Monday, December 29, 2008 by Daniel

Today's WOD: going down stairs.

I was pretty pleased with my results on Sunday's WOD, but it came with a hefty price. It has pretty much crippled us. It's not the WORST case of DOMS I've ever had...but it's up there. Damn rest weeks - the first workout back is so treacherous.

So, naturally, I went climbing at Ironworks.

10a(o), ML10b(o), ML10b(f), 10c(o)

It wasn't actually as bad as I feared it would be, though I kept the grades pretty low and focused on mock-leading. The first 10b went fairly well, although I BARELY got the last clip before peeling off. The second 10b wasn't so hot - I found myself in a really awkward clipping stance, hanging off my left arm and trying to clip with my right across my body to a draw with a right-facing gate. I spent a lot of time in this position, unable to get the damn rope in the draw, and stubbornly reluctant to try repositioning. I wound up back-clipping it, which isn't all that surprising. The rest of the climb went fine, but I'll need to do it again to figure out the optimal stance for that draw. The last 10c was a nice face with a little roof that went pretty much fine, but I was clearly venturing into trouble territory with pushing my legs too far, so I called it a night and hobbled home.

Climbing clip time!

Here's Natalija Gros, my latest obsession, at the World Climbing Championships last year. It's a long video, but the best part starts at about 3:30, with a tricky dyno move into a long, impossible-looking horizontal roof that she handles with no problem.

Sunday, December 28, 2008 by Rebecca

Potomac Cross Fit

Look a Crossfit Christmas Tree!

Warmup: Medicine ball games.

For time:
100 squats
3 muscle-ups (9 pullups, 9 dips)
75 squats
6 muscle-ups (18 pullups, 18 dips)
50 squats
9 muscle-ups (27 pullups, 27 dips)
25 squats
12 muscle-ups (36 pullups, 36 dips)

100 squats4:10
1:009 pull-ups - blue band5:10
0:359 dips - on parallets with feet on medicine ball5:45
4:0575 squats9:50
2:3018 pullups - blue band12:20
3:4818 dips - on parallettes - feet on floor, legs straight
50 Squats, 27 pullups - green band, 27 dips on parallettes, last 10 w/ knees bent

This workout totally kicked my ass. I couldn't even finish it.

Initially I considered doing the MU progression that Daniel did - but I can't even do a partial ring dip. My right arm won't stabilize on the rings. Yet another movement that needs work.

Bu I've heard a lot about woody bands, and I've never had the chance to use them, so I was excited to get to try them out for the pullups. For the record, while it's pretty awkward getting into and out of the bands (Jen helped everyone who was using them to get into them), I quite like them. They seem to be a good middle ground between jumping pullups and ... well ... actual pullups.

I've also never had to do dips in a WOD. Dumb luck that I always seem to miss the WOD's that require them. Really!

The downside of playing with these new toys was that meant a higher volume than the 1-to-1 exchange with the MU progression movement.

I don't know whether it was just doing a lot of squats all at once instead of smaller chunks (like Murph) or what, but starting in round 2 (!), my legs were quivering with fatigue. Maybe it was the necessity of using my legs for the pullups and dips, too? But the squats weren't the only thing that was hard. The pullups were pretty brutal, too. ANd it didn't take long for the dips to really suck, too.

Maybe it was out less than stellar 'Vacation' diet - maybe it was a week of near inactivity, but whatever the cause, my quads have not been that sore since we did Murph right after our trip to FL. I couldn't walk normally until Wednesday evening.

Potomac Crossfit itself was really nice space - they had all the great crossfit toys - a whole wall of pullup bars, a little herd of Kettle Bells, a forest of C2 Rowers, lots of box jump boxes and medicine balls, etc. And Jen (pictured center, below) was a great trainer, we had a really good time meeting her.

Berkeley and Bro take on Potomac CrossFit

Upon the recommendation of our internet buddy Melissa Byers (whom we will hopefully someday meet), we went into Arlington today for a WOD at Potomac CrossFit, about a 40 minute drive from Rebecca's parents' house. Her brother Marc came along, but sadly did not elect to join us for the workout.

PCF is a really nice facility. It is much more the "traditional" CF box than the hybrid thing we have at CFEB, so while they have ALL the cool toys and a staff of trainers, they don't have the showers, sauna, 50-foot climbing walls, etc. But they clearly also have the strong, tight-knit community that we enjoy - everyone knew each other, they were planning on partying with each other for New Year's, etc. Jen Conlin, the trainer Melissa specifically recommended, was totally welcoming and a great trainer. She couldn't remember our names, apparently, and so called us "Bro" and "Berkeley" in her exhortations to work harder, which cracked me up. She also took pictures with our snazzy new camera, which was an unexpected treat! The WOD was a sort of two-way ladder of squats and muscle-ups:

For time:
100 squats
3 muscle-ups (9 pullups, 9 dips)
75 squats
6 muscle-ups (18 pullups, 18 dips)
50 squats
9 muscle-ups (27 pullups, 27 dips)
25 squats
12 muscle-ups (36 pullups, 36 dips)

subbed Jen's knee muscle-up thingies

If that was Jason "lite," I don't think I ever want to meet regular or heavy Jason. My legs have been wobbly and barely keeping me up all day! Jen's recommended sub for the muscle-ups involved setting the rings quite low - approximately face-level when you are on your knees. Then, using the false grip, you pull yourself up to the dip position, using the tops of your feet to assist you. This winds up putting you in dip position with your feet on the ground, and you can use them as much or as little as needed to get you up for the dip. I was skeptical at first that it wouldn't be a lot of work, but it turned out to be quite tiring as long as I consciously tried to use my legs as little as possible, and it felt like great form practice. I intend to do this more.

The squats started strong, but got painful pretty quick. Her form was a little different, in that she wanted us to lift our arms up above our heads at the bottom of the squat (palms forward), which subtly changed the movement. It made it more full-body, which was good, and I think it helps keep the arch in the back, which is probably the point, but after a while I learned that you could use the arms to generate momentum to push you down and pull you up a little bit, which felt a little cheaty (a "kipping" squat?). But I used one of their med balls, so all my squats were full depth...although not all of them were in this "hallelujah" style.

Afterwards, we went into DC for what turned into a relatively unsuccessful tourist visit. On the recommendation of a friend, we went to a Capitol Hill flea market, which was somewhat anemic (we think because it was supposed to rain - although it never did). We had breakfast at a fancy french restaurant that, while delicious, was a bit too pricey and small-portioned for after a workout. After walking around the market for a while, it was quickly apparent there wasn't anything of interest there for us, so we wandered around the neighborhood a little, and then we got in the car and drove around DC looking at all the pretty buildings. Had we been more capable of walking, perhaps we would have done a museum or something, but after several years of trying we've come to the conclusion that we're just not really museumy types, so we just couldn't get excited about any of the options - particularly since we were both so wobbly from all the squats. So back home we went, and tomorrow morning we get back on the plane. I'm looking forward to being home. This place is hell on the diet.

Thursday, December 25, 2008 by Rebecca

Christmas 5-ish k

Christmas day was beautiful and sunny (if a bit chilly), so in the lull between breakfast and presents, and dinner, we decided to go for a run along the trail that goes around my Parents' housing development. My mom said it was about three miles. I think it was probably a bit less than that. I can't figure out how to get a satellite view on Map my Run, so I can't map it out for sure since it was on trails and not roads.

I worked in a rotating schedule of 3 minutes of running followed by 1 minute of walking, and I completed the run in 29:28.

The trail has a stretch that goes right along the Potomac river, and it was a gorgeous day. I really enjoyed the run, and I never had to walk during a run period - even after I ran for the first 6 minutes stright when I accidentally set my interval timers for 3 hours and 1 hour instead of 3 minutes and 1 minute. I figured that out when I started feeling like the first 3 minutes were taking FOREVER. After taking a quick break to reset the interval timers on my watch I ran for the next 3 minutes, too - so I actually ran for most of the first 9 minutes or so.

Christmas 5k

Merry Christmas!

After breakfast and loot (new camera and jumpropes!), we decided to get outside and explore the beautiful day with a run. I got a little lost, but when I got back I put in my route on and, lo and behold, it was a little over 5k.

5.17k, 28:37

OK, I'm a bit confused. This was a LITTLE bit longer than the 5k trail run we did at Thanksgiving, and a HELLUVA lot less hilly, but it took more than 3 minutes longer? Disappointing. I can think of a couple reasons, though.
  • That trail was a LOT of fun, and so prompted me to run harder.
  • More than half of this run was on large, loose gravel, which I found uncomfortable to run on, and probably slowed me down. The rest was on asphalt. The other trail was on beautiful, soft dirt.
  • Breakfast.
  • I got lost a couple times and took a couple wrong turns that forced me to either walk or double-back to find the trail.
  • I spent a lot of time today practicing POSE, and not just zoning out and running.

