Tag Archives: crossfit

The CrossFit Games Open 14.4 – My Own Worst Enemy

One of the things that surprised me the most throughout this journey – The CrossFit Games Open – Is the mental places it takes you. I walked in, knowing I wasn’t regionals material, knowing I wasn’t the best in my gym, knowing I probably would be closer to last. I walked in as confident as I could be, knowing it was just for fun. Still, it has definitely taken me places, mentally, that I just didn’t expect. Nothing made this more evident than 14.4 – The Chipper.

20140326-215824.jpgAnd boy-oh-boy was this a chipper. 14.4 was as follows

14 minute AMRAP:
60-calorie row
50 toes-to-bars
40 wall-ball shots, 20 / 14 lb.
30 cleans, 135 / 95 lb.
20 muscle-ups

This was the first time ever that rowing has shown up in the open. I’m not a huge fan of rowing, just because I have short legs and a short stride…so it’s very hard for me to be efficient, but it’s definitely not the worst way to start a workout. That being said, rowing can take a lot out of you, and going straight into that many toes-to-bar afterwards is pretty brutal. I have no problem with toes to bar, I was kind of hoping for them, and actually all the of the movements for this workout (with the exception of the muscle-ups) were well within my abilities, but…the volume. Watching the athletes do the workout during the announcement, and watching one of the coaches do it that night, it quickly became apparent that this combination of movements was way worse than it looked. I made a goal for myself of getting through the toes to bar. I struggle with grip endurance, so I knew I would have to pace this one.

I came into the box on Friday, and I taped my hands up to help with the grip. I wanted to give myself any advantage I could. I asked how people had been doing with it, and the coach mentioned that none of the girls had gotten past the toes to bar up until that point (it was still early in the game though). That made me want to reach my goal even more, but it also made me nervous.

3 – 2 -1 – GO!

I paced myself pretty well through the rowing. I think I averaged pretty solid for myself, and my stroke rate was pretty consistent. Still, it took me almost 4 minutes to pull the 60 calories. Then it was time for Toes-To-Bar. I started off pretty good, doing sets of 3 or 4. It quickly became apparent that the tape was nothing but a problem, so any time I jumped down to take a breath, I ripped some of the tape off. Then, around rep 20 or so, it happened. I hit a mental brick wall, big time. All of a sudden I was essentially paralyzed. I was hanging from the bar, psyching myself out, and this huge feeling of dread and doubt washed over me. I kept feeling like I couldn’t do it, even though I had just chipped my way through almost half of them. With every kip, I couldn’t bring myself to close my hips or swing my legs up. I jumped down and paced. This ate up a good minute of my time. I paced and breathed. I could do this, I can’t give up, Keep going, I kept telling myself. The coaches encouraged me to take my time, and keep going. Finally I broke through and did another rep. I was doing singles at this point. Jump up, rep, jump down, repeat. I didn’t even notice any pain in my grip, just that each rep was taking more and more out of me. Towards the end, I got three or four “no reps” in a row. My body was just giving out, and I couldn’t summon the extra strength or momentum to get my toes all the way to the bar. I pushed and pushed, but I was just done.

Then the time was up. I got through 45 of the 50 reps for Toes-To-Bar. 5 reps short of my goal. I was satisfied, since I had the highest score out of the girls up until that point, (and most people would go one to beat me, but that’s OK), so I felt I didn’t do terribly, but it still would have been nice to get to the wall balls. I think the most disappointing aspect, was that mental wall I hit. On one hand, it was profound and powerful to reach a point like that, and be able to break through it and free. On the other hand, I kept wondering if I hadn’t hit that wall, if I would have been able to reach my goal. I looked down at my hands, which were ripped up badly, and accepted that there was no way I was going to be able to re-do this. Some people can’t even do toes-to-bar, and I should be extremely proud of what I CAN do and have done up until this point.  20140326-215804.jpgNow I wait for tomorrow’s announcement of the final open workout. I honestly have no  clue what they could possibly throw at us. They have really challenged everyone this year, and I have no doubt that whatever they prescribe, I will gladly accept it with enthusiasm and the best of my abilities.

Squat This! Doing the “Bring Sally Up” Squat Challenge

What a great WOD today (For those who don’t CrossFit, that’s our little acronym for “Workout Of the Day”)! We did the “Bring Sally Up Challenge” – and it’s incredibly fun, incredibly easy (in concept), and incredibly challenging workout! It was created by Rich Froning ( A CrossFit Games Athlete), when he tweeted:

“CHALLENGE: to the song “Bring Sally Up” by Moby w/ a 135# barbell on back. Squat on “Bring Sally Down” Stand on “Bring Sally Up””

And that’s it! And actually the song by Moby is called “Flower” – but that’s besides the point. The Prescribed weight is 135# for men and 95# for women, but you can use a comfortable weight for you , or no weight at all if you are new to exercising. When I first heard about it, I tried it at home with air squats (no weight), which was challenging. It seems easy, and the song is less than 4 minutes long, but when you are holding the bottom of the squat, your legs get tired, and it gets hard to stand back up! After trying it with no weight, I rested a minute or two, and then tried it again holding 15# dumbbells in rack position….THAT was tough. Today, I used a 45# barbell. Here’s a video from YouTube of some guys doing the challenge so you can get an idea of how to do it…don’t let the muscles intimidate you from doing the challenge to your own abilities!

