Blog Archives

As a Runner I’ve Learned …



When I began my running career – < yes a ‘running career’ as it is something I intend to do forever and continue to hone it my entire life > I never thought I would learn so much about life, I was literally in it just to lose a few pounds, what I got back was just as incredible as a skinnier ass … as a runner I’ve learned:

• I’ve learned that I am strong enough to run for over two hours straight.

• I’ve learned that I can let most things go after a run (hence on the word ‘most’; if you cut me, I may have to cut you back).

• I’ve learned how to become a better mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend … running those solidarity miles is literally the BEST therapy and cheaper!

• I’ve learned that if I have to go to the bathroom while I’m running to … go the bathroom and to piggyback on that: nature’s playground makes a great restroom!

• I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter if you run one mile or ten, a mile is a mile and it takes courage to get out there for whatever distance you choose.

• I’ve learned that life is hard, sometimes it will suck and it’s okay.

• I’ve learned that life is good, sometimes it is fucking awesome and that rocks!

• I’ve learned that I can’t eat a bag of chips after I run (ok, I must admit, I knew that … I’ve learned that I shouldn’t do that, but it does happen sometimes  <hangs head>).

• I’ve learned that if I can dedicate 12 weeks and countless hours to train for a half marathon, I can virtually do anything I set my mind to – I need to remind myself as it applies to every aspect of life.

• I’ve learned that I run for myself, purely for “me time”.

But the single most important thing that I have learned from running is humility – because when you run – even though you are out there for yourself – everything is exposed: every facial expression, every misstep, every stride, every runny nose,  and even the graceful attempt to fix your headphones at a red light but instead you trip and fall in front of 10 cars, well you need to be humble, and seriously – how can I as runner gloat too much when before my runs I’m lubing up every inch of the ‘ole lady bits (emphasis on the words ‘every inch’ cause if you don’t well … ouch!).

 So, friends, what have you learned as a runner?






Posted in Mangia Mia Fitness Pia Tagged with: , , , , ,

16 ‘So Glad Umm… Sad It’s Over’. 5

I usually wait a few days before I can churn out a blog about these CrossFit Open workouts, I like to let the experience fester and really sort out my thoughts, but this one is different, it was the last WOD of the Open, I had to write this chapter in my CrossFit book as quickly as I could you know … put pen to paper, errrrrr fingers to the keyboard; I started strong, the day I completed 16.5 and then … life happened and here we are a week later. I know you all are DYING to read another CrossFit post; no? You’re not?

Talk about Crossfit

Sigh. Moving On. Here goes:

When the 16.5 WOD was announced I wasn’t near a computer, I tried really hard not to look up the 16.5 WOD I did really try, but I couldn’t resist the pull –  it was like jumping to the last chapter of a book you just couldn’t but down – you had to know the ending. The desire to see what Headquarters had in store for us for the last and final WOD of the 2016 Open was too strong.

16.5 WOD:

21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:

Men use 65 lb.
Women use 45 lb.

When I read the WOD, I knew it was bad but the suck really didn’t sink in until I realized there was no time-cap.  No time-cap? Seriously this is for time? Is Dave Castro an evil mother effer or what? I mean, would a time-cap hurt? Would it really have made this WOD any easier? Seriously?

Without a time-cap I knew I was screwed, like screwed beyond belief.  I mean, when your Coach posts: ‘For the record this is the worst open WOD I have ever done that knocked me on my back for a hour’ two seconds after the announcement is made, you know you’re screwed.  I mean, this is from a man that has gone to the CrossFit games, he’s not a mere mortal– if this man is saying this – what about me?

Yes, selfishly, all I could say is: How the hell is this going to unfold for ME?

I started to get nervous and for an instant my mind went back to my old way of thinking. But I couldn’t – I needed, wanted and had to stay true to my words, those words of just last week [see post here].  If I, all of sudden, abandoned my new fond attitude about CrossFit – what kind of wimp would that make me? After a hot-minute of raising my fist, declaring that I would not let my ego come crashing down after each WOD I … acquiesced? Hell NO! I wouldn’t have it – I am here to CrossFit – I am here to fitness, have fun and challenge myself!

