May 29, 2011


Husband and I joined a few of my CrossFit athletes to do Murph on Saturday morning. It was quite the hellacious experience, just like last year.
"Murph" aka "Body Armor"
For time:
1 mile run
100 pullups
200 pushups
300 air squats
1 mile run

Partition the pullup, pushups and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you've got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it.
 Results: ~80 minutes -- I was laying on the ground and didn't personally look at the stopwatch, and the only time I heard said out loud was "an hour and 20 minutes". I guess that's as exact as it needs to be in that time domain. :)

This was a 10 minute PR for me. Definitely came from improvement on pullups.

Like the last time I did this, I ran a separate stop watch which I started after returning from the first mile run. I partitioned the work into 20 rounds of 5 pullups, 10 pushups and 15 squats. Having that second watch helps me gauge how well I'm doing with moving through my sets without taking too much rest.

5 rounds competed -- 9:25
10 rounds completed -- 22:59 (9 rounds completed at 20 mins)
16 rounds completed -- 42:20
20 rounds completed -- 55:38
Avg/round: ~2:45

Pullups were absolutely spot-on -- all 20 sets I did 5 reps. And they were all GOOD, chin way over. Didn't use grips or any tape, except in the last 2 sets I wore my left hand grip because my left hand ring finger callous ripped a bit. This is a huge departure from last time, when I had tape grips on both hands, and ended up ripping open a bunch of spots on my hands and fingers.

Pushups were... UGH. Every time I came to these, it was a mental battle to get them done. I think that pushups defeat me mentally more than physically. With pullups in hand these need to become a main focus. It's not as "sexy and cool" to do tons of good pushups, but so necessary...

Squats were consistent, but not fast. I only broke 1 or 2 sets for rest, and that was in the last 5 rounds.

I guess LT. Michael Murphy should have been my mental inspiration, but what mentally drove me to persevere and complete this workout was thinking about the American Widow Project. I had seen a post on their Facebook page in the morning before we went to meet the group to do the WOD. And I made it my goal that when I felt horrible, I would think about how lucky I am to be doing this workout side-by-side with my husband, who has come back from war safely 3 times now. I'm sure those widows would go through any amount of painful experiences to be able to spend time with their husbands again. So I dedicated my workout to them. They are the unspoken heroes that I will remember this Memorial Day.

May 26, 2011

Nancy rematch

Last July I did "Nancy" as prescribed for the first time, and finished it in 26:27.

Today I took 6 minutes off my time!

5 rounds:
400m run
15 overhead squats (95/65)

Results: 20:32 Rx

I think I did really well with minimizing my transition time between the runs and OHS. I could still tighten it up a bit. I also tried to run fast, but could definitely improve there. But those two elements are still where I made the improvement from last year.

All sets of OHS were unbroken except round 4. I dropped the bar at the bottom of rep #10, dropped it again on my next attempted rep, took a few seconds, then snatched the bar and got the last 6 reps. I kept telling myself the weight was only 50% of my 1RM and I should be able to hold it up all day. Seemed to work to keep me from dropping the bar. :)

Can we switch "Fran" to OHS instead of thrusters? That would be much more fun. :)

May 25, 2011

Doubling up

I like to rest on Tuesdays so that I have a good 48 hours between my chiropractic adjustment and my next WOD. Seems to let things "settle" and help me keep that great "just adjusted" feeling longer.

So Wednesday I decided to double-up, and do Tuesday's WOD and Wednesday's WOD.

First I rowed a 2k for time before coaching a class at 9am.

Result: 8:38

That's only 2 seconds slower than my current PR, which I'll gladly take since I was rowing alone. I almost always go faster when there's someone next to me to "race".

