Sunday, March 10, 2013

12.1 +12.2 = 13.1 - There's no place like Reflexion

Hey Fellow Crossfitters - So, instead of a traveling blog, I would like to share with you all about my experience at 13.1.  Besides, I haven't been to a new box during my travels in a while to report on.

Some history first, this time last year at the 2011 Crossfit Open on 12.1, in 7 minutes , I got just over 100 burpees and on 12.2 in 10 minutes, I got 44 snatches, which means I did all 30 snatches at 75 lbs and 14 at 135, which at the time was pretty good but I will tell you and anyone who was there can vouch for me when I tell you all 14 were ugly, but in Crossfit they counted.

Fast forward to the present and when 13.1 was announced, that it was a 17 minute amrap of burpees and snatches, I was really nervous and did fret over it for a few days before doing it, but come game day, I was ready and feeling quite good. 

In preparation for the WOD, our coaching staff Jesse Udom, Shawn Wilson and Erick Echeverria at Crossfit Reflexion ( laid out the plan based on our goals.  From knowing the pace for the burpess, how much time to spend at the 30 reps of 75# and how much time we would need at the end to reach our goal .  Each athlete at Reflexion had different goals..for some, the 75 lb would be a new PR for the ladies and 135 lb a new PR for the men. All the athletes were given very clear guidelines on what we needed to do to get to our goal.

Out of the gate my pace on the first 40 burpees were solid and they felt great, then the 75# snatches went up nicely and I felt good about my form, time was my friend.  Soon after the first set of 30 snatches, I hit 30 burpees and all was going according to plan. My original goal was to have enough time to attempt 1 rep at 165 but after watching videos earlier that week on several people doing this wod, I felt I needed to adjust my goal.  So instead I would plan to have approx 9 min remaining to finish all the snatches at 135# and if I did approx 4 per minute I would have some time at the end to finish off the burpees, that was the plan anyhow.  So, I was pretty close to plan, I started my first rep of the 135# at 8:44, this was after setting up the weight and putting on my oly shoes( good luck shoes that I actually bought from our oly coach, Jesse).  I knew that my first rep would be the determining factor, and as I approach the bar, I could see my coaches and hear them yelling at me, first it was Coach J with dowel in hand " fire those hips!" ( insert picture of Jesse doing his trademark hip thruster with expression of power)" and then Coach Shawn's turn "get your ass under the bar!'  and I knew right then and there that all was well in my world because the 135# went up and I had one rep under my belt!

Last year, I failed twice on the #135 and proceeded to muscle it up which resulted in a shoulder strain that took months to heal. Proper form and technique is EVERYTHING in Olympic lifiting and I learned the hard way what happens to your body when you lack in both form and technique. The snatch is one fluid motion from the ground to overhead and you know when it is done correctly, because it just looks so DANG GOOD! and you also know when it is not done right, because it is UGLY! So, if your snatches are not where they should be, my suggestion would be to attend the Olympic lifting class they have at Crossfit Reflexion and let Coach J teach you the proper way to lift!

Now back to the Open....
I proceeded through all 30 reps, some with better form than others but through the excitement of the moment and the many cheers from the crowd and the constant reminders from the coaches I was done, but it had taken me longer than anticipated and I only had 55 seconds to get the last 20 burpees.  Here is where I knew that I had to dig deep and go as fast as hell or I wasn't going to make it and thanks to all who cheered me on, I did it, the fastest 20  burpees I have ever done and with 5 seconds left before the time ran out. I felt great, I did it! Total reps, 150! Not bad!

As I look back at how I did last year vs. how I did this year, I can't thank the coaches at Crossfit Reflexion enough for the training, skill work, programming, Oly lifting, nutritional guidance, mobility work and the constant focus to work on the fundamentals day in and day out.  It's the magically programming combination that they put together that has upped my level of performance because at age 45 years old, mostly bald, a striking 5'7' and a solid 152 lbs , I was able to snatch 135# 30 times this year and I was only able to do it 14 times last year.  So I tip my hat to Jesse Udom, our Oly coach, for the skill work on Cleans and snatches , I know that there is still so much work to be done, but I like the progress so far and to Shawn Wilson (gonna get those Du's to someday beat you) and Erick Echeverria for the constant push and strategy to be better every day at the everyday movements of Crossfit.  Here comes.....13.2

Friday, January 11, 2013

Hail to the Prowler!

