It’s been an eventful week in the Big Adventure House! I had my first sprint coaching session on Tuesday. Powerlifting has powered right down (it was a de-load week, which means that I still lifted but the weight was cut to give me some rest). Wednesday’s singing lesson focused on keeping the energy up (Gilbert & Sullivan doesn’t half take it out of you). Lots of improvements came in the pool (an unintended, but very welcome, consequence of doing two recovery sessions in the pool a week); and I completed my first heat in the CrossFit Open 2019. The CrossFit competition is not part of my official adventure schedule, but CrossFit forms an important part of my training regime, so I thought I’d give it a whirl (and I think it’s going to help me up my game 😉 ).
(Background image sourced from Wikimedia Commons.) My first coaching session with Richard focused on some of the drills I need to do to help with speed, balance and power. There was quite a bit of jumping, a fair old bit of hopping and a load of leaning 😉 . By the end of the session, my body had picked up the basics, and I’ve added the following drills to my current running sessions:
3 x 20m flys (falling into a lean and then sprinting as fast as I can)
5 x 10m jumps (leaning from the ankles, pulling from the belly button forwards)
5 x hops (R leg)
5 x hops (L leg)
I’m not sure what the neighbours make of all my hopping and jumping (there was actually a bit of curtain-twitching this morning), but I can tell you what I make of it: it’s harder than it looks (and my buttocks and hamstrings are working like they’ve never worked before!).
I think there’s something to learn from the lean itself. It’s not just about the clear psychological parallel (we’re all probably au fait with Brené Brown’s notion of leaning into vulnerability and her books such as ‘Daring Greatly’ by now). It’s also about what happens inside your body when you lean from the very bottom of you (your ankles). When you lean like this, everything feels ‘joined up’ and you can literally feel the core of yourself ‘waking up’ and working for you. And it’s not just your physical core. It feels like you’re bringing your whole self to the lean: to the EDGE. I’m still unpacking what this means, but this is where I’m at with it right now.
In the Pool
I won’t be tackling the butterfly until July, but I’m already in the pool twice a week to help with recovery from running and powerlifting (it really helps with mobility and flexibility). At the moment, I can’t do more than two strokes of butterfly before The Big Sink kicks in 😉 It’s not part of my swimming sessions because I can’t see much recovering going on while I’m doing anything to do with the fly! Instead I’m doing a 1600m easy session twice a week (crawl and breaststroke), incorporating some intervals mid-session.
I’ve been going to the pool twice a week since 31 December, and this week something really changed for me. This week I put in a little more effort and got a much greater return (there’s a life lesson right there!). I put the joined-upness of the ‘sprinting lean’ into practice, creating tension in my body all the way down to my ankles, keeping my ankles and feet as relaxed as possible, and kicking from the hips. It made such a difference!
As I gave more to each stroke, the water seemed to give something back to me. I’m not sure if this is what they mean by developing a ‘feel’ for the water, but I certainly have begun to experience it as a living thing that I am working with – something I’m in an active and dynamic relationship with. I noticed how the increase in power (thanks to my hips and thanks to the tension) helped to create a ‘breathing hollow’. I smiled every time I came up for breath. It was like the water was saying ‘That’s right!’
The swimming adventure is still in its early days, but I think I’m going to get a huge amount out of it. I look forward to each swim: it feels like a complete treat!
The CrossFit Open 2019
Every Friday for 5 weeks I’ll be competing in the CrossFit Open heats. People from all around the world do the same workout and post their results to a leader board. I’ve only been doing CrossFit since last September – and there are plenty of things that I still can’t do – but I’m taking part because I think it’ll help me to push myself a little further.
Last Friday was the first heat. We had 15 minutes to throw a medicine ball (prescribed – or RX – standard for women aged 50-54 was 14lbs) up to a 9ft line from a squat position 19 times, and then row for 19 calories. At the end of each throw-row sequence, we repeated the sequence until the 15 minutes was up. The final score was the number of ball throws added to the number of rowed calories.
Normally I throw a 10lb-ball for wall balls, but on Friday I gave the 14-lb ball a whirl: I upped my game. I’m not saying it was necessarily a good move! Because I wasn’t used to the weight of it, I threw it vertically (without hitting the wall) a few times (so that’s a lot of effort for a ‘no throw’). It also smashed me in the face a few times. Also not great 😉 . But now I’ve thrown 14lb-ball up against a wall 95 times in one session, well, I just might stick with that weight of ball!
6 of us from Causeway CrossFit completed the heat on Friday. It was a great atmosphere and lovely to be supported, and support, other athletes. There’s something really powerful about spending time with people who are giving it everything they’ve got!
At the moment, I’m 27th in the UK in my category (women, 50-54). That will change as more people complete the heat and submit their results (which has to be done by Monday night). By Monday night I could be much further down the board, but for now I’m enjoying being 27th 🙂 . As the heats wear on it’ll be more and more likely that there will be things I just can’t do or have to adapt (‘scale’): that’s all part of it. I’m going to give it my best shot, though. (On the other hand, if there’s any hopping or leaning in the upcoming heats, I’ll be grand 😉 ).
By the way, if you’re new to my blog, you can find out more about my #OldDogNewTricks adventure project (what I’m doing and why I’m doing it) here.
I’m just going outside and may be some time.