Spring Fling Recap Event #3 – But Did You Die?

Time for the third and final post about my first CrossFit competition recap, the Spring Fling!

In case you missed it, here are recaps for Event #1 and Event #2.

Are you exhausted yet? I hope not, because Event #3 was a good ol’ chipper!

Event #3: a good ol’ chipper – Complete the following sequence for time. Time cap of 16 minutes:

  • 100 DB presses (25lb)
  • 50 box jumps (20″)
  • 50 kettlebell lunges (35lb)
  • 50 kettlebell swings (35 lb)
  • 50 goblet squats (35 lb)

Scoring is by time completed, or how many movements were completed before the time cutoff.

16 minutes? Bha ha ha ha! That’s cute, they thought I could finish in 16 minutes! I assumed I would be lucky to make it to the swings. And I was right.

After taking a bit of a car nap and eating some food, I was ready to kill the third event and get it all over with. I was super pumped by the first couple of women’s heats. Given how long I had to wait until my heat started I was worried about losing mental interest and my warm-up, so I kept moving around and trying to cheer for the other athletes as they slogged through the workout. I figured the key was just to pace it, and keep steady and keep moving. Which as it turns out, is my jam. I love chippers.

Doing the math, I figured to finish within the time cut I had to complete each exercise within 3-4 minutes. No way. I mean, maybe I could crank out the swings in that time, but box jumps? We’ll just have to go in and do our best there. I started my heat, and the push presses were laughable. It was hard to only use one arm, it took me a few reps to figure out the balance! And my right was clearly stronger than my left. At first I tried to keep my splits even, do 10 presses on the right, then switch and do 10 on the left, but my left was taking so much longer! I eventually did the last 20 reps all on my right in the interest of time.

After the 100th push press, I immediately dropped the dumbbell and started with the box jumps. After watching the other heats, I figured I would do better if I just stepped up on the box instead of jumping up, which was legal. When you’re tired it takes just as long to step up as to jump and recover, and since I’m only 5′ tall a 20″ box is a significant height, like, almost the length of my whole leg. I was able to cruise at a pretty steady pace, switching legs as needed and never needing to break it up. Towards the end I was putting my hands on my knees to help myself up, but I never needed to stop. Nailed it.

After the box jumps were the weighted lunges. Lunges are hard. They’ve always been a bit of a menace to me. And lunges with a 35lb kettlebell just suck. I would much rather lunge with a barbell, because at least it’s not awkward to carry. I sort of cradled the kettlebell to my chest with one arm and held it in place with the other while I lunged away. I ended up breaking out in groups of 8’s and 4’s as my quads slowly died on me. And holding the kettlebell to my chest was causing my lower back some problems that ended up doing me in. In hindsight, I should have balanced the kettlebell on my shoulder, or held it to my side, swapping sides. But I chalk this up to the “you don’t know what you don’t know” category of competing for the first time. I cranked them out best I could and moved on to the swings.

The swings are where I died. My lower back was cramping so bad, I couldn’t even get the thrust to move the kettlebell. I just sort of collapsed on all fours after 10 reps, unable to continue. I was super frustrated. I had done so well, and now this! I would scrabble up, do a couple more reps until I thought my back would break, and collapse down again. I twisted and stretched and it did nothing. I would try to land a couple more swings, then curse and throw the weight down again. At one point with just a couple minutes left until the time cutoff, my gym owner saw me and asked my judge if I was done. I shook my head; I’m not done, I just can’t move! She offered a modification to the swing, to bend my elbows and use more arm to muscle up the kettlebell, rather than keeping my arms straight. That actually worked really well, using my arms more than my back to support, and I was able to finish with a final score of 40 swings.

I didn’t make it to the goblet squats, but with my back thoroughly cramping I can’t imagine that would have been super spectacular. Still, I wish there wasn’t a time cap so I could have had the opportunity to know where I would have finished. I’m guessing I needed another 3-4 minutes to crank out the rest of the swings and the squats. I probably could have finished in under 20. But with my final score I ended up 17th in Event #3.

After the last of the heats were completed, we had beer. And awarded the winners. I came in 15th overall out of 27 participants, which is about how I did throughout my academic career, so nothing to complain about there (I always said C’s get degrees!).

