This past weekend I headed out to sunny Lodi, CA with most of Team Courage for a competition. While I was excited to get a throwdown in, I was mostly going there to get a good look at the Team and also be able to go over details with Mike Morales as he prepares for Regionals in a few weeks. I was coaching Mike, Justin, Andras, and Ryan, and helping/supporting Melissa, Dallas and Britney; it was an awesome group to be around! I have a lot to say about the day, so let's start with the basics and move along.
This was one of the most well-organized events I've ever been to. Everything was perfectly timed, the judges and volunteers were on point and energetic all day, the sponsors were filled to the brim and supplied a ton of support. There was great space for all competitors and spectators and there was a really good energy throughout the entire day. And that is saying a lot seeing how it was incredibly hot and there were easily around 200 people there in total. The workouts were pretty cool individually and supplied a good enough challenge all around, they were less of a test of general fitness, and more of a "who can survive the longest" type challenge. While I don't mind this sort of programming in the grand scheme of things, I really wish CrossFit gyms would take a little more time and effort focusing on TESTING athletes rather than coming up with "cool" workouts and kicking everyone's ass as much as possible. I don't mind getting incredibly sore after a tough competition, in fact, I think that should happen. What I do mind is overloading one aspect of the body (like 80+% front loaded, leg-dominated movements like this event and most that I've been to). In my opinion, if you overload one aspect of the body, you are clearly not testing the athletes and their general fitness, you are just beating up on them.
A point that should be made here is that we all received a comment from the organizers claiming that there was no prescribed/scaled devisions. So because of this we should expect to see NO high-skill movements in the first 3 workouts (examples given were muscles ups, pistols, and handstand push ups). Well, the third workout had both pistols AND handstand push ups. For the purposes of the event, seems kind of strange they would program movements after specifically saying they would not. Anyway...
400 m run w/ 15# plate
45 KB swings 53#
400 m run w/ 25$ plate
35 wall balls
400 m run w/ 35# plate
25 pull ups
400 m run w/ 45# plate
15 box jumps 30"
This was, well, brutal! Especially for an opening workout. My goal was to pace the runs easy and go for broke on the exercises. I thought I paced it really well, decidedly winning my heat. Unfortunately I must of been moving VERY slowly on my running because in the end I finished up in 23rd place overall with a time of 15:59. This crushed me, emotionally, physically, psychologically, everything. I felt like I was done after this and all I wanted to do was stop competing and just coach my athletes. But, I couldn't do that of course. Just had to fuel up, rest up, and get prepped for workout 2.
Bear Complex ladder (scored as: deadlift/clean/front squat/press/back squat/press - one point per movement for the first two bars, two points per for bar 4 and 5, I think four points per for bars6 and 7, five points (maybe?) for the 7th and 8th bars, and seven points per for the final bar. 9 bars in total starting at 95# and finishing at 245#)
The strategy was to accumulate reps/points through the bars leading up to the one that will be the biggest challenge for you. Don't waste reps as accumulating points was the goal. But pacing it so that you didn't burn yourself out. Dallas paced slow and was able to get 3 full complexes at 245, enough for the most at that bar. But he paced too much and accumulated too few points to finish 1st. I picked a good pace and never got over-tired. I got 2 full complexes at 245, plus a dealdift and with all the reps accumulated was able to pull off a 2nd place finish on that one. 23rd to 2nd. Dropped me to 10th overall.
4 min AMRAP of
10 overhead squats 115#
30 double unders
no rest to: 4 min AMRAP of:
4 pistol squats
8 front squats
4 handstand push ups
You're seeing the pattern of movements here, no? Anyway, the strategy here was to go balls to the wall for the first AMRAP as 1 round of the second one was only half the reps of 1 round of the first. The event was scored as total reps performed, so it was clear that getting as many double unders in there was the best way to score high. With whatever energy I had left I went ALL OUT. I just shut the brain off and kept moving as fast as my body would let me. This strategy seemed to do the trick as I was able to win this workout by something like 12 reps over the 2nd place finisher. All I needed was a good enough placement to get me into the top 8 to move to the final workout, and that performance got me to 5th place. Both good and bad I figured. Good because I was giving myself a shot at the podium. Bad because I was so beyond tired that I was very, very seriously considering dropping out for the purposes of staying somewhat healthy (something happened to my throat after that one and I couldn't swallow and was having trouble breathing).
Now this is where things got messy.
