John didn't realize he couldn't get away with the band wrapped around his foot

John didn’t realize he couldn’t get away with the band wrapped around his foot

Does this look like Stink?

Does this look like Stink?


Pull-up drills.  Was able to do three pull-ups with the blue band on all three sets.  Ring rows, and DB bicep curls.

Testing: 6RM strict dumb bell press (seated) – got to 25# and 8RM lateral raises (standing) – could only do 7.5# (shoulder issues)

Headed to NYC tomorrow, so will miss getting a workout in.  Blargh.


Had some plans Sunday morning and didn’t make it to the gym (yesterday was a rest day).

Jarrod posted that he was going to be at the gym from 6-7 and was nice enough to open it up for people in case they wanted to get a workout in.  Super stoked.  Got in there and worked on hip contact on my cleans, as I am definitely not consistently using my hips enough on cleans.  Went up to 65 and practiced cycling through some clean and jerks because I have a hard time with the transition and want to work on that for Grace on Friday. Still needs work.  I’m a bit frantic on the transition.  My goal is to finish under the 10 minute time cap 🙂

Then I did my pull-up homework.  Here is where I’m definitely seeing results.  I did 3 x ME blue-band pull-ups with :04 negatives and 2:00 rest in between.  I did 3, 3, 2.  First time I’ve been able to do three of them in a row with the blue band (yay! progress!).  Next were 5×10 wide grip ring rows – I focused on keeping my shoulder blades down.  Then, in another place I am seeing progress – I did 3 x 15 dumb bell curls and was able to do all 15 reps UB with 15#.  Progress is good.

After, I watched Jarrod do some Leif – Thrusters.


Double Ugh-ders

Conversation of the morning.

Coach Dizzle: Yo, Sweeney – have you done a muscle-up yet?

Sweeney: Nope

Coach Dizzle: Why not?

Sweeney: Because I have no coaching.

(awww, snap, son!)

I interrupt this post for a short public service, non-Crossfit announcement / rant. Ladies.  If you’re gonna wear heels – learn how to walk in them.  They’re supposed to make you look sexier, not like a duck or a cowboy. I mean, seriously. <eom>


Today’s workout was straight forward:

A1.5×10 Shoulder Press
A2. 5×10 Wide Grip Ring Rows


7min AMRAP
7 Wallball
7 Pullups
14 Double Unders

I did 45, 50, 55, 55, 55 – the last two sets were ROUGH.  Did the first four sets UB, but I barely got the 10th up on the 4th set.  Had to break up the last set into 5-3-2 reps.  On the bright side, I got to do some clean skill work.  Ring rows were straight forward.  #strictpressbehardyo

The AMRAP sucked ass.  Wall balls weren’t bad, just trying to get into a rhythm with those.  They were worse on the arms than the were on the legs after part A.  And then the double unders.  Initially was going to go for 14 of them – but ended up having to go for attempts as I couldn’t string together more than 3 to save my life.  BLECH.  While I did all the wallballs and RR UB, the double unders held me up big time.  Only managed to get 4 rounds in.

Since I did the ring rows, I decided to do the remainder of my pull-up homework.  Did 3×12 of barbell bi-cep curls at 35#.  They were pretty damn heavy.  Then I did the 3xME of blue band pull-ups with :04 negatives.  The first two sets I managed to get two per set – but the last one, I just missed getting my chin over the bar.




Small Victories

Of all the things people want in their crossfit journey, mine seems simple.  An unassisted pull-up (strict, dead hang).  I wrote it up on the white board at Craic as one of my goals almost a year ago.  I think it’s been up there so long that it’s seeped into the white board permanently.  With all the shoulder issues and trying to meet my weight loss goals, it’s seemed impossible.  I wish that the introduction of this post ended with…and today was finally the day.  However, it isn’t 🙂  But I had what some people consider a small step – for me it was a small victory.

When I started Crossfit, I had to use the thickest band to do pull-ups.  The black band.  I finally graduated to being able to do a couple of pull-ups on the green band but then my shoulders went to shit.  I’ve been doing the personal programming with John for the last couple of weeks and I’ve been doing green banded pull-ups. I must admit, it’s been nice to be back on the bar.  Well, the green bands have seemed easy-ish.  I was able to do 5 sets of 5 unbroken, even taking time to come to a full pause at the bottom per Jarrod’s instruction.  So, I thought – what the heck, I’ll try it with the blue band and see how far I have to go.  I’ve tried the blue band before and not been able to get up to anywhere close to the bar.  Well, I’m happy to say that I got two full pull ups with the blue band (full pause in between and all).  I’m going to continue to work on my progressions and bi-cep work and hopefully before the opens, I’ll have a couple of unassisted pull-ups under my belt!  It’s a small victory on my pull-up journey – but I’m really excited!

pullsup2 victory



Functional Coaching

Saturday Team WOD

Yesterday was the Saturday Team WoD.  Teamed up with the awesome Beth, who just the previous week, was one of the lucky ladies at Craic that got their first dead hang pull-up.  10 women in all got their first dead hangs after a 8 week cycle of programming.  They are doing a new way of programming (no bands, among other things) and it’s good to see it all work out!

