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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Crossfit Nottingham

big boxA day and a half later, we were training with Crossfit Nottingham – home of Legendary Fitness! (It says so on their T-shirts)

We had fun, but it was a tough WOD. The box is around four times the size of our own box, which was intimidating enough, but they were also doing AMRAPs all week, so the WOD was a double AMRAP – the first was twelve minutes long: six pistols, six ring dips and six overhead squats. I learned a new way to scale pistols, using the rings – quite demanding but it gave a real sense of what the full movement into a pistol would be.

The second WOD was 16 minutes: run 300 metres, 4 powercleans, four burpee bar jumps, four deadlifts. I can’t even remember what the RX was, but I scaled to 25 kilos for the powercleans and deadlifts. The key focus of the WOD was to ‘bounce’ straight from the last of the four deadlifts, which were easy, into the first powerclean. It was demanding. Andy, who coached, reckoned five rounds for most people, and I only got three.

resultsI’m still happy with the performance, given that I’d wodded the day before, driven four and a half hours up the motorway in a titchy car and eaten my mother’s lovely but rich food the previous evening. It does show that diet is a large part of performance though and changing both what I ate and when I ate it really messed up my ability to run, let alone lift!

Bruises: from the powercleans

PB: no way!

Wishlist: got it – a Crossfit Nottingham hoody with Robin Hood on the back!

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Park WOD

park wodOn 9th December our box was closed for an Olympic Lifting workshop, and OH and I were going away for a few days, so Coach Holly posted a WOD for people to do at home, or out and about. We took it to the park!

It was a cold morning and we’d planned to be on the road at 9am, so it was early too. The WOD was:

  1. 100 metre sprint
  2. 20 press-ups
  3. 30 sit-ups
  4. 40 squats

For five rounds with a one minute rest between rounds. We marked the hundred metres and started one at each end, so that we wouldn’t get in each other’s way. My time was 26:41 which I was pleased with – it’s really tough to do sit-ups well outdoors on grass on a cold, wet  winter’s morning, and the press-ups on cold tarmac were quite unpleasant too!

Olympic Lifting

Yes. Me. Olympic Lifting. It’s an amazing privilege to have somebody at my box who is as inspiring as Coach Holly and last night I actually got brave enough to go down and take an Oly class.

I’ve sat in on the class before. I was writing a weightlifting radio play over the summer and sat on the sofa and listened to the instruction from Holly and the sounds of the weights and the athletes, rather than participating, so it was a very different experience to be joining in with the rest of them.

Of course I was a beginner – actually I was ‘the’ beginner but that was okay, I knew it was going to be challenging enough, and it was. I have no idea what Marta, Rosie, Tom, Camo, Ash and JR were doing: my focus was entirely on trying to master some basic techniques with a 12 kilo bar. I practiced Snatch Pulls, Power Snatches, Overhead Squats (at which I am dire), Clean Pulls (yes it sounds dirty), Power Cleans, Front Squats and Push Jerks. I don’t know how many I did. After a while Holly said I could put some weight on my bar … woo hoo! Then I did another endless amount of the same things with 17k.

6 dec 12My elbows are too slow, I don’t keep the bar close enough to my body, I forget to open my hips, my knees don’t push out enough and my shrug is weak. Apart from that I’m doing great!  I actually felt great – once I was able to really try and open my hips explosively I could feel a difference in the way the bar moved and working on my grip was good too, as I don’t have confidence that the bar will go where it needs too, so I’m not following through and I started to understand how that inhibits a good lift.

Bruises: we did front squats and cleans, of course I’ve got bruises!

PB: Yup, push jerk at 17k – not a great weight but my movement was good.

Wishlist: hmmm, I think I’m adding a good overhead squat to my desire for an unassisted pull-up!

Wod, Forrest Wod …Rx!

didnt dieTuesday was a running sort of day and I Rx’d. I don’t think this is the first wod I’ve Rx’d but it’s the first one I’ve been aware of. I remember doing the baseline fitness wod back in June and I must have Rx’d that, but in my first month of Crossfit such terms had no meaning for me – my only desire was to get through each session with this picture in mind. The day we did the beach wod, in particular, I remember jogging down to the beach reciting in my head ‘finish this workout, do not die!’ as if I really thought it was a possibility!

