To Failure!

Drove back from Philly yesterday and then Niko and I went to the 7:30 class.  Pistol Pete was coaching.  Workout was very similar to last Monday’s.  Something tells me that we’re on a strength program for legs and pull-ups. 🙂

A) Back Squats Front Squats
Int:5x (4-6)

B) Pullups 5×10
*RingRows w/ Bicep Curls

Shoulder still isn’t allowing me to go into the back squat position, so I did front squats instead.  Since it was less reps than Monday, I scaled up a bit more weight.  I went 95, 115, 125, 145, 165 x 3.  145 seemed pretty easy, so I decided to do a 20# jump and go to 165.  Failed on my 4th rep.  Actually went to failure and I think that’s a good thing.  Ring rows were pretty straight forward and I did a light weight for the bicep curls.  Pete told me that since I was doing a light weight (due to shoulder stuff) that I should do tempo bicep curls ~3 secs up and ~3 secs down. Made them so much harder, but really felt like i was actually getting a workout in on my biceps.

Worked out next to Joe and Johnny D. and I borrowed space on JD’s board to record my weights.

Can you guess which ones are mine?  JD is an animal.

Can you guess which ones are mine? JD is an animal.

Post workout, I managed to get JD to do some practice rope swings (scaled, of course).  He was tired from the back squats.

Oh, and another sign Niko is getting stronger?  I get this IM from him while I’m at work today:

niko: I think I need to jeans shop before my SD trip.. my legs are getting too big for this one pair 🙂


CFL1 Weekend

Hello after a pretty long absence from blogging!  As mentioned in my previous blog post, I was in San Francisco and came home with a cold which knocked me out of working out for the entire week. Breathing was a major issue.  If I got winded, I would fall into coughing fits.  Yikes! Wahhh!

I originally was keeping this bit of information under my cap, but I realized that the goal of this blog was to be honest and open…and me not talking about this would be against that credo.  I went for my Crossfit Level 1 Trainer test this week.  I wasn’t going to blog about this because I was scared of failing the test and I didn’t want to publicly fail.  Ugh.  But that isn’t what this blog is about and life is about learning from your failure.


Anyway, I mainly did it because I want to potentially judge the Regionals for the Crossfit Games and also, maybe sometime in the far off future – it would be nice to coach.  There are other reasons, but those are the main ones.  I was still pretty sick, and if possible, was going to cancel.  Unfortunately, it was non-refundable and I wasn’t goingto eat the decent amount of money I paid for the weekend seminar and test phase.  I won’t go into all the details of what the weekend entailed, but it was a great time overall.  We had some amazing teachers over the weekend that consisted of James HobartMel Ocker”Beast” OckerbySpencer HendelAustin MalleoloEC Synkowski, and Mat Frankel.  All beasts of the North East!  There were a lot of lectures, practical work, and of course, Crossfit workouts both days.  I learned a ton and it was a great experience.  I’m not sure how I did on the test, I’m not the greatest of testers and with the cold – I’m not sure I could process everything that was being thrown at us.  If I didn’t pass, I’ll just take the test again.  I’m just glad that I got to attend and meet lots of great people from the local Crossfit community.

In one of the breakouts, we worked on deadlifts together…and boy…it finally clicked with me on how to use my hamstrings during this movement.  They are on fire today!

Both days at lunch, we got to watch the instructors workout – which was a treat!  Here are some pictures that I managed to get.

ImageMat, Mel, Austin doing sled pushes
ImageHand Stand Push Ups on the rings … no big deal.
ImageSpencer Hendel doing overhead pistols

In other news, the whale tail hair trend for Team Dizzle has gone further than just me and Jarrod.  We’ve started a trend!  One of them is Mel Ockerby hersself!


I’ll close with this cool class picture of the CFL1 class


Don’t Be an A**hole

I met with Jarrod earlier this week to go over goals and try to start to develop a plan as to how I’m going to get there.  The goals on my “Goals” page were way too Crossfit-only oriented.  Those are definitely milestones that I’d like to achieve in my Crossfit life, but he also challenged me to think about what kind of life I wanted.  I want a healthy, full life.  Not exactly the lift I was living before Crossfit where I was sedentary and over weight (to be clear, I still have weight loss goals).  To that end, I put together some long, mid, and short term goals.

