Monday Miles : April 15 – 21, 2019 (33 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, lifting, monday miles, pregnancy, training

I cannot help but start each week with a countdown as baby’s due date gets closer and closer. This week I wrote down in my planner “42 days//6 weeks.” There are days where it feels like each week moves quickly and others where it drags. I am beginning to not enjoy the limbo position I am in – I am ready for so many things to start – the baby, moving to Austin, teaching. At the same time, I am trying to be patient and not wish the time away. It is a hard balance to keep.

I thought this week of work out’s went excellent. I wish I were better at doing things on the weekend, but maybe those breaks are good for me. I actually took part in the WOD four times this week instead of my usual two. That said, watching the Boston Marathon results come in last week Monday, I still miss running with all my heart. Every day I miss running.

4 – 15 : CrossFit. Every 1:30 minutes for 12 minutes – 3 position power snatch – 35 lbs. Followed by power snatches and burpees – 15 power snatches, 15 burpees, 12 power snatches, 12 burpees, etc. Power snatches and burpees are probably about the most awkward movements for a pregnant lady. Add my shoddy aerobic system and I was wheezing and huffing and puffing. The weight was fine — 35 lbs. — but I just could not catch my breath. We had a twelve minute time cap and I made it to the second-to-last amount 6 power snatches, 6 burpees. I tried not to be frustrated with myself. I mean come on, I’m 33 weeks pregnant, right? But I was still frustrated.

4 – 16 : CrossFit. Back squats are still my favorite. Also — after huffing and puffing through yesterday’s work-out, I like strength days because it seems to be the only area that hasn’t been declining due to pregnancy. In fact — even though I have not lifted heavier than what I could prior to being pregnant — all my lifts feel easier. Today — with 3 minute rests after each set — 10 back squats at 95 lbs.; 8 back squats at 100 lbs.; 6 back squats at 105 lbs. 4 back squats at 115 lbs.; and 2 back squats at 135 lbs. I should throw out there that 135 lbs. is my one rep max PR. Two at 135 felt hard, but I did not feel like I was struggling or straining or had to do anything wonky to get the bar up.

4 – 17 : CrossFit. 3 Rounds for Time – 100m walk with 14 lbs. medicine ball (everyone else ran 200m, but this was my accommodation), 20 hang power-cleans at 35 lbs., 100m walk with 14 lbs. medicine ball, 20 front squats at 35 lbs., 100m walk…, 20 push-press at 35 lbs. 25 minutes 12 seconds. I liked this work-out and thought it was a lot of fun. I always feel like I can get in the zone in these longer work-outs. My power-clean form is wonky, trying to avoid the belly, but for the most part I thought I probably actually could have added more weight instead of just using the barbell.

4 – 18 : CrossFit. I still managed to spend some quality time on the rower this week. This time for 3 x 1000m rows. I was super happy with how this went mainly because I was able to get faster with each round: 4:33, 4:29, 4:28. And it hurt. I tried to stay at 2:10/500m pace for that last one, but I could not hold on because it was so painful. I have never been able to do under 2 minutes for 500m, but I’m wondering if this is what I can do with a baby pushing under my lungs and a shoddy aerobic system, if I might be able to finally get under two minutes post-baby.

4 – 19 : Rest.

4 – 20 : Rest.

4 – 21 : Rest (unless eating counts as a work-out).

Totals : 4 hours CrossFit.

Onward!

 

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Favorite Things : April 13 – 17, 2019

favorite things

This is short week for posts. As it is Holy Week, beginning tomorrow I want to keep my internet use to a minimum and take some time away from my computer. We have no plans for Easter this year, other than probably the never-ending process of getting the house move-ready and baby-ready at the same time — quite a feat, I tell you!

Here are this week’s favorite things:

How do you get your news? The quest for slower, better news.

From Carrots for Michaelmas, Goodnight, Notre Dame. Easter Morning is Still Coming.

Educating myself in preparation for the move: 17 Tex-Mex Dishes Every Self-Respecting Austinite Should Know.