100 m stone carry 145#
25 m stone carry
20 axil bar hang clean and press 95#
20 m stone carry
10 x fill a wheelbarrow with 3 5# sandbags and dump it out
25 m stone carry
2 lengths sledge hammer "banger"
25 m stone carry
Somewhere in my brain I was excited for this, but my fatigue wasn't allowing it to come out in my normal energy towards workouts. I love stones, hammers, sandbags, all that, so I knew if I could actuality survive, maybe I'd have a shot at this one. We went in 3 heats of 3. The first heat went with Mike in it, and he was on a roll. He got through one length of the "banger" and was heading back when the 2nd place dude got to it. This guy proceeded to hit the banger once, then push it the entire rest of the way down its track. He then repeats this on the second length and ends up beating Mike by about 8 or so seconds. While there was no real standard set to this specific exercise, the entire female group went through it HITTING the thing like we all assumed you should. The guy who decided to push it, turns out he works for the company that MADE the damn things. Instead of being a stand-up guy and letting the event organizers know about this, he keeps it quiet and "cheats" his way to a good score. Controversy ensues. Now the event coordinator and judges gather around to figure out what to do for the remaining heats. They approach us in the second heat and lay out the standards: you are allowed to follow through on your strikes but NOT allowed to deliberately PUSH the banger down the track at all. They go over this multiple times with my heat, and the final heat.
I hit the workout with whatever I had left, and hit the banger exactly like they all very clearly and specifically TOLD us how to. The standard was set, I chose to follow that standard (maybe I'm the idiot here?). After I crumbled to the floor across the finish line, I was able to watch as the guy behind me CLEARLY and deliberately walked the banger down the track enough to finish both lengths in half the hits I took. Not cool. Not cool enough to make me go talk to the event coordinator (something I am generally not inclined to do as I know how mistakes can happen at events and generally just let things slide). There was a cordial back and forth between us and it ended with him sort of laying blame on HICFIT (the company that made the equipment). He acknowledged the mistake but seemed to miss the fact that even after they set a specific standard, people neglected to follow it and they did nothing about that. But it gets worse.
The final heat saw two athletes, from CrossFit Lodi (local affiliate to the event) literally WALK the banger down the track. To put this in perspective: I got each length in about 10 hits (that's about 20 hits total), and I would say I'm pretty good at that exercise with the baseball background and tons of sledge work over the years. These guys in the final heat got both lengths in 4-6 hits TOTAL! I was not a very happy camper. I ran to the event coordinator who was standing directly in from of these guys, literally cheering them on as they blatantly disregarded the rules and standards for the workout. I argued to no avail that this was completely ridiculous that this was happening. He agreed with me (?) yet did nothing. I suggested the obvious: make them return to the banger and do it correctly (like, exactly what any event does when someone performs something incorrectly). He said there was nothing he could do, and then in the same sentence said he'd take care of it and work it out (again, ?).
In the end, those two guys got 1st and 2nd in the event AND the competition. The guy who helped to make the equipment came in 4th behind me in the event. To be completely honest, I don't really care about my overall placement, I was happy that I got out of the damn day alive, and was even more happy to be able to see all my athletes and friends work their butts off. What I am not cool with is the obvious disregard for standards and following through. I don't care about missed reps here and there, people should expect that sort of thing nowadays in local throwdowns. But this is clearly a different situation. Literally doing workouts/movements WRONG is something I won't put up with. I know my protest doesn't really mean anything in the grand scheme of things, but if these guys have any integrity at all, they will VERY STRONGLY reconsider how they approach this sort of thing in the future.
What it does for me is continue to enforce how I run events, how I compete and train, and how I coach my athletes to compete and train. I won't put up with anyone who knows something has been missed and doesn't speak up. I won't put up with people, coaches, and event staff who have no integrity, and either don't put forth a solid standard, or even worse, don't follow through and hold to the standards they put forth.
I hope that athletes, coaches and people looking to put on events in the future read this and take the time and effort to take their own training and such a little more seriously. I hope that other athletes don't get screwed because of this sort of thing. I hope that everyone involved at "Vindication In the Valley" can read this and take the criticism in stride and actually make a change so this sort of thing never happens again. It's unfortunate they didn't take it upon themselves to do ANYTHING about it at the time. And I hope the athletes who chose to throw integrity in the dump and take advantage of that situation either make some personal changes and/or never compete again for the sake of all us who take pride in doing things right.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Last weekend saw the largest Courage Games to date. I'm not going to lie, I was a good bit nervous because i had designed things for a 2-day event but switched it all to one because of people getting nervous about the Super Bowl that would be played on Sunday. I knew the workouts would be tough for one day, but totally doable, and I knew all the athletes would be fine. All I was nervous about was timing everything. In the end, we went over by just under three hours! But, so many people stayed all the way to the end, and I must say, all in all the day was a huge success. Let's recap!
