Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mid Atlantic Regionals - Recap

This weekend I spent some serious time cheering at the Mid Atlantic Regionals. Lucky for me they were at the Patriot Center - right across the street from my neighborhood! YIPEE!!!

Of course I'm there to cheer on people I know, people I follow on instagram (helping me stalk awesome athletes), and to be inspired. I'm also there for merchandise.....shirts, socks, drinks, more shirts.......It was great! You may remember Erin - her team won 2nd place! Team Syndicate will be going to the games!

I discovered a new brand - Afrobrutality. My friend Phil has been liking their stuff and reppin their shirts - so I had to get in on that. I am sporting the Afrobrutality Unicorn. Yep. A unicorn - Don't worry, I also got the Barbell Bitches tank :)  The owner, Syn, is pretty great. His company is about community, battling diversity in Crossfit, and bringing awareness through clothing and apparel. Since I'm a t-shirt junkie I could fully support this cause. I got to talk to him at Regionals a few times, during a few different purchases. Cool guy for sure.

This is my gansta face - needs some work

I got to meet Christmas Abbott!!!! She even signed my shirt! Such a nice person and so inspiring!
Adam Klink reppin I AM BEST MODE USA - I wore the same shirt the day before!
It's not fun unless you can sit in a giant shoe. With your brother.

Nachos. Shades. Perfect.
Ben Smith handstand walkin
Ben Smith Snatch
Crossfit Peeps

Super fun weekend of being inspired and watching people do what they LOVE to do. I drank my weight in Kill Cliff  and then ended the weekend with a crab boil. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Magic and Happy Tears

I truly believe that magical things happen when you put in hard work. So maybe it's not REALLY magic - but sometimes it sure feels that way and that's the world I will be living in.

I spent the weekend watching Regionals - namely Julie Foucher, Camille L-B, Michelle Letendre, Annie......just some of my favs. I was in awe of how fast they moved, how heavy they lifted.....and of course the outfits. I'm always on the hunt to find shorts that stay in place, sports bras that are supportive, and racer back tanks - cause let's be real....I'm wearing a top. No one needs to see all that.

In true CF fashion yesterdays workout was a Regional workout (team): 49 pull ups and 7 over head squats (OHS) @ 115#.  My goal since forever, and especially my last competition, is to string pull ups together. I'm super glad I can do them one at a time, but I NEED to be able to string them together for many reasons. Competitions is one of them. I have a goal of doing competitions RX, but my coach has said that I am a scaled athlete until I can string pull ups together. Yesterday it clicked. We were practicing pull up progressions and the coach demonstrated how to string them together. I jumped onto the bar (no more jumping off a box for me) and *MAGIC* I strung two together. I was PUMPED. Wouldn't you know it? No one saw. Turns out people were doing their own shit. ;)  I got my husbands attention, got back up there, and did it AGAIN! SUCCESS!!!! Ok. So I can sting two together. Awesome Sauce. The workout called for a ridiculous amount of pull up: 49. Ugh. I was on a pretty great high and decided (and was told) that I was going to do my thing, string together what I can, and just chip away at them. A friend sat next to me and kept count and off I went.

Let me tell you what got me through this workout. Pure happiness, adrenaline, and support from my peeps. I jumped onto the bar and strung together 4 pull ups. FOUR!!!!Holy shit!!!!! For the better part of 29 pull ups I did sets of three and two. The last 15-20 I did quick singles - I was getting tired! Now, for that OHS @115. Wasn't sure I would have that in me after 49 pull ups (although I wish I had tried......story of my life). I set the bar up with 95# (I've only done 85# in a WOD before). I did the 7 OHS in two sets, but I did them - AND they felt good!!!!! My husband and I got in the car and I was still beaming. All that hard work. So much magic. So happy. I informed Sam I would be SUPER annoying for the next 30 minutes or so - I was fast talking and SUPER hyped up. Then I stopped talking and cried. Yep. Just sat there and let it flow. I was SO happy, proud, tired, excited......maybe the dreams and goals I have aren't THAT crazy or far off???????

One of my new loves: Camille L-B has a clothing line out that is pretty great: Via Prive. I have one of the tank tops, which I love. It's stretchy, soft, a racer back (my FAV), and it's long! I hate when I lift over head and my belly pops out. No bueno. I'm hoping to stock up on a few more of these, they are great! I wore it in that magical WOD (49 pull ups and 7 OHS) and it stayed in place - no belly show, I could move freely, and it was SUPER comfortable.

