Competition. WHAT was I THINKING?

Yep. That's me the last time I tried burpees over a bar.
Yep. That’s me the last time I tried burpees over a bar.

You know what? I WAS NOT thinking.

Our Crossfit box is having a “Throwdown” this weekend. I, being friendly with the coach who is constructing this competition, said “oh, sure” I would do it. My efriend Jennifer recently did an Olympic weightlifting competition, and she also was very inspiring to watch – ESPECIALLY as she missed her first lift. (HERE is her blog.)

Jennifer and I went back and forth last year about the Open, which I joined because I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had been doing Crossfit for about three months, and I somehow thought that you “had to” join – then I stressed out in a big way about it. I’m unlikely to join the Open this year (even as Scaled), unless, like last year, our box provides nice tank tops and special snacks for competitors. (Anything for snacks.)

me visiting Crossfit Pohaku on the Big Island of Hawaii
me visiting Crossfit Pohaku on the Big Island of Hawaii

Jennifer pointed out that you’re a lot more likely to “surprise yourself” with doing something you “didn’t know you could do” if you’re in a competition situation, and she was right – I got my first double unders, and my best deadlift (to that date) during the Open. But what I hadn’t realized was that “whether or not you were registered,” the box would do the Open workout together on the Friday. So it’s likely I would have gotten those “PRs” anyway.


I did 14.1 in Hawaii and NEVER would have sought out a sanctioned box if I hadn’t actually been registered – my main issue was that if you got a zero on any particular week, Crossfit HQ said you would be “locked off the leaderboard.” This actually did not happen, but it was upsetting to me, especially as I would be out of town for the very first workout! The experience was amazing though, as it truly made me realize the strength of the “Crossfit Community.”

Interestingly, I wrote a letter to Crossfit HQ about all this (and that they should have a scaled division) – and this year, they made it clear you can enter a zero and still be “in it,” and there is a Scaled division. (Yeah, you can thank me for that. Ha ha ha.)

Taking a ChanceSo, back to this “Throwdown.” There are three “divisions.” They are Rx, Scaled, and what was formerly known as “I am broken/medically cannot do Scaled but I want to compete.” My friend Jessica and I wanted to join in, but both of us felt that, while Scaled is generally “too much for us,” we could not in good conscience join the “medically unable” group. Because we don’t have anything “medically” wrong with us. We just no can do it.

When I discussed this with the gal who was designing it, she said she’d change the third group to a different name so that we could do it ;-) So it became Rx, Scaled, and “I want to participate,” basically.

Now, silly me, I thought that the “I want to participate” WODs would be basically for show. Like – hey, I want to be part of the community, watch me lift a 10 pound dumb bell. Yay, me!

The WODs came out yesterday, and in actuality, it’s “just” Rx and Scaled. THEN, if you’re in my group (I think there are only 3 of us in this group – hey, guaranteed Show for me LOL), you read through the Scaled and figure out what you cannot physically do, and then sub something in, instead, ahead of time, sanctioned by the coaches.

Here are the WODs:

Workout 1:
Part A
5 minutes to build to 1 RM Clean and Jerk
Rest 1 minute to reset your bar.

Part B: 7 min AMRAP of
5 Handstand Pushups
7 Toes to Bar
5 Hang Power Cleans (40 kg)

Workout 2: For Time (8 Minute Time Cap):
100 meter run around a cone with sandbag (45#)
15 thruster (30 kg)
30 box jump (20″)
15 thruster
100 m run around a cone with sandbag

Workout 3:
2 min AMRAP/15 sec rest
3 min AMRAP/15 sec rest
4 min AMRAP
Row 10 Cal
15 pull up
20 wall ball (14 lbs)
25 double unders
30 burpee over rower
with any remaining time, row for Calories

Here are the substitutions for “Scaled”:
● Sub Hand Release Pushups (Games style) for Handstand pushups
● 7 toes to bar or 14 knees to chest (must be declared prior to the start of competition)
● Hang Power Clean 25 kg.
● Thruster 20KG.
● Run with 20 lb. wall ball versus 45# sandbag
● 15 jumping pull ups or 5 pull ups (selection must be declared prior to start of competition) – reverse/alternating grip permitted
● 25 double unders or 75 single unders (selection must be declared prior to start of competition)

our Special Needs bags, waiting for us
our Special Needs bags, waiting for us

And, so, I’ve been up since 3 a.m. beside myself that I said I would do this. I know, I know, “it’s supposed to be fun.” The thing is, I’m not a competitor. I’m not sure if it comes from the spirit of the USMC (“no one left behind”) or what, but I have absolutely no desire to be the first. I’d rather that we all crossed the line together. I do, however, have a desire not to be the last. I also have a good habit of pitying and getting down on myself.

book cover 2008In my first book I discuss coming up with a “Bond Girl” name that characterizes who you “want to be.” As an example, one woman who took my coaching wanted to be perceived as less serious, so she took the name of “Bubbles.” Another woman wanted to be seen as more serious and sexy, so she took the name “Vixen.” (To visualize this, basically a girl who “was” a “Bubbles” wanted to be a “Vixen,” and vice versa.) My Bond Girl name? Solitaire. Why? Because I always do things for other people, and don’t particularly “think about myself.” (You play the game of solitaire “for yourself.”) I’m the one who is forever stopping on a marathon to help a fellow runner who’s having a rough time; helping a cyclist change a tire; etc. I do what are basically solitary sports (running, triathlon, cycling, swimming), but I do them in the context of a group (like Team In Training). This way, I’m not holding someone “back” (like if I was part of a triathlon team), but I’m also part of something bigger.

