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WOD love

Crossfit diaryThere are very few things I dislike about my box, although I spend a lot of time talking about how much I hate cross fit!

One of the things that can sometimes annoy me is the need to keep WOD secrecy until the end of the day. That’s just what we do, and I completely approve because it stops cherry picking (I’d never do a WOD with double unders in, from choice, for example) and that means functional fitness is integral to everybody’s training.

Sometimes it does frustrate me. Yesterday I ended up with full on WOD love – came home, drank bullet proof coffee in the garden with my LoveEnergy breakfast bar, realised I need a new CrossFit diary, which will be my third, and really wanted to blog about how euphoric I felt.

But I couldn’t, because it was only 11am. Last class is 8pm and until then I couldn’t WOD spill – so here it is:

Before the WOD I did my Lift It Up which was deadlifts:

  • Warm up  -5 reps at 40, 50 and 3 reps at 60% of one rep max
  • Lift – 3 reps at 70, 80 and 90% of one rep max.

I didn’t get a really clean third lift at 90%, felt my shoulders round out, and Coach David commented it had happened too, but I was glad to get it done.

12 minute AMRAP

  • 5 wallballs
  • 5 hand release press ups
  • 1 powerclean.

I got 13 rounds and 5 wallballs.

I picked too light a weight for my cleans, at 15 kilos, but I felt so tired when I got to the box that I underestimated what I could actually lift – lesson learned.

And I loved it, every single minute of it!

 

 

 

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Meh and then some!

lavender ice creamSo the twin carbuncles in my life right now are Tony’s cancer treatment, which is noxious* and Lift It Big, which I find cumbersome. I’m just not a natural lifter.

Yesterday Tony got home at 4pm and I went straight out to lift. Unspoken agreement – I stay home until he gets home on treatment day, just in case he needs to be fetched, feels ill, needs extra care etc.

Everybody is at different stages in the Lift It Big programme, and I’m at the second phase which is 3 reps at 70%, 80% and 90% of 1RM (one rep max, for any non-lifters still reading). My lift of the day was strict press, possibly my second worst lift behind bench. I hate strict press.

The interim exercise between lifts is pistols. I cannot tell you how much I loathe pistols. Cross Pol Pot with a giant slug and that’s pistols, to me. If you have balance issues, pistols are evil.

I’m also doing (no, I’m not ‘doing’, I’m ‘attempting’, as I’ve missed two days out of eight so far) Ido Portal’s 30 day hang challenge – 7 minutes a day. I despise dead hangs – it’s just a way of feeling pain streeeetch out!

So I got it done, but it was meh. The only word for it is meh, or maybe the good old Pshaw! which Wodehouse’s characters used to express derision and disgust. Meh. Pshaw.

Went home, ate lavender ice cream. No it’s not paleo, but it’s great for cancer (seriously it is: lavender is immune system boosting, the other ingredients are free range and organic and when you’ve just had live TB vaccine pumped into your bladder it turns out you don’t always feel like eating substantial food, so home made ice cream is one of the things that Tony’s finding helpful) and that was the best part of the experience.

 

 

 

*I originally wrote ‘gnarly’ rather than noxious, which shows CrossFit has invaded my brain at the synaptic level, quite disturbing for a writer. I might end up with a whole novel in which everything is described simply gnarly, epic or awesome.**

**I note this blog has developed footnotes and footnotes to footnotes – jolly good! I may be channelling the wildcard talent that is Terry Pratchett – and I cannot think of anything I’d rather do.

Cancer, CrossFit, Coping …

Another long time since connect throw downI blogged. More WODs happened. I did a scaled version of Arnie that sticks in my mind for being really rather nasty. However, one WOD was a real experience for me. CrossFit Connect had a throwdown followed by a barbecue on the Saturday – we went down for an hour in the morning and again for the final WOD, an inspiring thing to watch, and the barbecue, which was fun.

Perhaps based on the amount of hooch drunk the previous evening, box protocol was suspended and a notice was posted on the Facebook page saying that the Sunday morning WOD would be the first WOD you ever did when you joined the box! I stopped and had a good think about that. My first WOD was a simple bodyweight descending ladder that was brutal in revealing to me how unfit I was:

Skips – 100, 80, 60, 40, 20 – alternating with
Press-ups – 25, 20, 15, 10, 5.

I can’t remember much about that day, except the fear I felt walking into the box, and that fact that I had to run to the loo twice during the skips and I did press-ups on my knees. It took me 12 minutes and 44 seconds. And that was with the time for running to the toilet subtracted!

