A PRogress Story

I’ve been making a lot of progress lately, and yesterday was a huge moment for me. It snuck up on me, just like a lot of progress does. I take small, steady steps and suddenly I’m somewhere else. Funny how they all add up, right? The Wendler strength lifting program I’m following seems to exemplify that. No one day is huge, but damned if I’m not making serious progress on my strength. (Stay tuned for a future “JT’s Lab” article detailing the Wendler lifting cycle showing my implementation and results. This is what I do: play around with my programming so I can help you folks with yours.)

On Tuesday, I RX’d the class workout at Fenway. Nothing crazy, but I made good time in it:
40 Pull ups
40 Burpees
40 Cal Row
40 Squats
That, plus a good Wendler Deadlift and Wendler Press. (I was eager to get after it after the holiday weekend.)

On Thursday, I did some Wendler Squats and went for a 1RM Push Jerk. The Jerk topped out at 80kg, which is good. I had maxed out around there eight months ago (see my old series or articles on the BWCJ quest), and then fallen off for a while since. I’ve been working to get back above that. Then Pat Padgett came in and egged me into joining him for a WOD of heavy cleans and awkward runs:
10 Heavy Power Cleans
100m MedBall Run (sprint carrying a heavy medball)
I chose 70kg – pretty darn heavy for me, but I figured I’d stretch. It was the perfect scaling, as the WOD came in at 8:12 – right next to Pat (who was doing 100kg).

So then Friday rolls around, and it’s DT.
12 Deadlifts @ 70kg
9 Hang Power Cleans @ 70kg
6 Push Jerks @ 70kg
5 Rounds For Time

Last time I even took a swing at this it was at 60kg, scaled appropriately. But just the day before I had cleaned that weight a whole lot of times, just fine… and I could jerk it at least once or twice… and there’s an 18 minute cap!

I might have scaled it down to 65kg, but something about that 18 minute cap and the extra 5kg and the memory of a Hero convinced me to stretch for it. (And after all, if I broke down on the cleans and jerks I could only struggle for 18 minutes.)

And so I entered the Hero WOD “DT” with ambition and an understanding that it might be a bit too ambitious for where I am currently. Turns out that it wasn’t; I finished DT as RXd in 17:18, just 42 seconds under the cap.

My last sets of jerks were 3 and 3. I felt good. Sore the next day, tired in the moment, but elated. In fact, I feel fantastic about this. I’m still getting stronger! I’m still getting faster! I’m making progress! But it was a conversation I had with Aaron Landes the next day that really brought another implication to light.

After the congratulations, Aaron told me a story about his first DT. He had made the first attempt at 60kg, just before we first met. Then 3 months later, he did it the first time as RXd, at about 19 minutes. A year and a half after that, he hit a new PR of 6:40.

Now that’s amazing progress. And, what struck me about it was that as I look at Aaron and see what a gifted athlete he is, his story tells me that 18 months ago he was where I am now. I am forced to acknowledge that I may only be 18 months from being capable of what he is doing, today.
I may be only 18 months from the strength and speed I admire in others.
I may be only 18 months from my own competitive shot at the CrossFit Games.

I am so grateful for that realization, and aware of the weight of that knowledge. I am grateful for all of you who share your own stories of growth and progress, because you mark a path that others can follow. Thanks to you I am conscious of my potential and know that I must consciously choose to grow if I am to fulfill it. Thanks to you I am invited to push harder, invited to work alongside you, invited to take those steps forward.

None of this happens accidentally, although all of it happens gradually. One step, one workout, one meal, and one sleep at a time I will stay focused on aligning my actions with my intentions… and one year later, I won’t have wished I had started today. I’ll be one year further along my path, instead.

  5 comments for “A PRogress Story

  1. Scott R
    July 12, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Great blog entry, JT… I almost missed it… any chance to move it to the “top stories” section. We’ve had the same 4 topics for months… this would be a great was to refresh it.

    • JT
      July 14, 2011 at 11:01 am

      Done, Scott. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. Francesca
    July 13, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Great post, JT. Congrats on the inspiring progress.

  3. Maureen
    July 15, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Way to keep pushing!

  4. September 20, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Wow, just wow! I’m stealing your last paragraph and reading it every.single.day. that I don’t want to get out of bed at 5:15am. Love!

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