Failure to brain today

Today was definitely “failure to brain” with the workout, though I will phrase it differently…

When faced with an uncomfortable situation with a fixed time domain in which to complete a certain number of reps of a particular set of movements, I found myself with a decreasing amount of time to recover breath and mindset before starting the next round. After a certain point, the gap between recovery and starting again grew too great for my will to overcome easily and I gave up. This was a failure of mental toughness rather than a failure of body.

“Failure to Brain” is an easier way to phrase it. But either way, it was a DNF.

I *thought* I was in a good frame of mind this morning to work out. I headed in with Ev for the 8:30 class with Coach Lara, Todd & Melissa, KB, and Maria. We warmed up ok (400m run and some movements).

From there talked about the workout itself and scaling appropriately… Chelsea is essentially one round of Cindy every minute for 30 minutes. Or you can look at it like the chewy center of Murph, if it was spread out and expanded by 50%…

  • Chelsea – Every Minute On the Minute (EMOM) for 30 minutes
    • 5 pull-ups
    • 10 push-ups
    • 15 air squats

Yup. We’ve seen Chelsea before — back in September last year. Apparently I did better then, with 3-6-9 and making it to 20 rounds before I walked 800m.

Today I started with 3-6-9 and fell apart quickly.

  • 6 rounds of 3-6-9, kipping pull-ups, regular push-ups, air squats
  • 1 round of 2-4-6, same movements
  • walk a mile

For some reason it got in my head very quickly and breathing was an issue. I felt better on my pull-ups than I have for a long time, and am happy with that. My pull-ups started to fall apart after 4 rounds to where I broke up the 6 reps into 3-2-1. And my air squats were ok.

I was finishing in 30-40 seconds and then using the rest of the time to recover. But as the time pushed to 35-45 seconds per round, I had less time to recover and spent more time at the beginning of the next round staring at the bar.

When I hit the 2-4-6 round in round 7, I stared at the bar for a full 30 seconds and hit a wall in my head. I knew I couldn’t push forward, so I didn’t. I failed. And with another 22 minutes to go, I figured I’d torture myself with an 800m walk. Got back around and the clock was at 16, so I did it again…

This was not a failure of body. It wasn’t Coach Lara’s fault. It was a failure of a mental toughness check.

What does this mean? It means an old issue I used to have is back. Pushing past pain and discomfort is just not something I like to do.

How do I fix it? By pushing harder to get through it next time. I got caught on the clock and my own failure to push forward to the next round. It was the cumulative effect. Some of that is conditioning. Some of it was heat and air quality today (we’re under an ozone warning) and I was having issues breathing last night for some reason already — allergies or a small cold picked up in Phoenix perhaps.

This has never been my favorite type of workout. The accumulation of fatigue bleeds into my brain and it becomes very tough for me to battle through for some reason. I prefer to set my own pace and stick to it — this forces me to push harder than I want to.

But someday I shall persevere. I hope. πŸ™‚

Great work 8:30 class! Todd got through 20 rounds Rx’d and Ev got through all 30 rounds at her pace of 3-6-9, so there was some good to be had. πŸ™‚

Thanks Lara!

Clean rowing

This is getting embarrassing — another week has gone by without working out OR posting on this blog. What’s wrong with me?!?

Well, actually nothing this time. And yes, I’m just as surprised as you are. I took a few days to drive to Arizona with my family over the July 4th holiday and didn’t get back until late Monday. I was very happy to get back into the box for a workout on Tuesday morning!


Coach Lara had a good crew — Clara, Maria, Alicia, Melissa, Robert, and myself. And after some warming up, we began doing some refresher on how to row properly and do solid Olympic hang power cleans. I was surprised at myself with the cleans – they felt pretty good. But rowing, which is usually a no-brainer, was like retraining my body. Eventually I got back in the swing, but Lara had a little work to do first.

After warming up to our clean working weight, we dove right in. A couple of folks rode the assault bike rather than row, but the rest of us chugged along on the rower. It was three rounds for time — 15 hang power cleans and 21 calories on the rower (or bike).

I didn’t go very heavy with my cleans, instead focusing on making sure I shrugged each time. And I’m sure there were a few that I rushed (I know there were), but overall I felt pretty good about the cleans at 95#. The Rx weight was 135# but after not working out for a week, I felt it would be good to ease into things.

The row though went well – my first 21 calorie row was done in 1:05 and my last one was about 1:25. I was happy with that.

