Catching up

My last post was on June 7! I have no idea what I did between then and June 15.

Sunday June 15: back squats up to 3 x 5 at 190 lbs.


But before I back squatted, I tried the old RKC snatch test, the version I took in August 2009: 100 snatches at 16 kg in under five minutes. I used the clock to help me make sure I did 20 or more per minute, and I finished at 4:28 with 15 reps in that final 28 seconds. I had hit 50 reps at 2:00. This was really gratifying! But it about killed me! My glutes didn’t know what hit them. I was afraid to lie on the floor or sit down for fear I would not be able to extend my hips one more time to stand up.

I waited a while before doing the squats. When I started on them, I got out of breath and tired on my first set — with the empty bar. I rested a lot between sets and felt normal by the end — normal for heavy squats, that is.

Monday June 16: bench press up to 115. I wanted to do several sets of five, but after all those snatches and squats I was too tired. My sets were 4, 4, 2+3, and 3+3. The ones with the + mean I did not get off the bench but only rested 30 seconds or so to break the set.


Thursday June 19: weighted pull-ups. We were doing them more as stunts than as a workout during the 5:30 PM class, doing one and then making it heavier. I did manage to do one full pull-up with the 24 kg kettlebell attached to me, to the astonishment of the men and to my tremendous satisfaction. Perry got it on video.

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Saturday June 21: karate.

Tuesday: Front squats up to 2 x 5 at 155. I wanted to do that day’s workout too, but I have a cut on my ring finger from Sunday night the 22nd that was still easily aggravated on Tuesday evening.

Yesterday, Weds. June 25: karate class with sensei Aleeta. I’m slowly getting better at a lot of things though I wouldn’t say I’m good at anything. I like practicing under supervision.

Today, Thursday, June 26: Shoulder press to 82 lbs. I managed one set of five unbroken, which was my goal, then did 3 smaller sets not to failure for a total of 18 reps. This is towards my June goal of pressing 100 lbs for 1 rep. I may attempt that on July 1 or 2.


Sunny Monday

Shoulder press 1 rep max benchmark testing: I got a PR at 97! Then a WOD of:

25′ lunges and 20 mountain climbers (L+R=1), AMRAP 10 minutes, I got 7 even.

Three minutes rest, then three sets max pull-ups: two sets strict, one kipping. I got 9 and 6 strict, then only 6 kipping… I lost my strong “back” pull after rep 6 so I didn’t continue trying to yank myself up with my arms.

I did lots of heavy yard work (digging up stuff off of a slope) the past three days in a row as well as many other days in the past month, and have been doing karate, and whatever else I’ve blogged here, CrossFit-wise. I weigh about 5 pounds more than I should and the fit of some of my clothing shows it, but I feel great and am happy with how I’m doing fitness-wise.

Squats in 5 minutes again

Last Sunday I tried again on the “how many bodyweight squats can you do in five minutes” experiment. I decided to pace myself and try to get more reps at the end instead of at the beginning. I did 10, 10, 10, 11, 12 on the minute for a total of 53 — five more than last week. I also practiced karate, rowed 500m, and did five sets of five toes to bar as my very last thing. I had absolutely no ability to string them together at that point. I can string a few only when I’m really fresh — so it never does me any good during a workout (or after). In this case the squats had taken it all out of me. In the squats, it was the cardio discomfort that made me end each set, not core or leg fatigue, as far as I could tell.

At karate on Saturday — I walked there and back, and it was a great walk — I sparred for the first time. It was in a very limited way, but I did lots of blocking and punching. I can’t really punch at a correct distance or evade properly, but I did well with blocking and I have a large bruise on the outside of my left forearm from it. Or maybe that means I did poorly. Anyway, I blocked punches. I had not wanted to spar at all and dreaded it (because I’m a control freak). But Tracey eased us into it by first doing a line formation about three times, where we took turns doing one punch and one block-and-counter. Then she paired us up for two little matches. I loved the constant movement, the interaction, and the sweatiness of it.

A photo was taken of me in my orange belt and Kim told me to pose with a punch. As soon as I saw the photo I spotted at least four things wrong with it! So I’ve been practicing those details.

Yesterday: bench press PR. Two sets of five at 118 lbs.

