Spartan Shape-Up, Day 403:
Today was my triumphant (ish) return to CrossFit, BlogLand. It's been like... more than a month (too long to count...) since I've been able to attend a class, between this stupid ankle injury, the issue I had with my knee after the Canada sprint and races/life in general.
I'm not going to lie, I was mildly apprehensive about walking back into that gym. I felt a little bit like a slacker. Now, I know that I've had some legitimate reasons not to be there, but at the same time, I feel like there were (mornings, especially) times I should've tried harder to get there. Less hits on the snooze button, less talking myself out of it. I had a little bit of guilt. Not to mention, I wondered how far behind I might be..... or how hard it would be, since I've been out of the loop a little bit. I've never shied away from it being hard... but.... I dunno. BlogLand, I was a little nervous. I was not, however, going to let that stop me. Time to get back on the horse and get everything moving again.
It would seem that I decided to pick a doozy of a day to get back into the game. I studied the WODs (yes... plural) on the board, as I waited for class to begin. I was definitely in for it. It was going to be a LONG class.
First, we began with a Warm Up:
(2x) 200m run
10 Over head (light - 16#) KB Swings
I felt good setting out at the run... I feel like my runs have at least remained pretty strong. I was good on the KB, too.... but the nerves set in a little bit as I worked through those inchworms. For those not in the know, an inchworm has a few variations, but I was doing it like this: From a standing position, get your hands on the floor near your feet. Walk your hands out forward until you are in a plank position. Walk your feet back up to your hands. That's One Rep. When I do these, BlogLand, I'm okay in my core, but my arms/shoulders - of notorious t-rex fame - started to feel it. OH geesh. This did not bode well for the rest of the WOD, if this was only the Warm up.
Next, we were ushered into WOD, Part 1:
(5 times, for Time)
5 (heavy) Deadlifts - #120 pounds for me, as I wasn't sure how the ankle would handle this.
Well, if nothing else, I figured my Spartan Racing would help prepare me for the burpees, and Deadlifts are generally a strong point for me - just as long as my ankle held up.
The clock started, I took a deep breath and activated my legs for my first dead lift. YEAH. I was feeling strong. Beast Mode: On. Five Strong Dead lifts, and down I went for Burpees. As every veteran burpee'er knows... the first 5 or 10 burpees aren't THAT bad.... by the time I got to 15 fast ones, I was definitely sweating and puffing. (I say "fast ones" because I have this subconcious competitive desire that makes me want to keep up with the person next to me.... and DAMN if this 50 (ish?) year old guy wasn't going at it!)
Round 2 and 3 went okay. Still was feeling steady on the dead lifts, and pushing through the burpees at a solid pace (I've found this is the secret, Just. Keep. Moving.), even though I knew it was slower than I had started out. You know it's bad when you're looking forward to the next round of heavy deadlifts to "rest".
Round 4 and 5 got a bit ugly. My dead lifts were still spot on (on a normal day, I would definitely lift a much heavier deadlift - closer to 185-195 for something like this), but burpees were not a good time. I was having flashbacks to every set penalty burpees at monkey bars at a Spartan Race, or every traverse wall, thus far...ARGH. The last five burpees were on sheer will. Guy Next To Me was slowing down, but still moving... There was nothing to be done except take a quick swipe at the sweat dripping into my eye, take a breath and knock out 5 more, Spartan Style.
Getting it done, I finished with a time of: 7:02. Solidly in the middle of the class. I was happy with that... I was not the slowest person, but I still had room to work. I was acutely aware of the extra weight I'm still carrying and how much easier burpees would be if I didn't have to throw it around.
WOD Part 1a:
While we waited for the other group (finishing up WOD #2, so we could alternate), we set about attacking two one-minute benchmarks: Push ups and Air Squats. I groaned, my burpee-tired arms quivered a little, but I got on my knees, gritted my teeth and did my best at push ups. I had to sit back on my knees more times than I would like, but managed to complete 22, messy, tired, push ups. Clearly, here's my area to improve. Then, we moved on to our one-minute of air squats. This is usually my area to dominate... I think my record is like 56-57 in a minute, when I was fresh. However, my quads were a little spent from Deadlifts, and I only managed 39. A solid effort, I felt, all things considered. If my quads weren't tired before I started squats, they were definitely quaking now. I finished, sweat pouring off of me, muscles protesting and realized I was only halfway through the class. Oh. shit.
WOD Part 2:
(3 times, for time)
15 Box Jumps (16" box)
15 Pull ups (using a black, heavy assistance band)
15 Over head walking lunges (25#)
15 Sit Ups
All in all, that doesn't look TOO bad, right? Well. After doing WOD 1 and 1a, I wasn't so sure. I started out doing box jumps carefully to test out the ankle. It seemed to hold up alright for the first 15, but I was worried about it as I got tired, and transitioned to step-ups for the second and third rounds.
Pull ups, my arch enemy, were as expected. They KILLED me. I got out the initial 10 in a row... after that, and for all subsequent rounds, I was knocked down to doing 2-3 at a time. Fighting through to get 2-3 at a time. With the giant black assistance band. If that isn't frustrating, I don't know what is. Somewhere around the middle of my round 2 pull ups, I had to spend some seconds huffing and puffing and reminding myself that I had already used my arms extensively on burpees and push ups, as well as overhead lunges.... It's not that I'm weak (well, THAT weak), but just that I've been working. The only option was to KEEP WORKING.
I am proud to say that I did the over head lunges as prescribed - 25# solid. Arms locked out, over head, 15 lunges each round. I was doing well, there. It burned like battery acid the last round and I am not ashamed to say I let out the patented primal CrossFit exertion grunt to push out the last five.
I finished in a time of 11:47. Next to last in the class... mostly because of the time it takes me to do the pull ups. That is disappointing. However, I completed every single rep, and sweated through the whole workout, without having to quit. I was proud of that.
Sometimes, the WOD (or the race, or the moment) is going to be hard. But the success is not in the time it took you, but that you were there, you showed up, you were doing it. Slow or fast, heavy or light, you showed up and you did some work. Not every day is going to be a PR.
Today, as I crawled out of bed, stiff like my 90 year old granny from getting my ass handed to me by Crossfit yesterday, I felt accomplished. Not that I was enjoying the muscle soreness, but it felt good to be really hard back in the game. It wasn't my ankle that slowed me down as I had feared, but I just still had a lot of work to do. I could accept that.
Now... with a lot of ice and Tiger Balm, I prep for my next obstacle... tonight's 5 mile run. YEEHAW!! Oh, the life of a Spartan in Training....