Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fire and Ice

I attempted to do a scaled version of War Frank on Friday--3 RFTO 25 Muscle Ups, 100 Squats, 35 GHD Sit Ups. Since I don't have a muscle up yet, I was to do 25 Deadhang Pull Ups and 25 Ring Dips per each muscle up.

The first round took me about 25 minutes. Damn. I just don't (yet) have the strength to bang this out, and I am not happy about it.  Sean, one of my coaches just kept staring me down. I knew I'd better do it or die, so I kept pushing on.

I hate being humiliated. I hated that it took me so long. Thank God I'll be doing some serious strength training in the coming months.

I kept envisioning some of my female heroes in my mind. I kept seeing myself one day being strong like them, and I kept going.

Saturday I ran half the Mount Wilson Trail race, since one my clients had never set foot on the treacherous trail, and she's set to run the race next weekend.

Sunday I ran 6.2 miles on a great uphill trail in Griffith Park with some of our peeps who are training for the Camp Pendleton Mud Run.  Needless today, when I got home, my body was TOAST.

You know you're in pain when....

I decided to take an ice bath.

After the initial "it's freezing" shock, it wasn't half bad.

Now it's time for some good sleep.

CrossFit Survival got the building we wanted. There are some harried days up ahead, however, as it's a real "fixer upper".

I can't wait to get this place ready.

We've been at the mercy of the parks. As a result, there are simply some things I haven't  been able to teach yet.

Kipping Pull Ups await!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

New Era

Since January, I have been privileged to have either a) been training for a potential spot on TCFA's Affiliate Cup Team or b) been training with the team as an alternate.

This has made me so much better as an athlete. Not only did I manage my first two squat thrusters at 95#, I also did 100 OHS at 1/2 bodyweight--not in a row, but in an evening...and I could've gone heavier.

I did multitudes of double-unders, hspu, cleans, squat thrusters, deadlifts (heavy) and Warrior WODS that were heretofore unfathomable to me.

I am beginning to glimpse what I am capable of, and I like it.

It's time to hit it even harder, as I am ready to take my performance to the next level. I also uncovered many weaknesses. It is time to conquer those.

Additionally, I celebrated one year of instructing CrossFit last week. My affiliate, CrossFit Survival, is preparing to move from the park to an indoor facility. My clients are getting stronger, fitter, faster. I am improving as a Coach.

"Leap and the Net Will Appear".

Damned straight.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Doin' Whatever it Takes

Today my coach said, "Good" twice to me--once during my front squat reps and once when I was speeding through my last set of 10 reps of Grace at 55% my 1RM (60#).


I have waited 19 months for this.

You see, my coach doesn't say "good" unless it IS good.

Holy Fucking Wow. I am finally earning this.

Halleujah it feels good.

I don't take it for way. I've done that before.

You see, towards October of last year I sort of went adrift--forgot why I was in CrossFit in the first place, took my "status" in our box for granted. I got lazy.

My PR's still came, but they took FOREVER.

My "verve" was gone.

However, thank the gods it is BACK!

I am 45 and one of the top women in my box. Each day I fight to be better than the day before. Each day I KNOW why I CrossFit.

I CrossFit b/c I am infatuated with being strong.
I CrossFit b/c the confidence I have gained is worth more than all the money I've ever paid for any other sort of self-help in my life.
I CrossFit b/c now I have a driving purpose.
I CrossFit b/c I can.

Mostly I CrossFit so I can pass it on to those around me...and now they too love to CrossFit.

Getting Stronger Every Day

Last week I set out to break my old Shoulder Press PR of 75 lbs. Although I managed 3 reps at 75, I just couldn't get 80 lbs over my head--despite 3 attempts.

Yesterday, I tried again. I easily did 5 reps of 75 to warm up. And indeed, 80 lbs went up like cake!

So I tried 85, but to no avail.

Let's try again next week!

Doing 25 push ups daily is really making my shoulders and arms so much stronger.

On another note, I have put on over 6 lbs!!!

I followed Paleo/Zone pretty diligently for over a year. I did so well at it, that I became too thin! My energy started to suck. I was stressed out a lot. Add to that the fact that I was averaging somewhere in the neighborhood of 5.5 hrs of sleep a night, and I knew I wasn't doing as well as I should be.

Now I eat like a horse! I'm still Paleo in Zone proportions, but I eat between 18-20 blocks of food a day AND I drink 1/2 gallon of grass-fed raw milk daily.


I have to say that changing that one thing has made a huge difference on many levels.

1. I have gained almost 6 pounds in just over a month.
2. I have gotten much stronger proportionately during that time period.
3. I have WAY more energy than before.
4. My skin feels like silk.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

You Gotta Have Friends

God I love my friends. Recently a group of 3 of us women (2 of my awesome clients--Jenny and Jacque and me) all took up a challenge designed to help each other out.

Jenny's highly allergic to gluten, but craves CAKE!

Jacque needs to watch for drinking too many beers.

I also wanted to stay sober for an extended period of time, plus I wanted to do 25 CTD push ups daily and ensure I get an average of at least 6 hours sleep per night--a huge improvement over before. I also added to my goals ZERO non-grass fed milk, as I am highly allergic and sick of putting myself in gastro-intestinal hell out of laziness due to Starbuck's.