Another great post from Sabrina Little — “Practicing Bravery in My Sneakers.”

That’s all for this week! Have a wonderful Easter weekend everyone!

 

Thoughts on the Burning of the Notre Dame

catholicism, daily life

Bruno and I spent five days in Paris during our honeymoon. Living that graduate student stipend life, we spent five nights in what was basically a tiny attic converted to an apartment four blocks away from the Notre Dame. We arrived in the evening and after dinner at a local cafe, we walked to the famed cathedral. It was our first and most frequented stop during the entire trip.

I knew I wanted to see it — I grew up watching the Hunchback of Notre Dame over and over (side note: how was this ever a children’s movie?). But I do not think I expected it to startle me in the way it did. I could not get over the church’s beauty and how overpowering the whole structure felt. I had goosebumps. I cried. It was like my eyes could not feast enough on the church. We walked around and I exclaimed over the flying buttresses and we sat at a cafe, close enough so I could keep looking, enjoying drinks before we walked back to our attic.

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Every day we stopped by the cathedral. On Sunday we went to mass and I was filled with wonder again. I could not — and still cannot — get over the fact that men, people living and breathing just like me, made this over two hundred years. It made me feel small, but also a part of something larger and greater. Here I am, a mere student, but also a Catholic, a true lover of Western Civilization and everything it stands for, appreciating one of its greatest accomplishments. I prayed to God and took holy communion in the same church many have done before me since the 13th century.

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I was checking the Boston Marathon results after CrossFit when I saw the Notre Dame was on fire. Marathon forgotten I checked to see if it were true. I cannot blame pregnancy hormones for how much I cried over that church yesterday. I love the Notre Dame and I love what it stands for. I hate throwing around words like “awe” and “sublime,” but there I felt those things. There I physically felt the sense of something greater. It devastated me to know that it will never be the same.

I’ll admit now I feel angry. As everyone mourns (and Macron claims it will be rebuilt), I want to point out this cathedral has been neglected for years. After visiting Paris and the experience I had at the Notre Dame, I learned how little money the church had to keep up with repairs. I learned that the Friends of Notre Dame frequently went to Americans for help with upkeep.

I can only suspect this comes from taking the cathedral for granted the way western civilization as a whole is taken for granted. I cannot help but feel frustrated with those who see the damage done to the Notre Dame as a great loss, but do not connect that to the loss and negligence of the culture that helped to create such a structure.

Monday Miles : April 8 – 14, 2019 (32 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, health, monday miles, pregnancy

Last week was kind of a wash. I did have one very good and very hard work-out (involving thrusters!), but for the most part being sick prevented me from doing much of anything. Every day I would put “Crossfit” or “Work-out” on my to-do list and each day it just did not happen. Thursday and Friday I hardly left the couch, watching more Netflix than I have seen in probably the last couple of months.

Thankfully, after some benadryl-induced sleep I am feeling much better although a cough and a stuffed nose still remain. This week should be better, but I still want to take it easy so that I don’t become miserably sick again.

4 – 8 : I was not feeling very well. Rest.

4 – 9 : Still not feeling well, but went to CrossFit to do the wod anyway (type A coming through). 80 calorie row, followed by 100 thrusters at 35 lbs. We had a fifteen minute time cap, but I asked if I could go over when fifteen minutes was up and I still had thirty thrusters to go. I wanted to finish so badly, so I did sets of ten, put the bar-bell down, persuaded myself to pick it back up and do another ten until the end. I’m sure I finished somewhere around 18 minutes (I’m slow and pregnant). It was one of those “I feel so strong” pregnancy moments.

4 – 10 : All movement feels awkward to me at the moment, so even the “easiest” yoga videos have been difficult for me. I really liked this Yoga with Adriene – Yoga for Beginners The Basics forty minute video.

4 – 11 : One of my favorite Yoga with Adriene videos — Yoga for Hamstrings.

