Posts Tagged by WOD

Disney Fit Challenge – The Competition

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It’s amazing how 10 hours of sleep can make any anticipatory anxiety I was having the day before seem non-existent.  I felt well rested, fueled from a ham sandwich I bought the night before and ready to take on the events.  I knew that I was going to have trouble with the wall balls in the first challenge, but I think excitement was taking over and I was feeling pumped.  

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Nice tote bag full of water I got there…geez!

After arriving at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, we headed back to the HP Field House assuming that was where we had to go to check in for the day.  Like the night before, there wasn’t any information on where to go.  So we headed to the registration area and found the table where we had our competitor numbers written on our arms.  I was C1101, which stood for Female Scaled Division (C), 11th heat (11), station 1 (01).  While inside the Field House we watched some of the teams competing in their first division, then headed to the fields out back to check out the girls in our division competing in the first challenge, Clusters!

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The 8th heat was going which meant we had about 30 minutes to warm up and get ready. We had figured out by watching that there was in fact a 10 minute time cap on all events with a 5 minute break in between heats.  Again, it was quite a shame this information wasn’t relayed to the athletes in advance.  

Kat and I headed to the warm-up area and were kind of shocked by what we found.  It was a large space, completely in the sun with a gravel-like black surface to work on.  There were only about 4 barbells available to use, a few kettlebells and that was it.  Seriously? Not even a single rower.  This made me a bit apprehensive, but we made the best of it. We jogged around the complex a bit, did some stretches and warmed up with some light front squats and clusters. Considering that it was over 85+ degress with 1000% humidity, we were sufficiently warmed up and sweaty within a few minutes.  If the challenges weren’t going to be hard enough, this heat was going to make them even more interesting.  The mantra for the day became: STAY HYDRATED!  Here we go!

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Photo Credit: Amanda Tinney

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If you’re wondering what a cluster is, it’s a squat clean into a thruster and at 65# that isn’t a big deal for me.  Well they wouldn’t have been a big deal if I actually got to do them.  Standing in my way were the wall balls…ugh.  I knew these were going to be tough, but I had no idea how discouragingly hard they were going to be.  

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Photo Credit: Amanda Tinney

I usually use a 14# wall ball at the gym, but only go to an 8 ft. target on the wall.  These targets were tiny Mickey heads (which were super cute btw!) and they were 10 ft. high. That extra two feet might not seem like a lot, but it makes a HUGE difference when you’re only 5’3″ tall.  You can see in this video that I am clearly struggling in the back.

I probably missed the target just as many times as I hit it, so that first round of 30 wall balls was really like 60 and I think it took me around 6 minutes to complete.  I already felt defeated.  I only got through the first round of 8 clusters, which is a shame because I enjoy anything that involves a barbell.  I would’ve liked to get my hands on that thing a few more times.

I finished with a not so impressive score of 10:40 (meaning I only completed 50 of the 90 reps in the workout) that put me in 97th place out of 113 for the event.  Kat on the other hand kicked ass and took names in this event, finishing 81 reps and in 43rd place.  Look at this badass go!

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Photo Credit: Amanda Tinney

Since we were already hot and sweaty, we decided to head over to the Floater Performance Challenges.  These were two challenges that could be completed at any point throughout the first day of competition.  Kat called this the feats of strength portion of the competition, which we both actually found to be rather enjoyable.  Not only did we get to throw some weight around, but it was under a large covered tent with the most amazing fans I have ever seen šŸ™‚

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HAHAHAHA! I really just had to laugh about the broad jump.  This is something we VERY RARELY do at my gym and the one time we did it during a warm up, I immediately knew this was not for me.  My short and stocky stature does not make a graceful jumper.  But here I went, swinging my arms and hoping to not trip and fall on my face when I landed.

Photo Credit: Amanda Tinney

Photo Credit: Amanda Tinney

Out of the 3 attempts, I think my max distance was 4’7″ or somewhere around that. Highly comical next to the guys jumping 6’+ next to me.  Whatever, moving on…now let me lift some things!  Max repetition bench press was next and I was excited to see what I could do…I’d actually never tried for max reps before!

Photo Credit: Amanda Tinney

Photo Credit: Amanda Tinney

I was really happy with 24 reps total…just couldn’t squeeze out that 25th one.  The girl before me (who flew like a bird in the broad jump) struggled to get 20, so I felt slightly redeemed.

But the best part was watching Kat go in this!  I know she’s strong…I work out with her everyday, but to see her bang out 44 reps with no problem was AWESOME!  Everyone around us was VERY impressed.  

