“One of the greatest moments in life is realizing that two weeks ago your body couldn’t do what it just did”
So when I came home to Australia last I decided to give CrossFit with my old trainer a go instead of the boxing training that I would have gone back to normally. It has been five months and I am physically stronger than I have ever been. That said, I am still nowhere near strong enough to do half of the Olympic lifts to the standard weight. I can do unassisted pull ups now, but not consistently. And it is the same for toes to bar and double unders (those of you who do CrossFit will understand).
The thing that kept me with CrossFit, was that it was hard. For years I thrived on the feeling that you had worked so hard and so fast with boxing training that you could barely stand. You had nothing left in the tank to give because you had given your all. And in a different variation of movements and exercises, I found that again in CrossFit.
So my friends who have been doing this way longer than me and are way better at it than me said “You should enter the competition”, to which I initially was like ‘noooo waaaayyyy!’ Since my little adventure on the Overland Track, I have been stretching, rolling, at massage therapists trying to get my hips and back into shape after becoming pretty tight and out of whack. They still aren’t right and so I still can’t do things to the capacity I used to. But after a wine and a whole bunch of peer pressure my “Aversion to the Word NO!” kicked right in and I am finding myself online and paying up my registration fee…….
The workout was released a couple of days before the event and I had a total meltdown. It consisted of 3 rounds. A 10 min AMRAP of 7 deadlifts, 5 hang cleans, 4 front squats, 3 hang snatches and 2 overhead squats for reps. Follow this up by two and a half minutes of rowing for meters. Then a 10 minute AMRAP of “Annie” with a run at the start. “Annie” is all double unders and sit ups.
I am not overly good at any of these moves other than sit ups. I am way better with the gymnastics movements like pull ups, box jumps, burpees, toes to bars…. and so my meltdown began. I went to the gym two days before the event to see a friend who stayed with me for a while and taught me how to do a snatch properly. Criticised my techniques for things and helped me to get to a point where I believed that I could. After that I stood and stared out the window for an hour and a half going over double unders over and over again. They were marginally better than before. A sense of calm and purpose had set over me. I felt readier than I had ever been. I knew what I had to do now, and I knew that I could.
I woke up with a bit of a cold at 4am the day of the Throwdown after an entire night pretty much of dreaming about snatches (and not the female genital variety, the weightifter’s variety… sorry for all you boys out there – fantasy shattered!) Everything was ready to go, I got my gear and I caught my lift to Devonport.
After arrival, we checked in, they wrote a giant M52 on my arm and I went to warm up and get sorted. The first of my events was to be the row. Without much of a warm up, I sat on the machine and full on gassed myself for two and a half minutes. To the point where I rolled off the rower when I was done onto the floor and stayed there for about another two minutes. Jelly legs and a shaking body had earned me a 654m row and 654 points towards my total tally for the event. It then took me another ten minutes of rolling around the floor for any kind of controlled functional movement of my body to kick in, that is how gassed I was from this row. I couldn’t have given any more.
The second event I was to go into was the first AMRAP with the Olympic Lifts. I chose the 15kg bar scaling option and set my sights on a round a minute or completion of 10 rounds. It was tough, my forearms burned and my body ached but by the end of it, I had managed 10 and a half rounds or 224 reps for that round. After deducting my 30% from this due to the lower weight penalty, my total was 156.8 to add to my row.
The last event for the day was the “Adventurous Annie”. This was to be a 705m run with obstacles through the end of it, followed by the double unders and sit ups. Now as somebody who does not run well, I paced myself, got back with five minutes to spare to work on the double unders and sit ups. I managed to get 114 reps for the AMRAP. My day was done. My total points tally came to 924.8. It was enough in the points ranking to place me about 14th out of the girls but as I had scaled, I was not allowed to compete in the final 16 girls for the contest. Probably a good thing too because after only 5 months of CrossFit, I don’t know whether it would have been achievable for me.
The first final was a 10 minute AMRAP of 3 rounds of 15, 16kg for women and 24kg for men, kettlebell thrusters, one bell in each hand, and 15 chest to bar pull ups followed by 3 rounds of 15 toes to bar, 15 box jumps and 15 bar muscle ups…. It was a brutal display of courage. Most of the women didn’t finish the first three rounds and most of the men got into the fourth round if they were lucky. It was one of the most courageous displays of athleticism I had seen and 3 women and 5 men from our gym went through to compete in this before they decided the top 6 men and women.
When results came through, we had two boys in the top six for the final. It was to be a strong man contest. Deadlift 200kg ten times, then lift and carry it 12 meters before pushing a sled across the lawn for 20 meters with 160kg of weights piled on it followed by a 50m sprint. One of the boys from the other gyms managed to finish this in under a minute in what was one of the craziest displays of strength I have ever seen. Our boys did well and we were all incredibly proud.
It was an amazing day all round and I had a great time. The whole CrossFit community is really supportive of each other and it is something that I am happy to be a part of. It is like a family.
There are not too many challenges that will push you to your physical and emotional limits. Together we laugh, we cry, we scream, we yell, and at the end of it all, we go get drunk! (OK, well I don’t because I am too busy laid up on the couch with raging chest infection and cold exacerbated by competing…. but ordinarily…. 😀 )