Push Jerk, Box Jumps, DB Power Cleans, Pull-ups

I knew going into this that it wasn’t going to be an easy day, either emotionally or physically. I had to nonetheless attempt a WOD, and in retrospect I’m glad I chose today.

Coach S. led the session, and there were but 4 others in attendance, including Troie, Griff, and Kristen. The focus was on the push jerk, and Coach S. first led us through a very effective warmup using just a 45 lb bar. How did I know I was feeling weak? Because the 45 lb bar felt heavy. (I also haven’t been consuming nearly enough calories, probably averaging a 1/3 of what I normally consume. I’ve had to force myself to eat, if for no other reason that to take my antibiotic. Two more days of Amoxicillin and can finally have a beer.)
Push Jerk
1-1-1-1-1-1-1

I decided to go to failure and then call it a day. I lifted 95, 105, 115, 125, 135, and then failed on attempt at 145. Coach S. said that I was dropping under the bar quickly, and this was quite a compliment. I coulda shoulda tried a second attempt at 145 (no longer even my bodyweight), but I just didn’t have it in me. It was all that I could do to hold it together, and I accomplished this by avoiding eye contact with everyone.

Met-con
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Box jumps (30”)
Dumb bell power cleans (40 lb)
Pull-ups

I had every intention of completing as prescribed. I couldn’t find a pair of 40 lb dumb bells, so I grabbed a pair of 35 lb instead. In all honesty, I didn’t look that hard because I really didn’t care. There, I said it.

I placed a 35 and a 45 lb plate on my very own 24” box and the met-con began.

I took my time with everything today, and I made sure to record each and every round. Box jumps presented no problem, and I did all unbroken, although I did not jump to the top of the box when my feet touched the ground. I completed all rounds of DB power cleans unbroken, and these were far too easy. If anything, I should’ve gone heavier than even 40 lb. I tried something new with pull-ups today, and it’s a technique I’ll continue to use in the future. First, I was able to complete rounds of 10, 9, 8, and 7 as well as (as should be expected) 3, 2, and 1 unbroken. For rounds of 6, 5, and 4, I made sure to not drop from the bar, but instead add a kip before attempting last pull-up or 2. This helped dramatically, and I can confidently say that my chin was above the bar for all pull-ups.

I didn’t even bother to call time, and I asked Coach S. to not record on the whiteboard (and he was kind enough to not do so). I completed the met-con in 10:44.
I’m still grieving the loss of Xander, and will continue to be doing so for the unforeseeable future. I’ll try not to talk about it too much on this blog. Do keep in mind that the purpose of this blog is for me to record not just CrossFit but other goings on in my life so that when I’m old(er) I’ll be better able to recall.

Here is one of my most fond memories of Xander…

As he was a wild dog, literally, when we got him, we crate-trained him. I would allow him to get in the bed with us and spend some time with him before we went to sleep, and then he would obediently get in his crate to spend the night. Before falling asleep one night I said to Jeff, “Tonight’s the night. I’m going to allow him to spend the night with us in bed. If he makes it to the morning, I’ll know he can do it from now on.” Well, he did make it through the night. When the sun came up, he realized that it was morning and that he had indeed spent the night by my side. He climbed on my chest, licked my face, and wagged his tail vigorously as if to say, “Look Dad, I’m a good boy! A very good boy!” I told him he was, and I made sure he watched as I folded up the crate and stored it in the garage. He was an exceptionally well-behaved dog. My nickname for him was “Daddy’s precious angel sent from heaven to his doorstop”.

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Alexander (“Xander”) Maxwell Potorti

Yesterday was like any other day.  Xander greeted me at the door as he does every day, and then he patiently waited for me to put on my shorts, a tee, and running shoes, and take him for our daily long walk. As it was a nice day and as it’s his favorite place to walk, we got in the car and went to Apex Park and Lake Pine. There was nothing noticeably different about his demeanor. He did his business as usual, sniffed the same places he always sniffs, and was the good dog he has been for the past 12 years.

There was a very bad thunderstorm last night, and I heard Xander jump from on top of and crawl underneath the bed. Again, this is normal behavior for him. My alarm went off at 4:09, and he let me hit snooze twice before demanding that we go downstairs. I let him out the back door, he went through the doggie door and down the steps of the deck, and I fed the cats.

