Why compete if not to win?

Why compete if not to win?
This was a very hard concept for me to grasp a few months ago.I just started competing and taking crossfit “seriously” about 13 months ago. So when my coach told me in December that he wanted me to compete but not with the expectation to win, I was very confused. The whole premise of this sport, or any sport for that matter is to win right? So why enter a competition if not for that purpose? It took me a while and a competition or 2 to understand what he meant and the benefit of it. I struggled with the emotional ties to competing as well as the training and realized along the way that my original love and passion for this sport was sidelined by over ambition. So I hope in sharing my thoughts and experiences I can help some people guide their way in taking the next step on their fitness journey.

I wish more then anything that I had started competing in crossfit years ago. Before I felt “ready” or before I had all my skill sets, or before people had any preconceived notion of me. Every competition I have done, whether I had a stellar performance or an earth shattering disaster, I have taken away more knowledge about who I am as an athlete, as well as my true colors as a human being. And with every bit of gained knowledge, it is transferred into my daily training, and propels me further in my overall development. Everyone gets fired up after a competition. If you win you bask in the glory and feel like superman…..for a month. Then the pictures stop circulation, your istagram followers hold steady, and you no longer have 30+ notifications every time you unlock your phone. If you lose, well this can go two ways but most crossfitters will choose the latter on this one. Option 1: you sulk and pity yourself and quit completely. option 2: You want revenge, redemption, and to prove to yourself more then anything that you have what it takes to win, that you can be that clutch moment athlete; and of course to have some really stellar podium pictures, because honestly who doesn’t want that?! But then after about a month, the soreness from training kicks in, you get tired, real life gets back on track, you feel defeated and that rush of redeeming emotions have faded and you loss focus on your motivation. Both of these scenarios, win or lose, leave you at the same place just 30 days later. We put so much pressure and emphasis on local competitions and forget to see the big picture. Now what is the big picture you ask? That depends on you. What is your goal? I cant tell you how many people I talked to this weekend who were so defeated in their performances, and when I asked them “Well what is your goal in this sport?” they just stared at me with blank faces. Seriously though, what is your goal? Do you want to be a games athlete? Qualify for regionals? Place in the top 300 in the opens? Or maybe its even less competitive then that, simply to do crossfit on a daily basis. Loss 20 pounds, maybe gain 20 pounds. Whatever it is, spend some real time and energy and figure it out. Unless you have a true goal, a final target, you will be without a doubt frustrated and most of all disappointed. And the best part about having a goal is you can change it! Now not to say chuck your goal and make a new one just because things aren’t going as planned, but to have the ability to reevaluate and tweak your goals based on how your life progresses.

Now choosing to compete was, and still is a very tough thing to do. For me its like when I fell in love, and all I wanted to do was scream it from the roof top, but something inside of me held me back. It became this ever growing lump inside me that just wanted out. It was a great lump, full of excitement but also mixed with fear. Fear of rejection, disappointment, and hurt. But once I was in the moment of saying “I love you” or in the moment of my first competition, it wasn’t scary any more. There was no longer something holding me back, forcing this lump to stay down. In fact my first competition I think i threw that lump up on day one. And when it was all over with, and when my words were said I felt happy and relieved and for a moment I didn’t have a care in the world what words were said back to me, or what the score board said. This is the feeling I try to hold on to. When I am training, when I am competing, when I’m building a relationship. It is not about the outcome, it is not about what somebody else reciprocates, your actions should be based on what you feel and what brings you joy. Bask in your emotions whatever they may be. Fuel yourself with current emotions, because they are much stronger then any recalled emotions.

The hardest part, at least for me, is doing what I just said above; not caring about the outcome. I am by nature competitive. I will race a complete stranger to the checkout line in the grocery store. Now I can’t instruct how or why because it is a personal journey, but I have come to terms on how to compete in an almost “detached” way. There will always be a part of me that wants to win, that’s in my nature, but over competitive, refreshing the leader board, busting out calculators mid comp, and stalking down my fellow competitors, well no I don’t do that anymore. The hard part now for me is holding true to my intent at competitions. This weekend proved to be very difficult since it was a home ground competition. People either do not give you enough credit or they over expect things from you; no one will ever respect you for what you are. And having people that know me, have seen me in the gym, follow my videos on instagram, or whatever the case may be, were walking up to me and asking me why I wasn’t #1. Now I know this was meant to be more of a compliment, but it hurt. It’s not like I wasn’t trying or doing my best, but I honestly wasn’t there with the intent to win. I wanted to have fun and learn more then anything. I was lucky enough to have my boyfriend, my support system, to remind me I don’t have to justify or explain my goals to anyone. And I did catch myself a few times get caught up in explaining why, or being negative. He would step in let me vent to him, and then bring me back to the reason I was there in the first place.

