Saturday, October 15, 2011

Copperhead Invitational

Last Saturday was the Copperhead Invitational Lifting Meet in Van Alstyne (same place as the May meet), and I suppose I should be happy with my gains. I started training at Spoon in early July. Comparing the meet in May total to the one last weekend, I've gained 10kg in my meet snatch and 6kg in my meet C&J. Not entirely satisfied with those numbers by themselves because I know I can snatch 52-55 and C&J 68-70 easily enough. I know my mental game was off for the meet, plus Richard was out of town and not there coaching us. In order to qualify for the American Open, I need to snatch 57-60kg and C&J 80-83kg by early December. Realistically, that's not enough time for me mentally. My fellow lifters tell me I'm plenty strong enough to do those weights, but it's my mind and attitude that keep holding me back. Am I bummed about that? No, because I haven't really left the beginner lifter phase yet with only three months' training under my belt. I believe my goals should be to keep improving and competing in local meets as often as I can so that when I compete in the Copperhead next October, I'll make the Open and Nationals easily. My job right now has been eating away at my focus and mental acuity. I am definitely working on fixing that.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Testing Day

Last Saturday was testing day for Mel and me. I didn't feel as loose and flexible as I usually do, so I went into my snatch test somewhat doubting my abilities. I power snatched 50 (ugh!) and missed my first attempt at 51. After a few moments of mental focus, I made 51, albeit unprettily. Mel put on 1 more kg for me to attempt 52, but try as I might, I just ralphed it twice. I was so mad! It didn't feel heavy at all, but I couldn't figure out what was stopping me from pulling myself under the bar. Mel got 62, a 2kg PR, and I know she had more in the tank, but that was her 12th rep, so it was time to stop there. We rested for 15 minutes before moving on to clean and jerks. My first triples at 45 were pretty ugly--again, I felt too tight and limited somewhere but couldn't pinpoint where. But once I was up to 55, I felt more warmed up. 60 felt easy, as did 65 (new PR). I successfully cleaned 68 but chickened out on the jerk!!! My right arm was already locked out, but my left one wouldn't do what it knows to do. Then I made two more attempts but couldn't clean it again, so Richard had me stop. Mel cleaned 75 (PR) three times but couldn't lock out the jerk. She's gotten so strong getting out of the bottom now! She'll be hitting 80+ soon. It was really awesome working with her and witnessing her strength.

I finally figured out later that my ankles were the issue holding me back on the snatch, so Richard made me do a 10-minute squat hold, as well as pushed on my knees to stretch my ankles. I have to do the squat hold everyday, plus I sat for 2 minutes with 35kg and then 50kg resting on my legs while sitting in a squat on Sunday. OW!!!! It'll be worth the pain, though, if it means I can snatch 55+. Richard wants me to start at 45, go to 50, and make 52 my last attempt at the meet. On C&J I'm going to do 60, 65, and 68. My goal for the meet is to make every one of my attempts. I'll power snatch if I have to!!! But I HATE the way power snatches and cleans look. They're so unnatural looking and just plain ugly. I have until January to make 142 total, which means at least 60kg snatch and 80-something C&J. Eeeek!!!! Nationals are in March at the Arnold Expo in Columbus!! That freaks me out AND excites me so much! I'm going to put my all into it and see how January goes. I'm actually pretty stoked about the gains I've made since starting my training with Richard--I've gained 11kg in the snatch and 9-10kg in the C&J from the May meet. Looking forward to more gains!!!! Oh, and I'm so excited--Richard finally put me on 3/6s for squats! No more 4/8s for now, woohoooo!!!! The heaviest I went on those was 83kg. I'm going to do 85kg for 3/6s tomorrow and go from there.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Finally 50

