“I may not be there yet…but I’m closer than I was yesterday”….Author Unknown
Following in the footsteps of Barbara Walter’s 10 Most Fascinating People, I have learned 10 things that I have found out about Crossfit in the past 12 months. Although my list is not nearly as fascinating as Barbara’s list , my journey with Crossfit this year has been tale of personal growth and challenges. Year 2013 started off with my changing my programming and my training by switching boxes to Crossfit Reflexion.(www.crossfitreflexion.com) It was back to the fundamentals and a shift in focus from longer metabolic-conditioning type WODS to building strength and building more strength paired up with moving in the most efficient way possible. My Goal list written out in December of 2012 included the following for 2013: 100lb Snatch 135lb Clean and Jerk 1 bar muscle up 2 muscle ups linked 5 Ring dips 5 Butterfly pull ups 2 Chest to bar Butterfly Pull ups
Lesson # 1 – Seems simple and basic, but write everything down. Keep a training journal, track every WOD with what weight you did. I didn’t just concentrate on my times on the WOD or how many rounds I got , but also how I broke up my sets. Where did I find my recovery? How many seconds rest did I need for me to maintain my sets. I want my last set to look just like my first set.
Lesson # 2 – Stay on top of your goals – no matter what. Do you ever write down your goals and then just forget about them , or worse , think that there is no chance you’d be able to achieve what you wrote down because everytime you practiced, it just was not getting any easier? I struggled with Double Unders so much when I had to relearn how to jump. Any wod that had double unders in them I wanted to cry or sub out burpees for them. It felt like I would never be able to get rid of my donkey kick and I was very tense on my shoulders and definitely making my ‘Pain Face” when I was doing them. My goal was to just string 50 double unders together, stay relaxed, use my wrist and just jump…regular jump without bringing my knees to my chest. It took 2 months but finally, everything seemed to click and Double unders are no longer the enemy. Other things have definitely taken over….sled pull anyone? More on that later.
Lesson # 3 – Educate yourself. If you want to be the best that you can be for your personal goals at Crossfit, you cannot always let it fall on your coaches to do everything for you. You have to make the decision to read articles and get educated on Crossfit. The information is out there, more now than ever. If you have the opportunity to attend seminars, I highly recommend it. I went to a Master’s Seminar put on by TJ’s Gym in California this past summer and it was well worth it. It was a 2 day seminar that featured some super star coaches….Coach B, Diane Fu, Carl Paoli, Brian McKenzie, Marcus Filly to name a few. Plus it was really geared towards us Masters athlete who need just a little more TLC than the younger folks out there. The # 1 message being MOBILITY! Spend time on it or else…..which leads me to …
Lesson # 4 – Injuries happen…no matter what. You can have the best laid out plans, best programming , best nutrtion…but one wrong move can set you in a direction that you didn’t plan on facing….Injury! Trying out to be on the Crossfit Reflexion team was one of my costliest move this year…..in my gut, I knew that I was not quite ready and had been dealing with some tight hip flexors and lower back pain . Plus, I was no where near where I wanted to be with Olympic lifting. With a previous injury from a year ago , my left leg has always been my weak side. First workout…find your 1 RM Snatch….and there you have it…..strained my hip flexor. Be smart about where you are. If there is a movement that you don’t feel comfortable, back off on the weight until you can do it. I am one of those people who really needs to be warmed up before I start my strength training and before a WOD. Which means I now come in a little bit early to row or to do airdyne, as well as voodoo floss my knee, roll out any kinks I have beforehand and make sure that my body is ready for what I am about to do it. And I also monitor my squat volume in workouts….recently I had a flare up in my IT band and realized it was the “extra” things I was doing …like Tabata Wall balls that aggravated it. Be smart and keep track.
Lesson # 5- Concentrate on what you can do, instead of what you cannot do. Because of my injury – Squats, the king of strength training was the first casualty. I still have no idea what my 1 RM Back Squat is because of my leg injury. As the Open ended , it was time to work on building our strength…which meant shorter WODs and Strength was our main focus. Because of my hip flexor injury, I was limited to 2 movements….Strict Press and Bench Press. Even doing a deadlift pulled on my hip flexor, so that was out too for a while. I added in Weighted pull ups, weighted Ring dips, strict HSPU. Even doing a burpee hurt in the beginning. Being patient and going up slowly in weight….starting out with the 35lb bar for back squats helped me recover along with a lot of mobility on my hip flexor.
