Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Who Not To Put Your Mat Next To or Month-End Review, August

Went to yoga yesterday. The person next to me got tickled because we were working with straps and I thought we were finished with a sequence. My leg was all over the place and she started giggling then I started giggling and I was barely able to rein the giggles back in. During savasana, I had the urge to giggle again and I just thought: Don't look at Dana. Next, I realized that I cannot have my mat next to Dana's anymore. We're usually not next to each other but someone was absent and the rest is history.

Dana was on the same page and after class she said I can't be next to you. We started giggling again. Funny thing, I had kind of a miserable Tuesday so maybe I needed the laugh. No one really gave us dirty looks either. I guess regular yoga sometimes turns into laughing yoga if you're in a group.

In addition to yoga, I did:

10 Minute Solution: Best Belly Blasters!

  • Bikini Belly, 1 x

  • Dancer's Abs, 1 x

  • Six Pack Ab Attack, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: Dance Your Body Thin!

  • Smooth and Sexy Moves

  • 10 Minute Solution: Fitness Ball Workouts

  • Firm Flat Abs, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: Pilates for Beginners*

  • Core Basics

  • 10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones!

  • Arm and Shoulder Sculpt, 1 x

  • Sleek and Sexy Abs, 2 x's

  • Stretching, 1 x

  • CrossFit Basic Training, 5 x's

    Personal Training with Jackie: Power Circuit Training

  • 15-Minute Upper Body Circuit, 5 x's

  • Personal Training with Jackie: Crunch-Free Xtreme Abs

  • Standing Crunch-Free, 1 x

  • Rock Climbing, 6 x's

    , 10 x's

    Walking, 11 x's

    Yoga, 5 x's

    Wii Fit, 1 x

    Hope your workouts were not all work. What did you enjoy the most this month?

    *Disclosure: I received Pilates for Beginners without charge.

    Monday, August 29, 2011

    Lazy Woman's Yoga

    I should have been the Groupawn. You know the dude, Josh Stevens, that lived off Groupons for one year.

    I've wanted to try Thai Yoga massage for a while and, well, an opportunity presented itself.

    I managed to book the appointment on the same day as the grand opening for the new rock climbing gym. Actually, the facility had to reschedule and I just said "yes" to a new date because if you wait for everyone's schedule to be perfect, nothing will happen. It all worked out though. I took a shower at the gym and headed out with not a minute to spare and chided myself for not leaving earlier. Got in the car, opened up my lavender hand cream which had liquefied and, therefore, spilled all over my shorts and car seat. I really liked that cream and my brown Bermuda shorts too. Seeing that I was about to have an up close and personal session, I could not get back ino the shorts that I had just gotten out of. Thought about stopping at Marshalls but I really didn't have time.

    About 500 feet away from the address, I parked before my chances ran out in a city, Clayton, that is trendy and has a lot of traffic and limited parking opportunities. I hurriedly got out of the car and arrived at the door at the same time that a woman with a pale blue cruiser arrived. I held the door open for her and also picked up her water bottle as she rolled her bike in. My timing was not so bad after all.

    As I was lying on my stomach, a few things crossed my mind. I thought this yoga was a form that Gingersnapper might be able to get on board with even though the whole being touched by a stranger might still weird her out. Also, out of the massage experiences that I've had, I felt that this one was the most decadent because a lot of the stretches can be achieved via regular yoga.

    A couple of things:

  • Don't think that I've ever had my feet so thoroughly pummeled and I didn't have a problem with ticklishness because it was, mainly, drumming and stretching of the feet.

  • I remember looking at this deal for reflexology massage and thinking that there's absolutely nothing appealing about this picture.

  • The Thai yoga practitioner/yoga teacher that I went to see is one of the best breathers in the whole wide world.

  • When she placed her foot in my armpit and pulled my arm, well, that felt odd but amazing.

  • At the end, she said some well-intentioned stuff that I don't remember and then we both said Namaste.

    And, okay, I don't know what it is but whenever I say Namaste, it makes me smile. Guess I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth...

