Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cool Babysitters Take Their Kids To Play With Goats

My handful of grass brings all the goats to the yard

Catalyst Games

On Saturday, I participated in CrossFit Boomtown's Catalyst Games. I also got my first sunburn of 2013. CrossFit + Sunshine= amazing day. I was actually disappointed with my overall result, mostly because I underperformed in the first workout and can't really figure out why. But, aside from that hiccup, the rest of the day went fine and it was a blast. CrossFit Boomtown had an incredible turnout and the sunshine made everyone happier than can be. It was a perfect tune-up before regionals, which is only 17 days away. (!!) You can find the Catalyst Games workouts here, the results here, and my write-up for the CrossFit Rochester blog here.

First workout was intervals of row, burpee box jump overs, 1-arm dumbbell snatch, and kettlebell swings, pictured here

The second workout was a clean ladder (with axle bars).   Before cleaning each bar you had to do 20 heavy jump ropes.

Cleaning the axle bar

The last workout was 7 minutes of (20 Deadlifts [155#], 10 HSPU). The  DLs were less than fun for me 
Handstand push-ups, however, are one of my favorite moves!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spring Update

Hello Earthlings! I wanted to offer a brief update on my athletic life before I dive back in to the homework mountain where I live. . . deep inside a cavern, concealed from the public eye, and subsisting on Plath, Faulkner, and Pynchon. Luckily there's a wifi connection.

As some of you know, I competed in the CrossFit Open March 6th- April 7.  Each week, a new workout was released and over 100,000 worldwide participants had 4 days to perform the workout in front of a judge at any CrossFit gym or as a video submission.  This was the first round of qualification for the Crossfit Regionals, held in May and June, and then the CrossFit Games, held in late July.

The Open is a perfect way to gauge progress. Last year I placed 297th out of 1221 women in the Northeast; this year I placed 76th out of 2915 women in the Northeast. (That means--if my calculations are correct-- that last year I fell in the top 25% but this year I squeaked into the top 3%. Is that right? Someone check my math.) Last year, CrossFit Rochester qualified in 15th out of 168 teams, and this year we qualified in [a tie for] 15th out of 262 teams. Since the top 30 teams move on to Regionals, we have once again earned ourselves a spot. While our official team lineup has not yet been officially named, I can say I will be going to Northeast Regionals as either a competitor or an alternate. The competition will be held May 17-19 in Boston, so the next 4 weeks of training will be important, exciting, and tons of fun.

What's not tons of fun? School, of course. And the fact that I graduate on the same weekend as regionals. Missing the ceremony doesn't matter to me, but the fact that that the 5 most important weeks of the year's training fall during the 5 most awful crunch-weeks of school matters a great deal. I'm not great at double-tasking, as you can probably tell from my blog; I like to focus on big things with few distractions.  During hard training blocks, I like to fill my free time with sleeping. Conversely, during my last month of each semester I normally let my sleep, diet, and training take a back burner as I crank out papers. But this time, neither of those normal approaches will work. Grr. The only consolation is that Camille Leblanc- Bazinet has been tweeting about the very same problem, and I'm pretty sure she's dealing with it just fine. And of course Julie Foucher placed second in the world last year during her first year of med school. So I guess I'm in good company: just need to put my head down and get sh*t done!
Camille on the left and Julie on the right: my CrossFit scholar idols.  HOW DO YOU DO IT

Saturday, March 2, 2013


This was my fourth winter working at the Powder Mills Park ski hill as a kids downhill ski instructor. (Imbuing kids with a love of skiing= one of the best responsibilities I can imagine.) The rope-tow ski hill at Powdermills is one of the greatest resources Rochester has to offer. We close for the season March 9th, so my last day of work there is tomorrow. (Is it almost spring already? Yikes!) So what are you doing tomorrow afternoon? Buying the cheapest lift ticket of your life ($8) and coming out for skiing/snowboarding?! Cool. We even have rentals, and a jump. You can find more information here.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Holy $h*t moment: USA!

from google images
Let's talk about this. When I started cross-country ski racing in 2002, the U.S. was a long way off from regular podium finishes on the World Cup Circuit. My high-school teammates and I cheered when the national team broke into the top 30. And now here we are, a mere months out from the 2014 and Diggins and Randall win the team sprint at World Championships: a first for the US at any world championships, ever. The video gives me chills every time I watch it.

