Sunday, January 31, 2010 by Rebecca

Snowboarding #2

Day 2 was a bit icier and falls hurt a bit more, but thankfully there
were many fewer falls.

We didn't get to the slopes until a bit after 10, so we rented our
gear and signed up for the afternoon class.

I managed to get 2 runs in before class. I was doing ok on my toe
side, but just couldn't do anything on my heel side. And turns were
completely out of the question. Still I managed to make it down the
mountain pretty well though once I got my helmet and goggles all
sorted out.

By the time I finished my second run it was about 12:45 leaving 30
minutes before we were to meet our class. I opted to take a bathroom
break and drink some water so that I wouldn't be starting class tired.

We met our instructor, Marvin. Right away I could tell that he was more interested in actually instructing than our previous instructor (not that he was bad or anything). There were only 4 of us, which was a nice small group. He reminded us of the best way to get off the lift, and off we went on our first run.

First he just wanted to see each of us ride to asses what level we were at. after the first pass, he decided that we were all pretty close to the same level. Daniel was definitely at the 'head of the class'. He started off being relatively comfortable with toe side and heel side and being able to occasionally link turns. The rest of us pretty much only had one side we were comfortable with, and hadn't figured out turns yet.

When it came time for me to try traversing across the run on my heel side, Marvin came and stood directly in front of me, helped me stand up, and traversed across with me. It was like magic - with him standing there, I was no longer afraid of falling, and I barely needed his help at all to get across. We were both a bit surprised at how well I did with it.

So - like with so much in life, just amplified - I learned that snowboarding requires a certain zen attitude. The instant I start freaking out about going to fast or not going in the right direction, or being afraid of falling, or rushing through something, I fall. If I can keep my head and keep breathing, I generally manage to stay on my feet. It's too bad I get anxious so easily ...

The second run, Marvin asked us to practice switching the board from facing down hill to facing across the mountain as we traversed - a sort of "see-saw" maneuver that results in speeding up and slowing down which would help us learn to link turns. Ironically, even though my toe side had been my dominant side going into class, I had a much easier time practicing this on the heel side. Ultimately, using this technique, I was able to link a few heel side to toe side turns. I even got some toe side to heel side turns, but I always fell once the turn was complete. I think I suddenly find myself looking down the mountain, freak out, and fall. Once I get even more comfortable on my heel side, I think this will resolve itself.

I have this issue on my heel side of my left foot swinging down the mountain, and it's apparently because i tend to lead with my left shoulder so instead of just looking right to move to the right side of the mountain, i must turn my whole torso that way. It's a habit I'll have to break.

We did 4 runs total in the class, and I did another run on my own after class bringing my total runs for the day to 7 (and I only fell getting off the lift twice! - Ha!).

I think that on our next trip, I will try riding "regular" instead of goofy, and see whether I do any better at "see-sawing" on my toe side, and whether I can control my orientation any better on my heel side.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with my progress. I'm still falling fairly regularly (I'm not sure that I'll ever get past that entirely), but most of the falls were controlled, and I definitely made really good progress on learning to ride heel side and making turns. There was actually another girl in our class who was actually having a more difficult time than I was. It always surprises me when that happens.

Things to remember: keep weight centered (left to right) over the board to control speed - putting weight on the back foot makes you speed up. and stop leading with my left shoulder.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 by Daniel

Oly Cycle Week 3 Day 2

Warmup: 2 rounds of 10 wall squats & 55 sec active squat holds. Burgener warmup.
Consecutive double-under practice (29! Big PR)

Snatch x 1: 60-65-70-75-80
Clean x 1: 85-90-95-100-105

Overhead squat x 5: 85-85-85
Ring Dip x 5: BW-BW-BW
Alternated with 5 depth jumps.

Flex: various static holds, PNF hamstring with strap. Ball rolling.

1-27-2010 oly cycle #6

750m of rowing
2 rounds, 10 wall squats followed by a 55 sec squat hold. (the squat hold is getting HARD)

Snatch skill practice - 15# bar

Clean& jerk skill practice
several x 30#
2 x 40#
1 x 50#

Ohs 20-20-20

Dips red band aprox 7" tail both sides
4+1 - 5 - 5

Pistols 5 each leg after each set of dips
L sit to a weight stack of 4 thinner 45# plates + 2 25# plates
R same + 1 more 25# plate

Tonight was something of a banner night. My wall squats are improving (a tiny bit, i still have to cheat and cheat hard to get to the bottom position), I was finally able to (on a semi-regular basis) actually link together the full ROM for both squat snatches and squat cleans. More consistently with the cleans.

