The picture above is of my two friends Mike and Mario. Last weekend they were down in SoCal with a group of people running one of those Tough Mudder races and this picture was taken of them helping a friend over a wall (apparently the girl had been trying and trying to get up on that wall and just could not do it). What's even better is there are a couple guys helping Mike and Mario help the girl! Awesome all around.
I've been thinking a lot about the concept of teamwork. There are so many angles to go with this and I think what hit me is that the concept of having a team to support you and that you can support through life is absolutely needed. A good family is a team, a solid group of training partner's business partners, a small group of friends, and so on, all a team. I've been part of really great teams before, and, some pretty damn crappy ones. And through all my team experience, I've figured out a few things:
First off, everybody needs to be part of a good team. You will be held accountable, you will push a good bit harder to be successful at all the things you and your team want, and you'll most likely find success a lot faster. And the best teams will all be there for you no matter what.
My latest team is the creation of Team Courage. We are a small group of athletes so far, but growing surprisingly quickly. My goal is that we all help each other as we grow no matter what. While I may be the head coach, I have built the expectation in the group that all of our voices are just as important and we can all feel comfortable sharing our ideas, thoughts, coaching tips, and suggestions. There is a warm feeling knowing that I have a group of awesome athletes that I can support at all times, and that will support me at all times. It's freaking awesome! I know that when I am struggling through a workout, or with my nutrition, or feeling unmotivated, I'll have at least one of the guys getting after me to make sure I stay on my game. If I can't get over that wall, I know they will all be there to help me up. And they all know that no matter what, I'll be there to help them up.
This is what teamwork is all about. If you don;t have a team in your life, I suggest you go find one that fits your needs perfectly. If you have a crappy team, get the hell off it ASAP! And if you are part of an awesome team, rock on and keep getting better!
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.
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