The Road to the Competition, or, HELL YEAH!

First off, hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! Did anyone stay on plan (whatever your plan may be)?

I should also take just a second to tell you what I’m thankful for. I am so, so thankful for my family, who puts up with my regular shenanigans; my baby puppy (who’s actually 4 years old, wtf!), who is the cutest, nicests, most princely puppy EVER!; the cats, who are the fluffiest and friendliest cats you’ll ever meet; my assistantship, because without it, I wouldn’t be able to afford school; the amazing coaches at ACF, because without their constant encouragement, I probably wouldn’t be where I am now; my ACF family, because that’s truly what they are; and everyone else who’s helped me on my road to wellness, especially Dr. B. and Linda, the Wonder Massage Therapist. I love you all!

So, I went to Strongman again on Wednesday. I’d never been to one of Cat’s classes because I almost always have school-class in the evenings, which makes it impossible for me to make any evening specialty classes, like Ladies Night, Strongman, or Yoga. Therefore, if class is canceled, I definitely want to make it in to ACF for whatever is going on.

At this point, I was still pretty shaken by the shitshow that was Tuesday morning’s Strongman. And I get in to the WOD room, and Cat informs us that we’re doing more-or-less the same thing that I did with Kevin the day before.


WOD I: 3 rounds, 1 minute one-arm press, 1 minute rest

WOD II: Work up to a 1RM Log Press


For WOD I, I was able to use a 40# dumbbell for my right arm, but had to use a 25# dumbbell on my left (there were no 30# ones left), and yes, my left arm really is that much weaker than my right arm. I’ve noticed recently that I have this weird diagonal thing going on. My right arm is a lot stronger than my left arm, and my left leg is much stronger than my right leg. WTF? Anyway, I finished this WOD okay, but it was difficult.

Then, on to my nemesis: the log press.

I have bruises on my wrists from the freaking log, especially after both Tuesday and Wednesday:


I was scared to pick that heinous, heinous thing back up.

But I did.

And after Cat showed me how to move it properly, I got the log (70# empty) overhead. I. Could not. Believe it.

It was actually relatively easy, once I got the movement down. And I did it again…with 75#. Which means that, theoretically, I will be able to do the Rx movement during the ACF competition. I tried about 15 times to go heavier, though, and it just wouldn’t happen. While I did make a crazy improvement in just one day, I still find it frustrating, because everyone else in the class was moving it like it was a piece of cake. There were ladies there who were adding 20 or 25# to each side of the log and pressing it. This is absolutely nuts to me. But I’m happy that perhaps I’ll be able to finish this portion of the competition.

Finally, we got to do something new: tire flips!

I’d never done tire flips before, and we were doing them with a 375# tire. I know they get way heavier than this, but considering that I can’t deadlift anywhere near 375#, it would be insane to me to flip a tire that heavy.

We were each timed 1 minute to do as many flips as we could. I think Cean got something nuts like 18, and a lot of the ladies got something like 8 or 9.

I need to work on my tire flips. I only got 3. I know what happened, too. The clock started, and I got nervous. My foot placement wasn’t far enough back, and my chest should have been lower on the tire. And my hand placement felt weird. So, all of this meant that I was sort of wasting time. And when I thought Leb was taking photos, he was actually taking video. Gahh!

If I had known he was taking video, I might not have quit when I had 9 seconds left on the clock. It’s stupid. I should not have given up. In retrospect, 9 seconds is theoretically plenty of time to flip, like, two more tires.

So I have stuff to work on.

But that’s okay, because I’m not quite as freaked out anymore.

Primal Massaman Curry with Delicata Squash

Such deliciosity!
Such deliciosity!

Okay, I’m a little confused. A few people recently have told me that now moderate amounts of steamed rice is okay for those who are doing paleo, and that it has less of an impact on your system than steel-cut oats. I have no idea, and since I don’t normally do 100% paleo, I wasn’t extremely concerned when I heard this. But I did think to myself that I hadn’t had rice in a really long time, and something hearty sounded really awesome. So I decided to just go with it.

