Getting CrossFit, Day 21: Going out on top

Thursday, June 2nd
     As I made the now familiar treck down to Guerrilla Fitness: CrossFit Montclair, I had a sentimental feeling knowing it would be the last WOD in my one month CrossFit experiment. When entering the gym, I greeted fellow warriors Caitlin, Gregg, Carlos, and other CrossFitters warming up to routine death metal. Before embarking upon the prescribed warmup, there was unfinished business I had to attend to. I ritualistically rolled up my sleeves and chalked my hands as if I was preparing armor for war. Before attacking, I stared loathingly up at my nemesis: pull up rings, highly intimidating in their gross simplicity. They returned my glare, twisting subtly back and forth in the still air of CrossFit Montclair. They were taunting me, bating me. The rings straightened and strained as I hopped up onto them. Only one thought lingered in my mind. Nothing could distract me from my one lasting CrossFit goal: the muscle up. I hung suspended for a spell, taking deep breaths and adjusting my grip slightly. I glanced to the ground, then to the ceiling. It was time. I exploded up in a kipping motion as Gregg instructed two days before, and pulled with everything I could muster. I flew through the pull up portion and smelled blood in the water: my enemy was down and I was ready for the kill. At the top of my pull up I viciously jerked my head through the rings, and pushed down hard for the dip. An excited, blissful feeling encapsulated me as I reached the top of my dip. My first muscle up was completed.
     
     "MY GOD, PLEASE TELL ME SOMEONE SAW THAT!" I yelled while still high in the air on the rings. 
 
     "Nope! Sorry, guess you'll have to do it again!" Gregg chided. I hopped down and punched him lightly in the arm. Luckily, Brian had been a witness to my feat, and I enjoyed a moment of congratulations from the Thursday at 6:00 CrossFitters before commencing the strength portion of the WOD. 
Strength Training
3x5 Bench Press

WOD
"Don't Get Fooled Again"
2K Row
     I thought I understood the bench press quite well, having been a bench-dwelling gym rat in my recent past, but the CrossFit bench press isn't exactly what I was used to. "Arch your back so your scapulae hit the bench," Gregg instructed, "now bring the bar down so that it touches your chest and push back up, keeping your motion perfectly vertical." I worked up to benching 165 for five reps. At the ymca, I had been able to do 185lbs for five reps, but I hadn't been touching my chest on the bottom of the reps. My previously poor form was probably the cause of the bench press plateau I have been experiencing for the last year or so in the weight room. I worked through my three sets with my WOD partner, Murph. 
     After the strength training, Thursday CrossFitters convened around the rowing machines for the WOD. Since there were five CrossFitters and only four rowing machines, Rob, Lugo, and Maydeen rowed the WOD first, and Murph and I would row after. I watched intently as Lugo and Rob battled for victory in the first heat. Though Lugo is a great competitor, he struggled to coordinate his legs and arms while pulling through each stroke. Rob's form seemed more efficient, but it still must not have met CrossFit standards as it was under constant scrutiny from Gregg and Sean. 
     As the first heat of CrossFitters endured the 2K, I kept an eye out for their strategies. Rob carefully kept his stroke power at a level consistently below 2:00 on the display. To be honest, I don't even know what the measurement was, or what the units of it were, but the harder you rowed, the lower it went. After 1K Lugo let out some blood curdling war cries as he struggled against his rowing machine. Rob continued his pace the entire way and finished somewhere around 7:50. Lugo followed suit around twenty seconds later, and Maydeen finished twenty seconds after him. Heat One displayed fantastic effort. I would do my best to match them.
    As Murph and I strapped ourselves into place, I planned to follow Rob's lead; I'd keep whatever that measurement was below 2:00. In fact, I'd aim for keeping it beneath 1:50. "Ready? GO!" Sean yelled. Murph and I were off. True to my word, I kept the mystery measurement below 2:00, but keeping it below 1:50 seemed too taxing this early in the workout. I matched Murph's pace for the first 500m on the display, and was still very comfortable. After the first 500m I picked up my pace and took off, keeping my stroke at around 1:47. 
    I continued my pace until 500m with relative ease, I was cruising towards victory and judging from the supporting yells of CrossFitters, I would win today's WOD. "Ok, last 500, Pete. I want your rows at 1:30," said Sean. I thought I could do that. I thought wrong. With 500m left on my display, I rowed with all my might but didn't even approach 1:30. Sean, I love you, but not enough to do a 1:30 pace for 500m. Though I wasn't able to maintain a 1:30 pace, I kept the display at around 1:45 for the final 500m before turning my effort up another notch in the final 100m. With encouraging yells behind me, I viciously attacked the rowing machine and was able to reach the 1:30 range. Come the end of my row I was thoroughly exhausted but was proud to have completed the feat in 7:12. 
    After catching my breath I insisted upon a group picture, then was bombarded with sad goodbyes, and thank yous. "Hey, Pete, so are you coming back to us or is this it?" I was finally asked. I've received numerous e-mails about this subject and I thought it would have been patently obvious. 
Hell yes. 
My time: 7:12
Next Workout: Tuesday
In addition to this entry, I'd like to apologize both for its tardiness and its brevity. I'm currently in Chicago on vacation with a couple of my buddies and couldn't find a couple spare minutes to escape and post my blog. As for the brevity, I did not intend for this entry to be all-encompassing summary of my experience (sorry to disappoint!). Instead of blogging it, I'll be writing a two page piece in the magazine that will be a condensed summary of my CrossFit experience. You'll just have to buy the magazine to read it! I'll announce later what issue it will be featured in. Thanks to everyone who has kept up on my blog! The hits on the blogs have been phenomenal. And thank you to Gregg and the rest of CrossFit Montclair for letting me participate. It was a fantastic experience.

For pics of today's workout, click here

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