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A Crossfit Journey: Coach/athlete goes for the goal

Posted Feb 26 2010 10:04pm
By Ericlee Gilmore

On January 1, 2010, I started a journey. My goal was to train for 12 Weeks to prepare myself for The Crossfit Games in San Jose. But I wanted to do more than just train. I wanted to record my progress, my diet, my thoughts on taking on this physical challenge. Below are some journal notes about this process now that I have reached the halfway point.

Sat, Jan 2

I weighed myself first thing in the morning on my bodyfat scale and I have 18.9% Body Fat and weigh 178lbs. My goal is to lose 5% BF and still be about 175 pounds.

I am excited and pumped for this cool opportunity to push my body to the outer limits and be able to compete. All my life I have loved fitness or the idea of being in great shape in all aspects. I played three sports in high school, learned how to do 10 events in College, and even after college I trained in a way that worked my entire body – cardio, upper and lower strength, and core. When I found out about Crossfit in February of 2009 and read the philosophy behind it all, I was impressed to say the least. After teaching Crossfit philosophy to my Analysis of Fitness College class, I respect the program even more.

So what is Crossfit ? It is a strength and conditioning system or program that uses varied and random functional movements executed at high intensity. There is a part of me that says I can be in the top 20 and qualify to the Regional competition. Yet the more WODs I do, the more weaknesses I see that shows me that I will not even be close to the top 20.

My plan is to workout with Andrew 3x a week. I will then do another workout at home either by myself or with my wife. The last workout will be some kind of running intervals with Steve or by myself.

Sun, Jan 3

Since Nutrition is at the bottom of the pyramid for an ideal athlete, I am going to watch what I eat more closely and improve my teeter totter – glucose and insulin balance.

Breakfast – whole wheat blueberry pancakes with almond butter and real maple syrup; raw milk and fruit and greens smoothie

Lunch – Leftover salmon with rice pilaf and salad

Dinner – Ground Turkey whole wheat pitas with feta cheese and lots of greens from out garden

Mon, Jan 4

I saw this WOD last month and wanted to try it at home since I do not need any equipment. 400m lunges for time and count steps. So I did it around my block. I estimate it to be about 450m long give or take some. Not very hard but I did rest about half a dozen times. My time was 12:31 and I had 415 steps. So my goal next time would be under 12min and under 410 steps.

Tues, Jan 5

First day back since the break to the Combat Fitness, Crossfit Affilate in Fresno, where I work and train. My training partner was still out of town so I decided to do a girl benchmark workout called Angie – 100 pullups, 100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 airsquats. I was already hurting from lunges the day before. But my goal was the same. I wanted to beat 30 minutes. Pullups are my weakness so that took the longest. I must admit I have improved greatly since staring Crossfit. Just over 13 minutes. Then came pushups where were harder than I thought. I guess you can say my arms were tired. That took about 7 minutes. Then the situps and squats were the easiest. My final time was 29:35. I made my goal. As I look online I notice to be better than average I must complete it in under 20 minutes. So maybe 10min for pullups, 5min for pushups, 3min for situps, and 2 min for squats. We will see.

Wed, Jan 6

I had a horrible night last night. I was so sore. I had to take Tylenol in the middle of the night to relieve the pain. Every time I moved my muscles hurt. Where? My legs some but the majority of the pain is in the upper body. My biceps and back are killing me. I cannot extend my arms all the way out. So I look a little deformed. I cannot reach up for anything because of my back muscles. It was so hard to put my shirt on this morning. I had trouble reaching the top shelf of the cubbard. To say the least, I only did a very easy run with my wife this morning. That loosened up my legs a little bit but my upper body is still very bad.

Thurs, Jan 7

I have recovered a little but I am still in much pain in my arms and back. I had trouble carrying my 11mon old daughter. I decided just to warmup only. Andrew, my training partner and coach, motivated me to do at least that much. After the warmup, my muscles did feel better and I could stretch them a little farther. The problem is now I have a two day set back. I have a rest day tomorrow and then we will see how I feel on Saturday. I will do some kind of WOD in the neighborhood of our friends house in the Bay area. Once again these are the times I wish I could call up Barry Sears and ask him this question, “How does a 35 year old recover quickly from an intense workout?”

