Friday, May 1, 2015

7th Place Means I Win

As usual, it's been a while...
...but here we are.

I had honestly debated coming back to share my feelings on here, but when something is constantly on your mind...and your friends tell you that your Facebook statuses are too long and that you should have a blog...maybe it is time to come back.

So, for those of you "in the know", I have been an avid and committed Crossfitter for a year and a half.  It's something that somewhere along the way, it became a passion.  It became something I looked forward to every day after work.

When I started to think why I loved it so much, it came at a time when I needed community.  I had fallen in love with running at a time when I needed to be by myself.  I was living and breathing work (being a live-in professional), and running was my escape.  It was the time that allowed me to pound the pavement and escape the every day.  I became strong and faster and achieved a few PRs along the way.

Then came this year's NYC Marathon and Disneyland Avengers Half.  I hadn't trained nearly enough for them and both races were pretty painful for me.  I remember having an emotional breakdown at Mile 20 of the NYC Marathon and telling myself that I just didn't want to do this anymore.

Upon reflection, that's when I discovered that I had fallen out of love with running and in love with Crossfit...because I didn't want to be solitary anymore.  I wanted and needed the community that Crossfit offered.  I had just moved home, leaving friends and communities in Monmouth County.  I was by myself enough...running would only force me to be MORE solitary.

So, when someone runs, they have a goal.  They train for half marathons or marathons...they train for PRs...they train for something...so with Crossfit...what was I training for?

I wasn't really sure to be honest.  When I started, I couldn't even thing of setting a goal...I just wanted to get the basics down...and even when I got the basics down, it was a matter of improving on the bascis.  You get one weight overhead...how about you add 10 more pounds to see if you can do that weight?  And now that you're going heavier we need you to work on your form.  It is a never ending cycle of needing to improve and get better.

But, with my second Crossfit Open upon me and being able to test this year to see how I compared to last year's Open WODs...things were clicking.  I was getting more reps in...I was lifting heavier...I felt more confident in my form and my abilities.  For a few WODs here and there, I was putting RX to my name.  And in a Crossfit miracle, I finally "got" Double Unders...and I could keep them going! They hurt...but they get done.

Then a friend of mine suggested I sign up for the Festivus Games. I did some research and the idea was genius.  Festivus Games are a world wide Crossfit competition held in boxes across the country for Novice and Intermediate Athletes.  Oh my goodness - I am a Novice or Intermediate athlete!!!  I knew it was my type of competition because they outright say "No Firebreathers allowed."  I mean, I love Firebreathers in the gym, but there is no way in hell I am competing against them.

So, I'm not going to go step by step through my preparation, but I knew Novice was a good choice for me.  I practiced all the announced WODs so I had a baseline...and a time/score/rep count to beat once I was in the heat of competition.

Game day arrived.  As usual, I was the FIRST person there.  Novice Male 1.  Oh, awesome, I had planned to do Row So Hard first...but the WOD Gods had something different in mind.  I was assigned to start the day with Quad Buster.  It sounds painful...it IS painful.  I did my best, but deep down I knew that this was definitely going to be the weakest of work outs.  Front squats kill me...but man...I am a lemur during bar over burpees.

With Row So Hard, I knew I stood a chance to actually kick ass on it.  I was in the first heat of Novice athletes...And I knocked it out in 5:49.  1000m row and 50 14 pound wall balls to a 9 foot target..Almost half a minute faster than my original time.

Then...I watched and waited.  I stood there and watched the athletes compete like I was an excited kid waiting for the Hot Light at Krispy Kreme turn on.  Now, I am not one to rub my victories in others' faces...but you can be damn well sure I was as giddy as a school girl as more and more Novice athletes competed and I had finished faster than them.  This was happening.  I was competing and I was holding my own.

Then the waiting game for WOD #3.  I had prepped and I knew that if I moved quickly...I may have a chance.  Either way, I needed to prove to myself that I could do it.  This is what I had been training for.  A chance to show off my skills and my strength.

With the final WOD, 6 minutes came and went.  My judge looked pretty dang impressed.  I looked at my cheering squad (my buddies from Crossfit: SOAR - Beyond Your Limits) and they had a look in their eye.  They think I stood a chance at Top 5.

Now, this is where I start to panic.  I had prepped for the First 3 WODs...but what if the last WOD was something I couldn't do?!

Also - I didn't want to get my hopes up.  To be fair (and not totally EMO at all), I recognized that life is going to be full of disappointments.  And as I've gotten older, I try not to get my hopes up.

But this is where I realized that I was truly victorious...regardless of the eventual outcome...I believed what my friends were telling me...Based on how hard I had worked, I believed I had a chance at the Top 5.  A year and a half ago, I had struggles with getting 35 pounds overhead...now here I was, after three work outs, believing and even hoping (I know, crazy) that I would have the chance to test my mettle in the Top 5 of a CROSSFIT competition.

So, I will not lie and say I wasn't disappointed to not here my name announced as one of the Top 5.  It hit me kinda hard, and I pretended I was okay...but I was a bit disappointed.

But, I wasn't disappointed in myself.  I was confident in my performance.  After every WOD at the box, I always tell myself I could do better.  Not that day.  I know I had given 100%, my all, and left it all on the mat.

I couldn't wait to see where I had placed.  I logged on...and the score server had crashed.  I thought I was okay with never knowing my score.  I WASN'T.

And it ate at me more and more as the week went on.  Please, races have perfected it where you can pretty much search your finish time seconds after you cross the finish line.  Why couldn't this competition be the same?!?!?!?  And then the word came that Festivus may never be able to provide the Host-level scores given the server outage.

It was like putting all your time and effort into baking something (because it all comes down to food in the long run), and not being able to taste it while all your friends say how amazing it is.  It would be like running a  half marathon, feeling like you PRed, but never knowing if you actually did or not.

But, with enough whining and complaining...We finally got the results.

I came in 7th!  7th!

When I first read the E-mail, I did a dance of joy in the bathroom.  You couldn't wipe that smile off my face.  Out of the 20 something novice male athletes there, I pushed myself enough, lifted heavy enough, and moved fast enough to rank in the Top 10!  As far was I was concerned, I had won.  There was no second guessing...no self doubt...just pure awesomeness and joy.

But now I know what my goal is...To make the Top 5 when the Festivus Games return in October.

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