My flexibility (or lack thereof) in my hips, calves and shoulders is still the limiting factor in my snatch, and I think it is why I can't land them more often - and when I do I am terribly pitched forward - but getting there at all is a pretty good achievement.

My limited ability to stand up with an upright back with any significant amount of weight is the limiting factor in my clean. My quads WILL get stronger dammit.

Tonight, getting the bar up off the floor and diving under it (particularly with the cleans) actually felt right for the first time ever.

Yay progress!

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Monday, January 25, 2010 by Daniel

Oly Cycle Week 3 Day 1

Warmup: 2 rounds of 10 wall squats & 50 sec active squat holds. Burgener warmup.

Snatch x 1: 60-65-70-75(f)-75
Clean x 1: nope

Front squat x 5: 105-105-105
alternated with 5 depth jumps

Press x 5: 90-90-90

Flex: various static holds, PNF hamstring with strap.

Was NOT feeling it tonight. Whether it was residual soreness from snowboarding or just insufficient warmup, everything felt tight and slow, and I was coming forward onto my toes receiving the snatches. Gita suggested that continuing to do skill work while "not feeling it" only reinforced bad motor patterns, so we never even bothered with the cleans, and just tried to get through the strength stuff. Not a satisfying workout.

1-25-2010 - oly cycle # 5

2 rounds 10 wall squats, 50 sec squat hold, burgener warmup

Snatch skill practice.

3 rounds (not for time):
5 Front squats: 33-43-48
5 Box jumps: 2 kraborg 45#, 2 25#, 1 15# (about 15-16")

Press 5-5-5
 *might have failed after 4, might have gotten all 5 - i lost count.

Muscles were pretty worked from snow boarding. I tweaked something in my left thigh right around the end of my snatch practice, so I didn't really go through clean & jerk practice today.  And I really only did 2 sets of front squats - the set @ 33# was just a warmup.  However, even though didn't finish most of the exercises, there was clear improvement of form for most of them.

My wall squats were better - I didn't have to do them with a kettlebell - I was even able to get 1/2 to 2/3 of the way down with my hands behind my head, but I did have to grip onto the base of the wood on the wall in order to stay upright in the bottom position, however, it allowed me to correctly work the full bottom ROM, so I don't feel too badly about cheating.

I think the height of the box jumps is about right.  I made about 60% of them on the first try.  (Box jumps and front squats do not go well together).

It wasn't the best workout ever there was a lot of dnf-ing - but I don't feel like it was a waste of time, either.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010 by Rebecca


So, this weekend we headed up to Tahoe with some friends. It was all a but last minute, but the plan was that we would go snowshoeing while everyone else went snowboarding. Neither daniel nor I had ever been snowboarding - we've always steered clear of the high velocity snow sport due to Daniel's bad knees and my poor coordination. But on the way up, our friends suggested we try a lesson. They'd received 7 or 8 feet of snow in the last week, so conditions were just about as ideal as they would ever be. So we figured, "What the heck, we'll give it a shot, if we hate it we can always grab our snow shoes and do that instead."

We signed up for the 'learn to ride' lesson for first timers, and got in line to get setup with our gear. As soon as I started strapping into the boots the anxiety started. (I ended up with a men's 7.) How much room was there supposed to be for my toes? How tight were they supposed to be? Were they supposed to be so uncomfortable? They push your calf forward a bit - much like ski boots. I have really tight inflexible calves(something I've really been working on) but my calves were feeling tired and sore before I even made it out of the rental gear line. Not a good sign.

Then we got to the lesson. And the first thing you had to do was decide which first was going to be the foot strapped into the board when "skating" around, and then you had to try skating. At first I couldn't get my board to skate at all - apparently there was snow stuck to the bottom - and then once the snow got knocked off, and the board got slippery, i fell over every time I tried it. And the panic started to set in.