    Saturday, August 27, 2011

    The Lowdown and The Poet Laureate of Rock Climbing

    My rock climbing gym opened a new location. There's:

    The Old Crappy Gym and
    The Monstrosity

    Mike, Patti and I hit The Old Crappy Gym first since the new one wasn't slated to open until noon for the grand opening celebration. Mike and Patti started lead climbing and, since the gym was pretty empty, I wondered if I should attempt the lead climbing test again. As soon as I started thinking about it, my heart starting beating faster despite Patti telling me to stay calm.

    I went and got a short rope to practice on one route and I knew that I needed to take the test while I still had something in the tank. I went to the front desk to announce my intention.

    Dude comes over and gives me the lowdown:

  • No back clipping

  • No z-clipping

  • No missed clips

  • No rest

  • The only time I will be allowed to rest is after the fall

  • Sure, no problem, and thanks for reminding me to relax.

    I thought the whole "no rest" thing was a bit much because I see lead climbers resting all the time. Does taking a rest mean that you're not a safe climber?

    I take a deep breath and, as my mother likes to say, there's no experience like bought experience. I do not miss the second clip this time and there's a certain amount of relief knowing that I'm on belay after the second clip.

    I'm told that when I get to the hold with a split in it -- above the fifth clip, I need to fall and I don't hesitate because I just want to get it over with. I let go and I'm so pleased when I stop falling. I get my rest and I chalk up and I hear Patti from below shouting out encouragement but I'll be damned if a rock that I've been able to step up on (from the side) gives me problems and, that's it, the test is over because I can't step up on that one rock.

    After the fall, I thought about how close I was to the top and I kept thinking no mistakes; don't blow it. Even though I didn't get my lead certification, I feel much better about this test than the last one and I don't think that I should have been "failed" because of one misstep. I don't think that I've ever seen a lead climber ascend a route flawlessly or without a hiccup but the staff member said that he was "failed" for a similar misstep. Whatever...

    We head out to The Monstrosity and I'm glad that we went to The Old Crappy Gym first because the new gym was jam packed since there was free climbing for everyone.

    Leah wrote this Macbeth inspired poem after my first attempt at the lead climbing test.

    Clipping, and clipping, and clipping,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
    To the last attempt of leaded climb,
    And all our yesterdays have lighted there
    The way to dusty falls. Out, out, brief misclip!
    The test but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets its hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more: it is a tale
    Told by our eventual victor, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.
    And Leah was so in love with the new gym that I told her I felt an How Do I Love Thee? inspired piece was surely on the horizon and it was:

    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
    I love thee to the new breadth and height
    My limbs can reach, when climbing out of sight
    For the endless routes to flash and onsight.
    I love thee to the level of frictions'
    Most quiet help, by sun and fluorescent light.
    I love thee sorely, as Crossfit women Might;
    I love thee elegantly, to backstep on the crag.
    I love thee with the passion put to use
    In my old gym, and with my harness tight.
    I love thee with crimps I seemed to use
    With my heel hooks,–I love thee short of breath,
    Smiles, smears, of step throughs!–and, if routes choose,
    I shall love thee better after the arete

    I've enjoyed all of Leah's poems but felt that she really nailed the last line in "How Do I Love Thee?." I've officially dubbed her The Poet Laureate of rock climbing...

    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    The Exercise Route

    Heavy was suggested to me as I looked for something to watch instantly on Netflix. Never heard of it but I was game.

    Two heavy people reside, for part of the time, at Hilton Head Island where they live in a controlled environment and their bags are checked upon arrival.

    One of my favorite scenes, hands down, is when RickyWayne gets tired of exercising and his trainer is trying to get him moving. RickyWayne screams at him repeatedly:

    I don't care about your muscles.(17:30)
    And David, the trainer, has massive muscles.

    I'm sure that it must be inspiring but intimidating when you weigh 555 pounds and the person that's helping you is unbelievably chiseled.

    Or, as Jessica said on that same episode:

    The trainers are there to help us but they're kind of like the enemy too. (13:30)
    In episode six, the Ronnie/Debbie episode, one of the fitness experts says:

    When you're losing weight, you get a bigger return when you cut back on calories; it's actually easier to cut back on 500 calories than it is to exercise those 500 calories off.
    And, on any given day, I'd rather try the exercise route...

