Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Back To The Lab...

The 2010 CrossFit Games North Central Regional Qualifier was nothing short of spectacular. The competition, the crowds, the passion, the energy, the anxiety, the calm, the chaos, the athletes, the firebreathers, the altitude, the inspirational performances, the joy, the tears, the precise judging, the pain, the cold, the noise, the grueling WODs, the triumph, and the heartbreak...they all showed up to Castlerock, CO in full force. There was no doubt in anyone's mind that the North Central Regional was jam packed with the most elite athetes in the 12 state region. Each athlete bringing with them sincere aspirations of CrossFit glory.

But just as they always do, the fittest prevailed. By 4pm on Sunday, 8 individual athletes and 8 affiliate teams punched their tickets to the Home Depot Center in LA for the 2010 CrossFit Games World Finals.
Here is my rundown of the 4 events as I experienced them:

WOD 1: "The Run" A 1440m uphill winding paved trail run with a steep 150m decline towards the finish. At 8am the temperature was roughly 34 degrees but it was sunny and clear which made for decent running conditions. My strategy was to run at around 90% intensity for the first 1:30, coast at around 75-85% until 3min, and end with a full out sprint the last minute and a half to the finish line. I was shooting for around 4:35-4:45. I executed fairly well with exception of a brief 20-30 seconds in the middle of the run where I really felt myself struggling to keep a strong pace. My official time was 4:53.2. Afterwards, my throat, chest, and lungs felt like they'd been borrowed for a Ronco dehydrator infomercial. All things considered, I was pleased with my performance.

WOD 2: "The Lift" 25min Ground to Overhead 1RM. My heat time was 10:30am. I got a great warm up and worked my progression up to 245lb in the athletes area. I lead with 225lb on my first lift just to get a decent score under my belt. I then jumped to 235 and then 250lb successfully. With my previous PR being 255lb, I then decided to go for it and jumped to 260lb and nailed it for a new PR. The lift felt strong so on my next attempt I went with 270lb. Initially, I told myself I would go in 5lb increments once I hit 260 but in the heat of the moment I figured "what the heck?" and made the jump. Probably a bad choice. I nailed the clean but failed twice on the jerk overhead. Although I managed to outlift and match some very good athletes, our regional produced some monster numbers with 9 male athletes hitting 300+ on WOD 2.

WOD 3: "The Triplet" 3 rounds of 500m row, 12 OHS @ 115lb, and 50 DUs. Without question, this WOD should have produced my best performance...instead- I got owned by it :) The 10:12 time I did it in on the Tuesday prior to the competition quickly slipped away as my O2 consumption began to give me fits. Staying calm, training for the unknown, and conditioning yourself to keep on pushing through severe muscle fatigue means very little when you just can't get air in. I finished in 11:42 and felt completely wrecked.

WOD 4: "The Final" 10 145lb Snatches, 20 C2B Pull Ups, 30 24" Stick Jumps, 40 45lb Ball Slams, 30 Stick Jumps, 20 C2B Pull Ups, 10 145lb Snatches. Saturday night I realized it would do me no good to tackle this WOD agressively from the get-go. My strategy for the final event on Sunday AM was to go slow and steady and not crash. I wanted to make it a point to continue to move through the WOD, taking breaks no longer than 3-5 seconds during the event. I feel I executed that plan well, moving from each modality briskly and fast enough to put up a competitive time yet slow enough to not crash on the last 10 snatches (the last 10 reps held some athletes up for multiple minutes and caused some to drop significantly in the final rankings). My time for the final event was 11:22 which ended up being strong enough to keep me in the top 30 of the final overall standings for the men.

I learned a great deal from my games experience this year. First off, I was reminded time and time again of the amount of guts and courage it takes to compete as a crossfitter at any level and ecspecially on a stage as great as the one that is provided by the CrossFit Games regionals competition. We were witness, many times over, to athletes pushing themselves far past their physical limits in an attempt to simply finish the WODs under the time limits given. Never did I see one competitor give up or walk away until the time limit had been reached. They fought, heart and soul to the very end, no matter what the outcome. To me, it all goes back to the reason I started crossfitting in the first place: I'm an athlete. I love the rush of competition- competition against myself, competition against my peers, competing against a loaded barbell, and competing against the clock. It fuels me- win, lose, or draw- with the peace of knowing that no matter what the outcome and no matter what the circumstance, I will give nothing short of my absolute best. That knowledge carries over into giving my very best in everyday life. I've already been asked if I'm planning to compete in next year's 2011 CrossFit Games season. Hmmm...What do you think?

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