I have written several posts about the challenges that I have had overcoming several obstacles as I prepared for my first CrossFit competition.
It has been a remarkable 30 days, as I have been forced to confront my physical weaknesses, as well as my mental roadblocks for many movements that I had either failed at in the past, or had never even attempted to do.
I have been blessed with a patient coach, Chad, who worked with me and my partner Julia with a couple practice runs of the various workouts.
We went into this blind. When we signed up we had no idea what the movements would be, so we had no idea whether either of us could perform them. Furthermore, we signed up as intermediate CrossFitters, instead of beginners. In hindsight I am very pleased that we did. This really forced us to take on a great deal in a short time.
What’s a great deal?
Well, in thirty days we began handling the Atlas Ball and getting it to our shoulders. We began dumbbell Thrusters. We started doing dumbbell Snatches. I had to increase my kettlebell weight by 50%. I had to learn to Box Jump 20 inches. We had to increase our Strict Press weights. I had to consistently match my PR for Power Cleans. We had to perform Pistols. There was a lot of stuff to either familiarize ourselves with, improve, or master in a matter of weeks.
Well yesterday was the day, and I am pleased to report that not only did I survive. We did well and we had a great time doing it. Most importantly, we’re still friends.
Before the game began, both of us seemed rather ambivalent about warming up, beyond a little light stretching. I did attempt to practice the 20-inch box jump, my biggest “it’s all in my head” issue of this whole competition. I failed, failed again, and failed some more. But then I pushed through it and I started to get on the box.
As we approached the line to begin at 9:39 I was remarkably composed. 3-2-1 Go! We were at Station 1 and I started doing Pushups. I’d knock of five, rest, Julia would knock off five. We would do each movement for 60 seconds, then move to the next station and begin again in 30 seconds.
Station 2 was Kettlebell swings, I’d swing the 53# ball over head for five swings, Julia would do the same with her 35# ball.
Station 3 was Single-Unders (Jumping Rope). I started and jumped until I failed, then Julia jumped until she failed, then I began again, etc until the minute was up. We did well on this one too.
Station 4 was Box Jumps, my mental nemesis. This is clearly a strong suit for Julia and a tough one for me. So Julia would jump four or five times and then rest. As soon as her feet hit the ground she’d yell at me, “Jump!” and I’d jump up on the box, secure my point and get down, so she could get back to work. Julia carried the team on this movement, and we knew she would have to.
Station 5 was Leap Frog. We just did a traditional school yard “one-over-the-other” jump and we did fine. Others had some rather creative approaches to this movement, but what can I say, Julia and I are traditionalists. Julia scraped up her knees pretty badly on this movement. I failed to mention that the mornings events were all outside on the asphalt parking lot.
Station 6 was Dumbbell Thrusters. Guys had 25#, Girls has 15#. Again we did alternating sets of five reps each. That worked fine.
Station 7 was Stone to Shoulder. Guys 75# and Girls 45#. Since we had practiced with a 95 pound Atlas Stone, these seemed rather easy to handle. We just took turns, I’d lift, she’d lift, etc.
Station 8 was PVC Partner Pistols, another one of my goats. But to my surprise and to Julia’s delight, I was able to pull off several pairs of pistols to give her a break now and then, and to ensure we secured points for the movement. This was another event that was very creative for some of the contestants.
Station 9 was a fun one, One-Armed Dumbbell Snatches. This was another new one to us, so we got a kick out of it. Guys had 40#, Girls had 25#. Again we followed the five rep alternation strategy and it worked well for us.
Station 10 was awful – Cartwheels. There was no way I was going to break my neck, back or hips for a single point. I did a couple attempts as I rolled ungracefully across the pavement, so Julia’s efforts would count on the scoreboard, but the poor girl tumbled up and down the parking lot racking up points, nearly at the expense of her breakfast.
We survived WOD 1. Then we had almost fours hours to wait for our next event. WODs 2 & 3 were back-to-back. WOD 2 was AMRAP 6 with 15 Power Cleans, guys at 115#, girls at 75#, followed by 10 Partner Plank Lateral Burpees. I was extremely anxious. My form with Power Clean is poor and therefore I have seldom lifted that weight successfully. Also I had never jumped laterally over a bar, let alone my trusting friend laying prone on the floor, until two weeks ago in practice. As a team we did well. I was amazed that I was able to Clean the bar, with only one crashed barbell, which happened when I hurriedly addressed the bar without setting myself up properly. Julia was quite surprised I pulled it off, even though she had been encouraging me for weeks (she had to be concerned that I’d blow it).
Then within 30 seconds we had to move onto WOD 3. Strict Press, 3 reps each to get a point on the board. Julia launched into it and was able to get 55 pounds overhead, and I was able to get 75#, then 80#. We stripped the bar back down to 60# and Julia struggled to get off another three reps under the two minute time cap. We survived my first competition.
The standings were posted on Monday evening. We had four teams competing, two at Level 1, and two at Level 2.
Chad & Tia placed 16th in Level 1
Mike & Nicole placed 18th in Level 1
Ron & Maria placed 11th in Level 2
Julia & I placed 29th in Level 2
I am most grateful for all the encouragement that I received to push me towards this goal. I am surrounded my some very generous friends at CF2a. Julia, you are a good sport partnering with me. Thanks so much for pushing me beyond what I ever thought I could do just days ago.