Helen Plus

Wednesday night, we did a long version of the “Helen” workout: four rounds (Helen is normally only three rounds) of:
Run 400 meters
21 kettlebell swings (16 kg for me)
12 pull-ups
Doing “Helen,” you can win a T-shirt for if you finish in under 10 minutes. This time, the rules were the same–you got a T-shirt if you finished the first three rounds in under 10. My previous two attempts at Helen took me 11:16 and 10:54. For this one, the first three rounds took me 10:20. No T-shirt yet!
I did the 12 pull-ups in the first two rounds, and all the KB swings, in unbroken sets. I’m not sure I’d ever done two sets of 12 pull-ups unbroken before. But the runs were as hard as ever. The first one typically goes fine. During the second one, I get a cramp, which never quite goes away during the other drills. Then in the third run, I have such a cramp that I have to bend over and shuffle along as best I can, maintaining a painful jog. That slowness and pain are what is preventing me from getting the sub-10.
Given all that, the worst part of Thursday’s workout was the gratuitous fourth round. I walked for some of the run and I practically crawled in to start the kettlebell swings. It was partly psychological, knowing the Helen workout “really” has only three rounds. I was happy with shaving 34 seconds off my first three rounds and didn’t care about the fourth, because I was still suffering with the side cramps and hated to run around the building again.
Dave, our coach, said to Tom that he added an extra round because fatigue is a good way to process grief (over losing our other Dave this week). I know fatigue makes it harder to control emotions, but I’m not sure if that applies when it’s intense-workout fatigue. Working out is more of a distraction that brings me right into the moment regardless what’s on my mind when I arrive.