What if I was completely incapable of doing this, what if the instructor had to spend his entire time with me - how unfair to the other students, maybe i just should have taken a private lesson, maybe I should just bow out and let the class go on without me, what the hell was I going to do once I got on the lift and got to the top of the slope, how was I going to get down?! How was I even going to get off the lift without killing myself? (At this point he was teaching us the "glide" we were supposed to do to get off the lift, and I couldn't even master skating)

There were many attempts at taking deep calming breaths - but they might have been more like hyper-ventilating ... there were definitely some tears. The instructor was trying to be helpful, but I either wasn't able to hear him, or he just wasn't giving me the cues I needed. Then Daniel suggested I just try standing on the board with both feet, and just try shifting my weight from side to side - moving a couple inches in each direction. That actually really helped. It let me get a sense of where my balance was supposed to be while on the board, and just what it felt like to be on a moving board.

I haltingly made my way over to the rest of the group as we were assembling to get on the lift for the first time, and was somewhat relieved to see that there was someone else who was still struggling to make it over to the group. It's a hard thing to admit, but I think it made a huge difference that as hard I was struggling, there was actually someone in the class who was worse than I was.

On the way up the lift, once we had figured out how to sit, Daniel and I talked about how this would, ultimately, probably be good therapy for me because it would force me to learn how to stand evenly on two feet instead of always resting all my weight on my left.

We got to the top, and I did fall getting on the lift. But I managed to get out of the way so they didn't ave to stop it. The first trip down the mountain we worked on heel slides and toe slides - a controlled slide straight down the face of the mountain either facing down the mountain (heel side) or facing up the mountain (toe side). We started with heel side - which means you have to stand up while facing down the mountain - it took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to accomplish this. At first I'd get my butt over my heels and the board would start sliding down the mountain before I had the opportunity to actually stand up. I slid down the mountain about 20 or 30 feet this way. Then once I did manage to stand up, I pretty much fell back down again immediately (of course), but I did eventually manage to get about 10 solid feet of heel slide by the time I was half way down the mountain. Next was toe slide - which (if you can get over the whole going backwards issue) is somehwat easier than heel slide - or at least it's a whole lot easier to sand up.

By the time i got to the foot of the bunny slope the first time, there were no tears, no anxiety, and I suspected I might actually be able to figure this out (eventually).

The first half of the second run was about learning to traverse back and forth across the run, which I managed with some small maount of success (i think i got one or two full traverses with many failed attempts and lots of going in the oposite of the direction i was trying to go and of course falling.

The second half was was about traversing and turning to go back the other way. The third run was just to keep working on linking traverses and turns. I never mastered this - although I got close once in class, and once or twice after class. The thing about turning is that at some point you have to point your board straight down the mountain, and that makes me very nervous. I usually end up waiting to the last minute, and then i over turn or get the board facing down the mountain and can't quite get it pointed back to the other side and so I just sit down to avoid hurtling down the hill.

Class was over, and even though there was time to get in a couple more runs before lunch, I really needed the ladies room, I was getting really tired, and we needed someone to stake out a table to sit at. I figured it would be best for me to take a little break, use the facilities, and find a place for us to eat lunch.

Over lunch Alex and Gita asked which foot I was using as my back foot - when I said my left, they both said that they tended to use their stronger leg as their front foot. Well skating with my left foot in the straps would likely just be a diaster, but I decded I could try riding with my left foot as the front foot.

Once we were finished with lunch we only had about an hour or so before the lifts closed, so Daniel and I headed back out to the bunny slope.

The first run was a disaster. I couldn't stay on my feet, i couldn't get the board to go where i wanted it to go. It didn't make a difference if i was leading with my left or right foot. It probably took my 30 min or more to get down the mountain, and I had told daniel that he needed to wait for me and so I had the increased anxiety of making him wait while I made my very painfully slow way down the mountain. A foot or two at a time. It was absolutely miserable. If the day had ended after that run, I probably would have decided that snow boarding sucked and I wasn't really interested in doing it again, but the lift was still running, and so I decided to try one last run. I also told daniel that he was not to wait for me, and that he could check in with me if he wanted to when he lapped me.

My last run was pretty awesome. First, I actually managed to stay on my feet getting off the lift (until the beginner skiier next to daniel accidentally hit him in the face with his poles and knocked him over into me :-p). I only fell a handful of times, and I while I wasn't able to successfully complete a turn, i was able to successfully link several "falling leaf" traverses on my toe side. IE - i stayed facing the mountain, and I just switched my lead foot to go back in the other direction without actually turning. I also got better at modulating my speed (you definitely have more control when you are going faster, it's also just scarier)I got better at staying lower on my board and not standing up so tall, and I got to the bottom of the mountain to the ski lift line while still on my board - for whatever reason, the bottom of the hill was one of the hardest parts for me, and I usually fell a whole bunch in the last 20 meters or so, and frequently just ended up unclipping my bindings and walking/skating the rest of the way.