The best part was, when I went home, I was home alone. The kids were visiting their grandparents, and Hulk had flown out to Austin, TX that morning on a business trip. This was, like, the ultimate luxury. So I cooked up a Home Chef meal (pork chops with butternut squash-apple mash, yay protein and carbs!), took an ice bath (eek!) followed by a really long epsom salt soak, and binged-watched the last season of Downton Abbey with Olive. It was a good day.

It’s so weird, at the time I was sort of beating myself up about my scores. Then as I’m walking through the day again, it’s like I sort of realized what a badass I am, that I did everything I could and there are very few regrets, performance-wise. And I am so looking forward to the next competition, whenever that will be. The CrossFit competition kool-aid has been drunk by the gallon over here.

And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed my recap, in all of its self-induglent, CrossFitty glory.

Go make it a great weekend!

The Swing! Book Review

Last week I checked out the local library for the first time!

Feel the literary lending power.

I sort of forgot that libraries are a thing, and I don’t need to push my Amazon and Kindle budget to the limit to get a few good reads. Plus, I was on a missions to find a training book on Olympic lifting or kettle bell, and though the selection at my branch left a little to be desired, I did find one book that was about beginning kettle bells for women. Score.
I devoured The Swing!: Lose the Fat and Get Fit with This Revolutionary Kettlebell Program by Tracy Reifkind in one quick evening and the next day got to work with the prescribed training program. All I really wanted in a training book was some basic technique recommendations and a beginner-level program that I could just open up and follow. Please tell me what to do, and don’t make me think too hard is my training style.

A lot of the book just explains over and over again how quick, simple, and fun kettle bell swinging is. I may have skimmed through most of the beginning where the author talks about her back story of losing 130 lbs with basic yet challenging kettle bell workouts and a clean diet. It’s great, but it’s not really what I am focused on. I picked up the book, you already have me convinced to try kettle bells! Then the book breaks down the swing technique and offers some simple exercises to get the motion down, and provides modifications if needed. Finally, a progressive 16-session workout series is introduced which I am now working through. The last part of the book is diet recommendations, which I wasn’t too interested in either. It’s your predictable clean eating, whole-food plan emphasizing plants and lean meats and staying away from processed food. All good things, but nothing revolutionary. 

This book was written for a woman who maybe has never exercised before, is perhaps just starting out on her health journey and doesn’t really know where to begin. I’m still looking for a book that has a little more technical and varied material, but this is a great place to start. This would be perfect for someone who has expressed interest in getting in shape, but is worried about cost, effort, and time constraints. All you need to do these workouts is a kettle bell, a clock, and 15 minutes.

And that’s how I’ve been following the program. I have a 25 lb kettlebell that I use, and so far have completed 3 of the exercises. The first time … Wow, I could hardly stand afterwords without my legs shaking! I was a bit sore the next day, but it wasn’t the worst DOMS by any means. And it really is quick: crank up some loud heavy metal, do some dynamic stretching to warm up, swing away for 15 minutes, and I’m done!

A word of caution: DO NOT swing a ‘bell where dogs or small children are unrestrained and running freely around you. They don’t understand physics or the conservation of energy, and I almost beaned Olive over the head when she ran in front of me mid-swing. This might be an activity best saved for nap time, or near a pack-and-play or similar child detainment device.

In other news, we’re still blazing forward in my loose “drunken caveman” paleo eating style. Breakfast was a quick Starbucks coffee and double smoked bacon breakfast sandwich, because mornings. Then lunch out with coworkers turned into taco Tuesday:

This lunch was 100% worth it, paired with tomato basil soup as a side. So good.

Hulk has been experimenting with chicken and rice dishes for dinner. We cooked some bone broth the other day, and he’s been using that to cook rice with chicken and veggies. It is so savory and good. I will never cook rice without broth again.

I guess my meals aren’t truly paleo, but I’m resisting the snacking and holiday goodies that are starting to surround me. I figure I’ll use my willpower on the obvious stuff and not worry too much at meal times. Last night I did skip my usual post-dinner beer, and when everyone else was enjoying leftover pumpkin pie (it just won’t die!) I had some lemon tea. No deprivation, I just wasn’t feeling it so why bother?

I decided I’m going to end posts with some questions, for fun. If you want to respond, feel free to leave a comment. Or comment on something unrelated. Or don’t comment. I’m fine with that; I’m a lurker too!

‘Merican readers, Do you still have Thanksgiving leftovers?

Do you visit the library, prefer to have your own books, or hate reading in general?

That’s it for now. Go make it a great day!