I love summer. Hot weather. Fresh fruit. Ice cream. Cold drinks. Beaches. My birthday. I’m the first one to shed more than a couple of tears when it winds to a close each year (never mind the fact that fall also means back to school for a teacher like me).
But this year, I have a feeling that fall is going to be pretty darn amazing (if the first few weeks are any indication). Hard work is paying off, good things are happening and I’m pumped for what lies ahead. Why? I’m so glad you asked
- The summer of mobility, form, and posture work is paying off…big time. I wrote about this here, but have since seen more results. I talked about my squat form improving, and if you follow me on instagram, you saw a video I posted a few weeks back. It’s a split screen of a 5RM, almost a year apart. The difference is CRAZY! Super foldy last fall on the left, and on the right; core tight, chest up and solid all the way through. I can’t tell you how good it feels not to be sketchy. It feels so different lifting heavy, struggling through it, but knowing I can maintain good form the whole way through.
Another great video is the push-up split screen. I’ve been working on push-ups longer than just the summer. We’re talking since January here. I’d say the video speaks for itself. Top one is the last few reps of a set of 6 in January. Bottom is last couple of a set of 13 last week. Not only have I gotten stronger as they look way easier, but form is waaaay better and I’m not snaking and curling my back.
2. PRs are starting to come back. So my gym got a PR bell at the beginning of the summer. I didn’t ring it once all summer. There was a lot of mobility work and rehab going on, but I wasn’t exactly lifting heavy. But then, a few weeks back, I PR’ed my clean (I even squat cleaned it!) DURING. A. WOD. (more on that in a minute). What’s more, I totally feel like I can do more. My 2015 goal might even be in reach (not so sure on the jerk though). And then there’s my overhead squat. I still can’t believe this. But I managed to PR it 3 times. In 8 days. Craziness. Not like I had tested it in a while, but still. I guess a bit of a PR drought just helps you appreciate the PRs that come all the more.
Update: I wrote this post and then went into the gym for a little afternoon lifting. My working weight of clean and jerks was feeling real light and just flying up, so I decided to go for it. I proceeded to PR my clean and jerk, then went on to PR my clean. And it didn’t even feel that heavy. I’ve now met the number I wanted to hit for cleans in 2015 (just have to match it with the jerk), and am on the brink of a spot on the leaderboard AND a body weight clean. It’s so close I can taste it….boo yeah!
3. I’ve discovered fried egg sandwiches. Seriously. This may seem silly or inconsequential, but I can’t tell you just how amazing fried egg sandwiches are or how much I’ve been loving them lately. And, honestly, until the last few weeks, they were never really something I cooked or ate much of. But they are the PERFECT post-gym meal. Quick to make, nice mix of protein and carbs, get some Frank’s Red Hot on there, and some leftover veggies as a topper, pair with soup/salad/other veg and boom! You’ve got yourself a pretty tasty meal. Gym friend Ally and I have a theory that ice cream and sandwiches both lead to PRs. We are thinking of writing a book.
Also though, eating fried egg sandwiches is a bit of a departure/step forward for me. Old, “diet mentality” Hilary (who still rears her ugly head more often than I’d like) never would have eaten fried egg sandwiches. Too much fat! Too may calories! And bread? Gasp. All those carbs! But now that I am slowly shifting into eating for fuel and performance, I’m slowly starting to let go of those anxieties, and focus on real, delicious foods and what they can do for me (and I did have one of these sandwiches the day before one of those OHS PRs, just saying…).
4. The strict pull-up is making a comeback. Everyone knows the first strict pull-up came back in March. And while I still worked on pull-ups all summer long (let’s be honest, when do I not work on pull-ups?), it was at an easier difficulty, and more focused on correcting form (noticing a theme here?). So, I tried a strict pull-up at the end of August and no-go. But, after several weeks of hard work, I finally succeeded and the elusive strict pull-up returned last week. It’s still a fight. It still eludes me if it’s not a great day. But I CAN do a strict pull-up again. Next up: link more together.
And since my back is ok, I’m also allowed to work on kipping again. RX Fran will come, one day.
5. And the best thing about fall? Jess is back. Even though she now has the luxury (I’m sure she would phrase her new mom life in different terms ;)) of coming during the day and I only get to work out with her once every week or so, it’s so great to have her back.
The pics to the left I posted a few weeks back. Jess was at the gym on a Saturday during our gym’s competitive training class and was planning on doing her own thing. Then she saw the partner WOD and asked, “should I do this? I’m only doing it if you’re my partner.” I replied that she needed to ask coach, which she did, and got the go-ahead to do a modified version with me.
Well, that was the WOD when I PR’ed my clean (and as you can see, Jess captured the official ringing of the PR bell). I told Jess she was my good luck charm. After many months without her, it was so great to have my Crossfit bestie working out by my side. And of course, she crushed it. Jess might be scaling, but don’t let that fool you. She is still the rockstar she always was, and pushing her hardest every second.
More than that, she pushes me to do the same. And I think my favourite part of our first WOD together was during part 2, when I was doing pull-ups. Jess had never seen me do a kipping pull-up, let alone in a WOD before, so she gave me huge cheers every time she looked up and saw me do one. How can you not love a girl like that? Not to mention she now brings the boys to the gym so I have cute boys to cuddle with after who don’t mind the post-WOD stench. 😉
So, fall, you’ve been good to me so far. And I think there are more good things to come. And Jess – it is so great to have you back. Keep crushing it, one day at a time. You are a rockstar. Here’s to many more workouts with you by my side.