Definitely Not Gabby Douglas…

I am definitely NOT Gabby Douglas.

You remember Gabby, right? She won the individual all-around Gymnastics Gold Medal in the 2012 London Olympics. Ring a bell? Gabby the “Flying Squirrel”Douglas, nicknamed such by the great Marta Károlyi, long time coordinator for Team USA and wife of the equally fantastic Béla Károlyi. In a nutshell, she’s the gymnastic wunderkind that earned every accolade the hard way: sacrifice, blood-sweat-tears, extensive practice, innumerable drills and a personal drive that could inspire even the most jaded among us.

Me?  I’m more “Jumping Wolverine” than “Flying Squirrel. I’m short, somewhat uncoordinated, less flexible (way less!) than a pre-teen, cautious about falling on my head and going “boom” and definitely older than 16.

Gabby, by age 8, managed to squeeze in more v-ups, handstands, walking handstands, splits, straddles, bar muscle-ups, etc., (and won a state championship!) than I have in my entire 30+ year life. Such a thing would make most people depressed and feeling as if, at this stage of the game, there is not much that I can do to catch up to, or compete with, that.

It’s a good thing that CrossFitters are not “most people”.  

We are, if nothing, a determined and stubborn folk; both competitive and hard headed enough that when confronted with a new movement, we say “screw it” and give it a try.  At first, we just want to get the movement by any means necessary; muscles bulging, face red (or a lovely smurf-like blue) due to lack of oxygen, but eventually we strive to get it right.  We learn that the effortlessness that athletes exude is the culmination of good coaches, constant practice, a few spills, the steely will to get back up over, and over again, striding to the bar a little bruised, but a lot more resolute.   

As hard charging as we are, every so often (typically after an hit to the ego…) we recognize that we need more help.  We realize that we have to practice outside of the WOD structure to improve in the more technical, skill-heavy aspects of Gymnastics, Weightlifting, etc. I personally learned, the hard way, as a 2013 CrossFit Open competitor, that gymnastics and the coordination and skill inherent to it, will always rear it’s ugly head (CrossFit Open 13.3 and 13.5!!!).

Enter my extra Gymnastics classes. I take my perfectly clear and easy going Sunday afternoons and choose to work with a certified gymnastics coach to get better at my chosen sport. The class is small and focused. I work on my individual weaknesses with a coach that critiques my form, fixing my head placement and explaining the gravitational dynamics of a kipping pull-up in such a way that even an 8-year old would get it.  My coach’s knowledge, experience and simple joy in teaching, gives the confidence necessary to try something that you never thought you would or could do…at least not beyond second grade.  What’s more is that it’s included in my normal fee (#winning).

Occasionally we end with a WOD, but the point of the class is to to focus, identify, dissect, adjust and implement…and laugh.  A lot.

I make it a point to hit that class and as a result, I’m improving.  I’m using less “muscle” and becoming more proficient.  By the end of summer (August 2013) I will have my Muscle-up, my Hand-Stand and my Kipping Pull-up.  This is me, putting it out there, loud and clear. That class is a huge reason why I know that I’m going to hit my goals.  

So, here’s the thing: Gabby did it as a teen-ager.  I’m doing it when  puberty is CLEARLY not on my side (that boat has long since passed!).  And really quick: a wolverine is one of the most ferocious creatures on earth, often taking down prey much larger than it. Once it has it’s teeth in you, you can’t shake it loose because a wolverinIe just doesn’t quit; it doesn’t back away slowly or give in to self-doubt. It. Just. Fights.  The Wolverine is “the best there is at what he does…” (#nerdgirl). Can you see the “Jumping Wolverine” appeal now (beyond the obviously hairy, carrion-eating aspect of it all)?

I am definitely not Gabby Douglas and really, so what?  I have my own training team: my coaches are my Béla/Marta, and my box mates are my gang, crew, and competitive menagerie: my very own CrossFitting fantastic five.

I think I’m set.

Bring your butt to Gymnastics if you have the opportunity.

M^2

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13.5: The CrossFit Open, Done!

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Wow, it’s done. 

I competed in the 2013 CrossFit Open and lived to tell the tale lol!

Ask any crossfitter that participated in the Open, and we will all admit it: 13.5 was NOT a game. 

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13.5 Open WOD

There’s something about finishing the Open, that just seems to click with me.  I actually feel like a crossfitter…like I somehow earned that nomenclature. 

Now, real talk: YOU DO NOT NEED TO COMPETE IN THE OPEN, TO BE A CROSSFITTER!

You pay your money, show up consistently at the box, respect the culture, go hard during a WOD and cheer your competitors on…those are some of the numerous items that define us.

