One Of Those Weeks

This week has been one of those weeks. You know the ones: Your workouts couldn’t have gone any better, you train hard, eat clean-ish, get some rest, spend quality time with the kiddos and make the most of it. Today is my last day off before going back to work tomorrow and I have yet another lovely day planned. Coffee with a friend all while letting the girls running in the water fountain at Uptown. Then, getting some groceries and stuff at Walmart, finishing up laundry and preparing for work tomorrow.

Already, I feel accomplished. This morning was Oly lifting class and I was mentally prepared for Clean & Jerk testing week. We kept the same pattern as we did for the Snatch last week and I was struggling a bit more with the rep scheme, but it went really well in the end. Here’s what we had to do:

  • 3x@75%
  • 3x@80%
  • 2x@85%
  • 2x@90%
  • 1x@95%
  • 1x@100%

Since my 1RM for the C&J is 80#, below are the weights I worked with:

Photo 2015-05-21, 6 16 15 AM

I had to modify some of the weights (either rounding up or down), but it worked well. The numbers on the right are just time cues for me to start my reps at. On my 1st set at 70#, Coach Caleb came by and told me I was doing a weird jerking motion from the ground up. I needed to slow my pull from the shin to the knee in order to work that kink out. I did and managed to do all my rounds, up to 80#.

Coach Caleb told me to switch and put 25# plates on my bar, but I knew that would psych me out, so I kept the 15# and added 2×10# on each side for my test. We had 3 attempts for a 1RM and I went for 85# on my 1st attempt and nailed it. I was so excited that I dropped the bar before bringing my feet back under my shoulders. Oops! I asked Coach Caleb if he wanted me to repeat it and he said to just increase my weight on the bar.

I obliged him and went up to 90#. I was starting to fatigue and coming out of the squat was hard. I managed to do it, I jerked it (and didn’t forget about my feet) and dropped that bar to the floor! Yes! 10# PR! Apparently, I do a little nod before I throw the bar down. I guess that’s my way of acknowledging that I destroyed this weight, now I will drop it like a fly! BAM!

I then tried to go for 95#.

1st attempt: Tracey recorded my attempts. When I reviewed the video, I saw that I could totally pull it high enough, but I wasn’t committing to dropping under the bar. Sounds familiar since I struggle with the same issue on my Snatch.

2nd attempt: Same thing happened here. Pulled high enough, didn’t drop. I had a chat with myself, trying to convince me that the worst I could do would be drop on my bum, so, just commit to it already!

3rd attempt: After reviewing the video, Coach Caleb noticed I hesitated a fraction of a second on the pull before dropping into the squat. I did drop though, but I fell down, since I wasn’t fast enough. Still! I was super happy I had committed to dropping since that’s a big issue for me.

Failed 95#, but I'm gunning for triple digits!

Failed 95#, but I’m gunning for triple digits!

Like I said, I may have failed at 95#, but I’m hoping to get into the triple digits this year! The perfect end to a perfect week of training. I love how supportive my Crossfit peeps are and how encouraging they are. I may not be at my ideal fitness / weight / appearance, but I feel strong as heck and I’m proud of my achievements this week. Not too shabby for someone who can only attend class 2x/week on a normal basis!

 

Draining Snatch Work

I had a couple of busy day shifts at work and I was absolutely spent when I arrived home last night, to my 2 girls who just wanted some Mama time before they went to bed. After I spent some time with them, I showered and fell asleep on the couch watched some TV. I got off the couch only to drag my sore body to bed and almost fell asleep as my husband was tucking me in (he comes to bed later and has tucked me in ever since we’ve started dating). I woke up a few hours later to the sound of snores in my ears (the hubs) and had about 30 mins left before the alarm would go off. I managed to fall back asleep and it was a struggle to get up for the Oly class this morning. I hate showing up when I feel like I have nothing left in my tank. It makes for a difficult class…

To make things harder, today was Snatch Testing Week. Eesh… The format was different from the previous testing weeks I had done and although it was super challenging, I liked it much better. Instead of testing both the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk in the same session, today was a self-led test of the Snatch  only. Here’s how we ran things:

Photo 2015-05-14, 5 49 50 AM

The top was our warm-up, the % were the weights we had to use in order to build up to our 1RM

Considering my previous 1RM was 60#, here were the numbers I had to play with:

My low attempts at a 1RM snatch

My low attempts at a 1RM snatch

Because my 1RM is so low, it didn’t give me much room to play with my weights and I had to modify as above. The numbers on the right were just times on the timer for me to start my reps at. As you can see, there was plenty of time for rest. Here’s how it all went down:

  • 3×40#: Felt good and easy to actually drop into the squat
  • 3×45#: More challenging, but I was still able to drop straight into the squat
  • 2×50#: I was planting my feet too early in the catch. My feet planted when I was still upright, instead of down into the squat
  • 2×50#: That was my worst set. When the weight increases, I get this mental blockage about dropping into the squat. Had a good chat with Coach Caleb and he explained why it was actually SAFER to drop into the squat with locked elbows and fail a rep than to catch it upright, without locked elbows, and then trying to control the drop into the squat. I was exhausted and frustrated. I feel like every week I attend the Oly class, poor Coach Caleb repeats himself ALL. THE. TIME! I know what I,m doing wrong, I just have a real struggle fixing it. I felt like I had nothing left. I wanted to quit and go home. This lift really frustrates the crap out of me and it challenges me and pushes my buttons. I took a longer rest and reset my mind frame before attempting the next one.
  • 1×55#: I really committed to this lift and, although it was a fail and I had to bail out of it (too much on my heels), Coach Caleb was way happier with this one because I had actually dropped into the squat with locked elbows.
  • 1×55#: Success! It was hard, but somehow felt smooth.
  • 1×60#: Success and much more efficient than my previous 1RM attempt. I actually dropped. I caught it higher than a squat, but much lower than I’m used to. Coach Caleb said it was now time to go for my 1RM

Snatch 1RM: We had 3 attempts for each weight. If you succeeded, you then had 3 attempts at a heavier weight until you reached failure on all 3 attempts.

