Adding to the feeling of defeat or how to completely defeat a scaled athlete part 2

A few days ago, my crossfit partner in crime wrote about a particularly brutal WOD. In case you missed her post, it was 5 rounds for time of 150ft sled push (115# for women), 20 thrusters and 30 sit-ups. Complete with a time cap of 20 min.

A little math (some numbers just automatically math). 20 / 5 = 4. So one needed to average 4 min per round to get through. I am fully aware that the usual progression (at least for me) of time allotment is faster at first and often decreasing as you tire. This means that the first round might need to take 2 min if the last were to take 6. 

The parking lot had recently been resurfaced. Sled pushes are now BRUTAL. Every 10 feet the dang thing sticks to the sealant. The weights were heavy. The reps were many. The time cap actually very short. 

I walked out of there feeling as if our head programmer seriously overestimated our abilities. I assumed I just sucked. It was (to borrow my friend’s phrase) soul crushing. Again, I think we both agree that a good, soul crusher is not always a bad thing. But there is a difference in getting into the 4th round of 5 and barely making 2! Coming close is … I have to dig a little deeper. I have to rest a second or two less. Push a little harder. If one is barely half way through, it serves no point at all. I don’t mind being time-capped. The cap is often there for several reasons, only one of which serves to keep the classes moving on time.  I don’t like feeling totally inadequate. 

I went back through the Wodify whiteboard. Not one female athlete made it. Even the ones who generally seem to excel at everything. Not. One.  

Guys, we aren’t newbies. We’ve both been doing this for 3 years. We get there will be WODs we suck at and others that make you feel on top of the world. But it’s been a very long time since I felt so utterly and completely crushed by a workout. 

I’m not even going to get into the lack of scaling option. That seems almost unheard of for crossfit. We’ve been preaching that it’s scalable for everyone. Though on the whiteboard, lots of people entered a scaled number. 

I’m left wondering if our head programmer is also looking back at that workout going “what went wrong”? He’s usually excellent at knowing the athletes. I know I would be, were I in his shoes. 

That workout will be forever etched in my mind with the 3-4 others where I just wanted to never come back. The ones that weren’t just hard, didn’t just require digging, but where I gave up a piece of myself and tucked my tail and cried all the way home, utterly defeated. 

It’s not a good feeling and I hope there aren’t many of those in my future! 

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How to Completely Defeat a Scaled Athlete

Today is Saturday, my last day in the box was Wednesday which is when my soul was crushed by a soul crushing WOD.  Now, I’m all for the occasional soul crusher but what made this WOD particularly terrible was that no scaling was permitted on one of the WOD components – the sled push (the other components were thrusters and sit ups for a total of five rounds).   The sleds were set up with male and female RX weights (female was 115#) which is crazy heavy for me and conditions were less than favorable as the surface we were pushing the sleds on was super sticky having just been resurfaced.  Between the super heavy RX weight and the sticky surface, it took me about 5-7 minutes to do one 150ft sled push (time cap was 20 minutes).  So in a workout that required 100 thrusters, 150 sit-ups and 5 150ft sled pushes,  I ended up doing 2 150 ft sled pushes, 21 thrusters, 60 sit-ups which is only 381 of the programmed 1000 reps ((150×5) + (20×5) +(30×5)).  

So, here’s where my knowledge of scaling fails me – which situation is better: 

1.  Do the RX weight on the sled, struggle bus through the workout,  complete less than half the reps and then be so sore and defeated that you really don’t want to go back to the gym for the next 3 days?  Or: 

2.  Scale the sled push, get more reps with a more consistent effort across all WOD components, and still feel the soul crushing but use it as motivation to get better the next time? 

I realize the defeat feeling probably varies person to person but as far as effort goes I think it would be best to scale for consistent, doable effort across the WOD components so you’re not spending an large amount of time on one part of the WOD and clogging up a fairly limited resource as sleds are limited in number anyway (don’t get me started on my thoughts to capping class numbers). 

I should have asked to scale the sled push but instead I just suffered.  Never be afraid to ask to scale, you’re probably paying a good amount of money to be training where you are and coaches should know your abilities, they may push you sometimes but don’t be afraid to verbalize your limits.  Better to be a little embarrassed in the moment than feel completely defeated (or, heaven forbid,  suffer an injury) for the next few days. It’s okay to scale and no one sound feel ashamed or embarrassed to do so. 