The workout was an AMRAP 20, where partner 1 ran 400 meters while the other partner did the following AMRAP:

  • 10 lateral bar burpees
  • 10 front squats (65#)
  • 10 pull-ups

I wanted to try to start running again, so after talking with Sara, decided to run about 250 meters instead, taking it slow.  Beth ran the whole 400 meters.  I also did ring rows instead of pull-ups.  This was a very MetCon focused workout, you were constantly moving and working for 20 minutes with no rest.  It definitely kicked my ass.  Beth was a great partner and we managed to get a solid round count of 7+15.

Sunday Bro-Session with Dizzle


Today, I started up some private sessions with Jarrod.  Our focus in these sessions are strength and mobility.   Since the next three months are about getting stronger and rehabbing my case of the left, these were perfect.

When he arrived, I saw him go to his cubby and grab the dreaded compression band.  I immediately had a look of panic on my face as it is not a fun mobility tactic.  And by not fun, I mean terrible torture.  He saw the look on my face, stuffed the band in his pocket, and said “You didn’t see anything.  Don’t worry about it” and then compared me to when he has to give Leif (his almost-three-year-old) medicine.  “Hey, Leif, Daddy wants to cuddle you!  Come here!”


Compression Cat

We went over to where I was working out and he had me do some wrist mobility and then some shoulder mobility.  After that, he told me to stand in front of him and press my hand into his chest.  Thinking that this was some more wrist mobility, I obliged.  He then grabbed my arm and started wrapping the compression band around my elbow.  He tricked me!  I guess his experiencing parenting a toddler has prepared him for coaching someone like me.  I’m going to call it Functional Coaching.  Where your real-life experiences help you coach better 🙂 All I needed were belly rubs and a soothing voice and it would have been like I was three again.  Instead, I got some torturous bending and stretching and sage advice like “You don’t feel your elbow with your face, why are you making a face?”  By the time he was done, my hand had no color in it.  He finally took the band off…phew.  And then went to the other arm.  Ugh.   The video below is similar to what Jarrod did to me today (in case you have no idea what the heck I’m talking about).

After that, we tested my pull-up.  We did three assisted pull-ups (he pushed me up) and used that to gauge where I needed work.  Definitely lats and shoulders. And then we began the work:

The strength part consisted of three rounds of two couplets.

Couplet #1

  • 6-8 Single-arm bench press (15#, 20#, 25#)
  • 10 negative ring rows

Couplet #2

  • 6-8 Single arm tri-cep pulls (15#, 20#, 25#)
  • 6 negative push-ups

After that, Jarrod also has me working on metcon a bit – and had me do 10 minutes on the lovely AirDyne for AMCAP (As Many Calories As Possible).  I need to work on my pacing, I think I could have done more – but I ended up with 94 calories.

Looking forward to working with Jarrod on this for the next couple of months and seeing what happens.  I hope to get into the esteemed group of women that have their dead hang pull-ups at some point in the coming months.

Deadlifts and Dips

Today was a strength workout.  Perfect way to get back into working out, as I can’t really do a lot of cardio right now as I can’t breathe through my nose and heavy breathing makes me break into coughing fits.

It was great to get back into the gym and just be moving around a bit.  The warm up exhausted me.  I didn’t go all out on the workout for reasons that are probably obvious considering the amount of whining about being sick I’ve been doing.  Anyway the workout was:

A1) TnG Deadlift 10-8-6-4-2 – rest 10sec
A2) Muscle Ups, Pullups, Dips (pick one)

B) 3×15 DB external rotations L+R

So basically, 10 deadlifts and then pull-up and dip work; 8 deadlifts and then pull-up and dip work; and so forth.  John was the coach this morning.  He told us to increase weight each set.  I started out really light. Then we worked on pull-ups and dips with a partner “supporting” us.  I worked with my friend Lauren who is SUPER AMAZING at pull-ups and gymnastics skills.  Here’s what “support” partnering is (taken from the Craic main site last night):

“Recently we’ve had a lot of success in helping people get stronger at pullups through the use of having a partner spot you. Sometimes negatives are too challenging and the jump between resistance bands can sometimes be too easy or too hard. By having a partner help you through the sticking point of the exercise they are able to give you just enough resistance to help you complete each rep. This is just another one of the many techniques that we include in our program to help our clients get to the next level with their training.”

