Monday, September 17, 2012

Best of the West Games Day

Games day had arrived yet again. It had been a while since my last outing so was a little bit nervous about how I’d go.  This was also a different format being a pairs event, something I have to say was outside of my comfort zone.
I don’t usually do the team events because I feel self conscious about my abilities and I don’t want to let anyone down.  I know I’m not the fastest or most mobile when it comes to CrossFit and I don’t want that to impact anyone’s ability to get a good result.  I don’t like the feeling of people having to rely on me to get through the workout successfully.
The day was being held at my old box CrossFit Parramatta.  It has been a while since I have been back there and I felt a little strange about going back and not being part of that crew now.  I wasn’t sure how I would feel.  I was also confronting a few other issues just by being there, so apart from the challenge of the WOD’s I had some other things to manage as well.  It’s always difficult being confronted by what was & what is at the same time, partic when the in-between was so painful.
Due to a variety of circumstances I found myself needing a partner and didn’t know who I would even ask, and considered pulling out. I mentioned it to Tash, my ever talented run coach and she immediately said she’d come and play.  That’s no small thing for someone who has never done CrossFit before to step into a Games day as their first challenge, but that’s the kind of person she is.  I have always felt comfortable running with Tash and not self conscious so was hoping this would carry over to the games day environment. Of course I wanted to still pull my weight and not let the team down.

CFNB had a small but good crew competing. Matt & Jake, Em, Tash & I. It was Em’s first games day and she was pretty nervous about the whole thing as well.  I have to say though she absolutely smashed it and gave it everything.

CFNB Crew - Em, Matt, Me, Tash & Jake
The first WOD was revealed and it was nasty.  There is a very steep hill at the back of the box and I had suspected for some time it would make an appearance at games day, sadly I was right.
WOD 1 & WOD 2
680m sand bag carry (on the hill)
Then in remaining time obtain Max Weight Thruster
9min Cap
The rules were simple, only one team member could carry the sand bags at the one time and if you needed to swap then you had to come to a complete stop.  Both team members had to re enter the box together then proceed to do Thruster lifts in whatever time was left. The max lift from both people were added together to score.
I took Tash to the warm up area where we worked her through the Thruster technique and we figured out a bit of a strategy for the sand bag run. Soon enough it was time for our heat to kick off.  Juggling 2 unevenly weighted sandbags on your shoulders whilst attempting to run downhill is not the easiest thing in the world to achieve. But I have to say I have never seen anyone smash that challenge like Tash did, whilst at the same time keeping me moving.

Anyone who knows me,  knows I am not fond of running up hills. It’s hard and I’m not fast and it just kills me. And I’ll be honest and say I totally struggled to keep myself moving.  I was conscious of being too slow and disappointing Tash who was doing the hard yards. This is about the moment when my normally mild mannered, quietly supportive & encouraging run coach switched to a whole other level. The one quote that still rings in my ears today is ‘we don’t walk in training, we ARE NOT walking now’ so I kept ‘running’ up that damn hill. She was seriously fired up and it was awesome to see. Thanks to her efforts we made up a lot of ground on the rest of the competitors & entered the box a few seconds behind them.
Next we set to work on the Thruster. Our strategy was for me to go first and then Tash would attempt that weight.  We didn’t know what her max would be so we would just go until she couldn’t get heavier.  We got about 4 lifts each in. I was stoked to hit 42.5kg which was just below my 1RM.  But what was even more phenomenal Tash rocked out at 40kg!! That was heavier than a lot of girls there who had been crossfitting and lifting for some time. She almost got the 42.5kg but just couldn’t quite extend her arms overhead.  Matt our coach was standing right by us and encouraging us on the weights which was awesome to have.
In a games day there is lots of time usually between workouts so time to stretch, eat and just watch everyone else go through their paces.  We finished the first workout before 10am and our next heat wasn’t scheduled till 110pm.
That gave us a bit of time to prepare for a truly brutal WOD. 
15min Cap
6 rope climbs
100 burpees
100 16kg kb swings
100 walking lunges with 15kg plate overhead
100 pull ups
Again rules were simple just partition the reps as you needed between the pair and only one person could be working at a time.
This chipper was both physically and mentally demanding. There were a lot of reps to get through and they took a toll on your body. Tash kicked us off smashing through 4 rope climbs and I did 2x3 ground to standing rope pulls.
Burpees are another thing I struggle with and am not at all fast. I was doing sets of 10 in-between Tash smashing out her sets of 15 usually. They seemed to take forever to get through. Soon enough we hit the kettlebell swings where I could come into my own a little. I tried to hit sets of 15 each round so as to give Tash a break as she’d done so much already. We actually got through the swings relatively quickly.
The walking lunges were a challenge and we didn’t have much time left.  They required the back knee to touch the ground every step but I can’t do that with my left knee. So meant every second one I did didn’t count. Once again Tash stepped up and powered through the lunges. The time was up and we had got through 229 reps in that 15mins which was pretty good. Not the fastest nor the slowest but we did it as a team.
That was one of the hardest workouts I have ever done.  It was really tough and seemed like a huge task.  I know I can say hand on heart I would not have got through it as well without having Tash working alongside me. 
We worked well together as a team and I know she brought out the best in me. I can’t speak highly enough of what she achieved yesterday stepping into a Games day challenge with virtually zero CrossFit experience.  I always respected her strength & determination but saw a whole new level of that on Saturday.
I have taken away quite a few areas I want to work on and improve before my next event in 4 weeks.  I aim to be working hard to develop some increased speed and agility and also increasing my work capacity.  I need to be able to get through more. And I need to master damn hills or at the very least push harder on them. A lot of that will come as my fitness continues to improve and I gain more confidence. But there is work to be done.
We had a lot of support on the day from the awesome CFNB crew who came out to watch, and friends like Katie, Sandra & Colleen who were there in full support. Especially Katie who spent the entire day with us even though she had her own challenge, a half marathon the next day. Was awesome to share the day with all of them. 
It was a tough day but got through it, as a team. Very grateful to have had the opportunity to share this challenge with such amazing people.
Now the work starts again for the next event, it will be my last for the year as it’s getting too hot for me. But for my first year of competing 5 events is not a bad effort. And I am looking forward to 2013 games season when I am a fitter, stronger, better athlete.

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