Crushing a 500

By Mike

Monday was a deceptively difficult WOD. At first I thought, “This is not enough, Mike!” It was 5 rounds of 1 set of stairs followed by max strict pull-ups and an additional 5 kipping pull-ups when I couldn’t get another strict rep. The first round was a breeze. I got 7 strict reps followed by the 5 kipping reps. The next 4 rounds were very challenging. I averaged 4 reps strict, and that was everything I had, followed by 5 kipping reps. Coming off the stairs was what made it difficult. I really liked doing the strict reps, it was something different and strength driven. Afterwards I did an ab circuit, foam rolling, lacrosse-ball rolling and stretching.

Tuesday I did 5×5 low-bar back squat. I did 185 lb. for all sets. After the third set, I thought perhaps I had gone too light. However, when I did the fourth and fifth set I knew I was bang on. I had to fight hard to keep my chest up, and anything heavier would have caused some serious form breaks. After this I did a 7-minute burpee suicide drill where I sprinted one length of the track, touched the line, sprinted back and did a burpee. One length is about 15 meters, and I got 36 burpees total. It was a burner, and my posterior chain was on fire from the back squats.

Wednesday I rested, and Thursday I did a 3RM snatch deadlift, followed by 3 x 5 bench press. I worked up to 175 lb. on the snatch deadlift, keeping my back angle locked in for all three laps. For the bench press, I did all three sets at 115 lb. and didn’t miss any reps. The highlight of the workout was my new 500-meter row record. I haven’t pulled a 500 in about a year and half. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. And let’s be clear: I am not a sprinter. I would rather row 5 kilometers any day over 500 meters. I pulled it in 1:38! According to the Concept2 rowing website, that time for heavyweight women is the 2nd-fastest reported time in Canada and 7th in the world. Not too shabby! But let’s just be honest. I want to be the fastest, so 1:38 is just a starting point. I’ve got more!

(Photo by Sandra Benz)

I don’t like running.

While I always claim to be “lightning fast,” I’m not particularly good at running. I might have a few decent sprints in me, or maybe one good 400, but after that I’m average at best.

I’ve been working on running for the last year, and I’m now less embarrassed about my lack of skill, and I can usually beat Crystal in races as long as she doesn’t know we’re racing until I get near the finish line.

“Mike wins again (and sleeps on the couch)!”

With Winnipeg’s horrid winters, I don’t have much chance to run outside. I don’t like running and I detest winter, so you can see how that works. Still, an incident yesterday gave me some hope that I’m improving my fitness.

At about noon, I was doing the dishes when some ran over my blue recycling box in the back lane. “Ran over” isn’t the right phrase. She basically wedged it between the bumper and the ground and took off down the lane. I could hear the grinding from upstairs, but she couldn’t hear it from inside her car. Interesting.

I wasted a few seconds screaming out the window, then took off when I realized it was futile. I was down a flight of stairs, out the front door and through the back gate in a second. According to Crystal, who observed me as I sprinted across the driveway, no one has ever moved that fast in skateboard shoes over iced terrain in downtown Winnipeg. No one. And I was still accelerating.

I caught the woman halfway down the block as she was trying to put the blue box into her trunk. She claimed she was going to “return it.” I question that given she clearly had no idea when it had actually become wedged under her car and therefore no location to which she should return it.

Long story short: I still don’t like running, but working on it saved my blue box.

Fitness lesson learned.

First of all, thank you everyone for reading and commenting on my blog! It’s so awesome to know that people actually visit the blog and care to see what I’m up to! Super cool.

Friday, I worked on pressing. I did something a little different. Instead of the traditional starting position, I set the guards on the power cage at my forehead and pushed from there. The goal was to get the same range of motion I would have in a handstand push-up. There is no momentum to be found when the bar descends onto the guards for the next rep, so it’s very much like doing a strict rep. I started at 95 lb., then 100 lb., 105 lb., 110 lb., and finished my last set at 115 lb. I missed the fifth rep, but I was very happy with the work overall.

My upper-body strength is definitely increasing. I am working with a tender back right now, which only bothers me when I put weight overhead. I have paid close attention to stretching, foam rolling and lots of work on the lacrosse ball (ugh!). It feels stronger every day, but the single most important thing for me is to be healthy and functional. I won’t jeapordize that for anything. I followed the presses with a 1K row at about 80 percent effort and finished with 3:48. Rowing is feeling great. I finished with 2 x 10 triceps extensions, and 2 x 10 deltoid flies.

Saturday I rested and hit the stretching and rolling hard. Sunday was Oly day, and skills. Fortunately I can pull medium to heavy weight and my back is fine. I worked on power cleans and snatches. It might be the last day I get to do power cleans as Mike says we’re bagging them indefinitely and I am only allowed to squat clean. I worked up to 145 lb. on the cleans and 95 lb. on the snatches.

I finished with HSPUs and pistols. The pistols are definitely better when I’m really warm. I need to hold a 15-lb. dumbbell when I do my left leg, which frustrates me a bit, but all good things take time. There was a time when a pistol was inconceivable to me. The kipping HSPUs are getting stronger and stronger. It’s all in the kip. When I time it correctly, it’s effortless! I just have to keep working. I finished the day playing around with free-standing HSPUs which I attempted to get into from a head-stand with a kip. Almost had a couple of reps! Next week!

Mike’s Note: Power cleans are banned.

(photo by Sandra Benz)

Winnipeg-Working on Oly technique at CrossFit 204 in Dale’s Garage.

Brett is dialing in the technique on the power clean, and he’s strong enough that he can basically curl the weight up–even at 155. We’ll keep drilling and then unleash him on some heavy weight soon! Big numbers to come!

Mike is working on heavy overhead squats and overloading the snatch high pulls.

Crystal is working hard on keeping the weight back and generating a ton of speed through the middle.

Great work!