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Crossfit Games: A New Challenge For Me

February 21, 2012

I’ve raved about crossfit on my blog before (for anyone in Chicago area looking to push their workouts, I highly recommend Rowfit! Let them know I sent you if you try it out). But there are also crossfit competitions. The competitions are like our daily workouts, but with another level of intensity. Until now, I’ve admired the athletes at my gym who compete in these competitions, but I haven’t tried them myself. My background is as a rower and an endurance athlete. I can hold my own there. But I know I’m still weak in some of the crossfit movements.

Time to expand my horizons again, try something new! I registered for the Crossfit Games, which starts this week! The Games are actually a great way for a first time Crossfit competitor to try it out. Most crossfit competitions are on a single day or two days and at a specific box (Crossfit lingo for gym). The first round of the Crossfit Games, the Open round, is at your own box, or even your own house or a non-crossfit gym. Starting tomorrow night for the next six weeks, every Wednesday they will post a workout on the internet. Everyone has until Saturday to complete the workout and submit their score. This is easiest if you do workout at a box. Registered crossfit boxes can verify the scores of their members. For people not affiliated with a crossfit box, they can upload a video of themselves completing the workout, so that their score can be verified via video. Individuals are ranked based on their weekly scores. At the end of the six weeks, the top individuals in each region go on to regionals, which take place over three days in various specific locations. Finally, the top scorers at regionals move on to the Crossfit Games over three days in Carson, California. In addition to individual scores, there are also team scores. The top three individual scores from each week contribute to the team score in the Open round.

I’ll be honest, I’m pretty nervous about this. I’m comfortable and can hold my own with some of the crossfit movements. For example, rowing, deadlifts, box jumps, burpees. I struggle with other movements, like push press and pullups. And I’m still trying to master the technique for others, like handstand pushups and double unders (jump rope with it passing under your feet twice per jump). If an Open workout involves double unders or handstand pushups, I won’t be able to complete it as prescribed. Crossfit workouts can always be scaled. At our gym, if you can’t do double unders, you do three singles; if you can’t do body weight pullups, you use resistance bands; if you can’t do handstand pushups against the wall, you use a box; if prescribed weight for lifting is more than you can do, you scale the weight down.

The goal in Crossfit is always to go prescribed if you can. If we’re doing rounds for time, it’s better to go Rx and complete fewer rounds than to scale and blast through it. But the Open round of the Games adds another incentive. If you scale, your workout is not ranked and you cannot advance to Regionals. Not only that, if you scale in week two, then your scores in subsequent weeks cannot count for your team score. For example, say you scale in week two, but have the best score on your team in week three. You can still see how you stacked up against everyone else for the week, but you won’t be ranked in the overall rankings and your score doesn’t help your team. On the other hand, if you have the top score on your team in week two, and then scale in week three, your week two score still counts for your team.

I’m not doing this to try to advance to Regionals. I can do many more workouts prescribed now than a year ago, but I still have to scale some workouts, I still can’t do some skills. Maybe if I’m lucky, a workout that plays to my strengths will come up early in the Open round, and my score might contribute to my team. But worse case, the first week includes something like double unders that I can’t do, and my scores don’t count for the rest of the competition. And if that happens, I’ll go with it. Seeing where I rank would be nice, but I’m not doing this for the ranking. I’m doing this to add another edge to my training. To add another small incentive to push myself to go Rx if at all possible, to push myself to finish that last rep a little faster, or to squeeze in that last rep before time. To know that everyone around me is also pushing themselves for the Games (at my box, we’re doing Games workouts on Thursdays). And to have some fun while I’m still far enough away from the Ironman that I can afford to enjoy other kinds of competitions!

I’ll post about how this goes. I’m nervous. But it’s a low-stress way to try out Crossfit competition. I just need to remind myself, it’s really not that different from my daily crossfit workouts, just with an added incentive. (In fact, even if I wasn’t doing the Games, if I showed up to crossfit on Thursdays, I would still be doing the Games workout!) And the best thing about Crossfit workouts: the last person to finish gets the loudest cheering!

271 days till Ironman Arizona.

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