Doesn’t Play Nice With Others

5am is not exactly my most shining time of the day.  I’m talking I-rolled-out-of-bed-15-minutes-ago-and-i-havent-had-any-coffee-yet personality.  This is not my bubbliest time of the day, in fact, I’d be just fine if I didn’t speak to anyone until I get some coffee (in about an hour and half) but recently that hasn’t been an option.  Our gym had been having people partner up for warmups pretty much daily, scheduling a weekly partner wod, and generally we work in groups due to limited rig space and large morning classes.  

Let me pause and say that I love my group at 5am… they’re great people and I love my coaches. Also, I 0% have to worry about finding a partner during class because I know most everyone and someone will be my partner and if not….. Shucks…I’ll have to warm up by myself. 

Having to find a partner in the morning is the absolute worst (in my opinion)….I dread it… I just am not ready to interact and socialize at 5am…I want to be in my own head.  I want to come in, do my work, and leave to get coffee.  

Don’t get me wrong, I love encouragement, the people in my 5am crew and my gym but, ugh, I just need my space that early in the morning.

What are your thoughts on partner wods?  Is the encouragement and support during the wod worth the agony of interacting that early in the morning?  Would love to hear your thoughts on the partner experience!

WHYN(D/B)TYW

Last weekend my family and I had the opportunity to travel to Harbert, MI for a quick, long weekend getaway.

The views were pretty nice:


The food was pretty good #notpaleo:

And the whiskey was mighty tasty:

But the best thing that husband and I got to do/buy in Michigan was a drop-in at Fort Miami Crossfit in St. Josephs, MI

If you’ve never done a drop-in, I can’t highly recommend it enough.  It’s so fun to see how other gyms run their sessions and it’s also nice to use some pretty spectacular equipment…. A rogue jump rope may be in my future.  The workout was 21-15-9 push press and single arm snatches with 30 single unders after every round.  The crowd was so welcoming and we didn’t feel out of place at all.  

So, if you haven’t dropped into a different gym, I highly recommend giving it a try, even if it’s just in your same town.  The general cost of a drop in is usually about $15 or you might be able to just buy a tshirt and maybe a $5 fee.

Get outta your comfort zone and go explore!  

Facing Your Fears Combined with WHYNBTYW

My son turned 18 this past Saturday and we wanted to do something different and fun for his birthday. We tossed around several ideas, fishing, hiking, Cedar Point and Zip-lining. We’ve all been fishing and hiking many times and we weren’t sure the weather would hold, so we decided we could do that another time. Cedar Point opened the weekend of his birthday and we thought that standing in line for hours might not be great there. So zip-lining it was!

Disclosure…we wanted to go last year for Father’s Day, but my husband broke his knee and was in a knee brace, so we felt waiting until he was fully recovered would be best, so it’s not like this idea just came out of nowhere.

The website showed all these pictures of these really happy and smiling people. It talked about overcoming fears and many of the testimonials started with folks who were afraid to do it, but ended up having a lot of fun in the end. So I thought, “why not”? I know I’m a little skeeved out by heights, but I walked the edge of the Grand Canyon and looked down; I LOVE roller coasters and the Millennium Force is 310′ in the air and goes a LOT faster than the fastest stated speed for the zip-lines and most of them weren’t even that fast.

I was quite nervous at first, but things seemed to go well for the practice line and it didn’t seem all that hard. They showed you how to sit, how to break and what to do if you got stopped before the end. They were very reassuring about the strength of the equipment and how much fun we were going to have. There were 8 people and 3 guides for my tour, and we were told it would take approximately 2 1/2 hours to complete the course because you have to set everyone up safely and get them across and then 10 other people have to do the same thing. For each area, the guides told a little story about the line and the forest around the lines.

So a few people go for the first ‘real’ line, which we were told was 145′ long and though we would feel like we were going fast, it was really 5-8 MPH. I got all hooked up, and had to walk to the edge of the platform. The guide was on the other side doing the signals that told us when to break.  I have a death grip on the handles and when told to break I couldn’t even think about what I was supposed to do. I tried to put my palm on the cord, but instinctively grabbed it and yanked my shoulder out, but I made it to the other side. Once I was unhooked, I hugged the tree, which was swaying all over the place (at least in my opinion). I was petrified and shaking. I was promised it would get better.

