Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon | 5 Weeks Out

Less Than 5 Weeks

April 27th is right around the corner but don’t worry, we still have 5 weeks. Those following my programming for the first time may feel as if you are not prepared for a full marathon or half marathon because you haven’t covered the miles that you did in your previous training schedules. Trust me. You’re right on track and right where you need to be. You’re healthy, you don’t have nagging injuries and most importantly, you’re still running.

Our One and Only Long Run

For the runners out there that are worried because they haven’t had a “long” run, you’ll get your shot this weekend. The marathoners will be running a half marathon and the half marathoners will be running 8 miles. These will both be completed at RACE PACE. What does “race pace” mean? I hope by now, you have a goal time in mind on race day. Hopefully, you’ve been thinking about that time when completing our Sunday runs. This Sunday, you’ll have to focus on that race pace A LOT. It’s slower than what we’ve been running. That’s the point of CrossFit Endurance. When we take to the roads this weekend, you cannot go out fast. If you do anything right this weekend, make sure that it is this. Going out fast will ruin you for the later miles.

Nutrition

As we’re getting closer to Race Day, you should be thinking about your nutrition and have hopefully began practicing with it. This weekend will be a great opportunity for you to practice your Race Day nutrition and how to effectively use it. As a general rule, if you’ve been trying your hand at gels, you’ll want to take those every 60 minutes. I try to take one every six miles. My favorites are the ClifShots in Lemon Lime flavor and Chocolate. When it comes to hydration, don’t let yourself become thirsty. By that point, it may be too late. Drink regularly. This weekend on our run, I will try to have a water stop along the way for everyone to grab on the way out and on the way back in. As we get closer to the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, we will be going over game plans for Race Day, but have one going into our long run this weekend. Anyone and everyone is welcome. See you Sunday at 11am.

-Ryan Doonkeen, CrossFit Endurance Trainer

Half Marathoners Route

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Marathoners Route

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Posted in v4.1

Throwback Thursday – Blog v4.1

I shan’t be updating you on the previous 9 months of my life with this blog post since my server was hacked and lost my old website. Luckily, I had saved all my previous posts and most importantly, rediscovered my Xanga. Retrieved all my posts and uploaded them to this site! This will be my 4th version of a blog so without further ado… post one:

#tbt to those Xanga entries from July 2005 to August 2009, complete with song lyrics as titles.

Posted in v4.1

The Fittest Games | Ryan Doonkeen – Amateur Division

The Fittest Games was an event I had been looking forward to, one, because it was in Austin and having moved back from Austin in 2012, I was still in love with the place, and two, because I knew that the Amateur Division was stacked with really good… amateurs. As described on The Fittest Games website, “Amateur does not mean ‘beginner’ nor does it mean ‘easy’. While the Amateur division will not be doing the same WODs as the Pros (nor will they be scored against the Pros) rest assured that the WODs will be challenging and you will need a high level of fitness across broad time and modal domains. Amateur does not mean scaled. NCAA Division I athletics is Amateur, but it is the highest level before turning Pro. College football players are ‘Elite Amateurs’.” This event was my Regionals.

Going into Day 1, I was ready. I was prepared and I knew which workouts I needed to do well in and which ones I needed to hang on and not get destroyed. After the first event, which was one that I knew I’d be in the middle of the pack after, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was in the top third of the competition. Next came “The Gas Mask V.2.” This workout was one that I needed a strong showing for. It was endurance based and that is one thing that I have. I finished 6th in that workout and pushed myself to 7th position after two workouts. The toes-2-bar workout was another one where I would need to hang on. After Day 1 was done with and we were back home trying to get warm, I was in 13th place with one more workout to determine the top 10 that would go on to the final workout.

Day two began with a version of “DT” using 130 pounds but with an axel bar. 5 Rounds: 9 Deadlifts, 6 Hang Cleans, 3 Shoulder to Overhead. I didn’t practice with an axel bar and figured what better time to figure it out than in the heat of the moment. I needed a really good score to move up 14 points and finish in the top 10. I finished the workout in 3:13, good enough to finish that workout in 12th place and was able to sneak into the Top after 4 workouts. I was more than excited. I worked hard in all the weeks leading up to the event and my goal was to make the final workout. As we walked into athlete briefing the morning of Day 1, I looked around and saw my competition. I would by lying if I said that I wasn’t worried about making the final workout after seeing whom I would be going up against.

