Monday, September 27, 2010

Fit as Fu*k Wrap-Up

Low, grey, and threatening clouds filled the morning sky as we made our way to the Fit as Fu*k CrossFit Challenge. It did not bother us—we came prepared for the unknown and unknowable. However, it did not raise our spirits to think that we may be doing heavy kettlebell snatches, sandbag sprints, and burpees in the rain! But, that was Event #2…perhaps the weather would hold out. First, we had to overcome the first event—the skills session.

Event #1 proved to be a success for me; I was able to complete all 7 skills as required. Let me tell you though—the 500 meter row tested my will. I had about 150 meters to go and I distinctly remember a little voice crowding my mind, telling me that this SUCKED and that I wanted to QUIT! However, there were two voices that I heard: the first voice was my wife, Kari, who was not even there. I could hear her urging me to pull faster…to pull harder! The other voice was actually audible, and it was Lauren. All that I heard was, “Come on B…pull…come on B!” The cutoff was 1:35. I rowed a 1:34…barely! Thank you Kari and Lauren!

Event #2 did not go as well as I had wanted. The heavy kettlebell snatches (32kg) proved to be quite a challenge for me (and my shoulder). However, combined with my score for the first event, I was able to move on to the third event: “CrossFit Total II”.

Event #3... kilograms to pounds = my math sucks! I had a game plan and I stuck to it pretty well, until the bench press. I attempted the clean first. I hit 100kg which was NOT my best—a bit disappointed. However, I made my way on to the overhead squat, and achieved a personal record of 100kg (220lbs). Next, was the bench press. Here is the thing: I do NOT bench press. I ended up lifting 120kg (265lbs), which I was satisfied with. The grand total: 320kg, which put me at the middle of the pack…on to Event #4.

105kg was the curse of me. The fu*ked up barbell complex was right in my wheelhouse—it was it! 10 barbells…starting at 60kg and ending with 105kg. I made it through to the 100kg complex with little to no problems. Then, the ticket to the final event, was the 105kg barbell complex. I attempted…and I failed. I attempted again…and I failed. I attempted a third time…and I failed. This disqualified me from making it to the final event. I will be honest with all of you: I am disappointed. However, overall, I am very happy with how I did. After recovering from rotator cuff surgery in January, and only staring to do the WODs as Rx’d in May/June, I feel as though my capacity has actually increased! CrossFit motivates me.

A BIG thank you goes out to Sarah and Ditte—they put on a first class event! I can only hope that the Fit as Fu*k CrossFit Challenge will continue to be an annual event. To all of the outstanding athletes, spectators, and sponsors: thank you! I will be leaving Europe next week…I honestly could not have thought of a better way to spend my last weekend, than in the presence of so many incredible people—my European CrossFit Family: I will miss you all!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Competing Denmark!

254. That is how many days have passed since my shoulder surgery. 42 of those 254 days, my arm was in sling, and I was unable to use it. To be honest, I cannot even remember when I started doing WODs as Rx’d again. May…June? I am not sure. On April 27th of this year, Lauren posted a topic on our forum about the Fit as Fu*k Challenge in Denmark in September. At first, I thought that there would be no conceivable way that I would be anywhere close to being ready to compete in another CrossFit event. On May 13th, I signed up for it.

I love CrossFit. I love the community, the WODs, and yes…I love the competition! I had to do this. I knew that I would be leaving Germany shortly after the competition, so I decided that the Fit as Fu*k Challenge would be my “last hurrah”—what better way to depart, than spending one of my last weekends with close friends, in Denmark, doing what we all love doing: CrossFit. But am I prepared for this?

Most of the time, we are not prepared for the WOD, let alone a multi-event CrossFit competition – “unknown and unknowable” baby!  To state the obvious, my training had not gone quite as I would have liked—that was one of the reasons that I started this blog. Because, “The Training Never Stops” no matter what the circumstances. I am more than satisfied with my progress though—I have been posting PRs for a lot of my lifts and WODs…my confidence is up! I’m not even that nervous.