So with the reality of this suck-ass WOD – I put my mental game into over-drive: ‘I can do this work out – it will hurt, I will be a mess, it will be hard –it’s time to woman-the-fuck-up, your goal is to not cry or die.’ Staying true to my new found attitude, I didn’t google a damn tip or strategy however I did listen, on a continual loop, to CT Fletcher videos almost all day the Friday before I completed 16.5.

No joke. If you need motivation, listen to CT Fletcher.

As per usual, Coach gave us some tips; not even sure what he said because this is what I heard:  ‘Break up the thrusters from the get-go, don’t try to do them unbroken -you’ll mentally fail,  just get through the burpees, it’s going to suck, just deal with it.’


My 16.5

When I arrived at the box, it was jamming, athletes competing, watching and worrying  about 16.5. I was far down in the que to bust out my 16.5 and that was alright by me. In retrospect I am not sure if it was a good idea to watch many of my CrossFit peeps complete 16.5 or should I say suffer before me? Much more advanced CrossFitters were in deep deep pain with 16.5, like laying on the box floor in a ball  – this didn’t help the anxiety I buried deep within my soul; especially when my judge from 16.3 and 16.4 finished (in just 13 minutes) and said ‘that was the worst 13 minutes of my life, more pain than running a marathon in 3+ hours.’ Wherein I replied ‘I was banking on using that mental strenght of running 11 half marathons to get me through this’ which came the reply ‘it doesn’t help.’

GULP. What the hell am I suppose to do with that?

After seeing the pain that 16.5 inflicted on so many of these really accomplished athletes, I started to panic; my only choice was to develop a plan and commit to it: Break up the thrusters in sets of five, finish in thirty minutes and during the burpees don’t stop moving – Do. Not. Stop. Moving.  I knew the minute I stopped moving during the burpees that would be the precise moment that doubt will, like Niagara Falls, flood my brain leaving me at the bar paralyzed.  I couldn’t let my self-doubt do that to me; I would not let my doubt paralyze me.

Go time.  It was my time to get 16.5.  I took my stance at the bar at the same time Coach passed by – I looked at him with most likely eyes akin to a dear in headlights; he said “sub-thirty’. I nodded … in total fear.

21 reps of Thrusters and Burpees

My thoughts: ‘Wow, ok, stay focused.’

18 reps of Thrusters and Burpees

My thoughts: ‘Wow, the pain is getting deep, fight through it, fight through the pain and don’t think about what you are doing. You can handle this pain.’  My judge- Analise was a rock-star, counting reps and coaching me through it all – like a mother fucking boss: ‘pick up the bar, pick it up’.  I could tell my judge was focused on one thing and one thing only: my survival. And for that I am grateful. Thank you Analise.  At one point I didn’t complete the jump over the bar with two feet, so I no rep’d myself. Gotta be honest, I didn’t want a gimme.

15 reps of Thrusters and Burpees

My thoughts: ‘Yep this is getting really hard. This pain is for REAL.’  By rep 7 of these thrusters my confidence waned. My plan of sets of five was thrown out the window at this point –  I did whatever my judge told me; it was evident that these mother effffing burpees were killing me. It was during this round that I started repeating in my head:  ‘keep moving, don’t stop, keep moving, don’t stop.’ Over and over again.

12 reps of Thursters and Burpees

My thoughts: ‘Okay, it’s downhill from here, the pain, oh it’s so so painful.’ And for some reason my mind went to math: ‘Crap! How many more of these? Ok, don’t do the math Deanna, you can’t do math now, don’t even try to figure this out – you hate math.’ That was the actual conversation in my head. This is for real. Why was I thinking this? Perhaps so I could try and figure out how much more pain I had to endure but I really don’t know.

At this point, the other three athletes along side of me were almost done. This was my worst fear – that all eyes in the box would be on me. No one wants to look at this, a sweating middle-aged mom of two fighting for her life.  Ya see, I purposely didn’t face the crowd during the thrusters, I didn’t want to make eye-contact, if I made eye-contact my brain would flip on me, it would tell me what I was doing, my insecurities would fuck me- I’d care about how I looked, I would try to fix my shirt, I would try to determine how far my shirt was riding up my body and I didn’t want that. I wanted to focus on finishing and not stopping especially during the burpees. Suddenly everyone around me was now done. I knew at this point I had to keep my shit together; I couldn’t break down in front of this many people.

