A Better Brie

Saturday’s Crossfit went much better for me, even though the workout seemed exponentially harder:

Warm-up:

  • Mobility drills
  • 400 m run
  • Plank drills 30 sec each
    • Front plank
    • Front plank with alternating leg raise
    • Front plank with alternating leg raise again in a wider stance
    • “Starfish” side planks

Skill work:

  • 3 rounds of:
    • 5 one-arm kb swings each hand (20 lb for me)
    • 5 lunge jumps each side

Workout:

  • 10 rounds of:
    • 5 deadlifts (I did 35kg)
    • 10 burpees over the bar
    • 20 double unders (I did singles)

I finished in 22:30 and was a sweaty mess. My knees have bruises on them from the burpees. When can I do that again? :D

After getting my shorts handed to me, I headed to Napa to participate in wedding menu tasting for my sister’s wedding. Since I’m on the Whole30 still and most likely wouldn’t be able to eat anything there,  I brought a very well-rounded and exceptional food critic to fill in for me for the actual tasting part.

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This is Squish’s opinion of the brie en croutes

I was able to eat two tomato slices from the caprese salad and one bite of chicken I assured had no sauce on it. But everything looked and smelled splendid, and by my nose I approve of the bride’s and groom’s wine choices.

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The appetizer selections

I am looking forward to helping with the late-night appetizer tasting next month, where I will actually be able to eat the food!

Since my taster did such a good job, Amanda and I took him to Playground Fantastico, a Napa city park, to run some the crazies out. Yes, it was raining. No, he didn’t seem to care.

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Hey look, Crazies!

That’s it, make it a great day!

Crossfit, the “Emotional Nutcase” Edition

Everyone is different. Part of the fun in life is figuring out what kind of different you are. Do I like to write on a computer or with pen and paper? Do I like large parties, or are nights with a few good friends preferred? Dog or cat person? I hope I never lose my personal curiosity on trying out stuff to figure out my personality and what makes me tick. The other day I was reading some article about quick ways to pick your mood up, and one of the suggestions was exercise. Well, this morning’s crossfit class was a good example of not every piece of advice was meant for everyone.

I started out in a sulky mood I couldn’t shake. Hulk had been traveling for work all week, so I was alone with the kids and starting to feel the crunch. I had scolded Squish for not getting dressed when I asked him to and making us late for the babysitter’s drop-off, Olive snuck the eggs off my plate again when my back was turned, I’m struggling with a sore neck problem that won’t go away, work deadlines are looming, and I was feeling frazzled and overbooked and needed a break. So I decided to sneak in a crossfit class, since that’s supposed to be a great way to perk up, right?

Warmup:

  • Joint mobility
  • 800 m run
  • 10 situps & 10 bridges x 2
  • Small band exercises: side-to-side walk, forward walk, backward walk, 10 air squats
  • I’s Y’s T’s with 2kg plates
  • Practice power snatches

Strength:

  • Front squat 5x5x5x5x5

Workout:

  • 4 rounds of:
    • 10 power snatches
    • 15 wall balls

Starting out, I felt pretty good physically even though my brain was still under dark clouds. I had 3 rest days since my last workout (otherwise known as I haven’t done anything since my last workout) and although I haven’t been really taking care of my recovery like I should, I was okay.

The warm-up and drills felt really good. I was enjoying the movement and looking forward to the strength portion. For the front squats, I ended up at 40kg for the five sets. They were tough, and my last set was starting to go downhill form-wise, so I think I picked a good weight.

Then the WOD. Oh, how I wanted so badly to Rx! But I tried to just go up to 20kg for the power snatches, and stuck with the prescribed 14lb wall ball. Ugh, and ugh. I killed myself snatching, and the wall balls were dismal. I couldn’t even push the ball up to the wall, I would sort of weakly toss it up and not even be able to catch it, it would just drop over my fingers. My coach grabbed me a 10lb ball, and I kicked off the plates from my bar for the second set of snatches.  That sort of sent me into a mental tailspin. I just felt miserable, even though I’m still new, and I absolutely had no reason to be hard on myself. All I could think of is, “I just can’t handle one more failure!” As if I get a pass/fail grade on WODs, and like that would mean something in my life. I took me a couple rounds of holding back tears and mental back-and-forth talk to bring myself back to enjoying the movement in the moment and not worrying about how much weight I was snatching, or how high my wall ball was hitting. I finished in a time of 11:05 which wasn’t too far behind most of the class.

