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Archive for March, 2012|Monthly archive page

WOD 3.31.2012

In WOD on March 31, 2012 at 6:36 pm

I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to post Daily WODs here. I’ve enjoyed tracking other athletes’ training on their websites, but if you all find it dull or uninteresting, I may avoid the posts. Today’s WOD, however, was worth mentioning.



400m run

40 air squats

30 sit ups

20 push ups

10 pull- ups

Before the workout, I told the Mean Machine (our trainers are just going to get fun new nicknames on this site– get used to it 😉 ) that I never feel ready to re-test my baseline. I don’t get butterflies before WODs nearly as often I as used to, but the baseline always makes me quiver a little in my Innov-8s. It’s because the baseline (and many of the girl wods) are the BS-detectors of CrossFit training. They’ll tell you if you’ve been overtraining, undertraining, or just plain screwing up. If your baseline time doesn’t change in a few months, you might want to reconsider your approach.

In my initial months of CrossFit stupidity, my baseline time didn’t budge. Then, as I made progress (ring pull-ups to banded pull ups to real pull ups), my times kept lengthening because the new, harder movements required more time. This time, however, would be my second attempt at an Rx’d baseline. No new movements; I either had to be faster, or had to think about what I was doing wrong.

Miraculously, I PR’d my time by 55 seconds. 4:10 overall. I was no-repped two pull-ups, and did the obligatory extra two for compensation but it does make me worry about the integrity of the other 8 pull-ups. Something to keep in mind when I’m practicing my kips. However, it does indicate to me that I’m at least doing something right lately. I’ve been working hard on the days I feel strong and prepared to do so, going light and emphasizing technique over weight or speed on days that I feel worn out. Resting when I need it. Eating (an expensive lot) more. I hope I can keep it up.


Overhead Squats: 15-10-5-10-15

alternating with Rowing: 400m-600m-800m-600m-400m.

I’m not fond of OHS or rowing. I’m definitely better at upper body movements than lower-body ones, and I’m a slow rower. There are some days, walking into the box, I tell myself that I’ll probably be last to finish, and I need to be okay with that. I don’t enjoy competition; it makes me anxious. Finishing first doesn’t feel like winning, but finishing last makes me want to criticize and evaluate what I can do to improve. It’s something I’m working on. Tangent alert: that’s another thing I love about CrossFit– it’s taught me to confront and accept my shortcomings. It’s taken me months, but by now, if I’m the last one sitting on the rower, I’ve stopped beating myself up about it. I’ve accepted that this is my current level, and that I should evaluate relative to my own standards. If and when I find shortcomings, I shouldn’t waste time and energy getting upset about it, but rather, my time is much better spent developing a plan to improve in that particular area. Knowing that I’m a slow rower, I told myself to keep my pace below 2:20/500m for as much as I could during the WOD. I’m happy to report that I managed it, with a few slips during the 800m stint. Though many others tipped their tired selves off the Concept 2’s before I did, I felt damn good when I finished.

What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

In General, Training on March 31, 2012 at 1:43 pm

One of my trainers– for the sake of anonymity on this blog, I’m going to nickname him the Cyborg*– is just the right combination of inspiring and intimidating to motivate athletes beyond their mental blocks. He can spot laziness a mile away and accepts nothing less than 110%. I’ve completed a lot of my most memorable WODs with him screaming in my ear. I often recall my first Rx’d workout: EMOM** 4 reps front squats @ 65 lbs, followed by 12 v-ups. At the time, I couldn’t clean 65lbs so I had to pull the bar from the rack. I wanted to cry every time the clock beeped, on each minute. In fact, I’m fairly certain I eeked out a few tears between screams. Every time I finished the four reps, I was sure I could not lift that bar again. As I braced it on my shoulders, I thought I would collapse at the bottom of that squat. But he was behind me, ready to catch the bar if I ever dropped– which I didn’t– telling me to push through, push through. Or, perhaps his favorite phrase: “easy day.”

