Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pilot CrossFit Burpee Champ

Ever since I bailed out of running the marathon last October (which occurred during my blogging hiatus, so no account of that traumatic event was given), I've been doing this workout with some guys at school called CrossFit.  This a relatively new workout regimen that has you doing a whole bunch of high intensity exercises as fast as you can.  We do things like pullups and work with tossing a medicine ball; jump rope, kettlebells, situps, and olympic weightlifting (dead lift, cleans, snatch, etc.) are also standard fare.  Typical workouts are less than 15 minutes, but you're going all out, and you're exhausted by the end.  Since I've started doing this four days per week, I've actually gained about 15 pounds over my marathoning weight.  I've never felt stronger or more fit in my life.  There are six or seven different guys that show up to workout, but four of us are there almost every time:  two guys in their fifties, me in my forties, and a young buck in his twenties.

The national movement that is CrossFit has just started its open tryouts for the annual CrossFit Games, which bills itself as the search for the fittest humans on the planet.  The open tryouts consist of completing the workout of the day on video tape and registering your score on the national website.  Then there is some way of verifying it and the top 70 males and females get invited to the big shindig in Los Angeles this summer.  Our CrossFit commissioner thought it would fun for us to do these competition workouts just to see where we stack up.  So today's was to do as many burpees as you can in seven minutes.  A burpee is when you start standing up, drop to the pushup position and let your chest touch the ground, then get back up to a standing position with your arms straight up and jump at least six inches.  Doesn't sound like much, but try doing ten in a row as fast as you can and see how fast your heart is beating.

Anyway, the four regulars of us did these today in two heats, so each person would have a counter/judge to make sure we were doing them accurately (though we didn't have a measurement for the six inch jump and were satisfied with getting our feet off the ground anything over an inch or two).  The first heat went, and I was counting for the young buck.  He's about six foot five and has a physique like Michelangelo's David.  He knocked out 95 of those things in seven minutes.  Then it was my turn, and right beside me was the commissioner, whose favorite exercise is the burpee.  I was hoping that I could keep up with him through about seventy, but didn't have much hope for anything after that.  Well, we got going and stayed neck and neck.  We hit 50 at about three minutes and ten seconds, which was within a second or two of what the young buck had done.  So now I start thinking that maybe we'll make it close to his score.  With about a minute to go, we're at 85 but fading fast and my heart is pounding out of my chest.  I stop for just a few seconds to try to catch a little breath.  The commish keeps going and is now two ahead of me.  But he's slowing down, and with about 15 seconds to go, I catch him and we're on 93.  At the end, we've both finished 96, but I'm just jumping up for 97 while he's still down.  So I get crowned the king of the burpees today.  The young buck accepts defeat graciously, but inside is thinking that he wished he had been doing it at the same time as us, because with heated competition he probably could have summoned two or three more in that time to come out on top.

We were all feeling pretty good, but then later in checking the CrossFit site where people are logging their scores, we see that the leader did 158, and the top 50 are all over 125.  That is incomprehensible!  The Commish takes solace and deserved pride in the fact that among the 50-54 year old crowd, the leaders are at 101.  I hope once I'm in that age bracket that I'll still be able to get off the floor!

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