Monday, August 16, 2010

The proudest I've ever been!

The Left Coast Invitational has come and gone... and I really need to put my thoughts to writing!

When Ian aproached me about putting an event like this together for our athletes I new it would be a fun event that everyone would have a great time at. I really had now idea how much fun it would really end up being. For the past month and a half we have been looking forward to this weekend. With that said, most of you, if not all of you really didn't do anything outside of your normal training. There were some of you that changed your diet a little... Javier getting a bit more on the paleo side... and Karla getting 70's big (but that was really for her personal goals of getting stronger). Around Elysium we trained like we have been for the past of months (looking back, probably should have programmed more running?) and did what we normally do and that in it's self is very special!

I am glad that most of our athletes were placed in the back half of the heats making it easy for me to judge the first heats and break away to coach you all! It was a great experience to meet many different athletes and watch them work as hard as they could. Most of the people I had were good movers and I didn't have to take many reps away from any one (even when I did take away reps from them... I didn't have anyone get upset or argue with me.) My thinking was that the people that I judged were knowing that they were getting a "true experience" for what a CrossFit comp is like. I do know that I probably called back more reps then the other judges but I feel I gave enough slack without letting people "get away with stuff". It was over all a fun experience... but the closer we got to our heats I just wanted to watch all of our athletes go!

If I had to point to a few things that I/Leon did that had an impact on the outcome was our game planning and our mental prep for every athlete. For the deadlift we kew exactly how the event was going to work from the first weight to pull, the rest periods and the end goal. From the athletes I judged and saw... many of them seemed to warm up DURING the 10 time cap and waste the first half with sub PR lifts... we new what everyones PR's were starting and we told all of you the warm up before and pull your near max, current max or new max for the FIRST lift. We talked with every one individually about each workout and what for them to expect both easy points and hard points... turned out that telling Karla that "the run is going to be hot and uncomfortable, just expect it and know that you CAN deal with it and push through it." was something that really helped her on that one. Also when an athlete was having trouble with a lift we focused on giving technical coaching on how to move better and get the workout done faster... instead of just yelling "you can do it, you are doing good... keep it up." I took probably 30 pull ups away from a girl that couldn't get her chin over the bar... if her coach didn't keep on telling her to shake it off and keep doing good... and instead said, to use the donkey kick at the top of the move. I probably would have takin way less reps away.

As many of you learned this past weekend... the mental space you go to during competition is a little different from the place you go to during daily WOD's. As well, the way coaching that needs to happen changes as well. I am so glad that I was able to have the experience of coaching all of you in action.

I will go through the day and recall some of the bigger memories that are floating through my mind at the moment!

Javier thoughing on 315 (15lbs above pr) and pulling it like a warm up, for the first rep! Then going on to set several more records! Brian having full faith in me and just picking up what ever I told him to put on the bar and in the process setting a 70lb PR!!! That is unreal. Brandon pulling a new fat pr. Tiffany setting a new pr and winning the event... after NOT doing any strength for the past 2 weeks? Watching Leon coach Alessandra and Anthony into new prs! The whole gym watching Ben as he pulled 485 of the ground for the high score of the day and the crowd scream for him! (make sure to put that on the mirror Ben!) The most epic moment was Watching Karla pull a new 25lb pr... then with only 45 sec left, telling her to put 5 more on and just pick it up. With only 10-15 sec left she grabbed it and locked it out with only seconds to spare! Ask any strength coach and that kind of stuff should not happen, just insane! Taking top mens and womens spots for the event!!!

My greatest joy from this workout came from watching all of you move... and move well! All of you had great range of motion and made your judges job easy. Javier learned how to kip just last week and with that went and got a 10+ round score!!! Brian Showed us that you can enjoy a beer or 2 or 5 and still crush some metcon! The ladies rocked this workout! Having Tiffany, Alessandra and Danielle all next to each other was a sight to see! How about Karla not only winning the top spot for the ladies but also beating pretty much every male except Brian! And that is after her gaining 6-7lbs in the past month or so (on purpose)!!! Were I became the most proud was watching you all drop to the floor after "TIME" was called. The looks on your faces showed that you gave it everything you had! At the end of the wod knowing that you worked your best is what will give you the most joy and pride!

