The evolution of workout journals. Or, an Ode to #OneNote

What can I say, I’m a notetaker. I don’t mean notes from school or even work (maybe that’s for another time). I’m talking about workout journals. I’ve kept them for ages. On this blog you see recent iterations. But before that there were little notebooks I took with me to the gym.

workout journal 1

Exhibit A: This was 2008. Trying out for the San Diego Crew Classic boat, and as prep I trained for the “The Big Climb”. Left page is climb training (that’s 10 sets of the Howe St Stairs) and the right side is training for rowing tryouts (4 x 1000m). Crikey that’s SOOOO badass! HAHAHAHA

workout journal 2

Exhibit B: Kettlebells Woot! I was about midway through my pregnancy at this point, and stopped by the boathouse for a workout with my friends, I’m guessing. No way I would have come up with this on my own. This has Kate written all over it.

workout journal 3

Exhibit C: This is the template for “The New Rules of Lifting for Women,” a program that I followed for a long time before and after I had the baby. (See, even documented here)

At some point, I transferred a lot of my thoughts from a notebook to this blog (such as when I was training for the half-marathon). The books were also useful in planning out what I was going to do. Take a few minutes in the locker room to figure out a workout, write it down, follow it. Then you’re not wandering the weight room wondering what to do next.

When I started Crossfit I found it was easier to just take pictures rather than write things down. Of course, the problem with that was then moving everything from my phone to the blog, where I didn’t write as many notes about the workout, and just as important, how I felt. The picture process, while efficient at that moment, lacked the extra thought I used to put into the notebooks. Also, if I did other stuff, like go for a run, I didn’t necessarily record it anywhere. Blogging the pics was fun, but it became a chore and eventually I stopped doing it. I also stopped taking pictures.

So, I’m trying OneNote instead. Yes, I work for Microsoft, and maybe there’s a little bit of incentive to see if this works. Because I want use these products. But actually, I kind of love OneNote, which surprised me, because I also love stationery. But you don’t need a paper notebook at work. You really don’t. I have so much of my daily work life in OneNote and I can access it from nearly anywhere with an Internet connection or else via my phone. I also love not sifting through email to find that one mail that contains some documentation. Just throw it into a page in OneNote and you’re good. I also love, when I’m struck with a great idea at 10PM at night and I’m in my pajamas in my bed, that I can grab my phone, open the app and tap out a few sentences. And, the next morning i can log into my laptop and there are my ideas. Sure, you could email yourself your notes, or use GoogleDocs or whatever other Cloud-based documentation system, but you know what, I also LOVE the app version of this. On my PC and on my devices the apps are much preferred over the online version.

Okay, end raving of OneNote.

The new system works sorta like this:

Step 1: Wear my nifty Microsoft Band and record data around my workouts (I LOVE DATA).

Step 2: Go to my Microsoft Health app on my iPhone (sorry, not sorry) and look up the exercise activity I just logged, and “share it” to OneNote. It takes a little screengrab of my heartrate as well as some other notes and plugs it into the Notebook and Section of my choosing.

Step 3: Find the workout I did (if it’s from Crossfit Not Crossfit, it’s on the web site and I just cut and paste it into the page), then jot down any additional notes, including the date, and either times or weights or feelings, etc.

the new workout journal

Exhibit D: The OneNote way of life

Voila. I like where this is going. On OneNote I have this history on my phone, my iPad, my work laptop and my home PC. I have additional info from my Microsoft Band (was wondering what I should do with all of that info I was recording), and it only takes a few minutes to do from anywhere (usually on the shuttle to work). Goodbye, lengthy blog entries. So long archive of WOD pics (though I may still do some of those on occasion, because who doesn’t love a blog post about Blue Friday workouts, right).

The workouts weren’t really meant to be shared. All along I’ve only wanted a record of what I’ve done and when I’ve done it. I think OneNote/Microsoft Health combo lets me track workouts, including runs and yoga, and on top of that I can jot the notes down that I haven’t done in a while, all very quickly and on the go.

