Feb 28, 2011

Learn and play new sports: Highland Games edition

Well, my dear blog readers, I am excited to report that I've added another new sport to my "repertoire", in addition to weightlifting.


On February 19th I had my first exposure to the throwing events that make up the Highland Games.

The local community of throwers always organizes an athlete clinic the Saturday prior to the yearly games held in the area -- Northeast Florida Scottish Highland Games and Festival. It was a pretty good time, and I really learned a lot!

Then this past Saturday, the 26th, it was time for the real deal. I was excited, but nervous, because several events had not gone very well in practice. In particular, caber toss and sheaf toss.

In the end I was able to complete a successful attempt in each of the 7 events, which is awesome for my first games. Woohoo!

Here are some pictures. :)

Practice session -- Weight for height event

Stone - setup

Stone - release

Hammer - going...

Hammer - going...

Hammer - GONE!

Sheaf toss

Weight for height

Caber Toss

Caber Toss
For my "memory" here's a score sheet I put together for myself.

As for the "approximations" of my scores, that's a lesson learned -- next time I will pay more attention to what the judges call out, now that I know you don't get a personal scoresheet at the end. :)

  • 28# heavy weight for distance: ~21'
  • 14# light weight for distance: ~23' (need lots of work here)
  • Stone throw for distance: ~21'
  • 12# hammer throw: ~44'
  • 28# weight over bar: made 8', 9' and 10' throws; hit bar twice at 11'
  • Sheaf toss: made 8', 10', missed big time on all 3 attempts at 12'
  • Caber toss: got one good pick and got a 15 degree toss/turn/not sure what the right word is. So excited about that because I didn't think I'd even be able to pick it up at all!

Feb 27, 2011

Filthy Fifty

Hit this WOD on a whim Sunday night. Husband has a weird issue going on with his shin, so I took him over to the "satellite" gym to use the rower for his running substitute. He's addicted to running, so complete rest is not an option for him.

Filthy Fifty was on the board for Friday, and some other peeps had come in and done it on Sunday. So we modified it for him, and I did it "regular".

Filthy Fifty
50 box jumps (20'')
50 jumping pullups
50 kettlebell swings (1/2 pood - 16kg)
50 walking lunge steps
50 knees to elbows
50 push press (35#)
50 back extensions (did supermans, no GHD for me yet)
50 wall ball shots (14#)
50 burpees
50 double unders

Results: 45:29 (includes a potty break during DUs :-p)

This WOD and I just do not get along. Especially the part where I'm supposed to do 50 K2Es. I think I spent about 15 minutes doing K2Es, and 30 minutes doing everything else. Seriously.

Low points:
 - K2Es were not only agonizingly slow with small sets of 2s, 3s and 4s, but there weren't even close to Rx with my knees touching triceps most of the time; I have a lot practice to get "Rx" on this WOD...
 - Back extensions -- still afraid of getting on the GHD for fear of triggering renewed back/hip pain...

High points:
 - 50 unbroken kb swings
 - 25-15-10 wall balls; this is an epic improvement for me on those
 - push press felt light, wish I had gone for unbroken
 - double unders -- every minute of practice I did to get these is worth it when I breeze through them in a wod

Feb 24, 2011

First day out at the track

I'm behind on posting, so I'm "back dating" this and a few others this morning. :)

Thursday mornings from here on out will be spent at the track on base getting FASTER. I'm so lucky to have two wonderful friends who are willing to meet up with me and keep me accountable.

Often I let myself get into the mindset that I'm strong and slow, and that I'm OK with that. But that's not true.
I know I have the genetic ability to be fast, because I trained my way to a sub-6 minute mile while running high school track. And my 800m was somewhere in the neighborhood of 2:40. Does that sound slow to you? Or sound like I'm an athlete that just doesn't have the genetic gift of enough fast twitch fiber? Yeah -- that would be a no.

And I know I'm not OK with being slow. It drives me crazy!

So it's time to buckle down, and get fast again.

