Yesterdays trip down to San Jose to hang with Neal Maddox and crew was the first time I didn't do the workout. Having scored a respectable score on the Sectionals Workout, I was satisfied enough and had no intention of trying it again. Plus, with Lindsey and me leaving late tomorrow night for our adventure, I wanted to hit the 6th and final workout tomorrow (totally need to rest up the shoulders and legs as it will be BRUTAL!).
It was fun to judge and watch all these beasts get after it. I have been around "fire-breather" CrossFit for a while now and I only yesterday realized that watching while also being a competitor is totally different than watching for the sake of watching. As a competitor I tend to analyze what is going on. I watch for things athletes are doing to make the movements more efficient. I watch how they react to transitions, where they take breaks and how they feel and approach the beginning, middle, and end of the workout. I feed off the energy as adrenaline for my own effort but am always a bit introverted, focusing on my personal routine. More on this in a sec.
As a non-competitor, things become WAY more exciting. You can just sit back and soak in the absolute impressiveness of human beings challenging every aspect of their make up. They push themselves physically and mentally, they sometimes burst through barriers, and sometimes get crushed. But no matter what happens, it is more suspenseful, motivating, emotional and powerful then almost any other watchable event I have been to. For those of you out there who have yet to see a bunch of CrossFitters getting after it, go online, find an event, and go check it out. Your life will change (even if it's just a little, it will change).
So here's how it changed for me! It made me sit back and think about my approach to CrossFit and training in general. I personally like CrossFit less for the actual workouts (believe me, I LOVE the workouts), but more for the need to better understand oneslef. Let's take this last Sectionals Workout as an example. The thing was 20 minutes of three tough exercises, and what happens when these show up on the board is either a bunch of groaning about how tough this will be, and/or a whole slew of strategizing. CrossFit workouts have allowed the ability for people to figure out the best way for themSELVES to get through a workout the most efficiently and effectively. As an example, Neal Maddox broke this one down like crazy, and ultimately made the mistake of over-transitioning. He went in with the goal of taking his time and mis-judged how much time to take between exercises. Normally his strategy to to go balls to the wall from the start, but he chose to change it up here and it came back to bite him in the butt a little (just as a side: Neal is sitting around 4th or 6th in the world right now. The guy get's it done about 99% of the time, and when he hits that 100%, it's going to be scary). I picked my strategy: to rest mostly between the cleans and the toes to bar (to allow my grip a break), then try to keep the transition time down between all others. I also focused on NOT breaking the cleans and the wall balls as I knew it would devastate me to have to pick the bar and ball back up once it fell. For me, this style of workout is one that I excel in. I think my marathoning a few years back helps me understand how to pace longer workouts. But with workouts in the 5-10 minute domains, I am still pretty rusty as to what works best for me. It's all about knowing what you as an individual can and can't do, and then basing how you approach the workout accordingly. If you are a strong finisher but struggle to get warm, why would you go 100% at the start? If you function better in on-and-off bursts of energy, why would you plan to do things unbroken? In training it would be smart to work on this stuff as well. It's not just about training physical weaknesses, but when you move up in the CrossFit world, it's about figuring out so much more, and training it all!
This next workout is one I feel I should do well with, but I have to spend some time figuring out how to approach it. It's a 7 minute all-out effort, and I struggle with the mental side of that. Upon a bit of thought, I think my best bet is to Neal Maddox it, or Prefontane it: when I hear go, I GO! All out, rest only when I need to and as quickly as possible. You can do anything for 7 minutes...
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Last night Lindsey and I drove to the city to meet up with my client and buddy Jon and his girl for dinner. We had an awesome time! I must say, good company and good food really do make for a happier life! But I am sure all of you know that, so I'll fill in a bit about what it is that we ate. We met at House Of Prime Rib, and super old-school meat joint, something out the the show "Mad Men". The decor was rustic and old, the place was packed and loud, there was a divers mixture of old business types and young hipsters (as San Francisco tends to have!) and then there was the food.
Basically, your meal was paced for you. You ordered off a small menu, telling them what type of cut you'd like (thin, medium and thick) and how you wanted your meat cooked. Yup, there was one thing on the menu: prime rib! Then you could modify your sides, but you generally, everyone got the same thing to eat:
Bread and corn bread
Prime rib (and a CRAP-LOAD of it!) with
Creamed spinach, potato, some bread-type thing (honestly not sure what it was, but it was good!)