Lesson #6 – Recovery goes a long way. Before, I used to think that I had to work out harder to get results. I had to do two wods a day….as one wasn’t enough. I have learned to do less, but do it better. Which means taking two days off a week. One of those days may be active recovery…..where I still do something…sometimes rowing or airdyne with some skill work and the other day means absolutely NOTHING! As Crossfitters, our to do list of what we want to work on always seem to get longer. How do you prioritize what is most important to you? For me, it is strength. Pure, Raw Strength which I lack. As evidenced by a competition I did in Seattle and I was in last place pulling a sled. That is why it is crucial that I spend time on building my squats and deadlift and really work on increasing those numbers. It is easy to overtrain because we want to be able to do it all and to do it really well. But the truth is, unless you can get a lot of sleep, are in your 20s, your name is Rich Froning, then less is definitely more.
Lesson #7 – Sign up for Local Competitions Just not every weekend! Local Crossfit Competitions are the new 5K. Sign up, show up, get a shirt and 3-2-1 go! Sounds simple, but not really. I learned this year to be picky about which competition to sign up for. The more you do, the more it messes up with your programming (if you have a specific goal in mind) . Some Wods that are released are so crazy that it puts more harm to you as an athlete rather than find the fittest athlete out there. Now, I have a check list of which competitions I will do for 2014. What does the past programming look like? Is it heavily favored on strength or is there a mix of gymnastics and Olympic lifting? Do they announce the WODS prior to competition? Preferably Yes. Are the wods safe? That may sound weird, but I’ve seen a lot of very weird programming and movement that I would consider unsafe, not only for the athletes but for the spectators watching!
Lesson # 8 – Strict skill work I’ve learned this year that it is very important to just spend time on skill work. If you can devote some time to working on strict pull ups, weighted pull ups, strict ring dips, strict HSPU, strict T2B, strict Muscle ups then it will pay off for you . My Wednesdays active recovery days have consisted of me doing airdyne work mixed in with strict gymnastic moves. I don’t worry about my time, I don’t worry about whether I can butterfly my pull ups or not, it is just strict or not at all. Take the time to build your strength around these gymnastic moves. Don’t always count on the kip to get your body over the bar. Develop true strict pull up strength – your shoulder will thank you later.
Lesson # 9 – Olympic Lifting class It is very important to take the time to attend Olympic lifting classes to only spend time covering the Clean and Jerk and the Snatch. Not just for a PR, but to get the fundamentals down. You can’t learn what you need in a wod…you have to attend classes and get the basics. And that loop of mine, where I swing the bar in front of me….yes, still working on fixing that. I’m not at a 10 out of 10 …but there has been improvement.
Lesson #10 – Have fun and Relax I had to laugh at this one…..if you look around right before the WOD starts or especially in a competition, how many people look really relaxed and having fun. Not many! I learned a new word this year at my Master’s seminar – “Submaximal” going at 80% of your Max effort during a WOD. Which means I break every thing up into sets right from the beginning. Even when my body doesn’t feel like it needs a break – I still give myself a break. Learning how to breathe to get my heart rate down so I can stay relaxed. For the 90% of us who do Crossfit, we are not training to compete along side Rich Froning or Sam Briggs at the Crossfit Games. For me , it is a personal test of how far I can get in this sport as a 42 year old mama of three kids, 5’1 inches and 120 lbs! The Crossfit Open is my season where I get to really test my capacity and improvement. Now, I just have to remember to relax and have fun with it.
So, in keeping with tradition, these are my goals for 2014. 1. Snatch 120lbs 2. 10 Unbroken muscle ups 3. Clean and jerk 160lbs 4. Deadlift 275lbs 5.15 UB Butterfly pull ups 6. Back Squat 195lbs
And the goals I set out for myself for 2013 My snatch went from 85lb to 115lb My clean went from 120lb to 150 lbs My Jerk went from 125lb to 135lb 0 Bar muscle up to 7 Unbroken Bar muscle up 1 Muscle up to 3 Unbroken Ring Muscle up 5 ring dips to 10 Ring dips 0 Chest to Bar butterfly pull ups to 7 Chest to Bar butterfly pull up
Good luck with training for the Open!
“Losing doesn’t eat at me the way it used to. I just get ready for the next play, the next game, the next season.” Troy Aikman
Conversation between the judge and myself (in my mind)
Me: Excuse me judge, but this thing is just not wanting to move!
Judge: I think you are right, but move it anyway!
Recently, I competed in a competition in Seattle. I signed up a few months after I strained my hip flexor in the hopes that I would be 100 percent healed in time. Plus, I needed the motivation to get back on track and a goal to look forward to. It’s funny how much an injury can really mess with your psyche….you begin to wonder if you will be able to wod again, and how long it will take for you to feel like you can do your old weights again.
I was hopeful that since I had my injury in April I would be ready by the time August 4th came around. Of course ready meaning to please not program any squats , wall balls and not have a max 1 rep snatch be the strength.