4 – 12 : At this point, I was in a state of sheer misery. I’m proud of myself for even trying to move on this day. I did another Yoga with Adriene video – Yoga for when You Are Sick.

4 – 13 : Felt significantly better, but went down to Ohio to see family and for my baby shower on Sunday.

4 – 14 : Baby shower! And ate too much delicious cupcakes.

Onward!

Favorite Things : April 6 – 12, 2019

favorite things, pregnancy

I am a complete mucous mess this week. I had been coughing all last weekend, but nothing more. Then came the deluge. Usually colds take me out for a day. I get a good night’s sleep and wake up the next day not 100%, but significantly better. I had no idea what fresh hell a cold while pregnant could be. I am barely sleeping and barely functional. I called the ob-gyn’s office this morning asking, “Please, please is there anything I can take to sleep?” The woman on the phone was so kind. I included her in my thankful list today when she said the magic word I had been longing to hear: “Benadryl.”

So this week is pretty low on the favorite things. Being sick, most of my favorite things have involved me curling up on the couch watching Netflix. We watched Solo (which I liked a lot more than expected). Afterwards, we finally got our Prime to work to watch the first episode of Catastrophe. It was a lazy day of epic proportions, which will probably be repeated again.

A week late, but a good compilation of what to read and watch commemorating Kurt Cobain’s death.

Stephanie Case on being a “loser, failure, and quitter” in the Barkley Marathons.

Sarah Sellers, who was second last year at the Boston Marathon, on combining a full-time job with elite training.

My post-dissertation life : busy doing nothing (actually this book sounds really interesting).

Have a great weekend!

A Review of The Art of Frugal Hedonism

books, reading

Contains Amazon affiliate links. 

Annie Raser-Rowland and Adam Grubb’s book The Art of Frugal Hedonism: A Guide to Spending Less While Enjoying Everything More is not so much a book of “why” frugal hedonism is best, but one that describes “how” to go about it. It is a quick-read with fifty-one short chapters providing tips for how to incorporate frugal hedonism in your own life. Some chapters are only about a page long. The book is meant to “be [a] primer for a life less dependent on the comforts of consumption, and more focused on extracting maximum pleasure from the most essential parts of being human.”

The Australian writers describe an early taste of simple things that prevented them from ever being too consumption-focused. Both describe early childhoods of that feature parents moving up in lives and how much they missed the original simplicity they were born into. I get it – this is all fine. But I think sometimes Raser-Rowland and Grubb miss the mark as to why someone may “want to move up” in the first place: i.e. security (at times they seem to take for granted that it is only a keeping of the Jones’ mentality – more, more, more). Granted, that is not the main point of their book, but there is a big difference in living the “simple life” because you have to (and what that might even look like) versus because you want to.

Most of their advice is fine but repetitive. They themselves even acknowledge that they tend to repeat the idea of eating a packed lunch instead of ordering take-out. Most of their suggestions are fairly common. For example – they recommend not buying drinks out at restaurants, take care of the things you already own, have an open relationship with recipes, and figure out what you really enjoy spending money on. Other habits such as “relish” were a little too twee for me. It kind of feels like it has been done before, though not with Raser-Rowland and Grubb’s hipster whimsy. Most of the chapters could have used more description, instead of just a quickly expressed idea.

That said, there were a few interesting ideas in the book. For example, suggestion no. 11 “beware fake frugal” is one to keep in mind. They describe fake frugal as “cheap to buy, but at the expense of someone or something else.” Examples they provide are kitchen products you constantly replace (like can openers) or buying white bread instead of the better, healthier wheat bread just because it is cheaper. This is something I always have to remind myself – one-time last year, Bruno and I decided we were spending too much money on groceries, so decided to change out some of our lunches for ramen. I still think ramen is delicious, but it really is not an actual lunch. Lesson learned.

