Saturday, January 31, 2009 by Daniel

Final Firebreather for January: Heavy Helen

Somehow I missed the fact that there are five Saturdays in January, and got into a mini argument with Max and Andy at the party the other night because I was insisting an AMRAP workout would work for today's Firebreather (because I thought we were starting a new month). Oops.

Max went with a heavy Helen, which is a bit longer time domain than the other workouts (if someone nails this in under 10 minutes, I'll be seriously impressed):

3 Rounds for time:
  • 70 Squats
  • 21 KB Swing 2P/1.5P
  • 12 C2B Pull-Ups

18:24 RX

I think this may have been the hardest one yet...the 100 2p swings at the top of the month were pretty frickin' horrible. But, as advertised, it was about 50% harder than a regular Helen. The swings were particularly hard after the squats - I was only able to do them in sets of 7. My quads were on fire from the squats.

I came in second-to-last. This is frustrating to me. I am not a terribly competitive person, but it sucks to make all this progress and still be at the back of the pack because everyone ELSE is making progress, too. Particularly the young whippersnappers like Raph and Polly. It's only going to get worse as I get older, too, which is a cruel joke.

By the numbers

So, it's been about six months since I made some pretty radical changes to my diet. I made two major changes: one to my macronutrient profile, and the other to my eating schedule (Intermittent Fasting). Although these changes have been extremely positive to my performance and body composition, I figured I should get my blood tested, just to be safe. I do eat a lot of eggs, after all, flying in the face of years of conventional medical wisdom.

Some quick facts about me:
  • 6'4"
  • 175 pounds
  • 10% bodyfat
  • 32 years old
  • Caucasian male
  • Don't smoke, rarely drink
  • Vegetarian for 27 years
I changed my macronutrient profile to a high-fat, high-protein and relatively low carb schema, that typically looks like this (daily):
  • 2k - 2.5k calories
  • Fat: 50%
  • Carbs: 20%
  • Protein: 30%
I try very hard to eat whole, natural foods and avoid prepackaged stuff. I eat a LOT of eggs (4-8 daily), drink a lot of milk & kefir, eat unholy amounts of nuts and nut butters, and make up the rest with vegetables, cheese, tofu, soy/wheat protein products (ie, tofurkey), and coffee. Sugar, grains and alcohol are extremely minimal. And yes, no meat.

I supplement with Fish oil, a multivitamin, glucosamine and ZMA. I've recently started exploring BCAA's as well, with encouraging results.

I typically fast from 8pm-noon (16 hours), five days a week. I don't really count it as a fasting day if it's less than 16 hours, but I will occasionally go as long as 20-21 hours. Not often, though. I prefer working out fasted.

CrossFit ~5 days a week, plus climbing 2-3 days a week.

My results in bold, the figure in parentheses is the "normal" amount. According to Kaiser.
  • Blood pressure: 129/79
  • Glucose, fasting: 86 (60-99 mg/dL)
  • Cholesterol: 135 (<239- mg/dL)
  • Triglyceride: 41 (<199- mg/dL)
  • HDL: 77 (>40- mg/dL)
  • LDL: 50 (<129- mg/dL)
  • ALT (Alanine Aminotransferase), serum: 18 (<36- U/L)
  • Creatinine: 0.98 (<1.3- mg/dL)
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate: >60 (>60- mL/min)
  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone: 2.6 ( 0.2-5.5 uIU/mL)


I don't know what all these things mean (what the hell is Alanine Aminotransferase?), but it all looks to be well within normal bounds, at any rate, which is good. The cholesterol numbers seem pretty fantastic, which was the point of this whole experiment - I celebrated with a plate of four scrambled eggs. I'll need to do some research into the other stuff to try and figure out what it means, but at the moment I don't see any red flags here. Full steam ahead!

Friday, January 30, 2009 by Daniel

Happy Birthday to Evelyn

The gym is always deserted on Friday mornings, so this morning I decided "what the hell" and took the lead test. Despite the fact that it was at Ironworks, which is notoriously difficult.

I failed. I fell off the climb.

I don't feel too bad - everyone fails the first time, and I feel pretty confident to try again (at the Power Company) next week. My tester was Peter, and he gave me the option of a 10c on the third pillar (short but technical), or a 10b in the cave (long and pumpy, but straightforward). I chose the 10b, which was perhaps the wrong choice - I wasn't expecting him to pull out a 10c! I thought it was going to be either a 10b on the pillar or a 10a in the cave, and I haven't mock led any c's.

The climbing went well, until the fall. I made it about 2/3 of the way up, and slipped off a lateral move that required me to use a small off-route hold (my route's hold had snapped off). I fell about 15 feet, and pulled Tor off the ground, but it was a clean fall into empty air, and happened so quickly it was over before I knew it. Peter said that his only comments were that I looked a little shaky (the route was nearly entirely overhung), but that my beta, footwork and clipping were fine. I then belayed Tor, and apparently was erring on the side of a TOO-tight belay, which I thought was interesting because I was freaking out about how much slack was in the system - apparently slack in lead climbing isn't such a bad thing. So I need to work on smoother, longer pulls to feed slack, and not worrying so much about keeping the rope tight.

So, the tally for the morning:

ML10b(c), L10b(DNF), ML10c(clean, but UGLY), 10d(f)

Next week you will be mine, precious. Oh, yes.

Today Evelyn turns 37, in celebration of which fact we at CFEB got to do a special workout in her that bears a suspicious resemblance to the Filthy Fifty.

I did them in this order:
  • 37 Box jumps
  • 37 Pull-Ups (Men C2B)
  • 37 Push-Ups
  • 37 Deadlift 185#/135#
  • 37 Jump Squats
  • 37 Sit-Ups
  • 37 Superpersons
  • 37 KB Swing 1 pood/35# dumbbell
  • 37 Double-Unders
  • 37 Reverse Burpees

33:54 nonRX (subbed regular burpees for inverted)
(splits: 1:47 | 5:16 | 3:18 | 7:07 | 2:08 | 1:44 | 1:24 | 2:18 | 3:46 | 5:02)

It was a good chipper - quickly ramping up to medium-high level of misery and then just stayed there regardless of what you were doing. Evelyn, of course, smoked it in under 27 minutes - Max likes birthday WODs to play to the birthday person's strengths, and Ev is very strong at these sorts of workouts. Of course, to do it in TRUE Evelyn Rodas fashion, we should have started 15 minutes late and then done something unexpected and even harder immediately afterwards, but I didn't point that out to Max. The class was pretty chaotic - it was really crowded! - but once he lifted the restriction on what order to do things in, the workout was surprisingly fine.

Afterwards we had a really nice party at Alex & Rebecca's, overflowing with healthy, sugar-free food. I really like hanging out with our CrossFit friends for many reasons, but one of the strongest reasons is that I can EAT with them. Parties and restaurants with family and friends is such a pain, as there are so many things I won't eat there, but last night's food was perfect: fruits, nuts, cheeses, meats, THREE guacamoles, simple chips, sparkling water...Polly even made a sugar-free pie out of dates and coconut that I really want to get the recipe for. Delicious!

Thursday, January 29, 2009 by Daniel

5x5 Squats and Ring Dips

Biked down to the gym after work to squeeze in a set of 5x5's before heading back for opening night.

Back Squat, x 5: 95-135-165-165-165-165-165
Ring Dips: 3-3-3-3-3

The squats felt really heavy, and like I might fail on the last rep of the last set. I really need to video these, as I feel my form is falling to shit, and it seems that I should be able to squat more than this without so much difficulty, so (I'm hoping) my form is the limiting factor.

Ring dips. OK, I knew I was bad at ring dips, but apparently I continually overestimate my ability at them, because I had fantasies of trying the FIFTEEN required for level II. Ha! I can do THREE before I fall apart, and those aren't even full ROM. Clearly these need a great deal of work. It's embarrassing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 by Daniel

Thrust me

Never tried a 1RM thruster before...

Thruster 1-1-1-1-1-1-1


1RM workouts often leave me feeling a little hungry for more, and this was no exception - but I do feel like my thrusters have graduated from "appalling" to "bad," so that's good.

Monday, January 26, 2009 by Daniel

Deadlifts and a couple cilmbs

Wow, I'm nearly a week behind in my posting, so I'll keep this short:

Deadlifts x 5: 95-135-185-235-235-235-235-235

These felt strong and solid. However, it was during the busiest hour of the day, so I had to share the lifting corner with people doing all sorts of bizarre and exceedingly silly things with resistance bands (seriously: half-ROM curls with bands?). They like the lifting corner because it has a mirror, and they can watch themselves in all their ridiculous glory. I really wish they'd go tie their band to a leg press or the smith machine, since hardly anybody uses those.