Personally, and based on my individual efforts to improve, to just be better than I was the day before, I feel different.

What I do and/or say inside (and outside) the box, has impact because people respected my CrossFit Open intensity…or maybe I should say my spunk, moxie and fight lol, because I surely fought for those 12 chest to bar pull ups…for each and every one of ’em!

That respect, given so freely, both humbles me and gives me the confidence to call myself a crossfitter, even when I know others have been referring to me as one for months.  This is something I had to feel and it just so happens that the Open was the conduit.

I gained an insane amount of personal insight from seeing all my weaknesses in thier full glory *slightsarcasm*.  The Open was the mirror I occasionally crave (#wantitbad); so I can see and correct myself…I saw how much I flagged behind others during 13.2 because of my lack of endurance during the Box Jumps, my inability to do a kip Chest to Bar during 13.5, my slow elbow “whip” (ugh!) during 13.4 with Clean & Jerks.

I showed up, took a chance, tried something different, put my heart on my sleeve, was open to constructive criticism, provided it and took it; connected with my box mates in 5 weeks in a way that 5 months of CF membership only began to show me.

This…is CrossFit.  And I’m in love with it.

Isn’t it amazing when you realize that something brings you joy, even when it stings just a little?

With that said, standby for changes to the site, more coverage of events, guest contributors and thr like.  I appreciate you guys sticking with me…looking forward to spending more time with you!

M^2

CrossFit Open 13.4: In Da Bag! (a lil late! Sorry!)

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Somehow i swore I posted this last week! Alas, I did not! My bad y’all! 47 reps is pretty damn good considering the fact that I was freaked about my Toes to Bar (only done em like twice!) and getting the dreaded “no rep” for not doing a true Clean and Jerk (I tend to push press more), so I said a quick prayer, left it in God’s hands and went for it….and proceeded to shock the heck out of myself.

Wow, I was the first on the bar for the first three rounds of TTB…that’s how hard I was going. I didn’t even feel the weight until my set of 12.

CrossFit continues to push amd drag me out of thr limits that I put on myself by showing me that I am more than capable; it’s showing me that I’m good at this. Real good.  With additional, more focused training I could be better. This CF Open is simply showing me what I have to do to improve.

Best part of the night: when a boxmate that competes offered to work with me one on one to improve my technical skills and get more aligned with what I want.  Some people would be offended by the offer…

Good thing I’m not “some people”.  It’s a compliment when somone decides to sacrifice their personal time to get you to a higher level. It means they see potential in you that you might not see yourself.

Say “thank you”, set a training date and call it the day.

#CrossFit

Some pics:

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Hell nah I’m not doing it twice!

So, lets talk frankly for a second here:
I’m in the CrossFit Open, after doing CrossFit for less than 5 months. I am in my 30’s (inching closer and closer to my pseudo-midlife crisis of single, sexy and no prospects lol), have never been injured and continue to surprise myself with what I have been able to achieve with my CrossFit program.

However, after all of that, the main reason I decided to do the Open, was because I wanted to see where the “holes” are concerning my abilities with strength, cardio, etc. I figure, hell, it’s $20 bucks…the point is to learn all I can from those around me, my coaches, and my competition. That is exactly what I’m doing. Each Open WOD showed me EXACTLY what I need to focus on: 13.1 Snatches/Olys/Form, 13.2 Box Jumps/Cardio/Endurance,13.3 sheeeeeeeeeet. Something lol!

So when my box mates were like, “Hey, are you doing it again?”, (“it” being a repeat of 13.2 to potential improve my total reps) I was like “Hell nah!”, because really, I have to make it through the rest of this Open competition and, believe it or not, I’m flipping tired lol.

A lot of these folks are early/mid 20’s, grad students or early career folks; I’m slighly past that stage. Although, real talk, a Master’s (45+) chick beat my reps too (but only by a bit…and she’s a freaking competitor in the summer league!! I totally aspire to be like her!!). On St. Patricks Day, I sat home and drank tea, ate paleo pumpkin muffins and watched “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (awesome!). That is my idea of a good time. No really, that’s my good time.
That and sleep. Lots of good, deep, soul-calming sleep lol.

With that said: I will continue documenting my “holes”, to determine how I should adjust my program to get better, so that next year I don’t feel like I’m going to pass out because of a few box jumps or throw my back out because my deadlifts turn into “Good Mornings”.

Once is more than enough this time around!
#Toodles

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CrossFit Open 13.1: Virgin no more!

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Score: 137 Reps and 16:17 for time!

Came in 6th out of all the chicks that competed! I did better than a good number of men!