Event 3) "The eqaulizer"... what jerk thought that wod up?

Javier was the first to go and set a great time, getting many if not all the thrusters unbroken! Brandon powering through them and staying focused on the burpees. Tiffany... who couldn't use her left shoulder 8 months ago was pushing the barbell overhead with ease. This was an inspirational wod to watch, you all fought through it to the very end and I was so proud. Then it got crazy! The first to last heat had 2 elysium ladies and the final heat had 2 Elysium ladies!!!! Brian was sitting in first and others siiting high! What an epic ending to the day!!! This was a wrokout were game planning and coaching helped a ton! Every one had a game plan and an idea of what to expect going into this workout. Many other athletes went all out at the beginning thinking they were going to be able to fly right through.... those athletes quickly learned that was false. The workout was far worse then many expected. I judged to majority of the heats besides for the final two. Having been to regionals were they stacked the top athletes at the last workout all together... I knew this was going to be an insane 10-15 minutes. The energy in the building was electirc! Going into the final workout was amazing... did I mention that Karla and Stacie were TIED FOR FIRST! Both ladies had 6 points and were several point ahead of the nearest competitor! For the final heat Leon Coached Brian, Ben got Stacie and I coached Karla. I Talked with the athletes and told them they had a chance at the top spot, they had already proved it by earning the spot they were in and now it was time to go all out! Let me say this, Karla impressed many people in that last workout! She stuck to the game plan and gave it everything she had. Her crisp thrusters impressed several other athletes and judges, her steady pace and focus set her into the lead early in the wod! On the way back from the runs she would come back into the garage with a straight face that meant business, it wasn't the "this is horrible, this is hard, why am I doing this face" that I know we all make and that I know I have made in competitions before. It was nothing but focus and determination!!! Once back in the hanger she didn't stop moving. Once the last burpee was called she dropped to the floor with a look of total exhuast, there was no doubt that she gave it 100%. Then we were able to cheer Stacie on as she finished the workout second in the heat!

After the wod's were done and every one could relax. I couldn't help but have a grin on my face after what I had witnessed. Knowing where the points were at the beginning of the last workout gave us an idea of how well we might of done but there was always a chance that someone managed to get that last point they needed to edge someone out of placing. Part of me didn't care where the points fell becuase I knew you all had givin everything possible... but there was a side that wanted to hear we had sweeped the event! First we got the female results... the girl that took 3rd overall was the same girl that won the final wod... once I heard this I knew we had a good chance that we took top two! Then the names were called! Stace beal 2nd place, Karla Wagner 1st place female (officailly the best female at exercising)!!! Watching two of our athletes standing on the top of the podium was so amazing! I am hard pressed to think of another time when I ever felt so proud. I have seen how hard these ladies train on a weekly basis and for it to show and for them to be recognized for it was so great! Then the males were going to be called up!!! Third place was called, then it was announced that there was a tie for the second place spot... the called the names and it wasn't any of ours.... While I was a little sad that we didn't get it I was still so excited that our guys worked their asses off. Then it is announced "a tie breaker will occur, but before that... lets announce the 1st place male." Brian's name was called up and our gym just roared! While we had talked about how amazing it would be to sweep the contest... to acutally have it happen was so crazy!

The day was so much fun! From having so many of you represent and for so many coming out to watch and support! The entire day was filled with pride and inspiration! I know that there are some of you that are 100% happy with how you performed and there are some of you that wish some of the wods had ended up different.The main thing to remember is that it was an experience, on to learn from and remember for the next one!

Once again I must say I have never been more proud and I have had grin stuck to my face for the past 2 days! Great job everyone!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

"Do you understand life?"

"What ever decisions you make, make them yours and stand by them. Life is all about experiences and learning from your experiences."

Monday, June 28, 2010

What makes a benchmark day special?

Monday was a special day over at CrossFit Elysium. What made it so special? Did every single member show up for class? No. Did we win an award for something? Not that I know of. Monday was a benchmark day.

At Elysium we normally have the first half of class dedicated to strength training. You know... squats, deadlifts, press, jerks or any other barbell movement normally. Today was no different, athletes came in, warmed up and hit the racks shooting for a new PR at a 3 rep back squat effort. Then there was the met-con portion!

