My goal going into this event was twofold. The first was to win, and the second was to have fun. I can now check that box.
The competition at this event was from the women from Ardent, the perennial favorites as they have been dominating competitions for the past few years. It was going to be a test of my fitness, but more importantly my mindset for each workout, and how I managed my thoughts/efforts.
Workout #1 – A Squat Clean Cycle
10 reps at 65, 8 reps at 75, 6 reps at 85, 4 reps at 105, and 2 reps at 115, and then back up the ladder. Melanie and I decided to break these up 50/50 as we went through the workout. In truth the weight was not a challenge, but the skills in swapping out weights were probably the most important of this workout. I decided that we would swap out the two 10# plates with a #25 for the 85# squat clean. Which meant that when we went back down we would have to take that plate off and put the 2 x 10 on either end again for the 75# squat clean. Live and learn, as we should have just slapped on the #5 plate, then kept adding as the workout went, and then detracting. That extra time we took to throw around weights caused us to lose the first round to Ardent with a 4:59 to our 5:05.
This set the tone for me as I knew we needed to be really clean in future transitions if we wanted to better the opposing team. Next workout involved the TrueForm Treadmill. That version of treadmill that is like the Assault Bike – it’s like running up a hill. Only for this workout it was a 400 meter hill as many times through as we could get. Workout looked like this:
AMRAP 11 minutes (as many rounds as possible) of: 400 meter run, 15 snatchs at #65, and 15 pull ups – rinse and repeat until time was over. Both Mel and I have a TrueForm treadmill at the gym, and we know how to use it. Advantage to us here. Snatch’s were light enough to give either team an advantage, and the Pullups were actually in the Ardent’s wheelhouse (those women can whip off pull ups like nobody’s business). We quickly took the lead off the treadmill, and never looked back. We were able to almost get past the fourth round on the treadmill when the time was called.
Score is now even – (1-1)
Now the workout from hell. See the picture above. I call this workout “Snake-bite” as it was probably the hardest thing I had to ever push through in my life. You see in the picture two sandbags, one weights 40# and the other #60 with a small leash to connect the two sandbags. We needed to do everything synchronized as follows:
30 Serpent Squats (air squats with the bags on our shoulders) – 30 burpees facing and jumping over bags
20 Serpent Squats – 20 Burpees
10 Serpent Squats – 10 Burpees
The first round I took the heavy bag, and damn if I was going to put the bag down before the Ardent ladies (they were in front of us) dropped theirs. Score 1 for us as we beat them off the squats. But they started to catch us on the burpees. We would hit the ground together and jump over the sandbags together. The first 30 were hard, and we had to stop at each 10 to get a breath, but we soldiered on to finish that first part of the round.
Second round I got the lighter bag, and with this had it on my opposite shoulder where I quickly found that i liked the heavier bag, and on my other shoulder. We were lucky to get through all 20 without any failures (a short hiccup along the way), but we got that done. Next it was the 20 burpees. The Ardent ladies were only about a burpee or two behind us, but I knew that this could quickly change. We would get through 5, and I’d stop Mel because I couldn’t feel my legs and I was tripping over my feet. I would take a couple steps away then back, and we would start over again. I did this every 5 burpees because I knew that if we didn’t we would get a ‘no-rep’ which I didn’t want to deal with mentally. It was hard enough to just keep moving.
Last round of 10/10 – The Ardent ladies picked up their bags right after we did, and it was game on. We got through all 10 pretty easily, and then it was how hard could we go to get head of them and stay ahead. Those last 10 burpees were the hardest thing I ever had to do. But we finished within 2 burpees in front of them.
Finals were still in front of us, and we could still lose this (I believe), but I also knew that somehow or another there had been a huge shift in how I thought of myself as a competitor. You’d have to have seen me race in my 30’s and 40’s and even early 50’s to see this, and actually you’d have to be next to me as well. I can’t tell you the number of races where I was starting to hurt that I would just ‘let-go’. Last 40o meters into a 5k, if a competitor came up next to me that I felt could beat me, I let them beat me. I would say things like ‘well, she wants it more than I do.’ Or something along the lines of ‘it doesn’t matter how I place’. This happened so many times in my running career that I can’t even tell you how much this whole mindset actually held me back from really reaching my end goals. I did not possess the skill of being able to dig deep, really deep, to ever really push myself.
It’s only taken me this past six months to really start to believe that I can do it. I can push past the numb thighs, the tripping over my own feet, the harsh breath, or struggle to keep moving is new to me. But it is amazing. Oh – and winning doesn’t hurt either.
Last workout of the day was the Finals. Top 5 from each age/RX category. We had a time cap on this one of 11 or 12 minutes (can’t remember), and as usual if you don’t have the workout written in front of you it is totally confusing, but this is what we did:
40 calorie Assault Bike + 12 Thrusters (#75) using an Axel Bar (it’s a barbell that you can’t wrap your hands around) + 12 Toes 2 Bar + 6 rope climbs
40 Cal Bike + 10 Thrusters + 10 TTB + 5 rope climbs (and then we were to get back on the bike, etc., if we had more time to do 40, 8, 8, 4).
Right off the bat let me tell you that the Assault Bike is truly an assault to your legs and lungs. Mel and I decide were are going to split up the ride 20/20 as she is shorter than me, and we would no matter what keep having to adjust the seat (they really need to make this easier to do). I know we have an advantage with this equipment because I’m on the bike at least 2x a week, and Mel avoids it like the plague (but she’s good on it). The bike quickly goes to 550 watts, and then I’m telling myself ‘no way in hell can I do this for 20 calories’ and quickly dialed it down to a more reasonable 350 watts. Still is leg numbing.
Mel does 8 of the thrusters, I do 4. She does 8 of the TTB and I do 4, then we split the rope. I love rope climbing, except today my shoes would not grab onto the rope and I kept sliding, but even so I felt like George of the Jungle.
Round 2, Mel gets off the bike at 10 calories, we change the seat and I start to pedal….after about 10 calories my seat starts to drop down, and continues to drop down to the point where it’s ready for her to get on, and I get off early. She ends up riding another 15 calories to finish, and I made up for it by doing the next 10 thrusters. At this point we are only slightly ahead, and we’re sprinting up the rope as much as we can. Time is starting to tick down, and I finish #3 climb, and then it’s Mel’s turn and she makes it half way up then slides down as her grip is gone. We have less than 30″ on the clock, and I decide to go anyway. I get 3/4 way up and the clock buzzes. This rep won’t count. The good news though is that we finished at least 1 rope climb ahead of them.
In the past I would have said to myself, ‘why do more when we’re clearly ahead’, but the newer version of me was telling me that I had to keep going because you never know.
Today I feel like someone beat me with a 2 x 4 along my body. The fatigue that I ignored yesterday will really be felt tomorrow in my legs and my cardiovascular system (taking tomorrow off as well), but it was truly worth it for me.
I am ready for the 2018 Open, the Masters Qualifier event, and hopefully higher on the leaderboard than last year. I love the strength and agility I’ve gained in the past few years, and even more so the mindset of a competitor.