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Friday madness!

July 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

In between packing boxes and gritting my teeth at the nails-on-the-blackboard sound of sellotape being ripped to pack boxes as we prepare to move buildings, I thought I’d just write a quick update on the CrossFit class this morning.


It was hectic.


The end.


No really, it was hectic. Look at it:


Snatch Deadlift 1-1-1 (Aimee and I partnered up for this and managed to lift 51kg on our last lift! Not too shabby huh?)

Then (there’s always a ‘then’)


In 10 minutes, we had to complete as many rounds as possible of this:

  • ·         5 ring pushups (most of us did ordinary pushups though because we’re not quite at the ring pushup stage yet)
  • ·         10 knees to elbows (holy cr@p!!)
  • ·         20 double unders (60 singles) (with a skipping rope)



I managed 5-and-a-half rounds. Mostly because the knees to elbows were so hard on my hands that I had to take a break every few seconds towards the end. It took a good 3 hours after I got to work for my hands to stop hurting as well.


Although Roland assures us that ‘it gets easier’.


Anyway, that’s all for this week. August will start with the second Cape Summer Trail Series trail run. Wish me luck! The jury is still out whether I’m brave/mad enough to do the long course…


Have a fab weekend y’all!


OMG. Burpees can go sideways too….

July 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

I know! Sideways burpees… say it isn’t so….


I had to take a deep breath and have a little chat with my inner balance which was understandably a bit nervous at the prospect of doing burpees with a sideways jump.


At 7am.


That was what awaited me at Wednesday’s Cape CrossFit class. It is the first one I have been to this week due to work commitments and thankfully by Wednesday morning my aching derriere and sore calves from Sunday’s run had eased off a bit.


My running buddy Aimee came with me as the kind folk at CCF gave me some vouchers for her; and since she’s never one to turn down a challenge, she jumped at the chance. I’m so glad she came too, because I think she was beginning to think I was elaborating the effort some of the classes required – but now she knows… a CrossFit workout is nothing short of hard work. The good news however is that not only is it fun, but it really does seem to have results.


In just over a month I feel much stronger and I can actually see more definition in my stomach area and in my legs. It’s probably not enough for other people to notice but for me it’s a big thing because it clearly means it’s working and I have finally found something that shows results.




Anyway, the class went like this:

Hang cleans: 2-2-2


And then


Double alternating tabata, which consisted of as many of these as possible in 8 minutes:

  • Clean @ 50% of 1 RM (for 20/30 seconds, as many as we could)
  • 10 second break
  • Burpee side jump (for 20/30 seconds, as many as we could)


It wasn’t as hardcore a workout as my first one which almost had me resigned to the fact that sitting down would forever be a challenge, but it was still tough. Like all the CCF classes. However, in true CCF form, Aimee was well impressed and i think she could easily become hooked to it. That’s why we get on so well, our almost trampy attraction to any form of exercise!


Today I’m going to attempt a short run – depending entirely on whether the wind isn’t at gale-force velocity and if my legs will cope.


By the way, if you haven’t already entered you should check out the fantastic new competition we’re running on Health24 at the moment. We are giving away a compression suit like the one I reviewed from Second Skins…. check out the details on our Facebook page. Very easy to enter and it’s worth a whopping R1 000!!!


But as the raspy-voiced gentleman on eTV always points out – you gotta be in it to win it! Smile

Cape Winter Trail Series: pics!!

July 28, 2010 in Uncategorized

So while I’m waiting on hubby dearest downloading the pics and sending them to me, here are some from the Trail Series website from Sunday’s run, just to give you an idea of how beautiful it was… and how high that damn hill really was!

Here is the start of the race. If you’ve been reading this blog you’ll know I’m not near the front! Cool

 This was still the ‘nice’ part

Still not so bad…

This gives you an idea of how steep the hill was – and how stunning the view was!

Cape Winter Trail Series: first race done!