So, not as good as I could have wished, but I'm glad we did something other than eat candy and pie and watch TV all day. We finished up with some double-under practice with our snazzy new super-ropes. I got two consecutive!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 by Daniel

Social Climbing at GWPC

Got in a nice little session of climbing at the Power Company tonight. Didn't get to stay very long since we had some friends coming over, but what there was, was quality.

ML10a(o) - "Neck Meat"
As 10a's go, this was fairly tricky. I DID fall, but it was due to a spinning hold, and after going and fetching a wrench to fix it, completed the climb clean. Had a bit of a dihedral roof, but otherwise pretty straightforward.

I was very fortunate in that Chuck brought his rope, and he and Gita lead the 10b in the lead cave that the GWPC uses for their toprope test. After they were finished there was essentially a toprope setup on the route, so I got the opportunity to mock-lead the test route (normally there's no rope set up for the test route, so you have to onsight it for your test). I had an additional challenge in that I had to clean their rope on the way up as well as clip my mock rope in, so I got to spend twice as much time with the quickdraws as I would just leading it. I still managed to climb it clean, however, though not without REALLY pumping my forearms by the end of the climb - it was a long climb, and though it had no roof it did have a long, increasing negative incline. Big holds kept it fairly friendly, though.

I would not have passed the test, however, as I stepped behind the rope and spent a bit of time futzing around with different positioning, trying to figure out how to do the move without the fault.

Another Jim problem, this one had LOTS of neat features - a little slab, a little dihedral, some delicate traversing. My forearms were so pumped by the end of the climb, though, that I just could not complete a step-up and fell. A little rest and I was able to complete the move (and climb) without trouble.

Climbing clip! Here's Chris Sharma red-pointing "La Rambla," a 5.15a in Spain.

Monday, December 22, 2008 by Rebecca

Social Climbing 12-21-08

Holy cow I climbed my first 10b!

I had a couple takes, but it was MOSTLY me just getting up the wall. There was no ratcheting or cheating - just resting or falling. YAY!

overall, as I remember this was a pretty good night, I climbed 2 10a's and the 10b, and did a pretty decent job with all of them.

The first 10a was "Neck Meat" up an interesting dihedral feature. I had a couple takes, one where i just didn't see a foot hold, and one where i just ran out of gas, but it was a really interesting climb.

The 2nd 10a was "Ants" that went right up the left side of the smoke stack, and had a pretty significant roof to get over, and I did have 1 take getting over it, but the rest was smooth sailing. this was also a really interesting climb.

The third climb - i was considering doing neck meat again, but Evelyn pointed out a 10b on the south wall that looked like it might be doable for me, so I decided to give it a go. And i mostly got it. I had some trouble about half way up where i sort of lost the route and realized I should be more left when i was pretty far right, and I had a little bit of trouble at the very top, but other than that, I got it. It was very exciting!

Sunday, December 21, 2008 by Daniel

Pushup Nicole and the Lead Clinic

Sunday dawned soggy and cold, but Max had clearly stated the WOD would go on rain or shine ("NO WHINING"), plus a running micro-clinic with Gita, so I couldn't resist.

The clinic was actually really useful. Gita is a ultramarathoner, and definitely knows his stuff when it comes to running. He taught us the very basics of POSE running, and had us try it out during the WOD, standing outside in the rain to coach us. I knew about POSE from the CF forums, and had tried it, but without any feedback I didn't know if I was doing it right or just setting myself up for injury, so I've just been running however my body tells me to. Gita placed the emphasis on posture for all of us, touching on the ball-strike but not focusing on it. At first, I found the ball strike excessively tiring, as I was kicking my feet into the ground and dissipating a lot of energy uselessly. As I worked with it, though, I started figuring out how to take longer strides to lessen the scuffing - Gita told me I could probably take even longer strides to really quiet it down. He also sketched out some cadence work for me on one of my runs - that I should take three strides for every time I throw my left elbow back, but at that point I was so tired that trying to focus on that just threw me totally off - I would focus entirely on my left arm, and find that I was flailing around with that one trying to get the rhythm right while my right arm stayed essentially still. Must've looked pretty dumb. However, I'm sure I'll have ample opportunity to work on it more in the coming months.

The WOD today was push-up Nicole, which we did back on Halloween - also in the rain. Unlike that day, however, Max had us do the pushups upstairs in the yoga room, and added two minutes to the time to account for going up and down the stairs.

Complete as many rounds in 22 minutes as you can of:
Run 400 meters
Max Rep Push-Ups

100 reps in 6 rounds (20-20-15-15-15-15)

This is the same score as last time, but with one more round. I found the pushups much trickier in the yoga room, as my wet hands and feet slid around on the polished bamboo, and downward dog wasn't nearly as much rest as it was on the concrete outside. So between the WOD and the warmup run, this was almost two miles of POSE running. My calves are killing me.

The Lead Clinic

Tonight I took another step in pursuit of the coveted orange belay card: a lead clinic. Touchstone is apparently much more stringent and demanding with their lead test than other gyms, and though I've heard rumors, I think it just amounts to caution. So the clinic had some important information, but the most valuable of it was just exactly what was expected of us for the test.

We practiced clipping on some quickdraws they set up for us, with either hand and the biner in either direction. This was useful. We learned about back-clipping (clipping so that the climber's end of the rope (the "sharp" end) faces the wall, which in the case of a fall could result in the rope pulling across the gate and opening the biner. This is bad.) and z-clipping (pulling up rope from below your last clip and clipping that, resulting in the rope going up, then down, then up, effectively preventing you from climbing further. I've done this. It's embarassing, but not particularly dangerous.)

Then we did a three-way mock lead climb on an easy 5.8. The climber's job was just to mock lead, and to intentionally back-clip two draws for the belay team on the ground to try and spot. Then there was a top-rope belayer, and a mock lead belayer. This was when I first learned to dislike my grigri, which heretofore has been a great belay device. It's a pain in the ass to feed slack through the grigri, particularly using Petzl's required method. It's back to the ATC for me for lead belaying.

Finally, we did an easy version of the actual lead test, with the instructors watching us and giving us feedback as we led up a relatively pumpy 5.9. The instructors were to climb up above the fourth quickdraw and then fall. The fall was really the only new thing, and it's pretty scary. Once I got up there, it quickly became clear to me that the less I thought about what I was about to do, the better, so I just took a breath and hopped off the wall. Yipes! I dropped about seven feet and pulled my belayer about a foot up off the ground. It wasn't all that bad, but I'm a bit sad that that's the only element of the lead test I'll never get to practice again until the actual test.

Other things I learned (I'm sorry this is so verbose - I'm trying to cram in as many details as I can remember, so I can come back to this post to study for the test):
  • Don't step behind the rope. The reasoning behind this is clear: if you fall, and some part of your body is behind the rope, it could spin you around or flip you over, making it harder to use your legs to catch you when you swing into the wall. However, it is a difficult fault to avoid on some routes, and something I need a better grasp of.
  • Touchstone wants the lead belayer to stay directly under the climber until they clip the fourth draw, at which point they can move out a little from the wall. Other climbers I know grouse about this, because it prevents you from managing slack by moving back and forth. However, when I think about it, that's not a very wise method of managing slack: if the climber's fall pulls you up off the ground, there's however much distance of rope between you and the wall in the system. Also, the climber's fall will pull you into the wall, rather than up, which could be painful.
  • Slack management as a belayer is tricky. I think I tend to feed too much, and need to work on keeping it a bit tighter.
  • Clipping the chains at the top is the hardest part. I need to practice this.
Ironworks loaned me a small length of old rope to bring home with me, so I can set up a quickdraw here and practice clipping while watching TV, which is great. I'm thinking I might make my first attempt at the lead test next month.

This video covers nearly everything in under six minutes:

Saturday, December 20, 2008 by Rebecca

Kitchen Sink



1:40 10 GI Janes
1:04 Run 100 Meters
2:09 10 Box Jump 30" box (stepup 24")
1:02 Run 100 Meters
1:32 10 KB swing 2.0P/1.5P (1P)
1:02 Run 100 Meters
1:30 10 C2B Pull-ups (28kg SDHP)
0:47 Run 100 Meters
2:47 10 Weight Overhead Lunge 45#/25# (8kg)
0:49 Run 100 Meters
2:29 10 Ankles-to-bar (knees to chest)
0:41 Run 100 Meters
2:25 20 Supermans
0:45 Run 100 Meters
3:28 10 clap push-up (hopping? pushups)
0:44 Run 100 Meters
4:09 10 Double-Squat Wall-Ball 14#
0:00 Run 100 Meters
4:06 50 Double-Unders (Subbed 200 skips)

I think I was feeling a bit under the weather, and hoping not to push myself over the edge into full blown sick, I decided to do half volume. Also, we had a full afternoon planned with a trip to the Circus School open house and a friend's Christmas party later that evening, and I didn't want to be totally wiped all day. Blogging this 2+ weeks after the fact is tricky.

