direction. set one. errr… or two.

Probably posted this one before, but it’s worth repeating:

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ― E.E. Cummings

This was an unusual day as I was able to spend a total of approx. 3 hours at CF. Casually snuck out of work at lunch for the nooner. Then back again for Strongman at 7pm. Followed by some additional training with peeps. There’s so many challenges going around the box you just have to reach up and lasso the moon, George Bailey. Do it. It’s an endless stream of things to goal and do and work towards. CF’ers love to work. As do I. Give me a goal, point me in a direction, wind me up, and let me go.

Direction. Set one. Errrr… or two.

For not only have I signed up for the 90 Day Challenge which starts Jan. 1, I also threw my resilience in the ring for the Back Squat Challenge which began on Monday, Dec. 17. Here’s how it works…

Back Squat Challenge: You work every other weekday – Mon., Wed., and Fri., for two months. On Day 1, Monday, start at 50% of your 1RM back squat weight. Do 20 reps at the 50%. Then every other weekday after (W, F…. M, W, F…etc.) increase the weight in 5lbs. increments. I started really, really light, as I don’t want to burn out too quickly. So, even though my Back Squat 1RM is 155lbs. and I should be starting around 75lbs., I elected to start at 55lbs. So, Monday, Dec. 17, 20 reps completed at 55lbs. Wednesday, Dec. 19, 20 reps completed at 60lbs. Friday we’ll be up to 65lbs. And so on…

You cannot put the barbell down at any point during the round.

On the day you cannot complete a set of 20 reps you work at that weight for however many days it takes until you can complete the full 20. Suppose you only get 18 reps at 145lbs. on Wednesday before you drop the bar? You try for 20 at 145lbs. again on Friday.

Even at the lighter weight this is a surprisingly taxing goal. It is supposed to make your ‘posterior chain’ (CF’ers love this word) über strong. I’m down with über strong. Let’s see how long I can last.



Press – 3 x 5

Completed: up to 5 reps at 70lbs. I know. I know. My overhead is cray-cray weak. Still. Alas.

II. Conditioning:

8 Rounds

Tabata Hang Power Cleans (95/65)


8 Rounds

Tabata Front Squats (95/65)


8 Rounds:

Tabata Push Presses

Completed: at 60lbs. Not bad. This was a really fun barbel complex. Love the Tabata. Takes you to a different place when strategizing. You gotta find a number of reps and stick to it.

End of Summer Throwdown ~ Day 3 of 4


I. End of Summer Throwdown WOD 3

15 Minutes to Estabish a Max Combined Weight for CrossFit Total

-1RM Back Squat

-1RM Press

-1RM Deadlift

*Cannot move on to next movement until both athletes have completed the same movement

*No limits on number of attempts, but must be completed within 15 minute cap.

Completed: With three awesome partners, Rich and Keith. And three PR’s! Back Squat @ 145lbs. Press @ 80lbs. Deadlift @ 245lbs. Our math, ie. our final totals, went by way of our enthusiasm, through the roof, but that’s okay. High fives all around.

II. AMRAP in 5 minutes:

Wallballs (20/14)

Completed: 74 total Wallballs. We ran out of 14lbs. Used the 10lbs. Which was fine. If you think about it, we ran out of 14lbs. because there were so many people in class. People showing up to be healthy!



I. Press

5 sets, 5 reps


II. “Karen”

For Time

150 Wallballs (20/14)

Completed: at 14lbs. in 9:13.

a hand up

Hit an earlier WOD today, which I like to do when possible. If I had my druthers I would hit all my WOD’s right around 3pm. That’s my sleepiest part of the day, where I get distracted, bogged down by details and just wanting to take a nap. The Mojo meter is at its all time lowest. This is one of the reasons why I generally do not eat lunch, or take an official standard ‘hour lunch’ because the routine of it and the idea of sitting down to eat a full lunch only makes me more tired. Too cliche. I’d much rather power through the job at hand and then take that lunch hour at the end of my day, so I can move on and focus on something else. Like CF for instance.

