This past 4 weeks have been a blur. There have been some pretty serious accomplishments in my CrossFit life and career over the past few weeks and with a lack of time to commit to writing, I am looking forward to getting some of this down into a few posts. Highlights include meeting and interviewing both Angie Pye and Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, attending and being a part of Reebok CrossFit Ramsay’s Grand Re-Opening event, completing my Level 1 Certificate course, competing in my first live CrossFit competition and SMASHING some PR’s. All that will come, and I’m so sorry for the delay, but this post needs to be written to re-cap this past weekend’s competition in Saskatoon–the 2012 Bridge City Beat Down (BCBD). I’ll warn you now…this is a LONG post, by far the longest I’ve written. Sorry, I talk a lot.
Way back in June when host Synergy Strength/CrossFit Saskatoon posted the teaser video, I wrote the following post– https://crossfitrookie.com/2012/06/bridge-city-beat-down.html
The only negative I’ll post from here on out is that I didn’t reach my goal of 250lbs by that date, but honestly I’m not upset about that. I made some really serious progress that still has me a little shell shocked.
The time finally came to put my money where my mouth is, push myself out of my comfort zone, and sign up. Thankfully, both Coach Crip and Ryan signed up too…having them and Regan there was probably the only thing that kept me from throwing up all weekend. I’ve got a lot of support from my wife, parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and friends, but having my training partner and coaches on hand for this really calmed me down. I wasn’t nervous about anything other than failing. I hate failing. Add the fact that neither toes to bar or unassisted pull-ups were in my bag of tricks even two weeks before the event, I was freaking out. I’d like to think I kept a calm demeanor, but Ryan knows better…
Now, about that comfort zone. At our Level 1 Cert one of our seminar instructors, Cherie Chan, said something that has stuck in my head like a broken record; “Identify your comfort zone and then blur the lines”. People at CrossFit 403 are probably already tired of me telling them to “BLUR THE LINES” when they’re setting up for a WOD. I know you’re comfortable at 55lbs…maybe try 60? Push it.
After this weekend I feel like my comfort zone was chained somewhere in the middle of a rooftop with no view of the edge and that the line blurring consisted of cutting the shackles and diving headfirst off the building while hoping for a soft-ish landing. There was no blurring. My comfort zone just got totally f**ked up, to the point that I’m not really sure where it is right now…would that be mission successful Cherie?
After arriving to cheer on Coach Crip who had 3 events on Friday night, it was off to attempt sleep in preparation for Saturday morning. Hitting the air mattresses at 1030, we tried to get a good rest in but at sometime after midnight I heard from the other side of the room “you still up?”. “Yup”. Well at least it wasn’t just me.
Saturday morning came far too quickly and off we went to the venue. Check in, change, wander, get familiar.
It’s now 9:20, I’m up in 4 minutes.
Alright, 5 rep max clean. I practiced this earlier in the week and knew unequivocally that I could get 155lbs. This would be easy for me to put up as my first number so that I’d have at least something. 3…2…1…GO! You are now in your first event EVER. Set up the bar with my 155lbs and knock it out in 18 seconds. I moved up to 165lbs and got that done pretty well too. That 175lbs though, that was too much for me on this day, but I had 33 seconds left of the 4 minutes we were allowed. There were some little 0.5lb weights there so I tossed them on to the 165lb bar to total 166lbs. DONE! An 11lb PR in my first event…can’t complain! I do know that I have the strength to do much higher than this, MUCH higher. I really want to work on this lift some more, I need to get under the bar but I’ll spare you the self-analysis for another time. I was content at 166lbs.
Well, now what? I had just under two hours to kill so it was time to relax the brain and body while getting my mind right for WOD 2-
3 RFT – 4 minute time cap
8 “Axle” Deadlifts at 185lbs
12 Toes to Bar
50 foot sprint
This WOD worried me, I’ve been fighting with toes to bar since WOD 12.3 of the 2012 CrossFit Open. I had never gotten 1. I did somehow manage to do 4 last Monday so I had a little bit of hope but I didn’t know how the hell I’d manage 12. With the announcer yelling the requisite “3…2…1…GO”, we were off. I knew that I’d have no issues with the deadlifts, even with “axle” bar. The standard Olympic lifting bar is 1.1″ in diameter, the axle bar is a much thicker 2″. I was the first person in my heat to finish deadlifts and it was T2B time. It took a few tries, but I got one! I figured out a weird way to do them and I was surprised to find out that Regan got a video of it. If you can’t tell or don’t know, I’m just to the right of mid-screen with the grey shirt, black shorts, and black socks. After figuring this out and having the odd technique ok’d by my judge, I just kept at it. I ended up finishing 2 complete rounds, 8 deadlifts, and 2 toes to bar within the 4 minute time cap. Considering that I didn’t expect to even get one 50ft sprint in, I was really excited about how this WOD went!
