Friday, June 24, 2011

Everyday I'm Shuffling.

Ahhhhh, post-sectionals and regionals life feels goooood. Really goood. I've been able to spend more time with the family- scratch that. More accurately, I've probably been spending just as much time with my Jenny shine-shine and my furry little drummer boy now as I did pre-regionals, the only difference is that now around 15-25% of the time I'm actually paying up to 90% attention to either of them, as opposed to my in-season average of 5-10% of the time paying even 50% attention to what anyone was ever saying. Rest assured, this data will be placed on the back of my official Topps CrossFit playing card right under: "Sucks at HSPU". I digress. Currently, I'm not thinking about thruster ladders or handstand push ups. Nope. Right now, I'm all about crushing pizza and kickin' it poolside, fool. I've been enjoying training without worrying about the clock or a stopwatch running. Even if one is, it feels nice to sincerely not give a flip about who may or may not be beating my times. Lately, it's also been fun to not have much focus to my training sessions. I literally did a workout yesterday that went something like this:

"Hmmm...What activity should I start with for my workout today? Maybe I'll farmers walk 50ft with those two 95lb barbells sitting over there." So I did. Then I was all like, "Well, that 50ft wasn't so bad...I think I'll farmers walk 50ft more." Here's where it gets good. "Whaaat next? Let's see here, I think now I'll do 30 snatches with one of these 95lb barbells." (15 snatches later) "Fifteen'll do. What now? Walking lunges? Why not!?! 50ft sounds good. That was easy. Let's do 100ft. That did the trick (water break- cue elevator music). Okay, now I need a grand finale'(cue drum roll)...For my final trick, I shall perform 100 single-arm bent-over-rows with one of those shiny black 55lb kettlebells we have over by the rowers while simultaneously closing both eyes and shuffling to LMFAO's instant party rock anthem "Everyday I'm Shuffling"...(walking to get said shiny black 55lb kettlebell)...But, wait!!! What's this?! It's a shiny black 35lb kettlebell! He looks so lonely. I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him and hold him and call him George."

(Cue "Everyday I'm Shuffling")...

Even though I talk a big game, it's not been all too unproductive. Today I did "Chubby" Fran: 21-15-9 rounds of 115lb Thrusters & Chest to Bar Pull Ups and PR'd by almost a minute with a time of 4:34, beating my previous time of 5:20. Special thanks to Jared for pushing me through the suck! Speaking of the suck, I never posted my "Amanda" WOD from regionals so here it is. I took 7th on the event, finishing in 5:56- a full minute OVER my PR of 4:55. This performance of "Amanda" was, of course, done under slightly different circumstances and performed with my body - let's say- "less than fully recovered". Coulda-woulda-shoulda pushed a little harder on this or that- anyway, enough with the excuses. Here it is:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mumfords The Word

I've competed as an individual at the regional level each of the past 3 years. Each year, there have been twists and changes to the format of the CrossFit Games qualifying process. Two years ago there was no qualifier to get to compete at regionals- anyone could sign up, show up, and throw down. Last year, the sectionals filter was added. This upped the level of competition. This year, the online Open format increased the level of sectionals participants by almost 20,000 people. We now have a bigger pool, thus we ideally catch bigger fish.

This year, one of the most notable changes in the format of regional competition is the change to 3 days of competition with cuts being made at the end of day 2. For teams, the pool of 30 gets cut down to the top 10 and for the individual competitors, only the top 14 competitors advance to the day 3 finals. All of the sudden, the stakes become higher and the pressure much greater for each event- Particularly the first four WODs.

This inherent increase in pressure actually influenced my training strategy leading up to the North Central Regional. Rather than practice all 6 WODs, I completely ignored WODs 5 and 6 and focused solely on the first four, cycling through them before competition. I knew WOD 1- the run/handstand push up/row event- would be my Achilles heel. But I also knew that the workouts would gradually begin to cater to my skill-set with each event.