When you live in Beaverton, OR, it's not often that you get to use a prowler (insert video of a crossfitter pushing a weighted sled across the pavement) or even better when you get to use one outside on a sunny day in early Jan.  Well, thanks to Crossfit Core Fitness in Phoenix that's exactly what I got to do.  Actually, I have been to this location before and when I arrived, the person who greeted me was so nice.  She just asked that I log in with my phone number and that there would be no charge for a drop in! 

Wow, I love it when Crossfit boxes open their doors to travelling Crossfitters for free! That's what Crossfit should be about!

The WOD was: 

Deadlift 3x4  - I am nursing an minor lower back injury so I opted to not do deadlifts and instead do heaving snatch balance which was what was what we were doing at my crossfit.  This has also changed, but I will get to that later.

30 KB Swings - 44lb
30 walking lunges
1 prowler push, down and back

15 min AMRAP

First off, I would like to give big shout out to all the Crossfitters at Core Fitness, you are a great bunch of people and very welcoming.  Stephanie the trainer that evening who by the way is 6 months pregnant , congrats! was so fun to WOD with and what a great trainer.  She did a super warm up  (I liked the fire hydrants) with some light stretching that I have never seen or done, so Thanks!  I would also need to point out that Matt, one of the other trainers and (OPT athlete) was kind enough to take the photos!  Thanks Matt!
As I noted above, just recently I have decided to join a different Crossfit, called Reflexion.  Both Parisjat and I are now working out at this new crossfit.  This past November I turned 45 and realized that in order to grow and change as a Crossfitter, I must make a change, so that is why I have decided to join Reflexion.  Over the past several months I had the opportunity to workout with the trainers at Reflexion(Coach J and Shawn) and really like their approach to Crossfit.  The programming is a mix of OPT and Outlaw programming with WODs that are short and very intense and a huge attention to form and technique.  They also have a very specific Olympic lifting  program too(snatch, clean and jerk)!  Onward and upward!

Until we WOD agan.....SAU

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Crossfit - West Sacramento

Hey Fellow Crossfitters - I am so sorry for the recent lack of communication just haven't been in the blogging mood.  But there is good news cause on my visit to Sacramento I had the opportunity to WOD at West Sacramento and I did something I have never done before.....

After a full day of travel and work I arrived at Crossfit West Sacramento (CFWS) for the 530 pm class about 10 minutes early which left just enough time to change from work mode to Crossfit mode.  This is a really nice location, just off the freeway in a business park.  They have a really open space and lots of equipment.  The trainer was super nice and best of all no drop in fee.

After introducing myself to the trainer, I took a look at the WOD, see below

Warm up
knee high's
butt kickers
goblet squats - 10 reps
10 push ups

Back squat  - strength work 10 sets of 2 reps with a 30 sec rest between sets @ 70 % of your max

WOD - 12 minute cap
500 meter row
20 wall balls (30lb)
30 ground to overhead with 40Lb dumbbells
40 pull ups
10 front squats - (185lb) 

So, I said to myself this looks pretty spicy but I have been working on squats and cleans so the front squat might be doable, I would soon learn that I was horribly incorrect. Before the WOD we did a really great warm up listed above.  

There was only 6 of us in class so we broke it up into 2 waves and I would go in the first wave.  The 
trainer told us to get our equipment ready and so I set up my rower, grabbed 2 of the 40 lb dumbbells, 30 lb wall ball (And I remember thinking this in my head, this doesn't feel so heavy and man would I pay for that thought).  

SO, it was 3-2-1 go time....I hit the rower a bit fast but I was dealing with a 12 min time cap so I felt I had to, then I got to the fu$%%$ing 30 lb wall ball, it felt so heavy.  At first I could only do 2 or 3 reps in a row but then I actually got it up to 4 in a row with rest in between sets, those really sucked!  Next up was the G2O with the dumbbells and at first you think that 30 reps is no big deal but I tell you now that it seemed like forever, not that it was heavy, it just seemed like I was going in slow motion, and I could now feel my pace beginning to slow a bit.  I honestly don't remember the time at this point but I was on to pull ups, and I could hear the trainer cheering me on which lifted my spirits a bit.  I thought I should butterfly some of these and I did, but there was a problem, the trainer was "no repping" on each one because my chin was not getting above the bar, so I lost 4 reps, so I had to reset, catch my breath and start over with kipping pull ups but now the sand in the hourglass was running thin.  I managed to do 5 reps at a time and get all the pull ups in and then I looked at the time and panic struck, I was almost out of time, Damn it, I had just under a minute to get 10 front squats.  I headed over to the bar quickly set up and attempted to clean 185# but failed....."hold crap that feels heavy" so I caught my breath and went in to clean it again, but failed yet again! Now with only 15 seconds left I heard the trainer say, just get the bar up and get one rep, SO I approached the bar and gave it all I could and finally got under it, but it took everything I had to stand up, and I had time to try one more rep so I lowered myself down and got one more rep......and that was it.  TIME HAD EXPIRED!

