I’d like to start off this post with some thank- you’s. First, to the hundreds of judges and volunteers at the Reebok headquarters who made the event run so smoothly. CrossFit Rochester had an incredible support crew of people who made the six and a half hour drive to cheer us on all weekend. The cool thing about CrossFit is that the spectators are all CrossFitters too: they understand exactly what’s going on and are invested in the competition almost as much as the competitors themselves. There’s no way to do justice in words to the roar of the crowd, the palpable electricity in the air, or the chills that run down your spine when you watch 11 competitors crowded around the last person to finish. Tara said that she noticed that the “athletes came together and did what we CrossFitters do best– support each other and raise each other up. No one gave up even if they were dead last.” Becky said the experience was like “bathing in the kool aid” (in a good way) and “it really gives you a feel for what you could be someday.” Alicia pointed out that “having a supportive and encouraging team was awesome. It was nice to have so many people believing in [me] more than [I] believe in [myself] sometimes.” And I know Joe is probably going to get mad at me for writing this on his own blog, but we couldn’t have done it without him and Julie. We (the team) can’t thank them enough for all their time, effort, planning, and coaching that went in to the entire weekend.
Aside from being the experience of a lifetime, the competition was a lesson in humility and tenacity for everyone involved. We were so thankful to have our crew there, plus our crew back home who was cheering for us on the web. If CrossFit is as much about community as it is about fitness, then we’d be nothing without the support of our gym members. So thank you.
Dawn on Day 3 found us all tired, sore, and beat up, but excited for the last day in the thrasher. Stash and me (Fem) were up first to tackle WOD 6, which was– in Stash’s words– “one of the most difficult WODs we have ever done.” Stash and I practiced it once in the gym, and it was nothing less than a soul-crushing mental battle. On a short jog through the Reebok campus, we discussed that no matter how many times you line up on a start line, those damn nerves never go away.
However, like clockwork, when we walked out into the stadium with our matching neon gear, all my nerves disappeared. Fueled by the knowledge of all the hours in the gym that went toward training for this event, my butterflies turned into a steely reserve of determination at the pit of my stomach. I could see gym members in the stands and hanging over the railing behind the rig, waving and screaming their support. As we walked purposefully to our lane, I felt ready to slay dragons. . . and one sideways glance at Stash beside me told me that he felt the same.
Stash describes the workout: “Double unders started shoulder fatigue, then handstand holds and HSPU finished [the shoulders] off. The t2b were a nice relief on the shoulders, but they were sneakily taxing that grip, just in time to clean a fat bar and press it overhead. With smoked shoulders and massive forearm pump, we finished our reps faster than in practice, despite some set backs and no-reps on the HSPU.” When the timer buzzed, we were devastated to find ourselves just 20 feet shy of the finish line. “We were initially disappointed with our efforts,” Stash explained, “but then it became more apparent that we weren’t the only ones who found this workout challenging. Overall on this WOD, we tied for 11th .”
Mega and Joe G. continued their solid runs at Northeast Regionals with good performances in WOD 6. Their rep scheme was 100 double-unders, 50 HSPU, 40 t2b, 30 axle-bar jerks, and then the same 90-foot lunge.
The last event of the weekend was WOD 7. For teams, it was a relay of 3 rounds of 2 rope climbs, 2-4 squat cleans (225/135). The first guy and girl did 3 rounds of 2 rope climbs, 2 squat cleans; the second guy and girl did 3 rounds of 2 rope climbs 3 squat cleans; and the third guy and and girl did 3 rounds of 2 rope climbs, 4 squat cleans (if you got that far). Our order was Stash, Fem, Matt, Alicia, Sean, Lindsey.
We practiced this event in the gym the week before regionals. Interestingly, Alicia had never climbed a rope before (even though the 135lb squat clean was not a problem for her). That’s CrossFit, for you: always exposing the holes in your armor. Andrew had taught Alicia how to climb the rope in the gym, but in the warm-up area at Regionals, she was blanking. She couldn’t seem to get her feet the way he had shown her (and the only way she knew how to climb). Thank goodness I had my cell phone in the warm-up area. With just 30 minutes before the start of the workout, I placed a frantic call to Andrew and told him we needed him immediately. True to form, he ignored the security guards at the entrance to the athlete tent and sprinted inside to give Alicia a refresher on the rope climbs. In Alicia’s words: “I had only climbed the rope 3 times at the gym prior to this event. All day I had been dreading those ropes. . . like, on-the-verge-of-tears dreading those ropes, and it got in my head. I was so afraid of falling from the top that my brain got paralyzed. So when it was time to practice, I thought I had it. . . but when I jumped up, I couldn’t remember what to do with my feet, and I panicked. I had psyched myself out. I worried I was going to let down my team, but Andrew came to help. We reviewed the steps and slowly it came back to me. Seconds before going on, I remembered how I did it and was able to do my rope climbs in the event with some ease.”
Stash was our speed-demon scramble leg on this workout, because we knew he could get through his portion quickly. “Leading off on Event 7 was an amazing experience. Adrenaline was flowing as we went head to head with 9 other teams. I shot out to an early lead with some quick rope work and cleans, and soon settled down into a groove to finish out strong in leg one. I did get a bit overzealous and anxious which caused me to miss 2 of my cleans. At that point I had to stop, recollect myself, and focus back on technique.”
After Stash finished, I (Fem) fought through the squat cleans tooth and nail. I was struggling with the squat cleans, and I wanted to scream/cry/punch someone in frustration/throw the bar across the stadium/quit CrossFit forever. Watching the seconds tick away on the clock and looking back at the expectant, supportive looks on my teammates’ faces was agony. Obviously, they couldn’t start until I finished. . . and for a few seconds, I was afraid I would fail them. But I forced myself to stay calm, and I believe this is what allowed me to finally finish my three rounds. Once finished and standing on the finish mat, it was awesome to watch Matt– our third leg, and a strong squat-cleaner– do his portion of the workout at least twice as fast as I had. He said, “I thought the rope climb workout was the most fun. It was the last event and the stadium was electric. The crowd was really into it, and it was fun and fast paced.” Our team finished the workout on Alicia’s rounds; unfortunately, neither of the Loosens got to start the last round. This–among other things– makes us hungry for next year.
Joe G. and Mega finished up the weekend for CrossFit Rochester with Workout 7. Their workout was 4 rounds of 2 rope climbs and 4 squat cleans at 185/135#.
At the end of the weekend, teams and individuals from Western NY performed very well. CrossFit Rochester placed 19th, Mega placed 28th, and Joe G. placed 32nd. CrossFit Buffalo placed 21st, Eric Schenk of FCCF placed 10th, Sheila Barden of CF Dewitt placed 11th, Christina Goode of CF Buffalo placed 12th, James Wozniak of CrossFit 716 placed 16th, Jess McNabney of FCCF placed 19th, Kaela Pitts of CF Paradigm Performance placed 24th, Jen Lesniak of CrossFit 716 placed 25th, Mike Ruggeri of CF Buffalo placed 31st, and Brennan Colwell placed 36th. Carla Guarino-Hyde unfortunately suffered an elbow injury on Day 1 and had to withdraw.
Speaking of which, it’s been awesome having our “foster children” Brennen and Carla training with us this past month leading up to Regionals. We hope you both come back to visit us often!
At the end of the day, we are all fired up to train hard, get fitter, expand the group of Regionals competitors from CF Rochester, and compete again next year with a stronger contingent. I think Alicia quantified the feeling beautifully: “I have come a long way and conquered many fears this weekend, as well as learned so much about myself and the people I work out with. I love CF Rochester, and hope to live the dream again next year.”