18.2 … or how crossfit humbled me yet again

Just last week I was discussing how good I felt about two different workouts. I was riding a crossfit high that doesn’t happen very often, except perhaps on back squat day. I even was proud of something with burpees!

And … then 18.2 was announced. Twelve minutes. Burpees, dumbbell squats and cleans. Dumbbell squats? Oh cool! Burpees? Yuck, but doable. Cleans? An opportunity to work on my form, right? So go me, something I can Rx! Assuming I can get through the burpees that is. I knew going in there was no point to scaling because it wasn’t going to be the dumbbell that was the issue.

Burpees are my nemesis (I have many crossfit nemeses, but burpees make the top of the list every time). I’m not fast, jumping over the bar will slow me down even more. I’m always worried I will trip over the bar, or hit my head on it, or my calf will hurt… or or or …

I did the workout Friday in class and managed 101 total reps. Nine shy of even getting to the cleans. I watched all these ladies in the box get through and get several cleans in. So what is wrong with me?

Pondered all weekend whether or not to go again. I’ve never repeated an Open workout because, let’s face it, I’m not and never will be a Games athlete so what does it matter? It mattered because I didn’t even finish the first workout, much less get to the second part.

Driving out of town gave me hours to think. And I basically decided I was going to do it again Monday (unless back squats were on the menu). I mentally prepped for, if not moving factor, then at least not stopping. I somehow needed to find two minutes. One would work, two would be better.

3-2-1 Go. I felt I was moving pretty well. My tests were a lot shorter, I was more efficient at getting the dumbbells to my shoulders and they were closer so I was wasting less time with them.

I’m not great at burpees, but I tried to keep moving, even though by round 7 I wanted to throw up. I also knew there was no way I was finishing at that point. I wasn’t moving fast enough. I picked up the squats, but couldn’t find the speed in the burpees.

I DID get 4 more burpees, so I did do better. But once again, I’m left feeling like a failure for not finishing, while all around me people are getting PR’s.

So I’m walking out beating myself up for not being faster, for not being stronger, for doing crossfit for 3 and a half years and still can’t do: toes to bar, pull-ups, box jumps, double unders, rope climbs, and the Olympic lifts. I know deep down I’m not a failure and I will get over this, but it’s frustrating.

My coaches are all about PMA. I get that attitude can make a difference, but I’m a realist, I know my limitations in terms of workout engine. I can be all “I can do a muscle up” all day long and it’s not going to happen as I don’t have the strength nor the coordination. Does that mean I cannot work on those things? No. But simply believing isn’t going to make that a reality.

So I will mentally beat myself up today. And tomorrow I will show up, and do my best at the workout the coaches have in mind for us, like I always do.

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So much to talk about

So a very rare thing happened TWICE in the last week. I was actually proud of something I did in the box.

First, 18.1. My initial feelings and thoughts were anger at yet another move that I cannot do, relegating me to the scaled arena once again. Don’t get me wrong, I sincerely don’t believe there is anything wrong with scaling a workout where appropriate. But the reality is, I’m starting to think there is something wrong with me that after 3+ years, I cannot do one of the most basic of gymnastic moves, toes to bar. So it being the very first move of The Open, really upset me. Dumbbell clean and jerk? Ok. Fine. Rowing? Yuck, but fine. Twenty minute grinder? Again, yuck, but fine. It was obvious from the very beginning that the obvious strategy is find a pace that you can keep and just keep moving.

So get over yourself. You are doing scaled, end of story. Buck up and set a goal for yourself, and do that quickly. So I pondered my engine. I watched the “big wigs” perform and get into their 13th round and pondered my engine some more. My engine is more akin to a cheetah than an African wild dog. Meaning I can go fast, but not long. I am hella strong (particularly for my “advanced” age), but I don’t have distance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not down on myself as my cardio is well above where it used to be, but it’s certainly not my strong suit.

So my initial goal was five rounds. 150 total reps. Many of my friends were thinking more like 8 rounds, which I felt was very much out of reach because of the rowing. I wasn’t worried about the dumbbell at all. I was concerned the rowing would tax my engine to the point I wouldn’t be able to keep going. I asked my friend to use what I call his “Sargent” voice to yell at me so I would keep going.

