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Let the coaches coach!

be proudSomething has been really bugging me. Just after I had a melt-down about not being able to WOD, and spoke to Coach David and eased myself back into the box, another member of my box, who doesn’t know me at all, gave me some unsolicited advice about something I was practicing in Open Gym.

Here’s what I wanted to say.

“Whoever you are, you’re clearly good at this stuff and you can see I’m not. Your advice is well-intentioned but, friend, you don’t know me. Don’t dump your perceptions on me and expect me to be grateful, because I’m not. Don’t hand me what works for you, because you know nothing about me, my problems, my capacities or what I’m here for and the simple fact that you think you’ve got the right to try and coach me shows me that you think YOU know better than ME.

“Maybe you do. Because you can see, as can everybody else in here, that I am crap at this particular skill. But listen, you don’t know what it took for me to get this far and you have no idea what it takes for somebody like me, who’s not a natural, who’s old enough to be your (crossfit) mother, who’s failed again and again and again JUST TO KEEP STANDING HERE AND FUCKING UP IN FRONT OF YOU.

“So please, my friend, keep your expertise to yourself. High-five me, hug me, slap me on the back, ignore me if I embarrass you, and I’m sure I do because you’re an athlete and I’m not. But don’t tell me how to do what you find it easy to do because – seriously – do you think I’d be doing this so badly if I had any choice?

“And one last thing, matey. I’m here. I’m trying. I’m 100% doing my best. I know you think you can help, but 100% is all any of us have to give. Before you offer your easy solutions to anybody else, ask yourself one question. Did I ask you for your opinion? If not, why not try waiting until I do? I’m using all of my 100% already – your input has no place to go except … when I walk out of here burning with shame that a random stranger felt it right to critique my poor performance, it could be the 1% that stops me walking back in again.”

Okay, rant over.

I’m really grumpy today because it was Angie and I wanted to WOD but it’s not the best idea to squat 100 times with a Baker’s cyst and there’s no point me scaling that because I wanted to better my current Angie time. So I didn’t train and I’m really peeved (as you can probably tell). I hate not being able to WOD.

Will be starting work on some intensive physio and rehab in April. Back to the very beginning. Urgh.

Also, a great post about Crossfit Chicks. I’m so glad to see that penultimate word ‘old’ because there’s such a tendency to assume crossfit is all about strong, young people and even masters coverage tends to focus on the men. There are women out there who are forty, fifty and sixty something who are attempting to be Crossfit athletes but they (we?) are pretty well invisible. It’s nice when somebody recognises we exist.

The ‘just herding goats’ WOD

exhausted from successIf you wanted to design a daily workout to make me feel sick before, during and after, this would probably be it.

The focus: 10 minutes to achieve maximum height box jump. I don’t even want to talk about this. It’s the closest I’ve come to puking and it wasn’t exertion, it was sheer fear. I’m definitely not getting better at box jumps.

Then a five round focus on Turkish get-ups. Any asymmetric exercise challenges me a lot – Turkish get-ups, adding balance components to asymmetry, also make me feel sick.

By the end of the focus I wanted to go home. I was mentally exhausted and self-loathing because I bottled the box jumps at a pathetic 20 kilo plate on a 12” box. I have managed 18” box jumps in the past so this was all about fear and I did not overcome it. Did not. That’s all there is to it – today I wasn’t mentally tough enough to override my inadequacy.

So the WOD was:

WP_0010893 minutes max effort

• 3 x powercleans
• 3 x toes to bar
3 minutes rest
• 3 x GTOH
• 3 x box jumps (ha ha!)
3 minutes rest
• 3 x thrusters
• 3 x burpee bar hops

I took the bronze level – 15 kilos on the bar, knee raises and 12” box (and I did step ups, not jumps, I was box-jumped out by this point)

I wasn’t unhappy with my performance in the WOD:

7 rounds and two knee raises
6 rounds flat
5 rounds and two burpees.

I was very unhappy with the focus – not so much with my performance, I did as much as I could, and not with the outcome, because I did as much as I could. It’s just one of those WODs that show me that there are going to be days when I don’t have the exhaustion of success or the relaxation of failure – I just have the exhaustion with nothing to show for it. In other words, if you’re not a Crossfit natural, some WODs will drain your energy without feeding your spirit, and today’s focus was one of those for me.

Thursday 1 August – a biddable goat WOD

WP_000872So, after all the excitement of getting a double under (skipping, skipping, skipping, whipping my ankles, skipping, skipping) getting another double under (skipping, skipping, skipping, whipping my shin, skipping, skipping) getting another double under … Thursday brought no double-unders but lots of weal marks on my legs and even one on the back of my left hand (how did I manage that?) Apparently it’s normal for double unders to come and go at first, you don’t get them every time, so in double unders at least, that’s not just a girl thing!

The WOD was not one I’d ever have chosen. I think the shakiness of the photograph I took afterwards is testament to the way this WOD fried my arms and shoulders!

With ten minutes on the clock and adding one rep each time, (one of each, two of each, three of each etc) as many rounds as possible of:

• Bar muscle-up
• Toes to bar
• Chest to bar pull up
• Knees to elbows

None of which I can do.

