Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Masochism-- and, yes, I know I'm remarkably photogenic.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Work 6p-8a
158.5#--Yes, I have to be one of a very few people who actually frikkin' gained weight at the RKC. And I swear I didn't even eat more except a planned splurge on Sunday night. ARGH!

No matter how much I ponder it, I just cannot muster the words to describe this weekend. Time and again over the last few days, I have sat with my computer in my lap, trying to find what to say, and each time I have moved to the next task on my list, unable to get started. So I've come to the conclusion that I should just begin and let the words take on a life of their own with no heed to eloquence or chronology or anything else, really, except the need to somehow record some of what the RKC was for me.

I'd be a fool to say I left home Thursday with no sense of anxiety, so I'll not even try that little white lie. Whether from the change in schedule, excitement, nerves or a combination of it all, I don't know, but regardless, I could not sleep Wednesday night, so I just got up early to get ready to meet my ride. With the wheels in motion, my nerves settled, and I got progressively more excited until I found the sweet little gift of chewing gum someone so kindly left attached to my seat belt on the plane. As luck would have it, the couple in front of me on the plane heard me complaining to the flight attendant and turned around to loan me some fingernail polish remover to help de-gum. Turns out, they were a couple from Montgomery, Alabama who own a Crossfit gym there and were also on their way to the cert. Mark Lemkuhl, the husband, would even turn out to be on my team. Gum removed from all but a small portion of my pants, we landed safely and headed out, picking up Sandy Sommer at the baggage claim (no implication here that Sandy would be baggage). Shortly after getting settled at the hotel, Sandy and I had dinner with Angela, another friend he had met online who would also turn out to be on our team. Then we headed over to the meet and greet where we found out on what teams we would be and met some of the others naive enough or masochistic enough for this weekend. About 9 o'clock folks started filtering out, heading off in search of rest before our big day on Friday.

I was no exception to that rule, and found myself sound asleep by 11:00...and wide awake again at 5 a.m. at which point I began to think horrible thoughts of failure about the snatch test. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't think positive thoughts about it. They were all negative, horribly negative. And they manifested themselves a few hours later. The day started with a weigh-in to know how many snatches we had to do, and guess what...I did have to do 50 snatches, not 40. I had read the chart wrong when I thought I was reassuring myself. I read it right when I had the freak-out spell. All I could think was, "Fuck, Fuck, Fuck, Fuck, Fuck...." and that only got worse when they told me I couldn't use my Tracy Rif Socks. I could have sworn I read that they would be fine, and I didn't specifically ask David if they were okay for the snatch test, just the weekend in general. So when Phil stopped me and told me I couldn't use them, I came unglued. My hands were horribly sweaty before I even started. By the time I hit the 22nd rep on the left, my starting arm, the bell almost flew out of my hand. Instead of trying to recover and go to my strong arm, I just dropped an "F" bomb and set the bell down. I wanted to punch something so badly I was shaking, but I knew if I did, I would break my hand and the weekend would really be done. So I sucked it up and went on. I was pissed, but I went on.

My anger from my failure at the snatch test and my fear that I would not be able to master it on the second attempt fill my memories of the first day. We learned the nuances of teaching the swing and get-up and clean, did 2 or 3 full workouts and over 700 hundred swings. Every 20-30 minutes the gym-boss would tell us to get up and do some swings, so the speaker would stop and have us do just that. Sometimes, someone would commit a safety violation or be late or lazy getting back to the circle and we'd have to do some more. Honestly, other than absorbing the information, I didn't care. I was just so angry about that snatch test, and I was trying to formulate a plan for the next morning.

The day done, dinner had, and a few hours of sleep behind me, I woke up yet again at the buttcrack of dawn. But the second day I was bound and determined not to defeat myself before I started. I visualized myself finishing the test, sometimes with the 16kg, sometimes with the 12kg, but I tried to always think of myself as finishing it. I just couldn't decide what route to take--the 16 or the 12. I was so afraid my grip would peter out again with the 16, but I'd never even attempted 80 straight 12kg snatches that I could remember. I was pretty sure I could do them, though. I talked with Sandy about it, asked Dave, asked my assistants. I hate making decisions. In the end, I nailed the test and the rest of the day was so much better for it. It's probably a good thing, too, because I don't think I've ever been as physically exhausted as I was that day. We learned the snatch, squat and press, did the VO2 Max protocol, a squat workout, a bazillion swings, and goodness only knows what else. Just when my body was about to disown me, the day came to an end. To celebrate...dinner at a fun little restaurant downtown then off to bed.
I knew as I went to bed that I would wake up sore. I had been spared any soreness Saturday morning, but there was just no hope that that would happen after the day we had had on Saturday. Man, I was right. Getting up and getting moving was the right idea, though, and John DuCane's morning QiGong exercise loosened us all up and got us ready to have our form tested on all the exercises, teach a student or two, then do the grad workout. I even got the added bonus of meeting the Friday's on Sunday morning. As if that weren't treat enough, they decided to meet all of us who were staying in town and go to dinner later that night. After a weekend of hard work, we all cut loose and had a great time at a little brew pub a couple of blocks from the hotel. Then went back and FELL into bed.

These are the facts. I'm still trying to collect my thoughts enough to express more about my feelings on the weekend. When I do, there'll be more.

Here are some pics...
I'm not sure what I'm practicing here. Probably cleans, but I've obviously just gotten a big dose of something wickedly sour--probably the fresh memory of my jacked up snatch test.

Keep it tight! Practicing my roundhouse kick as I encourage Beau to keep it all pulled together.
Doing some cleans against the fence (a.k.a. against the wall) to teach "taming the arc."
Day Two...