So now, lesson learned. If I’m in a sour mood before class, I had best check my attitude at the door, or adapt as needed during the workout to prevent total meltdown. Exercise did not seem to perk me up as you would think it should.

But on the bright side, the post-workout endorphins are noticeable. So maybe it isn’t all different for little special snowflake me.

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Go make it a great day!

 

Where is this “Tiger Blood” You Speak Of?

I’m on Day 13 of my January Whole30 and continue to have bouts of hit-by-a-truck exhaustion, usually around 7pm. I was hoping to find the sparkle energy back by now. Last Whole30 I was bouncing off the walls by Day 5! I guess I need a little more time to adapt with this round, since I’ve had a bit more on my plate than last time.

In related news, I have discovered crock pot cooking, and it is the most favorite revolutionary thing ever (thanks, mom!).


Pot roast from yesterday. And the kids even ate it! Squish said, “Mommy, I like this dinner!” which basically never happens. I made lemon thyme chicken thighs tonight, but they were a bit weird. I’m not sure what I did exactly, I think it was too much lemon (I have soooooo many lemons now that the tree is in full-on harvest mode) and too much cooking time. Next time I’ll stick some broth or something in there for more of a braised effect. But it feels so luxurious to walk home after work and already have dinner done! I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get on the slow cooker wagon. The best part is lunch  tomorrow is as easy as a box of leftovers!

That’s all the updates tonight. Go make it a great day!

Push Press 1RM and a Good Ol’ Chipper

Gah! So, I took a picture of the board this morning to talk about today’s workout, and my phone ate it. Sad panda. It was super awesome in a “life can suck” kind of way.

First, I unintentionally took last week off from pretty much all things activity related because of reasons. I came down with some nasty bugs, and Life Stuff proved too much and I had to hunker down into Hedgehog Mode. I was chomping at the bit to go to Crossfit today, I was so excited to move again!

And today’s workout was exactly what I needed.

Warmup:

  • Mobility exercises
  • 400m run
  • Side steps and air squats using the band
  • I’s Y’s & T’s
  • PVC practice of 5 reps OHS with 5 burpees x 2 rounds
  • WOD walk-through (which just the walk through had me winded)

Strength:

  • 1 rep max Push Press

WOD:

SuperAwesomeFun Chipper (Okay, I made that name up)

  • 10 Straight shoulder press
  • 15 OHS
  • 20 Push press
  • 25 Front squat
  • 30 Push jerk
  • 35 Back squat
  • Die

I had no idea where my 1RM would be for the push press. For one, I’ve never maxed out this lift before, and also my shoulder/neck is always a little funky, so I never know where I’m going to land. I partnered up at the rack with my new crossfit friend (hi, new friend!) and I sort of followed her lead. I tried a couple times to hit 45kg, but ended up backing down and completing at 42. I was freaking out about lifting the bar above my head. Like, that’s a lot of weight to be just tossing up there! I think the more confident I get in lifting things over my head the better my mental game will get. So 42kg it is for now.

Since I still don’t know my own limits, the rx weight for the WOD for women was 37kg (I think?), but I just took to the bar (20kg). At least it was the women’s bar this time, and not a junior bar! I finished in 7:55 and although winded, I probably had some left in the tank since I was done so much sooner than a lot of the class. Coach suggested I practice some double unders while I waited for others to finish. Next time I can add some weight to the bar, I’m sure!

Also, I hate that all the olympic weights are in kg and not lbs. It’s a total mind game for me. I can’t math in the morning. Eventually I’ll get used to it and figure out when the prescribed is 115 lbs that means x plates on the bar, but I need help yet. Why was I raised in the imperial system?!?

Whatever. Hooray to lifting heavy things! Go make it a great day!

One Whole30 Week (Almost) Down

Just a blog-keeping note for those of you playing at home, I’ve been cleaning out my drafts folder and posting some long-lost posts that should have been posted long ago. So don’t worry about your content feeds, those are supposed to be there.

We have wrapped up Day 6 and are onto Day 7 of my January Whole30, and I am surprised to turn around and find a week has gone by! Despite my horrific insomnia the past couple weeks (one night I didn’t fall asleep until 5:00. 5:00.) I’m starting to feel the old “sparkle energy” come back. I’m hoping I can kick some Life Stuff back into place and then feel a little back on track with things.

Because I haven’t been sleeping I’m starting to feel the effects so I skipped Sunday’s Crossfit to get a little more rest in. I did a couple walks and some light body weight training over the week, but I’m excited to get back to class tomorrow morning. I pre-packed my workout meals, breakfast, lunch, shower stuff, and laid out my gym clothes so we’re ready to rock. What is this, me all getting prepped in advance and everything?

