more stats

Garage temp: 42 degrees. BP: 6am – 157/81. 8:30pm – 148/79.

5×5 Strict Press @ 45lbs. Single arm dumbbell row @ 15lbs.

Cleaning out the kitchen… processed foods and grains, pasta, pancake batter, rice, mostly gone. I’ve done W30 a few times and appreciate all that it taught me about food, namely that there is sugar in everything. W30 also taught me how to think of food differently, and how to creatively cook from scratch using ingredients I couldn’t even identify, like ginger, coconut aminos, and ghee. But I’m a little bit bored with W30, and I ate way too many nuts. I’m not a math person, but I love collecting data, total pounds lifted, reps completed, calories burned, fat vs. carbs vs. protein grams. I like to collect it and I like to log it. I like to write shit down. Counting macros—specifically, achieving ketosis by targeting measured daily intake %’s of fat, carbs, and protein— is my next curiosity.

I tried the Bone Broth fast for five days. One big take away from that endeavor was all the free time! During all those hours before, after, even during work, when I would normally think about my next meal, I would have to remind myself to find something else to do. It’s really quite something to think about how much time we spend preparing and eating food. I guess it beats some alternatives.

The Bone Broth went well, but I want to learn more. I want to experiment more, cooking bright, beautiful, unfamiliar foods—researching recipes and new ingredients—is where the adventure lives for now.

Tonight I made my first-ever batch of keto/paleo mayo. If you have an immersion blender, it’s ridiculously simple to do.

the rub

So, at long last, I’m returning to CrossFit. Well, modified CF. The nearest box is an hour away. In the last year and a half since moving I don’t miss much, I love this new place, but I can say with sincerity that I do miss CF. Whatever it was in my life, some unnameable force that kept me healthy and engaged and connected and taught me to finish what I start: I miss it. In an effort to get some piece of that unnameable whatever back into my life, I reached out to the first CF coach that I ever met who got me started in the sport in 2012, Caleb.

Caleb and I met 10 days ago and put together a 30 day plan, a holistic mind/body program that I could follow on my own. More about that here. Anyway, lift off has been slow … but steady … and I’m determined. My progress is best described in a note sent to him today. See below. It’s a longer read, but my health is not what it was five years ago and I need to make some changes.

Hi Caleb,

Great to hear from you.

In truth, this endeavor has gotten off to a slow start. There are good things, and medium things, to report. I think the best way to give an accurate roundup of the last ten days is by line-item from the overall plan. Bear with me on this as I’m excited about all of it, even if it’s not unfolding in the structured manner originally hoped for. But here goes:

Outside the Gym:

Daily Habit –

  1. Love Your Outfit – I started ditching the flannel shirts and brought out some forgotten favorites, blazers, tops, and scarves. On the first day of this new endeavor, I received a compliment from a coworker saying how nice I looked having left the bulky go-to fleece at home.
  2. Connect – I’ve made an extra effort at work to stop and talk with people, look them in the eye, ask questions about their lives, their families, a new home, their dog. It’s working! Even though the job is still fairly new, people are not only saying hello in the hallway and at the coffee machine, but they are offering the same kindness, of engaging and listening, in return.
  3. Breathing and Stress Relief – In lieu of the crocodile breathing practice, I’ve incorporated an alternate meditation which I’ve been meaning to try for a while: lie down and place your hands over your heart, take the time to feel your heart beating and your blood pumping, breathe, and think of three things (small or large/esp. small) that you are grateful for. This seems to have a calming effect and moves me out of my mind and into my body and away from worry.

Weekly Practice – Healthy Partnership & Healthy Weekly Activity – Partner is traveling. On hold for now.

Nutrition – I dialed this in immediately after we met. I cut out wine during the week and have been prepping all food at home with veggies as my primary ingredient. No eating out. It’s been fun discovering new recipes with seasonal root vegetables like turnips (taste like carrots) and kohlrabi (totally yum). At some point, I’d like to go vegetarian for a month or so, but that’s another topic.