But I don't judge. ;)

I lifted because I could barely walk, after Sunday's run. Since I could barely climb stairs, I figured I'd stay off the walls. After the deadlifts, though, I felt warmed up and didn't have much pain, so I joined in the social climbing and knocked off a 10b and a 10c.

Social Climbing

5.9 (c), 5.10a (f+), 5.10a(dnf) 5.9(dnf)

Well - it started out well, but went quickly downhill.

I was sad to discover that the book-ish white 10a that I had enjoyed so much 2 weeks ago and been replaced by a 10b. So I warmed up with the 5.9 on the back wall by the rings. I think it went better than the last time I did it.

I was lovingly bullied into trying the 10a (tincture) on the non-lead only part of the cave by Maeve. I wasn't going to try it because it had a big pumpy looking overhang that I was fairly certain I would fail to get over. It took a couple tries, but I did, in fact, manage to make it over the lip (Maeve and Ynez are fantastic cheer leaders!), and the rest of the climb went well.

I think that making it over the overhang just about killed me for the rest of the night. The next climb i tried had an overhang right at the beginning of the climgb that I couldn't get over, and I gave up on the 5.9 when every move was bookended by a fall.

I'm not going to get to morose about it though, cause I'm pretty excited I managed that 10a, and I'm also just surprised that climbing was even an option today after how wrecked I felt yesterday.

I am glad tomorrow is a rest day.

Sunday, January 25, 2009 by Rebecca

10k ?! Yowza!

Today's WOD: Run 10k.

Results: 1:22 minus a few seconds for misunderstanding where the finish line was.

Comments: This was nearly twice as far as I have ever run or at least - well - i actually have no idea how long i actually ran for on the thanksgiving trail run since I took a detour - and apparently, I didn't even manage to put my total time in my blog post. That was pretty dumb. 1:07 sounds kinda familiar ... At any rate, it's kind of apples to oranges since there were no hills this time around and there were a TON on that trail - but i still don't think it was anywhere near 10k.

Anyway. I am very pleased with my performance today. I set my watch for 3 minutes on, one minute off, and I managed to stick to that right up until nearly the very end (1:08 in or so), and ultimately it wasn't my aerobic capacity or even my strength that gave out on me (though it probably would have pretty quickly) the reason i finally couldn't keep running was a bad choice of socks.

Aggravatingly, I forgot to really consider what socks I was wearing, and chose a regular old pair of cotton athletic socks - the kind with a sort of terry-cloth like interior, which was a big mistake. By the last 10-20% of the run, the constant and repeated striking of the ball of my foot against the pavement just rubbed the balls of my feet raw, and I just couldn't ignore the pain anymore. I was extremely relieved when i finally took off my socks to see that I hadn't actually caused any damage. it sure felt like i had. I really tried to gut it out through the pain, I could SEE the end of my route and it was CLOSE. I even tried running heel strike, but I found that to be incredibly jaring, and couldn't keep it up.

I managed to avoid getting a side stitch the entire time. And I feel like I did a pretty good job of keeping my posture neutral. There was one time where I started to get a stitch in my left shoulder, of all places, but I made a conscious effort to release the tension from my shoulders and stand up straight, and fortunately a 1 minute walking period came up pretty quickly, and I was able to walk it out, and it didn't come back. It was really only starting around the 1 hour mark that the 1 minute walking breaks really didn't feel long enough to get my wind back.

By the end of the run - everything was complaining - my right hip and my shoulders in particular. Has anyone else had the experience of their arms getting tired on really long runs? They were tired to begin with from all the pushups I've done this week ...

I ran with an iPod for the first time today, and at first had a really hard time navigating the ear phones and the cord and the volume and it was all just in my way, and while i mostly liked having the music, I was seriously considering taking it off just to get rid of the annoyance factor. It also made it hard to hear my watch chiming at me to to tell me when to walk or run - i missed a couple of them. But after enough futzing I finally found a good setup with one earphone in and the other tucked into my vest, and was finally able to mostly just ignore it and enjoy the music. I especially liked running to Green Day's Holiday/Boulevard of Broken Dreams. The song Meatloaf sings from the Rocky Horror picture show was the only one i really didn't like running to. There was just something wrong with the beat, and I couldn't get a good running or breathing cadence going.

Overall, I actually really enjoyed myself today. Next time I'll do better. I'll be able to stick to my running schedule, and maybe even be able to bump it up to 4 minutes on 1.5 or 1 minute off or something. Tomorrow I'm just hoping to be able to walk ... ;-)

OK, that was hard.

My first ever 10k. Twice as far as the furthest I've ever run before. Granted it was easier in some ways in that it was VERY flat and mostly paved, but damn this run messed me up. Between the DOMS from yesterday's workouts and this, I'm functioning at a rather drastically diminished capacity right now.

Run 10k

45:56 RX

Gita set the route, and ran in front of everyone to chalk arrows - but it was a very straightforward route. He ran it in 42 minutes, which (for him) was pacing himself. I came in third, behind a new guy named Chris who runs up in the hills a lot. He and I were basically neck-and-neck for the first half or two-thirds, but he pulled ahead on the final couple miles, and finished a couple minutes ahead of me.

My new playlist was awesome, but has some unforeseen traps. "Psychobilly Freakout" came on about halfway through, and gave me an artificial hit of adrenaline that I capitalized on to sprint past Chris. That song could rupture your heart if you're not careful. But that did NOT last, and I only stayed ahead of him for 20 yards or so, then payed heavily for my ambition over the next half mile or so until I recovered a maintainable pace. Other highlights: "Freedom" by Jimi Hendrix was fantastic, and "Motorbreath" by Metallica also sounded really, really good. Time really stretches out when you're running, so a 9-minute song like "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" lasts an eternity. Not bad at the beginning, I found, but towards the end I really preferred the shorter songs, because each song comes with an attendant boost of "oh goody" endorphines when it first comes on and is a good one.

Saturday, January 24, 2009 by Rebecca

Something Cindy Style

Warmup: Run 800m, situps, pushups, squats, pullups, etc.

AMPAP* in 20 minutes

5 Push-Up
10 Sit-Up
15 Jump Squats

Results: 11 Rounds


This went ... relatively well. Except for the "sucking at jump squats" part. It took me about two rounds, and Max critiquing my lousy squat form, to realize that I am (currently) incapable of landing with my feet in the right position to re-squat after the jump, so once I quit trying and just reset my feet after every jump, my form and my ROM (though not my speed) improved greatly.

Both Daniel and Max complimented both my pushup form and my sit-up form. Which was really nice because it's definitely something I'm trying to be really conscious about. I

I also had a realization in the past couple days that I've really been 'half-assing' it for the past several weeks. Things have been super stressful at work, and with the holidays, etc. I've just kept giving myself permission to not put 100% into my workouts. I think this explains why I've been so uninspired to keep up with my blogging: simply maintaining doesn't make interesting reporting. Now, at least I am still working out, still going to class, etc, but it's a slippery slope. I won't make any significant progress just by showing up; I'll only manage to not lose most of what I've already gained.

And here is how awesome Daniel is, and how well he knows me: When I told him that I had come to this realization, and that I wanted to get more focused again, he said that he was glad to hear it because he'd noticed the "sand bagging", but as long as I was still going to class, etc. he hadn't wanted to bring it up with me because he was afraid that it might make me get all stubborn and more "sandbaggy" not less. And he's totally right. It probably would have.

In the same "more focused" vein, I've also decided to cut way back on my bread & starch consumption. I'm switching my standard 'take-to-work' breakfast from a piece of toast with almond butter and cinnamon to cottage cheese with almonds and cinnamon, and I'm skipping the toast with my eggs. I might go so far as to order hamburgers with no bun ... I haven't really decided that yet. Part of the reason is that - aside from all the stupid hidden sugar that lies in just about everything - I don't have any trouble steering clear of sugar, so no the Sugar Challenge really just isn't that challenging (from a craving point of view - from a compliance point of view it's damn near impossible :-P ); regardless, I really feel like I should try to give up something I really want to have in order for it to be a Challenge. But the bigger reason is that I am covetous of Daniel's phenomenal body comp - and the only real difference between what he eats and what I eat (since he prepares 90% of it) are the extra carbs. We'll see how it goes.

Rassafrassin' Double-unders

Only went half-volume for the morning workout, which is ultimately probably a good thing - though I always feel like a bum when I finish 10 minutes before everyone else.

AMRAP in 20 minutes
5 Push-Up
10 Sit-Up
15 Jump Squats

9 rounds in 10 minutes

After a long, pleasant lunch at Bacheeso's, it was back to the gym for the afternoon Firebreather WOD.

