Friday, May 31, 2013

Post Regionals Swim WOD

Workout of the Day

For completion:
300 yard open water swim
300 yard overhead yolk carry

Still digesting the past weekend at the NorCal Regionals and hopefully will have some time this weekend to put down some thoughts on what it was like being on a team, where I see the sport headed, and what I'm looking forward to in the coming year.  In the meantime, enjoy the video of this workout I did with Denny out at the lake.

Friday, May 17, 2013

2013 European Regional Begins!!!

Today is the first day of the 2013 Regionals and it started in Europe, a place near and dear to my heart. I have a lot of close friends competing in both the individual and team competitions this year, and I want to send them all my best wishes and hope they perform to their potential.  From Iceland to Italy, Europe is filled with incredible athletes and a CrossFit culture that grows stronger every year.  I can't wait to see who will represent the Region this year in Carson.

I couldn't help but reminisce, having participated in the 2010 Europe Regional while in school abroad.  Some great and painful memories of that weekend, none more so than the final WOD showdown between myself and Sven.  5 rounds for time of 5 deadlifts and 20 burpees over the bar.  It was a brutal test to finish with that I still haven't forgiven Mads for programming.  I attached the video from that final WOD 3 years ago below.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Weekend Fatigue

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 - in the morning...

For time:
30 wall balls
30 c2b pullups
30 pistols
30 DB snatch (70#)

WOD 2 - in the evening...

7 minutes burpee muscle ups in team of 3

Had a bit of a down day today, mostly due to the long weekend.  After hitting the workouts in East Sac on Saturday, I made the rounds from birthday pool party to birthday pool party, drinking plenty of adult beverages in the process.  Then Jenn and I headed down to Napa for the last day of Bottle Rock on Sunday, where we spent the day in the heat watching bands from Cake to Zac Brown.  Not making it back home until after midnight, I didn't have much energy to train this morning.  But by the time Ben Alderman cam up to work on the 100's Regional WOD around 12:00 I was feeling a little more energy.  I decided to hit the team version of the workout alongside him and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it felt.  Besides losing my rhythm on the c2b pullups at 18, everything went unbroken and I finished in 4:25.

Later on this evening Denny, Casey, and I took another practice run at the team muscle up WOD to get more reps in.  Nothing too special on this one, other than sighting the rings on the way up from the burpee seems to help a lot.  Tomorrow I'm planning on doing the rope climb/squat clean workout after squats and deads at Super Training, hopefully the body is feeling better by then.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Team Practice at East Sac

Workout of the Day

5 rounds, rest between rounds:

2 rope climbs
4 squat cleans (225#)

Use 7 minutes to establish 3RM OH squat

7 minute AMRAP burpee muscle ups

Pretty awesome morning today!!! 12 of us from CFA descended upon East Sac for a morning session that offered a great change of scenery.  It'd been awhile since I trained down there with Justin and Travis, but the place always has a homey feel to it.  And it's always great seeing those guys.  Their team was still going through the process of deciding who was going to do what, sifting through workouts individually, so we carved out some space and got to work on the rope climb/squat clean practice.  No drama on the climbs, but MUCH tougher than I thought on the cleans.  I was expecting to cruise through those unbroken, but that simply was not happening.  Concentrating on fast singles is definitely going to be the better option on this one.

Afterwards we transitioned to OH Squats and used 7 minutes to establish 3RMs for all team members.  This was a bit tricky having to work up 3 people simultaneously, so I'm glad we got a dry run in.  Going to have to try it again a few times before game day, because I only had time to get up to 225#.  I'm hoping to be closer to 255# when alls said and done.

We wrapped things up with the 7 minute burpee muscle up sequence, each team member completing 3 reps then rotating out.  For all its creativity, this is a pretty boring exercise.  You can only move so fast between repetitions and the only real skill involved is how cleanly you can grab the rings.  Now, I really like the fact that team members have to rotate after 3 reps--this forces everyone on the team to be equally competent.  That being said, I'm not sure this is going to favor our team in particular.  Everyone can do the movement, just not indefinitely and on repeat the way others will.

After back to back weekends of field trips together, I can feel our team starting to gel a bit more.  2 more weeks to iron it all out!!

