This past weekend, several of us went down to the Honey Badger Invitational Olympic Weightlifting meet hosted by our friends at Evolution Tucson.
Reuben was “talked into” competing on Monday, and walked in with a whopping 3 days of actual lifting preparation. He did great for his first meet, hitting lifts at or near his all-time PRs to win his weight class.
Sara lifted at the East Valley Open about weeks ago, and wasn’t happy with her first meet performance. She trained hard, and put up much better numbers at the Honey Badger. That being said, she was still throwing around the barbell like it was a matchstick, and can definitely put up a lot more weight. Look for her to have some really big meets in 2013 if she decides to stick with it.
Many thanks to Matt D. for coming down to help coach, and Cali for taking pictures. (We’ll post a few in the next few days). Also, thank you to Fredy, David and Steven for making the trip to support our lifters.
Next stop: Arizona Affiliate Cup in Flagstaff December 15th!
As promised, a blog post about movement quality and range of motion and all that. I’m not sure if it’s the weather, or the impending holidays, or just the fact that we have a lot of new folks running around. Regardless, I’ve been slacking in my duties. So, here’s a reminder:
IF YOU DON’T COMPLETE THE REPETITION, THROUGH THE ENTIRE ACCEPTABLE RANGE OF MOTION, DON’T COUNT IT!!!
You know who you are, and you know what I mean. Pullups that are scarcely forehead to bar, pushups that don’t approach the floor. Quarter squats.
So, this is your warning. We’re going to crack down on questionable reps.
And, I’ve posted this before, but it’s a message that needs to be heard. Via my friend Doug Chapman at CrossFit Ann Arbor, Clock Whores.
A friend recently dropped some mythology my way, in the form of Sisyphus. You may know him as the King who got a little too clever for his own good, and was sentenced to an eternity in Hades, pushing a heavy boulder up a steep hill all day. At the end of the day, he would reach the crest of the hill, exhausted. As the first stars appeared, the boulder would roll down and he would have to start again from the bottom.
His punishment was intended to represent futile effort—a useless, grinding task in retribution for disrespecting the Gods. To this day, Sisyphus brings to mind the idea of mindless, unending toil.
Sounds a lot like your workouts feel sometimes, right? You work hard in the gym, grunting and swearing, sometimes collapsing in a sweaty heap. And the next day it feels like you have to start right back at the bottom of the hill. Over time, it can feel like you’re fighting your way over the same ground, over and over and over. That boulder can start to feel immovably heavy, and the slope impossibly steep, and it’s easy to lose the will to keep going.
We are all familiar with this feeling, in life as well as the pursuit of fitness. It is at times like these that we can draw inspiration from Sisyphus.
(Indulge me for a moment, I promise we’ll bring this back to fitness. First, though, a brief layover in French Existentialism.)
Albert Camus published an essay, The Myth of Sisyphus, wherein he examined the nature of life and man’s place in the universe. I won’t bore you with details, but the short version involves the search for reason and meaning in a world which may be devoid of such. According to Camus, when faced with the realization that there may not be a greater meaning in life, Man is faced with 3 choices: assign responsibility to some higher power (Fate, Destiny, the Gods, etc.), surrender to hopelessness (ultimately requiring suicide), or acknowledge that this search for reason may be futile.
Camus rejects the first two, and instead argues this contradiction between the human need for reason and the unreasonable world must be acknowledged. Acknowledged, but never accepted—one must constantly confront and revolt against it. Facing this, then, allows us to embrace life, and live it to it’s fullest.
Sisyphus becomes the embodiment of this concept to Camus. Day after day for eternity, he faces his boulder, and fights and claws his way to the top of the hill, only to see his efforts are in vain. The boulder crashes back to it’s starting point at the bottom of the hill, and Sisyphus must make his weary way down to begin anew. It is during these moments when Sisyphus is headed back down the hill that he is most conscious of the absurdity of his fate—and, according to Camus, it is during these moments where he is free. Knowing that he faces the same soul-wrenching journey up the hill, still Sisyphus chooses to walk down, place his body against the rock, and begin again. His fate is his own. ”The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.” In this acknowledgement, Sisyphus is content. In fact, according to Camus, ”We must imagine Sisyphus happy.”