So, for now they’ll appear less here unless something spectacular comes up, and more on my devices. Sure eveyrone else is taking selfies. I’m taking screengrabs of my heartrate charts.

I can dig it.












#TGIBF workouts, part II

Alas, the season is over. It endded a little bit sooner than I would have liked, but you can’t knock what they accomplished this year. Of course I’m talking about the beloved Seahawks. Surely all of the Blue Friday workouts we had at the gym had everything to do with how they played. Just like my wearing my blue shirts every Friday, and adding in those Richard Sherman socks on Sundays. All for you!

So, now that the ‘Hawks are out of the picture, who do I root for? On the NFC side I can’t decide if I dislike Bruce Arians or Cam Newton more. The husband would insist we not root for another NFC West division team. But he doesn’t have the bad taste in his mouth about Cam that I have acquired over the season.

On the AFC side, do I go back to my Patriots who I disavowed a year ago? I could see myself silently cheering for Peyton and the Broncos, but the husband, who apparently holds a grudge back to the days when the Seahawks were in the AFC frowns upon Broncos cheering in the house (but I’m not really cheering for the orange and blue, just Peyton and surely that’s okay, right?). Perhaps the little kid and I will have a silent Broncos cheering section in the back:

But I digress.

Here are the rest of the #TGIBF workouts for the season:


Nevermore, as in Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. As in the Baltimore Ravens.


Cliff Avril #56


Vikings 2.0 (Wild card playoff). Tough workout (we did 2.0). Tough win

this was the workout before the NFC Divisional Game. No name. But Jess used blue and green markers. I'm sure that's what caused the poor performance in the first half.

this was the workout before the NFC Divisional Game. No name. But Jess used blue and green markers. I’m sure that’s what caused the poor performance in the first half.


I don’t care what people say. We’ll always have this.

Go Hawks! I mean, go off-season.

Our #TGIBF themed workouts

Ohai. It’s been a while. Something like three months or so. I don’t know, I guess we got kind of busy. School started for the kid. Then work got nut-so. Then work moved to a new building closer to the mothership. And then I blinked and it was Thanksgiving.

What else? Oh, I sorta tried this thing called hot yoga. It’s all the rage and I kind of like it. Also, I have tendinitis in my ankle which makes my ankle not like yoga sometimes. Balancing on my left foot sometimes hurts, or sometimes is very difficult or nearly impossible. But you gotta do it, says the PT. You’re strong enough to do it without the wobbly arms thing going on. But when in life do you stand on one leg, says the yoga instructor (I mean, besides yoga class, I suppose). So, I’m trying to do these PT exercises, hoping it gets better. I suppose after three-plus years of doing this crossfit/not-CF thing, some tendinitis is the biggest injury? I’m doing ok, I guess.

I have four months of workouts that I could log here, but I’m not going to. Instead I’m going highlight our Blue Friday workouts. Since Seahawks pre-season started our (Blue!) Friday workouts have been themed around football and the Seahawks. That makes it a little more interesting, though sometimes annoying.

You ain't Russell WIlson, Bro!

You ain’t Russell WIlson, Bro! If you recall, that’s what Clay Matthews said to Colin Kapernick when the Packers played the 49ers. You know, before Kap got benched. All the 7s!


Play Clock


DangeRUSS (I see you 3s)


“Largent” My fave because Steve Largent is one of the husband’s favorite players. Plus, very cool numbers and stats

"Cut 75"

“Cut 75” was one of our pre-season workouts.

"Pick 6"

“Pick 6” At first I thought we would be able to pick one of these as the workout. Hahaha. Not. All of them


12s! Have you noticed this year we’re the 12s and we’re no longer “The 12th Man”. Gender equality!

"Beast Mode"

“Beast Mode” of course.

"Finish The Game"

“Finish The Game.” Yeah. Like, just pour a little lemon juice on that cut, why don’t you

Ka-Kaw! Go Hawks!



Workouts of June 2015

Lots of routines as of late. I’m definitely a Mon-Wed-Fri Not-WODster. The crew around me is pretty regular, with a few change-ups here and there. Right now I have a different coach each day: Andy on Mondays, Mitch on Wednesdays, Jess on Fridays (also Jess on Tuesdays for Yoga). It makes for a varied experience when you rotate coaches. This has been good, too.


