April 2013

I looked for a WOD last night and it never posted. So I didn’t have to obsess about all the things that were going to be difficult in the morning. All I had to do was set my alarm and show up.

I did that much, but I also looked to see what the WOD was going to be before I left the house just in case I needed my jump rope. Still nothing posted. It was a secret WOD. They are set to post automatically each day at 8 PM. Some technological glitch kept that from happening and so it was all a mystery even this morning.

Luckily, Kim knew where else to look to find what was scheduled for today. As she wrote it on the board all I could think was “Oh great, something else I don’t remember how to do.” But that was not the case. It was something I wasn’t supposed to know. It was something new and improved so I wasn’t being stupid, which is alarmingly frequent.

We started out with a 400 meter run and I did 200 meters because that is all I can manage. Then ten cherry pickers. Kim complex down the mat (lunge, lunge, squat with a jump up, burpee), then ten wall balls (I used the 4# one and could get a full squat and hit the line on the wall) and ten sit-ups. Dislocates and passthroughs finished that. Then we did 15 minutes of stretches working on shoulders and hips to get us loosened up for the WOD.

The WOD is now posted and so I can copy and paste it. That’s good.

The WOD as written:
Spend 15 minutes working on Rolling Pistol Progressions
10 minute AMRAP:
20 Sprawl Balls 20/14#
5 Power Cleans 135/95#
Extra Credit: 50 Abmat situps while holding a dumbbell

So, I did sorta pistols to a 20″ box while the younger folks worked on this candlestick thing trying to get to enough stability and power to do a pistol. I could get down and back up with exactly no grace or panache. I would have to use my arms like I was doing the breaststroke and could haul my fat ass up off the box. None of them were pretty but I did need less pushing against air with my arms by the end of the 15 minutes.

Sprawl balls were new to me and I was happy I wasn’t supposed to know what the hell they were. No one did. A wall ball is picked up off the ground, thrown at the wall straight ahead (no specified distance from the wall was given), caught on the rebound, set on the ground, hands placed on the ground on either side of the ball, jump out your feet, touch your chest to the ball, jump back to a low squat, pick up the ball for the next rep.

Dorothy Parker was whispering in my ear again, “What fresh new hell is this?”

I used a ten pound ball for this nonsense. I can barely do a deadlift with 95# so a clean was pretty much out of the question. I did use a 42# bar for power cleans.

On the first round, I really jumped my legs out and back. I had a heart rate escalating with every jump. On the second round, I walked my legs out and back. I finished the second round with 30 seconds left on the clock and a heart rate of 178. That’s where I stopped. Two rounds.

When we went kayaking this past weekend, I was graceless when trying to exit the kayak. I thought Dick had it steadied but it tipped and moved and I sloshed in the water, smacked my leg on the side, and crammed by left little finger. That’s the part that has really bothered me. Today, on each sprawl ball, I was pushing against my sore finger. It didn’t help at all.

I did not do any extra credit. I’m not an overachiever.

When Craig at CrossFit Hilton Head has an AMRAP, he scales the reps as well as the weights or movements for the weenies. I know I’m a weenie. But I’m not sure how to really scale this stuff for weenie performance. So I keep getting really low numbers. But I keep going back and doing more each time I go.

Craig’s blog had a premise last Sunday, is it better to get the higher numbers (or lower times) and do weenier movements, or is it better to take the lower numbers (or higher times) and really push yourself to your max effort. This coming Sunday, I will have my answer. I sure hope it is pushing myself because if it is to do less and get a higher number, I’m going to be pissed.


Saturday we went kayaking for a couple hours and it turned out beautiful. It was a bit rainy and the rental place called and we moved our time back a bit. It also made it at the best time for the tide on the river. It was still incoming when we started and helped push us upstream but by the time we were ready to come back, it was outgoing and pulled us downstream. Perfect.

Yesterday, we rode our bikes up to the new construction site. It has been months since I’ve been on my bike. It wasn’t bad until we were going uphill with the wind gusting into our faces. But, after all the bazillion squats, my legs didn’t give out. It was a little over two miles each way and it was always easier to go downhill with the wind at our back, but even uphill or wind in my face didn’t tire me out.