SO that's it, the first time as a crossfitter that I have never not finished a WOD,  what a wonderful humbling feeling!  Honestly, I did not think that this would happen but there is a first for everything!

Until we meet again. Happy Crossfitting!  SU

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Crossfit River North, Chicago

Hey Everyone - While at a trade show in Chicago ,I had the special opportunity to WOD, not once but three times at Crossfit River North.  From my hotel it was just about 1 mile to their box, located in the heart of downtown Chicago in the neighborhood called "River North".

This is a pretty good size location with massive amounts of equipment, squat racks, bars, GHD machines and more.  Plus they have a separate location for doing the "on-ramp" classes.  There are also 2 rest rooms, and showers for both men and women. This is downtown Chicago  so I would kind of expect these types of accommodations.

So, I was in Chicago for 3 nights and 4 days so that meant I would WOD on Wednesday, Thursday, and one last WOD on Friday.  I planned to do all early AM classes and so continues "on the wod again."  They do charge a drop in fee of $20 per day but did not charge me for the 3rd day, so I purchased a shirt on day 3.  They were very accommodating and easy to work with and since this was Chicago, where nothing comes cheap or for free so that was not out of the ordinary.


Warm up - 400 m run with D.S. (dynamic stretching), this is where we all lined up and did several stretches, butt kicks, knee highs, toy soldiers, side steps and hip flexibility.  So it got you really warm up for the WOD and then the trainer went over the movements for the WOD.

WOD - Helen  - 3 RFT - 400 m - 21 KB swings 53/35# and 12 pull ups.

Many of you know that this is one of the classic benchmark WOD's.  I do like this one but with all bench mark WOD's I like to do them at my own box, but since this is was their workout, I had to do it.  This one felt good right from the get go and I was able to do the KB swings unbroken for all three rounds, once again it was the pull ups that took time.  Finished in 8:38 RX, so I was really happy! A new PR for me!

Cool Down WOD - 150 mason twists with a 20# not very fun but a fun cool down


Warm up - 800 m Jog, then the same dynamic stretching as noted above

Next we did something I have never done at any other crossfit, a pre-WOD- WOD.  Yes, we did a 3 min AMRAP of 10 push ups, 10 squats, 20 skaters and 100 m run, I just barely finished 2 rounds. I was nice and ready for the WOD.

800 m run
Then 10 rounds of
10 burpees
800 m run

On this WOD, the 800 meter run was long or at least felt long.   The 10 rounds of burpees and HSPU looks bad (in a crossfit way) but once again you don't realize how bad until round 5 or 6.  I just wish my kipping HSPU's were better.  Note to self, need to work on improving my kipping HSPU's!  Anyway, I don't remember my time on this WOD but what I do remember is that I don't ever want to do it again!

Cool down - 50 GHD back extensions.


So, on my last day in Chicago, with my flight not until 9:30 am, I decided ( like the crazy crossfitters that we are) to go for one last WOD at 6:00 am.  I got up at 5:15 and with my  bags packed for the airport. I walked to the box and here is what I saw "Jackie" on the Whiteboard.   Oh man ! Another benchmark WOD and one that looks OK on paper but for anyone who has done Jackie, you know that 50 Thrusters with a 45# bar is nothing to smile about.

Warm up - 500 m slow Row, then move to dynamic stretching

Strength work - Front squats - This was awesome as I am in the middle of a front squat program so as luck would have it, I could keep on track.  Plus they have awesome built in squat racks to work from.

WOD - Jackie
1000m Row
50 - Thrusters 45#
30 - Pull ups

Ummm., what to say about "Jackie?", lets just say that she wasn't very kind to me. I felt like I gave it my all but the results didn't show it.  The row was good but the thrusters felt heavy and seemed to take forever.  The trainer told us before the WOD, that it was better to rest the bar on our shoulders instead of setting it down and while I tried this during the WOD I still found myself setting the bar down, damn it!  By the end of the thrusters I felt like I had nothing left in the tank but managed to get 30 pull ups and finish it out.  Not my best time but happy anyways!