This was the day Rina and I got a talking to by the Coach. The “You’re stronger than you think you are” talking. Increase the weight to challenge yourself and your muscles. I think I did 60#. It’s the front squats. Those things scare me into thinking I’m going to do something that kills my back.


Jeez, Andy, can you write any smaller?? Does this look familiar? It is Not-Helen. Actually it is exactly Helen. My time was in the 11 – 12 minute range.


Which would you rather: Doubleunders or Squat Jumps? Believe it or not, I’d take DUs over SJs. Plus, 30 seconds is nothing. Then again, 5 times 30 seconds is …


More ring plank. 🙁


The Sprints were a drag. It is an alley behind a bunch of houses, it has a slight incline. It is sprinting. The Strength, was just a get’r’done kind of thing. Kickin’ it old school, as I like to say.




Side Plank is the worst!


Least faves


How many Burpees can you do in 30 seconds? Not a lot. Maybe 7. That’s manageable.


Wall Walks. Kinda fun, kinda scary.

And then there were a couple of days where I forgot to take a pic, but I remembered to take a screengrab.
20150607_025631000_iOS 061515A lot of pics this month. A lot of workouts.


Workouts of May 2015

This is around where we started doing weird Wendler-ness. Previously we’d concentrate on 2 – 4 lifts, depending on when or how often you went to class per week (I go three times per week, therefore I could practice three lifts). However, new coach Andy rigged the schedule so that people who went thrice weekly could somehow fit all of the lifts in. I’m still not quite sure how it worked out, but yes, I was doing squats, deadlifts, bench press, press, and maybe another one? Because bench is new. I love bench. It’s my favorite, and I’m so much better at it than I was 10 (or 15) years ago, when I didn’t know what I was doing. As I won’t remember to write this when I review July’s workouts, I PR’d my bench press today, at 95# (I tried and failed 100#). “95 pounds is respectable,” Ruth, my partner said to me. It is.


Gah! Running. Always with the running.


Gah! Rowing. Always with the rowing.


I’m pretty sure the “Finisher” was, like, “Do it again!” There was at least one Not-WOD like that. I’ll have to find it …


Wait, maybe THIS was that “Do it again” one … Coach Andy has a pesky way of not sharing everything at the beginning.


I did Half-Murph. It was long. My push ups were crap near the end. My time was around 20-25 minutes.


What is Ring Plank, you ask? No, not some weird disease. It’s a plank, on rings! It’s hard. Arms are shaking and balance is iffy.


I don’t think I did more than 2 rounds.


“Alt Pull Ups” are the “commando” ones, very G.I. Jane. Tricky Coach Andy secretly replaced my 15# plate with a 25# plate while I was out running. “You’re stronger than you think you are” is a comment I have received on more than one occasion. “I don’t want to injure myself” is a reply I have given on more than one occasion. This was okay, though.


Not-Fran. Really, it’s not Fran, because there are these nutty box jumps in the middle.


These are not a few of my favorite things.


Workouts of April 2015

So, Crossfit is now “Not-Crossfit”, as we’re moving away from that whole Crossfit craziness. So on this blog, I guess WODs will be Workouts (or Not-WODs). New look! Same ingredients.

Here’s a look at April. I had a week off for vacation. Not WODs seem lower than normal? Maybe I forgot to take pics. Who knows, it’s been like three months, already.


Vacation means taking the 9:30 am class instead of the 5:30 am. I always wonder if my times/scores would be better slightly later in the morning, on account of not always being fully awake so early in the morning, but my time at 9:30 seems pretty much on par with the people I’m usually aligned with in my usual class. So there’s that.


Wow! This one must have sucked. Oh yeah, it did. It totally did.


There’s been talk about whether the level of intensity in class has diminished since we switched to Not-Crossfit and Not-WODs. My usual stance is, the level of intensity is how intense you, personally, make it. I could see sandbagging this workout so easily. I doubt I did, as I have internal goals for rowing, which means I hate hate hate being slower than a 2:00 split if I have to. But, for sure, it’s possible, and this would be one you could easily do that to.