It was the first time in a very long time that I walked away from a meal feeling like I needed to unbutton my pants a tad! Sometimes there's nothing like feeling that primal excitement of gorging a ton of red meat. And interestingly enough, I was overcome by a very strong desire to lift heavy weights! I had a good feeling about the deadlifts scheduled for Friday.
So, today rolled around and I was able to get some solid work in. I worked up in sets of 3 on the deadlifts through 225, 315 and 405, then moved to singles or 455 and 485. So a quick run-down before I go into my last attempt. I pulled 485 about 2 yeas ago, and my max between then and the DC's Most Primal CrossFit Competition a few months ago where I PR'd at 500. But that PR came with a lifting belt and a TON of people screaming motivation at me. Today's 500 had no belt, and nobody paying any attention to me. Very, very, very happy about that pull! I then attempted 515 and...it didn't budge. Oh well!
I then hit a sneaky-brutal workout thought by Lindsey:
200 meter run
30 power snatch 95#
30 tire jumps (just like a box jump but onto a tire)
200 meter run
20 power snatch
30 tire jumps
200 meter run
10 power snatch
30 tire jumps
200 meter run
ROUGH! I was very surprised at how this one crushed me. I think the fact that my grip was still a bit tender from the Open Sectionals Workout made the snatches harder, and my ankles (Achilles and calves as well) are still messed up from Open Sectionals Workout 2 (the one with tons of box jumps...). But I'm not gonna lie, the feeling of exhaustion was really nice today!
Finally, tonight I whipped up a great meal for Lindsey and myself: broiled bison with brussel sprouts and steamed sweet potatoes. That followed by client/friend Lena's awesome gluten-free pumpkin bread and some almond milk and I am feeling all sorts of good! Now I can look forward to a chill and potentially adventure-filled weekend!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Today I drove on down to Neal Maddox's place with Lindsey and her mom to get another try at Open Workout #4. I rolled in with certain ease because I was pretty happy with my score of 115 from Wednesday. But, I figured since it wasn't the most demanding workout in the world, I would go ahead and work it into my programming. Plus, it's always a good time to workout next to Neal, the dude is an absolute BEAST!
My goal for today was to hit everything a little faster because I felt like I took too much time leading up to and doing the muscle ups (I did so on purpose because I was really focused on getting those damn muscle ups without a miss!). I felt pretty good when the time began and I found a perfect rhythm on the burpees, finishing these about 20 seconds faster than the first go-round. I shook out the arms and legs and threw the barbell overhead to start my overhead squats. Felt SO much better with these and was able to 19 unbroken. Then of 6 and 5. All of a sudden I was going into my muscle ups with just about 1:40 extra time! But that's about all the excitement I had for the day because I went for my first effort and missed, ugh. This has been exactly how muscle ups go for me over the past couple years, I either have them, and have them real comfortable, or, I can't get them at all.
I was able to squeeze out a brutally ugly 5 reps here, then I just hit my wall. I missed about 7 straight and just like that I saw I have about 30 seconds left. Oy. So, I recalled that I got 115 a few days before, I saw my boy Neal slowing down in the upper area of his second round of burpees, so, I decided to call it quits and give the remainder f my energy to Neal so he could get a few more reps in. All in all, it was a nice little workout and and I just didn't have those muscle ups today!
Now it's time for a little rant, not organized, not thought out at all, just thought I'd express myself. Upon a quick review of the mid-Atlantic region leaderboard on the CrossFit Games website, I am totally in the wrong spot. As of right now I am placed like 28th with a score that should have me either 19th or 20th. They have yet to adjust for my better score on workout #3, and they have me in the wrong spot overall. So here's the thing: I am pretty confident that they have all the correct info somewhere in there, but it's all the "glitches" they are experiencing that is causing the mistakes we all see. But even though I have confidence in them, it is freaking nerve-raking to not be placed in the correct spot. It'd just be nice to see my name where it belongs is all.