Today at around 5.00 a huge thunderstorm broke and there was a gush of rain and lots of wind and the occasional lightning flash. I have my clock turned away from my otherwise I watch the time pass all night instead of sleeping. I figure it was around 5 because shortly after it started, my alarm clock went off. So it was time to get ready to go to the box and that’s what I did.

There was a 5 AM class today and it was barely raining by the time we got there. Some of the participants were running and some were rowing. Ryan was coaching and amazingly enough, he talked too much and the 5 AM class ran over a bit. We were sent on a 400 meter run while they finished up. I don’t run that far so I did 200 meters but ran the whole thing.

Next was Ryan complex down the mat and I managed that but by the end, my heart rate was beeping a bit. Dislocates and passthroughs followed. We then worked on loosening up our arms for the rest of today’s WOD.

The WOD as written:
15 minutes to establish a 1 Rep Max Front Squat.
– Prior to starting your first warm-up sets, you will perform 5 drops from the top of a 20” box. Stand on the box, drop down, and land in your squat stance. You don’t need to go down into a full squat, just a quarter-squat. (we did not do this due to time constraints)
5 Rounds for Time:
400 meter Run
15 Overhead Squats 95/65#

The last time we did this front squat thing, my knee was really hurting and we were getting ready to leave on our trip in the very near future. I didn’t do anything more than a PVC pipe. I was still leaning too far forward and trying to accordion pleat myself.

Today, in order to keep me on my heels, the first thing I did was take off my shoes. Apparently I didn’t even have the idea of this movement correct. I finally leaned the bar back into my chest and could actually manage a bit of weight. I was surprised I could do any because I knew the last time I tried, I couldn’t. I managed a 52# front squat. Who knew?

But then I was confronted with badness. I told Ryan while we were still on the front squat, that I was cutting back the reps to 10 instead of 15. Someone has to scale for me and I never know how much I should do and how much is too weenie. I thought I could manage the overhead squat with the 22# bar, but I couldn’t. I should have upped the reps back to 15 if I was just using a PVC pipe, but the up and down makes me so dizzy that I never know where to push that.

I began the first round with just rowing. It was raining out but not too much. I did my 500 meters there and I was beeping. Ryan helped my with my form there and I really need help with form everywhere. Le sigh. But I did only 10 PVC squats with my arms really locked out overhead.

Then I rowed again and it was taking me forever and I kept beeping. If I was going to beep, I might just was well go out there where it was cooler and less stuffy. So, after the next ten squats, I did a 200 meter walk/run. All I ran was the parking lot back in but I didn’t ever stop beeping no matter what. I did the squats and left to walk/run again. But I only walked because my heart rate never got under 160 and so I beeped the whole way. Ten more squats.

Last round I set out on my walk and decided that I would run the parking lot back in no matter what. So I did. I did my little squats and finished in 17.52. I probably should have done the 15 squats each round. I could have done it with the PVC pipe. I wish I had more guidance on how to scale this. I know everybody gets to succeed here. I know that I am far better than when I started. I wish I knew more of what I could manage before a WOD starts so I knew how much to push.

I was exhausted; my heart rate was 182 when I finished. It’s not like I wasn’t working. But I wish I knew if I should push harder or if this is where I am and it is okay to be here.


My arms were killing me already. I have been stretching and trying whatever I can to make them feel better. I don’t know if there is such a thing as a tricepsectomy but I think that’s what it is going to take.

I forgot to mention part of yesterday’s warm-up which was more push-ups and arm stuff. Thankfully today’s warm-up wasn’t all arms.

I wasn’t sure I was going to show up. I know a hard workout when I see one but some of them are deceptive in that they don’t look that bad. However, today was another partner WOD and that just isn’t fair to anybody.

But it is Friday and I go to the box on Fridays. I showed up. Warm-up was a 400 meter run but I only did 200 meters, but I did manage 200 meters which is all I can ever manage. Then we did a modified Ryan complex down the mat with lunge, lunge, squat and jump out of the squat and then do a burpee. A Kim complex down the mat. Grab a PVC pipe and hold it in the racked position and lunge back down the mat. Dislocates and passthroughs and then hold the PVC pipe overhead in a locked out position and lunge back up the mat. Well, my balance isn’t that good. I explained that and was given a pass and just walked slowly up the mat with bar locked out. Then practice a thruster with just the PVC pipe. I was exhausted already.