Seattle is a short drive from Portland so we decided that this would be a family trip with the three kids and I would compete in the Masters division (40 plus) at a popular Crossfit competition known as Wodfest. It was held at Gasworks Park in Seattle on a beautiful, hot sunny day.
This was to be my first time competing as a Master Athlete and a special shout out to the organizers out there who put on WOFEST , thank you for recognizing us! The growth of the Masters division in Crossfit is becoming more popular and while it is always fun to throw down with the younger athletes in competition, we really do deserve a category of our own. The popularity of the Crossfit Masters athlete is even more evident as I just attended a Masters Athlete Seminar at TJ’s Gym in Novato, California in July and learned from some of the best coaches in the Crossfit World – including the man, Coach Mike Burgener himself. More on that in another post.
Back to WodFest. The competition was a 1 day event with a Team division, a Firebreather division and an Open division. The Open division meant that you could perform Crossfit movements with weights similar to what you would find in the Open. The Firebreather didn’t need a description – you are either a Firebreather or you are not. And if you have to ask, then you are not. Very simple.
They started announcing the WODS a week before the event (Thank you WODFEST) so I knew going up to Seattle what I would be doing. I had a strategy for each wod….not that it all went according to plan. 4 Wods plus top 6 make the final.
Wod #1 – 5 minute AMRAP – 30 DUBS/30 OHS with 14 LB Medicine Ball
I was in the first heat and felt pretty confident with this one. I finally love double unders again and although my form may break when I get fatigued, I have at least eliminated the donkey kick. My shoulders still look stiff at times, but the point is, I can now do them more efficiently. All my 30 Double unders were unbroken…a huge victory and confidence booster for me . This was my best performance of the day. I won the first heat and placed 2nd overall.
WOD # 2 – 100m – 70 lb sled pull/30lb sandbag run up Kite Hill twice (a very very steep hill) 100 m sled pull.
I got a chance to practice once at the box and thought that this wouldn’t be a problem. The only issue was that on dry, brittle grass, the sled moved so well. This time around, the grass was green and a little damp and when I put the harness on to pull it, it barely budged. This is where I watched everyone in my heat take off and I was stuck with not being able to move the darn sled! By the time I got to the sandbag, everyone was way ahead of me. The 30 lbs sandbag up the hill was no joke either. Even my kids being at the top of the hill cheering for me didn’t help me move it faster. I was clearly in last place. According to my husband, it was really painful for him to watch. When I got back to the sled, I had a crowd of people willing me to pull that sled to the finish line. And pull it I did. I think I had the slowest time of the day but I learned that coming in last was really not so bad after all.
WOD # 3 – 5 minutes to find 1 rep Max Snatch
The Snatch. The one movement that caused me to strain my hip flexor was back again. I actually had not been doing any snatches since April so when the Wod was announced, I just decided that I was going to Power snatch and hope to be able to get 85lb and be happy with that. Our Olympic lifting coach at Crossfit Reflexion , Coach J(www.crossfitreflexion.com) sent me a text with what I should do for a warm up and what I should be going for.
Warm up with Muscle Snatch
Snatch balance with bar 5×3 – get that speed going
Hit a power snatch at 65. OHS last one. 2 @ 75. 1 @ 80 and start first lift at 80 – 85lbs. First lift 85, then 90, then 95.
There was a small warm up area so I just grabbed a bar and did the best I could. I managed to do 90 percent of what Coach J told me and by the time I was up, I had already Power snatched 85lbs and was feeling ready. We had 5 minutes total to find our max which is not a lot of time to load the weight. I stuck to the plan and went with 85 lbs first. One thing I will have to say to WODFEST is that they kept the standards for the snatch a true snatch standard. Meaning, you were not allowed to push press your way to a snatch. It had to be one fluid motion or else it was a no rep. Thank you for holding high standards for us competitors.
95 lbs felt good as well. I decided to go for 100lb and that went well too. I ran out of weights and knew that I wasn’t ready for 110 lb when my judge said that I could grab the 2.5 lb plates and use those. I failed at my first attempt at 105lb and then my husband yelled at me to just drop under the bar just a little bit. I heard the announcer say 15 seconds and then I went for it and got my 105lb snatch. I tied for 4th place in this wod.
WOD #4 – 12 minute CAP – 3 rounds – 25 wall balls (14 # to 10ft target) 20 T2B – 15 OHS at 65lb.
More squats…this was definitely not my favorite . I was not excited about starting off with 25 wall balls. At this point in the day, it was extremely hot and it was hard to see the target with the sun in your eyes. I powered through and tried to link my wall balls together. Sometimes , the ball just went straight up and down missing the target completely and I heard the NO REP load and clear. The T2B was where I was able to catch up and I was doing pretty good on the OHS by breaking it up into sets of 5 but in my last round, I mistakenly thought that I was done at T2B and got off the bar with 5 left to go. I went to do my OHS and my judge said I still had 5 left. I rushed back and finished the T2B but they called time when I had 5 OHS left to complete. I ended up in 4th for this one.