Well first I want to make a few shout outs. First off, CrossFit San Mateo. Co-hosting the event by letting us all in their awesome gym was huge. It would have been total chaos had we not had that great space to workout in and they were all so wonderfully supportive of the event. So big thanks to the San Mateo crew: Brendon Mahoney (who took 4th in the competitor male category), Manny Ferrer (who tied for 1st in the amateur male category and finished 2nd after the tie-breaker), and Melissa Guitron (who was a huge help all day as a judge and volunteer). Next is a overwhelmingly HUMONGOUS thank you to all the volunteers and judges. They were all so on their game and so incredibly helpful throughout the day. This event happened because of all of them and they deserve pretty much most of the credit for everything running the way it did. Thank you, thank you, thank you! OK, on to the event!
Athletes began showing up bright and early around 6:45am and we had a full packed house by 7:30. Sponsorship vendor booths were all set up, athletes had they recovery corners scouted out, both gyms were being explored and the air was filled with excitement for what the day would bring. And the athletes did NOT disappoint! The first workout (a 3-event workout with a max back squat, 400 meter run and 100 double unders, and a max shoulder to overhead) I think had well over 10 PR's amongst the athletes. Things ran very smoothly except for one thing: the damn plates! Luckily all the athletes had to suffer the same challenges so there was no unfair advantage for anyone. But those plates were greased up like nobodies business. Unfortunately we got the shipment in only a day before the competition, and try as we did, we could not rid the plates of their layer of "new plate grease". I know it slowed some people down, but again, everyone had to deal with them! And despite that challenge, there were still so many impressive lifts.
Workout 2 was a quick one, running athletes anywhere between 30 seconds and 50 seconds. This was a short, heavy prowler push followed by a T-drill (an agility test where you must show your ability to change direction, sprint, back-peddle, and laterally shuffle). Given the space, we could only go one athlete at a time, but it went so smoothly and drew a good bit of attention from the CalTrain passengers waiting on the platform. Over 100 people crowded around and cheered on the athletes as they drove those sleds from Courage Performance to CrossFit San Mateo for the agility test. It was damn awesome. The day moved on with a ton of positive energy as the sun broke through the clouds and hanging around outside seemed to be a pretty nice thing to do between workouts. And that good atmosphere was needed as the athlete prepared themselves for what clearly was the "beatdown" workout of the day: 500 meter row, then: 21-5-15-9 of deadlifts (heavy) and toes to bar. I set the cut-off time at 12 minutes and the average time on the day looked to be around 9. We all got to see some damn impressive feats, along with a few athletes who got good and beat by this one. From a competition standpoint, this one really separated the top level athletes from the others. From a personal standpoint, I enjoyed having my gym filled with energetic athletes and spectators all getting fired up as the last reps were pulled. My gym is meant for smaller groups of specialized clients so it was a pretty cool feeling to have the walls bursting at the seams with how many people were in there!
Probably the most interesting event was event 4. With 10 minutes all the athletes had to give one attempt at a max reps bench press, then max reps pull ups, then a max weighted plank hold, then 3 attempts to get a max distance broad jump. For me, watching how athletes prepared for this and moved through it was the most interesting. I honestly didn't even know who won the specific events until about two days later when I sat down to go over all the scoring. Some went all out, others took their time completely, while others paced their rest depending on what they had coming up next. I love this style of workout because it truly tests specific aspects of fitness while also forcing the athlete to plan out their entire approach. And it's as simple as not knowing yourself and how to plan these sort of things out that can cause someone to lose a whole bunch of spots in their placement. That's what made this one so exciting for me. This was also one that our volunteers truly made happen. With all the weight adjustments on the bars, and dumbbells (for planks) to utilizing two gyms throughout the workout, all them them worked flawlessly together to make sure the athletes got the most out of this one.
The final workout began as the sun went down and there was a crazy excitement as the spectators packed in around the final 6 athletes in each division. With a descending ladder of heavy cleans, handstand push ups and varying levels of pull ups (normal kipping, chest to bar, and muscle ups) the top finishers had a beast of a workout to battle through as they closed out the day. And yet again they did not disappoint! They struggled through; some not able to finish as the days volume caught up to them, others pushing to their very limits to fought for another spot and possibly the podium. The competitor men's division was awesome to watch because when they finished those crazy heavy cleans and HSPU's, they had to ruin over to the other gym to complete the muscle ups. Each on of them fought like crazy to the very end, it was incredibly motivating.
In the end we had a tie for first in both the Masters men and Amateur men. The tie breaker was: 1 minute AMRAP burpees to a target touch. It, was, intense! But we came out with our winners:
Crashing down onto my couch after we cleared things up a little and grabbed some food, I was able to soak in the entire day. With only a couple small hiccups, this was far and beyond the smoothest and most exciting event I have put on. I could not asked for a better group of athletes and spectators, the sponsors were an incredible support, and my volunteer crew was overwhelmingly helpful and efficient. The day went so damn well! People have been posting pictures and videos on Facebook and I would love it if you kept on doing so, and tagging myself and/or the Courage Games page.