One thing I did appreciate about the book is that Raser-Rowland and Grubb provide plenty of charts and numbers. I never thought I would be the type to appreciate charts and numbers, but it is interesting to see how consumptive habits have changed over the years. In the 1950s 75% of food was made in-home, now it is something like 50% (I was actually surprised that it was still half – I expected it to be lower). Their numbers relate specifically to Australia, but I can’t imagine that it is much different here in the states. When it comes to the history and data around buying habits and happiness, these two know their stuff.

I did really struggle with the style of writing. I suspect this has less to do with the book itself then who I think it might be written for. I made a comment that this is a book with all your usual tips, but with hipster whimsy and that just is not appealing to me. It is a personal preference, but I am not sure that advising me to “relish” or “not be a snooty bum-bum” are things that I find particularly helpful, or cute. I suspect it is a taste thing, but it is not helped by the fact that for the most part there is not much substance there.

I think this book is fine for neophytes on living frugally (that is this concept is completely new to them — although, I’m not sure how many people that would actually be), but for everyone else looking to enjoy life while save some money it will be nothing they’ve never read or heard before. And if you are really frugally-minded, there is nothing in here that you would not be able to find for free on the internet.

 

Taking it Easy During Pregnancy Work-Outs

crossfit, lifting, pregnancy, running

Full disclosure: I am insanely jealous of pregnant women who can work-out throughout their pregnancies. I continue to see women on my instagram log double-digit mile runs close to their due dates. That said, I am lucky to be able to do what I can — which is still a lot compared to most people. For the most part, I was able to run most of my second trimester and CrossFit 2-4x a week throughout the entirety of my pregnancy (including the horrible first trimester). Though I can tell I’ve lost a lot of aerobic fitness, I can also tell I am getting stronger even if I have not pushed myself to the max. The human body is a crazy, amazing, and beautiful thing. If you want to see my work-outs click here.

That said, as I mentioned the other week, I decided to take it back just a bit for the rest of the third trimester. I had been fairly consistent on going to CrossFit 3-4x a week and even took part in my first open. I was feeling great until I didn’t, so the new plan is to wod only twice a week and try to add a day of rowing. Yes, that means less work-out time, but I do think the best thing I can do for myself is relax a little bit more.

How did I come to that decision? Well — nothing dramatic happened thankfully. I think it was mainly based on how tired I would be after the wod (work-out of the day). I would feel absolutely fine in the during — well, as fine as you can possibly feel while working-out. Then, I would go home and be utterly shot for the rest of the day. I’m a nooner, so this means after one I was completely useless. Even with a nap, it was hard to recover the energy spent.

I think this problem was further exacerbated by how much my sleep quality has declined (I know, I know. Every time I mention this, someone has to say, “Just wait until the baby is here!”). Energy-wise I think I was running on empty. I would go into work-out already exhausted and then would completely deplete myself again. Not to mention, I’m also expending a lot of energy growing a human. I think it proved to be too much.

The other reason is that it was taking me so long to recover, like first starting CrossFit recovery time. I tried to make sure I was doing all the right things, eat right after the work-out, stretch, nap. But I would be sore for days after a single work-out that before I would be a little sore but fine. I would put my level of soreness combined with the lack of energy at comatose, quality time with the couch levels. Sometimes, I just could not move.

I can say with two times a week and a day of rowing things have been going well. I cherry-pick, which is not something I would do normally (for example I skipped a work-out that was basically all burpees and jump-rope last week). My energy levels are better and I feel like I can put more into the work-outs I actually do. I make sure to go to all the strength days, because I feel like I have more control over how difficult it will be. I had a great front squat work-out last week that I’m not sure I would have been able to do if I had did the crazy difficult wod the day before (as much as I really wanted to).

One unexpected benefit I’ve noticed about the new routine is less Braxton-Hicks contractions. This is not a small thing, because they would be extremely painful. After showering I would have to lay down for a bit to wait for them to pass. I tried to drink more water, change positions, walk around — whatever, but nothing seemed to make them any better. I just figured I would be stuck with them until the end. They are still around, but less severe. I do not think it is much of a coincidence.