The Cyborg has instilled in me a lot of mantras that get me through tough workouts. One that I’ve found ironic, though, is: “What’s the worst that can happen?” A week before our box hosted Fight Gone Bad for St. Jude, I was working on box jumps– my Achilles heel for the longest time. Ever since my first wipeout, I’d been afraid to try again. I’d waste precious seconds in front of the box, unable to will my legs off the ground, envisioning myself falling over and over again. At this point, The Cyborg asked me, “What’s the worst that can happen? Maybe you’ll fall, you’ll scrape your knee, you’ll get back up. So what?”

A week later, I started round one of Fight Gone Bad. I felt iffy about the box jumps, but I tried. I scraped my shin along the edge of the box. I screamed. I kept going. I actually finished Fight Gone Bad before I realized that my calf sleeves were damp with blood. Unwisely, I chose not see a doctor, and the injury has actually left a rather large scar (the coaches now often reference it to new members who remark on their anxiety of box jumps– I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be a horror story or one of inspiration…) However, ironically, box jumps became less intimidating afterwards. The worst had happened– the world didn’t end, and I’d proven to myself that I actually can land on top of the damn thing, even while staining my fancy WOD socks.

Yesterday, I had another similar incident. When the Cyborg coached me on push jerks, he noted how I’m too slow in dropping under the bar (a recurrent theme in all my O-lift movements). He asked (now, I’m thinking prophetically) “What’s the worst that can happen? You hit yourself in the chin. So what?” Well, yesterday, I clocked myself in the chin with 65lbs of airborne steel. Actually didn’t hurt that bad. I have a small bruise now, but the last 3 jerks of my workout were probably my best of the day.

I found myself again struck by the ways CrossFit conditions us to approach life. How often do we hold back or play it safe for fear of some inflated consequence that we’ve built up in our minds? How often do we let fear set our limitations? I find myself taking risks– emotional, intellectual, etc– that I wouldn’t have before, knowing that the elation of reaching that achievement (of landing on that box, or holding 65 lbs overhead) is worth the chance of those small injuries. Perhaps I’ll escape unscathed, but even if I don’t, I’ve learned that I can survive, push through, and still make my way to the endpoint– albeit with a few battle scars. I’m not promoting recklessness or blind self-endangerment, but perhaps we should take faith in our ability not just to avoid obstacles, but to overcome them. If “the worst that can happen” is that you hit a small bump in the road– what’s really keeping you from the journey?

* The Cyborg receives his nickname from his ability to perform inhuman feats with inhuman calm and precision. This man has achieved  the elusive quadruple-under, can string 80 pull-ups in a row, and I’ve even seen him down a shot of whiskey and hotsauce without blinking. Chuck Norris checks his closet at night for the Cyborg.

**Every Minute on the Minute

The Jomad Speaks

In General on March 30, 2012 at 9:10 pm

So I’ve finally caved. I’ve always seen blogging as a boring, self-indulgent exercise in which the writer repeats what s/he already knows to an empty audience. However, over the years, I’ve become an addict of CrossFit blogs around the country, and I’ve found these compelling and inspirational– ways to feel a part of this community networked across the country, joined by a passion for fitness, hard work, and long socks. I fell in love with CrossFit for its communal aspect–  the way it has turned fitness into a conversation. We run an extra 400m to help the last straggler push through the WOD, we learn each athlete’s quirks so that we know when a 45 lb clean is a warm-up or a PR. We celebrate our victories– large and small–  and find new ones along the way. Like many, I’ve found that most lessons we learn in CrossFit can be applied to life. Listen to your body. Rest as needed; push when you know you can. Don’t make excuses. Dedication, hard work, and integrity will get you there.

So, after months of polluting my box’s Facebook page with my own too-personal ramblings, I’ve decided to create a space for my own thoughts. For now, I’ve created a quick “About” page, and a longer page detailing my personal journey with CrossFit. I don’t pretend to know everything– or anything. Really, I will be using this blog to work through issues that I encounter in and outside the box– hopefully reflections that may be helpful, moving, or inspiring to you.