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Category Archives: benchmark girl wods

Angie third time around

baby burpeeYesterday the WOD was Angie:

• 100 pull ups
• 100 push ups
• 100 sit ups
• 100 squats

For time.

It was a full class and I’d brought somebody along for a taster session who clearly couldn’t start with Angie, so he got to do an alternate WOD outside the box. Fortunately it was a gorgeous morning.

There were too many of us to all get pull up bars at once, so Kat, Oni, Rob and I started out with push ups and finished with pull ups. That was, I have to say, utterly foul. The one good thing about Angie is that you get squats last – except this time we got pull ups last!

angie 29 aug 13I took the Silver option, normal rounds but with a band for the pull ups (two bands, actually, one red, one purple, I’m not daft!) and finished in 21:51, a whole 4 minutes and 17 seconds faster than my previous time, and the previous time I was using a green band AND doing girl push ups from my knees!

I’m very chuffed with my new pb. The 100 push up programme really had worked its magic, although I only got to 50 before I had to stop the programme because of (unrelated) injury. I did the push ups in tens and didn’t have to stop for more than a single breath and a quick shake of the arms throughout the hundred, and didn’t stop at all in my sit ups. One little break in my squats, to reset my position and then working in tens for the pull ups – as a result, I got a time I feel really good about.

The lift was single leg deadlifts – very tough.

I forgot to post Tuesday’s WOD, mainly because I was so exhausted after it. It was:

400m run
20 kettlebell swings
20 box jumps
20 hang power cleans
400m run
20 kettlebell swings
20 box jumps
20 hang power cleans
400m run.

The only notable thing for me about the WOD was that I decided to try jumps again, using two stacked 15k plates. It was horrendously difficult and I struggled to keep going because I was constantly having to override what my synapses were telling me so that I could continue the movement. But I did it. It didn’t feel at all good, but maybe if I keep trying, I’ll get to the point where it becomes easier again.

• Bruises – nope
• Wishlist – stringing together some double unders
• PB – oh yes!

Burpee challenge day 29. Still going.

Oh frabjous day!

jabberwockyAnd other Carrollisms for those who like them (callooh callay! are the ones that spring to mind) and for those who don’t – tough. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I don’t really care, you can Google it.

So yesterday I RX’d the WOD (sort of) and didn’t die (but felt like I had).

It’s one of those Benchmark WODs – other workouts in my diary.

Christine (on the run)

• Run 500 metres
• 12 bodyweight deadlifts
• 21 box jumps 24/20 inches

Three rounds.

The bit I didn’t RX was box jumps. I really don’t know if I will ever be able to do box jumps again. I did box step ups, and apparently that counts.

It took for-flaming-ever! 17 minutes and 15 seconds to be precise. I hated every single second. But I did it.

15 aug 13I weigh 52 kilos. I really really know exactly how much I weigh!

So … that was tough. Today was even tougher, as it’s day 16 of the 100 day burpee challenge and every damn one of those sixteen burpees hurt! Mental toughness and all that aside, it’s excruciating to burpee when you’re all DOMS.

But I’m happy – I can see I’m making progress.

Re-mojo WOD!

25 july 2013I couldn’t have guessed it would be GI Jane With Balls that renewed my confidence, but it was.

Before the WOD we had tech practice on handstands, handstand push-ups or walking handstands. This didn’t strike me as a likely scenario, but after some one-on-one coaching from Barney, I found I could actually kick up into a headstand against the wall, using abmats as a support for my head, and once up there I could stay balanced for a good long time without any support. That was a surprise! Although, on reflection, it shouldn’t really be much more difficult for me to balance on my hands than on my feet, as the level of proprioception is about the same. The swollen blood vessels in my eyes are a surprise though – I didn’t think I’d been inverted anywhere near long enough for that to happen.

The WOD – nicely named GI Jane With Balls is100 ball-slam burpee pull-ups for time. Nasty!

Gold was 9/7 kilo medicine balls. Not possible for those who don’t have a strict pull-up of course. Silver scale was the same medicine balls but jumping pull-ups from a box. Bronze was as silver but no pull-ups at all.

I decided to try silver, although I had no great hope of it, so I took a 3 kilo ball and put it beside my box so I could scale part way through if I had to. It was a hot and horrible exercise in grit and willpower – and also a test of basic maths under pressure.