It’s nice to get back into “real life” mode after the holidays. Squish is back in preschool after the break, so the daily routine feels normal again. I swear, the Whole30 is great to change every other habit except eating. I’m sure I’ll stay on plan for 30 days, reintro with the greatest intentions, then go off the rails and do another one later this year. But to be successful at it, you have to plan. And as long as you’re planning and prepping food, you might as well prep other things. And keep the kitchen clean, because it makes food making easier. And since the kitchen is clean, it opens more mental space to journal more. Or call a friend. And then you start to feel good eating W30 style so you exercise more. And sleep better. It’s this weird combo of Give a Mouse a Cookie and the snowball effect that makes it like a drug for me, I just want more.

Go make it a great day!

Only In Home Brew

You guys. I started my January Whole30 just five days ago. I had to clean out the fridge so I could, you know, fill it back up with food that I can eat. Then this happened.

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Where did all of that beer come from?? And I can’t have any of it until February, and now it’s sitting there, taunting me. Ugh. That’s what happens when you miss out on brew day during a Whole30 I suppose. Plus, it’ll be more bottle-conditioned by then, so, yay. Silver lining.

Anyway, I’m having my glorious salads again.

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Tuna on greens with avocado and this one has half a baked potato. This is just heaven in a mixing bowl. No joke.

I missed Crossfit this Sunday because I was really not feeling well, physically and emotionally. Which was probably a good thing, because I looked up the workout and it was basically “let’s have fun with double-unders then go run a bunch” so, sorry not sorry. There is a good chance that double-unders would have put me in a worse state.

We still have our Christmas decorations up. My excuse that I keep giving Hulk is that I grew up Catholic and we never took ours down until the Epiphany on January 6th because that was the “real” end of the Christmas season. In truth, I’m just too lazy to do it. And apparently so is he. ;)

Go make it a great day!

ERtR’s 2016 Resolutions

Welcome to a bright and shiny new year! I couldn’t resist taking a crappy iphone photo of the last sunset of 2015 from my deck the other night:

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I don’t always make New Years resolutions. Sometimes I do, but rarely do I keep them up the full year. You know, like EVERYONE ELSE pretty much. I usually fall into one or two traps: either I don’t make them goal-ish enough where they’re something I can actually track, measure, and improve on, or I take on too much too soon and burn out. This year we’re going to incorporate both traps! So here is my list of reasonably vague and overwhelming resolutions for this year.

My 2016 Resolutions

1. Whole30 & Whole9 Monthly Challenge

I’m participating in the January Whole30 this month (on Day 2, woot!), and will finish this up by January 30th. I might do another one later this year depending on how things go (i.e. how off the rails I slide between now and then.

A group of folks on the Whole30 Forum proposed doing a “Whole9 Challenge” that I think is pretty cool. The Whole30 is just one aspect of a larger organization called the Whole9, which preaches nine factors for optimal health including nutrition, sleep, socialization, getting outdoors, healthy movement, and other stuff. So each month we’ll focus on improving one of these nine pillars of health. I’ll post this in more detail later.

2. Crossfit twice a week

I’m currently crossfitting twice a week, and will continue to do so. Eventually I want to boost that to at least 3 times a week, but we’ll see how time and energy will allow.

3. Blog daily and keep up with my feed

I will intend to blog daily, but y’all know how that goes when Life Stuff happens. But I’ll do my best. Some days there just isn’t much to talk about, and it’s okay to take a break now and then. What I won’t do is go on month-long hiatuses without first announcing it. Let’s be honest, usually when I don’t blog it’s because I’m not making it a priority and I’m just being lazy.

Also, I keep trying to follow my bloggy friends, but usually it’s just a quick glance from my Feedly app and I can’t always comment right then and there so I tell myself “I’ll do this later from my computer” then it doesn’t happen. So I’d like to make more of an effort to interact with the blogging community by prioritizing reading and commenting.

4. Get adequate nutrition, rest, and recovery

Now that I’m working out for realz again, I’m noticing the effect it’s having on my body. I’m sore, tired, and so. hungry. So I’m prioritizing a lot of recovery and self-care such as foam rolling, early bedtimes, and an Epsom salt bath when I feel really achy.

