Thursday, August 26, 2010

Albany CrossFit Saturday Smackdown!!!!

Talk about good timing. I’m in Upstate New York visiting family so I have to stop into Albany CrossFit while there. I emailed the gym asking when a good time to drop in was and the owner, Jason Ackerman, writes back that once a month they do something big and special for their gym and this upcoming Saturday, August 21st, they are putting together a workouts that mimics CrossFit Competition. SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!!

I originally planned to stop in on a Thursday or Friday night but after hearing about the Saturday Smackdown I rearranged my plans to be there.

Now here is where common sense and wanting to do something can get you in trouble. I was supposed to go to the Saratoga Track on Saturday with my entire family and be home at noon. The Smackdown started at 10am, a normal CrossFit class is 1 hour so I should be good. Jason started to brief the smack down and said this will take up to 2 hours, CRAP, that means it might end when I’m supposed to be home. What went through my head next was:

1. I’m awesome……I can do the 2 hours of work in an hour or less because again, I’m awesome
2. This looks like so much fun and I really really want to do it, so it’s worth risking being late plus they probably wouldn't be that irritated (yes famous last words)

For the Saturday Smackdown they scheduled everyone to do 3 mini WODs followed by a 4th Mystery Chipper WOD that everyone will start together. So we are handed a sheet of paper with the three WODs that we can do in any order, and they are:

Event A: Max Effort Ground to Overhead (10 minutes to establish 1 rep max)

Event B: 10 Stones to Shoulder, 30 Burpees for time

Event C: 21-15-9 Prowler/KettleBell Swings

Since I can do these in any order, I was trying to figure out a strategy. I didn’t want to do the max ground to overhead first because I wanted a good warm up WOD before I got to this, so my plan was to do it second. Now I’ve never done a Prowler Push before and I’ve never picked up concrete stones to shoulder. Here is how my thought process went to selecting which WOD to do first. The stones to shoulder resemble work being done on the same muscle group associated with max ground to overhead so I wouldn’t want to exhaust myself here, plus Burpees SUCK!!!! Then I looked at the Prowler Push, I know nothing about it other than the videos I’ve seen on where they make it look very easy….easy enough where it looks like rest. Plus before moving to Seattle I lived in Alaska for the past 12 years where moving sleds over the ground is easy. See sleds glide across the ground and it’s takes zero physical effort to do it. After calculating what’s best I decided to go with the Prowler Push and KettleBell Swings, Hell I might not even break a sweat during this WOD.

3, 2, 1……GO!!!! I Started pushing the Prowler, wow this isn’t easy. In fact it’s damn hard. I got the first push down and back done without stopping and knocked out the first 21 kettlebells quick and unbroken. BUT, now my heart is racing like crazy and I can’t feel my legs. I pushed for the second round and made it to the turn around point without stopping but when I had to turn the sled around, I took a long walk staring at it, then pushed it very slow on the way back. Got there and knocked out the 15 kettlebells unbroken. I turned and looked at the prowler and thought to myself, “I might dislike the prowler more than rowing” and that says a lot. This push went slow with a few short rests and got back knocked out the last 9 kettlebell swings unbroken and collapsed. 4:52 was my time. I was torched after this WOD, I had Fran cough and I couldn’t feel my legs. Doing this WOD before the max ground to over head was one of the worst decisions I’ve made since saying the landing from my amazing jumping ability, resembles being thrown from a bull (full story of that here ). If I showed up and only did this WOD today, I would have felt like I accomplished a lot and got a good workout but now I had 3 more to go.

I have no idea how long I laid there, I finally heard Jason Yell, “30 more minutes”, Ahhhhh crap I did the first WOD in 4:52 and wasted so much time trying to recover from it, oh well time to move on and if I suck I suck. I didn’t do bad at ground to overhead, I did it by Power Clean and split jerk, I got up 215. I attempted 225 twice, I was able to power clean it into position but I was smoked and couldn’t jerk it overhead. I was really wanted 225 too because I heard Austin Malleolo scream at one of the guys that went before me that if he got 225 overhead he’d be second overall for the day. He didn’t get it up so when it was my turn that was a goal………..Oh and if you don’t know who Austtin Malleolo is, he’s one of the trainers at Albany Crossfit and he just beasted the 2010 CrossFit Games by placing 6th overall.,333/ The guys an animal and you’ll regularly see videos of him working out on the crossfit main site. Ok back on track, I didn’t get 225 overhead, I feel I could have if I were fresher but that’s bad strategy on my part, oh well.

