Crossfit, Paleo, and all things Army

Posts Tagged ‘running

Single leg burpees and PT tests

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You guys want to know what the most awkward exercise known to the Crossfit world is? The single leg burpee. Also known as- “How I discovered that I have a definite strength and balance inequality between my right and left legs.” It is EXACTLY what it sounds like. And it brought back some VIVID flashbacks of when I was a hefty middle schooler and on the dance team. (There are no cuts in middle school sports. HAH! Sadly, I did not make the team after my freshman year of high school. Some of us were not destined to become ballerinas. Sniff.) Anyway, while the other girls were did their perfect pirouettes and kicked high and straight, I clunked through the songs like an elephant.. well, like an elephant attempting to do pirouettes and high kicks.

Just kidding. Seriously though, no one has ever described me as “graceful.” So today’s WOD was particularly awful, since the whole thing called for coordination. After some bench presses (which I rocked, b-t-dubs) it was 10,8,6,4, and 2 reps for time of single arm DB jerk and single leg burpees. It was one of those workouts where you just feel like you spend lots of time/effort concentrating on your form, and so the whole workout feels awkward and just.. off. I won’t say that I didn’t get a good workout, because I did leave sweaty and breathless, but it wasn’t like yesterday’s workout that utterly destroyed me. (It was a chipper which included an obscene amount of overhead squats, pull ups, and KB swings). It’s alright though, not every workout is going to feel great, and hopefully the time spent concentrating on my form will pay off later.

Let’s take a minute to talk about fitness. That was out of nowhere, but I couldn’t think of a good way to transition, so deal with it. So as you can see from previous posts on this blog, I used to be heavily into running. Like- that was all I did, that and push ups and crunches so I could pass my PT test. I’ll get into running v crossfit on a later post, but I want to talk about my fitness history. I have a PT test Thursday morning, so I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. For most of my Army career, I’ve scored a 290 or above on my PT test (the highest score being 300). This test consists of a 2 mile run, 2 minutes of push ups, and 2 minutes of situps. In spring 2012, or right before I discovered crossfit, I scored a 300. I thought I was AMAZING shape. I was by Army standards anyway. And then the guy I was seeing at the time dragged me to my first ever crossfit workout. And it DESTROYED me. As in, I was sore for days. And I sat there thinking, I’m in shape, right? The Army says I’m in shape. I run all the time! (Although to be completely honest, I had begun to fall out of love with running by then, due to numerous injuries, overtraining, and really just plain boredom). So if I’m in such great shape, why did some pull ups, air squats, and push ups render me unable to lift myself off of the couch for an entire week? (For the record, my first ever crossfit workout was Murph. If you don’t know what that is, you should look it up and do it. It’ll be fun, I promise).
And that’s what prompted the startling revelation. I’m not really in shape. In the last year and some change, I’ve become more fit than I’ve ever been, but my PT scores have failed to hit 300, or even 290. I used to define myself as a Soldier by how well I scored on my PT test. I used to get so nervous before PT tests that I wouldn’t sleep the week before one was scheduled. When I did sleep I’d have nightmares about failing it. One test (that I scored a 290 on), I was so nervous that I had diarrhea, between all 3 events. Ridiculous, right?
Maybe it was because I started doing crossfit and fitness took on a whole new meaning for me, or maybe it was just because six years of psyching myself out before a minimum twice-yearly PT was exhausting, but I just stopped caring how well I did. That’s not to say that I would be ok with scoring 180 (the absolute minimum), but I no longer feel the same pressure to max every event. I know I’m fit, although I might not be able to crank out 80 sit ups in 2 minutes anymore. But in light of the fact that I can squat with 80 pounds over my head, and I can clean 85 pounds, this seems unimportant. Because when I started doing crossfit over a year ago, I couldn’t even do a proper air squat, let alone an over head one. So we’ll see how I do on this PT test on Thursday, but I’m not stressing. It’s just another workout.

Hope the rest of your week is smooth and fast!