Normally when I make curry, I make a crap ton of massaman curry, loaded with peanuts and artificial ingredients from the paste. This recipe is from scratch, and contains 0% crap! And, if you tend to like peanutty sauces, this will totally sate that.

Don't be afraid of its color...this is SUPER delicious. And easy!
Don't be afraid of its color...this is SUPER delicious. And easy!

The sauce is everything awesome: spicy, sweet, acidic, salty, creamy, and nutty. All in one. No, really. It was a total home-run for a first-time recipe. It’s exotic and hearty, but mild enough to please even the biggest curry skeptics.

Little delicata squash slices, ready to be roasted!
Little delicata squash slices, ready to be roasted!

I have also become very, very fond of the delicata squash. It’s a small squash that is deliciously sweet (sort of like butternut), but the prep is extremely simple. Unlike many other squashes, it is A-OK for you to eat the skin. It’s a fun mix-up, for sure!

You can use whatever you’d like in this recipe. After I made the curry sauce, I put it atop a bed of rice, a small serving of chicken breast, and a whole LOT of roasted delicata squash. It was DIVINE. If you want, you can add other veggies, like snap peas, sweet potatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, or cauliflower. The sky’s the limit!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did! Let me know what sorts of creative combinations you came up with!

Finished product.
Finished product.

Primal Massaman Curry


• 1 small onion, diced
• 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemongrass
• 3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
• 1 tablespoon curry powder
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 3/4 teaspoon sea salt (to taste)
• Juice of 1 lime
• 1 tablespoon cashew nut butter
• 1 can coconut milk (I used light)
• Cilantro


In sauce pan, sweat diced onion on medium heat until it begins to caramelize, approximately 10 minutes. Add chopped garlic, and continue to cook briefly, until garlic becomes fragrant.

Add coconut milk, and begin to simmer. Stir in ginger, lemongrass, curry powder, cayenne pepper, lime juice, and cashew nut butter. Allow to simmer for several minutes. Taste, and add salt accordingly. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken. At the end of its simmering, add in cilantro.

If you are somewhat lazy like I am, and you don’t have the ginger, lemongrass, or fresh cilantro on hand, I recommend checking out these fresh herbs in paste form. They have been a lifesaver lately. Two tablespoons of cilantro seemed to do it for this recipe.

This recipe makes four servings, approximately a 1/2 cup each. For my WW people, this recipe is 3p+ per serving.

With one cup rice, 3.5 ounces chicken breast (before cooking), 3/4 delicata squash, and 1/2 cup sauce, it will be 11p+, very reasonable for a full meal!


Road to the Competition, or OH SHIT (PART II)

Practicing some snatches during Weekend Revival
Practicing some snatches during Weekend Revival

I went to Strong(wo)man yesterday, and at the end, I really wanted to just drop out of the competition. My confidence is very much shaken at this point, and for some reason everybody seems to think that I’m a lot stronger than I actually am.

For the first time ever, I tried the log. And I was very much unsuccessful. For the competition, I will need to get 75# overhead with the log. At this point, I could clean something like 70 or 75# (I actually have no idea how much I was cleaning with the log), but as soon as I get to the press, things get really nasty. It just wouldn’t go up.

My presses suck. Like, bad. I think my max strict press is 60 or 65#, so I’m going to need to work a lot on this suck over the next two weeks if I want any chance of getting that log overhead.

I will also need to get a 50# dumbbell overhead (with one arm). Today, I was able to snatch a 40# dumbbell, so I also have my reservations about a 50# one.

Tabata deadlifts were super hard. I’m worried about doing a 75# snatch.

Kevin says that it’s common for athletes to go into failure at Strongman competitions. Even so, I don’t like the feeling that I may be going into this and automatically failing several events. Yikes!

Other moves I need to attempt and become familiar with: tire flips, farmers walk.

Cocoa Paleo Crack

Cocoa Paleo Krunch. Holy crap.
Cocoa Paleo Krunch. Holy crap.

