Urban Adventure Challenge

So my partner in crossfit crime asked our usual team (Victorious Secret) if we would be up for doing the Wooster Urban Adventure Challenge (WUAC). We both immediately said yes! 

When I visited the website, it said to expect 8-10 miles of waking, 12-15 miles of biking and other surprises. In talking to other box members who had completed the challenge before, we knew we were in for a good 4-5 hours of finding things around town, solving puzzles and swimming! 

I’m a total “plan as much as you can” type. So I started a notebook. I wrote down all the clues they provided, made a list of all the sponsors and their addresses etc and gathered my supplies: sunscreen, hydration backpack, first-aid kit etc. 

Mind you, I can’t run, I’m still on the “injured reserve” list at the box because this nagging lower leg thing refuses to go away. (Side note: the doc needs to hurry up and look at my MRI – I want to know!!) It was recommended that I withdraw. But I really wanted to and you didn’t have to run, walking was totally allowed. So my team members swore they would not let me run and so we set out!

We had to use clues to locate different business downtown, and at each stop we had to do something. The thing we had to do varied. Some stops we just had to take a picture of an object (an apron, a white rooster etc). Other stops required that we build something (a trophy). Most stops required something physical. One stop required that we use a dolly to move one team member to a cone and back (that was a funny one). Another stop had us holding a tire on a 2×4 while we walked “football style” through a set of various sized tires. 

Then we waked to an elementary school where we had to play four-square, look up information about a random state, climb the jungle gym (note- i have apparently completely forgotten how to play on one of those), and play hopscotch. Then off to a local park, to find a random animal on their jungle gym to take a picture, help a teammate navigate a small course while she was blindfolded, and do their small zip line. More proof that these “toys” were NOT designed for adult bodies. 

Then we walked over to the College of Wooster to play a word association game, hunt for our team number in their auditorium, and then off to the football field for a crossfit style workout: dips, step-ups, push-ups, tire flips, bear crawl, and run the stadium stairs carrying a 30# sandbag (walk the stairs…). 

At this point, I’m starting to get tired from all the waking and the sun is really beginning to get nasty. And … it’s barely 11am. 

Then we hike across campus to find some random trail, hike up the road to a puzzle, use our ninja skills (i.e. Google) to determine that a queenax is an adult jungle gym where we were expected to do upwards monkey bars… nope. Ain’t happening, but at least it was air conditioned and had bathrooms. Stay-Fit 24 is a nice little gym!

Time for more waking. Off to the middle school, stopping along the way for cornhole and croquet. (Note to all: our third teammate is DA BOMB at corn hole and I’m never playing against her). Puzzles and now carrying around a rubber duck! 

More walking to the local pool (now we’ve zig-zagged our way from the south end of town to the north). Water balloons, jumping off the high dive and paddle boarding. The water balloons required that we try to slingshot a balloon so that a team member could let it hit their butt! Turns out we were good at that part!! Even earned a 7-min time reduction here! We all had to jump off the high dive (very scary) and the water felt great. But my favorite part of the pool was paddle boarding a watermelon across the pool several times! I mean how silly is that?

A walk through the woods to the high school where we got to pretend we wed in a marching band and March the field carrying a sousaphone (I think we should have gotten bonus points for Keri who actually was in TBDBITL and did actual marching band stuff, including dipping the instrument to the ground a la Script Ohio). 

Finaly to another loca park to get the bikes. It’s now 1:30, we are so very hot, so very tired and our feet hurt. We were looking forward to a bike ride, until we deciphered the clues and learned the hill we needed to ride. 

I will remind you the website said 12-15 miles biking. Well … it was 12 miles to the last stop. That means 12 miles back…

One of the stops had us canoeing across a lake. The other made us do an adventure “ropes” style mini-course (note – never doing that again), before making us hike their 1.5 mile trail looking for more stamps. Ugh …. more waking. At this point, I’m very over this game. And I really really want to quit. But even if I did quit, I’d still have to bike back to town! 

We have just under 60 min left before the finish line closes. So we decided to bypass the last two checkpoints and bike to the finish line. We get there and are told we need to drop our bikes off and go to one last check point. Ugh … pretty sure the young volunteer giggled at my invented non-swear, swear words (he was a young volunteer remember?). Off we went, to a local pub. Beer pong, matching beers to their names and doing the coaster mazes. Ok… at least that isn’t hard. And then we had 5 minutes to get back to the finish. 

