Urban Adventure Challenge

So my partner in crossfit crime asked our usual team (Victorious Secret) if we would be up for doing the Wooster Urban Adventure Challenge (WUAC). We both immediately said yes! 

When I visited the website, it said to expect 8-10 miles of waking, 12-15 miles of biking and other surprises. In talking to other box members who had completed the challenge before, we knew we were in for a good 4-5 hours of finding things around town, solving puzzles and swimming! 

I’m a total “plan as much as you can” type. So I started a notebook. I wrote down all the clues they provided, made a list of all the sponsors and their addresses etc and gathered my supplies: sunscreen, hydration backpack, first-aid kit etc. 

Mind you, I can’t run, I’m still on the “injured reserve” list at the box because this nagging lower leg thing refuses to go away. (Side note: the doc needs to hurry up and look at my MRI – I want to know!!) It was recommended that I withdraw. But I really wanted to and you didn’t have to run, walking was totally allowed. So my team members swore they would not let me run and so we set out!

We had to use clues to locate different business downtown, and at each stop we had to do something. The thing we had to do varied. Some stops we just had to take a picture of an object (an apron, a white rooster etc). Other stops required that we build something (a trophy). Most stops required something physical. One stop required that we use a dolly to move one team member to a cone and back (that was a funny one). Another stop had us holding a tire on a 2×4 while we walked “football style” through a set of various sized tires. 

Then we waked to an elementary school where we had to play four-square, look up information about a random state, climb the jungle gym (note- i have apparently completely forgotten how to play on one of those), and play hopscotch. Then off to a local park, to find a random animal on their jungle gym to take a picture, help a teammate navigate a small course while she was blindfolded, and do their small zip line. More proof that these “toys” were NOT designed for adult bodies. 

Then we walked over to the College of Wooster to play a word association game, hunt for our team number in their auditorium, and then off to the football field for a crossfit style workout: dips, step-ups, push-ups, tire flips, bear crawl, and run the stadium stairs carrying a 30# sandbag (walk the stairs…). 

At this point, I’m starting to get tired from all the waking and the sun is really beginning to get nasty. And … it’s barely 11am. 

Then we hike across campus to find some random trail, hike up the road to a puzzle, use our ninja skills (i.e. Google) to determine that a queenax is an adult jungle gym where we were expected to do upwards monkey bars… nope. Ain’t happening, but at least it was air conditioned and had bathrooms. Stay-Fit 24 is a nice little gym!

Time for more waking. Off to the middle school, stopping along the way for cornhole and croquet. (Note to all: our third teammate is DA BOMB at corn hole and I’m never playing against her). Puzzles and now carrying around a rubber duck! 

More walking to the local pool (now we’ve zig-zagged our way from the south end of town to the north). Water balloons, jumping off the high dive and paddle boarding. The water balloons required that we try to slingshot a balloon so that a team member could let it hit their butt! Turns out we were good at that part!! Even earned a 7-min time reduction here! We all had to jump off the high dive (very scary) and the water felt great. But my favorite part of the pool was paddle boarding a watermelon across the pool several times! I mean how silly is that?

A walk through the woods to the high school where we got to pretend we wed in a marching band and March the field carrying a sousaphone (I think we should have gotten bonus points for Keri who actually was in TBDBITL and did actual marching band stuff, including dipping the instrument to the ground a la Script Ohio). 

Finaly to another loca park to get the bikes. It’s now 1:30, we are so very hot, so very tired and our feet hurt. We were looking forward to a bike ride, until we deciphered the clues and learned the hill we needed to ride. 

I will remind you the website said 12-15 miles biking. Well … it was 12 miles to the last stop. That means 12 miles back…

One of the stops had us canoeing across a lake. The other made us do an adventure “ropes” style mini-course (note – never doing that again), before making us hike their 1.5 mile trail looking for more stamps. Ugh …. more waking. At this point, I’m very over this game. And I really really want to quit. But even if I did quit, I’d still have to bike back to town! 

We have just under 60 min left before the finish line closes. So we decided to bypass the last two checkpoints and bike to the finish line. We get there and are told we need to drop our bikes off and go to one last check point. Ugh … pretty sure the young volunteer giggled at my invented non-swear, swear words (he was a young volunteer remember?). Off we went, to a local pub. Beer pong, matching beers to their names and doing the coaster mazes. Ok… at least that isn’t hard. And then we had 5 minutes to get back to the finish. 