Sat, Jan 9

Slept in because I felt a headache coming on. So no workout today. I am actally feeling better today. I have spring in my step again and my arms can extend straight. Look forward to Mondays workout. I am reminded again of fish oil and how it can help recovery. I need that more than ever after what happened this week. Maybe I can by the expensive fish oil for the last 6 weeks of training.

Mon, Jan 11

Week 2. Short but good. Sprinted about 100yds and then rested 30 seconds and then sprinted back. Performed 12 reps of shoulder press with resistant band. I did five reps of that or 10 sprints. I should of done 10 reps but that was good. I have a long way to go. Maybe two weeks from now I wil do that. I am also fasting today for spiritual and physical reasons. I need Jesus more than ever as I start my second semester of teaching at a University and as I get more serious about training. Fasting is always a sacrifice which reminds me of the sacrifice that Jesus had when he died on the cross. To train for these sectional games is also a sacrifice. I know that my GI tract needed a rest. Look forward to this week of training.

Fri, Jan 15

Just like that, we are almost done with week 2. Since school started this week I was a little busy preparing to teach my classes. I wanted to write down the workouts I did this week. Today I am resting and I am very glad. On Tuesday we did some technique and skill of the snatch. Then we worked on power 3x5. We finished with the WOD of Row 500 and 30 Wall balls for 20 minutes. My goal was 5 and that is what I did. I have about 30 seconds left to get 10 more wall balls and I did it with three seconds to spare. The more I do these workouts, the more I realize how similar they are to a interval. Work hard, rest, work hard, rest. The problem is that you are doing something else and not really resting. I am resting from rowing but I have to rest while performing 30 wall balls. I am resting from the wall balls while I have to row 500 meters. I need to have a shift in my thinking. I need to go hard because I know I will be able to rest during the next exercise.

On Wed, I ran with my friend about 4 miles. It was a good day to get the lactic acid out of my legs. Next time we are going to do more intervals to get my mind and body use to that mentality. On Thursday we flipped the day. After warming up we did the WOD which was Elizabeth and not Fran because my body is still not ready for pullups. 45 cleans at 135# is a lot of work. But little by little, I got the job done. The ring dips is something I must improve on. I could not do more than 4 in a row. My partner was already done with Fran (6 min) but I was not even half way. I finally finished in 14:35. After a 10 minute recovery we did 4 sets of handstand holds from 30 second to 60 seconds and finished with 3x5 of front push press. My last set was 132lbs. So what is my goal for the Olympic lifts. Snatch – 150, Cleans – 175, Deads – 300, Push Press – 150.

Mon, Jan 18

It is crazy how fast the days go by and I have not written anything. Saturday was a great day because my family came to the Crossfit gym. It was already closed so it was just my training partner and another friend. My 3 year old daughter was so excited to see the place. She was very disappointed when Velocity closed back in November so she was looking forward to coming to the new gym. The WOD was called Bionic. It was 7 rounds of seven of the following exercises – Thursters 95, Pullups (chest to bar), ring dips, and burpees. Since I was still weak from my 100 pullups last week I had to do jumping pullups instead. I did double the amount and still the whole WOD took 21 minutes. The best thing about the whole day was that I was able to take my wife through a WOD. I gave her 5 rounds of Row 250 and 10 wall ball with 10lbs ball. She was very tired but really liked it. My daughter loved the rowing machine as well as the rings. My youngest daughter (1 year) love to crawl around and watch us workout. It was a great day.

Today I met up with Andrew to do the Lumberjack 20 but it started to rain and so we had to go inside and change it up. So we decided to do three different excises but go full tilt on each one with 3-5 minute rest between the exercises. The first was Thrusters. We did 21 at 99lbs to practice Fran. It took us 50 seconds. After the rest we did 1000 row. I was shooting for under 4 minutes and I made 3:39. Finally we did 100 double unders. This was my weakest one. My partner did it in 2:10 and it took me 4:28. I am finding so many weaknesses. I wanted to know my Deadlift max so we found that out too. 264. That is horrible. We finished with some grip strength exercises and practiced handstand pushups. Someday I will be able to go all the way down.

Only 10 weeks left.

