Playing The Leaderboard Games

Almost two years ago we found out we would be moving to Asia.  As soon as we got the news, I thought I could try to qualify for the CrossFit Regionals in Asia.  Shortly after, I found out that they had changed the regions.  Asia would be included in the Pacific Regional (a super strong region) and only the top 10 athletes from Asia would compete.  So, I adjusted my goals and hoped to qualify by my second year, in 2017.

As the year progressed, I was told that I may actually have a shot at qualifying to Regionals this year, but it still didn’t seem real.  I hired a coach from DC to write my strength and weightlifting program, and saw huge gains.  From a 215 backsquat to 265, 150 clean and jerk to 180, 95 snatch to 140, and much more. February rolled around and the CrossFit Open began.

Week 1

As Many Rounds in 20 Minutes As possible of:

25ft Overhead Walking Lunges @65lbs

8 Bar Facing Burpees

25ft Overhead Walking Lunges

8 Chest to Bar Pull Ups

I crashed and burned.  It was hot, I could hardly breath, and I felt awful the whole time.  I finished with 210 reps (each 5ft segment for OH Lunges counts as 1 rep).  I redid the workout three days later at a cooler time of day, and took it slower at the beginning.  219 reps.  I finished 20th overall in the Asia Region.

Week 2

4 minutes to complete:

25 Toes to Bar

50 Double Unders

15 Squat Cleans at 85lbs

If completed in under 4 minutes, 4 more minutes to complete:

25 Toes to Bar

50 Double Unders

13 Squat cleans at 115lbs

etc. 11 Squat cleans at 145lbs, 9 at 175lbs, 7 at 205lbs

I was able to get 2 squat cleans at 175 before I ran out of time, over 90% of my 1 rep max squat clean.  I finished 4th in Asia on this workout, 11th overall in Asia.

Week 3

As many rounds as possible in 7 minutes of

10 Power Snatches at 55lbs

3 Bar Muscle Ups

Everyone saw Muscle ups and thought I’d crush this, but the ratio of snatches to muscle ups was not in my favor.  My first attempt I got 86 total reps, or 6 rounds and 8 snatches.  I redid in air conditioning and got 91 reps, 7 rounds. I watched the scores come in on the leaderboard and knew it wasn’t good enough.  So with 13 minutes remaining to submit scores, I redid it.  I got 98 reps, 7 rounds and 6 snatches.  I placed 8th on the workout in Asia and 6th overall.

Week 4

As many rounds as possible in 13 minutes of

55 Dead lifts at 155lbs

55 wall balls to a 9ft target with a 14lb ball

55 Calorie Row

55 Handstand Pushups

I got 203 reps, 17 reps shy of finishing on round.  I wasn’t happy, and neither were my hamstrings.  I did everything I could to recover for a redo 3 days later and gave it my best shot – 209 reps.  It put me 14th in Asia for the workout, dropping me to 7th overall.

Week 5

21-18-15-12-9-6-3

Thrusters at 65lbs

Bar Facing Burpees

This was a repeat from 2014, which I never did.  I completed it in 11:27, a pretty good score, but not regional level (in my mind).  I decided to redo it, but unfortunately I didn’t get a better score.  So here we are, playing the waiting game.

It’s been a stressful 5 weeks, the saying “every rep counts” has never meant more than it does right now.  6 reps was the difference between top 10 and top 20.  Every Monday night I stressed over the leaderboard, checking the scores, seeing where I stood.  For better or worse, for the final week none of us can submit our scores.

So, wish me luck as the scores start rolling in.  If I finish in the top 10, I’ll have to send in a video of one work out, if it looks good, an invitation to Regionals will be sent.  If I finish outside of top 10, I’ll just have to train harder for next year.

 

 

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Thailand Part 1: Bangkok

Two friends from DC (I may or may not have played a small role in getting them out on a first date) came to visit!  They landed in Manila after a day traveling and were happily welcomed by Xena and our newly adopted puppy, Conan.

We went to breakfast at Sofitel the next morning to eat our faces in delicious food and indulge in the cheese room.  Then headed to Wildflour for a late lunch/dinner before sending them on their way to Bangkok.

Part 1: Bangkok (hehehehe)

We booked a room at the iCheck Inn Silom, which turned out to be a perfect place to stay.  It was off the main road a bit, so didn’t have the noise of the busy street, was reasonably priced, easy to grab a cab, walking distance to lots of food, AND the bar from the Hangover!

 


We grabbed a delicious dinner for only a couple bucks and set to bed early so we could explore the temples the next day.

I woke up early to hit the gym, which was an easy 10 minute walk away.  Crossfit Ten500 had open gym from 8-10 and even let me start a little early.  They were very welcoming, I almost came back the next day for class, but I’d be cutting it close for catching my flight.

After working out I met up with Mark, Alex, and Tory at a cute coffee shop, The Hobbyest, with delicious drinks and food.  Then we set out to explore.

First Stop: Wat Phra Kaew

The temple was huge, and beautiful.  We had to be fully covered, so in the heat I threw on some pants and a sweater, but it was totally worth it.  Even with the crowd.  We wandered around enjoying the architecture, then took off our shoes to see the Emerald Buddha.

