Crossfit: Hope Revisited

Last April the CFES box did the Hope workout.  3 rounds of burpees, power snatches, box jumps, thrusters, and chest-to-bar pullups.  No rest between stations, 1 minute between rounds.  So five minutes on, 1 minute rest, five minutes on, 1 minute rest, and a final round. The bars were 75# and the box was 24 inches. My total was 115, which I felt was less then what I was capable of.

Last week (June 9th) we did the Hope WOD for real.  We had about 100 people from various boxes participating.  My plan was to get 50 reps per round: 15 burpees, 15 box jumps, 5 snatches, 5 thrusters, 10 chest-to-bar pullups.  But I actually didn’t have a real plan — which is to say a detailed means of execution — I just had a “goal.” That was problem number one.

Problem number two was that I was obsessed with multiple shoulder injuries.  My shoulders felt like somebody had hit them with a sledgehammer.  So I was (and still am) really afraid of a permanent rotator cuff problem.  This had been coming on for a while, starting with sore biceps.  I think what finally

did me in was wall walks a couple of days before the Hope event.  Anyway I wasn’t working up to the event properly, and I was distracted.

I managed to get 127 reps, which is a substantial improvement.  But it was ugly: snatches were all muscle, I was leaning into the thrusters, I couldn’t find a rhythm for the chest-to-bars.  In other words my form was poor.  I was in a hurry and I was not properly focused.

Interestingly enough, I didn’t suffer any particular shoulder pain.  Which is something to be really thankful for.  Right up to the “3-2-1” go I was worried burpees would finish me before I got to the bars.  But I made it through.  In fact my burpee form was pretty good the whole time.

So here’s the analysis: first, I had no business doing the men’s Rx.  I should have scaled down to the woman’s Rx.  Secondly, I should have been working on burpees and box jumps to build up technique and confidence.  Third, had I taken a moment or two to actually work on 75# power snatches it would have helped — I needed to get 5 per round.  Practice would have told me whether I was prepared or not to get there.  Which would have taken me back to square 1: scale it!

Perhaps the hidden culprit here is ego.  My partner for the Hope WOD was Chris Bacas, who did 254 reps.  Not that I could have predicted that (I had never met him before, nor did I know who my partner would be.) But it’s the whole ambiance of crossfit that is seductive: get beyond your best, go to unexplored territory.  I’m surrounded by really fit, competent athletes, and it is so tempting to want to perform at a higher level.

All that said, I’m glad I did it.  I actually felt great during the workout.  I felt great afterwards too.  And I don’t mean felt great as in “glad it was over” — I mean tired but exhilarated.  And I got to see dozens of athletes I had never seen before.

I still think I have a long way to go to find the end of my fitness level.  It’s just going to be a slower curve then I had imagined.


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