We made it. Eight hours and fifty-four minutes later we were done. They had some snacks and water and a party inside. 

Lots of food and drink, but I was too tired for any of that. I drank a beer, a glass of water and nibbled a few chips. That was all I could manage. 

Today, I’m a deep Ohio State red color, I’m so tired all I want to do is sleep, I’m STILL not hungry, and everything hurts. Yesterday I mentioned I wasn’t going to crossfit on Monday, but I see it’s bench pressing and deadlifting, 2 of my favorite things, so I will probably go anyhow. 

What did I learn from this? Several things. 1. My two partners are awesome, beasty ladies and I would not have wanted to do this with anyone else. 2. This was ssoooo hard to do!! The website said 4-5 hours, but we took nearly 9. I worked out for 9 hours in the sun. 3. I’m glad I did it, but I have no desire to do it again. 4. I need to learn a LOT more about competition eating because we did NOT plan that well. And 5. Three years of crossfit and I feel just as out of shape, uncoordinated, lacking in confidence as prior. This challenge proves just how non-athletic I really am. But I still did it. Sort of … 

Job well done ladies! I’m proud of you guys. 

30 Day Challenge Complete!

Mobility is a huge issue for crossfitters.  In our box, we take ample time to warm up and stretch but generally after the WOD people zoom out the door (myself included) and don’t take the time to cool down and stretch following the workout.  

One way that I, rather sporadically, work on my mobility is to attend/do yoga whether through the box (thank you coaches!!), a class downtown at Flex Yoga, or on my own.  Generally I practice yoga erratically instead of consistently but that also fits into my crossfit routine which I well call toddler-influenced because I’m pretty sure 2 years is just a little too long to be considered post-partum.  

Anyway, a personal goal is to become more consistent not only with cross fit but also yoga… Each feeds into the other if you truly think about it!  It just happened that flex yoga Wooster began hosting a 30 day challenge right when I needed them most.  You can check out my daily poses on our Instagram Fred or you can check out everyone’s submissions by searching #30daystoflexy 

Another great resource I hope to get soon is WOD Recovery Yoga an eBook that details what yoga poses are most  beneficial after a WOD depending on what types of movements you were doing!

Anyway, I’m thrilled that I completed the challenge and didn’t miss a single day… Now I’m looking for a new challenge!  Casually eyeing health challenges such as  whole 30.  Any recommendations out there?????

See you on the yoga mat!

The Struggle

Okay guys…if you’ve been reading this for any length of time (or even if you simply scan our titles), you are aware that we are two crossfit athletes scaling our way through crossfit and have been doing so for close to three years.

For me, here is a recap of all the moves I don’t currently have in my crossfit arsenal: double unders (these were close before my calf injury), toes-to-bar, pull-ups, chest to bar, muscle-ups, rope climbs, box jumps (I HAD these until the box tried to eat me), hand stand pushups, handstand walk, pistols, PROPER GHD situps. Here is a list of moves that I still struggle with and really need to work on mobility/cardio: Olympic lifts, burpees, the blasted Assault bike, running, over head squats, v-ups, wall-climbs. Here is a list of moves that I either really like, or feel at least proficient in doing: dead lift, bench press, back and front squats, push press, strict press, Ski-erg, wall ball and thrusters.

I’m sure there are others that we do semi-regularly that could go on these various lists. The point of this isn’t to highlight all the things I can’t do, but to move into how I end up feeling when the WODs include several moves that I really struggle with.

This week, we had a WOD that was 40 Toes-to Bar, 10 wall climbs, 20 T2B, 8 wall climbs, 10 T2B and 6 wall climbs. This was followed by accessory work (single arm bench press, banded triceps pull downs and flutter kicks). I KNEW going into this workout that it would be rough. I don’t have T2B and wall climbs rank up there as one of my least favorite movements. I feel as if I get far more exhausted than I should get doing them, and my inability to breathe doing them only makes that worse, I’m sure.  But when I saw the workout, I thought to myself, “Well, I will really try and hopefully come close to getting ONE, just ONE.”

