Day 89: The Last WOD

I’m tired. I’m really, really sore. And I made it.

I mean, this is not over. I will clearly keep doing CrossFit. Because it’s amazing. BUT, let me tell you that I have never before in my life set out to do anything for 90 days and stuck to it. I also want to stress that CrossFit is NOT a 90-day “program” and that it will take you much, much longer than 90 days to even begin to reach your potential with CF–but man, it’s been a great start.

I am working an event all day tomorrow and then Sunday we are hoping to get out of the heat (100s in Denver! Not cool, people. If I wanted heat like this I would just move back to Moab!) and head up to the mountains to hike a 14er. Which means that, as of now, I can say that I have officially reached my 90 day goal, because, well, tomorrow is the 90th day and I am not doing a WOD tomorrow.

This week we set out to do a WOD every day for 5 days. Having only ever done 2 days in a row before, we made it 4 days and then desperately needed to take today off. I’m happy with the 4 days we did–and my shoulders are very, very thankful that I didn’t go for that 5th WOD (Monday push presses, Tuesday thrusters, Wednesday clean & jerks, Thursday push-ups). But it does just go to show that even after doing CrossFit very regularly (3-4 times a week, on average!) for 3 months, we are still nowhere near reaching our full potential. I still can’t even do 1/2 of the movements, and of the 30+ WODs we’ve done in the past 90 days, I’ve only done a small handful without modifications.

Things I have done that I thought I’d ever actually do:

  • Lifted heavy weights, period. I used to stick to Jillian Michaels-esque workouts where “Grab your heavy weights!” meant I was reaching for 8-pound hand weights. On Monday, I deadlifted 150 lbs.
  • Drank protein powder every day. The only people who do that are meat heads, right?And me, apparently.
  • Done 100 squats, or 50 burpees, or run a mile–and then continue to do lots of other things before, after, and in-between. I never would have done 50 burpees for any reason period, but if I had, you can bet that I would have spent a good long time sitting on the floor afterwards. If I sat on the floor between sets at CrossFit… Well, I just wouldn’t do that (unless I was about to pass out, which is a different story).
  • Cried after a workout.
  • Woke up at 6AM for many days in a row just to go kill myself at the gym before rushing home to shower and go to work. I am NOT a morning person. But this week alone I made it to three 6:30AM WODs.
  • Gave up gluten. REALLY never saw that one coming. But I can’t tell you how much better I feel for it.
  • Kept going even though every firing synapse was shouting, “What are you doing? You can’t do this! Just stop now!” And I relearned the most valuable lesson that’s been taught to me in my life: It’s not a matter of “Can I do this?” but “How can I do this?”

Thanks for sticking with me through this crazy 90 days! Before & After photos and measurements will be put up later this weekend, and next week I will start using The Ascent Blog! “90 Days of CrossFit” may be over, but I’m just getting started…

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Day 88: Paleo Strawberry Cake

This cake is DELICIOUS. It tastes like strawberry shortcake, but it’s grain free, gluten free, and sugar free. I’ve been eating it straight out of the pan with a spoon. However… it does have butter and honey in it.

I consider butter to be Paleo (and use it sparingly in my diet) because it so closely mimics animal fat, but it is technically dairy and therefore is not technically Paleo (you can read more about butter and Paleo here). And the jury is out on whether or not honey is Paleo because it has a high glycemic index, but the amount of honey you would have to consume for it to have any more of an effect on your body than, say, an apple is pretty extreme. So there you have it.

I thought about substituting coconut oil for the butter, but since there is hardly any sweetener and no cream or anything in here, the browned butter is really where the cake gets its richness. I think if you used coconut oil you would end up missing a lot of depth in the flavor.

I found this recipe on The Roost Blog via If you haven’t been over to foodgawker, I would highly suggest checking it out–it’s where I find probably at least half of my new recipes, especially paleo and gluten-free ones.

Please click here for the original recipe–her pictures are MUCH nicer than mine plus she includes a great recipe for paleo meringue frosting.
Brown Butter Strawberry Cake (makes 1- 8inch round cake) Note* I made mine in a 10″ pan because that’s all I had. I baked it for 15 minutes instead of 30 and it turned out great! I think this could also be adapted into muffins, just keep an eye on your time. I also think you could really add any fruit to this that you want. I think next time I might also add some rhubarb.