Overall it took 9:35 to finish, which was right in the 8-12 minute range it looked like we were shooting for. Some of the “beast mode” folks at the box hit 6-8 minutes, but I was content with my time. πŸ™‚

After that, Robert and I tackled the 8 minute “hang around and do front rack marching” routine. While one partner hangs on the rig, the other marches with a “heavy” front racked barbell. I’m not going to lie, we went light on the barbell — but we were both suffering from hanging on the rig. It’s a grip killer.

Anyway, I had a good time. Today’s a rest day but tomorrow I’m heading back in to see what madness we have in store for us. πŸ™‚

Thanks Lara! Thanks Robert!

Back Squats 10×3

A few months ago, we did a workout consisting of 5×5 back squats. I made it to 195# x5 and felt I really should have gone heavier. Well, today I got my wish. πŸ™‚

Arrived for the 8:30 class with Coach Lara, Robert, Larry, Alicia, and Maria. The five of us embarked on a long hamstring/hip-related warm-up after a nice 400m jog (it wasn’t too hot this morning). And I once again realized that I either a) don’t always read the warm-up board or b) don’t listen — I was making up my own rep numbers for the warm-up circuit we did.

Counting or listening (or both) were not my strong suit this morning — sorry Lara!

Don’t worry, I ‘fessed up and made up for it by the end. (It was a banded high knees thing I did where I only did 20 the first time instead of 50. Oops! So I did three rounds — 20-75-55 — to make up for it. πŸ™‚ )

After that, we did a little refresher on back squat form and just dove right in. Robert and I paired up like we did on the 5×5 workout, but we marched forward a lot more quickly with weight this time.

  • 135# x5 (warm-up)
  • 145# x3
  • 155# x3
  • 165# x3
  • 175# x3
  • 185# x3
  • 195# x3
  • 205# x3
  • 215# x3
  • 225# x3 (Robert was going to stop here, but I convinced him to try 235#)
  • 235# x3

It was a good sequence. I felt like I slowed down a little bit, but was able to rely on the bounce at the bottom of the squat more efficiently (at least on reps 2 and 3) and I felt like I was hitting depth consistently all the way through today.

I’ll definitely take it. πŸ™‚ Great work Robert! And thanks for the encouragement Lara! Awesome work 8:30 class!

Catching up again

It seems it’s been a week since I wrote anything here. Have to remedy that! Here’s Thursday, Saturday, and today…

Thursday 27-JUN

While I got to work out last Thursday and DID finish the workout with both my daughters, one of our other athletes wasn’t so lucky in the 8:30 class, so we hope that she heals quickly!

The workout involved double-unders. And if you’ve read anything on this blog, you know how I feel about those buggers. Well, I tried a few single-single-double attempts and they didn’t work out well, so I did a mix of awkward penguin jumps and single-unders to get muddle through, along with the dumbbell movements.

  • 3 rounds for time
  • 30# dumbbells for 15x cleans and 15x push press/jerks
  • 30 penguin jumps and 45 single unders
  • Time: 13:05

Someday I will get double-unders, when I least expect it. But last Thursday was not the day. πŸ™‚

But I did get to workout with my daughters and get a post-workout picture to match the one we took six years ago… I think they’ve grown a bit, how about you? πŸ™‚

Image on the left taken in June 2013 — image on the right June 2019

Coach Lara and Larry were very good to Jordan when she got hurt and Caleb, our friendly chiropractor, jumped in to help when he arrived too. We hope she heals very quickly and comes back to conquer single-unders in the future!

Saturday Team WOD

On Saturday, I worked out with Robert and took on another of Coach Larry’s team workouts. We had a fun mix of folks — Ev, Deana, Lisa, Lisa G, Megan, Jordan & Lara, and a few other folks.

The workout was a series of stations. You spent 5 minutes at each station then had a minute to move to the next. And Robert and I chugged right along, though we really didn’t keep track of the number of reps we did so I have no score to report. πŸ™‚

We did the stations in a slightly different order than the workout was written so we could finish all the outside tasks before moving inside where it was cooler. We thought that was a good plan, as it was getting warm!

  • 25m yoke carry (yoke + 100#)
  • Tire sledgehammer smash x10 then 10 tire flips
  • 5-10-15m shuttle run (more of a jog for me, but we did our time!)
  • wall balls, 20# med ball
  • weighted sit-ups, 20# med ball (we actually made it through 20 reps each minute except for the last minute where we did 30, so 110 total)
  • deficit push-ups (on three 45# plates, I was doing 5 at a time and touching chin/chest to the floor)
  • box jumps/step-ups (20″ box, I did a few rounds of 5x box jumps and a couple of rounds of 10x step-ups)

It was a great workout and we were definitely sweaty by the end!

