Friday, June 18th
After spending much of Thursday yearning for revenge with Mr. Bear Crawl, I was slightly discouraged when I awoke this morning to a WOD devoid of bear crawls, or even sprints for that matter.
My spirits plumetted further when I typed "HSPU CrossFit" into youtube to find out just what I had in store for me: Hand Stand Push-ups. A pitiful whimper escaped my troubled expression as I woefully slid down my desk chair into a slouch. Gregg hadn't allowed me enough time to recover from my last session of hand stand push-ups to work up the nerves to talk to the Shape Magazine intern girls across the office before sentencing me to another week of avoiding mirrors.
Note to newbies: For those of you who don't remember, my last run in with hand stand push-ups left me with a number of broken blood vessels around my eyes. The lasting result was a countenance that you might expect from someone living in the East Village; I had two black eyes that made me look like I was wearing make up.
Regardless of the misery that this workout would inevitably bring, I managed to drag myself out to the pick up truck (now sportingly adorned with Crossfit Montclair insignia) and head down the road to my box. Prior to my arrival I did not expect to have many fellow Crossfitters in the Friday at 9:00 AM session. Afterall, last week I only had two. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of participants geared up and ready to go. In addition to seeing some of my regular workout partners, Rob and Rankin, I was introduced to Caitlin, a someone I referenced in a previous blog.
Note to newbies: Caitlin is the woman Gregg described to me as an equal to Mickey. She placed very highly in the regional Crossfit games. It would be an honor to workout alongside her.
Warm up ensued and Drea immediately began moving around and correcting form. After three rounds of 100 single jump ropes, ten PVC push presses, and ten squats (in perfect form thanks to Drea's perfectionist coaching), we were ready to go.
Note to newbies: As I continue my experience, it is becoming more and more obvious as to what each trainer brings to Guerrilla Fitness: Crossfit Montclair. Drea critiques form in great detail, giving you very descriptive, precise instruction on your movement. As a competitive olympic weight lifter, she definitely knows what she's talking about. When she finally tells you "good job," you know you're doing it perfectly. As the only level two CrossFit certified trainer, Gregg is a very experienced trainer that understands CrossFit philosophy inside and out. He's easy going and very funny when leading WODs and foundation courses (though that's not to say he will let you get away with anything but perfect form). He makes great analogies as to how to move throughout the lifts. For example, when describing the hang power clean, he told me to shoot my butt out as if I was trying to close the car door with it. While that may just sound funny now, it described the movement perfectly. Sean is infinitely patient and very relaxed. His reassuring and positive demenor makes him an ideal trainer for someone who might be nervous when beginning CrossFit training. Bill is great for bringing out your highest intensity and hardest work. He'll pump you up and encourage you all the way through even the most difficult WODs. That's not to say he won't critique problemed form; when he does, it is through very concise, brief instructions. If you still don't get it after that, he'll stop you and teach it to you properly, but he'll try his best to not interrupt your WOD. Rhabdo is great for teaching through example. As one of Guerrilla Fitness' (and all of CrossFit for that matter)'s best athletes, he knows his stuff and can demonstrate anything. Though each trainer brings something different, all are very effective and contribute something to the Guerrilla Fitness atmousphere.
When loading my barbell for the day's WOD, something compelled me to do the RX prescribed weight. I figured if I was going to have black eyes again in the morning, I might as well be too sore to walk to the mirror and view the damage first hand. With 225 lb on the bar, I was pumped and ready to go.
"Guys, while we do want all of you to go heavy today, if we see your form lacking at all we're making you go lighter," Drea announced before starting the clock. This scared me slightly. Afterall, I have no experience deadlifting that heavy. The only time I typically deadlift more than 185 is with a trap bar. But I pledged to do the RX. If worst came to worst I would just slow way down to ensure perfect form. "GO!"
I surprised myself on the first set of deadlifts and flew through ten of them with ease. Of course, the one handstand push-up I had to do after did not trouble me much either. Maybe today's WOD wouldn't be so bad?
Set two flew by just as easily as the first had. Woohoo! This workout would be easy, or so I thought during the opening sets. Well, as the sets passed, I came to realize how nieve I had been. When I had to start stringing together more than five hand stand push-ups the workout quickly went from being a walk in the park to an out-and-out sprint complete with dogs chasing you in the park. My HSPU form began to break down as my the burn in my shoulders intensified, but to my surprise, deadlifts seemed no problem for me despite the RX load. That is, until Gregg came over to inspect my form.
"You're doing stripper deadlifts," he said at me, laughing.
Note to newbies: Notice the hilarious analogy.
His criticism came complete with a demonstration of what I was doing. Instead of bending me knees at the bottom, I was bending over with straight legs and sticking my butt out, essentially emulating the movement a stripper might do when trying to get a tip. Gregg's demonstration came complete with a mock-seductive face and a "hey big boy" line. I got the picture. From then on, I'd bend my knees if for no other reason than to avoid seeing Gregg's stripper impression again.
I became too sweaty to keep doing HSPU's in the same place as the workout pressed on. A puddle had accumulated in my original spot and the potential of slipping and landing on my head prompted me to move wall positions several times. Though the burden of HSPU's became nearly insurmountable towards the end of the workout, I trudged on in the midst of encouragement from Caitlin among other Crossfitters. Caitlin, without your "COME ON PETE!"s I might not have made it out of there alive. Since she finished a full four minutes ahead of me (crushed me), there was pleanty of cheering.
As I approached the final round of HSPU's I wanted to cry on her shoulder. Actually, what I really wanted was for her to do them for me, but that is besides the point. After one failed attempt at a HSPU, I wondered if I'd ever leave Guerrilla Fitness again, the end of this WOD was not in sight. Realizing that my continued efforts were for naught, I finished the workout with leap-ups, the alternative exercise for HSPU's. Instead of going up and doing a full HSPU, you merely leap up against the wall so that you're in position to do a HSPU, then hop back down. By the end, even leap-ups were killing me.
Note to newbies: Though I was thoroughly crushed by today's workout, I am encouraged by the fact that I was able to handle the RX deadlift so well. I am making progress on my quest to become Crossfit.
After the workout, I worked on learning the "kipping pull-up." For those of you not Crossfit cool enough to know what I'm talking about, "the kip" (as it is refered to) is a pull-up technique that helps get more reps. It is used by Crossfitters across the world to do the ridiculous amount of pull-ups prescribed in the various WODs. Gregg has been working on teaching me the kip for a week now. In order to perform a kip, you have to generate horizontal power in your hips while suspending from a pull up bar, then transfer that momentum into verticle momentum by swinging up. I've been able to do four in a row now before the blisters in my hand start to burn, but I'm getting better every time. My private kip lessons will continue, and next time a pull-up intensive WOD comes around, I'll smoke it and the competition. Assist bands are a thing of the past.
I also wanted to announce that tomorrow is my one week anniversary of beating Mickey in a WOD. I'll be celebrating in fine form with the rest of the Crossfit Montclair community at the 9:30 AM in Brookdale park: for the morning WOD. You can congradulate me whenever you'd like. Thanks!
My time: 18:04
Next Workout: Saturday, June 20
Before concluding today's blog, I think it's important for everyone familiar with Guerrilla Fitness to know that Jason Reo (a great member of the Crossfit Montclair community) tragically lost his mother a few days ago. She passed away and I'm sure he can use all the positive reinforcement he can get. Please show your support and sympathy to him and his wife, Wendy.