Written by blusunshinesarah

June 18, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Posted in Working Out

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On being hardcore

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So I’ve been a runner for about 5 years now, and I’d like to consider myself pretty hardcore. While I’ve never run through an injury (well, I ran through a broken pinky toe, but come on, it’s been over a year and it’s pretty much healed!), I’ve laced up my shoes and sucked it up to run in drenching downpours, blistering heat, scary thunderstorms and freezing cold. I’ve also run when I’m sick and probably shouldn’t. Like this past week. On Sunday I felt myself coming down with a nasty cold, but I ran about 1.5 miles Monday morning and then even though I was feeling exhausted on Tuesday night I decided to push through 3 slow miles. I figured that it was only a cold, and that I’d wake up once I started running. Well, I did wake up, and was feeling pretty good until about 2 miles in. Unfortunately the strangest thing started to happen. (This is where I get a little graphic, so if you’re squeamish, you should stop reading). I’ve thought for a long time that I have stress induced acid reflux. I’ve only gotten heartburn a few times, but when I’m really stressed about something the back of my throat burns with acid. When I’m running its uncomfortable but not so bad that I feel the need to stop running. This time though, about 1.5 miles in I started feeling like there was something lodged in my throat. The best way I can describe it is that my esophagus was fighting with itself to keep dinner where it belonged, in my stomach. I’ve never really felt nauseous while running, or felt like puking after, and this time I still wasn’t feeling nauseous, but I still felt like my dinner was making a furious bid for escape. And here’s where the confession part comes in: I slowed to a walk, and when I didn’t feel better, I ended up walking the last mile of my run. And that’s when I started wondering. Am I not a hard core runner? I think lots of runners would have pushed through until they puked. In fact, a lot of fellow runners blog about them pushing through pain and fatigue and all sorts of other ailments and conditions. Recently one of my favorite bloggers, Health on the Run, wrote a post about a 17 mile run she had recently completed. She was in a ton of  pain and fatigued beyond belief, but rather than stop, she had her boyfriend run the last 5 miles with her. It seems like lots of runners will push through anything to get their miles in. Here’s the truth though. I wouldn’t. If I was feeling so exhausted and sick that I felt like I couldn’t make it another step, I would stop running and walk. If I was injured, I wouldn’t run. (That rule doesn’t apply to an actual race though. When I ran a 10 mile race last March, my thighs were chafed so raw that I had to waddle for 3 days after the race, but I didn’t stop running.) I think that there’s a line for everyone. For me, the line is where I can feel my dinner in the back of my throat and I have to take slow deep breaths to get it to move back down. And while I don’t mind pushing through soreness to go for a run, when I think my body needs a recovery day (or 2, to get over this nasty cold), I’ll take one. So maybe I’m not as hardcore as other runners. But I think that’s ok. I love to run, and maybe I won’t ever be the type of runner that runs 17 miles when I didn’t even feel up to running 2. But I still run. And I think I can call myself  hardcore for running in rain so heavy that I could barely see in front of me.

Written by blusunshinesarah

September 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Posted in Running

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Weekend Recap

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It’s the start of a brand new week already. I can’t believe how fast the weekend came and went! (I’m so excited for my four day weekend over Labor Day, much needed break!) This weekend was full of girl time and fun, and lots of great food and good restaurants with better conversation. Friday evening I met up with my friend Sara at a Thai restaurant in Old Town, right on the Potomac. It was called Mai Thai, and it was pretty great. We started off the evening with some drinks and an appetizer of summer rolls. If you’ve never heard of them, they are rice paper rolls filled with fresh veggies with peanut sauce for dipping on the side. I recommend you try them! After the summer rolls we ordered dinner. I wasn’t very hungry after 2 drinks and the summer rolls, so I just got some Tom Ka Gai soup. (Coconut milk, lime, chicken, lemongrass, and mushrooms). My favorite Thai food is actually yellow curry chicken, but I didn’t see it on the menu, and as I said I wasn’t too hungry, so I savored the soup instead. It turned out to be perfect, as about 15 minutes after we got to our table the sky blackened and it began thundering, lightning, and absolutely pouring rain. I actually love thunderstorms, and honestly would be really happy living in Seattle where it rains all the time. To me there is nothing more cozy then watching the storm from inside with a bowl of hot soup. It was even more spectacular because we were seated right next to a window overlooking the Potomac, so we could see every lightning streak across the sky above the water. Very beautiful. Sara and I had a nice time, chatting over dinner and then coffee while the storm raged outside. It was perfect timing because just as we were leaving the rain stopped, so we could get to our cars without being drenched.