After WOD 1, I was ranked 34th out of 40 individual male competitors. With an 11th place finish on WOD 2, my rank jumped to 25th. WOD 3 was heavy deadlifts and high box jumps. I placed 14th for the event. Going into WOD 4 I was ranked 17th, 3 spots away from the top 14 cut-off. Oddly enough, I wasn't nervous at all before my heat. I was more eager than anything else.

Everyone has their own thing when it comes to pre-game rituals. Some people like to punch themselves in the face repeatedly and listen to hardcore music. I prefer to embrace the calm before the storm. All weekend long in Chicago, it was just me and Mumford & Sons in my ear-holes. I had tested "The 100s" WOD once, going out of the gate hard only to crash and finish it in around 21:30ish. The last thing I wanted to do in competition was let adrenaline get the best of me and force me out of a "slow is smooth, smooth is fast" game plan. At the end of the day, my cooler head prevailed and it paid off. My time of 20:42 placed me 7th for the event and jumped me to 13th place overall- good enough to sneak into the finals.

I feel like I learned a lot of personal life lessons this games season...some silly, some are just a few:
1. Eating junk food every once and a while helps me to relax; and relaxing helps me to perform at a higher level.
2. Even when your down- I mean WAY down- you're only out if you start to believe that you're out. So, if you're gonna choose to believe otherwise- you'd better start fighting.
3. I love me some Mumford & Sons. Seriously. This has to be the most I've fallen in love with a band since I fell in love with The Wu-Tang Clan. I kidd (kind of). But seriously, Mumford & Sons: Awesome.
4. Note to self: Chicago is expensive...Save nickels and dimes before visiting. Along these lines...The W hotel in Chicago is over-rated. Sad but true. It's like they use two-by-fours for mattresses and sandpaper for bed linens. I've stayed at two other W hotels- one in LA and the one in New Orleans. Both were hands-down way nicer.
5. My sister is a GAMER. The event director, Eric Barber of Next Generation CrossFit in Tulsa, asked me about 5 minutes beforehand if my sister would be able to sing the National anthem to kick off day 3. His exact words: "Is she good?" and "Are you sure she knows the words?" God bless you, Eric. But, please. This is what followed...

Here is video of me taking on WOD 4 at Regionals...

Mumford & Sons song listened to most last weekend...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Chasing Life Abundant

The long road of maintaining a rigorous training regimen, mental preparation, and fierce competition finally came to head last weekend in Chicago at the 2011 CrossFit Games North Central Regional. In the fallout of my 12th place finish and Team CFSs 3rd place finish I'm left with so many emotions stirring within myself. Gratitude. Gratitude to the many friends, family, and competitors who helped me push myself far beyond my perceived limitations. I have joy and pride in the accomplishments of the community of athletes and coworkers I've been so blessed to associate with from CrossFit Springfield. And most of all, praise, reverence, and humility to my God who gives me life and breath and all ability.

With our second child to be born this July, both Jenny and I know the dynamic of our lives will again change. It is the knowledge of this upcoming season of life change that guided my decision to compete this year at regionals as an individual. Above all, I was drawn to the opportunity for personal and spiritual growth by taking on the challenge of facing the top competitors from our region in the flourishing sport of CrossFit.

Throughout this process, I've come to realize the awesome potential that can be fulfilled in my life when I simply trust God and honestly seek to be used by Him. It's a life strategy which must be revisited every hour of every day in order to be effective. This is so much easier said than done. In the pursuits of life, we all desire to receive attention for our good deeds done, adoration for our accomplishments, and glory for our victories. Don't misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with accepting this attention with humility. The problem is that when we seek to fully absorb these things, we diminish our ability to acknowledge He who is the giver of these good gifts. Our talents become less like gifts and more like prized possessions. Ultimately, prized possessions must be locked away if their owner wishes them not to be stolen. Let this be an encouraging word to you: Go out on a limb. Seek to fully comprehend the many gifts God has given you. And then, USE THEM. Use them to give hope to those who are hopeless. Use whatever talents you possess to be a light in an oftentimes dark world. You'll find more reward and fulfillment in living life this way...3..2..1..GO!!!

Here is some gameday footage of me tackling Event 3 at the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games NorthCentral Regional- Enjoy!