Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Last Hopper WOD

So it's now Sunday, and it's time for the fourth and final (for me) WOD of the day. I worked out three times yesterday, more than I worked out in the past two weeks, and my body is sore. However, the soreness is really in my traps and some in my quads, muscles I know I can push through. ...On a side note I wore the shirt I got from competing in last year's hopper, and for some reason everyone else did too. Weird how we all got the memo.

They draw from the hopper, and this is what they come up with:
AMRAP 7 minutes
5 push jerk @135#
12 KB swings @53#
7 burbees

Nothing impossible, I can definitely do this. And then there was a bonus incentive.

At that time I was ranked 67th, and before the workout my girlfriend Kristin turned to me and said, "if you move up to 62nd, I'll do crossfit for a month".

Now, Kristin doing crossfit has been a dream of mine since I started. I feel that if she experienced the wonders that is crossfit it would help her out in the same way it helped me and everyone else out. ...I don't think there could have been a stronger incentive for me to push myself to the limits.

So in 3, 2, 1 the WOD starts. I clean the weight and begin push jerking it. I'm not realy having any issues, and I move on to the Kb swings. They're not hard in the least since I'm used to heavier weight, but they take a long time since my arms are much longer than most. Need to figure out a way to increase the speed of them. Anyway the burbees weren't really a problem , although they weren't fun either.

As I get to the third round, my legs start to quiver when I hold the weight for the jerk. I drop the bar at least once, but I get it back up right away. I want Kristin to crossfit, more than pretty much anything else in the world, and I'm not about to let a silly little 135# get in the way of that. I'm never stopping, but I'm slowing down a lot. My muscles are just not quickly responding, no matter how much I tell them to hurry up. With the burpees, I find a place of pain that I've rarely reached, and I go further. I know with the burpees it's not a strength thing, it's a determination thing; and I am going to grit this one out. I close my eyes with the burpees, and just wince through it. Sadly though, I don't get to finish my fourth round. I end up with about three and a half rounds, and I know it's not enough to reach 62nd.

So I'm lying on the ground, telling myself, "I've failed" over and over. Who knows when the next time Kristin will offer up a chance to crossfit, I had an opportunity and I couldn't take advantage of it. While I was lying there, some random guy came over and helped me up, telling me not to finish like that, to finish strong and don't let the wod get the best of you. ...It kind of annoyed me, who was he to tell me anything about how to work out. But he was right in that I was lying there focusing on the negative, and that's not the way to go.

So my three and a half rounds were good enough for 70th place. Obviously, 70th doesn't help me get to 62nd, it sets me back for a final finish of 69th. But I felt so much better throughout this competition. I actually had fun doing this! I didn't crush the WODs, but I didn't let them crush me like last time either, so I'm very happy with the improvement. I had my doubts going in to this competition, I was afraid that it would expose me to be the weaking that I am, but instead I had a fun time finding new places in my mind, and had a great time with the other people of CFOT. In the end, I'm really, really glad that I did this, I think it brings a lot more to my experience as a crossfitter, and really helps me out as a coach.

This was so enjoyable that I have already signed up for another crossfit competition, Superfit in Charlottesville, VA. Hopefully this time I won't have bronchitis right before the competition, and I'll really get a chance to train.

Hopper Wod #3

Again, I'm worried that the upcoming WOD will be something I can't do, that it will destroy me. Turns out it'll be a couplet of rowing 500m and then 44 double unders once through.


I can do both of these things, and since my PR is 42 DU's it's actually possible for me to really nail this. So I warm up with DU's, and it's still kind of hit or miss. I can get 20 in a row, or I can't get one. But as I keep doing them, I get more and more consistent. I don't really warm up on the rower, I figure I'm familiar with it enough so that I can just hop on and take off. I also tell myself that the last thing I need to do in the WOD is panick, that if I stay calm my DU's will come and it'll be a lot faster.

Since I'm near the bottom of the pack, I don't have much time to warm up and before I know it it's time to shine. I meet my judge and she tells me to only strap one foot into the rower, and to trust her since she rowed competitively. I do as she suggested, and in 3, 2, 1 the WOD starts.

I start rowing, and immediately my quads are telling me to stop. Obviously I tell them to shut up, but unfortunately I don't tell my judge the same when she keeps trying to give me pointers. I know that my rowing technique is off, but competition is not the time or place to tweak my stroke. Her "tips" are a little hard to tune out, so I think it slows me down to a 1:48 time. I get off and grab the rope.

