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 (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!)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hammerhead Games, Part II

I'm a little late on this update; I blame school. Crossfit Rochester hosted round two of the Hammerhead Games on Saturday January 26. The lack of max squatting included automatically made it fun in my book.

The first three workouts were rapid-fire.

1.) 3 minutes to max snatch
--1 minute transition time--
2.) 3 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) burpee box-jump/ chest-to-bar pull-up ladder
--1 minute transition time--
3.) 3 minute AMRAP wall-ball (14lbs)/ toes-to-bar ladder

I was a bit disappointed with my snatch (I ended at 120lbs), but the other two workouts went well.

Later in the afternoon, we completed the fourth workout.

13-minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of:
5 push-ups, each push-up traveling on and off an atlas stone
7 front squats with the stone (75lbs)
9 shoulder-to-overhead (95lbs)
11 box jumps (24 inches)

I was able to fight through the final workout well enough to tie for third place in the competition overall. It was, as always, a fantastic day competing against fantastic athletes. I can't wait for the last round this weekend.


Snatch progression at  105lbs, yeah not perfect

Stone squats. Look how much fun I'm having

Andrew, Nick, and me hamming it up for the camera
Push-jerking during the last WOD

Women's podium: me and Jess McNabney (tied for 3rd), Jennifer Lesniak (2nd) and Meghan Kelly (1st)

P.S. I wrote up a report specific to the Crossfit Rochester competitors on our gym's blog.  Did you know I am writing the Crossfit Rochester blog now?  Check it out!

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Sad Story

You'd think I would have recovered from the childhood sadness of Frosty the Snowman's fleeting seasonal presence, but now I have global warming to thank for a renewed sense of futility in the face of melting snow.

Helplessly as I watched as day by day the igloo melted into oblivion.