The WOD as written:

Partner WOD Friday!
In teams of two:
For Time:
Row 750 meters, while partner holds 185/135 pounds in the Front rack position
50 Burpees, while partner holds 115/95 pounds Overhead
50 Thrusters, 95/65 pounds, while partner holds the Dip support position
– Partners may switch during each exercise, but repetitions will only count while the other partner is holding the required position. Each pair of athletes must complete all the repetitions before moving to the next exercise.

I asked if Fridays were always going to be partner WODs and Kim said they would be for a while but not for the rest of time. I said I would have to stop coming on Fridays. This isn’t fair to my poor partner.

I maxed out a deadlift at 112# this Monday. Holding 135# racked or 95# overhead was ludicrous. I have been known to actually move 65# around, but thrusters were out of the question with that weight.

Candace got stuck with me and Aaron and Ricky were a team. I had to have all my own weights set up because they had to be tiny. I held the racked position with 42# and did an overhead hold with just the 22# bar. I had enough trouble with the PVC pipe thrusters that I opted to use only that.

Candace did the Rx weights except for the thrusters where she had to cut back just slightly.

I also had to use a band for the dip hold because I’m a weenie.

I started out rowing until Candace needed to drop her weight. Then I held my weight while she finished up the row. She had 100 meters left when I started whining and saying “I can’t do this” repeatedly until she got to 750 meters. I guess I could, but it wasn’t easy.

We needed to let me get my heart rate back down before we could start the next level of hell. I just had to do push-ups for this while Candace did burpees. I managed 14 before she had to set the weight down. I asked if I could do a split stance or had to have my feet even. I could do either. I held my bar first split, then went parallel, then split, and Candace did her burpees. We switched and I got round of push-ups and then we switched and she got the last burpees while my arms burned, but I did not drop the weight until she finished.

I started the thrusters and she did the dip hold. I was getting so sick from the up and down. Thinking about later and turning into a nurse, I believe it is a matter of orthostatic hypotension kicking in. My heart rate was so high and I simply didn’t have the stroke volume to keep up with oxygen demands and that is why I sometimes (but not all the time) get so lightheaded and dizzy. I had to melt for a few minutes.

I then held my dip with a green band for support. I know the my elbows bent a little but no one called me on it. On the second time, I asked if anyone minded if I did a dip and thrust without doing a full squat and I could. However, Coach Jason said I was getting down low enough anyway. I may be over thinking. Candace asked me to do 12 so she would have ten left and I managed it. Then we did the last with me doing the dip hold while she did 5 thrusters and wait 30 seconds to regroup and finish up. We got done in 17.02.

Candace is very fit and very competitive and she was so nice to me. She told me to come back next Friday because it is a challenge and it is a way to get better. She also said this would have been a terrible one to have to do by herself. I just feel so bad for anyone stuck with me. I know I have to rest often and have to work with being old, but other people shouldn’t have to put up with my obvious limitations.

As Candace pointed out, there was a pair in the 5 AM class that took over 24 minutes, so we weren’t that bad.


Cheri and I spoke last night. I made sure she was sticking to the menus she sent me and we talked about working out the kinks from sore muscles. I could talk her through some things, but a couch stretch/sit was beyond what I could manage with just telling her over the phone. We had to get online and find a video.

As we talked, I looked at today’s WOD because the magic hour had come and it was posted. I groaned. It was all impossible. But CrossFit is scalable. CrossFit Hilton Head nicely scales all the WODs right there online so people like me can see what they might be able to accomplish. My box, not so much. But I kept looking and figured out I could do something.

Cheri mentioned that she would be so defeated by this she wouldn’t keep going. But that isn’t what happens for me. I’m challenged but saddened that I’m probably too old to ever achieve all the wonderful things available to those smart enough to start this sooner.

And I hate tabatas. They are punitive and don’t leave any room for being old. I have to keep talking to myself to get me through them. I guess they are WAY outside my comfort zone. So of course, I was at the box bright and early. Because I was good person, I was graced with the beauty of full moon low in the sky playing peekaboo with the tree branches. It was gloriously beautiful on the ride to the box.