Once they announced the final workout, a series of 3 workouts with cuts after each one, I knew what I could do. The first workout favored me a little, at least enough to where I could make it in front of the “Grandstands.” When this workout began, all I could hear was Brice yelling at me. I never heard the “stay coordinated” he was yelling or I would have lost it laughing, but I did hear him say, “You got this. Be Smart. Two still left on the wall balls.” I never heard anyone else except for him. I made the final 8 and was able to workout in front of the big crowd. That was my goal going into that workout. The next stage, 20 Ground to Overhead at 155 pounds was going to take me giving it my all. I did exactly that. I couldn’t tell you what was going through my head during this event and I couldn’t hear a soul. It took forever to get to 15 reps and then those last 5 were a blur. I struggled with rep 19 and heard Brice yell, “Split Jerk!” but I knew I couldn’t get my feet that far apart. The last rep, I took my time to make sure I got it and after I was done, I saw that there were still two boxes left to stand on. I jumped on it and was onto the final-final workout… Mini Fran. As I was on top of the box, my emotions went from being excited, to being relieved, to being worried. I had one more workout and I had absolutely nothing left.

I finished the last workout in 6th place but to know that I fought my way through that final workout and finished in the final heat, I was so happy and I could feel everyone in the stands being excited for me, with Chad, Jared and Brice being on top of that list. I have completed 5 marathons and an Ironman and this was by far the most exciting moment out of my athletic achievements. I was known as, “the guy in the purple,” by the end of that workout and I had a number of people come up to me and congratulate me. It was an amazing moment in my short CrossFit life that I’ll be sure to tell you about over and over again.

Being at The Fittest Games and watching Brice battle against Games Athletes, the Team lift an incredible amount of weight during CrossFit Total, and watching Jared win the entire weekend as well as the winner-take-all final was incredible. Having the support system that Koda CrossFit has is unlike any other. We had so many people come in from out of town to cheer on everyone and be there for each other. I can’t wait to go back next year.

Posted in v4.1

Run Like/From The Wind

I’ve been wanting to write about the events that have happened in Oklahoma since they took place on May 20th. I couldn’t think of how to put my words in print. It didn’t hit me until this past Friday as Oklahoma battled another night of insane storms and I saw the damage that Mother Nature could impose.

I drove down to Norman, OK to coach at Koda CrossFit Norman on Friday, May 31st and had to make my way through Moore. Moore was the town that was hit by the May 20th Tornado and it was also hit by the May 3rd Tornado in 1999. Here in Oklahoma, we don’t give tornados names, but rather dates. I made it to KXN and was in talks with Koda to see if we should cancel classes. We made the call to cancel all evening classes because it wasn’t worth the risk of lives after seeing the destructiveness of the May 20th Tornado all for an hour worth of working out. We were glad we did even though nothing happened that night in Norman. However, just west of Oklahoma City 15 people were killed because of the storm we were concerned about.

The tornado that went through Moore was very close to my first house that I had bought in 2010. I have sold it since but I began my running “career” in that house and around those neighborhoods. The gas station that I always stopped at during my 18 mile runs for Gatorade and water was destroyed. Things that I always saw and places that I always frequented were demolished. Things were surreal.

As I made my way back to Oklahoma City from Norman, I took the backroads that I knew very well. The highway was log jammed because of all the people being released from work early due to the impending storms and it didn’t help as people gawked at the damage along I-35. I drove by my familiar route and was not expecting to see what I saw. Houses were leveled. All that was left were concrete slabs. You hear people describe it on the news and what not, but you don’t grasp it until you see it up close.

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Above is a picture of my last long run in my old house with an overlay of the path the tornado took on May 20th. Like I said before, I knew those neighborhoods well. I knew several people affected by the storms. The only thing to do now is to rebuild. The efforts that Oklahomans and the people of surrounding areas have put forth already has been incredible. Even the CrossFit Community put together an event to raise money for the Tornado Relief Fund. The outpour of support for Oklahoma is amazing.

Now we just need Mother Nature to take a breather give us a break. Oklahoma Strong.

