Why I (little ole not-in-competitive-shape-me) did another Crossfit Competition

1377166_544628175605078_1290412836_n (1)Just over three years ago, I haphazardly and unabashedly signed up for the KCPD Crossfit Throwdown competition. There were athletes from all over the metro in attendance and competitions offered for individuals, partners and teams.While I stood by the registration table, I was immediately humbled to see a pregnant woman doing burpees and carrying what looked to be 100’s of pounds of plates down the track.
When I heard my own event was to include pull-ups, and that they didn’t offer any bands for assistance, I was beyond apprehensive- the task seemed impossible! Alas, I was offered a ring-row scale. I remember watching the RXd women rip off pull-ups with admiration and disbelief- girls doing pull-ups?!! My Crossfit coach friend behind me said, “Give it a few months. You’ll do pull-ups on your own.” I didn’t believe him that day but worked hard at the gym and, sure enough, got my first unassisted pull-up a few months later.
Memories of that first competition have stayed with me. I was in no shape to compete but was ready to see what my new found fitness could do for me if it was challenged. Three years later, the Throwdown competition has changed, Crossfit has grown and expanded its influence around the world, and I can do 100 unassisted pull-ups.
When I heard our gym was hosting the Throwdown this year, I was interested in competing to do something so great on my home turf, to give myself a goal to work towards, and to test just how far I’d come in three years. I chose to compete in the RX (most difficult) division despite being just on the edge of the required weights and movements in some cases (read: MULTIPLE REPETITIONS of a 95lb snatch, TOES to BAR and CHEST-TO-BAR pull ups). I knew I wouldn’t be competitive in my division because I don’t train to compete. I train to get a good work out, stay in shape, and see my friends. I am satisfied with the fitness I’ve achieved personally while maintaining other goals and obligations in my life. I’m not skilled or strong enough to win. Instead of winning, I signed up to test my current level of fitness, and to work harder than usual in the gym because I had a goal.
The day of the competition was sunny, cool, and crowded. The buzz around the gym was 1 part nerves/excitement/focus in athletes, and 1 part encouragement/support/cheers from fans. Well organized and with a timely flow, the competition moved smoothly through four events. Prescription: heavy. I entered the event apprehensive because I hadn’t felt good for the two weeks prior to the event (unhealth due to: 1 part sinus and cold, 1 part Royals and World Series parties increasing eats and drinks and decreasing sleep). The nerves increased when I heard there were only 15 competitors at my level.
A couple parts of the day stand out. The first event was extremely tough for me. I did not warm up properly, my muscles felt very cold, and I was extremely nervous. I was in tears by the end of WOD 1. By th


e final work out, I had calmed down, reminded myself of my own goals, and took seriously my warm up routine. I worked my way through my 4th WOD (400m run, 30 Double Unders, 20 Toes to Bar, and 10 presses at 95lb) , finishing 7th out of the 15 women (my highest place of the day by far!) and succeeded in performing all three rounds of double- unders without a miss. I could hear the voices of my friends and family cheering me on through the dreaded and difficult toes to bar, and even appreciated the encouragement of my judge when caught standing over my bar. To hear people cheering me on, to feel my body pushed past limits, and to celebrate a goal within a goal (no missed double unders!), comprises a list of reasons I continue to pursue fitness through Crossfit training.
I was very impressed with the strength and coordination, the complete athleticism, of the top women that day, and tipped my sweaty headband to them as winners.
For me, I had set out to do something hard and heavy, something beyond my normal workout. Competitions are great for that- for offering a litmus test of what your body can do and for how your efforts and skills stack up against others. The atmosphere of competition pushes you towards greater success- adrenaline and a cheering crowd go a long way in hurrying you up towards another rep or increasing your belief that you can do what appears impossible like that barbell right in front of you. To anyone considering a competition, I’d say, “Go for it!”. Sign up and commit. Train harder and more focused than usual, and then get after it, all the while telling yourself, “I can do this. I can do hard and heavy things!” Enjoy the cheers and the satisfied soreness afterwards.

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