Competitions — 28 September 2013

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The inaugural 2013 SuperFit Championships is a series of intense, gritty fitness competitions designed to declare the most-fit athlete.In true brash Jersey style, this competition will challenge experienced fitness competitors yet also inspire introductory fitness enthusiasts. We will test all fitness levels and ultimately see if you have what it takes to be crowned the “SuperFit Champion” and win the prize money.

 

This is it – the SuperFit finals. After holding five qualifiers across New Jersey, the top athletes from each qualifier were invited to throw down at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk for the title of ‘SuperFit Champion’ – that and $1,000 for the winners of each division. I earned my spot in the finals after a 4th place finish in the Teaneck qualifier a few months prior.

I knew the workouts – I knew the field. The only thing left was to show up and throw down – and figure out how the hell you set up a rig on the beach!

 

WOD 1

8 MIN AMRAP
10 KB Thrusters Right Arm 55lbs
20 Toes To Bar
10 KB Thrusters Left Arm 55lbs
5 KB Thrusters Right Arm
10 Toes To Bar
5 KB Thrusters Left Arm

Game planning 101 – don’t take my advice.

I always like to approach any workout, whether it’s in competition or at my home box, with some sort of game plan. Not only do I believe it gives me a better chance to succeed, but it makes each workout mentally more manageable. What I mean is trying to tackle a workout with some sort of blind intensity like a chicken with its head chopped off rarely works. If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. Classic!

But from a mental standpoint, having a game plan allows me to stay within myself. By scheduling when to rest or how to break up sets – as opposed to being forced to rest from exerting myself too much – it reduces my stress level and anxiety while I’m not working. It becomes ‘all part of the plan.’ The best crossfitters in the world approach every workout with a game plan. Yes, that game plan may change drastically once the workout begins, but trust me when I say it’s vital to their success on game day.

1044546_335415033257950_1785877047_nUnfortunately for myself, I haven’t quite worked out all the kinks in my own game planning. This is where training becomes so important. Every athlete is different. We all have different strengths and weaknesses – a game plan that works for me may not work for you. Training gives you the opportunity to discover what works for you.

With that being said, at first glance, this should be a workout I excel at. But an all too common problem of over-analyzing and over-game planning made this workout much harder than it should’ve been. From a competitive CrossFit standpoint, this may be my biggest flaw.

The one thing I noticed after watching the few heats before me go – fortunately (unfortunately?) for myself I was in one of the last heats of the day – was that the sticking point seemed to be the toes to bar. Not surprising. Now I don’t consider myself bad at toes to bar, quite the contrary actually, but the way my shoulder has kind of been nagging me the last few months I’ve been avoiding them like the plague. And everyone knows, toes to bar in high volume are devastating. Time to game plan. I decided to break up the toes to bar early, and although I knew everyone would gain a slight lead on me, I was hoping I would have enough juice left in the tank to make up the difference at the end.

When the workout actually started that’s exactly what happened. I was in the hole early. The kettlebell thrusters were decidedly more difficult than anticipated especially with the soft sand wiggling between my toes, but I was able to battle through the reps pretty smoothly.

By time I got to the second round of toes to bar, I knew I was further back than I wanted to be. So there went the game plan out the window. I decided I had to pick up the pace and start pushing back. I made up ground towards the end, closed the gap and ended up passing some of my fellow competitors but for some the gap was too large. I probably finished towards the middle of my heat, and unless my heat was the all star heat I knew it wouldn’t bode well for my overall standing.

I was disappointed. You might look at this and say ‘hey, how could you be disappointed it looked like you set out to do exactly what you’re game plan sought out to do.’ And in some respects you would be right. The problem was when the final buzzer rang I knew I still had some juice left in the tank. Yes my strategy went according to plan – but it was the wrong plan.

I should’ve pushed harder from the start. Trusted myself that I would’ve been able to maintain some consistency through the toes to bar in the later rounds and revert to ‘grind it out’ mode if necessary. I knew from the time the final buzzer sounded I had over paced and over thought this workout.

But the real issue came to light when I saw the standings after event one. Look at it this way, because this was a ‘Finals’ competition after a statewide qualifier, all the athletes were above average crossfitters. Meaning that the difference between a good placement and an ehhh placement were just a few reps. As the competition gets better a few reps here or a few seconds there make the difference between a podium spot and just another finish.

I would have to do something really special on the next workout to make it to the finals.