Let me tell you this: last year, on the way to CrossFit Northern Ireland to compete in the 2009 CrossFit Games European Qualifier, I broke out in hives. No, seriously…I was so nervous that I actually broke out in hives. Not this time. I am just looking forward to seeing my “European CrossFit Family” one last time, and of course, meeting new CrossFitters! On 3-2-1…GO! will Mr. Jekyll turn into Dr. Hyde? Oh, you better believe it; however, the pressure is off…I am going to have a blast—WE are going to have a blast.

So, wish me luck! And for all of you crazy CrossFitters heading to Denmark this weekend: good luck to all of you and see you soon!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The "Morning Outdoor WOD"

I have only two weekends left in Germany—this hit home this morning. Following my usual Sunday morning routine, I woke up around 0700, fed the dog, and put on the coffee. After checking, I grabbed the leash, gave Riddic her pre-walk treat, and stepped out the door. The morning was gorgeous—it was going to be a spectacular day. As always, I brought my camera with me—living here for three years, I have come to understand that you never want to miss a photo opportunity…this morning was  no different. On the way home, and idea floated to the forefront of my mind: why not do an outdoor WOD?

I dropped Riddic off at home, grabbed a kettlebell, a duffel bag full of weights, and my video camera. Let me tell you—walking with 100+ pounds of [nearly unmanageable] excess weight, was no picnic. Eventually, I made it up to the point where I wanted to begin my “Morning Outdoor WOD”. The idea of this workout was to replicate Event #2 in the Fit as Fu*k Challenge next weekend in Denmark. The event will consist of one-armed kettlebell snatches, an approximate 60 meter sandbag (30kg) sandbag sprint, and burpees. My “sandbag” was a duffel bag with an approximate 45lb weight vest and two 10lb bumper plates—needless to say, this proved to be VERY unmanageable (see video)! And to be honest, the way back down (post-WOD) was even worse!

Enjoy watching me suffer…

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Quick Study: CrossFit & The USAF Fitness Test

One of the greatest methods to measure progress is through the use of numbers. As CrossFitters, we are all quite familiar with the following equation:
P =  f  x  d

Power (or horsepower) is what we generate when we move large loads (f), long distances (d), and quickly (t). By collecting regular data points (the WOD) and tracking our progress, we are able to see real results, and a real way to measure our work [fitness] capacity: past, present, and future.

I would like to share with you a quick, personal study with regard to the efficacy of the CrossFit program in relation to the results of my Air Force Fitness back from April of 2004.

Before I go into a bit of detail about my progress, check out the chart below - it displays the results of my Air Force Fitness test from April 2004 to the present.  
Click on image to enlarge
You will notice that back in April of 2004, my abdominal circumference was 34 inches, my mile and a half run was 10:36, and my composite score was below 90. That was before CrossFit. It wasn't until after I started the CrossFit program that my fitness capacity increased. Sure, my push-ups and sit-ups remained relatively the same; however, I never really had a problem with them. As you can see, however,  my mile and a half run time has decreased significantly. Did I incorporate any specific training to get my run time down? No. I simply (or not so simply) did CrossFit. 

There was a small drop-off in there--but that was due to the fact that I had rotator cuff surgery and I was unable to workout like I wanted to for quite some time. However, (and surprisingly enough) only three months after my surgery, I was still able to max out the test. And guess what? Shhh...don't tell anyone, but I wasn't supposed to be doing anything remotely close to a fitness test. One week after my surgery, with my arm in a sling, I proceeded to program "one-armed WODs"--this kept my capacity at  pretty decent level. 

Check out my linear progression below: 
Click on image to enlarge
Two words: CrossFit works. This is but one, small study of the proof of the program. As many of you know, our non-profit affiliate, CrossFit Ramstein, has had an extremely difficult time trying to "sell" the program to Air Force leadership. Perhaps if we gave them proof like this (which I know there is more of) they would open their eyes to the benefit and greatness of CrossFit. A parting note: since I started following CrossFit methodology, I have scored nothing less than a 100 on my Air Force Fitness Test.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Bittersweet Departure

For the last two and a half years, it had always been me (with the help of some of my other CrossFitters) that had programmed the going-away WODs. I have seen many CrossFitters (and great friends) come and go. One of our traditions has always been to program an "extra-special" workout for our departing CrossFitters. These workouts normally consist of various exercises and movements that play to both the strengths and weaknesses of the individual. Last Saturday, CrossFit Ramstein got together to gut through yet another going-away WOD. But there was something different about this one: the going-away WOD was for me.