I knew, I really knew, I could take that time and smash it, even though I was still struggling with sleep and the stress of wondering how Tony’s cancer treatment was going to work out and it would mean an extra training session that week that I hadn’t planned for. But I decided I’d go and do it anyway. Most of the other people training that day went for named WODs, girls or heroes, but that didn’t bother me. I got the evidence of progress that I needed to remind me why I do this.

I’m so glad I went for it. Full chest to floor press-ups, no running to the toilet during the skips, and a time of 7 minutes and 17 seconds!

Yesterday Tony had his first BCG treatment. He was in and out (forgive the pun) in 17 minutes and went straight back to work. He was tired when he got home, which is one of the side-effects, and today he’s been really tired and prone to fall asleep without warning, but if that’s all the symptoms he develops we’ll be very happy! We’ve got a year of this to look forward to, which is not a happy prospect, but it’s great to have good local treatment that allows him to continue to work and next month he’s even hoping to get back to the box and start some light training.

Life is good.

Are we defined by what we have, who we are or what we do?

CrossFit WODThe past few weeks have involved shed-loads of stuff – literally! Tony’s had his surgery, made a great recovery and then got an infection that has set him back a bit. One of my dearest friends got married – that was fun, although Tony’s deteriorating condition meant I had to leave the party early. I did some CrossFit, although actual wods are a bit of a blur, to be honest. We had help putting our shed up. The thing is, if you listened to what I said, the whole month would have been about Tony. I don’t know how many times I told story 1 (operation, larger than expected tumour, excellent recovery, home, catheterised, after 24 hours) or story 2 (plummeting health after removal of catheter, rocketing temperature, mental fog, inability to sleep, dehydration) but it started to feel like I was reciting it as soon as anybody came into my eyeline, like a Pavlovian dog hearing a bell ring. In amongst all that I managed to train twice a week. In fact I’d just finished a wod when Tony rang to say he’d come round from the anaesthetic, and the surgeon had told him it hadn’t been two small tumours but one large one and the operation had therefore been ‘more extensive’. I had a quiet cry on a 22” box and coach Marta came and gave me a hug and some encouragement. It was actually a great place, and a great moment, to receive difficult news, because I didn’t have any adrenaline to give to it, I had to just accept it as fact. But cancer does come to define you, whether you’re the person with it, or the person who’s relaying the information about the person with it. It’s great that people care, and it’s great to be able to talk about it, but I’m starting to feel like a professional cancer communicator. CrossFit shed raisingSo on Sunday we had a shed-raising. Tony and I would usually do all the work in our garden ourselves, but he’s not really ready to take on major projects and we wanted to get the shed up before the end of the summer. A dozen lovely CrossFitters pitched up, along with other friends, to drink beer, eat barbecue and help us build stuff. The weather was hot, the company great and the shed was assembled in no time flat, so ‘team Connect’ moved onto the fences! I think our neighbours were amazed. We had two gorgeous women sitting on their roof, person-handling fence panels in place, while a stalwart chap essentially got the panels to bed down by doing chin-ups on them! Small (but exceedingly strong) children carried chunks of wood around (thank you Leo and Ada May) while other people just mucked in and fetched and carried and hammered and … basically proved we don’t use machines, we are machines. I served food and watched. We never doubted that CrossFit was a way of life, not just an exercise regime, but having so many people show up to help us really confirmed our understanding. If we are defined by what we do, we’re CrossFitters, even if – like Tony – we can’t currently train. If CrossFit is defined by who does it, then it’s much more than just functional fitness – it’s a way of creating communities that take action to support each other. On Sunday we were the grateful recipients of help. CrossFit boxOn Monday morning our box flooded. We got down there about 11am, when most of the hard work had been done, but we still mopped up a bit and moved stuff around, and I took some home-made ice-cream along. Today there will be no classes, which feels weird, because even if we’re not training, we tend to check and discuss the whiteboard at the end of the day. We were glad to be able to help a bit, and if it floods tomorrow, we’ll go down and move stuff again. The CrossFit games happened. I know who won, but the whole of the rest of it went straight past me – it just wasn’t significant in my life this year. But CrossFit itself is still vital to who we are and what we do, and I’m really glad about that. Thank you to all the amazing folk who helped build my beautiful shed – we really, truly, literally couldn’t have done it without you!

CrossFit, Cancer and 3 July WOD

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20140626_190312This is Tony, and according to the hospital, where he had his pre-operative appointment yesterday, he’s the healthiest 55-year-old they’ve seen ‘apart from the cancer’. The ‘apart from the cancer’ is a pretty big caveat!