At this point, I was ready to go home. I wasn’t sure I wanted to make the finals, especially if they were going to program more squats! After checking the standings, I was sitting in 5th place which meant that I made the finals.
Last hurrah and then we could begin the long drive back…
The finals were announced and we had 5 minutes to prepare…..expect the unexpected in Crossfit.
30 HRPU with both feet on 3 stacked 45lb plate
1 Power clean and then 1 hang clean at 95 lb (15 reps)
15 SDHP at 65 lbs
10 Burpees and touch bar overhead
The finals were fast and furious….HRPU went great but I didn’t link my cleans together which cost me time. Did 5 SDHP at a time and the burpees were just the finishing touch. At the end of the day, I placed 5th overall and was extremely pleased to be able to celebrate with a Coke and a chocolate bar.
What I really wanted to say to people who are afraid to sign up for a Crossfit competition because they don’t want to be last…..it’s really not so bad. Don’t let that stop you. That’s the beauty of our sport….no one is left behind and I have to admit, it did feel pretty good to have the support of the crowd behind you to finish.
There are so many Crossfit competitions now…it seems like you can find a competition any weekend. Sign up for one. Just do it! Make it a goal to do the Open if you haven’t done the Open before. Get out there and leave nothing behind. Don’t let your fear of possibly being last stop you from competing in the sport that you are passionate about and that you believe in. And if you are last, so what. You are the one who got out there and did the work. Be proud that you had the courage to step out of your box and prove to yourself what you can do. I liked that this competition exposed a huge weakness of mine…moving heavy load and running up hill with a 30 lb sandbag! Plus, I have to get under the bar if I want to get a heavier Snatch. I was so excited and motivated after the competition that I’ve been working on my Olympic lifting technique more now and you can see a difference from my Snatch in the competition and 4 weeks later. A 5 lb PR in a full snatch! This is what a competition can do for you…make you want to be better. Now, who doesn’t want that for themselves?
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find how far one can go.”
Things have been kind of a quiet from my end regarding Crossfit. Truth be told , I suffered an injury about 9 weeks ago that left me fighting to not fall into a negative spiral of self-pity and eating my favorite comfort food – Chocolate!.
The injury was major enough that I was unable to participate in any wods for a few weeks. I was able to do upper body strength work only (which resulted in bench press and strict press).
I had a grade 2 Hip flexor strain from my attempts to get under a 105lb bar in a snatch. I tried several times to stand up with it and failed and finally , after the 5th attempt, I felt a little pull on my left hip and I knew that some damage was done. Did that stop me from continuing? Of course not. I got my 105lb snatch with 5 seconds left and then I then proceeded to clean 135 lb and attempt to deadlift 205lb 10 times afterwards before I finally called it quits.
Not the smartest move and the next day, I knew that I had done some damage as I could not squat without pain in my left hip flexor. A diagnosis from my trusted chiropractor confirmed that I had indeed strained it pretty well. Injury #2 in my Crossfit career.
Injury #1 occurred 2 years ago during OH squats when I was going for speed on the OH squats and not being concerned about “weight in heels, knees out, maintain lumber curve”. I tore a ligament and was out of commission for several months. Instead of working on repairing my knee and strengthening it, I just proceeded to avoid anything that was squat related.. hard to do in Crossfit. But I made it work by subbing out lower body movements, not working on the knee (huge mistake) and was back at the wods in time for the Crossfit Open 2012.
Injury #2 ( and this will be my LAST one) I really had no business trying out to be on the Regional team. I know some of the ladies who have qualified to represent as Individuals at the NW Regionals and I certainly am not in the same category. But , given a chance and not wanting to regret not trying out, I had to put my name in the hat and see what would happen. And what happened was that I was not ready and I got injured. My mechanics still needs a lot of work, especially when it comes to Oly lifting.
Fast forward 9 weeks later…I am on the road to recovery. I signed a contract with my coach that I will be at 17% bodyfat by the time of my new competition – WodFest in Seattle on August 4th (If I fail, then I have a 150 wall ball penalty with $100 to my coach) and maintain the 17 % for Booties in Action in September(an all women throwdown benefiting a local charity) I started a new Workout journal when I got injured detailing my progress (it can get pretty depressing if you don’t track your accomplishments when you are healing so I like to look back and see how far I’ve come)
I had to focus on the I CAN instead of the I can’t… and this is what I can do after 9 weeks of being “injured”
Bench press increased from 115# to 125 # (more than body weight)
Strict press at 90 lbs from 85 lbs.