Long Term Goals (2 years): Live a healthy, full life.

Mid Term Goals (Year): Get to a healthy body weight; Be able to do workouts Rx (or at least all the movements that are thrown at us)

Short Term Goals (3-6 months): Rehab my body, get a handle on my nutrition

So, next three months is to get my body back in fighting shape by rehabilitating it and keeping consistent about my nutrition.  The ways I’m going to do this is:

  • Finish Whole 30
  • Stay No Bread after Whole 30
  • Workout consistently and pay attention to when my body needs rest
  • Work with coaches to modify my workouts to not re-injure myself
  • Strength and mobility private sessions with Jarrod
  • Surround myself with people who support me and use the proper resources I have

And finally, while it seems simple – it’s probably the hardest task given my injuries and the ways that I have to go:

  • Stay positive

And that last task segue ways nicely into what happened today in Open Gym.  Last night I went to dinner with some of the gals from the gym to Fogo de Chao, an amazing Brazilian Churrascaria (steakhouse) in downtown Boston.  Over delicious slabs of meat, one of the topics that came up was my 205# backsquat and how I was contemplating retesting to see if I could get 210# or higher.  I had decided that my legs were a bit shredded from the week and would likely not – but would go to Open Gym to support whomever was re-testing.

I ambled into Open Gym without a plan and found that Susie Diesel and Gienah were going to try to re-test their backsquat.  It didn’t take much arm twisting, and before I knew it, I was working up to my 1RM with the gals.  As we were working up (very similarly to the rep scheme I used a couple of days ago).  We got to 165#x2 round and it felt really heavy.  My hips and glutes felt really tight.  I did not feel confident going into the heavier reps.  I did a squat at 185# and it was so hard to get up.  Then we went up to 200#.  I wasn’t feeling it.  I knew I couldn’t do it.  My legs were toast.  185# was hard.  I thought, “I’m done, I’ll just do this attempt and be happy that I got 205# earlier this week.”  Went to the bar, quickly racked it, went down into my squat, and immediately had Jack (my spotter) help me up.  As Jack went to help me, Jarrod (who was doing some mobility on the floor nearby) looked at me and yelled “Asshole!” and looked pretty irritated with me.  I went over to him and he was giving me “the look” that I’ve seen him give his kid, Leif.  It’s a scary look.  It’s been known to send Leif into tears at just the thought of it.  He said (I’m paraphrasing, as I don’t remember the exact words):

“I knew you were going to fail that rep the moment you walked towards the bar.  You had a shitty attitude.  You told yourself you were going to fail.  You were being an asshole and not respecting the bar.  I want to see you walk to the bar and know that you’re going to lift that shit up.  Also, don’t give up before you even try.  I want to see you screaming as you try to get that weight up.  I want to see that you’ve given it everything you can before you fail.  You don’t decide to fail.  You simply fail.  But you made the decision to fail before you even picked up the bar.  Don’t be an asshole.”  

It was the slap in the face I needed.  Don’t be an asshole.  You don’t decide to fail.  I was determined to make that bar my bitch.  I tried to 200# again and down-up.  No problem.  I decided to skip 205# and jump straight away to 210#.  I approached the bar. I stared at it and mentally called it my bitch.  I knew I was going to make this lift.  I stared straight ahead, racked it on my back, took some quick breaths, then a deep breath and went down into my squat.  I pushed back up and started to falter a little. But I kept on saying “Don’t be an asshole.  Don’t be an asshole!” and pushed really hard to get out of the pocket.  I gave it everything I had and finally stood up. New PR at 210#!  I didn’t choose to fail.  It was awesome.  That’w why I changed my task to “Stay positive.  Don’t be an asshole.”  Don’t be an asshole and sabotage yourself.

In other words, don't be your own Grumpy Cat.

In other words, don’t be your own Grumpy Cat.

Sara McEvoy had some a timely post today in a new feature on her blog called “Habits of Happiness”.  The post was titled “Create Positive Internal Energy” and I’d encourage anyone who reads this blog to check it out.



