17 point one and done?

On Friday morning I did the first CrossFit Open workout of the 2017 season. It was one tough workout from which I am still recovering.

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After watching the live announcement from Dave Castro on Thursday night and then watching the Games athletes face-off against each other, not to mention Ro vs Boz, I was a bundle of nerves and excitement. I was nervous about doing 150 dumbbell snatches at 50 pounds. Nervous about 75 burpee box jump-overs. Nervous about finishing under the time cap – even Rory McKernan didn’t finish. But excited to be starting the Open.

I arrived at the I Will CrossFit box a lot earlier than usual to find fellow athlete, Daniel, already there and getting in the zone. Coach Matt had put out some donuts and coffee for afterwards and the equipment was set out and ready for the first two athletes to start. I spent some time stretching and warming up. Nothing too fancy, but making sure the muscles and joints would be as ready as possible for the test ahead. All too soon we were called to the whiteboard where Matt went through the movement standards to ensure we and straddling the line when going down into the burpee. He gave us a couple more minutes to get settled and then, before I knew it, it was 3-2-1-GO!

Ten snatches – not too bad. Fifteen burpee box jump-overs. Not too bad either. Next 20 and 15 still going ok. My split time for this was 5:21, so an okay pace. My strategy going in was to keep moving. I didn’t want to take any breaks if possible but that meant keeping a steady pace and making sure I didn’t start out too fast. So far so good. In the round of 30 snatches, the weight started feeling a bit heavier. When I hit the round of 40 snatches at 9:37, I had to focus even more to ensure I got the dumbbell up above my head and locked out properly. I was still going at a good pace but was definitely tiring. I started the last round at 14:26. Five and a half minutes to finish 50 snatches and a final 15 burpee box jump-overs. Matt was judging my attempt and was counting each rep – this helped a lot but it seemed like the 50 would never end. When I completed my last rep, I had about 90 seconds before the time cap. That’s when I got my one and only no-rep. Instead of jumping up onto the box, I did a step-up. Fool!!! That cost me at least one extra rep.

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In the end, I finish with 10 burpee box jump-overs. Just 5 reps short of completing the workout within the allotted time and 220 reps in total. I was completely spent. I had nothing left in the tank. My lower back had already started hurting. My lungs were gasping for air. My legs were jelly. WOW! What a fantastic start to the Open!! Throughout the day, I watched online and in person as other people had their go at 17.1. Loads of people finished. Loads of people were time capped. Everyone was a mess of sweat and muscle agony afterwards. The other three guys who did the workout in the early class immediately decided that they would be repeating on Monday morning (all four of us were time capped). When seeing other box members successfully finish, this only added to their resolve. I remained stubborn – I insisted that I would not repeat. I told them it was one and done. However, you may have noticed the question mark in the title of this post…

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As I did last year, I’ve spent the last 48 hours analyzing my performance. What could I have done differently? Where could I find 26.5 seconds for the last 5 reps? Would my back return to normal in time for Monday morning? In the end, peer pressure and a desire to at least try to make up those final 5 reps have won out. I plan to repeat tomorrow. I’ll be trying to squat earlier in the snatches, I’ll also try and drop down into the burpee faster and I’ll try to not stand up as much in the box jump. If I can maintain a similar pace with those improvements, I think I may be able to find the extra seconds I need.

Wish me luck. I’m going to need it. I’ll update you tomorrow. For now, I’ll be foam rolling.

How did your 17.1 go? Any tips? Are you going to try one more time or are you happy with your performance already?

UPDATE: I repeated this morning and didn’t manage to better my score. I went from 220 reps to 181. My burpee box jumps were waaaay better but I struggled more on the snatches. Bring on 17.2!

 

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Double under agony and ecstasy 

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During our warm up this morning we caught a sneak peek at the WOD. The first set was going to be double unders and burpees. I’ve been working on my double unders and they’ve been improving. However, just last week I couldn’t get any kind of rhythm going and couldn’t string more than 2 reps together. I am pretty sure that the Open is going have a workout that includes double unders, so I was keen to give them another go.

First was the agony:

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I covered my arm in whip marks in the first two rounds. I was doing one rep then hitting my arms. Then another then hitting my arms. I couldn’t even get the single under followed by double under rhythm going. All this agony also meant that the total time it took me to finish 30 reps was ridiculous. I was determined to do the workout as prescribed though.

Round 3. Let’s make this happen. I started out a bit slower. Worked on 2 singles followed by a double. That was working nicely. Around 15 reps, I tried to string together more than one double under. I made 5 in a row. Yay! Progress. I managed to finish the last 5 reps of the round with sets of 5. 

Round 4. After the burpees were done from round 3 I started the next round wanting to nail the double unders. I managed 2!!! Damn it!! Then something clicked. I started using slower hand movements. My timing for the jump was better. I did 20 unbroken! And unwhipped. 

Round 5 wasn’t as good but I strung together 7-8 reps at a time. But I was so excited. Finally. Double unders. I was ecstatic. 

So my keys were slower rotation and higher jumps. What are your keys and tips to double unders? What doesn’t work?   