I wasnted to go again!!!!! I spent a couple minutes looking for daniel, and just when I had decided to head back up the mountain on my own, I realized that the lift had just closed :-( I guess it was best to end on such a high note, I definitely want to go back asap, but I was bummed I couldn't go again.

Kirkwood offeres this pretty awesome deal to first time riders - a prorated season pass for every lift except the black diamond ones, 5 free rentals and 5 free group lessons - which came to a total of only twice what we had paid for lessons and rentals for just the day - which we totally fell for, and so we will definitely be going back soon - this weekend I think :-)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 by Rebecca

1-20-2010 - Oly Cycle #4

Missed most of the warm up. stupid work.  Did  a few wall squats and a 45 second squat hold.

Worked on snatch technique - did hang power snatches and and full squat snatch balances with the 15# bar.  I can do each of these movements fairy well - but the instant I try to link the pull and the drop things get all wonky, so I'm working on them separately for now.

Worked on clean technique - mostly worked tall cleans with 33# bar to work on diving under the bar while staying upright.  I tried a 45# tall clean and ended up on my butt.  I managed a few 40#.  I did a couple jerk reps at the end.  I am less worried about working on these than the cleans.

OHS 5-5-5

really need an alumalight(sp?) barso i can go up in weight without jumping from 15 to 30#\

Ring dips 5-5-5
first set was with the green band - too easy.
second set was with my new tiny red band and I managed 5 across - barely
3rd set was 1, then 2 then 2 (with the little red band)

Oly Cycle Week 2 Day 2

Warmup: 2 rounds of 10 wall squats & 35 sec active squat holds. Burgener warmup.

Snatch x 1: 55-60-65-70-75
Clean x 1: 80-85-90-95-100

Overhead squat x 5: 80-80-80
Ring Dip x 5: BW(5!) - BW(4+1) - BW(4+1)

Flex: various static holds, PNF hamstring with strap.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 by Rebecca

1-19-2010 - press + box jump &pushup mini metcon

Shoulder Press 5-5-5
40-50-52(fail rep 5)

Depth Jumps* - subbed box jumps
not timed

NEWS FLASH: today marks the first day I have done box jumps in a WOD.  a bit lower than RX - but 45 reps of actual jumping were done. 

For the record the height was 2 of the slimmer 45# plates, 1 10# plate and 1 25# plate.  Once the WOD was done I added 2 more 25# bumpers and did several successful jumps up to that height, too.

Hello!!! Box jumps!!  In a WOD.  Huge first.

Also - matched and nearly beat my 5rm for presses - it was 50# - set in March of last year.

*Depth jumps are basically squat jumps to a box

Monday, January 18, 2010 by Daniel

Oly Cycle Week 2 Day 1

Warmup: 2 rounds of 10 wall squats & 40 sec active squat holds. Burgener warmup.

Snatch x 1: 55-60-65-70-75
Clean x 1: 80-85-90-95-100

Front squat x 5: 100-100-100
Press x 5: 85-85-85

Flex: various static holds, PNF hamstring with strap.


Warm up - wall squats, 40 second squat hold.

Squat snatch practice. 15# bar - some ohs, some snatch balance

Squat clean and jerk practice 33# bar - tall clean & jerks

Front squat 3 x 5

Press 3 x 5

My squat form is improving. I feel like I am much more vertical in the bottom position than I used to be.  And I think I am quite a bit better tha, but the sad truth is that i still have a LONG way to go.  I had someone take some video of me doing what I felt were pretty vertical tall cleans, but when I watched the video, I was astonished at how rounded my back was.  Damn.  More wall squats, I guess. Yuck.
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Friday, January 15, 2010 by Rebecca


Clean and Jerk Skill work.

I spent most of the class working with the 30# bar just on form. My form is so bad in so many ways, I think the best way for me to go about working on them is to work on the composite pieces and then work on stringing them together only once I've got the pieces down better.

I found this video on "tall cleans" - basically full squat cleans - but from standing.  I found this to be extremely useful as a training tool to work on teaching myself how to dive under the bar without having to navigate the two beginning pulls. 

