Courage.

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”
― Mark Twain

competiting

On this eve of competition I check and recheck my packing list:

  1. Athletic tape
  2. Extra socks
  3. Extra shirts, tights, etc.
  4. Wrist wraps
  5. Headband
  6. Food for day of – almonds, green apples, beef jerky
  7. Baby oil

Baby oil?

“Baby oil helps to get off the tacky,” Cat, my lovely Strongman Coach, assures me. Tacky is a pine resin, specifically used during Strongman Stone competitions. You smear it over your legs and arms and chest and it helps you lift stones. My particular stone will be 150lbs. And I will be asked to lift it up and drop it over a bar, as many times as possible in a minute.

Tomorrow is a Strongman Competition, the list of events as follows including Novice weights (the level at which I’ll be competing):

  • Axle (clean and press each rep-lift & down command) NW-95lbs.
  • Deadlift (Standard bar from the floor, straps allowed, no suits or briefs, lift & down command) NW-215lbs.
  • Ironmind Sandbag Carry (max distance, no drops, turns at 50ft., 30 seconds to get it off the ground then no time limit) NW- 100lbs.
  • Medley-Yoke (50ft. Straight run, no drops allowed, Prowler push back)

    NW

    -300/230lbs.

  • Stone over bar (48″ for women, 52″for men, max reps) NW-150lbs.

Add to the list, Tacky clothes. Apparently once tacky gets on your clothes it never comes off which is why you need a separate set of clothes for using tacky and a plastic bag to carry those clothes home if you want to keep them. Which is why most stone over bar events are scheduled last during comps, to limit the amount of time needed to change.

When checking and rechecking my packing list, what I should really be doing is a gut-check. I’m starting to feel nervous, nauseous even. Competitions do this to me. I’ve struggled in the past with whether I really do like competing. While it all seems like fun in the beginning, the anticipation and camaraderie and excitement when first signing up, the training in the months and weeks leading up to the event. All wonderful. But game day? A whole other animal all together.

Cat and I are meeting in the ACF parking lot tonight at 6:30pm. We will load our gear into one car and commence the 3 hour drive to Boston. We’ll have a late dinner, try to get some sleep at the hotel and then up early and then… It’s Competition Day.

Admittedly, I would not be doing this by myself. Cat is a Strong Woman Competitor this is what she does. She’s training to go to Nationals.  She can jerk 160lbs. over head. She makes it look easy, and graceful all at the same time. I admire her strength and beauty. Going to this comp with her does lend a certain amount of ease and comfort. I trust her.

CrossFit is all about getting comfortable being uncomfortable – challenging yourself. I’m okay with that in the comforts and familiarity of the triple-wide of our lovely ACF box. But when you step outside that comfort zone, 3 hour drive outside, and into a foreign world with people you do not know and equipment you’ve never seen or touched amidst all elements unknown, everything changes. It is up to you to make peace, in your mind, in your heart, with your body.

Along with finishing well, doing my absolute best in this competition, my ultimate goal for tomorrow – is to find peace in competing.

Strength.

On Saturday, December 8, 2012 from 10 – 3pm a group of athletes, peers and friends came together to compete, cheer, coach, volunteer and encourage one another for the ACF 2nd annual Strongman Competition.

I placed third overall in my weight class. Upon hearing my name I sprinted to the corner of the triple-wide, lept up over the kegs and claimed my place on the podium.

top 2

The day’s first event was the max axle deadlift. The axle bar is a Strongman staple. I had a personal PR of 280lbs. on my deadlift today with the axle bar. There’s something that happens when it’s your turn to compete and you step up onto the mat, nod to the judge, and its 3, 2, 1… Go! I know recently I’ve been having some second thoughts about competing. But there was something in the air on Saturday, maybe it’s simply the mood of Strongman, relaxed, controlled, comfortable, encouraging, steady. This translated into the events themselves. I didn’t feel the usual nausea associated with competing. I simply felt like, I got this. Even on my lesser feats, like only 3 reps on the overhead log press at 90lbs. It was all simply okay. Perhaps the only true way to know if competing is for me is to compete in an actual Crossfit Competition, which has yet to happen.

