Saturday, April 30, 2011

Death Row

When I saw this WOD posted as a benchmark for the No Bread challenge I can tell you I was not excited.  The Rower is something that has just not been my friend.  The thing has definitely left me completely wrecked.   I had done more rowing leading up to the Open as well as watching videos and reading as many articles as possible.   This was one that was all about just getting it done.  My legs are sore from yesterdays wod but its rare that some part of the body isnt dinged up.   After reading a journal article my strategy was to got 3-5 seconds slower in the first 500 and then wind it up.  I had set up the rower to display current 500M pace and avg 500M.  I didnt have the running time displayed.   The first 200m felt great and it seemed way to easy.  I was able to hold aprox 1:46 thru 1000meters.  Now things started to get harder but not the way it usually is.  This was good the  strategy was working,  My form went to h*ll in the last 300m and i was just pulling with my arms which was fine by me.   When the final meters clicked by I was a little worried as the time didnt pop up as I expected it to.  Panic set in.  No way did I want to do it again.   Finally clicked the right button and up came 7:15.1  YES I am happy with that.  It felt hard but not that bad.   I just looked it up and its a PR by 2 seconds!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Handling the Truth

I did my final Open Wod today.  When I went over to the house of Craic I was feeling spent and spent the entire walk over debating whether I should wait another day before I tried it.  I have to say that this 7 weeks has been taken a lot of the fun and enthusiasm out of Crossfit for me.  I spent most of my time trying to figure out what day I could practice and then when I could get the WOD in.  For at least 3 of the wods I pretty much walked off a red eye or arrived at the gym after a week of travel spent.  Not making an excuses but rather commenting on the affect that mental state and lack of rest has on performance.

Sadly I didnt hit any of the targets I set in my mind for any of the workouts.   This part is discouraging.  It would have been nice to just hit one.  I missed one by 1 rep and this still has me pissed.  I think another reason that some of the fun went away is the full visibility of where you stand.   Its a matter of not wanting to know the truth.  Jack Nicholson's character in a Few Good Men, was spot on - I cant handle the truth or better yet dont want to know the truth.   As a 40 year old athlete fighting to maintain performance its a bit depressing to know that no matter how hard you work its nearly impossible to hang with the 20 years and its made crystal clear on the standings page.

There are some ways around that mindset and this competition demonstrated to me i need to work on them.  If this seems vaque take a look at this video which proves a link between performance your ability to trick yourself. Click this link  Self Deception

Ok now back to the WOD,  What I told Coach Johnny Irish was that I knew how to crush this workout after doing a practice WOD on wednesday.  Its quite easy just dont get tired!  How hard is that. 

Open Wod #6

7min to get as high up the ladder as possible
3 Thrusters @ 100lbs
3 Chest to Bar Pullups
6 Thrusters @ 100lbs
6 Chest to Bar Pullups
9 Thrusters @ 100lbs
9 Chest to Bar Pullups
etc ….
= 102 reps = Through round 15 plus 12 Thruster.

I did the first 3 rounds(3,6,9 and I think 12) unbroken which was awesome and then fell completely off. I got tired. In fact I was shocked when I looked at the clock and hadnt used that much time to get to that point.  From then on the clock went into hyper drive and my heart, and lungs seized up. I couldnt get a breath or recover.  

Looking forward to the normal training routine.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cockiness never leads to anything good - JohnnyD's Craic

As I walked in the door at Crossfit Craic my buddy Dennis said Oh you had to show up because this WOD is named after you.   It's kind of amusing to have the WOD named after me as people assume that you must like it.  Well John created this one and named it after me after a epic Double Under meltdown in the last round of a 5 exercise 2 minute drill.   I was actually beating John and Bill until I fell apart and couldnt swing the rope around with out whipping myself with it.

Warm Up was a 2minute Double Unders - Hit 141.  I just looked back and found out I could only do 59 back in 2009.  Can you say pathetic?

Johnny D’s Craic

KB Swings 55/35
Double Unders

So I got way to cocky on this one.  I though man this might be too easy.  Maybe I better put on a 20lb vest so its a little work.  Well this WOD walked up and b*tch slapped me for being overconfident.  The first 50 swings went down fine.  The double unders were ok.  When I went to pick up the KB the 2nd round it felt like it was bolted to the floor.  I was thinking what the hell happened.  There was no explosiveness from the hips at all...  From there it was downhill.  In fact i was thinking this many reps is a nuisance.   That all said I stuck with it.  Final Time was 12:16.  I was thinking this could be a 7 minute workout by the cyborgs for sure.