After class I completed Tuesday's metcon, and then Wednesday's strength and 2 short metcons.
For time, partition reps as desired:
50 GHD situps
100 Supermans
25 handstand pushups
Results: 13:43 -- used green+blue band harness for HSPU
Has definitely been too long since I practiced HSPU. Was nice to get in the groove with just 25 total reps. My back felt tired, but not painful, with the Supermans and GHDs. Woohoo!
Bench Press: 3-3-3-3-3-3 @ 85% of 1RM, 2 min rest between sets

Results: 70#, no spotter so just worked on maintaining perfect form on each rep
Now that my low back and hips are pretty much good to go, the next problem area I'm working on with my chiro is mid-back (thoracic spine) and shoulder position. My shoulders are *very* rolled forward, which makes my head and neck too far forward instead of sitting on top of the rest of my spine. At this point my posture has been bad for so long that my pecs have shortened and tightened. I can hardly engage them in movements, or stretch them. This is probably a contributing factor in why I simply suck at pushups, and possibly a clue to my struggles transitioning through a muscle up. Working on it, and I think yoga and some extra chest work and stretches I'm doing will help.

And then two short metcons to finish off Wednesday's WOD.
For time: 100 sledge hammer strikes on tire
Results: 4:04 w/ 16# sledge

For time: 100 AbMat situps
Results: 3:37
I was in the gym all damn morning! Enjoyed having my techno girly music turned up super loud. :-D

May 23, 2011

Busy weekend

Fit today's WOD in this morning between coaching and chiropractor. My adjustment is always awesome when I work out just prior.

4 rounds:
3 DB power clean (45#/30#)
16 DB split clean (alternate lead foot)
3 DB power jerk
3 DB split jerk
30 double unders

Results: 18:20, Rx

I had to drop the DBs a lot more than I anticipated, but tried to keep things in consistent chunks to regulate my rest. I tend to rest too much when I have to break up sets.

Double unders were not going well until the last round when I finally got 15 in a row. That's probably the biggest factor in how long this took me to finish.

It was a gasser, I was breathing really hard and sweating a ton! Good way to kick off the week.

On Saturday I ran a 5K on the beach. Didn't go for time, just ran with a friend with the only goal being to not walk. We achieved that goal, and she did great. It was great to run on the beach, I haven't actually run on the sand in quite a while.

Results: 37:30 (pace ~12min/mile)

Sunday evening I went to heated power yoga. God is that a tough workout. I was really struggling to keep up and do all the poses as they were being called out, and at one point the instructor suggested I take child pose. I think we were doing a warrior and my legs were just shaking so bad I couldn't stay down in it.

At the beginning of class the instructors always talk about taking child's pose if you need it, so I knew I had that option. But it honestly didn't occur to me to do it in that moment of struggle. When I did, I just felt so much relief, it was palpable. In fact I felt some tears come to my eyes!

Taking child's pose in the middle of that tough "flow" was almost like the anti-CrossFit. Maybe...

Maybe it was "anti" to my idea of CrossFit?

If I think of my "CrossFit practice", there is a lot of struggle there, toughing it out, pushing yourself to do more reps than you think you can, pushing yourself to move a load that is heavy. Yes, we do scale workouts, but I don't know if that's really a good analog for taking child's pose during yoga practice...

It may not be a concept that necessarily works in CrossFit, but it's something for me to remember in yoga. I realize as I practice yoga that I'm not as good at listening to my body as I think I am. There are things going on in my body, my posture, my alignment, that I'm not consciously aware of. But once I focus my attention there, then I can see it. Shoulders super tight and drawn up ALOT. Hips also tight in ways that I don't notice in CrossFit, because they don't impede me there. That I know of!

It's been a while since I felt totally "in my body" during a CrossFit workout, but I easily experience that when I do yoga. There's no game plan, no reps to count, no clock to beat. It's a whole different universe, and something that I've decided I really need in my life. And I didn't even know it was missing!

May 19, 2011

CrossFit Total

This was only the second time I've done this workout. The first time was way back in January 2010, so about a year and a half ago.

Jan 2010 results:
Squat - 155
Press - 80
Deadlift - 185
Total: 420

Those numbers were after 6 months of training the barbell lifts. Not too bad, when you look at it from that perspective. At that point I was Rx-ing or close to Rx-ing the majority of barbell movements in CrossFit WODs, except those with deadlifts. I was just able to do a few unassisted pullups, but still struggled with other gymnastics / body weight movements.

