20.4 (Where I Learned Pistols Are From Satan)

Thursday night, after Trick or Treating with my boys, I decided to do a quick CrossFit check, to see what sort of treat I was in for on Friday.  This was the first Open WOD that had me psychotically laughing.  The idea of pistol squats after 90 box jumps is the definition of psychotic.  To add insult to injury, Wednesday’s workout included 50 overhead squats, Thursday was a 10 mile tempo run, and this week included my first strength workout in my marathon program.  Needless to say, my legs were just a little less wasted than a college student after freshman year finals by Thursday evening.  When I first glanced at the workout, I said a silent prayer for a low time cap, something friendly like 7 minutes that would give me no hope of getting more than 60 burpees in.  NOPE.  Time cap: 20 minutes.  20.  Freaking.  Minutes. The 20.4 WOD was:

In CrossFit, anything over about eight minutes is considered long.  20 minutes is the running equivalent of a marathon; basically it’s a really long workout.  I silently resigned to being sore for the next two weeks, and was thankful that at least the first round of clean and jerks after the pistols was at the same weight as my one rep max.  That I’ve hit a total of twice.  If I made through the 30 pistols, and somehow didn’t run out of time, I could at least just sit and look at 145lbs on the barbell and wait out the timer.

How It Went

box jumps box step ups
Slowwwww but steady

I decided that if I had ANY hope of making it through pistols and attempting a 145lb clean & jerk, I needed some assistance in the form of lifters and a belt.  The idea of box jumping in lifters was not appealing, and since stepping up onto the box was within the standards for RX, I figured that was the way to go.  I know some people can blaze through box jumps faster than step ups, but when I thought about my limiters, I knew time wasn’t an issue; saving my sad little legs and holding onto as much energy as possible was what I needed to focus on.  I put on my lifters, got my belt next to my set up, and tried to make peace with what I was about to put my lower extremities through.

The first two rounds of step-ups and clean and jerks weren’t too difficult.  I moved at a steady pace, and was smart with breaking up my second set of cleans.  Once I got to 115lb clean and jerks, I put on my belt, slowed my roll down to singles, and was thankful that there were only 10 and not 15 of them.  The first couple were a little uncoordinated, but I got my bearings and got them done.  I took a peak at the clock and saw 13 something.  Great.  Seven minutes to get 30 pistols done and stare at the barbell with 145lbs on it.  I tool a quick breather, and then down on one leg I went.  I got back up without falling over or putting my foot on the floor.  Success.  Back down for my second pistol, time to come up, and IMMEDIATELY my quad cramps.  On my non-working leg.  Fantastic.  I made it all the way up without no repping myself, so not the worst situation.

clean and jerk
Clean and Jerk at 115

I was able to string together 3-5 pistols for a few rounds, but my quads were cramping every. single. time.  After about 13, I grabbed my husband’s beer, and took a quick gulp, for electrolytes, obviously.  Back at the damn pistols, two at a time.  Cramps.  More cramps.  Little more beer.  Still cramping.  Quick break for some leg shaking and beer drinking.  Finally, the pistols were done.  What a relief.  And then I remembered, oh yes, the 145lb clean & jerks.  The weight I have successfully gotten up twice, both times on fresh legs.  I did not have fresh legs today.  I had new born llama legs, slightly less graceful than new born deer legs.  Quick break for a little more beer and to tighten my belt.

I picked up the bar, sort of, and dropped it back down about a quarter inch above mid-shin.  This should be a fun four minutes, I thought to myself.  I knew I could probably get down underneath the bar, getting under it has never been an issue.  It’s the standing back up part that’s hit or miss for me.  And with my legs as trashed as they were, I thought my best shot might be to try to power clean the weight that I’ve only ever been able to squat clean.  So I tried again, got the bar up just over my knees and dropped it back down.  Great.  At this point, there was a convenient run away bar as my buddy behind me chased his 275lb jerk right into my area, and lowkey nearly killed me.  But 275 is a lot of weight, and in my opinion, pretty worth risking manslaughter charges for, so I couldn’t begrudge him.

Once we got the heavy man-bar back in its place, I changed strategies and tried to squat clean the barbell.  I finally got myself under the bar, and promptly threw it in front of me.  It wasn’t coming back up.  Thankfully, we were down to about one minute left on the clock.  Just enough time for one more attempt before moving on to cheering for all the other weirdos trying to finish up.  I got under the bar one more time, gave a quick bounce, and quickly came back down.  I hung out there for a minute trying to decide my next move.  I braced my core, and gave what I could, which was nothing.  I didn’t move an inch.  For the last time, I threw the bar in front of me and fell flat on my butt.

I would loved to have hit 145lbs just once.  I know I can get that weight up sometimes.  I’ve done it at least once before.  Honestly, though, I gave this workout everything I had, and shocking as it may be, burning out your quads with 30 pistol squats probably isn’t the most conducive way to warm up for matching your 1 rep max clean & jerk.  So, to sum it all up, I’m happy with my effort, I’m happy with my 30 pistols, and I’m really happy I didn’t pull or break anything trying to get that damn clean & jerk.  The Open is all about trying to see what you’re capable of, and this was a workout that truly tested those limits for me.  But I came, and I gave it everything my two little quads had, so I’ll count 20.4 as a success, and I’ll be sure to stay away from pistols for next couple weeks.

squat clean clean and jerk
Just before the final fail

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