A Crossfit Journey continues: Ericlee's quest for all around fitness

The following is Part Two of Ericlee's journal about his Crossfit journey. The original post explains more about the competition and Ericlee's initial thoughts about training for this highly-competitive event.

Tues., Feb 23

Last week finished with a bang. After doing something a little different, flipping a 650 lb tire, I went for a PR (personal record) in my squat. I could not flip it by myself but every time Andrew would put his hand under it, I could do it. It is amazing how flipping a huge tire can incorporate so many muscle groups – gluts, hamstrings, quads, lower back, shoulders, chest, biceps, and forearms. I still have that sticking point. I was able to squat 275 which is a 33lb improvement. The interval training on the rowing machine was a great changeup from our normal WODs. 20 minutes of 60sec on the rower and 60sec rest. The goal was 3500 but I only managed 3125 and Andrew accomplished 3250. To average only 12m less a minute than Andrew is great to see. I have come a long way on the rower. Since we did not make the 3500 mark we had to do 1 burpee for every 10m. Since I rested on Wed I decided to do a quick workout on Friday. After a quick warmup I did 100 burpees for time. Last time I did it in 7:52 and this time I did it in 6:25. On Saturday I finished my max with two more PR in the clean and deadlift. I increased my clean by 22lbs to 187 but I could not improve on the Jerk. In the dead I improved by 44lbs to 308. I was very excited. The WOD was Fran. 21-15-9 of Thrusters 95lbs and pullups. Last time my time was 8:39 and this time it was 5:42. A couple changes here and there and I know I can get it under 5 minutes. To say the least I was very happy. Andrew beat me by a minute.

This new week I ran 3.3 miles on Monday. I always run out of time because I need to warmup more. My time was 23:42 but I still need to train in the 22 range bracket.

Wed., Feb 24

I am learning that the more intense the workouts are the more rest I need. So after yesterday I did not wake up early today to run sprint intervals. I know I need that a lot. After doing Kelly yesterday, I need to get better running 400s. I felt like I had a break through yesterday with pullups and doing chest to bar. I changed my grip to pronation and it really helped me get up there to the bar. I also did the handwalks in 5 tries which is huge from the beginning when I was doing it in 12 tries. I still cannot practice dips or muscle ups because of my left shoulder rotator cuff. Now that Andrew can do a muscle up and excited to put into practice what new knowledge I have learned. My strength was a Snatch complex of power snatch to a heave snatch squat. I did 3x5 but really tweaked my left shoulder more. To step it up a little, I did double Unders between each set. We started with 30 – 40 – 60 Every time we messed up we had to do a burpee. I got on a roll and did 53 straight.

The WOD was Kelly and both Andrew and I were very tired from the strength workout. Kelly – 400m run, 30 box jumps (24in) 30 wall balls (20lbs) 5 rounds for time. Last time I did this WOD was 3-4 months ago and I did it in 29:09. This time we actually tied in 22:30. He would extend the lead with the run and I would catch him on the box jumps. I was very pleased.

Mon., Mar 1

On Thursday of last week I tried to do some cleans and Bench but my shoulder was still bothering me from the week before. So I just did some heavy front Squat and improved my max to 231. It has been fun to see how fast my max lifts have gone up. I know that it will be much harder to get that big of improvement but we will see. So I will max again in three weeks which is the week before the competition. The WOD on Thursday was Diane – 21,15,9 reps of 225# Deadlift and Handstand pushups. I did the pushups with the pad because I cannot go all the way down to the ground. I hope that gets better. My time was 10:16. I was shooting for under 10. It was cool to see how easy 225 DL I never let go of the bar for the reps of 21. Afterwards I did 100 Doubleunders to see if I could break my time from last time. I destroyed it by doing it in 1:36. My goal is to do it in under 60 seconds. Andrew did it in 1:10.