For the last year, everyone and their moms have told me about Paleo Krunch. People are obsessed with this stuff! Really! So, when FFO was around the corner, I used this as an excuse to go super crazy in my little primal kitchen.

The fruit roll-ups were one product of my madness. Another successful project? Cocoa Paleo Crack Krunch. Yup, you heard me correctly. It is insanely delicious and insanely easy to make. Not to mention that it turns out to be far more economical than the stuff by Steve’s Original.

I was surprised at how simple the recipe was.

Almonds and more!
Almonds and more!

Really, just mix a bunch of delicious ingredients together.

All together now...
All together now...

Then add some unsweetened cocoa.


And then spread it on a cookie sheet, and bake it up!

Believe me. You want to know about this. Mmmm! Apparently it’s good with milk like cereal, but I enjoyed munching on it plain. I shared most of it with friends, and everyone loved it—both paleo and non-paleo alike. Enjoy!

Image enlarged to show texture!
Image enlarged to show texture!

Chocolate Paleo Crack


• 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
• 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
• 1 cup almond meal (I use Bob’s Red Mill brand)
• 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
• 2 cups slivered almonds
• 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
• 1/2 cup honey
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder


Preheat oven to 325°. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix together all wet ingredients. Mix together wet and dry ingredients until well-blended, and dry ingredients are coated with wet ingredients.

Place the mixture evenly onto a foil-lined baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and mix around to ensure that nothing burns. The best way to do this equally is to remove the mixture from the foil, put it into a mixing bowl, mix around, and then return to the foil. Continue to bake for another 5 minutes.

Remove pan from oven, and allow to cool completely. The cooling process ends up creating the familiar “krunch” portion of it. Break apart, and store in an airtight container.

For my WW peeps, this recipe yields A LOT of servings, and ends up being ~3p+ per ONE OUNCE serving. It’s perfect for a yummy snack, but not for gorging!

The road to the competition, or, OH SHIT!

It all started here.
It all started here.

You thought I had enough competing with Fall Face-Off? Apparently not.

So, since FFO, I’ve been attending Strong(wo)man classes every Tuesday, when I’m not working. It’s super fun! And most of the time, I’m the only girl in the class. I think this makes me badass, but some people I know, I think, think it makes me un-ladylike. Whatever. You better believe I showed off the gnarly shoulder bruise from lifting stones to EVERYBODY who would look. No joke.

Then it was announced that ACF would be hosting an in-house Strongman competition. Tempting, indeed, but I was terrified, to say the least. I figured it might be less pressure since it was in-house, and the WODs might be easier, for the same reason.

After much prodding by my awesome cheerleaders and a sponsorship by one seriously awesome Derby girl, it has become official: I’m competing on December 3.

The WODs were posted last night, and I’m not gonna lie—I’m downright freaked out. Here’s what I’m in for:

Press Medley:

DB Overhead
Log (Heavy)
Axle Deadlifts (Heavy)
Log Reps – remaining time

Mens <150     60, 105, 105 ,95 for reps
Mens <175      70, 115, 115, 105
Mens <200     80, 135, 135, 115
Mens >200     90, 155, 155, 135

Ladies  <120   40, 65, 65, 55
Ladies  <140   45, 70, 70, 60
Ladies  >140   50, 75, 75, 70

Farmers Walk – 2 Laps – 1 minute – take distance

Women – 53, 70, 88
Men – 70, 88, 90

Tire Flips – 2 minutes, accumulate points

5 Tires

3 Rounds:
15 Power Snatch
15 Burpees

Women – 55 – 65 – 75
Men – 75 – 95 – 115 – 115

Box Jumps (24/20)

Women – 125 – 145 – 165
Men – 185 – 225 – 255 – 255

6 minute time limit

Clean and Jerk Last man standing


95 – 115 – 125 – 135 – 145 – 155 – 165 – 175 – 185
115 – 135 – 155 – 165 – 175 – 185 – 195 – 205 – 215
155 – 165 – 175 – 185 – 195 – 205 – 215 – 225 – 235
165 – 185 – 205 – 215 – 225 – 235 – 245 – 255 – 265

