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204 Blog

Tuesday, Nov. 30

Tuesday was an awesome day in the gym. I hammered a WOD I saw on the Again Faster website: 5 rounds of 15 sumo deadlift high pulls and 15 thrusters, both at 55 lb. My approach going in was to try and do all of my rounds unbroken and take 15-20 seconds of rest in between rounds. I was mostly successful, as I managed everything unbroken until the final round, where I had to do 10 and 5 for the sumos.

My time waster was the rest portion, because I definitely exceeded the time limit I had set for myself. I finished in 9:42. I can honestly say I crushed 55 lb.,  and I was super pumped with this result!

Afterwards, I worked on muscle-ups and stretched.

Wednesday, Dec. 1

In the spirit of “rest and recovery” week, I decided to just do a 2K row today, followed by mobility work. I was feeling especially bagged after an 18-hour day and a tough workout that left my legs feeling pretty sore. The goal was to break 8 minutes, and I did with 7:56.

I feel like there is more in the tank, but for today, this was great.

We spent another Sunday working on Olympic lifting, which is always a good time. My traps were still aching from Elizabeth this week, so shrugging the weight was a bit of a challenge and prevented me from doing anything really heavy.

That being said, it’s obvious at this point that I have fixed a lot of small errors in the snatch. I’ve stopped jumping forward and T-rexing the bar, but most importantly I am way faster under the weight. The following weeks will be filled with snatch balances—and more snatch balances. My current record is 126 lb., but Mike thinks I should be drilling 150 no problem considering I can overhead squat 180. I agree! I’m excited to see where this takes my Olympic lifting.

I also worked on some cleans, but the combination of soreness and tightness in my upper body stopped me from getting my elbows around fast, and everything looked ugly. It felt ugly too. We have decided based on my schedule and how the last few Sundays have gone, that Sunday will be used for gymnastics, skills and speed work. The heavy stuff happens mid-week. I’m happy with the adjustment, and I think I’ll see some gains as a result!

This week is a light and fun recovery week. I’m planning to hit some CrossFit WODs I’ve seen on the Rogue and Again Faster websites. As well, I’m thinking about taking a run at Grace. I’ll keep you posted on the results!

So today I decided to take a run at Elizabeth, and realistically today would have been the first time as RX’d. The last time I did it, many of the ring dips should have been discounted for not being locked out at the top, and some of them were jumping dips. Today that was not the case.

I didn’t really have a strategy for attacking this WOD other than to simply to do it as fast as possible–under 20 minutes? Mike and I knew going in the ring dips would hold me up and I could crush the cleans, and that was exactly what happened. The first set of 21 cleans was fast, and I only broke once to re-grip the bar after losing my hook grip. After my first 3 ring dips I knew it was going to be slow, and I looked at Mike and said, “I can’t do this”. He was encouraging but firm when he told me to bag the attitude and get back on the rings even if it was only for doubles and singles. And I did.

My resolve returned and I finished in 19 minutes. The cleans went well: the sets of 15 and 9 were fast and unbroken (a pause to re-grip in the 15s). The ring dips were slow and steady. If I tried to get back on any faster than my body was ready for, I would fail and miss a rep. And these missed reps mentally and physically worked me over. I was stuck standing staring at rings, willing my triceps to do the work my mind was telling them to. It was infuriating that I simply could not get the work done any faster. When all was said and done, I gave it everything I was capable of, and I walked away with a new RX’d WOD under my belt.

Afterward I worked on pistols and kipping toes-to-bar. There was a time when these movements completely eluded me, so it truly excites when I bounce up from a pistol. I still need to use an 8-lb. weight on my left leg, but I’m giving myself until the new year to get that done.The workout finished with weighted GHD sit-ups, 3 x 12 with 15 lb.

Tonight I am heading out to a wedding social for some fellow CrossFit [204] athletes. I hesitate a lot when it comes to “going out” because I’m always worrying about the next day and how it will affect my training. Having a bit of fun in moderation can only make me stronger. Besides, I can use the ice cubes at the bar to cool down the burning rash of missing skin on my arms from the ring dips.

Goood times!

Nov. 25, 2010–Winnipeg–Winter has officially arrived here in Winnipeg, and for now I’m happy with the white wonderland. The piles of snow give me extra hurdles to jump over and plow through during my outdoor running excursions. On Wednesday that is exactly what I did! I only had about 25 minutes to get my run in, so I headed outside for a quick and snowy run through Armstrong’s Point.

It turned out to be way more fun and challenging than I had anticipated. The ground was freshly covered with wet, mucky and unplowed snow, which forced me to work extra hard for every step. The sky was pelting me with snow (it felt more like hail), and by the end of the run I looked like a red-eyed raccoon. The run itself was fast and picked up momentum with every minute. I didn’t want it to end! It reminded me of the old days, when I was weak but could bang out a 19-minute 5K no problem.  I’m happy to feel that speed and endurance returning.

At home, I stretched and worked with my tennis ball, doing drills from Kelly Starrett’s MobilityWOD website. This has become an essential component of my training, thanks to Mike.

Today was light squats (low-bar back squat, 3×5 at 165), followed by good mornings (3×5 at 135, 155, 175). Next I worked on my chest to bar pull-ups and got 3×10. I haven’t worked on these, so I was pleased there wasn’t a significant drop-off. I finished with 3 sets of max push-ups, (20, 20, 12), and 3 sets of GHD sit-ups (10, 12, 15). My push-ups were a bit weak, but I think that was to be expected after the pull-ups. I also did stretching and mobility work at home.