Crossfit Gotham

I have been meaning to check out Crossfit Gotham for a long while and finally made it happen this week.  My fellow Crossfit Colleague and I were in NY and we made a plan to see if the gym would let us drop in and if we couldnt we would do a run instead.   Well as luck would have it we met up with some other visiting crossfitter who had been the day before.   Crossfit Gotham uses the gym attached to St Bartholomew's Church.   It was exactly the kind of gym Crossfit New England used before they made the move to their box in Natick.    Instantly brought back some good memories of the old days before both CFNE and its athletes had made worldwide headlines.   Mike is the owner of Crossfit Gotham and a great guy.  Super welcoming.   This culture of welcoming new members and visitors is what makes Crossfit so amazing.  As many of you know I spend a lot of time on the road and get a chance to visit a lot of different crossfit facilities( i think the number is up to 15).   Every gym is good about welcoming but some are exceptional, Crossfit Gotham was one of those.  Every member came up to me and introduced themselves to me before the class even started, without the coaches prompting

I was super fired up when I saw the WOD was the sectional WOD but after watching the 5am class test their mettle , some serious doubts about how I would do seeped in my mind.  Could I get to 12 reps?

11.6 Sectional WOD
7 Minute AMRAP
3 Thrusters 100/65
3 CTB Pull-ups (chest to bar)
6 Thrusters 100/65
6 CTB Pull-ups
9 Thrusters 100/65
9 CTB Pull-ups
12 Thrusters 100/65
12 CTB Pull-ups
15 Thrusters 100/65
15 CTB Pull-ups..

There werent enough small weights to do the 100lb so I scaled up to 105.   The first few rounds were a breeze reps of 3done, reps of 6 done, reps of 9 wow this is getting hard.... Reps of 12 had to break it up the thrusters and the pull-ups.  Man that clock is moving way to fast.  Just let me catch my breath.... Shit Im going to run out of time. Yes got the 15.  Now I will just fly through the C2B.  Shit this is impossible ok get 8,,, damn only7.  So Do the math 6+12+18+24+15+7 = 82.  Well that's about 20 reps short of being somewhat competitive. Another garbage performance.  My best wasn't good enough.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Wheelhouse WOD

Its rare that a WOD comes up and its right in your wheelhouse.  3 movements with the right number of reps and I almost slept right through it.   I'm still a bit messed up time zone wise so i am having a hard time getting to sleep before midnight.   I was right in the middle of dream about playing soccer when I woke up and saw that it was 5:52.  Not a lot of time to get ready even when you live a 2 minute run from the gym.   Made it there at exactly 6am and Glen didn't lay down the 20 burpee penalty. 

Warm up was 3 rounds of
10 Heavy KBS (70lber)
10 Double Unders
10 Pass throughs

It was a full 6am class which is great as you can lift yourself off of the combined energy.  The bad news is that with the double unders swinging you had to watch out.  Since it was a nice day half of us set up outside which was cool.
20min AMRAP
10 Bodyweight Deadlifts
16 Double Unders
9 Pullups

This was a good wod and felt pretty consistent through the rounds.  The watch tells a different story.
Round 1 = 1:02
Round 2 = 1:42
Round 3 = 2:12
Round 4 = 2:00
Round 5 = 1:39
Round 6 = 1:57
Round 7 = 2:09
Round 8 = 1:44
Round 9 = 1:46
Round 10 = 1:36
Round 11= 1:42
Plus 10 deadlifts
Total 11 rounds plus 10 Deadlifts
Curious to see how that held up against the other classes.

For those of you not on Facebook - Charles Barkley is doing Crossfit.  I have a lot of respect for the guy even trying it.  Check out him doing WOD 5 here.  Charles Barkely does WOD 5. 

I think that hoopsters are some of the best conditioned athletes.  I think some of
these NBAers would tear about a WOD.   Couldnt you see Nate Robinson or Raja Rondo really doing well?
Im headed to NYC tomorrow on the 6am shuttle - Boo Yaaa 4:30am wake-up call.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rest day

Why are all of my rest days travel days? On the road or Easter and because of coaching commitments I was not able to get in a WOD.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Seen this movie before

Since my WOD 5 in San Francisco wasn't official I had to do it again today.   I really wasn't in prime condition after a brutal week of travel and long hours at work.  It is what it is....  Now last time I did the WOD I felt pretty good and thought I could improve on my performance.  I had logged my splits on the board so I would have a good visual of how I was doing against an improved performance.