I’m hoping that I can keep this up until the end. As I said above, it is hard not to feel jealous of other pregnant women who are able to do so much more. Part of me wonders am I just being lazy? I like being the type-A goal-oriented person and this step back is against my nature. At the same time, I am grateful to have energy and not have my breath taken away by Braxton-Hicks. Taking a step back can be the best of both worlds — allowing myself to move, but also allowing myself to recover so I have the energy to prepare for other things, like, you know, having a baby.

Were you able to work-out throughout your pregnancy? Did you have to take a step-back? How did you feel?

 

 

Monday Miles : April 1 – 7, 2019 (31 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, lifting, monday miles, pregnancy, training

Monday started the worst way possible: sans-coffee. We forgot to buy coffee at the grocery and ran out. Horror of horrors, it is near 9am and my two-cup-a-day fix has not yet been satiated. Sometimes I try to persuade myself I am not addicted. Other times — like today — I know that a coffee-less life is not my best life, nor my best self.

I mentioned in my April goals my plan was to start taking it easy in CrossFit, row when I need to and try to wod at least two times a week. I’ll admit I was hoping that I was over-exaggerating my fatigue, but last week I only felt good enough to wod twice and even my rowing was a little shifty. But I never felt wiped out after the work-out. I did not feel like all the energy was being suck from me, so that is good. I’ll call this week a success. Plus, I even hit a new PR in my front squat!

4 – 1 : Rest.

4 – 2 : CrossFit. Front squats. In whatever form, squatting is my favorite. 2 – 100 lbs.; 4 – 100 lbs., 6 – 95 lbs., 8 – 90 lbs., 10 – 85 lbs. — with four minutes between each round. Fun fact: the highest I have ever front squat before this work-out was 73 lbs. I don’t think in my almost year of CrossFit that I’ve ever done a front squat alone strength work-out. It has always been part of a back squat work-out or a faster wod where I would use a much lower weight. I felt so good, I probably could have gone higher for those first two, but it was more of a question of should.

4 – 3 : I think I had something going on this day, but I can’t remember what. Rest.

4 – 4 : Row – 30 minutes. 5546 meters. I just was not into it this day. I don’t get bored quickly on the rower (the bike trainer is a whole other story), but within five minutes I wanted off. I felt out of breath even though I was going slowly. I think it took me about twenty minutes to warm-up and the last minutes I could plug along, but man was I happy to get off that rower.

4 – 5 : CrossFit. Back on the rower today, but only because I cannot run (three more months…maybe?). For time – Row 400m, 21 dead-lifts; row 400m, 18 dead-lifts; row 400m, 15 dead-lifts; row 400m, 12 dead-lifts; row 400m. I don’t know my exact time, but I finished just under twenty minutes. As much as I love squats, I do not love dead-lifts. No matter what, no matter what, they hurt my lower back. This is only exacerbated by baby. I have improved in weight in almost all my movements, except for this one. 75 lbs.

4 – 6 : I said I wanted to walk outside this past weekend. It didn’t happen. We took a day date to Jackson and ate at the brewery and then got some ice cream at the Parlour. All delicious.

4 – 7 : Still no walking, but I did spend some time reading about Teddy Roosevelt on the Amazon from the comfort of my front porch, enjoying the warm weather.*

It looks like some fun wods are scheduled for this week. Eight weeks to go until baby is due, so I’m hoping that I can continue to be consistent. I need to watch my sugar, because it is starting to make me feel sick, but other than that I feel great — aside from the usual stuff, of course.

Onward!

*Post contains Amazon affiliate links. 

Favorite Things : March 30 – April 5, 2019

favorite things

Happy Friday! I slept in today — around 7 am. Plans for the day include CrossFit at noon (lots of dead-lifts in the wod today!) and writing a book review. The house is a mild chaos at the moment, so I’m hoping to get some pre-weekend cleaning and laundry in. Then this afternoon, I have a date with the scanner as I continue to scan and recycle all my class notes to downsize before the move. The boxes of notes just continue to stare at me. So much paper!