Ok, I'm done. I have a nice rest of the weekend planned out with Lindsey's family and I am excited for my programming next week! I'll fill you all in on that soon.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Last night, fueled and energized, I drove up to the City to Lalanne Fitness to get after Sectionals Workout #4. My legs were sore as hell thanks to the Storyline Workout and the air squats at the track, but I felt very confident that I should get a respectable score. For me, it was all about getting those muscle ups finished up!10 minutes, as many rounds/reps as possible of:60 burpees with a jump over your barbell30 overhead squats at 120#10 muscle upsMy plan was to find a comfortable pace with the burpees, get through the OH squats with as few drops as possible, then go one at a time with the muscle ups. And that is what I did. I finished up the burpees with some decent energy at just over 4 minutes. I then hit the squats and was able to bang out 12 before dumping the bar. I then got to 19 (my right arm failed me and I just wasn't able to recover). I then got to 25, then finished off. Here's where I focused in like crazy. I got my first one very smoothly, and I could feel myself bubble over in confidence. I proceeded to take my time and get all 10 without any misses. I had a minute to go and I just went all-out sprint for extra reps on the burpees; and, was able to get 15. With a fnal score of 115 I feel pretty good about that.Will I do it again? Well, I don't really feel the need to get a better score at this point, but on the other hand I don't feel like it is the most demanding workout in the world. I feel as though I took too much time on both the overhead squats and the muscle ups. If I paced myself better I probably would have gained another 45-60 seconds and I'd be able to squeeze another 15-20 burpees in. But, the next month and a half are dedicated to training for Regionals so, I'll play this one by ear based on tomorrows workout! Today was a rest day and my legs are freaking sore...Never Stop, GET FIT.Josh Courage
Today marked three days straight without a workout and boy am I ever restless and ready to work! My stomach is sore, but the pain has subsided. I am fully aware that I'm not healed, but I am put together enough to get after this workout, I know that much. All I can hope for is that the workout doesn't break me down any more and I have to take a full week off. Plenty of recovery planned for the rest of Sturday and all of Sunday, I just want to be good enough to get back on a program next week.
With my inability to workout over the last couple days, I took the time to stretch, roll, relax and eat well as to be as prepared as possible. And as of right now, I feel ready to go!
5 minutes As Many Reps As Possible of:
Clean and Jerk 165#
I'll give a write-up to let everyone know how I do.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Holy crap am I psychologically crushed. The first workout for the CrossFit Games Open Sectionals was announced last week, and after thinking through it all, I decided I should realistically achieve somewhere in the 8 round range. I prepared my workouts, get myself mentally there, and walked in Saturday feeling mostly ready. I say that I felt “mostly” ready because I was coming of limited sleep thanks to a 4 hour bus ride, then a 6 hour plane ride the day before. Because of that, my fueling process was a little off (totally my fault with not being prepared on the plane ride). I then walked in Saturday with only a banana and a soy latte in my stomach and I am sure that affected me at least a little. This is by no means an excuse, I gave it my all for what I had that day, 7 rounds, 30 double unders and 9 overheads, I am just SO convinced I have more in me!
I had a strategy to it too. I would go with power snatches until just before I felt I needed to dumb the bar, then I would move to clean and jerks and opt for slower movements, but less breaks. In the end, I broke up those overheads a bit more than I expected (all double unders went unbroken), and that led to the score above.
With the additional week, I planned out my workout schedule to get in a second attempt. That attempt would be workout #1 today (I would get heavy back squats then track work later on). Well, it was all planned out perfectly, Brendon (head coach at CrossFit San Mateo) would be there, and then I had two others willing to come in as well. I would have a support crew big enough to get me fired up and I was feeling very confident as of last night. But, early this morning I got a text letting me know that Brendon’s daughter was really under the weather and he wouldn’t be able to make it in. Another coach at CFSM, Tuan, couldn’t make it in either. I was left with a collection of options here: do the workout with just the support of one member of CFSM, or wait and do the workout another day with a massive support crew!
My eagerness prevailed on this one and I opted to just get the workout in. Geeze, it’s crazy, even as I write this I am getting more and more frustrated at myself for making this choice. I mean, how hard would it have been to just tweak my programming and do it Thursday, Friday, or even Saturday? Why did I have to be so hotheaded and stick to something that really had no good reason to be followed? No clue people, just that sometimes the mind can get so caught up in an idea that it’s impossible to get out of it, no matter how illogical it might actually be.
I felt good going into it, but my transitions were slow. I stuck with power snatches for all the rounds and was able to go unbroken for 4 rounds, then got 10 before breaking on the 5th round. I tripped up my double unders a couple times, but I wasn’t very worried about that. But I realized that when I messed up, or when I was moving between exercises, I was taking up WAY too much time. When Praveen (my support for the workout) announced I had 2 minutes left is where I lost my focus completely. I was struggling through the end of the 6th round and I knew I would not be able to get two more rounds in in those two minutes. I psyched myself out and my energy level just crashed. I finished with 7 rounds and 4 double unders.