First we did a 400 meter run with ten squats at the halfway point. We all know I can’t run that distance, but I can do 200 meters to I made it TO the Perkins parking lot, did my ten squats, started to run back, walked about 50 meters and then finished with a jog back through the parking lot. Next was passthroughs while lunging down the mat. My balance is pretty sucky, so I had to do a passthrough, then lunge, then passthrough because if I did them at the same time, I fell over. But I never had to use the PVC pipe as a crutch.

We did some dislocates and then spent six minutes on shoulder stretches. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds to get the muscles to relax. I didn’t know that or didn’t remember it, so it was good information to have.

The WOD as written:
Spend 15 minutes trying to find a max unbroken set of Deficit Handstand Push ups.
– deficit is a 45# plate between the parallettes

Tabata Air Squats
– Run 400 meters
Tabata Push ups
– when the last person gets back from their 400 m run, start the second Tabata

Now that is just ridiculous. No one, including the coach, could do that parallette hand stand thing let alone a push up with it. Nonsense or crazy talk. I have never done even a hand stand against the wall. I’ve practiced with a high box and holding myself up, but that was months ago.

Today, I walked up the wall with my hands about a meter from the wall itself. I got myself straight, but didn’t have the bravery (not sure about the strength) to then walk myself completely vertical. However, I could hold that tilted hand stand for 30 seconds. This was a first for me and I was quite thrilled with this much progress. I’m not ready to head for the I CAN games or anything but still, it’s progress. Okay, I’m going to the I CAN games again, but again, as the scorekeeper. I love watching the real athletes.

Then the tabatas. I know these are awful. I never know how much to push and how much I will have left by the end. I started out with ten squats. Too much, so I cut back to eight on round two. Still too much because I was already getting dizzy. So I did six on the next and the next and the rest, although for the last two rounds I beeped all the way through. I could get back to safe zone during the rest, but just barely and after the first squat, I was already chugging away.

I scaled my WOD by declaring I was not running 400 meters. I would be the last person back for sure and then have to immediately do the other tabata which is just ludicrous. The least fit person gets no rest at all. I was the least fit person there and so I declined to be the stupidest as well. I planned on a parking lot sprint, but since my heart rate was already high, I walked it. I still beat Ricky back, but just barely. Cindy said she was going to be last back and she was right.

Next we went into the push-ups. I tried eight and could manage that for two rounds. On round three, I was already beeping so I cut back to five. I managed that for the rest of the rounds although round eight was not looking promising. I was not going to waste all those other push-ups, so I did it by sheer will power.

My scores were a piddly 6 and 5. But my work was 54 squats in four minutes and 46 push-ups in four minutes which looks really good (at least it does to me). That, and I had a 30 second hand stand (scaled). Not bad for an old coot.


Yesterday was awesome. I rode on a cloud of accomplishment all day long. I had my group of PRs and I had a sense of growth, noticeable and measurable growth.

Today, not so much. Not that I haven’t grown, but that it was less noticeable and less measurable.

My arms and legs were tight from yesterday so even before I got to the box, I used my foam roll and a lacrosse ball to work out some of the tight spots.

Caren was coach today. We began with a 500 meter row and I managed that without setting off my heart monitor. We then did a one minute couch sit for each leg and it felt great to stretch out those steel bands in my legs. Next was ten good mornings. Then the horrors started. Inchworm down the mat with a push-up at the bottom and broad jump back up. Ricky is a head taller than me and much younger than me and a distance runner. It took him something like six jumps to make it down the mat. It took me over ten.

To finish warming up, 30 seconds of jump rope, 30 seconds with left leg only, 30 seconds with right leg only, finish with another 30 seconds. My heart rate was beeping all over the place and while I was not totally graceful jumping on my left leg, I was a mess trying with my right. I am right handed but left footed.

The WOD as written:
Spend the first 15 minutes working on a max unbroken set of Double-unders. If you don’t have double-unders yet, now is your time to get them.
10 minute AMRAP:
30 Double-unders
15 Wallballs 20/14#
Parking lot Sprint
– Double-under attempts count if you don’t have them consistently. Single-unders don’t count.

So I tried, and tried, and tried some more. I have never, ever done a double under. My max unbroken record is still zero. Now may have been the time, but it passed me by.

