Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Big and Strong or Small and Fast??

So here's something I've been contemplating for a while. CrossFit is a sport that claims to punish the specialist. Our specialty is not specializing....or as Greg Glassman (founder of CrossFit) would put it, "We do your stuff almost as good as you. You can't do our stuff at all and we do stuff neither of us does way better than you can." But I've come to wonder if that is necessarily true all of the time.
As far as I'm concerned there's two types of CrossFitters....Big and Strong or Little and Fast....Now that's not to say that there aren't people who are both (Hello Chris Spealler) but those people are considered the elite. So for all of us working hard to get to that elite status....which is a better starting point? Is it better to be Big and Strong already and to work on your speed? Or is being small and fast a benefit in more ways as far as CrossFit is concerned? I really can't tell you the answer to that, I've just been thinking about it for a while.
I've never been little and fast. True, I was a sprinter on the track Junior High!...but once I started actually growing into my body, it was pretty obvious that I wasn't going to win many races. So I started out my CrossFit career with a huge strength bias and have been working on my speed ever since. Many days, I don't really let it bother me, but today we did a sic WOD over at CrossFit West Houston just for a little fun. It was....

1 Round of
3 Rope Ascents
1000m Row
15 strict Handstand Push Ups
5 Deadlifts at 185#

Some people might look at this workout and think that's it a strength biased workout.....which it is BUT I definitely think it favored the small and fast who have less body to haul up the rope and push up out of the handstand. The whole time I was struggling up the rope and failing at the HSPU's I wondered....if I didn't weigh 160lbs would this stuff be easier??? Now, I'm never one to really care about my actual weight. I think the way you look in your Lulu's is a much better indicator than the numbers on a scale. But every once in a while I still find myself wondering does being as big (and strong!) as I am help me more than being able to run multiple 400's at a 1:30, big and strong or little and fast? Which one would you rather be?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

CrossFit Showdown at CrossFit Beaumont

Yesterday the CrossFit Katy crew and I traveled to Beaumont for the CrossFit Showdown at CF Beaumont. Beaumont isn't that far from Katy so most of us opted to drive in the morning of, but man 5:30 AM drives to Beaumont are NOT fun! :) At least Neal and I had plenty of company on the ride (thanks Lezlie and Adam).
When we got to Beaumont, we checked in and got to find out which heats we were in. Luckily for me, I was put in a heat with Adrian Sanders (one tough chick from CrossFit Houston). It's always good to be put in a heat with a top competitor because it pushes you to be your very best. I was also pretty excited that all the other CF Katy athletes were in different heats so I got a chance to watch everybody perform. The day consisted of three WOD's with no eliminations. Points were awarded to athletes according to how they finished. (First place gets one point, second gets two, etc.) At the end of the day, the athlete with the fewest points wins it all!
WOD #1 looked like this:
5 Rounds of
5 Ground to Overhead (75#)
25 meter Overhead Carry (75#)
It looked simple enough but those overhead carries got pretty crappy pretty fast! Anything overhead is always a problem for me because it emphasizes my lack of mobility in my shoulders. I have very limited range of motion and to overcome that, I compensate by arching my back to stabilize the weight overhead. Yes I know....NOT a good idea! I desperately need to improve my mobility and I am working on it, though relatively half-heartedly lately. But I know that if I want to improve as an athlete it must be done! Anyway, I finished the workout second in my heat (right behind Adrian) and ended up second overall after the first WOD.

WOD #2 was
4 minutes to find your Max Clean then one max set of pull ups (for every pull up, two pounds is added to your clean weight)
Pull ups aren't my best CrossFit skill but I LOVE the clean. For an early birthday present, Neal bought me a pair of sweet Pendlay 2010 Weightlifting shoes and yesterday I got to try them out for the first time! I PR's with 175lb clean....AWESOME! I actually got under 180lbs but couldn't stand up with it. Looks like I'll be working on my front squat in the near future! I only got 15 pull ups so I wasn't too happy about that but my clean weight was still enough to put me in first place for that event.
After the first two WODS I was sitting in first place but only by 4 points! If I wanted to keep that position, I was going to have to book it in WOD #3.

