Monday, June 29th
I rolled out of bed after a relaxing day off knowing that after my 9:00 a.m. CrossFit WOD, I'd have no other pressing plans in today. There was nothing to save energy for: it was the perfect excuse to leave it all in the BOX, I'd push myself until I fainted.
Excited at the prospect of nearly killing myself (call it CrossFit brainwashing), it was a buzz kill to see "Nasty Girls" as the prescribed WOD.
3 rounds for time of:
10 Hang Power Cleans (135 Rx)
Sure, it was a good strength workout, but with no hand stand push ups, bear crawls, box jumps, or 400m runs, where was I going to break a sweat in this? I was downright moody as I devoured a bowl of cereal and took off to the box.
That mood change soon after I learned what a Muscle-up is. I had seen it done before, and it looked relatively easy. That's probably because I saw it on youtube done by some Chinese gymnast who has probably won gold metals at the Olympics. I tried to do a muscle up on the rings before the WOD. I managed a petty excuse at a pull-up before falling off of the rings onto my butt. Before giving it a second shot, I leaped up, trying to look cool, brushed myself off, and glanced over each shoulder to make sure no one was watching. I thought I was in luck until I saw Gregg chuckling in the corner by the trash can. "Whatever, man!" I said, laughing.
Note to newbies: The muscle up is one of the most difficult movements in CrossFit. It requires complete mastery of your own body weight, and a considerable amount of technique. Newbies beware!
Gregg spent a few minutes teaching me the basics of the muscle up. "The CrossFit understanding is that you should probably be able to do ten ring dips and ten pull-ups before you can do a muscle up," he said, "all you do is kip yourself into a pull-up, then shoot your head and chest through at the top and do a dip." Trust me, it's way easier said than done. Though I made slight progress in several more attempts, I elected to do the alternative exercise: twenty one pull-ups, and twenty one dips each cycle, rather than the seven muscle ups.
Note to newbies: Just to reiterate, twenty one dips and twenty one pull-ups PER CYCLE is the ALTERNATIVE for SEVEN muscle ups. Yes, muscle ups are incredibly difficult.
Before the WOD, a new kid joined up with me and the rest of the CrossFit regulars. As we went through the strength workout of the day (3 sets of 5 push-jerks), I felt like as seasoned pro as Drea taught Nick the basics. After getting my form corrected by Gregg, I managed some reasonably legitimate push-jerks before the WOD.
With the twenty one dips and pull-ups replacing the muscle ups, I no longer thought of "Nasty Girls" as a walk in the park. But that didn't stop me from loading the RX weight on my barbell. Come on, I've been here for three weeks now, no more scaling the workouts.
"GO!" Drea yelled. I embarked upon my fifty squats enthusiastically. To assure that I was getting low enough, I put a med ball beneath me to give me a good reference as to how low to squat to. Regardless, squatting is still very, very difficult for me. Between my long legs and incredible inflexibility, I have issues getting all the way down. After completing the fifty reps, I felt like I'd need a reaching claw (the aluminum things that old people use so they don't have to bend over) next time I wanted to reach the floor. I was already tired and felt about as flexible as John McCain.
I took a few breaths before undertaking my twenty one pull-ups. After fifteen reps I felt gassed and shamefully hopped down from the bar for a rest. This was going to be a much, much longer WOD than I anticipated. The dips that followed were equally difficult. I decided to split them into three sets of seven to save some energy for the rest of the WOD.
Then came the hang power cleans. I was already hot, tired, and very sweaty having not even completed a full round, and I still had RX hang power cleans to battle through. I shook out my arms a bit before stooping over the bar (while bending, I again wished that I had a reaching claw to get the bar for me), and straightened up into step one of the lift. I managed only a measly hop before realizing that it was way too much weight to handle. I had about as much hope of doing the RX weight as Mike Tyson would have at winning a spelling bee. Nasty Girls was definitely getting the better of me. Thankfully, Drea was watching and helped me rack a 95 pounder for the rest of the workout. Under her watchful eye, I banged out ten power cleans in a row and was off on my squats again.
This time, I felt much more agile as I squatted until my butt hit the med ball. As the workout progressed, I felt progressively looser and far more adept at squats. I no longer looked guiltily at Gregg while groaning as I did my squats, I was actually getting down there!
Before I knew it, it was time to engage the upper body again and I was back on the pull-up bar. After eight kips, I hopped down to catch my breath before hopping back up to tackle the rest of my twenty one reps. While trying to shake some of the burning sensation out of my back and chest, I looked over at the newbie, Nick who hadn't yet learned the kipping pull-up. Poor soul. He looked like he wanted to cry as he did sets of two "strict" (conventional) pull-ups to complete the twenty one rep cycle. His visually apparent misery reminded me of my run in with "Fran," and how I felt utterly hopeless as I stood, staring up at my bar, wondering how I would ever complete my set. Then I smirked and hopped back on my bar and flew through thirteen straight kips. Those days were over, I was DA MAN!
Dips were still terrible. Michele and I shared a dipping station, one would work while the other rested, and I was fine with that. She has incredible upper body strength and would fly through dips as we traded the bars back and forth. I finished the second round of dips in two sets of eight, then one set of five before returning to my barbell for my hang power cleans. My upper body was on fire as I picked up my bar, and I almost told Drea not to watch me as I began my set of ten. I ended up breaking the ten into two sets of four, then one set of two. They were painful to say the least. I dropped the bar after the final rep feeling a deep burn in my shoulders and legs.
Note to newbies: Though I was tired, my form must have been pretty good. I know that because my legs were burning, and they don't usually burn during hang power cleans, though they should as it is a full body exercise. I am learning.
Being looser and feeling infinitely more flexible didn't save me from the searing hot burning sensation shooting up my legs during my fifty squats. Nevertheless, I managed to do the set without significant respite.
Even my newly discovered kip couldn't save me from agony throughout my final set of pull-ups. I envied Rhabdo's pull-up prowess as I broke up the final twenty one reps in to six sets. It was rough.
Dips weren't much better. Michele and I cheered each other on as we traded the dip station in the last cycle. "COME ON PETE!!" I managed the twenty one reps in four sets before I was back to that damnable barbell. "Come on Pete, good form now!" Drea yelled. I did my best. I did three sets of three, then a set of one rep to complete the workout in 20 minutes and 48 seconds. "Nasty Girls" truly was nasty, I was completely gassed. Next time I meet "Nasty Girls," I'll come prepared.
My time: 20:48
Next Workout: Tuesday, June 30th