Saturday, August 28, 2010

Weightlifting and a WOD

These are some excerps from the blog I just posted on the Tribe site so if you're following both you can skip this! But I know my Mom reads "Lory's Adventures" so this is more for her. :)

Never in a million years did I think that when I was 24 years old I would compete in a weightlifting competition.

Nevertheless, when I saw the announcement come up on Crossfit Austin's home page that OlyAthlete was hosting a competition in Austin, the idea of entering bounced around in my head for awhile. I've been working on the snatch and clean and jerk for about three months now and have seen huge gains. During the I AM CROSSFIT challenge, everyone winced when I did 65# hang cleans because the weight would come crashing down on my collarbone and I had no idea what the technique was behind a clean. Now, hang cleans are one of my favorite movements to do!

But I didn't have the confidence to sign up until I jumped into a class at Defiant Crossfit with Heather Hodges and Keith Minikus. Heather has this infectious personality that makes you smile just being around her. I've never had a coach believe in me the way that she did right off the bat. After class she immediately said to me, "You're competing in Sectionals next year, right?" I was like, Yes... I love you? Then Keith's knowledge just resonates as he walks among the lifting platforms, correcting forms as he goes. I found out today that he is among the top 20 in the country and will be competing in Nationals to go on to the Olympic Trials and hopefully the Olympics. When I heard that the coaches of Defiant were entering as a team and Heather continued to urge me to sign up the next morning, I figured, why not? I've spent this whole summer with the Tribe trying out new things so I might as well try this event out.

Big thanks to Annie, Jess K and Linds who listened to me over email all day on Friday freaking out- random questions such as, why in the world did I just do this to myself, and does anyone know how to convert pounds to kilos?? and what do I even wear?? were among the chain flying back and forth. Then I got a great pep up talk from Bonita and the Tribe at Happy Hour which definitely helped put my mind to rest.

When I arrived at CrossFit Austin today, I recognized Dutch Lowy among a group of guys and was like, I have to lift in front of Dutch?! Jon had told me that he and Bonita were on their way over and I hurriedly sent them a frenzied text, "I am the only girl here and I am FREAKING OUT." ha, It's great to have the friends that I do because they put up with all of my crazy rants and outbursts. After sitting around not knowing anyone, they proceeded to do the weigh in and we were told we would be starting in 20 minutes. Some people left to eat (how did they not throw up??) while I proceeded to warm up doing the standard 10 air squats, 10 push ups, 10 rotations along with a run and some lifts. Someone came up to me half way through and was like, "You're Lory, right? You're first to lift." Holy moly... Thank goodness that was when Bonita and Jon arrived and they talked me through my nerves. Bonita is pretty much the most awesome person I know. I'm calling dibs on being her protegy because she was able to just look at me and be like, "Lory, you can do this. It's all for experience, you're just going to do what you know how to and learn as much as you can. Keep breathing and everything will be fine." Words of wisdom, right there.

Then it began. They lined us up in order of what weight we were about to lift and introduced us. I still had no idea what was going on and turned to the guy next to me and said, "So when they call my name do I have to do a bio?" I fully expected having to say where I was from, age, favorite food, best PR, favorite color, ha ha you know, the usual. But you just give a little wave, for all those out there who are interested in competing next time- don't do a bow. It's not necessary. :)

65 pounds is 30 kilos and that's what I started with for the snatch but I scratched on my first attempt. Nerves. Seriously, they had like four rows of chairs and all these people just staring at you and who knows what they're thinking? I looked at the floor, or at my little cheer section. Jess's cheer of "Go Lory!" helped SO much before my second lift because it helped ease the tension a little bit. I made the second lift at 65# and tried for 75# on my third attempt but even though I got it up, it didn't count because I pressed it out. Keith was last to go on snatch and I got goosebumps watching his lift because it was SO cool and looked so effortless. Light weight, baby! (It was probably 200+ pounds)

There were more supporters that showed before my clean and jerk round- seriously guys, thank you SO much for being there! Myriam, Sally, Cindy, and Linda all showed up and we discussed how different this event was compared to any crossfit competition that we've seen. I knew more what to expect with the second round, and I had Keith in front of me as a judge and just felt more comfortable overall. I had to fight to get my first attempt of 95# up but made it and hit 105# as well. But I scratched on the third attempt of 115# which had to do with getting under the bar faster and faster elbows as well. Here's a tidbit for the newbies- you don't have to do a full squat for snatch or clean and jerk! I had no idea! If you get it up, it's up, no full squat necessary. I also learned some breathing techniques from the athletes that were competing, as in holding your breath during a lift to tighten your whole body. It's just amazing to watch how fast some of these people drop, definitely something I aspire to do.

After the clean and jerk round was a 10 min amrap of 5 95# thrusters, 10 burpees, and 20 double unders. I knew that 95# thrusters was going to be pretty heavy for me- I'm more used to 65#. I could only laugh at that point, knowing that this whole thing has just been for fun and to learn more, so when I was struggling to get the bar up, it wasn't that big of a deal. I was looking forward to the burpees!

All in all, a HUGE thank you to all that came out and helped me! I would have been lost without you :) Overall, I'm super happy I tried it out and if you ask me how it went I'll probably just laugh and say I have a lot to work on.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


About a month ago a bunch of articles came out in the CrossFit blog-o-sphere about scaling and the correct way to do it. CrossFit Austin wrote a great post that Mel highlighted in her blog (and because she did I'm sure all of you already read it). I've always been in the mindset to always go heavier in a workout, regardless of what you think you can do. But Coach Crystal has called me out on this a number of times, trying to make me understand that range of motion is more important that what weight you're using. But I'm stubborn and think that as long as I'm not hurting myself, or anywhere near injuring myself, it's always better to reach for those heavy dumbbells or weighted bar.

If I were a trainer, Jon over at Barbells and Bacon would probably describe me as a horrible coach. He recently posted an example of how to coach people:
“Today we are doing Helen. 3 Rounds of run 400 21 KB swings 12 pull ups. Goal time is between 8 and 12 minutes. If this workout takes you more than 15 minutes, you did not scale correctly. The weight of the KB and the type of pullup should be based on you doing the first round almost unbroken. We do not want to see sets of 1 and 2 in the first round”.

I remember the days of yelling (okay, not yelling...) at Jess K for grabbing a rubber band when she could crank out one kipping pull up. Even though she didn't know yet how to string them together, I thought she should be off the band for good. But Jon says no. I understand the different energy cycles a great programmed wod should hit depending on how long effort is exerted but sometimes I wonder, to really get stronger, shouldn't I go heavy all the time? Regardless of how long it takes? It's definitely a conflict that is largely discussed on the crossfit message boards as well.

I have no qualms with scaling either. If I can't do the weight or if I'm feeling tired and not able to bust out 100% effort, then by all means, I'm going to scale. Scaling is good - it builds strength in the beginner athlete and especially builds confidence at the early stages of crossfit. I loved looking forward to the next step of doing "Angie" as prescribed, first going up to all 100 reps, then push ups on toes, then kipping pull ups.

Plus, once you get to a certain level of craziness, it's always fun to scale up!