theresac

Diary of a Fat CrossFitter – Progress is Progress

worlds okayest runnerOur skill work last night was hand-stand push-ups (HSPU), which are exactly as awful as they sound.  Do a hand-stand.  Then lower your head to the ground.  Then push back up.  The good news is, there are lots of scaling options for HSPUs.  The bad news is that I had to scale all the way back to holding a pike position (like a pushup, but with your bottom in the air and you looking at your feet) for 20 seconds.  No pike pushups, even.
But that’s better than I could have done three months ago, when I started.
Sometimes I look at the progress I’m making and ask myself why I didn’t start this earlier.   Last night’s warm-up was a 400m run, not only did I run the whole way, I could have run for longer.  I remember when I couldn’t even run 100m (seriously … I had to walk at the halfway point of a 200m warm-up run).  I’m still slow as molasses, and still the slowest in my class by, oh say, a third, but I can run further and longer than I’ve ever been able to as an adults.  And that’s some awesome sauce, right there.
Next up, mobility.  Turns out that I have some awesome mobility in some spots, and terrible mobility in other spots (mobility is code for flexibility).  I’m thinking about attending my <del>gym</del> box’s twice-weekly yoga class.  Or following a class online.
Any yogis out there want to weigh in on a great series of yoga DVDs or YouTube videos?

What I’m Reading, because I’m too fried to do anything else

I’ve been doing more reading than writing these days. I feel like I can do three out of four things: study, spend time with the kids, exercise, and blog. Sleeping has, of course, been out of the question for the last several months since Jamsine was born.

Humans of New York

I normally go into my conversations with a set of proven questions to ask, that I find will elicit a wide variety of anecdotes from people’s lives: happiest moment, saddest moment, things like that. But with people fleeing war, it is absolutely impossible to discuss anything beyond the present moment. Their circumstances are so overpowering, there is absolutely zero room in their minds for any other thoughts. The conversation immediately stalls, because any topic of conversation beyond their present despair seems grossly inappropriate. You realize that without physical security, no other layers of the human experience can exist. “All day they do is cry for home,” she told me. (Dohuk, Iraq)

Humans of New York is on a World Tour with the UN. The stories are beautiful and heartbreaking.

To keep or to purge, that is the question

4. Do I love this item more than the clutter it might create? “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” is often quoted when simplifying the items in one’s home but in our case, we had too many useful or beautiful items.

Five questions to ask yourself when purging. Something to think about as our next pack out draws nearer, and I’ll be once again faced with how to ship and store our family scrapbooks.

Grawburg’s 10 Commandments for FM’s

I had the pleasure of meeting Chris the other day; we’ll be serving together in Jerusalem. This is excellent advice for life (but specifically FMs, GSOs, and fellow ICASS service providers) that sums up tp, “Don’t be an asshole.”

TEN RANDOM THINGS I’VE NOTICED ABOUT THE STATES

Kelly’s got a great list up that summarizes the culture shock that I always feel when visiting the States from abroad. Two highlights (but really, read the whole thing):

2.) Dress is casual. Very casual. I have always dressed like an American wherever I live, but I like that here I can go to the grocery store in shorts and t-shirt and not look out of place. Yep, these are my t-shirt wearing, flip-flopping peeps, right here.

6.) The food is both awful and wonderful. At our temporary apartment we were greeted with a basket of junk food on the kitchen counter, and they were giving away cupcakes and sugary iced coffee in the lobby at happy hour for some reason. But on the other hand, there is great produce at the grocery store, lots of healthy, tasty, not-schnitzel food in restaurants, and the salads don’t have potatoes in them. You can have a chicken Caesar salad or noodle bowl for dinner or you can scarf free cupcakes. Your choice.

In which I cook a lot of Mediterranean food

I spent the day cooking up a feast of Middle Eastern delights, specifically, recipes from Ottolenghi’s cookbook Jerusalem. I normally do all of the weeks’ cooking ahead of time, and I have been getting bored of hard boiled eggs and roasted chicken thighs.

Every week.

Week after week after week.

Also, our CSA vegetables are starting to pile up in the fridge, which is a bone of contention in my marriage. Fortunately, Jerusalem is full of paleo and primal friendly recipes.  Middle Eastern food is, in general, paleo friendly.  Lots of delicious salads and vegetables.  Amazing grilled meat.  Lots of olive oil.  Lots of deliciousness.  And one of the great things about living in the States for a few months is access to high quality ingredients.

First, I needed to get rid of several weeks’ worth of zucchinis. There’s an excellent recipe for zucchini turkey burgers that turned out perfectly. I doubled the recipe, rightly suspecting that everyone in the family would love the flavorful patties.

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Jasmine loved ‘em. Bertrand loved ‘em. And Grace probably will too when I get around to feeding her one. Whole30 complaint.

Next, I had to use up some cubed butternut squash I’d bought thinking to steam for Grace, but had sat in the fridge for a week. Blech. This roasted butternut squash with tahini recipe is also 100% Whole30 compliant.

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So good. I thought I’d have several servings for lunches next week, but we ate it straight out of the oven. Oops. It was delicious. Just as delicious was the leftover lemon tahini sauce, which will serve as dips for vegetables this week. Seriously. Make extra sauce and then eat it with a spoon. it’s that good.