Strict pull up with a 26lb kb attached.
11 HSPU unbroken (with a 35lb plate on each side )
10 ring dips unbroken
25 unbroken pull ups (still working on the perfecting the butterflys- they will be ready for the Open in 2014)
Became BFF with the Air dyne
As I’m in Off season for the 2014 Open, we all wrote our goals on the Whiteboard for everyone to see.
Mine is simple…stay healthy, top 10 for the NW Region 40-44 age group and to catch all my snatch and clean in a full squat .Oh, and of course to become A Supple Leopard (thanks to Dr. Kelly Starrett)
This off-season is about perfect practice. Mastery of the movement. Achieving virtuosity. Being patient and less concerned with times and scores and weight and more about mastering the the mechanics. Going to watch the NW Regionals was an amazing experience to see the best athletes in the Northwest compete. The ones that stood out were the ones who understood that you have to perfect your movement and be efficient in everything. You don’t have to be the fastest really or the strongest at anything – you just have to be able to execute the movements and execute them really well.
The off-season for me is also about what is truly important. My family. The kids have been troopers spending hours at the box while mom and dad work out. My friends – friendship first before Crossfit .Supporting the Crossfit community is what Crossfit is about – regardless of which box you work out in. I can say with confidence that I am better prepared to handle what comes my way from this point on and when the Open is here next March of 2014 I will be more than ready to handle what Dave Castro throws at us all!
So, if you ever find yourself with an injury (and it does happen in Crossfit as in any sports that you choose) know that it will pass and it is better to focus on what you CAN do instead of dwell on what you cannot do.
Happy Off-season training!
“What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing; knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain sense of purpose.”
-Margaret Thatcher…RIP Iron Lady
The Crossfit Open is finally over and I have to admit that I was ready for it to end. 5 weeks seemed like such a long time and a vacation was in order. I need to remind myself to book a vacation to Hawaii after every Open from now on. It was exactly what the doctor (or in my case, the Chiroprator, the massage therapist and the accupuncturist) ordered.
Lucky for me I was able to do 13.4 in Bangkok, Thailand. Unlucky for my back, sitting on a plane for 32 hours on a flight in 7 days would put a toll on my back resulting in me not being able to move out of bed upon my return to the U.S.
I wasn’t quite sure if I would be able to complete the last wod as I was unable to touch my toes.
But first, one Wod in Bangkok to complete. Crossfit Bangkok www.crossfitbk.com) recently opened last year in Thailand. It is the second Crossfit affiliate to open in Thailand , the first being Crossfit Chaing Mai. I had already told them of my plans to be in Thailand and made an appointment to be there at 3 p.m. on Thursday right after the WOD was announced. They are located in a great location , easily accessible via the Bangkok Sky Train System. The members perform the WODS on the rooftop. I should have thought about the time of day I would be doing the WOD but I mistakenly thought that I would be able to do 13.4 in a nice , air conditioned room. 13.4 was a 7 minute WOD that started with 3 Clean and Jerks at 95 lbs and 3 T2B, then 6 -6 , 9 – 9, 15 – 15 – 18 -18, etc. As I could not drop the weight for the C& J , I had to be on the roof in the 95 degree heat at possibly the worst time. Part of the roof was covered but it felt like I had stepped into a sauna. 3 p.m. Bangkok time is equivalent to 1 a.m. Beaverton time.
The fitness manager and Crossfit Level 1 Certified trainer, Henrik Olofsson from Norway was to be my judge . Henrik was great and very encouraging and he himself signed up and competed in the Open as well. Since everything is in kgs, it took a while to configure the weight properly. I tried to get ready and have a strategy which was to go unbroken on the T2B, up until 9 and then break it up into sets. This is one Wod that I was excited about because I love T2B….however, they proved to not be to my advantage as I lost my grip due to the heat and humidity and had to drop and dry my hands several time.
I felt like I lost momentum in the WOD and ended up with 68 reps. Disappointed, yes and definately a WOD that made me think, what if I had done it in the States…what would I have gotten. I knew that there was no chance of me repeating this WOD again as that was the only day that I could go to Crossfit Bangkok. The trip to Thailand was not a vacation but to cremate my dad and scatter his ashes. My dad passed away 2 years ago and at his request, he wanted his body to be donated to the Medical Hospital so that medical students could perform research on his body. It was just a coincidence that our family was told that his body was ready for us to cremate and I had to fly back to Thailand during this time period.
