while I finished up a few campaigns. We walked home, dropped her stuff off, and hopped in the car to head to Papermoon Diner. This is hands down my favorite restaurant in Baltimore, and one of my favorite restaurants ever. I love the unique atmosphere, the varied menu, and the food is amazing. It’s the only restaurant I can think of that I’ve actually eaten a pretty wide variety of foods. At most places I usually stick with something easy like a burger because it’s easier than asking for a million substitutions. My favorite meal at Papermoon is the grilled chicken pesto sandwich. My mom and I sat at the bar where we tried to guess what the cooks were making. And they have the best red velvet cake in Baltimore, so we had to get that. We left full and happy.

Papermoon

Saturday morning we woke up around 6:30 and dressed warmly for a walk. I’ve said it before but walking with my mom is my favorite thing in the world to do. We walked for hours and it was so nice to have some one-on-one time. We talked a lot about some goals I’m hoping to make happen this year and it always makes me feel a million times better having a concrete course of action (lots of “if this happens, then do this”). We stopped at the Hilton where I found out I can get frozen hot chocolate from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. I’ve been living here for over a year and a half and I didn’t know I could get frozen hot chocolate anywhere in Baltimore/DC. I have a feeling this will be my new weekend treat. We continued our walk to THB for bagels. By the time we got back to my apartment, we had walked close to 8 miles.

frozen hot chocolate

My mom’s uncle lives near Hopkins so we stopped by to catch up with him for a couple hours. We then headed to Towson for lunch at Corner Bakery where I got a grilled cheese before we did some shopping at Nordstrom. I splurged on a pair of boots that I’ve been eyeing for months.

corner bakery

My dad was driving my cousin and brother back to school (UDel has the longest winter break ever) from Rhode Island so my mom and I drove to Delaware to meet them. We went to dinner at Cafe Gelato, which I didn’t enjoy at all. I know I have a pretty picky palate, but I am usually able to make substitutions and find something to eat. This was not the case so I ate most of the bread basket and ordered a salad with steak. The one thing we all did enjoy was the homemade gelato.

cafe gelato

I like to think I’m pretty tough but when it comes to family, I’m extremely emotional. I decided not to stay at the hotel that night with them, thinking I’d sleep better in my own bed. In hindsight, I should have stayed the night. I only saw my dad for about three hours total and when I left, I didn’t know when I’d be seeing them next. There were a lot of tears on my drive back to Baltimore.

Sunday was not a good day for me. I was emotionally exhausted for a variety of reasons, mainly from the goodbyes. I didn’t sleep well so I finally gave up and went about my day. I got to Trader Joe’s right when the doors opened because I knew SuperBowl Sunday would be a zoo. Then I took a yoga sculpt class at CorePower. It kicked my butt and made me feel so much better.

After sculpt, I got myself another frozen hot chocolate as a pick-me-up, cleaned my apartment, went for a walk, and bought a coloring book. The emotions from the weekend left me feeling pretty exhausted so I napped for a few hours until it was time to head to a SuperBowl party. Ironically, my mom texted me later in the day to say my brother has lacrosse games the weekend before my birthday (about a month away) so they are coming down to celebrate with me. Now getting so worked up feels a little silly.

adult coloring book

We had some delicious food (I bought baked chicken tenders, Panera mac and cheese, and red velvet cake from BJ’s #healthyliving) and I pretended to watch the game while really refreshing twitter for four hours. The halftime show was great though. I liked it so much more than last year. The commercials were kind of lame (you know you work in advertising when you’re able to critique the ads more than the game…) and by the time it finally ended, I was ready to pass out. Which is exactly what I did until 8am yesterday morning.

Overall, it was a pretty good weekend. I don’t always have such a hard time saying goodbye to my parents but I usually get more emotional when we don’t have a set date for the next visit. Luckily it’s not too long now!

How was your weekend?

Did you go to a SuperBowl party?

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TOL: Catching Up

I’ve had a hard time feeling motivated to blog lately. Between tons of changes at work (all good things) that are more draining than normal, weeknight yoga classes, and the lack of running, I just haven’t had a lot to say. There are also more things going on behind the scenes that I’m not necessarily comfortable blogging about. I don’t like forcing posts because it is so obvious reading them and I blog for enjoyment. So bear with me until I return to running- that’s usually when I come up with all the things to talk about.