9 reps of Thursters and Burpees

The pain now was so real and so deep,  the thought of stopping and crying flashed through my brain but I stopped it – ‘you are not giving up.’ I had no idea what time it was and if I was under, over or close to the sub-thirty time Coach put in my head.  At this point, if I went over the 30 minutes, I didn’t care, now I just wanted to finish. Getting through these thrusters and burpees were literally the hardest thing I had to do in this open, literally the hardest 18 reps out of the five workouts of the Crossfit Open. It was a mental struggle more than physical. It was at this precise moment that I looked up and saw Jim. Ahhhhhh Jim, a fellow 5a.m. fighter – I looked right at him square in the eyes and he smiled. Yes, he smiled. It was the first time I made eye-contact with anyone throughout the entire WOD.  I made a decision right then and there – ‘get it done Deanna, suck it up.’ And then magically my fellow CrossFitters appeared at my bar – all telling me to push on, to get through it, telling me to jump over the bar (clearly I forgot at one point!) and that the pain was all in my head [Thank You Tom, Tesler, Sharon, Sam, Roy, Tom, Kallie, Kat, Sean, Lisa, Markella, Jenn –there could be more, and if there is, sorry to leave you out but thank you for pushing me through it] those words helped tremendously.

6 reps of Thursters and Burpees

As I began to start this round, I heard someone say: ‘You’re there – only 9 more reps of each.’ knowing that I was this close to getting myself out of hell was comforting. As I lifted the bar to start these thrusters another voice said [I think it was Coach Sean]; ‘6 Thrusters unbroken.’ I didn’t want to do them unbroken. But I did.

3 reps of Thursters and Burpees

I tried to go as fast as I could. It was over. I was done. Completed in 23:08. I looked at the clock – sub-30! Hell yea, under 25 minutes! Yabba dabba do!


Oh the pain, the hurt, eeek feet so close to that bar! Yikes! Photo credit: Thomas McManus.

I collapsed on the box floor no different than all the athletes before me; I could feel the tears coming on, these weren’t only tears of pain but of joy too because I was done with the Open; tears because I was proud of myself for pushing through a lot of pain and insecurities while totally out of my comfort zone.

I am going to miss the Open, yes, after all my bitching and moaning I am going to miss it. My experience with my first CrossFit Open was not only tough mentally and physically but really positive. A lot of it had to do with my gym SC CrossFit 165. For me, being able to witness week after week my fellow CrossFit peeps dig deep, really deep to finish these WOD’s was really inspiring. All levels of athletes had to go into their ‘I can fricking do this’ reserve tank to finish some of these WOD’s and that is not only admirable but brave.

Now, let’s back track a day or two after the 16.5 announcement was made -there was a lot of banter back-and-forth on Facebook about this WOD, and how terrible it will be; a 165 athlete – Tesler stepped up and said: ‘Reality check. None of us, with the exception of one or two people, are going to the games. It’s about the process, not the product. The fact that we go, cheer each other on, and push ourselves to complete exhaustion, is what matters. The fact that we’re all better off for having committed to this, that is what matters.’

And that is so true.

Ya see, each and every one of us has a different story, our own demons, we walk through those box doors for different reasons – whether it’s to get to the Games; get stronger, for a stress release, or to lose a few lb’s – – – CrossFit, SC CrossFit 165 is ours for whatever reason each of us deem and now I realize my book, the CrossFit book, the CrossFit Open book is a never-ending glorious chapter in the book of my life.

Open didn't die



Posted in cross training, crossfit, crossfit open, deanna verbouwens, Mangia Mia Fitness Pia, strength training, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , , ,

16. 4 – Sick Demented Torturous Fun

What a difference a week makes – seriously in merely seven days my entire perspective about CrossFit changed.  I realized I was complete moron when it came to CrossFit especially these Open WOD’s.

And I am being too harsh? Perhaps but I think not.  I was taking CrossFit and these Open WOD’s way too seriously; instead of realizing what the intent was … to have fun and challenge yourself; not performing the WOD’s the way I wanted to in my mind was not realistic. And because of that unrealistic mentality -I took it as a personal assault on myself as an athlete … assault on your body – hell yes, but yourself as an athlete? Hell no that is damn ridiculous!