Gi Janes on rings are hard because you have to find the rings before you jump - unlike a bar which is stationary.

Even though I was only stepping up to the box, I still managed to fall on my butt when i got both feet up, but couldn't get "out of the hole". Lame.

The swings went relatively well, though I still have a little way to go before 16kg is reliably good form.

I did SDHP with the 28kg KB instead of pullups. 28kg is definitely the heaviest I have managed to perform this movement with, and I was able to get it most, but not really ALL the way up. This is a good practice movement for explosive hip movement.

I did the OH lunges with the 8kg KB ... these were hard. but i did fairly well with them. Definitely a movement I should practice.

I think the first couple reps of knees to chest were actually pretty close to knees to elbow. After the first 5 or so, they were barely knees to chest. another movement that would be good to practice.

The wall ball actually went much better than the last time i tried it. The las ttime I tried it, I could barely get any - I'm not realy sure why, but they just wouldn't go up. This time, it was pretty stright forward. I still can't string them together because I suck at catching it, but I managed to get the height.

Since I was only doing half the reps, I tried to really go for form, and not worry Too much about time, but it's hard when you just want to get it over with.

Oh, and 20 reps of the kitchen sink

This was the workout that wouldn't end:

20 GI Janes
Run 200 Meters
20 Box Jump 30" box
Run 200 Meters
20 KB swing 2.0P/1.5P
Run 200 Meters
20 C2B Pull-ups
Run 200 Meters
20 Weight Overhead Lunge 45#/25#
Run 200 Meters
20 Ankles-to-bar
Run 200 Meters
40 Supermans
Run 200 Meters
20 clap push-up
Run 200 Meters
20 Double-Squat Wall-Ball
Run 200 Meters
100 Double-Unders

My push-ups were "hopping," and my wall-ball was regular old wall-ball, but otherwise RX

There were five or so newbies in class today. I felt bad for them - this was a really high-skill workout, and there just wasn't enough time to drill them on everything. They seemed to do pretty well, though, whenever I checked to see how they were doing. Mostly I was concerned with my own thing, though.

It is gratifying that Max picked me to be in the first group with the other hardcore athletes, but I'm not quite there yet. I think I need to step up my game and rest less, if I'm ever going to catch up with Alex. (I have a couple personal goals: 1) do a WOD faster than Alex, and 2) be as strong as Jim. The trouble is that they're going to class too, and are also improving, so it's a moving target.) Getting real double-unders will go a long way to faster times on workouts like this, though.

Friday, December 19, 2008 by Daniel


Climbing at IW this morning with Tor:

ML10a(o), ML10b(f+), 10c(o), 10d(o)

I've learned that Ironworks keeps a supply of old half-ropes behind the stairs, there for anyone to use for mock-leading. This makes things considerably more convenient! I now resolve to try and mock-lead at least one or two climbs per session.

The 10a I started with was a fairly challenging one, with a long roof. I did it, but it was pretty pumpy. So it was no surprise that the 10b I did next proved challenging. It would've been a hard 10b anyway, with lots of small holds on a long negative (fucking Ironworks), and the clips were often pretty far off-route. I fell twice, and one of my clips was completely illegitimate. Hanging up the rope, I moved on to a 10c on the back wall that was a nice technical vert, with small holds that weren't so bad if you stayed way in close to the wall. Totally pumped, I finished up with a lovely 10d slab on the back wall that felt REALLY easy. I love slab. It's like ice cream.

I signed up for the lead-climbing clinic on Sunday night, which I'm really excited about. If today's 10b is any indication, I'm still a ways away from passing the test to get my lead card, but this is the next logical step in my training, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Because these climbing posts are so repetitive and unentertaining to non-climbers, I've decided to spice them up with climbing videos I've culled from the web. Here's a video of Ethan Pringle, a Touchstone climber, doing some loco-en-la-cabeza "bouldering." I'm not sure where the line is between bouldering and solo free-climbing, but I'm pretty sure this is way, way over that line.

Thursday, December 18, 2008 by Daniel

The "Games WOD"

I've seen this one crop up around the blogs n' logs, so was pleased to give it a try:

Five rounds for time of:
275/185 pound Deadlift, 5 reps
10 Burpees

6:02 185lbs

Well, I'm happy with the time, but the weight was really far too light. I should've done 225. The deadlifts felt like rest from the burpees, which I'm pretty sure isn't supposed to happen. The burpees were pretty tough - for some reason, the tired burn in my lower quads that I used to get in the early days of the burpee challenge came back, and the first deadlift would feel a bit jello-y, like running after air squats.

Max says we'll be embarking on a twice-a-week strength regimen early in the New Year, which makes me very happy - I was planning on doing this anway, but this means I can do it with the class, which is more fun. Plus, I miss deadlifts.

Watching women climb

Someone, I forget who, once told me that if I wanted to improve my climbing, I should watch women climb. As opposed to the raw strength that a lot of men display in getting up the wall, women are masters of efficiency and grace. I have read of female climbers able to climb in the 12's, but unable to do a single pull-up.

This is one of the most beautiful climbing videos I've seen, both in terms of the climbing and the camera work. It's worth clicking the link and waiting the extra few minutes to watch it in HD.

Thanks to Brian at The Way is in Training for the link.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 by Daniel

Good News and Bad News

Bad News:
I got another flat fucking tire on my way down to the gym today. That makes, like, 6 times in as many months, and the second time this week. It's very annoying. I'm going to take the bike in to Mike's Bikes tomorrow and ask them to take a look at it, maybe they can figure out what's going on.

Bad News:
I did not finish the WOD, due to ripped-up hands.

For Time:
3 Rounds
50 Double-Unders
21 Kettlebell Swing, 2 Pood
30 Pull-Ups

DNF. I made it through the 3rd round of DU's.

Between Murph and the 250 KB Snatches last week, my hands are pretty torn up. They've been starting to heal, but today ripped new holes INSIDE my old holes, so I've got like four layers of skin going on. It's pretty gross. Rebecca's got a pumice stone in the shower and tells me I need to use it file down the callouses so they don't rip off, so I'm going to try and get better about that. That said, I still feel pretty good about tonight's work-out, because...

Good News:
My Double-unders are getting close. I was able to consistently maintain the skip-doubleunder pattern for as long as 17 DU's, and was getting better and better. I feel that consecutive DU's can't be far away. It's definitely a matter of efficiency-of-movement, though: those suckers are TIRING! Max got this great shot of both of us tonight:

Aside from the fact that Rebecca looks awesome with that 1-pood floating over her head, you can see how high I'm jumping, and how far away from my sides my hands are getting. Definitely need to work on my efficiency with these.

Also Good News:
My kips are back! I was able to knock out 10 consecutive pullups on the bar tonight, and they felt quite natural. My form degraded as I got tired, of course, and I know 10 is no great shakes, but after the past several weeks of frustration, I'm happy just to see them back.

And, finally, Bad News:
We went to Sports Basement in the city tonight for the party portion of CFSF's holiday WOD-and-party, where they were offering Crossfitters 20% off everything in the store. While the party seemed nice, we didn't really know anyone, so didn't hang around for long. I had hoped to pick up a kettlebell or two, and maybe some rings, for my mom for Christmas, but was disappointed. Their bells were in pounds, sheathed in pastel vinyl colors, and came no heavier than 30 pounds. Expensive, too. No rings, either. The store is fantastic otherwise, and we ogled many great things, but after the 50+% discounts at Steep and Cheap (where we've been spending a LOT lately), 20% seemed rather piddling. So a lot of traffic and fuss, with little to show for it. We would like to go back to CFSF though, sometime. They seem like cool folks, and their location (while annoyingly hard to get to) can't be beat.

Jump rope, KB swings & pullups

Warm up: ME, kb cleans & PP, KB Snatches.

For Time:

3 Rounds

50 Double-Unders *subbed x4 skips
21 Kettlebell Swing, 2 Pood* subbed 1 Pood
30 Pull-Ups* subbed jumping pullups



This workout was hard. 30 pullups at a time (even of the jumping variety) was especially hard.