I rested on Friday and then on Saturday with my shoulder still bothering me, I lifted squats and deads. I did 225 squats 3x every 30 seconds for 10 rounds. Afterwards I played with Meilani and then hit the Deads. I was going for the 5 reps at every minute for 10 minutes. I started to high at 286. I did that for two rounds and then changed it to 275. I did another three rounds and then realized I was not going to finish in time so I cut it short. My WOD was easier because I could not do anything relating to my shoulder which includes pullups too. I did 5 rounds of 10x box jump burpees and lunges. On each round the lunges had to go a farther distance – 60ft, 120ft, 180ft, 240, 300ft was the last round.

Now we are starting the 9th week. I only have four weeks left. I hope to hit it hard these three weeks and then shut it down. I pray my shoulder is better. I wanted to run intervals on the track on Saturday but it was raining so I did it this morning instead. I did 2 sets of 3 laps. The first set I did it in 1:44, 1:43, 1:44. The rest was only 75 seconds. I rested about 3 minutes between the sets and then hit it hard again. I ran 1:43, 1:40, 1:39. I was satisfied with my performance. My calves are feeling it today. I still want to accomplish the following workouts before we go to the games. Grace – Helen – Filthy Fifty – Fight Gone Bad – Linda – DT – 400m – 5k – Max Pullups and pushups – Max all my lifts. I have about 11-13 workout days left. Since we are going to do some double workouts next week this should not be a problem to finish all of these workouts.

Wed., March 3

I had a great day in my strength area but in my WOD I fell short of my goal. After having so many successes, this is my first failure. So let me tell you about my strength gains. I did 5x5 of clean and jerk of 50k, 60k, 70k, 75k, 77.5k. It was tough but it gave me so much confidence when I do my max again. Every day I lift I gain more confidence. I superset that with bench which I did 6, 5, 6, 4, 3 of 60k, 70k, 75k, 80k, 80k. I know I will be ready to go when I can do my body weight 10x. Then I can finally perform the WOD “Linda." Since Andrew was not there I then attempted Helen again which is 400, 21xKB swings, 12 pullups for 3 rounds. I wanted to beat my time of 10:23 and even go under 10mintues. Well I thought I was making great progress but the last set slowed me down and I got 10:26. Once again my grip was shot because of the KB swings. No running this morning even thought I really wanted to but I slept instead.

Fri., March 5

Andrew returned and we had one butt-kicking workout. After practing the muscle-up, my confidence is growing to do one in the next two weeks. I do have to celebrate because yesterday was the first day that I did an official handstand pushup all by myself. That means my head touched the ground and I came back up. For my strength, I did front squats I did sets of 5, 5, 3, 3, 3 of 70k, 90k, 100k, and 105k the last two sets. Andrew had to help me but I got them done. I superset that with weighted pullusp. I should have been doing these all along. Oh well. I lifted about 15lbs 5 sets of 3. I know I will greatly improve in my pullups if I keep that up. Only three weeks to go. For the WOD we did the hero workout called “DT”. It is 155lb of three lifts. The reps were 12x deadlifts, 9x hang cleans, 6x jerk and 5 rounds total. I was doing good up until the 4th round. I finished my deadlift for my 5th round and all I had left was 9 hang cleans and 6 jerks. My time at that point was about 18:45 which is the time that Andrew finished. It took me about 10 minutes to do the rest. My grip was gone and my strength was done. I was hurting. I had about 5 reps total that I had to redo because I failed in the middle of the lift. Praise the Lord that I finished the workout in 28:54. I am very sore today. As soon as you increase the weight the intensity goes through the roof. That was the case today. By far the hardest was the 9 hang cleans. Since my max is only 190, lifting 155 that many times was just so hard for me. I then had to do it more than 9 so I could be ready for the Jerks. Every day I am getting better. Training for these crossfit games is by far the best challenge I have had. Training for triathlons was one thing but this is so much bigger because it includes so many other areas of fitness. I love it!!! The next two weeks will be my hardest weeks ever. Then I will taper off and rest during the last week so I can be super fresh.

