Before WODSunset

In about six weeks, I’ll be competing in WODSunset. This time, I’m going alone.

It’s not super common to see an individual event for scaled athletes, so when I saw the option for WODSunset, I was all over it. While my teammate last time was pretty okay and all (just kidding!), I really prefer sports where the competition is you against yourself. I can never get very motivated to beat someone else, but no one is as hard on me as I am.

If you can’t tell, I never played team sports and was an only child for most of my life.

I took a month off in February and I really felt like it was going to hold me back. With training, I very much fall into the trap that if I don’t make progress every week, I’m going to go backwards. Logically, I know this isn’t true, but I’m so attracted to progress as a way of validating my efforts that it’s really difficult to disconnect the two.

Nevertheless, it helped a lot that I was back home for the months just after I recovered. Trainings in the United States, as I’ve said before, tend to be more difficult and more targeted. Because a wider variety of resources are more accessible, coaches have a different array of experiences. I felt like I picked up so many small cues and tips from one person at a time and I’ve been able to string them together in a way that feels promising.

Since I arrived back in Rio, I’ve been upping the intensity of my trainings. Most days, I’m doing my regular crossfit class – which includes a strength component, an EMOM, and a MetCon – followed up with an additional workout focused on my weaknesses. I have a list written out of all the skills I want to get better at in time for WODSunset, including single unders (jump rope), wall balls, burpees over anything, box jump overs, thrusters, and the assault bike.

That’s a long way of saying explosive strength.

This week in particular feels like a bit of a breakthrough. On Wednesday, the main WOD for the day was 150 burpees with a 15 minute time cap. I really didn’t think I would make it and came very close to some combination of crying/throwing up/passing out during the workout. It may be winter in Rio, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hot. We specifically chose our new box because it’s outdoors. One of the things that hindered me most in the last competition was that I had been practicing for months in the air conditioning – and the competition was outside in the middle of summer in Brazil. I overheated so quickly on the first workout that I genuinely thought we were going to have to drop out.

Pre-reqs for the competition.

By burpee no. 100, I started slowing down, doing the whole “Maybe if I stare at the clock long enough it’ll either end right now or I’ll magically have more time.” Around then, the coach stood right next to me pushing me the whole way. I made it, with 30 seconds to spare. It was a big deal for me because a) burpees are one of my worst movements and they burn me out super quickly, and b) that was the first time here that I really had a coach pushing me towards my own potential and limit. Mentally, it was a big accomplishment.

On the weekends, the routine so far has been: Saturday, focus on cardio (30+ minutes on the assault bike) and on Sunday, practice row, along with a WOD chock full of weaknesses. The rowers at our current box are stuck in customs so we’ve been visiting CFP9 to practice on their equipment. They were one of the boxes that donated equipment during the Crossfit Regionals here, so I like to geek out a little bit about which athlete may have sat on the rower before me.

On Sunday, I wrote up a variation of Fran to practice with:

  • 21-15-9 thrusters with 30kg
  • 5-3-1 rope climbs

It went way better than I expected, even if I got really frustrated by the rope climbs. I developed this terrible habit of climbing almost legless, which is fine except it’s the least efficient option possible for me. Because I never wanted to spend much time focusing on the foot work necessary for a good rope climb, I end up spending twice as long trying to get into the habit of wrapping the rope around my foot for more support/traction, which also proceeds to unnecessarily tire out my arm and back muscles. This WOD was a good chance to work on that and I did, to some extent. I definitely want to keep practicing.

As I did the 30kg thrusters, I realized how far I’m come so far. When I review all of the required weights and movements for the upcoming competition, I realize that I’ve been practicing at least five to 10 kilos over what is required for me, even on the movements I feel weak at. Thrusters, I was only able to complete at 20kg just two months ago, so even though I was worried about that lost time, I realize my strength has come back in full force thanks to a lot of hard work and good coaching to make me more efficient in my movements.

I am, of course, nervous. I hate talking about competitions or projects of any sort before they happen since it tends to make me superstitious. (I like to blame it on the one 10k run I signed up for and only completed, oh, a mile of before calling it quits – but not before sharing it all over social media!) Focus, practice, and consistency are the only tricks, so all I can do is my best.

Oh! One more victory I almost forgot. I re-did the Grace workout this week, which is 30 clean and jerks for time. I improved my time by almost 50% and completed it five kilos heavier. I couldn’t believe it!

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