10 rounds
100m sprint
10 burpees

Results: ~17 minutes

I'm not sure that I managed to sprint on each run, but I did maintain good POSE form to try to foster some speed in my feet, and also continue to build up my calves.

100 burpees sucks. 100 burpees amidst sprints *really* sucks.

But we felt awesome once we got it done. :)

Feb 23, 2011

2k row, push press 1RM

Very interesting combo for one day, huh? :)

I've been interested in testing my rowing skills ever since I completed the Holiday Rowing Challenge in December -- the challenge was to row 100,000 meters between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. During that time I was taking a little hiatus from posting workouts here, but I was logging lots of rowing workouts in my Concept2 online logbook. Very neat concept, if you like rowing you should set one up -- it's fun to see how you rank among other rowers. CrossFitters usually stack up pretty well!

So, back to the WOD. I was coaching my 9am class, and there were 3 ladies there. We only have 2 ergs in our "satellite" location, and everyone knows you can't do a long distance sprint without someone next to you keeping you going. (Or is that just me? :-p) So I warmed up and rowed with D, after T and M did their rows.

Result: 8:36.5 (2:09.1 avg/500m)

I was ver happy with that time! Next goal -- 8:30 or below.

BTW, definitely got a "Fran cough" after that row. Holy crap burning lungs!

I didn't do push press until that evening. I arrived early for my 6pm class and banged out my 6 1RM attempts. I'm sure I got more that I would have if I did it right after the row, which is how the WOD was written. But I still felt the effects of doing that row!

Warm-up: 5x45# strict press; 2x65# push press

Working sets: 95-105-115-125-130-135m

After I got 125 up, I had to walk it around a bit before I could get it stabilized.  That matched my old PR!

I wasn't sure 130 would go up, and was really happy when it did! I was more stable with it overhead than 125. Yay 5# PR!

I decided to just go for it, and loaded up 135 on the bar. I got it up high enough to push my head through, but then it just stopped. I had to drop it behind me - craziness!

Thoughts -- I need more reps with heavy weights on the bar. For this WOD, and our 1RM OHS WOD, my biggest obstacle to a great performance was a lack of confidence at the higher loads. The only thing that will build that confidence is more reps. Good thing we just got some new jerk blocks! :)

Feb 22, 2011

Weightlifting practice

Attended my weekly weightlifting practice today. And saw the effects of not attending practice regularly for a few months...

1 snatch + 3 OHS
4 sets @ 60% (65#)

All solid here.

Clean & Jerk
4x3 @ 70% (95#, 1 set at 85#)

Form was awful on the cleans. My power position has completely disappeared, and my knees never popped back under the bar. I think I am afraid to get into certain positions, for fear my back will just tweak out again. Dropped weight to see if that helped, and I still did the same thing. Hoping this was just a bad day, and I'm not regressing back to old habits...

Snatch balance
3x3 with empty bar


Knees to elbows

These need a lot of work, especially doing more reps before dropping off the bar.

Feb 17, 2011

Front squats, pushups, swings and situps

Got together with my girls at the base gym this morning, and we all just wanted something simple. R had this one in her notebook from CrossFit Saratoga.

3 rounds:
15 front squats
25 pushups
35 kettlebell swings
45 situps

Results: untimed; did f.s. at 45, 65, 65 and 35# kb for all swings

I was super-slow on my pushups again today. They were all good form, but just 1s and 2s and 3s which took forever.

Note on my gymnastics skills... there seems to be quite a bit of practice required between just being able to do a skill correctly, and being able to do it correctly for many reps in a row. The same things has been the case with pullups in the past. Maybe it's a matter of developing a rhythm or technique for stringing them together? Who knows...

Speaking of pullups, I hit a new PR in those yesterday as well. Prior to coaching at 6pm, I did 10 kipping pullups in a row. Woot! The first 4 were chest-to-bar to boot. I'm back to doing those daily, even if it's just a few, and it's really paying off.

