Monday, September 30, 2013

CrossFit's Dirty Little Secret?

There has been a huge fuss lately about the downfalls of CrossFit.  The biggest of these is that CrossFit can literally kill you by giving you rhabdomyolysis.  This article has been circulating the blogs and Facebook and has been scaring the crap out of anyone who reads it - especially those who aren't familiar with rhabdo and CrossFit in general.  There was even a piece on the news about the dangers of rhabdo and CrossFit - I literally got phone calls after that asking me if I should really be doing this stuff.    

Yes.  I should be doing this stuff.  This stuff has saved my life.  

So... what is rhabdomyolysis?  Well... according to WebMD:
Rhabdomyolysis is a serious syndrome due to a direct or indirect muscle injury. It results from a breakdown of muscle fibers and release of their contents into the bloodstream. This can lead to complications such as kidney (renal) failure. This occurs when the kidneys cannot remove waste and concentrated urine. In rare cases, rhabdomyolysis can even cause death. 
 Basically... broken down muscles releasing potassium into your blood stream = bad.  

This is a legitimate thing to be concerned about.  Rhabdo is scary and can be incredibly dangerous - even deadly.  But here's the deal - most people can do CrossFit for their entire lives and never come close to contracting rhabdo.  I know I'm not a doctor (although one of my favorite people is a medical student and I feel much smarter just by looking at her fancy books) - and I'm definitely not trying to give medical advice.  Not in the least.  I'm not qualified for that. But I am qualified as a CrossFit coach.

Here's the deal.  Rhabdo is bad.  As coaches, it is our responsibility to let you know about the dangers of it.  When I first started CrossFit, I remember complaining about not being able to get out of bed because I hurt so badly.  My trainer told me to make sure that I didn't pee coke color - and that if I did to take myself immediately to the hospital.  Not going to lie... this was alarming as a CrossFit baby.  But she explained what rhabdo was and we very quickly and easily deduced that I didn't have rhabdo, but that I was just sore- you know, from lifting heavy weights and being active like I hadn't been in years.  CrossFit will make you sore.  Sometimes incredibly sore.  But just because your abs hurt for days after doing Barbara (not that I would know anything about that!) - doesn't mean you have rhabdo.  

As coaches, we do our best to make sure that you don't jump into a workout with 150% intensity until you are ready.  We make sure that you aren't forcing yourself to lift heavier than you are ready to.  We will scale workouts to your appropriate level.  We encourage you to push yourself but to only go as far as you can safely go.  We do what we can to keep you safe and healthy at the gym.  But we also need your help - we don't know what it feels like for you.  We can tell when you look fatigued, but we have no idea when you hit the point that something hurts (unless you make that awful 'I'm in pain' face).  Tell us.  Tell us what is going on with you and what hurts.  Help us to keep you safe and healthy at the gym.  We will do everything that we can to help you avoid injuries and rhabdo (we actually like seeing your sweaty selves at the gym and want you to come back!) but you've got to put the ego aside sometimes and ask for help.  I know it's tough - I'm a CrossFitter too.  It's tough for me to say 'I'm done - this hurts and it's not the normal hurt'.  

Try not to worry about rhabdo. It definitely happens, but it's rare.  Be smart.  Don't push yourself so ridiculously hard - you aren't Rich Froning.  Drink lots of water.  Eat healthy.  Listen to your coaches.  And if you are really concerned about rhabdo - educate yourself.  The CrossFit Journal has some great articles on it and can be a great resource.  It's one of the places that I go when I'm in need of more information.  They also have great links to outside articles and additional resources. 

CrossFit can be a huge benefit in your life.  It is for me.  It's kept me sane when my life was out of control. It's taught me how to have a healthy lifestyle.  It's been my therapy.  I've made great friends at the gym.  I've gotten more involved with my gym than I could possibly have imagined.  It's made me strong, it's made my body change and it's made me happier.  For me, the benefits FAR outweigh any of the perceived downfalls.  

Be smart.  Be safe.  CrossFit on. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Barbara = Sore. Oh So Sore.

You know what is happening right now?  My best friend has determined that my online dating profile isn't sufficient and she has taken it over.  Not kidding.  Took it over.  New profile.  New password.  New everything.  I'm pretty sure that she will just let me know where/when I need to be for a date (assuming that I actually get a date).  This is happening.  I'm not sure whether to be psyched or terrified.  

