Saturday, January 30, 2010

SuperFit Games - After the Sweat!

Well folks, reporting now from a wonderful concrete floor inside CrossFit Charlottesville, after waking up from a little power nap on that same floor.  Three workouts finished, and looks like that will be it for me.  In a frustrating event for literally every single competitor, 54 went into the third workout, and only 23 came out!

I have plenty to comment on that event, but let's go through the whole day, because it has been a damn fun one despite that last debacle.

I woke up in my grand room at Red Roof, well, to be fair, it really was not that bad at all, I guess that's an inside joke with that comment...  6am was my alarm, and I popped right up ready to go.  I slept deeply and was feeling very fresh for the workouts.  As I arranged my things together I remembered the weather threat, so, I opened the curtains and sure enough, it was snowing, hard.  Sweet.  This made the ride over to the box a little shaky.  My Avis "compact" car was not too happy the entire trip, and I am sure, as I write, it is pretty pissed at me, hidden beneath over a foot of snow that is still coming down!

I parked along the street outside what appeared to be just a huge warehouse.  Gathered my things and trudged through the already 5-6 inches of snow to the front door.  I large tractor tire welcomed me as I entered into a small little alcove to where another door lead to the gym.  Your typical rugged box was there, a single string of bars for pull ups, rubber flooring on most of the concrete floor, not super big, but just right for a group of 10 or less to get any WOD.  Barbells were set up for the deadlifting event there, and I moved back, following the signs for registration, to a back door, a small hallway and into the main room.  This one was a huge, very high ceilinged room completely empty of any normal fitness equipment.  An office, a bathroom, a couple porter johns and portable heaters were really the only thing in there besides the row of rowing machines set up behind caution tape for the first men's WOD.  

I registered and found an area on the floor to store my stuff.  People began trickling in, and soon enough my friends from CrossFit DC showed up which, to be totally honest, was such a great feeling to see a group of familiar faces.  WOD #1 came up on us fast: 1500 meter row for time.  I expected 5 minutes or less and I was feeling very good as my heat came up.  Fourth heat was called and I strapped in.  On the go!, I took off at an easy pace, trying to keep it at 1:40 or just under for the first 1000 meters.  When I hit 500 to go I tried to turn it on and my legs just had nothing.  I was able to get it down to 1:36-1:38, but that was it.  I finished at 4:58.6, and yes, that .6 put me in 5th place behind my now and again training partner Dan by...yup, .6.

Some dried mango and a handful of pecans for recovery and in about an hour it was deadlift time.  Max reps of 289# in 3 minutes.  I was in the 6th heat here and was able to watch to build a strategy.  It looked as though breaking the reps up early and often was really the way to go, so, I decided for 10 the first set, then we'll see after that.  My goal was 55.  I hit them strong and felt good with the first 10.  Dropped to 7 the next round, 5 the next and then just started banging out 3's.  In retrospect, I think set of 5 from the start would have been best.  I finished with a little energy to spare (meaning I could have attacked this one harder) with 47 reps, enough for 12th place on the event, tying me at 5th place with my other here and there training partner Steve.

A protein shake, some more nuts, almond milk and two hours till the thing went down hill.

WOD #3: 50 burpees (hands had to come off the ground at the bottom), 25 thrusters with 111# and 25 handstand push ups.  My HSPU PR at this point was 1.  Three times.  Yesterday.  I was just going to pace myself and chip away, that was the goal.  The first heat went (I was in heat 4) with a good collection of beasts.  They went smoothly through the burpees and thrusters, and three of them got to the HSPU's at the same time; and all three of them crashed.  The first rep came from the middle guy (who was in first overall at the time) after two minutes or so of attempts.  The competitors, the fans and the staff were all a little, no, incredibly shocked.  So much so that the folks running the thing had to yell out that the rep count would be 10, instead of 25!  AND, the cutoff would be 15 minutes instead of 10!!  But that did not help too many people either.  We all watched as competitor after competitor just did not make the time, or just could not do a damn rep.  We quickly realized that they never even tested this workout to see how it would go.  In my opinion, this is bad programming, unprofessional, and just poor judgement all around.  To have an open competition where well over half the competitors can not even finish one of the WOD's, makes for a pretty disappointing competition all around.  I would have understood more at regionals, or the games, or a competition that claimed to be "hardcore" or something. But to have that many people fail, and it not being coincidence, I think is NOT cool.

So, with a litte apprehension, I ducked under the tape to get going.  My plan: go very easy through the burpees, take the thrusters in sets of 5, then really take my time and just try to chip away, one at a time with the HSPU's.  And that's how it started.  I got the burpees like it was nothing, thrusters too, I felt so good, no muscular fatigue, only minimal cardiovascular fatigue, which actually surprised me.  I finished well before most people at that point in the workout, and, even taking almost a minute to rest before the HSPU's, I was still ahead of people.  Then came attempt one.  I got up, lowered down, and, nothing.  Tried another hand postion. And another, and another, and another.  I had people screaming encouragement, people suggesting different angles, and still, nothing.  I must have gone with 50 attempts or more and was not able to get a single damn rep!  And while I kept the general Courage attitude of just having a blast, smiling because I choose to put myself through this pain, and it really is so much fun to me.  This broke me.  I was so demoralized by not being able to get even one, I was crushed.  With 10 seconds left, I dropped, banged out 10 push ups, and that was that.

I said my piece on how I felt about that workout.  I knew it was going to hurt me, I know there were a handful of people more than a little confused by the selection, but after my nap, and walking around a little, talking with people, I know that this is the beauty of CrossFit.  The idea is general physical preparedness, or GPP.  I have a weakness, a major one, any strict overhead motion.  If they had picked any other WOD, I would be prepping for the championship WOD right now, but they did not.  I love the fact that on any given day you can be the best, or, you could be a bottom feeder.  I literally went from 5th of 100 people, to nowhere near the leaders.  7 of the top 10 competitors were WELL behind me after the first two WOD's and they finished better.  It is motivating to me to have a workout style that can do this to anyone.  Rather than just showing off your strengths, it forces you to stare your weaknesses dead in the face and work and make your training choices accordingly.

I take from this the joy of being surrounded by people who love to push themselves, who feed on nuts and fruit and seasoned chicken in a bag to fuel their quests for higher fitness levels.  We all grimace, sweat and experience pain together, yet we all smile, high five and hug it out after.  We all know that we are here for the same reason: to challenge ourselves at any time, and just continue to get better. 

The crowd has thinned out, people looking to find a way through the snow back to their houses.  I am sticking around to cheer on big Dan who is in 1st as of this point.  I am thankful to CrossFit Charlottesville for hosting a great event (hoping it is not just the competitors that learn from the challenges...), I am grateful to all the other competitors and fans who gave it their all and cheered everyone on the entire time.

Some pics, and videos to come!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

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