Bronze scale was:
• Ring dip
• Knee raise
• Ring row
• Tuck crunch

benny the goatSo that’s what I did. Of course I don’t have a ring dip either, but for this WOD I was able to use a red band to support one knee and do dips – that’s a whole band down from last time I did dips, so that’s progress! It’s a goat, but it’s a goat that’s learning to behave …

I got to seven full rounds and five ring dips before the ten minute timer, which I was reasonably pleased with. Then I got to choose the cash out and opted for a wall sit, which I held for 3 minutes 47 seconds, Sol beat me, but I was still happy because I’ve done so much leg work the past few days it was encouraging to see how much static strength I still had.

Bruises – do weal marks count as bruises? If so, innumerable
Wishlist – a couple of double unders in a row would be nice
PB – nah

I’m no Samson …

double underSee that blurry picture? That’s me, skipping. It may or may not be a double-under, but if it’s not, there was one just around the corner. This is astonishing to me.

First off, I went and had a short back and sides this morning – just because I’m fed up of having hair that gets into things and has to be tied up all the time. Enough, I thought.

Then I went to open gym. I hate open gym – it’s an exercise in humiliation or, as I prefer to call it, sustained goat training. Today’s goats were pull ups (still nowhere near) and bench (still awful) and they remain goatlike.

Over the weekend Coach David posted about ordering speed ropes for double-unders. Now I can’t do double-unders but I contemplated whether getting a new rope would encourage me to make the attempt. The thing is, I’m ‘attempting’ so much stuff right now that adding in one more humiliation (goat number 7) seemed a little unlikely. Then I wandered past a charity shop on the way to meet a client and as it was raining, wandered in rather than waiting outside in the rain. There was a Reebok speed rope for £4.00. Well, what harm could it do?

Absolutely f***ing none, it turns out! I got my first double-under within seconds of my first attempt. Then I got 11 more – all singles but I nearly got two in a row … Double-unders, no problem ….

Goat training again

shut upSo it’s been another couple of weeks – I am still struggling to find anything exciting to say about Crossfit. I am going along, but nothing to say. Some time in the recent unblogged past we did Bernard again. Bernard (RIP) was a chicken. Why s/he has a WOD I don’t know – but I do know s/he must have been a very evil chicken whose wrongs we must expatiate through suffering. Bernard is 16 pull-ups, 50 front squats, 16 pull-ups, 50 power cleans, 16 pull-ups, 50 kettle bell swings, 16 pull-ups, 50 wall balls. Ugly, evil, chicken.

I’m plagued by a dodgy calf – I get a couple of days where it’s fine and then it tightens up again and the muscle has to be rolled for ages … years of running on scar tissue and so I get to do mobility every week but I’m down to wodding once, and maybe barbells if the muscle is in agreement.

This week we did a nice lifty WOD: 15 deadlifts, 10 front squats, 5 shoulder to overhead and a 50 metre bear crawl, three times – I opted for the bronze weight (20 kilos) and my time was 10:34. Nothing much to say about that – except that before we wodded we benched and I was once again humiliated by my poor performance. Hate bench.

Meet My Goat

benny the goatWelcome to an occasional new series called Meet My Goat – it might be quite a regular event – I have a lot of goats.

Let’s get started.

This is a goat. This screaming, slot-eyed, belligerent son of Satan is called Benny. Benny is my bench press.

Last night at barbell club I equalled my one rep max. Hurrah, you say. Not so, say I. I was aiming for two reps and couldn’t get them. We were working a ladder of 10-8-6-4-2-4-6-8-10 with progressively higher weights for the lower reps to peak with a heavy two. I believe the board reveals that 99% of those benching last night started higher than I finished.

Say it again. Most people started with a ten higher than my failed two.  That’s what you call a goat! As for explosive power … glacial moraine gets deposited quicker than some of my bench presses, believe me. 27.5 kilos. It’s a disgrace.

So I need a plan for Benny. It starts with the fact that I have appalling upper body strength. Now, while that’s still true, it’s not as true as it once was. In a year I’ve got a lot more powerful – and bigger (ladies, I went from a 32b to a 34c – how’s that for a result!) and had to throw away every sleeved top I owned as my nascent biceps didn’t fit into them.

Nascent because I clearly still lack a lot of strength, and almost certainly technique. I’m also a hard gainer, the most I’ve ever weight was 57 kilos and to get there I had to eat five times a day and have protein bars in between. I reckon I’m probably back down to 53 or maybe 54 kilos now, although it could be lower – I really struggle to keep weight on. 

So my plan is twofold – talk to my coaches, get a programme for upper body strength (to go alongside my other two goat training regimes for pull ups and toes to bar) and get back into a higher protein diet, being more disciplined about eating regularly.

Hmmm. Benny – I’m watching you!

ponyThis is not a goat – it’s a mountain pony. It’s not quite a leopard, supple or otherwise (crossfit in-joke, so bite me!) but it’s not a goat either. This is my deadlift.

I can deadlift 70 kilos. That was my one rep max when I walked into the box last night. When I walked out, it was also my two rep max. Huzzah!

I rounded out my shoulders too much and I can feel my lower back is achy this morning but my deadlift, pushing off strong legs and a reasonable core, is good – I just need to keep working on my shoulder lock and my grip – I am happy with my deadlift.

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