I will be the first person to scold others at the box for not taking proper rest days.
I have historically done no more than two, maybe three, days in a row of Crossfit, usually taking off every Wednesday or Thursday and Sunday. I know rest and recovery is just as important as the workouts themselves, and think listening to your body is key.
This week, I had an unscheduled workout on Sunday which is normally a rest day, due to some pre-competition training (Oh! Didn’t I tell you all I’m doing a competition? Must be saving for another post.! ;)) Rather than taking Monday off, I dragged myself in anyway. And then I went on Tuesday. Surely Wednesday would need to be a rest day, and so that was the plan. Until I saw the WOD.
Now, I love Clean and Jerks. And the prescribed weight for women, 95#, is what I would call my “nemesis” weight.
When I did the Crossfit Games Open, I had 7 minutes to knock out three 95# C&Js. That was the first time I established a 1RM of 95#, and in 7 minutes I could only get two. In two separate attempts.
When I did my first competition, I was faced with this weight again. While I had one chance and succeeded at completing the one rep needed, I failed the next clean and jerk at 10# more. For some reason, when I see 95# on the bar I just freak out.
Last month we did “Running Grace”: 10 Clean and Jerks, followed by a 400m run for 3 rounds. I started at 95# but quickly dropped to 85# with much frustration and self-doubt and finished in a last-place 16:43.
So faced with a difficult decision, I weighed my options. On one hand, I needed a rest day. I wasn’t sore, but knowing my body has been in overdrive this week with 5 days of WODs in a row (plus an hour trail run), most in 90’+ temperatures, and that I usually do no more than three days in a row, it was an extraordinary circumstance. On the other hand, I felt a selfish need to redeem myself for the struggles I have had with this weight in the past. It is similar to my struggle with running; I wanted to do it to beat it. I also knew it was going to take me a long time to do and knew that if I had lost my confidence after the first few reps or even become overwhelmed during the WOD, I would probably cry since I’m an emotional being and that I would immediately regret the decision.
I solicited advice on Facebook and had mixed reactions from some of my close blog and real-life buddies. Some told me it’s meant to be done quickly, so don’t do it if it will take all day; or that I need to be patient with my progress and not push it; and others lectured on the importance of a rest day. Another shared a great article on scaling WODs. But this wasn’t that I had an issue with scaling; I had an issue with scaling this one.
Others pushed me to just do it anyway. One Crossfitter I look up to, Courtney, told me: Rock it. Don’t worry about time. Just press through, rep by rep. And others sensed I had my mind made up on what I was going to do before I even asked for advice, but gave their opinions anyway.
After much internal debate, reading all the comments and discussion, and blowing up the phones of my WOD buddies, I turned off the logical voices, chose the latter option, and mentally prepared all day. Then showed up.
Who gets nervous in a regular class?
“Grace” is a benchmark workout, so doing it once establishes a baseline to measure all future progress. When Coach Lynn said she wants everyone to finish in under 10:00 and use a weight that you are comfortable with doing in that time frame, I was internally freaking out even more. I was hoping to do the WOD under 20:00. My WOD buddy said I’d be able to do it under 15:00, neither of which are within the 10:00 time-cap.
Lynn knew I wanted to go RX so told me if it takes longer it would be okay, but it’s still a crummy feeling holding everyone else up and trying to push Rx almost solely for pride reasons and not for athletic reasons.
I did one test-rep, already sweat soaked from the suicide sprints we had finished in the 95′ box. It was heavy. You only have to do 30, I told myself. 5 sets of 6. 6 sets of 5. 7 sets of 4. 10 sets of 3. 30 singles. Whatever. Get it done.
I managed 5 in the first minute, on pace to finish in 6 minutes. WHAT?!
As time went on, my pace slowed down and I was at rep 18 as the clock passed 5:00. Overheating. Drained. Exhausted. What were you thinking?!
My good WOD superstar friend, Alexis, promised me that she would yell at me when I started to slack.
And between Lynn telling me to take two to three big breaths in between reps, Alexis telling me to get on the bar, Lynn telling me again I had to finish under 10:00, and then many of the finished athletes standing there watching, I finished those remaining reps. It wasn’t pretty. My splits were ugly. But I did it.
Under 10:00. 9:35 RX.
I know that what I did may not have been the smartest decision, but I do not regret it for anything. This WOD was just as much mental and emotional as it was physical, and I am so glad that I decided to do it and I far exceeded the goal that I had set for myself.
I am absolutely embracing my rest day today and wearing my WOD scars proudly.
Have you ever pushed yourself against your better judgment?
Have you RX’d any WODs?
Do you have a nemesis lift or weight?