This day we were giving "Grace" a shot. 30 reps of clean & jerks for time. The prescribed weight for men is 135lbs and for the ladies 95lbs. It is a very simple workout and a pretty fast one as well. We have done this workout before at Elysium, if I remember correctly it was in the first month of being open. There were several athletes in attendance that were shooting for PRs as well as several who were doing it for the first time.

So what made today special? It is a day that we witness and measure progress! Several people today smashed old PR's, some people by several minutes. Including people like Mr. Bill who made the barbell heavier then last time and still went faster!!!

Well what about the people who have never done it before? Is it still any thing different for them, as opposed to a regular workout day? Of course there is. One of the first steps in your crossfit carreer is setting the first times. Being able to look back on the months or years and see where you have come from is so important.

Some of the people today that did this workout for the first time were some of the most inspiring. One of our new athletes Irene was in attendance for the 5pm class. It was actually her first full class ever... since she finished fundamentals on saturday. While it wasn't her first "girl" ever, it was inspirig to watch. What made her attempt so great? Did I mention she is 370+lbs at a height of about 5'5? She finished around 6 minutes with her scaled weight, but finished none the less. She has already lost about 30+lbs by herself... with our support, guidance and community backing her now, it will be amazing to watch her transformation!

Others were Dr. Ben and Mr. Brandon going head to head and both of them finishing seconds apart... and might I mention beating coach Leon's PR for the workout! The ladies were well represented by Ms. Courtney, Ms. Alessandra and Ms. Karla all going full RX. Some beating Pr's and other setting their first time ever! Doing this workout full RX the first time you ever do it is bad-ass in its own right!

Finishing the day was even better. Hearing every one give each other congrats on the efforts and hearing people talk about the goal for the next time the workout comes up!

So what makes a benchmark day so special? It is a day where we look back on our CrossFit journey and measure how far we have traveled or it is a day where we plant a flag in the ground for us to look back at in the months and years to come!

Keep up the great work every one!

Coach Paul
PS. Have we ever mentioned wearing high neon socks will instantly reduce you wod time by 10%. As well wearing nifty cycling singlets will add 20% to your coolness level!

Monday, May 10, 2010

DFL beats DNF beats DNS.

This past weekend was the CrossFit Games South West Regional. I was lucky enough to be a competitor. I say lucky in the sense of how I got there.

About a month ago I entered in the SD/AZ games sectionals, which was one of several sectionals that then fed into the regional. In order to qualify for the regionals you needed to place 20th or better to continue... I took 24th place. I was happy with my standing for the most part and chalked it up to experience.

Then about 2.5 weeks ago I got an email from CrossFit HQ informing me that enough people had dropped out of the individual competition and if I chose to, I could compete at the regional. My nutrition had been spotty to say the least. My training had taken a little bit of a break, but i decided to enter.

As far as I know, this may be the closest I get to the actual games. Since every year the field of athletes gets bigger, faster and stronger. I dialed my eating back in and starting hitting the gym as hard as possible.

Was I at the top of my game? No. Was I planning on going in and beating anybody? I hope so. We have something written up at the gym...DFL (dead f*ing last) beats DNF (did not finish) beats DNS (did not start). This was my mantra for the event. I registered for the event and showed up, so the DNS was out the window. The next battle was for no DFL and especially no DNF...

Wod #1: 20 shoulder to overheads @185lbsand 40 burpee lateral jumps.
Break them up how ever you want. Get it done with a 7 min time cap. You could choose when you wanted to do this wod. I got there on the later most times were taken but i opted to make it the first wod of the day. I have down "Freddy's revenge" which is 5 rounds, 5 reps 185 S2Oh & 10 burpees. So I new it was going to be able to finish. I was the only person in my time slot, this means all eyes were on me! 321 GO... I got the first 15 reps unbroken and clean! I dropped the bar for a short rest and then one of the highlights of the weekend happened. One of our awesome students Danielle yelled "quite being a b*tch and pick up the bar!" Most of the crowd didn't know what to make of it....but I got the bar back to the shoulders and knocked out the reps. Then went at the burpees as best as I could. I was able to finish the wod in 5 min flat! I had finished the wod, and faster then some others I watched and there was several men who DNF'd on that wod already. GOAL ACCOMPLISHED!