Posted in Old Blog

Meet Me At The Bar(bell)

The importance of lifting weights and adding cross training to any runner’s regimen has been stated time and time again. I didn’t realize just how important it actually was until I was beginning mile 24 of the Chicago Marathon in 2011. Everything was falling apart as I hit “the wall” and if you’ve ever run the Chicago Marathon before, at mile 26.1 you’re blindsided by a wildly steep hill. I was lucky to have survived that hill in the shape that I was in. I relied on pure grit the last 2.2 miles of that race to finish with a time of 3:28. It was as I was forcing down three sips of the “finisher’s beer” that I decided I needed to find a better way to train.

ENTER CROSSFIT.

I walked into my first CrossFit gym having only seen what was on tv: big guys lifting heavy weights. I was intimidated to say the least. I couldn’t do an unassisted pull up and my squat depth needed work thanks to a little flexibility issue (hello, runners). Workouts were tough and soreness was plentiful. I stuck with it because coming from a runner’s world to CrossFit, I had what most didn’t: lungs and the ability to mentally breakthrough pain barriers. The metabolic-conditioning workouts were tough but became an obsession. The squats became easier as my legs became stronger. The length of my runs was decreasing just as my mile-split times were.

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LESS IS MORE.

Just 8 weeks after the Chicago Marathon, I crept toward the 3:20 pacer at the Las Vegas Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon. I was uneasy because all I had known before Chicago were the slow, long-distance training runs. The previous 8 weeks, I didn’t run any double-digit mile runs and had focused on my strength training with CrossFit. I was uneasy as I toed the starting line preparing for another 26.2 miles. For the next 3 hours and 19 minutes, I ran strong. I never hit the wall, never cramped and never had a negative thought creep into my mind as I PR’d by more than 8 minutes. I was sold.

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CROSSFIT ENDURANCE.

I still run. I lift more, however. I have completed a full Ironman in Louisville, KY in 2012 and I just finished my 5th marathon at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon this past April using CrossFit as my primary training program. I now coach and train runners to become strong ATHLETES. Power and speed are critical components to success in the endurance world. By taking baby steps and incorporating weights to your workouts, you are ensuring yourself that you will be able to finish that 5k, 10k, half marathon or full marathon…. FASTER AND STONGER.

lajolla-ryan

Ryan Doonkeen is a CrossFit and CrossFit Endurance Trainer at Koda CrossFit in Oklahoma City, OK. Photos courtesy of Chad Hamilton.












Posted in Old Blog

OKC Marathon 5×26.2

As I do with all my races, I like to recap each one going into detail about what I was thinking at certain points during the day. Here is the 2013 version of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Here is the 2010 version if you want the first go-’round.

April 28th, 2013 marked the 5th time I would take on the 26.2 mile distance. I took a different approach to training for this marathon, a minimalist one. I only trained with CrossFit the majority of the time and threw in some CrossFit Endurance workouts in occasionally. I found that it was difficult to coach a CFE class and do the workout (alone, mind you) in the same day so most of the time, I only coached. I felt I was in shape enough to go out and finish the distance and mentally, I knew what was ahead of me throughout the run so I was good in that arena as well. Time was the only thing I was unsure of going into this marathon. I kind of set a goal to be sub 3:30 but time wasn’t the most important part of this race. This race, I wanted to enjoy the entire thing and not black out anywhere along the route like I have in several of my marathons.

The morning of, I opened Koda at 5:00am to give people the opportunity to walk through a warm up and prepare for what was to take place soon. I thought we’d have maybe 5 people, 10 at most, show up. Nearly 30 people were in the gym warming up. I led a little group mobility and warm up and gave a few tips and pointers and answered a few questions from those that were just a little nervous before their first half/full marathon. At 5:35, we all made our way downtown to get in line for the start. And so it began.