Feeling Tired

Workout of the Day

2000 meter row
5 minutes max double unders

3 Push Press EMOTM for 10 minutes @ 205#
3 minutes max Jerks @ 185#

Had more planned today but wasn't really feeling it in the morning.  Had planned to hit "Jackie" in the afternoon to test things out for the team Regional--just had to lay down instead.  Sometimes fatigue sneaks up on you and you gotta listen.  I was still able to get through the push presses and jerks, which was the main work slated, so at least the day wasn't a total loss.  I got 38 reps at 185#, same as last week, but I've noticed that my heavy days on Monday/Tuesday tend to leave me with a bit of a training hangover until Thursday.  We're planning on heading down Saturday morning to East Sac with their team, so a little extra rest and preparation isn't such a bad thing.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

425# Box Squat!

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 - in the afternoon...

1/4 mile sled push

Box Squat singles up to 425#
Deadlift triples up to 435#
3 rounds:
12 strict toes to bar
12 seated rows
12 reverse hypers

WOD 2 - in the evening...

Team "Diane"

20 partner deadlift (455#)
20 partner deadlift (315#)
20 partner deadlift (455#)
20 partner deadlift (315#)

PR'd on box squat today!!! I've never really felt strong squatting to a box, but today for some reason I was able to make it happen.  I was the only crossfitter to make it out to Super Training to lift with Mark Bell today, but maybe that was a good thing.  Staying focused and moving quickly between sets suits my style of training.  Sometimes waiting around too much in between gives your brain a chance to get in the way of what your body knows it can do.

Afterwards we headed to the deadlift bar to do some pulls for speed off the ground.  Honestly, these felt light as well.  The last set of 435# I only did 2 because my back started to round, but overall I was able to move the weight fast off the deck.

The reason I didn't want to push things on the triples was because I knew the team was getting together to do more partner deadlifts later this evening.  A replay of last years Regional WOD, team "Diane" is a cool combination of teamwork, speed, skill, and strength.  It's designed for 2 men and two women in an alternating fashion.  The men start out deadlifting 455# as a team for 20 reps, then go immediately into 20 HSPU.  Then the girls come to the bar, strip the weight down to 315# and do their deadlifts and HSPU.  Then it's the guys turn again, this time starting with HSPU and finishing with deadlifts. Finally, the girls come back and do the same.  Denny, myself, Jenn, and Stef did the workout start to finish in 6:59.  This time would've been good enough for 18th at last years NorCal Regional.  Decent time, but definitely one that could be improved with practice.  And from here on out, that's going to be the name of the game for the crossfit anywhere team.  As much as I hate the idea of knowing the workout ahead of time and dedicating training to those specific WODs, it's the only way we have a chance to be competitive with the 30 other teams practicing every day.

Simulated "Amanda"

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 - in the morning...

1.5 mile run
Accumulate 5 minutes in a handstand hold

2 Floor Press EMOTM for 10 minutes @ 85% 1RM
3 minute AMRAP Floor Press @ 60% 1RM
3 rounds for completion:
6 weighted chin ups
10 thick bar curls
200 meter overhead carry (135#)

WOD 2 - in the evening...

Partner "Amanda"
Muscle Ups
Squat Snatch (135#)

Pretty legit training day today.  Was able to get everything in that I set out to, which often times isn't possible between coaching, etc.  A couple things jumped out from today: 1) trying to hold a handstand after running is tough.  I didn't expect one to have anything to do with the other, but there was a significant drop in my coordination after the 1.5 miles.  I guess this is one of the first times I've ever really tried to balance after doing a longer run. Something to try if you want a new challenge with your gymnastic skills.

After that I got right into the floor presses, once again feeling progressively stronger since re-introducing this movement a few weeks ago. I comfortably pressed 275# for all sets of 2, and banged out 45 reps at 195# in 3 minutes.  Hoping this muscle endurance training will translate when it comes time to doing higher volume unbroken sets at regionals.

