Road To The CrossFit Games Pt. 2

What Doesn’t Kill You …

By Kathleen Mitchell, Team Strong Athlete

I truly appreciate those things that don’t come easy. If it isn’t going to change me or challenge me, I probably don’t want it. You know the phrase “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” It’s about competition. I workout because it keeps me fit, healthy and connects me to a wonderful community. I compete because win or lose, competition changes me, it challenges me and it makes me stronger. Through competition I’ve learned to understand the pain of disappointment and failure and how to face challenges. I’ve learned discipline, commitment, consistency and focus. I’ve become more resilient, and determined. I will not give-up or give-in and I’ve grown a sense of humor and I’ve learned humility. Through CrossFit, I’ve witnessed my improvements: I am becoming stronger, I want train harder, I want to see how good I can get. This is tough, but I am tougher.

How the pre-season is going down

Here’s what we’ve learned pre-season so far: that there is no one perfect program to build the perfect competitive CrossFit athlete and that programing must be highly individualized. Instead of focusing on building the fittest masters athlete, PK’s programming focuses on creating the most prepared masters athlete. We’ve prioritized movements and my weaknesses, we’ve scheduled my training and we make adjustments along the way. My nutrition is timed and measured, and my recovery and sleep are scheduled. It’s a tough, long and steady process, but I am tougher.

My weekly training looks like this:

  • Monday: Morning – snatch + conditioning + stamina builder. Afternoon – Lower body strength and gymnastics EMOMs. Evening – cryotherapy and mobility.
  • Tuesday: Conditioning + capacity rowing + midline. Afternoon – Upper body strength push/pull and cardiovascular endurance. Evening – ART massage, dry sauna and mobility.
  • Wednesday: Morning – squat + conditioning + barbell cycling. Afternoon – rowing and bodyweight conditioning. Evening – cryotherapy and mobility.
  • Thursday: Active Rest – 1h mobility, massage and dry sauna.
  • Friday: Morning – conditioning + stamina builder + capacity rowing – Afternoon gymnastics and midline conditioning. Evening – cryotherapy and mobility.
  • Saturday: clean and jerk + conditioning + odd object, gymnastics and midline + dry sauna
  • Sunday: rest and weekly meal preparation.

Whatever Dave Castro throws out on February 23, I’ll be more than ready!

Reflections on last week’s training

My mindset: I can always push harder, even if I think I am going hard enough. I can always do one more rep, even when I think I can’t. Just keep moving Kate, get the first rep out of the way. This is tough, I’m tougher!

A couple of weeks back I hurt my right hand ring finger while doing bar muscle-ups. No problem, it’s just a finger it will get better, right? PK modified the workout for that day. Two weeks had passed and we were still modifying – not good, I need to focus on weaknesses and skill building. So Tuesday night found me in the ER, 2 hours later x-ray, cast and a follow-up appointment with a plastic surgeon on Wednesday. PK and I trained Wednesday, with slight modifications made, but a needed stimulus was still achieved. Good news! My finger was not broken, but rather it was dislocated (yes, for like, 2 weeks!). It’s now re-located (ouchie!) however I’ve also partially ruptured a tendon which means a recovery 6 to 12 months, consisting of contrast baths and buddy taping. While the swelling in my finger is now about 50% less – a good thing – getting through bar workouts will be tough and uncomfortable for the next while. That’s tough but I am tougher; finger-schminger.

I partially ruptured a tendon in my finger doing bar muscle ups, which means a recovery of 6 to 12 months. That’s tough but I am tougher; finger-schminger!

The lesson I learned is to get my thumb around the pull-up bar, no suicide grip. We’ve often heard that “thumbs around the bar” is a “safety thing” but it also results in a better distribution of force in the grip contact. Without it a couple of fingers can wind up taking all of the load.

New short-term goals from last week’s training:

  • Row 1:40/500m
  • 40 unbroken Chest-to-Bar pull-ups
  • 130 Hand Stand Push-ups in 10 minutes
  • 7 unbroken Ring Muscle-ups

Things I’ve done, but need to do more of:

  • Heavy d-balls
  • Dumbbells
  • Burpees
  • Thrusters
  • Axle Bar
  • Jumping over things
  • Legless rope climbs
  • Peg board
  • Yoke and sandbag carry
  • TrueForm running
  • Assault Bike

Today is Sunday and it’s a rest day for me. Despite that I still woke-up at the same time, ate the same breakfast and had the same supplements. Meal preparations for the week are now done and all the laundry is washed, dried, folded and put away. Rest days are sacred. I will spend the remainder of the reading through the CrossFit Journal watching “Behind the Scenes” from previous CrossFit Games and visualizing myself there while working on my own mobility. But the most sacred thing about Sunday is that I get to spend the day with Andy, my husband and Benny, my Pomeranian puppy.

No journey taken alone

A mantra I live by is that “no journey should be taken alone.” It’s a pretty common phrase but it nicely wraps up how I feel about life in general and it applies even more so for my athletic goals. To be successful in any of our pursuits we need support networks. For me that support network is comprised of my coach, my husband and my puppy.

My coach, PK sets my programming, encourages me during tough workouts and most importantly, he’s obsessed with being brutally objective in assessing not only what I do (how much I’ve put out) but also how I do it (think “no rep”).  His critical eye and constant vigilance keep me focused on the quality of my performance.

My husband, Andy, creates the environment for me to focus on my passion for fitness. He gets me out of bed, puts me to bed, helps in meal preparation and provides me with all the tools I need to workout and to compete. He looks out for me, encourages me and frequently gets me to step back and look at where I’ve been and where I’m going.

My husband, Andy, creates the environment for me to focus on my passion for fitness. He looks out for me, encourages me and frequently gets me to step back and look at where I’ve been and where I’m going.

And finally, my puppy, Benny. She has an endless capacity to provide love and is a wonderful “stress sponge.”  Benny reminds me to find time to play and to not always take myself so seriously. Sometimes she comes to the gym with me and when she doesn’t I always look forward to curling up with her when I get home – she’s so therapeutic!   

Full speed ahead for next week, I welcome all the challenges.

Missed Kate’s 1st blog? Check it out here: Road to the CrossFit Games Pt. 1