He didn’t come back inside right away, but this wasn’t too out of the ordinary, as it was a cool morning and he sometimes likes to enjoy the fresh air. I called for him. I made a cup of coffee. I called for him again. He didn’t respond, so I turned on the outside light. I couldn’t see him, so I got a little worried. I thought that the wind had possibly blown open one of the gates. As the backyard was very wet from last night’s rain, I walked out the front door and ensured that both gates were closed and locked.

I called for him again, and now I was beginning to worry. I turned on the flashlight on my iPhone and looked in the usual places that he might be lounging: behind the shed, behind the bush, by the gate. I found him lying in a puddle of mud underneath the deck – something I’ve never seen him do before. I called him and he looked up, but he didn’t move his head. I began to get very anxious. I went inside and got a few pieces of chicken, thinking I could entice him to come out. Even when I crawled under the deck and showed him the chicken, he didn’t budge. I knew something was very wrong.

I lifted him off of the ground, and he began to walk. He walked up the stairs, into the kitchen, and then collapsed on the floor, completely covering the air conditioning vent. I called my vet and jotted down the emergency number for the Cary Animal Hospital. I called them and let them know I was on my way.

They immediately took him to the back, and I immediately began sobbing. I knew something was very, very wrong. The vet then called me to the back and showed me Xander’s x-rays. He had an enlarged heart, and it appeared that fluids were surrounding it. With a very concerned look, she suggested that I immediately take Xander to NCSU Veterinary Hospital. She said, “He might not make it there.” I burst into tears.

An assistant carried Xander to the car. I talked with him the entire way to the hospital, telling him how much I loved him, and that I was there for him. At every stop sign or stoplight, I reached back and petted him.

They were waiting with a gurney, and lifted him from the backseat of my car onto the gurney and immediately took him to the back.

I waited and waited and waited. No matter who much I tried to convince myself that things were going to be fine, I knew that this was not the going to be the case. I told myself that if I heard any two of the following three words, I would make an immediate decision: cancer, tumor, or massive.

The vet called me into the examination room, and I could tell by the look on his face that the news was bad. He said, “Xander has a massive, cancerous tumor on his heart.” I replied, “I don’t want to see him suffer.” The vet said, “You are truly making the right choice and the best decision.”

Xander had been sedated, and he certainly wasn’t himself. I got to spend a few more moments with him, rubbing his head and ears, and telling him how he was the best friend that I ever had. I held him as he was euthanized.

Upon arriving home, I changed into my trail running shoes, drove to White Oak Church entrance of the American Tobacco Trail and ran a very fast 5 miles. I’m sure that other runners, walkers, and bikers thought I was merely breathing hard.

I had parked where I always park, and I glanced to my left expecting to see my best friend, as there was a patch of grass that he particularly liked. The picture is of him waiting patiently for me by the car.

I’m a freaking wreck.

 

Regression. That’s the opposite of progression.

Jack was kind enough to allow me to coach the 6:15 session as he prepared for a trial. I agreed to do so more as a favor to Dori, as she’s my favorite Wiggen.

There were but a handful in attendance today, include Alma, Brandon (who did yesterday’s WOD), Griff, Young Nick, Paul K. (you can read his take on today’s festivities here), and Griff Max, who arrived late. I set the timer, and CFers completed 1 minute of single unders, 1 minute of jumping rope sprints, 1 minute of double unders, a 2-minute squat, and 1 minute of single unders.

Young Nick moves his arms wildly while completing double unders, and I commented, “You look like a flightless waterfowl attempting to take flight.” Sometimes you just have to save the first thought that comes to your mind.

We next warmed up the dead-lift, focusing on form, and then CFers completed 5-5-5-5-5 reps (roughly 50, 60, 70, 75, and between 80 and 85% of 1RM). The met-con was challenging. More in a moment…

I attended the 5pm session, led by Dave, and it was a full house! Dave had us warm up by doing 3 sets of overhead squats while holding a light kettle bell in one hand above our head, then the same with the other hand, then 15 kettle bells swings. Jack looked somewhat tired, and I commented, “Jack asks for a continuance.” Dave replied, “I’m requesting a gag order.” I didn’t miss a beat and replied, “That’s what she said.”

Matt was kind enough to ask me to partner with him for the dead-lifts, and as I’m not supposed to be lifting heavy this week, this worked out well. (Thanks for asking me to join you, Matt!) We based lifts on 295 lb, and we both lifted 5 sets of 145, 175, 205, and 245. All lifts felt very solid.

Next was the dreaded met-con. As it included OHS, I knew I had to do it. It was in many regards a colossal failure, and I blame Michael Kelley Jack.

