photo by Steve Penland

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bye Bye Burpees

Sure, I could have written this in yesterday's post...but what fun is that?  Two victories deserve two separate posts.

Immediately after achieving the elusive "two consecutive dubs" yesterday, I successfully completed another component of the SISU challenge fitness testing and thus removed the specter of another 100 Burpees from my future. This means two things:  the maximum number of penalty Burpees I can be assessed tomorrow is 100; I am apparently better at performing athletic tasks than I am at predicting how I will perform them.

Before we go any further, I must explain (to the best of my limited knowledge) the CrossFit Open.  Apparently, every year, around March, something called the CrossFit Open happens.  For five weeks, a WOD is posted once a week and athletes all over the world then can perform the WOD (with a coach or other qualified athlete judging/scoring them) and then submit their score, which will determine who qualifies for Regionals--a step towards qualifying to compete in the Reebok CrossFit Games.  Since the WOD's are posted on Thursday nights, many CrossFit boxes (mine included) choose to make the official Open WOD their WOD for Fridays.  If you're in the Open you can do it Friday or any other day up until the deadline for that particular WOD; if you're not in the Open, well, then you get the fun of performing your own (in my case heavily scaled) version of what the big boys and girls will be doing.

The whole concept of "Open WOD's" sounded pretty intimidating, so I skipped WOD's 14.1, 14.2, and 14.3.  For 14.4, though, last week, I happened to be at SISU anyway for some personal coaching (I need to figure out the Olympic lifts and a couple hundred other things).  CoachBoy 3 is very persuasive and convinced me that as long as I was there I should do the Open WOD , so I did and it was fun.  Having actually experienced the workout also made it much more fun, the next day, to watch some of the Open competitors at SISU do the WOD "for real."

Yesterday was the last WOD of the Open, 14.5.  It looked intimidating, everyone said it was long and nasty; and worst of all, it was exactly the same as one of the Challlenge fitness test--only more so.  For the fitness test we had to do 15-12-9 thrusters/Burpees; 14.5 consisted of 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 thrusters/Burpees.  I added up the "long and nasty" factor and the "I'll be exhausting exactly the same muscles that I need to use on Sunday in the fitness testing" and quickly decided that, as much fun as 14.4 had been,  there was no way I'd let myself be talked into this one.  But I had to be at SISU on Friday for personal training again, and there were two persuasive coaches there this time instead of one, and one thing led to another and I ended up doing 14.5.  I did, however, get the coaches to agree to two things: I could alter the order of the WOD and do the 15-12-9 first, then go on to do the 21-18-9-6-3 (this way I could time the "fitness test" part of the WOD first, before I was tired out from the 21-18 part); and I could do "regular" Burpees, as we did in the initial fitness test, rather than the "jump over the bar" version that 14.5 required.  (Since I was only lifting the 30 pound bar, without any weights--Rx, or the prescribed weight, for women is 65 pounds--we would have had to come up with something else for me to jump over anyway, since a naked bar doesn't sit very far off the floor.)

So.  The workout.  In the fitness "pre-test" the thrusters/Burpee combo had taken me 8:01 minutes.  It was the third of the three fitness tests, after the CrossFit total and the 1K row, so perhaps I was a bit tuckered when I did it.  At any rate, my first set of 15 thrusters was surprisingly easy (a thruster is basically a squat with the bar in the "front rack" position--on your chest, rather than on your back as in a traditional squat--then when you stand up from the squat you immediately push the bar straight overhead).  The Burpees were OK as well, although some left arm pain caused problems until I took CoachGirl's advice and kept my elbows in more on the pushup part of the Burpee.  Incidentally, my Burpees are definitely the "old lady" version; CrossFit standards dictate that your entire chest hit the ground on Burpees, but doesn't specify how you get down or back up.  In my case, instead of a "jump the feet out" descent, I typically do a "step the feet out" to spare my weak arms/shoulders; I'm then able to jump my feet back in.  Fun times.

By the time I started my set of 9 thrusters I knew I would beat my pre-test time, and by a lot.  And I did.  I finished the "test section" of 14.5 in 5:56--more than two minutes faster than my pre-test.  Bye Bye, Burpees!

Of course, I still had 57 thrusters and Burpees to finish.  So I started on the set of 21 thrusters, breaking them up into sets of seven.  At some point before the 21 a cool song came on, and I spent the rest of the 21 thrusters wondering what it was--I need fun new stuff for my iPod "drive to and from workouts" playlist.  So when I finished my 21 thrusters I ran across the box to check the iPad on the wall (I assume it's an iPad, anyway) for the name of the song--and got there just as the song changed.  The coaches gave me strange looks for abandoning my bar mid-WOD; I'm pretty sure this is not what serious competitors do.

The rest of the WOD went surprisingly well, except for some PVC's mid-18-thrusters, causing me to break the 18 into sets of 6 rather than the 9 I had been planning.  I finished in 17:47, just in time to cheer on Awesome Older Guy on his final thrusters and Burpees (he's 57 and is doing very well in the Open.  He was also lifting more than twice what I was).

And now, I'm halfway done with the fitness post-testing, and haven't incurred any penalty Burpees yet.

Life is good.

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