By the end of the evening I even managed some full squat cleans - still only with the 30# bar, but I finally felt like I was really starting to understand the movement.


Clean and Jerk 3-3-3-3-3


Each and every clean was a full squat clean. I think 115 may be a PR in that regard.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 by Daniel

Oly Cycle Week 1 Day 2

Warmup: 2 rounds of 10 wall squats & 35 sec active squat holds. Burgener warmup.

Snatch x 1: 50-55-60-65-70
Clean x 1: 75-80-85-90-95

Overhead squat x 5: 75-75-75
Ring Dip x 5: BW(3+2) - BW(3+2) - BW(3+2)

Flex: various static holds, PNF hamstring with strap.

Snatch skills

Burpee 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Pullup 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10

9:54 rx

Skills practice:
Pressing snatch balance x 5: 45-45-45
Heaving snatch balance x 3: 65-65-65

Oly cycle week 1 day 1

Warmup: 2 rounds of 10 wall squats & 30 sec active squat holds. Burgener warmup.

Snatch x 1: 50-55-60-65-70
Clean x 1: 75-80-85-90-95

Front squat x 5: 95-95-95
Press x 5: 80-80-80

Flex: various static holds, PNF hamstring with strap.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 by Rebecca


Mini metcon:
10-9-8-…-2-1 burpees
1-2-3-…-9-10 pullups (jumping)


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Monday, January 11, 2010 by Rebecca


Warm up 2 rounds: 10 wall squats, 1 30 second squat hold

Burgener warmup w/dowel 10 reps each movement

Snatch practice - mostly 15# bar
Clean practice - mostly 15 & 30# bar. (terrible)

Front squats 3x5

Press 3x5
30-40-50(fail rep 3)-45

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010 by Daniel


I've been fighting off a cold, which (of course) sucks. Yesterday I felt pretty disinclined to do anything, but today I felt a bit better. Enough, anyway, to want some sort of workout. Always vigilant against the evil forces of deconditioning.

I didn't have time to do the posted WOD, so I just did this:

10 rounds:
10 double-unders
5 pull-ups
10 push-ups
15 squats

I didn't time it. I did include a rule that only consecutive double-unders would count, though, to take the training wheels off the skip double-unders I've become too reliant on. That worked well. I was consistently able to get 3 or 4 in a row, and once even 5! I think I've almost got it.

Sunday, January 3, 2010 by Rebecca

5k around Lake Merritt


I had set my watch for 4 min running, 2 min walking, but Hodges ran with me and I skipped most of my walk breaks. I only walked about 7 min total out of the 35 min run. about 5 while Hodges took a pit stop, and 2 more when I was about 2/3 of the way through when my right hip flexor started kicking up a fuss.

It was a gorgeous day, and a really nice run. SO much better than running around the Ironworks Block. Yuck.

Lake Merritt 5k

Today's rx was a 5k, but we really didn't feel like running around the block at Ironworks 6.5 times on such a beautiful day, so we met up with Alex and Rebecca to run around Lake Merritt (which, according to the city website, is exactly 5k).

Time: 21:29

It was a beautiful day and a good, challenging run. Unbelievably, I beat Alex - but he hasn't done any running in months, so it doesn't count.

Saturday, January 2, 2010 by Daniel

A new year, resolved

I've let this blog slide terribly in the last few months, and I think my progress has suffered somewhat as a result. October, with it's big zone experiment, was astonishingly successful. PRs all over the place. But November had the Philippines and December had the holidays, and it all fell to pieces.

So, looking forward. Rebecca and I are starting off the New Year with an Olympic lifting cycle, where we are dedicating Mondays and Wednesdays to finally figuring out those three devilishly difficult movements. A big part of that will be continuing to work on fixing our squat, which is primarily hampered by inflexibility in the hamstrings and adductors. We will also hopefully be joined by our friend Jim.

In regular CFEB land, Max has his eyes on the CrossFit Games sectionals in March, and will be programming a lot of short, heavy metcons in preparation for that. Today was one such workout:

12 - 9 - 6
Deadlift 315 (sc 255)
Push-jerk 165 (sc 115)

9:38 sc

Did all my deadlifts unbroken, which felt difficult but pretty awesome once I realized I could. The jerks were broken in two sets per round, and felt very broken in form. I wish I could get lower under the bar.