So it is with fitness. It’s easy to get caught up looking for a higher authority to take responsibility for everything—that magic diet guru or plastic surgeon are prayed to frequently. It’s also easy to just give up hope and stop trying at all. To commit fitness suicide, if you will. But to me, you must acknowledge that it’s hard, and that making progress takes time and effort, and isn’t always a smooth road.
The important thing isn’t just the goal at the top of whatever hill you are climbing—the journey itself should be embraced. Each session is an opportunity to take another step, to move your boulder a little higher. The times of despair, of wanting to give up, that is the rock’s victory. Every rep, every pound, every time you grasp the bar and vow to fight once more—that is your victory over the rock.
"Myths are made for the imagination to breathe life into them. As for this myth, one sees merely the whole effort of a body straining to raise the huge stone, to roll it and push it up a slope a hundred times over; one sees the face screwed up, the cheek tight against the stone, the shoulder bracing the clay-covered mass, the foot wedging it, the fresh start with arms outstretched, the wholly human security of two earth-clotted hands. At the very end of his long effort measured by skyless space and time without depth, the purpose is achieved. Then Sisyphus watches the stone rush down in a few moments toward that lower world whence he will have to push it up again toward the summit. He goes back down to the plain. It is during that return, that pause, that Sisyphus interests me. A face that toils so close to stones is already stone itself! I see that man going back down with a heavy yet measured step toward the torment of which he will never know the end. That hour like a breathing-space which returns as surely as his suffering, that is the hour of consciousness. At each of those moments when he leaves the heights and gradually sinks toward the lairs of the gods, he is superior to his fate. He is stronger than his rock."
THANK YOU to everyone that came out today to compete and support the CFSW community! That was a lot of fun for us to put on, I hope everyone enjoyed attending.
Special thanks to Matt D. and Steven for all their help, Lisa for getting the medals, and Cali for taking photos. There are some great pictures up already on the Facebook page, and it sounds like there are a couple hundred more to get through.
Congratulations to the Winners today!
Men’s Rx: Patrick
Women’s Rx: Emma
Men’s Scaled: Sathish
Women’s Scaled: Meghan
Master’s Men: Jim S.
Master’s Women: Lisa
As they say, everyone who competed today is a winner. These folks just won a little more than the rest.
Again, thank you all for coming out. Let’s plan to do this again sometime!
For those who haven’t been to the gym yet, here is the first workout for Saturday morning’s Competition:
(Use the same barbell for all movements—prescribed is 135# for Men/95# for Women)
One time through for Time:
Barbell Ground-to-Overhead x 15
50 Double Unders
Barbell Clean (Power or Squat) x 15
50 Double Unders
Barbell Front Squat x 15
50 Double Unders
For the Ground-to-overhead, the barbell must be stationary on the ground at the start of each rep (no bouncing), and finish with the barbell fully overhead, with elbows, hips, and knees fully extended. The barbell may be lifted by any means needed (e.g., snatch, clean and jerk, clean and push press, clean thruster, etc.)
Score will be the time necessary to complete the workout, or total number of reps completed at the end of 12:00, whichever is appropriate.
This is a belated recognition for one of our 6 am folks. Over the weekend, Marius competed in the Mogollon Monster 100, a ridiculous 106-mile race up on the Mogollon Rim. Racers ascend the Rim four times, and climb approximately 18,000 feet over the course of the race.
That’s some serious work!
Only 9 out of 37 runners finished the course this year, and Marius finished 4th (31 hours, 5 minutes).
Updated Schedule for Saturday:
We will be holding an open/combined class 830 am class only! It will be open to everyone.
Individual Workout 1: First heat starts at 10 am
Partner Workout: First heat starts at 11:15 am
Individual Workout 2: First heat starts at 1 pm