I don’t have much planned for the weekend (what else is new?), but I would really like to enjoy the weather and go out for a walk, even if for only a few minutes. It is strange that I can have no problem doing a dead-lift, front squat, or thruster, but walking is uncomfortable and painful. I miss being outside though. I miss listening to podcasts or music while moving. I love CrossFit, but I miss that alone time that I have with running. I’m going to go for twenty minutes, so fingers crossed.

Here are this week’s favorite things:

I’ve never heard of Sara Vaughn before. I loved this article on running, pregnancy, and post-natal comebacks. Now to go scroll through her instagram!

I found this pretty apt while we are currently on our own apartment hunt, although no apartments we’ve considered offer dogs you can rent yet.

Yes! Much agreed. #teamarugula all the way. Also — the author does not mention that it actually lasts all week in the fridge instead of becoming disgusting, soggy, and brown like spinach. I eat an arugla salad almost every single day.

I keep seeing it shared, but if you missed it, you should read this NYT article on why we procrastinate and then read Sarah Lavender Smith’s blog post on How to Get Started.

Number five can be the hardest one for me: ways to be a better listener.

The wonderful Caitlin Flanagan on the college admissions scandal — They Had it Coming.

What are your plans for this weekend?

 

April 2019 Goals : The Year of 1% Better

crossfit, goals, year of 1% better

Contains Amazon affiliate links. 

Coming up with 1% goals was hard this month (you can see my 2019 goals here). I think it is because I feel like I am in some sort of life limbo. I just ended a huge several year chapter. I finished my dissertation and after graduation will officially have my Ph.D. diploma in hand. But the next thing has yet to start. In June comes baby and in August comes the new job. The normal goals I would have – running, racing, improving CrossFit things (like double-unders!) have proven exceedingly difficult for me to do. So, I have that feeling of “now what?”

At the same time, I don’t want to just wait my life away. These next two months are real life, even if things (and myself!) have slowed down. I don’t have to wait until post-baby or post-move or post-starting the new job to figure out goals and plans for the future. But I think this is easier said than done. I keep counting down the days until the due date which means the countdown to the move can begin.

Write ten minutes a day. I recently finished reading Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. She recommends just setting a timer and writing for ten minutes, trying to fill a notebook a month. I have a seventy-sheet Mead notebook and the plan is to make Goldberg’s suggestions part of my morning routine. I used to love to write, but I think sometimes academic writing can be kind of a drag. I want to do something else, just for myself, just for fun. I’m four days into the month and have been so far four days consistent.

Downsize kitchen. I mentioned last month that because we were moving, I needed to start downsizing — especially before the baby arrived. Last month, I focused on my clothes. This month I will be spending some time in the kitchen. I have a few appliances I thought would be great ideas when I registered for them for our wedding almost two years ago, but have never been used. We have an excessive amount of coffee mugs and have more wine glasses that two people who don’t even really like wine need. We barely have enough room for all our stuff now and we live in a house, so I suspect that it would be all over the place if we had an apartment. Bye, bye clutter.

CrossFit WOD 2x week. I have been feeling wiped out. For most of 2019, I have been able to WOD 3-4 times a week, but I think that is starting to be too much for me. I know the difference between being tired and feeling like I just got done running a marathon and need several days to recover. I am feeling more of the latter lately post-workout. This may not be a go-getter improvement, but it is an improvement on listening to myself and what I need for now. I’d like to be able to keep 2x a week until the very end, but right now the best I can do is listen to my body. I plan on replacing at least one of the WODs with some quality time on the rower, which is less boring than a bike trainer. When will I be able to run again?

Things to work on from previous months: I checked instagram and facebook several times while writing this post. My January goal of keeping social media to Saturdays has completely collapsed this month. I did ok in February, then it got a little worse in March, and then at some point this morning I realized I lost an hour and a half to scrolling. I am renewing the focus on my January goal and will hopefully do much better this month.

What are your goals for this month?