The good news (as you can see from the picture in Daniel's post) is that I am finally starting to get some good form going with the 1P KB swings. These are still hard, but more and more often, I am able to get the swings fully overhead. Max happened to capture one of the really great ones.

My jump rope form was not as strong as it was on Sunday. As soon as I tried to speed up the rate I'd fail. I had several sets of 5-15 skips especially in the last set - instead of being able to get most of the reps in a contiguous set. I did get 2 or 3 really good long sets, but mostly not.

I am trying to do my jumping pull-ups from a lower box, so that I have to use more arm strength to get up. These are definitely harder, and they definitely take longer, but another reason why the pullups took me a while is that I was sharing a box - though I think the rest was necessary.

I am resigned to this being a bad work-out week for me. It's "that time" of the month - which always messes with my energy levels, and what is much worse: my boss, who I was(am) very fond of, was unexpectedly laid off this week, and I'm not sure what the future of my company is going to be like. Just exactly the kind of stress you want to add into the holiday mix ... not.

Monday, December 15, 2008 by Daniel

Social Climbing at Berkeley Icebox

It's frickin' COLD. I know that I'm a Californian and everything, and that plenty of others are dealing with far worse (ice storms!), but...dude. When the rain outside is white and bouncy, you know it's bad.

Ironworks was like a giant refrigerator tonight. We tried to stay warm by climbing, which works great WHILE climbing, but not so much when belaying. They need to install propane heaters for belayers, especially along the back wall, which just RADIATES cold.

However, the back wall was the scene of tonight's great triumph:

10a(o), 11a(o!), 10d(f+), 10c(f+)

11a ONSIGHT! Hell, yeah. OK, yeah, it was slab and had many opportunities for rest and took me like 20 minutes, but the numbers at the bottom still said 11a! I really like slab climbing at the gym, actually, and not just because it can be a confidence booster. It's similar to book-stemming. Unlike overhang or pumpy negatives, which you want to get over with quickly before your muscles fail, the tricky slab climbs take time and a great deal of concentration. Indeed, although the moves may not require a lot of strength, they require a LOT of focus, balance, coordination and trust in your body - it can be quite exhausting, and more than a little nerve-wracking. At any rate, onsighting an 11a, particularly when it was only my third 11a, feels great.

Otherwise: the 10a was fun, and very easy, with the ledge up over the arch. The 10d was the long one on the tall column that I did a few weeks back and only fell on once - tonight did not go as well, as I was more tired and, frankly, didn't care enough. The 10c was set by Jim (I've noticed that Jim's climbs rival Flea's for hardest-in-rating) and was an extremely pumpy long negative back by the arch. I fell twice - once when my arms gave out, and again at the end when I jumped for the final hold and missed.

Saturday, December 13, 2008 by Rebecca


Warm up: ME, 400m, burgener




*subbed 4x single skips for DU.


Elapsed Time

This was Friday night's WOD - but we went out to dinner with Daniel's parents on Friday, and since i was so so sore from Murph on Saturday, I just could not even begin to think of trying to get 7,000 pounds over my head, so I elected to do this one instead.

I had some hope that I'd actually be able to get a double under, but after they still elude me, so I opted for the quadruple skips as a modification.

There's not a lot to say about this workout. Mostly I was just glad not to be lifting weights.

It looks like my situps were pretty consistently about 10 every 30 seconds. My abs are a little sore today. In the last couple rounds I managed to get the skips going really fast. I managed to get several sets in the 50-60 skips range.

It's a weird wish, but I wish i had a jump rope that was just handles and no rope but woud click when the imaginary rope would hit the ground based on the movement of the handles. ... And the reason I want such a bizarre thing is that I feel like the main reason I haven't managed to get a double under is that I am having a hard time coordinating the faster spin with the higher jump, and with an actual rope it's very difficult to practice it without actually doing it because the rope keeps getting stopped by my clumsy feet.

Perhaps a Bad Idea

I was pretty sore yesterday, after Murph. But it was manageable. Enough that we decided to take a rest day, but not so much as to cause concern. This morning, however, was worse. The DO in DOMS seems to be a little longer than usual, this time. However, that did not stop me from doing the WOD, mostly because it looked like a lot of fun and would give me a real opportunity to practice my kettlebell snatch form, something I've been wanting to do (I've got my eye on that level II 60 x 1.5 pood KB snatch).

For time:
Buy-in: Run 800 meters
Get 10,000 pounds/7,000 pounds from the ground to overhead, anyway anyhow.
Cash-out: 25 Burpees

Rules of engagement:
  • Object must begin at a point of contact with the ground.
  • Object must be held overhead in a stabilized position.
  • At the top of the movement, the knee, hip, shoulder and elbow joints must be at full extension.
  • At the top of the movement an observer looking from the side must be able to see some portion of the athletes ear.
37:00 RX
Performed as:
240 x 1pood KB snatch
30 x 2pood KB clean & push-press(two-arm)
=10,500 pounds. Oops!

Math on the fly in these sorts of circumstances is not my strong suit, so I overshot the mark by 15 reps or so. Oh well.

I really like KB snatches, actually. Done correctly, the weight just floats up there. My forearms are not banged up at all, but the skin on the palms of my hands is really thrashed. I went through half a roll of tape today, and still have a nice little collection of ripped calluses and blood blisters to show for it. It was really the clean & push-presses that did it, though - which is why I didn't do anywhere near as many of them as I expected to do. After a while, I figured out a method with the snatches to sort of flip the weight back and forth from the saddle of my thumb to the top of my fingers, so it didn't stress out the top of the palm, where all my rips are.

Turns out Rebecca caught one of my sets-of-10 on video, so might as well throw it up here for posterity...

Worse, I am really. fucking. sore. Between this workout and Murph two days ago, I've done a LOT of volume. We're going climbing in a few minutes, but I don't think I'll actually climb. Just hang out and belay. Even if my muscles let me climb (a big if), I don't think my hands would.

...Edit to add:

OK, yeah. The climbing was brutal. Stuck with mock leading, since I was too tired to climb anything harder than a 10a.

ML10a(o), ML10a(f), ML10a(o)

The first 10a followed an arete up a bit of negative, and had a couple interesting moments of holds all going to one side of the arete, or only having one handhold. Still fine, though, and pretty short. The next one was a LONG 10a on the lead wall, about 60' with a long stretch of negative and a little roof. I got a bad clipping stance and could not get the rope into the damn carabiner, and my hand was slowly slipping off the hold - wound up falling, but could have done it if my hands weren't so weak. That climb made me want to weep. So I did another one - a fairly straightforward 10a complicated by the fact that the quickdraws were all about 2' to the left of the route, which made finding clipping stances awkward. That one ended on a sharp bit of negative and clearly was not meant to be led, as there were no feet for a stance at the top - Blake and I both fell almost immediately and didn't bother clipping the chains.

Rebecca and I are totally wrecked, and have elected to take tomorrow as a rest day. Max has posted two grueling options for the WOD, and while I might otherwise be interested in running 10k, my body is telling me in no uncertain terms that it needs a break.

Thursday, December 11, 2008 by Rebecca

75% Murph and my first real mile!

Warm up: ... not quite enough. run 200-ish m some jump rope.


For time:
1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

50:17 (PR)

1 mile: 10:12!! (entirely separate from above) PR! woo hoo!

Cindy Style Rounds:
1 - 2:30 - 12:43
2 - 1:58 - 14:41
3 - 2:07 - 16:49
4 - 1:27 - 18:16
5 - 2:26 - 20:43
6 - 1:47 - 20:30
7 - 2:00 - 24:30
8 - 1:48 - 26:18
9 - 2:19 - 28:38
10 - 2:08 - 30:46
11 - 2:34 - 33:20
12 - 2:29 - 35.49
13 - 2:48 - 38:37
14 - 2:50 - 41:27
15 - 2:06 - 43:33

Transition: 1:00 - 43:44

1/2 mile: 5:43 - 50:17

* subbed jumping pullups from a low box

First of all - this workout marks the very first time since I started crossfit that I've run a whole mile without stopping to walk ONCE!

At the outset, I actually did not have high hopes for the run, because on the initial warmup run, I had not warmed up sufficiently before i set off, and my right ankle threatened to give out on me - three times! It even twinged a bit towards the end of the first 800m of the mile, and I fully considered leaving it at 800m since a mile @ the oakland gym is 2 x around the block, but by the time I reached the starting position, it felt ok, and I decided to see if I could keep going. I figured if it really started hurnting I could go in the front door of the gym on the other side of the block, but other than that, I felt pretty good, and I wanted to see if I could finish the mile.