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    The Energizer or The Gospel According to My Yoga Teacher

  • Hold the posture but not the breathing.

  • Balance postures are good exercises for the mind.

  • I'm careful about what I put in my mouth and about what comes out of my mouth.

  • ...We only achieve balance in death.

  • It's a good idea to push yourself beyond your comfort zone but not to the point of pain....

  • The more you stretch, the more you relax...

  • Child's pose...good for the spine; good for the legs; good for relaxation.

  • Through the breathing, we energize the entire body.

  • Take a moment to feel the benefits of the practice. Feel the difference in the mind, body and emotions.

    Usually said after savasana...

  • I definitely felt the difference tonight. Since we were a small group, someone wanted to have fun and do Vinsyasa Flow. I don't know if it was fun but I was on point with the breathing.

    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    Like The Overhead Press

    I was vegging out and watching Dhani Tackles the Globe. I thought cute title, cute concept and what a nice way to see the world. Wish my nicheless self could find a niche like that.

    I really wanted to watch something else but couldn't find anything of interest. It's the Switzerland episode and to prepare for his wrestling-like event, Dhani is introduced to rock throwing for strength training purposes. The rocks are 190 pounds and when the guy shows Dhani how to throw it, his arms are straight -- just like with the overhead press. Hmmm, who has weight lifting on her mind?

    Dhani doesn't get his arms as straight as the other guy but I would not have either with 190 pounds to contend with.

    Friday, August 19, 2011

    A Little Banged Up

    So sore. Not only are the steps a challenge but getting in and out of my car presents its own set of challenges.

    That chipper workout on Wednesday hit me in the lower half. I don't think my glutes or hamstrings have ever been this sore. Right knee is also tweaked. The good thing is that my neck (post-fall) feels much better. Hmmm, forgot about the right shoulder tweak...

    And, yet, I still buy workout clothes. My second top in two weeks. Didn't know that bamboo was a naturally wicking material. Didn't know that it was so clingy either.

    Too Much Going On for Burpees...

    It's amazing how injuries morph. My little rope burn is not bad at all.

    I somehow managed to get a bruise on my arm and I don't bruise easily. Also not sure where I got the bruise from. Maybe it came from hitting the floor while doing burpees?

    Since I'm talking about scars, my bicycle injuries have healed nicely -- except for a little hyperpigmentation on the one arm. My dermatologist just told me to make sure that I keep sunscreen on it...

    Finished reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It dragged in the beginning but the moment I read the description of Lisbeth Salander and read her first dialogue, I knew that I was going to like it.

    "You know, if you just want an office serf you can get one from the temp agency. I can handle anything and anyone you want, and if you don't have any better use for me than sorting post, then you're an idiot." (40)
    I so enjoyed reading it in 20 minute segments before work. Liked the relationship between Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Little stuff like this scene moved me:

    "Why did you turn around?" (Blomkvist)
    No answer. He waited her out while they drank coffee. After ten minutes she said, reluctantly, "I like your company." (Salander) 506

    Watched season one of Parenthood and really liked it. The Deep End of the Pool episode had me cracking up.

    Have a good weekend. Hope you have time to get a good book in your hands or take care of burpees or something like that... :)

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    A Benchmark Is Still A Benchmark or CrossFit Basic Training, The Final Class

    I had mixed emotions as I faced my last CrossFit basics class and really can't believe the end came so quick. I checked out benchmark workouts and there were only a couple that us newbies would be able to take on. I didn't know how it was going to be administered but I prepared, nervously, to get my behind kicked.

    I briefly chit chatted with Michelle earlier in the day and said that Laurie was going to kill us tonight and the boot was not going to stop her. Michelle agreed that the boot doesn't hold Laurie back...

    The six of us walk into the gym and there's Laurie and Libbie and someone that I don't know. I do not like onlookers but relaxed once I found out that it was Laurie's daughter who was going to help with equipment because of her mother's limited mobility.

    We warmed up on rowing machines Tabata-style. Twenty seconds of rowing, ten seconds of rest. Repeat.