I walked away from the WOD with a “what if”…and I don’t like that feeling. One wod left to do and I didn’t want to feel like I left a few reps behind. One week in Bangkok, back to the States and the next day, my back was extremely tight and I could not touch my toes and bend over to pick up anything. It was a struggle to even sit. I was uncertain if I would be able to complete the last wod of the Crossfit Open…13.5 Death by Fran….4 minutes to get 3 rounds of 15 Thrusters at 65lbs followed by 15 Chest to bar pull-ups. My chiro advised me to take Thursday, Friday and Saturday off and to do the WOD on Sunday if my back was not tight anymore. Another week of missing training, I really felt like this was my last chance at proving to myself what I could do. I was determined that I was not going to have 0 reps by my name and took care of my back with epsom salt baths, chiro visits and foam rolling. All I wanted out of 13.5 was to know 100% that I did not leave anything behind.
I had Flexarall, a coca -cola and my inhaler for asthma waiting for me at the end of the WOD and an ice pack to put on my back immediately afterwards. The first round wasn’t bad, thrusters were broken up into 8/7 and my original goal was 5/5/5 on the Chest to Bar. By the time I got to the second round of Chest to Bar, I was at singles and hitting the danger zone really quick. I had about 30 seconds left and did the final 7 Thrusters even though I had reached my maximum effort. 4 minutes complete and 67 reps. I didn’t leave behind anything…that was the best that I could do.
Now that the Open is over, vacation is over…it is time to work on my many weaknesses…..remember wall balls? So, my plan now is to build my strength, get under the bar in a snatch and always move as effeciently as I can. The most important thing for me I have learned is to have a good recovery plan. Ice the back after a wod, take the time to stretch at night and in the morning. Plan on doing more mobility/yoga. Continue with seeing my chiro before the pain hits. There is a reason why the 40 plus have a Master’s category….we need a plan to recover! We don’t recover as quickly as the young ones. Those Oly lifts will always be part of the Crossfit Open and Fran too it seems!
Thanks to Crossfit Bangkok for being so welcoming. If you ever get a chance to head to Thailand, make sure you stop by and enjoy a sauna style WOD!
End of 5 weeks, #18 in the Northwest and #151 in the world in the Masters 40 – 44 Age group.
“If I made it, it’s half because I was game enough to take a lot of punishment along the way and half because there was a lot of poeple who cared enough to help me” Althea Gibson
We are over half way done with the Crossfit 2013 Open and I am happy to say that I am really glad that I signed up! Here is a short recap of the last three wods so far:
13.1 = 17 minute amrap of Burpees(40/30/20) and Snatches( 30 reps at 45lbs/30 reps at 75 lbs and 100lbs)… the burpees made me happy, the snatches, not so much. Even though I have been working on them, I knew that it was not going to be one of my strengths. The coaches came up with a solid game plan for me and even though I went a little too fast on the burpees in the beginning, I stuck to the formula for the 45 lb snatch and the 75 lb snatch. After the last 20 burpees, there was time for me to switch out of my shoes as planned and into my Oly shoes. I needed everything I had to get that 100lb snatch. I looked at the clock for the first time and had 2:51 to attempt the 100 lb snatch.
Attempt number #1, #2 and # 3 failed. I was mad, and tensed up immediately. All the coaches were yelling at me to get under the bar and I knew that I should drop in a squat, but somehow my body was not cooperating with me. I could hear my coach Shawn say, “you have to break the bubble”..meaning you have to get the 100lb snatch on this one…with 22 seconds left on the clock, I took a deep breath and knew this had to be the biggest pull of my life to get the bar up. It hit me in the left eye and I managed to be able to push it up and lock out at the top before the time ran out! There were a few witnesses who could testify that it was probably the ugliest looking 100lb snatch they had ever seen! Obviously I am pulling the bar high enough since I had a nice bruise on my eye to prove it but I got my 100lb snatch to get a score of 151 and ranked #22 in the Northwest in the new Masters Division of 40 – 44.
Wod #2 = 10 minute AMRAP of 5 Push Press (75 lbs) 10 Deadlifts (75 lbs) and 15 Box jumps (20 inches)
I was really happy when the wod was announced since the weights were something I could manage and I really like box jumps. What looked simple on paper was actually quite difficult. I knew I had to keep moving and that was the goal to get as many rounds as I could. Game plan in place, I was to catch my breath on the deadlifts and control my pace on the box jumps. Everything actually felt great until the last two minutes when the pain started to settle in. I told my coach Eric that I wanted 9 plus rounds and I didn’t once look over at the clock the entire time. I lost track of how many rounds I got since I just listened to him telling me to breathe on the deadlift and slow down on the box jumps in the beginning. When Eric said with two minutes remaining, “you need to pick up the pace” I felt like I was going to die! Going into round 9, it literally took everything I had to get the last 5 push press in, and the last 10 deadlifts was so horrible to watch but in the end , I managed to get 9 rounds plus 15 reps for a total of 285 reps and a sore back for the rest of the week! End of wod #2 – ranked #23 for the Northwest.
