Update: I wrote this immediately after the competition and may have been too nice about the fact that it resulted in me needing surgery five months later due to the weighted overhead sit up. Surgery pictures here.
This past weekend, Ditty and I had the opportunity to compete in the CrossFit A.C.T. Garage Games at CF A.C.T. in Saddle Brook, NJ. As part of the Garage Games series of CrossFit events, this was a “minor” competition where athletes could accumulate points towards the series. Although “minor,” there was serious competition, with several athletes having competed in their respective Regionals as individuals. Going into this, I had not trained these specific workouts, even though I knew them. I just wanted to use the competition to stay “alive” and keep the motivation burning to train. As you’ll read below, there was one, maybe two workouts that I probably would have wanted to try beforehand.
CrossFit A..C.T. Garage Games crowd watching a demo
There were three main workouts and a fourth for the top ranked at the end of the day. With a Rx’d division and scaled division, here were the workouts and how I did:
AMRAP 7 min
Max reps squat cleans 135/95 (scaled 95/65)
I was split on how I felt about this one. I don’t like rowing, nor does my short stature and light weight really lend to any stellar performance on the erg. However, I do like squat cleans. I didn’t think about any kind of numbers before the weekend until the night before when my buddy, Dan, asked. He was going for 20, so I thought that was a good number. That’s exactly what I hit. I got off the rower around minute 4, and had 3 minutes left. I did sets of 3s and 2s for the most part. Looking back, this is a workout that I might have benefited from practicing. Although I felt like I was moving pretty well, there wasn’t much fire in me to push into the mid 20’s…plus, I wasn’t counting during the WOD. Out of 73 competitors, 20 reps tied me for 45th with a bunch of others. Top score was 33 by Ian Berger, Regionals qualifier.
Heat 1 ready to go
Kacie H. from CF Apex on cleans (ended up 2nd overall)
AMRAP 5 min
OHS 115/75 (scaled 95/65)
weighted sit ups 45/25 (scaled 25/10)
SDLHP 115/75 (scaled 95/65)
Overhead squats are my nemesis, but I felt ok going into this one. The CrossFit Open in 2010 was a disaster when I went to do 120# OHS’s. Since then, especially this year, I have been working on my OHS’s and I was happy to get all 10 reps strung in the beginning. Unfortunately, the weighted sit up got the best of me, or rather, my shoulder. The movement called for athletes to sit in a butterfly position and hold the plate in front of their feet, then swing it up and over the head behind you where you would lay down and touch the ground with the plate with extended arms. Then you had to violently sit up with the plate in extension to bring it back in front of your feet. On my round of 7 sit ups, my right shoulder gave out and I felt a *crunch* as my torso wanted to move up from the ground, but my right arm (and weight attached to it) wouldn’t let it. I eventually used momentum to get the plate up and continued with the workout, but not nearly at the same intensity. I ended up with 57 reps, just 3 reps shy of a full round, and good enough for 59th place. Top score was by Ian Berger again, with an amazing 104 reps.
me on OHS
the dreaded weighted sit up
Ditty on OHS
AMRAP 10 min
10 T2B (scaled k2e) (later changed to burpees)
25 double unders (scaled 75 single unders)
10 thrusters (95/65) (scaled 65/45)
Going into this workout, my shoulder was definitely feeling a strain. It was tough for me to be in an overhead wide grip position (for instance, holding a snatch over head), but I felt ok about this third WOD because everything was in a vertical plane to my torso. A surprise came when Bill, head of CF ACT, announced a change in format. Instead of toes to bar, it was going to be BURPEES. The reason was that there was only a corner of the gym with pull up bars, and it wouldn’t be fair to the guys at the other end of the gym. As Bill announced this, you could hear a sea of groans ripple through the crowd. I was fine with either and was just hoping for an equalizer for the big guys who took WODs 1 and 2.
The workout was certainly a lung burner. I kept a solid pace on burpees and dubs felt great. I knew the thrusters could slow me down, so I tried to string as many as I could. I didn’t feel my shoulder during the workout which could have definitely slowed me down. In the end, I got 5+ rounds for 231 reps; good enough for 11th place.
Kurt M. of CF Apex on du’s
Dan M. of CF Soar on thrusters
Overall, I got 39th place out of 73 Rx’d guys. The top five went on to compete in a 4th workout that
I actually don’t know what it was because we had to leave early
I later found out was a 10 min workout: 15 hspu’s, “Grace” (30 clean and jerks 135/95), and max c2b pull ups for women, or max muscle ups for men. The top three guys happened to all have competed at Regionals as individuals, so these were no slouches.
In terms of the programming, I had mixed feelings. I liked the first workout and would have kept it. Although rowing and cleans are almost the exact same movement, it’s a good workout and test of metabolic conditioning with strength endurance. Plus, the time domain is just right for a competition. As for the second workout, I might be biased because of my injury, but I thought the weighted sit up was just silly. To put that much torque on a joint that is already fragile is asking a lot. If they wanted weighted sit ups, we could have held the plate against our chest. I also thought the time domain was too similar to WOD 1. Instead of a 5 minute workout, program a max effort movement, such as a box jump, deadlift, etc. The third workout was a good lung burner, and I’m glad they changed the T2B to burpees. Not because I like burpees (I don’t), but because T2B and a weighted sit up from before would have been very similar movements. This similarity among workouts didn’t stop there. In all three workouts there was a barbell squat of some sort (squat clean in WOD 1, overhead squat in WOD 2, and thruster in WOD 3). While I’m all for squatting, I think there could have been better variety.
Karyn Marshall (the first woman to ever clean and jerk 300#) on OHS at 56 years young
I realize there are limitations in programming a competition, so as much as I wrote my criticisms, I didn’t come away with hard feelings. In fact, there were a ton of great things about the day: Overall,
I thought the actual day ran extremely smoothly. Announcements were clear, heats were organized, and even the scoring system was updated live so we could all check our scores and rankings. The judges and staff ended up working basically all day, and having been in their shoes, I am grateful for their time and hard work. And at the end, t
he cream still rose to the top, as evidenced by the top 3 in each category. By no means do I feel like I was even close, and that’s a good thing. I can walk away with more competition experience and drive to get stronger. Not to mention making more friends, as we sat next to a bunch of athletes from CrossFit Apex, another PA affiliate that we often cross paths with and had competed side by side at the Mid-Atlantic Regionals.
I’m also proud that Ditty did this, as I know it was out of her comfort zone, but I think she did awesome!
If you haven’t done a competition, get out of your bubble and do one. Whether it’s CrossFit, Olympic lifting, a 5k, tough mudder, thumb wrestling…whatever it is, it will make you a better person.