50 Double-Under
25 Kettlebell Swing, 2P/1.5P
50 Double-Under
25 Kettlebell Clean & Jerk 1.5P/1.0P
50 Double-Under
25 Kettlebell Snatch 1.5P/1.0P

16:21 RX

As expected, the worst part was the jerks. I did the swings and snatches 10-10-5, but the C&J's were sets of 5, and took much longer. It's technically the same amount of work as a snatch, but with less power, and I vastly prefer the snatches. I feel really solid with my KB snatches. It's gratifying to be really good at ONE movement, at least - particularly since everything else still needs so much work.

...speaking of which, my time on this would have been VASTLY better if I had reliable double-unders that I could chain together. Why, oh why will these not come to me?

Friday, January 23, 2009 by Daniel

Because it feels so good when I stop

I've been underestimating the effect of ~50 thrusters, I think. Unlike the burpees, it appears this is not really a fire-and-forget kind of workout - it typically leaves me feeling pretty thrashed for the rest of the day. Of course, it could be that I'm doing these the morning after heavy squats.

47 thrusters at 77#, bear rules
10b(o), 10c(f), ML10a(o), ML10b(o)

The thrusters were moderately horrible. I think I'll make it to 87# under these conditions, but it's going to be hard and may take a couple attempts. The last 10, in particular, are when things start to fall apart. I wasn't able to make it to 50 this time - the bar just fell out of my hands on the 47th front squat.

I was pretty wrecked for climbing, as indicated by the fall on the (pumpy, granted) 10c. I've also now twice gotten a kind of electrical twinge in the fingers on my left hand when working it hard on a climb. I'm VERY nervous of injuring my fingers, so I backed it off and just focused on mock leading.

I wanted to go to class in the evening, but Rebecca had one of her horrible headaches, and I just couldn't get it together to do Mr. Joshua in the rain, as beat up as I was feeling, so I slacked.

Thursday, January 22, 2009 by Daniel

Two more down

I only have a few weeks until my one-year anniversary, and I'm not going to make my goal of having all Level II skills checked off. But damn if I'm not gonna get as close as I can. To that end, I set my sights tonight on the 1/2 bodyweight snatch and 3/4 bodyweight clean, figuring I might be close enough to get them.

Back Squat, x 5: 95-135-160-160-160-160-160
Power Cleans: 75 x 5, 87 x 5, 115 x 1, 130 x 1(f), 130 x 1(f), 130 x 1*
Power Snatch: 75 x 5, 87 x 1*

And there you have it! My form was horrible on both of them, and they were more like muscle cleans and snatches than powers, and I still haven't quite figured out how to come to full extension before dropping under the weight, but dammit the weight went up, and that was all I cared about tonight. Now I can drop the weight to something more manageable and focus on virtuosity again.

5x5 back squats only

I was late getting to the gym today - about 45 minutes after daniel (stupid work thing), so i only did the back squat part of my workout - without a whole lot of warming up because i was afraid i was going to lose the squat cage Daniel had just vacated - but it still went relatively well.

Back squat x 5

We forgot the Camera again. Next time, we will remember.

I will be at this weight again next week. To use Melissa's scale, I would say my form was probably (depending on the squat) anywhere from a C to a B-. It definitely degraded as the sets wore on. I will stay at this weight until I can keep better form.

Today my focus was primarily on depth, and secondarily on keeping my knees out. They are a great deal more solid than they were; they no longer wobble in and out as I am trying to stand back up, they just sort of stay slightly in. I guess I should re-read this:

My fail on rep 5 of my first set was due to attempting to keep my knees out, and, for whatever reason, i lost the ability to stand back up by keeping them out. My guess is a weak ... something - hamstring, glute, or adductor. maybe all three.

I only really struggled with the last few reps of the last few sets, though, so this is clearly the right weight. I know I could go heavier and not entirely fail, but my form would certainly suffer, so it'll be 65# next time, too.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 by Daniel

This ladder goes both ways

For time:
15 Handstand push-ups
1 L Pull-up
13 Handstand push-ups
3 L Pull-ups
11 Handstand push-ups
5 L Pull-ups
9 Handstand push-ups
7 L Pull-ups
7 Handstand push-ups
9 L Pull-ups
5 Handstand push-ups
11 L Pull-ups
3 Handstand push-ups
13 L Pull-ups
1 Handstand push-up
15 L Pull-ups

35:56, not at all RX
(Pull-ups were all legitimate deadhangs of some sort. Some were L. Most were very oblique L's. The last few were more like N's, h's and, eventually, I's. HSPU's were piked off the tall box.)

Shoulders, elbows, biceps and forearms are all wasted from this one. This was one of the first workouts I did when I started Crossfit, and I remember how brutal it was then. Back then I could only do jumping negatives, so it's nice to know that I knocked out 64 deadhangs in half an hour, but my HSPUs still suck, probably about as much as they did back then.

Monday, January 19, 2009 by Daniel

Climbing summary

Dropped the ball on my blogging this weekend, so let's see if I can remember what I did:

Sunday climbing at Diablo Rock w/Kacey & Brian:

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

Notable were the 10d, a slab climb that was just a series of giant gumdrops many feet apart. Tricky and delicious. The 10c was unbelievably pumpy, with small holds up and over a very steep roof - that climb wrecked me. The 10b was just to show Brian what lead climbing was.

Monday climbing at GWPC:

10b(o), ML10b(o), 10d(f)

I mock-led the test 10b again, and it was really easy. After much hemming and hawing, I finally got up the nerve to ask the front desk if I could take the lead test, but I was too late - they were understaffed. I resolved to try again in two weeks, but have remembered that I won't be able to do any social climbing in February due to a work commitment, so I think I may try it during one of my morning climbs with Tor.

Saturday, January 17, 2009 by Daniel

Fears conquered here

I really don't know why I've been so apprehensive about the 100 24kg snatches. Maybe it's because the first time I tried to put that weight over my head, I thought my arm might snap. But it really wasn't that bad, actually - the 32kg swings were more painful.

for time: 100 kb snatches, 1.5 pood

10:09 RX

I did these about 60/40 right/left, I think. I didn't really keep close track. One annoying thing: the tape grips I made did protect my callouses, but they also quickly wore out the cloth backing, exposing the adhesive on the other side. So the kettlebell was literally sticking to my hand, and I had to either flip it hard enough to break the adhesion, or else let it pull my handwrap with it. Either way was painful. I wish there was a better way.

The level II skill for KB snatches is simply "30 each arm." Presumably, this means consecutive, which I did not do today (the most I did in a run was 20). However, since I did 160% of the volume, I'm going to count it. Someday maybe I'll test myself specifically for this skill, but I'm confident I could do it, so I'm not going to stress myself out about it.

In other good news: after class today, I was feeling a bit ambitious and had a little time, so I set up the rings to try and hit the 20-pullup skill (for whatever reason, kipping pullups are far easier on the rings for me). It's been a long time since I've even attempted this, and last time I tried I think I got 12. Well, I made it today! Chest-to-bar isn't really applicable on rings, but they were all clavicle-to-ring, which is...kinda close. I dunno, really.

Friday, January 16, 2009 by Daniel

I'm a frickin' idiot.

Friday - the day I've set aside to work on my 45 half-bodyweight thrusters. Today I was supposed to do 72 pounds - 5 pounds more than last week. This I performed diligently (or at least thought I did), and was quite pleased with how they went. Then I racked the barbell to take off the weights, and realized that I had put on 5# plates instead of 10#. D'oh!

So I did them again.

50 thrusters at 62#, sets of 10, bear rules
45 thrusters at 72#, sets of 10, bear rules
10b(f), 11a(f+), 11a(f), ML10b(f+)

Only 45 the second time, but it was enough. I'm really hoping the level of difficulty that set provided was due to the 50 thrusters that preceded it, or I'm screwed - I still have 15 pounds to go until my goal. Whoever assigned this task to level II was loco en la cabeza.

Naturally, the climbing afterward was pretty awful. I really don't know how I wound up tackling TWO 11a's, especially after falling off a 10b, but it just sort of worked out that way. The first was the slab 11a in the back that I did clean a few weeks ago - not today. The second was up by the door and would actually, I think, have been done clean if a critical handhold wasn't snapped off. Tor managed it by crimping hard on a foothold, but I just didn't have the pinch strength for that, so wound up having to climb around it until I could get back on the route. The last 10b was both tiring and just a lousy lead climb, and I did NOT perform it well.

No class tonight, as it was a crazy busy day (I didn't break my fast until 5pm), and I was plenty tired from the morning. Tomorrow we shall see if I can survive the snatches.

Thursday, January 15, 2009 by Rebecca

New PR's are FUN :-)

Tonight was looking like it was going to be a dud of a workout night. Daniel & I met at Ironworks to do our 5x5 only to get beaten to the squat cages (while we were warming up! >:-p ) by two guys who routinely take a very long time to do their thing. So it looked like we might be out of luck for squats. I had a long tiring day working in the warehouse at work, so I wasn't sure I was going to get anything out of actually working out, but Daniel really wanted to get his squats done, so we decided to trundle ourselves off to the power company where, if the rack was unavailable, we still had an opportunity of doing deadlifts with the 7pm CFEB class.