Thurs, Jan 21

On Tuesday, we tested my max for the power clean. I am so rusty on all my Olympic lifts. Practice is the only way to get better. I also realized that I need more protein since I have kicked up my workouts to four sometimes five a week. So I did 75k or 165lbs. I also did max rep for the snatch too – 55k (121lbs). After being discouraged about that we did the WOD. We added walking lunges with plate (25k) over head to Annie - 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 of Lunges, Double-unders, and situps. So it took me 21:11 and for Andrew 17+. So far I have only beaten him on two WODs. Hopefully today will be three. Too bad he is not competing because I know he would do very well. I did not run on Wed due to physical fatigue and spiritual issues.

Fri, Jan 22

So I finally have my max for everything except back squat. Bench – 165; Front Squat - 209; Snatch - 121; Cleans – 165; Deadlift – 264; Push Press ?. So now I have something to improve on. Here are my new goals. Bench – 187 (85k); Front Squat – 264 (120k); Snatch – 143; Cleans – 187; Deadlift – 308; Push Press – 198

Once again we confirmed that the WOD must always be last. After warmup we have to do technique, stength/power, and finally the WOD. We did 135 Clean and Jerk 10x and 30 GHM situps 3 rounds – 13:18. I was aiming for 12 minutes. I know I lost focus the last set. We then lifted Front Squat and bench 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 going up in weight each time. Finally we learned the first progression of Muscle Ups and that was easier than I thought. So how many excises do I need to be proficient?

DoubleUnders Ring Dips Clean Thrusters OH Squats Knees to Elbow

Wall Ball Pullups Snatch Box Jumps HS Pushup Feet to Bar

Rowing Muscleups Dead Sumo HP Rope Climb 400 run

GHM Situp pushups Press Burpees 1 arm Snatch 5k run

GHM Extension Situps Bench Single leg squats Kettlebell swings Uphill run with weight

Mon, Jan 25

Saturday was a great workout by myself. I had lots of things on my mind because it was a very difficult week emotionally but I pushed through. I took a barbell with weight to the track to do the workout. 10 rounds for time of Overhead Squat 110lbs x 10 and 400m run. I wanted to average 3 min for each round and keep the 400 under 2 minutes. Here are the splits: 38, 1:46/ 48, 1:58/ 49, 2:04/ 48, 2:06/

54, 2:13/ 57, 2:16/ 59, 2:28/ 47, 2:14/ 45, 2:19/ 43, 1:53 = 29:26

At halfway, my time was 14:06 but I knew the second half would be tough. I am glad I did this workout because of the length of it. I feel I have this sticking problem around 15-20. I need to train longer than that so my endurance can improve. After drinking some water my last three rounds were much easier. This morning I ran with another friend and we did 4x800 total miles was 4. Our splits were 2:58, 3:18, 3:18, 3:06 all around 3 minute rest which was not exact. I think I am going to meet with him every Monday leading up to the qualifier. That will greatly increase my cardiovascular confidence.

Fri, Jan 29

I cannot believe that the week went by and I did not write anything. I apologize. Here is the routine of our workouts. We have a rountine now since we are finishing on month. We warm-up for 30min using a variety of drills that we mix and match. Then we move on to skill which most of the time is gymnastic in nature. Next is the strength component. Sometimes this is a skill too because I am learning how to be more efficient in lifting a bar. The strength is anywhere from 75% to 100% of our max. We finally end the day with a WOD that kicks our buddy. Total time is 2 hours. On Tuesday our skill was handstand holds with no wall, muscleups with the help of my legs and then jumping pullups from a 4 inch platform which I was able to achieve two of them. For Strength we did 3x3 of deadlifts 100, 110, 120k. The WOD was from the internet site. Thrusters x7 at 135 and row 500 – 5 rounds 19:59. I only lost to Andrew by 30 seconds. Sweet.

On Wednesday I debated if I should run or not. I was so tired from going to bed late and waking up early. My goal of 7 hours of sleep each night is not working. So I convinced myself to do something fast. I ran three laps around my block but got faster each time. I rested about 70 seconds each time – 1:55, 1:45, 1:41. I now have a standard and I know what to shoot for.