Dark Place to Failure

Today was a rest day for me.  Trying to do three days on, one day off.

Yesterday, I went to that dark place and also to failure.  But don’t fret!  Failure was the point of the workout.

The workout was: 5×8 back squats, working to a heavy set

Jarrod advised that we should go heavy, and if you don’t fail completing one of the rounds, you’re not going heavy enough.  I worked out with Coach Rita, who is about equal to me in weights during workouts.  We decided to go with the following weight scheme: 135#, 145#, 155#, 160#, 170#

I was confident with Rita spotting me and while difficult, I managed to squeak out 8 reps at 170#.  Rita got her reps at 170# as well.  Rita was determined to go to failure and we decided that we were going to do a 6th round at 175#.  Jarrod spotted me on that last set and I finally felt what it was like to go to that dark place while lifting (I’ve gone to that dark place during rowing).  Jarrod told me to breathe at the top of the reps.  Take a moment to reset before I go back down into the squat.  I got three reps in and went for my fourth.  I got about 1/3 of the way back up and needed Jarrod to jump in and help me back up.  After I got back up, he told me to reset and try again.  I was seeing stars, I had pushed myself to that dark place.  I knew I was going to fail, but I was okay with that.  I had pushed myself to my limit – which is something that I’ve never done before with lifting.  I didn’t try, as I knew I would have surely passed out.

Who knew failure could feel so good?


Testing, Day 3 – Snatches

**This post will have some profanity in it.  I’m just saying.**

This has been a frustrating week so far.  It started on Sunday when I did my 1RM with Jarrod for my snatch.  Stuck at 90#.  Couldn’t get to 92.5#.  Then on Monday, I couldn’t get past 145# for my front squat.  Yesterday, had to drop 10# for Diane.  And today, it’s back to 1RM snatches.  I had a bad attitude about today as soon as I walked in the door.  I’ll own that.

So, as mentioned above, today’s test was 1RM Snatch. I worked out with Elizabeth.  She’s a lot stronger than she thinks she is.  Once she has form down, she’s going to crush it!  I did the following rep scheme:

  • 45# x 5
  • 65# x 5
  • 75# x 3
  • 85# x 1

And then I thought I was going for my 1RM at 90# and tried three times and failed miserably.  I was PISSED OFF.  Like, really fucking pissed.  Every time I dropped the bar, I had a mini-tantrum and dropped the f-bomb.  I had to walk outside to cool off, but I couldn’t walk that far because it had rained, I had my weightlifting shoes on…so I could only walk to the mat at the door. So much for a dramatic exit!

Tried again, didn’t drop, couldn’t get it up.  Not even close. I just got 90# on Sunday and the 85# I just did seemed easy.  I was so frustrated, I couldn’t even deal. Was this past Sunday at 90# just a fluke?  What the fuck is wrong with me? I must have been way too aggro because Jarrod had to come over and basically tell me to calm the fuck down.  (He did it in a very nice supportive way, but I did really need to calm down.)  After taking some breaths,  I looked at the barbell and realized that I had been trying to lift 95#.  SHIT!  That’s why it was so hard.  That’s 5# over my PR.  Crappy barbell math on my part.

I didn’t even try for 90#.  I waited a couple of minutes and went for 95# again.  Fail fail fail.  I need to get under the damn bar.  I know that my body can do it, I just seem to have a psychological blockage that’s preventing me from getting under the bar.  I know I can lift it to the height I need to, now it’s just gymnastics.  I’m very fortunate to have Jarrod as my morning coach and my private coach because he can see the shit I’m failing on during the week and cater it to our private sessions.

Right now I’m stuck, but I need to work on my skills and just get better, stronger, faster every day.

Frustration with Front Squats. Testing Week.

My time at Craic this morning started out on a good note!

Less than 24 hours later and it’s mine again!  Yes!

