Warning: This is long, I don't have pictures yet, and yes it is about CrossFit (Again)..... so feel free to step away from what is about to be a pretty big outpouring of thoughts.
Last week I was talking to someone about going to a CF competition and they asked: "What, do you have the socks too?." Apparently they had a friend that CrossFits and always posts their pictures with scores and fancy socks.
Yup, guilty as charged!
The thing is, that I'm not always posting about CrossFit, but more about my transformations because of it. And yes, I do have long socks to help keep my legs from getting skinned on rope climbs and deadlifts. If the person I spoke with scaled ropes during a WOD they would need "the socks" too... But I digress!
So I went to this competition, conquered the mental beast, survived, didn't get hurt, made some new friends and had quite a bit of fun.
Fun being a word I found when looking back. During the event, I'm not sure I thought of it as fun. I actually had quite a bit of mental garbage to get through.
"What am I doing here with these real athletes, I'm not a real athlete"
"How can I call myself a competitor, i'm no competition for these people"
"Where do I go, what time is my heat, what is a heat?"
"What do you mean they changed the order of things... that is not in my plan?"
At one point someone came up to me regarding Front Squats and said "Try for 40... get 40 and you will do fine" SERIOUSLY???? I'm going to try for five and if I get seven then I will be Happy. The list of these mental battles went on all day.
"Can I do this?"
"Just get through this one WOD and the next one will be a piece of cake"
"Prepare for what you can do and the rest will fall in to place"
"Oh great, it isn't a piece of cake, they threw in a surprise hill... how can I make that time?"
"I've never lifted that much weight for that length... what was I thinking?"
"You got this... just do your best"
I had conversations with myself all day. You see some competitions offer a scaled version, but this one was pretty set in stone for the RX athlete of which I don't consider myself to be. Even the scaled version (which I participated in) that they did offer wouldn't work for most people because there was some skill work that us scaled folk may not know how to do.
But I did it, I finished (mostly). I even did pretty good in one workout. Overall, I finished close to last though. As in really close to last. But in the end I competed at their level. My shirt says "Athlete" on the back, and I'm officially listed as a CrossFit Competitor.
Much like I didn't call myself a marathon runner when I finished the marathon, it is hard to call myself a CrossFit competitor, but yes... I suppose I am. After-all my shirt does say "Athlete" on the back, It seems to be official.
For the record, I still don't call myself a marathon runner because I walked 1/2 of it and that doesn't count as a "runner"....
Now for the recap..... of how the day REALLY went!!!
Knowing in advance what the workout would be, allowed me to train for 10 days prior and learn some movements that I didn't have. Mostly the Kettlebell work, Jumping on the 20in boxes (with two feet while fatigued), double-unders with a heavier rope and several weight lifting movements that I needed to practice form on. The coaches at our Box were amazing. Every single one of them helping me day or night.
But the Sunday before, we had a "training day" that allowed us to do 1/2 of 1/2 of the competition workout. When it was over, I felt unworthy to compete. I couldn't even finish 1/2 of the 1/2 with lighter weight.
So I knew I had a LOT of work to do over the next few days. I also knew that I would go in to this thing with a mindset of just making it through the day without getting hurt and consider that success.
I found kettlebells in Target while shopping and practiced in the aisle. (Really I did that). I practiced jumping anywhere there was a surface, I practiced form at home. Got to WOD's early and stayed after, then went back in the evenings.
Friday afternoon I showed up to check in. There was a surreal feeling, that this was really happening. Next thing I know there is permanent marker on my arm and leg signifying my number. And it was a cool number. One I certainly wasn't going to forget.
Apparently, in CrossFit your numbers don't go on a bib, they go on your body. This is what I learned at check-in. In case you were wondering, stopping at the grocery store with this number on your arm does gather some funny looks.
Friday night, I had everything packed up, laid out, and knew that my body was going to do what it could. I went to sleep knowing that there was no more practice. When I woke up, it was the real deal.
Upon arrival, I quickly see a friendly face in a tent out side which was our base camp and dropped off my bags and chair. Turned out, I spent a lot of time sitting outside which was beneficial to my mind but not sure that was so good for my body as it was C-c-c-cold out there.