1 3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 TBS honey
3 eggs
1/2 TBS pure vanilla extract
4 TBS butter
1/2 cup quartered strawberries (about 8-10)
Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease an 8inch round cake pan. Trace the bottom of the pan on parchment paper, cut out circle and place on bottom of pan.

Melt butter in a small pan over medium/low heat until browned and fragrant. Set aside.

In a blender pulse almond flour, salt and baking soda until combined. Add honey, eggs, vanilla, and brown butter. Blend until smooth.

Pour mixture into a bowl and fold in quartered strawberries. Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes

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Day 86: Coming Attractions

Pretty much how I’m feeling today.

Oh, man. I am sore. Again. Always. How many posts have I started like this? I should count.

Yesterday morning, as I mentioned, we did Front Squat maxes and then Push Presses, Sit-Ups, and Wall Balls, and today we did Dead Lift maxes and then more Dead Lifts, Squat Jumps, and some running. Ouch! But, I have a new deadlift max! The last time I went through the process of getting my max was almost exactly 2 months ago, and I have gone up from 135 lbs to 150 lbs! Woo!

However, the last time we did Dead Lift maxes I also spent the next 3 days wearing a heat pack to the office. So let’s hope that doesn’t happen again. Pretty much today nothing is safe. I guess my pecs don’t hurt, and my calves don’t hurt…but everything else does!

With my 90th Day rapidly approaching I wanted to remind everyone about The Ascent Blog! If you go to right now you will find basically this blog but in a different format at a new address. I have been talking to the wonderful WordPress people who are going to help migrate all of my followers (that’s you guys!) once I am ready to make the full switch. But head on over there and let me know what you like or dislike about the new layout!

Also, I have already started writing some stuff that I am excited to put up once I switch over to The Ascent Blog! My first few posts are going to be a series about nutrition and food in general. I have tried to start writing those posts here but always end up feeling like there is WAY more information than I can (or would want to) put into just one post…Not just about Paleo, but about the American diet in general, my relationship with food, and the technical studies, environmental factors, and even the emotions that influence my decisions about what to put in my body. I’ve really enjoyed writing it so far and I think you are going to like it!

In other news, switching back to Paleo has proven to be a little more challenging than anticipated. It’s been pretty dang warm in this city for the past few days, and since we don’t have AC that makes us very very reluctant to cook and release any more heat into our house. So last night we used a coupon we had and ordered pizza. Granted we got the gluten-free polenta crust (which was terrible, frankly), but I mean it was still covered in probably-sugary tomato sauce and lots of cheese. Oh well.

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Day 85: Monday

Wow, it’s Day 85! My 90 Days of CrossFit Challenge will officially be OVER on Saturday! I’m sure I will write a long nostalgic post on that day so today I will spare you, but man, 90 days goes by fast.

The Monday headlines for today:

I may or may not have recently developed a CrossFit nickname. I’m not going to tell you what it is.

This morning I found out that my front squat max is 100 pounds. Woo!

I got in a fight with a wall ball (again! those bastards!) and lost. Can you sprain your nose? Because I think I did.

CrossFit Jai has a new coach! Her name is Christina (she also has some long CF nickname that is Mini-Sexy-Something-Something) and she is from Front Range CrossFit. She was there this morning and gave me some super helpful tips for my front squat. Even though Juli was coaching at Jai until just recently, I never did a WOD with her, and I just think that something about the way women lift is fundamentally different from how men lift. I think she is going to be an awesome addition to Jai; it will be great to work with a female coach sometimes!

As of today we are back on the Paleo (+small amounts of brown rice and beer) bandwagon. I’m looking forward to paying more attention to what I put in my body again, and hopefully not having another bagel incident, ever.

Monday headlines in your life? Ready go!

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Day 82: In Other News

I recognize and appreciate that this is totally unrelated to anything CrossFit-esque, but…

I got a new tattoo!

Pretty sweet, huh? And yes, it hurt. A lot.