Result
WOD 1 – 130 Reps – 18th Place In The Event

 

WOD 2

9 MIN AMRAP
100 Air Squats
40 Hand Release Push Ups
20 C2B Pull Ups
50 Air Squats
20 Hand Release Push Ups
15 C2B Pull Ups
25 Air Squats
10 Hand Release Push Ups
As Many C2B Pull Ups As Possible With Time Remaining

The second workout was reminiscent of some form of Cindy on steroids. At this point, I wasn’t entirely sure how many competitors would make it to the third and final event, but I did know that after digging myself into a big hole on the first event I would have to finish damn near the top of this workout to even have a shot.

Easier said than done, but this workout definitely favored me over the first one. I decided to abandon all forms of game planning and strategy and just go as HAM as physically possible. With that being said, I knew I had a lot of ground to make up. Like I said earlier, the competition was stiff and a few reps here and there could make a huge difference. It had to be all out effort for the 9 minutes.

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Walking out to my judge and my starting lane across the hot sand I knew what I had to do. My bar was covered in blood from the heat before me – always a good omen – whoever was there before me definitely got the HAM memo. Thankfully, I noticed it and cleaned it off before I jumped up there mid workout for my first set of pull ups.

When the workout finally got underway, it was an all out sprint from the sound of the buzzer. I knew that the movements wouldn’t have a huge negative carry over effect from one to the other – other than my breathing – so I could push extremely hard on the air squats before lying down for push ups. The sand made the squats a little trickier. I tried pushing the sand out from under my feet and stomping it down to try and create some sort of base – pointless. But I knew everyone had to deal with the same issues so I just pressed on.

The push up – in my mind – is the hardest movement to judge in competition (followed closely behind by kettlebell swings). The reason being is it asks a lot of the judge to differentiate between a lay-down-get-up (a snaking push up) verse a real deal push up. Forcing the athletes to do a hand release at the bottom at least clears up one grey area, but the motion on the way up is always up for debate depending on the strictness of your judge.

In this competition it didn’t really seem to matter. Lay-down-get-ups got the green light and everyone resorted to snaking up on the already uneven sand. And to be honest, if done in high enough volume, it creates a similar stimulus for your triceps regardless. So I followed suit – let the pseudo push ups commence!

Thank God for that, because the push ups were easily the hardest part of this workout. I don’t know if it had to do with the shifty sand under my fingertips or due to the previous workout, but my triceps were screaming at me from the onset. The pull ups on the other hand, even though they were required to be chest to bar, were the easiest part of the workout.

I moved through the remainder of the workout pretty fluidly trying to limit my rest time as much as possible. I finished the entire chipper and tacked on an extra 15 reps of pull ups at the end. In the end, I think only one other athlete beat me in my heat, but with 3 other heats to take into consideration and the point/rep differential so slim I wasn’t sure where I would end up in the overall standings. All I did know was I did exactly what I had to do to give myself a fighting chance.

Result
WOD 2 – 295 Reps – 9th Place In The Event

 

The Finals

It had been rumored all day that they would be taking the top ten athletes from each division to the final event. I knew I had placed well in the second workout, but would it be enough to catapult me into a top ten position? My bigger concern was that both workouts favored the same type of athlete – more or less. This meant that the people that did well in the first event probably did well in the second event – as opposed to a competition with heavy weight in event one and bodyweight movements in event two. Basically, this meant finishing in the top ten would be an even steeper mountain to climb.

When the event organizers finally took to the mic, they announced that the top twelve – not ten – would qualify for a spot in the final event. A small glimmer of hope. But in the end, it didn’t make a difference. I finished in 14th place, missing the final event by two spots.

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Definitely a little disappointing, but I knew I had dug myself into too deep of a hole after the first workout. This really marks the second time in the last two competitions where – according to my own standards – I under performed. I can’t tell you the reason for it because I don’t know. But what I do know is my final placing in the last two events did not reflect the type of crossfitter I am or the hard work I put in daily. It’s frustrating to say the least.

But it wasn’t from lack of trying. There were definitely some miscues and some mental mistakes that definitely cost me in the last two competitions, but that’s no excuse. My goal is – and has been since the Open ended a few months ago – to make Regionals this year. I can’t settle for ‘good’ or ‘decent’ finishes at these local events when I know the competition for the Open will be exponentially harder. I don’t have any competitions planned till late September, so I’m looking forward (anxious) to heading home and putting in the necessary work. To keep working hard and keep my eyes focused on that ultimate goal.

Motivation is not an issue. It’s time to work.

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mlanwehr

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