5. Play with the kids every day

Guilty parent moment: Squish asks me about 147 times a day to play with him, and usually 146 to 147 of those times I respond with, “I can’t, I’m working/doing chores,” “Not now,” or my personal favorite, “Sure, in a few minutes.” Total lie, a few minutes later I just move on to something else and we repeat the request-response circle until bedtime. I’m not building any credibility with him with flaking on my promises all the time, and they’re not going to be this young and eager for Mom to play with them forever, so I’d better seize my chance while I still can. Even if it’s just five minutes, I need to carve out play time. I mean, Fun and Play is another Whole9 factor, so I’m sure on that month when I’m focusing on it life will be all couch forts and super awesome train track setups!

6. Everything in it’s place, and a place for everything

When we moved from our apartment to our house in May, we didn’t have a lot of stuff since we were up-sizing so much. But the stuff we did have, I didn’t really do a good job of organizing it when we moved it. Things just got shoved onto shelves and closets and there’s no rhyme or reason. Then of course we have all this space now, so we can get more stuff! I’m sick of the clutter, and it’s hard for anyone to feel comfortable with helping me put anything away because apparently only I know where anything goes thanks to the haphazard “organization” system. I’m not sure how I’ll structure it yet, but over the year every room, closet, drawer, and shelf will by systematically cleaned out and reorganized in a way that everyone agrees on. Plus, we’ll have a routine clean-up process so every evening and weekend chores get done and clutter dealt with. And now the Gods laugh, because I am a mere mortal thinking I can make this happen.

7. Be happy. Find a system of replacing negative thoughts with loving ones

After my break since October, I’m going back to therapy. It was nice trying to ride my own bike for a bit, but I still have some areas where I need assistance. Since I’m trying to manage my depression without drugs, I need to lean on other modalities more. One of my biggest pitfalls is allowing myself to get weighed down with negative thoughts, and not bothering with trying to replace them with positive ones. It’s a practice and not something that’s easy to just “do” when you’re suffering from mental illness, but it makes a big difference if I keep up the practice.

8. Search out a method of spirituality that resonates with me

This one is a bit personal, because everyone has strong feelings about what they believe. That’s awesome, and I think religion and spirituality is a beautiful thing and I am happy for folks that have found their path in whatever way that is. For me, I really don’t like organized religion. I tend to march to the beat of my own spiritual drum, and I don’t like others telling me what/how I should go about thinking about the universe and beyond. But I do like the community and connection that comes with bonding with others over like-minded philosophies. So I’ll do some searching and reading and find a community that shares what I feel. Worst case, I make one up myself! “Church of the Emily: Come Be Your Own Awesome.” Haha.

9. Read books and update my Goodreads list monthly

I love reading. It’s my favorite. I don’t always make time for it, but when I do I can plow through a book in one or two sittings. I’d like to do a better job of tracking what I’ve read/will read through my Goodreads account because I like to track those things and recommend stuff I’ve enjoyed to others. Recommendations are always welcome!

10. Find joy, and love hard

And then this. Find the joy in life, and love life hard. That is all.

Go make it a great year!

So Long, 2015!

I perused through some of my old posts from this time last year (I hardly ever do this!) to see if I did any sort of New Year’s resolutions or goals. I didn’t. Big surprise. But I did stumble on my journal from earlier in the year that declared my theme for 2015 to be “authenticity.” This time last year, I was still struggling to find the “new normal” from Buttercup’s arrival and feeling the loss of “baby” Squish as he pretty much turned into a little kid overnight while wrestling with postpartum depression in our tiny apartment in downtown San Francisco. Most of my friends were single, childless urban dwellers that I would occasionally be able to meet up at a bar or at a party, but there was a chasm between our life states I could never really bridge. They thought I was super cool that I was a mom twice over that could still “party.” And by party, I mean get a sitter for a couple hours so I could pretend I enjoyed the club scene. But I hated it. My body and emotional state rebelled. The weight piled on, the depression got worse, and I had no idea what it would take to feel normal again.

We moved in May to the East Bay, to a beautiful “forever home” in the perfect suburban neighborhood close to good schools and surrounded by other families with littles. Slowly things started to look up for me. I was surrounded by nature, and tried to take advantage of the nearby fire roads and hiking trails. The kids suddenly had tons of room to play and grow and make friends. Squish started preschool. I connected with some of the neighbor moms. I took on a couple of Whole30s and started to feel kind of good again. I could breathe.