Inside the competition changed a bit. The hard Kettlebell workout was moved to second and the first workout would be 3 minutes each of the following movements:
Double-unders, Straight leg sit-ups, Rowing and Front Squats with 65#'s
For this workout, I held my own. My rowing was slow, and I pulled way more squats than I expected. At one point, I shook my head no to the coach, and nodded his head yes. That was all I needed to pull more. The double-unders worked well (my bladder cooperated) and my sit-ups were unbroken (meaning I didn't stop).
For some people, that may not sound like a lot. But three minutes of any movement without stopping or breaking between movements makes for shaky legs.
I know this because the next workout was the Kettlbell one and boy did I have shaky legs.
This would be the workout that I went in to knowing I would not finish, and yes I was right but add shaky legs and well... there would be no finishing. Not because I psyched myself out but because I had never done the workout with that weight and knew how hard it was for me to do 1/2 the workout with a lower weight.
The Kettlebell work consisted of Double Overhead Snatches, Double overhead lunges, and Double thrusters. (lots of them) Then just to make it fun, add in some burpee box jumps with a 20" box.
Going in to this WOD, I knew I had the skills to do each movement at least three times. But would I have the endurance and strength to get through the entire workout with every rep being solid?
Turned out, I got through one full round and box jumps of the second round. I think that would have been about 75 reps total (but may be wrong). I wasn't the only person to not finish, but was the only person from our box not to finish.
After a very long break, many bottles of water and some very yummy recovery food... it was time for the next two workouts.
One of them was a ladder.. which is not the kind you climb to paint a house. No, this ladder is a floor full of barbells loaded with plates. We started at 45# and when the guy said rotate, you would move to the next weight. You get 50 seconds to attempt the lift which was a ground to shoulder and then thruster then move up the ladder until you miss a lift.
Thrusters mean you squat then push the weight over head, so this workout contained two movements on each lift. I got to rotate 4 times and on the 5th lift, I missed the thruster. That is the point that I felt silly for being there. While I finished my portion of the workout, all my team mates were going up in to the 115# range and higher.
The final workout for us was 20 Deadlifts, which I did unbroken and a Hill Sprint that was a 1/2 mile. Both of which I'd never done at that speed or quantity. I wasn't the last to finish my deadlifts, but I was certainly last in the door from the run. However I made it before the time ran out, which was my mission.
Through each and every workout, I had people hollering my name and as the last person through the door, I had my entire team plus 1/2 the competition attendees outside cheering me up that hill.
I had judges take mercy and give me pointers. Hugs, high fives and knuckles were never far behind. The ladies and gents from our box were soooo supportive and we had so many spectators come to watch and root for us. The energy in the room was crazy.
Veg and the Hubs came to watch two of the workouts and I think even they were a little impressed.
So I finished, didn't get hurt and survived my first "real" competition. Would I do it again? Absolutely!
A few things I learned that day:
- A person can consume over their body weight in water and still be thirsty
- A Veg eater can recover well if there is a two hour break between sets of workouts
- I'm stronger than I thought
- I can run faster than I thought
- I can do double-unders with a "heavy" rope
- It is possible to get stuck on the floor while foam rolling
- I'm glad to own a foam roller
- You can pee 1000 times in a single day
- Complete strangers can say just the right things as if they have known you your whole life
- CrossFit hugs from guys are not so bad (I may just become a hugger yet *wink*)
- My coach saw me do workouts that I've never tried at our normal WOD's this means I will be doing a lot more at my normal WOD's
Most important, I learned a lot about myself that day. I can't put all that in to words just yet, maybe they will come to me later. But, what I can say is that:
Yeah... I own the socks!!!
I don't CrossFit to compete, I CrossFit to be a better me. But when I drove away from my first real competition, I realized how much getting through that day made me a better me.
One of our coaches told me that as much as he likes to win, that I'm not going in this to win. I'm going in this to have fun.
Looking back, it was a lot of fun! The adrenaline rush, the suspense, work, sweat and almost tears.
The day was AMAZING! The people from our box are AMAZING... The weather was perfect (although chilly)... And I would definitely do it all over again with no changes.
So yeah, I had Fun and yes, I have the socks!