After the requisite stalling, I mean warm-up I got after it.  It started off  pretty good

Round 1 1:13   4 seconds faster
Round 2 2:45  10 seconds faster
Round 3 4:35  11 seconds faster  this hurts but so far so good.
Round 4 6:38  23 seconds faster Wow this is going well I just hope I dont crash.
Round 5 9:06  19 seconds faster  Man this is getting really hard these wall balls suck
Round 6 11:58 10 seconds faster Im losing steam - even holding bar and pace on T2B is falling off
Round 7 14:51 7 seconds slower.  Im totally falling apart.  The 5 Power Cleans have become more than a nuisance. Im barely getting 5 Wall Balls at a time
Round 8 17:52 37 seconds slower - F**ck I might not make even 9 rounds This is pathetic
Round 9 19:58 13 seconds slower - There was no way I wasnt getting 9 rounds. I would sooner have suffered a cardiac embolism than missed.   This WOD crushed me.  I spent about 5 minutes trying to return to earth.   My whole world had narrowed and my heart and lungs felt like they had exploded.
What could I have done to get a few more reps?  I have no idea.  One consideration was too slow down at the beginning to a more even pace.   I have no idea whether that would have helped and I can tell you I wasnt about to try and find out with a score on the board.

Only one WOD left and then back to regular crossfit training.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

WOD 5 Practice

On my second day in San Francisco I woke up on East Coast time again even after going to bed late.  I was considering waiting till that evening and doing an official WOD 5 workout but figured it wouldnt be good if I couldnt shower after the wod and had to fly in that condition.

I got their so early even the coach wasnt there.  Lalanne has moved to a new bigger location and are in the temp space on the 2nd floor.  It was a good group of athletes ready to battle against Tabata ring dips and hollow rocks.   After a good warm up be got after WOD 5

5 Power Clean 145lbs
10 Toes to Bar
15 Wall balls

I was focused on setting a pace I could maintain and not being totally defeated by the wall balls.  It was much nicer going head to head.  This solo timed effort sucks.  I much prefer to try to match the competition.  So I was able to get a round on a guy that crushed the lst wod - he had gotten 7 Muscle Ups to my measly 1. 
Score 9 rounds plus 3 reps.  I would love to get 10 rounds tomorrow for real

round 1 - 1:17
round 2   1:38  2:55
round 3 1:50  4:46
round 4  2:15 7:01
round 5 2:23  9:25
round 6 2:42 12:08
round 7 2:35 14:44
round 8 2:31 17:15
round 9 2:24 19:45
2 reps

The middle rounds are the key if I want 10 rounds.

Running the Hill of San Francisco

When I first first joined I spent about 5 weeks in San Francisco and I have to say that this put me in the best running shape of my life.   It wasnt anything that I had planned on but it really all came together.  I combined running the hills with a steady diet of temp runs.   Tempo/Interval training is something that always yields results.  For me though the key was the hills.  I think the hills got me stronger and kept me out running longer but not at the edge.  I was fine with just getting up some of these and then enjoying the downhill and chance to pick it up.   The other drive was to go a little further to see what was over the next hill.  I did the BAA Half Marathon and was just a shade over 1:30.  

All that preamble was to say that after a long day of work on Tuesday I got out for a run.  I was pretty tired from the late night travel but once i got out I felt great.  Something about the hills and the views is magical.  I often wonder if the feeling would dissipate if I lived there, I dont think so. The closest comparison is the run around the Esplanade in Boston.  Its always fun especially in the summer. 

I put in about 45 minutes and then did some HSPU and box jumps in the park across from the St Regis.  I have to remember that the next time I am in town with some crossfit commrades as they have a wall the perfect height for box jumps.  Probably did 5+ miles.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hammer - Hero Wod

When I saw this come up on the mainsite last night I knew I had to do it.