As I was told by my Coach and some fellow box athlete’s – these Open WOD’s need to be looked at as – it’s just another WOD.   Be proud of what you are doing, and stop beating yourself up.  And hot damn, that was like a cold bucket of water being thrown on my face – I’m crying over a workout? WTF.  So thank you Coach Charlie,  Mike and Tom for bringing my insanity down to a manageable level.

crying crossfit

One can ask why would I put such a heavy expectation on myself to perform at a level that I am just not at yet well, that’s a question I can’t really answer – perhaps it was the hype of the last few weeks that really threw me for a loop; Yes, I  drank the CrossFit juice, saw some gains but I wanted every gain that I could dream of NOW! And that’s not how it works. That is not how CrossFit works.  I know who I am, I know I that can tough some shit out and that’s what I have to do – tough shit out, challenge myself and have fun doing it.

16.4. WOD

Complete as many rounds and reps in 13 minutes:
55 deadlifts
55 wall-ball shots
55-calorie row
55 hand release push-ups

Men deadlift  135 lb. and throw 20-lb. ball to 9-ft. target
Women deadlift  95 lb. and throw 10-lb. ball to 9-ft. target

I was really relieved when I saw this workout – I knew how to do these moves! Yahoo -half of the mental battle was won!   I promised myself I wouldn’t obsess, wouldn’t Google tips, wouldn’t watch video after video of CrossFitters doing these  moves and would just have fun with this workout.  So that’s what I did.

Well, for the most part.

I ummmm … mentioned to my Coach that I wanted to finish one complete round, wherein the Coach responded “That’s a spicy goal D, go for it”, then I remembered that: crap I had to complete a shit load of stuff in just 13 minutes. The calculations started in my head,  and  I estimated it could take me approximately 6-7 minutes to pull 55 calories. Shit balls that’s half the time allotted, when I expressed that I had to rethink my goal Coach saved the day and said “Just get to the push-ups.”

Get off the damn rower was now my goal.

Between Thursday and Saturday I didn’t google a damn 16.4 tip or strategy instead I watched CT Fletcher on a fricking rotation.  I switched my obsessive behavior to another fix. Classic OCD move. It got so bad, my 8 year old said “you’re listening to someone who is saying really really bad words” where in I replied ‘he’s not saying them to be mean, just to motivate me.”  Major. Parenting. Fail.

watched video ct fletcher

My 16.4

Arriving at the box, true to form I let a few athletes go before me- I couldn’t relinquish that – I had to see the pain up close. The girls were killing it. And I offered my support where I could. Yelling at athletes to pull harder, push faster and do one more push-up.  As I was spewing  ‘one more push-up’ the looks I got were of pure disdain. What? It’s only one more push-up, you got 20 seconds you can do it.

Before I started my round,  Mike stepped in (again) and offered some tips:

Wall balls: Do not break parallel, don’t rest on your toes, rest on the heels and drive up. Okay, check. Got it.  My reality: But do I really got it?

Rower:  pull to the chest as hard as you can, take a sec, go back for more, use your legs, catch your breathe from the walls balls in the first two-three seconds.  Okay, check. Got it. My reality: it’s going to take more than 2-3 seconds to catch my breathe.

Hand release push up:  Do not snake up, do not lift your toes, and worth repeating again – do not snake up.  Okay, check. Got it. My reality: Fuck.

My round was up. I was ready to get it done.  Mike stepped up to the plate to be my judge again [Thank you sweet baby Jesus!].  I told him, get me off the rower; he said “there will be ‘no no reps’ this week, you got this, you will get off the rower.”

55 Deadlifts:

I got through 12 deads before I had to regrip. I had to break the deads into rounds of 10. 10 more done.  OUCH. Doubt started to creep in:  ‘wow this hurts.’  10 more.  2 more. I continued in my head:  ‘why does this suck? crap, I got this, it’s 95lbs –  my max is 195lb will that mother efffing bar up NOW Deanna!’  As I inched closer and closer little by little. I vaguely heard my judge say 15 more. At that time  5 or 2 at a time was the only way to finish.  Done!