When I looked at this last night, I knew I was in trouble. I simply do not yet have the capacity to do the damn things. It may be all in my head, but I think it is more in my legs. I can still trip myself up on just jumps. In my head, I saw this as 120 jumps but Caren kept saying “attempts count” and “keep trying”.

So I was supposed to get my rhythm going with three or four jumps and then do a double under and do that thirty times. I mentioned that I didn’t have to worry about the damn parking lot sprint because in ten minutes I wouldn’t have gotten through the thirty attempts let alone the 15 wallballs.

Wallballs make me sick because the up and down makes me sick anyway and with the wall that close to my face, I really get pukey. Caren said something about breaking parallel with the squat and I was just shaking my head. With a ten pound ball, that close to the wall and that much thrust it is too much for me. Not that I don’t try, it is just that I never hit the line and I get sick.

She got me the baby four pound ball and I could really squat with it and really hit the line on the wall, at least most of the time. My form was better but my heart rate wasn’t.

I did not do the double unders. I really did the 120 jumps, the 15 wallballs, and then my sprint was a walk the parking lot. My heart rate got back to 159 about five feet from the door coming back in. The first round took me six minutes. I managed the 120 jumps and knocked out another 13 wallballs. I never saw my heart rate over 179 but that was mostly because I stopped looking. It is set to beep at 160 which is my suggested place to stop pushing.

When it gets high, I sometimes get light headed and sometimes my hands start to tingle, but I never have any chest pain. I have no idea if there is any associated shortness of breath because I’m already panting like a lizard on a hot rock anyway. But as far as I can tell, I have a case of old age, but everything is still functioning, sorta.

Anyway, my score for today was a pitiful 1 + 43. It was more than I could have done six months ago so I guess I will have to be happy with that.


Even though I didn’t do a single box jump and just did step ups, I had sore legs all weekend. I would get the roller out and try to work out the stiffness, but my legs still hurt. It was better by Sunday, but I could tell I hadn’t been at the gym much.

Bright and early, back at it again and Ricky was there and Jason showed up. I haven’t seen him in ages. He came back while I was away. Ryan was coaching and he said he thought I had quit. I scoffed. I was just too sick to breathe, which isn’t the same. Candace was there, the new guy didn’t show, and neither did Ken – probably worried he would get stuck with me as a partner again.

Today was working toward PRs and so we had a warm-up of a thousand meter row and then dislocates and passthroughs and whatever else we thought would make us warm enough to do the moves as required.

The WOD as written:
CrossFit Total:
1 rep max Back Squat
1 rep max Strict Press
1 rep max Deadlift
– You have the entire class to establish these max reps. Warm up to your maxes as you feel necessary. Take no more than 3 attempts at your maximum weights.

My previous max for a back squat was 47# and my hope for today was to break the fifty pound mark. I started with the baby bar and kept increasing with five pound increments to 27, 32, 37, 42, 47 and then got crazy and went zipping past that. I did 52, 57, and ended at 62#. I couldn’t believe it. That was much more than I had hoped for. That is 46% of my body weight.

I had no idea about this strict press stuff. I don’t think I have even tried it before. I can do a push press and I’m okay with the whole dip and drive thing. However, without any dip and all drive, I’m left with nothing but the spaghetti stuff of my arms without help from anything else. I started with the bar and made it. I added five, then ten, then fifteen. I managed the 37# and tried the 42#. I tried twice and I simply couldn’t get it over my head.

When I was talking to Cheri yesterday, we were talking health and fitness. She has done so much and was slipping backwards. We made a way for her to be accountable and hopefully this will work. I knew today was going to me max efforts and I said my goal for the deadlift was to break 100 pounds. She said that it was almost what her daughter weighed.

My nice niece has been working really hard to lose weight and get in shape. She in a diminutive woman (which is the nice way to say short) and has done an amazing job. She has scaled down and toned up.

So, my former max effort with the deadlift was 92#. I got there in just a few lifts as we were running late. Then I added another ten pounds and broke the three digit barrier. I was at 102# but I really, really wanted to add another ten. I got the weights and Ryan checked my form to make sure I was getting the most bang for my buck. We tweaked a bit and I heaved. I did it. I lifted 112# damn pounds off the floor. That is one Niece or 83% of my own body weight. I’m getting closer and closer.