This was my first time back on the pull-up bar in over two months, so I was a bit weary about it.  But I managed to squeak out two supported pull-ups and two assisted dips (barely).  My right shoulder felt shitty after the dips – I think it’s because it’s been compensating for my left shoulder.  Need to stay away from bar dips for a bit until I even out my shoulder strength.

Weight scheme for deadlifts were fairly light for me: 115#, 145#, 175#, 195#, 215#.  I stood there deciding for the last set whether or not I had it in me to do 215# instead of 205#.  John told me to take in the spirit of the Crossfit Las Vegas t-shirt I was wearing and take the gamble and go big.  It was a tough 2 reps, but I did it 🙂

Then I did my external rotations and voila … first workout back in the books.


Some New Craic – Testing Day 1

Took a rest day yesterday.  After the tabata and then sitting in a car for 7+ hours…my body was a mess.  Mostly lounged around the house after going to breakfast and catching a screening of Lincoln in the early afternoon.  I also knew that I’d be working out Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week because it’s another testing week at Craic and I needed to get my tests / workouts in before I left for a business trip to Las Vegas.  So why more tests?  Craic is changing the way that they approach training.  This came after a trip John and Glen took to AZ for OPT Training.  Here’s Glen’s recent post on the new philosophy of training.  We’re going to spend three days testing this week and for each movement, it will put us into a group of which we will stay in while we train.  For some of the movements, we might be in BEG, for others, INT and for some Rx and that will be our swim lane (per movement) for the next two months.

I worked out with Kendyl and Lauren today.  Lauren and I were joking that if we morphed into one person, we would be the ultimate Crossfitter 🙂  She’s amazing at gymnastics and running and I’m pretty decent at strength and rowing.  Ha!  Today’s test was 1RM backsquat and max pull-ups (or scaled version).  The thresholds for what group you’re in were as follows:


RX= 1.5x Bodyweight or more
INT= 1-1.5x Bodyweight
BEG= Bodyweight or less


Men / Women 
RX=  7+
INT= 3-6
BEG = 0-2

Going in, I knew I’m be at BEG for the pull-ups, but surprisingly, until today, I’ve never tested my backsquat 1RM.  For the pull-ups we had the option of doing 3-second negatives or ring pulls.  Pull-ups make me nervous with my shoulder issue, so I talked to Jarrod about doing ring-pulls correctly.  I’ve been doing them a lot lately, but I knew I wasn’t doing them correctly, as they weren’t as challenging as I knew that they could be.  This time, Jarrod had me stand with my feet directly beneath the rings and it was definitely more challenging.  I squeaked out 11 ring pulls.  Officially in the BEG group.  By the way, Lauren got 11 strict pull-ups!

Working with Lauren and Kendyl was great on the backsquat.  Kendyl totally underestimated her own strength and was like “I think I’ll try for 105 today.”  She and Lauren both ended up getting 130#!  I checked what I did historically and did a 5×5 at 125# in September and prior to that, 5×3 at 145# in August.  Other than that, I never tested it.  I knew that likely I could do 165#, as that’s my front squat.  I did the following rep scheme: 75# x 2, 95# x 3 (warm up) and then 125#, 145#, 165#, 175#, 185#, and then I decided to try for 195#.  I rebounded off the bottom no problem, but when I got the middle of the lift my body just stopped.  It (as Jarrod also pointed out) was a very weird place for me to pause in the middle of my lift.  He thought I was going to fail, but somehow after the pause, I stood right up!  I’m really happy with 195#.  It put me in the INT group for that movement.  Can’t wait to get 200# at the end of this training regime!

Today also marked my half-year point of check-ins at Craic.  I’m still the mayor 🙂 I’ve been going to Craic for 8 months, but didn’t start doing the Foursquare thing until today.

Weekend Swim, Cleans, and Jerks

Went swimming yesterday again with the Infantry Swimming team in Norwood.  What a great compliment to Crossfit.  I’m definitely going to be making it a regular thing.    Can’t remember exactly what we did, but it was a lot of swimming – distance – with very little rest.  I didn’t use my fins swimming this time.  That was Saturday.

Sunday, did my session with Jarrod.  We used the jerk boxes and practiced cleans.  The two things that I need to focus on at this point are really opening up my hips and then fast elbows.  John McEvoy, the owner and head trainer at Craic was just there by coincidence and I did a clean and he just walked by mumbling “elbows, elbows, elbows…” after one of my clean sets.  I did a 5×2 of cleans off the jerk box at 90#.