Here’s the video which picks up the action on my set of toes to bar from round 2, sorry it’s a small video. Taken with an iPhone from a long ways away!
After a break for lunch and hanging out with the family, trying to stay on the calmer side of things, it was time for my final WOD. Called “The Chipper”, the WOD is best explained by this video:
All that was important to me was the 30 pull-ups to start. I’m not gonna lie, I was really hoping that there would be some sort of scaling for the Brutes men’s class–the women’s was scaled to ring rows but we weren’t so lucky. Placed in Lane 18, I was right in front of the crowd and this got into my head. All I could think going into the WOD was “great, I’ve only ever done 1 pull-up unassisted before, now I have to stand in front of the crowd for 13 minutes trying to do get through 30”. I didn’t have high hopes at all. I figured that if I could get through 5 or 6 total, it’d be a good showing, but not being able to do the rest of the chipper (where I think I could have hung with the rest of the group) was disappointing.
The next few minutes are a bit of a blur. I got into the heat line-up, took some deep breaths and resigned myself to just trying as hard as I could. One of the best things for me pre-WOD was talking to Jonathan from CrossFit Function. He shared my fear of the pull-ups and it was oddly encouraging to hear that someone else was as nervous as me going into this, we high fived each other with final words of encouragement and hit the floor. *side note* Congrats to you Jonathan for finishing the 30 pull-ups. I know you weren’t confident about them going in but good on ya for sticking through it!
I don’t actually remember hearing the countdown or really much after that. I remember staring up at the bar trying to psych myself up. I grabbed the bar and threw up the biggest kip I think I’ve ever done…judge yells “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6”, and I let go. Wait, did you say 6? Really? Ryan maintains that my first pull-up was pretty much a chest to bar, but I really don’t know. I took a quick breath and got back on the bar, “I wonder if I can do that again?”. “7, 8, 9, 10”. Whoa…
I only strung together a couple more sets of 2 but around pull-up 15 I shook out my hands and realized that there was blood on the floor…oops, that would be a tear. I tried to ignore it and managed three more singles to put my total count to 18 reps. I took my gloves off to survey the damage and it was bad…real bad. I was less than 5 minutes in at this point and while I believed that I was going to finish at 18 reps, I just couldn’t walk off the floor, it wasn’t going to end like that. I tried and tried to get back on the bar but it was just too much, the tearing had really messed my palms up and I had absolutely no grip left. Overhand, underhand, mix grip, it wasn’t happening. Even as I write this 5 days later my hands are in a bit of pain as they tap away on the keyboard—I’m definitely getting some flack for being a wimp this week but it’s better to take a few days off and let them recover than to wreck them more and miss even more time at the box! I made one last attempt at about the 12 minute mark; sheepishly hoping for another one or two reps. That’s funny to me though considering that 12 minutes previously I was aiming for 1, now I was trying for 19 and 20. Here’s a post WOD pic of my hands, after being cleaned…warning, it’s kinda gross. While I was the only guy that didn’t finish my pull-ups, I really didn’t care. I remember hearing Coach Crip yelling from the spectator gallery with support and ideas to try, and her face when she said “how many are you at?”, “18”. She may have had more faith in me than I did but I really don’t think any of us thought I’d clear that many.
I surprised myself on this one, a lot, and I owe it primarily to being where I was. At my own box I may have not left it all out there, maybe I would have given up, maybe I would have resigned myself to scaling. Maybe? Who knows. The competition itself really forced me to adapt and as disappointed as I was that our division had no scaling, if it had, I wouldn’t have found out what I was and am capable of at this point. It’s really shocking sometimes what you can accomplish when you don’t have a way out, so maybe I should thank the organizers?
Synergy Strength, you guys ALL did an awesome job. I could write another whole posting thanking you guys…heck, maybe I will!
I still haven’t quite come to terms with it all and I’m still also having a hard time believing that I did 6 consecutive pull-ups and 18 total. It really hasn’t sunk in yet.
Comfort zone? What’s that?
I’ve already been told by someone at CrossFit 403 that they think I’m going to be a relentless Coach for one simple reason. I’ve been there. If I can do this, so can you, and it had better be a good excuse if you’re going to try it on me. We’ll see if they’re right but just know that no matter what you do, what WOD you’re taking on, or which PR you’re trying to break, all I’ll ask for is your best effort. In the end, you’re doing this for you, so be selfish and leave it all on the floor.