Monday, November 2, 2009

Scandinavian Crossfit Challenge, The Workouts

So it is Monday night, and I am back. I've decided to split this post into 2 sections over 2 days (the workouts and the experience) since so much transpired this weekend. I just think it would be too much to write about in a single post. So, here goes...
WOD 1: 1K run with 16 kg kettlebell
First, this was more than 1K. I would put it closer to 1.5K. Not quite a mile, but very close. The course was basically the perimeter of the Eleiko facility x 2. As I and the Berlin guys arrived late due to navigation troubles, we were split between the last two heats, giving us the benefit of seeing the course, but the detriment of not warming up too well. The challenges for this event were the cold air, the awkwardness of the kettlebell, and the extra weight. Propping it on one shoulder proved the best technique, but I must have switched shoulders 6 times during the run. Hence, my traps are pretty bruised from the jostling.
The first lap wasn't too bad, just hard to get air into the lungs when it's cold and you're supporting extra weight above your heart. I came around in 3:40, and decided I needed to pick it up a bit. The leader in the clubhouse was 7:27. I pushed harder, really started feeling my legs, and could feel the fatigue affecting the stability of the weight. Still, I was able to finish hard and cross the line in 7:26. Turned out to be a good thing I tried to pick up the pace, seeing that with the extra effort I was still 6 seconds slower than the initial lap. Afterwards my legs were completely jellied, leaving me a little unsure for the rest of the day.
WOD 2 was 30 overhead anyhows, sandwiched between sets of 50 double unders. Going into this workout, I had a pretty decent idea of what to expect, therefore I wasn't too nervous. I took the double unders methodically, and planned to break the lifting into sets of 10. First set I did 10, took 3 breaths, then did 6. Here, I could feel my legs from earlier so I stepped back for a second, then did 4 more quick. Rather than going for the last 10 in one go, I decided to split them into 5's. Just this short break saved my legs a ton. The overhead portion of the movement felt fine the whole way. The last 50 double unders went smoothly and I finished in 3:46. I think the next best time was 4:45. I felt relatively little fatigue after this event compared to the first, probably attributable to the number of heavier metcon I've done recently.
WOD 3, the last of the day, was a 4 minutes Tabata row for meters. What this means is that the ERG machine will only let you record distance for 20 seconds at a time, then it stops for 10 seconds. This is a great way to test recovery and work maximum effort for short intervals. I didn't expect to do too well in this event, mostly because it favors taller, heavier guys because of their stroke length. I went into it trying to shorten the length of my stroke and make up for the stroke length difference with stroke rate. This worked well for the first 4 rounds (I was averaging around 110 meters/ round), but from there I started to lose steam. I think a slower approach at the start may have paid off. I still managed to pull 865 meters, 6th best, but my ass and hamstrings were practically cramped afterwards. I hate rowing, period.
WOD 4, at 8 am Sunday morning. Here we had 4 minutes to establish a maximum effort deadlift, followed directly by 4 minutes to do as many air squats as possible. Strategy was key. Watching the early heats, I saw only two guy pull more than 200 kg, which is my best weight. Thankfully, for me, there weren't many power lifters at this competition. Because every squat counted the same as a kilogram, it didn't make much sense to push too hard on the deadlifts. I did 190 kg, 4th best, without too much trouble. Instead of going for 200 kg or further, I decided to rest the remainder of the time and try to make up the difference on the squats. The judges were pretty strict on the squats, really emphasizing the vertical extension of the top position. I was able to keep a steady pace through the first 3 minutes and accelerate through the final minute. I never stopped and finished with 202 total squats. This gave me a total of 392 points, the highest by just 2 I think.
Only the top 3 point totals after the first 4 events were to compete in the 5th, at which point previous totals meant nothing. So, even though I was in the lead going in, I no longer had any cushion.
WOD 5 was a triplet, which they announced 15 minutes before we started. It was a 12 minute AMRAP of 5 squat clean (60 kg), 7 box jump, and 9 burpee. The fact that it was an AMRAP was a good sign, since I tend to do better in longer workouts where I can pace out the elements. But the exercises were pretty basic, so I didn't think there was much technical advantage either way. The squat cleans proved to be the difference. The 2 guys I was competing against were both a little lighter than me, so the weight was more of a problem for them. They were just as steady on the box jumps and burpees from what I could tell, but I stretched out leads during the lifting portion. I finished 9 full rounds with 5 seconds to spare. 2nd was just short of 8, and 3rd was just short of 7.
Man, did it feel good to be done. My legs and back are tight today, but my upper body feels OK. I think I'm going to rest until Wednesday then get back at it.
Overall, I think I benefited from some technical skill in double unders and the olympic movements that some of the other competitors are still developing. I think, also, my weakness in the deadlift was hidden a bit due to the lack of heavy lifters present. But, I worked really hard and didn't leave much out there. I don't think I underperformed in any of the WODs, so I'm happy with that. Bottom line, it was fun to compete. I've attached video links to 3 of the workouts below.


  1. Nice work Blair. Congrats on the #1 finish!!

  2. congrats on the win! Sounds like a badass event, I like the WOD selection. Would've been really cool to be at the Eleiko facility as well

  3. "navigation troubles" is good... there are not too many streets left in Halmstad we didn't see :-)

  4. Congratulations! you inspired me, once I got home I went directly to the gym to work out :)

  5. Congratulations blair,nice work !

  6. Good Job Blair!!!
    Greeting out of Ansbach

  7. Impressive as always. Good work!