55 – 65 – 75 – 85 – 95 – 105 – 115 – 125 – 135
75 – 85 – 95 – 105 – 115 – 125 – 135 – 145 – 155
95 – 105 – 115 – 125 – 135 – 145 – 155 – 165 – 175

I mean, I feel like I’m no stranger to getting my ass handed to me, but looking at these workouts, it’s pretty clear that I will be DNF’ing at least two of them…I can’t jump 20″ for a box jump, and my max power snatch is 70#…and that isn’t at 15 reps, either. Not to mention that I haven’t done several of the movements before (e.g., farmer’s walk, tire flips, and the log), and that my max clean and jerk was 90#, but was a continental clean (and the first level BEGINS at 95#). Good god. What have I gotten myself into?!

Okay, breathe.

This requires focus and calm.

I would like to take suggestions on how to prepare for this competition over the next few weeks.

My training schedule recently looks like this:

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: WOD + Strongman
  • Wednesday: WOD + Yoga (if I’m not working/have class)
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: WOD
  • Saturday: WOD + Gymnasty
  • Sunday: WOD + Kettlebells

As far as nutrition goes, I take protein after every workout, and have recently started using a new kind of fish oil (the vanilla smells like Funfetti cupcakes!). While I do not do 100% paleo, I plan to amp up my anti-inflammation efforts to see if this helps my performance. I also recently acquired a foam roller, so I can attempt to recover at home.

What else do you guys recommend? I’m having a MAJOR “oh shit” moment right now, and want to know how to best deal with this! Eeee!


Good. Holy. God.

I’ve been Crossfitting for an ENTIRE YEAR.

That’s INSANE!

What’s even more insane is this:

Elements Day 1
Elements Day 1

And this:

First WOD ever.
First WOD ever.

Holy Mother of the Bar, can you believe that that is/was me? I know that I can’t. Good. God.

When I stepped into Albany Crossfit a year ago, did I ever think I would still be doing it now? Probably not. I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to tell my story of how I got to Crossfit several times. You probably remember my Six-Month Crossfitaversary and my Sunday Chat:

but it really all did start with Jay and Caleb being annoying nice enough to invite me to a WOD. Little did I know, I’d gain an Albany family.

Back in January...a typical WOD weight.
Back in January...a typical WOD weight.

I’m not quite sure what can be said that I haven’t already gushed about. At the bottom of the post, you can find a table outlining very tangible fitness improvements. But the last year wasn’t really about going up in weights or getting faster at WODs. I would like to tell you that I’m the same person who entered the box last November, but that would probably be a lie. Or some people tell me that, at least.

My first time doing heavy deads.
My first time doing heavy deads, in February.

Yes, I can lift more. But…for the first time in my ENTIRE life, I have muscle definition in my arms. I’m showing off bruises (you should have seen the people at Wednesday’s WOD staring in shock and awe at a gnarly bruise I have on my shoulder from lifting 75# stones at Tuesday’s Strong(wo)man). I’m in far better moods regularly. I stopped taking crap from people. I walk with my head high. I think my ripped up hands are badass.

It’s been a truly crazy year.

I’ve moved from being the fat, weak, sad girl, to being one who’s strong, fit, and stoked. I’ve moved from being scared most of the time, to being scared and letting that fear drive me to do something with it—like compete. And then have a good enough attitude to win a Spirit of the Games trophy.

Oh yeah, and I started coming in for WODs that include burpees (gasp!).

Can you believe that this is me now?

Putting a 70# stone over a bar.
Putting a 70# stone over a bar.
Swinging some kettlebells.
Swinging some kettlebells.
PR'ing a 10RM back squat.
PR'ing a 10RM back squat.
With my team at a COMPETITION.
With my team at a COMPETITION.
Working on mobility with my girl Anne Marie.
Working on mobility with my girl Anne Marie.


