What I learned from Coach Burgener…

CrossFit Weightlifting Seminar. 03/22/14-03/23/14 at CrossFit Chronic.

CrossFit Weightlifting Seminar. 03/22/14-03/23/14 at CrossFit Chronic.

 

I had the incredible opportunity to attend the CrossFit Weightlifting Trainer Certification Course this past weekend at my box, CrossFit Chronic. This whole experience sky rocketed into star quality when we found out Coach Mike Burgener would be leading the seminar. Seriously, I had the chance to learn about snatches, cleans and jerks from THE MAN!

I’m amazed at how many times the concepts I learn in CrossFit apply to many other aspects of my life. The overlap is insane! No wonder people become “addicted” to CrossFit. It makes their whole life better. All those concepts of CrossFit boxes, communities, and WODs incorporate into the everyday seamlessly.

Coach B talking to us about footwork and stance.

Coach B talking to us about footwork and stance.

1. Slow is Smooth… Smooth is Fast!

Technique, technique, technique… and then some more technique. Never underestimate the power of technique. Dial down the tempo of the lifts to create muscle memory for the technique. Once, the technique is perfected –and, just so you know, you are always working towards perfection; it never ends– smoothness enters into these lifts and that is when FAST happens!

*Life application*

Take the time in your profession, in your relationships, in your friendships, and in your parenting to learn all the nuances and “techniques”. Work towards perfection! Others appreciate the attention to detail.

Burgener Warm-Up and other drills with PVC. Never underestimate the power of the PVC.

Burgener Warm-Up and other drills with PVC. Never underestimate the power of the PVC.

2.There are Only Bad Makes and Good Misses!

Good Misses make you a better athlete and stronger Olympic lifter. They teach you much more than a Bad Make ever can! Bad Makes reinforce the bad. They make you feel good just because you got the weight overhead, but they don’t “feel right”. Recognize the Bad Misses, shake them off and go back to Number 1 on this list. Slow down the temp, smooth it out, and work technique. Then step back up to that bar, and do it again!

*Life Application*

If you are not putting 100% effort into what you do, then you are making Bad Makes! Living less than 100% does not improve your life or those around you. Take that time out to perfect. Then get back to life at 100%. It is always better to have a Good Miss than a Bad Make. Hands down.

Hook grip! Always.

Hook grip! Always.

3. Always Finish!

Finish. What is it? It is that moment in your lift when a few things happen: 1. Full extension of the hips. Footwork.; 2. Shrug and shoulders behind the bar. Speed through the middle.; and, 3. Elevation of the bar. Preparing to drive under the bar with a strong turnover. Without Finish, your lift will end up a Bad Make!

*Life Application*

Honestly, Half-Assing stuff is not cool. Just do the work. And, Always Finish!

Passion!

Passion!

4. Passion!

I have met tons of passionate people in my life. I try to surround myself with others that are passionate. Coach B is one of the most passionate instructors I have had the honor of learning from at a seminar. He has passion about Olympic Lifting. He is passionate about teaching others about Olympic Lifting. What a pleasure to be surrounded by his passion and the passion of his coaching staff!

Passion is contagious. Imagine a world where others were passionate about their professions and jobs, passionate about learning, passionate about positively influencing those around them, passionate about health and fitness… Sounds like a wonderful place, doesn’t it? Live with Passion! Be passionate about what you do. Pass the passion onto others, especially your children.

Launch position. Holy hamstrings! Slow is smooth... Smooth is fast.

Launch position. Holy hamstrings! Slow is smooth… Smooth is fast.

5. Yay Burpees!

Coach B: “Blah blah blah blah blah blah Burpees…” Everyone else, “Yay Burpees!”

I pretty much learned that motivational consequences, such as Burpees, still suck. So everyone should listen up and pay attention and yell “Yay Burpees!” on cue. Ergo… no motivational consequences. Gotta love-hate Burpees.

*Life Application*

My boys need more motivational consequences. Maybe even the husband, too.

CrossFit Weightlifting Seminar Staff and CrossFit Chronic Coaches and Members.

CrossFit Weightlifting Seminar Staff and CrossFit Chronic Coaches and Members.

Bonus! What I learned from Stacy…(super duper awesome seminar staff coach)

6. Make that Bar Your Bitch!

I am still recuperating and healing an injury (see my previous post on my injury here) in my hip and lower back. I honestly did not think that I was afraid to snatch (a video demo with Coach B). Alas, I was because who wants to get hurt again. Stacy’s words about healing and then getting back on that bar and making it my bitch were just what I needed to hear. So, as of today, I am back up to a 55lb snatch about 50% away from my 1RM. I will soon be back up to full potential and a beast at the box.

 

Coach Mike Burgener and I at CrossFit Chronic.

Coach Mike Burgener and I at CrossFit Chronic.

Oh, and bonus was the beer two nights in a row that I got to drink with Coach B.

coachbandI 

A Year of Setbacks: Injuries and CrossFit

The CrossFit Open 2014 is fast approaching. And, I have signed up, but now have to sit out. 