Crossfit Top Committed Maroon/Black FrontCrossfit Top Committed Maroon/Black Detail

What helped me after the workout, and still is helping, Crossfixe Hands tube. My hands only tore a little on each hand, but it hurts - and I want them to heal quickly. This stuff absorbs quickly, soothes, and stimulates rapid skin recovery. I put it on RIGHT after I washed my hands (which I always feel like I"m going to pass out during). Instant relief. I also love that it comes in a tube - like a chapstick. Easy to take anywhere and throw in your bag. If you tend to rip your hands up I would recommend picking some up.

Here's to a MAGICAL week!!!! If you want to join me I'll be camped out at GMU watching the Mid Atlantic Regionals this weekend cheering on my friends!!!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

10 Things you didn't know about Erin - as she preps for MidAtlantic Regionals!

If you don't know Erin, co-owner of Crossfit Annapolis, you will want to after reading this. I met Erin in 1993 - a forced friendship because our brothers played soccer together. We hung out at a soccer awards banquet at Fudrucker's and never looked back. In a word Erin is fun. I spent my high school years at her house, baking chocolate chip banana bread, listening to music, and laughing a lot. Ah, memory lane:

Erin, Meg, and me - game ready!

Me, Erin, and Meg after a lacrosse game

Meg, Me, and Erin - my first car accident

Erin and me after a lacrosse tournament

Me and Erin at ODU lax camp

Erin is the definition of an athlete. She began with Lacrosse, then track and field, then Field Hockey. That was High School - we spent a lot of time together on those sport fields. Throughout college she stayed active - we separated to Longwood (me) and Va Tech (Erin). We are like yo-yo's though and always seem to come back together....next in an adult Lacrosse league. It was like old times. Running, laughing, and of course - chocolate chip banana bread.

Now Erin and I find each other together again - by spirit, email, text messages, and Facebook. :)  Both mothers of two boys. We both have road race and triathlon experiences under our belts - Erin's list is way more impressive than mine.

I cannot do justice to her impressive athletic achievements - it's a long list. Erin has completed every running distance I've ever heard of, including The Cheat Mountain Moonshine Madness 50 mile trail run, The Mid Maryland Ultra 50K and The Umstead 100 mile Endurance Race. She has done some impressive swims including the Chesapeake Bay Swim and of course triathlons.Erin ran the Dublin and Richmond Marathon and the JFK 50-miler while pregnant. She also completed the American Odyssey 200-mile Adventure Relay Run. After she had her baby she registered for Ironman Lake Placid and ran the Annapolis 10 Miler. Intimidated? Don't be. Erin is also the biggest cheerleader you will ever meet.

racing with her hubby

running for two

crossing the finish!

Currently Erin is training for the Mid Atlantic Regionals that are happening at GMU May 23-25. She went into The Open hoping to get to Regionals with Team Syndicate (ranked 6th place). Wouldn't you know - she also qualified to go as an individual (ranked 17th!)!!!!!

Here's my interview with Erin:

1. You have a background in running, lacrosse, and field hockey. How did you find yourself in Crossfit?

I first heard about Crossfit when it was more of an underground thing and the closest one around to me was 15 miles away (hardly the case now!). I had been very big into endurance competitions and was hoping to qualify for a few marathon/ultra-distance events so I swallowed my fear of the unknown and added Crossfit into supplement my endurance training. It definitely helped and I loved it!

2. What is your favorite way to WOD? Music or no music?

I would say music but to be honest it probably doesn't matter if it is silent and crickets are chirping. The last thing I typically hear before a workout is 3-2-1-GO and then I couldn't tell you what happens or what I hear until I am done.

3. Hardest Crossfit move for you at this time?

Oh gosh, right now- strict HSPU's. A lot of the gymnastic movements are a work in progress for me but I'm stubborn and keep at them. :)

4. Favorite Crossfit move?

At the moment butterfly pull-ups. I never thought I would say that but I worked so hard to have that become a smooth and efficient movement. When I first started trying to learn them, I looked like a struggling fish out of water!

5. Your goal for The Open was to qualify on a team, what was your reaction when you saw you finished 17th in the Mid Atlantic Region!?