Today – 1-JUL-2019

It being Monday and all, I tried to get in for the 8:30 class and succeeded! We had Coach Drea, with Larry, Alicia, Deana & Marino, and Melissa.

The warm-up just about did me in today… We did it last week too, with 8 minutes with a partner. One partner hangs from the rig while the other does high knee marches while in a heavy front rack. I don’t remember what weight I did last time (probably only 135#) but I partnered with Larry and we did 185# today.

By the end of the 8 minutes, my left forearm had two veins popped out like Popeye the Sailor Man…

Add to that the fact that we did some wall walks where we held for a few seconds at the top before coming back down — and my wrists and shoulders weren’t feeling all that great either.

When all that was done, we worked on warming up our power snatches, talking about our handstand push-up scaling options, and our hip extension/good mornings options. I could barely hold onto the empty barbell, so I put minimal weight on the bar (75#) and decided to do push presses with the same bar (75#) instead of HSPUs today, along with banded good mornings instead of hip extensions on the GHD.

It was a whole new workout by the time I got done…

  • 3 rounds for time
  • 9 power snatches (75#)
  • 15 push presses (75#)
  • 21 banded good mornings
  • Time: 13:05

I was right in the middle of the time domain (she said 10-15 minutes) so I think I chose good scaling options that allowed me to keep moving while not killing myself in the process.

And now I’m caught up! Woot!

Some final thoughts

I’m coming to terms once again with the fact that I’m not able to do these workouts as written. Maybe I could, but I would then be defeating the purpose and just flogging myself into oblivion or seriously harming myself in the process.

It’s definitely time to work on form and technique over speed and weight. We’ll get back on track eventually with some weight, but I’m not going to push it.

Huge thank you to all our coaches for helping us make them our own while still working hard!

DNF Tuesday

Some days I wonder about my body’s ability to cope with what my brain wants it to do. I know this is a consequence of getting older. I know it happens to us all. But as I approach 50, I’m noticing some significant increases in required recovery periods between workouts.

Photo byΒ noor YounisΒ onΒ Unsplash

Recovery Times…

I worked out last night in a 4:45pm class with Coach Nicole, finishing around 6pm. And then I went in again this morning for an 8:30am class with Coach Lara. That’s 14.5 hours. I probably slept for 6, maybe 7, hours of that.

Usually it’s closer to a 23 hour gap between workouts, from the end of one 8:30am workout to the beginning of the next 8:30am workout. So I cut more than 8 hours off my usual recovery time.

And my hamstrings were definitely annoyed at the lack of recovery.

The Workout

So what did we do? Well, there were a few of us for Coach Lara this morning… Alicia, AJ, Deana, Robert, and myself. Our warm-up included a 400m and a 200m jog at different points and strangely, I was the first one back both times.

The workout involved air squats, front squats, and another farmer’s carry (we just did one on Saturday!). So we went through all the movements. I warmed up to a 105# front squat and backed off to 95# to start the workout, though I dropped to 75# after the air squats. And I knew right away that dropping the 53# KB weight for the farmer’s carry was a good decision, so I went for 35#.

Photo byΒ Victor FreitasΒ onΒ Unsplash

We were to do 3 rounds of 40 air squats, 20 front squats, and a 200m farmer’s carry. I made it through the first round in about 6 and a half minutes and couldn’t convince my body to do more squats. My left hip and hamstrings in both legs were yelling bloody murder and I think my low back was bugging me after my farmer’s carry.

There are days when I know that the pain is more in my head than in my body, that it’s a mental game and I just need to keep moving. I call it “negotiating with my inner terrorist” because I know the negotiations can be underway and I can just keep moving while they happen. This was different.

I took that difference as a sign. A sign that my body was fighting the workout. So I walked a half mile and came back. My left hip was seriously unhappy about that decision, but we moved through it as best we could. As I came around the corner I saw Deana and Alicia finishing up round 3 and Robert was finishing round 2. I did some stretching inside while he was doing the air and front squats and then we all cheered him on when he came back from his farmer’s carry.

This was a good workout. it definitely tested my body in good ways, pairing squats (hamstrings and core) with farmer’s carry (grip, hamstrings) to push us a bit. My body just pushed back.

So this was a DNF (Did Not Finish) for me obviously. Lara was kind enough to stop me and make sure I was ending in a good headspace before I stopped completely, and I thought I was at the time.

