If the Shoe Fits, Wear It

March 10, 2015

I took my first go at 15.2 on Friday afternoon:



For Master’s Women 55+, there was a subtle difference from the challenge for younger athletes, who had regular chest to bars: we were asked to do jumping chest-to-bar pull ups, which are really a different exercise because the power in the movement comes from the jump. My goal was to make 175 points, halfway through the round of 16’s. But I focused on the challenge of the #45 overhead squats, because when two of the top athletes at my gym performed it the day before, both of them mentioned afterward that they wished they had worn lifting shoes. With rigid soles and raised heels, these allow you to squat into a deeper position while maintaining a balanced upright torso, making these high reps much easier to perform. On Friday morning, I wrestled with the decision, and ended up wearing lifting shoes.

After just 10 jumping pull-ups on Friday, I almost quit because I could feel my legs fatiguing under the strain of jumping in my lifeless lifting shoes. By the second round, I knew, these shoes would feel like concrete boots. But my stick-to-it-iveness would not let me stop. Instead, I continued to failure which came, exactly as I predicted. As the clock ticked toward 6:00, I failed 12 attempts to reach chest-to-bar (ouch) and fell three points shy of completing the round. My final score reached a mere 85 points.



Cement Shoes, Le Corbusier


I considered redoing it on Saturday morning and reserving the possibility of making a third attempt today. But instead I rested my arms, which were more wiped out than they should have been after so few jumping chest-to-bars—I’d had to compensate for my poor jumps. On Sunday, I went to the gym and practiced the rounds of 14 and 16 reps, ingraining the timing I needed into my muscle memory. Without the lifting shoes, I found that I could easily fit the number of moves (56 and 64 respectively) into the allotted 3:00.

This morning, I followed my usual routine. Wearing my minimalist sneakers, five of my squats were disqualified (or, in the lingo, I no-repped on them) because my hip crease failed to dip below parallel—something that is harder to do in shoes with a lower heel-to-toe ramp angle. But I came away with a score more than double what I got on Friday: 182. This puts me at 13th place for the workout and in 5th place in the Worldwide rankings. I can live with that.

Two down, three to go…

Marilyn Monroe. Photographer Philippe Halsman, 1958




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