So, last Saturday, I participated in my very first CrossFit competition, and I'm here to tell you all about it.
In a word: FUN. In more words: More fun than running in a 5K, which is what I'd originally intended to do that day.
Now I just have to say, that doing this wasn't really my idea at all. Waaaay back at the beginning of the year, my CrossFit coach and friend--and owner of CrossFit Kennesaw, the awesomest box anywhere--Chris, just flat-out informed me that, by the way, I was going to do a competition this year. Obviously, he was talking crazytalk.
But it got me thinking . . . hmmmmm . . . . After all, I had never run in a 5K before last year, and I'd got several of those under my belt, and even though that involves running, they were still kind of fun to do. And so I pushed the idea into the Someday Maybe category in my head.
Then I did the Open and that decided me. Actually, it was 12.4 that made the difference. Somehow that day, I was the only person doing the Open WOD and I had my own personal cheering section. They were so awesome, and it was kind of thrilling to finally hit some good double-unders while everyone was cheering me on.
Chris suggested the Festivus Games as a good possibility for my first competition (there were a couple other competitions I'd considered, but I had other conflicts with the dates and times, so couldn't work it into my schedule). It seemed pretty perfect for me--the location was close by, the fee not too expensive, and the best part--it's a competition geared toward us regular people who CrossFit. Don't get me wrong, I love the firebreathers and I watched a lot of the CrossFit Games this year. So fun and inspiring! But I'm a regular firebreather, not an elite firebreather, and I liked the idea of competing with and against people who are more or less in the same firebreathing category as me.
I wrestled with the Perfectionism Monster a bit over whether I should sign up for the Novice or Intermediate division. I had all of the qualifications for Intermediate Women except for double-unders (my current nemesis). But I hesitated to sign up for Intermediate because, well, oh there were lots of excuses. Then I decided that I'd be pretty irritated with myself if I competed in the Novice division and did pretty well, because then I'd have to wonder how I'd have done as an Intermediate. So I chose possible humiliation over lingering regret and signed up as an Intermediate.
So I'd planned to kick my own butt especially hard in July and really train up for Festivus. And then Brendan's appendix happened and my gym schedule and eating suffered. And just as I was getting back on track, I freaking pulled my calf doing . . . yup . . . double-unders! Ten days before the competition, about 3 minutes into my workout, I hurt myself so badly I couldn't actually walk for a few days.
I was pretty bummed, but I also felt somewhat serene and at peace with what had happened. Maybe it's age or maturity or wisdom, call it what you will, but perspective is a lovely thing--there would be other competitions.
With rest and careful attention, I was up and walking again, and then back at the gym a few days later working on upper body stuff. The leg felt steadily better, and by about 4 days before the competition, I was able to run on it with no pain. Jumping was still a problem though, and Olympic lifting (that second pull involves a flexion of the calf muscles that hurt a lot).
By this point, Festivus had released the events, and I now planned to go and compete in the first two--the 2K row (I'd been rowing okay at the gym) and the deadlift. The chipper involved both burpees and double-unders, so that was off the table for me. Still, I looked forward to going and participating in at least part of the competition.
And then it occurred to me--those double-unders were at the end of the chipper round, and there were only 10 burpees. So the night before the competition, I had a new plan: compete in the chipper, and stop when I got to the double-unders, and just take a low score.
And that's what I did! I was scheduled to do the chipper first (in order to accommodate about 80 competitors, we were broken up into smaller groups and heats). Since that was the one I was most nervous about, I was happy to get it over with right away.
The chipper was as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes:
20 pull ups (unassisted in the Intermediate division)
30 sit ups
40 kettlebell swings (35#)
50 body weight squats
I rocked out the burpees, no problem, and then got started on the pull ups. As I expected, I was the last one off the pull up bar. :D I can do them--just very slowly! After what felt like a thousand years, I moved on to sit ups and KBs, where I think I might have made up a tiny bit of time. I remember feeling really shocked to hear we still had four minutes left while I was in the middle of the kettlebells, because like I said, it took about a thousand years for me to do the pull ups! Knowing I had plenty of time left and that I wasn't going on to the double-unders, I slowed down a bit, and coasted through the rest of the event. I had a good minute or two left at the end in which I was super glad I hadn't put out my jump rope, because I was pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to resist trying for a couple of double-unders.
So my score on the chipper was 150, and I tied for last place on that. No worries. I've been last before on a WOD and I'll be last again! And my calf felt fine.
I should mention that Brendan and the kids couldn't come and see my first competition. :( As it happened, he had developed a secondary infection after his appendix surgery, and spent all of last weekend resting and taking antibiotics and doing everything possible to avoid having a second surgery. Which he has done, yay! But I was happy that my powerlifting friend and his kids came by to cheer me on. I had my own cheering section, and they were super awesome, especially the youngest girl, who kept rubbing my shoulders and toweling off my sweaty neck. :D
I actually had a strategy for the rowing, something I stumbled on searching the internets. The plan was to keep a steady pace, something somewhat challenging, but doable. And every 500m or so, I was going to do 8-10 really strong pulls, like a mini-sprint, then settle back down to my pace. I planned to do the last 100m at the sprint pace, but I think I only had energy to do that for the last 60m or so. I told my strategy to my friends, who were SO great about cheering me on and reminding me that I had plenty of time to be tired AFTER the row was over.
I ended up getting a personal record on the 2K row, by quite a bit. Previous PR: 9:16. New PR: 8:30!!! Now you have to know that I am not, nor have I ever been, a distancey, endurancey type of person. Like ever. So to have done this is amazing to me. And 8:30 was fast enough to get me 4th place for this event. FOR REAL.
By the time I hit the deadlifts, I was totally gassed out. My friend gave me lots of good coaching tips and strategies, and overall, the deadlift event was the most fun of the three. I really enjoy lifting, and there were tons of people just yelling and cheering. Very exciting stuff. I didn't PR, but got 245#, only 10 pounds less than my best lift ever. I definitely need a better strategy for loading the bar quickly, and counting. Because my friend caught me not loading the bar evenly (I'd warned him of my tendency to do that!). I tied for 13th in this event. One of my fellow competitors who goes to CrossFit Kennesaw tied for 2nd in this event--totally awesome! I was so excited for her!
Overall, I ended up 15th out of 20, and I am super proud of that! I KNOW I would have been mad at myself if I'd competed in the Novice division (where my scores would have put me in 3rd place for the row and 3rd place for the deadlift--I'd still have been last in the chipper due to not jumping rope).
It was a lot of fun, and it was great to meet many other people from CrossFit gyms in our area (and a few from outside of Georgia, too). I am definitely going to compete in similar competitions in the future. And hopefully I won't hurt myself right before so I can be healthy enough to compete in the whole thing. :)