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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Kool-aid ingestion results report

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30 may 13Today I wodded solo. In the rain. At 06:30. That must be a kool-aid phenomenon!

I arrived at the box to find Coach Barney with an even blonder quiff than last week. At 06:32 it became clear I was the only person doing the morning WOD, so I got on with it. There was a nasty little medicine ball warm-up, including cleans, lunges, sit ups and box step ups, then tekkers.

My tekkers was toes to bar development. I’ve really struggled with this movement and although I feel like I should be pretty close to it, I’m not. Barney showed me a couple of reasons why not: I’m not opening my shoulders enough and I need to do more work on core activation to get the movement right. Of course, I have my standard sequencing problem to contend with, but that’s my business, so for now I’ve got hollow body rocks to work on at home and a new way to do my pull up programme, by assuming the t2b position in the band to help me develop the core position.

Finally the WOD. Barney asked if I’d like to row, given the rain, but I’d always rather run.


•    400 metre run
•    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 – box jumps
•    10, 9, 8, 7, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – burpees
•    400 metre run

Now I’m not currently doing box jumps, so Barney set me up with a nice little lateral hurdle jump, which was fine jumping right to left but really difficult jumping left to right, as my left side is my ‘non-starting’ side. Still, I managed it, which felt like a win.

excellenceThe second run was slow, partly because I could feel the calf muscle starting to pull, but partly because I was just totally flat-lining – wodding alone is weird, without anybody else to focus on, even if it’s just the peripheral focus of seeing the blur of really fast athletes like Dean and Rob or hearing the bouncing bars of massively strong ones like Sean and Will, leaves me nothing but me to engage with. And that is much tougher than wodding in a group. Usually I’ve got athletes ahead of me to aim for, sometimes there’s even a newcomer behind me to encourage, but all on my own there’s just my performance, my laboured breathing, my footfall, and Barney yelling encouragement to me and me alone.

Time – 12:38.

Sense of being dedicated – 100%.

Privilege of having a hour’s one-to-one coaching – priceless.

  • Bruises – nope
  • PB – nope
  • Wishlist – despite the value of getting personal attention for the whole of my tekkers, I’d like more company next time!

Wodly Wonderland

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23 may 13Not because there was anything wonderful about the WOD, but because the temperature when I drove to the box this a.m. was 5 degrees. That’s ridiculous! I almost expected to see snow.

It was also a chilled out Wendler, with Coach Barney’s new platinum bonce shining like the sun and some kind of weird hippy music going on (don’t ask me, all I can tell you is it’s the stuff I turn off if I’m nearest to the volume dial) but I managed a 57.5 kilo x 6 max out which I’m happy with as it’s above body weight. Hoping for a bit of an increase in my one rep max on deadlifts too, at this rate.

As for the WOD – couldn’t have been simpler:

•    20 weighted lunges
•    100 metre sprint
x 5 (2 minute rest between rounds)

Calf strains and lunges are not good company, so I knew bronze would be my maximum and that even a paltry 7.5 kilo baby bar was going to really weigh heavily. I also knew I was going to jog, not sprint.

Well, I knew that until round two. Then I got fed up with jogging while everybody else sprinted. I didn’t exactly sprint because I could feel the calf muscle crepitating (a writerly word if ever there was one) but I found a pace between jog and sprint where the muscle stopped crackling and I used it for the next run. Then I got back into the lunges and discovered that I’d developed a neural misfire and both my legs were trying to step forward at the same time. (Want to know what that looks like? It looks like a really naff broad jump.) I could get my left leg to step forward and my right to stay still, but not the other way round, so the fourth round I had to do lunges entirely on one side.

I will admit that I was downed by this. In my head I was imagining ‘losing’ lunges the way I’ve ‘lost’ box jumps and not getting the neural script right ever again, but I ran the 100 metres, came back in, picked up the bar for the last round and boom! – straight back into alternate leg lunges.  My time was slow, my weight was light, I got DOMS within about 3 hours of the WOD, but I’m a profoundly happy wodly bunny today – there’s nothing like thinking the worst and having it disproved to raise your spirits.