Wed., March 10

This will be a long entry since I have done so many workouts this week. This will be my hardest week. I am half way through it. I wanted to know what double days feels like since that is what the competition will be like. First let me describe what we did to start the week on Sunday. Since I had a track meet on Saturday, I could not workout so instead we did the WOD on Sunday morning. 10 rounds of 400 run, 15 pushups, and 10 pullups. The goal was 30 minutes or less and I finished with 31:40. Andrew on the other hand did it in 26:30. Once again the 400s killed me since I was averageing about 1:55 a lap. Push hard and learn to overcome. I rested on Monday and then Tuesday came. We did Filthy Fifty again and it was a lot easier. Th goal was 20 minutes but I did it in 24:55 which was a 2 minute improvement and I beat Andrew by 2 minutes. So what is the Filthy Fifty. It is 50 reps of 10 exercises – Box Jumps (24”), Jumping pullups, Kettelbell Swings (16k) Lunges, Knees to Elbow while hanging on the bar, Push Press (45), GHM back extensions, Wall Ball (20), Burpees, and Double Unders. I can remember doing this workout for the first time last April and getting 34 minutes. I thought it was the hardest thing ever and I was soar for three days. Now I can do it 10 minutes faster and do another WOD an hour later. This WOD was taken from another Crossfit sectional back East. It was three rounds of 500m Row, 10x Clean Squat Press (135), 10 pullups. I did in 16+ minutes and Andrew did it in 14+ minutes. I was dead on the rowing. Once again I must push through that discomfort. Today was the second day of double workouts. I designed the first WOD and Andrew designed the second WOD. WOD 1 - 5 rounds of pulling a 20k sled 30yds followed by right arm snatches 45lbs and then pull sled back followed by left arm snatch 45lbs and then 400m run. First round is 5 times of up and back sled pulls with 10x snatches on each side followed by a 400. Next pull the sled 4x with 8x snatches. Then 3 times with 6x snatches. Then 2 times with 4x snaches. Finally 1 time with 2x snatches. After the first round, it went much faster. The first round took almost half of the total time. Once again I need to push my self to exhaustion. I need to be completely spent. My total time was 34:11 and Andrew beat me by 54 seconds. Afterwards I was not that tired. That is why I say I could go harder. I wonder if that is the difference between the last ten years. During the days of doing triathlons I could really push myself. I hope that comes back during the competition. After hour and 20 minutes we started the second WOD. The second WOD was 10 rounds of 1x Front Squat 190, 2x handstand pushups, 3x Deadlift 285, 4x Ring Dips, 5x strict pullups, run 100m. I wish we only did 5 rounds because it took too long. As it was I only did 8 rounds because it took 21+ minutes. Andrew destroyed me in this. He did 10 rounds in 20+ minutes. The only thing that was easy was the ring dips. My back was losing form in the front squats and deadlifts. I know I will feel that tomorrow.

Fri., March 12

Thursday was a sore day. I woke up with my lower back very tight. I knew that a good warmup was necessary. I happy to know that Andrew was sore too. After a great 35minute warmup with a 22lb vest on we could start our heavy lifting day. Back squats reps of 8, 8, 6, 6, 2, 2 with weight of 100k, 100k, 105k, 105k, 110k, 110k. I would have to say the hardest was the sets of 8. That was about 80% of max and it was tough. By the end I was toast. I did a superset with bench press. Same reps as the Squats. The weight was 60k, 60k, 70k, 75k, 80k, 80k. Somewhere in between the sets I did 3x8 of feet to bar. I need to do that more next week. Now that my legs are completely done, I perform the WOD which is Grace – 30 reps of Clean and Jerk 135lbs. My goal was under 5 minutes and maybe even closer to four minutes but not after that leg workout and definitely not after the double workout days. At about half way my muscles stopped working and I could not get the bar over my head. I had to rest and let that ATP come back to my muscles that needed it the most. At about 28 it happened again and I had to do the lift over again because I failed in that attempt. It will be great to do these WODs when I am fresh. I am going to rest today and Saturday and then Andrew and I will run a 5k hard at Woodward park. It is now just 15 days away.