I get hooked up for the next one, a little faster 10-15 MPH and longer (approximately 325′). Here I braked so hard that I missed the platform. Now I’m in full-on panic mode, slowly sliding back toward the center of the line. I can hear the guide calmly yelling (so I can hear) telling me what to do, but I cannot process his words. I cannot think; I cannot understand language. All I know is I don’t seem to be able to stop my moving in the wrong direction. Finally, I put my finger into the pulley which stopped me, though was super painful. Now I had to try to listen to the guide tell me how to turn around, and start pulling myself hand over hand to the end. I’m sure it wasn’t very long, perhaps 10-12′, but it seemed forever in my panic-stricken brain. Finally, the guide grabbed me, unhooked me and I hugged the next tree, shaking even harder than the last time. The guide told me that I’d just done the hardest thing, a ‘self-rescue’, but I was unconvinced.

Two more, each getting longer and faster. I had zero small motor control at this point; I barely had large motor skills at this point. I’d also decided that braking was something I would never get the hang of doing and simply crashing into the trees was preferable. I was promised it would get easier; it never did. I was more and more petrified each time, crying, shaking uncontrollably, incoherent, and completely not comprehending how the others were laughing, learning how to brake and apparently really having a wonderful time.

At this point, we all found ourselves 60′ in the air and having to rappel down from the tree so we could hike to the next location. The guide started by showing us how to wrap the rope around our legs and where to place our hands. I immediately recognized this as the Spanish wrap technique from rope climbs in crossfit. I also just as immediately recognized that I didn’t have that ability, since I don’t have rope-climbs in my crossfit arsenal. I thought I was panicked before this….  Finally the guide showed us how we were going to be clipped into the rope and where to put our hands and the pulley system that would take about 80% of our weight, so we could slowly lower to the ground. I’m not recovered from the Spanish wrap ‘joke’ and found myself hooked to the contraption, saying out loud that I’m not strong enough. I heard my son say ‘bullshit’, you are probably the strongest person here. And before I knew it, I was dangling in mid-air a death-grip on the rope, going no where. Eventually, I managed to lower myself to the ground. At this point my muscles were starting to cramp from the shaking, the nerves, the sheer terror that I was still feeling. But I was on the ground and ready to hike. Hiking? THAT I can do.

We were told the next line had this spectacular view. I have no clue; I was too scared to look around. My death grip on the handles hadn’t stopped, nor had my sheer terror. To get to the last, and longest, line, we had to cross a 150′ rope bridge. We were still clipped in, but the wobbling didn’t help. I admit it wasn’t as scary as the zip-lines, but it was still scary.

Now we have two things left to do. An 1100′ zip-line and a drop from the last tree to the ground. The guide says he has a surprise for us at the end. He also said that this line was the fastest on the course; we could get up to 50 MPH. He wasn’t helping. But I stepped up and did it. Not looking around, not enjoying the view, not happy going that fast. All I wanted to do was close my eyes. I couldn’t even take my hand off the handles to even attempt to brake. The guide was forced to use this special braking system and catch me. I watched the others; they were obviously exhilarated by the experience.

The ‘surprise’ was something called a ‘quick jump’ rope. It allowed one to jump, free-fall for 6-10′ and then it lowered you the rest of the way. The first person to go made the entire tree swing. I increased my grip on the trunk. When it was my turn and I told the guide that I’d rather die of dehydration and exposure than go on that thing. Everyone laughed; I was serious. I’m crying, telling them I don’t want to. The guide was slowly moving me to the edge and he finally let go of my harness and I fell. And then I passed out. It turns out that one can pass out from sheer terror. I woke in a crumpled heap, safe on the ground, embarrassed, scared, shaking, and wanting nothing more than to crawl behind a large rock and stay there until the shaking and the tears stopped. The guides told me I was the bravest person there. That I didn’t give up that I overcame a fear. That’s not how I felt.

Everyone else was joking, laughing, discussing their favorite part. I just wanted to go home, curl up in bed with at least one dog and be left alone.

I have spent the past three days crying myself to sleep, still shaking. I have zero trouble recalling all the fear I experienced.

I’m not sure I overcame a fear, but at one point they offered me a way off the course. All I could hear was the voice of crossfit saying “don’t give up”, “keep going”. So I did. I’m still not convinced it was the smartest move on my part; I know for a fact that I’m not recovered mentally. I felt traumatized by everything.