    Next up, hollow PVC pipes for warming up the shoulders and practicing the snatch. A considerable amount of time is spent on snatch technique and, to really get a feel for the snatch, we practice with dumbbells. Next up, the ab mat. We're introduced to some piece of equipment where you can do a full body extension to work your abs. Completely forgot the name of the machine which they won't let you touch until you get more experience under your belt.

    Libbie wants to also show us burpees. What's a burpee? Carol asks.

    Me: I hate burpees...

    I look at the clock and think there's no way that we have time for a benchmark workout. No way. We're almost 45 minutes into a 60 minute class. I was wrong. It's not a benchmark workout but a baseline chipper. Whatever, a rose is still a rose... I repeatedly scanned the board that the chipper was written on as I wrapped mind around the workout.

  • 10 Burpees (Modified)

  • 10 Pull-Ups (Jumping from a Box)

  • 20 Box Jumps

  • 20 KB Swings (25 pounds, Russian version)

  • 30 Sit-ups

  • 30 Slams (14 pounds)

  • 40 Jump Ropes (Singles)

  • 40 Prisoner Lunges

  • I've been working on my abs and, as a result, I took care of the sit-ups without much drama. In fact, I kind of enjoyed the experience. I also went right through the rope jumping and was much better at the kettlebell swing. After Mich mentioned the hip action, I watched a video on YouTube and a light bulb went off. The prisoner lunges owned me.

    Michelle and I gutted out the prisoner lunges together. She finished right before I did and I finished last and collapsed near a fan. Laurie's daughter was kind enough to position the fan so that I could get the full effect.

    I was hoping that I would have my answer about joining CrossFit but I don't. I do think that it is what I need right now and it was very satisfying making it though the baseline chipper but I am concerned about walking into a class with seasoned CrossFitters like, say, Libbie who took care of a 50 pound dumbbell demonstrating the snatch. Wish there were a step-up, freshman kind of class.

    After I got up off the floor, Laurie's daughter hopped up on the pull-up bar and hung there. I don't do this kind of stuff, she said quietly...

    And how long did it take me to finish the baseline chipper? 12:35. Some of that time, LOL, was spent bent over while breathing heavily. And the Epsom Salt bath? Already a done deal.

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    I Need You To Be More Aggressive or CrossFit Basic Training, Round 4

    I wondered, just about all day long, what was in store. Apparently, Michelle had the same thing on her mind. Before we know it, it's go time. No need to wonder any longer.

    Jessica gave me You Are Your Own Gym but someone forgot to write a book about the uses of a CrossFit gym.

    Michelle and I hang together as we run around the building (following Libbie) to warm up then hop up on the deck which is quite elevated. Laurie wanted us to experience the hopping portion of the program.

    Lots of people are gifted enough to do things in their sleep or with their eyes closed and Laurie is gifted enough to teach class with a ruptured tendon and leg boot; she heard something go pop before our class last Saturday.

    We warm up with PVC pipes again. Do:

  • Human-size rubber band assisted pull-ups (still challenging with assistance and challenging to get into and out of)

  • Ring Dips

  • Prisoner Lunges

  • Turkish Get Ups

  • Sort of Push-ups...Only Working Scapulas

  • Air Squats + Other Squats

  • Libbie reminds us to pop our butts out while doing squats. I forget to get that butt and hip action going and kill my quads...

  • Hang Power Cleans.......Hate Them

  • At one point while we're practicing, I turn my training bar vertical and stop because I just don't get it and when Laurie checks on me, I say I'm sorry; I don't get it.

    Laurie: They're going to be in the workout.

    That would be the upcoming benchmark workout. Needless to say, I'm frustrated because I don't want to sit out while other people are lifting. The whole flipping part of the Hang Power Clean just had me stumped.

    We get to the end of the class pretty fast. The last item on the agenda.

    Three Rounds of

    5 Deadlifts
    5 Hang Power Cleans
    5 Squats
    5 Presses

    I'm not sure which weights go where. I put a training bar on the weight bench when I should not have. Laurie asks me to come down to the weight bench next to her because I know it and she knows it: I cannot be left to my own devices.

    During the deadlifts, I forget to bend my knees. During the squat, I forget what stance I'm supposed to be in. When it comes to Hang Power...time, Laurie is like -- just get it up there and we'll work on technique yadda yadda yadda.

