Thursday, March 28, 2013

Crossfit Games 2013 WOD 13.4

A Facebook Status that started out as a joke:
Tomorrow is my Wedding Anniversary and we have no plans. Maybe we should do the 13.4 head to head after it is announced?!?
Turned into one of the most memorable Crossfit Open WODs & Anniversary Celebration thus far.

I half jokingly posted that status on my Digital Mustard's Facebook page and the responses were nothing short of amusing.  People were voicing if they were on Team "Dennis" or Team "Karen" and saying that they would come to the box just to see such an event.  Before I knew it, our Trainers at the Box were more than happy to make the event happen, complete with cupcakes for smashing and champaign for a toast:  O'Donnell vs O'Donnell
The only thing I could now hope for was a WOD that we were both able to do. 
and then this happend:
Both Clean & Jerks at that weight and Toes to Bar were things I was able to do, and not only that, I was quite comfortable with the weight.  With only a little time before the announcement of the WOD and me doing the WOD, my mind wrapped around what I thought I could do.

I knew I was going to struggle on the Toes to Bar and 95lbs was doable, but certainly not "light" for me.  I decided that making it through the 6's was a challenging, yet reachable goal. 

After a fun little photo session, Dennis and I were ready to go.  The first round, the C&J's were not a problem at all.  If I had to do the T2B one at a time, that was how I was going to do them, but I surprised myself and banged out 3 in a row, completing the first round in under 30 seconds.  Amazing pace!

Then the weight of the bar settled in.  It was heavy.  I struggled, but I got them done, stringing them together as best as possible.  Then back to the T2B.  Got 1, got 2, then it was "no rep" city.  I must have gotten no repped 4 or so times before I could get in a good rep.  I finally finished out the T2B, looked at the clock and thought, holy shit we are already 5 minutes into a 7 minute WOD.  My 2nd round was obviously a bit slower than my first. 

I got back to the bar, failed an attempt, but some how got my 9 in and snuck in 2 last T2Bs, giving me a final score of 29.  Which, I'm honestly not that upset about.  Here are my helpful tips for those of you that haven't gone yet:

Tip #1:  Make sure you talk to your judge before the WOD about no repping the C&J's.  I made sure that I heard my judge count my rep before I released the bar.  I didn't care if it took an extra secound or so, I wanted to make sure the rep was good and counted for. 

Tip #2:  If possible, don't drop the bar from overhead.  I didn't drop on the first round, but as I got tired in the 2nd, I did that and I found that once my hands were off the bar, it took me a while to set back up.  3rd round, I'll let it slide if you drop. 

Tip #3:  Save your Arms.  User your hips for the clean, and your legs/hips for the Jerk.  Split Jerk if you have to, but SAVE YOUR ARMS!  You need those suckers for the T2B!

Tip #4:  Shake out your arms before the T2B.  I was such in a rush to get to them, I went, unprepared, and got lots fo no reps.  I was litteraly a papers width away from the bar each time, but just couldn't get them to touch.  Once I relaxed and shook out my arms, I was able to get better reps.

Tip #5:  Embrace the WOD.  Clean and Jerk is one of my FAVORITE Crossfit WODs.  I always feel so empowered after doing them and I think they are fun.  Embrace it!!

Overall I was happy with my performance and after reflecting on the WOD I am happy that I can sometimes very well keep my expectations and predictions close to the reality of my capibilities.  But guess what, I'm 100% doing this sucker again!! 

So I may not have won the head to head challenging with my husband of 3 years on WOD 13.4, BUT I certainly won the cupcake smashing!! 