This is a milestone I am super excited to have reached. Many thanks to Jim, who stuck around at the back of the pack to make sure I had company, particularly for the last 400m or so. The area around the Oakland gym can be a bit sketchy, and I definitely appreciated it. It was also a good motivator to keep on going so that I didn't hold him up any more than I had to.

Second of all - I did 75% of this workout about 15 minutes (!!!) faster than the last time I did 75% ... I've done 50% more recently, with a time that was closer to being on par with this one ... but I was @ 33:23 after half my rounds, and I was nearly 3 minutes ahead of that this time through, too. So big improvements all around.

I was still feeling really strong through round 10, but almost immediately after that, things started to fall apart. My pushups deteriorated rapidly, and even my squats started to get difficult. For most of the night (except the first couple and last couple rounds) my pushups were sets of 5-3-2. WIth my squats, I was working hard to try to keep my right knee stable as much as possible, so my right leg started getting pretty fatigued. I did try to make sure that despite the fatigue I didn't resort to doing lopsided squats where my left leg did most of the work.

I probably could have completed the full workout, but I knew my form would just deteriorate further, and it would probably have taken me anouther 20 minutes or more. We were also supposed to have dinner with friends afterwards, and I didn't want to be a total zombie. So after round 15 I ran 800m and called it a night. I even managed to run the entire last 800m which I count as a small victory, even if it was an incredibly slow 800m.

I was BEAT immediately after the workout, and for about 20 minutes or so afterwards. My muscles were still quivering when i finished showering, but by the time we picked up dinner, I was feeling pretty perky again, making me wonder whether I should have completed 100% after all. Now however - a little more than 24 hours later DOMS is really starting to set in, and I am sure that I did plenty.


Every time this workout comes up, it cripples me. I haven't done a full one since the August debacle, when we did it the day after we came back from vacation, which turned out to be a Bad Idea of staggering proportions. Literally: we were staggering for days. However, that was my first (and, until last night, last) full-volume RX Murph, and I was proud simply to have done it.

This time went much better.

For time:
1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

56:56 RX+
(PR by 15:17, and I accidentally did 21 rounds!)

This went really well, actually. Turns out I either didn't press my lap button, or just didn't press it hard enough, so I wound up doing one too many rounds (oops!), so in reality this time should even be a couple minutes faster. As with last time, the limiting factor was the push-ups. The pullups were not terribly difficult done Cindy-style, and before I got exhausted I was even able to string them together. I think the bar at GWPC is easier to kip on for me, for some reason. My form really fell apart on the pushups about halfway through, but at that point it was either crap-pushups or no-pushups. The squats were EASY - rather than use them as a rest, I did them quite fast, and they never gave me any trouble. The transitions were somewhat tricky due to a full class and not a lot of real estate to do the stuff.

But what I was really happy about was the second mile. Normally, I'm too exhausted to actually run the whole thing, and my time is terrible. This time it was only a little over a minute longer than my first mile, I ran the whole thing, and even managed to sprint the last 200m! Damn near killed me, though.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008 by Rebecca

Helen - in hell?

Warmup: ME, KB swings - 10 russian, 10 CF, 10 1 handed each hand, 10 KB presses, 10 KB front squats.


Three rounds for time:

Run "400" meters
1 1/2 pood Kettlebell X 21 swings (or 55 pound dumbbell swing)
12 Pull-ups


Round 1
Round 2
Round 3


I started this post the night after, but needed to go to bed. I need to finish it before the details get fuzzy!

This is about 3 minutes slower than the Helen I did on Nov. 26. There are, I think, 2 reasons for that. The first is the pullups. Last time i was doing jumping pullups from a 24" box, and I could tear through twelve in just a few seconds. This time, I wanted to try for a slightly more legitimate pull-up. My original intention was to try to do my pseudo/bent arm dead-hangs until they ran out, and then do jumping. Well - they just weren't there at all from the beginning, so I did jumping pullups from the 10" box which meant I had to do a lot more pulling with my arms to get my chin to the bar. (I think the bar is @ 8' or so.) These were a lot more tiring and took a lot longer - which feels like a more appropriate level to be working at.

The other reason is that the air quality was HORRIBLE, and I was having a really hard time breathing. At the time I just thought it was because I was tired or just having an off night and was having a bad aerobic capacity day, but a lot of other people felt it too. Afterwards, I had a cough for a couple hours. Yuck.

And the other reason - OK - maybe there are 3 - is that Max was urging us not to have any transition time or any rest time "to hit it as hard as we've ever hit anything", and I think that by trying to go full out and not rest and not have transitions, I ended up needing more rest and had longer transitions. I find that if I take a couple seconds to rest *before* I hit my capacity wall, I recover faster and can do more work more quickly than if I try to rest *after* hitting my capacity wall. Which is not to say that the "no rest no transitions" formula is a bad one to practice every now and again. I think it's probably useful to butt up against that wall and try to stretch that capacity.

That said, there were at least 4 minutes of transition time in this workout, and that's a LOT of transition time. There are maybe 45 seconds to possibly a whole minute in round 1 where I had forgotten to put my gloves on, and it took a little while to get that sorted.

One thing I am pleased about is that my run times were universally better than last time, AND the time before that (last time my runs were weaker than my previous attempt). I think that the daily walking exercises I am doing are actually making a difference. I even walked a few feet (25 or so?) of my last 400 when my breathing got ridiculously close to hyperventilating and I got a bit freaked out and decided to walk until I could get my breathing under control. (Another present from the HORRIBLE air ... did I mention it was bad?)

Also, this time, a greater percentage of my KB swings actually made it over head. Not all of them by any stretch, I counted anything that made it as high as eye level, but I tried for overhead when I could, and actually got it some of the time.

So - ultimately - even though my time took a step backwards, in terms of work performed and quality of work, i think this workout took a step forward.


Well, that was horrible.

I did not anticipate a PR going into class tonight. Mentally and spiritually I have been rather down the past couple days, due to some fairly heavy family shit. Mostly yesterday I just wanted something to kick me out of my funk, and in that, at least, the work-out was successful.

In everything else, however...

Three rounds for time:
Run 400 meters
1 1/2 pood Kettlebell X 21 swings
12 Pull-ups

13:55 RX
Splits: 3:43 | 4:53 | 5:20
Last time: 3:50 | 4:27 | 4:37

One minute slower, and SIGNIFICANTLY more painful. Hours later, and I'm still coughing. I think there were a few contributing factors here:
  • My mental state, which was pretty poor.
  • I did the first half with bar pullups, and then got frustrated with how long it was taking (I could only string 2-3 together) and switched to ring pullups, which I could do at least 6 at a time.
  • There was literally something in the air. My throat and lungs burned with the anger of a thousand fires. When it was over and I was walking around a little to recover, I had a mild bit of panic that I just couldn't seem to get enough oxygen. Max said he could smell something in the air (I couldn't). I wondered if maybe it was the coldness of the air, but we've done metcons in the cold before. Don't know what it was, but it hurt.
  • Max wants us to focus on intensity this week, and egged us on to hit this "as hard as you've ever hit anything." No pauses for transitions. I tried this in the first round, and it hurt like hell and, I think, damaged my time in later rounds. The splits don't really reflect it, but the fact that I was 7 seconds faster with bar pullups, which take much longer, says a lot to me.
So it was a disappointing result, but not altogether surprising. I'm really tired of bar pullups being the limiting factor for me. 1.5 weeks into my pullup program, I feel like it probably is helping with deadhangs, but I need to re-find my kipping technique. Tonight is Murph, and there aren't really rings at the Power Company, so it's going to have to be entirely on the bar. Plenty of time to practice, I guess.

Monday, December 8, 2008 by Daniel

Don't Blog Drunk

I have just returned from my company's annual holiday party, where I had a very nice time with friends and co-workers, with live entertainment and a bar that happened to have both Maker's Mark AND Glenlivet as well as a really nice Dry Creek Zin, and after three of the former (with soda) and one of the latter, I am pretty much useless for getting any proper work done tonight, so I figured I would attempt to catch up on my blogging first, and then later try to vanquish some foes in Puzzle Quest. This should be interesting. I don't drink very often, and almost never more than one, as I'm very careful about driving safe. However, this party was walking distance from home, and I decided to let my hair down a little. There is irony there, but you would only recognize it if you knew I was balding.

I am very sore today. Yesterday's WOD kicked my ass, in particular the KB Swings and the Jumping Squats, such that stairs and...well, movement in general are a challenge. However, due to the aforementioned holiday partying, I knew I would be unable to attend Social Climbing with the CFEB crew tonight, so I scheduled some morning climbing with Tor.

