23.2 had an A and a B part. For A, we had a 15 minute AMRAP that began with 5 burpee pull ups, followed by 10 fifty foot shuttle runs. The second round was 10 burpee pull ups, but still 10 shuttle runs, and 5 burpee pull ups get added every round. At the end of the 15 minutes, the time for B began: 5 minutes to establish a one-rep-max thruster.

When I first heard the words “burpee pull up” during the announcement of 23.2, I felt a sinking in my stomach. I’m okay with burpees, and my pull ups are the best they’ve ever been, but I knew that would be a slow movement for me. Add in shuttle runs, and I was faced with another movement that I would not be able to go very quickly on. The one-rep-max thruster tacked onto the end of that 15 minute AMRAP was kind of neutral for me. It’s not my best lift, not my worst lift. At one point, I was able to do a 105 pound thruster, but I knew that I wasn’t going to get that this year. I’ve lost weight and haven’t yet been focused on building my lifts.

I did the workout on Friday at 5 am. I decided to do the Rx version of the workout, but not to push as hard as I possibly could. I wanted to use this as a trial run for Sunday’s workout, and I’m glad that I did. I didn’t think that I would be able to jump up into the pull up after the burpee, so I just jumped up to the bar and then did a quick, tight kip to get the pull up. The shuttle runs were a pain, but not as bad as I thought they’d be. Time consuming.

About 10 minutes in, I finally started to feel my way into a rhythm with the burpee pull ups. Slow, yes, but steady. The real problem was that it was very difficult to count my reps. One burpee followed by one pull up is one rep, but it takes me so long to get through the burpee that I kind of lose track of the number I’m on. Was that rep 12 or rep 13? Did I skip 11? I think I ended up doing extra reps, just to try and make sure that I didn’t do too few.

I didn’t make it through the set of 20 burpee pull ups, so I now had a goal for Sunday. But no time to think about that, because I needed to get my thruster. I had my bar set at 65 pounds, and I got that lift out of the way to establish something. Then, I added 20 pounds and went for 85 pounds. I got that, with some difficulty and about 2 minutes left on the clock. I loaded my bar for 95 pounds and gave it a shot in the final seconds. When I stood with the bar in the front rack, I could feel my shoulders round forward and I kind of threw the bar forward instead of pushing it overhead.

As I told one of the coaches on Sunday, I learned a few things from Friday’s run through. First, I should be wearing a running bra for the shuttle runs. Second, I knew now that it was possible for me to find that rhythm with the burpee pull ups. And finally, I knew that I needed to be more careful with my jumps on the thruster attempts.

I signed up for the 3rd heat again, and also showed up in time to judge the 1st heat. And it was a good thing that I had, because a judge was needed and I was able to step up and do it. Judging for this was pretty easy and straightforward. Burpee pull ups need checks at the bottom of the burpee (chest to the floor) and at the top of the bar (chin breaks the plane of the bar). The shuttle runs require three points of contact on the ground across the line, one rep being both out and back. I got a good sense of how things would go during that judging.

Then it was time to warm up while the 2nd heat was running. On Saturday, I’d watched a tips video that indicated jumping into the pull up was much faster, so I decided to try it with a chin up grip and see if that might work for at least the set of 5. Turns out my jump into the chin up wasn’t as effective as the video I’d seen. I wasn’t able to give as much of a lift with my jump, and finishing the rep with my arms and back was, well, slow. I still decided to do it for the set of 5, because I could.

The time for my heat came, and I got ready. I had a coach judging me, so I knew I didn’t need to worry about counting reps. I just needed to focus on doing good, clean reps. I told her my goal of getting past the round of 20 burpee pull ups, and she believed I could do it. I knew I would try my best.

I will admit, I felt like a total badass during that set of 5. I got it done pretty quick, but that was the only fast thing in the workout for me. After the 10 shuttle runs (more like shuffle runs for me), I started the set of 10 burpee pull ups with the jump to chin up. I got the first rep, but it was hard enough that I switched the quick, tight kip for the rest of the reps. I focused on being steady, spending as little time as possible swinging from the bar. The burpee pull ups went by pretty quickly, but the runs felt like they lasted forever.

I made it to the round of 20 burpee pull ups and grinded my way through every one of them. There was still time on the clock, so I started doing those shuttle runs faster than I’d done the entire time. I scampered my way through 9 and collapsed, lungs heaving while someone else took care of rolling my barbell out to the floor for the next part of the workout.

Well before I wanted to, I levered myself upright and made my way over to the 65 pound bar. I just went for it, knowing that weight was comfortable for me. I locked it out overhead and dropped the bar to the ground just moments before dropping myself to the ground. The rules allowed for other people to change your plates, so I just needed to tell my judge what I wanted for my next weight. I had decided to go for more reps and smaller jumps, so they got 75 pounds on. I got that one overhead with no issues, and they set me up for 85.

On Friday, 85 had been difficult, but on Sunday it went up pretty smoothly. I still had time, so I asked for 90. That went up as well, and there was even still time on the clock! So I asked for 95 and gave that a go in the waning seconds of the event. The rule for the thruster was that you could not lift the bar from the ground after the 5 minutes had elapsed, but if the bar was already off the ground, you could still execute your lift. I got the bar to my shoulders with about 6 seconds to go and waited for the countdown to finish so I wouldn’t get distracted by it.

The descent was fine, but as soon as I started to stand I knew I wasn’t getting that bar overhead. I felt myself lean forward and while I tried to rescue the lift, I wasn’t pushing it straight up anymore. I actually did come close to pushing it overhead by sheer force of will, but close is not the same as making it.

Still, I was happy with my score. I’d beaten Friday on both parts of the workout. And I even got some pictures out of it this time.

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