Tuesday, December 4, 2012

All Good Things...

So after two and a half years of waking up in the middle of the night to get ready for 5 a.m. CrossFit classes, our merry bunch of early birds is abruptly disbanding. Turns out the gym has residential neighbors who aren't super-jazzed about being woken up by the sounds of barbells and grunting.

When I joined CrossFit Palo Alto in the summer of 2010, Steph was the only other person crazy enough to stick to a 5 a.m. schedule. But after a few months, we were joined by the Terminator. And then Mint came (and left). And Jackie joined, and Jason, and Jay, and Jake, and on and on, until there were 15 of us "regulars" in the class. 

Three days a week, these were the folks with whom I'd start the day. Half-asleep, I'd stumble into the gym, bedheaded and bleary-eyed, and spend an hour sweating alongside my fellow sleep-deprived nutjobs. It's not like we spent a lot of time chatting in class -- I'm not nearly awake enough to engage in intelligent conversation before 5:30. But our class had a great, supportive vibe, and the friendly competition kept me on my toes.

Could I have attended class at a later (and saner) time of day? Sure -- but I always looked forward to seeing the 5 a.m. crew. It's hard not to like the people with whom you've spent hundreds of hours over the course of the past 30 months, and it's the primary reason why I always set my alarm clock for 4:20 a.m.

But at least for now, the 5 a.m. class is kaput. Most of us are moving to crashing other classes, and the rest are finding other ways to lift heavy and move fast. I'm joining the 6 a.m. class along with a handful of other 5 a.m. refugees, so the silver lining is that I'll get three extra hours of sleep each week. And hopefully, we'll get to drop our weights without fear of the cops getting called.

Last order of business? The 5 a.m. class's two final workouts:


On Wednesday, we practiced Zercher squats -- a favorite of mine. Even better: This is a strength skill that doesn't require the use of my wrists, so my injury was irrelevant. (And yes, I'm still -- STILL! -- on the mend.) We also got a metcon that I didn't have to modify: AMRAP in 7 minutes of burpees.

The workout required that we jump and stand atop of a 45-pound bumper plate at the end of each rep. I did the burpees on my fists, and kept a fairly steady rate throughout. I was aiming for 100 burpees, and despite my best efforts to accelerate towards the end, I ended up one short. 

Result: 99 as RXed. So close! Still, I'm pretty happy with my score -- especially given that it took me almost a minute longer to complete 100 burpees last year.


I had much more trouble with the assigned movements in our final 5 a.m. workout. While the class practiced strict barbell presses, I had to settle for kettlebell and dumbbell presses. And the metcon looked like this:
  • 15 chin-ups
  • 10 wall balls (20lbs / 14lbs)
  • 12 chin-ups
  • 15 wall balls (20lbs / 14lbs)
  • 9 chin-ups
  • 20 wall balls (20lbs / 14lbs)
  • 6 chin-ups
  • 25 wall balls (20lbs / 14lbs)
  • 3 chin-ups
  • 30 wall balls (20lbs / 14lbs)
I can't yet catch a wall ball without destroying my wrist, so I did thrusters with a pair of 15-pound dumbbells instead. And I did the chin-ups from a pair of Olympic rings to reduce the strain on my wrist, too. Looking back, I'm glad the chin-up ladder was descending; by the end of the workout, my chin-ups were ugly and slow.

Result: 7:48.

With any luck, the 5 a.m. diaspora will be short-lived. But who knows? I suspect I might get used to the extra sleep...