Monday, March 14, 2016

“What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.” ―J. Sidlow Baxter

Oh BlogLand, what a week.

This was definitely a tough one, for me. I've been feeling relatively positive about my performance in the first two Open workouts so far, generally feeling good about my decision to participate. It's been a great time with the CrossFit Waterbury community getting to know people, hanging out and going through the same struggles and commiserating over our inability to walk straight after 16.1.

That said, 16.3 was everything I feared would happen when I signed up to participate, and I had a difficult time keeping everything in a positive light.

The 16.3 WOD was pretty simple, yet devious.
For those super-human people that have arms that aren't decorative, it went like this:
As many rounds as possible in 7 min of,
10 Power Snatches (75/55)
3 bar muscle ups.

For those of us mere mortals, it was scaled to this:
7 min AMRAP of,
10 power snatches (45/35)
5 jumping chest to bar pull ups

So, from a strategic perspective, those snatches (floor to overhead movement with a barbell) are incredibly light, so the design is that you will keep plowing through rounds - spending the majority of time on your Jumping C2B pull ups or  - if you are extra awesome - your bar muscle ups.

As I watched the announcement of this workout, I wasn't too terrified. That was snatches with an empty bar (piece of cake!) and then I'd just need to concentrate on my jumping C2B pull ups. T-Rex hates pull ups, but I've done a fair amount of jumping pull ups in my day and know I can bang those out with some leg power. That said, I had a little bit of a question mark on jumping CHEST to bar pull ups, as that would mean you have to jump even higher, instead of just getting your chin over the bar. The new standard would be that you'd have to touch the bar below your collar bone. HMM.

All things considered, though, despite being a little leery, I showed up to the workout ready to work. There was a great energetic buzz in the room and I was ready to take on this beast.
During warm up and set up, trainer Robyn had me test out of a few, standing on a right-height box - as this is not typically a skill we practice. It went okay and I got through a couple with relative ease. Wasn't going to be a "fun" workout, but I was anticipating it would be doable.

I watched the first round of crazy athletes take on 16.3, with several people getting their very first muscle up. Several people did some solid C2B jumping pull ups, and overall, it seemed to be the workout that I was expecting.
Then it was my turn.

I had to shuffle boxes to stand on, as my original platform had been commandeered, but a box, with the addition of a 25# plate on top seemed to get me to the regulation height under the bar.

3...2....1.... We're off.

It was only going to be 7 minutes, I told myself - unlike that 20 min killer we started out with a few weeks ago. I can do anything for 7 minutes.

I picked up my empty barbell and ripped through my 10 power snatches in approximately 25 seconds (kid you not!), which was fast enough for me to be the first one in my heat to hit the pull up station. WOO. Off to a good start, I thought to myself.

.... Then it began...

With Amazing Jane as my friendly and supportive judge, I started my quest for a solid C2B jumping pull up. After a few attempts, I got one, and felt encouraged. It might take a while, but I could do this. Then, it seemed to slide faster downhill. I kept getting "no rep" as my chest missed touching the bar (to count as a complete rep), by - LITERALLY - a centimeter. Only, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't seem to get any more ups from my legs, or pulls from my arms that would close that gap.

Continue repeatedly throwing myself at the bar from different angles, trying to get my damn chest to the damn bar. It is the only time in my life I briefly wished for bigger boobs, so maybe they'd stick out one more centimeter....
At some point in this flailing, Robyn joined my side, helping Amazing Jane count my attempts and try and interject a voice of calm reason, with my increasingly frustrated attempts. I can't thank those ladies enough for keeping the positivity flowing, as without them this could've been EVEN WORSE.

Magically, something happened on rep 4... I got it. Solidly.
I managed to do the exact same thing again, and hit another solid count for rep 5. YES.

After 4:45 seconds of the workout (which was 4:20 seconds of me throwing myself at the bar, just trying to get 5 reps of C2B), I ran back to the barbell to bang out another set of snatches. Maybe my ugly streak was over, a brief glimmer of hope said in the back of my mind....

Boom! 10 snatches knocked out in another 25 seconds or so. Somewhere around the 5:15 mark, I was back at the pull up station, for another crusade for reps.

