This past weekend less than a week off of World’s Toughest Mudder I competed in my first CrossFit Competition. It’s hard to imagine my once CrossFit loathing self competing in the very thing that once I stuck my noise at. Really watching other people exercise fast, finding out who is the best exerciser, give me a break. And yet this past Friday and Saturday I found myself stepping into an unknown world and into something new.
I had joked with some friends maybe in 2015 I would try a CrossFit competition outside of the Open. It was more of a “yeah someday I will do it” not something I was actively seeking out. Since moving to Salt Lake City over two years ago much of my obstacle race training has been at Ute CrossFit. They welcomed me with open arms as I made the move across the country in October of 2012. Ute has become my home of sorts, my social sphere and well CrossFit is just plan fun, I like training hard and I love our coaches.
Training at Ute CrossFit might be different or the same as training at other places but one of the undeniable things about Ute is the people. Not only the people sweating side-by-side with you or the coach of that class. I have been fortunate enough to train in the off hours when the Games competitors are training. Watching them train makes you want to be better and makes you maybe catch the competitor bug. This is basically how I found myself in this year’s Fitness Elevated Competition in a horse arena in South Jordan last weekend.
One of my friends had been signed up and she had some back issues and gifted me her registration, hooking me with the fact one of the WOD’s was suppose to be an obstacle course. Being less than a week off the heals of Worlds Toughest Mudder and dealing with my second degree burn on my chest from my dumbass move of pouring too hot water down my wetsuit to warm up in the middle of the night it took a little convincing but finally said, why not. Harkening back to the days when I started Obstacle Racing and would say “why not” to any opportunity.
So as I walked into the arena knowing almost no one there, not knowing the social norms of a CrossFit competition, it was as if I was dropped into a foreign country and needed to learn the natives rituals. Walking around I saw one familiar face and my heart lifted, nothing like seeing someone you know. There were no death waivers, no bibs, no huge registration process, just going down to the pit area when it was your time.
I was in the first heat of the afternoon on Friday and our first WOD would be a 7 minute row for as many meters as you could row. We then had a minute rest and were suppose to go into the obstacle course and Grace (30 clean and jerks at 95 pounds). As I looked around I saw NO OBSTACLES, and we were informed insurance and timing led to some changes and instead we would have a kettlebell carry/shuttle run. A little deflated as the only event I was excited for was no longer in the competition. But like so many other events you adapt and move on.
Knowing that recovery from WTM normally takes me 2-3 weeks I set micro goals for the weekend and resigned myself to not worrying about the board or my standings. It would turn out that I finished 10 out of 12 on the row, 12 out of 12 on Grace timing out at 10 minutes. On Saturday I would finish 10 or 11th on the sled drag, 12 out of 12 in ascending FRAN with kettle bells (9-15-21 of kettle bell thrusters and pull-ups), and 12 out of 12 on the last workout which included a killer 600m run, 20 deadlifts @ 175lbs, 20 box jump overs, 20 deadlifts @ 175lbs, and finished with a 600m run.
My performances were nothing to write home about and every time I felt myself in a groove my energy would collapse. But in it all I had fun. It was fun to do something so completely out of my wheelhouse and foreign to me. I loved the encouragement complete strangers gave me when I was visibly so far behind. It’s been a while since I was a newb at something and felt so foreign at an event. It’s a feeling we should all strive to have when we start to feel comfortable in life. It’s about pressing the comfort zone, poking at it and seeing what else is out there.
When I got back into the gym this morning, I was sore, I was laughing at my complete newbness with my coach and friend this morning (she is a Games competitor). It was funny sharing the stories of my feelings of not knowing what to do, all the strategy and such. It was just plan fun. As I approached my workout this morning maybe it also made me push a little bit harder to finish the WOD a little faster and a little more taxed than I would have normally.
For all these reasons finishing last, which would have crushed my soul not long ago, felt ok. It was all ok because it was all a step and a learning experience. Will I do another CrossFit competition, sure. But next time it will not be after a 24-hour race.