What a weekend! It's taken me a little bit to wrap my head around everything, but through it all I have to say it was an damn awesome three days. I'll get to the details in a second, but I'll throw out the highlights right now! Oh, and I'll also post up a string of pics and links after this post as well do you all can get a taste of the enormity of what CrossFit has become. So, on to the highlights!
I met CrossFit founder Gerg Glassman. I spent time catching up with friends and CrossFit greats such as Christy Phillips, Gretchen Kittleberger, Jen Jones, Ben Smith and so many others. I connected with an absolutely AWESOME group of bad asses: The Outlaws (Reebok head honcho and ex-NFL stud Don Hasselbeck told me we were like the Raiders of CrossFit, now that is pretty damn cool). We proved that we are right there, all of us on the team, right there with the to competitors in the world. We could taste it all weekend. Man, writing about it now is getting my heart rate up again, so I'll get to the details now.
We showed up Friday morning to the massive venue next to FedEx field where the Redskins play. Checked in, found ourselves a spot in the "Athletes Village" (where all the athletes hung out, ate food, recovered and so on), and pretty quickly had our four teammates getting warmed up for workout 1. My teammates were: Laura Nielsen (Coach Rudy's wife and one time Games competitor), Courtney Modecki, Lindsey Adkins, Tyler Degenhardt, and Tony Mayo (our two backups were Colleen Sullivan and Thomas Hansen). The first workout was a ton of heavy deadlift with handstand push ups and Tony, Tyler, Courtney and Lindsey were up for that one. They did very well, running about as smoothly as we hoped and gave us a 6th place finish to start off the weekend. The next workout called for myself, Tony, Courtney and Laura, and was all about the order we went in. It involved a 1000 meter row, 25 pistol squats and 15 hang cleans with a crazy heavy weight. I started off with a fast row, then it was all about just getting through the rest of the exercises without causing any sort of bottle-necking (the second I got off the row, the next person jumped in and began their row, then they could move on to the pistols only if I was already done with them). We went exactly as planned and while we would have liked to finish in the top 3 on this one, we ended up with a respectable 8th place. We were in 6th place overall after day one.
Got some good food and sleep and we were back bright and early for another day of beatdowns! Tyler and Laura took on the 3rd workout, dumbbell snatches and sprints, and they gave us a 7th place finish, bringing us down to 4th place, and only 8 points out of a qualifying spot to the Games (the top 3 teams would go). A couple hours later we were warming up for the 4th workout and the final workout of the day: 75 squats, 50 pull ups, 25 shoulder to overheads (then same reps with front squats, then overhead squats. Oh, and that is just the girls. Then the guys would go do the same thing. It was a lot of reps to say the least!). Myself, Tyler, Courtney and Lindsey took on this one, and again, we were hoping for a top finish with our abilities. We went pretty damn smooth all though this one and only had 1 or 2 slip ups. But those were enough to push us down to a 6th pace finish, still damn good though. We moved back to 5th place, but we had advanced 2 points closer to a qualifying spot. So, we had the Games in our reach going in to the final day and final 2 workouts.
I had an awesome dinner with Lindsey, my brother and his girlfriend, then hit the sac to rest up for our big push. I can't lie, the energy in the arena that final day was freaking insane. You could feel the tension of the team battle going on for 3rd, and you could feel that same tension going on with the individual competition as well. It was crazy exciting! The snatch ladder to start the day would prove to be one of the most exciting events to watch. Team Outlaw again had a respectable 6th place finish (with Tony Mayo hitting a huge PR to help bring our score up) but it was some other teams that just put on a clinic. Some girl from CrossFit Wilmington hit the 185# snatch and is the only girl in any Regional to even come close to that weight, let alone hit it. It was so inspiring to watch. And of course, watching a little dude like Ben Smith drop under 265# like it's a PVC pipe just puts so much into perspective.