The Aftermath

Unfortunately my brain does fun things about overanalyzing the world after the fact sometimes. This was one of those days.

Things that make you go hmmmm — Photo byΒ Rob SchreckhiseΒ onΒ Unsplash

Any time I have a DNF, there’s an inner monologue that goes something like this:

  • You’ve let yourself down.
  • You’ve let your classmates down.
  • You’ve let your coach down.

Leave that on repeat for a few cycles and you get the picture. It actually gets worse before it gets better, with name calling right out of my junior high school nightmares. (I still have nightmares from not being able to accomplish simple physical tasks in junior high PE where I got poked fun at by my peers, so echoes of those fun times still rattle around in my head 35 years later.)

Eventually the rational part of my brain will work through the facts vs. the fiction.

  • I scaled the workout appropriately for how my body felt.
  • I even scaled further on my first set of front squats after attempting 3 reps at 95#. I dropped to 75# quickly and it still took a while.
  • I listened to my body, whose pains were telling me I shouldn’t push further or risk additional repercussions.
  • And I didn’t just stop — I chose to walk 800m (1/2 mile) rather than harm myself during squats, which kept me moving for the majority of the programmed workout time (finish in < 20 minutes and I was back from my 800m by around the 17 minute mark).

I’m letting my brain do these things. It needs to do the work at its own pace. I can’t rush it.

Letting things go… Photo byΒ Dawid ZawiΕ‚aΒ onΒ Unsplash

Tomorrow is a new day and a rest day, though there are also multiple appointments and work to deal with.

The 8:30 class kicked butt. And I did my own thing. (AJ did her own thing too since she’s got one foot in a “boot” still. Big thanks to Lara for helping create her a whole new workout on the fly!)

Team and Monday

Somehow I didn’t manage to write up Saturday’s Team WOD from Coach Larry, so I need to do that. And then cover tonight’s workout as well.

Team WOD

So Saturday morning I headed in for Team WOD and we had a fun crew… Lisa & Lisa, Terry, Heather, Melissa, and the couple whose names I still haven’t managed to catch (but are both super nice). Plus Coach Larry who came up with a doozy of a workout as per usual.

We started with an “Indian run” with a 20#, splitting the group in two, and then finishing the warm-up inside. But it was the workout itself that really did us in, especially grip.

  • 4 rounds for time
    • 200m farmer’s carry, each partner
    • 20 partner sit-ups
    • 20 partner deadlifts
    • 20 medicine ball cleans
    • 20 one-arm dumbbell row from push-up
    • 20 wall balls
    • 20 power cleans

Now, we scaled a few things but we adhered to the spirit of the workout I think:

  • 53# kettlebells to start and then dropped to 35# rounds 2-4
  • 20# medicine ball for sit-ups, cleans, and wall balls — some of the cleans turned into front squats for me. πŸ™‚
  • 225# partner deadlifts
  • 30# dumbbells for the one-arm row from a plank
  • 95# power cleans

I will admit I was ready to quit after round 2, but negotiated with my inner terrorist to keep going. I mean, if Larry was doing the whole thing by himself, who was I to quit working with a partner? πŸ™‚

Grip killers right here…

Took us 46:03 to complete the whole thing and I was pretty wiped by the end. πŸ™‚ Terry did awesome though and we kept on chugging through.

We survived another of Larry’s WODs. Woot!!

Monday’s Mix

I took Sunday off to recover, which was good. Ended up changing another tire. First tire was last week for my mother-in-law, and then this one was for my eldest daughter. I’m getting tired of changing tires, but it is definitely a test for functional fitness. πŸ™‚

That left today… I had too many things going on this morning to get in for an 8:30 or 9:30 class, but made it to a 4:45 after all the madness was done. Coach Nicole had myself, Karen, Alan, Terry, and Drea tonight. So it was a fun little class. πŸ™‚

After the warm-up we went through a 12 minute strength pass to achieve a 1 rep max hanging power clean. Been a long time since I’ve done any of those for a max lift — about two years ago (July 2017) and I hit 175#. My goal today was to hit it again. πŸ™‚

I looked nothing like this. πŸ™‚

I worked up to it pretty quickly, backed off, and then hit it again…

  • 115# x3
  • 125# x3
  • 135# x3
  • 145# x3
  • 155# x1
  • 165# x1
  • 175# fail
  • 155# x1
  • 155# x1
  • 165# x1
  • 170# x1
  • 175# x1 (TIE!)
  • 180# fail

And then the fun began… From there it was four rounds of 25 kettlebell swings, 20 good mornings or hip extensions on the GHD, and 15 box jumps or step-ups.