At the end of the weekend my team tied for 3rd place overall. They decided the tie breaker to be a 1 rep max any style snatch in 1 min. I went into the snatch circle of death for my team and faced off against a girl who trains down here locally as well. Now I have followed her as an athlete for some time now and she has grown in so many ways especially in the past few months. I did out-lift her, but the most exciting part for me was the fact she hit her PR snatch! After 2 days, 7 workouts, and only about 20mins rest after the final workout she went in and hit a number that was her best ever on a fresh day. If that doesn’t get you fired up I don’t know what you’re doing in this sport. I am not her, I don’t know what she took away from it or how she felt, but to realize what your body can do when you literally have nothing left in the tank is one of the most valuable lessons you can learn in competing. To know your threshold, your capabilities is far beyond what you may ever think it is. It is one thing to push yourself in training, but its a whole different story to do it on the competition floor.

Find your goal.Sign up for a competition. Have no expectation other then to learn and have fun. Be victorious.

Day 11,12,13,14,15,16

Day 11
April 17th
A: Build to a tough P Clean
Wasn’t feeling it today on got to 155#
B: Push Jerk 2,2,1,1; rest 2-3 min b/t
135#, 140, 145, 150#
These felt good. Most I’ve ever done is 155#
+
For time:
30 Pwr Cleans 105#
-1:48 could have been faster wasn’t close to muscle failure but my breathing was just not there. Sucking hot air through a melting straw… That’s what it feels like.
Airdyne 30 sec @ 85%, 30 sec @ 50% X 15.
Nice quad map session. It’s been a while.

Day 12
April 18th
Rest day. Thank god. Things are sore. Traps primarily. 25mins on the bike at la fitness.

Day 13
April 19th
A) squat snatch off boxes bar at knees 4X2
-never done these and i haven’t squat snatched in literally months. Felt awesome!! Went 105#, 110#, 115#, 120#
B) power snatch off boxes work at high % 1rm 5X1
– did first 2 at 110# then missed did next 2 at 105# then last one back at 110#
C) for time 5rnds of:
5 deadlifts 165#
20 hand release push ups
10 c2b pullups
– 11:51
My breathing was just shit. That’s all. Shitty shit shit. No air.

Day 14
April 20th Easter!
Traps and neck even more
Sore today!!! Between being sick and recent travel I have slacked on my Chiro and massage routine.
A) squat clean from boxes from knees 4 sets of 2.
I seriously struggled with this!!
135#,140#,145#,150#
Had a fail at 145 and another at 150 both on my first attempt. Not even sure what’s happening that’s causing me to miss. I think the weight might be too far forward? Hard to say.
B) power clean from knees off boxes 5×1 high % of 1rm
Struggled even more on these 😦
Did them all at 145# which is just around the 80% mark.
C) deadlift lock outs from low thigh at 115%- 325# 5×1 these weren’t bad although the set up and break down was more of a workout!!
D) 15-12-9 for time of hspu and Burpee box jumps
-6:20
My shoulders were super spicy and didn’t feel so hot during this. My hips were pretty spent too and I didn’t not use them in my kipping.

Day 15
April 21st
Today had to be an early one!! Stupid work 😝 5am rise and shine!!
A) 5×5 back squats @75% 150# 2mins rest between *hold bottom position for 5-6 seconds and bounce out.
-holy hell my hips swelled immediately!! Each set the first 3 reps weren’t bad and the last 2 I had to really force out. Positioning feels good tho shins are more vertical.
B) accumulate 20 depth jumps 20″ jumping into 30″ as little reaction time as possible with ground. These were fun. Scary but I liked then. The more I did the easier they got. I think partly my hips were pretty smoked at this point.
C) 8 min amrap
10 push press 95#
20 kbs 55# (weight wasn’t noted but I went heavy)
30 double unders
2 rounds + 10pp+ 11 kbs
Push press I broke up immediately 95# is heavy and especially how much shoulders have been feeling they felt even heavier. Kbs I did on 2 sets and dubs were unbroken, breathing felt much better today.