A challenge I face everyday is getting enough rest. I go to school full time and work two jobs. I often have 18-hour days. Sometimes I have to make a decision on whether I need an extra day of rest simply so I can function or if I can push through and still get a quality workout. It’s important to me when I’m at school or work that I am giving my best with my full attention and all my energy. I’m creating a future for myself in a profession that I am very exited to be a part of. If that suffers as a result of over-training, then I’m not doing anyone, especially myself, any favors.

One of the greatest accomplishments I have achieved in my training is recognizing the value of a day off!

Never Quit

By Mike Warkentin

Nov. 23, 2010–Winnipeg–Today was an excellent workout! I needed to rest yesterday and recover, not just physically but mentally as well. I’ll get back to that in a minute.

So the workout was as follows:

High-bar back squat 4×5 at 205

Shoulder press 3×5 at 90

Deadlift 1×5 at 265

Back extensions 3×12

Reverse hypers 3×10 at 70

I would not be overstating it if I said today I squatted the best I ever have. I nailed every rep, and I felt so good about it. The knees were out, the chest was up, and my weight was in my heels. In the third set I felt two reps get away from me, but I love that I can identify what I need to fix and make it better! Mike made me back down the weight a while ago and rebuild my squat to make me better in the long run. It has worked!

The shoulder presses were easy, and I almost wonder if I should have gone after bigger weight, but there is always next time. The deadlift felt great, and I’m super pumped to see the weight increasing again. I wouldn’t say we have ignored the deadlift altogether in my training, but it has taken a bit of a back seat to focus on building my upper-body strength and endurance.

If you read my last blog, you could feel the negative energy just oozing off the screen. I felt defeated, angry, doubtful—you name it. This is an ongoing problem. I am committed to working on my mental toughness because it is an area where I really struggle. And even that is new to me!

I have been a super confident athlete my whole life. Take triathlons for, example. I love to race, and I am a terrible swimmer. Years of training really never made an impact on how I performed in the water. But when I hit the bike and run, I hunted people down. I could literally hear jungle music in my head as I searched for my competition on the course. I never stopped pushing until the race was over. And I always felt great about the outcome no matter where I finished.

When I won my first race, I had come out of the water 48th out of 52. I finished sixth overall and won my age category. I was elated. Imagine if I had decided, “I may as well pack it in because I am never going to catch anyone.”

I need to apply that drive and desire to every CrossFit WOD.

It isn’t over until it’s over!

Nov. 21, 2010–Winnipeg–So here it is, my first official blog entry. Unfortunately it happens to be on a day that I am absolutely furious with my performance in the gym.

The workout for today went as follows; 4 x 2-position squat cleans, 4 x 3 jerks off the rack, 1RM high-bar squat. Sunday is typically lighter because it is the end of a long-ass week, and I am tired. The cleans went well. I’m way faster under the bar and doing a really good job of pulling under instead of trying to pull the bar higher to catch it in a lazy power clean. Mike has decided no more power cleans. They make you lazy.

So I did my work sets on the cleans at ultra-light at 95 lb. to work on that speed. By Set 4, I was moving much faster than before.

Next came the source of all my frustrations: the jerk. I started with 75 lb. and drilled 3 reps no problem. The back leg needed to be more bent, but by the third rep I corrected that. Up to 95, then 115–same thing. Nice and strong, and they felt light. I put on 135 and everything goes to shit. The core is wobbly, the bar is out front, I dip too low and I’m slow, and the back leg crumples. Everything I do wrong in the jerk is immediately obvious with a little bit of weight. I can push-press 135, so I should damn well be able to jerk it! For the record, I have worked to 143 on the jerk, but it has been a while.

Frustrated, I moved on to a heavy squat. My old PR is 230 with a low-bar back squat, but I’ve spent the last 6 months working on my high-bar squats. They are basically two different squats that emphasize different muscles. I decided to attempt 235 without discussing the difference with Mike, and I fail twice. In hindsight, it was a mistake to make that jump. Currently in training I am working on the high-bar back squat and doing 4 x 5 at 200 lb. This week I will increase to 205. I thought 235 was reasonable, but 220 would have been smarter.

I threw some impressive tantrums, almost cried out of frustration, and called it a day. One day I’m smiling and thrilled with my Fran PR (5:10 on Friday), and today I am angry with my weaknesses and thinking well, crap, my Fran PR wasn’t even that great. Bad attitude, I know.

Tomorrow is a new day!

Winnipeg–Crystal has been training with CrossFit 204 since before we had a name!

After competing in triathlons and fitness/figure competitions, Crystal jumped into CrossFit in the summer of 2009. By March of 2010, she was entered into the Central Canada Sectional, where she finished 18th and narrowly missed moving on to the regional level. That experience gave her all the incentive she needed to train harder than ever, and in May of 2010 she had a great performance at the CrossFit Regina Spring Fling in Saskatchewan.

Like any CrossFit contest, those events revealed strengths and weaknesses, and Crystal’s been working hard to get stronger, faster and more powerful over the last months. She’s now got her sights set on the 2011 CrossFit Games qualifying events, which will happen sometime in spring.

We’ll use this space for Crystal to talk about her workouts at CrossFit 204, her training, her diet and her thoughts as she prepares for the challenges ahead. The updates will be a great read for people interested in competition, as well as anyone who’s interested in CrossFit for females and CrossFit culture in general.

Stay tuned!