50-40-30-20-10 double unders
20-15-20-5 OHS (105/65)

I settled on 73 lb (I had to use 43 lb bar as all 45 lb bars were taken). I placed a medicine ball on the floor to ensure that I squatted deeply enough. What I failed to do, however, was remind myself what I’ve learned about OHS. Push my ass back before squatting! Keep the bar back! Squat deeply!

On a positive note, I completed rounds of 50, 30, and 20 dus unbroken, and round of 4o in reps of 25 and 15. I completely lost focus on the last round of 10.

On a very negative side, my overhead squat form sucks. Dave was on me like white on rice. “Touch the ball, Paul.” “That rep didn’t count.” “Squat completely, Paul.” At one point I yelled, “Help someone else, Dave!”

I completed the met-con in 6:46.

I then coached the endurance WOD. We warmed up by running while jumping rope, and then did 100m uphill and downhill reps with 30-sec rest between reps. We also cooled down with a 800m run and conversation.

While preparing to leave, I got Jack’s attention as he was talking with Dave.

Jack: You reverted to your old form for the overhead squats.
Me: What do you mean?
Jack: We were making progress, but you didn’t push your hips back when squatting.
Me: I blame you, Jack. Even though you were doing the met-con, you should have coached me.
Dave: I tried to help.
Me: Yes, Dave, but Jack’s my favorite coach. I listen to his advice.
Jack: You are far too straight. (Referring to my spine and back.)
Me: I hear that all of the time.

Jack: You are too straight.
Me: My husband says that all of the time. Usually when we’re kissing.

As I may have hurt Dave’s feelings by telling him that I didn’t listen to his advice, I said, “Dave, I listen to your advice – your fashion and entertainment advice.” Poor Dave. I texted him later: Your opinion does matter, Dave. I just like to make Jack feel likes him important instead of impotent. Poor Jack.

Slow & steady & smart

I feel better, but nonetheless had a difficult time getting restful sleep due to a hacking cough. I knew to take it easy today. See, I do listen to myself sometimes!

AFAP:
20 toes to bar
30 thrusters (95/65)
40 burpees
50 box jumps (24/20)
Run 800m

For  whatever reason, I was very much dreading this WOD, mostly due to thrusters. My goals were to do T2B, burpees, and box jumps unbroken, and to complete thrusters Rx and, most importantly, with proper form. I also wanted to make sure that at no point during the WOD would I feel the need to rest for more than 5 seconds — the most challenging of my goals.

T2B went bar far too quickly, and I actually wished that there had been more. I would have gladly done 100 or more T2B if it meant less thrusters. Ninety-five pounds is 65% of my bodyweight. I completed thrusters in reps of 9 and then between 3 and 1. Yes, 1. This meant that I cleaned the bar at least a d0zen times. Talk about a time killer. I did not, however, walk away from nor did I wait more than 5 seconds before picking up the bar. I can also say that my form was (finally) good. I considered each burpee an individual rep, and completed them the slowest that I have ever done so. I did not, however, have to rest more than 2 seconds between reps. The box jumps went surprisingly well, and I’ve become much more confident in completing them in quick succession and only resting (if need be) on the top of the box. I completed the WOD in 15:46. This certainly wasn’t a fast time, but I’m proud for not overexerting myself. Faithful reader(s) will know that is an accomplishment in and of itself.

I then coached the 10am and 11am sessions, and (as usual) there were quite a few in attendance. As there was no scheduled skill today, I took a different approach. CFers first lined up single file and performed 2 somersaults, held a squat, and did a bear craw. They then ran 200m on the minute for 2 minutes, resting for whatever time they had left after running first 200m. For 2 minutes CFers then completed 2 box jumps every 10 seconds, focusing on resting at top of box and jumping as soon as feet touched the floor. I then led the groups through 6-count burpees. Fun, fun, fun! Next, men used a 45 lb bar and women used a lighter bar or PVC pipe and — you guessed it — for 2 minutes did 2 thrusters every 10 seconds. The 10 am session set up their equipment and then practiced T2B while the 11 am session completed 2 T2B every 10 seconds for — you guessed it once again — for 2 minutes.

CFers, I’m always open to your feedback. Was this approach beneficial? Did you feel properly warmed up for WOD? Was it too much, i.e., did it take away from the WOD?