Also, beets. The beets have been sitting in our fridge for almost two weeks now, and they were starting to make Bertrand cranky. I bought a few extras this morning to make sure I’d have enough, which may have been a mistake. Turns out, the beet puree recipe makes about 3 cups of beet dip.

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I ended up adding a lot more yogurt and a lot more za’atar than the recipe called for; however, the recipe was absolutely delicious. Even my weird-food-adverse husband liked it.  And yes, that is one of my kids’ bowls in the photo.  All of my pretty dishes are sitting with our personal effects in Antwerp.  So it goes.

And finally, I made the date syrup called for by the beet puree.

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Soak half a dozen pitted dates in water for a few hours. Reserve the liquid, then blend the dates with an immersion blender, adding reserved liquid as necessary. Easy peasy.

Tomorrow, I’ll finish up with the more mundane parts of the cook-up.  Boiled eggs.  Chicken stock.  Plenty of rice for Bertrand, Grace, and Jasmine to eat over the course of the week.  Not sure I’m a fan of splitting the work up over a couple of days, but for now, I’m happy to be sitting down and blogging instead of working in the kitchen.

Cuddle monster on the bus

Jasmine loves selfies
Jasmine loves selfies

 

One of the most frustrating things about long term training in DC is how hard it is to spend real time with my kids. Time that isn’t rushing around getting me ready for work in the morning and them ready for daycare. Time that isn’t cooking or cleaning in the evening. Time that isn’t studying. Time that isn’t frantically running errands. Time that isn’t in the car.

I had previously solved this problem with Jasmine by cuddling her to sleep every night. When it was time for bed, I’d make her a bottle of warm milk, let her put an ice cube in it, then curl up in her bed with her to read and giggle and play until she finally fell asleep. Between the gym and meeting friends for dinners, I don’t get that quiet time with her anymore.

This morning when Jasmine wanted to cuddle on the bus to FSI, I just didn’t have to heart to tell her to sit back down in her seat. I miss spending one-on-one time with her too.

We only have a few months left in DC, and while Bertrand and I have really been too worn down to take advantage of everything this great city has to offer, I hope that over the next several weekends, Jasmine and I will get downtown to visit memorials and museums. I love this city, and I think it’s about time for me to exit from my “OMG I HAVE TWO KIDS UNDER THREE” panic mode. Quality time with my daughter and DC in the summer? Sounds like a plan to me.

Diary of a Fat Crossfitter – Time cap? What time cap?

Post-Helen Theresa
Post-Helen Theresa

The best way to get one-on-one time with the coaches at my gym box is to finish last. I like to think it’s because the coaches are admiring my determination and fortitude, but I’m pretty sure it’s only because they’re worried Imma hurt myself.

My box appears to have some rhyme and reason to its programming, and part of that is testing. How much can you lift? How fast can you get through this benchmark metcon workout? How far do you have to scale the workouts to complete them under the time cap? How much have you improved since the last time you tested?  I’m happy to be done with benchmark week. I could do the last two workouts in the progression this weekend, but I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend snuggled up with my family and my Arabic flashcards.

This week I’ve discovered that I can deadlift a decent amount for a novice. I still can’t do a single goddamned pushup. And I infinitely prefer ring rows to rope raises.

Also, I have completed zero benchmark workouts under the time cap. Bless the coaches’ hearts, they let me finish anyway.

Diary of a Fat CrossFitter – Things I’ve Been Reading

It’s “benchmark week” at my box gym, whatever that means. I think it means a lot of pain, but I could be wrong. No, wait, I’m probably right. Expect it to be described in excruciating and profane detail at the end of the week. Until then, here are a few articles that have crossed my radar in the last couple of days.

I offended Melissa McCarthy so you don’t have to

That’s not to say that we should ignore a woman’s size altogether, because as writer Lisa C. Knisely reminds us “the fucking worst thing you can tell a fat girl is that she isn’t fat,” but pointing it out in a cutesy, wink-wink,oh-we-get-it way might serve to make people feel infantilized or emphasize being treated differently. We need to celebrate people’s bodies for the right reasons.

I’m still a fat fucking CrossFitter, don’t you guys worry.

My ‘Naked’ Truth

Naked, I stood at the closet doors with the lights on and made myself ready. I took a deep breath and positioned the mirrors so I could see all of me. I consciously worked to remove my self-believed inner image. I opened my eyes and looked very carefully at my body. And my heart lurched at the truth: I am not a young woman anymore. I am a woman well-lived. My body tells of all the years she has carried my spirit through life.

Perhaps most appalling is her date’s blindness to how hurtful he was.

There are Two Kinds of Fat People

If people have studies that say that everyone going paleo and doing crossfit will save on healthcare costs and be better for the “good of society” do we all have to eat a steak while we flip tires in a garage with no air conditioning? The only good answer to this is that each of us gets to choose how highly we prioritize our health and what path we choose to get there. Public health should be about making information and options available to the public, not making individual bodies the public’s business. If people want to flip tires in an air conditioned gym while eating Kraft singles and wearing a plarn backpack that’s totally their deal, I say rock on.

BONUS NON BODY ACCEPTANCE LINK: I’m loving Cup of Jo’s Motherhood Around the World series. Raising Jasmine, then later Grace, in Freetown was an adventure, but so wonderful. In a world where every day there’s a new story on CNN about something awful happening to a toddler, I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had while raising my own wonderful daughters.

P.S. Deadlift PR last night.  It was awesome.