Wod # 3 – a repeat of last year’s 150 Wall balls (14lb ball to 9ft line) 90 double unders and 30 muscle ups with a 12 minute time cap.
When Crossfit HQ announced the WOD, this was on the one thing that I feared more than anything ! Not only wall balls, but 150 wall balls! This wod made me question why I signed up and if it was even worth it. I was under so much stress when I heard the news since it brought back such horrible memories from last year. The 150 wall balls took a toll on me last year and by the time I got to the double unders, my shoulders were so toast that I could barely get in 45 double unders before time ran out. I didn’t even have time to care about muscle ups….I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to get 150 wall balls in 12 minutes. My husband was my judge and was no repping me on so many that I thought I was going to poison his next meal if he gave me another no rep. I remember him telling me that I was running out of time, and I told him that I didn’t care. I had redlined and never wanted to repeat that feeling. Fast forward a year later, this to me was really a personal test to see how far I have really come. What better way than to have a rematch with my old enemy. Being 5’1 is a huge disadvantage when it comes to wall balls, I don’t care what anyone says. It takes alot more energy for us minis to throw the ball to the line and catch it. I have been working on wall balls at Crossfit Reflexion for the last month…using a 20 lb ball to 8ft line to practice and in wods, doing a 14lb to 10:8ft. One of the things our coach Shawn said to me once that really has stuck in my head as he saw me do wall balls …after I was letting each of them drop was ” singles ain’t going to cut it anymore”. He said I need to string 5 unbroken wall balls together and then let it drop. I didn’t have to be the best at wall balls but I did need to be able to do 5 at a time.
This was my test…my hope to redeem myself and prove that I have indeed improved since switching over to Crossfit Reflexion (www.crossfitreflexion.com)
I have been working really hard on my double unders, not jumping so high and using my wrist instead of my shouders so I was fairly confident that I could get through them. All I wanted was a shot on the rings to do a muscle up and I didn’t care if I had 10 seconds left…I just wanted that one shot. In a perfect world, the wod would have been 30 muscle ups, 90 double unders and then the wall balls. But no, I had to stare my enemy right in the eye AGAIN and see who would win this round.
Once again, we had a plan in place for me…I knew the sets I needed to hit but I really wasn’t sure if I could maintain it. As long as I didn’t go to singles, I was hopeful that I would be done in time to get to the rings. Get to the rings became my mantra…all I wanted was one shot at it. But I also didn’t want to use up all my energy on the wall balls, then have nothing left for the double unders.
I had my coach, Jesse be my judge and he kept me calm letting me know when I needed to pick up the ball and when I needed to rest (I knew I had to be calm and relaxed and in control of the wall balls if I was to get a shot at the rings) I did my sets and got my rest after each set. I tried to be as efficient as possible…weight in heels, maintain proper posture and keep my elbows close. I dropped my sets when I knew that it would be too taxing to continue but still managed to not revert to singles. My husband kept coming up to me and saying , “this is for your dad”, “pain is temporary” and I kept telling myself, “this isn’t so bad, I can do this”. When I was at 125 wall balls, I knew the end was in sight and I was actually feeling pretty good. I had no idea what the time was because I never once looked over at the clock. My legs were feeling good and my arms were not too bad. I suffered but not enough where I didn’t have anything left. I needed to still have strength to do a muscle up.
Onto the 90 double unders. In a perfect world, my plan was to do 30/30/30…well, that didn’t work…it was more like 8/ 15/12/20/12/11/12….I don’t know the exactly numbers I hit, but I worked on catching my breath in the double unders, using my wrist and not my shoulders because I needed those shouders to work for me. When I got to 90 double unders, it was the first time I looked at the clock. I was at 11:13 and walked over to the rings. That left me with about 40 seconds. I got up and the first one felt great that I let out a huge scream at the top. To be honest, I was pleased at having a chance to get one and would have been quite content to be done when Jesse said get back up there again. So I did and got another one. There was still time left for one more and Jesse said get back up there again, so on my last attempt I got my third and final muscle up with 3 seconds to spare! 3 muscle ups in 40 seconds! Who crys in Crossfit? I do….it took me staring down at the thing I hate the most and able to overcome it to be able to do something that I love – the muscle up.
After completing 13.3, I don’t really care what they throw at us for the next two remaining WODs. I defeated wall balls on this one. I can handle anything now. Not to say that I love wall balls(because I still don’t) …but I’ll never stop working on them and I’ll never let them get the best of me again. It’s part of Crossfit just like pull ups and thrusters.
The next wod will be really special for me as I get to do it in Bangkok, Thailand. My home turf! It will be 95 degrees, it will be outdoors and I am thankful that I don’t have to do 150 wall balls in Thailand. The locals would have thought I was nuts! Looking for some T2b, HSPU and pull -ups to do in Bangkok!
