Wednesday, May 28, 2014

And It Starts

I had my very first "real" CrossFit class last night. I came tentatively to the gym a few weeks ago to start my series of six one-on-one ramp-up sessions overwhelmed and not really knowing what to expect. I had been hearing about CrossFit for a couple of years and my most persuasive impression from the bits and pieces I had picked up was that it is "intense". Watching the end of the class before that first private session pretty much confirmed all of my fears (and, yes, my hopes).

I finished my last private on-ramp session last Friday and decided that I had better just jump into a class right away before hesitating. I figured, the longer I waited, the less likely I was to do it. So, last night was The Night.

I kind of felt sick about it all day long. I pretty much was freaking out! I've felt like that before about an upcoming ride (especially if it was going to involve jumping), but I can't say I've ever felt that way before an exercise class before! Anyway, I chose the very same class that I had been watching the end of each time I had been in for my private sessions. Right away, I felt a little familiar with some of the people in the class and they all spoke to me as we waited for the previous class to finish. It also had the advantage of being a smaller group (just six of us), so it was a little easier for me to take in. The coach, Troy, came up and chatted to me before our session, starting to put me at ease and let me know that he would be working with me throughout. I was so grateful! I right away felt comfortable (still scared, but a little bit less freaked out).

Anyway, so this was the workout:


400m Run or Row
What I did: Row.

Bar-Bell Warm-up (led by coach):

12-9-6-3 of:
Deadlifts (bar)
Hang Power Cleans (bar)
Front Squats (bar)
What I did: Same, except I held the bar on my shoulders, behind neck for the front squats.

Stretching: Hip Mobility Complex:

Side lunges
Figure 4 Stretch
T-spine/Hamstring/Quad Smash
What I did: Same.


A. Clean Complex Work:

1. 10:00 to work on a heavy set of: 1 Power Clean + 1 Hang Squat Clean + 1 TnG Clean
2. EMOM x5 x1 Squat Clean at 80% of A1.
(to be honest, I don't even know what most of this is!)
What I did: Power Cleans, working with the coach to get my technique right, adding weight as we went. Finished at 45lbs? Now I'm not sure as that is the weight I used for WOD, can't remember if it was the same for the squat cleans! ACK! Need to keep notes! Anyway, did a lot of reps of these until I was consistently getting them right. 

4 Rounds for Time (This is where shit got real):

30 Double Unders (that's jumping rope, yes, you read that right, but in a double under, the jump rope must pass under your feet 2x with each jump. Yeah. Not going to happen!)
15 Deadlifts (225 men /155 women)
15 Weighted Sit-ups (A CF sit-up is a little different. You lay on the floor with your knees out to either side, soles of your feet together. Full range of motion is from arms straight behind head, touching floor, to sitting, hands touch feet. With weighted sit-ups, you hold a weight plate in your hands during the sit-up.) 
What I did: Well, I kind of lost track, because it became kind of a blur. The coach talked me through it and adjusted my goals as needed. Anyway, started with: 30 single unders (and I could only seem to do a max of 5 before screwing it up). 15 deadlifts at 45 lbs. 15 sit-ups, non-weighted -- x something. Well, I know I did 4 reps, but Coach Troy adjusted the reps as I was maxing out. I think on the 4th set I did 20 single unders, 10 deadlifts and 15 sit-ups. Or was it 10? I can't remember now!

Anyway, my legs were seriously rubber noodles by the time we were done. I could hardly stand! But Coach Troy got me through it and everyone was so nice and encouraging. It felt great to finish. I felt so good that I actually stood around and chatted with some of the people from the class for a while afterwards. About 30 minutes later the endorphin euphoria set in. 

I am thinking I had better go back again on Friday. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Perhaps a Sign of Progress?

Ruby and I had a long hack today that was much more of a conditioning ride than yesterday's outing. During the ride we managed a very long trot session that is probably a good couple of miles. Just about two weeks ago I had to take a significant walk break about halfway through this section. Today I managed the whole thing without much trouble. My lower back didn't even get tired or sore, which is where I usually start to feel it first. Of course, it was more work for Ruby, but an energetic posting trot is actually pretty good exercise for the rider too.

I am happy that Ruby and I are both starting off this season in much better shape than we were last year. All the hacking is also beginning to pay off for Ruby in that her canter has gotten more balanced in the past couple of weeks too.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Just a Relaxing Sunday

I took a nice, laid back hack out with some friends through the local town forest today. The junior who has been riding Ruby had taken her to an overnight show Friday & Saturday, so I wanted just a low-key ride to have her moving and to loosen her up, but without any other goal. So it was a long walk with some trot thrown in here and there. We definitely got the best part of the weekend too. Until today it had been pretty rainy and stormy.

Later in the afternoon I took my dogs out for a trail walk. At this point it was about 78° and they were really feeling it, Fitz in particular. None of this has been very strenuous for me, fitness-wise, but it does feel great to do a number of active things throughout the day. I find that the more I do, the less I want to just sit around.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Time to Start Again

I think it is time I started using my blog again. I've recently started CrossFit and would like to write a bit about my experiences, as well as my continued riding and other experiences.

Just a short summary for now:

CrossFit: After a year or so of waffling, I recently signed up for a one-on-one ramp-up program with a CrossFit affiliate in my town. Yesterday I completed session 6 (of 6) and now will join the regular classes. I am overwhelmed and scared, but also excited. I think CrossFit is going be a great program for me if I can stick with it and get hooked. I have to say, after a good CF session, I feel much the way I used to feel after a hard Spinning class, depleted and noodle-y, but elated and strong. So I am very much encouraged by that.

Riding: I am still riding and I still own Ruby. I am not currently showing, however, for a few reasons. Probably the biggest is that it is such a big chunk out of any weekend and I just wasn't enjoying it much with my work schedule. I found worrying about and gearing up for a show just added more stress to my life than I really needed and then the show weekends never left me with enough down time. I am also terribly out of shape and have vowed to only do a show when I will not be horrified to see the pictures afterwards. Of course, more importantly, I need to be able to pilot my horse galloping around a cross-country course in good shape and without gasping for air.

With all that said, I continue to work very hard on my riding skills, as well as training and conditioning Ruby. Our Dressage work, in particular, has come a long, long way. Ruby is now capable of a powerful working trot pushing from behind and working over her back. Because her trot has gotten so much stronger and more powerful, we are now able to accomplish fair collection around the short end of the ring and corners which can result in an adequate lengthening. Sometimes. It's a work in progress.

Running: Well, I haven't been running. But now with the CrossFit program, many of the warm-ups and WODs (Workout of the Day) include running intervals, so I am thinking that I may want to introduce some running into the days I am not doing CF. I am thinking just sessions of thirty minutes three times a week for now. It's not going to train me any kind of running event, but that's okay.

So, that's the update, I will post more detail as it comes!