This past weekend I traveled down to VA Beach for a pretty packed competition to see where I stood in terms of CrossFit going into the off season. The workouts looked fun, more or less in my wheelhouse, it was all outdoors (love that), and there were 100 male, prescribed division competitors (including two-time Games competitor Ben Smith). Needless to say, I was pretty excited. So, here's how it all went down.
I got in late Friday night, grabbed a little to eat and hit the bed as soon as I could. Saturday morning was an early wake-up to get to Mt. Trashmore (yep, that is the name of the park) and get rolling with things. The event site was at the base of a pretty steep hill (about 80-90 meters to the top, and about a 15-20% grade I would say -- so, pretty steep) on one side, and a nice lake on the other. We all parked and then people were setting up tents around the grassy/muddy area where we would be holding most of the workouts. The first workout came up pretty quick, and looked to be a tough starter:
5 rounds for time of:
5 thrusters 135#
50 meter stone carry 115#
15 box jumps 30"
50 meter stone carry 115#
My goal was to find a rhythm and just stick to it. And I did that for the most part. I slowed just enough at the end to allow for a couple of people to pass me, and missing two box jumps didn't help all that much. I finished with a time of 10:26 and felt like besides the three box jump misses, I could not have gone any faster. Really cool workout though, I loved that one.
Workout 2 was a clean ladder, starting at 185 and going up to 325. We all had 50 seconds at each bar and needed to get 4 pistol squats before going for our clean attempt. My goal was to get at least 305, then hopefully hit 315 with adrenaline and see what happened on 325. Well, the odds were not in my favor here at all. I am never really one to make excuses (even though I had plenty of reason to all weekend... you'll see) but I really feel like everything was working against me here. The second I hit the 215 bar, the skies just opened up and it started pouring rain. I was toweling down the bar, chalking up as best I could, and gripping tighter than ever; but when I got to 275, the bar just flew right out of my hands. I attempted the power clean again and it flew out yet again! So, I cursed, then went to squat clean the thing with about 8 seconds left. Damn, now I was pretty damn tired. I opted to go right to full cleaning the 285 bar and when I caught it, I was just a hair off balance, settled into the squat and tried to stand. Well, I just didn't have the energy. Even though I tried twice, I just could not stand. WAY off a PR for me, and I knew that would really hurt me in the standings. And to make it a little more annoying, literally 1 minute after I left the barbells, the rain stopped. Damn again! But it was really cool to see two beasts, Jud and Ben, clear the whole ladder and then battle it out with pistols for the tie breaker at the end.
The skies opened up yet again and they ended up bagging the 3rd workout with the hopes that Sunday would bring better weather. There was some constructive conversation going back and forth on Facebook about what workouts to do on Sunday, and I was really hoping we would get to do all 5 workouts seeing how I would need more chances to work back from the cleans if I wanted that podium. Unfortunately, the weather was just cool enough with us and we didn't have the time to get all of them in. At the last minute, the event coordinators decided to go with workout 3 on Sunday morning, scratching a 150 double under/5k run from the entire event. Again, while I wasn't looking forward to that run, I knew that it was a great workout to allow me to move up some spots as I am always very confident in my running. But that just wasn't in the cards, so I had to bare down and get after the last two.
Workout 3 was 3 rounds for time of: 1 hill run (the 80 meter steep thing I mentioned before) and 15 overhead squats at 115#. Burner! Plan on this was get up the hill with some energy, just get down the damn thing as fast as humanly possible, and get all the OH squats unbroken. I finished with a time of 5:35, and again, that was about everything I had on that one. I thought about it for a while, but I just don't know where I could have shaved seconds off. It was another great workout.
The final workout of the day was for the top 20 athletes, and I was standing in 5th or 6th place at the time, so again, I knew I needed to step it up like crazy. They changed it around from the original plan (heavy deads, sandbag cleans, handstand walking and some more stuff) to a suicide workout that looked like this:
Burpee bar jump overs
Power snatch 115#
Watching the first heat of this one go was pretty crazy. This one was basically who had the biggest balls. There was absolutely no way around this one sucking in every single possible way. As I told my athletes back at The Garage after all this stuff: if someone asked me to write them a killer workout, I still wouldn't program this for them! And then it all went down hill for me. We had to do a couple reps of each movement for our judge, and the snatch just felt heavy. Crap, this was already getting to me. I planned out exactly how I would pace the thing, getting 18 reps of the deadlifts before taking a short break, then 8, then finish. Get through the burpees at a slow but constant pace, then do the snatches in 5's, then 3's once it got really tiring. Great plan until I got to the snatches. I hit 2 and had to put the bar down because of how heavy they felt. Then it was singles from there on out while my mind was going crazy on me as to just how I was going to look when i died during this workout. Then, at rep 27 the even coordinator ran up to me and my judge and started to take the outside plate off my bar. Turns out, they didn't put a 25 and a 10 on it, they had a 35 and a 10! I was doing 20# more than everyone else! No wonder the damn thing was so hard! I was mentally crushed. Oh, and physically crushed as well, of course. They told me to just get 15 reps of snatch on the second round, but all I could think about was how much extra work I put in to hoisting 20 extra pounds over my head 27 times! But there was still more workout left, so I kept going. I ended up somehow finishing that workout in 15:59, still good enough for 10th place. And it took me about 10 minutes to be able to see straight again.
In the end, I finished 1 or 2 points behind 5th place, and talking to the event coordinator, we established that I realistically would have beat the guy ahead of me had I had the proper weight on the bar. We agreed to give me an unofficial 5th place finish (he had enough on his plate to go back and rearrange all the standings, and I didn't podium, so I honestly didn't care all that much about what the excel sheet said).
In the end, I was both happy and pretty disappointed. I really wanted to be better, and while I could go around making all sorts of excuses, the fact is I was just not as good as I thought I was going into this one. I am happy that I was able to go in there an finish so high, and I was really happy to be able to compete side buy side with a Games athlete. It really helped to give me honest feedback as to where I stand with my CrossFit and what I need to do to get to that next level. I am also really happy with all the cool people I met. As I always say, hanging out for a couple days with a bunch of fit people tends to breed new friendships, and I love that so much. I am always thankful for getting to meet such interesting and motivated people, and expanding my network of awesome friends! I now have fresh motivation for my training, and a solid direction to move in as I plan out my off season with CrossFit events and training. I know my weaknesses, I know what it takes to be at that level, I have great people and resources around me for getting better, and I can't wait to get into the swing of all this!
So, if you haven't been to an event, get to one, they are freaking awesome! I really must applaud everyone who put this event on. With the crazy weather, and with over 200 total competitors, they did a damn good job all around. Better scoring updates (as in, posting the scores more efficiently) would have made the waiting around a little easier for people, and of course, smoothing out mistakes like wrong weights on bars and such. But, they had live music, great vendors, good MC-ing, tons of good judges and volunteers, and everything ran very smoothly despite the weather. So, thanks so much to everyone who was involved with putting the event on!
Speaking of events. I will be hosting the Courage Games IV on Saturday, August 4th. Register on the main page of this website! And head to the Courage Performance Facebook page for updates on it all!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Get Discounts Below!