Finished with the outline!

Onto the shading…

Finished product!

Big thanks to Kyle Grover from Old Larimer Street Tattoo in Denver. I have had a few tattoos done by a few different people in the Denver/Boulder area and while others have done good work, Kyle is definitely the nicest tattoo artist I’ve used who also actually really knows what he’s doing.

Anyway, Happy Weekend! 🙂

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Day 81: Gluten Pain

Apparently this is a shirt design. And I think I need one.

The last 24 hours have been PITIFUL for food consumption. Not just cheating, but borderline sabotage of my body. I have been eating Paleo or nearly Paleo now for about 6 weeks, with an emphasis on trying to stay gluten-free. I definitely do not have a full-blown allergy to gluten, but after weeks of experimenting I can now say with certainty that similarly to the way I am lactose intolerant, I am gluten intolerant (I would also like to add that I used to be in such denial about being lactose intolerant that I convinced myself I had a cherry allergy because I would always feel sick after eating Cherry Garcia). I can sort of condition my body with both dairy and gluten, where if I’m eating it regularly I am constantly in a state of slight discomfort but nothing too major. However, if I go a long time without eating it, the reaction my body has is pretty extreme.

I’m telling you all of this so you will recognize the gravity of the situation when I say that, after 6 weeks of eating almost no gluten, yesterday for breakfast I had not 1, but 2 bagels. This week we have had a big group of business partners in from out of town, and I don’t want you to think for a second that my job is important enough to be actually dealing with business partners, but I was in charge of getting them bagels for breakfast. So every day this week I have left for work 30 minutes early and gone to pick up boxes of fresh bagels. Can you really tell me that you wouldn’t eat a few bagels if they were warm and fresh and sitting in your car? I mean really, I’m only human.

It took about 2 hours for the first bagel to really hit my gut, and ever since then I have–to spare you the gory details–been in some pretty significant gastrointestinal stress. Then last night I agreed to the brilliant idea of eating nachos, covered in jalapenos, with a side of margarita. I mean, it tasted brilliant, but did nothing to help solve my GI woes.

This morning I woke up with a distended belly, feeling totally hungover. I actually went to CrossFit and did 4 rounds of 500 m row, 400 m run, max DU’s in a total of 6 minutes (the time you had left after the row and run you used to do as many DU’s as possible), and let me tell you that there was definitely a moment when I thought I was going to poop on the rowing machine. (I didn’t. In fact I didn’t even fart on it. But that was a MIRACLE, I tell you.)

Anyway, this whole ordeal has made me recognize that maybe one of the most significant changes I’ve encountered since starting CrossFit has had to do with my diet. My thoughts about what a person’s diet should look like are extensive and I’m not about to start talking about them now (almost 500 words into a post! yikes!), but I will say that 3 months ago, I would not have thought twice about grabbing a bagel for breakfast or eating a sandwich or big bowl of pasta for dinner. And I have been more than skeptical about this whole gluten-free movement, viewing it as a fad that allows people to basically justify being super picky. But today, I think it’s safe to say that I am a gluten-free convert. Well, except for beer. The beer stays.

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Women’s Lifting Class with Juli Bauer at CrossFit Jai!

Julie Bauer, being a badass

Sorry for the double post today but there is a fun thing that I just found out and wanted to share! CrossFit Jai is going to be hosting a series of 2-hour Women’s lifting clinics taught by Juli Bauer (a former CrossFit Jai coach, author of PaleOMG, CrossFit competitor, and general badass). The first one is scheduled for Saturday June 30th from 12-2PM at CrossFit Jai in LoHi! Sorry fellas, this is Women ONLY! The cost is $50 and is open to anyone who has a basic knowledge and some experience with a snatch and a clean & jerk. Meaning, you don’t have to be a bodybuilder but you should have a basic knowledge and some experience with variations of the movements and not be asking, “Wait, what’s a snatch?”

Click Here to Register!

The class is limited to 12 students so get in there! Select “Juli Bauer’s Lifting Seminar” on the calendar and it will take you to registration and payment options.

(PS, if you can’t make this one there will be more in the future that will cover different lifts, I will post them here once they become available!)

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