Anyway, we had a good bit if ground to make up in our final workout, and me, Tony, Courtney and Laura were fired up to get the job done. The workout was just a mess of exercises, muscle ups. barbell holds, wall balls, chin over bar holds, buddy carries along with a heavy dumbbell, partner box jumps, man it was crazy. Tony and I had a plan, and it was to to kick ass. Well, it didn't really turn out to go that way once we got to the wall ball and chin over bar holds. I suck at holding that position, and Tony was just spent at that point. We wasted so much time and energy trying to finish off all 60 wall balls that once we got back to the final SINGLE muscle up at the end of the workout, we both failed about 6 times before finally getting them with some crazy contortionist-like moves. We finally finished off and made way for the ladies, who just flat out took over. They cruised through the workout, finishing about 12 seconds before the cut-off and giving us a 7th place finish for the workout. Man! While we were just about the most consistent team in terms of placement, we needed to be consistent about one spot better each workout to have made it to the Games. In the end, there was a 3-way tie at 2nd place leaving us about 8 points behind those three teams. So close!!!
In the end, the teams who went clearly deserved to be there. It was an awesome experience to be there, and even better to be right there in the running for the top spot. I am so incredibly honored to have had such an awesome team and support crew to train with and workout with for this entire crazy journey and I would not have given all that up for anything. I generally feel like I tend to be a loner when it comes to training and competing, but I must admit, I am so very proud to call myself an Outlaw. And I know, for all my followers out there, I'm sure it looks strange to see me decked out in gear that doesn't have my name on it! Ha, it felt weird. But in all seriousness, I have nothing but thanks and pride in being one of the original 15 or so Outlaw Way exercisers, and while I wish I could have helped get the Team represent all us at the Games, I know we did an incredible job, and I could not be happier with the weekend. It was so cool to look up after that final workout and have a crowd of Outlaws cheering, offering high fives and hugs right there. it felt like I was part of a massive, bad ass family. And to make things that bunch great, Lindsey and my bro were there with their support. God what a great weekend!
And now, it's time to get back in the gym and keep getting better. Oh, and to cheer on the rest of the Outlaws already headed to the Games, and the ones who have yet to compete! No matter what happens out there with this new and insanely fast-growing sport, it is dam cool, and I am happy to be right in the thick of it.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
This past weekend I headed on up to Glen Burnie, MD to take part in the 4th annual Mid-Atlantic Hopper Challenge. Two days of workouts that nobody, not even the organizers knew what they would be! I was super excited to be a part of this one as last year I missed out going there with all my friends because Lindsey and I were freshly moved out West. I wanted to be a part of it so much that I actually followed them along on Facebook throughout the weekend, doing the workouts along with everyone, just Lindsey and me alone at my gym out West. Check out the fun HERE. After day 1 last year, I was actually standing in 1st place! Anyway, this year was different: I was here! And, I was about 3 months into my much more serious training program thanks to Rudy Nielson at Outlaw CrossFit. So, on to the fun! The first workout was drawn out of the hopper on Friday night and it was a doozy: 7 min. AMRAP of: 7 hang squat snatch 95# 7 full squat cleans 95# 75 ft. walking OH lunge 45# I was in a middle heat somewhere and I watched as the heats of guys and girls just tore it up! Some serious competitors were there such as Games vets Christy Phillips, Gretchen Kittelberger, Jeff Tincher (and I’m sure a few more…), so I began to get my game face on! Headed in to my heat it looked like the score to beat was Jeff Tincher from CrossFit Fairfax with 4 full rounds, 7 snatches and 1 clean. So, I just got after it. I was feeling pretty smooth with everything, just super winded! Got through 4 rounds with some good time, then came back in ready to go. Up to this point I had done everything completely unbroken. I got 6 snatches, then, being too eager to get to my cleans I lost my grip on the 7th snatch and it slipped out of my hand! I recovered quickly and got the rep, but had to dumb the bar before hitting the cleans. With about 5 seconds left I attacked the bar and got 2 reps in. Enough to get 1st for the event my 1 rep! Workout two was pulled: 3 min. AMRAP of: atlas stone ground to shoulder at 145#. Sweet! Now I haven’t done tons of stone work, but I’d like to think that spending the amount of time in the wilderness throwing around strange things would have me good and prepared for this sort of thing. After a good 20 minutes of brainstorming ways to lift