September 2012

It is so demoralizing to always fail. And I’m set up for failure each and every time I show up at the box. Craig warned me when he first looked at the website for CrossFit Summerville because he knows I’m competitive. Everybody who comes to the box must be or they would not keep coming back.

Here there is one workout and only one workout each day. It is divided into men’s and women’s weights, but that’s all. I’ve been to one garage game here in Charleston and worked one in Hilton Head.  I don’t think there are prescribed and scaled workouts, I know there are. There are masters levels, too, for old coots. There isn’t just one at even elite venues, but there is just one at my box. I cannot attain anything ever as it is written. It is just one unattainable goal and will continue to be for months, if not years.

The only reason for me to keep going back is self motivation. There is no extrinsic attagirls from being able to write anything meaningful on the board. And there won’t be at any time in the foreseeable future. The only person benefitting from all this work is me, but I’ve been conditioned since kindergarten to work for the gold star. I am not getting any gold stars.

CrossFit Summerville’s class for today:

EMOM for 10 minute 1 Power Clean + 1 Split Jerk @ 90% (of 1RM Power Clean).
In 12 minutes complete:
100 UB Double-Unders

7 Deadlifts 275/185#
25 Burpees

Notes: The 100 Double-Unders are a “buy-in”. When the 12 minute clock starts they must be completed before moving on to the AMRAP. The TOTAL TIME of the entire piece is 12 minutes. If you do not complete the 100 Double-Unders in the 12 minutes your score is ZERO.

CrossFit Hilton Head’s class for today:

2 minutes of jump rope
Hamstrings. Hips. Shoulders. T-spine.
DE Day. 2 reps on the minute of High Bar Back Squat (HBBS) @ 60% of 1RM.
5 rounds of:
5 strict pullups
5 burpees (touch your pullup bar at the top)
5 burpee pullups (you may kip your pullups on these ONLY)
50m shuttle sprint
Rest :60
LII: Kip all pullups. You do not have to touch the bar at top of burpees.
5 rounds of:
6 negatives or 6 ring rows
12 burpees
50m shuttle sprint
:60 rest
PWOD MOB: Lax ball in C/S/B/G/Forearms. Hamstrings. Hip flexors.

What I did today:

1000 m row
lunge up and down the mat various methods – five different things
one minute of pushups
then I did the power clean and split jerk with the 22# bar as stated

two-thirds of the 100 double unders or 400 scaled jump ropes was 265 and I got them done with 30 seconds to spare, a heart rate of 174, and the room spinning.

I did get to the box for one more day.  I failed again. I’m pretty sure I could somehow manage Craig’s WOD, but those 12 Burpees five times look a little daunting, too. But I don’t think it would take me years to reach that level. It would be a goal I could attain some time before I die.

It is only my own stubbornness that keeps me going. I really want a gold star.

Nothing like being stupid in a public place. My mind has not reconciled itself to the fact that my body is no longer young. We worked at HSPU today which stands for Hand Stand Push Ups. That is beyond me, but I practiced a controlled move that would help me build up to the place where I can leap up and place my heels on the wall while I hold my body upright with my spaghetti arms.

I remembered vividly being able to do cartwheels and attempted to do one at my own instigation. I pulled something in my leg. My body remembers it is old even if my brain doesn’t.

I had decided last night that I need to push myself but not past what is reasonable. When I’m doing a scaled WOD, I’m still doing all I can do. Just because I’m not lifting 95# doesn’t mean I’m not working at my greatest effort. And when the big boys can lift lots of weight and run and jump and leap and be done in 13 to 15 minutes and I’m working my butt off for 26 minutes, I’m actually working harder than they did. I’m not accomplishing as much, but I’m working harder.

Let’s compare this to reading. If one of the grandkids and I sit down with a book and read, we are each reading. If I hand each kid a book slightly above their current reading level and I sit down with the same book in hand, I can read it easily because I’m a much better reader than any of the kids. However, if I’m reading a book on astronomy, I will struggle along as well. It doesn’t negate their effort for me to have to put in effort at a higher level, we would all be working hard. And none of them could understand an astronomy book, but some day they will.

I’m like that at the box. The big boys are doing the proscribed WOD and working hard. I’m doing something scaled and nearly dying and doing it for twice as long. I decided last evening that it was stupid and I don’t like being stupid.