We made it. Eight hours and fifty-four minutes later we were done. They had some snacks and water and a party inside. 

Lots of food and drink, but I was too tired for any of that. I drank a beer, a glass of water and nibbled a few chips. That was all I could manage. 

Today, I’m a deep Ohio State red color, I’m so tired all I want to do is sleep, I’m STILL not hungry, and everything hurts. Yesterday I mentioned I wasn’t going to crossfit on Monday, but I see it’s bench pressing and deadlifting, 2 of my favorite things, so I will probably go anyhow. 

What did I learn from this? Several things. 1. My two partners are awesome, beasty ladies and I would not have wanted to do this with anyone else. 2. This was ssoooo hard to do!! The website said 4-5 hours, but we took nearly 9. I worked out for 9 hours in the sun. 3. I’m glad I did it, but I have no desire to do it again. 4. I need to learn a LOT more about competition eating because we did NOT plan that well. And 5. Three years of crossfit and I feel just as out of shape, uncoordinated, lacking in confidence as prior. This challenge proves just how non-athletic I really am. But I still did it. Sort of … 

Job well done ladies! I’m proud of you guys. 

WHYNBTYW

Okay, okay…I’m really bad at getting these posts up on time. It is kinda hard to review products, but one came in the WODBOM box this past month that I think you guys might really like, especially if you are fan of nut-butters.

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As you can see, this is an organic product made from different nuts and seeds. It has approximately the same calories as a serving of peanut butter (2 TBSP = 190 Cal). Though it might be hard to tell from this label since the serving size is 19g, but 14g is 1 TBSP. You can work out the rest of the math if you really want to. It’s close, trust me.

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It says to kneed the product thoroughly and if there is one downfall to this, when they say thoroughly, they are oh so serious about this. I THOUGHT I was thorough…NOPE. So the oil came out first and then the rest and I had to mix it all together on top of my rice cake. Not very fun at all. I was better with another package and it was fine.

It is smooth and creamy. It had great taste, kind of a cross between peanut butter and cashew butter. It’s appearance is darker than peanut butter and with small black flecks; I assume these to be pieces of chia seeds, but I don’t honestly know. You certainly didn’t get a ‘crunch’ when you were eating, so even with black flecks, it was just fine.

I went to their website (NUTZO2GO) and saw that you don’t buy directly from them, but from Amazon, which is fine. Whatever…

You can also see they have several different combination of nut butters, both in creamy and in crunchy, in small containers or in the individual serving packages. For those of you concerned with organic, vegan, gluten free etc there are many different certifications listed, so you can make sure the food meets your individual needs and desires.

They make a chocolate hazelnut butter, for those of you who like Nutella, a peanut butter and various mixes and blends. None of their products seems to be simply one nut, however. So even the peanut butter has other nuts in it, which, IMHO, only adds to the nutritional value. Unfortunately, one cannot subsist on peanut butter alone, though I would really love to be able to do just that!

They have tons of recipes and you can even download an e-book of recipes. There are 14 PAGES of recipes, everything from salads, to protein bars, no-bake ‘cookies’, smoothies and even a sweet potato cinnamon roll. I cannot decide if that sounds delicious or gross, but the picture looks amazing. Bookmark this part of the site for later!

The price is a lot more than regular, store-bought peanut butter, and a quick search on Amazon shows that it is also more expensive than organic cashew butter, though perhaps for some of you a 4$ difference in price for 16 oz isn’t a big deal.

I know there are some foods I will splurge on occasionally and some that I simply refuse to pay a high price for, and will not purchase. This product falls somewhere between those two. I’d be willing to get a container, but I certainly wouldn’t replace my beloved peanut butter for 2 reasons: 1. Peanut butter is life and 2. Peanut butter is a LOT cheaper. So yes, I loved the product and yes, I’d be willing to splurge every once in a while on a tub, or get a few single serving packets for a change of pace.

If you do nut butters, give this a try. You won’t be disappointed!

The Struggle

Okay guys…if you’ve been reading this for any length of time (or even if you simply scan our titles), you are aware that we are two crossfit athletes scaling our way through crossfit and have been doing so for close to three years.

