There is a business parable that goes something like this:

The junior executive wants to be more like Bob, the senior executive, who is very successful.  One day he asks Bob how he always seems to know the right decisions to make. 
“Wisdom,” Bob answers. 
“But how did you develop wisdom?” Junior asks. 
“Experience,” Bob replies. 
“But how did you get that experience?” Junior wonders. 
“Mistakes,” says Bob.

What happens when your plan A falls apart?  Plan B of course.  You did have a plan B, didn’t you?  But what if plan B isn’t working?  It’s mentally tough to stay in the fight when even your fall back position isn’t working.  Do you have a plan C?  Can you mentally keep it together and stay in it when even plan C becomes a struggle?

Pacing workouts is something I generally do well.  I’ve learned this the hard way of course.  I’ve been CrossFitting for many years and I do a lot of workouts every year.  As a result, I know my body pretty well and I understand how to approach most movements and movement combinations.  

But CrossFit is constantly varied and there are always new workouts and new movement combinations that test you in new ways.  Most seem familiar and after so many years I’m pretty good at reading them and understanding how they will test me.  But every now and then a workout will come along that does not fit into any of the familiar workout templates.  And from time to time I find myself, like a rookie, in unexpectedly deep water struggling to survive.

Of course I knew Peyton was going to be tough.  It looked tough.  I was worried about it.  And still I underestimated it.  I thought my plan A was reasonably conservative.  I would limit myself to one round every 2 minutes and rest the remainder of the time – total projected rounds: 10.  And that worked for round 1.  But as I stood panting during the 30 second break before my next set of 40 double unders, I realized that at only 90 seconds into the workout I was already in deep waters and 30 seconds would NOT be sufficient recovery time.

As I said, I’ve been around for a while so I didn’t waste a lot of time arguing with my ego about my expected score. Instead, I promptly threw out any thought of following plan A and quickly switched to a more realistic plan B: half a round (10 reps) every 2 minutes.  Now that seemed ridiculously easy and would net only 5 rounds, half my original goal.  But there’s no place in CrossFit for ego.  Ego will just get you wrecked.

Plan B might have worked had I not come out too hot in round one.  The problem is, once you go into oxygen debt, recovery is no simple matter and with 40 double unders required every 2 minutes there was just not sufficient time to crawl out of the hole I’d dug for myself.  Plan B survived one round only before the wheels started coming off.  I was 2 rounds, 6 minutes into the 20 minute workout with 14 minutes remaining when I realized I had to abandon plan B and all hope of a respectable score.

Plan C was an embarrassing proposition for an athlete with my experience and my skill in all 3 movements.  Five reps every 2 minutes.  But what’s more embarrassing is how hard I had to struggle to stick with plan C.  By this point recovery was not possible, every round I was sucking wind just trying to hang on to 5 reps.  I was killing myself just to get through another one and a half rounds in 14 minutes.  You read that right: I completed the first 2 rounds in 6 minutes then required 14 minutes to get just one and half more rounds.

At this point, spirit crushed, your ego jumps in and asks you what’s the point?  Why are you fighting so hard just to achieve a crappy score that everyone will beat?  Why don’t you just take a round off or drop to plan D so the suffering will end?  I’ve seen a lot of athletes fold and quit in the face of this internal conversation but what impresses me is how often they don’t.  Neither did I.  I stuck with pathetic plan C and completed 3.5 rounds somewhat less than the 10 I had originally targeted.

It was a humbling lesson.  And then there was the two mile run.  For 14 minutes I’d been looking forward to it but now I staggered out of the gym dragging my leaden legs behind me.  After 20 minutes of suffering they did not want to contribute at all to the effort so I had to do the first 1200m on will alone.   

After that, my legs began to revive.  Perhaps they felt guilty for quitting early because now my stride began to lengthen and my second mile felt great.  On the way up the steepest portion of the hill I even passed another runner who had been a block ahead of me at the start of the incline and I nearly caught a cyclist at the top of 8th & 8th.  So while my workout all told was a miserable failure, there was some redemption in the final 2000 metres of that 3.2K run.

I won’t say I enjoyed Peyton, I most decidedly did not.  But I am fascinated with it as a test and a lesson.  I do enjoy the way that CrossFit tests me and teaches me some hard lessons like: it won’t always go your way but sometimes at the end of the grind, if you stick with it, you might even discover a reservoir of strength that you did not know you possessed.  No matter how long you play this game, CrossFit will continue to find ways of throwing curve balls your way.  Mistakes are not things to be afraid of, they are great opportunities to learn about yourself and how you deal with a dose of adversity. It’s workouts like Peyton, much as I despise them, that furnish the mental fortitude to power through life’s various unexpected calamities (2020 anyone?).

All this to say, HeroWOD Payton is a doozy, approach with caution and a very conservative plan and get yourself mentally prepped for a grind.

Friday WOD
This workout opens with a set of double unders.  If you cannot get 40 done in under two minutes it will just turn into 20 minutes of double unders which is not the point.  We will give you the first 30 seconds to do as many double unders as possible.  Thereafter, that will be your number.  That will leave you 1.5 minutes for chest to bar pull ups and thrusters.  But you don’t want to work the whole time as you will need some recovery before your next set of double unders.  Pick pull up and thruster progressions that are fairly easy for you to fly through but be conservative in your sets.  Stop to compose yourself well before your next set (30-60 seconds recovery depending on your engine and recovery) of double unders or else you might find yourself in a double under quagmire from which you will never escape.  As for the run, you probably won’t be feeling motivated to complete 1, let alone 2 miles.  Flex your grit muscle and get out there and get it done. It’s not supposed to be easy. You can do the 1 mile route twice as I did or just follow 8th up to Discovery and then turn around.

Warm Up
1 min Skipping
1 min Ring Rows
1 min Skipping
1 min DB Front Squat & Press

Double Unders
Chest-to-bar Pull Ups
DB Thrusters

HeroWOD Peyton
20 min AMRAP
10 C2B Pull Ups
10 DB Thrusters
* every 2 minutes complete 40 DU starting at 0:00

Then run 2 Miles