Thank you so much everyone for making this event such a great one. And please keep your eyes open for the announcement of the Courage Games "throwdown series" coming in late summer (I will be hosting one every summer, and a "combine series" event every winter!). I want to be sure to give a shout out to Breeze Scoring for hooking us up with the most flawless scoring system. I wasn't planning on using one until the last second and I am SO happy I did. We were easily able to just punch in scores directly after the workout and have them clearly displayed on the site for everyone to see. Could not be happier with how that worked out. I also want to give a special shout out to Jon with Merrell who stepped up and was able to hook up an athlete with a pair of their awesome minimalist shoes (I've worn them every day for almost two months now, they freaking rock) after I forgot to load up a bar for him on workout 3. He was a great sport about it and Jon at Merrell stepped in big time to thank him for his understanding. Finally Destino Retreats who donated a FREE VACATION TO CABO to our Competitor Men winner. This is just flat out awesome support and the type of thing you can expect from Courage Games events!!
And of course, thank you to the sponsors:
Again, thank you everyone for making this such a great day. I am eagerly looking forward to the next one!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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.
Tomorrow is the big day! Below I'll post up some info on the event, like where the hell it is, when heats are going, and of course, when I'll be going!
The CrossFit Games Mid-Atlantic Regionals - May 4th, 5th, 6th
8001 Sheriff Road
Landover, MD 20785
(Apparently it's right next to the Redskins stadium, so, should be pretty easy to find. Just look for the CrossFit signs that'll be all over the place!)
Team Workout Start Times (in case any of you missed it, I am competing as part of Team Outlaw!):
Friday - 10am and 1:20pm (I'll be doing the second workout, at 1:20pm)
Saturday - 9am and 11:50am (Again I'll be on the second one)
Sunday - 10am and 1pm (I'll be doing both)
This is going to be n absolute blast all weekend people. If you plan to come out to show your support for yours truly, make sure to hang out there a few extra hours and just soak up the intensity and constant inspiration going on at all times. There is nothing like three days straight of elite exercisers doing their thing. It's so much fun!
Hope to see you all out there! And of course, if you DO come, wear your Courage Performance shirt!!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
_ Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending an awesomely run and incredibly competitive CrossFit competition; the Charlottesville Superfit Games 2012. This was the third annual event and their first one was my first ever CrossFit competition. While I didn’t have the best of experiences then, it was actually my first meeting with now coach Rudy, and I am more than proud to have represented my Outlaws well!
Late Friday night Lindsey and I drove through the brutal snow to get down to Charlottesville, VA. After a good dinner and some solid sleep, we got to the Boys and Girls club bright and early to get all registered and prepared. There were 80+ men, 50+ women, a full masters division and Open division (not prescribed weight basically). Oh, and another couple hundred spectators making this a massive event for sure! The energy was solid, and the feel in the air was that this was legitimately going to be the most epic event in the mid Atlantic region before Regionals hits us. Soon enough the workouts began (I will do a quick recap of each event, then a little more detail o my own personal thoughts at the end):
Workout #1 – 1 minute AMRAP at each station with 15 seconds rest between of: power cleans 135#, ring pull ups, ground to overhead 155#, muscle ups.
The last minute surprise was that the rings were basically ropes with some nylon lining around them. This made grip brutal for an already grip-dominant workout. Also, it made muscle ups for me personally, almost impossible. So, my strategy was to conserve energy for the ground to overheads, go all out with them and then just do whatever with my attempts at muscle ups. I got 25 power cleans, 12 pulls ups (they were uneven for all of us and it was next to impossible to string more than a few together), 10 ground to overheads and, obviously, 0 muscle ups. I was a little peeved at the measly 10 ground to overheads because I feel like I just dogged it on them. In the end, I finished in 10th overall on this one. Time to turn things on!
_Workout #2 – 9 minute AMRAP of: 15 wall balls, 3 widths court sprint, 5 burpee box jumps, 3 width court sprints.
This is my style of workout, and the strategy was just find a good, tough pace and stick to it all the way through. This is exactly what I did. All reps were unbroken and I coasted the runs, using them as recovery. My internal goal was to pick it up with 3 minutes to go, but I only really took off on my last round. I finished 7 rounds of reps and felt like I had a good bit of gas left in the tank. This was enough for a tie at 2nd, but I knew I could have pushed harder. Still happy with that, but I wanted more!
Workout #3 – 5 minute AMRAP of: 12 thruster, 12 hang power cleans at 95#.
