Spring Fling Recap Event #3 – But Did You Die?

Time for the third and final post about my first CrossFit competition recap, the Spring Fling!

In case you missed it, here are recaps for Event #1 and Event #2.

Are you exhausted yet? I hope not, because Event #3 was a good ol’ chipper!

Event #3: a good ol’ chipper – Complete the following sequence for time. Time cap of 16 minutes:

  • 100 DB presses (25lb)
  • 50 box jumps (20″)
  • 50 kettlebell lunges (35lb)
  • 50 kettlebell swings (35 lb)
  • 50 goblet squats (35 lb)

Scoring is by time completed, or how many movements were completed before the time cutoff.

16 minutes? Bha ha ha ha! That’s cute, they thought I could finish in 16 minutes! I assumed I would be lucky to make it to the swings. And I was right.

After taking a bit of a car nap and eating some food, I was ready to kill the third event and get it all over with. I was super pumped by the first couple of women’s heats. Given how long I had to wait until my heat started I was worried about losing mental interest and my warm-up, so I kept moving around and trying to cheer for the other athletes as they slogged through the workout. I figured the key was just to pace it, and keep steady and keep moving. Which as it turns out, is my jam. I love chippers.

Doing the math, I figured to finish within the time cut I had to complete each exercise within 3-4 minutes. No way. I mean, maybe I could crank out the swings in that time, but box jumps? We’ll just have to go in and do our best there. I started my heat, and the push presses were laughable. It was hard to only use one arm, it took me a few reps to figure out the balance! And my right was clearly stronger than my left. At first I tried to keep my splits even, do 10 presses on the right, then switch and do 10 on the left, but my left was taking so much longer! I eventually did the last 20 reps all on my right in the interest of time.

After the 100th push press, I immediately dropped the dumbbell and started with the box jumps. After watching the other heats, I figured I would do better if I just stepped up on the box instead of jumping up, which was legal. When you’re tired it takes just as long to step up as to jump and recover, and since I’m only 5′ tall a 20″ box is a significant height, like, almost the length of my whole leg. I was able to cruise at a pretty steady pace, switching legs as needed and never needing to break it up. Towards the end I was putting my hands on my knees to help myself up, but I never needed to stop. Nailed it.

After the box jumps were the weighted lunges. Lunges are hard. They’ve always been a bit of a menace to me. And lunges with a 35lb kettlebell just suck. I would much rather lunge with a barbell, because at least it’s not awkward to carry. I sort of cradled the kettlebell to my chest with one arm and held it in place with the other while I lunged away. I ended up breaking out in groups of 8’s and 4’s as my quads slowly died on me. And holding the kettlebell to my chest was causing my lower back some problems that ended up doing me in. In hindsight, I should have balanced the kettlebell on my shoulder, or held it to my side, swapping sides. But I chalk this up to the “you don’t know what you don’t know” category of competing for the first time. I cranked them out best I could and moved on to the swings.

The swings are where I died. My lower back was cramping so bad, I couldn’t even get the thrust to move the kettlebell. I just sort of collapsed on all fours after 10 reps, unable to continue. I was super frustrated. I had done so well, and now this! I would scrabble up, do a couple more reps until I thought my back would break, and collapse down again. I twisted and stretched and it did nothing. I would try to land a couple more swings, then curse and throw the weight down again. At one point with just a couple minutes left until the time cutoff, my gym owner saw me and asked my judge if I was done. I shook my head; I’m not done, I just can’t move! She offered a modification to the swing, to bend my elbows and use more arm to muscle up the kettlebell, rather than keeping my arms straight. That actually worked really well, using my arms more than my back to support, and I was able to finish with a final score of 40 swings.

I didn’t make it to the goblet squats, but with my back thoroughly cramping I can’t imagine that would have been super spectacular. Still, I wish there wasn’t a time cap so I could have had the opportunity to know where I would have finished. I’m guessing I needed another 3-4 minutes to crank out the rest of the swings and the squats. I probably could have finished in under 20. But with my final score I ended up 17th in Event #3.

After the last of the heats were completed, we had beer. And awarded the winners. I came in 15th overall out of 27 participants, which is about how I did throughout my academic career, so nothing to complain about there (I always said C’s get degrees!).

The best part was, when I went home, I was home alone. The kids were visiting their grandparents, and Hulk had flown out to Austin, TX that morning on a business trip. This was, like, the ultimate luxury. So I cooked up a Home Chef meal (pork chops with butternut squash-apple mash, yay protein and carbs!), took an ice bath (eek!) followed by a really long epsom salt soak, and binged-watched the last season of Downton Abbey with Olive. It was a good day.

It’s so weird, at the time I was sort of beating myself up about my scores. Then as I’m walking through the day again, it’s like I sort of realized what a badass I am, that I did everything I could and there are very few regrets, performance-wise. And I am so looking forward to the next competition, whenever that will be. The CrossFit competition kool-aid has been drunk by the gallon over here.

And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed my recap, in all of its self-induglent, CrossFitty glory.

Go make it a great weekend!

Spring Fling Recap Event #2 – Quick and “Easy”

Here is Part 2 of my unintended 3-part series recapping my first CrossFit competition, the Spring Fling!

Last post I left the bar with a decent score for Event #1. Now it was time to gear up for Event #2:

Event #2: a quickie – in 4:00 complete the following movements.

  • 500m row
  • as many burpees as possible until time is called, jumping on a 15kg plate

Scoring is in 2 parts: 1) rowing time and 2) quantity of burpees completed

That’s right. Just rowing and burpees for four minutes. Piece of cake, right?

I had a good half hour until my heat was up for Event #2, so I took the opportunity to eat a banana, and re-listen to the Harder to Kill Radio podcast episode #53, which I just heard the week before when Shane Farmer was a guest and talked about the three biggest tips to improve your rowing technique. Since Event #2 was half about the rowing, I was hoping to see if I could score a better time with Shane’s suggestions.

The heats blazed through since they were so quick, and soon it was my turn. I tried to guesstimate my score based on how I usually perform in workouts. On a good day I could probably finish a 500m row in 2:20, but it was more likely I would finish in 2:30 since my legs were still shaking from Event #1. For burpees, my best as-many-burpees-as-you-can-in-a-minute time was 16 (and a half!) so I thought in 90 seconds I could probably crank out 20. Maybe. Factoring in for fatigue.

The 3-2-1 go sounded, and I grabbed the rower handles and pushed hard with my legs. I focused on the tips from the podcast: rowing is 60% leg work, 30% body work, and 10% arm work, so 1) make sure you think about pushing instead of pulling: push with your legs out, and think about pushing with your arms back out on the return; 2) really use the return to recover, relax the body and take it easy; and 3) don’t push with just the balls of your feet; the push should come from the middle of the foot, so you engage more of the big leg muscles.

My row was 2:04. I couldn’t believe it. Just one massive push from being sub-2:00. Thank you, Shane Farmer!

Elated by my awesome personal best row time, I was now thinking, “shoot, now I have an extra 25 seconds of burpees!” My legs were so shot from the rowing, but I threw myself down on the floor and slogged them out as fast as possible. I stumbled once jumping on the plate, so that was probably a no-rep, but I kept grinding away. I was just in the middle of my 20th burpee when they called time, so I ended with a score of 19. Argh, so close to my guesstimate of 20!

So I ended with an official score of 2:04 and 19, which was 12th overall for the row and 15th for the burpees.

Then I went and ate an Epic bar and canned sweet potatoes, then napped in my car for a bit, since it was over an hour until the third event and I was kinda feeling a bit tired.

Rest up, it’s almost time for Event #3 recap coming out this evening!