Daniel arranged to work in on the squat rack upstairs, I opted to join the CFEB class for the DL. The rep scheme for the day was 5-5-3-3-3-1-1.

I did a warmup set with 95# that felt kinda retardedly heavy, initially, but i started my workset @ 105.

It went something like this:

105 x5, gosh that was kinda hard - should probably stick to this weight for the next 5 reps. 105x5, ok - that wasn't SO bad, i could probably try something harder next,
115x3, well, yeah that was hard, but it's only 3 reps - i can try more,
125x3, heck - that was pretty easy - let's try my previous 1RM ... oh wait - there are 3 sets of 3? not 2? ok well ... I'll try it ... those big scary 45# plates are not the boss of me!
135x3 woo hoo! I got it! 3 times! and the last 2 were consecutive! (there was a brief moment of rest after the first)
uh .. hm .. i seem to be on a roll ... 145, here i come!!
145 x zero. couldn't QUITE move it. tried twice. oh wait. that's right - there are 2.5# weights - i can try 140. well DUH - i shoulda done that first.
140x1 - Yee HAW! it was slow, it was a FIGHT - but i got that thing UP.
140x1 - Alright!!! It wasn't a fluke I got it up the first time!! It was still slow and brutal.

Both times I got it about half way up my calves where it got stuck and wouldn't start moving again until I started grunting at it. I dunno what it is about those grunt-y, groan-y sounds, but they REALLY do help. I think it has something to do with requiring or maybe just causing a contraction in the core that helps move you (me) past the stuck spot.

I'm pretty excited about my PR's, of course there's the stupid little voice in my that says "You set that 1 RM back in SEPTEMBER - you can only do 5# better now?! Lame." But, in all honesty, pulling 135# that one time on my birthday seems like it was a fluke - some strange birthday gift from the gods. Every time since then that I have tried to pull that much weight - or even anything close to it it hasn't even moved. I wasn't able to repeat my feat on that day, either, which I was today, which makes me feel better about the validity.

I have a couple other workouts that I am behind on blogging - life has just been too crazy lately to stay caught up ... also they were less impressive so it's harder to want to sit down and write about being unimpressive when I'm really stressed out about work and whether I'll continue to have a job in the foreseeable future. At least I am continuing to workout. Edit. Ok - all caught up. sort of. my usual commentary is largely missing, but the facts and the logistical details are there.

5x5's, and another skill bites the dust

Back Squat, x 5: 95-155-155-155-155-155
Weighted Pull-up x 5: 15-15-15-15-15
Weighted Pull-up x 1: 45-60(PR!)

I resisted the siren call of heavy deadlifts in class tonight to pursue my back squat regimen upstairs. Eric was there, and we worked in together while he did his deadlifts. His main comment on my form was that I tend to pitch forward at the bottom half of the drive up, which puts inordinate amount of strain on my back. Well, yeah. I get confused, because I'm trying to get good hip drive like Rip says, but I guess I can't do it at the expense of my chest facing the wall. So I worked hard at keeping that back arch throughout, and Eric said I improved.

I went downstairs with the intention of finding my weighted pull-up 1RM, with the hope that just maybe I could cross off another Level II skill (I needed 1/3 bodyweight, or 60#). Folks were busy with their deadlifts and I didn't want to intrude, and I didn't know where the weight belts were. So I grabbed a weighted vest and decided I'd just do 5x5's. I thought the vest was 20#, but turns out I was wrong - which is fine, because 15# really felt like the right weight.

After class was done, Max showed me where the belts were kept, and I thought maybe I'd noodle around with single reps. Since I'd just done a load of weighted pullups, at only 15#, and they were hard, I figured I was not going to do well. But I tried 45#, and it really didn't seem that bad, so I just said "to Hell with it" and decided to try 60# and see what happened.

I got it! It was a real struggle, but my chest touched that bar. One more off the list.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 by Rebecca

More KB Bruises. Ow.

Run 800 Meters
21 Kettlbell Press left 1.5p/1.0P
21 Kettlebell Press right 1.5p/1.0P
Run 800 Meters
21 Kettlbell Push-Press left 1.5p/1.0P
21 Kettlebell Push-Press right 1.5p/1.0P
Run 800 Meters
21 Kettlebell Push-Jerk left 1.5p/1.0P
21 Kettlebell Push-Jerk right 1.5p/1.0P


5:20 (R&L) 8kg
2-Push Press

3:23(R8kg) 4:21(L12kg)
3-Push Jerk

3:16(R8kg) 6:29(L12kg)

Bleah. I came into this workout tired and hungry - having missed lunch - and just in an all-around foul temper. Doing the workout definitely helped to equalize my mood, but there certainly weren't any performance breakthroughs. I'd say I gave it about 80%.

Re Bruises: In the warmup I was using a light weight, and I practiced a Push-Press a little too forcefully, and the kettlebell jumped very high up and clobbered me on the wrist.

I've lost that running feelin'

It's odd how skills come and go. Sometimes I can kip like the dickens, most times I can't. For several months, running was probably my favorite thing in CrossFit - the Thanksgiving day trail run was a joyful revelation.

Then it all fell apart. Or at least I started falling apart.

My ankle is giving me real grief, and I've lost the thread for my running. Part of it is overthinking it - Gita led a mini workshop on POSE running, and I spend so much energy trying to figure out how to land on the correct part of my foot that I can't just RUN. The other part is that I've been running in my new Puma shoes, which are supposedly good POSE shoes due to the flat sole and lack of cushioning. The downside is that the ankle that I sprained is yelling at me a LOT, particularly after periods of inactivity (ie, sleep), and it has that bruised-bone feeling I was getting before I bought my "bad" running shoes.

I've switched back to my old shoes for running, at least until my ankle heals. It's my hope that the pain is my body adapting to a lifetime of week feet and ankles, and that I can switch back and forth between the shoes, with increasing periods of POSE shoes, until the joints are finally strong enough to handle it. Until then, my running is just going to suck, I guess.

I had some brief periods of feel-good running tonight. Every time it happened, I realized I was running heel-strike (ie, wrong). So further adjustment is clearly necessary.

Run 800 Meters
21 Kettlbell Press left 1.5p/1.0P
21 Kettlebell Press right 1.5p/1.0P
Run 800 Meters
21 Kettlbell Push-Press left 1.5p/1.0P
21 Kettlebell Push-Press right 1.5p/1.0P
Run 800 Meters
21 Kettlebell Push-Jerk left 1.5p/1.0P
21 Kettlebell Push-Jerk right 1.5p/1.0P

32:07, 1p press, 1.25p push-press & jerk
Splits: 9:54 | 11:24 | 10:39

This was not a good time, compared to others, but I'm still pleased. I got that gray kettlebell over my head 84 times, and while I wouldn't say it felt EASY, I would say it felt solid. I even got the black up a handful of times afterwards in practicing.

Ever since the disastrous (and infamous) KB ladder that wrecked my shoulder, I've been nervous about putting heavy bells above my head. They just didn't feel stable, like my elbow could bend the wrong direction, or the whole thing could crash on my head. I didn't have that problem tonight. There was some aching going on in the shoulder, but nothing alarming. And I think I might be getting the hang of the KB jerk - they felt distinctly different from the push-press tonight. One mental cue that I found helped was to think of my bicep and forearm as a platform that the bell was simply resting on, and my job was NOT to push it up, but simply to jump it up off the platform. Once the bell was airborne (and therefore weightless), I could activate my arm muscles to guide it up, but not until then. For whatever reason, thinking about it in this way made it considerably easier.

Several of us stayed after for a while to practice heavy KB snatches. We're all clearly worried about Saturday's Firebreather WOD: 100 1.5p KB snatches for time. I did a few with each hand and, while HARD, felt fairly stable, which is reassuring. I still think it may take me 30 minutes to do this WOD, but that's OK: when it's done, I'll have another Level II skill checked off, and that thought makes me happy.

Monday, January 12, 2009 by Rebecca

Social Climbing

5.10a(f), 5.10a/b(f+++), 5.9(f++)

The night started out pretty well - i started with the book-y 10a by the west wall - and I did it nearly clean with the exception of a single move whose geometry baffled me, and then i discovered I needed to get my left hip to the wall and front step up to a hold instead of keeping my right hip to the wall and trying to find the hold with my foot. Once I made it to the top I made Daniel stop me half way down so I could try it again, and I was able to get it. so next time that climb should give me no trouble.