Coming back this evening to hit the partner "Amanda" turned out to be more of a solo affair.  Most everyones hands are chewed up from the weekend down at 209 Sport with Gabe and the gang, so I was left to do a simulated version of the workout.  Jenn substituted ring swings for her muscle ups and empty bar snatches during my rest periods.  My goal was to do all reps unbroken.  I made it through all muscle up sets with out coming off the rings, but missed my 6th snatch on the round of 7.  Not really out of fatigue, just left the bar a little forward and couldn't hold it.  Overall, I was really happy with my ability to touch and go the snatches and string together the muscle ups.  Our simulated time was 6:17.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Sucking at Chest to Bars

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 - in the morning...

2000 meter row for completion
EMOTM Push Press @ 90% 1RM for 10 minutes
3 minute AMRAP Jerk @ 60% 1RM
100 hollow rocks
100 superman rocks
100 pushups

WOD 2 - in the afternoon...

With a partner compete the following:

150 c2b pullups
150 kb swings (24/16)
150 double unders
150 overhead squats (95/65)

Charlie Zamora came out to Folsom to train this morning with the crew... always good to see him.  Although he didn't much like the idea of hopping on the rower to warm up.  He's also pretty much convinced me that doing the Scottish Highland Games is a good idea next year.  Anything involving heavy objects and a kilt has to be a good idea, right?

Again, strength sequence was great today. I push pressed all sets at 220# and never felt in doubt.  I used 185# for the jerks and got 38 reps in 3 minutes.  Stoke about this.  My ability to catch and rebound the bar with heavier weight has gone up considerably; even to the point where I'd count it among my strengths as a competitor.  There's a practiced element to it (knowing where to drop the bar on the chest) but more than anything it's a trust in your body's ability to rebound.  Muscles are like springs if you don't over-contract them.

The partner WOD was less validating, however.  I'm not good at chest to bar pull-ups, plain and simple.  Really, I'm serviceable at best.  I can't butterfly them consistently, for the simple reason that I haven't tried to learn.  For some reason I always just used the gymnastics kip and never felt the need to perfect the butterfly for c2bs.  That need has now become painfully obvious.  As Stef and I struggled to get through our 150, I watched Jenn cruise through 10 at a clip, putting her and Robert on the kb swings a solid 3 minutes before Stef and I got there.  We were able to eat away at their lead during the swings, double unders, and squats, but still finished over a minute behind.  Not being great at this movement is no longer an option, I've decided.  It's on the list and will be perfected in the next few weeks.

465# Deficit Dead

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 - in the morning...

7 minute AMRAP:
1 to 10 muscle ups
10 to 100 double unders

WOD 2 - in the afternoon...

Camber bar back squats
Deficit deadlifts
3 rounds:
1 minute plank
1 minute kb swing (32 kg)
1 minute ground to overhead with log (100#)

WOD 3 - in the evening...

Partner Relay
Deadlift (275#/185#)
Box Jump (30"/24")

Big day today.  I'm still feeling a little bit of tightness from the run last weekend, but more than that I can feel the pressing from yesterday.  I was worried that it might affect me on the muscle ups, but once I got into the workout it was out of my mind. This first WOD was more about skill practice than anything else, so the intensity was relatively low.  I did as many unbroken reps as I could on the muscle ups, making it through the round of 5 before having to split them up.  In total I finish 6 full rounds +  muscle ups and 66 double unders.  So pissed!  4 reps shy of 7 rounds in 7 minutes.  Would've been a great finish.

The strength training with Mark Bell was great as usual.  Just me and Ben today down there, but we got after it.  Managed 385# on the camber bar (bar shaped like a texas longhorn) and 465# on the deficit deads.  The real surprise was the 3 round assistance work he chose for us.  KB swings aren't usually in a powerlifters repertoire, nor are the log lifts, but it seemed to fit in great with the workout.

I'll admit, by the evening I was feeling pretty spent.  21-15-9 deadlift/box jump wasn't what I felt like doing.  But with a rest day on the horizon and the entire team onhand to train, I was able to re-fire the engines.  I was partnered with Hana, Denny was with Jenn, and Casey with Stef.  The idea was to mimick the Regionals WOD from 2 years ago where the male partner completes the entire workout, tags the female, and she does the whole thing at lighter weight.  3-2-1 Go and the three mini-teams were off.  I broke my deads into 11-10, 8-7, and 9 for the three sets, but went unbroken on all box jumps.  My time was 3:35, our time as a team was 8:24.  Apart from the discomfort of the workout itself, this was a blast!!! Something short and sharp to finish of the day in that kind of atmosphere was such a great taste of what the Regionals will be like.  I really hope we can continue to build towards doing this more often.

