Ditching the ego

I’ve always been a pretty active person. I mean, compared to most of the population I’d consider myself to be pretty fit. I’m not meaning to big myself up here by any stretch of the imagination, just being honest. Exercise has always featured in my life – from netball at primary school (ha, I can no longer catch a ball), to swimming and then to rowing which was a key part of me from the age of 14.

But, like most people, I walk into a CrossFit gym and that all changes. Sure I absolutely love to deadlift, the rower doesn’t phase me too much, I can run okay, etc etc… Except CROSSFit doesn’t just involve that kind of stuff, the stuff that I love. It involves upper body strength and speed… and let’s just say that me and my upper body aren’t on the best terms.

Contrary to popular belief, rowing doesn’t involve a load of arm strength (it goes legs, back, arms in that order) and combine this with an old shoulder injury and I have an issue. It’s hard.

I wouldn’t say I have that much of an ego, in fact like most girls I tend to struggle more with self-belief than the contrary. Yet, I didn’t expect it to be that bad… Last week we did a heck of a WOD:

21-15-9-6-3 reps for time (with a 20 min time cap):

– shoulders to overhead 50kg/30kg

– front squat 50kg/30kg

– burpees over the bar

I didn’t want to Rx it (30kg for women) but with a nudge from my coach to believe in myself and I did. Oh boy. This might well have been the worst workout I’ve ever done – physically and emotionally. I wanted to throw up (pretty normal), cry (not so normal) and collapse all at the same time. I’m not sure how the others did as there was only one other girl who finished wayyyy before me and I’m not sure what the guys were lifting but I felt so embarrassed. I felt ashamed that I was struggling so much with this weight when I’d consider myself to be reasonably fit. It was horrible.

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Of course, afterwards everyone did the usual high fives, great job and so forth. My body began to return to normal from its crumpled heap on the floor, and I took a moment to think back through the WOD on my (rather slow) cycle home. Why had I found it so mentally tough? I am perfectly used to putting my body through pain on a regular basis, I kinda get a kick out of it. But I’m sure as hell not used to feeling so vulnerable. It was then that I realised that it was okay. The fact that I had did it and given it my all was enough. That’s what CrossFit is for after all, highlighting your weaknesses and building them stronger and stronger so that you’re no longer exposed. And who cares if everyone else did better than me? They’re not going to think less of me because of it so why on earth am I? So this Sunday I’ll be heading to handstand practice, feeling vulnerable and probably like a bit of a fool but I know it’ll be worth it.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, when 20 minutes rolled around I had 2 burpees to go…

Today I’m just asking for your thoughts…

A Great British Sunrise at Duck & Waffle

On Sunday morning I rose bright and early at 6am to go and meet some of my old uni rowing friends for a rather special breakfast… To watch the sunrise over London from Duck & Waffle, the highest restaurant in the UK on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, bang in the middle of the City.

Arriving rather impressively on time for a Sunday morning (thanks to rowing for that one) coffee were definitely the order of the day as we waited for the other girls to arrive, looking down onto the dots of London below…

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Duck & Waffle

We swiftly realised, however, that perhaps we weren’t going to be in for the dream of a sunrise that we had hoped for… This is Britain after all and if this country does one thing extremely well, it is rain, and rain it sure did…

Still, the food and the company were both rather bloody lovely… Han and I went half and half so we could try more (obviously).

Duck and Waffle

Because why on earth wouldn’t you order the duck and waffle at Duck & Waffle? Complete with plenty of yolk and mustard maple syrup action this was the BOMB. Do it.

Banana waffle

Our ‘dessert’ was involved crispy banana, more waffle (duh), nutella, peanut bits and ice cream. Oh life is tough. Though I must say I did think that the duck one was just out of this world so this dish did have a heck of a hard act to follow.

photo 5Thanks to Jess for the photo!

The Gherkin

Even if the Great British weather did rather let us down this was still 100% the best way to start a Sunday morning. And yes I didn’t eat remotely paleo or even paleoish, and yes my tummy was sore afterwards and I didn’t feel so great and yes it was totally and utterly worth it 🙂

Where’s the best place you’ve had breakfast?

Sunday Sunshine

London’s been looking a bit grey this week and things have been a bit serious on the blog lately so what better way to brighten things up this Sunday with a little bit of sunshine? There’s been plenty of delicious, hilarious and random happenings round these parts recently…

Delicious like Gina’s AMAZING almond butter chocolate lava cake (pretty much paleo), I cannot describe to you how good this is, so you best go make it.

Paleo chocolate lava cake

There’s been some much needed respite too, particularly in the form of films like Footloose 🙂 and, yes, I did spend the whole next day listening to the soundtrack. How did you know?

Footloose

Insanely delicious dinner dates, including with the fabulous Cat at Hawksmoor where I tried my first ever bone marrow! Verdict – tastes good but don’t think too much about what it is! I guess I’m a bit of a wuss like that.