The 10ab was ... laughable. The first part was ok, but the end of the climb was a steep incline with very small handholds, and if Alex, who was belaying me, hadn't lent some weight to the rope (essentially hauling me up the climb) i never would have made it to the top.

The 9a was ... somewhat better than the a/b, but not much. I did make it to top under my own power, but there was a lot of resting. I'm edified to have made it to the to, since the last time I tried this one I couldn't make it past the start. I might do better if I tried it not immediately after getting totally pumped on a previous climb. Sometimes I really hate the stregthy bias of the walls @ Ironworks.

5x5's and a little climbing

I've been itching to deadlift lately. Not really sure why, but it's been calling to me. Perhaps because it's by far the heaviest and most satisfying lift I can do, and perhaps I just feel incomplete if I only squat in the week. and don't deadlift.

DL x 5: 135-185-230-230-230-230-230
Climbing: ML10a(c), 10c(o), 10d(f+)

The deadlifts were, in fact, satisfying and not that hard. 230 is 80% of 285, my last recorded 1RM, and seems a good place to restart linear progression. It's my hope that the added CNS hit of the squats and deadlifts will promote further strength gains.

The downside of the deadlifts seems to be that they diminish my grip (unsurprisingly), making climbing a bit more challenging. The 10a mock went quite awkwardly, and I wasn't really feeling it so didn't mock again. The 10c was an interesting combination of roof, negative and some really tight book stemming - I quite liked it. The 10d was one I've done a couple times before, but really like, and with the couple pieces of beta that I can never remember (ie, the hold after the roof that looks like a foothold is actually very useful for your right hand) I could do it clean. It'll probably be gone soon, but I hope I get a chance to do it again.

Saturday, January 10, 2009 by Rebecca

AMRAP* in 20 minutes

12 KB deadlift
3 KB clean left arm
3 KB push-press left arm
9 KB swing
3 KB clean right arm
3 KB push-press right arm

12 kb used for everything except right arm PP used 8kg.





Really wish i could reliably manage the PP with the 12 KG KB with my right arm. Other than that, this went well. I don't think i was working hard enough since i was able to make my rounds so much faster as the 20 minutes wore on.

The video is of my second to last round, i think.

Learning my lesson

OK, ok, I get it. Working out twice a day, multiple days a week, is bad for you. Unless you're very careful to eat enough, sleep enough, and be young enough, it's a recipe for overtraining. And yet...I keep doing it, lately.

It's not even that I feel particularly DRIVEN or anything. It's just that there are all these opportunities, and sometimes it's hard to say no, and they add up. So I was pretty exhausted last night, but I got a solid 10 hours' sleep, and woke up feeling pretty good. I went to this morning's class, but vowed to take it easy and just treat it like a warmup, basically, in anticipation of this afternoon's firebreather class.

AMRAP* in 20 minutes
12 KB deadlift
3 KB clean left arm
3 KB push-press left arm
9 KB swing
3 KB clean right arm
3 KB push-press right arm

Men: 1.5 P

I did 6 rounds in 10 minutes with 1 pood. It felt almost like goofing off. I spent the rest of the time taking pictures of folks who were actually working.

Then we went to Rudy's for lunch, where the poor waitress was VERY proactive about meeting our no-sugar requirements. She even got the cook to yell at her, she was asking about so many things. It's pretty difficult to get a meal together there without sugar, but we figured out the burgers (on sourdough) are OK, as are some of the omelets. It took the typical Rudy's long time, though, so that by the end of lunch I just went back to gym rather than going home.

The skills we worked on in the advanced class were pistols, muscle-ups and L-pullups. I'm actually kinda close on pistols - I can get down if I hold my foot, I just can't get back up again. Similarly, I can do an L-pullup if you're generous with the obliqueness of the angle on the L. I am hopeless with the muscle-up. I can't even maintain the false grip, and as soon as I start to try and kip my fingers slide back into regular pullup position. I really need to just practice holding the false grip, I think.

The workout was, as it turns out, a typo:

100 KB Hang Cleans, 1.5 pood

4:42 RX

He meants to write "Hang Snatches," which, obviously, would have put the workout into the same "oh, shit" category as last week's. As it was, it was difficult, but not inordinately so, and many of us suspected he meant to say snatches so practiced those for a while afterward. I can do 1.5 pood snatches, but not well, and the idea of 100 scares me. He's said that's what we'll do next week, though, so I guess I better suck it up.

My biceps have the telltale deep ache of potential overtraining, so I think I should lay off arm-intensive stuff for a little bit. We're going to miss class tomorrow, but could maybe get in some 5x5 deadlifts. Or maybe not.

Friday, January 9, 2009 by Daniel

Research suggests thrusters may mess you up

It appears there are some Level II goals that I will not make by March 1. I may not EVER get a bodyweight bench press, or a 30 second L-sit, but for some strange, masochistic reason I really want what many consider the out-and-out hardest (or at least most random) skill in Level II: 45 thrusters at half-bodyweight.

For me this is 87 pounds.

There is no elaboration on just HOW this stupidly painful task is to be accomplished, so I have decided to assign it "bear rules": you can rest as often and as long as you like, provided you never actually put down the bar. You can rest the bar on your back, shoulders (rack position), or hang grip. No sitting or kneeling. Or whining.

To that end, I've set out on a plan: 50 thrusters, bear rules, before climbing every Friday morning. Starting at 67 pounds and adding 5 pounds a week. If I can't make it through one week, try again at the same weight the next week. So, this morning at Ironworks:

50 thrusters at 67#, sets of 10, bear rules
ML10a(c), 10d(DNF), ML10b(c), 10d(f+), 10c(f+)

The thrusters were bad, but tolerable. I rested the bar either on my back or in hang position, and the rests got decreasingly restful. I should probably take shorter rests.

No doubt due to a combination of tiredness from last night's squats and cleans plus the thrusters, my climbing was crap. The mocks went well - no faults that I could spot - but the first 10d included a seriously hard roof that required a pure strength move akin to a one-arm ring-row and lockoff. It just wasn't gonna happen today, and it pumped my arms for everything else. The second 10d went better, but was still pretty awkward. The last 10c was a joke - I've done it before clean, it's not THAT hard a climb, but today it was. I fell off three or four times, all due to muscle fatigue.

Not surprisingly, tonight's WOD didn't go all that swimmingly. Max is out of town, so the class was lead by Shira, and she led a fun warmup of partner-based movements. The workout itself was dubbed "Little Lynn":

5 rounds
Max rep ring push-ups with feet on box
Max rep C2B pull-ups

Ring push-ups: 3-7-5-6-7
C2B pull-ups: 5-2-3-4-6

My form improved on the ring push-ups, which is why my numbers went up. Shira kept telling me my stomach was weak and I need to stop collapsing my back. More planks, I guess. The C2B's just weren't happening. I had that deep ache in my biceps and forearms that I get from a lot of climbing. Fish oil and hopefully a nice long night's sleep will hopefully address this issue.

Thursday, January 8, 2009 by Rebecca

A return to the 5x5

Today Daniel and I started back up with our 5x5's. At the moment, we're only setting aside one day to do this instead of going to class. So when I told Daniel that what I wanted to work on was OHS and SDHP in order to focus and practice on my core and stability, but he pointed out that I couldn't move any significant amount of weight with those two exercises, and I would be forgoing the main purpose of the 5 x 5 practice which was to move enough heavy stuff to inspire my body to release HGH so that I can get stronger faster. I also realized that I get a fair bit of core and stability work in the CFEB classes, so I decided to compromise and do back squats and either cleans or SDHP. If we do decide to add Sundays then maybe I can add OHS then.

Warmup: 600m row (at a 'jog' pace), ME, 25 squats, 15 pushups, 30 situps.

Back Squat x 5: 45-45-55-55-55-55-55

Hang Power Clean x 5: 45-45-50-50-55(PR)-55-55
Leg Lifts in captains chair (inserted between clean sets) : 5 reps + 10 second hold, 10 reps + 20 second hold

Hang Power Clean X 1: 60-65(f)


I'm pretty happy with how today went.

The back squats were not the heaviest I've tried, and I am pretty sure there's room for improvement next week. My first warmup set felt ridiculously hard for an empty bar, and then Daniel reminded me about keeping everything tight and holding my breath, and the next set was MUCH easier. I am so lucky to have him around! He is going to be such a great trainer :-)

I found that the first 3 reps were pretty straight forward, and I'd start struggling around rep 4. I did not fail any reps, but a couple came close. Daniel and I watched a few squat and clean & jerk videos when we got home, and there was one from Coach Rip on "hip drive" in the squat - in which he essentially said you should lead with your ass when coming out of the hole in a squat, and that if you lead with your chest, you take the tension off your hamstrings and get stuck - which I think is exactly what was happening to me on the reps where I got stuck. On the whole, I feel like these have come a long way. My form has improved a lot, and a weighted bar no longer makes me stagger around in the cage. (let alone an empty bar)

As for the cleans, I didn't remember that I had ever really managed to clean more than just the 45# bar - though apparently I did on 11-8-08. However, I was still really encouraged at how (relatively) easy the bar kept going up. It's proof positive that I am a great deal stronger than once I was. I kept adding weight because 5 reps did not feel like enough work. The 1 rep max attempts were tacked on at the end while I was waiting for Daniel to finish his set. I was SUPER close to being able to pull 65 - i tried about 4 times (with rest in between) - but I just couldn't quite convert it. I think I'd be able to do it if I was well warmed up and otherwise fresh. I feel certain that it will come soon.