For me, here is a recap of all the moves I don’t currently have in my crossfit arsenal: double unders (these were close before my calf injury), toes-to-bar, pull-ups, chest to bar, muscle-ups, rope climbs, box jumps (I HAD these until the box tried to eat me), hand stand pushups, handstand walk, pistols, PROPER GHD situps. Here is a list of moves that I still struggle with and really need to work on mobility/cardio: Olympic lifts, burpees, the blasted Assault bike, running, over head squats, v-ups, wall-climbs. Here is a list of moves that I either really like, or feel at least proficient in doing: dead lift, bench press, back and front squats, push press, strict press, Ski-erg, wall ball and thrusters.

I’m sure there are others that we do semi-regularly that could go on these various lists. The point of this isn’t to highlight all the things I can’t do, but to move into how I end up feeling when the WODs include several moves that I really struggle with.

This week, we had a WOD that was 40 Toes-to Bar, 10 wall climbs, 20 T2B, 8 wall climbs, 10 T2B and 6 wall climbs. This was followed by accessory work (single arm bench press, banded triceps pull downs and flutter kicks). I KNEW going into this workout that it would be rough. I don’t have T2B and wall climbs rank up there as one of my least favorite movements. I feel as if I get far more exhausted than I should get doing them, and my inability to breathe doing them only makes that worse, I’m sure.  But when I saw the workout, I thought to myself, “Well, I will really try and hopefully come close to getting ONE, just ONE.”

Three tries in, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. My hands (even chalked and wrapped) were slipping off the bar, I stopped trusting myself to even hold myself up there. I tried knees to elbow. Nope. So knee raises it was. I tried doing several in a row and lacked the ability to even control my legs and ended up basically feeling as if I was just swinging my legs wildly, slipping off the bar. The sets of 20 and 10 were worse because I was fatigued. But I was SO FRUSTRATED with my inability even to control knee raises! This frustration grew worse and worse and worse. So much so that 10 minutes in, I was ready to walk out of the gym. This feeling of wanting to quit hadn’t happened in nearly 2 years and was contributing even more to my frustrations. I didn’t walk out. I finished (badly) the workout, slower than everyone else, but I finished.

This frustration led me to questioning the accessory work. I KNOW the bench press is a strength of mine, but I lowered the weights anyhow. I didn’t push myself. That only added to what I was feeling; crossfit is supposed to be about pushing yourself. I mean, I understand that some days you just aren’t on point and other days you are on fire. This isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m taking about the conscious decision to not do a harder weight, not because of injury, not because of working on form (I did that today with the snatches so I could concentrate on trying to keep good form and my breathing), but because I was angry, frustrated with myself and riding the mental struggle bus.

Later, I posted that I really wanted to walk out of the gym on Facebook. Another member posted that I worked through it and folks look up to me as an athlete. What I WANTED to say was “you all should look up to someone who can actually DO crossfit”. I didn’t because the coaches would see and I would get burpess for having a negative attitude. But it was very hard to me to see why someone, anyone, would look up to me, especially at that very moment in time.

I’ve spoken about this to one of the coaches. Apparently I embody the spirit of crossfit: keeping coming back, going in even if I know the WOD will stuck, going in even if I know I can’t do the moves, if I have to scale everything. Going in even with injuries, cheering, encouraging and  embracing the community that has developed in the gym. I know we are supposed to be practicing having more positive attitude (PMA), but I simply cannot be all PMA 24-7. I know that little things will get in the way; they always have; this is just me. I bet all of us get frustrated at things from time to time. It’s part of being human. For me, it’s definitely part of the struggle of lack of confidence.

I might have upset a coach or two for thinking of walking out. I might have upset an athlete or two for it as well. I probably upset a few for voicing the thoughts. But here’s the thing about me, you can knock me down; I can knock myself down, but I showed up the next day and actually felt good about the workout (even with injury modifications). So I might have WANTED to quit, but I didn’t. I overcame the mental issues.

Conclusion? Push through. Show up the next day and the next. Do what you can do, when you can do it. One bad workout can’t define you.