Today: front squats. With 70% of your five-rep max, do 15-12-9 reps. I used 108 and it was moderately challenging. Nothing like 53 at 135 in five minutes… Then we had a WOD of dumbbell step-ups (2 x 25 lbs), V-ups, wallball (14 lbs) for 21-15-9. I used a 12-inch box (weighted step-ups make me very nervous) and it took me 7:19 if I recall correctly. I worked out with Carla and Jeff O. It was fun.


Deadlift, squat, press, WOD

Monday, March 10 (morning), deadlifted up to 215 x 5. Monday night: karate.

Tuesday, March 11 (afternoon), back squat up to 175 x 3, 5, 5. After deadlifting the previous day, my low back was sore and I felt stiff and very cautious, even though I was warmed up. That’s why I stopped after 3 on what was supposed to be the first set of 5. I rested and when I went back, it felt a lot more solid.
(Afternoon) WOD: 5 rounds for time of
12 front squats
Run 250m
12 kettlebell snatch 12 kg
Time: 12:56
As always from WODs with running, I was very tired for about 50 minutes afterward. I was tired from the squats and previous deadlifts until Thursday. On Wednesday I was in the gym 8 hours but wasn’t particularly active.

Thursday, March 13 (late morning): shoulder press 1 rep max test. 33 x 2 x 5, 55 x 5, 75 x 3, 85 x 1, 90 x 1, 92 x 1, 93 x 1, 94 (missed), 94 x 1, 95 x 1. Time was up; Kyle’s noon class was about to start. This 95 matched my PR from March 2008. It went up veeeerrrrry slowly. This is 71 percent of my weight. I rested a lot in between attempts, did 1 push-up, waited about 20 seconds, and then attempted my next lift.

Today, Friday March 14: bike ride 90 minutes around Beacon Hill. I saw five bald eagles in the sky at once, hovering on and off against the wind as if they were kites someone was flying. Tonight Dana is treating me to a ballet performance on an extra ticket he has. I feel so privileged.

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I’ve been so susceptible to anxiety lately — possibly I made a habit of overreacting to stress. I’m trying to remember and influence my own thinking: Just because several bad things have happened, doesn’t mean you can’t possibly be in a good mood. Of the several bad things, not all are as bad as each other. Potential financial setbacks, potential upheaval of things I’d like to be solid, being forced to take responsibility for things that I could not have prevented: None of these are life or health threatening, except to the extent the stress gets to me.

Squat and bench

Today: “pause squats” up to 3 x 5 at 135 lbs. My right knee has given me a pain on a certain extension range, such as on the way up out of a lunge or stepping up onto a box. I feel it just a tiny bit when squatting. Pause squats let me go slowly and focus on sitting back, and are challenging without being as heavy, so they are fun and hopefully useful.

Next I bench pressed with spotting from George, up to 3 x 5 at 110, which is a PR. My sets were 5 reps at 65, 75, 95, 105, 110, 110, 110. The final sets were not as hard as I expected and I think this is because I did fewer warm-up sets and was less fatigued.

Finishing the Lurong Challenge

Tom and I and Kyle and Margaret and … a few others waited until the last minute to complete our final Lurong Challenge workout: 100 burpees and 100 kettlebell swings for time. You could break them up any way you wanted. I finished in 11:46 which I was really pleased with, considering I didn’t finish within the 12 minutes the first time. Let’s see how I ranked in this challenge, which lists about 9900 participants in the roster:

Overall I rank 2807
Among all Masters Women (age 40-49; I’m 49) I rank 460 out of 1426
The following rankings are among all Masters Women working at Level III:
WOD 1, 259 out of 729 (wallball/deadlift/box jump)
WOD 2, 194 out of 570 (burpee/kettlebell swing)
WOD 3, 152 out of 204 (sprints/cleans)
WOD 4, 66 out of 238 (thrusters/toes to bar)
WOD 5, 35 out of 110 (snatch/pull-up/box jump/KB swing/box jump/pull-up/snatch)
WOD 6, 22 out of 52 (cleans and ring dips)
WOD 7, 27 out of 38 (burpee/FS/pushpress/farmerwalk)
WOD 8, 324 out of 526 (repeat WOD 1; I took 10 seconds off my time but ranked lower)
WOD 9, 112 out of 405 (repeat WOD 2; I did well because 3 people were driving me!)
WOD 10, 104 out of 138 (repeat WOD 3)

CrossFit Total today

Squat 230 (new PR)
Press 90
Deadlift 240
Total 560 (Past CrossFit Total results)
I didn’t sleep well last night and had had a stomach bug about a day to a day and a half earlier. But my squats went well despite feeling somehow strange, as if I were in danger of forgetting what I was doing in the middle of doing it. When I do heavy squats, I seem to be able to tell whether or not I’ll be able to lift it by how the trip down goes. If I get to the bottom and feel tight and controlled, then I find myself thinking, “Oh good, now all I have to do is stand it back up.” As if that’s the easy part, which it isn’t.