10a(o), 10b(o), 10c/d(f+), 10a/b(o)

I'm actually pretty surprised I did as well as I did, considering how beat-up I felt this morning. Usually, Monday morning climbs are more of an exercise in humility than any other sort of exercise. The 10a was a tease, with a promise of some nice book stemming that it didn't actually deliver. The 10b was...pretty forgettable, really - I remember a lot of negative incline, but big holds that made it fairly straightforward. Two-thirds of the way up the c/d I was cruising, and thinking to myself that I was some pretty hot shit, and then I hit the crux. Took me four tries to get past that bastard - just a small roof, but no feet where they needed to be and nothing but a three-finger hold and a sloper to pull yourself up - it felt like a brute strength move, and no matter how I tried, I couldn't find a graceful or efficient way past it. Now totally pumped, I dropped down to an a/b for the final climb, which was nice and challenging enough to promote technique without being so hard as to spit me off.

Two moments this morning made me quite happy. One was Jim - a fellow crossfitter and also routesetter - proffering his opinion that the 11a that I climbed last week was "a very hard 11a." The other was Tor, my climbing partner who is currently working 11b's, falling off said 11a several times, and also proclaiming it very hard. So that means that the one 11a that I have managed to complete thus far is a HARD 11a. So...ha! Whatever that's worth. Had I onsighted it, I would probably be a considerably bigger bad-ass, but if I could onsight 11a's, I probably wouldn't be spending so much energy crowing about getting to the top of one.

Sunday, December 7, 2008 by Daniel

The value of chippers

Max promised us something brutal to finish up strength week, as many folks were feeling itchy having gone so long without a metcon. So he served us up this chipper, which was as advertised:

Run 800 Meters
25 Push-Ups
Run 600 Meters
50 Burpees
Run 400 Meters
75 Kettlebell swings 1.5P/1.0P
Run 200 Meters
100 Jump Squats
Run 100 Meters
125 Double-Unders

38:25 not quite RX
(DU's were a combination of 3x singles and DU's)
Splits (run+exercise): 4:21 | 8:44 | 8:50 | 6:28 | 10:02

This one actually wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be - I had anticipated it taking an hour to complete. That said, it was pretty painful. Particularly the KB swings and jumping squats. If I could DO consecutive double-unders, those also probably would have sucked. As it was, I just blundered my way through skip-skip-skip-doubleunder until I had a number in my head that bore a resemblance to 125.

After it was all over, I asked Max about the value of chippers, which strike me as somewhat counter to the philosophy of CrossFit - to quote Guru Glassman: "Focus on intensity, not volume." (I should probably clarify here that I'm defining a "chipper" as a workout that has 1) a fairly sizable variety of movements, 2) a fairly large volume of each movement, such that 3) it takes anywhere from 30-60 minutes to complete.) His response was that the definition of Crossfit includes work across broad time domains, as well as modal, and that periodic administration of high-volume workouts was important, so long as they remained under 60 (or, worst-case, 75) minutes, and so long as they did not make up the majority of programming.

As ambivalent as I am towards these sorts of workouts, I think this is wise. Generally speaking, I think I prefer the workouts that get in and get out in under twenty minutes, as I feel that those provide the greatest cost:benefit ratio. However, there is something to be said for endurance, and the ability to self-regulate so that you can maintain a level of, say, 75% suck over a long period of time - as opposed to the 90-95% suck of a Fight Gone Bad - can have real-world benefits that I can envision. For example: we don't venture into the world of LSD (long-slow-distance) much anymore, but we do really enjoy a century or a very long hike every year or so, and I think it is these sorts of workouts that allow us to maintain a decent proficiency in that sort of work. In other words: it's a nice place to visit, but we wouldn't want to live there.

Holy Ow.

Warm up: ME, hands over head squat, wheelbarrow, piggyback rides.

Run 800 Meters
25 Push-Ups
Run 600 Meters
50 Burpees
Run 400 Meters
75 Kettlebell swings 1.5P/1.0P
Run 200 Meters
100 Jump Squats
Run 100 Meters
125 Double-Unders

*subbed a 12kg KB for swings, and did 500 single skips in lieu of 125 double-unders.





Jump Squats


Jump Rope


Um, OW!!!

Fortunately my headache disappeared late yesterday afternoon. However, my shoulders were quite sore this morning when I woke up - I'm guessing it's mostly from yesterday's Push-presses - a lot of reps with a weight that was just barely manageable - but I' m guessing Friday's presses, and yesterday's pullups also did not help. Since I was feeling beat up before the workout even started, I kept telling myself I was going to cut some part of this in half, - the exercises, the running , something, but I'd get to half, and decide that, "what the hell, I'm half way there." My shoulders might not forgive me for my stubbornness. Probably not for a couple days, anyway.

I'm glad I did my six pull-ups for the day this morning before this WOD. None of them were as good as yesterday - i think the best of them was probably nose to bar - the worst, forehead to bar.

I didn't actually mean to record my transition time, and I wasn't consistent about it after I started, but I wanted an accurate time for my runs, and I hit my lap timer right after the pushups were done. In hindsight, this is probably a pretty useful metric to track, since the goal is to get transitions down to a minimum, and since my new watch has so many laps, I might start trying to record transitions, too.

I was pretty happy to get my 800m under 5 minutes. Since there was a lot of volume and a lot of jumping, I decided to wear my trail running shoes to give me as much cushioning as possible, despite the fact that they have made me feel a bit clumsy in the past. They didn't bother me at all today, and I'm glad i decided to wear them. This workout would REALLY have sucked in my little brown shoes.

The pushups were a lot harder than they've been in a long time. I think my first set was 7 or 8, the second set might have been 4 or 5, and all the rest of them were 1's 2's or 3's - mostly 2's.

The only other 600m time I have on record is from the running ladder we did on Oct. 11th, and I did nearly a whole minute better today than I did then, but I'd also run a heck of a lot farther before I got to the 600m run in that workout. Still, overall, I feel pretty good about my runs, today. They weren't super fast, but they were solid - and probably the least tortuous part of this WOD.

The burpees, on the other hand, were far and away the MOST torturous part of today's WOD. I swear they almost killed me. They did reduce me to tears. But I got the fuckers done - about 1 burpee at a time ... in 11.5 minutes. >.< Burpees with burnt shoulders SUCK. I nearly quit on this one.

The 400m run was fine - the time compares pretty favorably with recent efforts - again not super fast, but right about on par with 400m in other recent metcon workouts.

And then we hit the 2:20 of 'transition time' before the KB swings. This was me trying to figure out a)what KB to use, and b) how many reps to do. It was also at this point (when several other folks were just finishing this workout) that Max came to me and asked if I was going to complete the full volume of the workout. I was still totally strung out from the burpees, and really feeling like i was right at the edge of my capacity. I asked whether he thought I should just do half the reps for the remaining exercises. The answer was a speedy 'Yes!' followed by him saying that whatever the rep scheme, I should set a 1 hour time limit for myself.

I decided I'd try to get through 40 reps with the 1P KB. I picked it up swung it back and forth a couple times experimentally, and realized that that was NEVER going to happen, put it down, picked up the 12kg KB, and basically decided that I'd see how things were going @ 40, but since I was using the lighter weight, I should do the full # of reps. I think that having sore shoulders actually probably helped my form with these a bit since I really wanted to use them as little as possible.

The jump squats were not fast, and they were often ugly, but they were not as brutal as the burpees, and therefore were totally tolerable. One of the reasons I managed to make it to 100 with these is that I felt like my 45-47th jumps were probably the strongest ones I'd done so far, and I continued to get some pretty good ones even in the higher numbers.

The skips were actually kind of fun - even though i was pretty tired by the time I got to them. I was able to find a really good rhythm a couple times. My first set was 55 consecutive jumps, and a couple similarly good runs after that, interspersed with sets of 15-20. I was super excited, though, when I managed to get my last 100 skips all in one shot! :-) That was a great way to end an otherwise brutal, un-fun, workout. I think that if I can get 100 skips unbroken, double-unders shouldn't be too far behind, I just need to actually work on getting them.

A CF friend, Ynez, and I were discussing how everybody has their particular strengths - hers is (literally) that she is just naturally quite strong. We decided that mine was tenacity. I definitely would not have made it through the full volume of this workout without that trait. That said, I'm not sure doing the full volume was an entirely brilliant idea. For whatever reason, I seem to be at less than the top of my game this week. And it was supposed to be an EASY week. I am going to think about making next week a half-intensity week, too.

Fortunately, I'll get two full rest days before the next workout because we won't be able to go climbing tomorrow due to Daniel's office holiday party. So I'll see how I am feeling on Wednesday.