55 Wall-Balls:

I shook out my arms; got ready to pounce. My strategy was rounds of 10 push to 11, don’t break parallel, rest on your heels.  First go at it I got to 11. I immediately thought: ‘this is going to take longer than I thought’.  Judge: ‘Start in the squat position and throw the ball up.’  No rep!  16.  22.  No rep!  One wall ball didn’t even hit the wall it kinda went up and down – WTF was that? – I literally no rep’d myself.  33 to go.  Doubt again crawled in: ‘FUCK!’.  27. 32. No rep! 37. 38.39.40. One rep at a time. 42. 43.44. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. 45.46.49. At one point I just fell forward almost slamming my head into the wall, the ball thankfully stopped the impact.  I totally broke parallel. 50. 51. No rep!  4 more to go. Done!

55 Calorie-Row:

Time was now burning at both ends the candle. I just wanted to get off the rower. Get. Off. The.Rower. I pulled as hard as I could; I averaged about 1 calorie for every two pulls. 110 pulls. That’s a lot of pulls. I listened to the cheers ‘the pull harder, you’re almost there girl. Pull harder’. [Thank you Markella!] When I had about 5 calories left, I heard my judge say ‘5 calories to hit, finish under 5 minutes.’  And so I did. I was probably 10 seconds shy of 5 minutes. But I did it.

made it rowing

55 HRPU:

I crawled off the rower and threw myself on the floor, I believe I heard my Judge say ‘you have just over 2:30 minutes to get to 20 push-ups.’  All I was thinking was ‘I am sorry Erica and Nicole for telling you that you had one more in you. I get it.  My arms felt like rubber. R.U.B.B.E.R.’  I hit 1, 2,3, 4 … totally snaking up, totally not using ANY of Mike’s tips. From across the box I heard the bellow:  ‘NO REP!’  I looked up, my face had to say: ‘Have mercy on me Coach’ then again:  ‘No rep. That’s a NO REP! Toes can’t come off the floor!”  5,6,7,8. Judge: ‘Get to 20’. 9,10, No rep!  11,12. Flat out on my face. My good friend – doubt flipped me off with: ‘Can’t move my arms’ then I heard CT Fletcher in my head: ’ will yourself up mother fucker.’  Judge: ‘Get up’; 13,14. Flat out on my face. I was thinking – C’mon Deanna get yourself up.  Judge: ‘Let’s go.’ 15. No rep! 16. It hurts. 17. Judge: ‘10 seconds left.’  18.

ct fletcher pumped

I. AM. DONE.  Like a fish flopping out of water I rolled over on my back and all I was thinking was: I got off the rower! I stood up, felt a little dizzy and nauseous. I tried to fist pump my judge but it was a weird hand-slap fist something.  My balance was off.  I walked a little, mumbled to someone “I might throw-up”.  Coach said ‘4 done, one more to go’. I tried to fist pump him but I don’t think my arms moved.  I walked a little more, grabbed an orange; it was just what I needed the peeling of the orange distracted me – took the focus off my stomach that was flipping while my balance that was still really off. I hashed out the work-out with a fellow athlete who said her throat was on fire (good times!) and just sat my ass down. What was that?

16.4 really turned your stomach inside out. Some athletes got sick. Yes, for real. When you think about it – it is kind of badass – you worked that hard that it turned your stomach into knots. Am I that ridiculous that I am thinking like that?

To me, 16.4 was the most fun of all the open WOD’s.  It could be a combination of a few things:  I  knew how to do the moves, and I didn’t care that I no rep’d, I resigned myself to just focus on this one day, to enjoy the process, knowing that I will continue to push each day, knowing that each WOD I perform will make me stronger, fitter, faster and until I get to where I want to be and until that time – in this present moment – I will own that NOW I am the best Deanna that I can be.

With one more open WOD to go, I am ready.  16.5 – I am ready for you – I am ready for the no reps, I am ready to cheer on my fellow athletes, and I am ready to have some fun! Yes, CrossFit is fun – a sick demented torturous fun but fun nonetheless.


Posted in deanna, deanna verbouwens, Mangia Mia Fitness Pia, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,