I'm glad to be doing this again, because as nice as the constant variety of CrossFit is, it's also nice to have something standard to go back to on a regular basis where performance gain (or lack thereof) is easily assessable.

5x5's: Back in Your Arms Again

It wasn't until today rolled around that I realized how much I've been missing 5x5's, and how much I was looking forward to doing them again. Now that the craziness of the holidays is over, Rebecca and I have resolved to begin the New Year with a return to the hybrid programming that helped us so much last year. At least once a week - Thursdays - we'll do a 5x5 routine. Possibly Sundays as well - we haven't decided yet. We really like going to class, but it isn't really feasible to do max effort deadlifts and squats in the same day, and the program feels deficient without doing both movements.

At any rate, for Thursdays at least, I'm thinking of mixing things up a little. I will anchor the day with a 5x5 back squat in linear progression. I will support this with a second movement that will let me mix up form and technique practice with some weight, but won't always be the same least until I find something I really want to focus on. For now, there are just so many things that need work. The list of options are: Clean, Jerk, Snatch, KB Snatch, Ring Dip, Weighted Pullup, Bench Press, Shoulder Press...and on and on.

So today:

Back Squat, x 5: 150-150-150-150-150
Hang Clean x 5: 75-75
Hang Clean & Jerk x 5: 75-75-75

The back squats felt pretty frickin' hard, but I know that I can do at least 175x3, so I'm hoping that it's just a matter of getting back into the movement and hopefully next week will be smoother. I think my form is better on these than it has been in the past, and (slowly, oh so slowly) my chest is staying more upright as I get to the bottom. Obviously, this deteriorates as I get tired.

I was really happy with my Clean & Jerk practice. Well, at least I was happy with the Cleans. Finally, after all these months, I'm starting to be able to receive the clean in a full squat, rather than only power cleans. I even did a couple sets of full cleans, and after some problems with never coming to full extension with my hips I was able to do something that didn't feel completely freakish. I really wish we'd brought our camera, so I could review it and post it for feedback. Next time.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 by Rebecca

Playing Catch-up - again

My workouts for the past several days have not been very focused or very successful, so I have been less than super excited to blog about them, but I guess I should get them down for posterity's sake.

I've been feeling pretty run down for the last week or so, and I think I might be fighting a bug. I have a very slightly sore throat - though I suppose it could just as easily be allergies - especially from all the dust we stirred up when cleaning out our closets over the weekend. That was a fun project :)

So - Sunday, we ended up doing both the crossfit workout of OHS and then we went climbing. I was tired heading into it, and I planned to focus primarily on form. I didn't really keep track of reps or weights. I think I got to rep 8 of 15 with the empty 15# bar, and failed. I tried 25# and failed on rep 3 or 4, same deal with 20#. I found that the main thing that was failing was actually my wrists, followed quickly by my shoulders. I just couldn't hold the weight up any longer. Daniel got some video of me with the empty bar. At the very least my knees are nice and solid - there's very little wobble. You'll see at the end of the video when my grip fails and I whack myself in the knee with the dropped bar. Glad I wasn't using the heavy bar, and my bruise is only a small one. Any comments on form are appreciated :-)

Climbing almost immediately after was ... not terribly wise or productive. I climbed 2 routes both 5.9's - neither of which should have given me any trouble - both of which were ugly. Particularly the first one. I rested or fell 4 or 5 times on the first - and it was a neat technical stemmy climb up a corner that I would really love to try fresh. I bet it would be fun. I fell fewer times on the second, but it still wasn't pretty. I was happy to just belay after that.

Sunday night we went to a potluck at the Athletic Playground. It's well named. They have lots of toys, a trapeze and aerial silk setups, they offer classes in these things and parkour and handstands - it's an adult, athletic, playground :-) (Though they offer classes for kids, too. Shira - one of the co-owners - introduced us to slam ball. That was fun :)

Monday was climbing at GWPC. I climbed ... 2.5 routes. There's a very easy 9 that I started with, and that went quite well. I tried "neck meat" again(10a), and got 1/2 way up got to a hold i thought was spun (watching Ev climb it later i think it was probably fine) but I just couldn't figure it out. And it was a struggle to get even that far. The whole climb was crap. I couldn't get my feet to stick to the wall, I couldn't find my next handhold. It was panic climbing. Daniel said that it looked like i was over reaching - moving my hands too far up - and that was why my feet wouldn't stick. Sometimes, when I feel uncomfortable on a climb I get sort of frantic, and just reach for anything that looks like it might be close enough to reach. It is not "tree sloth" climbing. It's pretty much the exact opposite. It's not pretty and it doesn't work. My last climb was a new 5.9 just east of the stairwell. The first half of the climb was frantic and graspy, again, and I recognized that, stopped, took a few breaths, tried to recenter myself and continued on to finish the climb. The last half was definitely better than the first.

Tonight was a KB strength WOD.

Double Kettlebell Press 6-6-6-6-6
Double Kettlebell Push-Press 8-8-8-8-8
Double Kettlebell Jerk 10-10-10-10-10

I was glad that it was not a killer metcon, but I knew the volume was still going to be a killer. I did 8kg KB all the way through. THe Jerks were definitely the hardest. I know you're supposed to be able to lift more weight with a Jerk than a PP, but with double KB, the jerk requires a lot more stabilization (unless you really nail the form), and are therefore harder. The most I managed to get in a single set was 9.5 in set 5. Most of my jerk sets failed between 6 and 8. I still completed all reps though. Took for freaking EVER!

Tomorrow we're going to start back in with the 5x5 routine. Max suggested that I move back to back squats, and I'm thinking maybe I'll work on cleans or SDHP instead of bench press ... not really sure yet.

I don't need this stuff! I don't need YOU, I don't need ANYTHING!

... except these kettlebells.

Double Kettlebell Press 6-6-6-6-6
Double Kettlebell Push-Press 8-8-8-8-8
Double Kettlebell Jerk 10-10-10-10-10

1 pood across. Didn't get all 10 reps for every set of jerks.

Everything went swimmingly until the jerks. I was quite pleased with how well the presses and push-presses went, actually - it felt heavy and unstable at first, but once my shoulder warmed up and I re-figured out how to stabilize and drive from the core, the weight went up significantly easier.

However, jerks. I did get some sets of 10, but they were really closer to push-presses than jerks - my second dip is tiny, if I even get it, and for some reason standing up with the KB locked out overhead is extremely tiring - such that 10 jerks is far harder than 10 push-presses. This is probably because I don't have it locked out properly, or at least that would be my guess. A little googling brought me to this video from CrossFit Philly, which has an interesting progression for working the timing of the second dip - I think I'll give it a shot.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 by Daniel

Rockin' Recipe: Broccoli Curry (Red, Yellow or Green)

It's been a while since I've posted one of these, and in honor of the no-sugar challenge, I'm going to try and share a few more of my sugar-free, low-carb, high-protein, vegetarian dinners (that can easily be adapted to omnivores). This is a weekly staple in my house: it's easy, fairly quick and very flexible, constructed around a few vital ingredients but open-ended enough to accommodate whatever I've got in the fridge. It also makes leftover lunches for two days, which is very handy.


Protein: I use two cakes of TJ's high-protein tofu, but you could just as easily use chicken or, I assume, pork or beef.

  • One can of coconut milk
  • A cup of broth
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp Thai Kitchen Red or Green Curry Paste, or a couple spoonfuls of yellow curry powder
  • 1/2-3/4 cup peanut butter (optional - I combine this with the red curry)
  • One onion, finely sliced
  • I always use a bag of TJ's broccoli, to which I may add some combination of the following:
  • A head of cauliflower
  • Baby carrots
  • A bag of spinach
  • Half a bag of frozen peas
  • I don't really know how meat works, but I just brown the tofu with some oil in a skillet.
  • In a separate saucepan, I'll cook the onions (and maybe some garlic) in oil over medium heat until translucent.
  • Whisk together the curry ingredients separately (except peanut butter) and add to the onions. If using peanut butter, add it now so the heat will help soften it and mix it in.
  • Once the curry sauce is simmering, add the broccoli and any other veggies (except peas). Stir to coat, then cover and let steam a few minutes until the broccoli is tender.
  • Add the tofu and stir. When almost ready, add the frozen peas and let the heat thaw them.
  • Spoon into bowls and top with salted cashews, if you've got 'em.

