Biggest slacker

Thursday, January 21, 2010

That's me. The biggest slacker around. Nothing like a dunk tank and a new paleo challenge to get the creative juices flowing once again, though. But first, an explanation for my slacking ways:
About three-quarters of the way through the last Paleo Challenge, it stopped feeling like a challenge. I used Paleo Jen as my sort of therapist -- the place I'd mourn the loss of Golden Spoon or complain about another lunch of turkey meat, walnuts and avocado (my go-to for the days when I don't make time to cook.)
The problem is, eating paleo made me feel so good, and the food tasted so good, that it became a routine part of my life -- just like putting on my lulu pants before working out. I think that's why I stopped blogging before the challenge ended last time and why I didn't even feel compelled to report the results. Because the bigger results came in my mental growth, my inner strength and my overall sense of wellness. Winning (which, hoooray, I did!) was just a bonus. (Well, that and the really adorable blog Forrest wrote about me. He's opened his own CrossFit gym since I last wrote, but more on that later...)
It's been several months since the last challenge ended, but I haven't stopped eating Paleo. Don't get me wrong -- I'll occasionally indulge in a banana wonton from my new favorite Thai place, and I definitely still drink wine. But generally, I live a life that's free of rice and grains and sugar and dairy -- ingredients that contribute to the major diseases ailing most Americans (think heart attack, cancer, hypertension, diabetes.)

So why the hell am I blogging again? A simple answer: Peer pressure. But from the most amazing and inspiring women I've ever met.
Our little box at Orange Coast Crossfit has grown so much since I last wrote, and we've added some really solid, hardworking (and beautiful!) ladies. Something about CrossFit seems to attract the kind of person I want in my life. They're blogging about their experiences, excited about the challenge. And it feels really good to be a part of a group of ladies that are cheering each other on through this. Thus ... Paleo Jen is back.
SO ... the new paleo challenge is going to be done a little differently. Today, I'm headed to a dunk tank so someone can tell me how much of my body is fat compared to bones and guts and skin and MUSCLES! We're competing in teams, and the winning team will not only have to improve their physical appearance. Body fat and performance will also contribute.
So today, I'm starting the Paleo Challenge weighing 143 at night, 138.8 in the morning. I can do 10 pullups in a row and just completed my first girl WOD, Jackie, completely RX'd. My CrossFit total is 415. (205 deadlift, 145 back squat and 65 press).
Let the games begin. And go get 'em ladies!!!!

Progress and poetry

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Worked out again this morning at CrossFit South Bay. Which wouldn't be unusual, except that it was Forrest's first class as the instructor!
We did squat cleans -- a tough movement to teach. But he did it really well. So cool to see... So now that he's training, he's also sharing the responsibility for writing blog posts up there. To commemorate his first day, I wanted to share the post he did right after going through last weekend's level 1 certification.
Feeling super tough, he decided to blog about it ... in Haiku.
This one is my very favorite:

Functional movement

I need help off the toilet

Not so functional

You can read the rest of them here if you're interested....(And in case you're wondering, yes he did Photoshop his head on top of one of the winners of the CrossFit games. He's the one in the pink glasses...)
In Paleo news, I'm feeling like I'm at the point where I can't imagine returning to my old eating habits. Last night at AJ's going away dinner, Justin ordered onion rings and I was surprised at how surprised I was. I mean, I realize that as time goes on, I'll have a fry or a cupcake from time to time just like Justin occassionally can order onion rings. Just strange how right now, I'm really not feeling like eating any of that stuff. The results are too good to ignore... My clothes are super loose and earlier this week I hit a two-rep deadlift max of 200 pounds. A month ago, my one-rep max was 180.

Mind games

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Work and life have been crazy lately.
And as explosive and exhausting and intense as CrossFit is, it has provided the calming balance in my life.
Take yesterday: Brutal day at work. I filed three blogs and a front-page story. I had a blowup with my boss and a confrontation with a woman who has been a thorn in my side my entire career. It's politics, and I'm used to it. But when there's a lot going on all at once, sometimes all I want to do is punch someone or .... shoulder press and row?
First, we worked up to our two-time max shoulder press, when Lindsay became a perfect example of the power of mental strength. I failed at 85 pounds, and she got it up. Then she added 10 pounds more -- a pretty big jump considering we were approaching our maximum capacity. She actually thought there were only 90 pounds on the bar when she started the lift. She also thought she had put up the same weight a couple weeks ago during a work out that involved picking up a load from the ground and heaving it over your head any way possible. So no sweat lifting that much again, she told me.
So she did. Twice.
It wasn't till she dropped the bar and Justin complimented her on the 95 pounds she lifted that we realized how much weight she had just put up. Then Lindsay remembered that when she did the WOD a couple weeks ago, she was using a 15 pound junior bar that was 30 pounds lighter.
If she had realized before she tried to do the press, she said she doesn't know if she would have been able to. Now she knows she can, and I think that's awesome. (In appreciation, I posted this photo so you won't be the only lifting weight with a funny face on the internet.)
Anyway, after shoulder pressing, we did three 500 meter sprints on the rowers.
I have never felt more at peace, more unburdened by life's bullshit, than laying on the ground after my third sprint. Quads and glutes were still spasming. A sweat angel growing on the ground. My friends wheezing to catch their breath by my side.
It's crazy how pushing to the point of physical exhaustion can actually clear your mind.