Sooooo … back home, whilst whacking my way through the undergrowth of the Skills and Employment Report to find something meaty for a client’s blog (oh yes, my life as a ghost blogger is SUCH fun!) I diverted to Facebook during my tea break and came across this profoundly (to me) interesting and unimaginable point of view. Balpreet Kaur is not only one of the most honest and large-spirited individuals I’ve come across for a long time, she’s clearly also a world-changer in the best way, in that the best way to change the world is one person at a time. However (and isn’t there always a however?) I’m completely at sea with the philosophy she lays out so simply.

I don’t actually have problems with my body (image), never have had. I was blessed with a physical form that other people liked, it was attractive enough to earn me money just by my standing still draped in garments (okay, really small garments, but hey … still garments) and it wasn’t just that other people liked it, I did too. If I could have got through life standing still I’d have been blissfully happy. My problem is that my physical appearance and physical capacity have a mismatch: I’m clumsy. I fall over a lot. I can’t do basic things like connect a bat/racket/hand and ball. I don’t remember physical skills.

I’ve always tried to ‘improve’ that aspect of my physical being, or, as Balpreet so delightfully puts it, body-tool because I always felt that I was letting myself down and that if I worked hard enough I could get my movements to match my appearance. And the truth is it never happened. Crossfit is the closest I’ve come to normal coordination  and I’m still a considerable distance behind ‘average’ and a massive distance behind ‘Crossfit average’, which seems to me to be almost superhuman. But I strive and strive. So Balpreet’s assertion that changing the body is a form of rejection (regardless of one’s belief in any given divinity) is fascinating.

Do I reject my body? No, absolutely not. At the age where many women are supposed to be hating the way they look more than ever in their lives, I accept and like the way my body is changing: grey hair, wrinkles, sagging bits and all. I am very happy in my own skin. Do I reject my physical form though? Ah … that’s a nasty one. Yes, in truth, I do. I hate being clumsy, I loathe being unable to pick up techniques and follow along with exercises, I despise my own inability to remember physical performance patterns.

And so, although I know I’m not going to stop striving to achieve a more graceful, swift and powerful way of being, because the alternative is not stasis, it’s degeneration (failure to maintain neural pathways leads to degradation of physical performance, ask any stroke victim) I’m opening my mind to a new idea that my approach to this is to face my own body with hostility and shame, and that nobody ever performed well under the eye of a hostile watcher, even if (especially if?) that eye is their own.

•    Bruises – both knees
•    PB – nope, but I don’t care, happy bunny etc
•    Wishlist – nope, Balpreet’s given me more to think about than just my wishful thinking, for once!

And today’s (Thursday) WOD …

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rower… is brought to you by Run To You (Bryan Adams) only partly because we’ve been having a facebook debate about playlists at our box and some brave soul is putting together a Canadian one.

When you get to the box and Coach Barney begins the session by apologising you know it’s going to be an unpopular WOD. And so it was – today’s workout was simply a 5 kilometre run – for those that can run.

‘Was I going to row it?’ he asked. My response was non-verbal and non-positive.

Fortunately, Sean turned up, so I knew I wouldn’t be rowing alone. Doubly fortunate, I’d put my sunglasses in my bag so I could row outside again without getting eyefuls of grit this time. Still, the prospect was considerably less than thrilling.

I pressed for the Wendler, and as I’m on the second week, got a max out of 17.5 kilos x 9 which is respectable for me. I think I’ll get a nice one rep max at the end of the cycle.

By the time the runners were poring over the route map, I’d found out that Rob was rowing too. Both guys opted for an indoor row while I took my machine outside in the hope it might convince me that I was going somewhere. It was at this point, as the ten second timer was counting down, that I realised I had no water, no foam pad for the rower and Barney suggested – at the top of his voice – that I might enjoy listening to some Nina Simone. I used objectionable single-syllable language to reply.