the thing, I resorted to the age old “just pick the damn thing up as fast as I can until they tell me to stop” mentality. I saw some guy pull it off the ground 27 times, so I set my sights high at 30. I was feeling pretty strong, but heard the announcer yell 1 minute down as I hoisted up my 10th rep. At two minutes down I was at 19. I had to turn it on! That’s when I found the animal in me (something I plan on writing about later this week, and something I actually have a very difficult time harnessing) and just took off! In the last minute I was able to pull out 9 more reps finishing with 28 reps. Again, 1st pace overall by 1 rep! The final workout of the day was announced as 21-15-9 deadifts with 225# and box jumps at 20”. I got super excited about this one! Heavy deads and box jumps are generally my sort of thing! My goal was sub-2:30 and as I started I felt like I’d have a good shot at that time. I banged out the first 21 deads with relative ease and then just FLEW through the jumps! But then those second deadlifts really got me. I got them unbroken but they were slow. Again, got the box jumps super fast and then went all out for the final deadlifts. I got 5 unbroken before dumping the bar, then 2, then 1 and finally 1. Blasted through he jumps for a final time of 2:47, enough for a 3rd place finish overall. With that finish, I was headed into day 2 in 1st by an 11 –point margin! Spent a few too many hours making Courage Bars and food before hitting the sack for some wonderful slumber! On the way up to day 2 I read about the 4th workout: 3 minute AMRAP of strict pull ups. Well, I was actually super excited about this as well. From my experience, I have always thought I was really good at pull ups. Well, turns out I was a bit off in my knowledge of myself. I wanted to get 35+. I followed the strategy I workout with Rudy to get 15, 15 and then all out at the end, but after a perfect 45 second rest, I got about 5 before all of a sudden I had literally NO ability to get myself even close to a pull up! I was able to get 8 on that second round (with 3 failed attempts). Now I was a bit worried. After another good long rest I just gave it everything I had. My grip was completely fine to just hang there and try to get whatever recovery I could, but time ran out and I only had 27 reps. I still don’t know exactly, but I think that got me 19th overall! Holy shi.. All right, so, that was a bit of a bummer. But to be totally honest, it never really hit me until way after the competition was over. Again that fire I am searching for was just far enough away that I just kept on enjoying the whole event and relaxing before the final event. For time do: 7 hang power snatches 135# 25 pull ups 20 back squats 135# (from the ground) 25 hand-release push ups 15 squat cleans 135# 25 GHD sit ups 10/20/30 meter prowler suicide w/ 90# taken from your bar Holy hips and quads Batman! Well, I was ready to go. I had no idea where I stood, but I figured I’d just go all out and see what happened. I found out I was actually in 2nd place (this actually threw me off quite a bit, I was so far in first that I was shocked at how bad that 4th workout was!). Either way, I started this last one off with everything I had. I got everything unbroken except for one break on the squat cleans. I peeled off the plates and was first out to the prowler. I got the 10 meters out and back before Jeff Tincher inched past. At that point, with the knowledge that I know had two guys in front of me, I put every single ounce of energy into the damn prowler and just went. And guess what: it wasn’t enough to overtake them. I keeled over at the end in 3rd place. I have no clue what my final time was. I couldn’t recover at all! I even tried to just sit up after what seemed like 5 minutes and I couldn’t get myself to do that! I was done. I gave that everything!! So, with a 1st, 1st, 3rd, 19th (ugh) and 3rd, I ended up with a second place finish overall. Pretty cool! I have to give a huge shout out and thank you to everyone at CrossFit BWI for putting on such an awesome event. It was a weekend with incredible energy, fun workouts, and great people. This sort of thing was exactly what I like about CrossFit! All the volunteers and judges, thank you guys so damn much! To all the athletes: I met so many awesome new people, and reconnected with so many awesome old friends it made me so happy! I LOVE hanging around with like-minded people and I cannot talk more highly of a well-planned fitness event and how positive it is. And of course, thanks such to Rudy and everyone at Outlaw CrossFit. Even though I met most of them for the first time this weekend, and all my workouts are pretty much alone in my garage, I felt so confident headed onto the event, and even more confident with where I will be going from here in the hands of my coach! And of course, the passion all the athletes have at Outlaw is otherworldly; it’s incredibly motivating to be apart of that family! All in all a great time, I am sore, but was back at it today, gearing up for Sectionals; only 3 months away! I know exactly what I have to do! Never Stop, GET FIT. Josh Courage