This was a rare Saturday Not-WOD. They are usually partner workouts. Wall sits always remind me of high school volleyball practice, which always reminds me of how very unfit I was in high school. Sigh.


One of those Not-WODs where you should take a ball or a KB just out of your comfort zone. You can do anything for 45 seconds.


Just one of those ones you have to slog through.



Workouts March 2015


Lots of changes going on at the gym. For one, they have changed their name from SoundCrossfit to Sound Strength and Conditioning. We never were that typical Crossfit Gym. I never called it a “box” without using quotations. I never entered a competition. I never treated it like a sport. I hate kipping. And have no desire or feel the need to every do a Muscle-Up, or try a handstand walk. And you know what, I’m doing okay.

So, moving forward I’ll call it strength and conditioning. Or strength training, which is how I categorized gym-related things on this blog before all this Crossfit nonsense started.

Anyway, here is March. I started doing Yoga in Feb/March. I was also sick as a dog for about a week. Wendler has started again, and as we spent a lot of time squatting over the past 6 months, the squat is not one of the lifts I’m working on this time around. I’m doing bench press, press and deadlifts. Bench Press is fun. I haven’t done it much since I left my traditional gym. I’m much stronger than I was back then. I’m also older, so a little more careful.

These, like usual, are not in any specific order, although Bench is Mondays, Press is Wednesdays and Makeups aka DLs are Fridays. They’re all jumbled up.


The original work out was a 2K. Vomit vomit. Wanna do something different? asked the coach. Yes, heck yes said the playas. So she crafted this on the spot. Much more fun, much less boring. I’d rather do pretty much anything than a 2K time trial


It’s these types of workouts where you go to your strength. For me, I ask myself, what is the lesser of three evils and the answer is usually running, unless I’m feeling particularly rebellious or stupid, then I’ll erg. I most likely will not choose DoubleUnders unless someone forces me to.


For the ring rows we put or feet on a box, and pulled one every 10 seconds. Made them much more difficult.


Me, Jean, and the guys.


Run to 60th and back is a half-mile, I believe. Lots of running this month. Or, maybe lots of running because I choose to run.


Wow. This looks terrible. One-arm KB Swings? Oh right. I ended up using a very like KB to get through this.


Different handwriting! This must be Andy. Ah yes. The top half was the official workout then halfway through he changed it up on the fly and we finished the AMRAP doing the bottom half.

03.27.15 03.18.15

On yoga and crossfit

These pics were taken by Chris Rosa for Sound CrossFit.

Less Talk, More Plank. These pics were taken by Chris Rosa for SoundCrossFit.

Yoga has never been my thing. It was really in for a while, with all of my friends. I remember going to a free class at Ballard Health Club. I just recall it being crowded, and I felt weird because I didn’t know what I was doing. The instructor wasn’t helpful or maybe I gave off a “don’t look at me” vibe as I felt very self-conscious. I went to a least a couple other classes like that. I tried doing yoga at home, with a DVD, but I never got much out of it. It sort of pissed me off that this lady I was watching was on some tropical island while I was stuck in our cramped tv space with dog hair on the carpet. Not very relaxing. Not relaxing at all.

My crossfit gym began offering a weekly yoga class maybe about a year or so ago. I went to a free trial class and it was not detestable. I didn’t hate it. It is taught by one of the instructors I love as a crossfit coach, and seeing her day in, day out as a crossfit coach I was able to hear tidbits about her adventures in taking extensive yoga courses.

So, I liked it. I didn’t like having to pay additional, and, frankly, it didn’t really work well with my schedule. Fast forward many months later, Yoga is switched to a 6 a.m. morning class. And the schedule change came right when I was training for my first race of the year, and my body was feeling a bit worn out. AND I find out I can use my existing membership classes to attend.

I can make this work, I decide, and finally, my 2015 workout goal has been determined. I’m going to try yoga for the year. Just once a week (how many times a week does one do yoga, anyway? Daily? Twicely?) for now. And, as I’ve been at it for a few weeks now and I’ve managed to make 6 a.m. work for me and my weekday morning routine (it means Max gets walked at 5:15 on Tuesdays, but I haven’t seen him complain yet).