Five rounds, each for time, of:
135 pound Power clean, 5 reps
135 pound Front squat, 10 reps
135 pound Jerk, 5 reps
20 Pull-ups
Rest 90 seconds

Not because it was in my wheel house but because I need the work on those lifts.  Im pretty good at pull-ups but by the time I got to that movement I knew that I would be beaten down.  My grip was shot after the first round and I had to break them up.  By round 2, I was suffering and was debating whether 3 rounds was appropriate given I'm still trying to recover from this chest cold.  If I had been doing it by myself I would have probably mailed it in, but since I was training with John I felt compelled to stay after regardless of how slow I was.  I need to continue to work on my Jerks as that 5 rep movement was killing me.
Total Time - 17:56
Round 1 - 1:24
Round 2 - 1:35
Round 3 - 2:45
Round 4 - 3:44
Round 5 - 2:25
Wow that is some even rounds.  Clearly I used Round 4 to recover.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Backyard Pullup - Rope Climbing structures

I want to set up a structure in my backyard for pullups and a rope climb as well.  There are lots of resources available on the web to get ideas from. Here are a few:

Steel Structure for mostly pullups and dips

Got distracted and thought this might be fun to build as well:

Backyard Rope Zip Line Video

A related how to:
Kid Zip line out of rope how to

 Back to another training tower video:
Crossfit Training Tower

This might be the best looking structure as it looks like a Garden Arbor /Trellis/Pergola

Simple enough but doesnt look the least bit stable Chin Up Pullup Bar

Happy but never Satisfied

After having spent the week battling the stomach bug and laryngitis/chest cold  I figured I wasnt going to feel much better if I waited one more day.   With time running out it was hit the wod or risk being eliminated.   The regular class had a field trip planned, they were surprised with an outdoor wod - burpees, running, wheel barrow races and KBS.  

 So as the class ran out the door to the field they were going to be using I started my warm-up.   A little mobility/stretching work and then loaded the bar for the overhead squats.   A loaded 135lbs up and did a 5 rep set.  The first lift always feel heavy.   Then I hit a few muscle-ups.   Now the muscle up is a movement I can do but I am clearly not efficient.  I used a standard grip vs a false grip.  That makes it a little harder.  So as I settled in to get started coach John told me the weight was only 120lbs.  I thought he was busting my chops.  Pretty excited to hear he was serious.   I felt confident that I could get through the first part and I was counting at least 1 muscle up but hoping for more.  

Open WOD 11.4
AMRAP 10 of:
60 Bar Facing Burpees
30 Overhead Squats (120, 90)
10 Muscle ups

As everyone told me the Burpees are more of a nuisance than anything else.  Its all about setting a solid pace.   I finished those in 4:16 seconds.  Didn't feel completely trashed and picked up the bar right away and got 5 OHS.  I then did rounds of 7, 8, 5 and 5.  Done with the OHS at the 7:29 mark.  WOW 2:30 minutes if i don't f**ck this up i might be able to get 4,5 or maybe even 6.   Whoa.   These muscle-ups are a lot harder than during the warm-ups.  I keep getting really close but cant get my left arm in a place where I can do the final dip. Ugh - usually i can kip my way through a few but it wasn't happening,  I think I had 6 or 7 attempts.  I did manage to get one on try 5.  Happy but not satisfied.  I put myself in a position to do well but couldn't get over the hump.  That s the part I'm not satisfied with.   You hear that all the time in Sports, its a matter of putting yourself in a position to be competitive.   I came so close on this one.   I'm OK with not being satisfied.  That's what drives me to get in the gym and work harder.  I mean really what did I expect given I haven't done a muscle up in 2 months and even then did maybe 5 or 10.   Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.    Good experience to have in my back pocket nonetheless.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hard, Hard, Hardest

Wow the CF HQs really through me for a loop when they posted Open WOD #4

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
60 Bar-facing burpees
120 pound Overhead squat, 30 reps
10 Muscle-ups

I was Not surprised to see Burpees but was surprised to see a movement we have already done already = OHS!  It looks like everything will be an AMRAP.  That is ok by me, In fact its been good for me.  I used to hate the AMRAP now that we have done it so much in competition I am much more comfortable with it.   Its all about the right pace.  

So in yesterday's post I mentioned its all about what is in your head.  Take a look at this video.  Was there any doubt in your mind that this guy was in the "State" as Tony Robbins would say, and there is no doubt that this bar is going up.  Click on the link - Dude in the state 

Strength: Shoulder Press – Work to a heavy 3 but not a 3RM  - 4 X 3 at 135lbs
10 min AMRAP
15 Push Press 95/65
30 Air Squats

7 rounds plus 20 reps.   The Press is what got me as i had to break it up.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Lunch Pail Day

I have been definitely frustrated by the Open Games and my performance, to the point I have been complaining, rationalizing etc...   This has to stop.  Its just a workout.  When I think about the negative energy I have consumed its embarrassing.  If anyone hears me even say something that remotely sounds like whining please stop me.  I think sometimes training the mind is every bit as important as training the body.   Its more than confidence.   There was a great radiolab program on the topic.  It was called  Help! and focused on what do you do when your own worst enemy The program  looks for ways to gain the upper hand over those forces inside us--from unhealthy urges, to creative insights--that seem to have a mind of their own. Check it out here.  Radio Lab - Help!