Thursday was a great day because we decided to practice a lot of the skill gymnastic exercises during the warmup. We did handwalks for 20 yards. I am actually getting better. We also did some kipping pullups and some chest to bar pullups which I had to jump from a platform. If we have to do chest to bar for the competition, I am toast. Today we did two strength routines. First we did a power clean complex 3x3 of 60k, 65k, 70k. This complex is five different progressions to make one rep. It also helped with form and grip strength. This was tough. I think I slightly hurt my knee because of my bad form. The second strength routine was deadlifts. 5 x DL every minute for 10 minutes. The load was 80% which was 100k. It was easier than I thought. Finally we did the WOD which Andrew made up to work on some weaknesses – 5x ring dips, 5x pullups, and 30x Double Unders. How many rounds in 20 minutes. I could only manage 9 rounds and Andrew lost count but he did at least 15. I was smooth on the pullups but the ring dips were difficult. I could only do two at a time. But the hardest was the DU. It was definitely a metabolic conditioning exercise. I am proud to say that I had 30 seconds to do 30 DU so I could complete 9 rounds and I did it.

Mon, Feb 1

I am done with four weeks. I feel great and excited about the next 8 weeks. I just purchased some fish oil pills to help with the recovery and stamina. It is not the top of the line but I know it will help a little bit. The workout on Saturday ripped up my hands but at least I was able to do it. The wod was Joshie but I did not do the “L” pullups but just kipping pullups. 21 right arm snatch 40lbs, 21 pullups, 21 left arm snatch, 21 pullups – 3 rounds. So really I did 126 pullups. My time was 21:49. I will not be able to do pullups for about a week because of my blisters. Since I was not competing against Andrew, I think I was resting too much. Today I did not meet with Steve to run so instead I did my traditional 3.3 loop and ran 23:57. My goal is still under 22. I have done that but it was not early in the morning. Just found out that there are 300+ athletes signed up for the NorCal sectionals. I do not know how many are men but that is not as big as what I thought it would be considering all the Crossfit gyms in the bay area.

Wed, Feb 3

Can I just say that I really appreciate Andrew, my workout partner/coach, who designs the workouts each day. That really takes the stress off of me to figure out what to do for each day. Yesterday I have three breakthroughs. I first did a muscleup from the ground rather than a raised platform. Eventually I will have to do it where my feet are not touching the group. Next I did my first Handstand pushup where my head touched the pad. The secret is in the wider hand placement. The last breakthrough was with the deadlift. After doing Jerk 5x3 starting at 60k and working my way up to 80k we moved to squats. This was the first time that my max was about the same as Andrew. Next we did a super set of handstand pushups and squats - 2x5, 2x4, 1x3. I started at 70k and worked up to 110k. My max for jerk is 176 and for squats it is 242. I needed help from Andrew on my last set of squats. The WOD was 5xDL and 10xburpees for 5 rounds. The weight of the DL was 275. My max is only 265. I did a practice one. I did the first round but no more. I have to take off 10k to finish the rest of the rounds. It was extremely hard. My back is feeling it today. My time was only 8:33. I am making progress. I am excited. On Wednesday I did the 2k row to see my time. 7:42! It is all about feeling the pain and having correct form. I know and I must get under 7 minutes. That is 1:45 every 500m. That is fast. But maybe not in relation to others. We will see.

Fri, Feb 5

Thursday was a bad day. All the lack of sleep caught up to me and I was hurting. I had one of my migrain headaches and my muscles were just physically tired. So after the warmup which was done barefoot to work on some strength in the lower leg and foot we decided to cut out some of the workout. By the way, my handwalks have dramatically improved. It only took me ten tries to go the distance. Next time I am going for five. We did OH squats and bench and took out thrusters. On the OH squats I did 3x5 of 40k, 50k, 60k. I think I could of done more. On the Bench we did 5, 5, 4, 4, 3 of 110, 132, 154, 154, 176 but Andrew helped me on it. I was so tired after that, I wanted to call it quits but Andrew convinced me to do a short WOD because I cannot be training for the games and not do a WOD. So instead of the long one he had planned we did Karen again which was 150 Wall Ball Shots. We wanted to rest our hands so they could heal completely from the blisters. We destroyed it with a time of 6:47. Last time I did 8:35. Big improvement. I need to start doing all the benchmark workouts again so I can see the improvements. The day started bad but ended on a high note. God is good. I look forward to the rest day today.