You can also do it using a number of variations. Tonight we did the workout a second time, and I did it using a 33# barbell to push-press. THAT was harder for me than the squats. When doing push presses for the challenge, or really any variation, you want to do the holds (The movement you do on “Bring Sally Down”) in the active position. This means that the bar is down in rack position during the “Bring Sally Up” line, and pressed up for “Bring Sally Down”. Let me tell you, that gets tiring VERY quick. With the squats I made it through the whole song without rest, with the push presses there were a few times I had to stop and shake out my arms because they just wouldn’t hold. Other things you can do instead include push ups (Holding 2″ above the floor), pull ups or chin ups (Holding in the UP position), hand stand push ups, dips, etc. Here is a vision showing some variations:

The most important thing is to have fun, and practice good form. You want to make sure with the squats that you are keeping good back position, keeping vertical/not hunching or leaning forward, and pushing your knees out. Form is ultimately the most important thing when doing any sort of physical activity, since it will keep you from getting hurt. A lot of us tend to lose our form when we get tired…stay focused.

Oh! Before I forget! If you haven’t noticed already, I now have a Facebook page and a twitter for the blog. You can connect via the left side bar! I’ll post links, pictures of dinners throughout the week, and easy recipes that may or may not end up on here. So be in the known and connect with me!

Memorial Day Murph

Yesterday I did Murph. Murph is a hero WOD. For those who don’t do crossfit, or are not familiar with the workout, It’s a mile run, followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats, and then another mile run to end it. Luckily you can partition the pull ups, push ups, and squats how you want, so I did it with 20 rounds of 5,10,15.

Today, my whole body hurt. I finally had a chance to reflect on the workout.

I did it, I did it. The whole thing. I went in with a goal of finishing under 90 minutes. And I did it in 87:14

The last time Murph came up, was Dec 31st, and I scaled the whole thing in half. It took all the life out of me then, but I vowed to go all the way for Memorial Day. I had a few months to get better. This was before the whole life challenge, this was before being able to do regular push-ups, this was before hand stands and kipping pull ups. Back then I did all the push-ups on my knees, and I used the green pull up band, adding on the thin blue band midway through. This was when I only did half.

Saturday I bought gloves to save my callused hands, which were beginning to hurt. I would have just shaved them, but they are usually really tender the next day. I wanted to be prepared. I was up until 4am prepping for company coming Sunday afternoon. I set an alarm for 9:30 so I would have some time in the morning to eat breakfast and wake up.

Sunday I woke up at 10:45 – I was signed up for the 11:00 heat – I panicked, I shoved trail mix down my throat and grabbed a coconut water. I was half asleep still – I got there at 11:05. On the way there, I was A little anxious, and down on myself for being late. I thought they probably started already and I would have to start by myself. I got there right when they were setting the clock, no time to settle, no time to warm up mentally, but I made it. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-GO!

I ran much of the first mile keeping pace with Taylor, but when we got to Bennett’s Rd I started getting a cramp in my side. I slowed down a little, but didn’t stop running. I just started this, I needed to keep pushing. So the first mile I got through, without stopping, without walking, I just kept going. During the run, I realize I left my gloves at home – I was gonna have to just grin and bear it. I got back to the box and partitioned the middle as 20 rounds of 5-10-15, and I just went for it. I used the blue band for the pull ups. Push ups I did in normal plank position. I thought maybe at some point I’d have to switch to my knees – since I don’t think I’ve done more than 50-75 or so regular push ups in one work out, but I decided I was going to push as far as I could. I reached the midway point at around 40 minutes, and was feeling good. The pull-ups were going smoothly. Getting 5 with the blue band was working. The push-ups were still going strong. At first I was getting 6 or 7 before having to stop to shake out, but by this point I was stopping for a moment after 5. I decided as long as I could get through 5, there was no way I was going to let myself do them on my knees. I kept pushing. By round 13 or 14 my arms were getting shaky, and I was starting to hit a mental wall. I pushed….It was a little emotional…but I felt strong and weak at the same time, my body was tired. Sometimes I got 5 in, sometimes I got 3 or 4, I was ok with this, I kept pushing the pull ups in regular plank. By round 15 – with only 5 to go, I made a decision to refuse to drop to my knees. Plank position Push ups all the way, no matter how long it took. With all the encouragement from those there watching, supporting, and with my own raging determination to finish at this point, I kept going. 20 rounds done – 1 mile to go. I started feeling surprisingly strong. By halfway, I had a pretty painful cramp. I slowed to a walk briefly to let it subside, but not for long. As soon as it subsided a little, I started running again. I slowed to a walk briefly twice during the last run, but at a certain point I just kept telling myself that I was almost done, and I just had to push through the pain. As I neared the end, and was in sight, I heard people cheering my name to finish. It was a fire to keep moving. As I came back through the door and got my time, 87:14 – It dawned on me that I did it. I not only finished, but I succeeded in finishing in under 90 minutes. I sat on the floor, caught my breath, and was filled with exhaustion, accomplishment, pride, and strength.

I think those are the emotions that come out of a really good hero work out. I felt honor, I felt closer to a fallen hero. I felt strong. One day – I will do it with the weighted vest…..We’ll see where I am this time next year.


Run 1 mile
100 pull ups
200 Push ups
300 squats
Run 1 mile

Here is a link to the fundraising page.

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