Competing Is So Much More Than Just a Competition

First I have got to say a big CONGRATS to all the ladies who competed this past Saturday in Femme Royale. There were 4 teams from LAX: Jelly and Joanne, Emilie and Megan J, Marlene and Heather and Zylah and Megan E. And of course, myself and Smita were a team, Secret Sauce, representing V CrossFit. It’s not cheating on LAX since everyone was aware and assimilated us in right? J

With NLI and Femme under my belt (and I can now retire from competing again ever), I would like to share the reasons why competing is one of the most indescribable experiences:

  • I bonded with everyone who competed (and judged! Thanks Kimmie J). When you spend the equivalent length of a work day at a competition, you cycle through cheering on your fellow competitors, actually getting your workouts on and eating and recovering alongside your fellow competitors. It’s like hours of hanging out with your friends, and who doesn’t love some quality time?
  • More bonding was happening even pre-Femme. There was so much cross training going on that extended beyond just Smita and I partnering. Some of the guys at V would be there training for their competitions (or just getting extra workouts in) and it was a strong showing of camaraderie. I practiced squat cleans a few times with the LAX competitors. Jelly and I even did the entire first WOD from the competition together as partners. All of this just shows how vested everyone is in each other.
  • Sure there’s a little bit of competitiveness in me where I want to go faster or heavier than my friends but that never took away from genuinely celebrating their victories and PR’s. I loved watching and hearing about the girls hitting PR’s in the squat clean ladder. It makes LAX (and V) stronger as a whole when all the individual parts continue to get stronger. It really felt more like 1 large V/LAX team than 5 individual teams of two.
  • Because people do sometimes judge a book by its cover, I have surprised many people with my athletic abilities in CrossFit. From time to time, people incorrectly assume because I am small that I can’t lift heavy. Call me smug but it gives me immense satisfaction to defy what people think a shorty like me can do. Competing and getting to show what I am made of reminds people that hard work pays off and short or not, I should not be discounted.
  • Competitions make me stronger. They take training to another level. Having a goal tends to push me a lot harder (same thing is true when I train to run a 5k or 10k).  I remember the first clean practice Smita and I had in our Femme training. I was nowhere close to being able to power clean 130 pounds. I was happy I could do 125 and expected that’s where I would land in Femme. Of course I powered on over the next two months of practicing cleans and squat cleans. I really paid attention to form and the little details, and low and behold I was able to clean 135 a few weeks before the competition. Then finally came the competition day, my plan was to squat clean up to 125 and hope for the best  that I could even just clean 135 (forget the squat). When I got to 135, I was at my 8th station and by then the repetition of doing squat cleans almost became methodical. I did the full squat clean much to my dismay and from the video I’ve seen of it, I impressed myself that my form was good at that much weight. Go me!
  • I felt sort of like a D List Celebrity competing, and I mean that in the best possible way. As you all probably know by now, I never did any sports competitively prior to CrossFit. I didn’t grow up playing soccer or softball with my family and friends cheering for me on the sidelines. I had no clue what an adrenaline rush it is to perform before a crowd. Even though for some of the workouts I could hardly hear anyone cheering specifically for me, I knew my friends were out there in the crowd. They were watching me and coaxing me through the movements. Knowing they were there was what helped me get through some gnarly stuff (like clusters). I could feel myself swinging from pull up to pull up way faster than I do in a WOD as being aware of my friends and coaches watching gave me that extra push.
  • There is something to be said about my drive in a partner WOD more so than in an individual WOD. I definitely did not want to let Smita down. It helped me get through some tough moments when I really just wanted to stop and catch my breathe. I remember feeling like I was going to die during burpee deadlifts and I reminded myself “You can do this. Smita did all those wall bulls so suck it up and keep moving.”

 

 Plus the idea of being part of a team really inspired me. I can’t quite articulate how to explain how partnering makes me feel. If you are to view the video of us during my 135 clean, you will see Smita anxiously standing at the side waiting for me to get in position and lift. As soon as it was clear I got it in the bag, she jumped up and cheered. You can’t fake that kind of excitement and the fact that she was that elated for ME, well that just shows how much of a great team we really make.

 

On a different note, we both had our share of freak out moments where a few text messages back and forth helped us get our minds back in the game. We reminded each other countless times that we were in this for ourselves and proving what we can do.

I will leave you with this. Smita and I met almost 3 years ago at a prior box we both went to. We instantly connected in a way that helped us in our training not as competitors but just as athletes. We had the temptation a few years ago to compete but we weren’t ready then. When we went our separate ways in our CrossFit journeys we were a bit nostalgic for the “old days”. Over time though we realized how much the change was needed. Not so much for each other but for the sake of interacting with different coaches and athletes. We realized that we weren’t losing a connection but in actuality we were extending our network. In doing that it allowed us to have even more opportunities to train harder and differently. We formed rapports with new coaches who have helped us get to a place where a partner comp didn’t seem so crazy. So to complete Femme Royale with the same woman who helped me reach so many milestones is the icing on the cake.

Oh and this is why you should consider competing.  To feel part of a team and bond with athletes and coaches is something that this little blog isn’t even doing justice for.

“PR’s are Sacred.”

Since I left the box tonight from Femme training with Smita, I have been theorizing on why I just didn’t have it together. Maybe doing Grace on Monday at RX wrecked me (30 clean and jerks at 95 pounds). Maybe it’s because I had a cooking fail on Sunday which resulted in not preparing my lunch for the week. I ate off my normal diet and I am wondering if the substitutions didn’t give my body enough energy and nutrients to get me through my grueling trainings.  Maybe I just need some extra rest days. Maybe mentally my head wasn’t in it. Maybe getting a 135 clean last Friday was a fluke and I am crazy to think I can replicate it again. Maybe turning another year older in a few days is messing with me. Maybe it’s a million other things that I have yet to stress myself out trying to assess.

Does it really matter why? I suppose on the one hand it is to avoid getting into a bad pattern. Or I can just shake it off and remember that not every time I work out will I feel like a rock star. AND THAT’S OK!

I have been hitting a lot of PR’s lately across the board and it has me pumped. It’s hard to go from having that to the opposite where I feel like my body is just on strike. I realized tonight that I am getting greedy with PR’s and not being fair to myself. I am reminded time and time again a coach that PR’s are sacred. Both him and Smita tell me after I do my PR happy dance to shut it down. I typically just smile politely while secretly plotting my next PR.

Tonight though I realized the value of what they have been saying.  Not every workout is going to trump the last one I did or result in hitting a new personal best.  Being at max capacity sucks a lot of energy out of a person and we are entitled to take a step back at times after we experience that. It’s all part of a process. You need lows to get you to the highs and appreciate them. (and to keep perspective on how we define “low”. Chances are our lows may be disappointing to us but in the grand scheme of things are pretty bad ass).

So while I write this I realize I may have just had the most obvious epiphany. I am sure most of you already knew that PR’s are sacred. For me, I needed the reminder so I can continue to train smart.  We all should train smart and not be so hard on ourselves.  Enjoy your great achievements and patiently work for your next.