Saturday, February 20, 2016

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” - Michael Jordan

As I rolled out of bed this morning, I had this odd sense of satisfaction, dread and progress, all at the same time. Upon thinking about rolling over, a bunch of my core muscles screamed and reminded me they existed... no big deal, I thought... until I put my feet on the floor and went to stand up. THAT is the point at which my entire posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, lower back) alerted me - loudly - to the fact that we had done some things yesterday that we haven't done a lot of. As such, my hamstrings have decided they will make EVERY movement today difficult, while working with my abs and some back muscles I apparently slighted a bit yesterday, to really make sure I'm aware of what I did to them.  As a result, I had a serious debate with myself on whether I *really* needed to put socks on this morning so my feet didn't freeze, or if I could just deal with it...

But let's rewind. Yesterday was my once a week personal training session with Robyn! Yay! We've been at this like 10 months now (!?!) so have fallen into a pretty good groove. She's well aware of my capabilities and makes sure that she's always pushing me to take another step forward. She also knows when to yell at me to keep moving - something I find incredibly helpful in a trainer!

Since I sucked up my fear and signed up to do this year's CrossFit Open, I guess today was going to be a little bit of prep and a little bit of a trial run to show me how this will work. We did some warm up time - rowing, some sit ups, etc. - to get my body moving, and then on to the real work. Today's skill work was working on my power clean, as later in the workout, we'd be looking for a 6 min, one rep max on the clean and jerk.

Blogland, let me tell you, my brain has not entirely gotten on board with complex lifts like this yet. I 100% get all the individual parts. I know how to generate the power to move the bar. But, maybe it's the speed part (dropping under the bar), maybe it's linking it all together, maybe it's just a lot of muscle memory I don't have yet, but I have to think harder about accomplishing these things than I do about balancing my checkbook! Nonetheless, I do enjoy lifting and gave it a full effort to get to a practice weight of around 123# for a solid clean and jerk. I was sweating like I'd just been chased by rabid lions, but felt okay, heading into the main portion of our WOD for today.

To prep a bit for trying The Open this year, Robyn had me do the scaled version of 15.1 (the first workout from last year). It looks like this:
9 min AMRAP
15 knees to elbows
10 deadlifts (55#)
5 snatches (55#)
THEN, right into 15.1a:
6 min limit to find
1 RM Clean & Jerk

Before we started, I looked at this and thought, "This won't be so bad...", thinking I'd hit maybe 6-7 rounds in 9 min.
.... and then it began.
Since the dawn of time, my weakest area has always been my upper body - particularly my grip strength. There was a while where I was rock climbing a lot that dramatically improved my grip strength, but as it stands today, it's not so great. I remembered that fact immediately upon jumping up to grab the bar to begin my first set of knees to elbows. It was not the core that struggled, it was keeping my hands on that damn bar! Ultimately, I had to do this in sets of 5, because my hands just fatigued too quickly (to be fair, I guess they're trying to hold up a significant amount of body weight at the moment).
After slogging through that first set, it was on to the deadlifts - YAY! This is definitely my wheelhouse, particularly with such a light weight like 55#. Busted through 10 like a boss. That first set of 55# snatches went up pretty easily, so back to the bar it was, for more knees to elbows.
I snuck a glance at the clock and that's where the evilness of this WOD hit me... it'd only been like a minute or so. I had a lot of grueling minutes left to go, and it looked like several rounds, and my hands were already ALL DONE with this idea.
Ohhhhhh boy.
That's where it becomes a mind of matter workout. Did I want to do sets of 5 knees to elbows, no. I really only wanted to do 1 or 2 at a time.... but, I just told my brain, "we're doing sets of five."
Plus, this is where it helps to have a coach motivating you. Somewhere, about halfway through, I was seriously sucking wind. My lungs were imploding, I'm sure of it. I finished another round of K2E and Robyn was telling me to "get right back on the (lifting) bar". She apparently was confident that I was not going to die from lung-splosion. :-)

I finished that 9 minutes with 5 rounds, 4 reps and was on to the 6 minute to build up to a 1RM clean and jerk.  Turns out, 133# was what I had in me, after the previous wod. I'm pretty happy with that, as C&J still feels like an awkward movement to me. The jerk is not the problem (oddly?), just getting under that rising bar to clean some bigger weight! It is a work in progress.

After all that, I definitely earned a couple of minutes starfishing on the gym floor, remembering how to breathe.

When I got home, I couldn't resist comparing my scores to people that did the scaled division last year. Mostly, I wanted some perspective on how far towards the bottom I would be this year, and how much I had to talk myself into it being just a good activity marker for right now.

As it turns out - it was much better than I thought! Of people that did the scaled 15.1 wod last year, I was smack in the middle for rounds/reps (50th-60th percentile).  For the clean and jerk, I was (amazingly!) in the 75th percentile! So, maybe I have something to bring to this after all (at least in the scaled division!).

Honestly, I admit, that was a big confidence boost for me. I was really anticipating starting the Open (next week?) and bringing up the bottom of the pack every week. I guess it's the same fear that makes you think you're going to come in last in your race, etc. While I might be the slowest one in my gym, or the least reps, or whatever it is, Nationally - I'm not last. Contrary to the fact that my mind likes to remind me of how fat, slow and out of shape I am... I've been working hard, and I have something to show for it. It may not be a muscle up, or a clean set up pushups, or a 5K run with no walking.... but I've been working, and dammit if I've not COMPETING in the Open this year.

Now, with that, I'm off to cry on my foam roller a bit, because my hamstrings are cranky bitches.

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