Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Moving Faster

Tropical depression Ernesto settled over Eastern Massachusetts on Sunday, bringing a light rain to Jamaica Pond. At sixty-five degrees, it was easily ignored.

We had a race to run, and fitness is not weather-contingent.

At 8:00 a.m., Patrick and I stood under the branches of a huge oak tree, plotting the course. At the first marker, we set up two tires and two sledgehammers. Twenty-five meters later, orange cones stood guard over two sandbags. Fifty meters beyond, two more cones marked the halfway point of the sandbag run.

The race starts at the first marker, with each contestant taking 30 swings at the tire. Dropping the hammer, they flip the tire, using good deadlift form and violent triple extension to propel the tire toward the sandbag station.

At the sandbags, our racers shoulder the load 30 times, returning it to the ground with each rep. On the final rep, they take off toward the third marker, running around it and back to the sandbag station.

There, they resume tire flipping to the finish line. When the first racer crosses the line, the race is over.

Marcia joined us at 8:05. After a quick dynamic warm-up, we were ready to go. Marcia and Patrick squared off with the tires, sledgehammers in hand. I set my Timex to “Chrono”, punched the start button, and yelled, “Go!”

They started, slamming the tires rhythmically in the shelter of the giant oak. Four minutes later, Patrick crossed the finish line, with Marcia fifty-nine seconds behind. They set a strong benchmark, giving me something to aim at as I soloed the race.

While they rested, I shot through the course. The sledge swings proved easy, and the first tire flip was a walk in the park. The sandbag would be my undoing.

The constant drizzle had turned the canvas bag into a slick mess, and my grip was suffering. I re-gripped with every repetition, dropping the bag to the ground and swinging it back up to my shoulder as smoothly as possible. On the thirtieth rep, I took off on uncooperative legs. My short stride made the sandbag run seem like a slog through knee-deep ooze, and I silently cursed my lack of speed as I willed my body to go faster.

Back at the sandbag station, I began flipping the tire toward the finish. Extending as hard as I could, the tire would flip three feet at a time, landing with a soft thud on the soggy ground. I crossed the finish line in three minutes and fifty-eight seconds, oblivious to my surroundings as I sucked wind through my inadequately small nostrils.

After a short rest, Pat and Marcia were at it again. In true Crossfit fashion, they turned in great splits, beating their previous times. Patrick crossed the finish at 3:50 (-0:14), with Marcia at right behind (4:30 (-0:33)). My time had been toppled, and I was honor-bound to defend it.

Two hundred and nine seconds later, I chucked the tire across the line, turning in a time of 3:29 (-0:29), beating my first effort and reclaiming the crown.

Moving Day was a fantastic workout. Leaving Marcia to tackle the 2000-meter loop around the Pond, Patrick and I headed back to the Crossfit Boston Facility for some squatting.

Developing strength and power in the posterior chain is a critical component of elite athletic performance. Using the classic Crossfit protocol for maximum effort work, we worked our ATA back squat to our one-rep maximums.

Rocking out to Pearl Jam and Papa Roach, we each set a personal record, ending the day on a high note.

Rain or no, Again Faster is committed to delivering high-quality workouts. We push just as hard on the weekends as we do Monday through Friday. If you’d like to find out what we’re all about, join us for the Sunday Workout Series--the details are posted here every week. We’d love to have you.

Go faster!


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