WOD 2: For time- flip a 250lb tire 75 meters, run back 75m, carry an 80lb log 75m 2 rounds for time.

I have never carried a log before nor have I flipped a tire...this should be fun. Out of the gate I was a bit slow. Trying to figure out the move and how to be efficient and not waste energy. About half way through I started to figure out the tire flip and how to get it to move faster, I sprinted the log back to the finish line and I was done! I beat out two guys in my heat! No DNF and no DFL! GOAL ACCOMPLISHED!

WOD 3: 5 muscle-ups, 10-135lb power cleans, run 200... for time. 15min time cap.

This was going to be interesting. Muscle-ups aren't my best move, but they aren't my worst move either, cleans aren't a big deal and 200m is 200m. The time cap is what I was worried about. If there was good chance of DNF for the was this wod. I really feel I lucked out on this one. The rings they used were the new Rogue wood rings, the grip on those things was better then any plastic ring I have ever used. I never used chalk and never had my hands slip drastically. I got the first set of 5 unbroken, then 4 & 1, then 3 & 2, then 3 1 & 1 the last 2 rounds. The cleans got broken into 5 and 5 on most rounds. The run was a jog becuase My heart was racing so fast. When I finished my last set of cleans the judge says, "if you want to finish this you better run, you have 1 minute left." I went into a decent run then finished with a good sprint. Got 14:40!!!! No DNF and DFl! GOAL ACCOMPLISHED!!!

I rounded out saturday in 39th place!!!! I wanted to beat one person and I had beat 24 so far!!! Now I had to wait and see what the workout would be for sunday... my friend Trish filled me in saturday night and I was a little happy and said at the same time.

Sunday final WOD #4: Row 1000m, OHS 135lb, run 1200m. for time
As soon as I heard the workout I started planning the attack. I got there early to look at the set-up and how other athletes were fairing through the workout. The first thing I noticed was the the ground for the OHS was slanted slightly... if you faced away from the crowd your feet would be uphill ( awkward to begin with, extra awkward if you are use the oly shoes). If you faced the crowd your feet would be slightly downhill (similar to using oly shoes!) Also when athletes finished the row you needed to get the barbells that could be anywhere from 15 meters to 100 meters away...for me I new I wanted the closest bar possible so I could get some lead built since the heavy OHS is a strength of mine. So the plan of attack went like this.

-Row at my pace, 21-23 spm (strokes per minute), maintain 1:45ish 500m pace.
-get the closest bar possible
- use an narrower then normal grip, so I could just pull back on the bar and not worry about it falling behind me.
-go steady on the Squats and face the crowd as to replicate the feel of oly shoes
-use good form and control the breathing on the first lap of running
-2nd lap pick up the speed a bit and use it to gauge how fast I can go on the last lap.
-final lap would be a 85% or so effort with the last 150m being every thing I had left!

Would all this extensive planning help? With all the nervousness I had, I was hoping it would. Especially since the heats had been re-arranged in accordance to point ranking. I was the lowest ranking athlete (or least likely to win) in my heat.

This is how it went down...321 GO

The row started and the nerves took over, I was rowing to hard and to fast. I then pulled myself back and slowed to the pace I was aiming for. Held my spm and the 500m split I wanted. Got of the rower at about the same time as the other guys. Went into a slight jog to the bar. Grabbed the first bar in the line up! While the others walked to the bars at the end of the line. I got my narrow grip established and went to town on the OHS. I got 15, 5 and then 4 reps... in my head I thought I would do 3 and 3 to finish the sets.... then I heard the crowd screaming for something. So I said screw it, I am going for all 6 and just fight for it. I got all 6!!!!!! I turned to start the run and....nobody else was on the track. Then someone at the end of the line turns and starts his run. In my head I was thinking, WTF did I really finish the OHS 1st? Am I really in second place? The Guy ahead of me on the track wasn't running fast at all. I stuck to my plan though. Don't try and catch up yet, just run your own race and at least keep pace with this guy. Half way through the run felt as if I was running to slow, so I closed the gap between me and the 1st place guy. Got next to him for about 10 seconds to see how he would respond. He didn't respond with speeding up so I decided to go for the lead. I proceeded to take the lead (still thinking to myself holy shit is this really happening?). On the beginning of the last lap I picked it up a bit. With about 250m left I do a shoulder check (in the streaming video you can see me look over my shoulder and see
that a new guy as over taken the previous 2nd place male... so I begin to speed up my run as to keep my lead. I actually started to sprint at 200m left...I then pulled back knowing that I couldn't sprint for a full 200 and I would burn pre-mature. With about 150m left I do one last shoulder check (also on the video) and planned it out. So I kept running and at the 100m mark I went into a 100 sprint. I crossed the finish line... in my odd way. I missed judged where it was and stumbled of the track about ten feet early, but still crossed the actual line non the less!!! I took 1st place in the heat!!!!! I also beat Pat Barber and Josh Everett on that wod, both of those guys are well known and very amazing athletes!