  • Start – 168 seconds of silence. The first time I ran it, I was so rushed and nervous to get to the start that I was running late and had to jump the fence even after the gun went off so I didn’t get a chance to be a part of this. It was very powerful especially with the events that took place in Boston just two weeks prior.
  • Mile 1 – In 2010, the Devon Tower wasn’t there. We were heading right for it and running right below it this time around. It was very cool to be running under tall buildings.
  • Mile 2 – I got rid of one of my fat long sleeve t-shirts. I knew I hung on to those for some reason and this was a perfect occasion for me to throw it away.
  • Mile 2.2 – Bathroom break. What the hell, Ryan!?
  • Mile 2-5 – I ran into so many people that I knew from the gym, from school and from different running events. It was fun talking to everyone as we ran by the capital and headed back west approaching Gorilla Hill.
  • Mile 6 – QUADS. Just 20 more miles. Shit.
  • Mile 7 – Running through Edgemere Park and Gorilla Hill was very fun this time around. Saw some more friends and took in all the parties going on with the music blaring. We approached the split where the half marathon split off and the full marathon kept going. Things got less crowded and less exciting but we still had a ways to go. Can’t get bored now.
  • Mile 8 – 10 – Did not remember this part of the race last time at all. Found out that I didn’t remember alot of the race the first time around. There are so many parks in this part of the city. So many places to play offense/defense. Kind of cool.
  • Mile 10 or 11 – This is where the 3rd relay exchange was. I saw a buddy from the gym and he cheered me on. I was still at a good pace right now and was ahead of schedule. It was either going to be a great, great day or one that I’d end up regretting with the current pace I was holding.
  • Mile 12-16 – I ran with two guys this stretch of the race, west on Britton and around the lake to Stars and Stripes park. I let one guy be in the lead the entire time and completely drafted off of him. Kind of a douche move on my part having never been first to take on the wind but that’s ok. I wasn’t planning on having a beer with this guy afterwards. At this point in the race, I was starving. I was so hungry. I took my gels but those don’t fill you up. I needed food so I began grabbing bananas and oranges at each stop they offered them. Pretzels don’t do it for me and I knew that going in so I never reached for those.
  • Mile 16-20 – These miles were really close to my house. I saw my roommate, Cole and Chloe (aka Tick Face). He handed me a water bottle with a much needed Nuun. These miles were the ones that Koda Endurance did all winter long. We ran Grand Blvd. every Sunday for 5 months nearly. They were primarily downhill but I began to unravel at this point in the race. My feet were beginning to hurt and my miles were slowing.
  • Mile 20 – I had one 10k left. It was going to take forever. I saw a few Koda folks right at 63rd and Grand and got a quick boost. That lasted all of 150m. My hamstring cramped as I went up the hill right before Classen Curve. I was in trouble. I stopped. Bent over and stretched out my right hamstring. I was nervous to get going but this has happened in several of my other marathons as well. That first step is questionable but afterwards, things get back to normal. I was thankful that it was the case this time around.
  • Mile 20-23 – This stretch of the race is kind of boring. This is where I almost broke down completely the first time I ran OKC. I was on the verge of tears having to walk every quarter of a mile or so. Having to walk by all the spectators cheering for you was miserable. I wasn’t walking this time, but I was slowing. I saw a few more people from Koda that lifted my spirits a bit. Taylor, a guy in my Endurance class, ran with me for a little bit. I was glad to have someone to talk to. I was 2 hours and 45 minutes into the day. I was ready for it to be over. At mile 23, a little girl was handing out candy. I had candy during my marathon for my Ironman and it helped a ton. I grabbed what I thought was going to be Skittles but instead it was two Starbursts. I’m not turning around for Skittles. I opened up the candy (which took what seemed like half a mile because the wrappers on wrappers on wrappers) and as always… a yellow and an orange. Never had I enjoyed a lemon Starburst more. For the next 3 miles of the race, that’s all I wanted. I needed that yellow Starburst.
  • Mile 24 – 5k LEFT!
  • Mile 25 – I ran up one last gigantic hill that was the last struggle before the homestretch. Right as I turned towards the finish line, there was a large Koda group cheering/drinking. It was exactly what I needed. They said I looked good at the turn for it being 25 miles into a marathon but I felt like garbage. Only 1 mile left.
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  • Mile 26 – Running down Broadway is the best. I was pushing 3:30 but was needing to sprint in order to make it. I was content with not making 3:30. I kept running. Smiling the entire way down Broadway and to the finish line. I didn’t hear my name but was very excited to cross the finish line, get my medal and grab as much food as possible… except the Carl’s Jr. burgers. I knew what those would do to me.