Monday, March 25, 2013

Crossfit Games 2013 WOD 13.3

What's in a Name?
In Greek, the name Karen means- pure. 
In Crossfit, the name Karen means - pure hell. 
ok nobody's hais looks that good doing Karen!
As long as I can remember, I would avoid this WOD like no other.  I hate the workout out (150 wall balls for time) and I hated even more that it shares my name. 
So last year, when the 12.4 Open WOD was announced, you could just imagine my lack of joy.  At the time I was secretly pregnant (only me, Dennis, and Trainer Evan knew it at the time) but from what I'm reading in my blog, I was in really good shape:
"I started off really well, I was breaking the wall balls into sets first 15s, another 15, then 10s and then 5s until I FINALLY got to 150. With only seconds left I got 1 double under and I was done."  Full Post Here
When Wednesday rolled around and 13.3 was announced, I was pretty much infuriated.  It was the same WOD:
12 Minute AMRAP
150 Wall Balls (14lbs, 9ft Target) a.k.a Karen
90 Double Unders
30 Muscle Ups
I seriously never ever ever ever ever wanted to do this WOD again ever in my life.  But now I had to, and I knew that I wasn't going to be able to measure up to my past self.  in 2012 I got 150 Wall Balls and 1 double under. 
I typically do the WODs on Thursday morning, giving me time to decided if I am going to redo, but I knew I was only going to do this one once, because I hated it so much.  I had the opportunity to do it on Friday night, but I chickened out. 
Before I knew it, it was Sunday and I had no choice but to buck up an get it over with.  I was not happy.  I was so unhappy, multiple people took notice of my demeanor in the box, and when Dennis set the clock to 12 minutes I started to cry. 
I hate when I cry at Crossfit.
I started off with sets of 10, resting without dropping the ball, getting a few rounds of that.  Then, continued with sets of 5, or less as needed.  As the clock ticked on, I got slower and braked longer, and then it was done.
I got 120 reps total, which was a huge disappointment but what did I expect?
Did I expect to go into the WOD with the complete wrong attitude and do well?  Nope, I accepted failure before I even started. 
It's not like I did 120 reps and walked away laughing.  I was winded, I was tired, and I was upset, and of course there were more tears. 
There is nothing more frustrating remembering Karen past and doing worse than her.  I'm supposed to be getting stronger, faster, and leaner than her.  Not slower, weaker, and fatter!  Knowing what I was capable of doing and not performing that way now is simply the worst. 
Things that I've learned:
I need to work on Wall Balls.  They are prob my least favorite Crossfit move.  Which means I don't practice them, and in turn means I'll never get better at them. 
Reading my blog from a year ago is a lot of fun!  Even if it makes me feel like crap sometimes. 
Crossfit support systems are great.  Everybody told me I did a great job and patted me on the back for doing the work out, even if I was greatly disappointed. 
Threatening your husband about "no repping" you works...hahaha just kidding :).  I got no repped about 5 times which really hurts, but it makes you really try hard to make every rep count.  During the WOD I had multiple people come over to remind me to watch my dept, and a coach even gave me advice mid WOD to widen my stance (a constant problem of mine) to increase depth.  I appreciated all of the kind words!! 
I should have done the WOD Thursday and then again Sunday.  I shouldn't be so afraid of this WOD.  It's Karen, I should own this WOD.
13.3 Final Score 120

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Crossfit Games 2013 WOD 13.2 - Second Attempt

After doing 13.2 the first time and then seeing fellow South Mountain Crossfitter's scores, I knew that I wanted to do it again on Sunday.  And....

oops!.....I did it Again.
.....well yes, I did it again.  With positive results.  Thankfully. 

Learning from Thursday, I knew what to do and what not to do.

1. Don't Drop the Bar during the Shoulders to Over Head.

2. Don't Jump, Step up

3. Rest minimally

4. Get more than 5+11 Rounds!!

And I swear to god, after the 3..2..1..Clock went off, I thought to myself, why the heck am I doing this again? 

After that thought passed, I kept focus on what I knew I had to do.  Luckily Lynn was doing the WOD at the same time as me and I had her in my sight.  She was way faster than me on the Shoulders to Overhead, but I used her to pace me on the other movements.  When we overlapped on the box steps, I kept her rhythm, and that for sure kept me at a higher pace.

I again, had an awesome judge.  I let her know to alert me on the 5's so I knew where I was and when I was on my 5th round, I think she was more excited about it than I was.  She didn't let me rest too long and encouraged me the entire time. 

After the longest & shortest 10 minutes of my life (again) I was on the ground sucking air and high fiving my judge.  I improved my score from 161 reps to 199. 

