My First 5K!

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So, as you can tell from the title, I ran my first 5K EVER!

I did the Electric Run in Washington, D.C. at National Harbor at 8PM on September 7th and it was pretty rad!

Basic premise: be a glow worm while running 3.5 miles in whacked out clothing, make up and face paint. Many people showed up in tutus, bright pink wigs, striped socks, neon yellow shorts and more glow sticks than you ever want to see again in your life; let alone at Halloween.

I went there in standard gym fare (top, bottoms, headband), as I pretty much forgot about the event until I got an email reminder. My concession: I wore light blue to match my running sneakers, instead of my standard black-on-black.

The energy surrounding that place though, wow…it was surreal! I had almost a two-hour wait (after an 1.5 hour drive/stuck in traffic scenario!) and the people were so nice! One young lady offered my boxmate and I the use of her neon body paint..we went nuts. Of course I then go with with a purple “predator” mark on one cheek, and a nice blue “rosy” blush on the other, and stripes on one arm a la “Avatar” (geek alert!).

While sitting and waiting for the race to start, an enterprising soul came over to the table and offered to spray paint designs on us for free if we walked around and sent her the business! One young lady got leopard print, which looked crazy dope on her; so we all got them. *wipes off neon rosy cheek*
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Needless to say, ya girl walked that sucker twice and was well rewarded! I went back and got my arm leopard-ized as well. After all of that we were ready to go!

We lined up and proceeded to wait about 40 minutes for our section to be let loose. The Electric Run staff kept us entertained; interacting with the crowd, throwing glow wands and sticks, playing good music.

The crowd was freaking awesome; a multicultural stew of everything and every body type. Grandparents ran, kids ran (with little angel wings! Lol), people in wheelchairs and kids in baby carriages (a smidge dangerous as there was no designated space for them, but we all made it work); everyone came out to have some nighttime fun while running.

Check these pics:

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The biggest part?
I actually ran…as in I kept up with my boxmate, who ran a half marathon earlier this summer, and didnt slow her down. There was one point where I felt like my left calf was burning in the fires of hell, but we paused long enough to stretch it out and kept going.

I, yes ME, did 3.5 miles in about 30 minutes and didn’t feel the urge to hurl afterwards; I was actually freakishly energized!

I’m so happy I did that run! It shows me that I have definitely been underestimating myself…I can do more than I think. I just have to do it! And I did!
#cuehystericallaughter

Anyone else had this experience? Please feel free to share!

M^2
Posted on run…

CrossFit Hope for Cures (a lil late!!!) Sorry!

Hey ya’ll,

So I’ve been a little MIA…my sincerest apologies.  I think the July 4th holiday just really made me a bit lazy and selfish.

This post is actually a post (with slight edits) that I did for my box (CrossFit Gym) earlier this month, and honestly I’ve gotten lots of compliments from box mates; even those that I never met (different workout schedules).  Don’t ask me why I didn’t post it here first…I think I had momentary brain freeze.  I apologize for the lapse.

Please enjoy!!!

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It was the length of the rope of “hero beads” that first struck me and made my throat squeeze shut and my eyes start to water ever so slightly.  Don’t believe me?  See this video right here: “I Need to Finish This”.  The first 30 seconds are more than enough.  Call me soft, but seeing such a long string of beads – each one representing blood transfusions or operations or pain of some sort – with loop after loop after loop telling the story of Kate Foster and her battle with Leukemia struck me as mightily unfair.  No one should have to deal with that and especially not a kid; but she did, she does and there’s the possibility that she will.

Hope

CrossFit Hope for Cures

Here I am thinking my 4th of July holiday weekend will be full of some libations (#tequilaispaleo), burgers, movies and catching up on sleep.  Instead, moved by a video of a little girl with more moxie at 12/13 than I’ve got at 30-something, I chose to do something more than layabout in the AC on a hot summer day. I chose to participate in Mid Atlantic CrossFit Affiliates for Hope on the National Mall; what’s more is that I got to do it with some of my fave local Crossfitters.

My box came out and we showed other affiliates what we could do; we made some new friends and sympathized with each other  – Crossfitter to Crossfitter- over the pain we were about to endure.  All in the name of charity.  #gottalovethekids

All participants in Mid-Atlantic Affiliates CrossFit for Hope had to raise at least  $30 for CrossFit for Hope benefiting St. Jude Children’s Hospital via hope.crossfit.com.  Feel free to add a few bucks if you can!