His appointment is 14 July – which is quicker than we were led to expect and that’s great. The no quite so great is that it will be about two months, maybe longer, before he can train again. In total that will be nearly four months out of serious training for him, and he’s not happy about it. But he is the picture of health and we need to remember that – he couldn’t be better placed to deal with cancer mentally, physically or emotionally.

I’ve been re-reading Primal Blueprint Fitness, and focusing on the proportions of exercise Mark Sisson recommends. 2- 5 hours a week of easy exercise such as walking is eminently possible for him after his surgery and I could probably participate in that a couple of times a week if I do some rescheduling … actually it’s quite interesting because although I’d have said I do 5-8 hours a week of easy exercise, looking at his definition of 55-75% of heart rate for 2-5 hours a week, I haven’t. Not by quite a long shot …

10448222_10152121214201360_1076709911877495884_nI’ve probably been doing mid-range exercise, including light-ish weights (not sure what a full watering can weighs, let alone two full watering cans, let alone two full watering cans multiplied by about twenty journeys up and down a 250 metre allotment) and digging, and taking out tree stumps for 8-16 hours a week …. I might not have been calibrating my exercise very sensibly, is the point, and perhaps this is a great opportunity to step back and look again and what I actually do. Even though many people apparently overestimate their exercise levels as reported in the The New York Times, it appears I might have been substantially underestimating mine!

Which brings us to yesterday’s WOD. I felt like crap before I went down to the box to train. Had a stinking cold at the beginning of the week, couldn’t breathe, rotten headache, the whole shebang. By Thursday I could breathe properly, more or less, but still had the headache and hesitated about training. And then I saw the board … AMRAP burpees.

WOD whiteboardSo I got 88 burpees in seven minutes. I’m happy with that, although the plank was pretty feeble at 1 minute 15 seconds. The snatch sequence was rubbish though – completely rubbish. I have a lot of catching up to do in that regard; it’s months and months since I’ve done snatch and it really showed!

The truth is, I really enjoyed the WOD – for seven minutes I could simply try and remember to breathe and hope that the horror would stop soon, and that’s the kind of WOD I love the best!

 

Testing WODs and testing diagnoses …

Not the greatest of weeks.

Tony’s diagnosis was a bit of a shock – two small cancerous tumours in his bladder. When I say it was a shock, we knew it was a strong possibility but the reality is quite different to the possibility! He’ll be having surgery in the next few weeks, then convalescence for several weeks. I think we’re both much more concerned about the convalescence … three weeks where he can’t train is going to be quite a tough time for us both.

There are different conventions about how CrossFit boxes handle WODs – at Connect we don’t spill the WOD, so it isn’t posted in advance and nobody talks about it online till the last class has started, so people don’t get to cherry pick WODs they’re good at and avoid ones their bad at. For me that’s all immaterial – I’m not good at any of them! We do occasionally get a warning if there’s going to be a lot of running we’re given advance notice to bring our running shoes if we train in non-running footwear, or if it’s a Hero or a Girl we get told as those are always popular and people hate to miss them.

CrossFit WOD whiteboardSo when we got advance notice that the WOD on 25 June would be a ‘testing’ WOD and different to anything we’d done at the box before, it did make me shudder. I haven’t been sleeping that well, and there’s just stress around the stuff that Tony’s facing that is making both of us feel under the weather and less than optimal, so I didn’t expect to have a good time.

In any order:

Best times for:

  • 1 mile run
  • 1000 metre row

2 minutes to establish max reps in:

  • Hand release press ups
  • Pull-ups (with a single band if necessary and in my case it is)
  • Double unders (as many as possible, not continuous)

In fact it turned out to be a really good experience. It’s weird to be wodding and not doing it in unison, so on this occasion where we took the elements in any order we wanted and as much rest time between them as we needed, it felt quite strange. I walked the run with two wonderful pregnant CrossFit women because my knee is still not right(just under 16 minutes), and I did the row last, simply because that was the only chance I had to get on the rower – we were a big group!

  • 1000 m row – 4.56
  • HR press ups – 42
  • Pull-ups (thin band) – 27
  • Double unders 16 (every bloody one of them a single!)

I was really glad to attempt this RX and happy with my results. If I’d done the row first I think I’d have got a better time, which I will remember when it comes round again and jump on a rower early! My press ups were strict, good form, hand release – I am a bit of a fan of hand release press ups, to be honest. Double unders and pull ups … well they’re my goats and I think I’ll be working on them for a good while yet before I’m satisfied.