Day 16
April 22nd
20mins air dyne.
My hips (especially my left) were killing me!! Did a few mins mobility work and then a much need adjustment

Day 10

4/16/14

Meet up with a few girls at real fitness to practice some “team rowing” as my warm up. We intended to do a team 5k but I started to have really bad cramping (lady parts) after my second turn on the rower and we ended it at a 3k. It was fun and deff a great warm up. I rowed two 500m with just under 4mins between. First I rowed a 1:54 second I rowed 1:56. Breathing is still not 100% but much better

A) tempo @20×1 back squat 2,2,1,1 rest 2mins between sets
165#,175#, 180#, 190#
These felt great and I used my new belt and I felt it deff helped to keep me
More upright and tighter and the eccentric portion of the squat.
B) work 5mins power snatch- just feel pop from hips- worked at 95# and felt good. Also worked with a 45# bar and my grip felt good as well.
C1) 10 s2oh
Rest 20 seconds
C2) 25 double unders rest and relax x4
Worked s2oh 95# and did touch and go push jerks.
-20 min airdyne z1
Everything felt much better today. Muscle are happy to be firing again and my lungs are starting to not feel like death!! Only ate back today was my cramping.,.. But it’s expected and deff takes a lot out of me. I don’t know if other female athletes struggle with this same issue. But there’s always 1-2 days every month where I feel 100% tapped out… No energy and just horrible cramping pain.

Day 6-9

Day 6-8
4/12-4/14
Super sick. Did a whole lot of nothing although on Saturday I was at the Europa and did one of the nutriforce mini contest workouts and won! 😄 it was 15-12-9 wall balls and pullups. I was hacking up my lung and laughing the whole time! 2:20 if any one cares lol.
Day 9
4/15
Still feeling pretty bad but a substantial improvement. No fever and my breathing is alittle better. Energy levels are better but still low.

A) establish 8rm dumbell ext rotation
Right arm 15#
Left arm 10# – got 6 reps with the 15#

B) 20 min time cap
4k row then max c2b pull ups with remaining time
-18 pullups
Finished the row 17:25 and was coughing and dying for air around minute 3 lol! For once I can say my limiter was breathing. I did sets of 3 on the c2b and deff had more in me but was trying to avoid an asthma attack. I didn’t die although I sure felt like it and wanted to quit about 9 times. I’ve had asthma my whole life, pretty extreme case of it too, the more I push myself athletically and avoid using “medication” the stronger my lungs become. It really bothers me when people use it as a crutch and an excuse. I don’t even typically tell people because it doesn’t matter. The feeling of an asthma attack is horrible and I wish it on no one, but I promise you will not die… You may pass out but you’ll be fine.

Day 4&5

Day 4
4/10
Rest day. Woke up sick today.

Day 5
4/11
Still sick and running fever.
Work up to 1rm front squat
170# failed 175# wasn’t feeling it so didn’t attempt again.
Rest as needed
1 rep max power clean
175#
Failed 180# twice
Rest as needed
1 rep max power snatch
115# failed 120# 3 times
-back was super sore today still from deadlifts on Wednesday. Felt pretty shitty energy wise. No soreness in legs or arms tho.

Day 3

4/9/14
Build to 1rm deadlift
285# failed 290#
Rest as needed
Take 85% and do AMRAP
5 reps… I had a 6th on me but my back started hurting and radiating down my leg so I didn’t even attempt it I dropped it after 5
Rest as needed
Establish 1rm close grip bench press
135# failed 140#

I was super tired today had a very long busy day yesterday. Plus I’m starting to fight a cold my body just feels blah. Swam after work tonight just 10mins nice easy z1 then 15 min hot tub soak.

Day 2

4/8/14

1 rep max prone grip weighted pullup
-55# was so close to 60# only about 2inches away.
Rest as needed
3min max pullups -71
Did big sets of butterflies to start and as I fatigued went into kipping
Rest as needed
Establish 1rep max strict press
75#
Failed 80# 3x I get stuck right at nose height- this lift makes me feel so weak!!!
-felt good today much more rested and my diet is back on track. Legs and hips were more fatigued then I had anticipated. I plan on doing an easy 10min swim and hot tub soak tonight to loosen things up. Happy to be back to training!

Day 1

And so it begins again. Day 1
4/7/14
Build to a 1rm back squat
200# failed 205# 3 times
– first time squatting heavy since my back injury felt good.
Rest as needed
85% of 1rm back squat amrap
170# 8reps failed 9th- no rest at top of movement
Rest as needed
3k row time trial
-8:04
Felt good haven’t rowed in a while. Previous pr was 8:02 previous back squat pr was 230.

