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A Visit to CrossFit Shadyside

15 Oct

A few weeks back, while traveling for work in Pittsburgh, I had some unexpected free time.  So what did I do?  Immediately googled local CrossFit gyms.  A quick search revealed a box not even 2 blocks away from the hotel I was staying at! Boom! I took my chances that they’d let me drop-in without advanced notice and showed up at a 6:30am class.  I was greeted by Erin, one of the coaches, filled out a quick waiver and had no issues joining the class.


Crossfit Shadyside is actually located in the bottom part of Ryer Martial Arts Academy. and initially was less than half the size it currently is.  I snapped some pictures of the space to give you an idea of the layout, but it’s a decent size and has lots of equipment tucked away that you can’t see.  IMG_9418[1]




One of my favorite parts of the gym (and something that immediately caught my attention) was the “Box Rules”.  They’re so perfect for anyone just joining CrossFit and a good reminder for those who have been doing it for a while.  🙂IMG_9415[1]

The WOD (workout of the day) started with 10 minutes of mobility work (rolling, stretching), followed by 4 rounds of max effort Handstand Push-Ups (for me, modified by using a box), 2 minutes rest, then 8 bent over rows (using barbell), 30 russian twists (I used a 20lb med ball).  Finally, we completed a max effort 1000 m row, rested 5 minutes and finished with 4 RFT (rounds for time) of 3 push presses (85% of our 1 rep maximum weight) and 15 toes-to-bar (knees to chest for me).  I can’t remember the weight I used for push presses (maybe 55lb?), but I know my shoulders and armpits were sore for days after this WOD.  Hello, handstand push-ups!

There were probably only 5 people in the class I took, so I can’t say how it is during more crowded sessions, but Erin made sure to check everyone’s form and give us feedback, critiques and encouragement during the workout.  She also made sure I knew where to grab equipment from, which was much appreciated because I was so unfamiliar with their gym.  At first, I couldn’t figure out where the med balls were–they’re kept in a wooden box built into a wall!  Erin has been a coach at Shadyside for about two years and really seemed to know her stuff.  I definitely think it’s important to have someone coaching who not only knows about crossfit movements, but isn’t afraid to correct you or make sure you have proper form.

After class, I got to chat a little more with Erin about the history of CrossFit Shadyside, and she took me upstairs to the giant martial arts area.  Of course, I also took the time to snag some Shadyside tees for the boyfriend and myself!

I’m so glad I was able to check out another box during my work travels (see my last box review here), and highly recommend CrossFit Shadyside if you’re in the Pittsburgh area.  I know I’ll definitely be back!

Do you like to explore local gyms during travel?  What do you look for most in a coach or fitness instructor?  Tell me about it!



NYCM Training: Week 12

6 Oct

Phew, I have survived 12 weeks of training and have just 4 weeks to go!  It’s definitely becoming harder and harder to get my runs in between work travel and social obligations, but I’m making it happen.  I feel really good and hope it stays this way through the rest of this cycle.  I finished reading A Race Like No Other last week and am really starting to envision running this marathon.  So exciting!  Let’s recap last week:

Monday 9/29: 50 minute yoga class from  I found a class called “Heavenly Hip Openers” and it was just what I needed!  I’ve really been loving using this website for yoga on-the-go, especially since I’m traveling so much lately.

Tuesday 9/30: 5 easy (9:51 avg pace).  I had to do this on the freakin treadmill, which apparently is my new Tuesday routine.  Yuck!  I also did some single-leg dead-lifts and used the free weights for a quick arm workout.


Wednesday 10/1: CrossFit.  An unexpected change in my work schedule left me with a few extra hours in the morning, so I immediately searched for local CF boxes in Pittsburgh.  Lucky me, I found one not even 2 blocks away from my hotel!  I dropped in to CrossFit Shadyside for the 6:30 am class and got my butt kicked before traveling back home.  Stay tuned for a recap of my visit to CF Shadyside soon!


Thursday 10/2: Rest

Friday 10/3: My plan was to run 6 easy, but after a late night rehearsal dinner and an early start to the day for my cousin’s wedding, I cut my run short to 4 miles.  And had to do them on that dang treadmill!  Average pace 9:23.

Saturday 10/4: Rest

Sunday 10/5: 20 easy (10:28 average pace).  Since I was in Poughkeepsie, I decided to tackle my long run up there before driving back to Long Island.  My parents live right near the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, which connects to the Walkway over the Hudson and provides gorgeous scenery for a fall long run.



Thank goodness boyfriend was willing to go along with me (on bike, not foot).  He rode ahead and took scenic pics during the first half of the run, but stuck by me during the second half when I needed it most.  He kept me entertained and helped me push through when I just wanted to stop.  Overall I felt good, although my feet hurt a bit, but they hurt before I even started (thanks to running around in heels for two days prior to running 20 miles).  Long run success!



Weekly totals: 29 miles, 1 CrossFit class, 1 yoga session, 2 rest days.

How do you survive long runs?  Enlist company?  Music?  What’s the furthest distance you’ve run during marathon training?  Tell me about it!