I really really really really wish I got 200.  But then I'd wish I had gotten 201 and so on and so forth, so regardless of me not getting a nice round number, I have to be happy with my 38 rep improvement, right?

Reformed Fatty and I have had many conversations about redoing the Open WODs and I think the mutual consensus was that we would only redo them if they continue to be these shorter WODs that have potential of improvement. 

But again, it is all very situational.

Later that evening I got a text from a former 610er telling me how she had a disappointing experience with her 13.2 redo.  She, like so many other competitors, put too much pressure on herself and literally had a mental break down around minute 4 of the WOD. 

Her coach was able to get her back in the right state of mind to finish out the WOD, and she finished with only 10 less than her 1st attempt.  Think about that for a second. 

I told her that I was sad to hear that she didn't improve her score, but we all have moments of anxiety before a WOD and it's not what defines you as a crossfitter.  What defines you is how you react and respond to those types of situations.   

She could have just walked away, but she didn't and thats the reason why I'm so proud of her, regardless of her score. 

She's never walked away from a WOD, never has, and she never will! 

Congrats to all that survived 13.2!


10 Minute AMRAP

5 Shoulder to Overheads (75lbs)
10 Dead Lifts (75lbs)
15 Box Jumps (20inch)

Final Score:  199 Reps

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Crossfit Games 2013 WOD 13.2

My 13.1 Final Standing

As we all huddled in the office of South Mountain Crossfit waiting for the the 13.2 to be announced, my one only hope was that I would be able to perform the WOD RX'ed.  And my prayers were answered.


10 Minute AMRAP

5 Shoulder to Overheads (75lbs)
10 Dead Lifts (75lbs)
15 Box Jumps (20inch)

My mind immediately went to Crossfit Games 12.3 which (as I read back) felt like I did pretty crappy on.  Which scares me because I was in much better shape back then.  But as always I was ready for the challenge. 

I didn't oversleep this morning which was awesome and was present and accounted for at the 6am.  My Crossfit Games Buddy Brandi was there and I was happy to see that her and I were going to be working together on this WOD.  She really pushes me and apparently I do the same for her.

As we started going through the standards, I started to get worked up about the 75lb Push Presses.  To me, this is a heavy Push Press.  I kept thinking about how hard it was for me to Snatch that weight, and I was hoping that I wouldn't have to "fight" for every rep.  Before my WOD anxiety could completely take over me, I was watching the clock count down....3...2..1...GO. 

How can 10 Minutes seem so short and long at the same time?

My goal going into it was 5 rounds. 2 Minute per Round and anything else would be Icing.  I felt GREAT for the first 3 rounds, keeping myself in the 2 minute per round pace and then things kinda fell apart from there.  As promised, here are my helpful tips:

Tip #1:  Do no drop the bar in between reps for the Shoulder to Overheads.  If you have to rest, rest with the bar on your chest/shoulders.  If you drop the bar, it's a lot of extra work to get it back to your shoulders.  I did that once during my later rounds and it really  made a difference in a bad way. 

Tip #2:  The Dead lift is a light weight, don't blow your load during them, but under no circumstances should you break up the reps.  It's only 10.  And it's light.  Push through. 

Tip #3:  Really think about the box jumps.  I went into it thinking I was going to Jump all my reps.  Until the 3rd round and needed to do the step up technique.  I think this is why I'm most upset about my score.  If I had done the step up / step down technique (among other things) I'm fairly certain my score would be higher by a few reps. 

Tip #4:  Get back on that bar after the Box Jumps.  If you start resting you will waste valuable time.  Rest during the dead lifts (and by that I mean "rest" while doing your deadlifts).  Keep moving, keep moving, keep moving. 

Tip #5:  Don't under estimate your goal.  I HATE to say it, but this blog is where I am completely honest, I think when I got to 5 Rounds, I was like yay now i can just dick around.  Had I set a goal of 6 rounds, I may have moved a tiny bit faster and you bet I was jealous when Brandi beat me by 7 reps!  I assure you I am happy for her because she fought for every one of those Shoulders to Overheads, but I was disappointed in myself for not doing better and/or not striving for 6 rounds.  I believe that 1:30 - 1:45 per round would have been a challenging yet obtainable goal for me, which I simply under estimated. 