I was not thrilled at the idea of a 5k row and at 1.5k was feeling like I was going to hurl. Barney appeared beside me at that point and said, ‘Go to 2.5 kilometres so you get a time for your 5k’ and I grimaced at him and rowed on. No more foul language, although I can’t take credit for restraint, I just didn’t have any breath left.

imperfectionsTwo things I discovered during the row:
1.    It’s a lot more fun to row with sunglasses on
2.    Said sunglasses start to steam up pretty quickly and eventually it’s as if you’re rowing through a tropical sea fog – like a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean but with less Johnny Depp and squawking parrots and more Coach Barney yelling encouragement and van drivers from the next door unit passing comment on my performance – in truth there wasn’t much to choose between them and a parrot. Possibly the parrot would have had a better vocabulary.

Then I hit my second wind. I’ve never had a second wind when rowing before. It was exciting.

I rowed 95% from my legs, so bite me! If I’d had to row predominently with my arms, I’d never have made the distance – which I did, and I think I even had a negative split from the 2.5 kilo point. My time was 24:49 which I’m totally stoked about. I managed to finish the row before the last runner was back, which felt like an awesome achievement to me. I may pay for it tomorrow but I don’t care – it was like being one of the 300!

Falling in love again …

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13 may 13What am I to do?

Double your money, double your fun, today, two WODs being posted in a row, as I’ve trained but not blogged – life’s been too exciting.

So, Monday’s WOD was a monster:

Pull ups
Kettlebell swings

1 kilometre run

Pull ups
Kettlebell swings

•    Bronze – 15-12-9 12 kilos for men and 8 for women and an 800 metre run
•    Silver – 16 kilos for men and 12 for women
•    Gold – 24 for men, 16 for women

And, just to annoy Coach David, I messed up the scaling by doing 8 kilo kettlebell swings, a 400 metre run (scaled for the calf strain) but 21-15-9 and 9-15-21 on the burpees, pull ups (red and purple bands) and swings. My time was 24:45 and I was very happy to get it.Sometjing happened to the WOD after the morning class (I don’t know what) which is why the 06:30 class names are bracketed together – like I said, a monster!

I also did back squats for the Wendler lifts and got a max out of 15×30 kilos which is waaaay below where it should have been but still felt good given the calf strain and the fact that I haven’t squatted for …. oh, about two months.

The big deal though, isn’t that I got a time I was happy with or that I was finally able to run (jog) again after so long, but that I went into the box feeling utterly demoralised and pretty well ready to give up because I still haven’t, after nearly a year, managed to Rx anything and came out as somebody who can do 5 strict press ups. It might not sound big to more accomplished athletes but it’s a huge achievement for me. Next target: toes to bar!

9 May row, row, row your boat WOD

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kays eggsWell, it was for me. Everybody else got to run, except Sean, who’s injured too. Their WOD was 1 mile run – 3 minutes rest x 3. Sean’s was 1 mile row – 3 minutes rest x 3. Mine was 1 kilometre row – 3 minutes rest x 3.

My times were 4.49, 4.45, 4.48.

How do I feel about this? Crap, frankly. Or to be more accurate, crap is how I feel at the time. Coach Barney came out to the car park at one point and accused me of admiring my reflection in the car alongside the rower. If I’d had breath I would have laughed (derisively) as what I was actually doing was trying to work out if I was rowing properly. You know, when you start to wonder if you’re doing it all wrong and you forget what the sequence is: legs then arms, or arms then legs? So you start trying to work out how it would go if you did it the other way (whatever that is!) and confuse yourself entirely and end up with no rhythm at all …

Or maybe you don’t. Maybe that’s just me.

So I could tolerate being the dimmest bulb at the box if I was strong, or I could probably accept being a weakling, if I at least had swift perception and a meteoric learning curve, and I might be able to tolerate both slowness and weakness if I had immense mental fortitude and a great spirit. But the truth is I am a feeble, slow, wimp. I am not tough, I have no speed and my strength is derisory. So most of the time I leave the box feeling crap.

Like today.

And that lasts quite a while. A couple of hours, a couple of days … right up until I get into the real world again. Today it was about four hours, when I found myself deadlifting a 90 litre sack of bark and couldn’t understand why my male neighbour over the road was staring at me. Then I remembered that it’s not common, outside the box, for women to go around lifting more than their own bodyweight. And I felt immense and awesome …

Also, there’s something peculiarly satisfying about going to the box with ramsons, purple sprouting broccoli and tarragon and coming home with eggs!

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