I carefully observed athletes, and I offered a challenge for those who looked strong throughout the WOD. I asked, “Are you up for a challenge?” If they said “Yes” I told them to do an additional 20 T2B and 30 burpees. Jack, Jed, and Kristen P. were the only 3 who completed the challenge, although I offered the challenge to a few other folks from the 10am session.

Most folks in the 11am session struggled mightily with the WOD, and I didn’t have the heart to challenge any of them.

I liked that both sessions finished with enough time left to stretch and cool down.

Babs

I am feeling much better, but certainly not yet 100% healthy. I do, however, feel even better after having exercised. Note dear faithful reader(s) that I did indeed rest yesterday. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

I coached the 9am endurance WOD, and there were quite a few in attendance, including Kim C., Sarah and Ollie (Sarah being my favorite Glass), friends Brandon and Josh, and Nemo. We began with mobility, focusing on the IT band, and then completed running drills facing toward and away from the wall. I had originally scheduled a 10-minute fartlek and an 18-minute “Native American” run, but as there were so many newbies, I spent more time on drills and nixed the fartlek. For a change of pace, for the 20-minute “Native American” run we ran around the old Durham Bulls Athletic Park in clockwise and counterclockwise directions each rep. I made sure to carefully observe form and offer suggestions throughout. We also talked about racing strategy and telltale signs that someone has dropped off of the tail end. We finished the workout with the same drills we had done earlier, as well as stretching.

As I knew I didn’t want to either kill myself or slow down others, I did the team WOD solo and modified. As prescribed:

AMRAP in 30 minutes
In teams of 2 with one partner working at a time in 3 minute intervals, complete as many rounds and reps as possible of:
20 pull-ups
30 pushups
40 Abmat sit-ups
50 air squats

Pick up where your partner leads off in each round – i.e., if you finish your 39th squat at the conclusion of the three minutes, your partner will begin with the 40th rep, and then roll immediately into pull-ups after the 50th squat.

I completed the following instead:
7 rounds AFAP of:
10 pull-ups
15 pushups
20 Abmat sit-ups
25 air squats

My goals were to complete all actions unbroken, i.e., 10 pull-ups, 15 pushups, 20 Abmat sit-ups, and 25 air squats in succession, and to complete 7 rounds in 20 minutes or less. I was shocked, I tell you, shocked that I met both goals, completing 7 rounds in 19:46 and all actions unbroken. I made sure to rest between rounds and often between actions. The most difficult action was the sit-ups. Huh? Not quite sure why. I thought for sure that I’d have to break up the pull-ups and pushups, but I felt very strong today. Again, I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it was because Michael Kelley continuously looked in my direction with loving eyes. Perhaps…

I finished the day by leading the Community WOD, and there were 16 in attendance. Today’s skills were the kettle bell dead-lift and the 6-count burpee. The WOD was a 12-minute AMRAP of 6 burpees, 6 box jumps, 6 KB dead-lifts, and 18 air squats. People completed between 4 and 7+ rounds. Jeff said it was a hard workout. I certainly programmed it to be intense!

Pictures of me taken at Jordan Lake by my good friend (and favorite Yaxley) Bea.

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Hanging around

Health update: My recurring nosebleeds were caused by a ruptured vessel. Yesterday I visited an ENT doctor who cauterized the inside of my left nostril. I feel like I have a huge booger stuck up my nose. To add insult to injury, I’ve developed a slight cold and my nose has been excessively runny and my sinuses have been aching. To add further insult to injury, my primary doctor informed me that the doctor at Duke Urgent Care was supposed to have prescribed an additional antibiotic. The wound on my left shin has been slow to heal, so I’ll be taking Amoxicillin for the next 9 days. I haven’t had a beer in over two weeks, and I’d very much like one. Now. 

As yesterday was a rest day, I desperately wanted to exercise today. I promised myself that I would at least take it easy. I should know that I don’t often listen to myself. 

Sarah, my favorite Glass, led the 5pm session, and the focus was on the power clean. Sarah led us through progressions. It’s always challenging for me to use just a PVC pipe when doing so, as I have to hold the PVC pipe pressed against my chin in order to get my elbows up. 

Skill–Power Cleans
2 power cleans every minute on the minute for 12 minutes.