My fitness goal for the year 2011 was to be able to do a band-assisted pull-up. A few weeks ago, I got the pull-up, and am working on some volume training, when I have time. I’m not at a point where I’m using bands for WODs, but it’s something I’m still working on.

In the next year of Crossfit, I have a few more fitness goals:

  • Move up from the 6″ baby box for box jumps
  • Move up from 35# kettlebell for American swings
  • Continue to PR Olympic lifts; get past 220# deadlift
  • Practice the overhead squat; stop falling over with 45#
  • Nail a double-under
  • Do WODs with a band-assisted pull-up
  • Make it a point to attend at least one WOD that includes running

Will you hold me accountable? I feel like this is the best way for me to stick to something. When I first began Crossfit, I had a hard time completing 10 sit-ups. Now, I’m regularly doing 100+. But I wouldn’t be there if someone hadn’t pushed me.

And, if you don’t mind, I’m curious to hear what YOU think my biggest change has been…

…in short, thank you all for being here for me on this incredible journey. I feel optimistic about the future, and I appreciate everything that everyone has done to support me. Thank you, from the bottom of my little Crossfitting heart.

Movement Baseline Present
General WOD Weight 25# bar 45–55#
Front Squat 75# (5RM, 01/24/11) 110# (5RM, 11/09/11)
Back Squat 1RM=90# 1RM=160#, 10RM=115#
Deadlift 1RM=195# (02/23/11) 1RM=210# (10/22/11)
Power Clean 45# (01/25/11) 2RM=90# (11/08/11)
2k Row DNF at 12:00 Sub-10:00
500m Row Sprint ~3:25 ~1:48
Crossfit Total Not performed 430 (10/22/11)
Grace 3:27 @ 45# (02/15/11) 3:10 @ 55# (10/15/11)
Diane 5:56 @ 85# (01/21/11) 3:39 @ 85# (11/07/11)
Pull-Ups Jumping Transitioning to black band
Kettlebell Weights 8kg, period 35# American Swing WOD weight, 45# Russian Swing
Competition Row for the Red Cross 5k Row (03/05/11) Fall Face-Off (10/29/11)
Attitude “You always have a crappy attitude.” —Dean “STOP SMILING!” —Kevin (11/09/11)
Weight Lost 69.8#

Grown-Up Fruit Roll-Ups

Not your ordinary fruit roll-ups.
Not your ordinary fruit roll-ups.

A few weeks ago when I was preparing for Fall Face-Off, I was way too worried about logistics. I mean, somebody had to be, right?

I, for some reason, was freaking out about the food situation. I mean, it was going to be an all-day ordeal, and nobody was going to be providing food. I had no idea what sorts of workouts we’d be doing, how long I’d be there, and how hungry I would be. And, if anyone were to share food, how was I supposed to count that into my WW plan?

I decided to be a little maniac in the kitchen the entire week before the event, creating all sorts of Paleo treats (yes, there’s more to come!).

You won’t believe how crazy-easy it is to make fruit leathers. Yup, like the fruit roll-ups you had when you were a kid, and probably made a mess with. Except these are far healthier, and don’t include refined sugar or preservatives.

The base for any of your fruit leathers will be the same: fruit. Fresh or frozen. I really wanted to experiment with strawberries, and at this point in the season, fresh is too expensive, so I opted for frozen.

Bag of frozen strawberries.
Bag of frozen strawberries.

If you opt for frozen fruit, defrost or nuke in the microwave for a minute, and then stick in your blender, and puree until liquified.

Liquefied berries.
Liquefied berries.

At this point, you can add some agave (I found that 1 to 2 tablespoons for an entire bag’s worth of berries was perfect), if you think the mixture is too tart. During this process, I have tried several different types, which I will explain below. So far, I have tried strawberry with balsamic and cracked black pepper (awesome); strawberry basil (done via infusion); strawberry with cinnamon, chili, chipotle, and lime; strawberry-ginger; blackberry mojito; and peach chili.

Try an infusion!
Try an infusion!

Once you have your liquefied mixture, line a cookie sheet with plastic wrap, and pour fruit mixture on top of the plastic wrap.