*stunned*

No longer a CrossFit Competition virgin, last night in heat 2, I did my best to not pass out, cough up phlegm (caught a cold 2 days ago) or embarrass my box, my friends that came out, or myself. 

I mean seriously, if you’re going to wear “Wonder Woman” wrist wraps, you damn well best not come in last, ya dig?

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Outfit complete with my new wrist wraps, my “5 Weeks, 5 WODs shirt, my Lululemon heqdbqnd and Nike gloves, I probably looked just a little “cray, cray”, but OMG I had so much fun!

My cheering section was out in full force! Through the haze of exhaustion, I could hear them keeping me in check: “Keep your feet together”, “Drop the bar”, “Get on that bar”, “You got 10 more!”, “Gooooooo!”.   I’m so freaking grateful to have had that in my corner…and so completely humbled by it.

Now that it’s over, I can’t help but think: “If this was the first week, what the hell is next weeks going to look like?” 

But in reality, does it even matter? I’m doing it no matter what.  I’m having fun, challenging myself and living to tell the tale.  That works for me!

Pictures are coming y’all…standby.

CrossFit Open Countdown…ahhhh!

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It’s almost here and I am eerily calm and yet nervous…especially bc I’m nursing a sore throat today so I can be at full speed/strength for the CrossFit Open WOD tomorrow…. Anybody else registered? Please note that (a) the linked/provided content belongs to CrossFit; (b) such content is not my own; and (c) the originating website (blackchickswod.com) makes no claim of owning, being related to or owned or controlled by, being under common control with, or sanctioned by, approved by, or endorsed by, CrossFit. 

My First Affiliate League Competition

Today was an eye-opening experience.

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I observed my first Affiliate League Competition at CrossFit Balance in Washington, D.C., and I gotta tell you, it was fun, scary AND exhilarating.  Those are three very different feelings, but at various times I had all three coursing through my body.

Affiliate comp bars and bumper platesCompetitors from four boxes, and family members, were all over the place.  People were amped up, ready to rock and nervous about finishing their WODs.  I saw my role as that of an observer, cheerleader and wannabe; as in “I wanna be” there someday.  Chalk dust floated in the air as competitors chalked their bars and hands. The clock was set, the judges demonstrated the WOD (Snatches, Muscle Ups, Thrusters, etc.) movements, the difference between a “rep” and “no rep” and it was game on!

These Boxes competed in individual and mixed (men and women) partners events, on the Affiliate and Social level.  It was pretty dope seeing so many people, but there were some very unique situations that I HAVE to mention:

  1. This is the friendliest group of people I have ever seen.  Let’s be honest: everyone did not complete their WODs under the time requirement, but everyone and I do mean EVERYONE cheered, box mates and competitors alike, and encouraged competitors to give it their all and that was amazing to see.  I met some funny and sarcastic folks, that were all too ready to introduce themselves and chat for a few.  What global/regional gym do you go to that even remotely comes close to that type of atmosphere?20130105_135623
  2. The competitors come in all shapes, size, colors, types, body weights, and levels of expertise.  No matter where you might excel in one particular event, let’s say box jumps (vertical jump onto a 20 or 30 inch box), there is always another event that will slow you down and “equalize” everyone (definitely “muscle ups”).
  3. By far the most awesome moment was watching a competitor that was a double amputee.  His legs were amputated below the knee; with two metal  prostheses and he went HARD in da paint on everything he did!!!  More, he was funny as hell; cracking jokes that would likely offend a more sensitive person [blush level y’all] and doing it with aplomb.  I barely noticed his lack of “legs”; I really didn’t even see that he was different until he decided to change the internal rubber casing that went over his stumps and help them fit/hold the prosthesis.  I don’t know his story; to be honest, I can’t remember his name, but I sure as hell respect his heart and competitive drive.
  4. These men and women trained for weeks, if not months, for something that took less than 14 minutes in one instance and less than 10 minutes in the other.  It takes a lot to dedicate yourself to something that takes so little time to complete.

Sidebar: I bet yClayDavis picou thought, from the post title, that I was actually competing today, huh? See the pic on the left.  Basically: not yet.)

Q: What the hell do I need to do to mentally and physically prepare myself for a potential?

A: Not sure yet. I’m going to ask my coaches; and focus on my weak spots (Muscle Ups, Kipping (butterfly and pull ups), and cleans.  You have to practice what you’re weak in, so maybe try an active rest day, i.e. work on progressions vs. completely taking the day off.  I’m also considering a Paleo challenge to lean out.

Consider this: How much time, effort and sacrifice you are willing to make to attain something that few people even recognize they are capable of achieving?  Are you willing to be uncomfortable?  Confront change?  Sacrifice your hair?  Study the mechanics of the movements to get results safely?

What?