Sunday, June 17, 2012

Crossfit for Hope

I find Crossfit incredibly humbling.

There is nothing like a barbell to make or break you, a hand rip to cripple you, a muscle to seize on you, Mr. Pukie to haunt you, a PR to taunt you, a plateau to challenge you, a judge to "no rep" you, the timer to finish you, your goat to get the best of you.

You can't get anywhere without the basics. Like, a good squat. It's incredible how many people can't squat to save their life! Such a fundamental human movement that humans have completely forgotten about. I was one of them. I could not air squat to save my life when I started Crossfit. (It's no wonder when running legends like Hal Higdon are clueless in advising runners to only half-squat, because a full-squat is dangerous. Hal Higdon is no longer a hero of mine.)

Anyways, once you think you have the (body-weight) basics: pullups, pushups, air squats, then throw in correct running form, overhead squats, hand stand pushups, muscle ups, deadlifts, cleans. Work on that shoulder mobility, hip mobility, midline stability, slowly increase your speed, intensity and weight. Master the intricacies of olympic lifts like the snatch and clean and jerk. It's incredible how much there is to learn, it's never ending and always-changing. This is the beauty of Crossfit. There is no specializing. You are only as strong as your goat. (I'm not talking about those cute, little furry things, I'm talking about the movement you suck royal ass at - see How to Kill a Goat.) 

This weekend I had the opportunity to participate in a local event, Crossfit for Hope. I knew I was going to be competing, yet I waited until the hour before the deadline to sign up (women's Rx'ed heat). Because I was scared. 

Scared I would suck. Scared I would get "no-repped" repeatedly, and scared that the hours I put into the gym would leave me with nothing to show for it. My fear is that I only look like a strong girl - when I want to be a strong girl. I'd rather be an average looking human and kick ass, then look like a ripped-up body builder with a piss poor squat and abysmal core strength. 

I watched this video the night before, and talk about a reality check. CrossFit for Hope is the joint effort between CrossFit and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The goal is to raise 1.7MM - one day's operating cost for St. Jude - to combat childhood cancer and other deadly diseases. 

"Cancer has many obstacles, but you have to prove to the world that you are strong."

All of the sudden, the fear of getting no-repped seemed miniscule. I was going to go out there and give it my all. These kids fight for their lives, I can fight for 15 minutes in their honor. I was going to have a good time. Laugh, smile, enjoy the moment, embrace the challenge, the suck, and the camaraderie. 

I jotted down some mental notes from this video put out by Crossfit HQ. 

I had no numbers and no way to game this workout, like Annie said, so I didn't know how to approach it. I love what Miranda said about "continuous movement," and that was my goal - to stay efficient and to not burn out during the first round, to move from one movement to the next and saving the rest for the 1 minute rest period. 

I woke up super early after tossing and turning most of the night. 9 cups of coffee later, I was out the door and on my way to Horny Toad Harley Davidson. I was one of the first people there! I am never early for anything. I might have been a tad bit excited ... 

Giving the competitors the rundown

I had the honor of being in the same heat with some really amazing athletes. My judge happened to be the coach at the local affiliate on post, and he was great during the workout, offering tips on bringing down my breathing during the rest period and saying "3-2-1 GO" when I would linger a little too long before picking up the bar again. The weight was light, but don't let it fool you!

3 rounds of as many reps of the following movements
 (1 minute at each station, 1 minute rest after each round)

75/55# Power Snatch
24/20" Box Jump
75/55# Thruster
Chest to Bar Pull Ups



Box jumps!


Chest to Bar Pullups!

We did it!

Bring it, brought it, brung!

Post WOD talk. I think I was talking about the thrusters here, see face:

The experience was epic. Such a great community and a great cause. It's all about the kids!

My heroes!

My scorecard. I tried to stay consistent, but you can see each round getting slower and slower, hah. 

I was one of the top women finishers. You bet your butt I was surprised!

 I guess those hours in the gym did pay off. 
(Or all the real firebreathers took the weekend off ;)

Beautiful flowers from my girl, Melissa.
I have amazing friends and such an awesome support group, I wouldn't be the girl I am today without all of them. 

To top off the weekend, we put together a Father's Day gift for the best coach ever and surprised him with it at the gym.

For the strength portion of our training, we worked up to a heavy snatch double in ten minutes, then took a break, de-loaded, and worked back up to it again. 

I was a little shaky on 105lb, couldn't stick it the first try, but got it up twice thereafter. That's picking up 83% of my body weight from the ground and catching it in a deep squat. I'll take it!

5 rounds of each
AMRAP ring dips, 20 seconds on, 20 seconds off
15 GHD sit ups, 20 seconds rest
15 weighted back extensions (25#), 1 minute rest

I'm spent! 

Hope you had a good weekend and picked up something heavy!


  1. You did awesome! You WERE to top female! And, only one guy beat you and you tied with the second best guy! You go girl!

    1. It's funny, I scored 208, and the guy who also placed 2nd, did 208 - he was my judge and is the lead trainer at our local affiliate on post. *Pat on back* ;) Hard work is paying off - thanks for the support!

  2. Hey, I've been following your blog for a while and just had to finally comment. You are my inspiration!! I used to be super athletic when I was younger but struggled with disordered eating and lost way too much weight about 3 yrs ago. I am back on track now and trying to gain more weight and most importantly strength back. You make me realise that it's ok for women to be super strong and enjoy heavy workouts ( i know i do!!) yet still find time to enjoy life and look amazing while doing it. Thanks for being awsome :D

  3. Kate, thanks for making my day! :) I love to see another girl in love with getting strong and being useful. ;)

    1. So glad I made your day!! Can't wait to get the strength to beast a crossfit WOD :)

  4. Congratulations! What an awesome workout and score. So exciting.

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