Tuesday, June 23
Despite my plan to take a day off of CrossFit (and to stay fresh for a squash match I had that night), I couldn't resist coming in when I saw that the WOD was a variation of Cindy, the WOD that calls for five pull-ups, ten push-ups, and fifteen squats and left me crying for my Mommy. Not only did I want a second crack at Cindy, but I wanted to redeem my less than satisfactory performance the day before.
AMRAP 12 mins of:
15 Box Jumps 20''
Cindy's evil twin, Jumping Cindy, glared at me from the white board, and I returned her gaze unblinking. As I engaged in a staring contest with the white board, determined not to go down, Rob walked by and said "today's the day, buddy. You got it. No bands. RX this (insert here)."
Note to newbies: The CrossFit elite often us RX as a verb. To RX something is to do it at maximum intensity, balls to the wall.
And I would RX Jumping Cindy. I scoffed at those who used the assistant bands on the pull-ups as I had no more than a few weeks ago, and chalked up my hands while licking my chops. While waiting for CrossFitters to assume the starting position to Jumping Cindy, I hopped up on my bar and warmed up with some kipping pull-ups, a newly acquired skill of mine. While Gregg had been teaching me "the kip" after sessions, he didn't know how much I had been practicing them. Today, they would be my wings as I soared through Cindy.
"Not so fast, bud," Sean said, "strength training first." In all my excitement I must have missed the strength training section on the board.
Power Snatch 3x5
My second date with Cindy would have to wait. I lined up next to Rob on a lifting platform and we began a review of the power snatch. Essentially, a power snatch is just like a clean and jerk, only without the middle phase. To power snatch, you grip the bar very wide, crouch down, begin in a deadlift like motion, then shoot the bar all the way above your head. Ideally, the bar should be very close to your body the whole time as you shoot it up (a snatch should be nothing like a shoulder raise). When performed correctly, the power snatch makes you look like a bad-(insert here).
My power snatch is still a work in progress. I seem to pause just as I am supposed to start the jerking segment of the lift which kills my upward momentum on the barbell. The snatch is just another lift that I will have to add to my "needs improvement" list. It can go right next to hand stand pull ups, double unders, and bear crawls.
Just as I started to perform reasonably decent snatches, it was time for Cindy. My mouth watered. I re-chalked my hands and assembled my set up. Come time to start the twelve minute war, I had everything I needed: a box, a pull up bar, and an insatiable appetite for revenge. Cindy wouldn't stand a chance this time. After all, this was hardly the twenty minutes most CrossFit WOD's came out to, it was only twelve minutes! I can do any exercise for twelve minutes. I might as well not even pace myself.
"Just remember that kip, Pete!" Gregg advised before the countdown. I would. "3, 2, 1, GO!" We were off. I paused and took a deep breath before jumping onto my high bar. Patiently, I swung my hips to accumulate the momentum necessary to kip. "Good, Pete!" Gregg yelled." After my third swing I thrust up well above the bar. "You're doing it buddy!"
If my CrossFit experience was a movie, this would be the part where music would be playing, and everything would turn to slow motion. The camera would zoom in on Gregg who's arms would be outstretched, his eyebrows raised while in an open-mouthed smile, mouthing "you're doing it buddy! You're doing it!" I would then of course respond, "I'm really doing it!" The moment reminded me of when I learning to swim or ride a bike.
Unfortunately, it was not a movie. "GET YOU'RE CHEST TO THAT BAR, PANZIE" Gregg yelled. Laughing while doing Cindy kills your work effort. Luckily, I managed to keep a straight face and continue wrestling with her. Though my kips weren't perfect, they certainly did the trick, and it was time for push-ups. Knowing how badly I cheated myself with mid-ranged push-ups the day before, I made sure that my chest touched the floor and that my elbows locked out during this workout. It makes a world of difference. My chest hit the ground with a resounding thud, and my elbows clicked as they locked out. "THAT'S IT, PETE!" Rhabdo yelled as he policed the Tuesday at 6:00 WOD. Though infinitely more difficult than my blink-and-you-miss-them pull-ups, my push-ups today felt very rewarding. Box jumps were rumored to be the killer in today's workout. Luckily, I am a skinny (insert here) in the CrossFit world, so I went through them with minimal trouble. "ROUND!" I yelled to Sean as I finished cycle one. He made note on it, and I was back to pull-ups. I glanced at the clock before turning back to the pull-up bar. I was thirty seconds in; this was going to be a long one.
The above was a complete and utter understatement. Throughout this workout, I gained a new appreciation for just how long twelve minutes can be. Jumping Cindy had me completely gassed no more than three minutes into it. In fact, before looking at the clock, I was sure we were half way done. I had since lost count of how many rounds I had done. Thank god for Sean, who had been keeping track for me. Despite my exhaustion, I still wouldn't use the band. It was a thing of the past. It was RX for me. My kips kept me going strong. Like my first Cindy, push-ups were my main concern. Despite my exhaustion, I still aspired to touch my chest to the floor and lock out my elbows on every rep.
At about a quarter of the way through the workout, box jumps had become very difficult for me. I would do one, then step down from the box, one foot at a time, before hopping up for a second. That practice made for a very slow process. Interestingly, though, as Cindy continued, box jumps became easier. I would hop up and down without rest through my fifteen reps each cycle nearly effortlessly. When considering just why this was, my guess is the ever-growing time spent getting through ten push-ups gave my legs ample time to rejuvenate before embarking upon another set of box jumps.
I hit a brick wall with four minutes left. My push-ups began to resemble the worm again, and the sweat dripping down my arms made it difficult to grip the bar on my kips. Cindy was getting the better of me.
Half way through yet anther cycle, I glanced up at the clock: 3:30 left. I pledged to finish the round I was on and get one more in before the WOD ended. Finishing my current cycle wasn't a problem, but come my final cycle my hands were so sweaty that gripping the bar became nearly impossible. I went to the chalk bowl and unsparingly submerged my hands into the soft white pile until I felt like I'd have some gripping power. I tried to jump on for another set of pull-ups again, only to slip off yet again. Instead of helping me grip, the chalk was merely running down my arm in all the sweat. I had to make several more trips to the chalk before I finished my kips.
I battled through adversity of calamitous proportion in my final set of push-ups. Every muscle in my upper body was screaming for mercy, but I wouldn't let Cindy embarrass me again. I ignored the searing pain and finished my push-ups, though grimacing and panting, with reasonable form before setting out for the box jumps once again. I had thirty seconds left, and fifteen box jumps to get the better of Cindy. My legs were pistons as I powered up and down, competing the final set in record timing. In my final ten seconds I managed to get in another five pull-ups before the buzzer rang.
"TIME!" Sean announced. I let go of the pull-up bar and landed with a thud before collapsing in my all-too-familiar CrossFit heap. As Sean went around to announce times and record how far we were through our last cycles, I announced my five pull-ups and proudly accepted my nine rounds with five pull-ups as my crowning achievement in CrossFit thus far. Not only was it a reasonably respectable score, but I completed it having paid careful attention to my form.
Note to newbies: Once I managed to pick myself up off of the floor, I realized that I left a lake of sweat mixed with cloudy chalk on the floor of Guerrilla Fitness. All Montclair CrossFitters beware. Gregg, I think I'll have to help you mop.
Due to scheduling conflicts, I will not be able to make come to my home box, Guerrilla Fitness for Wednesday's workout, so I have arranged with CrossFit NYC: The Blackbox to workout there at lunchtime.
My result: 9 completed rounds + 5 reps
Next Workout: Wednesday, 12:30 at the Blackbox: CrossFit NYC