Strength

Living on Saltwater - Crossfit Competition

Living on Saltwater - Crossfit Competition

This 2 weekends ago I competed in my first Crossfit Competition. It was 5 months to the day from when I signed up at my gym. The competition was for Novice and Intermediate athletes and a good first experience for newbies. On Saturday was the individual competition and on Sunday there was a 4-person team competition. I signed up with a friend for the individual competition, and 16 other people signed up for the team competition, from the gym.

Leading up to the event I was kinda nervous. There would be 4 workouts/events I would have to compete in. If you were in the top 5 of your division at the end of the 4 events, there was a 5th and final workout to determine the top five places. Over the month prior to the competition, the first 3 workouts were released. The 4th workout would be released the day of. I hated this! I don’t like surprises. I like to plan things out, go through the workouts and see how things are going to transition. I only got to practice the first 2 workouts. The 3 workout was released 3 days before and I was deloading at that point to conserve energy and to not be sore the day of the competition.

Two days before the competition they released the heat line up for the events. Lucky me, yea right! I was placed in the first heat for each round. This meant I couldn’t watch others do the workout before me and that I had to start warming up before everyone else. There were 15 women in my division. I started to Facebook stalk the other women and size them up….but quickly stopped because I knew that wasn’t going to get me anywhere. Part of me wanted to do really well and place in this competition. I have never had that feeling before. With any race I’ve run my goal has always been to finish and I usually have a stretch goal for time and a realistic goal for time. I know I am never going to win any running race, nor am I going to place in my age group. But this competition made me feel different.

The competition started off bright and early on Saturday morning, but it was hotter than Hades out there. The competition was held outside/inside the gym, but there was no air conditioning. The first workout started at 8:30am. There was a 10 minute time cap. The workout was a 400 meter run and then as many rounds as possible of 10 burpees and 10 kettle bell swings with a 20 pound kettle bell. I practice this workout 2 times. The first time it was using a 18 pound and 26 pound kettle bell (my gym doesn’t have a 20 pound kettle bell). It was difficult the first time, but the second time I only used the 26 pound Kettle Bell and was able to get through the same number of rounds. The 20 kettle bell felt light during the workout. I knew it would go well; my endurance is one of my strengths.

I did 139 reps of burpees and kettle bell swings, which was 29 more than any of my practice rounds. I was in 4th place after the first workout. Here’s a picture of me doing the burpees:

Living on Saltwater - Crossfit Competition

Photo credit Firestarter Challenge Competition.

I was able to watch all of the other female and most of the male heats, before I had to start warming up for the 2nd workout. I was most nervous about the second one. Each competitor had 6 minutes to establish a 3 rep max for a power clean. The lifting portion is not my strength and power cleans are not my favorite, nor my best lift. The tricky part was that once you started the 3 reps, the bar could only touch the ground for a brief moment between each one. You couldn’t re-grip the bar on the ground.

I practiced this event a couple of times and hit 95 pounds. My goal was to get 95 pounds and then try for 100.

I went through the warm up for my power cleans and did one at 85, just to feel how heavy it was. I planned to start my 6 minutes at 85 pounds. I was super nervous standing there waiting for the 6 minutes to start. Three girls from the gym were there to cheer me on, but I felt like I could puke. I hit 3 reps at 85 pounds, at least I didn’t zero out this event, I had something on the board. I put on 5 pound plates on each side to go for 95 pounds. I hit the first two reps, but couldn’t get the last one; my nerves had gotten the best of me. I put it down and went to go chalk my hands. It was so hot out there, I was having a difficult time keeping a good grip on the bar. We were almost half way through with the 6 minutes. I went for 95 pounds again, and hit all 3 reps! Whew….but there was still time left. I added 2.5 pound plates to each side for 100 pounds and re-chalked my hands. I stood there and watched the clock until it hit the 4 minute mark. And this is what happened:

I was super excited to get 3 reps at 100 pounds! There was still over a minute left. My judge asked me if I wanted to do more and I said “No.” I knew trying for anything else would be a waste of my energy. I would be better off saving my energy for the other endurance workouts where I could make up some ground. (I was tied for 9th place after the 2nd workout and over half of my division power cleaned more than 100 pounds).