So I gave myself permission to not only scale the work, but to scale the reps. I want to do more than half, so I opted for 2/3 of their reps. That was going to be my goal.

Their WOD today after all the HSPU stuff:

400m overhead plate run (45/25)
20 ground to overhead (95/65)
10 wall balls (20/10)
1 parking lot sprint
1 rope climb

Mine was:

300m row and then 90 seconds of bobbing in place with a ten pound plate overhead
15 ground to overhead with a 22 pound bar
7 wall balls with a four pound ball
1 parking lot walk (I really did try to run in here, but the whole cartwheel thing was just a bad idea)
1 progressive rope climb

My time was 14 minutes and 2 seconds.

I was working as hard as I could manage and was still the last one done. But by only a couple minutes which meant that I worked as hard as the big boys and feel like I didn’t manage to knock myself into next week with the whole WOD. I need to work hard, but for the old lady to work hardest is probably self defeating and not very smart.

Today’s WOD scared me yesterday when I saw it. But I got up anyway because being scared is good for me or something like that. Anyway, I arrived at the box dark and early.

The warm-up included double unders. That is where the jump rope is to go under your feet twice while you are in the air. I never could do double Dutch jump rope either. I did manage to get a few consecutive jumps in since I practiced yesterday. But I only did one double under by mistake. I couldn’t repeat the move.

Then we practiced with a three position clean, but I wasn’t good enough with my form to try it with any weight. So I just played with a PVC pipe which doesn’t throw in any negative feedback for doing anything wrong.

Then the WOD as written:

Run 400m
21 C2B Pullups
12 KB Thrusters 24/16kg
Run 400m
15 C2B Pullups
9 KB Thrusters 24/16kg
Run 400m
9 C2B Pullups
6 KB Thrusters

C2B is “chest to bar” and since I’m not even up to chin to bar, this was so far beyond me that last night I had figured I was going to be doing ring rows.

KB thrusters is hoisting a kettlebell to your shoulder (one in each hand), doing a squat, then coming up and thrusting the weight above your head.

I don’t run anyway and on a dark, unlit road in the pre-dawn doesn’t sound like a good plan to me. So my workout consisted of:

500 meter row, 21 ring rows, 12 thrusters with 5 pounds of weight in each hand, 500 meter row, 15 ring rows, 9 thrusters, 500 meter row, 9 ring rows, 6 thrusters. I did that with a heart rate topping out at 172 and in 26 minutes and 38 seconds. The room only got twinkly gray once.

Perhaps I should have scaled the reps along with the movements, but I will never get stronger if I don’t push myself. So I pushed. I was spent and kept thinking maybe I shouldn’t do the last round since I was really tired and Jason and Chris had already finished. But, instead, I slowly walked over to the row machine and began the third round.

Baby steps. Today, many, many baby steps.

I’m seeing progress. I am doing things I didn’t think I could. I’m advancing, albeit by baby steps, but I’m still advancing. I am moving in the right direction.

I looked at the WOD for today when it was posted last night. Rope climbs. Five minutes of climbing, two minute rest, five minutes of climbing, one minute rest, two minutes of climbing.

I can’t climb a rope. What it the world was I going to be doing. Sleeping in was an option. Sleeping in has been an option every time and I’ve not taken it yet. Why start today? Besides, Craig’s voice was back there whispering (in his mean coach voice) it’s all scalable.

I was up at five freaking fifteen in the middle of the dark and restful night. I was out the door thirty minutes later wearing, for the first time at the box, my I CAN Games CrossFit Hilton Head shirt. I thought it might make Craig’s voice follow me.

I didn’t need Craig’s voice. I had Coach Karen’s voice right there and it was perfect. I was the first CrossFitter there this morning and I mentioned I didn’t climb ropes. Coach had something I could do. All right. As long as I don’t kill myself I can keep coming back. I won’t be much use to anyone dead. As long as we all keep that in mind, I keep coming back.

The 500 meter row was actually easier than usual. I’m getting better at it. Used to be that 300 meters had me whooped. Now, 500 meters and I wasn’t even panting like a lizard on hot rock.

Then we did 15 minutes of stretching and warm-up stuff and I actually was quite warm and stretched in several different directions. But then, looming there in the center of the box

The ropes.

