Saturday, August 30, 2014

The 2014 CrossFit Games: Looking Back (Part5)

Saturday’s Events

Muscle Up Biathlon

While strategizing how I would break up the muscle ups, CJ asked how many I’ve done unbroken. Unfortunately, I hadn’t tested that in the last three years so I had no idea. I told him that and included the fact that I had done two sets of ten separated by sixty seconds rest a couple weeks prior to Games.  We agreed it was safe to assume that my max number was greater than ten but probably less than eighteen. The game plan devised was as follows:

Set of 18: 12+6
Set of 15: 9+6
Set of 12: 7+5

And… Plan B, the plan that happens when Plan A goes out the window, was initiated during my opening set of muscle ups. At rep six, I knew that hitting another six reps would put me close to failure, so I decided to stay conservative and break after my eighth rep. I realized that since my muscle up sets were going to each be broken into three subsets, my runs needed to be faster. So, I made sure to run a little faster each time. What actually happened was:

Set of 18: 8+6+4
Set of 15: 6+5+4
Set of 12: 5+4+3

I completed all muscle ups but time expired as I ran towards the finish line, tying for 9th in the event.

And now for some wise words…
Moral of the story is that your game plan doesn’t always work out the way you envisioned, but being able to know you ability and adapt to what is happening will allow you to still succeed.

Sprint Carry

This was the most fun of all the events of the 2014 CrossFit Games. It was quick and involved new, odd objects: the rubber logs and magic carpet sandbag.

Side note: The athletes called the sandbag a “magic carpet” since it had straps at each corner, resembling that of a magic carpet. As if we’d actually seen one before… Haha! We hoped we could ride it to the finish line, but unfortunately, it didn’t have that kind of magical power.

Going into this event, I knew that I needed to unleash hell on the carries, but not necessarily the sprints. I wanted to make sure that I had enough gas to complete the carry portion, especially since the weights increased each time. Lucky for me, after the 2013 Games, I purchased one of the logs and used it occasionally which allowed me to be comfortable carrying things and running with them. The log carry ate me alive last year! This time it was different. I ripped all three objects off the ground, probably not in the safest position, and ran like hell with them. I finished a surprising 6th place in the event and couldn’t have been happier with that!

Speed Clean Ladder

Up until this point, I had barely given any thought to my hip, but when Dave Castro viciously announced the speed SQUAT clean ladder, I knew I’d be in trouble. Following the announcement, the athletes watched Demo Team members Stacie Tovar and Jennifer Smith sprint through the five barbells in the blink of an eye. I think my jaw dropped to the floor. They went so fast!

Warming up for the event, I started with an empty bar. No pain. Then to 95lb. No pain. Then to 135lb. FUCK. No other word quite captures how bad that pain was like that one. CJ gave me a look of concern. My response to him was, “This is going to suck. I’m just going to have to deal with it.”

I hit my final warm up at 155lb and called it good. All I wanted to do was clear the ladder within the time cap. I knew it wouldn’t be fast, but I didn’t want to be the poor soul staring at the bar that I couldn’t pick up. I’ve been there before and didn’t want to relive those feelings.

As the go signal sounded, I hurried to the first bar (155lb.) and hit it. That weight hadn’t felt so heavy in a very long time. I let the bar fall and moved through the 160lb and 165lb bars in a kind of quick but controlled way. As I approached the 170lb. bar, I took a deep breath, set, and pulled. I caught the bar out front, which caused even more pain in my hip than catching it in the correct position. I fought to stand up but got it. Whew! I took my time going to the final bar. I had just given close to 100% effort on the last bar and needed a few seconds to recover. All the girls in my heat had finished and all eyes were on me. I can’t fail this now, I thought to myself. I took a huge breath, set, and pulled with all my might. I caught it out front again. Piercing pain radiated through my hip, but I refused to let the bar fall without standing up. My back was rounded and it was about as ugly as ugly gets, but I got it. I rushed to the finish podium under the time cap, getting high fives all around.

I was relieved to have cleared the opening ladder and didn’t dwell on the fact that I finished 37th in the event. I did the best I could and had to accept it. Reflecting back, it is a little bit discouraging to have made so much progress with my strength over the last year and not be able to show that with my performance here. I don’t know that I would have made it to round two with a healthy hip, but I do know that I could have gone faster. Ultimately, I played the hand I was dealt and I dealt with it.

Push Pull

Strict handstand pushups and sled pulls under the tennis stadium lights capped off Saturday’s events. Again, running down the steps, fist bumping all the cheering fans made me feel like a superstar. It will forever be one of my favorite Games memories.

I never had worked on pulling sleds with ropes and I was cut before the final event in the 2011 Games when they introduced the movement. Luckily, I got to watch the first women’s heat on the TVs in the athlete area to pick up on some strategy with the pull: sit on your butt, dig your feet in the sandbag, and pull like hell, using mostly your back. I got this.

Handstand pushups felt strong. I attribute that to all my upper body-only training I was limited to in my Games prep. I went unbroken in the first two sets and broke my final sets into manageable ones, not failing a single rep. The sled drag also went well with the exception of the brain fart I had not unclipping the rope off the first sled. After I came off the wall on my second set of handstand pushups, I turned and looked down my lane and discovered that mine was the only lane without a rope lying across the floor… Shit. I ran to unclip the rope and connect it to the new sled. Whoops! I didn’t forget it again.

This event was so much fun and I was pumped to not have too much trouble with any of the sled weights. I finished 7th in the event and found my family in the stands and waved in excitement. It was awesome!

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