The third workout was a combination of sit-ups and lunges with a 45 pound bar. Each person alternated between sit-ups and lunges, (42 SU, 21 lunges, 30 SU, 15 lunges, 18 SU, and 9 lunges). I wasn’t worried about this one at all. There was a 10 minute time cap I kept moving the entire time, but I could have gone faster. I didn’t have a chance to practice this one beforehand, so I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. I didn’t want to go too fast and then have to pause when I ran out of breath. I finished at 4:54, which was slow and kept me in 9th place. My quads were burnt out after that workout. Here’s me doing the lunges:

Living on Saltwater - Crossfit Competition

Photo credit Firestarter Challenge Competition.

The 4th workout was a surprise. The movements were literally demonstrated to everyone 10 minutes before the first heat. The workout was a 500 meter row. Followed by 40 wall balls with a 10 pound ball to the 9 foot line. These were followed by 30 Snatches at 45 pounds and then a 200 meter farmer’s carry with 20 pound dumb bells. I was comfortable with everything but the Snatch lift. For this to be a competition for beginners, it was ridiculous for snatches to be included, let alone be in the surprise workout. Snatches are one of the most complicated lifts. To say I was pissed was an understatement.

Snatches are my least favorite lift to do. To be honest I never expected that lift to be in a novice competition and had avoided those days at the gym, until last Wednesday. I’m not looking to be the perfect crossfitter. I’m out to have fun and everyone needs a rest day. My rest days usually coincided with Snatch day. Until the competition, I had never attempted a Snatch at 45 pounds. I wasn’t sure if I would complete the workout in the 15 minute time cap.

I started the workout. I’m not the greatest at rowing; I am much better at running. But I finished the 500 meters around the 2:10 minute mark. My arms were pretty tired by that point in the day. I’m kinda bad at wall balls to start with since I’m only 5’3”(ish). I have to jump on every one to get it to the 9 foot line. I definitely had a couple of “No Reps” in there. I moved on to the Snatches….I was needing some motivation at that point. I stood there for a second to catch my breath and then did 5 reps. From there I just tried to do them in sets of 5. One of the girls who came to cheer me on would count down in between each set to prompt me to pick up the bar again. It was pretty helpful. I finished all 30 and ran out the door to pick up the dumb bells. My forearms were on fire. I could barely hold onto them while I walked (running was definitely out of the question). As soon as I rounded the corner out of sight from everyone I put them down to rest! Eek!!! I had to set them down several times throughout the 200 meters. I tried to push through by resting my left one on my left thy (my left side is so much weaker than my right side). But that left some pretty awful bruises the next day (some of them still haven’t gone away). I finished around 10:20.

Living on Saltwater - Crossfit Competition

Photo credit Firestarter Challenge Competition.

My friend who competed with me was in the top 5 and got to do the 5th workout. I was kinda glad I wasn’t in the top 5, I didn’t have it in me to do another one. The next day was the team competition and a girl backed out for a team and I ended up replacing her. Two days back to back was intense. I finished the individual competition in 8th place out of 15. I was satisfied. It was a good experience and I proved a lot to myself that day!

Living on Saltwater - Crossfit Competition

Here I am at the team competition on Sunday for a 3 rep power clean at 95 pounds:

Living on Saltwater - Crossfit Competition

I had ALOT of fun at the team competition. Back in April when everyone was signing up for the team competition, I didn’t have a lot of faith in my abilities as a crossfitter. I felt like I would be the weakest link on a team. Hell I had only been at it about 3 months at that point. I also didn’t know a lot of people as well in April. The introvert in me was not willing to raise my hand and say “I want to be on a team.” I was kinda afraid of being the last person standing, like in gym class, and no one would want me on their team. In the end it all worked out. Thank goodness I had Monday off from work to recover!

1 Comment

  1. Jennifer Michener says: Reply

    Good job, Caroline! I’ve heard of crossfit but didn’t know how intense it was. Very impressive!

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