Balls to the wall! Rudy texted not to put the bar down at all. I decided to put it down after each full round and just go. Honestly, I never tired enough to really dump the bar, it was the grip that kept failing on the cleans during the last couple rounds that forced me to dump two or three times. Either way, I went all out on this one and got 5 full rounds plus 12 thrusters and 2 cleans. Got 1st on that one by a good amount. At the end of day one, I was sitting in 2nd place by only 2 points! I went home, got an ice bath and covered myself head to toe in 2XU recovery gear for the entire night. Hit up a massive dinner with a group and got to bed at 9:30!
_Workout #4 – 4 minute AMRAP of: 7 power snatches, 4 lateral over bar burpees.
I literally didn’t realize I was doing this workout until about halfway through the 2nd round. I was so not ready to go. I just went all out though and was able to finish 4 rounds plus 7+1. This tied me for 2nd and I was completely crushed. I was now in 2nd by 3 points and needed to destroy the final workout to get the W.
Workout #5 - 12 minute AMRAP w/ a buy in of: 800 meter weighted run (20# vest), 40 KB swings 70#, 20 handstand push ups. Then with the remainder of the time do AMRAP: 7 front squats 165#, 30 double unders.
I needed to win my heat and hope the guy in first come in 3rd or worse for this one. The run I paced, and I knew right off it was the best choice I made. The guys in front were racing each other and I could tell that they wasted way too much energy. Got the swings unbroken and was feeling good going into my arch nemesis: the HSPU. I focused on one at a time, and awesomely enough I was able to string 5 together on my best set! I finished with 5 singles, knowing only one other competitor was upstairs already doing the AMRAP. I got up there with just over 4 minutes and just flipped into high gear. Everything was unbroken and I paced my transitions, blowing by the guy up there on the first round! I finished with 4 full rounds, plus 1 rep. I ended up 6th on that event, but it was more than what I needed and I pretty much secured the victory right there (baring some extremely extreme situation). While it wasn’t the best score, I felt so good with my ability to get so many reps in such a little time. I have that gear, so clearly, I just need to figure out how to get to it on a regular basis.
_All in all this was a very well-run event The guys and girls from CrossFit Charlottesville did an awesome job, the judging was some of the best I have seen overall inn a CrossFit event, and the competitors were tough as hell. Crazy props to everyone for putting on such a great event, you better believe I’ll be there next year. The only serous hiccup I was witness to was that my good friend Steve Opiyo got shafted an entire round on workout 3 (also missed a few reps on his first workout as well!). If they had gotten this score right, he would have been in the final workout. Even though he signed his name on his score (in a post-workout haze mind you), I feel as though having myself and a couple others who watched him the entire time vouch for him should have been enough for them to realize their mistake and switch it up. Steve did WAY better than his final score had him at. Besides that, it was incredibly impressive at how well the whole thing went!
From a personal standpoint, I am very, very happy with how this all turned out. My weaknesses are still there, clearly, but they are getting much better. My front squats and power snatches were messy and inefficient, but my body never broke down one bit. Becoming more proficient with those lifts, and working on the body-weight stuff is what will get me so, so, so much better. And one more thing: HIGH GEAR. I came into this competition with some crazy blood lust. I have never attempted the approach of going in to crush the competition, but I wanted to see what would happen if I took that approach. I wasn’t able to tap into it on a whim, but when I did, well, I really did. I feel as though if I can harness that energy I’ll be able to do some pretty cool things with CrossFit. It’s not something I want to do the rest of my life, I just have way too much fun to be so aggressive all the time. But, I dedicated this year to seeing just how far I could go. It’s pretty crazy what the human body and mind can do with focused dedication! I finished with a score of 27. Second place had 48, 3rd had 50, 4th had 51, 5th had 52. I feel freaking good about that!
_One big shout out: OUTLAWS! Win Everything baby! Seriously people, Rudy Nielson is a good programmer. 'Nuff said. Having my fellow Outlaws there for support was huge! And, one of the coolest things was Corry Perry coming from 12th place after day one and finishing in 2nd! Absolutely bad ass! So, thanks to Corey, Tony Thomas, Steve and Courtney for tearing it up and being such awesome support. And the best support I had all along was Lindsey. She gets into this stuff man, it’s so awesome. Watching the videos of the workouts and hearing yelling, “come on, Josh, let’s go!” is hands down one of the coolest things to me on the face of this planet!
_The Open is coming!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
This past weekend was a great learning experience for me. First and foremost it showed that I am improving as a CrossFitter. To be able to head into such a well-respected CrossFit competition as The Hopper, and do so well says a good bit about my level of fitness. Ok, cool. Now that the positive comments are out of the way, it's time to get on to the critique!