I do really hate being last though. Even when I was a kid, I was always this way. I really don’t have to win, and don’t have the killer instinct to do it. But if I’m holding people back – if I’m the worst – I will just quit. Some day I’ll tell you the story of when – as a ten year old – I convinced a ski instructor to “leave me on the hill” because I was “holding the class back.” (Now you know how long ago that is, since he actually did it.) 

triathlon-cartoon-swim-bike-run-broken-ironman-recordMy husband – who, by the way, says that doing this competition is one of the Top Five Stupidest Things that I have done in our 15ish years together (yeah, the Ironman’s on there too) – is very against me doing this. He won’t attend, and he doesn’t want to hear anything about it when I get home. He believes there is a high likelihood that I will get hurt, and he also knows that this is literally 180 degrees from what I have been told to do by my doctor (no metcons, period).

Um, yeah, I know…

Of the “scales” above:

● I can do Hand Release Pushups if I put a black band around the vertical stanchions to support my midsection.
● I can do “knees up” but not to chest. One of the movement standards says your heels have to go behind your body on the “down” too – can’t do that either because my shoulders won’t take a kip.
● Hang Power Clean 25 kg. I can do that. (HPC is the one WITHOUT the squat, right?)
● No can do a Thruster. (She said I can sub kettlebell swings – that I can do.)
● Run with 20 lb. wall ball versus 45# sandbag (I can do that, though I am not supposed to be running. I suppose I can walk – it’s not like I’m going to WIN anything).
● 15 jumping pull ups or 5 pull ups – jumping pullups are REALLY hard for me. My question to her is “how hard” is this supposed to be? I can do banded pullups, which give me support on the ‘way down,’ but jumping do not. 15 is a LOT, like a WHOLE lot.
● I can do single unders. (I actually am getting better at double unders, but not under stress.)
● My 1RM in a box jump is 18″ – and that was about 5 months ago. 15″ is SUPER hard for me, as in, I have to really think about it. Presuming that this is supposed to NOT be “scary” at 20 inches, I suppose …what, I jump up to like a plate on the ground? I’m just frustrated and embarrassed, typing this.
● Burpees: I have to walk back, flop down, walk back up. It counts, it’s just not very pretty. If I really concentrate, I can jump over the PVC stands, though I haven’t done it in a while. Again, is this supposed to be hard, or easy? I guess today I have to see whether I can jump over anything at all any more. (White Girl Don’t Jump…and especially recently since I’ve been nursing a glute/hip issue.)

gay pride pull up pileI actually think that part of my problem is that I’m going to know so many of the people there. I was discussing this with the wife of one of our box athletes, who competed in a Masters competition this weekend. I was telling her how ambivalent I was about having agreed to do the Throwdown. What she said was interesting. She said that the “growth” that I was going to get out of this was not that I might get some amazing PR. It was actually just that I would realize that I could stomach doing it – get in and get it done – though it’s way out of my comfort zone.

So, I’m going to go with that. Today I’ll meet with the coach, discuss the scaling, and see if I can actually do a clean and jerk and maybe jump over a PVC stanchion. And hopefully, I can get some more sleep between then and now.

Pushing your envelope is good, at least, people tell me it is. I just wish it didn’t make me feel like I’m gunna barf.


4 thoughts on “Competition. WHAT was I THINKING?


    Seriously.. the fact that you are competing when you aren’t 100% comfortable with the WODs as written is amazing. It will be fun and will boost the camaraderie within your group.

    I am super bummed that your husband isn’t on board with it.. and hope it is for valid concerns about your hurting yourself and not some irrational “crossfit is dumb” reasons.

    But, the scaling options you talk about are perfect.. you are still a part of the big thing, even if you don’t technically fit in one of the divisions ;) I love that many competitions let anyone compete, no matter what their level, but just know you can’t “win’. Who cares? You don’t sign up for every race expecting to come in first place, right? Oh, and what about ring rows as a sub for pullups?

    Anyway.. cannot wait to hear how it goes!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. oh, good question – no my husband DOES Crossfit. He’s really concerned, I think because he KNOWS how “scaled” I am and he’s imagining me doing – like – the Regionals (LOL).

    I talked through the subs today with the organizer (she recommended ring rows for pullups too) – and THE BEST PART of it was that we were REALLY able to talk the “perceived exertion” on every SINGLE MOVE. OMG what a RELIEF! (I should update the post or write another one about this because it was SO IMPORTANT). Because we are STRONGLY SUGGESTED to log EVERYTHING on she could LOOK UP where I am with everything and we figured out EXACTLY what I should be doing. That was the most amazing thing. So, as an example, she would say “yes, these thrusters are supposed to be SO HARD that you’re really doing 3 sets of 5, and that’s it, and it should take X time.” So we tried different moves that would get me to that (turns out I’m going to do a Sumo Deadlift Highpull with a men’s kettlebell). Or, for the pull ups, the “ring rows” has the exact same issue as the jumping pullups for me – it really hurts my elbows on the “down” – whereas the bands allow me to be “supported” on the down. So I was doing pull ups over and over getting to the point where I could do 5 in a row in the time she expected someone to do the pullups in (so I’m doing it with a blue and a red band). We had a “language” we could talk together, re the scaling. HOLY COW, that alone made me LOVE CROSSFIT again on the “OMG ~this~ is what this is ~all about.~”

    I feel a LOT BETTER about it all now, BECAUSE of that. I can’t stress how much the fact that I have been logging everything in because, again, she could LITERALLY go there and see “where I am” and talk through the moves with me.

    Yup, I think I need to blog about the experience, huh? :-)

    Thank you for being my Inspiration Angel, sis! :-)

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