I feel good about pressing 90 today. It is only five pounds off from my PR of 95 years ago and I haven’t been pressing lately except in my rings workouts.

After my 260 deadlift recently, I took for granted that I’d be able to do 260 again and it was going to be my first attempt. I hoped to end on about 265. But warming up, when I hit 235, I failed and thought I’m in trouble! So my first attempt was 240. I hoped to get 250 then 262. The 240 was really hard. When it was time to lift 250, I knew it was going to be extremely hard. I think it was the hardest deadlift, for effort and focus, that I’ve ever done. It came halfway up my shins and I felt, this is not optional, you HAVE to finish this lift, there is no other choice. I ground it out. I heard myself growl and scream and finished the lift — then I forgot myself and I dropped it! So I can feel good about having finished that lift, but I didn’t get credit for it as part of the total. I then tried 262 and could not lift it more than half an inch. I was using my belt the whole time since my final warm-up.

This deadlift was a good experience! It was the first time I made such a hard effort that I forgot the next thing I needed to focus on — lowering the weight. Today was my second-heaviest total (May 2008 was heavier) by 6 lbs. If I had not dropped that 250, today instead would have been heavier by 4 lbs. Curses!

230 pounds


250 pounds

Thursday night I did some long crazy WOD of 25 kettlebell swings (16 kg), 20 box jumps (20″, first round I did 3 too many), 15 pull-ups, 10 toes to bar, 4 rounds. My time was 18:27. So slow because I can’t string together the toes to bar.

Deadlift PR, double body weight

After lifting 240 on Friday and failing at 245, I ordered a cheap velcro 4″ lifting belt. Yesterday (Wednesday) I tried rack pulls for the first time. I set the barbell two inches below my kneecaps. I started warming up with 115 as I usually do. My final warm-up lift was a single at 220# for which I put on the belt. I lifted one each at 235, 245, 250, and then two from the rack at 260, all with the belt on of course. On my second pull of 260, I stepped back from the rack and dropped the bar on the floor. I knew I was going to be able to lift it, so I indulged myself and set up my camera.

I’ve been wanting to lift 260 (twice my normal bodyweight) since early 2008. I should have tried the belt a long time ago. Also I should have worn a cuter outfit. Vanity compels me to add that I had shorts on under these baggy pants, and this is probably the least flattering T-shirt I own. Here’s my lift.

Lurong performance WOD 5 and deadlift, etc

Lurong Paleo Challenge Performance WOD 5 of 5:

Women’s Rx- 25 Calorie Row, 100 Double Unders, 80 Kettle Bell Swings at 35 lbs, 100 Air Squats, 60 Push Ups, 100 Double Unders, 40 AbMat Situps, 100 Walking Lunges, 20 Burpees. AMRAP 25 minutes.

I got part way through the walking lunges for total reps of 561. I got a really slow start and was slow and winded on the first three things. I’d had a migraine for two days and was banged up from two days earlier’s MovNat workout. I did pick up speed by the time I got to the second round of jumprope. My score overall right now based on all three benchmark WODs plus all 5 performance WODs is 2nd in my region and division; 15th in my division overall out of more than 500 women.

Today I deadlifted up to 10 reps at 204 for a calculated 1 rep max of 274. I’m proud of this, it was hard and made me lightheaded between some of the lifts. I did 1 and stopped; 1 and stopped; 1 and stopped; 2 and stopped; 2 and stopped; 3 and was done. When I stopped it was only to get down and wait for the lightheadedness to go away. I’ve got to make a plan for when to try the 260 that I want to lift for one time as an all time PR. That will be double my usual body weight.

I also did a bunch of MovNat related stuff today including a “transitions” routine I’m trying to figure out and smooth out. I have a video I should put here.

I couldn’t do a muscle-up today  but I made a bunch of tries. I also worked on skin the cats and lots of rolls and run-and-roll.