Monday, January 5, 2009 by Daniel

Social Climbing at GWPC

Lately, it seems that a day in which the only physical activity I do is climbing is essentially a rest day. Well, active rest, I guess. Certainly not GOOD climbing, as my body was pretty wrecked from the week.

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

The mocks went smoothly, although I biffed the final clips on the b. The 10d was a really technical arete that kept traversing left and right over the arete, with verrrrry small holds and big steps up. I kept getting freaked out and relying too much on my arms, which would cause me to fall. Some deep breaths and getting back on and suddenly the move that seemed impossible wasn't that bad. If only I could maintain that sort of zen all the time. The 10c was a really neat climb that didn't look like an arete, but had holds cunningly hidden around corners to make it feel like one. It finished with a big roof that I just didn't have the steam to pull all the way - I fell off the last move.

Sunday, January 4, 2009 by Daniel

Focus on Form (with video!)

Fairly thrashed from the two-WOD day on Saturday, I resolved to spend Sunday focusing on form and not really pushing the weight. Lucky for me, the WOD was overhead squats, so it's not like I could really push the weight high OHS are transitioning between "complete crap" and "not complete crap" - progress of which I'm very proud.

Overhead Squat 15-5-5-5


As the video shows, I need to work on my depth, particularly when the weight goes up. My shoulder flexibility has improved, though, which is invaluable since my back flexibility really has not, and I still can't keep my chest very high (on any form of squat, really). Still, this is 20# heavier than the last time I tried OHS, and my form feels much more solid. I think 95# (and an RX Jeremy) are no longer way out of my reach.

We went from one Touchstone gym directly to another, to do a little climbing with Katherine & Blake at Mission Cliffs. With ripped up hands and sore muscles, I didn't expect a stellar job, but it wasn't actually that bad.

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

The first 10d was a really delicate book stem, with tons of open-hand slopers and tricksy balancing. I slid off a lot, and did not get the last move legitimately - it involved rotating to get my other hip against the wall, and although I knew this was what was needed, I just couldn't figure out how to do it, so I just swung over on the rope. Bad. The second 10d was a great climb on the slab/roof wall, with lots of big, satisfying moves that seemed impossible until you figured out the right progression, and then were easy. It had a VERY tricky expanse of 6-7 feet traversing under a roof with NO footholds - took me forever to figure out that a portion of the texturing had come off the wall, and you were supposed to use the quarter-inch of purchase this gave you as a foothold. The last 10c was nothing but huge buckets, just very long and very steep - I was so pumped I couldn't make it all the way to the top without resting.

Saturday, January 3, 2009 by Rebecca

Tabata something else

Warmup: ME, jog 400m, KB skills - swings, cleans, snatches (I knew I was in sad shape, when I had a really hard time getting consecutive swings with the 12kg KB)

"Tabata Something Else"

Complete 32 intervals of 20 seconds of work followed by ten seconds of rest where the first 8 intervals are pull-ups, the second 8 are push-ups, the third 8 intervals are sit-ups, and finally, the last 8 intervals are squats. There is no rest between exercises.


Jumping Pull-up9


I am reasonably satisfied with these scores. It wasn't a terribly high volume week, but I was still pretty tired heading into this, so I'm just glad to have been ableto get fairy consistent scores.

I feel like the squats could have been higher, but with out any rest after the situps, I was having a hard time just staying on my feet.

Double your pain, double your fun

So Max has kicked off the new year with a new class: Firebreathers. It's "advanced" CrossFit: no scaling or whining allowed, and there's a competitive scoring system in place. I don't really care about the scoring (for me it's a significant achievement just to do the WOD as RX, and I'm never on the leaderboard), but I am interested in the focus on the more advanced skills. I need serious work on all of them. So the pros are:
  • Good for my coaching, I think, to take my training up a notch.
  • It's an opportunity to practice advanced skills.
  • By doing extra-hard work, other WODs should hopefully get easier.
  • I really like all the folks involved.
There are, however, some cons:
  • I am not advanced. I consider myself a solid intermediate CrossFitter, and not just in skills (although I'm lacking in that regard as well). Primarily, I'm just not very strong.
  • The time is very awkward: 3pm on Saturdays. That pretty much kills Saturday for anything else. It also means not doing the WOD fasted, which I prefer.
  • It's also awkward with Rebecca. We really like going to class together, but she knows she's not ready for the advanced stuff, so it means either going with her to the morning class and then coming back again by myself in the afternoon (I did this today, and have doubts about its sustainability), or letting her go to the Saturday class alone and taking my turn later. She feels left out, I feel bad about leaving her's not ideal.
So today was an experiment. I don't know what will happen next week. At the moment, I'm viewing it as an "I'll do it when I can, but I probably won't make every class" thing. And as the weather gets nicer and we're more inclined to take daytrips out to the coast or go climbing, it will get tougher.

Anyway, today I went to both the morning and the afternoon class. This was difficult. I'm not certain, but I don't think I've done two CrossFit WODs in a day before (maybe if one of them was a 5x5 or something, which isn't the same). It definitely pushed my body to its limits.


"Tabata Something Else"
Complete 32 intervals of 20 seconds of work followed by ten seconds of rest where the first 8 intervals are pull-ups, the second 8 are push-ups, the third 8 intervals are sit-ups, and finally, the last 8 intervals are squats. There is no rest between exercises.

Final score: 29 RX


This score is considerably worse than last time. However, last time Shira (guest trainer) let us have a minute of rest between rounds, and Max did not. I suspect this made a difference. That said, I clearly picked a number too low for the squats, and maybe for the sit-ups....though the last round of sit-ups was a pretty close call.


There was a TON of stuff in the warm-up and skills workout - enough that it took an hour, and we were pretty tired by the time the actual WOD rolled around. Skills worked were double-unders (I still suck), HSPUs (I can't even reliably get upside-down), and C2B Pull-ups (at least I can actually do these). The final WOD was:

For Time:
100 Reps Kettlebell Swing (2 pood)

12:41 RX

Jesus, Mary and Joseph this was hard. My throat is hoarse from all the grunting/yelling I was doing trying to get that damn orange ball over my head. I ripped open another callous on my hands, though the bike gloves I was wearing definitely helped. Despite the pain, however, I was glad to do this: I think 2 pood KB swings should make my KB snatches stronger, and I really want that 30 1.5 pood snatch skill checked off. I also get more all-over-body sore from KB swings than anything else, so I think they're an excellent functional exercise. I still have a healthy phobia of that 2 pood bastard, though.

On a final note: Rebecca and I cleaned out our closets today (in order to make room for all the new clothes we picked up at the outlets in Virginia). I'm donating a LOT of clothes. Stuffed in the back of a drawer I found a really old pair of jeans - from back before I made the commitment to be fit. They're size 36 waist - 4-6 inches larger than what I buy now. I tried them on and Rebecca took one of those classic "look at how much weight I lost" pants pictures:

This makes me pretty happy.

Friday, January 2, 2009 by Rebecca

Deadlifts and Pullups and Running, oh my!

Warmup: ME, Deadlift Practice - dowel, jog 300m(or so)


Five Rounds:

Run 400 Meters
10 Deadlift 225#/155# (subbed 100#)
10 C2B Pull-ups (Subbed jumping pullups - low box)



I very nearly decided to skip this workout due to the tweaked muscle in my leg from climbing this morning, and because I was feeling couch potato-ish. I'm glad I didn't. I didn't do 100% intensity. I'd say maybe 85%, but it was good to get out and get moving.

The run distance was definitely shorter than 400m, so none of these times count as PR's - i was definitely not running that fast.

I realized about half way through that I cold definitely have been lifting a little more weight, but ultimately, it's probably just as well that I didn't.

I don't have a lot of feed back on this workout - it felt (relatively) friendly and manageable, and it was good to just get out and do it - especially after the last several days of soreness induced inactivity.

Back in the saddle

The DOMS from Sunday finally wore off enough to actually workout yesterday, but since I was leading the WOD I didn't really get a chance to do more than the trial round I did - which was 8.5 minutes of hard work, but doesn't really count as a workout.

So today I got back on the wall and in class, and it felt great. First, this morning's climbing with Rebecca and Tor (and Tor's daughter Dakota):

ML10a(o), ML10b(o), 10c(o), 10b/c(o)

Good bit of climbing. The 10a was a breeze. The 10b was a long one on the front wall, and I ran into the problem of reaching across my body to clip again. This time I just switched hands, and that worked much better than fumbling around forever. I don't know that I'll always have that luxury, though, so I should learn how best to clip into a draw across my body with the gate facing me. The 10c was a hard one - big jugs, but super pumpy - the climb was basically a series of roofs. The last b/c was a LOT of fun - on the back wall, and fairly stemmy, it meandered all over the place and was more technical than I was expecting.

