Week 2 and even more amazing work was done. A lot of people were worried about the weight (myself included)—for some, it was beyond their 1RM. For others, it was pretty close or just below. Throwing that much weight overhead intimidated. It did not deter.

A (quick) word on the Golden controversy. I ended my first blog about CrossFit South Shore with a simple line: You don’t quit in CrossFit. You don’t cheat in CrossFit, either. That goes for the athlete, who has no excuse not to know the movement standards. I’ve been doing this (seriously) for about a month. I knew what my body needed to do, what Shoulder to Overhead meant. The judge, too, has to be even more aware and alert. The judge needs to watch a lot of action accurately: did the hips open? Are the arms locked out? It’s a big job. It makes or breaks the Open’s legitimacy. Before 13.1, Doug gave us all a speech about integrity. Our gym is built on it. Frankly, it’s one of the things that worried me about CrossFit. The weightlifting forums I frequented before joining CFSS put CrossFit down because some boxes are run by asshats who are concerned with the money and not the client. Where form and technique don’t matter, where corners can be cut without repercussion. Some gyms run that way, but if Kerry and I find a gym without CFSS’s level of integrity in Austin, I’m not giving them my time and definitely not my money.

We have a gym that promotes honesty. If we don’t feel comfortable judging, if we’re too close to the person or are easily distracted, we’re encouraged to get someone else to judge. I have no problem calling out a no rep because I want to be called out when I don’t complete a rep. It makes me more aware of my body and my movements. I don’t want to do any more Burpees or Box Jumps than I have to, so hearing “No rep!” makes me better. Excuses don’t. We’re getting a lot of those from the guilty parties. What bugs me is the judge’s/coach’s reaction. His response, which was taken off Facebook, amounted to “Screw you guys.” I understand a coach/owner/trainer fighting for their athletes but that’s bringing your ego into it. That’s getting defensive because you have no excuse for poor judging. In stark behavioral contrast, Tara contacted HQ because some of us weren’t going to be able to get the weight over our heads. Her thinking was simple: the difference between skipping 13.2 and getting a 0 (and thus a DQ) and working for 10 minutes to get the weight up and getting a 0 is big enough for an apatosaurus herd to stampede through (I didn’t use the more common brontosaurus because it didn’t exist. Seriously, look it up. No such animal). That’s not fair. To the athlete or the affiliate. It encourages folks to input 1 rep to keep going in the Open. To quote Tara directly about that, “If one must be dishonest and post 1 rep then what else are they dishonest about?” Integrity rules the day, readers.

I felt good going into 13.2 on Thursday. My stretching and flexibility had been maintained since 13.1 and I knew 115 lbs was a weight I could do: my Push Press 1RM was 135 lbs. And I could Push Jerk this or Split Jerk it. Whatever I needed to get it over my head. My shoulder felt good, too. While the full, locked-out Snatch position stings my shoulder without weight, going straight overhead had me feeling confident. Until I got into the gym and put weight up there. You know how this goes. Sharp, burning pain while fully extended, dull pain when not. My confidence plummeted. I talked to Christian, who had me practice with light weight, and improved my form. Turns out, I go a wee bit too far back on lock-out, which is where the pain jumps in. Funny how proper form (whether KB swings or Presses or whatever) will keep pain away. Regardless of the help, my confidence was rocked, and I opted to go in the second heat.

I judged for Peter who, like me, had a 1RM right around 135 lbs. He worked through the Presses while I watched, trying to form a last minute strategy. As time got close to expiring, the man came right off the Box Jump and got one last Press overhead. He didn’t let the weight intimidate him and was great to watch. It helped bring my confidence up a bit. My turn came around and all I was thinking of was my shoulder. I took extra time on the Presses, resting at the top, when maybe I should’ve rested in my rack to save my shoulder (I’m not yet to the point where I can bring it down, dip and drive all in one motion, at least not at 115 lbs). Like most, I started out jumping onto the Box and I felt it fast. My form started to falter during round 2 but thankfully Doug came by to set me straight. I was starting too far forward, less in my rack and more on my upper chest, making the Press harder and more painful. Set my shoulders back, and the move felt better. During this go, I finished three rounds, thanks in large to Peter, Mike, Christian and Doug giving me pointers when necessary but more importantly, pushing. Gentlemen, thank you. Despite that support, I wasn’t satisfied. I let the bar beat me before I even picked it up. In turn, I got pissed at myself. As Steve told me, getting pissed at the bar can be a great motivator but getting pissed at yourself is only going to be damaging.

For the second week running, I hatched a scheme.

Saturday morning, I saw Trish. I wanted my shoulder worked on but that’s not where she wound up. Once I was on my belly, she was at my thoracic spine instantly. That’s my problem. If I understand correctly, I lack mobility in my thoracic area, which in turn causes my shoulders to go forward and also why bringing them back is as strenuous as it is. She gave me some stretches (several that Doug had given me on Thursday) and I was off. I began mentally preparing myself for Sunday. Now I knew the weight wasn’t a problem. Heavy, sure, but it would go up. I knew the right form and how it felt. Just had to implement it all.

Kerry and I arrived early enough to warm-up for a nice long while. She was trying to build up to 75 lbs and was worried about her right shoulder. It’s given her trouble since we came back from Austin in mid-January but starting early last week, really began hurting. She did the work-out Thursday, avoiding the Presses so she could see Trish on Saturday. Kerry’s neck is her source of shoulder problems, which came as no surprise to us. She has a solid brick between her shoulder blades thanks to stress and computer-screen-posture. Even with the work Trish did, Kerry was still worried. She spoke to Christian, who I can only assume told her to give it a go and do what you can. She did and some. Kerry may not have done the work she wanted to, but she got the weight over her head. A lot. Wasn’t an easy weight, either. As she told me during a pause in her work, it was 10 lbs more than her 1RM (Maggie and I both let her know her 1RM just went up). She had a crowd cheering her on and gotdamn was I proud of her.

I improved by 38 reps. When I walked in Sunday, I wanted more than my three rounds. Five was my goal. I warmed up and got good and loose. After Doug told us about the improvements athletes saw with stepping up instead of jumping up for the Box Jumps, I changed my plans. Jim judged for me (who I accidentally pulled away from cheering on Keri) and that man kept me on track. Wouldn’t let me stop moving, kept me going at the bar and box. It felt great (not at the time). When I started slacking on Deadlift form, he was right there telling me how to correct it. He helped me push the last few Presses through the roof. Thanks for all of that, Jim. You were louder than the voice in my head. Five rounds turned out to be unattainable, but I’ll take my 4+8. My cardio still sucks, which is frustrating and held me back, but I know I can work on it.

Like 13.1, I saw a lot of fighting. Fighting to get the bar up overhead or fighting to get on and off the box. For me and Kerry, it was mental.  Our shoulders can take it, we just need to break through the doubts and shaky confidence. Ignore the voice telling us it’s too much because it wasn’t. We did it and we could again (with enough rest). We saw Tara fight for her athletes and remind us why CrossFit South Shore is our gym. It’s more than that, of course. I’ve been telling Kerry (and I cannot remember if I heard this somewhere else, so if you said it, let me know!) but we didn’t join a gym, we joined a community.

I’ll see you all at 13.3.

  1. […] Joey’s CrossFit oriented blog has been catching on like wildfire. Rightfully so, he’s an incredible writer. Check out his 13.2 coverage and his blog here. […]

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