17.4 Accomplished

Thanks to CrossFit Sunalta for the pics this week!

Finally! An Open workout where I feel very pleased about my finish.  17.2 and 17.3 were not my jam; however, 17.4 (16.4) was definitely well-suited to my abilities and short stature.

Although I’m anticipating DB thrusters and double-unders for 17.5, I’m taking a moment to enjoy the feeling 17.4 provided.

Dana, Megs, and I went in the first heat. Carol kindly judged for me (thanks Carol!).  Before I started, I asked a few friends to keep an eye on me, and to come yell if they saw me pausing on the rower.  Laura made especially good on that promise.

My warm-up felt a little frenzied – I could have used another 5 minutes – but 10:55 arrived and it was go time.

With my belt on, I stuck to my sets of 5/5 seconds rest strategy for 7 rounds for the deadlifts. Then I hit the wall, and elected to do quick singles to finish up.  I kept reminding myself to breath because I could tell my nerves were kicking in.

I popped off my belt and headed to my wallball. I think I managed two sets of 10 before I did a whole bunch of smaller sets.  My focus was to keep moving and keep breathing.

Somehow I was on the rower before I knew it. When I was warming up, I had done :30 easy, :30 hard for four rounds and coincidentally rowed 55 calories.

For 17.4, I decided to test out a different strategy than my usual “Get on rower.  Pull hard.  Get tired.  Stop rowing.” (patent pending).  Instead I rowed easy (~650 cals/hr) for :15, then hard (~900 cals/hr) for :30 or :45.

I probably looked like I was dogging it, but instead, my psychology change worked!  I could faintly hear Laura, amongst others, yelling at me to keep rowing, but the calories were adding up and I wasn’t dying!  Success!

I was off the rower in 4:10 (11:10 was my tie breaker time, compared to 16.4’s 12:59).

My only goal for 17.4 was to get to the wall for handstand push-ups (HSPU). AND I GOT THERE.  My heart was pounding pretty hard from the row, so my first HSPU was a failed attempt.  Carol clarified that I needed to keep both heels on the wall to complete a rep.  Then I got the hang of it and knocked out 7 kipping HSPU!

My momentum was a bit lost then, and I managed to only squeeze in 2 more reps before the 13:00 was up.  It’s hard to be upside down when your heart is racing!

My score for 17.4 was 174 reps!  (Yes, the number-loving accountant in me was happy for the symmetry of that score.)

Dana enjoyed 17.4 too. I mean, look at this row face:

As usual, I cooled down a tiny bit then judged a few heats after with friends.

I wrapped my day off with a relaxing float at Clear Float, and today my back only feels slightly tight (nothing compared to last year’s can’t-tie-my-shoes). I’ll take that!

Any last bets what 17.5 will be? I’m both terrified and excited for Thursday’s announcement. Thrusters and…?

Tips & Tricks: Open 17.4

Partly I jest, but as I remember from last year what my back felt like after 16.4, I’ll be making an appointment with my friend, fellow crossfitter, and chiropractor Shawn Rennick for next week.  Calgary friends, a good person to know!

Here we are at 17.4 already – March is flying by! 17.1 and 17.2 showcased dumbbells, and I think we were all crying tears of joy to see a barbell in 17.3.  Now 17.4 brings us… 16.4!

17.4 is 16.4

We meet again, 16.4

The great thing about 16.4 is that, as a repeat workout from 2016’s CrossFit Open, the internets are full of recaps and tips.

How do I feel about it?  To quote myself from last year’s blog post (is that vanity at its finest? #YOLO):

I really felt like it was my jam, despite the rowing.  My only regret is not getting to the wall – I know I could have done a few HSPU at least.  But I never would have guessed I would finish the row, so there’s that.

row row row no

Of all the Open workouts that could be repeated, 16.4 is definitely not my worst fear.  I think I’m most pleased that I’ll actually get a good workout in on Sunday, compared to the 17.2 and 17.3 (which due to my stubbornness RX-ing were pretty low-key).

Things that worked well for me in 2016/Plan of attack for 2017

  • Deadlifts – my current one rep max (RM) is about 260#.  My coach Eric advises not attempting RX unless 155# is ~60% of your 1 RM.  Last year I had success with sets of 5, with 5 second rests in between.  Protect your back at all costs!
  • Wall balls – last year I did small sets of 5-6.  I’m hoping to do sets of 10 this year.  My lungs are slightly bigger.  🙂
  • Rowing for calories – not my strongest skill then, and not my strongest skill now. My goal is to just keep moving (I’ve been known to stop outright… like the calories will appear magically without moving the rower… pray for me…).
  • Handstand push-ups (HSPU) – I didn’t get here last year as I rowed my 55th calorie just as the timer went.  My ultimate goal for 17.4 is to get some handstand push-ups!  I can do them… I just need to have time for them (AKA don’t row for eternity).