Since I was running out of time I had to move right to the Stone to shoulder and burpee workout. This wasn’t that bad once I learned the technique. I wish wish wish I had selected this WOD as my warmup WOD. Don’t get me wrong it’s still difficult but the Prowler/Kettlebell WOD kicked me in the tool shed. I finished the stone/burpee one in 5:01, not great but not bad either.

I looked at the clock and it was noon, I’m supposed to be home to head to the track butttttttttttt this was too much fun and I had a mystery WOD yet to do. I decided to risk annoying the family in order to finish the competition. Austin briefed the mystery WOD and it was as follows:

-Run 800 Meters
-1 Max Stone to Shoulder – For every pound you pick up you take one second off your overall time, so if you lift 130 that’s 130 seconds. You only get up to 2 attempts and with the limited stones and amount of people you might be waiting in line for one, so the key here is get back soonest and go for it.
-Run 600 Meters
-75 air squats
-Run Backwards 400 Meters
-50 box jumps
-30 burpees over paralettes
-Run 200 Meters

Since I have a habit of going out too fast and gasing myself on these chipper WODs I decided to follow the lead pack and feel myself out. By time we hit the last 200 meters of the 800 I felt good and ran to the front so I could be the first one to choose which Stone to lift, I did the 130 pound stone quick and too easy so I looked over at the 150 and 175 but both had long lines so instead of wasting time in the line I decided to just hit my 600 and take the 130 lift I did. I knocked out the 600 quick and was first back again to start the 75 air squats…… is where I hit a wall. The Prowler was still a big monkey on my back and I had no legs, I was in shock I had to break up friggin air squats, I mean they are air squats……WTF. Stupid Prowler, I’ll remember this. I broke them up enough where I was first in and had 10-15 people hit the next run ahead of me. The run backwards was slow, but it was slow for everyone. Next moved to box jumps and burpees, they are what they are just something you suck up and gut through. So I did that and ran he last 200 pretty strong, finished it in 19:51 subtract my 130 lift so final time 17:41.

I wanted to stay around and have the crew tally up the scores and see how I did overall but I saw the clock and it was 12:45, awwww crap I’m going to have some pissed off family.

I guess my family thought I was going to be home at 11am so they were freaking out, my phone blew up. I had 10 missed calls, a ton of texts and they sent my brother to Albany CrossFit to try and find me, they were worried I got injured. So I got home apologized for being late, dad was annoyed, wife was annoyed, and so was everyone else buttttt between you, me and the world wide web :-) it was worth it. I had such a great time, I wish I could do it again.

more pictures at:

I really need to find a way to get paid to visit CrossFit gyms, that'd be sweet and the job for me :-)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Great Barrington, Massachusetts

So this time my travels brought me back east to Massachusetts where I went to CrossFit Great Barrington.

As I walked from the parking lot to the gym I could already hear a lot of yelling and motivation then as I walked in it was a smaller class since it was later in the morning but Mike Bissaillon, the owner, was just as excited with the small class as he is with larger classes. Watching and talking with Mike you could tell he was very keyed up about what he did and CrossFit.

Before the WOD for my class started I talked with Mike for a little and it’s always fun hearing how people were exposed to CrossFit, some get exposed through friends, sports, just luck etc... I asked Mike how he was exposed to CrossFit and he attended a KettleBell Competition……I had no idea there were KettleBell Competitions, so Mike noticed that a lot of people doing the best at these competitions were CrossFit athletes. Since Mike was a personal trainer before CrossFit, he was always looking for the latest and greatest methods to get himself and his clients in the best shape. So when he looked up CrossFit after being exposed to them at the KettleBell Competitions he was hooked and it was a natural progression for him to move from personal training to CrossFit. Funny how so many people that come from so many different backgrounds come to the same conclusion about CrossFit after their first exposure to it.

This week I caught their gym on CrossFit Games Week. They were doing the WODs from the 2010 CrossFit Games and today’s WOD was:

Seven rounds for time of:

205 pound Clean, 3 reps

4 Ring handstand push-ups

Now when I watched this WOD during the games I thought the power cleans looked easiest but the ring hand stand pushups looked ridiculous and where everyone lost time. I am advanced but wasn’t ready to do this WOD with ring handstand push-ups so I scaled this wod to regular Handstand Push-ups on 45 pound plates and 1 ab mat for my head to hit for each rep. Since I scaled the ring handstand pushups I thought I’d destroy this WOD and go faster than the top games athletes like Graham Holmberg who completed it in 4:26 or Chris Spealler (who weighs 140ish) that did it in 4:27. Sure I’m not a top ranked world class CrossFit athlete competitor like those guys but I am an advanced CrossFit practitioner and since I scaled the WOD I should blow through it like a champ.