Facing Your Fears Combined with WHYNBTYW

My son turned 18 this past Saturday and we wanted to do something different and fun for his birthday. We tossed around several ideas, fishing, hiking, Cedar Point and Zip-lining. We’ve all been fishing and hiking many times and we weren’t sure the weather would hold, so we decided we could do that another time. Cedar Point opened the weekend of his birthday and we thought that standing in line for hours might not be great there. So zip-lining it was!

Disclosure…we wanted to go last year for Father’s Day, but my husband broke his knee and was in a knee brace, so we felt waiting until he was fully recovered would be best, so it’s not like this idea just came out of nowhere.

The website showed all these pictures of these really happy and smiling people. It talked about overcoming fears and many of the testimonials started with folks who were afraid to do it, but ended up having a lot of fun in the end. So I thought, “why not”? I know I’m a little skeeved out by heights, but I walked the edge of the Grand Canyon and looked down; I LOVE roller coasters and the Millennium Force is 310′ in the air and goes a LOT faster than the fastest stated speed for the zip-lines and most of them weren’t even that fast.

I was quite nervous at first, but things seemed to go well for the practice line and it didn’t seem all that hard. They showed you how to sit, how to break and what to do if you got stopped before the end. They were very reassuring about the strength of the equipment and how much fun we were going to have. There were 8 people and 3 guides for my tour, and we were told it would take approximately 2 1/2 hours to complete the course because you have to set everyone up safely and get them across and then 10 other people have to do the same thing. For each area, the guides told a little story about the line and the forest around the lines.

So a few people go for the first ‘real’ line, which we were told was 145′ long and though we would feel like we were going fast, it was really 5-8 MPH. I got all hooked up, and had to walk to the edge of the platform. The guide was on the other side doing the signals that told us when to break.  I have a death grip on the handles and when told to break I couldn’t even think about what I was supposed to do. I tried to put my palm on the cord, but instinctively grabbed it and yanked my shoulder out, but I made it to the other side. Once I was unhooked, I hugged the tree, which was swaying all over the place (at least in my opinion). I was petrified and shaking. I was promised it would get better.

I get hooked up for the next one, a little faster 10-15 MPH and longer (approximately 325′). Here I braked so hard that I missed the platform. Now I’m in full-on panic mode, slowly sliding back toward the center of the line. I can hear the guide calmly yelling (so I can hear) telling me what to do, but I cannot process his words. I cannot think; I cannot understand language. All I know is I don’t seem to be able to stop my moving in the wrong direction. Finally, I put my finger into the pulley which stopped me, though was super painful. Now I had to try to listen to the guide tell me how to turn around, and start pulling myself hand over hand to the end. I’m sure it wasn’t very long, perhaps 10-12′, but it seemed forever in my panic-stricken brain. Finally, the guide grabbed me, unhooked me and I hugged the next tree, shaking even harder than the last time. The guide told me that I’d just done the hardest thing, a ‘self-rescue’, but I was unconvinced.

Two more, each getting longer and faster. I had zero small motor control at this point; I barely had large motor skills at this point. I’d also decided that braking was something I would never get the hang of doing and simply crashing into the trees was preferable. I was promised it would get easier; it never did. I was more and more petrified each time, crying, shaking uncontrollably, incoherent, and completely not comprehending how the others were laughing, learning how to brake and apparently really having a wonderful time.

At this point, we all found ourselves 60′ in the air and having to rappel down from the tree so we could hike to the next location. The guide started by showing us how to wrap the rope around our legs and where to place our hands. I immediately recognized this as the Spanish wrap technique from rope climbs in crossfit. I also just as immediately recognized that I didn’t have that ability, since I don’t have rope-climbs in my crossfit arsenal. I thought I was panicked before this….  Finally the guide showed us how we were going to be clipped into the rope and where to put our hands and the pulley system that would take about 80% of our weight, so we could slowly lower to the ground. I’m not recovered from the Spanish wrap ‘joke’ and found myself hooked to the contraption, saying out loud that I’m not strong enough. I heard my son say ‘bullshit’, you are probably the strongest person here. And before I knew it, I was dangling in mid-air a death-grip on the rope, going no where. Eventually, I managed to lower myself to the ground. At this point my muscles were starting to cramp from the shaking, the nerves, the sheer terror that I was still feeling. But I was on the ground and ready to hike. Hiking? THAT I can do.