So in today’s thinking out loud, let’s catch up a bit with what’s been going on in my life!

1) My mom is coming tomorrow! I haven’t seen her since December 28th (but who’s counting?). She had a conference in Tampa this week for work and my brother moves back into school this weekend, so rather than flying back to RI and driving 6 hours to drop him off, she’s staying with me and we’ll go meet my dad and brother in Delaware Saturday. Why she has to be there to move him in when he’s a second semester sophomore is beyond me (#helicopterparenting) but I won’t complain about a girl’s night.

2) I’ve been taking melatonin to help me sleep for years. Since I was a freshman in college, to be exact. I don’t hide the fact that I am extremely type-A and a perfectionist, which usually leads to my brain racing at night when I try to fall asleep. Enter melatonin. It works great… until the morning, when I wake up with a headache and super groggy at times. It took me way too long to realize that melatonin is likely the reason for that grogginess. This week I’ve been weaning myself off of it, cutting back on the sugar again (that got out of hand for a bit…), and forcing myself to stay up later until I’m able to fall asleep naturally. So far, it’s going okay and hopefully I’ll eventually be able to go to bed before 10 again.

bedroom

3) At yoga sculpt a few nights ago, the instructor told us a story right before savasana. She said that during her teacher training, her instructor didn’t have them do icebreakers the first day. At the end of their practice, she said “I didn’t have us introduce ourselves to each other because I want you to come to your mat as if you’re anonymous. Be who you are on your mat without any preconceived notions.” I loved that and thought it was a really interesting way to approach a yoga practice. I’m not great at yoga, but I am starting to take the lessons from it and applying them to my everyday life. Some of the things these instructors say in class really resonate.

4) Last weekend I was in DC and spent Saturday with one of my good friends. We went for a long walk to Georgetown and back to her apartment, stopped at CVS to buy Cheezits which we ate while we were walking (don’t judge), she tried her first CorePower yoga sculpt class, and we finished off a perfect day with &Pizza and red velvet cake from Kramerbooks & Afterwards Cafe.

tweet

5) Sunday Tim and I went to the Smithsonian Zoo. We really wanted to see the new baby panda but unfortunately it had gone down for a nap right before we got there. Either way, we saw the animals and it was a gorgeous day for a walk around. Pandas are just the cutest.

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6) Pro Compression contest. Do it. I mean, who doesn’t want to win $100?

pro compression conetest

7) Am I the only one who just really wants to wear fuzzy socks sometimes? Yesterday was gloomy after I got back from NP and all I wanted to do was put on warm socks. Makes me feel cozy or something. Unfortunately, rain+fuzzy socks+ walking to work + sperries= bad idea. Oh well. My socks didn’t get too too wet…

fuzzy socks

8) I finally made it back to November Project yesterday morning. I was hesitant because of my hamstring but I needed to pick up my new buff plus I’m not really running at the moment. Instead of running to and from the workout like normal, I drove instead. Luckily, it wasn’t a running heavy workout. We did planks while our partner ran to a bucket to choose an exercise like squats, lunges, pushups, etc., and then we switched. The last 10 minutes were straight stairs, aka my favorite. No pain! Although my hamstring still is not right. It’s one of those things that doesn’t hurt all the time but I still feel off, if that makes sense.

November Project

8b) Worth it to pick up my NP Buff. I feel like a ninja. For the winter running that hasn’t happened.

IMG_7303

9) You guys. I baked something without burning the house down or poisoning anyone! For me, that’s a huge accomplishment. I don’t know how to cook or bake so to make something for a work potluck and have people asking for more is kind of a big deal. These cookie butter funfetti cake bars from Averie Cooks were super easy to make and amazing. Highly recommend. The picture doesn’t do them justice.

cookie butter bars

What’s your favorite dessert to make?

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When You Can’t Run…

Happy February! Wasn’t it just New Years Eve like yesterday? I swear time is flying by. Before we know it, summer will be here. I don’t love the cold but I do love living in a place with all 4 seasons so I could never move somewhere that was warm year-round. Summer running 365 days a year would be nice though…

long run

Oh, yeah. Remember when this blog used to be about running? Right now, though, I’m not running. I miss it sometimes, but luckily winter running isn’t my favorite so it’s not as hard as I thought (edited to add: with these 60 degree days, I’m missing it big time). I’m also falling in love with other workouts (strength and yoga) and getting back to ones I pushed aside during marathon training (spinning).