Now I’m strong and still this weight was humbling. I originally figured this would be an easier quick wod but what happened was I went through the first 2 rounds pretty fast but by round 3 the weight got EXTREMELY heavy. I was missing reps and had to take breaks in between power cleans. I had no idea this would be my slow area. When I watched the games, the athletes made the 205 pound power cleans seem like a nuisance time kill exercise that was easy and in their way as they went to the difficult part of the WOD. This was the complete opposite for me. The handstand push-ups I was able to blow through but had to break up and rest the 205 pound power cleans. They were heavyyyyyy, so another humbling, yet fun, WOD that kicked my butt which I completed in a much much MUCH slower time than the games athletes who did it with ring handstand push-ups.

Mike and crew were a lot of fun and have a great place, I felt bad I was going to miss their going away WOD/BBQ they were having later that night for one of their college kids heading to school. If I’m in the area again I’ll definitely stop by. I had a Great time.

Hello Statue of Liberty

Hello Statue of Liberty

You're welcome

No story just a picture of two really good looking guys for your viewing pleasure.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fun weekend floatin the river and one minor hiccup

What a fun weekend. A group from CrossFit Bellevue decided to put a group of people from the gym to float the river. It was a fun group of gym members and friends of friends.
It was a nice relaxing float, everyone was having a great time and relaxing. About the third hour into the trip we come to the spot where people are climbing logs and jumping into the river. It looks pretty safe, tons of drunks are doing it so two sober people should have no problem.
I go the first time and come out unharmed So i'm about to jump a second time and decide to coax Erin to get up and do it too. Erin at first says no but I start ribbing her that tons of chicks are doing it and there are drunks everywhere doing it so since she's sober, she'll be fine.
Normally this isn't something she normally does but it's my job to help her past her comfort zone, after a little bit of talking her into it she decides to jump in. We are on the log and Erin looks at me and goes "this is pretty irresponsible" I go naaaaaaaaaa it's fun. She's climbing out onto the log and as she's there a group of drunken people lose control of their rafts and float right under where she's at, so she can't jump otherwise she'll land right on them. Erin starts to lose balance and instead of jumping in on top of them she jumps closer to shore and hits a very shallow area, lands straight leg and breaks her knee(Tibial Plateau Fracture). Just a fluke and crappy timing for what was still a great day.
I was asked by other friends if I felt guilty for talking Erin into jumping off the log but the truth is I've been talking her into doing stuff she never wanted to initially do since I met her. 1. marrying me 2. doing CrossFit 3. Last minute trip to Italy and other traveling 4. getting tattoos etc.... there are lots more and they all worked out great, so Erin didn't get mad at me for talking her into it, we both agreed it was just a fluke.................I'll still think twice before talking her into doing nutty stuff where she can possibly get hurt, however i'll still jump off the nearest object and ride the baddest bull, WHAT'S UP!!!! :-)
Besides it's not a party unless someone gets arrested or breaks something :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Trip Back to Alaska and paid a visit to Revolution Sports Training, Crossfit Alaska

Yay!!!!! I got to go back to Anchorage, Alaska this weekend for a wedding, and I was able to squeeze in two visits to Revolution Sports Training, Crossfit Alaska.
I had a busy busy weekend with being in the wedding so I was only able to go there during the days since my evenings were jam packed.
I flew in Friday and Landed at 10am, my third phone call was to the gym to see what times they had available.
Their Friday WOD:

“Going towards the Light”
10 Pushups, 20 sit-ups, 30 double unders
20 pushups, 30 sit-ups, 40 double unders
&.As many rounds in 20 min as possible
I wound up completing
Pushups Sit-ups Double Unders
10 20 30
20 30 40
30 40 50
40 50 60
50 60 70
34(time ran out)
Grand Total
184 pushups 200 sit-ups and 250 Double Unders.
Very fun WOD, this is one I plan on doing again in 3-6 months to see if I made any improvement. I hit failure a bunch of times in pushups so I can make up time and reps there. Sit-ups I stayed pretty steady and didn’t need to break them up much. I made up time on double unders, I can knock these out pretty quick and link a lot together. Towards the later rounds I did trip up more than I have liked so I could still see significant time improvements here too.
So ultimately, I was happy with how I did. I’m not going to lie, going into the gym my goal wasn’t to destroy the wod, get the top time then do some air humping while screaming out how awesome I am. I save that for back home. My goal was to “not suck” and perform in or near the top group of people. I know cf Alaska hasn’t seen me at their gym since I moved last year and I wanted to make a good showing. This is just an outstanding gym with a lot of hard core crossfitters and elite athletes training there, so even though I’m 37, the competitive ego maniac in me wanted to make sure I earned my Crossfit street credit with them, dammit.
After the WOD I had to go get ready for the wedding rehearsal dinner then the bachelor party. CF Alaska holds an Advanced Crossfit Class once a week on Saturdays at noon, so I told everyone at the gym that I’ll be in for this class no matter what time I finish the night.
So I went out for the bachelor party and we had our nails done, got a facial and consumed a lot of milk and cookies. It was a fun night. You know you’ve had too much milk and cookies when you’re outside a “Chuck E Cheese” at 3:30am and a stranger leaving “Chuck E Cheese” brushes the glitter off your shoulder that must have gotten on you from Chuck E Cheese bumping against you, then the stranger offers you a swig from their flask of milk and you say ok…..Always a bad decision.
I finally get to sleep at 4am-ish, now anytime I consume too much milk and cookies my body punishes me where instead of sleeping it off, I’ll wake up really early so I’m awake for the pain. I wound up waking up at 730am, I actually felt pretty good but that was because I was still feeling the happy effects of the milk and cookies…….as the morning went on it turned from happy Ron to this is the most pain I’ve had since got sick and blew an eye vessel from consuming too much milk and cookies.
I laid there watching t.v. wishing I could go to sleep and debating whether or not to go to the gym. I told Clay and Tony I’d make it in plus I hadn’t seen Sith yet and I really wanted to meet up with him and workout. Ok here is another thing I’m not proud of, while laying there debating on if I should go to the gym or not I tried to find reasons to dislike Tony, Clay and Sith. I thought if I could think of things they did that were mean and bad to me, I’d start to dislike them and then I wouldn’t feel guilty for skipping the gym and breaking my word. It’s dirty but I wasn’t in the right frame to make rational decisions. Unfortunately or fortunately, I couldn’t think of something so at 11am I decided to get up, take a shower and head to the gym.
Now Clay doesn’t like to announce what the wod is for the CF Advanced class until a few minutes before it starts. He announces his regular cf classes the day before but his advanced class gets something special. So I’m there hoping…..HOPING his advanced class will have muscle ups and heavy weights. I wanted to do higher technical skills and heavy weights with less reps than a lot exercises where I’m going up and down a lot.
This is what Clay broke to the crew:
“3’s a Crowd”
3 minutes to accumulate 30 seconds in a free standing hand stand.
If you go over 30 seconds then divide by 2 is the stager at the start of the WOD.
Then Perform:
Jackie – 1,000 Meter row, fifty 45 pound thrusters, 30 pull-ups
Diane – 21-15-9 Deadlift 225 pounds and Hand Stand Pushups
Grace – 30 reps Clean and Jerk 135 pounds.
You can do them in any order but must complete it in 30 minutes.
I struggled which one to start with. I dislike rowing the most of all the exercises but thought if I burned that wod hard I’d puke and be worthless for everything else. I didn’t know if I could do a HSPU in my condition, doing anything upside down could be really bad for me. I wound up deciding to do Diane first, my thought was let’s see if I can do a handstand pushups and get them over with right away then see if gravity will help whatever is left in my stomach rush out violently.
I had a 1 minute and thirty second lag before I could start the wod because of how long it took me to get the 30 second hand stand. And funny as soon as they said 3…2..1…GO for everyone else, I ran right to the bathroom and puked before my first movement. YAY me, this is going to go great. I got back just in time for me to start. The deadlifts felt really light, it could have been because I was so focused on the pain in my head and holding in the dry heaving feeling. I burned through Diane in a decent time for my condition, I don’t know how my technique was or if I had full range of motion but I really didn’t care. After I completed my last 9 HSPU I did run outside for a quick dry heave, I really wished I had something in me to come out, dry heaving hurts.
I moved on to Grace, I knocked out 10 reps in a row, I could have done more but the up and down motion was hitting my head pretty hard so I had to break them up 5 at a time after that until the gremlins stopped jack hammering in my head. Once this was done I looked at the rower and started swearing to myself. Why did I save the row for last? STUPID STUPID STUPID. Now on a normal day I’d hit a wod like Jackie and be mad if I rowed slower than a 1:50 500 meter splits for my row time(I’m not the greatest but I’m not the worst rower), todayyyyyyy I was hoping for 2 minutes or faster but wound up being happy with my 2:15 splits :-) hey it was over and that was the best part. Looking at 50 thrusters after the row and at the end of a long WOD with feeling like I did was horrible. I would normally knock all 50 of the light thrusters in a row out butttttt I have no idea how I broke these up, I know I lost count when I was in my 30’s so I honestly did somewhere in the 40’s to 50-ish thrusters. Then I moved onto the pull-ups, time was running out so I was only able to get 10 before the 30 minute cap was over. It’s a long grinding wod I would normally like for a Saturday. I don’t wish I did better, I was just happy I showed up and survived.
It was good to be back at the Alaska gym, had a great time seeing the people from before and the new he and she-studs they are developing.
Oh p.s. Way to go Sith, he was Ripped and killing the WOD!!!! I’ve known Sith for years and we partied in Vancouver B.C. together. Back then his main form of exercising was battle break dancing and playing volleyball vs. elementary school kids. He looked like a modern day bruce lee but just a different nationality with a big cheesy smile on his face………However I'm sure Sith will still battle dance against you in a second. Clay and Tony need to come up with a special WOD for Sith with a mix of CrossFit and Break Dancing, then post the video so we can enjoy :-)
p.s.s. Sorry If I wasn't very talkative Saturday but when I feel that way there is not an ounce of wit, conversation or funny in my body. All personality is gone until I'm recovered