It sucks. Big time. Not that I ever had any chance of making the Mid-Atlantic Regionals… I am not that deluded. But, the Open is a wonderful test of your fitness level, your fitness improvements, and another opportunity to participate in the CrossFit Community.

In 2013, I had just recovered from slicing the tip of my right thumb tip clean off. I even attended my Level 1 Certification Seminar with it splinted and bandaged. It healed just in time for the Open.

 Fast forward to April 2013… I joined a co-ed indoor flag football team with other members from my CrossFit box (CrossFit Chronic). That was not my wisest decision. I have never played football and didn’t even understand the rules. I broke my left ring finger at the distal phalange (exactly where the tendon attaches) and the intermediate phalange. Note to self: don’t try to catch a football thrown by a semi-pro football quarterback. This means I cannot make a tight fist. Holding onto a barbell, hanging from a pull-up bar, swinging a kettlebell, climbing a rope or flipping a tire –pretty much anything requiring grip strength is a struggle. This injury took over 12 weeks to heal. Mainly because I kept trying to WOD. The orthopedist finally told me to stop… I think I freaked him out a bit. I was, admitted by him, his first CrossFit patient. He did not know how to respond to my concerns about dead lifting or pull-ups. Let me add that 8 days after breaking my finger I went to the box and decided that I would instead run a few miles. I was 600m into the run when I ungracefully avoided a rock in the road by tripping on my own shoelace and sliding across the blacktop. I got up from that fall brushed myself off, took a mental check of my body, and took off running to finish the run. When I returned to the box, I received many incredulous stares due to my bloody knees and disheveled appearance. I noticed that my right big toe was throbbing. Yeah, I broke it. So, now I have a broken finger and a broken toe. 3 weeks later I teamed up with another injured coach to complete Murph, a Memorial Day WOD in honor of a fallen Navy Seal. This was definitely part of that “taking forever to heal” issue.

Memorial Day WOD "Murph" 2013. Team Injured.

Memorial Day WOD “Murph” 2013. Team Injured.

Fall 2013 was a time for healing and recuperating for me. I pretty much started over in CrossFit. This is tough to do when you are experienced… I lost strength and my endurance/stamina suffered greatly.

Fast forward to 2014… My big toe doesn’t really bend –at all– but I can still do most things. My finger is no longer broken, but I have lost a great percentage of my grip strength. It still hurts and I am still working on getting back to many of my 1RM in Olympic lifts. Now, I am having hip, low back, and pubic bone issues. When I had my second son in 2006, I decided to jump right back into running at just two weeks postpartum. Once again, not a wise decision. At two weeks postpartum, the pubic symphysis (a midline cartilaginous joint that connects the right and left pubic bones in women) has not returned to its pre-pregnancy state. Meaning: it is soft and susceptible to dislocation. I basically messed up this joint causing me to compensate with my lower back, gluteal muscles, and adductors during squat movements.

What does all this mean to me?

It means that it hurts to WOD. It means I can’t overhead squat a PVC pipe. It means box jumps are more difficult than ever. It means squatting or kneeling over a birth tub is uncomfortable.  It means that I want to cry when I do my scaled WODs. It means that I am cranky, uncomfortable and having to start all over. It means no Open in 2014.

The good news is that I am being very proactive and aggressive in my journey towards healing this problem. I am utilizing Chiropractic care (in my husband’s office, not the house table ottoman), my colleague at the box is providing some Sports Therapy and Modality treatments, I have reincorporated yoga 2-3 per week, and have a love-hate relationship with a foam roller and lacrosse ball.

Injuries just plain suck!

The bright light in all this… Injuries give you a window into how your body is working. I always wondered why my back squat was weak and why overhead squats and snatches were so difficult. This hip/pubic issue was in place before I started CrossFitting, but CrossFit exposed this weakness and injury. It brought it to my attention. Although, an email would have been less painful and preferred. 

So, I’m kinda glad I have to work through this injury, but it’s been a rough year of injuries and I’d just like to be better. Please.

Fall 2013. WOD'ing with my son (in red). Team WOD with Push Presses. Dead Lifts, and Front Squats.

Fall 2013. WOD’ing with my son (in red). Team WOD with Push Presses. Dead Lifts, and Front Squats.

Xmas WOD 2013. At this point, I can do 1-2 pull-ups before I have to drop off the bar to regrip.

Xmas WOD 2013. At this point, I can do 1-2 pull-ups before I have to drop off the bar to regrip.

So, I guess I am done whining –for now, until I have to roll out and stretch.

31 Days of Beach Living: Day 21 BTB2

31days day 21

This picture captures it all… An awesome weekend at Bend The Bar 2 at CrossFit Cafe, home of 8th place Masters (45-49) competitor in the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Jeff Ernsberger.

Thanks to E.M. Elento Photography for this incredible snapshot of athlete Scott Penny and I at the Men’s RX event.

BTB-20131019-0308

Please click on the picture to see more amazing photography work by E.M. Elento Photography!

