Doing work…. Wednesday, July 13th morning session

Mobility:  glutes, pigeon stretch, groiners, bunch of other stuff

Partial Clean Deadlift 5×3 @ 165-185

*Pause 3 sec 1″ off the ground
*Pause 3 sec @ below knee
*Back down to ground
*Focus is keeping butt down and using the hips – squat the ground away

Jefferson Curl 3×12 #45 BB

Metcon: 4 Rounds
10 Cal Bike
10 Hang Power Cleans #75
10 Bar Facing Burpees
Rest 60-90 sec

5am start was fun. Not.

There was a ring row/wallclimb component also, but I was allowed to skip it due to time constraints.

Metcon was a burner. 1:30 per round. First round was slower at 1:44 because I hadn’t warmed up burpees. That may sound silly, but got to test each movement before trying to hit it hard.

off to work….

Snatch work and a Bar Muscle Up EMOM

Mobility: Pecs/Traps, Shoulders, and Glutes

Snatch  Balance Work
Pressing  Snatch Balance 3×5
Heaving  Snatch Balance 3×3
Snatch  Balance 3×1

Ring  Holds & DUs 0:10/0:10,  0:20/0:20, 0:30/0:30 WORK:REST
Elevated  Ring Hold (Chest 2 Rings)
Elevated  Ring Hold (Arms in Extension)
Double  Unders

Min 1 =  2-3 Bar MUs (as singles)
Min 2 =  10-15 Dips
Min 3 =  20 Goblet Squats (24kg)

So much fun to be had. My snatch SUCKS!!!!! I’m not exaggerating. It sucks. I need to work on technique. Looks like my coach knows that. Weights were embarrassingly light (85# and 105#), but back off the bullshit. Drop weight and work technique.

Ring holds – holding at the top HURTS. It was struggle bus time to keep my chest to the rings. I wasn’t 100% successful. That’s OK. Did false grip on the arms extended. Surprisingly that didn’t suck. Did I mention that my dubs are back? They are. Lot of improvement needed, but they are back!

EMOM – oh holy hell! 3 bar MU per round, singles every time which eliminates the benefit of the downward swing. Did 10 dips. Most were good, except for round 3 which SUCKED. Really hurting then. Side note- during the squats in round 3 I was stoked. “LAST MUTHA FUCKIN’ ROUND!” Then I woke up and realized I had another full round to go.

Last round was rough. Got through it. In the goblet squats I had been breaking at 10 or 11. This time I sad “fuck it” and didn’t break. Just slowed it down a bit and kept moving.

Great stuff!!!!

CrossFit: Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

Foam  Roll/LAX Bal:l Front  of Shoulders, Pecs, Forearms
Barbell Smash Traps
Thoracic  Extension

Snatch  Complex E2MOM  for 8 Sets
1 Hang  Power Snatch
1  Snatch
1  Behind the Neck Press
1  Snatch Balance
*Goal  is fluidity to the bottom of the squat in the snatch

Skill; 5  Sets
20 sec  Foot Elevated False Grip Ring Row  Static Hold
30 sec  Double Unders

Metcon:  Unbroken Thruster Ladder #45
*Rest  30-60 sec between sets

Snatch complex – oh how I suck at snatching. couldn’t drop into squat for anything. Coach wanted it to be “fluid.” Yeah, that’s not a word I’d use to describe my snatch technique.

False grip – I’m getting more comfortable with it. Still not normal at all, but getting there.

Thrusters…. 45# is just the barbell, but my problem with thrusters is not the weight it’s that I can’t freakin’ breathe when cycling thrusters. This ladder HURT. So much hypoxia, but I did make it through 21 reps unbroken. Wasn’t able to do the backside cleanly, but 21 consecutive thrusters at any weight is a HUGE improvement for me.

Now to add some weight.