Pour out the mixture.
Pour out the mixture.

And then tilt the cookie sheet until the mixture is evenly spread throughout the sheet.

Evenly spread mixture.
Evenly spread mixture.

Two notes: (1) DO use the plastic wrap. For my first batch, I used a Silpat instead, and the leather was hellish to peel off in one piece. (2) You might consider taping the edges of the plastic wrap. If you don’t, the plastic has a bad habit of flipping over on itself, and the leathers will unevenly dehydrate, like this:


Stick your sheet in the oven on its lowest setting (normally between 120° and 160°). My oven goes down to 140°, and the leathers turned out great, dehydrating between 6 and 10 hours normally.

Finished leather.
Finished leather.

Once your leather is no longer sticky to the touch, remove from the oven, and roll up lengthwise.

So pretty!
So pretty!

Cut into individual pieces. Each sheet should yield between 4 and 6 leathers, depending on how large you cut them.

Little baby roll-ups!
Little baby roll-ups!

Then, if you like, wrap each piece in some waxed paper.

Finished rolls.
Finished rolls.

And there you have it! Preservative-free, sugar-free, awesome-filled fruit roll-ups! If these aren’t a hit with everyone you know, then everyone you know is LAME.


Om nom nom!
Om nom nom!

Grown-Up Fruit Roll-Ups


• Approximately 4 cups of fruit, fresh or frozen
• Sea salt, to taste
• 1–2 tablespoons Agave (optional)
• Infusions (optional)


Puree fresh or defrosted frozen fruit in a blender until liquefied. Add sea salt to taste, and agave, if desired. At this point, you may also add spices or infuse your mixture.

Line a cookie sheet with plastic wrap, and pour your fruit mixture onto the cookie sheet. One cookie sheet will hold approximately 2 cups of fruit mixture. Tilt cookie sheet to and fro, until the fruit mixture is evenly distributed.

Dehydrate in the oven on its lowest setting (often between 120° and 160°), until the fruit leather is no longer sticky to the touch—approximately 6–10 hours.

Roll the finished leather, then cut into pieces and wrap in waxed paper. To eat, simply peel off the plastic-wrap backing and enjoy!

For my WW folk, this recipe technically is Points+ free, BUT, tread with caution. Depending on your body’s tolerance to fruit consumption in weight loss, you may like to treat this recipe as normal dried fruit, or a fruit roll-up, which contains 2p+. Just don’t eat the entire pan in one sitting.

Ideas and notes on infusing:

During this process, I tried several stellar combinations:

  • Strawberry with Balsamic and Cracked Black Pepper: This might be my favorite combination to date. Take your basic strawberry mixture, and add approximately 2 teaspoons black pepper, and 2–3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar. Use your taste buds as a guide, but do remember that flavors intensify when dehydrated.
  • Strawberry Ginger: Add a tablespoon of fresh ginger (try the stuff in the tube that comes in the refrigerated section!) to your strawberry mixture.
  • Strawberry Basil: A close second to Strawberry with Balsamic and Cracked Black Pepper. This required an infusion. Take your strawberry mixture, add approximately 3/4 cup of water, and lots of fresh basil leaves. Simmer over the stove until the mixture has reduced back to its original amount, and the basil has sufficiently imparted flavor. This will take at least 20 minutes. Remove the basil leaves before dehydrating.
  • Strawberry with Cinnamon, Chili, Chipotle, and Lime: Add half a teaspoon (or more, to taste!) of each of the spices, plus the juice of half a lime before dehydrating.
  • Blackberry Mojito: This requires another infusion. Add approximately 1/2 cup water to your strained blackberry mixture (blackberries have LOTS of seeds), and reduce with lots of fresh mint leaves, and a sliced fresh lime. Remove mint and lime wedges before dehydrating.
  • Peach Chili: A classic Latin combination, add about 2 teaspoons of chili powder to your peach mixture.

In the future, I would like to experiment with: peach-ginger, lemongrass, and who knows what else? The possibilities are endless!