Fast forward to today. 18 more months of training, so a total of (approximately) 2 years of total barbell training.

May 2011 results:
Squat - 160
Press - 90
Deadlift - 190
Total: 440

At first glance when I made the comparison between 2010 and today, I was pretty disappointed. Only 20 pounds more after 18 months?

So I wanted to think about the path my training has taken, and reflect a little bit. Feel free to stop reading now, this is mostly for me. :)

Despite only gaining 10 pounds in the press, my upper body strength has absolutely exploded as a whole. On multiple occasions I've completed 100 pullups or more in a single workout. It may have taken me twice as long as others, but I still completed each one. Pushups have been up and down, but on the whole I'm much stronger. Same story with ring dips.

I've fixed my squat. The butt wink that I got called out on during my Level I cert in March 2010 is now gone. I still struggle a little with keeping hamstrings tight in the bottom, especially switching back and forth between low-bar and Olympic high-bar and front squats. But it's all good. Reading Rip's book "Starting Strength" is helping me even more in this area. Knowledge is power.

The back pain I began suffering from in September 2010 led me to perfect chiropractor for me, and has completely changed the alignment of my legs and hips for the better. My posture from the waist down is completely revamped, and now we're working hard on the mid-back and neck. I know these changes are going to allow me to get even stronger in the end, even though my injury prevented me from lifting anything heavier than ~125# between September 2010 and February 2011.

The time taken off due to my back set me back more mentally than anything - obviously since my squat and deadlift both went up by 5, but didn't go down. The experience of lifting a heavy weight isn't just physical, it's mental. My brain is currently used to moving very manageable loads, and I've lost some ground in dealing with the "holy shit this is crazy heavy" feeling when moving a barbell. But I know it's just a matter of time and commitment to getting back my mental focus so that I can finally start getting stronger. Now that my body is ready, I will make my mind ready, and then shit is gonna take off!

So, I guess what I really proving to myself with all of this is that I didn't "waste" 18 months because my CF Total only went up 20 pounds. I accomplished a lot in that time, and learned a lot of really valuable lessons. And I've been learning to become a better coach, which is a super-high priority goal for me.

I don't want to get sucked into that numbers trap, where my numbers absolutely define me. Or where I am only worthwhile as a person if I have amazing numbers. There's more too me than just simple metrics.

May 18, 2011

Long loop

Ran my long loop out along the beach for the first time since March, and it felt great! I'm so happy to be living on an island where I can see the ocean from my running route. :)

Distance: ~5.5 miles
Time: 52:54
Pace: 9:37

May 16, 2011

Bodyweight WOD

I thought the WOD today would be something I could quickly fit in between coaching and my chiropractor appointment. I took me nearly 5 minutes more than I would've liked. Too slow on pullups, and I just basically suck at pushups. Alot. This does not bode well for doing Murph in two weeks...

1000m row
air squat x 80
sit up x 60
push up x 40
pull up x 20

Results: ~17:00

May 14, 2011

Randy on Friday

Couldn't resist that joke.

Did this WOD by myself after coaching my kids classes. Nearly 3 hours of kids of all ages, and I'm beat, but I needed to work out some frustrations.

75 power snatch @ 55#


Sooooo slooooow.

Broke this up in 5 sets of 15, mentally. First set of 15 took 1 minute. Obviously the pace slowed dramatically from there...

My snatches felt absolutely crappy. With no one watching, I'm not sure how bad they actually were. Time to get back to weightlifting practice now that I've banished my crazy back pain. I need to regain all the technique I had built up before the back went crazy.

The great thing is, whatever my chiro did, it not only got rid of my "tweak", I also have a lot less low back pain after workouts now. Woot! :)

May 11, 2011

Wednesday is endurance day

That's the new trend in our programming -- Wednesday's WOD is always a long endurance WOD.

Did this one solo after coaching the 9am class.