I found out two major things over the weekend that are the primary sources holding me back from being the competitor I truly want to be. But before I go into them, I want to be sure to let you, the reader, know that the goal with this post is two-fold: to articulate an analysis of myself so that I can help myself get better; and, to inspire you all to do the same with yourself in the process of making YOU better. I am willing to bet that the two issues I detail here are two EXTRAORDINARILY common issues with most people as they drive towards their goals. Next point to be made is what my goals actually are. Well, when I moved back to the East coast I decided that I would make an attempt to calm my absolutely out of control mind by focusing on only a few things for a while. I've written about this a bit before, and if you know me, you know that I come up with a new idea to "change the world" pretty much every few hours. I have literally hundreds of pages of notes, drawings, scribbles, phrases and more, collected over the years, it's crazy. I am very aware that to actually get anything done, I need to pick a few of them and just focus. So, when I moved back I picked two: open a gym, and, make it to the CrossFit Games.
So, back to this weekend. Well, it wasn't really the weekend that showed these issues to me, it really was just the straw that broke the camels back if you will. I know that I am a very good CrossFitter. But, I also know that I am not at the level of those at the very top. If you take the top numbers of all those elite CrossFitters, I would be on the bottom of the charts for pretty much everything. But that's not what I am concerned about. I have faith in my training program and my determination that my numbers will creep up there come Games season and I'll be able to hang with any of those guys. It's my weaknesses. Just like anyone, I have a collection of weaknesses. Except mine are VERY weak. I can not do more than 3 strict handstand push ups. I can not walk on my hands for more than 6 meters. I can not do more than 5 muscle ups. While an elite CrossFitter will show strengths and weaknesses, the differential of ability is nowhere near as great as mine. That is why I placed 1st, 1st, 3rd, 19th, and 3rd on this past weekends events. Clearly I need to "kill my goats". So, upping the body weight work and incorporating that intelligently into my programming is an absolute must.
The second thing I found was that I don't have as strong a fire as the top level competitors. Perhaps it's my baseball background (that's a reference to the fact that baseball by nature is a much more passive game than most sports, and I have learned to approach my athletic endeavors a bit more "chilled" out than others), perhaps it's the marathoning (10 in a year will slow you down a bit). Or, it could be that I legitimately LOVE CrossFitting. I enjoy the struggle of getting through a workout so much, that sometimes I feel as though I just lose myself in the middle of it just to ride the wave. All those top beasts I have met have this intensity before, during, and even after a workout that I just do not share. I don't really compete with the person next to me, or to someone elses' time, I just feed off their energy and then spend what attention I put into each workout seeing what I am personally capable of. Now don't get me wrong, I am still a highly competitive person; just not at the level of most other elite CrossFitters. I feel like those guys want to seek and destroy at all times!
Now here's where the fun begins. From this weekend on I have committed myself 100% to the effort of being a "Serious CrossFitter". This means that everything I do is going to be based around achieving my goals. I will not miss workouts. I will not go on a binge week with food, or sacrifice a portion of my program to go hang with friends. I am lighting that fire as bright as it can be lit and going all out. I am making CrossFit "My Sport", and doing what it takes to get to the next level.
I can see a lot of my friends rolling their eyes at me right now. And to that I respond: everyone knows me as someone who likes a challenge and is willing to experiment with pretty much anything in the activity/fitness/sports/nutrition fields. So, I am experimenting with the idea that if I actually commit myself 100% to something, I could actually be really freaking good at it. This does not mean I am going to spend the rest of my life walking around with a cooler of steamed broccoli, grilled chicken and protein powder. This does not mean I will never again indulge in a brownie or 15, or have a drink or two, or three. It just means that from now until the Games I am going to be "that guy" I am going to be a little more one-track-minded about my priorities in life and I am going to see what I am TRULY capable of doing.
This is going to be a really fun and interesting adventure.
The fire has been lit.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Bright and early Saturday morning, people began to roll in for the third installment of the Courage Games. I really wasn't totally sure what to expect in terms of how many people would show as the only marketing I did for it was to create a Facebook event. But, given the "local, fun throwdown" feel of it all, I was really happy with the turnout. The weather was perfect, the athletes were wonderfully energized, the support was perfect (Lindsey and myself ran the show and things went off without a hitch!) and when the day was done, and a handful of us were enjoying grilled meat and a couple drinks, we all agreed that the day could not have been all that much better!
Things got started with a bang with workout #1:
Push a car 50 meters, push it back 50 meters
(women did 30 meters)
The push down for the first 50 meters clearly put everyone at a physiological disadvantage; it was so damn easy! But, when they ran around and tried to get the things going back, all of a sudden things became real tough, fast. Eric Kolarick took home the fasted time with 54 seconds while Leah Vanhoose and Christie Wheatly tied at 51 seconds for the women; most people were in the mid to upper 90+ second range. People sure were walking a little funny after this one, quad burn galore!
