So, as I write this, I (Hilary) am fresh off my second team competition, UG Series’ Winterfest. And, as with my first competition, I am basking in the post-competition high. It was such a great day competing alongside teammates from the gym (Jess was supposed to be there with me but had to bow out last minute). There were so many great moments, like PR-ing my snatch to reach 100 pounds…(guess I need to re-evaluate that 2015 goal I mentioned) or shocking myself by sprinting to finish one last round of a WOD in 36 seconds.
Instead of giving you the entire blow-by-blow recap, I’ve decided to sum up the competition by telling you why YOU should be doing Crossfit competitions (if you’re not already) and what they can teach you.
1. You don’t have time to think. You know that feeling when you’re going for a one rep max on a lift? When you stare at the weight and psych yourself out? When you miss a weight you know you could’ve hit because you got in your own head? No time for that on the competition floor. Our first event was finding a 1RM snatch with 6 minutes between each pair on our team. Put on the plates, pick up the weight, then let your partner go. All business. No time to overthink it (my Achilles heel in Crossfit/lifting).
My old 1RM was 90# going into the competition. After successfully hitting 95#, Kellee (my teammate) said: “Was that a PR?” I muttered yes as we switched out plates for her next attempt. But when I hit 100, I definitely screamed. The competition venue is a great place to put yourself to the test and surprise yourself. Don’t think too hard, just go for it (because that’s really the only option).
2. You will surprise yourself and push yourself harder than you thought possible. Our third event was a twisted game of memory. Each pair had to do 5 burpees and a shuttle run before flipping over two cards in a matching game featuring Crossfit games athletes, then let the other pair go. The guys got back from their last run at 11:24 on the clock (the cap was 12 minutes). I said to Kellee that we might as well just let the clock run out, as there is no way we would make it in time to flip another set of cards. But she pushed me on and insisted we go for it. So I busted out those burpees as fast as I knew how and hauled a** to get down to the box with the cards on it. By the skin of my teeth, I got there at 11:58, we picked two random cards to flip and ended up getting a match (never have I been so happy to see Rich Froning’s face x2)!
I am still not sure how I managed to complete that last round. I’m a big endurance girl (I like my workouts long and heavy, and am great at pacing myself), but when it comes to short and fast, that’s my weakness. But with Kellee there to push me on, and the rest of my team counting on me, I somehow managed to pull it out when it counted.
3. You will be amazed at the positive atmosphere and incredible community. Of the three teams from my gym competing last weekend, there was one former figure skater, and a former gymnast. After we went to the bathroom and got tips from a competitor who had already competed the outdoor WOD that we had next, they both commented on how that would NEVER happen at a figure skating or gymnastics competition. But that’s typical of Crossfit competitions I’ve been to. Even though everyone wants to win, people also want to see everyone else succeed. Even the judges will be cheering you on if they see you struggling through reps. The positivity and sense of community are tangible and it’s almost impossible to leave not feeling pumped up.
4. You will learn how much you are capable of. If that burpee/shuttle run combination had been in a solo WOD back at the gym, I honestly don’t know if I would have pushed myself so hard. But with the competition clock running, and teammates watching and cheering, I somehow came through. I was listening to Girls Gone Wod (which you really should listen to if you don’t already) the other day and Joy made the point of when you push yourself in a competition, you remember what it feels like. Then, when you’re back at the gym and struggling to get through that last round or wanting to give up, you can remind yourself of that time in competition when you pushed through and did it anyway. If you’ve done it before you can do it again.
5. You will have So. Much. Fun. as part of a team. I highly, highly recommend a team competition as your entree into the competition world. It’s great to have teammates to cheer you on, and, if you’re like me, you will push yourself harder if you know others are depending on you. And, if you can, it’s even better to do a comp with several teams from your gym. There were 3 teams out from Alchemy last Saturday, and everyone hung around to cheer each other on. The camaraderie and support were amazing. It was so awesome to see teammates hit PRs, to push through movements when they struggled, and, on the flip side, to cheer me on when I was having a tough time. And then when it was all over, we celebrated together with lots of food and drinks. 😉
6. It’s not scary. Both times I’ve competed, I’ve been amazed at how not nervous I was. Sure, I had my moments, but they were more in the week leading up to the competition. Once I got there, I just got caught up in the excitement, went on to tackle the WODs and have a good time with my team. All of the things I’ve mentioned before combine for a memorable experience that is anything but scary. The atmosphere is almost intoxicating, but you have to experience it for yourself to know what I’m talking about.
So, what are you waiting for? Why not compete….?