Tip #5:  Don't over estimate your goal.  I knew that I needed some type of goal to keep my pace (I honestly think this was a pace WOD rather than strength) and if I had set something like 10 rounds, I would 100% blow my load right in the beginning and be toast for the rest of it. 

Overall it was a good WOD, and I wish everybody the best of luck on it!

10 Minute AMRAP

5 Shoulder to Overheads (75lbs)
10 Dead Lifts (75lbs)
15 Box Jumps (20inch)

Score:  161  (5+11)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Crossfit Games 2013 WOD 13.1 - Second Attempt

With 13.1 in the books at 7am on Thursday morning I had little or no interest in doing the WOD again until a fire got lit under my ass on Friday. 

A fellow Crossfitter used my advise that I had freely dispensed and well, did better than me, and then proceeded me to a friendly challenge. 

So after a good 5 minutes of debate, I accepted the challenge!  (super friendly of course)

Due to Dennis and I's rather busy schedule, Dennis had to do the WOD on Sunday and if time permitted I would do my 2nd attempt.  Something I've never done before. 

I remember last year going to Crossfit King of the Beach and watching former Trainer Mike redo 12.5 and getting LESS reps the 2nd time and thinking how horrible that must feel.  Not something I was (in 2012) ready to gamble.

But with my pride on the line and really nothing to lose, I decided that I would at least try to tie my challenger to level the playing field from here on out. 

So I patiently watched as Johnny, Dennis, Brad, and a few other Crossfitters went through the grueling 17 minutes of pain and as the time went on, I was slowly loosing my nerve to do it again. 


After the 5th Burpee, I had a though.  "Why the HELL am I doing this again?"

I very much tried to keep myself paced at 10 Burpees per minute and I knew that if I didn't beat my first round time from Thursday, it would make or break the redo for me. 

I finished the first set of Burpees and Snatches in 5:57, almost a FULL minute quicker than lats time.

Back to Burpees and I was looking at the 75lb bar with 10 minutes to work, a HUGE improvement from Thursday. 

And then, one at a time, I chipped away at the snatches.  Trying to get at least 2 per minute, and resting when I needed. 

Towards the end I did fail an attempt, which was a sign to me that I was pushing myself and getting to my limit.  When my time expired, I was completely winded but extremely proud of my 12 rep improvement making my final score 124. 

The celebration from my co-Crossfitters was awesome.  Courtney, my judge pushed me at just the right level though out the work out.  Kim and Dennis on the side lines cheering me on and putting every ounce of faith in me that I could do it was great.

And the best quote of the entire day was from Dennis, "and this is why I love the opens." 

As I reflected on my performance, I still couldn't put my finger on why I did so much better the 2nd time around.

Was is because it was mid day on a Sunday vs early morning on Thursday?

Was is because I had done Snatch work Monday, Thursday, and then again on Sunday....did I literally get stronger over the week?

Was is because I felt more pressure to beat Kristin? 


In any case, I think for the rest of the Open I will do the WOD Thursday morning, reflect on the WOD and then do it again on Sundays. 

What are your thoughts on doing each WOD twice?

13.1 Final Score:  124

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Crossfit Games 2013 WOD 13.1

Following suit from last year, I did the first Crossfit Games WOD at 6am this morning.  But MOST of the fun of the games happens the night before when they release the WOD, especially with all the social media.

The Crossfit Games' WODs are released on Wednesday Nights at 8pm followed by facebook status, comments, likes, tweets, and texts. 

We haven't heard from Reformed Fatty in months and last night he was updating his facebook status just about every minute. 

I was retweeted and starting having multiple twitter conversations about the WOD, notifications on Facebook were ramped and all while my phone was blowing up with Texts.

The REALLY cool thing is most of the conversations were about our thoughts and strategies about the WOD and how we all supported each other.  What a fantastic community to be a part of! 

After coming down from my social media high I digested the WOD and made a prediction. 


So this morning at 5am I was awake and did my Zombie walk through the house to get ready for Crossfit and then work.  