Had many factors contributing to drops in testers. Back injury, opens, 7+ days of bad food and no programming and traveling. I have no feelings towards today’s results. Gave it 100% and it’s just where I am right now. With all factors considered I should destroy these #s come time to retest.

the mountain view

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With the opens approaching, I am finding myself questioning my past year of training. Have I done enough? Have I progressed? Were my goals met, and if so should I have set harder goals? And the more I sit and question things the more I start to annoy my coach! But he reminded me of something very important tonight, something that is so easily forgotten and lost in the day to day grind; it is, and always should be a mountain view.

And when I am reminded of this mind set, all my above self doubts and questions seem to have no value, and are mute when evaluating where I am. The mountain view or mind set has been by far one of the most challenging things I have ever come across not only in crossfit but in life.

Let me first explain this allusive mountain view.

It is the idea that this sport, this journey, this life, is not a straight sprint from point a to point b. It is not an endless amount of loops around a track. There is no paved path and there is no clearing in the trees to help guide you. It is simply you on top of a mountain looking down upon the valleys and streams and heading to a destination you yet can not see. You must trek down an unknown path, and do so with hesitation for you do not know if your next step is onto a cracked edge. However, you must also have confidence and eagerness in every step as well so that you do not get stuck or sink. If you haven’t notice this is a very dangerous mountain. Filled with quick sand, falling ledges and I’m pretty sure there’s glaciers somewhere along the way too. But with all these dangers and unknowns it would be foolish to try and reach the bottom of this mountain as quickly as possible for you can permanently injure yourself along the way and run the risk of not continuing your journey. Instead it would be wise to stand at the top and take it all in. Asses where you are headed set a path and start your walk. And once that walk has started do not look back, do not question if the pace you have set is quick enough. And while you are on this walk down the mountain enjoy your scenery. Appreciate the beauty that exist in your surroundings and enjoy the path you have chosen. Of course you will at times fall, and get angry, cry, scream, and want to quit. It is at these times you need to pause breathe and take just a quick peak over your shoulder to remind yourself that the journey back up the mountain would be a lot less beautiful, and indeed more miserable, then to continue on down towards a dream and success.

I have truly tried to adopt this view not only in the sport of crossfit but in life. It has proven to be extremely challenging as it goes against everything in todays society; instant gratification. A 200# clean and jerk will not happen over night just because I really really want it to; believe me I have tried. It takes hard effort, smart programming, and most importantly TIME. At the end of the day we need to find balance. We need to stop comparing ourselves to each other so much (even though that’s kind of how the sport works) and just focus on our own journeys. We need to become comfortable with our-self, and know our-self so well that when we compare our times, our PRs, our max lifts, it is not to “bench mark” our progress but rather to see how competitive we can be within a competition setting. Progress can only be measured in comparision to ourselves. This sport is still so new and so young, and learning and growing everyday, but we need to realize now that we can not become obsessed and motivated to train simply to beat someone. Do I think it is healthy, and necessary to have a large appetite of competitiveness? Abso-frigen-lutely. But that should be the reward not the main intent. We also have to realize that no great top level athlete in this sport is walking around doing whatever he/she feels like doing every day in the gym. No way. Every top games athlete you see is following a program of sorts. Do they have fun with skill work on a daily basis? Of course. But they are not waking up in the morning and “winging it”. And when you hear top athletes say they just do “random” training it is the equivalent of photo-shopped bodies in vogue magazine; Unrealistic and false advertisement. But it is a necessary image-the image of perfection.

All in all, my point in all of this rambling is to become comfortable with who we are individually as athletes. We must enjoy and embrace the journey and stop worrying so much about when we will arrive at the destination. And to find balance and truth in our progress. I am 9 months in the making, and this mountain view has been and will continue to be my biggest challenge in all that my coach as presented to me. And for that I will forever be thankful for it has changed my view not only about myself as an athlete but on life in general, and will continue to help shape my decisions in life forever.