Saturday, December 6, 2008 by Rebecca

A headache, some pullups, a WOD and a free* watch!

I woke up with a headache this morning. I don't know if it's the beer I had last night, or dehydration, or perhaps the onset of my period(?), but it feels like the same familiar icky headache I get just before my period starts, that throbs based on the position/movement of my head, and makes me feel downright queasy - which sucks, because the whole reason I stopped taking birth control it seemed to make these stupid headaches go away. I guess I'll just have to see if my period starts in the next few days to see if that's the cause. If so, I might as well start taking birth control again. Maybe then my skin will clear up, again. Stupid hormones :-|

Fortunately, this headache feels better when I am upright, and today's headache is only moderately bad, so I'm mostly ok except for occasional waves of nausea/head throbbing. (fun right?)

Headache and nausea aside ... Sometime last week I found this article posted on the main boards for National CrossFit: 6 easy, fast drills to do mostly barefoot to strengthen the muscles in your feet, calves, and knees. I've started doing them every morning before I put my shoes on.

Our condo is configured in such a way that I can do "laps" from the bedroom through the kitchen to the living room and back to the bedroom. Our place is pretty small, so a full lap might be anywhere from 50 to 75 feet - not super far. Our pullup bar is in the doorway between the bedroom and the kitchen, so yesterday I decided to add the step of doing a pullup after every lap.

I should state here that currently, a pull-up, for me, means starting from standing with a very slightly bent arm, and going up as high as I can make it. So even though i usually make it pretty far up, it's not quite a full deadhang, because I don't start from full "dead" hang. For some reason, that first like 1-2 inches totally eludes me. Though I think I might be close to getting it, too.

Usually, when I work on pullups, I can get maybe 1 all the way up: clavicles to hand level, and any subsequent attempts might get as high as nose to bar. I won't get another good full ROM one for at least 15-20 minutes. A couple weeks ago I might get 1 really good one once a week. and only if I hadn't been working on pull exercises.

Today, i got ALL SIX pullups at the end of each lap face-to-door frame/hands-to-clavicles!!! All six! And there couldn't have been more than 1 or maybe 2 minutes in between. Woo-hoo! And I had even been working on my pullups the night before. Now if I can only get that first 2 inches, I'll actually have an honest to goodness deadhang pull up! Somehow, a kipping pullup still eludes me, too. ... Soon, though, I think I may have BOTH!

So, off we went to class. The last day of a strength focused week. Max was late, so Daniel led folks through the warmup, and sent everyone off to run a mile - since that's what Max had us doing every day this week. I've only been doing half a mile all week - either due to poor running shoes or a desire to conserve my strength for the strength workouts, but I had thought that I was going to try the whole mile today. Ha! It took about 25m for me to decide that a mile was not going to happen today. Every step made my head throb. As it was, it took me 3 minutes just to run 400m, and I decided that was plenty.

The rest of the warm up max had us do was KB swings - both russian and american, two handed and 1 handed. I worked with the 8kg KB to try to keep things light and focused on form.

The WOD:
Kettlebell Hang Clean and Push-Press 7-7-7-7-7-7 each arm

Results: (in kg)
Clean - 16

Max kept changing his mind about whether we should do 5 or 7 sets of 7. I kept getting struck with headrush-y waves of queasiness, so I did 5.

I warmed up with and did my first set of Clean & PP with the 8kg KB. There wasn't much challenge on my left, and it even felt pretty easy on my right, so I decided to try the 12kg. I could clean 12kg just fine, but the first time I tried to PP the 12kg with my right I got it up about 6 inches before deciding it just wasn't going to happen. So I went ahead and did 7 with it on my left, and decided to try again with my right. To my astonishment, it actually went up! All the way! I couldn't do 7 unbroken, and it wasn't always pretty, but with some rest in between reps I managed to get through the rest of the workout only using the 12kg KB! This is certainly a milestone for me.

I found that I could only get the KB up with my right if I was properly and powerfully using my hips as a propellant. And if I was, then it was practically easy. If I got lazy or tired and didn't fully drive with my hips, that KB was not going to get all the way up. It was pretty exciting on those reps when it did, though :-)

When the workout was over, I tried the 16kg KB, and I was actually able to clean it with both arms, but I couldn't PP it with my left, so I didn't even try with my right. Still - that was pretty exciting too. It'd be nice if there were little mid weights you could add to the KB handles, or something to get intermediate weights since the intervals between KB's are so huge. - Especially at the lower weights - you get jumps anywhere from 100%-33%

After the workout, we went to REI - Daniel was in dire need of a belt - and I got distracted by the watch counter. I've been watching pretty closely, hoping a good watch would show up because mine seems to utterly freak out after 16 laps - even though it has 26. And I thought it would be really fun to have a watch that could do Tabata intervals, too. That's where I found this little beauty. It's lovely, and slender, has a 50 lap memory, the ability store multiple workouts (up to a total of 50 laps1), 2 interval timers, 3 alarms ... no idea why I might ever need three separate alarms - but still - it has them. ... I do have 1 complaint, and that's that the chime between the first and second intervals, is just a single, short, relatively quiet beep. However the chime after the second interval is much louder and more robust, so I figure for tabata, I can just set the 10 second rest to be the first interval, and the second interval to be the 20 seconds of work since I am much more likely to hear the quiet beep while resting, and will need the louder chime for the end of work sets.

I was going to put it on my Christmas list, but the lady @ the store told me that that this is an older version of this model watch, and she wasn't sure how long it would be available. The new model is NOT this attractive, and I totally fell in love with THIS one, so I decided to just get it for myself. The decision was made much easier knowing that we had a $120 REI dividend that needed to be spent. Also - REI was having a deal where you could get $20 off any purchase of $100 or more. Between the two of us Daniel and I managed to purchase $170 worth of merchandise today @ REI, and yet we only spent $32. SWEET!

The end to heavy lifting week

Well, it was a nice change of pace to something a little less ass-kicking, but it's come to an end. Max has promised something brutally punishing tomorrow, so today we got our last little bit of slow reps with long rests:

Kettlebell Hang Clean and Push-Press 7-7-7-7-7 each arm

12kg - 16 - 16 - 20 - 20 - 24(f)

It was exactly this movement that infamously fucked up my shoulder a couple months ago, so I approached it pretty cautiously today, starting at a weight that was far too light. The 1 pood was enough to wind me, and it got hard once I went up to 1.25 pood. By the time I tried the black 1.5 pood, I was pretty tuckered out, and couldn't get more than 3 reps on my left side and none on my right (this movement is, oddly, easier on my left side). I do think I was better about form, though, keeping the weight towards the center of my body - but my form definitely deteriorates at higher weights. 20kg is really where I need to be for a little while longer, at least until I can dial in all the efficiencies of the form and get the 1.5 pood.

Also: Farmer's walk, 140 pounds each arm, maybe 100m?

Rawr. Sell it!

They said the weight carriers weighed 90# each, but I'm not sure I believe them. That would essentially mean I deadlifted 280# and then walked two basketball courts holding the weight. Maybe that's true, but my 1RM max deadlift was 285# last time I tried it, so I'd be surprised. I think it would make more sense if they weighed 45# each.

Friday, December 5, 2008 by Rebecca

Climbing Thurs & CF Strength WOD Friday

Oo ... I'm behind. ... Haven't posted since Wednesday?! ... Oops. So lesse ...

Thursday: Climbing @ GWPC:

5.8(f++), 5.9(c), 5.9(c)

Didn't get in many climbs, and I was feeling tired, so after the first - much pumpier than expected new 5.8 that was a complete and total hang-dog fest - I stuck to climbs I knew I could do, and just tried to focus on form. Not much to tell about these, actually. Probably why I never got around to posting them.

Friday: CrossFit @ GWPC

Warm up: ME, 800m, 10 "hopping" pushups (progression towards clapping pushups), 10 BS w/empty oly bar.

Back Squat 3-3-3
Press 3-3-3

BS: 65-85/75(f)-75
Press: 45-50-55(PR!)

I started with 65 pounds on the BS because I had had so much trouble with that weight with the front squats on Wednesday, but it felt easy, so I tried to jump up to 85, but failed after 1 rep, switched to 75 and failed after 2 reps. I made it through the third set without failing, but Max told me, after I was done (>:p) that none of my reps were quite low enough. I knew my third one wasn't, but I had thought my first two were. That's why I'm not counting any of these as a PR. They would have been .

A big problem I kept having on Wednesday was going down so low that my hamstrings disengaged leaving me unable to stand back up, and I was paranoid of that happening again. Oh well.

More excitingly, I managed to press 55#! It nearly didn't happen, and it wasn't pretty, but i DID IT!