31 Days of Beach Living: Day 18 Community

31days day 18

 

This weekend I had the honor to judge at a local CrossFit-based competition called Bend The Bar – Hampton Roads. It was Event 2 and included an RX division on Saturday and a Scaled & Masters divisions on Sunday.

My throat hurts and I am exhausted… and no, I didn’t even compete.  Judging is hard -there are a bunch of numbers & counting. If you know me at all, I am easily confused by numbers.

Community. CrossFit is amazing. It is the best community I am having the pleasure of experiencing every day. Every one is cheered on until the buzzer beeps or the last rep is completed. No one comes in last. We all finish and go deep into the pain cave to test our fitness and our strength. It is amazing.

Community can happen in many different ways. Neighborhoods. Schools. Like-minded parents. Church. But, this community brings together a broad spectrum of people. Each and every person comes into the box unique and, well,  just different. They may even be people you wouldn’t normally “hang out” with or find in your toddler group. But as soon as that 3, 2, 1… Go is shouted, we are all the same. We are all CrossFitters. And, we would do anything for each other. 

I have met some of the most incredible people at our CrossFit box. And, met new people and re-met blasts from the past at events. The community continues to grow. You have your box community as your inner circle. Surrounding that inner circle is the wider circle of your city and the boxes within that geographical range. Then you have your State and Region… and even wider is National and International communities.

I am so happy to have this community. It is invigorating and special. Made even more special when athletes give you hugs for pushing them past their perceived limits and encourage them to dig deep during a WOD. Wow! Witnessing the struggle, the accomplishments, and the personal victories is what makes this community special and awesome.

Me judging WOD 3! KB swings and Box Jump Overs. 5 mins of suck.

Me judging WOD 3! KB swings and Box Jump Overs. 5 mins of suck.

 

My CFC community at our New Year gathering 2013.

My CFC community at our New Year gathering 2013.

Wings and beer after my CFC community kicked butt at flag football.

Wings and beer after my CFC community kicked butt at flag football.

My CFC community celebrating our first baby shower at the box.

My CFC community celebrating our first baby shower at the box.

 

31 Days of Beach Living: Day 11 Breast Mode Success!!!

 

31days day 11

Yesterday was such a fabulous day!!! Many members of the Hampton Roads CrossFit Community came out to WOD, raise money for mammograms and awareness to breast cancer.  Dawn and her box CrossFit Unparalleled hosted this amazing event! Check out my box CrossFit Chronic’s Facebook Page and the amazing photos by Cute E’s Photography.

Barbells for Boobs

“To Save lives through the early detection of breast cancer, regardless of one’s age, gender or ability to pay. Barbells for Boobs is a non-profit organization that provides funding to pay for breast cancer detection services as a last resort for thousands of people who don’t qualify for assistance elsewhere. Our aim is to help anyone that needs it, anywhere, whether they are male or female, no matter what their age or situation in life.”

b4b donations

Penny and I were able to raise over $400. More than double our original goal. I want to send a special shout out to The Navy Wives Clubs of America Princess Anne #143 for their donation of $240.00 and CFC member Staci for her donation of $100.00.

Here are some of the pictures that Cute E’s Photography took of my 9:30 a.m. heat with teammate Penny.

barbellsforboobs

WOD:

Helen meets Grace 20 minute time cap:

3 rounds of 400m run, 21 KB swings 35#/53#, & 12 pull-ups

then, 30 Clean & Jerks 95#/135#

*Penny and I scaled the C&J’s to 85#

We finished at 16:08.

barbellsforboobs2

Thank you to everyone for your support and donations. It is great to give back to the community.

This was definitely a Breast Mode Success!!!

31 Days of Beach Living: Day 4 Saving One Rack at a Time

31days day 4

Day 4: Barbells for Boobs

BFB-BLACK-03

This is a shameless post to shine awareness on this awesome event!

OUR MISSION

TO SAVE LIVES THROUGH THE EARLY DETECTION OF BREAST CANCER, REGARDLESS OF ONE’S AGE, GENDER OR ABILITY TO PAY.

Barbells for Boobs is a non-profit organization that provides funding to pay for breast cancer detection services as a last resort
for thousands of people who don’t qualify for assistance elsewhere.

Our aim is to help anyone that needs it, anywhere, whether they are male or female, no matter what their age or situation in life.

reebok

I am participating in the Reebok Barbells for Boobs event this upcoming Saturday. I was lucky to participate in 2012 with my CrossFit Chronic Box Family. Last year’s WOD was Grace. Grace is a benchmark girl WOD from the CrossFit Main Site. It includes 30 Clean & Jerks 95#/135#.

2012 Barbells for Boobs

2012 Barbells for Boobs

Jenn and Penny. 2013 Barbells for Boobs Team

Jenn and Penny. 2013 Barbells for Boobs Team

So, check out my fundraising page and help women get screened and receive mammograms! 

This year we will be completing the following WODs with a partner:

Helen: 4 Rounds FT <400 m run + 21 Kettlebell Swings 35#/53# + 12 Pull-Ups>

then,

Grace: 30 Clean & Jerks 95#/135#

My partner is head coach and owner of CrossFit Chronic, Penny. Wish us Luck!