It was a bittersweet experience. Bitter, because I will soon be leaving...sweet, because I was doing what I love to do: CrossFit with my friends. My close friend, Chris, was "kind" enough to have programmed the workout--see the picture below to see what "The Bowen-ator" was all about.

This workout was tough. First of all, I hate wall-ball shots with a passion. Just to spite that hate, I made it a goal to do all 50 reps unbroken--success! Of course hang power cleans had to be in there--hate 'em! And at 135lbs?! Thanks Chris! These I did one rep at a time, keeping an even pace throughout. GHD sit-ups = ouch...'nuff said. Yes...handstand push-ups! I got through these pretty quickly--and all 50 double-unders were unbroken. Pull-ups...okay--what would a workout be without 'em? Surprisingly enough, they did not go as quickly as I would have liked. And, of course, the workout had to end with 50 burpees--I just could not move quickly on those...ugh!

A big thanks goes out to everyone who came out and suffered through this "wonderful" going-away WOD. CrossFit Ramstein is my baby; I am going to miss it sorely. However, most all of you know that this is NOT the end of the road for me. Keep your eyes peeled on the CrossFit Affiliate Blog page-- in the fall of 2011, my wife, Kari, PJ, Chris, and I will be doing our "CrossFit Thing" somewhere in either Oregon or Colorado! Yup, we are going to open up our very own box, and you will all be welcome at any time!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Nine in 10

In preparation for the Fit as Fu*k Challenge in Denmark, on September 25, I attempted a workout that I thought may be similar to Event #3: The Heavy Event.

The "teaser" that the event organizers provided was that athletes would have a 10 minute time limit to complete nine classic CrossFit lifts...going for the heaviest weight possible for each lift. I chose nine lifts that I thought may show up for the event--the lifts that I chose are as follows:
  • Deadlift
  • Clean & Jerk
  • Snatch
  • Back Squat
  • Push Jerk
  • Front Squat
  • Shoulder Press
  • Thruster
  • Overhead Squat
I formulated a strategy that would best suit my strengths. I have no idea what the rules are going to be. If we miss a lift, do we get to attempt another one? Or, what if we do not complete all nine lifts...are we disqualified? Is your final score the total amount of weight lifted within the 10 minute time limit? So many questions...

Check out the video below to see how I executed my game plan. Most of my lifts were a bit less than my one-rep max--I did this on purpose, just so I could see if I could complete all nine lifts (at a moderate to heavy weight) under 10 minutes. I plan on going heavier on competition day!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bounding around the Baltics

So, I found myself in Riga, Latvia once again. Since I had the opportunity to do a little exploring during my last visit, I knew just the place to put together a creative "on the fly" WOD. In the opening frame, you will notice a large building in the background - that building is a glorious supermarket! It had all kinds of goodies...and when I say goodies, I mean quality food and great variety. And yes, it did have quite an extensive "sweets" section; however, I was able to refrain. But the dried fruit selection was amazing, so of course, I had to indulge a little bit. 

I always worry about my training when I go on a TDY or on leave. However, this worrisome feeling has been progressively been getting less and less. Why? Because you can ALWAYS find a way to train. Is it the most ideal circumstances all of the time? No. Do you have a barbell with bumpers plates available? Probably not. But, what you DO have is the opportunity to take the "unknown and unknowable" a step further than the WOD. I literally just started running. To steal a quote from the beloved Forrest Gump, "...if ever I was going somewhere, I was running!" So, I made it to the supermarket parking lot, saw the parking ramp, and decided to some sprints. I did 10 sprints, with the rest in between being the time that it took me to walk back down. In between, I also did some light post vaults as well as some barrier vaults. After that, I sprinted around to the back of the building, found a staircase, and knocked out a modified version of "Cindy"--with stair sprints in between each round. There were a couple of construction workers near me that were giving me looks as if I was crazy. I could see it in their eyes...they were thinking: "Those damn crazy Americans"--but hey, we're used to it, aren't we? 

No longer will I worry about a few days (or even longer) away from the negatively effecting my training--because, wherever I go..."The Training Never Stops".