Saturday morning I woke up around 7:30 to go for a run with my friend Nicole, another Tues/Thurs fun runner. Both of us like running on Saturday mornings, however the group run meets at 7 in different places around Alexandria, and we agreed we’d much rather sleep in and get our own run in. We ran a 5 mile route down to the Potomac and then stretched on the harbor. Despite the huge storm on Friday night, Saturday morning couldn’t have been more beautiful. It was sunny but cool (around 75 degrees) during the run, and we had a nice, easy pace of about 9:30 going while we got caught up on eachother’s summers. (Nicole was away at grad school in Vermont this summer).  I’m pretty pumped because it was yet another good run. Every good run brings me another step closer to loving running again, the way I did before this ridiculously hot and humid summer started. Ending on the harbor was perfect. Even though it was only about 9 when we finished our run, there were already a lot of people walking (and running!) around. That’s one of the things I love about this area, people here are very active. It is always great to see other people out running, and to smile and wave hello to them. We stretched by the water, looking across the river at the DC skyline (another thing I love about living here). After stretching we walked back up King Street to this French country cafe, La Madeliene. I’ve been wanting to try it for pretty much forever, since the first time I walked past and all but started drooling due to the wonderful smell wafting down the sidewalk. I had an iced coffee and cinnamon crepes with strawberries drizzled with a brandy sauce. I don’t remember the last time I tasted anything as heavenly. The only thing that rivaled the crepes was the mini chocolate croissant and the lemon madeleine cookie I got on the side. Heaven, my friends. Pure heaven. If you are looking for a way to get yourself out the door on a Saturday morning, my advice is this.

1) Run somewhere beautiful

2) Promise yourself a delicious brunch afterwards

3) Run with a good friend

Saturday night I went to Chinatown in DC with some friends Ashley and Masie, and Masie’s friend Terry. We started out at La Tasca, which is a Tapas and Sangria restaurant. We ordered Sangria (of course) and 2 different tapas sampler plates, one meat and the other seafood. According to the menu, one sampler plate was enough for 2 people. There was so much food we didnt even have room for it on one table! I’d have to say my two favorite things were the bacon wrapped figs (I think they were stuffed with goat cheese) and the spinach leaves with goat cheese, apples, and walnuts.

After 2 pitchers of sangria and more tapas than we could possibly eat, we headed down the street to Fado, an irish pub with a live band. I’m not very much of a clubber, I prefer a chill bar where I can drink some beer and have fun with friends without the pulsating music and flashing lights. My favorite kind of bar would have to be an Irish Pub, especially one with a live band. I love Irish rock, like the Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly and the Pogues. Play Whiskey in the Jar or Fields of Athenry for me and I’ll be yours forever. I got lucky enough to see the Dropkick Murphys live in concert here in DC for St Patricks Day! Truely awesome experience!

Me, Ashley and Masie, enjoying some drinks at Fado

But I digress. We drank some beer and Ashley and I danced like the crazy white chicks we are to some of the songs. It was time to go around midnight tho; some random drunk guy kept trying to feel up on me and the bouncer had to take care of him, and there were one to many fights starting for me to want to stay, so Ashley and I made our way back to the Metro. And that’s when it happened, we were almost down the stairs to the metro when we heard a gunshot. Luckily, it seemed to be at the top of the stairs and we hightailed it through the turnstile, but it freaked me out a little. I always thought Chinatown was a relatively safe part of DC. Sometimes I forget that I need to be careful about where I go and what time it is. (I also have a nasty habit of wandering around alone). I need to remember that just because I feel invincible most of the time doesn’t mean I am. It reminded me not to make myself a target. That was about the end of the weekend craziness, except for a drunk driver swerving in front of Ashley on the way back from the Metro. (Thank God the girl has great brakes!)