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My friend Jenn was competing in the Team Division, so we headed over to see her take on their 2nd challenge of kettlebell swings and sled drags.  I have to say, they had great areas set up for the spectators.  Nice, covered bleacher seats were a welcome respite from the hot sun.

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By this point it was after noon and we still had close to 2 hours until our next event.  It was time for me to change out of my sweaty clothes (yes I brought 2 full changes of clothes with me!) and get something to eat.  The food options at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex weren’t great for athletes competing like this.  I went with the grilled chicken sandwich and was disappointed to find that is was plain on a hamburger bun…that’s it.  No lettuce or tomatoes…blech.  Lesson learned to next time bring your own food.

We sat in the stands and watched the other heats in our division compete in the 2nd event which was thankfully inside.  No one was finishing this event, not even the girls who were flying up and over the boxes.  So the game plan going in was to just get as much done as possible.  While waiting, we were also highly entertained by this fun team who were really showing their pink spirit.

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Now on to the 2nd challenge…this was a doozy…

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Going in, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do the 20″ box jumps.  I’ve only just become comfortable with a 16″ box and that’s without adding burpees or rowing to the party. Both of those moves make your quads VERY tired, which in turn makes my legs feel like heavy sand bags.  There was an alternate you could take if you didn’t jump, which was step-ups, but the catch was you had to do double the amount.  So I had 28 burpee box step ups per round in my future.

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Photo Source: Jenn Lazzaro

My original thought was to pace myself, but seeing that no one was finishing and that I had double burpees in my future, I figured I would gain as much ground as I could in the row because I’m a strong rower.  I was glad to see that I was the first one off the rower, but that was about the end of my lead.  I kept a steady pace through the burpees and just trucked through the 10 minutes.  At the end, I got through 10 of the burpees in the 2nd round and surprisingly I felt good about what I accomplished. With one more event left to go for the day, the waiting game began.  

We had 3 hours to kill until our next event….that’s a LOOOOONG time!  We watched some of the teams compete, wandered around a bit and were basically chomping at the bit to just get back to the hotel and shower.  We headed towards the field where the 3rd event was taking place and again watched the earlier heats go.  We noticed that the heats seemed smaller in size with each event…were people dropping out?    

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Finally it was our turn and we knew we were cutting it close with dark clouds approaching. That day the 12 knees-to-arms part of the WOD was changed to 24 sit-ups.  We weren’t given an explanation as to why, but I was definitely happy with the change.  The bars were very thick and I knew I was going to have trouble with my grip if we were to do those.

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My “event photographer” Amanda had left before this event to go hang out with Robert Irvine in Epcot (not jealous at all!) so I don’t have any photos, but I will tell you that this was a much better event for me.  I flew through the dumbell snatches since my normal weight for those is 40#, the hurdle hops were a challenge (as all jumping things are with me!) and the sit-ups and push-ups were just going through the motions.  I didn’t complete the WOD, but I finished 190 out of the 228 reps.  

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The worst part about the WOD was the threat of lightening.  About halfway through warnings started to go off that there was lightening in the area and everyone should seek shelter, however no one stopped the event.  We could see and hear the storm which was a bit disconcerting because we were under a metal rig and hurling metal dumbells in the air….yikes!

After the event we hightailed it back to the Animal Kingdom Lodge and watched the animals for a bit.  We had dinner at the hotel and crashed fairly early after our long day.

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Kat and I woke up the next morning and had a long back and forth about our lack of enthusiasm to participate in day 2.  On one side of the coin we had paid for this event and we should finish what we started.  On the other side was the prospect of 75 more of those soul crushing wall balls in challenge 5 and more jumping up and over things.  We both felt pretty discouraged after the events around the first day and decided we would be much happier if we didn’t compete.

So we decided to watch the Gibbons perform feats of strength instead!

We also spent some time among the gorillas…

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Stared at giraffe butts…

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And of course, pet some goats!

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We clearly made the right choice. 

In most things, I would be very disappointed in myself for not finishing something I started, but this was different.  The programming of this event was very strange and not the typical CrossFit style I’m used to.  When you have events that the majority of the competitors don’t finish within the 10 minute time cap, something is clearly off.  Also, when I first signed up for this event back in March, the competition was only supposed to take place over one day with the finals on Sunday.  Now I had no expectations of making it to the finals so I had planned the rest of my trip around just one day of competition. Being a Disney fan first and a CrossFitter second, the appeal of the parks was much stronger than sweating it out through 2 more frustrating workouts.  