Three tries in, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. My hands (even chalked and wrapped) were slipping off the bar, I stopped trusting myself to even hold myself up there. I tried knees to elbow. Nope. So knee raises it was. I tried doing several in a row and lacked the ability to even control my legs and ended up basically feeling as if I was just swinging my legs wildly, slipping off the bar. The sets of 20 and 10 were worse because I was fatigued. But I was SO FRUSTRATED with my inability even to control knee raises! This frustration grew worse and worse and worse. So much so that 10 minutes in, I was ready to walk out of the gym. This feeling of wanting to quit hadn’t happened in nearly 2 years and was contributing even more to my frustrations. I didn’t walk out. I finished (badly) the workout, slower than everyone else, but I finished.

This frustration led me to questioning the accessory work. I KNOW the bench press is a strength of mine, but I lowered the weights anyhow. I didn’t push myself. That only added to what I was feeling; crossfit is supposed to be about pushing yourself. I mean, I understand that some days you just aren’t on point and other days you are on fire. This isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m taking about the conscious decision to not do a harder weight, not because of injury, not because of working on form (I did that today with the snatches so I could concentrate on trying to keep good form and my breathing), but because I was angry, frustrated with myself and riding the mental struggle bus.

Later, I posted that I really wanted to walk out of the gym on Facebook. Another member posted that I worked through it and folks look up to me as an athlete. What I WANTED to say was “you all should look up to someone who can actually DO crossfit”. I didn’t because the coaches would see and I would get burpess for having a negative attitude. But it was very hard to me to see why someone, anyone, would look up to me, especially at that very moment in time.

I’ve spoken about this to one of the coaches. Apparently I embody the spirit of crossfit: keeping coming back, going in even if I know the WOD will stuck, going in even if I know I can’t do the moves, if I have to scale everything. Going in even with injuries, cheering, encouraging and  embracing the community that has developed in the gym. I know we are supposed to be practicing having more positive attitude (PMA), but I simply cannot be all PMA 24-7. I know that little things will get in the way; they always have; this is just me. I bet all of us get frustrated at things from time to time. It’s part of being human. For me, it’s definitely part of the struggle of lack of confidence.

I might have upset a coach or two for thinking of walking out. I might have upset an athlete or two for it as well. I probably upset a few for voicing the thoughts. But here’s the thing about me, you can knock me down; I can knock myself down, but I showed up the next day and actually felt good about the workout (even with injury modifications). So I might have WANTED to quit, but I didn’t. I overcame the mental issues.

Conclusion? Push through. Show up the next day and the next. Do what you can do, when you can do it. One bad workout can’t define you.

Post 17.4 Ramblings

Okay, so 17.4 didn’t quite go as planned. I was hoping to knock a couple of seconds off last year’s time, and in my unrealistic crossfit dreams, I was wanting a minute to at least kick up to the handstand. Alas, neither were meant to be. 

I got 144 reps. That’s 34 calories on the 

rower. Last year I finished the row with 10 seconds to spare. 

I know this calf injury is really putting a damper on my abilities because I managed to move well through the deadlifts. But those blasted wall balls! I did my 10, got no-repped on number 4 in my set of nine, then finished that set. About half way through my set of 8, the cramp started. I knew I was in for a world of hurt. I dropped my plan and basically did sets of 5, dropping the ball and shaking out my leg each time. I was “only” no-repped maybe 5 times in total, including the two I mentioned so that was good. 

I had more than enough time to get through all the calories if I’d be able to use my right leg! About 10 calories in, it was cramping so bad that I actually took my leg out of the strap and moved it up higher on the foot pad. At this point I’m barely managing 550-600 on my pulls. Not because I couldn’t breathe, but my right leg was literally frozen and it was taking all my energy to move it. Suddenly, I have far more sympathy for football players who get cramps and have to come out of the game! I wanted to take my leg entirely off the rower, but was worried that wasn’t allowed, I did NOT want to be the first to no-rep a calorie row!! 

But I kept moving and did what I could. I will limp around for days now. 

Oh and a note to self: the next time the coaches ask if I’m ready to go early, I will say “no”. I was warmed up but hadn’t done much stretching. That was a bit of a mental wringer in my morning! But it was fine in the end! 

BUT!! I took my t-shirt off during the wall balls leaving me in my tank top and no one said anything! I was so embarrassed to do that, but by that time I didn’t care; I was dying! 

