Battle at the Rock – take 3

This weekend I am competing at the Battle of the Rock at CrossFit Castle Rock. This will be my third go at this competition. I think it is well run and each year I have loved the WODs.

My first solo competition was in 2013 at the Battle of the Rock and it was fun and I competed in it again last year and I thought it was even better. This year I make it three in a row.

In 2013 I finished 42nd out of 72 and last year I finished 48 out of 68. As I wrote in my results last year, I think my strategy failed a bit and cost me some points. That along with some missed wall walks that certainly hurt. This year I hope to finish in the top half.

Last year there were more serious competitors, too. I saw guys and gals with those big compression things on their legs to help speed up recovery. That’s a whole other level in local competition that I hadn’t seen yet. I guess I take these comps the same as I do a 5k; sure it is competitive and more so than working out at the gym, but I am not investing thousands of dollars to do something that I do a few weekends a year. Kind of like how I haven’t purchased really nice hiking shoes, although I try to go on at least a few hikes a year and at least one 14’er a year. Then again, maybe some of these folks do several local competitions a year and it is more like golf – and I have spent a few hundred dollars on golf clubs, at least.

In any case, I just want to finish in the top half this year. Compete with the kids who are in the early to middle 20’s. I figure if I can keep up with half of them at the age of 38 I am doing good.

So, as I like to do, here are my thoughts and strategy for the various WODs coming at me on Saturday.

WOD 1: 4 minutes to find max snatch + hang snatch and then at the 4 minute mark, 2 minutes max rep parallel bar burpees.

I haven’t really snatched in a few months trying to let my shoulder heal. And I was going to take today and tomorrow completely off from the gym so I was fresh on Saturday…well…I had to test the snatch portion of this WOD this morning.

After trying some squat snatch complexes at 135 and hitting some and failing on others I decided to ditch the squat variation for my snatch and just go power…and go ugly. Catching the bar in the squat is still a little shaky with my shoulder, but catching it in a more standing position is not as unstable. So, wide leg split and even a press will be on the menu this Saturday. The snatch will count as long as the bar is moved overhead and if you press from there, they will count it. It will make for some ugly snatches, but I am going to play with the rules, ugly snatch and all.

This morning I nearly had 170 for the complex. The power snatch was good, almost pretty, but the hang variation was really ugly. Being that it was early in the morning I think I can hit 175 on Saturday – that’s my goal. Warm up to at least that in the warmup area and then at “go” for the WOD hit 135 at about the 30 second mark (have to load the bar), then 155 around 1:15, then 165 around the 2 min mark and then try 175 around the 3:15 mark. I don’t want to make another attempt close to 4 minutes so I am ready for the burpees. However, I could see that if I get really close to hitting 175 (or 175 feels “easy”) then I could see trying 175 again or 180 before the 4 minute mark.

I would like to think that I can do at least 15 burpees each minute, but hoping for 20. I am going to try to go at a “slow and steady” pace to start and if there is gas left in the tank around 1:30 then floor it and finish hard.

The score is weight plus burpees so I am hoping for 175 + about 40 burpees for a score of 215.

WOD 2: 8 movements, 45 seconds max reps, 15 seconds rest. This is pretty straight forward and here is what I hope to score…

Wall balls: Being the first movement, I hope to get 25. I will go UB for as long as I can and then depending on the clock see if I can get more. I think 25 might take me 45 seconds.
Slam balls (40#): 20? 15? These won’t go very fast.
Alternating goblet lunge (53# KB): I think I can just keep moving on this one and get at least 20. I feel like about 2 seconds per lunge is good.
Toes 2 bar: These will be hard as I will be gassed. Hoping for a set of 8-10 and then a second set of 5-7 for about 13-17 reps.
Shoulder to overhead (95): I hope to plow through this. I will stop my T2B a bit early if needed ot get a few extra seconds of rest to kill this one. It’s in my wheelhouse. So if I get 2-3 less T2B it might translate into 5-8 more reps here. I hope to get about 30 reps.
Deadlift (185): I think I will be gassed and will shoot for about 15 reps.
Front squat (95): Again, now I will really be huffing and puffing. I will try not to put the bar down and get 15-20 reps.
Pullups: 10? 15? Depends on how out of wind I am.
So all in all I am guessing I will score somewhere between 133 and 152. That feels like a lot. We’ll see!

WOD3: Buy-in: 30 cal on rower, then 2 rounds of 10 C&J (135), 20 box jump overs (24) (or on and over) and a cash-out of 100 DUs

This one is a bit scary. I think 20 cals on the rower is about 1 min, so I am going to shoot to get the rowing done in 90 seconds. That way I am not gassed, but I could also see me completing the 30 cals in about 1:15. 10 C&J should take about 30 seconds, tops and the box jump overs maybe 1 minute as I will be gassed. In fact, as box jumps aren’t my thing, I will definitely be jumping OVER the box as I think that is easier. So, if the 2 rounds takes me 5 minutes, at most, that will leave me about 3 minutes to complete 100 DUs. Definitely doable. I just wonder how much I overestimate how good my cardio is.