July 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

This last weekend I took part in the first race of the Cape Winter Trail Series. The first race was 10.2km (for the long course) and took place at the Tygerberg Nature Reserve, which has to be one of the most beautiful spots in Cape Town.


I arrived as the sun was just starting to rise and although it was icy-cold I soon warmed up on the long walk up the hill. To say it was breath-taking is putting it too mildly, it was amazing. The sun rose in an orange ball from behind the distant mountains and shone golden rays through the tall trees on top of the hill, leaving a blanket of misty warmth over the valley below which covered the dozens of houses where the rest of Cape Town still slept.


At the top of the hill it was even more beautiful – one the one side there was quiet, suburban Durbanville scattered with a few wine farms, and on the other lay Table Mountain, the Atlantic Ocean and a quietly buzzing highway that never seems to lie alone even in the quiet hours of a Sunday morning.


Watching the sun continue to rise and light up a bright blue sky it suddenly made getting up so early on a Sunday morning much less of a chore! I did take some pictures, but hubby absconded with the camera before I had a chance to download them (hint hint hubby dearest..Kiss.)


The race began at 9am, by which time lots of people had arrived and everyone was pacing around – either anxiously or because it was still freezing cold despite the bright sunny morning. I love this part of a race – everyone equally full of energy and anxiety, it fills the air with an electric buzz of anticipation.


I hadn’t had a chance to view the race profile beforehand so was a little disheartened to hear the organisers announce that there was a monster hill fairly early on – if they described it as monster I could only imagine how huge it must be. So I was feeling a little apprehensive by then…


A few minutes later we were off. It started with a run up a tarred hill which I ended up walking for the second half cause my calves do not like hills at all (I really need to strengthen them, it’s very annoying -tips anyone?). But after that it was all good. We ran around the hill on a very uneven off-road single track which brought us around to the monster hill after a few kays.


And OMG. What. A. Hill.


However, not only was the hill very steep, and almost impossible to run up unless you’re part Duiker, but this is where the long course joined up with the short course, so all of a sudden there were loads of people huffing and puffing up the hill – the hill that WOULD NOT END.


My heart rate monitor showed my heart rate was at about 172 going up the hill, which is very high. Higher than when I’m actually running! It was THAT long and that hard.


But that wasn’t the worst part. Just when we got to the top and my legs were starting to quiver, I realised we were back at the start, which meant we were finished- right? Wrong. So, so wrong… I think it was kind of cruel but they made us run through the start/finish area again and then sent us back off down the other side. I know!!!!


This time it was all downhill, and I think I made up a lot of time that I’d lost before on the hill although at the bottom I ended up having to walk again because there was lots of loose rock which was covered in moss and that made it a bit slippery. And being the delicate flower I am (or rather, the clumsy one..) I thought it was better to walk it rather than risk falling. It was a long climb back up the hill and doing that with a sprained ankle would not have been ideal at all.


Anyway. Long story short I made it to the end. My time wasn’t great (1 hour 29 mins) but I finished it.

Thanks also to Ellie from Cape CrossFit who also ran the race and waited for me at the top of the hill to encourage me on the last little stretch towards the finish. Don’t think I would have had the energy to run it if she hadn’t been there so BIG THANKS to you my dear!


One thing I have learned from this race is that I need to eat something more substantial beforehand – halfway through the race I was completely drained of energy. It was a struggle to even put one leg in front of the other and climbing all those hills sapped what little energy I had left. I’m not sure what I should eat or if I should take energy gels with me, so any suggestions are welcome. I really don’t want to feel like that again, it really hampered my performance and by the end I was actually trembling.


Einah level:

My legs are not too bad, although the bottoms of my feet are a bit tender, but for some reason my bum muscles are very einah.