There was a really cool feeling in the box this morning, the excitment, the antisipation and of course the nervousness.  I was curious how many people would be at the 6am to do the WOD and it ended up being a crowd of 7, which was smaller than usual, but the energy level from everybody was anything but. 

We partnered up, me with the only other girl (Brandi), and decided that there would be 2 heats and I took the lead and went first.  When Trainer Brad told us there was 10 seconds until go time, I started to FINALLY get my Work Out Anxiety, but at that point it was too late to really let it take over me. 


The first part of the WOD was 40 Burpees with a Target.  Nothing really too much to talk about here, besides the fact that 40 Burpees is enough to make you feel tired and fatigued for the snatches.  Only strategy is to keep moving. 

The second part of the WOD was 30 Snatches at 45lbs.  Knowing that for me a 45lb Snatch is a "ligher" weight, I had to get my reps in as fast as I could.  I admit I was hoping to do 3 sets of 10, but with all those burpees, I needed a bit more recovery time (to catch my breath) so I believe I broke them up as needed. 

The third part of the WOD was 30 Burpees, and by the way, I am enternally grateful for the reduction of reps.  By this round I was quite winded but I knew that I wanted to spend as MUCH time as possible attempting the next section so I had to rest as little as possible and just get them done.  It's nice knowing after 15, you are half way done, and again, I tried to rest as little as possible. 

The fourth part of the WOD was 30 Snatches at 75lbs.  As stated the night  before, this was going to be where I was going to start to fail.  I had done a Snatch WOD days ago and I was only able to get a few reps after multiple failed attempts.  I wanted to spend at least 7 minutes trying.  And then something magical happend. 

I Snatched 75lbs.  It wasn't easy, it was probably ugly, but I got my first attempt.  I dropped, recovered, and reset.  Boom.  Got another rep.  At this point, I was floored.  How was I doing this?  After each rep I made sure to take a few breaths, set up, and attempt.  And holy freacking cow, I got 12 reps in the time that I had left.  I cannot express to you the sense of empowerment I was feeling. 

I was legit counting on getting 5ish reps with at least double that in failed attempts.  I got 12, and no failed attempts.  Go Me!!

and just like that, I was done with my first 2013 Crossfit Games WOD. 

Here are some helpful tips / insights I had before, during, or after the WOD:

Helpful Tip #1  Have a conversation with the person judging you.  Brandi and I talked about how we each wanted the judge to verbally confirm reps on the 10s and to alert the competitor when they had 5 reps left.  We also talked about pushing each other, and I think we both did a wonderful job doing so. 

Helpful Tip #2  Set up your white board BEFORE the WOD.  I found the set up we used was really good.  40 Burpees, 30 Snatches (45lbs) and then a space to put the time that round is completed.  I left space at the end for tick marks to assure acurate judging. 

Helpful Tip #3  Get used to doing a Burpee with a target.  It seems like no big deal, until you start and it's slightly awkward trying to touch the target.  Do a few practice ones to get yourself situated under the ring, bar, or plate.  It took me well over 5 burpees to find the "sweet spot" on the landing.  Once I did, my Burpees were more quick and efficient.  I put chalk hand prints on the matt directly under the target so when I dropped down, I could see where I was in relation to the target at all times.  (I had learned that from Last Year's WOD).  

Helpful Tip #4  After the 2nd set of Burpees, use the time of adding weight to the bar as rest time.  You are going to be winded, take your time loading the bar, but then dont waste any time resting once the bar is set. 

Helpful Tip #5  If and when the Snatch feels heavy, try doing a split Snatch.  When Trainer Brad saw how much effort it was taking me to get up the 75lbs, he simply told me to split my legs and it was a HUGE difference.  Which is almost making me want to try it again doing the Split Snatch the whole time. 

Helpful Tip #6  Don't sell yourself short.  I was amazing that I got as many 75lbs as I did and Brandi was unsure about 75lbs, but she had 3ish minutes to attemp them.  And she tried her damn hardest until the time expired.  PUSH YOURSELF!

Helpful Tip #7  Hug your Trainer.  There is nothing more rewarding than feeling the way I felt after this work out, and I owe it all to the hard work and training that they have devoted to me.  And yes, I gave Brad a big sweaty hug this morning :). 