Sunday was much more chill, just your average chore day: laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning. (Although I did wash my comforter this weekend and since it’s made of down I spent a lot of time defeathering my apartment. It looked like a swan exploded). I spent a happy Sunday afternoon reading Harry Potter. I finished the fourth book and started the fifth yesterday. So addicting!

I think that’s probably it for now, next post will be about more workout plans/how PRT is going. Hope your week goes well!

Written by blusunshinesarah

August 22, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Confessions Update

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So this past weekend I vowed to make my workouts count and to be conscious of what I eat and why I’m eating it. I figured today I’d give you an update on how I’ve been doing.


I didn’t get to workout in the morning because I had to be into work by 6, so in the afternoon I headed over to my apartment complex’s fitness center and did a workout targeting my abs and upper body. I finished with 25 minutes of cardio on the bike. My strength routine looked like this:

10 triceps pushups (I call these triceps pushups because instead of the typical arms perpendicular to the body pushups I tuck my elbows in, parallel with my body, which is much harder. After the first set of 10 I do 5 pushups after every set of crunches. If I do regular pushups I do 12 between every set)

35 regular crunches

Chinese crunches- 25 each side (one leg straight and about 6 inches off the ground, the other leg bent 90 degrees, I usually put my foot against the knee of the straight leg. After 25 change legs. Don’t ask me why they’re called Chinese crunches, I have no idea)

                35 regular crunches

25 “double crunch” (aka dying cockroach. These are a normal crunch with legs tucked in towards chest, and then straighten legs to about 6 inches off the ground, hold for a second and then pull them in towards your chest again. This is 1 repetition.)

                Oblique crunches- 35 each side

                Plank with alternating leg raises (This sounds complicated but it’s really not. From a plank position, alternate raising each leg off the ground and holding it for 2-3 seconds. I do 10-15 each leg)

                Skull crushers (3 sets of 10 reps with a 20lb weight)

Chest press (3 sets of 10 reps with 2 10lb weights)


Tuesday morning I (again) had to be into work early so I didn’t get my morning workout in… And then I drank wine instead of going for a run Tuesday evening. (I know, I know. Bad Sarah.) BUT I did actually bake chicken with zucchini and butternut squash for dinner, which was also my lunch and dinner on Wednesday. So healthy and delicious! (And easy to make!) I also used the leftover chicken to make a wrap that I ate a restaurant once: spinach, feta cheese, cranberries, chicken and balsamic vinaigrette in a whole wheat wrap. The restaurant called it a Metropolitan. I call it amazing.


I made up for not running on Tuesday night by going for a 4 mile run with Ashley in the morning. And again was pleasantly surprised when I loved it. My Tuesday and Thursday night runs are called ‘fun runs’ but since my only thought is usually ‘must. Run. Faster.’ I haven’t usually the kind of fun that I had yesterday and last Tuesday. Although this desire to train harder and push myself was fine in the spring, for reasons I’ve discussed previously this has not worked out so well for me this summer. But yesterday I wasn’t wearing my watch, wasn’t wearing my ipod, and I felt no urge to push myself to vomit inducing speeds. Ashley and I just ran along at a comfortable pace, (I’d say between 9 and 9:30 minute miles) and chatted. And before I knew, the 4 miles were over. For my second workout last night I was planning to do Vinyasa Yoga, something a fellow fun runner Whitney has been trying to convince me to try for weeks. I’ve only done Yoga one other time, on a vacation to Hawaii in 2009 a morning beach session came free with a massage so I tried it. And admittedly did not like it very much. (Granted, I was pretty hung over and the session was at 6am.. But it just seemed like a lot of painful stretching and not much of an actual workout). But since I like Whitney, and she insists that Vinyasa Yoga is actually a pretty good workout, I decided to give it a try. The studio is not far from where I run, so I left at the same time I would on Tuesday or Thursday nights. However I didn’t count on the horrible traffic and lack of parking, so I drove around until 6:45 (the class was supposed to start at 6:30) when I finally gave up and headed home. The excursion wasn’t a total bust though because on the way home I stopped at blockbuster (I have Netflix but just the option to stream, not the DVD option) and picked up Something Borrowed, a movie I’ve been wanting to see since I read the book in June. Plus I heart John Krasinki. Seriously, I want to meet his doppelganger and marry him. But I digress. I’ll have to try Yoga next week, and remember to leave a little earlier so I can find a parking spot. (Where I run/where the studio located is all on-street parking, with a parking garage waaayyy at the end of the street. And the parking garage is expensive. On street parking is free after 7pm).


