5 Weeks of Torture. Now with Dumbbells!

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The CrossFit Open 2017 is over.  After a jolly 5 week ride on the Rollercoaster Of Ultimate Suffering I skidded back to the platform, hair askew, grip shot, mildly queasy, and wondering why giving these assholes my money ever seemed like a good idea in the first place.  CrossFitHQ seems to value customer service, and since we all paid for a round house kick to the privates we certainly got our money’s worth.  Also, since I reviewed last year’s CrossFit Open, let’s see how this one stacks up.

In summary:

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This is only my second year of doing the CrossFit Open so it’s not like I have a long history of experience to draw from, but this year I felt progressively more decimated as each week concluded.  Last year I was all scaled.  This year I did three out of the five workouts RX! I know! I’m shocked, too!   Let’s scamper back down rhabdo lane, shall we?

17.1 Dumbbells and burpee box jumps is as stupid as it sounds.

Getting started on the list of Things I Don’t Like To Do early, 17.1 came out of the gate as a slobbering and angry Spaniard bull and I was the flimsy fool trying to run fast enough to avoid being gruesomely trampled.  It was a 20 minute dumbbell snatch and burpee box jump slog so I was all, hells yeah I’m doing it SCALED! I didn’t have a plan exactly, and I didn’t have a goal other than to finish and maybe that is where it went wrong.  Without a defined target I didn’t have a reason to knuckle in harder and work faster, and consequently at 20:00 I had one rep remaining.  ONE. REP. REMAINING.  I left the gym feeling embarrassed and frustrated and I may have sworn up a blue cloud in the car.

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Subsequently I learned that everyone else in the gym finished the scaled or RX version of the workout completely and under the time cap.  I hated myself for that all weekend long.  In the middle of my feverishly idiotic self loathing I came up with a plan: Do it again, but RX.  (I never said it was a good plan.)  If I wasn’t going to finish the workout I might as well not finish it with an RX tag on the end, I mean how bad could it be? So the following Monday I went back to the gym with a plan, and a target and two things happened.  1) I didn’t finish the workout, and 2) I didn’t fall on any of those box jumps! But more importantly a third thing happened: I hit my target.  Therefore, I called 17.1 a win and logged my score.

17.2 More Dumbbells But This Time With Other Stuff I Could Not Do.

It’s totally normal for there to be 1-5 workouts in the Open that require skills that I do not currently possess.  This week involved lunging about with dumbbells and conducting assorted activities from the pull up bars. For scaled it was hanging knee raises and then pull ups.  My goal was to get to the pull ups without looking like I was having some sort of hanging seizure.  While I made my goal I didn’t feel particularly proud of my accomplishment, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on why.

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I was comparing myself to everyone else.  Again.  I knew I didn’t do as well as many others with better cardio engines, but knowing there wasn’t a significant way to alter or improve my performance shrugged it off,  logged my score, and wrapped myself in a cocoon of self affirmations also known as pizza.

17.3 Apparently I won’t be going to the CF Games as a competitor

Reality has set in.  There will be no CrossFit Games, George Division.  This week we saw a fast-paced snatch ladder. Fast paced anything usually yields disaster, but I knew I could do much of this workout in the scaled category so I made my plan and set my goal. I wanted to get into the second time bracket and get working on the 65# snatches.  I got where I wanted to go and for the first time in this Open I felt genuinely happy with my results.

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Before I left the gym I logged my score, and before I got home my view of the Open, it’s purpose, and my participation had transformed.  The last two weeks of feeling ashamed of my scores or embarrassed about my performance compared to others had been swept out the door like a dead spider to be eaten by tiny ants who desperately need the nutrition.  Now I’m in it for fun.  For curiosity.  For the pure heck of it.  And, for the broad opportunities to exercise trash talking, which, as it turns out, I’m quite adept at.

17.4 Death by Counts of 55 revisited

As soon as the words, “17 point…4…will be…16…point 4!” left Dave Castro’s smirking jerk face I was doing a happy dance.  Because GUESS WHAT?! I’m going to do this workout in both RX and Scaled.

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Last year my goal was to complete the row in the scaled version of the workout, which I did and managed to squeak out 5 push ups before the time cap.  This year I had the same goal, but in the RX category.  I didn’t make it, but that’s OK and I’ll tell you why.

Scaled: 95# dead lift, 10# wall ball
RX: 155# dead lift, 14# wall ball

That’s a 62% increase in dead lift weight, and a 71% increase in wall ball weight.  Those capacities were gained IN ONE YEAR OF WORK! I was absurdly proud of myself and logged my score almost immediately.

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But, you can’t compare apples and oranges and get an absolutely clear picture of one’s gainz, so I set out to do the workout again on Monday in the scaled ring to see how it stacked up to last year’s performance. I must say that it stacked up quite nicely.  I got through 24 of the hand release push ups before being time capped.  That’s a 19 rep increase from last year, with a rowing split time improvement of over one minute.  I call #kennyz and #gainz on that.

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17.5 Dave Castro hates us as much as we hate him, see WOD for proof. 

It’s been five weeks.

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I’m tired.

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I know what’s coming.

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Sitting down to watch the Open announcement was basically sitting down to hear not only that I will die but in excruciating detail HOW I will die.  The only question was if I would die with a barbell or dumbbells in my hands.  Lucky break! I’ll die with a barbell in my hands! 10 rounds of insufferable thrusters and double unders.

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Do it RX? Do it scaled? Go big or go home, right? RX it is.  A 40 minute time cap is more generous than I would have expected, but I figured I could close this one up in 25-27 minutes. HA! That wisp of hope died after the first round.  It was in the second round as I was whipping myself like a derelict plough horse during the DUs I realized that the only way to make enough time to continue the flagellations on schedule was if I kept the thrusters unbroken.  So I did.  And, I came crashing across the finish line at just over 36 minutes. I finished the CrossFit Open on an RX note and how cool is that? Lil George running with the RX dawgs for the first time.

All in all this Open was much more enlightening, much more entertaining, and much more challenging than last year.  I saw, for the first time, my progress being applied.  I felt, for the first time, my capacities being tested. I experienced, for the first time, what I’ve always advocated but have difficulty doing, and that was not to waste time comparing myself to others but to enjoy the process for my own sake.  I don’t celebrate my own accomplishments easily, but gosh darn it I did OK.  George isn’t the fastest, nor is she the strongest, nor is she the most efficient, but she’s getting there. I have the anchor of a good gym, good friends, and some of the best coaching I could have ever hoped to receive and I will express my gratitude the best way I know how: By working harder and making the investment of their encouragement and time worth it.  Except if it involves the Assault bike.  Anyone asks me to assault bike with them I’ll be all LOL,

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