Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dano's farewell WOD

Every time my alarm goes off at 5:20 on a CrossFit morning, I struggle to get out of bed.  I really love sleep and my bed is pretty awesome, so it is difficult to get myself moving.  I stagger to the bathroom to dress in my tron pants, sport's bra, and shirt of the day, brush my teeth, and head out into the cold, dark streets to make it to the box just in time for the 6 am class.  As I drive there I wonder what I'm doing to myself.  But every.single.time. it is 100% worth it.  I have no regrets as I drive back home to my sweet, sweet shower.  I have fallen in love with CrossFit, and I fall a little harder every day.

Today's WOD-o-torture was brought to us by a departing member of the box.  Dano is moving across the country and wanted to give us something to remember him by...

On an unrelated note, we got several inches of snow last night.  What the hell?!  Alright, back to the WOD.

2/29/12 WOD #20: Dano's WOD

  • Warm up: 500 m row
                    20 burpees
                    10 pass throughs
                    10 pull ups
                    (there was more, but I got to this point and heard, "Everyone through the warm up?  Ok!  Let's go!" so that was where I stopped.)
  • WOD: 5 rounds for time: 10 ball ups
                                           1 rope climb (modified)
                                           10 sit ups
                                           250 m row
                                           10 box jumps (20")
                                           10 pull ups (blue band still.  Tried the green during the warm up and I can do a couple pull ups at a time, but I knew for today's total of 50 I would need more support than the green band can provide).
                                          10 double unders (or 30 singles)
                                          Time: 4 rounds completed and 36 reps into round 5 at 32:30 (aka I was 4 pull ups into round 5).  For some reason people were having trouble completing 5 rounds in a reasonable time frame, so they called us done at 7 am.
This was definitely a modified WOD for me, and actually the kind of thing I was fearing would be the first WOD of the Open.  I am not yet able to climb a rope, so the modification was to lower yourself slowly down to the floor and back up to standing using the rope (three times for each rope climb).  I believe you were actually supposed to keep your body rigid as you lowered and raised yourself, but I didn't feel like I was even cheating by lowering myself to my butt first- it was damn hard just doing that!!  I also realized again that the other day when I was kicking ass at ball ups, I was fooling myself.  With the rings hanging high enough, I can barely do the movement necessary to bring my knees to my chest.  The double unders I modified as well because I haven't done even normal jump rope in years, and I don't think I ever managed double unders even as a kid on the play ground.  I'll get there, but today I just did the 30 single jumps and got back into the rhythm of the rope.

Monday, February 27, 2012

First to get eaten by a zombie

Yesterday for the Open, I took myself on a quick run around the box as part of my warm up and it felt awesome.  It was a true run (rather than a jog or a stagger), the sun was shining, my adrenaline was up, and I just felt good.  Mind you, this was before the 7 minutes of burpees that I am sure made me look like I was being pummeled to the ground with an invisible two-by-four (the only analogy I can think of to described my repeated collapses to the ground and staggers to my feet).  But, man oh man, the warm up was SWEET.

Today's running...was not.  I don't know if it was the freezing temperatures this morning (28 when I left my house), or backlash from yesterday, or what, but this WOD involved running and the results for me were not pretty.  I realized halfway through my first lap that if we were being chased by zombies, I would be the first to die (or maybe second since my natural paranoia of the zombie apocalypse may have given me an early start on escaping while everyone else was wondering why that person was drooling blood and trying to gnaw on someone's arm).

2/27/12 WOD #19:

  • Warm up: 400 m run
                    2x: 10 pass throughs
                         10 OHS
                         10 pull ups (today's warm up became an impromptu lesson on kipping.  I still don't get it but I feel like it might be easier with a lighter band so I can get the full motion.  Soon I will switch to green, I just felt too wimpy to try it today).
                         10 push ups
                         10 back extensions
  • WOD: 3 rounds for time: 400 m run/stagger
                                           20 wall balls
                                           10 pull ups
                                          Time: 21:14
I am not going to count this as a true "milestone," but my wall balls have improved.  That is not to say that they were good (on the contrary, they sort of sucked), but that I was actually to the point that I wasn't dropping the medicine ball every time, or hitting myself in the face, or falling over.  Considering last time I did wall balls, I had to modify them to just doing the motion with a dumb bell because I came so close to breaking my glasses every time, I definitely count this as baby steps in the right direction!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Official Open WOD 12.1

Bucking Furpees.

