Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday workout & thoughts on working hard: sometimes it's about getting 7 out of 10

Today was Turkish get-up day: singles with 16 kg for 5 minutes, working continuously, per the ETK Program Minimum. That works out to being only about 10 get-ups total because I like to move very slowly and deliberately through these. Well, maybe I should rephrase: I must move very slowly and deliberately through these, because otherwise I will end up losing control of the kettlebell and possibly putting a dent in the floor. Or my head.

After my Ordeal By Get-Up I decided it would be a good idea to start working on high pulls with the 16 kg. First I did a set of 1-hand swings, 10 to the right and 10 to the left, just to get in ballistic mode. Then I did sets of 5 high pulls to each side, beginning every minute on the minute for 6 minutes. Those felt pretty good, so much so that on minute 7 I decided to try doing a set of alternating high pulls and snatches. One high pull, one snatch, and that counts as one rep. I did 5 reps on each side, and felt challenged enough that I decided to stop there rather than pushing my luck and going for another set. Since I still had a little energy I did a few sets of swings for 20 reps, with 15 seconds rest between sets. I am definitely getting more comfortable with the heavier weight. I just wish the handle of the kettlebell wasn't quite so thick!

And now for my thoughts on working hard: I certainly am not opposed. I enjoy taking on physical challenges, and sometimes an all-out effort just feels right. But there's a time and a place for everything. If I'm competing in an event, that's the time to give it my all so I can get the best possible score. But if I'm taking a pass/fail test, my usual inclination is to do no more than necessary to get a passing score.

When I took the Washington State bar exam 22 years ago, each question on the test was worth 10 points, and to pass the test you needed an average score of 7 out of 10 points on every question. So instead of trying to get a 10 out of 10 on each question I tried for a 7. It was a pass-fail test, and there was no practical reason to try for more than a passing score. So I didn't. I answered each question in as much detail as I felt was necessary to get me a score of 7, but I didn't try to explore every nuance. I paced myself, saved my mental energy, and made sure I had enough time to answer all the questions. When I found myself with a little extra time at the end I went back and added more detail where I could, but only after I had answered every question.

It was a successful strategy. I passed. I have no idea what my actual score was, only that it was good enough. That's what I mean by there being no practical benefit to a high score.

I think of the RKC snatch test in much the same way. I need to be able to snatch the kettlebell closest in size to 1/4 my bodyweight 100 times in 5 minutes. I would prefer to take the test with 12 kg, which means I need to keep my weight down. Using 16 kg would be more badass for sure, but if I don't have to use that weight it would be stupid of me to do so because by all accounts the 5 minute snatch test is probably the easiest thing physically that I will do all weekend. It's not a competition and I'm not looking to set records or impress anyone. I'm just looking to pass.

I'm going for 7 out of 10.