Overall a good day at the box

Crossfit, Tuesday, July 5th

Mobility  Focus: Upper Back
LAX  Ball – upper back 2 mins total
PVC  Roll – lats 1 min each side
Banded  Shoulder Distraction – grab a band  and spend 3-5 mins on both

Pendlay  Row 5×3
*Add  10-15lbs from weight two weeks ago
Chinese  Row 4×8
*Add  10lbs from weight from two weeks ago

These are kind of fun. Went same weight on Chinese Row, added 20# on Pendlay Row

Skill:  Double Unders
Every  3 Minutes for 15 Minutes:
Max  Unbroken Set of DU
Rest 5
10  Sets: Double Unders, Rest
1:1  Work to Rest Ratio
@ 75%%  of Max DU Set
*Increased  by 25% from last week

Did NONE of this…. Instead I worked single-single-double until that felt legit then I tried to hit some consecutive dubs until I crashed and burned. Went back to single-single-double and then tried dubs again. Hit 18 which is a minor miracle of late.

Metcon:  Bermuda Triangle, 30min  EMOM
Min 1:  Bike Cals 15
Min 2:  Ski Erg Cals 15
Min 3:  Row Cals 15
*Record  reps (cals) per round
*Scale  back cals to stay under 50 seconds per station

OK, this one hurt. Held 14 cals for 3 rounds, dropped to 12 cals for another 3 and then struggled to hit 10 cals for the remainder. Bermuda Triangle indeed!!!

Buy Out
3 consecutive muscle ups. Working hard on trying to let my right hand roll on top of the bar instead of death gripping it and doing a massive chicken wing with my left arm. Still chicken-winging, but I could feel a difference today. The first rep was almost legit. I did feel where I was pressing out with both arms instead of pressing out with my left and my right comes along for the ride.

Rule #2 – drive to the gym and figure it out from there

after a long workday and dropping $1,700 on my car I really didn’t feel like working out. Wife took kids to the pool, so I got in my car (unwillingly), drove to the gym, parked, and went inside. What the hell. I was there, so why not do the workout.

Mobility Focus: Hips & Hams 

  • Roll Quads/Hams – 2 mins each leg
  • Couch Stretch – 2 mins each leg
  • Banded Hamstring Stretches – 2 min each leg
  • Scorpions – 10 total, 5 each leg

Clean EMOM 10min
1 Clean Below the Knee
*Start off at 50% and work up
*Deadlift the bar off the ground first
*Focus on smooth transition from below the knee to mid thigh

Halting Clean Deadlift 3-3-3 @ 70%
*pause 3 sec below knee, stand up

Gymnastic: Strict Pulling
5 Sets
3-5 Strict C2B Pull Ups
3-5 False Grip Ring Rows (feet elevated)
*Rest 1 min b/t movements

Power Clean #135
Ring Dip
*Goal sub 7

Buy Out 3 bar muscle ups. Not part of the programming, but I like to keep them in my plan. Strung them together. Left arm chicken wing still pronounced but getting a little better.

We are trying to do a couple of things – improve my false grip and get rid of my pause whenever the bar gets above my knee. Literally everything I do is a hang clean or a hang snatch because I always stop upward momentum.

Cleans were good. Definitely eliminated my above the knee pause this time. Halting clean deadlifts were tougher than expected. Strict C2B’s were tough as always. I can get the height, but poor ROM makes it tough to actually hit the bar with my chest when going strict. Was able to do so today for most reps.

Elizabeth – damn I was tired by this time. Hit 7:23 instead of sub-7:00. Ring dips? I’m sure that 1 out of the 45 was legit… 😉

Good day.

Just drive to the gym and figure it out from there.

No dude. You are the one who really freaked me out.

We all have our own version of reality. Most of us can comprehend that other people have their viewpoints, but it’s our version that matters.

I’m trying to focus on me, but when I hit the box I still look around at my “competition.” Whether they know they are my competition is irrelevant. They are there, and I am there. Therefore…. It’s my way of both motivating myself and succumbing to my ever present anxiety. Am I good enough? Do I belong?