3 rounds:
800m run
200m backwards run
30 1-arm kettlebell swings
10 chest to bar pullups

Results: 31:32, 16kg kb, "regular" pullups

I just didn't have C2B's in me today. In fact, my kipping skills were pretty much zero on the first round. Thankfully my brain kicked back in during round 2 and those 10 went a lot faster. Longest set was only 3 in a row, so not my best pullup day. Thank god there were only 30 total...

I like 1-arm swings -- I wouldn't mind if we did them more.

My hamstrings were singing on the run, from the squat workout yesterday. I'm glad this week's squat workout didn't cripple me like last week's. That sucked.

May 10, 2011

Back squat, push press

Strength day today. Good way to get back in the groove after vacation.

And yes, Angie, I am going to do your birthday WOD soon! :)

Squat: 5-5-3-3-2-2
Push Press: 5-5-3-3-2-2
Squat: 125-135-145-145-150
Push Press: 95-110-115-115-120(x1)
I didn't perform the second double on either movement, because somebody wrote the WOD on the whiteboard with only 1 "2" in the rep scheme. Oh well! I was pretty much beat on each of the doubles I did, so I didn't need more to make the WOD harder!

Here's a picture of my little section of whiteboard. In orange are the numbers that I looked up from a weightlifting chart, based on my 1RM max. I screwed up, and looked up numbers for 135 on push press, even though my 1RM is 130 -- hence the smaller numbers I wrote in.

May 8, 2011

100 back squats - aftermath

My lack of WODs for the past week is directly due to that MF'er I did on Monday -- 100 back squats at 50% 1RM.  Thank god I had subs for most of my classes last week, due to my husband being on leave, because I couldn't walk right, let alone demo any movements until nearly Friday. I was seriously crippled.

And I was pissed because I had planned to take my husband to a power yoga class Wednesday night, but I was too sore to go to it. :( BOOOOO!

Though I think this means 2 things.
1. I need to squat heavy more often
2. I need to seriously consider ice baths after WODs that I know are going to crush my legs

In an effort to relieve my pain, I did the WOD on Wednesday AM. Also, I only had 1 student come to class, and I thought some "side-by-side" coaching would work well for the WOD. Especially since I really wanted to make some detailed observations of her rowing and running, as those are areas where she struggles. And I'm glad to say we had a great session, and got some ideas for things for her to work on. :)

3000m Row
1.5 mi run

Results: ~35:00, row was ~13:00, definitely didn't push very hard on the row or run

Valley Forge Park loop

I'm visiting family up north, and went running with the husband on my favorite trail at Valley Forge National Park. I used to do it weekly when I lived in the area -- great scenery, and killer hills!

The loop is about 5.5 miles, and I ran it in 51:49.

That's a pace of 9:25 minutes / mile.

Woot! One long run per week is really making a difference. I'm hoping it will get my pace down below 9 minutes per mile.

I don't think I've mentioned it here before, but I'm running the Marine Corps Marathon in October. To help me train, I'm doing a Jeff Galloway training program this summer and fall -- one of my new CrossFit athletes is a Galloway coach, and swears by it. I think it's a great plan to go into the marathon feeling confident about finishing, and from what I've read, it's also good at preventing / reducing running injuries.

May 2, 2011

100 back squats

Seriously, that was the first part of the WOD today.
WOD 1:
100 Back Squats @ 50% of 1RM
 - Take breaks as needed
 - Score is load and # of sets needed to complete 100 total squats
Results: 80#, 3 sets (50, 35, 15)

O. M. G. That set of 50 was horrific. Followed closely by the set of 35. But I really really really wanted to finish in 3 sets, so I pushed myself pretty hard.

My most recent back squat 1RM was 155 (which lines up with my 5x3 @ 140 recently). So while I "technically" used the right load, I think I could've gone heavier...
WOD 2:
Run 400m, then rest 2 minutes.
3 rounds.
Score is slowest 400.
1st: 1:45
2nd: 1:50
3rd: 1:43

Wow, was I really wobbly during the first run! I actually felt decent on the 2nd two runs, just had to push myself more on the breathing side of things, than the "my legs hurt" side of things. But that's pretty typical for me.

Good WOD to start the week. :)