Anywho, on deck:

3 Rounds (17 long minutes)

  • Burpees
  • 75/55 pound Power snatch (Natch, I went Rx…smh)
  • Box jump, 24/20 box
  • 75/55 pound Thruster (Again, I chose Rx…smh)
  • Chest to bar Pull-ups
  • 1 minute/station with a 1 minute rest between rounds

So LET me tell you about July 6th.  It was Saturday and it was hot as hell.  Like roaring-flickering-fires-of-Hades-hot, complete with little burning embers raining down on your back, face and forehead in the form of pretty, yet unrelentingly harsh sunlight.  Cue the sunburn, aloe and unforgiving tan marks; and that was at 8:30 in the morning!!!

Eakinwale

I’m a hot sweaty mess; she’s flawless…#mylife

Sidebar: I did however get to meet one of my faves! @elizabethakinwale Ahhhhhhh!!! #whenigrowup #justlikeher)

My Rx’d heat was at 9:30; just consider how much hotter it was an hour later.  No, really.  Think about it…..you just broke out in sweat didn’t you? I know you did…but I digress.

At 97 some-odd degrees, when they counted down “3-2-1” for my heat I went for the gusto; or at least whatever I had left in the tank after two days off from metcons and a double-fudge chocolate cupcake from Crumbs Bake Shop [read: huuuuuuge] the day before.

I actually managed, by the grace of God and via yells of various box mates to “keep going” & “everyone else is hot too”, to eke out 151 reps and not pass out from  the internal combustion that I felt welling up in my lungs, on my skin; even on my freaking hair follicles.

I was hot.  Like really, really hot; uncomfortable, sweaty, dirty, smelly, hungry and tired.  Sweat was EVERYWHERE and I so was not on my #prettygirlswag.  I went through 17 minutes of great thrusters/burpees, slow box jumps, ehhhhh snatches and really bad Chest to Bars (it sucks being short sometimes) and got a tan line from my headband as a lovely souvenir for the day.  And I forgot to pick up my free t-shirt!!!!  #sheesh

But here’s the thing: my feeling of discomfort lasted 17 minutes and my “distress” went away after some water, shade, food and a 3-hour nap.  Kate Foster’s discomfort from amputation, surgeries and chemicals being pumped into her system has forever altered her life; and yet she showed up, went hard and put it all out there in the WOD.

Kate Foster – hell, kids in general – simply slays me.  I’m beyond impressed and humbled by the fact that she just wants to WOD, contribute to the community and focus on something bigger than herself.  She has had plenty to fear and yet continues to be fearless; moving forward and living…fully.  That’s something that most adults have yet to grasp.

CrossFit Hope for Cures is one small part of the community bonds we create as we raise money for a good cause, commiserate over WODs and recognize that we have little-to-nothing to complain about when compared to others.The heat, the WOD, the distress that we all briefly felt on Saturday was nothing; the fortitude and drive of donors/participants; the memories and the connections that were forged pre, during, and post-WOD: everything.

Next time come and be a part of that “everything”.  Come out and WOD. Contribute to the Community.  Focus on something bigger than yourself.

You won’t regret it.  Kate didn’t.

M^2

 

Definitely Not Gabby Douglas…

I am definitely NOT Gabby Douglas.

You remember Gabby, right? She won the individual all-around Gymnastics Gold Medal in the 2012 London Olympics. Ring a bell? Gabby the “Flying Squirrel”Douglas, nicknamed such by the great Marta Károlyi, long time coordinator for Team USA and wife of the equally fantastic Béla Károlyi. In a nutshell, she’s the gymnastic wunderkind that earned every accolade the hard way: sacrifice, blood-sweat-tears, extensive practice, innumerable drills and a personal drive that could inspire even the most jaded among us.

Me?  I’m more “Jumping Wolverine” than “Flying Squirrel. I’m short, somewhat uncoordinated, less flexible (way less!) than a pre-teen, cautious about falling on my head and going “boom” and definitely older than 16.

Gabby, by age 8, managed to squeeze in more v-ups, handstands, walking handstands, splits, straddles, bar muscle-ups, etc., (and won a state championship!) than I have in my entire 30+ year life. Such a thing would make most people depressed and feeling as if, at this stage of the game, there is not much that I can do to catch up to, or compete with, that.

It’s a good thing that CrossFitters are not “most people”.  

We are, if nothing, a determined and stubborn folk; both competitive and hard headed enough that when confronted with a new movement, we say “screw it” and give it a try.  At first, we just want to get the movement by any means necessary; muscles bulging, face red (or a lovely smurf-like blue) due to lack of oxygen, but eventually we strive to get it right.  We learn that the effortlessness that athletes exude is the culmination of good coaches, constant practice, a few spills, the steely will to get back up over, and over again, striding to the bar a little bruised, but a lot more resolute.   