Feb 16, 2011


Hit 6:30am CrossFit class with enthusiasm this morning -- it was OHS 1RM day, and I hadn't tested that lift in 6-9 months. It was a given I would be able to pass my old 1RM of 85, but I just wasn't sure how high I could go...

Well, it turns out I could go up to 115#. Woot!

Overhead squat: 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1

Warm-up: 35x5, 55x3
Work sets: 85-95-105-115m-110-115-115 (I only did 7)

Decided to re-do 115 to end on a high note -- and it was a strong lift, no wobble, nice and deep. I think there was definitely a learning curve, as far as experiencing what heavy singles of OHS feel like. I never had that heavy of a load in a wide-grip overhead position before. I've only push pressed or jerked that much with a narrower grip.

So, that said, I think this is really going to do a lot for my snatch, now that I have more confidence with big-ass weights over my head.

Feb 14, 2011


7 rounds:
15 kb swings (24kg/16kg)
15 power cleans (95/65)
15 box jumps (24''/20'')

Results: 26:26, 55#

The 55# thing? A result of my morning brain. I thought to myself that if I loaded the bar with 25kg it would be 63.5#. Well, 25kg is actually 55#. Whoops.

Feb 11, 2011

Leg killer

I wrote this WOD, but in the hands of the other coaches I work with, it became evil.

walking lunges w/ dumbbells (20/30)
AbMat situps

Results: 12:04

This was a WOD I originally came up with for a workout at the base gym with my friends. It was decent without weight, so I thought the addition of dumbbells would suffice.

Well, the rep scheme for the lunges became "2 for 1" -- as in 10 lunges means 10 lunges each leg. Ow.

But in hindsight, it was a good change. This was really challenging for both my legs, and my grip. I only dropped the dumbbells twice within sets, which I though was good.

Hope I still have enough energy to keep up with my 3 kids classes today!

Feb 10, 2011


Had a rematch with Cindy this morning.She and I have a history.

May 2010 - A pitiful 7 rounds + 5 pullups
June 2010 - During first 20 minutes of a Murph attempt (after completing the starting mile), I did ~12 rounds
February 10, 2010 - 9 rounds + 3 pushups

Here's the secret to a good Cindy, at least for me -- spend time practicing both pushups and pullups prior to attempting. I have focused a lot on pullups lately, but haven't done many pushups in the last few months. Need to work those back into warmups as much as possible.

Feb 8, 2011

Move, weightlifting practice and CrossFit barbell triplet

While it wasn't exactly a WOD, we moved over this past weekend, and it wore my ass out! Seriously, by the end of the day on Saturday, I was barely dragging myself along. Other than a short lunch break and afternoon nap, we were constantly on the move from 10am until 10pm.

Monday was my first weekday weightlifting practice in I don't know how long... It was good stuff.

Deadlift: 10-8-6-5-5-5-3-3

Loads were light, worked a lot on form. My low back issues are kinda complicated to describe -- but it's nice to finally know why I've always sucked at deadlifts, why my squat was broken for so long and why my clean loads plateaued for so long.

Press :5-5-5-3 (power clean bar from ground)

Barely got my last two reps up for my set of 5 at 80. Rep 3 of my last set at 85 got stuck in front of my forehead for a few seconds before I gave up. This makes me want to re-test my press 1RM (which had dropped down to 90 in the fall), in light of all my pullup work. I think it's helping, and that's exciting!

Pullups: 3x10
Performed mostly unassisted deadhangs, and a few kipping pullups. I logged this as a day in my Get Strict program.

Abmat situps with medball: 4x15 (14# ball)

This morning I attended an 8:30am CrossFit class, which I'll start teaching next Tuesday, along with the 6:30am class. It was the last day for one of our coaches -- he's been splitting his time between the gym he co-owns and our gym, and will be focusing in on his own place from here on. He programmed a fun barbell triplet for us.

5 rounds:
5 squat clean thrusters
10 shoulder to overhead
15 front squat
load: 77#/55#

Results: 15:51

I certainly could've rested a lot less. And I didn't really string together the squat clean thrusters. But I did unbroken sets of ground to overhead and front squats on all 5 rounds. For shoulder to overhead, I did a combo of push presses and power jerks.