Went to Spoon today after work not really expecting much in terms of my snatch and 4/8s. First two sets at 35kg felt wobbly and quite inflexible. It takes me quite a few warm-up sets to feel really comfortable sitting at the bottom of the snatch. I worked in with Christina while she did her snatches and cleans. After one set of triples at 40, Richard told me to go to 45. I had planned to do two sets at 40 but figured coach knows best. Admittedly, I started feeling insecure about it because I was nearing my PR I set two Sundays ago--46kg. I just went and did my best at 45, and I guess I did them so well that Richard decided to "reward" me and put on 2.5s. So I started getting really nervous about snatching 50 because a) that'd be a 4kg PR and b) it would be for triples. I got two "good" reps in at 46 the last time, so I felt doubt nudging me. Christina told me I could do it, so I chalked up and made the first attempt, but it was quite ugly (power instead of full movement). So I did it again and still did a power snatch because I was too afraid to relax my hips so I could sit at the bottom. Jose gave me great advice for my third rep, and I nailed it and sat easily at the bottom. I wished I'd videoed that rep!!!!! Anyway, that's a really nice PR for me, and I'm going to make 55 either my second or third attempt at the competition next month. It's so close!!! I squatted my 4/8s with 75 for two sets, just to warm up mentally as well as physically, and then Richard made me go to 80. I must say I felt a lot stronger and more confident finally at that weight. Last time I used it, I tweaked my calf awfully and had to put up with it for several weeks. I'm loving the PRs I'm getting, but I don't want to lose focus for the meet. I'm not going in to it thinking about winning my weight class. I would like to PR and have new percentages to train with for the next meet. Perhaps that's not the right attitude to have, but I've missed too many sessions to feel confident/capable of beating Christina. She has 75kg on clean easily, and I'm almost there to 68. I'm thinking we'll be closer on snatch, but we'll see.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

PR Day 2

Well, it seems that being stressed/angry at work helps me make PRs at my training sessions! Tonight I jerked 65kg (2kg PR), and I cleaned 65kg for triples (5kg PR). But then I didn't make 68kg because my head started taking over. The 65s felt relatively light. There was really no reason for me to miss the 68. Richard says I seem to think I don't deserve success, and perhaps he's right. I've started listening to The New Psycho-Cybernetics, which has really helped me refocus my thinking. Olympic lifting is SO mental, and my coach and fellow lifters keep telling me that I'm built for the sport. I have to believe in myself and let my body do its thing. So after I missed the 68, I tried the 65 and kept "clarking" the bar, much to my chagrin and Richard's disappointment. It seems that once I miss an attempt or two, I start doubting myself and over-thinking to compensate for the misses. So I finally went back to 60, my old triplet weight, and worked to make each rep perfect. But by that time, that weight felt "heavy" to me. Ugh! I still made my reps but not confidently. I am thrilled about my PRs tonight but feel like I cheated myself out of the 68kg. Next time!!! BTW, as of today, my total student count is 174, and I probably will have to teach yet another prep (that makes 9) since the online vendor for the virtual curriculum does not offer Speech, which the students have to complete to graduate. The fun continues!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

PR day

Somehow, after eating only once yesterday and drinking less than a Liter of water during the workday, and eating hardly enough today plus not drinking enough water, I managed to PR on my snatch triples (45kg), front squat (95kg), and back squat (105kg). After the crazy adrenaline rush, though, I felt sicker than a dog. I think my lack of sleep and poor nutrition have wreaked havoc on my recovery...already. I didn't get enough sleep on Sunday because the darn fire alarm in our building went off at 3:30 and didn't get turned off until almost 4. For some reason, I've been waking up at 4:30-5 all last week and this week. I blame my hectic job. Besides the fact that we have one planning period and a shorter lunch period, we have 30-35 students in each class, and we are responsible for teaching eight different preps in each period. I still haven't wrapped my head around how on earth I'm going to be able to effectively teach my students and help them succeed on the TAKS and college entrance exams. I'll do my best, though, as that is all I can do, really. I should just be thankful that I have a job, I know. But I'm venting a bit. :) Anyway, today turned out to be a great training session and I'm looking forward to more. Gotta drink and eat more though!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Update on the gains I've made since starting at Spoon (with a 1.5-week hiatus for vacation/cruise):

Snatch - 43kg (3-rep working weight)
Clean - 60kg (3-rep working weight)

Got greedy and tried to max out my clean at 62kg after doing triples, snatch shrug-unders and snatch high pulls. I had to do cleans today again after doing so badly on Friday off the boxes. 55 felt great, but when I put 5 more kilos on, my mind freaked out...and my body didn't know what to do. Today's cleans were redemption for Friday. After some 4/8 squatting at 70kg and some pull-ups, I felt like it was a good training day. Tomorrow I start work full-time, so I know that will affect my training. Will keep y'all updated!!!

