15 minutes Establish 1RM Power Clean
EMOTM 20 minutes
- 3 Power Cleans (75% of 1 RM)
- 7 Push-ups
- 11 Squats
Post 1RM, number of rounds missed and scale in comments.
The Puzzle – Event 5 by Jim Kelly
21-15-9 Deadlifts (275)(185) and Box Jumps (30″)(24″) Male first; Female Finishes
Couplets in a three round scheme of 21-15-9 reps are some of the most feared workouts in CrossFit culture. There is no recovery; the sets are big to start and with only two movements the deficits created in the same muscle groups are nauseating. In order to compete in this style of event you have to go deep into the dark cave of discomfort.
May 8th 2013, the day regional events were announced; my gut told me this event had to be Panda and Jamie. I penciled them in and waited to see their expression when I broke the news. The better expression was the reaction from the others on the team with a subtle fist pump and “yes” under their breath. Just a small personal celebration that they were not tagged with this beast.
Jamie and Panda were fine. They looked at me and said, “Let’s do this” No visible fear at the time. Although now that it is over, I imagine Panda has to run to trashcan even just reading this account of event five.
Practices yielded a disturbing trend; Panda struggled mightily on this event. Both movements got into his legs and head quickly. Deep into the workout he was staggering and could barely stand, let alone jump. Jamie was steady on the deadlifts rarely putting the bar down, just a bit slower on the box jumps. Those needed to be faster. We never finished the event under the eleven-minute time cap in practice.
I knew this was the storm the team would have to weather in order to survive.
The team knew this as well. Everyone giving ideas to improve the time; make the pace more manageable. I received texts from coaches and athletes…”Are we gonna be ok with this pair” – “Should try Daniel on this event?” I responded confidently that we had our best people in the right spots and that this was actually better than splitting Panda and Jamie into separate workouts. We would take our number here and crush the other workouts then see if it was enough.
The texts kept coming, so I acquiesced and asked the Daniel, late in our training prep, to give me a time on this event. I also asked Panda to give me a time on event six and Ben a “Jackie” time.
This was a train wreck of a Sunday morning at ACF.
Daniel puked with a slow time, Ben almost passed out, and Panda probably needed an IV, so did Beth after having to carry him through event six. The experiment went horribly bad and left the three male athletes appreciating what each other had to do. Beth also gained an appreciation for Ben’s contributions on event six, but that comes later…
We would stay with Panda and Jamie; let storm roll in and see how they steer the ship. They were our captains now and we needed their best.
The morning’s first place finish has the team high as a kite. Lot’s of positive energy flowing, but Panda and Jamie are sitting and waiting for heat three. The time is moving so slowly for them. They just want to get it over with. Quietly staying calm externally, but butterflies trying to rip their guts out.
The time has arrived. I meet them in the tunnel and give Jaime some transition advice. Then change my mind. The nerves are getting to me also. We just need a placement better than 20th. Our two firsts and top six or better finishes on the other two events have built a cushion that should help us stay close with 20th place finish or better. Just finish under the time cap.
They walk into the stadium as part of the last heat. The judges are ready quickly and waste no time.
Panda begins his deadlifts employing the eleven-rep, rest, ten-rep strategy. He is moving a bit faster than in practice. I like what I see. He moves to the box jumps and has a steady, jump\step-down rhythm. This causes him to start to trail the pack as the lead teams have jumpers that rebound from the floor. A much faster technique, but it’s also much harder on the body.
He moves to the set of fifteen deadlifts and begins the mentally toughest part of the workout.
A set of five to start. I think “ok, three sets of five quickly” but then things change. He is taxed physically and mentally things look to be falling apart. He begins sets of one. He picks up the bar and drops from the top, does it again, does it again! I can’t believe he is doing singles this early in the workout. I walk out of the stadium into the concourse and squat against the wall. I can’t watch.
I’m convinced the earlier workout took too much from our mighty Panda and that the singles were the signal that he was in survival mode only, and that time did not matter anymore. I was completely wrong.
Panda moved his active rest of pulling singles to earlier in the workout. He did this out of competitive instinct. We didn’t plan it. He didn’t strategize it. It simply happened in the heat of competition. I returned to watch him struggle, but he wasn’t struggling as I had seen before in practice. He was steady, and the reps were being completed. He finished his fifteen box jumps very smoothly, without staggering like a drunk, and moved to his set of nine. The active rest of pulling singles early had let him be more consistent late in the event and it was paying off. He hits the finish pad at a personal best on this workout of 5:45. It was brilliant, competition brought the best out in Panda, and he hands it off to Jamie with five minutes and fifteen seconds to transition and bring us home. It’s going to be close. Her fastest with transition has been 5:25.
Jamie moves to the bar and rolls it back to the start line (it advances with each round) She struggles a bit with the sticky plates, but gets the weight adjusted to 185lbs and begins her deadlifts. She has a strong grip, and she knows Panda has given her more time than ever to get through her piece of the workout.
The workout looks smooth for her; just keep moving; she is jumping on the box with precision, each repetition faster than in practice. She is breathing heavy, but in typical Jamie fashion, she doesn’t wear it on her sleeve. She is calm and determined. Breaks are minimal, and she continues to her set of nine. Ten minutes hits the clock as she is on her sixth rep of the deadlift. Three more deadlifts and nine box jumps in one minute. Most other teams are finished, and everyone in the Coliseum wants to see every athlete finish before the cutoff.
The cheers are growing as she begins to accelerate. She is coming out of that dark cave in the workout, she sees the light of the finish line and burst through her last sets of nine box jumps rebounding these, so much faster, and fishes in 10:45. Unbelievable!
Jamie does her portion in five minutes flat including transitions; Another Personal best achieved.
The team is excited and we know we just had a clutch performance in our “weakest” event. Let’s see how the numbers play out… 18th Place. They did it. They kept us in second place over all by leaving all they had on the floor in Event 5.
I am looking at the scoreboard and I’m so proud of the team. Dallas Central is still in first and amazingly consistent with only seventeen points. We are in second place with 30 points, CF Katy is in third with 30 points also (ACF owns the tie break with our two first place finishes) and CF Central is in fourth place, only one point behind going into day three. It all comes down to two events for the podium. Katy and Central are happy to have closed the gap after our morning first place finish. ACF is happy to not have make-up points from a deficit. Everyone is optimistic in this card game.
I peek at my cards one more time and smile a bit, because I know I have another ace in the hole.
I’m all in.