...Painful or not, I made the promise to myself on Tuesday night (the night before the Games began) that I would not let my hip be an excuse for anything. Period.
So… swimming is not my favorite. I knew the beach event wasn’t going to be a strong one for me, especially considering that the waves were a lot rougher than I’ve ever experienced without a surfboard attached to my ankle. My mindset ahead of time was:
1. Survive the swims and stay relaxed
2. Get through the thrusters
3. Crush the burpees
Reaching land in the back of the pack after the first 500m swim, I realized that this was really really not going to be a great event. I honestly was surprised that I was that far behind so many competitors. I really suck at swimming apparently. And all this time I thought I had improved to “okay” swimming status. I ran to my kettlebells because I needed to make up all the time I could. I picked them up and went for my first squat…
My first thruster looked like it was the first thruster of my life, as I paused in between the squat and finished with the most awkward, strict press overhead. Only 99 more thrusters to go! Luckily, I started to find the slightest sign of rhythm with the movement. I think my embarrassment superseded my hip pain because I started to forget the pain and focus on not looking like a total idiot. Burpees still hurt to pop-up off the ground, although that is pretty tough to do in the sand anyway. On the spot, I discovered this fast step back, chest down, step up, and jump routine. It was great! I think I actually made up some ground with it. The 1000m swim around the pier felt like an eternity. Even past the break, the waves seemed to push me backwards even though I was attempting to swim forwards. On the way back towards the shore, I heard fans screaming very loudly. I just figured they were cheering for someone else around me, and then… boom! I got absolutely pummeled from behind by a wave. It felt massive; so let’s just call it that. I did a few forward rolls under water and popped up as fast as I could for air. Just what I needed… more insult to injury. I waddled to the burpee station and attacked them like I did before. Back to the thrusters I went, this time with a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I was pissed. Pissed that I was in the back of the pack. Pissed that I swim so damn slow. Pissed that my thrusters felt so awkward. I did ten sets of five reps with as little rest as I could manage between sets. In a fit of rage, I aggressively crashed to the bottom of the squat and exploded up, using my hips for all they were worth. My shoulders were smoked and certainly needed the help. Into the water for the final swim I went. At least it was a short leg, I convinced myself. Around the buoy and back towards shore I swam. Maybe I was getting the hang of it. Boy, I couldn’t wait to cross the finish line. As I felt the sand under my feet, I heard the air horn sound.
DNF on the opening Games event. Wonderful.
Silver lining: I was first place of the DNFers.
Gold lining: Full effort. Full victory.
In the athlete warm-up area, I began my overhead squat prep. I quickly searched for a group of women who were warming up with something remotely less than my PR. There are a limited number of racks, so all the girls divide up, typically with other similarly-abled girls, and work together. I beeline it to the lightest bar I see… every time.
I cautiously began building my overhead squat while CJ kept a watchful eye on my movement. Lighter loads actually felt good. On my warm-up squat with 155lb, I felt that same sharp, stabbing pain in my hip. CJ noticed my pain face and my shifting to the other leg and told me to not take any more attempts until I step out on the tennis stadium surface. I immediately, but calmly, begged him to let me keep going. I anxiously needed to know what I was capable of. I needed to get closer to my 1RM of 200lb to see what weight I could confidently use as my opening lift. So, I hit 175lb and then 185lb. I was still feeling the knife in my hip but I made sure to not be compensating with the other leg. CJ instructed me to hit 190lb in the final warm-up lift in the tunnel and use that as a gauge of what to open with. I hit 190lb but it was really shaky. Given the sketchiness of that last warm-up rep, I decided that my attempts would be 190, 200, and 205lb.