The other day it was brought to my attention that others feel differently.

General pre-class discussion with a guy who’s been at the box for almost a year. I only know this because he told me. I’m not that aware. We started talking about what it felt like coming in the first time after on-ramp and actually hitting a class. I brought up that it can be intimidating, and he readily agreed.

me: “Oh yeah, watching xxx and yyy throwdown is intense. I don’t know how they can move that much weight that fast.”
him: “No dude. They didn’t freak me out. You are the one who really freaked me out.

What the fuck? Me? Why me?

Turns out during his first week of regular classes I was talking with a fellow silverback, and this guy overheard us talking about being old, almost out of the 45-49 age group and into the 50+ group, and our usual complaints about trying to hang with the young guys.

Then we hit the WOD. He remembered it was a moderate deadlift/running WOD. That just happens to be my wheelhouse, and I pretty much shredded him. I remember the WOD well. It’s one of my favorites. 21-18-15-12-9 225# deads with 400m run in between each set.

He told me his thought was, “if this dude is almost 50 and can kick my ass like that, what the fuck am I even doing here?”

It also motivated him to push harder.

I love these realizations. Not because it reminds me that I do have some skills. OK, partially that…. but more because it’s a good reminder that we all impact others, and our insecurities are just that – ours.

Enjoy the day. You are probably inspiring someone right now.

By the end of the CrossFit Open you are where you belong, mostly

ou’ve read the story. I quit 81.5% through 16.5 because pain was too intense. Wisely I did not go back and try, so I took a no-score. Yes, I was thinking seriously about going back on Sunday, taking a couple Oxycontin to dull the pain, and work my way through it but reason prevailed. Yes, I was seriously considering it, and yes it would have been a serious dose. Not logical but honest.

Coulda, shoulda, woulda is always tough to bear though.

So I looked at the math. I take solace in math. I was sitting in the Top-20% in my age group after 16.4. I was in the Top-19.7% to be precise. My question, the obvious question, is where would I have been if I’d just finished 16.5 when I was almost done. After several breaks mid-WOD to try and alleviate the pain, I stopped 5 reps into the round of 9 thrusters at 18 minutes.

There wasn’t that much left to do. Would it have taken me 2 minutes to finish? 4 minutes? 6 minutes?

If so, where would that have put me on the leaderboard? Luckily, the leaderboard can tell us exactly those answers.

Just take my points going into 16.5 which were 10,250 and from there figure out how many points one would get for finishing at the listed times: 20:00, 22:00, and 24:00. Sum it up and compare overall results to get an overall place.

Going into 16.5 I was at 80.3% overall (i.e. top-20%). Given any of the above scenarios I probably would have finished right about the same place. Maybe I would have been 1% higher. Maybe I would have been 1% lower. In the end, over the course of 4 weeks I was right where I should be and 16.5 wouldn’t have changed that much.

To look at the other side of the question I also asked – what would I have needed to do to finish solidly higher? What about Top 15%?

As you can see, that was easy to calculate as well, and it was eye opening. I would have needed a 14:46 in order to bump up into the Top-15%.

And that was NOT going to happen.

I’m not happy with a no-score on 16.5, but now I can rest a bit easier knowing how things may have turned out. I entered 16.5 in the place I had earned, and I would have left 16.5 right in the same band.

What you had to do to make it to the 2016 Masters Qualifier

The CrossFit Open is all about numbers.

How many reps did you do in 16.1? What was your time in 16.5? How many people went faster or slower? It’s all numerical, and I like numbers.

As I did in 2014 and 2015, I took a snapshot of what it took to make it into the Masters Qualifier in 2016. As a refresher, the top 20 Masters in each 2016Games-logo“over 40” age group are invited to the Games. Before that happens there is a weekend of WODs, performed wherever you happen to be, where the top-200 finishers in each Age Group are allowed to compete. Think of it as a mini-Games but done in your own box.

What did it take in 2016 to get into the Top-200 of each Age Group? By updating my spreadsheet from last year it was pretty easy to figure out.