Somewhere between 60 and 50 reps I forgot to rub off the whiteboard mark to show I’d completed a round of ten, so I decided to go for twenty reps and then erase two marks. When I’d finished I thought about it and now I think I miscounted and only did 19. So I’m pretty sure my time is for 99 reps, not 100.

Somewhere around 77 I decided it would be nice to scale, but I couldn’t find my 3k ball in my peripheral vision. Then I remembered Barney striding over to yell at me to keep my spine straight in the ball slams and of course he’d taken my baby ball away to stop me wimping out. So I finished the WOD with my original scale in 20:33 minutes. Not fast and not pretty, but done.

Just to repeat myself:

• 100 ball slams
• 100 burpees
• 100 jumping pull-ups.

Never in my wildest dreams did I believe I’d be able to do that – and in 20 and a half minutes too!

Bruises – no, but nice eyeball congestion
Wishlist – today I’m happy with what I got!
PB – well, even one headstand would have been a personal best so to get to balance for as long as I did, four or five times in a row, was rather exciting.

Today I love Crossfit – scarlet eyeballs and all.

Female perfection

Posted on

It’s a beautiful piece of synchronicity that this blog post appeared today. Female perfection is a big issue for me in crossfit terms and today – the day I gave myself a black eye without even knowing I’d done it – was a day when I was starting to really think this journey might be over for me.

  • Last week of Wendler and I only just equalled my previous 1 rep max in strict press. With bad form.
  • We did Grace. but GTOH rather than strict. I was the slowest. Again.
  • And the black eye, naturally.

So I came home feeling as if I was slipping backwards and there was no point. My box has capped membership because it’s so popular and there’s not enough space for everybody who’d like to be a member and I feel like I should give up my place to somebody who would be able to make better use of it than me.

So Stephanie Vincent’s post was inspiring. Somewhat. But the truth is – I ONLY feel this way about crossfit. I am happy with the way I look. I am thrilled by my career, a profession in which I experience a lot of rejection and a lot of success and affirmation and I cope with both pretty well. I like my relationships.

It’s just crossfit – and I don’t want to be perfect, I just want to be good enough to feel that I’m a part of that world, not a hanger-on. Not sure how I get there from here, but I’ll start by going back on Friday …

What’s worse than one Girl WOD?

4 mar 13 frannieTwo girl wods! Not so much a case of tasty girl-on-girl action, nor even a mash-up, more like a slow train wreck of female woddity. Fr-Annie was an evil bitch and I don’t exaggerate! There are some crossfit exercises that are horrible and then others that are horribility squared when put next to each other.

So if Fran is 21-15-9 thrusters/pull ups

And Annie is 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 double unders/sit ups

What’s Fr-Annie?

50 double unders/50 sit ups
21 thrusters/40 double unders/40 sit ups/21 pull ups
15 thrusters/30 double unders/30 sit ups/15 pull ups
9 thrusters/20 double unders/20 sit ups/9 pull ups
10 double unders/10 sit ups

I don’t have any double unders and may never get any, as that’s the kind of exercise that you need to have both proprioception and body memory to be good at, so I took the silver option (three skips for each double under) making a massive 450 skips in total. On the downside I only used a 15 kilo bar for the thrusters instead of 20 kilos meaning I opted for the bronze weight (bronze as standard was two skips instead of three) – you know, I think I’m never going to be strong enough to get to an Rx weight for a lifting WOD and that makes me sad. The worst thing was that on the first round of sit ups I discovered my new Nike top has a seam that runs across the middle of the back, and it was going to do that thing of making a nice raw patch on my spine so I had to go and get a mat to stop that happening. It cost me a couple of seconds.

I was okay with my time of 19:02 although I’d hoped to go under 19 but the last ten sit ups just took forever, I kept trying to speed up and my body wouldn’t go any faster! I’m not so okay now I’ve seen the board and seen that I was slowest.

•    Bruises – I think I have a permanent neck mark from the knurling on the 15 kilo bar
•    PB – I put 2.5 kilos on my push press in the lifting, which was pleasing
•    Wishlist – to be quicker, or to be able to try for double unders. Maybe I’ll try and learn them next month …

Valentine’s Day WOD – Jackie

14 feb 13 jackieOkay, so I’m really late posting this but exciting stuff happened in between doing the WOD and today, such as my second book being published and the beginning of our orchard planting. An exciting week …

So Thursday was Jackie.