As a US kayaker, I am keenly aware of the difficulty of competing in a Euro-dominated sport. Not only do you have to travel to another continent for all your major races, but you have to contend with countries whose kayaking (or skiing) culture dwarfs anything in the United States. But in the face of all that, look what the skiers have done in the past two quads. Work. This is an amazing time to be an American cross-country skier!

Oh and PS, even cooler: my friend/fellow Section V racer Audrey is in Italy covering all this for fasterskier.com. (My mom got the scoop from her mom when they ran into each other on the Roch ski trails this weekend. Don't you love moms?) Go Audrey!

Sunday, February 24, 2013


My reluctant study buddy

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hammerhead Games Part III

Oh, I'm sad that the Hammerhead Games are over.  It was so much fun! Competing at 2-week intervals is the perfect way to stay amped up but not disrupt your big-picture training.  Crossfit Dewitt held the last event in the three-part series on Saturday, February 9th. I wrote a piece about our gym's results here.
Split snatching 95# because I still don't like to squat
As for myself, I was very pleased with my performance, and to be honest, pleasantly surprised at my results. The first event was a 10' AMRAP of 7 hang snatch at 95#, 25yd plate push on the turf (25# plate), 25yd plate drag, and 50yd sprint. On every round, I would fall behind Jess and Meghan on the snatches and then catch back up on the plate drags. Fall behind, catch back up. With 1 minute to go I was in 3rd place, chasing them on the plate drag (which is a funny sight, because it's a race in super slow motion.) When the clock buzzed, I'd managed to eek out the win by less than a foot. The best part of that workout was that my sister and her boyfriend, who came from Binghamton to watch. Thanks guys!
Me and Anna
Plate drag-- wherein feet are on a plate and you just wheelbarrow yourself forward
The second event was a 500m row followed by 21-15-9 of deadlift (145#, low plates), recessed push-ups (hands on 25# plates), and GHD sit-ups. Lucky for me, I was in the lane next to the fabulous Meghan Kelly, so I was able to chase her. The two of us managed to finish 1-2: her first and me second. Word.
Meghan and me at the chalk-trough pre-workout
Lining up to start the row- Jess, Meghan, me
21 deadlifts with the short plates.  Steph's caption on this picture was "North-going Zax and South-going Zax." I love Dr. Suess! 
Me, Erin, and Meghan happy to be DONE! Thanks Steph for the pictures!
Second-place overall in this event bumped me up to third place overall for the series.  Who would have thought!?

A couple people have wondered to what I attribute this improvement. Legs, legs, legs. As I've written about before, when I started crossfit in 2010, my max bench was 150lbs and my max back squat was 115lbs. I could do 25 strict pull ups in a row but I couldn't even deadlift my body weight. It has taken a LONG time, but my legs are starting to catch up.

Next question people ask: "Will this help your kayaking?" Well, I don't think that being a quadzilla (with, say a 280lb back squat and large leg muscles) would help my kayaking, but I believe where I am now definitely will help.  Strength-to-weight ratio in a kayak is paramount, and since my body weight is the same as when I was kayak racing, I know that I have gained muscle mass and lost body fat.  Even though most of that strength gain is in my legs, I can always use some more hip drive in the kayak and push-pull on the footboard!

I will be focusing on CrossFit until I graduate from college (May 18), so I am going to continue to drill the legs until then-- and maybe even after that! It feels surprisingly good to be a more balanced athlete. My body can do a wide range of movements now (not just shoulder and core!)