Mondays are great when they start with a PR! 5 straight days of rest didn’t hurt either! So here’s how it went today.

Strength segment

Front Squats

With a goal of setting a max single rep.

Warm ups were solid. We did three rounds of front squats, dead lifts and good mornings with a 45lb barbell. Coach Jack came over and helped me work out some kinks in my dead lift form during the warm up and I appreciated that. I have repeatedly struggled with letting my shoulders roll forward while trying to maintain a straight back during the lift. I feel a little better about my form on that one now.

When I saw front squats on the website last night, I checked my records. I lifted 155 twice back on Aug 24. That was literally my second full crossfit WOD. I was confident that I could get past that weight, but didn’t have a clear picture of by how much. I went to bed last night telling myself, if I exceeded 170lbs today, that would be a solid improvement. Man, did I surprise myself!

First three lifts were 95, 115 and 135 respectively. I’ve got a note of “confident” in my journal. It felt very solid. The fourth set, I elected to lift 165. It felt very smooth and since I was moving into uncharted waters, I caught Jack’s attention and asked him to observe. When I was done, his initial response was, “too easy.” He followed that with, “it looked good and it looked light.” So with that additional reassurance, and a new PR established, I mentally gave myself free reign to experiment. I jumped from 165 to 185 and surprised myself with another solid lift on the 5th lift. With two lifts to go I thought. “Why not? Let’s see if we can crack 200.” I loaded the bar to 205. I figured, if I get it, great. If not, I’ll pull back to 200 and try that. To my surprise I was able to lift it. It’s definitely my ceiling, for now. It was wobbly coming back up, but I got it.

With a lift to go, I attempted it a second time and failed. Jack observed my last attempt and told me it looked like I got so deep that my hamstrings relaxed. He’s absolutely right. I could feel it. Because the previous lift was shaky, I spent the entire descent thinking about stability in my upper body. I was talking to myself, “Elbows up. Back straight.” All of a sudden when it occurred to me to consider if I was deep enough, I was too deep. I was buried under the bar. I tried to lift it, but I was so deep past parallel, I couldn’t recover. I rocked my body forward a bit, lowered my elbows and let the bar go. In failure, we learn the important lessons.

Now to put that lift in perspective, Coach Paul and Nick were working on the platform next to me. I know that both of them lifted over 200 lbs as well today. While I weigh in at 235 currently, I’m confident that neither of them weighs more than 150. So proportionally, they were lifting far more than I. I don’t say that to downplay my lifts. I’m extremely pleased with how things went today. The confidence that comes from breaking through 200lbs and exceeding an old lift by such a wide margin is fantastic. A 50lb differential tells me that both my form and strength have improved dramatically in the last 5 weeks. So I take a lot of pride in that. At the same time, it’s also important to remember that there’s always more to be accomplished and seeing what other athletes are accomplishing around me is very motivating.

10 KB Goblet Squats Rx – 52lbs.
20 KB Swings (American)

I opted for a 40 lb kettle bell. It was the right weight. I completed 6 full rounds plus 7 kettle bell swings. I was very satisfied with that. It was a solid effort with good form and a consistent pace. Very intense. I had to take a knee for a bit after Jack called time.

Final thoughts. The new bed set has confirmed for me that most of my aches and pains of the last few weeks were directly attributable to the previous bed set. I have been sleeping MUCH better since the new set arrived last Tuesday. It’s also confirmed that my right shoulder is slightly injured. For a variety of reasons, I haven’t been in the gym since last Tuesday, so I’ve had ample rest. This morning when I did push ups to warm up, there was a distinct burn in the top and front portion of my shoulder that’s been around for weeks. While it’s not as severe as it’s been in week’s past, it’s the only ache that has lingered on. I don’t think it’s any sort of serious issue, but something I’ll have to be mindful of and try to protect.

I’m also wondering if 4 times a week wasn’t overly ambitious for my first month of crossfit. I’m debating going back to three times a week Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a month and seeing how that impacts my performance and how it leaves me feeling. I think now that I’ve got the sleep issues worked out, I’m going to continue four times a week for the month of October and see how that feels. At the end of the month, I can reassess and shift to three times weekly in November. All in all,  a hell of a way to kick off the week.