After my post yesterday about feeling like I have been subconsciously-but-becoming-a-little-on-purpose sandbagging myself lately, another member at our gym (the same one who introduced me to the fantastic zone cheat sheet from the CrossFit Journal, actually) commented with an article from Outside Online about the “Black Hole of Mediocrity.” You can read it here, but the gist was that researchers have found that you, as an athlete, are served by very intense workouts, very easy workouts, but not pretty-tough-but-not-exhausting workouts (like the pace I’ve been going at CrossFit lately). Why? Because these tough-but-not-exhausting paces will still require as much recovery time as if you went all-in, but your body won’t be pushed to its limits and therefore won’t be required to build and grow. Interesting stuff, huh?
After reading about that and thinking more about my own in-WOD mental habits, I walked into the gym last night determined to put the pedal to the metal. The WOD was 10 snatches, 50 push-ups, 40 sit-ups, 30 OH lunges, 20 toes to bar, then 10 more snatches. I loaded my bar with 60 lbs (my power snatch max is 70, so this was fairly heavy for me) and, knowing that a place I tend to spend too much “rest” time is when I put the bar down to readjust my grip, focused on adjusting my grip without letting go of the bar so I wouldn’t even be tempted to while away those extra seconds with arm swings or some other useful-looking-but-honestly-just-time-wasting maneuver. From there I went onto the push-ups, and, knowing that I typically would only want to link 5 at a time in such a long set to “keep myself from crashing,” I tried to get at least 7 reps in between each rest, and kept my rests limited to 2 breaths instead of just until-I-felt-ready-again.
My sit-ups and lunges were both almost unbroken and during my toes-to-bar I challenged myself to only take 1-2 breaths of rest every time I came off the bar instead of doing more arm shaking and hand chalking (side note, my toes-to-bar are still pretty much knees-to-elbows, but that is a different story). At 7:55 I started my last set of 10 snatches and (with more than a little cheerleading coming my way from my favorite WOD partner, Matt) picked up the bar for my 10th snatch with 8:56 on the clock. My last rep was not pretty–determined to finish in under 9 minutes, I didn’t hook-grip the bar and ended up losing it out of my fingers and effectively threw it backwards over my head–but not before I had stood up with it above my head. I counted it.
“8:59!” Matt said, offering a fist bump. Or maybe it was a high five. Actually I’m not totally sure what happened right after. I was exhausted, hands and arms shaking, wanting to collapse on the ground but feeling like I had to walk around to keep my muscles from spazzing too much. This feeling, this exhausted, if-I-didn’t-feel-so-good-I-would-think-I-was-about-to-die feeling, is what made me love CrossFit in the first place. It was definitely what I had been missing. And I am very glad to have it back.
The WOD for tonight is 30 squat clean thrusters and 50 burpees. Do you think I can do 50 burpees unbroken? I think I’m going to have to find out. Game on.