I was really surprised, honestly. But I was thrilled- it's always motivating to have hard work pay off. Even when you feel like you are squeezing for time to train and compete. The Open can be tough because you have to be "on" during each one of those workouts for five weeks straight. Life still goes on during those five weeks- family, kids, friends, jobs, training, vacation, etc. It was definitely an adventure coordinating!

6. What keeps you motivated?

Two things:
1. My love of being an athlete and having the ability to run, jump, play, and move. I love seeing what I am capable of. If I fail, I have a new goal to reach and a story to grow from. If I succeed, I appreciate the journey it took me to get there. The sun will still rise tomorrow, no matter what kind of day I have. That's motivation. I try to swallow any fear I have of the unknown, take risks and whole-heartedly embrace the adventure of any journey I am on no matter what the outcome.
2. My family. My husband who supports me on all my crazy adventures and the two little boys who call me "mommy". I will strive every single day to be the kind of person I want them to grow to be. That is motivation for me to work hard and dream big....so they do, too.

7. You have a family - including two small boys! - What does a training day look like for you?

Oh gosh. Every day is a bit different but it typically starts in the early morning getting the boys dressed and fed and finishes with getting them fed, bathed, and into bed so I can collapse, myself. I know that isn't the "training" you mean but phew! Really though- I either get a training session in mid-day or in the early morning before the world wakes up. It's sort of a balancing act but getting in time to train or doing something active each day makes me a better....everything (mom, wife, friend). 

8. Do you have mantra, quote, saying that helps you get through the rough stuff?

Inspired from my baby boy, Kilian- "If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere."

9. You inspire so many - who inspires you?

I'm inspired every day by people I notice in the moment- the woman running while pushing two kids in a jogging stroller fighting to keep going no matter how tired and sleep-deprived she is; the student going to school and working full-time in order to follow a dream; the soldiers we see coming home to their families after being away for so many months. I try my best to listen and look around every day and find a moment- it's an easy way to be inspired if you let it be.

10. Favorite post workout food?

Chocolate chip banana bread. Always has been and always will be. :)

Just so you don't think I'm biased I got a little ditty from Megan  (you can read more about her here)- a partner in crime for Erin and I in high school and life (and pictured above).

We should have known Erin would be a a fitness/healthy guru from the beginning.  She chugged more ice water then anyone I had ever known. . she was all about hydration before hydration was cool.   When I say Chug. . . I mean she could put back gallons of water at Don Pablo's before I had finished a single glass. While most kids in school were eating pizza and chips, she would pack raw veggies that earned her the nickname broccoli buddy. Somehow we called each other that, but I am pretty sure I didn't earn it.   She did have a weakness for Baskin Robbins Chocolate and Peanut butter (lesson learned: everything in moderation right?!).

Erin was also a great leader in both our sports- lacrosse and field hockey.  I can remember doing long distance runs  and singing Beatles songs to help the time go by faster because she was such a natural runner. She would run ahead and tackle back making sure we were all finishing! We involved everyone around us to help get through the run (because let's be honest in high school 2 miles was long distance!).   

I remember vividly running around Burke Lake with Ann and Erin the summer before our senior field hockey season.    At the time, I didn't realize, but I had developed bad exercise induced asthma.  I was having such a hard time completing our long run. It was the longest run around the lake I had ever had and I remember being devastated because I had never felt like that before after being an athlete my whole life.  We finally finished and it was because both Erin and Ann were supportive and motivating through every mile!  I see these characteristics have continued on through both of their Crossfit communities!
xoxo - Meg

Thanks so much for inspiring all of us Erin!!!!! Good Luck at Regionals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Dream Big

Dreams - Some are attainable, some are not. How do you know? You try. You put yourself out there and you see what you can do. You obsess, you sweat, you bleed, you research, you practice, you sacrifice..........put in work. Having a dream is one thing, telling someone is a whole other thing. Saying it out loud makes it real. What if don't reach that dream? Then you have to explain to people what happened? Nope. You don't. Your dream is yours. You choose who you share it with. You choose what you say about it.

Typically with sports/athletics you have one big dream and a bunch of stepping stones to get you there. I'm going to share my dream - not because I'm close to getting it, but because that's what I'm working towards. It's why I put extra weight on the bar, spend extra hours a week practicing, and love every minute of it. I want to make it to Regionals (team or individual). Whew. That was scary to put out there. Now you know. I'm not trying to make it 2015, it's a long road and a process. Last year I was ranked 2020, this year I was ranked 1321. It's all about progress. I'm getting stronger and faster every week. One of my smaller steps is to start doing RX competitions. That's scary too.