When I started CrossFit, I could do nothing. I know there are people who can do so much more than I can, but that’s not the point. The point is that I can do so much more now than I could back then. And since I started out so minimal, I have many more PRs and MEs to accomplish.

And I will. Slowly and surely, but I will.


I looked at today’s WOD last night and wasn’t sure if I should show up. But, it is Friday and my schedule says I go to the box on Friday and therefore, I set my alarm.

I’m still coughing but not very often and have one more day of antibiotics, in fact there is only one more pill left and then I am done with that. I’m hoping to get back to my regularly scheduled heath soon. I’m really sick of being sick.

Today’s warm-up was a 500 meter row and I made sure I didn’t do that nonsense of more than I needed to do. Then, inchworm down the mat with a push-up at the bottom. The mat seemed a lot longer than I remembered it being. Ten cherry pickers and ten squats. I asked Coach Kim to make sure my position was okay in the hopes of not reinjuring my knee. I’m leaning forward, but everything else looked good. We finished the warm-up with dislocates and passthroughs and then some good mornings.

The WOD as written:
Banded Deficit Deadlifts:
8 sets of 3 reps.
– Bar weight will be 60% of your 1 RM Deadlift. Band tension should be 25% of your 1 RM Deadlift.
– Stand on a 25# plate while doing these lifts
*These reps should be fast, just like the squats. If your reps start to slow down, either take some weight off, or use a lighter band.

Partner WOD!

In teams of two, perform:
50 Box Jumps w/ stepdown 30″/24″
50 Strict Pull ups
50 Wall balls 20/14″
50 Hand Release Burpees
– While one partner is working, the other will be running 200 meters. The person running will be carrying something. There will be a random assortment of things by the door for you to pick up on your way out.

My max deadlift was 92# and so I was working with 52# today. I used a purple band. I’m unsure of the reason for standing on a 25# plate other than to make me feel unbalanced. I guess it makes the deadlift from a lower position or something. Anyway, I got the eight sets done but I was already feeling dizzy.

Now, the reason I was leery about showing up is that partner WOD. Why would anyone pick me for a partner. I wouldn’t. I can’t do any of the things listed in the WOD, but I rarely can so I just know that and show up and muddle through. But to stick someone like me with anybody else seemed like punishment to me.

I can run 200 meters, but not while carrying a kettlebell or some other weighted object. And when I do run the 200 meters, I can’t do anything else for a few minutes. The idea is one partner runs while the other does the other movements and between the two of you, you knock out 50 reps of each movement.

Knowing all that, who would want me to mess up their stuff? We are all competitive, we do CrossFit. That’s the whole point. So, whose day would I ruin?

Well there were a couple new faces today. Jason is a coach who apparently usually does afternoon classes. I had never met him before. He was here to coach. Jared was somebody who is in the area until the end of the month when he moves to California.

Candace and Ken were both there, too. Ken had hurt his knee and had some limitations so he got stuck with me as a partner. Jared and Candace worked together. They did the stuff pretty much as written but used a 24″ box for both for box jumps.

Ken and I used a 20″ box and he can’t jump because of his knee and I simply can’t jump that high. So we did step-ups. He can’t run because of his knee and I can’t because of my age and unfitness. So he rowed and I just panted between working. We decided that he would do as many reps as I did while I panted. That worked for the box jumps. And later it worked for the wall balls.

But then we went to pull-ups and I can’t do those so I did ring rows. But I could manage more ring rows than Ken could band assisted pull-ups. So we decided he would just do time while I tried to recover. Then we did the wall balls and those things always make me sick. The up and down so close to the wall makes me want to puke.

I proclaimed that I wasn’t doing burpees. I didn’t feel good enough and it wasn’t fair to Ken because I wouldn’t have been able to do anywhere near half; probably not even a quarter. I did push-ups and waked to the end of the parking lot and back.

We managed to get done in 22.14. It certainly lacked grace and I was nearly dead when I walked back into the box to see Ken lying on the mat. I assumed that meant we had finished which was really great because my arms weren’t really up to more push-ups after yesterday and ring rows.

I’m glad Candace had someone capable to be her partner. I suppose this is fun to do for two really fit people, but to have to get stuck with me as a partner just seemed cruel. I hope Ken can forgive me, but really, the cripple and coot didn’t do too bad, all things considered.


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