the spaz of fitness has arrived


In Training, WOD on September 29, 2012 at 3:41 pm


Five rounds for time of:
22 Kettlebell swings, 2 pood/1.5
22 Box jump, 24 inch box/20
Run 400 meters
22 Burpees
22 Wall ball shots, 20#/14#

On paper, it doesn’t look terrible. But if you consult the CrossFit mainsite, it delivers discouraging news: CrossFit titans such as Austin Malleolo and Kristan Clever took 30-35 minutes to complete the workout. Our box listed this morning’s WOD with a 45 minute time cap, which usually implies that… most members will exceed the limit. I went in with the hope of coming in just under 45, but I had no idea if that was feasible.

Caveat: I scaled the KB swings to 1pd. I’m actually rather proud that I can do a full American with 1.5 now, but 22 would take me so long that the swings would have been the bulk of my WOD. Nevertheless, I’m a slow runner and I pause too often in my box jumps, so I figured the workout would still take me a long while. And it probably would have, if it weren’t for a little external motivation.

I started at a comfortable pace– pushing to a point of discomfort, but nothing terrible. Then Coach Cyborg reminded me exactly why my most humbling workouts have always been in his company. Sometime near round 3, he started paying more attention to me– elbows weren’t locked out at the top of that swing, hips didn’t reach full extension on that box jump, squat lower for the wall ball. Something he’s reminded me often, and something I try to keep in mind for every workout– if I want to be a coach, I should perform in a manner that I would want others to emulate. When I was new to CrossFit, I allowed my form to degrade deplorably because I cared more about the clock or the rounds, or the abstract idea of “intensity” than the integrity of my movements. These days, I try to focus on precision and cleanliness. But somewhere in there, I’ve become a little too comfortable. No longer made anxious by the clock, and now strong enough to handle wall balls and box jumps without delirium, I’ve forgotten the vast divide between what our brains think we can do and what our bodies can actually do.

For the 4th 400m, The Cyborg told me to make it in in 1:30. I have no idea what time I took, but it was certainly longer. My lungs were seizing, my legs were shot, and I thought I was moving as hard as I could. But when I stumbled through the door, he told me that I’d taken forever and I should make up the time on my burpees. I’d like to take this moment to retract everything nice I’ve ever said about burpees. Yeah, they’re a delight when you’re 88 pounds of nothing. 30 pounds later, they’re a shitshow. Sorry everyone– you’ve been right all along– burpees suck ass. The Cyborg screamed my reps aloud, remarking every time I slowed down. My asthma, which started during the runs had pushed mucus from my lungs into my throat. My head was a complete fog, and the world shrank to nothing but the five inches of rubber in front of my face each time I flopped to the floor. I was beyond pain– where intensity had exploded into annihilation, and mind was trying to shut itself down. But I managed those burpees. And then the wall balls, and another set of swings and another 22 box jumps. For my last 400m, The Cyborg appeared alongside me and ran just two steps ahead the entire way, calling back to me. I was breathing so heavy that I couldn’t hear the traffic around me. I thought my chest would explode with each inhalation, but he kept on yelling and somehow, my legs, these alien appendages, just pedaled away beneath me. I made it back in the door at 1:35. More burpees. And then the wall balls. Wall balls aren’t nearly as bad for me as they used to be, but at this point, I was spent. I thought those 14 pounds would carry me to the ground each time the leather struck my hands. But The Cyborg was unforgiving. I could not rest. Not now. At 15 reps, I got a few seconds, and then up again. No, not now. No you can’t rest. No you’re not done. Seven more. Don’t put it down. Five more. Three. And done, at 40:01.

I’ve become complacent in the past few months of training. When I first started CrossFit, I was so weak that everything sucked– even 10lb balls with an 8ft target. But as I got stronger, movements became easier and I forgot to carry that same exertion with me. No, I probably should not work to this intensity too frequently, but I should remember that when I think I’m done, when I think I’m tired, there’s so much more left untapped. Your body is smart– it’s made to protect itself… it will want to take the easy way out not because it’s lazy, but because it’s trying to conserve resources. But your body is also resilient. If you demand more of it, it will rise to the challenge.

After yesterday’s post, today provided a truly satisfying reminder. I don’t give a shit what my body was or wasn’t built for. I will beat it into submission ;).

Also, with The Cyborg’s remarks, I’m reminded so much of why I want to be a CrossFit coach someday. I want to help people find these moments– to see in them potential that they have yet to recognize and to rally those resources until they convert weakness to strength and overcome all that self-doubt. We have such tremendous trainers here, and beyond working on the integrity of my movements, I hope someday to incorporate much of what I’ve learned from them. I want to be able to have the Mean Machine’s positivity, and Zebrapants’s raw passion. I want to emulate Jefe’s patient, acute observation, his inquisitiveness, and generosity with his knowledge. And, like The Cyborg, I want to be able to drive people– to know when some athletes require gentle guidance, and when others need to be bitchslapped into high gear. And I’d like to think I’d bring my own individual experience to it too– to know what it’s like to start from nothing, to demand muscle from bone, to unlearn all the awful habits of your body… to do this while watching all the lifelong and natural athletes exceed you… to watch beginners PR with weights well beyond your reach… to want it all so bad that it doesn’t fucking matter, that you will work for it if you have to measure your progress in years.

One more bit of wisdom from The Cyborg. Before every “Hero” WOD, he makes a statement about how these remind him that “life is pretty good.” Whenever we undertake a Hero, I look up the individual after whom it was named. Army Captain Dan Whitten was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. On February 2, 2010, Whitten’s vehicle was struck by an explosive device. He died that same day. I assume the date (2/2) corresponds with the 22 reps in the workout. But as much as I’ve whined about my lungs seizing and my legs flailing until they lost sensation, that’s… all negligible. My forty minutes of “suffering” is incomparable to his sacrifice– to that of his family. And if I’m going to do something like this in “his honor,” then I damned well better give it my all. And… I’m glad someone was there this morning to remind me that my “all” is more than I thought.

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