All my life I’ve just sort of done what everyone around me is doing, what I’m told to do. I just wanted to be normal. But now I know that normal is painful, and you have to do what is right for you, not everyone else. That’s what this year has taught me, in a weird way. You’d think that, “Well, duh. You had a family and found out city life doesn’t work anymore. Shocking.” But it’s not just that. You have no idea how much I rebelled at the though of being a suburban mom. It seemed so cliche. I wanted to be the hip, cool lady that just happens to have kids and does all the things so effortlessly. I am not immune to the wretched no-name plague that strangles otherwise smart, confident women into thinking they are doing it all wrong, that it shouldn’t be this hard, that if they could just be more _____ (organized, smarter, calmer, focused, whatever) then everything will magically happen and you win, I don’t know, some life award or something. “Congratulations, you win at Adulting!” Ugh, worst award ever.

Whatever you’re drawn to, be open to it. It’s okay to like weird stuff. It’s also okay to like what everyone else likes. It’s all okay.

2015 kicked my ass, and I am grateful for it. I’m so pumped to see what adventures 2016 has in store!

Crossfit Catch-up

I have no idea what just happened. I was doing a pretty decent job of posting regularly, then … I dunno. I just didn’t.

Anyway, I left off all squee-excited to start Crossfit. I made it through the fundamentals series, and had my first real class on Sunday. And I am still sore. It’s awesome.

The fundamentals series is divided up into six classes over two weeks. It’s designed to introduce you to all the common exercises,proper technique, and general class format so you don’t walk into a class, get super confused, then totally kill yourself and blow out body parts. I was one of three women in my class, and it was comforting that we were all pretty similar in life status and goals: all moms of littles looking for fitness in a challenging, positive environment. Every class consisted of a group warm up, some technique work, and a daily workout of the day, or WOD.

I was impressed on how structured the programming is.

The series send me along a spectrum of emotions and challenges. I have always been the type where if I don’t pick up something immediately, I get really frustrated really fast. Needless to say, the double-unders (jump rope where the rope goes around you twice – remember those days back in elementary school gym class?) were my worst day ever. But for the most part, I loved the heck out of everything else. Power snatches? Yes, please! Bring on the burpees! Hey, let’s go do pull ups! But I did struggle with wall balls on the last day because I slept weird again and pulled something in my neck/shoulder making it impossible to throw the ball while looking up at it. So I did what I could and called it a day; my legs were totally trashed by day 6 anyway!

My first real workout Sunday was a good ol’ fashioned chipper. I’m not 100% sure what a “chipper” is, but I think it’s a longer workout designed to work on endurance. At least, that’s what it seemed like:

  • 800m run
  • 15 overhead squats (I think women were to be at 30kg)
  • 15 toes-to bar
  • 10 overhead squats
  • 10 toes-to-bar
  • 5 overhead squats
  • 5 toes-to-bar
  • 400m run
  • 15 overhead squats
  • 15 toes-to bar
  • 10 overhead squats
  • 10 toes-to-bar
  • 5 overhead squats
  • 5 toes-to-bar
  • 800m run

I had to modify a bit since I still don’t know what I’m doing and am not strong enough in some areas. I used a junior bar for the squats (15kg) because I am still working on my form. I’ve only done back squats my whole life, and my chest/shoulders are really tight from my computer jockey job. As the workout progressed I felt more confident in my technique, so next time I’ll use the women’s bar (20kg). Also I’m not strong enough to do toes-to-bar yet (when you hang from a chin-up bar and pull your feet all the way up to the bar – hence, toes-to-bar) so I modified with pulling my knees to chest. I still need to work on stabilizing my body so I don’t start swinging all over the place, but it’s a fun move for me so I enjoy having something to work on.

I finished in 21:43, not a bad time for my first chipper! I can’t wait to see how much I improve in the next few months. As my momma always says, “there’s nowhere to go but up!”

Go make it a great day!

Happy 4th Birthday, Squish!

My little man is now 4 years old! We had a big birthday bash at our home with lots of out-of-town family and friends to celebrate.

As usual, I wasn’t able to take too many good pictures since I was running around setting out napkins and such. But there were gifts, and there was cake. A very specific Thomas cake. It was a thing.
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Squish also shares his birthday with his grandpa, and since everyone lives in the Bay Area now it was an extra-special celebration!

I continue to be amazed at how awesome and special Squish is. I’m sure every parent is just a little bit biased, but Jared has such a sweet and joyful energy about him, and he gets along so well with everyone and everything. Going into his fourth year, his favorites include the color red, playing with his trains and cars, running around the house with Olive, making his little sister laugh, and hamburgers with french fries (as we say around here, “burger on top with fries” where I think “on top” means including a bun).

Happiest of birthdays to my Squish-Monster! I have a feeling that four will be a fantastic year for you.

2015 08 16 Jared Cheers