Tues, Feb 9

On Saturday I had to be in the class that my partner was teaching. So I missed out on the strength work and some skill work. The WOD was 10min of Handstand pushups, 5min of squats, 2min of pullups, 1min of pushups. My totals were 63, 206, 22, and 29 = 320. I actually did better than Andrew. The intensity was not there but it was still a good workout. On Monday I actually did two workouts. I ran 3x400 and got faster each time. My rest was about 70-90sec. I ran 1:44, 1:42, 1:38. My goal next time is to keep all of them under 1:40. After jogging a lap I did the 400m lunge. I beat my time by 20s – 12:10 and I took only 402 steps compared to 415. I look forward to the workout today because we will have to go long.

There are 14 specific workouts that I want to do or redo to get a better time before the sectionals. Cindy, Diane, Fran, Grace, Helen, Jackie, Linda, Kelly, Mary, DT, Filthy, FGB, Max pushups, and Max pullups.

Thurs, Feb 11

I did the Crossfit challenge workout on Tuesday. It was killer again. Row in calories, Burpees, Sumo High pull (88lbs), Kettlebell Swing (24k), Wall Ball Shot (20lbs), and Thrusters (88lbs). The reps were 21, 18, 15, 12, 9, 6. Back in October it took me 44min and this time it took 38:20. I am making improvement. I had to do it by myself because Andrew’s back was shot. Before the WOD I did 4x3 of snatch 50k, 55k, 60k. Next was the complex of power cleans to Front squats to Jerk 3x3 of 60k, 70k, 75k. I really liked that. Finally I ended it with Bench – 3 of 60k, 70k, 75k for the rest. This is still a weakness.

On Wednesday I went on a run with the team I am coaching. Easy mile there and easy mile back. Today we started to work on all the workouts I still want to improve or do. Today was Cindy. After working on Dip Snatch Balance, Snatch Balance, and Hang Squat Cleans (60k, 70k, 80k), I finished with hang clean pulls. My goal was 20 for Cindy (5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 squats). How many rounds in 20 minutes? My previous best was 16 but that was at home on a difficult pullup bar because my knees are bent. Today I almost had 19. I was 12 squats short. Andrew did 21 rounds. Pushups definitely slowed me down. I can see now why having a big max for the bench will help with pushups. My chest was so fatigued that I could not go any faster. One down 13 more to go.

Half way on my Journey. Six weeks to go.

Tues, Feb 16

On Saturday I trained in the afternoon so I could sleep in and it was superb. I performed Jackie and the time I was going for was 8:00 or at least 8:05 which was Jon’s time. In my mind I thought I could be around 8 minutes. After doing my 10 minute workout of 5 x Dead Lift at 242lbs every minute and then moved on to back squats. I ran out of time so I just did 3x5 of 220. I had to hurry because one of my clients was coming in. 1000m row, 50 thrusters 45lbs and 30 pullups. I was at 6 minutes when I started the pullups. My final time was 8:02. I was excited because I beat Jon’s time but still realizing that pullups will always be a weakness. On Monday Andrew and I went to the track for Helen - 400, 21 x KBS 24k, 12 pullups – three rounds. After a good warmup, we proceded in the fog. I thought I was going to do better. The 400 really hurt me. I knew 8-9minutes was out when the first round took 3 minutes. My final time was 10:23 which was about 40sec slower than Andrew’s time. I wonder if I hold back when Andrew is there. I sure hope not. There is a part of me that wants to do that again two weeks from now so I can beat 9 minutes. We will see.

Wed, Feb17

Another great day. I am retesting all max in all the lifts to see the progress. I improved by 11lbs in the snatch – 132 and I improved by 12lbs in the bench – 176.

We then did the Chipper WOD from the 2009 games. We did not perform the Muscleups correctly but we still accomplished the WOD. The winning time that day at the games was 19:46. I did it in 32:06. Even with the modified muscleups that took me 6-7 minutes. Andrew beat my by 5 minutes. I need to learn to rest less and push more. Here is the WOD. 30x 155 squat cleans; 30x Toes to Bar; 30x Box jumps; 15x Muscleups; 30x 40 dumbell Push Press; 30x Double Unders; 15x 135 Thrusters; 30x Pullups; 30x Burpees; 300ft walking lunges with 45lb plate held over head. I am learning with these longer workouts how to press harder. I am making progress. One area that I did not make progress in is my weight. I weight on Sunday because it was the half way point and I had gained 4-5 pounds and 1 percent in body fat. I was very confused. So I think I will go back to what I was doing which is no food after dinner or no food after 8 p.m.
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