Thursday, June 6, 2013

USA Weightlifting Level 1 Certification At The Olympic Training Center In Colorado Springs, CO

There is no way I can put into words the full experience of this past weekend at The Olympic Training Center. It was a whirlwind of information, food, inspiring athletes, lifts to perfect and impress others with, and new friends. AND FOOD. Lots of FOOD.

I'll start with my arrival; Thursday night I drove over to the OTC from my In-laws house to check in to the dorms and begin my weekend as an athlete. Yes, I was there to gain more training as a coach but selfishly, I just wanted the fantasy of training for the Olympics. Thankfully, I was thrust into athlete life upon hitting the dorm. Four white walls and three beds per room...with no potty. I found out I would be sharing with two other women and that left me a little anxious. I don't share well with others.
I was the first to arrive and I made myself at home putting my stuff on the best bed and arranging things on the chest of drawers in a most anal retentive way.
Here I am prepping to sleep with two strange women. 

Since I didn't have class until the morning, I headed over to the athlete center to figure out how food worked and to start my review of the course materials. Since I had a certification only days prior, I had not had much chance to look at the curriculum. 
The food at the OTC is your standard government issue food pyramid stuff. Lots of grains and dairy, but I was able to create a pretty tasty paleo meal from the salad bar and meat station. Everyone say YAY for asparagus and funny smelling pee!
They had cherry tomatoes. I love cherry tomatoes.
I was a little intimidated about eating with the athletes and maybe they would judge my choices. I stayed super clean. Then I noticed all of the Paraolympic basketball team guzzling soft serve ice cream.  Athletes do not eat clean. Most are just REALLY LUCKY!
The athlete center was beautiful and awe inspiring. And loud. sports were on every one of the 10 TVs in the area and almost everyone was engaged in some event or another. Athletes...

After dinner I went back to the dorm to look at Facebook for hours and stretch my hamstrings. Inverted wall stretches loosened me up for bedtime. By 11pm, my roommates still had not shown. I had hopes of getting lucky and having a room alone.
At 11:45pm I heard a rustling at the door and knew my luck had run out. I DID have roommates after all. Boo!! 
A quick meet and greet and we all turned in for the night. Awkward... 

It was a long night in the dorms my friends. Athletes must have more than the backpack full I brought along because my one pillow and faulty air conditioner did not supply me with comfort. By daybreak i was questioning the whole "ON Campus" thing. 

Class started at 8am so I booked it over to be first in line at the cafe. I like food a lot and I was hoping for eggs and bacon.
Powdered eggs were on the menu. Bleh...oh well, I ate them and the turkey bacon on my own and people watched the other coaches arriving to breakfast. I also noticed the fantastic spinach omelets they were carrying!! WTF?! 
How did I miss omelets with real eggs? Apparently, there was a grill station. Fail.

As 8am wandered around I got up to work my way to the classroom. I decided to follow the tall people. they are easy to keep in my line of sight. 
No one really knew where to go, but thankfully we did find the right place a few minutes after 8. 

Unlike the CrossFit Olympic Certification program with Mike Burgener, there was a lot of class time with this course. We spent about an hour in class with Coach Conroy (head of USAW drop) then it was time to do some practical with the no-weight bars.

I have to say, If I had not trained with coach B, I would have been lost. It was apparent, many of the others in my course had not had formal training in the Snatch and Clean and Jerk. The resident athletes in the course helped tweak a few of my little things and I practiced while some instruction went on with the less experienced athlete/coaches. I used some of the time to train my eye to the things I had been missing in my own lifts...and people watch some more.

THEN, it was time to see the big dogs in action. 
Im beginning to notice that Olympic lifting is for the small people. I don't think one athlete in the gym was over 5'7...very different from Crossfit. Jared Fleming was in the house front squatting 241k. girls half my height were snatching 95k.
Short arms and legs make it easier to lift so, sucks to be yours truly! Pulling weight three more feet takes skill too!

After the athletes, it was our turn.

Stop looking at my buttwink...

Snatch work was on deck first and I teamed up with a perfect match with a girl who carried a lacrosse ball in her backpack (soulmate!)

Querivin (Q) and I made fast friends and I was so happy to see her a bad ass! She had NEVER snatched before and was throwing weight up like she owned it! My kind of girl. we spent the rest of the day eating and taking videos of our crappy snatch receiving. Best evening I have had in a long time.

We may or may not have broken into the Boxing gym to find a pull up bar. Q is just learning about CrossFit and works in a Globo Gym. She Wods on her own and needed a little cleaning up in the kipping technique. 
I felt like a teenager out late on a Friday night...naughty, naughty.

Q and I also made fast friends with CrossFit Finrir from Lakeland, FL. 
solid  group of folks with a decent amount of sarcasm and humor to keep me entertained. I decided they would be my secret alliance.
If I was ever on the Island, this group would carry me to the million dollars people. Anitra, Olly, Jamie, and Q were the fast friends I was missing at my last cert.
Decent form too. You can tell Olly the owner of Crossfit Finrir cares  about correct instruction.

They were nice enough to take a few pics of me too!

But could not help but HAM IT UP

In between lifting and destroying the classroom. We ate. 
I had soda.
I had Ice Cream. 
I had a muffin.
No wonder athletes eat like crap...I WAS HUNGRY!