On another note... this week has been tough.  Work (yes, that real job... that place I have to go every day in order to pay my mortgage) has been stressful.  I haven't been able to make it to the gym to workout because between my work schedule and my coaching schedule - I've been running around like a crazy person.  So... I was incredibly grateful to have exactly zero plans on my schedule yesterday.  I cleaned my house (kinda), I caught up on laundry (kinda), I played with Grace (inside... because it was POURING outside).  I went to the gym and did Barbara.  Ouch.  No... seriously.  Ouch.  5 rounds... 20 pullups, 30 push ups, 40 sit ups, 50 squats.  It took me over 46 minutes (with 3 minutes of rest between rounds)... yowza.  I rolled over in bed this morning and had to take an inventory of what I could move and what I couldn't.  Turns out that everything hurts.  Sitting on the couch hurts.  Walking the dog hurts.  Making eggs hurts.  Washing my hair is totally not happening.  
Except for the times when it's just pain.  Like today.  Lots and lots of pain.
On another another note... I have two weeks until the Bacon Beatdown.  And I'm freaking out.  Eek.  I met another girl last week who is doing it and she was so damn enthusiastic.  She's practically brand new to CrossFit (probably hence the first competition enthusiasm) but her 'I'm going to kill it' enthusiasm was mildly intimidating (don't tell).  I know I'm strong.  I know I can do everything that they listed for standards in my division.  I know that I can suck it up and do burpees quickly if I need to (argh).  I've just been so busy and so stressed out that I need to prove it to myself again.  Okay... kick ass workouts are officially on the agenda this week.  Of course, I probably need to be able to move my arms again (whose idea was it to do Barbara again?!?!?!?!). 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Going to the Chapel

This weekend, I made a super quick trip to California to see my oldest friend get married.  (No, I don't mean my 'oldest' friend.  I mean, my friend who I have literally had for almost my entire life - not an 85 year old friend.)  

Diana and I have been friends since we were in first grade.  Seeeeeee... 
We were obviously the most awesome (and adorable) kids ever (proven because my mom cropped everyone out of this picture who wasn't awesome).  And our Brownie uniforms were totally rad circa 1990.  The fact that we were this adorable at 6 is only a sign of the amazing things to come.  Seeeee....
We have been friends for almost our entire lives. We were what? Six in the first grade?  That's almost 24 years.  Crazy.  It's hard to imagine that I've been friends with someone for that long!  Growing up as an only child, Diana and her sisters are the closest thing to siblings that I've ever had.  Diana's mom is one of my mom's closest friends and a lot of my childhood memories involve being in and around their house or our house - most likely running around like banshees (or chasing the neighbor boy, Doug). 

It's weird to have your oldest and dearest friend get hitched.  Although a lot of my friends are married by now, most of them I met in college - and we already thought we were adults then (even though we were horribly, horribly wrong). I've literally known Diana since we were tiny humans. I could not be more excited for her and her new hubby and I am so incredibly honored to be a part of her big day.  

It was a fantastic weekend.  I loved spending time with her family and helping her get ready for the day.  I had an amazing time hanging out with her sisters and her mom and all getting pretty and ready together.  Overall, wedding success.  I'm sure there will be more pictures to come.  

Oh. And I did my part to help out the CA budget crisis yesterday.  I got a speeding ticket in Calabasas (before you ask... yes, THAT Calabasas.  AKA Kardashian country. And I hate myself for even knowing that).  It was totally my fault.  I'll own it - I was speeding.  But seriously?  Worst luck ever. This girl. WORST. LUCK. EVER.  You are welcome, California-ites, you are welcome. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Naked and Loving It?

Let's not kid ourselves, you want to read this because of the title.  Sorry to disappoint... but this doesn't involve pictures.  

Okay... I'm going to overshare here for just a minute.  I got a spray tan today.  And it was GLORIOUS.  I haven't had one for almost a year and I honestly forgot how much I love being fake tan (yup.  There is something wrong with that statement.  I'm able to acknowledge it).  BUT, do you know how much better everyone looks with a tan?  Ridiculously better.  And thinner.  Ridiculously thinner.  It's all an illusion you say?  Whatever.  It's a GREAT illusion.  

The awkward part of a spray tan?  Being TOTALLY NAKED in front of the lady who is all up in your business.  You are literally doing yoga poses in front of this person in your birthday suit.  That's a real thing.  It happened today.  And Suzanne from Nordstrom Spa had a totally normal conversation with me about bridesmaids dresses while making sure that the tan was even across my  booty.  Hmmm.  Yeah.  That happened.  

But Danielle, why do you want a spray tan?  Don't you want to embrace the pastey white that is a Seattle girl in late September?  No.  No I don't.  I am going to California tomorrow to be a bridesmaid in my friend Diana's wedding.  Diana has been my friend since we were 3' tall (not kidding - I have the pictures to prove it).  First grade.  FIRST grade.  So... why the spray tan?  Because everyone else in this wedding is from CA.  And is tan.  And I'm from Seattle.  Do I need to spell it out or do you get it now? 

And before you crack any jokes... no.  This is not what I look like.  

But I do know people who looked like this in college.  I won't name any names... but you all know who I'm talking about. 
Moral of the story?  Fake tan and loving it. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Weekend Report

Seriously. That's the feeling that I had after seeing the WOD posted on Friday (I know, I know... it's Sunday... why it take me so long to post? Because I'm busy, damnit). Lateral, over-the-bar burpees.  As if burpees weren't hellacious enough - now we have to jump over a bar to do them?  Blah.  That's just atrocious.  There was puking.  There was complaining.  There were people canceling out of classes left and right.  Turns out that we hate lateral burpees at my gym.

This weekend, I closed the door on a big chapter of my life - I turned in the keys to my rental house.  This may not seem like a big deal... but it is.  It's big for a couple of reasons: 1) I'm offically not a renter anymore. I know I've been a homeowner for a few weeks now - but seriously.  No more landlord.  No more being able to call someone else if things are broken.  2) This was the place that I lived with Will.  Not to bring this post around to sad note -  but that's a hard thing to walk away from. We had great memories in that house for the short time that we lived there together.  But, I know that it's the best thing for me.  And I love my house and am looking forward to making lots of happy memories here too.  Big steps forward.

On another homeowner note... I had my first plumbing mishap this weekend.  Thank god for friends who know more about plumbing than I do.  After seeing both my dad and Will deal with a backed up garbage disposal - I thought that I could do it too.  Wrong.  Dead wrong.  I managed to remove the garbage disposal - resulting in water and sweet potato pieces shooting EVERYWHERE.  Then I couldn't get it back on.  And the 'what did I do?!' tears started.  I could not be more grateful that Tara was already on her way over for breakfast and a puppy play date.  She walked in and knew EXACTLY what to do.  We even fixed the clog.  AND... it wasn't even my fault.  The prior owner lodged a baby spoon in the pipes.  Awesome. And then we moved the treadmill out of my old house.  Note to self:  when you have a friend who can fix your plumbing AND doesn't look at you like you are nuts when you say 'we can just deadlift it into the truck'... they are totally keepers.

Other random tidbits from the weekend: 

  • Cyclocross is the most awesome hipster sport in the world.  Craft beer garden.  French press to-go cups.  Spectators in lots of flannel and hats with teeny tiny bills. 
  • Seattle does, in fact, have a velodrome. 
  • Let's add cycling on a velodrome to things that I never want to do.  Holy scary.  

On a completely different note... when did Carrie Underwood take over for Faith Hill as the theme song singer for Sunday Night Football?!?!  Hmmm...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A CrossFit Newbie's Guide to All Things CrossFit

Or... 'What I Wish People Would Have Told Me When I Started CrossFit'.

I have been doing CrossFit for 471 days (yes.  I know the EXACT date I did my first workout.).  During these 471 days, I have learned a ton about myself, about CrossFit, about people, about life in general.  Let me share some of the more poignant landmarks and things that I wish people would have told me to expect when I first started.  
  • Day -31.  A friend is going to tell you that you should do CrossFit.  You are going to laugh and say 'that stuff is nuts.'  But somehow, it sits in the back of your mind and after weeks of ruminating on it, you think, 'what the hell' and sign up for a free trial. 
  • Day 1.  You are hooked. It sucks, it hurt and when can you sign up for essentials? 
  • Day 2.  You reconsider when you are unable to get out of bed but you've already paid the essentials course fee.  Muscles hurt that you didn't realize you had.  Sitting down and standing up becomes a process. 
  • First real class post-essentials.  Terrified.  Absolutely terrified.  These people are strong.  These people are fast.  You go at the pace of snail holding 10 lbs but you do it.  Victory!
  • One month into classes.  Everything hurts all the time.  You try to learn everything and struggle at most things.  Why can't you see muscles yet? 
  • Three months into classes.  You've lost weight.  You can see muscles.  You give up happy hour, cocktails and cheese because why would you want to to cancel out all that work you just suffered through.  You buy new pants two sizes smaller.  It's glorious.
  • Immediately following the purchase of new pants?  First plateau - workout times are fast, like really, really fast.  Body is less sore.  Time to increase weights.  Jump on a higher box.  Attempt double unders.  Basically, time to step it up.  
  • First CrossFit Summer.  Friend asks you to go boating.  You have them pick you up at the dock so you can get your workout in first.  Everyone looks at you like you are crazy.  
  • Six months in.  Rx your first workout.  You are a rockstar.  You see the CrossFit Games in your future.  
  • Six months + one day.  Actually watch a CrossFit Games athlete do a workout.  Brutal realization that you are not as awesome as you think you are.  Also, does that person have a 12 pack???
  • Six months + two days.  Up your gym membership to unlimited classes.  12 classes per month is no longer cutting it.  You are determined to be excellent at CrossFit.  Expensive?  Yes.  Worth it?  Absolutely. 
  • Nine months.  Sign up for your first competition.  Get killed.  Another brutal realization it's time to step up. Get a gym best friend who pushes you every day. 
  • Ten months.  Time for your yearly physical.  Step on the scale and cry.  All the weight you've lost is back.  Wonder how that's possible.  Realize you've lost inches but gained muscle and a CrossFit booty.  Still, ego is bruised from the scale.  Make a promise to yourself to only use the scale when weighing luggage from here forward. The scale is officially the devil.  
  • Ten months +.  Realize that you really love this stuff.  Sign up for a Level 1 Certification course.  You are going to be a trainer and you are going to be awesome.  
  • First CrossFit Open.  Get schooled every Saturday for five weeks.  DQ on the last WOD because you can't pull your chest to the bar.  Die a little inside. Decide that you will do better next year. 
  • Happy One Year Anniversary CrossFit!!!  Take your certification course.  Again realize that you are not awesome and it seems everyone is better at everything than you.  Stand in the middle of the circle of humiliation while demonstrating how NOT to do medicine ball cleans.  Realize you have a million things to learn.  Regardless, pass certification test.  Congrats.  You are a CrossFit coach.  Now panic.
  • CrossFit Anniversary + 1 week.  Start CrossFit coaching internship. You may not know everything but you will be the most enthusiastic one there.  You are determined to learn and be awesome. 
  • After internship.  Teach your first solo class. Try to keep sounding confident even though you are freaking out.  Go home and cry because you think you'll never be good at this. 
  • Continue teaching.  Realize that you are getting better with every class you teach.  Ask questions.  Watch videos.  Learn as much as you can from the other coaches.  Take pieces of their coaching styles and incorporate it into your own.  Before you know it, coaching is coming naturally.  You are having fun and you love it. 
  • CrossFit Summer #2. Run a Tough Mudder with friends from the gym.  You won't regret it.  Your body will hurt.  You'll want to cry midway through - then you'll pass groups who started 90 minutes before you and you'll realize that you are doing way more awesome than you think. Three hours later, you'll finish it and have a memory that you'll never forget.  
  • 18 months into CrossFit.  You can finally Rx most workouts.  People ask you for help and you actually know how to help them.  You finally feel pretty confident with coaching even though you know there is still a lot to learn.  Expand your friend group at the gym.  Shazam every catchy song you hear and add it to the CrossFit playlist on Spotify. 
  • Day 471.  You'll still wake up sore every day.  You want to date someone who gets CrossFit so you don't have to explain to them what Fran is and why you want to do it.  You'll spend more money at Lululemon, Reebok and Rogue than you do at Nordstrom and Target combined.  You'll cry, sweat, and bleed at the gym and love every minute of it.  You will love coaching and seeing people hit their goals and set new PRs.  Set yourself new goals every month.  Set some 'you' time aside.  Find a workout partner who encourages you and will push you to the next level.  Keep working your ass off every day. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

You Know What Happens When You Brag?

You get smacked down with some wicked hand tears.  Yowza.  I make this whole post about 'look at me and my fancy hand care regiment' and then I go and do Fran and BUTCHER THE EVER-LOVING HELL out of my hands. I definitely cried (and swore) a little (okay... a lot) when I washed my hands.  Shit, shit, shit.  Hand tears blow.  I'm not sure what the difference was today... maybe my grip was slightly off, maybe its because I did the whole thing Rx (yup - you got that right - no assistance bands on the pullups.  I am a rockstar.).  Who knows.  Regardless.  Me+hand tears=grumpy pain face.  However, wine+trashy tv=slightly less grumpy (still pain) face.  

Anyways. I'll be totally honest.  My time wasn't fantastic.  9:16.  That's definitely not a stellar Fran time by any stretch (games athletes are sub 4 minutes) but it's the first time that I've done it with no assistance bands for the pull ups. By the way... for those of you who don't speak CrossFit... Fran is reps of 21-15-9 thrusters (65lbs) and pull ups.  And yes... during my set of 9 - I'm pretty much did the pull ups one at a time.  But I did them.  And I did them Rx.  And that for me is HUGE, considering that pull ups have been my major weakness since CrossFit Day 1. 


Sunday, September 1, 2013

15 Things I've Learned Recently

  1. The biggest perk of home ownership isn't really equity and owning something.  It's the fact that you never have to deep clean a rental ever again. 
  2. Lunges and thrusters will make a three-story townhouse seem like you are doing the Big Climb at the Columbia Tower (for those of you not from Seattle - that's 76 stories as fast as possible). 
  3. You know you should work on being more friendly when the neighbor you lived across the street from for almost two years welcomes you to the neighborhood.  Ummm... no, I'm moving out... not in.  
  4. I have WAY too many shoes.  I have held on to shoes because no matter how many squats I do - the shoes always fit.
  5. I have four pairs of the exact same shoes in different colors - taupe, magenta, black patent and silver sparkles.  Since I hardly ever wear heels, 4 1/2 inch sparkly or hot pink heels are practically out of the question. This may be a bit excessive.
    Not pictured?  Taupe.  Sad day for them.
  6. I may be a mini-hoarder.  I have SO MANY things.  This is probably only going to get worst now that I've moved into a 'permanent' home.  
  7. Hoarding actually runs in my family.  True story.  My dad and I witnessed it firsthand this summer (but that's a story for another day).  
  8. I slammed my dog's tail in my car door.  I am the worst pet mama ever.  
  9. When you slam your dog's tail in the car door - they get revenge by chewing the face off of one of their toys.  Stuffed animal fluff EVERYWHERE. 
  10. Newest obsession?  The Newsroom.  Thank you HBO.  
  11. Husky Football?  Awesome.  Went to the home opener last night and it was very cool.  
  12. Not so awesome?  Super drunken UW alumni.  At what age are you too old to tailgate all day and arrive at the game a shitfaced mess?  Because I'm not quite 30 and still feel like I'm too old for that nonsense.  
  13. Even more awesome than UW football?  EWU football!  Go EAGS!!  We beat Oregon State in our opening game this season... a Big Sky Conference school beating a ranked PAC12 school? We pretty much rock. 
    Hells yes.

  14.  What happens when everyone at your office is out of town except for you and your IT guy?  These kind of things:
    Oh my Godzilla. This is Paige.  She's been one of my best friends since college.  Notice her background involves high powered guns.  Mine involves a messy desk.  This is also our best Miley Cyrus imitation.  You should have seen the twerking video.  Just kidding.  I can't even shimmy. 
  15. Always say yes (not like that, you creeps).  I had a great blind date earlier this week.  I should have given a full recap - but let's just summarize it to say: it was fantastic, he seems great, and I'm excited about the idea of a second date.  And I don't want to ruin it by talking about it quite yet. :)