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Smackhouse to Kipping Pull Ups- “You complete me.”

I’m hesitant to post this, but here it goes: On Friday, April 30th, 2010, I Sookie Smackhouse declare public victory over kipping pull ups.

I’ve been struggling with kipping pull ups for the 9 months of my CrossFitting experience.  I had the strength for dead hangs, but any time I attempted the kip I was told I looked spasmastic. I haven’t been complimented like that since the last time I danced publicly.

Over the last month, I finally got a pull up bar at home, and the CrossFit instructors at the academy have been extremely helpful.  Last week I completed a WOD with pull ups and realized afterwards I kipped all of them (and no one asked if I was having an epileptic attack).  I wasn’t sure if it was a fluke.  I used to dislike the people who mastered kipping pull ups with little instruction and who would then comment, “I just got it.”

I didn’t think I would just “get” kipping pull ups one day.  In fact, a world without my struggle with kipping pull ups might even be boring.  I’d stare at the pull up bar and the Batman geek in me would think, “I think you and I are destined to do this forever.” 

But today is victory day. It wasn’t a fluke. My kipping pull ups aren’t nearly perfect, but I “got” it. Today is the day I looked at the pull up bar and said, “Kill you? I don’t want to kill you. You complete me.”

Friday WOD

Pullups- 1 the first minute

2 the 2nd minute

Keep going until you can’t do no mo

16 rounds


Americans, Canadians, and Roller Derbians- I thank you

Have you seen the movie Julie and Julia? It depicts one woman’s quest to bake the entirety of Julia Child’s (depicted by Meryl Streep) 524 recipes in “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in one year and blog about her experience.  At one point in the movie, before Julie’s blog becomes nationally known, she gets excited that a reader leaves a comment on her blog (although the reader turns out to be her mother- which Julie laments, “Doesn’t really count”).

 The Fresh Meat Beat doesn’t garner many comments, but every now and then I receive a personal message relating to something I wrote.  Several strangers have told me about their own journeys with eating disorders, CrossFit, paleo, or passed along boot shining techniques. (Another reader from Canada, a self-confessed former bulimic, challenged me to a duel after reading this post . Bring it sister! Not only is your former ED inferior to mine, but you’re also Canadian!)

Friends, readers, Canadians- I just want to say thank you: it’s inspiring and usually surprising to me that other people read this blog and react to it other than my mother (thank you Mama Smackhouse for your readership).

Sadly, there are no plans in the works for Meryl Streep to depict me in a feature-length film– yet. Do you think she could pull off the fishnets for the roller derby scenes?


All I really need to know I learned in Roller Derby

Last weekend was the Naptown Roller Girl’s final home bout of the season, and our special guest was Indy’s Mayor Greg Ballard, who we dubbed “Power Ballard”.  I shook his hand at the 7th IMPD Recruit Class academy swearing in, but this time I met him as Sookie Smackhouse.  You can read about Power Ballard’s roller derby debut in the Indy Star.

I now have a season of roller derby under my skates, and in at least one aspect of my life I’m not quite so fresh meat. After spending over 500 hours of the last year on wheels, I would hope I’ve learned a few things.  In no particular order, Sookie’s list of “All I really need to know I learned in Roller Derby”:

  1. Don’t be intimidated- Dive in.  I’m not a very fearful person, but when I first started derby I had the heeby jeebies every time I stepped on the pivot or jammer line.  Diving in (literally) with my body overcame those feelings pretty quickly. There’s always the risk you’ll get hurt with most things in life, either emotionally or physically, but derby has reminded me to never be intimidated by anything or anyone.  
  2. Teamwork– The Naptown Warning Belles remained undefeated this season because we play as a team- as a pack. You can be an amazing individual skater, but you can’t block a damn thing by yourself. Thank you roller derby for teaching me again and again to work with others, and to skate my best because others are relying on me.
  3. Keep moving- I never stop moving my feet in derby. When I fall down (and it does happen often), I bounce back up.  To keep moving, you have to be motivated by something. In derby the motivation is usually kicking ass, in life I’m prompted by faith, hope and love. 
  4. Have a flexible plan– As a pivot, you call the play for the jam. That plan can pretty quickly go to pot- so you have to be flexible.
  5. Play with class– You can kick ass in roller derby and still be classy about it. I’m proud the Naptown Roller Girls is a family affair and that we generally treat our competition with respect. Officer Smackhouse plans on keeping it classy on the streets of Naptown too.