I had to walk back to my car from the finish line… about another half mile. It took me longer to walk that than I imagined it would have when I parked there. I didn’t necessarily train for a marathon but wanted to prove to myself that I could get up and run one if I wanted to and that’s exactly what I did.

I remembered more from this race than any of my other races. It was a different experience and one that I’d welcome any day of the week when it came down to running marathons. Running to run is fun sometimes, but running to remember was way more exciting. We had over 40 people run some part of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and seeing all those people finish their legs of the relay, finish their half marathons and finish their full marathons made me so proud to have been some part of their journey.


Posted in Old Blog, Race Recap

Marathon Eve

On the eve of the 13th Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, I have quite a bit going through my mind. However this time around, none of it is about me.

Typically, I am thinking about my race, my plan, my goal. This is new to me. For the first time in my endurance life, I am so excited for others. For the past 5 months, I have been coaching and training an incredible group of people from Koda CrossFit. We have over 40 people running some part of the race tomorrow. 5Ks, 10Ks, 12Ks, Half Marathons and the Full Marathon. We even have two people in California right now running the Big Sur Marathon (jealous!). For those that don’t know, I had always wanted to pay it forward in the endurance community. I did most all of my training for my marathons by myself and even my Ironman. For that one, I did have a coach from afar. I wanted to be that person for others. I wanted to share my knowledge, my pointers, my failures so other people could learn from me and I’d be able to be a part of their journey. I finally got the chance to do that this year.

I am running the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon for the 2nd time and this will be my fifth marathon overall. I have enjoyed it more this time around I can honestly say. The first time I ran it, it was my first marathon. I was overweight, new to the running scene and was clueless as to what would come next. I focused on the running aspect. This time around, I focused more on the why aspect of this marathon. Today, my roommate Cole and I went downtown and walked around the Oklahoma City National Memorial. We saw the chairs, saw the Survivor Tree, saw the notes and letters and stuffed animals on the fence outside the Memorial. It was very overwhelming to see everything on the eve before the race that was put in place to remember the victims and the coming together of a city.

I want people to remember this race as a huge accomplishment in their life but also to take everything in. I want them to listen to people. I want them to listen to the cheers. I want them to talk to people. I want them to read the signs. Read the bibs and see who people are running for. I want everyone to feel the 168 seconds of silence. These are things that I missed my first time around and things that I will not miss tomorrow.

Seeing the Memorial today and having a flood of emotions run through me as I remembered where I was and what I was doing when the bomb went off on April 19th, 1995 was incredible. It made me proud to be a part of this city and to be a part of a city that built itself up from that horrific day. It also made me proud that I was able to share my running experience with others and will be able to see them cross that finish line tomorrow and receive their Finisher’s Medal.

My first OKC Memorial Marathon, I didn’t think of it as a Run to Remember but more as a run for me. This time around, it will be for others.

Posted in Old Blog

Race Week

You’re trained. You’re ready. Don’t mess this up.

There are alot of questions going through your mind right now as race day is quickly approaching. If it’s your first race, there are even more. First thing you have to do is know that you’re ready. The work has been put in. If you happened to go at it with a little more lax attitude and you’re a little more worried this week, be happy with the work you did put in and don’t overdue it this week. That goes for you all that were able to stick to your training plans and are fully prepared for race day come Sunday. Don’t go nuts this week.

Be sure to stick to your normal schedule through Wednesday. Work out normal. Eat normal. Drink normal. Don’t repeat Open Workout 13.3. Everything you have done since December in preparation for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, keep doing it. Thursday, if you’ve worked out pretty hard through Wednesday, think about taking a rest day from everything. Come in for some mobility. It will be a light day at the gym for this reason. Friday go out for a run… 2-3 (slow) miles. Saturday – keep it easy: mobility, maybe a short run. After Thursday for sure, I would take a break from everything legs at the gym. Substitute if you have to during workouts. No heavy cleans or 4×7 back squats. Take Saturday to get your things in order and get your mind right. Know your race plan and how you’re going to tackle your 13.1 miles or 26.2. Go to bed early on
Saturday night.

