Monday, January 25, 2010

Gearing up for Sectionals: The OPT Challenge

I was happy because I was done with 50 chest to bar pull-ups and 50 burpees; I wasn't smiling as I tried to take a shower an hour later (top). The workouts and our results (bottom).

Gearing up for Sectionals

Competition has paid me a visit and I can't shake it. At night I wake up after falling from the rings in my dreams, doing muscle-ups like they were nothing. Videos of crossfit women, games competitors, Olympic lifters, and badass athletes stream on my MAC for inspiration. My toolbar bookmarks are crossfit affiliates, Robb Wolf, crossfit blogs, world news, crossfit games, and the Daily Show (gotta have some humor). My goals are taped to the wall by my door so I can physically see them each morning. Today, the countdown on my calendar is at 47 days until sectionals. It is almost too much time to wait, yet I want more time to get stronger before I see Drake Stadium.

Saturday was a good test as I gear up for Sectionals. Come high noon at Crossfit Ventura, six local crossfitters, Colin Jenkins, Matt Major, Traver Boehm, Craig Wobig, Mindith Rahmat, and I competed in the "OPT" James Fitzgerald Online Challenge. James Fitzgerald, winner of the inaugural crossfit games and a super-cool Canadian chap, programmed the workouts. This was the third "challenge" in a series of (3-4). We were to complete 3 workouts, programmed by OPT, within a five hour time limit, submit videos of ourselves completing the workouts to his website for review, and then wait to be compared to other crossfitters from all over the US and Canada.

The day went better than I thought it would. The first event was 3 attempts at 15 reps of the maximum weight that you could do for overhead squats. The standard for women was 65% of body weight. For me that standard would be 80#. Being as I had never done any lift at 15 reps before, it was hard to gauge where to start. I ended up succeeding at 60# on my third attempt. In the wide spectrum of things, strength is my biggest weakness and compared to other women this is not an impressive number. However, only about seven months ago I was using a PVC pipe with 5 pounds hanging from it for overhead squats. Thus, I am stoked about 60#.

Post-lifting, the day got interesting. The next event was the following: Complete a 2000 meter row and do as many double unders as possible in 10 minutes. The standard for women was 8:00 on the row. My previous best time was 8:02.9. For this event I focused as best I could on keeping a good pace and attempting to meet the standard. For those of you that don't know, I think crossfit HQ guy, Tony Budding, said it best when describing the rower: "this is a machine that is very effective in absolutely wrecking human beings." With 500 meters left to row, I could hear this refrain in my mind (too much crossfit games t.v.!). Closing my eyes, I pulled, grunted, and SCREAMED my way to the end of 2k. I finished at 7:51.5. But I wasn't done. I half-crawled and limped to my rope and somehow completed 55 double-unders before 10 minutes had expired. Ouch.

An hour later, Mindith and I started the last event: 50 chest to bar pull-ups and 50 burpees as fast as possible. This workout terrified me. The last time I did a pull-up workout was not pretty. 100 regular kipping pull-ups (just chin over the bar) for time took me 12:30; I can still remember how much that workout destroyed me mentally. The women's standard for this workout was 8 minutes. My goal was to complete it in under 20 minutes. Before the clock started, I warmed up with 3 chest to bar pull-ups. It was hard. The clock started. Somehow though, through blood, bruised chests, and screams, Mindith and I pull-upped and burpeed our way to sub-8 minute times. Mindith did her final burpee around 7:10, and, thank God for everyone counting, I completed the workout at 7:39.

Just six weeks away from sectionals and I am already visualizing myself doing MY best at Drake Stadium. Saturday gave me a little confidence. The weekend made me believe that I may have a chance to make Regionals if I give it my all at UCLA. But there is still so much work to be done. Each day I will try to lift more, use better form, and be a better version of me. Sectionals, here I come!

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Monday, January 18, 2010

I'll be the Judge of That!

I am not usually the type that judges people all day, but this weekend that was my task. Judging did not entail what to, or not to wear, although there was quite a bit of fashion to be had; what I was responsible for was counting reps and making sure athletes who were competing in the Crossfit Ventura affiliate team challenge were adhering to standards.

Although I was a little disappointed to not be participating as an athlete, I was looking forward to seeing my friends compete. But with the responsibility of judging came nervousness and anxiousness; I didn't want to be too serious and make anyone feel jilted. Contrary to what I predicted, I was quickly reminded of why I love coaching/ being on the spectator side of a competition so much.