Kipping breakthrough

Monday- Helen

400 m run

21 KB

12 pull

3 rounds- 13:16

Tuesday WOD

Clean and Jerk 1x1x1x1x1x1x1

Thursday -Barbara

20 pull ups

30 push ups

40 situps

50 air squats

5 rounds- 3 min rest after each round- 28:02 Rx (and I just might have had a breakthrough in my kipping pull ups, but I’m not ready to declare public victory over the kip just yet)

Friday WOD

Deadlift: 5x5x5x5x5 followed by 3 box jumps

155, 185, 185, 205, 205


Badass of the week

This weekend members of our recruit class had the opportunity to attend IMPD’s 1st annual Women in Leadership conference.  Initially, I wasn’t excited to give up my Friday, but the day proved to be very inspiring and once again confirm how much I love this job.  Among the speakers at the conference were Chief Val Demmings, who is the first female appointed to serve as Chief of Police for Orlando and also Sergeant Jennifer Fulford.  I’m nominating Jen as badass of the week on The Fresh Meat Beat, an honor no less worthy than her National Public Safety Officer Medal of Honor. You can read her story here or this brief synopsis:

On May 5, 2004, Deputy Fulford-Salvano responded to a burglary in progress call after an 8-year-old boy called to inform the police that “strange men” were in his home with weapons and that he and his sister were hiding inside a van in the garage.  Deputy Jennifer Fulford-Salvano, first on the scene, entered the garage to check on the child and his sister who were still hiding in the family van.  As deputies took positions, two men emerged from the house and fired upon them.  Deputy Fulford-Salvano became trapped in the garage between two vehicles and the assailants who were firing on her position.  Deputy Fulford-Salvano then returned fire.  Although she was struck a total of ten times, including in her shooting hand, she was able to retrieve her weapon with her other hand and continue firing until both gunmen went to the ground. The assailants were apprehended and the children were kept safe and unharmed throughout the incident. 


Well, aren’t you a domestic princess!

I’ve been called many things in my life- a squirrel monkey, a clutz, a badass- but here’s a new one: a domestic princess. Last week I made a cheesecake for an Easter family gathering. I don’t think a single ingredient in this cheesecake was paleo-friendly. That being said, I ate it for breakfast and lunch the following day. A classmate noticed my “lunch”, and I commented that I made the dessert. Thus, the response: “Well, aren’t you a domestic princess.”

Domestic princessdom is one area I have not mastered, as demonstrated by an abbreviated list of things I don’t do well: wash dishes, do the laundry, iron, clean toilets, dust, regularly say  kind words to Mr. Smackhouse, serenade sweet melodies to mice, bluebirds and other woodland creatures, and all other princessy tasks a princess would attend to.  In an attempt to be crowned royalty, I am designating domestic chores to CrossFit status.  

Sunday shall be my domestic princess WOD:


10 Dishes/utensils washed (scaled for males: 3)

20 push ups

1 room vacuumed

10 pull ups

3 shirts ironed

15 Burpees

AMRAP 30 minutes

I never thought I would say this, but I would almost prefer Murph.


I am a squirrel monkey

After seven weeks of combatives training at the police academy, I’ve been told several times by other recruits that I fight like a squirrel monkey. These comments are intended to be complimentary.  Let me ask you dear blog reader-Would you be flattered if told after a fight that you resembled this cute little creature:

Surely there must be a more complimentary accolade for a vertically challenged female who fights enthusiastically?  How about “a Chihuahua with pointy teeth, but not quite a pit bull”, as another recruit described me. That doesn’t quite do it for me either.

In the past, I have been known to not take compliments well. If someone described me as cute, I would get upset because my height (5′ 2″ on a good day) always qualified me for cuteness, but rarely beautiful or sexy. The older and wiser Sookie has changed her ways, and learned to accept all manners of compliments, even being called a cutie-or a squirrel monkey. In order to accept this new, primate resemblance tribute, I did a little research on the squirrel monkey. Here are six reasons I’m willing to gracefully acknowledge this “compliment”:

  1. The brain mass to body mass ratio for squirrel monkeys is 1:17, which gives them the largest brain, proportionately, of all the primates. Humans have a 1:35 ratio. (Compliment taken- I am willing to be a smart fighter, although I need improvement in this area. I’ve got the heart, but I definitely need better technique.)
  2. Squirrel monkeys have a number of vocal calls, including warning sounds to protect themselves. (True- I’m pretty sure I grunt, swear, and make the occasional yeti call while I fight.)
  3. Squirrel monkeys’ small body size makes them susceptible to predators such as snakes and felids. (Also true-I have the bruises to prove I am susceptible to predators 2-3x my size. However, 5’2” does not an inferior fighter make. I’m learning alternate methods to accommodate- thus, fact #4:
  4. For marking territory, squirrel monkeys rub their tail and their skin with their own urine. (So if the single leg takedown doesn’t work, I can always rely on primate defense tactics.)
  5. Squirrel monkey movements in the branches are extremely speedy (I believe my blog readers are now familiar with my ninja prowess, not to be confused with my clumsiness. I totally meant to fall down on the mat; that was an intentional sprawl.)
  6. Female squirrel monkeys have a pseudo-penis they use to display dominance over smaller monkeys, much like the way the male squirrel monkeys display their dominance. (No comment)


Well geez, after fact number six, who wouldn’t want to willingly claim the ape compliment. Here it goes 7th IMPD Recruit Class- I am squirrel monkey, hear me, um, roar?


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