After Wod # 3, I am ranked #19. And that husband of mine who kept no repping me last year, he’s #10 in his age group. (www.onthewodagain.blogspot.com)
I’m going to keep on having fun with the Open and keeping my blood pressure down!
“Believe that you can run farther and faster. Believe that you’re young enough, old enough, strong enough, and so on to accomplish everything you want to do. Don’t let worn out beliefs stop you from moving beyond yourself” John Bingham
We are a few hours away from the announcement of the first WOD being released by Crossfit HQ. Am I nervous? Absolutely! But all in a good way….the butterflies in my stomach are real and makes me feel like I am alive and that I am about to do a good thing for myself. I know that I will do my best to have fun, push myself out of my comfort zone and believe that I can accomplish more than I thought I could. Isn’t this the reason we Crossfit? To push ourselves to the next level, to celebrate the little victories along the way.
I think about progress and what it means to someone who has been doing Crossfit for two years and also what it means to someone new to Crossfit. At Crossfit Reflexion (www.crossfitreflexion.com) we have a mix of more seasoned athletes along with those new to Crossfit. I have seen some amazing changes since I joined in both at our box. Not only in athletes being more comfortable with the Olympic lifts, but in the confidence that comes after failing to get PRs. We have to fail to get better. We have to fail to want it more. We have to feel defeated to become more confident. Remember double unders? I struggled for the last 2 months to become better..for me to request to sub out double unders for burpees is a sign that you don’t like double unders. Then we (the coaches and some of us) started to play a double under game after every WOD. When you miss, you had to do burpees. Sure enough, the motivation to not miss got the best of all of us…and in a fun, and somewhat relaxed environment, I can now do double unders again. Even with the Coaches heckling you!
When you dial in a customized nutrition plan, proper programming and the right coaching, amazing things happen not only for yourself, but for those around you too. You lose body fat. You reach new PRs. You get stronger. You work the fundamentals. You worry less about speed and more about form. You begin to understand the strategy to a better performance for yourself. I have seen progress for everyone at Crossfit Reflexion but the one that sticks out for me are two news members. They are truly inspiring and so fun to watch. One who joined 3 weeks ago but had 6 months prior Crossfit experience and one brand new to Crossfit who joined 2 months ago. To see someone lose 2% Body fat, get under 100 lbs for the first time in a Snatch balance, truly get under the bar in a 100lb snatch attempt and be able to do a strict muscle up in three weeks time is truly amazing! Just as amazing is the new member who just joined Crossfit Reflexion two months ago. Besides losing body fat is the increase in confidence with each WOD and the desire to want to improve. The courage to sign up for the Open even being new to Crossfit. These , along with the seasoned athletes are the ones I will be cheering for this Open and every other Open after this.
Last summer, just 6 months ago, I competed in the Oregon Summer Games. There was a clean and snatch ladder and I remembered that I cleaned 115 lbs and missed 125 lbs and I snatched 85lb (which was a new PR) and there was no way EVER that I was going to be getting 95 lb that day. Fast forward to yesterday, I got a new PR of 105 lbs on my Snatch and two weeks ago I got a new PR of 140 lbs on my clean. Those little 5 lbs here and there in the last 6 months have attributed to a 25 lb clean and a 20 lb snatch improvement overall. Those 5 lbs may not seem like a big deal to some, but when you look at the fact that Olympic lifting takes time and ALOT of patience, you always want those 5 lbs PR . Then you know that in 6 months time you will be able to clean and snatch more than you thought possible. At least the case with me. My goal now is to snatch 115lb by the end of 2013 and clean 155lb . So , I’ll take those 5 lbs PR with pride! With each video recorded of my failed attempts, our Olympic Weightlifting coach , Jesse Udom was able to show me where I needed to make improvements. I failed twice before I got 105lbs. The first time, it was my foot position . He told me to correct my stance and have my toes point out more so that I can recieve the bar in a squat. The second time, I jumped forward and lost my power . Third time was a charm and although slightly disapointed that I didn’t fully catch the bar in a squat, it was still a snatch and it was still a PR. I am committed to catching all my snatches in a full squat in 2013!
No one loves to fail…..just like people are worried about signing up for the Open because a weakness might be exposed ( and we all have weaknesses at Crossfit). But how do you get better if you don’t put yourself on the line? Why don’t you test yourself to see what you are capable of and use that as a learning lesson to improve for next year or even next month. There’s confidence that comes from failing and doing it again and succeeding. Because if you keep at it, with the right coaches, right programming, right nutrition plan and the right Crossfit for you, there is no doubt that you will succeed!
Good luck everyone! Enjoy the moment!
My 105lb new Snatch PR