    I start to get a small feel for it when Laurie tells me I need you to be more aggressive. She again says how it takes a while to nail the body mechanics etc. etc.

    I kind of get one of the Hang Powers right. As I'm exiting, Laurie tells me that because I'm strong, I have a tendency to use my upper body too much. What to say? It was a night with mixed results. After class, I had so much pent-up energy that I had to go for a walk and, during the walk, there was a part of me that wanted to take off and run.

    Sunday, August 14, 2011

    What's Hamlet Got To Do With It?

    I got a notion to take my lead climbing test because I've been worried that they will take down the route that I've gotten familiar with. Plus, I just wanted to do it already.

    Met Jessica and Patti then warmed up and announced my intention at the front desk so that a staff member would come over.

    I did my little self-talking and breathing but I also knew there was no way to totally get rid of the nervousness.

    Patti and I did safety checks then I announced that I was climbing.

    It's almost impressive the way I fumble the first clip.

    I totally blow past the second clip which I didn't even realize until I was told.

    I forget that a climber is bouldering i.e. unprotected until you get the rope in the second precious clip. I go back to clip in the second one, don't realize that I've misstepped and slam into the rubbery floor before I know it.

    Jessica, Patti and Trisha want to know if I'm okay -- if I need water etc. Patti, who was shaken up, asked me how my head felt. It happened so fast that I couldn't really assess the impact but I feel like my back took the brunt of it.

    I took a few minutes to gather myself and got back up on the wall but, by then, the adrenaline was overflowing and not in my favor. Paranoid Troglodyte, which I've climbed numerous time, became foreign to me. I think I got out of sequence too. Let's just say that I didn't get my lead climbing tag.

    Everyone was very supportive including Trisha, a staff member at the gym. She said I did well on my clipping and that's one of the hardest things to get down.

    I just wanted to walk away so that I could cry. Since I've started CrossFit training, I've been emotional as all get out so it doesn't take much to turn on the waterworks right now. I checked my body and wondered why my arm was stinging. I got a little two inch rope burn as a souvenir...

    Jessica, Patti and I packed up and headed out to the new gym to meet Leah and Mike for more climbing. I thought about taking a detour to go home and lick my wound but felt it was important to get right back on the wall. Otherwise...

    Top Rope Climbing Is A Beautiful Thing

    When Leah read Mind Over...Paranoid Troglodyte, she sent me this poem:

    To backclip or not to backclip: That is the question
    Whether 'tis nobler in mind to suffer
    The slings and verbal arrows of Patti
    Or to take slings and ropes against a sea of clips
    And by clipping in to end the teasing....

    To grunt and sweat under weary arms
    The pangs of leading cleanly
    That she herself might succeed
    To wear a yellow tag named "Lead"
    I think Leah was inspired to write more poetry today...

    Leah a.k.a Frogger a.k.a. Leahspeare

    Wearing new shoes for my test might not have been the best idea.

    Like this picture of Jessica in the bouldering area. Looks like she has her hand in a cookie jar.


    Saturday, August 13, 2011

    Where All The Power Is Coming From or CrossFit Basic Training, Round 3

    An email arrives from Laurie congratulating the "Session 7" six on completing two rounds of basic training. There's also background info on CrossFit in addition to videos on maneuvers that we were introduced to like the air squat otherwise known as the mature squat; the push press and the push jerk (wind-up, bam and you're done -- kind of like the equivalent of slapping someone in the face according to the video). And the dip drive?

    The dip is explosive: -- no forward inclination of the torso...knee forward, butt back, chest up -- don't let the chest come forward. You're heaving that weight up then finishing with the arms -- angle in the hip; that's were all the power is coming from...
    At the end of the email, an invitation is extended to contact CrossFit since they are there to support our fitness journey etc. I'm crudely paraphrasing but it did make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

    As we, the "Session 7" participants, gather in the lobby, Laurie introduces us to a visiting CrossFitter/teacher who wants to know if we are enjoying CrossFit. My classmates respond but in my corner, you can hear crickets. Laurie hears them too.