Then, this evening's WOD at GWPC:

Five Rounds for time:

Run 400 Meters
10 Deadlift 225#/155#
10 C2B Pull-ups

28:02 RX
splits: 5:17 | 5:36 | 6:05 | 5:43 | 5:20

There were 6 guys sharing two 225# bars, and 17 athletes on a pullup bar that could handle maybe 5-6, so it was a bit of a clusterfuck. Wasn't too bad, though, and as the hardcore athletes finished earlier, it opened up even more.

I was nervous about doing 50 225# deadlifts, when my latest 1Rm is 275, but it wasn't that bad, actually. I did them in two sets of five, and kept form fairly well for about 90% of them, I think. The pull-ups were actually more frustrating, as I can't seem to string together C2B pull-ups, so it would be "pullup... swing back and forth a little...pull-up...etc". Yet another skill to work on.

While in Virginia, I got some workout clothes at the outlets, and got to try them out tonight. First I got some very thin-soled Pumas that are equally suitable for POSE running and for squats, and I'm quite happy with them - though my calves are still protesting at the POSE. Second, I got an UnderArmour cold-weather long-sleeve top, that I got because it advertised the magical ability to keep you warm in 50-degree weather without overheating. It is embarassingly tight and very orange and drew some gentle mockery, but I have to say it worked REALLY well. I was never too hot or too cold, despite the fairly cold night. I may try putting a T-shirt over it, though, so people will stop telling me I look like a superhero. That's not really the look I'm going for.

Climbing - mixed results

5.9-DNF, 5.9-o, 5.4-o (rescue mission), 5.10a-f, 5.10a-f, 5.10a-DNF

5.9 - this first climb on the second pillar looked pretty straight forward, but it had a fair bit of negative incline right from the beginning, and was a bad choice for a warmup. I fell about 4 times in the first 10 feet and just gave up. My muscles and my brain were just not ready to tackle this climb.

5.9 - this climb was on the back wall, and I usual;ly get along well with this wall. Everything went much better. There were still some clumsy moves, but i got to the top in good time and no major errors.

5.4 -we were climbing with our friend Tor today, and he brought his daughter Dakota with him today. She got to the top of a climb, and the rope around the pulley got looped over itself, and since she's so light, gravity was not bringing her down. I hoped on the rope next to her, and climbed up to untangle the rope at the top. Fun to play hero. She was a little scared about being stuck, but was a good sport about it.

5.10a - this is a white 10a at the south end of the west wall, near the crack climbs, that appeared to be nice and stemmy through a good book feature once you got past the first 10 feet or so. It definitely had some stemming, but it had a fair bit of NOT stemmy, and there was one spot on the wall where I couldn't find a good place to rest ON the wall, so i had to let go and rest on the rope. Once i took stock and got back up, I discovered that everything immediately after that spot was very friendly, and if i had only kept going, the next move would have taken me to an excellent resting spot. drats. good climb though.

5.10a - this was on the slab on the back wall. This is a challenging but fun climb. I fell on this one twice - once when I just didn't spot a handhold way off to the left, and tried (unsuccessfully) to balance my way through the move instead. I ALMOST had it. It would have been pretty cool to get the harder move. It was an easy move once i discovered the handhold. I love these technical problem solve-y climbs.

5.10a - this one started on the funny little overhang just under the arch to the back wall. this start ALWAYS sucks. I cheated my way up the first couple holds, and then got into a very awkward position with my right leg very high up trying to get over the edge, and kinda got stuck there, and i heard or felt a little pop in my knee and my hip, and decided that that was enough and needed to come down. It was hard though, and in order not to slam into the wall, I still had to get higher to get my right foot off that hold. it sucked. I hope my leg is ok.

Overall, except for kind of a lame beginning and end, it was a good day of climbing. I think my foot work is really starting to get a lot better, and I am more willing to trust my right foot more often. I find it really interesting how obvious it is when a move is just Right. It just feels solid and powerful. I'm getting that feeling more often on more of my climbs, and it's really satisfying!

SO SO Behind!!

I am SUPER behind in my blogging. Actually, I'm pretty far behind in all kinds of correspondence. I have lot's of 'good' excuses - but really they're all lame. Work's been crazy, and I think I've just been in avoidance mode. When we went to Virginia, I thought I'd spend some time getting caught up, but I barely touched a computer while I was there. I just played a lot of video games, and watched a lot of bad TV and movies. It was fantastic, and relaxing, and gave me a bit of a needed recharge. There was a lot of pressure at work leading up to "Year End" which is a Big Deal to us accounting types, but now that that hard and fast deadline is passed (regardless of what did and did not get done), the pressure is off somewhat, and I feel like I can breathe a bit again. The five day weekend is a big help, too.

So below are links to all my Catch-up posts:
Kitchen Sink
Social climbing 12-21-08
Christmas-5-ish k
Potomac CrossFit
My Woobie's first WOD

Whew! Glad to be all caught up :-D

Thursday, January 1, 2009 by Daniel

Life is like a bowl of pennies

Today marks a milestone for me - more than just the first of the year. Today was my first experience leading the WOD!

Max knows that I am pursuing my ISSA and, eventually, CrossFit L1 certification, and hopefully with the growth in interest in the classes at Ironworks and GWPC, there will be room for me to join CrossFit Eastbay as a trainer once my certifications are complete. Today, however, with the Touchstone gyms closed and no worries of liability, Max asked if I would be interested in coming up with and leading the WOD offsite at Gita's house in Oakland. Of course I jumped at the chance.

It being the first of the year, I wanted to come up with something that commemorated the occasion, and also felt drawn to the idea of a group-based workout. After some tweaking, the final workout looked like this:

1 200m Run up the hill
1 200m Run down the hill
20 Sit-Ups
10 Push-ups
9 Burpees

There will be 49 tokens in a bowl 200m up the hill. Each round will consist of running to the bowl, collecting a token, running back down, doing the reps, and then putting the token by your name chalked on the ground. Once all the tokens are collected, the athletes will have performed a total of 2,009 reps (each run = 1 rep). Your score is how many tokens you've collected.

This is similar to the original workout I had conceived, but we made some last-minute changes. Originally the runs were 400m all the way to the top of the hill, but that fucker is STEEP. I did a test run to the top and back, and it was brutal. Since the WOD gets easier the more people show up, I decided I wouldn't set the distance that far unless more than 15 people showed. 11 came, and there was MUCH apprehension about the steepness of the hill, so I relented and put the bowl halfway up. This turned out to be a good thing. The original workout was also supposed to be 20 pushups and 10 pullups (instead of situps and pushups), but we nixed the pullups after it became clear the wall we'd slung the rings over was structurally unsound - and not really good for pullups anyway (too low).

The final token (I used pennies) was delivered at 19:50, which put the WOD right in the sweet-spot of metcon time domains. 11 athletes completed between 3 and 6 rounds (Matthew won with 6 tokens - no surprise - and Rebecca H. edged out Evelyn on delivering her fourth token), and they definitely looked like they were working.

I'm very satisfied with the way this turned out, but I was pretty nervous leading up to it. Since the WOD was not an absolute, but depended on the number of people who showed up, I wasn't completely sure of the scaling until everyone was there, and even then I wasn't sure how far up the hill to place the bowl. I think folks sensed my indecision, and took the opportunity to apply some vocal pressure to make it easier (except lunatic Gita, who was disappointed the bowl wasn't at the top of the hill). As for the actual "training" during the WOD, I was really more of a photographer than anything. Everyone who showed up was a regular at CFEB, and was plenty familiar with the movements, so I didn't need to coach anyone. I could definitely have been better at the exhortation - I'll need to work on that. It was a tremendous learning experience all-told, though, and has given me a lot to think about for the future.

My Woobie's WOD!

I'm so proud of Daniel. I think his first WOD went great. I'm just sorry I couldn't make a better effort at getting it done.

Unfortunately I woke up with a headache accompanied by queasiness, and it had not gone away by the time the workout started. I didn't want to bail completely, so I very slowly worked my way through two rounds plus one run. Alex asked for, and was happily granted, the 'priviledge' of doing all my reps for me, since I got one of the last few tokens.

Unfortunatley, I also managed to delete the time for this workout from my watch - note to self - watch deletes workouts from newest to oldest - NOT oldest to newest ... (LAME!) but since the workout took just about 20 minutes, and i completed 2 whole rounds just before the last round, I'm going to guess that each round took me about 8 minutes.

My minor victory for the day is that I managed to run every step of the three runs I did despite the steepness of the hill and the throbbing of my head.