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A special Crossfit Moment brought to you today by Heavy Squat Clean Thrusters

WOD: Five rounds of 5-squat cleant thruster, 10 Chest to bar pull-ups.

weights: men 135 women 95

My time: 8:58

This Crossfit moment is brought to you today by “heavy squat clean thrusters”.

Yesterday’s WOD is one of the many reasons why Crossfit and the community separates itself from personal trainers and globo-gyms. I went in excited about the workout but already had it planned in my head that I would scale the weight. I’ve done heavy thrusters before but not 135 pound squat clean thrusters and I wanted to really burn the workout so thought it would be best to scale down.

On a regular day I’ll go into the gym and look at the white board to see everyone’s time. I’ll look through and use someone as a guide to what times to shoot for, what weights to use and who to try and beat for time and score. This guide helps me to really get that extra little push and intensity, I’ve been doing it since day one I started cf but then it was don’t come in dead last and month after month I’d pick someone higher and higher to shoot for.

You can walk into a cf gym go up to someone and ask “what was your weight or time”; you can’t do that at a globo-gym or personal trainer.

Here are a couple of conversations for you, first one at a globo-gym:

Me: Hey what did you curl over there

globo-nerd: I did 35 pound dumbbells, eight reps. My guns got a good burnnnnn

Me: Dude I’m going to totally smoke you and do 10 reps because I’m AWESOME!!!!!

globo-nerd: Get away from me dumb a$$ I’m going to work on my pecks then hit the tanning bed.

Now if you go up to someone in a cf gym and have a similar conversation:

Me: What was your time today?

Crossfit addict: It’s tough one today, I got 8:57

Me: Not bad, I assume I’ll get 8:56 or better because I’m AWESOME!!!!!

Crossfit addict: Hahahaha you dummy, not a chance you’ll gas after the first round.

The difference is they’ll stay around and watch, cheer you on to beat them, be excited if you do beat them and be just as excited if you don’t, then after you can still talk trash, have fun and grab a beer.

So back to yesterday, I went in thinking I’d scale the wod then looked at the white board and saw Levi did level 3, when I saw that I said to myself “Fu**ing levi, A$$ Face, Butt munching, pain in my junk” Now I’m not taking anything away from levi, he’s a stud, but weighs a lot less than me. I originally wanted to scale but since I saw he did level 3 at 135 pounds, I felt obligated to do it too. Which was a good thing because I had a good wod, got it completed in a decent time. So ultimately that whiteboard again helped push me to something I wouldn’t voluntarily do on my own.

Again, this Crossfit moment is brought to you today by “heavy Squat Clean Thrusters” and Fu**ing levi, the “A$$ Face, Butt munching, pain in my junk”

p.s. and yes, I beat Levi's time(cough cough by over 3 minutes cough cough), not that it's important to point that out butttt I'M AWESOME!!!!!!!