That workout was by far the best experience of the entire weekend! Especially becuase there was several men in the heat that had beat me at our SD/AZ sectional!

At the end of the weekend I took 34th place overall! Went in with the goal of beating 1 person and I beat 29! I also beat 9 males that had beat be at the sectionals!

Thanks to everyone that came to watch and to everyone that yelled at/for me!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A whole new world

So I picked up an issue of "Draft" magazine a bit over a month ago for my reading pleasure. In this particular issue there were several great articles. One about "Real ale" or cask beer, one on collaboration beers and another on "beer trading". The article on beer trading was very interesting.

Beer trading is something that has been going on for some time now. There are several social networking such as that serve as a place for beer drinkers to share thoughts on different brews and also as a place to seek out people who may have beers of desire but that one can't get their hands on. On your profile you can list the beers that you "got" and "want". While living in San Diego does allow for a fantastic selection of great local brews and a great assortment of west coast brews...we/I am still limited in selection.

Inspired by this article I decided to give it a go and see how it would work out!

While many traders refer to some beers as "whales" or "white whales" (think Moby Dick), I wasn't planning to go after any of those on my first go around. I set out to get my hands a bottle of Sah'Tea, a brew that a friend heard about in an article a couple of months back. It is a yearly release from DogFish Head brewery in Delaware. Easy for east coasters to get...impossible for west coasters. I proceeded to start a thread on in search of a bottle of this. Over the next day or so I got several "beermails" with offers for a trade for this brew! (being from San Diego) I do get a little bit of help becuase people now the beer selection out here is pretty good!

Then I get a "beermail" that makes my jaw drop... one person replies with "I will trade a bottle of Sah'Tea, I also have a bottle of Tactical Nuclear Penguin that I would be willing to part with." The TNP is on my "whale list" of beers! It is the 3rd strongest beer in the world...weighing in at 32% abv! I almost can't believe it, my first trade and I am going to get one of my "whales" and it wasn't even solicited? Now the question becomes what I am I going to be sending out in exchange for these beers? Well my trading partner was great about keeping communication flowing between beermails about what brews he wanted and what he had access to. So we decided to do a trade based on $4$. (dollar for dollar) This means I was going to be sending a pretty hefty box since the TNP cost about $65-70! In addition to multiple other bottles that were coming my way. the good thing is that the majority of the brews that I sent out I already had sitting in the cellar!

All in all I ended up sending out 11 bottles (Alpine Pure Hoppiness not shown). Now this is were it becomes fun! Since it is a federal felony to mail alcohol through the USPS, private shippers are the way to go. The thing is that UPS and FED-EX "will not knowingly ship alcohol", so you have to be careful when packaging and shipping your brew. You individually wrap each bottle in bubble-wrap and lots of packing tape. In a big box packed with shipping paper and Styrofoam and just encase there might be any "sloshing" or liquid sound coming out of the box...i added to packages of rice-a-roni to cover up the sound. Then take to a UPS store and send it off. And religiously track the package online for a week.

When my package arrived I was like a child on Christmas morning. The kid who new exactly what he got and it was exactly what he asked for!
I start cutting through the all the tape and bubble wrap that ensured the beer was safe on its journey. My trade partner was awesome, everything I wanted and then some. He included several "extras" in the package including a DogFish Head Old School Barleywine, Capsicum habanero Stout, Troegs Nugget Nectar and a terrapin Hoppy Monster! We already are setting up another trade to happen in the coming months...and you can bet he is going to get some gnarly extra's in his box next time!