Race Day: Try your best to have a good night of sleep. Let your mind be at ease and take Saturday to make that happen. Wake up early, early. This won’t be hard if it is your first race. Eat your (good) breakfast. If you’ve practiced your breakfast on any of your training runs, stick with that. Don’t change it up. If you’re regular, that’s going to be good on race day. You don’t want to have any surprises while running…. we’re talking BMs here. Get down to the race area with plenty of time. Be prepared to do some walking beforehand because parking is limited. Have a plan on where you’re going to meet your group afterwards too because you aren’t going to want to walk too far after you cross that finish line. If it is cold in the morning, bring/wear clothes that you don’t mind throwing away. They’ll be picked up afterwards and donated. It is crowded at the start. Don’t be scared to spread out a bit and get your (dynamic) stretches in.

Once the gun goes off, you’ll want to take off fast. DON’T. It’s very, very hard to slow yourself down that first mile or two. Know that it is tough and do everything you can to stick with your plan. Everything is there for the same reason. People are excited. The atmosphere is incredible. Going out fast once you’re able to is easy to do. Try to not let that happen. It usually is jammed up at the beginning. You’re going to feel like you’re going really slow if you’re in the middle or towards the end of the start. Don’t panic. You’ll have plenty of time to make up that time if you got caught up in the crowd. You don’t have to pick up your pace at the first because of that. Have small goals throughout the race. If you have friends and family coming out to cheer you on, have them plan where they are going to be to let you know. Seeing people you know is so huge during a race of this duration.

Wear your name on your shirt. Take your nutrition. Drink your water. Rock out to your tunes. Enjoy the race. Remember why you are there running. Take in the experience. I ran the Chicago Marathon and I don’t remember any of it except for maybe 3 parts of the race. It lasted 3 hour and 30 minutes and I remember 10 minutes of it… maybe. Take in everything you can while running. Think back on your training and how much you worked for this moment. Remember the people cheering for you as you run by. Read the signs people make. Remember Gorilla Hill. Look at the houses when running through Nichols Hills. See parts of OKC that you may have never seen. Thank the volunteers handing you water and bananas. Smile as you run down Broadway towards the finish line. Wear your medal ALL day.

Posted in Old Blog

Fittest In Oklahoma

I’m writing this post still riding the emotional high from the Fittest In OK CrossFit Competition so forgive me if I begin rambling in the post writing run-on sentence after run-on sentence going into great detail about one of my greatest athletic moments and how I surprised myself at my first competition and how our gym, Koda CrossFit, is the greatest gym in OKC greater metropolitan area and so-on and so-on….

The WODs (Workouts of the Day) were released just days before the competition began. In CrossFit, you have to be prepared for everything when it comes to competition. I was nervous before seeing the workouts… I was even more nervous after the WODs were posted. My goal going into the weekend was to do well enough to make it to Sunday. The top 30 competitors out of 60 after the first 3 WODs would move on to Sunday. I was worried/nervous/anxious/excited/ready for Saturday to roll around and finally it was here.

WOD #1: Overhead Squat Ladder – SC men: 75#-95#-125#
AMRAP 7 min OHS ladder (1,2,3,4,5,…)
The athlete will have three 2-minute rounds at 3 ascending weights.

I actually did this workout in the days leading up to the event and I did it poorly. This is the WOD that had me concerned. I was able to watch the first couple of heats and I had a game plan going into it. Knock out as many as I could the first round with 75 lbs. on the bar without stopping. Try to do the same with 95 lbs. and then just struggle and hopefully get a few with 125 lbs. I surprised myself on this one. I completed 8 or 9 total rounds with 75 pounds, 1 or 2 with 95 on the bar, and then I was only able to get 4 or 5 reps with 125# which was 4 or 5 more than I was able to do in “practice.” I finished 11 total rounds for a total rep count of 66 which was good enough for 21st out of 58 competitors. I was in the middle of the pack going into WOD #2. Jared Muse, owner of Koda, completely demolished this workout with a total of 84 reps, which put him in 2nd place after this one. He held on the entire weekend doing solid in each event for an impressive 4th overall finish.

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WOD 2: Tabata Mix up (:20 on, :10 rest for 4:00)
Tabata row (for calories)
Tabata jump rope (single unders)
Tabata thrusters (45#)
Athlete will complete 8 rounds of each movement, and the lowest score recorded is your score for that event.