So far I’ve had two hot baths with Epsom Salts, muscle relaxants and I’ve stretched as much as I can. But it’s still a bit sore. I did read afterwards – the beauty of hindsight – that immediately after a run an ice bath is much better than a hot bath for aching muscles. But an ice bath – in winter? Guess I’ll have to try it and see.


Anyhoo, I have not been to CrossFit since Friday and am missing it, we have had a work conference on which has thrown us out of routine. But I will be back at it from tomorrow.


As they say, no rest for  the wicked! Innocent




It’s getting addictive….

July 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

Grrr… twice this week I have written blog posts which have disappeared into the infinite darkness of the World Wide Web never to be seen again. It is, to say the least, frustrating.

So here we go again, fingers crossed that somewhere between writing the post and saving it nothing goes wrong…

I am now going to Cape CrossFit three times a week, and despite the fact that I was in agony the first few times after a class, I think my body is finally starting to adapt to the different gruelling exercises as I’m not as sore afterwards.

I am also feeling a lot stronger physically and exercises or moves that I attempted a month ago are just a little bit easier. And given that they’re generally very difficult moves at the best of times, it’s quite encouraging to feel and see the difference.

This morning for example, we did a lot of pull-ups on the bar… and while I’m still a way off the real thing, I think my form is improving and I don’t feel that the idea of doing a real push-up is that unrealistic in the near future. And by ‘near’ I mean in a few weeks, not a few days Embarassed

However, CrossFit is all about the challenge and just when you think you’re about to get something, they throw a curveball at you with something else. Like this morning’s gruelling workout:

We had to perform the following exercises 3 times, as quickly as possible while being timed:

  • ·         10 feet to bar
  • ·         20 box jumps 60/40 cm (who thought jumping up and down off a box could get so tiring?)
  • ·         30 squats

It was tiring.

But I’m beginning to see what all the fuss is about with regard to CrossFit. It really is addictive. The more I do it, the more I want to do it. And as soon as I start getting better at something I want to keep going till I get it right.

Fortunately a combination of common sense and aching muscles stops that sadomasochistic behaviour in its tracks.

Check out this video – it’s an Adidas advert for the 2010 CrossFit Games that CCF posted on their site. A month ago I would have thought these people were superhuman masochists – now, while I still think they’re superhuman masochists (let’s be honest here…) I also have a deep respect for them and find them really inspirational….

Anyhoo, this weekend is the first trail run of the Cape Winter Trail Series and it’s being held out at Tygervalley Nature Reserve. I’m doing the long course which I think is about 10km so hopefully it won’t be too steep or rocky cause a 10km trail run us hard enough without throwing rocky hills in the mix. One of the girls from CCF is also doing it so it will be  to see a friendly face along the way!

Wish me luck and have a super weekend!


Base test take 2….

July 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

So this morning’s CrossFit class was interesting.


Remember WAY back when I first started at Cape CrossFit (almost a month ago, nogal…) I had to do a base fitness test which consisted of a 500m row, 40 squats, 30 sit-ups, 20 push-ups and 10 pull-ups? Well this morning I had to do that again.



Although apart from the fact that my time had improved, I actually wasn’t as intimidated by it as I was the first time and I think it had less to do with the fact that I knew what was coming and more because I knew I could do it.
CrossFit should carry an “addictive” warning label Laughing


Anyhoo, my first base test on June 25 I completed in 7 minutes and 13 seconds.

This morning I did the same test in 6 minutes 29 seconds!


Can I have a whoop whoop?!! Wink



Although, according to Jobst I actually did better than the first time because this morning I managed to go all the way down to the floor with my push-ups and I think my form had improved in all the other exercises too.  


This is what he said,

That is a very nice improvement by itself. What is even more impressive is that I let you cut most of the push ups short in the initial intro. Doing them the way you did them today, Roland told me you went chest to the floor on most if not all of these this time around, you would have taken quite a bit more time for the initial intro… Just from the numbers, it is roughly a 11% improvement, but due to the bigger range of motion its probably more like 2 or 3 times as much. Great job!!!”