The world of beer as reached a whole new world now! Not only do I have my normal stores in SD that I know get the rare stuff in but now I have a friend on the east coast forming a symbiotic relationship! I get him great beer he can't get and he does the same for me!

Can't wait for the next beer tasting event!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

It's not a trend, it's a revolution!

By now many of you have seen our tag line painted on our wall..."IT'S NOT A TREND, IT'S A REVOLUTION" This is a statement that I came up with before we even had our box and we barely had figured out what we were going to call ourselves. I especially love this tagline becuase it works perfrectly for my two main passions, which are CrossFit and craft beer.

While huge globo gyms fight to stay open by cutting how much their employees get paid, lowering prices for memberships and making it "easier" to go to the gym, CrossFit is thriving and expanding on a daily basis (and you know we do just about everything but make it easy to go to the gym). Like wise huge macro-brew companies are spending millions upon millions on advertising to trick you into thinking their beer is "good" or better then the rest, and despite there advertising, there sales were down multiple percents last year. At the same time micro-brews are popping up all over and growing at astonishing rates!

Now if you were to compare the market share that globo gyms have compared to CrossFit boxes... CrossFit Boxes m probably makes up less then .25% of total gyms. And the micro-brew category makes up less then 5% of the total beer market. Yet These smaller groups (CrossFit boxes and micro-brews) are focusing on being decidedly different then the status quot. How is it CrossFit is growing so fast and gaining popularity, yet if you go to a 24 Hour Fitness or a Gold's you can get kicked out for practicing this method? Assuming you even had equipment available to perform a CrossFit workout. Like wise, micro brew is growing so fast and gaining popularity, yet you walk into any large restaurant and some bars and there isn't a local brewery to be spotted on the draft line?

I have seen video's of Greg Glassman (founder of CrossFit) saying that we (CrossFitters and CrossFit boxes) are a "full frontal assault on mainstream fitness". Also I have heard him say that we don't try to appeal to everyone, we do what we do and who ever likes it, likes it. We could care less about what main stream fitness personalities think about us. I have seen Greg Koch of Stone Brewing write something to the effect of, Most people don't care about great beer... so I don't care about most people.

Below is a graph showing the amount or inquires going into Google for different gyms over the past years. Interesting to see how the globo gyms spike around the new year consistently? yet CrossFit has been growing and growing at a steady rate! Also looks like there is just as many people looking into CrossFit as 24Hour? How much do you think 24 spends on advertisement? How much do you think spends...or lets make it more muc
h all the CrossFit Affiliates spend? 24 Hour Fitness is in blue, golds is in green, Ballys is in gold, and Crossfit is in red.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Another evening @ K&B wine cellar

Went over to one of my favorite places to relax at the end of a long day, K&B wine cellars in Del Cerro. The people are always great and they love to talk beer and all sorts of non-sense.

1st-Port Brewing-Mongo double IPA 8.5% abv. This beer pours a dark orange, like a very ripe tangerine. A very thick looking beer that is hard to see through! A little bit of head on this one, but leaves lots of lacing on the glass. The smell is citrus, lots of tangerine and orange not so much grapefruit like I am use to smelling on strong IIpa's. Has a nice bitter nose on it but a lot of sweetness is what I smell. The mouth feel is amazing, so thick with just enough carbonation. Like a perfectly ripe piece of fruit. With a strong bitter finish, very drinkable. Definitely different from other IIpa's, in the sense that the hopes aren't everything you taste. Give this on a solid 4.5! try it if you see it on draft some where!

2nd-Bear Republic- Big Bear Black Stout. 8.1% abv. This pours practically black, with a nice dark brown head on it! The initial smell is that of lightly smoked chocolate! A very interesting nose on this one. As you sip this beer you primarily taste the smoked chocolate and coffee with a nice barley finish. The mouth feel is a little more carbonated then i would prefer...but that is probably becuase all the stouts I have been drinking have been years past vintages or barrel aged brews. Over all this is a great beer to finish off the evening with. Pick up a bottle if you see one or order a pint if possible! Give this one a solid 4.5 as well!