We were told the next line had this spectacular view. I have no clue; I was too scared to look around. My death grip on the handles hadn’t stopped, nor had my sheer terror. To get to the last, and longest, line, we had to cross a 150′ rope bridge. We were still clipped in, but the wobbling didn’t help. I admit it wasn’t as scary as the zip-lines, but it was still scary.

Now we have two things left to do. An 1100′ zip-line and a drop from the last tree to the ground. The guide says he has a surprise for us at the end. He also said that this line was the fastest on the course; we could get up to 50 MPH. He wasn’t helping. But I stepped up and did it. Not looking around, not enjoying the view, not happy going that fast. All I wanted to do was close my eyes. I couldn’t even take my hand off the handles to even attempt to brake. The guide was forced to use this special braking system and catch me. I watched the others; they were obviously exhilarated by the experience.

The ‘surprise’ was something called a ‘quick jump’ rope. It allowed one to jump, free-fall for 6-10′ and then it lowered you the rest of the way. The first person to go made the entire tree swing. I increased my grip on the trunk. When it was my turn and I told the guide that I’d rather die of dehydration and exposure than go on that thing. Everyone laughed; I was serious. I’m crying, telling them I don’t want to. The guide was slowly moving me to the edge and he finally let go of my harness and I fell. And then I passed out. It turns out that one can pass out from sheer terror. I woke in a crumpled heap, safe on the ground, embarrassed, scared, shaking, and wanting nothing more than to crawl behind a large rock and stay there until the shaking and the tears stopped. The guides told me I was the bravest person there. That I didn’t give up that I overcame a fear. That’s not how I felt.

Everyone else was joking, laughing, discussing their favorite part. I just wanted to go home, curl up in bed with at least one dog and be left alone.

I have spent the past three days crying myself to sleep, still shaking. I have zero trouble recalling all the fear I experienced.

I’m not sure I overcame a fear, but at one point they offered me a way off the course. All I could hear was the voice of crossfit saying “don’t give up”, “keep going”. So I did. I’m still not convinced it was the smartest move on my part; I know for a fact that I’m not recovered mentally. I felt traumatized by everything.

Also, if you want to go zip-lining, just do it. Of the 11 people (including guides) on my tour, I was the only one who didn’t enjoy it, so please don’t take my experience as a sign that you shouldn’t do it. Most of the group had a wonderful time and would happily do it again. So if you think you want to try it, I would still recommend it. Buy the package; do the thing; have some fun.

 

Meal Prep Monday/Sunday

My partner in crossfit crime posted her meal plans for the week, and I thought I would share what I do, since we both ride the macro train, but have very different approaches to it, I think.

I vary my carbs and fats throughout the week to try to keep my body guessing. So I have Super, High, Medium and Low days, cycled S-M-L-H-M-M-L. My protein never varies at 155g. Medium carbs are 235g and medium fats are 49g, High days is 255g carbs, same fats. Low days are 145g carbs and 65g fats. Super days are high carb and high fats (those are great days for that ‘cheat’ meal that is not quite as healthy as you would like it to be). My calories will cycle between 1785 – 2081 between super and low days, which is still enough to keep me fueled for crossfit.

For breakfast, I always have a Quest bar. 210 cal, 20c, 9f and 21p

I generally do 1 – 1.5 scoops of protein powder as a mid-morning snack (the difference between them depends on the amount of protein from real food the rest of the day). 30-45g protein, 4f 3c

We plan our lunches and dinners around the various activities for our son and myself and also now based on when my hubby gets home from work (it used to be 3:30 every day, now it varies, but the earliest is 5:30).

This week dinners will become the following day’s lunch. Creamy cauliflower shrimp chowder, sheet pan steak and veggies, zucchini shrimp scampi (Thank you Keri), BBQ chicken and roasted sweet potato and shrimp fried rice.

We also have our son’s 18th birthday on Sat. We will be going zip-lining, which none of us have ever done. But that means that macros will be blown all to hell and back on Sat, which I really don’t care about. 1. I’m not a Games athlete, nor do I want to be. 2. I’m also not going to worry myself over every little detail every day. 3. It’s a birthday for goodness sake!