Ugh. I scaled to a 45# kettlebell, did GHD hip extensions, and did a mix of jumps and step-ups in round one and then step-ups from that point forward. Getting off the GHD, my hips were wonky so I didn’t trust my jumps. πŸ™‚

Took me 17:12 to complete it all. Definitely the longest of anyone who recorded a score today, but that’s fine. I finished. πŸ™‚

We had a good time and worked hard. I was a little wobbly after getting home, but I got over it after having some dinner. And now I get to see what kind of madness we have in store for tomorrow!

Great work 4:45 class! Great PRs for Coach Drea on the hang power cleans — she killed them!

Thanks Nicole!

Lungs are burning

(Sung to the chorus of “Beds are Burning” by Midnight Oil)
How can we run when our lungs are burning?
How do I move when my shoulders’ hurting?

Written with many apologies to Midnight Oil and their excellent anthem “Beds are Burning” πŸ™‚

It really wasn’t that bad today, but my lungs were definitely on fire when I was doing my last 800m today. Whew! But let’s catch up a bit.

You may have noticed I haven’t posted for a while. We had some drama at home with our dogs, which led to a depressive episode for yours truly. And it took me a bit to dig my way out again.

The dog is better, but we’re watching closely. And I made it to the gym on Tuesday this week — after being gone for 7 days.

Tuesday Olympic Snatches

The Tuesday 9:30 class was taught by Coach Lara and I got to work on my snatches, both muscle snatches and power snatches. Not one of my better movements, so I was happy to slow down, go with less weight, and play with technique.

For muscle snatches, I only got to 85#. Why? Well, my body really likes to bend knees to get under things, so throwing weight over my head it was a bit of a challenge to do it completely locked out to avoid that. πŸ™‚

I did a bit better on the power snatches, but worked quite a bit with Lara on doing it from a hang for a while to make sure I got the shrug in. I got 115# up, but it definitely wasn’t pretty.

  • Muscle Snatch: 75- 75- 75- 85- 85
  • Power Snatch: 85 – 95- 105- 115- 105

I have some work to do there, but it was a good workout to get back into the groove this week. Thank you Lara for your patience. πŸ™‚ And it was fun to work out with Nicole and Lisa G!

Thursday “Half” Murph

Yeah, you read that correctly. Went in this morning knowing we got to do a Murph variant this morning. Sigh. Running is definitely not my jam these days. πŸ™‚

But we had Coach Nicole and a fun crew — Ev, KB, Alicia, and Robert. And Robert & Ev are always fun to work out with together. Poor Nicole hasn’t had a lot of experience with Robert in her classes, but she definitely got some today. πŸ™‚

We had a long warm-up that focused on hip mobility, shoulders, and wrists, which was good. And after talking about scaling options, we dove into it. It’s not like we didn’t just do Murph a few weeks ago, so it’s not unfamiliar by any stretch.

I did a few pull-ups during the warm-up, felt the familiar twinge in my right arm, and decided I needed to scale. And our goal was to get the whole workout done in about 25 minutes…

Yes, I laughed out loud at that.

We did Murph on Memorial Day as always (and I just realized I didn’t write about it — bad me). But I managed 47 minutes for 1 mile plus half murph (10 rounds of Cindy) plus 1 mile. Only scaling was ring rows instead of pull-ups. And I felt I could have pushed to the full 20 rounds of Cindy for a full murph with that scaling option.

My 1/2 Murph today was:

  • 800m run
  • 7 rounds of
    • 5 vertical ring pull-ups (higher rings, seated position, pulling straight down to touch rings to front of shoulders — tougher than normal ring rows)
    • 10 push-ups
    • 15 air squats
  • 800m run

We were supposed to push today, so I started fast. Silly me. That was a definite good news/bad news kind of thing. πŸ™‚

Here’s how it went:

  • First 800m was 4:17. Yes, I ran a 4:17 half mile. Probably fastest half mile I’ve ever run — and it was a silly thing to do.
  • I completed the 7 rounds by the 21 minute mark with my scaling options and headed out the door.
  • My last 800m was almost entirely walked.
  • Final time: 28:14

I was closer to the 25 minute mark than I thought I would be and my lungs were definitely burning. So I would say I pushed pretty well.

Tired now. πŸ™‚ Great work 8:30 class!! And thanks Nicole!

A site about my crossfit journey…