Update: Well, I survived two full workdays and training for three hours tonight; Tuesdays are my toughest workout with snatches, lift-offs, heavy squats, and straight-legged DL with a shrug. Did my 4 sets of 4/8s with 80kg, and they weren't very pretty. Got a nice scrape on the nape of my neck from a stupid bail on the last set. When I felt the bar sliding off, I didn't let go so it scraped me on the way down as I landed on my tush. Haha. Then I had to get up and finish my final 4 back squats. I need to learn how to bounce strongly out of the bottom. Jose has me doing weighted hip extensions and 200 situps a day to strengthen my back and core. He really inspired me today! He told me that if I keep training hard and stick with it, I'll be a good contender at Nationals next year. I want to make it and do well!!!!

Friday, July 8, 2011


Fitness goal for 2012: to qualify for Nationals in Olympic lifting. I've started training at Spoon Barbell with Mel and Bobby, as well as Spencer and Eric--July 2 was my first session with Richard. We trained four days in a row, and I've not been that sore or so excited from physical activity in a long, long time. Straight-legged DL with shrugs had my traps all tight and unyielding, but a good ol' ice bath (first one of many!) helped them as well as my hammies and knees. Per Mel's advice, I've started taking a slew of supplements and adopted a pre-, during, and post-workout regimen. I don't think I've ever taken so many pills in my entire life, but I can definitely understand the need for them. 7/7 I PR'd on clean by 1kg: hit 60kg for doubles for two sets. Then my mind started deteriorating my determination and I kept missing, so I had to go down to 58kg for my final sets. Very humbling and frustrating. My workout partner, Christina, is absolutely awesome. Watching her and learning from her has really helped me better understand how the lifts should look. I have almost mastered the first pull, but I have come to fully comprehend how truly crucial my mental game is to making lifts. If I let my mind wander even a smidgen, I usually don't make the double or triple. Richard tells me I need to have courage and to avoid "clarking the bar" because getting into that habit will hold me back. I have to see and think myself making the lift before I even step to it. I think mastering my mind will be the most challenging aspect of Olympic lifting. I've ordered both Kono's books so I can study and internalize, and ultimately apply, the knowledge I need to get my head right along with the technique. I'm already worried about my work schedule and how my lack of sleep will affect my training. Richard wants me to commit to lifting at Spoon on the weekends and lifting on my own (following his programming) twice during the week. I know I will have to make sacrifices in order to achieve my goals, but I definitely feel like it will be worth it. Watching the talent around me at Spoon Barbell has motivated and inspired me more than crossfit ever did. Next meet is in October at Van Alstyne, where the May meet was. I'll be ready for it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

First Competition!!!

March 14 was my very first Olympic lifting meet, and I am already hooked. First of all, it wasn't really what I expected because it was so laid back and casual. It was held in the Spoon Barbell Club owner's barn! Spectators sat in pews and on old couches/chairs. I weighed in on target although I did have to take a sweat bath before leaving for Van Alstyne. Luckily Mel knows the tricks of the trade. In retrospect, I would have been much more disciplined about my eating habits not just the week before but for the whole time (9 weeks) before. I plan to go down a few weight classes from 63 to 60. I have until August to hit it, but I know that once I go 85-90% paleo, it won't be too difficult to accomplish.

The most nerve-wracking part of the meet was standing on the platform to do each attempt and have everyone's eyes glued on you, no one saying a word. It was unsettling at first because I'm used to people working out and dropping barbells in the background at Deep, so the total silence unnerved me. Hit 38 and 40 on snatch with no problem, although I'll admit the first attempt took me by surprise because I didn't pull it beforehand. Mel taught me to pull the weight before attempting to snatch or clean it. Well, I felt good so had Spencer make my last attempt 45, which would have been a PR. Too big of a jump, though. Had I started at 40 and gone up by 2 or 3, it would have been a PR and I would have likely made it. I watched the video Javier took of me on my last attempt, and I can pull that weight all day, but I just didn't drop under it like I'm supposed to. Argh! Same thing on the clean and jerk. First two attempts weren't too bad, although I did start feeling it on the 59 (130#), which is my old PR that I hit last month during the mock meet. Tried 62 (136), which would have been a nice PR, but again, I didn't drop under the weight and missed the clean. It was a rewarding experience to go up there in front of people and the judge and give it my best effort. I also enjoyed watching the other athletes, especially the exceptional ones, like Spencer, Bobby, Dutch, Gunther, and Mel. I learned a lot and am looking forward to many more meets. Maybe one year I will compete in the Arnold! :) Got lots of work to do before the August meet. June 3 can't get here soon enough, though. The students have checked out mentally, and most of my colleagues have followed suit. Just a few more weeks!!!