Tues., March 16

The 5k run at Woodward park was super. It was a crisp cold morning with a beautiful sunrise. We ran a two mile warmup to show Andrew the course. I gave Andrew the watch because I knew he would be faster than me. I did not have a goal but I knew I wanted to be close to Andrew. At every marker, I could not hear Andrew yell out the time. After the race was over, I found out that the first mile was about 6:50. I think I ran really well considering that I did not have a watch, it was not a real race, and there were no encouraging fans. My time was 21:11 which is faster than the Turkey Trot back on Thanskgiving. Andrew ran a 20:28. I know in a real race I could make it hurt a lot more and run a minute faster. Next Sunday we will run 8x400 with 90 second rest. That will be the true test of my stamina.

Monday morning I did my max pushup test and I only did 43. I goal was 50. Afterwards I ran 2.2 miles just to get more running in for the day. I wish I had done this in my first week of training so I could see my improvement. Oh well.

Wed., March 17

Yesterday was another breakthrough day. Andrew and I visited Jon’s new Crossfit gym. Great place with roll up doors that really change the atmosphere of a gym. This week is max week. So I did the Crossfit Total which is back squat, shoulder press, and deadlift. I had a huge PR in each one. In the squat I did 305 which is a 30lb increase. In the shoulder press I did 125 which is an improvement because I do not know what I had before. Finally the deadlift. My goal in the deadlift was 350 and after lifting 315 without my full effort I was excited to go for it. With Andrew, Jon, and Roxanne watching, I lifted 350! I was pumped. So my total was 780. I have nothing to compare that to so that is a good start now. So if I do qualify then my goal will be 850. We then got everything ready to the WOD called “Fight Gone Bad”. There are five exercises – Wall Ball (20lbs); Sumo High Pulls (75lbs); Box Jumps (20in); Push Press (75lbs); Row (calories); that you perform as many reps as possible every 60 seconds. At the end of each round you can rest 60 seconds. Keep working for a total of three rounds. I started with the box jumps and went crazy. I did 44 in 60 seconds. There is no time to move to the next exercise. The clock continues to tick. Here is a chart that shows my results better.

Box Jump Press Row Wall Ball High Pull Total

Round 1 44 36 18 23 23 144

Round 2 36 30 14 20 18 118

Round 3 32 25 12 16 17 102

Total 112 91 44 59 58 364

Goal 40/120 30/100 14/45 20/60 20/60 385

The last two times I have done this WOD my scores have been 310 and 297. So I smashed my score by over 50 reps. Wow!!! My biggest flaw was that I tired out on the last round. I was ahead of Andrew by 10 reps going into the last round and he came back and beat me by three reps. That is why I must go hard on every exercise. That would have really made my day sweet. This morning I did a WOD at my house. 15 Thursters 40lb dumbells and run 500m which is around the block. My previous time was 12:51 and I wanted to break 12:00. I was on pace and then the last lap hit me. My final time was 12:05. BREAKING NEWS THE WODS HAVE BEEN POSTED FOR THE CROSSFIT SECTIONALS. WORKOUT A: RUN 800 AND MAX REP OVERHEAD SQUATS 115LBS – 6 MINUTES TOTAL. WORKOUT B: HOW MANY ROUNDS CAN YOU DO IN 10 MINUTES OF 7 THRUSTERS 115LBS, 12 KETTLEBELL SWINGS 53LBS, 7 PULLUPS. I COMPETE AGAINS 270 GUYS AT 12 NOON AND THEN 4PM. I AM EXCITED ABOUT THE WODS. I THINK THEY ARE REALLY GOOD FOR MY STRENGTHS. THERE ARE NO BOX JUMPS SO THEY ARE NOT PERFECT BUT I STILL LIKE THEM. I NEED TO BEAT 250 GUYS TO MAKE IT TO REGIONALS. WOW!