To wrap things up, I will say, I loved the people here at the OTC. I made amazing connections and am so inspired. I also have some great plans for programming and a clearer path with my coaching and what I want to do with it. 
Is it the best cert? NO. It was a little disorganized. We had to work around the athletes schedules. The course had not been taught in 5 years. There was a lot of class time and I hoped for more programming and teaching cues BUT, I was honored to be a part of it.
I had a once in a lifetime experience as an Olympic athlete/coach. I wonder what amazing things are in store for my future now that I have these experiences and people in my life. It was the best weekend I have had in a long time. I feel like I found a piece of me I was missing. I laughed a lot. I learned a lot. It was something worth doing. 

Next porn and Colorado Wods.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

My CrossFit Kids Certification Experience

Hi Everyone! Life has been crazy lately and so much has been going on. This past week I was lucky enough to be a part of two different and very special experiences starting with my CrossFit Kids Certification at CrossFit Verve in Denver, CO.

 If you didn't already know, Verve is co-owned by none other than the fantastic Matt and Cherie Chan. Mr. Chan just placed #1 in the South West Regionals and is going on to the games along with a huge list of amazing athletes from Verve.
Anyway, It was awesome to check out the facility and see what crazy success these two people have brought to the Denver area. I arrived early for the first session in hopes of getting in a lift but alas, the Regional competitors were finishing up there last workout before heading to SLC. No pics allowed, but It was impressive to watch! It did not however, keep me from snapping a selfie in the mobility area. BTW, the facility had really clean bathrooms.
This was my third CrossFit certification and I have to say, I have never walked out of a class with a question unanswered or a complaint in the least. The CrossFit Kids program did not disappoint. I learned so much from these very knowledgeable people. The cues given for the kids course was transferable to adults and seamlessly, I see the whole concept of our sport for every age group. I guess, If I had one thing to change, it would be to have the opportunity to get to know my fellow students better. I go to these things alone and always hope to meet new folks and make a new connection in the world. This one was a little lonely...maybe I scared them all with my shameless lifting display at lunchtime.

So here is the breakdown:
We focus on the 9 basic exercises that all Crossfit is created around. CrossFit Kids adds thruster as number ten so as to teach it as its own lift...something kids have trouble coordinating without specific instruction.
We played basic, low organization gym games I have used for years and twisted them to meet the needs and abilities of diverse student age and ability ranges. For example, we played dodgeball in different body positions like crab walks and knee level throwing. You are never out but gain exercises with each tag by the ball. By varying the stances and expectations across ability levels, we level the playing field so 7 year olds can play the game competitively with 12 years olds. I wish I had pictures of this super fun activity. It was over way before we lost interest.  FUN!
We spent a good bit of time in break out sessions practicing cues and standards of coaching. We broke down skills into successful variations. I plan on using these keys with my adult athletes too.
Throughout the day we would spend time in classroom learning about programming and various standards for different age levels. Being a nonconformist, I just could not sit in that chair next to people all day. I spread out on the floor and used that metal chair as my desk. I had a few followers so I know it was a good idea.

I'm never quite sure what to think of instructors as an adult student. Clearly we are the same age and in the same field of expertise. Then there is the student-teacher relation that I have always viewed as a wall much like the military views officers and soldiers. They just don't mix much or well. It never fails, there is always one or two people in the crowd that picks the instructors brain for minute details about some random related subject just to monopolize there attention. This makes me both CRAZY and a little jealous. I want to know our instructor and for them to know me too! I guess the monopolizer just wants some credibility bestowed by authority? What do you think? I spent much of the afternoon session spitting imaginary tissue wads at the monopolizer.

During lunch on both days many people went out for the hour. I feel this is a huge mistake at a Crossfit Cert. Not only do the instructors stick around and work out at lunch but THIS is the time they will talk to you like a real person! Mike Burgener and I had wonderful lunches together during my Oly certification simply because he loves to know people and I was the only one who stuck around. I shoved some Questbar and apple in my mouth and got my lifting done early in lunch so I could watch the action around me. I will admit, I am no better than the rest of the lunch crowd. I purposely planned my power cleans and jerk practice for the workout to complement my strength cycle (which was deload way could I just lift deload in VERVE!) I love making people a little scared with my best moves.
 All around me there were people strutting best moves too. And watchers...lots of watchers. The butterfly pullup girl was pretty good and her friend double under queen strutted 100 skips before a snag. Hotdog gymnast guy showed his bar muscle ups and rower dude pulled for a long time. It was a circus people. A circus.
It was pretty paleo and no peanuts were found in the stands.

As for the rest of the cert, it was so enjoyable. I got some great resources and programming ideas for our developing teen program and have been planning the summer kids wods everyday since.
I wish I could say I made those people connections and I walked away with some CF community spirit but I didn't. Maybe it was the group dynamic but I was left wanting more warm fuzzies than I got. Good thing that was not the goal of the certification.
 I know the kids in our community are going to be inspired and motivated by what we do and learn from our great mentors at CrossFit. I totally walked away with a head full of usable information and creative juices flowing into my wod planner. If you are considering taking this course, do it. Not for potential money sources in your gym or a new best buddy. This course is for our little people, and changing the old school methods that clearly never worked into experiences kids will hold onto throughout there lives.
Coming Soon: