A Little Ozark Lovin’

March 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Airfare to St Louis is pretty cheep these days. And I gotta say, it is really nice to have grandparents around for a little break now and then. So, I invested $150 and flew a kicking and screaming toddler back to Missouri (thank God it’s a short flight) for a week with my family in a cabin at Montauk State Park.

Grandpa and G throwing rocks in the river

My parents have come down to this state park with their big group of friends every spring for probably more than 15 years now. They rent out a 4-plex of cabins, drink lots of Missouri wine, hang out, play games, laugh a lot, and, of course, go fishing. Because that’s what Montauk is all about – fly fishing for big, beautiful, rainbow trout.

Fishing the current river

I never got into fly fishing. Even though I’d travel each spring to these rivers, I always found the act of fishing stressful. In these clear waters, you can SEE the trout. You can see your fly land right in front of them. You can see them look up at your fly, look at you, stick out their tongue and swim away. I always found the judgmental and dismissive nature of trout difficult to handle. So, I let them be caught by those who are clearly better at it than me.

Jim's heavy stringer!

When I was a kid, I used to wander the woods, bored out of my brains and desperate for some kind of adventure. There was a hill I’d hike every day to get enough cell signal to call my boyfriend. Another one where I found a USGS marker on the summit. I found an old deer skeleton in a ravine with my friend Amy one year. I’d poke sticks down in the bubbling sand springs. Show my friend Matt how to catch crawdads (you have to pick them up with your fingers behind the pincers so they don’t get ya). Or poke through little limestone cliffs above the river looking for caves and bats.

Trees in bloom

While doing all of this, my mom was usually back in the cabin, cleaning, drying waders, cooking dinner and drinking wine. This year, I was invited to participate in the activities of the adult women. And, now that I am a mom myself, I spent a great weekend cooking paleo food, flee-market shopping with the ladies, making my first basket, and drinking lots of wine!

The Licking Exchange

My basket and glass of wine (for scale)

G had a great time as well. He threw rocks in the river, played on the playground, visited the trout hatchery, took about a million walks, and found out that yellow dandelion flowers give him hives. We’ve been home for two weeks now, and he still comes up to me every hour or so and says “Wan go WALK!”

It ended up being a beautiful weekend in Missouri. Much better than last spring when a tornado hit the airport right before we were supposed to head home. On the flight back to Denver, I gave G a little more Benadryl (for his hives!) and he was a much better traveler. I actually hope we get to do this again next year!

The 2012 CrossFit Games Open

March 21, 2012 at 10:45 am

Our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist. –CrossFit.com

Mark finishing his push press while detaching his ribs from his spine

What is CrossFit? It’s a competitive fitness program, run out of simple gyms, where full-body and functional movements are emphasized. Basically, we go for an hour class, and in that time, we do a warm-up, practice a skill or two, and then do an intense 3 to 45 minute workout (Workout Of the Day or WOD) that involves olympic lifts, body weight exercises like push-ups or pull-ups, and sometimes gymnastic movements such as handstands or ring motions.

I say it’s “competitive” because the workouts are usually timed or reps are counted in some way, and you compete with all of the other people from your gym that day for the best score. It’s also competitive because each year, people from around the world participate in the CrossFit Games, and compete against each other for the title of “Fittest Man or Woman on Earth”.

Kate starting a 75 pound jerk with a disturbing facial expression

The Games start with The Open, where everybody can pay $20 and do the same five workouts to compete against everybody else in the world. The top 60 from each region will move on to Regionals, and the winners from there go on to the World-Stage.

Mark and I have been doing Crossfit for a couple of years now. Well, Mark has been doing it consistently for more than three years at Norco CrossFit. I started, got pregnant and stopped, and then started and stopped a bit more until finding a good gym (Become CrossFit) and rhythm this fall.

Last year, Mark participated in The Open, and was not thrilled with his results. This year, I signed up as well, and we both worked insanely hard on our Saturday mornings for five weeks to put in the best scores that we possibly could.