While Dennis, Jason, and Chris could actually climb the ropes like big boys, the little old lady had a different and yet quite challenging thing to do. Progressives.

I was on my back on the floor next to the rope with my knees bent. (The straighter my legs are, the more challenging this will become, but today was my first stab at this and I had bent knees. As I said, baby steps but still headed in the right direction.) From the floor, I had to pull myself up to a standing position and then let myself back down to the floor. Three times was credited for one rope climb.

During those twelve minutes of climbing I managed to haul my fat, old, lazy butt off the floor 24 times. That gave me the right to put an eight with the caveat of progressives after it up on the white board. I didn’t think I could do one and I managed to eke out 24. I’m amazed at myself. I didn’t really think I could, but like my shirt said – I CAN. Who knew?

My hands are on fire and yet I feel so good. The stinging is like a badge. I did this. I got off the couch and look rather like a feeble fool. However, no one has ever mentioned that. They all keep saying “Good job” or “Nice work” or other words of encouragement and praise. Pretty soon, I’m just going to be looking like a fool, but a strong one!

I’m definitely getting stronger. I’m not strong yet, but I’m headed in the right direction. I can’t believe what I was able to do this morning. I’m sure I’m going to be sore tomorrow, but I managed to do what I needed to do today.

I was the only person (besides Coach Karen) at the box this morning. That’s a bit intimidating because it means that all my mistakes are noted. And they are legion. Well, I thought all my mistakes were being noted, but as Coach was watching my arms, I knew I misplaced my foot and I tattled on myself. She was saying, “Good job” and I was saying, “My foot was flat” all at the same time. Cracked me up. I’ve never been very sneaky.

Today’s WOD was enough for a couple days. I really did the entire thing with my max weights. They weren’t what a more seasoned CrossFitter would be using, but for me, it was all I could manage.

There were three rounds of four movements. So A, thirty second rest, B, thirty second rest, C, thirty second rest, D, thirty second rest, start all over and do it all again – and then again.

First, (A) hand stand pushups. Of course, that was beyond the scope of my abilities. But I was kneeling on a low box, with my hands on the floor in front of me and doing pushups from there. As many as I could do before my arms fell off.

Next (B) was kettlebell snatches, but this time, they were one handed. I chose a five pound weight because I hoped I could manage that. I also brought over a three pound weight just in case. I did 25 kettlebell snatches with each arm and used the five pound weight throughout. Twice I had to stop in the middle of the 25 snatches because my heart was beating fast enough for three people. Three times, it was yelling at me on the 24th or 25th snatch and I didn’t care. And once I got through all 25 without hitting that 160 heart rate.

Next (C) was maximum effort (22 pounds for me) Snatch grip behind the neck press. That was for three reps.

Last (D) was maximum effort (again 22 pounds for me) Romanian deadlift for ten reps.

There was a 30 second rest period between each of these things and I managed to go from one to the next with only that, except for the kettlebells which just kill me and I needed to get the room back to white instead of being twinkly gray. So I wasted a bunch of time there trying not to pass out or puke. I managed to neither pass out nor puke so all is well.

It took me 26 minutes and 30 seconds to manage all that, but I did all that. It was a pitiful time and low weight. I am so proud of myself. I did all that. I just hope I don’t break my arm patting myself on the back.

When I started CrossFit, I couldn’t do more than one or two pushups and that was that. I had no upper body strength when I started this adventure, but it is getting better. Today, we did as many pushups as possible in one minute. First, I had a knee mat since I already have bruised knees from last time. Without my knees bothering me, I was able to do more. I did 18 in one minute. I hope to get to 20 soon.

The warm-up was a lot of jump rope stuff. Since I kept tripping over the rope on single jumps, we can pretty much guess how I did with double unders – that is getting the rope under my feet twice while I’m up in the air. All these moves look easy when someone skilled is doing them, but not so much when you try it yourself. I knew the double unders were still beyond me, but I really thought I could still jump rope. Not so much, I find out.

I could lunge walk down the mat with a little more grace today. Not quite perfect yet, but I can manage to move freely without falling over, without using a PVC pipe for balance … just lunge walk gracelessly down the mat. This is much better than when I first started. Baby steps. Baby lunges.