Methodology – I pulled the results from each age group of the people who finished from 190th to 210th place in the Open. This includes 10 people who made it into the MQ and 10 who didn’t, but it gives a solid indicator of what it took to come in right at 200th place. For this exercise we’ll set aside that it’s basically the Top-20 in the Open who make it to the Games with some exceptions (as I wrote about in a previous post, Does the Open even Matter?). This post is only about making it into the Top-200, and it’s meant as a general guideline and not a comprehensive analysis. Use this to start planning your training for 2017 if your goal is to get to the MQ.

So, what did it take to make it into the Top-200?

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 11.29.50 AM

Some  explanation:

  • I have not figured out a way to elegantly adjust for Scaled Scores
  • Cells with “VALUE!” are where 1 or more participants cracked the Top-200 with a Scaled score
  • I think it was the W55-59 where there is a Scaled score at 180th place, but not in 190-210
  • “Dev” is the standard deviation

How does this compare to last year? Given that the WODs are different, the reps are different too. However, when it comes to Scaled Scores, the results are VERY different. In 2015 there were several Female divisions where it was possible to advance to the MQ with a Scaled score. This year – not so much. Only the 60+ age groups, this year both male and female, see a Scaled score at the 200th place range. With the given data it’s not possible to say why this is: competition is much tougher, WODs were more accessible, whatever.

At the Ranch for the live 16.5 Announcement

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 12.10.32 PMMy box hosted the 16.1 announcement, but I was in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress and couldn’t attend. I’m not much of a crowded spaces, enthusiastic crowd kind of person although I do get stoked off the intensity. When someone posted that he had a spare ticket to the 16.5 announcement at the Ranch I jumped on it. Well, after clearing with my wife that it was OK to not be home until late. That’s how I roll.

I wanted to go for a couple of reasons. The obvious reason of seeing Fraser, Smith, and Froning throw down. Sure, there’s that. The other is the innate curiosity I’ve had about Castro’s Ranch for a couple of years now. I grew up on a rural piece of property with a bunch of outbuildings and hills. Was it similar> Just where did this Castro kid grow up?

I’ve seen the YouTube videos of the 2007 and 2008 Games. I’ve seen the various random workouts they host at the ranch. I live within 50 miles of the place and drive through Aromas fairly frequently, but I never knew exactly where the ranch is.

It’s not where I thought it was.

A quick look at directions had me thinking it was a few miles south of Gilroy at the overpass where you can cut over the coast range to Monterey (and I did once, but my then 6 year old puked all over the back seat because of the curving roads). Nope I was well into Blood Alley when I looked to the left and saw a bunch of cars and a big container with CrossFit written on the side… Oh, it’s right on the freeway.

First I had to exit the freeway and head back north for a mile or so. Cool, the new overpass, that I’d watched being built for a couple of years, was my turnaround. I’d never had any reason to drive over it.

I almost overshot the small road off of the freeway, but easily found the Ranch. The guy directing parking was my box-friend who had supplied the ticket. That was cool – I hate it when I give something away and someone doesn’t use it.

Let me explain the Ranch.

It’s your typical California semi-agricultural, semi-industrial space. A house nearby and a big metal warehouse/workshop and a parking pad with a hill behind it.

IMG_3626That’s it. At the moment the hill was green and wet, but that will change soon.

It is a hell of a lot closer to the 101 than I had expected. Actually, it’s literally ON the 101. And it’s on the East side. For some reason I just assumed it was on the West side of the freeway.

The media setup is pretty intense. There’s a huge main camera and several remote cameras. There’s a media trailer. It’s probably the minimum for a live broadcast, but it’s impressive nonetheless.

The crowd was a few hundred people. Obviously they were crossfit folks. It seemed pretty casual. To fire up the crowd they did a few contests; a full contact handstand walk, an L-sit hold. They started with a short hill run. Really should have tried to jump in on that because, well, runner….