Fri., March 19

Yesterday we did Workout B from the sectionals. It was much harder than we had thought. We were disappointed that they were not more creative but it will still decide who is the most fit. I did 5 rounds + 2 kettelbell swings. Andrew did 6 rounds + 4 thrusters. My new strategy is to go hard the first set and then the second set split up the thursters into two sets. Rest 10 seconds and go again. Immediately hit the KB swings and then rest another 10 seconds before the pullups. I must do all 7 pullups every time. I do not want to break that up. I need a little more control so I do not die so much at the end. All these workouts are like a 400. You want to go out hard but if you go too fast then you will hit the wall in the race is over. But if you go out too slow then you have energy left over that was not used. I am relying on my Savior to show me the correct accuracy in that. We are going to do Workout A on Sunday morning. Once again it will give us a better strategy for the real games. Before doing the workout I tested in two more max – snatch and bench. Since I had not practiced snatches for over a month it remained the same at 132. But my bench went up again by 11lbs to 187. I was happy about that.

Mon., March 22 – 12 week

Can you believe it. It is the start of the 12th week. My long road of training is almost over. Well I guess it could continue if I am in the top 20. So my goal is to get that. I know that will mean five more weeks of training because the Regional games are not until May 8-9. After having a two day break of Friday and Saturday, I met up with Jon and Andrew on Sunday morning to do the WOD A that will be at the Sectional games. We have a six minute time limit to run 800m and then perform as many as possible of overhead squats at 115lbs. My strategy was to run the 800 in three minutes and then have three minutes to perform 40 OH squats. Well I did not get that many. I ran the 800 in about 3:05 but by the time got the bar in the right position to start squatting I am sure it was 3:15. I gradually did 15 to start. Then I rested on my back for about 10 seconds and went for another 5. On the fifth one my shoulder gave out so the bar actually slammed into my head and then fell to the ground. I picked it up again and did a few more before the timer was beeping. I had only completed 26. I was disappointed until I heard what Jon and Andrew got – 9 and 20. It is the first time that I have beaten Andrew in a lifting WOD. I am very excited. I am so glad we did this because now I have a better strategy. Eventhough Andrew ran faster than me, I still beat him on the reps. I was not tired so maybe I need to run faster to have more time for lifting. So I think I want to run in 2:45 so I can have the bar in position at 3 minutes and then have a full three minutes to get the job done. I want to squat as fast as I can too. I think I can get 20-25 in right away without resting. Then after that rest for 10 seconds after every 5 reps. So my goal is still 40-50 reps.

Today I did the 8x400 with 90sec rest around my block at home. I cut some of the block off so it was more like a 400. My times were 1:28, 1:28, 1:26, 1:25, 1:25, 1:25, 1:23, 1:20. I averaged 1:25 and my total time was 21:50. I did better than I thought which is always encouraging. My goal was to break 23minutes.

Thurs., March 25

On Tuesday Andrew and I did the WOD “B” again with chest to bar pullups instead. The rumor has been going around that instead of just pullups it will be chest to bar. So that definitely made it tougher. I was able to get 4 rounds in and 1 C2B pullup. Last time I did 5 rounds with 2 KB swings. So my goal for the Sectional games will be 5 rounds. I know that chest to bar will be difficult for everyone. I will trust the Lord that I will stay mentally in it the full 10 minutes. I will tell my coach to fix the bar when I drop it and to fix the KB when I drop it. I need reminders of time at 5 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minutes and 20 seconds. One extra rep will make the difference. For WOD “A” my goal is to get to the bar by 2:45 and then start squatting at 3 minutes. I practiced that last night. I snatched it up and did 20 the first round but I did not stay on my goal of 5 and rest. I had to drop the bar two times which takes up a lot of time. If I do drop it, I am going to clean it up and start again. I did 35 last night but I did not know when my time was up so I could of done more. At the same time, I felt like I did not go down low enough on every rep. My goal is still 40. I want my coach to tell my time at 2 minutes remaining, 1 minute remaining and 20 seconds remaining.

Today I am only going to warmup and work out some soreness in my hamstrings. I hope I can feel pain free come Saturday. May God be the glory in all I do this weekend. It has been an incredible journey.

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