It's very hard to reach a dream without 100% commitment. They are big. When you get there all the hard work was worth it. You earned it. Dreams do not happen by chance, but by hard work.

A friend of mine has recently put 100% effort into his dream. Going to Nationals. His dream is to go to the USA Powerlifting Raw National Championships, in Colorado. I really admire his guts. Not only is he reaching for a dream he is traveling for it! The meet is in Colorado and he needs some help getting there. He has a GoFundMe page to accept donations for this dream. 

Here is Philip doing a back squat that I actually got to witness. So inspiring and fun to be there when people go big. Let me tell you about Philip with some pictures - that's the most fun way :)

First in Deadlift and Bench

1st in Deadlift 2nd in Bench

Training with friends always makes it more fun

2nd place Raw

Training that dead lift

Even at the gym when he's hurt. Dedication

This picture always makes me laugh. Every. Time.

Philip trains hard and plays hard. He loves what he does and is taking that big leap into the world of "Dream Big". 

You can help Philip reach his dreams by donating HERE

Friday, May 2, 2014

Reality Checks

This week of workouts has been hard - the kind of week where you are frustrated and want to cry. Thanks to friends and coaches I got a few reality checks that I needed when feeling a little down that helped me put things in perspective.

Reason 1: Cleans. I'm terrible at them. My form is awful, I'm working on it, but it's a work in progress for sure. Here is my clean from this week: 125# clean and a push jerk. I cringe when I watch, it's OK if you do too.

Reality Check: I do NOT practice cleans enough. In a whiny text to my coach I was informed/reminded that I need to practice some everyday. It's not JUST that I suck - I haven't put in the time and practice to get better. There is no magic, it takes a lot of work. That made me feel better. I'm not banging my head against a wall going nowhere.....I need to put in more work. I can do that. The hubs is picking up a 45# Olympic bar (thanks craigslist!) this morning!!!! Also, the PVC pipe and I are going to get to know each other REAL well. Clean drills, welcome to my programming.

Reason 2: Strength. I want strength. I do not want to be just strong. I want my lifts to look good. I want them to feel good. I want to be efficient so I can keep getting stronger and better. Here is my back squat from this week @185# for 10 reps

Reality Check: Yes, this is a good amount of weight. I got down, I got up. Form? BUT I need to keep my chest up. Need to use my legs, not my back. Not terrible, but this is why I video tape. I will keep video taping so I can fix my form and see progress. Also, I love those socks. They are my favorite.

Reason 3: Wall Balls. I don't like them. I mentally die a little when they are in the WOD. They were in Wednesdays and Thursdays WOD. Barf. Oh, they were also at the Throwdown on Saturday. My shoulders were smoked, wall balls suck, you get the idea. I'm using the men's standards now of 20# and 10 feet - just plain hard.

Reality Check: Day 1 I did them one at a time at the men's standards. I couldn't even catch it on the way back down, I just let the ground do it's job. By the end of that workout I was at least catching the ball (using the wall) so I didn't have to pick it up every time. Progress. Workout 2 was 25 wall balls 4 times. Yep. Four rounds of those bastards. I started on the first set and was able to get sets of 2!!!! No dropping, using the wall, just moving. I had to talk myself through that first set. I wanted to stop, get the lighter ball and move faster. BUT this is not about fast. Not yet. This is about skill and strength. I completed the next two rounds of 25 doing sets of three and four. PROGRESS!

Reason 4: DNF. Did Not Finish. Yesterday was my first time not completing the workout by the time cap. It did not feel good. But why? Who cares? I wanted to curl up and cry.

Reality Check: I did not cry. I sat for a minute and thought about why I was upset. I didn't fail anything. I didn't quit. I did the work I could do in 20 minutes and that was that. Why did it take me a long time? Because of my choices. I did heavier wall balls, I did snatches focusing on form - If I'm going to put in work, weights, and use standards that are going to push me harder then I might not finish a workout here and there. It's making me better. Also? It's my choice. I want to get stronger, faster, better.....guess what that means?

It's all about the magic

So, I'm done feeling sorry for myself. This week kicked my butt, but I'm still standing. Today is a day off. I'm getting my toes done with a friend. I'm going to keep my head up, keep my focus, and smile all the way.