photo by Steve Penland

Monday, March 31, 2014

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Yesterday I did the final two fitness tests for the SISU Challenge: the CrossFit total, and the 1000 meter row.  I expected the CrossFit total to go OK; I had probably sandbagged the initial testing due to having no spotter and no clue about what I was doing, so I figured there was room for improvement.  I was much less sure of the row, given that I had gone all out in the initial testing and I'm pretty sure my cardio fitness has declined a bit in the 5 weeks of no skating that has taken place since.

So I was a little disappointed when the first lift in the CrossFit total, the strict press (pushing the bar straight up overhead) was harder than I expected.  I tend to suck at overhead movements (perhaps a legacy of my two rotator cuff injuries, or perhaps just because I haven't done arm workouts in, oh, ever), so my original PR of 60 pounds was pretty unimpressive.  And my post-test PR of 60 pounds was just as unimpressive.  Still, I wasn't too bummed; my shoulders are pretty sore from the WOD's last week, so I really think I could do more given a bit of rest.

The second lift, the squat, went much better--I managed to improve on my previous 110 pound PR by 20 pounds.  130 is still not much compared to what others are lifting--a girl in the gym squatted 200 yesterday--but I'm happy with it.  I think a bit more hip flexibility would help me drive my knees wider and thus use more of the appropriate muscles, but for now I'm quite happy with 130.

In the final lift, the deadlift, I was again able to PR--180 pounds, up 30 pounds from my check-in weight.  Again, I'm very happy with that--and happy that I now have some accurate one-rep maxes, so when a WOD calls for "70% ORM." I'll actually know what to lift.

On to the row.  The row did not start out well--my inhaler chose that moment to be empty, and I maybe managed to get half a dose of my asthma meds.  Oh well.  Nothing to do but get started, so I did.

Rowing sucks in a unique way--you can see your exact pace and how far you've gone every second of the way.  This should be beneficial to exerting maximum effort and pacing oneself, but instead it has a spectacularly demoralizing effect.  "What?!  I've only gone 180 meters?!  Damn, I'm tired already!"  I tried very hard to only look at the pace--which I needed to keep under 2:00/500 meters if I wanted to beat my previous time of 4:01--but my eyes kept sneaking down to the "meters rowed" display.  And by 700 meters my pace had climbed over 2:00 and my spirits were taking a considerable nosedive.  But when I saw 850 meters on the display I got the "the barn is in sight" second wind and managed to bring in my 1K at 3:56--5 seconds faster than my pre-test...and no penalty Burpees for me!  (By the way, this "oh, now that I'm only 100 meters from the finish I guess I do have more in the tank after all" phenomenon has clearly followed me from skating.  I thought that being able to see my pace every second of the way--rather than just getting lap times every 40 seconds or so--would make it easier to avoid the "mental die"--but apparently not.)

Post-row was not fun.  My lungs were burning and I was wheezing...that will teach me to not keep track of how full my inhaler is.  There was quite a bit of the classic CrossFit "lying flat on the floor wondering if you'll die and kind of hoping you will," but despite that I was quite happy with my row.

So the challenge workouts are done.  I achieved success on all four tests, and avoided all penalty Burpees.  As far as I'm concerned, it couldn't have gone better.  The only thing left now from the challenge is the final "Bod Pod" body composition testing, which I'll do tomorrow--after which I'll report on my overall thoughts on the challenge.

(Oh, and not to worry....I'll get back to skating stuff soon.  The 2014-15 season will start next Monday, April 7, and while we won't be inlining until Mother Nature takes care of the snow drifts on the trails, I'm sure the will be some Dryland Horrors to report.)

1 comment:

  1. "My lungs were burning and I was wheezing"... Welcome to my world, post-intense effort! Often followed with a sore throat, I sometimes even see stars, to boot. ;) How does one know if they should have an inhaler, or not? I always chalked those symptoms up to painful oxygen debt (or the struggle to exhale C02, more accurately).