Row in 1:20
Start C&J about 1:30 or 1:35 – round 1 done by 2:15 at worst.
Start BJ about 2:20 or 2:25 – round 1 done by 3:25 at worst.
Start 2nd C&J about 3:30’ish – round 2 done by 4:15 at worst.
Start 2nd BJ about 4:15’ish – round 2 done by 5:15 or 5:20.
Start DUs around 5:30 – finish by 7 minutes. I am going to shoot for 7 minutes for this WOD.

Floater – some sort of shuttle run with sandbags and throwing them over a 6 foot wall.

That’s all that is released as of today. My only goal here is to get my floater time scheduled about 15 minutes after WOD 1. I will be fairly fresh and still loose/warm from WOD 1. 2 short WODs to start the day (I think there is a 3 minute cap on the floater). Then rest a bit, eat a bit before WOD 2.

It’s going to be fun and I can’t wait!

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“Professional” exercisers, huh?

What’s with all the “professional exercisers” tearing in 15.2? What other sport, as a professional, would someone intentionally leave off a piece of equipment that could help them from getting injured? In baseball if you swing a bat over and over you could get some nasty blisters – so baseball players wear gloves. Same thing in golf. In basketball the hi top was invented to help prevent twisted ankles. Shoulder pads in football. Shin guards in soccer. Why not protect your hands in a workout with a high volume of pullups?

A sign of pride or toughness? Nah. It’s dumb. It’s preventable. I taped up and I only got 129 reps (58 pullups). But, you know what? I could wash my hands after the workout and not scream in agonizing pain.

I wear knee sleeves to help protect my knees. I have lifting shoes to help when squatting. And I rarely use things like wrist wraps and a host of other accessories that can be used when doing CrossFit, but I sure as hell taped. Why would all these professional CrossFitters who get paid to endorse things NOT tape up or use some sort of gymnastic wrap?

Beware, hand gore coming Continue reading

Past Open Events Review

I’m sure someone else has done this to death, but I am going to do this anyway. I was going to write it down, so why not do it on my blog and maybe someone else can enjoy?

Are there any trends over the years? If the point of CrossFit is to get fitter, then we should be re-doing events every year, or at least every other year to see if we are, in fact, getting fitter. What is the chance that 15.1 is a repeat of past years to test your fitness?

2011:

  • 11.1: AMRAP10 of 30 double-unders and 15 snatches (75/55)
  • 11.2: AMRAP15 of 9 deadlifts (155/100), 12 pushup, 15 box jumps (24/20)
  • 11.3: AMRAP5 of squat clean and jerk (165/110)
  • 11.4: AMRAP10 of 60 bar facing burpees, 30 overhead squats (120/90) and 10 muscle-ups
  • 11.5: AMRAP20 of 5 power cleans (145/110), 10 toes-to-bar, 15 wall ball (20/14 to 10/9 foot target)
  • 11.6: AMRAP7 of 3 thruster (100/65), 3 chest-to-bar pullups, 6 thruster, 6 C2B, 9 and 9, etc

2012:

  • 12.1: AMRAP7 of burpees to 6 inch target
  • 12.2: AMRAP10 of 30 snatches (75/45), 30 snatches (135/75), 30 snatches (165/100), AMRAP snatch (210/120)
  • 12.3: AMRAP18 of 15 box jump (24/20), 12 push press (115/75) and 9 toes-to-bar
  • 12.4: AMRAP12 of 150 wall ball (20/14 to 10/9 target), 90 double-unders and 30 muscle-ups
  • 12.5: REPEAT of 11.6

2013

  • 13.1: AMRAP17 of 40 burpees (to 6 inch target), 30 snatches (75/45), 30 burpees, 30 snatches (135/75), 20 burpees, 30 snatches (165/100), 10 burpees, AMRAP snatches (210/120) – sort of a mixture of 12.1 and 12.2. Not a repeat that you could compare and test your improved fitness.
  • 13.2: AMRAP10 of 5 shoulder to overhead (115/75), 10 deadlift (115/75) and 15 box jump (24/20)
  • 13.3: REPEAT of 12.4
  • 13.4: AMRAP7 of 3 clean and jerk (135/75), 3 toes-to-bar, 6 C&J, 6 T2B, 9 and 9, etc
  • 13.5: AMRAP4 of 15 thrusters (100/65) and 15 chest-to-bar pullups – if three rounds are completed, extend the time to 8 minutes and if nine rounds are completed, extend to 12 minutes, etc