November project

from last winter

My hamstring has been bothering me since November. I made the mistake of waiting to take time off post-marathon until I had run two half marathons a month after the race. At the time, I felt great. I thought waiting a few extra weeks wouldn’t hurt anything. My body bounced back quickly after the marathon and I PRed in one of the half marathons. But right before the second half, Annapolis Running Classic, my hamstring started to give me trouble. I ran it anyways because it didn’t hurt enough to stop, and after that race I took two solid weeks off running.

Since then, I have run a few days a week. Nothing crazy, no long runs, no speed, just easy running. But every so often, my hamstring would start acting up and I’d be sidelined for a few days again. It seemed like it was going away thanks to the extra strength work I’ve been doing so I assumed I was finally past it.

When I went to Hawaii, I went for a run my first day. It wasn’t any longer than any other runs nor was it any faster. Maybe I was just distracted by the gorgeous views or the chickens that were cockadoodledooing at me. During the last mile, my hamstring started to bother me more than usual. I figured I’d take the next day off and it would be fine. Two days later, I tried running and my hamstring felt extremely tight and had sharp shooting pains a half mile in. So I stopped and walked. It still felt tight for the majority of the week but walking didn’t bother it. It was only after I aggravated it trying to run that the pain came back. Throughout the week, I walked a ton but did not attempt running again.

hawaii

So where am I at now? Clearly a spring marathon is out of the question. I am not starting a marathon training cycle semi-injured. I do plan on running a fall full once I figure out what is going on with my body. If I want to attempt a BQ for 2017, I’ll likely do Erie, but otherwise I’d prefer to return to Newport again or run another coastal New England race.

Shockingly, running is not the first thing on my mind at the moment. I have non-fitness things going on that require my attention. The only thing that stinks is not being able to go to November Project where I feel a stronger community. I’m going to attempt an NP workout today because I miss my friends, but I’m really enjoying trying other things.

November project

Like CorePower. Rev Cycle. M.Power barre and yoga classes. Oh, and this thing I swore I’d never do called Crossfit.

I purchased a CorePower membership after falling in love with Yoga Sculpt during the 2-week trial. I’ve noticed a huge change in my strength. I never thought I’d love lifting (granted, we’re talking about 5-pound weights), but I’ve already seen and felt a drastic change in my body and overall mentality. So that will continue for at least another month or two.

Rev Cycle is helping me keep up my cardio and work on my mental game. If I want to be successful in the marathon, the mental piece is what will need the most work. The training I did last year was strong, but I fell apart mentally at the end. Rev Cycle pushes me beyond my comfort zone which is exactly what I need to prepare myself for the inevitable pain at the end of a marathon. 

M.Power barre and yoga classes are my “fun” workouts. I don’t leave feeling like I broke a sweat but they’re offered free through my company during lunch and it’s the perfect way to break up the day. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to get some extra stretching and core workouts in. If I do ever drop the CorePower membership, these will replace sculpt as my strength.

Last but not least, I tried Crossfit recently. I’ve been extremely against Crossfit since I first heard about it. (I have this character flaw where I sometimes decide I hate things before giving them a fair chance…see my food issues. I’m working on it.) I’m a cardio junkie and hate lifting weights. I also am not a huge fan of the paleo diet which most boxes push hard. But like M.Power, my office has paired with a local Crossfit Box and I told my coworkers I’d give the lunchtime workout a try. I could write an entire post on my thoughts about it but I think I need to try it one or two more times to fully form an opinion. The jury is still out on this one, but it did make me prove to myself that I’m stronger than I think. I was able to carry someone the same weight as me across the room, which I didn’t believe I could do.

So I guess this post is kind of pointless except to say that I’m not running at the moment, I’m setting up an appointment to get my hamstring looked at (after trying a massage this weekend), and I’m really enjoying building strength which is something I used to hate. This is by far the best I’ve ever handled an injury and I’m looking at it as an opportunity to work on my weaknesses rather than whining about how I can’t do something I love. 

Have you ever dealt with hamstring issues?

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