Gym-ish Stuff –

  1. Barbell Club – I will be there!
  2. Monthly Check-In – See you soon!
  3. At Home Practice – During the last week while getting food prep organized, I read through the new programming multiple times, watched the videos, and surveyed the gym space at work. I plotted, I planned, I packed gym clothes for work… and I planned some more.

Turns out the gym at work is not equipped for back squats, overhead, dead lifts, or any real free-weight lifting. In the garage at home, I now have free weights along with a squat rack, a Concept 2, pull-up bar, and med ball. The temperature in the garage is currently averaging between 28 and 31 degrees.

Why is the hardest part of getting started taking the first step? Clearly, this is a matter of re-engineering old habits.

On Sunday (1/14), layered up in fleece and a ski hat and gloves, I rowed for 10 minutes in the garage while focusing on breathing thru the nose. I could see my exhaled breaths floating in the air. It felt amazing. It forced me to slow down, to focus on a pattern of rhythmic breathing and not the meters clicking by on the screen. I finished out at 1,596 meters total. Then I did my first set of 5×5 SDHPs @ 55lbs. focused on form. I have not squatted in a long time and my chest dropped and I could not for the life of me get my butt down. Think, stripper pull. By round three of the SDHP, I was ready to quit. But I finished.

On Monday (1/15) I rowed again, this time I got up the nerve to do it in the gym at work. I don’t know what it is, but the office gym is not that big and the space can get crowded and these are people that I see in meetings. People that I want to get along with. People that I want to like me. Sometimes shyness can overtake a person. I don’t want to sweat in front of these people, or grunt, or look disheveled or worse, have bad form. It just takes me time to warm up to certain things. I can circle a drain for days, weeks, years. Sometimes I never get up the gumption to go in, and then I give up and go home. But not on Monday. I picked up my gym bag and walked towards the gym, twice. The first time I lingered outside the door. I could hear someone on the treadmill and so I decided it would be better if I came back another time. The second time I changed in the bathroom before approaching the door to the gym. I thumbed the phone for my favorite Pandora station, took a deep breath and went in. There were a couple of people that I did not recognize on the treadmills but there was no going back. I put up 1,800 meters in 10 minutes of breathing thru the nose.

At home, after some of your programmed mobility, I back squat, 5×5 @ 55lbs. Again, the legs were weak and the butt did not want to take me below parallel. I lined up the med ball as a target, but no good. The hips and legs and core are out of practice.

Tuesday (1/16) in the garage and dressed in full flannel and fleece, I completed my first round of Daily Movements as you prescribed. I wrote it down and will use it as a benchmark for the days ahead. For the 5×5 strict press, I started out at 55lbs. but then went down to 45lbs. and finished out there.

These are not epic numbers. But it’s a start. It’s something. I’m doing it.

Now for the unexpected in all of this: recently I purchased a blood pressure machine for kicks. Seriously, my blood pressure has always, always been healthy but I thought the machine would be cool to have so I could check my pulse. Last night I took my first measurements and then again this morning, and here are the numbers:

1/16 at 8:46 pm – 141/84

1/17 at 6:18 am – 166/87

Turns out, I’m bordering on hypertension.

. . .  :  / . . . .  : /  . . . .

I’m not sure what to do with that. Other than face it. I’m still processing. I guess it’s more fuel for the fire to get back to healthy. That’s about it for now.

My best to you. See you next week.



direction. set one. errr… or two.

Probably posted this one before, but it’s worth repeating:

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ― E.E. Cummings

This was an unusual day as I was able to spend a total of approx. 3 hours at CF. Casually snuck out of work at lunch for the nooner. Then back again for Strongman at 7pm. Followed by some additional training with peeps. There’s so many challenges going around the box you just have to reach up and lasso the moon, George Bailey. Do it. It’s an endless stream of things to goal and do and work towards. CF’ers love to work. As do I. Give me a goal, point me in a direction, wind me up, and let me go.

Direction. Set one. Errrr… or two.