P.S.: Discovered that my opponent at this meet beat me on C&J by 1 kg!!!! 62kg, I'm coming for youuuuu!!!!!! I'm shooting for 45kg on snatch by the August meet, as well.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


After being out of commission for about a week and a half due to strep throat (ugh), I went back to wodding and lifting last weekend. CFU's free WOD was a great break-in: 100 wall ball shots, 400m run with med ball, 150 walking lunges with med ball overhead, 400m run with med ball--all with a partner, and you couldn't drop the ball or y'all had to do 5 burpees each. Partnered with Ryan from Deep and crapped out on the wall shots (only did 45), but I did my fair share of the runs and the lunges. Then I went over to Deep and lifted heavy C&Js (worked up to 90% 3 sets of 1). Failed on my first attempt but got my last two, thankfully. Spencer's cooldown was killer: we had to hold 70% of our jerk 1RM (I used 95#) overhead while walking forward, backward, and to the side on his command. First set wasn't TOO horrible, but my elbows/wrists gave out on me on the 2nd and 3rd sets. Once we got to the side-stepping, I had to let the weight down. Funny that I forgot I'd done 75 overhead walking lunges not even an hour before...:O Then Monday was running Cindy--each round was 400m run followed by 2 full rounds of Cindy, AMRAP in 20 minutes. I got in 4 full rounds, which I was aiming for. Pull-ups still got to me after the 3rd round of Cindy. Not really looking forward to tomorrow's WOD...lots of push presses, box jumps, and KtE. Ready set go!

Oh, yeah, and I got a MINI Cooper. :D I named her Tina, short for Argentine, which means "silvery." I know, I'm a big nerd.

Monday, March 14, 2011

In Good Graces

Hehe, I'm such a nerd. Like my title there? So I did Grace rx'd for the first time today (95# for girls), and I finished in 5:42. Not sure if that's a good time, but I'm happy I didn't take as long as I thought I would. I broke up the 30 reps into 6 sets of 5. I think my Oly lifting classes have really helped me because the 95# didn't really feel bad until about rep 16 or 17. Then it started getting harder to jerk it, plus you don't split jerk on Grace (not as efficient). Before we did Grace, we found a 1RM on C&J. I always dread that because my mind takes over and usually leaves me disappointed. Well, I thought I'd be disappointed today and just get my old 1RM (120#), but after some quality coaching and determination (before he left, Spencer told me he "expected great things" so I couldn't let him down!!), I cleaned the 125#. I think I was surprised to have cleaned it because I made a face, like Whoa! which Russell noticed, too. Then jerking it wasn't too bad, but I do need to work on staying back on my heels so the weight doesn't go forward. So excited to see PRs again! :) And as afraid as I was going in to do Grace rx'd, it was a pleasant surprise to have 95# feel so "easy" for the first 15-16 reps.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Another humbling experience

So we did a new hero WOD today..."Blake."
4 rounds for time:
100ft Walking lunge (45#)
30 Box Jumps (24″/20″)
20 Wallball
10 Handstand Pushups

When I first read the blog, I thought it said 100 total walking lunges for four rounds, so I was worrying all day about how the heck I was going to manage that. I wasn't the only one, though! It still sucked doing 100ft of lunges with a 25# weight on my head. I used a small bumper plate so I could rest it on my head while I lunged. Actually, I went with the group that did their lunges outside in the street, and one of the guys discovered that we actually did about 100 more ft than was prescribed. I did everything rx'd except the HSPU, for which I used two abmats although I should have used just one abmat plus a 10lb bumper plate. Details. Well, the first box jumps after the first lunges were nearly impossible. I couldn't feel my legs, so I almost tripped on the box several times. That was a crazy feeling! Then I got a pretty bad cramp in my foot, but I kept going despite that. I wasted a good 45 seconds, though, trying to stretch it out in between movements. By the second round, it had worked itself out, thankfully. Of all the movements, I hated the lunges the most. Of course I have raspberries on my knees even though I did my best to just "kiss" my knees to the ground. When you get tired, you become less graceful and controlled. Total time was 26:23. It was very humbling to have people lap me and finish within 20 minutes. I have a baseline, though! And I've upgraded to unlimited monthly membership. Time to get back to CFing seriously.