So to sum up my workouts this week, I think I’ve done ok so far. Even though I didn’t work out on Tuesday, and I didn’t get to do Yoga yesterday, I feel ok because I’ve been aware of what I’ve been eating, and I don’t feel uncomfortable in my clothes. (I don’t step on a scale very often, I just gauge my weight by how I feel in my clothes.) If they feel tight or I’m constantly adjusting/fixing my clothes, I know that I need to cut back on the sweets and up my workouts. Ditto for the kind of clothes I choose. If I start reaching for a certain pair of jeans, I know it’s because I’m not doing the right things for my body and I’m choosing clothes that are a little looser.  When I’m eating right and working out like I should be, I choose clothes that show off my body more. ‘Get your heart racing in my skin tight jeans be your teenage dream tonight..’ Just Kidding. Seriously though, I pay attention to my body and what it needs, and that’s worked to keep me healthy and in shape for the last 7 years. I would recommend that to anyone over dieting, keeping calorie journals and monitoring their weight obsessively. If you make being healthy a chore and concentrate on dieting, you’ll have trouble keeping the weight off because dieting is only a short term fix. Eventually you’ll get tired of deprivation and go back to your unhealthy habits. If you listen to your body, eat when you’re hungry, and focus on eating good things, you’ll feel better and be better able to get (and stay) healthy. But I’m no dietician or nutritionist. That’s just my humble opinion. 😉 Until next time!

Written by blusunshinesarah

August 18, 2011 at 4:05 pm

These are my confessions..

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Confession number 1: I have not been sticking to my usual 2-a-day workout regimen. I generally try to get 2 good workouts in at least 3 or 4 days out of the week. My typical week’s workout plan is my crossfit class in the morning, then either extra cardio or strength training on Monday and Wednesday afternoons (depending on what I feel I need more) or a on Tuesdays and Thursdays I run. But my unit is getting a new First Sergeant, so that has all changed. Under our former 1SG I was allowed to go to my class in the mornings instead of unit PT, but the new 1SG is enforcing mandatory PRT for the unit. PRT stands for “physical readiness training” and it’s the Army’s new solution to the problem of units only training to be able to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (2 mile run, 2 minutes of push ups and 2 minutes of sit ups). The problem was that while Soldiers would do well on the APFT, they were unready for the challenges of combat. (ie: scrambling up the side of a mountain wearing 150 pounds of gear). So the solution was PRT, which includes P90x-like strength training with plyometrics and core work. (And now I sound like a commercial for PRT). The downside to the training is that while some of the exercise drills are good, it doesn’t have the same intensity that a killer crossfit class has. Also everything is done ‘in cadence’. I was forced to do PRT for 6 months while living in Texas and feel like my fitness level decreased. That generally happens whenever I’m forced to do unit PT. Everytime that I have been allowed to do PT on my own my APFT score always increases and I enjoy working out. Which is why this week has been.. lazy? I think that’s the best word. Since I was forced to be at formation, but PRT hasn’t officially started yet, they let us go to the gym to work out. Which I have to say, has not been great. I like very regimented work outs, I like detailed workout plans with a set number of repetitions. Unfortunately, this week didnt really work out that way. I felt like I was ‘phoning in’ my work outs. (Like I was there, I did some exercises, but I left the gym not really feeling ‘worked out’) I had today off (thank you, Commanding General, for giving me a training holiday 🙂 ) and was planning to go for a run.. But then my ipod died 5 minutes in.. and so I went to the gym. And I realized that I need to sit down and make out a plan. If I can’t do crossfit, then I need to have a set plan so I don’t lose my current level of fitness. So here is my goal:

I will make a work out plan to target my core, chest, arms, and legs. I will do at least one QUALITY workout everyday. I will also begin to increase my weekly mileage now that the temperature seems to be dropping.

