I started 2013 off hitting a long-held goal of mine...a Grace RX!
Grace is one of the CrossFit Girl WODs...30 clean and jerks for time. I've done the WOD a few times before, but never at the RX weight for women of #95.
We've got a competition coming up on Saturday that was supposed to include 30 SQUAT clean and jerks at #95 for women. I knew that I needed to get in and try it on my own before Saturday or I wouldn't have any confidence going into the competition.
With a lot of help and encouragement from Coach Allison, Jared, and fellow athletes Heidi and Chris...I did it!!!
It took a really long time (typically this WOD should take under 5 minutes), but I squat cleaned on each rep which takes longer than power cleans. And #95 was so heavy for me! My most recently tested 1 rep max for clean and jerks is #110...so I did 30 reps at 86% of my max!
One thing that REALLY helped: I smiled before each rep. I used to play softball (heaven only knows why) and at my level if you got 4 balls while at bat, your coach would then come out and pitch to you. My strategy was to grin away at the pitcher, who would always get weirded out and throw poorly. And then my coach would come and pitch and I'd often get a hit. I decided to smile during this WOD to relax and give myself some confidence (ever notice how much Lebron James smiles while making shots during a game) and it helped me a ton. Plus it reminded me that I really do like doing cleans and to focus on having fun.
I also mentally could not think about doing 30 reps. I get really paralyzed by my own fears and doubts. I had to drop the bar almost every time, but I tried to go in sets of 3 without any break. After a dozen or so reps, I started to get overwhelmed, but I kept smiling and told myself, "You don't have to do 30 if you can't do 30. All you need to do right now is one more pretty rep." Yes, I am super tough...pretty is my code for good form. I tried to go from my 15th rep straight into my 16th without letting go of the bar...but I got up from the 16th squat clean ready for my jerk...and dropped the bar. ??? So after that I just focused on one at a time.
At the beginning I was trying to split jerk since usually that makes heavy weights more manageable. However, my split jerk has never come naturally to me, and push jerks feel really straightforward. So I decided after a while that I should do what works for me and found it WAY easier to push jerk. Go figure.
It surprised me that this WOD felt consistently hard. Some WODs feel fairly easy when you start, but you're dying by the end. Honestly the first rep was hard, and the last 3 reps were pretty tough, but I never felt like I wouldn't make it.
After I was done...I cried. I've never cried after a workout before! Okay, I may have cried on the way home about unrelated emotional drama...but never because I had surprised myself so much! My mental game is often the hardest part of CrossFit for me, and I was so thankful that God helped me to take it slow and overcome my "I Can't" mentality.
My advice for you if you want to tackle Grace:
- Have fun and smile.
- Focus on good form for one rep at at time.
- Don't push yourself to do what works for someone else - if you are good with a split, go with that. If your push is stronger, go with it!
- Once you get to 15 reps you're pretty much golden.
- Consider wearing waterproof mascara.
You tell me: How did you start the New Year? Ever surprised yourself by something you've done? Do you cry after workouts?