I have registered for The Easter Throwdown.
Last year when I did Crossfit Talon’s Two To Tango partner competition, I had a really difficult time finding a partner. I had been Crossfitting for about six months, and it was my first competition. For a partner competition it’s important to team up with someone with a similar skill set, and I didn’t have a lot of experience or strength. And you have to find someone who’s even willing to compete, which – surprisingly to me – was not easy. Luckily, another enthusiastic newbie took pity on me and off to the competition we went.
It was a great day. It was the first time I had met Crossfitters outside my gym, and they were everywhere – sprawled on the floor, sitting on stacks of bumper plates, stretched over foam rollers, talking and laughing as if we weren’t about to throw down in half an hour. Once the judges convened and standards were explained, the competition began.
As with most things I sign up for before I know whether I can do them, I learned a lot at Two To Tango. Starting out with a partner competition was a (unintentional) smart move. It was nice having someone there to compete with – not against. I learned how to do kettlebell snatches which are now one of my favorite movements. I realized I row pretty well under pressure. Mostly, I discovered how much I love to compete – while enduring a painfully embarassing moment…
The WOD required five minutes of backsquats with a 95lb barbell. The bar had to start on the ground (which means it had to be cleaned). My partner was unable to clean or backsquat the 95, so it was all me. And. I. Couldn’t. Clean. The. Bar. Millions of Crossfitters surrounded me (well, more like a hundred, but…), and I could not get that bar on my shoulders. I spent three of my five minutes attempting to clean the weight…and then, I did. And the crowd cheered. And I was hooked on competing.
That was in September of 2013, and I have waited over six months to do an individual competition. My backsquat has nearly doubled, my clean has gone up over 25%, and I can do pull ups without a band. And I’ve been training, bro.
Signing up for this competition has given my workouts a specific purpose. My weakness is cardio, especially when it involves picking up something heavier than a piece of paper after running. Because this competition includes a WOD that mixes running with kettlebell swings, I’ve been concentrating on my conditioning. By increasing the frequency of my tabata-style workouts, fitting in a hard run once a week, and just plain pushing myself harder during WODs that require cardio and lifting, I have improved. For real. Unfortunately, my conditioning is such a big weakness, I have little hope for next Saturday’s running WOD. But the process has been important. In training for this competition, I have already become better.
I also have to mention the ice cream that I have not consumed for nearly a month. My focus has been on lean protein, carbs as I need them and keeping down the sugar. I’m noticing a change in body composition, and almost a surge in strength. I achieved unassisted strict pull ups in the last few weeks, and I was able to get through a WOD with 60 overhead squats at the Rx weight of 45 lbs (and the squats were decent, seriously). Oh, and I’ve got double unders.
(So, in a nutshell, I can do a lot of things well – just don’t ask me to do them after running)
When I walk in the doors of Crossfit Talon next Saturday, I will be nervous but confident. I will know that I have worked hard to be the best I can be. I don’t expect to get on the podium, but I will try. I don’t expect to come in last, but it might happen. What I hope for is at least one moment when I experience the gut-wrenching, heartbreaking certainty that I cannot take another step or lift another pound…and dammit, I do it anyway.