During this time they had brought out ergs and barbells with an assortment of weights. The assortment of weights made a few folks think it was going to be a ladder of some kind or a one-rep max. Nope, that was just for the athletes to warmup.

And then the announcement. One take – we’re doing it live. Keep the speeches short and on point.


Oh shit, we’re doing 14.5 again.

Then a break while they brought out the mats with the rep counts numbered. Then they brought out the barbells. It’s a lot of work to pull it all together. Given that they clearly have to practice all of this I’m still surprised that someone hasn’t leaked a workout yet.

Mats rolled out (the ones’ on the floor. I have no idea if Fraser rolled out). Froning, Smith, and Fraser came out again. Just saying, but those guys are not very tall. Fit as hell, but not very tall.


3….2….1…. GO!

I was within arm’s length of Fraser for his 21 reps, and he looked slower than Smith or Froning. Fraser’s thrusters were much faster than mine will EVER be, but compared to Froning and Smith, Fraser’s thrusters looked almost methodical. Extend, slight pause at full extension, back down. His burpees though, were blazing fast, and he soon caught and passed Froning and Smith.

I can’t comprehend how fast they can move both weight and their bodies. It’s surreal. By the round of 15 it was clear that Ben Smith was slowing down. Fraser was hauling ass. To be clear, “Ben Smith was slowing down” is only relative to the 2 guys beside him. I plan on slowing down in my set of 21.

To borrow from my ultra and adventure racing days, my goal is to “start slow and then taper off.”

Not just that they were going unbroken on their thrusters – they were repping them out faster than most people can do for a set of 3 when fresh.

Fraser won – as we know. I hung around for Ro vs. Boz because Castro said he was joining them. I really wanted to see Castro throw down. Unlike many people, I know he is an athlete, and I don’t harbor any animosity towards him. But I still wanted to see what he could do. Especially after he said during the cooldown show that he was “going to fucking war to beat both Ro AND Boz.”

No. No he wasn’t going to do that….

Yes, I saw a lot of CrossFit royalty. No, I didn’t get any autographs or take selfies. Hell, I didn’t talk to anyone because total introvert. Still had a blast.

After Boz finished, securing his 2016 sweep, I headed out. Had to hit Costco and Trader Joe’s for some Easter Dinner shopping.

I know. I live a life of pure glamour, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

When I shoot down to Monterey via the 156 or down to Paso to visit family as I negotiate from 75 down to the lower speed limit I’ll look left towards the Ranch. Now I know where it is.

16.2 part 3. single-single-double-single-single-double

My dubs are gone. Completely gone. Sure, I should have practiced them more often, but I’m usually good for 10 in a row. Nope. Not this time. Just no rhythm whatsoever.

A few of us grouped up to hit 16.2 again this morning. I tried my RPM rope. I tried my Rx rope. I tried a gym rope. Bah. Nothing. Got a lot of good advice from those around me, including a couple of coaches, but still couldn’t make it happen.

Counted for one of our coaches. He asked for me to judge, and I had to no rep him. Feet did not break the plane behind him during a couple of his T2B. Must…be….legit.

My turn. I hit my 25 T2B easily. Moved on to the dubs. Kept trying but kept failing too. Finally sucked it up and started doing single-single-double. Too late though as I only got to 38 reps. Too much wasted time.

That was frustrating as hell. I quickly decided that I was going to hit this thing again, and I was going to hit it today. I judged another athlete and set myself up again. No matter what I was going to get to those damn squat cleans.


Toes to Bar were less snappy than the first time. 25 down and back to the rope.

This time I went single-single-double from the start. So what if I had to do 100 extra singles to get 50 doubles. I was going to get 50 doubles. I took way to damn long, but I hit 50 doubles even with a few screw ups along the way. Only had 20 seconds left, so I raced to the bar and knocked out 3 quick reps.

I got to the damned bar.

Not going to lie. I’m equal parts relieved and pissed at myself. No plans on doing it again though.