After a little break, workout #2 was announced (follow along as best you can...):
Cross short bridge, run a rough single track tail about 150 meters, run up a crazy steep hill about 30 meters, military crawl 20 meters (knees and forearms crawl), cross the blacktop, 5 rope climbs, each about 15 feet (women do 3), then throw a 52#/32# sandbag three consecutive times as far as you can.
When your time is stopped, you get to take 3 seconds off your total time for every 10 feet you throw your bag. Always a little fun twist to throw into the workout to make people think!
Eric Grant took home the top time for men, while Leah Vanhoose blasted through it for the women. What proved to be the best strategy was to just get the sandbags thrown as fast as possible as to not waste any extra time. But people were good and worn out with the combination of skill and raw power after a touch run and crawling face first in freshly mowed, wet grass!
The third one proved to take the most out of people! (follow along closely with this one as well!):
Grab a large bucket, run under two hurdles, over a sandbag pile, through a collection of tires, across a 10' 2x4 and across the blacktop to a sand pit. Hand fill your bucket half way with sand, then run about a 300 meter, very hilly course and back through the obstacles. Hand fill your bucket to the top now with sand (this is heavy by the way...) and repeat the run. End with dumping your bucket back into the sand pit!
Man was this one fun to watch! People shoveling sand into the buckets then taking off around the great outdoors! But it was that second run that just crushed everyone. Word from the athletes was that right around the 3/4 mark of the run loop, it just hit people so damn hard. Running with that crazy heavy bucket was just about as awkward as a run could ever get as well! But the best part: people had a bucket at hand right there just in case things got a little worked up in their stomachs after the workout...
Adam Chudy tore this one up with Cory Spera close at his heels, and Leah Vanhoose yet again grabbed the top time for the women.
A little extra break was given out here as thing were rolling WAY ahead of schedule. And the last one would be a brutal sprint of sneaky-hard proportions!
Sprint 30 meters across the blacktop, up a little hill, grab a sledge hammer then hammer a tire across the 30 meters of the blacktop.
This one felt like it took 20 minutes even tough most people were getting it around 2-3. The go-to strategy for this was to straddle the tire and over-head slam it between your legs. The trick was hitting the tire just right so that it got the slightest big of air under it and could skid across the concrete about 4-6 feet. But peoples hips, shoulders and hands were just burned!
Eric Kolarick came in first for the men, with Dave Shaw just seconds behind him, while Diane Cole took first for the women.
In the end, Dave Shaw proved to be the most consistent across the board (winners were decided by fasted overall combined time) for the men taking home the top prize, while Leah Vanhose blazed through for the win for the women. Below are the top three from both sides:
Dave Shaw - 639 seconds
Eric Grant - 6 seconds
Joseph Barlia - 650 seconds
Leah Vanhoose - 767
Diane Cole - 802
Christie Wheatly - 876
Special thanks to Core Warrior Bars and 2XU for helping out, both are awesome brands that I personally love and am so pumped that they continuously support these awesome athletes as they challenge themselves! Also a huge special thanks to Lindsey for yet again coming out and choosing to spend her wonderful off day outside with me and helping out! Could not have done this without her at all!
And of course, thanks so much to all the athletes who came out and pushed yourselves! So happy to have to you all out for the day and believe me, I'll be getting people together again very soon!
I'll have a nice little video up from the days fun in the next couple days, so look for that!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Well ladies and gents, The Courage Games 3rd Edition is coming on fast!
First off I want to apologize for not posting up more story lines over the past couple weeks. My initial reaction was to not do it any more as nobody commented or reacted to my first one; then, I had a couple pretty intense weekends of all-over-the-placeness. So, let this post be a little catch-up.
We are now less than two weeks away from the wonderfully exciting day and I am so looking forward to seeing how all this pans out. The workouts are designed, mostly tested (no worries, they will all be tested and doable!), and everything is on track and as ready to go as they can be at this stage.
As mentioned with the announcement of the event, the workouts will not be announced until the day of, so, you won't find any major clues here. But, I want to be sure to give you all enough info so you can be as prepared as possible.
First off: this thing will happen rain or shine. And for anyone moaning and groaning about that, I hosted The Courage Games #2 in 40 degree weather in a torrential downpour. Not only did all 85+ competitors show, but over 40 spectators hung out in the craziness all day! Just saying...