I'm happy to report that my back felt a little funky in my warmups, but I didn't feel a single twinge at all during the WOD. Yay!

Feb 4, 2011

Back at the base gym

Did Thursday and Friday morning at the base gym with my buddies.

5x5 back squats

4 rounds:
5 1-arm DB power snatch, right
5 1-arm DB OHS, right
5 1-arm DB power snatch, left
5 1-arm DB OHS, left
10 lateral jumps over dumbbell

Results: ~8 minutes, with a 25# dumbbell

If you've never tried a 1-arm DB overhead squat, try it. It is really weird, and definitely exposes weakness in your core.

Everybody was sleepy and sore, so we skipped the weight room and did two "tabata pairs".

First pair: squats (lowest count 14) and pushups (lowest count 6; games-style w/ hand release)

We alternated between squats and pushups for 16 total rounds of tabata. I like this better for pushups, because I felt like I did more pushups than when I do "straight" tabata pushups.

Second pair: DB push press (20# db's, lowest count 8) and AbMat situps (butterfly; lowest count 10)

I kinda sandbagged the situps -- I have gotten a score of 11 on regular tabata situps.

But the good thing is I got up and got to the gym! Definitely wasn't feeling it this morning...

Feb 2, 2011


Hit this one on my own after coaching this morning.

AMRAP in 20 minutes:
6 deadlifts (225#/155#)
7 burpee pullups
10 kb swings (2 pood / 1.5 pood)

Results: 4 rounds + 3 pullups

Scaled deadlifts down to 125. Originally planned on 135, but it just felt off during the warm-up. 125 started feeling too light by round 4 -- I think I may just have needed more warm-up, or I just haven't deadlifted in so long my form was rusty. I have been avoiding them pretty much altogether since October-ish, so that makes sense.

This was my first attempt at burpee pullups -- as suggested, I jumped up to a bar ~6 inches above my head. I didn't have any failed reps, and I felt really strong on pullups today -- I think it's the work I've been doing on strict pullups. It's nice to see it pay off, because it is really annoying to complete those extra sessions.

Loved swinging the 24kg kettlebell -- need to do that more often. All sets were unbroken, except round 3 -- lost control of the kb on rep 8.

Feb 1, 2011

Back from vacation

Well, I never told you guys, but I went on vacation last week! I went to St. Thomas with my husband's family. We had a great time, and we even got some good workouts in.

Monday we went to Magen's Bay, which was GORGEOUS. In the afternoon I talked husband into doing a little beach workout with me.

6 rounds:
Run to lifeguard chair and back (150m?)
10 burpees

We got a 1 week pass to the little gym at the resort near our condo, and used that for the first time Tuesday night. I did day B of my Get Strict program -- basically 20 minutes of 10 second negatives and holds at the top and middle of the pullup. "Middle" means arms at 90 degrees. I used a 5# dumbbell to weight the negatives. Eventually I'll do the whole workout with extra weight.

As for the rest of the days, I honestly can't remember which day of the week we did what! Kinda the point of vacation, though. :)

One morning I did a workout that my friends at home did at the base gym.

5 rounds:
5 dumbbell man-makers
30 DU's

Results: 17:08

Got many strange looks for the double unders, which I did outside. This gym was TINY. Hardly had enough floor space to do my manmakers, and the largest hex-ended dumbbells they had were 15#.

In the end, I liked that weight. Rather than using super-heavy DB's that slow me down because my arms wear out, it was interesting to do manmakers at a lighter weight so that it was my lack of conditioning that forced me to slow down. Exactly right for my current focus to improve my conditioning.

Other than that, it was just lots of messing around with freestanding handstands on the beach. I got a couple seconds a few times, which was exciting. I also wiped out on my hip and knee a few times, but it was all good. :-D

And of course swimming! And does shopping count? :)

Magen's Bay