Monday, February 28, 2011

New Leaf

Been a while, I know. TAKS planning, grading, new LPAC chair position, new mother to tutor, etc. have kept me crazy busy. I have also started practicing Bikram yoga (thank you, Howard!!!), which has presented an awesome new challenge and caused soreness in brand-new areas that CF never provided. Speaking of CF, I have finally heeded my inklings and desires and joined CF Deep. After more than two weeks of wod-less days filled with Bikram, Double Fran was NOT the ideal wod to return to!!! As soon as I walked toward the box, I saw people doing thrusters and pull-ups, and the panic set in. FRAN! Then I see Pat, and he laughs at me and says that it's DOUBLE Fran! I almost peed myself, bolted, and drove home. But I didn't. Several people already saw me (darn it!!!), plus Mel was expecting me. I couldn't bail with all that at stake. So I stayed. And suffered. A lot. Did my first go at rx'd weight but at the wise suggestion from Mel, used the thinnest band (thinner than red) for my pull-ups. Geez I'm glad I listened to her, although I'll admit my cockiness reared its ugly head a bit. Until I got totally schooled. First set of 21 thrusters and pull-ups wasn't too bad...but the set of 15 felt like torture. My grip got so bad that I could do only doubles, then singles. Switch-gripping did nothing to help me out. I finished in 9:42. Then there was five minutes of rest before I had to do it all over again! I wanted to go home and skip the second part. But Mel was still there, plus the lifting coach and other coaches I've known for a while. I couldn't not finish the wod. I swallowed my pride and let Mel take off the 10s. Took almost 15 minutes to finish the second Fran. Ugh! I used just the barbell (45#) and a red band that time. Let me tell you, doing single pull-ups 21, 15, and 9 times really sucks. My hands and shoulders are still shaky, and I can't grip properly. It was interesting trying to towel-dry my hair. But you know, I am so pumped up and looking forward to the next ass-kicking!!!

An interesting note about CF Deep: Members are expected to learn everyone's name by the end of the warm-up (for that class). That's just awesome.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Hope everyone's 2011 is going well so far! Back to the grind for me...well, I had to create a narrative using this week's new vocabulary words. Here it is (although I'm not sure where I was going with it, but remember it's written for 20+-year-old students):

Close your eyes. Imagine the most spectacular light-show your eyes have ever beheld. Emerald greens, richly dark purples, garish reds, nearly neon yellows: all exploding and sparkling before your dazed corneas. Where are you standing? Or are you sitting? Lying down? No matter. Does it seem plausible that you have stumbled into a Disney World Electric Parade? Oh wait, you're an adult! You can't admit to that unless you want your cool friends to disavow their relationship with you, that and your outrageous fantasy might induce fantastic panic among these exceptionally awesome individuals. Never mind their implicit trust in the social networking system called Facebook, where they have a 100 gazillion trillion "friends" and are therefore superawesomecoolrad.

Oh yeah, and I PR'd on the Chief today--used 88# which is 13# more than last time we did it. My PR wasn't too big but it was still more reps than I did last time! Got 17 rounds plus 3 cleans and 6 pushups. Now that I can do pushups rx'd in WODs (never thought that'd ever happen!), I feel so much better/worse. I love not having to do knee pushups, but my chestal muscles and triceps hate me for days afterward. Oh, BTW, I did the 150 pushups for time WOD where you have to run a 400 each time you pause/have to shake it out/etc. I finished all 150 rx'd in 26:41 and ran over 2 miles (LOL)--9 400s. But last time we did this one, I stopped at 100 and could barely get them all out rx'd. Love progress!!!