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I have been cooking at home too I promise! Mainly quick and easy meals since time is of the essence at the moment – hello three essays (13,000 words) due in before Christmas *gulp*.

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Which calls for study time green tea therapy, in my new favourite coffee shop in Angel… I love it when tea comes with a proper timer!

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green tea

There’s also been plenty of laughing at my own stupidity. Like the time when I was sat on the sofa and noticed a slightly wet feeling ‘down there’… Cue a panic that I had become incontinent at the age of 23. Followed by the realisation that my water bottle had leaked all over my seat… Or a couple of days ago when I heard clunky footsteps following me home (in the dark I hasten to add), so I sped up, as did they. It wasn’t till I reached my building and took off my bag to find my keys that I realised that the clunking was in fact my tupperware rattling inside my rucksack. Oops.

More on the deliciousness side of things, this week I received my first order from Perfectly Paleo! So. Excited. I’ll do a post sometime soon on all the goodies inside…

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AND, the highlight of my week? Finding out that one of my best friends is coming home from Australia for Christmas!! YAY.

What’s been lighting up your days lately?

A change in priorities

Not so long ago, fitness was my main priority. Life itself wasn’t so great in that I was back home after the adventure of a lifetime and in a ‘transition phase’ waiting until my masters started this autumn… Working out was a great distraction with that, along with learning about my body and the way I eat by doing a Whole 30. At the time, this focus kept me healthy… It kept me sane.

Now, however, life is rather different. As I progress through my masters (which I am absolutely loving by the way) the quantity of time I’m spending working is going up and up. This is okay, it’s what I want to do after all and I fully know that this is the right path for me, it feels so natural. Nonetheless, studying all the time is exhausting. The amount of time I’m able to give to working out has dropped and I’ve learnt to be more flexible with my eating to keep my energy up, still on the real foods though 😉

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I can’t give all my non-study time (aka not much) to working out and CrossFit and running. I need some form of a social life and sleep to remain my sanity. My aim has been to work out 5 days a week but sometimes this slips to 4 and that’s okay. But remembering that fact can be downright tricky at times… Last week, with all the stress and ups and downs my workouts were pretty minimal. On Friday morning I set my alarm for 6am to hit up CrossFit before catching the train home again and I just couldn’t get out of bed, my body was crying out for rest… Now, I like to push myself. In my head this just wasn’t good enough – I used to train 13 times a week when I was rowing, why was I being so lazy? But as a good friend pointed out to me, it wasn’t that I was being lazy, it was that healthy is so much more than what you put in your body, and how much you move. Healthy is your mental state. Healthy needs low levels of stress, lots of sleep and space to breathe. When I look back, properly, at that week I can 100% see why that day was so difficult. It just took someone to wake me up to it.

I once heard a saying that it isn’t overtraining but under-recovering, and to me this is so so true. Athletes lives revolve around their training (I mean this in the nicest possible way!) and so they are able to focus on their recovery, resting and fuelling up to be the best they can be. Not trying to eat breakfast in 5 minutes whilst getting dressed, frantically trying to cool down from that morning’s workout, and dashing to catch the bus and then spending the whole day studying, with the hope of meeting a friend for dinner before getting home late and doing it all over again the next day…

Once upon a time, working out was my priority. Hell, most of my life I’ve lived for training. But now? I need to workout, I need to train. But it’s not the number one thing in my life anymore, I’ve found something I absolutely love (my masters and human rights) and that’s bloody awesome. That’s my priority.

How have your priorities changed over time?

Seeking sunshine

Well then… This past week has been an amalgamation of stressful/scary/exhausting/a bit bonkers. Last Tuesday I had to rush home for a family emergency and so have been so and fro between London and ‘home home’, and will be again this week. It does, thankfully, seem that things are now calming down which is a huge relief.

There seems to be something about when life gets a little dark that forces you to see any glimpse of light in your day… You find yourself seeking sunshine, it can be the simplest things that can lift your spirit. For me this week it’s been the kindness of strangers and the simple beauty of nature that have been my salvation.

Be it cheerful people joking around in a coffee shop on a freezing cold afternoon bringing a little warmth into your day…

…or a beautiful sunrise on a 5.30am train back to London…

Train Sunrise‘Scuse the slightly dodge train window photo

Perhaps it’s a moment of calm at Paddington station where you felt at peace for the first time all week, plus the red cups were out. Oh hello toffee nut soya cappuccino…

red cup starbucks

Sometimes it’s the really small stuff, like a bus driver actually being properly appreciative that you let him out into the traffic jam…

…or the really delicious stuff like you dad making gluten-free pizza at the end of a long, long day… (Especially sweet coming from my bread loving father!!)

pizzaPizza topped with kale = balance?

And sometimes, it’s a beautiful Sunday morning walk before getting the train back to London where you have just half an hour to breathe and revel in the world around you…

herefordshire apples

autumn berries

I’m linking up with Katie today for a little bit of marvelous…

MiMM

How do you seek sunshine when life gets a little rough?