Drop-in WOD #3: CrossFit Invictus

 

On Saturday, the final day of our week-long trip to San Diego, we decided to venture into the city and do a WOD at CrossFit Invictus. Unlike the other two gyms, which we either Googled or just happened to walk by, we knew of Invictus because of its reputation for having some world-class coaches and turning out some killer competitors. So coming from a wonderful but small and not terribly technical gym and walking into the giant warehouse that is Invictus, I was more than a little nervous.

Once again, however, our nerves were immediately calmed by the super friendly coach who chatted with us as we filled out our waivers and, of course, bought a few t-shirts. Not only is it an unspoken rule to buy a t-shirt when doing a free drop-in WOD (one-time drop-ins are typically free for visitors in the CrossFit world, I learned), but I think that Brandon and I may have found a new souvenir item to collect: T-shirts from faraway CrossFit gyms. Totally not weird at all.

My nervous feeling came back just a little when I started looking around and noticed the entire wall lined with dumbbells, a custom monkey bar-like pull-up rig that was at least 80 feet long, and a whole corner of equipment that I didn’t even recognize. Then we met our coach, Nichole. This woman looks like she could deadlift a car, while simultaneously looking totally girly and giving off a not-so-subtle cheerleader vibe, and I suddenly felt just a little intimidated while instantaneously developing a bit of a girl-crush. We then jogged around the block, and immediately people started to introduce themselves. By the time we rounded the final corner, I was starting to feel even more at home, which was good because did I also mention that we were doing a partner WOD and Brandon had already declared that he didn’t want to be my partner? And have I mentioned at least a million times that I ALWAYS come in last? But, y’know, no pressure to impress my new friends. Nope.

The WOD was 10 rounds of 5 deadlifts at 225/155, 250 m row, and 15 hand-release push-ups. In the first round, Partner 1 would do the deadlifts, Partner 2 would row, and Partner 1 would do the push-ups, then Partner 2 would do deadlifts, Partner 1 would row, and Partner 2 would do push-ups, and on and on until 10 total rounds had been completed. I originally partnered with a girl whose deadlift max was over 200lbs, and when I told her my max was 155, she said, “Oh, so let’s do 145.” That was going to be almost literally impossible, so I switched partners with another pair who were in a similar predicament and loaded 115 onto the bar. The WOD started and I found myself really enjoying the structure of having relatively short, intense bursts of action followed by short rests–especially because the biggest difference I noticed about working out at sea-level is that my breathing and heart rate seem to recover about 10x faster than they do at the altitude in Denver. So even after a 250 m sprint on the rower, I felt ready to get back into the deadlifts by the time my partner was finished doing push-ups.

In fact, I have to say that for the first time ever I felt like I was totally carrying my team. We still finished last… Actually, I finished last in every drop-in WOD we did, so apparently that’s just my thing… but I felt really strong through the whole workout, even with the heavy deadlifts and the row, which is not something we do a lot at Jai since we only have one rower.

It was definitely a treat to get to WOD at such a massive, well-equipped gym. I felt well coached and we even learned some great variations of classic warm-ups like the inch worm. And I will also say that they have some pretty badass t-shirts. Which, as we all know, is very important.

  • winetoweights

    I’ve heard of Invictus, so it must be huge! ;)

    That is such a cool concept that you can just drop-in for a WOD on vacation. I would love to follow that tradition of collecting Crossfit shirts from around the country! Well, if I ever leave Michigan.. ;)

    I have the same coming-in-last syndrome. I am really going to struggle with that if I keep up with this Crossfit thing. I hate feeling unfit when I think I’m fit, you know? But it sounds like you still rocked that workout and you were playing with the best, right? So awesome job! :)

    • clairechapman

      Thanks! My coming-in-last syndrome is deep seated and well nourished :) I have to remind myself EVERY time that the only person I’m competing against is myself… but it still can sting for sure.

  • Kelsi

    I love that you are so committed to this program, even dropping in on workouts while on vacation! Do you know how many people never even get off the couch? Who CARES if you come in last?! What you’re doing is amazing, Claire. You’d run circles around 80% of this nation. Any workout is better than no workout, but CrossFit involves a level of dedication that would startle the folks who leisurely paddle away for their 30 minutes on the elliptical machine while watching Wheel of Fortune. And I know you’ll keep sticking with it, and one day you WON’T come in last, but I really don’t think that part is what really matters. Keep kicking ass!

    • clairechapman

      Thanks, Kelsi! Always coming in last has definitely been a struggle, but I felt pretty great in this WOD feeling like even though our team came in last, I was definitely the driving force. And usually I feel like everyone else is dragging me through, so that felt like a victory in itself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jenny0314 Jennifer Pyle Ryberg

    I pretty much always come in last for the WODs. LOL Too funny!

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