Tuesday, May 18, 2010

3 for 1

WOD 1 - 7:30 am:

Run 5k

WOD 2 - 4:00 pm:

Snatch - 3, 3, 3

Front Squat to Split Jerk - 3, 3, 3, 2, 2

WOD 3 – 11:00 pm:

Alternate Progression Ladder

Chest to Bar pullups and Burpees

Day 1 of my new program began early and with my mom in town things felt extra special. We got up just before 7, made a smoothie, then headed over to University Park for a run around the grounds. I was hoping that my ankles would feel like new, but alas, such was not the case. My left side was still giving me problems so I never pushed my speed much beyond 50%. But I still felt like this was productive since it’s been over a month since I’ve run that far. Hopefully this thing will continue to heal little by little. Mom did 2.5 km and then did pushups, squats, and burpees until I finished. What a machine.

After going to class and grabbing a quick nap, I met Niels over at Linacre College to try out their weightroom. It had been rumored that of all the colleges at Oxford this place had the best gym. As I have come to expect on this journey, “best” is a relative term. The positives: bumper plates, barbells, not crowded. The negatives: no dropping bars, low ceilings, small space. Overall, I’m ecstatic about this place because it at least gives me a place to go find some heavy weights consistently.

This afternoon was Niels’s first foray into Olympic weightlifting and my first with proper footwear. That’s right people, I have Oly shoes! Thanks to my boy Richard from Brussels, I have my very own pair of hand-me-down platforms and I’m ready to start breaking records. We took our time, getting Niels comfortable with the Snatch motion while I worked up in weight slowly. My first triple was at 80 kg. I felt a little wobbly, not real strong, and unfocused, but I got all three and decided a jump to 85 kg was the ticket. Not the ticket. I got the first, then missed the next two. I dropped to 80 kg, checked myself and adjusted a few things before getting back on the bar for the last set. These went up like butter. All three were dead solid perfect. The big improvement was my use of an audible cue between the first and second pull—something I learned in Holland and have recently forgotten about entirely. Finishing strong here was a lift heading into the front squats.

I began with 80 kg, wanting to start low enough to get all my sets. 90 kg felt fine as well. 100 kg was clean, but I could feel my wrists starting to fatigue. Not being able to drop the bar from overhead after the third repetition was bothering me. 110 kg I only got 2, fearing the 3rd wouldn’t make it up. I stayed here and got 2 again for the last set. Walked out feeling decent, but a little weaker than I’d hoped. Chalking it up to being the first day back and setting myself up for big gains.

The final piece of the puzzle today came on our way home from the pub. I’d hoped to get this in beforehand, but time just ran away from mom and I as we walked around town this evening. After grabbing a beer with Niels at the Red Lion and chatting for a few hours, we headed towards the bus stop. Along the sidewalk there was one of Oxford’s many scaffolding setups just begging to be utilized. The plan had been to do an alternate progression with chest to bar pullups and burpees (odd minutes pullups/even minutes burpees), and the thick corrugated aluminum piping was the perfect height. Minus a few innocent bystanders this was incredible. So much fun. The night was cool, the bar was ROTATING, and I felt unstoppable on burpees. My mom was cheering me on and Niels was taking video like a monkey, climbing up and down the scaffolding. I finished 16 rounds plus 12 pullups before failing. I was clicking along unbroken until set 14, then the thick bar and its slight rotating tendencies caught up to me. I started doing singles and doubles, losing time every repetition. Still not a bad total.

First day in the books and I feel pretty good. A little stiff in the ankles and lower legs, but overall I’m optimistic. Also, I just received the video clips from the Regionals last weekend and will be working on those as well. Thanks again Mike!


  1. Blair,

    Congrats on qualifying first in the regionals! I've been following your site for the past couple of months and incorporating some of your WOD's into programming at CrossFit East Bay. In the photo for today's post, I noticed you've got carpenter's gloves instead of climbing gloves that I saw you sport in some of the videos. I'll be in Oxford in July and was wondering your thoughts on which gloves work better for outdoor WODs.

    thanks, and good luck with the training!

  2. I read some of your articles in the crossfit journal and found this blog. I'll be doing a year of travel in China and am trying to figure out how to do crossfit there, and your articles have been an inspiration.

    I am wondering what type of gloves you use for doing outdoor/building climbing? I can't tell from the pictures and would be interested in getting some.

    Thanks and good luck with your training!

  3. Blair,

    Make sure you're doing some single leg work on that ankle, as well as some unstable surface training to get proprioception and strength back. Also, make sure your motion is similar to the other ankle as far as side to side, front to back, and rotation go.


  4. Luke, the gloves I use are basic gardening gloves with the rubberized palms and fingers for grip and protection. your trip to china will be incredible, i'm sure, with tons of challenges. hope you speak chinese.

    Bill, thanks a lot. i'm doing a little mobility re-hab but probably not enough. thanks for the heads up.

  5. thanks! I'm studying chinese, I'll have to do some weightlifting/exercise vocab study :)