So, after different attempts at trying yoga, and after pretty much ignoring it for years (even though many friends suggested I try it again), after saying many times (even to my yoga instructor, probably, before she was my yoga instructor), “oh, I’m just not into yoga,” or “It’s not my thing. I just don’t get it” … After too many “I would rather spend my time on a “real” workout,” here’s why this yoga class, at this time, seems to be working for me.

1) The familiarity. I’m a total rookie, and I don’t mind admitting it. But I walked into a class where I knew the physical space, I knew the instructor, and she knew me and was familiar with my physical abilities. I walked in and I knew most of the people in the room, too. Suddenly that first barrier of having to go through the rigmarole of figuring people out and deciding if you like or dislike this or that has been removed. For an introvert, this is a huge hurdle. Add on top of that the removal of class schedules and costs and suddenly the barriers are down (of course, if I continue this for the rest of the year I think I’m going to have to upgrade my membership status, but now that I know what I’m getting into, I’m more apt to accept that cost. I see what they’re doing here. Nice move, SCF).

2) The Crossfit connection. What’s nice about doing it all under the same roof is that you have a coach that is familiar with your regular routine. And can translate what you do in the gym (or, as they say, “the box”) with the yoga (relate a yoga move to your deadlift stance. Or feel how “plugging your shoulder” feels compared to a bentover row). Conversely, in Crossfit you translate what you’ve done in yoga, back into class. My plank is better. My push-ups are better.

It definitely helps that Jess, the instructor, is pragmatic and down-to-earth. There’s no hippie-dippie business going on here. Classes are instructional and challenging in a non-stressful environment. Not unlike our Crossfit classes.That fits my style.

3) Oh sorry, my bad. It is a real workout. If you do it right, and you concentrate in the right places, and it’s more of a “flowing” thing or whatever (see, I’m a rookie, haven’t got the lingo down yet), yeah, there’s a bit of sweat action going on. I’m not dripping or anything, but, like Crossfit, put as much effort into it as you want to get out of it, and you may see a sweaty outcome. As I was breathing through that crazy chair position for what seemed like forEVER, I thought to myself, would I rather be doing Wall Balls? Possibly.

Would I trade three weekly Crossfit WODs out for 3 yoga classes? Nope. But there’s no reason we can’t live harmoniously under one roof.

Smile for the camera

Earlier this year we had some pics taken of us at SoundCrossFit. I told my friend I would share a few. Here’s one:

This photo was taken by Chris Rosa at SoundCrossFit

Smile! You’re on Crossfit Camera

For the record, I don’t normally smile when doing Wall Balls. I’m usually mumbling. I’m counting, for sure. Like take our last wall ball workout, a rehash of 13.3: 12 minutes AMRAP: 150 Wall Balls, 90 Double Unders, 30 Muscle Ups (that 30 could be 3 it could be 300, doesn’t matter because I doubt I’ll be getting to one muscle up anytime soon). Let’s focus on the 150 WBs, also known as Karen. Go in with a strategy, and your strategy shouldn’t be “go all out at the start”. Instead, break the 150 down to groups of 25 first. If you have to, break the 25 down into 10 and 15. So, there’s definitely a lot of counting involved. So there I am, huffing and puffing away, I vividly recall mumbling to myself at about the 125 mark. I’m mumbling, “C’mon. 25 left. Just 25 more. You got this” And then I do it.

Mumbling, yes. Smiling, no.

My best guess about this smiling nonsense is a) this is a photo shoot and there’s this guy with a camera standing right next to me and it’s making me kinda nervous, so it’s a nervous smile or b) this is a staged camera shot and my coach, Danielle, has just handed me the lightest wall ball ever and I’m kinda excited thinking, “this is the lightest wall ball ever!”

This photo was taken by Chris Rosa at SoundCrossFit

More wall balls

I’ll share a few more pics in later posts. Stay tuned!

(Photo Credit: Chris Rosa)