Anyhow, if any of us screw's up, we have to do 5 minutes of burpees (straight) per transgression.

Burpees are a terrific penalty, I find to deter one from doing something they shouldn't.

And the cool thing is, when you finally have to pay your penalty, at least you are getting something incredibly beneficial as a result--despite the discomfort of having to do them!

Yesterday, I had accumulated 20 minutes of penalties (due to not remembering to do my push-ups), and Jacque had accumulated the same due to drinking 4 beers.

So via texting, we started and stopped one another and got the work done at our respective homes.

I was sweating up a storm!

Needless to say, I accomplished 200 burpees with all but 20 including CTD push ups.

So we're all winning.

Jenny's only cheated once--keeping her asthma under control.
Jacque's cheated a few times, but is doing much much better than she was.
I've missed a few days of 25 CTD push ups, managed to stay sober almost 30 days and have been averaging almost 7 hours of sleep per night. I've also avoided drinking icky grain fed milk and including the burpee penalties, I'm getting stronger at something I suck at!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cindy PR

I did 16 Rounds of Cindy today. Good news. Last time I did it I was only 10 squats short of 16, so anything less today than that would've sucked.

I moved back in with my longtime boyfriend of 8 years today, Dan. Finally!!! It feels good to be home.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

So I gave into Her

Ok. So I did the real deal last night--ELIZABETH to Standard.


All I can say is "I did it". Freaking Wow!

21-15-9 Cleans at 95# and Ring Dips. It took me 36:35. Interesting in that it only took me about 7 minutes longer to do 15 more of each than my "Mini" version did last week.

I think I am getting stronger! ;)

Actually, I KNOW I am a changed CrossFitter when I find myself really pining for the Warrior WODs and the Benchmark WODs that incorporate WEIGHT.

This is very new to me...and very exciting.

My Mom always said life begins at 40.

I think she was right.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Elizabeth is calling my name

Ever have one of those days where if you don't get a hard workout in, you just might kill someone? Last night was one of those.

I wanted to do something HARD. Indeed, being on the leader board and vying for a spot on our women's team for the Games gives me PLENTY of options.

I felt intimidated by the scope of Elizabeth. My PR on the Clean is 108, but that's a Power Clean. These 21-15-9 Cleans at 95# have to be real cleans.

Vanessa gave me an excellent idea and suggested I do a "Mini Elizabeth" at 15-9-6 just to try it out for size. Good call.

The cleans were a real challenge, and definitely not fast. But I did them. The ring dips, much like my recent foray into multiple HSPU lead me to muscle failure and having to wait to be able to do them one at a time.

But I completed my Mini Liz at 29:00 (or thereabouts). That means the whole baby would've taken me close to an hour to CJ's 17 something?

But I'm okay with that.

The fact that I can even pretend to attack Hero WODs is fucking awesome. Is this really me? Sometimes I feel like I am living in a dream, because this life is so beyond what I once believed I could have.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Getting to be a Big Girl Now

Ok, you know how you set some goals and you think "when I reach that milestone,I'll know I'm playing with the big girls now"?

I'm not there yet.

But I am closing in fast.

Today I PR'ed in the Snatch by 10# to 83. My old PR was 73, which happened 3 weeks ago. Before that, I was stuck at 70# for about 3 months. And, I got under the bar 3 times at 88; I just couldn't stabilize. I think that PR is just around the corner.

I also PR'ed on Clean and Jerk, although only by 5#. Still, never knock a stat increase, so I am glad. I power cleaned 113, only to drop it in the jerk.

No biggie. Once again, I know I am closing in on the prize.

Eric asked us for goals recently. Honestly, I haven't had a spare minute between training and running a business to really sit down and think about it. But I can name two goals right now off the top of my head.

I want a 100# Snatch by the end of June.

I want a 135# Clean and Jerk by then too.

I was talking to my friend Jeff tonight. We are both amazed that WODs and weights that virtually seemed unthinkable not so long ago are suddenly within our reach.

I swear the 2011 games are calling my name. I would love to represent the over 45 crowd of women badasses.

Mikey Campi said it best, CrossFit does what religion is supposed to do. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Standard is Becoming Standard

I did Grace tonight to standard. 30 Clean and Jerks at 95 pounds. I was pretty nervous going into it, as my max Clean and Jerk is only 103, and 95 pounds is akin to doing 90% of my 1RM 30 times.

I took my time. I failed probably 1/2 a dozen times--either in the clean or the jerk. My time is nothing that will impress anyone at 22:21 (or something like that).

The last time I did Grace was probably 7-8 months ago with 65#, and it took me about 30 minutes.

However, I did it to standard this time.

So you know what that means? That means I can do it again, and if my past stats are any indicator of my future ones, I'll get faster and faster, and before you know it, I'll have a Grace score anyone could be proud of.

I did Diane last week. As part of the try outs to see who gets to be on our affiliate's team for the CrossFit Games, we do have a women's standard, as several of the heavier Warrior WODs came up in the draw. Thus, for us, Diane's "standard" for the deadlift was 155.

