Fear and Ankles

Today’s WoD:

  • 50-40-30-20-10 Double Unders
  • 20-15-10-5 burpees

We started the hour with some barbell snatch work.  Moved our way through it and then went into snatch drops.  I’ve really got to overcome my fear of snatch drops.  Even with the 45# bar, they are a psychological block for me.  As we were doing them as a class, my pal Leila didn’t complete her snatch drop and the bar fell on her head.  This freaked me out and I was paralyzed.  Jarrod would yell “Drop!” and the whole class would drop under the bar and I just stood there with the bar on my shoulders unable to move.  Logically, I know that this is something that should be no problem to me.  I just need to move through the fear.  Not sure how to do that yet.  Leila, to her credit, jumped right back on it and did her remaining snatch drops.  I need to find a way to get over this.  I know that I could snatch 100+ if I could just get under the damn bar.

After the barbell work we started the WoD.  I went into it knowing that I would scale the double unders to 1/2 of the amount. The DUs started out strong, I actually PR’d with 22 unbroken.  I finished my last three and my ankle got a lovely sharp pain on the side.  I moved on and did my 20 burpees, which actually weren’t too terrible.  Then I started the DUs again and my ankle was in a pain.  I didn’t want to DNF the WoD, so I went over, grabbed an abmat and did sit-ups in place of DUs.  So, my workout looked like this:

  • 25 double unders, 20 burpees
  • 20 sit-ups, 15 burpees
  • 15 sit-ups, 10 burpees
  • 10 sit-ups, 5 burpees
  • 5 sit-ups

Overall time: 9:11

So a note about my ankle.  I’ve struggled for over a decade with my right ankle.  After multiple severe sprains in college (soccer), the ligaments are all stretched out and essentially useless.  In the past five years, I have fractured my ankle twice and sprained my ankle severely 3 times.  The last doctor I spoke to indicated that I would likely have to have surgery in the next 10 years to fix it. It was so problematic that when I would walk and sometimes my ankle would just flop out and I would sprain it.  For example, in 2010, I was in Marrakech, Morocco (celebrating the wedding of my friend, Adam and his wife Wendy).  I had just spent a lovely time at the spa with some friends.  I was walking in flip flops and my ankle just collapsed and went out on me.  I did a full on Superman fall flat onto the street.  I spent the rest of the time in Marrakech and our time in Paris with a bum, swollen ankle.  As you can see from my lovely ankle accessory in the picture below.  

Crossfit has changed all this.  Since the rest of my body is now stronger, the muscles around my ankle are basically compensating now more effectively for my shitty ankle ligaments.  I’ve turned my ankle coming down on a box (from jumping pull-ups) and in the past, an event like this would cause a severe roll out and turn into a sprain.  Now it just rolls out and bounces back.  The only effect that I’m seeing is that high impact (jumping, running) tends to bother it.  The DU’s today were no exception, but the pain was more severe than normal.  I think that this stems from a small roll I had a couple of weeks ago.  I’m going to take these next couple of weeks working on mobility, stretching, etc. to see if I can get it to cooperate and not hate impact events so much.  

Front squats and frustration

Today’s WoD on the board was 5×5 deadlifts and in between each set, max handstand pushups.

I didn’t feel comfortable doing deadlifts today right before I was going to get on a flight.  I’m still not doing the best form and usually after doing deadlifts my lower back and hamstrings usually end up hurting (from soreness, not from tweaking them).  This was something that I wanted to avoid before I leave for a cross country flight to Los Angeles on Thursday (where I will be working out with Crossfit LA Friday and Saturday morning!)  In addition, my wrist hasn’t been feeling all that great, so I decided to work on my kipping pull-ups with a band max effort.  So instead, I did the front squats 5×5.

I was tired this morning and did bad barbell bumper judgment and picked up the 25# bumpers instead of the 15# ones and put them on the bar for my “warm-up.”  Oops.  95# was a bit heavy.  I grabbed the 15# when I realized my mistake and did a warm-up set at 75#.  Jarrod came over, asked me what my 1RM was (145#), and said for the workout I should be doing 115#.  The goal was to be able to do all five in the set, but by the time you got to 4 or 5, it would be a struggle to get up. He had it spot on and 115# did exactly as it was supposed to.  I need to focus on a better rack position and also leaning back on my heels.