Against the board I don’t look so great. Amazing run and row times from some of our people and astonishing double under scores … and that’s just the morning crew! Against what life has handed me, I’m really pleased with this set of results – whatever else is going on, I was able to attempt this and give it my full effort and full attention and I’m content with that.

Paleo summer fruit custard recipe

summer fruit compoteTo train or not to train…. It turned out to be ‘not to train’. I’ve had another week off. I had a week off lifting (but not training) a couple of weeks ago and hoped I’d get to a substantially improved back squat one rep max this week. But on Sunday I developed a shooting pain in my right knee and the advice was to rest it. So I’m resting it. And bored.

Not so boring, but not much fun either, another trip to A&E on Tuesday. This time though, Tony got a different potential diagnosis: march haematuria. To whit: Causes of Haematuria
Haematuria is the result of bleeding somewhere in the urinary tract, which is made up of the kidneys, the ureters (the tubes that take the urine from the kidneys to the bladder), the bladder, the urethra (the tube from the bladder to the outside world) and, in the male, the prostate.

There are many conditions that can cause haematuria, most of which are not life-threatening. However there are a number of serious causes of haematuria that need to be detected.
·        Trauma. Traumatic injury to any part of the urinary tract, from the kidneys to the urethral opening, can cause haematuria.
·        Urinary tract infection. Haematuria can be caused by an infection in any part of the urinary tract, most commonly in the bladder (cystitis) or the kidney (pyelonephritis).
·        Drugs. Haematuria can be caused by prescribed medications such as blood thinners (anticoagulants) including heparin, warfarin or aspirin-type medications and cyclophosphamide.
·        Cancers of the kidney of bladder (or prostate in males).
·        Stones or calculi. These can occur in the kidney, the bladder or the ureters.
·        Glomerulonephritis. Glomerulonephritis refers to a group of kidney diseases that have inflammation of the glomeruli, the filtering units of the kidneys. It can rarely be a complication of certain viral and bacterial infections. It can also occur in autoimmune disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosis (lupus or SLE) and diabetes mellitus.
·        Exercise. This is also called ‘march haematuria’, as seen in soldiers on extended marches. Very prolonged exercise in athletics, jogging, horseback riding and bicycle riding can cause haematuria, which is a non-serious condition.
·        Bleeding disorders, including genetic disorders such as haemophilia, can result in haematuria.
·        Inflammation/infection of the prostate can lead to haematuria.

Isn’t that all just peachy? But if you had to choose just one of those vile causes, you’d choose march haematuria and that’s what we’re hoping is the cause of Tony’s symptoms, not least because 48 hours or so before every episode he’s done both heavy(ish) squats and double-unders in the same training session.

uncooked pale summer fruit custardMeantime – paleo!

I spent most of today at the allotment, teaching and then tending crops. As a result I came home with lots of soft fruit: tayberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, strawberries, and red and gold raspberries. We eat a huge amount of this fruit raw, but I decided as we had so much to make a compote. And when I’d made the compote I decided to sieve it, and then to make some compote custards with pistachio maple topping.

Compote

Gently cook a selection of summer fruits with 15 grams of honey for each 100 grams of fruit. No need to add water. Either cook until the fruit breaks down into a loose mass or cook for another five minutes and then sieve to get a thick puree or compote. The former is probably healthier but we eat enough raw fruit not to worry about getting sufficient roughage and trace elements. Once prepared, set aside to cool. Keeps for a week in a refrigerator, not that it’s ever been a problem in our house, we struggle to keep it more than 48 hours as we eat it on everything!

pale summer fruit custard with maple pistachio Topping

1 tablespoon butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon chopped pistachios

This quantity of crumble tops four custards. Blend the ingredients together and set aside.

 

Custard

Two eggs per person
Teaspoon honey per four eggs

20140621_185226Beat the eggs together lightly with the honey. Pour into a pan over a low heat and cook until they just start to ‘turn’ and thicken, you don’t want to leave it a moment longer or you’ll have sweet scrambled eggs! Still good to eat, but not part of this recipe. As soon as it starts to thicken, pour into ramekins, then swirl some of the compote through the custard – don’t over fill as these custards rise (then collapse) during cooking. As you can see, judging how much is too much can be tricky! Drop a spoonful of the topping in the centre of each dish and cook for 15 minutes at 175 degrees. Allow to cool and enjoy!

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~Cruising through my Life~

journey since 1989...