Friday, September 6, 2013

The Games Week, Saturday...

As the journey continues...

Saturday - July 27th, 2013
Naughty Nancy
Saturday was our earliest day, reporting at 7am for an athlete briefing, but it was another day filled with challenging events for everyone at the Games. The first event looked exciting as it had more running, but the run was up a big hill with lots of stairs and then lots of squats... hello quads. 

Looking back at this workout, I would actually like to try it again and see how I would do. It would definitely be hard to replicate unless I'm in the Stub Hub Center again, but to approach the workout with a different plan and see how it would unfold is enticing to me. 

The runs were challenging but I was able to be consistent with my pace and move through the course relatively well. The overhead squats were broken into three sets of different reps to make sure I didn't blow up, but as I approached the final round, I completed 22 overhead squats in a row as the buzzer went off, signaling the cut off time. It brought a question to my mind, would I have been able to complete the workout if I had done larger sets?

As I reflect back, it might have been possible to do larger sets of the squats, which in turn might have allowed me to finish the workout underneath the time cap. But how do I really know this? You cannot go back and say, oh if I would have done this, or if I would have done that, I could have finished... I did what I did, I followed my plan and did the event. Another workout under my belt. I finished with a tie for 26th place. 

1RM Clean & Jerk
The Clean & Jerk, one of my favorite lifts. This was another event that I was really looking forward to. In one of our athlete briefings, we were informed that we needed to provide our opening lift. The options were to start at 145, 165, 185 or 205. 

Right off the bat, I thought I could start at 185, as my max Clean & Jerk was 200. Alex and I talked about it and we were discussing how opening at 165 would be a better plan. At first my ego kicked in, start at 165 when I have been hitting over 185? I felt that I could start at 185, complete that lift and then move forward from there. But Alex knew what he was talking about, it was my ego that was getting in my way. My heavier lifts (185 and plus) had not been very consistent in the past couple of weeks to put it all on the line and risk missing my opening lift. 

There was a rule that stated if you didn't complete your opening lift, you were finished with the competition. So, with this in place the best plan was to open with 165 and have a few additional lifts to warm up and be ready for the heavier weight. A great plan. Thank you Alex for all your guidance and coaching, I couldn't have done it without you. 

We were all lined up and were called out to our starting weight. I approached each bar and lifted the weight, resting after the completion of each lift. I worked up to 190, hit the lift and then moved on to 195. I cleaned the bar, but missed the jerk so I rested and then reattempted the weight. I was able to clean it, but again, missed the jerk. So close. 

I was happy that I hit 95% of my max Clean and Jerk, and almost completed the 195 lift. I finished with a tie for 27th place. This event ignited my fire to get back to training after the Games. But until then, we focused on the next event.

Looking back this event, it was one of the most memorable workouts of the entire competition. I remember walking out onto the stadium floor, seeing the bright lights fill the arena, waving to all the fans in the crowd and smile as I jogged to my rower. While they called the other athletes onto the field, I set up my rower and got ready. Alex and I knew that this workout was all about the pull-ups for me.  Going into this workout I had both my plan and a back up plan that would allow me to complete all 125 pull-ups.

As we got ready and the horn blew, we started to row the 1000 meters. The 1k felt like no big deal compared to the half marathon a few days earlier. As soon as I completed my row, I walked straight to my bar and did butterfly pull-ups. I broke the 25 up into small sets and then moved on to the Push Jerks, completing all 7 in a row. As I continued on to the following rounds of pull-ups and Jerks, I could feel the intensity of the workout set it. My arms started to fatigue, my breathing got heavier, but I focused. I took deep breaths, shook out my arms and continued to move through the reps, one at a time.

As I approached that final set of Jerks, I finished the 7th rep, dropped the bar and jumped onto the finishing mat waving to the crowd and camera. Looking up to the crowd filled with family, friends and other Crossfitters, I blew kisses and waved because it was their support, their cheering that made it all worth it. With the contrast of the dark skies, the bright lights lit up the crowd, illuminating the arena and stands. This was a very memorable moment for me.

I walked up to my fellow competitors and cheered them on, encouraging them to keep going and keep fighting. One more rep, one more pull-up. It was an amazing feeling to be out there and cheer for them. Once our heat was finished, we gave each other high fives and hugged one another, congratulating them on their hard work.

Looking around and taking it all in, I smiled, feeling great about accomplishing something amazing. This accomplishment was doing butterfly pull-ups for the entire workout. For some Crossfitters, it might not be a big accomplishment, but for me, this was huge! A couple months prior at the NorCal Regionals, I had a hard time doing butterfly pull-ups in Jackie, I was able to complete about 10 reps, then I went to kipping pull-ups to finish the workout. Butterfly pull-ups were a hit-and-miss, but after all of Alex's programming and working on the butterfly pull-up, I was able to complete 125 reps. Again, this was a huge step for me and I was proud of myself. I finished that workout with a time of 11:59.7 for a 20th place finish.