Either way, today was fortunate in being able to cut out early and hit the 3pm WOD. Dean was coaching.


Junkyard Dog Warm-Up and Shoulder Mobility


I. Press

5 – 5 – 5


The WOD started out basic enough, like any other WOD. Warm up, some strength building around the Press. No PR this time. Struggled just to keep it at 70lbs. With a strict Press @ 70lbs. seeming to be a sticking point. But, then again I once thought 55lbs. was my sticking point. There is hope after all.

And then we hit Jeremy.

II. “Jeremy”

For Time:

21 – 15 – 9

Overhead Squats (95/65)


If someone came up to me and asked, ‘Mary, if you could put together a WOD of your absolute sucks, what would it be?’ I would say, ‘Well, I don’t have to put a WOD of Sucks together, because it already exists and it’s name is, Jeremy.’

Oh My Good Golly. For the first time in a very long time I had to put away the blue bar, and pull out a green. Green bars are the lightest bars. Some of them are even a little bit shorter, so when you’re squatting your reach is not as extended. This is a problem for someone so tall as me. Either way, having been RX on reps for some time now, I confidentially loaded my bar with what I was certain was a weight with which I could compete: 45lbs. total. Yeah, not so much.

When everyone was finishing their last round of 9 reps, I was still stuck somewhere in round one of 21’s. Barely able to pull out two squats in a row. Total fail. It was simply too heavy. And I thought, am I really not going to finish a WOD? Like, really not finish, not even close? How can this be? But I’ve worked so hard! I’ve put so much into this! I can’t fail now.

Eventually I resigned to the idea that I would not finish, somewhere around the 18th burpee still in the first round of 21’s with 3 minutes left on the clock.

Then Dean stopped by to check in, ‘Mary, which round are you in?’ I just shook my head ‘No.’ ‘How many more do you have to go?’ he asked. I said, ‘Too many to count.’ I gave him the look, Go on without me, save yourself. And dropped the bar to the ground.

My defeat was imminent.

He rolled my overloaded bar away from me and presented the orange bar, no bumpers. 25lbs. total. ‘Finish it,’ he said, ‘Girl I know you can do it.’ I looked at him like, really, what’s the point? But when a CF coach is staring at you and telling you to go, you go. I picked up the orange bar and finished my second round of squats. And then hit some burpees in the safety of a clock that was about to run out.

The buzzer rang. The WOD was through. I had made it through round one of 21’s barely at 45lbs., and then round two of 15’s at 25lbs. plus 7 burpees.

The girl behind me who had finished several minutes before said, ‘how many more burpees do you have to go?’ ‘Eight,’ I said, shoulders drooping in defeat. ‘Finish it!’ she said, ‘You have to.’ And then she started clapping. And down I went, 8… 9… 10…. I’ll just get to 15 and then I’ll go home. At least get that far. And I did… 15. Round two completed.

I started to put away my 45lbs. disaster when Dean rolled the orange bar back over to me. ‘Just do it, Mary, come on, finish it.’ I looked around the triple-wide, the 3pm class was done, the 4pm class was filing in. My time was up, the WOD was over, it was time to pack it in.

‘Seriously?’ I asked. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘And I’m going to stay here with you until you do. It won’t take that long. I believe in you.’

And there it is. Those words, strung together like a lovely song of hope and courage and strength and everything you ever need to hear to just take another of those impossible steps. Where ever you are, what ever you might be doing that seems so hard and daunting and absolutely impossible. ‘I believe in you.‘ And suddenly you can. You believe in yourself too.

I took the bar, and completed 9 overhead squats unbroken. ‘Now get your burpees, and don’t stop till you’re through!’ Dean said.

And I did, right down to the last, 3, 2, 1.

Dean looked at the clock, ’11:52′, he said. ‘Not bad, not bad at all. I knew you could do it.’

Thanks, Dean. Thanks for the much needed hand up.