I know my back is going to be a little sore from the heavy deficit deadliest, but I'm going to soak in the American River tomorrow and hope that helps.  Next training session Thursday.

Team Training Begins

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 - in the morning...

EMOTM Floor Press @ 90% 1RM for 10 minutes
3 minute AMRAP Floor PRess @ 60% 1RM
Rope Pullups 3 x 10
GHD Situps 3 x 20
OH Carry 1 x 400 meters (135#)

WOD 2 - in the afternoon...

With a partner complete the following for time:
2 x 750 meter row
2 x 750 meter row

(only one partner can be working at a time)

Today was the first day of our team's preparation for the 2013 Regionals.  We have a month until the contest, so minimal strength gains can be expected.  Really, the next month is about developing chemistry and staying healthy while not losing any conditioning or strength.  I want our team to be as cohesive as possible and as healthy as possible.  We're still going to train hard and push the envelope during our conditioning sessions, but trying to be smart as well.

Guiding our teamwork are the Regional WODs from the past two years.  Over the next 2 weeks until they announce this years tests, we're going to chip away at the ones from past years instead.  To engender a little bit of competition, we're going to do most of them as duos.  This way we can set times to beat and encourage the other duos to push a little harder.

Todays strength work went really well for me personally.  I was able to floor press 295# for all 10 sets and got 43 reps at 195# for my AMRAP.  The conditioning session was a little less fun.  Jenn and I were partnered up against Stef and Robert, which turned out to be a good matchup.  They had us on the row, but we were able to make it back on the handstands.  In the end they edged us by just 13 seconds overall.  But I was wrecked afterwards.  Max effort rowing just ain't no fun, no matter how you slice it. It's the kind of work that makes young people say, "I'm too old for this shit."

A good first step, looking forward to Super Training tomorrow.

The Sutter Buttes

Workout of the Day

Run the Mountain

It's been a long time coming, but I finally ran the Sutter Buttes.  For a few years now I've been trying to organize a trip to this spot in Northern California, but haven't been able to make it happen until now.  For those of you who don't know, the Sutter Buttes are the smallest recognized"mountain range" in the world.  At just over 2200 feet elevation, they're by no means the Rockys, but it's a mountain range nonetheless.  I always thought it would be a cool test to try and conquer them.  Luckily for me, a friend of mine was able to get a group of us access this past weekend and off we went.

To give you an idea of the task in front of us, the 2200 feet was to be gained in just over 2 miles.  That's insane.  I've done major hill runs that gain half as much in the same distance and been slaughtered afterwards.  To put it in more calculated terms, we were averaging about a 20% grade the entire time... or 5% steeper than the highest setting on your treadmill.  Now, I consider myself a pretty strong runner, and an above average hill runner at that.  There was NO WAY I could run the entire way.  I probably made 3/4 of a mile before I had to break stride and start hiking.  The rest of the way was a battle between walk and run, pushing on or giving in.  The mental strain of a hill this steep is debilitating.  All you want to do is stop.  The advantage I had was that I was running with a group and I didn't want to be the one to quit.

Often times on a steep hill you'll find switchbacks that flatten out and give your legs and back a break.  Not here.  Every switchback turned relentlessly upward.  My calves, hamstrings, glutes, and back were smoked right away and no part of the run offered relief.

By the time I reached the top, 28:02 had elapsed.  28 minutes to run 2 miles!!!!  Some in our group took over 40.  Talk about a test of fitness.  At the top we did our best to cool down, then did a short tabata WOD including ball slams (ball was driven up in the pickup), pushups, planks, and squat holds.  After we finished this we scaled the trolley tracks to the highest point on the mountain where the radio and TV towers are kept.  Nice little finishing bit of anywhere style training I thought.  Definitely a memorable day and a great chance to interact with a local landmark.  Not sure how soon I'll be doing it again though...