    Laurie: Andrea, what did you say?

    Me: Laughter then I just feel awkward right now because I have techniques from various fitness pursuits roaming around in my head angling for position...

    Visiting CrossFitter: Yeah, it's a love/hate relationship.

    As we're retrieving PVC pipes, Laurie wants to know if we got her email. Carol whispers to me: Yes, we got it and it's in the special file.

    It's strength training day and Laurie, cool as a cucumber, says it's important for women, especially, to be strong, functional and independent. That's Laurie talk for she wants you to smoothly take care of the 20 pound dumbell at your side.

    I hear you Laurie -- talk that talk. I want guns and a back like you when I grow up...

  • We do wall ball

  • Laurie wants us to hop up on the pull-up bar and attempt to get our knees to our elbows. I resist the urge to oooh and ahhh when she does it.

  • I press 58 pounds (gingersnapper and Mich don't laugh...)

  • The non-runner runs a fourth of a mile

  • I hit my wrists and fall on my behind while attempting double unders.

  • See, most people jump rope but CrossFitters do double unders and it's the maneuvers that are, literally, tripping me up. Of course, you can always modify the double unders and do singles but...

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    Nothing To Watch

    The day that I usually chillax to watch a flick has finally arrived.

    Cedar Rapids, Exporting Raymond and Ping Pong Playa are a couple of goofy movies that have made me laugh of late.

    One of my favorite scenes in Ping Pong Playa:

    Bowling Kid (Shalin Patel): I read my book about the top spin you have to put on the ball in order for it have a higher probability...

    Christopher 'C-Dub' Wang: Stop. Before you start talking about top spin, you have to actually hit the ball. (48:00)
    That's so me. I have to read "the book" at some point in the program.

    Favorite line from Exporting Raymond:

    He needs to relax more. (30:30)
    Someone in the documentary said that about Philip Rosenthal, the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond while Everybody Loves Kostya was being developed. You might have to see the unrelaxed look on Rosenthal's face to appreciate that one...

    Seen any good movies lately? I'm sometimes stumped when I realize that my disc will arrive at the Netflix warehouse and number one will be bumped up and what's next in my queue is not necessarily the movie that I really want to watch. How is it possible to have over 100 items in one's queue and still have nothing to watch?

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Off Your Knees or CrossFit Basic Training, Round 2

    Five of us gathered in the lobby before class and we all had the same question: Are you sore?

    Two of us were still sore post-yoga and Epsom Salt. Seeing that I was still walking down the stairs sideways, I had no idea how I was going to negotiate round two.

    Instead of Leeny and Libbie, it's Leeny and Laurie running things for round two...


  • 30 seconds of stepping up on a rather industrial-size box

  • 30 seconds of the Russian Step Up (one leg remaining on box while the other touches the ground then knee up)

  • 30 seconds of jumping jacks

  • 30 seconds of Russian Step Up with other leg

  • 30 seconds of criss cross jumping jacks

  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers

  • shoulder rotations...then super planks

  • plank jacks

  • We do pull-ups with human-size rubber bands and we practice on the rings which are not so friendly the second time around; rings dips are crazy.

    How do you do a deadlift? Glad you asked. Make sure your shoestrings are under the bar, get the bar next to your shins, butt out, chest out, stare at the logo on the wall and, if you're me, Laurie's gonna correct your sorry form. My problem might have started with the lack of shoestrings.

    During swings, I get more of Laurie's attention. I'm gonna get you a towel. She also gets me a 25 pound kettlebell because, apparently, I wildly swung the 20 pound one. She loops the towel through the kettlebell (a technique she uses with men) and I try to practice better form. I swing the 25 pounder and the momentum almost carries me back which prompts one of my classmates to mock cough and say Epsom Salt...

    18...15...12...Time Priority

  • 18 Swings

  • 18 Push-Ups

  • 18 Slams

  • 15 Swings

  • 15 Push-Ups

  • 15 Slams

  • 12 Swings

  • 12 Push-Ups

  • 12 Slams

  • Before we start on 18...15...12, we discuss logistics. A classmate wants to know if we get tired, can we switch to doing knee-style push-ups and Laurie quickly said:

    I don't let people do them on their knees. If someone does push-ups on their knees, that means they've been doing it that way their whole life.
    Apparently, Laurie wants to free your mind...