3×1 @ 105% = 65#.

Tracey wanted to film my attempts. I think it made me a bit self-conscious, but it was nice to see where my mistakes were.

1st attempt: No problem pulling the bar up to my shoulders, but I didn’t commit to dropping, therefore failed.

2nd attempt: I couldn’t get the bar high enough.

3rd attempt: I managed to pull the bar and somewhat dropped underneath it, but I was too much on my toes and therefore had the bar too much in front of me and couldn’t correct it.

Below is Coach Caleb, doing a Snatch from the box. I cannot get over his speed in pulling the bar upwards, all the while, dropping into the squat! I’m in awe! He’s so fluid! This is what it should look like, but from the ground up instead.

 

So, my 1RM remains at 60# for now. However, for the purpose of %, Coach Caleb now wants me to use 65# instead of 60#, otherwise, I will never progress.

I came home to wrestling kids and even though all I wanted to do was go back to bed, it wasn’t gonna happen. I had to laugh at some of the things you say as a mom sometimes. For example, Rina was in the process of getting dressed and was walking around, butt naked. Béatrice kept on head butting her in the groin and I, very matter-of-factly, said to her: “Béatrice, don’t put your head in your sister’s vagina!”

Yeah, this is the kind of stuff you can hear more often than I’d like around my house…

 

Go Home February, You’re Drunk

While I was at work last evening, I received a text from Nanny with some pictures of Béatrice. She had a weird rash all over her body and some pustules as well. My co-workers were super nice and picked-up my assignment so I could go home early and take her to the walk-in clinic… AGAIN! Only our 5th visit in 2 weeks… I was not thrilled to say the least. Turns out she had hives from an allergic reaction to something. We walked in to the drugstore just as they were closing and I must have looked like I was at the end of my rope because the pharmacist was nice enough to unlock the cupboard and give me some children Benadryl. Thank you x 1000 pharmacist, you’re the best!

I drove us back home where Ben had cut his evening short at work also in order to let Nanny go home and he put Béatrice down while I showered the day away. This month has been challenging and exhausting. I don’t think I could handle much more. Oh wait, scratch that. Ben is leaving tomorrow for 10 days, which means I will be doing some single parenting for that many days. Ugh. I guess I’ll just have to survive, somehow…

Olympic lifting class test week

I was finally able to show up for Oly class this morning after having missed quite a few Thursday classes because of illness and work. I was looking forward to it, feeling the cold bar and working on my technique. Except today was test day. That got me nervous and took out all the little energy I had left in me. I didn’t feel confident at all and I’m still not 100% back to optimal health, so I didn’t think I was going to do well at all.

 

Snatch 5×1 E3M Test

That ever elusive snatch. I was warming up with an empty bar and had a hard enough time to drop into the squat. Coach Caleb came by and made me promise him that I would just COMMIT to dropping into the squat. That was all it took to get me to cry. I just didn’t think I had it in me, and somehow, I didn’t want to disappoint my coach. It’s silly I know, but that’s what I felt like at the time. I think the combination of illness, lack of confidence and exhaustion did my head in. I took a few good breathers and set my head in the game. I started at 50# and was successful. I failed my next rep at 55# because I over-arched my arms and try to correct too much. I lost my balance in the squat and dropped the bar forward. I practiced on the side with a dowel and stayed at 55# of my next rep. Success! I moved on to 60# for my next rep and succeeded at that weight. That was my previous PR. I set up for 65# on my last rep, but couldn’t get the bar overhead, therefore, staying at my previous PR of 6 weeks earlier. I was ok with that, considering my mental state just before we started.

Here’s my girl (Camille Leblanc-Bazinet) lifting a snatch at 85kg (187#). She makes it look so easy!

Clean & jerk 5×1 Test

I warmed up with a max of 55# because my previous PR was 70# for this lift. I started my 1st rep at 60# and it was fairly easy. 65# felt pretty much the same. 70# came around and although the clean felt a little more challenging, I felt really strong in the jerk. 75# was pretty much a repeat of my previous rep. It felt good and I had just achieved a new PR. Last rep came around and I was going for 80#. The clean felt challenging, but at the same time, I think I could have gone heavier. I took a few breaths and then went for the jerk. Coach Caleb was cheering me on the side saying: “Come on Val, this is where you shine!” I felt strong and just did it. Who knew I could shine at something Crossfit related! Bam! A new 10# PR for that lift and it honestly felt like I could have gone heavier. Next time! 🙂

Here’s Camille again, doing the clean & jerk at 108kg (238#).

Now, I wish I had my lift on video, but I don’t. I know 80# isn’t heavy compared to accomplished athletes, but that was a huge improvement for me and I am very proud of it, considering I don’t get to work out nearly as much as I would like to and I missed a few practice weeks. Hopefully, we are done with all the visits to the walk-in clinic and we can start working on getting healthy. Now, I just have to figure out how I’m going to do the Open workouts with my work schedule, a husband who’s away and minimal childcare…