In the end, despite all my fears, I got 8 reps into round 10. 278 total reps, darn close to TWICE what I initially thought and even past what others predicted for me! I was so proud of myself. THAT is the feeling that I’m not used to. Something I did, me. Old, still overweight, with a engine that doesn’t run long distances, with the coordination of a drunken, one-legged penguin trying to fly through maple syrup. And yet here I was , proud of 278 scaled reps. I’m not used to this feeling at all. I’m used to saying something sarcastic to cover up my feelings of inadequacy. And yet there I was, lying on the floor, incapable of breathing, of moving, smiling. Happy.

Incident 2 happened today. Today was a 21 min EMOM. Min 1 was 8-10 DB cleans, min 2 was 8-10 burpees over the DB and min 3 was 12-16 box jumps. Okay, so I don’t have box jumps in my brain anymore after falling over them one too many times. I’m okay with scaling to step-ups. I elected to use the 30 pound dumbbell over the prescribed 35 pounds mostly because (or so I told myself) that I wanted to leave those for the people who could Rx the workout. Looking back, I should have used the 35 pound weights, but that is a story for another day. Burpees. Oh goody. I HATE burpees. HATE HATE HATE them. They demoralize me, tax my small engine and in general make me hate everything about me and crossfit.

One day, one of the coaches said she could tell a change in attitude between movements from deadlifts to burbees. She could read it on my face. Yep. That would be my hatred toward burpees.

Today, on round one, I slogged through them with my usual attitude. Step back, flop on the ground, drag myself up, step up, turn to face the DB, barely hop over, heavy sigh, repeat. I got 6 in a minute doing this. Could I move any slower? Seriously…it was the proof I needed that I wasn’t a worthy crossfit athlete. And my coach’s voice popped into my head about changing my attitude toward burpees, something about working on my opportunities. My inner voice started cussing up, down, left, right and center. And then I made a conscious decision to change my mind.

I made the conscious decision to continue to do “only” 6 burpees (not the prescribed 8), but I would do them as fast as I could, every round. Guess what happened? I did 6 in less than 30 seconds each of the last rounds. By the end of the workout, I recognized that I could have done the 8 within the time! In addition, I was actually HAPPY about how I did. Was it as the coach wrote? No. Was it scaled? Yes. Do I care? Nope, not at all. I did six rounds of 6 burpees and felt good about it. Meaning this was the first time in over two years that I felt good about a workout with burpees.

So basically twice in the past five days I’ve felt good about a crossfit performance. Who am I and what has happened to me? I will say, it’s a feeling I could get used to.

My partner marathon row

Things have been so busy I’ve neglected to discuss something I’m actually quite proud of! The first weekend of December, my friend (and Rx contributor), Lynette and I did a partner marathon row, switching every 1000m.

This was probably the second hardest thing I’ve ever done (the Wooster Urban Adventure Challenge being the first). Mind you, I’m not a strong rower to begin with, and cardio isn’t my thing at all. But I felt this was something I could do, even if I did it slowly.

Three hours and eighteen minutes later we were done. About 30,000m in, I did NOT want to continue. That last 10,000m seemed so daunting. My hands were shredded, my times for 1000m we’re getting much slower and around 750m in that stitch in my side started showing up, making the last 250m of each set agony.

But we kept going because at that point, what else did we have to do? Also, one doesn’t quit when one is more than 3/4 of the way there.

I was unaware that Lynette also wanted to quit (I mean not really, but it crossed her mind too). So the fact that we both just kept getting on the rower and never said anything other Han encouraging words meant that we just kept going.

My hands still haven’t recovered, but we can say we did it. Something hard, something we weren’t told to do, something not part of a WOD, special weekend, fund-raiser, or Hero WOD. We did it for “fun”.

I don’t really have a desire to do it again, but I’m proud that I did it.

Monthly Challenge

Every month our box does a challenge. Usually (in my opinion) it’s some unattainable number of something. 1000 push-ups, 1600 min of planking, 150 strict pull-ups. Ten billion double unders (jk … it just SEEMED like 10 billion). 

This month we are doing something slightly different. We are supposed to do 10-20 push-ups every day right when we get out of bed. 

Finally somethat that seems attainable! Not something that I will get 1/3 to 1/2 way through and feel bad about myself for not getting anywhere close to finishing the challenge. 

Get up. Ten push-ups. Got it.