I’ll have more on my thoughts on the event, feedback for improvement and observations from other competitors coming up.  For now, I will say that I’m glad I participated in this event as it was definitely a learning experience.  I learned a lot about myself and my abilities in that one day.  But most of all I’m happy I was able to spend that time with my friends in my favorite place.  That was the BEST part of the Disney Fit Challenge.

I would love to hear from you.  What did you think of the event?  What do you think about my choice to not compete on the second day?  Is this something you would like to do in the future?

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Disney Fit Challenge – The Anticipation

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Six months prior I signed up for the Disney Fit Challenge.  The merging of two of my favorite things, Disney and CrossFit, seemed like a dream come true!  I convinced my friend Kat to join me and then the waiting began…  We waited and waited and waited for more information to be announced.  A month prior, the event schedule completely changed and then two short weeks before the event, the workouts were announced.  To say it was a let down is an understatement and my feelings of frustration began to grow.

After following the CrossFit Games so closely for the past few years, I had come to expect a certain type of programming for these type of events and what we got did not meet those expectations.  The programming was not varied as movements such as box jumps, hurdle hops (wtf?!) and wall balls were repeated in numerous events.  The movement standards were totally out of whack across the divisions and overall there just seemed to be a lack of organization.  We had been looking forward to this for quite some time and were now filled with disappointment as to what we had gotten ourselves into.  The only saving grace was that we were going to Walt Disney World, so we just decided to make the best of our vacation and that this event was just a blip on the radar.

We arrived on the Friday before the event and our first stop was the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.  I mean, how else do you prepare for a CrossFit competition than to eat and drink your way around World Showcase and walk over 2 miles in the process?! Clearly we had thrown caution to the wind and fun was in full effect.

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After a few hours, we headed to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to check in.  I’ve been there numerous times for runDisney race Expos which are always chaotic and full of people.  This was a different experience.  We were actually able to park close to the entrance and as we walked in it seemed down right deserted.  I wish the runDisney events were this easy!

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There weren’t any signs on where to go to check-in and I had to ask a cast member.  She pointed us to the HP Field House and to go around to the back of the upper level.

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The check-in area was deserted and we were able to get our wristbands, admission ticket to the complex, and swag bag in just a few minutes.  Is it really considered a swag bag when it is just a vinyl backpack and a tech tee?  Both are super cute though.

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We headed outside and I needed to check out the fields to see what the set up was going to look like for the event.  As I headed down behind the Field House, I was pretty impressed by everything that I saw and was actually surprised that the fields were open for me to get some close up photos.

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The rig set up from Pure Strength was awesome.  The wall ball targets are Mickey’s!!!

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I was very happy to see the hurdles in advance and know that we wouldn’t be having to jump over full size hurdles that you find on a track.  These were doable.

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Here’s my spot!

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Here were the dreaded 10 foot targets for our first event the next morning and under the tarps were the barbells staying dry.  

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So I was a bit more at ease to see everything in person, but I was still a bit hesitant about actually completing the WODs.  We still had no idea what the time cap was for the events, but it was assumed to be 10 minutes since that’s how long the heats were scheduled for. With so many questions still up in the air it was hard to feel confident.  What we did know for sure was that Kat and I were thankfully in the same heat (# 11) and that we would be starting at 10:45 am.

By the time we got back to the hotel and got a bite to eat we were exhausted from getting up at 5 am to head to the airport and our long day of walking.  We crashed by 9 and both slept for 10 hours!  This was actually great because we woke up with plenty of time to get ready (mentally and physically) and felt very well rested.  Now to take on our first official competition…stay tuned šŸ™‚

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My Two Year WODiversary!

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I have never ever ever in my life kept up with a steady fitness routine for longer than maybe 6 months.  Even with all the races I have run and continue to put on my schedule for the next few months, I haven’t kept up with my training like I should’ve.  But CrossFit…well CrossFit has kept my interest.  And it has not only kept my interest, but I fall in love with it more and more everyday.  It’s challenging, it’s fun, it’s rewarding and the friendships I have formed from it are just the best.  What is not to love?!

While I’m not exactly where I would’ve hoped to be two years into this journey, the improvements to my fitness, strength and confidence are unparalleled.  Here are some of those improvements compared to the first time I attempted a certain movement and then from a year ago.

