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. 

17.5 Worries

Oh lovely. Double Unders. My crossfit nemesis. (well…if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you are aware that I have many crossfit nemeses…) But especially since I have a lower leg “thing”, mostly in my shins.

Thrusters? Okay…I might be nuts, but I’m one of the few people who kinda LIKES thrusters. And the weight is totally doable. We’ve been practicing in class doing reps unbroken for a lot of things, so for at least the first couple of rounds, I will shoot for doing them unbroken.

But double unders? Ok…I can do them a few at a time, generally with a lot of singles that won’t count. So do I scale this and just do singles?  That seems a cop out for me, since I am so close. Plus it’s 350 total and that is a large number….I know for a fact that this injury will kill me. ugh…

On top of this, I’m in the recovery phase from a cold, so I have basically one shot, probably on Monday morning. Though that does give me a few more days to rest my leg, since I haven’t been to the gym since Monday. Though that will also probably work against me; I haven’t  been to the gym since Monday!

Oh I am so torn here. But in the end, who needs to walk afterwards?

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! 

Pre – 17.4 musings

Okay, 17.4 is a repeat of 16.4. Four movements, 55 repetitions: deadlifts, wall balls, calorie row and hand stand push-ups. 

I did this one last year and got through the row with 10 seconds to spare. 

I can do the deadlift weight with no issues. The wall ball will had me out, as they are designed to do. But for me, the key will be the row. One of my coaches had me alter how I did my rowing and I think it’s gotten better. The issue will, of course, be how my calf and shin splints holds up as rowing tends to aggravate things. 

HSPU are not in my wheelhouse, so I just want to beat my time from last year!

My hint for you is to manage your reps. I did 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 as that adds to 55. It gave me something to concentrate on and also sets that were totally doable. 

Good luck to you this weekend! Give it your all!

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! 

Post 17.2 Thoughts

It’s entirely possible that some folks from my box will see this and when they do, I will probably get a burpee penalty for the coming negative comments. I will start with the negative and end with the positive so you all don’t think that my crossfit world was shattered (though it came close).

In case you’ve forgotten, or didn’t know, the second workout of the 2017 CrossFit Open consisted of dumbbell lunges, toes to bar (scaled is knee raises), dumbbell cleans (2 rounds) and then 2 rounds of the same thing, replacing toes to bar with muscle ups (scaled is pull-ups).

Upon watching the announcement, I was pissed. CrossFit has always advertised that it is for anyone, scalable for all ages, abilities, mobilities and strengths. So the second workout includes a move that really isn’t scaled?! What in the actual heck-fire? A pull-up isn’t really scaled (see my pre-17.2 jitters rant).

So I basically knew going in that scaled was really my only option. I know I can move the Rx weight (If there is one thing I am, it’s strong). But I don’t (yet) have toes to bar and pull-ups remain firmly in the realm of mystery.

Just over 3 minutes in and I’m ready for pull-ups. Jump, kip and … nope. Repeat for nearly 9 minutes. At one point, one of the coaches pushed me over the bar telling me that I am oh so close and not to give up, keep fighting for it. But I can feel how hard she’s pushing. Those last 2 inches (or however far it really was) might as well be 3 miles. I tried a range of emotions to help here. I tried telling myself that I’m certainly strong enough, so just do it already. Nope. I tried getting pissed at the bar. Nope. I tried getting pissed at myself. Nope. I tried getting pissed at the coaches (not sure why….was simply running out of things to be pissed at). Nope. I tried pleading with my arms. Nope. At the 12 minute time cap (oh so thankful for time caps), I was exhausted, frustrated, mad, pissed, happy, annoyed, irritated, pleased … you name the emotion, I was feeling it. It was best summed up by the word confused. Especially since all these people were congratulating me on a job well done, but it really didn’t feel like a job well done at all. It felt like 9 minutes of failure. It felt like confirmation of my perennial joke that blue whales can’t do pull-ups.

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Here’s where I’m sure the coaches would say that I didn’t do it because I believed I wasn’t going to. It’s possible they are correct; but, it’s also possible that I’m still lacking something, some tiny piece that once that clicks will allow pull-ups. That piece could be strength in certain muscle groups; that piece could be a timing issue with the kip. Maybe if my hands were further apart, or closer together, or I did switch grip, or reverse grip…. or …. or …. or ….. Who knows?

Now, despite all the negativity you just read, it’s really not all bad. It certainly shows where I need to work. I can start with the strength piece, building accessory muscles, working on negatives. I can start to play with grip a bit and see if that makes a difference (I do have a pull-up bar and a banded assist at home). The coaches really want us doing strict pull-ups before we get down to business with the kipping portion, so I need to work on that. There are a metric ton of videos available for how to progress to a pull-up. Perhaps I just need to pick one and do some work after dinner. Would 5 minutes really be that hard to find in the evenings?

On the very plus side, the lunges and cleans were just shy of a piece of cake for me. I felt good moving through them; the weight seemed light and I felt I moved smoothly and efficiently. I’m not unhappy with my “tie-breaker” time. It can also be said, that I could have asked for a box and simply moved to jumping; that is what most of the athletes without pull-ups did. I would probably have gotten a better workout that way, but I WANTED a pull-up. I wasn’t going to give up on that. So I spent nearly 9 minutes trying, feeling my arms fatigue and still working toward it. I never gave up, even as a wave of confusing emotions washed through me.

I know that 17.1 took a piece of my soul and refused to give it back. I’m pretty sure I could have used it for 17.2!  Now for 17.3 can we please have moves I can do and do well?

No matter what moves are included, I will show up, I will work to the best of my ability and I will do what I can!

PS…the image was taken by one of our dear box members, Jen Proaño, who really managed to capture the range of emotions I was attempting to process!

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.