Surprisingly, it's a very surreal experience. I kind of feel like floating, and the DU's feel very smooth. However I do hit a snag every once in a while. I calmly step over the rope each time, and start over. I think I had to restart maybe three times. All in all my time is 2:53, 51st over all and by far my best performance of the day. Finally there was something, double unders, that I could do that some other competitors could not. There were seven competitors who couldn't finish this wod in the 5 minute time limit, and although I know how frustrating that can be I also know for a fact that DU's are simply a product of how much time you've spent working on them. It's not a strength thing, it's all technique and practice.

I feel pretty decent about my performace. I know that if this WOD had showed up last year I wouldn't have been able to finish it, so I take heart in the gains that I've made over the course of the past year.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hopper Wod 2

So I'm excited now, and they announce that the second wod is going to be a heavy lift, AMRAP for 3 minuted. They pull the ball out of the hopper and it's... Back squat of 225.

I'm a little scared now, as 225# is my 3 rep max with chains and I'm not sure how that translates to 225 without chains. I'm up and it's go time. I figure it would be better to do sets of 2 reps than try to do more and wear myself out early. I think I did a pretty good job of finding my max set because on my tenth rep (with :40 to go) I went down, got back up, and then went back down. I'm stuck, grit my teeth, and get about halfway up. Then I start to fall forward a bit as I rock forward to use my quads. I lose my balance and let go of the bar to catch myself. So now I'm pancaked with 225 resting on my back. It's a bit uncomfortable to say the least.

The judge freaks out a bit and helps by rolling the bar off my back. Again it didn't tickle but I didn't feel anything tear or break. I'm good to go, but I'm done for the WOD. I only get 9 reps, which is pretty weak compared to the rest of the pack. This is def motivation for me to continue on getting stronger.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mid-Atlantic Hopper Challenge 2010, WOD 1

So as this competition was approaching, I won't lie: I started to freak out a little. I still have vivid memories on how the wods last year crushed me, time and time again. Due to the Bronchitis, I had basically taken two weeks off right before the competition. So just when I should be upping the intensity, I'm hacking up a lung after running 400m. So I'm worried, I know what's possible, and I worry that the wods will have all kinds of pistols, handstand push ups, and other stuff I can't do.

As the competition showed me last year, if you want to be a real crossfitter you have to be able to do it all, no excuses. Can't snatch 150#? too bad. Can't do 30 muscle ups under 5 minutes? Too bad, because that's all the time you have. The idea of being shown how much you lack to the crossfit ideal can be a real unpleasant wake up call, and I was afraid that was all I would experience.

So with much trepidation, I waited for them to announce the first wod. And it was....

30-20-10 of
Wall balls, and
Hang power clean(65/95).

So much for difficult movements. I saw some people warming up with the hang power clean, and they were really making look smooth. I tried it out a couple of times with the bar and it was real easy. After that I tried 95 and was really surprised with how light it was.

Going into, I was thinking I was going to kill it. Standing over my med ball, I waited for the explosion that is my workout. 3... 2... 1...

I burn through the 30 wall balls, and grab ahold of the barbell. I burn through the hang cleans as well, I'm very much in the mix, not too far or ahead of anyone else.

Then the second round hits, and I hit a wall that I'm not used to hitting. I slow down considerably, and am getting mad at myself. A few of the wall balls come up short, and I drop the ball a couple times as well.

It's at this point in time I know I need to just suck it up and do it. I know that for people with a Fran time of 2:05 it sucks just as much for them, if not more so since they're pushing themselves harder. But I just can't seem to move any faster. I go through the hang cleans fairly quickly, but my forearms are starting to fail.

The last ten wall balls are horrible, I'm really sucking now and just keep telling myself to just. do. one. more. I then finally get to the barbell and tell myself that I'm going to finish in one set. However, after rep 6 the bar slips out of my hands. Pick it back up and finally finish the wod.

I felt good after this. This was waay better than last year, I knew what I was doing and just felt... better. Last year the WOD crushed me, and while I didn't crush the wod this year, I didn't let it crush me either. My time was 9:04, 71st out of 82 men. I know it doesn't sound that impressive, but I feel like it was a huge improvement over last year.

One down, three more to go.

I can do this.