February 2nd-9th

2.2.14
A) clean and jerk 2,2,1,1,1,1 rest 2mins between sets- keep as push jerk for as long as possible
135#, 155#, 170#, 180# X3 -failed on the jerk all 3 times- it’s my left shoulder I’m having some tendentious which is leafing to stability issues. Push jerked up to 155#

B) front squat 2,2,2,2,2 -go heavy but not 2 rep max
145,155,165,175,185,190- felt okay but my left hip is really bugging me
+
3 sets for time with 5-6mins rest between @ 80,90,100%

50 wall balls
30 double under
5 muscle ups
80%- 5:09
90%- 4:48
100%- 4:27
– I’m feeling good with knowing my paves and happy with my recovery. In comparison to last year with how wall balls are for me I have MUCH improvement. I did bigger sets on the wall balls for each set. Found I really like the combo of 8/7/8/7 mentally and physically it jives with me. Muscle ups have had a big improvement but are still taking me too long in-between. I need to trust that I can hit another after 10seconds.

2.3.14
A) EMOM 1 power snatch- start at 55# and add 10# every minute until max is reached.
Made it to 125# and failed at 135# I get under the bar fast enough I just can’t stabilize it quick enough…. Seems to be a pattern here with shoulder stability….
+ max effort
No rest between
1mim air squats-56
2 mins double unders- 179
3mins hr push-ups- 46
4mins dead lifts 105#- 73
5mins pull-ups- 60
-this just murdered my arms shoulders and pecs. Ouch

2.4.14
4min max thrusters 75#
-43

Rest 10 minutes

4min max Burpees – I did these to a target even though it wasn’t written but I wanted it to be opens esk.
-62
The thrusters were miserable – I was gonna do sets of 3 with 5secs rest between but they got really hard after 18 and I dropped to doubles with more like 10-20secs rest between which is way too much rest. My hip was a factor but I just got really fatigued really fast.
Burpees weren’t too horrible any time I feel like I just had to stop I did step downs for 1-2 Burpees and then went back to my pace. I have some weird breathing going on with my nose ever since I was sick a few weeks ago. I have an appointment with an ent in a week to have it checked out.

2.5.14
Rest day. With the opens only 3 weeks away I’m changing my training Sched to reflect when I’m doing the workouts. So I’ll be resting Wednesdays and training late Thursday nights active recovery Fridays working out Saturday morning.

2.6.14
My first super late training session! Had a full day of work but got a 2 hour nap in around 2pm so I wouldn’t be beat by the time I got to train.
6 min EMOM 2-3 heavy push press- 125# did them on the blocks
+
3 sets 80,90,100% rest 5-6 mins between
Row 500m
20 t2b
20 push press
2 muscle ups
20 Kbs 1.5p

80%- 7:33 row- 2:08
90%- 7:10 row- 2:04.7
100%- 6:34 row- 1:58.7
These felt good I was tired tired mentally from my day but physically I was surprisingly fine. My t2b fail so quickly even when I break them up into doubles. Not sure why. It’s a combo of tired shoulders and hip flexors.
*had a VERY hard time sleeping after working out and then eating so late.

2.7.14
Active recovery
Did 30mins on the elliptical then 15mins hot tub

2.8.14
A) 1 rep max weighted pull up prone- 60# failed at 65#
B) 5min AMRAP unbroken chest to bar pull-ups ladder 2-4-6-2-4-6….
Did 3 full ladders plus 2+4 so that’s 42 total

+
5min AMRAP at opens pace
15 power snatch 65#
20 double unders
-3 full rounds finished last round with 1 second left

Rest 5 mins

5min AMRAP at opens pace
15 ohs 65#
15 box jumps
-2 full rounds +15ohs
– my hip was on fire on this one. Actually got better;… Or went numb…. On the second round. Box jumps I always step down I feel like I maintain a better pace. Last 5 I had to step up in order to compose myself to go into the ohs with out taking a super long rest. I don’t feel like I was fully recovered to go 100% after the 5mins rest.

2.9.14
Back squat 3,2,1,2,1
155#, 175#, 185#, 195#- called the squatting session my hip just completely failed I’m starting therapies on it this week as well as my left shoulder.
Frustrating but trying to be as smart as possible

+
3 sets 5-6mins rest between
80.90.100%
5 tng power cleans 85#
20 wall balls
5 tng power cleans
20 bar jump over Burpees
5 tng power cleans
80%- 3:04 wall balls were 10/10
90%- 2:41 wall balls were 14/6
100%- 2:26 wall balls were unbroken
Hardest part for me was the burpee bar jump over. Tried to be as consistent with my pace as possible and took 2-4 second rest every 4-6 reps
Did about 20mins if handstand walk practice as my warm up. This makes my left shoulder stability issues very apparent.
– my diet has been back on point the past week and I feel a big improvement in energy and overall performance