I felt comfortable in this event. I didn’t know how well I’d do because there were plenty of strong athletes at the Fittest In OK. I started off quickly on the row busting out 10 calories each time for the first 2 times. I didn’t know if I’d be able to hold that pace every time and sure enough I wasn’t able to. I dropped down to 9 calories for the next 4 rounds. That 3rd minute killed me. I got to 8 calories the next time and barely made it to 8 on the final row for a final score of 8. We had a minute transition to get to the jump rope mat and get ready. I went with a different approach to this one. I decided that I’d “run” my jump ropes rather than both feet at a time. This proved to be beneficial for me. My lowest total was 43 and I stuck with it. Next were thrusters. Thrusters are a movement where you go into the squat position and “thrust” a barbell overhead when coming up. The first round, I did 13 total reps. The judge said, “that’s a quick pace.” I agreed. Next 20 seconds, I did 11 with 3 seconds to spare. The catch on this event was that we couldn’t put the bar down. We had to rest it somewhere that was not the ground. I decided that on my back would be a good spot. So with 3 seconds left in each round, I would have just completed my 11th rep and I’d throw the bar on my back. I kept that same process the entire round of 4 minutes and finished with a score of 11 thrusters for that section. I finished 3rd overall in that event which moved my position up to 7th after 2 WODs.

WOD 3: Death by KBS
9-12-15-18-21-24-27-30-Max Effort
Each minute athlete must complete reps for that round.

I had no idea how I’d do in this event. I can do kettle bell swings, but I knew that this was a lot of them.

This was the one negative I encountered throughout the course of the weekend. The heat before me, someone ripped and there was blood all over the kettle bell. The judge told me not to touch the kettle bell. I was OK with that. One of the guys that was putting on the event came over with some napkins and a bottle of water and proceeded to wipe down the bell. He said it was good to go. Apparently, they didn’t have any cleaning agents in the building and thought water was good. If I’m going to contract something, I want to do it in a fun way and not at a CrossFit event from an unknown guy through a kettle bell. Some other competitor said he would use it and I switched spots with him. Away we went.

Our nutrition guru and coach at Koda, Chad Hamilton teaches a breathing pattern when doing KBS… breath in on the way up when your chest is open and exhale as the bell is coming down. I focused on this pattern the entire time as well as on a small circle on the mat ahead of me. I got through 21 just fine and 24, it began to get a little heavy. I made it to 27 with some time to spare and next up was 30. I did each round unbroken with legit reps really thrusting the KB up over my head. I was completely zoned in by this point. I kept the same pace through the 30 and made it all the way with a few seconds left on the clock. THIS is when things got awesome. I was the only one to make it through 30 in my heat and one of 3 total to do so in the scaled division. I walked over to the chalk bucket, chalked up and made my way to my kettle bell. Everyone was focused on me. I was focused on the kettle bell. I made it through 15 reps unbroken and set the bell down. A Koda teammate, Jarred, was next to me and counted me down to pick up the bell, “3, 2, 1, go!” I picked the bell up again and began to swing. My grip was done by this point but I knew I had only seconds left and kept going. The crowd was going nuts cheering for me. Most everyone in the building was watching me and yelling for me. The guy in front of me came back to cheer for me and count down the seconds. He himself made me do an extra 7 swings because I wanted to be done but I couldn’t be done until time was up. I did 26 swings in the max effort extra minute. When I was done, I dropped the bell and walked 20 feet straight forward trying to catch my breath. People were still cheering and I heard Emery yell, “Take your shirt off.” How that was the only thing I heard, I have no idea. It was incredible. At that moment, I felt on top of the world and in all honesty, it may have been a better feeling than my Ironman finish. Afterwards, people were coming over to congratulate me on my effort. I won that event and that moved me up to second after Day 1. I made the cut and moved on to day number two.

I had two dinners that night and was in bed by 10. I could have and probably should have been asleep by 8, but 10 it was. I woke up and prepared myself for the day. I knew this next WOD would be a tough one for me. I have my endurance pretty well in check but my strength needs improvement.