WOD #3 consisted of
Deadlifts at 135#
Kettlebell Swings
For some reason, the deadlift has been giving me some serious trouble ever since I maxed at the BCS Games in College Station and my burpees haven't been that great lately either, but the weight was really light for me so I was pretty confident that I could rip through this workout pretty quickly. I think there's this unwritten CrossFit rule that the easier a workout looks, the harder it is because this workout gassed me! My burpees were slow and that set of 20 deadlifts was tough! I definitely need to work on more lightweight, high rep metcons because I barely made it out of this WOD in the top 4!

Amazingly enough, even with my slower performance in WOD #3, I managed to squeak out a #1 finish! After all was said and done, I won the CrossFit Showdown at Beaumont by ONE point...right behind Adrian! It was awesome! Neil Riley and the whole crew at CF Beaumont put on a great competition and all of the athletes did an incredible job. Special congrats go out to my CF Katy crew. Teresa and Lezlie both finished in the top ten! Michelle competed in her first ever CrossFit Event and did a great job! She even got a new PR in her clean! As for the guys, Ed cranked it out in another tough comp and Adam H. made the top ten in his first individual competition. But I have to say I'm most proud of Neal for taking 6th place and getting a PR in his squat clean by 15lbs! This was his best finish in a CrossFit competition and I am so proud of him!

As for me, I had a blast, revealed some weaknesses and some strengths and am newly motivated to kick butt in my future competitions. The next one on the books for me is the All Cities Open at Dallas CrossFit Central on December 11th and it's going to be epic! All the top competitors will be there and I can't wait to see how I stack up against the best!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Barbells for Boobs!

Yesterday, Neal and I traveled over to Bayou City CrossFit to participate in Barbells for Boobs, a fundraising event for Mammograms in Action. The workout was Amazing "Grace" which, for anybody not in the CrossFit community, is 30 clean and jerks at 95 lbs (for standard girls) for time. The event was great and ran so smoothly. In true CrossFit fashion, there were multiple categories so everyone could participate no matter what your level of fitness and I was inspired, as always, by the strength and determination of all the athletes participating especially the beginners. I had gone into the workout knowing that my best Grace time was 3:05 so I had decided to shoot for a sub-three minute Grace. It's amazing what the energy of a good crowd of CrossFitters can do for an athlete because I flew threw the first 15 clean and jerks and ended up finishing with a time of 2:23! Neal was in the 3rd heat so I got to watch him tackle Grace after my round was up. The last time he had done Grace, he got a time of 3:12 so he was also going for a sub-three minute time. The clock started and he did awesome, finishing his 30 clean and jerks in 2:44! All in all it was another awesome Saturday of weekend...the CrossFit Beaumont Showdown!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Oktoberfest Obliteration II

What a weekend! A few months ago, I decided that I didn't think I was going to be ready physically and mentally to take on the individual competition at Oktoberfest Obliteration II. Rumor had it that Matt Munson could put together some pretty mean workouts and I didn't know if I was going to be able to handle them. I had been taking the summer easy and hadn't really started reving up my workouts till early September so instead of stressing out wondering if I'd be ready for the individual competition, I decided to sign up for the team comp instead. Now team competitions are no walk in the park, mind you! I don't want people to get the wrong idea here. Team competitions are tough stuff BUT the difference is you have your teammates to help shoulder the load. You can lean on and support each other which makes the team competitions less mentally challenging for me. So this past weekend myself, Brittany, Neal, David F., and Adam H. went toe to toe with some of the best teams in Texas at CrossFit Champions' Oktoberfest Obliteration II and it was a blast. The rules of the comp stated that you could have three guys and one girls perform each workout so I sat out the first workout and watched my teammates haul a bunch of heavy junk (including a 200lb pipe!) all over the CrossFit Champions property! (For full details on the workouts go to the CF Champions Website) The second workout wasn't until 3pm so I had a whole day to cheer on the other CrossFit Katy athletes, hang out with old CrossFit friends, make new ones and generally just have an awesome Saturday! My team was in the first heat for WOD #2 which matched us up against some heavy hitters like the crew from CrossFit West Houston but we did our best and ended up 3rd in our heat. My team finished 9th overall which I wasn't super thrilled about (I hate not winning!) but I had a complete blast and would definitely participate in another team competition. I love CrossFit weekends! There really is nothing better than hanging out with an awesome group of people while getting in some killer workouts. I'm gearing up now for the CrossFit Beaumont Showdown on October 23rd and I can't wait! Hopefully by then my abs will have recovered from those evil GHD situps! ;-)