Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Getting Fed Through the Chipper


You hear the word and it conjures up equal parts fear and excitement.  Two syllables and the average Crossfitter knows they're about to face an opportunity to blaze a new trail in their fitness.  It's the ultimate test of both the physical and the mental.  The chipper is in its own category of metcon...large amounts of reps, and an array of exercises that do not repeat...you just have to do a shit ton of each of them.  Some days you get fed through the chipper.  Other days the chipper feeds through you...

My first chipper was the Filthy Fifty.  I was happy to scale it to the "Dirty Thirty" at the time, but I know next time it comes around the days of scaling reps on something like that are done.  I've arrived, and instead of not even registering on the performance spectrum I feel like I've earned my place, regardless of how buried I am in the "novice" category.  Today's chipper was a beast, and I knew I'd have to bring my A+ game to make it through this one:

For time:
70 Burpees
60 Sit-ups
50 Kettlebell swings, 1.5 poods
40 Pull-ups
30 Handstand push-ups

I went to the store within an hour of seeing the WOD posted, as I had to find something to protect my knees.  The last time I did more than 50 burpees my knees were literally bleeding...something about the way I hit the deck scrapes away at the skin until the last 20 or so are excruciating.  I found some knee pads but they were too tight.  I ended up grabbing some big, flexible band aids that covered my knees...turns out they work like a charm.

I didn't know what to do for the warmup...I didn't want to waste an ounce of energy...so I did a modified version of Sara's gymnastics warmup day 1, which is:

Kick up to a handstand (3x)
5 ring pushups
frog stand (10 secs)
10 overhead squats (pvc)
10 kettle bell deadlifts (12 kg)

I usually do 5 handstand pushups for step 1 of the warmup, but I wanted to save every bit of those for the WOD.  So I just held the handstand for like 10 seconds and kicked back down.  We didn't do too many rounds of the warmup before it was go time.

3...2...1...Go!  You could feel everyone blazing out of the gate for this one...those initial bursts from a full class can be pretty powerful.  Once people settled into their pace everyone started getting a bit more methodical.  My approach, as always, was slow and steady.  I kept it going, the band-aids were holding out, and before I blinked I was halfway done with the burpees.  The last 20 or so were challenging, but I got some encouragement from some folks and kept at it. 

Soon enough I was on to the situps, realizing only then that I was a full round behind the pack...pretty standard (shrug). I asked Sara if I could do butterfly situps, and she was completely cool with it.  So I cranked through that set...my biggest problem with situps is keeping my mammoth legs together, so butterfly made it a lot easier for me.  Those probably took the least amount of time out of any of the exercises.  By far the kettle bell swings were my strongest exercise out of the lot, and I might have put the KB down 3-4 times during the set.  I love this exercise, and even though my form was messier than most other times, I was able to crank through this set without much trouble.  Pullups were just a matter of breaking up the reps so I was able to maintain explosive energy and momentum from the resistance bands.  The last 15 or so were tough, and a cool guy Matt who I've seen around the gym came over to help get me through them.  Sets of five became sets of four, became sets of 3.  Somehow I got there, and I was onto what became a WOD unto itself...the handstand pushups...

Matt is a fucking hero...I cranked out like 7 or 8 of them without much of a problem, but with 22 to go, and very little gas in the tank, we started with sets of three.  That quickly became sets of two as I fell out a couple of times.  I was breathing heavy, staring down the bumper plate that dictated my depth in this exercise.  With like 18 to go I was averaging two reps every 2-3 minutes, and I think while we were both determined, a distant cloud of doubt was floating into the room as to whether I was going to finish.  Very long story short, after what seemed like an eternity I got there.  HUGE props to Matt for sticking with me through that absolute mess.

WOD Time: 41:04

My reps weren't pretty, but I got full (scaled) depth and full extension.  I would say MOST of the WOD was challenging but very doable.  But that final hill of the handstand pushups was a vertical climb.  After launching into the chipper with strength and confidence, I got spit out the other end...shredded, in pain, but alive, well, and more fit than yesterday.

I like the chippers.  They don't quite like me yet...they'll warm up to me over time, I'm sure of it :).

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