As hard charging as we are, every so often (typically after an hit to the ego…) we recognize that we need more help.  We realize that we have to practice outside of the WOD structure to improve in the more technical, skill-heavy aspects of Gymnastics, Weightlifting, etc. I personally learned, the hard way, as a 2013 CrossFit Open competitor, that gymnastics and the coordination and skill inherent to it, will always rear it’s ugly head (CrossFit Open 13.3 and 13.5!!!).

Enter my extra Gymnastics classes. I take my perfectly clear and easy going Sunday afternoons and choose to work with a certified gymnastics coach to get better at my chosen sport. The class is small and focused. I work on my individual weaknesses with a coach that critiques my form, fixing my head placement and explaining the gravitational dynamics of a kipping pull-up in such a way that even an 8-year old would get it.  My coach’s knowledge, experience and simple joy in teaching, gives the confidence necessary to try something that you never thought you would or could do…at least not beyond second grade.  What’s more is that it’s included in my normal fee (#winning).

Occasionally we end with a WOD, but the point of the class is to to focus, identify, dissect, adjust and implement…and laugh.  A lot.

I make it a point to hit that class and as a result, I’m improving.  I’m using less “muscle” and becoming more proficient.  By the end of summer (August 2013) I will have my Muscle-up, my Hand-Stand and my Kipping Pull-up.  This is me, putting it out there, loud and clear. That class is a huge reason why I know that I’m going to hit my goals.  

So, here’s the thing: Gabby did it as a teen-ager.  I’m doing it when  puberty is CLEARLY not on my side (that boat has long since passed!).  And really quick: a wolverine is one of the most ferocious creatures on earth, often taking down prey much larger than it. Once it has it’s teeth in you, you can’t shake it loose because a wolverinIe just doesn’t quit; it doesn’t back away slowly or give in to self-doubt. It. Just. Fights.  The Wolverine is “the best there is at what he does…” (#nerdgirl). Can you see the “Jumping Wolverine” appeal now (beyond the obviously hairy, carrion-eating aspect of it all)?

I am definitely not Gabby Douglas and really, so what?  I have my own training team: my coaches are my Béla/Marta, and my box mates are my gang, crew, and competitive menagerie: my very own CrossFitting fantastic five.

I think I’m set.

Bring your butt to Gymnastics if you have the opportunity.

M^2

13.5: The CrossFit Open, Done!

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Wow, it’s done. 

I competed in the 2013 CrossFit Open and lived to tell the tale lol!

Ask any crossfitter that participated in the Open, and we will all admit it: 13.5 was NOT a game. 

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13.5 Open WOD

There’s something about finishing the Open, that just seems to click with me.  I actually feel like a crossfitter…like I somehow earned that nomenclature. 

Now, real talk: YOU DO NOT NEED TO COMPETE IN THE OPEN, TO BE A CROSSFITTER!

You pay your money, show up consistently at the box, respect the culture, go hard during a WOD and cheer your competitors on…those are some of the numerous items that define us.

Personally, and based on my individual efforts to improve, to just be better than I was the day before, I feel different.

What I do and/or say inside (and outside) the box, has impact because people respected my CrossFit Open intensity…or maybe I should say my spunk, moxie and fight lol, because I surely fought for those 12 chest to bar pull ups…for each and every one of ’em!

That respect, given so freely, both humbles me and gives me the confidence to call myself a crossfitter, even when I know others have been referring to me as one for months.  This is something I had to feel and it just so happens that the Open was the conduit.

I gained an insane amount of personal insight from seeing all my weaknesses in thier full glory *slightsarcasm*.  The Open was the mirror I occasionally crave (#wantitbad); so I can see and correct myself…I saw how much I flagged behind others during 13.2 because of my lack of endurance during the Box Jumps, my inability to do a kip Chest to Bar during 13.5, my slow elbow “whip” (ugh!) during 13.4 with Clean & Jerks.

I showed up, took a chance, tried something different, put my heart on my sleeve, was open to constructive criticism, provided it and took it; connected with my box mates in 5 weeks in a way that 5 months of CF membership only began to show me.

This…is CrossFit.  And I’m in love with it.

Isn’t it amazing when you realize that something brings you joy, even when it stings just a little?

With that said, standby for changes to the site, more coverage of events, guest contributors and thr like.  I appreciate you guys sticking with me…looking forward to spending more time with you!

M^2

CrossFit Open 13.4: In Da Bag! (a lil late! Sorry!)