  • Dead Lift: 63# >> 220# >> 225#
  • Back Squat: 53# >> 145# >> 155#
  • Front Squat: 58# >> 128# >> 145#
  • Overhead Squat: 43# >> 73# >> 85#
  • Squat Clean: 45# >> 73# >> 98#
  • Power Clean: 63# >> 103# >> 128#
  • Power Snatch: 53# >> 73# >> 78#
  • Thruster: 33# >> 75# >> 93#
  • Close Grip Bench: 48# >> 90# >> 95#
  • Shoulder to Overhead: 33# >> 85# >> 110# (split jerk)

Never in my life did I think I could lift over 100 pounds over my head…that’s insane to me! And the funny thing is, the clean & jerk is now my favorite movement.  I could do them all day!

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I still need to improve on the gymnastic movements like handstands and pull ups.  Hell, I still need to get an actual pull up!  Oh and double unders…I am ready to master those things.  But while those are not my strong suit, I have improved my box jumps and burpee efficiency by leaps and bounds.  

Other highlights in my CrossFit life this past year have included participating in Barbells for Boobs and raising money for breast cancer early detection screenings.  I can’t wait to do this again this year and I’m hoping to complete it in under 5 minutes this time!

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Also, attending the both the CrossFit Games Northeast Regional Competition and the actual CrossFit Games were probably the most inspirational and motivating ways to keep me moving forward with my training.  To see those dedicated athletes complete movements that I’m familiar with is simply amazing.

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My goals for the next year are to…

  • Get a pull up…I’d be happy with just a kipping pull up!
  • Master double unders
  • Get over 100 pounds in all of the movements above
  • Complete Grace in under 5 minutes
  • Get comfortable upside-down (aka doing handstands)
  • Get over my fear of box jumps!  

Totally doable!!  

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Coming up in just 7 weeks I will be competing in my first CrossFit competition…yikes!!  It’s the Disney Fit Challenge at Walt Disney World (of course it is at Disney!) and I’m going down with my lifting partner and life twin, Kat.  I’m beyond nervous excited!

So here’s to another year of lifting heavy things, getting faster, getting stronger, and just feeling RAD.  Big thanks to my coaches at CrossFit Milford, especially Jay, Colin, Ryan, Gina, Cesar, Dan and Amanda for always pushing me to be better and always believing that I can do the impossible.

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My 6 Favorite Things From The 2014 CrossFit Games

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The CrossFit Games are like no other sporting event I’ve ever experienced.  I’ve been to some major events, like the Stanley Cup Finals and the Indianapolis 500, but this was something else entirely.  The community, the camaraderie, the athleticism…unparalleled!  I could go on and on about it, but instead I thought I’d share some of my favorite things about the games.

1. My First View of the Stadium

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Walking into the soccer stadium for the first time was AMAZING!  I had seen it on TV in prior years, but being there and seeing the actual scale of the games gave me chills.  Also, the final heat of the Big Bob 100 started right when we walked in and it was crazy to see those teams move that sled.  I knew right away this was going to be an amazing weekend!

2. Vendor Village

You don’t find many CrossFit products in mainstream athletic stores like Dick’s and Sports Authority, so buying gear online becomes the norm.  Well not here…there were a TON of booths full of apparel, accessories and the newest in fitness equipment.  You could try things out, try things on and chat with the companies directly.  Here are 2 shirts that I got…LOVE the Kettlebell Monster one from one of my favorite apparel shops, SoRock.  I had picked up a few fun things at Regionals and was happy to see them there again!

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Some of the vendors has also set up mini-challenges at their booth which attracted a lot of attention.  Human X (the company that sponsored the contest I won) had a great rig set up with a few barbells for people to test their strength.  It was really fun to watch!

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3. The GIANT Reebok store

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The highlight of the Vendor Village was the GIANT Reebok.  There was so much great CrossFit gear…I just wanted to buy everything!  However since the Games actually started with the Masters competition 3 days prior, a lot of sizes were gone and mainly only XS and S was left.  Yeah this girl isn’t fitting into either of those sizes!

While there I got to try on the new Nano 4.0s and instantly fell in love!  I didn’t think anything out beat my 2.0s but these seemed magical!  I didn’t love any of the colors they had, so I going to splurge and make a custom pair….totally worth it.  I also tried on a pair of the Lifter 2.0s since I’ve been really wanting a pair of lifting shoes.  Again I didn’t like the colors they had available there, but it did lead to this purchase as soon as I got home šŸ™‚

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4. The Air Conditioned Beer Tent

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I don’t really think this needs explanation.  There was beer AND air conditioning (yes it was pretty warm at the Games) which made it an awesome place!  You can see a lot of other people agreed.

5. Seeing My CrossFit Idols

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Front and center in that photo are Rich Froning and Jason Khalipa…two legends in the sport of CrossFit and I got to see them in action.  Super cool!  I was especially excited to see Jason Khalipa because not only is he an amazing athlete, but he is a stellar businessman and just an all around humble and nice guy.  He is someone I look up to in many areas of life.