2014

  • 14.1: REPEAT of 11.1
  • 14.2: From 0-3min, 2 rounds of 10 overhead squat (95/65), 10 chest-to-bar pullup – if 2 rounds are completed, then from 3-6min 2 rounds of 12 OHS and 12 C2B, if completed then from 9-12min 14/14, etc
  • 14.3: AMRAP8 of 10 deadlift (135/95), 15 box jump (24/20), 15 deadlift (185/135), 15 BJ, 20 deadlift (225/155), 15 BJ, 25 DL (275/185), 15 BJ, 30 DL (315/205), 15 BJ, 35 DL (365/225), 15 BJ
  • 14.4: AMRAP14 of 60 cal row, 50 toes-to-bar, 40 wall ball (20/14 to a 10/9 target), 30 clean and jerk (135/95) and 20 muscle-ups
  • 14.5: 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 of thrusters (95/65) and bar facing burpees

Every year there is a repeat. What will the repeat be this year? Every year there has been a repeat, but it isn’t always the first WOD, or second or third – it is random (seemingly).

In 2012 there was a repeat from 2011. In 2013 there was a repeat from 2012. And in 2014 there was a repeat from 2013….errr…nope….2011. The repeat hasn’t necessarily been from the previous year.

I thought this last year and I will say it again this year, I think the first WOD will be a repeat of 12.1 – 7 minutes of burpees. That was so awful that I think Dave Castro would love to see everyone do it again. Could you imagine watching Rich Froning and Mat Fraser do 7 minutes of burpees? BORING. That would be the genius of it, however. Everyone will expect something heavy with these two going head-to-head and Castro could throw the CrossFit world on its head by doing a basic body weight movement.

What do you think 15.1 will be? Will it be a repeat? Will we repeat a WOD in 2015? If so, which one? Your pick doesn’t have to be for 15.1. Maybe we repeat 14.2 sometime this year. 14.2 was pretty awful and frustrating.

From over-estimating (14.3) to under-estimating (14.4)

What do 99% of all CrossFitters do? They judge a WOD before starting the WOD.

We all have our go-to or favorite movements and when we see those in a WOD we immediately think it will be easy. We all have movements we absolutely dread and when we see those in a WOD we immediately think it is going to suck. Sometimes the rep schemes of the WOD dictate how you feel about the WOD before starting. No matter what the reason most of us usually have a feeling about a WOD before we begin.

This multiplies during the Open. During the Open there are so many videos on strategy (which I am really starting to think are a large pile of you-know-what), so many people comparing how they score to your score, and vice versa and typically there is a large number of people you work with on a daily basis screaming at you to “go!”. Listen, if I could “go” I WOULD FREAKING “GO”!!

When 14.3 was announced I was a bit afraid. I hate, hate box jumps and am weak when deadlifting. As a guy who weighs 205 on a “light day” getting up onto a box is tiresome. Unfortunately, this guy who usually weighs closer to 210 doesn’t deadlift like a guy who weighs 210. My max deadlift is 365 which is probably 100 pounds less than what it should be. I recently deadlifted 315 for reps in one of the mainsite workouts so I knew I could lift that weight, if I got there. The thought of 25 reps at 275 scared me, especially after doing all those box jumps. Then the flood of “my dream WOD” talk that came across Facebook and the interwebs scared me even more. If everyone else LOVED the WOD then I assumed they would score well and my score might lack which would make me look bad. AIN’T NO ONE WANT TO LOOK BAD! The nerves were piling up shortly after 14.3 was announced on Thursday evening.

Continue reading

Battle at the Rock review

I competed in the “Battle at the Rock” this past weekend at CrossFit Castle Rock. This was my first solo competition and only my second competition (my first can be read about here).

*Or is the proper name “The Gym, CrossFit Castle Rock”? Can anyone answer? If they can, I assume it is owned by the same company that owns “The Gym, CrossFit Kilo” in Cedar Falls, Iowa? Are there more of these? Did they start out as gyms and then add CrossFit? Finally, are they sponsored by Advocare? The only two CrossFit boxes I have ever seen Advocare so prominently displayed were at Kilo and Castle Rock. So many questions, so little time, someone help!

Leading up to the day of the event I had only one complaint: how late the heat times were announced. I completely and totally understand not releasing the WODs until the night before or maybe two nights before (the WODs for this competition were released on Thursday night), but why they waited on releasing the heat times until late on Friday afternoon/evening was a little confusing. I had people who wanted to come watch me and they were also making their own plans for a Saturday morning or afternoon. They had to wait until after 6pm on Friday to find out when I would be competing and that seems late. Give everyone, even the athletes, a little time to prepare the basic logistics of when they will arrive at the venue, when they need to warmup, etc, a few days ahead of time. Continue reading