After that, we moved to split jerks.  This takes a decent amount of coordination.  It’s like a dance move!  Extend your elbows, push the weight up, split your legs (one in front of the other).  Okay, and then step back with your front foot and then step forward with your back foot.  And do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around… (okay, I added that last part).  I did a couple of these at 65#.  They were a lot of fun and I look forward to working on them in future sessions with Jarrod.

Jarrod is also the morning coach, so he sees what I’m doing during the week.  I think that this is insanely helpful for our 1-1 sessions, as he remembers what I need to work on and is on my ass during the week workouts to remember my form.  He also noticed that pull-ups are my nemesis that I so desperately want to be-friend.  We closed out our session practicing kipping, knees to chest.  He also gave me a bunch of things to work on as progressions to pull-ups.  Ring rows, kipping toes to bar / knees to chest, kipping motions, negatives … hopefully I can work these next couple of months to get myself to at least 1 dead hang pull up and a couple of kipping pull ups.

After we were done, I stayed at the gym and worked on pull-up progressions and did some mobility / stretching while the Kettlebell class was going on.  I hopped in the end of the KB class to do the ab work (which I also need to do more of).  People started migrating in for the open gym section and I ended up staying, socializing a bit and also I got the opportunity to see my friend, Susie, get THREE PR’s in a row for her back squats.  After three hours at the gym, I moseyed on home.  Onwards to tomorrow!


For benchmark week, we did Helen.  One thing that you probably know about me if you’re reading this (1) I don’t love distance runs (or WoDs that contain them) and (2) Pull-Ups are my biggest goat.  I want to do one so badly, but understand it takes time.  Without further adieu, I will not introduce you to Helen:

3 rounds for time
Run 400m
21 Kettlebell Swings
12 Pullups

I modified the pull-ups and did what I thought were 6  jumping pull-ups.  I stood on a 45# weight plate, jumped up and pulled my chin to the bar. Jumping pull-ups always seem to take me forever compared to other people.  And today was no exception.  My friend Brendan was also doing jumping pull-ups and flew threw them.  I didn’t know why…until after the WoD and Jarrod pulled me aside and informed me that I was doing some weird jump up, pull up, negative pull up hybrid.  Jumping pull-ups are exactly what they sound like.  You jump and pull yourself over the bar and drop immediately.  Very eye opening.  Now I know why the scaled “BEG” version was jumping pull-ups and not band assisted (which were intermediate).  Blech.

The run, albeit slow, felt really good.  I am definitely feeling stronger and more endurance when I run.  When I first started Crossfit, the runs were brutal.  Half the time, I wanted to walk.  I was sooooo slow.  It’s getting better, which I’m really happy to say!

When we were figuring out our KB weights, I was feeling wimpy and went with 26#.  But I knew that was the easy path.  Instead, I went with the Rx 35# KB for the WoD and did all three KB sets unbroken!

Not sure how much I really liked Helen.  I definitely know where I can improve in my next meeting with her.  My final time was 13:03. Going into it, I knew my goal was to finish sub 15, so I was happy with the time.  Next time, sub-12 and band-assisted pull-ups!

8 Min AMRAP x 2

So the cat started crying loudly this morning and I didn’t hear him until Niko got up to see if he was OK.  I looked at the clock and turns out I didn’t set my alarm!  Perhaps that’s why Feynman (the cat) started meowing this morning – he knew I had to get up!  I was up 5 minutes late, but managed to get to Craic in time.

We warmed up by doing pistol practice and muscle-ups practice.  Good news was that I could get down in my pistols, but bad news was that I couldn’t get myself back up.  Grrrr.  We went to muscle ups and I really need to work on my core strength and shoulder strength.  I think that I will probably add a daily sit-up / core workout to my routine.

The WoD was:

8min AMRAP
RX+ 3 Muscle ups
6 Pistols (alternating)

RX 2 Pullups
4 Push-ups
8 Squats

rest 10mins + repeat8min AMRAP

RX+ 3 Muscle ups
6 Pistols (alternating)

RX 2 Pullups
4 Push-ups
8 Squats

rest 10mins + repeat

Goal is same score on both AMRAPs

I decided that Rx+ and Rx was too easy 😉 – so I scaled by doing jumping pull-ups, chest to ab mat push-ups, and air squats (which, obviously, I didn’t have to scale).  After talking to Jarrod, I decided that I was going to do jumping pull-ups instead of band assisted.  The jumping pull-ups would help me more with conditioning, while the band-assisted would have enabled me to do more reps and move through faster.  Definitely the harder option for me, but pull-ups are the biggest goat for me – so I wanted to challenge myself.  As I got towards the end of both sets, I had a bit more trouble using my legs and getting my chin up to the bar. 

Final Scores: 10 / 10 + 2