Confession number 2: I’ve eaten really REALLY badly the last week. Normally I try not to eat out too much because there are sooo many calories in restaurant food. (About the only exception is Subway, which happens to be my most favorite fast food restaurant.) I also like to know exactly what I’m eating. I feel like it’s not only healthier but so much better for your body to eat “clean”. Not that I don’t enjoy the occasional whopper from Burger King, I just feel better when I eat food with ingredients that I can pronounce. This week, however, I slipped. I generally bring soup or a sandwich and some yogurt for lunch, but this week my team lead (who gets cranky when I eat lunch anywhere but at my desk) was on vacation, so I took advantage of that and went to lunch with Ashley. Every. Single. Day. There were a couple of days that we ate healthy (salads from Noodles and Company or sushi from Matsui), but we also ate at Firehouse Subs and Chili’s, where I proceeded to eat the cheesiest, greasiest thing on the menu. While I enjoyed getting away from work for lunch and spending some time with Ashley, I always came back to work bloated and sleepy. So this week has been fun, but I’m actually looking forward to going back to eating my normal lunch of soup and yogurt.  In addition to eating out all week, last night I found myself reaching for the jar of peanut butter. While that sounds completely harmless, it’s something that I only get the urge to do when I’m stressed about something. I gained a few pounds before I went to WLC (warrior leader’s course) in Georgia in May, and I gained almost 10 pounds in the months before I deployed. I think I’m stressed out about money (I just found out that I won’t be getting paid basic allowance for housing as soon as I had hoped). Whatever it is I’m worried about, I need to take control of my cravings and remind myself that eating won’t help me feel better about my situation, and it definately isn’t going to solve any of my problems. (Actually, given that what I’m worried about right now is money, eating out all the time is going to my problems worse). While I’ve managed to lose the weight every time I’ve gained it, it would be better if I didn’t gain it to begin with. So here is my solution:

I will make a good, healthy lunch for work everyday. I will put down the peanut butter jar and address what I’m worried about rather than try to resolve my issues by eating my way through them. I will eat out less.

Alright, I’ve been sitting here for a few hours, I think it’s time that I take the puppies that I’m dogsitting for the weekend for a walk!

Written by blusunshinesarah

August 12, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Wine and a run, round 2

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So when I left my apartment tonight to go for my run I realized that the weather felt cool and breezy. It has not felt “cool and breezy” since April here in Virginia. (It wasn’t until AFTER my run when I checked the weather that I saw that it was 86 degrees out with a heat index of 89 degrees. Really a sad day when 89 degrees feels “cool and breezy”). So I set off on the normal route, planning to do 3 easy miles and see how I felt. Since even my ‘easy’ runs have felt like hard runs since June, I was thrilled when I stepped off and I was cruising at a 9 minute mile. (To get an idea of how frustrated I’ve been, I was averaging 8-8:30 minute miles this spring, and in July I struggled with 10 minute miles..) I was so thrilled that instead of turning around at the 1.5 mile point, I kept trucking up the long, LONG, hill to hit the 2 mile point. Victory! I haven’t seen the top of that hill since mid-July. It felt great. My confidence in my ability to run had seriously been shaken. I had stopped enjoying running, and it had become an effort to lace up my shoes and go for a run. But days like today remind me why I started running in the first place. It reminds me that if I push myself through the sucky runs, the good runs will eventually return. The exhilaration that I feel when I reach the top of a hill, or hold a pace that I’ve never been able to hold before makes every exhausting, stomach-churning, sweat-drenched step worth it. (That and the wine on Tuesday nights..)

Speaking of, tonight there were 3 wines, a Virginian Champagne (well, sparkling wine. I learned tonight that only champagnes made in France can actually be called Champagne), a Sauvignon Blanc and a Shiraz. It’s kind of like I’m learning about wines at the same time I’m becoming a better runner.. Also getting to taste wine after a run gives me something to dig deep and push for.

That’s about it for tonight I think. It has been a long day and I am EXHAUSTED. Luckily for me, this Friday is a training holiday which means only 2 more days til the weekend!

Written by blusunshinesarah

August 9, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Posted in Running, Wine

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