So today was the official judgement. I came in, ran around the building once and did some drills to warm up.  The atmosphere was excited- lots of athletes, family members with cameras, coaches, and adrenaline.  We went in four heats, I was in the second.  I was ready and rearing to go.  I wanted to beat my first practice score of 62 burpees and hopefully hit 70.  That means I was trying to pace myself for 10 burpees per minute.

Unfortunately I think that all that adrenaline messed me up.  I started our strong and fast....TOO strong and fast.  I fizzled out after about 90 seconds and entered the staggering phase pretty quickly.  And then I entered the close-to-vomiting stage.  And finally at the end of 7 minutes, I was able to do what I had wanted to do for the past 5 minutes and just collapse on the ground.

Final Count: 59

The best part, once again, was the incredible atmosphere of the box.  Each heat started out fairly quiet with just the music playing, the counts of the coaches, and the intermittent shouts of time.  But at the halfway mark, the box exploded with the shouts of everyone who wasn't doing burpees standing over those who were and yelling and clapping them through the second half of the work out.  And if the noise and energy was explosive at the halfway mark, it was nothing compared to the last 60 seconds of screaming encouragement to bring the athlete through to the end.  It was simply electric!!

Next week I'm going to have to not let the adrenaline buzz get the best of me.  I can't wait to see what next week brings!

Oh, and I skinned my knee doing the burpees.  Yup.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Open has begun

I promised more about the Open.  We have just entered the beginning of the CrossFit games.  The Open is (as implied by the name) open to everyone around the world.  Each week a new WOD is released and all the competitors will have their performance judged individually by official coaches.  The top 60 men and top 60 women from each region will meet in the Regionals.  From there it is on to Home Depot center in California for the Games where the Fittest Man and Women On Earth are crowned.

Why am I doing the Open?  It is pretty clear that 18 work outs into my CrossFit life I don't have even the faintest hope of making it to regionals.  But that's ok, because that's not why I'm doing it.  I'm doing it to test myself, to participate in something that over 55,000 other people are competing in, and to compare scores long distance with my sister-in-law (who got me into this whole thing in the first place).

The first WOD of the Open was released at 5:00 last night and so many people were trying to get on the site to see it that it crashed (not for long).  Almost as soon as it was announced, the complaints started filing in.  I guess you can't please everyone.  But I was both pleased and dismayed because the first WOD of this competition to find the fittest people in the world is starting with....Burpees.  I was worried that we would start with skills I have not yet developed (double unders, HS walks, T2B...), but burpees I can do.  The dismay comes from the fact that I simply hate burpees.  They are exhausting, they bruise the shit out of my knees, and they make me want to die a little bit.

Our box (and likely most boxes in the world) had the Open WOD 12.1 as their WOD today so all the people signed up can basically practice for their official judged workouts.  I have signed up for a Saturday time slot so I will post my official score later, but here is my practice!

2/23/12 WOD #18: OPEN WOD 12.1

  • Warm up: 500 m row
                    30 ft: walking lunges
                             bear crawl
                             broad jump
                             crab walk
                             high knees
                             butt kickers
                             (you were supposed to do this twice, but I only got through one set)
  • WOD 12.1: 7 min AMRAP: BURPEES! with a 6" jump at the end of each rep.
                                                Total: 62

My goal was to get over 50 and also to not throw up.  So success there!  Fortunately in the official workout the judge will be counting for me, because I am honestly not convinced I got 62.  It could be 65, or 60, or something else.  It's hard to keep track of burpees for 7 minutes.  This is the official standards and demo video:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wanted: shin guards

I was very excited today because I thought the WOD would be the official first work out of the CrossFit Open...but alas it isn't posted till 5 today so that won't happen till tomorrow.  More on the Open later...

We walked into the box today to see blood on the ground and a guy from the 5 am class with his leg bandaged up.  Lori drove him to the ER during our warm up.  It turns out that box jumps are one of the most common source of injuries in CrossFit because as you get tired, you get sloppy, and at some point your feet don't quite hit the box and your shin becomes the casualty.  I will say that we were all extremely conscious of our form today with that warning beacon fresh in our minds.  Apparently one girl will only do box jumps with her soccer shin guards on!

