The RX that almost wasn’t

by ~jenniferlynn on July 18, 2013

in CrossFit

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.

ready to jerk 95

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?!

clean 95

My good WOD superstar friend, Alexis, promised me that she would yell at me when I started to slack.

get on the bar 95

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.

do more suck less

I am absolutely embracing my rest day today and wearing my WOD scars proudly.

Your turn..
Have you ever pushed yourself against your better judgment?
Have you RX’d any WODs?
Do you have a nemesis lift or weight?

Twitter: fantabulouslisa
July 18, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Awesome! I totally advised scaling but you’re getting a lot better at handling that heavy weight. I see big jerk PRs in your near future 🙂
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~jenniferlynn July 18, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I appreciated the comment.. 😉

Once I learn to dip back instead of dipping forward, I think I’ll be a lot better! lol

Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer
Twitter: courtnorm
July 18, 2013 at 3:47 pm

GET IT GIRL. I know that you wouldn’t even entertain doing something you didn’t think was smart to do. I know the battle you’ve had with the 95 and you needed that win. SO proud of you!
Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer recently posted..My Nutrition Plan and Goals (Weigh in Wednesday)My Profile

~jenniferlynn July 18, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Thank you for the encouragement, Courtney!! 🙂 I was very happy when you made that comment because I think you can relate to me on the confidence side of things with lifts. And now that you’re all certified and stuff it means even more. 😉

Tasha @ Healthy Diva July 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Nice job!!!! You need to start giving yourself more credit. You killed that workout. 95# is my 1RM too. I doubt I would have finished sub 10.

~jenniferlynn July 23, 2013 at 10:46 am

I need to retest my 1RM I think.. It’s so mental trying to “get under” it when it gets that heavy!

NJ Paleo July 18, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Wow, great job! I know what you mean about the mental side being the toughest part. It REALLY IS! The body can do a lot more than our minds sometimes want to believe (though sometimes it can go the other way too ha ha). I’m glad you came out of it OK and that you had buddies there to cheer you on!
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~jenniferlynn July 23, 2013 at 10:47 am

Thanks, Laura!
Sometimes you just have to give yourself a boost of confidence and go for it!

Kim July 18, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Wow – I’m beyond impressed by that video – I don’t know if that makes me more determined to try cross fit or more scared!! I love how encouraging everyone seems to be!
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~jenniferlynn July 18, 2013 at 8:32 pm

The community is what makes it even more amazing, KT!!

Mandy @ fatgirlgonehealthy
Twitter: fatgirlhealthy
July 18, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Take a rest day tomorrow too! You earned it! ; )
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~jenniferlynn July 23, 2013 at 10:47 am

I ended up doing a second day of rest. 🙁 But my body needed it! 6 days in a row is waaayyy too many for this girl!

Nancy Mae July 19, 2013 at 12:04 am

95# is my nemesis weight! But mine haunts me on power cleans, let alone C&Js! Whenever I get to 85, I don’t get phased out … but for some reason when I add 10lbs more, I keep thinking, holy sh*t … it’s near 100 … and then MENTAL BLOCKAGE. Keep it up girl, you make me believe 🙂

~jenniferlynn July 19, 2013 at 8:25 am

Isn’t it crazy that it does that? Someone suggested have someone else load the bar for you.. and don’t count. Just see how it goes.
That’s how I got to my max DL; just didn’t look and picked that bar up!

Anni July 19, 2013 at 1:55 am

Without being an expert and all, I sometimes like to push myself and skip a rest day.
While rest days are really important, I believe sometimes it it good to push beyond your limits and go out of your comofort zone.
It is something new for the body after it gets used to our usual work/rest schedule.

In the past, I worked out 2 weeks in a row (not crossfit, more HIIT/Strength workouts). It was hard – but the results were amazing.

I train at home with some kettlebells and try doing some crossfit-style workouts… and the kettlebell snatch is MY nemesis.
I don’t know why, but it scares me so much that I rarely practice it.
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~jenniferlynn July 19, 2013 at 8:27 am

It’s hard to tell that balance on when to push harder for the greater good, or when pushing more is harmful!!

We did KB snatch last week and man, it made me feel like the biggest wuss in life! lol. It was 25# and that KB was not going where it was supposed to go.
I got so scared; they kept saying “get under it” Um.. this thing is going to whack me in the head.. I ended up having to use dumbbells instead.

Twitter: mast2mar
July 19, 2013 at 2:03 am

Great job Jen! Can’t wait to find out how your next Grace goes since you really rocked it this time 🙂
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~jenniferlynn July 19, 2013 at 8:28 am

Thanks, Nicole 🙂

Cindy July 19, 2013 at 7:09 am

You are a rock star! 🙂
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~jenniferlynn July 23, 2013 at 10:51 am

Thanks, lady! 🙂

Lisa July 19, 2013 at 8:05 am

Well done on Rxing! The strangest thing is that the exact same happened to me today. I was going to take a rest day but when I saw it was Grace I just had to do it. I also Rxed for the first time. Yay!! (rest day tomorrow!!)

~jenniferlynn July 19, 2013 at 8:28 am

Whoo!!! Congrats!

Alex @ Alex Tries it Out
Twitter: alex_j_meyer
July 19, 2013 at 4:57 pm

As much as I told you not to go, we all push ourselves when we probably shouldn’t ;). But I’m glad this went well for you!

And I really like that tank, btw.
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~jenniferlynn July 23, 2013 at 10:52 am

I choose my workout tanks a lot of times based on the workout.. lol.
I have one special for rope climbs, heavy lifting, wall balls, and then this one when I know I need some extra mental push 😉

John July 21, 2013 at 3:23 am

Hey, great post, way to smash a work out…. It really makes you enjoy your rest days.

~jenniferlynn July 23, 2013 at 10:53 am

Thanks for visiting, John! 🙂 I still dislike rest days.. but know the body needs them! 😉

Christopher James August 2, 2013 at 8:17 am

Take a good rest. You earned it!
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