Mark recovering from an open workout

The Open workouts are designed so that almost anybody can complete a rep or a round or two. The trick is being good enough to get into the heavy weights or the later rounds. Mark and I are not that good. But results were better this year! And the experience was a good one for both of us. Mark went in optimistic but aware of his limits. I had no clue as to what I was capable of, and managed to either surprise and amaze myself or desperately disappoint myself each week.

Each Wednesday night when the new workout was announced, Mark and I would decide on a goal. We tried not to focus on final scores, but instead on strategies or ideals. “I just want to keep moving for the entire 7 minutes.” or “I’m hoping that if I focus on form I’ll be able to lift something heavier than I ever have before!”

The med-ball is your friend!

Mark’s final place was 1,263rd in the Southwest region (of 1,554 men who completed all 5 workouts) and 17,409th in the world (of 22,183 men). Kate’s final place was 876th in the Southwest (of 967 women who completed all 5 workouts) and 11,067th in the world (of 12,802 women).

The workouts definitely helped highlight our strengths and weaknesses. I have some skills to work on: wall balls and chest-to-bar pull-ups among others. Mark needs to work on increasing his lifting weights – both through a focus on form and pushing through some mental blocks.

Mark goes Chest-to-bar!

And while neither of us will be continuing on to Regionals, we did manage to complete all five workouts, and had a great time doing it!

How is cross-training going for everybody out there? Anybody have a fun competition you are prepping for this spring?

Mark’s 2012 CrossFit Games page, and Kate’s 2012 CrossFit Games page

Workout 12.1
AMRAP 7 minutes of Burpees
Mark: 103 Kate: 88

Workout 12.2
AMRAP 10 Minutes of Snatches
Men: 30 reps at 75 lbs, 30 reps at 135 lbs, 30 reps at 165 lbs and AMRAP at 210 lbs
Women: 30 reps at 45 lbs, 30 reps at 75 lbs, 30 reps at 100 lbs, and AMRAP at 120 lbs
Mark: 30 Kate: 31

Workout 12.3
AMRAP 18 minutes of 15 Box Jumps (M: 24″, W: 20″), 12 Push Press (M: 115 lbs, W: 75 lbs), and 9 Toes-to-bar
Mark: 164 Kate: 125

Workout 12.4
AMRAP 12 minutes of 150 Wall balls (M: 20 lbs, W: 15 lbs), 90 Double-unders, and 30 Muscle-ups
Mark: 155 Kate: 82

Workout 12.5
AMRAP 7 minutes, add 3 reps each round of Thrusters (M: 100 lbs, W: 65 lbs), and Chest-to-bar Pull-ups.
Mark: 70 Kate: 3

Starting a new climbing season!

March 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm

It always seems like winter is so long around here. Mark and I used to drive five or six hours to desert areas where we would try and climb all year long, but that plan is less practical with a fidgety one-year-old in your backseat.

And beyond the kiddo, we’ve had bouts of illness, a seasonal decrease in climbing partners (skiing sucks!) and constant winds to make getting out on the rock even rougher.

Dark Basalt and Denver views

At the beginning of March, we pounced on the first warm day and first friendly helper we could find, and headed out to North Table mountain to get our climb on. LeeAnne came out to help belay and baby watch. And she was great with both!

LeeAnne is an awesome babysitter!

We started the day getting our egos’ smashed by the classic sandbagged routes Thelma (5.7) and Louise (5.8). We were all a little shaken up by the experience, so we hiked over to Kevin Spies the Line (5.6) and finished the day on a high note.

LeeAnne gives Mark the first lead belay of her life

G spent his day climbing over boulders, throwing tiny rocks, making friends with dogs and other kiddos in the area, and eating all of the snacks I packed for him. I can already tell that climbing this summer is going to be radically different from last year. We now have (1) a more mobile child, (2) a child who doesn’t put EVERYTHING in his mouth, and (3) a child who responds to basic voice commands. I hope this makes our outdoor adventures just a little easier.

G having a blast at the crag

We got to the crag a little late and left a little early, but it was a wonderful afternoon in the sun, and we all desperately needed that.

Mark and G climbing above the Coor's Brewery

Bring on that warm weather! We’re totally ready!

G was sooo excited to see the backpack get pulled out

Are you ready for the upcoming climbing season? How about your kiddos? What’s new and exciting for you this year? Let me know in the comments!