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And let’s not forget the kickass ladies!  Seeing women in the team competition deadlift over 350 pounds was stunning.  Then to see some of my idols like Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, Julie Foucher and Annie Thorisdottir not only do things I could never dream of doing, but also have all 3 land on the podium was probably the most inspiring thing of the weekend.  We ladies can kick some serious ass and they somehow manage to still look good doing it!

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6. Watching the Final WOD…My Favorite WOD   

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To get into the tennis stadium to see the final WODs of the day, you needed a fancy gold band.  Well on our last day, those amazing folks at Human X were nice enough to give B and I two of theirs.  WOW.   

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The final WOD was Grace…my favorite WOD, so this was even more exciting!  Grace is 30 clean & jerks for time at 135# for men and 95# for women.  This is my favorite WOD because those are my two favorite movements.  I first met Grace at the Barbells for Boobs charity event last year and let’s just say these athletes put my performance to shame.  Plus, not only did they do Grace, but they did DOUBLE Grace!  Most athletes completed that in less time than it took me to do the normal version…super human I tell ya!

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If that wasn’t exciting enough, we also got to see Rich Froning dominate the last 2 events and take the title of Fittest Man on Earth for the 4th year in a row,and Camille Leblanc-Bazinet finally won her first Games after years of competition.  Want to see it for yourself?  Check it out:


And those are my favorite things.  There was so much to see and experience that weekend that it’s still kind of hard to wrap my brain around the fact that I was actually there.  Now the questions is, do I start saving now so I can go again next year???

Were you at the CrossFit Games or did you watch it?  What were your favorite things?

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Functional Fitness and A Ton of Weight

Functional Fitness.  It is becoming more popular in the health and fitness world and is also the basis of all CrossFit programs.  CrossFit can actually be defined as “a regimen of constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity in a communal environment leading to health and fitness.”  

I know there are many skeptics out there who like to debate this and preach that CrossFit is a very dangerous sport.  My brother-in-law actually said to me recently that CrossFit is the “sport of injury.”  Well all of that is just basic ignorance in my opinion and comments like this generally come from those who have never even tried the sport or have an understanding of what is actually being accomplished everyday.  Yes, what we do may look chaotic and “unsafe” but it really is quite the opposite.  All the workouts (WODs) are strategically planned by our head coach and all the classes are highly monitored.  I can’t tell you how many times my form has been corrected during a WOD.  

If we look past what you actually see athletes doing during a CrossFit WOD and get down into WHY we are doing these movements, we will see a different picture begin to emerge.  Not only are we working out to be healthy and feel good, we are doing this to prepare us for life.  It’s done to carry those heavy bags of groceries, to change a flat tire, to take your child out of a carseat, to do laundry…you know, everyday things.  And not just do these things, but do them efficiently and without injury.  Sounds interesting right?

Last week this was dropped off in my driveway:

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That would be 100 40-pound bags of wood pellets.  It gets COLD here in CT in the winter and if you couldn’t tell from all my bitching this past winter…I HATE the cold!  So to keep the house nice and toasty, we have a pellet stove.  I love this thing…

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However, pellet stoves need fuel and that’s where these bags come in.  We do not have a garage to store the bags in so they need to be moved down to the basement…one by one.  Our basement does not have an entrance from the outside, so we must walk from the driveway, around the back of the house, through the living room and down a flight of stairs.  It’s only about 50-75 feet, but making that trip 25 times while carrying 80 pounds of weight can get tiring.  And that’s just what B and I did.  We each moved a ton (literally) of pellets.

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When we first moved into this house 5 years ago, I didn’t help with this task.  B’s brothers would come up from NY and help him.  About 2 years ago (2 months after starting CrossFit), we got a delivery of 1 ton.  I decided to help B that time and I remember it being difficult.  He would put two bags on my shoulders and I would carry them down.  I remember being sore afterwards.  This year was a different story.

Not only was I able to lift and carry two bags on my own, but I did it quickly and without injury or any soreness the next day.  Knowing how to properly squat and clean weight up to my shoulders saved my back from injury.  Having a stronger core, kept my body more properly aligned while carrying 40 pounds on one shoulder and another in front of me. It’s pretty clear that my training has come a long way.

So while I might not look like the epitome of health and fitness on the outside, like the sport of CrossFit, I tell a different story on the inside.  Practicing functional fitness has prepared me for all the different things life will throw at me.  I wonder what will come next…  

How are you prepared?

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