My friend Hollee took a video of the end of the workout. She posted it to my wall after the Games and it brought tears to my eyes hearing all the support from everyone in the stands... thank you all for cheering me on and supporting me reach my goals!

As our Saturday came a close, Alex and I looked back on the day and talked about what we learned. Day two was in the books. We prepped for Sunday and turned in for the night.


Monday, September 2, 2013

The Games Week, Friday...

To follow up my first post, I wanted to finish writing and share my experience with those around me, both near and far.

Friday - July 26th, 2013
Burden Run
Looking back at this day and getting ready for the whole weekend, I remember it was full of emotion and excitement. The first workout of the day, the Burden Run, was a challenging event and looking back, it was one of the hardest. 

The run was good, only a little over 2 miles, but you had to be smart in how you started off. My goal was to keep a 7 minute pace for the run so when I approached the Pig I would get started right away. I was able to stay pretty much on pace, a little over 14 minutes by the time I reached the Pig. 

We didn't have the opportunity to flip the Pig before hand, so when we all started to arrive at the field, everyone was on the same page, flip this bad boy, end over end until we reach the end of the field. That little Pig was heavy but there was so much adrenaline going through my body. I bent over, loaded my body, heaved it up and then pushed it over one rep at a time. Taking deep breaths, filling my lungs with oxygen, telling myself I can do this and getting prepped for the next flip. 

I reached the log, rolled it up my body and held it close to my head and left shoulder. As I turned on to the track, I tried to shift the weight to have a better grip on the log, but it slipped and rolled off my back. I lifted it back up to my left shoulder and wrapped my arms tightly around it, interlocking my fingers, holding on to it for dear life. 

As I reached the stadium, I dropped the log and grabbed the straps for the sled and got ready to pull. I drove my feet into the damp grass, leaning forward and putting my weight into those straps. It started to move slowly, inch by inch, foot by foot, I pulled it forward. As my legs started to burn, the momentum started to slow, coming to a halt. I launched forward, driving my feet down but I did not move. I could not get that sled started. I tried and tried again. Finally... I started to move, I leaned forward with all my might and finished the workout in 35:07, 20th place in that workout. 

Going into that workout, I thought I was going to be able to move that sled a little fast than I did, but I was happy that I finished the workout underneath the time cap. I learned a lot of things from this workout and I stuck to my plan for the weekend, which was to enjoy each event, stay present and then reflect on it when it was completed and then move forward to the next. 

Pulling the sled across the finish line.

Zig Zag Sprint and Legless
The following events included the Zig Zag Sprint and Legless. I was excited to do sprint as it was a short, fast and explosive event and definitely something different than a day in the gym. It was also interesting as it was a bracketed scoring, the top three individuals in each heat would continue on. I went out there and gave it my best and ran my hardest. I was finished after just one round with a tie for 38th. 

As all the women stood on the field, waiting to see who would go on, I could see friends and family in the stands and the incredible crowd, cheering for everyone. It was sight to see. As I close my eyes now, I see everyone screaming and yelling, holding their signs and water bottles and I remember seeing the emotion on peoples faces, the passion and zest that they have for this sport.

They were all there to support and watch everyone. They connected with us and I know I connected with them. I have said this before to friends and family: I'm a part of the community and the community is part of me. I wouldn't be here without all the support and love from everyone. For everyone out there, thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

For the next event, Legless. This was one that was going to be more of a challenge, how many legless rope climbs can I complete? I practiced and was able to get two while warming up and I felt good. The minimum requirement was one rope climb, our goal was to get through those first four rope climbs. 

As I walked on to the stadium, I waved to the crowd and smiled, soaking up the moment. I focused on the workout and my plan. After completing the thrusters, I jumped up to that first rope and got up pretty smoothly. I rested and then went for my second climb, completing it with a tap at the top of the rig. I moved over to my third rope and shook my arms out, jumped up and climbed the rope. Once I got to the top, I swiped the top of the rig, but as I descended the judge called it a no rep as the contact at the top needs to be more controlled verses a swipe. I said ok, let's try it again. I tried and tried, but could not make it to the top. I was a few kips away, my grip started to give and my hands started to slip. I didn't give up though, I kept trying and kept fighting for the remainder of the time. 

As the clock hit 10 minutes, I had only completed 2 rope climbs, but again I put it all out there and didn't give up. I finished with a tie for 34th place. 

As the day came to a close, I knew I tried my best on each event and put everything on the table. I was proud of what I had accomplished and was lucky and grateful to have Alex, my family and friends by my side. I learned a lot this day. I shared with family and friends that we will be adding more legless rope climbs into my training.

Yes, I will admit that I wish I could have gotten more rope climbs, but I am at where I am at. I didn't have the upper body strength to complete all those rope climbs. This workout is one that showed a weakness of mine, or an 'area of improvement' as I like to think of it. How did I learn this? By going through this event and gaining valuable experience. One of our goals this year at the Games was to gain experience and I did.

With day one in the books, we reflected on the day and then focused our energy to the next day...