Much more was gained throughout the day alongside personal bests and Doing when you think you simply cannot. When you’re not on the floor competing, there’s a lot of cheering, sharing stashes of beef jerky, and catching up with fellow athletes.

New and old friendships are made and strengthened.

As the hours passed us by I learned the heartbreaking news that a fellow athlete’s mom was just diagnosed with cancer. The athlete dropped out of the competition, but took a break from being at the hospital with her mom to stop in and cheer on her peeps. It was another competitor’s birthday, plans to celebrate post-competition dampened by news that only that very morning he had to give a final good by to his beloved dog of 15 years. The family dog was being driven to the vet that morning by the athlete’s father. Lastly, a dear friend, who had been having a rocky time recently with a relationship received a text msg. from said significant other saying it was time to end the relationship. Reminds me of a certain Sex and City episode, I said. Not sure which is worse, being broken up with by a post-it note, or text msg. Either way, better now then later, we agreed.

It’s been said before and bares repeating, as certain things do because they are so awesome and feel good to remember: Crossfit is a training ground for life.

It’s the hurdles that can knock the shit out of you. But you cannot avoid them.

Just like standing infront of the white board and staring at a WOD that looks so intimidating you wonder if anyone will notice if you sneak out during the warm up. It all may sound too simple. But it takes a great deal of strength of mind to go through some of life’s most difficult and heart breaking moments. It takes strength of mind to say yes to testing your body and your will, to pushing it past any perceive threshold and simply doing when you think you can not. By testing your body, you strengthen your mind. Training your whole You to stand up straight and walk ahead facing whatever lies before you.

Oh, and Crossfit also builds an incredible community around you that says, we got your back.

We are strong People, onto the next event.

 

Saturday Team WOD

Team WOD results: 

Station 1 – Box Jumps and overhead hold: Box jumps @ 20″ and Over head hold @ 25lbs.: Total reps 176.

Station 2 – Back squats @ 75lbs., team held during reps: Total reps 169.

Stations 3 – 14lbs. Wall Balls and pull up hold: Total reps 194.

Station 4 – 250 Meter row: Total meters 1634.

__________________________________________

Signed up for a Team WOD today. My first ever. Nothing like a little friendly CF competition. Charity WOD and BBQ to raise money for St. Jude’s. Feel like I might throw up from fright. But, I guess that’s why we do these things. To face that fear and see it thru to the other side. When working with a team I push extra hard. Want to match the efforts of the team and of course want to WIN. Go Team!

Ever wonder the definition of Godspeed or God Speed? Turns out: “It comes from the Middle English expression “God spede (you)”, a wish for success and fortune for one setting out on an enterprise, voyage, adventure, or travels. It may also mean good luck.”

They just posted the Team WOD. If I thought I might throw up from fright before, pretty certain I’m destined to now. Just have to put one foot in front of the other. Show up. And the rest will come. 3, 2, 1..Go!

Team WOD:

In Teams of 3-4:

Station 1:

Accumulate as many Box Jumps/Step Ups as possible in 7 minutes (30/24)

Scale Box Height as necessary.

Jumps will only count while another teammate has a 45lb Bumper plate locked out overhead.

Scale bumper weight as necessary.

Station 2:

Accumulate as many Back Squats (Women), Front Squats (Men) as possible in 7 minutes with 95lbs.

Bar cannot come to the ground. If it does it will be a 10 burpee penalty for all teammates.

Station 3:

Accumulate as many Wall Ball Shots as possible in 7 minutes (20/14)

Reps only count while another team members is in a pullup hold with their chin over the bar.

Scaling will be on rings with their chest to the rings in a ring row position.

Station 4:

AMRAP 250m Row in 7 minutes:

Each athlete must attempt to row an entire 250m.

*3 minutes Rest Between Stations