Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Standing up to the Bully

Pro-Tip: do not do dead lifts, followed by a “chipper” workout featuring walking lunges, back extensions and about 10 other exercises that tax your core the night prior to a 10 hour drive.

I learned this the hard way last Thursday. As I walked into Crossfit my standard 15 minutes early to start stretching, I noticed that the 5:30 class was dropping like flies as they wrapped up the marathon workout that was on the board.

The warm-up had me gasping for air, a feeling I am growing all to accustom to. Unfortunately, it was just a quick 5 reps of each of the movements that we would be expected to do that night, with plenty of rest in between. There would be no rest during the workout that Will termed a “Chipper” workout, as in just keep chipping away at it.

Then I made my big mistake, since I wouldn’t be around Friday or Saturday, I asked if I should work one of the strength movements prior to the workout, thinking that this would result in a scaled down workout to compensate.

Will seemed to think this was a good idea (the strength work, not modding the WOD), and had me proceed to work on my dead lifts. Initially I was mortified at how little weight I was able to move, but a couple of form tips later, I was banging out some quality reps (well quality for me).

Then it was time to start the workout that the rest of the class was about half way through. “Just keep moving” was the only advice give, not the “cut back by 25%” I had been hoping for.

So I proceeded to begin the Bataan death march of a workout that was laid out before me. My back and hamstrings screamed for mercy. Sweat dripped into my eyes, blurring my vision at times. This was not fun.

With 3 exercises left, I found myself set up for a set of 25 back extensions. I have done these for years, and never before have I found myself jackknifed with my hands on the floor, wondering how I was going to get myself back to horizontal as my lower back and hamstrings burned the way your eyes burn if you take out your contacts after dicing jalapeños (pro-tip #2, wash your hands at least 30 times between these 2 activities).

I then stumbled over to wall-ball, and I can truthfully tell you that I have no idea how many reps I did. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get the prescribed amount, but with Hanna and Will rooting me on, I got myself together enough to string together 5 more reps, before doing 9 pitiful floor to standing pull ups.

I was laid out on the floor for what seemed like 5 minutes before composing myself enough to shakily get to my feet. Every fiber of my body hurt, but I had pushed myself farther than I thought I could. But still not as far as I probably should be able to.

The next morning I struggled to get through my shower, and to get into the truck to drive to Upstate NY. There was not one minute of that drive, or the 40 minute drive to or from the game the next day, or the 20 minutes in the car going to dinner, or the 12 hours back where I was comfortable. It wasn’t until Tuesday around noon that I stood up from a chair without needing 3-5 steps to straighten my back (which included another workout Monday night).

There is a positive end to all of this. After a lackluster workout on Monday, Tuesday’s workout was without a doubt my best so far at CrossFit.

Sure I was still gassed after warm-ups, but I felt good working on both my shoulder presses and front squats, pushing myself in both. Then I felt like I didn’t completely embarrass myself in the WOD. I may have only gotten my knees to chest (or more likely waist) instead of to my elbows for that part of the workout. But I was able to keep a respectable pace throughout.

Sure, for the 6:30 class, I came in a distant 3rd out of 3 participants in the WOD, but I have to remember that I am not competing with the others in the class. I am competing against myself, and my preconceived notions of what I can accomplish.

Not completely embarrassing myself, and keeping a respectable pace, may not sound like a huge accomplishment. But for me there was a world of difference between the way that I have felt walking out of Crossfit last night compared to end of the previous workouts. The bully still had still kicked my ass, but he left with a bloody lip to show for it.

My legs may fell rubbery today, and I am damn glad that tonight I will be having a date night with my wife rather than hitting the gym. But I feel like I may be clearing the 1st hurdle. I still need a lot of work on my endurance, flexibility and mindset, but the way I felt leaving the box last night was awesome. And I can’t wait to hit it hard tomorrow... after resting tonight.

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