Taking the (p)lunge

Week 2 of the 2017 edition of the CrossFit Open is well underway. Dave Castro announced the workout last night at the Rogue Headquarters. He’s making sure that all the boxes that invested in new 35 and 50 lbs dumbbells are getting maximum use out of them. Like 17.1, this week’s workout included some dumbbell work.

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After watching the live announcement and the live head-to-head of Kari Pearce vs Kristi Eramo followed by Ro vs Boz, my nervous energy shot up 100%. Last year I managed to do my first bar muscle up, so I know I can do them and I wasn’t too worried about those. What worried me was reaching the 3rd round at all. The weighted lunge was with two 50 lbs dumbbells. That was going to be heavy for me. I wasn’t sure I could even get them onto my shoulders, let alone do walking lunges for 50 ft.

I did my run at the 5:30 am class today – it was completely brutal. After Coach Matt counted down and said, “Go” I had a number of failed attempts at raising the dumbbells onto my shoulders. When I did get them there, they weren’t comfortable or stable. I then realized that the clock was ticking and that I was squandering precious reps. I just stepped up to the line and took the (p)lunge. One foot in front of the other. The dumbbells felt ridiculously heavy and completely unsteady. I reached the 25 ft mark and turned around. When I finished the 50 ft I dropped the dumbbells from shoulder height. Coach was not impressed but I didn’t have a choice. I couldn’t hold them anymore. Next came toes-to-bar.

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These were alright. I can string a few reps together and was able to complete the first round of them in two sets of 8. Dumbbell cleans came next – 8 of those. Matt and a number of people online recommended doing 6, taking a short break, then doing two more and heading directly into the lunges. This saves you having to perform a 9th clean if you rest after the required 8. This time around, I got the dumbbells settled on my shoulders a bit quicker and off I went on my second round of lunges. These didn’t feel any better than the first round but I managed to maintain a steady pace. I put the weights down after 25 feet though. Took a short(ish) break and headed back down the track for another 25 ft. At the end, I was able to lower the weights more gently and not drop them like before. The second round of toes-to-bar were not as smooth. I managed a set of 8 but then had to break them up into 1s and 2s for the second half. Successfully completed, I moved onto the cleans and followed the same process as in round 1. I was tiring rapidly now but I was determined to reach the muscle ups – even if I was unable to finish all 16. I finished round 2 at 6:44 with the dumbbells on my shoulders. Next set of lunges…

I was getting used to having this unstable and unsteady weight on my shoulders now but my legs were starting to give in. After the workout, one of the other athletes told me that he was standing behind me on this set and he saw my legs wobbling quite a bit. I had to take a break at the end of 25 ft and then finished the next 25 feet with about 2:30 left on the clock. I hoped this would be enough time to finish at least half of the 16 muscle ups. I stood under the bar just looking at it. Matt told me to just get one and that would start the momentum. I jumped up and did just one. Yay! Only 15 more to go. I was exhausted. Breathing heavily, throat dry, muscles aching. Matt and the other athletes started shouting encouragement and clapping. This made a massive difference. I was buoyed by their cheers and kept pushing. Thanks Daniel, Eric, Shannon, Warren and Matt – you guys are awesome! One rep at a time. At 40 seconds to go, I had 4 reps remaining. 30 seconds – 3 reps. 20 seconds – 2 reps. 10 seconds and I completed the last rep! Man!! I jumped down from the bar as the last five seconds were counted down. Fell to my hands and knees and then rolled over onto my back. I was utterly spent but also ecstatic. My goal had been to reach the muscle ups in round 3 and complete and many of them as I could. To actually finish all 16 in that round felt amazing. 94 reps total.

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17.2 was a doozy. My shoulders are bruised. My hamstrings and glutes are worn out. But my spirits are soaring. This time it’s definitely one and done. I don’t want to repeat that workout anytime soon.

Good luck to everyone else doing their run later this weekend. Let me know what your strategies are and let me know how you fared.

PS. Not the best quality pics, I know. They’re screen grabs from the Livestream video of the workout.

 

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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!