While there are 4 total "workouts", or events, they are designed in such a way that literally anyone could and can complete. To reiterate, this is NOT your typical CrossFit competition. Your ability to assess a situation and come up with the most efficient way to utilize your body along with whatever obstacles are included will be tested here. You will NOT see barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, boxes, med balls, pull up bars and all that fun stuff. For those if you who came out to The Courage Games #1last summer, your advantage is you know the terrain. There are woods, a huge field, interesting hills, a school building, trees, playground stutters, plenty of rocks and logs, grass, dirt, sand, concrete, rock, and mulch surfaces and plenty of interesting pieces of equipment my crazy mind has though up. And for those of you who know me, I love interesting, funky and fun programming...
What to bring:
A change of clothes
Extra pair of shoes
TONS to drink
Some money (for donations, extra goodies and anything else yu mint want)
Tent/canopy (there is shade, but play it safe)
Chairs (there are plenty of paces to sit, but play it safe again)
Food and drink to bring to the after party
Swim suit (also for the after party)
What you'll get:
Courage Games/Courage Performance T
Courage Performance bracelet
25% coupon for 2XU gear
Core Warrior half-bar
$5 discount for Core Warrior Bars
What'll be available:
Core Warrior Bars
What you could win:
Core Warrior Bars
Schedule of events:
7:30am - Registration opens
(This is a first come first serve event. Unless you emailed me, or posted up on the Facebook page that you are in, you better show up early to secure a spot. There WILL be a cut-off!)
8:30am - 1st workout announced. Heats announced
9:00am - 1st workout starts
10am-4ish pm - Workouts 2-4 will be announced, along with heats and will take place. The times of these will be dependent on heat numbers and such.
5:00pm - Winners announced. After party begins!
There are a few places to grab food nearby (Safeway, sandwich shop, Starbucks and a couple others) and I will have directions and info readily available to anyone who wants (be advised that the workout schedule will be a little erratic, so don't disappear for too long!).
If you plan to come to the after party to eat, drink, swim, and chill, please please please bring something to share. If you don't, you'll be kicked out!
Well, I hope that answers a lot of questions, and helps to raise a little excitement! If you have any questions at all, please post on the events page or email me any time. If anything else comes up between now and then, I will be sure to post up on the Facebook page. If anything big should come up (like hints and whatnot), it'll all be posted here as well.
Looking forward to seeing everyone soon!!
Never stop, GET FIT.
First off, had a couple posts ready to go but our internet was down at the house, and, wonderfully, I've been so busy with training I could not get out to the coffee shop where I could sit for a little and do updates. Back up and ready to go now!
Alright all you fitness, here is the first "storyline" if you will for the Fitness Survival Challenge coming up in one month. For those of you who don;t know, I'll be hosting the third installment of The Courage Games Series CrossFit style competition on Saturday, August 20th at the Washington Waldorf School, the awesome outdoor fitness stage right across the street from The Garage. This time around though, I am dishing out 4 workouts that are unlike most people have ever seen. Rather than testing your athleticism against each other through lifts and "typical CrossFit WODs (workouts), there will be 4 events that are styled after real-life, potential emergency (or, crappy) situations. the idea is that athletic people, or CrossFitters in general should be able to handle themselves well when the shit hits the fan in the real world. So, prove it on August 20th! You know what your deadlift is, you know what you time is in certain workouts, but does all that training, and all that focus on health and fitness actually translate to you being able to take care of yourself and your surroundings when things go bad in the world?
We shall see...
"World Of Wars"
As you drive your car on a sunny Saturday morning one summer, enjoying some great tunes and just appreciating life as the wind blows through your hair, the world instantly changes for the worse! Some life form from a clearly-pissed-off-at-us planet has decided enough is enough and sends a massive electrical shock-wave surging through the planet, shutting down every possible thing in its way, radio and TV towers, air conditioning, computer systems, traffic lights and even the cars all promptly stop working. Panic rushes through every single person in the entire world as the reality of the situation quickly sets in: the world is vulnerable to anything! Just then come the groaning, deafening sound of the cause of the shock-wave and the world's eyes look upwards.
Your car skreetches to a stop at the side of the road. you try the ignition but can't get anything going. Then you remember, you went on a camping trip last week and never unpacked your car! In the back you have tents, bags, MRE's, fuel, a generator and some base weapons. But the aliens are closing in and you need to get out of there, and fast.
In the distance you see a bit of a shelter, a place to hide. You know that if you can just get there you'll be safe, at least for a little while. It's not far, but you are aware that having some or all of that gear will increase your chances of survival by a long shot. You know exactly what needs to be done...
Expect a new storyline next Friday, and the Friday after that! And by all means, if you have ideas as to what you might be challenged to do on the 20th, throw it out here or on Facebook! Looking forward to seeing everyone out there in a month!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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