  • 1000 metre row
  • 50 thrusters
  • 30 pull-ups

I was worried about this, because I’ve been trying to understand a new rowing technique with a clear redirect from the full extension into the fold position, and having two lots of ‘instructions’ in my head can go badly wrong for me. In the event, it worked out fine and I rowed faster than the last time I tried a 1k, so I was happy.

For the thrusters I took a 12 kilo bar – the Rx is 15 but I’d already wiped myself out on the push press so I knew there wasn’t going to be a lot going on with thrusters! I used a purple band for the pull-ups – I really don’t ever want to be back on the red one, but I suppose when Angie comes round again, I’ll probably have to add in the red.

Overall I’m okay with my time of 13:04. The pull-ups after thrusters and push presses were really difficult, and I was more concerned to get my chin over the bar than about time. Not the most exciting WOD I’ve ever encountered but I suppose they can’t all be high drama or our hearts would never take the strain!


Getting brawny with Mary

7 feb 13 maryFirst time that Mary’s made an appearance at Reebok Crossfit Connect Hove apparently. I had no great expectations of this WOD, being mainly focused on the Open Gym straight after and that I’d committed to getting back onto a 12” box by the end of it, come what may. With that terrifying thought in my mind, I just didn’t think about the WOD at all until we were into it.


•    Bronze – 5 press ups, 10 squats, 12 pull ups (assisted)
•    Silver – 5 box or pike press ups, 10 pistols, 15 pull ups
•    Gold – 5 HSPUs, 10 pistols, 15 pull ups

As I can’t do pistols (well I red bandcan, after a fashion, but when my proprioception is bad, pistols are an insane thing to try and attempt) I was definitely going for bronze on this WOD. Bearing in mind my experience with the two bands on Monday, I tried a couple of pull ups with the purple band only – it was quite hard work but I decided I’d try and make the first couple of rounds with just the purple band and add in the red when it got too much for me to make good reps. But somehow I never did!

9 rounds on the purple band. I was down to singles on the pull ups by the last round, and I no repped myself twice when I didn’t think I’d got my chin over the bar, but I didn’t have to supplement with the red band at all. Once my arms and hands stopped shaking I felt like a superhero! Doesn’t that band look lonely?

•    Bruises – none
•    PR – does going down a band count as a PR?
•    Wishlist – that I could relax about the box jumps (I jumped stacked plates and finally got to 7 box jumps on the 12” box but it took every bit of courage I had to do it).

(I don’t want to go to) Chelsea

That’s an untrue statement. As a Costello fan and as a Crossfitter, I loved Chelsea!

Chelsea – on the minute, every minute for 30 minutes

  • Gold – 5 pull ups, 10 push ups, 15 squats
  • Silver – 4 pull ups, 8 push ups, 12 squats
  • Bronze – 3 pull ups, 6 push ups, 9 squats

When you can’t complete the exercises within the minute, you rest for two minutes and drop a level.

28 jan 13I tackled the silver level again, using a purple and skinny red band – I find this way of scaling a WOD really works, as I’ll usually be silver but I can pause to assess my current abilities and consider if gold is worth trying for, or – when I’m injured or really struggling with proprioception – drop to bronze. (By the way, just in case there’s somebody else like me out there reading this – were any other brain-injury people badly affected by the Mercaptan leak from France? I had to miss a training session as the gas gave me visual aura as well as incessant sneezing. I’ve spoken to one other skull-fracture survivor who got the aura too so just wondering if it’s part of the deal for us.)

Back to the point. I got 18 rounds but couldn’t get back to the band for my next lot of pull ups. Two minutes out, then I did the bronze round until the 30 minute cap. I beat OH who did the WOD at silver but without a band and blew out at 13, and again half way through the bronze, but he did manage to kip his pull ups for the first time. Credit to him, but let’s not forget that I BEAT HIM. It doesn’t happen often, I need to milk it!

Bruises – from Saturday, a collarbone one from the push press and my right knee from burpees

PB – hell yes, first time at Chelsea and I beat my husband! That’s a PB and a half at least!

Wishlist – stronger wrists/to get off the red band/that they’d been playing this particularly wonderful live version of I don’t want to go to Chelsea while we wodded

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