So I would say that Chicago River North is a great box to join for a WOD or two if you are in Chicago for a day or two..  You can call or e-mail to let them know but you can also just show up.  There are also many classes during the day, in fact from 5 am to 7 pm, every hour they have a class.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Crossfit - Armoury - Edmonton, Canada

Hey Fellow Crossfitters - So after the WOD at Crossfit Calgary, I was lucky enough to be in Edmonton which is about a 3 hour drive from Calgary.

Crossfit Armoury is located in a business park in a similar location to CFSWB.  Easy to find and plenty of parking.

I had also emailed them to let them know I was coming and Jason one of the trainers was super nice on email and said to please stop by and WOD with them and there would NOT be a drop-in fee!  I wanted to buy a shirt but nothing really caught my eye so I passed.  Here was the warm up and WOD ( note no pull ups or push ups because if there was I would not be WOD'ing with them)

Warm up
Knee highs
butt kicks
jump skips
DU - 25
OH squats with dowel - 15
pull ups 10

10 x 200 m sprints EMOM.  I knew that this would be a challenge and it was.  After just 3 rounds I was feeling the burn, it didn't help that Edmonton is about 2K feet above sea level so the elevation was tough on my lungs as well

Deadlifts - 225lb
Front squats - 135lb

So after the sprint work, it was time for the WOD.  I was actually very excited to do this WOD for the simple fact that I could do the weight but how long it was going to take me remained to be seen. So, we went through a series of warm ups with both deadlifts and front squats so that the trainers could see that we could do the weight and I was ready to go.  Oh yeah, one more thing, we were only allowed to use one bar for this workout, so you started on the deadlift at 225 and when you finished the 21 reps you removed a 45# plate from each side and did 21 reps of front squat with 135# and the same for 15 reps and 9 reps.

OK, it was 3-2-1- Go and we were off.  The first set of deadlift's went well,not as fast and I wanted to go but not bad.  I managed to get through the first set of front squats fairly well, but it was the second set of 15 reps where I really began to feel this one.  The weights really began to feel super heavy and after 15 reps where done, I moved on to set of 9.  I was almost 8 minutes in the WOD, but it felt much longer and I heard that voice in my head telling me to pick up the bar, but my body wasn't responding.  I was just standing over the bar sweating and finally something clicked and I reached down for the final reps of the deadlift and soon after I was finishing the front squats.  What made this WOD tough was changing the weights back and forth from 225 to 135.  Also, the deadlifts felt good but it was more the front squats because I had to clean the weight and do the front squat and it felt like I was lifting a F*$#ing house. 
I finished with a time of 12:35 which I felt was respectable, it felt good to be done with this one!

Hope you get a chance to do a WOD like this with the heavy weights, it certainly takes you to the outer limits of your comfort zone but allows you to find that place inside of you to dig deep and persevere!

Good luck!  SAU

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Crossfit Calgary - That wasn't very

Hey Crossfitters - Before I headed up to Calgary, I did some research and found Crossfit Calgary . I gave them a call and spoke with Ally.  I told her that I was going to be up there soon and would it be OK to WOD with them?  She said that they loved having visitors and to stop by anytime.

So, there I was in Calgary and heading to their location and as you can see from the pictures, they are located in a very populated area with lots to stores and shops.  It actually looked like this location was formally a Oil Can Henry's or something similar.  Anyway, lots of equipment, pull up bars, C2 rowers, but no built in squat racks, they were the portable ones like we have at CFSWB.  However, they did have bathrooms with a shower in each, a very nice idea!

I was there for the 6 pm WOD and walked in the door and the person who met me was Colin, who was one of the trainers there.  I introduced myself to him and Ally was there as well.  They were all very nice and welcoming.  I signed the wavier and got started on my warm up,  plus they did not charge a drop in fee!  However, before that Colin ( who was 56 and in amazing shape showed me how to tape my hands as we would be doing a bunch of pull ups)...  See below:

Warm up
500 m row, 30 seconds fast and 30 seconds slow and keep alternating
10 box jumps
10 arm circles in various directions (forward, reverse, ext)
10 air squats

15-30-45 - Push ups / pulls ups
mandatory 5 min rest, then....
45 - 30-15 push ups / pull ups

Yes, that is correct, it is 180 of each.  The trainer for this class was Erin who made it very clear what she expected from everyone on push ups, chest must touch the floor and elbows must lock out every time and the same went for pull ups.  Full ROM and if you needed to modify either the pull ups or push ups by all means do so.   She had some very good advice as well, do not start this WOD fast, it was a chipper.  Other than Colin teaching me how tape up my hands to avoid ripping, this would prove to be great advice.

