That happened, Part 3

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Come check out the CrossFit 201, tonight at 8:30!  Also, more hill sprints for track night tonight!  Click HERE for the location!

10 Wall Extensions
20 Right Leg Swings, forward and back
20 Left leg swings, forward and back
10 Wall Extensions

400 meter run with Jumprope
15 Strict Press with Barbell
10 Toes to Bar
15 Push Press (75/55)
5 Strict Handstand Pushups or progressions
5 Kipping Handstand Pushups
40 Double Unders

For time:
25 Handstand push-ups
50 Toes-to-bar
Run 800 meters
75 pound Push press, 75 reps
150 Double-unders

Cool Down:
Row 300 meters
Foam Roll Calves, 1 minute each
Row 300 meters

St Thomas 2007, staying hydrated after my second 8 Tuff Miles

In case you missed the first 2 parts and are curious why I am writing this story, start here.  Part 2 here.  Enjoy!

If you remember, when I moved to LA, I had planned an epic return to the Virgin Islands for that 8 Tuff Miles race. I was looking forward to crushing my previous time upon my return. My training began about 5 months before and consisted of running approximately 6-8 miles per run. I also did some pushup work on the side, but I was really focused on getting better at running. Since I was living in Redondo Beach, I would take advantage of the beachside hills that I could find to train me for the “tuff” part of the run. When I arrived back at the island, I could safely say that I was in the best shape since my high school soccer days and was excited to see how much I would improve!

The first time I ran the race, it took me just under an hour and a half. The second time I ran the race, it took me…just under an hour and a half! Fuck! I couldn’t believe it! Granted it was much hotter the second time and I hadn’t really trained on a sustained hill, but still! It was a disaster. I felt like I had done all that hard work for nothing! Upon my return to LA, I was less than enthused about continuing my running career when a movie trailer changed my life.

For years (even to this day), I check for the newest movie trailers that are released on the Internet. One day, I went to apple movie trailers to find a featurette on the training these actors were doing for a movie called “300.” I had not heard of the movie at this point, but what I saw looked amazing. They said things like, “They never did the same workout twice,” over the course of 8 weeks. “If you’re not nervous before your workout, think about it, it might not be hard enough.” They were flipping tires, running with kettlebells, working on rings, throwing medicine balls, talking about working out until you puked. I was filled with excitement and yelled to my roommate to come into the room, “Check this out! They should have gyms like this!” I said enthusiastically. I watched the trailer again the following day and googled the trainer’s name, Mark Twight.

What I discovered was that Mark Twight was not only a mountaineering legend, famous for his fast, dangerous ascents and his grueling training style, but that he had founded the “Gym Jones” training facility. I had found the source of the Spartan training and began to dig deeper. As I read about their gym, I ran into a description and link to something called CrossFit, so I clicked to find out more.

What I found was a website that offered up not only methodologies, but a library of workouts, video demonstrations, descriptions and answers to my questions. The amazing part is that it was all FREE! (I have read every post on since that day.) I discovered the flaws in my training program for the 8 Tuff Miles. Interval training. Strength training. Aerobic vs anaerobic. The workouts looked like fun compared to what I was doing and there were so many to choose from! I had no equipment at this point and I had never done the majority of these movements, so I scoured the workout archives looking for something that seemed “easy.” Something that didn’t require any equipment.  I settled on this “Classic.”

4 Rounds for time of:
Run 400 meters
50 Squats

How hard could that be? I measured out the distance, watched the videos on how to squat and set out to do this sucker. My first 3,2,1 go! I went out of the gate fast, excited and nervous. I got back to the squat location, took a few breathes and banged out my first 50 squats, and that was the end of my excitement. My second 400 meter run time probably doubled in length. When I made it back to squat, I was a wreck. My legs were quivering and my lungs were burning. I wasn’t even half way done with the entire workout and my soul was crushed. I worked through the squats a few at a time and eventually made it to 50 reps. I can only imagine what I looked like as I ran out for my third 400 meter run. Pale face, purple lips, acting like I was running, but really walking. I made it through half of my third run and tapped out. Utterly destroyed, I walked back to my house. The whole experience lasted less than 10 minutes and my legs were fucked for a week.

Strangely, I enjoyed the experience and once I recovered, I had already figured which workout I was going to try next. Using my roommates doorway pullup bar for jumping pullups, I performed “Cindy.” (20 minute of 5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 squats). I wish I could remember how many rounds I did, but the results were equally devastating.

The love affair was born.

I remember talking to my good friend back home about the discovery. As I spoke, all fired up about the workouts that I had tried and explained the methodology, his response was, “I don’t think you should be doing 50 reps of anything!” He wasn’t the first to think I was insane. My roommates all thought I was crazy, my co-workers would laugh at me as I limped around the restaurant and then tried to convince them to come workout with me. I never had a doubt.

As the months passed, I slowly amassed more movements that I could perform. I would hook my feet under the stairs and lay over a swiss ball for back extensions. I figured out how to kip in that doorframe pullup bar. Handstand pushups, box jumps, lunges, burpees, yay! Just me and my lonely pullup bar, and I still had so many things I could learn!

Eventually I purchased a cheap barbell/dumbell set from Play-it-Again Sports and that is when things got really interesting. Trying olympic lifts in my second floor apartment. I would set up my kitchen countertops as my squat rack by putting pillows on either side for the weights, and then just stand up and walk into the dining room to squat. I used the dumbbells for kettlebell swings, one armed snatches and turkish getups. I was kept busy for the next 2 years!

While this may sound like I was a madman, working out constantly, that was far from the case. I was still giving priority to my acting dream and socializing, and maybe working out 2 times a week during good times. During the bad times, I could go a week or two without doing anything. I was into the idea of CrossFit, but still living a very unhealthy lifestyle. My sleep and work habits were terrible. Serving tables and consequently drinking Jameson until 2am most nights. My nutrition was non-existent. The best thing I ate was sushi at my job, while eating poor man’s meals at home; pasta with butter or oil 5 times a week. Burritos, pizza and bar food filled out the majority of the rest of my meals. I was playing that break-even game. Building my body up with CrossFit, while simultaneously destroying my body with everything else.

The pieces to the puzzle were in place, we just needed something to set it all in motion…or should I say someone?

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