Second Stop: Wat Pho

A bit less crowded than the first temple and boasting the huge reclining Buddha. This temple felt a little more peaceful without the crowd.

 

Third Stop: Thai Massage

We went to the school of medicine for our massage.  It was a mix between the hell of myotherapy (that I endure often at Pace Prehab and Recovery) and a feel good massage.

Fourth Stop: Dinner

We found a delicious Indian restaurant and tried to figure out what we would do for the rest of the evening.  We decided on…

Fifth and Final Stop: Muay Thai

We weren’t sure what to expect, but there were fights going on at Ratchadamnoen, so we figured when in Rome…err Bangkok.  We paid for the seats right next to the ring, because we wanted to sit.  There was a Thai price and a foreigner price, but we managed to get a little bit off the foreigner price.  There was some kind of point system, 5 rounds per fight, and we stayed for 8 fights.  One which ended early because of a K.O.  I have no idea what was going on, but it was fun.

Then we headed back to the hotel for bed, early start the next day.

 

Manila Throwdown 2015

I competed in my first Rx competition.  There are traditionally two divisions, scaled and Rx.  Scaled is for the newer athlete who has not mastered all of the gymnastics skills and heavier weights, Rx is the higher level one for those who have been doing CrossFit for a while.

The throwdown, or competition, was a team series with two guys and one girl per team.  I teamed up with another coach at my Box as well as a coach at another gym, Sky High Fitness.  We came out and set the bar high on our first event, winning by a landslide.

We stayed consistent throughout the next four events, never dropping outside of the top 3 places.  On the fourth event I was the only girl to start out on the rings doing muscle ups.  The Primal Ape Cheering Squad was insane, they were literally chanting my name.  It was impressive to be both the newest and loudest box in there.  What a great community.

Unfortunately, something went wrong on my 8th one, not due to fatigue, just a slight error that in the moment, I thought was my shoulder about to dislocate.  Thankfully, I lowered myself down without more than an extremely tired shoulder.  With very little time after the fourth event, the top eight teams had to come out for a final round.  Heavy overhead squats and a 10 meter handstand walk.  I had practiced this event two times (back to back), but when I picked up the bar my shoulder refused to stabilize.  After a few attempts, I FINALLY finished the overhead squats and went over to the handstand walk.  My shoulders felt like bricks, but I kept walking, at last I came up to the line and touched it with both hands, “NO REP!” I hadn’t completely passed the line, just touched it.  I had to go back and try again.  I was half convinced I couldn’t do it, my teammate came over to cheer me on and finally, I made it.

My teammate giving me encouragement to redo my handstand walk

We came in third place on the final event, but it didn’t matter, we had created enough of a buffer to win the Throwdown.

It was a fun day and a good first Rx competition to remember.  That being said, I still have a lot of work to put in before the CrossFit Open.

The Workouts

WOD 1: Manila Hold ‘Em

Station 1: 70 calorie row & 185lb Deadlift hold. 

Station 2: 60 Burpees over plank & 45lb weighted plank hold.

Station 3: 50 Weighted pistols (16kg for guys 12 for girls) & 105lb overhead hold.

Station 4: 50 Chest to bar pull ups & bar hang hold.

One athlete works, one does the hold, one rests.  Switch when athlete doing the hold breaks.

  

  
Workout 2: N’ Sync

Male athletes:

30 Synchronized toes to bar

30 Alternating shoulder to overhead at 125lbs

30 Alternating hang snatches at 125lbs

30 Alternating box jumps

Tag Female in to do:

20 Box jumps

20 Hang snatches at 85lbs

20 Toes to bar

Workout 3: Speed Clean Ladder

Ladies do two repetitions of squat cleans at

115lbs

125lbs

135lbs

145lbs

Males one does on repetition of squat cleans at

205lbs

215lbs

225lbs

235lbs

then tags in male two to complete the ladder.

Top 8 teams have males repeat, at heavier weights

235lbs

245lbs

255lbs

265lbs

  
Workout 4: Lightwater Lucky 7

As Many Rounds as Possible in 7 minutes of

70 Double Unders

7 Thrusters at 185lbs for men and 115lbs for women

14 Handstand push ups

-Rest 1 Minute-

As many muscle ups as possible in 1 minute.

Athletes cannot repeat a station from one round to the next.

  
Final Workout: Championship

Male 1:

5 Overhead Squats at 195lbs

10m Handstand walk

Male 2:

7 Overhead Squats at 155lbs

10m Handstand walk

Female:

9 Overhead Squats at 110lbs

10m Handstand Walk

  

A Weekend of Celebrations

I witnessed my first proposal.  I was rowing away on an erg while another group of coaches did sled drags with a long rope.  One coach asked his girlfriend to hop on and pulled her in, got down on one knee, and proposed.  Of course, that meant we all got to celebrate.  We went to People’s Palace for an amazing dining experience.