"Judging" gradually deteriorated into an encounter with heart, humor (bunches!), and humanity. As the day progressed, my nervousness faded to excitement and at the onset of each event I began to think how fun it was to, for once, not be competing. By the end of the day I was having such a spectacular time that I told a fellow crossfitter that if we ever had a competition like this again, "I'd be the judge of that!"

Some favorite memories:
Ben's national anthem...CRAP...take two.
Team Shenanigans and their uniforms. Well played Shenanigans!
The red shorts. Thanks Crossley.
Team handstands. Colin judging the handstands. Enough said.
Team muscles ups. Great job CPC; I don't think I have ever laughed as hard as when I saw Kate being thrown into the air by Fielding and Baker...until I saw Hogans in the helmet!
Hogans' helmet.
The camaraderie and cheering.
Paradiso's team name: "Clock Blockers." Brilliant.
Dogs wrestling.
Seeing old friends (shout out to Stephanie and Lynette!).
Amber's adorable children.
BJ's Brewery with CFV and the pzookie.

Thanks for putting on another awesome event CFV!

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Open Mic

Open microphone (mic) night at the local coffee shop may be worse to experience than karaoke with drunken strangers. But, alas, here I go subjecting you to my own open mic. I know it is a little new age and eccentric, but writing poetry is a little chocolate for my consciousness. Endure. Enjoy.


In a Breath



It is still winter.

The sun dips low beyond the horizon and falls off into the opaque grayness of the Pacific Ocean.

I rush to catch it, but miss once again knowing that night is creeping in.

Darkness feeds my cynicism and sneaks into my heart.

Still as the great white before the feast, I scan the blackness for an opening.

Where can I run to and hide?

Who will show me the way?

Which way am I going?

Clambering for help, I reach for a shred of light.

Fingertips extended, hoping for a break from confusion and longing

I see it

A glittering sliver of shimmer in the distance

Rushing now, breath shortening, legs tiring

Reaching exhaustion

Anticipation mounting

It is here

I touch silvery salvation

Is it a hiding place?

Is it morning?

Is it light?

Is it someone to help?

Clear, smooth, forgiving, but also reflective and knowing…

It is…

a mirror.

It is me.


Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Coming of the Games

Crossfit Ventura crew with CrossFit founder Caoch Greg Galssman
(L to R: Jaala, Brandon Brooks, Coach Glassman, Matt Major, Faith Reynado, Colin Jenkins, Bill Huffman)

The Coming of the Games

In July of 2009, I, along with many of my friends from crossfit Ventura, attended the Crossfit Games in Aromas, California. On the dusty hill where the events took place, we witnessed amazing feats of athleticism, strength, determination, and heart. Seeing mothers dead lift over 350 pounds, women who have survived cancer sprint through the hills with sandbags on their shoulders and drive stakes into the ground with sledgehammer in hand and fiery vigor in their eyes, men put weight over their heads far exceeding what they weigh themselves, and all of the competitors doing event after event in extreme heat only to get personal bests on lifts in the end--was amazing. Coming away from the games with anything but a feeling of inspiration was impossible; after seeing what those athletes were capable of, I got a glimmer of hope in my mind that one day I would compete as well.

Almost seven months later, here I am preparing for the first test to see if I have what it takes to make it to the games (Sectionals, March 13/14 at UCLA). Although it is a long shot, although I am not as big, strong, or fast as many of the women who have competed in past games, I am still going for it. Although it seems crazy to put my body through the training necessary to be successful, I am going for it. Although it may be uncomfortable to train alone, to eat clean most of the time, and to be so focused on this goal, I am going for it.

With all of these factors stacked against me, what is it that draws me to compete in the games?

Quite simply, it is the feeling I get each day I do crossfit. I love the competitive spirit it has revived in me; a spirit that I have been missing since my swimming days. Being a crossfitter for the past ten months has transformed me as a person; I now feel as though no goal is out of my reach (crossfit AND life in general) and to shoot for something as high and lofty as the crossfit games, although failure is almost eminent, makes my heart race. And though I may not achieve that which I set out to do, ultimately I will achieve many things along the way which will make me a better crossfitter and person anyway. I am excited to see what happens...

So, when the games arrive in July of 2010 I will be there. Whether I am a competitor or as a spectator, the coming of the games will be spectacular once again!

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