For not only have I signed up for the 90 Day Challenge which starts Jan. 1, I also threw my resilience in the ring for the Back Squat Challenge which began on Monday, Dec. 17. Here’s how it works…

Back Squat Challenge: You work every other weekday – Mon., Wed., and Fri., for two months. On Day 1, Monday, start at 50% of your 1RM back squat weight. Do 20 reps at the 50%. Then every other weekday after (W, F…. M, W, F…etc.) increase the weight in 5lbs. increments. I started really, really light, as I don’t want to burn out too quickly. So, even though my Back Squat 1RM is 155lbs. and I should be starting around 75lbs., I elected to start at 55lbs. So, Monday, Dec. 17, 20 reps completed at 55lbs. Wednesday, Dec. 19, 20 reps completed at 60lbs. Friday we’ll be up to 65lbs. And so on…

You cannot put the barbell down at any point during the round.

On the day you cannot complete a set of 20 reps you work at that weight for however many days it takes until you can complete the full 20. Suppose you only get 18 reps at 145lbs. on Wednesday before you drop the bar? You try for 20 at 145lbs. again on Friday.

Even at the lighter weight this is a surprisingly taxing goal. It is supposed to make your ‘posterior chain’ (CF’ers love this word) über strong. I’m down with über strong. Let’s see how long I can last.



Press – 3 x 5

Completed: up to 5 reps at 70lbs. I know. I know. My overhead is cray-cray weak. Still. Alas.

II. Conditioning:

8 Rounds

Tabata Hang Power Cleans (95/65)


8 Rounds

Tabata Front Squats (95/65)


8 Rounds:

Tabata Push Presses

Completed: at 60lbs. Not bad. This was a really fun barbel complex. Love the Tabata. Takes you to a different place when strategizing. You gotta find a number of reps and stick to it.

End of Summer Throwdown ~ Day 3 of 4


I. End of Summer Throwdown WOD 3

15 Minutes to Estabish a Max Combined Weight for CrossFit Total

-1RM Back Squat

-1RM Press

-1RM Deadlift

*Cannot move on to next movement until both athletes have completed the same movement

*No limits on number of attempts, but must be completed within 15 minute cap.

Completed: With three awesome partners, Rich and Keith. And three PR’s! Back Squat @ 145lbs. Press @ 80lbs. Deadlift @ 245lbs. Our math, ie. our final totals, went by way of our enthusiasm, through the roof, but that’s okay. High fives all around.

II. AMRAP in 5 minutes:

Wallballs (20/14)

Completed: 74 total Wallballs. We ran out of 14lbs. Used the 10lbs. Which was fine. If you think about it, we ran out of 14lbs. because there were so many people in class. People showing up to be healthy!



I. Press

5 sets, 5 reps


II. “Karen”

For Time

150 Wallballs (20/14)

Completed: at 14lbs. in 9:13.

a hand up

Hit an earlier WOD today, which I like to do when possible. If I had my druthers I would hit all my WOD’s right around 3pm. That’s my sleepiest part of the day, where I get distracted, bogged down by details and just wanting to take a nap. The Mojo meter is at its all time lowest. This is one of the reasons why I generally do not eat lunch, or take an official standard ‘hour lunch’ because the routine of it and the idea of sitting down to eat a full lunch only makes me more tired. Too cliche. I’d much rather power through the job at hand and then take that lunch hour at the end of my day, so I can move on and focus on something else. Like CF for instance.

Either way, today was fortunate in being able to cut out early and hit the 3pm WOD. Dean was coaching.


Junkyard Dog Warm-Up and Shoulder Mobility


I. Press

5 – 5 – 5


The WOD started out basic enough, like any other WOD. Warm up, some strength building around the Press. No PR this time. Struggled just to keep it at 70lbs. With a strict Press @ 70lbs. seeming to be a sticking point. But, then again I once thought 55lbs. was my sticking point. There is hope after all.

And then we hit Jeremy.

II. “Jeremy”

For Time:

21 – 15 – 9

Overhead Squats (95/65)


If someone came up to me and asked, ‘Mary, if you could put together a WOD of your absolute sucks, what would it be?’ I would say, ‘Well, I don’t have to put a WOD of Sucks together, because it already exists and it’s name is, Jeremy.’