Now onto today.  John McEvoy posted last night on the Craic main site:

This week is a big testing week at CRAIC. We encourage you all to try and make it in everyday Mon-Fri and get all your results recorded. We will be retesting this week starting Mon 29th Oct. “

So today’s test was 1RM front squat.  I was feeling pretty confident going in, knowing that my previous PR was months ago and it was 145#.  I was thinking that I would at least get 150#.  I even wore my new fancy weightlifting shoes.  I worked out with a new addition to the 6:30 crew, Ann (who crushed it at 125#!).  Today’s build-up / rep scheme went up as follows:

  • 65# x 5
  • 75# x 5
  • 95# x 3
  • 115# x 3
  • 125# x 1
  • 135# x 1
  • 145# x 1
  • 155# FAIL
  • 150# FAIL

I was extremely frustrated.  I still am.  I really wanted to PR today.  But it just wasn’t happening.  I know that I have to just pick up and move on, after all, failure is an important part of this journey … but I’m effing pissed.  I’m not sure if it was form, strength…but I’m stuck there.  No improvement after 3 freaking months.  ARGH.

<Insert sarcastic tone here> I can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s test is going to be.

(In other news – my friend Leila had a 25# PR today for her front squat!  Rock star!)

Cleans and Failure

Note to self.  Do not go to the 6:30PM class and then turn around and go to the 6:30AM class, especially when they are both strength workouts.  Today kicked my ass.

Today’s WoD:

A) Power Clean – work to a heavy 1 with good form in 12min (NOT A 1RM)

B) For time
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Power Clean
30 Double Unders between each set

Wowza.  I paced myself well on the first part, building up to my PR (which is 115#).  I started at 75#, 95#, 105#, 110#.  I attempted 115# twice but failed and time was running out, so I took off weight for the 2nd part of the workout.  I decided to go 75# because I knew that the double unders were going to kill me. I tried to puss out and do single unders, but Jarrod suggested that I do 10 DU or 15 attempts.

The first sets were brutal.  I could barely get my double unders.  My legs were tired, my shoulders were tired.  Hell, I was tired.  As the WoD progressed, I found that I was jumping slower, but able to string together more DU, which was awesome.  I finished slow – 17:54. I feel like I failed moving at such a snail’s pace, but then I saw this which reminded me that failure is all part of growing.  Just a little motivation for the day.

So fresh and so clean! (A PR)

Last night I made some paleo friendly bacon chocolate scones.  I use the Paleo Table recipe as a base, but add my own bacon magic in it.  I posted a picture of it on Facebook and Jarrod commented that he was going to change today’s WoD to a 1 hour AMRAP of Burpees if he didn’t get one.  The workout was focused on cleans, and since I just did the work with Jarrod on Sunday I decided to go in today to see if I could PR.  I know that it was a rest day, but I thought a strength workout could do me some good. (And I also wanted to get Jarrod his scones or he would make everyone do burpees).

Today’s WoD was a clean progression:

  • High hang clean (1RM) – 90#
  • Hang clean (1RM) – 95#
  • Power clean (1RM) – 115#

I ended up PR’ing (if you’re counting, that’s twice in one week) and it felt good. I need to remember to keep my shoulders back and be patient in the lift.  My inclination is to start pulling before I get a good opening of the hips and use my arms more than my shoulders and back.  I should be using all of it.  I got a little over zealous and tried for 120#.  I failed.  I looked over at Jarrod and he was shaking his head and said “You had a snowballs chance of getting that one past your belly button. Just embrace that you got a 10# PR today.  Save 120# for another day.”  He was right.  My arms were tired, my form sucked and I need to be patient.  Also embrace failure.  John had a great post about failure after we did Friday Night Fran.  

July 6th – “Diane”

Today’s WoD

“Diane” – for time


Deadlifts (155# Rx)

Handstand Push-Ups

Needless to say, I didn’t do this WoD Rx.  I *might* have been able to do the weight, but it would have taken me a long time.  I modified the workout by doing 135# deadlifts 21-15-9 and elevated pushups (feet up on a bench, head touching ground at the bottom) at 12-9-6.  Final Time: 5:19

I definitely could have done a smaller modification rep-wise for the push-ups.  I think next time I’ll do 15-12-9 (or even 21-15-9).  I definitely have to push myself to failure.  It’s the only way I’ll get better.