The Now

“True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice.” ― St. Francis of Assisi

It’s been two days since hitting a WOD. Can you tell me why then it seems like so much longer?

There are so many benefits to CF for me, the least of which incredibly is the physical. These WOD’s are an opportunity to literally stop my brain’s non-stop train of thoughts and incessant processing. The WOD’s force me to focus on the absolute here and now. Instead of trying to plan and calculate every piece of my future, my job, my home, my finances, my family, everything… Ugh, exhausting.

When it’s 3,2,1, Go… the thought parade is brought to a halt and leveled back to zero and all I can see in front of me is the next move. That’s it. Oh the pure joy of the Now. What a blessing.

There are added benefits of course, primarily in the form of some new PR, some personal milestone reached not necessarily planned for except by the very act of simply showing up.


I.  In 12 Minutes:

Establish a 1 Rep Max Press

Completed: 1RM of 75lbs. PR! At first I tried to add too much weight too fast, and failed. In slowing down and building in smaller increments I was able to build capacity and reach the PR.

II. “Angie”

For Time:

100 Pullups

100 Pushups

100 AbMat Situps

100 Air Squats

*25 Minute Time Limit

Completed: In 21:58.


“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”  — Leo Tolstoy

Really enjoyed reading Caleb’s post today. There’s nothing quite like openness and honesty. I’ve come to expect nothing less from the CF community.

Received some bad news today. Had to cancel a trip that I was very much looking forward to. Over a month of planning and dreaming and, dare we mention again… wait for it…. looking forward to. Alas, no trip for you. God, and your plans. God, and your plans. Truth is, everything does happen as it should. There’s no alternative.

So. As a result of now being in town on March 31st, well, what better way to spend my time than to sign up for my first, EVER, Crossfit Competition. Dude. Seriously? Why not. Bring on the Garage Games.


Practice Toes-to-Bar for 10 Minutes

Completed: more like, toes to somewhere around mid-air-ish.


I. Press

10 – 10 – 10

Rest 2 Minutes Between Sets

Completed: PUSHED on this one, with shoulder actually feeling (dare to speak it) better. 10 @ 55lbs. Then 7 and 7 @ 60lbs.

II. 7 Rounds For Time:

10 Sumo-Deadlift High Pulls (95/65)

10 Ring Dips

15 Minute Time Cap

Completed: in 8:31. SDLHP @ 55lbs. 10 more lbs and we would have hit the RX. Ring Dips scaled to Ring Pushups.

III. 90 Seconds Max Box Jumps (24/20)

Completed: 23 total at 20″

The beginning of Lent

“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” ~ Buddha


Russian Gymnastics Warm-Up – Day 2


I. “Annie”

For Time:

50 – 40 – 30 – 20 – 10


AbMat Situps

II. Press

5 – 5 – 5 – 5

III. Accumulate 3 Minutes in an L-Sit

Completed: Annie in 7:52. Scaled to single-unders, as double-unders still elude me. Felt really good. Maybe the time off has been good for me. My press is still stuck at 55lbs. Dean explained that the weights of a Press usually increase in smaller measurements. Typically 2.5 to 5lbs increments. Rather than the usual globs of 10lbs or more of a deadlift or some other. I found this so interesting, and it makes perfect sense.

My diet has been good. But it’s been a few days since hitting a WOD. Two to be exact: Tuesday and Wednesday. Why does it feel like so much longer? Just couldn’t find the energy to make it to CF within a really busy last few days. Either way, felt great to get back to the triple wide today.

Lent is a season of reflection and abstinence. The 40 days leading up to the celebration of Easter. I enjoy the camaraderie of Lent. Like praying within a large group. The power and movement of silent prayer. The time out during Lent is relaxing too. The feeling that my attempts at abstinence are for something greater than my own ego, for something much bigger. It’s a time to reassess, and take personal inventory. There’s about a month left in the 90DC. Hard to believe. I find it fitting that it ends within the Lenten season.