2/22/12 WOD #17:

  • Warm up: 800 m run
                    2x: 10 burpees
                         10 ball ups (hang from the rings, curve your body up like you are holding a ball on your stomach, and kick your feet through your arms.  I thought I was kicking ass at this but it turns out I was on rings that were too low so I wasn't doing the motion all the way.  Ah well.)
                         10 squat jumps
                         10 T2B
                         10 grasshoppers
                   HS walk (I managed some solid hand stands today.  Legs straight up and feet together for a beat or two, then back down in a controlled manner.  Improvement!)
  • WOD #17: AMRAP in 20 min: 10 box jumps (20")
                                                     20 sit ups
                                                    400 m run
                                                    Completed: three full rounds + 30 reps into round 4
I managed to complete all my box jumps solidly, and if I caught myself landing with my heel off the box I made sure to really hit the box with my full foot on the next round (don't want the slippery slope to grievous scarring on my shin).  My runs, however, were less than stellar.  I don't know if it was the effect of the box jumps or what, but I could only manage a fat-and-old "run."  I have decided to call it the Geri-Bari-Shuffle (short for geriatric and bariatric).  Pretty hot.

Milestone: Rx'd box jumps (this is my second WOD with box jumps, the first being 12 WODs ago.  At that point all I could manage was stepping up on the box rather than a jump.  This time not only did I jump up and down each time, but I was doing it at the prescribed height for women.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

A real scream

Sometimes when you are making a large effort, you make some kind of vaguely embarrassing noise as a part of that effort.  You hear it in tennis (and hear complaints too), and you will DEFINITELY hear it in a CrossFit box.  Especially when weight lifting is part of the WOD.  And today, I got to be that person who makes a noise somewhere between a grunt, a scream, and a roar.  Repeatedly.  Good thing we always play loud music- that way all our effort noises just become part of the ambient sound.

2/20/12 WOD #16:

  • Warm up: 500 m row
                    2x: 10 burpees
                          10 push ups
                          10 pass throughs
                          10 OHS
                          10 jumping lunges
                    30 ft HS walk (I just practiced my HS walk a couple of times)
  • WOD: 2*2*2*2*2 shoulder press (meaning you do two shoulder presses with increasing weights until you hit five tries or you hit failure, whichever comes first).  35*45*55 MAX (attempted 60 and failed)
               10 rounds for time: 5 push press (35#)
                                            10 walking lunges (35# bar across shoulders)
                                            Time: 16:48
I actually started at 45# but barely made it through my first set of lunges so I pulled my extra 5# weights off.  I would have been tempted to drop more weight, but I was at the lowest I could go and still drop the bar when I was done with a set (for those who don't know, we use giant rubber weights rather than the small metal ones so that we can safely drop our weights on the ground without breaking anything.  It also makes the weight look much more manly because even 10# weights are huge).  And in case you were wondering where the roaring took place, it was definitely during the walking lunges.  Usually on the second set of 5 steps when I went down and needed to add some primal rage in order to get back up.  I'm pretty sure it helps.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Today was my day off so rather than wake myself up at o-dark-hundred I went to the 11am class instead.  It's a bit of a different feel going to a different class.  There were some very fit women there today who really made me want to improve and be awesome like them.  I know I'm not awesome now, but hopefully I'm going to get there someday and start Rx-ing WODs like a fiend.  For now, I'm ok with being slow, as long as I both finish and continue to improve.

This was another benchmark WOD today: Helen.

2/16/12 WOD #15: Helen

  • Warm up: 400 m run
                    25 burpees
                    30 seconds each: Mountain climbers (we were supposed to go through these twice, I only managed to get through the sequence plus the mountain climbers again.)
                                               Jumping squats
                                               Hand stands
                                               Push ups
                                               Tuck jumps
  • WOD: 3 rounds for time: 400 m sprint
                                           21 kettle bell swings (15#)
                                           12 pull ups
                                           Time: 16:41
Usually during a WOD I have to stop and rest repeatedly- part of my abysmal time on yesterday's work out was because I had to keep stopping to catch my breath!  Today I never stopped except to shake out my arms between pull ups.  I am still on the blue band, but my pull ups are improving to the point that I may move to a lighter band soon.  Another note is that the 400 m sprint was not so much 400 m.  One of the gals measured it today and it turns out we are running nearly 600 m.  Whoops!  We were supposed to be sprinting it, but my first round was a solid run, my second was more of a jog, and I'm sure round three looked more like a shuffle.  But by God I kept going and never once stopped.  I was the last finisher again, but not by much.  

I also got complemented on my Tron pants.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rocking the knee high pink striped socks

My fashion statement today was amazing: knee high pink striped socks.  And about 3 seconds into the work out, my face was flushed pink enough to match!  I just don't even know how I can stand to be this sexy...