I did make an appointment with the deep tissue massage therapist. I KNOW going to see him is helpful, but I’m stubborn. He’s chastised me on multiple occasions for this stubbornness (which probably should rightly be termed stupidity). 

I may have to call the doctor. This has been three months and this stupid thing refuses to lay down and die a nasty, firey death. 

So while I’m not happy and feel like I’m letting my coaches down, (something they probably don’t feel at all) I’m also not unhappy, all things considered. It’s a tough workout (still one of my favorites) and I did what I could do. 

Now…. where are 15 steaks, 92 chicken breasts and a field of sweet potatoes to chow down?! 

On to 17.5! 

Dear Box Jumps

We recently became acquaintances, perhaps even friends.  Seeing box jumps in a WOD is no longer an instant sign of defeat for me.  But today I found out that maybe I’m not as close to making the acquaintance and friendship of the RX 20 inch version.

My coach encouraged the other two (lovely) ladies that I was working with to try higher box jumps (20″ and 24″) but said nothing to me.  I can only assume that my 15″ box jumps were really fugly and not technically sound.  So, that was a little discouraging today but in the end it’s just one more thing to add onto the list of movements that are a work in progress.

Hope to meet you soon 20 inches!

 

Pre – 17.3 Thoughts

I admit I was very happy when Dave Castro tossed the dumbbell away. I’m pleased my prediction of dumbbell thrusters didn’t hold true! 

Now on to the nerves because squat snatches are certainly not my forte. So when Castro said there were no free passes on the squat snatch, since I’ve never completely managed a true squat snatch. And chest to bar?! Ugh …. I managed to get a grand total of ZERO pull-ups last week, so yeah … 

I do like the system of adding time if you finish the set before a time cap. That gives you incentive, but also means you can push yourself in the weights a bit since there is a time cap. 

The scaled version is actually scaled this week. The weights are doable, though I admit the higher numbers will be tough for me (let’s assume I will even get there). 

Last year there were jumping chest to bar in a workout. I’m fairly confident that the bulk of my reps probably should not have counted, but my judge was just being nice. So my goal for this year is to really get my chest up there. 

It’s time for some sleep. Fingers crossed that my calf and shoulder hold up, I don’t no-rep too often, and my snatches are at least serviceable! 

17.2 Jitters

Dear crossfit, a pull-up, while obviously a scaled version of a muscle up, is not really a scaled move. I predict that many athletes will get a score of 78. That would be 2 rounds of 10 lunges, 16 knee raises, 8 cleans. Then a third round of 10 lunges and 5-8 minutes of wild leg swinging in an effort to get their first pull-up.

To be fair, there will be a lot of athletes who will not only get their first,  but follow that with others. So if the rationale here was to get those who are close to use the added adrenalin that comes with The Open to push themselves, then job well done, I guess. I did watch a couple of athletes at the reveal get their first muscle up, so why not have a bunch of folks getting their first pull-up? Push us outside our comfort zone.

But there will be a good group of folks (and I’m includeding myself here) for whom the pull-up is an elusive beast, akin to Sasquatch. Oft described, oft written about, occasionally “photographed”, but in reality, a myth.

Does this mean I’m going to spend my entire crossfit existence denying the existence of Sasquatch? No. I’m more than happy to get involved in the hunt; I want a picture too, damn it. But I’m so far from it right now. I seem to be missing the “pull-up” wiring in my brain, at least this is my fear.

One way around this would be to give us scaled athletes a couple of minutes to try and then give us a band. The reps won’t count toward the score, but we could get get a good workout in and it’s (slightly) less mentally defeating than 8 minutes of trying with limited progress. Seriously… earlier in the week, I needed the black AND the blue band for strict pull-ups, so I’m a billion light years from getting a real one. And a score of 78 really isn’t very thrilling. It’s mortifying….

My coach told me ages ago, that I wasn’t allowed to learn kipping pull-ups until I could do strict ones. I admit this has frustrated me over the past two years as I see a lot of athletes that don’t have strict doing kipping. But it didn’t take a lot of time on the internet to learn that kipping pull-ups, without the base strength for strict, could produce shoulder injuries. So I fully understand his logic.

Now, do I try, or do I just use the band …. sigh …. sometimes I dislike crossfit for the mental games it plays with me.