My kipping pull-ups on the band were a whole other story.  It all started when we did Friday Night Fran at the end of No Bread 3.  My friend Susie noticed that I was doing all dead-hang pull-ups instead of kipping and working the band.  It makes things infinitely more difficult.  Fran is coming up again as we move into No Bread 4 and I didn’t want to do dead-hang pull-ups again.  In addition, I DO NOT want to use the black band.  I worked hard to get away from it.  Currently, I can do 5 pull-ups unbroken dead-hang pull-ups on the green band.  I was feeling good after doing some of the gymnastics / kipping work with Jarrod these last few weeks.  But kipping with the band is an entirely different animal.  I couldn’t get into a rhythm and could only do 5-6 at a time. It was really frustrating because *technically* I should be able to do more kipping than dead hang.  I got frustrated every time I came off the bar.  Not sure what to say here other than I need to do more work / practice.   

Blah blah blah.

Snatches and a Nice Rack

Sunday usually means session with Jarrod.  Today was no exception.  I was wiped after a long week of working out, today would have been day 9 in a row.  Last night before I went to bed, I watched some of the 2012 Crossfit Games where Rich Froning was dominating.  Then I dreamt that I showed up at Craic and Rich Froning was there and wanted to coach me.  He made me do 1 armed dumb bell snatches over and over again.  Jarrod showed up during the session as was irritated and snippily to me at the end “I hope you know you’re paying ME for this session,” while ignoring Rich Froning all the while.  

Then I woke up, ambled out of bed, and headed to Craic.  Jarrod was there, Rich Froning wasn’t.  We worked on doing an active rest session.  Jarrod wanted to do some mobility to improve my rack position, as getting my elbows through had been taking some time.  He wanted to compare my rack position before and after the mobility and here are the results:

You can definitely see improvement.  I won’t bore you with all the exercises that we did, but the most painful one is laying on the ground and putting the 45# barbell on your shoulder and rolling it back and forth.  It fucking sucked. I don’t even know what it’s called.  

Then we worked on snatch drops.  As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, I have a lot of trouble getting under the bar.  It’s all in my head and something I need to break through on.  We did the drops with just the 45# bar, and I had some troubles early on.  We did a few sets of 3.  The first one I did, I just fell backwards and dropped the barbell.  These make me SO NERVOUS.  I finally warmed up a bit and got through the sets.  They weren’t all pretty, but they did remind me that I can do them.  Then Jarrod added 20# to the bar for 65# snatch drops.  The majority of the time I muscled up the bar, but I had 1-2 good ones in there.  Too bad they weren’t kitty drop snatches.  Drop, then snatch.

Then we worked on some high hang cleans with 65# – all about fast elbows.  I’m getting a little better at it, but still tend to drop my elbows right before I drop down into my squat.  It’s very subtle, but it’s something that I’m aware I’m doing.  Fast elbows, nice rack.  Here’s some video Jarrod took of me doing one of the sets. He wanted met to wait two seconds at the bottom.  Just wanted to clarify so you didn’t think I was taking my sweet ass time with 65#. You can see some subtle differences, but those variations make the difference between a clean PR and a fail. 

Overall great session, just what I needed.  Tomorrow is a rest day.

Garage Games Judge Accreditation

Today I went to Crossfit Providence to get accredited as a Judge for The Garage Games.  Which means I’m an official judge who, if they ever do start paying judges, can get paid.  The Garage Games are trying to create a standard where all judges go through this so they can make sure that the athletes and competitions are fair and balanced.  The instructors were Jesse Cook and Jeff Fincher from New London Crossfit.

We didn’t learn how to judge every movement, as standards vary from competition to competition.  There was a little bit of a “lecture” period and then we did some role playing which included: how to greet an athlete, how to prep to them on expectations prior to the workout, where to stand to judge properly, how to no-rep them, how to count for them, how to be consistent and confident.  

Part of the roleplaying was doing a WoD, while another participant judged.  My partner’s name was Heather and she works out at Crossfit Newton.  She was a very seasoned Crossfitter and just participated in the Firebreather Festival in the Rx division.  Her workout was: 21-15-9 Deadlifts, Pistols (alternating legs) and 50 double unders after each couplet.  The deadlifts were easy enough to count.  Pistols too.  The double unders are also pretty standard, but they are going so fast it’s hard to breathe while you’re counting their reps!  She dominated the workout.  I had to no rep her once on the pistols because she didn’t come up at full control before she dropped her other foot.  Her time was 7:12 and it was a good way to role play.