Not too shabby huh?


I can’t say I like push-ups any more than when I started, but I do at least seem to be getting better at them. And I suppose it’s better to be good at something you hate than to completely suck at it AND hate it. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be dropping to the floor and popping out 100 push-ups just for sh!ts and giggles. Cool 



Yeah i know.



I am howe ver interested to see what improvements I will make in the next few weeks for the Fight Gone Bad Challenge at the end of August.



Burpees. Not as much fun as they sound.

July 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

Despite feeling a bit stiff in my ribs (of all places) after the Fight Gone Bad challenge on Monday, I went back to Cape Crossfit yesterday morning. If you are in Cape Town you will appreciate that just getting out of bed yesterday morning with the icy rain was a feat of its own!


When I got there I went in to check on the board what was on the schedule for the day. Burpees, chest-to-bar pull-ups and back squats.



Piece. Of. Cake. Cry


We started with the back squats. Now squats I’m generally fine with, but as more and more weight got added onto the bar, it got much harder. Yes I know, that’s all common sense… but it really amazed me just how much harder it became. And it’s not like we were doing lots, it only 5 at a time, slow and controlled. But by the last one I almost couldn’t stand back up again.


And I was only lifting about 26lbs…. the girl next to me was at a whopping 90lbs!! Seriouslyand she’s a pretty girl, not one of those body-builder types called Bertha that hang around in the mainstream gyms looking for little children to snack on. A normal girl. Which might seem like an arbitrary thing to say, but I think it’s amazing because it just shows that you don’t have to be built like Attila the Hun to be strong. It makes that kind of strength and fitness seem more attainable for the ordinary girl like me.


Although I’m not kidding myself, I still have quite a way to go before I’m lifting anywhere near 90lbs. Even 27lbs at this stage would be a lot Wink

I didn’t know at that stage what a burpee was. Turns out it’s nothing near as much fun to do as it sounds. This is what it looks like (thanks to Google Images)


Except that this graphic has left out that between B and C you lower yourself to the floor before coming back up and into position C.


At first it was cool. I’m always happy to learn a new exercise, anything that gets the heart rate up (within reason of course). But man, they really become less and less and less fun the more you do of them.



They are especially tiring when you have to do chest-to-bar pull-ups in between. Although, truth be told, I didn’t really do a proper chest to bar pull-up. I did a jumping pull-up since I’m just starting out.


And….. because I once tried a chest-to-bar pull-up…… and unless the exercise calls for a single one that takes several minutes and involves lots of contorted, ugly face-pulling and very loud verbalising of unlady-like, bad words, I’m just not ready for that yet.

So instead I did jumping pull-ups which are also completely exhausting. This is what they look like:



Let’s face it, there’s nothing pretty about this kind of exercise. But if the end result means a firmer, toned and fitter body, then it really is all worth it right?




Fight Gone Bad, take 1

July 12, 2010 in Uncategorized

Well the SWC might be over, but my CrossFit training has really only just begun! Smile


This morning was the start of the Fight Gone Bad challenge, which is 8 weeks long. It consisted of a 15 minute workout which was broken up into 5 parts. and you got a minute break inbetween. Which was, incidentally, the shortest minute in the history of time. Or it certainly felt like it…


It was a really hardcore workout – and I did the women’s beginner challenge. Thank GOODNESS! For a few crazy minutes I actually contemplated going for the intermediate one, because the weights in the beginner section looked a bit light. However if nothing else I have learned that when it comes to weights and exercise it’s never good to assume you will be kick-ass at something until you actually do it.

And if there are a lot of reps on the cards, lighter is the way to go!

But when I saw that for the intermediate you had to throw the balls so high that they almost touched the ceiling – I realised that there was very little chance I would manage it. Alas, my wall ball skills are still in their infancy.