Today's WOD was a gymnastics/body weight WOD.  And it was fairly awful.  It never feels good when someone in your class finishes his final round while you are still huffing and puffing your way through round one. But Lori kept me going through the whole thing.  Because it was within my reach, I just wanted to die while doing it.

2/15/12 WOD #14:

  • Warm up: 500 m row
                    2x: 25 m Beck's Burpees (these are burpees that end with a giant broad jump.  More evil than normal burpees if possible)
                         25 m High knees
                         25 m Butt kickers
                         25 m Lat lunges
                         25 m Lat shuffle
                         25 m HS walk (I actually managed a few steps!  Mostly I kicked up and came back down, but I did manage a few steps.  I also managed to biff it and fall hard enough that my left foot and left hand went numb upon landing.)
  • Challenge: 250 m row for time: 1:09
                    Max pull ups (blue band): 11
  • WOD: 3 rounds for time: 25 m Becks Burpees
                                           25 m Reverse walking lunges
                                           15 pull ups
                                           15 sit ups
                                           20 grass hoppers
                                           Time: 32:18
Oh yes.  I was the last one done.  Half of my fellow athletes had gone home by the time I finished.  And yet again, my burpees by the end were more "collapse, stagger up, broad jump, fall over...."  But I did it, and that is what counts.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hero WOD: Coe

Last week I was CrossFit-less thanks to a martian death flu that laid me low.  Very low.  Between my exploding sinuses, my lost voice, and my constant cough I thought that perhaps challenging my body beyond that would not be such a grand idea.  But today I was back (with a supply of kleenex just in case as well as a lingering cough)!  And it felt very very good to be back.

The box has changed in my brief hiatus- we moved in the same complex to a larger space and the new digs are awesome!  We also had some new faces this morning so that was neat too.

Today's WOD was a hero WOD.  CrossFit has a significant military following and we have a number of WODs dedicated to military, police, and firemen (and women) who have died in the line of duty.  These WODs are typically fairly brutal and this is my first time doing a hero WOD.  This is the story behind Coe:

2/13/12 WOD #13 "Coe"

  • Warm up: 400 m run
                    2x: 10 pass throughs
                          10 OHS (over head squats)
                          10 T2B (still not getting the bar, but I think I'm actually getting my knees up higher)
                          10 pull ups (blue band)
                          1 HS walk (hand stand walk- I just did a couple hand stands against the wall)
                   20 OHS with a 15# bar
  • WOD Coe: 10 rounds for time
                       10 thrusters (15# bar)
                       10 ring push ups (I used dumb bells and my knees)
                       Time: 23:13
This was a nice detox for my system and as much as I sweated and rested between (and during) my sets, it felt great to be using my muscles again.  I only had to stop and blow my nose once.  Remind me to get some garden-style knee pads for the box- my knee caps feel like they are going to pop off during my girly push ups and I am sure that I'm not the only one!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Jumping Cindy

Today was another of the benchmark girls...only our coach decided that the normal work out wasn't challenging enough, so instead of "normal" Cindy, we did "Jumping Cindy."  Cindy is AMRAP in 20 minutes of 5 pull ups, 10 push ups, and 15 squats.  (Side note: had a total epiphany this morning about what the hell AMRAP stood for.  I knew what it meant conceptually for the work out, but I only just realized that it actually stands for As Many Reps As Possible.  I'm a doctor, y'all!).  Jumping Cindy turns those into jumping pull ups (dropping to the ground and jumping back onto the bar for each rep), clapping push ups, and jumping squats.  Oy.

2/1/12 WOD #12:

  • Warm up: 10 stairs
                    25 burpees
                    2x: 10 pass throughs
                          10 overhead squats (OHS)
                          10 pistols (each leg- these are one legged squats)
                          10 push ups
                    50 hollow rocks (only did 25)
  • WOD #12 Jumping Cindy: AMRAP in 20 minutes
                                             5 jumping pull ups (from a box)
                                            10 clapping push ups
                                            15 jumping squats
                                            7 rounds completed + 19 reps into round 8
Funny story about the pull ups.  Lori had gone through the standards for the WOD and we were all set up for starting the jumping pull ups.  No problem.  Ready to go.  3-2-1...I jump up, grab the bar, start to pull myself up...and the coach and I realize at the exact same moment that holy crap Andrea has not done a real pull up yet and is clearly still not capable of doing more than a slight bend of the elbows without some manner of assistance.  So I dropped to the ground and Lori grabbed me a box to jump from instead.