Oh My Good Golly. For the first time in a very long time I had to put away the blue bar, and pull out a green. Green bars are the lightest bars. Some of them are even a little bit shorter, so when you’re squatting your reach is not as extended. This is a problem for someone so tall as me. Either way, having been RX on reps for some time now, I confidentially loaded my bar with what I was certain was a weight with which I could compete: 45lbs. total. Yeah, not so much.

When everyone was finishing their last round of 9 reps, I was still stuck somewhere in round one of 21’s. Barely able to pull out two squats in a row. Total fail. It was simply too heavy. And I thought, am I really not going to finish a WOD? Like, really not finish, not even close? How can this be? But I’ve worked so hard! I’ve put so much into this! I can’t fail now.

Eventually I resigned to the idea that I would not finish, somewhere around the 18th burpee still in the first round of 21’s with 3 minutes left on the clock.

Then Dean stopped by to check in, ‘Mary, which round are you in?’ I just shook my head ‘No.’ ‘How many more do you have to go?’ he asked. I said, ‘Too many to count.’ I gave him the look, Go on without me, save yourself. And dropped the bar to the ground.

My defeat was imminent.

He rolled my overloaded bar away from me and presented the orange bar, no bumpers. 25lbs. total. ‘Finish it,’ he said, ‘Girl I know you can do it.’ I looked at him like, really, what’s the point? But when a CF coach is staring at you and telling you to go, you go. I picked up the orange bar and finished my second round of squats. And then hit some burpees in the safety of a clock that was about to run out.

The buzzer rang. The WOD was through. I had made it through round one of 21’s barely at 45lbs., and then round two of 15’s at 25lbs. plus 7 burpees.

The girl behind me who had finished several minutes before said, ‘how many more burpees do you have to go?’ ‘Eight,’ I said, shoulders drooping in defeat. ‘Finish it!’ she said, ‘You have to.’ And then she started clapping. And down I went, 8… 9… 10…. I’ll just get to 15 and then I’ll go home. At least get that far. And I did… 15. Round two completed.

I started to put away my 45lbs. disaster when Dean rolled the orange bar back over to me. ‘Just do it, Mary, come on, finish it.’ I looked around the triple-wide, the 3pm class was done, the 4pm class was filing in. My time was up, the WOD was over, it was time to pack it in.

‘Seriously?’ I asked. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘And I’m going to stay here with you until you do. It won’t take that long. I believe in you.’

And there it is. Those words, strung together like a lovely song of hope and courage and strength and everything you ever need to hear to just take another of those impossible steps. Where ever you are, what ever you might be doing that seems so hard and daunting and absolutely impossible. ‘I believe in you.‘ And suddenly you can. You believe in yourself too.

I took the bar, and completed 9 overhead squats unbroken. ‘Now get your burpees, and don’t stop till you’re through!’ Dean said.

And I did, right down to the last, 3, 2, 1.

Dean looked at the clock, ’11:52′, he said. ‘Not bad, not bad at all. I knew you could do it.’

Thanks, Dean. Thanks for the much needed hand up.

The Now

“True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice.” ― St. Francis of Assisi

It’s been two days since hitting a WOD. Can you tell me why then it seems like so much longer?

There are so many benefits to CF for me, the least of which incredibly is the physical. These WOD’s are an opportunity to literally stop my brain’s non-stop train of thoughts and incessant processing. The WOD’s force me to focus on the absolute here and now. Instead of trying to plan and calculate every piece of my future, my job, my home, my finances, my family, everything… Ugh, exhausting.

When it’s 3,2,1, Go… the thought parade is brought to a halt and leveled back to zero and all I can see in front of me is the next move. That’s it. Oh the pure joy of the Now. What a blessing.

There are added benefits of course, primarily in the form of some new PR, some personal milestone reached not necessarily planned for except by the very act of simply showing up.


I.  In 12 Minutes:

Establish a 1 Rep Max Press

Completed: 1RM of 75lbs. PR! At first I tried to add too much weight too fast, and failed. In slowing down and building in smaller increments I was able to build capacity and reach the PR.

II. “Angie”

For Time:

100 Pullups

100 Pushups

100 AbMat Situps

100 Air Squats

*25 Minute Time Limit

Completed: In 21:58.