The devil is in the details

“You’re changing it. Nothing changes.”

In my Olympic Lifting class, Zach watches us very closely. He can see what I can’t. And on Wednesday, he could see how I changed my lift when I added 10 pounds to the bar during snatch drills.

I worked alone Wednesday. My usual lift partner, Andrea, wasn’t there. I prefer having a partner. It makes judging your breaks between sets easier. Plus, Andrea’s really cool and encouraging. It’s nice having a cheerleader.

I have a lot of details about snatch form bouncing around in my head. I know where to put my body before the lift. Finally. Off the blocks, the bar sits right at the knee. My feet are flat on the floor, the weight is in my heels. There’s a slight stretch in my hamstrings. Shoulders are over the bar. My back is tight, with the lumbar curve activated. My chest is up.

I haven’t quite developed a consistent mental checklist. It seems like every lift has something very slightly different about it, so sometimes I get confused.

What always stays the same is:

  • Do not JERK the bar off the floor
  • Pull straight up with the chest
  • Be aggressive getting under the bar
  • Stick the landing
  • Even if you screw up, finish the lift.

And to be honest, there’s more to that list.

Often times, multiple things need to happen at the very same time. And that’s what makes it tricky.

For example, during a split second in the pull, your hips open, your wrists and elbows turn in, the bar makes contact with your hips and you jump under the bar.

Sometimes it happens for me. Sorta.

I have trouble at the heavier weights. I struggle to be explosive and get under the bar. Zach says it’s all in my head.

Isn’t that like most things that hold us back? The trick is breaking that mental barrier.

Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.

— Leonardo da Vinci.

Back squats: 70%x5, 75%x4, 85% 4×4 → 95/100/115
Power snatch off blocks + OHS: 3×3, 2×2 → 35/45/55, 55/55
Snatch off blocks: 2×2, 1×3 → 55/55, 55/55/55
Snatch grip push press BTN (behind the neck) → 55/55/60/65

We’re ‘special’

Zach calls us his “special” class.

That’s his tactful way of saying we (the noon Olympic Lifting class) need a lot of work. Last week, I felt like I caused Zach much consternation and exasperation. I don’t like disappointment myself or my coach, so I try REALLY hard.

Do I mess up? You bet. Sometimes I forget. Like on Monday when we did snatch balance and I put my hands in the press position. Zach walked up behind me and quietly said,” sweetheart, we’re doing snatch balance. Is that where you put your hands for the snatch?”

Oh yeah. Duh.

The amazing Carey Kepler was in my class on Monday, and it was really cool to have someone I really admire working hard on the platform next to me, learning at the same time.

We all have things we need to work on. I guess Carey wants to improve her lifting, too. It’s a fantastic reminder to me that we should never stop pushing ourselves — never stop learning.

I am happy that — even though he calls us his “special” class — Zach did say we were much improved Monday. It’s a lot of work in a short amount of time. And I’m always learning.

Front squats 70%x5, 75%x4, 85% 4×4 → 80/85/100
Power Snatch off blocks 4×4 → 35/35/35/55
Snatch Balance 5×4 → 35/35/35/45
Good Mornings 5×3 → 65/65/75

Running back to Mr. Genovese

In 6th grade, my P.E. teacher was Mr. Genovese. I loved Mr. Genovese.  He was so nice, even to a fat girl like me.  He encouraged, but never yelled.  And he was cute.

I didn’t mind dressing out for gym.

We alternated between Health class and P.E.  I remember spending weeks in a classroom taking notes on the digestive system, then abruptly needing to dress out for gym the next week.

I don’t remember much of what we did in P.E., but I do remember having to run a mile.

I wasn’t exactly “fat” in 6th grade, but I certainly wasn’t skinny.  I played soccer, and I ran a lot in short bursts.  I also played tennis, so I ran all over the court.  But running a mile was different.  It was longer, and it was really hard for me.  But I wouldn’t let myself stop.  I dug in and focused on breathing.  One lap, two laps…. until I finished.

I actually surprised myself.  All of that soccer running must have paid off because I distinctly remember my mile time: 7:41.  I don’t think I ran it that fast ever again.

I want to run that fast again.  One day.  I used to think I could never do it, but all of the Crossfit Endurance stuff really seems to work.  Kind of like soccer, it’s about short intense bursts of speed rather than slogging miles.  I’m running 400m in about 1:47 — consistently.  Now, it’s time to clean up my form.

I showed up at Austin High’s track this evening for a special edition of the free endurance workout.  This time it was more focused on technique, rather than the workout.  Coaches Lisa and Benjamin led us.   We went over POSE and did a bunch of drills.  It was definitely geared toward newcomers to POSE, but I think I benefited.  There are a lot of things I hadn’t been clear on and I also tend to get sloppy when I tire.  There was even a workout designed for us to practice what we learned:

6 x 200m

We didn’t keep time — it was all about form.

Maybe… just maybe… I’ll run as fast as I did when Mr. Genovese was my coach.

Another 800 sandwich

 My weekend runs are definitely helping me.  This morning’s Crossfit workout was tough, but I think it’s the best I’ve ever done with so much running.


800m run
Power Snatch (M 135 / W 95)
800m run

I used the 45lb bar for the power snatch  This form was tough for me to master, and I don’t think I ever did.  Burpees were no problem – they just wore me out.  I felt great on the first run.  I managed to keep close to one of the faster girls in my class, and I was able to keep going.  The second run was much harder.  I was worn out from all of the snatches and burpees and MUCH SLOWER.  I almost stopped to walk a few times, but I pushed through, telling myself that I would be done soon.  

I finished in 18:44. 🙂

Zach has decided he wants everyone to keep a physical journal of all of our workouts.  It just so happens that I bought one of the Crossfit Central Performance logs last week to I could also write down my meals — so I’m covered.

Tonight is an intro to Zone and Paleo nutrition meeting at the gym at 7.  I’m actually going to go to this one.  I’m familiar with both diets from my own research, but it will be good to hear my coaches talk about it — get their perspective.