    I decide to do push-ups on the bar that goes across the weight bench. Laurie corrects me on that one too. Later, she wants me to try doing a push-up with one of those human-size rubber bands attached to the pull-up bar and I actually like this method better.

    I feel punch-drunk and I'm the last one to finish 18...15...12. I stagger but I manage not to do a push-up on my knees. Now, if I can just remember all that stuff about proper form...

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP) or CrossFit Basic Training, Round I

    Group coupons can be hazardous to your third chakra or, on a milder level, hazardous to your sensibilities. In yet another group coupon tip from me, never buy two from a company before you've tried that company out once. Otherwise, you might be left with a coupon that you have no desire to use. Of course, you can always try to resell the coupon on CoupRecoup but I digressed...

    When I finally hit the click button on the CrossFit deal, I reasoned that I could always not go or go to one class and if I went and it didn't work out, I didn't have to return...

    Not too long after I purchased my coupon, I got a long letter from the owner of the CrossFit gym saying welcome and that she would like for me to pick out a session as soon as possible in addition to filling out an attached form to assess my fitness level. Wasn't expecting that letter so soon. And, oh yeah, Ms. Owner informed me that the facility is some industrial type situation that doesn't have air conditioning but the dock doors do provide relief. Un hunh, sure...
    Whether you have been sedentary, generally active, or an elite athlete, our Basic Training session is tailored to prepare you for technical proficiency that is a prerequisite for our CrossFit group classes.
    In Summary

  • my solar plexus is affected by nervousness

  • I sign yet another waiver and also find out about some disorder, Rhabdomyolysis, caused by too much muscle fiber tearing at once

  • also sign a waiver that CrossFit may videotape my image (ugh)

  • female instructor is beautifully toned (understatement)*

  • surprised that it's an all-female basic training class

  • warm up on rowing machine

  • I suck at jerks

  • my coordination takes a while to kick in

  • I like doing pull-ups on rings

  • I do five rounds of Workout of the Day (WOD) and feel as if I'm going to pass out

  • WOD for Newbies, AMRAP in 12 Minutes

  • Three Presses

  • Four Dip Presses

  • Five Jerk Presses

  • Eight Box Jumps

  • Eight Ring Pull-Ups

  • Eight Air Squats

  • Did you know that your pelvis crease should be lower than your patella when you do air squats? Un hunh...

  • Quadriceps take brunt of punishment

  • I cannot do a pull-up

  • Instructors, who are very good, say don't be discouraged...

    *Unfair marketing advantage, for sure...

    Saturday, August 6, 2011

    Mind Over...Paranoid Troglodyte

    It's been so long since I've climbed that I had time to soak my Just Do It bag -- the one that I carry my climbing equipment in.

    After my gym card was scanned, I immediately asked for a rope. See, I've been thinking about Paranoid Troglodyte or, as Patti likes to call it, The Orange Route. I also think of it as Sophie's Orange Route since she set it.

    Paranoid Troglodyte is the lead test route. The last time that I practiced lead climbing, I was only able to clip in on two quickdraws. Paranoid... is a gnarly route that I can climb on top rope but add the element of lead climbing and, well, the gnarly route just got even gnarlier.

    I haven't been climbing in two weeks because every body's schedules are all over the place but Patti and I managed to get on the same page today.

    I warmed up first then I headed straight for Paranoid Troglodyte. I stopped many times but I was able to clip in all the way to the top.

    See, I've been talking to myself -- telling myself that I need to relax and breathe more; you know, tap into that whole yoga thing that I've been doing.

    I climbed Paranoid...again and again. The third time I could barely hold on but I made it to the top.

    Patti gave me good tips. She noticed that I was bunching up my arm when I went to clip when I should have a straight arm. She also gave me technique tips about matching feet and hands -- a difficult maneuver for my chubby little hands and feet. I also got a reminder, from Patti, that you are pretty much bouldering until you secure yourself in at the second clip. In addition, I had forgotten that you need to give the lead climber slack when they're starting off. Of course, this is the opposite when top rope climbing...