Also, if you want to go zip-lining, just do it. Of the 11 people (including guides) on my tour, I was the only one who didn’t enjoy it, so please don’t take my experience as a sign that you shouldn’t do it. Most of the group had a wonderful time and would happily do it again. So if you think you want to try it, I would still recommend it. Buy the package; do the thing; have some fun.

 

Meal Prep Monday/Sunday

My partner in crossfit crime posted her meal plans for the week, and I thought I would share what I do, since we both ride the macro train, but have very different approaches to it, I think.

I vary my carbs and fats throughout the week to try to keep my body guessing. So I have Super, High, Medium and Low days, cycled S-M-L-H-M-M-L. My protein never varies at 155g. Medium carbs are 235g and medium fats are 49g, High days is 255g carbs, same fats. Low days are 145g carbs and 65g fats. Super days are high carb and high fats (those are great days for that ‘cheat’ meal that is not quite as healthy as you would like it to be). My calories will cycle between 1785 – 2081 between super and low days, which is still enough to keep me fueled for crossfit.

For breakfast, I always have a Quest bar. 210 cal, 20c, 9f and 21p

I generally do 1 – 1.5 scoops of protein powder as a mid-morning snack (the difference between them depends on the amount of protein from real food the rest of the day). 30-45g protein, 4f 3c

We plan our lunches and dinners around the various activities for our son and myself and also now based on when my hubby gets home from work (it used to be 3:30 every day, now it varies, but the earliest is 5:30).

This week dinners will become the following day’s lunch. Creamy cauliflower shrimp chowder, sheet pan steak and veggies, zucchini shrimp scampi (Thank you Keri), BBQ chicken and roasted sweet potato and shrimp fried rice.

We also have our son’s 18th birthday on Sat. We will be going zip-lining, which none of us have ever done. But that means that macros will be blown all to hell and back on Sat, which I really don’t care about. 1. I’m not a Games athlete, nor do I want to be. 2. I’m also not going to worry myself over every little detail every day. 3. It’s a birthday for goodness sake!

I haven’t input the recipes into MFP yet. I generally input them the night before and then add more protein drink, or Chex mix or an apple to make up the carbs and protein. I’m rarely over on fats. But when I stick to this plan (and that is always the key), I feel better, perform better and should lose a little bit of weight. Slowly is always the key and I can eat just about anything, as long as it fits into these macros. What I quickly discovered though was if I eat tons of ‘crap’, then I get really hungry since I’m not filling up on the good stuff.

This is my last weekend of sabbatical (boo), so I will be doing the shopping and meal prep tomorrow (we spent today in the garden). Normally we do the shopping/prep on Sunday, but I’ve rather enjoyed spending the time with my family on Sundays these past few weeks. I should probably convince myself to get up earlier on Sundays to do the shopping so we can spend the afternoon together…sigh.

Is it just me, or was life simpler when I wasn’t worried about macros and healthy eating?!  hahaha

The Ski-erg

I’ve been dealing with a calf/Achilles tendon issue for several months now and for the past few weeks my coaches have been modifying just about everything, even creating all new workouts when necessary.  This has meant limited rowing, limited biking, no running, no squats with weight, and other moves with greatly reduced weight. It has also meant a LOT of core work, which I admit I desperately need.

We’ve starting this rowing session these past few weeks and for me, that has meant a lot of time on the ski-erg. (If you don’t know what that is, or have never used one, check them out at Rogue’s site Ski-Erg)

I’ve done intervals of varying distances, ME calories for certain time and even a 5k. I am at the point where I’ve actually come to kind of LIKE being on the ski-erg. It is certainly far less painful than the Assault Bike that’s for sure. The Assault Bike and I will never be on good terms. The Concept2 rower and I are barely on speaking terms, but we are slowing reaching an understanding that while our relationship may never be overly friendly we are slowly learning to at least appreciate each other.

But there is something about the ski-erg that I actually like. I seem to be slower at skiing than rowing, but that makes sense to me since it does seem to use less legs. At first, it seems to be decidedly all upper body, but after doing the 5k, my butt and hamstrings were incredibly sore, so it’s not all upper body. Today was 5 sets of 1000m with a 2 min rest between. We were supposed to try to go about 1s faster than our best 5k pace. Now I’ve done a 5k only once and it took me nearly 30 minutes (28:54 if you want the exact time). I’m not really sure I was that much faster, but I felt good and it felt a little faster.

I’m not sure I’m supposed to like this piece of equipment and I may still never be the best skier in the class, but I found a cardio thing that I like and that is something I will take.