Nothing. Nothing at all.

Somewhere in that last 2 minutes, I managed to eek out 1 more good C2B, amidst a sea of "no rep" jumps.

Internally, it felt like I got 1 good rep, for every 5000 jumps up to the bar I did. I could see - all 5000 times - that I was missing by a fraction... yet, I just couldn't put all the pieces together to make it successful. But, during that 7 minutes, I was there to work.... and work I did. Attempt after attempt, I jumped up, trying to find the magic combination again (seriously, what did I do on the two really good reps, that was different?!!), to no avail. I was majorly frustrated, but aside from the occasional sputterings between breaths, I kept it under control and focused at the task at hand.

The clock hit 7 minutes and I dropped my hands off the pull up bar.
I had completed one full round (10 snatches, 5 C2B) and 11 reps (10 snatches, and one more C2B).

The anger and annoyance of being -thisclose- on the other 5 million reps, the confusion because I had eeked out a few during warm up, but couldn't do them in the WOD, the embarrassment of being the fat kid just jumping at the bar unsuccessfully for like 6.5 out of the 7 minutes, finally came to a head.

Cue the tears.

Seriously, not kidding. Big hot tears hit my cheeks as I stepped off my jumping box. Which, as I'm sure anyone who's been there can attest, decidedly doesn't help the feelings of frustration and embarrassment that generated them in the first place!

I took some deep breaths and wiped them back as best as I could, while the Day's MVP's - Robyn and Jane - wrapped me in positive thoughts, and a different perspective on the frustration I was feeling.

Robyn reminded me that Jumping C2B's were legitimately hard and not something we practice regularly, so not something I was going to be immediately good at. She reminded me that it wasn't just me - there were plenty of people who didn't get ANY good reps during their workouts. Further, she gave me the rational perspective I was lacking at that moment - this was the CrossFit Open. It was meant to test you to the limits of your skills to expose your strengths and weaknesses. Clearly, we'd found one of mine, and that was simply a direction for us to practice it more to be ready for next year. Not a failure, not a statement on my fitness, not anything except a fact that this was a movement I struggled with and should practice, end of story.

With a few more deep breaths and a cold towel to the face, after escaping to the bathroom to regroup, I was starting to come back to sanity.

Awesome Jane hung with me for a bit, while we watched the next wave of people tackle the event, radiating an incredibly positive vibe, reminding me that I gave it all I had - and THAT was the important part.

So, this was a first for me, BlogLand. I have never had a workout move me to tears before... but it was a good lesson learned. It was just so frustrating to be so close to the goal, but just not quite get it.. over... and over and over and over and over. It felt a whole lot like virtually banging my head against a wall, repeatedly, for 7 min.

On the positive side, although they were not legitimate jumping C2Bar pull ups, I did a metric shit ton of jumping pull ups, for 7 minutes.

It was a tough day in WODerbury, but I was really thankful for the gym-family I get to have. Despite my frustrating performance, I got high fives and congratulatory words from a bunch of people. In the midst of my little outburst, my friend and trainer had my back and took the time to talk to me, instead of just moving on to the next order of business. Other people commiserated how they had struggled with X, Y, or Z, and how sucky these WODS could be sometimes.

It was a little bit like getting a big sweaty hug from my gym community. LOL.

With a couple days to process and get over it all, I'm back at it tomorrow for a personal training session. Somehow, I have the distinct fear that Robyn is going to make it her new mission to whip my arms into shape. I already can't brush my hair, thinking about it.

The Lesson Learned here, BlogLand is simply that you're not going to be good at everything, and that's okay. You're going to come frustratingly close - and that's actually a GOOD thing. Being -thisclose- is a lot better than not really being able to do it at all (which might've been me a year ago) and missing by 6 inches, instead of a centimeter.

At the end of the day, I submitted my scores for the workout and I'm okay. Yes, it was not my most shining moment, but I'm convinced that if I sacrifice enough sweat (and I guess a few tears!) to the great Dave Castro, he will hear me and program at least ONE WOD that is a bunch of heavy barbells.

T-Rex LOVES heavy barbells. :-)

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