    At this point in the program, it started to remind me of front crawl breathing: arm reaching as far as possible, chest down, dispense with all air before you turn your head to take another one. Information overload.

    I practiced more lead climbing and met my match on the final route of the day. I started z-clipping and back clipping. Why? My gym is replacing quickdraws and the new ones suck. I don't like the gates on them at all. I just pray that they won't take the quickdraws on Paranoid Troglodyte down before I've had a chance to take my lead climbing test.

    Rock climbing has been in the news recently. I shared this article with my rock climbing buddies and Mike responded:

    Thanks for the article. Now that it is becoming cool, do we have to put it aside?

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Camaraderie Lost

    I was torn on Tuesday since I wanted to go to yoga and I wanted to go swimming.

    When I go to yoga, I can hardly make the outdoor pool that closes at eight. I'm able to get in about 20 minutes before it's time to get out. Of course, 20 minutes is better than nothing but it's not really worth the fury of stopping, changing clothes and eating in the car.

    I decided to pause and hit an indoor pool that has afternoon swimming from 7:30 until 9:30 p.m. I was jonesing to swim but I also wondered whether I was pushing it...

    I also felt odd going to the indoor pool because I haven't been since Memorial Day when the outdoor pool opened and I felt like I had lost my camaraderie with that particular community.

    Got to the pool and it was way more crowded than I expected. I sat down for a minute, wondered if I should just go home, thought about gas burned for naught then went outside to my car. It was about 8:20. I decided to wait. This one family is about six members deep and they have a habit of leaving about 8:30. Sure enough, they spilled out of the pool house and into their car. I went in and there was an empty lap lane. I paid my money, chit chatted with the lifeguard and when I went to sign my name, I saw Kathleen ______. No way. I looked in the other lap lane and saw the telltale black swimming suit. It was Chatty Kathleen.

    As I walked to the end of the lane, I said "Hi Kathleen" and she remembered my name. I know what you're thinking -- I should not have engaged but it would have been rude. Of course, she immediately started with the chatter. I thought I heard cadaver but was not sure. Yes, I heard cadaver. Kathleen had back surgery about four months ago and just got permission to start swimming again; she has cadaver bones from two people and a bunch of screws. After listening for a while, I jumped when I found a pause in her conversation and told Kathleen that I was going to get in a few laps. It was 8:45 and, realistically, I had about 30 minutes to swim.

    Kathleen exited right around the time that I started swimming. After swimming outdoors, the water was shockingly chilly although I adjusted to the temp while Kathleen talked.

    I did my ritual floating after doing laps, climbed out of the pool as the lifeguard yelled for her kids to also get out.

    I'm glad that I went. I wanted to test my stamina for 25 yards of front crawl breathing since I've been doing pseudo-lane swimming at the outdoor pool.

    Overall, I've still got it...

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    The Yoga Bug

    Hasn't happened in a while but I experienced distorted vision earlier in the day. I temporarily viewed the world through a honeycomb-like bubble. I immediately went for the acupressure point between my thumb and index finger. I also held the third eye, rubbed my temples and took deep breaths and experienced a first, the sound of my chest popping. Okay, now that I think about it, there's been popping during a chest fly.

    As I cleaned out my inbox, I came across an old Dr. Oz article on and I never tire of reminders to breathe:
    Most of us never take a deep breath all day long. The most fundamental practice in yoga is the deep, belly breath through the nose. The diaphragm is a large muscle located just below the lungs that ideally should pull down the lungs during inspiration.
    I was glad that yoga was on today's agenda. Didn't feel particularly stressed but there was the whole distorted vision thing...

    There were only six of us so the instructor had us pull out chairs which we started off sitting in. For the first time since I've known him, he went into full teacher mode -- reminding us of the three bodies and how if the body is strong and the mind is weak, something needs to be worked on. He talked about the solar plexus, the third chakra and not letting mental turmoil in...

    After doing all kinds of twists and after I had wobbled considerably, we were told to cross our arms and to hang loose which felt good but it was even better to have a clear view.

    Saw this comic as I went through old papers and I think it's official: I've been bitten by the yoga bug.