F*$@ Yeah!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Excuse my language, but I fucking love these girls and this gym.
Last night was box jumps and burpees. And every single one of these women dominated. Awesome.

Technical difficulties

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Apparently when I added this new blog skin, I deleted the ability for people to leave comments or sign up as a follower. (I'm sure all eight of you wonderful people who read this are just dying to leave comments!). Anyway, I'll figure out how to fix it tonight ... Until then, if you want to leave a comment, you can email me at, and I'll post it in a blog.
Thanks for reading, friends.

Domestic violence

I accidentally let it slip last night to my brother that I'm on a Paleo diet.
That wouldn't be a problem if I was talking to anyone but Russ, who's an athletic trainer, likes to argue and has an over-developed sense of outrage for anything he thinks is a health and fitness trend.
I said the word Paleo, and an alarm sounded in his head, blaring that Paleo eating must be ill conceived and I must be stupid for trying it out. By the time his mental rant was finished and he opened his mouth to ask a question, I'm sure he already grouped Paleo with Atkins and hippies and Prius drivers and all the other stereotypes that set him off.
So instead of continuing the discussion, I told him I'd send him some links to websites about the thinking behind Paleo. It's not the bold stand I could have taken, but I figure that given some more time, and even more positive results, he'll come to accept that this is a good lifestyle change -- one i'm definitely not giving up when the two-month Paleo challenge at our box ends.
At this point, though, he either thinks it's fucking up the nutrients in my body, or that Forrest is beating me.
About an hour after our conversation about food, he looked at my legs and noticed a line of bruises up each of my shins. If my shorts were any shorter, he would have seen them on my mid-thighs. There are some on my shoulders, too.
"Are you eating ANY red meat on this diet?"
Lots of it, I told him.
See, I did Elizabeth at CrossFit South Bay on Tuesday. And I came in early to practice because I've been struggling to get my front racked position right -- whether I'm cleaning or pressing. Justin has been working with me on making sure the bar hits on my shoulders instead of leaning back and letting it slam lower on my chest when I'm doing a push press. On Tuesday, Mariessa also helped me with the breakdown transitioning from deadlifting to the clean, where the momentum should start and how to get a full extention. (The woman in this picture isn't me -- she's from CrossFit Winnipeg. But I'll post mine as soon as it's in the gallery.)
Anyway, I was exaggerating every movement and repeating a lot, so I got a little black and blue. Honestly, looking at them makes me feel proud. So I smiled when answering his question.
"Those are from power cleans."
The look of surprise on his face was priceless.

Stocking up

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

This is Forrest's fridge. And I had to take a picture because it's pure Paleo heaven. I share my fridge with roommates who still have not bought into my new eating lifestyle. So our cupboards are packed with granola bars and crackers, our fridge contains all different kinds of cheese and sugary drinks, and inside our freezer, there are four different kinds of gelato and sorbet.
So I have a much deeper appreciation for how clean and nice a purely paleo-filled refrigerator can be.
He's got eggs, chicken, tons of veggies in those drawers. The OJ is freshly squeezed and used very sparingly in delicious paleo smoothies (this morning's had frozen blueberries, a splash of heavy whipping cream and a splash of OJ). There's tuna and nuts and the juice boxes on top are coconut water, which F loves but I think tastes like armpit.
In other news, after a couple days of fight gone bad dreaming, we did a slightly sideways version of the workout yesterday at CrossFit South Bay (subbed hang cleans for SDHP and double unders for rows). I know it's a different WOD with different goal marks, but I still redeemed myself by scoring 302. And at the beach on Sunday, I randomly ran into a woman who goes to CrossFit Laguna -- one of the boxes hosting the Fight Gone Bad fundraiser Justin recently wrote about. Felt sort of like it was a sign that it's going to pay off to confront head on the stuff that hurts the most. This is one, so I'm thinking I'm going to see if I can move my schedule around to attend this event. (And I already signed up for Race for a Cure. Please do the same!)
Alright, back to work. I'm in the south bay again tonight, back in my home box on Wednesday.
Until then...

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