I haven’t input the recipes into MFP yet. I generally input them the night before and then add more protein drink, or Chex mix or an apple to make up the carbs and protein. I’m rarely over on fats. But when I stick to this plan (and that is always the key), I feel better, perform better and should lose a little bit of weight. Slowly is always the key and I can eat just about anything, as long as it fits into these macros. What I quickly discovered though was if I eat tons of ‘crap’, then I get really hungry since I’m not filling up on the good stuff.

This is my last weekend of sabbatical (boo), so I will be doing the shopping and meal prep tomorrow (we spent today in the garden). Normally we do the shopping/prep on Sunday, but I’ve rather enjoyed spending the time with my family on Sundays these past few weeks. I should probably convince myself to get up earlier on Sundays to do the shopping so we can spend the afternoon together…sigh.

Is it just me, or was life simpler when I wasn’t worried about macros and healthy eating?!  hahaha

The Ski-erg

I’ve been dealing with a calf/Achilles tendon issue for several months now and for the past few weeks my coaches have been modifying just about everything, even creating all new workouts when necessary.  This has meant limited rowing, limited biking, no running, no squats with weight, and other moves with greatly reduced weight. It has also meant a LOT of core work, which I admit I desperately need.

We’ve starting this rowing session these past few weeks and for me, that has meant a lot of time on the ski-erg. (If you don’t know what that is, or have never used one, check them out at Rogue’s site Ski-Erg)

I’ve done intervals of varying distances, ME calories for certain time and even a 5k. I am at the point where I’ve actually come to kind of LIKE being on the ski-erg. It is certainly far less painful than the Assault Bike that’s for sure. The Assault Bike and I will never be on good terms. The Concept2 rower and I are barely on speaking terms, but we are slowing reaching an understanding that while our relationship may never be overly friendly we are slowly learning to at least appreciate each other.

But there is something about the ski-erg that I actually like. I seem to be slower at skiing than rowing, but that makes sense to me since it does seem to use less legs. At first, it seems to be decidedly all upper body, but after doing the 5k, my butt and hamstrings were incredibly sore, so it’s not all upper body. Today was 5 sets of 1000m with a 2 min rest between. We were supposed to try to go about 1s faster than our best 5k pace. Now I’ve done a 5k only once and it took me nearly 30 minutes (28:54 if you want the exact time). I’m not really sure I was that much faster, but I felt good and it felt a little faster.

I’m not sure I’m supposed to like this piece of equipment and I may still never be the best skier in the class, but I found a cardio thing that I like and that is something I will take.

WHYNBTYW

Look at this! A Why Have You Not Bought This Yet Wednesday actually occurring on a Wednesday! It must be a miracle!!

Last month, in my WODBOM box, I got a small bag of THE MOST AMAZING CHIPS EVER!!

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These are essentially rice chips and magic made to taste basically like potato chips! Now, I’m much more of a “sweets” person when it comes to a cheat meal or cheat snack. But occasionally I love me some potato chips and seriously 7 potato chips isn’t a serving, no matter what the package says. And besides, since the chips are always in pieces, how in the world am I to know what 7 chips is?

These came in a single serving package and while I’m not saying they are good for you, they aren’t terrible either and if one is going to insist on a small snack every now and again, these seem like a nice compromise.

They tasted delicious, gave me just the amount of “salty” snack that would cure a craving, but didn’t leave me wishing I had a larger bag. They were nice and crunchy and while not quite the same as a potato chip, they were close enough. They are a little thicker than a traditional potato chip.

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As you can see by the label, it’s not like these are GOOD for you, but they aren’t loaded with fat, and their sodium level is reasonable, though they sure had that potato chip salty taste!

I found them on Amazon. They have sea salt, BBQ, sour cream and onion and pizza flavored ones. I’m eternally happy that I got the sour cream and onion. As of this writing, you can get several variety packs, ranging from $18 to $46, depending on how many packages you want in the box. You can also get boxes with just one flavor in the same price ranges. I like the fact that they are all single serving sizes. That would help reduce temptation for me.

You can also find them on Facebook, just search for Rise Buddy. They seem like a couple of guy trying to get a company off the ground.

Healthy? Maybe not so much. Healthier? Yes. Yummy? Oh you bet!!