Tips & Tricks from People Smarter Than Me

Read the workout standards from the Games website (as always) – there are pretty specific rules for HSPU.

Nicole Carroll from the CrossFit Games website offers the following wisdom:

  • Doing smaller sets with designated rests ensures that you can maintain a decent pace for the deadlifts and wall balls.
  • Rowing: make every pull count.  * ahem Kait *
  • Read her post for HSPU tips for when your shoulders are too tired to function.

Coach Eric Barber from CrossFit Currie Barracks/my second home CrossFit Sunalta has a well-rounded post including a warm-up, pacing suggestions, and general science/math awesomeness.  The guy knows what he’s talking about.

  • Have structured work:rest sets in mind for the deadlifts and wall balls.  Know your strengths when picking rep quantities.
  • For the row, focus on keeping your heart rate stable (no redlining!), and towards the last few calories, ensure your breathing is in control for the handstand push-ups.
  • HSPU: small sets from the beginning.

Are you happy to see 16.4 again?  Any lessons learned you’ll be trying out this time around?  I’ll be back next week with a recap of 17.4!

17.3 Accomplished

My CrossFit Open 17.3 experience isn’t much to write home about. So instead I’ll write about it on my internet blog. [eye roll]

As you can surmise from my past recaps, I’m just an average-Joe-crossfitter, not an elite-level Games athlete at this point.

I love doing the Open every year because, despite my inability to do some movements still (muscle-ups, I’m looking at you), you still realize the gains you make year-over-year.  They might be small, but trending upwards is all that matters.

With that said, the 2017 Open hasn’t exactly been making me feel like a rockstar.

I did finish 17.1 under the time cap, RX. In hindsight, that was my best Open event so far.

17.2 was a good workout… all 6 minutes of it… but those muscle-ups got in my way.

17.3 was an even quicker workout. I got it over with on Friday night as I forecasted Saturday’s wine tasting might inhibit my performance.  Meg came to cheer me on, and Dana judged.

Maybe the lip pucker helps?

The wins: I’m very pleased to say the 65# squat snatches were pretty smooth and didn’t kill me.  I did the chest-to-bars as singles, but quickly.  Dana only had to no-rep me a few times on either movement.

My strategy was to fly through the first “round” of snatches and pull-ups so my tie-breaker score would be competitive. I finished the round of 65# snatches in 4:19, I believe.  Then did the 7 pull-ups at a more leisurely pace and took some time to get my heartrate down before attempting some 95# snatches.

The problem was that 85# is the most I’ve ever squat snatched. I can power clean 100#, but I’m still lacking the confidence to drop under the weight in a squat.  I know it’s silly.  Science/math say that I should be able to squat snatch more than I can power snatch.  But that ratio still isn’t correct for me.

I probably attempted 95# five times with Meg, Coach Jane, Dana, and the rest of class cheering me on. I even got under it a few times (although I didn’t realize it, until after when Meg showed me the video!), but couldn’t seem to stick it and stand up again.


So I finished 17.3 with some tears in my eyes, but got it done. I do feel like the Open gave me the confidence to attempt 95#, and when snatches come up in class in the future, I will likely be able to get under the bar and stick it!

My finish in 17.3 only pushed me down 3 places on the Leaderboard so that’s kind of promising. Haha, you know I’m all about that Leaderboard finish.  😉

On Sunday morning, despite Saturday night’s festivities, Dana went in the first heat and did 17.3. That darn guy beat my tie-breaker time and got more reps than me!

I was more than happy to just judge a few heats, as I wasn’t feeling my finest. Anna had some great attempts at 95#, and Rozie made the 95# bar look light!  I also judged a scaled athlete and, for anyone who thinks scaled is easier, I think it’s equally as hard!  Those jumping pull-ups catch up with you, as does the increased speed of the workout (due to the lighter snatch weights).  The rest of the Intramural Open was spent socializing and cheering – a very nice way to spend a Sunday.

Tomorrow is the 17.4 announcement – any guesses? We all know Dave Castro’s Instagram hints can’t be trusted. How was 17.3 for you?