Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Again, faster!" and my experience with mental toughness

For the past month I've been completing (or attempting to complete) the CrossFit WODs at the prescribed weight. The only weighted exercises I've modified lately were the single-arm kettlebell movements (because I'm still new at these, I modified from 16kg to 12kg), and chest presses (b/c I'm weak in the chest*, I modified from 35lbs to 25lbs). *The boobs are big, the muscles are not. Usually, I am capable of sticking with the weight throughout the entire workout. Sometimes, I'll admit that my time suffers as a result, but I think that's to be expected. Coach Crystal once told me to always focus on maintaining the Rx weight first, then work on speed (that whole "Again, Faster" mantra). That was a great piece of advice and it resonates - even when I see some of my peers starting under Rx weight, finishing in half the time it takes me. I must admit, sometimes its hard to hear "TIME" called by someone in class when I'm working on 2 more rounds, but that's just part of the challenge of CrossFit. Some people compete with others, some people compete with themselves. I definitely like to compete with others, but recently have been learning how to compete internally by silencing that negative voice in my head (pushing thru the fatigue), conquering a fear (24" box jumps) or beating a previous PR (CrossFit Total, for ex). My favorite part of CrossFit and my whole fitness journey experience has been working on my mental toughness. Now more than ever, my mental toughness will come into play. In order to get faster, I'll need to be able to push through, take fewer breaks, stay motivated - even when I think I can't go on. I have to continue to prove that negative voice in my head wrong and come out more confident as a result. This morning I read a great post by Coach Carey that really resonated with me, entitled, "Women's WOD: How Fast Are You?". Carey challenges us to "game" or strategize our WODs so that we can get the most out of our time at CFC. I completely agree. Allow me to put into perspective what she's talking about, with a detailed account of last night's WOD: CFC Women's WOD: 1/18 6 Rds for time: 10 Burpees 10 DB snatch (full squat) 5 Left/5 Right 10 Situps Carey's Time: 9:00 flat - I think its a world record - next closest chick was 11:30ish. My Time: 15:23 and I was exhausted. Here's what happened (time posted for each round): Rd 1: 2:00 Burpees - 10 in a row, no rest, easy DB Snatch - good depth of squat, 5 each arm, no rest, easy Situps - 10 in a row, no rest; flying through these Rd 2: 2:15 Burpees - 10 in a row, slower than last round, but still somewhat easy DB Snatch - good depth of squat, 5 each arm in a row, getting heavy. Situps - 10 in a row, no rest; flying through these Rd 3: 2:45 Burpees - 8 in a row, then 10 seconds rest, final 2; getting tired now DB Snatch - good squat depth, 4 Right, rest 5 seconds; final one Right, 5 Left in a row, rest 10 seconds before situps Situps - 10 in a row, no rest, easy Rd 4: 3:15 Burpees - 7 in a row, then 10 seconds rest, final 3; GET WATER (I'm tired) DB Snatch - squat depth ok, 4 Right, 4 Left; Final 1 Right, 1 Left, rest 20 seconds before situps Situps - 10 in a row, no rest, easy (9:00 minute mark - Carey's Time!) Rd 5: 2:45 Burpees - 5 in a row, then 10 seconds rest, final 5; Rest, with hands on knees, GET WATER again -30 seconds DB Snatch - 5 Right, 5 Left; Got called out for depth of squat, so I correct but go slower - rest 10 seconds before situps Situps - 10 in a row, no rest (12:00 minute mark) Rd 6: 2:45 Burpees - 5 in a row, rest 10 seconds, 5 in a row; Rest, with hands on knees, about to pass out- 20 seconds DB Snatch - 5R, 5L; rest; take it slow to try and get full squat depth, maybe 3 out of each 5 were good depth. Situps - 10 in a row, no rest "TIME" 15:23 - Then PASS OUT for 3 minutes. If I reduce the break time, including the water break and rest between exercises and was able to complete the burpees in a row, I could have improved my time by 2-3 minutes (2-3 minutes of wasted time spent listening to that little voice in my head shouting, "Stop now, this sucks, I'm dying here, there's sweat in my eye, my mouth is dry, everyone hates burpees, hey - other people are resting, just catch your breath, F**k this" and on and on...). Coach Crystal and my girl Lory C. both gave me a some words of encouragement that helped silence that voice momentarily during the last few rounds of the WOD. Now if I could just figure out how to do that for myself! THAT's mental toughness. For some tips mental toughness as it relates to CrossFit workouts, check out this entry from the CrossFit Invictus blog. Good stuff.


  1. Great post! I really need to work on this!! I've been WAY too easy on myself lately! :)

  2. I read that post from Carey, too, and dang! if it didn't help me this morning. Instead of taking a water break between the push press and wall ball, I just soldiered on. It sucked ;-)

  3. Yes, this WOD was my 'sweat it out girl' workout. For a split second, I thought I was transported to a hot jungle somewhere in the damn tropic! But six beautiful rounds later, I had ropes in my hand and whipping a giant. What a great workout day! You should swing into our class more often