My WoD was also 21-15-9, but we did power cleans and alternating 1-arm dumb bell snatches.  I did 65# for the cleans and 20# for the snatches.  I am really tired from the week of testing and it was my 8th day in a row working out so I went with 65#.  It’s one of those situations where I knew I should have gone for 75# (which was the “Rx” weight for the WoD) after I was done.  But I was being a baby and went lighter than I should have.  Oh well.  I got no-repped on one of my cleans because I didn’t bring my elbows forward.  My final time was 6:02.

I love having the opportunity to participate in the competitions without having to compete.  I get stressed out enough before a WoD at Craic starts, I can’t imagine competing!  Maybe some day. In the meantime, I’m thrilled to be able to contribute to the Crossfit community and  I hope that more people volunteer to judge, these competitions wouldn’t happen without us.

Testing, Day 5 – Clean and Jerks

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I went in to today’s testing day with a clear head. No temper tantrums for me today.  I had just PR’d my clean early this week so I didn’t have many expectations for Friday and was going to be happy just making it to 120# for my clean and jerk. (Which is my current personal best).  Today’s focus was really form.

I made the playlist for the workout today because our resident music playlist guy couldn’t make it today.  The group decided on boy bands…since the workout was clean and jerks!

I built up to work on my form, did a rep scheme similar to Monday’s rep scheme:

  • 75# x 5
  • 95# x 5
  • 105# x 3

And then I started going in increments of weight doing one rep.

  • 110#
  • 115#
  • 120#
  • 125#
  • 130#

If you’re following closely, I PR’d at 125# and then at 130#!  I was so happy about it because I wasn’t expecting it.  I just wanted to work on my form today and just went for it.  I did two attempts at 135#, but failed on the clean.  I ALMOST had the first attempt at the clean, but I was leaning way too far forward and dropped the weight.  

But I’ll take it.  I’m happy!  Here is some video proof!

Here’s the first PR at 125#

Here’s my PR at 130#!

Here’s me failing at 135#. See how far forward I am at the squat?

Testing, Day 4 – 10 Min AMRAP

Today’s test was a 10 minute AMRAP:

  • 10 box jumps
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 10 burpees

Goal going in was to get through at least four rounds.  I scaled the pull-ups (obviously) and did kipping jumping pull-ups, per Jarrod’s suggestion.  Box jumps were standard 20” and burpees were well, burpees.

The time went quickly and I didn’t even hear the music that was playing throughout.  The burpees, as you might have guessed, were the worst part of the workout for me.  Box jumps were essentially no problem, although I did have to step up once or twice. The first time I stepped up is because my friend Leila fell doing one of the jumps and it freaked me out momentarily.  The second time I was just being lazy.

This workout was very tiring, and I’m just plain tired after a long time working out with no rest days.  I didn’t realize last week that this would be a testing week.  I collapsed to the ground when the AMRAP was finished for a solid 2 minutes.  Overall it felt good to be doing some more Metcon stuff, but I am really tired.

Tomorrow is 1RM clean and jerk.  I’m going to take my learnings from Sara’s post (that I posted about earlier today) and take tomorrow as it comes.  Really focus on form and not get disappointed if I don’t meet or exceed my 1RM PR.  I just PR’d on my clean last week, so I’m not expecting to crush it tomorrow.  And if I do, it will be a pleasant surprise.


I might not have gotten a PR yesterday, but Sara McEvoy did.  120#!  It was one of her 2012 goals.  Here’s a great post talking about her PR and the journey that led up to it.  Sara is one of the owners of Craic and her form is AMAZING for all the lifts.  

After a really frustrating week, this post really reminded me that things take time and I need to be more patient about getting PRs and lifts.  I need to take the time to work on my form, practice with the PVC pipe, reps with lower weights to perfect my form, Coach B warm-ups, watch videos (like above) of people doing snatches.  Really work on my drills and sessions with Jarrod.  

And check out her PR above.  Simply beautiful form.  So proud to be a member of Craic and have her as one of the owners…Total inspiration.