WOD #4: Triplet
15-12-9 of
Hang Power Clean
Ring dips (all other divisions are push ups)
Sandbag + Farmer carry shuttle run (30’)

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Being in 2nd place has its advantages. I was in the final heat along with 3 other Koda-ites, Jared Muse, Brice Collier and Matt Chandler. Jared and I were in the scaled division and Matt and Brice were Rx. I needed to post a decent time in order to make it to the next WOD. After WOD #4, the field was cut from 30 to 6. My goal was to do each round unbroken and keep a decent pace. I completed that goal but I did get No Repped a time or two on both my hang power cleans and my push ups. I ended up finishing the event in 3:41 seconds… putting me in 7th(!!!!!!) place after that event. I didn’t make the cut.
This was my first CrossFit competition ever. I had no idea what to expect or how I’d handle everything. I came out of it knowing what I need to work out. How to approach events, mentally and physically, and how I can surprise myself still. I’m not the biggest guy out there but to know that I can hold my own (in the scaled division) with really great athletes all around me is an awesome thing.

#TeamKoda was amazing all weekend long. A ton of members came out to cheer both days and show their support for our athletes. Koda had two Top 10 finishes in both the scaled individual and Rx individual. We had a team, the Sexy Exes, win the Scaled Team division and our Rx team finished 5th overall. Koda is incredible and I am so glad to be part of this amazing gym.

I may not be the “Fittest in OK” this time, but I am probably top 3 “Sorest in OK.”

Posted in Old Blog

Weekend Update

We’re two weeks into January and things have picked up quite a bit. Koda Endurance has expanded to 4 classes a week (5:45am and 5pm on Tuesdays and Thursday) up from its original two classes a week in December. We’ve seen some awesome improvements in form and in time from all of the athletes. Koda now has a Koda Crossfit Endurance Facebook page so go on over there and check out what we’ve been up to.

With another calendar year upon us, so are health/fitness challenges. This year is no exception. I’m currently in a 6 week paleo challenge. I’ve been going strong for 14 days and yesterday, I had a moment of weakness… I blame birthday parties and carrot cake cupcakes. Since the beginning of the challenge, I’ve seen dramatic changes in the way my clothes fit and the way I look in the mirror. My energy level has increased as well. Last weekend, I did a 10k run and I nearly died. Energy wasn’t there at all and I struggled from the word “go.” This past weekend, I ran another 10k and I felt incredible the entire race. I have been eating really well. Avoiding legumes, dairy, bad carbs, eating only meats and vegetables. I have yet to have a coke in the new year which for me is impressive. One more month of the challenge and once complete, I’ll post before and after pictures. I hope there is a big change.

This past Saturday, a group of us ran the first race in the Frozen Nose Series, the Elvis 5k & 10k run. I ran the 10k and I was a little nervous. I have a reputation to keep, you know, and I have never ever raced a 10k. I’ve done one 5k race and that was in November of 2010. The only other races that I have competed in have been marathons and an Ironman. The race lived up to its name as it got really cold overnight and we had a heck of a north wind for probably 4 miles out of the 6.2. I ended up going out fast like I typically do because I can’t go slow out of the blocks (has gotten me in trouble in the past). I held on for a 41:28 finish with a 6:42 pace. I was 1st in my age group and 4th overall out of 90 or so. We had 13 all together from Koda come out and race. 4 of us received medals and all 13 finished! It was great race, apart from the cold, and I am kind of looking forward to running in another one of these races.

Sunday, I had my first crossfit “competition” in the OKC Metro Competitor’s League. The workout was a 400m run, 50 box jumps, 50 toes to bars, 400m and once that was complete, a deadlift ladder. I was in heat 7 and had some sort of game plan going into it. I was able to watch everyone before my heat and learned a few things from them. I was the first in the door on the 400m run. I knocked out 50 box jumps pretty easily and was the first off the box jumps. Once I hit the toes to bars, I planned on doing sets of 5 and hoping to get to 50 with a relatively quick pace. That went out the window after the first set of 5. Those toes to bars killed me and by the end of it, I was doing sets of 1. SETS OF ONE! It was humbling and pretty demoralizing. I completed the workout in 10:36 and was onto the deadlift ladder. I only made it to two stations completing the 315 DL but failing the 365 DL. I am really glad that I participated because it kind of gave me a taste of what to expect at the Fittest in OK Crossfit Competition that I have at the end of January. I have some work to do.

Posted in Old Blog