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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dabbling in Crossfit (learning to listen)

I would have had a fantastically pleasant thanksgiving with family at my in-laws lake cabin in Minnesota - four days filled with hours of  food, game playing and conversation.  Would have, were it not for my evil brother in law and seven minutes of crossfit.

Yep, seven minutes.

You see, Tom - the brother in law - has been doing cross fit (CF) over the last year or so in an effort to get in better shape.  And as it turns out, cross-fitters don't take thanksgiving off.  The work out of the day, or WOD in CF terms for Nov. 22nd was 7 minutes of Burpees.

Tom came in from the garage declaring that he had managed 80, far short of his 100 burpee goal.  His pretty fit 10 year old son took up the challenge and managed 88.  Then the peer pressure started.

I started out strong, 20 in the first minute.  then 15 the next.  I paused to rest then realized that i wouldn't really be able to rest long enough to get anything back.  But i know how to push through things.  I know how to find the maximum pace i can sustain and just buck up and ignore the pain.  I know how to tell that central governor who's boss.

three and a half minutes in my triceps and shoulders were cramping and spasming.  I modified my form to minimize the use of my arms (yes, it is possible to do a burpee without really bending them, although it requires a fair bit of writhing) and kept plugging away - damn you central governor i'm not stopping!  I'm the charge and don't you forget it!  As expected the mental challenge diminished with the time remaining.  I was drenched in sweat.  My insides were squirrely.  One minute left - go go go! The governor always quiets down in the home stretch.

I managed 105 burpees.  I was proud of myself.  Looking at the reports from all the other CFers that had spent seven minutes of turkey day in an exercise of prostration, 105 seemed a pretty good score.  In fact, it is tantalizingly close to the 107.33 burpees in seven minutes that would be required to claim "off by 50 status" in this event (the record, as far as i can find, is 161 burpees) - not bad without any formal training.

The wake up call didn't come until two days later, on saturday morning.  I felt like someone had snuck into my room and punched me in the ribs all night.  My intercostal muscles were in agony - swollen and inflamed. My shoulders and triceps and upper pectorals were super tender to the touch.  It hurt everytime i moved.  It made me realize that with my new found power to exert control over my central governor comes great responsibility - i need to know when to use it - sometimes listening  might not be such a bad idea.

It's now monday and the pain is almost gone. Three days of debilitating pain might be a trade i'm willing to make for being able to push hard and finish well in an ultra marathon or 3 day adventure race.  I'm not so sure it is a fair trade for me for 7 minutes of burpees though.

That being said, it's never as bad the second time (is it?) and i do only have to beat my last attempt by 3 burpees.  So i guess i better start planning my next attempt.   truth be told - i've never been that fond of  listening anyway (:

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