Strength: Weighted Pullups 3-3-3-3-3 (dead hang)
 25,35, 40, 45, 55 and then 70 (2) failed on third attempt
3 Rounds
Run 400m
10 Pullups
10 Burpees

I was hoping to be able to average 2minutes a round. This ended up being a pipedream.
Round 1 - first run 1:29 total time 2:20
Round 2 - 2:52 - 5:13
Round 3 2:45 - 7:56

This has to be closer to 7,  Shows my running needs work.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

High Intensity Short Duration

First off thanks to Cynergy Fitness who were the original programmers of these workouts.  I was pressed for time this morning as the gym doesnt open till 9am and my U9 team had its first game at 10a with a short clinic before.    Coach Johnny Irish was nice enough to let me do my own thing during the 9am slot.   I pulled the rower outside and a wall ball and did this workout.

3 X 3 minute intervals
In that 3 minutes, you must row 500m, then complete AMRAP wall ball in the remaining time.
Rest 3 minutes in-between rounds.

I just realized that this was suppose to be 5 rounds and I only did 3.  That annoys the hell out of me.  
 Score - 18, 16, 18.  I will do this again because I need work on both of those movements.

So after the soccer game while the kids were in the rock climbing class I did the following: 
3 Rounds..
250M Row
15 KBS (1.5/1)
Rest 3 Minutes  Time - 5:17
3 Rounds..
20 KB Goblet Squats
10 Dips subbed for Ring Dips
Rest 3 Minutes Time: 4:54
3 Rounds…
15 Thrusters with a 35lb plate as subs for Wall Balls (20/14)
10 Pull Ups
Rest 3 Minutes Time: 3:09
3 Rounds…
10 Burpees
15 Sit Ups
 Time: 3:11
Total time 25:33 total work time 16:33

I really liked this programming as it allows for high intensity and a decent recovery so the intensity can be sustained.
 I would love to get your thoughts on whether you think this type of programming is effective in building your overall conditioning,

Friday, April 8, 2011

WOD #3 and Cement Mixer

These Open Games are totaling bumming me out.  Its been one miserable performance after another.  I was really hoping for a movement in my wheelhouse.  Pullups, Deadlifts give me something.  This week my schedule allowed me to do the WOD before Friday.  My first go was 16 rounds with a foul.  I felt ok and believed that it didn't wreck me so badly that I could improve on the performance.  Given that my Saturday is tied up with Soccer etc....I had to go after it today or keep the score.  

The second time was good through 2 1/2 minutes = I hit 10 rounds.  The problem was that my pace was to close or far over the red line and my fuse burnt through.   The second 2 1/2 minutes was a mess.   Ended up with 17 rounds plus 1 rep.   Not even close to 20.

I had planned on doing Cement Mixer before the WOD and needed to do it mentally more than anything.  5 rounds of 400 run and 12 toes to bar.   3 minutes per round.   This went fine.  I really wanted to make sure I hit the 3 minute time frame.  Rounds were in 1:55 to 2:15. 

Not liking how this open is messing with how I feel about Crossfit.   The good news is that the Susie is really excited about Crossfit and how she is doing.  So that is making it fun.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I was so not looking forward to do doing this WOD. I was also frustrated that my schedule wasn't allowing me to even get a practice session in. I showed up on Saturday having a goal of 10 rounds but not sure about pacing. I had a strong idea that box jumps would be my struggle. Well not sure if I unconsciously caused them to be my downfall or whether I just suck at them. The end result is the same. I got 8 reps of don't count. This is no way to a good performance. No monster performance for me. 9 rounds plus 22 reps, These games have been depressing. WOD 3 doesn't seem like it will be in my powerhouse either, another AMRAP this time 155 clean and jerks. Where the fuck are the Pullups and other toes to bar?

Drinking the Kool Aid

Susie competed in the Newfitter challenge over the weekend. She was geared up in the week leading up to the event, but I could tell underneath the nerves that she was really excited. When the day finally rolled around she was ready to go. It was amazing to see her give everything she had at each of the workouts. Especially because some of the movements were brand new. Every session she is improving at the movements and gaining confidence. It was great to see her really enjoy the event and her performnce. I always say that the biggest resistors become the biggest zealots. She has been pouring over the Crossfit journal and Crossfit sites. She has definitely drank the Kool Aid