So I did 21-15-9 of Handstand Push ups and 155# deadlifts. Once again, VERY SLOW. I finished in 29:29. But I did it to standard.

It wasn't the deadlifts that were the problem. I even managed the first set unbroken. But right around the middle of the set of 15, my HSPU started failing. I had taken my muscles to failure. So I had no choice but to WAIT.

I had to WAIT for the glycogen stores in my muscles to replenish, so I could go another time.

All I know is the next time I do it, in 3 weeks, I'll be faster and better.

And some day, I predict it will be later this year, I might even be able to start competing with the "big girls"--those badass women who are the best of the best nationwide. I will get there. I will be able to hold my own against them.

You just wait and see.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ready Set Go

Starting to Journal my Food and WODS in preparation for the CrossFit Games Sectionals and/or a place on Team CrossFit Academy's TEAM.

Breakfast--4 Blocks
1 c weak coffee with 1tbsp organic milk (weak coffee doesn't upset my stomach at all)
2 eggs
2 oz ham
1 pear
2 figs
1/2 avocado

Snatch – Heavy Single--68#
Then 85%x1x3

Lunch--5 Blocks (trying to gain 10lbs)
5 oz grilled ham
1 block collard greens
2 blocks cooked carrots and celery
2 blocks pear
5 blocks almond butter

Missed snack

Dinner--4 Blocks
4 oz grilled chicken
4 blocks pear
2 blocks avocado
2 blocks almond butter


Original plan was to do Diane
Failed at first HSPU--proof positive of overtraining, so

Clean and Jerk--Heavy Single 98#
Then 85% X 1X3
Couldn't even rise from 98# clean, so DONE--home to bed.

3 blocks ham
3 blocks pear
3 blocks almond butter


It is truly a challenge to run a business (especially a new one, which you are trying to get off the ground) and train 100%. My biggest weakness is lack of sleep. However, after last night, I REALLY GOT HOW IMPERATIVE IT IS that I decide that sleep is important.

So, from now on, I am shooting for 7 hours a night. That's a huge improvement over 5. I will note what happens here.

I sent a letter to The Paleo Diet Newsletter recently, when I realized I have been suffering from IBD. How cool is this? They responded to me personally. This letter confirms what I have been noticing regarding what foods I eat and shed some light on some others (ie chili--I wondered why I suffered so badly the week I made chili--thought it might be the chili powder--indeed, I was right).

I am so impressed to have received such personalized attention. Here is the letter in full, in case it might help any of you suffering from IBD symptoms (diarrhea, chronic stomach ache--especially after eating certain foods, etc.)

"Dear Shannon,

Indeed, inflammatory bowel disease (Ulcerative Colitis & Crohn's Disease)
patients usually do very well with The Paleo Diet, as nutrients are one of
the main environmental triggers of this condition.
Crohn's disease is an autoimmune disease where the immune system mounts an
attack against its own tissues, in this case the cells lining the intestine.

For an autoimmune disease to occur we need a genetic predisposition and an
environmental trigger.
The genetic predisposition depends on genes coding for the HLA system.
On the other side, one of the environmental triggers may be nutrition,
besides infections, geography (vitamin D deficiency), physical trauma or

One of the key points in this process is increased intestinal permeability.
This means that the gut barrier allows increased passage of bacterial or
food proteins (antigens) into peripheral circulation, skipping a process
known as oral tolerance. Once antigens get in contact with the immune system
located in the gut associated lymphoid tissue, they may elicit a T-cell
mediated immune response against those antigens.
If the molecular structure of the dietary or bacterial antigens is similar
to that of the HLA system (part of the immune system presenting cells
machinery), chances are that a cross reaction between foreign antigens and
self antigens (produced by T-cells) occur. This is termed molecular mimicry
and leads to self injury by the adaptive immune system.

Hence, decreasing intestinal permeability is one of the treatment targets.
There are several nutrients known to increase intestinal permeability that
you may want to avoid, at least until symptoms subside. Here you have a list
of them and the noxious substance in brackets:

-Cereal grains (lectins and gliadin)
-Legumes, including soya and peanuts (lectins and saponins)
-Tomato (tomato lectin and alpha-tomatin)
-Potato (lectins and saponins)
-Chili (capsaicin)
-Quillaja (foaming substance)
-Quinoa (saponins)
-Egg white (lisozyme)
-Alfalfa sprouts (saponins)
-Amaranth (saponins)

Moreover, some nutrients exert an adjuvant-like activity (they stimulate the
immune system), which is something you don't want to if you are suffering
from an autoimmune disease. Nutrients containing adjuvants:
-Quillaja extract, found in root beer
-Tomato alpha-tomatine

Dairy products and vegetable oils also have deleterious effects upon your
immune system.

I hope this helps.

Maelán Fontes Villalba.

Center for Primary Health Care Research
Faculty of Medicine, Lund University
Malmö, Sweden"

Dr. Barry Sears also claims The Zone helps IBD sufferers, so I am doing Paleo foods in Zone proportions. I have been doing this for one week, with ZERO IBD symptoms. Most excellent!