All the signs led me to not doing the damn workout today, but I forced my way through and learned my lesson. I have written on many occasions about listening to your body and mind when working out and pushing when pushing is necessary. But this was something else; I personally felt ready physically, but things were not aligned. I was not listening to the world around me. I was dissociating myself from the world, and that is just as bad as dissociating yourself with your own mind. I think we have a damn close energetic connection with the world around us and that connection plays a huge roll in how we function n a day-to-day basis. It may be an extreme example, but if there’s a blizzard outside, your car won’t start on 4 attempts, there’s a broken down car blocking your driveway and the store you want to go to is closed; perhaps you should NOT attempt to drive to that store. Everything was telling me to wait a little and do this workout another day, but I refused to listen, and I paid the price. Luckily I did not get hurt, that’s for sure!
So for the million-dollar question! Am I satisfied with 20th place in my region (as of now that’s where I stand), or do I re-work my programming and go for that 8+ round goal at the end of the week?
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Well folks, after a frustrating "glitch in the system", the first workout has been officially announced for the start of the CrossFit Games Open Sectionals.10 Minute AMRAP of:30 Double Unders15 Ground to Overhead Anyhow 75/55Very basic workout, very obvious standards. At the bottom of this post you will find links to all the standards and instructions for this first workout, but what i want to go into now is how we will be going about this one this coming Saturday.At 10:30am this coming Saturday morning, the first heat will begin for our official hosting of Opens. Please plan to meet at CrossFit San Mateo as early as you can to get yourself warmed up and ready to go. It looks like we will have about 10 or so serious Games hopefuls, and then a collection of other athletes performing the workout just for the fu of competition. The serious competitors will be going in the starting heats, and then we will fill in the rest of the time with athletes who wish to give it a shot. Heats will run in groups of 3-5, so be prepared for that, and we will pick the order while there. A couple final notes: be prepared to be held to very, very high standards with the movements, even if you are just there for fun. Both Courage Performance AND CrossFit San Mateo will accept nothing less than perfection, and because of that, w will hold a 10 minute briefing directly before the first heats starts for all judges and athletes so that everyone understands exactly what to expect. Also, we will be video taping each heat, so atheltes can always go back and refer to the video, or even use their video if they so choose. We highly recommend you bring along your own camera just to have that extra set of eyes.If you plan to come, please make sure you sign up by putting your name in the comments section of this post. If your name is not there, you will NOT compete. Please make sure you post yours and any other names for those who you may be signing up.That should be it everyone! If you have any questions, feel free to email me or post to comments. Besides that, get to work with some double under practice and we'll see you out there Saturday morning!!http://games.crossfit.com/features/first-weeks-workout-descriptionNever Stop, GET FIT.Josh Courage
This years CrossFit Games season is officially upon us with the start of the new format Sectionals a week and a day away! Affiliates around the globe are preparing to open up their doors to allow competitors the ability to compete with fellow athletes as they try their hand at the weekly workouts given by CrossFit HQ. Courage Performance once again has partnered with CrossFit San Mateo to offer an official location for athletes to compete. Below you will find the details of this unique and exciting six-week event!Where:CrossFit San MateoWhen:Every Saturday at 10:30am heats will begin. Depending on the amount of registered athletes, heats will run up to five at a time, and will continue to run until all athletes have completed the WOD.Event 1 - March 19Event 2 - March 26Event 3 - April 2Event 4 - April 9Event 5 - April 16Event 6 - April 23Who:Anyone who wants to come out and compete against fellow athletes for their chance to make Regionals. Also, anyone who wants to come out and just compete! Even if you've already done the WOD, come out and give it a second try!Additional Features:
How:To register yourself for event you MUST submit your first AND last name to the comments section of this blog by Friday night. If your name is not posted you will not be allowed to compete Saturday morning. If you and a group of people want to register, feel free to post up all the names of the people coming in, just make sure to post first AND last names.You will be required to pay $20 at the door, either cash or check each Saturday. We will be donating 50% of that fee to a soon-to-be-announced charity. We will attempt to put same-level athletes in the same heats so that they can push each other. If you are a serious competitor hoping to break into Regionals, be prepared to go in the first group of heats starting around 10:30 am.If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitae to call or email me!Never Stop, GET FIT.Josh Courage
- Courage Performance has brought on lululemon athletica Burlingame, CORE Warrior Bars and a couple other awesome sponsors to offer a small prize package to the top male and female performances each Saturday
- All judges will be at least level 1 coaches and will be holding each athlete to the highest of standards. Be prepared!
- Each heat will be video taped in addition to each athlete being individually judged. We recommend that you bring your own camera to video as well.
- Every Saturday will end with a bit of a cool-down. Food and drinks and hanging out will be more than welcome!
- Information on each event will be posted by Thursday morning each week. You will have until midnight Friday to register and hold a spot (how to do that is directly below)