I put 2, 25 and 2, 10 lb plates on the 45 lb bar for a total of 115 lb. I thought I had put 2, 35 lb plates on the bar and thus thought I was lifting 135 lb. No wonder the bar felt light! I did add 2, 5 lb plates on the bar after the first 2 rounds for a total of 125 lb. It still felt light, and I should’ve added more weight. Nonetheless, I was pleased with my form, and I’m feeling much more confident when completing. I do still need to work on shrugging my shoulders more and moving my elbows under the bar more quickly. BTW, we did a bonus round, so 26 power cleans total.

Hero WOD “DT”
5 rounds for time of the following:
12 dead-lifts (155)

9 hang power cleans
6 push jerk 

My ENT doctor told me that I shouldn’t lift heavy for the next 2 weeks. The women’s prescribed weight was 115 lb, so that’s what I used. I told myself that I would complete a maximum of 3 rounds.

The first round went reasonably well, and I completed dead-lifts and push jerk unbroken, and hang power cleans in reps of 6 and 3. However, my heart was pounding far too quickly by the end of the round, and it took me quite some time before I could will myself to start the second round. For this and remaining rounds, I completed all dead-lifts unbroken. Given how light the weight was, this should’ve been the case. I was sweating profusely, and had a very difficult time grasping the bar for hang power cleans. I had to constantly chalk my hands. As I was completing push jerks, Sarah said, “Make sure you finish the lift, or the rep doesn’t count.” I had been focusing on ensuring that my elbows were locked at the top of the lift, and I thought this was what she was referring to. I asked, “I’m not finishing the lift?” She said, “No.” I was confused.

I once again rested for quite a lengthy time before starting the third — and what was to supposed to be my last — round. I once again struggled with the hang power cleans, failing on quite a few attempts. I completed push jerks in reps of 2, thus I had to clean the bar an additional 3 times. Ugh.

Uhm, I kept going, telling myself that I could stop after the fourth round. Once again, Sarah said, “Finish the lift!” as I was completing push jerks. I asked, “What am I doing wrong?” She said, “You’re not bringing your feet under you before lowering the bar.” A-ha! I can’t recall the last time I did push jerks, and I don’t know if I’ve every completed push jerks in succession. I was locking my elbows at the top, but then lowering the bar to my shoulders before moving my front and back feet underneath me. Duh. 

As I had made so many mistakes, I thought it was fair that I should complete the final round. It was a struggle, and even the dead-lifts felt heavy. I often completed hang power cleans in single reps. I completed push jerks — correctly — in reps of 4 and then 2. Total time was 15:24. 

This was quite a challenging WOD, and I could definitely feel the impact of being less than 100% healthy. 

I then coached the endurance athletes, including Kate, Kate, Kimberly, Kristen, Emily, and the always lovely and delightful Elizabeth. (Is that better, Elizabeth?) They completed a Paul original.

Every minute on the minute for 7 minutes: run 200m & in remaining time box jumps (20/17)
Rest 3 minutes
Every minute on the minute for 6 minutes: run 200m & in remaining time KB swings (35/30)
Rest 2 minutes
Every minute on the minute for 5 minutes: run 200m & in remaining time reverse lunges 

I let them know that they had to keep their 200m runs within 3 seconds, and if they were unable to do so they had to rest the next minute round. Just about everyone had to do so at least once.  This was a tough, tough WOD. 

Phani, JP, and more double unders…

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Dave was kind enough to once again allow two vistors from my current training class, JP and Phani, to attend a session. As I wasn’t 100% certain that they would be able to attend and because I was awake at 4:30 this morning anyhow, I had already attended this morning 6:15 session. I planned on taking it easy and did not plan on doing the met-con. You’d think that by the age of 47 I’d know myself a little better…

Rich, my least favorite Yaxley, coached the 6pm session, and first led us through a double unders and pushups (pretty grueling) warmup. JP and Phani substituted single unders. I then worked with JP and Phani on headstands and ever so briefly on dead-lifts. Then it was time for the met-con.

By the way, Coach Jack attended the 5pm session and completed  a mere 5 rounds of 35 double unders and 100m backwards/100m forwards running. His times was 8:45. Uhm, my time after 5 rounds was 8:03. Paul > Jack. I’m just saying.

This evening I didn’t do additional rounds and/or run backwards; thus I did 5 rounds of 35 double unders and 200m run. My legs felt like lead, and I only managed to do the second round of dus unbroken. I nonetheless completed the met-con in 7:27.

JP and Phani were not, and I made sure to tell them this, a complete embarrassment. Ha! JP kicked it at the finish, and was finished at the finish.

Not including warmup, I completed 525 double unders and ran 3k. Tomorrow is a rest day!