I learned something about myself today that shocked me. I was lifting with three other women and failed at the third of the 6×3 presses. ‘I’m out’ I said, standing back and preparing to just change weights for the others as they lifted. But Oni pointed out that I didn’t have to drop out, I could go back down through the weights and work on my technique. ‘You encourage others,’ she said, ‘don’t be so hard on yourself.’

Was I being hard on myself? I didn’t think so. It made me cringe to ask the others to lower the weights so I could lift the same amount over and over again. I felt I shouldn’t have been there. Coach David told me to carry on and perfect my lift at the weight I could manage. I still felt I shouldn’t be doing it. I felt I was holding others back and breaking the upward progression they were achieving. I really struggled to do it.

I remember my father as a really determined athlete – he never failed at anything he tried … I have a little brother who is a natural runner, kicker, lifter, catcher … I remember being at school and actually having a PE teacher who told people they didn’t have to pick me for a team because I could help her keep the score instead. The message I picked up from all this was that not only was a bad at physical exercise (and I was, I was atrocious at it!) but I shouldn’t get involved with ‘real’ athletes as I would only be in their way. I’ve got to be honest, sticking with it today was really tough for me but maybe it will get easier and I won’t feel like such a fraud.

The WOD

4 dec 12So, we ran a mile – I was not quite last. It was a cold mile, starting in the almost dark and running towards the rising sun, pretty spiritual and all that if your teeth aren’t chattering (mine were) but I had gloves and a positive attitude and that was enough to get me round. Donna was ahead of me and I’d hoped to maintain a steady distance behind her, which I think I did. Time for the mile – 9:25. Back into the box for 150 squats, and at some point in the process I remember hearing coach David say ‘nice depth, Kay’ which was encouraging, after all the months of being told to keep my head up and my heels down.

The second mile was easier. I’m not the fastest runner but I am phenomenally consistent, my miles tend to be run at the same pace from the beginning of a 6 mile run to the end, so I knew I would be able to keep to a reasonable pace, especially now I was warmed up. Donna was ahead of me again, and this time I started to reel her in a little, not much, she was still waaaay in the distance but I know that on the final long straight run into the box I was closer to her than I had been as we set out, and also closer than when we ran the first mile. Overall my time was 23:46 and although I was the last to finish the wod in my group, I absolutely did Rx and I wasn’t the slowest to do the wod on the day. OH says I am starting to creep up from always last – I’m not totally convinced of that, it might just be a blip, but I’ll take the blip and be happy with it!

Bruises: one, from box jumps at home

PB: a pathetic 23 kilos on my strict press (it was meant to be x3 but I only got x2)

Wishlist: the pull-up – I’m down to just the purple band now!

Wod invention

selfridgesI came home from a night out with the girls to find OH, who is also now doing Crossfit, because he couldn’t believe I was out-deadlifting him, had made me a 12″ box to jump.

A couple of days earlier I was up in Oxford Circus, meeting people, looking at the lights, window shopping … and I saw this section of Selfridge’s window and was immediately enraptured: but not by the handbags, by the boxes! I stood for some time, ruminating about which of them I could jump, and then decided I must be completely addicted to Crossfit and it was clear that my box jump phobia was out of control.

The next day was open gym and I took my phobia with me. I did manage some box jumps but they were fearful and unrhythmic and I knew I’d lost the confidence I used to have with them. To bore for England once more – if you have proprioception issues you probably don’t have a ‘body memory’. I certainly don’t which means I’ve had to relearn how to ride a bike (three times, and I still fall off a lot) and how to swim (only once, after a break of about three years) both of which are supposed to be skills people retain for life.

box for jumpsCrossfit is great if you have poor proprioception as it constantly challenges your balance and body awareness. It’s not so great though, if newly learned techniques don’t come round often enough for the mind to retain them. I haven’t done a wod with boxjumps since the summer and I’ve forgotten whatever the script was that made it possible for me to do them, so I’m having to relearn.

Hence OH making me a box to jump, a sturdy, right-height, non-slip surfaced box! I have now designed my own daily mini-wod which I call the dirty thirty: ten box jumps, ten press-ups with my feet on the box (as a preparation for handstand press-ups) and ten squats to the box. Gotta love a man with carpentry skills!

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