I decided to start with 45# because that was the most I'd ever tried before - just to see if I could - and when i tried it in this workout, it felt pretty easy. So for the next set I went up to 50, and it still felt like there was room for more, so I went up to 55 for round 3, and that last rep was SLOW, but I got it locked out :-D Many thanks to the other girls who cheered me on.

When I told Max that I'd managed to press a full 55 pounds he said, "That's SO much better than the none you were able to do before." And we joked a bit about how he had wondered, initially, whether he might need to find a lighter dowel for me. LOL! He's totally right. It's a LOT better than none. :-D

I love how much stronger I am getting. Love it! And it was really nice, after a sort of frustrating couple days, and a frustrating beginning to that day's workout, to have a solid accomplishment under my belt.

After the workout a few of us went out for dinner at Crepevine which was a lot of fun, and a good way to spend a Friday evening.

Saturday: Next post!


There is a consequence of climbing a lot, or of climbing particularly hard: your arms die. Particularly your forearms. They become these weak little useless appendages, and things like opening jars or getting clip collars on oly bars become extremely difficult. I call this state of being "T-Rexing," after the tiny little useless forearms on the otherwise-massive-and-strong infamous beast.

Today, I am T-Rexing something fierce.

It started at Ironworks, where I embarked on the journey to get my lead card by MOCK LEADING. Oh, yeah. It's on.

For those who don't know: most gym climbing is top-roping, where you climb on ropes and anchors semi-permanently set by the staff. Lead-climbing is advanced stuff - it is when you bring the rope up with you, and clip into quickdraws on the route. Out in the real world, it is very useful for setting anchors, as it allows you to climb in places where access to the top of the climb isn't really an option, or just a pain in the ass. It is something I desire to do. In order to do it at Touchstone gyms, I need a lead card, of the shiny orange variety, which means I need to be able to lead and belay a 10c climb. The first step on this path is "mock-leading," which is just like leading, only you're also on a top-rope, and nobody is belaying the lead rope. Basically, it let you practice clipping into the quickdraws without the danger of taking a real whipper if you screw up.

So, today:

ML10a(o), ML10a(o), ML10a(f)

It was harder than I expected it would be. In my head, I was thinking, "it's really not all that different from chalking up, and I do that all the time!" But the truth is that I don't actually chalk up every four feet, and chalking up doesn't require finding a stance and then holding it with one hand while the other hand fiddles with a dangling carabiner out in space and a length of rope that gets increasingly heavy and difficult to manage the higher you go on the climb, which is perfect because that's also where you get more TIRED. Oh perfect. To cap it all off, when you get to the top and you're at your most exhausted, you need to clip through TWO biners, and you need to be sure their gates are facing opposite directions.

After a (very) little while, it BURNS. Think about ring rows. Easy, right? OK, now do a one-handed ring row, using only three fingers (no thumb!), and lock it off at the top. Now, with the other hand, do some little fidgety thing that's easy with two hands but kinda tricky with one, like, oh, twist off the cap of a full bottle of water. 5-7 times. That's kind of maybe the experience.

So that, combined with last night's 11a adventure, pretty much killed my arms. But it was fun! And I'm very excited to be on the road to lead climbing. roar!

But wait, there's more! This is turning into a rather long post.

Tonight we went to class, which was 3x3 Back Squat and Press (separately, not in a complex.)

3x3 Press: 95(f)-85-95
3x3 Back Squat 135-155-175(PR!)

I just started to high with the press, I think. It's been a while since I've done this, and I messed up the form a bit, and then I got tired. Or something. At any rate, I went down to 85, which was far too easy, and then tried again at 95 and it was no big deal. So yeah, this was a deficiency in technique.

I'm very pleased with the Back Squat, though. I'd never actually gone higher than 145# in my 5x5's, so I was curious to start pushing the upper limits. 3x3 at 175 was hard enough to make me a little light-headed when I was done, but it didn't feel like the upper limit, and (more importantly), that's bodyweight. So another Level II skill checked off! I don't know if, when or how my bench press will ever catch up.

Thursday, December 4, 2008 by Daniel

Climbing at GWPC

Class today was weighted pullups, and since A) Rebecca can't do a pullup at all , B) I'm getting my full of pullups with my daily program, and C) we won't be able to go to Social Climbing on Monday due to an office Christmas party, we opted to go climbing instead.

10a(o), 10c(o), 11a(dnf)

The 10a was extremely easy. The 10c was pretty much fine - a long vertical with decent rests to a tricky bit of negative. The 11a was a short, semi-slabby, EXTREMELY technical and delicate bit of climbing that was well over my head. Every move felt like a crux, and I spent a LONG time in the harness attacking each move until I figured it out. I got to just a couple holds shy of the top, but my fingers were feeling like they were about to fall off, and I was feeling bad for making Rebecca wait so long, so I came down after reaching a move that I just couldn't fathom.

I wonder when I'm going to evolve the little spiny hairs that Spiderman and, apparently, 11+ climbers have to stick to the slopers and tiny little finger-width holds that make up these routes.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008 by Daniel

7x1 Front Squats

Apparently we're taking it easy this week, which, you know, I can get behind.

1-1-1-1-1-1-1 Front Squat


This is only 10# heavier than the 5x5 front squats we did on October 18, but my limiting factor here isn't strength, but rather technique. I can go down pretty well, but getting out the hole is where I get in trouble. My back cantilevers forward slightly, putting much more strain on my wrists and lower back. I spent most of tonight trying to address that, and 145 was pretty much the limit of where I could safely work that spot.

I think it's a flexibility issue. My back just isn't very flexible, and I have great difficulty keeping it arched at the bottom of my squat. This makes front squats and overhead squats very hard, so it's an important thing to work on. I think I need to do more third-world-squats when I get the opportunity, to try and push that flexibility limit.

Front squats - hit & miss

Warm up: run 800m - my run actually felt pretty good. I never really pushed it very hard, but I was not particularly winded when I was done.

WOD & Comments:

It really does seem that my front squats are REALLY hit or miss. There seems to be a mental component, and there is likely some sort of form issue hiding in there, too. The last time I did squats I did 65 x 5. It was REALLY hard, but I managed to get through most rounds, so I though that I'd at least be able to do 70 or 75 as a 1 RM. Nope. Not even close. I barely eked out 1 rep of 65.

I wasn't keeping count of my reps ... but it went something like


I probably should have just gone back down to 65.

I was using the 15# bar with 15# bumpers - which seems a lot bigger - since the 15# bumpers appear to be the same size as 45# plates. I really don't know whether that had anything to do with it. It's possible it was being outside in the dark without a proper rack or a mirror, or being distracted by the other folks, but whatever it was, except for that 1 rep of 65# that actually went up relatively easily (for some mystical unknown reason) - EVERYTHING felt hard. Even just the 45# bar felt hard. Which is not typical. Usually I find that I do better with the lifts in the crossfit group. Although this time there were only two of us on the 'light' bar, and there wasn't much of a chearleading section.

Maybe if Tom is in the gym tomorrow when we go climbing, I'll ask him if he has time to look at my form quickly and see if he can see anything I'm doing wrong.

Monday, December 1, 2008 by Rebecca

Monday Climb

5.9(f+) 5.9(DNF) 5.10a (DNF) 5.10a(c) 5.10a(c)

Well - this was shaping up to be a less than stellar climbing night. There were a load of new routes in the gym, and I 'warmed up' with a pumpy overhang-y 5.9 on the first pillar. Just before the overhang, there were a couple footholds around the corner that I didn't see, and I really tired my self out trying to figure out how to get up the climb without them. I may have fallen anyway if I knew they were there - it took me a couple tries even once I found them.

The next 9 I tried was on the second pillar and it started with a big overhang with a kind of freaky cling that required the use of an underhang hold which I made it past once, but I fell, and my belay partner lowered me back to the floor, and my arms were too pumped to get over it again. The difficult thing about climbing with new partners is sorting out belay styles. Different people play by different rules - and some folks just come down if they fall instead of trying again from the same spot.

Next came a green 10a on the 3rd pillar with yet another brutal overhang right at the beginning of the climb. I never made it past it. I tried several times, but my right foot started cramping, and my arms were just done from the previous two climbs.

Given the way my evening was going I decided to try a climb i was reasonably certain I could finish, and was lucky enough to find the slabby 10a in the back just opening up. It's a no-hands start - which I cheated - but after that, I climbed it clean. Not quicly, and not always gracefully, but clean, for all that!

The last climb was the white 10a on the other side of the back wall, which I've done before, and did again tonight. It felt pretty solid, and it felt good to end the night on a positive note.