Open Workout 16.1 – and so it begins

  

Yesterday morning I started my Crossfit Games Open journey with 16.1. (This is how the workouts get named – 16 referring to 2016 and 1 referring to the first workout. Next Thursday we’ll get 16.2).
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On Thursday evening, before I left work, I tuned into the live announcement of the workout. It was cool to watch the pros Chyna Cho and Emily Abbott go head-to-head and crank out the reps. Also cool to see the amateur athletes, Joanna Prado-Pacheco and Scott McCoy, complete the workout in the same arena and at the same time as the pros.

At first glance the workout seemed pretty manageable. Not easy. But I felt I could make a go of it. As detailed in an earlier post, I’ve recently managed 95# thrusters so thought I should be able to complete a few reps of 95# overhead walking lunges. Right? I didn’t sleep too well on Thursday – too nervous. I even had a dream about doing the walking lunges.

Friday dawned all too soon. The day of reckoning. When I arrived at the I Will Crossfit box I went over to the rack and tried a chest-to-bar pull-up. I managed one but it felt tough. We completed a comprehensive warm-up, then gathered at the white board for instructions from our coach. We signed our workout score sheets/tracking sheets and headed to the bars. I added the 25# plates and walked over to the measured off 25ft area. I raised the bar to front rack position and realized it wasn’t going any higher. I would be able to lift it overhead but I wouldn’t be able to maintain it in that position while performing walking lunges. I made the decision to go for scaled rather than Rx’d. I didn’t want to start out the Games Open not being able to complete at least one round.

3-2-1-GO!

The first round went well. I felt strong and I kept a measured pace rather than going too fast. That became my focus throughout – keeping a good rhythm going and not moving too quickly. It was tough going from about the middle of the 3rd round. The walking lunges and, surprisingly, the burpees were going well. The jump chin-over-bar pull-ups were more challenging, though. After starting the first two rounds with 8 in a row, I was having to break them up into sets of 3-3-2. This slowed my overall pace quite a bit but I was able to maintain the pace for the lunges and burpees. In the final 3 minutes I was had made it to round 6. I managed to finish that up and got 10 reps into round 7 for a total of 166.

I was happy with my start. Psyched about the next round and hoping I can improve as the competition progresses. Currently I’m in 83rd place in Northern California for Masters Men (40-44) in the Scaled Section. I’m in 2440th place worldwide  :-).

How did 16.1 go for you – anything you learnt it would do differently? Did you go Rx or scaled?

The Hot Gates (of hell)

Team WOD at I Will Crossfit on Saturday was dubbed ‘The Hot Gates.’ When the coach wasn’t looking, someone added ‘of hell’ to the title. The workout was tough as always.

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We were divided into teams of 4. I worked with Tom, Sandy and Marylene. We decided to start with the tire flips. I always enjoy these and having a strong guy like Tom on the team helped a lot as 700 pounds is not easy to lift and flip. From there we moved on to toes-to-bar. We each did 10 at a time for what seemed like forever. I started out with strict toes-to-bar but my pace was a bit slow so I switched to knees-to-chest. My memory becomes a bit hazy from this point – probably induced by exhaustion and blocking the pain. I think we moved on to the burpees. Again we did 10 at a time. Sandy and I did this together and we pushed each other to keep a good pace going. She was quicker to the floor and I was quicker back up so we were always chasing each other. That may have been my best set of burpees ever. My technique must be improving. Yay, burpees! Improved burpee technique ahead of the Open start today can only be a good thing.

The rope climbs were cool. In the past, I’ve done the modified climb which involves lying on your back and pulling yourself upright, then lowering yourself back down. Three of these counts as 1 rep. On Saturday I decided to try the proper climb to the top. I managed to do it for the 8 reps which made up my share of the team’s 30. Another positive step forward in my crossfit journey We finished with push-ups. Twenty at a time to begin with and then down to 10 as we tired. Again, Sandy helped me keep pace. Time ran out before we could finish the sit-ups. I think this was a blessing in disguise because the teams that chose to do the sit-ups earlier in their rotation said that was the toughest round.

All-in-all, a challenging but fun work-out. Highly recommended as a team WOD. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. What are some of your favourite team or partner WODs?

 

Row, row, row your rowing machine

IWC rower

Since there were only 3 people in the class today we were given a choice: the pacer test/beep test or rowing. We chose the row and ended up having to do 5000m on resistance setting 6. Before this morning, the longest distance I’d completed on the rowing machine was 3000m so this was going to be a challenge. Our coach said we should aim to finish in around 18 minutes. My pace for 3000m put me closer to 20 minutes.

Before we started he gave us some useful tips:

  1. The start of the row should be like a seated deadlift – keep the arms straight and push back with the legs.
  2. Once the legs are nearly fully extended, lean back slightly and pull the arms towards the chest to complete the pull.
  3. The recovery is the same motion in reverse.
  4. Make sure you don’t hunch your back during the stroke – engage your core to prevent this from occurring.

The first 3000m were not too bad. I stayed on a 4min per km pace. After that it became patchy. Some stretches were good, others not so much. I finished in 20 min 30 sec. So now I have another benchmark to beat.

We finished the class with the following:

WOD 16.2.18

I didn’t use the Rx weight for the thrusters. I bailed on that and went with 75#. By the end I was flat on the floor – exhausted and drenched in sweat. Just another day in the box :-).