Then after a bit of stretching, it was 3.2.1. go time.

I started by doing 15 of each the push ups and pull ups in the first round of 15, then to sets of 10 in the round of 30, then I forget how many I was doing in the round of 45, but it wasn't much and all I was thinking about was the 5 min rest that was coming. I just kept telling myself to keep moving and get as many reps as I could muster.  The 5 min. rest was nice but then this WOD got tough on the second round of 45-30-15.  This is where you had to dig real deep and just keep chipping away.  I finished the first set in 7:55 and finished the entire WOD at 22:15.

Overall, this WOD looked like Hell and that is exactly what it felt like but it is what we do as crossfitters, enjoy the SUCK and this one did that!  Thanks to Erin, Colin, and everyone at Crossfit Calgary.  You are great and very welcoming!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Crossfit Scottsdale - working on some snatches

Hey Fellow Crossfitters - On my recent trip to Arizona, I was lucky enough to be with a couple of friends, Josh McDonald and Nick Clancy, most of you remember Nick who was a former member of CFSWB and just recently move to the Arizona heat with his girlfriend and Josh who is a friend and crossfitter at CFSWB was down visiting Nick during the same time, so we all got to WOD together and man was it good!

This box has been around for several years and you can see from the pictures, it is quite extensive, many pull up bars, squat racks, sand bags, ropes and so much more, they can do it all here!  In fact they have hosted Level 1 Trainers course and a Crossfit HQ demo WOD.

So Nick is a soon to be trainer at Crossfit Scottsdale and so he set it up to have us WOD at 7am.  Honestly I am not sure if they have a drop in fee but we did not pay one so I picked up a T-shirt.  We arrived at the box a bit early to take care of some paperwork.  Then we spent some time rolling out with the foam rollers and took a look a today's WOD as follows;

3 position snatch skill set - work up to your max where you can do a full squat with all three positions
1 - from the floor
2 - from just above the knee
3 - from the hip crease

10 min EMOM - Every minute on the minute for 10 minutes
1 - Power snatch - choose a weight that challenges you, I choose 95#
1 - burpee with high jump
The snatch increases by one rep on every minute but you stick with just one burpee.

However, before the WOD, Tyler our coach for the class took us through a nice warm up.

400 m run
inch worms with push ups
Sampson stretch with twist
knee highs
butts kicks
bear crawls
side steps

Then we went right into the Burgener warm up and got our weights out for the 25 minutes of snatch skill work. So I started with the bar and was able to work up to 115 doing all 3 positions, and by far the most challenging movement was snatching from the hip crease into a full squat.

Before the WOD Tyler said that we could either do a power snatch or a full snatch into a squat, so thinking that I wanted to really push myself out of my comfort zone, I thought that I would do 115# into a full squat, HA! I quickly learned that this would be a mistake.  Right when he said 3-2-1 GO I pulled the bar but I didn't get under it and failed big time, I fell right on my ass.  Tyler quickly came over and help me strip a 10# plate from each side and then I attempted the 95# squat snatch and failed yet again, so I guess I was going to power snatch, which is what I did and after I finished my burpee to a high jump, I was only left with 20 seconds of rest, Damn!  So I learned an important lesson here, be realistic of your goals before the WOD especially right after a strength workout.

Now, after round 2, I was able to catch my breath but when we got to round 5 this WOD began to bite back.  You had to increase the snatches and still get a burpee but rest time was getting thin.  The last 2 rounds were the killer, I finished round 9 with 10 seconds left and finished my 10th round when Tyler called time.  I fell over and lay there trying to catch my breath.

I looked back at Josh and Nick and they were both dripping sweat with the classic blank stare in the eyes,  "man that sucked, but in a good way!"  and I thought to myself, that is the beauty of Crossfit, you can take as little as 2 movements and put them together and that combination will take it to you!

Tyler was nice enough to take some pictures of us during the WOD.  A special Thank you to him and Crossfit Scottsdale!  I will be back!