I’m going with two caveats…

1. I’m going potty first. There is no way I could do even 1 without peeing. 

2. I’m doing them in the bathroom. My dogs do not understand people exercising on the floor and are prone to noming and humping. No thank you. 

So with those two caveats, I’m jumping into this challenge with both feet. 

Monthly Challenge

Every month our box does a challenge. Usually (in my opinion) it’s some unattainable number of something. 1000 push-ups, 1600 min of planking, 150 strict pull-ups. Ten billion double unders (jk … it just SEEMED like 10 billion). 

This month we are doing something slightly different. We are supposed to do 10-20 push-ups every day right when we get out of bed. 

Finally somethat that seems attainable! Not something that I will get 1/3 to 1/2 way through and feel bad about myself for not getting anywhere close to finishing the challenge. 

Get up. Ten push-ups. Got it.

I’m going with two caveats…

1. I’m going potty first. There is no way I could do even 1 without peeing. 

2. I’m doing them in the bathroom. My dogs do not understand people exercising on the floor and are prone to noming and humping. No thank you. 

So with those two caveats, I’m jumping into this challenge with both feet. 

Am I becoming friends with the Assault bike?

What is happening to me? I feel like a stranger in my own brain today.

Thursdays at my box we get a choice of cardio workouts that are all slightly different and all designed to make you regret your choice, no matter which one you choose.

Today we had three options:

1. Suicide sprints and bear crawls

2. Max effort rowing for 40 seconds

3. Max effort Assault Bike for 20 seconds

Each workout had its own rep scheme and its own rest built in. Lately, I have been picking the Assault Bike because I’m not good at it, it scares me, and we generally hate each other. I pick it for those very reasons. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, or something like that…right?

Sometimes (nearly all the time if I’m honest), I don’t understand how to plan to spread my limited energy out to make it through a workout. But max effort? I get that. Each round for 20 seconds, you go until you cannot move. Until your muscles scream and beg. And then you keep pushing because there are 5-7 seconds left on the clock and rest is coming. I know I have about 10-12 really great seconds in me and then it’s a mental game to get the rest of the way.

Eight rounds. Twenty seconds. Three minutes of rest.

Rounds 1 and 2 I got that bike to 97 RPM. I will repeat that: 97 RPM! TWELVE calories. This is a PR by such a long shot that it’s almost funny. And yet I cannot adequately describe how my heart filled with pride at this. I was barely able to stand, I was trying to breath out of my skin to get more oxygen, there were still 6 more rounds to go.  And yet, I felt good.

I felt good about something I did on the Assault bike? Who am I? Where was the person who wrote “the Assault Bike is my nemesis”? What was happening to me?

I got 80 calories in those 8 rounds. Yes, my performance declined in subsequent rounds, but 4 of the 8 rounds I was able to hold it over 90 RPM for 10-12 seconds before my max effort dropped into the 70’s. The other four rounds I kept in the mid -80’s for 10-12 seconds, before having to drop into the 70’s.

I know there are athletes out there who could keep that dang bike in the 90’s (or higher) for all 20 seconds. But you know what? I’m not them; I’m not comparing myself to them either. I’m comparing myself to last week, last year, 2 years ago. And today, I can proudly exclaim that I gave it my all. I am STILL feeling the pain, 5 hours later. And I’m happy with what I did today. Yes, it destroyed my ability to do pushups, but I don’t care. I am happy with an Assault Bike performance.

Are we becoming friends? Is that even possible?

Named WODs

Diane, Linda, Karen, Helen, Grace, Angie… 

There are way too many names that have become forever entrenched in my mind for the pain and suffering they cause. 

I’m not going to be having any more kids, but if I did, none of these names would work anymore. NONE. Crossfit has ruined them all. 

Today was Diane. Coach said “under 5 min”. Now, granted, I don’t have hand stand push-ups, so pike push ups for me (the blog IS called Scaled to Perfection). And I managed it in 4;40, with the Rx deadlift weight and pikes.  The workout is 21-15-9, deadlift and hand stand push-ups, in case you forgot. 

How in the world does 4 and a half minutes destroy a person?’ Seriously …. suddenly I have great respect for boxers and I’m not even being punched while I’m working. 

Ladies, I applaud whatever you did to Greg Glassman to make him not like you. Your names are now etched in the hearts, minds, and muscles of every crossfitter out there. 

I’m going to take a nap now…