Mr. Whitley demonstrates what can be accomplished with a bit of tension.

Susan Finley, RKC II gives me a moment on camera after spending the day encouraging me and imparting the nuances of perfect form. (Please note teammates passed out on the ground behind us.)
Sandy Sommer and I revel in the idea that not only is day two over, but we survived it.
Peter and I get ready for the graduate workout. He's a state trooper in Pennsylvania and a SUPER nice guy. I'm not sure why he looks like he thinks I'm crazy here.
20 sec walking see-saw press, 10 sec reset, 20 sec swing, 10 sec rest...for the length of the field.
The last step of the graduate workout with Sandy cheering me on. The brunette to my right is Kelly Cassidy from Massachusetts. As I was wandering around the meet & greet looking like a lost puppy, she rescued me, pulling me into her group and warmly welcoming me in. We started the weekend together, and thanks to her, we ended it together, too. She crossed the line first, and came back to join me as I finished my grad workout. I was privileged to make friends with her this weekend, and have no doubts she will be an absolute force as an RKC.
On the morning of the last day, we were given a "victim" to teach the swing and get-up. As I was finishing that up and carrying the bells back to the gym, I hear my name and see none other than Fawn Friday looking straight at me! How exciting!!! Aaron was there, too, and they cheered us on during the grad workout after which we snapped some pics. I know I had my picture made with Fawn at some point during this, but for some reason I can't find it. Regardless, I found the one of me and Aaron and have one of the two of them. I'm just tickled beyond words to have gotten to meet them in person.
The girls of Team Jones...Me, Aileen, Angela, and Bre.
Team Jones
Me; Breana Berry (Minneapolis, MN Real Estate Agent); Beau Nelson (Chicago, IL trainer); Drew Kearns (Lynchburg, VA trainer); Sandor Sommer (Towson, Maryland trainer); Trevis Chandler (San Francisco, CA); Peter Myers (Lander, PA highway patrol); Scott Ward (Waukegan, IL paramedic); Paul Gerard (St. Paul, MN postal employee); Phil Scarito, RKC; Rick Carranza, RKC; Armand Lavallee (Brigham, MA trainer); Aileen Medina (Washington D. C. trainer); Angela Ramos (Crown Point, IN trainer); Susan Finley, RKC II; Brett Jones, Master RKC; Jared Fleurent (Fairhaven, MA trainer); Mark Lemkuhl (Montgomery, AL Crossfit).
We're official! I'm really glad that Sandy and I got to go through this together. We had the opportunity to talk several times before the weekend came around, often bouncing ideas off each other and hoping we were as prepared as we felt like we were. Having someone I "knew" (though we'd never met in person) there with whom to commiserate was nice.
And, well, there's just not enough to say about David...
This is what Kelly looks like when she's not slinging bells. And it's yet another example of how photogenic I am. This was taken before I consumed a single drop of alcohol.
I couldn't resist taking a snap of the wine bottle. How funny is that name?!
"Here, hold my beer."

As much credit as I have to give David for bent pressing Fawn, doing a Turkish get-up balancing a pitcher of beer on one's fist is quite impressive. Kelly even showed off with a windmill after she got to standing before she went all the way back down with it. That's Mary Ann, a trainer from Miami, doing the spotting--couldn't risk losing any beer, now could we?

Yes, I know some of these activities are likely to be questioned under the RKC code of conduct, but the restaurant was largely empty by this time...

TODAY'S WORKOUT: I nailed the 20kg TGU on both sides today. It was my first attempt.

3 rounds of 30 sec each...each round separated by 1 min of rest.

Double 16kg squat

Double 16kg C&P

Double 16kg Renegade Row

double 16kg swing.

Tabata swings with the 20kg.


  1. I haven't been able to write a word either. At least any that I am prepared to put in the public domain. I am working on it but after reading yours not sure if I am up to the task. You write so damn well!

    Tears came to my eyes as I mentally was back in St. Paul. Writing about this barely does it justice. I feel like I came home a better man; a much better man.

    By the way, "Paul" is Mark Lemkuhl. LOL.

    You are the best Jennifer Bryan!

  2. It is impossible to describe, it must be experienced to be understood. You did well and missing the snatch on the first day makes the victory over it that much sweeter.

    Tempered Steel looking back....

  3. After all that, I'm surprised you didn't get completely shitfaced on Sunday. Or maybe you did.

    "Buttcrack of dawn" is great. I may steal that.

    You can use chalk, right? Not that it will help you now, but were I doing that test, here's where the chalk would go:
    * the bell handle
    * palms
    * back of hands
    * wrists
    * forearms

    This is what I did for 40/40, and it worked great. No sweat dripping down from above.

    I enjoyed meeting you in person. A less intense and crowded venue would have been better, but I'll take what I can get.


  4. SANDY,
    You are too kind. Isn't it wonderful, though, how the internet allows us to "meet" and make friends with such amazing people? I feel so honored to have been able to go through that with you and to know that I have good friends in Maryland. :) And I look forward to your collected thoughts. And to learning how to keep names straight. I'm sure I have a learning disability where names are concerned. ;)

    I did! and paid for it flying in rainy weather the next day. Was great fun, though.
    And feel free to use "buttcrack of dawn" at will. I use it all the time.
    I might have to revisit chalk. The one time I tried it in the past, it really burned my hands.
    And I agree, next time, we'll be sure to find a quieter place to sit back and shoot the breeze. I've thought about around a dozen things we missed getting to chat about.