Our skill today was hang squat cleans and I worked more with a PVC pipe. I wish there was some weight between PVC pipe and 20 pound bar. When it is so light, it is easy to move wrong because there is no consequence or punishment as weight is poorly distributed. But the 20 pounds is a bit much for a little old lady.

I’m not keeping my elbows up nor am I rolling my shoulders. Both are important. But I practiced and got better. Unfortunately, I’m not sure my muscle memory is any better than my brain memory and I will probably forget the movement before I need it again. Hopefully, the re-learning will be quicker. It’s supposed to be that way.

Our WOD today included Burpees. I have never done one of those before so she showed me how to do one during the warm-up. The big boys did a Burpee and then jumped over a 24 inch box (girls only need to do 20 inch boxes); next was kettlebell swings; and finally shoulder touches. Those are with you standing on your hands (you can be against the wall) and pick up one hand to your shoulder and switch sides. The Rx was 14 – 21 – 28 with three rounds for time.

I did a much scaled version. I did three Burpees, but I really hopped my feet out and back and apparently that popping is important because it damn near kills you. Then I did a five pound barbell for 6 swings (last week the ten pound wiped me out and I thought it might be better to scale back, but I should have stuck with the ten pounds since the reps were decreased) and I was arched like the two sides of a triangle and picking my hands up from there for ten lifts. I did manage to do that, with a bit of resting after the Burpees (those are terrible) and did my three rounds in 7:18.

I have no idea how long it will take to get enough power to jump over a box let alone do it after doing a Burpee. The good thing is that I’m already getting better and there is so much room for continual improvement.

I am woman, hear my whimper.

I’m having a difficult time coming up with some successes for the day. I guess if I note that it is my day off and I didn’t have to get out of bed at all let alone at 5.15 am, then actually showing up at the box was a huge effort and a success.

But, in fact, I woke up shortly after 4 am and couldn’t fall back to sleep and so I wasn’t sleeping in anyway. Driving less than 3 miles doesn’t seem like all that much of an effort.

Warm up was a 500 meter row. I had issues with the display again. Some day I’m going to finally be able to get the rowing machine to show me what it is I want to see. Not today, however.

Next part of the warm-up was Ryan complex up the mat. Lunge step; lunge step; inch forward on hand keeping feet stationary until flat; do a pushup, walk your feet up to your hands; stand and do a squat. I guess here is a bit of a success. I still am very unsteady on this whole lunge walk stuff, but I’m not actually falling over like a drunk on a bender.

10 cherry pickers, easy for me to do
Lunge backwards down the mat, I looked like that same drunk in reverse
10 pushups
10 ball lunges – and I used a measly four pound ball

I’m not sure why there wasn’t any skill for the day, but there wasn’t, which may have been a blessing because I was being very unskilled. I had to stop twice during the warm-up because my heart monitor which is set for 160 started yelling at me.

The WOD:

5 rounds for total reps:

1 min AMRAP of:

5 Over the Box Jumps (down) 30/24″
10 KBS 32/24kg
5 Over the Box Jumps (back) 30/24″
5 Thrusters 135/95#

*Rest 1 minute after each round.

CrossFit Summerville: The Anvil doesn’t ever post anything but the most elite WOD. There is nothing ever posted as a scaled workout. Those two heights/weights are for men/women. There are people who do the Rx or prescribed workout so I know it is possible but I’m going to be a failure for a very long time, possibly forever.

I’ve been to enough garage games where the elite athletes compete to know that there are levels of competition. There is a difference between the Rx and the Scaled and there is a special set for Masters. But here, there is one workout and you can work from there. I know in my head that I’m not expected to actually be able to do that yet. But I feel so inadequate when I compare what I am able to do to this one unattainable goal.

I haven’t even been at this a month. I’m not supposed to be able to do the things that people who have been gym rats for years can do. And yet … especially today, I’m feeling like a total failure.


5 step up and down off an 8 inch box
10 10# weight in place of the kettlebell
5 step up and down off an 8 inch box
5 PVC thrusters

My heart rate monitor buzzed each rep either before or during the second set of step up on a low box. I never made even a whole series. I did 20 – 15 – 15 – 20 – 15. That’s a score of 85 of piddly squat.

I guess the only thing to do is keep trying because I refuse to give up. I wish I could feel a little better about my choice.

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