I wish everybody the best of luck with this week's WOD and I cannot wait to see how awesome everybody does! 

Crossfit Games 2013 WOD 13.1

17 Minute AMRAP

40 Burpees (Target)
30 Snatches 45lbs
30 Burpees (Target)
30 Snatches 75lbs
20 Burpees (Target)
30 Snatches (100lbs)
10 Burpees
Max Rep Snatch 120lbs

Score:  112

Monday, March 4, 2013

CF Games WOD 12.2 in well, 2013

After a week off of Crossfit for no good reason, I knew I had to get back to the box this week. 

Unfortunately, this is a week that Dennis is gone, so that means extra early mornings for me and the additional stress of taking care of Shane single handed. 

So let's rewind to March 2012 when I was in the best shape of my life and competing in the Crossfit Open.  Crossfit Games 2012 WOD 12.2.


I was excited to see the South Mountain Crossfit was doing WOD 12.2 today, but I knew before I even did the WOD, my results weren't going to be as good as they were a year ago. 

In 2012 I wanted to get all of the 45lb and 75lb Snatches, and 1, just 1 of the 100lbs.  Sadly I didn't make it through the 30 75lbs, but I kept attempting them and I did walk away with a bit of pride. 

This morning, not so much.

I was able to snatch the 45lbs with no problem.  I believe I did 15 in a row.  Dropped, reset and did another 15.  I was done with the 45's in 3 minutes (10 per minute) which I'm ok with.

Then came the 75s.  I kept failing.  I'd get 1 every few attempts, and with 3 minutes left on the clock, I dropped to 65lbs and able to Snatch with ease.  


I know I keep bitching about how I'm not as awesome as last year but it's so hard to deal with.  I want to feel empowered, not defeated.  

I will get there.  I will get there.  I will get there.   

Hold Shane until he stopped Crying so I could do the WOD

30 Snatches 45lbs
30 Snatches 75lbs
30 Snatches 100lbs
30 Snatches no idea because I knew I wouldn't get there

10 Minute Time Cap

30 @ 45lbs
4 @ 75lbs
11 @ 65lbs

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Law of Conservation of Mass

Let's play a game. 

Which is more?  My 4 month old son OR the amount of weight I've lost since having him?

Got your answer? ok good.  Now get ready to have your mind blown.

Shane's weight = the weight I've lost!
I find this completely amazing and if this keeps up I hope Shane weighs about 25lbs in the near future!  :)
Today marks my 2nd month back at Crossfit and holy hell has it been one emotional roller coaster. 
As I look back at my blog post about my running efforts of 2013, I feel slightly sad because I did have the best intentions to keep up with my running but there were two things I couldn't predict.  A. My new life as a mom, and B. the weather (which is ironic because I married a meteorologist). 
My life as a new mom was far more hectic, demanding, and exhausting than I could have ever imagined.  With Dennis being away every other week for a week, it just proved too hard to do it by myself.  Dennis and I would talk about my running schedule and planned as best as we could, but, like in most things in life, it hardly went to plan.  So for right now, my "Year of Running" has been paused.  I am hoping that once things settle down with Dennis' job and our big move coming up, I will be more able to fit running into my already tight schedule. 
So now that that is off my chest, I come to celebrate my wins. 
Even with the cold weather, a new born baby, and Dennis being gone half the month, I've been successful in losing 15lbs of my pregnancy weight, with only about 10 more to go.
I have to attribute this to getting a WOD in at least 3 times per week, cutting out the junk in my diet, and breastfeeding little Shane (about 500 calories burnt per day). 
One of the hardest parts of starting Crossfit back up, was scaling the weights down to practically just the woman's bar.  Which was a tough pill to swallow for me.  But after only 2 months, my weights have been getting heavier and I've set a couple of new PR's in the process.  Now I just have to get better and writing down my WODs going forward.
It's important the revisit your goals that you've set to make sure that they are obtainable and it's ok to readjust as needed.  I know that not running half is a certainly for this year but for good reasons.  Losing the rest of my pregnancy weight seems very obtainable and when I do that, I can start setting new goals.