In order for you to truly understand why it was so awesome (which it really was), you have to also understand what other dining experiences are like.  Generally you wait a while to order your food then the food arrives one plate at a time, with up to an hour wait from the first delivery to the last person’s food deliver.  It then takes a long time to get a bill and then we have to tell them we don’t pay VAT and wait another hour.  It’s a more pleasant experience to eat at home.

We sat down at the table and were lucky enough to be there with the head chef, so he ordered for us.  Within five minutes of him ordering, our food arrived at the table.  We asked if it was just because he was there, and he said no, he enforces a 5 minute ticket time.  Once the order comes in, it should leave the kitchen within 5 minutes.  The waiters also don’t take notes, they just memorize the order.  To top it off the food was phenomenal.  From the pomelo salad to the sticky rice with mango dessert, there wasn’t a single dish I didn’t enjoy.

I tried to figure out why the service could be 1000 times better at People’s Palace than every other restaurant I’ve been to here.  Apparently after six months or so working somewhere, the company has to start paying benefits.  Instead of doing that they just fire them and move on to the next person who is eagerly awaiting a job.  It’s not worth the time to properly train the wait staff.  I assume, that at People’s Palace they are willing to train their staff, because they are also willing to keep them.  Now, I have not been able to confirm that training and money is the reason service is poor relative to what I experience at home, but if that’s the case, it’s certainly a sad reality on the part of the businesses.  Unfortunately, there is a high demand for jobs, so it’d be challenging to convince a business owner to retain employees at a higher cost when it doesn’t stop many people from dining out anyway.

Onto the next celebration, or party.  A going away party for one of my swolemates.  He’s not only someone I work out with, he’s also the one who got me in contact with my gym.  We booked a cabana at the Palace Pool Club.  It’s exactly what it sounds like, a nightclub with pools.  Thankfully it was not Saturday night, I can only imagine how crazy it would be to party in a pool and how many drunk injuries there would be.  The idea is pretty sweet though, especially given how hot it is here.

The pool was nice, they had some floaties for us to jump around in, the mojitos were delicious, and so were the burgers.  We were the only ones there for a while so we used the open dance floor space to do the typical CrossFit thing, drinking relays.  Handstand walks, push ups, and squats, plus chugging a beer.  All in all, it was a pretty fun day.

I’ll see if I can get photos from other people this weekend since I failed miserably at taking them.

Are You in the Cult?

Though it only happened once, I have legitimately been asked this question.  To be fair, I am part of “the cult,” which is more commonly known as CrossFit.  While people often use the word to critique CrossFit, the “cultish” atmosphere is what made me feel a sliver more comfortable picking up my life and moving across the world.

My CrossFit journey started in 2007 when Danny at CrossFit Sonoma County had a dream to open a box, or CrossFit gym. My first workout of the day (WOD) was Fran.  It was a grueling 10 or so minutes of work, and I was hooked.  Back then there were only a handful of us, all of whom were Danny’s friends.  We worked out in the back room of my old gymnastics gym from 9-10pm and as you can see below, we had some fun.

Xfit Old Days

I left for college a few months after staring CrossFit, but every winter break I would come back and workout at the box.  By then Danny had rented out his own space.  With that space came a big community and no more 9pm classes – I suppose that is a bit late.  Though I wasn’t a CrossFitter at that time, everyone in the community always welcomed me for the month that I was home.  As a bonus, I returned to college every year in shape for lacrosse preseason.

Fast forward 2 years after graduation.  After constant discussions about joining a CrossFit box, Mark told me I needed to shut up or do it.  I chose CrossFit Balance in downtown DC.  My year and a half there changed my time in DC.  The community they built and the coaches’ knowledge drastically exceeded my expectations.  I found myself surrounded by people who share my love of working out and my love of beer, generally in that order.

Why is all of this important? Well, because what I have learned over the past 8 years is that the support I receive from CrossFit goes beyond the doors of the box.  I have truly become part of a global community.  When we looked at the bid list I googled CrossFit boxes in each city – it exists nearly everywhere.  I did this because I knew that no matter where we wound up I would have a group of people who would welcome me and make a new place feel a bit more like home. I reached out to Primal Ape CrossFit prior to my arrival because it was recommended by another FSO.  I have not been disappointed, the space is amazing (picture below) and so are the people.

Joining Primal Ape has helped immensely with my transition.  I now have a daily workout time to help set a schedule and even a job offer.  Without it I’m not sure how long it would have taken to establish a routine, especially since I would know even fewer people in Manila.  I didn’t leave my community back home either, the coaches and athletes have offered to help with programming for me, discuss classes and coaching, and even visit.

On the surface CrossFit is a workout regime meant to get people fit for anything life throws at them.  Yet, the willingness to pay upward of $150 per month speaks volumes about the fact that it goes beyond a general workout class. After college we lose that feeling of being a part of something like a soccer or baseball team.  CrossFit makes me feel like I’m on a team again.  In the end, it is the highly critiqued “cult-like” atmosphere of CrossFit that makes it a great match for the constantly moving lifestyle of an EFM…or someone who travels on business often, or wants to be a part of a team, or wants the strength to be able to pick up grandchildren, really, anyone, because everyone is always welcome.  Maybe we’re not so cultish after all.