The challenge looked like this: for one minute you do wall balls (which I described in my last post here) then when that minute is up you move straight onto your next station which is sumo deadlift high pulls for a minute, then when that minute is up you do box jumps for a minute then over to push-press with the bar for a minute and then onto the rowing machine for a minute.


Then you get the one minute rest – before doing it all again.




It was quite hectic but it was a real rush. There were a few times I completely forgot how to do something and thankfully there were two other people there so I could sneak a peek and get bakc on track… for some reason my brain refused to kick into gear when it came to the push-presses and I was squatting and pushing at all the wrong times. Monday morning mojo (or the lack thereof) I guess… 


However it was exhilirating and defintiely warmed me up on an otherwise very chilly winter morning!


So, I am now officially on the board with the challenge and in eight weeks when I do the same routine above we will see how far I have progressed. Wish me luck Cool

Handstands and headrushes

July 9, 2010 in Uncategorized

It has been a good 20 years since I have even considered doing a handstand. And even as a child I remember being quite bad at them. So when I arrived for class this morning and saw that handstands were on the menu, it’s fair to say I was a little apprehensive.


However, after a few dodgy attempts and bashing my head against the wall once, I managed – with the help of Roland -, to get into a handstand. This was of course against a wall, because my balance at the best of times is a bit suspect, and an attempt to balance upside down was just not on the cards for me.


Baby steps.


Anyway, the hardest part for me was not the getting up into the handstand, or even holding it there – neither of which were particularly easy either, but I battled the most with coming down. My brain would not connect the dots on which leg to bring down and how.

So I just stayed there for a while, upside down and against a wall, acting as nonchalant as one can in that position. Eventually my arms started trembling and my brain finally figured out which was was down.

Next up – coming down a little more gracefully… but like I said, baby steps! Embarassed

That however, was just the warm-up. The real workout consisted of throwing an 8lb ball up high against a wall and catching it while in a squat then repeating that 21 times, then 15, then 9. And inbetween that doing sumo deadlift high pulls with a kettlebell (21-15-9). If that doesn’t get your Friday going, nothing will!

It was all in preparation for the Fight Gone Bad challenge which I’m taking part in that starts on Monday. It’s an eight week challenge and you can read about it here on the Cape CrossFit website.


Wish me luck peeps, and have a fab weekend! Kiss 

I’ll leave you with this oh-so-flattering picture of me mid-workout last week at the CCF studios.


See the concentration? Laughing 


Ah… so that’s what a ring dip is….

July 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

There’s only one thing more frustrating than trying to do a ring dip for the first time – and that’s writing a long post about it and then ‘losing’ it. Cry 


Not ayoba…

For my third day at Cape CrossFit we did even more different exercises, including ring dips (which might even overtake push-ups as my least favourite exercise), kettlebell swings, knees-to-elbows and walking lunges.

Walking lunges I’m getting better at I think. Purely because I seem to do a lot of them all the time. I’m also enjoying them more, which I would like to say is because I’m getting better at them but I think it’s more because they’re easier to do than some of the other stuff – so as the lesser of several evils they are by default more enjoyable!

Ring dips. They’re nasty little suckers. I don’t like exercises that appear easy but when you try them are so hard you feel like an idiot because you can’t get it right.

This is what people doing ring dips are supposed to look like:

I look nothing like that.

I look more like the person in the middle – who is actually preparing to do a super-duper ring dip but in my case that’s really how I look DURING the exercise. Upright and on the ground.

I could manage a grand total of 4 seconds off the ground. And by “off” the ground I mean hovering precariously a strenuous 3cm above the floor.

For 4 seconds.

Room for improvement there methinks!

Anyway I did eventually get up and do a few dips with the help of a theraband to support my knees. And even then it was quite hard and I have aching and rather confused upper body muscles to prove that it’s still tricky with the band.

However, it’s a challenge and I will just have to keep trying cause as far as I know, bingo wings are never going to be the new black…

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