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Somehow i swore I posted this last week! Alas, I did not! My bad y’all! 47 reps is pretty damn good considering the fact that I was freaked about my Toes to Bar (only done em like twice!) and getting the dreaded “no rep” for not doing a true Clean and Jerk (I tend to push press more), so I said a quick prayer, left it in God’s hands and went for it….and proceeded to shock the heck out of myself.

Wow, I was the first on the bar for the first three rounds of TTB…that’s how hard I was going. I didn’t even feel the weight until my set of 12.

CrossFit continues to push amd drag me out of thr limits that I put on myself by showing me that I am more than capable; it’s showing me that I’m good at this. Real good.  With additional, more focused training I could be better. This CF Open is simply showing me what I have to do to improve.

Best part of the night: when a boxmate that competes offered to work with me one on one to improve my technical skills and get more aligned with what I want.  Some people would be offended by the offer…

Good thing I’m not “some people”.  It’s a compliment when somone decides to sacrifice their personal time to get you to a higher level. It means they see potential in you that you might not see yourself.

Say “thank you”, set a training date and call it the day.

#CrossFit

Some pics:

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Hell nah I’m not doing it twice!

So, lets talk frankly for a second here:
I’m in the CrossFit Open, after doing CrossFit for less than 5 months. I am in my 30’s (inching closer and closer to my pseudo-midlife crisis of single, sexy and no prospects lol), have never been injured and continue to surprise myself with what I have been able to achieve with my CrossFit program.

However, after all of that, the main reason I decided to do the Open, was because I wanted to see where the “holes” are concerning my abilities with strength, cardio, etc. I figure, hell, it’s $20 bucks…the point is to learn all I can from those around me, my coaches, and my competition. That is exactly what I’m doing. Each Open WOD showed me EXACTLY what I need to focus on: 13.1 Snatches/Olys/Form, 13.2 Box Jumps/Cardio/Endurance,13.3 sheeeeeeeeeet. Something lol!

So when my box mates were like, “Hey, are you doing it again?”, (“it” being a repeat of 13.2 to potential improve my total reps) I was like “Hell nah!”, because really, I have to make it through the rest of this Open competition and, believe it or not, I’m flipping tired lol.

A lot of these folks are early/mid 20’s, grad students or early career folks; I’m slighly past that stage. Although, real talk, a Master’s (45+) chick beat my reps too (but only by a bit…and she’s a freaking competitor in the summer league!! I totally aspire to be like her!!). On St. Patricks Day, I sat home and drank tea, ate paleo pumpkin muffins and watched “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (awesome!). That is my idea of a good time. No really, that’s my good time.
That and sleep. Lots of good, deep, soul-calming sleep lol.

With that said: I will continue documenting my “holes”, to determine how I should adjust my program to get better, so that next year I don’t feel like I’m going to pass out because of a few box jumps or throw my back out because my deadlifts turn into “Good Mornings”.

Once is more than enough this time around!
#Toodles

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CrossFit Open 13.1: Virgin no more!

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Score: 137 Reps and 16:17 for time!

Came in 6th out of all the chicks that competed! I did better than a good number of men!

*stunned*

No longer a CrossFit Competition virgin, last night in heat 2, I did my best to not pass out, cough up phlegm (caught a cold 2 days ago) or embarrass my box, my friends that came out, or myself. 

I mean seriously, if you’re going to wear “Wonder Woman” wrist wraps, you damn well best not come in last, ya dig?

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Outfit complete with my new wrist wraps, my “5 Weeks, 5 WODs shirt, my Lululemon heqdbqnd and Nike gloves, I probably looked just a little “cray, cray”, but OMG I had so much fun!

My cheering section was out in full force! Through the haze of exhaustion, I could hear them keeping me in check: “Keep your feet together”, “Drop the bar”, “Get on that bar”, “You got 10 more!”, “Gooooooo!”.   I’m so freaking grateful to have had that in my corner…and so completely humbled by it.

Now that it’s over, I can’t help but think: “If this was the first week, what the hell is next weeks going to look like?” 

But in reality, does it even matter? I’m doing it no matter what.  I’m having fun, challenging myself and living to tell the tale.  That works for me!

Pictures are coming y’all…standby.

CrossFit Open Countdown…ahhhh!

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It’s almost here and I am eerily calm and yet nervous…especially bc I’m nursing a sore throat today so I can be at full speed/strength for the CrossFit Open WOD tomorrow…. Anybody else registered? Please note that (a) the linked/provided content belongs to CrossFit; (b) such content is not my own; and (c) the originating website (blackchickswod.com) makes no claim of owning, being related to or owned or controlled by, being under common control with, or sanctioned by, approved by, or endorsed by, CrossFit.